As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 01
Continued from Previous page
Sage Saunaka wishes to know the essence of Puranic tales and its relevance, and Suta the great sage satisfies his inquisitiveness… A life of devotion grants not only contentment but also salvation from the sufferings of life. It is inadequate to adhere to rituals to get deliverance. To show off charity and generosity is a great flaw.
Saunaka wants to know the essence of wisdom contained in Puranic tales. He modestly requests sage Suta, “O sage, throw light on the essence of Purana’s knowledge. How a man attains insight through knowledge, detachment, and devotion. How virtuous people get rid of passion and anger, the worst mental imperfections? In Kaliyuga, tamas proclivities besiege people and thus, asura’s nature gives troubles. What is the supreme way to equip people with virtues and nature of gods? Please bless O great monk, with the eternal, sacred and sanctified means through which a mortal can purify ‘the inner self’ and thereafter, attain Shiva.”
Monk Suta said, “You are blessed O great Saunaka, the greatest among the monks, for you nurse love and eager desire to listen to the puranic tales. Therefore, I shall narrate the tales as contained in the puranic scripture with utmost purity of mind and heart. It fulfills and brings supreme satisfaction as it satisfies the lord, for it is nectar infused with divine virtues. It is the greatest Sastra. It grants deliverance from sufferings. Sage Vyasa heard it from sage Sanatakumar and then, spread the message of tales briefly. Its sacred objective is the wellbeing of people born in the Age of Kali – the present age. It is one of the greatest scriptures and is the image of lord Shiva. To study it with devotion and to listen to the holy book grants devotee the supreme status and he attains moksa – the blessing of Shiva. Mere listening to the tales, bestows the fruit and the lord fulfills all wishes of the devotees as he grants deliverance from sins, and the devotees after enjoying luxuries of the material world, go to Shivaloka – the land of Shiva. O monk, the great Shiva Purana contains twenty four thousand slokas and has seven segments – samhitas: the first five chapters speak about the greatness and purifying impact of the Purana and then, it begins with Vidyeshwara Samhita and then, takes up Kailasa Samhita, Sanata Kumara Samhita, Vayaviya Samhita and Dharma Samhita.”
He continued, “A man with purity of mind and heart and with the strength of devotion, knowledge and impassiveness, and the abandonment of joys-vairagya should listen to divine Shivapurana. He, who listens to the sacred book, no doubt, he is the Supreme Soul and a man of wisdom. He, who keeps listening to the holy purana, in the end, attains blessings of the lord and goes to the divine land.”
He continued to sing glory of the holy Purana and at last said, “O monk, it grants all the four purasarthas – dharma, artha, kama and moksa.”
If man serves humankind detachedly, performs worldly karmas with a pure mind, and pursues path of truth and honesty, it definitely leads him to salvation. Atonement absolves a man from the effects of karmas, if he abandons wickedness and indiscretion and loves to live with virtues and dharma. A man ought to maintain sanctity of acts and words and here, life turns meaningful.
Human beings possess tremendous power to live life as they wish. If they live a life of purity, truthfulness and self-respect and value devotion and truth, an elevated and godly life offers real meaning and delight. It is strange that man listens to the scriptural teachings and hears religious men but ignores – a lethal irony it is.
If a man listens to the Holy Scriptures with dedicated heart and mind, it destroys all sins. Many sages and learned men have revealed the great truth. A man understands immense significance of sacred teachings of ancient books but still, unfortunately, prefers to ignore.
Ages back, a brahmin Devraj of poor intellect lived in Kiratas, a small town and managed to earn reasonably good living. He sold juices, assorted eatables including fruit, and remained engaged in the joys and pleasures of life. However, he evinced no interest in the life of dharma. He never prayed or worshipped, and absolutely stood away from daily prayers and thus, wasted precious mornings and evenings meant for virtuous work and prayers.
Devraj duped people, who reposed faith in him. He was, therefore, a sneaky thug. He preferred to invent various devious reasons, seized and appropriated money and property of brahmins, ksatriyas, vaisyas, sudras and others for personal interests. He never dedicated even a small amount of usurped money to the noble cause of dharma. He was a regular visitor to prostitutes and thus, people considered him a degenerate not worthy of trust. Whenever he heard a word of truth or goodness, he thought better to ignore and so, a life of falsehood and deceitfulness continued to guide. It did not affect him or caused compunction that he was a degenerate and vicious man.
While wandering purposelessly around in different places, he arrived at Jhoosi-prayag. He saw a temple of Shiva in the town where many saints and mahatmas had assembled with an objective to pray and worship Shiva. Devraj decided to stay in the temple but very soon, serious sickness beleaguered and he experienced extreme agony. At that time, a godly brahmin narrated a religious tale. Ailing brahmin continued to hear the holy tale relating to Shiva along with other devotees. However, he could not recover from the mortal disease, and expired after a month.
Terrible looking envoys of the lord of Death arrived after death, tied up Devraj in strong ropes, and took him to the court of Yama. When the messengers dragged the sinner to the court of Yama, the counselors of Shiva from the abode of Shiva reached precisely at that time. Gour (pure and white bodies) of counselors glowed brilliantly like karpoor (a white shinning liquid that evaporates with the touch of air). They held tridents in powerful hands, and the people noticed bodies smeared with ashes whereas rosaries of rudraksa (beads – round fruit of a huge tree called Shiva’s tree used for making a rosary), which devotees of Shiva (Shaivists) wear and then, undergo japa and tapa when they meditate on Shiva. Thus, these ash-daubed figures look astonishing.
They forcibly entered the abode of Yama and after grievously beating up the messengers of Yama, freed Devraj from the custody and boarding an amazing aircraft the envoys of lord Shiva were ready to fly away to Kailasa Mountain. At that time, a tremendous noise and chaotic clamor filled loka (abode) of Yama and stirred fears in each celestial being. After he heard deafening sounds, the lord of Death came out of the palace.
The ash-smeared couriers of Shiva appeared like Rudras and therefore, the great follower of dharma, lord of dharma Yama, looked at Rudras like envoys, offered proper prayers, and while he worshipped, he learnt about the entire background with divine eyes. Because of fear, Yama did not ask anything from the messengers of Shiva. On the other hand, he offered prayers and then, paid humble tributes and greetings to Shiva’s envoys. Later on, the counselors of Shiva went to Kailasa Mountain, and handed over Devraj to Shiva, an ocean of compassion.
Continued to Next Page