The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “description of the altar-structure” 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 41 - Description of the Altar-Structure

Brahmā said:—

1. Then after mutual consultation and getting Śiva’s permission, O sage, Viṣṇu sent you ahead to the abode of the mountain.

2. Urged by Viṣṇu, O Nārada, you bowed to lord Śiva and went ahead of all to the abode of Himavat.

3. O sage, after going there, you saw your own image made by Viśvakarman and were surprised. You were a bit ashamed too.

4. O great sage, tired of seeing the portrayal of yourself, you became engaged in seeing the other builds of Viśvakarman.

5. You entered the great altar of Himavat, studded with various gems and decorated with gold pots and stumps of plantain trees.

6. It had a thousand columns. It was wonderful. O sage, you were struck with surprise on seeing the altars.

7. Then you were a bit confused and greatly bewildered. You spoke to the lord of mountains thus.

8-9. O lord of mountains, tell me the truth. Has lord Śiva seated on his bull and surrounded by his Gaṇas come already for the marriage? Have the gods with Viṣṇu and others at their head, the sages, the Siddhas and the secondary gods come already?”

Brahmā said:—

10. On hearing your words full of surprise, O sage, the mountain Himavat told you the truth.

Himavat said:—

11. O Nārada, O highly intelligent one, Śiva with the marriage party has not come till now for the purpose of marrying Pārvatī.

12. O Nārada, know that all these things have been portrayed by Viśvakarman. O celestial sage, shake off your bewilderment. Be calm. Remember Śiva.

13. Showing kindness to me you take your food and rest for a while. Then gladly accompany Maināka and others to Śiva’s presence.

14. Accompanied by these mountains you request Śiva along with the gods, and the great sages, Śiva whose sproutlike feet are worshipped by gods and demons. Bring them here.

Brahmā said:—

15. You accepted the suggestion noble-heartedly and performed the duties there. Then accompanied by the sons of the mountain and others you went to Śiva’s presence.

16. There the brilliant god Śiva surrounded by the gods and others was seen and bowed to by you and the mountains with devotion.

17. Then all the gods including Indra, Viṣṇu and me and Śiva’s attendants asked you, O sage.

18. They had been struck with surprise and suspicion on seeing the mountains Maināka, Sahya, Meru and others bedecked in all kinds of ornaments.

The gods said:—

19. O Nārada, intelligent one, you appear to be bewildered. Have you been duly honoured by Himavat or not? Tell us in detail.

20. Why have these excellent mountains Maināka, Sahya, Meru and others highly bedecked and of great valour, come here?

21. O Nārada, does the mountain really intend to give his daugther to Śiva or not? What is it that is taking place in the abode of Himavat now? Please tell us.

22. We are having doubts in our minds. Hence we, the heaven-dwellers, ask you. Please say everything, O righteous one, and dispel our suspicions.

Brahmā said:—

23. On hearing these words of Viṣṇu and other heaven-dwellers, O sage, you who had been fascinated by the magic of Tvaṣṭṛ (Viśvakarman) spoke to them.

24. Going to an isolated place, O sage, you spoke these words to me, to Viṣṇu and also to Indra who is the lord of gods and a former enemy of the mountains, having cut off their wings.[1]

Nārada said:—

25. The distorted portayal of heaven-dwellers is something enchanting. He desires to delude the gods in a loving but cunning manner.

26. O lord of Śacī, have you forgotten everything? Formerly you had deluded him. Hence he wishes to surpass you here in the abode of the mountain of noble heart.

27. I have been fascinated by my shining portrait. Viṣṇu, Brahmā and Indra have been realistically portrayed by him.

28. O lord of gods, why should I talk too much? He has made artificial prototypes of all the gods. No one, not a single detail, has been left out.

29. It is for the purpose of particularly enchanting the gods that this spell has been employed by him through this caricature.

Brahmā said:—

30. On hearing your words lord Indra who was frightened from head to foot, immediately spoke to Viṣṇu.

Lord. Indra said:—

31. O lord of Lakṣmī, O lord of gods, Tvaṣṭṛ who is agitated due to the grief over his son will surely kill me under this pretext and not otherwise.

Brahmā said:—

32. On hearing his words Viṣṇu, the lord of gods laughingly consoled Indra by speaking thus.

Viṣnu said:—

33. O lord of Śacī, formerly you had been enchanted by the demons Nivātakavacas, your previous enemies, by the power of their great spell.

34. O Indra, at my instance, this mountain Himavat and others too were rendered wingless.

35. Let the mountains now create magic on remembering that and wish to surpass us foolishly. We are not to be afraid of our enemies.

36. O Indra, Śiva favourably disposed to His devotees, will undoubtedly look to our welfare.

37. While he was speaking this to Indra of agitated mind, Śiva spoke to Viṣṇu following the worldly custom.

Śiva said:—

38. “O Viṣṇu, O lord of gods, what are you speaking to each other?” O sage, after speaking thus to them Śiva addressed you.

39. “O Nārada, what does the great mountain say? Tell me the truth with details. You must not keep any secret.

40. Does the mountain want to give the daughter or not? Tell me that quickly. O dear one, on going there, what did you see? What did you do? Tell me that quickly.

Brahmā said:—

41. Addressed thus by Śiva, O sage, you endowed with divine vision told him secretly what you saw in the altar.

Nārada said:—

42. O great lord, lord of gods, listen to my auspicious words. O lord, there is no fear of any hindrance in the celebration of marriage.

43. The lord of mountains will surely give his daughter to you. It is certainly to take you there that these mountains have come here.

44. But to delude the gods a wonderful spell has been created. O omniscient, it is only to inspire curiosity. There is no possibility of any obstacle.

45. O lord, Viśvakarman, a great expert in creating illusion has constructed a peculiar altar in his house at his instance. It is full of surprising things.

46. A fascinating assembly of gods has been built there. On seeing it I was deluded by his skill and was struck with surprise.

Brahmā said:—

47. O dear, on hearing your words, the lord Śiva following the worldly convention, laughingly spoke to Viṣṇu and other gods.

Śiva said:—

48. O Viṣṇu, if the mountain Himavat gives his daughter to me, what have I to do with this spell? Speak to me what is true.

49. O Brahmā, O Indra, O sages, O gods, speak truly. What have I to do with the spell if the mountain gives his daughter?

50. It is held by scholars, knowing cogent reasons, that somehow or other the fruit should be achieved. Hence you, with Viṣṇu at the head, will hasten seeking only the task on hand.

Brahmā said:—

51. Discussing thus with gods, Śiva appeared to be completely overpowered by Kāma like an ordinary man.

52-54. At the bidding of Śiva, Viṣṇu and other gods, the noble sages and others, O sage, kept you and mountains at the head and started for the abode of Himavat. They were surprised to see the wonderful abode. The delighted Śiva reached the outskirts of the city accompanied by Viṣṇu and others as well as his delighted Gaṇas.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Indra is said to have clipped the wings of the mountains when they grew troublesome.

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