The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “naimisha episode” 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 3 - The Naimiṣa episode

Brahmā said:—

1-4. Śiva stationed in the middle of the ether shall be meditated upon by those desirous of salvation; Śiva from whom the words recede not approaching him along with the mind;[1] knowing and realising whose bliss-form one has no fear from anywhere; from whom every thing inclusive of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Rudra, Indra, the elements, the sense-organs, is born at first, who is the creator, meditator and ultimate cause of all causes; who is not born from anything else at any time; who is endowed with glory and prosperity and who is known as Sarveśvara.

5. It was he who created me at the outset as his son and gave me perfect knowledge. It was due to his grace that the lordship of the people was attained by me.

6. He is the lord who stands in heaven like the lofty stump of a tree; and by whom, by the Puruṣa, the great Ātman, all this is filled up.

7. He is active among the inactive creatures; he who being single himself creates many is Maheśvara.

8. He rules over all the worlds through the Jīvas. He is the only lord Rudra. There is none second to him.

9. Though he has entered and is ever present in the hearts of the people he is invisible to others; he occupies and views at the universe always.

10. He is the sole lord of infinite Śakti who presides over all causes and is released from Time—Death.

11. He has neither day nor night; neither equals nor superiors. The great knowledge and activity is innate in him.

12. That which is perishable and unmanifest, that which is imperishable and immortal—both these have the imperishable as their Ātman. The sole lord is Śiva himself.

13. By concentrating on him, the person of Sāttvaic feelings becomes the lord himself. At the end the universal illusion recedes from him.

14. The eternal Śruti says “In whom neither the lightning flashes nor the sun blazes nor the moon sheds light and by whose brilliance this universe comes in the limelight.”

15. That lord Śiva shall be realised. There is no other region greater than his worthy of attainment.

16. Hr is the cause. He has no beginning, no end. He is naturally purr, independent and perfect. The mobile and immobile beings are subservient to his will.

17. His body is not the creation of Prakṛti. He is glorious, devoid of examples and definitions. He is both the liberated and liberator. He is not influenced by Time. He is the activiser of time.

18. He has taken up residence above all. He is the repository of all. He is the knower of all. He is the lord of the universe comprising the sixfold path.

19. He is the Being above all beings, one above the other. There is no being above him. He is the bee imbibing the honey of endless bliss.

20. He is an expert in solidifying the unsevered cosmic

eggs. He is the ocean of benevolence, prowess, majesty and sweetness.

21. There is no object equal to him or excelling him. He stands as the unparalleled Emperor of all living beings.

22. The universe is created by him indulging in wonderful activities. At the time of dissolution this gets dissolved in him.

23. The living beings are under his control. He is the employer of all. He is seen by great devotion and not otherwise.

24. Sacred rites, charitable gifts, penances and observances, these are advocated by people for the purification of emotions. There is no doubt in this.

25. Viṣṇu, I, Rudra, gods and Asuras are desirous of seeing him even today by performing great penances.

26. He is invisible to fallen wicked men, the despicable and the stupid. He is worshipped within and without by devotees and can be spoken to.

27-28. Forms in the universe are threefold—the gross, subtle and that which is beyond. The gross is seen by us, the gods and others. The subtle is seen by the Yogins. That which is beyond the two, is eternal, knowledge, bliss and the unchanging can be seen by those who dwell in it, are devoted to it and are engaged in the rites concerning it.

29. Of what avail is much talk? Devotion to Śiva is the secret of secrets. He who is endowed with it becomes liberated. There is no doubt in this.

30. Devotion is the result of grace and grace is the result of devotion just as the sprout comes out of the seed and produces the seed.

31. The achievements of the individual are due to the grace of God. Lord alone is achieved in the end through all the means.

32. Virtue and holy rites constitute the means for the attainment of grace. That is indicated by the Vedas. By practising Dharma the sins and merits are levelled to equality.

33. Contact with grace yields excellence of Dharma. After attaining this excellence the sins of the individual decline.

34. When his sins decline through succession of births the devotion to Sarveśvara and Ambā is generated along with knowledge.

35. The grace of the lord varies in accordance with the purity of emotions. Due to grace, eschewment of rites results. Here the eschewment is of the fruits of rites and not the rites themselves.

36. As a result of the abandonment of the desire for the fruits of holy rites, the auspicious Śaivite virtues are attained. This is twofold: that dependent on the preceptor and that which is not.

37. That which is dependent on the preceptor is more important and hundred times more efficacious since in the Śaivite creed there is an association of Śaivite knowledge.

38. In view of the knowledge the man sees the defects in the worldly existence (saṃsāra). Thereafter arises non-attachment to the sensual objects and thence Bhāva is attained.

39. When Bhāva is attained the man becomes more inclined towards meditation than towards rituals. A man endowed with knowledge and meditation becomes engaged in Yoga.

40. Through Yoga arises the great, devotion and then grace of God. By means of the grace the creature is liberated and becomes equal to Śiva.

41. The different modes of blessings may not be in the order mentioned. The blessing is based on the ability of the man.

42. Some soul is liberated even while in the womb; another even while being born; a third whether he be a boy or a youth or an old man.

43. A soul born as a lower species, a soul undergoing torture in hell, a soul achieving a heavenly region may be liberated when the tenure is over.

44. Some soul may return after the enjoyment of heavenly region and then liberated. Still another soul may be liberated on its way.

45. Hence there is no stipulated mode or order in the attainment of liberation. The supreme bliss is in accordance

with the knowledge and emotion and attained by the grace of the lord.

46 48. Hence, in order to win his grace you shall avoid verbal and mental defects; meditate on Śiva alone along with your wives, sons and others; abide by him; be attached to him. You shall associate with him, resort to him, do holy rites with your minds fixed in him, continue a long sacrifice for a thousand divine years. At the end of the sacrifice due to the efficacy of the mantras Vāyu will come there.

49-50. He will tell you what is good for you along with the means. Then you shall go to the holy and auspicious city of Vārāṇasī where the glorious trident-bearing lord sports about with the goddess for blessing his devotees.

51. O excellent brahmins, after seeing the great wonder therein you come to me again. Then I shall tell you the means of salvation.

52. Thereby in a single birth, salvation comes within your reach, salvation which sets you free from the bondage of births and transmigrations.

53. Now I am releasing this mentally created wheel. The place where its rim gets shattered is auspicious for your penance.

54. After saying this Brahmā created a mental wheel as bright as the sun. After bowing to lord Śiva he released it.

55. Those delighted brahmins bowed to the lord and pursued the wheel to the place where its rim got shattered.

56. The wheel thus hurled fell on a smooth charming rock in a certain forest where the water was sweet and clear.

57. That forest became famous as Naimiṣa. It is worshipped by the sages. It abounds in Yakṣas, Gandharvas, and Vidyādharas.

58-59. Indulging in sexual dalliance with Urvaśī, Purūravas was moving about in the eighteen islands in the ocean. Urged by fate he came to this place and foolishly spoiled the golden sacrificial altar here. The infuriated sages hurled Kuśa grass at him which Had the power of thunderbolt and felled him to the ground.

60. Formerly the Viśvasṛja Brahmeśa householders desirous of creating the universe began a divine sacrifice here.

61. There had been many scholarly sages here experts in words, meanings and logical arguments. They performed rites by their power of intellect and yogic practice.

62. Here persons well-versed in the Vedas refute those who are excluded from Vedic path by their power of arguments. They speak eloquently.

63. This Naimiṣa forest was the fitting place for the penance of the sages. It was beautiful with nectarine clear water flowing from the bottom rocks of the crystalline mountain. It abounded in fruit-bearing trees and was free from beasts of prey.

Footnotes and references:


Taittirīya-upaniṣad 2.9.

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