Physical appearance of Hindu god Shiva

by Sulaiman Razvi

Parvati the wife of Shiva said,

Narada Purana III.79.220-5 “The garland of hellish things is your ornament for the chest. The poisonous serpents viz. Vasuki and Sesa are your bangles. Your garments are the quarters (i.e. you are naked); the matted hair is what you have by way of your tresses. The white ash constitutes your unguent, the great bull is your vehicle. Your Gotra (spiritual lineage) and the family are not known. Your parents are unknown, your body is rendered ugly with hideous eyes.’ Even as the daughter of the mountain was saying this Visnu spoke to her angrily. ‘O goddess, why do you censure our lord of the universe, the lord of Devas. O gentle lady due to your nature of not controlling yourself you were not his beloved. You are like the evil vital breaths. O gentle lady, it is my vow that I shall die where Isa is censured.’ After saying this, Hari attempted to cut off his head. Mahesa caught hold of his hand and said, ‘Do not indulge in a risky venture. Everything that Parvati said is pleasing to me, not displeasing.” Tr. G.V. Tagare

Daksa the father in law of Shiva said,

Srimad Bhagavatam 4.2.12-15 He has eyes like a monkey’s, yet he has married my daughter, whose eyes are just like those of a deer cub. Nevertheless he did not stand up to receive me, nor did he think it fit to welcome me with sweet words. Shiva lives in filthy places like crematoriums, and his companions are the ghosts and demons. Naked like a madman, sometimes laughing and sometimes crying, he (shiva) smears crematorium ashes all over his body. He (shiva) does not bath regularly, and he ornaments his body with a garland of skulls and bones” Tr. Swami Prabhupada

Linga Purana 31.28-32 ”The lord had vulgar traits. He was stark nude. He had smeared his limbs with ashes. His hands were engaged in whirling a firebrand. His eyes were red and tawny. Sometimes he laughed boisterously, sometimes he sang surprisingly. Sometimes he danced amorously and sometimes he cried repeatedly. He roamed round the hermitages and begged for alms. He assumed forms of his choice by his Maya…” Tr. Board of Scholars, edited by J.L. Shastri

Matsya Purana 154.329-341 ”Hearing those words the sages controlling their mind and realizing her object said:- ”Daughter! There are two kinds of comforts in the world and the first one is the gratification of the body; the second is the peace of mind. Lord Siva is, by nature naked, ferocious, Dweller of the cremation ground, the carrier of skulls, a hermit, statue like in action, a begger, mad, fond of collecting ugly and terrible things, and inauspiciousness incarnate. What advantage will you get in having him as your husband…” Tr. Taluqdar of Oudh, Edited by B.D. Basu