The Shiva Purana (शिव पुराण) is one of eighteen major texts of the Purana genre of Sanskrit texts in Hinduism, and part of the Shaivism literature corpus. It primarily revolves around the Hindu God Shiva and Goddess Parvati but references and reveres all Gods. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Vayu Purana was sometimes titled as Shiva Purana, and sometimes proposed as a part of the complete Shiva Purana. With the discovery of more manuscripts, modern scholarship considers the two texts as different, with Vayu Purana as the older text composed sometime before the 2nd century CE. Some scholars list it as a Mahapurana, while some state it is an Upapurana.
Meaning of Shiva Purana
The word “Purana” is derived from the Sanskrit language and means “ancient” or “old.” In the context of Hinduism, a Purana refers to a genre of ancient texts that contain mythological stories, genealogies, legends, cosmology, philosophy, and teachings related to various deities and aspects of Hindu culture. The Shiv Purana, therefore, is a specific Purana dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities in Hinduism. It is a comprehensive scripture that narrates the birth of Lord Shiva, his divine attributes, his various manifestations, his interactions with other deities and sages, and the significance of his worship and rituals.
Why read Shiva Purana?
Shiva Purana Date
The date and authors of Shiva Purana are unknown. No authentic data is available. Scholars such as Klostermaier well as Hazra estimate that the oldest chapters in the surviving manuscript were likely composed around the 10- 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 composed. Certain books and chapters in currently surviving Shiva Purana manuscripts were likely composed later, some after the 14th century. The Shiva Purana, like other Puranas in Hindu literature, was routinely edited, recast, and revised over the centuries.
Hazra states that the Bombay manuscript published in the 19th century is rarer, and is likely older than other versions published from eastern and southern India.
What is the philosophy of Shiva Purana?
Several recensions of this text exist. The Bombay 1884 manuscript recension published by the Vangavasi Press, Calcutta in 1896 consists of six samhitas (sections):
The second manuscript of Shiva Purana published in 1906, and reprinted in 1965, by the Pandita Pustakalaya, Kashi consists of seven Samhitas:
Vidyesvara Samhita and Vayaviya Samhita
According to a passage found in the first chapters of Vidyesvara Samhita and Vayaviya Samhita of these recensions, the original Shiva Purana comprised twelve Samhitas, which included five lost Samhitas: Vainayaka Samhita, Matr Samhita (or Matrpurana Samhita), Rudraikadasa Samhita, Sahasrakotirudra Samhita and Dharma Samhita (or Dharmapurana Samhita). The number of verses in these sections was as follows:
- Vidyeshvara Samhita – 10,000
- Rudra Samhita – 8,000
- Vainayaka Samhita – 8,000
- Uma Samhita – 8,000
- Matri Samhita – 8,000
- Rudraikadasha Samhita – 13,000
- Kailasa Samhita – 6,000
- Shatarudra Samhita – 3,000
- Sahasrakotirudra Samhita – 11,000
- Kotirudra Samhita – 9,000
- Vayaviya Samhita – 4,000
- Dharma Samhita – 12,000
Several other Samhitas are also ascribed to the Siva Purana. These are the Isana Samhita, the Isvara Samhita, the Surya Samhita, the Tirthaksetramahatmya Samhita, and the Manavi Samhita.
Haraprasad Shastri mentioned in the Notices of Sanskrit MSS IV, pp. 220–3, Nos, 298–299 about another manuscript of the Siva Purana, which is divided into two Khandas (Parts), the Purvakhanda and the Uttarakhanda. The Purvakhanda consists of 3270 slokas in 51 chapters written in Nagari script and the Uttarakhanda has 45 chapters written in Oriya script. It was preserved in Mahimprakash Brahmachari Matha in Puri. The Purvakhanda of this manuscript is the same as the Sanatkumara Samhita of the Vangavasi Press Edition.
Shiva Purana Contents
Inspiring Stories of Shiva Purana