The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “pangs of hell” 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 9 - Pangs of hell

Sanatkumāra said:—

1. In the hellish fires, the sinners are roasted and dried up by diverse tortures till their action is exhausted completely.

2. Just as metals are melted in fire to remove their impurities so also sinners are put in hells in order to remove their sins.

3. The hands are tightly tied and the men are battered. Then they are suspended from the branches of tall trees by the attendants of Yama.

4. Then they are pushed by the servants till they begin to oscillate a Yojana unconscious by their rapidity.

5. Even as they are suspended in mid air, iron hundred Bhāras in weight is tied to their feet by the emissaries of Yama.

6. Afflicted by such a heavy weight the sinners begin to think about their evil actions and keep quiet and motionless.

7. Then the sinners are beaten with goads of fiery colour and terrible iron rods by the terrible servants of Yama.

8. Then they are again smeared with glowing acid more unbearable than fire.

9-11. Their limbs are cut and smothered, gradually torn and severed and smeared with molten metal. They are then roasted like brinjal in red-hot iron cauldrons. They are then cast into wells full of filth, swarms of worms or in tanks full of putrid fat and blood. They are eaten by worm and crows with beaks strong as iron.

12. Dogs, mosquitoes, wolves and tigers of terrible and hideous faces too devour them. They are roasted like fish over glowing heaps of coal.

13-14. Due to their sinful actions men are pierced through with sharp spears. They are put in oil extracting machines called Cakra and crushed like gingelly seeds and beaten into pulp. They are fried in iron cauldrons red hot in the blazing sunlight.

15. They are fried in boiling oil in cauldrons again and again. Their tongues, chests and feet are struck in many ways.

16. Here the tortures to the body are very severe. Men thus go from one hell to another and are tortured in all the hells.

17. O vyāsa, terrible tortures are inflicted in diverse ways in all the hells by Yama’s emissaries. They are grievous and painful to every part of the body.

18-19. Their mouths are filled with the burning coals and again with acid red hot, copper hot clarified butter and oil and they are beaten afterwards.

20. They are filled with faeces and worms and are forced to embrace the red hot fierce iron-silk cotton tree.

21-22. They are then beaten on the back with heated hammer. Their heads and their limbs are crushed with too blunt tooth-edged strong scissors. They are thus tortured by their own actions. Their flesh is eaten and their blood is drunk by them.

23. Those who fed and nurtured only themselves and never made any gift of food or drink are crushed with iron rods like sugarcane.

24. In the terrible hell Asitālavana they are cut into pieces. Their limbs are pierced through with needles. They are staked on to heated spearheads.

25. Tossed about many times their bodies do not perish but are severely pained. They become used to bear the pleasure or pain.

26. Flesh is torn off their bodies and they are pounded with iron clubs of tooth-edged shapes by terribly mighty emissaries of Yama.

27. In the hell Nirucchvāsa they are forced to stand without breathing, for a long time. In the hell Ucchvāsa they are hit and thrashed in a house of sand.

28. In the hell Raurava they are made to cry and inflicted pain by various tortures. Due to the tortures in the hell, Mahāraurava, even great men cry.

29. They are beaten on the faces, feet, anus, skull, eyes and forehead with blocks of iron and sharp-edged red-hot iron spikes.

30. They are again and again rolled on hot sand. Cast into boiling marsh of creatures they make harsh shrieking sounds.

31. O sage, in the hell kumbhīpāka sinners of ruthless misdeeds are fried in unbearable boiling oil.

32. The sinners are felled and dragged along various torturing places again and again in the hell named Lālābhakṣa.

33. Sinners devoid of merit are beaten by Yama’s servants. They are hurled into the torturous hell Sūcīmukha.

34. They are put into iron pots. They breathe hard and slow. They are scorched by great fire, as if by their own sins.

35. They are tied tightly with ropes and are rolled on rocks and harassed. They are cast into deep gloomy wells. They are subjected to bee-bites.

36. When their bodies are cut, bitten and gnawed by worms in a hundred places, they are hurled into wells of pungent acid.

37. In the blazing hell the distressed sinners, shriek and run about here and there scorched by its flames.

38-39. People are clubbed and tied together with mouths resting on shoulders and hands brought through the hollow and tied with nooses and ropes to the back. Such bundles of bodies are seen in the Mahājvāla undergoing tortures.

40. They are tied with ropes, smeared with mud and scorched in husk and cowdung fire but do not perish.

41. Dragged and rolled through rough and coarse rocks, beaten and burnt like straw, the sinners of ruthless conduct, are tortured.

42-43. The worms eat through their bodies with their sharp mouths and teeth. With their bodies gradually hurled over swarms of worms, heaps of putrid flesh and bones they stay there distressed, dejected and crushed between two mountains

44. They are kept with face down and legs up and scorched in fire. Their bodies are smeared with hot adamantine solution.

45. Red hot iron clubs are thrust into their mouths. They are helplessly forced to gnaw at it. They are then beaten with iron threshing rods.

46. O Vyāsa, thus the sinners of misdeeds are cooked and scorched in hells. I shall now describe their various modes of undergoing the tortures of hell.