According to what I have studied yet the 23rd incarnation of Lord Shiva is (ईशान) Ishan (The ruler). The story related to this incarnation is not described much deeper or it can be my fault that I have not found a good reference yet. Can anybody help me with brief story to clear my doubts.

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    What do you mean by 23rd incarnation? What list of incarnations are you referring to? Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 13:10
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    I have read something about the 23rd incarnation of Lord Shiva in a book but never read any story related with their 23rd incarnation "Ishan". Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 14:03
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    i has been read it well before, but i want a story related with Ishan(incarnation). Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 14:25
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    yea but it's a myth.Therefor i want to know the true story. Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 14:59
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    @Keshav - Yes, Siva and Saraswati were considered to be born together and are consider as brother and sister as per Brahma or brahmanda purana. Similarly, Lord Vishnu and Parvati are Brother and sister. Lord Bramha and Goddess Lakshmi are brother and sister as per one of these two puranas...As, far as Validity of it is concerned, i am not sure..This could be some kind of interpolation also.
    – user808
    Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


The story of Shiva's incarnation Ishana is told in this excerpt from the Shatarudra Samhita of the Shiva Purana. (You can read the Shiva Purana using the links in my answer here.) In this account, Brahma prays to Shiva in the Vishwarupa Kalpa, and as a result Saraswati manifests herself as his daughter Vishwarupa and Shuva manifests himself as his son Ishana. Ishana instructs Brahma, and then has four sons of his own:

As Brahma, desirous of sons, meditated on Shiva mentally, Saraswati of great sound manifested herself. She was Vishwarupa (Universe-formed). Ishana of such renowned features, supreme lord of crystal-like pure brilliance and bedecked in all ornaments manifested himself. On seeing Ishana the unborn lord, all pervading, all-bestowing, the all-in-all, of good forms as well as well as form, Brahma bowed to him. Lord Ishana after instructing the path of the good to Brahma, created four auspicious sons in collaboration with his Energy. They were born Jatin, Mundin, Sikhandin, and Ardhamunda. By means of Yoga they imparted good virtue and attained the goal of Yoga.

I assume "goal of yoga" means Kaivalya liberation, which I discuss here.

The story is also told in this excerpt from the Linga Purana. (You can read the rest if the Linga Purana here.) This account provides more detail about the prayer that Brahma says as well as what Ishana teaches Brahma (it's about the fundamental nature of Saraswati). It also provides the detail that Saraswati's incarnation Vishwarupa is a cow.

  • "in the Vishwarupa Kalpa" as in during the Vishwarupa Kalpa(age)?
    – Naveen
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 4:53
  • @Naveen Yes, during the Vishwarupa Kalpa. It was called the Vishwarupa Kalpa, because it was during that age that Saraswati's incarnation Vishwarupa was born. Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 4:56

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