The Appearance of Lord Shiva

Complexity: 
Medium

from Srimad-Bhagavatam


Here's how the Srimad-Bhagavatam describes Shiva’s uncommon appearance: The engineer of the universe, Brahma, had asked four of his sons, celibate sages known as the Kumaras, to populate the worlds. When they refused, on the grounds that they wished to use their time purely for spiritual pursuits, Brahma became angry. Here's what happened next:

“Although Brahma tried to curb his anger, it came out from between his eyebrows, and a child of mixed blue and red was immediately generated. (7)

“After his [Shiva’s] birth, he began to cry: O destiny maker [Brahma], teacher of the universe, kindly designate my name and place. (8)

“The all-powerful Brahma, born from the lotus flower, pacified the boy with gentle words, accepting his request, and said: Do not cry. I shall certainly do as you desire. (9)

“Thereafter, Brahma said: O chief of the demigods, you shall be called by the name Rudra by all people because you have anxiously cried. (10)

“My dear boy, I have already selected the following places for your residence: the heart, the senses, the air of life, the sky, the air, the fire, the water, the earth, the sun, the moon, and austerity. (11)

“My dear Rudra, you have eleven other names: Manyu, Manu, Mahinasa, Mahan, Shiva, Ritadhvaja, Ugrareta, Bhava, Kala, Vamadeva, and Dhritavrata. (12)

“O Rudra, you also have eleven wives, called the Rudranis, and they are as follows: Dhi, Dhriti, Rasala, Uma, Niyut, Sarpi, Ila, Ambika, Iravati, Svadha, and Diksha.” (13)

Shiva and Parvati, as his wife is also known, have their abode in Shiva-loka, between the material and spiritual worlds." (13) (see also Brahma-samhita 5.43).

"My dear boy, you may now accept all the names and places designated for you and your different wives, and since you are now one of the masters of the living entities, you may increase the population on a large scale." (14)

"The most powerful Rudra, whose bodily color was blue mixed with red, created many offspring exactly resembling him in features, strength and furious nature." (15)

"The sons and grandsons generated by Rudra were unlimited in number, and when they assembled together they attempted to devour the entire universe. When Brahma, the father of the living entities, saw this, he became afraid of the situation." (16)

"Brahma told Rudra: O best among the demigods, there is no need for you to generate living entities of this nature. They have begun to devastate everything on all sides with the fiery flames from their eyes, and they have even attacked me." (17)

"My dear son, you had better situate yourself in penance, which is auspicious for all living entities and which will bring all benediction upon you. By penance only shall you be able to create the universe as it was before." (18)

"By penance only can one even approach the Personality of Godhead, who is within the heart of every living entity and at the same time beyond the reach of all senses." (19)

"Sri Maitreya said: Thus Rudra, having been ordered by Brahma, circumambulated his father, the master of the Vedas. Addressing him with words of assent, he entered the forest to perform austere penances." (20)