Shiva Gita (study and summary)

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

Shiva-gita Chapter 11 (English summary), entitled “establishment of the nature of the soul (jivagatyadi-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 11 - Establishment of the nature of the soul (jīvagatyādi-nirūpaṇa)

11.1. Exit of Vital airs.

The Supreme Lord continuing his instructions to Rāma started telling him about die transmigration and likewise journey to the other world. The essence of what one eats and drinks forges a bond between the gross and subtle body and the digestive fire when gets impaired by old age or disease, stores of strength in the body dries up because of lack of the essence of food and drink. In the old age since samāna vāyu starts receding because of lack of essence, heaviness caused by the nourishing essence becoming matured, the subtle body abandons the gross body, like a ripe mango falling off its hold.[1] The vital airs headed by the chief vital air moves upward along the nāḍis and the intelligent soul makes an exit through the eyes or the crown of head accompanied by meditation and action and combined with impressions and depending on the selfintelligence, the intelligent soul makes its exit.[2] cf. Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad IV-3.35.

11.2 Transmigration.

The subtle body has to occupy another gross body just Abhijñāna Śākuntala a pot taken from place to place carries the same ether (ākāśa) with it there too, because ether is everywhere.[3] cf. Dṛgdṛśyaviveka The soul migrates to another body according to its past deeds and the journey is endless, like a fish moving between two banks of a river.

11.3 Re-entry into earth.

If undergoing the experience of sins predominates, it assumes a yātanā śarīra and messengers of Yama guide the body to experience hell. One who performs always the religious and social acts (Iṣṭa and Pūrta) goes to the world of manes guided by the officers of Yama, by the path of smoke, in southern direction and attains a divine body and goes to the world of moon to enjoy great felicity.[4] cf. Chāndogya Upaniṣad . When his fruits of good deeds get exhausted he re-enters the earth by the same path.[5] cf. Bhagavad Gītā IX-21

11.4 Entry path to earth.

The path to earth is circuitous one. After having abandoned the body of enjoyment, the soul attains ether, then air and then water. Attaining the clouds of water, it gets into rains and enters eatable food grains and the souls go to other wombs in order to get bodies depending on their past deeds, the route taken through semen from the food taken by the prospective father.[6] cf. Chāndogya Upaniṣad . Some souls get on to the path of release gradually by virtue of scriptural study, reflection and contemplation of Brahman (Śravaṇa, manana and Nididhyāsana).

11.5 Different path for different souls.

Becoming light, the upāsakas leave the body in day time in the bright fortnight of the moon and by uttarāyaṇa or northern path and then attain to the world of Saṃvatsara.[7] cf.Chāndogya Upaniṣad -IV-15.5. After enjoying the desired pleasure in the divine body for a length of time, the soul is released along with Brahmā. But one who has realized the pure Brahman does not go anywhere. His vital airs merge with elements like a lump of salt in water. Just like the creation seen in a dream dissolves on waking, the world dissolves for the person when Brahman knowledge has dawned.[8] For the third class of people of sinners they undergo Raurava hell and take birth Abhijñāna Śākuntala mosquitoes, lice, fly etc.

11.6 Status of celestial beings.

Here Rāma had a doubt. Lord had explained to him about the result of meditation and rituals and the results. But Rāma wanted to know how someone obtains the status of Gandharvas and other celestial beings and position of Indra. The Lord replied him that results accrue in accordance with the degree of excellence whether in the performance of rituals or meditation.

11.7 Gradation of joy.

If a young prince rules the entire earth with its seven continents, the joy is said to be one unit of human bliss. A hundred times of this for a man becoming Gandharva through austerity; another hundred times to Deva Gandharva. Thus the joy of the Gods, of Indra, similarly of Prajāpati and that of Brahmā is each of them respectively hundred times more than the preceding. cf. Taittirīya Upaniṣad —Brahmānandavallī lesson 8.

11.8 Knowledge of Truth is Supreme.

But one who has mastered Vedas, is sinless and is unconquered by lust is the twice-bom. To this Śrotriya all the increasing joys mentioned accrue at the same time. Hence, there is nothing higher than the knowledge of Truth.

11.9 A wise man is God.

A wise man is born superior to everything with the full knowledge of his past birth.[9] Whatever benefit a mortal being gets by feeding ten million brāhmaṇas that same benefit he will obtain by serving food to a person of knowledge. A wise man is God himself. Lord Śiva exhorts Rāma to take joy in meditation and be happy.

Thus ends the eleventh chapter of Śiva-gītā.

Footnotes and references:


Ibid XI-6


Cf. Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad IV 3-35;

‘Just Abhijñāna Śākuntala a cart, fully loaded, moves on creaking, even so does the self that is in the body, presided over by the Supreme Self, depart groaning when it characteristically struggles for breath.


Cf Dṛgdṛśyaviveka P35.—Yogavāsiṣṭha, Nirvāṇa-pūrva-prakaraṇa, verse 126.


Vide Chāndogya Upaniṣad verse . 10.3




Vide Chāndogya Upaniṣad explains the journey of the soul to the mortal world from the world of forefathers by pañca-agni-vidyā (the meditation on five fires) in chapter verse briefly Abhijñāna Śākuntala follows:

The soul after experiencing the results of its deeds descends through (i) heaven (dyu-loka); (ii) rain; (iii) earth; (iv) the male and (verse ) woman. These are called figuratively five fires in which five oblations are offered. The five oblations are (i) faith (śraddhā), (ii) aqueous body suited to stay in moon (soma) (iii) rain water (vṛṣti) (iv) food and (verse ) seminal fluid (retas). All these oblations are watery. Faith Abhijñāna Śākuntala also said to be water because all rituals involving use of liquids like milk and ghee presuppose faith. Śraddhā vo āpaḥ.


Ibid IV 15-5


Vide Śiva Gītā XI-28.


Ibid XI-42

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