The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “greatness of the five-syllabled mantra (2)” 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 13 - The greatness of the five-syllabled Mantra (2)

The goddess said:—

1-3. O great lord, how are your devotees liberated in the defiled period of Kali, invincible and untransgressable, when the world is enveloped by the darkness of sin, when people are averse to the practice of holy rites, when the legitimate activities of different castes and stages in life have declined, when great danger is imminent, when the question of the rights of the people is involved in doubts, when deviation from duty is certain, when the continuity of spiritual instructions is broken and when the order of preceptors and disciples has disappeared?

Lord Śiva said:—

4. Men of the Kali age are liberated when their souls are purified by devotion after resorting to my pleasing Mantra of five syllables.

5-6. My five-syllabled Mantra affords protection from the fear of worldly existence to those whose minds are inclined towards me although they may be of distorted outlook, greedy, deceitful, ruthless, ungrateful and defiled by unimaginable and inexpressible faults, mental, verbal and physical.

7. O goddess, often I have promised that in this world even a fallen man may become liberated through this Mantra if he happens to be my devotee.

The goddess said:—

8. If a fallen man does not deserve holy rites in any respect, the rites performed by him are conducive to hell. Then how can the fallen man be liberated through this Mantra?

Lord Śiva said:—

9. O good woman, what you have said is true. Now listen to what has been a great guarded secret hitherto.

10. Yes, surely, if the fallen man, under delusion, were to worship me with other mantras, excluding the five-syllabled one, he is sure to fall into hell.

11. Persons who live on water or air and those whose bodies are emaciated due to holy rites do not attain my region through those holy rites.

12. But he who worships me even once with devotion repeating the five-syllabled mantra, attains my region through the weightiness of this Mantra alone.

13. Hence, penances, sacrifices, observances and holy rites are not equal to even a croreth part of the worship with the five-syllabled mantra.

14. Indeed he who worships me with the five-syllabled mantra becomes liberated if he is in bondage.

15. He who worships me even once with the five-syllabled mantra with or without the Rudra mantra is liberated even if he is a fallen or a foolish man.

16. O goddess, he who worships me with the six-syllabled or with the five-syllabled mantra, with the Vedic mantra as its ancillary, with devotion to me, is liberated.

17-18. A fallen man or one not fallen can worship with this mantra. My devotee who has conquered anger may or may not be one who has attained me. One who has attained me is a billion times superior to one who has not attained. Hence one should try to attain me by worshipping me with this mantra.

19. He who worships me with this Mantra, being equipped with friendship and other attributes with devotion and celibacy attains similarity to me.

20. Of what avail is much talk? The devotees are authorised in my five-syllabled mantra which is the most excellent one,

21. It is the efficacy of the five-syllabled mantra where by the worlds, the Vedas, the sages, the eternal virtues, the entire universe, and the gods stand steady.

22. At the advent of dissolution when the mobile and immobile beings perish, everything becomes merged in its cause.

23. O goddess, I am the only one staying then. There is no second one anywhere. Then all the Vedas, scriptures etc. are stationed in the five-syllabled mantra.

24. Protected by my Śakti they do not perish. The creation is evolved out of me differently through the Prakṛti and the Ātman.

25-27. Then comes a subsidiary dissolution of the forms and attributes. Then lord Nārāyaṇa assumes the physical body of Māyā and lies on the serpent couch in the midst of the water. The five-faced lord Brahmā born of his umbilical lotus becomes desirous of creating the three worlds. But having none to assist him he becomes incapable. Hence he creates at the outset the ten sages of unmeasured splendour, his mental sons.

28. In order to enhance their achievement Brahmā said to me ‘O great lord, please bestow the power on my sons.’

29. Thus requested by him, I who had assumed five faces, mentioned the five syllables, to the lotus-born one.

30. Accepting them with his five faces, the grandfather of the worlds understood me as the great lord, the expressive of great meaning.

31. After understanding the process of its application in accordance with the rules, the patriarch who achieved the Mantra imparted it along with its meaning to his sons in the exact manner.

32-34. After securing the excellent Mantra from him, they desired to propitiate me along the way indicated by him. There is a mountain Mūjavat on the beautiful peak of Meru. [?[1]?] It is my favourite resort, ever glorious and always guarded by my devotees. Eager to create the world they performed penance there for a thousand years according to the calculation of the gods, taking in only air.

35-36. On seeing their devotion I appeared before them immediately and explained to them all the details, viz., the sage, metre, Kīlaka, Bījaśakti, deity, Nyāsa, the six ancillaries, the limits of the quarters and their application. The aim was to multiply creation through the sages.

37. Thenceforth as a result of the efficacy of the mantra, the sages reinforced by austerities are performing the creation of the gods, asuras and human beings in a splendid way.

38. Now I mention the form of this great mantra. The word ‘Namaḥ’ shall be uttered at first. It shall be followed by the word ‘Śivāya’.

39. This five-syllabled lore is present in all Upaniṣads. It is eternal as well as the seed of all living beings.

40-42. It is the goddess, my own expression coming out of my mouth at first. The goddess having the splendour of molten gold, plump, lifted-up breasts, four arms, three arees, and the crescent moon as the crest-jewel. Her hands are as tender as lotuses. She is gentle with the gestures of boon and protection; she is possessed of all characteristics. She is bedecked in ornaments. She is seated on a white lotus. Her tresses are blue and curly.

43. She has five colours with beaming discs, viz., yellow, black, smoky, golden and red.

44-35. If they are separately worshipped, they shall be adorned with Bindu and Nāda. Bindu is in the form of the semicircular moon. Nāda is in the form of the flame of the lamp. O excellent-faced lady, the Bīja of this Mantra is ranked as the second among the well-known Bījas. The Bīja of the fourth begins with a long vowel. The fifth one is mentioned as Śakti.

46. O good-faced lady, the sage of this mantra is Vāmadeva; the metre is Paṅkti; the deity, I am myself.

47. The several individual sages of the letters are, O good lady, Gautama, Atri, Viśvāmitra, Aṅgiras and Bharadvāja.

48. The metres severally are Gāyatrī, Anuṣṭup, Triṣṭup, Bṛhatī and Virāṭ. The deities severally are Indra, Rudra, Viṣṇu, Brahmā and Skanda.

49. As their places, my faces beginning with the one in the east and ending with the one above are taken. They are identified with the letters “Na” etc. in order.

50. The first, second and the fourth letters are Udātta. The fifth is Svarita and the third is Anudātta.

51. This mantra is otherwise called Mūlavidyā, Śivam, Śaivasūtra, and five-syllabled. This Śaiva mantra is my great heart.

52-53. The letter “Na” is the head; “Maḥ” the tuft; “Śi” the armour; “Vā” the eye; “Ya” the missile. At the end of each letter shall be uttered—Namaḥ, Svāhā, Vaṣaṭ, Huṃ, Vauṣaṭ, Phaṭ.

54. There too, the same is the Mūlamantra with a slight difference. The fifth Varṇa is bedecked by the twelfth vowel (‘ḥ’).

55. The devotee shall worship me with Japa, Homa, etc., mentally, verbally and physically through this Mantra.

56. Let it be in accordance with their intellect, injunction in the scripture, time, inclination, capacity, wealth and their taste.

57. O Goddess, my worship will lead to salvation whenever, wherever and by whomsoever it may be done if it is with devotion.

58. O good woman, whatever is done unto me by one whose mind is attached to me, whether in the proper order or in the reverse order, is dear and is auspicious to me.

59. I have made certain rules governing my devotees who are not unduly helpless in regard to all sacred scriptures.

60. There at the outset, I shall explain the procedure of practising the mantra without which the Japa is futile and with which it is fruitful.

Footnotes and references:


It is a peak of mount Meru, well known for Soma production; it is also mentioned in the RV.