The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “uplift from the 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 16 - Uplift from the hell

Sanatkumāra said:—

1. O excellent sage, above the nether regions, are the hells where the sinners are scorched. Listen to their description from me.

2. They are—Raurava, Śūkara, Rādha, Tāla, Vivasvat, Mahājvāla, Taptakumbha, Lavaṇa, Vilohita.

3. The river Vaitaraṇī consists of putrid stuff flowing in it, Kṛmiṇa. Kṛmibhojana, Asipatravana and Lālābhakṣa are the terrible hells:

4. Pūyavaha has usually flames of fire outside and is topsyturvy. Sandaṃśa, Kālasūtra, Tamas, Avīcirodhana

5. Śvabhojana, Ruṣṭa, Mahāraurava and Śālmali—these and other bells are there; all of these are very grievous.

6. Men who are indulgent in sins are scorched there. O Vyāsa, I shall mention them in order. Listen attentively,

7. He who commits perjury except for the brahmins, gods and cows and he who utters a lie always goes to Raurava

8-10. The following sinners viz the destroyer of the child in the womb, the stealer of gold, of cows, one who commits the breach of trust, the wine-addict, the brahmin slayer, the stealer of other’s wealth and he who associates with these—go to the hell Kumbha, O Vyāsa. He who kills his preceptor, sister, mother, daughter or a cow too goes there. He who tells his chaste wife, he who is addicted to usury, he who sells tresses of hair and he who forsakes a devotee—all these are scorched in redhot iron.

11-13. He who insults preceptors, he who dismisses visitors and then dines, he who commits blasphemy, he who sells idols and he who cohabits with forbidden women—all these, O brahmin, go to Saptabala hell. A thief, a slayer of cows, a fallen man, a defiler of boundaries, the hater of gods, brahmins and Pitṛs and the defiler of gems go to Kṛmibhakṣa hell. They eat worms and other displeasing things.

14-16. The base man who eats before Pitṛs, deities and gods and he who ignorantly or deceitfully misquotes sacred texts—these go to Lālābhakṣa hell. The brahmin who associates with evil men and is surrounded by outcastes, the brahmin who officiates as priest in the sacrifice of undeserving persons, and eats forbidden food, and he who sells Soma juice—these fall into Rudhiraugha hell. He who spoils honey and creates disturbances in the village falls in the ruthless river Vaitaraṇī.

17. Those who are arrogant in the freshness of youth, who transgress the bounds of decency, who are unclean and who maintain themselves on the earnings of unchaste women go to Kṛmya hell.

18. He who cues off trees without purpose goes to Asipatravana hell. Those who hunt deer with Kṣuraprakas (arrows with horse-shoe-shaped heads) fall into Vahnijvāla hell.

19. O brahmin, the brahmin, the Kṣatriya or the Vaiśya who swerves from the path of good conduct ultimately fall into the hell prescribed for dog-cooking cāṇḍālas.

20. Those who drop sacred rites in the middle and those who are fallen off from their duties in accordance with the stages of their life fall into the hell Sandaṃśa where the tortures are very terrible.

21. The students who are guilty of nocturnal emission of their semen and the fathers who do not properly educate their sons fall into the Śvabhojana hell.

22. There are hundreds and thousands of these and other hells where thousands of sinners undergo tortures and are scorched.

23. These sins and others are thousands in number similarly, which the beings in the hells experience and try to wipe off.

24. Those who perpetrate misdeeds contrary to the injunctions of caste and stages of life whether physically, mentally or verbally fall into hell.

25. The beings in the hells are seen standing upside down by the gods in the heaven. These beings see the gods also similarly with heads down, beneath them.

26-27. Immovable beings—plants etc. and movable beings worms, insects, birds, beasts, righteous men, gods and liberated beings, all these are equal in number in heaven as also in hell. A sinner who is averse to the performance of expiatory rites goes to hell.

28. Svāyambhuva Manu has ordained expiatory rites for great sins and small expiatory rites for small sins in the Kali age

29. Of the many rites mentioned by way of expiation the remembrance of Śiva is the greatest.

30. If a person commits a sin but repents after committing it, it is also an expiation. There also the remembrance of Śiva is the greatest expiation.

31. A man remembering lord Śiva in the midday or other occasions attains lord Śiva. By remembering the lord in the morning, night or dusk, he gets his sins eliminated.

32. It is only by remembering Śiva, the lord of Umā that a man attains salvation, the annihilation of all pains or heaven.

33. O leading brahmin, Japas, Homas, worship etc. are obstacles in the path of sins. O excellent sage, they do not occur anywhere in the three worlds.

34. The attainment of the status of Indra, lord of the gods, is the fruit of the merit attained in Japa, Homa, worship etc. performed by the man whose mind is in lord Siva.

35. O sage, he who devoutly remembers Śiva day and night never goes to hell since his sins are eliminated without any vestige.

36. O excellent brahmin, sin and merit indicate hell and heaven. One is conducive to misery and the other to pleasure and rebirth.

37. That at the outset is conducive to happiness but later brings in misery. Hence ultimately everything is of the nature of misery. There is nothing in fact of an invariably pleasurable nature.

38. Happiness and misery constitute only a temporary transformation of the mind. But knowledge is the greatest Brahman. Knowledge is conducive to the understanding of reality.

39. The entire universe consisting of the mobile and immobile beings has knowledge as its soul. O sage, there is nothing greater than the perfect knowledge of the greatest being.

40. Thus the entire sphere of the hell has been explained by me. Hereafter I shall explain the sphere of the earth.