The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “story of rishabha” 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 4 - The story of Ṛṣabha

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Nandīśvara said:—

1. O omniscient Sanatkumāra, the story of Śiva that ever confers happiness, was gladly and lovingly narrated by Śiva to Brahmā.

Lord Śiva said:—

2-3. In the seventh Vārāha Kalpa, in the Vaivasvata Manvantara, the lord Kalpeśvara who illuminates all the worlds will be born as your great grandson and son of Vaivasvata Manu. O Creator, in that Manvantara all the four Yugas take place.

4. For the welfare of the worlds and for the benefit of the brahmins O Creator, whatever take place in the Yuga called Dvāpara, I foresee now.

5-6. In that first Yuga, towards the close of Dvāpara and the beginning of Kali when Vyāsa is Svayamprabhu I will be born as the great sage named Śveta, with a tuft, for the welfare of Brahmins.

7. Then O Brahmā, on the mountain Chāgala[1]—the beautiful summit of Himavat, will be born my disciples endowed with tuft.

8. Those four disciples Śveta, Śvetaśikha, Śvetāśva, and Śvetalohita will come to my city by the Yoga of meditation.

9. Realising my unchanging real form, the devotees will become devoid of birth, death and old age and will meditate on the Supreme Brahman.

10. O dear Pitāmaha, except through meditation I can not be seen by men by resorting to charitable gifts and sacred rites that bring about the bondage of Karman.

11. In the second aeon of Dvāpara when the patriarch Satya becomes Vyāsa I will be born as Sutāra and continue to live in Kali age.

12. There too my disciples will be the four Brahmins well-versed in the Vedic lore viz. Dundubhi, Śatarūpa, Hṛṣīka and Ketumān.

13. By resorting to the Yoga of meditation all the four go to my city and then realising my unchanging real form they will become liberated.

14. In the third aeon of Dvāpara in the age of Bhārgava Vyāsa I will be born as Damana at the outskirts of the city.

15. Four sons be born of me there viz—Viśoka, Viśesa, Vipāpa and Pāpanāśana.

16. O four-faced deity, I will help Vyāsa and will propagate firmly the path of renunciation in the Kali age.

17. In the fourth aeon of Dvāpara in the age of Aṅgiras Vyāsa, I shall be born as Suhotra.

18. There also four sons will be born of me all aspiring after the Yogic path and noble-souled. O Brahmā, I shall mention their names.

19. They are Sumukha, Durmukha, Durdarbha and Duratikrama. O Brahmā, I shall then render help to Vyāsa through the disciples.

20. In the fifth aeon of Dvāpara there will be Savitṛ Vyāsa. I shall be born as a Yogin of great penance and called Kaṅka.

21. There also four sons will be born of me, all aspiring after the Yogic path and noble-souled. Please hear their names from me.

22. They are Sanaka, Sanātana, Sanandana and Sanatkumāra freed from sin and egotism.

23. There also O Brahmā, I, named Kaṅka, enhancing the path of renunciation shall render help to Vyāsa in the form of Savitṛ.

24. When the sixth aeon of Dvāpara takes place there will be Mṛtyu Vyāsa who will classify the Vedas.

25. Then I will be born as Lokākṣi, making the path of renunciation flourish and helping Vyāsa.

26. Four disciples of steady rites viz. Sudhāmā, Virajas, Sañjaya and Vijaya will be born then.

27. O Brahmā, in the seventh aeon of Śatakratu Vyāsa I shall be born as the lord Jaigīṣavya.

28. Seated on a Kuśa mat in a divine spot in the middle of a mountain-cavern in Kāśī I, an expert in the great Yoga, will stabilise the path of Yoga.

29. O Brahmā, I shall render help to Śatakratu Vyāsa I shall lift up the devotees from the fear of worldly existence.

30. There also in that aeon, four sons will be born of me viz. Sārasvata, Yogīśa, Meghavāha and Suvāhana.

31. In the eighth aeon there will be Vasiṣṭha Vedavyāsa—the excellent sage who will classify the Vedas.

32. There I will be born as Dadhivāhana by name. As the foremost among those who know Yoga I will render help to Vyāsa.

33. Four sons, all Yogins on a par with me, viz—Kapila, Āsuri, Śālvala and Pañcaśikha will be born of me.

34. O Brahmā, in the ninth aeon of the same Yuga, there will be Sārasvata Vyāsa, the excellent sage.

35. As Vyāsa sits in meditation for the flourish of the path of renunciation, I will be born as Ṛṣabha.

36. There, Parāśara, Garga, Bhārgava and Giriśa, all good Yogins, will be my four disciples.

37. O Patriarch, with them I will stabilise the path of Yoga. O good sage, I will render help to Vedavyāsa.

38. O Brahmā, in that form, I, the merciful, will cause the uplift of many distressed devotees, from the worldly existence.

39. O Brahmā, such is my incarnation named Ṛṣabha. It causes Yogic practice; it fulfils the desire of Vyāsa in the guise of Sārasvata and it consists of many divine sports.

40. Bhadrāyu a prince who had been abandoned by his father and who had died of poison infection, was resuscitated by me in that in carnation.

41. When that prince reached his sixteenth year I as Ṛṣabba, went to his mansion suddenly.

42. O patriarch, being duly worshipped by him, that sage, of good form, the store-house of mercy instructed him in virtues in connection with the administration of his kingdom.

43. Becoming excessively delighted, he gave him a divine conch and a lustruous sword that could destroy his enemies.

44. The lord, favourably disposed to the indigent, smeared his body with the ashes from his own body and gave him the strength of twelve thousand elephants.

45. After consoling Bhadrāyus and his mother very well, lord Ṛṣabha after being duly worshipped by them went as he pleased.

46. O Brahmā, the saintly king Bhadrāyus conquered all his enemies, married Kīrtimālinī and virtuously ruled the kingdom.

47. Thus the ninth Ṛṣabḥa incarnation of Śiva has been narrated to you. He is the goal of the good and kinsman of the indigent.

48. The story of Ṛṣabḥa is great, highly sacred, and conducive to heaven, fame and longevity. It shall be listened to with devoted attention.

Footnotes and references:


Chāgala, one of the peaks of the Himālayas, has not been identified so far.

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