|Weapon||Trishūla, gada, sword|
Munīshwarar in Tamil or Munēshwara in Kannada (Tamil முனீஸ்வரன்) is a Hindu God. 'Muni' means 'saint' and 'Īshwara' represents 'Shiva'. But he's not considered as a form of Shiva. He is worshiped as a family deity in most Shaivite families in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Nadamuni Dakshayani was the youngest daughter of Daksha, the chief of the gods. When Sati grew up she set her heart on Shiva, worshipping him in secret. In the Swayamvara of Sati, Daksha invited all gods and princes except Shiva. Sati cast her wreath into air, calling upon Shiva to receive the garland; and behold him stood in midst of the court with the wreath about his neck. Daksha had no choice but to marry Sati with Shiva. One day Daksha made arrangements for a great horse sacrifice, and invited all the gods omitting only Shiva. Sati, being greatly humiliated, went to the banquet and Sati released the inward consuming fire and fell dead at Daksha's feet. When Shiva heard this news, he burned with anger, and tore from his head a lock of hair, glowing with energy, and cast upon the earth. Vīrabhadra sprang from it, his tall body reached the high heavens, he was dark as the clouds, he had a thousand arms, three burning eyes, and fiery hair; he wore a garland of skulls and carried terrible weapons. Vīrabhadra bowed at Shiva's feet and asked his will. Shiva directed Vīrabhadra: "Lead my army against Daksha and destroy his sacrifice; fear not the Brahmanas, for thou art a portion of my very self". On this direction of Shiva, Vīrabhadra appeared with Shiva's ganas in the midst of Daksha's assembly like a storm wind and broke the sacrificial vessels, polluted the offerings, insulted the priests and finally cut off Daksha's head, trampled on Indra, broke the staff of Yama, scattered the gods on every side.Local folklore says, that in order to protect the good souls, Shiva created Munīswara. He possessed seven qualities, and based on them he was called as Shivamuni, Mahāmuni, Tavamuni, Nādamuni (Nāthamuni), Jadamuni, Dharmamuni, Pandi Muni, Īswara Muni, Vazhamuni.
- As he appeared from Lord Siva's face. He assumed the form of Shivamuni.
- He became Mahāmuni who possessed immeasurable divine power.
- Tavamuni removed all obstacles in the path of the Devas and Rishis during their Yajna.
- Nāthamuni (Nādamuni) offered blessings to the Devas and Buddhaganas
- Jadamuni grew trees and possessed Rudrakshamala Kātgar and the book.
- Dharmamuni was the protector of the good and the destroyer of evil.
- Vazhamuni is praised and worshipped by the Kapalis who live in the jungle.
The cult of Munīswara is popular in Karnataka, Ramalai village in gudiyattam, vlr and North Tamil Nadu in India, Singapore, Trinidad and Malaysia, with many temples dedicated to him. Since his weapon is the trident, Munīswara temples will contain a trident placed in the ground, and limes are placed upon the prongs of the trident. In most villages in India the deity is a laid stone. When statues of Munīswara are used, they are painted, in contrast to the black granite statues in other Indian temples. His statue is dressed in a dhoti, unlike the statues of the other Gods.
Munīswara is generally worshiped either as a fierce God or a peaceful God. Those who worship his fierce form offer him animals like lamb and chicken.