‘Shiva’, as the word means, the ‘Auspicious One’, in Sanskrit, is the supreme God of the Hindus. He came to the world in different forms, or avatars, to perform great and ideal works in human form so as to set example for the rest of the human beings. He assumed some avatars in order to save his devotees from devils or even proud Gods. he has many benevolent and fearful forms. Of the numerous incarnations of Lord shiva, the most valuable of his avatars are Tatpurush, Namadeva, Aghoresh, Sadhojat and Ishan.
Lord Shiva appeared as Tatpurush, after the prayer of Lord Brahma, in the 21st Kalpa of the planet Peetavasa. It was his third most popular incarnation.
Namadeva is the avatar assumed by Lord Shiva in the 20th Kapla. It was when Lord Brahma changed his complexion to red and from this appeared another entity; which was the incarnation of Lord Shiva, called Namadeva.
Aghoresh is the avatar of Lord Shiva , which is an entity of black colored complexion of Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma was in deep meditation at this time and named this form of Lord Shiva as Aghoresh.
Sadhojat is the avatar assumed by Lord Shiva in the 19th Kalpa. It is assumed to be the first incarnation of Lord Shiva. While Lord Brahma was meditating, this form of Lord Shiva appeared. From his own body, four disciples of the Sadhojat appeared; which were Nandan, Vishwanandan, Sunand and Upanandan.
Ishan form of Lord Shiva appeared with Saraswati in its manifestation in the Vishwaroop Kalpa. And from the Ishan Shiva appeared four divine forms Mundi, Shikhandi, Caste and Ardhamundi. Lord Brahma blessed all of them with the creation facility.
Besides these, there are some more forms in which Lord Shiva appeared. These are :
Here, Lord Shiva appeared with half of his body and the other half body is of Mata Parvati. This form of Lord Shiva, besides being calm and peaceful, provides blessings to its disciples.
Sharabh Avatar was the 6th avatar of Lord Shiva.
Grihpati avatar was the 7th avatar of Lord Shiva.
Neelkanth avatar is the form of Lord Shiva which was assumed by him when there was a lot of poison (vish) caused by the churning of the ocean, and in order to save the world from its harmful effects, Lord Shiva drank up all its water. Mata Parvati put her palm on his neck so that it would not go below his throat. But the effect of the poison was so much that he turned blue in color. It is therefore called Neelkanth form.
Rishi Durvasha avatar of lord Shiva is the main avatar. Lord Shiva has acquired this avatar to maintain the discipline of this universe.
Mahesh avatar is another peaceful form of the Lord.
Hanuman avatar is the incarnation to portrait the example of the Lord and his good disciple. This avatar was acquired during the time of Lord Rama.
Piplaad avatar of Lord Shiva is to rescue the devotees from their Shani Dosha. The name of this avatar is said to be given by Lord Brahma.
Yatinath avatar is yet another peaceful avatar of Lord Shiva.
Krishna Darshan avatar of the Lord promotes the importance of yagna and the other Hindu religious rituals.
Awdhuteshwar avatar was to crush the ego of the arrogant Indra.
Bichhuwara avatar protects the creatures from all difficulties.
Sureshwar avatar represents the Lords love and care towards his devotees.
Allama Prabhu avatar
Lord Shiva is fondly called Bholenath, Mahadev, Parmeshwara etc and is one of the most popular deities of Hinduism. All his avatars have saved the earth from evils.