The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes Kinds of Sins; Procedure of Shiva Worship; Rules of Good Conduct which is chapter 41 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the forty-first chapter of the Kaumarika-khanda of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 41 - Kinds of Sins; Procedure of Śiva Worship; Rules of Good Conduct

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]


Karandhama asked:

1. Some say that liberation can be attained by resorting to Śiva. Some say, it is acquired by resorting to Viṣṇu, while others (say it) by resorting to Vedhas (Brahmā). From whom do you consider (that it can be acquired)[2]?

Mahākāla replied:

2. All these three Lords, O leader of men, have unlimited greatness. The minds of even great Yogins get confused in this matter. What then (of an ordinary person) like me?

3. Formerly, the sages residing in the Naimiṣa forest, doubted in their minds about the excellence (of Devas) and went to the world of Brahmā.

4-5. At that very moment, Brahmā who was humble uttered this verse: “Obeisance to that Ananta (Infinite one) whose end is not obtained as well as to Maheśa. Let both of them always bestow favour on me (their) devotee.” Thereupon considering him (i.e. Viṣṇu) the most excellent one, the sages went to the Milk Ocean.

6-7. There, the Lord of Yoga, on waking up spoke thus: “I salute Brahmā the greatest among all living beings and Sadāśiva who has the form of Brahman. Let them both be for my welfare and auspiciousness.”

Thereafter, those Brāhmaṇas who were surprised, went away (from that place).

8-9. At Kailāsa, they saw Sthāṇu speaking to Girijā, “On the Ekādaśī day let me dance and keep awake in the abode of Viṣṇu. I am always performing penance for the sake of propitiating Hari and Brahmā.”

On hearing this those sages went away dejected. They said:

10-12. “Since the Lords themselves do not go beyond one another who cares for people like us who have been created by those created by those created by them. Those who speak of their status of being the most excellent, the middling and the mean one in regard to these (Lords) are speakers of untruth and sinners. Certainly they will fall into hell.”

Thus decided those ascetics residing in the Naimiṣa forest. O leading king, this is true. This is my clear opinion too.

13-14. Thousands of Jāpakas (‘those who repeat the Mantras’), Vaiṣṇavas and Śaivas have followed Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Sthāṇu. Hence one can worship that Lord for whom one’s mind has attachment. He shall be free from sins. This is my excellent opinion.

Karandhama asked:

15. What are those sins,[3] O leading Brāhmaṇa, through which the minds become confused and therefore it has no inclination towards the Vedas and holy rites?

Mahākāla said:

16. It should be known that there are crores of different sins-gross, subtle and not very subtle, due to differences in mental functioning.

17. Among them, those groups of sins that are gross and that cause a fall into hell, are succinctly described. They are committed by means of mind, speech arid body.

18. The fourfold sinful mental activity is as follows: Thinking (carnally) about the wives of others; eagerly thinking (coveting) about the wealth of others; thinking ill of others mentally; indulgence in those activities that should not be pursued.

19. Babbling irrelevant words, uttering displeasing and untrue words, reviling and abusing others, backbiting and slanderous utterances—these are the four sinful verbal activities.

20. Eating forbidden food, violence, false and illegitimate pursuit of love and taking away other people’s wealth—these are the four sinful physical activities.

21. Thus twelve different kinds of sinful activities originating from the three, viz. mind, speech and body have been spoken, I shall describe the further sub-divisions thereof, the fruits of which are unending.

22. Those who hate Mahādeva, the Lord who redeems us from the ocean of worldly existence (i.e. he who enables us to cross this ocean), become burdened with very great sins and they fall into the fires of hell.

23-26. They speak about six very great sins that yield unending (evil) results: (The corresponding sinners are:) (1) Those who do not rejoice or feel delighted and eulogize on seeing Śaṅkara; (2) those who do not hesitate at all to do whatever they please without courteous and requisite activities of reverence in the presence of Śiva and preceptor, those who stand thus and play; (3) those who do not accept the code of conduct of the followers of the Śiva cult; (4) those who hate the six kinds of devotees of Śiva; (5) the sinner who forsakes the preceptor who is in agony, who is infirm and feeble, who has gone to foreign lands or who is harassed by his enemies; and (6) he who despises or insults his wife, sons and friends.

27-31a. The following should be known as great sins, as great as the censure of one’s own preceptor:

Murder of a Brāhmaṇa, the (act of an) imbiber of liquor, (one of) the thief and the defiler of the bed of the preceptor—these are great sin(ner)s and the fifth among them is the (act of) one who associates with these.

Those who speak words wounding the vital feelings of a Brāhmaṇa out of anger, hatred, fear or greed are called Brahmaghnas (‘slayers of Brāhmaṇas’).

He who invites a Brāhmaṇa who possesses nothing and who begs (for something) and then afterwards says, “I do not have anything”, is known as a Brahmahā (‘slayer of Brāhmaṇas’). He who, out of arrogance for his learning, makes a good Brāhmaṇa sitting quietly in assembly, destitute of his lustre (influence of learning) and refulgence, is proclaimed a Brāhmaṇa-killer.

31b-36a. One who deliberately tries to attain the position of dignity by attributing to oneself false (non-existent) qualities, as against his preceptors, is proclaimed a Brahmaghna (‘killer of a Brāhmaṇa’).

They call him Brahmaghātaka (‘slayer of Brāhmaṇa’) who causes obstacles (in the path) of feeding Brāhmaṇas who desire to eat food as their bodies are harassed by hunger and thirst.

A backbiter, a person who is very alert and enthusiastic in finding out faults (weak points) in all the people, a cruel one causing anxiety and distress (to others) is declared a Brahmahā (‘Brāhmaṇa-killer’).

They call him Brahmaghātaka, who creates obstacles to cows overwhelmed by thirst, approaching (drinking) water. He who, learning the weak points or defects of another persons, whispers them in the royal ear—such a cruel sinful slanderer is called a murderer of a Brāhmaṇa.

36b-40. If anyone takes away the legitimately earned wealth of Brāhmaṇas either by deceitful means or by using force, that sin is considered to be like the sin of Brāhmaṇa-slaughter.

A foolish-minded person who after learning scriptures abandons them, or he who learns scriptures for the sake of selfsustenance, incurs a sin that is equal to that of drinking liquor—it should be known. The following are terrible sins similar to drinking of liquor: Discontinuing Agnihotra, subsidiary holy rites of the five Yajñas, forsaking parents, perjury, slaying friends, eating prohibited foods, killing wild animals for pleasure, setting fire to villages, forests and cow-pens out of anger.

41-42. The stealing of the entire possession of a poor man, abduction of men and women, taking away (illegally) horses and elephants, stealing of cows, misappropriation of land and of gems, jewels, gold, medicines, sweet juices, sandal-paste, aloe wood, camphor, woven silk, coloured clothes and the money deposited with oneself are known as equal to stealing gold.

43-44. Not giving one’s daughter of marriageable age in marriage to a suitable bridegroom, carnally approaching the wives of one’s own sons and friends as well as one’s own sister, outraging the modesty of virgins which is a terrible (sin), cohabiting with a woman of low caste and having intercourse with a woman of the same caste—all this is known as equal to defiling of one’s own preceptor’s bed.

45. If a person promises to a Brāhmaṇa some amount of money but does not give it nor does he remind the Brāhmaṇa—these two are minor sins of equal gravity.

46-60. The following are Upapātakas (‘minor sins’): Arrogance; excessive anger; hypocrisy; ungratefulness; too much of indulgence in worldly pleasures; miserliness; roguery; jealousy; dismissal of servants; beating of pious men, kinsmen, ascetics, cows, Kṣatriyas, Vaiśyas, women, Śūdras; destruction of trees in the hermitages of (followers of) Śiva; destruction of flower gardens; performance of Yajña on behalf of those who are unworthy of the same; begging of anything from the unworthy; selling of sacrificial (utensils?), gardens, lakes, wives, progeny etc.; (abandonment) of pilgrimages, holy fasts, holy observances and the devout rites in a shrine; sustaining oneself with the money or earnings belonging to womenfolk; utter subservience to womenfolk; neglecting the duty of protecting women; carnally approaching a woman addicted to drinking liquor; non-payment of debts; sustenance by means of false and unrighteous usury; taking monetary gifts from censured persons; scandalizing chaste virgins; poisoning; killing by means of magic amulets; exorcising and making use of black magic; use of sorcery for attraction as well as extermination; activity solely for satisfying the sense of taste and sexual urge; learning and teaching of the Vedas against payment; acts of a Vrātya (i.e. nonperformer of consecatory rites); abandonment of holy observances; indiscriminate eating of all kinds of foods; resorting to heterodox doctrines; adopting dry arguments and censuring Devas, Fire-god, preceptors and pious men as well as cows, Brāhmaṇas, kings and emperors directly or indirectly.

Those who have completely eschewed the worships of Pitṛs and Devas, those who have abandoned their own holy rites, those of evil conduct, atheists of sinful habits, those who do not always tell the truth, he who indulges in sexual intercourse on Parvan days or during day-time, those who discharge semen in water, those who practise intercourse with animals or women in their monthly course or with a woman of a different caste or inanimate objects, those who disappoint and shatter the hopes of wives, sons, friends and acquaintances, those who speak displeasing words to the common people, ruthless ones, those who break agreements, those who destroy lakes and wells and aqueducts of sweet juices (taste?) and he who serves different kinds of cooked food to the people sitting in the same row-perpetrators of such acts are known as Upapātakins (‘sinners of a minor gravity’).

Know from me the sinners with sins of lesser degrees.

61. Those men who interrupt the activities of their masters, friends and ascetics, and those who create differences (i.e. difficulties) in the acts of cows, Brāhmaṇas and girls are known as sinners.

62. Those who are distressed at the glory and prosperity of others; those who resort to and serve a base and vile woman; those who do not perform the holy rites of Yajñas, charitable gifts etc. for the sake of (sitting in) the row (of śiṣṭas or respectable persons?);

63. those who discharge faeces etc. in cow-pens, fireplace, water, public street, shades of trees, mountains, in parks and shrines;

64-65. those who are perpetually engaged in songs and playing on musical instruments; those who are inebriated; those who indulge in joyous shouts; those who adopt fraudulent guises and deceptive activities and conduct; those who transact illegal business dealings; those who make forged documents; those who carry on treacherous and unfair war; he who is extremely merciless towards servants; he who suppresses and maltreats animals;

66. he who slowly (and patiently) hears the speech (of another) and falsely pretends to be pleased; he who is inconstant, deceitful, knavish and feigns false humility;

67. he who while enjoying food (himself) leaves the following persons starving and hungry: wife, sons, friends, boys (infants), old men, lean, emaciated and the sick servants, guests and kinsmen;

68. he- who himself eats very good food to his heart’s content but serves inferior types of foods to Brāhmaṇas, to be known as ore who has cooked the food in vain and to be despised by the expounders of Brahman;

69. those who voluntarily take up holy observances but give them up (in the middle) because they have not conquered their sense organs; those who frequently belabour cows and oxen and make them bear burdens or draw (carts);

70. those who do not nourish and nurture weak ones; those who hate others if they lose their wealth; those who inflict pain on (others) by means of witchcraft and sorcery; those who make (even) wounded persons bear (burden);

71-75. those who take their food without giving them; those who do not treat the sick ones; he who keeps goats and sheep; he who brings up buffaloes; a seafarer; husband of a Śūdra woman; he who follows the profession of the people of the inferior castes; a physician; a religious hypocrite; he who transgresses injunctions of scriptures and levies taxes as he pleases; the (king) who always takes interest in punishing; he who takes no interest in punishing at all—all these are minor sinners. If the subjects of a king are oppressed by the officials of a corrupt nature or by thieves that king is cooked in hells. If an idle king indulging in vices sees a non-thief as thief or a thief as a non-thief, he will fall into a hell.

These and many other sins have already been mentioned and understood by those who are conversant with ancient history.

76. A man who steals other people’s wealth, of whatever value it may be, of the size of even a mustard, becomes a sinner and worthy of being cast into a hell.

77. After death, on account of these and other sins, the man shall obtain a physical body of a size and nature of the former, for the sake of undergoing torture.

78. Hence a person endowed with excellent faith should avoid these three kinds of sins leading to fall into a hell. He should seek refuge in Sadāśiva.

79. Neither prostrations nor eulogy, neither worship nor the repetition of holy names performed by him, shall be fruitless due to contact, curiosity or greed.

Karandhama requested:

80. It behoves you to recount succinctly the procedure of the worship of Śiva, by performing which a man gets the. merit of Śiva’s worship.

Mahākāla sard:

81. One shall always worship Śaṅkara early in the morning, at midday or in the evening.

By visiting and touching (with reverence) (Lord Śiva), a man shall surely become blessed.

82. At the outset, he should perform the rite of holy bath or he shall perform Bhasma Snāna (i.e. smear ash all over the body). One who is in difficulties shall perform only Kaṇṭha Snāna (i.e. of the lower limbs alone beneath the neck). Or he may have Mantra Snāna (i.e. repetition of the Mantra instead of taking the actual bath).

83. One shall wear woollen garment or a white garment or it may be as red as minerals (red chalk). It must be fresh. It should be neither dirty nor patched up.

84. One shall wear an upper garment also. Without it, his worship will be fruitless. He must have the Tripuṇḍra mark with the holy ash (i.e. three parallel lines drawn with ash) on the forehead, chest and on the shoulders.

85. He who worships Mahādeva with delight, looks at him again and again. After casting off all the defects outside (the temple), one should enter the shrine of Śiva.

86. After entering, he should bow down to the Lord. Then he must enter the sanctum sanctorum. After washing the hands, he must concentrate his attention on Śiva and take away the remnants of the previous day’s worship.

87. The devotee performs the rite of Mārjana (i.e. ceremonious wiping of the liṅga with water), because onaccount of devotion he becomes Rudra. Hence this is mutual wiping out with Sthāṇu.

88. One should abide by (i.e. live in) devotion to Rudra. Thereby one shall wipe off the dirt (i.e. sins). In the case of one who always wipes thus, no dirt (sin) remains, Only the devotion to God abides in him.

89. Thereafter the devotee should fill Gaḍukas (metal water-pots) with pure water. All the vases or water-pots should be of equal size. All of them should be of splendid appearance.

90. All of them should be devoid of cracks and crevasses. Their forms should be auspicious (in appearance). All of them should be filled with water. They should be filled with water purified (i.e. filtered) with a cloth. They should be rendered fragrant by means of scents and incenses.

91-93. When they are washed, filled or taken (from one place to another) the six-syllabled Mantra (viz. Oṃ namaḥ śivāya) should be repeated. One shall have one hundred and eight, twenty-eight or eighteen or four vases. The number should not be less than that. The following Dravyas (i.e. materials of worship): milk, curds, ghee, honey and sugarcane juice[4] shall be placed to the left of Bhava. Thereafter, the devotee should come out and worship the Doorkeepers (deities).

94-95. Henceforth the Mantras to be expressive of all these (Doorkeepers of the Lord) are mentioned in due order: (i) Oṃ Gam obeisance to Gaṇapati (‘Lord of the Gaṇas’), (ii) Oṃ Kṣāṃ obeisance to Kṣetrapāla, (iii) Oṃ Gam obeisance to the elders or preceptors (Gurus). This much in the firmament, (iv) Oṃ Kauṃ obeisance to family goddess, (v) Oṃ obeisance to Nandin, (vi) Oṃ obeisance to Mahākāla, (vii) Oṃ obeisance to Dhātṛ and Vidhātṛ.

Thereafter he should enter (the shrine) and sit facing the north, a little to the right side of the Liṅga. He should sit straight-backed on a level seat. He shall be pure (in mind and body) and shall meditate for a short while.

96. He should meditate upon the solar disc in the middle of the lotus, surrounded by Darbhas etc. He should meditate upon the circle of fire stationed in the middle of the lunar disc.

97-98. The devotee should meditate upon Lord Śiva as being in the middle—the Lord who has the cosmic form, who is accompanied by the eight primordial Śaktis beginning with Vāmā, who has five faces, ten arms and three eyes, who is adorned by the (crescent) moon, and in whose left lap is seated the daughter of the Mountain and who is frequently eulogized by Siddhas. Then at the outset, O King, he (i.e. devotee) should offer Pādya (water for washing the feet) and Arghya (materials of worship) to Śaṃbhu.

99. The Arghya consists of: Water, raw grains of rice, Darbha grass, sweet-smelling flowers, ghee, scents, milk, curds and honey. Arghya is declared to be of nine constituents.

100. With the mind mellowed with faith, he should perform ablution of the Liṅga. At the outset a vase is taken and the devotee should perform the rite of Malasnāna (i.e. washing away the dirt).

101. With half (the quantity of water) he should bathe (the Liṅga). Then he should rub off the dirt. With all (the water) thereafter he shall bathe it. Then he shall worship and bathe it.

102. Thereafter, he should bow down with devotion and bathe (the Liṅga) repeating the Mūlamantra which consists of twelve syllables as follows: Oṃ Huṃ viśvamūrtaye śivāya namaḥ (‘obeisance to the lord Śiva with the Cosmic form’).

103. Repeating the Mūlamantra he should bathe (the Liṅga) with water, milk, curds, honey and sugarcane juice severally before worshipping and offering the incense and water.

104-105. He should bathe (the Liṅga) with (the waters in all) the vases and after it has been washed he shall dry it (with a cloth) and smear it with sweet scents. After drying it and applying scents, he shall bathe it (again) and apply sandal paste. Thereafter, he shall worship it with various kinds of flowers. Listen to the procedure by which it should be worshipped.

106. On the Āgneya Pāda (at the bottom on the South-East side)—Oṃ obeisance to Dharma.

On the South-West—Oṃ obeisance to Jñāna (Knowledge).

On the North-West—Oṃ obeisance to Vairāgya (Detachment).

On the North-East—Oṃ obeisance to Aiśvarya (Masterliness and prosperity).

On the East (foot)—Oṃ obeisance to Adharma (Evil).

On the South—Oṃ obeisance to Ajñāna (Ignorance).

On the West—Oṃ obeisance to Avairāgya (Non-detachment).

On the North—Oṃ obeisance to Anaiśvarya (Non-prosperity).

Oṃ obeisance to the Infinite one.

Oṃ bow to the Padma (Lotus).

Oṃ salute to the solar disc.

Oṃ obeisance to the lunar disc.

Oṃ salute to the circle of fire.

Oṃ obeisance to the five Mantras’ Śaktis (‘Powers of Mantras’) such as Vāmā, Jyeṣṭhā and others.

Oṃ obeisance to the goddess, the supreme Prakṛti.

Oṃ obeisance to the Lord with the five faces, viz. Īśāna, Tatpuruṣa, Aghora, Vāmadeva and Sadyojāta? (Salute) to the Lord with the cosmic form, with the forms of Rudra, Sādhya, Vasu, Āditya, Viśvedevas and other gods; (bow) to the great Lord with the forms of the immobile and the mobile beings sucḥ as Aṇḍaja. (born of eggs), Svedaja (born of sweat), Udbhijja (those that grow after piercing the earth—sprouts and shoots) and Jarāyuja (viviparous); Oṃ Huṃ, obeisance to Śiva of the cosmic form; obeisance to the trident, to the bow, to the sword, to the skull, to the staff and to the axe.

107. Then at the entrance to the watershed: Oṃ obeisance to Caṇḍīśvara.

After duly worshipping thus the devotee should offer the Arghya.

108. (Mantra:) O Mahādeva, for the purpose of completing the worship accept this Arghya comprising water, raw rice grains, flower and excellent fruits.

109. If one is competent, one should perform the Vasupūjā after offering Arghya. Thereafter he should perform the rites of Dhūpa (incense waving), Dīpa (waving light) and Naivedya (food offering) in due order.

110-111. The devotee should ring the bell there. Then the Nīrājana rite of waving the lights ceremoniously to the Lord of Devas to the accompaniment of the sounds of conch and musical instruments should be performed. He who witnesses the rite of Nīrājana of the Trident-bearing Lord of the Devas shall become liberated from all the sins. What to say of the man who actually performs the rite!

112. Even if a person pretends to perform dance, vocal music and instrumental music, the Lord will be pleased with him, since the benefit of vocal music and instrumental music is infinite.

113. After eulogizing by means of hymns, he should prostrate on the ground like a staff. He should crave the pardon of the Lord of Devas saying, “(O lord) forgive my misdeeds; (make them) good deeds.”

114-116. He who worships Rudra thus, particularly in this Liṅga, should redeem his father, grandfather and great-grandfather from all sins. He shall stay in the world of Rudra for a long time. He shall become a devotee of Maheśvara, abiding by the holy rite of noble conduct. If he worships with concentration and single-minded devotion for the sake of liberation from the bondage of Paśu (individual Soul), if he worships Rudra thus, this universe is propitiated by him.

117. But, all this shall be fruitful, O king, only if he does not transgress the discipline of good conduct. Dharma becomes fruitful on account of practising it. One attains heaven by the practice of the above Śiva-dharma.

118-119. One attains long life through good conduct. Good conduct destroys the inauspicious and the ill-omened things. Yajñas, charitable gifts and austerities of that person who transgresses the code of good conduct and does (as he pleases), are not conducive to prosperity. I shall give a general outline of that (code of good conduct). O King, listen:

120. Effort should be made by a householder in achieving the three aims of life (Virtue, Love and Wealth). On the achievement of those, a householder realises Siddhi both here and hereafter.

121-125. One shall wake up in the Brāhma Muhūrta (early dawn) and deliberate upon Dharma and Wealth. After getting up, he should perform the rite of Ācamana (ceremonious sipping of water) after finishing the brushing of the teeth. The learned devotee should be calm, pure in mind and body and then perform the rite of Sandhyā Prayer. In the case of the morning Sandhyā, it shall be while the stars shine (before they fade away) and in the case of the evening Sandhyā, it should be before the sun sets. He should avoid telling lies and speaking evil words as well as harsh ones (rebukes). He should avoid serving evil persons, indulging in heretic doctrines, false Śāstras etc., O King.

Great sages have laid down that looking into the mirror, brushing the teeth, combing the hair and worshipping the deities should be performed in the forenoon. One should avoid a sitting plank of palāśa wood, sandal and toothpicks made of Palāśa. A learned man shall not drag the chair (sitting plank) by the foot.

126-130. A clever man should not carry water and fire simultaneously. One should not stretch one’s legs in the presence of the preceptor, deity or fire.

One should circumambulate the preceptor, old men, persons who are more learned, an ascetic, temples of gods, the tree in a monastery and at the crossroads.

Taking food, evacuating the bowels, sporting, dalliance and sexual intercourse should be carried on in a secluded spot by one conversant with Dharma. Extraordinary power of speech and intellect, austerity, means of livelihood and age should be kept secret.

During day time, one should evacuate the bowels or pass urine facing the north and during the night, facing the south. If this is done, longevity will not be affected.

131-133. Intellect is destroyed if one passes urine facing fire, the sun, a cow, a person who performs holy rites, the moon, waterway, and dusk.

After taking food, sleeping, standing(?), passing urine and evacuating the bowels and after traversing the streets, one should always perform the Ācamana rite and touch with water five limbs (viz. feet, hands, eyes, ears, shoulders).

One should not pass urine in a river, in a cremation ground, in ash, in cow-dung, in a ploughed field or in a meadow where grass has not been cut.

134-135. A clever man should perform Śauca (cleansing) rite by means of water taken out.

Five types of clay should be avoided, viz. that from within water, from temple, from ant-hill, from where mice live, from an accursed place and from the place devoid of purity and cleanliness.

The rite of cleansing must be done till bad odour and stickiness is removed.

136. One shall not strike oneself nor should one give oneself up to sorrow. One shall not scratch one’s own head with both the hands.

137. (Defective Text) One should protect one’s wife. A learned man shall abandon groundless malicious attitude towards her. Without sunset (?) one should not perform any holy rite.

138. One shall concentrate one’s mind on Śiva and earn wealth without injuring or harming any living being or with the least injury to living beings. One should not be too miserly.

139-140. One should not be malignant (towards anyone). One should not be ungrateful. Nor should one be inclined to injure others. One shall not be fickle with hands and feet (i.e. they should not be shaken without any reason frequently) nor with one’s eyes (i.e. one should not wink too often). One should be straightforward.

One should not be fickle with speech or limbs of the body. Nor should one do anything which is uncivil, rude or imprudent. One should not engage oneself in vain arguments or futile enmity.

141. One should acquire wealth through different means (such as Sāma, Dāna etc.). The means of Daṇḍa should be adopted where there is no other go. One should avoid (sharing of) food, bed and vessels with persons who have estranged from one.

142. O excellent King, one should not go between or through two fires or Liṅgas or between fire and Liṅga or between two Brāhmaṇas or between a husband and a wife.

143. One should not go in between the Sun and the Temple of the Sun or Viṣṇu, nor between Hara and his bull; otherwise one would incur sin by going in between them.

144. A learned person should not take food nor perform Homa rites in the fire, nor adore Brāhmaṇas, nor perform the worship of gods with a single cloth on (one’s own body), i.e. without an upper garment also.

145-147. While cutting, threshing, wiping, purifying water, sawing, taking food, beginning to sleep, getting up, going, sneezing, beginning a new enterprise, concluding a work, after uttering a displeasing word, drinking, smelling, touching, hearing, while desiring to speak, after having sexual intercourse and after purifying oneself, one should utter the name of Sthāṇu twenty times. He who does so, should be known as Māheśvara (‘follower of Maheśvara’). All the others are so only in name. They are mere name-bearers.

148-150a. He shall become identical with Rudra and shall attain Śiva in the end. One should not speak directly to another man’s wife. Or if it becomes inevitable to speak, a learned man should address her as mother, sister, daughter or noble lady. If one is Ucchiṣṭa (i.e. has not washed the mouth after taking food) one should not touch anything nor should look at the sun, at the moon or at the stars. One should not make sounds on one’s own head.

150b-1 53. One should not sit in the same seat with one’s own sister, daughter or mother in a secluded spot. For, the group of sense-organs is uncontrollable. Even a learned man becomes confused and enchanted.

If the teacher comes to one’s own house as a guest, one should get up from one’s seat and earnestly offer a seat unto him and prostrate at his feet.

A learned man should never sleep with his head towards the north or towards the west. He should sleep with his head towards the Agastya Star (i.e. the South) and Indra (i.e. the East).

One should avoid looking at, touching and talking to a woman in her monthly course.

154-156. One should not pass urine, evacuate the bowels or discharge semen into water. If one does so, one should perform the rite of worshipping the deities, human beings, and sages according to one’s ability. One should worship Pitṛs as well. A follower of Maheśvara deserves to take food (only) thereafter.

One should perform Ācamana, be pure and observe silence and sit facing the East or the North. He should keep the hands between the knees. He shall keep his mind fixed to it. He should take food without blaming or finding fault with it, unless there is injury or insult. A learned man should not make critical remarks about it (food).

157. One should not take naked bath nor should lie down or move about naked. One should not announce misdeeds of the preceptor. If he is angry one should pacify him.

158. One should not listen to scandals or slander of the preceptor even if others are giving vent to it. One should rather give up a hundred (other) works and ever listen to religion (i.e. religious discourses).

159. It always cleanses off the dirt (i.e. evil thoughts in the mind) like that from a house or mirror.

On the fourteenth day in the bright half of a month, one should take food only at night (and observe fast by day).

160. If one is (physically) incapable (of observing fasts for) three nights, he (may take food and still) be a follower of Maheśvara. But he should not prepare for himself (and eat) Saṃyāva (i.e. cake of wheat flour), Kṛśīra (i.e. sweetmeat made from gingelly seeds) or flesh.

161. In the morning and in the evening, one should take food only after feeding one’s guests. One should avoid sleeping, learning and taking food during Sandhyā (dawn and dusk).

162-165. If out of delusion one takes food at dawn and at dusk, one should become (a resident of) the abode of Asuras. After taking bath, one should not shake off the tresses.

When one sneezes or spits on the path one should touch the right ear and beg for forgiveness from all the living beings.

One should not wear blue cloth(?) nor should one interchange the upper and the lower garments.

A dirty cloth and a cloth devoid of a fringe i.e. with threads coming out at the sides should be avoided.

One should wash the face, hands and feet and sit down (with hands) in between the knees. He should perform Ācamana three times and wipe the face twice. One should touch the limbs with water and touch the head as well.

166-168. One should perform all holy rites after performing the Ācamana twice. When one sneezes or spits out, when something sticks to the teeth (and one picks it out) and after talking to fallen people, one should perform the rite of Ācamana.

Three Vedas must be studied everyday. One should (try to) become a learned man. One should acquire wealth by righteous means. Worship should be performed scrupulously.

A learned man should never use the word “Thou” even in regard to a mean and low person. The appellation ‘Thou’ and the slaughter of the preceptors, both are equal.

169-170. Truth should be told (always). One shall be friendly (with everyone) at all times. Al [All?] wearisome and fatiguing tasks should be avoided.

As many days as one lives in this world, the soul should be joined to magnificent rites.

The soul that has become sullied should be purified always by means of holy baths in Tīrthas, fasts, holy rites and observances, charitable gifts to deserving persons, Homas, Japas and Yajñas, adoration of Bhava (Śiva) and special worship of Devas.

171. O King, one should perform with detachment an act, by doing which anywhere one’s self does not incur any slander, provided it is not to be kept secret from great persons.

172. Thus a general outline has been given to you. The rest should be known by you from the Smṛtis and Purāṇas.

173. To a person who practises pious rites thus and stays in the abode of Maheśa, everything is splendid both here and hereafter on attaining wealth, virtue and love.

Nārada said:

174. Thus while Mahākāla was recounting different kinds of virtuous activities, O Phālguna, there was heard a loud sound in the sky.

175-176. Listen, who came there even as they were watching: Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Rudra himself, the goddess (Pārvatī), the Gaṇas of Rudra, Devas beginning with Indra, prominent sages beginning with Vasiṣṭha and groups of Gandharvas and celestial damsels, the chief of whom were Tuṃburu and others.

177. Filled with excessive devotion, the intelligent Mahākāla worshipped all of them, the chief of whom was Maheśa. He worshipped them in various ways.

178-179. Thereafter, he was made to sit in an excellent seat made of gems and jewels, by Brahmā and others. He was coronated in Mahī-Sāgara-Saṅgama. Then he was joyously embraced and placed in her lap by the goddess. O son of Pṛthā, the excessively intelligent Mahākāla was adopted as her own son.

180. This was spoken by her: “O devotee of holy Śiva-rites, do stay in the abode of Śiva like Śiva as long as this Cosmic Egg lasts. Do stay thus on account of your devotion to Śiva.”

181. This boon was granted by the Lord: “He who conquers the sense organs and remains pure and worships your (i.e. Mahākāla’s) Liṅga will come up to my world.

182. Visit, eulogy, adoration, prostration, Japa performed and charitable gifts given at this Liṅga here cause great pleasure unto me.”

183. When this was uttered, Devas were surprised. They shouted, “Excellent! Excellent!” Devas, chief of whom were Brahmā and Viṣṇu, eulogized Mahākāla.

184-186. Mahākāla was eulogized by Suras and saluted by Cāraṇas. He was surrounded on all sides by the dancing celestial damsels along with the splendid songs of Gandharvas and crores and crores of Gaṇas who eulogized. With Bhava at the head, he went to the abode of Rudra. Thus, O descendant of Kuru, this great Liṅga had originated.

187-188. The well and the lake of Mahākāla is meritorious and it yields Siddhis. Mahākāla embraces those men, O son of Pṛthā, who are engaged in propitiating the Liṅga here and recommend them to Śiva. This wonderful Liṅga is well-known in the three worlds.

189-190. If the Liṅga is visited, touched and worshipped, those men will go to the abode of Bhava. Thus, O Phālguna, these seven Liṅgas came into existence. Those who listen to this and praise these are excellent men. They are blessed.

Footnotes and references:


This Chapter deals with the following topics:

  1. Equality of the gods of Trinity (VV 2-14).
  2. Sins, their classification and acts comprised in them (VV 16-79).
  3. Procedure of the worship of Śiva (VV 81-119).
  4. Code of Conduct—Sadācāra (VV 120-173).
  5. Mahākāla’s attainment of Kailāsa—Importance of Mahākāla Liṅga (VV 174-190).


The author attempts to synthesize the three religious cults of his time by asserting equality of the gods of Trinity—Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva, by showing one deity to be devoted to the other two.


For the guidance of ordinary people, the Purāṇa has prescribed traditional rules of conduct. Manu’s advice is to follow one’s ancestors’ path and that is the Sadācāra. Kumārila regards only those usages which are not opposed to the Vedas as authoritative.

It is noteworthy that violations of these rules by some groat men is condoned as they are like fire which though omnivorous, is a sanctifier (BhP X.33-30).


These ingredients form Pañcāmṛta (collection of five nectars or sweet things).

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