The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “daily conduct of a sannyasin” 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 4 - The daily conduct of a Sannyāsin

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Lord Śiva said:—

1. O goddess, after this I shall mention the daily routine during the Sannyāsa according to the convention. It is out of my affection for you that I am narrating the same.

2. The ascetic shall get up in the Brāhma Muhūrta and think about the preceptor Śiva seated in the thousand-petalled lotus on the head.

3. The preceptor resembling pure crystal, with two eyes and holding the mystic gestures of boon and protection in the hand is conceived as Śiva of beautiful form in the soul.

4. He shall bow to the preceptor with palms joined in reverence and worship him with scents, fragrant flowers etc. created by his imagination.

5. He shall pray thus—“O lord, let whatever I do from morning till sunset and from sunset till daybreak be your worship.”

6. After intimating to the preceptor thus and securing the permission he shall retain the breath and sit down, with his mind and the sense-organs under full control.

7-8. He shall then meditate on the six-fold wheel[1] from the root to the Brahma Randhra. In the middle he shall think of me, the Nirguṇa Sadāśiva, free from ailment, the great Brahman, with the lustre of crores of lightning, identical with splendour, with the body of existence, knowledge and bliss.

9. He shall realize identity with me in the form “I am he”. The intelligent ascetic then shall go out far according to convenience.

10. The intelligent devotee shall cover the head along with the nose with a piece of cloth. He shall spread some grass on the ground and evacuate his bowels there duly.

11. He shall stand up holding the penis and go to the water-pond. He shall take out water and use it for cleansing carefully.

12-13. He shall wash hands, feet and perform Ācamana twice remembering Om. He shall face the north and clean his teeth always with leaves or grass except on the eleventh and the New-moon day. He shall rinse the mouth by gargling twelve times.

14. After performing Ācamana twice he shall clean the hips with water and clay. At the time of dawn he shall take his bath using clay.

15. The bath and the Sandhyā prayers shall be performed with thoughts on the preceptor and me. The procedure of bath is not detailed here for fear of prolixity. That shall be seen elsewhere.

16. Joining the palms so as to from the Śaṅkhamudrā water shall be poured over the head repeating the Praṇava, twelve times, six times or three times.

17. He shall go to the bank and wash the loin-cloth. He shall perform the Ācamana twice. Repeating the Praṇava he shall sprinkle water over the towel and wipe off the body.

18. He shall wipe off his face first and then the head and other parts of the body standing by the side of the preceptor.

19. A pure loin-cloth shall be tied with its string with the knot on the left side. Then he shall smear his body with the ashes. O daughter of the mountain, now I tell you the procedure thereof.

20. After performing the Ācamana twice he shall take the ashes repeating the Sadyādi mantra[2]. Then repeating the mantras “Agniriti”[3] he shall touch the body.

21-22. Repeating the mantra “Āpo vai[4]”— he shall mix the ashes with water. He shall make two balls of the pasted ashes with the mantras “Om Āpo Jyotī”[5] and “Mā Nastok[?]”[6]—He shall divide one of the balls into five, O goddess, and apply each respectively to the head, face, chest, private parts and the feet.

23-25. He shall repeat the mantra beginning with “Īśāna[7]”— and ending with “Sadya.” After applying the ashes he shall repeat Om touching all the parts of the body. He shall wash his hands, feet and take the other ball. Adoring as before he shall apply three parallel lines on the forehead repeating the mantra ‘Tryāyuṣa’[8] and the ‘Tryambaka’.[9] He shall apply the same on the chest with the Praṇava and on the shoulders with “Oṃ Namaḥ Śivāya.”

26. Uttering Pañcīkaraṇa mantra, the scholarly ascetic shall think of his preceptor. In the manner as explained hereafter he shall perform six Prāṇāyāmas.

27-28. Touching the navel, the joints of the arms and the back in order he shall wash both the hands duly and perform Ācamana twice. He shall take some water in the right hand and cover it with the left hand. Praṇava is then repeated twelve times.

29-31. Sprinkling this water thrice on the head he shall drink water thrice meditating on Oṅkāra—Śiva with pure mind—Śiva who is stationed in the middle of the solar disc, the god consisting of all splendour, possessing eight arms, four faces, the wonderful form half-female, endowed with wonderful qualities and bedecked in ornaments. After meditating thus duly he shall offer three Arghyas.

32. After performing the Japa of Gāyatrī hundred and eight times, he shall offer Tarpaṇa twelve times. After performing the Ācamana he shall perform Prāṇāyāma thrice.

33. Then he shall go to the hall of worship thinking on Śiva. After reaching the door he shall wash his feet silently and perform Ācamana twice.

34. He shall enter it duly placing the right foot at first. Inside the Maṇḍapa there, he, the intelligent ascetic, shall draw the mystic diagram in due order.

Footnotes and references:


The six mystical circles of the body are Mūlādhāra, Svādhiṣṭhāna, Maṇipūra, Anāhata, Viśuddha, Ājñā.


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 29.36.


P. 154 note.


TA. 10.22.1.


Ibid, 10.15.1.


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 16.16.


Vidyeśvara-saṃhitā recounts the five forms as Sadyojāta, Vāma, Aghora, Puruṣa, Īśāna in the reverse order.


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 3.62


Ibid 3.60

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