ब्रह्ममुरारिसुरार्चितलिङ्गं निर्मलभासितशोभितलिङ्गम् ।
जन्मजदुःखविनाशकलिङ्गं तत्प्रणमामि सदाशिवलिङ्गम् ॥ १ ॥
brahma-murāri-surārcita-liṅgaṃ nirmala-bhāsita-śobhita-liṅgam ।
janmaja-duḥkha-vināśaka-liṅgaṃ tatpraṇamāmi sadā-śiva-liṅgam ॥ 1 ॥
I bow to the eternal śivaliṅgam, which is worshipped by Brahmā, Viṣṇu (Murāri), and the other gods, which shines with pure radiant splendor, and which destroys the pain caused by the endless cycle of rebirths.
देवमुनिप्रवरार्चितलिङ्गं कामदहं करुणाकर लिङ्गम् ।
रावणदर्पविनाशनलिङ्गं तत्प्रणमामि सदाशिव लिङ्गम् ॥ २ ॥
deva-muni-pravarārcita-liṅgaṃ kāmadahaṃ karuṇākara liṅgam ।
rāvaṇa-darpa-vināśana-liṅgaṃ tatpraṇamāmi sadā-śiva-liṅgam ॥ 2 ॥
I bow to the eternal śivaliṅgam, which is excellently worshipped by gods and sages, which burns desires completely away1, which is endlessly compassionate, and which vanquished the pride of Rāvaṇa, the demon king of Laṅkā.
सर्वसुगन्धिसुलेपितलिङ्गं बुद्धिविवर्धनकारणलिङ्गम् ।
सिद्धसुरासुरवन्दितलिङ्गं तत्प्रणमामि सदाशिव लिङ्गम् ॥ ३ ॥
sarva-sugandhi-sulepita-liṅgaṃ buddhi-vivardhana-kāraṇa-liṅgam ।
siddha-surāsura-vandita-liṅgaṃ tatpraṇamāmi sadā-śiva-liṅgam ॥ 3 ॥
I bow to the eternal śivaliṅgam, which is lovingly anointed with the sweetest perfumes, which increases knowledge and intellect, and which is worshipped by perfected masters2, gods, and demons.
कनकमहामणिभूषितलिङ्गं फनिपतिवेष्टितशोभितलिङ्गम् ।
दक्षसुयज्ञविनाशनलिङ्गं तत्प्रणमामि सदाशिव लिङ्गम् ॥ ४ ॥
kanaka-mahāmaṇi-bhūṣita-liṅgaṃ phanipati-veṣṭita-śobhita-liṅgam ।
dakṣa-suyajña-vināśana-liṅgaṃ tatpraṇamāmi sadā-śiva-liṅgam ॥ 4 ॥
I bow to the eternal śivaliṅgam, which is adorned with gold and the finest gems, which is garlanded by the lord of serpents, and which destroyed Dakṣa’s sacrificial fire3.
कुङ्कुमचन्दनलेपितलिङ्गं पङ्कजहारसुशोभितलिङ्गम् ।
सञ्चितपापविनाशनलिङ्गं तत्प्रणमामि सदाशिव लिङ्गम् ॥ ५ ॥
kuṅkuma-candana-lepita-liṅgaṃ paṅkaja-hāra-suśobhita-liṅgam ।
sañcita-pāpa-vināśana-liṅgaṃ tatpraṇamāmi sadā-śiva-liṅgam ॥ 5 ॥
I bow to the eternal śivaliṅgam, which is anointed with saffron and sandalwood paste, is adorned with a garland of lotus flowers, and which annihilates all accumulated sins.
देवगणार्चितसेवितलिङ्गं भावैर्भक्तिभिरेव च लिङ्गम् ।
दिनकरकोटिप्रभाकरलिङ्गं तत्प्रणमामि सदाशिव लिङ्गम् ॥ ६ ॥
deva-gaṇārcita-sevita-liṅgaṃ bhāvair-bhakti-bhireva ca liṅgam ।
dina-kara-koṭi-prabhākara-liṅgaṃ tatpraṇamāmi sadā-śiva-liṅgam ॥ 6 ॥
I bow to the eternal śivaliṅgam, which is worshipped by all the gods and demi-gods with great feeling and devotion, and which shines with the luster of millions of suns.
अष्टदलोपरिवेष्टितलिङ्गं सर्वसमुद्भवकारणलिङ्गम् ।
अष्टदरिद्रविनाशितलिङ्गं तत्प्रणमामि सदाशिव लिङ्गम् ॥ ७ ॥
aṣṭa-dalopari-veṣṭita-liṅgaṃ sarva-samudbhava-kāraṇa-liṅgam ।
aṣṭa-daridra-vināśita-liṅgaṃ tatpraṇamāmi sadā-śiva-liṅgam ॥ 7 ॥
सुरगुरुसुरवरपूजितलिङ्गं सुरवनपुष्पसदार्चितलिङ्गम् ।
परात्परं परमात्मकलिङ्गं तत्प्रणमामि सदाशिव लिङ्गम् ॥ ८ ॥
suraguru-suravara-pūjita-liṅgaṃ suravana-puṣpa-sadārcita-liṅgam ।
parātparaṃ paramātmaka-liṅgaṃ tatpraṇamāmi sadā-śiva-liṅgam ॥ 8 ॥
I bow to the eternal śivaliṅgam, which is worshipped by Bṛhaspati (the guru of the gods), and by Suravara (“best of the gods”, Lord Indra, king of heaven), with innumerable flowers from the gardens of heaven, and which is higher than the highest, the Supreme Self.
लिङ्गाष्टकमिदं पुण्यं यः पठेच्छिवसन्निधौ
शिवलोकमवाप्नोति शिवेन सह मोदते
liṅgāṣṭakamidaṃ puṇyaṃ yaḥ paṭhecchivasannidhau
śivalokamavāpnoti śivena saha modate
Whoever faithfully recites the liṅgāṣṭakam is in the presence of Śiva Himself, and will attain the abode of Śiva and will rejoice with Him.
Kāma is the god of love, and is very similar in form and function to the Greek Eros and the Roman Cupid, using a bow and arrow to awaken amorous feelings. Kāmadeva is a symbolic representation of material desires, especially sensual pleasures. The phrase kāmadahaṃ has a dual meaning in this verse: firstly, that Lord Śiva burns away all material desires, and secondly, the story of when Śiva incinerated Kāmadeva in anger.
According to the purāṇas, a terrible demon called Tārakāsura grew immensely powerful through a clever boon he had been granted: he could never be killed except by the son of Lord Śiva. Knowing that Śiva was a yogi committed to austere sādhana (spiritual practice), and therefore would likely never have a family, Tārakāsura believed this boon made him immortal. He defeated the gods of heaven easily, and threatened the whole of creation. Knowing their only chance at salvation was for Śiva to have a son, the gods sent Kāmadeva to awaken Śiva’s lust so that Pārvatī could seduce him and give birth to a son. Kāmadeva shot his arrow into Śiva, interrupting his meditation. Furious, Śiva opened his third eye and instantly burned Kāmadeva to ashes.
Seeing his wife, Pārvatī, Śiva calmed down and asked her why he had been disturbed. Upon hearing of the gods’ plight, Śiva agreed to father a son, and also to restore Kāmadeva to life. That son — called Kārttikeya (as he was nursed and raised by the six celestial nymphs called kṛttikās), and also known by the names Skanda (meaning “attacker” as he became the god of war and led the armies of heaven), Subrahmaṇya (meaning “begat by the Supreme Spirit”), and Kumāra (meaning “the son”) — went on to destroy Tārakāsura.
A siddha is a spiritually perfected being. They are endowed with eight spiritual powers (aṣṭasiddhi): aṇiman (able to become as small as an atom), mahiman (able to become as large as the whole universe), gariman (able to become infinitely heavy), laghiman (able to become weightless), prāpti (able to obtain anything at will), prākāmya (able to assume any form), īśitva (power over life and death), and vaśitva (able to impose one’s will on any living being). ↩
Prajāpati Dakṣa was the father of Sati and father-in-law to Lord Śiva. Dakṣa was unable to perceive that Śiva was in fact mahādeva (the greatest of all divine beings), and mistook him for an uncultured mendicant, unfit to marry the daughter of a king. Śiva is a renunciant yogi, and therefore is not bound by the rules of conduct laid out in the vedas, and because he didn’t follow the vedas, Dakṣa held him to be impure and unholy. But Sati (who was herself an incarnation of Ādi Parāśakti, the supreme goddess) chose Śiva to be her husband, and left the comforts of her father’s kingdom to live with her new husband at Mount Kailāsa. Dakṣa, who already disliked Śiva, was enraged at his daughter’s perceived slight.
Some time later, Dakṣa organized a great yajña ritual (a sacrificial fire ceremony) and invited all the gods, goddesses, kings, and princes. He did not invite Sati or Śiva. Sati rationalized that she had not been invited because she needed no invitation to visit her family, and decided to attend anyway, despite Śiva’s warnings not to go. She was received very coldly by her father, who insulted her and her husband in front of the assembled guests. Unable to bear her father’s insults and overcome with loathing for his ignorance, Sati threw herself onto the sacrificial fire. As her body burned she revealed her true form as Ādi Parāśakti and castigated her father for his foolish arrogance. Just before she died, she prayed that she would be reborn to a father whom she could respect.
Śiva — sensing his beloved’s demise and overcome with anguish — peformed the fearsome tāṇḍava nṛtya, the dance that dissolves creation. He unleashed his anger upon the yajña, killing most of the attendees and decapitating Dakṣa.
Once his rage was pacified, Śiva restored the life of all whom he killed, including his father-in-law. He replaced Dakṣa’s head with that of a goat as a lesson in humility. Dakṣa was thereafter an ardent devotee of Śiva.
Sati was reborn as the daughter of King Himavat, the personification of the Himālayas. She was called Pārvatī (meaning “daughter of the mountain”), and married Śiva again. ↩
An eight-petalled lotus — called “aṣṭadala” or “aṣṭadala padma” — is a representation of the cosmos. The eight petals represent the four cardinal and four intermediate directions. It is also closely associated with the kālacakra, the eight-spoked “wheel of time”. It is often represented in pūjā ceremonies in the form of a maṇḍala or yantra, upon which ceremonial vessels are placed. We can interpret the phrase aṣṭadalopariveṣṭita (aṣṭadala, “eight-petalled lotus”; upari, “above, upon, over”; veṣṭita, “wrapped, enclosed, surrounded”) to literally mean that the śivaliṅgam (meaning the physical object) is placed on an aṣṭadala maṇḍala on an altar, or that the śivaliṅgam on the altar is surrounded (i.e. decorated) with eight-petalled lotuses, or that the śivaliṅgam (meaning the formless aspect of the Supreme Spirit) is omnipresent in all directions throughout creation. ↩
In some traditions, the eight forms of poverty (aṣṭadaridra) are as follows:
- annadaridra — lack of food
- vastradaridra — lack of clothing
- nivāsadaridra — lack of shelter
- bhūmidaridra — lack of territory (either one’s own plot of land, or more broadly, a lack of country)
- santatīdaridra — lack of family or progeny
- sampattidaridra — lack of good fortune
- āpteṣṭadaridra — lack of the fruits of worship (āpta, “reach, attain”; iṣṭa, “worshipped with sacrifices”)
- mitraparivāradaridra — lack of a community of friends
Some lists also include jñānadaridra (lack of wisdom), and vivekadaridra (lack of discrimination, the ability to discern the spiritual from the material).
Other traditions associate the eight poverties with the eight forms of the goddess of wealth, Lakṣmī. Each form of Lakṣmī embodies a particular kind of wealth, and the eight forms of poverty are the lack of those types of wealth. The eight forms of Lakṣmī are as follows:
- ādilakṣmī — abundance of spiritual merit
- dhānyalakṣmī — abundance of grain (food)
- vīralakṣmī — abundance of bravery
- gajalakṣmī — abundance of livestock
- santanalakṣmī — abundance of progeny
- vijayalakṣmī — abundance of victory (in overcoming obstacles)
- vidyālakṣmī — abundance of knowledge
- dhanalakṣmī — abundance of money