The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “non-dualistic (advaita) nature 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 17 - The non-dualistic (advaita) nature of Śiva

Vāmadeva said:—

1-2. You have mentioned before[1] that the Puruṣa is placed beneath the Niyati and is above Prakṛti. How is it that you say now that it shrinks in form through Māyā and is beneath it. O lord, it behoves you to clear this doubt of mine.

Subrahmaṇya said:—

3. This is the Śaivite philosophy of non-dualism. Nowhere does it brook duality. Duality perishes and the non-dualism remains imperishable.

4. The omniscient, omnipotent, Śiva, the Nirguṇa lord of all, the progenitor of the three deities, the Brahman, is formed of existence-knowledge-bliss.

5. That lord Śiva himself, out of his own will, through his own Māyā appears shrinking in size and becomes Puruṣa.

6. He is conceived as the enjoyer through the set of five—Kalās etc. Thus the Puruṣa stationed in Prakṛti enjoys the Guṇas born of Prakṛti.

7. The presence in two places of the Puruṣa is not incompatible. He is the composite of Jñana etc. of both shrinking and intrinsic forms.

8-9. The principle of the mind Prakṛti consists of Buddhi, Manas and Ahaṃkāra achievable through the Guṇas Sattva etc. The Guṇas are born of the Prakṛti, the Sāttvaic from Sattva and so on. From the Guṇas the intellect takes its origin. It is the cause of decisiveness in the objects.

10. From Buddhi the principle of intellect is born and from it ego. From the ego the sense-organs of knowledge. The mind has two aspects—thought and doubt.

11-12. The sense-organs are ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose and the qualities particularly sensed through those organs are sound, touch, colour, taste and smell. The Tanmātras are born from the Vaikārika Ahaṃkāra.

13. They are called subtle principles by the sages. Now understand the organs of activity and their functions.

14. O sage, they are the organs of speech, hand, feet, anus, penis and the vaginal passage. Their functions are speaking, handling, moving, evacuation and the sexual pleasure.

15. The subtle elements originated in order from the ego, are the cause of the elements. Their subtle forms are sound etc.

16. From them are born in order the ether, wind, fire, water and the earth. O sage, they are known as the five elements.

17. Their functions are giving space, blowing, cooking, force and supporting.

Vāmadeva said:—

18. O Skanda, you have mentioned before that the elements were created from Kalās etc. How is it that it is being mentioned in another manner? I have great doubt here.

19. “The letter ‘A’ is the Ātmatattva; the letter ‘U’ is ‘Vidyā’; the letter ‘Ma’ is Śivatattva. O Vāmadeva let this be thought over thus.

20. “The Bindu and Nāda have essence of all the principles. O sage, listen now to what the deities therein arc.

21. They are Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Rudra, Maheśvara and Sadāśiva. They are the images of Śiva himself well known in the Vedas

22. This is what you have said before. Now you say in another manner that they are born of the subtle elements. I have a great doubt in this matter.

23. Therefore, O Skanda, it behoves you to favour me by clearing the doubt. On hearing the words of the sage, Kumāra replied thus.

Subrahmaṇya said:—

24-26. O intelligent sage, listen with respect and attention. O sage, in accordance with the Vedic text “Tasmād Vai Etasmād” etc. it is certain that the five Bhūtas are born of the Kalās. They are in the form of the gross cosmos. This explains the body of the lord of Bhūtas (Śiva). In the order of the coming up of the Tattvas from Śiva Tattva to the principle of the earth, O sage, they shall be mentioned as originating from the subtle elements in order.

27. There shall be identity between the subtle elements and the Kalās as causes of the Bhūtas. O excellent among those who know the Brahman, know that there is no mutual antagonism here.

28. In the cosmos both subtle and gross are born the planets: moon, sun stars, etc.

29-32. The deities Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Maheśa and others, the various living beings, Indra and other guardians of the quarters, gods, Pitṛs Asuras, Rākṣasas, human and other mobile beings, beasts, birds, worms, serpents, trees, hedges, creepers and herbs, the eight mountains[2], the seven rivers[3] Gaṅgā and others, the oceans of great prosperity whatever object is there in the world all are established here.

33. This universe of the form of female and male, of the form of Śiva and Śakti shall deserve attention of learned men like you, experts in the Śaiva knowledge.

34. O sage, the Śruti says “Think that everything is Brahman, everything is Rudra.” Thus Sadāśiva is the Ātman of the universe.

35. Due to the concept of thirty-eight Kalās the concept of duality is ever present but he who has purified the Ātman by the concept “I am Sadāśiva” becomes the preceptor Śiva.

36. Such a disciple becomes the preceptor Śiva himself. He attains the form of the Yantra, mantra and the cosmic deity itself.

37. O Brahmin, the disciple whose bondage is severed due to the favour of the preceptor and who is engaged in Śiva’s worship becomes a lofty soul indeed.

38. They say that whatever exists whether a composite unit or an analysed piece is the meaning of the Praṇava in view of the predominence of the Guṇas.

39. Out of affection I have explained the non-dualistic principle to you. It is pleasing to Śiva, it is devoid of aberrations; it is the essence of the Vedas.

40-41. If anyone whether a god or a human being, Siddha or Gandharva, out of arrogance considers this statement otherwise, I shall cut off his head evenly with my good trident which is like a black fire to the enemies.

42. O sage, you yourself are the most excellent of those who know the non-dualistic nature of Śiva. You are the guide for good behaviour on the occasion of the instruction of Śaivite knowledge.

43. An impious ghost got his sins removed by the contact with the ashes on your body. By your grace he attained the supreme goal.

44. You are a Śiva yogin, an asset to the three worlds. At your benign glance even the individual soul becomes the supreme soul.

45. It is for instructing the world that a noble soul as yourself look up to me with respect. Indeed the saints wander here and there for helping the wide world.

46-47. This great secret is founded in you. You too, abide by the Praṇavas alone with respect, faith and devotion and unite them with Parameśvara helping people grasp Śaivite conduct including Bhasma and Rudrākṣa.

48. You are Śiva indeed. You follow Śaivite conduct and have understood the concept of non-dualism Wandering about for the welfare of the world you will attain an everlasting happiness.

Sūta said:—

49. After hearing this wonderful cult of Vedānta, explained by Kārttikeya the sage became very humble. He bowed many times and prostrated before him. He behaved like a bee hovering round his lotus-like feet.

Footnotes and references:


Kailāsa S. 13.31.


The eight principal mountains are Mahendra, Malaya, Sahya, Śuktimat, Ṛkṣa and Pāriyātra.


The Purāṇas describe the seven streams of Gaṅgā thus: Sītā, Cakṣu, Sindhu. Bhāgīrathī, Nalinī, Hlādinī or Hrādinī, Pāvanī. These originate from the Bindusaras identified wiṃ the Mānasa lake.