The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “injunctions and prohibitions” 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 7 - The rite of listening to Śivapurāṇa: Injunctions and prohibitions

(Description of Dos and Dont’s to those who take up listening to the Śivapurāṇa as a rite and that of the worship of the discourser).

Śaunaka said:—

1-2. O Sūta, Sūta of great intellect, thou art foremost among devotees of Śiva and the most blessed. Thou hast narrated this wonderfully auspicious story, O sage, please tell me the rules governing those who perform the rite of listening to Śivapurāṇa, for the benefit of the whole world.

Sūta said:—

3. O Śaunaka, listen with devotion to the rules governing those persons. If you hear the excellent story with due observance of the rules, the fruit is excellent and there is no obstacle in the achievement of the fruit.

4. Persons devoid of initiation are not entitled to listen to the story. Hence those who wish to listen must take initiation, O sage, from the discourser.

5. The devotee who takes up this rite shall take his daily meal only at the end of the daily discourse. He must observe Brahmacarya (celibacy) during those days. He must lie on the ground and take food only in the Patrāvallī (a number of leaves stitched together to serve the purpose of a plate).

6. The man who has the strength in abundance shall observe fast till the conclusion of the whole Purāṇa and listen to the excellent Śivapurāṇa with great devotion and purity.

7. He may drink only milk or ghee throughout and listen to the story with pleasure. He may live on fruit diet or take a single meal or even eschew that and proceed with the listening rite.

8. Or he may take Haviṣyānna (cooked rice soaked in ghee and sacrificially offered) once a day and maintain the rite. The diet part is according to convenience and comfort but the listening shall be strictly maintained.

9. If there is more facility in hearing let the devotee take food. If observing fast causes hindrance to listening to the story it is not to be recommended.

10-12. The householder taking the rite shall avoid heavy indigestible pulses like Niṣpāva, Masūrikā etc., stale food, defiled food, brinjals, gourds, radish, pumpkins, cocoa-nuts, garlic, onion, asafoetida, intoxicating beverages and all kinds of meat.

13. He shall avoid the six base feelings of lust, anger etc., he shall not despise brahmins and bear ill will towards chaste ladies and good men.

14. He shall not look at women in their menstrual period. He shall not converse with fallen people, nor talk to haters of brahmins or unbelievers in the Vedas.

15. The house-holder shall practise and strictly adhere to truthfulness, purity, mercy, restraint in speech, straightforwardness, humility, liberalmindedness and other virtues.

16. The householder may listen to the story with any specific desire cherished in his mind or absolutely free from any desire. If he has any desire it will be fulfilled; if he is free from desire he shall attain salvation.

17. An indigent person, a consumptive, a sinner, an unfortunate person and a person having no child shall hear this excellent story.

18. The seven types of wicked women like Kākavandhyā (a woman having a single child) and those suffering from miscarriages shall hear this story.

19. Whether women or men, all must hear the story of Śivapurāṇa, O sage, in the manner prescribed.

20. The days of discourse on Śivapurāṇa must be considered very excellent, even on a par with millions of sacrifices.

21. Gifts duly bestowed on these excellent days, even though they may not be much in quantity, yield everlasting benefit.

22. Observing the rites thus, and listening to the great story the flourishing house-holder shall delightedly perform the Udyāpana rite (at the end of completion).

23. This Udyāpana rite is on a par with the Caturdaśī rite (observed on the fourteenth day of the lunar month). Rich men who wish to secure the fruits thereof must perform it likewise.

24. Indigent devotees usually do not and need not perform the Udyāpana rite. They are sanctified by the listening alone. Pious devotees of Śiva are free from desires.

25. After the festive celebration of the sacrifice of the discourse on Śivapurāṇa is thus concluded, the listeners shall perform the worship.

26. O sage, due worship must be performed in front of the book in the manner of the worship of Śiva.

27. A fine new cloth to cover the book and a strong silken cord to tie it up must be given.

28. Those who give silken cord and new cloth for the book of Purāṇa become yogins endowed with knowledge in every birth they take.

29. Many kinds of valuable objects, cloth, ornaments, vessels and much wealth in particular should be given to the discourser.

30-31. Those who give carpets, deer skins, cloth, elevated couches and planks to keep the volume of Purāṇa on, attain heaven, enjoy all desirable pleasures, stay in Brahmā’s region for the duration of a Kalpa and finally attain Śiva’s region.

32-33. After performing the worship of the book as stipulated, O foremost among sages, and also that of the dis-courser with great eclat, the scholar who had been appointed assistant should be duly honoured in the same manner but with a smaller sum of money.

34. Food and monetary gifts and other things must be given to the brahmin visitors. A great festival must be celebrated with vocal and instrumental music and performance of dances.

35. The listener shall gradually become detached and especially on the next day, O sage, the holy Gitā narrated by Śiva to Rāmacandra must be read.

36. If the listener is a householder he must perform Homa with pure Havis (holy ghee) for tranquilising the rite.

37. The Homa must be performed with Rudrasaṃhitā or with each verse of Gāyatrī, for in fact, this Purāṇa is identical with it,

38. or with the Mūlamantra of Śiva of five syllables. If he is incompetent to perform Homa let him give the gheeoffering to a brahmin.

39. In order to suppress the defects of deficiency and excess he shall either read or listen with devotion to the thousand names of Śiva.

40. Undoubtedly, thus, every thing shall be fruitful and the fruit too shall be excellent since there is no greater in the three worlds than this.

41. He shall feed eleven brahmins with honey and milk puddings. He must give them Dakṣiṇā also to complete the rite.

42-44. If he is competent, O sage, he must make an image of a lion with three Palas of gold and either engrave the name of this Purāṇa on it or affix a label with the name written on it. He must worship his preceptor of great restraint with the gifts of cloth, ornaments, scents etc., and hand them over to him for propitiating Śiva.

45. O Śaunaka, by the power of this gift and of the Purāṇa he shall secure the blessings of Śiva and be freed from the bondage of worldly existence.

46. If these rites are performed, the Śivapurāṇa shall yield entire fruit, enjoyment of worldly pleasures and salvation.

47. Thus I have narrated to you the greatness of Śivapurāṇa that bestows every cherished desire. What else do you wish to hear?

48. The Śivapurāṇa holds the mark of distinction among all Purāṇas. It is highly pleasing to Śiva. It wards off the ailment of worldly existence.

49. Those who are always engaged in the meditation of Śiva, those whose tongue adores the attributes of Śiva, and those whose ears listen to the story of Śiva, cross the ocean of worldly existence.

50. I seek refuge in Śiva the great, of infinite thickset bliss, Śiva whose form is unaffected by all the three Guṇas, Śiva who manifests Himself within and without this world, within and without the mind, Śiva whose form is variously evolved by mental ideas and verbal expressions.