Shiva Purana

The Shiva Purana is one of the eighteen Purana genre of Sanskrit texts in Hinduism, and part of the Shaivism literature corpus.[1] It primarily centers around the Hindu god Shiva and goddess Parvati, but references and reveres all gods.[2][3][4]

The Shiva Purana asserts that it once consisted of 100,000 verses set out in twelve samhitas (books). It was written by Romaharshana, a disciple of Vyasa belonging to Suta class.[1] The surviving manuscripts exist in many different versions and content,[5] with one major version with seven books (traced to South India), another with six books, while the third version traced to the medieval Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent with no books but two large sections called Purva-khanda (previous section) and Uttara-khanda (later section).[1][6] The two versions that include books, title some of the books same and others differently.[1] The Shiva Purana, like other Puranas in Hindu literature, was likely a living text, which was routinely edited, recast and revised over a long period of time.[7][8] The oldest manuscript of surviving texts was likely composed, estimates Klaus Klostermaier, around 10th- to 11th-century CE.[9][4] Some chapters of currently surviving Shiva Purana manuscripts were likely composed after the 14th-century.[6]

The Shiva Purana contains chapters with Shiva-centered cosmology, mythology, relationship between gods, ethics, Yoga, Tirtha (pilgrimage) sites, bhakti, rivers and geography, and other topics.[10][2][11] The text is an important source of historic information on different types and theology behind Shaivism in early 2nd-millennium CE.[12] The oldest surviving chapters of the Shiva Purana have significant Advaita Vedanta philosophy,[6] which is mixed in with theistic elements of bhakti.[13]

In the 19th- and 20th-century, the Vayu Purana was sometimes titled as Shiva Purana, and sometimes proposed as a part of the complete Shiva Purana.[14]

Date

The date is unknown but the author is said to be estimated that Maharishi Agastya with his disciple Shankaracharya. Scholars such as Klostermaier as 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 .[9][4] Certain books and chapters in currently surviving Shiva Purana manuscripts were likely composed later, some after the 14th-century.[6] The Shiva Purana, like other Puranas in Hindu literature, were routinely edited, recast and revised over the centuries.[7][8]

Hazra states that the Bombay manuscript published in the 19th-century is rarer, and likely the older than other versions published from eastern and southern India.[15]