When Vishnu transformed into Mohini, the celestial enchantress, Shiva was so overwhelmed with desire that he abandoned his consort Parvati and ran after Mohini until he had shed his seed.

link: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mohini#Seven_secrets_of_Vishnu

In the Brahmanda Purana when the wandering sage Narada tells Shiva about Vishnu's Mohini form that deluded the demons, Shiva dismisses him. Shiva and his wife Parvati go to Vishnu's home. Shiva asks him to take on the Mohini form again so he can see the actual transformation for himself. Vishnu smiles, again meditates on the Goddess, and in place of Vishnu stands the gorgeous Mohini. Overcome by lust, Shiva chases Mohini as Parvati hangs her head in shame and envy. Shiva grabs Mohini's hand and embraces her, but Mohini frees herself and runs further. Finally, Shiva grabs her and their "violent coupling" leads to discharge of Shiva's seed which falls "short of its goal," suggesting the act was not consummated. The seed falls on the ground and the god Maha-Shasta ("The Great Chastiser") is born. Mohini disappears, while Shiva returns home with Parvati


Why and how did Lord Shiva, the supreme yogi, fall in love with Mohini? Any Shiva bhakt will be shocked if they read about this! Also, he is already married to Parvati, who is Tripura Sundari, the most beautiful woman in the three worlds? Finally, I am aware of answers that state that this union was for the birth of Ayyappa or that this happened because Lord Vishnu is supreme and whatnot. However, I am searching for a different answers. Please give me your answers.

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    "Any Shiva bhakt will be shocked if they read about this!"---All Shiva bhakts already know about this but they are not shocked.And the reason is that they know Bhagaban's leelas (actions)are not always properly understood by our limited intellect.This incident is one such leela by Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva which led to the birth of Sri Ayyappa.
    – Rickross
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 6:29
  • 4
    This is just leela (sport) played by Vishnu and Shankara (not Shiva) for Ayyappa birth. Why did "Yogi" Shiva married Parvati, even after buring Kama Deva? Same is the reason and logic here. They are Trikaladarshis and just played this drama.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 8:05
  • 3
    @Rickross I already said that i am aware of this being necesarry for the brth of lord Ayyappa.however,why did lord shiva do something like this and not something like how murugan and ganesha were born?this act of unbridled lust is akin to lord Brahma and his wife Saraswati(before they were married).lord shiva punished him then.But now,he himself is doing such deeds!Also,Parvati and Sati won him through penance but was Mohini entilled to and able to attract lord shiva just like that?Doesn't Vishnu/Mohini have the same amount of power as his sister,Parvati?
    – user4627
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 11:45
  • @AnilKumar Why did they have to do that specific leela.As mentioned earlier,couldn't lord shiva just do something like how murugan and ganesha were born?
    – user4627
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 12:11
  • 1
    Your question doesn't make any sense to me.It doesn't show any faith or belief in God either and which is irritating me.You are trying to judge God's action as if they are humans like us & that is wrong.Rules of two dimensional geometry are not the same as those of multi dimensional space.If instead of having a rational approach towards God you approach him with faith, surrender and devotion you will get answers even to those questions that you never thought existed.
    – Rickross
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 7:07

4 Answers 4


"Any Shiva bhakt will be shocked if they read about this!"

One doesn't need to get shocked from this story. It can be interpreted in various ways:

i) Vaishnavite Interpretation:

This story shows even Shiva is bewildered by Maya of Vishnu. So, Vishnu is Supreme.

ii) Shaivite Interpretation:

This story shows Vishnu is Prakriti tatwa (feminine) and Shiva being Purusha is attracted to Prakriti. So, as Shiva is Purush as clearly seen from this story, Shiva is Supreme.

iii) General Interpretation:

This is Just Leela of God and done for the specific purpose.

Coming to your second question:

"Also, he is already married to Parvati, who is Tripura Sundari, the most beautiful woman in the three worlds?"

If you closely look at the story of Brahmanda Purana you will find that Vishnu is changed into the form of Tripura Sundari or Uma herself. It looks like 1.5 of Rudra Hridaya Upanishad which states "She who is Uma, she herself is in the form of Vishnu”. Here are some relevant portions from Brahmanda Purana.

"Meanwhile, Vishnu began to meditate on Sri Lalita Mahatripurasundari, who was his very own Self. By completely identifying himself with Maheshwari, Vishnu manifested himself in her form. She looked as if she were the very personification of the sentiment of erotica. Decorated with all kinds of ornaments, she appeared on the battlefield and brought the battle to a sudden halt. Enchanting the demons with a smile. The parting of her hair was decorated with a vermilion mark. Her crown was decorated with the half-moon. Her eyes were filled with intoxication. Filled with desire, Shiva followed her and taken her into his embrace, as a result of which he ejaculated his semen. Immediately, an immensely powerful god named ‘Maha-Shaasta’, who was capable of destroying crores of demons, originated from Shiva’s semen". [Brahmanda Purana Lalitopakhyana chapter 2]

So, as evident from the above description, Mohini form of Vishnu is just, Vishnu being converted in the form of Tripura Sundari. That's why Mahadeva is attracted to her.

  • 7
    Great answer. According to Vasihnavaites, Vishnu produces Maya and according to Shaktas and Shaivaties, Adi Shakti produces Maya. Your answer reconciles all their views.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 14:48
  • But what is this Shiva's semen Commented May 4, 2021 at 17:43
  • Arya samaj interpretation :so you are saying that kunti got mental sons by celestial gods. But for tridev it requires human like qualities for child. Doesn't fit logic.
    – user32378
    Commented Mar 2 at 6:23

Good Question!! Mahishi who was sister of Mahishasura wanted to take revenge for his brothers death. She does tapas for Lord Bramha and gets a boon that she can only be killed by the son born to Shiva and Vishnu. She later attacks the devaloka and consumes all the Havis from yagna and yagam. To Kill her the lord vishnu and lord shiva should have a baby between them and to make it possible.

In Devi bhagavatham its clearly mentioned that "Sthri rupam of Lord vishnu is Parvathi/ durga". It is also mentioned that lord shiva only has attraction to his shakthi Parvathi and they both are inseparable. So in fact to attract lord shiva, Vishnu has meditated about parvathi and infused her into him. That made lord shiva to get attracted to vishnu.

From Bhagavatham, Daksha yagnam it is said that Vishnus Vaishnavi shakthi is parvathi (his sister), So is the reason Narayani is the name of goddess parvathi. So by thatva they both are same. Coming to shiva He is aadi yogi/ Yogeshwareshwara... He is unmmoved by Vaishnava Maya, he just encouraged it get the things done.

Mohini - Name itself says that Moha, is the attractive power of Maya/Vaishnavi which attracted lord shiva.

  • 1
    Who is another brother of Mahisasura?
    – Yogi
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 17:30
  • @Yogi Its Raktha Beeja, brother of Mahishasura. Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 18:05
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    Please mention source with your claims
    – Yogi
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 18:12
  • @P Sabbineni Nice answer!However,r u saying that Vishnu isParvati or just infused her into his body?Also,(I forgot to add this in the qns)I have read many,many answers which claim that both Vishnu and Parvati are the same.Can you give me any other reasons?
    – user4627
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 1:16
  • @PSabbineni Your answer is fully un-sourced and full of empty claims. Kindly provide the sufficient backup for you answer. Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 12:47

The Supreme Being manifests Himself in three forms Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Preserver) and Shiva (Destroyer). All three are one and the same and hence we have the Trimurty or the Trinity. Since both Shiva and Vishnu are one and the same person, we have to face the question why was this episode mentioned at all.

Hinduism also talks of the Feminine Creator Adi Parashakti. Hence the Purusha (Shiva / Vishnu) is incomplete and or impotent without their Prakriti (Shakti).

It is only when, Purusha and Prakriti unite that creation takes place. Was Mohini the Prakriti of Vishnu -if so there would be nothing wrong in the Purusha of Shiva uniting with the Prakriti of Vishnu - whether this union was symbolic or physical and the Creation that resulted was Ayyappa also known as Dharma Shashtaa or HariHara Putra (son of Hari-Vishnu and Hara-Shiva).

This creation was necessary to kill the demoness Mahishi, sister of Mahishasura, who was blessed with a boon that she could only be killed by a child born of the union of Shiva and Vishnu - and who better to be a woman than Vishnu as Mohini. and Why is Vishnu's form called Mohini - not because it enraptured all the males, but because it was a form of Shriman Jaganmohini - Adi Parashakti - Tripura Sundari i.e Parvati - Shiva's Shakti.

  • Is Mahishi or Ayyappa mentioned or predicted in any of our Hindu scriptures? Ayyappa incarnated after the advent of the muslims into our country. I asked a question regarding Mahishi. You can read it here Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 11:41
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    I accept your contention. Ayyapan is a modern day deity who was consecrated about maybe a thousand or so years ago. My reference however, was to Dharma Shastaa, the slayer of Mahishi, whose birth is described in the chapter Upasamhara Pada of the Brahmanda Purana. As you rightly state Ayyapan is not the same as Dharma Shastaa. Ayyappa is supposed to be an incarnation of Dharma Shastaa and his temple at Sabarimala was built by Pandya King Raja Rajasekhara Pandiyan of Pandalam, a devotee of Lord Shiva sometime in the 11th / 12th Century CE.. Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 12:34

It is not logical to think Siva had lust as we must remember that the dust on his body and his sweat together created Urvasi..

I understand this story differently.. In Kundaleeni yoga principle, Siva is the deity for Ankhya Chakra which is the 6th chakra (in forehead area of Sadhak). This is also called Third eye. (one must remember Siva is always depicted with third eye)

The 5th Chakra is Vishudhi Chakra (neck and throat area) and its deity is Vishnu.

So my understanding is when the vishudhi (thathwam) chakra becomes in its most beautiful and perfect condition, the Siva (Ankhya thathwam) gets assented to elevate the sadhak's level to Ankhya.

In the story of Ayyappa, he was born with a bell on his neck, which represents a perfected Vishudhi Chakram.

I recently visited Sabarimala and noticed that there is a Mandap where only one deepam (sacred flame) is worshipped. I believe it represents Ankhya Chakram.

I admit, the above is just my personal observations and shall be thankful to those who can correct me or guide me further

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