avatars of shiva

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rd Shiva Avatars Lord Shiva is considered as the supreme God in the Hinduism. For setting up an ideal work on the earth in front of his creatures, he had taken variety of the avatars and incarnations. Some of his avatars are related to protecting his devotees from the devils and proud Gods as well. However, five avatars of all his incarnations are hideously important as well as assumed to be the most valuable and effective for his devotees. The most important five incarnations are: Tatpurush, Namadeva, Aghoresh, Sadhojat and Ishan. 1) Tatpurush Tatpurush is the most popular third incarnation of the Lord Shiva which was manifested in the 21 st Kalpa of the planet known as Peetavasa. It was appeared by the prayer of the Lord Brahma. 2) Naamdeva: During the 20 th Kalpa known as the Rakta, Lord Brahma got his complexion changed to a red. Another entity was appeared from him of the red complexion, which was name by him as a Namadeva. It is considered as the Naamdeva was also the incarnation of Lord Shiva. 3) Aghoresh In the Shiva Kalpa (after the Peetavasa Kalp), an entity of black color complexion was appeared by the Lord Brahma when he was in deep meditation state. Lord Brahma named that entity as Aghor Shiva and considered as another form of Lord Shiva. 4) Sadhojat During the 19 th Kalpa known as Shweta Lohit, there appeared an entity by the Lord Brahma while he was meditating, which was named by him as Sadhojat. It is considered that this form of the Lord Shiva was the first incarnation. Four disciples of

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List of Avatars of Lord Shiva


Page 1: Avatars of Shiva

rd Shiva Avatars

Lord Shiva is considered as the supreme God in the Hinduism. For setting

up an ideal work on the earth in front of his creatures, he had taken

variety of the avatars and incarnations. Some of his avatars are related to

protecting his devotees from the devils and proud Gods as well. However,

five avatars of all his incarnations are hideously important as well as

assumed to be the most valuable and effective for his devotees. The most

important five incarnations are: Tatpurush, Namadeva, Aghoresh,

Sadhojat and Ishan.

1) Tatpurush

Tatpurush is the most popular third incarnation of the Lord Shiva which

was manifested in the 21st  Kalpa of the planet known as Peetavasa. It was

appeared by the prayer of the Lord Brahma.

2) Naamdeva:

During the 20th  Kalpa known as the Rakta, Lord Brahma got his complexion

changed to a red. Another entity was appeared from him of the red

complexion, which was name by him as a Namadeva. It is considered as

the Naamdeva was also the incarnation of Lord Shiva.

3) Aghoresh

In the Shiva Kalpa (after the Peetavasa Kalp), an entity of black color

complexion was appeared by the Lord Brahma when he was in deep

meditation state. Lord Brahma named that entity as Aghor Shiva and

considered as another form of Lord Shiva.

4) Sadhojat

During the 19th  Kalpa known as Shweta Lohit, there appeared an entity by

the Lord Brahma while he was meditating, which was named by him as

Sadhojat. It is considered that this form of the Lord Shiva was the first

incarnation. Four disciples of the Sadhojat were appeared by his own body

named Nandan, Vishwanandan, Sunand and Upanandan.


Page 2: Avatars of Shiva

In the Vishwaroop Kalpa, Ishan form of the Lord Shiva and Saraswati were

manifested. Four divine entities like Mundi, Shikhandi, Caste and

Ardhamundi were manifested from the Ishan Shiva. Lord Brahma was

blessed by all of them for the creation facility.

Eight Idols of the Lord Shiva:

There are eight idols of the Lord Shiva which includes Ugra, Sharva,

Bhava, Rudra, Bheema, Pashupati, Ishan and Mahadeva. Ten fastidious

incarnations of the God Shiva known as Dash Avatar and 10 incarnations

of the Mata Sakti known as the Dash Mahavidya. Describing concerning to

the 10 incarnations and their corresponding power (Shakti), the first

incarnation of Lord Shiva was the Mahakal and Shakti was

Mahakali. Second incarnation of both of them was Tar and Tara. Third

incarnation of both of them was Bhuvaneshwar and

Bhuvaneshwari. Fourth incarnation was Shodash and Shodashi or

Shri.Fifth incarnation was Bhairav and Bhairavi. The sixth incarnation was

Chhinamastak and Chhinamasta.Seventh incarnation was Dhoomvan and

Dhoomvati. The eighth incarnation was Baglamukh and Baglamukhi. The

ninth incarnation was Matang and Matangi. Tenth incarnation was Kamal

and Kamala.

11 Rudra AvatarsLord Shiva took birth on the earth as the eleven Rudras from the Kashyap

wife’s (Surabhi) womb. These forms of the eleven Rudras are associated

with the battles with demons in the past in order to save the people and

Gods. Following are the name of eleven Rudras:

1) Kapali 2) Pingal 3) Bheem 4) Virupaksha 5) Vilohit 6) Shastra 7) Ajapaad

8) Ahirbudhnya 9) Shambhu 10) Chand and 11) Bhav.

Incarnations of Lord ShivaApart from all the above incarnations of the Lord Shiva, he had taken

some other incarnations which are described as below:

Page 3: Avatars of Shiva

1. Ardhnaarishwar Avatar: Ardhnaarishwar form of the Lord Shiva

includes half body of Lord Shiva and other half of the Mata Parvati. This

form is very calm and peaceful, provides blessings to the devotees.

2. Nandi Avatar: Lord Shiva had taken lots of avatars on the earth

according to the requirement for their devotees. Nandi avatar is one of all

the avatars.

3. Sharabh Avatar: This form of the Lord Shiva was the 6th  avatar of him.

4. Grihpati Avatar: Grihpati avatar of the Lord Shiva was the 7th  avatar of


5. Neel Kanth Avatar: Neel Kanth avatar is also a main form of him.

Once there was arisen a lot of Vish from the churning of the ocean. Lord

Shiva had drunk all the Vish to prevent his beautiful world from the bad

effects of Vish. Mata Parvati had stopped the Vish to fall below the neck

by putting her palm on his neck. So, this form of him is known as the Neel

kanth avatar.

6. Rishi Durvasha Avatar: It is considered as this avatar of the Lord is

the main avatar. He has taken this avatar on the earth to maintain the

discipline of the universe.

7. Mahesh Avatar: Mahesh avatar is also a peaceful form of the Lord

Shiva which blesses his devotees.

8. Hanuman Avatar: hanuman avatar is considered as the supreme

avatar of him. Lord Shiva has taken this avatar during the time Lord Rama

to present a good example of the Lord and Bhakt in front of the people.

9. Brishabh Avatar: Brishabh avatar is the very significant form of the

God Shiva.

10. Piplaad Avatar: Lord Shiva helps their devotees to get free from the

Shani Dosha in this form. It is considered as the name of this avatar was

given by the Lord Brahma.

11. Vaishyanath Avatar: This is the main avatar of the Lord Shiva to his


Page 4: Avatars of Shiva

13. Yatinath Avatar: Yatinath avatar of the God Shiva represents a

peaceful form of him to his devotees.

14. Krishna Darshan Avatar: Lord Shiva, in this form had represented

the significance of the yagya and important religious rituals in Hinduism.

15. Awdhuteshwar Avatar: In this form Lord Shiva had crushed the ego

of proud Indra.

16. Bhichhuwarya Avatar: In this form, Lord Shiva protects his all

creatures from any difficulty.

17. Sureshwar Avatar: This form of Lord Shiva represents the love and

care of him towards his devotees.

18. Bramhchari Avatar: Lord Shiva had taken this avatar to test the

Mata Parvati. When Sati rebirth on the earth to the Himalaya’s house as

his daughter, Parvati and started worshipping the God Shiva to marry him.

19. Sunatnartak Avatar: Lord Shiva had taken this form to ask the hand

of Parvati from her father, Himalaya.

20. Saddhu Avatar: Lord Shiva had taken Sadhu avatar many times

according to the need of his devotees.

21. Vibhuashwathama Avatar: Lord Shiva had taken this avatar in the

Mahabharat as Ashwatthama (son Dronacharya).

22. Kiraat Avatar: Lord Shiva, in this form had taken the test of Arjuna.

23. Veerbhadra Avatar: This avatar was taken by the Lord Shiva after

the sacrifice of the Sati into the Daksha’s yagya. This form of the Lord

Shiva was very terrible, face was full of angry, hair opened, indicated his

love and care towards his wife.

24. Bhairav Avatar: Lord Shiva has taken Bhairav avatar to protect the

Sati pindas. After the death of Sati into the yagya of Daksha, Lord Shiva

was wandering all over the world by taking the Sati body. Lord Vishnu had

cut the body of Sati into many pieces (52) by his wheel. Those pieces

were fallen on the earth. So to protect those Sati pindas from the devils,

Lord Shiva had taken the Bhairav avatar.

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25. Allama Prabhu: This is one of the incarnations of the Lord Shiva. This

form was involved with the Kalyanapuri revolution where Bijala Raja was


26. Khandoba: This is another incarnation of the Lord Shiva having horse

as his vehicle and loaded with the sword, trident, bowl and trident.

1. Avatars of Lord Shiva

Shiva is present everywhere! As Adi Shankaracharya said, "Forgive me Oh, Shiva! My three great sins! I came on a pilgrimage to Kashi forgetting that, you are omnipresent. In thinking about you, I forgot that You are beyond thought. In praying to you, I forgot that You are beyond words." To sustain law and balance of nature Lord Shiva took many avatars in various yugas. In Shiv Mahapuran, there is a mention of these avatars, here’s a look…

2. Piplaad Avatar

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As per the legends, Shiva was born as Piplaad to sage Dhatichi. The sage left his son even before he was born. Upset without his father Piplaad asked the devas why my father left me. They told him that the unfortunate circumstances were formed because of the planetary position of ‘Shani.’ On learning this, Piplaad cursed Shani and Shani started falling down its celestial abode.

3. Piplaad Avatar

Piplaad forgave Shani on the condition that it will not trouble anyone before 16 years of age. It is believed that praying to this form of Lord Shiva helps people to get rid of

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Shani Dosha. According to Shiv Puran, Lord Brahma had named this avatar of Lord Shiva.

4. Nandi Avatar

Enter any Shiva temple in the country and you will first witness a statue of the quietly formidable Nandi, Lord Shiva's mount and the divine gatekeeper. Lord Shiva represents all beings on Earth. This avatar of Lord Shiva is an indication towards it. There are some temples which are exclusively built for Nandi. The famous Nandisvara temple in Karnataka is one such.

5. Nandi Avatar

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As a primary Hindu God, Nandi is traced in lineage back to ancient dairy farmers that depended on cows for their main livelihood. As their foremost source of sustenance, Nandi was worshiped as keeper of the herds. In this form he was said to be bull-faced with a body much like his hallowed Shiva, but with 4 hands. Two hands holding axe and antelope, and the other two joined in homage. In this human form he is known as Nandikeshwara.

6. Veerbhadra Avatar

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Sati was the youngest daughter of Daksha, the king of all men. When Sati grew up she married Shiva,much to the displeasure of her father. One day Daksha made arrangements for a great yagna, and invited all the gods omitting only Shiva. Sati's urge to go to her home due to the affection towards her parents overpowered the social etiquette for not going to an uninvited ceremony. Daksha insulted her and Shiva infront of others. Unable to bear further trauma she ran into the sacrificial fire.

7. Veerbhadra Avatar

When Shiva came to know about this and with deep sorrow and anger, plucked a lock of hair and thrashed on the ground. Lord Veerabhadraand Rudrakali were born.

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Virabhadra's believed to be the destroyer of Ajnana, his tall body reached the high heavens, he was dark as the clouds, three burning eyes, and fiery hair; he wore a garland of skulls and carried terrible weapons. To provide him the power, arrived Bhadrakali, a wrathful incarnation on Devi.

8. Veerbhadra Avatar

On the direction of Shiva, Virabhadra appeared in the midst of Daksha's assembly like a storm and broke the sacrificial vessels, polluted the offerings, insulted the priests and finally cut off Daksha's head, trampled on Indra, broke the staff of Yama, scattered the gods on every side; then he returned to Kailash.

9. Bhairava Avatar

Bhairava, sometimes known as Kaala Bhairava, Kal Bhairab, Annadhaani Bhairava, Bhairon or Bhairadya, is the fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva associated with annihilation. The origin of Bhairava can be traced to the conversation between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu recounted in “Shiv Maha-Puran” where Lord Vishnu asks Lord Brahma who is the supreme creator of the Universe. Arrogantly, Brahma tells Vishnu to worship him because he (Brahma) is the supreme creator. This angered Shiva who then incarnated in the form of Bhairava to punish Brahma.

10. Bhairava Avatar

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Bhairava beheaded one of Brahma's five heads and since then Brahma has only four heads. When depicted as Kala Bhairava, Bhairava is shown carrying the severed head of Brahma. Cutting off Brahma's fifth head made him guilty of the crime of killing a Brahmin(Brahmahatyapap), and as a result, he had to carry around the disembodied skull for twelve years and roam as Bhikshatana, a mendicant, until he had been absolved of the sin.

11. Bhairava Avatar

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In the form of the frightful Bhairava, Shiva is said to be guarding each of these Shaktipeeths. Each Shaktipeeth temple is accompanied by a temple dedicated to Bhairava.

12. Ashwatthama

According to Mahabharat, the son Dronacharya, Ashwatthama is an ansh Lord Shiva’s Kaal, krodh (anger) and Yam (death). During Samudra Manthan , Halahaal the fuming posion capable of burning universe appeared and all Dev Danav Manav Yaksha Gandharva fled. All of them along with Lord Vishnu and Lord Bramha came to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva consumed Halahaal and held it in his throat. However unable to bear its consequences it started burning him.

13. Ashwatthama

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The Vish purush sprung out of him folded his palms, Lord Shiva asked him that although Lord Vishnu and me didn’t let you kill the people yet in Dwapar Yuga but during Mahabharat war, with my blessings, you will be able to kill oppressive kshatriyas. You will be born as Bhardwaja’s grandson and be raised as Brahman but attracted towards Kshatriyahood. This Vish purush was born as Ashwatthama to Drona and Kripi.

14. Sharabha avatar

Sharabha is a creature that is part lion and part bird. According to Sanskrit literature, Sharabha is an eight-legged beast, mightier than a lion and elephant and which can kill the lion. In later literature, Sharabha is described as an eight-legged deer. Shiv puran narrates that god Shiva assumed the Avatar of Sharabha to tame Narasimha - the fierce man-lion avatar of Vishnu worshipped by Vaishnava sect - into a normal pleasant form representing harmony. This form is popularly known as Sarabeshwara (Lord Sarabha) or Sharabeshwaramurti.

15. Sharabha avatar

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The iconography of Sharabeshwaramurti (Shiva as Sarabha) is specifically defined in texts such as Khamikagama and Sritattvanidhi. In Khamikagama, Sharabha is described in the form of a bird with golden colour, with two uplifted wings, two red eyes, four legs in the form of a lion touching the ground, four legs with claws upwards, and with an animal tail. The top part of the body is shown as human but with the face of a lion with an ornamented crown; side tusks are also depicted giving an overall frightening sight. It also shows the Narasimha beneath Sharabha’s legs as a human with anjali (hands folded prayer).

16. Sharabha avatar

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In the Sritattvanidhi, the depiction prescribed for Sharabeshwaramurti is of thirty arms; arms on the right are to hold thunderbolt, mushti, abhaya, chakra (discus), sakti, staff, goad, sword, Khatvanga, axe, akshamala, a bone, bow, musala, and fire; and the left hands to display noose, varada, mace, arrow, flag, and another type of sword, a snake, a lotus flower, skull-cup, pustaka, plough, and mrudanga with one hand encircling Durga in a hug. This form is extolled to usher good luck, cure all diseases and destroy all enemies.

17. Grihapati Avatar

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Once upon a time, there used to live a brahmin named Vishwanar who was a great devotee of lord Shiva. Shuchismati was his devoted wife. Shuchismati expressed her desire of having a son just like lord Shiva. Vishwanar went to Kashi to please Lord Shiva by his penance. He worshipped Vishveshwar linga with supreme devotion. Lord Shiva became very pleased by his devotion and he appeared before Vishwanar from the Shivalinga. When Vishwanar expressed his desire, lord Shiva agreed to take birth as his Son.

18. Grihapati Avatar

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In due course of time, Shuchismati gave birth to a beautiful child. Lord Brahma named the child as Grihapati. When Grihapati attained the age of six, he was proficient in all the Vedas and other sacred texts. When Grihapati attained the age of nine, Narada came and informed Vishwanar that death of Grihapati was imminent because of the evil effects of the planetary combinations. Grihapati then consoled his parents and proceeded towards Kashi to do penance so that the 'death' could be conquered.

19. Grihapati Avatar

Grihapati commenced his penance at Kashi. Indra arrived there and requested him to demand anything he wished but Grihapati refused. Indra became furious and tried to attack him with his Vajra. Grihapati was very terrified. Right then Lord Shiva appeared and Indra had to retreat from the scene. Lord Shiva blessed Grihapati by saying “even Kaalvajra would not be able to kill you.” Grihapati became very pleased. The Shivalinga which he worshipped, later on became famous as 'Agnishwar linga’. Lord Shiva made Grihapati the lord of all the directions.

20. Durvasa

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Lord Shiva had taken this avatar on the earth to maintain the discipline of the universe. Durvasa was a great sage known for his short temper. Wherever he went, he was received with great reverence from humans and devas alike. Once Atri, the manasputra of lord Brahma, went to do penance at the bank of the river Nivindhya which flew by the foothills of Trayakshakul mountain as per the instructions of Lord Brahma himself. He commenced a tremendous penance.

21. Durvasa

The effects of his penance were such that devastating flames of fire manifested from his head. The fire spread in all the three worlds in no time. The deities were terrified by the death and destruction caused by the fire. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva went to Atri and blessed him. Later on Atri's wife- Anusuya gave birth to three sons, who in fact were the incarnations of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Lord Brahma incarnation as the Moon, Lord Vishnu as Dutt and Shiva took incarnation as Durvasa.

22. Hanuman

Lord Shiva was so infatuated by the appearance of lord Vishnu in his form of Mohini during Amrit Manthan episode that his semen was released on the ground. This semen was established by the Saptarishis in the womb of Anjani, with the permission of lord Shiva himself. In this way was born the mighty Hanuman.

23. Rishabh Avatar

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After the churning of the ocean had been accomplished, numerous things had emerged out from the ocean. A tremendous battle was fought between the deities and the demons to have control over the vessel containing Nectar. To distract the attention of the demons from the nectar, lord Vishnu created numerous enchanting beauties. When the demons saw them, they forcibly carried these enchanting beauties to their abode – Patal Lok. After that they again returned to take control of the Nectar.

24. Rishabh Avatar

By that time, Vishnu had made the deities drink all the nectar. When the demons came to know about this, they became very furious and attacked the deities. Ultimately the demons got defeated. To save their lives the demon ran towards their abode. Lord Vishnu chased the demons and killed them. However, he got infatuated by those enchanting beauties. During his stay in the Patal Lok, many sons were born to Lord Vishnu, who were very wicked and cruel. These sons of lord Vishnu started tormenting the inhabitants of all the three worlds.

25. Rishabh Avatar

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All the deities and the sages went to lord Shiva to take his help. Lord Shiva went to the Patal Lok in the form of a Ox (Vrishabh). He killed all the sons of lord Vishnu with his sharp horns. Seeing the death of his sons, lord Vishnu came forward to fight him. He attacked lord Shiva, but lord Shiva couldn’t be conquered. Ultimately lord Vishnu was able to recognise him and returned back to Vishnuloka.

26. Yatinath Avatar

There used to live a bheel named Aahuk on the Arbudachal mountain. His wife was Aahuka and both of them were supreme devotee of lord Shiva. Once, lord Shiva

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wanting to test their devotion, appeared before them disguised a hermit Yatinath. Aahuk honoured his guest and treated him very well. Lord Shiva then requested him to give shelter for the whole night. Aahuk expressed his inability as he had a very small hut, in which only two people could be accommodate at a time.

27. Yatinath Avatar

But his wife intervened and requested Aahuk to sleep outside the hut with his arms, as it would be inappropriate on their part to miss this chance of proving their hospitality. The hermit, who in reality was lord Shiva and Aahuk's wife slept inside the hut, while Aahuk himself slept outside. Unfortunately Aahuk was killed by a wild animal while he was asleep. In the morning when lord Shiva found that Aahuk had died, his heart was filled with grief.

28. Yatinath Avatar

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But Aahuka consoled him and decided to give up her life by jumping into the burning pyre. Right then lord Shiva appeared in his real form and blessed her by saying “In his next birth your husband would take birth in a royal family. He would become Nala and you would be born as Damayanti. I would myself appear in the form of a swan and help both of you to unite.” After saying this, lord Shiva established himself as immovable Shivalinga, which later on became famous as Achaleshwar linga.

29. Krishna Darshan Avatar

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Once there was a King Nabhag who, during his childhood, left his home for 'gurukula’ to get education. In his absence his brothers got the wealth of the kingdom distributed among themselves. When Nabhag returned home after the completion of his education, he demanded his share of wealth. His brothers told him that they had forgotten to fix his share as he was absent at the time of distribution. They advised him to go and meet their father.

30. Krishna Darshan Avatar

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Nabhag went to his father and made the same request. His father advised him to go to sage Angiras who was trying to accomplish a yagya, but was not being able to accomplish it because of his attachment. Nabhag did the same. He went to the place where sage Angiras was performing his yagya. He preached sage Angiras on the virtues of Religiousness. As a result the sage became free from all sorts of attachments and the yagya was successfully accomplished.

31. Krishna Darshan Avatar

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Sage Angiras was very pleased by Nabhag's knowledge of religion. He gave all the remaining wealth of the yagya to Nabhag. Just then lord Shiva arrived there in his incarnation of Krishna Darshan and tried to prevent sage Angiras from donating the wealth to Nabhag, instead he staked his own claim. Nabhag told lord Shiva that, since the wealth was given to him by sage Angiras himself, it naturally belonged to him.

32. Krishna Darshan Avatar

Lord Shiva then sent Nabhag to his father Shradhadev to know about his opinion. Nabhag went to Shradha deva who revealed to him that the person who was staking his claims on the wealth was none other then lord Shiva. He also told him that whatever remained after the accomplishment of the yagya belongs to lord Shiva only. He went back to lord Shiva and worshipped him. Lord Shiva blessed him which helped Nabhag to attain salvation.

33. Bhikshuvarya Avatar

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There was a king named Satyarath who ruled over Vidarbha. Once he was attacked by a neighbouring king and got killed in that battle. His wife somehow managed to save her life by hiding in a forest. The queen was pregnant at that time. At the shore of a pond she gave birth to a child. She was feeling thirsty, so she went into the pond to quench her thirst. Unfortunately she was killed by a crocodile who used to live in that pond.

34. Bhikshuvarya Avatar

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The hungry child started crying- A beggar woman arrived there with her one year old child. Though her heart was filled with compassion seeing the hungry child cry but still she was hesitating to take him in her lap. Right then lord Shiva appeared as a beggar and advised her to bring up the orphan child.

35. Sureshwar Avatar

Upamanyu – the son of sage Vyaghrapaad, was brought up in his maternal uncle's home since his childhood. One day Upanyu he was crying for milk when his mother told him that if he wanted milk then he should worship lord Shiva as he only was capable of making the milk available. Upamanyu proceeded towards the Himalaya and started doing penance to please lord Shiva. His penance generated so much of heat that all the three worlds started burning.

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36. Sureshwar Avatar

To test his devotion, Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati appeared before him disguised as Indra and Indrani respectively. Both of them told Upamanyu to stop doing penance. They said “We Indra and Indrani are extremely pleased by your devotion. Stop worshipping Shiva. We will fulfill all your desires.” Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati did not stop at this. They even cursed Shiva. Upamanyu became very furious and got up to attack the abuser – Indra.

37. Sureshwar Avatar

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Shiva and Parvati were satisfied by his total dedication and devotion. They revealed their real identity and blessed him. Shiva promised Upamanyu that he would be present in the vicinity of his hermitage along with Parvati forever. Upamanyu returned back to his home and narrated the whole story to his mother who was very pleased. Lord Shiva got the name 'Sureshwar' because he appeared in the guise of Indra.

38. Keerat Avatar

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Once, Arjuna was performing a tremendous penance to please lord Shiva. Duryodhan had sent a demon named Mooka to kill Arjuna. Mooka had disguised himself as a boar. Arjuna was engrossed in his meditation, when suddenly his concentration got disturbed by a loud noise. He opened his eyes and saw Mooka being chased by a Kirat. In fact it was none other than Shiva who had appeared in the guise of Kirat. Both Arjuna and Lord Shiva struck the boar with their respective arrows at the same time.

39. Keerat Avatar

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A disagreement broke between Arjuna and Kirat (Shiva’s avatar) over who killed the boar. Arjuna challenged Shiva for a dual. Shiva was very much impressed by his valour. He revealed his real identity. Arjuna was very ashamed that he fought with Shiva but Lord Shiva consoled him and gave his weapon Pashupat to Arjuna.

40. Sunatnartak

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Lord Shiva had taken this form to ask the hand of Parvati from her father, Himalaya.

41. Brahmachari

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After sacrificing herself in Daksha’s yagya, when Sati took rebirth in Himalayas house and worshipped lord Shiva for years to make him her husband again. To take Parvati’s test, Lord Shiva had taken this form.

42. Yaksheshwar

After defeating the demons and driking ‘Amrit’ the deities very arrogant. Lord Shiva was very concerned about their arrogant nature. He went to them in the guise of a Yaksha. He asked as to what was it that had made them so arrogant. The deities replied that their arrogance stemmed from victory over the demons. Lord Shiva who was disguised as Yaksha replied- “Your pride is based on false notion, because you did not achieve victory due to somebody's grace and blessing.”

43. Yaksheshwar

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Lord Shiva then asked them to cut the grass if they considered themselves so mighty. He then kept a grass leaf in front of them. Each of the deities tried to cut that grass with their respective weapons but remained unsuccessful in their attempts. Suddenly a heavenly voice was heard which said that the Yaksha was none other than Lord Shiva himself. The deities realized their mistakes and apologized to lord Shiva.

44. Avdhut avatar

With this avatar, Lord Shiva had crushed the ego of Lord Indra.

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Mount Nandi

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Page 37: Avatars of Shiva

Shiva (/ˈʃivə/; Sanskrit: Śiva, meaning "The Auspicious One"), also known as Mahadeva("Great God"), is one of the main deities of Hinduism. He is the supreme god withinShaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism.[2]

[3]He is one of the five primary forms of God in the Smarta Tradition,[2] and "the Destroyer" or "the Transformer"[4]

At the highest level, Shiva is regarded as limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless.[5][6][7][8]

[9] Shiva also has many benevolent and fearsome forms.[10] In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash,[4]as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya, and in fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also regarded as the patron god of yoga and arts.[11][12][13]

The main iconographical attributes of Shiva are the third eye on his forehead, the snakeVasuki around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the trishula as his weapon and the damaru as his musical instrument. Shiva is usually worshiped in the aniconic form of Lingam.[14][15][16]

The worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition, practiced widely across all of India, Nepal andSri Lanka.[17][18]



1   Etymology and other names 2   Historical development and literature

o 2.1   Assimilation of traditions o 2.2   Indus Valley origins o 2.3   Vedic origins

2.3.1   Rudra 2.3.2   Agni 2.3.3   Indra

o 2.4   Later Vedic literature o 2.5   Puranic literature o 2.6   Tantric literature

3   Position within Hinduism o 3.1   Shaivism o 3.2   Panchayatana puja o 3.3   Trimurti

4   Iconography and properties o 4.1   Attributes o 4.2   Lingam

4.2.1   Jyotirlinga o 4.3   Shakti o 4.4   The five mantras

5   Forms and roles o 5.1   Destroyer and Benefactor o 5.2   Ascetic and Householder o 5.3   Nataraaja o 5.4   Dakshinamurthy o 5.5   Ardhanarishvara o 5.6   Tripurantaka o 5.7   Other forms, avatars, identifications

6   Festivals & Kumbh Mela 7   Beyond Hinduism

o 7.1   Buddhism

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o 7.2   Sikhism o 7.3   Others

8   References 9   Sources 10   External links

Etymology and other names[edit]

Main article: Shiva Sahasranama

The Sanskrit word "Shiva" (Devanagari: शि�व, śiva) comes from the Shri Rudram Chamakam of the Taittiriya Shakha (TS 4.5, 4.7) of theKrishna Yajurveda. The root word √śi[19] means auspicious. In simple English transliteration it is written either as Shiva or Siva. The adjective śiva, is used as an attributive epithet for several Rigvedic deities, including Rudra.[20] Other popular names associated with Shiva are Mahadeva, Mahesha, Maheshvara, Shankara, Shambhu, Rudra, Hara, Trilochan, Devendra (meaning Chief of the gods) and Trilokinatha (meaning Lord of the three realms).[21][22][23]

The Sanskrit word śaiva means "relating to the god Shiva", and this term is the Sanskrit name both for one of the principal sects of Hinduism and for a member of that sect.[24] It is used as an adjective to characterize certain beliefs and practices, such as Shaivism.[25]

Some authors associate the name with the Tamil word śivappu meaning "red", noting that Shiva is linked to the Sun (śivan, "the Red one", in Tamil) and that Rudra is also called Babhru (brown, or red) in the Rigveda.[26][27]

Adi Shankara, in his interpretation of the name Shiva, the 27th and 600th name of Vishnu sahasranama, the thousand names of Vishnu interprets Shiva to have multiple meanings: "The Pure One", or "the One who is not affected by three Guṇas of Prakṛti (Sattva, Rajas, andTamas)" or "the One who purifies everyone by the very utterance of His name."[28] Chinmayananda Saraswati, in his translation of theVishnu sahasranama, further elaborates on that verse: Shiva means "the One who is eternally pure" or "the One who can never have any contamination of the imperfection of Rajas and Tamas".[29]

Shiva's role as the primary deity of Shaivism is reflected in his epithets Mahādeva ("Great god"; mahā "Great" and deva "god"),[30][31]Maheśvara ("Great Lord"; mahā "great" and īśvara "lord"),[32][33] and Parameśvara ("Supreme Lord").[34]

There are at least eight different versions of the Shiva Sahasranama, devotional hymns (stotras) listing many names of Shiva.[35] The version appearing in Book 13 (Anuśāsanaparvan) of the Mahabharata is considered the kernel of this tradition.[36] Shiva also has Dasha-Sahasranamas (10,000 names) that are found in the Mahanyasa. The Shri Rudram Chamakam, also known as the Śatarudriya, is a devotional hymn to Shiva hailing him by many names.[37][38]

Historical development and literature[edit]

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A sculpture of Shiva depicting him with a moustache

The worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition, practiced widely across all of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.[17][18]

Assimilation of traditions[edit]See also: Roots of Hinduism

The figure of Shiva as we know him today was built up over time, with the ideas of many regional sects being amalgamated into a single figure.[18] How the persona of Shiva converged as a composite deity is not well documented.[39] According to Vijay Nath:

Visnu and Siva [...] began to absorb countless local cults and deities within their folds. The latter were either taken to represent the multiple facets of the same god or else were supposed to denote different forms and appellations by which the god came to be known and worshipped. [...] Siva became identified with countless local cults by the sheer suffixing of Isa or Isvara to the name of the local deity, e.g., Bhutesvara, Hatakesvara, Chandesvara."[40]

An example of assimilation took place in Maharashtra, where a regional deity named Khandoba is a patron deity of farming and herdingcastes.[41] The foremost center of worship of Khandoba in Maharashtra is in Jejuri.[42] Khandoba has been assimilated as a form of Shiva himself,[43] in which case he is worshipped in the form of a lingam.[41][44] Khandoba's varied associations also include an identification with Surya [41]  and Karttikeya.[45]

Indus Valley origins[edit]Main article: Pashupati seal

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Seal discovered during excavation of the Indus Valley archaeological site in the Indus Valley has drawn

attention as a possible representation of a "yogi" or "proto-Shiva" figure

Many Indus valley seals show animals but one seal that has attracted attention shows a figure, either horned or wearing a horned headdress and possibly ithyphallic [46] [47] [48]  figure seated in a posture reminiscent of the Lotus position and surrounded by animals was named by early excavators of Mohenjo-daro Pashupati (lord of cattle), an epithet of the later Hindu gods Shiva and Rudra.[46][49][50][51] Sir John Marshall and others have claimed that this figure is a prototype of Shiva and have described the figure as having three faces seated in a "yoga posture" with the knees out and feet joined.

Some academics like Gavin Flood [52] [53]  and John Keay have expressed doubts about this claim. John Keay writes that "He may indeed be an early manifestation of Lord Shiva as Pashu- pati", but a couple of his specialties of this figure does not match with Rudra.[54] Writing in 1997 Doris Meth Srinivasan rejected Marshall's package of proto-Shiva features, including that of three heads. She interprets what John Marshall interpreted as facial as not human but more bovine, possibly a divine buffalo-man.[55]

Writing in 2002, Gregory L. Possehl concluded that while it would be appropriate to recognize the figure as a deity, its association with the water buffalo, and its posture as one of ritual discipline, regarding it as a proto-Shiva would "go too far."[56]

Vedic origins[edit]

Shiva's rise to a major position in the pantheon was facilitated by his identification with a host of Vedic deities, including Purusha, Rudra,Agni, Indra, Prajāpati, Vāyu, and others.[57]

Rudra[edit]Main article: Rudra

Three-headed Shiva, Gandhara, 2nd century AD

Shiva as we know him today shares many features with the Vedic god Rudra,[58] and both Shiva and Rudra are viewed as the same personality in Hindu scriptures. The two names are used synonymously. Rudra, the god of the roaring storm, is usually portrayed in accordance with the element he represents as a fierce, destructive deity.

The oldest surviving text of Hinduism is the Rig Veda, which is dated to between 1700 and 1100 BC based on linguistic and philological evidence.[59] A god named Rudra is mentioned in the Rig Veda. The name Rudra is still used as a name for Shiva. In RV 2.33, he is described as the "Father of the Rudras", a group of storm gods.[60] Furthermore, the Rudram, one of the most

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sacred hymns of Hinduism found both in the Rig and the Yajur Vedas and addressed to Rudra, invokes him as Shiva in several instances, but the term Shiva is used as an epithet for the gods Indra, Mitra and Agni many times. Since Shiva meanspure, the epithet is possibly used to describe a quality of these gods rather than to identify any of them with the God Shiva.

The identification of Shiva with the older god Rudhra is not universally accepted, as Axel Michaels explains:

Rudra is called "The Archer" (Sanskrit: Śarva),[61] and the arrow is an essential attribute of Rudra.[62] This name appears in the Shiva Sahasranama, and R. K. Sharma notes that it is used as a name of Shiva often in later languages.[63]

The word is derived from the Sanskrit root śarv-, which means "to injure" or "to kill",[64] and Sharma uses that general sense in his interpretive translation of the name Śarva as "One who can kill the forces of darkness".[63] The names Dhanvin ("Bowman")[65] andBāṇahasta ("Archer", literally "Armed with arrows in his hands")[65][66] also refer to archery.


Rudra and Agni have a close relationship.[67][68] The identification between Agni and Rudra in the Vedic literature was an important factor in the process of Rudra's gradual development into the later character as Rudra-Shiva.[69] The identification of Agni with Rudra is explicitly noted in the Nirukta, an important early text on etymology, which says, "Agni is also called Rudra."[70] The interconnections between the two deities are complex, and according to Stella Kramrisch:

The fire myth of Rudra-Śiva plays on the whole gamut of fire, valuing all its potentialities and phases, from conflagration to illumination.[71]

In the Śatarudrīya, some epithets of Rudra, such as Sasipañjara ("Of golden red hue as of flame") and Tivaṣīmati ("Flaming bright"), suggest a fusing of the two deities.[72] Agni is said to be a bull,[73] and Lord Shiva possesses a bull as his vehicle, Nandi. The horns of Agni, who is sometimes characterized as a bull, are mentioned.[74][75] In medieval sculpture, both Agni and the form of Shiva known as Bhairava have flaming hair as a special feature.[76]


Coin of the Indo-Sassanid (early 4th century)

According to Wendy Doniger, the Puranic Shiva is a continuation of the Vedic Indra.[77] Doniger gives several reasons for her hypothesis. Both are associated with mountains, rivers, male fertility, fierceness, fearlessness, warfare, transgression of established mores, the Aum sound, the Supreme Self. In the Rig Veda the term śiva is used to refer to Indra. (2.20.3,[78] 6.45.17,[79]

[80] and 8.93.3.[81]) Indra, like Shiva, is likened to a bull.[82][83] In the Rig Veda, Rudra is the father of the Maruts, but he is never associated with their warlike exploits as is Indra.[84]

The Vedic beliefs and practices of the pre-classical era were closely related to the hypothesised Proto-Indo-European religion,[85][86] and the Indo-Iranian religion.[87] According to Anthony, the Old Indic religion probably emerged among Indo-European immigrants in the contact zone between the Zeravshan River (present-day Uzbekistan) and (present-day) Iran.[88] It was "a syncretic mixture of old Central Asian and new Indo-European elements",[88] which borrowed "distinctive religious beliefs and practices"[87] from the Bactria–Margiana Culture.[87] At

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least 383 non-Indo-European words were borrowed from this culture, including the god Indra and the ritual drink Soma.[89] According to Anthony,

Many of the qualities of Indo-Iranian god of might/victory, Verethraghna, were transferred to the adopted god Indra, who became the central deity of the developing Old Indic culture. Indra was the subject of 250 hymns, a quarter of the Rig Veda. He was associated more than any other deity with Soma, a stimulant drug (perhaps derived from Ephedra) probably borrowed from the BMAC religion. His rise to prominence was a peculiar trait of the Old Indic speakers.[90]

Later Vedic literature[edit]

Rudra's transformation from an ambiguously characterized deity to a supreme being began in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad (400-200 BC), which founded the tradition of Rudra-Shiva worship. Here they are identified as the creators of the cosmos and liberators of soulsfrom the birth-rebirth cycle. The period of 200 BC to 100 AD also marks the beginning of the Shaiva tradition focused on the worship of Shiva, with references to Shaiva ascetics in Patanjali's Mahābhāṣya and in the Mahabharata.[53][91]

Early historical paintings at the Bhimbetka rock shelters, depict Shiva dancing, Shiva's trident, and his mount Nandi but no other Vedic gods.[92][93]

Puranic literature[edit]

The Shiva Puranas, particularly the Shiva Purana and the Linga Purana, discuss the various forms of Shiva and the cosmology associated with him.[94]

Tantric literature[edit]

The Tantras, composed between the 8th and 11th centuries, regard themselves as Sruti. Among these the Shaiva Agamas, are said to have been revealed by Shiva himself and are foundational texts for Shaiva Siddhanta.[95]

Position within Hinduism[edit]

The Annamalaiyar Temple, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu is dedicated to Shiva

Shaivism[edit]Main articles: Shaivism and History of Shaivism

Shaivism is the oldest of the four major sects of Hinduism, the others being Vaishnavism,Shaktism and the Smarta Tradition.[citation needed] Followers of Shaivism, called "Shaivas", revere Shiva as the Supreme Being. Shaivas believe that Shiva is All and in all, the creator, preserver, destroyer, revealer and concealer of all that is. The tantric Shaiva tradition consists of theKapalikas, Kashmir Shaivism and Shaiva Siddhanta. The Shiva Purana is one of the puranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts, dedicated to Shiva. Shaivism is widespread throughout India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, mostly. Areas notable for the practice of Shaivism include parts of Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

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Indologist Axel Michaels suggests that Shaivism, like Vaishnavism, implies a unity which cannot be clearly found either in religious practice or in philosophical and esoteric doctrine. Furthermore, practice and doctrine must be kept separate.[96]

Panchayatana puja[edit]Main article: Panchayatana puja

Panchayatana puja is the system of puja (worship) in the Smarta Tradition. It is said to have been introduced by Adi Shankara, the 8th century Hindu philosopher. It consists of the worship of five deities: Shiva, Vishnu, Devi, Surya and Ganesha. Depending on the tradition followed by Smarta households, one of these deities is kept in the center and the other four surround it. Worship is offered to all the deities. The five are represented by small murtis, or by five kinds of stones, or by five marks drawn on the floor.[97]

Trimurti[edit]Main article: Trimurti

The Trimurti is a concept in Hinduism in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahmā the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver and Śhiva the destroyer or transformer.[98][99] These three deities have been called "the Hindu triad"[100] or the "Great Trinity",[101] often addressed as "Brahma-Vishnu-Maheshwara."

Iconography and properties[edit]


Shiva with Parvati. Shiva is depicted three-eyed, the Gangesflowing through his matted hair, wearing

ornaments of serpents and a skull garland, and covered in ashes, and seated on a tiger skin.

Shiva's form: Shiva has a trident in the right lower arm, and a crescent moon on his head. He is said to be fair like camphor or like an ice clad mountain. He wears five serpents and a garland of skulls as ornaments. Shiva is usually depicted facing the south. His trident, like almost all other forms in Hinduism, can be understood as the symbolism of the unity of three worlds that a human faces - his inside world, his immediate world, and the broader overall world. At the base of the trident, all three forks unite. It is often not shown but Shiva has 6 heads, of which only five (Isana, Tatpurusha, Vamadeva, Aghora, Sadyojata) are visible while the 6th (Adhomukh) can only be seen by the enlightened.

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Third eye: (Trilochana) Shiva is often depicted with a third eye, with which he burned Desire (Kāma) to ashes,[102] called "Tryambakam" (Sanskrit: त्र्यम्बकम् ), which occurs in many scriptural sources.[103] In classical Sanskrit, the word ambaka denotes "an eye", and in theMahabharata, Shiva is depicted as three-eyed, so this name is sometimes translated as "having three eyes".[104] However, in Vedic Sanskrit, the word ambā or ambikā means "mother", and this early meaning of the word is the basis for the translation "three mothers".[105][106] These three mother-goddesses who are collectively called theAmbikās.[107] Other related translations have been based on the idea that the name actually refers to the oblations given to Rudra, which according to some traditions were shared with the goddess Ambikā.[108] It has been mentioned that when Shiva loses his temper, his third eye opens which can reduce most things to ashes.

Crescent moon: (The epithets "Chandrasekhara/Chandramouli")- Shiva bears on his head the crescent moon.[109] The epithet Candraśekhara (Sanskrit: चन्द्र��खर "Having the moon as his crest" - candra = "moon"; śekhara = "crest, crown")[110][111][112] refers to this feature. The placement of the moon on his head as a standard iconographic feature dates to the period when Rudra rose to prominence and became the major deity Rudra-Shiva.[113] The origin of this linkage may be due to the identification of the moon with Soma, and there is a hymn in the Rig Veda where Soma and Rudra are jointly implored, and in later literature, Soma and Rudra came to be identified with one another, as were Soma and the moon.[114] The crescent moon is shown on the side of the Lord's head as an ornament. The waxing and waning phenomenon of the moon symbolizes the time cycle through which creation evolves from the beginning to the end.

Ashes: (The epithet "Bhasmaanga Raaga") - Shiva smears his body with ashes (bhasma). The ashes are said to represent the end of all material existence.[115] Some forms of Shiva, such as Bhairava, are associated with a very old Indian tradition of cremation-ground asceticism that was practiced by some groups who were outside the fold of brahmanic orthodoxy.[116] These practices associated with cremation grounds are also mentioned in the Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism.[117] One epithet for Shiva is "inhabitant of the cremation ground" (Sanskrit: śmaśānavāsin, also spelled Shmashanavasin), referring to this connection.[118]

Matted hair: (The epithet "Jataajoota Dhari/Kapardina") - Shiva's distinctive hair style is noted in the epithets Jaṭin, "the one with matted hair",[119] and Kapardin, "endowed with matted hair"[120] or "wearing his hair wound in a braid in a shell-like (kaparda) fashion".[121] A kaparda is a cowrie shell, or a braid of hair in the form of a shell, or, more generally, hair that is shaggy or curly.[122]His hair is said to be like molten gold in color or being yellowish-white.

Blue throat: The epithet Nīlakaṇtha (Sanskrit नी�लकण्ठ; nīla = "blue", kaṇtha = "throat").[123]

[124] Since Shiva drank the Halahalapoison churned up from the Samudra Manthan to eliminate its destructive capacity. Shocked by his act, Goddess Parvati strangled his neck and hence managed to stop it in his neck itself and prevent it from spreading all over the universe, supposed to be in Shiva's stomach. However the poison was so potent that it changed the color of his neck to blue.[125][126] (See Maha Shivaratri.)

Shiva bearing the descent of the Ganges River as Parvati and Bhagiratha and the bull Nandi look, folio

from a Hindi manuscript by the Narayan, circa 1740

Sacred Ganges: (The epithet "Gangadhara") Bearer of Ganga. Ganges river flows from the matted hair of Shiva.[127][128] The Gaṅgā (Ganges), one of the major rivers of the country, is said to have made her abode in Shiva's hair.[129] The flow of the Ganges also represents the nectar of immortality.

Tiger skin: (The epithet "Krittivasana") He is often shown seated upon a tiger skin,[115] an honour reserved for the most accomplished of Hindu ascetics, the Brahmarishis.[130]

Serpents: (The epithet "Nagendra Haara" or 'Vasuki"). Shiva is often shown garlanded with asnake.[131]

Deer: His holding deer on one hand indicates that He has removed the Chanchalata of the mind (i.e., attained maturity and firmness in thought process). A deer jumps from one place to another swiftly, similar to the mind moving from one thought to another.

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Trident: (Trishula): Shiva's particular weapon is the trident.[115] His Trisul that is held in His right hand represents the three Gunas— Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. That is the emblem of sovereignty. He rules the world through these three Gunas. The Damaru in His left hand represents the Sabda Brahman. It represents OM from which all languages are formed. It is He who formed the Sanskrit language out of the Damaru sound.

Drum: A small drum shaped like an hourglass is known as a damaru (ḍamaru).[132][133] This is one of the attributes of Shiva in his famous dancing representation[134] known as Nataraja. A specific hand gesture (mudra) called ḍamaru-hasta (Sanskrit for "ḍamaru-hand") is used to hold the drum.[135] This drum is particularly used as an emblem by members of the Kāpālika sect.[136]

Axe: (Parashu):The parashu is the weapon of Lord Shiva who gave it to Parashurama, sixth Avatar of Vishnu, whose name means "Rama with the axe" and also taught him its mastery.

Nandī: (The epithet "Nandi Vaahana") Nandī, also known as Nandin, is the name of the bull that serves as Shiva's mount (Sanskrit:vāhana).[137][138] Shiva's association with cattle is reflected in his name Paśupati, or Pashupati (Sanskrit: प��पति�), translated by Sharma as "lord of cattle"[139] and by Kramrisch as "lord of animals", who notes that it is particularly used as an epithet of Rudra.[140]Rishabha or the bull represents Dharma Devata. Lord Siva rides on the bull. Bull is his vehicle. This denotes that Lord Siva is the protector of Dharma, is an embodiment of Dharma or righteousness.

Gaṇa: The Gaṇa s  (Devanagari: गण) are attendants of Shiva and live in Kailash. They are often referred to as the bhutaganas, or ghostly hosts, on account of their nature. Generally benign, except when their lord is transgressed against, they are often invoked to intercede with the lord on behalf of the devotee. Ganesha was chosen as their leader by Shiva, hence Ganesha's title gaṇa-īśa orgaṇa-pati, "lord of the gaṇas".[141]

5 heads: Shiva is known as panchavactra means 5 heads which indicates 5 elements. Arms: Shiva has 4 arms which resembles 4 vedas Mount Kailāsa: Mount Kailash in the Himalayas is his traditional abode.[115] In Hindu

mythology, Mount Kailāsa is conceived as resembling a Linga, representing the center of the universe.[142]

Varanasi: Varanasi (Benares) is considered to be the city specially loved by Shiva, and is one of the holiest places of pilgrimage in India. It is referred to, in religious contexts, as Kashi.[143]


Lingam at Jambukesvara temple in Thiruvanaikaval,Tamil Nadu

Main article: Lingam

Apart from anthropomorphic images of Shiva, the worship of Shiva in the form of a lingam, is also important.[144][145][146] These are depicted in various forms. One common form is the shape of a vertical rounded column. Shiva means auspiciousness, and lingam means a sign or a symbol, so the Shivalingais regarded as a "symbol of the great God of the universe who is all-

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auspiciousness".[147] Shiva also means "one in whom the whole creation sleeps after dissolution".[147] Since, according to Hinduism, it is the same god that creates, sustains and withdraws the universe, the Shivalinga represents symbolically God Himself.[147] Some scholars, such as Monier Monier-Williams and Wendy Doniger, also view linga as a phallic symbol,[148][149] although this interpretation is disputed by others, including Swami Vivekananda,[150] Sivananda Saraswati,[151] and S. N. Balagangadhara.[152]

A 10th-century four-headed stone lingam (Mukhalinga) from Nepal

Jyotirlinga[edit]Main article: Jyotirlinga

The worship of the lingam originated from the famous hymn in theAtharva-Veda Samhitâ sung in praise of the Yupa-Stambha, the sacrificial post. In that hymn, a description is found of the beginningless and endless Stambha or Skambha, and it is shown that the said Skambha is put in place of the eternal Brahman. Just as the Yajna (sacrificial) fire, its smoke, ashes, and flames, the Soma plant, and the ox that used to carry on its back the wood for the Vedic sacrifice gave place to the conceptions of the brightness of Shiva's body, his tawny matted hair, his blue throat, and the riding on the bull of the Shiva, the Yupa-Skambha gave place in time to the Shiva-Linga.[153][154] In the text Linga Purana, the same hymn is expanded in the shape of stories, meant to establish the glory of the great Stambha and the superiority of Shiva as Mahadeva.[154]

Jyotirlinga means "The Radiant sign of The Almighty". The Jyotirlingas are mentioned in the Shiva Purana.[155]


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Kali and Bhairava (the terrible form of Shiva) in Union, 18th century, Nepal

Main article: Shakti

Shiva forms a Tantric couple with Shakti, the embodiment of energy, dynamism, and the motivating force behind all action and existence in the material universe. Shiva is her transcendent masculine aspect, providing the divine ground of all being. Shakti manifests in several female deities. Sati and Parvati are the main consorts of Shiva. She is also referred to as Uma, Durga (Parvata), Kali [156]  and Chandika.[157] Kali is the manifestation of Shakti in her dreadful aspect. The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Since Shiva is called Kāla, the eternal time, Kālī, his consort, also means "Time" or "Death" (as in "time has come"). Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as ShāktaTantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also revered as Bhavatārini (literally "redeemer of the universe"). Kālī is represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing or dancing. Shiva is the masculine force, the power of peace, while Shakti translates to power, and is considered as the feminine force. In the Vaishnava tradition, these realities are portrayed as Vishnu and Laxmi, or Radha and Krishna. These are differences in formulation rather than a fundamental difference in the principles. Both Shiva and Shakti have various forms. Shiva has forms like Yogi Raj (the common image of Himself meditating in the Himalayas), Rudra (a wrathful form) and Natarajar (Shiva's dance are the Lasya - the gentle form of dance, associated with the creation of the world, and the Tandava - the violent and dangerous dance, associated with the destruction of weary worldviews – weary perspectives and lifestyles).

The five mantras[edit]

Five is a sacred number for Shiva.[158] One of his most important mantras has five syllables (namaḥ śivāya).[159]

Shiva's body is said to consist of five mantras, called the pañcabrahmans.[160] As forms of God, each of these have their own names and distinct iconography:[161]

Sadyojāta Vāmadeva Aghora

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Tatpuruṣa Īsāna

These are represented as the five faces of Shiva and are associated in various texts with the five elements, the five senses, the five organs of perception, and the five organs of action.[162]

[163] Doctrinal differences and, possibly, errors in transmission, have resulted in some differences between texts in details of how these five forms are linked with various attributes.[164] The overall meaning of these associations is summarized by Stella Kramrisch:

Through these transcendent categories, Śiva, the ultimate reality, becomes the efficient and material cause of all that exists.[165]

According to the Pañcabrahma Upanishad:

One should know all things of the phenomenal world as of a fivefold character, for the reason that the eternal verity of Śiva is of the character of the fivefold Brahman. (Pañcabrahma Upanishad 31)[166]

Forms and roles[edit]

According to Gavin Flood, "Shiva is a god of ambiguity and paradox," whose attributes include opposing themes.[167] The ambivalent nature of this deity is apparent in some of his names and the stories told about him.

Destroyer and Benefactor[edit]

In the Yajurveda, two contrary sets of attributes for both malignant or terrific (Sanskrit: rudra) and benign or auspicious (Sanskrit: śiva) forms can be found, leading Chakravarti to conclude that "all the basic elements which created the complex Rudra-Śiva sect of later ages are to be found here".[168] In the Mahabharata, Shiva is depicted as "the standard of invincibility, might, and terror", as well as a figure of honor, delight, and brilliance.[169] The duality of Shiva's fearful and auspicious attributes appears in contrasted names.

Uma and Maheswar

The name Rudra reflects Shiva's fearsome aspects. According to traditional etymologies, the Sanskrit name Rudra is derived from the root rud-, which means "to cry, howl".[170] Stella Kramrisch notes a different etymology connected with the adjectival form raudra, which means "wild, of rudra nature", and translates the nameRudra as "the wild one" or "the fierce god".[171] R. K. Sharma follows this alternate etymology and translates the name as "terrible".[172] Hara is an important name that occurs three times in the Anushasanaparvan version of the Shiva sahasranama, where it is translated in different ways each time it occurs, following a commentorial tradition of not repeating an interpretation. Sharma translates the three as "one who captivates", "one who consolidates", and "one who destroys".[173] Kramrisch translates it as "the ravisher".[126] Another of Shiva's fearsome forms is as Kāla"time" and Mahākāla "great time", which ultimately destroys all things.[174][175] The name Kāla appears in the Shiva Sahasranama, where it is translated by Ram Karan Sharma as "(the Supreme Lord of) Time."[176] Bhairava "terrible" or "frightful"[177] is a fierce form associated with annihilation.[178]

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In contrast, the name Śaṇkara "beneficent"[63] or "conferring happiness"[179] reflects his benign form. This name was adopted by the greatVedanta philosopher Adi Shankara (c. 788-820),[180] who is also known as Shankaracharya.[181] The name Śambhu (Sanskrit: �म्भु�), "causing happiness",[182][183] also reflects this benign aspect.

Ascetic and Householder[edit]

An illustration of the family of Shiva, consisting of Shiva, Parvati, Ganeshaand Skanda (Kartikeya)

He is depicted as both an ascetic yogi and as a householder, roles which have been traditionally mutually exclusive in Hindu society.[184] When depicted as a yogi, he may be shown sitting and meditating.[185] His epithet Mahāyogi ("the great Yogi: Mahā = "great", Yogi = "one who practicesYoga") refers to his association with yoga.[186] While Vedic religion was conceived mainly in terms of sacrifice, it was during the Epic period that the concepts of tapas, yoga, and asceticismbecame more important, and the depiction of Shiva as an ascetic sitting in philosophical isolation reflects these later concepts.[187] Shiva is also depicted as a corpse below Goddess Kali, it represents that Shiva is a corpse without Shakti. He remains inert. While Shiva is the static form,Mahakali or Shakti is the dynamic aspect without whom Shiva is powerless.

As a family man and householder, he has a wife, Parvati and two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya. His epithet Umāpati ("The husband of Umā") refers to this idea, and Sharma notes that two other variants of this name that mean the same thing, Umākānta and Umādhava, also appear in the sahasranama.[188] Umā in epic literature is known by many names, including the benignPārvatī.[189]

[190] She is identified with Devi, the Divine Mother; Shakti (divine energy) as well as goddesses like Tripura Sundari, Durga, Kamakshi and Minakshi . The consorts of Shiva are the source of his creative energy. They represent the dynamic extension of Shiva onto this universe.[191] His son Ganesha is worshipped throughout India and Nepal as the Remover of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles. Kartikeya is worshipped in South India (especially in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka) by the names Subrahmanya, Subrahmanyan, Shanmughan, Swaminathan and Murugan, and in Northern India by the names Skanda, Kumara, or Karttikeya.[192]

Some regional deities are also identified as Shiva's children. As one story goes, Shiva is enticed by the beauty and charm of Mohini, Vishnu's female avatar, and procreates with her. As a result of this union, Shasta - identified with regional deities Ayyappan and Aiyanar - is born.[193][194][195]

[196] Shiva is also mentioned in some scriptures to have had daughters like the serpent-goddess Manasa andAshokasundari. The demons Andhaka and Jalandhara and the god Mangala are considered children of Shiva.


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Chola dynasty statue depicting Shiva dancing as Nataraja (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

Main article: Nataraja

The depiction of Shiva as Nataraja (Sanskrit: naṭarāja, "Lord of Dance") is popular.[197][198] The names Nartaka ("dancer") and Nityanarta ("eternal dancer") appear in the Shiva Sahasranama.[199]His association with dance and also with music is prominent in the Puranic period.[200] In addition to the specific iconographic form known as Nataraja, various other types of dancing forms (Sanskrit:nṛtyamūrti) are found in all parts of India, with many well-defined varieties in Tamil Nadu in particular.[201] The two most common forms of the dance are the Tandava, which later came to denote the powerful and masculine dance as Kala-Mahakala associated with the destruction of the world. When it requires the world or universe to be destroyed, Lord Śiva does it by the tāṇḍavanṛtya.[202][203] and Lasya, which is graceful and delicate and expresses emotions on a gentle level and is considered the feminine dance attributed to the goddess Parvati.[204]

[205] Lasya is regarded as the female counterpart of Tandava.[205] The Tandava-Lasya dances are associated with the destruction-creation of the world.[206][207][208]

Dakshinamurthy[edit]Main article: Dakshinamurthy

Dakshinamurthy, or Dakṣiṇāmūrti (Tamil:தட்சி�ணா�மூர்த்த, Telugu: దక్షిణామూ�ర్తి�, Sanskrit: दक्षि�ण म्!र्ति�#),[209] literally describes a form (mūrti) of Shiva facing south (dakṣiṇa). This form represents Shiva in his aspect as a teacher of yoga, music, and wisdom and giving exposition on the shastras.[210] This iconographic form for depicting Shiva in Indian art is mostly from Tamil Nadu.[211] Elements of this motif can include Shiva seated upon a deer-throne and surrounded by sages who are receiving his instruction.[212]

Ardhanarishvara[edit]Main article: Ardhanarishvara

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Chola bronze from the 11th century. Shiva in the form of Ardhanarisvara.

An iconographic representation of Shiva called (Ardhanārīśvara) shows him with one half of the body as male and the other half as female. According to Ellen Goldberg, the traditional Sanskrit name for this form (Ardhanārīśvara) is best translated as "the lord who is half woman", not as "half-man, half-woman".[213]According to legend, Lord Shiva is pleased by the difficult austerites performed by the goddess Parvati, grants her the left half of his body. This form of Shiva is quite similar to the Yin-Yang philosophy of Eastern Asia, though Ardhanārīśvara appears to be more ancient.

Tripurantaka[edit]Main article: Tripurantaka

See also: Tripura (mythology)

The five-headed Tripurantaka is seen pointing an arrow towards the Tripura (rightmost top corner) with the

bow made of mount Meru, the serpent Vasuki is seen as its string.

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Shiva is often depicted as an archer in the act of destroying the triple fortresses, Tripura, of the Asuras.[214]Shiva's name Tripurantaka (Sanskrit: ति$प�र न्�क, Tripurāntaka), "ender of Tripura", refers to this important story.[215] In this aspect, Shiva is depicted with four arms wielding a bow and arrow, but different from the Pinakapani murti. He holds an axe and a deer on the upper pair of his arms. In the lower pair of the arms, he holds a bow and an arrow respectively. After destroying Tripura, Tripurantaka Shiva smeared his forehead with three strokes of Ashes. This has become a prominent symbol of Shiva and is practiced even today by Shaivites.

Other forms, avatars, identifications[edit]

Shiva, like some other Hindu deities, is said to have several incarnations, known as Avatars. Although Puranic scriptures contain occasional references to "ansh" avatars of Shiva, the idea is not universally accepted in Saivism.[216] The Linga Purana speaks of twenty-eight forms of Shiva which are sometimes seen as avatars.[217] According to the Svetasvatara Upanishad, he has four avatars.[218]

In the Hanuman Chalisa, Hanuman is identified as the eleventh avatar of Shiva and this belief is universal. Hanuman is popularly known as “Rudraavtaar” “Rudra” being a name of “Shiva”.[219]Rama– the Vishnu avatar is considered by some to be the eleventh avatar of Rudra(Shiva).[220]


Other traditions regard the sage Durvasa,[222][223][224][225] the sage Agastya, the philosopher Adi Shankara and Ashwatthama as avatars of Shiva. Other forms of Shiva include Virabhadra andSharabha.

Festivals & Kumbh Mela[edit]

Kalyanasundara: Celestial Marriage of Shiva and Parvatiin presence of all depicted atElephanta Caves

Main article: Maha Shivaratri

Maha Shivratri is a festival celebrated every year on the 13th day in the Krishna Paksha of the month ofPhalguna in the Hindu calendar. This festival is of utmost importance to the devotees of Lord Shiva. Mahashivaratri marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the 'Tandava' and it is the day that Lord Shiva was married to Parvati.[226] The holiday is often celebrated with special prayers and rituals offered up to Shiva, notably the Abhishek. This ritual, practiced throughout the night, is often performed every three hours with water, milk, yogurt, and honey. Bel (aegle marmelos) leaves are often offered up to the Hindu god, as it is considered necessary for a successful life. The offering of the leaves are considered so important that it is believed that someone who offers them without any intentions will be rewarded greatly.[227]

Kumbh Mela or Kumbha Mela (/ˌkʊm   ˈmeɪlə/  or /ˌkʊm   məˈlɑː/ ) is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. It is considered to be the largest peaceful gathering in the world where around 100 million (10 crore) people were expected to visit during

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the Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013 in Allahabad.[228][229] It is held every third year at one of the four places by rotation:Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayaga), Nashik and Ujjain. Thus the Kumbh Mela is held at each of these four places every twelfth year. Ardha ("Half") Kumbh Mela is held at only two places, Haridwar and Allahabad, every sixth year. The rivers at these four places are: the Ganges (Ganga) at Haridwar, the confluence (Sangam) of the Ganges and the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati at Allahabad, the Godawari at Nashik, and the Shipra at Ujjain. The name Kumbh Mela comes from Hindi, and in the original Sanskrit and other Indian languages it is more often known as Kumbha Mela. Kumbha means a pitcher and Mela means fair in Sanskrit.

Beyond Hinduism[edit]


Shiva is mentioned in Buddhist Tantra. Shiva as Upaya and Shakti as Prajna.[230] In cosmologies of Buddhist tantra, Shiva is depicted as passive, with Shakti being his active counterpart.[231]


The Japuji Sahib of the Guru Granth Sahib says, "The Guru is Shiva, the Guru is Vishnu and Brahma; the Guru is Paarvati and Lakhshmi."[232] In the same chapter, it also says, "Shiva speaks, and the Siddhas listen."

In Dasam Granth, Guru Gobind Singh have mentioned two avtars of Rudra: Dattatreya Avtar and Parasnath Avtar.[233]


Daikokuten, God of Wealth

The worship of Shiva became popular in Central Asia through the Hephthalite Empire,[234] and Kushan Empire. Shaivism was also popular in Sogdia and East Turkestan as found from the wall painting from Penjikent on the river Zervashan.[235] In this depiction, Shiva is portrayed with a sacred halo and a sacred thread ("Yajnopavita").[235] He is clad in tiger skin while his attendants are wearing Sogdian dress.[235] In Eastern Turkestan in the Taklamakan Desert.[235] There is a depiction of his four-legged seated cross-legged n a cushioned seat supported by two bulls.[235] Another panel form Dandan-Uilip shows Shiva in His Trimurti form with Shakti kneeling on her right thigh.[235][236] It is also noted that Zoroastrian wind godVayu-Vata took on the iconographic appearance of Shiva.[236]

The Kirati people worship a form of Shiva as one of their major deity, identifying him as the lord of animals. It is also said that the physical form of Shiva as a yogi is derived from Kirants as it is mentioned in Mundhum that Shiva took human form as a child of Kirant. He is also said to give Kirants visions in form of a male deer.

In Indonesia, Shiva is also worshiped as Batara Guru. In the ancient times, all kingdoms were located on top of mountains. When he was young, before receiving his authority of power, his

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name was Sang Hyang Manikmaya. He is first of the children who hatched from the eggs laid by Manuk Patiaraja, wife of god Mulajadi na Bolon. This avatar is also worshiped in Malaysia. Shiva's other form in Indonesian Hinduism is "Maharaja Dewa" (Mahadeva).[237]

Daikokuten, one of the Seven Lucky Gods in Japan, is considered to be evolved from Shiva. The god enjoys an exalted position as a household deity in Japan and is worshipped as the god of wealth and fortune.[238] The name is the Japanese equivalent of Mahākāla, the Buddhist name for Shiva.[

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by Mark Cartwright published on 20 November 2012

Shiva (or Siva) is one of the most important gods in the Hindu pantheonand, along with Brahma and Vishnu,  is considered a member of the holy trinity (trimurti) of Hinduism. A complex character, he may represent goodness, benevolence and serve as the Protector but he also has a darker side as the leader of evil spirits, ghosts and vampires and as the master of thieves, villains and beggars. He is also associated with Time, and particularly as the destroyer of all things. Nevertheless, Shiva is also associated with creation. In Hinduism, the universe is thought to regenerate in cycles (every 2,160,000,000 years). Shiva destroys the universe at the end of each cycle which then allows for a new Creation. Shiva is also the great ascetic, abstaining from all forms of indulgence and pleasure, concentrating rather on meditation as a means to find perfect happiness. He is the most important Hindu god for the Shaivism sect, the patron of Yogis and Brahmins, and also the protector of the Vedas, the sacred texts. 


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Shiva’s wife was Parvati, often incarnated as Kali and Durga. She was in fact a reincarnation of Sati (or Dakshayani), the daughter of the god Daksha. Daksha did not approve of Sati’s marriage to Shiva and even went further and held a special sacrificial ceremony to all the gods except Shiva. Outraged at this slight, Sati threw herself on the sacrificial fire. Shiva reacted to this tragedy by creating two demons (Virabhadra and Rudrakali) from his hair who wreaked havoc on the ceremony and beheaded Daksha. The other gods appealed to Shiva to end the violence and, complying, he brought Daksha back to life but with the head of a ram (or goat). Sati was eventually reincarnated as Parvati in her next life and she re-married Shiva.

With Parvati, Shiva had a son, the god Ganesha. The boy was in fact created out of earth and clay to keep her company and protect her while Shiva went on his meditative wanderings. However, Shiva returned one day and, finding the boy guarding the room where Parvati was bathing, he enquired who he was. Not believing the boy was his son, and thinking him an impudent beggar, Shiva called up the bhutaganas demons who fought the boy and eventually managed to distract him with the appearance of the beautiful Maya and, whilst he admired the beauty, they lopped off his head. At the commotion, Parvati rushed from her bath and screamed that her son had been killed. Realising his error, Shiva then sent for a new head with which to make the boy whole again but the nearest at hand was of an elephant. And so Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, was born. Other sons of Shiva are Skanda or Karttikeya, the god of war and Kuvera, the god of treasures.

Ganga (the goddess who personified the river Ganges) was given to Shiva by Vishnu who could not take any more of the constant quarrels between his then three wives of Lakshmi (goddess of good fortune), Saraswati (goddess of wisdom) and Ganga. To cushion Ganga’s fall to the earth, and prevent such a great river destroying civilisation, Shiva caught her in his hair topknot; once again, illustrating his quality of self-sacrifice. 

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As with any major god, Shiva was involved in many adventurous episodes which illustrate his virtuous character and offer instruction on how to live correctly. For example, self-sacrifice is emphasised when Vasuki, the king of Serpents, threatened to vomit snake venom across the seas. Shiva, assuming the form of a giant tortoise or turtle, collected the venom in his palm and drank it. The poison burned his throat and left a permanent blue scar, hence one of his many titles became Nilakantha or Blue Throat. 

Another celebrated episode describes how Shiva became associated with the bull Nandi. One day, Surabhi, who was the original mother of all the world’s cows, began to give birth to an untold number of perfectly white cows. The milk from all these cows flooded the home of Shiva, somewhere in the Himalaya. Angry at this disturbance to his meditation, the god struck the cows with fire from his third eye. In consequence, patches of the cows’ hides were turned brown. Still angry, the other gods sought to calm Shiva down by offering him a magnificent bull - Nandi, the son of Surabhi and Kasyapa - which Shiva accepted and rode. Nandi also became the protector of all animals. 

Shiva is closely associated with the Linga (or Lingham) - a phallus or symbol of fertility or divine energy found in temples to the god. Following the death of Sarti, and before her reincarnation, Shiva was in mourning and went to the Daru forest to live with rishis or sages. However, the wives of the rishis soon began to take an interest in Shiva. In jealousy, the rishis first sent a large antelope and then a gigantic tiger against the god but Shiva swiftly dealt with them and wore the tiger skin thereafter. The sages then cursed Shiva’s manhood which, in consequence, fell off. When the phallus struck

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the ground, earthquakes began and the ricsis became afraid and asked for forgiveness. This was given but Shiva told them to forever after worship the phallus as the symbolic Linga.    

Shiva with Nandi, Aihole


In Asian art Shiva may be represented in slightly different ways depending on the particular culture: Indian, Cambodian, Javanese etc. but he is most commonly depicted naked, with multiple arms

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and with his hair tied up in a topknot. He often has three horizontal stripes and a third vertical eye on his forehead. He wears a headdress with a crescent moon and a skull (representing the fifth head of Brahma, which he decapitated as punishment for the god lusting after his own daughter Sandhya), a necklace of heads, and snakes as bracelets. In this guise he usually represents Nataraja and dances the Tandava within a circle of fire which represents the never-ending cycle of time. He holds the divine fire (agni) which destroys the universe and the drum (damaru) which makes the first sounds of the creation. One hand makes the calming abhayamudra gesture and another points to his left foot, symbol of salvation. He also stamps one foot on the dwarf figure Apasmara Purusha who represents illusion and who leads men away from truth.

Shiva may also be depicted standing on one leg with the right leg folded in front of the left knee and holding a rosary in his right hand, the typical posture of ascetic meditation. Sometimes he also rides his white bull, carries a silver bow (Pinaka), holds an antelope, and wears a tiger or elephant skin, all symbolic of his famed prowess as a hunter.

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Shiva or Śiva (Sanskrit: शि�व, lit. "Auspicious one") is one of the principal deities or a

form of Ishvara (God) representing one of the three primary aspects of the Divine

— Brahma,Vishnu, and Shiva — collectively as the Trimurti. In the Trimurti

system, Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the maintainer or preserver, and Shiva is

the destroyer or transformer. Within Shaiva tradition he is viewed as the Supreme

deity, whereas in Smarta tradition Shiva is one of the six primary forms of the

Divine (the other five being Vishnu, Shakti,Ganesha, Kartikkeya and Surya).

Followers who focus their worship upon Shiva are called Śaiva. His role as the

primary deity is reflected in his epithets Mahādeva ("Great

God"),Maheśhvara ("Great Lord"), and Parameśhvara ("Supreme Lord"). Saiva,

along with Vai ṣṇ ava  traditions that focus on Vishnu, and Śākta traditions that focus

on the Devī(Goddess) are three of the most influential denominations in Hindu

system. Shiva is usually worshiped as the Shiva Linga. In images, he is generally

represented as immersed in deep meditation or dancing the Tandava upon the

demon of ignorance in his manifestation of Nataraja, the lord of the dance.


Table of Contents


Attributes of Shiva


The Sons of Shiva

Schools and Views of Śhaiva

Names of Shiva


Shiva is referred to as 'the good one' or the 'auspicious one'. Shiva - Rudra is

considered to be the destroyer of evil and sorrow. Shiva - Shankara is the doer of

good. Shiva is 'tri netra' or three eyed, and is 'neela kantha' - blue necked (having

consumed poison to save the world from destruction). Shiva - Nataraja is the Divine

Cosmic Dancer. Shiva - Ardhanareeswara is both man and woman.

He is both static and dynamic and is both creator and destroyer. He is the oldest and

the youngest, he is the eternal youth as well as the infant. He is the source of fertility

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in all living beings. He has gentle as well as fierce forms. Shiva is the greatest of

renouncers as well as the ideal lover. He destroyes evil and protects good. He

bestows prosperity on worshipers although he is austere. He is omnipresent and

resides in everyone as pure consciousness.

Shiva is inseparable from Shakti - Parvati the daughter of Himavaan - Haimavati.

There is no Shiva without Shakti and no Shakti without Shiva, the two are one - or

the absolute state of being - consciousness and bliss.

The five mantras that constitute Shiva's body are Sadyojaata, Vaamadeva, Aghora,

Tatpurusha and Eesaana. Eesaana is Shiva not visible to the human eye, Sadyojaata

is Shiva realized in his basic reality (as in the element earth, in the sense of smell, in

the power of procreation and in the mind). The Vishnudharmottara Purana of the 6th

century CE assigns a face and an element to each of the above mantras. (Sadyojaata

- earth, Vaamadeva - water, Aghora - fire, Tatpurusha - air and Eesaana - space).

The names of the deified faces with their elements are Mahadeva (earth), Bhairava

(fire), Nandi (air), Uma (water) and Sadasiva (space).

In some views Śiva is the third form of God as one of the Trimurti (popularly called

the "Hindu trinity"). In the Trimurti, Śiva is the destroyer, while Brahma and Vishnu

are creator and preserver, respectively. However, even though he represents

destruction, he is viewed as a positive force (The Destroyer of Evil), since creation

follows destruction. Other views contend that Śiva produces Vishnu who produces

Brahma and thus creation begins, within which the cycle of the Trimurti exists. Śiva

also assumes many other roles, including the Lord of Ascetics (Mahadeva), the Lord

of Boons (Rudra), and also the Universal Divinity (Mahesvara). Worshippers of Śiva

are called Śaivites who consider Śiva as representing the Ultimate Reality (see Ishta-

Deva for fuller discussion).

In shiva temples, Navarha (9 plantes), Ganesh, Skantha, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Vishnu,

Brahma, Ashtathig balar, Durga, Bairava, and all the other hidu gods will have the

place, denoting the entire gods are uniquely said to Lord Shiva, so that only he is in

shapeless (i.e. in linga form) there are five different avatars of shiva:

1. Bhairava

2. Natarajar

3. Dhakshinamoorthy

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4. Somaskantha

5. Pitkchadanar

In most of the South indian temples , we can see all the five suprems in shiva

temple. all the five characteristics in a single face is said to be sadashiva

Śiva is not limited to the personal characteristics as he is given in many images and

can transcend all attributes. Hence, Śiva is often worshipped in an abstract manner,

as God without form, in the form of linga. This view is similar in some ways to the

view of God in Semitic religions such as Islam or Judaism, which hold that God has no

personal characteristics. Hindus, on the other hand, believe that God can transcend

all personal characteristics yet can also have personal characteristics for the grace of

the embodied human devotee. Personal characteristics are a way for the devotee to

focus on God. Śiva is also described as Anaadi (without beginning/birth) and Ananta

(without end/death).

According to the Bhagavata Purana, Lord Śiva manifested in his multiple forms from

the forehead of Lord Brahma. When Lord Brahma asked his sons, the Four Kumaras,

to go forth and create progeny in the universe, they refused. This angered Lord

Brahma and in his anger a child appeared from his forehead, which split into two - a

male part and a female part. The male half started crying inconsolable and as a

result, Brahma named him Rudra. The child cried seven more times and each time

Brahma gave him a separate name. The eight names thus given to the child were

Rudra, Sharva, Bhava, Ugra, Bhima, Pashupati, Ishana, and Mahadeva. Each of these

eight names are said to be associated with specific elements of the cosmos, namely

the earth, water, fire, wind, sky, a yogi called Kshetragya, the sun, and the moon

respectively. This male child became Lord Śiva, who was asked to go forth and

create progeny, but when Lord Brahma observed the power, as they shared the

qualities of Lord Śiva, he asked him to observe austerities instead of creating

progeny. A slightly different version is told in the Shiva Purana: in the Śiva Purana,

Śiva promises Brahma that an aspect of his, Rudra, will be born and this aspect is

identical to Him.

The tale about Lord Śiva being born and immediately splitting into two halves of

male and female indicates the origin of the Ardhanarishvara - the union of substance

and energy, the Being and his Shakti (force).

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Śiva is the supreme God of Śaivism, one of the three main branches of Hinduism

today (the others being Vaishnavism and Shaktism). His abode is called Kailasa. His

holy mount (Skt: Vahana) is Nandi, the Bull. His attendant is named Bhadra. Śiva is

usually represented by the Śiva linga (or lingam), usually depicted as a clay mound

with three horizontal stripes on it, or visualised as a flaming pillar. In

anthropomorphised images, he is generally represented as immersed in deep

meditation on Mount Kailash (reputed to be the same as the Mount Kailash in the

south of Tibet, near Manasarovar Lake) in the Himalaya, his traditional abode.

List of Hindu deities, Ardhanari, Siddha Yoga, Aum Namah Sivaya, the foremost

Saivite mantra, Shri Rudram, a Vedic chant on the early manifestation of Śiva as

Rudra, Kapalika, a secretive sect worship Shiva in it's Bhairava form, Aghori, Hindu

views on God and gender.

Attributes of Shiva

Third Eye

Shiva is often depicted with a third eye with which he burned Desire (Kāma) to

ashes. There has been controversy regarding the original meaning of Shiva's

name Tryambakam(Sanskrit: त्र्यम्बकम्), which occurs in many scriptural sources. In

classical Sanskrit the word ambaka denotes "an eye", and in the Mahabharata Shiva

is depicted as three-eyed, so this name is sometimes translated as "Having Three

Eyes". However, in Vedic Sanskrit the word ambā or ambikā means "mother", and

this early meaning of the word is the basis for the translation "Having Three

Mothers" that was used by Max Müller and Arthur Macdonell. Since no story is known

in which Shiva had three mothers, E. Washburn Hopkins suggested that the name

refers not to three mothers, but to three Mother-goddesses who are collectively

called the Ambikās. Other related translations have been "having three wives or

sisters", or based on the idea that the name actually refers to the oblations given to

Rudra, which according to some traditions were shared with the goddess Ambikā.

Blue Throat

The epithet Nīlaka ṇ tha  (Sanskrit नी�लकण्ठ; nīla = blue, kaṇtha = throat) refers to a

story in which Shiva drank the poison churned up from the world ocean.

(see: Halāhala)

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Crescent Moon

Shiva bears on his head the crescent of the moon. The epithet Chandraśekhara

(Sanskrit: चन्द्र��खर "Having the moon as his crest" - chandra = Moon, śekhara = crest,

crown)[81][82][83] refers to this feature. The placement of the moon on his head as

a standard iconographic feature dates to the period when Rudra rose to prominence

and became the major deity Rudra-Shiva.[84] The origin of this linkage may be due

to the identification of the moon with Soma, and there is a hymn in the Rig Veda

where Soma and Rudra are jointly emplored, and in later literature Soma and Rudra

came to be identified with one another, as were Soma and the Moon.

Matted Hair

Shiva's distinctive hair style is noted in the epithets Jaṭin, "The One with matted hair"

and Kapardin, "Endowed with matted hair" or "wearing his hair wound in a braid in a

shell-like (kaparda) fashion". A kaparda is a cowrie shell, or a braid of hair in the form

of a shell, or more generally hair that is shaggy or curly.

Sacred Ganga

The Ganga river flows from the matted hair of Shiva. The epithet Gaṅgādhara

("Bearer of the river Gaṅgā") refers to this feature. The Ganga (Ganges), one of the

major rivers of the country, is said to have made her abode in Shiva's hair. The

legend of Bhagiratha states that when the sage of that name invoked the gods to

send the divine Ganges to earth to relieve a drought and purify the remains of his

ancestors, he was warned that the earth had not the capacity to withstand the

descent of the Ganges from heaven, in pursuit of which he propitiated Siva to

receive the Ganges upon her descent from heaven and release her with diminished

force. Siva agreed to trap the youthful and mischievous Ganges in his matted locks

and release her to the earth. It was thus, according to Hindu legend, that the Ganges

came to be trapped in Siva's locks, and to be portrayed as flowing therefrom, in all

representations of Siva.


Shiva smears his body with ashes (bhasma). Some forms of Shiva, such as Bhairava,

are associated with a very old Indian tradition of cremation-ground asceticism that

was practiced by some groups who were outside the fold of brahmanic orthodoxy.

These practices associated with cremation grounds are also mentioned in the

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Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism. One epithet for Shiva is "Inhabitant of the

cremation ground" (Sanskrit: śmaśānavāsin, also spelled Shmashanavasin) referring

to this connection.

Tiger skin

He is often shown seated upon a tiger skin, an honour reserved for the most

accomplished of Hindu ascetics, the Brahmarishis. "Mythology ~ The birth of

Brahmarishis" (HTML). Retrieved on 2008-05-07.


Shiva is often shown garlanded with a snake.

Trishula (Trident)

Shiva's particular weapon is the trident.


A small drum shaped like an hourglass is known as a damaru (Sanskrit: ḍamaru).

This is one of the attributes of Shiva in his famous dancing representation known as

Nataraja. A specific hand gesture (mudra) called ḍamaru-hasta (Sanskrit for

"ḍamaru-hand") is used to hold the drum. This drum is particularly used as an

emblem by members of the Kāpālika sect.


Also known as Nandin, is the name of the bull that serves as Shiva's mount (Sanskrit:

vāhana). Shiva's association with cattle is reflected in his name Paśupati

or Pashupati(Sanskrit प��पति�), translated by Sharma as "Lord of cattle" and by

Kramrisch as "Lord of Animals", who notes that it is particularly used as an epithet of



In Hinduism, the Gaṇas (Devanagari: गण) are attendants of Shiva and live in Kailasa.

They are often referred to as the Boothaganas, or ghostly hosts, on account of their

nature. Generally benign, except when their Lord is transgressed against, they are

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often invoked to intercede with the Lord on behalf of the devotee. Ganesha was

chosen as their leader by Shiva, hence Ganesha's title gaṇa-īśa or gaṇa-pati, "lord of

the gaṇas".

Mount Kailāsa in the Himalayas

Is his traditional abode. Mount Kailāsa is conceived as resembling a Linga,

representing the center of the universe.

Varanasi / Benares

Is considered as the city specially-loved by Shiva, and is one of the holiest places of

pilgrimage in India. It is referred to, in religious contexts, as Kashi.


The depiction of Shiva as Nataraja (Tamil: நடரா�ஜா�, Sanskrit: naṭarāja, "Lord of

Dance") is popular. The names Nartaka ("Dancer") and Nityanarta ("Eternal Dancer")

appear in the Shiva Sahasranama. His association with dance and also with music is

prominent in the Puranic period. In addition to the specific iconographic form known

as Nataraja, various other types of dancing forms (Sanskrit: nṛtyamūrti) are found in

all parts of India, with many well-defined varieties in Tamil Nadu (in southern India)

in particular.

The Sons of Shiva

Śiva and Parvati are the parents of Karttikeya and Ganesha. Ganesha, the elephant-

headed God of wisdom, acquired his head by offending Śiva, by refusing to allow him

to enter the house while Parvati was bathing. Śiva sent his ganas to subdue

Ganesha, but to no avail. As a last resort, he bade Vishnu confuse the stalwart

guardian using his powers of Maya. Then, at the right moment, Śiva hurled Trishula

and cut Ganesha's head from his body. Upon finding her guardian dead, Parvati was

enraged and called up the many forms of Shakti to devour Shiva's ganas and wreak

havoc in Swargaloka. To pacify her, Śiva brought forth an elephant's head from the

forest and set it upon the boy's shoulders, reviving him. Shiva then took Ganesha as

his own son and placed him in charge of his ganas. Thus, Ganesha's title is Ganapati,

Lord of the Ganas. In another version, Parvati presented her child to Shani (the

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planet Saturn), whose gaze burned his head to ashes. Brahma bade Śiva to replace

with the first head he could find, which happened to be that of an elephant.

Karttikeya is a six-headed god and was conceived to kill the demon Tarakasura, who

had proven invincible against other gods. Tarakasura had terrorised the devas of

Swargaloka so thoroughly that they came to Śiva pleading for his help. Shiva thus

assumed a form with five faces, a divine spark emanating from the third eye of each.

He gave the sparks to Agni and Vayu to carry to Ganga and thereupon release. In

Ganga's river, the sparks were washed downstream into a pond and found by the

Karittikas, five forest maidens. The sparks transformed into children and were

suckled by the Karttikas, When Śiva, Parvati, and the other celestials arrived on the

scene, there was a debate of who the child belonged to. Further, Parvati, who was

the most likely to care for the child, was puzzled as to how she would suckle five

children. Suddenly, the child merged into a single being and Shiva blessed him with

five separate names for his five sets of parents to settle the debate. The child,

despite having been born from five sparks, had a sixth head, a unifying principle

which brought together the five aspects of his father's power into a single being.

From here, the campaign in which Karttikeya would vanquish Tarakasura and

liberate Swargaloka began.

Schools and Views of Śhaiva

Nayanars (or Nayanmars), saints from Southern India, were mostly responsible for

development of Śaivism in the Middle Ages. Of the schools today, many Śaivite sects

are in Kashmir and Northern India, with Lingayats and Virasaivas from Southern

India. The Saiva Siddhanta is a major Śaivite theory developed in Southern India.

Śiva's life is often depicted in short stage dramas to help his devotees (particularly

nayanmars) better understand his aspects. This is greatly explained in the

Thiruvilayadalpuram. This form is especially prevalent in South India, particularly

Tamil Nadu.

In Gaudiya Vaishnavism he is considered the best of devotee of Vishnu

(vaisnavanam yatha sambhu) and also an aspect of Vishnu. The example of milk and

yogurt is used to describe their difference in Brahma Samhita. He is depicted as

meditating on Sankarsana, an expansion of Balarama. He also plays an important

role in Krishna-lila as Kshetra-pala, protector of Vrindavan, holy dham of Krishna. As

Gopisvara Mahadeva he also guards rasa-lila grounds. Authorship of Sri Sri Radha-

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krpa-kataksa-stava-raja (aka Radha Stava) (text and translation), from the

Urdhvamnaya Tantra, is ascribed to him. This tantra, contemporarily available only in

parts, is praised in chapter 3 of the Kularnava Tantra as 'the secret of secrets'.

Śiva is an icon of masculinity. In mythology and folklore, he can be interpreted to

inspire masculine characteristics of the most extreme: absolute virility and fertility;

aggression, rage and supreme powers in war; his resolve, meditation is absolute, as

is his love for his consort. This form of Siva is strongly worshipped in Tantric

Hinduism, especially with the linga as the icon of fertility, piety and the power of


Apart from Shaivism, Śiva also inspires Shaktism in Hinduism, which is strong in

Assam and West Bengal, the eastern states of India. Shakti is the root power, force

of Śiva. Shakti, his prime consort, is the female half of the Supreme Godhead. It is

the root of the life force of every living being, and the entire Universe. The bond of

absolute love, devotion and passion which embodies the existence of Śiva and

Shakti, is considered the Ultimate Godhead form by itself, that a man is an

incomplete half without a woman, who is the Ardhangini, (the Other Half) of his

existence and power.

The pilgrimage to Amarnath (just over the Chinese line of the Himalayas, deep in the

highest mountains of the world, on Mount Kailash) and Anantnag in Kashmir are the

most difficult and dangerous, yet exalted pilgrimages for Hindus of all sects, ethnic

origins and classes. The glaciers in sacred caves forms the Sivalinga or the natural

embodiment of his linga.

Names of Shiva

The Shiva Purana lists a 1008 names for Lord Śiva. Each of his names, in Sanskrit,

signifies a certain attribute of his. Some of his names are listed below

Mahadeva  (The Supreme Lord : Maha = great, Deva = God - more often than not, the Aghora (fierce) version)

Rudra  (The one who howls or strict and uncompromising) Maheshwar  (The Supreme Lord: Maha = great, Eshwar = God) Rameshwar  (The one whom Ram worships: Ram, Eshwar = worships, God;

Ram's God) Mahayogi  (The Supreme Yogi: Maha = great, Yogi = one who practices Yoga) Mahabaleshwar  (Great God of Strength: Maha = great, Bal = strength,

Eshwar = God) Trinetra  (Three-Eyed One, i.e. All-Knowing: Tri = three, Netra = Eye)

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Triaksha  (Three-Eyed One, i.e. All-Knowing: Tri = three, Aksha = Eye) Trinayana  (Three-Eyed One, i.e. All-Knowing: Tri = three, Nayana = Eye) Tryambakam  (Three-Eyed One, i.e. All-Knowing: Tri = three, Ambakam =

Eye) Mahakala  (Great Time, i.e. Conqueror of Time: Maha = three, Kala = Time) Neelakantha  (The one with a Blue Throat: Neel = blue, Kantha = throat) Digambara  (One who has the skies as his clothes, i.e. The Naked One: Dik =

Clothes, Ambara = Sky) Shankara  (Giver of Joy) Shambhu  (Abode of Joy) Vyomkesha  (The One who has the sky as his hair: Vyom = sky, Kesha =hair) Chandrashekhara  (The master of the Moon: Chandra = Moon, Shekhara =

master) Siddheshwara  (The Perfect Lord) Trishuldhari  (He who holds the divine Trishul or Trident: Trishul = Trident,

Dhari = He who holds) Dakhshinamurthi  (The Cosmic Tutor) Kailashpati  (He whose abode is Mount Kailash) Pashupatinath  (Lord of all Creatures) Umapati  (The husband of Uma) Gangadhar  (He who holds the river Ganga) Bhairava  (The Frightful One) Sabesan  - Lord who dances in the dais

19 Amazing Avatars of Lord ShivaBY SAURAV MAJUMDAR · FEBRUARY 12, 2015


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According to Hindu mythology.Lord Shiva is the Supreme master of the Universe and the force of all creation and destruction. On the other hand, he is very kind and benevolent and can be worshipped by anyone and everyone. Lord Shiva has manifested himself in many Avatars throughout the course of history.Now let us take a look at the 19 main Avatars of Lord Shiva –1. Piplaad Avatar – This is an Avatar of Lord Shiva which is famous for being the eliminator of Shani Dosh which otherwise can cause grave misfortunes in one’s life.

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2. Veerbhadra Avatar – This fearsome manifestation originated when Sati jumped into the fire of the yagna created by her father Daksha.

3. Nandi Avatar – In this Avatar Lord Shiva is the master of all living beings on Earth.

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4. Bhairav Avatar – This is a terrifying form of Lord Shiva who is famous for his show of dominance over all Gods; and cutting of one of Brahma’s head to defeat his arrogance.

5. Hanuman – Hanuman is a manifestation who was born from Lord Shiva’s seed. He is one of the most influential characters in the Ramayana

6. Grihapati Avatar – Born on Earth as per the wishes of a devoted sage named Vishwanar, he was named Grihapati by Lord Brahma.

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7. Sharabha Avatar – Half bird-half lion, this is a also a terrifying Avatar of Lord Shiva which was manifested to contain Lord Narsimha (an Avatar of Lord Vishnu).

8. Ashwatthama Avatar – Dronacharya’s son in Mahabharata, and a manifestation of Lord Shiva’s anger and Yam (death).

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9. Durvasa Avatar – This manifestation of Lord Shiva was a sage who had an extremely short temper and was indirectly responsible for Samudra Manthan.

10. Rishabh Avatar – Lord Shiva travelled to Patal Lok as an ox and killed the corrupt sons of Vishnu to restore balance to the Universe

11. Yatinath Avatar – A manifestation of Lord Shiva as an earthly hermit Yatinath. There’s a story of his interaction with the devotees Aahuk and Aahuka.

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12. Krishna Darshan Avatar – A manifestation of Lord Shiva which highlights the importance of religious rituals or yagnas.

13. Sureshwar Avatar – Pleased by the penance of Upamanyu, Lord Shiva manifested himself in the guise of Indra to test Upamanyu’s devotion.

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14. Yaksha Avatar – Lord Shiva disguised himself as a Yaksha and appeared before the Devas, who were arrogant on drinking the Amrit after Samudra Manthan.

15. Avdhuth Avatar – Lord Shiva took this form to destroy the pride of Lord Indra.

16. Brahamachari Avatar – This is the manifestation of Lord Shiva in front of Parvati, after she observed tremendous penance in order to make Shiva her husband.

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17. Sunatnartak Avatar – This is the form Lord Shiva took when he went to ask the hand of Parvati from Himalaya.

18. Bhikshuvarya Avatar – Lord Shiva manifested himself as a beggar in order to help a poor orphan child.

19. Kirat Avatar – Lord Shiva took this form to test the devotion of Arjuna and kill the demon Mooka.

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- See more at: http://blog.onlineprasad.com/lordshiva_avatars/#sthash.AJHkzDi0.dpuf

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Why Shiva does not worship anybody where as Vishnu worships him in all incarnations?

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There is a difference between Bhagwata Purana and Shiva Purana,A. Bhagwat Puran states that Vishnu is supreme one than Shiva, and From Vishnu, Brahma and By Brahma , Shiva was born but if it so, why Vishnu worship Shiva in all of his incarnations, where as Shiva never worships anybody.B. Shiva Puran says that Vishnu and Brahma were created from Aadi Anant JyotirStambha of Shiva. When there was a dispute between Brahma and Vishnu about who is the supreme, at that time Shiva appeared as Jyotirstambha and asked both of them to reach start and end of it. Vishnu traveled downwards to reach end and Brahma traveled upwards to reach beginning, but both of them failed and considered there is no end of Shiva and asked Shiva to guide them. In this story Brahma lied that he reached beginning, So Shiva banned his worships in Hinduism, which is true. Brahma's son Daksha Prajapati was against Shiva because of this reason only.Now, Lord Rama established Shiva Linga when he was marching towards Lanka which is known asRameshwara Mahadeva means Ishwar(God) of Rama.In Ramayana when Lord Rama wanted to do Prashchatap because he considered killing Ravana as sin of killing a brahmana, he asked Hanumanji to organize to establish a Shiva Linga and asked again Shiva for mercy and to cut his sin. If Lord is himself able to cut sins, Can't he cut his own sins?In Krishna avatar when Krishna wanted to bring some tree kalpa Vriksha from Indra, he worshiped Shiva for blessings and that is known as "Gopeshwara Mhadeva" in vrindavana means Ishwara (God) of Gopal(Krishna). Also when Krishna wanted to have a son, he asked sages and from their advice he prayed to Lord Shiva to get a son. If Krishna was Vishnu against whose will nothing happens, why he said that "Shive Sarvadhi Sadhike" means nothing happens without Shiva's will, so please bless me with son!! when the Mahabharata was about to be battled he asked Pandavas to have bliss of Shiva first and arranged a Pooja of Shiva Linga...In Bhahwata Puran also the story is stated about Lakshmidevi's unhappiness with Vishnu because Vishnu told her that in his half area of heart is dedicated to Lord Shiva only. And in the rest of half, all the creatures of world and all deities including her wife Lakshmi lives!!Parshurama is considered as great devotee of Shiva, Shiva gave him Parshu, for which Parshurama is famous for.

Why Shiva does not worship any body where as Vishnu worships him in all incarnations?

What I think is because Shiva is the only supreme Paramatma as he is unborn(Ajanma), Akarta and Abhokta(Vairagi) as said in Geeta that GOD is Ajanma, Akarta and Abhokta. God is neerakar (Shapeless and formless), Shiva Linga is symbol of Shiva 's such form only.

And also Vishnu always advised other deities(Kartikeya, Indra, Parvati,..) to worship Shiva only if they have mistakenly committed sins.

But now it is curiosity to know about this. Can anybody put light on my doubts?


Vishnu says Shiva is eternal origin(seed) of all things

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From The Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva -> Veda Vyasa Mahabharata

The blessed Vishnu said: "I salute Mahadeva. Salutations to Thee. O Thou that art eternal origin of all things. The Rishis say that Thou art the Lord of the Vedas. The righteous say that Thou art Penance, Thou art Sattwa, Thou art Rajas, Thou art Tamas, and Thou art truth.Vishnu himself said "Shiva is eternal origin of ..." That's why Shiva linga is seed and Whatever we see it is just a tree from that seed.

shiva vishnu gods shiva-purana creation

share improve this question edited Feb 20 at 5:26


asked Aug 3 '14 at 11:58

Parth Trivedi3,6861336

Where is the story in the Srimad Bhagavatam about Vishnu's heart? – Keshav Srinivasan ♦ Aug 3 '14 at 15:11

The point B in the question confuse me. It says that Vishnu and Brahma were created from JyotirStambha. But after that it is mentioned that there was a dispute between Vishnu and Brahma and only after that JyotirStambha appeared. Then how can both of them created from JyotirStambha? – A_runningMind Aug 3 '14 at 15:47

2 thank you all for +1s, I also want to share that Vishnu has told Parvati devi that "HariHara can never be separated. I live in Shiva only. And anybody who disrespects Shiva, I will punish him always.". I have seen this story in Devon ke Dev Mahadeva... No idea about it is truth or just television invention. – Parth Trivedi Aug 4 '14 at 6:36

2 Hanuman is the incarnation of Shiv. And Hanuman is the great devotee of Lord Rama (Vishnu). 6 '14 at 11:30

2 Krishna never said he is Supreme, when he shown Vishwaroopa to Arjuna, Arjuna asks Vishwaroopa who are you? and answer was "I'm Kaal" he never said im Krishna or Vishnu, so one must understand that there is something beyond Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, that is Adi and beyond Adi, it is Omkar (Big bang). – user1017Nov 6 '14 at 12:05

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Though the god is one, when we see in terms of Generation, Operation, Destruction these are taken care by Bramha, Vishnu and Shiva respectively. Since Vishnu is responsible for execution, it is He who descends to take care of the creation. This

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voteaccepted may be killing the demons or establishing dharma or to spread knowledge or to fulfill desire of a devotee. No one can understand Him, so He shows how to worship Him for different purposes. Also Vishnu worships Shiva symbolically to say both are same. ‘Sivasya hridayam vishnur-vishnoscha hridayam sivah—Vishnu is the heart of Siva and likewise Siva is the heart of Vishnu’." They both meditate upon one another all the time! A good discussion on this ishereIn other perspective Vishnu has taken Rajas nature and Shiva has taken Sattva. Rajas is full of desires and action and hence He worships Shiva to fullify the desires, this way He shows how to worship the god whereas Shiva is satvik, He is self realized and self sufficient and hence He doesn't appear to worship anyone externally.

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Puranas are sectarian literature. You will find them disagreeing about the supreme Deity. You should instead read a non-sectarian scripture like Mahabharata. Mahabharata Vana Parva Section CCLXX says:

The Supreme Spirit has three conditions. In the form of Brahma, he is the Creator, and in the form of Vishnu he is the Preserver, and in his form as Rudra, he is the Destroyer of the Universe!Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra/Shiva are simply three names and forms of Brahman.

Rishi Sanat-sujata says in Mahabharata Udyoga Parva Section 43:

There is but one Brahman which is Truth’s self. It is from ignorance of that One, that god-heads have been conceived to be diverse.

share improve this answer edited Aug 3 '14 at 15:03 answered

Pradip Gangopadhyay2,55049

1 You are totally correct shiva is one nature of bramha(supreme god nirakar) and Vishnu is another nature of bramha it is on the worshipper to take/make a Ishta Devta(according to his liking of the supreme nature), to attain salvation/ – Yogi Sep 30 '14 at 7:49

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Is Bhagvad Gita also a sectarian literature? – Om Shankar Jul 17 at 17:29

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Vishnu or Krishna is the Supreme Being and He is worshiped and followed by Shiva's incarnations. For example Hanuman was an incarnation of Shiva and Rama was an incarnation of Vishnu. We know from the scriptures Hanuman followed Rama.

Another point is Shiva holds river Ganges on his head which originates at the lotus feet of Vishnu. So it is not right to say that Shiva doesn't worship Vishnu. Most importantly Krishna, the complete avatar clearly reveals in the Gita that He is the Supreme Being in manifest form.

share improve this answer edited Sep 30 '14 at 7:00




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Please read the Mahabharata carefully. Also, the puranas Srimad bhagavatham, Varaha Purana, Padma purana, Garuda Purana, Matsya Purana etc....In all these puranas there upmteen number of instances where Shiva Worshipped Vishnu or Krishna or Rama as the Supreme Lord.

Mahabharata clearly says

mahAdevaH sarvamedhe mahAtmA hutvA AtmAnaM devadevo babhUvaThis clearly indicates that Rudra Performed Sarvamedha yagna and prayed to Lord Vishnu to become Mahadeva.

In the Mahabharata sAnti parva, Arjuna asks Krishna the following:

Arjuna —

While felling the enemies with arrows in the battlefield, I find a Person standing ahead of me. He is brilliant like Agni, with a Trisula in the hand. In whichever direction he goes, my enemies in that direction are burnt and killed by him. I follow him and attack the same persons, who have already been attacked by him. Onlookers are unaware of this truth and think that my enemies have indeed been attacked and felled by me.To this, Krishna replies,

Krishna —

Under my protection, you have won a great victory in Battle. Know, O Son of Kunti, that he whom you saw going before you in battle was none other than Rudra also

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known as Devadeva and Kapardin. They say he is Kala (time or reckoner of death for souls), Born of my Wrath. Those foes you have slain were, in fact slain by him. Hence adore with a controlled mind, that Umapati, Devadeva, of immeasurable greatness, Maheswara, the Changeless (in yoga).Note the bolded words, “Born of my Wrath”. This shows again, as in many, many quotes, that Siva was born of nArAyaNa. Now, in all honesty, no one will deny the greatness Krishna ascribes to Siva. He is changeless in yoga, he is a great deva, etc.

But, it confirmed with the above stements that Rudra/Shiva's was born out of Vishnu's wrath. Please check the Santi parva of the Mahabharata for these quotes.

Brahma-Rudra dialogue in the Shanti Parva of the MahabharataAnd again, in the Shanti Parva, we have the following incident where Brahma declares Siva is his son, and Siva again addressed Brahma as his father:

atrApy udAharantImam itihAsaM purAtanambrahmaNA saha saMvAdaM tryambakasya vizAM pate“In this connection is cited the old narrative of the discourse between Brahma, O king, and the Three-eyed Mahadeva.”

(skipping a few verses that describe the Ocean of Milk and the mountain on which Brahma resides)

atha tatrAsatas tasya caturvaktrasya dhImataHlalATaprabhavaH putraH ziva AgAd yadRcchayAAkAzenaiva yogIzaH purA trinayanaH prabhuH“While the four-faced Brahma of great intelligence was seated there, his son Siva, who had sprung from his forehead encountered him one day in course of his wanderings through the universe. In days of yore, the Three-eyed Siva endued with puissance and high Yoga, while proceeding along the sky, beheld Brahma seated on that mountain”

tataH khAn nipapAtAzu dharaNIdharamUrdhaniagrataz cAbhavat prIto vavande cApi pAdayoH“Therefore, he (Siva) dropped down quickly on its top. With a cheerful heart he presented himself (to Brahma) and worshipped at his (Brahma’s) feet.”

taM pAdayor nipatitaM dRSTvA savyena pANinAutthApayAmAsa tadA prabhur ekaH prajApatiH“Beholding Mahadeva prostrated at his feet, Brahma took him up with his hand. Brahma, that puissant and one Lord of all creatures thus raised Mahadeva up, ”

uvAca cainaM bhagavAMz cirasyAgatam AtmajamsvAgataM te mahAbAho diSTyA prApto 'si me 'ntikamkaccit te kuzalaM putra svAdhyAyatapasoH sadAnityam ugratapAs tvaM hi tataH pRcchAmi te punaH“The Grandsire said, 'Welcome art thou, O thou of mighty arms. By good luck I see thee after such a long time come to my presence. I hope, O son, that everything is right with thy penances and thy Vedic studies and recitations. Thou art always observant of the austerest penances. Hence I ask thee about the progress and well-being of those penances of thine!”

Then, Rudra replies as follows:

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tvatprasAdena bhagavan svAdhyAyatapasor mamakuzalaM cAvyayaM caiva sarvasya jagatas tathARudra said, 'O illustrious one, through thy grace, all is well with my penances and Vedic studies. It is all right, again, with the universe.

(Then Brahma explains to Rudra the meaning of ‘Purusha’. We find here two invaluable shlokas that show the supremacy of Sriman Narayana):

brahmovAca zRNu putra yathA hy eSa puruSaH zAzvato 'vyayaH akSayaz cAprameyaz ca sarvagaz ca nirucyate na sa zakyas tvayA draSTuM mayAnyair vApi sattama saguNo nirguNo vizvo jJAnadRzyo hy asau smRtaH azarIraH zarIreSu sarveSu nivasaty asau vasann api zarIreSu na sa lipyati karmabhiH mamAntarAtmA tava ca ye cAnye dehasaMjJitAH sarveSAM sAkSibhUto 'sau na grAhyaH kena cit kva citBrahma said,

Listen, O son, as to how that Purusha is indicated. He is eternal and immutable. He is undeteriorating and immeasurable. He pervades all things. O best of all creatures, that Purusha cannot be seen by thee, or me, or others. Those that are endued with the understanding and the senses but destitute of self-restraint and tranquility of soul cannot obtain a sight of him.

The Supreme Purusha is said to be one that can be seen with the aid of knowledge alone. Though divested of body, He dwells in every body. Though dwelling, again, in bodies, He is never touched by the acts accomplished by those bodies. He is my Antaratma (inner soul). He is thy inner soul. He is the all-seeing Witness dwelling within all embodied creatures and engaged in marking their acts. No one can grasp or comprehend him at any time.

The last two lines have been quoted by Sri Adi Shankara in Brahma Sutra Bhashya (2.1.1) showing that this section.

Rudra does not act without the approval of nArAyaNa, the supreme

After this, Brahma declares to Rudra who exactly this Purusha is:

tatra yaH paramAtmA hi sa nityaM nirguNaH smRtaHsa hi nArAyaNo jJeyaH sarvAtmA puruSo hi saH'The truth is that He who is the Supreme Soul is always devoid of Rajas and Tamas (nirguNa). He is nArAyaNa. He is the universal soul, and he is the one Purusha.'

The mahAbHArata contains the story of how 5 Indras were cursed by Shiva to be born as the 5 pAndavas. Shiva then, takes these Indras to nArAyaNa and asks approval for his actions as follows:

“Accompanied by all those Indras, the god Isana then went unto Narayana of immeasurable energy, the Infinite, the Immaterial, the Uncreate, the Old, the Eternal, and the Spirit of these universes without limits. Narayana approved of everything. Those Indras then were born in the world of men. And Hari (Narayana) took up two hairs from his body, one of which hairs was black and the other white. And those two hairs entered the wombs of two of the Yadu race, by name Devaki and Rohini.”Note how nArAyaNa is described here as the supreme in relation to Rudra and Indra,

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whereas Isana (Rudra) does not enjoy such adjectives.

The link for that incident is here. Readers can check the Sanskrit verses: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01200.htmthe mahAbhArata says that Siva came to BadarikAshramam and was engaged in a fierce fight with nara-nArAyaNa, which culminated in nArAyaNa strangling Rudra’s throat till it became black. Then, Brahma appeared and chastised Siva and told him to worship the sages Nara-nArAyaNa, who were avatArAs of the supreme brahman, Lord nArAyaNa.

The vAlmiki rAmAyaNa does not contain a single instance of rAmA worshipping shiva. Rather, the following two statements are found:

HanumAn tells rAvana thus:

brahmaa vaa svayambhuuH chaturaananaH rudraa vaa triNetraH tripuraantakaHmahendraH vaa indraH suranaayakah na shaktaaH traatum raamavadhyamyudhi (~sundara khAnda – 51.45)Neither Brahma the self-existing god with four faces or Rudra with three eyes and the destroyer of Tripura or Mahendra the god of atmosphere and sky as also the lord of celestials would not be able to protect the one to be killed by Rama in battle."

Mahabharata, Shanti Parva (12.328.5 onwards, dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna):

brAhme rAtrikShaye prApte tasya hy amitatejasaH prasAdAtprAdurabhavatpadmaM padmanibhekShaNa tatra brahmA samabhavatsa tasyaiva prasAdajaHIn the brahma muhurta, at the end of the night, due to the mercy of the extremely brilliant Lord, a lotus emerged from His navel and in that lotus, Brahma was born, ofcourse, due to His grace.

ahnaH kShaye lalAtAchcha suto devasya vai tathA krodhAviShTasya sa~njaGYe rudraH saMhAra kArakaH etau dvau vibudhashreShThau prasAdakrodhajau smR^itauAt the end of the day, the Lord [present as antaryAmi of Brahma *] created Rudra out of krodha-guna, to enable him to be the 'samhara-karta'. Thus, these two 'fine-among-wise', Brahma and Rudra, are known to have been born out of grace and anger respectively.

tadAdeshita panthAnau sR^iShTi saMhAra kArakau nimittamAtraM tAvatra sarvaprAni varapradauThus, they carry out the instructed tasks of creation and destruction. However, they, the givers of boons to all the creatures, are just the agents.

nArAyaNAtmako GYeyaH pANDaveya yuge yugeO Arjuna, know that in every yuga, Rudra is 'nArAyaNAtmaka'. (This phrase can mean: one whose indweller is Narayana, one who is always immersed in Narayana.)

tasmin hi pUjyamAne vai devadeve maheshvare sampUjito bhavetpArtha devo nArAyaNaH prabhuHIt is the Lord, the prabhu, the Narayana IN Maheshvara (the worshipable, the lord of the devas), who is actually worshiped.ahamAtmA hi lokAnAM vishvAnAM pANDunandana tasmAdAtmAnamevAgre rudraM sampUjayAmyaham yadyahaM nArchayeyaM vai IshAnaM varadaM shivam

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AtmAnaM nArchayetkashchiditi me bhAvitaM manaHO son of Pandu, I am, indeed, the Atma, the indweller of this universe and the worlds. Therefore, I worship myself first, even when I worship Rudra. If I did not worship Rudra, the bestower of boons, in such a way (i.e., worshiping the indwelling Lord first), some would not worship Me, the indwelling Lord, at all - this is my opinion.

mayA pramANaM hi kR^itaM lokaH samanuvartate pramAnAni hi pUjyAni tatastaM pUjayAmyahamWhatever I follow and give due worth as a pramaNa, the world follows that. Such pramanas have to be duly followed; therefore I follow them.

yastaM vetti sa mAM vetti yo.anu taM sa hi mAm anu rudro nArAyaNashchaiva sattvamekaM dvidhAkR^itam loke charati kaunteya vyakti sthaM sarvakarmasuWhoever knows him, knows Me. Whoever follows him, follows Me. (Though) the world, in all its actions, worships two gods, Rudra and Narayana, it is actually one only who is worshiped.

na hi me kenachid deyo varaH pANDavanandana iti sa~ncintya manasA purANaM vishvamIshvaram putrArthaM ArAdhitavAn AtmAnaM aham AtmanAO Son of Pandu, there is, of course, nobody who can grant Me boons. Knowing that well, I worhip Myself, Who am the beginningless and universal power, known as Sarveshvara, for the sake of getting sons.

na hi viShNuH pranamati kasmai chidvibudhAya tu R^ita AtmAnameveti tato rudraM bhajAmyahamIndeed Vishnu does not bow to any one and [even when He bows to Himself], for what sake, but for the sake of showing the path to the wise. Therefore, it is the truth that I worship myself even when I worship Rudra.

"With offerings I propitiate the branches of this swift-moving God, the bounteous Visnu. Hence Rudra gained his Rudra-strength: O Asvins, ye sought the house that hath celestial viands." (Rig Veda 7.40.5)

Padma PuranaHere is the Banasura episode from Padma Purana - Uttarakhanda chapter 250 (Verses 21 onwards)

(Verse 39 to 45)

Having vanquished the three eyed god, Krishna blew his conch. Bana began to attack Krishna. Krishna employed sudarshana chakra which cut off the multiple arms of Bana.

Parvati the consort of Siva rushed with folded hands and started praying to Krishna as follows: (Verses 46 to 49)

Krishna, Narayana, Ocean of compassion, best of yadus, lord of gods, I (parvati) was your female servant previously and at that time you gave me a boon that I would be having the perpetual companionship of my husband living. All sages declared that I was blessed by you by taking one principle name of your thousand names. Govinda, Lord who rides Garuda, therefore please make that boon come true. Please give life to my husband, Siva.

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Rudra said: (Verses 50 to 51)

Pleased with the prayer of Parvati, the lotus eyed lord Krishna withdrew the weapon which threw Siva into unconsciousness… Having freed by Krishna from the effects of the weapon, Siva woke up and joined his palms and started praying the Lord of worlds (Krishna)

Following this Siva worships and prays to Lord Vishnu/Krishna (Verses 52 onwards till the end of the chapter 250 of the Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda).

Please refer to the link http://is1.mum.edu/vedicreserve/puranas/padma_purana_6uttara.pdffor original sanskrit text, chapter 250 for more details.Also, please refer to Bramhavaivarta Purana, Siva and Parvati worship to Lord Vishnu/Krishna to get a son. Lord Vishnu having been pleased by the prayers of Siva and Parvati grants them a boon that a valiant son will be born to them. This son is Ganesha/Vinayaka. Please read the original text for more information.

There are many more such statements from scriptures where Siva and Parvati worshipped Lord Vishnu umpteen number of times. So questions and statements like Shiva never worshipped Vishnu are invalid.

Now, let us look at a few more verses from Padma Purana:

Shiva prays to vishNu thus in the padma purAna:

anyadevaM varaM dehi prasiddhaM sarvajantuShu |

martyo bhUtvA bhavAneva mama sAdhaya keshava ||

mAM bhajasva cha devesha varaM matto gR^ihANa cha |

yenA.ahaM sarvabhUtAnAM pUjyAtpUjyataro.abhavam.h ||

Meaning : "Please give me this boon. By incarnating on Earth, Oh Lord Kesava, worship me and get boons from me. From this, I will become worship-worthy to all the beings.Lord Vishnu grants this boon to Siva and says that he will make Rudra be known as (bestower of boons) by worshipping Rudra in his avatArAs (in succeeding verses in Padma Purana).Similarly, the kurma purana and the Varaha Purana also mentions that Siva worshipped Vishnu and got a boon that Lord Vishnu will worship Rudra/Siva. Lord Vishnu grants this boon.So, it is very clear that siva and parvati both had prayed to vishnu, many times.

Also, I hope this clarifies why Lord Vishnu is the Supreme and not Lord Shiva.

Please don't watch some programs on TV or cartoons or movies and make your mind...Please go through the actual scriptures also and do due diligence before making wild claims.

The following are the conclusions

Shiva always worships Lord Vishnu. Vishnu alone is abode of Sattva guna and Siva is

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abode of Tamas.

-Matsya Purana (See line 68 in page 216 in the link provided) .

sāttvikeṣu purāṇeṣu māhātmyamadhikaṃ hareḥ /

rājaseṣu ca māhātmyam adhikaṃ brahmaṇo viduḥ // MatsP_53.68 //

tadvadagneśca māhātmyaṃ tāmaseṣu śivasya ca /

Link : is1.mum.edu/vedicreserve/puranas/matsya_purana.pdfThis in turn means that only Vishnu is abode Sattva or All sattvik puranas glorify Lord Vishnu and Siva puranas are Tamasic.

In the Bhanavad Gita, Arjuna himself calls Lord krishna as Vishnu in Vishwaroopa darshana chapter 11 and asks him to show his pleasant Chaturbhuja form..So, when you say that krishna never said he is supreme you are incorrect,

Let us consider the following verse, “brahmanam isam kamalasana-stham” from the vishwaroopa darshana chapter 11 verse 15.

Here are the interpretations of the 3 acharyas from their respective Gita Bhasyas:

Shankaracharya – “I see Brahma, the Lord of all Creatures (Isham), seated on the lotus”.

Ramanujacharya - “I see Brahma and Siva who abides by the directions of the lotus seated Brahma”.

Madhvacharya – “I see Brahma and Siva who is seated in the lap of the lotus seated Brahma”.So, all the acharyas have clearly indicated all deities are there inside Lord Krishna including Bramha and Siva. Please read carefully, Lord Vishnu is not there or not mentioned to be within the Vishwaroopam form because, Lord Vishnu is Krishna. So, everything and anything abides in Lord Vishnu/Narayana/Krishna. So Lord Vishnu/Narayana/Krishna is the Supreme.

Lets look at a few more verses (this list is not exhaustive. read the BG for more verses)

Chapter 9, verse 11:avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto mama bhūta-maheśvaram

Clearly Krishna is saying that he is Supreme Lord (Sarva bhuta Maheshwaram) There are many such instances in Bhagavad Gita where Krishna Clearly indicates that he is the supreme.Chapter 11 Verse 24 : Arjuna pleads with Krishna and addresses him as Vishnu

Chapter 11 Verse 46 : Arjuna is requesting for the pleasant Chaturbhujha form

Chapter 15 Verse 15: Lord Krishna says that he is the one to be known by the Vedas; i.e. the goal of the vedas, not Omkar or Bramha or Siva or any other deity.

Chapter 15 Verse 16,17, 18 – Lord Krishna clearly brings out he is beyond the perishable (Kshara) and imperishable (Akshara - Atma). He clearly brings out that he

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is the Ultimate Supreme Lord (Purushottama) beyond both Kshara and Akshara.There are many more verses in the previous chapters where Krishna clearly brings out that he is the ultimate Supreme Goal. He is the Father, grandfather, mother, He is "Aum" in the vedas.

Chapter 9 , Verse 17:

"Pitahamaha sya jagato mata dhata pitamaha ! Vedyam pavitra omkara rik sama yajur eva cha!!

Lord Krishna is saying he is the omkara among the vedas.So, Lord Krishna/Vishnu is the SUPREME.

Now, to the grand episode of Shiva consuming Halahala for which many shaivas and shaktas, blow their false trumphets (i am just providing only information from Padma Purana. There are many more puranas like Garuda, Brahmanda where it exactly concurs with Padma purana)

In Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda , Section 6; Chapter 232, Shiva says the following regarding the churning of the ocean and halahala or poison episode:Then at that time when the great ocean was being churned, at first there came up the very strong Kalakuta poison which was very painful, very fierce, and which was like the fire of universal destruction. [Verses 7-10]Seeing (it), all gods and demons, being frightened,fled away. O you of beautiful eyes, then seeing the best gods frightened and fleeing away, I (Shiva) said to them: "O you all hosts of gods, do not be afraid of the poison. I shall drink this strongpoison, Kalakuta." Thus addressed by me, all the gods, led by Indra and bowing, very much praised me with the words 'Well, Well'. On seeing the strong poison, like a cloud, having come up I (Shiva) meditated in my heart upon the eagle-bannered god Visnu, resembling the rising sun and holding a conch, a disc, and a mace.[Verses 11-15]Having meditated (i.e. when Shiva meditated) with a concentrated mind upon that lord along with Sri and Bhumi, having earrings of gold purified by fire, remover of all miseries, and on my having muttered the great hymn of the name and form (of Visnu) along with MahalaksmI, all that poison, which was very fierce, which was the first one, which was fearful to all, which was (capable of) destroying all the worlds, was digested (by me i.e Shiva) due to the three names of Visnu, the omnipresent one. He who,being restrained, would devoutly mutter the three names of Visnu, viz. Acyuta, Ananta, Govinda, beginning with Pranava (i.e. Om) and (also) ending with Om, has no fear of death, so also the great fear due to poison, disease and fire. The wise, restrained one, who would mutter the great hymn—the three names—does not have fear of Death; then from where else (can he have it)? Thus with (the muttering of) the three names I (Shiva) drank that poison. [Verses 16-21]This shatters the myth behind the Halahala episode portraying the greatness of Shiva. Shiva literally prayed and worshipped Lord Vishnu before consuming the poison because of which Shiva was able to control the poison.

Unlike other Puranas, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Vishnu purana, Padma Purana have not been plagiarised or interpolated to extent the other texts are. So how ever hard one can try their best by saying advaitha, nirguna bramhan, Bramha, Siva etc., but the principle outcome is Lord Vishnu/Narayana/Krishna alone is SUPREME, even according to the great Advaitha acharya Adi Shankara himself.

Read Shankara's Gita Bhasya and also for that matter his bhasyas on upanishads for

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more information.

All Vedas, ithihasa, puranas etc clearly indicate that Vishnu alone is abode of Sattva and Shiva is tamas...Shiva got the name Shiva i.e.auspicious and became great after bearing the Ganga on his head which has its origination in the foot of Lord Vishnu

Vamana episode in Padma Purana, uttara khanda, section 6, Chapter 240,I (Shiva )held her (Ganga) on my head to purify myself. Having held (ganga on my head) the auspicious water of Ganga for a thousand divine years, I obtained bliss,and am adored in all worlds [Verses 39-48].Shiva further says :There is no doubt that he who would carry on his head the water of Ganga rising from Visnu's foot, or would drink it, would be respected by the world...[Verse 49 onwards]Please read the puranas. Majority of the 18 puranas, ithihasa, Vedas Unequivocally uphold that Vishnu alone is Sattva and Siva is Tamas. This is not to deride anyone. But this is what is given in the scriptures.

All genuine scriptures and genuine acharyas, including Veda Vyasa and Adi Shankara also declare that "Na daivam Keshavatparam" (There is no Lord either superior or equal to Keshava)

share improve this answer edited Jun 8 at 23:29 answered


If Adi Shankaracharya was a Vaishnava, then why does the Advaita version of the Sankalpam say "Parvati Parameshwara Prityartham", whereas the Vadakalai Sri Vaishnava version says "Sriman Narayana Prityartham"? – Keshav Srinivasan ♦ Jun 8 at 20:26

@Keshav - They say " Parameshwara preethyartham" only. Now, parameshwara is not Siva only as you know, the word parameshwara is common name and even brahma, Indra etc also have been addressed as Parameshwara at many places. Here, Parameshwara is ultimate supreme lord need not be Shiva. Now, if some one speciafically, adds "Parvati --Parameshwara preethyartham", it is very clear that they are afraid that because they use the word "Parameshwara" they cant support their saiva views. Also, it might be their tradition or localised culture. It doesn't have any basis in Vedas. – Krishna Jun 8 at 20:38

@Keshav - Similar arguments on the sankalpa part has taken place, recently in Narayanaastra blog spot too. You can check that too. here is the link narayanastra.blogspot.in/p/a-note-to-our-readers.html Check the comments section where this discussion on sankalpa has taken place. Hope it helps – Krishna Jun 8 at 20:46

@Keshav - Also, do you or any one of the so called advaitins have any reference or proof that Adi Shankara used "Parvati parameshwara prithyartham..." or that he never used "Narayana prithayartham.." as part of his sankalpams

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from any of Prasthana traya works or from his upanishad commentaries ? – Krishna Jun 8 at 20:57

@Keshav - Also, one question to advaitins who say abheda , nirguna always and then use this kind of tricks, like "Parvati Parameshvara prithyartham" etc. Why show partiality, if they truly believe in abhedam and nirgunatvam? If they are true advaitins then their sankalpa cannot be addressed to Shiva, the parvati pati alone, because Shiva is not Nirguna. These are all tricks by Saivaites masquerading as Advaitins. I dont think true advaitins will do this kind of things. – Krishna Jun 8 at 21:21

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I found that nearly every Purana states its main diety as the supreme one. And sometimes to support that they also say that the deity was there from the beginning and then he later gets incarnated into his physical incarnation, so considering all this what I assume is that there is one supreme God, which the Shiva Puran calls Sadashiva, Vishnupuran calls Mahavishnu, Bramhapuran calls.

This supreme God might be nirakar, ajanma, etc. Then he created 3 main dieties Bramha, Vishnu and Rudra which are actually 3 powers of the supreme one only and then they further created, handled or destroyed all other creations. We have seen pictures of all of these 3 dieties to be meditating. Now, if anyone of them is supreme then why are they praying, so they must be praying the supreme God which we call by different names, i.e Sadashiva or Mahavishnu or Parabramha, etc. If we consider Muslim religion also, there is no physical God, its also that Nirakaar Supreme God which they call as Allah. Similarly, in Christianity also there was an invisible God whose only voice was heard and later Jesus was said to be the son of that God.

This is what I feel. Sorry, if I have hurt anyone's religious feelings but if we think this way then there would be no religious clashes/biases/etc.

share improve this answer edited Nov 7 '14 at 4:49




This is very good thought but in hinduism that No physical god is our Shivalinga.. which is symbol of God's "no physical" state. In hinduism main GOD is shivalingam only. which is nirakar. We have no religious clashes.Trivedi Nov 6 '14 at 18:08

Nirakar or Nirguna which many people take as absolute attributeless is also against the vedas because Vedas talk about Saguna and Nirguna, both, and one cannot say Vedas are partially correct and partially wrong. The moment you say Shivalinga or God etc it because saguna and cannot be Nirguna in literal terms..So, one needs to understand what this nirguna which the scriptures indicate. There is nothing called absolute nirguna ..There is only one Supreme god as per hinduism, but it is Saguna only and nirgunattva has to be explained keeping in mind that it doesn't impact the saguna concept. – Krishna Nov 18 '14 at 6:28

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And let us not confuse with other religions and get carried away by other reliongs like Islam, chritianity etc. which don't accept vedas. There are certain aspects and aphorisms which are common among many of the religions but that doesn't make god formless..If, one cannot fathom his greatness leave it to them, but comparing with other religions is absolutely not required. – Krishna Nov 18 '14 at 6:33

@ParthTrivedi, The symbol of ShivaLinga does not mean "no physical" - it is a union of a Linga and a Yoni (of Mother Parvati) showing that this is the source of all creation. Only the upper protruding part is a Linga. The base is a Yoni. – Om Shankar Sep 30 at 21:34

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As far as I know, None of these trio comparable to each other, they have their own significance.

G : Generator ==> Brahma who create this world O : Operator ==> Vishnu who run the world D : Destroyer ==> Shiva who destruct the world

and coming to the question "Why Vishnu worship Shiva?" because Vishnu is only incarnated as human being of Supreme GOD on time to time ( From Satyuga to Kalyuga ) to guide and teach the lesson to live life and worship is also a part of human life.

share improve this answer edited Sep 30 '14 at 8:50 answered


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Lord Shiva addressed his wife, Parvati:

sri rama rama rameti rame rame manorame; sahasra nama tat tulyam rama nama varanane "O Varanana (lovely-faced woman), I chant the holy name of Rama, Rama, Rama and thus constantly enjoy this beautiful sound. This holy name of Ramachandra is equal to one thousand holy names of Lord Vishnu." (Brhad-visnu-sahasranama-stotra, Uttara-khanda, Padma Purana 72.335)

Lord Shiva always meditates on the supreme Narayana. The supreme had taken many avatars but only a few important named as dasavatara became prominent. When ever the supreme incarnated he performed the activities in respect of the law of nature and of the materialistic world, to set an example for the human generations.

Shiva and shakthi are responsible for this materialistic creation and lord vishnu is the original seed giving father(supersoul or the paramatman) of the living beings.

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Lord shiva worshipped krishna and danced with him as a gopi name Gopeeshvara. Lord shiva served Lord ram in his rudra avatar as lord hanuman. Lord shiva lost battle to lord krishna in the battle against banasur and many more incidents are there which support lord narayans supremacy.

But lord vishnu and lord siva are non-different, Lord narayana had taken the mode of tamas for the destruction of the creation and he incarnated as lord shiva, and similarly he had taken the mode of rajas for the purpose of creation and he was called lord brahma.

This view can be easily understood from the idol of anantha padmanabha swamy in trivandrum.

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Narayanena Chita Padukabhyam, Namo Namah Shankar parvati bhyam - Uma Maheshwar Stotra. This means that the lotus feet of Shiva is in the heart of Narayana. – Om Shankar Sep 30 at 21:43

"Lord vishnu is the original seed giving father" - where is it mentioned? Krishna says in BG. But Krishna is speaking as Supreme personality of Godhead. Which is also Shiva. So the same statement and BG will still hold good when Shiva speaks, or Rama speaks. or any incarnation of Shiva speaks. Lord shiva worshipped krishna - no account of this other than SB. Krishna worshipped Shiva and Durga too, as per Mahabharata. – Om Shankar Sep 30 at 21:45

Supreme personality is indifferent from lord Krishna. Krishna's tu bhagavan svayam. Supreme is one he is not many. Lord Shiva is tamas form of Bhagavan Krishna. Supreme himself said in BG among the rudras he is sankara. Lord Krishna worships his devotees more than himself it can be known from how he cleaned the foot of sages, rishi narada and his friend sudama. He smears the dust from the feet of his devotees. He displays all the qualities which he created and thus displaying his absolute nature. – KIRAN KUMAR Oct 1 at 17:24

Please read BG for full description the supreme person himself says that fools try to deride him when he descends in human form. You can also refer terms like vasudevam sarvam iti and aham bija pita in BG slokas to understand true nature of the absolute personality. – KIRAN KUMAR Oct 1 at 17:28

you are again only referencing Vaishnava literature and Vaishnava translation of Bhagvad Gita. The Mayavadis also follow the same Bhagvad Gita, but they don't believe what you say - I don't have to re-read any scripture. I am just saying that you cannot say absolutely, but only relatively. – Om Shankar Oct 2 at 6:34

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up Some references from Bhagavadgita which strictly speaks about monotheism and one

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supreme god that is Lord Krishna/Narayana.

BG 7:7 "mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya mayi sarvam idam protam sutre mani-gana iva"O conquerer of wealth [Arjuna], there is no Truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.Here Bhagavan says "mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti" there is no one***(nanyat)* superior(parataram) to me even a little *(kinchit asti)***So Lord Krsna clearly says that he is the supreme truth.BG 14:4 "sarva-yonisu kaunteya murtayah sambhavanti yah tasam brahma mahad yonir aham bija-pradah pita"It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kuntī, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.

Here Bhagavan Krsna clearly says that is the original father of all living entities(aham bija-pradah pita).It is propounded in the puranas that Lord Shiva lies dormant and then when Goddess impregnates him the materialistic creation has come to being and the spiritual aspect of creation that is atman has come from Paramatman(supreme soul)/Parabrahman Narayana/Krsna. At the end of kalpa all the souls merge into the supreme Narayana and again at the beginning of kalpa they are manifested again(as per BG).

BG 10:23 "rudranam sankaras casmi vitteso yaksa-raksasam vasunam pavakas casmi meruh sikharinam aham"Here Bhagavan says that among the rudras he is Shankara(the foremost of the rudras) and also he says that he is Vishnu(as vamana) among the adityas.The supreme being is "ONE AND ONLY ONE" he can't be many.All the species are his manifestations and the foremost(in his qualities) of these are considered his avataras.His expansions are infinite though he incarnates with some of his qualities he is eternally present in paramdhamam vaikunta always.Like wise he incarnations are also eternally present like Varaha(in varaha kshetra tirupathi), Nrishmha, Vamana(patala), Parashuram(mahendragiri/himalayas).

Lord Vishnu is also the expansion of the Supreme Being Narayana/Krsna for preservation and protection.Bhagavan Krsna is the incarnation of the supreme to the fullest, where he displayed all the qualities present in his creation. Bhagavan Krsna washed the feet of sages, narada marharshi, elders, his friend sudama and sprinkled water of their feet on his head, he also prayed to siva to have a child like him. Bhagavan Krsna sprinkled/smelled the padha dhooli (dust from the feet of his devotees). Bhagavan Krsna accepted curse of gandhari gracefully, he went to guru . as a ordinary child to have his education. And simultaneously he performed extraordinary feats including saving Lord Siva from Vrakasura and also defeated him war against banasura.Bhagavan taught us though being supreme he taught us how to lead our lives, he has done the karma what an ordinary being born on this planet should do and at same time he does anything for upholding the dharma and for protection of his devotees.

Bhagavan respected the laws of nature of this planet and never went against them for his personal needs, he followed them gracefully. So he worshiped gods(whom he delegated power for the governance of this materialistic world) to attain things as per the laws of this planet. He also ascertain in Bhagavadgita that whatever form of god you worship/or sacrifice you perform is ultimately addressed to him. So as the

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eternal soul (bija pita) of all the beings he is worshipping himself.The mind of supreme is difficult to comprehend even for the greatest of the minds. Only by constant meditation/devotion to him he can/his nature can be known (lord shiva engaged in meditation thus knows about the supreme actions).

The best known scripture which describes GOD and qualities of GOD to the fullest is theBHAGAVADGITA and it clearly establishes Krsna/Narayana as the ultimate reality, the absolute truth and the cause of all causes.So by inferring logically from scriptural evidences Krsna/Narayana is the supreme.

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