The Linga Purana

by J. L. Shastri | 1951 | 265,005 words | ISBN-10: 812080340X | ISBN-13: 9788120803404

This page describes Glory of Shiva which is chapter 6 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 6 - Glory of Śiva

Sūta said:

1-3. The three sons of Agni[1] are Pavamāna, Pāvaka and Śuci. The fire produced by attrition is called Pavamāna; that from lightning is named Pāvaka; that from the sun is known as Śuci. The three were the sons of Svāhā. Together with their sons and grandsons their number goes upto forty-nine (= 7 x 7). The fires are produced in sacrifices.

4. All these are ascetics and observers of holy rites. All of them are prajāpatis identical with Rudra.

5. The Pitṛs are of two categories: yajvans and non-yajvans. Yajvans are also called Agniṣvāttas, the non-yajvans as Barhiṣadas.

6. Śraddhā gave birth to the mental daughter Menā. This mental daughter is well known in the world.

7-8. Menā gave birth to Maināka Krauñca, his (Maināka’s) younger sisters Umā and Gaṅgā. The latter became the holiest by virtue of her contact with the body of lord Śiva. Svadhā gave birth to a mental daughter Dharaṇī (earth) who became the support of sacrifices. That lady (Dharaṇī) of lotus-face became the wife of Meru, the king of mountains.

9-10. The Pitṛs are amṛtapas (imbibers of nectar). Their account in detail, together with that of the sages and their families I shall narrate in a separate chapter, later on.

Satī, the (adopted) child of Dakṣa, the future daughter of Himavat, married Rudra.

11. Later, she cursed her father Dakṣa [and immolated herself] Rudra who thought on her created many Rudras.

12. He created them in the form of his own person and they were honoured by all the worlds. O leading sages, it was at the behest of Brahmā that lord Rudra created them. The lord had laughed and they were created immediately.

13- 16. The fourteen worlds[2] were completely covered by them. They were of different sort, devoid of impurities, deathless and ageless. On seeing these Rudras in front Brahmā spoke to them:

“O Rudras, obeisance to you. O three-eyed gods, you are omniscient, omnipresent and splendid. Some of you are long, some short and dwarfish. Your hair are golden. You dazzle our eyes by your splendour. You are eternal, enlightened, devoid of impurities and dvandvas. You are passionless sons of Rudra. You are the universal souls. Thus, after eulogising Rudras, lord Brahmā circumambulated them and spoke to Rudra.

17. “O lord, obeisance be to you; O great Rudra, it does not behove you to create subjects devoid of death. O lord, you should create mortal subjects.”

18. Then the great lord Rudra replied thus, “My position is not of such a nature. O. Brahmā, you should create such subjects endowed with death.”

19. Thus, at the will of Rudra, the four-faced Brahmā created the Universe, of the mobile and immobile beings, endowed with death and old age.

20-24. Thus, as Rudra desisted from creating mortal subjects he obtained the title ‘sthāṇu’. O Brahmins, Rudra alone is capable of that. He is the supreme and unsullied soul who can assume physical bodies when, he wills. The lord bestows happiness on all living beings mercifully and without strain. He has, therefore, acquired the title Śaṅkara. He is the all-pervading soul who bestows blessings upon the person who out of the fear of worldly existence has resorted to yoga whereby he has become detached eschewing worldly activities and pleasures. [It is enjoined that] detachment can be produced by perfect knowledge as well. The indiscriminate eschewal of this knowledge is meaningless and is contrary to the purpose. It is through his grace that the confluence of knowledge and detachment takes place.

25-26. Virtue, knowledge, detachment and prosperity are the result of his blessing. By taking recourse to him one can be easily liberated. Even if he is engrossed in sin he does not fall into hell.

27-31. Hence, by resorting to him, people can attain eternal release from worldly existence.

The Sages said:

There are twenty-eight crores of hells from ghora to māyā where the sinners are tortured, if they do not seek refuge in Him. He is the support of all living beings. He is unchanging. He is the lord of the worlds. He is Puruṣa, the great Atman. He is often invoked and often eulogised. He is named Kāla Rudra when he assumes tamoguṇa, and Brahmā when he assumes rajoguṇa and Viṣṇu when he assumes sattvaguṇa. When devoid of attributes he is called Maheśvara. O intelligent Sūta, now tell us, by doing what or by neglecting what do men go to hell. We are eager to hear it.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

For agnivaṃśa see Vāyu I. 29; Brahmāṇḍa I.1.10; Mārkaṇḍeya 52.20-21, Viṣṇu 1.10.14-17. According to Liṅga (11.12-33) the creative force that permeates the Cosmic Egg and effects the work of creation.—There are foty-nine agnis (II.12.35) which are the different forms of Rudra (1.6.4), while according to Harivaṃśa they are the attendants of Rudra (2.122. 17-40). Though there is a general agreement in the Purāṇas in regard to the number of agnis there is a wide disagreement about their names.

[2]:

The universe is comprised of fourteen worlds, seven rising above the earth and seven lying below. The seven upper regions are (i) bhūr, (ii) bhuvaḥ, (iii) svar, (iv) mahar, (v) janaḥ (vi) tapas, (vii) satyam. and the seven lower are (i) atala, (ii) vitala, (iii) sutala, (iv) rasātala, (v) tala, (vi) talātala, (vii) pātāla.

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