The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “purification of the six paths” 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 18 - The purification of the six paths

Upamanyu said:—

1. After completing ablution and other rites the disciple shall, at the bidding of the preceptor, go near the Maṇḍala of Śiva meditating on Śiva, with palms joined in reverence.

2. All rites upto the binding of the eyes shall be performed as on the previous day, except the worship. Then the preceptor shall show him the Maṇḍala.

3. When flowers are strewn by the disciple whose eyes are tied, the preceptor shall tell him the places where the flowers fell.

4. The preceptor shall take him to the Maṇḍala where worship had already been performed. As before he shall worship lord Īśāna and perform homa in the fire.

5. If any bad dream had been seen by the disciple, the preceptor shall perform hundred, or fifty, or twenty five homas with the basic mantra for the removal of that defect.

6-8. The thread tied to the tuft shall be loosened to hang down as before, He shall perform the worship of Ādhāra based on Nivṛttikalā and conclude with the worship of Vāgīśvarī with due homas. He shall bow to Vāgīśa and Satī who pervade Nivṛtti. He shall worship the lord in the Maṇḍala and make three Āhutis Then the mystical rite of making the simultaneous entry into all types of living beings, shall be performed.

9-10. The rites of striking and sprinkling shall be performed in the gross body of the disciple and then the Ātman shall be taken and placed in the twelvc-petalled lotus. It shall be taken again from there through the repetition of the basic mantra and the gestures as prescribed in the scripture. The preceptor shall unite it mentally with all types of living beings simultaneously.

11. The living beings are fourteen in number: the eight types of the gods, five types of the lower animals and birds, and human beings forming one type.

12. In order to facilitate the simultaneous entry into all of them, he shall deposit the Ātman of the disciple along with his mind into Vāgīśānī duly.

13. For the accomplishment of the spiritual knowledge he shall worship and bow to the lord. After performing the homa he shall remember it as developed.

14. He shall duly perform the mystical rites of nativity, the pursuit of previous actions, straightforwardness and the great pleasure of enjoyment.

15. For the sake of redemption and the achievement of birth, longevity, enjoyment and purificatory impressions, the preceptor shall perform three Āhutis and pray to the lord.

16. Thus he shall purify his body that contains the dirt of enjoyment of pleasures and contact with sensual objects. He shall cut off the three bondages of the disciple.

17. By the complete splitting of the bondage he shall make the disciple dean.

18. After making the Pūrṇāhuti in the fire he shall worship Brahmā. After performing three Āhutis for him he shall submit to him the behest of Śiva.

19. ‘O Pitāmaha, no hindrance shall be placed for this disciple who is going to the great region of Śiva. This is the behest of Śiva’.

20. Thus imploring him, he shall worship and ritualistically dismiss him. He shall worship Mahādeva and perform three Āhutis.

21. Uplifting the Ātman of the disciple, as before, when it has been purified by Nivṛttikalā he shall deposit it in his own Ātman. He shall then worship Vāgīśa.

21, He shall perform three Āhutis now and ritualistically dismiss him. Returning he shall make it united with Pratiṣṭhākalā.

23. Performing the worship and the three Āhutis simultaneously he shall imagine the entry of the Ātman of the disciple into the Pratiṣṭhā Kalā.

24. Then after invoking Pratiṣṭhā and performing everything as previously mentioned he shall conceive its pervasion and the pervading Vāgīśānī.

25. He shall imagine Vāgīśānī as lustrous as the disc of the full moon. After doing everything as before he shall submit to Viṣṇu the behest of Śiva the great Ātman.

26-28. Performing everything like the ritualistic dismissal of Viṣṇu by means of Vidyā he shall think of Pratiṣṭhā and its pervasion and Vāgīśā too in order. He shall then perform everything concluding with the Pūrṇāhuti in the blazing fire as before. Nīlarudra shall be invoked and its worship performed. As mentioned before, the behest of the lord shall be carried out.

29. Then the lord shall be ritualistically dismissed. For the purpose of quietening him, Vidyākalā shall be conceived and its pervasion surveyed.

30. He shall then as before invoke Vāgīśī that pervades his Ātman, that has the form and features of the early morning sun and that illuminates the ten quarters.

31. He shall perform the remaining rites as before. He shall invoke lord Śiva and propitiate him. After performing homa he shall mentally submit to the behest of Śiva.

32. After ritualistically dismissing the lord he shall lead another Kalā to Śāntyatītakalā and survey its pervasion.

33. As before he shall meditate on Vāgīśā that pervades the Ātman as resembling the permanent. Up to the final offering (Pūrṇāhuti) everything is as before.

34. After doing everything in accordance with injunctions and worshipping Sadāśiva he shall submit to him the behest of Śiva of unmeasured activity.

35. There too, after worshipping Śiva as before on the head and bowing to Vāgīśa he shall ritualistically dismiss him.

36. Sprinkling then the disciple on the head as before with Śiva mantra he shall think of the merging of Śāntyatītakalā in the Śakti Tattva.

37. On the other side beyond the six pathways he shall think of the greatest Śakti of Śiva that pervades the pathways and that equals a crore of suns.

38-39. He shall bring the disciple as pure as the crystal in front of it. After washing the scissors, the preceptor shall cut off the tuft of the disciple as well as his thread in the manner mentioned in the Śaivite Scriptures. He shall place it in cowdung and consign it to Śiva fire.

40. Then with the basic mantra ending with Vauṣaṭ he shall wash the scissors and hands. He shall restore the consciousness of the disciple to his body.

41-42. The disciple shall take bath and perform Ācamana. Good wishes and blessings shall be conferred on him. He shall be brought to the Maṇḍala and made to prostrate. In order to expiate for the shortcomings in the rites due worship shall be performed. The preceptor shall pour three Āhutis by reciting the mantra.

43. In order to expiate for the shortcomings in the Mantra he shall worship the lord of the gods and pour three Āhutis by muttering the mantra.

44. He shall pour three Āhutis by repeating the mantra mentally. After propitiating Śiva there, in the Maṇḍala and Pārvatī, he shall pour three Āhutis. With palms joined in reverence the preceptor shall pray thereafter.

45. “O lord, due to your grace the, purity of the six pathways of the disciple has been completed. Now, O lord, lead him unto your imperishable abode.”

46. After submitting thus to the lord he shall perform every thing as before, from Nāḍisandhāna to the Pūrṇāhuti. Then he shall purify the elements

47. Then, for conducting purity he shall meditate on the regions stable or unstable, hot or cold in the purificatory rite of the Bhūtas in the form of. unity that is pervaded.

48. After cutting off the knot of the Bhūtas he shall join the Bhūtas on to the great lord Śiva. by the path of steady concentration.

49. He shall purify his body, burn it, and drench it with drops of nectar. Steadying the Ātman he shall make his body in consonance with the pure pathways.

50-51. There at the outset he shall place on the head of the disciple the Śāntyatīta kalā that pervades the pathways; the Śāmikalā on the face; Vidyā kalā in the spot beginning with the throat and ending with the navel; Pratiṣṭhā kalā upto the knees; Nivṛtti kalā beneath it. Thereafter he shall meditate on it.

52. With the basic mantra, its Bījas and ancillaries he shall meditate on him in the form of Śiva. He shall invoke the lord in the lotus of the heart and worship him.

53. The teacher shall pray for the perpetual presence of Śiva in the disciple. He shall impose good qualities on the disciple possessed of Śaivite splendour.

54-55. He shall perform three Āhutis praying—“O lord, be pleased to bestow on him the attributes Aṇimā, etc.”[1] Likewise he shall invoke the lord for the presence of these qualities in him, viz:—omniscience, contentment, eternal enlightenment, unviolated Śakti, freedom and infinite power.

56. Then securing permission from the lord and meditating on him in the heart he shall pour water over the disciple from the vessels[2] of Sadyojāta etc. in order.

57. Then after making the disciple sit and worship Śiva as before he shall secure permission from the lord and impart Śiva’s knowledge to him.

58. He shall impart also the plicated Mantra[3] beginning with Om and ending with Namaḥ and the Śaktividyā of a similar nature, accompanied by Śiva and Śakti.

59. He shall instruct him in the name of the sage, metre, deity and the efficacy of Śiva and Śivā, the worship of Śiva, his Āvaraṇa and the postures.

60. Worshipping the lord of the gods again he shall submit to Śiva—‘Please make whatever has been performed by me a well accomplished thing’.

61. Followed by his disciple the preceptor shall prostrate before the lord on the ground. Thereafter he shall ritualistically dismiss him from the Maṇḍala and the fire.

62. Then those assembled there and worthy of worship shall be duly worshipped.

63. The members of the assembly including the Ṛtviks shall be honoured with the gifts. He who desires his welfare shall not be niggardly.

Footnotes and references:


While offering three Āhutis he shall thrice utter the mantra “oṃ namaḥ śivāya prasīda”.


It refers to the water-jars wherein the five forms of Śiva are invoked. See Vāyavīya II, 17.16-17.


The mantra is “oṃ hrīṃ śivāyai namaḥ hrīṃ oṃ |”.