The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “worship of shiva” 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 7 - The worship of Śiva

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Lord Śiva said:—

1-6. The ascetic devotee shall make the square diagram to his left and worship it with Om. He shall place the conch and the missile, with its stand and worship it with the Praṇava after filling it with the water scented with the sandal paste. He shall worship it with the scents and flowers and repeat Praṇava seven times. He shall show the mystic sign of the cow and the conch making a square diagram in front and a semicircle in the middle, a triangle, hexagon and a circle within each in order. After worshipping the diagram with scents, and flowers, he shall place within it the vessel of Arghya on its stand and worship it with scents, repeating the Praṇava. He shall pour holy water and fill it.

7-11. In the vessel, O good-faced lady, tips of Kuśa grass, raw rice grains, barley, other grains, gingelly seeds, ghee-fried object, flowers and ashes too shall be put. It shall be worshipped with scents, flowers and the “Sadyojāta mantras” with their six ancillaries, Praṇava and the Varma mantras. After veiling it with the Astramantra he shall show the mystic sign of the cow for the sake of protection. The water within it shall be used for sprinkling himself and the materials of worship—scents, flowers etc., repeating the Astramantra. After saying “Obeisance to the seat of the preceptor” he shall assign the lotus to the north-east of the diagram as seat repeating the Praṇava. As enjoined the idol of the preceptor too shall be conceived there itself.

12-13. After saying “Oṃ guṃ gurubhyaḥ namaḥ” he shall invoke the preceptor and meditate on him as seated facing the south, with a delightful face, looking gentle and crystal pure, showing the mystic gestures of boons and protection with his hands in the form and features of Śiva but with two eyes.

14-15. After meditating thus he shall worship Gaṇapati with scents, flowers etc. in the proper order assigning him a scat on the lotus to the south-west of the mystical diagram with the mantra “Gaṇānāntvā”[1] etc. After invoking the lord he shall meditate on him with concentration.

16-18. He shall be conceived as red in complexion with a huge body bedecked in ornaments holding a noose, a goad, boons and teeth, with elephantine face destroying the hindrances and obstacles of his devotees. After meditating thus he shall worship him with scents, flowers and other services. After offering him the Naivedya of plantain fruits, coconuts, mango fruits and sweet balls he shall make obeisance to the god.

19. In the lotus to the north-west of the diagram the devotee shall conceive the form of Skanda and invoke him too.

20-21. Repeating Skandagāyatrī he shall meditate on Kumāra shining as the rising sun, seated on the peacock, with four arms and splendid limbs, bedecked in coronet holding mystic signs of boons and protection, a spear and a cock[2] as well.

22-26. After meditating thus and worshipping with scents and other services, he shall worship Nandin, the chief of the harem in the right wing of the eastern doors, with the lustre of the golden hill bedecked in ornaments with the crescent moon constituting his coronet, of gentle aspect, with three eyes and four arms, holding a trident, a hind, an axe and a golden staff, with his face lustrous as the moon’s disc or as the face of a monkey. To his north he shall worship his wife Suyaśā, the daughter of the Maruts of good rites, engaged in bedecking mother Siva’s feet duly with scents, flowers and other services.

27. He shall sprinkle the diagram with the water from the conch veiled by the Astramantra. Then the scat, stand etc. shall be conceived in the proper order.

28-30. On the ground beneath he shall conceive the holy Ādhāra Śakti of dark blue complexion. In front of her he shall conceive the serpent-chief with lifted five hoods and coiling shape, licking the sky as it were with hoods. He shall conceive above it the dignified seat with four lion’s feet symbolical of virtue, knowledge, detachment and prosperity. They shall be worshipped beginning with the southeast corner in colours white, yellow, red and dark-blue.

31. Adharma etc. shall be conceived from the east to the north in due order. He shall conceive its body with the lustre of the jewel Lājāvarta.

32. The lower and upper lids, the bulbous root, the stem, the neck, the petals and the pericarp shall be conceived in order and worshipped.

33-35. He shall conceive the eight Siddhis in the petals, the Śaktis in the filaments, the eight Rudras, Vāma and others from the east, all round in order; the Vairāgya in the pericarp and the nine Śaktis in the Bījas, Vāma and others alone beginning with the cast and ending with Manonmanī, the Dharma of Śiva in the bulbous root, the Śaivite knowledge in the stem and the zones of fire, sun and the moon above the pericarp.

36-37. The science of the Ātman, and the trio of principles named Śiva shall be conceived thereafter. Above these seats he shall conceive the scat of the deity shining with the flowers of various colours and brilliance due to the Lore Paravyomāvakāśa.

38-40. From the Ādhāra Śakti to the scat of the sacred lore the devotee shall repeat the mantra, “oṃ śivāya namaḥ”.

This is the procedure everywhere. As before, the five Brahmans shall be conceived in the idol in view of the difference due to limbs, faces and digits. The devotee, expert in the mystic signs shall invoke the lord standing with a handful of flowers.

41-45. Uttering the mantra beginning with “I resort to Sadyojāta” and ending with Om repeating the Nāda arising from the Ādhāra and concluding at the Brahmarandhra, along with the twelve knots he shall meditate on the lord in Oṅkāra, pure as crystal, the unsullied, the imperishable, the cause of creation, identical with the worlds, stationed within and without, pervading all, smaller than the smallest and greater than the greatest, visible to the devotees without strain, the unchanging incomprehensible to the gods, Brahmā, Indra, Viṣṇu, Rudra and others, the essence of the Vedas, declared as invisible, by the learned devoid of beginning, middle and end and the panacea for all worldly ills.

46-47. After meditating on him thus with concentration, the devotee shall perform obeisance after showing different mystic signs and performing the rites of invocation, installation, concentration and observance. He shall meditate on lord Śiva himself, of Sakala and Niṣkala forms.

48-63. He shall conceive the lord as pure as crystal, with cool lustre resembling the circular lightning, of delightful aspect bedecked in matted hair and coronet, clad in the tiger’s hide with his lotus-like smiling face, with his palms, soles and lips having the lustre of the petals of the red lotus, endowed with all characteristics, bedecked in holding ornaments, divine 'weapons, perfumed with divine unguents and scents, with five faces, ten arms, the crescent moon for his crest jewel. His gentle face facing the cast is lustrous as the rising sun. It has three lotus eyes. The infant moon adorns the crest. His right face has the charming lustre resembling the lustre of the blue cloud. It has crooked eyebrows, three circular and red eyes, is terrible by its curved fangs, inaccessible to the eyes and has sprout-like lips throbbing. The northern face has the lustre of the coral, is decorated with blue forelocks, has three eyes of graceful movements and crest decorated with the semicircular moon. The western face has the lustre of the full moon brilliant with the three eyes. It is gentle with the crescent moon and is charming with gentle smile. The fifth face is brilliant like crystal and shines with contours of the moon. It is very gentle and dazzling with the three beaming eyes. His right hands hold trident, axe, thunderbolt, sword and dazzling fire. In the left hands he has the bow, arrow, bell, noose and the goad. He has the Nivṛtti Kalā upto the knees, the Pratiṣṭhā Kalā upto the navel; the Vidyā Kalā upto the neck; the Śāntā Kalā upto the forehead and the Śāntyatīta Kalā beyond that. Thus he has a body of five Kalās. He pervades the five paths. He has Īśana for the crown. He is the primeval lord Puruṣa. He has Aghora for the heart, Vāmadeva for his private parts and Sadyojāta for his form. He has thirty-eight Kalās. He is Īśāna identical with the Mātṛkās and the five Brahmans; he is identical with Oṅkāra, Haṃsanyāsa, the five-syllabled and the six-syllabled mantras, the six mountains and the Jātis.

64-65. After meditating thus, O goddess, he shall meditate on you as Manonmani to my left. Repeating the mantra “Gaurīrmimāya”[3] preceded by the Praṇava he shall invoke you as before and perform the rites ending with prostration. The sage of pious concentrated mind shall meditate on you, O goddess.

66-70. You have the lustre of the blooming lotus, eyes expansive and wide, face lustrous as the full moon, curly dark hair, complexion of the brilliant blue lotus, crest decorated with the semicircular moon, breasts rounded, plump protruding, smooth and stout, slender middle large buttocks and fine yellow garment. You are endowed with ornaments. In your forehead you have a shining Tilaka. Flowers of various colours decorate your braid of hair. Your feature befits your nature. Your face is bent due to bashfulness. You hold splendid golden lotus in your right hand. You are seated on a cosy scat with your left hand placed like a staff.

71. After meditating on me and you like this, O goddess, the ascetic of restrained mind shall perform ablution with the water in the manner of Pranava—prokṣana.

72. He shall offer Pādya repeating mantra “Bhave bhave nātibhave”.[4] He shall offer water for Ācamana by uttering “Vāmāya namaḥ”.

73. He shall offer a fresh piece of cloth saying Jyeṣṭhāya Namaḥ” (obeisance to the eldest). He shall offer the sacred thread saying Śreṣṭhāya Namaḥ (obeisance to the most excellent).

74. He shall offer water for Ācamana once again saying “Rudrāya Namaḥ” (obeisance to Rudra). He shall offer well consecrated scent saying “Kālāya Namaḥ”.

75. He shall offer raw grains saying “Kalavikaraṇāya Namaḥ”. He shall offer flowers, saying “Balavikaraṇāya Namaḥ”

76. He shall offer incense assiduously saying “Balāya Namaḥ”. He shall oiler good lamp saying “Balapramathanāya Namaḥ.”

77-78. Along with the Vedas including their six ancillaries, Mātṛkā, Praṇava and Śiva joined with Śivā, he shall show mystic signs to me and to you, O good-complexioned lady. First he shall render service to me, then to you.

79-80. When he offers things and performs rites to you he shall use the feminine gender. O Pārvatī, none but this is the difference. After performing meditation and worship duly in accordance with the rules the expert devotee shall begin the Āvaraṇa Pūjā.

Footnotes and references:


Vājasaneyisaṃhitā (of Śuklayajurveda) 23.19


Acrording to the legend, the cock was presented as a gift by Tvaṣṭṛ. This cock could assume any form “dadau krīḍanakaṃ tvaṣṭā kukkuṭaṃ kāmarūpiṇam” (M.P. 159.10.)


RV. 1.164.41.


TA 40. 43.

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