Lord Shiva Avatars and Incarnations
Mahadev, Parameshwara or Bholenath, call him by any name, but Lord Shiva and his grandeur is unmatched. Fearless and rugged, Lord Shiva is one of the most popular deities in Hinduism. Often considered as the supreme god, he is also a part of the holy Hindu Trinity. This Trinity depicts Lord Brahma as the creator, Lord Vishnu as the preserver and Lord Shiva as the destroyer. In this article we shall be talking about the various avatars and incarnations of Lord Shiva. So let’s begin our enchanting journey to discover the hidden pearls of Hindu mythology. Lord Shiva Avatars and Incarnations Lord Shiva has always stood strong for his principles of truth and integrity. And he has appeared during various yugas in different avatars to save the world from evils. Shiva Mahapurana, the scared text dedicated to Lord Shiva talks about the 19 most popular avatars of Lord Shiva.
- Piplaad avatar – this avatar of Lord Shiva aids people get rid of their Shani Dosha.
- Nandi avatar – Lord Shiva and the quiet Nandi are inseparable. Nandi is worshipped as the keeper of herds and this avatar is an indication of all the beings of earth.
- Veerbhadra avatar – the world knows the wrath of Lord Shiva. This avatar of Lord Shiva was formed when Goddess Parvati sacrificed her body during the yagya performed by father, King Daksha. In the fit of anger, Lord Shiva pulled out a strand of hair and threw it over the mountains. This form is believed to have a body matching the color of the clouds, fiery red eyes and he wore a garland of skulls
- Bhairava avatar – also referred to as Kaala Bhairava, this is one of the fiercest exhibitions of Lord Siva. This form is considered as the full form of Lord Shiva.Once Lord Vishnu asked Lord Brahma who is the supreme creator of the universe? Lord Brahma said that since he was the creator of the universe everyone should worship him. This angered Lord Shiva, who then appeared in the form of Bhairava to punish Lord Brahma.
- Ashwatthama – According to the epic text Mahabharata, Ashwatthama was created taking Lord Shiva’s kaal, krodha (anger) and yam (death).
- Sharbh avatar – the sixth avatar of Lord Shiva is part lion and part bird. The Sanskrit literature personifies Sharbh as an eight-legged beast who is mightier than the lion and the elephant.
- Grihpati avatar – Once there was a Brahmin called Vishwanar who was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. His wife has a dire desire to have a son like Lord Shiva, Seeing their devotion and dedication, Lord Shiva agreed to be born into the Brahmin’s family as his son. After some time when Shuchismati gave birth to a son, Lord Brahma named the child – Grihapati. He was a highly learned child but at the age of nine, Narada came to inform his father that Grihapati’s death was unavoidable due to the evil effects of celestial combinations.
Grihapti proceeded towards Kashi and repented so that he could conquer death. Seeing his dedication, Lord Indira said that he would grant any of his wish. But Grihapati refused. This angered Lord Indira and he tried to attack the child with his Vajra. Seeing this Lord Shiva appeared and blessed Grihapati. He made Grihapati the lord of all the directions.
- Rishi Durvasa – this form of Lord Shiva is famous for its short temper and anger. The incarnation came into existence to maintain peace and harmony on earth. Once Atri, the manasputra of Lord Brahma went for penance to the banks of river Nivindhya. He commenced his penance and it resulted into a massive fire that spread to all the three worlds. Seeing this devastation, Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva blessed Atri. Later Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva were reincarnated as the moon, Dutt and Durvasa.
- Hanuman – the beloved Lord Hanuman is also one of the incarnations of Lord Siva.
- Rishabh avatar – as the ocean churned a large vessel containing nectar emerged out of the ocean. A huge battle was fought between the demons and the deities over this vessel of nectar. To distract the attention of demons, Lord Vishnu created numerous beauties. While the demons took these beauties to the ‘Patal Lok’ with them, the deities drank all the nectar. This infuriated the demons and they tried to kill the deities. To save their lives Lord Vishnu went to Patal Lok and killed them all. Although he killed the demons but he was left mesmerized by the beauties there. The union of Lord Vishnu with the beauties resulted in many children. To save these children, Lord Shiva went to Patal Lok in the form of an Ox – Rishabh.
- Yatinaath avatar – this form of Lord Shiva is a personification of pleasant behavior towards guests.
- Krishnadarshan avatar – the twelfth incarnation of Lord Shiva symbolizes and highlights the importance of yagna and other religious practices.
- Avdhooth avatar – in this incarnation Lord Shiva destroyed the ego of Lord Indira.
- Bhikshuwarya avatar – although in the Hindu Trinity Lord Shiva is regarded as the destroyer, but he is also said to be the protector of life. This incarnation is a depiction of Lord Shiva as the protector of the universe.
- Sureshwar avatar – this avatar of Lord Shiva depicts love towards the devotees of Lord Indra.
- Keerat avatar – once Arjuna was performing penance to please Lord Shiva. In this avatar Lord Shiva appeared as a Keerat to test Arjuna and his principles.
- Suntantarka avatar – Lord Shiva appeared in this avatar to as Goddess Parvati’s hand from her father – Himalaya.
- Brahmachari avatar – after Goddess Parvati sacrificed herself during her father’s yagna, she took rebirth in Himalayas’ house. She worshipped Lord Shiva for years so that he could be her husband again. Lord Shiva appeared in this incarnation to take Goddess Parvati’s test.
- Yaksha avatar – to remove ego and self-pride from the minds of many gods, Lord Shiva took this form.