The Linga Purana

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

This page describes Monism of Shiva (shivadvaita) which is chapter 75 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 75 - Monism of Śiva (śivādvaita)

The sages said:

1. How did the lord who is niṣkala (attributeless), nirmala (pure), and nitya (eternal) adopt sakalatva (the state of being with attributes). It behoves you to tell us about this in the same manner you had learnt it formerly.

Sūta said:

2. O leading brahmins, persons who know reality recognize the lord in the form of the Praṇava, Vijñāna (perfect knowledge), after hearing about the unborn lord in the Vedantic treatises.

3. The knowledge that has sound, etc. for its object is called Jñāna. Others say that jñāna is devoid of Error. Still others say that it is not so.

4. O brahmins, some sages say that knowledge which is pure, devoid of impurities, has no alternatives as objects and does not require a support and is made manifest through a teacher, is the real one.

5. Salvation results only from perfect knowledge. Grace of the lord is conducive to the achievement of perfect knowledge. Both help to liberate the yogin and make him blissful.[1]

6. Some sages say that His contact can be acquired by means of holy rites. By one’s own free will, the form that is conceived fancifully shall be withdrawn.

7-11. The heaven is the head of Lord, the sky.[2] is his umbilicus, the moon, sun and fire are his eyes, the quarters are his ears. The nether worlds constitute his feet, the ocean is his cloth, Devas are his arms, the constellations are his ornaments, Prakṛti is his wife, Puruṣa is his Liṅga. From his face[3] issued forth all the Brahmins, Brahmā, Indra, and Viṣṇu. The Kṣatriyas issued from his arms. The Vaiśyas issued from his thighs and Śūdras from his feet. Puṣkala Āvartaka and other clouds are his hairs. The winds are born of his nose. The Śruti and Smṛti texts constitute his gait.

12. The lord in the form of Karman makes Prakṛti function by means of this cosmic body. The glorious Puruṣa is comprehensible to man through perfect knowledge, not otherwise.

13-14. Tapoyajña (sacrifice in the form of austerity) is superior to thousands of Karmayajñas (sacrifice in the form of holy rites). Japayajña (sacrifice in the form of Japa) is superior to thousands of Tapoyajñas. Dhyānayajña (sacrifice in the form of meditation) is superior to thousands of Japayajñas. There is nothing greater than Dhyānayajña. Dhyāna (meditation) is a means of perfect knowledge.

15. When the yogin stands firmly by equal elegance and sees through meditation, when he is engaged in the Dhyānayajña, Śiva becomes manifest in him.

16. All people conversant with the knowledge of Brahman are pure, thanks to that Vidyā. There is no expiatory rite or any injunction, in regard to Vijñānins (knowers); nor do they have purificatory rites.

17. On consideration it is clear that there is no holy rite in the world, there is no happiness or misery, neither dharma nor adharma. neither japa nor homa, to those who take up meditation. They come near to the ‘Sat’ (the existent Being).

18. The Liṅga is pure, auspicious and imperishable. It is exceedingly blissful in nature. The Niṣkala form, that is, the form devoid of attributes is all-pervasive. It is always stationed in the heart of yogins.

19. O brahmins, they say that the Liṅga is of two types viz.,—the external and the internal. O excellent sages, the grass one is the external. O brahmins, the subtle one is the internal. [So are the devotees].

20. The gross devotees are those engaged in the worship of gross Liṅgas and interested in holy rites and sacrifices. The gross idol is just for awakening knowledge of the gross devotees.[4]

21-22. The spiritual liṅga is not perceptible to the deluded person who conceives things only externally and not otherwise. The gross liṅga made of clay, wood, etc., is perceptible only to non-yogin as the subtle and eternal Liṅga is perceptible to the Jñānin.

23. Other knowers of reality say that the object, on consideration, is non-existent.[5] Therefore, everything, the Niṣkala and the Sakala is of the nature of Śiva.

24. Others say like this, O men of good holy rites—Although the ether is one, it is perceived separately in regard to separate platters. Similarly Śiva has separateness as well as non-separateness.

25. O men of good holy rites, though the sun is only one he is seen manifold in the different water-reservoirs. This example is cited in order to convince the people.

26. The creatures in the heaven and on the earth are evolved out of the five elements. Still they are seen in multiples of forms as different species and individuals.

27. Know that whatever is seen or heard is identical with Śiva. The difference among the people, on deliberation, is mere illusion.

28. After experiencing extensive pleasures in dream a man may be happy or miserable. But on pondering we understand that neither the pleasure nor the misery has been really experienced.

29-30. All those who have understood the real meanings of the Vedas also speak thus in regard to worldly matters. The great lord invested with attributes is directly perceptible in the hearts of the worldly-minded persons. The lord devoid of attributes appears in the hearts of yogins and is identical with the universe. He appears to the wise ones only. The physical body of the great lord is of three types.

31. O excellent brahmins, the first-one is Niṣkala, the second one is Sakala-Niṣkala and the third-one is Sakala.

32-33. Some worship the Sakala-Niṣkala form, some worship in the heart, or in the Liṅga or in the fire. Some worship the Sakala form along with their wives and sons.

34-35. Just as Śiva so also is the goddess. Just as the goddess so also is Śiva. Hence people worship the deities with the consciousness of non-difference. They worship the twenty-seven[6] principles in the body as well as outside, in the mystic diagrams of four, six, ten angles, twelve, sixteen and three sides.

36. Śiva, the lord, devoid of difference of Sat and Asat is stationed out of his own free will along with the goddess for the protection of the world.

37. Some call him one, some call him one with two Guṇas.[7] Some call him Triguṇa[8] (having three Guṇas). Some say that it is Śiva. Others, the knowers of the Vedas speak of him as the cause of the universe.

38. All Brahmins equipped with devotion and auspicious yoga are persons of special characteristics. They are interested in Dharma. In the middle of the hexagon they worship the lord of yogas, having all the forms (or no form).

39. Those who perceive Śiva in the three-sided (mystic diagram), in the middle of the three principles, attain him; not the other yogins. They perceive the three-eyed[9] lord with the three Guṇas, the ancient Puruṣa along with the goddess.

Footnotes and references:


ānandamayaḥ—i.e. by the real knowledge and divine grace the yogin can attain the supreme bliss. Cf. “ānandamayo'bhyāsāt”—cited in Śivatoṣiṇī.


kha [kham]—the world of mortals. Śivatoṣiṇī. quotes Viśva in support of this meaning.


The divine origin of society and its division into four classes, viz. Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya, Vaiśya and Śūdra, can be traced as far back as the Puruṣasūkta of the Ṛgveda.


The gross (liṅga) form of the supreme lord Śiva is meant just to create a feeling of devotion in the gross-minded people. In fact, lord Śiva (like the ether) is an indivisible entity. His division into sakala and niṣkala forms, as of the ether into ghaṭākāśa and maṭhākāśa is conditioned by external factors.


artha [arthaḥ]—goal, viz. the release from the bondage of activities. Because, actually, as there is no bondage, there is no release. Cf. Pañcadaśī; VI. 35; also Mahābhārata. “bandhasya māyāmūlatvān na me mokṣo na bandhanam”—cited in Śivatoṣiṇī.


sapta-viṃśat prabhedataḥ—In the groups of tattvas, Śiva is placed in the twenty-seventh category. (Cf. 1.71. 51). But this classification is only impirical, not real. However, the physical and mental worship of Śiva enjoined in the āgamas rests on the categorical basis.


dviguṇa [dviguṇam]—in the form of Prakṛti and Puruṣa.


triguṇa [triguṇam]—in the form of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra.


triyakṣa [tri-yakṣam]=tryakṣa [tryakṣam], three-eyed. See p. 280 note. 259.

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