Hindu Pantheon-Shiva

Analysis and Conclusions: Expansion of the Hindu pantheon-Shiva

V. Krishnakumar, N. M. Krishnakumar

  1. The multiple forms of Horus
  2. Classification of Shiva
  3. Bahubali and origin of Jainism
  4. The incarnations of Lord Vishnu
  5. Arjuna’s penance of Mahabalipuram
  6. Varadaraja Perumal

Classification of Lord Shiva’s attributes:

Lord Shiva has many attributes, some of them are mutually contradicting. We try to classify them and trace their relation to Egyptian counterparts.

a)    Cosmic form:

Lord Shiva with attributes such as creator, one from whom everything came, destroyer, primeval mound, ‘lord of the uncreate’, ‘every thing that exists is part of him’. The cosmic form of Lord Shiva maps to Atum of Egypt as discussed earlier.

b)   Linga form

Lord Shiva is represented in the form of a phallus. In some of the temples the phallic form is obvious especially so in Gudimallam, Andhra Pradesh, India. In others, it is a cylinder with a dome shaped apex. There are a number of Egyptian counterparts for the Linga as follows:

  1. Isis made the image of phallus since she could not find it while recovering Osiris body parts that were dispersed by Seth. This image of Osiris phallus was used in festivals [1].
  2. The phallus that is associated with Hathor worship. Hathor is the consort of Horus [5,87] and we have mapped him to Lord Murugan.
  3. Neferhetep, is another Egyptian god, he is loved by ‘wives at the site of his beauty’, in which ‘beauty’ is defined as a circumlocution for the god’s phallus [5]; we have mapped him to Lord Murugan.

Thus we have two possible sources for phallic worship in India: one from Osiris and the other from Horus. We shall discuss each of them in detail.

Osiris as Linga: We know that Osiris is the father of Horus, and Horus is already mapped to Lord Murugan and Osiris is represented by phallus. Thus, Osiris maps to the father of Murugan, who is Lord Shiva; further the phallic form of Shiva is also corroborated with that of Osiris. It is to be noted here that Osiris has no obvious mapping to Shiva but for the fact that he is the father of Horus whom we have mapped to Murugan. However there is one Linga in Shahabad, India, which is placed on a fish instead of the Yoni [13]. Since, Isis is represented by a fish [134], this phallic representation can be viewed as Osiris. Ashby (p. 523, [4]) compares Osiris to Shiva, he claims that both were castrated, though had high generative power; however he does not mention the phallic form of Shiva here.

Horus as Linga: The second and the third phallic representations in Egypt map to Lord Murugan. This is understandable especially in the context of Min and Horus combined to form the god Min-Hor whom we defined as the beautiful young god, source of all knowledge, great in valor and sexual ardor; a perfect god one can think of. The mapping of Neferhetep is on similar lines: He was loved by women for his ‘beauty’, and his ‘beauty’ was actually the circumlocution for his phallus. The phallic representation of Lord Murugan should have been in vogue at some point of time, later somehow it got associated with his father Lord Shiva. Recall that we have amalgamated several Egyptian gods namely Horus, Thoth, Ihy, Iah, Khonsu, Neferhetep and Nefertem while mapping all of them to Lord Murugan. Among them the story of birth of Thoth and Horus are the closest to the birth of Lord Murugan as we discussed in an earlier article. Now we hypothesize that there was a point of time when Lord Murugan was very prominent but his father was not. Our reasoning goes as follows: Though Osiris being the father of Horus is something that one can feel proud of, it is Seth’s parenthood of Thoth, which is a matter of concern because Seth was considered to be an evil person. We suspect that the followers of Osiris/Horus in India that is the Lord Murugan worshippers on one hand, and the followers of Seth in India who were worshipping possibly Lord Shiva on the other hand, might have not been in great harmony. Thus it is possible that the father of Lord Murugan was not much talked of until, Seth’s evil was either forgotten or the followers of Seth’s counterpart in India had to be in some way accommodated with the followers of Murugan. That was possibly the time when, Seth as Shiva became the father of Murugan and took away certain attributes of Murugan; one such attribute is the phallic representation that is now called the Shiva-Linga. We have some points in favor of phallic representation of Lord Murugan at least in the following two temples in Tamil Nadu, India:

  1. The Linga of Vaideswaran Koil, is claimed to have been viewed as Lord Murugan earlier; this may derive support from the fact that Lord Murugan is a healer and a god of medicine.
  2. The description of Neferhetep that his beauty was a circumlocution for his phallus and the claim that ‘wives loved him at the sight of his beauty’ matches a popular Tamil love song where a woman longs to meet the Lord of Chidambaram (“kaaranam kettu vaadee…Kaadalan Chidambara Naathan…” [141]). The song looks more apt for a young handsome Lord Murugan and not for a Shiva who will be engrossed in penance or dancing on a demon, thus the lord here can be Lord Murugan in phallic form.
  3. The side-lock of priests of Chidambaram is known to be unique to Horus and several of the Murugan counterparts in Egypt.
  4. Khonsu’s name derives from ‘Khenes’ meaning ‘he who traverses the sky’. Since the god of Chidambaram is viewed as a manifestation of sky, and Khonsu is mapped to Murugan, the god of Chidambaram can be Lord Murugan in phallic form.

c)    Rudra form 1: 

Lord Rudra has attributes such as he is ill tempered, associated with magic, animals are sacrificed as offering to him, is the destination of the dead, is associated with the “Bhuta Ganas”. We have mapped the Egyptian god Seth to this form.

d)   Rudra form 2: 

Rudra is both constructive and destructive; he punishes the wicked; he is holding a staff with a human head on it; we have mapped him to the Egyptian god Atum. 

e)    Pleasant-benevolent-artistic-scholar form:

Lord Dakshinamurthy as god of, writing, knowledge and as patron of scribes is mapped to the Egyptian god Thoth; Lord Pashupati as caring animals mapped to Egyptian god Bes. It may be noted that Bes and Horus are unified in Egypt while we have mapped Horus and Thoth to Lord Murugan. Thus, we claim that the benevolent form of Lord Shiva is more like Lord Murugan.

f)     Nataraja form

We suspect Lord Nataraja to have originated from the following three sources, the first two are logical ones, while the third is on the basis of similarity in the names:

i.     Horus standing on crocodiles (picture on p.132 in [5]) can be one source of Nataraja: Seth is at times, represented by a crocodile in Egypt [5]; Nataraja is depicted as stamping a demon. Therefore Horus can be mapped to Nataraja. There is more to compare Nataraja to Horus. Horus is depicted holding serpents in his hands while Nataraja has it on his shoulders wrist and head. Nataraja has fire in one hand, while Horus is the son of the fire goddess Isis. Finally Nataraja has an antelope in his hand while Horus has a ram. The bird on a staff next to Horus, can be explained as follows. This is the symbol of Jyeshtadevi [51] whom we have compared to Isis and Hathor, who are both consorts and mothers of Horus.

ii.     The other source of Lord Nataraja can be Seth trampling Osiris, that is, recall our mapping of Seth to UAP. The myth goes that Seth kicked or trampled Osiris. One may argue that Lord Nataraja is depicted in one of the most beautiful dancing pose with legs and hands crossed, thus it may not match UAP.  However, there are some pictures of Nataraja that resemble UAP, that is with one leg raised almost vertically up in the sky, scaling the distance to sky. Note that the very story of UAP is as follows: UAP approaches Mahabali as a dwarf and asks for ‘land of the length of his three steps’, but once Mahabali accepts to donate him three steps of land, he spans the universe, keeps his first step on earth and the next in the sky and finally the third step on Mahabali’s head. There is an additional point here. Seth is considered as the lord of metals [5]. Lord Nataraja is always made in metal, even in the most sacred of all temples namely Chidambaram.

iii.     The name of Lord Natarajar has an interesting split Natar+ajar. This is close to Neter+asar, Neter means ‘god’ in Egypt [49] and ‘Asar’ is the name of Osiris.

g)    Ascetic form

Lord Shiva doing penance.

When we view these seven forms from the Hindu perspective, they don’t fall into any pattern. However, when we look at them from the point of view of Egyptian origin, they get classified according to their root in Egypt. Each of these seven forms would have existed and evolved independently in India with each having their own set of followers, until they were amalgamated into one god. Interestingly, but for ‘Rudra form 1’, which maps clearly to Seth (of course Nataraja has a mixed mapping), all others look soft and benevolent with no chaos. We will be showing later that ‘Rudra form 1’ got mixed with other migrants in India while the remaining six forms retained their Egyptian refinement.

What is interesting is, the pleasant-benevolent-artistic-scholar form is developed from Lord Murugan, that is at some point of time Lord Murugan as a god should have got split into himself and benevolent Lord Shiva. The confusion between father and son, Lord Shiva and Lord Muruga, draws support from the following observations:

  1. The song “Harahara Shiva Shiva Subrahmanyam…” has both the names of father and son
  2. Both Shiva and Murugan have third eye
  3. When we consider the Egyptian counterpart of the three Shakti, Shiva and Murugan that is Isis, Osiris and Horus:  Isis was the consort of both Osiris and Horus, hence contributing to confusion in the Indian scenario.
  4. Temple of Vaideswaran koil is claimed to be originally of Lord Murugan.
  5. We have already discussed this confusion in the context of Chidambaram temple and Nataraja.


[1] J.G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, A study in Magic and Religion, 3rd Edition, Macmillan and Co. London, 1914

[4] Muata Ashby, The African origins of Civilization, Religion, Yoga Mysticism, and Ethics Philosophy, 2nd Edition, ISBN 1-884564-50-X, 2005

[5] Richard H Wilkinson, The Complete gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt, Thames and Hudson, London, 2003

[13] Alf Hiltebeitel, The Cult of Draupadi, MLBD, New Delhi, 1991

[49] Wallis Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, Dover Publications, NY, 1978

[51] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jambaimalai_Jyestha_devi.jpg

[87] http://henadology.wordpress.com/theology/netjeru/

[134] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abtu

[141] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ki6vwQJcBXs


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One Response to Hindu Pantheon-Shiva

  1. Narasimha says:

    I like this

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