The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “shiva’s campaign” 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.

Sanatkumāra said:—

1. Brahmā handed over that divine chariot of various wonderful features to Śiva after yoking the Vedas as the horses.

2. After dedicating the same to Śiva, he requested Śiva the lord of the gods, approved by Viṣṇu and other gods to mount the chariot.

3. The great lord Śiva identifying himself with all the gods got into that chariot that had various scaffoldings attached to it.

4. He was then eulogised by the gods, Gandharvas, serpents, sages, Viṣṇu, Brahmā and the guardians of the quarters.

5-6. Śiva, the granter of boons, surrounded by the groups of damsels, experts in music, shone well. Glancing at the charioteer when he mounted the chariot concocted with everything in the world, the horses constituted by the Vedas fell headlong to the ground.

7. The earth quaked. The mountains became tremulous. Śeṣa, unable to bear his weight, became distressed and soon began to tremble.

8. Lord Viṣṇu assumed the form of a lordly bull and went under the chariot. He lifted it up and steadied it for a short while.

9. But in another instant, unable to bear the weighty splendour of lord Śiva seated in the chariot, the lordly bull had to kneel down and crawl on the ground.

10-12. But the lord touched the bridle and steadied the horses. Then Brahmā seated in the excellent chariot drove the excellent chariot with the velocity of mind and wind, at the bidding of the lord towards the three cities of the valiant Asuras. The cities were then in the sky. Lord Śiva was seated inside.

13. Then lord Śiva looked at the gods and said—“Give me the lordship of the animals. Then I shall kill the Asuras.

14. O excellent gods, the excellent Asuras can be killed only after assigning separate animalhood to the gods and others. Not otherwise.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

15. On hearing these words of the intelligent lord of the gods, they became dispirited growing suspicious of animalhood.

16. On knowing what was passing through their minds, Śiva, the lord of the gods, the consort of Pārvatī sympathised with the gods and laughingly said.

Śiva said:—

17. “O excellent gods, you will not fall even in your animalhood. Let it be heard, and let the process of release from animalhood be practised.

18. He who performs the divine rite of Pāśupata[1] will be released from animalhood. I promise this to you. Be attentive.

19. O excellent gods, there is no doubt about it that those who perform my Pāśupata rite will become liberated.

20. He who renders service perpetually or for twelve years, becomes relieved of animalhood.

21. Hence O excellent gods, perform this divine rite. You will be released from animalhood. There is no doubt about this.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

22. On hearing these words of lord Śiva, the great soul, Viṣṇu, Brahmā and other gods said. “So be it.”

23. Hence all the gods and Asuras became the animals of the lord. Śiva became the lord of animals. He is the person who unties the nooses of the animals.

24. Then the name Paśupati, that bestows welfare, spread in all the worlds and became renowned.

25. Then the celestial sage, Indra, Brahmā, Viṣṇu and others rejoiced shouting “Victory.”

26. Even in hundreds of years it is impossible to describe adequately the form of the great soul which he assumed then.

27. Śiva the lord of Pārvatī and everyone, the bestower of happiness to all, went ahead to destroy the three cities.

28. Then all the gods, resplendent like the sun, under the lord of the gods and others went on elephants, horses, lions, bulls and chariots to kill Tripuras, leaders of the Asuras.

29. The leading gods as huge as mountains went ahead delighted and well-armed with all sorts of missiles, plough-shares, mortars, iron clubs and uprooted trees as huge as mountains.

30. Then Indra, Brahmā, Viṣṇu and others went ahead of lord Śiva jubilantly shouting cries of victory to Śiva, well-armed with various weapons and shining brilliantly.

31. Sages with matted hair and staffs in the hands rejoiced. Siddhas and Cāraṇas moving about in the sky showered flowers.

32. O great brahmins, all the Gaṇeśvaras went to the three cities. Who can enumerate them fully? I shall mention a few.

33. Bhṛṅgin, the chief of all Gaṇeśas, surrounded by lord of Gaṇas and gods went speedily to destroy the three cities like Mahendra seated in an aerial chariot.

34-39. These were the important ones who were there—Keśa, Vigatavāsa, Mahākeśa, Mahājvara, Somavallīsavarṇa, Somapa, Sanaka, Somadhṛk, Sūryavarcas, Sūryapreṣaṇaka, Sūryākṣa, Sūrināman, Sura, Sundara, Praskanda, Kundara, Caṇḍa, Kampana, Atikampana, Indra, Indrajava, Yantṛ, Himakara, Śatākṣa, Pañcākṣa, Sahasrākṣa, Mahodara, Satijahru, Śatāsya, Raṅka, Karpūrapūtana, Dviśikha, Triśikha, Ahaṃkārakāraka, Ajavaktra, Aṣṭavaktra, Hayakāraka and Ardhavaktraka. These and other innumerable lords of Gaṇas who cannot be characterised and classified surrounded Śiva and went ahead.

40. They were capable of burning the entire world including the mobile and immobile beings, within a trice by their very thought. Surrounding Śiva, the great lord, they went ahead.

41. Śiva is capable of burning the entire world. Of what avail are the Gaṇas, gods, chariot, and arrows to Śiva in order to burn the three cities?

42. O Vyāsa, that trident-bearing lord, of wonderful power of causing enjoyment and protection, himself went there with his own Gaṇas and the gods to burn the three cities of the enemies of gods.

43. What the reason was, I shall tell you, O excellent sage. It was to make his glory known to all the worlds, the glory that dispels all sins and dirt.

44. Another reason was to convince the wicked, since there is none to excel him among the gods.

Footnotes and references:


Śiva is named Paśupati, the lord of animals. According to the legend, recorded in the present chapter, every deity was asked by Śiva to declare himself a mere Paśu or animal before Tripuras could be slain in the battle. The Gods accepted the proposal, declared themselves as animals and fought brutally. Lord Śiva won them the battle but Gods were still distressed. The lord then enjoined the observance of Pāśupata Vrata for the attainment of release from their animal nature.

This legend forms the basis for the formulation of Pāśupata sect which aims at the release of a Paśu (the individual soul) from the bondage of rebirth.