The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “rules for hair-cutting and ablution” 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 20 - Rules for hair-cutting and ablution

Subrahmaṇya said:-

1. O sage Vāmadeva I shall now explain the rules of hair-cutting and ablution. These if performed immediately are conducive to great purity of the ascetic.

2. O sage, after the consecration as a disciple he shall observe the other rites and get ready for the tonsorial ceremony.

3. He shall bow to the preceptor and secure permission from him. After washing the head and performing the Ācamana he shall have the tonsure while putting on cloth.

4. After that he shall wash the cloth, the razor etc. with water and clay. The barber also shall be given clay and asked to wash his hands.

5-6. Repeating “Śivam” “Śivam” he shall sprinkle every object with water. He shall then close his eyes with the ring-finger and the thumb. Repeating the Astra mantra he shall open his eyes and look at the razor and other implements of tonsorial rite. Repeating the mantra twelve times he shall sprinkle them with the Astra mantra.

7. He shall take the razor and cut off a patch of hair on the right side. Then a few hair on the front, then the entire hair shall be shaved off.

8. The hair shaven off shall be put on a leaf and not allowed to fall on the ground. The beards, the moustache also shall be shaven. Nails of the hands and feet shall be pared.

9-10. He shall take clay from the root of Bilva, Aśvattha or Tulasi. He shall plunge into water twelve times and come to the bank. He shall place the clay on a pure spot of ground and divide it into three parts. Each part shall be divided into three. It shall be sprinkled with water with the Astra mantra.

11. Taking a lump of clay he shall wipe off his hands with it twelve times. Each of the hands shall be separately washed with water.

12. Another lump of clay shall be used similarly for the feet, another lump for the face, another for the arms and so on. After smearing and washing he shall enter water again.

13. Another lump of clay shall be divided into twelve and applied over the beard. He shall then plunge into the water again.

14. He shall come to the bank, gargle sixteen times, perform Ācamana twice and Prāṇāyāma sixteen times repeating the Praṇava.

15. He shall divide another lump of clay into three. With one part he shall purify the hips and feet and perform Ācamana twice.

16. Repeating the Praṇava he shall perform Prāṇāyāma silently sixteen times. He shall take another part of the clay lump and apply it on his thighs thrice repeating “Om”.

17. He shall sprinkle water over it repeating Om seven times. He shall apply the clay on the palms once in the beginning and thrice afterwards. Then he shall glance at the holy disc of the sun.

18-19. With another lump of clay he shall purify the armpits by means of the hands on the opposite sides. With steady and pure mind the disciple shall take another lump of pure clay and smear his body from head to foot with devotion to the preceptor and eyes fixed in the sun.

20. Fixing the staff on the ground he shall stand up and remember his preceptor who has taught him the mantra with devotion strengthened by wisdom.

21. He shall devoutly remember Sāmba, Maheśāna, Śaṅkara, the moon-crested Śiva, the lord of prosperity and glory.

22. He shall prostrate before the preceptor Śiva thrice with eight limbs and once with five limbs touching the ground and stand up making obeisance.

23. He shall enter the river again and plunge once. Coming up he shall apply the clay on the shoulders in the manner mentioned before.

24. The remaining clay he shall take up and dissolve it in the water and then apply it all over his body.

25. He shall repeat ‘Om’ thrice and remember the lotus-like feet of Śiva which enable him to cross the ocean of worldly existence.[1]

26. Repeating Om he shall pour water over his body besmeared with the Bhasma of the Virajā Homa. He shall wipe the body, take his bath and apply Dharma.

27. O sage, then he shall carefully apply Tripuṇḍra in accordance with the rules.

28. After paying obeisance to Maheśvara, the preceptors, holy centres and others he shall perform the midday rites.

29. O sage, with great devotion he shall worship Śiva accompanied by Śivā and the bestower of perfect knowledge, the protector of the three worlds.

30. With steady mind, abiding by his virtuous duties and pure in body, he shall go to good brahmin householders for alms.

31. He shall divide the alms into five parts and do with them as proper. He shall avoid defiled food.

32. A mendicant shall perform four activities: Purificatory rites, ablution, begging for alms and resorting to isolated places for meditation. He has no fifth rite.

33. He shall use only four types of begging bowls, that made of dried gourd, or of bamboo, or of wood or of clay. He shall not take any other type of bowl.

34. Six things are forbidden to the ascetics: chewing the betel, using the metallic vessel, emission of semen, white cloth, sleeping during the day and taking meal at night.

35. If they observe the rules they are wise. If they do not they are Rākṣasas. The ascetic shall never indulge in activities contrary to the rules.

36. He shall perform the post-shaving ablution assiduously for purity, remembering mentally the supreme Brahman Sadāśiva.

37. O sage, thus out of affection for you, the rites of post-shaving ablution I have explained to you. What else do you wish to hear?

Footnotes and references:


The last pāda of this verse is defective.