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By Swami Harshananda

Iilāmurtis (‘aspects of [Śiva] in various forms’)

Though Siva, the third aspect of the Hindu Trinity, is worshipped only as a liṅga in the temples, twenty five forms of his are mentioned in the iconographical works. These forms (in human shapes) are established separately as decorative motifs, but, not worshipped.

Some of them are: Anugrahamurtis (bestowing grace upon devotees like Nandi, Rāvaṇa or Caṇḍeśa); Antakamurtis (des-troying the demons like Gajāsura or Tripuras); Nṛttamurtis (in the dancing pose like tāṇḍava dance); Dakṣiṇāmurti (in the teaching pose of a guru); Haryardhamurti (combined form of Hari and Hara); Ardhanārīśvara (combined form of Siva and Pārvatī); Bhikṣāṭana-murti (as a mendicant with a begging bowl) and so on.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore