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Fascinating Stories about Lord Vishnu - hindufaqs.com

Of all the avataras Mohini is the only female avatar. But the most beguiling of them all. She is portrayed as an enchantress, who maddens lovers, sometimes leading them to their doom. Unlike the Dasavataras, which appear on Earth during a certain period, Vishnu takes up Mohini avatara during many time periods. In the original text, Mohini is referred to as simply an enchanting, female form of Vishnu. In later versions, Mohini is described as the maya(illusion) of Vishnu (mayam ashito mohinim).

Mohini- Female avatara of Vishnu | Hindu FAQs
Mohini- Female avatara of Vishnu

Almost all her tales has that element of slyness. Most of which were the ones leading the asuras (the bad guys) to doom. Bhasmasur was one such asura. Bhasmasur was a devotee of Lord Shiva (Well, Lord Shiva had no restriction upon who could worship him. He was known as Bholenath – easily pleased). He used to perform long penances in order to please Shiva. Shiva being pleased with his austerities, granted him one wish. Bhasmasur, asked him for the one obvious wish – immortality. However, this was out of Shiva’s ‘pay-grade’. So, he asked for the next coolest wish – the license to kill. Bhasmasur asked that he be granted the power that anyone whose head he touched with his hand should burn up and immediately turn into ashes (bhasma).

Well, so far things were going fine for Shiva. Bhasmasur, now sees the beautiful consort of Shiva – Parvati. A pervert and wicked asura as he was, wanted to possess her and marry her. He, thenceforth tries using his newly granted boon on Shiva himself (one piece of rotten asura he is). Shiva, being bound by the ‘contract’ had no power to take back his grant. He fled, and was chased by Bhasmasur. Wherever Shiva went, Bhasmasur chased him down. Somehow, Shiva managed to reach Vishnu to seek a solution to this predicament. Vishnu on hearing Shiva’s problem, agreed to help him out.

Bhasmasur chasing Shiva | Hindu FAQs
Bhasmasur chasing Shiva

Vishnu took up the form of Mohini and appeared in front of Bhasmasur. Mohini was so exceedingly beautiful that Bhasmasur immediately fell in love with Mohini (This is what years of austerity does to you). Bhasmasur asked her (Mohini) to marry him. On a side note, the asuras of the vedic times were real gentlemen. The only way to be with a woman was to marry them. Anyways, Mohini asked her out on a dance, and would marry him only if he could match her moves identically.  Bhasmasur agreed to the match and hence they started dancing. The feat went for days at an end. As Bhasmasur matched the disguised Vishnu’s move for move, he began to let his guard down. While still dancing, Mohini, struck a pose where her hand was placed on top of her own head.  And Bhasmasura, whose eyes were constantly fixed upon Mohini’s  beautiful face, completely forgot about Lord Shiva’s boon, and put his  hand on his head too and turned into ashes.

Mohini tricking Bhasmasura | Hindu FAQs
Mohini tricking Bhasmasura
Mahadev drinking Halahala poison | Hindu FAQs

The  Dev (gods) and Rakshashas (demons) got together for the colossal task  of churning the cosmic ocean. Mount Mandara, was used as the pole to  stir the waters. And Vishnu’s Koorma Avatar(Tortoise) balanced the  mountain on its back thereby preventing it from sinking in the depths of  the unfathomable ocean. The great serpent Vasuki was used as the  churning rope. As the ocean was churned lot of goodies came out of it  which the Devs and Rakshashas distributed amongst themselves. But from  the depths of the ocean also came out the ‘Halahal’ Or ‘Kalkoot’ visha(poison). When  the poison was taken out, it started heating up the cosmos considerably.  Such was its heat that people started running in dread, animals started  dying and plants started withering. The “Visha” had no taker hence  Shiva came to everyone’s rescue and he drank the Visha. But, he did not  swallow it. He kept the poison in his throat. Since then, Shiva’s throat  became blue, and he came to be known as Neelkantha or the blue-throated  one.

Mahadev drinking Halahala poison Mahadev drinking halahala poison

Now  this caused immense heat and Shiva started getting restless. A restless  Shiva is not a good omen. Hence the gods undertook the task of cooling  Shiva off. According to one of the legends Chandra Dev (Moon god) made  Shiva’s hair his abode to cool him.

Some legends even claim that Shiva  moved to Kailash (which has subzero temperatures all year round) post  the Samudra Manthan episode. Shiva’s head was covered with “Bilva  Patra”. So you see everything was being done to cool Shiva off

Shiva smoking pot Shiva smoking Marijuana

Now  coming back to the question – Marijuana is supposed to be a coolant. It  lowers down the body’s metabolism and that brings the overall body  temperature down. Same is the case with Cannabis (Bhang) and Datura.  Bhang and Datura are closely associated with Shiva as well.

Credits: Atul Kumar Mishra
Image Credits: To the owners.

The city of Kashi is famous for the shrine of Kaal Bhairav, the kotwal of Kashi or the policeman of Varanasi. His presence evokes fear, no different from some of our policemen. He has a thick moustache, rides a dog, wraps himself in tiger skin, wears a garland of skulls, has a sword in one hand and in another, holds the severed head a criminal.


People go to his shrine to do jhaad: sweeping of hex. Hex means the disruption of one’s aura through witchcraft (jadoo-tona) and malefic gaze (drishti or nazar). Black threads and iron bracelets are sold in shops around the temple, offering Kaal Bhairav’s protection to the devotee.
The story goes that Shiva took the form of Bhairava to behead Brahma who became arrogant after creating the world. Brahma’s head seared into Shiva’s palm and he wandered the earth chased by Brahma-hatya, the infamy of killing the creator.


Shiva finally descended from Kailas southwards along the river Ganga. A point came when the river turned north. At this point, he dipped his hand in the river, and Brahma’s skull became undone and Shiva was thus liberated form Brahma-hatya. This became the site of the famous city of Avimukta (site where one is liberated) which is now called Kashi. It is said that the city stands on Shiva’s trident. Shiva stayed here as the guardian, driving away all those who threaten the city, protecting its inhabitants.

The idea of eight Bhairavs guarding the eight directions (four cardinal and four ordinal) is a common theme in various Purans. In the south, many villages have the shrine of 8 Vairavar (local name for Bhairav) in the eight corners of the village. Bhairava is thus acknowledged as the guardian god.

In many Jain temples, Bhairav stands along with his consort, Bhairavi, as a guardian god. In Gujarat and Rajasthan, one hears of Kala-Bhairav and Gora-Bhairav, the black and white guardians, who watch over shrines of the Goddess. Kala-Bhairav is more popularly known as Kaal, the black (Kala) referring to the black hole of time (Kaal) that consumes everything. Kaal Bhairav is associated with alcohol and wild frenzy. By contrast, Gora Bhairav or Batuk Bhairav (the small Bhairav) is visualized as a child who likes to drink milk, maybe laced with bhang.

The name Bhairav is rooted in the word ‘bhaya’ or fear. Bhairav evokes fear and takes away fear. He reminds us that fear is at the root of all human frailties. It is fear of invalidation that made Brahma cling to his creation and become arrogant. In fear, we cling to our identities like dogs cling to bones and their territories. To reinforce this message, Bhairav is associated with a dog, a symbol of attachment, as the dog wags its tail when the master smiles and whines when the master frowns. It is attachment, hence fear and insecurity, that makes us cast hexes on people and suffer from hexes cast by people. Bhairav liberates us from all.

Credits: Devdutt Pattnaik (Seven secrets of shiva)

Fascinating Stories about Lord Shiva Ep II - Parvati once donated Shiva - hindufaqs.com

Parvati once donated Shiva to Brahma’s Sons on Narad’s advice.

This happened when their second child, Ashokasundari, left home (Kailasha) for meditation.

This is the story: When Kartikeya, their first child, was born, he was given to the Kritikas (some women from Kritika place). This was done because Shiva believed that by growing in that place, he would imbibe skills that would help in warfare later. After coming to Kailasha, he immediately went to train to fight Tarakasura, one of the strongest daemons in the Hindu mythology. Shortly after killing him, he was sent to another kingdom for its protection. So Parvati was not given much opportunities to enjoy the company of her son.

Similar things happened with Ashokasundari. She was shortly motivated to go for meditation.

So Parvati was very upset because her family was never together. Menavati, her mother, tells her that in order to take care of this, Shiva himself should spend more time at home. So now the problem was how to make this happen.

Narad to the rescue! He tells Parvati that when Sachi, the wife of Indra, was having similar problem, she donated Indra to Narad. But Narad gave Indra back to her as he couldn’t see any advantage of keeping him. Since then Indra used to spend most of the time at home. So both Menavati and Narad convince Parvati to adopt a similar method. Narad tells Parvati that she could donate Shiv to the 4 Brahma sons – Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana and Sanatkumara.

(Brahma sons taking Shiv along with them)

The donation actually happened, but contrary to their expectation, the Brahma sons did not give Shiv back (who would, eh?).

Then there was a massive uproar everywhere as Shiva was no longer taking care of the worldly affairs – he was now a “property” of the Brahma sons and had to obey their orders. So Parvati assumes a form of an old lady and tries to show them how the world would get devastated if Shiva was not freed. They were convinced and let go of Shiva.

Creits: To original post by Shikhar Agarwal

Fascinating Stories about Lord Shiva Ep I - Shiva and Bhilla - hindufaqs.com

The series ‘Fascinating Stories about Lord Shiva’. This series will be focusing on many known and unknown stores of Shiva. There will be a new story per episode. Ep I is a story about Shiva and Bhilla. There was a sage named Veda. He used to pray to Shiva every day. The prayers lasted till the afternoon and after the prayers were over, Veda used to go to the nearby villages to beg alms.

A hunter named Bhilla used to come to the forest every afternoon to hunt. After the hunt was over, he used to come to Shiva’s linga (image) and offer to Shiva whatever it was that he had hunted. In the process of doing this, he often moved Veda’s offerings out of the way. Strange though it might seem, Shiva was stirred by Bhilla’s offerings and eagerly used to wait for it every day.

Bhilla and Veda never met. But Veda noticed that every day his offerings lay scattered and a little bit of meat lay by the side. Since this always happened when Veda had gone out to beg for alms, Veda did not know who was responsible. One day, he decided to wait in hiding so as to catch the culprit red-handed.

While Veda waited, Bhilla arrived and offered what he had brought to Shiva. Veda was amazed to discover that Shiva himself appeared before Bhilla and asked, “Why are you late today? I have been waiting for you. Did you get very tired?”
Bhilla went away after making his offerings. But Veda came up to Shiva and said, “What is all this? This is a cruel and evil hunter, and yet, you appear before him. I have been performing tapasya for so many years and you never appear before me. I am disgusted at this partiality. I will break your linga with this stone.”

“Do it if you must,” replied Shiva. “But please wait till tomorrow.”
Next day, when Veda came to present his offerings, he found traces of blood on top of the linga. He carefully washed away the traces of blood and completed his prayers.

After some time, Bhilla also came to present his offerings and discovered traces of blood on top of the linga. He thought that he was in some way responsible for this and blamed himself for some unknown transgression. He picked up a sharp arrow and began to pierce his body repeatedly with this arrow as punishment.
Shiva appeared before both of them and said, “Now you see the difference between Veda and Bhilla. Veda has given me his offerings, but Bhilla has given me his whole soul. That is the difference between ritual and true devotion.”
The place where Bhilla used to pray to Shiva is a famous tirtha known as bhillatirtha.

Credits : Brahma Purana

hindufaqs.com Shiva- Most Badass Hindu Gods Part II

Shiva One of the most Badass Hindu GOD, also referred to by names like Rudra, Mahadev, Trayambak, Natraja, Shankar, Mahesh, etc. is considered the personification of the Masculine element of the universe. In the holy trinity of Hinduism, he is considered the ‘destroyer’ of cosmos.
Origin of Shiv shown in a graphic novel

Such is the scale of his wrath, that he had cut off, one of the heads of Brahma, who is a major god and also happens to be part of the trinity. Hindu mythology is loaded with his exploits.

The nature and character of Shiva is marked with simplicity, yet there are unpredictable, contradictory and complex philosophical traits in his personality. He is considered the greatest dancer and musician, yet he prefers to stay away from the pomp of the heavens. Shiva is a hermit, lives a secluded life and enjoys the company of heinous and outcast creatures like Pisachas (vampires) and Preta (Ghost). He dresses himself with tiger hide and sprays human ash all over himself. Shiva loves intoxication (opium, cannabis, and hash are openly offered to him in hindu temples to this day!)however, he is known for being kindhearted, selfless and a maintainer of cosmic balance.  Not only did he slay demons and egotist demi-gods, he has beaten the hell out of all major Heroes of Indian Mythology like Arjuna, Indra, Mitra etc. at some point to destroy their ego.

In contemporary Hindu religion, Shiva is one of the most revered gods. But he is also the most feared.

There are many versions of this story. However in all of them, there are certain common observations. Brahma was a conformist, brahmanical god. A critical study of his character would reveal his prejudice and unfair bias towards Rakshas, Gandharva, Vasu, non-human races and lower forms of creation. Brahma is not immortal. He sprang out of Vishnu’s navel and was entrusted the responsibility of creating mankind. Shiva on the other hand is something different and beyond Brahma. As the omnipresent present manforce of the cosmos, Shiva adored all forms of creation without any bias and prejudice. There are no sacrifices allowed in Shiva temples. Even breaking coconuts (which is symbolic of human sacrifice) is forbidden, despite sacrifice being an essential element of Vedic/brahmanical culture.
Shiva's Rudra avtar shown in a TV serial

Shiva’s boons to rakshasas were the root cause of all major disturbances and invasion on paradise (Swarga). Brahma’s four heads were representative of four dimensions of his thinking. One of it looked down upon of Shiva, and was purist and Devkula (Aryan stock convieniently!) supremacist. Brahma had some grudge against Shiva, for he had slayed one of Brahma’s biological sons Daksha (who also happened to be Shiva’s father in law!!).
Still in his Shankara (cool) form, Shiva had requested Brahma on various occasions to be more kind and inclusive, but that was all in vain. Finally succumbing to his anger, Shiva assumed the dreaded form of Bhairava and chopped off the Brahma’s fourth head that represented his egoist side.

Shiva is representative of the egalitarian and all-inclusive spirit of Hinduism. He was on the verge of supporting Ravana against Ram, if not for Ravana’s towering ego. Though the list of his victims includes the who’s who of Indian mythology (He didn’t spare even his own son Ganesh!), Shiva is considered the easiest god to be pleased.

shankar Idol in Uttarakhand

Some More Info

Symbols of Shiva

1. Trishul : knowledge, desire and implementation

2. Ganga : flow of wisdom and spiritual teachings

3. Moon : Shiv is Trikal-Darshi, master of time

4. Drum : words of vedas

5. Third Eye : destroyer  of evil, when it opens it destroy anything that comes in vision

6. Serpent : ego as ornament

7. Rudraksh :  creation

Bhasm on body and rudraksh never dies like flowers and does not have any distraction (smell)

8. Tiger skin : no fear

9. Fire : destruction

Credits: Post credits Ashutosh Pandey
Image credits to the original post.