The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “principle of shiva” 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 30 - The principle of Śiva

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

The sages said:—

1. The activities of deities of domestic nature are curious, dense and inscrutable, even to the gods. They delude our minds.

2. In the union of the principles of Śiva and Śivā no defect is noticeable. However in their activities the Prākṛta feeling is rather prominent.

3. Brahmā and others the causes of creation, sustenance and annihilation attain restraint and blessing from Śiva and are subservient to him.

4. Śiva is not subject to anyone’s Nigraha and Anugraha. Surely his lordship is not dependent on any one else.

5. If his lordship is like this, characterised by freedom, it can be either innate or subject to his embodied state.

6. But a physical form docs not fit in with a free being for this basic reason. But the form is an effect of some cause. Lordship has no cause for its being.

7. Everywhere the greater and the lower Bhāvas are mentioned. How can these two be relevant in one place?

8. Indeed the great Ātman is devoid of attributes. How can he become possessed of attributes. Svabhāva is unrevertible.

9. If you say that his innate nature is reverted by his own wish he being free, why does not Īśāna make an interchange in permanent and non-permanent things?

10. The wise have said that the embodied Ātman is Sakala; the unembodied Śiva is Niṣkala. The embodied Ātman is presided over by Śiva.

11. If it is contended that the embodied Ātman is the form of Śiva, the dependence of the embodied on the form becomes certain. How can we explain that?

12. Otherwise how is the form adopted by the nondependant? The adoption of form is with a purpose to get the fruit of his desire.

13. The assuming of physical bodies out of wish is not consistent with freedom. Such a wish too follows the activities of men.

14. Even beings including Brahmā and Piśācas can assume or cast off their bodies out of their wish. But don’t they come under the scope of Karmans?

15. They consider the assumption of bodies at one’s choice on a par with jugglery. It is not beyond the achievements derived from Aṇimā and other powers.

16. While Viṣṇu who had assumed the cosmic form was fighting with Dadhīca the latter assumed the cosmic form of Viṣṇu.[1]

17. Although Śiva is the great Ātman and superior to all, his similarity with other beings is observed by us because he has a body.

18. They say that Śiva the supreme cause blesses us all. He curbs and kills the gods. How can he be a blesser of all?

19. The lord cut off the fifth head[2] of Brahmā who stubbornly and repeatedly censured Śiva calling him “O son.”

20. In the form of a Śarabha he forcefully attacked Viṣṇu the man-lion. Pressing him with his feet he tore off his heart by his sharp claws.

21. With the sacrifice of Dakṣa for a pretext none among the gods or their womenfolk was spared from punishment by the heroic Vīrabhadra.

22. The three cities[3] along with the Daityas, their womenfolk and children were made the fuel for the fire from his eyes in an instant by him.

23. Kāma the husband of Rati, the cause of the sexual pleasure of the people was consigned to the fire from his eyes even as the gods were lamenting.

24. Angrily glancing at some cows walking along the sky and shedding milk over his head he reduced them to ashes immediately.

25. The demon Jalandhara who bound Viṣṇu and his Serpent and hurled them a hundred Yojanas, was pierced after evolving a discus by making a circle in water with the foot.[4]

26. He then killed him with his trident in the water (?). By performing penance Viṣṇu secured the discus and became powerful.

27. The family of cruel demons who desired to kill him was scorched in fire. The chest of Andhaka was pierced with the trident.

28-29. After creating a dark woman from his neck he killed Dāraka. After creating Kauśikī out of the outer skin of Gaurī, Śumbha and Niśumbha were killed.[5] The narrative on Skanda is found in the Skanda Purāṇa.

30. The lord, requested by Brahmā for the destruction of the leading Daitya Tāraka[6] the enemy of Indra, went to his harem on the Mandara mountain.

31-32. The lord indulged in sexual dalliance with the goddess for a long time. Due to the excessive sport the earth appeared to sink into the nether worlds. He deceived his own name and the goddess by withholding the discharge of semen in her. The unbearable semen was discharged into the fire like nectar or the sanctified Havis.

33-34. The fire cast it off into Gaṅgā and other places. Svāhā who assumed the form of the Kṛttikās and sported with her husband gathered the parts and deposited them in the Śara plants somewhere on the Meru. Svāhā was turned into gold in the process.

35. After some time her lustre illuminated quarters and the mountains. Meru itself was turned into gold.

36. After a long time the splendour grew into a boy of beautiful and tender limbs, a model for all boys.

37. On seeing him of charming features, the world of the gods, Asuras and mankind was surprised and fascinated.

38-40. The lord himself came there along with the goddess to sec his son. He took the boy on his lap. The gods and the sages though averse to worldly pleasures glanced at his smiling face. The lord made him play on his chest and enjoyed the fun. The lord and the goddess congratulated each other.

41-45 He asked the goddess to feed him on her breast-milk. He blessed him saying “your incarnation is for the welfare of the world.” The lord and the goddess were not satiated. Indra who was afraid of the demon Tāraka joined in alliance and performed the coronation of the infant as the commander-in-chief of the gods. The lord vanished himself keeping him in the protection of Indra and the gods. Tāraka’s head along with Indra’s fear was chopped off by his trident in battle, the trident that resembled the deadly fire and pierced the Asura Krauñca. Viṣṇu Brahmā and other gods particularly eulogised him.

46-47 Rāvaṇa, king of Rākṣasas, arrogant of his prowess lifted up Kailāsa with his long arms. Śiva, the trident-bearing lord of the gods could not brook that sin. He pressed it with his big toe and the demon sank under the pressure.

48. For a brahmin boy whose life came to an end and who sought refuge in him, the lord came there hurriedly and kicked Yama with his foot.

49. The submarine fire, not knowing the bull as the lord’s vehicle swallowed him. Thereafter the universe became a vast sheet of water.

50. By means of different activities blissfully beautiful and unknown to the people, the universe has been set to motion frequently.

51. If Śiva is calm and blesses all, he shall fulfil all desires. Being competent why docs he not liberate?

52. The variety of beginningless Karmans cannot be the restraining factor here. The Karman that is the cause is also effected by the lord.

53. Of what avail is much talk? O Māruta, please explain in detail so that the arguments of atheism may be refuted quickly.

Footnotes and references:


See Rudrasaṃhitā II. Ch. 39.


See P. 58 note.


See Liṅga-purāṇa ch. 72.


The details of this episode remain untraced.


See Mārkaṇḍeya-purāṇa.


Rudrasaṃhitā iv. chs 1-10.

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