[Advaita-l] Shiva in the MahAbhArata

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 6 20:13:25 CDT 2004

I have been collecting passages from the MahAbhArata (MB) that praise
Shiva as the Supreme. Here are two that I've found so far, if you know
of any others, please let me know, I would greatly appreciate it.

All references below are from the Sanskrit edition of the MB with Hindi
translation, published by the Gitapress, Gorakhpur, India. 


In adhyAya 84 of the vanaparva (specifically the section called
tIrthayAtrAparva), the sage Pulastya instructs the PANDavas on the
importance of pilgrimage and gives a list of holy places to visit.
Among them is suvarNAksha, the place where VishhNu worshipped Shiva. 

Here is the Sanskrit original with the English translation following
J.A.B. van Buitenen (he takes the passage to be MB 3.82.15-20, i.e.
adhyAya 82 instead of 84, of vanaparva):

tatogachchhet suvarNAkhyaM trishhu lokeshhu vishrutam.h .. 18 ..
tatra vishhNuH prasaadaarthaM rudramArAdhayat purA .
varAMshcha subAhUllebhe daivateshhu sudurlabhaM .. 19 ..

"Then one should go to Suvarnaksha, famous in the three worlds, where
Vishnu once propitiated Rudra to win his grace. He obtained very many
boons such as are hard to find among the Gods;"

uktashcha tripuraghnena paritushhTena bhaarata .
api cha tvaM priyataro loke KR^ishhNa bhavishhyasi .. 20 ..
tvanmukhaM cha jagat sarvaM bhavishhyati na saMshayaH .
tatraabhigaMya rAjendra pUjayitvA vR^ishhadhvajam.h .. 21 ..
ashvamedhamavApnoti gANapatyaM cha vindati .

"And, pleased, the Sacker of Tripura said to him, 'You will be more
beloved even than we in the world, Krishna. Your mouth shall be the
entire universe, no doubting of it.' By approaching and doing Puja to
the Bull-bannered God, one rises to (i.e. acquires the fruit of) a
Horse Sacrifice and attains to the rank of a Ganapati."


In the anushAsanaparva, adhyAya 17, KR^ishhNa recites the Shiva
sahasranAma in YudhishhThira'a presence (as previously instructed by
upamanyu). Names like the following make it clear that it refers to the
Supreme Brahman: 

8. sarvAtmA -- The Self of All
88. sarvaGYaH -- The All-knowing One
413. paraMbrahma -- The Supreme Brahman
860. brahmavit -- The Knower of Brahman

And names like these make it clear that is KailAsagirivAsI-Shiva:

378. nandIshvaraH -- the Lord of nandi (Shiva's vehicle).
611. kApAlI -- One who wears skulls
660. KailAsagirivAsI -- one who dwells in Mount KailAsa
869. pashupatiH -- the Lord of all living beings (typically applied to


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