Sadashiva (Sanskrit: सदाशिव, Sadāśiva, Tamil: சதாசிவம் ), is the Supreme Being Lord Paramashiva in the Mantra marga Siddhanta sect of Shaivism. Sadasiva is the omnipotent, subtle, luminous absolute. The highest manifestation of almighty who is blessing with Anugraha or grace, the fifth of Panchakritya - "Holy five acts" of Shiva. Sadasiva is usually depicted having five faces and ten hands, is also considered as one of the 25 Maheshwara murtams of Lord Shiva. Sivagamas conclude, Shiva Lingam, especially Mukhalingam, is another form of Sadasiva [1]

Sadasiva from West Bengal. 11th c. CE
AffiliationAbsolute Being, Shiva
AbodeSadakya Tattva, Celestial Maha Kailasam
MantraOm Namah Shivaya
ConsortAdi Parashakti as Mahagayatri


A painting of Sadasiva murti, South India

The concept and form of Sadasiva initially emerged from South India, although many ancient sculptures of Sadasiva were obtained from various parts of India and South East Asia.[2] It is believed that the cult of Sadasiva was widespread in the region of Bengal during the period of Sena dynasty who traced their origin in South India.[3] Sadasiva is usually represented in the form of Mukhalingam with the number of faces varying from one to five. The first ever sculpture of Sadasiva as a lingam with five faces was found in Bhita, near Allahabad, and dates to the 2nd century CE.[2] His five faces, Ishana, Tatpurusha, Vamadeva, Aghora and Satyojata are known as Panchabrahmas (The five creators), the emanations towards the four directions and upwards from the nishkala (Formless) Parashivam. Kamiga Agamam, the first Agamam of 28 Sivagamas depicts Sadasiva as having five faces and ten arms. His five right hands hold Trishula, Axe, Katvanga, Vajra and Abhaya while his five left hands hold Snake, Matulunga fruit, Nilotpala, Damaru, Rudraksha rosary and Varadam.[4] The consort of Sadasiva is goddess Mahagayatri, a form of Parvati often known as Manonmani in Agamic texts.[5][6] She is sometimes depicted having two arms and residing in the lap of Sadasiva.


Sadasiva standing midst Brahma and Vishnu. 10th c. CE sculpture at Vat Phou, Laos.

According to Shaivite texts, the supreme being Parashivam manifests as pentads apart from the well known Trinity of other Hindu sects - Brahma, Visnu and Shiva. His five deeds which are known "Panchakrityas" (holy five acts) are assigned to Panchamurti, his five aspects, viz., Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Maheshwara and Sadashiva. Creation, preservation, destruction, delusion and liberation are done by these five manifestations respectively. The five faces of Parashiva emanating these five aspects at whom we could not find any distinctions from himself, are praised as "Panchabrahmas", the five creators or the five realities. The Panchamurtis of Shaivism are absorbed within Shaktism and named as "Panchapreta" (Five bodies). .


Sadashiva idol, Bangkok National Museum

The five faces of Sadasiva are sometimes identified with Mahadeva, Parvati, Nandi, Bhairava and Sadasiva himself.[7] The ten arms of Sadasiva represent the ten directions.[6] Another variation of Sadasiva later evolved into another form of Shiva known as Mahasadasiva, in which Shiva is depicted with twenty-five heads with seventy-seven eyes and fifty arms. Given accounts relating to Sadasiva are collected from Kamika Agamam[4] and Vishnudharmottara Purana.[2]

Ishana Tatpurusha Vamadeva Satyojata Aghora
Direction looking Upwards East North West South
Colour Crystal Gold Red White Blue
Related Panchabhutas Ether Air Water Earth Fire
Five acts of Almighty liberation delusion Maintenance Creation Destruction
Shiva's form Sadasiva Maheshwara Vishnu Brahma Rudra
Meditating point in human body Head Mouth feet genital organs Heart
Philosophy Siddhanta Gaaruda Vaama Bhuta Bhairava
Teachings Mantramarga Adimarga Vaidika Temporal Atyatmika
(Samkhya, Yoga etc.)

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  1. ^ Srinivasan, Dorin (1997). Many Heads, Arms, and Eyes: Origin, Meaning, and Form of Multiplicity in Indian Art. BRILL. p. 272. ISBN 9789004107588.
  2. ^ a b c B.N. Sharma (1976). Iconography of Sadasiva. Abhinav Publications. pp. 1–3. ISBN 9788170170372.
  3. ^ Bijay Chandra Mazumdar (2008). The History of the Bengali Language. Read Books. ISBN 9781443767507.
  4. ^ a b DR. S.P. SABHARATHANAM SIVACHARYA. "Kamika Agama Uttara Pada". Hmalayan Academy. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  5. ^ Margaret Stutley (2006). Hindu Deities: A Mythological Dictionary with Illustrations. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. ISBN 9788121511643.
  6. ^ a b Omacanda Hāṇḍā (1992). Śiva in art: a study of Śaiva iconography and miniatures. Indus Pub. House.
  7. ^ C. V. Ramachandra Rao (1988). Siva-Mahesa (Sadasiva) Murti of Bhairavakona: an iconographical study. Manasa Publications.