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«Puranic Encyclopaedia»



General information


«Incarnation of Śiva, named Sureśwara»


The guru of Śrī Kṛṣṇa

The pray of Upamanyu


General information

The sage Upamanyu was one of the ṛgvedic ṛṣis and and one of the greatest devotees of Lord Śiva, to which Śiva bestowed the status of His son as a reward for his incomparable austerities and devotion. Upamanyu is considered the father (or ancestor) of the sage Aupamanyava, mentioned in the Vaṃṣa-Brāhmaṇa (1.18) of the Sama Veda. However, Upamanyu acquired his greatest fame due to the fact that he was the guru of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who initiated him into the worship of Śiva.

Among other things, to Upamanyu is attributed the authorship of 'Śiva-bhakti-vilāsa', the text of the South Indian tradition of Śaiva-Bhakti, which lists the names and biographies of all 63 Nayanmars.¹

The most famous stories related to Upamanyu are contained in 'Śiva-Mahāpurāṇa' (3.32) and 'Mahābhārata' (13.15-16). They are given below.


In the Krtayuga, there lived a hermit named Vyāghrapāda who had two sons. They were called Upamanyu and Dhaumya. Some learned men are of opinion that Upamanyu the son of Vyāghrapāda and Upamanyu the disciple of Ayodhadhaumya, were one and the same. Once Upamanyu visited another hermitage along with his father. He happened to drink the milk of the cow there. After that they returned to their own hermitage, Upamanyu went to his mother and asked her to make milk pudding for him. But the mother felt very sorry because there was no milk. At last she mixed flour in water and made pudding and gave it to him. Upamanyu did not accept it. His mother told him that there was no way to get milk and that men could get wealth, crops etc. only by the grace of Śiva. Upamanyu who was of a wilful nature did penance with meditation and contemplation on Śiva. Finally Śiva appeared before him in the shape of Indra and told him to ask for his boon. Upamanyu boldly replied that he wanted no boon from anybody else except Śiva. Śiva made his appearance in his own form and made Upamanyu a deva (God).


«The incarnation of Śiva named Sureśvara²»

'Śiva-Mahāpurāṇa', 'Śatarudra-saṃhitā', ch. XXXII