The Shiva Purana (English translation)

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

This page relates “instruction of vyasa” 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 41 - Instruction of Vyāsa

Sūta said:—

1. There is a lake known as Skandasaras[1] as vast as the ocean. It has nectar-like sweet cool water, deep, clean and light.

2. Crystal slabs are neatly fixed all around. The place abounds in blooming flowers in the seasons throughout.

3. Lilies, lotuses and other aquatic plants resemble the stars. The waves are like clouds. The sky itself appears to have come to the earth.

4. The steps that lead to it consist of blue stones and are beautiful. People can ascend and descend comfortably. Through these the lake brightens all the eight quarters.

5-8, The sons of sages take water and flowers from it for the worship of the deities. They wear white sacred threads, white loin-cloth and bark garments. Some get into it for taking bath. Some come up from it after taking bath. Some have matted hair. Some have tufts. Some have shaven heads. They are embellished with Tripuṇḍras. Some have grave or helpless or smiling faces. They have various vessels Ghaṭas, Kalaśas, Kamaṇḍalus, Karakas or lotus-cups for taking water.

9-11. Some stand on rocks submerged in water as if avoiding, contact with the low-born people. They observe good conduct and their bodies are grey with Bhasma. They plunge into the water here and there. On the rock are seen the remnants of worship—gingdly seeds, raw rice-grains, flowers, Darbhas, Pavitras These indicate that the brahmins who come here for bath perform worship and Tarpaṇas to the gods, sages and the manes.

12-14. At places people perform worship on dry banks after performing Arghya to the sun as indicated by the scattered oblations and flowers. At places leaders of elephant herds are merging in and emerging out of water. At places the deer, the hind and the horses have come to quench thirst. At places peacocks and elephants are drinking water. At places oxen and hostile bulls are butting against the banks.

15-17. In some places the sound of the Kāraṇḍava is heard. In some places there is the chirping sound of the Sārasa. In some places the ruddy goose cackles. In some places the bees hum. The lake appears to be holding a loving conversation perpetually with the birds and animals living on the trees and taking bath therein or drinking its water. Through the cooing sound of the cuckoos lying hidden on the trees on its banks it appears to invite all those who are oppressed by the sun.

18-20. On the northern bank of the lake under the Kalpa tree, on a platform of adamantine rock, the sages from Naimiṣa saw Sanatkumāra seated on a soft deer-skin. He had just woken up from his trance. He was being worshipped by the sages and the leading Yogins. On seeing him they bowed to him and stood in reverence.

21. On being asked they told him the purpose of their visit. The tumultuous sound of Dundubhi was heard in the heaven immediately.

22-25. At the same time an aerial chariot brilliant as the sun was visible. All round, it was surrounded by leading Gaṇas, numerous and countless. It was thronged by the celestial damsels and surrounded by Rudra girls. Sounds of Mṛdaṅga, lute and flute were heard. It had canopies set with gems of various colours. It shone with strings of pearls. It was encircled by sages, Siddhas, Gandharvas, Yakṣas, Cāraṇas, Kinnaras dancing, or playing on instruments. A banner marked by the sign of a heroic bull was fluttering from a post set with corals. The aerial chariot had a gabled front.

26-33. In the middle of the aerial chariot the son of Brahmā accompanied by the sages saw the son of Śilāda seated in a divine throne with Suyaśā, brilliant as the goddess Lakṣmī. On either side there was a chowrie. He sat under a royal umbrella with a gemset handle, resembling the pure moon. He had three eyes. Even by his gestures he reminded one of the lord. He appeared like the untransgressable behest of the creator. He was one who blessed all. He stood directly in front of Śiva. He held an excellent trident. As the commander of the Gaṇas he looked like another Viśveśvara. He could curb and bless the rulers of the universe. He had four arms, a splendid body embellished with the digit of the moon. A serpent adorned his neck and the moon his head. He was the embodied form of Aiśvarya. He appeared like active efficiency. It seemed that the very salvation or the omniscient lord had come there. On seeing him the son of Brahmā was highly delighted. He stood up with palms joined in reverence. He seemed to dedicate himself to him.

34-36. In the meantime when the aerial chariot reached the ground, Sanatkumāra prostrated. After eulogising him he informed him of the arrival of the sages—“These are the sages of six families who had performed the Sattra of long duration in Naimiṣa. At the bidding of Brahmā they have come here to have a sight of you, O lord. On hearing these words of the son of Brahmā, Nandin cut off their Pāśas by his mere glance immediately. He imparted to them the Śaivite virtue and the perfect knowledge of Śiva Yoga. Then he returned to the lord.

37. Everything was imparted by Sanatkumāra to Vyāsa my direct preceptor who imparted the same to me and now I succinctly mention this to you.

38. This excellent gem of Śivapurāṇa should not be mentioned to those who do not know the Vedas, nor should it be imparted to a disciple who is not a devotee of Śiva nor to an atheist. If it is imparted to these out of delusion it yields hell.

39. If it is imparted, accepted, read or heard along the stipulated path accompanied by service it yields happiness, the three aims of life—Dharma, Artha, and Kāma and in the end, liberation invariably.

40. You and I have helped each other through this path. I have realised my desire. I shall go now. Let everything be auspicious to you always.

41. Then Sūta blessed them and left. The righteous sages fixed their abode permanently at the outskirts of Vārāṇasī after performing the sattra at Prayāga when they perceived that everything was being defiled by the advent of the Kali age.

42. Then the sages performed the Pāśupata rites with the desire to get released from the bondage. They attained enlightenment. They learnt modes of Samādhi and achieved the greatest Bliss.

Vyāsa said:—

43. This wholesome Śivapurāṇa is concluded now. It shall be read and heard assiduously.

44. It shall not be mentioned to an atheist nor to one lacking in faith nor to a stubborn rogue nor to one who is not a devotee of Śiva nor to a religious hypocrite.

45. On hearing this once, the sins are reduced to ashes. A non-devotee attains devotion and a devotee attains more devotion.

46. If it is heard again a further devotion is achieved. If it is heard again salvation is the result. Therefore it shall be heard over and again by those who desire salvation.

47. If one aims at some big benefit one shall read or hear this Purāṇa five times with a pious mind. He is sure to achieve the desired result.

48. Kṣatriyas of yore, excellent brahmins and Vaiśyas repeated it seven times and attained the vision of Śiva.

49. If a man with devotion hears it, he enjoys all pleasures here and secures liberation hereafter.

50. Śivapurāṇa is a great favourite of Śiva. It yields worldly pleasures and liberation. It increases devotion and it is on a par with the Vedas.

51. May Śiva with his Gaṇas, sons and Ambā bestow blessings upon those who explain or listen to this Purāṇa.

Footnotes and references:


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