The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “ritual of lord 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 24 - The ritual of lord Śiva

Upamanyu said:—

1. The devotee shall sprinkle the place of worship with scented sandal water for the sake of purity, with the basic mantra. He shall put flowers there.

2. The obstacles shall be warded off. The place shall be veiled with Varma mantra. After performing the rite of Astranyāsa in the quarters, the place of worship shall be arranged.

3. Darbha grass shall be strewn over and washed by means of sprinkling. After cleaning the vessels he shall sanctify the materials.

4-5. He shall wash and sprinkle the vessels[1] of Prokṣaṇī Arghya, Pādya and Ācamanīya. After examining them he shall pour auspicious water therein. He shall place holy materials of worship there to the extent of their availability.

6. The holy materials of worship are many such as gems, silver, gold, scents, flowers, Akṣatas, fruits, sprouts and Darbha grass.

7. In the water for ablution and particularly in that intended for drinking, sweet scents as well as cool and charming flowers shall be put.

8-9. Sandal and Uśīra shall be put in the Pādya water. In the Ācamanīya, nutmeg, berry, camphor, Bahumūla, and Tamālaka shall be put, preferably powdered. Cardamom seeds, camphor and sandal can be put in the vessels.

10. In the Arghya vessel all these materials shall be put—shoots of Kuśa grass, Akṣatas, barley, gingelly seeds, other grains, ghee, white mustard, flowers and Bhasma.

11. The following materials shall be put in the Prokṣaṇī vessel:—Kuśa, flowers, Yava grains, Bahumūla and Tamālaka along with Bhasma.

12. Every vessel shall be blessed by chanting the mantras; externally covered by the Varma mantra and protected by Astra mantra. He shall show the Mudrā of cow.

13. He shall purify the materials of worship by means of the water from the vessel Prokṣaṇī sprinkled on them repeating the basic mantra.

14. If all the vessels are not available the excellent aspirant shall arrange the vessel Prokṣaṇī in every holy rite. Arghya etc. shall be performed by the water therefrom.

15-17. Lord Vināyaka shall be worshipped with various foodstuffs. After that, near the southern doorway he shall duly worship the chief of harem Nandin himself. He resembles the golden mountain in lustre. He is bedecked in all ornaments. The crescent moon is his coronet. He is gentle. He has three eyes and four arms. He is the lord bearing shining trident, deer, axe and sharp-pointed baton. His face resembles the disc of the moon or he is conceived with the face of a monkey.

18-20. In the north the wife of the doorkeeper, the daughter of the Maruts, Suyaśā who bedecks the feet of Ambā shall be worshipped. He shall enter the sanctum sanctorum of Brahmā and worship the Liṅga. The remnants of the previous worship shall be removed. It shall be washed. The flower shall be worn on the head for the sake of purity.

21. With the flower in the hand he shall perform the Japa of the mantra up to the extent of his ability for the parity; through the Mantra Caṇḍa shall be worshipped in the north-cast and the Nirmālya given over to him

22-24. Thereafter the scats Ādhāra etc shall be conceived. The Ādhāra Śakti shall be meditated upon as dark-complexioned and auspicious resting on the ground. In front of Ādhāra Śakti the serpent of curly form with uplifted neck shall be conceived. He is white in colour with five hoods seeming to lick the sky. Above that is the seat in the form of a lion of four feet. The feet are virtue, knowledge, absence of attachment, glory and prosperity.

25-26. They are respectively in the south-east, southwest, north-west and north-east and are coloured white, red yellow and black. Adharma etc. are in the directions cast etc. ending with the north. His bodies shall be conceived resembling the jewel Rājāvarta.[2] Covering for him is the pure white lotus seat.

27. Its petals are eight in number representing the eight attributes, Aṇimā etc. The filaments are the Rudras Vāma etc. in the company of Vāmā and other Śaktis.

28. The seeds too are those Śaktis alone Manonmanī etc. within. The pericarp is the greatest detachment and the stalk is the Śaivite knowledge.

29. The bulbous root at the extremity of the pericarp with the three zones shall be used in the Śaivite rites. Over the three zones the three Tattvas, Ātman etc. are the seats.

30. Above the seats shall be conceived the divine seat refulgent with the pure learning or knowledge, very comfortable and covered over by a covering sheet of colours.

31. He shall perform the rites of invocation, installation prevention, surveying and obeisance showing separate Mudrās for each.

32. After offering Pādya, Acamana, Arghya, scents, flowers, incense, light and Tāmbūla, the devotee shall perform the ablution of Śiva and Śivā.

33-38. Or after conceiving the seat and the deity thus and uniting it into a complete unit with the five Brahmans and others, repeating the basic mantra, the devotee shall invoke Śiva the great cause along with the goddess. The lord is as pure as the crystal, steady and imperishable. He is the cause of all worlds. He is the great Being who pervades everything from within and without. He is the minutest of all minute things, the greatest of all great things. He is easily visible to the devotees. He is the unchanging lord. He is invisible to Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Rudra and other gods. He is the essence of the Vedas. He is heard by the learned men as the incomprehensible being. He is without beginning, middle or end. He is the medicine for the ailing patients of worldly existence. He is famous as Śivatattva. He is steady and insistent for the welfare of the universe. The devotee shall worship this excellent lord with ñve types of devotional service.

39. The phallus is the image of Śiva the great Ātman. At the rite of ablution auspicious shouts of victory shall be raised.

40-41. The phallic idol shall be bathed with the liquid Pañcagavya, curds, milk, ghee, honey etc., powdered roots, essence of fruits, powdered gingelly seeds, mustard and fried grains, yava seeds etc. and the meritorious powder of black gram. After bathing the idol it shall be smeared with paste of flour and bathed in hot water.

42-44. The devotee shall rub the idol with the leaves of Bilva etc. for the removal of the smell. Again he shall bathe it with water. Royal service shall be rendered, such as the appliances of scents myrobalan or turmeric paste. Again the phallic and the embodied image shall be washed with scented water, sprinkled with Kuśa grass and flowers or with the water from gold and gemset vessels purified by the chanting of mantras.

45. If the materials are not available whatever is available shall be used. Mere water with chantings of mantra can also be used for the ablution of Śiva. The devotee shall faithfully perform the rite.

46. The water shall be poured with a pot, or couch, or Vardhanī or with the hand holding Kuśa grass and flowers all the time repeating the mantras.

47-48. The hymns of Pavamāna, Rudra, Nila and Tvarita or the hymns of Liṅga Sūkta or the hymns from Atharvaśiras Upaniṣad or the hymns from the Ṛgveda or Sāmaveda relating to Śiva or the five Brahmans be used for the ablution of the lord of the chiefs of the gods. The name Śiva and the Praṇava too shall be used.

49. There is no difference in the manner in which the rite of ablution is performed in regard to the lord or the goddess since they are equal.

50. After performing the rites of ablution to the lord those to the goddess shall be performed. This is what the lord of the gods has ordained.

51. When the half-female form of the lord is to be worshipped, no serial order in the performance of rites shall be observed. Similarly in regard to the services rendered to the phallic or the embodied image.

52. After performing the ablution of the phallic idol it shall be wiped with a pure fragrant cloth. The devotee shall then offer garment and the sacred thread.

53-56. These are offered in order—Pādya, Ācamana, Arghya, scents, flowers, ornaments, incense, light, Naivedya, water for drinking, water for rinsing, Ācamanīya once again, substance for the fragrance of the mouth, good and auspicious coronet studded with all gems, ornaments, sacred garlands of different types, fans, chowries, palmyra leaf fan, mirror, and Nīrājana. At the time of Nīrājana there shall be all sorts of auspicious sounds like songs, instrumental music, dance and shouts of ‘Victory’.

57-59. In a big flat vessel made of gold, silver, copper or clay he shall worship the lord with lotuses, seeds, flowers, curd, Akṣatas, Nandyāvarta flowers etc. in the forms of Śrīvatsa, Svastika, mirror, Vajra, fire etc. Eight lamps shall be lighted all round and one lamp shall be kept in the middle. In these the nine Śaktis Vāmā etc. shall be meditated upon and worshipped.

60. After covering with Kavaca mantra and protecting with the Astra mantra he shall show the Mudrā of cow and lift the vessel with both the hands.

61. Or only five lamps shall be kept, four in the four quarters and one in the middle, or only one lamp need be lit.

62. Lifting the vessel, the devotee shall whirl it thrice above the phallic image in the manner of circumambulation, with the basic Mantra.

63 He shall offer Arghya and apply the scented Bhasma on the head. After offering a handful of flowers the rite of Naivedya shall be performed.

64. After offering water for drinking he shall offer Ācamana once again. Tāmbūla with five-scented[3] spices shall be offered.

65. All materials of worship shall be sprinkled with water. Music and dances shall go on. Conceiving the presence of Śiva and Śivā in the phallic image he shall perform the Japa of Śiva according to his ability.

66. Circumambulation, obeisance, eulogy, dedication of the self and submission of one’s wish shall be humbly made.

67. Arghya and handful of flowers shall be offered and Mudrā shall be shown in accordance with injunctions. Forgiveness shall be prayed and the lord shall be ritualistically dismissed. The devotee shall meditate on the lord only in his Ātman.

68. In distress the offerings are restricted to those beginning with Pādya and ending with Tāmbūla, or to those beginning with Arghya, or to mere offering of flowers, but with pious feelings.

69. Even that much is enough for earning virtue. As long as he lives the devotee shall not take meals without worshipping Śiva.

70-72. If a sinner takes meals freely there is no atonement for him. If he takes in anything inadvertently he shall vomit it off, take bath and worship the lord and the goddess twice. He shall observe fast thereafter and repeat the names of Śiva ten thousand times. He shall observe celibacy also. The next day he shall make a charitable gift of gold to a devotee of Śiva. Then he shall perform great worship and sanctify himself.

Footnotes and references:


Prokṣaṇī, Arghya, Pādya and Ācamanīya are the vessels containing holy water to be used in the religious ceremonies. Prokṣaṇī contains water used for sprinkling or consecrating, Arghya for respectful offering, Pādya for washing the feet and Ācamanīya for supping.


Rājāvarta is one of the five gems famous for brilliance.


The preparation of five kinds of aromatic substances contains “karpūra, kakkola, lavaṅgapuṣpa, guvāka and jātophala”.


“karpūrakakkolalavaṅgapuṣpaguvākajātīphalapañcakena |
samāṃśabhāgena ca yojitena manohara pañcasugandhakaṃsyāt”