The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “greatness of gautama” 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 24 - The greatness of Gautama

Summary: The greatness of Gautama in the context of the greatness of Tryambakeśvara.

Sūta said:—

1. O excellent sages, listen. I shall tell you the story that dispels sins in the manner I have heard it from Vyāsa, the good preceptor.

2. Formerly there was an excellent sage named Gautama. His wife Ahalyā was extremely virtuous.

3. A penance extending to ten thousand years was performed by him on the Brahmagiri[1] mountain in the southern quarter.

4. O great ones of good rites, once a terrible drought lasting for a hundred years occurred there. All the people were put to great distress.

5. Not a single juicy tender sprout was seen on the face of the earth. How could there be a water, the sustainer of living beings.

6. Then the sages and other men, the beasts, birds and the deer of the forest went to the different quarters.

7. On seeing the drought, the sages and the brahmins spent the horrible time in meditation and performing Prāṇāyāmas.

8. Gautama himself performed an suspicions penance of Varuṇa for six months engrossed in Prāṇāyāma.

9. Then Varuṇa came there to grant him the boon. He said—“I am delighted. Mention the boon you wish to have. I shall grant it.”

10. O brahmins, then Gautama requested him for rain. Then Varuṇa replied to the sage.

Varuṇa said:—

11. How can I countermand the behest of the gods? Please ask for something else. You are a wise man. I shall grant it.

Sūta said:—

12. On hearing these words of Varuṇa the great Ātman, Gautama, eager to help others spoke thus.

Gautama said:—

13. O lord of gods, if you are delighted, if a boon is to be granted to me, you shall grant it according to my desire.

14. Since you are the lord of waters, you shall give me water. O lord of gods, you shall give me divine, everlasting water yielding permanent results.

Sūta said:—

15. Requested thus by Gautama, Varuṇa said—“Please dig a ditch here”.

16. When this was said, a ditch of a hand’s depth was dug by him. It was filled with divine water by Varuṇa.

17. Then lord Varuṇa the king of waters spoke to Gautama, the excellent sage, eager to help others.

Varuṇa said:—

18. O great sage, let there be a perennial supply of water in this ditch that has become sacred. This will become famous on the earth by your name.

19. Charitable gifts made here, rites performed here, penance pursued here, the sacrifices done here for the gods and the Śrāddha offered to the manes, everything will be imperishable.

Sūta said:—

20. After saying this, the lord eulogised by that sage vanished. After rendering help to others, the sage Gautama too was happy.

21. Seeking the support of great men is conducive to greatness. Only great men see its real nature, not others, the inauspicious ones.

22. Man attains fruits in accordance with the nature of the man one serves. Loftiness is achieved by serving the great and meanness by serving the mean.

23. Service in the abode of a lion is sure to yield pearls. Service in the hutment of a jackal is profitable only in yielding bones.

24. This is the nature of the excellent people that they cannot bear others’ misery. They consider others’ misery their own and try to eradicate it.

25. Trees, gold, sandal paste and the sugarcane exist for the enjoyment of the people. Men similarly competent are very rare in the world.

26. A kind man, a man unpuffed by arrogance a person habitually helping others and a person with perfect control over his sense-organs, these are the four holy pillars that support the earth.

27. Having secured rare water thus, Gautama performed his routine and ceremonial rites duly.

28. Thereafter he sowed different food-grains and barleys there itself for the performance of his sacrifice.

29. Different kinds of food-grains, trees, flowers and fruits were produced in plenty there.

30. On hearing of it, the sages came there in thousands. Many beasts, birds and other living beings flocked there.

31. The forest became very beautiful, the most excellent on the surface of the world. In view of this imperishable contact the drought was not distressing.

32. The sages in the forest were engaged in auspicious rites. They stayed there along with their disciples, children and womenfolk.

33. They sowed food-grains for their livelihood. There was great joy and bliss in that forest, thanks to the power of Gautama.

Footnotes and references:


It is a mountain lying at a distance of twenty miles from Nasik district, near Tryambaka in which the Godāvarī has its source on which the sage Gautama had his hermitage. Padma P. VI. 176. 58.