In medieval and modern Hinduism, Vishnu and Shiva are both treated as supreme deity by their respective worshippers. More than any of the supreme Gods of the West – like Odin or Zeus – Shiva combines two contradictory aspects, each clearly articulated and separate, especially in early references. The "Shiva" aspect is the divine physician; the "Rudra" aspect is the great destroyer. The two aspects – even in the Mahabharata, where he is known mainly as Shiva – Shadow one another. Shiva reconciles opposites; he is the ultimate ground upon which the Balance of the world is assured; he is also the Lord of the Dance, and depending on the nature of that dance he brings the world into being (> Creation Myths) or ends it (> Apocalypse).
He is rarely specifically used in Western fantasy as an Underlier, though in a general sense it is reasonable to assume that he provides a rough model for fictional gods who both raven and heal. The hero of Warren B Murphy's Destroyer sequence is based specifically upon Shiva the Destroyer; this aspect is also recreated in Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light (1967), with the help of Technofantasy weaponry. [JC]