The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “review of holy rites” 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 51 - Review of holy rites

The sages said:—

1. O blessed disciple of Vyāsa, O Sūta the most excellent among the knowers of the Purāṇas, we wish to hear some other story of the lord.

2. We wish to hear the most excellent sacred rites of Umā, the mother of the universe, those which were narrated to Vyāsa the great Ātman by Sanatkumāra

Sūta said:—

3. All of you are blessed great souls; steady in your devotional rites to the goddess. Now listen devotedly to the well-guarded secret of the great Śakti.

Vyāsa said:—

4. O omniscient Sanatkumāra, O intelligent son of Brahmā, I wish to hear the wonderful holy rites of Umā.

5. Please tell me what is pleasing to the great mother. What are its characteristics and on doing what can it be efficacious?

Sanatkumāra said:—

6. O Dvaipāyana of great intellect, listen to the full description I am going to give of the secret that you ask.

7. Three paths of the glorious mother have been narrated which yield both worldly pleasures and salvation. They are paths of knowledge, holy rites and devotion.

8. Jñānayoga is the union of the mind with the Ātman. The union with the external objects is called Kriyāyoga.

9. Bhaktiyoga is the concept of the unity of the Ātman with the goddess. Of the three I mention Kriyāyoga in detail.

10. It is concluded in the sacred scriptures that devotion is generated by activities, knowledge is born of devotion, liberation is the result of knowledge.

11. O excellent sage, the chief reason of liberation is the Yoga. Kriyāyoga is the greatest means of liberation.

12. One shall know the Māyā as Prakṛti and the wielder of Māyā as the eternal Brahman. After realising the identity of the two one is released from the world by bondage.

13-14. O Vyāsa, listen to the merit of the person who builds a temple to the goddess either of stone or of wood or of mud. He who builds a temple to the goddess attains the benefit which a person who worships every day through Yoga attains in plenty. That virtuous soul who builds the temple for the glorious mother enables a thousand past and a thousand future members of his family to attain liberation.

15. The sins committed by a person in a crore of births, whether they be small or big, are quelled at the very moment when the foundation for temple of the glorious mother is laid.

16-17. The glorious great Ambā is the most excellent among all the deities just as Gaṅgā and Śoṇa among the rivers, the earth in forbearance, the ocean in majesty and the sun among the planets.

18. She is the most important among all the deities. He who causes her temple to be built attains established power in every birth.

19-21. One who makes the temple for the mother in any of these holy centres becomes free from bondage—viz. Vārāṇasī, Kurukṣetra, Prayāga, Puṣkara, the banks of the Gaṅgā or the shores of the ocean, Naimiṣa, Amarakaṇṭaka, the highly meritorious Śrīparvata, Gokarṇa, Jñānaparvata,[1] Mathurā, Ayodhyā, Dvāravatī etc.

22. He is honoured in the Maṇidvīpa for as many thousand years as the number of years the brickwork holds good.

23. He who makes idols with the full complement of characteristics fearlessly attains indeed the great, region of Umā.

24. After installing the image of the goddess, in the auspicious stars, planets and the season, man becomes contented and blessed by the favour of the Yogamāyā.

25. After installing an auspicious image of the goddess one can redeem the men of one’s family both of the past and the future.

26. O leading sage, by installing the goddess the merit derived is a crore times more than that derived by establishing the three worlds.

27. The merit cannot be calculated of the man who installs the Pañcāyatana[2] deities with Ambikā in the centre and the other four in the four quarters.

28-31. One attains great merit by repeating the names of Viṣṇu a crore times during the solar and lunar eclipses, a hundred crore times by repeating the names of Śiva, a crore times by repeating the names of Śrīdevī, a crore times by building the palace for the goddess. To the man who installs the image of the goddess, mother of the universe, identical with the three Vedas there is nothing inaccessible, thanks to the merit of the glorious mother. His sons, grandsons and others flourish. All his sins perish.

32. Even those who desire mentally the installation of the excellent image attain the great region of Umā inaccessible even to the sage.

33-34. If a man, on seeing the image being made or the temple being built thinks mentally: “If I get sufficient wealth I too will make”, his family attains heaven undoubtedly. What is there in the three worlds which cannot be secured by the power of Mahāmāyā?

35. Those who have resorted only to the goddess the cause of the universe, are not ordinary men. They are the Gaṇas of the Goddess herself.

36. Those who repeat the two syllables “U-mā” day and night, sitting, sleeping or moving become Śivā’s Gaṇas.

37. Those who worship the goddess Śivā, with flowers, incense and lamps whether as daily routine or on special occasions due to certain reasons will attain Umā’s abode.

38. Those who clean, scrub and smear the altar of the goddess with cowdung or clay will attain Umā’s abode.

39. The goddess mother bestows her blessings on the family of the person who builds a beautiful temple for the goddess.

40. The glorious mother repeats day and night: “May my devotees live for a hundred years. Let them not be the victims of adversities.”

41. Ten thousand people of the person who has caused the image of the goddess Umā to be made, are honoured in the Maṇidvīpa.[3]

42. Whatever an aspirant solicits after installing and worshipping the image of the goddess he attains that.

43. Who can calculate the merit of a person who performs the ablution of the installed image of the glorious mother, with clarified butter after smearing it with honey?

44. The devotee shall perform the ablution of the goddess either with water scented with sandal, aguru, camphor māṃsī, mustā etc. or with the milk of single-coloured cows.

45. The excellent offering shall be made with the incense of eighteen ingredients. The waving of the light for the goddess shall consist of wicks soaked in ghee or camphor.

46. On the fifth, eighth, ninth and tenth days of the dark lunar half and on new moon days the devotee shall worship the mother of the worlds with fragrant flowers.

47. Jananīsūkta, Śrīsūkta or Devīsūkta shall be recited or Mūlamantra shall be chanted.

48. All flowers except Viṣṇukrāntā and Tulasī are pleasing to the goddess particularly the lotus.

49. He who offers golden or silver flowers to the goddess goes to the greatest abode where crores of Siddhas live.

50-51. After the worship the rite of forgiveness shall be performed by the devotees for the sins committed:—“O goddess, O bestower of happiness and bliss be pleased.” He shall eulogise her with these words and meditate on the goddess as seated on a lion with boons and the majestic gesture of protection.

52. After meditating on the goddess, the bestower of desires on the devotees he shall offer various ripe fruits as Naivedya.

53. The man who partakes of Naivedya of Śiva Śakti shakes off all dirt and becomes pure.

54. He who performs the rite of the goddess on the third day of the bright half of Caitra is liberated from the bondage of worldly existence and attains the supreme goal.

55-56. The learned devotee shall perform the festival of the swing on the very day. He shall worship the mother of the worlds Umā and Śiva with flowers, vermilion, garments, camphor, aguru, sandal, incense, lights, naivedyas, garlands, scents and other things.

57. He shall then serve the goddess Ambā, the cause of all welfare along with Śiva.

58. Śivā bestows all desires on him who performs the rites with due observances and the festival of swinging to the goddess every year.

59-61. The third day of the bright half of the month of Vaiśākha is called Akṣayatṛtīyā. The devotee shall observe the holy rites of the mother of the universe on that day without lassitude. He shall worship Gaurī and Śiva with the flowers of Mallikā, Mālatī Campā, Japā, Bandhūka and lotus. He will be quelling the sins perpetrated in a crore of births mentally, verbally and physically. He will enjoy the four aims of life in an unmitigated manner.

62. There is nothing which cannot be achieved by a person who worships the goddess with great devotion after observing all the rites on the third day of the bright half of the month of Jyeṣṭha.

63. In accordance with the wealth that one has, one shall perform the festival of chariot which is extremely pleasing to the goddess, on the third day of the bright half of the month of Āṣādha.

64-65. The chariot is the earth. The two wheels are the sun and the moon. The horses are the Vedas and the charioteer is the lotus-born Brahmā. The chariot shall be studded with the jewels of different types. It shall be decorated with the garlands of flowers. After making the chariot thus the devotee shall install Śivā in it.

66. The intelligent man shall imagine that the glorious Ambikā is seated in the middle of the chariot surveying the world for protecting it.

67-69. When the chariot moves the devotee shall shout cries of “Victory” with the words “O goddess, favourably disposed to the distressed, protect us who have resorted to you”. The devotee shall propitiate the goddess with the playing of musical instruments. The chariot shall be taken up to the boundary of village and the deity worshipped in the chariot itself. After eulogising with various hymns the deity shall be brought home. After prostrating a hundred times the devotee shall pray to the mother of the universe.

70-72. The intelligent man who performs the worship, holy rites, the festival of the chariot, the worship of the Mother, on the third day of the bright half of the Śrāvana and Bhādrapada, rejoices with his family. In the end he goes to the region of Umā at the highest upper worlds.

73. The devotee shall observe the holy rites of Navarātra in the bright half of Āśvina and realise his desires undoubtedly.

74. Neither Brahmā nor Śiva nor Kārttikeya nor any one else can describe the efficacy of the rite of Navarātra.

75-77. O excellent sages, by performing the Navarātra rite, king Suratha, son of Viratha, regained his lost kingdom. The intelligent king of Ayodhyā, Sudarśana, son of Dhruvasandhi secured the lost kingdom. Performing this great rite and propitiating the goddess the Vaiśya Samādhi being liberated from worldly bondage attained salvation.

78-79. Śivā fulfils the mental desires of the person who performs the rites duly in the bright half of Āśvina on the third, fifth, seventh, eighth, ninth, or the fourteenth day.

80-81. He who performs the holy rite on the third day in the bright half of Kārttika, Mārgaśīrṣa, Pauṣa, Māgha and Phālguna and worships the auspicious goddess with red flowers,

82. For acquiring blissful conjugal life this great Vrata shall be performed by women. It shall be performed by men also for the acquisition of learning, wealth and sons.

83. Rites such as Umāmaheśvara and others are also pleasing to the goddess. They shall be performed devotedly by those who are desirous of salvation.

84. This compendium is highly meritorious, enhances devotion to Śiva. It is auspicious. It contains several anecdotes. It yields worldly pleasures and salvation.

85. He who listens to this with devotion or narrates it piously or reads it himself or causes it to be read attains the supreme god.

86. He who keeps this in his abode in the manuscript form written in beautiful hand and duly worships it attains all desires.

87. There will be no fear from goblins, ghosts and other evil spirits at any place. Undoubtedly he will attain sons, grandsons and riches.

88. Hence this charming and meritorious compendium Umāsaṃhitā shall always be heard and read by those who seek for devotion to Śiva.

Footnotes and references:


Not identified.


The five deities referred to here are: Sun Gaṇeśa, Durgā, Rudra and Viṣṇu. See p. 168 note 174.


Not identified. Whether it has a link with the city of Manipura in Assam or with Maṇiparvata in the south Arcot is not clear.