The Eleven(11) Incarnations of Lord Shiva

To establish law and balance of Nature, Almighty takes several forms. Lord Shiva, according to Hinduism, took many avatars in various yugas (ages). In Shiva Purana (a holy hindu text), the following 11 Avatars of Shiva are mentioned...

1. Piplaad Avatar

Lord Shiva took birth in the house of Rishi Dadhichi (a sage) as Piplaad. But the sage is said to have left the house due to the positioning of the Shani (Saturn). So, Piplaad cursed Shani and caused the planet to fall from its celestial abode. Later, he forgave Shani on a condition that the planet would never trouble anyone before 16 years of age. Hence, people worship the Piplaad form of Lord Shiva for good fortune..

2. Nandi Avatar

Lord Shiva is seen as the protector of the herds. He is depicted as bull faced with four hands. The two hands are seen holding an axe and an antelope.

3. Veerabhadra Avatar

According to Shiva Purana, Veerabhadra came when Goddess Sati sacrificed herself at the Daksha yagna. Lord Shiva became extremely furious. Lord Shiva plucked a hair strand from his head and threw it on the ground. It was from the hair strand that Veerbhadra and Rudrakali were born. This fierce avatar is said to have broken 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.

4. Sharabha Avatar

Shiva Purana narrates that god Shiva took the Avatar of Sharabha (part bird part lion) to tame Narasimha, the fierce avatar of Vishnu. This form is popularly known as Sarabeshwara (Lord Sarabha) or Sharabeshwaramurti.

5. Ashwatthama (a poisonous man)

Ashwatthama is said to be the “The Vish Purush” sprung out of Shiva after he took Halahal(poison) during Samundra Mathan. He was granted a blessing that he would be able to kill oppressive kshatriyas (the kings). He will be born as Bhardwaja’s grandson and be raised as Brahman but attracted to Kshatriyahood. This Vish purush was born as Ashwatthama to Drona and Kripi.

6. Bhairava Avatar

Bhairava avatar was created when Lord Brahma lied about his quest for superiority, Shiva took the form of Bhairava and cut off Lord Brahma’s fifth head. Severing a Brahma’s head made Lord Shiva guilty of the crime of killing a Brahmin (Brahma hatya) and hence Shiva had to carry the skull of Brahma for twelve years and roam as a Bhikshatana. In this form, Shiva is said to guard all the Shakti Peethas.

7. Durvasa Avatar

Lord Shiva had taken the avatar of Durvasa on the earth to maintain the discipline of the universe. Durvasa was a great sage known for his short temper.

8. Grihapati Avatar

Lord Shiva was born as a child to a great devotee of Lord Shiva, Shuchismati. The child was well versed in all the Vedas yet was informed had to die young due to planetary positions. Lord Shiva came to his defense and 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.

9. Lord Hanuman

Lord Shiva was so infatuated by the appearance of Lord Vishnu in his form of Mohini during Samudra Mathan 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.

10. Vrishabha Avatar

During Samundra Manthan Vishnu tricked all the asuras by creating an illusion of enchanting beauties. When the asuras saw them, they forcibly carried these enchanting beauties to their world of Patal Lok. After that, they again returned to take control of the Nectar which had been taken by the gods. While Vishnu went to annihilate them in Patal loka he himself got caught up in the Maya and created many immoral sons. It was then Lord Shiva took the form of an ox or Vrishabha and killed all the cruel sons of Lord Vishnu.

11. Yatinath Avatar

There was once a tribal man named Aahuk. He and his wife were ardent devotees of Lord Shiva. One day Lord Shiva visited them in the form of Yatinath. Their small hut couldn’t accommodate lord Shiva guised as a guest, so Aahuk decided to sleep outside. Unfortunately, he was killed by a wild animal outside. This wife decided to take her own life but was blessed by Lord shiva that they would be born as Nala and Damyanti in the next life and Shiva would unite them.

But, in this modern society, Shiva takes forms in the hands of skilled people...