The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “worship of shiva with the ancillary rites” 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 26 - The worship of Śiva with the ancillary rites

Upamanyu said:—

1-2. Even a slayer of brahmin, a wine-addict, a thief, a defiler of the preceptor’s bed, one guilty of matricide or patricide, a murderer of a hero and one guilty of destroying a child in the womb becomes absolved of those sins within twelve years by worshipping Śiva with devotion even without mantras.

3. Hence by all means let even a fallen man worship Śiva sustaining himself on alms and conquering the sense-organs. This he shall do if he is a devotee and none else.

4. Even if one commits a great sin he is liberated from that if he worships the lord of the gods with devotion, repeating the five-syllabled mantra.

5. There are many persons who live solely on water or air and who emaciate their bodies by means of holy rites. They cannot attain Śivaloka through these rites.

6. He who worships Śiva even once with devotion repeating the five-syllabled mantra goes to the abode of Śiva due to the efficacy of the mantra of Śiva.

7. Hence the penances and the sacrifices wherein the entire possession may be given as Dakṣiṇā, are not equal to even a croreth part of the worship of Śiva.

8. Whether bound or free, if the devotee worships with the five-syllabled mantra he is liberated. No doubt need be entertained in this respect.

9. Whether a man is a follower of Rudra or not, whether he is fallen or deluded if he worships but once with Rudra Sūkta he is liberated.

10. A devotee of Śiva who has conquered anger, whether he has or has not secured grace shall worship the lord with the Sūktamantra or the six-syllabled mantra.

11. Surely the former is better than the latter. He becomes liberated and absorbed into Brahman.

12. Hence one shall always worship Śiva with devotion repeating the mantras, once, twice or thrice or always.

13-15. Those who worship the lord shall be known as Maheśvaras themselves. If one does not worship him through knowledge assisted by the prompting of the soul he suffers for long in the world which is an ocean of misery. Even after attaining the rare human body, if a deluded individual does not worship Śiva, his life becomes futile since it does not lead to salvation. After attaining the rare human birth those who worship the lord are excellent and blessed. Their life alone is fruitful.

16-19. Those who are devoted to the lord, whose minds are inclined to him and who endeavour to remember the lord are never subjected to misery. The fruit of the worship of Śiva is the sufficient wealth, charming houses and women folk seductively bedecked in ornaments. Those who desire great pleasures and kingdom in heaven shall love his lotus feet for ever. Good fortune, handsome and brilliant features, good strength, compassionate and renouncing temperament, heroism, fame in the world—all these are secured by one who worships the lord.

20-22. So desiring welfare, one shall invariably worship Śiva. forsaking everything else and dedicating the mind solely to him. The life passes off quickly. Youth goes off rapidly. Sickness approaches all too suddenly. Hence the lord shall be worshipped. Worship Śiva before death overtakes you, before old age attacks you, before the sense-organs become atrophied and inefficient.

23-28. Realising that there is no holy rite in the three worlds, on a par with the worship of Śiva, Sadāśiva shall be worshipped assiduously. If the worship is conducted in a palace the following rites too shall be performed—sacrifice at the gateway, worship within the screen, offering oblation to Śiva’s attendants and perpetual festivities. After offering libation the devotee or his servant shall offer oblation to the attendants in the palace. The devotee shall come out to the accompaniment of instrumental music and facing the northern direction he shall offer flowers, incense, lamp and cooked rice with water. Then he shall stand on the Mahāpīṭha facing the north and offer oblations. Thereafter, whatever had been offered to the lord before, as Naivedya, cooked rice shall be offered to Caṇḍa as Naivedya. The remnants also shall be offered thus.

29-30. Performing Homa, the latter part of worship shall be concluded. After conducting the regular rites he shall perform the perpetual festivities, Japa etc. in accordance with the injunction in Śaivite scriptures. In a large metallic vessel shining splendidly with a red lotus the divine Pāśupata missile shall be invoked and worshipped.

31-35. The vessel shall be carried on the head by a Śaivite brahmin well-bedecked. He shall hold a lighted torch. With dances and songs to the accompaniment of auspicious instrumental music the party shall make three circumambulations round the palace of the lord The movement shall be neither quick nor slow. Thereafter the devotee shall stand a the door with palms joined in reverence shall take it in and ritualistically dismiss the Astra. After one more circumambulation he shall offer eight flowers and conclude the worship.