The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “incarnation of grihapati (3)” 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 15 - The incarnation of Gṛhapati (3)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Nandīśvara said:—

1. On hearing the revelation of Nārada, Viśvānara and his wife considered it a terrible bolt from the blue.

2. He shouted “O I am doomed!” He beat his chest. Excited by the grief about his son he fell into a great swoon.

3. The grief-stricken Śuciṣmatī too lamented much. Her senses were benumbed and she. lamented aloud.

4. On hearing her loud lamentation, Viśvānara woke up from his swoon. He cried aloud “What is this? What is this? Where is Gṛhapati my vital breath who stands outside and who is the lord of all the senses lodged within me.

5. On seeing his parents excessively grieved, the boy Gṛhapati, a part of Śiva, smiled and said.

Gṛhapati said:—

6. O Mother, O Father, what is the reason? Please tell me now. Why do both of you cry? What and whence is such a fright for you?

7. Time and pitiable fickle existence cannot affect me, whose body is guarded by the dust-particles of your feet.

8. O my parents, please listen to my vow. If I am your true son, I will do that whereby death itself will be terrified.

9. I shall propitiate lord Śiva, the conqueror of death, the omniscient and the bestower of all to the good. I shall perform the Japa of Mahākāla. O parents, I am telling you the truth.

Nandīśvara said:—

10. On hearing his words the aged branmin couple were freed of their distress by the untimely showers of nectar. They then spoke.

The brahmin couple said:—

11. Say again. Say again. What is it? What is it? Speak again. Time and pitiable fickle existence will not affect you?

12. A great means has been suggested by you to dispel our distress, that of the propitiation of lord Śiva, the conqueror of death.

13. The same is the result for those who seek refuge in Śiva who dispels sins and does everything beyond the path of our desire. There is nothing better than this.

14. O dear, haven’t you heard that the slayer of the Tripuras protected, in days of yore, Śvetaketu who was bound by the noose of Kāla?

15. When Śilāda’s son was threatened by death, when he was only eight, Śiva saved him and made him his own attendant as Nandin, the delighter of the whole universe.

16. He protected the three worlds by drinking off the terrible poison as fearful as the fire at the hour of dissolution, when it was produced at the churning of the milk-ocean.

17. With the wheel raised up by the line drawn with his beautiful toe he killed the haughty Jalandhara who had deprived the three worlds of their pleasure.

18. He burnt the Tripuras, who were haughty and deluded by their lordship of the three worlds, by means of the blazing fires emanating from the fall of a single arrow.

19. Even as Brahmā and others were watching, he reduced Kāma to ashes by a single glance, Kāma whose strength had been enhanced by his conquest of the three worlds.

20. O son, seek refuge in that Śiva, the amulet of protection of the universe, the sole creator of Indra, Acyuta, Brahmā and others.

Nandīśvara said:—

21. Thus he secured the permission of his parents. He bowed at their feet and circumambulated them. He then pacified them and started.

22-25. He reached Kāśī inaccessible even to Brahmā, Viṣṇu and others. He reached Kāśī that dispels all recurring distress, that is protected by Viśveśa, that shines with the celestial river Gaṅgā as with a necklace round its neck, that shines splendidly by the presence of Pārvatī, the consort of Śiva and of wonderful qualities. After reaching Kāśī he went to Maṇikarṇikā at the outset. After taking bath in accordance with the injunctions of the Śāstras he saw Lord Viśveśvara[1] with palms joined and head bent in reverence. The intelligent brahmin was greatly delighted. He bowed to lord Śiva who instils life into and protects the three worlds.

26. Seeing that phallic image of Śiva again and again he was delighted in his heart and thought—“Undoubtedly this is possessed of great bliss.”

27. Hā, there is none more blessed than I in the three worlds consisting of the mobile and immobile beings since today I have seen here the lord Viśveśvara.

28. It is only to enhance my good fortune that sage Nārada formerly came and told me that. I am therefore very much contented.

29-31. By the nectarine juice of bliss he concluded the sacred rite. Then on an auspicious day he installed the phallic image, the bestower of all benefits. He adopted austere rites difficult to be performed by those who have no control over themselves. He filled pots with the water of the Gaṅgā strained and purified by means of a cloth. Every day he bathed the phallic image with hundred and eight potfulls of water. Then he put a garland of blue lotus round the deity.

32. He wreathed the garlands with a thousand and eight flowers. He ate fruits, roots and bulbous roots once in a fortnight or a month.

33. The courageous devotee spent six months by eating withered leaves. The remaining six months he spent drinking drops of water or simply breathing.

34. O Brahmins, thus a year in the life of that noble soul passed by, performing the penance with the devoted mind resting only in Śiva.

35. In the twelfth year of his life, the thunderbolt, armed Indra approached him as if fulfilling the utterance of Nārada.

36. He said—“O brahmin, I am Indra, I am delighted at your holy rites. Ask for the boon you wish to have. I shall give you whatever desire you have in your mind.

37. On hearing the words of lord Indra, the son of the sage spoke these words boldly and sweetly.

Gṛhapati said:—

38. “O Indra, O enemy of Vṛtra, I know you as armed with the thunderbolt. I do not want a boon from you. Śiva is the granter of boon to me.”

Indra said:—

39. O child, Śiva is not separate from me. I am the lord of gods. Give up your foolhardiness and ask for a boon from me. Do not delay.

Gṛhapati said:—

40. O Paramour of Ahalyā[2], O wicked one, O enemy of mountains, O chastiser of Pāka, it is quite clear that I shall not ask any other god except Śiva for a boon.

Nandīśvara said:—

41. On hearing his words, lndra’s eyes turned red with fury. He raised his terrible thunderbolt and threatened the boy with dire consequences.

42. On seeing the thunderbolt with the flames of lightning, the boy remembered the words of Nārada. He became frightened and fell into a swoon.

43. Then Śiva, the lord of Pārvatī, the dīspeller of darkness appeared in front. As though enlivening him with gentle strokings he said:—“Stand up. Stand up. May good come up to you.”

44. Opening his eyes resembling the lotus that had gone to sleep at the end of the day and getting up, he saw Śiva shining more brilliantly than hundred suns.

45-49. Seeing the lord with the eyes in the fore-head, blue-necked, bull-bannered, moon-crested, with Pārvatī occupying the left side, shining with matted hair, armed with the trident and Ajagava bow, possessed of limbs shining white like camphor, clad in the elephant’s hide, he recognised the lord as the great God described in the Āgamas and statements of his preceptor. He was delighted and he evinced the thrill of hair. For a moment he stood motionless like the mountain Citrakūta.[3] He forgot himself like a man suddenly becoming rich. He was unable to eulogise or bow down or plead for anything. Then Śiva smiled and said.

Śiva said:—

50. O child Gṛhapati, I know that you are frightened of Indra with the thunderbolt in his lifted hand. Don’t be afraid, I only wanted to know your nature.

51. Neither Indra, nor the thunderbolt, nor even the god of death is powerful to molest my devotee. You have been terrified by me alone in the form of Indra.

52. O gentle one, I shall grant you the boon. I confer the title of Agni on you. I authorise you to grant boons to whatever deity you think fit.

53. O Agni, you will be moving in the midst of all mortals. Acquire kingship as the guardian of the quarter in the south-east.

54. The phallic image installed by you will be known by your name. It will be known as Agnīśvara and it will be conducive to the enhancement of all splendour.

55. The devotees of Agnīśvara need not fear lightning and fire. They will never suffer from impaired digestion or premature death.

56. A person who worships Agnīśvara, the bestower of prosperity, at Vārāṇasī, is honoured in the region of fire even if, by chance, he dies elsewhere.

Nandīśvara said:—

57. After saying this and fetching his kinsmen Śiva crowned him as the guardian of the quarter. Even as the parents watched it, Śiva entered his phallic image

58. Thus, O dear, the incarnation of Śiva as fire has been explained to you. This incarnation of Śiva, the great soul, is famous as Gṛhapati also.

59. The city of Citrahotra is beautiful, pleasant and finely lustrous. Those who are devotees of fire stay there.

60. People of steady Sāttvika quality and control over their sense-organs, who enter fire, or women endowed with Sattva quality become as lustrous as fire.

61. Brahmins performing Agnihotra regularly, Brahmacārins maintaining sacrificial fires, and those who stay amidst five fires become as splendrous as fire in the region of fire.

62. He who makes gifts of bundles of fuel during winter for alleviating chillness or he who makes fire-bricks (of cow-dung) stays with fire.

63. He who faithfully performs the rites of cremation for the unclaimed bodies or he who urges others to do so, himself being incapable, is honoured in the region of fire.

64. Fire alone is the greatest means of salvation for the brahmins. He is the preceptor, the lord, the sacred rite, the holy centre. Certainly everything is fire.

65. All unholy things become pure the moment they come into contact with fire. Therefore fire is called Purifier,

66. The fire is certainly the immanent soul of man. Even morsels of flesh it will digest in the stomach, but not the muscles of women.

67. The fiery form of Śiva is in the form of the fire visible. Excepting this what else is seen as creative, protective and destructive?

68. Fire is the eye of the lord of the three worlds. In this world of pitch darkness what else than this becomes the illuminator?

69. The incense, the lights, the food offerings, milk, curd, ghee and sugarcane juice—all these go unto the dwellers of heaven when offered into the fire here.

Footnotes and references:


Installed at Vārāṇasī, Viśveśvara is one of the twelve, great phallic images of lord Śiva. It has been for many centuries the chief object of worship. Its propitiation is said to result in the increase of material wealth and spiritual attainment.


The epithet speaks contemptuously of Indra. He is called the seducer of Ahalya—the wife of the sage Gautama, for which he was cursed by the sage. As a result of Gautama’s imprecation Indra bore a thousand marks resembling a female organ which afterwards charged to eyes.


The text of the second Pāda of Verse 84 is defective.

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