The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “glorification of the rudraksha and of the names 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.

Chapter 23 - The glorification of the Rudrākṣa and of the names of Śiva

The sages said:—

1-2. O Sūta, Sūta the fortunate disciple of Vyāsa, obeisance to thee. Please explain again the glorification of the holy ashes, of the Rudrākṣa and of Śiva’s names. Lovingly explaining the three, please delight our minds.

Sūta said:—

3-4. It is good that you have referred to this matter that is highly beneficent to the world. You are blessed, holy and ornaments to your families since you own Śiva as your sole great favourite deity. The anecdotes of Śiva are dear to you all for ever.

5. Those who adore Śiva are blessed and content. Their birth is fruitful and their family is elevated.

6. Sins never touch those from whose mouth the names Sadāśiva, Śiva etc. come out for ever, as they do not touch the burning charcoal of the khadira wood.

7. When a mouth utters “Obeisance to Thee, holy Śiva” that mouth (face) is on a par with holy centres destroying all sins.

8. It is certain that the benefit of making pilgrimages to holy centres accrues to one who lovingly looks at His holy face.

9. O brahmins, the place where these three are found is the most auspicious one. A mere contact of the place accords the benefit of taking a holy dip in the sacred Triveṇī.

10. Śiva’s name, the ashes and the Rudrākṣa beads—the three are very holy and are on a par with Triveṇī[1] (the confluence of the three holy rivers).

11. The sight of the persons who have these three in their bodies is a rare occurrence. But when obtained it removes all sins.

12. There is no difference at all between these two—a sight of the holy man and a bath in the Triveṇī. He who does not realise this is undoubtedly a sinner.

13. The man who has no ashes on his forehead, has not worn Rudrākṣa on his body and does not utter names of Śiva shall be shunned as one does a base man.

14. As said by Brahmā, Śiva’s name is on a par with Gaṅgā, the ash is equal to Yamunā and Rudrākṣa destroys all sins (and is equal to Sarasvatī).

15-16. Brahmā wishing to bestow beneficence weighed one against the other. He put on one side the benefit achieved by a person in whose body the three things were present. On the other side he put the blessedness achieved by those who took their bath in the holy Triveṇī. Both were found equal. Hence scholars shall wear these always.

17. From that time onwards Brahmā, Viṣṇu and other Devas wear these three. Their very sight dispels sins.

The sages said:—

18. O righteous one, you have explained the benefit of the three things: Śiva’s name etc. Please explain it vividly.

Sūta said:—

19. O brahmanical sages, you are all good devotees of Śiva, gifted with knowledge and great intellect. You are the foremost among the wise. Please listen with reverence to their greatness.

20. O brahmins, it is mysteriously hidden in sacred texts, Vedas and Purāṇas. Out of love for you I reveal the same to you now.

21. O foremost among the brahmins! Who ever does know the real greatness of the three except Śiva who is beyond all in the whole universe?

22. Briefly I shall explain the greatness of the names as prompted by my devotion. O brahmins, do you lovingly listen to his greatness: the destroyer of all sins.

23. Mountainous heaps of great sins are destroyed as in a blazing forest fire when the names of Śiva are repeated. They are reduced to ashes without any difficulty. It is true, undoubtedly true.

24. O Śaunaka, different sorts of miseries with sins as their roots can be quelled only by muttering Śiva’s names, and not by anything else entirely.

25. The man who is devotedly attached to the Japas of Śiva’s names in the world, is really a follower of the Vedas, a meritorious soul and a blessed scholar.

26. O sage, instantaneously fruitful are the different sacred rites of those who have full faith in the efficacy of the Japas of Śiva’s names.

27. O sage, so many sins are not committed by men in the world as are and can be destroyed by Śiva’s names.

28. O sage, Śiva’s names repeated by men, immediately destroy the countless heaps of sins such as the slaughter of a brahmin.

29. Those who cross the ocean of worldly existence by resorting to the raft of the names of Śiva do definitely destroy those sins that are the root-cause of worldly existence.

30. O great sage, the destruction of sins that are the roots of worldly existence is certainly effected by the axe of Śiva’s names.

31. The nectar of Śiva’s names shall be drunk by those who are distressed and scorched by the conflagration of sins. Without it, the people who are scorched by the conflagration cannot have any peace.

32. Those who are drenched by the nectarine downpour of Śiva’s names never feel ill at ease even in the middle of the conflagration of worldly existence.

33. The noble souls who have acquired great devotion to the names of Śiva, and those like them, attain perfect liberation instantaneously.

34. O lord of sages, devotion to the names of Śiva, that destroys all sins can be acquired only by him who has performed penances in the course of many births.

35. Salvation is easy of access only to him who has extraordinary and unbroken devotion for the names of Śiva. I believe in this.

36. Even if he has committed many sins, a person who has reverence for the Japa of Śiva’s names, becomes certainly free from all sins.

37. Just as the trees in a forest are burnt and reduced to ashes by the forest fire, so also are the sins destroyed by Śiva’s names.

38. O Saunaka, he who regularly sanctifies his body by the holy ashes and who performs the Japa of Śiva’s names crosses even the terrible ocean of worldly existence.

39. A person who undertakes the Japa of Śiva’s names is not sullied by sins even after misappropriating a brahmin’s wealth and killing many brahmins.

40. After going through all the Vedas it has been decided by our ancestors that the noblest means of crossing the ocean of worldly existence is the performance of the Japa of Śiva’s names.

41. O excellent sages, why should I say much? By means of a single verse I shall mention the greatness and efficacy of the names of Śiva or the destruction of all sins.

42. The power of the names of Śiva in destroying sins is more than the ability of men to commit them.

43. O sage, formerly the king Indradyumna who was a great sinner, attained the excellent goal of the good through the influence of Śiva’s names.

44. O sage, similarly a brahmin woman too of very sinful activities attained the excellent goal of the good through the influence of Śiva’s names.

45. O excellent brahmins, thus I have told you about the surpassing excellence of the names. Now please listen to the greatness of holy ashes, the most sacred of all.

Footnotes and references:


The place of confluence ( Prayāga, now Allahabad) of the Ganges with the yamunā and the subterranean Sarasvatī.