The Linga Purana

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

This page describes The holy rite of Pashupata which is chapter 9 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 9 - The holy rite of Pāśupata

The sages said:

1-3. O Sūta, the divine and auspicious holy rite of Paśupati had been performed formerly by Devas. It had been performed by Brahmā himself and by Kṛṣṇa of unimpaired activity. Similarly, it was performed by the fallen brahmin, the son of Dhundhumūka. How could they attain salvation after performing the Pāśupata rite? How is lord Paśupati propitiated? It behoves you to recount this to us. We are very much eager to hear it.

Sūta said:

4-10a. Formerly, the son of Brahma[1] of great renown was liberated from the curse of Rudra the lord of Devas. He came here from the Desert-land.[2] Eschewing the physical body of a camel[3] at the bidding of Brahmā and by the grace of Rudra, O excellent sages, he went to Nandin the son of Śilāda and bowed to him in accordance with the injunctions. On the ridge of Meru, the excellent sage listened to the discourse on the excellent virtue. After bowing to Nandin, he again and again asked him about the holy rite pertaining to Maheśvara. How is lord Paśupati propitiated? It behoves you to recount everything to us. Then he said everything. The saintly lord Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsa, heard everything from Sanatkumāra. After hearing it from Vyāsa, I relate it to you. May all listen to my words after b owing to Maheśvara.

Sanatkumāra said:

How is lord Paśupati? Who are Paśus? By what bonds are they bound? How are they liberated?

Śailādi said:

10b-15a. O Sanatkumāra, I shall recount everything precisely to you, the tranquil devotee of Rudra and of auspicious mind.

All creatures from Brahmā to the immovables are Paśus of the intelligent lord. They are subject to worldly existence. Since he is their lord, he is known as Paśupati. The unchanging, all-pervading Parameśvara, who is the creator and who has neither a beginning nor an end binds souls by means of Māyā. He alone is their saviour on being served by the path of perfect knowledge.[4] No other saviour of those who are bound by the bonds of Ignorance is sought after or found.

15b-19. The twenty-four principles are the bonds of Parameṣṭhin. Śiva alone binds Paśus by means of these twenty-four bonds.[5] On being worshipped by Jīvas (individual souls) Siva alone releases them from the bonds. The same lord on being served, releases them from the bondages constituted by the ten sense-organs that originate from the Inner mind. The lord releases the souls from the bonds of tanmātras. The lord binds those who are enamoured of worldly pleasures by means of bonds constituted by the objects of senses. By service unto Paramesvara, the souls become devotees immediately. The root “bhaj” means service.

20 22. Hence, the idea of greatest service is indicated by the word Bhakti. After binding the Individual souls, from Brahmā to the blade of grass, by means of the three-fold bonds of the form of Guṇas, Maheśvara himself causes the effect. On being worshipped by the Paśus by the steady path of devotion he releases them instantaneously. Serving by means of words, mind and body is called Bhakti. It is competent to snap all bonds through the effects in view of its being the cause.

23-27. They know the following as mental service:—viz., pondering upon the attributes of Śiva such as “He is truthful” “He is all-pervasive” etc., and the thought about his assumption of forms.[6] Bold self-possessed persons know that the repetition of Praṇava, etc. is the verbal service. The Prāṇāyāma, etc. are mentioned by good men as the physical service. Thus is the bondage of all embodied beings by means of the bonds of merit and sin. Lord Śiva, Parameśvara alone is the person who releases them. The twenty-four principles are mentioned as the activities and attributes of Māyā. They are called sensual objects. Through the bondage they bind the individual soul. The embodied souls who are tied by them are liberated only through devotion to Śiva.

28. By means of the fivefold bonds called Kleśas,[7] Śaṅkara binds the Paśus. On being served well by means of devotion, he alone is their redeemer.

29. O foremost ones among the biped beings, the five Kleśas (distresses) that have become bonds are Avidyā. (ignorance) Asmitā (egotism), Rāga (lust), Dveṣa (hatred) and Abhiniveśa (instinctive clinging to the worldly enjoyments).

30. Scholars call Avidyā that is stationed in five-fold[8] forms by the names Tamas, Moha, Mahāmoha, Tāmisra and Andhatāmisra.

31. O leading sages, the glorious Śiva liberates all those jīvas from Avidyā. There is no other redeemer.

32-33. Those who are devoted to yogic practices call Avidyā as Tamas (darkness); Asmitā as Moha (delusion); Rāga (lust) as Mahāmoha (great delusion); Dveṣa (hatred) as Tāmisra (darkness); Abhiniveśa and Mithyājñāna (misconception) as Andhatāmisra (blinding darkness).

34. There are eight[9] types of Tamas. Moha is also eight-fold.[10] The different divisions of Mahāmoha are ten[11] in number,

35. The wise have said that Tāmisra[12] and Andhatāmisra[13] have eighteen subdivisions.

36-38. The relationship[14] of lord Siva with Avidyā cannot be one that is past or one that is yet to come. Nor can it be ever due to hatred, as he is immanent. There cannot be any relationship with Abhiniveśa (instinctive desire to cling to worldly pleasures) for the lord who is beyond the pale of Māyā, and who is worthy of being resorted to, and who is the greatest Ātman.

39. In all the three periods of time Śiva who is beyond Avidyā cannot have kinsmanship with Māyā by means of activities, be they efficient or inefficient.

40. There cannot be contact with the Māyā of Śiva the bestower of auspiciousness in all the three periods of time through the development of actions.

41. Śiva who is the greatest being of the nature of enlightenment and bliss is incapable of being affected by pleasures and sorrows that perish and continue to be present in the three periods of time.

42. Mahādeva, the self-born lord of intellect, is unafflicted by fates and fortunes present in the three periods of time.

43. The lord who is the slayer of the god of Death is untouched by the impressions of rites that are present in the three units of time. He is also unaffected by the impressions of enjoyment.

44. Lord Parameśvara is the greatest of the special Male beings. He is not connected with sentient and insentient beings. He is beyond the entire universe.

45. Perfect knowledge and excellences are seen in the world as one excelling the other. Learned men say that Śiva is the most auspicious one excelling all.

46. He alone was the primordial expounder of the scriptural lore to the Brahmās born during the subsidiary creations[15] and who are confined and limited by time.

47. He is the preceptor of all preceptors who are confined and limited by time. He is devoid of all limitations of time. He is the lord of all.

48. This kinsmanship is without a beginning. He is beyond perfect knowledge and excellence. He is naturally perfectly pure.

49-50. Since he has no purpose of his own, the real purpose of all the activities of Parameśvara is blessing others. Praṇava is the word that expresses Siva, the great Ātman. The word Praṇava is superior to the word Siva, Rudra, etc.

51-52. Undoubtedly that perfection shall become accessible—the same perfection as is obtained when people repeat Praṇava even when they repeat the names of and meditate upon him who is expressed by the Praṇava syllable. By virtue cf his compassion towards all, the great Pāśupata yoga, the basic tenet of perfect knowledge, has been mentioned strenuously by the lord of Devas.

53-54. Yājñavalkya said: O Gārgī, it is the supreme being that the non-yogins[16] call gross but, in fact, that is eternal and wonderful lord; one that is not long, not red, that has no head that has no setting, hence, that has a lasting taste,[17] that has no contact, no smell, no juice, no eyes, no ears, neither speech nor mind,[18] no brilliance, no proof [or magnitude], no (worldly) happiness, no name, no race, no death, no age, no ailment; that is nectarine, that is expressed by the word Oṃ, that is immortal, that has neither a predecessor nor a successor, that is endless and non-external. It eats something. It does not eat anything (?) One shall know the great lord Paśupati by the Pāśupata yoga. It is by this that there is the most excellent opportunity to realize the lord.

55. Make the lamp of Oṃkāra and seek the lord of the house who is subtle and who is stationed in the beginning and within. Restrain the most powerful organic wind that stays at the door [i.e. the pores] of the body and the leader of the sense-organs (i.e. mind). For what reason do you nurture fear by means of a network of words? No fear is seen at all. See Siva stationed in the body. Why do you wander amongst the network of scriptural texts, that is but darkness?

56. After understanding this perfectly through the help of scholars after splitting the asamarasa (Le. the state where things exist in unequalled proportions) into five[19] one shall resort to fearlessness in the Ātman. This has been mentioned by Śiva unto the sages.

Footnotes and references:


brahmaputra [brahmaputraḥ]—son of Brahmā, Sanatkumāra.


marudeśa [maru-deśāt]—from the desert country, not specified.


uṣṭradeha [uṣṭra-deham]—his body as camel.


jñana-yoga—yoga of Knowledge. Gf. “jñānād eva kaivalyam”—cited in Śivatoṣiṇī.


Twenty-four tattvas (vide I.28. 7-9; II.15.24, 25) are the noose that binds the individual soul (jīva).


Exercising supremacy over Viṣṇu who is the lord of Māyā (delusion), devotion is competent to remove all effects caused by Delusion.


pañcakleśa [pañca kleśāḥ]. For detail, see below v-29 ff.; also Patañjali:—[avidyā'smitārāgadveṣābhiniveśāḥ pañca kleśāḥ]—Yogasūtra,


five-fold avidyā. The use of the term avidyā for kleśa is confusing. Yaugic philosophers have used avidyā as synonymous with Kleśa. In fact, avidyā is one of the five Kleśas, identical with tamas and classified into eight categories.


tamas=avidyā. It is eightfold: (i) umnanifest Prakṛti, (avyakta), (ii) intellect (mahat), (iii) ego (ahaṃkāra), and five subtle elements (pañca tanmātrās).


moha=asmitā. It is eight-fold : it consists of eight powers of supremacy, animā, etc.


mahāmoha=rāga. It is ten-fold; Five subtle elements are divided into divya (divine) and adivya (non-divine).


tāmisra=dveṣa. It is eighteen-fold. Herein tenfold mahāmoha is added to the eightfold Siddhis.


andhatāmisra=abhiniveśa (bhaya). It is eighteen-fold. It includes five divine (divya) and five non-divine (adivya) tanmātrās along with eight-fold Siddhis.


avidyayā sambandho na.—Lord Śiva has no relation with ignorance. Śivatoṣiṇī. explains, [aṅganivāsinaḥ] as [sarvāntar-yāmirūpiṇaḥ]—all-pervading.


Cf.—[yo brahmāṇaṃ vidadhāti pūrvam]—cited in Śivatoṣiṇī.


Śivatoṣiṇī. construes—[gārgi, ayoginaḥ yadakṣaraṁ sthūlam abhivadanti (tad brahma)],—the imperishable Brahma which the non-yogins call gross that Brahma is in fact    
100 punārasam—nityānandarasarūpa [nityānandarasarūpam] Śivatoṣiṇī., comprised of the eternal flavour of joy. Cf.—[raso vai saḥ]—cited in Śivatoṣiṇī.


punārasam—nityānandarasarūpa [nityānandarasarūpam] Śivatoṣiṇī., comprised of the eternal flavour of joy. Cf.—[raso vai saḥ]—cited in Śivatoṣiṇī.


avāṅmanas [avāṅmanaḥ].—Cf. [yato vāco nivartante aprāpya manasā saha]—Taittirīya Āraṇyaka 8.4.1; 9.1; Tu. 2.4.1; 9.1.


pañcadhā kṛtvāŚivatoṣiṇī. disjoins as [pañcadhā akṛtvā] and explains as [pañcakośarūpam akṛtvā], not dividing it into five sheaths.

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