The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “analysis of vagartha (vag-artha)” 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 29 - The analysis of Vāgartha (vāg-artha)

Vāyu said:—

1. I shall mention briefly how the universe in the form of “Vāg-Artha” can be known through the six pathways.

2. There is nothing that is not the meaning of a word. There is no word without meaning. Therefore all words make all meanings known in their proper time.

3. The two words and their meanings are the transformations of Prakṛti which is form of Śiva and Śivā.

4. The magnificence in the form of word is mentioned as threefold by scholars—gross, subtle and the great. The gross one is what we hear with our ears.

5-8. The subtle one is in the form of thought, the one beyond is devoid of thought. The Śakti based on the principle of Śiva is Parāśakti. In the name of “Śakti Tattva” it is the root cause of all effects. It is the composite unit (Samaṣṭi) of all Śaktis because it is in association with Jñāna Śakti and is supported by Icchāśakti. The same

is called Kuṇḍalinī Māyā and Śuddhādhvaparamā. This Śakti is ramified into six paths. The three paths pertain to words and the three pertain to their meanings.

9-10. The capacity for merging and enjoyment is possessed by all men in accordance with their purity based on the divisions of all Principles. The principles are pervaded by Kalās suitably as in the beginning the great Prakṛti is transformed into five. They are Kalā, Nivṛtti and others.

11-12. The three paths based on words are: the path of mantras, the path of words, the path of letters. The three paths based on meanings are the path of universe, the path of principles, the path of Kalās. These are mutually pervaded and pervading.

13. The mantras are pervaded by the words constituting the statement. The words are pervaded by letters. Learned men call the group of letters a word.

14-17. The letters are pervaded by the words because they are obtained there. The words are pervaded by the Tattvas because of their origin from within and without. They are effected by the Tattvas in various ways. Some of the words have cropped up from the middle, some from the Śaiva Āgamas. Some of Tattvas are those famous in the Sāṅkhya and Yoga systems of Philosophy. Others are famous in the sacred texts of Śiva. The Tattvas are duly pervaded by Kalās.

18. Since in the beginning the primordial Prakṛti is transformed into five Kalās, Nivṛtti and others pervaded by each other.

19. The undivided Śakti pervades the six paths. She is pervaded by Śivatattva.

20. Everything from Śakti to Earth is born of Śivatattva and pervaded by it alone just as pot etc. are pervaded by clay.

21. The great abode of Śiva is attainable through six paths. The non-pervading Śakti becomes pervasive by the purification by five Tattvas.

22. The situation of the cosmic egg upto Rudra is purified by Nivṛtti. Above that upto the sphere of Avyakta It is purified by Pratiṣṭhā.

23. Above that upto Viśveśvara it is purified by Vidyā in the middle. Above that it is purified by Śānti. At the end of the path the purification is through Śāntyatīta.

24. It is this they call the greatest firmament in view of the contact with Parāprakṛti. These are the five Tattvas whereby the entire universe is pervaded.

25-26. All this could be seen only there by the aspirants. He who wishes to purify without realising the mode of pervasion of the paths is a deceiver of purity. He cannot achieve the fruit. His effort is wasted and leads him to hell.

27. It is not possible to know the Tattvas factually nor their pervasiveness nor increase without the union of Śakti and the individual soul.

28. Śakti is the order of Śiva in the form of cit. With that as the cause Śiva presides over everything.

29. It is not of the nature of the Ātman nor of Māyā nor of secondary nature. It is neither bondage nor liberation but it causes bondage and liberation.

30. She is the acme of Śiva’s lordship never swerving. By means of sensations she is of the same traits as he.

31. With her alone he is a householder and with him alone she is a housewife always. As a result of their union the universe is the offspring.

32. Their difference is specified in this that he is the maker and she is the cause. The single Śiva himself stands two-fold.[1]

33-34. Some declare that their difference consists in their genders: man and woman. Others say that she is undetachably associated with him as the light of the sun. But in the form of cit she is different. The arrangement is that Śiva is the great cause and his behest is the great goddess.

35-36. Urged by his behest the original unchanging Prakṛti becomes threefold in accordance with the three types of effects. It is called Mahāmāyā, Māyā and Triguṇā Prakṛti. It produces the six paths in the form of words and their meanings. The entire universe is thus sixfold. The whole collection of scriptural text is only an extension of this.

Footnotes and references:


Matsya-purāṇa. 3. 31 “strīrūpamardhamakarodardhaṃ puruṣarūpavat |”. In the half male and half female form (ardhanārīśvara rūpa) Śiva symbolises the progenitive principle.