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Lord of the Animals
Pashupatinath Mandsaur.jpg
Lingam image of Lord Pashupatinath in his Mandsaur temple, India
AffiliationIncarnation of Shiva
RegionIndian subcontinent

Pashupati (Sanskrit Paśupati; devanagari पशुपति ) is a Hindu deity and an incarnation of the Hindu god Shiva as "lord of the animals". Pashupati is mainly worshipped in Nepal and India. Pashupati is also the national deity of Nepal.


The earliest claimed evidence of Pashupati comes from the Indus Valley civilization (3300 BCE to 1300 BCE), where the Pashupati seal has been said to represent a proto-Shiva figure,[1] though this claim is rather controversial and uncertain.


Paśupati or Pashupatinath, means "Lord of all animals". It was originally an epithet of Rudra in the Vedic period.[2] Now it is one of the epithets of Shiva.[3]

The Deity[edit]

Pashupatinath is an avatar of Shiva, one of the Hindu Trinity. He is the male counterpart of Shakti.

The five faces of Pashupatinath represent various incarnations of Shiva; Sadyojata (also known as Barun), Vamdeva (also known as Uma Maheswara), Tatpurusha, Aghor & Ishana. They face West, North, East, South and Zenith respectively, representing Hinduism's five primary elements namely earth, water, air, light and ether.[4]

Puranas describe these faces of Shiva as:

Sadyojata, Vamdeva, Tatpurusha & Aghora are the four faces, The fifth is Ishana, unknowable even to the seers.[4]


Pashupatinath Temple, Nepal

Although Nepal is a secular state, its population is predominantly Hindu.Thus, Pashupatinath is revered as a national deity. The Pashupatinath Temple, located at the bank of the river Bagmati, is considered one of the most sacred place in Nepal. In mythology it is said that Lord Pashupatinath started living in Nepal in the form of a deer because he was enchanted by the beauty of Kathmandu Valley.


A Pashupatinath temple is sited on the banks of the Shivana river in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, India. It is one of the most important shrines of Mandsaur, and Lord Shiva in the form of Lord Pashupatinath is its primary deity. Its main attraction is a unique Shiva Linga displaying eight faces of Lord Shiva. The shrine has four doors, representing the cardinal directions.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marshall Sir John (1931). Mohenjo Daro and the Indus Civilization Vol-i (1931).
  2. ^ Kramrisch, p. 479.
  3. ^ Śarmā 1996, p. 291.
  4. ^ a b Encyclopaedia of Saivism, Swami P. Anand, Swami Parmeshwaranand, Publisher Sarup & Sons, ISBN 8176254274, ISBN 9788176254274, page 206
  5. ^ Pashupatinath Temple website Archived 2013-05-30 at the Wayback Machine