The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “glory of the five-syllabled mantra (3)” 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 14 - The glory of the five-syllabled Mantra (3)

Lord Śiva said:—

1. O good-faced lady, a Japa without the behest of the preceptor, holy rites, faith and the prescribed fees is fruitless though the behest might have been secured.

2. If a mantra is well practised with the acquisition of behest, attended with holy rites, equipped with faith in me and accompanied by fee it is greatly efficacious.

3-4. The devotee shall approach the brahmin preceptor who knows the principles, performs Japa, is devoted to meditation and endowed with virtues. He shall strenuously propitiate him mentally, verbally, physically and monetarily. He shall possess the purity of piety.

5-6. A brahmin devotee shall worship the preceptor always strenuously. If he is affluent he shall present devoutly to his preceptor excellent horses, elephants chariots, ornaments, garments, grain and riches.

7-8. He shall not be stringent about money if he desires to achieve Siddhi for himself. Dedicating himself thereafter along with his possessions to the preceptor and after undeceitfully worshipping him to his capacity, he shall learn the mantra and derive knowledge in due order.

9-13. When the preceptor is satisfied he shall let him stay for a year serving him without arrogance. On an auspicious day thereafter he shall make him take his bath after observing fast. For the sake of purity he shall again be subjected to ablution with vessels full of ghee and sacred water wherein holy materials shall be put. He shall dress him well and bedeck him with fragrant garlands, ornaments and garments. The Puṇyāha mantras shall be recited and brahmins worshipped. Then in a holy spot, near the seashore, river bank, cowpen temple or in the house itself, at an auspicious hour when the day is conducive to achievement, when the conjunctions of stars are devoid of defects, he shall bless him and impart to him my knowledge duly.

14-15. In a secluded spot the preceptor delighted in mind shall repeat the mantra with due accents. He shall then make the disciple repeat it. Then the preceptor shall say ‘Let there be welfare. Let there be auspiciousness around. Let everything be pleasing and auspicious’. Thus the preceptor shall impart the mantra and allow him to practise it.

16. Getting thus the mantra and the permission from the preceptor the disciple shall perform the Saṃkalpa with pure mind and repeat the mantra with the rite of initiation.

17. As long as he lives he shall repeat the mantra one thousand and eight times everyday without thinking of anything else and devotedly attached to it alone. He attains the greatest goal.

18. He who completes the Japa four hundred thousand times with great devotion, taking food only in the nights with full self-control, is said to be a Pauraścaraṇika.

19. There is none equal to him in the world who, after the Puraścaraṇa is over, continues to perform the Japa everyday. He is Siddha himself and confers Siddhi on others too.

20-23. He shall take bath, sit in a pleasing posture in a sacred spot. He shall meditate on me in his heart along with you and shall remember his preceptor. He shall sit facing the north or the east, observe silence and concentration of the mind, purify the five principles by means of Dahana and Plāvana rituals. He shall perform the Mantranyāsa, make his body worthy and pure, meditate on us restraining Prāṇa and Apāna. He shall remember the respective place, form, sage, metre, the presiding deity, Bīja, Śakti and the statement. Then he shall perform the Japa of the five-syllabled mantra.

24. Experts in the meanings of Āgama texts say that the mental Japa is excellent, the Upāṃśu Japa (in a low voice) is the middling. The verbal Japa is of the lowest quality.

25. The Japa with Rudra as the presiding deity is the most excellent, that with Viṣṇu as the presiding deity is the middling and that with Brahmā as the presiding deity is of the lowest quality.

26. The muttering of the mantra with high, low or middle accentuation, the words and the letters being clear or otherwise, is called the verbal japa.

27. Upāṃśu Japa is the one where the tongue throbs and there is slight utterance. It may not be heard by others or may be slightly heard.

28. Mental Japa is that where the series of letters are thought well and the wrords and their meanings are pondered over.

29. If the efficacy of the Vācikajapa is one, that of the Upāṃśu Japa is hundred; that of the Mānasajapa is a thousand; that of the Sagarbha Japa is hundred times more.

30. The Japa performed with the prāṇāyāma is Sagarbha Japa. In the first and the last even Agarbha Prāṇāyāma is commended.

31. After performing the Prāṇāyāma forty times, the intelligent devotee, knowing the meaning of the mantra, shall remember the mantra. If he is unable to repeat so many times he shall repeat as many times as his physical strength permits him.

32. He shall perform five, three or one Prāṇāyāma whether Agarbha or Sagarbha. The Sagarbha Prāṇāyāma is better of the two.

33. The Sadhyāna Japa is a thousand times better than the Sagarbha Japa. One of the five types of Japas shall be performed upto the extent of one’s ability.

34-36. There are various ways of counting the number of times the mantra has been repeated. Counting with the fingers is one mode. Eight times that number can be calculated by lines, ten times by dolls, hundred times by shells or gems, thousand times by corals, ten thousand times by crystal pieces, hundred thousand times by pearls, million times by seeds of lotuses, a crore of times by gold pieces, infinite time by a bundle of Kuśa grass or Rudrākṣa beads.

37-38. A rosary containing thirty beads of Rudrākṣa for Japa bestows wealth, containing twenty-seven beads yields nourishment, containing twenty-five beads bestows salvation, containing fifteen beads bestows the fruits of black magic.

39. The thumb used in counting the number bestows salvation. The index finger destroys enemies. The middle finger bestows wealth. The ring finger brings about calmness and peace.

40-41. If there are hundred and eight beads that rosary is the most excellent. If it has hundred beads it is excellent. If it has fifty beads it is the middling. With fifty-four beads it is good. The Japa shall be performed with these different rosaries. They must not be exhibited to anyone.

42. The use of little finger in the Japa shall be avoided. In the act ot Japa it is held to be auspicious. The Japa shall be performed by means of the thumb in contact with other fingers.

43. If Japa is performed without the thumb it is futile. If performed in the house it is ordinarily efficacious. If performed in the cowpen it is hundred times more.

44. In a holy forest or park it is thousand times more. On a holy mountain it is ten thousand times more. On the banks of a river it is hundred thousand times more.

45-46. They say that the Japa performed in a temple is a crore of times more efficacious. That performed in my presence is infinite number of times more efficacious. Japa in the presence of the sun, fire, preceptor, moon, lamp, water, brahmins and cows is commended. Sitting east of these is conducive to favourable control; south of these is of the same nature as black magic.

47-50. West of these is conducive to riches and north of these is peace-bestowing. If Japa is performed in the presence of sun, fire, brahmins, gods, preceptors and others one should not turn the face away from them. One should never perform Japa with the turban on, or wearing an armour or a bodice, in the nude, or with the hair dishevelled, or the neck covered, or without the Pavitra in the hand or while impure or while lamenting. While performing Japa the following must be avoided—anger, intoxication sneezing, spitting, yawning and seeing a dog or a lowborn person. If they happen, Ācamana shall be performed or I shall be remembered along with you.

51-53. Or he shall see the luminary bodies or he shall perform a Prāṇāyāma. One should not perform Japa without a seat to sit on nor shall it be performed lying down, or standing up and walking. One shall not perform Japa in the open street or in an inauspicious place or in darkness. Legs shall not be stretched while performing the Japa nor shall one be in the cocklike posture, or seated in a vehicle or in a couch. Japa shall not be performed when one is worried. If one is competent one shall perform many Japas. Weak persons shall perform Japa according to capacity.

54. Of what avail is much talk? Hear these words in brief. A person of good conduct, performing Japa and meditating purely attains welfare.

55. Good conduct is the greatest virtue. It is the greatest wealth, the greatest knowledge and the greatest goal.[1]

56. A person devoid of good conduct is censured in the world. He will not be happy in the other world. Hence one must possess good conduct.

57. Doing the duties prescribed by the Vedas, Śāstras and the followers of the Vedas is meant by the word good conduct, nothing else.

58. Good conduct is also the conduct of the good. Theism is the source of goodness.

59. If he is a believer he will not err from the path of good conduct or commit errors or get defiled. Hence one shall be a believer in God and the Vedas.

60. Faith is the conviction that happiness and misery are attained by means of good and evil deeds hereafter too just as in this world.

61. O beloved, I shall tell you another secret which shall be guarded well. It shall not be mentioned to any one and every one or to an atheist brute.

62. In the age of Kali there is no greater protective factor than the five-syllabled Mantra to a fallen or a low-born person devoid of good conduct.

63. This mantra is not ineffective when repeated by a person whether walking or standing or doing any other work or whether he is pure or impure.

64. This mantra is not ineffective even if it is not properly imparted by the preceptor. It is not ineffective even in the case of persons not caring for good conduct and who have not purified the six paths.

65. This mantra is not ineffective in the case of a base-born, a fool, a deluded person, a fallen man and a lowly one transgressing the bounds of decency.

66. There is no doubt in this that this mantra becomes efficacious in the case of a man endowed with devotion to me whatever be his condition. It is not so in the case of other mantras.

67. O beloved, in the case of this mantra, the auspicious hour, date, star, day of the week etc. need not be taken into consideration too much. It is ever wakeful, not slumbering.

68. This great mantra is never harmful to anyone. It may be either Susiddha, or Siddha or Sādhya.

69. It is Susiddha if it is imparted by a preceptor who is a Siddha. If it is imparted by a preceptor who is not a Siddha it is Siddha. The mere mantra is Sādhya.

70. If one has faith in me, the mantra and the preceptor, the mantra will undoubtedly be achieved whether it is Asādhita or Sādhita.

71. Hence a scholarly devotee shall resort to the five-syllabled mantra eschewing other mantras attended with risks in the matter of authorisation.

72. There is no guarantee that if the other mantras are achieved this mantra too will be achieved. But if this mantra is achieved all the other mantras will be achieved.

73. Just as, O goddess, I am not achieved even if the other gods are attained but if I am attained the other gods too are attained so also is the case with the Mantras.

74. Since this mantra functions without reference to castes, the defects found in the other mantras are not found in this mantra.

75. Still this mantra shall not be used for the trivial benefits or against insignificant opponents. Then alone this is very efficacious.

Upamanyu mid:—

76. Thus the mode of repeating this mantra of five syllables was explained to the goddess by lord Śiva himself for the benefit of the worlds.

77. He who glorifies this with devotion or listens to it with a pious mind is liberated from all sins and attains the greatest goal.

Footnotes and references:


Manu I.108-110.