The Shiva Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1950 | 616,585 words

This page relates “half-female incarnation of lord 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.

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.

Chapter 3 - The half-female incarnation of Lord Śiva

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Nandīśvara said:—

1. O dear one of great intellect, please listen to the description of Śiva’s form half-male and half-female,[1] than which there is nothing more excellent and which completes the work of the Creator.

2. When the subjects created by the Creator did not multiply, he was very much distressed and worried.

3. Then a celestial voice said—“Carry on the creation produced by couples.” On hearing it, Brahmā pondered over the creation produced by couples in order to carry it out.

4. Since no generation of women had formerly come out of Iśāna, the lotus-born deity (Brahmā) was unable to produce the creation by means of copulation.

5. Brahmā then began to perform penance thinking “Without the power of Śiva, the subjects will not be born.”

6. Within his heart he pondered lovingly over lord Śiva united with the great Śakti called Śivā. He then performed great penance.

7. Ere long Śiva became satisfied with the severe penance of the self-born lord Brahmā.

8. Then assuming the wish-yielding form of ISāna—the perfect consciousness, and in the guise of half-male and halffemale form Śiva approached Brahmā.

9. On seeing lord Śiva united with greatŚakti and bowing to him prostrate, Brahmā eulogised him with palms joined in revt:!"ence.

10. Then the delighted lord Śiva, the creator of the universe, spoke in words majestic in sound like that of rumbling cloud.

Lord Śiva said:—

11. “O dear son of great fortune, O grandfather, I have understood correctly all that you have cherished in your mind.

12. It is for the increase of the subjects that this penance has been performed by you now. I am delighted by that penance. I shall confer on you what you desire.”

13. After saying these naturally sweet and magnanimous words, lordŚiva detached Śivā from his body.

14. On seeing that great Śakti, detached separately from Śiva, Brahmā bowed to her politely and requested her.

Brahmā said:—

15. “O Śivā, I was created at first by your husband the lord of gods. I was ordered by Śiva the great soul to create the- subjects.

16. O Śivā, the gods and others were mentally created by me. But they do not multiply themselves. Hence they are being created again and again.

17. Hereafter I wish to make all my subjects flourish by making the creation originate from pairs.

18. The unchanging generation of women has not come out of you before. Hence I do not have the power to create women.

19. All Śaktis spring up from you. Hence I request you the great Śakti, the goddess of all.

20. O Śivā, O mother, O beloved of Śiva, for the increase of the mobile and immobile beings of the universe, give me the power to create women. Obeisance be to you.

21. O goddess bestowing boons, I request for another boon from you. O mother of the universe, take pity on me and grant that too unto me. Obeisance be to you.

22. O omnipresent mother, be born as the daughter of Dakṣa, my son, for the increase of the mobile and immobile beings through only Īśa.”

23. Thus implored by the Creator, the Supreme goddess consented and bestowed that power upon the Creator.

24. Hence that goddess Śivā, the Śakti of Śiva constituting the universe, created a Śakti equal in lustre unto her self, from the middle of her eyebrows.

25. Śiva, the foremost among gods, the ocean of mercy, the great Īśāna indulging in divine sports saw that Śakti and laughingly spoke to her.

Lord Śiva said:—

26. “O goddess, yon have been propitiated by Brahmā, through his penance. Lovingly become pleased with him and fulfil his desires.”

27. Receiving that behest of lord Śiva with her bent head, the goddess became the daughter of Dakṣa on the importunity of Brahmā.

28. O sage, after giving the unequalled power to Brahmā, the goddess śivā entered the body of Śiva. And lord Śiva vanished from the scene.

29. Ever since then, the section of women created in the world, Brahmā attained bliss. Creation became copulatory.

30. Thus O dear, the excellent form of Śiva, half-male and half-female that bestows auspiciousness upon the has been told.

31. He who reads or listens to this pious narrative enjoys all pleasures and attains to the greatest goal.

Footnotes and references:


The half-male and half-female (ardhanārīśvara) form of Śiva is symbolical of the process of creation by copulation. The concept is comparable to the Sāṃkhya doctrine of Puruṣa (cosmic soul) and Prakṛti (cosmic nature) whose union produces the different units of the universe.

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