The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “mode of worshipping the phallic form of shiva and making gifts” 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 11 - Mode of worshipping the phallic form of Śiva and making gifts

The sages said:—

1. How is the phallic form of Śiva to be installed? What are the characteristic features of the form? How is it to be worshipped? What is the appropriate time and place for worship. What sort of performer he must be?

Sūta said:—

2-3. I shall tell you everything for your sake, please listen attentively. The time must be convenient and auspicious. The place must be a holy centre. It can be on the bank of a river or anywhere facilitating a daily worship. It can be of Pārthiva (Earth), Āpya (Watery) or Taijasa (fiery) type.

4. If it has all the characteristics mentioned in the sacred texts, the devotee derives the fruit of worship. If it has all characteristics, it accords the fruit of worship instantaneously.

5. A subtle one is recommended if it be mobile and a gross one if it is stationary. The phallic emblem of good characteristics shall be set up in the seat of the same sort.

6. The seat can be circular, square or triangular in shape. The one shaped like a cot in the middle is of middle efficacy.

7. At first, the emblem was made of earth or rock; then it used to be made with the metals. If it is stationary, the emblem and the Pīṭha should be of the one and the same material.

8. Save the one which the asura Bāṇa worshipped, both the emblem and the seat shall be unitary, if emblem be mobile. The length of the emblem shall be of the measure of twelve fingers of the devotee.

9. If it is shorter it is less efficacious; if it is longer there is no harm. A shortage by the breadth of the finger of the devotee in regard to the mobile one is similarly harmless.

10-12. A Vimāna (chariot-like structure) of artistic beauty shall be made at first wherein the divine attendants shall be represented. In its firm and beautiful sanctum sanctorum shining like a mirror studded with the nine precious gems—sapphire, lapis lazuli, Emerald, pearl, coral, Gomedaka, diamonds and rubies, the emblem shall be installed on the altar.

13-17. The emblems hall be worshipped with the mantras beginning with “Sadyo”[1] in five different places in order. Sacrificial offerings shall be made in the fire. Śiva and the gods of His family shall be adored. The preceptor is given monetary gifts. Kinsmen are propitiated with whatever they desire. Money is distributed among the mendicants. All objects sentient or otherwise, and all living beings movable or immovable are duly gratified. The cavity is filled with gems. Mantras “Sadyo” etc. are recited. The auspicious supreme lord is meditated upon. The great mantra Oṃkāra resonant with its mystical sound is repeated. The liṅga is then united with the Pīṭha (pedestal). The two are then welded together.

18. Similarly the embodied image shall also be fixed there auspiciously. For the sake of festivals the embodied image shall be installed outside with the five-syllabled mantra.

19. The embodied image shall be taken from the preceptors or it must be one that has been worshipped by saintly men. Such an adoration of the embodied image and the phallic emblem accords the region of Śiva.

20. The phallic emblem is of two varieties: the stationary and the mobile. Trees, hedges etc. represent the stationary.

21. Worms, insects etc. represent the mobile. For the stationary one, tending and similar service is recommended. For the mobile one Tarpaṇa (propitiation) is recommended.

22. With a love for the happiness of different beings Śiva Pūjā shall be performed—so say the wise men. The pedestal represents Śiva’s consort—Pārvatī and his phallic emblem represents the sentient being.

23. Just as lord Śiva remains ever in close embrace of the Goddess Pārvatī, so also the phallic emblem holds on to the pedestal, for ever.

24. Such is the installation of Śiva’s great phallic emblem which shall be worshipped with due homage. The daily worship shall be made in accorance with one’s capacity; so also the fixation of banner etc.

25-29. The devotee shall install the phallic emblem and it will accord directly the region of Śiva. Or the devotee shall worship the mobile emblem with the sixteen types of homage and services as prescribed. It accords the region of Śiva gradually. The sixteen types of service are[2]:—invocation (Āvāhana); offering the seat (Āsana); water offering (Arghya); washing of the feet (Pādya); water for rinsing the mouth as a mystical rite (Ācamana); oil bath (Abhyaṅga snāna); offering of cloth (Vastra); Scents (Gandha); flowers (Puṣpa); incense (Dhūpa); lamps (Dīpa); food offering (Nivedana); waving of lights (Nīrājana); betel leaves (Tāmbūla); obeisance (Namaskāra); and mystical discharge and conclusion (Visarjana).

Or the devotee need perform the rites from water-offering to food offering alone duly. Or the devotee shall daily perform, as he can, ablution (Abhiṣeka); food offering (Naivedya); and obeisance (Namaskāra) and propitiation (Tarpaṇa),—all these in order. It will accord him the region of Śiva.

30. Or he shall perform all the sixteen rites in the phallic emblem of human, saintly or godly origin, or in one naturally risen up (Svayambhū) or in one of very extraordinary nature installed duly.

31. If the devotee makes gifts of articles of worship he will get some benefit or other. By circumambulation and obeisance he will attain Śiva’s region gradually.

32-33. Regular vision of the phallic emblem accords benefit. Or the devotee can make a phallic emblem out of clay, cow-dung, flowers, Karavīra fruit, jaggery, butter, ashes or cooked rice as he likes and worship it according to the prescribed rules.

34. Some authorities have recommended the worship of the phallic emblem on the thumb etc. In these rites of phallic worship, there is no sort of prohibition whatsoever.

35. Everywhere Śiva accords benefit as befitting the endeavour put in. Or he shall make gifts of the phallic emblem or the value of its construction.

36. Whatever is given to a devotee of Śiva with sincere faith accords Śiva’s region. Or the devotee can repeat the Praṇava mantra ten thousand times every day.

37. Repetition of Om (Praṇava mantra) a thousand times at dawn and at dusk is known to be according Śiva’s region. At the time of the repeated utterance (Japa) of the mantra, (Om) ending with “M” purifies the mind.

38. At the time of Samādhi (meditation) the repetition of Oṃkāra must be mental. Muttering of it in low voice can be practised at all times. The same with Bindu (dot) and Nāda (sound) is also of the same efficacy.

39. Or the devotee can with due reverence repeat the five-syllabled mantra ten thousand times every day or a thousand times at dawn and at dusk. It accords the region of Śiva.

40. Repetition of the five-syllabled mantra (Namaśśivāya) by a brahmin is specially efficacious with the Om (Praṇava) prefixed. A mantra must be received from a preceptor with proper initiation for the acquisition of the desired fruit.

41. The ceremonial ablution when the sun is in transit to the Zodiac Kumbha, initiation for mantras, the Nyāsa of Mātṛkās;[3] a brahmin, a person with soul purified by truth; a preceptor of perfect knowledge—all these are splendid.

42. Brahmins shall begin with Namaḥ and the others shall end with Namaḥ. With regard to some women the mantra shall end with Namaḥ duly.

43. Some say that Brahmin women begin with Namaḥ. Repetition of this for five crores of times will render a person equal to Sadāśiva.

44. By repeating it one, two, three or four crores of times, the devotee shall attain the region of Brahmā and others. One can repeat any of the syllables a hundred thousand times or all of the syllables separately a hundred thousand times.

45-47. Or a hundred thousand times all the syllables together, if repeated, accord Śiva’s region. Or if the devotee repeats it a thousand times every day and completes a million times in a thousand days, he can achieve whatever he desires. He shall feed brahmins every day. A brahmin shall repeat the Gāyatrī a thousand and eight times every day m the morning. He shall attain Śiva’s region gradually. He shall repeat Vedic verses and hymns with the observance of restraints.

48. The Daśārṇa mantra shall be repeated either 99 times or nine hundred times or nine thousand nine hundred times.

49. The regular study of the Vedas accords Śiva’s region. All the other sorts of mantras shall be repeated a hundred thousand times.

50. If the mantra consists of only one syllable it shall first be repeated a crore times and thereafter a thousand times with great devotion.

51. Doing thus according to one’s capacity one shall gradually attain Śiva’s region. It is the duty of every one to repeat a mantra pleasing to him every day till his death.

52-53. If a man repeats “Om” a thousand times he shall get all his desires fulfilled at the bidding of Śiva. If he plants a flower-garden for the sake of Śiva or even renders service by sweeping and cleaning Śiva’s temple and precincts he shall attain Śiva’s region. The devotee shall reside for ever in Śiva’s temple with great devotion.

54. It yields worldly enjoyment and salvation to every one sentient or insentient. Hence an intelligent man shall reside in a temple of Śiva till death.

55. In a temple built by ordinary man, the space upto a hundred hastas (1 hasta = 30 cms) from the phallic image is holy. In a temple dedicated to sages, the space upto a thousand Aratnis (1 Aratni = 45 cms) from the phallic image is holy. In a temple dedicated to sages, the space upto a thousand Aratnis (1 Aratni = 45 cms) from the emblem is holy.

56. If the phallic emblem had been installed by gods the space upto a thousand Aratnis is holy. In a temple where phallic emblem is self-risen, the space upto a thousand Dhanuḥ. Pramāṇas (a dhanuḥ. pramāṇa = 4 hastas) is holy.

57. The tank, well, pond etc. in a holy centre shall be considered Śiva-Gaṅgā in accordance with Śiva’s statement.

58. By taking bath or making gifts or muttering mantras in that centre one will attain Śiva. One shall seek shelter in a temple of Śiva and stay there till death.

59-61. The rites of obsequies of the second day or the tenth day, the offerings of monthly Piṇḍas, the rite of Sapiṇḍīkaraṇa or the annual Śrāddha shall be performed in a holy centre. He will instantly attain Śiva’s region. By staying there for seven, five or three nights or a single night he will attain Śiva’s region gradually. He will obtain results according to his conduct and befitting his caste.

62. By the uplift in the caste and devotion the fruit gains more efficacy. Anything done with a desire in view yields results immediately.

63-64. Anything done with no specific desire m view yields the region of Śiva directly. Of the three periods of time, ordained rites shall be performed in the morning, rites for the fulfilment of desires in the midday and rites for the suppression of the evil in the evening. The same thing holds good for nights too.

65. The two middle Yāmas (1 Yāma is equal to 3 hours) at night are called Niśītha. The worship of Śiva at that time accords desired results.

66. If a man performs rites after realising this, he shall achieve the due results. Especially in the Kali age the achievement of fruit is only due to the precise performance of actions.

67. If the man is well behaved, afraid of sins and the observer of good actions at other man’s suggestion or at his own he shall attain due results.

The sages said:—

68-69. O Sūta, foremost among excellent yogins, please tell us briefly about the various holy centres by resorting to which women and men shall attain the region (of Śiva). Please tell us about the traditions of Śiva temples also.

Sūta said:—

All of you listen faithfully to the account of all holy centres and their traditions.

Footnotes and references:


vs. 29. 36.


The sixteen acts of homage to a deity are slightly different in other texts; Compare “āsanaṃ svāgataṃ pādyamarghyamācamanīyakam | madhuparkācamanasnānaṃ vasanābharaṇāni ca | gandhapuṣpe dhūpadīpau naivedyaṃ vandanaṃ tathā” Tantrasāra mentions 64 Upacāras.


Nyāsas are particular diagrams which are closely associated with the divine mothers and are written in characters to which a magical power is ascribed. These are the personified energies of the principal deities connected with the worship of Śiva. They are reckoned sometimes 7, sometimes 8, 9 or 16 in number.