The 8 Forms of Lord Shiva

 The Eight (Ashta) forms of the Lord:

The Vedas speak of the Ashta Murthys’ (forms) of Lord Shiva. Sarva, Bhava, Rudra, Ugra, Bheema, Pasupathi, Mahadeva, Eashana are the eight Murthys of Shiva. Puranas explain the Adhistanas for these eight forms, which are Sarva for earth, Bhava for water, Rudra for fire, Ugra for wind, Bheema for space, Pasupathi for yajamana, Mahadeva for moon and Eashana for Sun. Shiva is also called Pasupathi i.e. Lord Shiva with his enormous grace on the Jeeva means pasu, cuts the Pasa or the string and makes it move free to join him with devotion. In this way, his name Pasupathi is more meaningful. Each of the following Kshethras (places) in India & Nepal connected to the Lord’s eight forms, so that the devotee can know clearly how the ancient puranas took care to locate these places both geographically and spiritually. Shiva, Brahma puranas are the main sources.

The following forms or forces of nature are worshipped in their primal form only without any special idols representing them.

  1. Sarva :- Bhoomi Linga, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu. It is in Shiva Kanchi Kshetra, where the Lord is in the form of Kshiti Linga in the Ekamra tree (Aamra (Mango in Sanskrit) tree, which yield only one fruit per year). Parvathi worshipped this form first. There is no Abisheka done with water at this shrine, jasmine oil is used instead. The Devi’s name here is Kamakshi. All the desires of the devotees are fulfilled with her gracious eyes.

 

  1. Bhava :- Jala Linga, ThiruvanaiKoil, (Jambukeswaram), Tamil Nadu. This temple is located on the outskirts of Trichy, where Lord Jambukeswara is seated and showers all his blessings to his devotees. This Kshetra is called Jambukeswara Kshetra, also known as Jala Linga. The devotees can see from the outside of Garbha Gruha the water bubbles coming out from Panipetham. There is a Jambu tree, which is very old and very big. The legends say Lord Shiva wanted to stay here along with the Jambu tree. So the devotees treat this tree as sacred as the Lord.

 

  1. Rudra:- Agni or Thejo (Divine Light) Linga, Tiruvannamalai, Tamilnadu – Arunachaleswara. In Tiruvannamalai, Lord Shiva is seated in the form of Thejolinga. The whole mountain appears to be a Linga. As a result of Parvathi’s great penance, a sharp spark of fire came from Arunachala and took shape as Arunalinga.

 

  1. Ugra: - Vayu Linga, Sri Kalahasti, Andhra Pradesh. The Sri Kalahasteeswara temple is situated on the banks of Swarna Mukhi River in Sri Kalahasti. Spiritually elevated souls only can see that there is a strong wind blowing around the Linga. Bhakta Kannappa story is connected to this temple. Even animals got salvation by worshipping this Lord. Three animals – Cobweb (Sree), Kala (snake), and Hasthi (elephant) prayed to God with utmost faith and devotion and attained Moksha. One can see the symbols there on the Shiva Linga even today

 

  1. Bheema: - Akaasha Linga, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu. This Kshetra is on the banks of Cauvery. We don’t see any Murthy in the temple Garbha Gruha. The puranas speak of this Kshetra very highly. No one can see the Lord’s Murthy, except the highest spiritual souls. There is a space in the Garbha Gruha and many Abharanas are decorated and the devotees assume the Lord is seated there. A very beautiful Nataraja murthy is in outer Garbha Gruha for worship and for the satisfaction of the devotees.

 

  1. Pasupathi: - Yajamana (Lord) Linga, Kathmandu, Nepal. In Nepal, Pasupathinadha Kshetra is famous and the Lord here is in human form. The devotee can see the deity up to his waist only. The Murthy is decorated with Gold Kavacha always. Nobody can enter into the Garbha Gruha except the Archaka (not even the King of Nepal). Many devotees from all over the globe pray to this Lord with highest devotion and get their wishes fulfilled.

 

  1. Mahadeva: - Chandra Linga, West Bengal. Chandra natha Linga is situated in West Bengal 34 miles away from Chatagav City. Many sacred thirthas surround this Kshetra. Devi purana lauded this Kshethra greatly.

 

  1. Eashana: - Surya Linga, Konark Temple, Orissa. This Kshetra is in Orissa state near Puri Jagannath Kshetra. Konark is now in ruins and the temple is in fragments and now, devotees can’t see any God or Goddess here. The legend says that Sri Krishna’s son Samba suffered once from leprosy and was cured by worshipping the Surya and the Linga here and since then this Kshetra became a remedy center for all diseases. Even in these days the worship is going on with same faith and devotion
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