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Incarnations of Lord Shiva
Incarnations of Lord Shiva or the avatars of Lord Shiva are many in number. Several incarnations of Shiva appeared from time to time for the restoration of peace and the triumph of truth in the world.
 Lord ShivaIncarnations of Lord Shiva include Bhairava, Allama Prabhu, Khandoba and Gajasura. Lord Shiva is a prominent Hindu deity, and one aspect of Trimurti. In Hinduism's Shaiva tradition, Shiva is seen as the Supreme God. Shiva is mainly worshipped in its abstract form of Shiva Linga. Lord Shiva is usually represented as immersed in high meditation or dancing the Tandava upon the demon Maya. The various incarnations of Lord Shiva appeared in the world for good.

The various incarnations of Lord Shiva are given below:
Bhairava is one of the incarnations of Lord Shiva and is often represented with a third eye, long teeth and hair of flames. This incarnation is seen wearing a garland of skulls. Bhairava holds a snake and trident in his left arm and holds a noose and a cup in his right arm. He is seen standing with his vehicle, a dog, behind him. The deity Bhairava has several other forms in which he is represented having five heads and ten arms. Bhairava worked as a door guardian and he is also known as Kshetrapala while Mahakala worked as a faith guardian or dharmapala.

Allama Prabhu
Allama Prabhu was among the Vira Shaiva, a less popular incarnation of Lord Shiva. He was believed to be a Brahmin who acted very closely with the elder Basava either as a primary instigator, or subsequent assistant. Later became Basava's spiritual adviser. Allama Prabhu was involved in the revolution at Kalyanapuri in which the Bijala raja was slain and a new religion was established.

Khandoba and Mhalsa killing demons Mani-Malla Khandoba is one of the incarnations of Lord Shiva and can be often seen with the elements such as a sword, drum, trident and bowl. The vehicle of Khandoba is a horse and he may be seen associated with a dog. The sect of Khandoba is not considered to be very old. According to one of the legends, the God made himself known to a number of cowherds who were resting in a field but went away again when one of his most pious worshippers approached. Thus, the devotee was disappointed very much and the elders of the village became suspicious about the significance of a Linga that was found on the spot where Khandoba appeared. A strange contest was held to end such doubt.

Apart from these, there are various other incarnations of Lord Shiva including Shveta, Sutara, Madana, Suhotra, Kankana, Lokaksi, Jaigisavya, Dadivaha, Rishabha, Bhrgu, Ugra, Atri, Bali, Gautama, Vedashiras, Gokarna, Shikandaka, Jatamali, Attahasa, Daruka, Langali, Mahayama, Muni, Suli, Pindamunishvara, Sahishnu, Somashara and Nakulishvara.

Manifestations of Lord Shiva are given as follows:

Gajasura Murti
As Gajasura- Murti he is depicted as dancing on the head of an elephant demon. This demon was interrupting the rituals of a number of Brahmans who were worshipping Lord Shiva's lingam. Then Shiva stepped forward from the lingam, chopped off the demon's head, and wrapped his skin around him like a cloak.

Tripurantaka Murti
Here Lord Shiva is the hero who was the only one able to destroy the three cities of the Asuras when they had gained much power.

Kalara Murti
Several stories about Lord Shiva defeating Lord Yama have been told. A man is engaged in the worship of Shiva's lingam and Yama comes at this time. Shiva becomes enraged at this interruption and he leaps forth from the lingam to resist Yama.

Shiva gave a son to a childless rishi, though he would die at the age of sixteen. On his sixteenth birthday, he was completing sacred lingam ritual and Yama comes at this time. Shiva becomes enraged about this interruption and he sprang from the lingam, chased Yama away and granted Markandeya eternal life. This aspect of Shiva has been illustrated as Kalari-Murti.

Uma Maheshvara Murti
Goddess Parvati is the female manifestation of Lord Shiva. She is always depicted with him, either standing next to him, or sitting on his knee while the god embraces her. In unison they symbolise twofold nature of the One Absolute.

(Last Updated on : 27/11/2014)
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