The Shiva sahasranama is a list (sahasranama) of a thousand names of Shiva, one of the most important deities in Hinduism. In Hindu tradition a sahasranama is a type of devotional hymn (Sanskrit: stotra) listing many names of a deity. The names provide an exhaustive catalog of the attributes, functions, and major mythology associated with the figure being praised.
There are at least eight different versions of the Shiva sahasranama. The version appearing in Book 13 (Anuśāsanaparvan) of the Mahabharata is considered the kernel of this tradition. The eight versions analyzed by Ram Karan Sharma are:
- 1. Mahabharata 13.17.30-150 (Anuśāsanaparvan Version)
- 2. Linga Purana (version 1, LP 1.65.54-168) is close to the Mahabharata Anushasanaparvan version.
- 3. Linga Purana (version 2, LP 1.98.27-159) has some passages in common with LP version 1, but also with other sources
- 4. Shivapurana 4.35.1-131.
- 5. Mahabharata (Śāntiparvan version). The critical edition of the Mahabharata does not include this version, relegating it to Appendix 28 to Śāntiparvan. It does appear in the text of the Gita Press edition as 12.284.68-180.
- 6. Vayu Purana (1.30.179-284) is almost the same as the Mahabharata Śāntiparvan version.
- 7. Brahmanda Purana (38.1.1-100) is almost the same as the Vayu Purana version.
- 8. Mahābhāgavata Upapurana (67.1-125) appears to be of comparatively recent origin.
In the version that occurs in book thirteen of the Mahabharata, Krishna recites the 1,008 names of Shiva to Yudhisthira. Yudhisthira had asked Bhishma the names of Shiva but Bhishma admitted his ignorance and requested him to ask Krishna. Interestingly, the thousand names of Vishnu, or Vishnu sahasranama, also occurs in the same chapter. Some overlapping of names with the Vishnu sahasranama has led Adi Shankara to conclude that Shiva and Vishnu are both identical, as two different aspects of one cosmic reality known as Brahman.
- ^ Sharma, pp. viii-ix.
- ^ This is the source for the version presented in Chidbhavananda, who refers to it being from the Mahabharata but does not explicitly clairify which of the two Mahabharata versions he is using. See Chidbhavananda, p.5.
- ^ Sharma, pp. viii-xxviii.
- Chidbhavananda, Swami (1997). Siva Sahasranama Stotram: With Navavali, Introduction, and English Rendering. Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam. ISBN 81-208-0567-4. (Third edition). The version provided by Chidbhavananda is from chapter 17 of the Anuśāsana Parva of the Mahābharata.
- Sharma, Ram Karan (1996). Śivasahasranāmāṣṭakam: Eight Collections of Hymns Containing One Thousand and Eight Names of Śiva. With Introduction and Śivasahasranāmākoṣa (A Dictionary of Names). Delhi: Nag Publishers. ISBN 81-7081-350-6. This work compares eight versions of the Śivasahasranāmāstotra. The Preface and Introduction (in English) by Ram Karan Sharma provide an analysis of how the eight versions compare with one another. The text of the eight versions is given in Sanskrit.
- Saraswati, Swami Satyananda (1998). Shiva Puja and Advanced Yajna. Devi Mandir Napa. ISBN 1-887472-62-2. (First Edition)
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