The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “greatness of vishveshvara, the arrival of rudra at kashi” 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 22 - The greatness of Viśveśvara, the arrival of Rudra at Kāśī

Sūta said:—

1. O excellent sages, hereafter I shall narrate the greatness of Viśveśvara, destructive of great sins. May it be heard.

2-3. That which is seen as the substantive, as an entity in the form of knowledge and bliss, eternal and free from aberration, desired for a second. That second, of the tree of salvation, was possessed of attributes. It is named Śiva.

4. That split itself into two in the male and the female forms. The male is famous as Śiva and the female is known as Śakti.

5-6. O great sages, the unseen Cit and Ānanda created Prakṛti and Puruṣa. O brahmins, on seeing their parents, Prakṛti and Puruṣa were plunged in doubt.

7. Then a voice arose from the great attributeless Ātman—“Penance shall be pursued by you for the generation of excellent creation.”

Prakṛti and Puruṣa said:—

8. O lord Śiva, there is no place for penance. Where shall we sit and perform this penance at your behest?

9-10. Then a beautiful city endowed with the requisite articles, the auspicious essence of brilliance extending to five Krośas was created and established by Śiva devoid of attributes, in the firmament near the Puruṣa.

11. Occupying it with a desire for creation and meditating, Visṇu performed penance for a long time.

12. Due to his exertion various currents of water began to flow. The void was pervaded by the water-currents. Nothing else was seen.

13. On seeing it and thinking “What is this wonderful thing in sight”, Viṣṇu shook his head.

14. Then a jewel fell in front from the ear of the lord. It became the great holy centre named Maṇikarṇikā.

15. When the holy centre extending to five Krośas began to float on the waters, it was supported on Trident by Śiva devoid of attributes.

16. Viṣṇu slept there itself along with his consort Prakṛti. At the behest of Śiva, Brahmā was born of his umbilical lotus.

17. At the behest of Śiva, he evolved a wonderful creation. The fourteen worlds were created in the Cosmic Egg.

18. The extent of the Cosmic Egg is fifty crores of Yojanas as glorified by the sages.

19. “How will the beings in the Cosmic Egg bound by action attain me otherwise?”, the holy centre of Pañcakrośī was released by him after thinking like this.

20. “This Kāśī is the bestower of auspiciousness in the world. It is destructive of action. It illuminates salvation. It is the bestower of knowledge. It is my great favourite.

21. The phallic image Avimukta is installed by the great Śiva himself. O you born of my parts, this holy centre should never be abandoned by you.”

22. After saying this, Śiva himself brought Kāśikā from his Trident and released it in the mortal world.

23. At the close of the day of Brahmā (when all other objects perish) it certainly does not perish. Then, O sages, Śiva upholds it by means of his Trident.

24. O brahmins, when the creation is resumed again by Brahmā it is replaced. It is called Kāśī because it pulls out or destroys our actions.

25. The phallic image Avimukteśvara stays in Kāśī always, yielding salvation to the people including even the great sinners.

26. O great sages, the Sārūpya[1] and other types of salvation are attained elsewhere. The excellent type of salvation Sāyujya is attained here alone.

27. Of those who do not attain salvation elsewhere, the city of Vārāṇasī is the resort. The meritorious holy centre Pañcakrośī is destructive of sins of crores of slaughter.

28. The immortal gods too desire death here. What then of others? Thus holy centre yields worldly pleasures and salvation always. It is a favourite resort of Śiva.

29. Brahmā praises this city. So also do the Siddhas, Yogins, sages and other people in the three worlds and Viṣṇu too.

30. I cannot describe adequately and entirely the greatness of Kāśī even in hundreds of years. I shall explain to the extent I can.

31. The lord of Kailāsa, who is Sāttvaic within and Tāmasaic without, who is famous in the name of Kālāgni and who is the supreme Being with and without attributes spoke after making many obeisances.

Rudra said:—

32. O lord of the universe, O great lord, I belong to you undoubtedly. O great god, be merciful to me, your son, O lord, accompanied by mother Pārvatī.

33. O lord of the universe, you shall stay here for the benefit of the worlds. I request you, O ruler of the universe to save the universe.

Sūta said:—

34. Avimukta, of suppressed and controlled soul, shed tears from his eyes and imploring him again and again spoke to Śiva.

Avimukta said:—

35. O great lord, O lord of gods, O good panacea for all the evils of time, you are in truth the lord of the three worlds. You are worthy of being served by Brahmā, Viṣṇu and others,

36. O lord, may you establish your capital in the city of Kāśī. For the sake of inconceivable pleasure I shall slay in meditation.

37. You alone are the bestower of liberation and worldly desires. For rendering help to the people you stay here always along with Umā.

38. O Sadāśiva, save the living beings from the ocean of worldly existence. O Śiva, carry out the task of your devotees. I request you again and again.

Sūta said:—

39. Thus requested by Viśvanātha, Śiva the sovereign ruler of all, stayed there for rendering help to the people.

40. Kāśī became the most excellent centre for all since Śiva came to Kāśī.

Footnotes and references:


The Purāṇas outline four states of beatitude viz, (i) residence in the same heaven with the deity (sālokya), (ii) proximity with the deity (sāmīpya), (iii) assimilation to the deity (sārūpya), (iv) complete absorption into the divine essence (sāyujya). The last of these is the state of final extinction wherein the individual soul is completely merged in the universal soul.