The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “prayer to shiva offered by brahma and vishnu” 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 16 - Prayer to Śiva offered by Brahmā and Viṣṇu

Brahmā said:—

1. On hearing the song of praise offered by Viṣṇu and others, Śiva, the cause of protection and enjoyment became delighted and smiled broadly.

2. On seeing Brahmā and Viṣṇu in the company of their consorts, Śiva addressed them suitably and asked them the purpose of their visit.

Śiva said:—

3. O Viṣṇu, O Brahmā, O devas and sages please tell me precisely and without fear the purpose of your visit.

4. I am delighted at the hymn sung by you all. I wish to hear why you have all come here and what is the work to be done here.

Brahmā said:—

5. O sage, when we were asked by Śiva thus, I, the grandfather of the worlds, spoke to Lord Śiva on being prompted by Viṣṇu.

6. O great lord, lord of Devas, O lord, the ocean of mercy, please listen why we both have come here in the company of devas and sages.

7. O bull-emblemed deity, we have come here particularly for your sake, along with these suppliants. Otherwise the universe would not be in a proper state always.

8. O great lord, some demons are to be killed by me, some by Viṣṇu and some by you.

9. O great lord, some of them would be killed by your son and some will be killed by me.

10. The devas attain happiness only by your favour. The universe can attain peace and fearlessness only after destroying the demons.

11. Or they cannot be killed by you in as much as you are always merciful, free from love and hate and engaged in Yoga.

12. O lord, Vṛṣadhvaja,[1] how can the activities of creation, sustenance and dissolution be carried on properly for ever, if they are not killed?

13. The activities of creation, sustenance and dissolution are to be persued by us now and then. The difference in our bodies is perceptible only through illusion.

14. Though our real form is one, we are different in as much as our activities are different. If there is no functional difference, the difference in forms is meaningless.

15. The same supreme Ātman, lord Śiva manifests in three different ways due to Māyā. The lord is independent in his divine sports.

16. Viṣṇu is born of his left limb. I am born of the right limb. You are born of the heart of Śiva and are his full-fledged incarnation.

17. Thus, O lord, we have become three, with different forms. We are the sons of Śivā and Śiva which, O eternal one, you must note.

18. Viṣṇu and I have become united with our wives for the performance of our function. O lord, with great pleasure we carry on our activities in the world at your bidding.

19. Hence, for the benefit of the universe, for the happiness of the devas, you must accept an auspicious lady as your wife.

20. O great lord, please listen to another incident of bygone days, just recollected by me. You yourself as Śiva mentioned this to us formerly.

21. “O Brahmā, this my great form, exactly as this, will be manifested through your limb. He will be known as Rudra in the world.

22. Brahmā is the cause of creation, Viṣṇu is sustainer.

I shall be the cause of dissolution in the form of Rudra, a Saguṇa form.

23. I shall marry a woman and perform the excellent function.” These are your words. Remembering these words please fulfil your promise.

24. O lord, this is your own directive that I be the creator and Viṣṇu the protector. Śiva Himself has manifested in your form as the cause of dissolution.

25. We two are unable to perform our duties without you. Hence take up a beloved consort who too will be engaged in the activities of creation.

26. O Śiva, accept a beloved wife as a life companion in the same manner as Viṣṇu has taken the Goddess of the lotus (Lakṣmī) and I have taken the goddess of speech.

27. On hearing these words of mine—of Brahmā—in the presence of Viṣṇu, Śiva, the lord of worlds spoke to me with his face beaming with a smile.

Śiva said:—

28. O Brahmā, O Viṣṇu, both of you are always dear to me. On seeing you both, my delight is enhanced indeed.

29. You two are the best among the devas. You are the masters of three worlds. What you say is indeed weighty since you two are engaged in Śiva’s work.

30. O best of Devas, it is not proper for me to marry as I am detached from the world and engaged in penance. I always practise Yoga.

31-32. Of what avail is a beloved to me in this world since I am in the path of abstinence delighting myself in my own soul, freed of attachment, unsullied, with the body of an ascetic, possessed of knowledge, seeing himself, free from aberrations and a non-reveller. Besides I am always unclean and inauspicious. Hence say now what can I do with a loving wife?

33-34. Even as I am engaged in Yoga, I experience the mystic Bliss. Only a man devoid of perfect knowledge will make much of marriage and desire it. Actually it is a great bondage. Hence I am not interested in it. This is truth. I am telling you the truth.

35. None of my activities is pursued with self-interest. Yet I shall carry out what you have suggested for the benefit of the universe.

36. Considering your weighty words for the fulfilment of my promise and the goal of my task, I shall marry. I am always subservient to my devotees.

37. O Viṣṇu, O Brahmā, you must hear what sort of a wife I will be taking in accordance with that promise. What I say is indeed proper.

38. Suggest a woman of comely features and Yogic practice who will be able to receive my semen virile in parts.

39. She must be a Yoginī when I practise Yoga and a loving woman when I indulge in love.

40-41. Sometimes I will be thinking about Śiva, my own form of splendour, the eternal principle which the scholars well versed in the Vedas call Imperishable. When I go in trance, O Brahmā, in that meditation, damned be she who causes an impediment therein.

42. You, Viṣṇu and I are the parts exceedingly of Brahman. So we are exceedingly fortunate. It is but proper to think about Him.

43. It is this worry that kept me unmarried, O lotus-seated (Brahmā). Hence, get me a wife who will follow my activities ever.

44. There is another condition to which please also listen, O Brahmā. If she evinces a disbelief in me or in what I say, I shall abandon her.

Brahmā said:—

45. On hearing these words of Śiva in the presence of Viṣṇu, smilingly and joyously I spoke thus in humble spirits.

46. O lord Śiva, I shall suggest such a woman as you desire for yourself,

47. She is Umā, O lord. Formerly she manifested herself in the forms of Sarasvatī and Lakṣmī in order to fulfil her task.

48. Lakṣmī became the wife of Viṣṇu and Sarasvatī mine. From her desire for the welfare of the world she has taken a third form.

49. She is born now as Dakṣa’s daughter in the name of Satī. O lord, she will be an ideal wife rendering wholesome service.

50. O lord of devas, at present she is performing penance for securing you. She is firm in her austere rites. She desires you as her husband. Indeed she is highly brilliant.

51. O Lord Śiva, be merciful to her. Grant her the desired boon. Then lovingly marry her.

52. O Śiva, this is the desire of Viṣṇu, the devas and mine too. With a benignant look fulfil our desire. Let us see the wedding festivities with devotion.

53. Let there be a happy and auspicious occasion (for that) in the three worlds. Let all ailments vanish. Let there be no doubt about it.

54. Then at the conclusion of my speech, Viṣṇu, the slayer of Madhu demon,[2] spoke to Śiva who assumes various forms during His divine sports and who is favourably disposed to his devotees.

Viṣṇu said:—

55. O great lord, the lord of devas, O Śiva the merciful, there is no doubt in this that what Brahmā has said constitutes what I have to say.

56. Hence, O great lord be merciful to me and carry out this request. Marrying her please make the three worlds blessed with a leader with benignant look.

Brahmā said:—

57. O sage, after saying this, the intelligent lord Viṣṇu kept silent. The great lord Rudra, favourably disposed to His devotees, smilingly said, “So be it.”

58. Then both of us took leave of him and in a cheerful mood returned to our respective abodes along with our wives, the sages and the devas.

Footnotes and references:


Vṛṣadhvaja (or Vṛṣabhadhvaja) is an appellation of Śiva derived from the fact of his having the emblem of Bull known as Nandin.


The demons Madhu and Kaiṭabha sprang from the ear of Viṣṇu while he was asleep at the end of a Kalpa. As soon as born they tried to kill Brahmā who was lying on the lotus sprung from Viṣṇu’s navel. Viṣṇu killed them and obtained the names Kaitabhajit and Madhusūdana.

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