The Shiva Purana (English translation)

by J. L. Shastri | 1970 | 616,585 words

This page relates “nineteen incarnations of shiva” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.

Chapter 5 - The nineteen incarnations of Śiva

Śiva said:—

1. In the tenth aeon of Dvāpara there will be Tridhāmā Vyāsa on the excellent Bhṛgutuṅga[1] peak of Himavat.

2. There my sons well-versed in the Vedic lore Bhṛṅga and others i.e. Balabandhu, Nara, Mitra and the sage Ketuśṛṅga.

3. In the eleventh aeon of Dvāpara when there will be Trivṛta Vyāsa I shall be born as Kali at Gaṅgādvāra.[2]

4. There also the four sons of steady rites viz. Lambodara, Lambākṣa, Keśalamba and Pralambaka will be born.

5-6. In the twelfth aeon, there will be Śatatejas Vyāsa. I will be born in the Kali age at the end of Dvāpara adopting golden bodice. I shall be wandering for rendering help to Vyāsa as the reviver of the path of renunciation.

7. O great sage, these four sons of good yogic skill will be born as my sons viz. Sarvajña, Samabuddhi, Sādhya and Śarva.

8. In the thirteenth aeon, there will be Nārāyaṇa Vyāsa. Then I shall be born as the great sage Bali.

9. In the hermitage of Bālakhilyas on the excellent mountain of Gandhamādana,[3] the auspicious sons will be Sudhāmā, Kāśyapa, Varṣiṣṭha and Virajas.

10. In the fourteenth aeon, there will be Rakṣa Vyāsa. I shall be born as Gautama, in the family of Aṅgiras.

11. In the Kali age my sons will be Atri, Devasada, Śravaṇa and Śraviṣkaṭa.

12-13. In the fifteenth aeon of Dvāpara, there will be Trayyāruṇi Vyāsa. I shall be born as Vedaśiras with a powerful weapon. Vedaśīrṣa is a mountain on the top of Himavat on the northern bank of Sarasvatī.[4]

14. There the four viz. Kuṇi, Kuṇibāhu, Kuśarīra and Kunetraka will be my sturdy sons.

15. In the sixteenth aeon, there will be Deva Vyāsa; I shall be born as Gokarṇa for imparting instructions in Yoga.

16. It is there itself that the holy forest Gokarṇa[5] exists. There also four Yogin sons will be born of me.

17. They are Kāśyapa, Uśanas, Cyavana and Bṛhaspati. They too will go to the abode of Śiva through the same path.

18-19. In the seventeenth aeon, there will be Devakṛtañjaya Vyāsa. I shall be born in the name of Guhāvāsin. There is a snow-covered Śiva temple on the lofty summit[6] of Himavat. The sons are Utathya, Vāmadeva, Mahāyoga and Mahābala.

20. In the eighteenth aeon, there will be Ṛtañjaya Vyāsa. I will be born as Śikhaṇḍin on the auspicious summit of Himavat.

21. In the very sacred holy centre of achievements there is the mountain Śikhaṇḍin, where the forest is resorted to by the Siddhas.

22. These four will be born as the sons, the sages Vācaśśravas, Rucīka, Śyāvāsya and Yatīśvara.

23-24. In the nineteenth aeon, there will be Bharadvāja Vyāsa. Then I shall be born as Jaṭī and Mālin. On the summit of Himavat, my sons will be four in number named Hiraṇyanāmā, Kauśalya, Lokākṣin and Praghima.

25. In the twentieth aeon, there will be Vyāsa Gautama. My name will be Aṭṭahāsa. Men are fond of Aṭṭahāsa (loud boisterous laughter).

26. On the tops of Himavat, Aṭṭahāsa a great mountain which is resorted to by Gods, men, Yakṣas, Indra, Siddhas and Cāraṇas.

27. There will be born of me sons, who will be experts in Yoga and will be called Sumantu, Varvari, Kabandha and Kukṣikandhara.

28. In the twenty-first aeon when Vācaśśravas becomes Vyāsa, I shall be born as Dāruka.[7] Hence the forest Dāruvana is auspicious.

29. There too, experts in Yoga, will be my sons viz. Plakṣa, Dārbhāyaṇi, Ketumān and Gautama.

30. In the twenty-second aeon, there will be Śuṣmāyaṇa Vyāsa. I shall be born as a great sage in Vārāṇasī[8].

31. I shall be known as Lāṅgali Bhīma (having ploughshare) where the gods including Indra will see me in the Kali age as Bhava and Halāyudha.

32. There too my sons will be virtuous viz. Bhallava, Madhu, Piṅga and Śvetaketu.

33. In the twenty-third aeon, there will be the Tṛṇabindu Vyāsa. I shall be born as Śveta in the auspicious Kālañjara[7] mountain.

34. There too my sons will be the sages—Uśika, Bṛhadaśva, Devala and Kavi.

35. In the twenty-fourth aeon, there will be Yakṣa Vyāsa. I shall be born as Śūlin a great Yogin in the same Yuga in Naimiṣa.[10]

36. There too my disciples will be the sages Śālihotra, Agniveśa, Yuvanāśva and Śaradvasu.

37. In the twenty-fifth aeon, there will be Śakti Vyāsa. I shall be the great Yogin, lord Muṇḍiśvara armed with a staff.

38. There too my disciples will be the sages Chāgala, Kuṇḍakarṇa, Kumbhāṇḍa and Pravāhaka.

39. In the twenty-sixth aeon, when Parāśara, becomes Vyāsa I will be born as Sahiṣṇu after reaching the city Bhadravaṭa.[11]

40. There too my disciples will be the sages Ulūka, Vidyuta, Śambūka and Āśvalāyana.

41. In the twenty-seventh aeon, there will be Jātūkarṇya Vyāsa. I shall be born as Somaśarman after resorting to the holy centre Prabhāsa.[12]

42. There too my disciples will be the sages Akṣapāda, Kumāra, Ulūka and Vatsa.

43-44. In the twenty-eighth aeon of Dvāpara, there will be Dvaipāyana Vyāsa, the son of Parāśara, and the most excellent of Puruṣas shall be born as Kṛṣṇa with his one sixth part, as the foremost of the sons of Vasudeva.

45. Then I too shall be born with the body of a Brahmacārin and the soul of a Yogin by means of Yogic Māyā to the great surprise of the worlds.

46-47. On seeing a dead body forsaken in the cremation ground I shall enter into it and make it free from ailments by means of Yogic Māyā for the welfare of the brahmins. Then I will enter the holy divine cavern of Meru[13] along with you and Viṣṇu. O Brahmā, I shall then be known as Lakulin.

48. The physical incarnation thus and the holy Siddha centre will be greatly renowned as long as the earth lasts.

49. There too my disciples will be the sages Kuśika, Garga, Mitra and Taurusya.

50. The Yogic brahmins well-versed in the Vedas, and of sublimated power will attain the Yoga of Maheśvara and reach the auspicious city.

51. In the Vaivasvata manvantara, during all its recurring aeons, the Yogeśvara incarnations of the great Ātman of virtuous deeds have been explained to you.

52. O great lord, the Vyāsas in every recurring Dvāpara are twenty-eight in number. The Yogeśvara incarnations at the beginning of every recurring Kali age are also so many.

53. In each of the incarnations of Yogeśvara, there are four disciples who make the path of Yoga flourish and who are eternal as well as great devotees of Śiva.

54. These disciples of Śiva smear their bodies with holy ashes, use the necklaces of Rudrākṣa beads as their ornaments and mark their foreheads with Tripuṇḍra.

55. All the disciples are pious and well-versed in the Vedas and Vedāṅgas; they are devoted both externally and internally to the worship of the phallic image of Śiva.

56. By their devotion to me and by means of Yoga they are engaged in meditation; they have perfect control over the sense-organs. They are considered one hundred and twelve in number by the learned.

57. Thus I have mentioned the characteristic features of the incarnations from Manu to Kṛṣṇa in the twenty-eighth recurring cycles of the Yoga in order.

58. The classification of the Vedas was the characteristic sign of the Kalpa when Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana became the chief redactor.

59. After saying this and blessing Brahmā, the great lord of the gods glanced at again and vanished there itself.

Footnotes and references:


Bhṛgutuṅga is one of the peaks of the Himalayas. According to Varāhapurāṇa (ch. 146.45-46) it is a mountain in Nepal on the eastern bank of the Gandaka where the sage Bhṛgu had a hermitage. The Vāmanapurāṇa (81.33) locates it near the Vitastā and Himavat. See GEAMI Part I P. 70.


Gaṅgādvāra represents modern Haradvāra, It is also known by various names like Mokṣadvāra, Haridvāra and Māyāpura. Cp Sk iv. 1.7.114.

kecidūcurharidvāraṃ mokṣadvāraṃ tataḥ pare |
gaṅgādvāraṃ ca ke'pyāhūḥ kecana māyāpuraṃ punaḥ ||


The location of Gandhamādana is highly controversial. See PP. 405, 623. Most probably it refers to that part of the Himālayas on which the Badarikāśrama is situated.


See P. 47 note.


Gokarṇa, “cow’s ear” is a town sacred to Śiva in Nepal on the Bāgamatī river. There is also a sacred hill of this name on the western ghat near Goa. It cannot be ascertained which of the two is meant here.


This peak of the Himālayas has not been identified so far.


Dāruvana or Dārukāvana or Deva Dāruvana is a part of the Himālaya mountain near Badrinath. See Mbh xiii. 25. 27. See also P. 411 note.


See P. 266 note.


It has not been possible to identify this mountain.


See P. 76 note.


The town has not been identified.


Prabhāsa is a celebrated place of pilgrimage in Saurāṣṭra, the southern part of Kathiawar.


For the identification of Mount Meru see P. 310 note and P. 623 note.