The Shiva Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1950 | 616,585 words

This page relates “greatness of shivapurana” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.

Chapter 1 - Greatness of Śivapurāṇa

Śaunaka said:—


1. O Sūta of great intellect, O my lord, the knower of all Philosophical principles, please narrate to me the essence of the Purāṇas in detail.

2. How do good conduct, good devotion and power of discrimination flourish? How are base feelings dispelled by good men?

3. In this terrible Kali age all living beings have almost become demoniac in character. What is the effective mode of remedying the same?

4. Now tell me about the greatest means to achieve the most perfect weal, the holiest of the holy modes.

5. What is that, the practice of which particularly purifies the soul? What is that which enables a man of unsullied mind to attain Śiva?

Sūta said:—


6. O foremost among sages, you are blessed indeed as you are desirous of hearing. Hence I shall ponder over the greatest of the Sacred lore intelligently and tell you.

7. O dear, listen to that divine panacea evolved out of all religious tenets, heightening true devotion and conducive to the pleasure of Siva.

8. It is destructive of the great fear of the Python of Kāla (Death). O sage, it is the noble Śiva Purāṇa[3] formerly narrated by Śiva Himself.

9. For the benefit of the people in the age of Kali, the sage Vyāsa[4] has abridged it out of great respect for the sage Sanatkumāra[5] on being instructed by him.

10. O sage, there is nothing other than Śiva Purāṇa for the purification of the mind especially of the people of the Kali age.[6]

11. It is only the intelligent and the highly fortunate man who has accumulated great merits in his previous birth who will be drawn towards it.

12. This Śivapurāṇa is the greatest and the noblest of the sacred lore. It is the form of Śiva and as such is to be served and realised in this world.

13. By reading this and listening to it the good man becomes very pious. By all means he instantly attains Śiva’s region.

14. Hence every endeavour of men to read this is desirable. Loving care to listen to it yields all desired results.

15. By listening to this Purāṇa of Śiva a man becomes sinless. After enjoying all extensive worldly pleasures he will attain the region of Śiva.

16. Merely by listening to the story of Śiva a man secures that merit which results from the performance of Rājasūya[7] and a hundred Agniṣṭomas.[8]

I 7. O sage, those who listen to Śivapurāṇa the noblest of Sacred lore, cease to be mere human beings. They must be undoubtedly considered as manifestations of Rudra, a form of Śiva.

18. Sages consider the dust in the feet of those who habitually listen to that Purāṇa and recite it, on a par with holy centres.

19. May those who wish to attain the seat of salvation, listen always to the holy Śivapurāṇa with great devotion.

20. O noblest among sages, if he is unable to listen to it always, let him hear it for a short while every day with his mind fully controlled.

21. If any one is unable to listen to it every day, O sage, let him listen to Śivapurāṇa in the holy months.

22. Those who listen to that Purāṇa even for a Muhūrta (48 minutes), half that period, one fourth of that period or even for a moment will not suffer from mishaps.

23. O lord of sages, the man who listens to that Purāṇa crosses the ocean of worldly existence after burning the great forest of Karma (binding actions).

24. O sage, the merit that accrues from all gifts and all Sacrifices becomes stabilised after listening to Śivapurāṇa.

25. Particularly in the age of Kali there is no greater virtue conducive to the achievement of liberation by men, O sage, than listening to Śivapurāṇa.

26. There is no doubt in this that, listening to the Purāṇa and reciting the names of Śiva is as efficacious as the Kalpa tree[9] in yielding one’s desires.

27. For the benefit of the evil-minded persons of the Kali age, bereft of virtuous conduct, Lord Śiva has produced the nectar in the form of Śivapurāṇa.

28. A single man, the man who drinks nectar, becomes immortal and unageing. But the nectar of the divine story of Śiva, if drunk, makes the whole family immortal and unageing.

29. The sanctifying story of Śivapurāṇa must always be resorted to, definitely so.

30. Merely by listening to Śivapurāṇa (if such good results) what am I to say about the result when Śiva abides in the heart?

31. This work consists of twenty-four thousand verses divided into seven saṃhitās (compendiums). The three kinds of Devotion [(1) by meditation, (2) recital of prayer and (3) acts of worship and service] are fully explained in it. It must be listened to with great respect.

32. The first compendium is called Vidyeśvara saṃhitā, the second is Rudrasaṃhitā, the third is Śata-Rudrā and the fourth is Koṭi-Rudrā

33. The fifth compendium is called Umāsaṃhitā, the sixth is Kailāsasaṃhitā and the seventh is Vāyavīyā. Thus, there are seven saṃhitās in this Purāṇa.

34. This divine Purāṇa of seven saṃhitās and called after Śiva stands on an equal footing with Brahman (i.e. Vedic Texts) and accords an achievement that is superior to everything else.

35. He who reads the entire Śivapurāṇa without omitting any of the seven saṃhitās can be called a Jīvanmukta (a living liberated soul).

36. O sage, the ignorant man is tossed about in the ocean of worldly existence till the excellent Śivapurāṇa reaches his ears.

37. Of what avail is listening to many sacred texts and other confounding Purāṇas? The Śivapurāṇa alone loudly proclaims (its readiness) to grant salvation.

38. The house where the discourse on this Śivapurāṇa is held becomes a holy centre. It destroys the sins of the inmates of the house.

39. Thousands of horse-sacrifces[10] and hundreds of Vājapeya[11] sacrifices do not merit even a sixteenth part of Śivapurāṇa.

40. O best of sages, a sinner is called a sinner till the moment he hears Śivapurāṇa with great devotion.

41. The holy rivers, Gaṅgā and others, the seven sacred cities[12] and Gayā can never be equal to Śivapurāṇa.

42. If one wishes for the greatest of goals (Liberation) one shall recite at least a stanza or even half of it from Śivapurāṇa.

43. He who constantly listens to Śivapurāṇa fully comprehending its meaning or simply reads it with devotion is undoubtedly a meritorious soul.

44. Lord Maheśāna (Śiva) is extremely pleased with the sensible man who listens to Śivapurāṇa when death is imminent. Lord Śiva accords him a seat in his own region.

45. He who adores this Śivapurāṇa with great devotion enjoys in the world all desired objects and attains Śivaloka.

46. Never slack in his devotion to the Śivapurāṇa he who keeps this work well wrapped in a silk cloth, will ever be happy.

47. The holy Śivapurāṇa, the sole possession of a devotee of Śiva, should assiduously be resorted to by a person who desires for happiness here and hereafter.

48. The holy Śivapurāṇa that accords the four aims of life (virtue, wealth, love and salvation) must be heard and read with great devotion always.

49. The Śivapurāṇa, the greatest harbinger of the perfect welfare among the Vedas, Itihāsas and other sacred texts must be thoroughly understood by those who seek salvation.

50. This Śivapurāṇa is the greatest resort of the knowers of Ātman (Spiritual Seekers) for ever; it is the noblest object worthy of adoration of good men; it suppresses the three types of distresses (i.e. physical illness, extraneous attacks and divine calamities); it accords happiness always; and it is very pleasing to all Devas led by Brahmā, Hari and Īśa.

51. With the mind extremely delighted I bow unto Śivapurāṇa for ever. May Śiva be pleased and bestow on me a devotion to His feet.

Footnotes and references:


Śaunaka was the chief of the sages at the great sacrifice in Naimiṣa forest to whom the Mahābhārata and the Purāṇas were recited by the Sūta in the reign of Adhisīmakṛṣṇa, the great-grandson of Janamejaya and the sixth in generation from Arjuna in the Paurava line.—Vāyu-purāṇa i.i2; 99, 255-8; Padma I. i. 19


The Sūtas (Vāyu-purāṇa I. 32-3; Padma I. I. 27-28) preserved the genealogies of Gods, sages, and glorious monarchs as well as the traditions of great men. The Sūta here is not a caste that is described by Manu (X.11.17) as the offspring of a Kṣatriya father and Brahman mother. He is a venerable Brāhmaṇa who has preserved ballads, songs, genealogies of Gods, sages and glorious Kings.—Pargiter: Ancient Indian Historical Tradition Ch. II; also Pusalkar: Studies in Epics and Purāṇas of India, Intro. P. 29. He is described as the disciple of Vyāsa.—Śiva-purāṇa


For the nomenclature and authenticity of this Purāṇa see Introduction.


According to the Pauranic tradition, Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsa, the son of Satyavatī, composed the eighteen purāṇas or superintended their compilation.—Matsya-purāṇa. 53-70.


The purāṇas were first compiled by Brahmā (Vāyu-purāṇa I. 60-61). Sanatkumāra, a son of Brahmā (SP I. 4.8-9; I. 5. 17) inherited them from his father and imparted them to Vyāsa who in turn abridged them in 18 compendiums.


The beginning of the Kali age has been discussed by Dr. Fleet (‘Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Great Britain)’, 1911, PP. 479, 675, 686) and he has pointed out that it began on the day on which Lord Kṛṣṇa died, which the chronology of the Mahābhārata places, as he shows, some twenty years after the great battle and that it was then that Yudhiṣṭhira abdicated and Parikṣit began to reign.—Pargiter: Dynasties of the Kali Age.—Intro. P. X.


Rajasūya is a great sacrifice performed by a universal monarch (in which the tributary princes also take part) at the time of his coronation as a mark of his undisputed sovereignty.


Agniṣṭoma is a sacrificial rite extending over several days in spring and forming an essential part of the Jyotiṣṭoma.


Kalpadruma is a mythological tree supposed to grant all desires.


In Vedic times the Aśvamedha sacrifice was performed by kings desirous of offspring but subsequently it was performed by them for the achievement of universal supremacy. A horse was turned loose to wander at will for a year, attended by a guardian; when the horse entered a foreign country, the ruler was bound either to submit or to fight. In this way the horse returned at the end of a year, the guardian obtaining or enforcing the submission of princes whom he brought in this train. After the successful return of the horse, the horse was sacrificed amidst great rejoicings. It is said that the horse was sometimes not immolated but kept bound during the ceremony.


Vājapeya is one of the seven forms of the Soma-sacrifice offered by kings or Brāhmans aspiring to the highest position, and preceding the Rājasūya and the Bṛhaspatisava.


The seven sacred cities of the Hindus are: Ayodhyā, Mathurā, Māyā, Kāśī, Kāñcī Āvantikā and Dvārikā.

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