The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “pranava in the form 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 14 - The Praṇava in the form of Śiva

Vāmadeva said:—

1-2. O Kārttikeya, the nectarine ocean of perfect knowledge, son of Śiva the lord of gods and the dispeller of distress of the devotees what is perfect knowledge of the sixfold topics that bestows all desires? What are the six topics? What is the perfect knowledge?

3. What is explained therein? What is the fruit of that knowledge? Please mention all that I have asked.

4. Without knowing this I have been deluded by Śiva’s Māyā. I am ignorant of the Pāśupata Śāstra.

5-6. I have sought refuge in your lotus-feet. Glancing at me for a long time with your eyes drenched with the nectar of sympathy you shall bless me so that I shall I become free from delusion, drink in the nectarine potion of the knowledge of the feet of Śiva.

7. On hearing these words of the sage the lord bearing the trident of knowledge said words causing fears to other systems of theology.

Subrahmaṇya said:—

8-9. O revered sage, you have enquired about the perfect knowledge of Śiva in his composite and individual state. O performer of good rites, I shall explain that in detail Perfect knowledge comprises the meaning of Praṇava by realising the unity of six topics.

10-11. The first topic is the mantra; the second Yantra; the third deity; the fourth the cosmos; the fifth the preceptor; the sixth the Ātman of the disciple.

12. O excellent sage, I shall explain to you the form of the mantra which makes a man possessed of perfect knowledge.

13. The first and the fifth vowels, the fifth letter of the fifth class of consonants, Bindu and Nāda these five letters are mentioned by the Vedas.

14-15. The initial mantra of the Vedas i.e. Oṃ is of the composite form. Nāda too is the composite of all. The set of four with Bindu as the fifth is established as Vyaṣṭi in the Praṇava that expresses Śiva. O intelligent one, now listen to the form of Yantra that is Śivaliṅga.

16-17. Beneath all, the pedestal shall be drawn; then the first vowel—A; then the letter U, the final letter of the class of Pa i.e. Ma followed by Bindu and Nāda. When the Yantra becomes perfect, all desires are achieved.

18. The Yantra is encompassed by the Praṇava itself. The Nāda shall be known through the Nāda arising therefrom.

19. O sage, I shall now explain the secret topic of the deity. I shall mention it, out of my affection to you, in the manner explained by Śiva.

20. Beginning with “I resort to the lord born all of a sudden” and concluding with “Sadā Śivam” the Vedic text clearly expresses the five Brahmans.

21. The five deities shall be known comprising the subtle form of Brahman. These are enlarged in the form of the idol of Śiva too.

22. The Mantra that expresses Śiva expresses his idol too, since there is not much of difference between the idol and the original.

23. I have already referred to the form of Śiva with Īśāna at the head. Now listen about his five faces.

24. Beginning with the fifth one the Sadyojāta and proceeding till Īśāna upwards are the five faces.

25-26. The four Brahmans constitute a Caturvyūha for lord Īśāna, the famous Brahman. These five together constitute the composite. O sage, from Puruṣa to Sadyojāta the four constitute the individual.

27. This set of five is the ‘wheel of blessing’. It is the same as Brahman. It is subtle; free from aberration and ailment.

28. The Anugraha or blessing is twofold: appearance and disappearance. The lord who bestows the greater and the lesser salvation to the souls is another.

29. This is the twofold function of Śiva for ever. The five functions of creation etc. come under Anugraha.

30. O sage, there too the deities Sadya etc. are of the form of the great Brahman. The five always bestow happiness.

31. The Anugraha cakra is the greatest bliss presided over by Sadāśiva. It consists of the digit beyond calmness.

32. This region is attainable by the pious ascetics who worship Sadāśiva, with the minds fixed on the Praṇava.

33-34. After attaining this region and enjoying vast pleasures along with the lord in the form of Brahman the sages attain equality with Śiva at the advent of the great dissolution. They never fall again in the ocean of the universe.

35. The eternal Veda says “Te brahmaloke”[1] etc. The glory of Śiva is the composite form itself.

36. The Vedic text Atharvaśīrṣa says “Equipped with glory and prosperity”. The ability to bestow glory shall be mentioned of him alone.

37. There is no higher region than that of Śiva. This universe is only an extension of the five Brahmans.

38. Nivṛtti and the Kalās are the offshoots of five Brahmans. They are in the form of subtle elements well known as causes.

39. O sage of good rites, the set of five Brahmans is the cause of gross cosmos.

40. Puruṣa, ear, speech, sound and ether, this set of five is pervaded, O excellent sage, by the Brahman in the form of Īśāna.

41. Prakṛti, skin, hand, sense of touch and wind, this set of five, O great sage, is pervaded by Brahman as Puruṣa.

42. The ego, eye, foot, colour and fire, this set of five is pervaded by Aghora Brahman.

43. The intellect, tongue, arms, taste and water, this iet of five is pervaded by the Brahman Vāmadeva.

44. The mind, nose, organ of generation, smell and earth, this set of five is pervaded by the Brahman Sadya. The whole universe is identical with the five Brahmans.

45-46. Praṇava expressive of Śiva is taught through yantra. It is the composite of five letters. The four viz, Bīndu etc. constitute the form of yantra in the Śaiva cult. Praṇava is the highest Mantra—the very Śiva himself.

Footnotes and references:


TA. 10. 10. 3.