The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “hymn to durga; brahma granted a boon” 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 11 - Hymn to Durgā; Brahmā granted a boon

Nārada said:—

1. O Brahmā, dear, of great intellect, please tell me, O most eloquent one. When Viṣṇu went away what happened? O what did you do?

Brahmā said:—

2. O Brahmin, best of my sons, listen attentively to what I did when the lord Viṣṇu went away.

3. I began a continuous laudatory prayer of the Goddess Durgā, the beloved of Śiva, the creator of the universe, of the nature of Vidyā and Avidyā[1] and identical with the pure supreme Brahman.

4. I salute the Goddess who is omnipresent, eternal, for whom there is no support, who is never distressed, who is the mother of the three deities, who is the grossest of the gross and yet has no form.

5. O Goddess of the devas, you are Perfect knowledge, Supreme Bliss, identical with the supreme Soul. Be pleased. Grant me the fulfilment of my task. Obeisance to you.

6. O celestial sage, on being thus lauded Caṇḍikā, the mystic slumber, appeared before me.

7. Her complexion had the glossy hue of collyrium. She had comely features. She had four divine arms. She was seated on a lion. She showed the mystic gesture of granting boons by one of her hands, and pearls adorned her dishevelled hair.

8. Her face shone like the autumnal moon, the crescent moon bedecked her forehead. She had three eyes, looked beautiful and the nails of her lotus-like feet glistened.

9. O sage, seeing her who was Śiva’s Energy herself, directly in front of me, my lofty shoulders bent down with devotion and I eulogised her after due obeisance.

10. Obeisance, obeisence, to Thee, who art in the form of Pravṛtti (Action) and Nivṛtti (Abstinence); who art in the form of creation and sustenance of the universe. Thou art the eternal Energy of the movable and the immovable beings capable of enchanting everyone.

11. Thou hast manifested thyself as Śrī, a garland round Keśava’s form, who in the form of Earth holdest everything within, who art of yore the great Goddess causing creation and the destruction of the three worlds and art beyond the three Guṇas.

12. Thou art present in everything even in the essential atom and who art charmingly honoured by Yogins; who art perceivable in the hearts of the Yogins purified by restraints, as well as in the path of their meditation.

13. Thou art the Vidyā of diverse sorts. Thou art endowed with illumination, purity and detachment. Thou assumest Kūṭastha (perpetually immovable), Avyakta (unmanifest) and Ananta (infinite) form and Thou art the eternal time holding all the worlds.

14. O Śivā, Thou art the prime cause of the three Guṇas and art still beyond them. But in conjunction with the Guṇas, Thou certainly infusest the seed of change in every matter.

15. Thou art the fourth to the three Guṇas viz. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas; but devoid of their depravity though these originate from Thee; Thou createst, protectest and devourest the whole universe within and without having three Guṇas as its only cause.

16. I pay my homage to Thee, O Śiva’s consort, for the eternal welfare of the universe. O seed of all the worlds, Thou art knowable as well as knowledge Thyself.

17. On hearing these words of mine uttered like the words of ordinary people, Kālī, the conceiver of the worlds, told me, the creator of the worlds, in words full of love.

The Goddess said:—

18. O Brahman, why was I lauded by you? If you have been slighted by any one, please mention it quickly to me.

19. When I have personally appeared, the realisation of your desires is certain. Hence let me know your desires. I shall certainly fulfil them.

Brahmā said:—

20. O Goddess, be pleased with me and listen. O omniscient Goddess, I speak out my mind only since you have commanded me thus.

21. O Goddess of devas, Śiva the Yogin, who is your husband and who as Rudra manifested Himself formerly through my forehead has now occupied Kailāsa.

22. The lord of Goblins is performing penance all alone. Since He does not desire a wife He is without a wife. He is free from mental aberrations.

23. O Satī, fascinate Him lest He should cast His glance on another lady. Excepting you none will be able to capture His mind.

24. Hence, you alone should fascinate Śiva through your beauty. O Śivā, being born as Dakṣa’s daughter you should become Rudra’s wife.

25. Just as assuming the physical form of Lakṣmī you delight Viṣṇu, so act similarly to Rudra for the benefit of the universe.

26. The bull-emblemed deity rebuked me merely for my feelings of love for a woman. How can He take a wife unto Himself, O Goddess, on His own accord?

27. Śiva is the cause of this universe in the beginning, middle and end. If He remains detached and refuses to take a wife, how can auspicious creation come into being?

28. This thought has tormented me. It was not conducive to any benefit to seek another shelter. So I request you for the benefit of the universe to accomplish the undertaking.

29. O mother of the universe, Viṣṇu is not competent to enthral Him, nor Lakṣmī, nor Kāma, nor I; in fact no one other than you.

30. Hence be born as Dakṣa’s daughter, the great Goddess of celestial beauty. Inspired by my devotion, be pleased to become His wife and fascinate the lord who at present is detached from the world.

31. O Goddess of devas, Dakṣa is performing a penance on the north of the milky ocean* with his mind controlled and directed towards you. He is steady in performing the rite.

32. On hearing my words Śivā began to reflect then. The mother of the universe, surprised in her mind, spoke these words.

The Goddess said:—

33. O this is an extremely wonderful thing. He is the reciter of the Vedas and the creator of the universe. He is endowed with great knowledge. Yet what is this that He says?

34. A great delusion has beset His mind that makes him unhappy. That is why he desires to cause the fascination of Śiva who is free from mental aberration.

35. This Brahmā desires the favour of power from me to enchant Śiva. What does he gain thereby? The great lord is free from delusion and mental aberrations.

36. Always subservient to his bidding, I am a mere slave of Śiva, the supreme Brahman, the attributeless God who is free from depravity.

37. Śiva who is Parabrahman has become Rudra in a perfect and full-fledged incarnation and manifestation. It is to lift up His devotees that the independant lord has manifested like this.

38. Since He is the lord Viṣṇu and Brahmā, He can never be inferior to Śiva. He is respectfully adhering to Yoga practice. He is the lord of illusion but is not absorbed in it. He is the greatest of the great.

39. This Brahmā considers Him his son and on a par with ordinary devas. Hence, deluded by ignorance, he desires to delude Him.

40. If I do not grant him the boon, the convention established in the Vedas would be violated. Then what shall I do to prevent the great lord being angry with me.

Brahmā said:—

41. After pondering thus Śivā thought of Śiva. After getting the permission of Śiva, she said to me:—

Durgā said:—

42. O Brahmā, what you said is entirely true. There is no other lady to fascinate Śiva.

43. A great truth has been pointed out by you that if Śiva does not take a wife unto Himself, the creation cannot continue long.

44. I too had been endeavouring to enchant this great lord. After your request my efforts shall be redoubled.

45. I shall so endeavour that Śiva should take a wife unto Himself, being thus deluded Himself, O Brahmā.

46. I shall take up the body of Satī and be subservient to Him even as Lakṣmī the Goddess of Fortune is the beloved of Viṣṇu.

47. O Brahmā thanks to His own favour I shall so endeavour as to make Him subservient to me always.

48. O Brahmā, being born of Dakṣa’s wife in the from of Satī, I shall duly honour Śiva with my sports.

49. Just as ordinary mortals on the earth are subservient to their women-folk so also Śiva shall be subservient to a woman due to my ardent devotion.

Brahmā said:—

50. After addressing me thus, Śiva, the mother of the universe, vanished from the scene even as I was watching her.

51. When she had vanished, I, the grandfather of the worlds, went to my sons and narrated to them everything.

Footnotes and references:


The Goddess Durgā is personified as knowledge true as well as false. True knowledge leads to realization of Sadāśiva, the supreme lord, whereas false knowledge is an illusion where by the non-existent (asat) appears to be existent (sat) and vice versa.


See note 200 P. 224