The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “consecration of the disciple (shishya)” 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 16 - The consecration of the disciple (śiṣya)

Upamanyu said:—

1. On an auspicious day, in a pure spot devoid of major defects, the preceptor shall at the outset perform the consecration ‘Samaya’.

2. After testing the ground duly by way of smell, colour, taste etc., he shall cause a platform to be constructed along the path mentioned in the science of architecture.

3-4. After making the altar, he shall make eight pits in the eight quarters making the chief one in the north-east. It may also be in the west when only the important pit need be dug. It shall be beautified by smearing it with powder.

5. It shall be decorated with garlands, festoons, banners and canopy. In the middle of the altar a mystic diagram shall be drawn. It shall have auspicious characteristics.

6. The powder used for the mystic diagram shall be gold dust mixed with saffron so as to befit for the invocation of the lord. If the devotee is poor he can use the powdered Nīvāra grain mixed with saffron.

7. The width of the mystic lotus diagram may be one hand or two hands. It may be white or red in colour. The pericarp of the lotus of a hand’s width shall be eight aṅgulas.

8. The filaments shall be half that length. The remaining portion is occupied by the eight petals. If the width of the lotus is two hands, the measurements will be doubled.

9. Another diagram shall be made on the altar one hand in width or half of it, to the north-east of the previous one and decorated well.

10. Paddy or rice grains mixed with gingelly seeds and flowers shall be strewn on it and covered with Darbha grass. The water-jar with the necessary characteristics shall be placed thereon.

11-12. The water-jar shall be made of gold, silver or copper or it may be earthen. It shall contain scents, flowers, Akṣatas, Kuśa and Dūrvā grass. It shall be tied round with two cloths and a white thread round the neck. It shall be filled with pure water with bundle of Kuśa grass inserted in it. It shall contain the materials of worship and a covering lid.

13-14. The vessels Bhṛṅgāra and Vardhanī as well as Śaṅkha and Cakra shall also be put. Except the thread the other thing may consist of lotus petals and leaves. On the northern petal of the lotus conceived as seat shall be placed the Vardhanī of the Astrarāja (?) with sandal paste and water.

15. To the east of the diagram the great worship of the lord shall start on the consecrated jar.

16-19. What has been mentioned before can be performed on the seashore, or river-bank, or in the cowpen or on a mountain, or in a temple or in the house or in any other charming place, except the platform. After making the diagram as before and the raised ground for fire the preceptor shall eater the worship chamber with a delighted face. He shall invoke all auspicious things about him. He shall have completed all the daily rites. He shall perform the great worship in the middle of the mystical diagram. He shall invoke Śiva again in the water-jar and worship.

20-21. He shall meditate upon the lord the protector of sacrifice facing the west. In the vessel Astravardhanī he shall worship the weapon of the lord on “he south. He shall place the Mantra in the Mantra vessel. Expert in the mantras he shall exhibit the mystic gestures and begin the sacrifice with the mantra.

22. The excellent preceptor shall perform the sacrifice in the sacred fire in the main pit. The other brahmins shall perform the sacrifice all round in the other pits.

23. The excellent preceptor shall perform the sacrifice only in the main pit. The number of sacrifices made by the others is half or one fourth of those of the chief priest.

24. Some shall recite the Vedic mantras or auspicious hymns. Some shall perform the Japa duly.

25-26. Dance, music, instrumental as well as vocal, and other auspicious conventional rites shall be performed. After propitiating the assembled brahmins he shall make them recite the Punyāha mantras. He shall then worship. He shall pray to the lord with a desire to bless the disciple (śiṣya).

27. ‘O lord of the chief of gods be pleased. O lord, ocean of mercy, please enter my body mercifully and release me from the bondage’.

28-30. The preceptor shall perform the Saṃkalpa. ‘I shall do thus’ and with the formal permission, he shall bring the disciple who had been observing fast taking only Haviṣya once and who had taken bath and performed daily rites. The disciple shall continue the Japa of Praṇava and meditate on the lord. Auspicious rites shall then be performed for him. In the Maṇḍala in front of the western or the southern door he shall be made to sit on the Darbha grass. The disciple shall sit facing the north.

31-32. The preceptor shall stand facing the cast and sprinkle the water from the vessel Prokṣaṇī, on his head as the disciple sits straight with palms joined in reverence. He shall lightly touch with flowers the eyes of the disciple and bind them with a strip of new silk cloth repeating the mantras.

33. Then he shall make the disciple enter the Maṇḍapa through the door and circumambulate thrice.

34. Then after offering a handful of flowers with a piece of gold to the lord he shall prostrate on the ground facing the cast or the north.

35. Then as before, the preceptor shall sprinkle the water on his head and strew flowers. The bandage around his eyes shall be removed.

36-37. After seeing the Maṇḍala, he shall bow to the lord again with palms joined in reverence. The preceptor shall make the disciple sit to the south of the Maṇḍala and to his left on a Darbha grass scat. After propitiating the lord, the preceptor shall place his auspicious hand over his head.

38. Uttering the mantra of Śiva, the preceptor, identical with Śiva, shall place his hand refulgent with Śaivite splendour, on the head of the disciple.

39. With the same hand the preceptor shall touch all the parts of his body. The disciple shall prostrate on the ground before the lord in the form of the preceptor.

40-41. He shall worship the lord duly and perform three Āhutis. He shall sit as before. The preceptor shall touch the disciple with the tips of the Darbha grass. By means of his Vidyā he shall enter the Ātman. After bowing to the lord he shall perform the rite of Nāḍīsandhāna.

42-44. He shall perform the rite of Prāṇanirgama as mentioned in Śiva Sāstras. Remembering the mystical entry into the body of the disciple he shall perform the Tarpaṇa rite with the mantras. For the Tarpaṇa he shall offer thrice the ten Āhutis with the ancillary mantras. After offering the Pūrṇāhuti, the expert preceptor shall offer again ten Āhutis repeating the Mūlamantra, by way of expiation.

45-46. Worshipping the lord of the gods again and performing the Ācamana the preceptor shall perform Homa duly and uplift the disciple from his caste. If he is a vaiśya he is first lifted into a kṣatriya. Then performing these rites the preceptor shall lift Him into a brahmin.

47. If the disciple is a kṣatriya he is first raised into a brahmin and then to the form of Rudra. If the disciple is a brahmin he is raised into the form of Rudra.

48-49. After sprinkling and striking lightly the disciple and remembering the Ātman of the disciple in his own, the preceptor shall drain out the wind that throbs like a flame, through the veins as mentioned. He shall then enter the vein and the heart of the disciple.

50. After entering his consciousness that appears to him like a blue spot he shall meditate on it as blazing with its brilliance free from dirt.

51-52. After breathing in the vein repeating the mantra and showing the Saṃhāra-mudrā (the gesture of annihilation) he shall refill it with Pūraka for uniting the Ātmans. Now taking it again with Kumbhaka as with Recaka before, he shall place it in the heart of the disciple.

53. After touching him and giving him the sacred thread secured from Śiva he shall offer three Āhutis and the Pūrṇāhuti thereafter.

54-56. To the south of the lord, the disciple is made to sit on a splendid seat over which Kuśa, and flowers are strewn. He shall join his palms with reverence and face the north. He shall sit in the posture of Svastika. He shall face the east and sitting in a splendid seat shall repeat the mantras with the auspicious songs and music and take the water-jar. Meditating on the joyous Śiva he shall pour water over the disciple.

57. Wiping off the water over his body and wearing a white cloth, he shall perform the Ācamana. Fully bedecked he shall go to the Maṇḍapa with palms joined in reverence.

58. He shall make him sit as before on the Kuśa seat and worship the lord in the Maṇḍala. He shall perform the Karanyāsa rite.

59. Meditating on the lord he shall take Bhasma in both the hands and smear it over the body of the disciple repeating Śiva’s names.

60-61. He shall then perform the rites of Dahana and Plāvana and conclude with the rite of Mātṛkānyāsa. Meditating on Śiva’s seat and invoking him on the head of the disciple he shall mentally worship him in the prescribed manner.

62. With palms joined in reverence he shall pray to the lord. ‘Stay here permanently’. After submitting this he shall remember him shining with refulgent splendour.

63. After worshipping Śiva and securing his behest in the form of Śiva he shall slowly mutter Śiva’s Mantra into the ear of the disciple.

64. At the behest of the preceptor he shall repeat the mantra with palms joined in reverence and mind concentrating on it.

65. Then after instructing him in the Śakti mantra,

the expert preceptor shall make him repeat it easily and bless him with auspiciousness.

66. After briefly explaining to him the syllabic meaning of the mantra, the preceptor shall advise him about the form of the lord and instruct him in different postures.

67. Then at the behest of the preceptor, in the presence of Śaivite fire and the preceptor, the disciple shall think with devotion and repeat the statement of initiation.

68. ‘Better to abandon life, better to cut off the head than to take food without worshipping the three-eyed lord.’

69. The lord alone will invariably give till the delusion is removed. The disciple shall propitiate the lord with concentrated devotion till delusion is quelled.

70. Thereafter the disciple will be known as Samaya in the preceptor’s hermitage. He shall carry out the behests of the preceptor and remain subservient to him.

71. Then after performing the rite of Karanyāsa the preceptor shall take the Bhasma with his own hand and hand it over to the disciple along with the Mūlamantra and the Rudrākṣa over which the mantra has been repeated.

72. If it is possible he shall give him the phallic[1] or the embodied idol of the lord, the requisites of worship, sacrifice, Japa and meditation.

73. The disciple (śiṣya) shall take these things from the Śaiva preceptor with great respect only at the behest of his family preceptor. Not otherwise.

74. He shall keep on his head everything obtained from the preceptor, with great devotion and preserve it carefully. He shall worship Śiva in the hermitage or in his own house.

75. The preceptor shall impart to him the Śaivite conduct of life in proportion to his devotion and faith as well as his grasping capacity.

76. Whatever is mentioned, or commanded, or even glorified by the preceptor to the Samaya, he shall retain in his intellect.

77. Understanding of Śaivite Āgama, reading it and listening to it shall be done at the behest of the preceptor. Not by himself at his will nor from anyone else.

78. Thus the consecration ‘Samaya’ has been briefly explained to you. It is the greatest means in attaining the city of Śiva himself.

Footnotes and references:


Before re-creation after dissolution, the universe remains unmanifest in the phallic form of Śiva. Hence Śiva is Gūḍhadeha.