The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “separation of sati and 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.

Chapter 25 - Separation of Satī and Śiva

Rāma said:—

1-2. O Goddess, formerly once, Śiva, the creator supreme, called Viśvakarman[1] to His highest region. He made him erect a large hall of great beauty in His cowshed, and an exquisite throne there.

3. Śiva, caused Viśvakarman to make an excellent, divine, wonderful umbrella for warding off obstacles.

4-5. He invited Indra and other gods, the Siddhas, Gandharvas, Nāgas, Upadeśas and Āgamas[2], Brahmā with his sons, the sages and the celestial goddesses and nymphs who came there with various articles.

6. Sixteen virgins each of devas, sages, Siddhas and serpents were brought for the auspicious ceremony.

7. O sages, different musical instruments like lutes, tabours etc. were played and songs sung. Thus there was great pomp and ceremony.

8. Articles necessary for a coronation including herbs were brought. Five pots were filled with the sacred waters from all flowing holy rivers.

9. All other divine arrangements were made by His attendants. Śiva caused them to recite Vedic mantras loudly.

10. With a delightful mind He called Viṣṇu from Vaikuṇṭha. O Goddess, Śiva rejoiced at the perfect devotion of Viṣṇu.

11. In an auspicious hour, the great lord made Viṣṇu sit on the exquisite throne and delightedly decorated him in every way.

12. A beautiful coronet was fixed on Viṣṇu and the auspicious holy thread was tied to his waist. He was then coronated by lord Śiva in the Cosmic Hall.

13. What was His own and even non-transferable, Śiva the independent and favourably disposed to His devotees, conferred on Viṣṇu and eulogised him.

14. The lord who is favourably disposed to His devotees, revealing Himself independent but subservient to the boons granted by Him, spoke these words to Brahmā the creator of all worlds.

Lord Śiva said:—

15-16. Lord, may you all hear. From now onwards, at my bidding, this Viṣṇu has become worthy of my respect and that of all devas. Dear one, you too bow to him. May all the Vedas extol him at my bidding as they extol me.

Rāma said:—

17. So saying, Rudra, Himself bowed to Garuḍa-bannered Viṣṇu. The bestower of boons, He who is favourably disposed to His devotees, felt delighted by his devotion to Viṣṇu.

18. Then Viṣṇu was duly revered by Brahmā followed by devas, sages, Siddhas and others.

19. Then the delighted Lord Śiva, favourably disposed towards his devotees, bestowed great boons on Viṣṇu and the other devas.

Lord Śiva said:—

20. At my bidding you are now the creator, sustainer and destroyer of all the worlds. You are the bestower of virtue, wealth and love and the chastiser of people of evil predilection.

21. You are the lord of the universe. You are worthy of the worship of the universe. You will be invincible in battle anywhere even against me. You will be endowed with great strength and valour.

22. You take three Śaktis—will etc. conferred by me. You can have the power of exhibiting diverse sports and independence in the three worlds.

23. O Viṣṇu, persons who hate you shall indeed be chastised and curbed by me with strenuous efforts. Salvation shall be given by me, O Viṣṇu, to your devotees.

24. Accept this Māyā too which cannot be withstood by devas and others and by which the entire universe will be deluded and made insentient as it were.

25. O Viṣṇu, you are my left hand, as Brahmā is my right hand. You shall be his progenitor and sustainer too.

26. Undoubtedly I myself am Rudra who is my heart. He is worthy of your respect as well as that of Brahmā and others too, of course.

27. While stationed here you protect the entire universe taking different incarnations and diverse ways of protection.

28. This place of great prosperity and glory in my own world shall be famous as Goloka. It will be very brilliant.

29. O Viṣṇu, I shall certainly see the various incarnations of yours on the earth and shall be delighted by your devotion to me.

Rāma said:—

30. After conferring thus unlimited prosperity on Viṣṇu, Śiva, the consort of Śivā, freely sported about at Kailāsa along with His attendants.

31. Thenceforth lord of Lakṣmī assumed the guise of a cowherd. The lord of cowherds, cowherdesses and the cows wandered there with pleasure.

32. The delightful Viṣṇu protected the universe taking up various incarnations and sustaining it at the bidding of Siva.

33. Now He has taken a fourfold incarnation at the bidding of Śiva. I who am Rāma, and my brothers Bharata, Lakṣmaṇa and Śatrughna are His incarnations.

34. O Goddess Satī, at the bidding of my father I have come to the forest. Unfortunately I have fallen in deep distress.

35. My wife Sītā has been abducted by a demon. I am now seeking my beloved, separated from her and devoid of my kinsmen.

36. O mother Satī, since I have the good fortune of seeing you, there is no doubt that everything will be well with me by your favour.

37. By your blessings I shall have the fortune of acquiring Sītā after killing the demon of evil intention who is the cause of trouble.

38. It is my good fortune that both of you have taken pity on me. That man who is the object of your mercy is the best of blessed people.

39. After speaking thus and bowing in diverse ways to Satī, Rāma, the scion of the family of Raghu roamed in the forest with her permission.

40. On hearing these words of Rāma of pious rites, Satī was delighted. She praised him in her heart for his devotion to Śiva.

41. Remembering her own action she was much distressed. She returned to Śiva, pale in face and gloomy in spirit.

42. While returning, the Goddess frequently mused—“I did not accept Śiva’s explanation. I entertained a senseless thought against Rāma.

43. After going to Śiva what reply shall I give?” Thinking thus, she began to repent in many ways.

44. Approaching Śiva she mentally bowed to Him, with a pallid face and stricken with grief.

45. On seeing her distressed, Śiva enquired of her health and asked—“O, have you finished your test”?

46. On hearing Śiva’s words she bent her head as a mark of respect but did not say anything. Agitated with grief she stood aghast.

47. On meditating for a while, Śiva, the great Yogin, adept in diverse divine sports, could understand everything about Śatī, the daughter of Dakṣa.

48-49. He remembered the promise that He Himself had made on being requested by Viṣṇu when He was angry with the latter. Śiva who keeps the bounds of righteousness intact was distressed. The lord, the propounder, the activator and the protector of righteousness, thought within himself.

50. “If I were to maintain my love towards Satī at the level as before, my promise will be broken—even if I follow the conventions of the world”.

Brahmā said:—

51. Thus pondering within himself in diverse ways He mentally discarded Satī but did not break his promise as the protector of Vedic Virtue.

52. Then after forsaking Satī mentally, the lord returned to His abode. He did not at all reveal the promise.

53. While they were on their way, an unembodied speech rose in the sky telling Him within the hearing of everyone particularly of Satī, Dakṣa’s daughter.

The celestial voice said:—

54. O great Lord, you are blessed indeed. There is no other great Yogin or great lord in the three worlds, on a par with you. No one else can maintain that promise.

Brahmā said:—

55. On hearing the celestial voice, the goddess, utterly lustreless asked Śiva—“O lord, please tell me, what is the promise that you made?”

56. Even when asked, the lord who was benevolent to Satī did not reveal the vow which he took in the presence of Viṣṇu formerly.

57. Then O sage, meditating on Śiva, her own beloved husband, Satī understood the matter which meant the abandonment of her own self.

58. After realising the abandonment of herself by Him, the daughter of Dakṣa was grieved much and began to heave sighs frequently.

59. But the lord Śiva kept the fact of His vow a secret from her and narrated many a tale to her.

60. Thus, narrating tales to her on the way He reached Kailāsa along with her. There Śiva, the Yogin, entered a trance and meditated upon His real form.

61. Satī stayed in the abode, overwhelmed by grief. But O sage, no one could guess the conduct of Śiva and Śivā.

62. O sage, great time elapsed even as the lord and the Goddess followed the conventions of the world through the physical bodies taken up by themselves.

63. Then Śiva the great enjoyer and protector stopped His meditation. On coming to know of it Satī, the mother of the universe, came there.

64. The Goddess bowed to Him with a moaning heart. The benevolent Śiva offered her a seat in front of Himself.

65. He narrated several interesting tales to her. By these divine sports He tried to entertain her and make her mind free from grief.

66. She regained her previous happiness. He too did not forsake His vow. O dear, this need not be considered wonderful in the benign great lord Śiva.

67. But O sage, some ignorant Pandits thus narrate the story of Śivā and Śiva and their separation. But how can there be a real separation between the two?

68. Who knows the true life and conduct of Śivā and Śiva. They sport about of their own accord and make their own lives for ever.

69. Śatī and Śiva are united together like words and their meanings[3]. Only if they wish, can their separation be even imagined.

Footnotes and references:


In the Purāṇas Viśvakarman is invested with the powers and offices of the Vedic Tvaṣṭṛ. He is the great architect, executor of handicrafts, the builder of great cities He is the son of Prabhāsa, the eighth Vasu, by his wife Yogasiddhā.


The Upadeśas (instructions) and the Āgamas (scriptures) are personified. They refer to the persons who impart instructions and are well versed in the scriptures.


For the similarity of idea and expression compare Kālidāsa’s Raghuvaṃśa 1.1.