In South India, people worship Lord Ganesh and consider him to be Lord Shiva's first son and elder to Lord Kartikeya.

In the North and remaining parts of India however, people have a faith that Lord Kartikeya is Shiva's eldest son.

So, who is the eldest son of Lord Shiva?

Also, who is Lord Ayyappan? Does he belong to Lord Shiva's family? Does Lord Shiva also have a daughter?

  • There's no consensus on who is elder and younger. "When Agni stole seed of Lord Shiva, Parvati Devi felt sad and immediately made a boy out of mud. After Rudra decapitated this boy. Simultaneously, seed of Rudra was transformed to Kartikeya". So, there's no consensus.
    – The Destroyer
    Mar 3, 2016 at 11:37
  • Parvati Devi made a boy for preserving her privacy and that is Ganesh.He interfere in the way of Lord Shiva and for that his head was removed by Lord Shiva. As per the request of devas, Lord Shiva created Kartikeya from his third eye's spark for killing Suran. Mar 3, 2016 at 11:57
  • Are you sure that Lord Ganesha is worshiped first because he is elder OR because it is customary to worship him at the beginning of any ritual?
    – Rickross
    Mar 3, 2016 at 12:36
  • @PonmariSubramanian Yeah but she immediately made a body after stealing of Shiva's seed.
    – The Destroyer
    Mar 3, 2016 at 13:06
  • The question is not that Rickross.. Who is the elder one? Mar 3, 2016 at 13:06

1 Answer 1


One of the famous names of Sri Ganapaty is "Skandapurvaja" which literally means "the elder brother of Skanda or Lord Karthikeya". So, Ganapaty is the eldest son.

Skandapurvaja -- One who is born (ja) before (purva) Karthikeya (Skanda).

108 names of Ganapaty,with 82nd in the list being "Skandapurvaja"

There is a Ganesha Asta Namavali Stotram found in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana.It was narrated by Lord Vishnu to Godess Parvati.That stotram has the name Guhaagrajam which has the same meaning as Skandapurvaja.

Vande Guhaagrajam Devam Sarvadevaagra pujitam/
Yetanmaashtakam Durgey Namaabhih samyuktam param,
Putrasya pasya Vedey cha tadaa kopam thathaa kuru/
Yetanmaashtakam Stotram naanaartha samyutam shubham,
Trisandhyam yah pathennithyam sa sukhee sarvato jayee/
Tato Vighnaam palaayantey vaina teyaad yathoragah,
Ganeswaraprasaadena mahajnaani bhaved dhruvam/
Putraarthi labhatey putram Bhaaryaarthi vipulam striam,
Maha jadam Kaveendrascha vidyaa vaancham bhaved dhruvam/

(Mother Parvati! your son has eight names viz. Ganesha, Ekadanta, Heramba, Vighnanayaka, Lambodara, Shurpakarna, Gajavaktra, and Guhaagraja. Please listen to the meanings of these names; this Great Stotra is the essence of several Stotras and is the demolisher of all kinds of obstacles

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Also, the Shiva Purana mentiones birth of Ganesha during Svetakalpa and implies that Ganesha is younger son of Lord Shiva (at Shveta Kalpa).

Sri Ayyappa was created from an union of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu (in the Mohini form), but he is not usually considered a member of Lord Shiva's family, however, in a Puja we do see his Pushpa Arcahna (worship by flowers) by the following Mantras which uses 8 names of Lord Shiva. :

Om Bhavasya Devasya Sutaya Namaha, Om Sarvasya Devasya Sutaya Namaha, ..... Om Mahato Devasya Sutaya Namaha.

enter image description here

So,he is considered as Lord Shiva's son.

Now coming to the question-Does Lord Shiva have a daughter?

According to the Padma Purana the answer is yes and her name is AshokaSundari

From wiki:

Ashokasundari (Sanskrit: अशोकसुंदरी, Aśokasundarī), also spelt as Ashoka sundari is a character in the Padma Purana who is described as the daughter of the deities Shiva and Parvati.

Ashokasundari was created from the wish-fulfilling tree Kalpavriksha when Parvati wished for reducing her loneliness. The words in her name are derived from her creation. "Ashok" refers to the easing of Parvati's "shok," which means sorrow, while "sundari" means "beautiful girl".


In Ganesha Pancharatnam, Adi Shankara also mentions Lord Ganesha as Puraripurvanandanam or the earlier (purva) son (nandana) of Purari i.e the enemy (ari) of the three cities (tripura) i.e of Lord Shiva.

अकिंचनार्तिमार्जनं चिरन्तनोक्तिभाजनं
पुरारिपूर्वनन्दनं सुरारिगर्वचर्वणम् ।
प्रपञ्चनाशभीषणं धनंजयादिभूषणम्
कपोलदानवारणं भजे पुराणवारणम् ॥४॥

  • Does Skanda Purana say Ganesha is elder than Kartikeya other than by name "Skandapurvaja"? Which Purana has Ganesha 108 names?
    – The Destroyer
    Mar 4, 2016 at 5:04
  • @AnilKumar Lord Vishnu narrates one Ganesha stuti called Ganesha Asta Namavali stotram to Devi Parvati in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana.It has the name Guhaagraja .I have added couple of screenshots in my answer.
    – Rickross
    Mar 17, 2016 at 6:21
  • What's the literal translation of 'Guhaagrajam'? I know 'agraja' means firstborn. EDIT: Ok, Guhan or Guruguha ("cave-dweller"). Mar 18, 2016 at 1:06
  • @sv Guha or Guhan is another name of Skanda(karthikeya)
    – Rickross
    Mar 18, 2016 at 6:16
  • @Rickross Yes, I was looking for the meaning behind that name. So in this case 'Guhaagrajam' means 'elder to cave-dweller (Karthikeya)'. Mar 18, 2016 at 15:04

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