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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Mahesvara, MaheZvara, Maheshvara

Maheśvara literally means ‘the Great Lord’.

‘Maheśvara’ is one of the names and aspects of Śiva. Iconographical works describe him as wearing a jaṭāmukuṭa (crown of matted hair), fair in complexion, adorned with the crescent moon on the head and having four arms, holding paraśu (axe) or taṅka (hammer) and mṛga (deer), the other two arms assuming the gestures of abhaya (protection) and varada (bestowal of boons). Or he may be shown as having triśula (trident) ḍamaru (hand-drum), kapāla (skull-cup) and nāga (a serpent). He has, of course, three eyes.

He may also be shown as riding his bull, along with his spouse Pārvatī and the two sons, Gaṇeśa and Kārttikeya. Maheśvara is also the name of a dharmaśāstra writer who lived around A. D. 1550. He is the author of a commen¬tary on the dāyabhāga system of dividing property.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore