The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes righteous acts enjoined by shiva (shivadharmas) which is chapter 69 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the sixty-ninth chapter of the Bhumi-khanda (section on the earth) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Chapter 69 - Righteous Acts Enjoined by Śiva (Śivadharmas)

Mātali said:

1-4. Acts of righteousness have been told by Śiva (in) the excellent scriptures of the Śiva cult. Due to the difference in the manner of performance of acts they should be known to be many. The ancient acts as (told) by Śiva are free from blemishes like harming (others), are without suffering and exertion, are beneficial to all beings, are pure, involve little effort and give great fruit. They have many branches, but resort to (i.e. are supported by) the root (in the form) of Śiva. They have good flowers like knowledge and meditation. Since they sustain Śiva and are supported by the sayings of Śiva, they that help (human beings) to cross the ocean of the worldly existence, are known to be acts (liked) by Śiva.

5. Thus the ten, viz. harmlessness, forbearance, truth, sense of shame, faith, control of senses, charity, sacrifice, penance and gifts, are the means of (acquiring) righteousness.

6. The acts which are laid down by Śiva, and which have obtained identity with Śiva, when performed singly or collectively result in one course only.

7-11 a. As the earth is said to be a common place for all beings, in the same way the city of Śiva is (said be a common place) for all the devotees of Śiva. As here (i.e. on the earth) enjoyments for all beings are said to be abundant, in the same way they are said to be many in Śiva’s city, due to the preeminence of various (kinds) of religious merit. As even the good or bad fruit (of their acts) is enjoyed by all human beings, the fruit of the acts (enjoined) by Śiva is religious merit. One gets excellent, good enjoyments in Śiva’s city, especially according to his faith, in accordance with his religious merit. He gets an (excellent) place, his undisturbed enjoyments are comparable to final beatitude.

11b-13. Therefore, to win great enjoyments one should do great meritorious acts. There would be (i.e. he would have) supremacy (i.e. control) over his own enjoyments, which alone is honoured by best gods as superior to everything. Some men engrossed in the pursuit of knowledge become free there only. Others intent on enjoying pleasures again come back to the mundane existence.

14. Therefore, he who desires salvation should give up attachment to enjoyments. He, being detached, and with his mind and heart tranquil, would obtain the knowledge of Śiva.

15-17a. To them also, who have set their heart on the lord (i.e. Śiva), and who perform sacrifices through devotion to him, the lord gives positions according to their nature. To them also who, with their sins destroyed, worship Rudra (even) once, the lord gives enjoyments in the worlds of goblins. All beings die (as a result of being) tormented by the burden of grief.

17b-22a. He who gives food is said to be the giver of religious merit, the giver of life and the giver of everything. Therefore, by giving food, one would get the fruit of giving everything. He who gives food (would obtain) all the gems, enjoyments, women and vehicles that there are in the three worlds, and would get the entire fruit (of giving food) here (i.e. in this world) and in the next world. There is no doubt that half of the collection of the (deeds of) religious merit which one who is nourished by the food and drink of a giver has, goes to the giver of the food, and half to the one (i.e. the receiver of the food and drink) doing the meritorious acts. The body is a great means of piety, material welfare and salvation. It is maintained by means of food and drink. Therefore it is the means of (obtaining) everything. Food is actually the creator, it is Viṣṇu himself, Śiva himself. Therefore, a gift like that of food was never there, nor will ever be there.

22b-24a. Water is said to be the life of all the three worlds. Water is purifying, divine, pure and is the elixir for all. Especially in the world of the departed spirits these eight gifts are commended: food, drink, horse, cow, garment, bed, thread and seat.

24b-26a. Since due to (these) special gifts a man happily goes to the city of Dharmarāja (i.e. Yama), therefore one should perform acts of charity. O prince, those again who do cruel deeds and are bereft of (i.e. have not given) gifts, experience terrible grief in hell.

26b-33a. Similarly the givers of gifts enjoy pleasures (in heaven). Happiness would be (coming) to them whose minds are engrossed in doing the deeds enjoined on them. That city is full of innumerable, excellent, divine aeroplanes, fulfilling all desires, and serving beings. That is called Rudra’s heaven; it is bright like the lustre of a thousand moons, or lustrous like the sun. It is endowed with all excellences. The city is said to belong to all Śiva-devotees, and also to the mobile and the immobile who die in the place sacred to Rudra. Even he who worships Śiva even for a day, goes to Śiva’s place. What to speak of him who worships him many times! The followers and devotees of Viṣṇu, intent on meditating on Viṣṇu, also go to Vaikuṇṭha in the vicinity of the god who holds the disc. He, the righteous-minded one, who talks about (i.e. praises) Brahmā, goes to Brahmā’s world. The doer of acts of religious merit goes to a holy world.

33b-39. Therefore, one, who has knowledge and a devoted mind, should oneself create in one’s heart devotion for the lord (i.e. Śiva) or for Viṣṇu, O great king. With full consideration and taking into account the weak point of (one’s) disposition, one would, in this way, through the grace of Viṣṇu, and in accordance with one’s deeds, obtain a position suitable to one’s disposition. Thus is said to be the great and excellent city of Śiva; it is said to be returning the human beings, intent on performing their deeds, to the world. Above the city of Śiva excellent heaven of Viṣṇu should be known (to exist). All men intent upon meditating on Viṣṇu, go (to it). Brāhmaṇas, best men of excellent character go to Brahmā’s heaven. All the sacrificers, knowing the first principle, go to that city. Similarly, kṣatriyas who fight, go to Indra’s heaven; and others who perform acts of religious merit, go to meritorious worlds.

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