Sarabeswarar: When God Shiva Overpowers God Vishnu


Sarabeswarar was the avatar God Shiva took to subdue the aggression of God Narasimha the 4th avatar of God Vishnu. Sarabeswarar was God Shiva’s most fierce form, he was a thousand-armed, lion-faced and with matted hair, wings and eight feets creature. Sarabeswarar has such strong features that it could clear a valley in one single jump.

According to legends, God Vishnu assumed the form of Narasimha to slay the demon king Hiranyakashipu, who was terrorizing the universe. But even after slaying Hiranyakashipu, Narasimha’s wrath was not appeased. God Brahma sent Prahalada to pray to God Vishnu and help calm him down, but even Prahalada’s efforts were to no avail. Frightened, all the Devas, humans and Gods went to God Shiva and seeked his help in calming God Vishnu.


God Shiva first sent two of his best earthly men, Bhairav and Veerbhadra to calm down God Narasimha. But Narasimha due to his enraged state did not know what he was doing and pounced on Veerbhadra. Veerbhadra prayed to God Shiva to help him from death, God Shiva took the form Sarabeswarar, a giant, frighening, form with thousands of hands. Sarabeswarar hit Narashima with his wings and carried him off into the distance. The effect of the hit made God Narasimha unconscious, when Narasimha regained his consciousness back, his rage was quelled and became a devotee of God Shiva. Sarabeswarar then decapitated and de-skinned Narasimha so that God Vishnu could assume his normal form and retire to his abode. It was from here on that God Shiva came to be known as “Sarabeshamurti”.

For the listings of Sarabeswarar temples, click here


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