Author: Dr. Ramchandra Verma Shastri
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Dr. Ramchandra Verma Shastri
Publisher: Manoj Publications
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788131017333
The Shiva Purana is a much sacred text for the Hindus, particularly to those that adhere on Shiv's faith and are called 'Shaiva'. This is a huge tome containing 24,000 Slokas. Lord Shiva is truly the deity of all those who have no other succor or promise of help from any other deities.
The word purana means old or ancient. Thus the puranas are old and ancient texts that have come down to us through the ages. They have stories about famous people and descriptions of religion and society of those times.
The definition of a Purana is, in fact, quite precise. To be considered a proper Puranas, a text to has to cover five subjects. These are known as the five characteristics of a Purana. Traditionally, a purana must firstly describe the primary creation of the universe; this is known as sarga. But once the universe is created, it is periodically destroyed and created again.
A purana must secondly describe this process of periodic destruction and creation; this is known as pratisarga.
A purana must thirdly list out the genealogies of gods and saints, this is known as vamsha.
Fourthly, a Purana must catalog the various manvantaras, this is, the many different eras that the earth or the universe has passed through.
And finally, a Purana must have a history of the royal dynasties, vamshanucharita.
Around this core skeleton of the five subjects, any Purana normally contains matters of religious concern, customs, ceremonies, sacrifices, festivals, duties of the various castes, different types of donations, details of constructions of temples and images and descriptions of places of pilgrimage.
Eighteen mahapuranas are divided into three groups and each group has six texts. The Hindu Trinity consists of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is regarded as the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer. Since all three are important gods, all these are given due emphasis in any Purana. But the relative emphasis often varies from Purana to Purana.