The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “attainment of higher status by the tiger (vyaghra)” 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 26 - The attainment of higher status by the tiger (vyāghra)

Vāyu said:—

1. After creating Kauśikī and handing her over to Brahmā, Gaurī spoke to Brahmā demanding the recompense.

The goddess said:—

2. Is this tiger that has resorted to me seen by you? He has guarded my penance grove from wicked animals.

3. Dedicating his mind to me he worships me without thinking of anything else. There is nothing more pleasing to me than his protection.

4. He shall be appointed as an official in my harem. Out of pleasure Śiva will grant him the post of Ganeśvara.

5. I wish to return with my friends keeping him ahead. I seek permission from you the lord of the subjects.

6. Thus addressed, Brahmā smiled and told the goddess describing the lion’s wicked antecedents as though the goddess was unaware.

Brahmā said:—

7. O Goddess, animals are cruel. How can your blissful thought be directed to these? Why do you sprinkle nectar in the mouth of the serpent?

8. This is a certain night-prowling wicked demon in the garb of a tiger (vyāghra). Cows, Brahmins and saints have been devoured by him.

9. He is roaming about assuming forms as he pleases, pleasing and propitiating them. The fruit of a sinful action must of necessity be reaped by him.

10. Why shall mercy be shown to wicked souls like this? What is the purpose served by one innately sinful?

The goddess said:—

11. What you have said is entirely true. Let him be like this. Still he has resorted to me. One who has sought refuge in me shall not be abandoned.

Brahmā said:—

12. I narrated his antecedents without realising his devotion. If there be devotion, sins are not effective? Your devotee never perishes.

13. What can a man of virtuous rites achieve without depending on your behest? You alone are the unborn, intelligent, ancient goddess.

14. Bondage and liberation depend on you. There is no greater Śakti than you. Without you rites cannot achieve results.

15. You alone constitute Śakti of living beings. Himself incompetent to do anything what will a mere agent do?

16. It is only your behest that is the cause of acquisition of prosperity and glory by Viṣṇu, by me or by any of these—gods, Dānavas or Rākṣasas.

17. Innumerable Brahmās, Viṣṇus and Śivas have passed by. Such innumerable ones are yet to be born, these carry out your behests.

18. O goddess of the gods without propitiating you the fourfold arms of life cannot be acquired by all of us.

19. Since merit and evil have been established by you the mobile and immobile may even be inter-changed.

20. You are the primordial and eternal Śakti of Śiva the great soul, the lord of the universe, the Śakti without beginning, middle or death.

21. For the functioning of the universe you assume some form or other and play about in different aspects. Who knows you factually?

22. Hence let this wicked tiger (vyāghra) too attain the great Siddhi by your blessings. Nothing can prevent it?”

23. Thus requested by Brahmā after duly reminding her of her great aspect the goddess ceased from her penance.

24-29. Then taking leave of the goddess Brahmā vanished. The goddess visited her parents Menā, Himavat. She bowed to them and alleviated the pangs of her parents due to her absence. The goddess then proceeded to Mandara talking to her friends about the trees in the penance-grove who had been her loving companions. “They are shedding tears due to their grief at separation, by their scattering flowers, they are crying in distress by the chirping sound of birds seated on their boughs.” The goddess was impatient to see her lord. She kept the tiger ahead thinking him as son born of herself, out of affection. With the brilliant lustre of her body she illuminated the quarters. Thus Gaurī reached Mandara where lord Śiva was staying—the lord who is the creator, protector and annihilator of the worlds.