The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “ten 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 17 - Ten incarnations of Śiva

1. Now listen to the first ten incarnations of Śiva beginning with that of Mahākāla. They are resorted to with devotion and explained in Upāsanākāṇḍa.

2. The first incarnation is that of Mahākāla, the bestower of worldly pleasures and liberation to the good. Śakti there, is Mahākālī[1] who bestows the desired fruits on the devotees.

3. The second incarnation is called Tāra. Śakti there, is Tārā. Both of them confer worldly pleasures and salvation on their attendants.

4. The lord of worlds called Bāla is glorified as the third incarnation. Śakti there, is Śivā that bestows pleasure on the good.

5. Śrīvidyeśa Ṣoḍaśa is the fourth incarnation and Śrīvidyā, Śivā Ṣoḍaśī is the Śakti. They confer pleasure on the devotees and yield worldly pleasures as well as salvation.

6. The fifth incarnation is famous as Bhairava, who bestows desires on the devotees. Śakti there is Bhairavī who bestows desires on good worshippers.

7. The sixth incarnation of Śiva is glorified as Chinnamastaka who confers desires. Śakti there, is Dhūmāvatī who bestows all desires on the devotees.

8. The seventh incarnation of Śiva is Dhūmavān, the bestower of the fruits of all desires. Śaktit here, is Dhūmāvatī who bestows all desires on the good worshippers.

9. The eighth pleasant incarnation of Śiva is Bagalāmukha. Śakti there, is Bagalāmukhī who is also famous as Mahānandā.

10. The ninth incarnation of Śiva is glorified as Mātaṅga. Śakti there, is Mātaṅgī who bestows the fruits of all desires.

11. The tenth incarnation of Śiva is Kamala, the bestower of fruits of worldly pleasures and salvation. Śakti there, is Kamalā, the protectress of her own devotees.

12. The ten incarnations of Śiva are pleasing as they confer worldly pleasures and salvation. They bestow everything on good devotees.

13. These ten incarnations of Śiva the great soul bestow different kinds of pleasures on those who always resort to them without aberrations.

14. O sage, the glory of the ten incarnations of Śiva has thus been described. It bestows all desires as explained in the Tantraśāstra and other treatises.

15. O sage, the greatness of these Śaktis too is wonderful. It bestows all desires and shall be known as explained in Tantraśāstra and other treatises.

16. The different Śaktis are considered in such activities as destroying enemies etc. They punish the wicked and enhance brahminical splendour.

17. O Brahmin, thus I have explained to you the ten incarnations of Śiva along with his Śakti, beginning with Mahākāla. They are all auspicious.

18. He who reads this sacred narrative during the festivals of Śiva, with great devotion becomes a great favourite of Śiva.

19. A brahmin attains the sacred splendour of Brahman; Kṣatriya becomes victorious; a Vaiśya becomes lord of wealth and a Śūdra attains happiness.

20. The devotees of Śiva maintaining their respective duties and listening to this narrative become especially happy and devoted to Śiva.

Footnotes and references:


The concept of god (in the male form) and his Energy (in the female form) is not peculiar to Śiva-cult alone. It belongs to almost every god—Viṣṇu, Brahmā, Indra and others. It is found in pairs—Śiva-Śivā, Viṣṇu-Vaiṣṇavī, Brahmā-Brahmāṇi, Indra-Indrāṇī. The Present chapter mentions the elevent incarnations of Śiva and their respective Energies.