Generally people have a severe misconception that Shiva is represented by the name 'Rudra' only in Vedas. Various names used today used for Lord Shiva are from Vedas. Lord Shiva

Some names are only in Puranas and Mahabharat whereas some names are directly from Vedas. Shiva is known by various names like Sambhu, Shankara, Bholenath, Nilakantha, Mahadeva, Maheshwara and so many other names.

What are the most popular names of Lord Shiva used today which are taken from Vedas? And What is the meaning of those names?

1 Answer 1


Name of God represents the attribute of God. Since a single Name doesn't cover all the attributes of God multiple names are given to cover the attributes of God. Lord Shiva has infinite attributes. Vedas themselves give multiple names to Lord Shiva so that they can cover maximum attributes of Lord Shiva.

Here I have prepared famous names of Lord Shiva which are directly from Vedas. I have also attached commentary of either Lord Krishna or sage Vyasa from Mahabharat to understand meaning of those names. Here are the names:

1) Shiva

Shiva is the most famous name which means auspicious. Vajasena Samhita of Yajurveda 3.60 clearly states "Shivo Namaasi Swadhistite" ie. "You are known by the name Shiva. 4.5.8 of Taittariya Samhita of YajurVeda, 16.49 of Vajasena Samhita of YajurVeda gives this name. Lord Krishna states:

Since by all his acts he performs sacrifices for all and seeks the good of every creature, therefore he is called Shiva  or the auspicious one. [Anushasana Parva clxi]

2) Mahadeva

It is one of the most popular name. It is stated in Satapatha Brahmana of Yajurveda in, Taittariya Aranyaka 10.20.1. Lord Krishna states:

Since he is the foremost of all the deities, and since his dominion and acquisitions are very extensive, and since he protects the extensive universe, therefore he is called Mahadeva. [Anusasana Parva clxi]

3) Pasupati

Pasupati is another popular name of Lord Shiva. It is stated in several places like T.S.4.5.4,8 ; Satapatha Brahmana, Taittariya Aranyaka 10.22.1, T.S. 6.2.3 etc..Vyasa states:

And since he always protecteth the creatures (of the universe) and sporteth with them, and since also he is the lord of all creatures, therefore is he called Pasupati. [Drona Vadh Parva ccii]

4) Shankara

It is another popular name of Lord Shiva. Taittariya Samhita 4.5.8, Vajasena Samhita 16.49 states this name. Shankara means 'One who provides Pleasure'

5) Rudra

It denotes fierce aspect of Lord Shiva. It is stated many times like T.S. 4.5.4, Satapatha Brahmana etc.. Lord Krishna states

And since he burneth, since he is fierce, since he is endued with great prowess, and since he devoureth flesh and blood and marrow, he is for this called Rudra. [Anushashana Parva clxi]

6) Ishana

This is name of Lord Shiva denoting Lordship. 2.33.9 of Rigveda states 'Isanadasya Bhuvanasya' meaning Lord of World, Satapatha Brahmana and Taittariya Aranyaka 10.21.1 also state this name. Vyasa states:

He that is the embodiment of heaven, earth and sky, the Divine Lord, the protector of the universe, the great Master, the giver of boons, called also Isana. [DronaParva ccii]

7) Bhava

This is another popular name meaning cause. It is stated in T.S.4.5.4, Satapatha Brahmana Vyasa states:

And since, he is the Past, the Future, and the Present, and, in fact, everything in the universe, and since he is the origin of the past, the future, and the present, he is for that reason called Bhava. [Drona Parva ccii]

8) Tryambaka

This name is stated in 7.59.12 of Rigveda, 1.8.6.i of Taittriya Samhita, 3.60 of Vajasena Samhita. It means three-eyed. Also means Lord of three world. Vyasa states:

And since three goddesses adore and have recourse to that Lord of the universe, viz., Firmament, Water and Earth, he is for that reason called Tryamvaka. And since Maheswara by means of his two eyes closed (in meditation), created through sheer force of will a third eye on his forehead, he is for that reason called the Three-eyed. [Drona Parva ccii]

9) Maheswara

This is another popular name of Lord Shiva meaning Great Lord. It is stated in Taittariya Aranyaka of YajurVeda in 10.12.3. It is also stated in Svetasvatara Upanishad 4.10. Ishwara is stated in 10.21 of Taittariya Aranyaka. Mahabharat states this name more than 120 times. Lord Krishna states:

Because he is great (Mahat) and the Supreme Lord of all (Iswara), therefore he is called Maheswara. [Anusasana Parva clxi, Vyasa also states the same in Drona Parva ccii]

10) Sadashiva

Sadashiva which means Eternal Shiva. This name is stated in Taittariya Aranyaka 10.21.1 and Maitreyopanishad 2.6

11) Umapati

10.22.1 of Taitariya Aranyaka states Lord Shiva as Umapati and Ambikapati. Uma is consort of Shiva/ Personified Brahma Vidya. Ambika means mother of world. Thus Ambikapati means Lord of mother of World.

12) Sarva

This is stated in 4.5.4 of T.S., of Satapatha Brahmana and other places also. Literally it means 'All'. Vyasa states:

He is Yoga and the lord of Yoga; he is called  Sarva, and is the Lord of all the worlds. [Drona Parva ccii]

13) Ishwara

Lord Shiva is also denoted by the name 'Ishwara'. Although it applies for other Gods too. Ishwara is stated in Taittariya Aranyaka 10.21.1 Lord Krishna states:

It is he who is always engaged in all that is good and evil in the three worlds. In consequence of his fullest control over all objects of enjoyment he is called Ishwara (the Supreme Lord or Master). [Anusasana parva clxi]

14) Nilagriva

It means blue-necked one. It is stated several times. For eg. In Taittariya Samhita 4.5.1. This name is the origin of Popular name Nilakantha.

15) Kapardin

It means one with matted Hair. This is stated several times. For eg. In Taittariya Samhita 4.5.4

16) Kala

Although Lord Shiva is more populary known as Mahakaal as his consort is Mahakali. 'Kala' name which means 'who is time' is stated in Taittariya Aranyaka 10.18.1

17) Tripurari

Tripurari means destroyer of three cities made by Asuras. So, Lord Shiva is Tripurantaka. Name got from story of Taittariya Samhita of YajurVeda 6.2.3.

18) Sithikantha

Sithikantha meaning white throated one. It denotes the white colour of ash around Lord Shivas name. This name is frequently used in Sri Rudram part of YajurVeda like in Taittariya Samhita 4.5.4. There are other Several Names like

Ugra [Satapatha Brahmana]= meaning fierce

Bhima [T.S. 4.5.7]=meaning giant

Aghora [T.A. 10.19.1]=meaning Benign
Bhutanamadhipati [V.S. 16.48] = meaning Lord of all beings.

Vamadeva [Taittariya Aranyaka 10.18.1],

Virupakshya [Taittariya Aranyaka 10.22.1]=meaning having uncommon(odd) eyes and other names too denoting infinite Attributes of Lord Shiva.

Note: here, T.S. =Taittariya Samhita of YajurVeda, V.S. = Vajasena Samhita of YajurVeda, T.A.= Taittariya Aranyaka of YajurVeda.

  • 1
    Hi, Is there a mention of "Maha Sadhashiva" anywhere in the Vedas? (Disc: I'm writing an answer for this other post, it is complete, but I don't have a reference to a vedas, hence I've not posted it). Thanks a lot for your help. Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 6:47
  • @Bhargav Rao I haven't come across the specific word 'Maha SadaShiva' in Vedas upto now...
    – Tezz
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 9:01
  • Cool, thanks. Let me know once you find out. Thanks! (For starters, the references point out Kamikha Aghama and Skanda Purana) Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 9:03
  • @Tezz ji I was trying to find the title Shankara (शङ्कर) in Vajasena Samhita 16.49 as you mentioned. The hymn at this location is "या तेरुद्र शिवा तनूः शिवा विश्वाह भेषजी..." there is no mention of the title Shankara. Please share. Pranam Commented Feb 15, 2022 at 20:46

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