The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “shiva’s principle” 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 16 - Śiva’s principle

Sūta said:—

1. On hearing this truthful purport enunciated, by the preceptor the leading sage asked him about his doubt concerning the great Ātman.

Vāmadeva said:—

2-3. O lord endowed with the power of knowledge and of the form of great bliss, I have heard the sweet meaning of Praṇava from your glorious lotus-like mouth and nourished intellect. My doubts have gone. O lord, Mahāsena, I ask you something else. Please listen.

4. Surely this universe from Sadāśiva to a worm is reflected in male and female forms everywhere.

5. Is the eternal cause of the universe in the form of a woman, or of a man or a eunuch?

6. Or is īt a mixture of both or something else? There has been no decision so far. Deluded by sacred scriptures scholars argue on this point in various ways.

7. The Vedas expatiating on the creation of the universe itself, Viṣṇu, Brahmā and other gods and the Siddhas do not know it.

8-10. Please explain so that the conflicting views may be resolved into one truthful interpretation. We say—“I know,” “I do”. This is accepted by all. There is no dispute about this. But I have some doubts. “Is there a form of the Ātman or is the Ātman identical with the body, sense-organs, mind, intellect and ego? The two are the points of dispute among many.

11-12. O lord, uproot this poisonous tree of doubt arising from ignorance. I shall be enlightened by you so that my mind may become the fertile ground for the growth of monistic knowledge of the Śaivite cult. O lord of gods, by your benign favour I shall become wise.

Sūta said:—

13. On hearing the enquiry of the sage full of Vedāntic topics, the lord smiled a little and unfolded the secret.

Subrahmaṇya said:—

14. O sage, this very secret was narrated by Śiva while goddess Ambā and I listened.

15. Then I was fully satiated with the drink of her breast-milk. I listened to it and I came to a decisive thought.

16. O sage, I shall sympathetically explain the same to you. O son, it is the greatest secret. Please listen to it now.

17. The arguments in the philosophical text books are extensive beginning with those on Karmans and the principle of existence. But O sage, those arguments shall be listened to with discrimination by a wise person. Then it may yield wisdom.

18. You have taught many disciples. But among them who is like you? Those base persons are rotting in delusion even now, wrangling in the philosophical texts propounded by Kapila and others.

19. They indulged in insulting Śiva and hence were cursed by the seven sages. Their views should not be heard because they explain false notions.

20-22. There is no scope for inference that consists of the five syllogisms. On seeing smoke they say that there is fire too. But here, O sage, the world is the object of perception. Its cause and support, the great Ātman Śiva must be known directly. The universe in the form of male and female is directly perceived.

23-24. The physical body consists of six sheaths. The first three are born of the parts of the mother and the other three of the parts of the father. So says the Śruti.

25. The Śruti speaks of the Brahman as having the form of existence, knowledge and bliss. The word ‘existence’ is used in order to exclude the ‘non-existent’.

26-27. The exclusion of the insentient is effected by the word sentient. Of course the word Cit is used in all the three genders but it signifies here a male being. The word Cit in the feminine gender is a synonym of the word knowledge. If it is taken to mean ‘Light’, it is clear that it illuminates.

28. The pair Light and Cit is the cause of the universe. Similarly the Sat and the Cit are the causes of the universe.

29. In the self-same individual the feeling of Śiva and Śakti exists. If there is dirt in the oil or the wick there may be dirt in the light too.

30. Thus dirt and inauspiciousness is seen in the funeral fire also. Śivatva is due to illusion there.

31. There is weakness in the power of Cit in the individual soul. It is to exclude it that the conception of Śakti is ever present.

32. O sage, people say in the world: he is strong, he is powerful and in the Vedas too there is a similar expression.

33. Thus the Śivatva and Śaktitva is present in the great Ātman. The bliss from the union of Śiva and Śakti is ever rising.

34. Hence, O sage, sinless ascetics aiming at bliss fix their minds in Śiva and attain untainted auspiciousness.

35. The word Brahman in the Upaniṣads signifies Ātman collectively. It can be traced to the root Bṛh to increase or grow.

36. Growing in size and massiveness is ever present in Śiva constituting the five Brahmans. The word Brahman denotes the universe.

37. O Vāmadeva, due to my affection for you I shall explain the origin of the Praṇava when the word Haṃsaḥ is reverted. Listen attentively.

38. If the consonants Sa and Ha are removed it becomes Oṃ. It is the expression of the great Ātman.

39. It shall be known as the great Mantra by the expert sages. This great Mantra is subtle. I shall tell you its analysis.

40. The great Mantra is formed with “sa” and the sixteenth vowel (ḥ) = “saḥ” and “a” + “ha” with the fifteenth vowel (“ṃ”) = “aham” = (“so'ham”)

41. It is the inverted form of Haṃsa. The meaning of the letter ‘Sa’ is Śiva. The conclusion is, the Śakti form is expressed by the great Mantra.

42-43. At the instruction of the preceptor, the great mantra is Śiva in the form of Śakti. Hence the great mantra is the individual soul too. The individual soul is in the form of Śakti and is a part of Śiva. Due to the identity with Śiva it attains equality with Śiva. In the passage (of the Vedas) “Prajñānam Brahma” the meaning of “Prajñānam” is seen.

44. Undoubtedly the word “Prajñānam” is a synonym of consciousness. O sage, there is the aphorism.

45. Caitanya is the freedom in respect of the knowledge and activity of every thing in the universe. He whose nature is this is glorified as Ātman.

46-47. Thus a gloss on the aphorisms of Śiva has been mentioned by me. In another aphorism of Śiva viz; “Jñānaṃ Bandhaḥ” the lord speaks of the nature of individual souls. There the word Jñāna refers to vague knowledge and activity.

48-49. These two (knowledge and activity) are the first throbbing of the great Śakti. It is this Parā Śakti that the Śvetāśvataras eulogised joyously saying “Power of knowledge and activity is natural” They know the three eyes of Śiva constitute knowledge, will and activity.

50. When these reaching the centre of the mind become the object of perception on the part of sense-organs the individual soul enters these, then knows and acts.

51. Hence these are the features of the Ātman alone. I shall now explain then meaning of the creation indicating the identity with the Praṇava.

52. The eternal Śruti says “Om is this all.” Beginning with “verily from it”, the creation of the universe is glorified.

53. I shall mention the purport of the Vedic passage. Listen to that, O Vāmadeva, due to affection for you I say this. It is developed by the sense of discrimination.

54-55. It is certain that the union of Śiva and Śakti is the great Ātman. From Parāśakti is born the citśakti. Born of it is the power of bliss. The power of will is born of that. From this is born the power of knowledge and from this is born the power of activity, the fifth one. O sage, the KalāsNivṛtti etc. are born of these Śaktis.

56-57. Nāda and Bindu are born of cit and Ānanda Śaktis. O sage, the letter ‘ma’ is born of Icchāśakti. The fifth vowel ‘U’ is born of Jñāna Śakti and the letter ‘A’ is born of Kriyāśakti. The origin of the Praṇava has been mentioned thus. Now listen to the origin of the five Brahmans.

58. From Śiva is born Īśāna; from Īśāna the Puruṣa, from Puruṣa Aghora, from him Vāmadeva and from him Sadyojāta.

59-60. From these mātrās (of the praṇava) are born the thirty eight Kalās, Śāntyatītakalā is born of Īśana; Śāntikalā of Puruṣa; Vidyākalā of Aghora; Pratiṣṭhā and Nivṛtti of Vāmadeva and Sadyojāta. There are five pairs such as Īśāna and cit-śakti etc.

61. This set of five is the cause of activities such as Anugraha etc. as mentioned by the sages who know the principles.

62-63. O sage, the five dements beginning with the ether are born of this set of five letters of the Praṇava which constitute pairs based on the relationship of the word and its meaning.

64. Ākāśa has the only attribute of sound. The wind has the two: sound and touch. The fire has three: sound, touch and colour.

65. The water has four: sound, touch; colour and taste. The earth has five: sound, touch, colour, taste and smell.

66. This is the Vyāpakatva (pervasiveness) of the Bhūtas. The Vyāpakatva is in the inverse order beginning with smell.

67. The five Bhūtas constitute the universe. Virāṭ is the composite form of all. The universe is thus created.

68. It begins with the element of the earth and ends with the element of Śiva. After merging with each other they merge in the individual soul ultimately.

69. Accompanied by the energy it comes out again for the purpose of creation. It appears in the form of the gross cosmos and functions till the period of dissolution.

70. The primeval oozing of Śiva who attempts to create the universe at his will is called Śivatattva.

71. In view of its conformity with the activities this alone becomes the principle of his power of will. Between the two Śaktis of knowledge and activity if the knowledge predominates, the principle is Sadāśiva.

72. O sage, know that as Maheśvara Tattva when the activity is predominant. If there is equality between the two Śaktis know that as the form of pure knowledge.

73-74. After withdrawing his form of great glory with the intellect comprehending the difference between the illusion and reality among various emotions in the form of his own part when Śiva becomes the recipient of all objects through illusion, he is called Puruṣa, the creator. The Vedic text says “Tatsṛṣṭvā” (after creating it).

75. He is transformed as the individual soul deluded by Māyā and devoid of the knowledge of Śiva. His intellect is deluded by different activities.

76. It is the individual soul that is deluded and not the lord. Because the former considers himself different from Śiva.

77. As the magician so also the Yogin has no illusion. Śiva is of perfect knowledge and this is revealed by the preceptor.

78-79. The five Śaktis of Śiva are: activity, knowledge, completeness, eternality and pervasiveness. Even in their shrinking forms they shine always.

80-81. There is a set of five Tattvas of the individual soul, viz, Kalā, Vidyā, Rāga, Kāla and Niyati. Kalā is the cause of doing anything. Vidyā is the means of certain Tattvas. Rāga is the attachment to the sense-objects.

82. Kāla is the illuminator of positive and negative appearances. Being a separating factor it is called Bhūtādi.

83. Niyati means the factor that discriminates and ordains. “This shall be done and this shall not be done by me.” It is a Śakti of the lord. Sotting it at nought the individual soul falls.

84. This set of five is called “the five sheaths” in view of its nature of enveloping the form. It is the innermost and most essential means.