The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “directions for the worship 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.

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 14 - Directions for the worship of Śiva

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The sages said:—

1. O disciple of Vyāsa, O fortunate one, please explain to us authoritatively the fruits granted by Śiva for the different worships with different flowers.

Sūta said:—

2-3. O sages, Śaunaka and others, please listen attentively. I shall lovingly explain to you the mode of offering flowers which is the same as Brahmā explained to Nārada at his request.

Brahmā said:—

4. A person desirous of wealth shall worship lord Śiva with lotuses, Bilva leaves, petals of lotuses or with Śaṅkha flowers.

5. O Brahmin, if a devotee worships Śiva with a hundred flowers, his sins shall be wiped off and the devotee shall become rich.

6. Twenty full lotuses constitute one prastha measure. A Thousand Bilva leaves constitute half a Prastha.

7. Petals of lotuses, a thousand in number constitute half a prastha. Ten Ṭaṅka weight constitutes one pala and sixteen palas make one prastha.

8. Flowers for worship shall be weighed in the balance according to this calculation. The worship thus duly performed shall accord all cherished desires. If the devotee worships with no specific desires he will become Śiva himself.

9-14. O lordly sages, a person desirous of obtaining a kingdom shall propitiate Lord Śiva with the worship of a hundred million earthen liṅgas. Lord Śiva confers a kingdom on the devotee certainly. He shall use Śivaliṅga for worship. Flowers shall be used. Unsplit rice grains mixed with sandal paste shall be used. The ceremonial ablution shall be performed. The mantra used shall be pleasing. Bilva leaves are very excellent. Or he can use loose petals or full lotuses or Śaṅkha flowers according to ancient authorities. The worship is divine and accords pleasures and achievement of desires both here and hereafter, He shall not omit other items such as incense, lamps, food-offerings, Arghya, Ārārtika (waving of lights), Pradakṣiṇā, Namaskāra, Kṣamāpana (craving forgiveness and Visarjana) the ritualistic dismissal). At the end he shall feed other devotees.

15. A person who yearns for important positions shall worship half the former number. A person desiring release from prison shall worship a hundred thousand liṅgas of Śiva.

16. A person afflicted by ailments shall worship half that number. A person desiring a daughter shall worship half that number.

17. A person desirous of learning shall worship half that number. A person desirous of eloquence shall worship Śiva with ghee.

18. In order to drive out enemies, the number of worship is the same as before. For exterminating enemies, worship is for a hundred thousand times and for enchantment worship is half that number.

19. For the conquest of vassal kings, worship for ten million times is recommended. For keeping vassal kings under influence the same for ten thousand times is recommended.

20. For achieving glory with plenty of vehicles, worship for a thousand times shall be performed. A person desiring salvation shall worship Śiva five crores of times with deep devotion.

21. A person seeking knowledge shall worship Śiva, the benefactor of the world, ten million times. A person desiring Śiva’s vision shall worship Him five million times.

22. The Mṛtyuñjaya mantra shall be repeated half a million times when Śiva shall be visible to the devotee and fulfil his desires.

23. If a person repeats the mantra a hundred thousand times and begins a second instalment he will be lifted to a higher caste. When he completes the third hundred thousand times all his worldly desires will be fulfilled. In the fourth Lakṣa he will be able to see the lord.

24. When the fifty Lakṣa is completed, the lord will confer on him all benefits. When the same mantra is repeated a million times, the merit is tremendous.

25. A person desirous of liberation shall worship him with Darbhas. O best of sages, the number everywhere is a hundred thousand times.

26. A person desirous of long life shall worship him with Dūrvā grass. A person desirous of sons shall worship him with Dhattūra flowers.

27. A Dhattūra plant with red stem is specially auspicious for worship. A worshipper using Agastya flowers will earn great fame.

28. Worldly pleasures and salvation will be secured by a person who worships with Tulasī. Great valour can be secured by worshipping with Arka or Kubjakalhāra flowers.

29. The worship with Japā flowers (China rose) brings about the death of enemies. Karavīra flowers drive away all ailments.

30. By worshipping with Bandhūka flowers the devotee will get ornaments; with Jātī flowers he will acquire good vehicles; with Atasī flowers he will attain favour of Viṣṇu.

31. With Śamī leaves he will secure salvation. With Mallikā flowers he will secure an auspicious woman.

32. With the splendid Yūthikā flowers he will not be deprived of a house. With Karṇikāra flowers he will secure plenty of garments.

33. With Nirguṇḍi [Nirguṇḍī?] flowers, his mind becomes pure in the world. A hundred thousand Bilva leaves used for worship will secure the fulfilment of all desires.

34. Use of lovely flowers in the form of garlands increases happiness and wealth. Use of seasonal flowers for worship yields liberation. There is no doubt in this.

35. The flowers of Rājikā bring about the death of enemies. A hundred thousand Rājikā flowers shall be used for the worship of Śiva. The benefit accruing will be very great.

36. Excepting the Campaka and the Ketaka there is no flower which does not appeal to Śiva. All other flowers can be used for worshipping Him.

37. Now, O excellent one, listen to the quantity of and the benefit accruing from grains and pulses in their use for worship of Śiva.

38-39. Heaping up rice grains by way of worship causes prosperity. Six and a half prastha, and two palas of rice grains constitute a hundred thousand in number of grains. These shall be used in their unsplit form for the worship of Śiva.

40. Worship of Rudra shall be performed at first and a fine cloth shall be spread over the liṅga. The rice grains shall be put over the cloth at the time of worship.

41. At the end of worship, a coconut fruit shall be placed with scents and flowers etc. and fumigated with incense. The devotee shall attain the benefit of worship.

42. Silver coins and black gram shall be given as fee to the priest as much as for two Prājāpatya ceremonies. If the devotee cannot afford it he shall give according to his capacity.

43. Thereafter twelve brahmins shall be fed. The whole of this then constitutes the Lakṣapūjā complete in its details and with requisite mantras.

44-46. The mantras shall be repeated hundred and eight times. That is the rule. A hundred thousand gingelly seeds used for worship destroy even great sins. Eleven Palas of gingelly seeds constitute a hundred thousand in number. The mode of worship is the same as before. Those who desire beneficent results shall perform the Pūjā. Brahmins shall be fed. Hence, only those who can afford shall perform this. Certainly all miseries due to great sins perish instantaneously.

47-48. Performance of the worship of Śiva with a hundred thousand barley grains is highly efficacious. Eight and a half Prasthas and two Palas of barley grains constitute a hundred thousand in number according to ancient calculation. The worship with barley grains, the sages say, increases heavenly pleasures.

49-50. Brahmins desiring the benefit shall perform the rite of Prājāpatya. The worship of Śiva with wheat grains is highly praiseworthy. If a hundred thousand grains are used for worship, the devotee shall be blessed with a number of children. Half a Droṇa of wheat will constitute a hundred thousand in number of grains. The mode of worship is as before.

51-52. Śiva accords happiness on being worshipped with green grams. Seven Prasthas and two Palas to seven and a half Prasthas of green grams constitute a hundred thousand in number. Eleven brahmins shall be fed.

53-54. If the great Ātman, the presiding deity of Dharma, is worshipped with Priyaṅgu (long pepper corns), the devotee will be blessed with happiness. His virtue, wealth and love will flourish. A Prastha of these corns constitutes a hundred thousand in number according to ancient authorities. Twelve brahmins shall be fed.

55-56. Worship with Rājikā (small mustard) of Śiva shall bring about the death of enemies. Twenty Palas of Sarṣapa (big mustard) constitute a hundred thousand in number. Worshipping with them also brings about the death of enemies. The Śivaliṅga shall be decorated with the leaves of Āḍhakī and then worshipped.

57-58. A cow along with necessary adjuncts shall be given in charity and a bull shall also be given. Worship with pepper is also conducive to the destruction of enemies. The Śivaliṅga shall be decorated with the leaves of Āḍhakī flowers and worshipped. This worship is conducive to different kinds of happiness and benefits.

59. O best among sages, the measurement and number of grains and pulses have been explained to you by me. O lord of sages, now listen to the calculation of a hundred thousand in the case of flowers.

60. A Prastha of Śaṅkha flowers constitutes a hundred thousand, says Vyāsa who shows the exact measurement and calculation.

61. Eleven Prasthas of Jāti and Yūthikā flowers constitute a hundred thousand in number in each. Five and a half Prasthas of Rājikā flowers also constitute so many.

62. Twenty Prasthas of Mallikā flowers constitute a hundred thousand; while so many flowers of gingelly plant measure a little less than a Prastha.

63-64. Karavīra flowers measure three times that. Scholars say that the flowers of Nirguṇḍi too measure likewise. In Karṇikāra and Śirīṣa flowers too, the same mode of calculation holds good. Ten Prasthas of Bandhujīva flowers constitute a hundred thousand.

65. The devotee shall perform the worship of Śiva with different flowers after considering these modes of calculation for the fulfilment of desires if he has any or for the sake of salvation if he has no desire.

66. Now I shall explain the benefit of great potentiality accruing from Dhārāpūjā, a mere listening to which is conducive to great welfare.

67. After performing the regular worship of Śiva, with great devotion in accordance with prescribed rules, the devotees shall pour water in a continuous stream.

68-70. This Dhārā worship is very efficacious in delirium due to fever. At that time Śatarudriya[1] mantra, Rudraikādaśa mantra, Rudrajāpya mantra, Puruṣa Sūkta,[2] Ṣaḍaṅga mantra, Mahāmṛtyuñjaya[3] mantra, Gāyatrī, names ending with Namaḥ and beginning with Praṇava or Āgama mantra shall be repeated.

71. The Dhārā worship is very excellent in regard to flourishing series of pleasures. Different types of auspicious materials of worship shall be added to the water.

72. IfDhārā worship is performed with ghee continuously while a thousand mantras are repeated, the family will undoubtedly flourish.

73. Thus the worship of Śiva shall be performed with the mantras mentioned by me. Sages have held that brahmins shall be fed and Prājāpatya rite shall be performed.

74. Milk without sugar is usually taken for the Dhārā. If the devotee is deficient in intellect and yearns for the same, sugar shall be added to milk for the sake of Dhārā.

75. His intellect will become as keen as that of Bṛhaspati. The Dhārā shall be continued till ten thousand mantras are completely repeated.

76-77. If there is any crack or laceration in the body without an apparent cause, if there is any uncommon increase of love or misery anywhere, or if there be very frequent quarrels in the house, miseries will perish when the Dhārā worship is performed.

78. Oil-Dhārā shall be performed on Śivaliṅga for harassing enemies. Success in the enterprise is certain.

79. If scented oil is used, worldly pleasures will be increased. If mustard oil is used, enemies will be exterminated undoubtedly.

80. If honey is used, the devotee will become Kubera (God of wealth). The Dhārā of sugarcane juice is conducive to all pleasures.

81-82. The Dhārā of Gaṅgā water yields worldly pleasures and salvation. In all these Dhārās Mṛtyuñjaya mantra shall be muttered ten thousand times. Eleven brahmins shall be fed.

83. O lordly saint, what I have been asked I have now explained to you completely. This will be fruitful in the world and will contribute to the achievement of all desires.

84. I shall now tell you, as I have heard, the benefit accruing from the due worship of Śiva in the company of Skanda and Umā.

85-87. He will enjoy in this world all kinds of auspicious pleasures with sons and grandsons. Then he will go to the region of Śiva that is conducive to all happiness. He will enjoy happy sports with Śiva’s attendants, move about in aerial chariots that can go anywhere they pleased and that shine like ten million suns and will be served by Rudra’s maidens with songs and instrumental music, till the time of Dissolution. Then he will attain perfect knowledge and ultimately salvation.

Footnotes and references:


On the Śatarudriya concept of Śiva, see Matsya-purāṇa (‘A Study’ by V. S. Agrawal) A Study PP. 64-65.


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 31.1.


This mantra is often used for warding off diseases and prolonging life.

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