The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “review of knowledge” 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 43 - Review of Knowledge

Sūta said:—

1. O ye sages, may this be heard. I shall explain the perfect knowledge of Śiva in the manner I have heard. It is a great secret as it is the form of the highest salvation.

2. In the assembly of Brahma, Nārada, Kumāra, Vyāsa and Kapila they had discussed this and come to this conclusion.

3. It shall be known that the entire universe is wholly Śiva. That Śiva is in everything must be known by the learned scholar.

4. Beginning with Brahmā and ending with a blade of grass whatever is seen as constituting the universe is Śiva himself. That deity is called Śiva.

5. When he wishes, this is created. He alone knows all. No one knows him.

6. He himself creates it and enters it but stands far off. The Citsvarūpa (knowledge-formed) being who is pure docs not really enter it.

7. Luminary beings are reflected in water etc. They do not actually enter them. Similarly Śiva too appears entering other things.

8. Really Śiva alone, the auspicious being, manifests himself. The ignorance of the same is a defect of the mind. In fact there is no second entity.

9. In all philosophical systems the concept of duality is evident. But the Vedāntins call him eternal and non-dualistic.

10. The individual soul, though it is a part of his becomes deluded by Avidyā. He then thinks that he is different. If he is released from Avidyā he becomes Śiva.

11. Śiva pervades all creatures. He is the lord of the sentient and the insentient. He is the benefactor.

12. He who cleverly tries means of realising him after resorting to the Vedāntic path attains the fruit of his sight.

13. Just as the pervading fire is latent in every block of wood but only he who churns it sees it manifested, to be sure.

14. So also, the clever devotee who makes use of the expedients of devotion etc. certainly reaches Śiva. This is undoubtedly true.

15. Lord Śiva is everywhere. There is nothing else. Śiva appears in different forms always due to our illusion.

16. The ocean or the lump of clay or the piece of gold attains different shapes due to delimiting conditions. Śiva too is so.

17. There is one essential difference between the material cause and its effect. The difference is due to illusory perception. If the one ceases to exist, the other is quelled.

18. The shooting sprout from a seed may exhibit multiplicity but ultimately it becomes the seed and the shoot perishes.

19. The perfectly wise is the seed. Deformity is the sprout. When the deformity disappears he becomes the perfectly wise again. There is nothing to doubt in this regard.

20. Everything is Śiva. Śiva is everything. There is no difference at all. How is this manifoldness seen? How is the unity regained?

21. Just as the luminary called the sun is seen differently in water etc. so also is the case with it.

22. The all-pervading sky is not bound or fettered anywhere. So also the all-pervading lord is not bound anywhere.

23. The individual soul is contaminated by the ego. Śiva is free from it. The individual soul is insignificant and it experiences the fruits of actions. But the great Śiva is uncontaminated.

24. Gold mixed with silver or other base metal depreciates in value. So also is the individual soul in its association with the ego.

25. When a gold alloy is purified with chemicals it regains its original value. Similarly the consecrated soul too attains purity.

26. The devotee at the outset shall go to a competent preceptor with devout and reverential feelings. He shall worship and serve him considering him Siva.

27. Thanks to this conception, all sins and dirts are removed from the body. When he gains knowledge his ignorance disappears.

28. Freed from the ego, the individual soul attains pure intellect. Thanks to Śiva’s grace he attains the state of Śiva again.

29. Just as one sees one’s own form in the mirror so also the pure soul secs the all-pervading Śiva, certainly.

30. He becomes the living liberated soul. When the body perishes he merges into Śiva. The body is begot by the Prārabdha karman. The perfectly wise is considered different from it.

31. If a person is not elated on acquiring something good and is not annoyed on acquiring something bad and if he has equanimity, he is said to be perfectly wise.

32-33. By the practice of Yoga, discrimination between the different principles is generated. Then there is a desire to get released from the body. The aspirant then is blessed with devotion to Śiva.[1]

34. From devotion there arises love; from love, the desire to hear about the lord; from this desire, association with the good and from this association a competent preceptor is attained.

35. If knowledge is attained he certainly becomes liberated. Hence if one desires to be perfectly wise one should worship Śiva alone always.

36. He shall worship Śiva with unflinching and exclusive devotion. Salvation is the result. There is nothing to be doubtful about this.

37. There is no other deity greater than Śiva for the attainment of salvation. After seeking refuge in him one withdraws from worldly existence.

38. O brahmins, these words have been uttered by me after considering the statement of sages. You shall retain these strenuously in your minds.

39. At the outset this instruction was given to Viṣṇu by Śiva in front of his phallic image. It was then given to Brahmā by Viṣṇu and to Sanaka[2] and others by Brahmā.

40. That knowledge was then imparted to Nārada by Sanaka and others. Nārada communicated it to Vyāsa and the merciful Vyāsa communicated it to me.

41. I have now communicated it to you. For the welfare of the world you shall establish this in the world strenuously. It is conducive to the attainment of Śiva.

42. O great sages; thus, what I have been asked has been narrated by me. You shall preserve this carefully. What else do you wish to hear?

Vyāsa said:—

43. On hearing this, the sages attained great bliss. After bowing to him they eulogised him again and again with words choked with pleasure.

The sages said:—

44. O disciple of Vyāsa, obeisance be to you. You are blessed. You are the most excellent of the devotees oí Śiva. The highest thing, the excellent knowledge of Śiva has been imparted to us.

45. Thanks to your mercy, our mental delusion has vanished. Securing the excellent knowledge of Śiva from you we are satisfied. This knowledge yields salvation.

Sūta said:—

46. O brahmins, this shall not be mentioned to an atheist or an unfaithful man or a rogue. Nor shall it be mentioned to one who has no devotion to Śiva or who does not wish to hear.

47. After poring through Itihāsas, Purāṇas, Vedas and Śāstras many a time, Vyāsa extracted this essence and imparted it to me.

48. On hearing this once, all sins are reduced to ashes. A non-devotee becomes a devotee. This enhances the devotion of the devotee.

49. If it is heard again one attains good devotion. If it is heard again liberation is attained. Hence this must be heard again and again by the devotees who desire to get the benefit of worldly pleasures and salvation.

50. With the expectation of the greatest benefit it shall be repeated five, times. There is no doubt. He will attain it. Vyāsa has said so.

51. Nothing is difficult to get for a man who hears this excellent thing. By repeating it five times Śiva’s vision is attained.

52. Ancient kings, brahmins and excellent Vaiśyas have attained great Siddhis by listening to this with attention, five times.

53. Even now if a man listens to this with devotion he will attain perfect knowledge of Śiva, worldly pleasures and salvation.

Vyāsa said:—

54. On hearing his words the sages were extremely delighted. They worshipped Sūta with reverence offering him various articles.

55. Satisfied and cleared of their doubts they bowed to him, eulogised him, hailed him. and blessed him.

56. Considering Sūta to be the great lord Śiva they worshipped him and bowed to him. With good intellect they praised him speaking to one another.

57. The excellent knowledge of Śiva is pleasing to Śiva; it yields worldly pleasures and salvation; it enhances devotion to Śiva It is divine.

58. Thus the fourth meritorious and pleasing compendium of Śivapurāṇa named Koṭirudra has been narrated.

59. He who listens to this with devotion and narrates this with pure mind enjoys all pleasures here and attains salvation hereafter.

Footnotes and references:


The Sanskrit text of the verses 32, 33 is defective. The present translation is not literal therefore.


Sanaka, Sananda, Sanātana, Sanatkumāra are the four mind-born sms of Brahmā who declining to create progeny remained boys for ever. The purāṇas recount their number variously, four, five or seven.