In Mahabharata Bhishm narrates the Vishnu Sahasranamam to Yudhishthir. Later he inquires about Lord Shiva; but Bhishm being incapable sends him to Lord Krishna. Bhishma in prolog to the Shiva Sahasranam says the following verse.

Brahma Vishnu suresaanaam srushtaa cha prabhureva cha, Brahmaadaya pisachaantha yam hi deva upasathe. 4

He is the one who created Brahma, Vishnu and other devas, He is their Lord and he is worshipped by, Brahma , devas, ghosts and others.


However there is/are puranas that describe Rudra to be born of Brahma(sorry im unable to find the reference to this; i read so and that it is mentioned in either Padma or Skanda puran). Knowing that there are no conflicts in Vedas or other vedic scriptures; as discussed by @Keshav Srinivasan in This Answer ; I'm unable to understand this seemingly conflict.

Because if Lord Rudra is born from eyebrows of Brahma; than in next Manvantara or Universe Shiva must be born in similar way if i understand the answer correctly that I've linked above.

Also it is difficult to understand how Shiva who is eternal is born from Brahma who is of this material world and mortal.

EDIT 1: In case we take the view of Skanda Puran that in some universes Supreme lord menifests himself as Lord Shankar first and other times as Lord Narayan; from whom other two trimurtis are born. But in Vedanta Sutras(refer to link to above mentioned answer) it is said that the 'names and events Reoccur'. In that case if say; Lord Shankar is born by lord Brahma(as per Skanda purana); shouldn't he be always manifested through Brahma in all the universes and manvantaras?

Edit 2: Another example is that of sage bhrigu. Bhrigu is refered to as son of varuna in Taitreya Upanishad. Whereas some other scriptures mention him as son of Lord Brahma.

  • According to Skanda Purana, in one Vikalpa Vishnu creates other two trimurtis and in other Vikalpa Shiva creates other two trimurtis. However, Shiva Purana clearly says that Lord Rudra was born from space between eyebrows of Brahma not Lord Shiva. Lord Rudra is human destructive aspect of Supreme Shiva while Shiva or Sada Shiva is supereme Brahman. Similarly, Narayana who lives in Vaikunta is preservative aspects of Supreme Vishnu. When you study clearly, you understand names alone change in Vaishnava and Shaiva perspectives. See this question.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 7:24
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    @AnilKumar, there is another theory which is more convincing to me. According to that, Shiva is the name of unmanifested yet actual nature of God (Brahman), hence supreme. All the other gods are manifested forms of God; they are also true but not actual. Shiva and Shankara are different. Shankara is one of the Rudras. Means, Shankara is a manifested form of Shiva, and so is Vishnu & others. Jaggi Vasudev has once equated Shiva = Nothingness. Here is an interesting read: Are Lord Shiva and Lord Shankar two different deities?.
    – iammilind
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 8:36
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    @iammilind This is part of above mentioned concept. But Vaishnavaites don't agree with this. I know Shankara or Rudra is different from Supreme Shiva. Similar to this, Narayana is different from Vishnu and Narayana could be amsa of Supreme Brahman. Supreme Brahman (whether Shiva or Vishnu) in different Vikalpas, creates others through different trimurtis. Actually Shakti and Shaiva Perspective are bit similar, Parameswara or Sada Shiva is Supreme Purusha and Adi Shakti is supreme Prakriti. They are very similar and in both cases, trimurtis are sons of Adi Shakti.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 8:47
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    @iammilind Do you mean Nirakara Brahman alone is Shiva and Sakara Brahman is Vishnu? Where in Gita, it says Shiva is difficult to attain than Vishnu? Shiva as Nirakara Brahman (Linga) pleases easily if one does Abhishekam.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 11:18
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    @iammilind Yes, Shiva and Rudra are different... see my answer below...also see the link answers given in the answer...
    – Tezz
    Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 12:09

1 Answer 1


Yes, in each creation Lord Rudra (who is one among Trinity) manifests himself through forehead of Brahma. He merges back to Shiva after finite time.

Rudra and Shiva aren't exactly same. There is a subtle difference. Rudra is the Saguna manifestation of Nirguna Shiva. I also suggest to see my answer here:

Is Shiva or Rudra born and is he still alive? Was he killed or merged with supreme brahman at any point of time?

Sri Rudram of YajurVeda which describes hundreds of types of Rudra also states

विरुपेभ्यो नमो विश्वरुपेभ्यश्चभो नमो नमो Salutations to him who is formless and who is in Universal form.

As I discuss in my answer here there are various types of Rudra like who cry, who makes other cry and who removes cry of Samsara.

Generally Shiva refers to the formless aspect and Rudra denotes his formed Saguna aspect although both names are used synonymously.

Here is description from Koti Rudra Samhita Shiva Purana Chapter 42: Suta states the below verses there:

What is Shiva ?

ब्रह्मादितृणपर्यन्तं यत्किञ्चिद्दृश्यते त्विह ।
तत्सर्वं शिव एवास्ति मिथ्या नानात्व कल्पना ।।

Right from Brahma to the twig of leaf, ie . Everything in this Universe is Shiva himself. The concept of manifestation is not real.

स एव शड़्कर साक्षात्सर्वानुग्रहकारक ।
कर्ता भर्ता च हर्ता च साक्षी निर्गुण एव सः ।।

He himself is the Shankara who graces all. He is the creator protector and destroyer. He is the cosmic witness and Nirguna.

Why did Formless and Nirguna Shiva assumed form?

उभयोर्वादशमने तद्रूपंदर्शितं बुधां ।
महादेवेति विख्यातं निर्गुणेन शिवेन हि ।।

Oh Brahmanas in order to remove controversy between Brahma and Vishnu, the form in which Shiva appeared, came to be known as Mahadeva.

He also at that time tells that he shall manifest through forehead of Lord Brahma:

तेन प्रोक्तमहं शम्भुर्भविष्यामि कभालतः ।
रुद्रो नाम स विख्यातो लोकानुग्रहकारक ।।

He said, “I shall appear from the forehead of Brahma in the form of Sambhu.' The same Sambhu, the bestower of welfare came to be known as Rudra in due course of time.

ध्यानर्थं चैव सर्वेषामरुपो रुपवानभूत् ।
स एव च शिवः साक्षाद्भक्तवात्सल्यकारकः ।।

Since that date for the meditation of the devotees of the lord, Shiva, took the Sakara (with form) for the benefit of his devotees. He therefore likes the devotees of Shiva.

These above two verses clearly show difference between Nirguna Shiva and Saguna Rudra.

What is the relation between Shiva and Rudra?

शिवे त्रिगुणसम्भिन्ने रुद्रे तु गुणधामनि ।
वस्तुतो न हि भेदोऽस्ति स्वर्णे तद्भूषणो यथा ।।

There is absolutely no difference between Shiva who is beyond the three gunas (satva, rajas and tamas) and Rudra, possessing all the gunas, in the same way as there is no difference between the gold and the gold ornaments.

समानरुपकर्माणौ समभक्तगतिप्रदौ ।
समानाखिलसंसेव्यौ नानालीलाविहारिणौ।।

Both of them perform their activities similarly, bestow salvation to their devotees similarly. Both of them are served by the people equally well and they roam about indulging in several types of divine sports.

Is Rudra who is born from forehead of Brahma eternal ?

No, as he has birth/manifestation he must merge back to his original source.

अन्ये च ये समुत्पन्ना यथानुक्रमतो लयम् ।
यान्ति नैव तथा रुद्रः शिवे रुद्र विलियते ।।

Others which have origin finally dissolve as per their process. However Rudra merges back to Shiva himself.

Who is married with Sati and Parvati ?

Rudra who came from forehead of Brahma and lives in Kailash married with Sati and Parvati. Actually he married Sati and Parvati many many times.

Brahma while Praying to Durga in Shiva Purana to ask her to incarnate as Sati (which I discuss here) says this:

य पतिस्तव देवेशि ललाटान्मेऽभवत्पुरा ।
शिवो रुद्राख्या योगी स वै कैलासमास्थित ।।

O Goddess of the Devas, Your husband had been born out of my forehead and known as Rudra and is dwelling at Kailash as Shiva.

So it is clear Rudra Avatar of Lord Shiva takes place as cyclic phenomena as described in Vedas. In each period of Brahma, Lord Shiva incarnates several times through his forehead. Some of his incarnation like Rudra Manifestation, AshtaMurti manifestation, Ekadash Rudra manifestation etc..(which I discuss here are described in Vedas itself.)

Other stories also repeat in similar ways. Coincidental circumstances are itself created to make story described in Vedas happen as Vedas are eternal truth themselves.

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    Nice answer. Finally someone scripturally recognized that Shiva is actually Nirguna Brahman. BTW, I am not sure why did you mention Rudra as part of trinity & not Shankara. According to Gita, Shankara is 1 of many Rudra-s. There is another good answer, which suggests Shiva & Shankara are different: Are Lord Shiva and Lord Shankar two different deities?
    – iammilind
    Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 14:10
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    @iammilind Actually, Shiva is not alone Nirguna Brahman. See this answer. Vedas say Narayana and Brahma are also Supreme Brahma. Actually, Nirguna Brahman has no name and gender. So, Advaita is best resolution.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 14:41
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    @iammilind "BTW, I am not sure why did you mention Rudra as part of trinity & not Shankara. According to Gita, Shankara is 1 of many Rudra-s." All names are used synonymously... so I used the name Rudra there... I'm talking about Shankara/Mahadeva who was born from Brahmas forehead as Rudra....
    – Tezz
    Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 15:45
  • @Tezz Thanks for you efforts. can you pls include the Bhrigu part as well in your answer. BTW I dint downvote. Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 4:18

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