The Linga Purana

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

This page describes The mode of propitiating Shiva which is chapter 55 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 55 - The mode of propitiating Śiva

The sages said:

1-2. How shall the three-eyed lord, the bull-bannered lord of Devas be meditated upon for realizing all Siddhis, through the Yogic path? O sage of good holy rites, everything has been heard by you formerly and in detail. It is equal to the knowledge of the Vedas. But it behoves you to recount everything succinctly once again.

Sūta said:

3-4. O sages of good holy rites, Nandin having the lustre of the sun was asked in a similar manner by the son of Brahmā on the mountain Meru formerly. He was surrounded by the group of sages. As Sanatkumāra, the son of Brahmā, bowed down to him he told him in confidence and with great concentration.

Nandikeśvara said:

5-8. Thus, lord Mahādeva, Nīlalohita was formerly asked by the goddess Ambā, the daughter of the mountain lord. On the peak of Kailāsa the lord was asked by the goddess while he sat in the same bed with her and while he was in the height of ecstasy.

Śrī Devī said:

How many types of Yoga have been mentioned? What are they like? How they function? How is divine knowledge that yields absolution and whereby the creatures are liberated?

The lord said:

The first is Mantrayoga, the second is Sparśa, the third one is Bhāva, the fourth is Abhāva and the fifth is Mahāyoga which is the most excellent of all.

Mantrayoga

9-11. The practice and repetition of the japas along with meditation is Mantrayoga. The blood vessels are to be kept spotlessly pure by means of Recaka (exhaling). The Air (Prāṇa) is to be conquered cumulatively and severally.

Sparśayoga

There is firm and strong action due to the splendid activities of the retention of birth etc. The practice of Kumbhaka (retention of air), illuminated by the three Dhāraṇās, is called Sparśayoga. It cleanses the three viz. Viśva, Prājña and Taijasa.

Bhāvayoga

12-14. That state which is devoid of mantra and sparśa but resorts to Mahādeva is called Bhāvayoga. The lord is stationed dividedly within and without. The annihilatory aspect of the lord is manifest. It accords purity of the mind.

Abhāvayoga.

The parts of the universe consisting of the mobile and immobile beings become dissolved. Everything becomes void. The form too of the lord loses its semblance. This is called Abhāvayoga which causes extinction of the mind.

Mahāyoga

15-17. That meditation in which the pure form appears without colour, which is auspicious, independent, and unspecifiable, which has light and splendour always and is self-evident all round is called Mahāyoga. The Atman alone pure and self-luminous[1] rises perpetually (in it). Self-luminosity, that is pure is known as Mahāyoga. It comes up from the entire mind.

All these Yogas bestow powers of Aṇimā (minuteness) etc. and perfect knowledge.

18-20. In these Yogas the latter are better than the former.

The state of Mahāyoga is devoid of contact with the ego. It is great and comparable to the vast firmament. It is devoid of all coverings. Although it is incomprehensible yet it is knowable by its own nature. It is great, submerged, self-evident, and self-knowable. It shines in its blissful body. Therefore, it is considered to be knowable.

21. It should be given to a tested disciple, a brahmin who maintains the sacred fires, who is virtuous and not ungrateful. It should be given in due order, gradually.

22-25. It should be given to one who is devoted to the preceptor and the deity. Otherwise it should not be given. If so, he will be born sick, short-lived and censurable. He who gives also becomes like this, O sinless lady. Hence, one should avoid giving without testing the disciple.

My devotee shall be free from all attachments, shall consider me as the greatest resort, be endowed with perfect knowledge, and become an expert in the rites laid down in the Śrutis and Smṛtis. He shall be devoted to the preceptor, meritorious, eminently qualified, and always devoted to Yoga. Thus, O gentle lady, the eternal Yogic path has been recounted. O lady of slender waist, it is the honey that exudes from the lotuses of the Vedic and Āgama lores.

26-28. After drinking the Yogic nectar the Yogin, the most excellent among the knowers of the Brahman, becomes liberated. Thus is the most excellent Pāśupata Yoga. It bestows all the prosperities and prowess of the Yogas and needs no other support. It is declared as such for the sake of salvation. By whom is it obtained? O beloved one, it is obtained only by those who are engaged in worshipping Śiva and whose conduct is lovable.

After saying thus the bull-bannered lord bade farewell to the goddess. Posting Śaṅkukarṇa[2] at the gate he entered Sāmādhi (a state of yogic trance).

Śailādi said:

29-31. Hence, O leading Yogin, O son of the self-born lord, be engaged in the practice of Yoga. The supreme lord is certainly identical with Brahman. Hence, by all means, the wise person seeking salvation shall always perform ablution with Bhasman. He must be engaged in the Pāśupata Yoga. In due order, the Śakti pertaining to Viṣṇu shall be meditated upon. Thereafter,[3] the Parā Śakti of Maheśvara shall be meditated upon.

32-35. Thus, the stable practice of a leading yogin has been succinctly described to you.

Sūta said:

Thus, Pāśupata Yoga has been recounted by the intelligent Nandin, the son of Śilāda, who scrupulously adheres to Bhasman. Sanatkumāra the saintly lord mentioned it to Vyāsa of unmeasured splendour. I heard it from him. At their behest I mentioned it to the sages who perforin the Satra. I am gratified. Obeisance to the brahmins and to the Yajñas. Obeisance to the tranquil one, to Śiva. Obeisance to sage Vyāsa.

36-43. This excellent Liṅgapurāṇa contains eleven thousand ślokas. The first section contains hundred and eight chapters. The second section contains fifty-five[4] chapters. It yields virtue, love, wealth and salvation.

Then the sages of the Naimiṣa forest bowed down to lord Īśāna with great concentration and mental purity. Out of pleasure their body showed horripilation. After composing this branch of the Purāṇa, the eleventh one,[5] the self-born lord Brahmā spoke these words, “He who reads the Liṅgapurāṇa entirely, from the beginning to the end, he who narrates it to the brahmins, and he who listens to it, attains the highest goal. He attains that highest goal which is attained by penance, by sacrifices, by charitable gifts and by the study of the Vedas. He attains the scriptural lore pertaining to the Vedas. The brahmin will attain the faculty of renunciation either by action or by knowledge or by the mixture of both. His devotion will become permanent. May that noble soul have faith in me and in lord Nārāyaṇa. Learning shall continue in his family and he shall not err in anything.” This is the behest of Brahmā. Hence, all these are attained by his grace.

The sages said:

44-48. O Romaharṣaṇa, sage Sūta, we the sages have attained Siddhis. Nārada who is engaged in holy pilgrimages has also attained Siddhis. Our pleasure is vast. Let this pleasure be present everywhere, all round, by the benign grace of lord Śiva.

When the brahmins said this, the pious sages Nārada touched the body of Sūta with the tip of his splendid hands and said: “O Śūta, hail to thee. Welfare unto thee. May you have faith in the bull-bannered lord. May we too have the same. Obeisance to Lord Śiva.”

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

syayaṁ jyotiḥ—cf. yasya bhāsā sarvam idaṁ vibhāti—cited in ST.

[2]:

Śaṃkukarṇa—a particular gaṇa.

[3]:

Yathākrama [Yathākrameṇa]—beginning with Brāhmī.

[4]:

ṣaṭcatvāriṃśad adhyāyam—but the extant text consists of fifty-six adhyāyas. Śivatoṣiṇī. therefore, dissolves the compound sat catvāriṃśat as saṭ ca nava ca catvāriṃśacca (madhyamapadalopi karmadhāraya. But this exegesis is unauthentic. It is very probable that the second part originally consisted of forty-six adhyāyas.

[5]:

ekādaśikām—In the serial order of the Purāṇas, the Liṅgapurāṇa is the eleventh.

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