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Hymn paying homage to the greatness of Śiva - Pure translation
Gabriel Pradīpaka, once again. The author of this well-known scripture is Puṣpadanta, a renowned Gandharva (heavenly musician) who wrote this hymn in order to calm down Śiva's wrath. Why was Śiva angry? Because Puṣpadanta, while attempting to steal some flowers from a king's garden, happened to step on a particular "grass" sacred to Śiva. It is a long story really. However, the important thing in the present hymn is the detailed descriptions of a series of events associated with Śiva. It is also a hymn filled with devotion. That is why, it is highly recommended for Svādhyāya (Study and Recitation of Sacred Scriptures, according to Patañjali).
Note that there are, as it were, two types of Śiva: (1) Vedic Śiva, who appears in the Veda-s as Rudra. However, in the literature based upon Veda-s (i.e. Purāṇa-s, Itihāsa, etc.) the appellative "Śiva" arises. This Śiva is the god belonging to the celebrated trilogy (Brahmā --Creator--, Viṣṇu --Preserver--, Śiva --Destroyer--). He is a "personal" Śiva who is mostly a "mythological" one. (2) Trika's Śiva who is identified with one's own Self. Trika (Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir) states that Śiva is the innermost Spirit living in everybody and everything. He is a "formless and impersonal" Śiva resulting from a long development that began in Vedic Śiva. If you do not understand what the difference is, you will never understand why I say that "You are Śiva" but not necessarily the "destroying god of the abovementioned trilogy", and so on. Vedic Śiva is personal, while Trika's Śiva is impersonal and universal.
As you can see, the concept of Śiva in Trika system is much more comprehensive and include all (Vedic Śiva included). I generally speak of the Trika's Śiva and not of the Vedic one. Got it?... well done. Of course, as a matter of fact there are not two Śiva-s but two concepts of Him, but you must understand the two in order not to make any mistake. In other words, when I am talking about Śiva as a yogī living in a cave, etc., I am speaking of "Vedic Śiva", but when I am speaking of Śiva as the eternal Witness living in everybody, etc., I am talking about "Trika's Śiva". Well, words are limited as you surely know, but I hope that you have understood the core of my explanation. And now, the hymn.
This is a "pure translation" document, that is, there will be no original Sanskrit, but sometimes there will be a minimal quantity of transliterated Sanskrit in the translations themselves of the stanzas. Of course, there will not be any word for word translation.
Important: All that is in brackets and italicized within the translation has been added by me in order to complete the sense of a particular phrase or sentence. In turn, all that is between double hyphen (--...--) constitutes clarifying further information also added by me. Now and then, some important terms may be highlighted with color.
-Hymn paying homage to the greatness of Śiva-
I bow to the lotus-feet of the Lord (who removes) obstacles (and) brings about the destruction of (all) sorrows, who is the elephant-faced son of Umā --Śiva's wife--, who is served by the (Śiva's) hosts of spirits and ghosts, etc. and who beautifully eats wood apples and rose apples.
Venerable Puṣpadanta --lit. "flower-toothed"-- said:
If the praise (performed) by someone who does not know at all the limits or extension of Your greatness were improper; so even the invocations in praise of You (uttered) by Brahmā, etc. --ādi-- (would have) declined and decayed. Moreover, (if) everyone who extols (You) according to the development of their own intelligence cannot be blamed or reproached, (therefore,) oh Hara --Śiva--, this "Parikara" --a long series of epithets or adjectives-- (in honor of You written) by me in the hymn cannot be censored either||1||
Your greatness is certainly beyond the reach of speech and mind --mānasa--. Even the Śruti --this term is usually synonymous with "Veda-s", although it should be only used to designate the Mantra and Brāhmaṇa portion of the aforesaid Veda-s-- tremblingly describes that (greatness), to the exclusion of (any other appellatives, as) "not that". (So,) by whom (is) He --Śiva-- (going) to be praised? How many kinds of qualities (does Śiva have?) By whom (is Śiva going) to be perceived? However, (where is that person) whose mind (and) speech do not fall at the state or condition that (You) enter afterward?||2||
Oh Brahma --the Absolute--!, is it surprising that even the guru --preceptor-- of the gods --i.e. "Bṛhaspati"-- (had uttered) word(s) (in praise) of You, who are the author --nirmitavān-- of the Supreme Nectar --i.e. "the Veda-s"-- which consists of words abounding in the honey (of knowledge)? "I purify my speech indeed by means of the meritorious act of describing Your qualities or attributes"... for this purpose, (my) intellect has resolutely undertaken this (task), oh Destroyer of the (three) cities! --i.e. Śiva is called "puramathana" because He destroyed the three cities belonging to the three sons of the demon known as Tāraka--||3||
Your Sovereignty or Lordship which (is composed of) (1) "that which brings about manifestation of the world" --i.e. "Brahmā"--, (2) "that which brings about protection of the world " --i.e. "Viṣṇu"--, (3) "that which brings about reabsorption of the world" --i.e. "Rudra"--, has a three-fold essence that is separated or arranged (in the Veda-s) according to the triple body or form Guṇa-s--qualities of "Prakṛti"--. Oh grantor of boons!, in this world, some stupid-minded people create reviling (and) unpleasant (arguments) in order to disturb. (Those arguments are only) enjoyed by those who are impious and profane regarding this --i.e. "regarding Śiva's Sovereignty or Lordship"--||4||
"What desire (does) He (fulfill)?; what body (does) He (take)?; (and) what means, support and material (does) the Creator (use for) manifesting the three worlds?". This fallacious way of arguing, which is (also) unwise and inopportune, about You and (Your) Sovereignty or Lordship that surpasses thought and reasoning, (comes) from a confounded person. (This very fallacious way of arguing) causes some people to speak (resonantly only) for the world to lose consciousness and fall prey to delusion||5||
"Do the worlds (exist) without any origin, even though they consist of parts or portions? Is there creation of the worlds regardless of (the existence) of someone presiding over the (abovementioned) worlds? Or, (if) there is no Lord, what attendant or assistant would give aid in manifesting the worlds?" By basing (their ideas) on that (kind of reasoning), oh You, who are the most excellent among the gods!, these dull-witted and silly people raise doubts about You||6||
"The three Veda-s, Sāṅkhya, Yoga, the doctrine of Paśupati --i.e. the Śaiva doctrine-- (and) the Vaiṣṇava (doctrine) --pertaining to Lord Viṣṇu--"; in (these) different source(s) (there are) thus this and that way toward the Highest (State) --i.e. there are various ways of realizing the Supreme Self or Śiva--. For the men who are devoted to multiple paths, straight and crooked ones, in accordance with the variety of their appetites, You are the only goal to be attained, just as the ocean (is) with regard to the waters --i.e. the water of rivers, rain, etc. ultimately flows into ocean--||7||
"A large bull, a staff shaped like the foot of a bedstead --i.e. a staff with a skull at the top--, a hatchet, the hairy skin of a tiger, ashes, hooded cobras and a skull --iti indicates inverted commas--"; only those things are Your main and characteristic implements, oh Grantor of boons! Still, the gods take hold of various "Ṛddhi(s)" --i.e. prosperity, wealth, success, etc.--, (which are produced) by Your (mere) concentrating on (the space between) the eyebrows. Undoubtedly, the mirage of the objects does not agitate someone taking pleasure in his own Self||8||
Some (state that) everything is eternal; however, other(s) (say that) all this is not eternal. (In turn, even) other(s) declare in respect to this world consisting of different objects and properties, that it is both eternal and ephemeral --adhrauvya--. Oh Destroyer of the (three) cities!, surprised, as it were, at those (viewpoints) regarding all this (Creation), I am not ashamed of praising You... (my) talkativeness (is) audacious indeed!||9||
Brahmā --the Creator-- from top (and) Viṣṇu --the Preserver-- from the bottom proceeded with effort to define accurately Your Sovereignty or Lordship (when You took on) the form of a fire column; (but) it was not enough --i.e. they failed--. (Nevertheless,) afterward, (it was only) when both of them praise (Śiva) exceedingly with devotion and faith, oh Girīśa --i.e. "Mountain-Lord", an epithet of Śiva--, that He --Śiva-- presented His own (essential nature) before them both. What respectful act in honor of You (like that one performed by Brahmā and Viṣṇu) is not (ultimately) fruitful?||10||
Having eliminated all hostile penetration --i.e. all enemies around-- from the three worlds --lit. "having brought the three worlds to a condition without any hostile penetration"-- effortlessly, the ten-mouthed (demon) --"Rāvaṇa", the celebrated hostile to Rāmacandra-- had his (twenty) arms (still) ruled by the desire --lit. "itching"-- of fighting. (After that,) oh Destroyer of the three cities!, (Rāvaṇa) arranged the row formed from (his ten) head-lotus as an offering --bali-- before (Your) feet which are (as beautiful) as a lotus. (He did so,) because of (his) firm devotion to You. This (act of surrender) occurred all of a sudden||11||
(Nonetheless,) for that (very demon) there was not a resting place even in the lowest hell --or else, "in the lower region"-- when (You) idly moved the tip --śiras-- of Your --tava-- great toe (because he) also marched against Kailāsa, Your Abode --adhivasati--, (and attempted to seize it) by the power of his (innumerable) arms resembling a forest, whose strength had been obtained through service of You. Certainly, the mischievous man becomes confused due to opulence||12||
Oh grantor of boons!, as for Bāṇa, who had turned the three worlds into docile servants, (he enjoyed) even the wealth of Sutrāman --an epithet of Indra, heaven's lord, meaning "guarding or protecting well"--, that is highly excellent, in the lower realm (over which he ruled as a king). It is not strange (really, because) that (demon king) worshipped Your feet. To what prosperity (does) the act of bowing down (one's own) head to You not conduce? --i.e. there is no prosperity out of reach of someone bowing down his head to You--||13||
Oh three-eyed One!, that (blue) stain in Your throat, which appeared because (You) retained (there) the poison (known as Kālakūṭa) when overcome by compassion to gods and demons who were frightened of the unexpected destruction of the universe, certainly embellishes (You). Ah!, even the (abovementioned) alteration in the bodily condition of that (Supreme Deity) who is fond to shatter the fear in the world is praiseworthy||14||
Oh Lord!, he --Kāmadeva or the god of love-- whose arrows are always victorious and do not fail to hit the target anywhere in this world formed from gods, demons (and) human beings --nara--, (simply) consider(ed) You to be similar to a lower god, and (because of that) he became a remembrance living (only) in the memory (of men). Undoubtedly, an offense (given) to the self-controlled ones does not lead to welfare||15||
On account of the blow of (Your) feet, the earth suddenly doubts; (in fact, the entire) three worlds --lit. "the (three) steps of Viṣṇu--, which consist of multitude of planets shattered by (Your) arms resembling iron bars, experience perplexity. All of a sudden, the sky becomes miserable (inasmuch as its) sloping sides are beaten by (Your) undulant twisted locks of hair (when) You dances for protecting the world. Certainly, (Your own) Power and Supremacy (are) unfavorable (this time), no doubt about it||16||
That continuous flow of waters --this is an epithet of the heavenly river known as "Mandākinī"-- which spreads through the heaven, (and whose) beauty appearing as foam is intensified by multitude of stars, is seen (as) minute (as) a drop of water in Your head. The world (is) produced by that (very sacred river) in the form of (seven) islands encircled by the ocean. Thus, from this (statement), Your Divine Form possessed of firm and constant greatness (can be easily) inferred by analogy||17||
(Your) chariot (was) the earth, the charioteer (was) Brahmā --also called "Śatadhṛti", literally meaning "having a hundred sacrifices"--, mount Meru --also known as "Agendra", literally meaning "king of the mountains"--, (was Your) bow; likewise the two wheels of (Your) chariot (were) the sun --arka-- and the moon --candra--, (and) Viṣṇu --also called "Rathacaraṇapāṇi", literally meaning "having in his hands the wheel of a chariot"-- (was Your) arrow when You --tvam-- desired to burn --didhakṣu-- the three cities, (which were as) grass (to You. Still), what is the point of this resounding act? (As a matter of fact,) the Thoughts of the Lord are not dependent on anything else, (but) they were playing with objects being at Their disposal||18||
Oh Destroyer of the three cities!, Hari --i.e. Viṣṇu--, having placed (his) offering of a thousand lotuses at Your feet, (noted) that one (lotus) was lacking in that (offering). (So,) he plucked (one of) his own lotus-eyes (in order to have that problem resolved. As a result,) the abundance of (his) devotion (was) turned (by You) into that beautiful Wheel (known as "Sudarśana") which stays alert to protect the three worlds||19||
When a sacrifice --kratu-- is over --lit. "falls asleep"--, You remains awake to reward the sacrificer. How a sacrificial rite which has ceased is going to be fruitful without worship of Puruṣa or the Supreme Person --i.e. Śiva--? For this reason, having become aware of You as the fruit-giver in the sacrifices, and having faith in the Śruti --i.e. the Veda-s--, people resolutely perform sacrificial acts||20||
Oh Grantor of refuge!, You --tvam--, who are addicted to bestow constantly the fruits of the sacrifices, spoiled --ababhraṁśas or abhraṁśayas-- (that celebrated) sacrifice (in which) Dakṣa --Satī's father; Satī was the first wife of Śiva--, an expert in sacrificial acts and a master over all beings possessed of a body, was the sacrificer; (in turn,) the office of "ṛtvij" --the sacrificial priests-- was carried out by the (very) Vedic Sages --Ṛṣi-s--, (while) the hosts of gods (were) the superintending priests. Undoubtedly, (those) sacrifices (performed) for enchanting (others prove) unfavorable to the faith of the performer||21||
Oh Lord!, Your violent fury in the form of a hunter, even now does not abandon that lord of (all) living beings --i.e. Brahmā or the Creator in the well-known trilogy-- who was wounded by (the arrows of the aforesaid) huntsman with bow in hand (and) ran away even to heaven fearful (of You. All that happened because Brahmā) got exceedingly lustful after his own daughter. (In fact, he took on) the form --vapus-- of a white-footed antelope to have sexual intercourse (with her when she) became a red deer (for flying away from him)||22||
Oh Destroyer of the (three) cities!, if the goddess (Pārvatī, whose) hope is based on her own beauty and charm, even having previously seen (how) Puṣpāyudha --lit. "flower-armed", an epithet of Kāmadeva, the god of love-- armed with a bow (was) instantly scorched (by You) as a blade of grass, (still) thinks of You to be ruled by a woman, oh You who are devoted to (all kinds of) restraints!, because (she) occupies a half of (Your) body... (well,) oh Grantor of boons, the young women (are) most certainly inexperienced and simple!||23||
Oh Destroyer of Smara --i.e. Kāmadeva or the god of love--!, (Your) playing-place (is) in the crematoria, (and) the Piśāca-s --a class of demons-- (are Your) companions. (You) smear (Your own body) with the ashes of the funeral piles, (and) even (wear) a garland (formed from) multitude of human skulls. Thus, (may) all Your behavior be called "unauspicious"!... however, oh Grantor of boons!, You are the Highest Welfare for those who remember (You)||24||
Having plunged the mind into the Self according to the precepts of the scriptures, (and) controlled the breath, with (their) eyes full of tears (as they experience) a Joy which causes the erection of the hair (of their bodies), the self-controlled (sages), when beholding the Delight (and) immersing (themselves), as it were, in (that) Lake made --mayaḥ-- of Nectar, take hold --in the sense of "they become conscious"-- of the Inner Principle to a considerable extent. You (are) certainly that (Inner Principle)||25||
"You (are) the sun, You (are) the moon, You are the air, You (are) the fire --lit. "oblation-bearer"--, You (are) the water, You (are) the space; (and in fact,) You (are) indeed the earth and You (are) the Self " --"iti" indicates inverted commas--. Thus, (may) those who have undergone a transformation --i.e. the sages-- cherish limited descriptions --lit. "word(s)"-- about You! Nevertheless, in this world, we do not know that reality which You are not||26||
Oh Grantor of refuge!, the word Om denotes to You separately through (its) three letters (consisting of various) forms, etc., (which stand for) the three Veda-s, the three states (of consciousness) --i.e. wakefulness, dream and deep sleep--, the three worlds, as well as the three gods. (Hence, You) are being described as (that Reality) which has gone through (multiple) modifications or changes. (In turn,) by means of (those very three) fine and subtle sounds --dhvani--, (the word Om denotes to You) as a whole, (since) it contains the Fourth (state of consciousness) --i.e. the Witness to the rest of states--, (which is) Your (Transcendental) Abode or Condition||27||
"Bhava, Śarva, Rudra, Paśupati; and likewise Ugra along with Mahādeva; as well as Bhīma and Īśāna" --"iti" denotes inverted commas--. This (is) the group consisting of eight names of that (Śiva). Oh God!, even though the Śruti --the Veda-s-- examines accurately each of them in that (group), I pay homage to this dear (Transcendental) Abode or (Supreme) State --dhāma--, (which is) You --bhavān-- (essentially)||28||
Oh You, who are fond of fire!; salutation(s) to the Nearest One; and salutation(s) to the Remotest One. Oh Destroyer of Kāmadeva --the god of love--!; salutation(s) to the Smallest One; and also salutation(s) to the Largest One. Oh three-eyed (Śiva)!; salutation(s) to the Oldest One; and also salutation(s) to the Youngest One. Salutation(s) to You who are all --sarva--; and also salutation(s) to Sarva --an epithet of Śiva-- (since He appears in the form of) "that and this" --the sense is that Śiva is called "Sarva" because He is this person and that person, this animal and that animal, this object and that object, etc... in short, He is everything and everyone--||29||
Salutation(s) over and over again to Bhava --an epithet of Śiva meaning "Existence"-- (appearing in the form of) Viśvotpatti --lit. "he who gives rise to the universe", that is, Brahmā, the Creator--, (in whom there is) copious Rajoguṇa --i.e. the quality known as "Rajas"--. Salutation(s) over and over again to Hara --an epithet of Śiva meaning "Destroyer"-- (appearing in the form of) Tatsaṁhāra --lit. "he who destroys that (very universe)", that is, Rudra, the Destroyer-- (in whom there is) abundant Tamoguṇa --i.e. the quality known as "Tamas"--. Salutation(s) over and over again to Mṛḍa --an epithet of Śiva meaning "Compassionate" or "Merciful"-- (appearing in the form of) Sattvodrikti --lit. "he who abounds in Sattvaguṇa or the quality known as Sattva", that is, Viṣṇu, the Preserver-- for the sake of happiness of (all) living beings. Salutation(s) over and over again to Śiva --lit. "Auspicious"-- (appearing in the form of) the resplendent state which is devoid of the three Guṇa-s or qualities||30||
How poorly developed this mind ruled by the Kleśa-s --i.e. the well-known five Afflictions: ignorance, ego, attachment, aversion and fear of death-- (is); and how endless and perpetual Your Prosperity which passes beyond the frontier (marked by the three) Guṇa-s or qualities (is)! Thus, (even though) intensely frightened (of that), oh Grantor of boons, the devotion caused me to offer flowers (in the form of) words to Your feet||31||
(If an amount of) lampblack --used as a kind of ink-- equivalent to the black mountain were to be (poured into) the ocean acting as a pot --i.e. "an inkpot"--; (if) a branch of the best tree of the gods --i.e. the celebrated Kalpavṛkṣa-- (were to be used as) a pen (and) the (very) earth (as) the leaf for writing on; (and) if Śāradā --i.e. "Sarasvatī", the river-goddess generally connected with eloquence and learning--, having taken possession (of all those implements, were to) write eternally; even that (amazing association), oh Lord, would not reach the end of Your good qualities --in other words, all Śiva's qualities might not be written even if such a great personage as Sarasvatī Herself were to write with all those articles everlastingly--||32||
(The Gandharva or heavenly musician) called Puṣpadanta --lit. "flower-toothed"--, who is the best of the entire group of Śiva's attendants, composed this beautiful hymn endowed with long meters (in honor) of the Lord who has the moon on His head --mauli-- and who is worshipped by Indra --indreṇa--, sages, gods and demons, and whose Greatness consists of (endless) attributes strung together (as beads in a necklace despite He is completely) devoid of any attributes --nirguṇa--||33||
A pure-minded human being who recites with supreme devotion, day by day, faultlessly, this hymn (in honor) of Dhūrjaṭi --an epithet of Śiva meaning "having matted locks like a burden"-- becomes identical with Rudra --i.e. with Śiva-- in Śiva's world (after passing away). Likewise, (he becomes) famous, has (many) children, (enjoys a long) life and a more abundant wealth in this world||34||
Initiation, charity, austerity, pilgrimage (and such) activities (as) Yoga, sacrifices, etc. are not worth (even) a sixteenth part of (what) the recitation of (this) hymn (in honor) of the Greatness (of Śiva is worth)||35||
This holy hymn spoken by the (well-known) heavenly musician (called Puṣpadanta and containing) unparalleled, fascinating and auspicious descriptions about the Lord, is finished||36||
There is no god that is higher than Maheśa --an epithet of Śiva meaning "great Lord"--, there is no hymn of praise which is higher than (this) "Śivamahimnaḥ stotram". There is no Mantra --a sacred word-- which is higher than Aghora --an epithet of Śiva meaning "not terrific"--; (and) there is no principle that is superior to the Guru --in the sense of the fifth "kṛtya" or action of Śiva, which bestows divine Grace upon a limited being--||37||
The king of all heavenly musicians whose name is Kusumadaśana --a term which is synonymous with "Puṣpadanta", i.e. "flower-toothed", as kusuma = puṣpa (flower) and daśana = danta (tooth)-- (is) the servant of the God of gods who bears the crescent moon on His head --mauli--. He --i.e. Puṣpadanta-- who has certainly fallen from his own (previous) glory because of the wrath of Śiva --since Puṣpadanta happened to step on a grass sacred to Śiva-- composed this beautiful and divine hymn of praise (in honor) of the Greatness (of that very Śiva so that he may obtain His favor)||38||
If a human being, whose mind is completely one-pointed, recites, with his hollowed hands being joined, this infallible hymn of praise written by Puṣpadanta, which is worshipped by gods and the best sages, and which is the only cause for the heavenly Liberation, (then, that person,) praised by Kinnara-s --a class of divine beings--, goes toward Śiva||39||
Maheśa --lit. "great Lord"--, the Lord of (all) beings becomes very pleased through (the recitation of this) hymn which has come out --nirgata-- from the mouth-lotus of Venerable Puṣpadanta, which destroys --hara-- sins (and) is dear --priya-- to Hara --i.e. Śiva--, (whether it) be learnt by heart --kaṇṭhasthita-- (or) recited --paṭhita-- (or simply) paid attention to --samāhita-- --an alternative translation would be" (or simply) kept (at home)"--||40||
Thus, this adoration consisting of words is offered to the feet of Venerable Śaṅkara --an epithet of Śiva meaning "causing prosperity, beneficent, etc."--. Through that (offering, may) Sadāśiva --an epithet of Śiva meaning "always auspicious"--, the Lord of the gods, be pleased with me!||41||
Any syllable (or) word which had been omitted or untimely pronounced; (may) God forgive all that. Oh Supreme Lord, be pleased!||42||
Om, peace, peace, peace.
This document was conceived by Gabriel Pradīpaka, one of the two founders of this site, and spiritual guru conversant with Sanskrit language and Trika philosophy.
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