Bhikshatanamurti is one of the aspects of Lord Shiva. The word Bhikshatanamurthi means Supreme Mendicant. Though the word Mendicant refers to Beggar, it is mostly referred to ascetics, religious followers or supreme sages. There are different kinds of beliefs about the concept of Bhiksatanamurti. Some believe that Lord Shiva roams around the world in the form of naked mendicant, observing the people’s deeds in their different walks of life.
Some other believes that he is the kind appearance of his ferocious nature, thus making the people pleasant and enabling them to believe in God. In other philosophies, it is believed that the logic behind Lord Shiva in the form a beggar, is asking for the alms in disguise to gift you the spiritual strengths, which help to attain the ultimate liberation.
The concept of Bhiksatanamurti has been discussed in epics like Linga Purana, Shiva Purana, Kurma Purana and Bhagavata Purana. In Kurma Purana, it is being referred that, in a particular council of sages, Lord Brahma has challenged Lord Shiva’s Supremacy over the Universe. Though the council has agreed that Lord Shiva is supreme all over, Brahma did not. As a result, furious Shiva has struck down one of Brahma’s heads.
Due to his immortal characteristics, Brahma survives the power of Shiva and gets back to life. And it is because of this Brahmahatya or Brahminicide, which is the most sinful act, Lord Shiva has to wander all over the Universe with his nudity in the form of a mendicant or a sage. At this time, he does Bhikshata, which means begging for alms, and brings the realization of truth in the people.
Bhikshatana is a form of Lord Shiva who appears in the form of a beggar with a begging bowl in his hand. Bhikshatana appears in nude form, and he looks very bright, shines like the glittering sun, and he is followed by his devotees. Bhikshatana wanders in the entire universe and reached the city of Varanasi.
He has done like that, in order to make us to leave all of our belongings and to concentrate our attention only on Shiva. The belongings would be with us only till our death, and after that, nothing would come along with us. In order to make us to realize that, and to involve ourselves in the spiritual thoughts of Lord Shiva, and also to remove the ego and pride from us, he has taken the Bhikshatana avatar.
During his visit, he made the sages of the wives to get attracted with him, in order to change their minds into pure and pious. Due to that, the sages were got angry with Lord Shiva and through their powers, they created ghosts, tiger and various weapons and made them to attack Lord Shiva. But Shiva controlled the ghosts and made them as his divine attendants and he also killed the tiger, and wore the skin on his body, and caught all the weapons and kept with him.
After knowing about the powers of Lord Shiva, all the sages realized their mistakes, and asked apology to Lord Shiva. Then Lord Shiva had disclosed his true form to them. Through this wonderful incident, he has removed the ego from the minds of the sages, and also made them to concentrate their attention only on him.
Bhikshatana is a famous incarnation of Lord Shiva, and he doesn’t have any temples dedicated to him.But in the walls of some Shiva temples, his image is sculpted in the stone, and he is also worshipped by the devotees of Lord Shiva, as an avatar of Lord Shiva. Ancient Shaivite saints have described about the significance of Lord Bhikshatana in their holy texts.
“OM NAMAH SHIVAYA”