The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “incarnation of shiva named sureshvara” 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 32 - The incarnation of Śiva named Sureśvara

Nandīśvara said:—

1. O dear, listen, I shall narrate the incarnation of śiva, the great soul, as Indra in which he was beneficial to Dhaumya’s elder brother.

2. The intelligent son of Vyāghrapāda, Upamanyu, the beloved of the good, became the son of a sage in another birth. He achieved great attainments then.

3. Upamanyu, the son of Vyāghrapāda, while yet a small child stayed in his uncle’s house along with his mother. Due to adverse fate he was very poor.

4. Once he tasted a little milk in his uncle’s hermitage. Approaching his mother he implored for milk, yearning for it.

5. On hearing the words of her son the pitiable mother went in and thought of a proper means to satisfy the child.

6. She ground some seeds and grains she got by gleaning, into a paste with water. She gave this artificial milk to her son after fondling and coaxing him.

7. After drinking the artificial milk given by his mother the boy said “O, this is not milk” and cried again.

8. On hearing the cry of her son, she wiped off his lotus-like eyes and said in grief.

The mother said:—

9. How can we the dwellers of the forest for ever have milk? Without the grace of Śiva we can never have milk.

10. O son, only that can be attained what we had dedicated to Śiva in our previous birth. We need not worry in this matter.

11. On hearing the words of his mother, the son of Vyāghrapāda excessively fond of his mother, freed of his grief, replied to her,

12. “O blessed mother, do not grieve. Cast off this sorrow. If Śiva is the benefactor, everything will result in welfare.

13. O mother, listen to me. If there is lord Śiva anywhere, sooner or later I shall achieve, the ocean of milk”.

Nandīśvara said:—

14. After saying thus with pleasure and repeating “Let there be a welfare”, he bowed to his mother and left her. He began to perform penance.

15-16. It was on the mountain Himavat that he went to perform his penance with pure mind taking nothing in except air. He installed Śiva’s phallic image of clay after making a pedestal for it with eight bricks. He invoked Śiva along with Pārvatī into the phallic image with devotion. He repeated the five-syllabled mantra.[1] The boy worshipped Śiva with leaves, flowers and other things.

17. He meditated on Śiva along with Pārvatī repeating the five-syllabled mantra. Worshipping thus he performed great penance for a long time.

18. O sage, due to the penance of the boy Upamanyu, the great soul, the whole world consisting of the mobile and immobile beings blazed as it were.

19. In the meantime, requested by Viṣṇu aud others, Śiva assumed the form of Indra in order to test his devotion.

20. Pārvatī took the form of Śacī. The Gaṇas became the gods, Nandin became the elephant Airāvata. Everything belonging to Śiva became that of Indra.

21. Then Śiva accompanied by Pārvatī and the Gaṇas, and assuming the form of Indra went to the hermitage of Upamanyu in order to bless him.

22. O great sage, in order to test his devotion, Śiva in the form of Indra, spoke to the boy in a grave tone.

Indra said:—

Note: The dialogue between Indra and Upamanyu is reminiscent of the talk between Pārvatī and the student ascetic. Cp. Kālidāsa’s Kumāra. Canto V.

23. “O boy of good rites, I am pleased with you and your penance. Mention the boon you wish to have. I shall give you whatever you desire. There is no doubt about this.”

24. Thus addressed by Śiva in the form of Indra, the boy replied with palms joined in reverence, “I choose devotion into Śiva.”

25. On hearing it Indra said—“You do not know me the lord of the gods, the lord of the three worlds, Indra, bowed to by all the gods.

26. O brahmin sage, be my devotee. Worship me alone on every occasion. I shall grant you every benefit. Leave off Rudra devoid of attributes.

27. Enough of Rudra devoid of attributes. What purpose of yours can be achieved by his worship? He is out of the caste of the gods. He has become a Piśāca.

Nandīśvara said:—

28. On hearing these words, the son of the sage considered them an obstacle to his austerities. Repeating the five-syllabled mantra he told him who had come to create obstacles.

Upamanyu said:—

29. All this has been mentioned by you indulging in insult of Śiva. Incidentally you have mentioned that Śiva, the lord of the gods, is attributeless as well as Piśāca.

30. You do not know Śiva, lord of the chiefs of gods, the father and progenitor of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśa and greater than Prakṛti.

31. I choose the boon from that deity, whom the philosophers call eternal, the single, the multitude, separate from the existent and non-existent and the unmanifest.

32. I choose the boon from that deity whom the knowers of reality consider free from causations, disputes and the bestower of the principles of Sāṅkhya and Yoga.

33. There is no greater entity than lord Śiva who is beyond the attributes. He is the cause of all causes. He is the most excellent of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and other gods.

34. I do not wish to take a boon from you or Brahma or Viṣṇu. Nor do I want any boon from any other god. Let Śiva be the bestower of boons on me.

35. Of what avail is speaking much? I tell you the truth and my decision. I do not request any other god except Śiva.

36-37. O enemy of mountains, listen to my feeling in this matter. I infer that I have committed sins in the previous birth since I am forced to hear the insult to Śiva, on hearing which one shall shed his own mortal body at the very same moment. He goes to Śiva’s region thereby.

38. O base god, let it be that I had yearned for milk. I shall kill you by Śiva’s missile and then leave off my mortal frame.

Nandīśvara said:—

39. After saying thus, Upamanyu who was prepared to die, cast off his desire for milk and got ready to kill Indra.

40. He took some ashes from the receptacle and invoked it with the mantra Aghorāstra. The sage, thereafter discharged it against Indra and roared.

41. Remembering the feet of Śiva, his favourite deity, he got ready to burn himself. He stood there bearing the fiery pose.

42. When the brahmin was engaged thus, the lord in the form of Indra warded off the fiery pose of the Yogin by gentle means.

43. At the behest of Śiva, Nandin the favourite of Śiva delightedly caught hold of the Aghorāstra discharged by him, in the middle.

44. Assuming his own form with the moon for his crest, lord Śiva revealed it to the brahmin.

45. The lord then showed him a thousand milk oceans, the ocean of curds and the ocean of different foodstuffs.

46. Thus Śiva was seen seated on his bull accompained by the goddess. He was surrounded by the leading Gaṇas and the divine weapons, the trident and others.

47. The drums were sounded in the heaven. There was a shower of flowers. AH the ten quarters were covered by Brahmā, Viṣṇu and other gods.

48. Then Upamanyu was swept by the waves of the ocean of delight and he prostrated on the ground like a staff, with his mind humble with devotion.

49. In the meantime the smiling lord Śiva called him saying “Come on, Come on” and kissed him on the head. He granted him boons.

Śiva said:—

50. “Dear Upamanyu, I am pleased with your excellent behaviour. O brahmin sage, you are very firm in your devotion. I just desired to know you thoroughly.

51. Enjoy the pleasure of eating sumptuously forever along with your kinsmen. Be ever happy and free from misery. Be devoted to me.

52. O fortunate Upamanyu, you have been made eternally my son today. Pārvatī, here, is your mother.

53-54. O great sage, thousands of oceans of milk, card, ghee and honey, and of different foodstuffs I grant you lovingly. Accept them. I confer on you the state of a god and the eternal chieftainship of Gaṇas.

55. I, Śiva, am your father and she, Pārvatī, is your mother. Choose your boons whatever you desire.

56. Be unaging and undying and free from misery. You will be famous, brilliant and endowed with divine knowledge. You will be a great lord.”

57-58. Then considering his great penance, the delighted Śiva gave ten boons to the sage Upamanyu. He bestowed on him the knowledge of Śiva and his rites. He instructed him in the vows of Śiva. He gave him fluency of speech and efficiency. He bestowed his own region on him.

59. After granting him the boons, lord Śiva took him with both the hands, sniffed at his head and showed him to the goddess saying: “This is your son.”

60. Listening with pleasure and placing her hands on his head she granted him the everlasting status of a son.

61-62. She gave him undecaying, compressed ocean of milk, the prosperity and power of yoga, the undying knowledge of Brahman and the great assets.

63. After receiving from Śiva and Śivā the excellent boons, and the eternal status of their son, he rejoiced much.

64. Then the delighted sage requested the lord of the gods after bowing to him with palms joined in reverence.

Upamanyu said:—

65. O lord of gods, be pleased. O supreme lord, be pleased. Grant me the greatest devotion unto you, divine and unswerving.

66. O great god, give roe great faith in persons devoted to you, the state of being your servant, your great affection and your constant presence.

Nandīśvara said:—

67. After saying this, the delighted excellent brahmin Upamanyu eulogised great lord with words choked in delight.

68. Thus requested, Śiva, the lord of all, replied to Upamanyu, delightedly while everyone listened.

Śiva said:—

69. O dear Upamanyu, O sinless one, you are blessed. You are especially my devotee. Whatever has been chosen by you has been given to you.

70. Be unaging and undying and free from misery. Be respectable to all, free from aberrations and the foremost among devotees.

71. O excellent brahmin, yon will have undwindling kinsmen, family and race. Your devotion to me will be permanent.

72. O sage, I shall be ever present in your hermitage. Stay at ease. Do not be anxious.

Nandīśvara said:—

73. After saying this and granting him all excellent boons, the lord vanished from there, accompanied by Pārvatī and the Gaṇas.

74. After receiving excellent boons, the delighted Upamanyu went to the abode of his mother and described everything to her,

75. On hearing it, his mother was highly delighted. He became worthy of honour and respect of all. He attained great happiness.

76. O dear, thus, the incarnation of Śiva the great soul, as Indra has been explained to you. It bestows happiness to the good always.

77. This story is pious and it yields the fruits of all desires. It is conducive to heaven, fame and longevity. It yields worldly pleasures and salvation to the good.

78. He who listens to this with devotion and narrates this with purity of mind enjoys all pleasures here and attains Śiva’s goal hereafter.

Footnotes and references:


The five-syllabled mantra of śiva is “Namaḥ Śivāya”.