View Full Version : Visnukandharapatana (Name of Shiva)

07 September 2012, 12:50 PM

In the Linga Purana, which lists the 1008 names of Siva, one of names of Shiva is Visnukandharapatana (Vishnukandharapatana) which is translated as "One who struck Down the Head of Vishnu" or "The One who Felled the Neck of Vishnu". It is the 835th Name.

I am curious to fully understand this Name. What is the meaning and history? Did Shiva hit the Head of Vishnu?

What is the mystery of this Name? Now we do know that Daksha organized a yajna sacrifice, he did not invite Shiva. Shiva sent Virabhadra to pay a rude visit to the sacrifice, and we are told that one of the fights that broke out involved Virabhadra and Vishnu, upon which Virabhdra struck the head or neck of Lord Vishnu. But I do not consider Virabhadra as the same as Shiva but only Portion of Shiva even though the Demon came from a single hair from Shiva. Many things are a portion of Shiva, but that is not te same as complete and fullly Shiva, otherwise Virabhadra would not need any instruction from Shiv, and would not need any direction at all if fully Shiva. Bhadra Kali is the consort of Virabhadra. But is this the meaning of the Name?

One of my paths is to love in unity Vaishnava and Shakta devotees as part of Dharma. This will grow my soul. Of course Vishnu recovered and Siva and Vishnu cherish each of. In my Ishta devotion, Hanuman for me links Saiva and Vaishnav in my path as friends forever. But this particular Name is bothering me. Please help!

Any comments?

Om Namah Sivaya.

07 September 2012, 01:00 PM

Note - I purposely put this in the jalpa section. Because it may attract jalpa. I hope not.

Om Namah Sivaya

07 September 2012, 01:12 PM
In the little of the purana I know, there is no fight b/w Shiva or Veerabadra and Vishnu. Instead, Sri Vishnu assists the cause of Lord Shiva by sending his disc to chop down the burnt body of already dead Sakthi into 108 pieces so they could fall down in 108 places in Bharat and become Shakti sthalas.

07 September 2012, 01:27 PM
Thanks Aspirant!
I could be confusing the history from timeless past. I like what you say.

I still wonder.... what is the mystery to this Visnukandharapatana name????

I was guessing, and it may have nothing to do with Daksha.

Jai Hanuman! Om Namah Sivaya

07 September 2012, 02:43 PM
It might have something to do with 'Arunachala' story - when Vishnu as a boar kept digging down the earth and kept going down trying to reach the feet of Lord Shiva who stood as a beam of fire. Maybe since Vishnu could not find the feet and going down digging more, this caused a sprain in his neck.:o

07 September 2012, 02:57 PM
Aspirant,Shiva does kill all the devas including Vishnu in the story.What you are posting is from the modified Vaishnava version at the end of which Shiva worships Vishnu.

Why are we discussing stories obviously invented by Shaivas and Vaishnavas to denigrate each other's deities?

07 September 2012, 03:59 PM
Namaste Omkara
I think you make a good point, and there was no intention of demeaning another's Deva, Devi or Devotion over the other. In fact, in the few responses I saw the opposite, examples of Saiva and Vaishnav being friends forever. I would expand my yearning and what only seems natural to me to embrace Shakta.
Anyone who knows me, pretty much knows the spirit of unity in my heart. For whatever reason my larger commitments, Saiva Siddhanta for example, are also complimented with Ishta devotion that aligns my spirit as a friend and admirer of both Vaishnav and of course Shakta ... my Ishta Lord Hanuman Whom I believe is Shiva has Sita and Ram in His heart, and Ram Whom is Vishnu is a devotee of Siva, and The Perfect Man of His own standing. An aspect of Parvati is Mother Annapurna Whom I have great Bhakti and devotion to. Lord Shiva begs Alms from Her. For many wandering souls such as myself, Her Alms are also spiritual food for seekers such as me who also beg alms from Her, the Devi. But this sometimes gets me in trouble with fellow Saivas, what to speak of others.
There are many links between our Family of Hinduism. For whatever reason, the Deva and Devi welcomed me and that unity of spirit in these circumstances will never allow me to abandone my Fellow Hindu. While there are differences, different cars if you will to take you to the destination, we all hold the True Map even though we are coming from different points in the Universe but the Map shows the entire universe and all the roads to the Capitol or destination. As a Saiva, one Saiva many not believe in the overall way of Avatar, but for a Saiva such as me that does not mean there was no Ram. There was.
The other day I decided to chant the 1008 Names of Shiva as outlined in Linga Purana. But I came upon this one Name. And so my hope was if some member would know the True Mystery of this Name.
But there may be no answer to this question. And in the spirit of never desiring that one denegrate another's Deva or Devi, perhaps you are right and to lay this question to rest.
Today I think of Hanuman, Who set all of Lanka Burning with the Fire of His Holy Tail. Om Namah Sivaya

Eastern Mind
07 September 2012, 05:00 PM
Vannakkam Shiva Fan: I get confused with the English translations of a lot of names (amongst other Sanskrit). Perhaps the answer lies in the possibility it is a poor translation. There may well be other translations.

There are also 'crossover' names. Names that appear in more than one list, perhaps many.

This is off topic but ... there is one such name that appears in both Ganesha's 108, and Siva's 108. (the ones I am familiar with ... there are several versions.) At one time I had both memorized, and occasionally I would do a switch at that point. My memory work was based on one following another, like in counting, so I'd say that name ... then the next name from the wrong list, and then keep going. But oddly enough, the vibration would flip too. I'd be suddenly calling Siva instead of Ganesha, or vice versa. Then I'd have to stop, and start somewhere close on a correct name. That's when it really struck me how powerful the chanting of names is.

Aum Namasivaya

07 September 2012, 05:19 PM
Namaste Eastern Mind

This is amazing, I really appreciate this example of the power of chanting.

Sometimes I think I just want chant the name(s) of powerful and loving Guru, Saint, Yogi, mystic, the great wandering Holy ones be they a Tamil Saint or Lord Narada.

I think, Who is The Deva of the orphans? Who is the Siddha who is The Protector of Orphans? ... But then we can actually find miracles of a true orphan who became a Guru. When I think of such Masters, I can chant their name, too! Then even your breath my leave you lungs due to such presence. But luckily, since Maha Deva is also the Lord of Breath, we can wander the call of Nmes to Him and the breath comes back!

Today I think of Hanuman, Who was the First Messenger to Mother Sita

08 September 2012, 12:00 AM
Shivafan,Shaivas not accepting the concept of avatars does not mean we beleive tht Rama and Krishna did not exist.For us they were highly enlightened beings,but they were human,not gods.There is no doubt they existed..This is accepted by historians also.
Also,Shaivas do not necessarily beleive some of the more fantastical things in the Ramayana eg.flying vehicles etc. really happened,but were possibly exaggerations by later storytellers.

08 September 2012, 02:23 AM
Namaste Omkara

Thank you Omkara. Actually, I am probably an unorthodox Saiva then. There are some scripture which I have confusion and hurt feelings in my soul about, sometimes I agree with you that probably they have verses which were added later due to some societal stress or other. But I do believe Ram was half Deva and half Humanity. I know that sounds like a contridiction. But I also believe in being so, Rama is also 100 percent Deva and 100 percent Humanity at the sametime.

I also believe God can be in two places at the same time.

I also believe in vimanas. Both as flying machines such as owned by Ravan, and as castles and special forms of mystic doors to Temples not seen by the imperfect human eye.

So I guess I am sort of a "rascal Saiva".

Let me ask, do you think Saivas believe in Muruga and Valli?

Om Namah Sivaya

12 January 2013, 08:19 AM
Namaste ShivaFanji,

I hope to be of great humility and adhering to good taste and norm in countering something perceived as contradictory and addressing it here, I apologize in advance if my message is not perceived to be of good taste.

You had expressed in my thread 'Vaishnavism with Shaivism' that some Vaishnavites in this forum are putting down on Lord Shiva without scriptural evidence. I, for one, do not remember doing anything of the sort to beloved Lord Shiva. I had elsewhere called him 'Parameshwara', 'one who does not pray to anyone else and therefore not to portray him in praying gesture' and so forth. *If you can show me a place where I have been disrespectful of Lord Shiva, I am ready to extend a 1000 apologies.

(You had expressed in the above thread that 'there are people who put down on Lord Shiva without scriptural evidence, and *talk like Pope*. When I asked you that it is not me, you had no reply for me). The following is what you had written in the other thread:

I am so glad you posted your thoughts on this. And I know you are not saying what I am respectfully am about to say, though I also agree with you. And to tell the truth, even though nothing much can get me to isolate myself from from the association with devotees (whether in person which is intregal for me, or via new technologies), it has been frankly annoying and sometimes sad for me as a Saiva to read the attempts to put down my Lord Mahadeva and the comparisons made to define Him in lower terms instead of simply glorifying one's own Lord or devotion. I know this is not what some try to, and I know there is a difference between a private communion between student and teacher where more things are said verse a public forum (like this), but some even if a minority do engage in this which is sad and in almost every case it comes from those who actually have zero authority to speak or claim to quote anything of authority but sure think they are a Pope if you will. I suppose some few still will, I am not saying to silence anyone, go ahead. They never change anyone as does a Guru or a devotee who wants to set an example. They have nothing on me, will never change me, and never will have anything over me for that matter. I just want to hear the glories, and there are plenty of others who share such wonders.

Luckily they are very, very small in number, but sometimes what they project even if a tiny minority in this huge and diverse family we call Hinduism sounds out louder since usually the scratch of finger nails on a chalk board gets all the attention. Not saying this thread is an example of it, but I have and will continue to support my Vaishnav or ISKCON or Shakta companions on this world even though I am a Saiva, and others as I always do with love for all devotees and enjoy hearing the glories of the Devas and Devi. Let me hear that, as well as the glory of the Brahman, and of couse Mother Devi Whom I love so much, of all the Mahayogis, mahatmas and saints, mystics and Munis, jai Hinduswara. Jai Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, Surya, Devi. Not trying to sound like a soft hearted love child - anyone who knows me, they know I am not and I can be as mean as a wasp if I don't get my fun, but most of the time I have too much fun to always be a soap opera like from ZeeTV. Who cares what makes me, frankly I don't even care, I just like my life. Just saying, be nice to my Lord, that's all I am thinking.

But, honestly, I find the following very hurtful of my sentiments and bhakti towards Sri Vishnu, which is your question in this thread:

In the Linga Purana, which lists the 1008 names of Siva, one of names of Shiva is Visnukandharapatana (Vishnukandharapatana) which is translated as "One who struck Down the Head of Vishnu" or "The One who Felled the Neck of Vishnu". It is the 835th Name.

I am curious to fully understand this Name. What is the meaning and history? Did Shiva hit the Head of Vishnu?

As a SriVaishnava, how hurtful it is to imagine/visualize Sri Vishnu's head being 'struck down', 'cut off'?

If it were for Srimad Ramanuja, he would have lost his life upon hearing it...

12 January 2013, 09:13 AM
As a SriVaishnava, how hurtful it is to imagine/visualize Sri Vishnu's head being 'struck down', 'cut off'?

If it were for Srimad Ramanuja, he would have lost his life upon hearing it...

Actually, there is an incident mentioned in several shrutis where Lord Vishnu is indeed beheaded.

Eg. Satapatha Brahmana 14.1.1


12 January 2013, 10:24 AM
Namaste Aspirant

Perhaps I confused things, my reply was to JaiMataDi and not to yourself in the post you quoted. I was noting how I agree with her sentiments. I am not a Universalists, that is for sure, I am a Saiva. Though I do have a nickname, Rasgoulla as in Rascal. But there is a little "nice" in Rasgoulla as well. Looks like I didn't answer your question back in September when I was chanting the 1008 names of Shiva. I would walk around a little lake, sorry if I forgot to respond.

But as I quote in my own post here, the thought was as I was saying, " One of my paths is to love in unity Vaishnava and Shakta devotees as part of Dharma". In other words, Hinduism is a Unity, not a division as some Xtians and some Western money maker tricksters try to claim.

I rely on the vast Vedic and Life process experiences of Omkara and Eastern Mind, and of course devotees as yourself who add those insights or sugar on the chapati.

One day, if I talk to Hanuman, I will be versed enough to speak in Sanskrit and Tamil. He is versed in many languages, I am not. So words are given many translations. I wonder how many sages and Gurus of yore were fluent in English? I hope I am not the cause of any falling over dead with my typing! (just kidding! Actually with the many typos I make, my gosh... but I have of habit of using my cell phone as in right now to type and not a PC or Mac).

Jai Shree Rama, Jai Mother Sita, and the Beautiful Hanumanji!

Om Namah Sivaya

12 January 2013, 12:24 PM
:) Thank you, ShivaFanji, I stand clarified. You are a very good natured and helpful person, I am well aware of that. :) I did not intend to insult you by my questioning.

Omkar! I guess you are a little-insensitive to Vaishnavites! :) I wouldn't relate the incident where Shiva cut-off the 5th head of Brahma, with Brahmadev worshippers around! Besides, Sri Vishnu's swabhaava (nature) is one of 'pleasantness', he is beyond Maya, there are instances such as when he took Matsya/Kurma avataras, that at the end of the incarnation, owing to its massiveness, Vishnu couldn't return to his original self, and Shiva cut-off Vishnu's head - but the nature of this, is one of 'helping' not 'controlling the ahamkara of Vishnu'. :) I will go through the link you had given, thank you!

12 January 2013, 02:08 PM
I maybe a little annoying to you, ShivaFanji. I just wanted to convey that I felt little 'obligated' as a Vaishnava to address the 'Vishnukandarapatana' issue here... it was a compelling urge I couldn't dismiss. I hope not to have broken the nice and harmonious rapport with you, you are one of the very few in HDF that have vast knowledge and illumines the forum with glimpses of the same! :)

Warm regards,


Sri Vaishnava
10 September 2013, 08:45 AM
Actually, there is an incident mentioned in several shrutis where Lord Vishnu is indeed beheaded.

Eg. Satapatha Brahmana 14.1.1


Not to intrude in what is obviously a shaiva and jalpa thread, but that section has been commentated upon my tradition's mahAvidwans of the past.

While that link is a bad translation in my opinion, it must be clear that the beheading there is only metaphorical and not literal. It is closely connected to and an explanation of the statement "yajnO vai vishnu" and shows that Vishnu is Yajneswara, the sacrifice, the fruit of sacrifice and the means to perform the sacrifice as well.

Before the supposed beheading, it says that Vishnu is the best of the gods. And after that supposed beheading, it shows that the devas derive strength from the pressings/sap, etc.

There is also a link with the purusha suktam. And just as we do not take it literally that the Purusha was sacrificed or that the 4 castes literally sprung out of his limbs as per the Purusha Suktam (a metaphor for bhagavan's upAyatvam and the functions of society respectively - brahmins = knowledge/head, kshatriyas = valor/shoulders, vaishyas = economists/thighs/support, shudras = support all 3 by their services to society/feet), we do not take this literally as well.

Lastly, even if it is taken literally, it doesn't change anything. Its part of his leela, just as his body was cremated, him fleeing from the battlefield as though afraid, or that he lamented over Sita's disappearance as if ignorant, etc. All part of his incredible gunam of sousilyam. And even literally, one has to accept that his head became the sun, his body nourished the devas, etc.

EDIT: My friend, the author of the narayanastra blog, contributed some further information regarding this issue. I am pasting the email I got from him:

I saw your comment on the HDF today about the supposed beheading of Vishnu. Actually, Sayana's commentary is in a sense that the yajamAna called 'Vishnu' because that he pervades the yajna prayoga. He also provides another meaning, that the yajamAna is called 'Vishnu' out of courtesy (aupacArikam) in the sense that the entire jagat is said to be Vishnu.

Actually Rudra is the one who got beheaded, as per the sarva-shAka-pratyaya-nyAya.

Note, Sayana is not of the sri vaishnava tradition, but even this view is acceptable to us. So as far as Vaidika traditions are concerned, this anecdote is explained in a very satisfactory manner.

02 October 2013, 09:07 PM
I thank Sri Vaishnava for posting this as it confirms my impression also. When Omkar first showed this to me, I also got the impression that it was to be understood in the same sense as puruSha-sukta, and not as an attempt to describe Vishnu as a mortal being.