The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “knowledge of pashupati principle” 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 5 - Knowledge of paśupati principle

Upamanyu said:—

1. This universe of the mobile and immobile beings is the cosmic body of the lord of the gods. The Paśus do not know it at all due to the intricacy of the Pāśa.

2. O scion of the family of Yadu, not knowing his great, nature, never subject to alteration or doubts, some sages call him many though he is one.

3. About the great lord, without beginning or death, some say he is Aparabrahmarūpa, some say he is Parabrahmarūpa.

4. According to them Aparabrahmarūpa is that aspect when the godhead is identified with the elements, Antaḥkaraṇa the Indriyas, the Pradhāna and the sensual objects. The Parabrahman is the great Brahman in the form of Cit.

5. The godhead is called Brahman because it is immense and it expands. Some say that the Īśa is of the form of Vidyā and Avidyā. Thus there are two forms of lord Brahman, the lord of Brahmā.

6. They say that Vidyā is Cetanā (consciousness) and Avidyā is Acetanā (insentience). The universe too is in the form of Vidyā and Avidyā as belonging to the lord, the preceptor of the universe.

7. There is no doubt in this that the universe is his form because it is subservient to him. Others know the form of Śiva as delusion and Para Vidyā.

8. Delusion usually means Ayathābuddhi (not knowing as it is) in regard to the objects. Vidyā is opposite to it where the knowledge is in the true form.

9. The great principle is devoid of alteration or doubts. The opposite thing is connoted by the word Asat as explained by those who propound the Vedas.

10. Since he is the lord of the two, Śiva is called the lord of the Sat and Asat. Some say that he is in the form of Kṣara and Akṣara. Others say that he is beyond Kṣara and Akṣara.

11. The living beings are called Kṣara. The Kūṭastha is called Akṣara. Both these are the forms of the lord because they are under his control.

12-13. Beyond the two is Śiva the quiescent. Hence he is Kṣarākṣarapara. Some say that Śiva is the great cause, that he is in the form of the universal as well as the individual and the cause of both. The Samaṣṭi is unmanifest, they say and the Vyaṣṭi is manifest.

14. They are the forms of the lord because they function at his will. Since he is their cause, those who know the meaning of the ‘cause’ say that Śiva the great cause is the cause of both the universal and the individual.

15-17. The lord is explained by some as the one who inheres in ihe form of Jāti and Vyakti. That which inheres whole bodies is called Jāti. Vyakti is in the form of the separate unit and is the support of Jāti. Both are protected by his Ājñā. So the lord is called Jātivyaktivapus.

18-21. By some Śiva is called Pradhāna-Puruṣa-Vyakta-Kālātman. Pradhāna is Prakṛti. Puruṣa is the individual soul. The twenty three principles constitute the Vyakta (manifest) Prakṛti. Kāla is the sole cause of the transformation of the effected creation. Śiva is the lord, creator, activisor, router, and the cause of evolution and dissolution of all these. He is one, the emperor, the unborn. Hence he is called ‘Pradhāna-Puruṣa-Vyakta-Kāla-Svarūpavān’. He is the cause, leader, overlord and the creator of all these.

22. By some he is mentioned as the Ātman of Virāṭ and Hiraṇyagarbha. Hiraṇyagarbha is the cause of the worlds, Brahmā etc., Virāṭ is the cosmic form or being.

23. Śiva is called as the immanent and the great soul. Others say he is the Ātman of Prājña, Taijasa and Viśva.

24. Others say he is the fourth being Saumya. Others say that he is the measurer, measure and the measured as well as the intellect.

25. Others declare that he is the maker, the action, the effect, the instrument and the cause. Others say that he is the Ātman of wakefulness, dream and slumber.

26. Some call him the fourth one or the being beyond the fourth one. Some call him devoid of Guṇas or possessing Guṇas.

27-33. Some call him having worldly existence; Others having no worldly existence. Still others call him free, not free, terrible, gentle, passionate, passionless, inactive, active, possessed or devoid of sense-organs, stable, not stable, with colour or no colour, visible, invisible, expressible, inexpressible, in the form of word and sound or beyond that, possessed or devoid of thought and knowledge, comprehensible or incomprehensible, great and not great.

34. Thus his innate nature, the true form, is being doubted. The sages are unable to determine the true nature of the lord due to the presence of different ideas and beliefs.

35. On the other hand, only those who have resorted to the lord in all piety know Śiva, the great cause, without any strain.[1]

36. As long as the individual does not achieve the realization of the primordial lord who has no lord above him and who is the ruler of the worlds, he remains in misery bound by the noose. He undergoes the sufferings of the worldly existence in succession like the rim of the wheel.

37. When the seer sees the maker, the lord, golden in colour, the Puruṣa the origin of Brahmā, he shakes off both merits and sins and becomes unsullied. He attains the great equality or union with the lord.

Footnotes and references:


According to ŚP. the concentrated devotion, not the philosophical argumentation or the talented discourses can resolve the perfect knowledge of Śiva.