Lord Veerabhadra – Vigorous Fighter & Fierce Avatar of Shiva

As mentioned in Hindu Scriptures, Lord Veerabhadra is the vigorous fighter and frightening form of Lord Shiva. Including Nandi, Bhringi, and Chandesvara, Veerabhadra is also the Prathamagana of Lord Shiva.

The word ‘Veerabhadra’ is derived from two Sanskrit words: ‘Veera’ meaning hero and ‘Bhadra’ meaning friend. In tamasic or catastrophic form, he carries four different kinds of weapons in his eight hands: Bana (arrow), Khadga (sword), Dhanusha (bow), and Khetaka (shield), along with attires garland of skulls.

Once, when Lord Vishnu threw Sudarshan Chakra on Veerabhadra to kill him, Veerabhadra swallowed the powerful Sudarshan Chakra. Veerabhadra was so powerful at that time.

Daksha Yajna

Goddess Sati, the youngest daughter of Daksha Prajapati, always set her heart on Shiva and wished to marry Shiva since her childhood. But Daksha didn’t like Mahadeva. He believed that Lord Shiva was at odds among all the gods, wearing Tiger’s skin and snakes around his neck. Daksha also didn’t like Shiva consuming Bhang and Dhatura. Despite her father’s rejection, Sati anyhow married Shiva.

Daksha held a grand Yajna (Yagya) and invited all his thirty-three daughters and son-in-law, including other gods: Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Rishis. But then Daksha refused to invite Lord Shiva and Sati in his Yajna as Sati knew that his father had invited everyone from Devaloka except her and her beloved husband, Shiva. She then started crying in agony with Shiva and pleaded to go to Yajna. Although Lord Shiva tried stopping her, the compassionate Lord Shiva told her to go and return fast.

Sati went to the Yajna and asked her parents why her beloved daughter and son-in-law were not invited. In reply, Dhaksha said, “If I call you, I would have to call your husband too, and I don’t want him to come to the Yajna. I don’t like that dirty and archaic man coming to the grand ceremony.”

He insulted Shiva in every possible way. Sati could not hear the insulting, and ignorant words said to her admired consort and threw herself into the Yajna and killed herself.

The messenger Narada Muni went to Lord Shiva and told him about Daksha insulting Sati and Lord Shiva and how she immolated herself.

Shiva’s Warth

Upon hearing the incident, Mahadeva got really angry and created a furious sound. Shiva then created two ferocious forms: Veerabhadra and Bhadrakali from his matted lock of hair. Veerabhadra was created to destroy Daksha and kill all his army.

Veerabhadra appeared so ferocious that his height was too tall to reach the heavens; his complexion was as dark as the clouds, had many arms carrying terrible weapons, and wearing a garland of skulls. Veerabhadra and Bhadrakali were created consecutively to represent Shiva and Shakti‘s energy in fierce form.

Lord Shiva instructed Veerabhadra to take all his army and destroy the Dhakasha. Veerabhadra went to Dhaksha Yajna with the gang of the armies. As the war began, he started chopping down the heads of the armies of Daksha. All other gods, Rishis limbs were also broken down.

As mentioned in Skanda Purana, Lord Vishnu threw Sudarshan Chakra on Veerabhadra to kill him. But then, he was so powerful that he swallowed the most powerful Sudarshan Chakra.

Art by Bhargav Patel on DeviantArt

Lord Shiva could not bear the grief of Sati. He took the lifeless body out of Sati from Yajna and started roaming around the universe carrying her in his back by neglecting his roles and responsibilities.

Realization of Shiva

After the huge destruction in the Yajna, all gods and Rishis went to Brahma to ask for help. Brahma reminded them that Shiva is the only creator of the whole universe and consulted them to make peace and harmony with Lord Shiva. Brahma went to Kailash and pleaded with Shiva to forgive Dhakasha and repair the broken limbs of gods and Rishis.

Vishnu and Brahma both knew that an incomplete Yajna was impending and needed to be complete. They both went to Mount Kailash, and Lord Brahma asked to forgive his son’s behavior and pleaded for his son’s life. The compassionate Mahadeva felt pity for Prasuti (Daksha’s consort) and restored his brunt head with goat’s head. He also repaired the limbs of Gods and Rishis and made it as an original. Shiva calmed down and permitted Yajna to be completed.

Daksha then felt pity for his own ignorance and invited Lord Shiva to the Yajna to complete it. In the presence of all other gods and Lord Shiva, the Yajna was ritually performed. From that day onwards, Dhaksha became the great devotee of Lord Shiva.

Significance of Veerabhadra

It is said that Dhaksha Yajna represents the higher self of Lord Shiva, Sakti represents the heart, and Daksha represents the ego.

  • Veerabhadra represents a great warrior, an army to kill ego and ignorance within us.
  • Thus, he was created to destroy Daksha, who was full of ego and ignorance.
  • The compassionate nature of Veerabhadra forgives ego and remember the essence of the heart at the same time.
  • Also, are different series of Veerabhadra asanas (Warrior 1,2, and 3) that are supposed to develop extreme confidence, strength, and unparalleled power in the practitioner.

Veerabhadra Temples

The two famous temples in India dedicated to the Veerabhadra are.

Situated in the small village called Lepakshi in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, the temple was built in the 16th century. The architecture of the temple follows the Vijayanagara style. About 200 meters away from the main temple, there is a large Nandi (bull), the mount of Shiva.

The main temple is divided into three distinct sections: Mukha Mantapa or Natya Mantapa or Ranga Mantapa. The temple is supposed to be built by two brothers Virupanna Nayaka and Viranna, the Governors of the Vijayanagar Empire, during King Achutaraya, at Penukonda.

  • Veerabhadra Temple, Yadur

It is situated on the bank of the holy river Krishna in Yadur of Belgaum District, Karnataka, India. It is approximately 94 kilometers from Belgaum. The temple was built by the Veerashaiva saint of Karnataka Shree Kadsiddeshwar in the 12th century.

Shakti Peeths

Later, Lord Vishnu used his Sudarshana Chakra to cut the body of Devi Sati to pieces, which fell on Earth. The total pieces were 52, and they fell on 52 different places, and all these places are known as holy 52 Shakti Peeths. Later, Shiva returned to Kailash, and Goddess Sati returned in another life by taking birth as Goddess Parvati.