Virabhadra – Shiva Gana – Hindu God Veerabhadra Swamy

Virabhadra, also known as Veerabhadra Swamy, is one of the Shiva Ganas. Virabhadra is also worshipped as an independent Hindu God in some temples and in such worships He is considered as the son of Lord Shiva. Virabhadra originated from a single strand of hair that was thrown on to earth by Lord Shiva on hearing the death through self immolation by Goddess Sati. Thus Virabhadra is manifestation of Shiva’s anger or the human form given to his unparalleled fury.

Despite Shiva’s warnings, Goddess Sati went to her father, Daksha’s Yajna to ask why her husband, Shiva, was not invited for Yajna (sacrifice). Daksha insulted Sati and Shiva and unable to stand her fathers insults, She immolated herself.

Shiva Gana Veerabhadra SwamyUpon hearing the news of Sati’s immolation, Shiva’s anger knew no bounds and he removed a strand of hair from his matted locks and threw to the ground. A huge volcano leaped from the spot and from the fire came – Virabhadra – Shiva’s anger personified. From every spark of fire from the volcano arose another smaller volcano and from it came out a smaller figure resembling Virabhadra.

Virabhadra is usually depicted as having several hands with different weapons and an angry face.

An army of millions of Virabhadras marched towards Daksha’s palace and they only knew death and vengeance. They destroyed whatever they saw. Finally, Virabhadra found Daksha and cut off his head.

But wife of Daksha, Prasuti, prayed to Lord Shiva for her husband’s life. Shiva granted it and Virabhadra placed a goat’s head on Daksha’s body.

Then Lord Shiva took the body of Goddess Sati and walked away – but the anger did not subside. The universe was being consumed by Shiva’s anger. To save the universe and bring back Shiva to the world, Lord Vishnu shot arrows at Sati’s body. Wherever a part of Sati’s body fell became Shaktipeetahs and Shiva’s anger subsided. When Shiva’s anger was fully subsided – Lord Virabhadra, the manifestation of Shiva’s anger too vanished.

Image source - Adarsh Padegal flickr photo stream