As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 11
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Various approaches and modes of worship of clay deities and images and the role of Purusa and Prakriti, the cause of creation …if one adheres to rituals and rites strictly, one attains supreme bliss.
Suta, the monk on request from the sages, now speaks about the worship of clay deities that also yield des i red results. Idol worship bestows on devotees blessings, and gives joy of life – women, sons, wealth and food and helps attainment of material desires. Idols of clay from riverbed, lakes etc are apt and a devotee should give them proper shape with lotus pose. One should worship images of Ganesha, Sun, Vishnu, Shiva and Parvati but a learned brahmin should worship Shiva’s phallic image. In worship, if one performs services well, he gets the right result.
Chanting of mantras is good during services. Pure food offerings made of rice in proper quantity is good, and all should worship. Before doing so, ceremonial bath, purity of soul, aromatic paste on body and food offering are good for long life and richness even as burning lamp bestows wisdom and knowledge. Betel leaves are auspicious. Japa of mantras confers joy and liberation. Proper service and value for rituals in worship bestow desired region of bliss to devotees.
Continuous worship of Ganesha confers joy in the world and it is auspicious on Fridays on some definite occasions, and then the great monk narrates the methods of different kinds of worship, which bring abundant happiness. Worship of Shiva and other deities is good for the purity of soul. If a devotee follows the directions of the monk and performs prayers and worship based on the placing and location of stars etc, it is beneficial. Between ‘the Sunrise to the Sunrise’ is the duration of the day. Worship on tithis as assigned to deities bequeaths joys to devotees. Kamya rites bestow the fruit immediately and it wards off evil Sutaji tells. A devotee must take care of different months and zodiac signs before performing prayers, worship and services with offerings as are appropriate based on time, situation and occasion.
He tells about the worship of Vishnu, goddess Parvati and Shiva, necessary to derive benefits that grant a devotee longevity and protection from early death etc. A devotee should ensure that he offers gifts, observes austerity, performs ahutis – oblations, chants mantras, keeps control over senses, and takes note of services etc. while he is engaged in worship with japa of mantras, for it ultimately liberates him from sufferings.
In the month of Kartika, a devotee ought to take care of worship of different deities, so that he attains proper benefits sans effect of evil spirits and planets. To worship sun, Shiva, Skanda, Vishnu and Brahma on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Brahma on Thursday in the month of Kartika fulfilling all rituals and mode of services, blesses the devotees but the devotees must give gifts as the gurus’ advice. Further, worship of Ganesha, guardians, elephants, serpents and dams, three–eyed Rudra and Vishnu gives perfect knowledge. Devotees must ensure that after worship of deities, they must offer gifts as per gurus’ counsel . Thus, the great monk speaks of various deities and gods and other beings, and advises all to give gifts generously.
He must not forget to recite Gayatri and five-syllable mantra wherever necessary to get the greatest fruit of dedication and should never forget to arrange for the mandatory sacred material of worship while taking care of the purity of place, time and its auspiciousness. One can distribute offerings of eatables among the devotees with due care to castes etc.
Dedication pleases lord Shiva and blesses a devotee with salvation. He exists in the form of yoni – vaginal passage and linga and so worship of Shiva is right. Universe consists of movable and the immovable, in the nature of bindu – the dot, a point, and Nada – sound. Bindu is Shakti and Shiva is Nada, and the Bindu and Nada (elements) support the entire cosmos. Bindu is the support of Nada, and universe is the foundation of Bindu and together they sustain the universe. Phallic is the fusion of Bindu and Nada and the fusion is cause of Universe, for Bindu is the goddess and Shiva is Nada. Synthesis of Bindu and Nada is the image of Shiva or the phallic symbol of Shiva and therefore, it is cause of universe, learned men say. The merger of Bindu and Nada is Shivalinga. To get rid of the suffering of birth, a devotee should worship lingam.
Therefore, to avoid future births, a devotee should worship phallic, for goddess is Bindu and mother of Shiva, form of Nada, father. Worship of god and goddess in images and forms (of Bindu and Nada) grants supreme joy – a taste of parmananda i.e. divine ecstasy. Imagine lingam – Shivalinga as parents and worship devotedly to attain inner divine pleasure. Goddess Uma is the mother and god Shiva is the father of the universe. A son or a devotee, who prays before the god and goddess, obtains blessing s in plenty and therefore, fortunes continue to grow and the se grant inner ecstasy and for this, a devotee should accept Shivalinga as the image of parents and worship.
Goddess and Shiva are parents of Universe and so Bharga is Shiva or Shakti Prakriti – Cosmic nature and Bharg a is Shiva or Purusa – the cosmic man or being. Purusa is hidden conception and Prakriti is inner manifestation. Unification of the two causes the first birth. Therefore, it is correct to worship the primordial image of phallic for getting rid of the loop of birth. Devotees should worship Shiva, the cause of birth in its phallic image and makes Purusa known, called linga, the symbol and the union of Shiva and Shakti is linga.
A devotee should worship phallic emblem on Sundays with the syllable Om and a devotee who worships linga – the image of Shiva, the phallic form forever attains deliverance and so it is liberation from the bondages of births. To wear Rudraksa beads is good and blesses the devotee. A true devotee ought to know the details of various approaches with regard to the worship of clay deities if he wants eternal blessings of devotion to deities and lord Shiva. A devotee of Shiva ought to get apt awareness from a guru, the preceptor, and attain true knowledge of offering prayer, and worship – Shiva and Shakti.
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