Monday, January 5, 2009



A Hymn to Shiva

This is a translation of Swami Vivekananda’s Sanskrit hymn to Shiva, reproduced from his Complete Works 4: 501-04.

Salutation to Shiva! whose glory
Is immeasurable, who resembles sky
In clearness, to whom are attributed
The phenomena of all creation,
The preservation and dissolution
Of the universe! May the devotion,
The burning devotion of this my life
Attach itself to Him, to Shiva, who,
While being Lord of all, transcends Himself.

In whom Lordship is ever established,
Who causes annihilation of delusion,
Whose most surpassing love, made manifest,
Has crowned Him with a name above all names,
The name of "Mahadeva", the Great God!
Whose warm embrace, of Love personified,
Displays, within the heart, that all power
Is but a semblance and a passing show.

In which the tempest of the whole past blows,
Past Samskaras, stirring the energies
With violence, like water lashed to waves;
In which the dual consciousness of "I" and "Thou"
Plays on: I salute that mind unstable,
Centered in Shiva, the abode of calm!

Where the ideas of parent and produced,
Purified thoughts and endless varied forms,
Merge in the Real one; where the existence ends
Of such conceptions as "within", "without"--
The wind of modification being stilled--
That Hara I worship, the suppression
Of movements of the mind. Shiva I hail!

From whom all gloom and darkness have dispersed;
That radiant Light, white, beautiful
As bloom of lotus white is beautiful;
Whose laughter loud sheds knowledge luminous;
Who, by undivided meditation,
Is realized in the self-controlled heart:
May that Lordly Swan of the limpid lake
Of my mind, guard me, prostrate before Him!

Him, the Master-remover of evil,
Who wipes the dark stain of this Iron Age;
Whom Daksha's Daughter gave Her coveted hand;
Who, like the charming water-lily white,
Is beautiful; who is ready ever
To part with life for others' good, whose gaze
Is on the humble fixed; whose neck is blue
With the poison swallowed:
Him, we salute!

- Swami Vivekananda