The Linga Purana

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

This page describes The cosmic form of Shiva which is chapter 12 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 12 - The cosmic form of Śiva

Sanatkumāra said:

1. O leader of the Gaṇas, of great intellect, recount to me the eight cosmic forms of Śaṅkara the great Atman, the lord of universal forms.

Nandikeśvara said:

2. O son of the lotus-born deity, verily will I recount the greatness of the consort of Umā, the lord of universal forms.

3. The following too viz.—the earth, waters, fire, wind firmament, sun, moon and the sacrificer are the physical forms of the lord Śiva.

4. The following too, viz:—the firmament, Ātman, moon, fire, sun, waters, earth and wind are the eight[1] physical forms of the intelligent lord of Devas.

5. Hence, when Agnihotra is dedicated unto the great lord of the nature of the sun, his emanations Devas, pitṛs, etc. become satiated.

6. Just as the branches and twigs of a tree are also propitiated when the root is watered so also Devas and the emanations of the lord are all propitiated through his worship.

7. Leading sages worship the solar form of the lord that has twelve[2] aspects and is worthy of worship and is identical with Devas.

8. The digit named Amṛta belonging to the lord in the form of the sun is beneficial to this world as one enlivening the living beings. They drink it always.

9. The rays named Candras belonging to Dhūrjaṭi of the form of the sun, create shower of snow for the growth of the medicinal herbs.

10. The rays named Śuklas belonging to the lord in the form of the sun create heat which is the cause of maturity and ripeness of plants as well as grains.

11. The ray named Harikeśa, belonging to the lord in the form of the sun is the cause of development and nourishment of the stars.

12. The ray named Viśvakarman belonging to the lord in the form of the sun nourishes Budha (Mercury).

13. The ray of the trident-bearing lord in the form of the sun, that is known as Viśvavyaca is the nourisher of Śukra (Venus).

14. The ray that is known as Samyadvasu, belonging to the trident-bearing lord in the form of the thousand-rayed sun is the nourisher of Mars.

15. The ray that is known as Arvāvasu, belonging to the Pināka-bearing lord in the form of the sun, develops Bṛhaspati (Jupiter) always.

16. The ray known as Svarāṭ, belonging to Śiva of the form of the sun nourishes Śanaiścara (Saturn) by day and night.

17. The ray known as Suṣumnā belonging to the lord, the consort of Umā, the source of origin of the universe and solar in form, develops the moon always.

18. The form named Soma belonging to Śaṅkara the preceptor of the universe is the material cause of the universe.

19. The lunar form of the lord the slayer of Death is stationed in all embodied beings in the form of the semen.

20. The body in the nature of the moon belonging to the lord, the preceptor of the universe is stationed in the minds of all embodied beings.

21. The physical form of the lord named Soma is the most excellent among the bodies in all living beings. It is stationed in the form of the nectarine digit in sixteen parts.[3]

22. The form named Soma, belonging to the divine ruler, the lord of Devas, nourishes Devas and Pitṛs always by means of ṭhe immortal nectar.

23. The physical form of the lord named Soma nourishes clusters of medicinal herbs for the purity of the souls of all embodied beings. This form is called Bhavānī.

24. The form of the consort of Umā in the nature of the Moon is known as the lord of the individual souls, sacrifices and austerities.

25. The physical form of lunar nature belonging to the lord is known as the lord of waters and medicinal herbs.

26-27. The nectarine lord is beyond the grasp of the senses or even of their presiding deities or of those who are expert in discriminating between the sentient and the insentient. When lord Śiva of the lunar form is stationed as the individual soul, the sweet Māyā (prakṛti)[4] which is the sole protector of all the worlds withdraws herself.

28-29. The physical form Yajamāna (the sacrificial priest) belonging to Śiva nourishes by day and night all the deities by means of Havyas and all the Pitṛs by means of Kavyas. Then this physical form Yajamāna, propitiates the mobile and immobile beings by means of the shower of waters[5] caused by the sacrificial offering.

30. The water that is within and without the universe and the water that is within the physical body of all living beings constitutes the great physical (watery) form of the lord Śiva.

31. The nectar-like water of the rivers and the streams and the ubiquitous water of the oceans constitute the physical form of the consort of Umā.

32. This body enlivens and sanctifies all living beings. It is stationed in the vital airs. It is of the form of the moon.[6]

33. The fire that is situated within and without the universe, the fire that is stationed in the body of the sacrifice constitutes his physical form.

34. The physical form of the lord, the form that is excessively honoured and worshipped is stationed in the bodies of living beings for their welfare.

35-36. The physical form of the lord in the nature of fire and identical with all Devas is the most excellent one. Its forty-nine[7] subdivisions are cited by those who know the Vedas. The lord’s physical body in the form of the sacrificial fire carries Havya to Devas. The fire used by the twice-born for Homas carries Kavya to the pitṛs.

37-38. Those who are conversant with the Vedas and the ancillary texts speak about these and worship them.

The wind that is within and without the universe, and the wind that is stationed in the bodies of living beings constitute the powerful body of Śiva. There are different types of winds such as Prāṇa[8] etc., Nāga,[9] Kūrma etc., Āvaha[10] etc. These are the different forms of the sole lord īśāna.

39-43. The ether, that is within and without the universe as well as that stationed in the bodies of living beings constitutes the powerful body of lord Śiva.

The earthly form of Śiva has the entire Brahman for it presiding deity. It is considered competent to sustain all living beings—mobile and immobile. Learned men say they are physical bodies of living beings—mobile and immobile. O leading sages, the five elements are evolved out of the five physical forms of Īśa. These together with the moon, sun and Ātman are called the eight cosmic forms of Śiva, the intelligent lord of Devas. The Ātman is his eighth physical body. It has another name that of yajamāna.

44-46. This form (i.e. ātman) is stationed in the bodies of all mobile and immobile beings. The leading sages call the Ātman as Dīkṣita (one initiated). It is the body of Siva, the bestower of auspiciousness; it is called Yajamāna as well. All these eight bodies of Śiva should always be worshipped assiduously by men who seek welfare. They are the sole causes of welfare.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

The eight forms of the lord are constituted by ether, fire, water, earth, air, sun, moon and jīva.

[2]:

Śiva has twelve bodies in the form of twelve suns, who preside severally over the twelve months of the year.

[3]:

The sixteen digits of the moon are said to be the sixteen bodies of Śiva.

[4]:

Madhurā—Māyā ST, lord’s power of illusion.

[5]:

A body of Śiva is represented by yajamāna (a sacrificer) who by sacrificing oblations into the fire becomes the indirect cause of rain that nourishes creepers and plants. Gf. “yajñād bhavati parjanyaḥ.”

[6]:

ambikā—the moon that is only a watery substance in the sky is

[7]:

Forty-nine forms of Agni. For the pedigree of Agni, see MP. — A Study, pp. 169-170.—Agni is the primeval heat (Liṅga I.7.105) that permeating the Cosmic Egg creates universes upon universes (Ibid. II.12.33). Agnis are the different forms of Rudras (Ibid. 1. 6.4) and in spite of elasticity in their names and numbers, are finally settled to forty-nine.

[8]:

Prāṇa etc. five vital airs. The wind with its quality of touch (sparśa-guṇa [guṇaḥ]) is born of the ether. Cf.—[ākāśāttu vikurvāṇātsarvagandhavahaḥ śuciḥ | balavāñcjāyate vāyuḥ sa vai sparśaguṇo mataḥ]—cited in Śivatoṣiṇī.

[9]:

According to some authority, Nāga, Kurma, Kukara, Devadatta, Dhanañjaya are identical with prāṇa, apāna, samāna, vyāna and udāna respectively.

[10]:

See p. 207 verses 36-39.

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