Mohini Avatar & Shiva

Let’s explore the tatva behind Mohini Avataram of Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu leading to Śiva following Mohini. Lets start with Śrī Śankara’s sloka from Soundarya Lahari, Sloka 6, wherein He says:

“धनुः पौष्पं मौर्वी मधुकरमयी पंच विशिखाः
वसंतः सामंतो मलयमरु-दायोधन-रथः ।
तथाप्येकः सर्वं हिमगिरिसुते कामपि कृपां
अपांगात्ते लब्ध्वा जगदिद-मनंगो विजयते”

“Dhanun paushpam maurvi madhu-kara-mayi pancha visikha Vasantaha samanto Malaya-marud ayodhana-rathah;
Tatha’py ekah sarvam Himagiri-suthe kam api kripaam Apangat te labdhva jagadidam Anango vijayate”

(Hindu Literatrue. S.K.K. n.d.).

From above the words ‘Apangat te labdhva’ meaning the eyes of the Divine Mother when fell on Manamadha give him the power to win and cast his spell on us. If that’s the case, then will the spell of Manmadha corrupting us? So here lays the secret to one of the most important questions, is Kama(m) (Desire) corrupting us? And the answer is no, provided kama (desire) is assimilated with Ḍharma. As long as the Kama is entwined in the wheel of Ḍharma then the Kama will not corrupt us. For example, the Kama or a desire towards reaching and understanding Iśvara is a good desire, and so helps uplift us. When one realizes that, one can explore Iśvara’s essence, learn a good stotram, read a good book, perform a Pooja (pūjā) with devotion, and so on, then such a desire towards Iśvara will help us towards reaching higher plains of conscience. Śrī Śankara’s sloka from Soundarya Lahari, Sloka 5, wherein He says:

“हरिस्त्वामारध्य प्रणत-जन-सौभाग्य-जननीं
पुरा नारी भूत्वा पुररिपुमपि क्षोभ मनयत् ।
स्मरो‌உपि त्वां नत्वा रतिनयन-लेह्येन वपुषा
मुनीनामप्यंतः प्रभवति हि मोहाय महताम्”

“Haris tvam aradhya pranata-jana-saubhagya-jananim
Pura nari bhutva Pura-ripum api ksobham anayat;
Smaro’pi tvam natva rati-nayana-lehyena vapusha
Muninam apyantah prabhavati hi mohaya mahatam.”

(Hindu Literatrue. S.K.K. n.d.).

Mohini (Avatar of Śrī Viṣṇu during Kṣīrāsagara Madhanam) holding a kalsha (vessel) of Amrutam (elixir of immortality) in a dancing posture (Halebidu, Karnataka, India). (2010)

Meaning Śrī Viṣṇu once through Upāsanā (worship) of the Divine Mother (Devi Pārvatī) attained Her beauty during the event of Kṣīra:sagara Madanam, for this Śiva, curiously (knowingly) asked Śrī Viṣṇu to show that form at a later time. The story as follows, Śiva upon hearing Śrī Viṣṇu’s achievement of attaining the beauty of His wife, curious to see (knowingly), reached Vikuntam (residence of Śrī Viṣṇu and Śrī Lakṣmī) and asked Śrī Viṣṇu to show His female form (the form of Mohini). Śiva who burnt the cities of Tripurasura, a sage (Adi Yogi) whose mind cannot be moved or disturbed by any desire, a sage who burnt Manmadha (the God of kama) whose arrows of love failed to flaw Him, however on that day His mind fluctuated by looking at His wife’s form in Śrī Viṣṇu. Now the Divine Mother, in this case, Devi Pārvatī, who is Śiva’s Ḍharma:patni, by granting Her beauty to Śrī Viṣṇu, but technically She (Devi Pārvatī) cloned herself. for Śiva to drift in desire and in return blemished His character? Then why did Śrī Śankara compose such a sloka in Soundarya Lahari? Because of Devi Pārvatī, who is the Mother of all worlds, created desire and love to fabricate Creation itself (which includes us) causing it to flourish by making a being to strive for self preservation and progression of one’s body and mind to continue in this creation as a son or daughter. Therefore, She is the only one who can pull Śiva (the Cit:Ananda Swarupa) into the notion of Desire. She is the only one who directed Śiva (Sat:cit:anada Murti) to move towards Śrī Viṣṇu by cloning Him into Herself. Its only Pāraśakti that can play with creation (Sristi) and this Jagath (reality). She is the only Witness (Sakshi) to creation, hence the title Maha:pralaya:sakshini. She as per the Tantra is non other than Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu in a feminen representation. Readers should not apply human based relation and biological gender classification to the divine paly (Keli/lila) of Pāraśakti. Since Śiva can only desire Devi Pārvatī (Iśvara and śakti), desired Mohini a clone of Devi Parvati, which resulted in the remarkable birth of Ayyapa (Manikanta). Who is none other than the unified form of Śiva and Śrī Hari (Technically Devi Pārvatī posing as Śrī Viṣṇu)? In this unified form, Ayyapa then abolished the evil Maheshe who was threatening the worlds with Her power. Maheshe took a boon from Brahmā Deva, that only a unified form of Śiva and Śrī Hari can diminish her, which she assumed would never be possible, hence proclaimed immortal. Maheshe assumed that the concepts of Preservation and Dissolution are two separate and failed to recognize that its one Iśvara who operates in two modes, for creation to progress towards dissolution in a slower phase, hence with pride and ego failed to evolve in conscience. We can now understand how Devi Pārvatī did such unique and flavorful fabrication to save the worlds and safeguarding creation from various calamities that we and other beings of this creation bring upon ourselves through our own ignorance.

Readers should note that this universe, technically many universes as explained in Lalitha Sahasranama Stotram has innumerable flavors of life, desire, forms and fabrications that are not necessarily convincing to us with our limited comprehension. At the same time, Sanātana Ḍharma does not filter such content and abstract us from the truth. Hence one needs to understand that there are multitudes of untold flavors in the fabric of creation, which are not limited to our understanding, hence not to be considered flawed or nonexistent. Many theorists today believe in not just one universe but in the existence of multiverse or parallel universes. One lifetime is not necessarily sufficient to experience them all, and again a Jīva, which has no death, hops through so many lives in so many upaadi (forms) across so many lokas.

Hence, desire when in line with Ḍharma, uplift us and gives this world many great things. For example, the Great Rśi Vyāsa (Maharśi Vyāsa) who compartmentalized the Vedā, composed various Puráńa(m), and Upanishad, who bestowed the world with such truth through His literature, one day drifted by a desire for Gruthachi, which resulted in the birth of Shuka:Brahmā (Sage/Maharśi who narrated Srimad Bhagavata(m) or Śrī Bhagavata Puráńa(m)). One while chanting about Iśvara, visualizing Iśvara’s beauty and greatness, and in that trans of devotion loses touch with the world outside, and blooms in joy is Sage Shuka:Brahmā and so was eligible to narrate Srimad Bhagavata(m) (Śrī Bhagavata Puráńa(m)). If such great personality was not born in this world, who else can take up the legacy of (born to) such a great Maharśi like Vyāsa, otherwise we wouldn’t be fortunate to learn and listen to Bhagavata Puráńa(m). Sage Shuka is the one who narrated and explained Bhagavata Puráńa(m) in seven days to King Parikskhit. Iśvara invokes māyā (illusion) of desire within great Maharśi time and again, so that the world can be fortunate to receive extraordinary personalities, because Rśis by themselves have crossed the state of worldly desire and evolved into higher plains of conscience, if not for Iśvara’s (Devi’s) māyā, how else can they be brought back to the simpletons of material and bodily desires. A good example of an uplifting desire would be to be anger towards the inability to control one’s own anger, making such anger a better emotion to uplift us. So, it’s through the same desires and emotions we can channel them and uplift ourselves, because desires and emotions are an inherent nature of human, hence are called vāsanā. One should properly channel the desires and never suppress them. In Devi Bhagavata(m) (Devi Bhagavata Puráńa(m)), King Janaka explains about Desires and the greatness of Gruhastu Ashram to Sage Shuka:Brahmā:

“इंड्रीयनी भलिस्तानी ननियुक्तानी मानधहा”
“Indreyani Bhalistani Naniyuktani Maanadha”

Meaning, one who forcefully suppresses one’s desires and emotions that transpire from these desires, such desires will one day break loose and bites one back. Hence, these desires should be woven with Ḍharma, which then will result in our progress and upliftment, and eventually evolves to a state where one fully overcomes the desire and climbs up in one’s conscience, such state is called as Vairagyam. Hence Janaka suggested Sage Shuka:Brahmā to enter Gruhastu Ashram. (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.1-19)

REFERENCE ENTRY (APA Style citations)

Sri Chaganti Koteshwar Rao (Orator). (n.d.). Kanaka Dhara Stotram [Audio Part 1-19, Recorded by]. Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India. Retrieved from

Hindu Literature. (n.d.). Soundarya Lahari Lyrics (Slokas) in Hindi. Retrieved from