Shiva Purana

Shiva Purāṇa (ʃːvə pʊˈraːnə, Sanskrit: शिव पुराण; Śiva Purāṇa) is one of the eighteen major Purāṇas, a genre of Sanskrit texts in Hinduism, and part of the Shaivism literature corpus.[1] It primarily centers around the Hindu god Shiva and goddess Parvati, but references and reveres all gods.[2][3][4]

The Shiva Purāṇa asserts that it once consisted of 100,000 verses set out in twelve samhitas (books). It is said to have been uttered by Lord Shiva Himself according to the great sage, Veda Vyasa, who abridged and taught it to his disciple Romaharshana.[1] The surviving manuscripts exist in many different versions and content,[5] with one major version with seven books (traced to South India), another with six books, while the third version traced to the medieval Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent with no books but two large sections called Purva-khanda (previous section) and Uttara-khanda (later section).[1][6] The two versions that include books, title some of the books same and others differently.[1] The Shiva Purāṇa, like other Purāṇas in Hindu literature, it was said to have been edited by Veda Vyasa in every Yuga so that its "utility as a work of authority might not decrease".[7][8] The oldest manuscript of surviving texts was likely from, estimates Klaus Klostermaier, around 10th to 11th century CE.[9][4] Some chapters of currently surviving Shiva Purāṇa manuscripts were likely composed after the 14th century CE.[6]

The Shiva Purāṇa contains chapters with cosmology, mythology, relationship between gods, ethics, Yoga, Thirtha (pilgrimage) sites, bhakti, rivers and geography, and other topics.[10][2][11] The text is an important source of historic information on different types and theology behind Shaivism in early 1st-millennium BCE.[12] The oldest surviving chapters of the Shiva Purāṇa have significant Advaita Vedanta philosophy,[6] which is mixed in with theistic elements of bhakti.[13][14]


Scholars such as Klostermaier as well as Hazra estimate that the oldest chapters in the surviving manuscript were likely found around the 10th to 11th centuries CE, which has not stood the test of carbon dating technology hence on that part we must rely on the text itself which tells when it was found .[9][4] Certain books and chapters in currently surviving Shiva Purāṇa manuscripts were likely composed later, some after the 14th century CE.[6] The Shiva Purāṇa, revised over the centuries.[7][8]

Hazra states that the Bombay manuscript published in the 19th-century is rarer, and likely the older than other versions published from eastern and southern India.[15]

Different manuscripts

Shiva is Atman (soul)

A pathologist diagnoses correctly,
and cures illness through medicines.
Similarly, Shiva is called the physician of the world,
by those who know the nature of the principles.

Shiva is the great Atman,
because he is the Atman of all,
he is forever endowed with the great qualities,
there is no greater Atman than him.

Shiva Purana, Kailasa samhita, Chapter 9.17-22
(Abridged, Translator: JL Shastri)[16]

The Creation of the Cosmic Ocean and the Elements, folio from the Shiva Purāṇa, c. 1828.

According to a passage found in the first chapters of Vidyeśvara Saṁhitā and Vāyaviya Saṁhitā of these recensions the original Shiva Purāṇa comprised twelve Saṁhitās, which included five lost Saṁhitās: Vaināyaka Saṁhitā, Mātṛ Saṁhitā (or Mātṛpurāṇa Saṁhitā), Rudraikādaśa Saṁhitā, Sahasrakoṭirudra Saṁhitā and Dharma Saṁhitā (or Dharmapurāṇa Saṁhitā). The number of verses in these sections were as follows:[17]

  1. Vidyeshvara Samhita - 10,000
  2. Rudra Samhita - 8,000
  3. Vainayaka Samhita - 8,000
  4. Uma Samhita - 8,000
  5. Matri Samhita - 8,000
  6. Rudraikadasha Samhita - 13,000
  7. Kailasa Samhita - 6,000
  8. Shatarudra Samhita - 3,000
  9. Sahasrakotirudra Samhita - 11,000
  10. Kotirudra Samhita - 9,000
  11. Vayaviya Samhita - 4,000
  12. Dharma Samhita - 12,000

Several other Saṁhitās are also ascribed to the Śiva Purāṇa. These are the Īśāna Saṁhitā, the Īśvara Saṁhitā, the Sūrya Saṁhitā, the Tirthakṣetramāhātmya Saṁhitā and the Mānavī Saṁhitā.[17]

Haraprasad Shastri mentioned in the Notices of Sanskrit MSS IV, pp. 220–3, Nos, 298–299 about another manuscript of the Śiva Purāṇa, which is divided into two khandas (parts), the Pūrvakhaṇḍa and the Uttarakhaṇḍa. The Pūrvakhaṇḍa consists 3270 ślokas in 51 chapters written in Nagari script and the Uttarakhaṇḍa has 45 chapters written in Oriya script. It was preserved in Mahimprakash Brahmachari Matha in Puri. The Pūrvakhaṇḍa of this manuscript is the same as the Sanatkumara Saṁhitā of the Vangavasi Press edition.

The Shiva Purāṇa, in verses 6.23-6.30 of Vayaviya Samhita, states that Om (Pranava) expresses Shiva, it includes within it Brahmā, Vishṇu, Rudra, and Shiva, there is Purusha in everything, nothing is smaller nor bigger than Shiva-atman.[18]


The Vidyeśvara Saṁhitā, also called Vighnesa Samhita or Vidyasara Samhita, appears in both editions, is free of mythology found in some other Samhitas, and is dedicated to describing the greatness and the bhakti of Shiva, particularly through the icon of liṅga.[15] This section is also notable for mentioning both Shaiva Agamas and Tantric texts, but frequently quoting from the Vedas and asserting that the text is the essence of the Vedic teaching and the Vedanta.[15] The chapters of this shared Samhita in different versions of the Shiva Purāṇa includes a description of India's geography and rivers from north and south India so often and evenly that Hazra states it is difficult to gauge if this part was composed in north or south India.[15]

The Jnanasamhita in one manuscript shares content with Rudrasamhita of the other manuscript, presents cosmology and mythology, and is notable for its discussion of saguṇa and nirguṇa Shiva.[19]

The text discusses goddesses and gods, dedicates parts of chapters praising Vishnu and Brahmā, as well as those related to avatars such as Krishna.[20] It asserts that one must begin with karma-yajna, thereon step by step with tapo-yajna, then self-study, then regular meditation, ultimately to jnana-yajna and yoga to achieve sayujya (intimate union) with Shiva within.[20] The text emphasizes bhakti and yoga, rather than bookish learning of the Vedas.[21]

The Shiva Purāṇa dedicates chapters to Shaiva-Advaita philosophy, like Liṅga Purāṇa and other Shaivism-related Purāṇas, advocating it as a system for salvation.[22] The text also presents the Brahman as satcitananda theme, with masculine and feminine Shiva-Shakti as a unity, and perception of plurality-discrimination as a form of nescience.[22] Love-driven devotional (bhakti), asserts the text, leads to knowledge, and such love combined with knowledge leads to attracting saintly people and guru, and with them one attains liberation, states Shiva Purāṇa.[22] These ideas, states Klaus Klostermaier, are similar to those found in Devi-related Purāṇas and Shakti literature.[22]

Several recensions of this text exist. The Bombay 1884 manuscript recension published by the Vangavasi Press, Calcutta in 1896 consists of five Saṁhitās (sections):[17][23]

# Saṁhitā
I Vidyeśvara Saṁhitā 16
II Kailāśa Saṁhitā 12
III Sanatkumāra Saṁhitā 59
Iv Vāyavīya Saṁhitā}}:
i. Pūrvabhāga
ii. Uttarabhāga

V Dharma Saṁhitā 65
Total: 212

The second manuscript of Shiva mahapurāna published in 1906, reprinted in 1965, by the Pandita Pustakalaya, Kashi consists of seven Saṁhitās:[17]

# Saṁhitā
I Vidyeśvara Saṁhitā 25
II Rudra Saṁhitā:
i. Sṛśṭikhaṇḍa
ii. Satīkhaṇḍa
iii. Pārvatīkhaṇḍa
iv. Kumārakhaṇḍa
v. Yuddhakhaṇḍa

III Śatarudra Saṁhitā 42
IV Koṭirudra Saṁhitā 43
V Umā Saṁhitā 51
VI Kailāśa Saṁhitā 23
VII Vāyavīya Saṁhitā:
i. Pūrvabhāga
ii. Uttarabhāga

Total: 457

These manuscripts are considered to be those of the Shiva mahapurāṇa.[23]


  1. Dalal 2014, p. 381.
  2. JL Shastri 1970.
  3. Kramrisch 1976, pp. 172-173, 229, 263-275, 326, 340-369.
  4. K P Gietz 1992, p. 323 with note 1780.
  5. Rocher 1986, pp. 222-224.
  6. K P Gietz 1992, p. 539 with note 2987.
  7. Pintchman 2001, pp. 91-92 with note 4.
  8. Arvind Sharma (2003). The Study of Hinduism. University of South Carolina Press. pp. 160–167. ISBN 978-1570034497.
  9. Klostermaier 2007, p. 503.
  10. Dalal 2014, pp. 381-382.
  11. JL Shastri 1950b.
  12. Klostermaier 2007, pp. 544-545 note 22.
  13. Klaus K. Klostermaier (1984). Mythologies and Philosophies of Salvation in the Theistic Traditions of India. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. pp. 180, 263–264. ISBN 978-0-88920-158-3. Quote: Though the basic tenor of those sections of Shiva Puraṇa is Advaitic, the theistic elements of bhakti, gurupasati and so forth are mixed with it.
  14. Shastri, JL (1970). The Siva Puraṇa. India: Motilal Banarasidass. pp. xiii.
  15. Rocher 1986, p. 223.
  16. JL Shastri 1950b, p. 1707.
  17. Rocher 1986, pp. 222–228.
  18. JL Shastri 1950b, p. 1931.
  19. Rocher 1986, pp. 223-224.
  20. Rocher 1986, pp. 225-226.
  21. Rocher 1986, pp. 225-227.
  22. Klaus K. Klostermaier (1984). Mythologies and Philosophies of Salvation in the Theistic Traditions of India. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. pp. 179–180, 219, 233–234. ISBN 978-0-88920-158-3.
  23. Rangacharya, M, ed. (1908). "Upapurāṇa and Sthalamahatmyas". A Descriptive Catalogue of the Sanskrit Manuscripts in the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library: Volume IV, Second Part. Madras: Government of Madras. pp. 1606–1607.


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