The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “death of the brahmin lady and the greatness of nandikeshvara” 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 5 - The death of the Brahmin lady and the greatness of Nandikeśvara

Sūta said:—

1. Nīlakaṇṭha, the great god, stands in the phallic form on the divine mountain, Kālañjara.[1] He is the bestower of bliss to the devotees always

2. His greatness is divine as glorified in Śrutis and Smṛtis. The holy centre there is of that name. By taking ceremonial ablution there, sins are quelled.

3. O great ones of good rites, there is no limit to the phallic forms of Śiva on the bank of Revā[2] that bestow all sorts of happiness.

4. The river itself is in the form of Rudra that quells sins by mere sight. Any stone or pebble within it is in the form of Śiva.

5. O great sages, still I shall enumerate and explain the important phallic forms that yield worldly pleasures here and salvation hereafter.

6. One with the good name of Ārteśvara is the dispeller of sins. What is famous as Parameśvara and what is remembered as Siṃheśvara (are good shrines).

7. Śarmeśa, Kumāreśvara, Puṇḍarīkeśvara and Maṇḍapeśvara are all well known.

8. Tīksṇeśa is there which quells sins at the very sight. What is called Dhundhureśvara is on the banks of the Narmadā river. It quells sins.

9. Śūleśvara, Kumbheśvara, Kubereśvara and Someśvara are very famous.

10. Maṅgaleśa is blue-necked and is a great bestower of auspiciousness. Lord Mahākapīśvara, was installed by Hanūmat.

11. Lord Nandika prevents the sins of a crore of murders. He is glorified as the bestower of the fruits of desire and salvation too.

12. If one worships Nandikeśa with great devotion one will certainly achieve all Siddhis.

13. O excellent sages, he who takes bath in the Revā or on its banks, realises all desires and gets rid of sins.

The sages said:—

14. O highly intelligent one, how is the greatness of Nandikeśa there. Let it be kindly mentioned by you now.

Sūta said:—

15. O sages, Śaunaka and others, you have well put the question. I shall narrate in the manner I have heard. Listen respectfully.

16. Formerly the excellent sage was asked by Yudhiṣṭhira. Out of affection for you, I shall tell you as he had mentioned then.

17. The city named Karṇikī[3] of great splendour shines on the western bank of the Revā. People of four castes reside there in plenty.

18. A certain noble brahmin there, born of the family of Utta, entrusted his wife to the care of his two sons and went to Kāśī.

19. The brahmin died there itself. On getting the news the two sons performed the obsequies.

20. The wife looked after the sons, seeking their welfare. After bringing up the sons she divided the assets.

21-22. She reserved some amount for her funeral expenses. After sometime when she was going to die, she made pious gifts of various sorts. O brahmins, providentially she did not die.

23. When she did not die providentially, the son observing her ailments said.

The sons said:—

24. O mother, what is amiss that you suffer so much. Please tell us so that we shall carry it out with pleasure.

Sūta said:—

25. On hearing these words she said—“There is much that is amiss. If you do the same I shall die happily.”

26. The elder son replied—“Please do mention. I shall do the same.” She then replied.

The brahmin lady said:—

27. O son, hear with attention. I had a great desire to go to Kāśī. That was not to be. Now I am dying here.

28. Dear son, my bones shall be cast off into the waters of the Gaṅgā assiduously. That pious act will bless you, to be sure.

Sūta said:—

29. When she of good rites and on the verge of death, said thus, the affectionate elder son replied to her.

The son said:—

30. “O mother, you shall die peacefully and with confidence. I shall carry out your task first and then attend to mine.”

31. After saying this, he handed water to her and went to his house. Remembering Śiva, she died in the meantime.

32. After performing her obsequies and the monthly Śrāddha he started on his journey.

33. The elder son who was famous as Suvāda took her bones and started on his pilgrimage.

34-35. He engaged a servant to accompany him. He consoled his wife and sons. He performed Śrāddha, Dāna and other pious rites. He then set out from his house after Maṅgala Smaraṇa accompanied by the servant.

36. He walked about twelve kilometres that day and when the sun set, he halted at the house of a certain Brahmin in the auspicious village of Viṃśatigrāma.131

37. He performed Sandhyā and other rites duly. He recited the hymns of prayer to Śiva of wonderful activities.

38-39. The brahmin stayed there accompanied by the servant. The night had passed by two muhūrtas when something surprising happened. O sages, listen attentively. I shall tell you everything.

Footnotes and references:


The Mbh. (III. 85. 56) associates Kālañjara with Citrakūṭa. According to this reference Kālañjara lies in the Madhya Bhārata formerly known as Bundel Khaṇḍa. Cunningham (A. G. see map at the end) places it to the cast of Mahoba, below Citrakūṭa.


Revā identical with the Narmadā river issues from the Ṛkṣa mountain and is associated with Śiva. It is known by various other names.


Not identified.