The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “cancula’s disillusion and detachment” 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 3 - Cañculā’s disillusion and detachment

Śaunaka said:—

1. O Sūta of great intellect, thou art extremely blessed and omniscient. By thy favour I am gratified to satiety again and again.

2. My mind rejoices much on hearing this old anecdote. Please narrate another story equally increasing devotion to Śiva.

3. Nowhere in the world are those who drink nectar honoured with liberation. But in regard to the nectar of the story of Śiva it is different. When drunk, it straightway accords salvation.

4. Thou art blessed, blessed indeed. Blessed, blessed is the story of Śiva on hearing which a man attains Śivaloka.

Sūta said:—

5. O Śaunaka, please listen I shall tell you, though it is a great secret, since you are the foremost among Vedic scholars and a leading devotee of Śiva.

6. There is a seaside village “Bāṣkala[1] where sinful people bereft of Vedic virtue reside.

7. They are wicked debauchees with deceptive means of livelihood, atheists, farmers bearing weapons and adulterous rogues.

8. They know not anything about true knowledge, detachment or true virtue. They are brutish in their mental make-up and take a great deal of interest in listening to evil gossips and slander.

9. People of different castes are equally roguish never paying attention to their duties. Always drawn to worldly pleasures they are ever engrossed in one evil action or another.

10. All the women too are equally crooked, whorish and sinful. Evil-tempered, loose in morals they are devoid of good behaviour and disciplined life.

11. In the village “Bāṣkala” peopled by wicked people, there was a base brahmin called Binduga.

12. He was a wicked sinner traversing evil paths. Although he had a beautiful wife he was enamoured of a prostitute. His passion for her completely upset his mind.

13. He forsook his devoted wife Cañculā and indulged in sexual dalliance with the prostitute overwhelmed by Cupid’s arrows.

14. Many years thus elapsed without any abatement in his evil action. Afraid of violating her chastity Cañculā, though smitten by Cupid bore her distress (calmly for a short while).

15. But later on as her youthful health and boisterous virility increased, cupid’s onslaught became extremely unbearable for her and she ceased from strictly adhering to her virtuous conduct.

16. Unknown to her husband she began to indulge in sexual intercourse with her sinful paramour at night. Fallen thus from Sāttvic virtues she went ahead along her evil ways.

1 7. O sage, once he saw his wife amorously indulging in sexual intercourse with her paramour at night.

18. Seeing his wife thus defiled by the paramour at night he furiously rushed at them.

19. When the roguish deceitful paramour knew that the wicked Binduga had returned to the house he fled from the scene immediately.

20. The wicked Binduga caught hold of his wife and with threats and abuses fisted her again and again.

21. The whorish wicked woman Cañculā thus beaten by her husband became infuriated and spoke to her wicked husband.

Cañculā said:—

22. Foul-minded that you are, you indulge in sexual intercourse with the harlot every day. You have discarded me your wife, ever ready to serve you with my youthful body.

23. I am a youthful maiden endowed with beauty and mentally agitated by lust. Tell me what other course can I take when I am denied the amorous sport with my husband.

24. I am very beautiful and agitated with flush of fresh youth. Deprived of sexual intercourse with you I am extremely distressed. How can I bear the pangs of passion?

Sūta said:—

25. That base brahmin Binduga, when addressed thus by his wife, foolish and averse to his own duties said to her.

Binduga said:—

26. True indeed is what you have said with your mind agitated by passion. Please listen, my dear wife, I shall tell you something that will be of benefit to you. You need not be afraid.

27. You go ahead with your sexual sports with any number of paramours. No fear need enter your mind. Extract as much of wealth as you can from them and give them enough sexual pleasure.

28. You must hand over all the amount to me. You know that I am enamoured of my concubine. Thus our mutual interests will be assured.

Sūta said:—

29. His wife Cañculā on hearing these words of her husband became extremely delighted and assented to his vicious proposal.

30. Having thus entered into their nefarious mutual contract the two wicked persons—the husband and the wife—fearlessly went ahead with their evil actions.

31. A great deal of time was thus wasted by the foolish couple indulging in their vicious activities.

32. The wicked Binduga, the brahmin with a Śūdra woman for his concubine, died after some years and fell into Hell.

33. The foolish fellow endured distress and torture in Hell for many days. He then became a ghost in the Vindhya mountain range continuing to be terribly sinful.

34—35. After the death of her husband the wicked Binduga, the woman Cañculā continued to stay in her house with her sons. The woman foolishly continued her amorous dalliance with her paramours till she no longer retained her youthful charms.

36. Due to divine intercession it chanced that on an auspicious occasion she happened to go to the Gokarṇa[2] temple in the company of her kinsmen.

37. Casually moving about here and there with her kinsmen she happened to take her bath in a holy pond as a normal routine affair.

38. In a certain temple a scholar of divine wisdom was conducting a discourse on the holy Śivapurāṇa story some of which she happened to hear.

39—40. The portion that fell on her ears was the context in which it was said that the servants of Yama would introduce a red hot iron into the vaginal passage of women who indulge in sexual intercourse with their paramours. This narrative made by the Paurāṇika to increase detachment, made the woman tremble with fear.

41. At the end of the discourse when all the people dispersed, the terrified woman approached the scholarly brahmin and spoke to him in confidence.

Cañculā said:—

42. O noble sir, please listen to the ignoble activities which I performed without knowing my real duties. O lord, on hearing the same you will please take pity on me and lift me up.

43. O lord, with a mind utterly deluded I have committed very great sin. Blinded by lust I spent the whole of my youth in incontinent prostitution.

44. Today on hearing your learned discourse abounding in the sentiments of non-attachment I have become extremely terrified and I tremble much.

45. Fie upon me, the foolish sinner of a woman deluded by lust, censurable, clinging to worldly pleasures and averse to my own duties.

46. Unknowingly a great sin that produces excessive distress has been committed by me for a fleeting glimpse of an evanescent pleasure, a criminal action.

4 7. Alas, I do not know which terrible goal this will lead me to. My mind has always been turned to evil ways. Which wise man will come to my succour there?

48. At the time of death how shall I face the terrible messengers of Yama? How shall I feel when they tie nooses forcibly round my neck?

49. How shall I endure in Hell the mincing of my body to pieces? How shall I endure the special torture that is excessively painful?

50. I bewail my lot. How can I peacefully proceed with the activity of my sense-organs during the day? Agitated with misery how shall I get peaceful sleep during the night?

51. Alas! I am undone! I am burnt down! My heart is torn to pieces! I am doomed in every respect. I am a sinner of all sorts.

52. O adverse Fate! it was you who directed my mind along evil lines. With a hateful stubbornness you made me commit great sins. I was led astray from the path of my duty that would have bestowed all happiness.

53. O Brahmin, my present pain is millions of times more than that of a man stuck to the stake or hurled from a high mountain-top.

54. My sin is so great that it cannot be washed away even if I take ablutions in the Gaṅgā for a hundred years or even if I perform a hundred sacrifices.

55. What shall I do? Where shall I go? Whom shall I resort to? I am falling into the ocean of Hell. Who can save me in this world?

56. O noble sir, thou art my preceptor. Thou art my mother. Thou art my father. I seek refuge in Thee. I am in a pitiable plight. Lift me; lift me.

Sūta said:—

The intelligent Brahmin mercifully lifted up Cañculā who had become disgusted (with worldly affairs) and had fallen at his feet. That Brahmin then spoke (as follows).

Footnotes and references:


Bāṣkala-grāma—Cf. Skanda-purāṇa III. 111.32.50. It has not been possible to identify and locate this village.


Gokarṇa: lit. ‘cow’s ear’. It is a place of pilgrimage sacred to Śiva, on the west coast, near Mangalore. It has the temple of Mahādeva, supposed to have been established by Rāvaṇa.

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