The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “glorification of the phallic emblem of shiva” 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.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 18 - Bondage and liberation: Glorification of the phallic emblem of Śiva

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The sages said:—

1. O foremost among those who know everything, please explain the nature of bondage and liberation.

Sūta said:—

I shall explain bondage, liberation and the means of liberation. Please listen attentively.

2. A Jīva is said to be in bondage if he is tied up by the noose of eightfold primary essences, Prakṛti etc. When freed from them he is called liberated.

3. Perfect control and subjugation of Prakṛti and its offshoots is Salvation. A Jīva in bondage when freed from it is called a liberated soul.

4. The set of eight that binds is:—Prakṛti, Buddhi (cosmic intellect), Ahaṃkāra (cosmic ego) of the nature of attributes, and the five Tanmātrās (cosmic principles of Ether etc.)

5. The body is evolved out of these eight. The body carries on activities. The activities generate the body. Thus birth and activities continue in a series.

6-7. The body is of three types: the gross, the subtle and the causal. The gross body is responsible for all activities; the subtle body yields the enjoyment of pleasures through the senses. The causal body is for the sake of experiencing the good and bad results of the activities of the Jiva. The Jīva experiences happiness as a result of virtue and misery as a result of sin.

8. The Jīva bound by the rope of activities revolves round and round for ever like a wheel by means of the three types of body and their activities.

9. The creator of the wheel must be worshipped for the cessation of the revolution of the wheel. The Prakṛti etc. constitute the great wheel and Śiva is beyond the Prakṛti.

10-11. The creator of the wheel is the Lord Śiva. He is beyond the Prakṛti. Just as a boy drinks or spits out water as he pleases so also Śiva keeps Prakṛti etc. just as he pleases. He is called Śiva because he has brought it under his control. (Vaīśkṛta). Śiva alone is omniscient, perfect and free from desire.

12. The mental prowess of Maheśvara which Vedas alone can comprehend consists of omniscience, satiety, beginningless understanding, independence, never failing and and infinite power.

13. Hence Prakṛti etc. come under control due to Śiva’s grace. One shall worship Śiva alone for the acquisition of Śiva’s grace.

14. If one were to ask “How can there be a self-less worship of a perfect being?” the answer is “An activity done with dedication to Śiva shall cause pleasure to him”.

15. Keeping Śiva in view the devotee shall worship the phallic or the embodied image of Śiva, or his devotee. He shall worship his devotee by means of the body, mind, speech and money spent.

16. Śiva, the great lord, who is beyond Prakṛti is delighted at the worship and specially blesses the worshipper.

17-19. The Karma etc. come under control gradually due to Śiva’s grace. Beginning with Karma and ending with Prakṛti when everything comes under control, the Jīva is called liberated and he shines as a self-realised person. By the grace of Śiva, when this body which is resultant from activities (Karmadeha) comes under control, the devotee attains residence in Śivaloka. This is called Sālokya form of liberation. When the subtle elements come under control, the devotee attains nearness to Śiva.

20. Then he attains similarity with Śiva by means of weapons and activities. This is called Sārūpya. When the devotee acquires the great favour, the cosmic intellect too comes under control.

21. The cosmic intellect is only an effect of the Prakṛti. The control of Intellect is called Sārṣṭī—a form of liberation wherein the devotee has the same rank and power as Śiva. Then due to a further great favour of Śiva, the Prakṛti comes under control.

22-23. The mental prowess of Śiva becomes his without any difficulty. On acquiring the omniscience and prosperity of Śiva, the devotee becomes resplendent in his soul. This is called Sāyujya (complete identity) by persons well-versed in the Vedas and Āgamas (Traditional Sacred Texts). It is in this order that one gets salvation by the worship of the phallic image of Śiva.

24. Hence the devotee shall worship Śiva by performing sacred rites etc. for the acquisition of Śiva’s favour. Śiva’s sacred rites, Śiva’s penance, and the Japas of Śiva mantras always.

25. Knowledge of Śiva and meditation on Him shall be practised more and more. The time till retirement to bed, the time till death shall be spent in contemplating over Śiva.

26-27. He shall adore Śiva by means of the “Sadyo” mantras and flowers. He will attain welfare.

The sages said.—

O excellent one of good rites, please explain the rules governing worship of Śiva in the phallic and other forms.

Sūta said:—

I shall explain, O brahmins, the procedure of the worship of the phallic form, please listen. The first phallic form is the Praṇava that confers all desires.

28. It is called Sūkṣma Praṇava (the subtle one) if it is Niṣkala. The Sthūla (gross one) is Sakala and it consists of five constituent syllables.

29. The worship of these two is called a penance. Both of them accord salvation. There are many phallic emblems of Pauruṣa Prakṛti.

30. Śiva alone can explain them in detail. No one else. Such as are evolved of Earthly material are known to me which I shall explain to you all.

31. These are of five types: (1) Svayambhū, (2) Bindu, (3) Pratiṣṭhita, (4) Cara, (5) Guru Liṇga.

32-33. When he is gladdened by the austerities of devas and sages, Śiva in the form of Nāda assumes the form of a seed under the ground and suddenly piercing the ground above like a germinating sprout manifests Himself outside and makes His presence felt. Since this emblem is self-raised it is called Svayambhū.

34-35. By worshipping it the devotee gains increasing knowledge automatically. In a gold or silver plate or on the ground or an altar, the devotee draws the picture of the phallic emblem, the pure Praṇava mantra and shall invoke it with the rites of Pratiṣṭhā and Āvāhana.

36. The Bindu and Nāda forms, the stationary or mobile ones are conceptual but belong to Śiva, undoubtedly.

37-38. Wherever Śiva is sincerely believed to be present, the lord bestows on the devotee the benefit through that alone. The devotee can invoke the lord in a natural immobile thing—a rock or a stump—or an engraved picture and worship Śiva by the sixteen Upacāras (services and homage). He will attain supreme power of the lord and by practice gain knowledge.

39-40. If the image is installed with pure mind in a pure altar either by the Gods or the sages for the realisation of the soul, it is called Pauruṣa and it comes under the category of the installed phallic image of Śiva.

41-42. By a regular worship of this phallic image, the devotee will obtain all Pauruṣa Aiśvaryas (human riches). If great brahmins or rich kings install a liṅga prepared by the artisans, it is called Pratiṣṭhita and Prākṛta. It accords enjoyment of Prākṛta Aiśvarya (Natural riches) to the worshipper.

43. That which is forceful and permanent is called Pauruṣa. That which is weak and temporary is called Prākṛta.

44. The spiritual cum mobile form is represented by the constituents of the body, viz. the penis, navel, tongue, the tip of the nose, hips etc.

45. The mountain comes under the Pauruṣa class and the surface of the world under the Prākṛta class. Trees etc. are Pauruṣa and creepers etc. are Prākṛta.

46. The Ṣāṣṭika rice is Prākṛta but rice of the Śāli variety and wheat are Pauruṣa. The Aiśvaryā is Pauruṣa. It bestows eightfold siddhis viz. Aṇimā etc.

47. The Prākṛta liṅga bestows good women, riches etc. according to the believers. Now, first of all I shall mention the Rasaliṅga from among Caraliṅgas. (Rasaliṅga is mentioned as the foremost among mobile liṅgas).

48. Rasaliṅga is a bestower of all wishes to the brahmins. The auspicious Bāṇaliṅga is a bestower of vast kingdoms to the Kṣatriyas.

49. A gold liṅga bestows the ownership of vast wealth on the Vaiśyas. A Śilāliṅga (a liṅga made of rock) bestows great purity on the Śūdras.

50. A crystal liṅga and a Bāṇaliṅga bestow all sort of wishes on all. If a devotee does not possess a liṅga of his own, there is no harm in using another’s liṅga for the purpose of worship.

51. An Earthly liṅga shall be used by women especially by those whose husbands are alive. In the case of widows who are engaged in worldly and sacred rites a crystal liṅga is recommended.

52. O sages of good rites, in the cases of widows whether they be in a childhood, youth or old age, a Rasaliṅga is specially recommended if they continue to be holding rites.

53. A liṅga of pure crystal bestows all sorts of worldly enjoyment on women. The worship of the pedestal grants all cherished desires of the worshipper in this world.

54. A ritualist shall perform all the worship in a Vessel.

At the conclusion of Abhiṣeka (ceremonial bath) the Naivedya consisting of cooked rice of the Śālī variety shall be offered.

55. When the worship is over, the liṅga shall be kept in a casket and placed separately in the house. Persons who worship their own liṅgas shall, after the worship is over, offer as food those articles of diet to which they are accustomed.

56. All non-ritualists shall worship the subtle liṅga. In the place of floral offerings they shall use sacred ashes for adoration and food.

57. They shall keep the liṅga after worship on their head for ever. The ash is of three types, derived from ordinary fire, Vedic fire and Śiva fire.

58. The ash derived from ordinary fire shall be used for the purification of articles of mud, wood or metals and even for grains.

59. Articles of worship like gingelly seeds, cloths and stale stuffs shall be purified with ashes.

60. So also the objects defiled by dogs etc. The ashes shall be used with or without water according to necessity.

61. The ashes resulting from Vedic rites in fire shall be smeared over the forehead at the end of the rites. Since the ashes are purified by the mantras the rite itself takes the form of the ashes.

62-65. Hence, applying the ashes is tantamount to assimilating the sacred rite in one’s own Ātman. Bilva twigs shall be burnt repeating the Ātma mantra of Aghora. This fire is called Śivāgni. The ashes resulting therefrom are called Śivāgnija. The dung of a cow, preferably of Kapilā cow, shall be burnt first and then the twigs of Śamī, Aśvattha, Palāsa, Vaṭa, Āragvādha or Bilva shall be burnt. The ash resulting therefrom is also Śivāgnija. Or the twigs shall be burnt in Darbha fire repeating Śiva mantra. After straining the ashes with cloth (the fire powder) shall be put in a new pot.

66. For the sake of resplendence, the ashes shall be taken. The word Bhasma (Ash) means that which is honoured and adored. Śiva formerly did so.

67. A king takes the essence of wealth by way of tax, in his kingdom. Men burn plants and take the essence thereof.

68. The gastirc fire burns different kinds of foodstuffs and with their essence nourishes the body.

69. Similarly the great lord Śiva, the creator of the universe, burns the universe presided over by Him and takes the essence of the same.

70. After burning the universe He applies the ashes over his body. Under the pretext of annihilation He has taken the essence out of the same.

71. He assigned the essence to His own body. The essence Ākāśa (the Ether) constitutes His hair. The essence of the wind principle constitutes His face.

72. The essence of the Fire principle constitutes His heart, that of the principles of waters the hip and that of the principle of the Earth the knees. Thus the other limbs too.

73. The Tripuṇḍraka (the three parallel lines of ash marks over the forehead) is the essence of Trinity: Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra. Similarly Maheśvara has retained the esence of everything in the form of Tilaka (the small circular mark) on the forehead.

74. The word Bhasma means that which has controlled the essence of the whole universe. (Bha—Vṛddhi—flourishing essence. Sma—Svayam. Manyate—considers his own).

75-77. The word Śiva signifies him who controls everything and whom none can control, (Śiva Vaśī) just as Siṃha signifies the creature who attacks other animals and whom other animals cannot attack (Siṃha= Hiṃsa). The word Śiva is given another interpretation. The syllable Ś means Permanent Bliss. The letter “i” means Puruṣa (the primordial male energy), the syllable “Va” means Śakti (the primordial female energy). A harmonious compound of these syllables is Śiva. The devotee shall likewise make his own soul a harmonious whole and worship Śiva.

78. Ashes must first be smeared in the dust form and then in the Tripuṇḍraka form. At the time of worship water is added to the ashes. For mere sanctification the ashes are used without water.

79. The devotee, whether it is day or night, whether it is a man or a woman shall use water with the ashes and wear Tripuṇḍra at the time of adoration.

80. He who has the Tripuṇḍra made of ashes with water and performs worship derives the entire benefit of the same, no one else.

81. Wearing the ashes with Śiva’s mantra he comes out of the limitations of the Āśramas. He is called Śivāśramī for he is solely devoted to Śiva.

82-83. Being the devotee of Śiva and devoted to his sacred rites he need not observe impurity accruing from death or birth in the family. The characteristic sign of a devotee of Śiva is that he has a circular dot of white ashes or mud put by himself or by his preceptor on the top of his forehead. The word Guru (Preceptor) signifies a person who wards off bad qualities.

84-85. He removes all the ill effects of the Rājasaic qualities. He is supreme Śiva himself. He is beyond the three Guṇas, and assuming the form of the preceptor removes the ill effects of the three Guṇas and makes the disciple understand Śiva. Hence he is the preceptor of the disciples who have faith.

86. Hence the intelligent devotee shall know that the physical body of the preceptor is known as Guruliṅga the worship of which is service rendered to the preceptor.

87-88. The word ‘service’ means an obedience to the order through body, mind and speech. A disciple with a pure soul shall of necessity carry out the order of the preceptor risking his life and staking his possessions even if the task is not within his power. The word Śiṣya (disciple) means a person who is worthy of being ordered about.

89. Dedicating all he has, even his body, to the preceptor, the disciple shall offer his food first to the preceptor and then take his food with his permission.

90-92. Verily a disciple in virtue of his being subjected to discipline is a son unto the preceptor. Moreover by means of his tongue (as penis) he discharges the semen in the form of mantra in the vaginal passage of the ears and begets the mantraputra in the form of disciple. The son shall therefore adore his preceptor as father unto him. The real father, the physical begetter, drowns the son in the ocean of worldly existence. But the preceptor, the giver of knowledge, the father of learning enables him to cross that ocean. The disciple shall realise the difference between the two and worship the preceptor sincerely.

93-94. The modes of worship of the preceptor are many. He can be given monetary gifts. He can be physically served but the money shall be what is earned by the disciple. Since every limb of the preceptor is a phallus from toe to the head, massaging the feet, presenting him with sandals, bathing him, offering food and money and similar rites shall be performed to gratify him.

95-96. Verily the worship of the preceptor is worship of Śiva, the supreme soul. What remains after the preceptor has partaken of food shall be used by the disciple. It will purify him. Just as Siva’s leaving of food can be taken by the devotee of Śiva, so also the disciple can take the leavings of the preceptor. Even food and water, O brahmins.

97. Without the permission of the preceptor, anything taken is a theft. One shall accept as one’s preceptor a person who knows many special things.

98-99. Freedom from ignorance is the goal. Only a specialist can achieve that. In order to fulfil a task, or a sacred rite, obstacles must be warded off. A rite performed without hindrances in the middle can be fruitful. The subsidiary rites shall also be performed. Hence at the beginning of sacred rites, an intelligent man shall adore Gaṇeśa.

100. An intelligent man must worship all deities in order to ward off all sorts of hindrances. (There are three types of hindrances. The first one, the Ādhyātmika hindrance is the ailment of the body, whether it is a fever or a tremor or other type of sickness.

101-106. The second type of hindrance is Ādhibhautika (Extraneous one of a physical nature). The visitations of Piśācas, the outcome of ant-hills etc, falling of lizards and other insects, the advent of tortoise inside the house, infesting of serpents, untimely flowering of trees, deliveries in inauspicious hours and other things indicate some future misery. Hence these are called Ādhibhautika hindrances. The third type of hindrance is Ādhidaivika (Divine calamities). When lightning strikes, small pox, cholera, plague, typhus fever and similar infectious diseases spread and bad awful dreams, evil planets affecting the birth star or Rāśi (sign of the zodiac) occur, these hindrances are called Ādhidaivika. In order to ward off these hindrances and on occasions when one touches a corpse, a cāṇḍāla or a fallen man and goes inside without bathing, Śānti Yajña shall be performed to remove the evil effects.

107-109. The precincts of a temple, a cowshed, a sanctuary or one’s own court-yard shall be selected for the performance of sacrifice. It shall be on a raised platform at least two hastas high. It shall be well decorated. Paddy weighing a Bhāra shall be spread on the ground to make a large circle. Diagrams of lotuses shall be made in the middle and in the eight quarters on the border of the circle. A big pot round which a thread is tied, shall be placed in the middle and eight other similar pots shall be placed in the eight quarters. All of them shall be fumigated with Guggulu.

110. In the eight pots bunches of mango leaves shall be placed with Darbha grass. They shall be filled with water purified by mantras and five kinds of articles.

111. Precious gems shall be put in the nine vessels, one in each. The sensible devotee shall ask his preceptor to preside as a priest. The presiding priest shall be accompanied by his wife. He shall be well-versed in the rituals.

112. Gold idols of the guardians of the quarters and Viṣṇu shall be put in the different vessels. Viṣṇu shall be invoked and worshipped in the central vessel.

113. The respective guardians of the different quarters shall be worshipped in the vessels concerned, using the dative case after the name and ending with Namaḥ.

114. The invocation shall be performed by the presiding priest. Along with the Ṛtviks he shall repeat the mantras a hundred times.

115-116. At the end of the Japas, Homa shall be performed to the west of the vessel. According to the time, place and convenience, the offerings in the fire may be a crore, a hundred thousand, a thousand, or hundred and eight in number. It shall be performed for a single day, for nine days or for forty days.

117. The sacrificial twigs shall be of Śamī tree if the rite is intended for Śānti (suppression of evil effects) or of Palāśa tree if the rite is intended for the acquisition of livelihood. Cooked rice and ghee shall also be used. The offerings shall be made by repeating the names of the deities or mantras.

118. The articles of worship used in the beginning shall be continued till the end. At the conclusion, the Puṇyāhavācana shall be performed and the holy water sprinkled over the different members of the family.

119. Brahmins, as many in number as the number of offerings made, shall be fed, O scholarly sages, the preceptor and the presiding priest shall partake of sacrificial food alone.

120. The entire rite shall conclude after the worship of nine planets. A gem along with monetary gifts shall be given to each of the Ṛtviks.

121-122. Different types of gifts shall be made to deserving persons, to boys invested with sacred threads, to householders, sages, virgins, ladies and widows. The materials used for the rite shall be given to the priest.

123. Yama is the presiding deity of all calamities, grave diseases etc. Hence to gratify Yama Kāladāna shall be made.

124-125. A replica of Kāla (God of death) in the form of a man holding noose and goad shall be made in gold using a hundred or ten Niṣkas (gold coins). This shall be given as gift along with the sacrificial fee; gingelly seeds shall be gifted for the sake of longevity.

126-127. Ghee or mirror shall be gifted for the sake of quelling ailments. Rich men shall feed a thousand brahmins. The poor shall feed a hundred brahmins. Indigent persons shall perform rites according to their capacity. For the quiescence of evil spirits the great adoration of Bhairava shall be performed.

128. At the conclusion, Mahābhiṣeka and Naivedya shall be offered to Śiva. Then a public feeding of the brahmins shall be held.

129. By performing sacrifice in this way there will be an alleviation of all defects and evils. This Śānti Yajña shall be performed every year in the month of Phālguna.

130. In regard to evil dreams and ill omens this shall be performed instantly or definitely within a month. When one is defiled by a great sin, the worship of Bhairava shall be performed.

131. In regard to great diseases like leprosy etc. the vow shall first be taken and the sacrifice performed later on. Indigent persons wanting in all these things shall make gift of a lamp to the deity.

132. If incapable of even that, he shall take bath and make any gift. Or he shall make obeisance to the Sun-god hundred and eight times repeating the mantras.

133. A devotee shall perform prostrations and obeisance a thousand, ten thousand, hundred thousand, or a crore in number. All the deities are delighted by the obeisance-sacrifice in this way.

134-135. The obeisance is performed with the prayer “O lord, Thou are great and I am humble. My intellect is dedicated to Thee. A void thing does not appeal to thee. I am no longer void. I am Thy slave now. Whatever vestige of egotism remained in me has been dispelled on seeing Thee.”

136. Namaskāra, a sacrifice of the soul, shall be performed according to ability. Sacrificial food and betel leaves shall be offered to Śiva.

137. The devotee himself shall perform a hundred and eight circumambulations of Śiva. Such circumambulations, a thousand, ten thousand, hundred thousand or a crore in number he shall cause to be performed through others.

138. All sins perish instantaneously at the circumambulations of Śiva. Sickness is the root-cause of misery and sin is the cause of sickness.

139. Sins are said to be quelled by virtue. A sacred rite performed with Śiva in view is capable of removing all sins,

140. Among the sacred rites of Śiva, the circumambulation leads the rest. Praṇava is in the form of Japa and circumambulation is a physical rite.

141. The pair of births and deaths constitutes the Illusory cycle. The Balipīṭha of Śiva is symbolic of this Māyācakra.

142-143. Starting from pedestal the devotee shall make circumambulation half the way and return to the pedestal [and move anticlockwise to the place where he stopped before and returning to the pedestal make the circle complete]. This is the procedure of circumambulation. When the birth takes place, the obeisance which is the dedication of the soul prevents further birth.

144. The pair of births and deaths originates from the Māyā of Śiva. After such a dedication the devotee is not born again.

145. As long as the body exists, the Jīva is dependent on activities and he is spoken of as being in bondage. But when the three forms of the physical body are under control it is called “Salvation” by the scholars.

146. Śiva, the primary cause of causes, is the Creator of Māyācakra. He wipes off the Dvandva—birth and death—which originates from His Māyā.

147. The Dvandva is conceived and created by Śiva. It shall be dedicated to Him. O scholars, it shall be known that circumambulation is highly pleasing to Śiva.

148. The circumambulation and obeisance of Śiva, the great soul and the adoration performed with sixteen Upacāras accord all benefits.

149. There is no sin in the world which cannot be destroyed by circumambulation. Hence one should dispel all sins by circumambulation alone.

150. A person observing worship of Śiva shall observe silence and perform one of these—a sacred rite, penance, Japa, maintenance of the knowledge or meditation. He shall observe truthfulness etc.

151. All sorts of riches, divine body, knowledge, removal of ignorance and nearness to Śiva are the results of sacred rites etc.

152. The sacred rite yields the benefit by the performance. It removes the darkness of ignorance. It wipes off future birth. By the achievement of true knowledge, the miseries shall seem as if they did not exist at all.

153. The true devotee of Śiva shall observe the sacred rites etc. in accordance with the place, time, physical ability, possession of wealth as befitting his state.

154. The intelligent devotee shall take up his residence in a holy centre of Śiva, desist from violence to living beings, without exposing himself to undue strain, and spending only such wealth as he earns by legitimate means.

155. Even water sanctified by the five-syllabled mantra is conducive to happiness like cooked food. Even the alms begged and acquired by an indigent devotee is conducive to perfect knowledge.

156. Charitable food of a devotee of Śiva increases devotion to Śiva. Śivayogins call such charitable food sacrificial offerings to Siva.

157. The devotee of Śiva shall always be scrupulous about the purity of his food, wherever he stays and whatever means of sustenance he has. He shall observe silence and shall not disclose the secret.

158. To the devotees he shall expound the greatness of Śiva. Only Śiva can know the secret of Śivamantra. No one else.

159. The devotee of Śiva shall always resort to the phallic emblem of Śiva. O brahmins, one becomes Śiva by resorting to stationary phallic emblem.

160. By worshipping the mobile phallic image the liberation is certainly gradual. Thus I have mentioned the achievable and the excellent means of achievement.

161. What has been mentioned formerly by Vyāsa and what has been heard by me before, has been mentioned to you. Welfare attend ye all. May our devotion to Śiva be stable and firm.

162. O scholars, whoever reads this chapter by Siva’s grace and whoever listens to this always shall acquire the knowledge of Siva.

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