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Lord Shiva in the Hindu Puranas

The Hindu Puranas are a treasure house of stories and details related to Lord Shiva. Most Puranas devote to one god like Lord Shiva in the Shiva Purana and Vishnu in the Vishnu Purana. But stories and information about the other gods in the Hindu pantheon appear in all the Puranas. Thus we have references of Lord Shiva in all the important Puranas.

Shiva Purana
As the name indicates, Shiva Purana deals exclusively about Lord Shiva.
It describes about the origin, character, attire, austerities, valiance, sacrifice and family of Lord Shiva. Shiva Purana contains numerous stories of Lord Shiva. It explains why Shiva lives in isolation, why he resides in cremation grounds and about the numerous Shiva symbols including the Shiva Linga. Destruction of evil and importance of the sacred symbol Aum are part of the Purana.
Rudra Samhita is an important chapter in Shiva Purana and describes the origin of Shiva and the creation of Vishnu from Shiva.

Linga Purana
As the name indicates the Linga Purana deals with Shivling – the symbol of Lord Shiva. Five aspects of Shiva, Jyotirlinga, Nandi worship, Shiva Panchakashari mantra and Shiva as Ashtamurti are some of the important aspects dealt in the Purana.

Lord Shiva in Skanda Purana
Skanda Purana was taught by Shiva to Parvati and Parvati to Skanda. The Purana talks in detail about the true devotion to Shiva, which takes the devotee to Shiva loga (merging with Parabrahman). Churning of the ocean to obtain amrut, Shiva drinking the halahala poison, the birth of Skanda (Muruga), glory of Shiva Lingam and Shiva and Parvati in dice game are the important events related to Shiva in the Skanda Purana.

Lord Shiva in Kurma Purana
Kurma Purana talks about the incarnations of Lord Shiva, a very rare detail. Other stories include Lord Krishna wishing to have the ‘darshan’ of Shiva and thousand names of Parvati.

Lord Shiva in Matsya Purana
Matsya Purana refers Lord Shiva as Parambrahman or Parampurusha. It must be noted that Matsya Purana is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Shiva is at times referred in the Purana as the single source from which all animate and inanimate emerge. Union of Parvati with Shiva, Linga worship, Samudra Manthana for Amrut and Shiva drinking the poison kalakuda, killing of demon Andhak are some of the important events related to Shiva in Matsya Purana.
The concept of Ardhanarishvara (half man – half woman) is dealt in Matsya Purana.

Lord Shiva in Vamana Purana
Vamana Purana talks about Lord Shiva visiting the sages in the forest as a naked yogi. The sages failed to recognize Lord Shiva. But the wives and daughters of the sages were erotically aroused by the presence of the naked yogi. Lord Shiva was testing the sages but they failed miserably in understanding the Brahman concept. The sages were slaves of established conventions.

Lord Shiva in Brahma Purana
Marriage of Shiva and Parvati and the descent of Ganga to the Earth are important events related to Lord Shiva in Brahma Purana. Samudra Manthana (churning of ocean) is mentioned in the Purana. Apart from these events, minor references of how to worship Shiva are found in the Purana.

Lord Shiva in Agni Purana
Agni Purana equates Lord Shiva with Brahman and is referred as Parampurusha. The different forms of Shivling are mentioned in detail in the Purana.

Lord Shiva in Padma Purana
The importance of the temple of Mahakala and Siva as Rudra are the main Lord Shiva related references in Padma Purana.

Lord Shiva in Vayu Purana
Numerous stories related to Lord Shiva are mentioned in the Vayu Purana. Shiva drinking poison ‘Kalakuda’ during churning of ocean and how Shiva got the name Veer Bhadra are the important stories. Stories of Kali and Shiva are another important event.

Lord Shiva in Kalika Purana
Stories of Goddess Durga and Kali are never complete without mentioning Lord Shiva. Self immolation of Sati is an important event in Kalika Purana.