The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “shiva’s incarnation as the student-ascetic (jatila)” 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 33 - Śiva’s incarnation as the student-ascetic (Jaṭila)

Nandīśvara said:—

1. O Sanatkumāra, listen to the incarnation of Śiva the great soul. It is named Jaṭila and is very sanctifying.

2. After abandoning her body when she was insulted by her own father in the sacrificial hall, Satī, the daughter of Dakṣa, was born of Menā and the mountain Himavat.

3. Desiring to attain Śiva as her husband, she went to the dense forest and performed a pure penance. She was attended upon by two of her friends.

4. In order to test her penance, Śiva an expert in various kinds of sports sent the seven sages[1] to the penance grove of Pārvatī.

5. The sages went there and thoroughly tested her. As she was strenuous in her effort they could not dissuade her from her penance.

6. They returned and bowed to Śiva. After mentioning all the details to him and obtaining his permission they returned to heaven eagerly.

7. When they had gone to their abodes, lord Śiva, the cause of excellent sports, desired to test Śiva’s activity himself.

8. Then the lord assumed the pleasant, self-controlled and wonderful form of a student-ascetic.

9. He looked very old and had assumed the body of a brahmin. He was shining with brilliance. He had a staff and an umbrella. He was mentally delighted.

10. Assuming this form of a Jaṭila (one with matted hair), the delighted Śiva, favourably disposed to his devotees went to the penance-grove of Pārvatī.

11. There he saw the goddess Pārvatī, seated on the dais surrounded by her friends. She appeared like the pure digit of the moon.

12. On seeing the goddess, Śiva who is favourably disposed to his devotees and who had assumed the form of a student-ascetic approached her eagerly and lovingly.

13-14. On seeing the brahmin visitor of wonderful splendour, quiet with hairy limbs, bearing the staff and hide of deer, the aged bachelor with matted hair and the water-pot, she welcomed and worshipped him with all the articles of worship.

15. The goddess Pārvatī enquired after the health of that aged bachelor respectfully after worshipping him with great joy.

16. “O most excellent one among the knowers of the Vedas, who are you, please, in the guise of a student-ascetic and whence have you come illuminating this forest?

Nandīśvara said:—

17. On being asked thus by Pārvatī, that brahmin replied immediately with great pleasure in order to test the feelings of Śivā.

The student-ascetic said:

18. I am a brahmin bachelor going about here and there as I please. I am a saint pleasing and helping others undoubtedly.

Nandīśvara said:—

19. After saying this, the bachelor Śiva, who is favourably disposed to his devotees, stood near her concealing his real form.

The student-ascetic said:

20. What shall I say, O great lady? There is nothing to be mentioned. A great calamity seems to have happened, extremely confusing.[2]

21. In your fresh youth, the means of good enjoyment and the cause of happiness through all requisite articles of pleasure, you are performing this penance in vain.

22. Who are you? Whose daughter are you? Why are you performing a penance in this desolate forest? Your penance is such as cannot be outdone even by sages of elevated souls.

Nandīśvara said:—

23. On hearing his words, Pārvatī laughed and spoke to the excellent student ascetic with reverence.

Pārvatī said:—

24. O sage, O brahmin bachelor, listen to the details of my wife. I am born in Bhārata in the house of Himavat.

25. Formerly my birth was in the house of Dakṣa. I was then Satī, the wife of Śiva. On account of my father’s insulting my husband I cast off my body by means of Yoga.

26. O brahmin, in this birth too, Śiva came my way due to merit but he reduced Kāma to ashes, abandoned me and went away.

27. When Śiva went away I was overwhelmed with grief. A bit ashamed, I came away from my house to this place for performing penance after being initiated by the statement of my preceptor.

28. Mentally, verbally and through activities too, Śiva has been chosen by me as my husband. I am telling you the truth and not falsehood.

29. I know that this is an extremely inaccessible object. How can I achieve it? Still, thanks to the great zeal, this penance is being pursued by me now.

30. Leaving off Indra and other gods, Viṣṇu and Brahmā I wish to obtain Śiva as my husband really.

Nandīśvara said:—

31. O sage, on hearing these firm words of Pārvatī that Jaṭila Rudra laughingly spoke again.

Jaṭila said:—

32. O gentle lady, O daughter of Himavat, what is this idea that has struck you? You are performing this great penance for obtaining Śiva after leaving off all the gods.

33. I know that Śiva. Listen. I shall tell you that bull-bannered Śiva wears matted hair and is ill-mannered.

34. He is an isolationist for ever. Particularly he is a detached fellow. Hence it does not behove you to get mentally entangled with him.

35. O gentle lady, your features etc. and those of Śiva are ill-matched. I do not like this. But do as you please.

Nandīśvara said:—

36. After saying this, Śiva in the guise of a student-ascetic rebuked himself in her presence in order to test her.

37. On hearing his intolerable words, Pārvatī replied extremely infuriated at him who was engrossed in insulting Śiva.

38. Till now I thought that you would be some one fit to be killed. But now it is quite clear that you are not to be killed.

39. You are some foolish knave in the guise of a student-ascetic. O fool, Śiva has been insulted by you. Hence, I am infuriated.

40. You do not know Śiva. You arc averse to Śiva. Since I had already welcomed and honoured you I am now distressed.

41. The accumulated merits of the person who insults Śiva without knowing reality are reduced to ashes.

42. One should perform expiation after touching a Śiva-hater.

43. O wicked fellow, you said I know Śiva. Certainly he is not known to you. Śiva alone is the great lord.

44. Assuming many guises through his Māyā, Rudra may appear in any form. But the beloved of the good, having no aberrations, lavishly bestows all desired things on me.

Nandīśvara said:—

45. After saying this, Pārvatī expatiated on Śiva’s principle, where Śiva was explained as attributeless and unchanging performing the penance of Brahman.

46-47. On hearing her words, the brahmin began to say something; but by that time, Pārvatī whose mind was attached to Śiva and who was averse to Śiva being insulted, immediately spoke to her friend Vijayā.

Pārvatī said:—

48. Friend, this base brahmin must be prevented. He is going to speak again. He is sure to insult Śiva.

49. It is not only the censurer of Śiva who becomes sinful but also he who listens to such insults.

50. A rebuker of Śiva shall be slain by all means by Śiva’s attendants. If he happens to be a brahmin he shall be abandoned. He shall go away from that place immediately.

51. This wicked fellow will insult Śiva again. Being a brahmin he cannot be killed. He shall be abandoned. He should not even be looked at.

52. Let us leave this place and go elsewhere. Do not delay, lest there should be any further talk with this ignorant man.

Nandīśvara said:—

53. O sage, after saying this Pārvatī was just to walk away when Śiva revealed himself and caught hold of her cloth.

54. After assuming that divine form which Pārvatī was meditating upon, Śiva spoke to her as she stood face downwards.

Śiva said:—

55. “O Pārvatī, where are you going, leaving me? You cannot be forsaken by me. You have been tested by me O faultless one, you are really steady in your devotion to me.

56. Desirous of knowing your feelings I have approached you in the guise of a student-asectic and spoke these diverse words.

57. O Pārvatī, I am delighted at your steady devotion. Mention the boon that you have cherished in your mind. There is nothing that cannot be given to you.

58. O loving lady, I have been made your slave from now onwards by means of your penance. Due to your beauty, even a moment seems to expand into a Yoga.

59. Leave off your bashfulness. You are my eternal wife. O beloved, come on, I shall go to my hilly abode along with you.”

60. When the lord of gods said thus, Pārvatī rejoiced much. Whatever misery she experienced in performing the penance, she cast off immediately.

61. On seeing that divine form of Śiva, Pārvatī replied to the lord with face lowered due to bashfulness.

Pārvatī said:—

62-63. O lord of gods, if you are delighted, if you have pity on me, be my lord and husband.”

Nandīśvara said:—

Thus requested by Pārvatī Śiva took her hand duly and went to Kailāsa along with her. On getting him as her lord, she carried out the task of the gods.

64. O dear, thus the incarnation of Śiva in the form of a student-ascctic wherein he tested the feelings of Pārvatī has been narrated to you.

64. This narrative explained by me is faultless and magnificent. He who listens to this with pleasure becomes happy and attains salvation.

Footnotes and references:


The seven sages are: Marīci, Atri, Aṅgiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu and Vasiṣṭha. See P. 163 note.


For the close similarity of ideas and verbal expressions in verses 20 to 61, see Kālidāsa’s Kumāra V., also Rudrasaṃhitā, Pārvatī-khaṇḍa, Chs 26, 27.