The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “glory of the puranas” 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 13 - The glory of the Purāṇas

Sanatkumāra said:—

1. O sage, the fruit is the same whether one performs penance in a forest restricting his diet to roots and fruits there or studies a single Vedic verse.

2. By teaching the Veda, an excellent brahmin attains twice the merit that he attains by studying it.

3. The universe will go without light if the moon and the sun were not present. The same will happen if the Purāṇas too, O sage, were not.

4. A Purāṇist enlightens the people through Śāstras, the people who are in distress in the hell due to ignorance. Hence he shall be worshipped.

5. Among all the deserving men the knower of Purāṇa is the most excellent. He is considered worthy because he saves people from fall

6. Never shall a Purāṇist be considered an ordinary man. A preceptor proficient in Purāṇa is omniscient. He is Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva.

7. For the welfare here and hereafter, wealth, food-grain, gold, different clothes etc. shall be given to a Purāṇist as gift,

8. The good man who out of pleasure gives auspicious things to a Purāṇist who is a deserving person, attains the greatest salvation.

9. Listen to the merit that a person derives from lands, cows, chariots, elephants and good horses to a deserving person.

10. That man derives the fruit of horse-sacrifice, and realises all his cherished desires without wastage, both here and hereafter.

11. He who gives him a good fertile and well ploughed land facilitates the redemption of the members of his family upto ten generations before him and after him.

12. After enjoying all the pleasures here, he becomes endowed with a divine body on death and goes to Śivaloka, by a divine aerial chariot.

13. The gods are not satisfied so much with sacrifices, Prokṣaṇakas (immolations of animals at the sacrifices), oblations and floral worships as with the recitation of books.

14. Listen to the meritorious benefits of that man who makes arrangement for the Sacred Text book in the temple of Śiva, Viṣṇu, the Sun or any one else.

15. The man derives the benefit of Rājasūyas[1] and Aśvamedhas. Piercing through the sun’s sphere he goes to to the Brahmaloka

16. After remaining there for hundreds of Kalpas he becomes a king on the earth. He enjoys the pleasures without pinpricks. No hesitation need be entertained in this regard.

17. He who performs Japas in front of the deity obtains that benefit which is mentioned as the fruit of a thousand horse-sacrifices.

18. Nothing else Is delightful to Śiva and the heaven-dwellers more than the recitation of Itihāsas and Purāṇas in the auspicious temples of Śiva.

19. Hence arrangements shall be assiduously made for the reciting of the book. Listening to it with devotion and love yields the fruit of all cherished desires.

20. Man becomes free from sins on listening to Śivapurāṇa. After enjoying immense pleasures he attains the world of Śiva.

21. Merely by listening to the story of Śiva one derives the merit similar to that resulting from Rājasūya and a hundred Agniṣṭoma rites.

22. O sage, by listening to the story of Śiva one derives the benefit and merit derived from ablution in the sacred rivers and from gifting away a crore of cows.

23. Those who constantly listen to Śiva’s story that sanctifies the worlds are not mere human beings, they are Rudras. There is no doubt in this.

24. Sages consider the dust in the lotus-feet of those who listen to the holy glory of Śiva and those who constantly glorify it, to be as holy as the holy centres.

25. Let those embodied beings who desire to attain salvation listen always the Purāṇic story of Śiva with devotion.

26. If any one is unable to listen to the Purāṇic story let him listen at least for a Muhūrta every day with pure mind.

27. O sage, if any man, is unable to listen to the story of Śiva every day let him listen to it in the course of holy months, days etc.

28. O great sage, he who regularly listens to Śiva’s story crosses the ocean of worldly existence after burning away the great forest of Karman.

29. No mishap befalls those men who listen to Śiva’s story even for a Muhūrta, or half that time or even for a moment with devotion.

30. O sage, certainly the fruit derived from listening to Śivapurāṇa is the same as that derived from making all charitable gifts or from performing all sacrifices.

31. O Vyāsa, especially in the age of Kali there is no greater virtue aimed at salvation and meditation than listening to the Purāṇas.

32. There is no doubt that the listening to Śiva-Purāṇa and the holy recital of his names yield fruits readily like the Kalpa tree to human beings.

33. Śiva has created the nectarine juice in the form of Purāṇa for the benefit of men of poor intellect in the Kali age who have eschewed virtue and good conduct.

34. Only one person becomes free from old age and death by drinking the nectar Amṛta. But by drinking the nectarine story of Śiva the entire family becomes free from death and old age.

35. O dear, one instantaneously attains by listening to the Purāṇas that salvation which meritorious ascetics and performers of sacrifices derive.

36. As long as perfect knowledge is not attained, Yogaśāstras shall be learnt assiduously and the Purāṇic text be listened to.

37. By listening to the Purāṇas, sin is reduced and eliminated; virtue is enhanced; and the wise man does not re-enter worldly life,

38. Hence indeed, the Purāṇas shall be assiduously listened to for the achievement of virtue, wealth, love and salvation.

39. Man attains, thanks to listening to the Purāṇas, that benefit which is attained by sacrifices, charitable gifts, penances and pilgrimages.

40. If there be no purāṇa showing the path of Dharma, there will be no person observing Vrata or interested in the life hereafter.

41. He who listens to at least one among the thirty six Purāṇas[2] or reads it with devotion is liberated. There is no doubt in this.

42. No other path so pleasing is there. The path of the Purāṇas is the most excellent. Nothing in the world shines without the Śāstra as the worlds of living beings without the sun.

Footnotes and references:

1.

Rājasūya is a great sacrifice celabrated in the Śrautasūtras. It was performed at the coronation of a king.

The sacrifice of a horse (aśvamedha) was performed by Kings. It was an exercise for attaining sovereignty of the world. The horse was let loose to wander at will for a year. The king or his representative1 followed the horse with an army. When the horse entered a foreign country, the ruler of that country was bound either to fight or submit.

2.

The printed Sanskrit text is defective. Substitute “ṣaḍ triṃśati” for “ṣaḍviṃśati”, for the number of the Purāṇas and Upapurāṇa together is thirty-six and not twenty-six.