The Brahmanda Purana

by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 319,243 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246

This page describes shiva cursed by daruvana sages: their repentance and prayer which is Chapter 27 of the English translation of the Brahmanda Purana: one of the oldest puranas including common Puranic elements such as cosmogony, genealogy, ethics, geography and yoga. Traditionally, the Brahmandapurana is said to consist of 12,000 verses metrical Sanskrit verses.

Chapter 27 - Śiva cursed by Dāruvana sages: their repentance and prayer

Summary: Śiva cursed by Dāruvana sages: Their repentance and Prayer: Installation of Śiva Liṅga—The Injunction Regarding Ash-bath.

Notes: This story how and why Śiva was cursed by sages in the Dāru-Vana and how they subsequently adopted the Śiva Liṅga for worship is narrated in the Liṅga-purāṇa, Kūrma-purāṇa, Vāyu-purāṇa, mentioned above. The Dāru-Vana mentioned here is in the Himalayas (vide V 6 below) and not in Maharashtra as given in De 53-54.

The sages said:—

1. Recount once again, O Sūta of great intellect, the greatness of Mahādeva. We are eager and curious to listen to it.

2. How did the lord assume a loathsome form in the forest Dāruvana resorted to by the groups of divine sages? The great sages gained wisdom thereby.

3. On knowledge that it was Mahādeva, they became excited and confused. In order to propitiate him they worshipped him but Bhava (Lord Śiva) did not become pleased with them.

4. All these activities of the lord of the Devas may kindly be recounted to us in number as they took place. You are the most excellent one among intelligent persons.”

Sūta said:

5. “Let this righteous activity be heard while I recount it, O alert ones. It is, due to his compassion towards the devotees, that this had been carried out by the lord of the Devas.

6. (This happened) O Brāhmaṇas, formerly on the splendid and auspicious peak of the Himalayas in the Kṛta-yuga. There is a forest of Devadāru trees which is beautiful and full of many trees and creepers.

7-9. Many sages perform austerities here and carry on holy ascetic rites.[1] Some of them had only śaivāla (moss) for their food. Some of them lay within water. Some of them had the ethereal space (for their stay). Some of them supported themselves on the tips of their big toes. Some had their teeth serve the purpose of Ulūkhala (threshing Mortar, i.e. they ate the grains of corn chewing them with their teeth); others were Aśmakuṭṭas (who pounded their grains on rocks before eating). Some remained seated in heroic postures (Vīrāsana). Others followed the way of life of the deer. All those sages of great intellect spent their time in severe penances.

10-12. Then the lord came to that forest in order to confer grace on them. His limbs were grey due to the application of Bhasman (ashes). He was naked. He had hideous features. His hairs were dishevelled and ugly. His teeth were terrific. His hands eagerly got hold of a firebrand. His eyes were reddish brown. His penis and scrotum resembled red chalk. His face was beautified by reddish white colour.

13. At some places he laughed boisterously and terribly. At some places he showed surprise and began to sing. At some places he began to dance expressing amorous sentiment. At some places, he began to cry again and again.[2]

14. Deluded and enchanted by him the wives of the sages immediately prevented him from dancing. After coming to the hermitage as a guest, he began to beg again and again.

15. He created a wife unto himself, similar in form and bedecked in ornaments. He roared and bellowed like a bull and brayed like a donkey.

16. He began to befool them making all the embodied ones laugh. Thereupon, the sages became angry. They were over-whelmed by fury.

17. Fascinated by his deluding power (Māyā) they approached him in order to curse him. “Since you sing (bray) like a (donkey) you will become a donkey.

18-19. Or you will be Rākṣasa, Piśāca (Evil spirit) or a Dānava.” As they pleased, those infuriated sages cursed him with different kinds of curses. They cursed that lord of the universe but the powers of austerities of all of them were repelled and made futile against Śaṅkara.

20. Just as the stars in the sky do not shine on account of refulgence of the sun so also their splendour (power of penance) (became ineffective) on Śaṅkara.

21. It is heard that the full-fledged Yajña, the cause of all prosperity of Brahmā, the noble soul, met with destruction on account of the curse of sages.

22. On account of the curse of Bhṛgu, Viṣṇu of very supreme prowess and splendour had to take ten births and was made miserable for ever.[3]

23. Formerly, the penis of Indra along with his scrotum, O sages conversant with Virtue, was made to fall down on the earth by the infuriated sage Gautama.[4]

24. The Vasus were forced to stay in the womb on account of a curse. It is on account of the curse of sages that Nahuṣa was turned into a serpent.[5]

25. It was by Brāhmaṇa that the ocean of milk was rendered unfit to be drunk. Dharma (God of Death) was cursed by the noble-souled Māṇḍavya.[6]

26. These and many others underwent much torment excepting Maheśvara, the lord of the Devas with uneven (three) eyes.

27. Thus, enchanted by him, they did not recognize Śaṅkara. Thereupon, all those sages spoke to each other.

28. “This is not the right code of conduct laid down for us householders. Nor is it the rite of those engaged in the vow of celibacy or the forest-hermitages.

29. This is not seen as the Dharma of recluses. This is great injustice and misdemeanour whereby this person is deluded, O Brāhmaṇas.

30. Make his Liṅga drop down. This is not the Dharma (a code of conduct) of sages and ascetics.[7] Speak sweet words. Resort to (at least) one Garment.

31-33. When the Liṅga is abandoned (dropped) by you, you will be accorded due worship.

On hearing these words of the sages, lord Śaṅkara, the destroyer of the eyes of Bhaga, said in polished speech, as though he was laughing boisterously.

“This Liṅga of ours cannot be made to fall down forcibly by all the gods beginning with Brahmā. How then be the other ascetics. O excellent Brāhmaṇas, I shall make this Liṅga fall down.”

34-36. They uttered the sentence “Stay in the hermitage or go away”.

On being spoken to thus, lord Mahādeva became delighted in the activities of the sense-organs. Even as all of them were observing, the lord vanished there itself.

When the lord vanished and Bhava (God Śiva) was transformed into a Liṅga, there was no appearance of any living being in the range of the three worlds. Everything was agitated and nothing shone.

37. The sun did not shine; the fire became devoid of lustre. The stars and the planets became contrary (to their normal state).

38. The Kratus (sacrifices?) of the sages who had plenty of resources and who were engaged in activities conducive to the birth of children and who used to approach their wives only at the permitted period after the days of menstruation, did not function properly.

39. Without the sense of My-ness (mamatva) and devoid of egotism, they tried to perform the holy rite once again. (But) all their potentiality and all their splendour became lost.

40. At that time their mind did not become concentrated in Dharma (holy rites etc.). All of them gathered together and went to the region of god Brahmā.

41. After going to the abode of Brahmā and on seeing the Lotus-born deity, at his abode all of them fell at his feet and narrated the account about Śiva.

42. “He is formidable and frightful. His hair is stiff and rough. His teeth are terrific. His hands are eager to get hold of an owl[8] (?)

43-44. His penis along with the scrotum is red and embellished (painted) with red chalk. He was always (found) remaining at the sides of our ḍaughters-in-Law and daughters, particularly those who had their babies (?) with them. (He was found) staying near them with an unnatural desire. Taking him to be a mad fellow, we insulted him.

45. He was scolded and beaten. His Liṅga (? penis) was taken out. It is to alleviate his anger that we have sought refuge in you.

46-48. We do not know this matter (thoroughly). Explain it to us, O grand-father”.

On hearing these words of the sages Lord Brahmā meditated and found out that it was Śarva (god Śiva). Then with great concentration, he replied thus:—

“This is lord Mahādeva. He should be known as the great lord. His great region is not attained easily. Heis the lord of the gods, sages and manes.

49. At the end of thousand Yugas, when there is the annihilation, of all embodied beings, this lord Maheśvara becomes Kāla (God of death) and destroys (everything).

50. He alone creates all subjects singly and by means of his own vigour. He alone is the discus-bearing lord (Viṣṇu) whose chest is characteristically marked by Śrīvatsa.

51. He is called Yogin in the Kṛta Yuga and Kratu in the Tretā Yuga. In the Dvāpara, he is remembered as Kālāgni and as Dharmaketu in the Kali age.

52. Three forms of Rudra should be known and realized by learned men. The Tamas form is Agni, the Rajas form is Brahmā and Sattva is Viṣṇu, the illuminator.

53. One form of his is remembered as having the quarters for his garment (i.e. naked). It is named Śiva. It is in him that the Brahman endowed with Yoga resides.

54-55. Hence, O leading Brāhmaṇas, after subduing your anger and controlling sense-organs propitiate the lord Īśāna, the imperishable lord, the lord of the Devas. After making a replica of the Liṅga of the great soul in the same form as was seen by you, resort to Lord with the trident in his hand.

56. Thereupon, you will see the lord of the Devas who can rarely be seen by ignorant and foolish persons who have not mastered their own selves. On seeing him, all ignorance and evils shall be destroyed.”

57. Thereupon, they circumambulated Brahmā of unmeasured vigour. Becoming devoid of all grief, they returned and settled in the forest of Devadāru (Himalayan cedar) trees once again.

58-59. They began to propitiate the lord in the manner described by Brahmā in the various dry lands, on the mountains of variegated forms, in the caves and on the sandy banks of rivers splendid and variegated.

Thus when a year elapsed completely and the spring season arrived, the lord came to that forest assuming that very same form.

60. The great God entered that penance-grove and forest wherein many trees and creepers had put forth flowers, where that part of tract had been resonant with the drone of swarms of bees and which was filled with the sweet notes of the cuckoo.

61-66. Then all those sages eulogised him with great mental purity and concentration and worshipped him with waters, different kinds of garlands, incense and fragrant scents. Those highly fortunate ones worshipped him in the company of their wives, sons and attendants. With gentle words they spoke thus to Girīśa.

“It behoves you to forgive all our actions (of omission and commission) whatever has been perpetrated mentally, verbally and physically due to our ignorance of the lord of the Devas. O Śaṅkara, the conduct of life of Brahmā and other Devas is mysteriously esoteric, elaborate, inscrutable and difficult to comprehend. We do not know how to welcome you. We do not know at all any of your movements. O Mahādeva, O lord of the universe, you are as you are, obeisance be to you. Only noble-souled ones eulogise you, the lord of the Devas, the great lord.

67. Obeisance be to Bhava, Bhavya (splendid one), Bhāvana (sanctifier) and Udbhava (source of origin). Hail to the lord of spirits, the lord of infinite strength and virility.

68. Bow to the lord of tawny-complexioned body the destroyer, the imperishable one, the changing one. Obeisance to the lord, to the supporter of the current of Gaṅgā water. Bow to the lord who is the support; salutations to the soul of good qualities.

69. Obeisance to Tryambaka (the three-eyed lord). Hail to the lord who wields the excellent trident. Bow to you (identical with) Kandarpa. Obeisance be to you the Supreme Soul.

70. Obeisance to Śaṅkara, the bull-bannered one. Hail to the lord of Gaṇas (groups of goblins, the attendants of Śiva). Obeisance to Kāla with the staff in his hands; obeisance to the lord with the noose in his hands.

71-73. Obeisance to the lord who is the main deity in the Vedic Mantras; and to you of hundred tongues. Whatever is there in the world, the past, the present, the future, the mobile and immobile beings—all the visible worlds have originated from your person. O Śambhu, welfare unto you, protect us. Therefore be pleased with us. Whatever man

does, whether out of ignorance or knowingly, it is the lord alone who does it by means of his Yogic Māyā.”

74-76. After eulogising thus with delighted minds, the sages requested the lord: “Being endowed with the power of penance, we may see you as before. May your Liṅga be stationed in the normal posture as before.

Obeisance to the Digvāsas (the naked one) having garland-like clusters of Kiṅkiṇīs (bells in the trinkets).

Salute to the hideous one, to the terrible one, to the lord of frightful face. Obeisance to you who are devoid of form, who have excellent form and who have multiforms.

77. Obeisance be to Kaṭaṃkaṭa (golden-formed one), obeisance to Rudra; obeisance to Svāhākāra. Hail to you, the embodiment of all vital airs; Salute to you the lord with the Guṇas for his bodies.

78. Obeisance to Durgandha (foul-smelling one), to Sugandha (fragrant one); Salute to the lord with the trident in his hands; Obeisance to lord Śrīkaṇṭha with the dark-blue tuft. Hail to Nīlakaṇṭha, the lord who has applied the ashes in the cremation ground for unguent.

79. Obeisance to the lord identical with the trio of Guṇas. Hail to you the Viśva (one identical with the universe), the Vedhas (Creator), Bow to the lord who resides always in the cremation ground; Obeisance to the lord of the form of the Preta (Departed Soul?)

80. You are Brahmā among the Devas[9] and Nīlalohita among the Rudras. The soul of all living beings, you are called Puruṣa by the Sāṃkhyas.

81. You are the great Meru among the mountains and the Moon among the stars. Among the sages you are Vasiṣṭha and Vāsava (Indra) among the Devas.

82. You are Oṃkāra among the Vedic Mantras, Jyeṣṭhasāman among the Sāman Mantras. You are the lion among the beings of the forest. You are the supreme Īśvara.

83-86. You are the Bull among the domestic animals. You are the lord worshipped in all the worlds. Although you exist in all ways and manners, we see you alone in the beings that come up in front of us as narrated by Brahmā.

Lust, Anger, greed, distress and arrogance, we wish to check these, O Parameśvara (be pleased).

When the Mahāsaṃharaṇa (the great ultimate annihilation) arrives, fire is created by you, O lord, who are of self-governed spirit, by pressing the hand against the forehead. At that time all the worlds are surrounded all round by flames, on account of that fire.

87-88. Hence, all these are on a par with the fire. There are many hideous fires. All the living beings, mobile and immobile, all animals are burned by the fire originating from you. O lord of Devas, be the saviour of all of us as we are being burned.

89-91. For the welfare of all the worlds you sprinkle (with nectar) all the living beings; O lord of great fortune. O Maheśvara, the onlooker of auspiciousness. Command us O lord, we shall carry out your behest. We arc unable to find any possible limit to your millions and millions of forms. O lord, obeisance unto you”.

Thereafter, the lord and Master said these words:

92-93. “No learned man shall speak insultingly unto those persons who are devoted to my Bhasman (holy Ashes), who have burnt all their sins by means of ashes, who carry out everything they say, who have control over their sense-organs and who are Brāhmaṇas engrossed in meditation. No one who desires welfare both here and hereafter, shall transgress them nor shall they speak words unpleasant to them.

94. The man of deluded mind who censures them, censure. Mahādeva. He who worships them always worships Śaṅkara. Act like this. Welfare unto you all. You will obtain (achievement of) spiritual power from me.”

95. After understanding the unparalleled and excellent holy rite that is destructive of the great darkness (of ignorance) and that had been recounted by Siva, those people got rid of their fear, greed, delusion and anxiety. They al] fell (at his feet), simultaneously and bore (them) by means of their heads.

96-97. Then those delighted Brāhmaṇas began to perform the ablution of lord Maheśvara who assumed his usual Prākṛtika form by means of very pure scented water mixed with Kuśa grass and flowers. They began to sing with various kinds of esoteric Huṅkāras in sweet notes:—

98. “Obeisance unto you, O lord with the quarters for your garments (i.e. naked); Bow to the lord wearing Kiṅkiṇīs (small tinkling ornaments or bells); Salutation to the lord half of whose body is female. Obeisance to the lord who promulgated Sāṃkhya and Yoga.

99. Bow to the lord dark in colour, with the clouds for his vehicle; Obeisance to the lord wearing the hide of an elephant as his garment. Salute to the lord wearing the skin of an antelope as the upper garment. Obeisance to the lord having a serpent for his sacred thread.”

100. Obeisance be unto Śaṅkara who has well constructed and wonderfully variegated ear-rings. Bow be to you with well-wreathed garlands for ornaments. Hail to you with the excellent hide of a lion for garment, O lord wielding a huge axe”.

101. When the Liṅga was installed once again with a desire for the welfare of all the worlds, those excellent sages devoted to the duties of the different castes carried them out.

102. Then the great God who was pleased, replied to those sages:—“O sages of excellent holy rites, I am pleased with your penance. Choose the boons.”

103-105. Then those sages viz. Bhṛgu, Aṅgiras, Vasiṣṭha, Viśvāmitra, Gautama, Atri, Sukeśa, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Marīci and Kaśyapa, all of them endowed with great penance, bowed down to Mahādeva and said these words:—

O lord, we wish to understand these—Ash-bath, nakedness, Vāmatva (left-handed ritual), Pratilomatā (contrary action) and Sevyāsevyatva (state of being worthy of being served and of being unworthy of being served)”.

The Lord said:—[10]

106. “I shall explain this to you. I shall mention the entire story (i.e. details) now. I am Agni accompanied by Soma. Soma has resorted to Agni.

107. They say that all the worlds have resorted to the fire made and unmade (i.e. artificial and natural). The whole world, mobile and immobile, is burned many times by fire.

108. Everything can be achieved through Bhasman, It is excellent and sacred. He (the devotee) sprinkles the living beings after assimilating the power and essence of ashes.

109. It is only after performing the holy rites in fire that one will perform the rite of Tryāyuṣa (trebling the span of life). One is rid of all sins through Bhasman (ashes) which is my vigour.

110. Bhasman is so called because it illuminates (everything) auspicious and renders it fragrant. It is glorified as Bhasman because it instantaneously destroys all sins.

111. The Pitṛs should be known as Ūṣmapās (Imbibing heat); the Devas are born of Soma (the Soma juice or the moon). The entire universe consisting of the mobile and the immobile beings is constituted by Agni and Soma.

112. I am Agni of great splendour. This my Ambikā, is Soma; Agni, Soma and I form ourselves the Puruṣa with Prakṛti.

113. Hence, O highly fortunate ones, Bhasman is spoken of as my vim and vigour. The position is this that I retain my own vigour by means of my own body.

114. Ever since then, it is through Bhasman that safety is assured in the lying-in-chambers. It is through Bhasman that protection is sought in the world in inauspicious circumstances.

115. A devotee whose soul is sanctified by means of Ash-bath, who has conquered anger and who has subdued his sense-organs does not go back (i.e. is not born again) after coming near me.

116. The holy rite Pāśupata is (not inferior to) Yoga; the holy rite of Kāpāla is based on Yoga. This Pāśupata rite is laid down before. It is most excellent.

117. All the remaining Āśramins (persons of various stages in life) have been created afterwards by the self-born lord (Brahmā). This creation which is of the nature of bashfulness, delusion and fear, has been evolved by me.

118. Deities and the sages are born only naked. Others, the human beings in the world, all of them are born without any garment.

119. Even the persons who are covered with a silken garment are (no better than) naked, should the sense-organs be unconquered. They are well hidden (covered) if they are duly subdued. It is not the garment that is the real reason (about nudity and non nudity).

120. Forgiveness, fortitude, non-violence, absence of attachment to ail (worldly things) and equal indifference to both honour and dishonour—these constitute the excellent covering garment.

121-124. He who smears his limbs (body) with the Bhasman and renders them grey in colour, he who mentally meditates on Bhava (Śiva), he who takes his bath with Bhasman, (becomes free from sins). Even if a person commits thousands of misdeeds and takes an ash-bath, the Bhasman burns all the sins, just like fire that burns a forest by means of its refulgence. Hence, if a person exerts himself always and takes Ash-bath three times a day, he attains Gāṇapatya (the state of being a follower of Gaṇapati). After performing all kinds of Kratus (sacrifices), after taking in the excellent nectar if the people meditate on Mahādeva, if they merge themselves (in him) and are sanctified by identifying themselves with him, they shall attain immortality (Mokṣa) through the northern path.

125-126. Those who, through the Southern Path, resort to the cremation ground, attain all these supernatural powers viz.—Aṇimā (minuteness), Mahimā (greatness) Laghimā (lightness), Prāpti (ability to reach things), Garimā (heaviness), the fifth quality, Prākāmyam (freedom of will), Īśitva (Masterliness), Vaśitva (ability to control) and Amaratva (immortality).

127-129. Indra and other Devas performed Kāmika (conducive to the attainment of desires) holy rites and became, persons of well-known splendour after attaining great Aiśvarya (prosperity and power).

All of you be free from arrogance and delusion and devoid of passion; let your conduct be free from the defects of Tamas and Rajas. Understand this excellent holy rite that attacks all sins. Perform this vrata which is a great favourite of Paśupati (Śiva).

If anyone reads this with purity, faith and control of the sense-organs he shall become purified in. soul and rid of all sins. He goes to the world of Rudra.

Footnotes and references:


VV. 7-9 illustrate the different vows observed by sages while performing penance.




VR VII 51.11-16 states that Bhṛgu cursed Viṣṇu as he killed Bhṛgu’s wife Pulomā.


This punishment was meted out to Indra for his adultery with Gautama’s wife Ahalyā, vide VR 1.48 17-28.


Mbh. Udyoga. 17, 14-18 states how Nahuṣa was cursed by Agastya when he goaded him with his foot to carry his palanquin quickly to Śacī’s palace.


The sage Māṇḍavya was wrongfully impaled by god Yama. He therefore cursed him to be a Śūdra. (And he was born of Vidura)—Mbh. Adi. Ch. 107.


The sages were obviously ignorant of the Pāśupata way of life.


Probably ulmuka ‘fire-brand’ and not ulūka as in the text. In V.11 above he is stated to have a firebrand in his hand.


God Śiva is the best one among all gods etc. Cf. Bh. G. for such a list of excellences and every such excellence is His part:

Yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṃ....
mama tejoṃśasambhavam / Bh. G. X 41.


VV. 106-128 describe Pāśupata Vrata according to the author of this Purāṇa.

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