Lord Shiva Hymns
Lord Shiva is one of the most popular deities of the Hindu religion. He have over a million followers worldwide though most of his worshippers live in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
As he is one of the most important and well known deities of Hinduism, there are many Lord Shiva hymns and chants around. In fact one of the most famous hymns that is chanted to evoke Lord Shiva is the Lord Shiva Sahasranama. The Sahasranama is a devotional hymn, also known as stotra’s in Sanskrit, which lists the many names of the deity who is being invoked. In this case it is meant for Lord Shiva, hence its named the Lord Shiva Sahasranama- a list of a thousand names of Lord Shiva. There are at least eight different versions of the Lord Shiva Sahasranama in the Mahabharata, Linga Purana, Shiva Purana, Vayu Purana, Brahmanda Purana and the Mahābhāgavata Upapurana.
In the Mahabharata, the version of the Lord Shiva Sahasranama Stotra that appears in Book 13 is said to be the main hymn that is used by Shaivites and those who follow the Hindu traditions and rituals. In this version, it is Lord Krishna who recites the 1008 names of Lord Shiva to Yudhisthira. The chapter begins with Yudhisthira asking Bhishma about the thousand names of Lord Shiva when Bhishma proclaims his ignorance, it is Krishna who recites the names.
Given below is an excerpt from the Mahabharata version of the Lord Shiva Hymns that is popularly known as the Sahasranama.
“O thou of mighty arms, I shall recite to thee that best of all hymns. This hymn relates to him who is the Veda of the Vedas, and the most ancient of all ancient objects, to him who is the energy of all energies, and the penance of all penances; to him who is the most tranquil of all creatures imbued with tranquillity, and who is the splendour of all splendours; to him who is looked upon as the most restrained of all creatures that are restrained, and him who is the intelligence of all creatures endued with intelligence; to him who is looked upon as the deity of all deities, and the Rishi of all Rishis; to him who is regarded as the sacrifice of all sacrifices and the most auspicious of all things fraught with auspiciousness; to him who is the Rudra of all Rudras and the effulgence of all things endued with effulgence; to him who is the Yogin of all Yogins, and the cause of all causes; to him from whom all the worlds start into existence, and unto whom all the worlds return when they cease to exist; to him who is the Soul of all existent creatures, and who is called Hara of immeasurable energy. Hear me recite those thousand and eight names of the great Sarva. Hearing those names, O foremost of all men, thou shalt be crowned with fruition in respect of all thy wishes,–Om! thou art Immobile, thou art Fixed, thou art Puissant, thou art Terrible, thou art Foremost, thou art boon-giving, and thou art Superior. Thou art the Soul of all creatures, thou art celebrated over all creatures, thou art all things, thou art the Creator of all, and thou art Bhava.” Thou art the bearer of matted locks on thy head. Thou wearest animal skins for thy vestments. Thou wearest a crest of matted hair on thy head like the peacock. Thou art he who has the whole universe for thy limbs. Thou art the Creator of all things. Thou art Hara in consequence of thy being the destroyer of all things. Thou art he that has eyes resembling those of the gazelle. Thou art the destroyer of all creatures. Thou art the supreme enjoyer of all things. Thou art that Pravritti whence all actions flow. Thou art that Nivritti or abstention from acts. Thou art observant of fasts and vows, thou art Eternal, thou art Unchangeable. Thou art he that residest in crematoria, thou art the possessor of the six well-known attributes of Lordship and the rest, thou residest in the heart of every creature, thou art he that enjoys all things with the senses, thou art the grinder of all sinful creatures. Thou art he that deserves the salutations of all, thou art of great feats, thou art he that has penances for his wealth, thou createst all the elements at thy will, thou concealest thy real nature by putting on the guise of a lunatic. Thou art the Master of all the worlds and of all living creatures. Thou art of immeasurable form, thou art of vast body, thou art of the form of Righteousness, thou art of great fame, thou art of high Soul, thou art the Soul of all creatures, thou hast the universe for thy form. Thou art of vast jaws (for you swallow the universe when the time comes for the dissolution of all things). Thou art the protector of all the lokas (the worlds). Thou art the soul residing in the inner heart and as such devoid of ahamkara originating from ignorance and is one and undivided; Thou art anandam (gladness). Thou art he whose car is borne by mules. Thou art he that protects Jiva from the thunderbolt of rebirth. Thou art adorable. Thou art obtained by purity and self-restraint and vows. Thou art again the refuge of all kinds of vows and observances including purity and self-restraint. Thou art the celestial artificer that is conversant with every art. Thou art Self-create (for no one has created thee). Thou art the beginning of all creatures and things. Thou art Hiranyagarbha, the Creator of all things. Thou art inexhaustible puissance and felicity. Thou hast a hundred eyes, thou hast eyes of vast power. Thou art Soma. Thou art he that causest all righteous creatures assume shapes of glory for shining in the firmament. Thou art Chandramas, thou art Surya, thou art the planet Saturn, thou art the descending node (of the moon), thou art the ascending node, thou art Mangala (Mars), and thou art Vrihaspati (Jupiter) and Sukra (Venus), thou art Vudha (Mercury) thou art the worshipper of Atri’s wife, thou art he who shot his shaft in wrath at Sacrifice when Sacrifice fled away from him in the form of a deer. Thou art sinless. Thou art possessed of penances that have conferred upon thee the power of creating the universe. Thou art possessed of penances that have rendered thee capable of destroying the universe. Thou art high minded (in consequence of thy great liberality towards thy devotees). Thou fulfillest the wishes of all who resign themselves to thee. Thou art the maker of the year (for it is thou who settest the wheel of Time revolving, by assuming the form of the sun and the planets). Thou art Mantra (in the form of Pranava and other sacred words and syllables). Thou art the authority for all acts (in the form of the Vedas and the scriptures). Thou art the highest Penance. Thou art devoted to Yoga. Thou art he who merges himself in Brahman (by Yoga-abstraction). Thou art the great seed (being the cause of causes). Thou art the displayer of what is unmanifest in the manifest form in which the universe exists. Thou art possessed of infinite might. Thou art he whose seed is gold. Thou art omniscient, (being as thou art all things and the great knower). Thou art the cause of all things. Thou art he that has the seed of action (viz., ignorance and desire) for the means of sojourning from this world to the other and the other to this. Thou hast ten arms. Thou hast winkless eyes (for thou seest at all times). Thou hast a blue throat (in consequence of thy bearing in thy throat the poison that arose upon churning the ocean and which, if not so borne, was capable of destroying the universe). Thou art the Lord of Uma. Thou art the origin of all the infinite forms that occur in the universe. Thou art he whose superiority is due to thyself. Thou art a hero in might (in consequence of thy having achieved such grand feats as the quick destruction of the triple city of the Asuras). Thou art inert matter (which cannot move unless co-existing with the Soul). Thou art all the tattwas (subjects of enquiry as counted by the Sankhyas). Thou art the ordainer and ruler of the tattwas. Thou art the chief of those beings that wait upon thee and are called Ganas. Thou coverest infinite space. Thou art Kama, the God of Desire. Thou art conversant with Mantras (in the sense of knowledge being thy penance). Thou art the highest Mantra for thou art that philosophy which consists in the ascertainment of the nature and attributes of the soul (and its differences from the Non-soul). Thou art the cause of the universe (since all that exists has sprung from thy Soul). Thou art universal destroyer (for all that ceases to exist becomes merged unto thee who art asthe unmanifest Brahman). Thou bearest in one of thy hands the calabash, and in another thou holdest the bow; in another hand thou bearest shafts and in another thou bearest a skull. Thou bearest the thunder-bolt. Thou art armed with the hundred-killer. Thou art armed with the sword. Thou wieldest the battle-axe. Thou art armed with the Trishula (trident). Thou art adorable. Thou host the sacrificial ladle in one of thy hands. Thou art of beautiful form. Thou art endued with abundant energy. Thou givest in the most liberal measure all that tends to adorn those that are devoted to thee. Thou wearest a turban on thy head. Thou art of beautiful face. Thou art he who swells with splendour and puissance. Thou art he that is humble and modest. Thou art exceedingly tall. Thou art he who has the senses for thy rays. Thou art the greatest of preceptors. Thou art Supreme Brahman (being a state of pure felicitous existence). Thou art he that took the shape of a jackal (for consoling the Brahmana who, when insulted by a wealthy Vaisya, had resolved to commit suicide). Thou art he whose object are all crowned with fruition, of themselves and without waiting for the puissance (derivable from penances). Thou art one who bears a bald head (as the sign of the mendicant order). Thou art one who does good to all creatures. Thou art unborn. Thou hast innumerable forms. Thou bearest all kinds of fragrance on thy person. The matted locks on thy head had sucked up the river Ganga when it first fell from heaven (although they again gave out the waters at the earnest solicitations of king Bhagiratha). Thou art the giver of sovereignty and lordship. Thou art a Brahmacharin without having ever fallen away from the rigid vow of continence. Thou art distinguished for thy sexual continence. Thou always liest on thy back. Thou hast thy abode in Puissance. Thou hast three matted locks on thy head. Thou art he that is clad in rags. Thou art Rudra (in consequence of thy fierceness). Thou art the celestial generalissimo, and thou art all pervading. Thou art he that moves about during the day. Thou art he that moves about in the night.”
As mentioned before, there are over eight versions of the Lord Shiva Sahasranama. The most famous one is the one that is related in the 13th book of The Mahabharata. Another very famous story about a Lord Shiva Hymns is found in the Linga Purana. An excerpt is given below.
“Lord Shiva sahasranaama stotram li.ngapurANAntargata
atha li~NgapuraaNaantargata\- shriiLord Shivasahasranaama stotramantraiH
R^iShaya uuchuH \- katha.n devena vai suuta devadevaanmaheshvaraat . sudarshanaakhya.n vai labdha.n vaktumarhasi viShNunaa
suuta uvaacha \- devaanaamasurendraaNaamabhavachcha sudaaruNaH . sarveShaameva bhuutaanaa.n vinaashakaraNo mahaan
te devaaH shaktimushalaiH saayakairnataparvabhiH . prabhidyamaanaaH kuntaishcha dudruvurbhayavihvalaaH paraajitaastadaa devaa devadeveshvara.n harim . praNemusta.n sureshaana.n shokasa.nvignamaanasaaH”