The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “greatness of tryambakeshvara” 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 26 - The greatness of Tryambakeśvara

Sūta said:—

1. O brahmins, when all this was performed thus by the sage along with his wife, the delighted Śiva accompanied by his Gaṇas appeared before him.

2. Then the gladdened Śiva, the storehouse of mercy said—“O great sage, mention the boon you wish to choose. I am delighted with your devotion.”

3. On seeing, the beautiful form of Śiva, the supreme soul, the sage bowed to Śiva with devotion and eulogised him joyously.

4. After eulogising and bowing to him many times, Gautama stood there with palms joined in reverence and said—“O lord, make me sinless.”

5. On hearing these words of the noble soul Gautama, Śiva became much delighted and spoke.

Śiva said:—

6. O sage, you are blessed. You shall be contented. You are already sinless. You have been deceived by these wicked knaves.

7. Indeed, on seeing you, people become sinless. How can you be a sinner? You are always engaged in devotion to me.

8. O sage, indeed, all the wicked persons, by whom you have been harassed, are sinners, evil-minded and murder-stained.

9. Others too are likely to be sinners on seeing these. They have become already ungrateful. There is no way of atonement for them.

Sūta said:—

10. After saying this, O brahmins, lord Śiva, the bestower of happiness to the good and chastiser of the wicked told him their evil actions in detail.

11. On hearing the words of Śiva, the sage was greatly surprised. After bowing to him with devotion) he spoke again to him with palms joined in reverence.

Gautama said:—

12. O lord Śiva, a great help has been rendered by these sages. If they had not done like this, how could I have had your vision?

13. Blessed indeed are the sages who have pursued this auspicious activity towards me. It is by their so-called evil action that my great self-interest is made possible;

Sūta said:—

14. On hearing his words, lord Śiva became all the more delighted. Looking at Gautama mercifully he replied,

Śiva said:—

15. O leading brahmin, you are a blessed sage. You are the most excellent among sages. Realising that I am highly delighted, you choose the excellent boon.

Sūta said:—

16-17. Gautama thought—“It is thus that the scandal was spread in the world. Otherwise it would not have been so. Hence I must do what is proper”. After thinking like this, the excellent sage Gautama, devoted to Śiva, spoke to Śiva with palms joined in reverence and head bent down.

Gautama said:—

18. O lord, what you say is true. Still what is done by the five leading persons[1] cannot be otherwise. So, let what has happened happen.

19. O lord of gods, if you are delighted, may Gaṅgā be given to me. Render help to the worlds. Obeisance be to you.

Sūta said:—

20. After saying these words and grasping his lotus-like feet, Gautama made obeisance to the lord of gods with a desire for the welfare of the worlds.

21-22. The essence of the earth and heaven had been extracted of yore, a part of this had been given to the sage by Brahmā at his marriage. What had been held over, lord Śiva favourably disposed towards his devotees, now gave to the sage.

23. Then the waters of Gaṅgā assumed the form of a lady and stood there. The excellent sage eulogised her and made obeisance.

Gautama said:—

24. O Gaṅgā, you are blessed. You are contented. The whole world has been sanctified by you. Sanctify me too. I am likely to fall into hell.

Sūta said:—

25. Śiva too then spoke—“O Gaṅgā, listen. You are beneficial to all. At my behest, sanctify Gautama also.”

26. On hearing these words of Śiva and Gautama, Gaṅgā, the holy Śakti of Śiva, spoke to Śiva.

Gaṅgā said:—

27. O lord, after sanctifying the sage along with his followers, I shall return to my abode. I am telling you the truth.

Sūta said:—

28. When this was mentioned by Gaṅgā, lord Śiva, favourably disposed towards his devotees, spoke again to Gaṅgā keeping in mind the welfare of the worlds.

Śiva said:—

29. O goddess, till the advent of the Kali Yuga, when the son of Vivasvat shall be the twenty-eighth Manu, you shall stay here alone.

Sūta said:—

30. On hearing these words of lord Śiva, Gaṅgā the sanctifying leading river replied.

Gaṅgā said:—

31. O lord Śiva, O slayer of the Tripuras, if my greatness were to surpass that of all, I shall stay on the earth.

32. O lord, please listen to something more. O lord, please abide with me with this beautiful body of yours along with your consort and the Gaṇas.

Sūta said:—

33. On hearing her words, Śiva favourably disposed towards his devotees, spoke again to Gaṅgā for rendering help to the worlds.

Śiva said:—

34. O Gaṅgā you are blessed. Listen. I am not distinct from you. Still I stay here. You too must stay.

Sūta said:—

35. On hearing these words of lord Śiva, Gaṅgā was delighted in the mind and she accepted his advice.

36-37. In the meantime, the gods and sages, several holy centres and holy rivers came there. Proclaiming “Be victorious, be victorious”, they respectfully worshipped Gautama, Gaṅgā and Pārvatī.

38. Thereafter Viṣṇu, Brahmā and other gods eulogised them joyously joining their palms and drooping down their shoulders.

39. Gaṅgā and Pārvatī were delighted and they said “O excellent gods, mention the boon you desire to choose. We shall grant the same with a desire to do what is pleasing to you.”

The gods said:—

40. “O lord of gods, O leading, river, if you are delighted, you shall stay here taking pity on us and for the benefit of men.”

Gaṅgā said:—

41. Why don't you stay here for the pleasure and welfare of all? After washing off the sin of Gautama I shall go back the way I have come.

42. O gods, how may my speciality be known apart from yours? If you can prove the same, I shall undoubtedly stay here

The gods said:—

43. When Jupiter, the most friendly to all, comes to the zodiac of Leo all of us will come. There is no doubt about it.

44-45. O leading river, we will become unclean ourselves by cleaning off the sins of the people for eleven years. O beloved great goddess, we will come to you for washing that off in every respect. With respect we reveal this truth to you.

46. To bless the worlds, to do what is pleasing to us Śiva shall stay here and you too, O leading river.

47-48. We shall stay here as long as Jupiter is in Leo. We shall take our bath thrice a day and visit Śiva. Then we shall get rid of our sins and with your permission return to our native lands.

Sūta said:—

49. Thus requested by them as well as by the sage Gautama, Śiva stayed there with pleasure. The excellent river Gaṅgā too stayed.

50. Gaṅgā there became famous as Gautamī. The phallic image became famous by the name Tryambaka. Both are destructive of great sins.

51. From that time onwards whenever Jupiter enters Leo, the holy rivers, sacred centres and the gods come there.

52. The holy lakes Puṣkara, and others, the sacred river Gaṅgā and others, Vāsudeva and other gods stay on the banks of the Gautamī river.

53. While they are here they lose sacredness in their original places. They will have it back when they return there.

54. This is a Jyotirliṅga famous as Tryambaka. It is stationed on the banks of the Gautamī destructive of great sins.

55. He who sees the Jyotirliṅga Tryambaka with devotion and worships with obeisance after eulogising it is freed from all sins.

56. This very Jyotirliṅga Tryambaka was worshipped by Gautama. Being worshipped it yields all desires here and bestows liberation hereafter.

57. O great sages, thus what I have been asked has been narrated to you all. What else do you wish to hear? I shall explain it to you. No doubt need be entertained in this respect.

Footnotes and references:


The context carries the existence of the modern Pañcāyata system to a hoary antiquity.