Shiva idol surrounded by the sky


Shiva is one of the trideva (three main gods) in Hindu mythology. He is the destroyer. When the time comes to destroy the material universe, Shiva is the one who destroys it.


  • Wives: Sati, Parvati (Uma)
  • Sons: Ganesha, Kartikeya

Creation of Shiva

During the creation of our universe, Brahma was getting more and more angry at the slow progression of the creation. Know one he created was willing to help him progress the creation. Out of his anger came out Ardhanarisvara. Ardhanarisvara was a form an androgynous form of Rudra and Rudrani. The right side of Ardhanarisvara was Rudra and the left side was Rudrani. Rudra was a storm god. Shiva was an epithet of Rudra. Ardhanarisvara then split up and Rudra and Rudrani decided to go to do penance.

Brahma became angry. Nobody he created was helping him generate the universe. In fact, everybody was going to do penance. He begged Rudra and Rudrani to help. Finally, Rudra and Rudrani agreed. Rudra created ten more fierce men just like him. Altogether he and the 10 men were called the Rudras. Each of the Rudras similarly created and married a woman. Rudrani then created more women.

Brahma was pleased. The Rudras including Rudra and their consorts including Rudrani then left to do penance. Brahma then continued creating our universe.

Later, the names Rudra and Shiva were used interchangeably and known as the same person.


Once Brahma thought,” I am the creator of the universe. I am the first born. How can Vishnu claim to be greater than me? With this idea in mind, Brahma went to Vishnu. He said to Vishnu, “O Vishnu, I am the most superior and the greatest. You have to follow my orders and worship me. ” This angered Vishnu. He replied, “You came out of my navel in a lotus. I am the one who told you to create the universe. I am the preserver. You have to admit I am the greatest and worship me.”

None of them were prepared to agree or compromise. They started violently fighting. When the devas found out about this they went to tell Shiva. When Shiva heard about this, he went to where Brahma and Vishnu were intensely battling. Shiva took the form of a pillar of fire and placed himself between Brahma and Vishnu. They immediately stopped fighting and wondered what the pillar of fire was. Brahma decided to fly up to see the top of the pillar. Vishnu decided to fly down to find the base. Both could not find the ends. Vishnu soon gave up. Brahma also could not reach the top. He saw a ketaki flower. He met with Vishnu and said, “Look at this ketaki flower I found at the top.”

Shiva was mad when Brahma lied. He turned back into his normal form and said,”Brahma, you are a liar. You will be punished!” He created Bhairava, a frightful man. He ordered Bhairava to attack Brahma. Bhairava cut off one of Brahma’s heads. Brahma started begging for mercy to Bhirava and Shiva. Shiva told Bhairava to spare Brahma. Vishnu then said,” None of us could reach the base or top. Not me or Brahma are superior. You are the greatest.” “You are right”, Shiva replied. Shiva then said, “Brahma, your punishment is not over. You will rarely ever be worshipped by humans on Earth. The ketaki flower will also never be used in my worship. Vishnu interrupted, “The ketaki flower did not do anything bad. Please don’t punish it.” Shiva replied, “Fine. The ketaki flower will be put on the pedestal of my worship.”

Brahma’s Yagna

Brahma was performing a huge yagna. he had invited all the kings, devas and devis, and great rishis of the world. Shiva was also present there. Daksha arrived last at the yagna. Everybody got up to show reverence for him, except for Shiva and Brahma. Brahma was Daksha’s father so he was considered superior to him. Shiva was a Trimurti, so he was also superior.

Daksha thought Shiva wasn’t standing up because he wanted to insult him. At that moment, Daksha took a vow to insult Shiva in the same way.

Marrying Sati

Sati was the daughter of Daksha and she really wanted to marry Shiva. She left her father’s palace and started doing rigorous penance. After a while, she stopped eating and only lived a leaf a day. Soon, she wasn’t eating anything.

After a long time, Shiva accepted her as his wife. Sati returned to her father’s house and waited Shiva’s arrival. Even though her Daksha didn’t want her to marry Shiva because of what happened at Brahma’s yagna, the marriage occurred and Sati went with Shiva to Mt. Kailash.

Death of Sati

Shiva had insulted Daksha by getting married to his daughter. So Daksha wanted to insult Shiva. To take revenge, Daksha organized a grand yagna. He invited all of the devas, devis, and sages to this yagna, except for Shiva and Sati.

When Sati heard of the yagna and what had happened, she was furious. “Who cares if you weren’t invited. You must participate in this yagna,” Sati said to Shiva. But Shiva refused to go to the yagna. Finally, Sati decided to go herself and ask her father for an explanation. Some of Shiva’s ganas came with Sati.

Sati stormed onto the yagna site. She was met by a cold welcome from Daksha. Daksha then started insulting Shiva in front of everybody. Sati kept her composure for some time. Finally, she couldn’t bear this insult anymore for her husband. She invoked a fire and sacrificed herself, committing suicide. The ganas left and went to inform Lord Shiva.

The ganas told Shiva about what happened at Daksha’s yagna. Shiva was full of rage. He took two pieces of his hair and threw them on the ground. Out of the hairs came Virabhadra and Bhadrakali. Shiva ordered them to decapitate Daksha and destroy his yagna. They went to the yagna, decapitated Daksha, and punished many of the guests.

Soon, Brahma approached Shiva. “Please, Lord Shiva. Revive my son Daksha. He will never commit such a great offense again. Please revive him,” Brahma begged. By this time, Shiva had calmed down. He revived Daksha by replacing his head with a goat’s head.

But Shiva was still very depressed about the death of Sati. He put her dead body on his shoulder and started aimlessly walking throughout the universe. The devas were very worried about Shiva neglecting his duties. Then went to Lord Vishnu for help.

Lord Vishnu used his Sudarshan Chakra to cut Sati’s body into 52 pieces. He did this while Shiva was wandering around with her on his shoulder. Because of this, each piece fell in a different place. These 52 spots are called Shakti pithas.

Shiva then returned to Mount Kailash and went into deep penance and meditation.

Marriage to Parvati & Birth of Kartikeya

Once, there was an asura named Taraka. He wanted to rule swarga. For this purpose, he started to perform penance in a forest. His penance was so great that Brahma deva appeared asked Taraka, “What boon do you desire.” Taraka replied, “I want two boons. First, I want immense strength. Secondly, I want it so that I can only be killed by Shiva’s son.” He knew that Shiva’s wife Sati had just died so Shiva did not have any son. So, Taraka would be invincible.

Tarakasura started to invade the gods. He soon captured swarga loka and threw the devas out of swarga. The devas approached Brahma for advice. Brahma told them about the boon he had given to Tarakasura and said, “If Shiva agrees to marry and have a son, only then you will be able to defeat Tarakasura. You must appease Shiva. It will be difficult since he is in great meditation.” He then said, “Try to get Shiva to marry Parvati, the daughter of Himavat, the god and king of Himalayas. She is of a marriageable age.” Indra replied, “We will try.”

Indra decided to send Kama, the god of love, to create love between Shiva and Parvati. As soon as Kama reached the place where Shiva was meditating, flowers started to grow everywhere. Parvati, who was playing with her friends nearby, was attracted to this spot by the scent of flowers. As soon as Parvati arrived there, she was attracted to Shiva. Shiva woke up from his meditation and was attracted to Parvati.

Kama made a seed of love and put it in Shiva’s breast. Suddenly, Shiva realized that his surroundings were covered in flowers. He knew it wasn’t spring. He looked around and saw Kama. Shiva realized that Kama had called all of this. He opened his third eye and Kama turned into ashes. He then went back to meditating.

Parvati returned to Himavat’s palace. She still had immense love for Shiva. Once Narada came to Himavat’s palace and asked why Parvati looked so depressed. She told Narada everything. Narada replied, “You will have to immense meditation on Shiva.” Parvati decided that she would do penance on Shiva. She went to ask her parents. Her parents reluctantly agreed. Parvati put on the clothes of an ascetic and approached a secluded spot. She started to do vigorous penance. The devas and rishis prayed to Shiva. They prayed,” Shiva, please appear in front of Parvati. Only then she will stop her penance.

Shiva took the form of a scholar and approached Parvati. He asked,” Why are you doing such severe penance. You are so young.” Parvati replied, “I am meditating to please Shiva so that he agrees to marry me.” The Brahmin said, “What are you saying! Shiva is no better than a rock. You should try to marry someone else. Parvati was angered. She exclaimed,”O scholar. How dare you speak ill of Shiva! Please get out of this place now!” Saying so, Parvati turned around and went back in her hut. Shiva then turned back to his normal form and said, “Halt!” Parvati turned around and saw Shiva standing in front of her. She said,” I wish to marry you, Lord.” Shiva silently agreed.

Shiva went to some sages and ordered, “I want to marry Parvati. Go ask her father Himavat for permission.” When the sages proposed the marriage, Himavat and Mena (Parvati’s mother) were very happy. They started to make preparations for the marriage party. Shiva, Parvati and many other devas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, sages and attendants joined the marriage procession. It started from Kailash and ended at Himavat’s palace.

When the marriage procession approached Himavat’s palace, Mena started too look for Shiva in the crowd. She had never seen him before. She first mistook Vishwavasu, the king of the Gadharvas for Shiva. She then mistook Kubera for Shiva. Narada then pointed out to her who Shiva was. She was horrified at his appearance. He had snakes around his neck and body. She screamed, “Kill me! I cannot let my daughter marry Shiva.” All the devas and rishis tried to convince her but nobody listened.

Finally, Narada told Shiva to take a more handsome form. Shiva agreed. When Mena saw Shiva in his handsome form, she said, “O Lord. Forgive me. Please marry my daughter.” Happiness crowded the environment. Brahma acted as the priest and the marriage continued. During the marriage, Indra went up to Shiva and requested, “Can you please resuscitate Kama.” Shiva agreed. After the marriage, Shiva and Parvati went Kailash. The devas were waiting impatiently for the birth of a son to Parvati from the seed Kama had made since they wanted to be liberated from the rule of Tarakasura.

However Shiva did not want to have a child, so he did not let the seed produce a child. The threat of Tarakasura was still going on so Vishnu went to tell Shiva. When Shiva got up to greet Vishnu the seed fell to the ground.

However, Agni dev turned into a bird and swallowed the seed before it could touch the ground. However, the seed burned him so much,he went to Indra as fast as he could. Indra told him to deposit the seed in the Ganga river so the seed would not remain as burning.

Agni did as per Indra’s advice. The devi Ganga then could not bear the seed so she deposited it near her bank. All of a sudden the wound turned into a beautiful boy. When this happened the Krittikas were passing by to take a bath in the Ganga river.

When they saw the boy they were attracted to him. They started caring for him. The boy even sprouted six heads.

Meanwhile Shiva and Parvati wondered what had happened to the seed. Shiva sent his ganas to search for the boy. After the ganas found the seed as a boy they told the Krittikas to give them the boy. The Krittikas agreed. The shivaganas then went back to Shiva and Parvati. Parvati put the boy (their son) in her lap. Thus, Kartikeya became the son of Parvati and Shiva.

The Killing of Tarakasura

After Kartikeya grew up, Indra, Kartikeya and the devas attacked Tarakasura and his asura army. While they were proceeding a heavenly voice from the sky said that the devas could only win if Kartikeya was their commander. The devas requested Kartikeya to become their commander. Meanwhile Devasena, the adopted daughter of Indra arrived at the scene. She requested Kartikeya to become her husband. Kartikeya agreed.

Tarakasura sent his younger brother Krauncha with an army of asuras to attack Kartikeya and the devas. Kartikeya easily killed Krauncha. Tarakasura then attacked Kartikeya. After a fierce fight, Tarakasura was killed by Kartikeya. Surapadman, Tarakasura’s older brother attacked Kartikeya. After a fight that lasted many days, he was also killed by Kartikeya. The devas were so happy. They thanked Kartikeya. Kartikeya then returned to Mt. Kaliash but remained the commander of the deva army.

Killing Vrika

Once, a demon named Vrika did penance to Shiva at Kedar Mountain. Shiva did not appear before him so he decided to cut his head off. Before he could cut his head off, Shiva appeared in front off him. Vrika said,” O Lord. Please grant me the boon that if I put my finger on anybody’s head, they will turn to ashes. Shiva said,” So be it!”

Vrika decided to test his power. He raised his hand to see if Shiva would burn to ashes when he put his hand on Shiva’s head. Shiva realized what Vrika was going to do and started running. Vrika ran after him. When Vishnu saw what was happening, he turned into a beautiful lady. He appeared in front on Vrika in this form. Vrika was emersed by the beauty of the lady. The lady said,” Why are you running after Shiva.” Vrika told the lady about his boon and that he wanted to test it. The lady said,”You have been fooled by Shiva. He always says he gives boons but he never gives it. Test it yourself.” Vrika put his hand on his head and immediately burned to ashes. Shiva was relieved. He thanked Vishnu for saving him from death.

Giving Arjuna the Pashupashastra

When the Pandavas had to go into exile because of the dice game, Vyasa told Arjuna that he sensed that a war was going to occur after their exile. He advised Arjuna to go do penance on Shiva so he could obtain the Pashupashastra. Arjuna agreed. He went to Indrakeeladri mountain and started his penance.

After a few months, a boar came near the place where Arjuna was meditating. Arjuna, annoyed by the boar, shot it with an arrow. At the same time, another arrow came from the opposite direction and hit the boar in the eye.

Arjun didn’t understand who shot the other arrow. At that moment, a hunter appeared there with a gang tribal people. He told Arjuna that he shot the other arrow and the boar was his kill. Arjuna argued that he shot the boar first. Arjuna and the hunter started fighting. The hunter easily defeated Arjuna. Arjuna realized with a shock that the hunter was Shiva in another form. He bowed down to the hunter.

The hunter then turned into Shiva and the tribal people turned into Shivaganas. Arjuna started begging for forgiveness. Shiva then gave Arjuna the Pashupashastra.

Shiva’s Weapons

  • Trishul- This is his primary weapon. It is an unstoppable trident that will kill its target no matter what.
  • Chandrahas- This is  Shiva’s sword. It is unbrekable and is infallible.
  • Parusha- This is Shiva’s axe. He gave this infallible axe to Parshuram.
  • Pinaka- The Pinaka is Shiva’s primary bow. It can destroy the entire creation.
  • Vijaya- This is another one of Shiva’s main bows. It is really powerful. He had given it to Karna.
  • Teen Baan- These are the three invincible arrows of Shiva. With the first one, he decides who he wants to kill, with the second one, he decides who he wants to spare, and with the third one, he kills his targets. He had given these three arrows to Barbarika.
  • Pashupashastra- This is an astra of Shiva that can kill its target no matter what. He gave this astra to Arjuna.
  • Shiva Kaakam- This is a really powerful sword of Shiva.
  • Maheshwarastra- This is an astra that will shoot a really fast bolt of fiery light when invoked. This light has the power of Shiva’s third eye and can demolish even devas to ashes.
  • Maheshwara Chakra- This is Shiva’s chakra (disk).
  • Teen Akshaya- Shiva has three quivers. One is full of regular arrows. The second one is full of divya astras and shastras. And that last is full of other weapons.

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