The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “greatness of the jyotirlinga 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 27 - The greatness of the Jyotirliṅga Tryambakeśvara

The sages said:—

1. O holy lord, whence did Gaṅgā originate in the form of water? How could it attain its greatness? Please narrate.

2. What happened to those wicked brahmins who tormented Gautama? O sage with Vyāsa as your good preceptor, please narrate.

Sūta said:—

3. O brahmins, Gaṅgā who was thus requested by Gautama immediately descended from the mountain Brahma-giri.

4. Its current flowed from the branches of an Udumbara tree. Gautama, the famous sage, took his bath joyously.

5. Gautama’s disciples and other sages too came there and joyously took their bath.

6. O excellent sages, the place became well known as Gaṅgādvāra.[1] It is beautiful and its sight dispels all sins.

7. The sages who were malicious towards Gautama came there to take their bath; but on seeing them Gaṅgā vanished immediately.

8. Then Gautama hastened to that place and eulogised Gaṅgā again and again with palms joined in reverence and head bent down. He then spoke.

Gautama said:—

9. Whether these are blind in their arrogance due to their affluence, whether they are good or bad, you shall grant them your vision by the virtue of this holy region.

Sūta said:—

10. O excellent sages, then a voice arose from the firmament. Please listen to the excellent words that Gaṅgā spoke.

11. “These are the most wicked sages, most ungrateful and traitors to their lord. They are knaves and blasphemous heretics. They are unworthy of sight.”

Gautama said:—

12. “Mother please hear the words of the great lord which you shall make truthful.

13. The lord has said, “I become sanctified by the person who in this world helps those who harm him."

Sūta said:—

14. On hearing the words of the sage Gautama the great Ātman, the voice rose again from the firmament above Gaṅgā.

15. “O sage Gautama, what is said by you is true. These are auspicious words. Still let them perform expiatory rites in brief.

16. At your behest and particularly under your guidance, they shall circumambulate this mountain.

17. Then these wicked persons will be authorised in having a vision of mine. O sage, this truth I mention to you.

18. On hearing these words, the sages did so duly after dejectedly requesting Gautama, “Our offence shall be excused.”

19. When they did so, a ditch named Kuiāvarta just beneath Gaṅgādvāra was made by Gautama with her permission.

20. The sacred river flowed thence for the pleasure of the sage. Kuśāvarta became a famous and excellent place of pilgrimage.

21. A man who takes bath there becomes worthy of attaining salvation after immediately eschewing the sins and securing perfect knowledge which is difficult of access.

22. Gautama and the other sages mixed with one another. Those who had been ungrateful before were ashamed of their wickedness.

23. O Sūta, this narrative has been heard by us in another manner.[2] We shall mention it. According to that the infuriated Gautama cursed the brahmins. May this be known to you.

Sūta said:—

24. O brahmins, that is also true, for that happened in a different Kalpa. O great ones of good rites, I shall describe the particular points of that story also.

25. On seeing the sages distressed by the famine, Gautama performed a great penance with god Varuṇa as the object of his worship.

26. Through Vanina’s Māyā he caused a perennial supply of water. Then he made them sow food-grains and barleys in plenty.

27. Thus the excellent sage Gautama eager to help others afforded them sufficient food, thanks to the power of his penance.

28. Once the wicked wives of those sages feeling insulted in an incident over taking water became furious and complained to their husbands slandering Gautama.

29. With their minds thus prejudiced the evil-minded brahmins created an artificial cow grazing in his grain-field.

30. On seeing a cow eating his food-grains, Gautama struck it mildly with a blade of grass trying to ward it off.

31. The cow fell down immediately, being touched by the blade of grass. O brahmins, it died in an instant due to the forces of unaviodable destiny.

32. Then the wicked sages held a gathering and said “O a cow has been killed by Gautama”.

33. Then Gautama was frightened thinking that a cow had been killed. Along with his wife Ahalyā, his disciples, the devotees of Śiva, he began to wonder.

34. Then the excellent sage Gautama realised the truth and was angry. He cursed the sages.

Gautama said:—

35. You are evil-minded desiring to put me in distress as I am a devotee of Śiva. Hence you shall be averse to the Vedas always.

36. Henceforth your faith in the rites of the Vedas, particularly with reference to the path of Śiva yielding salvation shall cease to exist.

37. Henceforth your attention, strayed from the path of salvation, will be diverted to evil paths extraneous to the tenets of the Vedas.

38. From today let your foreheads be smeared with clay. Fall, ye all, deep down into the hell, O brahmins with foreheads smeared with clay.

39. You will not have Śiva as your sole deity. You will be considering the matchless Śiva on a par with other gods.

40. You will never have any interest in Śiva’s worship and other rites, in devotees staunchly faithful to Śiva and in the festivals of Śiva.

41. Let all these curses causing misery, descend on your progeny as well.

42. All your descendants—sons, grandsons and others, O brahmins, shall be non-Śaivitcs. You shall stay certainly in hell along with your sons.

43. Afterwards you shall be born as Cāṇḍālas harassed by miseries and poverty. You shall be rogues, censuring others and marked with red-hot seals.

Sūta said:—

44. After cursing the sages, Gautama returned to his hermitage. He performed the devotional rites of Śiva and became very holy,

45. Then the brahmins and sages distressed by the curses of Gautama put up their residence in Kāñcī.[3] They were excluded from the rites of Śiva.

46. Their sons too remained excluded from the sacred rites of Śiva. In future, in the Kali age too, they will be born as rogues and illiterate ordinary people.

47. O excellent sages, thus I have narrated their stories. O intelligent ones, their previous story too has been heard by all.

48. Thus the origin of Gautamī river has been narrated to you. So also its glory destructive of all sins.

49. The glory of the Jyotirliṅga Tryambaka is also narrated to you. On hearing this, one is released from all sins. There is no doubt about this.

50. Hereafter I shall narrate the glory of the Jyotirliṅga Vaidyanātheśvara which dispels all sins. May it be heard.

Footnotes and references:


Here Gaṅgā is said to have descended from Brahmagiri (ŚP. KRS. 25. 3) which is situated in the south (Ibid 24. 3), in the proximity of Nasik near Tryambaka. The place of Gaṅgā’s descent is said to be Gaṅgādvāra (Ibid. 27.6). As Brahmagiri the place of Gautama’s hermitage stands in the south, Gaṅgādvāra cannot be identified with Haridvāra—the famous town of pilgrimage in Northern India.


According to the Puranic concept, the events of one Kalpa are repeated in another. But occasionally the events undergo modifications from Kalpa to Kalpa. Thus ŚP mentions two versions of the narrative of Gaṇeśa (Cp. ŚP. RS Kumāra Ch. 13. 5-6). The present ch. narrates two versions of Gautama’s narrative; the variation is occasioned by the difference in Kalpa.


Kāñcī (mod. conjeeveram), one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus is placed in the south of India on the Palār river. It it Kien-chi-pu-lo (Kāñcīpura) of the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Thsang. The city was divided in two parts; Viṣṇu Kāñcī and Rudra Kāñcī. It is the former that it referred to here.