by J. L. Shastri | 1950 | 616,585 words
This page relates “five incarnations of the supreme brahman” 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.
Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.
I bow to lord Śiva of great bliss and of endles divine sports, who is great and omnipresent, who is the beloved consort of Pārvatī, who is the progenitor of Kārttikeya and Gaṇeśa, and who is the primordial lord of the universe.
4. The incarnations of the omnipresent lord Śiva are countless in the different aeons. Yet I shall narrate them as far as I know.
8. Knowing that Sadyojāta to be Śiva, Brahmā, the lord of the worlds became delighted. With pure intelligence he pondered over that great Being again and again.
12. The next Kalpa, the twentieth one is named and glorified as Rakta (red) wherein Brahmā assumed a great splendour red in hue.
16. The delighted Parameśvara, the Vāmadeva incarnation of Śiva bestowed on Brahmā lovingly, the power of cation and perfect wisdom.
18. As Brahmā desirous of sons meditated, a son born unto him mature, of great arms and great splendour and wearing yellow garments.
19-20. On seeing him engrossed in meditation and realising that Being as Śiva, the Creator bowed to him after performing the Japa of Śiva-Gāyatrī, who is the great goddess, bowed to by all the worlds. The great god was delighted with the mind in contemplation.
22. When that Kalpa of yellow colour of the self-born lord elapsed, another Kalpa set in and it was named Śiva.
24. That lord of great splendour saw a son coming into view. He was black in colour, possessed of great strength. He was shining in his own splendour.
27. Brahmā then contemplated on Aghora in the form of Brahman. He eulogised that unperishing Being favourably disposed towards his devotees, by means of pleasing words.
28. Then from his sides sprang up four noble-souled sons all of whom were black in colour and had black toilet and unguent articles.
33. Īśāna of such renowned features, supreme lord of crystal-like pure brilliance and bedecked in all ornaments manifested himself.
35. Lord Īśāna after instructing the path of the [good] to Brahmā, created four auspicious sons in collaboration with his Energy.
37. Thus I have succinctly narrated the origin of Sadyojāta and others, O Sanatkumāra, O omniscient one, being desirous of the welfare of all the worlds.
40. Īśāna form of Śiva is the first and the principal one. It directly occupies and presides over the individual soul, the enjoyer of Prakṛti.
42. The third form of Śiva is Aghora that stands within, occupies.and presides over the principle of intelligence with all its ramifications for the sake of Dharma.
43. The fourth form of Śiva is Vāmadeva who presides over the ego and is engaged in many incessant activities.
44. The Īśāna form of Śiva is the permanent lord of the organ of hearing, speech and the all-pervading sky.
48. They know the form of Sadyojāta as the lord of the organ of smell, of smell itself, of the earth and of the generative organ.
49. These forms of Śiva, the source of all glory shall be honoured and bowed to strenuously by those who seek glory.
50. He who reads and listens to the origin of Sadyojāta and others, enjoys all desires and attains the ultimate goal.
Footnotes and references:
The concept of Rudrasrṣṭi can be traced as far back as the Vedic Literature. According to Yv 16.4 one Rudra created many Rudras out of his own body. The Purāṇas too have recorded the tradition of many Rudras evolved out of a single Rudra. The present Saṃhitā describes one hundred incarnations of Śiva and is therefore called Śatarudra.
But according to Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa (188.8.131.52), Śatarudriya means a single hundred-headed Śiva (śataśīrṣāṇaṃ rudraṃ śatarudriyamityācakṣate). This statement of Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa abrogates the concept of many Rudras evolved out of a single Rudra. But it is not corroborated by the evidence of the present Saṃhitā which enumerates the countless forms of Rudra.
A kalpa is a day of Brahmā or one thousand yugas equal to a period of four hundred thirty two million years of mortals. Each kalpa is presided over by a particular form of Rudra. For instance, the Śvetalohita kalpa has Sadyojāta as the presiding deity, Rakta has Vāmadeva, Pītavāsas has Tatpuruṣa, Śiva has Aghora and Viśvarūpa has Īśāna.