So far I have primarily heard about Nandi and Veerbhadra, about how they were born and about their other deeds but are there any other ganas being described in any texts regarding their birth stories or how they became ganas of Lord Shiva or any other stories having their specific role. Also, is there any other details about how was there life style. Since they were involved in battles also, were they trained warriors? In that case who use to train them or provide weapons,etc. Also, want to know whether they had families, ie, wife and children or they remain single.

  • 1
    Gana is just a Puranic term for the beings known in Vedic times as the Rudras. Different Hindu scriptures give a variety of different stories for the birth of the Rudras; some say they're sons of Kashyapa, some say they're sons of Shiva, etc. Jun 15, 2015 at 14:00
  • @Keshav That's interesting info. Can you provide more details on this with scripted texts. Actually I wanted to know about major ganas and their stories. We know about how Nandi and Veerbhadra originated and gets included in Shiv ganas. Similarly, there might be stories of some others as well like Bhringi, etc.
    – Aby
    Jun 15, 2015 at 16:56
  • @Aby Can you point me the source which speaks of origins and life of Veerabhadra?
    – Naveen
    Jun 17, 2015 at 14:06
  • 1
    @Naveen Virabhadra was a demon created by Shiva to take revenge on Daksha for the death of Shiva's first wife Shakti. If I recall, his story is told in the Shatarudra Samhita of the Shiva Purana, which you can read in Volume 3 in my answer here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/3830/36 Jun 17, 2015 at 14:25

2 Answers 2


I found some information on 3 of the Shiva ganas Bhringi, Chandeshwar and Tandu so sharing here.

Accordingly, Bhringi is said to be actually Andhaka, the demon who was born when Goddess Parvati once playfully closed the eyes of Lord Shiva with her hands. Due to this world came into darkness for a few seconds and a drop of sweat produced from the heat produced by Goddess Parvati's hands and lord Shiva's eyes, fell on the ground thus generating the baby Andhaka. Andhaka was blind from birth as he was born from Lord Shiva when his eyes were closed. He was later given to Asura king Hiranyaksh and his wife who were praying to Lord Shiva for a son. Later, when Andhak became young he attained divine vision and in further course of events, he battled Lord Shiva so that he can marry Goddess Parvati. Lord Shiva and his army fought with Andhaka and his army and Andhaka was defeated and nearly killed in the end. Andhaka was hanged on Lord Shiva's Trident for a long time. It was then that he realized his mistake and pleaded Lord Shiva for forgiveness. Lord shiva forgave him making him free from his trident. He was then made the chief of Shiva ganas and was later known as Bhringi. [Source: wikipedia article].

There is one more story around Bhringi discussed in another wiki article but I am not sure whether he is the same Bhringi or some other sage:

According to Hindu mythology, Bhringi was an ancient sage (rishi), and a great devotee of Shiva,1 the Hindu God of destruction and rejuvenation. According to mythology, all the rishis paid homage to both Shiva and Parvati,consort of Shiva, but Bhringi would not worship Parvati and dedicated himself solely to Shiva.

The story goes that Bhringi one day, came to Mount Kailas, the abode of Shiva, and expressed his desire to go around Shiva. As he was going around, Shiva’s consort, Shakti, said, “You cannot just go around him. You have to go around me too. We are two halves of the same truth.”

Bhringi, however, was so focussed on Shiva that he had no desire to go around Shakti. Seeing this, Shakti sat on Shiva’s lap making it difficult for Bhringi to go around Shiva alone. Bhringi, determined to go around Shiva took the form of a snake and tried to slip in between the two.

Amused by this, Shiva made Shakti one half of his body – the famous Ardhanarishvara form of Shiva. This was God whose one half is the Goddess. But Bhringi was adamant. He would go around Shiva alone. So he took the form of a rat, some say a bee, and tried to gnaw his way between the two.

This annoyed the Goddess so much that she said, “May Bhringi lose all parts of the body that come from the mother.” In Tantra, the Indian school of alchemy, it is believed that the tough and rigid parts of the body such as nerves and bones come from the father while the soft and fluid parts of the body such as flesh and blood come from the mother. Instantly, Bhringi lost all flesh and blood and he became a bag of bones. He collapsed on the floor, unable to get up.

Bhringi realized his folly. Shiva and Shakti make up the whole. They are not independent entities. One cannot exist without the other. Without either there is neither. He apologized.

So the world never forgets this lesson. Bhringi was denied flesh and blood forever. To enable him to stand upright he was given a third leg, so that his legs served as a tripod.

The above story in short along with the reference of Andhaka is also quoted here.

The second gana Chandeshwara is an aspect of Chandi in human form later elevated to the status of divinity, to signify the connection between Siva and Chandi, or Durga. According to the same above article, following are the details about him:

He is an aspect of Chandi in human form later elevated to the status of divinity, to signify the connection between Siva and Chandi, or Durga.

Chandesvara is a ferocious god, holding weapons of war and ready to do battle for a divine cause. His images are generally found in a corner in all the Siva temples.

Another attendant of Lord Shiva is Tandu. His reference is associated with Lord Shiva's Tandava dance. Below is the passage from wikipedia article on Tandava dance which talks about him.

The Tandava takes its name from Tandu (तण्डु taṇḍu), the attendant of Shiva, who instructed Bharata (author of the Natya Shastra) in the use of Angaharas and Karanas, modes of the Tandava at Shiva's order. Some scholars consider that Tandu himself must have been the author of an earlier work on the dramatic arts, which was incorporated into the Natya Shastra. Indeed, the classical arts of dance, music and song may derive from the mudras and rituals of Shaiva tradition.

I will add more details if I get more info.

  • Thanks a lot for your reply. Its surprising to know that Andhaka was Bhringi. And also I never knew of Chandeshwar too. Please add in more details if you get some.
    – Aby
    Jul 1, 2015 at 8:35

The two gaṇas named Puṣpadanta and Mālyavān are responsible for bringing the epic poem named Kathāsaritsāgara from heaven to earth. Puṣpadanta secretly overheard Śiva narrating an epic tale to Pārvatī, but learning of his trickery, Śiva cursed both Puṣpadanta and Mālyavān to be incarnated as mortals; Puṣpadanta as Vararuci and Mālyavān as Guṇāḍhya.

Puṣpadanta (as Vararuci) would be released from the curse if, upon encountering Kāṇabhūti (name of a yakṣa), he would remember this epic tale and narrate it to this Kāṇabhūti.

Mālyavān (as Guṇāḍhya) would be released from his curse when he would publish this epic tale abroad, after hearing it from Kāṇabhūti.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of story’) in approximately 22,000 ślokas is said to be a derivative work originating from the Bṛhatkathā, the seventh book of a large epic tale containing 700,000 ślokas. This Bṛhatkathā (and previous books) was composed and narrated by Guṇāḍhya (the incarnation of Mālyavān) but originally narrated by Śiva to Pārvatī, as explained above.

Further reading / source

The full English translation of the Kathāsaritsāgara.

The first book (Kathāpīṭha) explains the origin of this work in detail and contains a much larger narrative introduction, described in short above.

  • Oh! Interesting information about Kathãsaritãsagara... I want to read what types of stories it might contain... Is this book avaliable online?..
    – Tezz
    Jul 17, 2017 at 10:37
  • Yes the link was already in the answer but I have improved the visibility. The full English translation is available on that link. Jul 17, 2017 at 11:48
  • Oh Sorry.. I had already seen that link, but I supposef that I had to buy there... I just know I could freely access it... Thank You!...
    – Tezz
    Jul 17, 2017 at 15:46
  • @Tejaswee you can also check this answer to my question which gives more details about these two - hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/35855/…
    – Viraj
    Aug 8, 2019 at 7:30

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