The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “description of the hell (naraka)” 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 8 - Description of the Hell (naraka)

Note: The chapter mentions several hells (naraka) and their cells to each of which it assigns a group of five emmissaries who look after the tortures inflicted upon the wicked in accordance with their sins. The Purāṇas vary greatly as to the number and names of the hells. Manu mentions twenty-one hells only.

Citragupta said:—

1-2. O ye sinners, of evil actions, stealers of other man’s riches, outragers of the modesty of other’s wives, arrogant by your comeliness and might, why was sin committed by you all, for your own ruination? The actions committed by you shall be endured and the fruits thereof shall be reaped.

3. Why do you lament now? You are being tortured by your own actions. Reap the fruits thereof. This is not the fault of anyone else.

Sanatkumāra said:—

4-5. Similarly, the infuriated great lord Citragupta, the knower of virtuousness, at the behest and instruction of Yamarāja imparts the following advice to the kings who proud of their might had committed many misdeeds and had been brought near him ultimately.

Citragupta said:—

6. O ye wicked kings, who had tyrannised over and repressed your subjects, why were misdeeds committed for your rule of a very short duration?

7. O kings, let the fruits be reaped now (of the evil actions) in having punished your subjects unjusticiably due to your fascination for kingly pleasures. You have misused your might.

8. Where is that kingdom? Where is your mistress? Where are those for whom sin and evil have been perpetrated? You have left them all and stand here alone.

9. I see that might quelled, the might that suppressed the subjects. How will you fare when you too are subjected to the same treatment by the emissaries of Yama?

Sanatkumāra said:—

10. The kings who are treated with these and other similar taunts by Yama bewail their own lot and stand silent.

11. After having proclaimed their evil actions, Yama, Dharmarāja speaks to the messengers thus, for wiping off the sins of those kings.

Yamarāja said:—

12. O Caṇḍa, O Mahācaṇḍa, seize these kings forcibly and purify them gradually in the fires of hell (naraka).

Sanatkumāra said:—

13-14. Then they immediately catch hold of the kings by their feet, whirl them with great velocity, throw them up and when they fall they catch them again and dash them against a heated rock. They are thus felled like great trees smitten with the thunderbolt.

15. Then the man sheds blood through his cars. He is wholly shattered. He becomes unconscious and motionless.

16. When the wind blows against him he is resuscitated to life again. In order to purify him of his sins they throw him into the ocean of hell.

17. At the end of the seventh nether-world Tala, there are twenty-eight Narakakotis situated in terrible darkness.

18. The first cell is called Ghorā. Sughorā is situated beneath it. Atighorā and Mahāghorā come next and Ghorarūpā is the fifth.

19. The sixth is named Talātalā. The seventh is Bhayānakā. The eighth is Kālarātri and the ninth is Bhayotkaṭā.

20-21. The tenth beneath the previous is Caṇḍā. Mahācaṇḍā is lower still. Caṇḍakolāhalā is another. Pracaṇḍā, Caṇḍanāyikā, Padmā, Padmāvatī, Bhītā, Bhīmā, Bhīṣaṇanāyikā and Vajrā are terrible, very terrible.

22. The next eight cells are Trikoṇā, Pañcakoṇā, Sūdīrghā, Akhilārtidā, Samā, Bhīmabalā, Atyugrā and the eighth Dīptaprāyā.

23 Thus the cells of Naraka have been mentioned to you by their names. Each of these is meant for the torture for a particular sin. Thus the twenty-eight cells for twenty-eight type of sins.

24. For each of these cells there are five officers in charge. Now I shall mention the names of the hells of each of these cells. Understand them well.

25. Raurava is the first where the embodied beings cry. Mahāraurava is the next. Due to the tortures here even great men cry.

26-42. There are cool and hot hells (naraka). The first five are the leading hells. The hells are named thus: Sughora, Sumahātīkṣṇa, Sañjīvana, Mahātamas. Viloma, Vilopa, Kaṇṭaka, Tīvravega, Karāla, Vikarāla, Prakampana, Mahāvaktra, Kāla, Kālasūtra, Pragarjana, Sūcīmukha, Suneti, Khādaka, Suprapīḍana, Kumbhīpāka, Supāka, Krakaca, Atidāruṇa, Aṅgārarāśibhavanam, Medaprahita, Asṛkprahita, Tīkṣṇatuṇḍa, Śakuni, Mahāsaṃvartaka, Kratu, Taptajantu, Paṅkalepa, Pratimāṃśa, Trapūdbhava, Ucchvāsa, Sunirucchvāsa, Sudīrgha, Kūṭaśālmali, Duriṣṭa, Sumahāvāda, Pravāha, Supratāpana, Megha, Vṛṣa, Śālma, Siṃhānana, Vyāghrānana, Gajānana, Śvānana, Sūkarānana, Ajānana, Mahiṣānana, Ghūkānana, Kokānana, Vṛkānana, Grahākhya, Kumbhīnākhya, Nakrāskhya, Sarpākhya, Kūrmākhya, Vāyasākhya, Gṛdhrākhya, Ulūkākhya, Jalaukākhya, Śārdūla, Kratha, Karkaṭa, Maṇḍūka, Pūtivaktra, Raktākṣa, Pūtimṛttika, Kaṇadhūmra, Agni, Kṛmigandhivapus, Agnīdhra, Apratiṣṭha, Rudhirābha, Śvabhojana, Lālābhakṣa, Antrabhakṣa, Sarvabhakṣa, Sudāruṇa, Kaṇṭaka, Suviśāla, Vikaṭa, Kaṭapūtana, Ambarīṣa, Kaṭāha, the grievous river Vaitaraṇī, Sutaptalohaśayana, Ekapāda, Prapūraṇa, Asitālavana, Asthibhaṅga, Supūraṇa Vilātasa, Asuyantra, Kūṭapāśa, Pramardana, Mahācūrṇa, Asucūrṇa, Taptalohamaya, Parvata, Kṣuradhārā, Yamalaparvata, Mūtrakūpa, Viṣṭhākūpa, Aśrukūpa, Kṣārakūpa, Śītala, Musalolūkhala, Yantra, Śilā, Śakaṭalāṅgala, Tālapatrāsigahana, Mahāśakaṭa, Maṇḍapa, Sammoha, Asthibhaṅga, Tapta, Cala, Ayoguḍa, Bahuduḥkha, Mahākleśa, Kaśmala, Samala, Mala, Hālāhala, Virūpa, Svarūpa, Yamānuga, Ekapāda, Tripāda, Tīvra, Ācīvara and Tamas.

Sanatkumāra said:—

43-45. Thus for twenty-eight cells there are five officers in charge of each. Raurava and other hells are thus hundred and more. The great zones of hell (naraka-maṇḍala) are forty hundreds. Thus O Vyāsa, I have described the hells to you. The enumeration arouses detachment from the sin. Now listen to the pangs of sinners.