The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “incarnation of sharabha” 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 12 - The incarnation of Śarabha

Sanatkumāra said:—

1. O Nandīśvara, O intelligent one, this is understood. Take pity on me and tell me now lovingly what happened thereafter.

Nandīśvara said:—

2. Thus admonished by Vīrabhadra, the Man-lion (Nṛsiṃha)be came furious. He roared and began to seize him with force.

3. In the meantime, the splendour of Śiva rose up unbearably enveloping the sky all around. It was terrible and cause for imminent fear.

4-5. Then in a trice the form of Vīrabhadra became invisible. The splendour of Lord Śiva was neither golden nor fiery, neither lunar nor solar. It resembled neither the lightning nor the moon. It was beyond comparison. The forms of brilliance were merged in Śiva.

6. That great splendour was not of the sky too. Thereafter its middle became clearly manifested in the form characteristic of Rudra of deformed shape.

7. Even as all the gods stood watching with the auspicious shouts of victory, Lord Śiva became manifest in the form the Annihilator.

8. He had a thousand hands and wore matted hair. His head was adorned by the crescent moon. He appeared like a bird with wings and beak. His body was fierce and fully developed.

9. His fangs were very sharp. Adamantine daws were his weapons. His neck was black in colour. He had huge arms and four legs. He was blazing like fire.

10. His voice was resonant and terrible like the rumbling sound of the clouds that gather at the end of a Yuga. His three eyes were as wide and blazing as the fire of the evil spirit of great fury.

11. His fangs and lips were clearly visible. He was producing a hissing sound of Huṃkāra. Śiva of such a form appeared in sight.

12. At his very vision Viṣṇu lost his strength and exploit. He assumed a lustre of the flickering glow-worm beneath the sun.

13-14. Fluttering with his wings, and tearing the navel and legs he bound the legs of the Man-lion with his tail and his hands with his own hands. He struck his chest, caught hold of Viṣṇu. It expanded in the sky along with the gods and the sages.

15-16. Like a vulture seizing a serpent he fearlessly caught hold of Viṣṇu, lifted him up and fell him to the ground. At the time of flight he was excessively oppressed, being hit with the wings. Then Lord Śiva took Viṣṇu and flew up.

17. All the gods followed him eulogising him with the words of obeisance. Brahmā and other sages bowed to him with reverence and love.

18. Being led thus Viṣṇu was helpless. His face was pallid and sorrowful. With palms joined in reverence he eulogised Lord Śiva with prayers of simple words.

19. After eulogising Mṛḍa with the hundred and eight names of the lord, Nṛsiṃha requested lord Śarabha again.

20. “O great lord, whenever my ignorant mind becomes defiled by arrogance, it shall be removed by you alone.”

Nandīśvara said:—

21 Thus saying with love to Śiva, the Man-lion turned submissive and bowed to him. Viṣṇu was utterly defeated and came to the end of his life.

22. Within a trice Vīrabhadra made his powerful body powerless and dead.

Nandīśvara said:—

23. Then Brahmā and other gods eulogised lord Śiva who had assumed the form of a Śarabha and who was the sole benefactor of all the worlds.

The gods said:—

24. O lord Śiva, Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Indra, the Moon, the gods, the sages, and the Daityas are born of you.

25. O lord of all, you alone create and protect Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Indra, the sun and others, the gods and Asuras and you alone devour them.

26. Since you annihilate the world, you are called Hara by the learned. Since Viṣṇu was curbed and caught hold of by you, you are called Hara by the learned.

274 Since you support and hold every thing after dividing your body into eight, O lord, protect us, the gods, by means of the desired gifts.

28. You are the great Puruṣa, Śiva, lord of all, leader of the gods, the soul of the indigent, of a mind without aberrations. You are the great Brahman, the goal of the good.

29. You are the kinsman of the distressed, the ocean of mercy, of wonderful sports, the vision of the great soul, the intelligent, the Immense Cosmic Being, the all-pervasive, the truth, the Existence, knowledge and Bliss as the characteristics.

Nandīśvara said:—

30. On hearing these words of the gods, Śiva, the great God, spoke to the gods and the great ancient sages.

31. Just as water poured into water, or milk poured into milk, or ghee poured into ghee becomes one with those things, so also Viṣṇu is merged into Śiva, not otherwise.

32. It was Viṣṇu alone in the form of the Man-lion, haughty and strong, engaged in the activity of annihilating the universe.

33. He shall be prayed and bowed by my devotees aspiring achievements. He is the foremost of my devotees and the granter of boons.

Nandīśvara said:—

34. After saying this, the lordly king of birds of great strength, vanished there itself even as all the gods were watching.

35. Lord Vīrabhadra, the leader of the Gaṇas, of great strength, peeled off the hide of the Man-lion and went to the mountain taking it with him.

36. From that time Śiva began to wear the hide of the Man-lion. His head was the leading bead in his necklace of skulls.

37. Then the gods freed from their distress began to sing the glory of this story. With their eyes blooming with wonder they returned the way they came.

38. He who reads or listens to the great narrative, which being sacred has the flavour of the Vedas, will realise all his desires

39. This narrative is conducive to wealth, fame, longevity and health. It increases prosperity, subdues obstacles and quells ailments.

40. It subdues misery, yields the fruits of desires and is the abode of auspicious features. It removes premature death, confers intelligence and destroys enemies.

41. This great form of Śiva in the form of Śarabha shall be made public only among the leading devotees of Śiva.

42. This shall be read and listened to only by them with their soul dedicated to Śiva. It then confers the ninefold devotion. It is divine. It purifies the inner mind and sense.

43. This shall be read during the festivals of Śiva, during the eighth and fourteenth Tithis, and at the installation of the idol. It then causes the presence of Śiva.

44-45. When there is danger from thieves, tigers, lions, one’s own or enemy kings, during commotions earthquakes and robberies, dust storms, when there is the fall of meteors, when there is draught or too much of raīn—during all these occasions he who reads this with purity becomes a great devotee of Śiva steady in his rites and very learned.

46. He who reads or listens to this without any specific desire and performs the rites of Śiva attains Rudra’s region and becomes a follower of Rudra.

47. O sage, after attaining Rudra’s region he rejoices with Rudra. Then he becomes one with Rudra by the mercy of Śiva.