The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “eight forms of 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 2 - The eight forms of Śiva

Nandīśvara said:—

1. O dear sage, listen to the great incarnations of lord Śiva that carry out all worldly activities and bestow happiness on all.

2. The universe consists of the eight forms of lord Śiva. Pervading that the universe subsists like the pearls in the string.

3. The eight presiding deities are Śarva, Bhava, Rudra, Ugra, Bhīma, Paśupati, Īśāna and Mahādeva. They are well known.

4. By these eight forms of Śiva, viz. Śarva etc, the earth, the waters, the fire, the wind, the sky, the individual soul, the sun and the moon are presided over.

5. The conclusion of all sacred lore is that the form of lord Śiva consisting of the earth that holds the entire universe of the mobile and immobile beings is called Śarva.

6. The form of the Supreme Soul, consisting of water that enlivens the entire world, is called Bhava.

7. The form of the great lord Śiva that holds the outer and inner universe and throbs by itself is called Ugra by the noble.

8. That form of lord Śiva consisting of the firmament that pervades everything and affords space to all is scaled Bhīma and it splits and differentiates the group of elements.

9. That form of Śiva shall be known as Paśupati which is the support of individual souls, and abiding therein splits the bondage that encircles them.

10. Brightening the entire universe in the form of the sun, the form of Śiva, Īśāna, moves about in the heaven.

11. The moon of nectarlike rays that strengthens and fattens the universe to satiety, is the form of lord Śiva called Mahādeva.

12. The eighth form of Śiva, the great soul, is the Ātman, more pervasive than the other forms. The universe is pervaded by that form.

13. By watering the root of a tree the branches of the tree blossom. Similarly the body of the universe develops by means of worshipping Śiva.

14. Just as a father is delighted at the pleasures of sons, grandsons and others, so also Śiva is delighted at the pleasures of the universe.

15. Should the slaughter or captivity of a person be carried out, undoubtedly it is an offence committed against the eight-formed lord Śiva.

16. Worship Śiva who presides over the universe in the eightfold forms with all devotion. Worship Rudra, the great cause.

17. O son of Brahmā, thus the well known eight forms have been explained to you. These forms engaged in helping everyone shall be resorted to by those who seek glory.

Notes on the eight forms of lord Śiva:

(i) Śarva—earth (ii) Bhava—water (iii) Rudra—fire (iv) Ugra— wind (v) Bhīma—ether (vi) Paśupati—soul (vii) Īśāna—sun (viii) Mahādeva—moon.