The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “incarnation of grihapati (2)” 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 14 - The incarnation of Gṛhapati (2)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Nandīśvara said:—

1. With great delight the brahmin returned home and told his beloved wife all those details.

2. On hearing it, Śuciṣmatī, the wife of the brahmin, rejoiced much and being full of love she praised her good fortune.

3. She became pregnant in due course. The brahmin performed the rite of impregnation[1] duly.

4. Before the stir and throb of the child in the womb was felt, the learned Brahmin performed the holy rite of Puṃsavana[2] in the manner prescribed in the Gṛhyasūtras for the growth of embryo’s manliness.

5. Then in the eighth month he performed the holy rite of Sīmanta[3] which is conducive to the growth of the embryo and which facilitates easy delivery of the child.

6-9. Then at the conjunction of stars when Jupiter was in the centre, when the Lagna was auspicious, when the good planets stood in pairs, Śiva, the giver of happiness to all, was born as the son of Śuciṣmatī. His face resembled the moon. The lamps in the lying-in-chamber were dimmed by his bodily lustre. The lord, the destroyer of misfortunes and the bestower of happiness to the dwellers of the Earth, the nether worlds and the heaven was born as the son. The smoke exuding therefrom became the perfume to sweeten the breath of the quarters. The immense clouds showered flowers of pleasing fragrance. The divine drums were sounded and the quarters were brightened up.

10. The rivers became transparent as also the minds of living beings. The darkness of evil dwindled and the Rajas was stripped of its quality or of its dust.

11. The living creatures were endowed with Sattva quality. There was a shower of nectar. People began to talk sweet and pleasant words.

12-13. Rambhā and other celestial damsels arrived with auspicious articles in their hands. Thousands of Vidyādharīs, Kinnarīs, Goddesses, the womenfolk of Gandharvas, serpents and Yakṣas of sweet voice flocked singing auspicious songs.

14-20. The following sages came there—Marīci, Atri, Pulaha, Pulastya, Kratu, Aṅgiras, Vasiṣṭha, Kaśyapa, Agastya, Vibhāṇḍa son of Māṇḍavī, Lomaśa, Romacaraṇa, Bharadvāja, Gautama, Bhṛgu, Gālava, Garga, Jātūkarṇa, Parāśara, Āpastamba, Yājñavalkya, Dakṣa, Vālmīki, Mudgala, Śātātapa Likhita, Śilāda, Śaṅkha, Uñcchabhuk, Jamadagni, Saṃvarta, Mataṅga, Bharata, Aṃśumān, Vyāsa Kātyāyana, Kutsa, Śaunaka, Suśruta, Śuka, Ṛṣyaśṛṅga, Durvāsas, Śuci, Nārada, Tumburu, Uttaṅka, Vāmadeva, Pavana, Asīta, Devala, Sālaṅkāyana, Hārīta, Viśvāmitra, Bhārgava, Mṛkaṇḍu with his son, Parvata, Dāruka, Dhaumya, Upamanyu Vatsa and others came to the happy hermitage of Viśvānara for the auspicious Śānti ceremony. The daughters of the sages too came there.

21. Brahmā came there with Bṛhaspati. Lord Viṣṇu came riding on Garuḍa as vehicle. The bull-bannered lord came there with Gaurī, Nandin, Bhṛṅgī and others.

22. Mahendra and other gods, the Nāgas residing in the nether regions came there. Taking gems with them many great oceans and rivers came there.

23. Thousands of immobile beings came there in the forms of the mobile beings. During the great festivities then there was an untimely flood of moonlight.

24-25. Brahmā himself performed the postnatal rite[4] after bowing to the infant. In consonance with his form and beauty he gave him the name[5] of Gṛhapati on the eleventh day in accordance with injunctions, repeating the Vedic mantras.

26. After conferring blessings on everyone by reciting the mantras from the four Vedas, Brahmā left the place while riding on the swan.

27. After affording proper safeguards for the child in accordance with worldly conventions Śiva returned to his abode on his vehicle along with Viṣṇu.

28-30. The visitors praised the infant. They were at the height of their joy. They spoke in unison “O what a beauty! What a splendour! All the characteristic signs are there in all the limbs. How fortunate is Śuciṣmatī! Śiva himself is born. What is surprising in this? Śiva has incarnated in all devotees. Śiva has been worshipped by her.” Then they took leave of Viśvānara and departed.

31. The eternal Veda says—‘A person conquers the worlds through a son. Hence all householders wish for a son.

32. The house of a sonless person is a void. His earnings are futile. His penance is split. It is not holy due to the want of a son.

33. Both here and hereafter there is no better acquisition than a son; there is no better happiness than a son; there is no greater friend than a son.

34. In the fourth month the rite of “crossing the threshold” was performed by the father.[6] At the end of six months the rite of Annaprāśana[7] and at the end of a year the tonsure ceremony[8] was performed.

35. The knower rites performed the Karṇavedha rite[9] under the constellation of Sravaṇa. In order to enhance his brahminical splendour he made him perform an auspicious Vrata[10] in his fifth year.

36. After celebrating the Upākarma rite,[11] the intelligent sage taught him the Vedas. The boy learned the Vedas for a year with their ancillaries. He learnt the Padapāṭha and Kramapāṭha of the Vedas.

37. Evincing his humility and other qualities, the competent youth grasped the lore almost by himself but formally through the preceptor just as a medium.

38. In his ninth year, Nārada came there to see Gṛhapati, son of Viśvānara, and found him engaged in serving his parents.

39. The divine sage reached the hut of Viśvānara, received due hospitality and seated himself. Eagerly he enquired of his health.

40. He remembered the lotus-like feet of Śiva and mentioned to Viśvānara the future fortune and activities of his son.

41-42. Nārada said to the boy “O son of Viśvānara come on. Sit on my lap. I shall study your characteristics. Show me your right hand.” On being thus addressed, the boy bowed to Nārada after receiving the permission of his parents. With great devotion the glorious child sat there humbly.

Nandīśvara said:—

43. Examining closely the palate, tongue etc. (of the boy) the intelligent Nārada spoke to Viśvānara, urged by Śiva.

Nārada said:—

44. “O sage Viśvānara, listen. I shall mention the detailed characteristic marks of your son. Your son bears good marks on every limb. He possesses all good signs.

45. But fate alone must guard this boy duly, this boy who has all good qualities, who is characterised by all good features and who is possessed of all pure digits in their entirety.

46. This child should be protected with all efforts. When the fate is adverse, even good qualities assume the state of defects.

47. In the twelfth month from now I suspect a great danger to him from lightning and fire.” After saying this Nārada returned to heaven the way he had come.

Footnotes and references:


Garbhādhāna or Garbhālambhana is a rite by the performance of which a woman receives semen scattered by her husband.

“garbhaḥ satdhāryate yenakarmaṇa tadgarbhātrānamityanugatārtha (?) karmanāmadheyam”—P.M 1. 4. 2.

The saṃskāra presupposes a well established home, a regular marriage, a desire of possessing children and a religious idea that beneficent gods help men in begetting children.


The rite of seeking a male child (Puṃsavana) is performed in the third or fourth month of pregnancy or even later, on the day when the moon is on a male constellation on Tiṣya particularly.


In this rite the hairs of the pregnant woman are parted in the sixth or eighth month of pregnancy. (ṣaṣṭhe'ṣṭame vā sīmantaḥ) Yājñavalkya 1. 11. This is done to ward of evil spirits who are bent on sucking the blood of the foetus.


See P. 1090 Note.


The Nāmakaraṇa (name-giving) was more a custom than a ceremony at first but it was later on included in the saṃskāras. The ceremony is performed on an auspicious day ranging from the tenth up to the first day of the second year.


According to this Purāṇa, the ceremony of taking the child out of the house is performed in the fourth month. But there is a wide option about the lime of this saṃskāra.


The rite of feeding the child for the first time is performed in the sixth, eighth, ninth, tenth or even at the expiry of a year. But the right occasion is when the child’s teeth come out


The rite of shaving, cutting the hair and nails is performed to remove the impurities and impart good health. This is done at the end of fìrst year or before the expiry of the third year.


The ceremony of boring the cars of the child is performed as precaution against hydrocele and hernia. Cp Suśruta, Cikitsā 19. 21.


The rite of learning alphabets was performed in the fifth year when the mind of the child was prepared to receive education.


The ceremony of initiation arose out of the civil nerds of the community at first. But it revived a religious colouring later on, for every function was in need of religious sanction for its validity.

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