The Shiva Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1950 | 616,585 words

This page relates “primeval creation” 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 29 - The primeval creation

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Śaunaka said:—

1. The great narrative of the conversation of Sanatkumāra and Vyāsa has been heard by me as narrated by you. It has bestowed the knowledge of truth.

2. Now I wish to hear about the creation of Brahmā, the manner of its origin and the way in which you heard it from Vyāsa.

Sūta said:—

3. O sage, listen to the divine story that destroys all sins; the variegated story that is being described by me; the story full of meaning and well known details.

4. He who teaches or hears this story repeatedly sustains his family and is honoured in the world of heaven.

5-6. Puruṣa is eternal and he is of the nature of Sat and Asat as Pradhāna and Puruṣa. The creator of the worlds created Pradhāna after becoming Puruṣa. He created the Creator of all living beings devoted to Nārāyaṇa. O great sage, understand him to be Brahma of immeasurable strength and prowess.

7. O leading sage, obeisance to that Self-born being from whom the Kalpas and all beings originate.

8. After bowing to that Puruṣa, lord Hiraṇyagarbha, I shall explain the excellent mode of creation again.

9. Brahmā is the creator; Viṣṇu is the protector and Śíva is the annihilator. Even when the time passes there is no other cause of that creation.

10. Being self-born himself the lord, desirous of creating various subjects, created only the waters first. He then instilled virility into them.[1]

11. The waters are called Nāra (belonging to Nara). The waters are the progenies of Nara. Since waters had been his abode he is called Nārāyaṇa.[2]

12. The Egg floating in the water assumed golden colour. Brahma himself famous as the self-born was born there. [3]

13. After staying there for a year, lord Hiraṇyagarbha, dichotomised that egg and created heaven and earth. [4]

14. Fourteen worlds were created including those above and below. With the intervening space between those two pieces the lord created the ether.[5]

15. He created the earth floating in the waters and the ten quarters in the firmament. Then he created the mind, the speech, love and anger and the sexual delight.

16. The excessively brilliant creator created seven mental sons, the sages, Marīci, Atri, Aṅgiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu and Vasiṣṭha.[6]

17. They have been decisively termed the seven Brahmās in the Purāṇas. Brahmā again created the Rudras arising from anger.

18. He created the sage Sanatkumāra too, the eldest of all. They are thus seven born. The Rudras were born afterwards.

19. Sanatkumāra stays with controlled brilliance. From them seven great families originated, all being divine and worshipped by the celestial sages.

20. Endowed with sacred rites they were born along with the other Sages. The lightning, the thunderbolt, the red clouds and the rainbow were created.

21. He created water at the outset. He created the rain-bearing cloud. He created the Ṛks, the Yajus and the Sāmans for facilitating Yajñas.[7]

22. With these he worshipped the gods worthy of being adored. This is what we had heard. He created the gods from his mouth, the manes from the chest, men through impregnation and the Asuras from his loins.

23. Living beings high and low were born of his limbs as the patriarch Āpava generated the creation of the aquatic beings.

24. When the beings created did not increase he dichotomised his body and became man and woman.[8]

25 With his greatness he persuaded the universe and created the people. Viṣṇu created the Virāṭ (the cosmic being). Thus the Puruṣa Virāṭ was created.[9]

26. Know that he was another Manu that began the age. That lord, Puruṣa, created all the subjects out of Vairāja.

27. The creations of Viṣṇu were not born of womb. They were long-lived, famous, blessed and possessed of progeny.

28. O excellent sage, thus the primeval creation has been narrated to you on knowing which one attains his cherished goal.

Footnotes and references:


Manu I.8.


Ibid. 1.10.


Ibid 1. 9.


Ibid. 1. 13-14.


Ibid. 1. 13-14.


Manu adds Pracetas, Bhṛgu and Nārada Ibid. 1. 35.


Manu I.23.


Ibid. I.32; Matsya-purāṇa (‘A Study’ by V. S. Agrawal) 3. 31.


Manu I.32.

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