Shiva Gita (study and summary)

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

Shiva-gita Chapter 3 (English summary), entitled “declaration of viraja diksha (virajadiksha-nirupana)” as included in the critical study 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.

Chapter 3 - Declaration of Virāja Dīkṣā (virājadīkṣā-nirūpaṇa)

3.1 Agastyā’s poser.

Sage Agastya puts before Rāma his desparate predicament. Sītā has been abducted by Rāvaṇa, who is himself a great devotee of Śiva and possesses immeasurable valour and is supported by great brothers of prowess like Kumbhakarṇa and Vibhīṣaṇa and to cap it all by unconquerable son Indrajit, of whom even Devas are afraid of. Also Rāma and Rāvaṇa are separated by fathomless sea and unless it is crossed there is no way to save Sītā. Lankan army too is matchless with great generals of high calibre. Agastya, treating Rāma Abhijñāna Śākuntala a human being, says that being driven by lust his attempt to reach Sītā against his advice does not agree with him, just Abhijñāna Śākuntala medicine to a dying man.[1]

3.2 Rāma takes Agastyā’s tutelage.

Rāma replies in the affirmative and says he is consumed by lust and anger and egoity is constantly gnawing at his life. At this stage philosophy does not help him but Abhijñāna Śākuntala a warrior and honourable gentleman he has to save his wife and he humbly submits to Agastya Abhijñāna Śākuntala a student to preceptor.

3.3 Śiva—the only refuge.

Thus when Rāma totally surrendered to Agastya, he out of his great and overwhelming compassion advises Rāma that only Lord Parameśvara, the consort of Pārvatī can help him. Śiva alone can be approached to defeat Rāvaṇa who is unconquerable even by Hari, Brahmā and gods like Indra.

3.4 Agastyā’s Initiation.

So Agastya decides to initiate Rāma on the basis of blemishless Virāja āgama through which means he can become resplendent transcending mortality. Hearing this Rāma prostrates daṇḍavat before the great ṛṣi and begs to be initiated to Virāja Dīkṣā. Further Agastya instructs him to commence the dīkṣā on the bright fortnight on the 14th day or 8th day or alternatively on the 11th day or a monday where Ārdra star is on the ascendent. Agastya instructs Rāma to behold the most beautiful celestial god Rudra, the eternal and Supreme One, the highest, the most auspicious, the progenitor of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Agni and Vāyu, the ever blissful and beneficent. Meditating on him through Āvasathya[2] fire and Vāyu, and controlling the five elements and rendering them powerless; annihilating the karmendriyas and jñānedriyas one has to rest on the Supreme Self; then observe the Pāśupata vow. The Pāśupata vow is also known Abhijñāna Śākuntala prāta, śiromṛta, atyāśrama, śāmbhava and aiśvara, cf. Sūta Saṃhitā Śivamāhatmyakhaṇḍa chapter II—Pāśupatavrata.

3.5 Śiva sahasranāma.

For observing the Pāśupata vow one should resolve in the early dawn itself and establish the ritualistic fire according to one’s own branch of Veda. Fasting, being clean, having bathed, wearing white clothes with white sacred thread and white garlands, doing Viraja chant, submit oblations to vital airs prāṇa, apāna etc. and offer samit, ghee, boiled pulses and barley to the sacrificial fire. Taking ash from the sacrificial fire apply it to the forehead and other parts of body, one becomes powerful Abhijñāna Śākuntala sacred ash has the power of fire.[3] Such a person becomes free from his sins and attains union with Śiva. One should recite the thousand names of Śiva, the essence of Veda, which brings about the direct vision of Śiva, [4] Abhijñāna Śākuntala taught by Agastya to Rāma.

3.6 Mahāpāśupata arrow.

If the chanting is continued day and night the Lord will appear and present Rāma the Mahāpāśupata arrow, by the help of which Rāma can destroy his enemies and even dry up the sea.[5] The same arrow is used by Śiva for dissolving the universe. Without this weapon, victory over demons is impossible and in order to secure this, Rāma was advised to surrender unto Śaṅkara.

Thus ends chapter three of Śiva-gītā.

Footnotes and references:


Vide Śiva Gītā III-1


The fire is called Āvasāthya because the hymn chanted is āvasatha. Sabhya and Āvasāthya are sacrificial fires forming part of the Soma-yāga. The alter is called Sabhā and hence the fire connected with it is known Abhijñāna Śākuntala Sabhya. Together with Gārhapatya, Dakṣiṇā and Āhavanīya, they constitute the five fires (Pañca-agni)


Vide Śiva Gītā III-30


Ibid III-32 & 33


Ibid III-36

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