The Agni Purana

by N. Gangadharan | 1954 | 360,691 words | ISBN-10: 8120803590 | ISBN-13: 9788120803596

This page describes Mode of installation of the image of (lord) Shiva (shivapratishtha) which is chapter 97 of the English translation of the Agni Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas dealing with all topics concerning ancient Indian culture, tradition and sciences. Containing roughly 15,000 Sanskrit metrical verses, subjects contained in the Agni-Purana include cosmology, philosophy, architecture, iconography, economics, diplomacy, pilgrimage guides, ancient geography, gemology, ayurveda, etc.

Chapter 97 - Mode of installation of the image of (lord) Śiva (śivapratiṣṭhā)

The lord said:

l. After having performed the daily rites in the morning-and worshipped the guardian deities, the preceptor should enter (the temple) as described already and purify his body.

2-3. After having worshipped the lords of the quarters, the sacrificial pitcher of (lord) Śiva and the small pitcher and having satisfied the liṅga and the fire duly with eight handfuls (of oblation), (the preceptor) should enter the temple reciting (the mantra of) the weapon by the command of (lord) Śiva. The obstacles therein should be removed by (the repetition of) the mantra of the arrow ending with (the syllables) huṃ, phaṭ.

4-7. The liṅga should not be established at the middle (of the temple) to avoid the defect of injury. Hence the stone slab should be established having left half of a yava (a measure) or a yava from the centre a little towards the north-east.

That slab (known as) ananta (literally without end) and which is of the form of support of all (should be established) with the principal (mantra). The stone slab known as Acalā (without movement) which is all-pervading and is of the form of the seat of (lord) Śiva should be placed by the use of (the mantra of) creation or by (the repetition of) the following mantra:—“Oṃ! All pervading goddess! Firm and unmovable (goddess) Acalā! obeisance. Hraṃ, laṃ, hrīṃ, oblations. You must always remain here by the command of (lord) Śiva.”

8-16. After having spoken thus and having worshipped (the liṅga), (the preceptor) should arrest its movement by showing the raudramudrā (a posture made with the fingers). After that, (the preceptor) should place the diamond and the other gems, fragrant root, metals like gold and bronze yellow orpiment etc., cereals and grains described already and respectively representing lustre, beauty, strength and valour duly in the holes in the (directions) east etc. after having devotedly contemplated with the mantras of guardian deities of the world. A tortoise or bull made of gold or silver (should be located) along with earth from the banks of a river or from the peaks of a mountain in the central (and other) holes facing the entrance. Otherwise a golden image of a meru along with honey, unbroken rice and collyrium (should be located). Otherwise a golden or silver image of the earth should be located along with syllables of all the mantras and gold. Then a lotus stalk made of gold or silver or all metals together with a dish consisting of sesamum and grains should be located. After having located the seat of the lord representing the energy it should be anointed with sweet porridge or guggulu (an aromatic) and covered with a cloth protected by (the recitation of) the (mantra) of the armour and weapon.

17-21. After having offered oblations to the presiding deities of the quarters and rinsing the mouth, the preceptor should offer hundred oblations either with (the repetition of) (the mantra of lord) Śiva or with (the mantra of) the weapon along with the final (oblation) for the removal of defects in the cavity of the stone slab on account of contamination. After having appeased the presiding deities of the ground by offering an oblation, the preceptor should lift the deity along with the seat with (the recitation of the mantra of) the heart and the sounding of auspicious notes. Then the preceptor should walk ahead of the deity and behind the sacrificial ground of the lord along with the four custodians of the image standing in the (different) directions and the person at whose bidding the rite is performed. After having done the circumambulation, the liṅga should be established in front of the door known as bhadra (welfare). After having offered waters for washing, (the liṅga) should be taken to the temple through the door, the door frame and the region of the door.

22. The great lord should be taken only through the door without contacting the door (in the case of an unfinished temple) if the door frame has unfinished edges or incomplete or is half done.

23-24. In the case of the construction of a temple being begun, (the liṅga) should be taken in through the corner also. This is the general rule even in the case of a manifested liṅga as the worldly practice for entry into the temple through the door. It is known that if the entry into the temple is made through the side door it causes destruction of the race.

25-33. After having placed the liṅga in the seat facing the door with the sounding of auspicious tūrya (a kind of musical instrument) and (offerings of) dūrvā (a kind of grass) and unbroken rice, (the preceptor) should recite the great pāśupata (mantra) after uttering ‘Rise, O lord’ with (the recitation of the mantra of) the heart. After having removed the sacrificial pitchers from the holes, the preceptor in the company of the guardians of the image should mentally repeat the mantra and contemplate (the liṅga) besmeared with saffron and other things and the union of the god and goddess as protected. After having recited the principal (mantra) till deep concentration (is gained), (the preceptor) should touch (the liṅga) and place it in the hole. Either a portion of the Brahmā-part (of the liṅga) or two parts (of the same) or half of it or one-eighth of the whole (liṅga) should be under (the earth). After having covered (the liṅga) with lead upto the waist with concentration, (the preceptor) -should fill the cavity with sand and say, “(You) be firm”. Then after the liṅga has become firm, (the preceptor) should contemplate him who is of all the forms (of beings), recite the principal (mantra) and locate the niṣkala (devoid of attributes) upto the energy by the (order of) creation. If the liṅga that is being established leans towards the south, the preceptor should offer oblations with the mantras of the respective presiding deities of the directions until the final (oblation) along with the fees. (The preceptor) should offer hundred oblations either with the principal mantra or (the mantra) of manifold forms if (the liṅga leans) to the left or slips down or cracks. Even in the case of other defects (the preceptor) should similarly perform the blissful appeasing rite.

34. A liṅga associated with the rites of location etc. in this manner does not bring any harm. The pedestal should be consecrated as possessing a part of the characteristic (mentioned already for the liṅga).

35. After having projected the mantra of (the goddess) Gauri (consort of lord Śiva) in the pedestal, the pedestal should be consecrated with (the mantra) of creation. The sides (of the liṅga) should be smoothened and binding cement and sand should be put.

36-37. Then the preceptor in the company of the custodians of the image should bathe the images (with the waters) from the pitcher of peace and other pitchers placed there as well as the pañcāmṛta (a composition of the milk, sugar, curd, ghee and honey) and other things. It should then be besmeared with sandal paste and other things. After having worshipped the lord of the universe (Śiva), (the preceptor) should touch the parts (represented by lord Śiva and his consort Umā) with the recitation of the mantras of (goddess) Umā and (lord) Maheśa (Śiva) and showing the liṅgamudrā (a posture made with the fingers).

38-39. Then (the preceptor) should (mentally) project the three (fundamental) principles[1] in that preceded by the six kinds of worship. After having located the image along with the presiding divinities of the (different) parts as also (lord) Brahmā in the seat of action, the learned person should bathe it. After having besmeared it with fragrant (pastes) and showing fragrant fumes, it should be located as the sole pervading principle of (lord) Śiva.

40-44. After having offered to (lord) Śiva the garlands of flowers, incense sticks, lamps, edible offerings and fruits with (the recitation of the mantra of) the heart befitting one’s capacity and sipping waters (thrice), water should be offered to the lord. for cleansing. After the recitation (of the mantras sacred to the lord) and assigning the merits of the same on his right hand (the preceptor) should address the lord in the company of the-custodians of (the image of lord) Śiva as follows: “O lord! You should stay in this temple by your own wish as long as the sun, moon and stars (would shine in the sky).” After having made obeisance thus, (the preceptor) should. go outside (the temple reciting) either (the mantra) of the heart or the praṇava (syllable oṃ). After having established (the image of) the bull, (the preceptor) should make the offering as before. One hundred oblations should be made with the mṛtyuñjaya (mantra) (that which conquers death) for the removal of defects like omission etc. In order to appease the lord oblations with sweet porridge should be done with (the recitation of the mantra of) the heart. “O great lord! Whatever thing has been done by me through ignorance or inadvertance you make it good.”

45. One should dedicate all things to the lord of the goddess who is the cause of gold, animals, earth, songs and musical instruments with devotion and within one’s means.

46. Gifts (should be given) and then festivities should be celebrated for four days. The preceptor should offer oblations. for three days at the three conjunctions (of time) (the morning, midday and evening) in the company of the custodians of the image.

47-48. And the final oblation composed of sacrificial porridge should be offered in all pits purified with the oblation (known as) sampāta (fulfilling oblation) on the fourth day with (the recitation of) the bahurūpi (mantra). The flowers used should be kept for four days after that and removed afterwards. After having bathed the image, it should be worshipped.

49-52. Worship in the case of ordinary liṅgas should be done by (the repetition of) the general mantras. Except consciousness of the liṅga, the lord should be bid adieu. In the case of liṅgas of extraordinary nature (lord) should be bid adieu (with the repetition of words), “Pardon (us O lord!)” In vocation, manifestation and dismissal (are done) befitting one’s ability. According to some it has been stated that seven oblations for the steadiness etc. (should be cast)at the end of installation. Steadiness, immeasurableness, cognisance of the originless existence, eternity, all-pervasiveness, deathlessness, seen as manifested are spoken as the characteristics of (lord) Śiva for the manifestation.

53-54. “Oṃ! obeisance to (lord) Śiva. Be thou steady.” This is the order offering oblations. After having accomplished this in this manner and having permeated the two pitchers with the essence of lord Śiva, the (lord) Bhava (Śiva) should be bathed with (the waters of) the one and the other should be borne for bathing the performer.

55-57. After having made the offering, (the preceptor) should do the ācamana (sipping of waters thrice) and go outside with the permission of lord Śiva. (The god) Caṇḍa should be located on a seat over a good pedestal in the north-eastern direction outside the sacrificial ground and worshipped with the brahma mantras preceded by contemplation, and rites of location and offering of oblations. The worship using the brahma mantras is that in which the components are mentioned at first.

Oṃ, hūṃ, phaṭ obeisance to Sadyojāta. Oṃ, hūṃ, phaṭ obeisance to Vāmadeva. Oṃ, vuṃ, phaṭ obeisance to Aghora. Oṃ, vauṃ, phaṭ obeisance to Tatpuruṣa. Oṃ, hūṃ, phaṭ obeisance to Īśāna.

58-59. After having conveyed the (merits of) repetition (to the lord) and appeased him, (the lord) should be addressed as follows preceded by bowing. O (lord Caṇḍa)! Stay (in this temple) as long as the lord (Śiva) stays here. O (lord) Caṇḍeśa! Whatever has been omitted or made in excess by me out of ignorance, make it complete by your grace.

60. Lord Caṇḍa should not be invoked in cases where a bāṇaliṅga (a kind of stone representing lord Śiva) or a liṅga placed on the bāṇa stone or an accomplished liṅga or self-originated liṅga or images of all gods (are established).

61-66. Even in the case of rites relating to the presiding deity of the sacrificial ground in which there is the mental attitude of union with the lord, the preceptor should worship (lord) Caṇḍeśa, and the yajamāna (the person for whom the work is done) along with his son and wife and should bathe himself with (the waters of) the pitcher already placed. The yajamāna should also worship the preceptor as (the lord) Maheśa (Śiva) and make gifts of earth, gold and other things without any distinction whatever. After having satisfied befittingly the protectors of images, those who repeat (the mantras), the brahmins, astrologers and sculptors, the destitutes, forlorns and others should be fed. “O lord! Ocean of compassion! Forgive me for all the sufferings you had in being present here.” To the yajamāna who has spoken thus, the preceptor should offer with his own hands the merits of consecration resplendent like the glowing star along with the kuśa, flowers and unbroken rice.

67. After having then saluted (lord) Parameśvara (Śiva) endowed with the pāśupata (mantra), (the preceptor) should address the attendant gods (of the lord) with offerings for their presence.

68-71. “You should stay here in as long as (the lord) Hara (Śiva) is present here. Then the preceptor should take possession of the sacrificial shed along with the cloth etc. Then the sculptor (should take possession of) the bathing shed along with the articles (found therein). All other gods should be established with the repetition of the mantras as given in the āgamas[2]. (In these establishments of other gods) the splitting of the first letter of the (respective) names (of the gods) and the location of fundamental principles pervading these (should be made). The gods commencing with Sādhya, the rivers, herbs, the guardian deities of the ground, kinnaras (semi-divine beings) and others should lie in the principle of earth. In some places the location of the (goddesses) Sarasvatī and Lakṣmī (are) in the waters.

72. The presiding deities of the world (should be established) in those places where they remain firm. The place of Brahmā is the three fundamental principles which extends to the important cause of expansion of the (primordial) egg.

73. The place of Hari (Viṣṇu) is the triad (of worlds) which has the subtle principles as the main. The places for the lord of dancing (Nāṭyeśa, a form of Śiva), gaṇas (attendant gods), mothers (goddesses), Yakṣeśas (semi-divine beings) and (lord) Subrahmaṇya (are as described above).

74. The place of Gaṇapati is that upto the principle of pure knowledge. (The place) of splendours emitted by (lord) Śiva and (his consort) Śivā (Pārvatī) extends to the energy in the region of a part of the illusion.

75-77. In the case of manifested images, the place is spoken as upto the lord (Śiva). Some forms like the tortoise as well as the five things such as the gem etc. should be put in the hole of the pedestal except in the case of (the image of) the five brahman forms (of lord Śiva). In the hole divided into six parts one part from the end is left out and fixing is made in the fifth part. If it is divided into eight parts, the fixing is done in the seventh part. This fixing in the case of images brings forth happiness.

78-79. Purification is done by meditation when the images are fixed. In the case of plastered and painted images bathing, placing on a pedestal, placing gems (underneath), opening of the eyes, the (placing of) mantras, and the offer of seats etc. (should be done) mentally. Worship should be done with flowers without water in them so that the picture may not get spoilt.

80-82. “The mode (of fixing) the movable variety of liṅga is described now.” (The liṅga) should be divided into five or three parts separately and three or two parts (should be set apart for fixing). On account of the different fundamental principles, the purification of the pedestals as well as the liṅgas made of crystals (should be done) with the mantra of creation as laid down. In those cases there is no need to place the brahmaśilā and the gems etc.

83. The placing of the image on the pedestal should be done mentally. There is no special procedure for purification in the case of self-originated liṅgas and bāṇaliṅgas (liṅgas made of a kind of stone).

84. (The movable liṅgas) should be bathed with (the recitation of) the vedic mantras. So also the (rite of) assigning an oblation should be done (with the same mantras). The (sacred) rivers, oceans and mountains are installed as before.

85-86. The liṅgas made of earth and flours are known as aihika (relating to this world) and kṣata (perishable). After having made such a liṅga pure, one should worship as laid down with the rites of initiation etc. Then after having withdrawn the mantras into himself in its presence, the preceptor should cast that liṅga in the waters. It yields one’s desires within a year. The installation of (the images of) Viṣṇu etc. should be done with separate mantras.

Footnotes and references:


Soul, knowledge and bliss.


Texts relating to worship of deities in the temples.

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