As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 10
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Living in holy places – like temples and tirthas and along the sacred riverbanks of Sarswati, Ganga, Sonabhara, Narmada etc. leads to moksa and grants divine lokas to the pure hearts…and then, he speaks of ideal conduct and rituals of cleanliness etc before offering prayer and worship.
Monk Suta speaks about the sacred places where temples of Shiva exist – a path to deliverance. The vast earth of infinite area supports everything at the behest of Shiva. For the wellbeing and salvation of people, the lord constructs temples and holy places. If holy tasks as ablution or purification, dana, japa or meditation take place, it is good otherwise it invites sufferings and ailments of body and material wellbeing. A man in a holy place must not act sinfully, he tells. Men ought to live at sacred centers – of rivers and temples. Living at riverbank Sarswati grants abode of Brahma.
Again, the holy Ganga and other rivers have many holy places on the banks like Kashi etc. Similarly, Sonabhadra and Narmada bless people living on the banks and then, Tamasa and Reva also give joy, while ablutions in the water of rivers sanctify bodies and hearts. Water of Godavari frees a man from the sin of killing a brahmin or cow and it is a path to Rudraloka. Sacred River Krishnaveni destroys sins and takes to Vaikuntha. Tungbhadra washes sins and takes a man to Brahmaloka and similarly, many rivers of India are purifying, and destroy sins a man commits provided he genuinely cleanses body, mind and heart. A devotee ought to perform rituals and the preliminaries etc. under the supervision of a learned brahmin or priest.
The monk describes in detail the movement of planets, the Sun and Jupiter in Zodiac of Mesha and other signs, and at that time, the devotees should take bath in holy rivers and they will get liberation he counsels. He speaks of bath in holy water of rivers namely – Naimisa, Badra, Simha, Sindhu, Kedara, Yamuna, Sona etc based on zodiac signs in the respective month, and the devotees will definitely attain their cherished desires and go to different divine lands. Similarly, he speaks of offerings of Pinda to the pitres, the manes, and the ancestors from the both paternal and maternal sides during Shaddhas, which are likely to benefit them. Ritualistic ablutions in different sacred waters in particular months grant land of Indra and it liberates a devotee from sins.
At holy places and temples situated in between the sacred rivers, taking bath and offering of prayers and worship blesses devotees, the monk tells. Good conduct, honest and pious intents of devotees bestow divine blessing and fruit here on earth and beyond. If one commits sins at holy places, it does not bring good health and prosperity to the devotees he continues to emphasise. One can get rid of sins if one engages in meditation, for it is the only cure. Good and bad aspects – virtues and aberrant and wicked acts have three facets – the initial seed period, growing or flourishing phase and phase of enjoying pleasures of life.
Knowledge helps to eliminate sins in the initial stage. To do away with sins in growing period, one needs to do away sins through the proper manner of bath, prayer and worship. If a man punctually prays, worships gods or deities, and performs act of dana or charity, offers gifts etc. to the deserving and meditates, and refrains from acting immorally or sadistically, he attains happiness.
Sages know about the holy places and rivers and the influence of bath in rivers in particular months based on constructive influence of zodiac signs. It bestows divine blessings on devotees, and thereafter, he speaks of an ideal conduct. Monk Suta speaks about a noble brahmin, who has knowledge of the Vedas and conducts himself properly and follows law of dharma. If a brahmin has knowledge of the Vedas and is of good conduct, he is Vipra, otherwise he is Dwija. Ksatriya brahmin holds some knowledge of the Vedas, he says whereas a man careless in conduct is Vaisya and is apt in agricultural or trading activities. He, who tills land, is Sudra, and a brahmin of envious or jealous nature is of low grade dwija.
Thus, he defines the nature of a brahmin based on conduct and action. Every man is a brahmin, the monk conveys. Karmas define man’s varna or class and so a man is brahmin, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra and a man, who is not of above class is dasyu. Then, he tells about what a man of any of the caste or varna should do when he gets up early. He ought to think of meditation, karmas of earning livelihood and so on. He speaks about the good and bad effects of getting up and other matters that require immediate solution. To attend to the nature call is important before cleaning teeth and taking bath etc begin. Good day begins as one throws the first glance even as nature gives a benevolent smile, and its effects are experienced on – endurance, hate, death, sin, fortune, sickness, nourishment and strength. While easing out one must make a choice that does not hurt anyone. He, who sits to ease out or pisses should not pollute water or holy place, and should touch the penis with left hand and mouth with the right hand.
One should never cleanse the limbs inside the pond or water tank. Clean the rectum properly, he tells. Cleansing of body and other organs needs care. Pay respect to the lord of water and then clean with chant of mantras. He talks about the mode of cleansing of body properly before beginning other karmas during the day. He talks of bath, drinking of water, reciting of mantras, morning prayers and worship, japa of Gayatri mantra, oblations etc. He tells about the holy karma at midday and prayer in the evening and so on…and then, the practice of Pranava mantra properly. A devotee, who dwells on the meaning, attains Brahma. Meditations on different deities carry definite auspicious effects, and take a man to the desired goal, fulfill wishes, and so, a devotee attains the supreme destination. Japas have traditions and a devotee ought to follow them properly and a devotee if knows traditions, it is good otherwise it is of no use.
Good conduct is one of the most important aspects of a devotee’s life and if he adheres to it, he attains the goal. The monk tells that a devotee interested in virtuous and good life of meditation, health, prosperity and charity must pursue the principles of purity and cleanliness to attain the desired results.
A man nurturing desires should make efforts for a life of virtue and wealth. A brahmin seeking salvation should meditate and realise Brahma. Earning through virtuous means is a path to real enjoyment and finally, it leads to detachment, a state of Vairagya. Earning through other means causes passions alone. Freedom from yearning gives independence and wholesomeness and through the limpidness, one acquires knowledge. Self-punishment, penance and meditation are necessary to attain the spirit of dharma but in the age of Kali, spirit of sacrificial offering to deities or worship of idols protects dharma. Fruit depends upon the nature of karmas – virtuous or sinful, which again depend upon transparency and cleanliness of rituals, and character is the outcome of karmas good or bad. Evil causes sadness whereas virtues bring happiness.
Acts of charity take a man to divine loka. He speaks about the duties of classes clearly. Brahmins, Ksatriyas, Vaisya and Sudras if perform duties assigned to each one they get divine loka and live life of joy and happiness and if this knowledge, one gains ably, it is path to salvation, the monk tells. If one uses wealth properly acquired, it is good. Again, if one makes use of honestly earned wealth for spreading dharma, for increase of faith and for enjoyment it is the best. Dharma means – proper prayer, worship (Nitya karma), to do acts of godliness (Naimitika) and definite acts for attainment of desires (Kamya). He emphasises the importance of purity of means and thoughts. Some portion of the wealth given in charity or gifts brings happiness.
Even a brahmin if gives some part of wealth got through charity, it brings happiness to him also. Gifts in charity from bad persons should be given in full and one should not accept tainted gifts. It is good to give something to a man, who asks for it and if one does not give, the burden stares in the next birth. Never speak of others’ faults. Never say words that hurt others. Prayer and worship are essential. For some, it is good to worship the sun and fire properly he tells and so gives details of rituals that need proper care and adherence during prayers and worship. The monk tells that a man of Brahmayagya, who worships gods, the lord of fire, pays respect to preceptors and satisfies brahmins rightfully attains the land of gods.
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