This is one of the very best hymns in Sanskrit addressed to Siva. It is widely recited by many during worship and otherwise. Many recite this with devotion without fully understanding the meaning. They too are benefited materially and spiritually by the sheer force of their faith and the positive vibrations set in motion by the recitation. It goes without saying that chanting this hymn knowing its meaning with a pure heart and devotion to the Lord will definitely yield still better results.
The author of this stotra is supposed to be a Gandharva King named Pushpadanta who had fallen from his position by incurring the wrath of Siva. He is supposed to have composed this hymn to propitiate the Lord. The actual author is not known. This may be because of the modesty and humility of the author who wanted to remain incognito without being exposed to the limelight of fame. .
Given below is the text of this stotra in Devanagari script with a simple English translation.
महिम्नः पारं ते परमविदुषो यद्यसदृशी
स्तुतिर्ब्रह्मादीनामपि तदवसन्नास्त्वयि गिरः।
अथावाच्यः सर्वः स्वमतिपरिणामावधि गृणन्
ममाप्येष स्तोत्रे हर निरपवादः परिकरः॥ १॥
O Lord! If, for the ignorant, your greatness is impossible to describe, then even the words of Brahma and others are not equal to the task of praising you adequately. Therefore no one is to be blamed if he praises you according to the capacity of his intellect and so even this effort of mine in composing this stotra is without blemish.
अतीतः पन्थानं तव च महिमा वाङ्मनसयो-
रतद्व्यावृत्त्या यं चकितमभिधत्ते श्रुतिरपि ।
स कस्य स्तोतव्यः कतिविधगुणः कस्य विषयः
पदे त्वर्वाचीने पतति न मनः कस्य न वचः ॥२॥
O Lord! Your greatness (as the Absolute Brahman) is beyond the reach of the mind and the speech. Even the Vedas talk about it with awe and fear in negative terms, ‘not this, not this’. Who can praise you? Who can recount you qualities? Who can perceive you ? Yet whose mind and speech will not be attracted by the later forms you assume (for the benefit of your devotees)?
मधुस्फीतावाचः परमममृतं निर्मितवत-
स्तव ब्रह्मन् किं वागपि सुरगुरोर्विस्मयपदम्।
मम त्वेतां वाणीं गुणकथनपुण्येन भवतः
पुनामीत्यर्थेऽस्मिन् पुरमथन बुद्धिर्व्यवसिता ॥३॥
O Brahman! You are the author of the Vedas whose words are sweet like nectar. Therefore even the words of Brihaspati will hardly invoke a sense of wonder in you. O Destroyer of Tripura ! my mind is determined to engage itself in this task so that I shall purify my speech by the punya (merit) earned by recounting your sterling qualities.
त्रयी वस्तु व्यस्तं तिसृषु गुणभिन्नासु तनुषु।
अभव्यानामस्मिन् वरद रमणीयामरमणीं
विहन्तुं व्याक्रोशीं विदधत इहैके जडधियः ॥४॥
O Giver of boons! You are the Lord creating, sustaining and destroying the worlds assuming three different bodies ( as Brahma the creator, Vishnu the Sustainer and Shiva the destroyer) with three different qualities (sattwa, rajas and tamas appropriate to their functions). Some blockheads refute this Divinity of yours and advance arguments in support which are pleasing to the ignorant but in reality are most unpleasant.
किमीहः किंकायः स खलु किमुपायस्त्रिभुवनं
किमाधारो धाता सृजति किमुपादान इति च।
अतर्क्यैश्वर्ये त्वय्यनवसरदुःस्थो हतधियः
कुतर्कोऽयं कांश्चिन्मुखरयति मोहाय जगतः ॥ ५॥
O Lord! Your Divinity is (beyond the comprehension of the intellect and therefore) not subject to argumentation. But some whose mind has been corrupted raise such questions as ‘What is the purpose of this creation? What body the creator has? What are the means, instruments and substances with which the three worlds are created? What is the support for these worlds? etc. etc.’ These perverted arguments are vociferously flaunted by these people which delude the mind of others also.
अजन्मानो लोकाः किमवयववन्तोऽपि जगता-
मधिष्ठातारं किं भवविधिरनादृत्य भवति।
अनीशो वा कुर्याद् भुवनजनने कः परिकरं
यतो मन्दास्त्वां प्रत्यमरवर संशेरत इमे ॥६॥
O Lord! Fools doubt your very existence in spite of the fact that they cannot satisfactorily answer the questions:
Can the worlds, though having parts, be without origin?
Can the creation take place without a creator?
Who will undertake the task of creation except God ( Can
अनीशः one who is not God or who is not competent take up
त्रयी सांख्यं योगः पशुपतिमतं वैष्णवमिति
प्रभिन्ने प्रस्थाने परमिदमदः पथ्यमिति च।
नृणामेको गम्यस्त्वमसि पयसामर्णव इव ॥७॥
There are different paths like those propounded by the three Vedas, Samkhya, Yoga, Pasupatimata and Vaishnava doctrines. Persons following the different paths choose them according to their different tastes and tendencies thinking ‘this path is the best or that path is better’. But just as all rivers finally end up in the ocean persons following a particular path, straight or crooked, finally reach Thee, the Lord of all.
महोक्षः खट्वाङ्गं परशुरजिनं भस्म फणिनः
कपालं चेतीयत्तव वरद तन्त्रोपकरणम् ।
सुरास्तां तामृद्धिं दधति तु भवद्भ्रूप्रणिहितां
न हि स्वात्मारामं विषयमृगतृष्णा भ्रमयति ॥८॥
O Giver of boons! a big bull, a club, an axe, a skin, ashes, snakes, a skull – these are the only tools or instruments in your possession. The celestials enjoy the powers and wealth bestowed on them by a slight twitching of your eye-brows. Surely, the mirage of sense-objects cannot delude one who finds bliss in the Self.
ध्रुवं कश्चित्सर्वं सकलमपरस्त्वध्रुवमिदं
परो ध्रौव्याध्रौव्ये जगति गदति व्यस्तविषये।
समस्तेऽप्येतस्मिन् पुरमथन तैर्विस्मित इव
स्तुवन् जिह्रेमि त्वां न खलु ननु धृष्टा मुखरता ॥९॥
O Destroyer of Pura ! some say that everything is eternal, others say that everything is transient. Yet others say that some are eternal and others transitory according to their different characteristics. Wondering, as it were, at these different speculations I do not feel shy of praising you. Indeed my loquaciousness reveals my audacity.
तवैश्वर्यं यत्नाद् यदुपरि विरिंचिर्हरिरधः
परिच्छेत्तुं यातावनलमनलस्कन्धवपुषः ।
ततो भक्तिश्रद्धाभरगुरुगृणद्भ्यां गिरिश यत्
स्वयं तस्थे ताभ्यां तव किमनुवृत्तिर्न फलति ॥१०॥
O Girisha! With the desire to measure you who had taken the form of a huge pillar of fire, Brahma went above and Vishnu went down but both could not succeed in their effort. Then they praised you with devotion and reverence and You, pleased, revealed Yourself to them. Will Your worship ever go without bearing fruit?
दशास्यो यद्बाहूनभृत रणकण्डूपरवशान्।
स्थिरायास्त्वद्भक्तेस्त्रिपुरहर विस्फूर्जितमिदम् ॥११॥
O Destroyer of Tripura! The ten-headed Ravana effortlessly made the three worlds free from his enemies but still his hands itched for more wars. This (valour of Ravana) is the result of his deep-rooted devotion to you which prompted him to offer, at your lotus feet, his ten heads as if they were lotuses.
अमुष्य त्वत्सेवासमधिगतसारं भुजवनं
बलात् कैलासेऽपि त्वदधिवसतौ विक्रमयतः।
प्रतिष्ठा त्वय्यासीद् ध्रुवमुपचितो मुह्यति खलः ॥१२॥
When Ravana, who had obtained the strength of his arms by worshipping you, forcefully extended the valour of his arms to your abode of Kailasa, You, with a slight lazy movement of the tip of your toe, put him in such a position that he was unable to get a place to stay even in Patala. When a wicked person becomes extemely affluent he becomes deluded.
यद्वृद्धिं सुत्राम्णो वरद परमोच्चैरपि सती-
मधश्चक्रे बाणः परिजनविधेयत्रिभुवनः ।
न तच्चित्रं तस्मिन् वरिवसितरि त्वच्चरणयो-
र्न कस्या उन्नत्यै भवति शिरसस्त्वय्यवनतिः॥१३॥
O Giver of boons ! Bana, who had all the three worlds under his control, had such immense wealth which pushed to a lower level the abundant wealth of Indra himself. This is no wonder because Bana was a worshipper at your feet. Who will not attain a high position by bowing his head at your feet?
विधेयस्यासीद् यस्त्रिनयन विषं संहृतवतः ।
स कल्माषः कण्ठे तव न कुरुते न श्रियमहो
विकारोऽपि श्लाघ्यो भुवनभयभङ्गव्यसनिनः ॥१४॥
O Three-eyed one! overcome by compassion for the devas and asuras who were frightened by the possibility of the sudden destruction of all the worlds, You drank the poison and retained it in your neck resulting in the black stain on your neck. This does not detract from but only adds to your handsomeness. Even a blemish is praiseworthy in one who is passionately devoted to saving the worlds from fear.
असिद्धार्था नैव क्वचिदपि सदेवासुरनरे
निवर्तन्ते नित्यं जगति जयिनो यस्य विशिखाः ।
स पश्यन्नीश त्वामितरसुरसाधारणमभूत्
स्मरः स्मर्तव्यात्मा न हि वशिषु पथ्यः परिभवः ॥१५॥
O Lord! Kama (Cupid) whose arrows never returned without fulfilling their mission and scoring victory, whether it be in the worlds of devas, asuras or human beings, became simply an object of memory by looking upon You as an ordinary god. Surely, an insult to the self-controlled does not produce good results.
मही पदाघाताद्व्रजति सहसा संशयपदं
जगद्रक्षार्थं त्वं नटसि ननु वामैव विभुता ॥१६॥
O Lord ! when you were dancing for the protection of the worlds the Earth became apprehensive ( of her own destruction) from the stamping of Your feet, the planets in space were hit by your flinging arms which were hard as iron clubs and the heavens became miserable struck by your waving matted hair. Indeed your very mightiness becomes unfavourable to others
प्रवाहो वारां यः पृषतलघुदृष्टः शिरसि ते ।
जगद्द्वीपाकारं जलधिवलयं तेन कृतमि-
त्यनेनैवोन्नेयं धृतमहिम दिव्यं तव वपुः ॥१७॥
The surging waters of the celestial river (Mandakini) pervades the whole sky with the stars enhancing the beauty of the foams on it. But on Your head this looks like a droplet of water. The same water surrounds this world and converts it into islands. The vastness of Your Divine body can be inferred from these facts.
रथः क्षोणी यन्ता शतधृतिरगेन्द्रो धनुरथो
रथाङ्गे चन्द्रार्कौ रथचरणपाणिः शर इति।
दिधक्षोस्ते कोऽयं त्रिपुरतृणमाडंबरविधिः
विधेयैः क्रीडन्त्यो न खलु परतन्त्राः प्रभुधियः ॥१८॥
When you wanted to burn the three cities which were like a blade of grass for you, you had the Earth as the chariot, Brahma as the charioteer, Meru Mountain as the bow, the sun and the moon as the wheels of the chariot and Chakrapani (Vishnu) as the arrow. What was this paraphernalia? The Lord is not dependent on others. He was simply sporting with the instruments under his control.
क्रतौ सुप्ते जाग्रत् त्वमसि फलयोगे क्रतुमतां
क्व कर्म प्रध्वस्तं फलति पुरुषाराधनमृते ।
अतस्त्वां संप्रेक्ष्य क्रतुषु फलदानप्रतिभुवं
श्रुतौ श्रद्धां बद्ध्वा दृढपरिकरः कर्मसु जनः ॥२०॥
When a sacrifice is obstructed or hindered You are the one who is alert in bestowing the fruits to those who performed the sacrifice. Where does a sacrifice which has been destroyed bear fruit without worshipping the Lord? Therefore people, knowing that You are the giver of fruits and putting their faith in the Vedas engage themselves in the performance of sacrifices.
क्रियादक्षो दक्षः क्रतुपतिरधीशस्तनुभृता-
मृषीणामार्त्विज्यं शरणद सदस्याः सुरगणाः ।
ध्रुवं कर्तुः श्रद्धाविधुरमभिचाराय हि मखाः ॥२१॥
O Giver of refuge ! the one performing the sacrifice was Daksha, an expert in sacrifices and the Lord of created beings. Rishis were priests and the celestials formed the assembly. Yet the sacrifice was destroyed by You though You are a staunch giver of fruits of sacrifices. Surely the absence of devotion and reverence in the sacrificer results in unfavourable consequences for him.
प्रजानाथं नाथ प्रसभमभिकं स्वां दुहितरं
गतं रोहिद्भूतां रिरमयिषुमृष्यस्य वपुषा ।
धनुष्पाणेर्यातं दिवमपि सपत्राकृतममुं
त्रसन्तं तेऽद्यापि त्यजति न मृगव्याधरभसः ॥२२॥
Once Brahma had taken the body of a stag (male deer) and his daughter the body of a hide(female deer). Driven by lust the stag wanted to mate with the hide. You assumed the form of a hunter and, bow in hand, pierced with your arrows Brahma (in the guise of the stag)who, terrified, fled to the abode of the celestials. Your fury as the hunter has to this day not been erased from the mind of Brahma.
स्वलावण्याशंसा धृतधनुषमह्नाय तृणवत्
पुरः प्लुष्टं दृष्ट्वा पुरमथन पुष्पायुधमपि।
यदि स्त्रैणं देवी यमनिरतदेहार्धघटना-
दवैति त्वामद्धा बत वरद मुग्धा युवतयः ॥२३॥
O Destroyer of Tripura and Giver of boons! Even after seeing Kama instantly burnt by You like straw before her very eyes, if Parvati thinks that You have give her one half of Your body because You are fascinated by her beauty then surely she makes a mistake. Young women are deluded indeed.
श्मशानेष्वाक्रीडा स्मरहर पिशाचाः सहचरा-
श्चिताभस्मालेपः स्रगपि नृकरोटीपरिकरः।
अमङ्गल्यं शीलं तव भवतु नामैवमखिलं
तथापि स्मर्तॄणां वरद परमं मंगलमसि ॥२४॥
O Destroyer of Kama (Cupid) and Giver of boons! Your play-field is the cremation ground, your companions are ghosts, You smear your body with ashes from funeral pyres and You wear a garland of human skulls. In this manner let all Your conduct be inauspicious. But for those who remember You, You are the very embodiment of auspiciousness.
मनः प्रत्यक्चित्ते सविधमवधायात्तमरुतः
यदालोक्याह्लादं ह्रद इव निमज्यामृतमये
दधत्यन्तस्तत्त्वं किमपि यमिनस्तत् किल भवान् ॥२५॥
O Lord ! You are indeed that indefinable Truth which the Yogis realize by controlling their breath as instructed in the Sastras and by meditation on the Self and realizing which their hairs stand on end, their eyes cloud with tears of joy and they experience supreme inner bliss as if immersed in a pond full of nectar.
त्वमर्कस्त्वं सोमस्त्वमसि पवनस्त्वं हुतवह-
स्त्वमापस्त्वं व्योम त्वमु धरणिरात्मा त्वमिति च ।
परिच्छिन्नामेवं त्वयि परिणता बिभ्रति गिरं
न विद्मस्तत्तत्त्वं वयमिह तु यत् त्वं न भवसि ॥२६॥
The wise say that You are the Sun, You are the Moon, You are the Fire, You are the Water, You are the Space, You are the Earth and You are the Self. Thus they have a limiting concept about You. But we do not know what things which You are not.
त्रय़ीं तिस्रो वृत्तीस्त्रिभुवनमथो त्रीनपि सुरा-
तुरीयं ते धाम ध्वनिभिरवरुन्धानमणुभिः
समस्तं व्यस्तं त्वां शरणद गृणात्योमिति पदम्॥२७॥
O Giver of refuge ! with the three letters A,U,M indicating the three Vedas (Rik, Yajus and Sama), three states (waking, dreaming and deep sleep), three worlds (Heaven, Earth and Nether worlds) and three gods (Brahma, Vishnu and Siva) and united with subtle sounds the word ‘Om’ collectively points to You – Your Absolute Transcendental State.
भवः शर्वो रुद्रः पशुपतिरथोग्रः सहमहां-
स्तथा भीमेशानाविति यदभिधानाष्टकमिदम्।
अमुष्मिन् प्रत्येकं प्रविचरति देव श्रुतिरपि
प्रियायास्मै धाम्ने प्रणिहितनमस्योऽस्मि भवते ॥२८॥
O Lord! Bhava, Sarva, Rudra, Pasupati, Ugra, Mahadeva, Bhima and Isana – these eight names are mentioned even in the Vedas. I bow down to You, the beloved and the effulgent.
नमो नेदिष्ठाय प्रियदव दविष्ठाय च नमो
नमः क्षोदिष्ठाय स्मरहर महिष्ठाय च नमः।
नमो वर्षिष्ठाय त्रिनयन यविष्ठाय च नमो
नमः सर्वस्मै ते तदिदमतिसर्वाय च नमः ॥२९॥
O Lover of forests (solitude) ! my salutations to You who are very near (as the indwelling spirit) and also very far (beyond mind and speech). O Destroyer of Cupid (Kama)! My salutations to You who are the minutest and also the largest. O Three-eyed One! my salutations to you as the oldest and also as the youngest. This my salutations to You who are all and also transcending all.
बहुलरजसे विश्वोत्पत्तौ भवाय नमो नमः
प्रबलतमसे तत्संहारे हराय नमो नम: ।
जनसुखकृते सत्त्वोद्रिक्तो मृडाय नमो नमः
प्रमहसि पदे निस्त्रैगुण्ये शिवाय नमो नमः ॥३०॥
Salutations to You Bhava (as Brahma) in whom rajas is predominant for the creation of the worlds. Salutations to You Hara (as Rudra) in whom tamas preponderates for the destruction of the worlds. Salutations to Mrida (as Vishnu) in whom sattwa dominates for the sustenance and welfare of the people. Salutations to Siva who is effulgent and established in nistraigunya, beyond the three modes of prakriti
कृशपरिणति चेतः क्लेशवश्यं क्व चेदं
क्व च तव गुणसीमोल्लङ्घिनी शश्वदृद्धिः।
इति चकितममन्दीकृत्य मां भक्तिराधात्
वरद चरणयोस्ते वाक्यपुष्पोपहारम् ॥३१॥
O Giver of boons! where is my immature mind in the grip of misery and where is Your Divinity eternal and possessing noble qualities beyond limit? Though scared because of this, I am prompted by my devotion to place this offering of word-flowers (hymn) at your feet.
असितगिरिसमं स्यात् कज्जलं सिन्धुः पात्रं
सुरतरुवरशाखा लेखनी पत्रमुर्वी।
लिखति यदि गृहीत्वा सारदा सर्वकालं
तदपि तव गुणानामीश पारं न याति ॥३२॥
O Lord! Let the blue mountain be ink, the ocean the ink-pot, a branch of the kalpavriksha pen and Earth the writing leaf. With these instruments if the Goddess of learning writes for eternity without stopping, even then the limit of your qualities will not be reached.
र्ग्रथितगुणमहिम्नो निर्गुणस्येश्वरस्य ।
The best among demi-gods, Pushpadanta by name, composed, in all seriousness and devotion, this beautiful hymn on the Lord who sports the crescent moon on his head and who is worshipped by devas, asuras and sages, whose sterling qualities are praised, who is without attributes and who is the Lord of all.
अहरहरनवद्यं धूर्जटेः स्तोत्रमेतत्
पठति परमभक्त्या शुद्धचित्तः पुमान् यः।
स भवति शिवलोके रुद्रतुल्यस्तथाऽत्र
प्रचुरतरधनायुः पुत्रवान् कीर्तिमांश्च ॥३४॥
He who reads everyday this blemishless hymn to Lord Siva with devotion and a pure heart will (after death) attain the abode of Siva with a status equal to that of Siva, and while in this world will be blessed with an abundance of wealth, long life, children and fame.
महेशान्नापरो देवो महिम्नो नापरा स्तुतिः
अघोरान्नापरो मन्त्रो नास्ति तत्त्वं गुरोः परम् ॥३५॥
There is no god greater than Siva, there is no hymn better than the hymn on the greatness of Siva, there is no mantra more powerful than the name of Siva and there is nothing better to be known than the real nature of the guru.
दीक्षा दानं तपस्तीर्थं ज्ञानं यागादिकाः क्रियाः
महिम्नः स्तवपाठस्य कलां नार्हन्ति षोडशीम् ॥३६॥
Initiation into spiritual knowledge, charity, austerities, pilgrimage, spiritual knowledge, sacrificial rites – all these do not confer merit on the person concerned equal to even one-sixteenth part of the merit which one can earn by reciting the hymn on the greatness of Siva.
शिशुशशधरमौलेर्देवदेवस्य दासः ।
स खलु निजमहिम्नो भ्रष्ट एवास्य रोषात्
The Lord of Gandharvas, Pushpadanta by name, is a servant of Lord Siva who sports the crescent moon on his head and who is the greatest of the devas. Dislodged from his status as the King of Gandharvas by the anger of Siva, he composed this very beautiful hymn on the greatness of Siva to propitiate the latter.
पठति यदि मनुष्यः प्राञ्जलिर्नान्यचेताः।
व्रजति शिवसमीपं किन्नरैः स्तूयमानः
स्तवनमिदममोघं पुष्पदन्तप्रणीतम् ॥३८॥
After worshippin Siva, the bestower of heaven and liberation, a person reading, with folded hands and single-minded devotion, this unfaling stotra composed by Pushpadanta attains Siva praised by kinnaras
आसमाप्तमिदं स्तोत्रं पुण्यं गन्धर्वभाषितम्
अनौपम्यं मनोहारि सर्वमीश्वरवर्णनम् ॥३९॥
From start to finish this sacred hymn composed by Pushpadanta, describing the glory of Siva, is fascinating and of unmatched beauty.
इत्येषा वाङ्मयीपूजा श्रीमच्छंकरपादयोः
अर्पिता तेन देवेशः प्रीयतां मे सदाशिवः ॥४०॥
This worship by wordcraft is offered at the feet of Siva. May the ever auspicious Lord of gods be pleased with me by this (offering).