The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “appearance of cupid (kama)” 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 2 - The appearance of Cupid (Kāma)

Sūta said:—

1. O residents of Naimiṣa[1] forest, after hearing his words, the excellent sage further requested him for more such stories that quell sins.

Nārada said:—

2. O Brahmā, O great lord, though continuously hearing the auspicious story of Śiva from your lotus-face I am never satiated.

3. Please further narrate the auspicious story of Śiva entirely. I wish to hear that story in which Satī is glorified, O Brahman.

4. How was the auspicious Satī born of Dakṣa’s wife? How did Śiva become inclined to marry her?

5. How did she cast off her body formerly, due to her rage with Dakṣa? How was she born as the daughter of Himālaya and how did she reach heaven again?

6. How was her rigorous penance performed? How was her marriage celebrated? How did she happen to share half the body of Siva.

7. Please explain all these points in detail, O intelligent one. There is none else to remove my doubts and none shall ever be like you.

Brahmā said:—

8. O sage, listen to the auspicious glory of Satī and Śiva entirely. It is extremely sanctifying, divine and the greatest secret of all secrets.

9. O sage, Śiva himself narrated this formerly to Viṣṇu, the greatest of devotees for helping others, when requested by him.

10. Viṣṇu, the intelligent and the greatest of Śiva’s devotees was asked by me and O great sage, he told me everything lovingly.

11. Therefore I shall narrate this ancient story that confers the fulfilment of all desires since it glorifies Satī and Śiva.

12. Originally when Śiva was separated from Śakti and was pure consciousness alone, He was attributeless, free from alternatives, devoid of forms and beyond the existent and non-existent.

13. He, the greatest of the great and of changeless form when united with Śakti, was filled with attributes and had specific forms and divine features. O brahmin, He was accompanied by Umā.

14. Viṣṇu was born of His left and I, Brahmā, of his right side, O great sage, Rudra was born of his heart.

15. I became the creator (Brahmā); Viṣṇu the cause of sustenance; Rudra the author of dissolution. Thus Sadāśiva, manifested himself in three forms.

16. It was after worshipping Him that I, Brahmā, the grand-father of all the worlds, began the creation of all subjects including Devas, Asuras, human beings etc.

17. After creating the guardians of the subjects, Prajāpatis, Dakṣa and other Devas, I considered myself loftier than others and was delighted.

18-19. O sage, when I created Marīci, Atri, Pulaha, Pulastya, Aṅgiras, Kratu, Vasiṣṭha, Nārada, Dakṣa and Bhṛgu, my mental sons of lordly stature, a beautiful woman of handsome features was born of my mind.

20. She was variously called Sandhyā, Divakṣāntā, Sāyaṃ Sandhyā and Jayantikā, She was very beautiful with finely-shaped eyebrows capable of captivating the minds of even sages.

21. Neither in human world nor in that of the Devas was there such a woman of complete perfection in all qualities. Nor was there such a woman in nether worlds in all the three times (past, present and future).

22. On seeing her I involuntarily got up. Various thoughts rose. up in my heart. Dakṣa and others—the Prajāpatis, Marīci and others—all my sons, felt similarly.

23. O best of sages, when I Brahmā, thought like this, a wonderfully Beautiful Being appeared as my mental creation.

24-29. He had a golden complexion. His chest was stout and firm. His nose was fine. His thigh, hips and calves were round and plump. He had blue wavelets of hair. His eyebrows were thickset and tremulous. His face shone like the full moon. His hairy chest was broad like a door. He was as huge as the celestial elephant Airāvata. He was wearing a blue cloth. His hands, eyes, face, legs and fingers were red in colour. He had a slender waist. His teeth were fine. He smelt like an elephant in its rut. His eyes were like the petals of a full-bown lotus. He was fragrant like the filaments. His neck was like the conch. He had the emblem of a fish. He was tall. He had the Makara fish for his vehicle. He was armed with a bow and five flowers for his arrows. His loving glance was very attractive as he rolled his eyes here and there. O dear one, his very breath was a fragrant wind. He was accompanied by the sentiment of love.

30. On seeing that Being, my sons, Dakṣa and others, were struck with wonder and became eager and inquisitive.

31. Their mind became deformed and confused immediately. Smitten with love they lost their mental courage.

32. On seeing me the creator and the lord of the worlds, the person bowed down with his shoulders stooping by humility and said.

The person said:—

33-34. “O Brahmā, what is the work I am to do? Please assign me an honourable task, O Brahmā, suitable to and becoming me, O lord of the three worlds, you are - the creator and hence the lord of all the worlds. Please tell me. What is my honourable and suitable place? Who is going to be my wife?”

Sūta said:—

35-36. On hearing the words of the noble-souled person Kāma, the creator did not say anything for a short while in his surprised predicament. Then steadying his mind and abandoning his surprised look, Brahmā, already a victim of Kāma, spoke to the person thus:—

Brahmā said:—

37. In this form and with your five flower-arrows[2] you can enamour and captivate men and women and carry on the eternal task of creation.

38. In this universe consisting of three worlds, mobile and immobile beings, none of the living beings including the Devas will be competent to defy you.

39. O best of beings, not to speak of ordinary living beings even I Brahmā, Vāsudeva and Śiva will be in your control.

40. Invisibly you enter the hearts of living beings, excite thrilling feelings of pleasure and carry on the activities of creation that is to last for ever.

41. The minds of all living beings will become an easy target of your five-flower arrows. You will be the cause of their elation.

42. Thus I have assigned you the task of facilitating creation. These sons of mine will confer names and titles on you.

Brahmā said

43. O best of the celestials, after saying this and casting a meaningful glance at my sons I resumed my lotus-seat immediately.

Footnotes and references:


See Note on P. 76.


Five flowers that are the missiles of love-God Kāma are stated to be arabinda (a white lotus), aśoka (Jonesia Aśoka), āmra (mango-oot (?)), navamallikā (Jasmine) and nīlotpala (a blue lotus).

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