The Shiva Purana

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

This page relates “rites for achieving worldly benefits” 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 32 - The rites for achieving worldly benefits

Upamanyu said:—

1. O Kṛṣṇa, what has been mentioned to you is the site which yields benefit here and hereafter. It is a great synthesis of physical rites, penance, Japas and meditation.

2. Now I shall mention that great rite of worship, Homa, Japa, meditation, penance and charitable gifts, which yields benefits here itself to men who follow Siva.

3. The devotee expert in the meaning of mantras shall at the outset practise mantras since the rites of visible benefits here itself are not fruitful otherwise.

4. A learned and sensible devotee, even after the mantra has been achieved, shall not haphazardly perform any rite the fruit whereof has been thwarted by some unseen powerful obstacle.

5. Atonement is possible for that obstacle. Hence he shall perform that atonement after testing it at the outset by means of omens.

6. He who due to delusion performs the rite yielding the benefit here itself does not attain the fruit thereof and becomes the laughing stock.

7. Without faith and devotion no one shall perform the rite intended to yield direct benefit. He becomes an unbeliever and an unbeliever does not attain fruit.

8. It is not the fault of the lord if the rite does not yield the fruit since it is found to yield fruit here itself for those who perform the rite exactly as ordained.

9. An aspirant who has mastered the mantras overcoming the obstacles and who performs the rite with full confidence and conviction attains the fruit.

10. Or, for the attainment of the benefit let him be scrupulously celibate, eating only the Haviṣya, milk-pudding or fruits.

11. He shall not even think of, much less physically do, such prohibited actions as violence. He shall be pure always with clear dress and smear the body with Bhasma always.

12-17. After observing the rules of conduct, the devotee shall on an auspicious and favourable day with the characteristics mentioned before, smear the ground with cowdung in a spot bedecked with garlands of flowers and draw the auspicious lotus shining with its own refulgence. It shall be of molten gold with eight petals and filaments, with the pericarp in the middle set with all gems. It shall be not less than a Hasta in width and must have a stalk befitting its size. He shall conceive Animā etc. in the bulbous root made of gold, in accordance with the injunctions. He shall install the phallic idol with its pedestal, made of gems, gold or crystal with the requisite characteristics. He shall invoke

the eternal lord accompanied by Ambā and the Gaṇas. Śiva’s form as Maheśvara shall also be conceived in the idol

18-19. It shall have four arms and four faces. It shall be bedecked in all ornaments. It shall wear the tiger’s hide with the smiling face and the gestures of granting boons and of protection to the devotee. Other hands shall hold the deer and the axe. Or if the conceiver desires he can conceive of the Mūrti as having eight arms.

20. Then the right hand holds the trident, axe, sword and the thunderbolt. The left hands hold the noose, goad, iron club and the serpent.

21. The Mūrti shall have the lustre of the rising sun. It shall have three eyes in every face. The face towards the east is gentle and has the refulgence befitting its size and features.

22. The southern face resembles the blue cloud and has a terrific appearance. The northern face has the lustre of coral and is bedecked with dark forelocks.

23. The western face is gentle with the lustre of the full moon. Seated on his lap is the great Śakti of Maheśvara

24-25. She is famous as Mahālakṣmī dark coloured and wholly charming. After conceiving the Mūrti thus and unifying it into a whole he shall invoke the embodied lord and worship him. For the purpose of ablution he shall arrange for Pañcagavya prepared from a tawny cow.

26-27. There shall be Pañcāmṛta and particularly the full seeds. He shall prepare the Maṇḍala ahead decorated with gem-dust. The water-pot of Īśāna shall be put in the pericarp. The water-pots of Sadyojāta shall be placed around, afterwards.[1]

28-30. Eight pots of Vidyeśa shall be filled with the waters of holy centres and threads shall be tied round them. Sacred articles of worship shall be dropped therein with due incantations in accordance with the injunctions. They shall be completely covered into the silken cloth with the mantras. When the proper time arrives he shall perform the ablation of the lord with Pañcagavya.

31-33. Waters dropped from the Darbha grass, golden and gemset vessels, scented and flowery waters purified with the mantras shall be taken from the vessels and Maheśvara shall be bathed. Scents and flowers shall be offered, lights shown and the worship performed. The unguent shall be not less than a Pala by weight and the maximum shall be eleven Palas.

34-36. Auspicious and charming flowers of good colour and fragrance blue and other lilies, plenty of Bilva leaves, red lotuses and white lotuses if available shall be used. The incense shall be offered with the black Aguru. The gum-resin shall be used with the camphor and ghee. The ghee used for lamps shall be of the milk of tawny cows. The five Brahmans, the six Aṅgas and the Āvaraṇas shall be worshipped.

37. The Naivedya shall be made of Caru prepared in ghee and milk with jaggery. The water shall be rendered fragrant with the Pāṭala flowers, lilies and lotuses.

38. Well-consecrated Tāmbūla along with five fragrant spices shall be offered.300 The ornaments offered shall be made in gold and set with gems.

39. Freshly woven cloths of various colours and of fine fabric attractive to the sight shall be offered with songs and instrumental music.

40. The maximum number of times for Japa is hundred thousand. According to the benefit desired the number of worship varies from one to three.

41. The number of sacrifices is not less than ten for every article and the maximum is hundred. In such rites as Māraṇa and Uccāṭana Śiva shall be conceived terrific in form.

42. When quiescent or nourishing rites are being performed, Śiva shall be thought of as gentle in the phallic image in the Śiva-fire and in other idols as well.

43. In Māraṇa and other rites the Śruk and Śruva shall be made of iron. In all other rites such as quiescent these shall be made of gold.[2]

44-46. In the rite of Mṛtyuñjaya the Homa is performed with Dūrvā mixed with ghee and cow’s milk, or honey or with Caru along with ghee, or milk alone. For the rites intended to quell ailments to attain prosperity and subdue poverty, gingelly seeds, ghee, milk or lotus-flowers shall be used. Persons seeking to bring persons under control shall perform Homa with Jātī flowers and ghee.

47. A Brahman shall perform the rite of Ākarṣaṇa with ghee and Karavīra flowers, Uccāṭana with oil and Stambhana with honey.

48. Stambhana rite can be performed with mustard also; Pātana with garlic; Tāḍana with the blood of mule, camel or of both.

49. Māraṇa and Uccāṭana shall be performed with Rohi and gingelly seeds. Vidveṣaṇa rite shall be performed with the oil of Lāṅgala.

50-52. Bandhana rites and the rite of paralysing of a vast army shall be performed with the seeds of Rohi. In Ābhicārika rites the articles of Homa shall be used with the red mustard and the Homa shall be performed with oils extracted from manually operated machines. It can also be performed with seeds of cotton in combination with Kaṭukī and husk. In Ābhicārika rites the devotee shall perform Homa with mustard seeds mixed with oil. Milk yields the subdual of fevers and is conducive to good fortune.

53. Homa offered with honey, ghee, curds, milk and rice-grains or with Caru grants all desires.

54. Quiescent, nourishing, Vaśya and Ākarṣaṇa rites shall be performed with the seven articles of worship sacrificial twigs etc.

55. Vaśya, Ākarṣaṇa and Śrīpada (glorious position) rites shall be performed with the leaves of Bilva for Havana. It yields conquest over the enemies

56. In quiescent rites the twigs of Palāśa, Khadira etc. shall be used. In rites of cruelty the twigs of Karavīra and Arka shall be used. Twigs of thorny trees shall be used in the rite of war.

57. A quiet man shall perform the quiescent and nourishing rites particularly. A ruthless man with angry mind shall perform Abhicarika rites.

58. When the harassment is unbearable and condition is pitiable, when there is no other remedy, only then shall one perform the Ābhicārika rite against desperadoes.

59. No virtuous man, occupying honourable position or otherwise shall perform the Ābhicārika rite against the ruler of his country.

60. Even if he happens to be a desperado one shall not perform Ābhicārika rite against a person who has sought refuge in Śiva, mentally, verbally or physically.

61. A man performing Ābhicārika rite against the ruler of his country whether he be a devotee of Śiva or not, shall have a fall immediately.

62. If he wishes for his own happinness he shall not perform Ābhicārika rite against the protector of his country or against any devotee of Śiva.

63. If he performs the rite of Māraṇa etc. against any other person he shall perform expiatory rites after due repentence.

64. Whether the devotee is rich or poor he shall worship the lord in a Bāṇa or self-born or Ārṣaka or a Vaidika liṅga.

65. If liṅgas of gold and gems are not available or if he is unable to possess them he shall perform the worship mentally or with substitute articles.

66. If a devotee can perform worship in some part he too derives the benefit of that part in accordance with his ability.

67. If the benefit is not seen even if the rite is performed, it shall be repeated twice or thrice. By all means the benefit will be received.

68. Whatever material is used in worship, gold, gem and other articles shall be handed to the preceptor apart form the Dakṣiṇā offered separately.

69. If the preceptor does not wish to receive, the entire gift shall be given to Śiva or the devotees of Śiva. It shall not be given to any other.

70-71. If any one performs the rite himself without the help of a preceptor the procedure shall be the same. He shall not appropriate the gift to himself. If he appropriates the articles of worship for himself out of greed under delusion he will not attain his desire,

72. The liṅga used for worship may be taken by himself or given to others. If he takes that himself he shall worship it everyday or cause it to be worshipped on his behalf.

73. If he performs the rite as ordained he cannot but have the benefit. What other inducement for worship shall there be?

74-75. Still I shall mention about the excellent achievement through the rite. Even if he is attacked by the enemy or tormented by ailments, even if he falls into the jaws of death he will be freed without danger. Even the worst miserly fellow will become worthy of respect. The poor will become Kuvera,[3] god of wealth.

76. The ugly man will become beautiful, the aged will become young. The enemy will turn a friend, the opponent will grow subordinate.

77-79. The nectar that may have turned into poison shall become nectar again. The ground may turn into ocean and ocean into ground; the ditch into a mountain and the mountain into a ditch; fire into a lotus lake and the lotus lake into fire; the park into a forest and the forest into a garden; the animal into a lion and the lion into an animal.

80. Women will run after him voluntarily. Prosperity will behave like a chaste lady and will not leave him. The goddess of speech will be his slave girl, fame a prostitute.

81. The intelligence will roam about as it pleases. His mind will be pure like a diamond. His strength will be like a violent gust of wind or like an elephant in rut.

82. His activities on the side of the enemies will be paralysed in their effort. The friends of enemies will become their enemies.

83. The enemies along with their kinsmen will be no better than corpses though physically alive. Though faced with mishaps he will be freed from them and become immortal.

84. Even if he takes unwholesome food it will act as aphrodisiac. Even if he indulges in sexual intercourse everyday it will give him fresh thrills.

85. Everything hitherto inaccessible to him will become accessible like the myrobalan in the palm. Even Siddhis aṇimā etc. will become available at his will.

86. Of what use is much talk? When this rite is performed there remains nothing unattainable.

Footnotes and references:


On the consecrated water-jars see Vāyavīya-saṃhitā. 17.16-17


On the Pañcasaugandhika, see P. 2006 note.


Vaiśravaṇa is the patronymic name of Kuvera, son of Viśravas.

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