The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “mode of worshipping 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 11 - The mode of worshipping Śiva

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The sages said:—

1. O Sūta the fortunate, O Sūta the disciple of Vyāsa, obeisance be to you. This wonderfully sanctifying story of Śiva has been narrated to-day.

2. The wonderful and highly divine origin of the liṅga has been heard. Listening to its efficacy causes destruction of misery.

3. O store house of mercy, please tell us the mode of the worship of Śiva, in accordance with the conversation of Brahmā and Nārada whereby Śiva becomes satisfied

4. Brahmins, Kṣatriyas, Vaiṣyas and Śudras worship Śiva. How shall the worship be performed? Please tell us in accordance with what you have heard from Vyāsa.

5. On hearing their words, Sūta narrated everything in answer to the question of the sages, everything conducive to welfare and in accordance with the Vedas.

Sūta said:—

6. O lordly sages, your enquiry covers a very great secret topic. I shall explain it as far as my own intellect can penetrate it and in accordance with what I have heard.

7-8. Formerly Vyāsa had asked the same question of Sanatkumāra as you have asked now. Upamanyu learnt it from him. Vyāsa heard it from him and taught me the mode of worship etc. of Śiva from a desire for the benefit of all the worlds.

9. It was directly heard from Upamanyu, the noble soul, by Kṛṣṇa (i.e. Kṛṣṇadvaipāyaṇa or Vyāsa). That I shall tell you in the some way as Brahmā had said before.

Brahmā said:—

10. O sage Nārada I shall explain briefly the worship of the liṅga (the phallic image). It is impossible to explain it in detail even in a hundred years.

11. In order to achieve the fulfilment of all desires one should worship with great devotion the pure and eternal form of Śiva thus.

12. Poverty, sickness, harassment from enemies and the four sorts of sins trouble one only as long as one does not worship Siva.

13. When Śiva is worshipped, all miseries merge into the lord; all happiness is secured and salvation is attained thereafter.

14. Śiva who secures the achievement of all matters shall be worshipped by the person who considers a continuous series of human pleasures very important.

15. Whether they are brahmins, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas or Śūdras, they shall perform the worship of Śiva duly and regularly for the achievement of all desired objects.

16-18. One shall get up early in the morning during the Brāhma Muhūrta[1] (about an hour before dawn). He shall remember the preceptor and Śiva. O sage, he shall then remember the holy centres and meditate on Hari. Thereafter he shall remember me, the deities and the sages. Then he shall recite a prayer in the name of Śiva duly. Then he shall get up and evacuate his bowels in southern quarter.

19. The evacuation of the bowels shall be done in an isolated place. What I have heard (in this respect) I am mentioning now. O sage, please listen attentively.

20. A brahmin shall use earth for cleaning purposes five times; a Kṣatriya for four times and a Vaiśya for three times.

21. A Śūdra shall use the earth twice for cleaning purposes. Or he shall cleanse the rectum once and the penis once assiduously.

22. He shall then wash the left hand ten times. He shall then wash each of the feet seven times and both the hands three times once again.

23. Women shall perform these cleansing activities with earth like Śudras. They shall first wash the hands and feet, then make use of the earth as before.

24. They shall clean the teeth using the tooth brush twig according to their castes.

25-26. The tooth brush twig of a brahmin shall be twelve aṅgulas long. A king (a Kṣatriya) shall take one eleven aṅgulas long and a Vaiśya one ten aṅgulas long. The tooth brush of a Śūdra shall be nine aṅgulas in length. This is in accordance with Smṛtis. What is enjoined by Manu shall be disobeyed only in emergencies.

27. On Ṣaṣṭī (sixth), Navamī (ninth) and new-moon days, on sundays and days of sacred rites and Śrāddhas, cleaning the teeth with tooth-brush twig is prohibited.

28. The daily ablutions shall be performed duly and those in holy centres shall be performed with mantras in accordance with the time and place.

29. Performing the Ācamana first, wearing washed cloth, he shall perform the Sandhyā prayer in a good isolated place.

30. After observing the preliminaries duly he shall enter the chamber of worship keeping the mind steady and begin the rites of worship.

31. Sitting on a good seat and performing Nyāsa etc. in accordance with the prescribed rules of worship, he shall perform the worship of Śiva duly.

32. Gaṇeśa, the attendants at the threshold of the Temple, the guardians of the quarters etc., shall be worshipped and thereafter the pedestal shall be arranged.

33-36. Or he shall make the mystical diagram of the lotus of eight petals and install Śiva in its middle. He himself shall sit near all the materials of worship around him. He shall perform Ācamana thrice and wash the hands. He shall then perform suppression of breath (Prāṇāyāma) thrice. Then Tryaṃbaka (three-eyed Śiva) shall be meditated upon in the following manner. The deity has five faces, ten arms, all kinds of ornaments and the tiger-hide as His upper-cloth: He is as pure as the crystal. During meditation he shall identify himself with Śiva and burn off his sins. Having thus created the form of Śiva in meditation, he shall worship lord Śiva.

37. Then the ritualistic purification of the body by touching the various parts of the body with holy water shall be performed. The Nyāsa of the Mūlamantra (the root mantra) and that of the six aṅgas with Praṇava (Oṃkāra) shall be performed thereafter.

38. After ritualistically touching the heart, he shall start worship. Different vessels shall be set apart for Pādya (water for washing the feet), Arghya (water for the reception of the guest and Ācamana (sipping water).

39-40. Nine vessels of different sizes should be kept by the sensible devotee. Darbha grass shall be spread and cool water sprinkled over these vessels with Darbha grass. Reciting the oṃkāra, the intelligent devotee shall sprinkle the various materials of worship.

41-42. The fragrant root of the plant Uśīra and sandal-paste shall be put in the water for washing feet. Fine powders of Jātī, Kaṃkola, Karpūra, root of Vaṭa and Tamālaka should be put in the water intended for sipping. Sandal powder shall be put in all these nine vessels.

43. Nandīśa, the divine Bull of Śiva shall be worshipped beside the lord Śiva. The latter shall be worshipped with scents, incense and different lamps.

44-47. The Liṅga shall be purified and installed with various mantras beginning with Praṇava and ending with Namaḥ (obeisance). The pedestal in the form of Svastika or lotus shall be assigned with Praṇava. In the eight petals, in the eight quarters, the eight achievements are identified viz:—The eastern petal is Aṇimā (minuteness), the southern is Laghimā (lightness), the western is Mahimā (greatness) the northern is Prāpti (power of reaching), the south-eastern is Prākāmya (power of sufficiency), the south-western is Īśitva (lordliness); the north-western is Vaśitva (power of control), the north-eastern is Sarvajñatva (omniscience) and the pericarp is the moon (Soma).

48. Beneath the moon is the sun and beneath that is the fire. Dharma etc. are beneath that. All these shall be assigned regularly.

49-50. In the four quarters Avyakta etc. the unmanifest principle and in the end of Soma the three Guṇas shall be assigned. Lord Śiva shall be invoked by the formula “I am addressing Sadyojāta[2].Then the devotee small repeat Vāmadeva[3] mantra and stand on his seat. The Sānnidhya rite shall be performed with Rudra Gāyatrī[4] mantra and the rite of Nirodha shall be performed with Aghora[5] mantra.

51. Rudra shall be worshipped with the mantra Iśānaḥ Sarvavidyānām[6] etc. Pādya, Ācamanīya and Arghya shall be offered duly.

52. Rudra shall be duly bathed with water, scented with sandal in the same manner as with Pañcagavya after taking it in a vessel duly instilled with mantras.

53. Then the deity shall be bathed invoking Praṇava with cow’s milk, curds, honey and sugarcane juice.

54. Worshipping Rudra who bestows everything that is wholesome and desirable with ghee, the devotee shall perform the Abhiṣeka with all materials of worship reciting Praṇava.

55. In the holy vessels full of water he shall pour water reciting various mantras after straining it with a white cloth duly.

56. The sprinkling need not be performed until sandal paste is mixed. Then raw rice grains made beautiful (by adding turmeric powder etc.) shall be offered joyously to Śaṅkara.

57-58. Offerings of flowers, especially white flowers and rare flowers, shall be made to Lord Śiva. Flowers of Apāmārga, Karpūra, Jātī, Campaka, Kuśa, Pāṭala, Karavīra, Mallikā, Kamala (lotus) and Utpalas (lilies) of various sorts shall be used. When water is poured it shall be poured in a continuous stream.

59. Vessels of different varieties shall be used for the ceremonial ablution of Lord Rudra. A worship performed with due recitation of mantras bestows all benefits.

60. O dear one, I shall tell you briefly those mantras for the sure achievement of all cherished desires. Please listen attentively.

61-65. Offerings of flowers and water ablutions shall be made with these mantras whether caused to be read or committed to memory and orally repeated—The Rudra mantra, Nīlarudra mantra, Śukla Yajurveda mantras, auspicious Hotṛ mantras, Atharvaśīrṣa mantras, Śānti mantras, Maruta mantras, Sāmaveda mantras, if desired, Devavrata mantras, Rathantara mantras with Puṣpa Sūktas, Mṛtyuñjaya[7] mantras and the five-syllabled mantra. The water offerings shall be a thousand times or hundred and eight times. They shall be offered strictly in accordance with Vedic injunctions or by repeating the names of the deity.

66. Sandal paste shall be applied to the deity and flowers placed over the idol. Sweet smelling cloves etc. shall be offered with Praṇava.

67-72. Śivaliṅga shall be worshipped next. The lord as pure as crystal, the unsullied, the undecaying, the cause of all worlds, the supreme lord identifying with the created world, the lord who cannot be seen by Brahmā, Indra, Upendra, Viṣṇu and other deities, the lord who is mentioned in the Vedānta by those who know Vedas as the Incomprehensible, the lord who has no beginning, middle or end, the panacea for all sick patients and who is renowned as Śiva Tattva. The worship of the liṅga shall be performed, by Praṇava mantra alone. Incense, lamps. Naivedyas, good betel leaves, pleasant Nirājana (waving of lights) shall be duly offered. Prayers, obeisance etc. with various mantras shall be performed. Arghya and flower offerings shall be made at the foot. The devotee shall kneel down and devoutly pray to the lord.

73. The devotee shall take some flowers in his hands, stand up with palms joined in reverence and repeating the following mantra shall pray again to Īśāna, Śaṅkara.

74. O Śiva, may this Japa, Pūjā etc. performed by me with or without the requisite knowledge be fruitful, thanks to Thy grace.

75-76. After repeating the above mantra he shall place the flowers joyously over the Śivaliṅga. Then the rites of Svastyayana[8] Āśīrvāda (benediction), Mārjana shall be performed. Then Homage, a prayer for forgiveness and Ācamana shall be performed.

77-78. Repeating the Agha[9] mantras for the expiation of sins namaskāra shall be duly performed. He shall pray with devout feelings. “Devotion to Śiva, devotion to Śiva, devotion to Śiva in every birth. I have no other refuge. You alone are my refuge.”

79. After praying thus to the lord of the Gods, the bestower of all achievements, the devotee shall loudly pray.

80. He shall then perform namaskāra along with the members of his family. He shall feel delighted in all these and thereafter carry on his daily routine according to convenience.

81. He who performs the worship regularly like this with great devotion to Śiva shall achieve success at every step.

82-83. He will become eloquent. He will achieve all he desires. The Supreme lord Śiva will quell all his miseries, ailments, sorrows, heart-burns, crookedness, poisonings and everything distressing quickly.

84. Just as the moon waxes in the bright half, his joy and merits shall increase day by day certainly by the worship of Śiva.

85. O foremost among sages, thus I have told you the mode of worship of Śiva. O Nārada what else do you wish to hear?

Footnotes and references:


It is the period between the fourth and the second ghaṭikas before sunrise. “rātriśca paścime yāme muhūrto brāhmya ucyate”


 Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 29.36.


TA. 10.41.1.


Kāṭhaka-saṃhitā 17.11.


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 16.2.


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 27.35.


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 3.60.


Ibid. 1.86.6.


Ibid. 20.29.

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