The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “discussion among vyasa, shaunaka and others” 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 1 - The discussion among Vyāsa, Śaunaka and others

1. Obeisance to Śiva accompanied by Ambā, his sons and the Gaṇas, obeisance to the lord of Pradhāna and Puruṣa, obeisance to him who is the cause of creation, sustenance and dissolution.

The sages said:—

2. The beautiful Umāsaṃhitā full of various anecdotes we have heard. Now narrate the Kailāsasaṃhitā that propagates Śiva’s tenets.

Vyāsa said:—

3. O dear, now listen with pleasure. Out of affection for you I shall narrate the divine Saṃhitā Kailāsa expounding Śiva’s tenets.

4. Formerly the sages of great power and splendour performing penances on the summit of Himavat[1] desired to go to Vārāṇasī[2] and decided accordingly.

5. They started from the mountain and reached Kāśī. They decided to bathe there and saw Maṇikarṇikā.[3]

6-8. The lordly sages bathed there and performed the Tarpaṇa rites to the gods and others and to Gaṅgā. They visited Viśveśa the lord of the gods, bowed and worshipped him with devotion The sages, the masters of the Vedas eulogised him with Śatarudra and other mantras and thought “O, we are blessed. We are content.” Due to Śiva’s pleasure they realised everything. They remained ever engaged in devotion to Śiva.

9. In the meantime Sūta who had left his hermitage to visit Pañcakrośa[4] reached there. On seeing him the joyous sages paid obeisance to him.

10. After bowing to Viśveśvara, the lord of gods, the consort of Umā, Sūta entered the Muktimaṇḍapa[5] along with them.

11. When Sūta the great soul, the excellent of the Paurāṇikas took his seat, the sages paid respects to him with Arghya and other ingredients of worship.

12. The delighted Sūta saw the sages of auspicious rites and enquired after their health and welfare. They replied suitably.

13. On seeing him pleased at heart the sages spoke in relevance to the context, in order to know the meaning of Praṇava.

The sages said:—

14. O blessed disciple of Vyāsa, O Sūta the best among the Paurāṇikas, you are a great devotee of Śiva, the ocean of perfect knowledge.

15. Lord Vyāsa, the preceptor of the universe has crowned you as the chief of the Paurāṇikas and made you the propounder of the Purāṇas.

16. The Purāṇic lore is firmly set in your heart. Indeed the Purāṇas explain the meaning of the Vedas.

17. Vedas arise from the Praṇava. The Praṇava is lord Śiva. Hence you are the permanent abode of lord Śiva’s stay.

18. We shall be free from illness after we have drunk the nectar of Praṇava which is as sweet and pleasing as the honey oozing out of your lotus-mouth.

19. O intelligent one, you alone are our preceptor, none else. Out of compassion please narrate the nature of lord Śiva.

20-21. On hearing their words, the intelligent Sūta, the beloved disciple of Vyāsa, made obeisance to Gaṇeśa, six-faced Kārttika, Maheśvarī, lord Nandīśa–son of Śilāda and husband of Suyaśā, Sanatkumāra and Vyāsa and said.

Sūta said:—

22. Well done, well done, O blessed sages, your sins have been quelled. Your minds are steadied. It is rare in persons of evil deeds.

23-24. O leading sages, I shall narrate to you what was mentioned by my preceptor Vyāsa to the sages in the Naimiṣa forest. On hearing this alone men are blessed with devotion to Śiva. You shall listen with attention and joy.

25-27. Formerly in the Svārociṣa Manvantara, sages of steady rites performed penance in the Naimiṣa[6] forest where all the Siddhas live. They conducted a sacrifice of long duration, propitiated Rudra the leader of sacrifices. They desired to know the supreme nature of the lord. They waited for Vyāsa. They were engaged in devotion to Śiva and wore Rudrākṣa after smearing their bodies with the ashes.

28. Observing their eagerness, lord Bādarāyaṇa, the soul of all, the fruit of the penance of Parāśara appeared before them.

29. On seeing him the sages were delighted with beaming eyes and faces. They stood up and welcomed him with reverence.

30. With due hospitality they offered him a golden scat. Seated cosily on the golden seat the sage Vyāsa spoke majestically.

Vyāsa said:—

31. Hope you are quite well. Please say. Has the leader of the sacrifices been worshipped well by you in this sacrifice?

32. Why lord Śiva accompanied by Ambā, the lord who releases from worldly bondage has been worshipped with due devotion by you all in this sacrifice.

33. Your activity seems to me to be the outcome of your desire to hear more of the great nature of lord Śiva, the cause of salvation.

34-35. Thus urged by the sage Vyāsa of great brilliance the great sages of the Naimiṣa forest bowed to him, the noble soul whose mind was delighted by his devotion to Śiva.

The sages said:—

36-37. O holy lord, O leading sage, born of Nārāyaṇa’s part, O storehouse of mercy, O intelligent one, O holy lord of all lores, you are the storehouse of the favours of Mahādeva, lord of the universe, accompanied by Ambā and the Gaṇas.

38. Our minds have been yearning for the sight of your lotus feet even as the bees yearn for the touch of lotus flowers. We are now satisfied by the vision of your lotus feet.

39. Inaccessible indeed is the sight of your lotus feet to the sinners. Since now we have obtained it we are really fortunate.

40-42. O blessed one, we are performing this long sacrifice in this Naimiṣāraṇya. We wanted to know the meaning of the Praṇava. We are discussing the greatness of lord Śiva and wish to hear all about him. But we cannot understand the same. Now it behoves you to clear off our doubts. O holy lord, we are only small-minded.

43-44. There is none else in the three worlds to clear our doubts. We are immersed in the ocean of delusion, vast and shoreless. O storehouse of mercy, take us across this ocean in the raft of Śiva’s knowledge. We are truly eager to know the principle of Śiva’s devotion.

45-46. Requested by the sages, the master of the Vedas, the great sage, father of Śuka, chief of the Vedic scholars, meditated within the pericarp of his heart, on lord Śiva who releases from worldly existence and who is Praṇava, the essential substance of Vedanta. Being delighted in his mind, the great sage spoke.

Footnotes and references:

1.

This celebrated mountain extends from the Eastern to the Western Sea, is formed after the shape of a bow-string and forms the northern bounds of Bhāratavarṣa.

2.

It is named after Varaṇā and Asī, the tributaries of the Ganges on which the city is situated.

3.

It is a sacred pool in Vārāṇasī.

4.

The region upto the distance of five Krośas round Vārāṇasī is called Pañcakrośī. It is sacred to Śiva.

5.

It is identical with the Avimukta Tīrtha inVārāṇasī.

6.

See P. 76 note; P. 432 note.