As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 11
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The grandeur of the japa of the syllable Om and five-syllable mantra, the essence of Pranava …a path to the realisation of Shiva and Shivashakti and ultimate liberation…the truth is Shiva is Shakti and Shakti is Shiva
After dwelling on the idol worship, the great Suta now speaks on the greatness of syllable Om and the six lingas. He modestly tells that the lord protects all. Om is a means to cross the ocean of worldly existence. He talks of the subtle word ‘pranava’ that leads to new knowledge. Pra originates out of the ocean like the world. ‘nava’ is a boat to cross it or it may mean a way to salvation, and so ‘Pranava’ means: pra is destruction of all karmas and nava symbolises new knowledge. It is subtle as well as gross.
Five-syllable mantra ‘namah-shivaya’ is pranava in gross form. The subtle is not manifest and it is for the liberated soul. The need of reflection on the supreme tattva through the japa of mantra leads to destruction of body and then, it merges in Shiva – it is yogic union with Shiva. He, who repeats mantra thirty-six crores times attains yogic communion. He impresses upon the significance of each syllable of Aum, Bindu and Nada that carry the divine time sound, and indicates the union of Shiva and Shakti.
Panchbhutas are causes of sound, touch, form, taste, smell and these together are reasons of human beings’ desires, and so people remain occupied in various karmas called Pravrattas – inclined toward karmas. Mode of japa of Pranava a devotee must learn from a guru again, the monk tells. Japa of Pranava in a specified manner and crores of times leads to victory over the earth element, further japa wins the water element, and in both cases, it is nine crores of times. Similarly, he talks about the win over the elements of fire, ether and the wind.
Chanting of Pranava in the same way, wins over smell for the devotee and it quells egotism – the selfishness. Daily chanting makes one pure and devoid of contamination and is good for the fulfillment of desires. The path to destination is long and requires constant chanting for crores of times that leads to ‘suddhayoga’ – pure discipline, the ultimate in restraint one can call, and thus, japa of Pranava – Om is a path to enlightenment and liberation. If this mode of regulation and self-restraint continues and a devotee engaged in japa of Pranava and meditation, maintains mystical reverie, and therefore, situated in intense japa and meditation, he turns Shiva. A devotee, if follows a strict method and posture (ritualistic placing of finger on the parts of body as guru guides) and engages in japa of Pranava – Om, and situating it through the process of ritualistic nyasa, he becomes a sage and gets blessings. For ordinary men engaged in mundane affairs and those who stay back, gross japa of pranava is better. Then, he speaks of different yogis and the ritualistic approach of japa for them.
Monk Suta tells brahmins about japayoga necessary to purify ‘the self’. Again he tells that the five-syllable mantra is gross Pranava and its chant fulfills all desires and for this, guru’s guidance is necessary where he tells about the articles of worship and about the sitting postures while engaged in japa of mantra. For the desired results, the great monk speaks about the number of times a devotee should recite the five-syllable mantra for the total cure of mental and material sufferings.
For this purpose, actual text can help, and worship will culminate with appropriate gifts to the deserving for reaping the harvest of japa of mantra where a devotee shall be free from sins as material and inner happiness fills. Mantra is a path to the status identical to Brahma. Japa of mantra confers on devotees not only joys and pleasures of the world but also shows a path to the attainment of deliverance from sufferings. He speaks of different worlds – of the fourteen worlds of Brahma and Vishnu beyond Satya the worlds of action, Vaikuntha and beyond Vishnu’s land, again there are twenty-eight worlds. In the world of Kailasa, the annihilator of created beings Rudra lives and beyond the world of Rudra, one learns of fifty-six worlds ending with Ahimsa region.
He informs about the lord of Karmas and Gyankailasa in the non-violent region. Wheel of Time finds apt mention. He tells about Kala – the lord of death and Time even as Dharma in action in the figure of buffalo with four legs namely – falsehood, disarray, violence and fighting, and cruelty assume any form. It is interesting to know about Karambhoga, Gyanabhoga, Karammaya. However, the above words pertinently explain the meaning. He speaks of perpetual enjoyment and pleasure, and transitory joys of life and of freedom thereof as no bondages ever disturb.
Text about the subject needs careful and deep study to understand its import, a devotee should know. Shaktiloka, Karmaloka and Jnanaloka – gyanloka exist for the Jivas. Knowledge means getting rid of the feelings and thoughts of transience or evanescence. A human being of virtues and truth if devoted to Shiva goes beyond Kalachakra mounting on the buffalo of evil and wickedness. There exists the bull of virtues in the image of celibacy with legs of truth. Beyond the lifespan of a day of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesa there is neither day nor night nor birth or death.
As such, the narration of monk Suta continues giving detailed description quite pertinent to the devotee of Shiva. Even if an ordinary person reads the text, he begins to enjoy provided he reads with a pure heart. He talks about Brahmakalas, Sivalaya, the supreme Atma where Parmeshwara and Parashakti live, who perform functions of creation, preservation, destruction and blessing and so He is Existence, Knowledge and Bliss, who sits in meditation and in trance, and in the posture of blessing. Lord’s glimpse and image through holy rituals and meditation are possible and therefore, concert and show of rites gives spectacle of Shiva.
Those, who get the blessing of vision, feel liberated, and this stage of liberation means the realisation of Atma, the soul because of the holy rites, severe meditation, chant, knowledge and deep reflection and sense of virtue and it dispels darkness and ignorance. To attain the region of Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra and Ishwara, and Kalachakra (Kalachakra consists of five wheels one over the other), the first in the Shivaloka, a devotee needs ten million japas in respect of each lord for obtaining blessing. Similar japas are necessary to attain the areas of Karma Brahma and the prosperity of that area. Japa of mantra is a path to the attainment of different region of gods, which bestow health, wealth, long life and prosperity along with divine joy.
After giving description of different abodes, he talks about the grandeur and glory of Shivaloka, which is easy with the grace of Shiva. Brahmins of control on sense organs attain deliverance slowly and thus, he details out the process that includes brahmin women. Recital of five-syllable mantra five hundred thousand times is necessary for longevity, they chant it again, and so, it wipes out womanhood and then, comes the liberation after she becomes man. Japa of mantra as prescribed helps Ksatriyas and Vaisyas to become brahmins. It is applicable to a sudra with a little difference, if he wishes to become a brahmin i.e. a man of knowledge and wisdom. Then, he becomes a devotee of Shiva…there is little difference between a devotee of Shiva and Shiva, the monk tells. Japa of mantra gives feeling of presence of goddess. When the aspirant, a devotee is Shiva, he shall worship Para and Shakti, the embodied image and phallic form of Shiva.
Monk Suta says that the devotee shall consider the phallic form as Shiva and ‘the self’ as Shakti or he shall think Shaktilinga as goddess and ‘the self’ as Shiva or presume Shivalinga in the image of Nada and Shakti as Bindu …he turns Shiva in totality of virtues as realisation dawns. With all forms of service and homage, he would worship devotees of Shiva, who are the images of mantra of Shiva embodied or identical with Shiva. He would attain whatever he desires. Intense devotion will liberate a devotee and soon he will assume the form of Shiva and Shakti and will be free from the bonds of rebirth. A man of austere tapa is superior to men endowed with rites he fortifies the argument.
A man of japa is superior to a hundred men of tapa. A man, who possesses knowledge of Shiva, is superior to a hundred thousand men of japa and similarly, a man of meditation is superior to a hundred thousand men in control of knowledge of Shiva. A man of trance is greater than a crore of men in meditation and so is fit for worship. An ordinary man fails to understand the greatness of Shiva’s devotee. The worship of Shiva is equal to the worship of Shiva and Shakti and he, who worships them – the god and the goddess with a pure heart, becomes Shiva and attains Shiva. This chapter, monk Suta avers is based on Vedic sanctions and injunctions, and one becomes a true brahmin (of knowledge), who is bestowed with the knowledge of Shiva and so he lives happily and cheerfully with Shiva, the lord and therefore, gets blessing with Shiva’s grace.
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