The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “description of shivatattva” 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 9 - Description of Śivatattva

Brahmā said:—

1. On hearing his own eulogy from the mouth of Viṣṇu, the delighted Śiva, the store-house of kindness, revealed Himself to us along with his consort.

2-3. He had five faces and three eyes, and the crescent moon on his forehead. He wore matted hair. He was white-complexioned and had wide eyes. His body had been dusted with the ashes. He had ten arms. His neck was blue in colour. He was bedecked with all ornaments. He was very handsome with respect to every limb. Three ash-lines marked His forehead.

4. On seeing lord Śiva accompanied by His beautiful consort, Viṣṇu along with me eulogised Him again with appropriate words.

5-6. Śiva, the merciful, who was delighted breathed the Vedas into Viṣṇu and conferred Perfect Knowledge on him, the secret of the supreme Ātman. O sage, thereafter, out of sympathy, the supreme Ātman conferred these on me too.

7. After receiving the Vedas, Viṣṇu was satisfied and bowing to Him with palms joined in reverence along with me, he asked the lord Śiva.

Viṣṇu said:—

8. “O Lord, How are you propitiated? How shall I worship you, O lord? How shall I meditate on you? How are you impressed by any one?

9. O Great God, tell us what at Thy bidding shall we ever do? Please command us, O Śiva, do this to favour us.

10. O Great lord, be merciful to tell us all these things. O Śiva, we are your followers. Taking this into mind, you will enlighten us on these and other similar points too.

Brahmā said:—

11. On hearing these words, the lord Śiva was delighted. The merciful lord then spoke lovingly.

Śiva said:—

12. O foremost among gods, I am delighted by your devotion. Look upon me as a great deity. Cost off all your fears.

13. Worship my liṅga and do always meditate upon the form which you see just before you.

14. When I am worshipped in the phallic form I will be delighted and will bestow different benefits upon all people, all that they wish for in their minds.

15. O foremost among the deities, whenever any misery befalls you, it shall be destroyed when my liṅga is worshipped.

16. O strong ones, you two are born of my own Prakṛti, out of my left and right sides. I am the lord of everything.

17. This Brahmā, grandfather for all people, is born of my right side. You, Viṣṇu, are born of my left side. I am the supreme Ātman.

18-19. Delighted I shall confer on you boons and whatever you desire. May your devotion to me be steady. With my permission you can make my form in clay and perform adoration. After rendering different kinds of service like this sensibly you shall attain happiness.

20. O Brahmā, strictly adhering to my direction you carry on the work of creation. Dear child, dear Hari, you shall sustain the mobile and the immobile beings.

Brahmā said:—

21. Saying thus, the lord presented to us the auspicious mode of His worship, adored duly by means of which Śiva confers many benefits.

22. On hearing the words of Śiva along with me, Viṣṇu bowed to Śiva with palms joined in reverence and said.

Viṣṇu said:—

23. “If you are pleased, if a boon is to be given to us, may our devotion to you be perpetual and unstraying.

24. Although you are Nirguṇa, be pleased to incarnate in the course of your divine sports and help us. Dear lord, you are great lord, the supreme.

25. O lord of lords, even our dispute has turned out to be auspicious, now that you have come here to suppress the same”.

Brahmā said:—

26. On hearing these words Śiva told Viṣṇu who stood there with the head bent down and with palms joined in reverence.

Śiva said:—

27. Although Nirguṇa, I am Saguṇa too and the author of dissolution, maintenance and creation. I am the supreme Brahman without decay and change. Existence, Knowledge and Bliss are my characteristics.

28. Truly, I am Niṣkala (Nirguṇa) for ever, O Hari. For the activities of creation, maintenance and dissolution I manifest myself in the three forms of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Hara, O Viṣṇu.

29. O Viṣṇu, since you, along with Brahmā, have eulogised me and prayed for my incarnation, I shall make that request true, favourably disposed towards my devotees that I am.

30. A great form similar to this, O Brahmā, shall become manifest in the world through your body. He will be called Rudra.

3 I. His capacity will never he less, since He will be my own part and parcel. He is I. I am he. In the modes of worship too there in no difference.

32. As heat etc. in water and other things due to the contact of fire is not permanent in water etc., similarly my Nirguṇa aspect is not affected by the external contact.

33. This form of mine as Śiva is that of Rudra too. O great sage, no one shall make any difference in it.

34. The same form appears split into two in the universe. Hence Śiva and Rudra shall not be considered different.

35. A piece of gold turned into an ornament does not cease to be gold. There may be difference in name but not in the material content.

36. Just as the difference of clay and the various objects made of it is not a material one, so also in this case.

The presence of the material cause in the effect can be cited as an example.

37. This shall be known by all scholars and Gods of unsullied knowledge. If you realise this, you will not be seeing the cause of difference.

38-39. I think that we all should see the from of Śiva as the basic material. Myself, you, Brahmā and Rudra who will be manifesting himself are of the same form. There is no difference. If there had been difference that would have been bondage. Yet the eternal Śiva-form is mine alone.

40. That pure form is spoken of as the main root, the Truth, the Knowledge, the Endless. Realising this too, it must be meditated upon in the true manner in your mind.

41. O Brahmā, another secret which I am going to unfold to you may be listened to. You two are born of Prakṛti but not this one (Rudra).

42-43. My command is carried to that place through Brahmā’s eyebrows. I am therefore spoken of as Tāmasa and Prākṛta, Hara in respect to the Guṇas alone and shall be known as Vaikārika too which is actually the Ahaṃkāra (the Ego). That is called Tāmasa only in name and not in reality.

44. For this reason, O Brahmā, this shall be carried out by you. O Brahmā, you shall be the creator and Hari the protector.

45. My would-be part shall be the cause of dissolution. This goddess Umā, Parameśvarī is the Prakṛti.

46. Her Śakti, the goddess of speech, shall resort to Brahmā. Another Śakti also will be arising out of the Prakṛti.

47. That Śakti will resort to Viṣṇu in the form of Lakṣmī. Another Śakti Kālī will surely share my part.

48. She will be born in the form of Brilliance for effective work. Thus I have told you of the great auspicious Śaktis of the Goddess.

49. Their activities are respectively creation, maintenance and dissolution. O foremost among Gods, they are the parts of Prakṛti, my beloved.

50-53. O Viṣṇu, you shall carry on your activities with the co-operation of Lakṣmī. O Brahmā, with the cooperation of the goddess of speech, the part of Prakṛti, you shall carry on joyfully the activity of creation, according to my direction. I shall have the co-operation of Kālī, the part of my beloved, the greatest of the great and shall carry out the excellent activity of dissolution in the form of Rudra. You shall be happy after the creation of the world consisting of the four VarṇaS and their ancillaries—the four Āśramas (stages of life) and various sorts of other incidental activities. You shall contribute to the welfare of the world making use of your knowledge and perfect wisdom.

54-55. O Viṣṇu, be the bestower of salvation too at my bidding. The benefit accruing from your vision will be the same as that from mine. This boon is given to you now. It is the truth, certainly the truth. Viṣṇu is in my heart and I am in Viṣṇu’s heart.

56. Those who make any distinction between the two do not know my mind. Viṣṇu is born of my left limb. Brahmā is born of my right limb.

57. Rudra who causes great dissolution and who is the soul of the universe is born of the heart. I manifest in the three forms, O Viṣṇu, known Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Bhava.

58. am the author of creation, protection and dissolution by the attributes Rajas etc. But I am different from these Guṇas and directly beyond Prakṛti and Puruṣa.

59. I am the supreme Brahman, the eternal, the endless, the perfect and the unsullied. Viṣṇu has Tamas within but Sattva outside. He is the protector of the three worlds.

60. Hara who causes dissolution of three worlds has Sattva within but Tamas outside.

61. Brahmā who creates the three worlds has Rajas both within and without. This is the position of the Guṇas in the three deities. Śiva is spoken of as different from the Guṇas.

62. O Viṣṇu, guard lovingly this Pitāmaha who is the cause of creation. At my bidding, you will be worthy of respect in the three worlds.

63. Rudra shall be worshipped by you and Brahmā. The author of dissolution of the three worlds is the complete incarnation of Śiva.

64. In the Kalpa called Pādma, Pitāmaha will be born as your son. Then you will see me. The lotus-born Brahmā shall also see me.

65. After saying this and conferring unequalled mercy, the great lord Hara again spoke lovingly to Viṣṇu.