The Shiva Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1970 | 616,585 words

This page relates “liberation of devaraja” 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 2 - The liberation of Devarāja

Śaunaka said:—

1. O Sūta, thou art the most blessed and the most fortunate knower of the greatest Truth. Thou hast narrated to us, out of great compassion, this divine wonderful tale.

2. This wonderful narrative that destroys hosts of sins, purifies the mind, and propitiates Lord Śiva has been heard by us.

3. Thanks to thy compassion we have decisively realised that there is nothing so fine and nice as this tale.

4. Who are those among sinners in the Kali age who get sanctified by this story? Please enlighten us. Make the whole world gratified.

Sūta said:—

5. Men who habitually commit sins, wicked persons indulging in vicious activities and persons of lecherous disposition become pure hereby.

6. This is a great Jñānayajña (sacrificial rite of wisdom); it yields worldly enjoyment as well as salvation; it dispels all sins and delights Siva.

7. Men overwhelmed by the thirst of covetousness, those devoid of truthfulness, those who decry even their parents, haughty vain fellows and persons prone to violent activities become sanctified by this.

8. Those who never practise the duties of their Varṇas and Āśramas (castes and walks of life) and those of malicious temperament become sanctified thanks to the Jñānayajña even in the Kali age.

9. Those who habitually practise deception and those who are ruthless and of cruel disposition are sanctified by this Jñānayajña even in the Kali age.

10. Those who misappropriate the wealth of brahmins and thereby nourish themselves and those who indulge in heinous crimes of adultery become sanctified by this Jñānayajña even in the Kali age.

11. Those who always indulge in sinful actions and those who are roguish persons of wicked mind become sanctified by this Jñānayajña even in the Kali age.

12. Men of unclean habits and wicked minds, men who know no peace and men who swallow temple and trust properties become sanctified by this Jñānayajña even in the Kali age.

13. The merit accruing from this Purāṇa destroys great sins, yields worldly enjoyments and salvation and delights Lord Śiva.

14. In this context an ancient anecdote is cited as an example, the mere hearing of which, removes all sins utterly.

15. In the city of Kirātas there lived a brahmin extremely poor and deficient in (brahmanical) knowledge. He used to sell various kinds of beverage and was averse to the worship of gods or to virtuous activities.

16. He never practised the daily Sandhyā prayers or ablutions. His practice resembled a Vaiśya’s mode of living. He never hesitated to deceive credulous persons. His name was Devarāja.

17. Either by killing or by using various deceitful means he used to rob Brahmins, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas, Śūdras and others.

18. Thus by foul means much wealth was later accumulated by him. But the sinner that he was, not even the slightest part of his wealth was utilised in virtuous acts.

19. Once that brahmin went to a lake to take his bath. There he saw a harlot called Śobhāvatī and was much agitated at her sight.

20. The beautiful woman was extremely delighted on coming to know that a rich brahmin had become her willing slave. The brahmin’s heart was filled with love due to her pleasant talk.

21. He decided to make her his wife and she consented to have him as her husband. Thus in mutual love they sported for a long time.

22. Sitting, lying, eating, drinking and playing together they were not at all different from any other wedded couple.

23. Dissuaded again and again by his mother, father, first wife and others though he was, he never paid heed to their words but continued his sinful activities.

24. Once he became so enraged as to kill his mother, father and wedded wife at dead of night while they were asleep and took possession of their wealth.

25. Enamoured of the courtesan he handed over to her his own wealth and also the wealth that he looted from his father, mother and first wife.

26. In the company of this harlot he used to eat all sorts of forbidden food, became an addict to wine and spirituous liquors and partook of his food from the same plate as his concubine.

27. Once, by chance, he came to the city of Pratiṣṭhāna.[1] He saw a Śiva temple where saintly men had congregated.

28. During his stay there, he was afflicted by an acute fever. He heard the discourse on Śiva conducted by a brahmin.

29. The brahmin Devarāja suffering from fever died at the end of a month. He was bound with nooses by Yama’s attendants and forcibly taken to Yama’s city.

30-33. In the mean while Śiva’s attendants dressed in white, smeared with ashes all over the body, wearing garlands of Rudrākṣa and wielding tridents in their hands started furiously from Śivaloka and reached Yama’s city. They threatened the attendants of Yama (the God of death) and thrashed them. Releasing Devarāja from their clutches they seated in a wonderful aerial chariot. When they were about to start to Kailāsa a great tumult arose in the middle of Yama’s city on hearing which Dharmarāja (the God of Death) himself came out of his palace.

34. On seeing the four messengers who appeared like replicas of Rudra Himself, Dharmarāja the knower of virtues honoured them in accordance with the custom.

35. Yama came to know of everything through his vision of wisdom. Out of fear he did not question the noble attendants of Śiva.

36. Being duly honoured and adored by Yama, they went to Kailāsa and handed over the brahmin to Śiva, the very ocean of mercy and to the divine mother Pārvatī.

37. Blessed indeed is the story of Śivapurāṇa, the holiest of holy stories, a mere hearing of which qualifies even the greatest sinner for salvation.

38. The great seat of Sadāśiva is the greatest abode and the noblest of positions which Vedic scholars have extolled as stationed above all Lokas (worlds).

39-40. Devarāja the base brahmin, addicted to wine, enamoured of a vile harlot, slayer of his own father, mother and wife and who out of greed for money had killed many brahmins, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras and others became a liberated soul instantaneously on reaching that supreme Loka.

Footnotes and references:


Pratiṣṭhāna: There are references to two towns of the same name: (1) a town at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna and capital of the early Kings of the lunar race, (2) a town on the Godāvarī and capital of Sālivahana. The latter town can be identified with the modern Paithan in the Aurangabad district. lt was known as Paiṭhīnasīpurī: SA II. vii. 14. 34, 37.

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