Shiva: A Look At Both His Good & Evil Sides


Lord Shiva the Destroyer plays a central role in the creation and destruction cycle of Hinduism. He takes on many forms, and can seem morally ambiguous.

Lord Shiva the great destroyer can appear at times to be good, and at other times evil. Highly complex with many sides, he is worshipped for his association with positive change. But he has a dark side, and is the patron of thieves and villains.

At times Shiva demonstrates his good qualities in the myths of Hinduism. In one myth, he saves all creation by drinking poison. The origins of the Maha Shivratri festival, where Shiva devotees consume cannabis can be found in this myth (read more about it here).

Shiva’s primary function, which is to destroy the world at the end of each Yuga cycle, can be seen as both good and evil. Destroying the world means killing every single person, as well as animal and plant. That certainly is not good. However, it clears the way for a brand-new creation, and because of this, Hindu’s regard the destruction as a positive thing. Especially because it signifies the end of Kula Yuga, and a return to the golden age of humanity. You can read more about this change by clicking here.

Shiva also has his dark side. This is not surprising when you consider he was created in opposition to Brahma the Creator, in order to destroy what Brahma created. Shiva is the god of thieves and villains, as well as the leader of ghosts and evil spirits.

Shiva is both good and evil. Being a deity who is beyond our world, he is more vast than can be nicely organized into the duality of good and evil. He appears at times to be good, and at others, depending on your perspective, he could be considered evil. The many sides of Shiva are expressed through his many names, as well as through his nineteen avatars.

The 19 Avatars of Shiva

Shiva has many avatars and has incarnated several times throughout history for different purposes. Below are the avatars of Shiva:

NameDescription
Piplaad Born the son of Sage Dadhichi, who was killed. Piplaad grows up to curse the killer, Shani Dev, who falls from the galaxy, before forgiving him.
Nandi Born to Sage Shiva after the Sage displays incredible devotion, and asked for an immortal child. Nandi was also the gate-keeper to Shiva's heavenly adobe.
Veerabhadra Shiva incarnated as Veerabhadra after the death of his wife, and it is one of Shiva's fiercest forms, seeking revenge and beheading the killer of his wife.
Bhairava Bhairava's role was to punish those who are greedy, lustful, or arrogant.
Ashwatthama Ashwatthama is a warrior, born as the son of Guru Dronacharya, who pleased Shiva through great devotion.
Sharabha Part lion and part bird, Sharabha calmed Lord Naramsimha after the Lord killed a demon.
Grihapati Born on the Narmada banks to Sage Vishwanar and his wife, who encouraged her husband to perform great penance so that they could receive the Lord Shiva as their son.
Durvasa Durvasa was famous for his short temper and demands for respect. He was born to Sage Atri and his wife Anasuya.
Rishabha When Shiva incarnated as Rishabha, he took on the form of a bull in order to kill the sons Vishnu while in the underworld, who were cruel and monstrous.
Yatinath There was a couple known for their great hospitality, and when the man lost his life protecting a guest, rather than mourning his wife took pride in the act. Yatinath blessed them saying they would their next lifetime would be fortuitous.
HanumanBorn the son of Anjana and Kesari, Hanuman was blessed by the God of wind, Vayu. Also known as the great monkey god.
Krishna Darshan When King Nabhag left home to go for his education, his brothers divided his wealth up amongst themselves. Lord Shiva appeared to the King to teach him higher spiritual attainment.
Bhikshuvarya As Bhikshuvarya, Shiva incarnated as a begger, who rescued the child of a king. After the child lost his parents, Shiva arranged for him to be raised by a poor woman.
Sureshwar Sureshwar wore a disguise in order to test the devotion of a young boy name Upamanyu. The boy passes the test and Lord Shiva revealed himself.
Keerat Kereet tested the bravery of Arjuna. As Arjuna was meditating , he was attacked by a demon in the form of boar. Kereet aided Arjuna and together they killed the boar with arrows.
Sunatnartak He appeared in the court of the Hymalayan King, where he expresses his desire to marry Parvati.
Brahmachari Appearing in front of Parvati and verbally attacking her to test her devotion, Parvati proves herself as being the one who loves Shiva the most.
Yaksheshwar After the Devas consumed Amrit, the divine nectar, Shiva appeared as Yaksheshwar to teach them a lesson in pride. He asked them to cut a blade of grass, which they cannot muster the power to achieve.
Avadhut Shiva incarnated as Avadhut in order to confront and crush the arrogance of a lord named Indra.

The 108 Names of Shiva

Shiva has many sides to who he is, and is at times associated with creation, representing goodness and benevolence, while at other times he is the patron of thieves and villains. His 108 different names reflect the many sides of who he is.

NumberNameMeaningSanskrit  
1Om Shivaya Namah
Always Pure
ॐ शिवाय नमः।
2Om Maheshwaraya Namah
Lord Of Gods
ॐ महेश्वराय नमः।
3Om Shambhave Namah
One Who Bestows Prosperity
ॐ शंभवे नमः।
4Om Pinakine Namah
One Who Has A Bow In His Hand
ॐ पिनाकिने नमः।
5Om Shashishekharaya Namah
The God Who Wears The Crescent Moon In His Hair
ॐ शशिशेखराय नमः।
6Om Vamadevaya Namah
The God Who Is Pleasing And Auspicious In Every Way
ॐ वामदेवाय नमः।
7Om Virupakshaya Namah
Lord Shiva With Oblique Eyes
ॐ विरूपाक्षाय नमः।
8Om Kapardine Namah
The Lord With Thickly Matted Hair
ॐ कपर्दिने नमः।
9Om Nilalohitaya Namah
The One With Red And Blue Colour
ॐ नीललोहिताय नमः।
10Om Shankaraya Namah
One Who Gives Happiness And prosperity
ॐ शंकराय नमः।
11Om Shulapanaye Namah
The One Who Carries A Trident
ॐ शूलपाणये नमः।
12Om Khatvangine Namah
The God Who Carries A Knurled Club (Khatvanga)
ॐ खट्वांगिने नमः।
13Om Vishnuvallabhaya Namah
The One Who Is Dear To Lord Vishnu
ॐ विष्णुवल्लभाय नमः।
14Om Shipivishtaya Namah
The Lord Whose Form Emits Great Rays Of Light
ॐ शिपिविष्टाय नमः।
15Om Ambikanathaya Namah
Consort of Ambika (Parvati)
ॐ अंबिकानाथाय नमः।
16Om Shrikanthaya Namah
Of Glorious Neck
ॐ श्रीकण्ठाय नमः।
17Om Bhaktavatsalaya Namah
The One Who Is Favourably Inclined Towards His Devotees
ॐ भक्तवत्सलाय नमः।
18Om Bhavaya Namah
The God Who Is Existence Itself
ॐ भवाय नमः।
19Om Sharvaya Namah
Remover Of All Troubles
ॐ शर्वाय नमः।
20Om Trilokeshaya Namah
The Lord Of All The Three Worlds
ॐ त्रिलोकेशाय नमः।
21Om Shitikanthaya Namah
The Lord Who Has White Neck
ॐ शितिकण्ठाय नमः।
22Om ShivaPriyaya Namah
Beloved Of Parvati
ॐ शिवा प्रियाय नमः।
23Om Ugraya Namah
The One Who Has Extremely Fierce Nature
ॐ उग्राय नमः।
24Om Kapaline Namah
One Who Wears A Necklace Of Skulls
ॐ कपालिने नमः।
25Om Kamaraye Namah
Enemy of Kamadeva
ॐ कामारये नमः।
26Om Andhakasurasudanaya Namah
The Lord Who Killed The Asura Andhaka
ॐ अन्धकासुरसूदनाय नमः।
27Om Gangadharaya Namah
The God Who Holds The Ganges River In His Hair
ॐ गंगाधराय नमः।
28Om Lalatakshaya Namah
One Who Has An Eye In The Forehead
ॐ ललाटाक्षाय नमः।
29Om Kalakalaya Namah
He Is The Death Of Death
ॐ कालकालाय नमः।
30Om Kripanidhaye Namah
The God Who Is The Treasure Of Compassion
ॐ कृपानिधये नमः।
31Om Bhimaya Namah
The One Who Has Fearful Form
ॐ भीमाय नमः।
32Om Parashuhastaya Namah
The God Who Holds Axe In Hands
ॐ परशुहस्ताय नमः।
33Om Mrigapanaye Namah
The God Who Possess Deer In Hands
ॐ मृगपाणये नमः।
34Om Jatadharaya Namah
The God Who Keeps Tress (Jata)
ॐ जटाधराय नमः।
35Om Kailashavasine Namah
Native Of Kailasha
ॐ कैलाशवासिने नमः।
36Om Kawachine Namah
The God Who Possess Armour
ॐ कवचिने नमः।
37Om Kathoraya Namah
The God Who Has A Strong Body
ॐ कठोराय नमः।
38Om Tripurantakaya Namah
The God Who Killed Tripurasura
ॐ त्रिपुरान्तकाय नमः।
39Om Vrishankaya Namah
The God Who Has A Flag With A Symbol Of Bull
ॐ वृषांकाय नमः।
40Om Vrishabharudhaya Namah
The One Who Rides Bull
ॐ वृषभारूढाय नमः।
41Om Bhasmodhulitavigrahaya Namah
The One Who Applies Ashes All Over The Body
ॐ भस्मोद्धूलितविग्रहाय नमः।
42Om Samapriyaya Namah
The One Who Loves With Equality
ॐ सामप्रियाय नमः।
43Om Swaramayaya Namah
The God Who Lives In All Seven Notes
ॐ स्वरमयाय नमः।
44Om Trayimurtaye Namah
The One Who Possess Veda Form
ॐ त्रयीमूर्तये नमः।
45Om Anishwaraya Namah
The One Who Does Not Have Any Lord
ॐ अनीश्वराय नमः।
46Om Sarvajnaya Namah
The One Who Knows Everything
ॐ सर्वज्ञाय नमः।
47Om Paramatmane Namah
Everyone's Own Soul
ॐ परमात्मने नमः।
48Om Somasuryagnilochanaya Namah
The One Who Has Eyes In The Form Of Sun, Moon And Fire
ॐ सोमसूर्याग्निलोचनाय नमः।
49Om Havishe Namah
He Who Is Wealthy In The Form Of Ahuti
ॐ हविषे नमः।
50Om Yajnamayaya Namah
The Architect Of All Sacrificial Rites
ॐ यज्ञमयाय नमः।
51Om Somaya Namah
The One Who Includes The Form Of Uma
ॐ सोमाय नमः।
52Om Panchavaktraya Namah
God Of The Five Activities
ॐ पंचवक्त्राय नमः।
53Om Sadashivaya Namah
The One Who Is Eternally Auspicious
ॐ सदाशिवाय नमः।
54Om Vishveshwaraya Namah
Lord Of The Universe
ॐ विश्वेश्वराय नमः।
55Om Virabhadraya Namah
Who Is Violent , Yet Peaceful
ॐ वीरभद्राय नमः।
56Om Gananathaya Namah
God Of The Ganas
ॐ गणनाथाय नमः।
57Om Prajapataye Namah
The One Who Is The Creator Of Dynasty
ॐ प्रजापतये नमः।
58Om Hiranyaretase Namah
The One Who Emanates Golden Souls
ॐ हिरण्यरेतसे नमः।
59Om Durdharshaya Namah
The One who Is Unconquerable
ॐ दुर्धर्षाय नमः।
60Om Girishaya Namah
Lord Of Mountains
ॐ गिरीशाय नमः।
61Om Girishaya Namah
The God Who Sleeps On Kailash Mountain
ॐ गिरिशाय नमः।
62Om Anaghaya Namah
He Who Is Pure
ॐ अनघाय नमः।
63Om Bujangabhushanaya Namah
Lord Adorned With Golden Snakes
ॐ भुजंगभूषणाय नमः।
64Om Bhargaya Namah
Lord Who Ends All Sins
ॐ भर्गाय नमः।
65Om Giridhanvane Namah
God Whose Weapon Is A Mountain
ॐ गिरिधन्वने नमः।
66Om Giripriyaya Namah
Lord Who Is Fond Of Mountains
ॐ गिरिप्रियाय नमः।
67Om krittivasase Namah
God Who Wears Clothes Of Elephant Skin
ॐ कृत्तिवाससे नमः।
68Om Purarataye Namah
Destroyer OF Town Or "Pur" Named Enemy
ॐ पुरारातये नमः।
69Om Bhagawate Namah
God Of Prosperity
ॐ भगवते नमः।
70Om Pramathadhipaya Namah
God Who Is Served By Goblins
ॐ प्रमथाधिपाय नमः।
71Om Mrityunjayaya Namah
Victor Of Death
ॐ मृत्युंजयाय नमः।
72Om Sukshmatanave Namah
God Who Has A Subtle Body
ॐ सूक्ष्मतनवे नमः।
73Om Jagadvyapine Namah
God Who Lives In The World
ॐ जगद्व्यापिने नमः।
74Om Jagadguruve Namah
Guru Of All The Worlds
ॐ जगद्गुरुवे नमः।
75Om Vyomakeshaya Namah
Whose Hair Spreads In The Sky
ॐ व्योमकेशाय नमः।
76Om Mahasenajanakaya Namah
Father Of Kartikya
ॐ महासेनजनकाय नमः।
77Om Charuvikramaya Namah
The Guardian Of Wandering Pilgrimsॐ चारुविक्रमाय नमः।
78Om Rudraya Namah
The One Who Gets Sad By The Pain Of Devotees
ॐ रुद्राय नमः।
79Om Bhutapataye Namah
Lord Of Panchabhoota Or Bhootapreta
ॐ भूतपतये नमः।
80Om Sthanave Namah
Firm And Immovable Deity
ॐ स्थाणवे नमः।
81Om Ahirbudhnyaya Namah
The One Who Possess Kundalini
ॐ अहिर्बुध्न्याय नमः।
82Om Digambaraya Namah
The God Whose Robes Is The Cosmos
ॐ दिगंबराय नमः।
83Om Ashtamurtaye Namah
Lord Who Has Eight Forms
ॐ अष्टमूर्तये नमः।
84Om Anekatmane Namah
The God Who Possess Many Forms
ॐ अनेकात्मने नमः।
85Om Satvikaya Namah
Lord Of Boundless Energy
ॐ सात्विकाय नमः।
86Om Shuddhavigrahaya Namah
Lord Of Pure Soul
ॐ शुद्धविग्रहाय नमः।
87Om Shashvataya Namah
Lord Who Is Eternal And Endless
ॐ शाश्वताय नमः।
88Om Khandaparashave Namah
Lord Who Wears Broken Axe
ॐ खण्डपरशवे नमः।
89Om Ajaya Namah
The One Who Is Boundless
ॐ अजाय नमः।
90Om Pashavimochakaya Namah
Lord Who Releases All Fetters
ॐ पाशविमोचकाय नमः।
91Om Mridaya Namah
The Lord Who Shows Only Mercy
ॐ मृडाय नमः।
92Om Pashupataye Namah
Lord Of Animals
ॐ पशुपतये नमः।
93Om Devaya Namah
Lord Of Devas
ॐ देवाय नमः।
94Om Mahadevaya Namah
Greatest Of The Gods
ॐ महादेवाय नमः।
95Om Avyayaya Namah
The One Who Never Subject To Change
ॐ अव्ययाय नमः।
96Om Haraye Namah
Same As Lord Vishnu
ॐ हरये नमः।
97Om Bhaganetrabhide Namah
The Lord Who Damaged Bhaga's Eye
ॐ भगनेत्रभिदे नमः।
98Om Avyaktaya Namah
Shiva Who Is Unseen
ॐ अव्यक्ताय नमः।
99Om Dakshadhwaraharaya Namah
Destroyer Of Daksha's Conceited Sacrifice (Yagya)
ॐ दक्षाध्वरहराय नमः।
100Om Haraya Namah
The Lord Who Dissolves All Bondage And Sins
ॐ हराय नमः।
101Om Pushadantabhide Namah
One Who Punished Pushan
ॐ पूषदन्तभिदे नमः।
102Om Avyagraya Namah
Lord Who Is Steady And Unwavering
ॐ अव्यग्राय नमः।
103Om Sahasrakshaya Namah
One Who Has Limitless Forms
ॐ सहस्राक्षाय नमः।
104Om Sahasrapade Namah
The Lord Who Is Standing And Walking Everywhere
ॐ सहस्रपदे नमः।
105Om Apavargapradaya Namah
Lord Who Gives And Takes All Things
ॐ अपवर्गप्रदाय नमः।
106Om Anantaya Namah
The One Who Is unending
ॐ अनन्ताय नमः।
107Om Tarakaya Namah
The Lord Who Is Great Liberator Of Mankind
ॐ तारकाय नमः।
108Om Parameshwaraya Namah
The Great Godॐ परमेश्वराय नमः।

Recommended Reading

If you want to continue exploring this subject more deeply, you can see which books I recommend by clicking here.

Everet Dee

Everet Dee is an author and researcher with a passion for metaphysics, philosophy, hidden history, the occult, the esoteric, and religion.

Recent Posts