The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “worship of 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 25 - The Worship of Śiva

Upamanyu said:—

1. What has not been mentioned because I was afraid of losing the sequence of worship, I shall now mention briefly,

2. After offering the light but before offering the Havis, the devotee shall perform the worship of the Āvaraṇa; or just when the time of Nīrājana has arrived.

3-5. In the first Āvaraṇa of Śiva and Śivā, the mantra of Rudra etc. upto the Astra shall be used for Japa. The five Brahmans from Īśāna to Śadyojāta shall be meditated upon in the north-east, east, south and north or in the west, south-east, north-east and south-west or in the north-west north-east and in the four quarters. Beyond that he shall perform the Garbhāvaraṇa and repeat the mantras.

6-8. Or he shall worship everything from the heart to the Astra. Outside he shall worship Indra in the east, Yama in the south, Varuṇa in the west, Kūbera in the north, Īśa in the north-east, fire in the south-east, Nirṛti in the south-west, Vāyu in the north-west, Viṣṇu in the south-west, Brahmā in the north-east and the weapons from thunderbolt to the lotus outside the lotus.

9-11. He shall worship the famous forms of the lord in the quarters in order. The deities of the Āvaraṇa shall be meditated upon as looking at the lord and the goddess with palms joined and seated comfortably. He shall worship the Āvaraṇa deities with their names with the word ‘Namaḥ’ with flowers and bow to them in order. He shall worship the Garbhāvaraṇa with its Āvaraṇa.

12-13. In the Yoga, meditation, Japa and homa whether external or internal, the Haviṣ of six types shall be given as pure rice or rice mixed with green gram. The milk-pudding mixed with curd or honey-soaked jaggery shall be offered with side-dishes.

14. Churned curd shall be given with jaggery and sugar-candy. Tasteful foodstuffs especially sweet pie and fruits shall be given.

15-16. Cold water with red sandal and flowers thrown in shall be given. A piece of Areca nut soaked in Cardamom juice shall be given. Betel leaves with Khadira etc. shall be given. White and yellow are auspicious. The white lime powder shall be rocky but neither very hard nor defective.

17-18. The camphor, Kaṅkola and Jāti, if fresh, are auspicious. As an unguent the sandal shall be in powdered form. The lower stem is better. The musk and saffron shall be pasted. Only fragrant flowers are holy and auspicious.

19. Flowers devoid of smell, of obnoxious smell, defiled, stale and broken at fall shall not be used for the worship of lord Śiva.

20-21. Soft fine cloths and golden ornaments shall be given along with camphor, gum-resin and sandal, well fumigated and rendered fragrant with flowers.

22. Incense mixed with sandal, gum-resin, camphor, ghee and honey is excellent.

23. Lamps lighted with fragrant ghee from the milk of tawny cows, accompanied by camphor are excellent.

24. Pañcagavya consisting of sweet milk, curd and ghee all taken from tawny cows is favourite of Śiva for bath and drink.

25. Seats of ivory framed in gold and set with gems and the covering cloths of various colours shall be used.

26. Beds shall be comfortable, charming, high and low with soft pillows. They shall be filled with fine cotton.

27. Water taken from an east-flowing or west-flowing river is excellent for bath and drink. It shall be cool and filtered with a cloth.

28. The umbrella shall resemble the moon. It shall be embellished with pearls and nine[1] varieties of gems. It shall be divine and charming with a golden handle.

29. The chowries shall be white and fine. They shall be embellished with gold. The handle shall be studded with gems. They shall shine like two royal swans.

30. The mirror shall be smooth and polished. Divine sweet smelling unguents shall be smeared over it. It shall be studded with gems all round. It shall be decorated with excellent garlands.

31. The conch shall be white like the swan, Kunda flower or the moon. It shall have a majestic resonant sound. At the mouth, back and other places it shall be studded with gems and framed in gold.

32. The bugles shall be charmingly made of gold and decorated with pearls. They shall be capable of producing different notes.

33. Different kinds of drums like Bheri, Mṛdaṅga, Muraja, Timiccha, Paṭaha shall be used, capable of sounding like'the roaring sea.

34. All pots and vessels shall be beautiful. Their supporting stands shall be made of gold.

35. The temple of Śiva shall be made like a royal palace with all the characteristics mentioned in the science of architecture.

36. It shall be encircled by high walls with the ornamental gateway as lofty as a mountain. It shall be studded with gems. The doors shall be made of gold.

37. It must have a hundred columns of molten gold studded with gems. The canopy shall be embellished with pearls and the festoons at the gateway shall be brightened with corals.

38. Its top shall be decorated with golden domes resembling divine crowns and marked with the lordly missile.

39-40. It shall be richly decorated in the border all round by palatial buildings with tall minarets, great mansions for the residence of kings, royal highways and excellent halls of assembly situated in the different quarters appearing like an inner rampart.

41. It shall contain thousands of courtezans in dance and music and those adepts in playing on flutes and lutes.

42-44. It shall be guarded by heroic guards and watch men equipped with elephants, horses and chariots. It shall contain many flower gardens, lakes, and tanks in the different quarters. It shall be inhabited by the brahmin devotees of Śiva, who must know the truth of the Vedas and Vedānta, who are devoted to Śaivite scriptures who are engaged in Śaivite way of life, who must have the characteristics prescribed in Śaivite scriptures, who must be quiet, prosperous and devoted to good conduct, who have smiling faces and who follow lord Śiva.

45-48. All people whether rich or poor shall worship the lord with devotion through the wealth legitimately earned by them. They shall worship in a place built by the people according to their capacity. The temple shall be built in stone, or ivory, or wood or brick or even day. It may be in a holy forest or on a mountain or on the banks of a river. The worship may be performed in any other holy spot or in the house. Even if the wealth is illegitimately acquired he does not incur sin or hindrance if he worships Śiva with devotion since the lord is subservient to piety.

49. If one worships without devotion even with legitimately earned wealth he does not derive the benefit thereof. Devotion alone is the main concern.

50. The benefit of even a little or a great service rendered by a poor or a rich man, according to the affluence, to Śiva with devotion is the same.

51. Even a poor man urged by devotion, may do what a rich man devoid of devotion will not do.

52. If a man devoid of devotion were to dedicate his entire possession to Śiva he will not derive the benefit thereof. Devotion is the sole criterion.

53. Without this none can go to the divine city of Śiva[2] through any sort of penances.

54. O Kṛṣṇa, this is the secret of secrets in regard to the lord. There is no doubt that a devotee becomes liberated through devotion.

55. The Japa of Śiva’s Mantra meditation, Horn a, Yajña, penance, learning, charitable gift, study of Vedas—all these are conducive to piety. There is no doubt about this.

56. A person devoid of piety and devotion is not liberated even after doing everything but one with devotion is liberated even without doing anything.

57. To a devotee of Śiva, of what avail are thousands of Cāndrāyaṇas,[3] hundreds of Prājāpatyas,[4] and other monthly fasts.

58. In this world, even non-devotees perform penances in mountain caves for the enjoyment of insignificant pleasures. But only a devotee is liberated through pious feelings.

59. The Sāttvic activity yields salvation. Yogins abide by the Sattvaguṇa. The ritualists perform Rājasic rites bestowing Siddhis because they are enveloped by Rajas Guṇa.

60. Asuras and Rākṣasas possessing Tamas Guṇa and men of that ilk worship the lord for securing worldly pleasures.

61. Whether the attitude is Sāttvic, Rājasic or Tāmasic one performing worship etc. with devotion attains welfare.

62. Since devotion is a boat that saves one from the ocean of sins, of what avail are Rajas and Tamas to one who is endowed with devotion?

63. O Kṛṣṇa, a low born, a base or a fool, or a fallen man, if he resorts to Śiva is worthy of being worshipped by the gods and Asuras.[5]

64. Hence, by all means, one shall worship Śiva with devotion alone, since non-devotees secure no benefit from anywhere.

65. O Kṛṣṇa, I shall tell you a great secret. Listen to my words. This is what has been decided conclusively by the Vedas, scriptures and those who know them, after careful consideration.

Footnotes and references:


The nine precious gems are: Muktā, Māṇikya, Vaidūrya, Gomeda, Vajra, Vidruma. Padmarāga, Marakata and Nīla.


See p. 1940 note.


Yājñavalkya 3. 324 et seq; Manu 11.217. It is a religious observance or expiatory penance regulated by the period of the moon’s waxing and waning. Herein the daily quantity of food consisting of fifteen mouthfuls at the full moon is diminished by one mouthful every day during the dark fortnight till it is increased in like manner during the bright fortnight.


It is a religious fast or penance. Herein he shall take food for 3 days in the morning, for 3 days in the evening, for 3 days both in the morning and evening and thereafter shall abstain from food for 3 days.


The verse is indicative of the proselytizing attempts of the Śaivite Ācāryas to allure the laity to their fold. See Vāyavīya-saṃhitā. II. 10. 70-72 and the footnote thereon.