Shiva Maha Purana
Arjuna and Shiva
Duryodhana robbed the Pandavas of their rightful share of the kingdom in a game of dice. As a result of this, the Pandavas had to spend many years in the forest. While they were in the forest, Vedavyasa came to visit the Pandavas. Vedavyasa told them that they should pray to Shiva. But since Arjuna was the best suited amongst the Pandavas for worshipping Shiva, Vedvyasa taught Arjuna a special mantra (incantation). Then he asked Arjuna to go to Mount Indrakila and pray to Shiva there. Mount Indrakila was on the banks of the river Bhagirathi.
Arjuna went to Mount Indrakila. He made a linga out of clay and started to pray to Shiva. The news of Arjuna’s wonderful tapasya spread everywhere. Arjuna stood on one leg and continualy chanted the mantra that Vedavyasa had taught him.
Suddenly, Arjuna saw a boar. Arjuna thought that this fierce boar might have come to distract him from his tapasya. Alternatively, it might be a relative of the several demons that he had killed and therefore might wish him harm. Thinking this, Arjuna picked up his bow and arrow and let fly an arrow at the boar. Meanwhile, Shiva had decided to subject Arjuna to a test and he had also arrived at the spot disgusted as a hunter. When Arjuna shot an arrow at the boar, so did Shiva. Shiva’s arrow struck the boar in its hindquarters and Arjuna’s arrow struck the boar in its mouth. The boar fell down dead.
A dispute started between Arjuna and the hunter about who had killed the boar. Each claimed it for his own. They began to fight. But whatever weapons were hurled by Shiva were easily repelled all of Arjuna’s weapons. When all the weapons were exhausted, the two started to wrestle.
After the fight had gone on for a while, Shiva gave up his disguise of a hunter and displayed his true form to Arjuna. Arjuna wa ashamed that he had been fighting with the very person to whom he had been praying.
Please forgive me, said Arjuna.
It is all right, replied Shiva. I was just trying to test you. Your weapons have been like offerings to me, you are my devotee. Tell me, what boon do you desire?
Arjuna wanted the boon that he might obtain glory on earth. Shiva gave Arjuna his pashupata weapon. This was such a divine weapon that its possession made Arjuna invincible.
Sudarshana chakra (a bladed discus) was Vishnu’s weapon. Vishnu received this wonderful weapon as a result of Shiva’s grace.
Many years ago, the demons oppressed the gods and the gods went to Vishnu for deliverance. Vishnu said that the demons were so powerful, that he would first have to worship Shiva if something was to be done about the asuras. Vishnu went to Mount Kailasa and bean to pray to Shiva. He chanted many mantras, but there was no sign of Shiva. Shiva has a thousand names and Vishnu next started to chant these names. Each day he chanted the thousand names and offered a thousand lotus flowers to Shiva.
Shiva decided to test Vishnu. One day, he stole a lotus flower from the thousand that were to be offered. When Vishnu realized that there was one lotus flower less, he gouged out his own eye and offered it in place of the missing lotus flower. Shiva was now pleased and appeared before Vishnu. He offered to grant Vishnu a boon.
You know that the powerful demons have been oppressing the gods, said Vishnu. I need a weapon to fight the demons with. Please give me a weapon.
Shiva then gave Vishnu the sudarshana chakra. And with this weapon, Vishnu killed the demons.
Shiva’s Thousand Names
When the sages heard this story, they said, Romaharshana, what are these thousand names of Shiva that you have mentioned? Relate them to us.
Romaharshana obliged. For convenience, let us list out these thousand names in a hundred groups of ten each.
You will notice that a few of the names are repeated so that the total number of names do not quite add up to one thousand.
- Shiva, Hara, Mrida, Rudra, Pushkara, Pushpalochana, Arthigamya, Sadachara, Sharva, Shambhu.
- Maheshvara, Chandrapida, Chandramouli, Vishva, Vishvamareshvara, Vedantasara-sandoha, Kapali, Nilalohita, Dhyanadhara, Aparicchedya.
- Gouribharta, Ganeshvara, Ashtamurti, Vishvamurti, Trivargasvargasadhana, Jnanagamya, Dridaprajna, Devadeva, Trilochana, Vamadeva
- Madadeva, Patu, Parivrida, Drida, Vishvarupa, Virupaksha, Vagisha, Shuchisattama, Sarvapramanasamvadi, Vrishanka.
- Vrishavahana, Isha, Pinaki, Khatvanga, Chitravesha, Chirantana, Tamohara, Mahayogi, Gopta, Brahma.
- Dhurjati, Kalakala, Krittivasah, Subhaga, Pranavatmaka, Unnadhra, Purusha, Jushya, Durvasa, Purashasana.
- Divyayudha, Skandaguru, Parameshthi, Paratpara, Anadimadhyanidhana, Girisha, Girijadhava, Kuberabandhu, Shrikanatha, Lokavarnottama.
- Mridu, Samadhivedya, Kodandi, Nilakantha, Parashvadhi, Vishalaksha, Mrigavyadha, Suresha, Suryatapana, Dharmadhama.
- Kshamakshetra, Bhagavana, Bhaganetrabhida, Ugra, Pashupati, Tarkshya, Priyabhakta, Parantapa, Data, Dayakara.
- Daksha, Karmandi, Kamashasana, Shmashananilaya, Suksha, Shmashanastha, Maheshvara, Lokakarta, Mrigapati, Mahakarta.
- Mahoushadhi, Uttara, Gopati, Gopta, Jnanagamya, Puratana, Niti, Suniti, Shuddhatma, Soma.
- Somarata, Sukhi, Sompapa, Amritapa, Soumya, Mahatejah, Mahadyuti, Tejomaya, Amritamaya, Annamaya.
- Suhapati, Ajatashatru, Aloka, Sambhavya, Havyavahana, Lokakara, Vedakara, Sutrakara, Sanatana, Maharshi.
- Kapilacharya, Vishvadipti, Vilochana, Pinakapani, Bhudeva, Svastida, Svastikrita, Sudhi, Dhatridhama, Dhamakara.
- Sarvaga, Sarvagochara, Brahmasrika, Vishvasrika, Sarga, Karnikara, Priya, Kavi, Shakha, Vishakha.
- Goshakha, Shiva, Bhishaka, Anuttama, Gangaplavodaka, Bhaya, Pushkala, Sthapati, Sthira, Vijitatma.
- Vishayatma, Bhutavahana, Sarathi, Sagana, Ganakaya, Sukirti, Chinnasamshaya, Kamadeva, Kamapala, Bhasmoddhulita-vigraha.
- Bhasmapriya, Bhasmashyai, Kami, Kanta, Kritagama, Samavarta, Nivritatma, Dharmapunja, Sadashiva, Akalmasha.
- Chaturvahu, Durvasa, Durasada, Durlabha, Durgama, Durga, Sarvayudhavisharada, Adhyatmayoganilaya, Sutantu, Tantuvardhana.
- Shubhanga, Lokasaranga, Jagadisha, Janardana, Bhasmashuddhikara, Meru, Ojasvi, Shuddhavigraha, Asadhya, Sadhusadhya.
- Bhrityamarkatarupadhrika, Hiranyareta, Pourana, Ripujivahara, Bala, Mahahrada, Mahagarta, Vyali, Siddhavrindaravandita, Vyaghracharmambara.
- Mahabhuta, Mahanidhi, Amritasha, Amritavapu, Panchajanya, Prabhanjana, Panchavimshatitattvastha, Parijata, Para-vara, Sulabha.
- Suvrata, Shura, Brahmavedanidhi, Nidhi, Varnashramaguru, Varni, Shatrujita, Shatrutapana, Ashrama, Kshapana.
- Kshama, Jnanavana, Achaleshvara,Pramanabhuta, Durjneya, Suparna, Vayuvahana, Dhanurdhara, Dhanurveda, Gunarashi.
- Gunakara, Satyasatyapara, Dina, Dharmaga, Ananda, Dharmasadhana, Anantadrishti, Danda, Damayita, Dama.
- Abhivadya, Mahamaya, Vishvakarma, Visharada, Vitaraga, Vinitatma, Tapasvi, Bhutabhavana, Unmattavesha, Pracchanna.
- Jitakama, Ajitapriya, Kalyanaprakriti, Kalpa, Sarvalokaprajapati, Tarasvi, Tavaka, Dhimana, Pradhanaprabhu, Avyaya.
- Lokapala, Antarhitatma, Kalpadi, Kamalekshana, Vedashastrarthatattvajna, Aniyama, Niyatashraya, Chandra, Surya, Shani.
- Ketu, Varanga, Vidrumacchavi, Bhaktivashya, Anagha, Parabrahm-amrigavanarpana, Adri, Adryalaya, Kanta, Paramatma.
- Jagadguru, Sarvakarmalaya, Tushta, Mangalya, Mangalavrita, Mahatapa, Dirghatapa, Sthavishtha, Sthavira Dhruva.
- Aha, Samvatsara, Vyapti, Pramana, Parmatapa, Samvatsarakara, Mantra-pratyaya, Sarvadarshana, Aja, Sarveshvara
- Siddha, Mahareta, Mahabala, Yogi, Yogya, Siddhi, Mahateja, Sarvadi, Agraha, Vasu.
- Vasumana, Satya, Sarvapaphara, Sukirti, Shobhana, Shrimana, Avanmanasagochara, Amritashashvata, Shanta, Vanahasta.
- Pratapavana, Kamandalundhara, Dhanvi, Vedanga, Vedavita, Muni, Bhrajishnu, Bhojana, Bhokta, Lokanantha.
- Duradhara, Atindriya, Mahamaya, Sarvavasa, Chatushpatha, Kalayogi, Mahanada, Mahotsaha, Mahabala, Mahabuddhi.
- Mahavirya, Bhutachari, Purandara, Nishachara, Pretachari, Mahashakti, Mahadyuti, Ahirdeshyavapu, Shrimana, Sarvacharyamanogati.
- Vahushruta, Niyatatma, Dhruva, Adhruva, Sarvashaska, Ojastejodyutidara, Nartaka, Nrityapriya, Nrityanitya, Prakashatma.
- Prakashaka, Spashtakshara, Budha, Mantra, Samana, Sarasamplava, Yugadikrida, Yugavarta, Gambhira, Vrishavahana.
- Ishta, Vishishta, Shishteshta, Shalabha, Sharabha, Dhanu, Tirtharupa, Tirthanama, Tirthadrishya, Stuta.
- Arthada, Apamnidhi, Adhishthana, Vijaya, Jayakalavita, Pratishthita, Pramanajna, Hiranyakavacha, Hari, Vimochana.
- Suragana, Vidyesha, Vindusamshraya, Balarupa, Vikarta, Balonmatta, Gahana, Guha, Karana, Karta.
- Sarvabandhavimochana, Vyavasaya, Vyavasthana, Sthanada, Jagadadija, Guruda, Lalita, Abheda, Bhavatmatmasamsthita, Vireshvara.
- Virabhadra, Virasanavidhi, Virata, Virachudamani, Vetta, Tivrananda, Nadidhara, Ajnadhara, Tridhuli, Shipivishta.
- Shivalaya, Balakhilya, Mahachapa, Tigmamshu, Badhira, Khaga, Adhirma, Susharana, Subrahmanya, Sudhapati.
- Maghavana, Koushika, Gomana, Virama, Sarvasadhana, Lalataksha, Vishvadeha, Sara, Samsarachakrabhrita, Amoghadanda.
- Madhyastha, Hiranya, Brahmavarchasi, Paramartha, Para, Mayi, Shambara, Vyaghralochana, Ruchi, Virinchi.
- Svarbandhu, Vachaspati, Aharpati, Ravi, Virochana, Skanda, Shasta, Vaivasvata, Yama, Yukti.
- Unnatakirti, Sanuraga, Paranjaya, Kailashadhipati, Kanta, Savita, Ravilochana, Vidvattama, Vitabhaya, Vishvabharta.
- Anivarita, Nitya, Niyatakalyana, Punyashravanakirtana, Durashrava, Vishvasaha, Dhyeya, Duhsvapnanashana, Uttarana, Dushkritiha.
- Vijneya, Duhsaha, Bhava, Anadi Bhurbhuvakshi, Kiriti, Ruchirangada, Janana, Janajanmadi, Pritimana.
- Nitimana, Dhava, Vasishtha, Kashyapa, Bhanu, Bhima, Bhimaparakrama, Pranava, Satpatchachara, Mahakasha.
- Mahaghana, Janmadhipa, Mahadeva, Sakalagamaparaga, Tattva, Tattavit, Ekatma, Vibhu, Vishvavibhushana, Rishi.
- Brahmana, Aishvaryajanmamrityujaratiga, Panchayajnasamutpatti, Vishvesha, Vimalodaya, Atmayoni, Anadyanta, Vatsala, Bhaktalokadhrika, Gayatrivallabha.
- Pramshu, Vishvavasa, Prabhakara,, Shishu, Giriraha, Samrata, Sushena, Surashatruha, Amogha, Arishtanemi.
- Kumuda, Vigatajvara, Svayamjyoti, Tanujyoti, Achanchala, Atmajyoti, Pingala, Kapilashmashru, Bhalanetra, Trayitanu.
- Jnanaskandamahaniti, Vishvotipatti, Upaplava, Bhaga, Vivasvana, Aditya, Yogapara, Divaspati, Kalyanagunanama, Papaha.
- Punyadarshana, Udarakirti, Udyogi, Sadyogi, Sadasanmaya, Nakshatramali, Nakesha, Svadhishthanapadashraya, Pavitra, Paphari.
- Manipura, Nabhogati, Hrit, Pundarikasina, Shatru, Shranta, Vrishakapi, Ushna, Grihapati, Krishna.
- Paramartha, Anarthanashana, Adharmashatru, Ajneya, Puruhuta, Purushruta, Brahmagarbha, Vrihadgarbha, Dharmadhenu,Dhanagama.
- Jagaddhitaishi, Sugata, Kumara, Kushalagama, Hiranyavarna, Jyotishmana, Nanbhutarata, Dhvani, Araga, Nayandyaksha.
- Vishvamitra, Dhaneshvara, Brahmajyoti, Vasudhama, Mahajyotianuttama, Matamaha, Matarishva, Nabhasvana, Nagaharadhrika, Pulastya.
- Pulaha, Agastya, Jatukarnya, Parashara, Niravarananirvara, Vairanchya, Vishtarashrava, Atmabhu, Aniruddha, Atri.
- Jnanamurti, Mahayasha, Lokaviragranti, Vira, Chanda, Satyaparakrama, Vyalakapa, Mahakalpa, Kalpaviriksha, Kaladhara,
- Alankarishnu, Achala, Rochishnu, Vikramonnata. Ayuhshabdapati, Vegi, Plavana, Shikhisarathi, Asamsrishta, Atithi.
- Shatrupreamathi, Padapasana, Vasushrava, Pratapa, Havyavaha, Vishvabhojana, Japaya, Jaradishamana, Lohitatma, Tanunapata.
- Vrihadashva, Nabhoyoni, Supratika, Tamisraha, Nidagha, Tapana, Megha, Svaksha, Parapuranjaya, Sukhanila.
- Sunishpanna, Surabhi, Shishiratmaka, Vasanta, Madhava, Grishma, Nabhasya, Vijavahana, Angira, Guru.
- Atreya, Vimala, Vishvavahana, Pavana, Sumati, Vidvana, Travidya, Naravahana, Manobuddhi, Ahamkara.
- Kshetrajna, Kshetrapalaka, Jamadagni, Balanidhi, Vigala, Vishvagalava, Aghora, Anuttara, Yajna, Shreye.
- Nishshreyahpatha, Shaila, Gaganakundabha, Danavari, Arindama, Rajanijanaka, Charuvishalya, Lokakalpadhrika, Chaturveda, Chatrubhava.
- Chatura, Chaturapriya, Amlaya, Samamlaya, Tirthavedashivalaya, Vahurupa, Maharupa, Sarvarupa, Charachara, Nyayanirmayaka.
- Nyayi, Nyayagamya, Nirantara, Sahasramurddha, Devendra, Sarvashastraprabhanjana, Munda, Virupa, Vikranta, Dandi.
- Danta, Gunottama, Pingalaksha, Janadhyaksha, Nilagriva, Niramaya, Sahasravahu, Sarvesha, Sharanya, Sarvalokadhrika.
- Padmasana, Paramjyoti, Parampara, Paramfala, Padmagarbha, Mahagarbha, Vishvagarbha, Vichakshana, Characharajna, Varada.
- Varesha, Mahabala, Devasuraguru, Deva, Devasuramahashraya, Devadideva, Devagni, Devagnisukhada, Prabhu, Devasureshvara.
- Divya, Devasuramaheshvara, Devadevamaya, Achintya, Devadevatmasambhava, Sadyoni, Asuravyaghra, Devasimha, Divakara, Vibudhagravara.
- Shreshtha, Sarvadevottamottama, Shivajnanarata, Shrimana, Shikhi-shriparvatapriya, Vajrahasta, Siddhakhadgi, Narasimhanipatana, Brahmachari, Lokachari.
- Dharmachari, Dhanadhipa, Nandi, Nandishvara, Ananta, Nagnavratadhara Shuchi, Lingadhyaksha, Suradhyaksha, Yogadhyaksha.
- Yugavaha, Svadharma, Svargata, Svargakhara, Svaramayasvana, Vanadhyaksha, Vijakarta, Dharmakrit, Dharmasambhava, Dambha.
- Alobha, Arthavit, Shambhu, Sarvahbutamaheshvara, Shmashananilaya, Tryksha, Setu, Apratimakriti, Lokottaras-futaloka, Trymbaka.
- Nagabhushana, Andhakari, Makhaveshi, Vishnukandharapatana, Hinadosha, Akshayaguna, Dakshari, Pushadantabhit, Dhurjati, Khandaparashu.
- Sakala, Nishkala, Anagha, Akala, Sakaladhara, Pandurabha, Mrida, Nata, Purna, Purayita,
- Punya, Sukumara, Sulochana, Samageyapriya, Akrura, Punyakirti, Anaymaya, Manojava, Tirthakara, Jatila.
- Jiviteshvara, Jivitantakara, Nitya, Vasureta, Vasuprada, Sadgati, Satkriti, Siddhi, Sajjati, Kalakantaka.
- Kaladhara, Mahakala, Bhuasatyapraryana, Lokalavanyakarta, Lokottarasukhalaya, Chandrasanjivana, Shasta, Lokaguda, Mahadhipa, Lokabandhu.
- Lokanatha, Kritajna, Krittibhushana, Anapaya, Akshara, Kanta, Sarvashastrahadvara, Tejomaya, Dyutidhara, Lokagranti.
- Anu, Shuchismita, Prasannatma, Durjjeya, Duratikrama, Jyotirmaya, Jagannatha, Nirakra, Jaleshvara, Tumbavina.
- Mahakopa, Vishoka, Shokanashana, Trllokapa, Trilokesha, Sarvashuddhi, Adhokshaja, Avyaktalakshana, Deva, Vyaktavyakta.
- Vishampati, Varashila, Varaguna, Saramandhana, Maya, Brahma, Vishnu, Prajapala, Hamsa, Hamsagati.
- Vaya, Vedha, Vidhata, Dhata, Srashta, Harta, Chaturmukha, Kailasashikharavasi, Sarvavasi, Sadagati.
- Hiranyagarbha, Druhina, Bhutapa, Bhupati, Sadyogi, Yogavit, Yogi, Varada, Brahmanapriya, Devapriya.
- Devanatha, Devajna, Devachintaka, Vishamaksha, Vishalaksha, Vrishada, Vrishavardhana, Nirmama, Nirahamkara, Nirmoha.
- Nirupadrava, Darpha, Darpada, Dripta, Sarvabhutaparivartaka, Sahasrajit, Sahasrarchi, Prabhava, Snigddhaprakriti, Sahasrarchi, Prabhava, Snigddhaprakritidakshina, Bhutabhavyabhavannatha.
- Bhutinashana, Artha, Anartha, Mahakosha, Parakaryaikapandita, Nishkantaka, Kritananda, Nirvyaja, Vyajamardana, Sattvavana.
- Sattvika, Satyakirti, Snehakritagama, Akampita, Gunagrahi, Naikatma, Naikakarmakrit, Suprita, Sumukha, Suksha.
- Sukara, Dakshinaila, Nandiskandhadhara, Dhurya, Prakata, Pritivardhana, Aparajita, Sarvasattva, Govinda, Adhrita.
- Sattvavahana, Svadhrita, Siddha, Putamurti, Yashodhana, Varahabhringadhrika, Bhringi, Balavana, Ekanayaka, Shrutiprakasha.
- Shrutimana, Ekabandhu, Anekakrit, Shrivatsalashivarambha, Shantabhadra, Sama, Yasha, Bhushaya,Bhushana, Bhuti.
- Bhutakrit, Bhutabhavana, Akampa, Bhaktikaya, Kalaha, Nilalohita, Satyavrata, Mahatyagi, Nityashantiparayana, Pararthavritti.
- Vivikshu, Visharada, Shubhada, Shubhakarta, Shubhanama, Shubha, Anarthita, Aguna, Sakshi, Akarta.
Shivaratri is the tithi (lunar day) on which Brahma and Vishnu had worshipped Shiva. A vrata is a special religious rite that is performed. A vrata observed on shivaratri (the night dedicated to Shiva) is particularly important. It brings undying punya. One stays up at night and prays to a linga. One also has to observe a fast.
There used to be a hunter named Rurudruha. He was not at all righteous. In fact, he was quite evil and cruel. He killed many deer and he was also a robber and thief. Naturally, Rurudruha knew nothing about shivaratri vrata.
But it happened to be shivaratri when the hunter’s parents, wife and children felt very hungry. They asked Rurudruha to go and get some meat so that they might eat. The hunter went to the forest to kill deer, but could not find any. It was already evening and no game was to be seen. Rurdruha found a water-hole and decided that he would keep a vigil there. Sooner or later, some animal was bound to turn up. He climbed up onto a bilva tree that was by the side of the water-hole. And in case he should feel thirsty, he kept a pot full of water next to him. There he waited.
Soon a doe turned up to drink water. The hunter picked up his bow and arrow. When he did so, the tree shock and a few bilva leaves fell on a linga that was right under the tree. Bilva leaves are sacred to Shiva. Some water spilled from the pot and also fell on the linga. Rurudruha did not of course know this.
But the doe saw the hunter. Don’t kill me right now, said the does. My children and husband are at home. Let me go and bid them farewell. When I return, you are welcome to kill me.
The hunter was in no mood to let the doe go. Does an animal return to be killed? But the doe took an oath and Rurdruha let her go.
After a short while, another doe turned up to drink water. The two does were sisters and both of them married to the same deer. As before, the tree shook and bilva leaves and some water fell on the linga.
The doe saw the hunter and said, Wait for sometime before you kill me. Let me say goodbye to my husband and children.
The hunter was reluctant to let the doe go. But the second doe also took an oath that she would return. So Rurudruha decided to wait.
After the doe had gone, the deer turned up to drink water. And when the hunter picked up his bow and arrow, bilva leaves and water again fell on the linga.
The deer said, Hunter, let me go now. I will come back and you can kill then. I wish to bid adieu to my two wives and children.
The deer also took on oath that he would return and Rurudruha let him go.
After some time had passed, the two does and the deer came to where Rurdruha was. Each said, Kill me and spare the others. They need to stay alive to look after the children. The baby deer had also accompanied their parents. They said,Kill us. We don’t wish to stay alive when our parents are gone. The hunter was so surprised at these developments that the tree shook again. Bilva leaves and water fell on the linga.
Shiva now took pity on Rurdruha and removed all evil thoughts from his mind. The hunter spared the deer. Shiva himself appeared before Rurudruha and said, From now on your name will be Guha. You will be so blessed that Rama will become your guest.
This story demonstrates that even if shivaratrivrata is performed unconsciously, great punya is obtained.