The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “worshipping an earthen phallic image by chanting vedic mantras” 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 20 - Worshipping an earthen phallic image by chanting Vedic mantras

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Summary: The mode of worshipping an earthen phallic image by chanting Vedic mantras.

Sūta said:—

1. Now, the mode of worshipping an earthen phallic image according to the Vedic rites is being explained. It yields worldly pleasures and salvation to the Vedic worshippers.

2. The devotee shall take bath in accordance with the rules prescribed in the sacred code. He shall duly perform his Sandhyā prayers. After performing the Brahma Yajña, one of the five daily sacrifices, he shall perform Tarpaṇa (a rite of offering water oblation to the manes).

3-4. After finishing the daily rites he shall apply ashes and wear Rudrākṣa, all along remembering Lord Śiva. With great devotion he shall then worship the excellent earthen phallic image according to Vedic injunctions in order to realise the full benefit.

5. The worship of the earthen phallic image shall be performed on the bank of a river or a tank or on the top of a mountain or in a forest, or in a Śiva temple. It must be in a clean place.

6. O brahmins, he shall bring clay from a clean place and carefully make the phallic image.

7. White clay is to be used by a brahmin; red clay by a Kṣatriya; yellow clay by a Vaiśya and black clay by a Sūdra. Anything available shall be used if the specified clay is not found.

8. After taking the clay he shall place it in an auspicious place for making the image.

9. After washing the clay clean with water and kneading it slowly he shall prepare a good earthen phallic image according to the Vedic direction.

10. Then he shall worship it with devotion for the sake of enjoying worldly pleasures here and salvation hereafter.

11. The material of worship shall be sprinkled with water, chanting the formula “Namaḥ Śivāy[1]” With the mantra “Bhūrasi[2]” etc. the achievement of the sanctity of a holy centre (Kṣetra Siddhi) shall be effected.

12. Water shall be sanctified with the mantra “Āposmān[3]” etc. The rite of “Phāṭikābandha” shall be performed with “Namaste Rudra[4]” mantra

13. The purity of the place of worship shall be heightened with the mantra “Śambhavāya[5]” etc. The sprinkling of water over Pañcāmṛta[6] shall be performed with the word Namaḥ prefixed.

14. The excellent installation of the phallic image of Śiva shall be made devoutly with the mantra “Namaḥ Nīla-grīvāya[7]” (obeisance to the blue-necked).

15. The worshipper following the Vedic path shall make devoutly the offer of a beautiful seat with the mantra “Etatte rudrāya[8]” etc.

16. The invocation (Āvāhana) shall be performed with the mantra “Mā no mahāntam[9]” etc. The seating (Upaveśana) shall be performed with the mantra “Yā te rudreṇa[10]”.

17. With the mantra “Yāmiṣum[11]” etc. the Nyāsa (ritualistic touching of the body in various parts) shall be performed. The offering of fragrance shall be performed endearingly with the mantra ‘Adhyavocat’[12] etc.

18. The Nyāsa of the deity shall be performed with the mantra “Asau Jīva[13]” etc. The rite of approaching the deity (upasarpaṇa) shall be performed with the mantra “Asau Yovasarpati”[14] etc.

19. The water used for washing the feet (Pādya) shall be offered with the mantra. “Namostu Nīlagrīvāya”[15] (obeisance to the blue-necked). The water for the respectful reception (Arghya) shall be offered with the Rudragāyatrī[16] mantra and the sipping water (Ācamana) with the Tryambaka[17] mantra.

20. The ceremonial ablution with milk shall be performed with the mantra “Payaḥ Pṛthivyām”[18] etc. The ceremonial ablution with curd shall be performed with the mantra “Dadhi Krāvṇaḥ[19]” etc.

21-22. The ceremonial ablution with ghee shall be performed with the mantra “Ghṛtam Ghṛtayāvā”[20] etc. The ceremonial ablution with honey and Sugar candy shall be performed with three hymns beginning with “Madhuvātā”[21], Madhu Naktam[22], Madhumānnaḥ”[23]. Thus the Pañcāmṛta ablution is explained. Or the ablution with Pañcāmṛta can be performed with the Pādya mantra Namostu Nīlagrīvāya[24].

23. The tying of the waistband (Kaṭibandhana) shall be performed devoutly with the mantra “Mā nastoke”[25] etc. The piece of cloth to be worn on the upper part of the body shall be offered with the mantra “Namo Dhṛṣṇave”[26] etc.

24. The pious follower of Vedic rites shall make an offering of cloth (vastrasamarpaṇa) duly to Śiva with the four hymns beginning with “Yā te heti[27] etc.

25. The intelligent devotee shall offer scents devoutly with the mantra “Namaḥ Śvabhyaḥ”[28] etc. He shall offer Akṣatas (raw rice grains) with the mantra “Namastakṣabhyaḥ”[29] etc.

26. Flower offerings shall be made with the mantra “Namaḥ Pāryāya”[30] etc. Bilva leaves shall be offered with the mantra “Namaḥ Parṇāya”[31] etc.

27. The incense shall be offered with the mantra “Namaḥ Kapardine ca”[32] etc. in accordance with the rules. The lamp shall be offered in the prescribed manner with the mantra “Namaḥ Āśave”[33] etc.

28. The excellent Naivedya shall be offered with the mantra “Namo Jyeṣṭhāya”[34] etc. Ācamana shall be offered again with the mantra “Tryambakam”[35] etc.

29. Fruit shall be offered with the mantra “Imā Rudrāya”[36]. Everything shall be dedicated to Śiva with the mantra “Namo Vrajyāya”[37] etc.

30. We shall make an offering of eleven raw rice grains to the eleven Rudras[38] with the two mantras”Mā No Mahāntam”[39] etc. and “Mā Nastoke”[40] etc.

31. The scholarly devotee shall offer sacrificial fee (Dakṣiṇā)[41] with the three mantras beginning with “Hiraṇya-garbha” etc. and shall perform ablution (Abhiṣeka) with the mantra “Devasya tvā”[42] etc.

32. The rite of waving lights Nīrājana for Śiva shall be performed with the mantra for the lamp (Namaḥ Āśave)[43]. Puṣpāñjali (offering of handful of flowers) shall be performed with devotion with the hymn Imā rudrāya”[44] etc.

33. The wise devotee shall then perform the Pradakṣiṇā (circumambulation) with the mantra “Mā No Mahāntam”[45] and the intelligent one shall perform Sāṣṭāṅga (eight limbs touching the ground) prostration with the mantra “Mā Nastoke”[46] etc.

34. He shall show the “Śiva Mudrā” with the mantra “Eṣa te”[47]; the Abhayamudrā with the mantra “Yato Yataḥ[48] etc. and the Jñāna Mudrā with the Tryambaka[49]mantra.

35. The Mahāmudrā shall be shown with the mantra “Namaḥ Senā-”[50] etc. He shall then show the Dhenumudrā with the mantra “Namo Gobhyaḥ”. etc.

36. After showing all these five Mudrās he shall perform the “Śiva Mantra[51] Japa”. The devotee well versed in the Vedas shall recite the “Śatarudriya” mantra.

37. Pañcāṅgapāṭha shall then be performed by the Vedic scholar. Then Visarjana (Ritualistic farewell) shall be performed with the mantra “Devā gātu”[52] etc.

38. Thus the Vedic rite of the worship of Śiva has been explained in detail. Now listen to the excellent Vedic rite in brief.

39. The clay shall be brought with the mantra “Sadyo Jātam”[53]. The sprinkling of water shall be performed with the mantra “Vāmadevāya”[54].

40. The phallic image shall be prepared with the Aghora[55] mantra. The Āhvāna (invocation) shall be performed with the mantra “Tatpuruṣāya”[56].

4 l. The phallic image of Hara shall be fixed to the pedestal with the Īśāna[57] mantra. The intelligent devotee shall perform all other rites in brief.

42. With the five-syllabled mantra or any other mantra taught by the preceptor the intelligent devotee shall perform, as prescribed by the rule, the adoration with due observance of the sixteen Upacāras (and the following prayer).

43. “We meditate upon Bhava, the destroyer of worldly existence, on the great lord, on Ugra, the annihilator of terrible sins, on Śarva the moon-crested”.

44. The intelligent devotee shall perform the worship of Śiva with this mantra or with the Vedic mantra with great devotion and abandoning errors. Śiva accords benefits when with devotion he is propitiated.

45. Notwithstanding the Vedic mode of worship as stated above, O brahmins, we now proceed to explain the common procedure of Śiva’s worship.

46. This mode of worship of Śiva’s earthen phallic image is the muttering of the names of Śiva. O excellent sages, it yields all cherished desires. Please listen to me. I shall explain it.

47-48. The eight names of Śiva viz:—Hara, Maheśvara, Śambhu, Śūlapāṇi, Pinākadhṛk, Śiva, Paśupati and Mahādeva shall be used respectively for the rites of bringing the clay, kneading, installation, invocation, ceremonial ablution, worship, craving the forbearance and ritualistic farewell.

49. Each of the names shall be prefixed with Oṃkāra. The name shall be used in the dative case and Namaḥ shall be added to them. The rites shall be performed respectively with great devotion and joy.

50. The Nyāsa rite shall be duly performed and the Aṅganyāsa of the two hands shall also be performed. The devotee shall perform meditation with the six-syllabled mantra—Om namaśśivāya.

51. The devotee shall meditate on Śiva seated in the middle of his seat on the pedestal in Kailāsa, worshipped by Sananda[58] and others. Śiva is a forest fire, as it were, for the dry wood in the form of the distress of the devotees. He is immeasurable. He is the Ornament of the universe being closely embraced by his consort, Umā.

52. He shall meditate on Śiva always in the following way:—He is like a silver mountain. He wears the beautiful moon, on his forehead. His limbs are resplendent with ornaments of gems. He holds the axe, the deer, the Mudrā of boon and the Mudrā of freedom from fear in His four hands. He is joyful. He is seated in the lotus pose. The assembled Devas stand around Him and offer prayers. He wears the hide of the tiger. He is the primordial Being, the seed of the universe. He dispels all fears. He is the three-eyed[59] lord with five faces[60].

53. After the meditation and worship of the excellent earthly image he shall duly perform the Japa of the five-syllabled mantra taught by the preceptor.

54. O foremost among brahmins, the intelligent devotee shall adore the lord of Devas with different sorts of hymns and recite the Śatarudriya mantra.

55. He shall take raw rice grains and flowers by means of palms joined together in the form of a bowl and pray to Śiva by means of the following mantras.

56-60. The hymn—“O Śiva, the merciful, I am Thine. Thy attributes are my vital breath. My mind is ever fixed in Thee. Knowing this, O lord of goblins, be pleased with me. Consciously or unconsciously, whatever I have performed by way of Japa or adoration may that O Śiva, with Thy favour, be fruitful. I am the greatest sinner and Thou art the greatest sanctifier. O Lord of Gaurī, knowing this, do thou whatever thou dost wish. O great lord, Thou art not known by Vedas, Purāṇas, systems of Philosophy or the different sages. O Sadāśiva, how can I know Thee? In whatever manner, I belong to Thee, O Śiva, by all my thoughtforms. I am to be saved by Thee. Be pleased with me O Siva”.

61. After repeating the hymn, the devotee shall place the flowers and the rice-grains over the phallic image of Śiva. O sages, he shall then prostrate before Śiva with devotion (his eight limbs touching the ground).

62. The intelligent devotee shall perform circumambulation in the manner prescribed. He shall pray to the lord of Devas with great faith.

63. Then he shall make a full-throated sound.[61] He shall humbly bow down his head. He shall then make a formal request and perform the rite of ritualistic farewell.

64. O foremost among sages, thus have I explained to you the procedure for the worship of the phallic image that accords worldly pleasures, salvation and increases devotion to Śiva.

65-66. Whoever reads or listens to this chapter with a pure mind shall be purified of all sins and shall attain all wishes. This excellent narration bestows longevity, health, fame, heaven and happiness by way of sons and grandsons.

Footnotes and references:


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 16.41.


Ibid. 13.18.


Ibid. 4.2.


Ibid. 16.i.


Ibid. 16.4 i.


Five kinds of food viz. milk, curd, butter, honey and sugar are called Pañcāmṛṭa.


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 16.28.


Ibid. 3.61.


Ibid. 16.15.


Ibid. 16.2.


Ibid. 16.3.


Ibid. 16.5.


Not traceable.


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 16.17.


Ibid. 16.8.


Kāṭhaka-saṃhitā 17.11.


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 3.60.


Ibid. 18.36.


Ibid. 23.32


Atharvaveda 13.1.24.


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 13.27.


Ibid. 13.28.


Ibid. 13.29.


Ibid. 16.8.


Ibid. 16.16.


Ibid. 16.36.


Ibid. 16. I 1-14.


Ibid. 16.28.


Ibid. 16.27.


Ibid. 16. 42.


Ibid. 16.46.


Ibid. 16.29


Ibid. 16.31


Ibid. 16.32


Ibid. 3.60


Ibid. 16.48


Ibid. 16.44


The names of eleven Rudras are variously mentioned in the Purāṇas. According to Matsya-purāṇa (‘A Study’ by V. S. Agrawal) they are: Ajaikapād, Ahirbudhnya, Hara, Virūpākṣa, Raivata, Bahurūpa, Tryambaka, Savitā, Jayanta, Pināki: Aparājita. In the VP. the first three are the same; the rest are substituted by Nirṛta, Īśvara, Bhuvana, Aṅgāraka, Ardhaketu, Mṛtyu, Sarpa, Kapālin.


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 16.15


Ibid. 16.16


Ibid. 13.4


Ibid. 11.28


Ibid. 16.31


Ibid. 16.48-50


Ibid. 16.15


Ibid. 16.16


Ibid. 9-35


Ibid. 36.22.


Ibid. 3.60.


Ibid. 16.26.


Namah Śivāya.


Taittirīya-brāhmaṇa 3.7. 4.1.


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 29.36-


TA. 10.44.1.


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 16.2.


Kāṭhaka-saṃhitā 17.11; Maitrāyaṇī-saṃhitā 2-9. i: 119.7.


 Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 27.35.


Sananda is one of the 4, 7 or 10 mind-born sons of Brahmā.


Three-eyed Śiva, so called because a third eye burst from his forehead with a great flame when his wife playfully placed her hands over his eyes after he had been engaged in austerities in the Himalayas. This eye has been very destructive. It reduced Kāma, the God of Love, to ashes. Dowson, H.M. See under Trilocana.


Five-faced Śiva: See note 25 on P. 34.


It is said that Dakṣa’s sacrifice being destroyed by the Gaṇas of Śiva assumed the form of a goat while Dakṣa became a deer and escaped. A devotee who imitates the sound of a terror-struck goat in the presence of the phallic image of Śiva pleases the God.

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