The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “principles of shiva cult (2)” 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 6 - The Principles of Śiva cult (2)

The sages said:—

1. You have explained what is Paśu and what is Pāśa. Now mention what is their lord different in characteristics from the two?

Vāyu said:—

2. There is a certain releaser of Paśu from Pāśa. He is Pati, the creator of the universe. He is the abode of endless charming attributes.

13. In his absence how could the universe have been created, since Pāśa is insentient and the Paśu is ignorant?

4. Without an intelligent cause nothing has ever been seen anywhere created by Pradhāna, Paramāṇu or any such insentient being.

5. Since the universe is an effect possessing parts it is dependent on a creator. And creativity can be only in Pati and not in Paśu or Pāśa.

6. Creativity of Paśu without the knowledge of creation like the going of a blind man is due to the inducement of his lord.

7. Realising distinction between him and himself and being gratified after resorting to him Paśu can attain immortality.

8. The sphere of Pati is really greater than and beyond that of Paśu and Pāśa. The knower of Brahman becomes free from births by knowing him alone.

9. Lord the redeemer of the universe sustains the universe of Kṣara and Akṣara, the two in unison, the manifest and the unmanifest.

10. The enjoyer, the enjoyed and the instigator—the three alone shall be distinguished. There is nothing else to be known by the seekers of knowledge.

11-12. The man endowed with truth and penance sets in his Ātman the great Ātman like the oil in the gingelly seed or the ghee in the curd or water in the current or the fire in the Araṇi.

13. He is the lord born alone. Associated with Īśānīs, his Śaktis he creates the worlds and rules over them.

14. He is always alone. There is none second to him.[1] After creating the worlds he protects them and withdraws them.

15. He has eyes, faces and feet all round.[2]

16. The sole lord and creator of the heaven and earth is Maheśvara. He is the origin and the place of merger of all the gods.[3]

17. The Śruti says that Rudra the great sage is superior to all; he creates Hiraṇyagarbha the first among the deities.[4]

18. I know this great Puruṣa, the undying, steady, having the colour of the sun, the lord stationed beyond darkness.[5]

19. There is nothing greater, subtler and grosser than this. The universe is filled by him.

20. He has all faces, heads and necks. He lies in the cavity of the heart of all. He is all-pervading and present everywhere.

21. He has hands, feet, eyes, heads, ears and faces all around. He stands enveloping everything in the world.

22. He has all apparent attributes but is devoid of the sense-organs. The lord is the friend and refuge of all.

23. They call him the great Puruṣa—who sees without eyes, hears without ears and comprehends all and whom no one knows.

24. He is subtler than the atom, greater than the greatest.[6] He is the unchanging. He lies in the cavity of the heart of this Paśu.

25. By the grace of the creator, one devoid of sorrows perceives him who is endowed with the excellence of greatness and who docs not possess intelligence but is intelligence itself.

26. I know the unaging ancient omnipresent lord whose birth is denied by those who can expound the knowledge of the Brahman.[7]

27. After annihilating in the end, the lord creates the universe again from the beginning in association with his manifold Śaktis.

28-29. The Māyā of Śiva is the unborn mother of the universe and has variegated colours and shapes. It is white, red and black. She, the unborn, gives birth to man. He, the unborn, resorts to it and gets involved in distress Another Aja, the liberated soul, eschews her after she has been enjoyed.[8]

30. Two birds resort to the same tree. One eats the sweet fruit, the other simply watches without eating.[9]

31-32. Sitting on this tree the deluded Puruṣa bewails. When he sees the lord, the ultimate cause, and realises his greatness he is freed from sorrow and becomes happy.

33. The great Ātman, the Māyin entering this, creates the universe by his Māyā. Māyā shall be known as Prakṛti and Maheśvara as Māyin.

34-35. The universe is permeated by his parts. The Puruṣa attains perpetual peace and calmness on realising lord Śiva the creator and enveloper of the universe and the subtler of the subtlest, from his very inception in the foetus.

36. He alone is Kāla, the protector, the lord of universe. On realising him one is released from the noose of death.

37. On realising the lord pervading all living beings like the subtle cream over the ghee, one is freed from sins.

38. He alone is the great god Śivā, the creator of the universe. Only on realising him one attains immortality.

39. When everything was neither existent nor non-existent, when it was neither day nor night, Śiva alone existed from whom the ancient wisdom emanated.

40. None can grasp his top, sides or middle. There is nolhing resembling him. His is the great fame.[10]

41. Those who are frightened of rebirths meditate on the unborn. For the sake of succour they resort lo the front face of Rudra.

42. The two Vidyā and Avidyā lie hidden in the imperishable, infinite great Brahman.

43. Avidyā is perishable while Vidyā is imperishable. He who rules over the two is lord Śiva. He is other than the two.

44. It is he who spreads his net in various ways, creates all and rules all. He possesses such exploits.

45. He illuminates the quarters above, below and to the sides, shining himself. He is innately alone, foremost of all who presides over all.

46. Transforming the attributes, the expressions of nature and expressed ones into what is enjoyed and the one that enjoys, he occupies the universe.

47. The gods and the sages know him as hidden in the secret Upaniṣad, who is Brahman, greater than the greatest, the progenitor of Brahmā and the cause of the universe.

48. Those who knew the lord eschewed their bodies. The lord can be realised only through piety. He is wishless, the cause of positive and negative substances and the creator of Kalās.

49. It is the greatness of the lord whereby this universe revolves but the deluded people call it a natural occurrence or the power of time.

50. It is by him in the form of the annihilator of death that these are enveloped perpetually, the activities urged' by him transform into worldly existence along with the elements.

51-53. The individual indulges in activities more and more and returns to the earth. He gets entangled in the tattvas. By means of the fourteen attributes of the Ātman he pursues worldly activities. When these activities cease even the results are quelled.

54. When these are quelled he goes to another world. This is the cause of union of the two—the enjoyer and the enjoyed.

55. Lord alone is beyond the three times. He is attributeless, the knower of all, the lord of the three attributes. He is brahman itself greater than the greatest.

56. We worship and meditate upon th lord of manifold forms, the unborn, lord of people, object of worship and meditation by the entire universe. He is stationed in our minds.

57. He is beyond Kāla. From him the whole cosmos originates. He is the repository of the universe and effects virtue and quells sins. He is the lord of enjoyment.

58. We know him as the greatest of lords, the greatest of deities, the lord of the worlds.

59. He has neither cause nor effect. Nowhere in the universe there is anyone equal or superior to him.

60. It is mentioned in the Vedas that his threefold power is great, manifold and innate, comprising knowledge, strength and activity. It is by these activities that the universe is created.

61. He has no lord, no sex and no ruler. He is the cause of causes and the lord of lords.

62. He has no progenitor nor does he take birth from anywhere. He has no causes of birth such as Dirt, Māyā etc.

63. He is the solitary lord hidden in all living beings.[11] Spread all round he is the innate soul of all living beings. He is mentioned as the presiding deity of all sacred rites.

64. He is the abode of all living beings, the cosmic witness, the provoker of thoughts, devoid of attributes and the sole lord with self-control, devoid of activities and helpless.

65. He is the most permanent among the permanent. He is the most sentient among the sentient.

66. On realising the lord of the universe, comprehensible through Sāṅkhya and Yoga, the cause of the universe the person gets released from all illusions.

67. He is the creator and the knower of the universe. He is the knower of his source, and the creator of time. He possesses attributes. He is the lord of Prakṛti and the individual soul; he presides over the Guṇas; he is the releaser of illusion.

68-69. Alter realising the lord who at the outset created Brahma and taught him the Vedas, through the clarity of my intellect, I shall be desirous of salvation from this worldly existence. I take refuge in Śiva who is devoid of attributes and activities, who is quiescent, the undespicable and the unsullied.

70-71. After realising the great bridge that takes to immortality I shall be quiescent like the fire that has consumed fuel. When men wear the ether as they wear a hide they will realise the end of miseries before they have realised Śiva.

72-73. O sages, due to the power of penance, the grace of the lord and the result of my good fortune I secured the holy knowledge straight from the mouth of Brahmā, the knowledge that quells sins, lies hidden in the Upaniṣads and was enunciated in a previous Kalpa.

74. This excellent knowledge shall not be delivered to one who is not quiet, nor to a son who is not well behaved nor to one who is not one’s own disciple.

75. These facts reveal to him who is of noble soul, who has great devotion to the lord and to the preceptor in the form of Śiva.

76. Hence listen to the gist. Śiva is greater than Prakṛti and Puruṣa and beyond it. At the time of creation he creates the universe and at the time of dissolution he withdraws everything.

Footnotes and references:


TS 1. 8. 6.; N. 1. 15.


VS 17. 19; MNU. 2.2.


Ibid. 17.


MNU 10. 3.


Ibid 31. 18.


MNU. 8.3.


VS. 31. 18


TA. 10. 10. 1 MNU 9. 2.


RV. I. 164. 20


VS. 32.3


Cp. Śveta 4. 6. 11