Tuesday, 5 November 2019

The 5 Facets of Shiva



The Linga is the form of the absolute consciousness of the Universe - Shiva.The Linga denotes the form given to 'that which is beyond forms'.

Interestingly,Shiva is adored with 5 'faces' - denoting the 5 dimensions of the universe.

The 5 facets of Shiva finds reference in the 10th Chapter of Taittiriya Aranyaka ( the forest treaties of the Yajur Veda - The portions of the Vedas learnt originally in the forest region ).This portion is commonly referred to as 'Shiva Upasana Mantra'.

The Shivopasana Mantra is also part of the Mahanarayana Upanishad,one of the prominent Vaishnavite texts of Yajur Veda.

Video : Shivopasana mantra of Krishna Yajur Veda being recited by my students in Kriyalakshmi Shri Sai Gurukul,Setapak,Malaysia

In this portion, the procedure to consecrate ( energise with life force ) a Shiva Linga is described.22 sound combinations are used.


The consecrated Linga is then worshiped with verses that describe the 5 faces.

The 5 faces of Shiva :

Sadyojata,the western face

Vamadeva,the northern face

Aghora,the southern face

Tatpurushha,the eastern face

Ishana, the aspect facing the above direction



Each of these 5 faces tally with an element and aspect :


Sadyojata - Earth as element and Ego as aspect


Vamadeva - Water as element and Mind as aspect


Aghora - Fire as element and Intellect as aspect


Tatpurushha - Air as element and Nature ( prakriti ) as aspect


Ishana - Ether as element and Atma as aspect


Sadyojata represents the source of all existence.

Vamadeva represents the aspect which is beautiful and effulgent

Aghora represents the terrifying aspect of Shiva in tandem to the dissolution of Universe

Tatpurushha represents the supreme being

Ishana represents ruler

We attribute different dimensions of the cosmos to Shiva through these 5 facets.



SHaNmukha is said to be 6 headed because He is the combination of Shiva ( 5 faced ) and Shakti ( 1 faced ).

In Shaiva temples, the verses of Shivopasana mantra describing the 5 faces of Shiva are recited during Puja.

Shivopasana Mantra by my Whatsapp Veda Learner Robinson



Also Read : 

(1) Shivopasana Mantra Meaning in English


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