The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “greatness of atrishvara” 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 4 - The greatness of Atrīśvara

Sūta said:—

1. Once that great sage Atri, the foremost among the knowers of Brahman woke up and spoke to his wife “Give me water.”

2-3. Of course the chaste lady took the water pot and went into the forest. (But she began to muse) “Whence can I fetch water? What shall I do? Where shall I go? How can water be fetched?” Wondering thus she saw Gaṅgā.

4. By the time she went over to her, Gaṅgā, the most excellent river, assumed a beautiful form and spoke to her.

Gaṅgā said:—

5. O gentle lady, I am delighted with you. Where are you going? Tell me now. O fortunate lady, you are blessed. I shall truly carry out your behest.

Sūta said:—

6. On hearing her words the saintly woman, the wife of the sage, was greatly surprised O brahmins. She replied with great pleasure.

Anasūyā said:—

7. O beautiful lady with eyes like lotus-petals, whence have you come? Please tell me the truth. A chaste lady speaks good words.

Sūta said:—

8. O great sages, when the wife of the sage spoke thus, the divine formed Gaṅgā, the foremost of the rivers, said.

Gaṅgā said:—

9. O chaste lady, on seeing the service rendered by you unto your lord and to Śiva the great soul and on taking view of your holy rites, I am staying near you.

10. O lady of pure smiles, I am Gaṅgā come here attracted by your worship. Choose whatever you wish.

Sūta said:—

11. On hearing what Gaṅgā said, the chaste lady bowed to her and said—“If you are pleased madam, give me water now.”

12. On hearing her words Gaṅgā said—“Dig a pit.” She then made a pit in a trice, came and stood before her.

13. Gaṅgā entered the pit which became full of water In surprise, Anasūyā took the water.

14. Anasūyā the wife of the sage spoke for the welfare of the people to Gaṅgā, the excellent river of divine form.

Anasūyā said:—

15. If you are delighted, if you have sympathy for me you will please stay here till my husband comes.

Sūta said:—

16. On hearing the words of Anasūyā pleasing to the good, the delighted Gaṅgā said—“O sinless lady, you will give my water to Atri.”

17. When Gaṅgā said thus, Anasūyā acted accordingly. She gave the divine water to her lord and stood before him.

18. The sage performed the Ācamana duly with great pleasure and drank the divine water. On drinking it he derived great happiness.

19. “O this is not the water usually drunk by me.” After thinking thus he suddenly looked all round.

20. On seeing the trees dry and withered and the quarters rough and arid, the excellent sage spoke to her “No rain has fallen?”

21. On hearing what he said, the beloved lady replied in the negative. He then asked her whence she brought that water for him.

22. When he said this, O great sages, Anasūyā was much surprised. She then thought within herself.

23. “If I tell him the truth it will be the exhibition of my greatness. If I do not tell him, it will be a violation of my rites.

24. I shall tell him in a manner to avoid the contingencies. Even as she was musing thus, she was asked again and again.

25. Then, thanks to the blessings of Śiva, an intelligent idea struck her mind.

“O lord, please hear me. I shall tell you what has happened.”

Anasūyā said:—

26. “Thanks to the power of Śiva and you merits, Gaṅgā has come here herself. This is her water, to be sure.”

Sūta said:—

27. On hearing this, the sage was surprised in his mind. Remembering Śiva mentally he spoke to his beloved with great pleasure.

Atri said:—

28. O beloved, O beautiful lady, whether you speak truth or lie, I cannot believe it. This is something rare.

29. O auspicious lady, how did that happen which is impossible even to the yogins and the gods. I am extremely surprised.

30. If I sec that myself I shall believe it, not otherwise. On hearing his words the beloved wife spoke to the husband:—

Anasūyā said:—

31. O lord, O great sage, please come with me if you wish to see Gaṅgā, the foremost among the rivers.

Sūta said:—

32. After saying this and remembering Śiva, the chaste lady took her husband to the place where Gaṅgā, the foremost among the rivers was present.

33. There the chaste lady showed to her husband Gaṅgā of divine form stationed within the pit.

34. Going there and seeing the beautiful pit full to the brim with water, the excellent sage said—“She is blessed.”

35. “Is this the fruit of my own penance or of somebody else?” After saying this the leading sage eulogised her with devotion.

36. Then the sage took a clean bath in that excellent water. After performing the Ācamana he eulogised her again and again.

37. Anasūyā too took her bath in that beautiful, clear water. The sage performed the routine rites. Anasūyā too, of good rites, performed likewise.

38. Then Gaṅgā told her “I am returning to my place.” When this was said, the chaste lady spoke to the leading river again.

Anasūyā said:—

39. O goddess if you are delighted, if you are kind to me, you will stay īn this penance-grove for ever.

40. This is the nature of the great that once they accept a request they will never forego it. After expressing her desire with joined palms, she eulogised her again and again.

41. The sage said likewise—“O leading river, you shall stay. O goddess, be favourable to us and bless us with your support.”

42. On hearing his pleasing words, the leading river Gaṅgā was delighted in her mind and spoke to Anasūyā.

Gaṅgā said:—

43. I shall stay back for helping the gods if you pass on to me a year’s merit accruing to you by worshipping lord Śiva.

44. I am not so much satisfied with charitable gifts, or ceremonial ablutions in the holy centres or sacrifices or the practice of Yogic rites as I am satisfied with chastity.

45. O chaste lady, this is the truth I speak that the mind is not so pleased by any other means as it is pleased at the sight of a chaste lady.

46. On seeing a chaste lady, all my sins have perished. I have become purified and like Pārvatī have become chaste.

47. If you seek for welfare, you give up that merit for the benefit of the world, then I shall become steady and stable here.

Sūta said:—

48. On hearing these words, the chaste Anasūyā passed on a year’s merit to Gaṅgā.

49. It is the nature of the great that they do what is beneficial to others. The instance of gold-sandal and sugarcane juice may be cited.

50. On seeing this performance of Anasūya, a chaste woman, Lord Śiva was delighted and appeared out of his earthern phallic form.

Śiva said:—

51. O chaste lady, on seeing this activity of yours I am delighted. Mention the boon you wish to choose, since I am very fond of you.

52. Then the couple glanced at the wonderfully beautiful form of Śiva. On seeing five-faced Śiva they were much surprised.

53. Bowing to and eulogising Śiva, the benefactor of the worlds, the couple endowed with great devotion spoke to him after worshipping him.

The couple said:—

54. O lord of gods, if you are delighted, if the mother of the universe is also delighted, please stay in this penance-grove and be the bestower of happiness to the worlds.

55. Then the river Gaṅgā was delighted. Śiva too was pleased. They stayed at the hermitage of the excellent sage.

56. Lord Śiva, the destroyer of miseries was known as Atrīśvara. Gaṅgā too stayed in the pit by her magical power.

57. Thence onwards there is a perennial supply of water in that pit deep only by a hand’s length. Gaṅgā flows gently there.

58. Divine sages came there with their womenfolk and the sages who had formerly gone out of the various holy centres returned.

59. Barleys and food-grains were plenty. People interested in sacrifices performed these accompanied by the sages.

60. O great sages, delighted with these rites, clouds showered in plenty. There was great bliss in the world.

61. Thus the greatness of Atrīśvara has been explained to you. It is pleasing and conducive to worldly pleasures and salvation. It yields all desires and enhances devotion.