Shiva Puran: Different Samhitas

Shiva Puran: Different Samhitas

Deepthi K

Shiva Puran highlights the greatness and glory of Lord Shiva along with his consort Parvati. Lord Shiva is depicted as The Destroyer, among the trinity. 

It is said that the original manuscript encompassed 100,000 verses spread across twelve samhitas or sections and is a conversation between Shiva and Parvati. However, there’s a version of the Shiva Purana, supposedly compiled by Ved Vyas that features 24,000 slokas and seven samhitas.

Read on to know what these seven samhitas are and the details covered in each of them.

Vidyeshwar Samhita

This samhita talks in detail about dharma and how it must be practised. The 25 adhyayas or subchapters give an in-depth explanation of how the lord must be worshipped. They also talk about various things such as rudraksha and bilva leaves that are the god holds close to his heart. 

The word rudraksha is derived from two terms Rudra that is one of the several names of Lord Shiva and aksha that means eyes. Hence, rudraksha is also known as tears of Shiva. There are several stories related to Shiva that highlight its origin.

The bilva tree is said to epitomise Lord Shiva and its leaves have trifoliate shape that represents the three spokes in Shiva’s trishul as well as his three eyes.

Rudra Samhita

This samhita is the biggest and most important samhita in the Shiva Purana. It is divided into five subchapters with several subsections in each of them. Each subchapter talks about a unique topic.

The first subchapter, Srishti Khand discusses about how the universe was created and the relationship between this creation and Lord Shiva. It also discusses about the formless lord as well as the sage Narada and Kubera and his earlier birth.

The second chapter, Sati Khand details about Shiva’s first wife Sati. It talks about how she was born and her penance to win the lord. The khand also offers a narration about how she had to end her life by jumping into the sacred yagna fire in her father Daksha’s court. This caused the god to perform his rudra tandav.

The third subchapter, Parvati Khand talks about Goddess Parvati. This khand gives an insight of her penance to Lord Shiva and their marriage. It also highlights the avatars taken by Shiva to test Parvati at different times.

The fourth subchapter, Kumar Khand gives a narration about the Skanda or Kartikeya, the youngest son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It highlights his birth and how he got the name Kartikeya. The subchapter goes on to detail how he came to have six heads and his war against the demon Tarakasura to save the world.

The fifth subchapter, Yuddha Khand is an explanation about several wars that took place between Lord Shiva and various demons such as Tripurasura and Jalandhara. There is also a mention about the fight between Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna to save the latter’s devotee, demon Banasura.

Sattarudra Samhita

This samhita has 40 subchapters mentions about the various avatars or incarnations of the lord. They elaborate his five major avatars and 11 Rudra avatars among many other avatars. His avatars to test Parvati are explained here once again in more detail.

Kottirudra Samhita

This samhita encompasses 43 subchapters. They detail about the shiva linga and its significance. These subchapters give in-depth explanations about the twelve major shiva lingams known as jyotirlingas in various parts of the country. They talk about the creation of each jyotirlinga and why it was created along with its benefits.

The subchapters also explain about Shiva Sahasranama, the 1,008 names of the god chanted by Lord Vishnu when he worshipped Lord Shiva. It is said that Shiva presented Vishnu with Sudarshan Chakra because he was pleased with this recitation. 

Uma Samhita

This samhita features 51 subchapters. They describe about Goddess Parvati and her various avatars such as Durga in length. These subchapters also mention about the festival Navaratri and why it is celebrated.

Kailash Samhita

This samhita has a total of twenty three subchapters and is the smallest samhita among all the seven samhitas. It is presented as a conversation between Shiva’s son Skanda and Vama deva. The discussion is about the Om mantra and what sanyasa is and how it can be practised. 

There is also a talk about Shiva Tattva that depicts the essence of Shiva and what it indicates, his forms, aspects and roles in creation of the universe.

Vayaviya Samhita

This samhita has two parts spread across seventy six subchapters. The two parts are called Purvabhaga and Uttarabhaga. They give answers to some of the most complicated questions in life.

Reading the Shiva Purana has many benefits like chanting the Om Namah Shivaya mantra. One of the major benefits is that it guides you connect with the lord and bestows you with spiritual energy. It helps you to be relieved of your sins and free of sufferings. The purana also assists you in developing a positive outlook and finding the true meaning of your life.