The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “problem of the sages” 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 2 - The problem of the sages

Sūta said:—

1-3. When a long time had elapsed, many kalpas had come and gone, the present kalpa had started, the activity of creation had begun, and the customs among the enlightened subjects had become established, a dispute arose among the sages of six clans. One said “This is the greatest being.” Another said, “It is not.” Because the greatest being could not be reviewed or defined no conclusion was arrived at.

4. In order to see the eternal creator they went where the lord was staying eulogised by gods and Asuras.

5-6. It was on the auspicious and charming peak of Meru,[1] where there were plenty of gods and Asuras where Siddhas and Cāraṇas thronged, where Yakṣas and Gandharvas frequented, where flocks of birds chirped and crow, which was embellished by jewels and corals and which shone due to streams and rivulets, caves and crevices, bushes and hedges.

7-8. There was a forest Brahmavana[2] which abounded in different species of deer. It was ten Yojanas wide and hundred Yojanas long. There were beautiful lakes full of sweet and clean water. It had plenty of trees in full bloom where swarms of bees hummed and hovered.

9. This was a great city as beautiful and brilliant as the midday sun. It could not be attacked by the haughty Daityas, Dānavas and Rākṣasas.

10. It had lofty ramparts and portals made of molten gold. It was embellished by hundreds of main streets, turrets and wooden ceilings.

11. It appeared to lick the sky with crores of huge mansions set with precious gems of variegated colours. It was decorated with many such mansions.

12-13. Lord Brahmā resides there along with his councillors. Going there the sages saw the lord, the noble Ātman served by the groups of gods and sages. He was shining like pure gold. Ho was bedecked in all ornaments.

14. He was gentle with delightful face. His eyes were as large as the petals of a lotus. He was endowed with a divine lustre. He had smeared divine unguents and scents.

15. He was clad in brilliant white garments. He was bedecked in divine garlands. His lotus-like feet were saluted by the gods, Asuras and leading yogins.

16. Accompanied by Sarasvatī whose body had all auspicious marks who held the chowries in her hands, he shone as the sun with his dazzling light.

17. On seeing him the sages were delighted and their eyes and faces shone. With palms joined in reverence and held over their heads they eulogised the leading god.

The sages said:—

18. Obeisance to you in the form of Trinity, the cause of creation, sustenance and annihilation, the ancient Puruṣa, Brahmā the great Ātman.

19. Obeisance to the deity who has Prakṛti for his body, who is the cause of quickening Pradhāna, who though transformed into twenty-three principles is yet free from aberration.

20. Obeisance to the deity who has universe for his body, who is stationed within the belly of the universe, who has accomplished his task and whose body is perfectly accomplished.

21. Obeisance to the deity identical with the world, the creator, the sustainer and the annihilator of the world.

22. O Brahmā, it is by you alone that the entire universe is created, sustained and annihilated. Still, due to illusion, O lord, we do not know you.

Sūta said:—

23. Thus eulogised by the fortunate sages, Brahmā spoke to the sages in a majestic tone delighting them.

Brahmā said:—

24. O blessed sages of great splendour and strength, why have you come here all together?

25. The sages foremost of those who know Brahman spoke with palms joined in reverence, with words couched in humility to lord Brahmā who spoke thus.

The sages said:—

26. O lord, we have been encompassed in deep darkness. We are distressed. Unable to understand the greatest being we are arguing among ourselves.

27. Indeed you are the creator of the universe. You are the cause of all causes. O lord, there is nothing here not known to you.

28. Who is that being more ancient than all living beings? Who is the greatest Puruṣa? Who is the purest, perfect, and eternal Being?

29. Who by indulging in wonderful activities has created the universe? O intelligent lord, please mention it and quell our doubts.

30-31. Thus questioned, Brahmā, with smiling eyes, stood up and meditated for long in the presence of the gods, Dānavas and sages. Uttering the words “Rudra” he joined his palms in reverence, with a blissful sensation moistening his body and spoke.

Footnotes and references:

1.

See P. 31? note; P. 62? note.

2.

It is not identified.