Panchamukha Shiva, also known as Panchanana Shiva, is an image or idol of Lord Shiva with five faces. As five is the sacred number for Lord Shiva, five mantras and syllables represent him. These five mantras also signify the five heads of Shiva. Each head has a particular name and specific Shakti (power) is associated with it.
Puranas describe these five aspects of Shiva as the five elements, the five senses, the five organs of perception, and the five organs of action. From below given table we can know detailed information on names of Panchamukhi Shiva and the Shakti or power associated with them:
- Ishana: Also known as Sadashiva, Ishana Shiva is associated with Anugraha Shakti (power of blessing)
- Tatpurusha: Also known as Maheshwara, Tatpurusha Shiva is associated with Thoridhana Shakti (power of concealment)
- Aghora: Also referred to as Rudra, Aghora Shiva associates with Samhara Shakti (power of dissolution)
- Vamadeva: Also termed as Vishnu, Vamadeva Shiva is associated with Stithi Shakti (power of sustenance)
- Sadyojata: Also named as Brahma, Sadyojata Shiva is associated with Srishti shakti (power of creation)
There is a popular idol of Panchamukha Shiva at Elephanta Caves near Mumbai Metropolis which displays only three faces of Panchamukha Shiva. The concept of Panchamukha Shiva explains us Lord Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma are not three different Gods but a single God’s three significant aspects.
Here you can read about Panchamukha Hanuman.