As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 22
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Divine couple wishes to stay at Kashi…functions of new Purusa to create, protect and destroy…he is Vishnu, who undertakes austere tapa and penance…emergence of Narayana and Brahma
They wanted the new Purusa to create, preserve and at last, destroy the world constituted of three qualities – sattva, tamas and rajas. Anandavana the supremely blissful region holds the entire divine energy, power and treasure of mind with the concentrated divine blessings of lord, a source of granting moksa if a devotee ever stays and meditates on the lord of the worlds. Therefore, he created a Purusa from the left part of body – the most beautiful in the three lokas, an embodiment of sattva gunas.
Shiva gave the newly created Purusa the name of Vishnu – Sri Hari (and with many more soubriquets) and asked him to provide joy and pleasure to devotees, and advised him to undergo austere tapa, a path to the resolutions of all objectives, acts and desires. He bestowed on him the knowledge of the Vedas. Now, Vishnu was engaged in severe tapa and meditation whereas Shiva and parshadganas – the followers of Shiva, disappeared.
After ages of hard tapa, delusory potency of Shiva worked miracles as many streams of water originated from different limbs of Vishnu, and the water began to flow. It filled the entire sky and a mere touch of divine water destroyed sins of created beings and the lord made surface of water his bed. Because he continued to take rest and sleep in water (Nara), the devotees called him Narayana.
Nothing existed…only Narayana and water existed. All different tattvas – elements originated from Mahatma Narayana. Nature produced mahatattva – the greatest element, and from it, three qualities took birth, which gave birth to three-dimensional ego…and so on…thus, twenty-four tattvas constituted the entire creation. Narayana accepted all the constituents and as per the desires of Shiva, he slept in water – the image of Brahma.
The narration continued. When Narayana slept in water, out of his navel, as Shiva desired, suddenly, a big lotus took birth Supreme Brahma told. Its dimensions were immeasurable and it had the radiance of thousands of Suryas. Its glimpses blessed every onlooker. As one witnessed the divine scenario, and as Shiva desired Brahma took birth from the right part of divine body. Brahma had four heads and it glowed with red hue. Brahma did not know anybody else, who was origin of his birth because he was under the delusory impact of Shiva. Brahma wanted to know the source of his birth and so he decided to undertake severe tapa and meditation. He went down through the stem of lotus and continued to go from one to another stem but failed to find its root, origin and source.
Then, the nectar-saturated voice of Shiva told Brahma to undergo ‘tapa.’ Again, Brahma was engaged in rigorous penance for twelve years. To show kindness, Vishnu appeared before him with all possible embellishments – conch, chakra, mace and padam… yellow attire, and so heavenly glimpses blessed Brahma.
Brahma and Vishnu talked of Shiva and it led to some arguments. At this time, a huge pillar of fire – Agnistambha (illuminated lingam) appeared before them. They wanted to know about the roots of this brilliantly shinning fiery column but failed and so ultimately, they said to ‘Illuminated lingam’, ‘O god, we do not know about you and the image you have. Whoever you are, we salute you. O lord, kindly reveal your truth, reality and true image.
”Vishnu and Brahma continued to eulogise the Supreme lord with many exalted names and virtues. Then, the eternal, the imperishable lord was generous. The echoes of divine word ‘Ohm, Ohm’ poured into the gods’ ears and then, they had knowledge of the Supreme lord in totality as the great lord appeared in divine echo of ‘ohm’. Gods understood invasively potential and delusory influence and found out that Shiva was the source of delusory potency and all the creation, and began to praise.
Shiva was very delighted, Brahma said happily and later, he appeared with holy consort Uma after he heard praise from the mouth of Vishnu. It was cosmic vision of Shiva that almost revealed an all-encompassing grand image fully radiant, ornamented, luminous and divine. It was extraterrestrial visualisation of Shiva and he wanted that devotees should keep in mind this supremely divine and lustrous image and worship and it would bless all.
Lord further told Brahma and Vishnu that he was the image of the worlds, the preserver and destroyer. He also revealed the truth of Rudra, who was in no way less than Shiva was. At last, he told that Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra had the three qualities and each quality appeared differently at different times. However, Shiva is beyond any quality. He is beyond purusa and prakriti. He is unparallel, eternal and infinite. Vishnu absorbs without and is without virtues of sattva and tamas. The destroyer of the three worlds Rudra keeps within the virtues of sattva and outside exhibits tamasguna. The lords possess different qualities but Shiva is beyond gunas. He asked Vishnu to obey the wishes of creator of the worlds Pitamahah happily and so the three worlds would worship them.
After he relinquished the burden of care and preservation of the three worlds to Sri Hari, Vishnu the great lord disappeared. Shiva also asked Vishnu to be always ready for the destruction of sufferings and any catastrophe or misfortune the created beings face. He would help Vishnu in case he encountered any difficult situation, Shiva assured. After Shiva assigned obligatory duties to the lords, Vishnu said, “O Ocean of generosity and compassion, please listen. I shall be under you control and I will do everything. O lord, if any devotee speaks ill, please ensure that he goes to hell. I am your devotee and you are my beloved. He, who knows it, for him moksa – deliverance is possible.”
Later, sage Suta illuminated the learned brahmins and others about the method of prayer and worship a devotee of Shiva should follow and if he does it with genuine feelings and sense of bhakti, he gets the desired result and attains deliverance. Shiva always blesses devotees for there is none who could provide shelter to a devotee other than lord Shiva.
Vishnu emphasised the significance of devotion to Shiva. Each moment if spent in devotion and dedication, and attachment and bhakti to Shiva continues. A man even if prays and worships Shiva, it liberates him from all sufferings and miseries, the lord of Vaikuntha told all the sages and gods of heavens. Later, Brahma explains how to offer prayers before Shiva properly as enshrined in scriptures, which is a path to attain joys and pleasures of life because genuine devotion leads to salvation. Here, he also stressed the need of Ganges’ water when a devotee worships lord Shiva. Brahma also throws light on the creation of world as lord Shiva had desired earlier when he asked Vishnu to create.
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