The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “incarnation of grihapati” 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 13 - The incarnation of Gṛhapati

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Nandīśvara said:—

1. O son of Brahmā, listen lovingly to the narrative of the moon-crested lord Śiva how he was born willingly in the house of Viśvānara.

2. He was Gṛhapati by name. O sage, he became the lord of Agniloka. The great lord, the soul of all, was fiery in form and brilliant too.

3. On the beautiful banks of Narmadā in the city of Dharmapura,[1] formerly there lived a devotee of Śiva, a soul, the sage Viśvānara.

4. While in the stage of celibacy, he was devoted to Brahmayajña rites. He belonged to the Śāṇḍilya lineage. He was pure, the storehouse of Brahminical splendour and had self-control.

5. He understood the real meaning of sacred lord. He followed the conduct of the virtuous. He was highly skilled in Śiva ethics. He was the foremost among the knowers of worldly conventions.

6. After pondering over the good qualities of an ideal housewife, Viśvānara married with due rites the daughter of Kāla who was really worthy of him.

7. He maintained the sacrificial fires. He was devoted to the performance of the five daily sacrifices.[2] He practised the six sacred rites every day.[3] He was fond of serving gods, manes and guests.

8. When a long time elapsed in that manner Śuciṣmatī the wife of that Brāhmaṇa who observed all rites spoke to her husband.

9. “O Lord, by your favour, all pleasures which women could expect have been enjoyed by me in your company.

10. O Lord, still a desire has been lurking in my heart for a long time. It is proper to all householders. You shall grant it to me.

Viśvānara said:—

11. O gentle lady of beautiful hips ever desirous of my welfare, what is there that cannot be granted to you? O lucky one, you may ask for it. I shall grant it to you without delay.

12. O good woman, by the favour of Lord Śiva, nothing is inaccessible to me either here or hereafter. Lord Śiva is the cause of all good.

Nandīśvara said:—

13. On hearing these words of her husband she who thought her husband to be a deity was delighted. Joining her palms in reverence she humbly said.

Śuciṣmatī said:—

14. O Lord, if I deserve a boon, if a boon is to be granted to me, please give me a son equal to Lord Śiva. I am not choosing any other boon.

Nandīśvara said:—

15. On hearing her words that Brahmin of pure rites entered into mystic trance for a short while and thought in his heart thus.

16 “What is this? This lady has wished for an extremely inaccessible thing. It is beyond the reach of wishes. Let it be. Only He does everything.

17. It is by Śiva himself stationing himself in her mouth in the form of speech that this has been said. This alone is possible. Who else could have endeavoured to say so?”

18. After thinking like this, the sage Viśvānara of liberal heart who strictly adhered to the principle of monogamy spoke to her.

19. After consoling his wife, the sage set out for penance to the city of Vārāṇasī where Lord Śiva himself is stationed.

20. Reaching Vārāṇasī immediately and seeing Maṇikarṇikā[4], he was freed from three distresses acquired in the course of hundreds of births.

21. He saw Viśveśvara and other phallic images. He performed ablutions in all holy ditches, wells, tanks and lakes.

22. He bowed to all Vināyakas and Śarvā Gaurī. He worshipped Kālarāja Bhaīrava who devours sins.

23. Strenuously he eulogised Daṇḍanāyaka and other Gaṇas, Ādikeśava and others. He propitiated Keśava.

24. He bowed to Lolārka and other suns again and again. Without lethargy he offered balls of rice in all the holy centres.

25. He satiated sages and brahmins by means of “feeding thousand” and other rites. With devotion he propitiated the phallic images of Śiva by means of great worship and service.

26. He thought frequently—“What is that phallic image that yields the result quickly? Where can the penance due to the longing for a son find ultimate rest.”

27. Thinking thus for a moment, the intelligent sage Viśvānara praised the Vīreśa form of Śiva which confers the blessings of a son immediately.

28. Innumerable thousands of Siddhas have derived the fulfilment of their desire from the worship of Śiva. Hence Vīreśa is famous as the Fruit-yielding phallic image.

29. If any one worships the Vīreśvara phallic image for a year with great devotion he obtains longevity, cherished desires, sons and other things.

30. I too shall worship Vīreśa here thrice a day and shall ere long acquire a son as desired by my wife.

31. After thinking like this, the intelligent brahmin, the contented Viśvānara took a bath in the well Candrakūpa and took the vow of the sacred rite.

32-34. For a month he lived on a single meal a day. For another month he took only the night-meal. He spent another month taking only the food he got without begging. He spent another month without any food. For another month he took only milk. For another month he took only fruits and vegetables. For another month he ate only a handful of gingelly seeds. For another month he took liquid diet. For another month he took only Pañcagavya. For another month he performed the Cāndrāyaṇa rite. For another month he drank water from the tip of Kuśa grass and for another month he had air alone as his food.

35. Thus far a full year he performed the wonderful penance. He worshipped the excellent Vīreśa thrice a day.

36-37. On the thirteenth month while he was going to Vīreśa after taking bath in the Gaṅgā river very early in the morning, the sage saw a child of eight years smeared with ashes all over the body, in the middle of the phallic image.

38. The child had eyes as long as his ears. He had ruddy lips. He had matted hair of beautiful tawny colour. He was naked and had a smiling face.

39. He had all the dress and features proper to childhood. He seemed intelligent. He was reciting hymns from the Vedas. He was laughing sportively.

40. On seeing him he was joyous. He was thrilled all over the body. He uttered the formula to you over and over again.

41. The contented Vaiśvānara eulogised Śiva, the great bliss in the form of child by means of eight verses that gave expression to his desire.

Viśvānara said:—

42. The Brahman is alone without a second. It is true. Indeed there is no multitude of different things. There is only one Rudra. There is none second to him.[5] Hence I seek refuge in you, the sole great lord.

43. O Śiva, you alone are the creator and annihilator of every thing. In the different forms you are of single form and formless. Just as the inner virtue is only one though it may seem to be many. Hence I do not resort to any one except you.

44. The snake in the rope, (he silver in the oyster shell, the water in the mirage—like that when he is known, the whole world vanishes and Sat alone remains. I resort to that great lord.

45. Coolness in the water, heat in the fire, the scorching nature in the sun and the pleasing gemleness in the moon, fragrance in the flower and the ghee in the milk—just, in that manner, O Śiva, you are the essense in the world. Hence I resort to you.

46. You the earless perceive sound; you the noseless perceive fragrance; you the footless come from far; you the eyeless see; you the tongueless perceive the taste. Who knows you really? Hence I seek refuge in you.

47. O lord, even the Vedas do not know you directly, nor Viṣṇu, nor the Creator of every thing, nor the leading Yogins, nor Indra and other gods. Only a devotee knows. Hence I seek refuge in you.

48. You have no spiritual lineage; you are unborn; you are immortal, formless without any prescribed conduct or native land. Still you are the lord of three worlds and you fulfil all our desires. I worship you.

49. Everything originates from you. You are all-in-all, O enemy of Kāma, you are the lord of Gaurī; you are naked and quiescent; you are old, youthful and the child. Whatever is, you are that. There is no source of your origin. I bow to you.

Nandīśvara said:—

50. After eulogising thus, when the brahmin fell on the ground with the joined hands, the boy became the aged of the aged and spoke delightedly to the brahmin.

The boy said:—

51. O Viśvānara, O excellent sage, O brahmin, propitiated by you I am very much delighted. Ask for the boon of your choice.

52. Then the delighted and contented sage Viśvānara stood up and replied to Śiva who had assumed the form of a boy.

Viśvānara said:—

53. O lord Śiva, what is it that is not known to you who are omniscient? You are lord Śarva the granter of everything and the immanent soul of all.

54. Why do you speak forcing me in the pity-provoking task of imploration? O lord Śiva, after knowing this, please do as you wish.

Nandīśvara said:—

55. On hearing the upright words of Viśvānara of pure rites, the lord in the form of a child, spoke smilingly.

56. O pious one, the desire that you have cherished in your heart regarding Śuciṣmatī will be certainly realised ere long.

57. O intelligent one, I shall become your son in Śuciṣmatī. I shall be known as Gṛhapati, pure and loved by all gods.

58. The hymn of eight verses of desire—Abhilāṣāṣṭaka—that you recited now, when recited thrice a day for a year in the vicinity of Śiva will yield all desires.

59. The recitation of this hymn yields sons, grandsons and wealth. It is conducive to the mollification of everything and quells all mishaps.

60. It is the cause of acquisition of heaven, emancipation and prosperity. There is no doubt in this. This is on a par with all other hymns. It always yields every desire.

61. If an issueless man gets up early in the morning, takes his bath, worships Śiva’s phallic image, recites this hymn and continues the practice for a year, he will surely secure a son.

62. The Abhilāṣāṣṭaka hymn shall not be taught to common people. It shall be preserved carefully as a secret mantra. It makes the most barren lady deliver of a child.

63. This hymn recited by a woman or a man with due observances in the presence of a phallic image for a year undoubtedly yields the birth of a son.

Nandīśvara said:—

64. After saying this, Śiva, the goal of the good and who assumed the form of a boy vanished. The brahmin Viśvānara returned to his house highly delighted.

Footnotes and references:


Dharmapura is a sacred Tīrtha situated on the northern bank of the Narmadā river, 8 miles from Pagārā, near the confluence of the Kubjā and Narmadā. It contains many temples and is supposed to be the Āśrama of the sage Dadhīci who gave away his bones to the gods for their protection from the demons.


The five daily sacrifices to be performed by a householder constitute brahmayajña, pitṛyajña, bhūtayajña and “nṛyajña” which are defined as:

adhyāpanaṃ brahmayajñaḥ pitṛyajñastu tarpaṇam |
homo daivo balirbhauto nṛyajño'tithipūjanam ||


The six acts enjoined on a Brāhmaṇa are mentioned in Maitrāyaṇī-saṃhitā 1?.75:

adhyāpanamadhyayanam yajanaṃ yājanaṃ tathā |
dānam pratigrahaścaiva ṣaṭa karmāṇyagrajanman||


It is a sacred pool in Vārāṇasī.


Cp TS. 1.8.6, 1; Nirukta 1.15.

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