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Each Purana has a particular goal or intention; a primary thing that it tries to convey.

Ramanujacharya in the Vedartha Sangraha says:

All other Puranas with other aims must be interpreted consistently with this (Vishnu) Purana. That they have other aims is discerned in the manner of their commencement.

So, it is agreed that different Puranas have different aims.

For example, according to the Garuda Purana:

3-5. Those sages once, in the morning,. having offered oblations to the sacrificial fire respectfully asked this of the revered Sūta sitting there:--

The sages said: The happiness-giving path of the Shining Ones has been described by you. We now wish to hear about the fear-inspiring Way of Yama;

What is the goal of the Shiva Purana?

3 Answers 3

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What is the goal of the Shiva Purana??

The goal of the Shiva Purana is to guide people away from Tamas.

The introduction of the Shiva Purana clarifies the intent and target audience of this Purana:

  1. How do good conduct, good devotion and power of discrimination flourish? How are base feelings [tamasic feelings] dispelled by good men?

  2. In this terrible Kali age all living beings have almost become demoniac in character. What is the effective mode of remedying the same?

...

  1. For the benefit of the evil-minded persons of the Kali age, bereft of virtuous conduct, Lord Śiva has produced the nectar in the form of Śivapurāṇa.

Look at the words used: "good conduct", "base feelings", "demonic character", "discrimination between good and evil", etc.

Bad conduct, base feelings, demonic character, and lack of discrimination between right and wrong are all tamasic qualities, and this Purana clearly says that its intent is to remove these qualities from bad men.

The Manusmriti describes some qualities arising out of Tamas:

12.33 - Avarice, drowsiness, irresolution, cruelty, disbelief, bad character, habit of begging, and inattentiveness are the characteristics of the quality of ‘Tamas.’

Since the primary goal of this Purana is to remove Tamasic qualities from people, it is described as a Tamasic Purana and is for Tamasic people:

  1. Who are those among sinners in the Kali age who get sanctified by this story? Please enlighten us. Make the whole world gratified.

  2. Men who habitually commit sins, wicked persons indulging in vicious activities and persons of lecherous disposition become pure hereby.

  3. This is a great Jñānayajña (sacrificial rite of wisdom); it yields worldly enjoyment as well as salvation; it dispels all sins and delights Siva.

  4. Men overwhelmed by the thirst of covetousness, those devoid of truthfulness, those who decry even their parents, haughty vain fellows and persons prone to violent activities become sanctified by this.

...

  1. Men of unclean habits and wicked minds, men who know no peace and men who swallow temple and trust properties become sanctified by this Jñānayajña even in the Kali age.

The Shiva Purana even explicitly says that it is for people fallen away from Sattva:

  1. But later on as her youthful health and boisterous virility increased, cupid’s onslaught became extremely unbearable for her and she ceased from strictly adhering to her virtuous conduct.

  2. Unknown to her husband she began to indulge in sexual intercourse with her sinful paramour at night. Fallen thus from Sāttvic virtues she went ahead along her evil ways.

...

  1. The wicked Binduga caught hold of his wife and with threats and abuses fisted her again and again.

  2. The whorish wicked woman Cañculā thus beaten by her husband became infuriated and spoke to her wicked husband.

  3. Foul-minded that you are, you indulge in sexual intercourse with the harlot every day. You have discarded me your wife, ever ready to serve you with my youthful body.

  4. I am a youthful maiden endowed with beauty and mentally agitated by lust. Tell me what other course can I take when I am denied the amorous sport with my husband.

  5. I am very beautiful and agitated with flush of fresh youth. Deprived of sexual intercourse with you I am extremely distressed. How can I bear the pangs of passion?

As you can see, words like "wicked", "evil", and "lust" are constantly repeated in every single verse to emphasize the point that these qualities are bad.

After that, the husband even tells his wife to continue sinning:

  1. You go ahead with your sexual sports with any number of paramours. No fear need enter your mind. Extract as much of wealth as you can from them and give them enough sexual pleasure.

  2. You must hand over all the amount to me. You know that I am enamoured of my concubine. Thus our mutual interests will be assured.

  3. His wife Cañculā on hearing these words of her husband became extremely delighted and assented to his vicious proposal.

...

  1. The foolish fellow endured distress and torture in Hell for many days. He then became a ghost in the Vindhya mountain range continuing to be terribly sinful.

The woman luckily went to a temple, heard the Shiva Purana, and became good:

  1. Due to divine intercession it chanced that on an auspicious occasion she happened to go to the Gokarṇa temple in the company of her kinsmen.

  2. Casually moving about here and there with her kinsmen she happened to take her bath in a holy pond as a normal routine affair.

  3. In a certain temple a scholar of divine wisdom was conducting a discourse on the holy Śivapurāṇa story some of which she happened to hear.

39—40. The portion that fell on her ears was the context in which it was said that the servants of Yama would introduce a red hot iron into the vaginal passage of women who indulge in sexual intercourse with their paramours. This narrative made by the Paurāṇika to increase detachment, made the woman tremble with fear.

  1. At the end of the discourse when all the people dispersed, the terrified woman approached the scholarly brahmin and spoke to him in confidence.

The learned scholar says that she should listen to the Shiva Purana, and this is because the woman is very sinful and tamasic:

l-2. O Brahmin lady, fortunately you have realised at the proper time on hearing the story of Śivapurāṇa that is conducive to non-attachment. Do not be afraid. Seek refuge in Śiva. All sins perish instantaneously by Śiva’s grace.

As you can see, the background, context, intent, and target audience of this Purana is different.

So, the Puranas have different intents and audiences.

4
  • I wonder why did you add Vishnu purana question was specific to Shiva Purana ?
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 4:20
  • The Vishnu section of your answer is superfluous.
    – Wikash_
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 10:30
  • @Wikash_ Ok I removed it
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 15:27
  • @TheLittleNaruto I removed it now
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 15:27
1

Siva, like other deities offers guidance to all. by selective citation (Vishnu,Ajamila) a totally distorted picture can be given of any deity. The material omitted in the above answer makes that clear.

  1. O Sūta of great intellect, O my lord, the knower of all Philosophical principles, please narrate to me the essence of the Purāṇas in detail.
  2. How do good conduct, good devotion and power of discrimination flourish? How are base feelings dispelled by good men?
  3. In this terrible Kali age all living beings have almost become demoniac in character. What is the effective mode of remedying the same?

4. Now tell me about the greatest means to achieve the most perfect weal, the holiest of the holy modes.

5. What is that, the practice of which particularly purifies the soul? What is that which enables a man of unsullied mind to attain Śiva?

6. O foremost among sages, you are blessed indeed as you are desirous of hearing. Hence I shall ponder over the greatest of the Sacred lore intelligently and tell you.

7. O dear, listen to that divine panacea evolved out of all religious tenets, heightening true devotion and conducive to the pleasure of Siva.

  1. It is destructive of the great fear of the Python of Kāla (Death). O sage, it is the noble Śiva Purāṇa[3] formerly narrated by Śiva Himself.
  2. For the benefit of the people in the age of Kali, the sage Vyāsa[4] has abridged it out of great respect for the sage Sanatkumāra[5] on being instructed by him.

10. O sage, there is nothing other than Śiva Purāṇa for the purification of the mind especially of the people of the Kali age.[6]

11. It is only the intelligent and the highly fortunate man who has accumulated great merits in his previous birth who will be drawn towards it.

12. This Śivapurāṇa is the greatest and the noblest of the sacred lore. It is the form of Śiva and as such is to be served and realised in this world.

13. By reading this and listening to it the good man becomes very pious. By all means he instantly attains Śiva’s region.

  1. Hence every endeavour of men to read this is desirable. Loving care to listen to it yields all desired results.
  2. By listening to this Purāṇa of Śiva a man becomes sinless. After enjoying all extensive worldly pleasures he will attain the region of Śiva.
  3. Merely by listening to the story of Śiva a man secures that merit which results from the performance of Rājasūya[7] and a hundred Agniṣṭomas.[8]

I7. O sage, those who listen to Śivapurāṇa the noblest of Sacred lore, cease to be mere human beings. They must be undoubtedly considered as manifestations of Rudra, a form of Śiva.

18. Sages consider the dust in the feet of those who habitually listen to that Purāṇa and recite it, on a par with holy centres.

19. May those who wish to attain the seat of salvation, listen always to the holy Śivapurāṇa with great devotion.

  1. O noblest among sages, if he is unable to listen to it always, let him hear it for a short while every day with his mind fully controlled.
  2. If any one is unable to listen to it every day, O sage, let him listen to Śivapurāṇa in the holy months.
  3. Those who listen to that Purāṇa even for a Muhūrta (48 minutes), half that period, one fourth of that period or even for a moment will not suffer from mishaps.
  4. O lord of sages, the man who listens to that Purāṇa crosses the ocean of worldly existence after burning the great forest of Karma (binding actions).
  5. O sage, the merit that accrues from all gifts and all Sacrifices becomes stabilised after listening to Śivapurāṇa.
  6. Particularly in the age of Kali there is no greater virtue conducive to the achievement of liberation by men, O sage, than listening to Śivapurāṇa.
  7. There is no doubt in this that, listening to the Purāṇa and reciting the names of Śiva is as efficacious as the Kalpa tree[9] in yielding one’s desires.
  8. For the benefit of the evil-minded persons of the Kali age, bereft of virtuous conduct, Lord Śiva has produced the nectar in the form of Śivapurāṇa.
  9. A single man, the man who drinks nectar, becomes immortal and unageing. But the nectar of the divine story of Śiva, if drunk, makes the whole family immortal and unageing.
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The Goal of Shiva Purana is the Attainment of all Four Chatur-vargas (Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha) via the path of Shaiva dharma. To claim that it's Goal is limited to merely 'Elevating people away from tamas' is a fatuous conclusion which ignores the essence of it's spiritual teachings in it's entirety.

19. May those who wish to attain the seat of salvation, listen always to the holy Śivapurāṇa with great devotion.

48. The holy Śivapurāṇa that accords the four aims of life (dharma, artha, kama and moksha) must be heard and read with great devotion always.

49. The Śivapurāṇa, the greatest harbinger of the perfect welfare among the Vedas, Itihāsas and other sacred texts must be thoroughly understood by those who seek salvation.

~ SivapurAna mahAtmya- Chapter 1

2. The entire essence of Vedānta is contained in the excellent Śivapurāṇa. It dispells all sins. It affords the attainment of the highest truth (Brahma) hereafter.

3. O brahmins, the great glory of Śiva, that destroys the sin of the Kali age, unfolds itself in the Purāṇa and yields the fruits of the four varieties (Dharma, Artha, Kāma and Mokṣa).

4. By the single-minded study of that most excellent Śivapurāṇa excellent brahmins will attain salvation.

~ SivapurAna - Section 1 - Vidyeśvara-saṃhitā - Chapter 2

From the Above passages, it is amply clear that's target audience of the purana is not limited to those who are required to be 'elevated from tamas'. It includes Mumukshus as well.

Furthermore, there is no room to claim that these passages only carry intermediary meaning of Shiva purana merely acting as some sort of 'stepping-stone' towards some other 'Sattvika' purana which 'in turn' would lead to liberation, because -

36. O sage, the ignorant man is tossed about in the ocean of worldly existence till the excellent Śivapurāṇa reaches his ears.

37. Of what avail is listening to many sacred texts and other confounding Purāṇas? The Śivapurāṇa alone loudly proclaims (its readiness) to grant salvation.

~ SivapurAna mahatmya Ch 1

10. All the other Purāṇas roar loudly on the earth as long as the Śivapurāṇa has not risen high in the world.

~ SivapurAna - Section 1 - Vidyeśvara-saṃhitā - Chapter 2

That it is self sufficient to lead to liberation is also further clarified with the Shivapurana itself-

  1. This wholesome Śivapurāṇa is concluded now. It shall be read and heard assiduously.

  2. It shall not be mentioned to an atheist nor to one lacking in faith nor to a stubborn rogue nor to one who is not a devotee of Śiva nor to a religious hypocrite.

45. On hearing this once, the sins are reduced to ashes. A non-devotee attains devotion and a devotee attains more devotion.

46. If it is heard again a further devotion is achieved. If it is heard again salvation is the result. Therefore it shall be heard over and again by those who desire salvation.

~ SivapurAna - Section 7.2 - Vāyavīya-saṃhitā (2) - Ch 41

From the above, it becomes clear that Shivapurana alone is enough to lead all the way from nonbelief/Ignorance (Tamas) to Bhakti(Sattva) up to all the way to moksha/liberation(nirgunatvam). The devotee who is thus devoted to the Shiva purana does not need anything else.

Let us now see the goal of the Shaiva dharma taught in the Shivapurana and those authorised to it.

शैवो हि परमो धर्मः श्रेष्ठानुष्ठानशब्दितः ॥ ७.१,३२.२ यत्रापरोक्षो लक्ष्येत साक्षान्मोक्षप्रदः शिवः ॥ ७.१,३२.२ स तु पञ्चविधो ज्ञेयः पञ्चभिः पर्वभिः क्रमात् ॥ ७.१,३२.३ क्रियातपोजपध्यानज्ञानात्मभिरनुत्तरैः ॥ ७.१,३२.३ तैरेव सोत्तरैस्सिद्धो धर्मस्तु परमो मतः ॥ ७.१,३२.४ परोक्षमपरोक्षं च ज्ञानं यत्र च मोक्षदम् ॥ ७.१,३२.४

What is termed the excellent practice is Shaiva dharma wherein Śiva the bestower of salvation is directly perceived.

It is fivefold divided into five sections, holy rites, penance, japa, meditation and knowledge

The five activities along with attendant virtuous rites constitute the greatest Dharma. Thereby one attains the direct and indirect knowledge that bestows salvation.

परमो ऽपरमश्चोभौ धर्मौ हि श्रुतिचोदितौ ॥ ७.१,३२.५धर्मशब्दाभिधेयेर्थे प्रमाणं श्रुतिरेव नः ॥ ७.१,३२.५ परमो योगपर्यन्तो धर्मः श्रुतिशिरोगतः ॥ ७.१,३२.६धर्मस्त्वपरमस्तद्वदधः श्रुतिमुखोत्थितः ॥ ७.१,३२.६ अपश्वात्माधिकारत्वाद्यो धरमः परमो मतः ॥ ७.१,३२.७साधारणस्ततो ऽन्यस्तु सर्वेषामधिकारतः ७.१,३२.७ स चायं परमो धर्मः परधर्मस्य साधनम् ॥ ७.१,३२.८धर्मशास्त्रादिभिस्सम्यक्सांग एवोपबृंहितः ॥७.१,३२.८ शैवो यः परमो धर्मः श्रेष्ठानुष्ठानशब्दितः ॥ ७.१,३२.९इतिहासपुराणाभ्यां कथंचिदुपबृंहितः ॥ ७.१,३२.९

The two Dharmas the higher and secondary are mentioned in the Vedas. In the matter of Dharma the Vedas constitute the final authority for us. The higher dharma upto the practice of Yoga is mentioned in the Vedantic section of the Vedas. The secondary Dharma is mentioned in the Karmakāṇḍa section of the same. The Ātmans freed from Pāśa are authorised in the higher Dharma and in the other one, every one is authorised.This higher Dharma is the means for achieving the greatest virtue of Śiva. It shall be supplemented in all parts by Dhasmaśāstras and other holy treatises.The greatest Dharma of Śiva termed the excellent practice is explained in the Itihāsas and the Purāṇas.

~ शिवपुराणम्/संहिता ७ (वायवीयसंहिता)/पूर्व भागः/अध्यायः ३२

It's amply made clear that the teaching of Shaiva dharma being taught within the Shivapurana is NOT some 'lower dharma' meant for the sole and limited purpose of removal of tamas.

Now Let us take a look at a brief sample of the SadhanAs and spiritual disciplines of the Shivapurana and see if they are intended for merely any limited fruit.


In the Atharvashiropanishad we find the teaching of pashupatavratam.

अग्निरिति भस्म वायुरिति भस्म जलमिति भस्म स्थलमिति भस्म व्योमेति भस्म सर्वंह वा इदं भस्म मन एतानि चक्षूंषि यस्माद्व्रतमिदं पाशुपतं यद्भस्म नाङ्गानि संस्पृशेत्तस्माद्ब्रह्म तदेतत्पाशुपतं पशुपाश विमोक्षणाय ॥ ५॥

The following is called Pasupataa vow. “Agni is Bhasma . Vayu is Bhasma. The water is Bhasma. The Earth is Bhasma. The Ether is Bhasma. All this is Bhasma. And mind and all the senses are Bhasma.” By this hymn taking the holy ashes, mixing them with water, one should besmear himself all over. One should observe this vow called Pasupata for the sake of getting release of the bondage of pasu and paasha.

We find this exact teaching of the Sruti being annotated in the Sivapurana in greater detail.

Siva Purana - Section 7.1 - Vāyavīya-saṃhitā (1) - Ch 33


रहस्यं वः प्रवक्ष्यामि सर्वपापनिकृन्तनम् ॥ ७.१,३३.२ व्रतं पाशुपतं श्रौतमथर्वशिरसि श्रुतम् ॥ ७.१,३३.२

I shall tell you the great secret, Pāśupata-vrata that quells all sins. It is mentioned in the Atharvaśiras sruti.

अग्निरित्यादिभिर्मंत्रैः षड्भिराथर्वणैः क्रमात् ॥ ७.१,३३.२३ विभृज्यांगानि मूर्धादिचरणांतानि तैस्स्पृशेत् ॥ ७.१,३३.२३ ततस्तेन क्रमेणैव समुद्धृत्य च भस्मना ॥ ७.१,३३.२४ सर्वांगोद्धूलनं कुर्यात्प्रणवेन शिवेन वा ॥ ७.१,३३.२४

He shall wash the feet and perform Ācamana twice. He shall apply the ashes taken out of the Viraja fire all over his body from head to foot repeating the six mantras beginning with “Agniriti bhasma... etc.” from the Ātharvaṇa texts. Then in the same way he shall dust the body entirely repeating the Praṇava Oṃ and ‘Śiva’.

कुर्यात्स्त्रिसन्ध्यमप्येवमेतत्पाशुपतं व्रतम् ॥ ७.१,३३.२६ भुक्तिमुक्तिप्रदं चैतत्पशुत्वं विनिवर्तयेत् ॥ ७.१,३३.२६ तत्पशुत्वं परित्यज्य कृत्वा पाशुपतं व्रतम् ॥ ७.१,३३.२७ पूजनीयो महादेवो लिंगमूर्तिस्सनातनः ॥ ७.१,३३.२७

He shall act thus during all the three Sandhyās. This Pāśupata Vrata yields worldly pleasures and salvation dispelling Paśu-hood. Freed from Paśu-hood, the devotee shall worship the Śivalinga.

One can see how this teaching is perfectly in line with the Shruti as both the Shruti and the Purana agree that this sadhana is not intended for some limited purpose but for moksa alone.

Now let's see more of it's teachings -

Siva Purana - Section 4 - Koṭirudra-Saṃhitā - Chapter 41

अथ महावाक्यानि (१) प्रज्ञानं ब्रह्म ( २) अहं ब्रह्मास्मि (३) तत्त्वमसि ( ४) अयात्मा ब्रह्म (५) ईशावास्यमिदं सर्वम् (६) प्राणोऽस्मि (७) प्रज्ञानात्मा (८) यदेवेह तदमुत्र यदमुत्र तदन्विह ( ९) अन्यदेव तद्विदितादथो अविदितादपि ( १०) एष न आत्मान्तर्याम्यमृतः (११) स यश्चायम्पुरुषो यश्चासावा दित्ये स एकः (१२) अहमस्मि परं ब्रह्म परं परपरात्परम् (१३) वेदशास्त्रगुरुत्वात्तु स्वयमानंदलक्षणम् (१४) सर्वभूतस्थितं ब्रह्म तदेवाहं न संशयः (१५) तत्त्वतस्य प्राणोहमस्मि पृथिव्याः प्राणोहमस्मि (१६) अपां च प्राणोहमस्मि तेजसश्च प्राणोहमस्मि (१७) वायोश्च प्राणोहमस्मि आकाशस्य प्राणोहमस्मि ( १८) त्रिगुणस्य प्राणोहमस्मि (१९) सर्वोऽहं सर्वात्मकोऽहं संसारी यद्भूतं यच्च भव्यं यद्वर्तमानं सर्वात्मकत्वादद्वितीयोहम् (२०) सर्वं खल्विदं ब्रह्म ( २१) सर्वोऽहं विमुक्तोऽहम् ( २२) योऽसौ सोहं हंसस्सोहमस्मि ।। इत्येवं सर्वत्र सदा ध्यायेदिति ।।

Now the great statements: perfect knowledge is Brahman; I am Brahman; thou art that. This Ātman is Brahman. All this is pervaded by the lord. I am the vital breath. Ātman is perfect knowledge; what is here is there; what is there is here. It is other than what is known; verily it is other than what is unknown too. This is your soul, the immanent and the deathless one. He who is in this Puruṣa and he who is in the sun both are the same. I am the great Brahman, the greatest, greater than the greatest. I am myself (the Brahman) characterised by bliss, since I am the master of the Vedas and the Śāstras. Brahman is stationed in all living beings. Undoubtedly I am that alone. I am the vital breath of the elements: of the earth, of the waters, of the fire, of the wind, of the ether and of the three Guṇas. I am all. I am the Ātman of all. I transmigrate. I am without a second because I have everything in my Ātman—past, present and future. Indeed all this is Brahman. I am all. I am the liberated. He who is this is I; I am he; I am Haṃsa; I am he. This shall be meditated upon always and everywhere.

The Above is nothing but the standard Vedantic contemptation upon the upanishadic mahavakyas which has been taught in the Shiva purana. These Upanishadic teachings are always prescribed solely for mumukshus. Nowhere is such a teaching meant for those of a tamasic disposition.

A Futher Elaboration of the Vedantic teaching in Shiva purana -

Sivapurana - Kotirudra Samhita - Chapter 43


दर्शनेषु च सर्वेषु मतिभेदः प्रदर्श्यते।। परं वेदान्तिनो नित्यमद्वैतं प्रतिचक्षते।।९।। स्वस्याप्यंशस्य जीवांशो ह्यविद्यामोहितो वशः।। अन्योऽहमिति जानाति तया मुक्तो भवेच्छिवः।।4.43.१०।।

  1. In all philosophical systems the concept of duality is evident. But the Vedāntins call him eternal and non-dualistic.

  2. The individual soul, though it is a part of his becomes deluded by Avidyā. He then thinks that he is different. If he is released from Avidyā he becomes Śiva.

शिवःशिवःशिवश्चैव नान्यदस्तीति किंचन।। भ्रान्त्या नानास्वरूपो हि भासते शङ्करस्सदा ।।१५।। यथा समुद्रो मृच्चैव सुवर्णमथवा पुनः ।। उपाधितो हि नानात्वं लभते शंकरस्तथा ।। १६ ।। कार्यकारणयोर्भेदो वस्तुतो न प्रवर्तते ।। केवलं भ्रान्तिबुद्ध्यैव तदाभावे स नश्यति ।। १७ ।। तदा बीजात्प्ररोहश्च नानात्वं हि प्रकाशयेत् ।। अन्ते च बीजमेव स्यात्तत्प्ररोहश्च नश्यति ।। १८ ।। ज्ञानी च बीजमेव स्यात्प्ररोहो विकृतीर्मता ।। तन्निवृत्तौ पुनर्ज्ञानी नात्र कार्या विचारणा ।। १९ ।। सर्वं शिवः शिवं सर्वं नास्ति भेदश्च कश्चन ।। कथं च विविधं पश्यत्येकत्वं च कथं पुनः ।। 4.43.२० ।। यथैकं चैव सूर्याख्यं ज्योतिर्नानाविधं जनैः ।। जलादौ च विशेषेण दृश्यते तत्तथैव सः ।। २१ ।। सर्वत्र व्यापकश्चैव स्पर्शत्वं न विबध्यते ।। तथैव व्यापको देवो बध्यते न क्वचित्स वै ।। २२ ।। साहंकारस्तथा जीवस्तन्मुक्तः शंकरः स्वयम् ।। जीवस्तुच्छः कर्मभोगो निर्लिप्तः शंकरो महान् ।। २३ ।। यथैकं च सुवर्णादि मिलितं रजतादिना ।।।४ अल्पमूल्यं प्रजायेत तथा जीवोऽप्यहंयुतः ।। २४ ।। यथैव हि सुर्वणादि क्षारादेः शोधितं शुभम्।। पूर्ववन्मूल्यतां याति तथा जीवोऽपि संस्कृतेः ।।२५।। प्रथमं सद्गुरुं प्राप्य भक्तिभाव समन्वितः ।। शिवबुद्ध्या करोत्युच्चैः पूजनं स्मरणादिकम् ।। २६ ।। तद्बुध्या देहतो याति सर्वपापादिको मलः ।। तदाऽज्ञानं च नश्येत ज्ञानवाञ्जायते यदा ।। २७ ।। तदाहंकारनिर्मुक्तो जीवो निर्मलबुद्धिमान् ।। शङ्करस्य प्रसादेन प्रयाति शङ्करताम्पुनः ।।२८।। यथाऽऽदर्शस्वरूपे च स्वीयरूपं प्रदृश्यते ।। तथा सर्वत्रगं शम्भु पश्यतीति सुनिश्चितम् ।।२९।। जीवन्मुक्तस्य एवासौ देहः शीर्ण शिवे मिलेत् ।। प्रारब्धवशगो देहस्तद्भिन्नो ज्ञानवान् मतः ।। 4.43.३० ।।

  1. Lord Śiva is everywhere. There is nothing else. Śiva appears in different forms always due to our illusion.

  2. The ocean or the lump of clay or the piece of gold attains different shapes due to delimiting conditions. Śiva too is so.

  3. There is one essential difference between the material cause and its effect. The difference is due to illusory perception. If the one ceases to exist, the other is quelled.

  4. The shooting sprout from a seed may exhibit multiplicity but ultimately it becomes the seed and the shoot perishes.

  5. The perfectly wise is the seed. Deformity is the sprout. When the deformity disappears he becomes the perfectly wise again. There is nothing to doubt in this regard.

  6. Everything is Śiva. Śiva is everything. There is no difference at all. How is this manifoldness seen? How is the unity regained?

  7. Just as the luminary called the sun is seen differently in water etc. so also is the case with it.

  8. The all-pervading sky is not bound or fettered anywhere. So also the all-pervading lord is not bound anywhere.

  9. The individual soul is contaminated by the ego. Śiva is free from it. The individual soul is insignificant and it experiences the fruits of actions. But the great Śiva is uncontaminated.

  10. Gold mixed with silver or other base metal depreciates in value. So also is the individual soul in its association with the ego.

  11. When a gold alloy is purified with chemicals it regains its original value. Similarly the consecrated soul too attains purity.

  12. The devotee at the outset shall go to a competent preceptor with devout and reverential feelings. He shall worship and serve him considering him Siva.

  13. Thanks to this conception, all sins and dirts are removed from the body. When he gains knowledge his ignorance disappears.

  14. Freed from the ego, the individual soul attains pure intellect. Thanks to Śiva’s grace he attains the state of Śiva again.

  15. Just as one sees one’s own form in the mirror so also the pure soul secs the all-pervading Śiva, certainly.

  16. He becomes the living liberated soul. When the body perishes he merges into Śiva. The body is begot by the Prārabdha karman. The perfectly wise is considered different from it.

Aside From Vedantic teachings such as the above, Shiva Purana Also teaches Patanjala Yoga within a Shaivite framework, the final goal of which again is Samadhi and Kaivalya.

Shivapurana - Section 7.2 - Vāyavīya-saṃhitā (2) - Ch 37


शिवस्वभाव एवैकश्चिंत्यते निरुपाधिकः ॥ ७.२,३७.११ यथा शैवमनोवृत्तिर्महायोग इहोच्यते ॥ ७.२,३७.११ दृष्टे तथानुश्रविके विरक्तं विषये मनः ॥ ७.२,३७.१२ यस्य तस्याधिकारोस्ति योगे नान्यस्य कस्यचित् ॥ ७.२,३७.१२ विषयद्वयदोषाणां गुणानामीश्वरस्य च ॥ ७.२,३७.१३ दर्शनादेव सततं विरक्तं जायते मनः ॥ ७.२,३७.१३ अष्टांगो वा षडंगो वा सर्वयोगः समासतः ॥ ७.२,३७.१४ यमश्च नियमश्चैव स्वस्तिकाद्यं तथासनम् ॥ ७.२,३७.१४ प्राणायामः प्रत्याहारो धारणा ध्यानमेव च ॥ ७.२,३७.१५ समाधिरिति योगांगान्यष्टावुक्तानि सूरिभिः ॥ ७.२,३७.१५ आसनं प्राणसंरोधः प्रत्याहारोथ धारणा ॥ ७.२,३७.१६ ध्यानं समाधिर्योगस्य षडंगानि समासतः ॥ ७.२,३७.१६

  1. Wherein the nature of Śiva is contemplated without any conditioning or restricting factor, the concentration of the mind on Śiva is called Mahāyoga.

  2. In this Yoga only he is authorised whose mind is detached from the perceived and Veda-ordained objects of pleasure.

  3. The mind is detached only on perceiving the defects in the objects and in the attributes of the lord, perpetually.

**14-15. In brief the Yoga is of eight or six ancillaries. The eight ancillaries are Yama, Niyama, Āsana Prāṇāyāma, Pratyāhārā, Dhāraṇa, Dhyānā and Samādhi as mentioned by the wise.

  1. The six Aṅgas are in brief Āsana, Prāṇasaṃrodha, Pratyāhāra, Dhāraṇā, Dhyāna and Samādhi.**

समाधिर्न्नाम योगांगमन्तिमं परिकीर्तितम् ॥ ७.२,३७.६१ समाधिना च सर्वत्र प्रज्ञालोकः प्रवर्तते ॥ ७.२,३७.६१ यदर्थमात्रनिर्भासं स्तिमितो दधिवत्स्थितम् ॥ ७.२,३७.६२ स्वरूपशून्यवद्भानं समाधिरभिधीयते ॥ ७.२,३७.६२ ध्येये मनः समावेश्य पश्येदपि च सुस्थिरम् ॥ ७.२,३७.६३ निर्वाणानलवद्योगी समाधिस्थः प्रगीयते ॥ ७.२,३७.६३ न शृणोति न चाघ्राति न जल्पति न पश्यति ॥ ७.२,३७.६४ न च स्पर्शं विजानाति न संकल्पयते मनः ॥ ७.२,३७.६४ नवाभिमन्यते किंचिद्बध्यते न च काष्टवत् ॥ ७.२,३७.६५ एवं शिवे विलीनात्मा समाधिस्थ इहोच्यते ॥ ७.२,३७.६५

  1. Samādhi is the final state of Yoga. Through Samādhi, the lustre of intellect begins to function.

  2. In Samādhi, the vision is steady like the calm ocean, the form vanishes but the vision persists.

  3. Fixing the mind in the object of meditation he shall see it steadily. The Yogin thus like the fire extinguished is absorbed in Samādhi.

  4. He neither hears nor smells nor prattles nor sees nor feels the touch. The mind docs not think.

  5. Nor does he identify with anything external. Nor is it bound like the inanimate log of wood. A person whose Ātman has thus merged into Śiva is called Samādhistha.

This Same teaching of Patanjala Yoga is listed in numerous 'Sattvika' puranas such as Bhagavata, Garuda,Narada,Vishnu and so on, with only the diety of meditation being replaced with Vishnu.

If it be argued that treating Shiva as the object of meditation is a 'tamasic' teaching, then the Tamasatva would apply to Shruti itself as well for The Shiva purana directly annotates the Shruti itself, when it considers Shiva as the sole object of meditation while teaching Yoga.

सर्वमन्यत्परित्यज्य शिव एव शिवंकरः ॥ ७.२,३७.५३ परो ध्येयो ऽधिदेवेशः समाप्ताथर्वणी श्रुतिः॥ ७.२,३७.५४

‘Eschewing everything else, Shiva the cause of Auspiciousness, The Great lord of Gods shall be mediated upon’, Thus concludes The Atharvana Shruti.

~ शिवपुराणम्/संहिता ७ (वायवीयसंहिता)/उत्तर भागः/अध्यायः ३७

This is Directly sourced from Atharvashikhopanishad (Atharvaveda) which is very much accepted as an authentic upanishad by Saiva, Vaishnava and smarta acharyas alike.

शिव एको ध्येयः शिवंकरः सर्वमन्यत्परित्यज्य

Eschewing everything else Shiva alone should be meditated upon.

~ अथर्वशिखउपनिषद्

Furthermore authentic Yoga texts like Yogayajnavalkya too very much allow a practioner of Yoga to meditate on either Vishnu or Shiva, so such a claim would have no basis.


One can easily see how If The purpose of the Shiva purana were merely limited to catering for the Tamasika folk, there would be point in Vedavyasa explaining the lofty teachings of Yoga and Vedanta within the text, For no tamasika mind would ever be able to comprehend such lofty spiritual teachings much less follow them. It would have made more sense to restrict the content of the Purana to stories, tirtha-mahatmyas, dana mahatmyas and so on instead of giving any philosophical teachings(Some puranas such as Varaha,Vamana, Matsya etc. actually follow this format). The Yoga/Vedanta teachings of the Sivapurana are something which can only be recommended for those who have already purified their mind to a level by cultivating Sadhana chatushtaya.Thus the claim that it is intended solely for the limited purpose of elevation of the Tamasika audience stands nullified.


To sum up, the conclusion is that the Shiva purana is a text meant to cater to the spiritual needs of all categories of Shiva bhaktas-

  1. The samsari Shivabhaktas, unaware of even the basics of the spirituality :- By elevating them from Tamas and inculcating Shiva bhakti in them through stories of the Leelas of the lord.

  2. The mumukshu Sivabhaktas who have matured in Bhakti and developed vairagya :- By the teachings of Yoga and Jnana so that they can attain their favored form of liberation - Shiva Saayujya or Kaivalya moksha.

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