Ashta Murtis

While many Incarnations of Siva are cited, the most significant additions to the Pancha Mukhas or Five Faces of Siva are described as Ashta Murtis (Eight Idols) viz. Sharva, Bhava, Rudra, Ugra, Bhima, Pasupati, Isana, Maha Deva. Bhava, Rudra and Sharva represent the Five Elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Ether, Sky as also Sun, Moon, and Kshetragya or the Supreme Soul. Bhagavan Siva is Sharva and omniscient. He is Bhava or the bestower and merciful.He is Rudra the corrector or punisher, if need be. He is spread out the whole Universe and is present ‘Bahyantara’ or inside-out of each being thus manifested as Ugra rupa. He who fulfils the wants of every animate or inanimate being and destroys all kinds of difficulties is called Bhima. To those who are unable to pull out themselves from their worldly chains of desires, relationships, senses of earthly belongings and so on, Bhagavan manifests as Pasutpati. That Siva who is noticeable in the most radiant form of Sun on the Skies and stands evidence to every being’s actions and sufferings is called Isana. Siva who provides coolness and happiness to every being as manifested in Moon is known as Maha Deva.

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at