Shiva Gita (study and summary)

by K. V. Anantharaman | 2010 | 35,332 words

This page is entitled “introduction (devotion—a vital means of liberation)” contained in the Shiva Gita (Study and English comments by K. V. Anantharaman). The Shiva Gita is a philosophical text from the Padma-purana in the form of a dialogue between Lord Shiva and Shri Rama. It deals with topics such as Advaita metaphysics and Bhakti and consists of 768 verses.

Introduction (Devotion—a vital means of liberation)

1.1.0 Spiritual Texts

Spiritual texts are of two types—the learned philosophical treatises (śāstras) that appeal to the intelligence with the nuances and subtleties of logic etc. which explain the experience of divine. And the fervent devotional hymns (stotras) that explain through mystic teaching and spiritual vision, the Omniscience, Omnipresence and Omnipotence of Supreme Being, available to the spiritual aspirant in search of the ultimate truth. There is no watertight distinction between these since both categories convey the devout experience and are authentic expression of devotion. Śiva Gītā combines the features of both the śastra and stotra.

1.2.0 Rāma’s conversation with Śiva

In Śiva Gītā, the conversation is between Śrī Rāma and Lord Śiva. After the abduction of Sītā, Rāma is depressed and is in anger. At this point Sage Agastya appears in front of Rāma to teach vairāgya and upon Rāma’s insistence to get Sītā recovered first, teaches him Śivasahasra nāma and advises him to propitiate Lord Śiva who will bestow him Pāśupata arrow to enable him conquer Rāvaṇa. After bestowing Pāśupata, Lord Śiva imparts spiritual teaching in order to elevate Rāma to higher realms and transmits the knowledge of the Self to Rāma to get over anger and agony and obtain lasting peace, thereby facilitating all the spiritual aspirants to derive the benefit of the spiritual knowledge unlike the Bhagavad Gītā which preaches the spiritual knowledge to get over sorrow and delusion.

1.3.0 Comparison of Śiva Gītā with Bhagavad Gītā

There are striking parallels in Śiva Gītā and Bhagavad Gītā in quite a few places Abhijñāna Śākuntala if resounding echoes. Six verses (provided in appendix) are verbatim reproductions while 32 verses are very much similar in form, import and content. There is no cause of wonder because both these Gītā texts have emanated from the pen of great Bādarāyaṇa, Veda Vyāsa.

1.4.0 Origin of Śiva Gītā

The Śiva Gītā forms part of Uttara-khaṇḍa of Padma-purāṇa. Parama Śivendra Sarasvatī says in his commentary on Śiva Gītā [1-36] that it belongs to the Padma-purāṇa:

“asminneva padmapurāṇe vedasārākyaṃ iti nāmaviśiṣṭaṃ śivanāmasahasrakaṃ ‘namaḥ parāya ityādikam’”.[1]

Main thrust of this work is on the philosophy of Advaita that follows the Upaniṣads and the Brahma-sūtra Abhijñāna Śākuntala its source of authority.

1.5.0 Śiva Gītā—the ancient

Śiva Gītā gives essence of major Upaniṣads in general and Śaivopaniṣads in particular. A list of 64 gītās is given in appendix and Śiva Gītā is one of the prominent of the same. This could be the fore runner of Bhagavad Gītā Abhijñāna Śākuntala this conversation between Lord Śiva and Śrī Rāma took place in Tretā yuga (“rāmaṃ nimittīkṛtya lokānugrahārthaṃ ayaṃ gītopadeśaḥ, na Taittirīya Upaniṣad rāmaṃ prati”)[2] where Abhijñāna Śākuntala the Bhagavad Gītā conversation in the Kurukṣetra war field took place in subsequent Dvāpara yuga. The authenticity of one Primary God’s (Lord Śiva) advice to another Primary God’s (Viṣṇu) incarnation, has been suitably modified by the recipient Primary God’s another incarnation to suit mankind and delivered to a human hero Arjuna in the form of a dialogue set in battlefield. In Bhagavad Gītā , Arjuna is “nimittamātram[3]. Thus it is observed that the seed of Bhagavad Gītā has been sown in Śiva-gītā.

1.6.0 Available works on Śiva Gītā

There is a gloss on Śiva Gītā titled Śivagītātātparyaprakāśikā by His Holiness Jagadguru Parama Śivendra Sarasvatī.[4] Yet another work Śiva Gītā Bhāṣyam was authored by Śrī Śṛṅgagiri Jagadguru Śrimad Abhinava Nṛsiṃha Bhārati Svāmi.[5] The third work is in Grantha character with translation of Sanskrit verses in Tamil.[6] There is another one publication of Śiva Gītā by the Nimaya Sagar Press, Bombay.[7] There is a Śiva Gītā with Hindi translation of verses.[8] There is a recent work with Tamil translation with meanings written by Ānandanāciyāramma.[9] Another translation of Śiva Gītā in English is by Prof P.K.Sundaram.[10] It is learnt that there is a translation of Śiva Gītā into Italian language by Mario Vallauri.[11]

1.7.0 Śiva same Abhijñāna Śākuntala Viṣṇu

It has to be well kept in mind that Śiva Gītā is not sectarian. One, who thinks Śiva and Viṣṇu are different, is mistaken. Even Brahmā or Hiraṇya Garbha is not different from Śiva and Viṣṇu.

1.7.1 We have in Brahmanāradīya purāṇa:—[12]

anādinidhane deve hari śaṃkarasaṃjñite |
ajñāna sāgare magnā bhedaṃ kurvanti pāpinaḥ ||

“Between the primordial Gods Hari and Śaṅkara, only the ignoramus introduces differences, on account of their sins.”

1.7.2. Lord Śiva says In HV[13]

ahaṃ tvaṃ sarvago devaḥ tvamevāhaṃ janārdana |
āvayorantaraṃ nāsti śabdairarther jagatpate ||

“There is absolutely no difference either in words or meaning between us and I am you and you are me, Janārdana.”

1.7.3 Ṛbhu, an avatāra of Viṣṇu says[14]

ahameva harissākṣāt ahameva sadāśivaḥ |
śuddha caitanya bhāvo'haṃ śuddha satvānubhāvanaḥ ||

“I am the real Hari and I am also Sadā Śiva. We are of the nature of pure existence and consciousness.”

1.7.4 Lord Śiva says in Śiva Gītā itself[15]

yo māṃ guruṃ pāśupatavrataṃ dveṣṭi narādhipa |
niṣpuṃ vā sa na mucyeta janmakoṭiśatairapi ||

“O, Ruler of Mankind, One who hates Me or the Preceptor or Pāśupata penance or Viṣṇu, will not get released even in millions of births.”

The idea focussed in Śiva Gītā naturally inculcates in the mind the themes quoted above.

1.8.0 Emphasis on Śiva

Śiva Gītā provides a synthesis between Śaiva and Vaiṣṇava traditions. Although Śiva-gītā glorifies Lord Śiva, it simultaneously advocates tolerance between Śiva and Viṣṇu (which is the need of the hour).

Footnotes and references:


Vide. Śiva Gītā with English commentary by Prof. P.K.Sundaram—Introduction p-verse


In the same place . Introduction p-xiii


Bhagavad Gītā -Chapter XI verse -33.


Printed in 1906 by The Vani Vilas Press, Srirangam and the author was the 57th Pontiff of the Kāmakoṭi Pīṭham from 1539-1586.


Published by Śṛṅgeri Śaradā Pīṭham in 1962 and the author was the 24th Pontiff from 1599-1622.


Authored by Śrī Muthukumaraswamy Gurukkal from Jaffna, Sri Lanka.


This book is published in 1909 vide prof. P.K.Sundaram’s Śiva Gītā-introduction p-iv


Published by Gaṅgāviṣṇu Śrī Kṛṣṇadas, Kalyan, Bombay—authored by Pandit Jvālaprasād Misra-1994


Published by Śrī Indu Publications, T.Nagar, Chennai in 2004.


Published by The Centurian Trust, Chennai in 1997 following the commentary called Bāla-nandini by Hari Pandita.


Vide Śiva Gītā -English commentary (Centurian Trust) Introduction p-verse .


In the same place , introduction P-xiii.


HV-the final part of Mahābhārata -adhyāya 67 verse -55


Vide 7th chapter 64 the verse in Tejobindu Upaniṣad .


Vide Gītādhikāri Nirūpaṇam-XVIth chapter of Śiva Gītā -verse 6.

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