Lord Shiva is the greatest God in Hinduism. He is the God of meditation and yoga. In India, people regard him as the biggest God that can fulfil all the wishes, desires and dreams of people.
That’s why there is a saying “Dev vo ke Dev, Mahadev”.
There’s no doubt, even if you just chant “Om Namah Shivaya” mantra for 108 days, 108 times per day with full devotion, Lord Shiva will come to you and bless you. Even though, it is the simplest mantra, it can completely change a persons life.
The mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” is regarded as one of the Maha Mantras in India. It is one of the greatest mantra, one can chant and a Yogi can chant to achieve bliss in their life.
We all know that Maha Dev or Lord Shiva is represented by having a Cobra snake coiled around his forehead and a half moon on top of his head. He is always in the meditation state and any one who distracts him gets burned by his “Third Eye”. As we know, Mount Kailash is the home of Lord Shiva and it is said that Lord Shiva resides on top of the Mount Kailash mountain. That’s why no one is allowed to climb the Mount Kailash mountain.
But many people, even people living in India itself don’t know the fact that Lord Shiva actually has 19 Avatars or Forms. That’s the topic for our article today. Because today we are going to discuss about the 19 avatars of Lord Shiva.
The Mysterious 19 Avatars Of Lord Shiva.
1. Veerabhadra Avatar
The Veerabhadra avatar came into existence when in Daksha yagna, Goddess Sati immolated herself on fire. When Lord Shiva heard this, he become extremely angry and furious and out of his fury, he took out his hair from his head and threw it. It was from those thrown hair of Lord Shiva, Veerabhadra was born.
The Veerbhadra avatar of Lord Shiva was known to be very fierce and scary. With full rage and anger, Veerabhadra came to Daksha Yagna, and destroyed all the sacrificial vessels, poisoned the offerings during the Daksha Yagna and cut off Daksha’s head and punished him with death. He also broke the staff of Yama and scattered the gods on every side after which he returned to Mount Kailash and returned to his meditative state to heal the misery of Goddess Sati.
2. Piplaad Avatar
Piplaad is another Avatar of Lord Shiva, when Lord Shiva took birth in the house of Rishi Dadhichi as Piplaad. However, according to the Vedic story, it is said that Piplaad’s father had died at a very early age. When Piplaad asked the Gods, why did my father die, they replied that due to the effect of Saturn or Lord Shani Dev on him, his father left this world when he was very young.
When Piplaad heard this, he got furious and angry and he cursed the Planet Saturn or Shani that it started fall from the solar system. Then the Gods started praying and Piplaad finally forgave Shani Dev or Saturn in the condition that Shani Dev would not cause harm to anyone before 16 years of age. It is also said that Lord Brahma actually named Lord Shiva with this Avatar.
3. Ashwatthama Avatar
Ashwatthama, or the “Great Warrior”, was known to be one of the Avatars of Lord Shiva. According to Mahabharata, Droṇāchārya who was the guru of both Pandava and Kauravas did several years of severe and serious Tapasya to please Lord Shiva to grant him a son that had same valiance as Lord Shiva. Thus, after which Lord Shiva said that he will be born in his house as Ashwatthama who had a Jewel on his forehead, also known as the Mani of a Nag.
It was practically impossible to defeat him and because of the gem or jewel on his forehead, he was above all that was lower than humans. It made him like a super human by having the ability to not get hungry, thirsty and tiredness. He was tall, dark and an extremely skilled warrior and had a great role in the Kurukshetra War. It is said that Ashwatthama, almost defeated the entire future generation of Pandavas.(C.Rana.Yatradham.org).
According to various tales and stories, Ashwatthama is still alive till today. He is still living on this earth.
4. Lord Hanuman
It is said that the lord Hanuman Avatar of Lord Shiva is regarded as the most auspicious one. The Hanuman Avatar came into existence when Lord Shiva saw Goddess Mohini – the female avatar of Lord Vishnu giving Amrit to Gods and Goddesses. Lord Shiva was so infatuated by the appearance of Goddess Mohini that his Semen got released on the floor.
Vedic Sapta Rishis preserved the holy semen of Lord Shiva in a leaf and later on gave it to Anjani who swallowed it into her womb with the permission of Lord Shiva. From her, Lord Hanuman was born.
Lord Hanuman had the greatest strength and Vigor. He had the strength that he ate the Sun thinking that it was a “Ladu or Indian round sweet”.
5. Vrishabha Avatar
The Story of Lord Shiva’s Vrishbha Avatar comes into existence when Goddess Laxmi argued with Lord Vishnu about who resides in his heart. Lord Vishnu replied that Mahadev resides in his one half and on other other half, she resides. However, as the conversation went on, Goddess Laxmi became angry and furious because Lord Vishnu, also known to be as Narayana said that his devotees also resides in his heart. Because of this, Goddess Laxmi told Lord Narayana to leave her and live with his devotees. Lord Vishnu came to the Patal Loka and saw lots of enchanted beauties from which many sons were born who made it to the earth.
This started the Samundra Manthan and the fight between Lord Shiva and Lord Narayana. As Lord Brahma started praying to Lord Shiva while because without Lord Narayana, the universe was not complete and it started to degrade. It was then, Lord Shiva took the form of Vrishabha Avatar to stop Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu started fight with the ox who was the Vrishabha Avatar form of Lord Shiva. After recognising that it was Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu humbly returned. Lord Ganesha also told the Nymphs to take back their promise.
After with Goddess Laxmi also understood the fact that the whole universe needed the holy trinity and without which, the universe cannot be complete.
6. Nandi Avatar
According to the Nandi Avatar of Lord Shiva, the story goes as follows: Once there was a man named Shilad. He had no child and he always wanted to have a child. Therefore, he immersed himself into prayers and Tapasya by praying to Lord Shiva for thousands of years until Lord Shiva heard his prayer, came before him and fulfilled his wish.
Upon hearing the Lord fulfilling his wishes, he retuned home happily. The next day, he found a beautiful child in his farm field. The baby was unlike any other child in the world. The baby would shine just as bright as the Sun and when he came near the child, he heard the voice from the Lord “Take the child and bring him up well”.
Shilad, overjoy and filled with happiness, his tears of happiness started rolling down from his eyes and he accepted the child, took him to his home and named him Nandi. It is said that Nandi was Lord Shiva himself and was one of the forms of Lord Shiva.
7. Bhairava Avatar
Bhairava Avatar came into existence when once Lord Brahma lied to Lord Shiva about his superiority. Lord Shiva upon hearing this became angry and furious.
He then took the form of Bhairava Avatar and he cut off Lord Brahma’s fifth head. Because of this, Bhairava became guilty of crime.
it is said that Lord Shiva carried the skull of Lord Brahma and roam as a Bhikshatana for twelve years. In Kashi, Bhairava got free from the guilt and crime of Brahma hatya.
8. Sharabha Avatar
Sharabha Avatar of Lord Shiva is known to be seen as a half lion and a half bird. According to Vedic tales, Lord Shiva took the form of Sharabha Avatar to calm down the fury and angry of Lord Narasimha. When several other gods were not able to calm down Lord Narasimha, they came to Lord Shiva and asked him to help.
Lord Shiva took the form of Sharabha. Even after this, Lord Narasimha did not calm down. Lord Shiva took the tails of Sharabha and entangled Lord Narasimha. It was only after this, Lord Narasimha cooled down and asked for forgiveness from Lord Shiva.
9. Grihapati Avatar
A Brahmin named Visvanara lived on the banks of River Narmada with his wife Shuchismati. His wife deeply desired to have a child and asked his husband to ask Lord Shiva to grant her a son. To fulfil his wife’s desires, Visvanara came to Kashi, and started praying to Lord Shiva in front of a Shivalinga.
One day, Lord Shiva appeared before him and fulfilled his wife’s wishes. Lord Shiva decided to be born in the womb of Shuchismati. Lord’s Shiva’s this form is known as Grihapati.
10. Durvasa Avatar
Durvasa was an ancient Rishi, the son of Arti and Anasuya. Durvasa is also known to be one of the avatars of Lord Shiva and the story follows this way.
Once Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva had a big heated quarrel. The heated argument became so violent that all the Devatas Feld from their presence in fear of Lord Shiva’s anger.
Lord Shiva realised that he became really angry and thus decided to deposit his anger into the wife of Sage Arti, who was Anasuya. Thus, Anasuya gave birth to a child who was known as Durvasa.
Because Durvasa was born because of Lord Shiva’s anger, it is said that Durvasa was known to have a quick temper.
11. Yatinath Avatar
The story of the Yatinath Avatar of Lord Shiva goes as follows.
Once there was a tribal man named Aahuk during the Vedic period. He and his wife were devoted devotees of Lord Shiva and because of that, one day Lord Shiva visited their hut in the form of a human being who was called Yatinath. Aahuk and his wife after seeing Yatinath, thought about where he would sleep for the night.
Because Yatinath were their guest, Aahuk decided that he would sleep outside the hut and in order to let his guest sleep in his hut. As his hut was really small and could accommodate only two people. Aahuk wanted to serve his guest with good hospitality.
But unfortunately, during the night, Aahuk was attacked by a fierce wild animal that took his life. Moreover, his after in the morning after seeing his husband dead felt miserable and she also took her own life.
Lord Shiva then appeared before them, and blessed both Aahuk and his wife with a boon that he and his wife will be born as Nala and Damayanti in a Royal Family in their next birth. That Lord Shiva would make sure that he would unite both of them.
12. Krishna Darshan Avatar
Once there lived a Prince named Nabhag. He lived in a wealthy Kingdom with his brothers and father. Nabhag had to leave his kingdom and go to Gurukul for his education. In his absence, his brothers got all the wealth leaving nothing for Nabhag. When Nabhag returned from Gurukul, he demanded that he should get the rest of the share that was allotted to him. His brothers, said that since he was absent, they had forgotten to fix his fair share of wealth. They advised that he should meet their father in order to fix this issue.
Nabhag humbly accepted his brothers advice and went to his father to fix this issue. His father then him to go to sage Angiras who was trying to attain a yagna.
Sage Angiras was not able to achieve that goal and Nabhag preached him with all his virtues of religion due to which Sage Angiras was able to achieve the Yagna. Sage Angiras was very pleased with Nabhag and gave the remaining wealth to him. It was then Lord Shiva appeared before him in disguise to test him one more time in the incarnation of Krishna Darshan. He then claimed all the remaining wealth that was given to Nabhag by Sage Angiras. Nabhag then told Krishna Darshan that the wealth given to him by the sage belongs to the sage himself as he gave it to him.
Lord Shiva being pleased by such wisdom, sent him to his father who then told Nabhag that the person who tried to claim the wealth was none other than Lord Shiva himself. With this, Lord Shiva blessed Nabhag that he would attain salvation in his life.
13. Bhikshuvarya Avatar
Once upon a time, there lived a King named Satyarath who ruled Vidarbha. During a fierce battle with a neighbouring kingdom, the King lost his life his wife was able to survive by hiding in the forest. During the time, his wife was pregnant and gave birth to a son near a pond in the forest. Unfortunately, his wife also died because a crocodile hid inside a pond that attacked her.
The poor child kept crying in hunger and thirst until a bigger heard the cry of the child but she hesitated to take the child until Lord Shiva appeared before her and told her to take the child and adopt her. She named the child Dharma Gupta.
This form of Lord Shiva appearing before the beggar and the child is known to be Bhikshuvarya Avatar.
14. Kirateshwar Avatar
The Story of Kirateshwar Avatar comes into existence when Arjuna was performing a serious penance to please Lord Shiva. During the time, Duryodhan, had sent a Rakshesh or Demon named Mooka to kill Arjuna.
During Arjuna’s mediation, he was disturbed by a loud noise of a boar, who was actually the demon Mooka disguised as a boar to kill Arjuna. When Arjuna opened his eyes, he saw Kirateshwar fighting against the boar.
While both, Arjuna and Kirateshwar shot arrows at the boar in order to kill him. After the boar had died, a big argument broke between Arjuna and Kirateshwar over who killed the boar. Soon, both of them were fighting against each other.
After seeing such Valor and courage of Arjuna, Lord Shiva revealed himself before him and Arjuna feeling guilty and ashamed asked for forgiveness as he could not recognise Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva consolidated him and gave him the weapon Pashupat to Arjuna.
15. Avadhut Avatar
Lord Shiva blocked their path in disguised as beggar who was named Avadhut. Lord Indra seeing the beggar block his path decided to attack the beggar with his powers of Vajra. The beggar paralysed Lord Indra’s Vajra with his third eye and Lord Brispati upon seeing this event recognised Lord Shiva told Lord Brispati to apologise to him.
Because the beggar Vavdhut was none other than Lord Shiva himself. Lord Shiva then forgave Lord Indra.
16. Sureshwar Avatar
The story of Sureshwar Avatar of Lord Shiva beings when one man named Upamanyu who was the son of Vyaghrapaad was one day crying for milk in his childhood. His mother however, told him that he could only get the milk from Lord Shiva and that he was the only one who could give milk to him.
Upamanyu listened to his mother and went to the Himalayas to do deep penance to pray to Lord Shiva. His penance became so serious that it started to generate heat that burned all the three worlds of the universe.
Lord Shiva appeared before him in disguise as Indra with Parvati as Indrani to test him. They told Upamanyu that he should stop doing the penance. They even told that they would fulfil all his dreams and wishes and that they would curse Lord Shiva. Upamanyu became furious at their statement and started attacking them.
By seeing such devotion to the lord, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati became very pleased with him. Both of them revealed their true identity and blessed him that he would be present in the vicinity of his hermitage along with Parvati forever. (SpeakingTree.in).
Upamanyu returned home and told the whole story to his mother who became very pleased with him. From here Lord Shiva got the name “Sureshwar” as he had disguised in the form of Indra.
17. Sunatnartak Avatar
Lord Shiva took the form of Sunatnartak Avatar to ask the hand of Goddess Parvati from her father Himalaya.
It is said that Lord Shiva went in this form to the Himalayas and took his “Damaru” and started dancing and performing. Lord Shiva did it in such a beautiful manner that everyone was amazed by it.
When the Himalaya asked what he wanted, Lord Shiva asked him for his daughter Goddess Parvati.
Because of this, Raja Himalaya became angry and furious. After which, Raja Himalaya recognised Lord Shiva and decided that he would give his daughter Goddess Parvati to Lord Shiva.
18. Bramachari Avatar
After Goddess Sati had sacrificed herself in Daksha Yagna, she took rebirth again in the Himalayas and worshiped Lord Shiva in order to get him back as her husband.
To test the determination of Goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva took the form of Bramachari and went near Goddess Parvati. She prayed before Bramachari, after which he asked Goddess Parvati, why was she praying to Lord Shiva and she told him her reason for her penance.
After which Bramachari started criticising Lord Shiva, upon hearing this, Goddess Parvati became very angry and furious. After seeing the love and devotion of Goddess Parvati for Lord Shiva, he revealed himself before her. After seeing this Goddess Parvati became very pleased.
19. Yaksheshwar Avatar
During the Samudra Manthan, after the Gods and Deities defeated the asuras, a deadly poison started spreading over the oceans. Lord Shiva appeared before them and drank the poison and swallowed it in the form of Yaksheshwar Avatar.
The deities after defeating the asuras become prideful and arrogant but they didn’t realise that it was Lord Shiva himself who drank the poison. Yaksheshwar then asked the deities to cut the grass and they completely failed to cut the grass. They suddenly heard a heavenly voice that said that the one who drank the poison was none other than Lord Shiva himself.
The deities then apologised before Lord Shiva and realised their mistakes.
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