The Linga Purana

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

This page describes The mode of worship of Siva which is chapter 23 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 23 - The mode of worship of Siva

Śailādi said:

1. Henceforth, I shall recount to you the excellent worship of Śiva. One shall worship Īśa during the three Sandhyās (morning, midday and evening) and perforin the sacred rites in the fire in accordance with one’s capacity.

2-3. The devotee shall at the outset perform Śivasnāna (ablution pertaining to Siva) and the purification of the Tattvas as before. With flowers in the hand he shall enter the place of worship with great concentration and mental purity. He shall then perform Prāṇāyāma three times and the rites of Dahana and Āplāvana. With the hands rendered fragrant with scents, he shall perform the rite of the Nyāsa of the Mahāmudrā (the great gesture).

4-8. With great effort he shall make his body sanctified by the nectar of Śiva as well as by the perfect knowledge of Śiva and the fire of Brahman. He shall make his body originating from Avyakta (the unmanifest), Ahaṃkāra(ego) and the Tanmātrās (subtle elements) sanctified by this perfect knowledge. The Hṛdaya (heart) stands above, the umbilicus about a Vitasti (twelve Aṅgulas) away from it. It stands about the same distance below the cerebrum. The devotee shall recognize it as the great abode of the universe. He shall meditate on the lord Sadāśiva in the pericarp of the lotus of the heart in the following form. He has five faces, ten arms and three eyes in every face. He is bedecked in all ornaments. The moon adorns his crest. He is seated in the lotus pose. He resembles pure crystal. His upward face is white and the eastern face resembles saffron.

9. The southern face has blue colour. The northern face is very red. His western face is as white as cow’s milk.

10-12. In his hands on the right side he holds the javelin, axe, sword, thunderbolt and Śakti. In the hands to the left he holds the noose, goad, bell, serpent and the excellent dart or his hands show the gestures of granting boons and freedom from fear.[1] The rest is as mentioned before. He wears all kinds of ornaments and garments of diverse colours. He shall worship lord Śiva whose form is the Vedāṅga, who is the most excellent of all excellent Devas and who is the lord of Brahman. He shall worship him with all fervour.

13. The five Brahmans have already been mentioned. Now listen to the Śivāṅgas (the ancillaries of Śiva). O sages of good holy rites, listen also about heart etc., that are the Śaktis.

14-20. Oṃ the lord is Īśāna of all lores. Obeisance to Hṛdaya the Bīja of Śakti. Oṃ the lord is Īśvara of all living beings. Obeisance to the head, containing Amṛta. Oṃ obeisance to the tuft, to the overlord of Brahmā, to one in the form of black fire. Oṃ obeisance to the Kavaca (coat of mail), to the overlord of Brahman, to the black and fierce gust of wind. Oṃ obeisance to the eye, to Brahman, to one who swells, to the Mūrti of perfect knowledge. Oṃ Phaṭ Phaṭ to Śiva, to Sadāśiva, to the miraculous weapon Pāśupata, to one who is not thwarted. Oṃ obeisance to Sadyojāta. Protect me when there is an attack from worldly existence. Obeisance to that form of Siva which is the source of origin of all worldly existences.

Oṃ Obeisance to Śiva the most auspicious one, to one who has Haṃsa in the tuft, to one whose physical body is learning, to one whose form is Ātman and to one who is greatest with none greater. The Aṅgas of Śiva have been mentioned. His Mūrtividyā (the lore of the deity) is accompanied by the ancillaries of the Mūrtividyā which is an Aṅga of Brahman (the Vedas) also in the Śivaśāsana (the order laid down by Śiva).

O sage of good holy rites, I shall mention the mantras pertaining to the sun, viz., Bāṣkala and others. O sage of good holy rites, the Aṅgas are the gist of all the Vedas.

“Oṃ Bhūḥ, Oṃ Bhuvaḥ, Oṃ Svaḥ, Oṃ Mahaḥ, Oṃ Janaḥ, Om Tapaḥ, Oṃ Satyam, Oṃ Ṛtam, Oṃ Brahman.

This nine-syllabled mantra is glorified as Bāṣkala. It is called Akṣara because is does not perish in this world. Satyam (truth) is called Akṣara. It is prefixed with Praṇava (i.e. Oṃ) and suffixed with Namaḥ (obeisance).[2]

21. Oṃ Bhūrbhuvaḥ Svaḥ. We meditate on that excellent refulgence of the lord, the refulgence that urges and guides our intellect. Obeisance to the sun the greatest planet in the firmament.

22-24 Thus the Mūla mantra of the great Atman has been mentioned. He shall worship Dīptā and other Śaktīs with the nine-syllabled mantra and the sun with the Mūla mantra. I shall succinctly mention, the Aṅga mantras. The first one is mostly covered with Vedic mantras and the middle one with Praṇava.

Oṃ Bhūḥ obeisance to the heart, to Brahman. Oṃ Bhuvaḥ obeisance to the head, to Viṣṇu. Oṃ Svaḥ obeisance to the tuft, to Rudra. Oṃ Bhūrbhuvaḥ svaḥ obeisance to the lord having clusters of flames. Oṃ Mahaḥ obeisance to the Kavaca (coat of mail), to Maheśvara. Oṃ Janaḥ obeisance to the eyes, to Śiva. Oṃ Tapaḥ obeisance to the Astra (miraculous missile), to one who scorches. Thus incidentally the mantras pertaining to the sun have been mentioned. O sage of good holy rites, the mantras pertaining to Śiva also have been succinctly mentioned along with the mode of Nyāsa (fixation).

25-31. Thus, he shall worship the lord identical with the mantras, in the iotus of the heart. The Homa is to be performed after duly generating the Śiva fire in. the umbilicus by means of the mind. All the holy rites are to be performed in the Śiva fire. He shall meditate on lord Īśvara originating from the Aṅgas of the five Brahmans. The Mūrti of Śiva is seated on. the seat of red lotus. He is turned into the Sakala form assiduously. O sage of good holy rites, the Mūrti is meditated upon with Mūla mantra and the mantras of the Vedāṅgas, etc. The Homa with the sacrificial twigs and ghee is performed mentally. He shall then remember the complete Dhārā (current of nectar) originating from the abode of the moon in the lunar sphere. In accordance with the injunction regarding the Purṇāhuti in the Śivaśāsana (the treatise on Siva) he shall meditate on Śiva Śaṅkara in the form of refulgence in the face. He shall again remember the lord of the chiefs of Devas in the forehead or in the middle of the eyebrows. This detailed worship shall be concluded in the lotus of the heart. He shall meditate on the destroyer of worldly existence in the shape of the pure flame of the lamp. He shall worship the lord in the Liṅga also or worship Sadāśiva on the bare ground.

Footnotes and references:


Varadābhaya-hastām—anena caturbāhudhyānaṃ sūcitam Śivatoṣiṇī. The devotee shall meditate on the four-armed lord.


The six lines beginning with oṃ bhūḥ and ending with astrāya phaṭ (N.S. Ed. p. 284) are repetitions of the same (N.S. Ed. p. 281).

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