The Linga Purana

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

This page describes The holy Pashupata rite which is chapter 18 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 18 - The holy Pāśupata rite

Devas said:—

1-3. Lord Rudra alone is identical with Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara. He is Skanda; he is Indra; he is the fourteen worlds, Aśvins, planets, constellations, stars, firmament, quarters, elements, sun, moon and the eight planets. He is Prāṇa, Kāla, Yama, Mṛtyu and Amṛta.[1] He constitutes things of the past, present and future; he is the universeas well as truth. Obeisance to him.

4. At the outset you had been the universe, you are Bhūḥ, Bhuvaḥ and Svaḥ. At the end also you are of the form of the universe. You are always at the head of the universe.

5-6. You are the sole[2] Brahman. You are dual[3] in form, triple[14] in form. You are beneath.[4] You are the lord of Devas. You are peace, nourishment, and contentment. You are what is offered and what is not offered in Homa. You are the universe and non-universe. You are what is given and what is not given. You are Īśvara. You are what is done and what is not done. You are certainly the great Deva and the lesser Deva. You are the greatest goal of the good as well as of the bad. You are Śaṅkara.

7-8. May we drink soma juice and become immortal. May we approach light and not go to Devas. Indeed, what will the enemy do to us? Is death synonymous with immortality?[4] This form of Siva is beneficent to the universe. It is divine, imperishable, subtle and unchanging.

9-10. It is holy. It pertains to Prajāpati. It is gentle. It cannot be comprehended. It is unchanging. It can be grasped by the mind[5] just as the wind is grasped by a gaseous thing. It swallows the gentle by means of the gentle refulgence of its own sportively. Obeisance to the trident-bearing lord who puts a stop to everything and grabs everything.

11-12. The deities are stationed in the heart, in the vital breath. You are one always present in the heart in the form of the three Mātrās. You are beyond them. Your head is to the north; your feet are to the south. You are directly attached to the north; you are the eternal Oṃkāra.

13-14. What is Oṃkāra is Praṇava itself pervading everything. The Infinite being (Tāra), the subtle being (Sūkṣma) and the refulgence called Vaidyuta (pertaining to the lightning), the great Brahman—all these are Īśāna, Rudra, Maheśvara, the great Deva.

15. That which uplifts is Oṃkāra. Praṇava is Oṃkāra because it protects the vital breaths.

16-17. The eternal lord pervades everything. Hence, he is all-pervasive. Rudra the greatest cause is infinite because neither Brahmā nor Viṣṇu nor others could trace out his beginning or end. He who redeems from the ocean of worldly existence is called Tāra.

18. Lord Nīlalohita is subtle and stays always in the heart in the bodies, Hence, he is called Sūkṣma (subtle).

19. He is both blue and red since both Pradhāna and Puruṣa merge in him. Since the semen flows out from him he is termed Śukla.

20-21. Since he is refulgent, he is mentioned as Vaidyuta. He is Parabrahma because he is huge [Bṛhattvāt] or because he swells up [Bṛṃhaṇatvāt]. The lord without a second is the fourth Being; he is Parameśvara.

22-24. They call him Īśāna the heavenly and lordly eye of the universe. The wise such as Indra and others worship Īśāna on all occasions. He who is the lord of all lores[6] is Īśāna. What the lord sees and causes others to see[7] with the behest what should be seen is the knowledge of the Ātman. The great lord himself makes people attain yoga.[8] Lord Maheśvara the lord of Devas is, therefore, called “Bhagavān.”

25. It is the great lord (Maheśvara) who grasps the worlds duly. He, the lord of Devas, creates everything and resides in them sportively.

26. It is this lord who is present in all quarters. He is the one born at the outset and also one who enters into the foetus. He is one who is born or one who will be born. O men of inferior sight, he stands with his faces all round.

27. He should be assiduously worshipped, this unchanging lord from whom the words recede after not reaching him along with the mind.[9]

28. What the organ of speech utters strenuously is without grasping him. He is the greatest refuge whether Apara or Para.

29. The organs of speech call him omniscient, Nīlalohita. This tawny coloured Śiva is the Puruṣa. Obeisance to him.

30. He is the great Rudra, he is the whole universe[10] in the past, present and future, in many ways, here and there.

31. The lord is gold-armed.[11] He is the lord of gold. He is the consort of Umā; the bull-bannered lord is gold-semened.

32-34. The lord is odd-eyed. He is the creator of the universe, his vehicle is the universe. It is he who, at the outset, created Brahmā[12] as his eternal son and gave him perfect knowledge revealing the Ātman. Those who perceive Rudra the sole Puruṣa, oft-invoked and oft-eulogised, having the form of fire, the excellent Deva in the middle of the heart, the lord stationed in the Ātman and having the size of the tip of hair are self-possessed and courageous. Theirs is the perennial tranquillity, not of the others.

35. He is the lord greater than the greatest, one who never changes, minuter than the minutest[13] atom, and concealed in the cavity of the heart of living beings.

36. He is the abode of this universe, he is stationed in the lotus of the heart; the cavity is deep within[15]; the lord is stationed deep within as well as above.[16]

37. Oṃkāra, Parameśvara, is of the size of the tip of the hair. It is in the middle of the subtle cavity of the heart. He is Ṛta the eternal law, the greatest cause.

38. He is the truthful Brahman. He is the Puruṣa dark and tawny-coloured. He is Virūpākṣa of sublimated sexuality. He is Īśāna the source of origin of Brahmā.

39. He is the ancient Īśāna who presides over the fivefold physical body. He is the sole Īśvara who occupies the Yonī (the phallus that is put in the symbol of the pudendum muliebre).

40. He is within the vital breaths. They call him the Liṅga (symbol) of the mind wherein the qualities of anger, desire and forbearance persist. By dispelling desire that is at the root of the series of causes of worldly existence and by stabilising it in Rudra, he should be meditated upon by means of the intellect.

41. They call him Rudra, the perpetual Parameśvara and the most fixed and greater than the greatest Being.

42-44. One shall meditate upon him who is the procreator of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Vahni (Fire god) and Vāyu (Wind god). A sādhaka should purify himself by means of fire. He shall separately sanctify his limbs. Then the five elements shall be compressed in the order of their origin and qualities. At the outset, the five Mātrās shall be contemplated upon, then four, three, two and one in due order. Then the deity shall be meditated upon without any Mātrā stabilising him at the cerebrum. Becoming immortal thus, one shall perform the Pāśupata rite.

45. Now, I shall mention this Pāśupata rite in brief. One shall duly consecrate the sacred fire repeating the mantras from Ṛk, Yajus and Sāman.

46. He shall observe fast, remain pure after taking bath, and wear white clothes, white sacred thread and white garlands. He shall smear himself with white unguents.

47-52. Free from Rajoguṇa, he shall perform Homa. He shall become free from sins. The devotee then repeats the following mantras—“May the five vital airs[17] be sanctified. May the organ of speech, mind, feet etc. be sanctified. May all these be sanctified, viz—the ears, tongue, breath, intellect, head, hands, sides, back, belly, calves, penis, vagina, rectum, scrotum, skin, flesh, blood, fat, bones, sound, touch, colour, taste, smell etc. May these elements be sanctified. So also the fat. May, by the grace of Śiva’s will, the cooked rice, the vital airs, mind and perfect knowledge be purified.” He shall then perform the sacrifice with ghee, sacrificial twigs and Caru offerings in due order. Thereafter, he shall extinguish the Rudra fire and take the bhasman assiduously. Repeating the mantraAgni[18] etc. the intelligent devotee shall wipe off his limbs and touch them.

53. This Pāśupata rite is divine and conducive to liberation from bondage. It is beneficial to the brahmins as well as to Kṣatriyas.

54. It is beneficial to deserving Vaiśyas and particularly to the ascetics. It is beneficial to those who are in. the stage of life of a forest dweller and also to the good householders.

55-57. Salvation of Brahmacārins (religious students), due to this holy rite, has been noticed. One can take ashes from the fire of the Agnihotra sacrifice, repeating the mantra “Agni” etc. and wipe off the limbs and touch them. That brahmin is also a devotee of Paśupati. A learned brahmin who smears himself with ashes is undoubtedly liberated from all sins, even those that are called “mahāpātakas” (great sins). The ashes is the virile essence of Fire and a person who uses Bhasman becomes a virile person.

58. A brahmin engaged in the ablution of Bhasman or a person lying down on the ashes or a person who has conquered his sense-organs will be liberated from all sins and shall attain identity with Siva.

59. Hence, by all means, the learned man shall sanctify his body by means of Bhasman. The words “re re” shall not be uttered Nor shall one say “turn turn” [i.e. one shall not be rude or impolite in speech].

60-62. The lord of Devas does not brook it even if he be Brahmā or Viṣṇu.

The lord said thus:—“O excellent-faced lady, a person who applies Bhasman is on a par with my son Gaṇeśa. What is repugnant to them[19] should be eschewed. A householder who is devoid of Brahman (Vedic knowledge)[19] and who does not wear the caste mark Tripuṇḍra falls into the depths of hell. All his holy rites of worship, charitable gifts and holy ablutions are in vain like the Homa performed in the ashes.

63-67. Hence, in the course of all holy rites, the learned men shall wear the caste mark Tripuṇḍra.

After saying this and after eulogising the lord in the company of Devas who had smeared themselves with Bhasman, lord Brahmā who too applied himself with Bhasman stopped his speech, O king(?).

Thereupon, in order to bless them the lord of the individual souls, graced the place with his presence along with his consort and the Gaṇas.

Thereafter, Devas eulogised the leading Deva Rudra who was present there, the lord of all, the lord of Devas by means of Rudrādhyāya. The bull-bannered lord glanced at Devas with merciful glances in order to grant them boons. The lord, the slayer of the enemies of Devas, said to Devas—“I am pleased.”

Footnotes and references:


amṛta [amṛtaḥ]—moksarūpa [moksarūpaḥ] Śivatoṣiṇī. in the form of salvation.


Cf. the oft-quoted formula “ekam eva brahma na dvitīyam”.


dvau i.e Prakṛti and Puruṣa.


apāma somam. Ṛgveda VIII. 8. 48. Tattirīya Saṃhitā. 3. 2. 5. 4.


agrāhyeṇapi grāhyam, yathā sparṣaguṇena vāyuḥ Śivatoṣiṇī. just as air is perceived through its quality ‘touch’, similarly the ungraspable lord is grasped by mental realization.


yad īksate ca bhagavān. Cf. atha kasmād ucyate bhagavān? yaḥ sarvān bhāvān īkṣate, ātmānaṃ nirīkṣayati, yogaṃ gamayati—Atharvaśiras—cited in Śivatoṣiṇī.


yogaṃ gamayati—yogam prāpayati. It is the lord who sets his devotees on meditation.


“yato” vāco nivartante Taittirīya Āraṇyaka. 8.4.1; 9.1; Taittirīya Upaniṣad. 2.4.1; 9.1.


Cf. “viśvam bhūtam bhuvanaṃ citram bahudhā jātam jāyamānaṃ ca yat” Taittirīya Āraṇyaka. 10.16.1; Mahānārāyaṇa Upaniṣad 13.2.


hiraṇya-bāhu—one with golden arms. Gf. “namo hiraṇya-bahave” Vājasaneyisaṃhitā of Śuklayajurveda. 16.17; Tattirīya Saṃhitā.


brahmāṇam vidadhe. Gf. “yo brahmāṇam vidadhāti pūrvam”—cited in Śivatoṣiṇī.


aṇo api aṇu. Cf. aṇor aṇīyān mahato mahīyān Taittirīya Āraṇyaka. 10.10.1. Mahānārāyaṇa Upaniṣad 8.3. K.U. 2.20; Śvet. U. 3. 20.


tridhā—threefold in the form of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra.


gahvaraṃ gahanam. Śivatoṣiṇī. explains gahvaram as ākāśam—ether or empty space.


Śivatoṣiṇī. supplies vahni-śikhā and construes it with antaśca ūrdhvataḥ. The flame of fire is stationed in the lotus-heart. Cf. “tasya madhye vahni-śikhā aṇīyordhvā vyavasthitā”—cited in Śivatoṣiṇī.


virajāś ca bhaviṣyati—by performing virajā homa the devotee becomes devoid of rajoguṇa. According to Śivatoṣiṇī. this homa purifies the internal winds—prāṇa, apāna, vyāna, udāna and samāna. Cf. “Prāṇāpānavyānodānasamānā me śuddhyantām”—Taittirīya Āraṇyaka. 10.51.1; Mahānārāyaṇa Upaniṣad 4.20.15.


Agniḥ Tattirīya Saṃhitā. There are several mantras addressed to agni. Which mantra is meant is not clear.


The Purāṇa in this respect shows a compromising nature but the following pādas of this verse impose strictness in the observance of Śaivite rites.

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