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  • Details about Lord Shiva or Mahadeva Avatar and its purposes.

    Interested to know about the various forms of Avatars of lord Mahadev? Just go through this ISC page for having detailed information from our Experts.

    It is known that to balance nature and help law, Lord Shiva (Mahesha, Shankara, Bholenath, Neelkanth, Mahadeva, Rudra, Mahadeva or Bholenath) as he is known, took many avatars in various yugas. The Linga Purana lists twenty-eight avatars while Shiva Purana mentions about his 19 avatars. As every avatar of Lord Shiva had a specific purpose and the ensuing motive for welfare of humankind, I would like our experts to help me with the following answers:
    i) How many avatars did Lord Shiva or Mahadeva take and why did he take such avatars?
    ii) What was the purpose or story behind each avatar?
    iii) Why did each avatar come into its form and how did it vanish or die?
    iv) Any more information about Lord Shiva(birth, parents, siblings, wife, children, his weapon, etc) that add value to this post.

    I am raising questions on different avatars of Hindu Gods that would be interlinked with this ask expert questions to know or learn more about them. They are Lord Vishnu , Brahma or Prajapati, Hanuman, Parvati, Saraswati, Their vahana or the deity's mount, etc.
  • Answers

    6 Answers found.
  • Lord Shiva is responsible for Layam that is destruction. He is one of the supreme Gods in the Hinduism. He took many avatars and incarnations to set the things right on the earth. By taking some avatars he saved some of his devotees from the devils. The most important five incarnations are discussed below.

    1) Tatpurush: This is the third incarnation of him. It occurred in 21st Kalpa and he got into that incarnation due to the prayers of Brahma.
    2) Naamdeva: This incarnation in 20th Kalpa. Brahma changed his complexion to red and got separated as a different entity. This is known as Naamdeva. This is also supposed to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva.
    3) Aghoresh: Lord Brahma made a black complexion entity and named it as Aghor Shiva and it is considered as another form of Shiva
    4) Sadhojat: This avatar is in 19th Kalpa. This is the first incarnation of Shiva. Nandan, Viswanandan, Sunand and Upanadan are the disciples of this incarnation.
    5) Ishan: This avatar was manifested in Visharoop Kalpa. Lord Brahma was blessed by him for the creation facility.

    Lord Shiva is having eight idols. They are Ugra, Sharva, Bhava, Rudra, Bheema, Pasupathi, Ishan and Mahadeva.

    Ten perfect incarnations of the God Shiva are known as Dash Avatar. 10 incarnations of the Mata Sakti known as the Dash Mahavidya. The first name is that of Shiva and the second one is the name of Maata. They are

    1.Mahakal and Mahakali.
    2. Tar and Tara.
    3. Bhuvaneshwar and Bhuvaneshwari.
    4, Shodash and Shodashi
    5.Bhairav and Bhairavi.
    6. Chhinamastak and Chhinamasta.
    7. Dhoomvan and Dhoomvati.
    8.Baglamukh and Baglamukhi.
    9. Matang and Matangi.
    10.Kamal and Kamala.

    Lord Shiva born on the earth as the eleven Rudras. He was born from Saint Kashyap's wife. In each form of Rudras fought with different demons der to save the people. The names of eleven Rudras are

    1) Kapali 2) Pingal 3) Bheem 4) Virupaksha 5) Vilohit 6) Shastra 7) Ajapaad 8) Ahirbudhnya 9) Shambhu 10) Chand and 11) Bhav.

    In addition to above Lord Shiva also incarnated in some other forms which are
    1. Ardhnaarishwar Avatar: This includes a half body of Lord Shiva and another half of the Mata Parvati.
    2. Neel Kanth Avatar: When the milk ocean was being stirred poison has come from the ocean. Lord Shiva has swallowed that but Parvathi stopped it in his neck and that is why he was called Neel Kantha.
    3. Hanuman Avatar: Hanuman is also an incarnation Lord shiva and this avatar is to showcase an example of the devotee to the people.
    4. Bramhchari Avatar: This avatar he has taken to test Parvathi.
    5.Veerbhadra Avatar: This form of Lord Shiva was very terrible, full of angry, hair opened. This incarnation indicated his love and care towards his wife.

    The names of other avatars are Sunatnartak Avatar. Saddhu Avatar, Vibhuashwathama Avatar: Kiraat Avatar, Bhairav Avatar Allama Prabhu, Khandoba, Nandi Avatar, Sharabh Avatar, Grihpati Avatar, Brishabh Avatar, Piplaad Avatar, Vaishyanath Avatar. Yatinath Avatar, Krishna Darshan Avatar, Awdhuteshwar Avatar,
    Bhichhuwarya Avatar, Sureshwar Avatar, Rishi Durvasha Avatar and Mahesh Avatar

    always confident

  • Lord Siva is one of the main deities of Hinduism representing varieties of forms such as in the specific mood , he would appear with his consort Parvati and son Skanda, as a cosemic dancer( Natraj) as a mendicant better, as a Yogi, as a Dalit as an Ardhanareeswarar etc.
    Shiva's female concert is known under various manifestations such as Uma, Sati, Parvati, Durga, Kali, Shiva etc. Shiva is sometimes paired with Shakti.
    The Devine couple together with their son Skanda and the elephant headed Ganesha are said to dwell on Kailash.The six headed Skanda is said to have been born from Shiva's seed shedding in the mouth of God Fire( Agni) and finally this Agni is transferred to River Ganga.
    Shiva has got the place in the area of painting and sculpture as the combination of white with a blue neck.
    Shiva has the three eyes, the third eye reflects the inward vision. At the same time, it is capable of burning destruction when focussed outwards. He has garland of skulls and a Serpent moving around his neck , a trident, a small drum or a club with a skull at the end.
    The skull is the reflection of Shiva - also known as Kapalika denoting to time.While cutting the head of Brahma, the head remained stuck up at at his hand until he reached Varanasi- a city known for its sacred values.It finally fell away cleansing all sins.This process is known as Kalpa Mochan.

  • In big factories the running of the same is done by different departments. Each department is headed by a learned person and under him some assistants are entrusted for smooth functioning of the routine work. Similar to that the universe is functioning through the Lords Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu and their departments are Protection, Controlling birth and death,giving birth according to Karma and Welfare respectively. For them the Power of Operation is given to humans through Parvathi (sakthi),Saraswathi(Education and Wisdom) and Lakshmi (wealth).
    In Kerala the Shiva is called Rakshak as our daily routine is protected by him.
    According to puranas, though the Shiva is called Rudra, He is a friendly and approachable person to the devotees. He do everything for His true devotees. He gives boon to the true devotees without bias and second thought.
    Siva devotee, Sundaramoorthi Nayanar, sent Lord Shiva as a messenger to Paravai Nachiar for his marriage and Shiva treated his request as a friend and gone as a messenger.

  • First of all, before discussing about Lord Siva, Only one thing I would like to say. Parabrahman is one and only that could be manifested in any form. In Sreemadbhagavadgita, Lord Sreekrishna preaches to Arjuna that He descended and would descend on this earth whenever there is loss of goodness on this earth. Therefore, there is no separate manifestations for Lord Siva. He has one of the duties under the supreme consciousness, Parabrahman, Lord Sreemannarayana.

    To operate the entire universe, the Parabrahman takes different forms like gods and goddesses. In that, Lord Siva is one of the examples. At the same time, there is no argument that whatever divinity element is in one god is the same persist in another God also. But, the total administration is under control of Parabrahman. Divisibility in Parabrahman is not possible to anyone because Parabrahman, Lord Sreemannarayan has two natures as said in Sreemadbhagavadgita. Here Lord Sreemannarayana is not means of Lord Vishnu because Lord Sreekrishna teaches that Lord Vishnu is one of his manifestations that is in Vibhooti Yoga of Sreemadbhagavadgita.

    The conclusion is that Lord Siva is one of the manifestations of Lord Sreemannarayana as said in Sreemadbhagavadgita. Therefore, there is no separate avatar of Lord Siva. But, Lord Siva is an ardent devotee of Parabrahman. That could be shown in Vishnusahasranam.

    I believe in a positive attitude. I like those who criticize me.

  • Lord Shiva (known as Mahesh or Mahadeva also) is one of the three renowned God figures (Trimurti) in Hindu mythology. As many of us might be aware these famous three divine powers are Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. There are many scriptures where capabilities and abilities of Lord Shiva are described but generally we take Shiva Purana as the authentic source for it as it totally describes about the Lord Shiva and his activities during various times in the mythological canvas of History. In fact these different time spans are known as Yugas in our mythological culture. Out of the Trimurti, Brahma is considered as the creator while Vishnu is considered as the protector and Shiva is the destroyer of the universe. The heavenly abode of Shiva is Himalaya (Kailash) mountain where he dwells with his partner Goddess Parvati (a source of energy known as Devi in Indian mythology). In pictures and drawings, Lord Shiva is shown to wear some characteristic items like moon, snake, small drum (Damru), trishula (the weapon - trident) etc and each has a mythological story behind that. As regards the forms of Avatar they are meant for a specific purpose and after that their role is over and they die as per the normal life of that form or die in some war or their energy is reunited back with Lord Shiva in divine ways.

    There is much mythological information available regarding Lord Shiva and as per Lingam Purana there are 28 forms of Lord Shiva which could be taken as Avatars but other sources in mythology advocate for 19 Avatars only and that is accepted by many scholars. So, there are 19 avatars of Lord Shiva and their details are as follows -

    1. Piplaad Avatar - This Avatar has an interesting story associated with it. Lord Shiva took birth in the house of Saint Dadhichi but due to the bad position of planet Saturn (Shani), the saint had to leave the house. Lord Shiva was angry to see it and downgraded the plant Saturn by telling that it can not trouble anyone before the age of sixteen. There are many people who worship Lord Shiva in this form to avoid the curse (Dosha) of Shani in their lives.

    2. Nandi Avatar - Lord Shiva is the protector of the herds. He is shown holding an axe in his hand and his face looks like a bull. Nandi Avatar is a sign of masculinity and vigour. It is worshipped by many.

    3. Veerabhadra Avatar - After the self immolation of Goddess Sati at the Daksha Yagna, Lord Shiva was unhappy and created two powerful entities known as Veerabhadra and Rudrakali who did a lot of disturbance and destroyed many things at the place where Yagna was arranged. They in fact as a punishment cut the head of Daksha also. Once a lot of destruction had taken place in those localities as a revenge of Daksha's misdeeds then only Lord Shiva closed the chapter of giving lesson and went back to his adobe known as Kailash.

    4. Sharabha Avatar - In our mythologies there are many stories which are mixed up with each other as every good entity in form of God helped the humanity to eradicate the evil from Earth so many stories have crossing line through each other. This Avatar of Lord Shiva is one like that. In this form Lord Shiva took form of a Sharabha (prtly bird and partly lion). Meanwhile Lord Vishnu also took a form of Narasimha (half man - half lion) to kill another evil known as Hiranyakasyup who wanted to kill his own sun as it was worshipping the Gods. It is said that Lord Shiva was instrumental in directing the Narasimha Avatar to its objective. Some references mentioned it in a slightly different way that Lord Shiva was able to tame this form of Lord Vishnu. So, different scholars have presented it differently.

    5. Ashwatthama - The great and famous figure of Mahabharata epic - Ashwastthama is said to be as one of the Avatars of Lord Shiva. The evolution of this particular Avatar is very interesting. It seems that during the Samudra-Manthan (sea exploration) some poison also came out of the sea which Lord Shiva voluntarily drank and in that process the Vish Purush (poison man) was conceived to be born through Lord Shiva's energy in the family of Drona, one of the senior characters in Mahabharata. Ashwatthama was blessed to be a great warrior as he was the energy part from Lord Shiva and we have already seen Ashwastthama's bravery in the Mahabharata war.

    6. Bhairava Avatar - This is the form that is a bit tinged with horror as in this form Lord Shiva roams through the Shakti Peethas in our country and guarding them carrying skull in his hands. He did it to show his repentance for cutting the fifth head of Brahma. The story goes that once Brahma lied about his quest for superiority. To punish Brahma, Shiva took the form of Bhairava and cut the fifth head of Brahma.

    7. Durvasa Avatar - It is said that Lord Shiva took the form of saint Durvasa. The purpose of this Avatar was to keep a vigil and monitor if anything going on wrong in the world and it was basically to maintain discipline in the universe. Saint Durvasa was well known for his short temper and used to visit any place where he felt that something wrong was being done by the people or to the people.

    8. Grihapati Avatar - This is a bit strange story and related to the child born in the family of Grihpati and Shuchismati. It seems that the parent desired that the child should have Shiva like qualities but unfortunately, the child died in young age and then Grihapati started his journey to Kasi, the sacred place for resting of the soul of the child in peace. It is also said that the journey was impeded by the demigod Indra. But the child was blessed by Shiva and then Shiva could not tolerate this hindrance and came to defend Grihpati. In many places this form of Lord Shiva is worshipped.

    9. Lord Hanuman - This is another mythological truth which many times surprises us that Hanuman was an Avatar of Lord Shiva. The story goes that during the Samudra Manthan (sea exploration), Lord Vishnu disguised as a beautiful woman named Mohini who distracted the demons from the site of Samudra Manthan so that the semi Gods could do the job without any disturbance. Lord Shiva, even after knowing the facts was somehow also got infatuated by the exquisite beauty of Mohini. The energy liberated in this infatuation is said to be the reason for birth of Hanuman from the womb of Aanjani.

    10. Vrishabha Avatar - Vrishabha means ox. The story of this Avatar is most interesting. It is again linked to the Samudra Manthan. As we have seen earlier that Lord Vishnu distracted the attention of the demons through Mohini form and he also created a big illusion of beautiful women to attract and divert the minds of the demons. Now demons were much impressed with these beauties and took them with them to their residing place in Patal Lok (Hell). Vishnu followed them to the Patal Lok but got himself caught in the illusion of Maya (worldly indulgences) and fathered many immoral children which became a threat for the Gods in the heaven. At this juncture, Lord Shiva took the things in his hands and took the form of a powerful ox and went to Patal Lok and destroyed all those offsprings. Vishnu still under the effect of Maya tried to stop the wrath of Lord Shiva but realising things came to his senses and left for his own abode in heaven.

    11. Yatinath Avatar - Lord Shiva sometimes just tested his devotees for the genuineness of their prayers. There was one devotee named as Yatinath who worshipped him and was in fact was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva visited his house in guise of an ordinary guest and Yatinath having a very small house gave him his room and went to sleep outside in Verandah. In the night some wild animal came and killed Yatinath after which his wife wanted to die herself after losing her husband. Lord Shiva stopped her doing that and blessed her that in next birth they (she and her husband) would meet each other as the famous partners in Indian mythology known as Nala and Damyanti. This shows how generous was Lord Shiva.

    12. Krishna Darshan avatar - This form is a bit different from others in the sense that in this Avatar, Lord Shiva educated and taught one prince Nabhag as how to attain spiritual attainment in life. Actually prince Nabhag was ousted by his brother from the kingdom and was sent to the saint Angiras for learning Yajna (a ritual done with fire) and after learning the saint was much pleased with Nabhag and wanted to award him some wealth. Lord Shiva told Nabhag to ignore the worldly matters and devote time for real spiritual attainment. Nabhag followed and got Lord Shiva's blessings. This is one unique Avatar where Lord Shiva has functioned like a spiritual teacher.

    13. Bhikshuvarya Avatar - This particular Avatar is for the protection of the humans in general and takes care of the human in all adverse conditions and dangers in their lives. It is said that worshipping this form helps us in getting over the threats and dangers in our lives.

    14. Sureshwar Avatar - This Avatar is in the form of Indra as Lord Shiva appeared as Indra and Indra is known as Sureshwar also. The story goes that Upmanyu, son of the sage Vyaghrapaad, was tested for his devotion to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It was found that the devotion was total and Upmanyu was the real follower of the Lord Shiva. Due to his sincere devotion Lord Shiva gave him assurance that they (Lord Shiva and Parvati) would be present near their hermitage for ever. That was more than the blessings of Lord Shiva.

    15. Kirateshwar Avatar - Kirat means hunter. This Avatar is related to the unintentional fight between the Lord Shiva and Arjuna. Actually Arjuna was meditating and wanted to kill one demon named Mooka. The demon came in disguise of a boar and when Arjun saw it he wanted to kill it. Bt at the same time Lord Shiva also descended in his Avatar as hunter Kirat and incidentally it so happened that both Arjuna and Lord Shiva killed the boar at the same time. Naturally a fight started as who killed the boar. Seeing Arjuna's firm belief and conviction Lord Shiva became much happy and pleased with him and gave him one weapon known as Pashupatastra.

    16. Suntantarka Avatar - This was an Avatar with a purpose. As Lord Shiva agreed to marry Parvati then it was natural that he had to go to the father (Himalaya mountain) of Parvati to ask Parvati as his partner. Lord Shiva cannot go to his father in his normal form wearing all those special items on his crown so he had to make a disguise of a normal person.

    17. Brahmachari Avatar - This Avatar was also needed in connection with the marriage of Lord Shiva as he wanted to test the Parvati's determination and strong will to marry him only. So, the Brahmachari Avatar came in being.

    18. Yaksheshwar Avatar - The story for this goes like this. When the Gods won with the demons in the process of Samudra Manthan then they started having pride out of that. Lord Shiva did not like the pride of Gods on this. He devised one way to destroy their pride by asking them to cut a divine grass which grew back quickly and did not allow the Gods to cut it. Seeing the difficult thing everyone realised that pride and false ego is to be removed from themselves.

    19. Avadhut Avatar - In this one, it was told that Lord Indra who was the king of heaven became arrogant and uncaring and then Lord Shiva thought to give him a lesson. So, he came as Avadhut and made Indra to believe that arrogance is not a good attribute and is to be removed.

    Knowledge is power.

  • Lord Brahma is the creator and also boon giver but he very selective about that. Vishnu is the administrator of both Brahma and Shiva and his job is to finish the person even though he has the best boon to prevent death. In other way we can call Vishnu as the scientist and researcher to get the punishment for the sure. And the subject matter is about the Lord Shiva who is considered destroyer, but get into the grove of the wrong doers who can simply flat him to get the best boons. That is why Lord Shiva is also called Bola Shankar. Usually there is coordination and cooperation between the three Gods, but sometimes the boon given by Brahma and Shiva makes the work for Vishnu very taxing and thus he takes different avatar to eliminate the wrong doer from each such incarnations.

    One thing is sure, Shiva is the most modest God without much fanfare in looking and most of the Shiva temples does not have the statue but the Linga. And most of the best avatar were already best explained above.

    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

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