Śivagitā

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Sivagita, ZivagitA, shivagitaa


Śivagitā literally means ‘song of Śiva’.

Origin of Śivagitā

The well-known Bhagavadgitā has inspired many similar works. The Mahābhārata, the Bhāgavata and the purāṇas contain forty such treatises out of which the Śivagitā is also the one. Though claimed to be a part of the Padmapurāṇa, most of the printed versions except the Gauḍīya or Beṅgāli recension, do not contain it.

Contents of Śivagitā

The śivagitā as available now has sixteen chapters. It is in the form of a dialogue, first between Śrī Rāma and the sage Agastya and later between Śrī Rāma and Śiva. The contents may be summarized briefly as follows:

Chapter 1

The guruparamparā[1] is described here.

Chapter 2 and 3

Sage Agastya initiates Śri Rāma into śivadīkṣā. It is an esoteric method connected with meditation and worship of Śiva.

Chapters 4 and 5

Śrī Rāma worships Śiva, gets a vision of the empirical universe, how it is created, sustained and withdrawn by Śiva and how Śiva reveals that Rāvaṇa and others are already destroyed by their own evil deeds. Śrī Rāma has only to be nimitta or proximate cause.

Chapters 6 and 7

Śrī Rāma questions about the cosmic form of Śiva or Umā-Maheśvara. The same is revealed to him.

Chapters 8 and 9

These chapters describe how the living beings are born and also their physiology and psychology.

Chapter 10

This chapter describes the svarupa or the intrinsic nature of the jīva or the individual soul. When associated with the upādhis[2] it appears as limited. When shorn of them it is the same as Brahman.

Chapter 11

This chapter delineates the well- known arcirādimārga[3] and the dhumādimārga[4] that a jīva has to take after death. The descriptions are the same as given in the Upaniṣads.

Chapter 12

According to this chapter, Śiva can be worshiped both as the Supreme Deity[5] and as the immanent deity.[6]

Chapter 13

Four kinds of mukti like sāmīpya are described here.

Chapter 14

The pañcakośas[7] and the ātman are separate from them. This is the main subject matter here.

Chapter 15

Essentials of bhakti are the contents of this chapter.

Chapter 16

The qualifications required for an adhikārin[8] are described here.

References

  1. Guruparamparā means succession of teachers.
  2. Upādhis means limiting adjuncts.
  3. Arcirādimārga means the path of light.
  4. Dhumādimārga means the path of smoke.
  5. Supreme deity means Parameśvara.
  6. Immanent deity means Sarvāntaryāmin.
  7. Pañcakośas means five sheaths.
  8. Adhikārin means competent aspirant.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore