The Linga Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1951 | 9,466 words | ISBN-10: 812080340X | ISBN-13: 9788120803404

This page describes Introductory which is chapter 1 of the English translation of the Linga Purana, traditionally authored by Vyasa in roughly 11,000 Sanskrit verses. It deals with Shaiva pilosophy, the Linga (symbol of Shiva), Cosmology, Yugas, Manvantaras, Creation theories, mythology, Astronomy, Yoga, Geography, Sacred pilgrimage guides (i.e., Tirthas) and Ethics. The Lingapurana is an important text in Shaivism but also contains stories on Vishnu and Brahma.

Chapter 1 - Introductory

1. Obeisance to the Supreme Soul, Rudra, Viṣṇu and Brahmā,[1] the lord of Pradhāna and Puruṣa[2] and the cause of creation, sustenance and dissolution.

2-4. The sage Nārada[3] went to Naimiṣa[4] after worshipping Śiva, in all the holy centres,[5] viz. Śaileśa, Saṅgameśvara, Hiraṇyagarbha, Svarlīna, Avimukta, Mahālaya, Raudra, Goprekṣaka, the excellent Pāśupata, Vighneśvara, Kedāra, Gomāyukeśvara, Hiraṇyagarbha, Candreśa, Īśānya, Triviṣṭapa and Śukreśvara.

5. On seeing Nārada, the residents of Naimiṣa were delighted in their minds. After honouring him they offered him a befitting seat.

6-17. He too being pleased accepted the seat offered by the excellent sages. Seating himself comfortably on the excellent seat and duly worshipped by the sages he discussed with them the holy narrative of the Liṅgas, the narrative consisting of wonderful anecdotes. At the very same time, the intelligent Sūta who was well-versed in the Purāṇas came to Naimiṣa for offering homage to the sages. The residents of Naimiṣa greeted him duly with holy songs and adorations, (since) he was the disciple of Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana.[6] On seeing the truly trustworthy and scholarly Sūta Romaharṣaṇa[7] there arose in them the desire to hear the Purāṇa. They, thereafter, asked him about the meritorious Purāṇa that contained the glory and greatness of the Liṅgas.

The residents of Naimiṣa said:

“O Sūta, of great intellect, after adoring the sage Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana for the knowledge of the Purāṇas you have obtained the Puranic lore from him. Hence, O Sūta, the best among the Paurāṇikas, we desire to hear from you that Puranic lore illustrating the glory of the Liṅgas. Nārada, the glorious son of Brahmā, after completing his pilgrimage to the holy centres of the supreme lord Rudra and worshipping the Liṅgas therein, has arrived here. You are a devotee of lord Rudra. So also are we and Nārada. It behoves you to recount the meritorious Purāṇa containing the glory and greatness of the Liṅgas[8] in the presence of this sage. Since, everything (relating to Dharma) has been successfully achieved by you, it should all be well known to you.”

Thus told, Sūta, the most gifted among the Paurāṇikas was delighted in his mind. He, the meritorious one, made obeisance first to Nārada, the son of Brahmā and then to the ascetics of Naimiṣa and began narrating the Purāṇa.

Sūta said:—

18. After bowing to Śiva, Brahmā and Viṣṇu, I remember the leading sage Vyāsa in order to recount the Liṅga Purāṇa.

19-24. I bow down to the supreme lord whose body is Śabda-Brahman, who is the revealer of the Śabda-Brahman, whose limbs are the letters whose characteristics are unmanifest, but who manifests himself in diverse ways, who is constituted by the letters a, u, m. who is gross as well as subtle, who is greater than the greatest, who has the form of Om, whose face is the Ṛgveda, tongue the Sāmaveda, throat the Yajurveda, and heart the Atharvaveda, who is the lord beyond Pradhāna and Puruṣa, who is devoid of birth and death and who is called Kālarudra when he assumes tamoguṇa and Brahmā when he assumes rajoguṇa and the all-pervading Viṣṇu when he assumes sattvaguṇa, who is Maheśvara when devoid of all the guṇas[9], who manifests first in seven.[10] forms by enveloping the body of Pradhāna, then in sixteen[11] forms, and finally in twenty-six[12] forms, who is the source of origin of Brahmā, and who assumes the form of the Liṅga merely for the sport of creation, sustenance and annihilation (of the universe). After bowing down faithfully to that supreme lord, I begin recounting the auspicious narrative of the Liṅgapurāṇa.

Footnotes and references:


The Śaiva Purāṇas trace the origin of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra to the Supreme Spirit (Maheśvara) and assign the functions of creation existence and dissolution of the universe to each respectively. In fact, the three gods represent the three attributes—sattva, rajas and tamas which together form Pradhāna—the original source of the universe. Thus, the trinitarian pattern of the Cosmos is a single whole at its base. Gf. Devī Bhāga. I.8.2-4.


Pradhāna—the primary or unevolved matter, the original source of the material world. Puruṣa—the twenty-sixth principle represented as passive and a spectator of the working of Prakṛti—the creative force. He is distinguished from the personal soul(jīva) as the latter is the enjoyer of the fruits of the World-Tree. Cf. I.28.7; II.17. 26-27.


Nārada—the mind-born son of Brahmā and a divine sage who acts as a messenger between gods and men.


Naimiṣa or Naimiśa, mod. Nimsar. It is situated in the Sītāpur district in the Uttara Pradeśa, on the left bank of the Gomatī river. The place is so called because the rim (nimi) of the revolving wheel of virtue was shattered here and virtue had to make a permanent abode in this region (Vāyu 2.7). Or the place is so called because here an army of asuras was destroyed by the sage Gauramukha in a twinkling of eye. (Gf. Varāha quoted in Śivatoṣiṇī (a commentary on the Liṅgapurāṇa).) On the authority of the Matsya Purāṇa, A Borooah. (Ancient Geography of India) places it about the confluence of the Gomatī and the Ganges. It was sacred in the Kṛta age, as Puṣkara in the Tretā, Kurukṣetra in the Dvāpara, the Ganges in the Kali age.


For detail about the holy centres, see part I. Ch. 92.


Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsa was the son of Parāśara by Satyavatī who later on married king Śantanu. He composed the Mahābhārata and the Purāṇas and arranged the Vedas into four compendiums (Vāyu I.60.11ff)


Romaharṣaṇa or Lomaharṣaṇa was one of the five disciples of Vyāsa (Vāyu. 1.60.13; Śiva-Purāṇa. Vidyeśvara-Saṃhitā, 4.7). He was assigned the duty of preserving Puranic tradition while the other four Paila, Vaiśampāyana, Jaimini and Sumanta were entrusted with the task of preserving the Vedas. He is called Sūta but he is a brahmin. He should not be confused with the Sūta of mixed caste who was the offspring of a kṣatriya father and brahmin woman as described in Manu (Manusmṛti X.11.17)


Repeated in verse 10 of this Chapter.


Repeated in 1.6.30.


saptadhā—a group of seven tattvas consisting of intellect (buddhi), ego (ahaṃkāra) and five subtle elements (tanmātras).


ṣoḍaśadhā—five senses of action (Karmendriyas), five senses of knowledge (jñānendriyas), five gross elements (mahābhūtas) and mind.


To the twenty-three categories (supra Nos. 10, 11) are added Pradhāna (twenty-fourth), Jīva (twenty-fifth) and Puruṣa (twenty-sixth). To this group of twenty-six is added another (the twenty-seventh) namely the supreme lord (maheśvara).

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