The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “statement of a special mantra” 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 20 - The statement of a special Mantra

Vyāsa said:—

1. O omniscient Sanatkumāra, O the most excellent of the good, explain the acquisition of that by attaining which men endowed with devotion to Śiva do not return again.

Sanatkumāra said:—

2. O Vyāsa, son of Parāśara, listen with pleasure to the auspicious salvation and the holy rite of pious devotees and the sacred rite of ascetics.

3. Those who perform holy rites, who are endowed with very pious penance and who always worship Śiva should be honoured in every way always.

4. Those who have not performed austerities do not go to Śiva’s region which is free from ailments. O great sage, penance alone leads to Śiva’s blessings.

5. The gods and Gaṇas rejoice in heaven due to penance. So also the sages and the ascetics. Know my statement to be true.

6. Every thing can be achieved through penance, whether it is difficult to be sustained, or propitiated or is burdensome or difficult to be transgressed. Penance cannot be transgressed.

7. Brahmā stays steady in his penance. So also Viṣṇu and Śiva. All the gods and the goddesses have attained rare benefits through penance.

8. There is no doubt that in this world the particular goal is realised through penance by those who aspire for it

9. O Vyāsa, penance is the means for achieving everything. It is of three kinds viz. Sāttvika, Rājasa and Tāmasa.

10. The Sāttvika penance is performed by the gods and the ascetics of sublimated prowess; the Rājasa penance is by the Dānavas and human beings.

11-12. Their result too is threefold, achievable by the sages who have truthful vision. The Sāttvika penance consists of Japa, meditation and auspicious worship of the deities with devotion. It is the means of achieving all benefits and all desires here and hereafter.

13. The Rājasa penance is performed with a specific desire as the fruit. Here the body is subjected to tortures and unbearable whithering and macerating processes.

14. That is Tāmasa penance which has a passionate end in view.

15-21. The Sāttvika penance is the most excellent. It makes righteous intellect firm and steady. It has following characteristics—performance of ceremonial ablution, worship, Japa, sacrifice, scrupulous purity and cleanliness, non-violence, sacred rites, observance of fasts, silence, control of the sense-organs, pure intelligence, learning, truthfulness, refraining from anger, charitable gifts, forgiveness, suppression of the sense-organs, mercifulness, digging of wells, tanks and lakes, building of mansions for public cause observing Kṛcchra, Cāndrāyaṇa and other rites, Yajñas, pilgrimages, hermitages, holy places and other acts pleasing to sensible persons. O Vyāsa, good virtue is the cause of Śiva’s devotion. Celebration of the day of sun’s transit, the conjunction of equinoxes the Nādamukta, Dhyāna or meditation shall be in all the three occasions. It is the retention of the mind in the brilliance. Prāṇāyāma is three-fold viz. Recaka, Pūraka and Kumbhaka. This along with the knowledge of the course of the veins, withdrawal or obstruction of senses are the means of perfect knowledge and the achievement of the eight Siddhis, Aṇimā, etc.

22. In the state of trance there are various stages such as the stage of the log of wood, the stage of the dead and the stage of Harita. All these are destructive of all sins.

23. These five are the prosperities of royal glory-women, bed, drink, good garments unguents and incense, and the chewing of betel leaves.

24-25. The forms of various pleasures are—blocks of gold, copper, houses, gems, cows, scholarship in the Vedas and Śāstras, ornaments, ability to sing and dance, conches, Vīṇās, Mṛdaṅgas, lordly elephants, umbrellas and chowries. Man yearning for these takes delight in these.

26. O sage, but he does not know that these are only reflections in a mirror, not real substances. Just as the gingelly seeds are crushed to yield oil he gets himself crushed to yield things of pleasure. He madly rushes after them deluded by false knowledge. Some one seems to tell him, “Go on quickly.”

27. In spite of realising this he moves up and down in the world like the water-raising wheel. He takes various births in the mobile and immobile forms of life. He is distressed throughout.

28. After the transmigration through various forms of life ultimately he attains the rare human birth.

29. Human birth īs attained even out of turn if the merit is weighty enough. As a result of the weightiness or otherwise of the actions, the goals achieved are of diverse nature.

30. If anyone does not strive for salvation even after obtaining human birth which is capable of achieving heaven and salvation, surely he bemoans his lot for a long time, when dead.

31. Even to the god and the Asuras the birth as human being is very rare to be achieved. After attaining the same he should do such things as would prevent his fall in the hell.

32. If there is no endeavour for the acquisition of heaven and salvation even after attaining the rare human form that birth is to be dubbed as useless.

33. Human birth is glorified as the root-cause for the four aims of life. O Vyāsa, after getting it, one shall assiduously and virtuously maintain it.

34. Human birth has virtue as its root. It shall achieve all objects. Even if there is no endeavour to achieve any special aim after getting human birth at least one should preserve the root.

35. Who can be a more senseless man than one who does not strive for the welfare of the soul after attaining the rare birth as a brahmin in the course of human birth?

36. Of all the continents, this continent is called the land of sacred rites. It is from here that heaven and salvation are attained.

37. Indeed the soul is deceived by that man who does not strive for welfare despite attaining human form in this land of Bhārata Varṣa.

38. O brahmin, this is the land of sacred riles and that is the land of enjoyment. The fruit of the sacred rite performed is enjoyed in heaven.

39. One should continue to perform virtuous rites as long as the health and normalcy of the body is maintained. A sick man is not eager to perform anything even when urged by others.

40. If anyone does not try to achieve the permanent through the non-permanent body, the permanent is lost for him and the non-permanent has already perished.[1]

41. Under the pretext of passing days and nights pieces of life fall off. Why is it not realised?

42. When it is not known who will die and when, when the death is so sudden and unexpected who can have self-confidence?

43. It is certain that one will ultimately go away leaving off everything. Why then docs he not give off in charity, all the wealth, so that it can be the packet of fooding on his way to Yama’s abode?

44. A man who has taken the packet of fooding with him by virtue of giving charitable gifts, goes to Yama’s abode without difficulty. Otherwise the creature suffers on the way without the packet of food.

45. O Kāleya, they gain at every step whose merits are full and perfect and who go to heaven.

46. Realising this, man should perform meritorious rites and avoid sinful activities. Thanks to the merit one attains godhood. A person devoid of merit goes to hell.

47. They who take refuge in Śiva, lord of the gods, even slightly, do not see the terrible Yama nor the terrible hell.

48. But at the behest of Śiva, due to sins and great delusions, those men stay there for sometime and then go to the region of Śiva.

49. But those who have taken refuge in lord Śiva wholly are not smeared with sin like the leaf of the lotus with water.

50. O excellent sage, they who repeat the names of Śiva need not be afraid of hell or Yama.

51. The two syllables “Śiva” constitute the packet of flooding for the journey to the other world; it is the means of salvation, free from worries and is the abode of all merits.

52. It is only the name of Śiva that subdues and quells the great ailment of worldly existence. Nothing else does the same, as I see.

53. Formerly Pulkaśa committed thousands of murders of Brahmins but on hearing the sacred name Śiva, he attained salvation.

54. Hence a sensible man shall enhance his devotion to Śiva incessantly. O intelligent one, one attains worldly pleasures and salvation due to the devotion to Śiva.

Footnotes and references:


The verse with slight variations occurs in Pañcatantra Mitraprāpti (Verse 141).