The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “shaivite yoga” 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 39 - The Śaivite Yoga

Upamanyu said:—

1. Some Yogins perform meditation with the full conviction that Siddhis are immediately acquired by those who remember the lord.

2. In order to steady the mind some perform meditation on the gross form. The mind that is fixed on the gross form becomes stable in the subtle form.

3. When Śiva is directly meditated upon, Siddhis are achieved. Even when the other forms are meditated upon the devotee shall think of the form of Śiva also.

4. He shall observe the steadiness of the mind and frequently meditate. This meditation, they say, has at the outset a specific object. Thereafter it becomes devoid of any specific object.

5. Philosophers say that there is no Nirviṣaya meditation. They hold that a series of intellectual vision is called meditation.

6-9. But the intellectual vision by itself without an object shall also function. Therefore the fact is—the Saviṣaya meditation is on the lord who is conceived as brilliant as the sun. The meditation on the subtle form is Nirviṣaya. Saviṣaya meditation has a definite form in view. Meditation of the formless is the Nirviṣaya meditation. The two are called Nirbīja and Sabīja also. Hence the practiser shall at the outset perform the Saviṣaya or Sabīja meditation and in the end perform Nirbīja or Nirviṣaya meditation.

10-13. The benefits derived from Prāṇayāma are Śānti, Praśānti, Dīpti and Prasāda. When adversities subside it is called Śānti. Praśānti is the destruction of ignorance both external and internal. The external and internal illumination is called Dīpti. The normal and the healthy state of the intellect is called Prasāda. When the intellect is in healthy normal state the internal and external sense-organs too acquire healthy and normal state.

14-18. The meditator shall perform meditation after realising the four: viz. the meditator, meditation, the object of meditation and the benefits of meditation. The meditator as defined by good men shall be richly endowed with knowledge and detachment. His mind shall never be excited. He shall have faith and his Ātman shall remain delighted. The root Dhyai means to contemplate. Frequent contemplation on Śiva with even a little practice of Yoga shall quell sins of the person who meditates on the lord with faith and unexcited mind.

19. The object of meditation on the form of intellectual visions is Dhyeya and that is Śiva himself accompanied by Śivā.

20. The experience of salvation and the perfect Aṇimā etc. is the direct fruit of meditation on Śiva.

21. Man shall eschew everything and be engaged in meditation since he will be having both happiness and salvation from the practice of meditation.

22. Knowledge cannot be attained without meditation. A non-yogin cannot have meditation. The ocean of worldly existence is crossed by the person who has both meditation and knowledge.

23. The clear and single-centred knowledge devoid of all conditioning factors can be achieved only by a Yogin who regularly practises Yoga.

24. The minds of only those whose sins have been entirely quelled become inclined towards knowledge and meditation. Those whose intellects have been defiled by sins find it wholly inaccessible.

25. Just as the blazing fire burns both the dry and the wet twigs, so also the fire of meditation burns in a trice both the auspicious and the inauspicious Karmans.

26. Just as even a modicum of light dispels darkness so also even the slightest practice of Yoga destroys great sins.

27. There is no limit to the benefits acquired by one who meditates on the lord with faith even for a moment.

28. No holy centre is so efficacious as meditation; no penance, no sacrifice is equal to it. Hence one shall perform meditation strenuously.

29. Yogins do not resort to holy centres full of waters nor to deities made of stone or clay because they have belief only in their Ātmans.

30. Just as the gross form of the lord fashioned out of clay or wood is observed by the non-yogins so also his subtle form can be perceived by the Yogins.

31. Just as in the Royal household, the interior officials not the workers outside are the favourites of kings so also those who are engaged in inner meditation are the favourites of lord Śiva and not those who perform holy rites.

32. Just as the exterior workers do not enjoy the pleasures in the royal palace, the same is the case with the Karmins.

33. If a person in bis attempt for knowledge and Yoga were to die in the middle he shall go to Rudraloka even due to his mere endeavour for yoga.

34. He enjoys happiness here and is reborn in the family of a Yogin. Attaining knowledge and Yoga or the path of knowledge he transcends the worldly existence.

35. Even by performing sacrifices, that goal is not obtained which a man with the desire for the knowledge of Yoga attains.

36. The fruit derivable by worshipping a crore of brahmins can be attained by giving alms alone to a Śiva Yogin.

37. By giving cooked rice to him the benefits of sacrifices, Agnihotras, charitable gifts and pilgrimages can be secured.

38. Those who disparage Śivayogins under delusion undergo sufferings in hells along with those who listen, till the dissolution of the world.

39-42. Only when there is some listener, does a person disparage the Yogin. Hence the listener too is a sinner. Those who worship Śivayogins attain pleasures here and salvation hereafter. Hence, Śivayogins shall be honoured and revered by those who seek worldly pleasures, giving them asylum, food stuffs and drinks, beds and blankets. The Yogic virtue cannot be smashed by the iron clubs of sins. It is very strong and shall be considered to possess adamantine fibres. Yogins are not smeared by sins like the lotus leaf not affected by water.

43. Even the land where the sage engaged in Śivayoga resides is hallowed and sacred, let alone Śivayogin himself.

44. Hence a shrewd and efficient man shall eschew all activities and practise Śivayoga in order to quell miseries.

45. A Yogin who has achieved the fruits of Yoga may sport about after enjoying the pleasures as he wishes or shall remain here performing the requisite services.

46. Or let him consider worldly pleasures worthless and eschew them. Due to detachment let him abandon rites and be liberated.

47. Or seeing evil portents and realising death as imminent the Yogin engaged in the practice of Yoga shall resort to a Śaivitc holy centre or temple.[1]

48. If he has courage enough he shall abandon his life there voluntarily even without ailments.

49-50. He who voluntarily forsakes his life as prescribed in Śaivite scriptures, by observing fast, or by consigning his body to Śiva-fire, or by plunging into Śaivite holy rivers, shall immediately be liberated.

51. Even if he is afflicted by ailments and dies after resorting to Śaivite holy centres he shall be liberated.

52. Since voluntary death by means of fasts etc. is sought with a mind full of confidence and devotion, they say that this death is commendable.

53. After killing a person engaged in disparaging Śiva or being afflicted himself, if a devotee eschews his life, not ordinarily possible to forsake, he is not reborn.

54. He who dies after fighting being incapable of killing a disparager of Śiva shall be liberated with the members of his family for twenty-one generations.

55. No man treading the path of salvation is equal to one who eschews his life for Śiva or for a devotee of Śiva.

56-57. Hence his liberation from the worldly sphere becomes speedier. If a Śivayogin dies after resorting to one of the means cited before or after attaining the purity of the six pathways, obsequies shall not be performed as they are done for the layman.

58-60. His descendants shall not observe post-mortem pollution. His body shall be buried under ground or burnt in fire, or cast off in Śaivite holy waters or left abandoned like a log of wood or a clod of clay. Or if at all some post-mortem holy rite has to be performed let it be some auspicious rite. The descendant shall propitiate devotees. Only a devotee of Śiva shall inherit his wealth. If his children are not initiated in Śaivite cult the wealth shall be handed over to Śiva. No child shall take it.

Footnotes and references:


As detailed In the purāṇas, the regions sacred to Śiva (Śivakṣetras) are spread over the vast expanse of Indian territory. The Purāṇas place these in all directions, mostly on the rivers, sea-coasts, forests or hills.