Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Hara Mean?

Hara is one of the many names of Shiva, one of the principal deities in Hinduism and the supreme deity in Shaivism. As Hara, Shiva is “the one who destroys evil.” On its own, Hara is a Sanskrit word that means “removing,” “taking away” and “destroyer.”

This aspect of Shiva is also found in the combined deity of Hari-Hara, with Hari representing Vishnu, who is considered the supreme deity among the Vaishnavas. Because Hinduism includes many different beliefs and schools of thought, Hari-Hara represents the oneness of the supreme reality, or Brahman.


Yogapedia Explains Hara

Legend has it that Shiva got the name Hara after the death of his wife Sita, who killed herself after her father snubbed Shiva by not inviting him to a ritual sacrifice. In anger over the death, Shiva sent his army to destroy all at the ceremony. The story shows the destructive aspects of Shiva, or Hara. But to show that destruction makes way for renewal, the story continues with Shiva expressing remorse and restoring all to life.

Hara, then, represents the purifying power of destruction and paves the way for new creation and redemption on both the universal and personal levels. Hara destroys ignorance, illusion and evil, all imperfections that must be removed for yogis to continue their inner transformation and spiritual growth along the path to enlightenment.

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