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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Significance of Paśupati[edit]

Paśupati is one of the names of Lord Śiva. A jīva who is bound by the pāśa or bondage of ignorance and sees himself as the body-mind complex is called ‘paśu’. Śiva being the lord of all such paśus or jīvas, can rightly be called as ‘Paśupati’.

Aspect of Paśupati[edit]

Paśupati is one of the eight aspects or forms of Rudra-Śiva. In this aspect, he is a deity of the plants and has Svāhā as his divine consort. He is also the lord of quadrupeds and bipeds.[1] Iconographically, he is shown like Śiva with four hands, carrying a sword and a shield in the two upper hands, the lower two hands showing the mudras or abhaya[2] and varada[3] poses. Paśupatinātha is the presiding deity of Nepal.


  1. Taittiriya Samhitā and 12
  2. Abhaya means protection.
  3. Varada means giving boons.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore