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Maha Shivratri 2020: Different Names Of Lord Shiva And Their Meanings

Lord Shiva is considered to be one of the most important Hindu deity. Devotees are often seen worshipping Him with utmost dedication and devotion. In order to pay tribute to Lord Shiva and express their gratitude for bestowing prosperity, devotees celebrate the festival of Maha Shivratri. This year the festival will be celebrated on 21 February 2020. So we thought of bringing a list of a few names of Lord Shiva along with their meanings. You can go through these names to know why he is often called with different names.


This is the most commonly used name of Lord Shiva. The name means 'the one who is pure'. It is said that he is the one who destroys evil thoughts and negativity. Therefore, he is often referred to as Shiva.


It means 'the one who has a blue neck'.

Lord Shiva is also known as Neelkantha after he drank Halahal, the deadly poison. According to a mythological story in Shiv Purana, a holy book, once the Sura (Gods) and Asura (demons) went for Samudra Manthan (churning the ocean). The intentions behind doing so were to gain the diving Amrit, holy nectar. Both groups wanted to have the Amrit to become immortal.

But the first thing that came out after churning the ocean was a pot full of halahal. The poison was capable enough to destroy the entire universe once. Also, since it came out of the ocean, it had to be consumed by someone. This is when Gods requested Lord Shiva to help them. Lord Shiva agreed to consume the halahal. So he drank halahal, but kept it in his neck as he was knowing that the poison upon entering his stomach would destroy the universe. This is because the stomach of Lord Shiva represents the universe. Therefore, Lord Shiva kept the poison in his throat only. Due to this, his neck turned to blue.

Hence, Lord Shiva came to be known as Neelkanth.


'Mahadev' means the greatest of all Gods.

According to another story in Shiva Purana, once Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu had an argument over who among them is the greatest. The two Gods went on debating with each other. Seeing this the other Gods approached Lord Shiva and asked them to stop the two Gods from arguing. So Lord Shiva appeared as a pillar of light between Lord Brahma and Vishnu.

Both of them were amazed to see this pillar of light as it neither its source nor its end was visible. This is when they decided the one who first reaches either end will be considered as the greatest. But none of them were able to find the end and this is when Lord Shiva appeared in his original form.

This way Lord Brahma and Vishnu realised that none of them is the greatest. In fact, it is their holy trinity (i.e., Brahma, Vishnu and Mahes) and their combined powers that make them are the greatest of all.

This is when Lord Shiva came to be known as 'Mahadev'.


This is the most fascinating forms of Lord Shiva. It means the one who has 'moon as his crown'.

Lord Shiva got this name when he went to marry Goddess Parvati. Since he was smeared in ashes, was wearing tiger-skin and had a snake looped around his neck, Queen Menavati, the mother of Goddess Parvati fainted. This is when it was decided that Lord Shiva should be dressed up to look like an ideal groom. Therefore, Lord Vishnu took the responsibility of grooming Lord Shiva with precious ornaments and clothes. The final look of Lord Shiva was fascinating. Impressed by this, Lord Vishnu asked the Moon to come and adorn Lord Shiva.

Hence, Lord Shiva came to be known as Chandrashekhar.

Also read: Maha Shivratri 2020: Know The Difference Between Jyotirlinga And Shivlinga


Lord Shiva is often known as Bholenath as legends have it as one can please Him easily. The name 'Bholenath' comprises two words namely, 'Bhole' meaning innocent like a child and 'Nath', which means 'the supreme'. According to legends, Lord Shiva can be pleased only by offering his favourite leaves, ice-cold milk and Gangajal.


Parvati, the Goddess of power and energy is also known as Uma. Since Lord Shiva married her, he is known as Umapati as well.


Legend has that Lord Shiva sits in a meditating position. His statue is symbolic of the fact that how yoga and meditation can help us to look inside our soul and therefore, his devotees often call him 'Adiyogi' which means 'the first yogi'.


Shambhu means the one who bestows prosperity and removes obstacles. Since Lord Shiva being a destroyer removes obstacles and difficulties from his devotees' life. Therefore, he is often called as Shambhu.


Sadashiv means the one who is eternally pure. Lord Shiva is believed to be the one who stays away from all sorts of materialistic bonds and happiness. He believes in eternal peace and spirituality and therefore, his devotees consider him as the one who is the most auspicious. This is why Lord Shiva is called Sadashiva.


Though Lord Shiva is the God of destruction, he blesses his devotees with prosperity and contentment. This is because he destroys all those factors which are responsible for materialistic attachment and happiness. Therefore, he is known as Shankara.


Maheswara is derived from two words namely Maha means 'the one who is great' and Ishwara which means 'God'. Since he is considered to be the one who is supreme of all as he is untouched from any materialistic attachments, devotees call him Maheshwara.


Veerbhadhra means the one who is fierce and powerful but is still peaceful of all. Veerbhadhra is derived from two words namely, 'Veer' which means the one who is brave and powerful and 'Bhadra' meaning the one who is polite and well-mannered. Lord Shiva though is fearsome, especially when he opens his third eye (which is meant for destruction), he is the most humble and peace-loving God. Legends have it that those who worship Lord Shiva with utmost dedication will be blessed with eternal peace of mind.


Rudra is the name of Lord Shiva which symbolises his fierce nature and valiant form. Lord Shiva takes his Rudra form when he has to destroy evils and thoughts that prevail unrest in the universe.

Also read: Maha Shivratri 2020: 7 Auspicious Leaves That You Can Offer To Lord Shiva


In addition to these names, Lord Shiva is also known as Nataraj as devotees believe that Lord Shiva often dances to express his contentment and joy. The word Nataraj means the 'God Of Dance'. Legends have it that when Lord Shiva dances, the universe rejoices with happiness and prosperity.

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