The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “devotion to 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 10 - Devotion to Śiva

Śrī Kṛṣṇa said:—

1-2. O lord, foremost of all Yogins, O leader of the Gaṇas, O excellent sage, O preceptor having the lustre equal to that of the six-faced deity, O storehouse of knowledge, you have assumed the form of a sage but are really the supreme lord. You have incarnated on the earth for breaking the binding cords of men.

3. There is none else but you, among the gods and Dānavas in this universe who knows the true nature of Śiva.

4. Hence my mind is not satiated by drinking in the nectarine lore of the lord coming out of your mouth as if from that of the trident-bearing lord himself.

5. O holy lord, what was it that the goddess seated in the lap of her husband, the creator of the universe, had asked him?

Upamanyu said:—

6. You have very pertinently put the question O Kṛṣṇa. I shall explain it precisely to you of auspicious mind. You as the devotee of Śiva are the person fit to hear it.

7. Accompanied by the goddess, the lord went to his beautiful garden on the beautiful mountain Mandara abounding in beautiful caves.

8. Then Śubhāvatī, the beloved friend of the goddess with a smiling face, brought many full-blown flowers of great beauty.

9. Thereupon Śiva, the chief of the gods, seated the goddess on his lap and bedecked her with the flowers. He was much pleased with himself.

10-11. The gentle ladies bedecked in glittering ornaments working in the harem and the confidential attendants, the chiefs of Gaṇas served the goddess and the lord, with chowries in their hands.

12. Then pleasing discourses ensued for the diversion of the lord and the goddess and for the succour of the devotees who sought refuge in him.

13. Then seeing an opportune moment the goddess asked Śiva, the lord of the worlds.

The goddess said:—

14. How can the lord be brought under control by slow-witted men who are not interested in spiritual principles and who do not have self-control?

Lord Śiva said:—

15. I cannot be enticed either by holy rites or penance or Japas or postures or knowledge or by any other means except faith.[1]

16. If men have faith in me I can be brought under control, be touched, seen, worshipped and spoken to by some means or other.

17-18. Hence faith shall be sought and acquired by him who desires to subject me to his control. Faith supports the duties of the different castes and is generated in him alone who abides by all duties of the castes and stages of life. No one else has faith in me.

19. At my bidding, the duties as derived from the Vedas of the various stages in life were mentioned formerly by Brahmā.

20-21. That compendium of duties is called Brahmā’s Dharma. It consists of expensive rites, and is attended with great stress and strain. The fruits are not comparatively plentiful. By resorting to this great Dharma it is possible for those persons of different castes who resort to me without seeking the support of others, and who have attained the rare faith, to attain virtue, love, wealth and salvation.

22-24. The duties of various castes and stages of life have been re-organised by me. This is my permanent injunction that only those who have devotion to me are authorised in those duties and not others. Hence those who resort to me along the path directed, become liberated from the binding cords of dirt, Māyā, etc. due to my grace. They attain my city[2] whence there is no return. Then they become identical with me and secure bliss.

25-26. Hence, after securing or not securing the duties mentioned by me if my devotee lifts himself up by his efforts, it is an acquisition of what is not acquired superior in qualities crores and crores of times. Hence, one shall practise the duties mentioned by me.

27. O noble lady, these are my incarnations as Yogācārya[3] in all the Manvantaras and thousands of generations.

28. O goddess, the knowledge of generations is inaccessible to those who are not my devotees, who are devoid of intellect and who do not practise Yoga. Hence one shall assiduously resort to these.

29. That is a great loss, a great blemish, a delusion, blindness and muteness, if excluded from the path of salvation one shall exert oneself elsewhere.

30. O goddess, my eternal Dharma is fourfold: Jñāna, Kriyā, Caryā and Yoga.

31. Jñāna is the knowledge of Paśu, Pāśa and Pati. Kriyā is the purificatory rite in regard to the six paths under the instructions of the preceptor.

32. Caryā is the practical application of the holy rites such as my worship and the duties of the different castes and stages in life as prescribed by me.

33. Yoga is the fixation of the mind in me, along the path indicated by me, restraining other activities.

34. O goddess, disciplining of the mind is far more excellent than many a horse-sacrifice. It is conducive to salvation. It is inaccessible to those who adhere to sensual objects.

35. The Yoga that removes previous sins, belongs only to the unattached who has conquered the group of sense-organs by restraints and observances.

36. Detachment gives birth to knowledge. Knowledge facilitates the functioning of Yoga.

37-41. One conversant with Yoga, though fallen, is surely liberated. The following shall be carefully maintained. Mercy shall be practised along with non-violence. Knowledge shall be acquired. Truth, non-stealing, faith in scriptures and God, self-restraint, teaching, studying, performing sacrifice, presiding over sacrifice, meditation, piety towards God and practice of knowledge. A brahmin who follows all these for the acquisition of the path of knowledge, attains perfect knowledge ere long and secures Yoga too. O beloved, the wise devotee burns the physical body in a trice with the fire of knowledge. Due to my grace, the devotee conversant with Yoga eschews the bondage of the Karmans. Karman is in the nature of both merit and demerit. Both these are hindrances to liberation. The Yogin shall eschew both the merit and demerit.

42. One is not subjected to bondage merely by the performance of rites. If the rites are performed with desire for the fruits thereof it results in bondage. Hence one shall abandon the fruits of actions.

43. O beloved, at the outset the devotee shall worship me externally by means of Karmayajña. Then he shall resort to the path of knowledge. Afterwards he shall practise Yoga.

44. The Yogins who have understood my innate nature by karma-yajña and who view a clod of earth, a pebble and a gold ingot all alike do not worship me further.

45. A Yogin engaged in the path of knowledge, an excellent sage permanently engaged in Yoga, my devotee enriched by purity of mind, shall attain my Sāyujya.

46. Those who have not had sufficient detachment in their minds but have resorted to me are authorised only in Jñāna, Caryā and Kriyā according to their deserts.

47. My worship shall be known to be two-fold: external and internal. My adorative service is three-fold, differing in view of speech, mind and body.

48. The same adorative service is further explained as fivefold, viz, penance, holy rites, Japa, meditation and knowledge.

49. My external worship is performed in the view of other persons. The same thing known and knowable to oneself alone is the internal worship.

50. The mind that is devoted to me is the true mind and not any mind as it is. The speech that pertains to my name is true speech and not anything else.

51. The body that is marked by the characteristic symbols as prescribed by me such as Tripuṇḍras, and that is

engaged in rendering service unto me is the true body—nothing else.

52. By Karman my worship shall be understood and’not such extraneous rites as sacrifice, etc. Tapas or penance is the withering of physical body for my sake and not the rites Kṛcchra, etc.

53. Japa is the repetition of either the five-syllabled mantra or the Praṇava or the Rudrādhyāya hymn and not the study of the Vedas.

54. Meditation is the pondering over my form and not the trances of the soul. Jñāna is the knowledge of my Āgamas and not the understanding of other topics.

55. O gentle lady, stability in the Tattvas shall be practised beginning with an external or internal object where the mind feels interested urged by previous impressions.

56. The internal worship is hundred times more excellent than the external one in view of the absence of flaws seen and their intermixture avoided.

57. Purity too is the internal one. External purity is not enough. A man though physically pure is not pure if he is devoid of inner purity.

58. O gentle lady, the adorative service whether external or internal shall be attended with devotion. If devoid of devotion, it is the cause of deceit.

59. I am content and pure. What shall be done unto me by men? Externally or internally only devotion is taken into consideration by me.

60. That activity the soul of which is devotion, O gentle lady, is my eternal Dharma. It shall be performed without yearning for the fruit thereof mentally, verbally and physically.

61. O goddess, resorting to me with the fruit in view is easily feasible since the seeker of the fruit can abandon me in case there is no desired fruit.

62. O pious lady, I am the bestower of fruits in accordance with the extent of devotion even to him who, though seeking fruits, keeps his mind well established in me.

63. Those devotees are dearer to me whose minds are attached to me without reference to fruits but who may later on solicit for favours.

64. Dearer unto me are those who resort to me with abject helplessness, unmindful of fruition or otherwise due to the impressions of previous actions.

65. Verily, they do not acquire any further gain than acquiring me. O goddess, my gain too is nothing else but acquiring them into my fold.

66. Their piety dedicated unto me due to my blessing is compelled to bestow the fruit on them, the fruit being the great beatitude.

67-69. They mention about eight traits for those authorised in Dharma, the noble souls who have dedicated their minds unto me without having recourse to anyone else, those who have favourable disposition to my devotees, who encourage my worship, or offer worship to me themselves or perform all activities of the body for my sake or have interest in listening to my stories, flutter in tones, eyes and limbs, remember me perpetually or surrender to me completely.

70-72. If these eight traits are present even in an out-caste he is equal to a leading brahmin, a sage, a glorious ascetic and a learned scholar. A master of four Vedas is not dearer to me than a Cāṇḍāla[4] devoted to me. Things can be given to and taken from him. He shall be worshipped like me. I am not lost to him nor is he lost to me who offers unto me with devotion, even a leaf, a flower, a fruit or mere water.

Footnotes and references:


The statement is reminiscent of the ‘Śraddhā’ doctrine of the Bhakti cult.


The word ‘pura’ is synonymous with ‘city’ as well as ‘body’ gross or subtle.


The Yogācārya incarnations of Śiva are recounted in the previous chapter.


Here the use of the word ‘Mleccha’ is important. It signifies the proselytizing attempts of the Śaivite Ācaryas to induce the laity to their fold.

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