As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 16
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Intense tapa and meditation of celestial sage creates fears in the minds of gods of heavens, particularly the lord of gods Indra …he knows that the sage wants to attain the supreme divine light and realisation – ‘aham brahm asmi.’ However, none knows the delusory potency of Shiva
Devotion to lord Shiva is a path to divine ecstasy and bliss. Sage Suta particularly emphasises the virtues and purifying influence of Rudraksa. Each mouth has its virtues and a man, who adorns rosary of Rudraksas is absolved of sins and various imperfections, which infect man. Sage Vyasa speaks eloquently about the lord, who is the cause of creation. The lord is infinite in magnificence and wisdom and offers refuge to delusory and illusory potency but still he is away from its influence. Everyone should pray before him and worship. Shiva is easily pleased with the devotees and blesses them.
Sage Vyasa pays homage to the lord, the mother of the world Parvati and son Ganesha and narrates the divine story of Purana. Earlier he told about the ultimate objective of life and the means to reach the divine land of gods. Now, the learned men request the great sage to tell something about the divine image of Shiva and goddess Parvati. They want to know as to how the great lord changes from his image to nirguna and then to saguna. People deliberate deep but fail to understand Shiva’s tattva-the essence, the real connotation, authority and hidden powers. Shiva is the cause of creation they know. Shiva is the creator and refuge of all gods and so they ask many questions about the birth of Uma – Parvati.
Curiosity to know about the conjugal life of heavenly couple raises questions in the minds of sages. Suta listens to monks and says, “O monks, you asked a supreme question and it shows your deep inner devotion to the lord and you owe gratitude from me. He is an embodiment of sattvic, rajas and tamas qualities…men, who are free from any desire, thirst or hunger for the material world and continue to sing glory of lord, the lord fulfills all the wishes, and blesses them .”
To fortify the words, he narrates an old incident. Once Vishnu inspires sage Narada about the divine virtues of lord Shiva and so, he goes to Brahma, his father, a great devotee of Shiva and asks about the divine leela – delusory potency of lord Shiva. Brahma is extremely delighted and immediately, he begins to eulogise virtues of lord Shiva.
Later, Narada, in a spirit of dedication and humility, wished to undergo intense tapa and penance in one of the most beautiful caves of Himalaya situated on the riverbank of holy Ganga where he also noticed a grand and enchanting asharama of astonishing charm, virtues and splendor. A sage of divine eye and insight, he undertook austere tapa and continued penance for a long time. It alerted lord of gods Indra. Indra was afraid of the severity of tapa when Narada sat in deep Samadhi unaware of the world outside. He wanted to attain the stage where a devotee is illumined with the divine light and realisation – ‘aham brahm-asim – I am Brahma.’
Indra thought, “Sage Narada wants to usurp land of heavens and therefore, wishes to dethrone me.”
It distressed Indra and the consequent cerebral anguish disturbed the lord of gods immensely. He deliberated over for some time and then resolved to create obstacles in the path of Narada’s bhakti and therefore, without waste of time, he dispatched lord of Love Kamadeva and the king of passions and love, and among seasons – the adoring spring to go to the ashrama of Narada and disturb tapa. However, the powerful lord of love and spring failed in the assignment. Interestingly, he did not understand the cause of failure.
Wise Suta continued to tell every little incident in detail and at last, he said, “O great Saunaka and sages, you ought to know the cause of failure Kamadeva suffered in the ashrama.”
After a pause, he said, “In the ashrama, ages back, lord Shiva had undergone intense tapa. At that time, the enemy of men of penance Kamadeva had tried to disturb severe tapasya of Shiva. When the lord of Love disturbed lord Shiva, he reduced him to ashes.”
Later, they learnt that the benevolent lord after genuine and sincere entreaties of the gods of heavens had agreed to give life back to Kamadeva. The gods did it when Rati, holy spouse of Kamadeva requested the gods of heavens.
At that time, Sankara had said, “O gods, after some time, Kamadeva will get back life. However, he will not be able to exercise powers and create feelings of love and passion among created beings. However hard he may try.” The great sage was silent for some time.
It was obvious that Kamadeva had failed and so he returned to Indraloka and narrated briefly everything that had happened. Lord Indra was amazed. He praised sage Narada immensely. However, he could not remember the influence of mayajaal – delusory powers of lord Shiva.
“In truth, it is difficult for created beings to understand Shiva’s delusory potency. Only a devotee, who surrenders at the feet of lord with full dedication, understands the delusory powers of the lord and none other that includes the entire world and created beings. For a long time, sage Narada continued to undergo intense tapa. When he thought it was complete, feelings of objectivity, apathy and vairagya filled him.” Sage Suta told monks and learned brahmins.
Monk Narada whispered, ‘I have overpowered…the lord of love.’ Feelings and thoughts of victory filled the great sage with ego and arrogance. It happened because of the influence of maya – delusory powers of lord Shiva and so, he failed to know the truth. He never understood that it was the terrible effect of delusory powers of lord Shiva.”
“Under the immense impact of delusory powers, he straightway went to mountain Kailasa to tell the lord about the victory he had secured over love and passion (lord Kamadeva). In fact, he was extremely mad and conceited for he had secured victory over love, and without a thought, saluted lord Rudra – Shiva, and narrated each facet of tapa he underwent with feelings of pride and ego, for he thought that he was a great soul, a mahatma.”
The great sage continued, “The lord knew that sage Narada was ignorant of the truth and had lost the acumen to recognise mayajaal.”
Rudra said, “O holy father, you are embodiment of wisdom and deserve gratitude. However, listen carefully what I say. Now, do not talk of this again and especially, please do not broach the subject before lord Vishnu. Even if others ask, do not reveal what you told me. Narration of attainment of perfection – siddhi is a secret …and you should not divulge to anyone. You are my beloved, very dear to me, therefore, I strongly stress and give you a lesson that you never tell anyone, because you are devotee of lord Vishnu and so, you are my disciple – anugami.”
Rudra, the creator of the worlds, advised Narada in so many words to keep the incident secret. However, Narada was under the terrible control of maya of Rudra and did not consider teaching of Rudra favourable or appropriate.”
After some time, Narada went to Brahma and said, “O father, I have vanquished lord of Love through the power of tapa and penance.”
Brahma concentrated on the holy feet of Shiva, thought deeply, through insight knew everything, and asked son Narada not to tell anything to anyone. However, Narada was in delusion and failed to understand the mystery of god’s mayajaal as thoughts of self-image, psychosis and egotism began to take deep roots within and therefore, he did not perceive truth.
Afterward, he went to Vaikuntha, the land of Vishnu. Vishnu got up from the seat and embraced the great sage warmly and lovingly. He knew the reason of sage’s arrival. Sri Hari – Vishnu reverently requested the sage to take seat. Then, he thought of holy feet of Shiva and asked, “From where did you come O great sage? What is the purpose of arriving here? I am grateful to you O holy man. You have sanctified Vaikuntha.”
Narada failed to realise the sway of delusory powers and therefore, filled with pride and self-image because of the achievement, he narrated the entire sequence of events to Vishnu. The knower of past, present and future heard about Narada’s devotion and bhakti and knew about the truth of sage’s victory over love and passion.
After deep thought, he said, “O the greatest among the monks, you are great… and you are treasure of tapa and penance. You are generous and kindhearted. O monk, a man of bhakti, inner knowledge and detachment (vairagya) is free from sufferings kama – passions, obsessions and imperfections cause. You are an eternal celibate, and nurture wisdom, knowledge and feelings of detachment. How, any flaw or imperfection can enter mind and heart? Right from birth, you loved and nursed deep knowledge free from feelings of attachment.” Narada heard soft and encouraging words of Vishnu and was happy and so, saluted the lord in heart and said, “O lord you are kind and generous. How Kamadeva can entice or affect me?” Narada said, bowed in respect at the feet of lord and went away.
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