As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 20
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Celestial monk goes to Vishnu and regrets as Vishnu speaks of Shiva’s eternal powers and reveals the divine designs of the lord and so, with feelings of compunction, the celestial sage understands the delusory powers of the great lord.
Supreme Lord proposes and designs to create and preserve, and at the same time, plans destruction of forces inimical to virtues and nobility. After the celestial sage knew that everything occurred because of the affect of maya of Shiva, he was not out of the ocean of remorse, qualms and delusions. After he realised the truth, he went to Vaikuntha and fell at Vishnu’s feet.
He was now, under no illusion or false prestige and therefore, said to Vishnu, “O lord, under the dreadful impact of maya, I lost sanity and said many words unkindly. I not only said astringent words but also issued a severe curse. O great lord, please nullify the curse I issued. I committed a grave sin. Now, I shall definitely fall into hell. O Sri Hari, I am your servant. Tell me what I should do so that I am free from sin. How should I atone so that penitence destroys all sins and I am saved from falling into the hell?”
Sage Narada was deeply apologetic and contrite.
After the genuine expression of devotion and true apology, sage Narada fell at the feet of Sri Hari. At that time, he felt extremely melancholic and remorseful.
Vishnu lovingly asked Narada to get up and placed arms on his shoulders and said gently, “O great soul, please do not feel aggrieved. No doubt, you are one of my best devotees. I must tell you one thing …and you should listen. It will help you and you will not go to hell. Shiva will bless you. Pride and haughtiness overpowered and you did not listen to Shiva. You disobeyed him. Shiva punished you for the crime because Shiva is the true giver of fruit of karmas. Therefore, you should be firm in mind that it occurred because Shiva desired.” Vishnu revealed the truth of maya and the supreme powers of Shiva. Narada heard and learnt about the eternal truth of delusory powers of lord.
After a little pause, Vishnu said, “O sage, the lord of gods Sankara dispels conceit and arrogance. He is Param-brahma Paramatma (the Supreme Brahma). He bestows supreme delight on created beings and reveals the nature of true ananda (the real ecstasy). He is nirguna (beyond virtues) and nirbikara – beyond the borders of flaws and imperfections. He is beyond the three gunas of sattva, rajas and tamas. He appears before created beings as the Supreme Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh) and exercises delusory powers to reveal the eternal truth of life and existence.”
The lord said again, “He is nirguna as well as saguna. In a state of nirguna he is known as Shiva. He is known as the Supreme lord, Maheshwara, Para-Brahma (beyond Brahma), eternal, imperishable and Mahadeva. Brahma is the Creator of the Universe, and because of him, I am the preserver of the three worlds. As Rudra, Shiva destroys everything and all. In the image of Shiva, he is witness to everything. He is different from maya and, therefore, he is nirguna. He acts as he wishes for the benefit of creation, because he is free. He is superb and pious in behavior and character, and merciful toward devotees.”
Vishnu profusely eulogised Shiva.
After a moment, he added, “O monk Narada, I shall tell you of a beautiful plan that is comfort-giving, destroyer of sins and capable of granting pleasures and moksa. Please listen.”
Vishnu looked at him and said, “O holy monk, after you abandon doubts, you sing glories of Sankara and then, continue to worship. Always pray before him, meditate and then, sing songs of splendor. Think and chant hymns and reflect on the lord. Pray and worship Shiva daily without a break. He, who meditates on Sankara with body, mind and words, is a true pundit and a man of knowledge. He is a liberated soul. Fire of ‘Shiva’ suddenly destroys and reduces to ashes many mountains of sins and sinners. He is the truth and the only truth, and therefore, do not harbour doubts. Devotees, who take refuge in a boat-like name of Shiva are able to cross the sea of worldly ensnares as the basic uncertainties about life on earth are wiped out.”
Sage Narada felt relieved as he heard, “O holy sage, people suffering in the fire of sins, should taste nectar-like name of Shiva. Blazing fire of sins scorches living beings and they can get peace if intone name of Shiva. O monk, the wisest men of learning, after going through the holy Vedas have concluded that the worship of Shiva is the greatest means of getting free from the bondage of the world. Therefore, O monk, you should devote time and inner energy to prayers and worship of Shiva and goddess Parvati…and thereafter, should also worship devotees of Shiva.” Vishnu continued to enumerate the divine virtues of Shiva and emphasised that only through devotion and bhakti of Shiva a man attains salvation. Shiva purifies mind and intellect of man. However, devotion and meditation need genuine feelings and faith. A pure attitude of prayer in a man is possible when one begins to pursue path of truth and righteousness.
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