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What is the difference between Shiva and Rudra

What is the difference between Shiva and Rudra?



What is the difference between Shiva and Rudra?

Everyone can easily understand the difference between Shiva and Rudra. It is not complex at all. Indeed, Shiva and Rudra are two facets of one supreme consciousness. 

Shiva is the most benevolent form of the supreme god that lives at Mount Kailash with his family. On the other side, Rudra is the most terrible and fearsome form of supreme lord. Let’s learn more about both of the aspects of lord Shiva.

Introduction to Lord Shiva

Before delving deep into the topic, What is the difference between Shiva and RudraI would like to tell you that the ultimate form of lord Shiva is SadaShiva. It is the highest form of the supreme lord, which doesn’t have a physical dimension.

Hence, to physically personify himself, SadaShiva manifested his first form as Rudra.  As I have mentioned, Rudra is the most mighty, yet fearsome form of SadaShiva. Even deities fear the Rudra form of SadaShiva, which is frightful and known as the cosmic roar of the universe.

The anger of lord Rudra was truly remarkable and because of Rudra’s anger, the other deities could not come near the Rudram form of SadaShiva. Thus everyone requested SadaShiva to manifest his compassionate form. After accepting their request, SadaShiva manifested his benevolent form as lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva is the primary lord in Hinduism, known as the great lord Mahadev, and devotees have massive faith, affection, and reverence for Shiva. In the contemporary form, Shiva means the auspicious one and worshiped in the form of a lingam and physical idols. His devotees hold this form in high reverence and adoration.This calm form of Shiva is often referred to as Shankara, which translates to a dispeller of doubts and dilemmas.

Goddess Parvati prayed and meditated to marry Lord Shiva in his Shiva Shankara form. After their marriage, she became known as Rudrani in her sublime form, as Shiva’s other aspect is Rudra himself.

Thus, the Shiva-Shankara form is the most worshipped and admired form of Shiva. In that form, Shiva has various similar personifications like Gangadhar, Neelakantha, Bholenath, and Pashupati Nath, but an important point to notice is that all these forms of Shiva are incredibly powerful as Rudra. The only difference is these all are harmonious and auspicious forms of Shiva.

Hence, lord Shiva is the only deity with both physical and non-physical existence. Now, let’s switch to Lord Rudra.

Lord Rudra

Previously, I said Lord Rudra is the most fearsome form of SadaShiva, but it doesn’t mean Rudra’s form is unimportant or his anger devalues him. The Rudram form of lord Shiva is the destroyer of evil. In the Rudra form, Shiva destroys ego, lust, passion, and the darker side of the person and frees him or her from all the infirmities.

In fact, the Rudra form of Shiva makes him lord of absolute wildness and strength. Although Rudra is a form that peacefully lies in Shiva Shankara, Shiva rarely manifests it. But whenever lord Shiva gets angry, his Rudra form takes over him and he becomes catastrophic by nature.

Therefore, the Rudra form is synonymous with Shiva’s anger. There is one similarity between Shiva and Rudra. Both Shiva and Rudra have an immense love for Kashi. 

At the end of the cosmic cycle, Shiva takes the form of the Rudra and destroys everything except the city of Kashi. Before destroying everything, Shiva, as Rudra, puts Kashi on his trident.

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At the time of universe creation, Sadashiva manifested himself into 11 Rudra to manage the entire process of creation and destruction. The fact is Shiva and Rudra are inseparable from each other.

The Natraj dancing form is the manifestation of Shiva’s Rudram Dancing form.

  • Shiva’s Rudra form decapitated Daksha’s head,
  • Lord Brahma’s fifth head
  • Lord Ganesha’s head
  • He turned Kaam Deva into ashes from the fire which came from his third eye.

Let me tell you something, Rudra is the form of Shiva, which no one ever wanted to experience. Shiva meditates most of the time to keep calm inside to handle Rudra’s aggression, as well as to keep his sights on the world. In the highest aspect, both Shiva and Rudra are one. And both are the manifestation of the shapeless Sadashiva.

  • Rudra is the first physical form of Sadashiva, which came out in the angry form when Brahma and Vishnu started fighting regarding their superiority over each other.
  • Shiva is a kind, and auspicious form of Shiva, whereas Rudra is Shiva’s angry form, which is devastating in nature.
  • Shiva’s form is more human because he has a loving family, unlike Rudra, who is wild and knows no rules.
  • In the Rig Veda, Shiva is referred to as Rudra, representing the darkest energy that physicists are currently studying.
  • There are 75 times Rudra’s name is used in Rig Veda, and Shiva is named 18 times.
  • Lord Hanuman is also the Rudra avatar of Shiva, an adherent devotee of Ram Naam.

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Santosh Gairola


In summary, Shiva and Rudra are both influential deities in Sanatan Dharma. However, there are some key differences between the two that are important to understand.

Lord Shiva is a more well-known and widely worshipped deity, representing the creation, preservation, and destruction of the world. In his iconographical representation, lord Shiva is often depicted as meditating at Mount Kailash, with a third eye on his forehead, and a crescent moon on his head. 

It is the form of Shiva that consumed the cosmic poison Halala to save the earth from its adverse effects. Devotees around the world call him with the name of Bholenath. It is the most benevolent form of Shiva.

On the other side, lord Rudra is an ancient and primal form of ultimate Shiva, connected to the wild forces of nature. In the Rudra form, lord Shiva is the ultimate destroyer, filled with tremendous anger and fire. But on common ground, both deities are significant figures in Hinduism, symbolizing the cycles of life, death, and rebirth.

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Aum Namah Shivaya

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Author Santosh Gairola

Santosh Gairola is an Indian-origin Author, Educator, & Blogger. He is an adherent devotee of Lord Shiva and Lord Hanuman.

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Santosh Gairola

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Lord Shiva is the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the world. He is the Supreme Being in Shivaism.

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There is no end and no beginning of Lord Shiva. He is an omniscient, immortal, omnipresent, supreme transformer of the energies.

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