The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “description of the creation” 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 16 - Description of the Creation

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Brahmā said:

1-2. O Nārada, after performing the Pentuplication of the Bhūtas, elements and their attributes sound etc., I evolved the gross Ether, wind, fire, water and the Earth out of them and created mountains, seas, trees etc. and the periods of time ending with Kali and other ages.

3. I created many other things as well, but O sage, I was not satisfied. Then O sage, I meditated on Śiva and his consort Ambā and created aspirants.

4-7. I created Marīci from my eyes, Bhṛgu from my heart; Aṅgiras from the head and the great sage Pulaha from the vital breath Vyāna. I created Pulastya from Udāna; Vasiṣṭha from Samāna; Kratu from Apāna; Atri from the ears and Dakṣa from the Prāṇa. I then created you from my lap and the sage Kardama from my shadow. Finally, I created, out of my conception, Dharma which is the means for the achievement of everything. O foremost among sages, creating thus, thanks to the favour of Mahādeva, these excellent Sādhakas I became contented.

8. Then, O dear one, Dharma, born out of my conception assumed the form of Manu at my bidding and was engaged in activity by the aspirants.

9. Then I created from the different parts of my body innumerable sons, Suras (devas) and Asuras (demons) and many others after assigning them different bodies, O sage.

10. I was then prompted by Śiva present within me and hence, O sage, I split myself into two having assumed two forms.

11. One half had the form of a woman and the other half that of a man[1]. He then created in her a couple, the means of excellent nature.

12. The man was Svāyambhuva Manu, the greatest of the means (of creation). The woman was Śatarūpā, a yoginī, an ascetic woman.

13. The auspicious lady was accepted by Manu with due matrimonial rites, O dear one, he created beings through her by the process of sexual intercourse.

14-16. He begot of her two sons Priyavrata and Uttānapāda and three daughters Ākūti, Devahūti and Prasūti, all of them very famous. He gave Ākūti in marriage to Ruci and the middle one to Kardama. He gave Prasūti the younger sister of Uttānapāda in marriage to Dakṣa. Their sons and progeny are spread over the world both mobile and immobile.

17. Ruci begot of Ākūti the couple Yajña and Dakṣiṇā. Twelve sons were born of Yajña and Dakṣiṇā.

18. O sage, Kardama begot of Devahūti many daughters. Dakṣa begot twenty-four daughters.

19. Thirteen daughters Śraddhā etc. were given to Dharma in marriage by Dakṣa. O lordly sage, listen to the names of Dharma’s wives.

20. Their names are Śraddhā (faith), Lakṣmī (fortune), Dhṛti (fortitude), Tuṣṭi (satiety), Puṣṭi (nourishment), Medhā (intelligence), Kriyā (rite, activity), Buddhi (intellect, wisdom), Lajjā (Bashfulness), Vasu (wealth), Śānti (peace, calmness), Siddhi (achievement, accomplishment) and the thirteenth is Kīrti (fame).

21-23. The eleven younger daughters were Khyāti, Satī, Sambhūti, Smṛti, Prīti, Kṣamā, Sannati, Anurūpā, Ūrjā, Svāhā and Svadhā who were respectively married by Bhṛgu, Bhava (Śiva), Marīci, the sage Aṅgiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, the excellent sage Kratu, Atri, Vasiṣṭha, the fire-god and the Pitṛs (manes).

24. The great aspirants Bhṛgu and others took the hands of these famous daughters. Thereupon the entire universe consisting of three worlds, mobile and immobile was filled (with progeny).

25. Thus according to their own actions and at the bidding of Śiva innumerable famous brahmins were born out of the various living beings.

26-28. In another Kalpa, Dakṣa had sixty daughters. Of them ten were given to Dharma, twenty-seven to the Moon, thirteen to Kaśyapa. O Nārada, he gave four to Garuḍa of excellent form. Two to each of these—Bhṛgu, Aṅgiras and Kṛśāśva. Born of them are many children in the world of mobile and immobile.

29-30. O foremost among the sages, the children of the thirteen daughters given to the noble-souled Kaśyapa by Dakṣa spread over the three worlds. Mobile or immobile nothing was void.

31-32. Devas, sages, demons, trees, birds and mountain-creepers born of the daughters of Dakṣa filled the entire space between Pātāla and Satyaloka.[2]

33. The whole cosmic egg was filled. Never was it a void. Thus, at the bidding of Śiva, the creation was perfectly accomplished by Brahmā.

34-35. Dakṣa’s daughter Satī was perfectly guarded by Rudra at the tip of His Trident, for the sake of penance. Śiva had created her himself and later for the activities of the world she was born of Dakṣa. In order to uplift the devotees, the lord indulged himself in many divine sports.

36. Śiva manifested himself in three ways in the form of Vaikuṇṭha (Viṣṇu) born of the left limb, in my form (of Brahmā) born of the right limb and in the form of Rudra born of the heart.

37. Viṣṇu, Rudra and I represent the three Guṇas. Śiva is free from Guṇas. He is the supreme Brahman, the undecaying.

38. Viṣṇu is of Sattva attribute, I (Brahmā) am of Rajas attribute and Rudra is of Tamas attribute. This is only in view of the activities in the world. But in fact and in name it is otherwise.

39. Viṣṇu is of Tāmasika nature within but externally Sāttvika; Rudra is of Sāttvika nature within but of Tāmasic nature outside, I am of Rājasic nature throughout.

40. The goddess of speech is of Rājasic nature; Satī is of the Sāttvika nature and Lakṣmī is of Tamasic nature; the great goddess Śivā is of the three natures.

41. Śivā became Satī and Śiva married her. At the sacrifice of her father she cast off her body which she did not take again and went back to her own region.

42. Śivā incarnated as Pārvatī at the request of the devas. It was after performing a severe penance that she could attain Śiva again.

43-45. O lordly sage, she came to be called by various names such as Kālī, Caṇḍikā, Cāmuṇḍā, Vijayā, Jayā, Jayantī, Bhadrakālī, Durgā, Bhagavatī, Kāmākhyā, Kāmadā, Ambā, Mṛḍānī and Sarvamaṅgalā. These various names confer worldly pleasures and salvation according to qualities and action. The name Pārvatī is very common.

46. The goddesses of various attributes and the three deities of various attributes performed the diverse excellent activities of creation in mutual collaboration.

47. O excellent among sages, I have thus explained the mode of creation to you. The entire cosmic egg was created by me at the bidding of Śiva.

48. Śiva is the Supreme Brahman. The three deities, Viṣṇu, I and Rudra are His manifestations according to the difference in the attributes.[3]

49. The independent Supreme Ātman, who is both Nirguṇa and Saguṇa sports with Śivā in the beautiful Śivaloka.

50. His perfect and complete incarnation is Rudra. He is Śiva himself. The five-faced lord has made His beautiful mansion in Kailāsa. Even if the whole Brahmāṇḍa were destroyed, it knows no destruction.

Footnotes and references:


Śiva-purāṇa speaks of Brahmā splitting his body into two parts, the male and female, identified as Manu and Śatarūpā. Cp. Matsya-purāṇa (‘A Study’ by V. S. Agrawal) 3.31.


The fourteen worlds from Pātāla to Satyaloka constitute the entire cosmos. Cf. Nirukta 210, 212 P. 247.


From the Cosmic Egg agitated by the three Guṇas—Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, the three deities came into existence. The Purāṇas call them Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva and assign the functions of creation, existence and dissolution to each respectively. Cp. Devi Bhāgavata-purāṇa 1.8.2-4.

brahmā viṣṇuśca rudraśca trayo devāḥ sanātanāḥ |
nātaḥ parataraṃ kiñcid brahmāṇḍe'sminmahāmate ||
brahmā sṛjati lokānvai viṣṇuḥ pātyakhilaṃ jagat |
rudraḥ saṃharate kāletraya pate'tra kāraṇam ||

The statement about the three qualities “sattva, rajas” and “tamas” manifested as the three devas is the concensus of the entire Pauranic lore. Cp. Liṅga Purāṇa.

maheśvarāt trayo devā jajñire jagadīśvarāḥ |
śāśvatā paramā guhyāḥ sarvātmānaḥ śarīriṇaḥ ||
eta eva trayo devā eta eva trayo guṇāḥ |
eta eva trayo lokā eta eva trayo'gnayaḥ ||

The Vedas trace the origin of the Trinity to the Brahman, the Śaivas to Maheśvara and the Bhāgavatas to Mahāviṣṇu.

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