Maheshamurti, Maheśamūrti, Mahesha-murti: 1 definition


Maheshamurti means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit term Maheśamūrti can be transliterated into English as Mahesamurti or Maheshamurti, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

Source: Wisdom Library: Elements of Hindu Iconograpy

1) Maheśamūrti (महेशमूर्ति):—From a thousandth part of this Karmeśa (Śiva), there came into existence Maheśamūrti, who is the direct agent in the acts of sṛṣṭi (creation), sthiti (protection) and laya (reabsorption): he must therefore be understood as a sakala-mūrti. It is this Maheśamūrti that manifests himself to the devotees in different forms, performing several sports (līlā) as seated or standing, dancing or riding upon vehicles, as terrific (ugra) or pacific (saumya) and so on.

This Maheśamūrti has one face set with three eyes, the head adorned with a jaṭā-makuṭa, four arms, and is standing on a padmāsana. In two of his hands are the mṛga and the paraśu and the remaining two hands are held in the abhaya and the varada poses.

2) Maheśamūrti, we have been told by the Śaivāgamas, is the fully manifested Supreme Śiva and is the cause of creation, protection and destruction. The figure of this deity is described at some length in the Suprabhedāgama. It is styated stherin that Maheśa should have five heads, the faces of four of which alone should be visible; each of these faces should possess three eyes besides a mouth, a nose and a pair of ears and should be placed above a neck each.

Maheśa should have two legs and ten arms; two of hishands are to be held in the varada and the abhaya poses, while the remaining four right ones should keep the śūla, paraśu, vajra and khaḍga; and the remaining left ones the kheṭaka, aṅkuśa, pāśa and ghaṇṭa. The complexion of this aspect of Śiva should be crystal clear, having the lustre of the sun, but cool as the dew or the moon; Maheśa must be clothed in white garments and should wear a white yajñopavīta and should be adorned with all ornaments.

By his side should be the figure of Śakti also. It should have three eyes, and four arms. On the head there should be a karaṇḍa-makuṭa and on the person all ornaments appropriate to women. The waist of the figure should be slender, and the pelvis broad; similarly there should be two well-developed high breasts on the chest. Two of the hands should each hold a nīlotpala and an akṣamālā, while the other two should be kept in the varada and abhaya poses. The figure must be clothed in silk garments and must be standing on the same seat and under the same prabhāvali as the Maheśa on his left side.

Shilpashastra book cover
context information

Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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