The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “review of salvation” 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 41 - Review of salvation

The sages said.—

1. What is liberation has been explained by you. What will happen in that state? What is the nature of that state? Please explain to us.

Sūta said:—

2. Liberation is of four types. May this be heard. I shall tell you. It quells the pain of worldly existence. It bestows the greatest bliss.

3. It is fourfold:—Sārūpya (identity in form), Sālokya (being within the view of the lord or in the same world), Sānnidhya (proximity with the lord), and Sāyujya (complete identity with him). The fourth arises out of this Vrata.

4. O great sages, only Śiva can bestow liberation. Brahmā and others cannot do that. They shall be known as bestowers of virtue, wealth and love.

5. Brahmā and others are dependent on the attributes. Śiva is beyond the attributes. He is free from aberrations. He is the great Brahman, the fourth deity, greater than Prakṛti.

6. He is in the form of knowledge. He is imperishable and unchangeable. He is the cosmic witness, attainable through knowledge. He is without a second. He is the bestower of Trivarga (Dharma, Artha, Kāma) and the Kaivalya[1] liberation.

7. A fifth type of salvation Kaivalya is inaccessible to men in every respect. O excellent sages, I shall explain its characteristics. May that be heard.

8-9. O great sages, Śiva’s form is twofold: Saguṇa and Nirguṇa as explained in the Vedas. It is that from which the entire universe originates, by which it is protected and in which it merges and by whom all this has been pervaded.

10. It is not known to Viṣṇu nor to Bhahmā. It is not known to Kumāra and others nor to Nārada.

11. It is not known to Śuka, son of Vyāsa nor to Vyāsa or other great sages. It is not known to the earlier beings, all the gods, all the Vedas and all the Śāstras.

12. It is truth, knowledge, the infinity. It is named Saccidānanda (existence, knowledge, bliss). It is Nirguṇa, Nirvyādhi (free from limitations and conditions). It is imperishable. It is pure and unsullied.

13. It is neither red nor yellow, neither white nor blue, neither short nor long, neither gross nor subtle.

14. That great Brahman Śiva is said to be that from which all words return along with the mīnd, unable to attain it.

15. This is all pervasive like the expansive firmament. It is the great soul beyond Māyā. It is beyond Dvandvas mutually clashing opposites and free from rivalry.

16. O brahmins, good people attain it when knowledge of Śiva rises up or when they worship him with deep devotion.

17. The knowledge is difficult to attain but worship can easily be performed. Hence, O excellent sages, worship Śiva for the attainment of salvation too.

18. Śiva is subservient to worship. He is knowledge-souled and the greatest bestower of salvation. Many Siddhas have joyously attained the great salvation through devotion alone.

19. Devotion to Śiva, characterised by sprouting pure love, is the mother of perfect knowledge. It is easy of access by means of his benevolence. It yields worldly pleasures and salvation too.

20-21. Devotion is of various types. O brahmins, it is both Saguṇa and Nirguṇa. Whatever is legitimate andnatural is the most excellent and the greatest. It is again twofold: Naiṣṭhika (permanent and attended with ritualistic observances) and Anaiṣṭhika (non-Naiṣṭhika). The Naiṣṭhika is of six varieties and the other is only of one type.

22. Learned men consider devotion to be of different sorts, such as ordained and non-ordained. Since they are of various types they are not explained in detail.

23. Differentiated by the differences in those who observe Śravana (listening) etc. both these are of nine subdivisions each. Without his favour they are difficult of performance and with His favour they can easily be performed.

24. O brahmins, devotion and knowledge[2] are essentially non-different from each other as explained by Śiva. Hence, they should not be differentiated. Happiness befalls him who observes them always.

25. O brahmins, a person who is against devotion will never attain perfect knowledge. Knowledge rises up immediately only in him who observes devotion to Śiva.

26. Hence, O great sages, devotion to lord Śiva shall be practised. There is no doubt in this that everything is realisable solely through devotion.

27. Thus, what has been asked by you has been explained. There is no doubt in this that on hearing this, one is rid of his sin completely.

Footnotes and references:


When the soul is detached from matter and debarred from further transmigration, it is said to be in isolation or the state of beatitude.


Devotion and realization are separate (41.17) but not contradictory terms. The two paths leading to the goal of liberation are complementary, running parallel to each other.