As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 21
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Generosity and love of Shiva for devotees…at lord’s feet a devotee gets deliverance…the fate of ganas, who earlier incur displeasure of Narada take birth as Kumbhakarana and Ravana and later, wish to know about Shiva tattva, exploits, various incarnations etc…Narada goes to Brahmaloka.
A devotee of Shiva lives a blessed life. Shiva never lets down his devotees. Even if he is angry for some time, bhakti of a man grants deliverance from sufferings. Vishnu had advised Narada to meditate on Shiva and he only, was the supreme lord at whose feet a devotee attains maksa. Afterward, Vishnu eulogised Shiva, blessed Narada and disappeared. Narada embarked upon the pilgrimage of temples of Shiva and had glimpses of Shiva-lingas. At the time of visit to Shiva’s temples, he felt a sense of purification within and realised he was free from blemishes and flaws. Long back holy ganas had annoyed and therefore, suffered curse of celestial sage Narada when delusory potency of Shiva had overwhelmed the sage at the sight of beautiful celestial woman Shrimati.
Now, they wanted forgiveness, for they had suffered very much and therefore, pleaded before Narada to grant reprieve. Narada regretted earlier behaviour but told sincerely that he was unable to undo what was certain to happen, he told ganas of Shiva. He revealed that they would take birth as rakasasas in the house of Visrava and achieve magnificence and recognition as Kumbhakarana and Ravana. They would be ‘glory and eminence’ personified, govern the world as devotees of Shiva and later, meet death when Vishnu will land on earth as Rama – a manifestation and thereafter, the legendary and potent rakasasas will attain supreme status. Ganas returned happily and afterward, Narada again went around various holy temples of Shiva and ultimately, settled at Kashipuri. Devotion to Shiva granted supreme bliss and ecstatic divine joy and pleasure to Narada, who in rapturous frame of mind went to Brahmaloka, bowed, praised the supreme lord and then, requested Brahma to illuminate devotees and reveal essence of Shiva-tattva.
“O Supreme Brahma, you know the essence of supreme soul – parmatama and with the lord’s blessings I learnt about the supreme glory of Vishnu. I heard mesmerising description of the paths of ‘Bhakti – devotion’, ‘Knowledge – jnana’, most awe-inspiring tapa – austere meditation, charity – dana and the path of supreme bliss and moksa through visits to places of pilgrimages. However, O lord I do not know how to attain Shiva-tattva – the essence of Shiva.”
In brief, he wanted to know about the exploits of Shiva, his varied images, meaning of different reflections, marriage of lord, marital life and its dharma…right from his origin to the birth of Kartikeya. Brahma heard pleas of manas putra Narada and felt immensely happy.
Now, to satisfy the curiosity of celestial sage, the supreme lord reveals to him the mysterious designs of Supreme lord, the nirguna image of Sadashiva, the appearance of Ambika …the supreme lord continued to relate the sequence of events.
He told lord Shiva had many names and he was Param purusa – the supreme person, Ishwara – the god, Shambhu and Maheshwara and many more. He keeps the body smeared with ashes and he is the image of Time, the almighty and the invincible, and the image of Brahma. Once he had created a region Shivaloka, also known as Kashi – a sacred place of moksa. A place of greatest divine pleasures it is and even during annihilation, known as Anandavana it enjoyed the blessings of Shiva. Once, Shiva (Parvati) and Shiva wandered in the forest Anandavana. A desire arose in the mind of divine couple. They thought to create another purusa. They wanted to hand over the burden of organisation and control of the worlds to the newborn purusa and wanted to stay at Kashi and attain the supreme land.
To be Continued