Shiva Maha Purana

There was a king named Gadhi. His daughter was name Satyavati. Satyavati was married to the sage Richika.

Richika arranged for a spectacular sacrifice. Some rice pudding was obtained from the yajna and Richika gave it to his wife Satyavati. He said, Split this rice pudding into two halves. Eat half yourself and give the remaining half to your mother. Here, let me divide it. This is your half and that is your mother’s. We are brahmanas. So we will have a son who will display the traits of a brahmana. Your father is a kshatriya and your mother will have a son who will behave like a kshatriya.

Saying this, Richika went off to meditate in the forest. But mother and daughter managed to mix up their halves. In the course of his meditations, Richika realized that Satyavati was going to give birth to a brahmana son who would display kshatriya traits. Through his powers, he managed to postpone this birth by a generation. So Satyavati gave birth to Jamadagni. It was Jamadagni’s son Parashurama who exhibited all the kshatriya like characteristics.

Gadhi’s son was Vishvamitra. Vishvamitra was born a kshatriya. But because of the mixing up of the rice pudding, Vishvamitra turned out to be brahmana-like. There was a king of the Haihaya dynasty named Arjuna. He had a thousand arms. He had also obtained the boon that flaming fire itself would be perpetually present on the tip of his arrow. Whenever he shot an arrow, the fire from the tip of the arrow burnt up the target. In this fashion, Arjuna used to burn up villages, cities and forests. He once burnt up the hermitages of sages. And one of the sages cursed Arjuna that he would killed by Parashurama.

Parashurama learnt the art of fighting from Shiva himself. While Parashurama was away learning how to fight, Arjuna arrived in Jamadagni’s hermitage. Jamadagni had a wonderful cow (dhenu), known as a kamadhenu because it produced whatever objects one asked (Kama) from it. Using this kamadhenu, Jamadagni treated Arjuna and his entrie retinue to a royal feast.

Arjuna asked Jamadangi to give him this cow, but the sage refused. Arjuna then asked his soldiers to forcibly take away the cow. But just as this was going on, Parashurama arrived. He killed Arjuna, slicing off Arjuna’s thousand arms in the process.

Having disposed of Arjuna, Parashurama went off to meditate and pay another visit to Shiva.

Taking advantage of Parashurama’s absence, Arjuna’s sons invaded Jamadagni’s hermitage. They killed Jamadagni. When Parashurama returned, he exacted vengeance for this evil deed. He killed Arjuna’s sons. Since Arjuna and his sons happened to be kshatriyas, Parashurama also killed all the kshatriyas in the world. He did this not once, but twenty-one times over. Why twenty-one times? The reason was that there were twenty-one weapon-marks on the dead Jamadagni’s body.

But killing was a crime and Parashurama had committed a sin. As penance, Parashurama donated cows and performed a lot of tapasya. He also arranged an ashvamedha yajna. All this di
d not prove to be atonement enough. To complete the penance, Parashurama sought the advice of the sage Kashyapa.

Kashyapa told him to perform the donation that is known as tulapurusha. A tula (or tuladanda) is a pair of scales. The person (purusha) who is performing the donation is placed on one side of the weighing scale. On the other side are placed objects like honey , clarified butter, molasses, clothing and gold. The weight of the objects being donated has to be equal to the weight of the person performing the donation. This is known as tulapurusha. Parashurama performed tulapurusha and was freed from his sin.

There are several hells. Each hell is earmarked for a specific type of sinner.

A killer of brahmanas, a false witness, a liar and a drinker of wine is sent to the hell named rourava. Shukara is for thieves and killers of cattle. Killers of kshatriyas and vaishyas are also sent there. Those who commit infanticide are sent to taptalouha. A person who insults his teacher or criticizes the Vedas goes to taptakhala. Those who insult gods, brahmanas or kings are sent to krimibhaksha. Lalabhaksha is reserved for those who eat without offering food to the gods. A brahmana who eats what he should not goes to vishasana.

Sellers of wine are to be found in rudhirandha and killers of bees in vaitarani. Cheats are sent to krishna and destroyers of trees to asipatravana. A hunter of deer goes to vahnijvala, Agnimaya is for arsonists and sandamsha for those who fail to complete a vrata. If you accept your son as a teacher, you are sure to go to shvabhojana. The punishment is strictly in proportion to the crime committed. But penance diminishes the severity of the sin. The best form of penance is prayer to Shiva. Even if one merely remembers Shiva, that is enough.

The earth is divided into seven regions (dvipas), The names of these regions are Jambudvipa, Plakshadvipa, Shalmalidvipa, Kushadvipa, Krounchadvipa, Pushkaradvipa and Shakadvipa. These seven regions are surrounded by seven seas. The names of the seas are Lavana, Ikshu, Sarpi, Dadhi, Dugdha, Jala, and Rasa. Mount Sumeru is right in the middle of Jambudvipa. To the north of Sumeru are the mountains Nila and Shvetabhangi and to the south of Sumeru are the mountains Himavana. Hemakuta and Nishada. These mountains are full of all sorts of jewels.

Jambudvipa is divided into many parts (varshas). Right in the centre, where Mount Sumeru is located, is Ilavritavarsha. To the south of Sumeru are Bharatavarsha, Kimpurushavarsha and Harivarsha. To the north of Sumeru is Ramyakavarasha. Next to this is Hiranmayavarsha and further north is Uttarakuruvarsha.

The four major mountains in Ilavritavarsha are Mandara, Gandhamadana, Vipula and Suparshva. They are respectively to the east, south, west, and north of Sumeru. Bhadrashvavarsha is to the east of Sumeru and Ketumalavarsha is to the west. On the top of Mount Sumeru is Brahma’s famous city. The holy river Ganga flows through the sky and divides into four. The names of these tributaries are Sita, Alakanada, Chakshu and Bhadra. Sita flows to the east of Sumeru, Nanda or Alakananda to the south. Chakshu to the west and Bhadra to the north.

Bharatavarsha is bounded by mountain ranges on the north and the sea on the south. Bharatavarsha is divided into nine parts. The names of eight of these parts are Indradyumna, Kaseru, Tamraparna, Soumy, Gabhastimana, Nagadvipa, Gandharva and Varuna. The ninth part is an island surrounded by the ocean. On the eastern side of Bharatavarsha live the kiratas, on the western the yavanas, on the southern the andhras and ont he northern the turaskas.

The seven major mountains in Bharatavarasha are named Mahendra, Malaya, Sahya, Shuktimana, Riksha, Vindhya and Pariyatra From each of these mountains several rivers flow. Bharatavarsha is a sacred place. Only those who have accumulated punya over a thousand human lives get to be born in Bharatavarsha. Shiva is always present here to offer salvation to the residents.

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