The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “attainment of the seven hunters” 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.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 41 - The attainment of the seven hunters

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sanatkumāra said:—

1. O foremost among the performers of penance, the Pitṛs in the heaven are seven in number. Four of them are embodied and three bodiless.

2. The primordial groups of gods, brahmins and others worship them. With the power of their Yoga they strengthen and gladden Soma.

3-6. Hence people shall offer Śrāddhas especially to the Yogins. A silver vessel or a vessel with silver when offered with Svadhā, delights the Pitṛs. When the sun is in the northern transit he shall make offerings in the fìre or in its absence in water. He shall propitiate fire-god, Soma or Yama. Those who delight the Pitṛs with devotion are delighted by Pitṛs. The Pitṛs bestow nourishment, offspring, heaven, health and other desired objects.

7. O sage, the rites of Pitṛs are better than the rites of the gods. O brahmin sage, since you are a devotee of the Pitṛs you shall be free from old age and death.

8. O sage, the goal attained by devotion to the Pitṛs is not attained by the practices of Yoga. O great sage, so devotion to the Pitṛs shall be pursued with care.

Mārkaṇḍeya said:—

9. After saying thus and immediately bestowing the vision of perfect knowledge the lord of the gods disappeared.

10. O Bhīṣma, listen again. Formerly, even after learning the code of Yoga, the brahmin sons of Bhāradvāja were degraded due to their evil course.

11. Their names which indicate their activities are Vāgduṣṭa (defiled in speech), Krodhana (angry), Hiṃsra (violent), Piśuna (backbiter), Kavi(poet), Svasṛṣa(self-creating) and Pitṛvartin (worshipping the pitṛs)

12. O dear, the sons of Kauśika became the disciples of Garga. When their father had expired they went in exile.

13. At the instance of their preceptor they looked after his cow and her calf. All of them were unjust in their actions.

14. O descendant of Bharata, once in their coarse of wandering in the forest, they were oppressed by hunger. They had the cruel intention of injuring the cow then.

15. Kavi and Svasṛṣa forbade them do so. But they could not be prevented from that act.

16. The brahmin Pitṛvartin who performed Śrāddha everyday with devotion to the Pitṛs spoke to them angrily.

17. If it is not possible to stop this do it with the Pitṛs in view. Perform the Śrāddha, ye all cautiously.

18. If performed thus, the cow will attain piety undoubtedly. By worshipping Pitṛs we shall not be affected by sin.

19. O descendant of Bharata, on being advised thus, they all sprinkled the cow with sacred water, dedicated it to the Pitṛs and used it as their food.

20. After eating the cow they said to the preceptor saying—“The cow is killed by a tiger. Let the calf be accepted.”

21. The sage accepted the calf with great distress. The killers of the cow became sinful by their false reverence and service.

22. O dear, in due course, when their term of life expired the seven brothers passed away.

23-24. They were reborn as the sons of a hunter as a result of their cruelty, violence, being ignoble towards the preceptor and their over-indulgence in fierce violence. They were reborn in the country of Daśārṇas.[1] They were strong, intelligent and experts in piety.

25. They were engaged in the practice of sacred rites. They were free from the delusion of hunting animals. On the beautiful mountain Kālañjara they passed their time with distress.

26. Recollecting the event of their death the forest-roamers became forbearers, free from Dvandvas and averse to taking gifts.

27. The hunters performed auspicious rites, and holy deeds, disassociating themselves from the wicked. They had the power of the memory of the previous birth.

28. Whatever sacred rites they had heard in the preceptor’s hermitage in the previous births were retained in their minds. So also the goal of non-return to this world.

29-30. They performed their penance, had their food and finally cast off their lives on that mountain. O descendant of Bharata, O king, the different places where they fell dead are still seen in the same manner on the mount Kālañjara.[2] Thanks to their activities neither auspicious nor inauspicious, they were reborn in a life neither auspicious nor inauspicious.

31. On an island in an auspicious spot the seven became aquatic birds. They were reborn as Cakravāka birds in a life that is neither auspicious nor inauspicious.

32. They abandoned the contact with their mates. They were like sages practising sacred rites, free from associations and Egotistic feelings. They remained calm. They did not accept gifts. They were free from Dvandvas.

33. They were birds only in name. They were holy b?xhelors delighted in renunciation. They were birds practising sacred rites.

34. They could remember their previous births. They grew old even as they were bachelors. They remained together free from aberrations and performed good rites.

35. When they were born as brahmins they acted falsely to their preceptor. Still in their birth as birds they attained knowledge as a result of the Śrāddha they had performed.

36. They had performed the Śrāddha for the Pitṛs with due rituals. They retained memory of previous noble birth.

37. The knowledge of Brahma practised by the ancients or found in the preceptors’ families stands as of yore even today. One shall practise that knowledge therefore.

38. They were of noble birth and were named Svatantra. Suyajña, Sumanas, Suvākśuddha (Suvākṣuddha/Suvākchuddha?) and the fifth one Chidradarśaka.

39. While they were practising sacred rites an auspicious event happened there. O great sage, please listen to that.

40. The prosperous king of Nīpas,[3] endowed with strength, and accompanied by his harem entered that forest.

41. The Cakravaka Svatantra yearned much, on seeing the happy king endowed with the glory of the kingdom pass along.

42-43. I have become weary with the observance of fasts and steady penance. If there is a merit accruing from penance or the observance of checks and restraints let me become like him the abode of fortune and bliss.

Mārkaṇḍeya said:—

44. Then two of his comrades said. “We shall be your ministers, your delighters and well-wishers.”

45. After saying “So be it”, the Yogic soul attained his goal. The two Cakravākas replied to him.

46. After renouncing action by the Yogic practices why do you long for such a boon? Hence hear my statement.

47. O dear, you will become a king in the excellent city of Kāmpilya.[4] These too will be your ministers who will not go astray.

48. The three did not speak about the kingdom to their four comrades. Being delighted Sumanas said again.

49. When the curse is over you will attain Yoga. Sarvasattva, Suyajña and Svatantra too will attain yogic powers.

50. Due to their favour you will attain merit. You have sprinkled the cow and offered it to the Pitṛs.

51. We shall acquire knowledge which shall work as the means of Yoga for all. Thīs statement is bold and spirited and is quoted as a verse.

52. After attaining human life you will attain “Yoga”. After saying this the learned bird Sumanas became silent.

Mārkaṇḍeya said:—

53. Thus I have mentioned their story to you. What more do you wish to hear?

Footnotes and references:


The Western Daśārna comprised the Eastern Mālwa including the kingdom of Bhopal with its capital at Vidiśā while the eastern Daśārṇa formed a part of Chattisgarh (Chhattisgarh) district in the Madhya Pradesh (B.H.D. Sec. III).


See P. 1273 note 128.


Nīpa signifies a land lying at the foot of a mountain. Whether a particular locus is meant to be conveyed by this word is not dear.


Kāmpilya was the capita] of South Pāñcāla identical with modern Kāmpil in the Farrukhabad District to the south of the Ganges.

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