The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “greatness of shiva” 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 3 - The greatness of Śiva

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sanatkumāra said:—

1. On hearing his words Kṛṣṇa was much surprised. He spoke to the sage Upamanyu of quiet mind.

Kṛṣṇa said:—

2. O great brahmin, you are blessed. Who can adequately eulogise you and be contented. In your hermitage the lord of the gods himself is ever present.

3. O leading sage, will the lord Śiva grant me his vision? Will he do me this favour?

Upamanyu said:—

4 O Puruṣottama, there is no doubt that ere long you will see lord Śiva, thanks to his own grace.

5. In the sixteenth month you will get good boons from lord Śiva and his wife. O Kṛṣṇa, why should not the lord grant you the boons?

6. O Viṣṇu, thanks to your good qualities, you deserve worship of the gods. You are always praiseworthy. I shall explain a mantra if you have faith enough.

7. By the virtue of that mantra yon will see Śiva. You will acquire a son, equal in strength to you, by the favour of lord Śiva.

8. O Kṛṣṇa, perform the Japa of this most efficacious mantra viz. “Om Namaḥ Śivāya.” It yields all desires. It is divine. It bestows worldly pleasures and salvation.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

9. O sage, even as he was narrating these stories about lord Śiva, eight days passed by as it were a single Muhūrta.

10. When the ninth day dawned he was initiated. He was instructed in Śiva’s mantra, the great one mentioned in the Atharvaveda.

11. Immediately he grew matted hair and then cleanshaven. With great purity of mind he began to perform penance standing on the big toes of the feet and lifting up the hands.

12. When the sixteenth month arrived lord Śiva was satisfied. Accompanied by Pārvatī, Śiva granted his vision to Kṛṣṇa.

13-16. Lord Kṛṣṇa saw Śiva thus:—He was accompanied by Pārvatī. The moon-crested lord had three eyes. He was being eulogised by Brahma and others and worshipped by crores of Siddhas. He was wearing divine garlands and cloths. He was being bowed to by gods and Asuras, humbled by devotion. He was bedecked in different ornaments. He was lustrous. The unborn and imperishable god was full of wondrous things. He was accompanied by various Gaṇas and his two sons. On seeing him lord Kṛṣṇa was much surprised. His eyes beemed with wonder. Delightedly and jubilantly he bowed to him,

17. He worshipped him with different hymns. With drooping shoulders he eulogised the lord of gods with the thousand names.

18. Thus the gods, Gandharvas, Vidyādharas and the great serpents showered flowers and congratulated him delightfully.

19. Glancing at Pārvatī’s face the delighted lord Rudra, favourably disposed towards his devotees spoke to Keśava even as his splendour spread all round.

Lord Śiva said:—

20. O Kṛṣṇa, I know you are my staunch devotee, steady in my rites. Choose holy boons from me even if they be inaccessible to the people of the three worlds.

Sanatkumāra said:—

21. On hearing his words Kṛṣṇa spoke to Śiva the lord of all, respectfully, with palms joined in reverence, after bowing to him again and again.

Kṛṣṇa said:—

22. O lord Śiva, lord of the gods, I solicit eight excellent boons from you, O Maheśvara, you have already thought of them.

23-25. Let my mind be always in your cult. Let my fame be steady. Let me have nearness to you. Let my devotion to you be always unflinching. Let my senior sons have ten sons each. Let all my enemies who are arrogant by their might be killed in battle. O lord, nowhere shall I suffer dishonour from enemies. I shall be the beloved of all Yogins.

26. O lord of gods, grant me these eight good boons. Obeisance be to you. You alone are the lord of all and especially my master.

Sanatkumāra said:—

27. On hearing his words, lord Śiva said to him. Let your desire be fulfilled. After saying this the tridentbearing lord said again.

28. The terrible sun Saṃvartaka at the time of dissolution cursed by the sages will be born as your mighty and virile son Sāmba.

29. (The curse was) “You will be born as a man.” He will become your son. Whatever you have sought you will obtain.”

Sanatkumāra said:—

30. After getting the boons from lord Śiva, lord Kṛṣṇa delighted him with hymns.

31. The delighted Pārvatī favourably disposed to her devotees, spoke to lord Kṛṣṇa the noble soul, the devotee of Śiva and who had performed the penance of lord Śiva.

Pārvatī said:—

32. O Kṛṣṇa of great intellect, O sinless son of Vasudeva, I am delighted with you. Take from me too some boons that are rare in the world.

Sanatkumāra said:—

33. On hearing the words of Pārvatī the leading descendant of Yadu[1], very much delighted in his heart, spoke with great devotion in his mind.

Lord Kṛṣṇa said:—

34-35. O goddess, if you are satisfied, if you are going to giant me boons due to my penance, truly let not my heart be inimical to brahmins. Let it be full of good will. I shall always worship the brahmins. My parents shall remain pleased with me.

36. Wherever I go let me be agreeable to all living beings. As a result of seeing you, let there be the birth of deserving progeny in my family.

37. I shall propitiate Indra and other gods with a hundred sacrifices and honour thousands of ascetics and guests always.

38. Let me feed every one at my house with dishes sanctified by faith. Let there be pleasure and excellent satisfaction amongst the kinsmen.

39. O goddess, consort of Śiva, I shall be the beloved lover of thousands of wives. Let my love appeal to them and remain unfading and unfailing.

40. Let their parents be the speakers of truth in the world. O Pārvatī, thanks to your grace, let these and other excellent boons take effect.

Sanatkumāra said:—

41. On hearing his words, the eternal goddess, the bestower of all desires, spoke to him in surprise “Hail to you. Let it be so.”

42. After granting Kṛṣṇa these boons and blessing him mercifully Pārvatī and Śiva vanished there itself.

43. O great sage, Kṛṣṇa, felt as if he had achieved his purpose. Immediately he went to the excellent hermitage of the sage Upamanyu.

44. Bowing his head to the sage, Kṛṣṇa, the slayer of Keśin, narrated all the details to Upamanyu.

He said:—

45. “O Janārdana, except lord Śiva who else can there be the lord of great gifts or very unbearable if infuriated?

46. O Kṛṣṇa of great fame, listen to the lordly glory of Śiva about his perfect knowledge, austerity, heroism and fortitude during dangers.

47. On hearing that, Kṛṣṇa became endowed with faith and devotion to Śiva. He asked him about Śiva’s glory. The great sage narrated thus.

Upamanyu said:—

48. Formerly in the region of Brahmā lord Śiva was eulogised with his thousand names[2] by the noble-souled Brahmā bearing the staff.

49. The Sāṃkhyas read that song of prayer as it were a big lexicon. That hymn bestows all desires on men though inscrutable to them.

50. O Kṛṣṇa, return home happily remembering Śiva constantly. O dear, you will always be the foremost among Śiva’s devotees.

51. Thus permitted by him, Keśava the son of Vasudeva made obeisance to the sage and returned to Dvārakā mentally remembering Śiva.

Sanatkumāra said:—

52. O great sage, Kṛṣṇa became contented and invincible after propitiating Śiva, the benefactor of the worlds.

53. Similarly, O great sage, Rāma, the son of Daśaratha, devoutly propitiated Śiva and became contented and victorious everywhere.

54. O sage, after performing a great penance on the mountain, Rāma secured from Śiva a bow and an arrow and the excellent knowledge.

55. He built the bridge on the ocean, killed Rāvaṇa with his followers, regained Śītā, returned home and enjoyed the whole earth.

56-57. Similarly Paraśurāma, who was distressed on seeing his father killed by the Kṣatriyas, propitiated lord Śiva by his penance. From the delighted lord Śiva he secured a sharp-edged axe. With that he exterminated the Kṣatriyas twenty-one times.[3]

58. Even today Siddhas and Cāraṇas sec this storehouse of penance deathless and invincible engaged in worshipping the phallic image.

59. Rāma stays on the mountain Mahendra[4] and performs penance. At the end of the Kalpa he will attain the region of the sage.

60-61. The ascetic Devala, younger brother of Asita, harassed the universe formerly by clutching at its root. He was then cursed by the lord, destroyer of cities. He performed penance by propitiating the phallic image that bestows all desires and removes the past evil.

62-63. Gṛtsamada, son of Cākṣuṣamanu became a deer in the desert in the Daṇḍaka[5] forest by the curse of Vasiṣṭha. Alone he roamed about, devoutly remembering in his heart, Śiva along with the Praṇava oṃ. After his death he became a deer-faced Gaṇa.

64. Thus passing through the curse he was made free from death and old age by Śiva and lovingly appointed as a permanent follower of Gaṇeśa.

65-66. To Gārgya Śiva granted salvation rare in the world, the ability to go as he pleased in holy centres, the knowledge of all time coupled with prosperity, and permanent mastery of the words of the four Vedas. Śiva granted him a thousand peerless sons too.

67. The satisfied lord Śiva granted to Parāśara, a powerful Yogin as the son who was free from old age and death and was known as Vedavyāsa.

68. Māṇḍavya who had been fixed to a sake for a million years was released by Śiva and blessed with longevity.

69-77. Formerly there was a poor brahmin householder. He had kept his son Gālava in the house of his preceptor. Whenever any mendicant visited his house this brahmin hid himself. He used to tell his wife, “No doubt I am a householder. But what can I offer to a guest? If any poor man comes you shall tell him “My husband is not here.” It happened once that a guest oppressed by thirst and hunger visited the house. He asked the lady “Where is your husband? Where has he gone?” She replied “My husband is not here.” Knowing the truth by his divine vision the sage said, “He is hidden inside the house.” The brahmin died in his hiding place. When permitted by his preceptor Viśvāmitra, the son of the brahmin, Gālava returned home and heard from his mother the terrible calamity that had overtaken them. He propitiated lord Śiva and performed Śiva’s worship. When he went out of his house remembering Śiva in his heart, he saw his father alive again who on seeing the son standing with palms joined in reverence said—“Thanks to the favour of lord Śiva I am blessed and satisfied. I have been resuscitated to life again and also blessed with wealth”.

78. Thus everything has been narrated to you. I am really not competent to express the qualities of Śiva in brief or in detail. Even Śeṣa’s tongues may not be competent for the task.

Footnotes and references:


Kṛṣṇa was of the Yādava race, being descended from Yadu, one of the sons of Yayāti. The yādavas of old were a pastoral race and dwelt on the river Yamunā in Vṛndāvana on the western side and in Gokula on the other.


For a thousand names of Śiva see Koṭirudra-saṃhitā (Śivapurāṇa) Ch. 35.


Compare Śivapurāṇa (Umā-saṃhitā) Ch. I. v. 27.


The mountain Mahendra represents the Eastern Ghat. See Studies in Sk. P. P. 134.


It stretched from Citrakūṭa to the south of the Godāvarī, thus included the Vindhya and Śaivala mountains. For its identification with Toṇḍaimaṇḍala or Diṇḍivanam see ‘Geographical Encyclopedia of Ancient and Medieval India’ (Bajpai) P. 103.

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