The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “greatness of jyotirlingas and their upalingas” 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 1 - The greatness of Jyotirliṅgas and their Upaliṅgas

1. Obeisance for ever to that brilliance, half of whose body has been beautified by the daughter of the mountain; who, rid of all aberrations, assumes the shape of the worlds by means of his own Māyā; whose sympathetic glance, they say, brings about the wealth and glory in the form of heaven and salvation and whom the Yogins sec in their hearts as the one without a second and as the inner understanding and bliss.

2. May that mass of splendour, whatever it be, be auspicious, the splendour that has eyes gentle due to compassion; which has lotus-like face smiling charmly; which is brilliant with the digit of the moon; which subdues the terrible three-fold distresses; whose body of excessive bliss, existence and knowledge sheds brightness; and which is encircled by the arms of the daughter of the mountain, Pārvatī.

The sages said:—

3. O Sūta, the greatness of the incarnations of Śiva inclusive of their narratives, has been well explained by you with a desire for the welfare of the world.

4. O dear, may the excellent grandeur of Śiva be narrated with pleasure in connection with his phallic forms. You are blessed and the most excellent among the devotees of Śiva.

5. Listening from your lotus-like mouth, O holy lord, to the nectar-like glory of Śiva, we are never satiated. Let the same sweet narrative be repeated.

6-7. O disciple of Vyāsa, with a desire for the welfare of the worlds,. please narrate in detail those divine phallic images of the great lord whether they be on the earth in the different holy centres or in other places glorified by men.

Sūta said:—

8. O brahmins, O excellent sages, you have asked well. I shall explain them in brief with a desire for the welfare of the worlds and due to my affection for you.

9. O sage, there is no limit to the number of phallic images. The entire earth, the entire universe is in the form of a phallus.

10. The holy centres are equipped with phallic images. Everything is founded on these. There is no limit to their number. I shall mention a few of them.

11. Whatever is seen, described or remembered is Śiva’s form. Nothing other than that has real existence.

12-13. Still I shall explain in the manner I have heard. Let it be heard with pleasure O excellent sages, whatever images are there on the earth in the Pātāla or in heaven, everywhere Śiva is worshipped by the gods, Asuras and human beings.

14. O excellent ones, the three worlds consisting of the gods, Asuras and human beings are pervaded by Śiva in the form of phallic image for the welfare of the worlds.

15. In order to bless the worlds, lord Śiva assumes different phallic forms here in the holy centres as well as in other places.

16. Śiva incarnates in those places wherever he is devoutly remembered by the devotees. After carrying out their task he stations himself there.

17. He has assigned his phallic form for the benefit of the worlds. The devotee attains perfection by worshipping that form.

18. O noble ascetics, there is no limit to the number of his phallic images on the earth. Still I narrate the important ones.

19. Even among the important ones, I shall enumerate the principal ones, on hearing which a man instantly gets rid of his sins.

20. O excellent one, I shall mention the most important of the Jyotirliṅgas on hearing which a person becomes sinless.

21-24. He who reads or recites the twelve names early in the morning is freed from all sins and attains the fruits of all Siddhis. The twelve Jyotirliṅgas are—Somanātha in Saurāṣṭra, Mallikārjuna in Śrīśaila, Mahākāla in Ujjayinī Parameśvara in Oṃkāra, Kedāra on the Himavat, Bhīma-Śaṅkara in Dākinī (Ḍākinī?), Viśveśa in Vārāṇasī, Tryambaka on the bank of the Gautamī, Vaidyanātha in the cremation ground, Nāgeśa in the Dārukā forest, Rāmeśa at Setubandha and Ghuśmeśa at Śivālaya.

25. O great sages, such excellent men will attain those desires for which they recite the names.

26. Those who recite them without any desire but with purity of mind will never have rebirth involving residence in the mother’s womb.

27. By worshipping these, people of all castes get their miseries destroyed in this world and become liberated hereafter, to be sure.

28. The food offerings of these Jyotirliṅgas shall be taken and others shall be fed with the same. Such acts reduce the sins to ashes instantaneously.

29. O brahmins, the results of the worship of Jyotirliṅgas cannot be described adequately by Brahmā and others.

30. Even if one of them is worshipped continuously for six months, the misery of rebirth in the mother’s womb will never recur.

31. Even if a person of base birth happens to see Jyotirliṅga, he will be born in a pure and good family.

32. Being born in a good family he will become rich and master all the Vedas. Then by performing auspicious rites, he shall attain liberation without any obstacle.

33. O great sages, whoever he may be, an outcaste, a slave or an eunuch, he will be born as a brahmin and become liberated. Hence one shall view the Jyotirliṅga.

34. O excellent sages, a few of the fruits of the Jyotirliṅgas have been narrated by me. Let the Upaliṅgas (ancillary phallic forms) of these Jyotirliṅgas be listened to.

35. The Upaliṅga of Someśvara is called Antakeśa and it is installed at the confluence of the river Mahī and the ocean.[1]

36. The Upaliṅga of Mallikārjuna is glorified as Rudreśvara. It is pleasing and is stationed in Bhṛgukakṣa.[2]

37. The Upaliṅga of Mahākāla is well known as Dugdheśa. It is famous in the region of Narmadā and is remembered as destructive of all sins.

38. The Upaliṅga of Oṃkāra is famous as Kardameśa in the Bindu lake[3] and yields the fruits of all desires.

39. The Upaliṅga of Kedāreśvara is Bhūteśa on the banks of the Yamunā. It is destructive of sins of the visiting devotees.

40. The Upaliṅga of Bhīmaśaṅkara is Bhīmeśvara. It is famous in the Sahya mountain and it causes the increase of great strength.

41. The Upaliṅga of Nāgeśvara is Bhūteśvara. Installed on the banks of Mallikāsarasvatī,[4] it quells sins by the very sight.

42. The Upaliṅga attached to Rāmeśvara is Gupteśvara. The Upaliṅga attached to Ghuśmeśa is Vyāghreśvara.

43. O brahmins, thus I have mentioned the Upaliṅgas and the Jyotirliṅgas. They dispel sins by their sight and yield the fruit of all desires.

44. These are the most important ones. O excellent sages, let the other important ones also be heard.

Footnotes and references:


It is the conflurnce of the Mahi river that issues from the Sahyapāda hill and the Western ocean identical with the Arabian sea.


Bhṛgukakṣa is identical with Bharukaccha (Broach). It was the residence of the sage Bhṛgu.


Bindusaras is a Himalayan lake, the source of seven rivers Nalinī, Hlādinī, Pāvanī, śīlā, Cakṣu, Sindhu and Amitā. See Sircar pp. 58-59.


Not identified.