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Lord Shiva’s Union with Mohini, Lord Vishnu’s only female avatar


Hindu dharma is that one religion which holds unbound reincarnation, especially when God Vishnu is concerned. The protector and conserver of the universe, God Vishnu is prominent for his various avatar which is very significant in Hindu Epics and Stories. As far as Vishnu’s reincarnation is concerned, the most unusual avatar would the seductive and beautiful Mohini.

Why was Mohini unusual?

Shiva and Mohini
She was first introduced in the Mahabharata. Mohini, the only female Vishnu avatar, became an important part of the episode of ‘Samudra Manthan’ in which she acquires ‘amrita’ from Asuras and gives it to Devas to make them immortal. Portrayed as an enchantress, Mohini, enchanter of the heart, is known for her skill to madden asuras as well as devas. She was so attractive that even Shiva was insane for her beauty.

Union between Shiva and Mohini

Shiva and Mohini
The most famous and prominent tale of her life is her union with Shiva. The speculation lies everywhere and so in the story of Shiva’s connection with Mohini. (Sources)

According to Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu, from his female Maya deceives demons after which Shiva wanted to meet Mohini again. When Vishnu convert himself into Mohini, the female form, Shiva became insane for her beauty and began chasing her in front of Parvati, his wife Parvati. Shiva was tamed by Kama (the power of love and desire). After the union, Vishnu revealed his true form as the sign that Mohini has the power to suppress even God Shiva.

As per Brahmanda Purana, Narada tells Shiva about Mohini and her power of suppression. Shiva, along with Parvati go to Vishnu’s home and ask him to bring Mohini. Vishnu meditates and prays on the goddess Tripura, who grant some of her beauty to Vishnu from which appears Mohini. Conquered by The Kama, Shiva chase Mohini while Parvati was standing there in resentment. During their ‘violent coupling’ Shiva’s seed fell on the ground.

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After the union with Shiva, Vishnu refused to show his magnificently beautiful female avatar, Mohini.

Can it be considered Homosexual?

Shiva and Mohini
As it is said in Hindu stories, the cycle of life and rebirth goes on as the immortal soul have the power to change physical bodies. Similarly, Mohini was reincarnated, transferred from Vishnu’s physical body to a beautiful ‘apsara’ Mohini as the sign of rebirth. Shiva’s union cannot be considered homosexual as it was done with an avatar, Mohini but not actually Vishnu himself. It can be considered a union of Sattva (purity) soul of Vishnu and Tamas (darkness) soul of Shiva. Where many writers and believers see it as a homosexual act, whereas, other Hindus disagree with the interpretation. (Sources)

Son of Shiva and Mohini

Shiva and Mohini
According to a number of Puranas, Shiva and Mohini has a union which may not be consummative. But, as a result, their son, Maha Shasta, was born who is known by different names in different parts of the country. Maha Shasta, the great chastiser, is identified as Aiyanar in Tamil Nadu and Ayyappa in Kerala.

The variants say that Ayyappa was born out of Vishnu’s thighs because Mohini did not have a real womb. However, he is also known as ‘Hariharaputra’, both Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (Hara) abandoned Ayyappa out of shame.

Wrapping up

Mohini is the Sattva soul in the female body representing the ‘material aspects of reality’. As Vishnu is the only one who can allure Shiva, therefore, Mohini’s power of seduction was so effective that it could induce Shiva’s austerity. Though Mohini was an illusory Vishnu avatar, she is celebrated as a great goddess in diverse parts of the country because of her ability to destroy evil.

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