Avatars of Lord Shiva
This form of Lord Shiva is famous for its short temper and anger. The incarnation came into existence to maintain peace and harmony on earth. Once Atri, the manasputra of Lord Brahma went for penance to the banks of river Nivindhya. He commenced his penance and it resulted into a massive fire that spread to all the three worlds. Seeing this devastation, Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva blessed Atri. Later Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva were reincarnated as the moon, Dutt and Durvasa.
Once the ocean was churned and a large vessel containing nectar was emerged out of the ocean. A huge battle was fought between the demons and the divine deities over this vessel of nectar. To distract the attention of demons, Lord Vishnu created numerous beauties. While the demons took these beauties to the ‘Patal Lok’ with them, the deities drank all the nectar. This angered the demons and they tried to kill the divine deities. To save their lives, Lord Vishnu went to Patal Lok and killed them all. Although he killed the demons but he was left mesmerized by the beauties there. The union of Lord Vishnu with the beauties resulted in many children. To save these children, Lord Shiva went to Patal Lok in the form of an Ox – Rishabh.
This avatar of Lord Shiva symbolizes and highlights the importance of yagna and other religious practices. This avatar of Lord Shiva told the importance of yagna and asked the people to follow it to lead a happy and healthy living. He has asked to do yagna to get rain and for the wellness of the country. He insisted that by doing yagna, crops will grow properly and will yield good results.
In this incarnation Lord Shiva destroyed the ego of Lord Indira and asked him to live a life without ego.
5. Bhikshuwarya avatar
Although in the Hindu Trinity, Lord Shiva is regarded as the destroyer, but he is also said to be the protector of life. This incarnation is a depiction of Lord Shiva as the protector of the universe. Here it is said, he is the one who is protecting the humans and giving them all necessities in their life.
This avatar of Lord Shiva depicts love towards the devotees of Lord Indra. This form of Lord Shiva represents the love and care of him towards his devotees.
Lord Shiva appeared in this avatar to marry Goddess Parvati by seeking permission from her father Himalaya – The mountain king.
8. Brahmachari avatar
After Goddess Parvati sacrificed herself during her father’s yagna, she took rebirth in Himalayas’ house. She worshipped Lord Shiva for years so that he could be her husband again. Lord Shiva appeared in this incarnation to take Goddess test Parvati.
9. Yaksha avatar
To remove ego and self-pride from the minds of many gods, Lord Shiva took this form. This avatar shows that whoever may be, they should not act in a wrongful manner and should show kindness among others.
The beloved Lord Hanuman is also one of the incarnations of Lord Siva. He has been created specifically for serving Sree Rama and to show the importance of Bhakti among human beings. He is a Chiranjeevi and is still living in the earth in Kailash Mansarovar by chanting Rama Mantra. He has got super natural powers and he has done many wonders during Tretha Yuga and even still he is listening to our prayers and fulfilling our needs and wishes.
11. 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.
As per ancient legend, once a pious sage whose name was Visvanara, lived on the banks of the holy Naramada River in an Ashram along with his consort. Since the noble couple didn’t have a child for a long time, both of them went to Kashi, and offered their humble prayers before Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva was pleased with the devotion of the holy couple, and hence, he blessed them and also decided to take birth as their son.
In course of time, Visvanara’s wife Shuchismati had become pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful child.
During the time of naming ceremony of the child, all the gods were assembled at the ashram of Visvanara, and blessed the divine child. Lord Brahma had given a nice name to the child as Grihapati. During his young age, Upanayanam was performed to Grihapati, he learnt the Vedas and Shastras with the guidance of his father, and become a great scholar.
Once the wandering sage Narada visited the family, and he advised Grihapati to travel to Kasi in order to perform penance on Lord Shiva. In Kasi, Grihapati had constructed a beautiful ashram for him, and peacefully performed meditation on Lord Shiva. Lord Indra once visited Grihapati at his Ashram and he was eager to grant a boon to the divine child. But Grihapati didn’t demand him anything, and due to that, Lord Indra become furious, and tried to hurt him through his powerful Vajra weapon. On seeing it, Grihapati prayed to Lord Shiva and sought for his protection.
On hearing the cries of Grihapati, Lord Siva appeared before him, and made Lord Indra to flee from that place. Then he blessed Grihapati, and also made him as a powerful demi god. The Shivalinga which Grihapati had worshipped in Kashi, is known as Agneeswara Lingam.
After hearing about the boon given by Lord Shiva to his son, the Rishi couple were very happy, went to Kashi, worshipped Lord Shiva, and performed meditation near the banks of Ganges, and attained salvation.