In Shivashtakam (Listen here), Lord Shiva is said to be the one having immense laughter.

वटाधोनिवासं महाट्टाट्टहासं महापापनाशं सदासुप्रकाशम् ।
गिरीशं गणेशं महेशं सुरेशं शिवं शङ्करं शम्भुमीशानमीडे ॥ ४॥

vaṭādhonivāsaṃ mahāṭṭāṭṭahāsaṃ mahāpāpanāśaṃ sadāsuprakāśam ।
girīśaṃ gaṇeśaṃ maheśaṃ sureśaṃ śivaṃ śaṅkaraṃ śambhumīśānamīḍe ॥ 4॥

I pray to You, Shiva, Shankara, Shambhu, Who resides below a Vata (Banyan) tree, Who possesses an immense laughter, Who destroys the greatest sins, Who is always resplendent, Who is the Lord of Himalaya, various Gana and the demi-gods, Who is the great Lord, and Who is the Lord of everyone.

When was he found with such laughter? There must be some stories of his laughing.

  • 3
    In Vayu Purana purva Bhaga, chapter 24, Shiva says he will born as Attahasa in 20th Chaturyuga and says there is great mountain of Attahas in Himalayan range (it is identified as Attahasa mountain in Bengal where a Shakti Peeta is located). But i couldn't find any references for mahāṭṭāṭṭahāsaṃ.
    – The Destroyer
    Feb 27, 2018 at 17:36
  • Who wrote Shivashtakam?
    – user9969
    Feb 27, 2018 at 17:51
  • 3
    @Sarvabhouma I think Rohit meant to ask what I have changed in the title... it's not also different from original title... let Rohit himself decide whether this change changed his question or not... 😂😂
    – Tezz
    Feb 27, 2018 at 18:00
  • 4
    @Sarvabhouma why you worry so much? Tezz edited correctly. & Also what you edited is nearly same as Tezz. Feb 28, 2018 at 1:51
  • 3
    @Sarvabhouma There was no need of any argument on this small issue. All past edits were fine to me. Feb 28, 2018 at 1:57

4 Answers 4


Laughing is just a normal activity of Lord Shiva as discussed in a passage of  Mahabharata which I discuss here:

He has snakes for his belt, and his ears are adorned with ear-rings made of snakes. Snakes form also the sacred thread he wears. An elephant skin forms his upper garment. He sometimes laughs and sometimes sings and sometimes dances most beautifully. Surrounded by innumerable spirits and ghosts, he sometimes plays on musical instruments. Diverse, again are the instruments upon which he plays, and sweet the sounds they yield. He sometimes wanders (over crematoria), sometimes yawns, sometimes cries, and sometimes causes others to cry. He sometimes assumes the guise of one that is mad, and sometimes of one that is intoxicated, and he sometimes utters words that are exceedingly sweet. Endued with appalling fierceness, he sometimes laughs loudly, frightening all creatures with his eyes. He sometimes sleeps and sometimes remains awake and sometimes yawns as he pleases. He sometimes recites sacred Mantras and sometimes becomes the deity of those Mantras which are recited. He sometimes performs penances and sometimes becomes the deity for whose adoration those penances are undergone. He sometimes makes gifts and sometimes receives those gifts; sometimes disposes himself in Yoga and sometimes becomes the object of the Yoga contemplation of others.

One specific moment about laughing of Lord Shiva is recorded in Varaha Purana during the manifestation of Lord Ganesha as discussed in this answer: and this answer:

The gods said:

"O great god with three eyes and trident in hand, it behoves you to create (a being) for obstructing the actions of the bad".

Thus requested by Devas, Rudra with great pleasure looked at Uma for a moment.

When he was looking at Uma in the presence of gods, he was worried why no form of his was seen in the sky.

"There is the body in earth, there is one in water; so also in fire and air.

 How is it not there in sky ?" So thinking he laughed. By the power of knowledge, by what was seen by Rudra in the sky, by what was said by Brahma formerly as the body of all beings, by the laughter of Rudra, by all these four in the four elements Earth and the rest, there arose a boy effulgent with glowing face, looking like Rudra himself and stupefying Devas with the charm of his dazzling brilliance. Seeing the person of this great boy, Uma remained with eyes stuck on him.

About the types of bodies above mentioned they come under Ashtamurti forms. There might be other instances when Lord Shiva laughed and something new event created that time, I'll update the answer if I find it.

  • Thanks. Keep updating this answer whenever you find such more stories of Lord Shiva. Feb 28, 2018 at 2:14
  • I think there is some deep significance for mahāṭṭāṭṭahāsaṃ. Even in a Telugu song, (Sanskrit Song to be precise) mahāṭṭāṭṭahāsaṃ is described as a attribute.
    – The Destroyer
    Feb 28, 2018 at 12:37

If a smile counts as a laugh - he destroyed the tripuras with a smile.


Another version that is widely quoted in Tamil literature has Lord Shiva destroy Tripura with a mere smile. When all the battlefield was filled with warriors, with Brahma and Vishnu in attendance, there occurred the instant when the forts came together. Lord Shiva merely smiled. The forts were burned to ashes. The battle was over before it began! In Tamil, Lord Shiva has the epithet, "Sirithu Purameritha Peruman" which means, He who burnt the cities with a mere smile.


He laughed while revealing Malini Vijayottara tantra as well.

Goddess said - The same vast path of yoga can't be grasped by the majority and thousands of dull minded persons. Therefore, O Parmeshvara please tell me; after summing it up in its condensed form so that it may suit the dull minded people and bring all sorts of successes to them. The king of the world, Siva, thus told by the Goddess, having laughed said-. Chapter-1.11-12

  • 1
    Attahasam means a loud fearful laughter.. not just a smile :D @Roh
    – Rickross
    Apr 8, 2018 at 12:48

This Chapter of Sri Shiva Purana, mentions, Bhagawan Shiva laughed seeing the Supremacy fight between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, due to which the Ketaki flower fell from his head.:

20-21. On seeing the mutual fight of Brahmā and Viṣṇu, lord Śiva laughed. When his head shook, the Ketakī flower dropped down. Although it had been in its downward course for many years, neither its fragrance nor its lustre had been diminished even a bit. The flower had been intended to bless them.

enter image description here

I hope this helps. Prd..

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