Avatars Of Bhagwaan Shiva

Lord Shiva Avatars



1 month ago|10 min read


To sustain the law and balance of nature or existence, Lord Shiva took many avatars in various Yugas Kurma Purana talks about the 28th avatars of Shiva, but in Shiva Purana, the following 19 avatars of Shiva are mentioned.

1.  Pippalada Avatar

Pippalada, this avatar of Lord Shiva, was born to sage Dadhichi and his wife’s virtue. At the time when Dadhichi gave up his life to donate his bones to Indra, to help him defeat, the demon Vritra, his wife Swarcha, was pregnant with Pippalada. When Swarcha came to know about the death of her husband. She placed the infant Pippalada under a Pipal tree. Then she committed suicide to reunite with her husband. The infant Pipalada was taken care of by the Dadhichi’s sister Dadhimati. Pippalada was upset over the fact that his father died even before his birth.

He was told by the devas that the reason behind Dadhichi's early death was the trouble Shani on him. He wanted to avenge Shani Dev for causing trouble to his father during his lifetime. Pippalada cursed Shani Dev (Saturn) to not be a part of the universe anymore.

As a result, Shanidev fell from the galaxy. However, after the devas intervened, Pippalada agreed to forgive Shani, on the condition that none below 16 would get affected by his adverse effects. Shani to save his life promised the same and never troubled anyone below 16 years of age. In another version, Pippalada grew up and learned about the cause of his father’s death. He performed a heavy penance to Lord Shiva and obtained a demon to kill all the devas. All the Devas went to Shiva for protection.

Shiva made Pippalada realize that nothing can be gained by killing the devas as it was a plan for the universal welfare, and this action will not bring back his parents.

2.  Nandi Avatar

Nandi avatar Nandi is described as the son of sage Shilada. Sage Shilada was a Brahmachari or an ascetic and chose not to marry any woman, but on the request of his dead ancestors, he did severe penance to Lord Shiva to have the bone of a child. When Shiva pleased by his penance appeared in front of him. He requested for a child that was “Ayonija”, meaning one who was not born out of the womb and an immortal, one who forever has the blessings of Shiva. He then received Nandi as his son. It is said that Nandi was born from a Yagya performed by Shilada, and his body was covered in armor made out of diamonds. Nandi grew as an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and heeded penance to become his gatekeeper as well as his mount.

3.  Veerbhadra Avatar

 Veerbhadra is an extremely fierce and fearsome form of Shiva. Upon hearing the news that Sati had killed herself in the sacred fire of her father, Daksha’s Yagya, Lord Shiva, in his deep sorrow and anger, plucked a lock from his hair and thrashed it to the ground Veerbhadra was born from it. He was tall with a muscular body reaching the higher heavens.

He was as dark as the stormy clouds, with three burning eyes and fiery hair. He also wore a garland of skulls and carried weapons. Veerbhadra reached the place where Daksha was performing his Yagya and destroyed everything he beheaded Daksha for his sins.

4.  Sharabha avatar 

Shiva assumed the form of a part animal and a part bird named Sharabha to tame down Narasimha the most ferocious avatar of Vishnu. Sharabha's avatar had the body of an eight-legged lion having two heads of a beast: two wings and a long tail. After slaying Hiranya Kashyap, Narasimha's wrath threatened the world Shiva sent Veerbhadra to tackle Narasimha.

When that failed, Shiva manifested as Sharabha, after failing at various polite attempts to calm Narasimha, Sharabha avatar, attacked, Narasimha and tied him to his tail, and immobilized him. Thus, eventually calming Narasimha's rage.

5.   Ashwatthama Avatar

Ashwatthama is said to be the “Vish Purush” sprung out of Shiva. After he took Halahal during Samadura Manthan, he was granted a blessing that he would be able to kill oppressive Kshatriyas. He would be born as Bharadwaja's grandson and will be raised as a Brahman, but will be attracted to Kshatriyahood. When the acharya throne did tenants to obtain Shiva as his son Shiva granted him the boon and his Vish Purusha was born to Drona and his wife Kripi. Ashwatthama was born with Mani or a diamond on his forehead. Ashwatthama is one of the seven Chiranjeevi's of Hinduism and is considered to be alive to date.

6.  Bhairava Avatar 

The Bhairava avatar is also one of the fiercest avatars of Lord Shiva, referred to as Dandapani, the Bhairava avatar punishes the sinners who are greedy, lustful, and arrogant.

The origin of Bhairava can be traced to a conversation between Brahma and Vishnu, which is recounted in the Shiva Mahapurana. In this story, Vishnu asked Brahma, who is the supreme creator of the universe, and arrogantly Brahma told Vishnu to worship him as the supreme creator. One day, Brahma thought I have five heads Shiva also has five heads.

I can do everything that Shiva does and therefore I am Shiva. Brahma became egotistical as a result of this thought. Additionally, he began to forget his duties and started interfering with what Shiva was supposed to be doing. Therefore, Shiva threw a small hair from his head, which assumed the form of Kala Bhairava. However, that went on to cut off one of the heads of Brahma facing upwards. After cutting ahead of Brahma, Brahma’s ego was destroyed and he became enlightened. The skull of Brahma is held in the hands of Kaal Bhairava.

From then on Brahma became useful to himself and the world and deeply grateful to Shiva, but due to slaying one head of Brahma, Kaal Bhairav was down with the sin of Brahma-Hathya (Killing of Brahmana) and therefore had to go to Kashi to remorse for his sins.

7.  Duravasa Avatar

Durvasa was a great sage known for his short-tempered behavior and curses given to Indra, Saraswati, Rukmini, Shakuntala, etc. He was born to sage Atri and his wife Anasuya.

According to chapter 4 of Brahmanda Purana, Brahma and Shiva got into a heated quarrel. Shiva became violently enraged when the devas fled from his presence in fear. His wife Parvati complained that Shiva was now impossible to live with, with his infuriating nature and rage. Realizing the chaos his anger had caused Shiva deposited his anger into Anasuya, the wife of sage Atri. From this Ansh that Shiva deposited into Anasuya, a child was born named Durvasa. The name Durvasa means the one who is difficult to live with. Lord Shiva took Durvasa's avatar for maintaining the discipline of the universe.

8.  Grihapati Avatar

A Brahmin named Vishwanara, and his wife Shuchismati lived on the banks of the Narmada River. Even after a long period of married life, they did not have any children, so they proceeded to Kashi and pray to Lord Shiva. Shiva appeared before Vishwanara blessed him, and promised him to take birth as his son in due course of time, Shuchismathi gave birth to a beautiful child Lord Brahman named the child Grihapati. He started traditionally learning the Vedas and within one year he became proficient in all the Vedas and other sacred texts. When Brihaspati attained, the age of nine Narada muni came and said that Grihapati would not live for long. Grihapati then consoled his parents and proceeded to Kashi to do penance to avoid death. In Kashi, Grihapati found an auspicious place and placed a Shivalinga there.

Besides Shivaling, he commenced his penance with prayers on knowing about the act of Grihapati. Lord Indra arrived there and blessed him. He asked him to demand anything and the boon shall be granted. However, Grihapati refused to demand anything. Indra became furious at this and tried to attack him with his Vajrayudha (weapon Vajra). Grihapati now scared for his life began, praying to Lord Shiva for protection.

Immediately Lord Shiva appeared before him on seeing Bholenath, Indra was forced to retreat from the scene, and Mahadev blesses Grahapati with long life and assures him that no weapon would be able to kill him.

9.  Hanuman Avatar

Hanuman, born to Anjani and Kesari, is one of the central characters of the epic Ramayana and is the ultimate devotee of Vishnu's seventh avatar Shri Ram.

Hanuman is also called the son of the Vayu because of the legends associated with Vayu's role in Hanuman’s birth. Hanuman is considered to be one of the seven Chiranjeevis of Hinduism who will live on earth till the end of Kali Yuga.

10.   Vrishabha Avatar

The churning of the great oceans brought numerous things. There was a fierce battle between the demons and the deities over the vessel of Amrit, Lord Vishnu tricked all the asuras by creating an illusion of an enchanting beauty when the asuras took note of them, they forcibly carried them to their abode Patal Lok, after that they came back to take control of the Amrit.

However, the devas had already taken the Amrit. Lord Vishnu went to Patal Lok to annihilate them, but he was caught up in Maya and fathered many immoral sons who went on to create a ruckus for the gods. To get rid of these cruel sons of Vishnu, Lord Shiva assumed the form of an ox known as Vrishabha and killed all the brutal sons of Vishnu. However, Lord Vishnu came to fight the ox. Still, he returned to his abode after realizing that it was an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

11.  Yatinath Avatar

Once there was a tribal man Aahuk, he, along with his wife, was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. It so happened that Lord Shiva visited them in the form of Yatinath to test the tribal couple who were known for their hospitality. They had a small hut that could not accommodate Lord Shiva as a guest, so Aahuk had to go and sleep outside. However, unfortunately, Aahuk was killed by a wild animal. Instead of mourning, his wife took pride in him for giving away his life for the sake of a guest, but to be one with her husband, his wife decided to end her own life as well pleased by the couple’s devotion, Lord Shiva blessed them by saying that they would be Born as Nala and Damayanti in their next birth.

12.  Krishna Darshan Avatar

Krishna darshan avatar of Lord Shiva appeared to emphasize the importance of Yagya and the importance of remaining detached during his childhood king Nabhag left his home for Gurukula to get an education. In his absence his brothers got all the wealth of the kingdom and distributed it amongst themselves when Nabhag returned home after the completion of his education, he demanded his share of wealth from his brothers. His brothers told him that they had forgotten to assign his share and advised him to go and meet their father.

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 able to complete it because of his attachment. Nabhag went to the place where sage Angiras was performing his Yagya and preached to sage Angiras on the virtues of religiousness. As a result, he became free from all sorts of attachment, and the Yagya was completed. 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 appeared in his Krishna darshan avatar and tried to prevent sage Angiras from donating the wealth to Nabhag, instead, he claimed his stake. Nabhag told Lord Shiva that, since the wealth was given to him by sage Angiras himself, it naturally belonged to him.

Lord Shiva then sent Nabhag to his father, Shraddhadev, to know about his opinion. Nabhag went to his father, who revealed to him that the person who was claiming the stake in the wealth was none other than Lord Shiva. He also told him that whatever remained after the accomplishment of the Yagya belongs to Lord Shiva only Nabhagg was now satisfied. He went back to Lord Shiva and narrated everything. What his father had said. Krishna darshan avatar showed Nabhag the significance of higher spiritual attainment and salvation and hence gave blessings.

13.  Bhikshuvarya Avatar

As the name suggests in the Bhikshuvarya, Lord Shiva appeared as a beggar to save the child of a king named Satyratha. Once a beggar was passing by a child who had just taken birth near the banks of a river where his mother had died, while the newborn was crying a woman nearby hesitated to take the child. Shiva then, in his Bhikshuk form advised the woman to take the child and bring him up.

14.  Sureshwar Avatar

This avatar of Lord Shiva appeared in Indra dev’s disguise to test the devotion of a young boy. Once a child named Upamanyu, the son of sage Vyagrahpad meditated to please Lord Shiva. Shiva, to test his devotee appeared there with his wife Parvati, both disguised as Indra and Indrani, they not only attempted to instigate him against Shiva but also promised to bless him and fulfill all his wishes. However, this could not lure the boy into moving his devotion away from Shiva and his dedication to Shiva was tested to be true. Pleased by this both the deities revealed themselves and blessed the child.

15.  Keerat Avatar

In the Keerat avatar as a hunter, Lord Shiva appeared to test the bravery of Arjuna when the Pandavas were in exile, Arjuna meditated to seek Lord Shiva’s Pashupat. As he was meditating a demon named Mooka transformed into a Boar to kill Arjuna. Lord Shiva’s Keerat avatar and Arjuna both killed the boar with their respective arrows at the same time, a fight broke between Keerat and Arjuna as to who struck the Boar first.

Arjuna challenged Keerat to a duel. Keerat pleased by Arjuna’s valor gifted him Pashupat, initially, Arjuna couldn’t recognize Lord Shiva, but eventually, he realized that only Lord Shiva could give him the Pashupat and be a better archer than him.

16.  Suntantarka Avatar

The Sunatnartak avatar of Lord Shiva appeared in front of the Himalayan Kings Court and danced with his Damru. In the end, he put forward a marriage proposal and expressed his desire to marry Parvati.

17.  Brahmachari Avatar

When Sati took birth as Parvati, she performed intense penance to please Lord Shiva. Shiva appeared before her as a Brahmachari. He heard abuses at Shiva to test Parvati’s devotion and determination to marry him and Parvati who loved Lord Shiva more than anyone else, gave a fitting reply to the Brahmachari. Eventually, Lord Shiva revealed himself and agreed to marry Parvati.

18.  Yaksheshwar avatar

The Yaksheshwar avatar of Lord Shiva appeared to crush the pride and ego of the devas after they consumed Amrit the divine nectar of immortality from Samudra Manthan. He asked them to cut a blade of grass and they failed to destroy it, even with all their combined powers. Subsequently, the devas apologized to Lord Shiva.

19.  Avadhoot avatar

Lord Shiva, appeared as Avadhoot to crush the ego of Indradev once Indra and Brihabspati were traveling to mount Kailash. Lord Shiva appeared as a naked beggar and blocked their path. The duo couldn’t recognize Lord Shiva in disguise, and Indra asked the Lord to move out of their way. To his utter dismay, Lord Shiva did not move an enraged. Indra raised his vajra to kill the beggar, but Lord Shiva paralyzed Indra, with his gaze of the third eye, the realization dawned upon Indra and Brihaspati and later directed Indra to apologize to Lord Shiva.




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