Lord Shiva has taken many forms to rescue humanity and other Gods from calamities. One significant but lesser known avataar is that of Sri Sarabeshwara. Lord Sarabeshwara incarnated to calm down Lord Narasimha (Man-Lion Avataar of Lord Vishnu) whose wrath was unstoppable even after His work of slaying demon king Hiranyakashipu was completed.

Sarabeshwara is Lord Shiva’s Cosmic form with His crescent moon and Ganga on His divine head, face of a Sarabha bird with two wings representing His Shaktis – lion-headed Prathyangira Devi and Trident-holding Shoolini Durga Devi.

Sarabeswara’s middle portion of the body is human-like with four arms holding fire, snake and two weapons. His lower portion (with four legs and a tail) is that of the animal called ‘Yaali’ supposed to be mightier than a lion. Thus one can see this is Lord Shiva’s cosmic hybrid form encompassing man, woman, animal, bird and several inanimate natural elements as well – earning Him the appellations ‘Sarvapakshimrugaaakaaraa’ (single-form manifestation of all birds and beasts) and ‘Sarvapakshimrugaadipaa’ (Lord of all birds and beasts).

Vaishnavaite legend contends that Lord Narasimha was calmed down by child devotee Prahlada himself for whom this avataar was taken by Lord Vishnu. However puranic evidences such as Sarabha Upanishad, numerous Sarabeshwara verses by sages such as Sage Vyasa, Lord Brahma and even a prayer by calmed-down Lord Narasimha Himself point to the existence and greatness of Lord Sarabeshwara Shiva.

He is reputed to calm down negative energies, bestow resoluteness of mind, reduce wild aggression and injustices in society, offers protection from various natural calamities and reduces ill-effects of jealousy and witchcraft (all commonly seen even in this modern dark age – ‘Kaliyuga’).

In this incarnation, Lord Shiva displays His placatory and calm side unlike His reputed wildness and anger – thereby displaying that He simultaneously possesses and transcends all basic ‘gunaas’ (qualities) of ‘Satthva’ (calm, balanced, righteous nature), ‘Rajas’ (aggressive, fighting, restless and conquering nature) and ‘Tamas’ (dull, inert, immobile nature).

This avataar is available to all today – relevant especially in this age of unrests, hidden dangers, enemities, falsehoods and insecurity. Lord Sarabeshwara is worshipped during the ‘pradosha kaalam” that occurs on the twilight hour of the fourteenth day of each fortnight. This was the time when Lord Narasimha emerged out of a pillar long back in an earlier yuga.

His bheejaakshar mantra is “Aum Kaym Kaam Kam”. His Gayatri mantra is as follows:

“Aum Ashtapaadaaya Vidmahe
Pakshiraajaaya Dheemahi
Thanno Sarabeshwara Prachodhayaath”.

A second version is as follows:

“Aum Saaluvesaaya Vidmahe
Pakshiraajaaya Dheemahi
Thanno Sarabeshwara Prachodhayaath”.

(Sarabeshwara was the family diety of the Saalukya kings of South India).