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 13 - The mode of worshipping Śiva

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Brahmā said:—

1. O sages, O devas, listen. Now I shall explain a mode of worship than which there is no better one and which is conducive to the achievement of all happiness and cherished desires.

2. Getting up in the Brāhma Muhūrta within an hour before dawn one shall remember Śiva accompanied by his consort. With palms joined in great devotion and head bent down he shall offer prayers.

3. O lord of devas, get up, get up. O lord stationed in the heart, get up. O lord of Umā, get up. Confer your auspicious blessings on the entire universe.

4. I know what is virtuous, but I am not inclined to work it up. I know what is unrighteous but I am unable to desist from it. O Mahādeva, I do everything as prompted by you, stationed in my heart.

5. After repeating these words of prayer and remembering the sandals of the preceptor he shall go out to the southern direction for answering the calls of nature.

6. Cleaning the body thereafter with earth and water and washing his hands and feet he shall clean the teeth.

7. Cleaning of the teeth shall be completed before sunrise. He shall gargle sixteen times with so many mouthfuls of water.

8. O celestial sages, the Tithis of Ṣaṣṭhī, navamī as well as new moon days and sundays are forbidden for cleaning the teeth with tooth brush twigs.

9. Bath shall be taken at a convenient time in rivers or in the house itself. No man shall take bath against the conventions of locality or the convenience of the season.

10-11. Hot water bath shall be avoided on sundays, Śrāddha days, Saṅkrānti days, at the times of eclipse, on days of Great Charity and fast, in holy centres and during the days of impurity due to death or birth in the family. In the holy ponds and rivers one shall take bath facing the east with great devotion.

12. Oil bath shall be taken on particular days of the week according to convention in the society. If one is accustomed to take oil bath everyday or if one is using scented oil breaking the convention, it is not faulty.

13. Otherwise one should avoid Śrāddha days, days of eclipse, fast days and the first day of the lunar fortnight for oil baths. Except on the days of eclipse mustard oil can be used on other days.

14. Bath shall be taken after due consideration of the place and season duly. He shall face either the north or the east when taking bath.

15. He shall never take bath wearing another man's clothes. He shall take bath in pure clothes and shall think on his favourite deities.

16. If he wears during the night another man’s clothes, the same are not impure, hence there is no harm in taking bath with those clothes on but after taking bath they must be washed and returned.

17. After bath he shall perform water libation propitiating gods, sages and the manes. Thereafter washed and dried clothes shall be worn and Ācamana performed again.

18. In a clean place washed and smeared with cow-dung, the devotee shall take his seat, O Brahmins.

19. The seat shall be made of wood or a cloth-cover. A seat of diverse colours is conducive to the achievement of all desires.

20. Or he can have the hide of a deer for a seat. He shall sit on it and apply Tripuṇḍra with the ashes.

21. Prayers, penance and charity shall be performed with due markings of Tripuṇḍra on the forehead for sure results. If ashes are not available marking may be done with holy water.

22. After marking Tripuṇḍra, on the forehead, the devotee shall wear Rudrākṣas. After daily rites are over, he shall begin the worship of Śiva.

23. Then he shall perform Ācamana, the sipping of water thrice with the requisite mantras or once, saying that it is a drop of Gaṅgā water.

24-25. Rice cooked with water shall be brought for the worship of Śiva. Whatever other things he can bring shall also be brought and kept near. A vessel for Arghya with water and scented raw rice grains shall also be brought.

26-27. To complete the formalities of worship, the vessel shall be placed on the right shoulder. He shall think upon the preceptor and ritualistically take his permission for the worship. He shall perform the rite of Saṃkalpa (including the requisite mantras and statements about the pūjā, the day, month, year etc. and the purpose of the Pūjā) and aver his desire. He shall perform the worship of Śiva with His attendants devoutly.

28-29. Showing the mystic mudrā and using saffron and other materials he shall bow to and worship Gaṇeśa who confers benefits a hundred thousand times and is accompanied by his consorts Siddhi and Buddhi[1]. He shall repeat his names ending in the dative case appended with Namaḥ and prefixed with Praṇava.

30. After craving for forgiveness of the deity, he shall be worshipped again in the company of his brother Kārtikeya with great devotion and shall be bowed to again and again.

31. The big-bellied Gaṇeśa, the gate-keeper of the lord, shall be worshipped. Goddess Satī, Girijā shall be worshipped then.

32-35. After worshipping Śiva with sandal paste, saffron, incense, various lamps, and food-offerings of different sorts he shall bow down again. In the house the liṅga shall be made of clay, silver or any other metal or mercury. It shall be bowed to with devotion. If that is worshipped, all deities are worshipped. If the liṅga is made of clay it shall be installed duly.202

36. The householders shall perform every rite according to prescribed rules. After performing the purificatory rite of the Bhūtas, the installation of the idol shall be performed.

37-38. If the worship is performed in the temple of Śiva, the guardians of the quarters shall be installed and worshipped. In the house, Śiva shall be worshipped by the root mantra. It is not obligatory that the gatekeeper shall be worshipped. The liṅga that is worshipped by me can be worshipped in the house. Everything is installed in the same.

39. At the time of worship, the lord shall be invoked along with his attendants and paraphernalia. But there is no hard and fast rule governing this aspect.

40. He shall provide his own seat in the vicinity of Śiva. He shall face the north and perform the rite of Ācamana (sipping water).

41. The devotee shall wash his hands and feet and perform Prāṇāyāma ten times with Mūlamantra.

42. Five mystic Mudrās shall be shown with the hand before the worship. Only after showing the Mudrās shall the worship be performed.

43-45. The lamp shall be shown then. Homage shall be paid to the preceptor. He shall then seat himself in the yogic poses of Padma, Bhadra, Uttāna or Paryaṅka whichever is convenient and perform the rites once again. After the worship he shall float it along with the cake. If the worship is performed in the house these rules are not binding.

46. Afterwards the excellent liṅga shall be washed with the water from the vessel of Arghya itself after keeping all the material with the concentrated mind.

47-53. The lord shall be invoked then with the following mantra. “I am invoking Śiva, the blissful and favourably disposed to the devotees, Śiva seated on the summit of Kailāsa, the excellent lord of Pārvatī, Śambhu of the form as mentioned before, both with or without qualities possessed of five faces, ten hands, three eyes and the bull for banner, as white as camphor, of divine limbs, having crescent moon on the head, wearing matted hair, clad in the hide of an elephant and with the hide of the tiger as upper garment, with Vāsuki and other serpents turned round his body, holding Pināka and other weapons, having the eight Siddhis[2] (accomplishments) dancing constantly in front of Him, served by crowds of devotees crying loudly “Be victorious. Be victorious.” of unbearable sight due to excessive splendour, served by all devas, the sole refuge for all living beings, of beaming face shining like lotus and always eulogised by Viṣṇu and Brahmā as extolled by the Vedas and sacred text.” After the meditation of Śiva along with his consort, the seat shall be arranged for.

54. Worship shall be performed with the names ending in dative case. Pādya and Arghya shall be offered to Śiva.

55. After offering Ācamana, the supreme Ātman Śiva shall be bathed with five materials (milk, curds, honey, etc.)

56. Then the offerings shall be made with great devotion reciting the requisite Vedic mantras or the names ending in the dative case.

57. Similarly any desirable and desired material shall be offered to Śiva. Thereafter the Vāruṇa Snāna rite (ceremonial ablution) shall be performed to Śiva.

58. Sweet-smelling sandal paste and other unguents shall then be applied. The water poured over the deity in a continuous current shall be rendered fragrant.

59. The water ablutions shall be made reciting Vedic mantras or six-syllabled mantra eleven times, if so much time can be spared, then the deity shall be wiped with a cloth.

60-61. Then the Ācamana shall be offered and cloth dedicated. Gingelly seeds, barley grains, wheat, green gram or black gram shall then be offered to Śiva with various mantras. Then flowers shall be offered to the five-faced noble soul.

62-64. Lotuses, rose, Śaṅkha, and Kuśa flowers, Dhattūras, Mandāras grown in a wooden vessel, holy basil leaves or Bilva leaves shall be offered to each of the faces in accordance with the previous meditation or according to one’s wish. By all means Śiva favourably disposed to His devotees shall be worshipped with great devotion. If other flowers are not available, Bilva leaves shall be used exclusively in the worship of Śiva.

65-66. With the offering of Bilva leaves alone, the worship shall be performed. Then scented powders, sweetsmelling oil etc. of various sorts shall be offered to Śiva with great joy. Then incense, Guggulu (the fragrant gum resin) and Aguru (the fragrant Aloe wood) shall be offered.

67-69. Thereafter a lamp lighted with ghee shall be offered to Śiva. With great devotion the rite of wiping of the face shall be performed with a cloth. With the following mantra, Arghya shall be offered with great devotion. “O Śiva, give us good features, good fame, and good enjoyment of pleasures. Taking this Arghya give us the pleasures of the world and salvation. Obeisance be to Thee”. Then various kinds of food-offerings shall be made to Śiva.

70-72. Then Ācamana shall be performed immediately. Then the offering of betel leaves with all necessary adjuncts shall be made to Śiva, Ārārtika (the rite of waving lights) shall be performed with a lamp with five wicks. Light shall be waved four times at the feet; twice in the umbilical region, once near the face and seven times over the whole body. Then the devotee shall perform meditation as stated before and repeat the mantras.

73-74. The mantras shall be repeated in accordance with the knowledge, as many times as are necessary in the manner instructed by the preceptor.

75. The deity Śiva shall be eulogised lovingly with various hymns. Then the devotee shall circumambulate around Śiva by and by.

76. Then he shall perform prostration with the eight limbs touching the ground many times. He shall then offer handfuls of flowers with great devotion repeating the following mantra.

77-83. O Śiva, whatever I have done by way of worship etc. with or without sufficient knowledge for Śiva the great lord, in order to secure His satisfaction shall be fruitful by your grace. O Mṛḍa, I belong to you. My vital airs are fixed in you. My mind is always concentrated in you. O Gaurīśa, O lord of goblins, be pleased with me. Those who stagger and falter on the ground are supported by the ground alone. O lord, those who have offended you shall find in you alone as their refuge. After entreaties like these the devotee shall make a handful of flower-offering. Then he shall bow down many times and take the ritualistic farewell—“O lord be pleased to return to your abode along with your attendants. Please come again when I perform worship”. After requesting thus many times, Śiva who is favourably disposed to His devotees shall be bidden farewell to abide in the heart. The holy water shall then be applied over the head.

O sages, thus I have entirely explained the mode of worshipping Śiva that confers worldly pleasures and salvation. What else do you wish to hear?

Footnotes and references:


Siddhi and Buddhi are personified as the wives of Gaṇeśa, the son of Śiva and Pārvatī.


The eight Siddhis are: “aṇimā, laghimā, prāptī, prākāmya mahimā, īśitva, vaśitva and kāmāvasāyitā |” The last one is sometimes substituted by “sarvajñatva”. Some other Siddhis such as “dūraśravaṇa, agnistambha” etc. are also added to these.

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