The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “greatness of jyotirlinga mahakala” 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 17 - The greatness of Jyotirliṅga Mahākāla

The sages said:—

1. O most intelligent one, please mention again the greatness of the Jyotirliṅga Mahākāla, the protector of his devotees.

Sūta said:—

2. O brahmins, listen with interest to the devotion enhancing greatness of Mahākāla, the protector of the devotees.

3. In Ujjayinī there was a king Candrasena, a devotee of Śiva, who had conquered his sense-organs and who knew the principles of all Śāstras.

4. O brahmins, the Gaṇa Maṇibhadra, honoured by the people, the chief of the Gaṇas of Śiva, was a friend of that king.

5. Once the liberal-minded Gaṇa-chief Maṇibhadra, gave him the great jewel Cintāmaṇi, out of pleasure.

6. The jewel was as brilliant as the sun. It shone like Kaustubha. It blessed auspiciously when meditated upon, heard of or sighted.

7. Any thing made of bell-metal, copper, tin or stone touched with its brilliant surface turned into gold.

8. Wearing that gem round his neck the king Candrasena, dependent on Śiva shone well like the sun in the midst of gods.

9. On hearing that the excellent king Candrasena had the Cintāmaṇi round his neck, the kings on the earth were agitated in their hearts due to greed.

10. The kings ignorantly trying to rival with him, begged of Candrasena, that jewel secured from the god. They used various means to get the jewel.

11. O brahmins, the importunity of the kings was rendered futile by Cmdrasena, a staunch devotee of Śiva.

12. Disappointed and offended thus by him the kings of all the lands became wrathful against him.

13. Then the kings fully equipped with the four types of armies[1] attempted to conquer Candrasena in the battle.

14. They joined together, consulted and conspired with one another. With a vast army they laid siege to the four main gates of Ujjayinī.

15. On seeing his city thus attacked by the kings, the king Candrasena sought refuge in Mahākāleśvara.

16. Without doubts and hesitations, without taking in any food that king of steady resolve worshipped Mahākāla day and night without turning his mind to anything else.

17. Then the lord Śiva, delighted in his mind, concocted a means in order to save him. Listen to that with attention.

18. O brahmins, at that very time a certain cowherdess roaming here and there in that excellent city accompanied by her child came near Mahākāla.

19. She had lost her husband. She carried her babe five years old. With great devotion she watched the Mahākāla worship performed by the monarch.

20. After witnessing the wonderful Śiva-worship performed by him and bowing down she returned to her camp.

21. The son of that cowherdess who had watched everything out of curiosity, thought of performing Śiva’s worship similarly.

22-23. He brought a fine pebble from somewhere and considered it his Śivaliṅga. He placed it in a vacant place not far from his camp. Various articles were conceived by him as sweet scents, ornaments, cloth, incense, lamp, rice grains and foodgrains in the course of his worship.

24. Worshipping again and again with delightful leaves and flowers he danced in various ways and made obeisance again and again.

25. As his mind was engrossed in the worship of Śiva the cowherdess, his mother called him to take his meals.

26. When the son engrossed in the worship did not like to take meals though called many times, the mother went there.

27. On seeing him seated in front of Śiva with eyes closed she angrily caught hold of his hand, dragged him and beat him.

28. When the son did not come away even after being dragged and struck she threw the image far off and spoiled his worship.

29. Rebuking her son who was lamenting piteously the infuriated cowherdess entered her house again.

30. On seeing his worship spoilt by his mother, the boy fell down and lamented, “O lord, O lord.”

31. In his excessive grief he became unconscious suddenly. Regaining consciousness after a while he opened his eyes.

32. Immediately the camp became a beautiful temple of Mahākāla. Thanks to the blessings of Śiva, that child saw all these.

33. The doorway was made of gold. There were excellent festoons at the doorstep. The temple had a shining dais set with costly and pure blue diamonds.

3ṭ. The temple was equipped with many golden potlike domes, shining jewel-bedecked columns and the floor-paved with crystal bricks.

35. In the midst, the cowherd’s son saw a jewel-bedecked liṅga of Śiva, the storehouse of mercy, along with the articles he used for worshipping.

36. On seeing these, the boy was much surprised īn his mind. He got up immediately. It seemed as if he was immersed in the ocean of great bliss.

37. He eulogised and bowed to Śiva again and again. When the sun set the boy came out of the Śiva temple.

38. Then he saw his own camp as beautiful as the city of Indra. It had been suddenly transformed into one of gold, of variegated nature and shining much.

39. He entered the house equipped with everything brilliant and glittering in the night. Jewels and gold pieces were scattered everywhere. He was joyous.

40. There he saw his mother sleeping. She was like a celestial lady with all divine characteristics. Her limbs shone and glittered with ornamental jewelry.

41. O brahmins, then that son, the special object of Śiva’s blessings, excited due to happiness awakened his mother immediately.

42. Getting up and seeing everything unprecedentedly wonderful, she was as it were immersed in great bliss. She embraced her son.

43. Hearing everything of the benign favour of the lord of Pārvatī from her son she sent word of it to the monarch who was worshipping Śiva constantly.

44. The king who had concluded the observance of rites during the night came there immediately and saw the refulgence of the cowherd’s son in propitiating Śiva.

45. On seeing everything in the company of his ministers and chief priest the king was immersed in the ocean of great bliss and emboldened.

46. Shedding tears of love and repeating the names of Śiva with pleasure, the king Candrasena embraced the boy.

47. O brahmins, there was a great and wonderful jubilation. Excited with happiness they sang the glorious songs of lord Śiva.

48. On account of this wonderful event, this manifestation of the greatness of Śiva and the flutter in the midst of the citizens, the night elapsed as though it was only a moment.

49. The kings who had besieged the city for an attack heard of this event in the morning through their spies.

50. Extremely surprised on hearing it the kings who had come there met together and consulted one another.

The kings said:—

51. This king Candrasena is a devotee of Śiva and hence invincible. The king of Ujjayinī, the city of Mahākāla, is never distressed.

52. The king Candrasena is a great devotee of Śiva inasmuch as even children in his city observe Śiva’s rites.

53. Certainly Śiva will be furious if we offend him. We will be doomed if Śiva is furious.

54. Hence we shall make an alliance with him. In that case lord Śiva will be compassionate to us.

Sūta said:—

55. Thus deciding, the kings abandoned their enmity. They regained purity of mind. They were pleased. They abandoned their weapons and missiles.

56. Permitted and encouraged by Candrasena they entered Ujjayinī, the beautiful city of Mahākāla and worshipped him.

57. Then they went to the house of the cowherdess. They praised her good fortune with divine blessings.

58. They were welcomed and honoured by Candrasena there. Seated on a very worthy seat they congratulated him and were surprised.

59. Seeing the shrine of Śiva and the Śiva-Liṅga that rose up, thanks to the power of the son of the cowherdess they fixed their mind in Siva.

60. The delighted kings, sought the sympathy of Śiva and presented several valuable things to the cowherd boy.

61. The kings made him the chieftain of cowherds in all their different lands.

62. In the meantime Hanumat, the brilliant lord of monkeys, worshipped by the gods manifested himself there.

63. The kings were bewildered at his arrival. They rose up in reverence and made obeisance to him perfectly humble in their devotion.

64. Worshipped by them and seated in their midst the lord of monkeys embraced the cowherd boy and glanced at the kings and said.

Hanūmat said:—

65. Weal unto ye all, O kings and all the souls here, listen. Except Śiva there is no other goal to human beings.

66. This cowherd boy fortunately saw the worship of Śiva. Without the use of mantras he worshipped Śiva and attained happiness.

67. This boy, the most excellent devotee of Śiva, the enhancer of the glory of cowherds, shall enjoy all pleasures here and attain salvation hereafter.

68. In his race, in the eighth generation, there will be a famous cowherd Nanda. Viṣṇu himself will be born as his son, Kṛṣna.

69. Henceforth this cowherd boy will attain glory all over the world in the name of Śrīkara.

Sūla said:—

70. After saying this, the son of Añjanā[2] the lord of monkeys in the form of Śiva mercifully glanced at the kings and Candrasena.

71. He then initiated the intelligent cowherd child Śrīkara with pleasure in the rites of Śiva pleasing to the lord.

72. O brahmins even as all of them were glancing at Candrasena and Śrīkara, the delighted Hanūmat vanished there itself.

73. The delighted kings who were duly honoured took leave of Candrasena and returned the way they had come.

74. The brilliant Śrīkara, initiated by Hanūmat, propitiated Śiva along with brahmins well-versed in sacred rites.

75. The king Candrasena and Śrīkara, the cowherd boy, worshipped Mahākāla with great devotion and pleasure.

76. In due course, Śrīkara and Candrasena propitiating Mahākāla attained the great region of lord Śiva.

77. Such is the phallic form of Śiva Mahākāla, the goal of the good, the slayer of the wicked in every respect who is favourably disposed towards his devotees.

78. Thus the great secret, the sanctifying narrative that bestows all happiness, conducive to heaven and enhancing devotion to Śiva has been narrated to you.147

Footnotes and references:


A complete army consists of elephants, chariots, cavalry and infantry.


Añjanā, mother of Hanūmat, was the daughter of Kuñjara and wife of Kesarin. Once she was seated on the summit of a mountain, her garment was slightly displaced and the god of wind being enamoured of her beauty assumed a visible form and asked her to yield to his desires. She requested him not to violate her chastity to which he consented. But since he fixed his desire on her she conceived a son who was named Hanūmat.