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Evaluating 'As I Know, The Lord of the Mountains' -3
by Dr. Suresh Chandra Pande Bookmark and Share

Continued from Previous Page

The creation of another Bhuvan - the divine world called Kashi - Abhimukta region astonishes and fills us with faith and devotion. Once Shiva created a beautiful divine town situated in the sky and offered the marvelous place to the Purusa - Sri Hari who meditated there for aeons and aeons. He was astonished in His Tapa by seeing a watery stream filling and making the whole sky invisible. Meanwhile a Jewel drops from His ear and the place where it fell became a popular Tirtha known as –Manikarnika. The water began to overwhelm all created beings animate as well as inanimate. So, Shiva absorbed it in His Trident. When Brahma’s creation of 14 Bhuvans - divine worlds was over and heavens constituting the Brahmanda of fifty crore Yojana - gave Shiva a thought that taught the created beings, tied in fetters of Karmas, the way to attain Lord Shiva. Thus, with a desire to liberate, Shiva created Abhimukta Lingam - Kashi - a component of the body. His trident consecrated and then let go the region to situate it on the earth. On the day of annihilation called Brahma’s deluge Shiva further picked up the region and put it on His trident. So, it is supposed that Kashi is located and is found on the Trident of Lord Shiva. The glory of holy Puri Kashi is even not known to Brahma, Vishnu and the Gods of heavens. Sage Suta to fortify the strength of devotion further narrates the legend of Sage Gautama and Ahalya, the concept of Papa - damnation and Punya - salvation and of holy Ganges to wash away the sins of created beings. It is that sacred place where the Ganges becomes Gautami - the Godavari and the sacrosanct Lingam becomes famous as Triyambakam Jyotirmaya Lingam - the illuminated one to destroy the sins. When Brihaspati stays in Leo - the Singh Rashi, all the Gods, Tirthas, Brahma, Vishnu and many other celestial souls arrive here to stay at the bank of Gautami and to pray before divine Lingam and in this way the ever-generous Lord Shiva blesses his devotees - one and all.

The big hearted and openhanded munificent Lord never disappoints/dissatifies his devotees if they are sincere and truthful in their Bhakti. Wicked Ravana’s Tapa carried forth the establishment of Lingam known to all and sundry as - Vaidanatheshwaram. The devotion - Bhakti ultimately forces the Lord to stay at the place where He appears to bless His devotees and settles there permanently in the form of the Limgam the place becomes a Tirtha - a center of pilgrimage. The devotional didacticism adds to another tale of Daruk –a Rakshasha. In his dynasty Veersena son of Mahasena was a Shiva devotee for whose sake the Lord appeared to establish the famous Jyotirlingam of Nageshwara in a dense forest. Later Suta recounts the legend of Gusma - a sister to Sudeha whose child was mutilated to violate her Shiva Bhakti. But miraculously the child escapes unhurt and Shiva appears before His devotee as illuminated being and stays as - Jyotirlingam Ghumesha. The Lingam is appeased, prayed and worshipped not for attaining worldly pleasures but for perfect bliss by protection and fortification. Devotees here dedicate themselves in a sort of Bhakti that is pure, wholesome and complete. Ages back –the wicked Daityas tortured, worked against the tenets of Dharma and made the life of the Gods, the celetials and of created beings miserable. Long long ago, in order to discharge the duty of a protector Vishnu goes to Shiva prays, praises and worships piously by chanting a set of Mantras and by offering lotus flowers. Shiva plays the ploy of hiding a lotus flower. Vishnu searches the whole world but fails in efforts. So He extracts one lotus - like eye and offers it at the feet of the Lord. Immensely pleased by the devotion of Vishnu Shiva asks for a boon. Vishnu demanded a weapon. Accordingly, Shiva offered a radiant, dazzling and powerful disc known as Sudarshan Chakra. Vishnu used this weapon to destroy iniquitous Daityas thereby freed the world from their menace. As Vishnu meditated on one thousand names of Shiva, Sage Suta tells the efficacy and expediency of –Shiva Sahastranama Strotram. Afterwards throws ample light on ten major fasts - Das Shaiv Vratas among which Shivratri is most significant that frees a devotee from all miseries, impediments and hardships of life and further grants peace. No enemy can hurt a devotee who observes this fast meticulously. Monk Suta continue to narrate the amazing tale of a Bheel - the hunter named Gurudrubu - how he takes the whole night fast and how an inadvertent act of falling Bilva - marmelos leaves on veiled Lingam eventually changes the course of his life, blessed with the vision of Lord Shiva and revealed the truth by the stags who attained divine physical body boarded an aircraft and went to divine abode. Afterwards mountain Arbuda and Shiva as Vyadheshwara became famous where devotees still come to pray, offer worships where mere glimpse of the Lingam gives pleasure and never - ending joy. Sage Suta therefore explains real /unrivaled meaning of devotion and the path of deliverance which is the quintessence of Shiva’s glory. To the contentment and curiosity of the assembled guests Sage Suta broadens his discourse to narrate legendary tale of Goddess Uma, Her incarnations to reprimand the Daityas and this technique delights all.

10. Uma Samhita: - It’s an assemblage of 1000, 800 and 40 Slokas. All assembled Sages expressed gratitude and beholden to Sage Suta - the wisest disciple of Vyasa, who spoke elaborately about the virtues of Lord Shiva. How Shiva exploits three gunas - Sattva, Rajas and Tamas in equal proportion to create, preserve and annihilate the universe explains Suta precisely. Ages back, Suta further tells - Sri Krishna went to mountain Himavana with a desire to have a son, there he met Sage Upamanyu on whose guidance undertook severe penance. Shiva appeared with consort Parvati and sons Kartikeya and Ganesha bestowed boons and blessed then disappeared. Likewise, Sri Krishna returned to Dwarka after hearing in mellifluous idiom bountiful tales of Shiva’s grandeur and glory. The great Monk Sanatkumara tells elaborately the nature of acts of men - good or bad, moral or immoral, the code of ethical values allied to damnation and salvation. Accordingly, the wicked suffer the torments of hell and the virtuous enjoy an everlasting life. In his long lasting discourse, the Sage tells assiduously the category /nomenclatures of hell/s. Afterwards, Yama, Yamalokas, the emissaries and the noose or lasso used to snatch life, many such horrifying tales are told by the Sage to teach humans a lesson into virtuous and upright nature of the Karmas. So, emphasis is laid on the importance of charity - Dana. Sanatkumara clearly tells that food is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Therefore, the act of giving food is incomparable in life here and even hereafter/beyond. Next Sanatkumara highlights the virtues of Swadhyaya - study of the Vedas and related discipline –Tapa. Faith, truth and devotion leads to a life of interminable joys and bliss.

Shortly afterwards Monk Sanatkumara gives vivid descriptions of Islands, different Lokas, Manus, Manavantaras and the wheel of time. The impending portends of death and the agonising truth of death - ridden mortality finds ample expression in the text. How darkness pervades and the dull outer world looks sans radiance, Shiva explains to Parvati the Yoga - Sutras which have power to overcome the death and all about the essence of Panchbhutas. Panchbhutas are five elements which constitute and disintgrate life to ensure the celestial traverse at Parmanu - atomic level. The Yogic way of life gives vent to the philosophy of WORD –sound, shape and image. The divine echo overwhelms, purify subtle elements and destroy all maladies. Shiva as the creator of the sound is escorted by daughters of Gandharvas and Yaksas to bestow respective Siddhis - perfection on the Yogi/s. Different echoes likewise fulfill different objects by providing immense powers to the Yogis who ultimately metamorphose into a free being of light and move everywhere sans the touch of imperfections. The Yogi in his immortal form wandering without fear or favor is Shiva’s real image - a victory over death.

Suratha is a king of wide virtues, his upright/honest conduct disapproved by relations beget conspiracies to drag him to war and frequent defeats ultimately forces to give up and take shelter at Monk Medha’s soothing/enchanting Ashrama rumbling in Vedic Mantras. There he chanced to meet a Vaisya called Samadhi who likewise is a victim of callous /greedy relations. To man life is almost unsteady, violent, peripatetic and full of apprehensions. Therefore, faith in the invisible provides respite, simple belief in Gods /Goddesses purifies heart/ intellect and at this juncture life turns beautiful and peaceful. Goddess Uma - the Parashakti is the supreme power as creator of three worlds, yielding to Her will grants blessedness, sanctifies one and all to make life meaningful, bereft of all contradictions. Monk Medha narrates the tale of Goddess Mahakali’s advent on Sukla - Paksha - bright lunar fortnight of the month Phalguna –February/March. It increases the curiosity of King Suratha and Vaisya Samadhi and they together want to know more and more about the Goddess and Her successful feats/exploits. Monk Medha tells them in detail the annihilation of the Daityas like - Madhu Kaitabha, Rambh and Mahisha and how that saved the Gods of heavens from miseries and sufferings. Once a widespread talk of divine beauty presiding over the Mountain ranges attracted, smote and infatuated Daitya Kings immensely. Their wish to possesses the Goddess increased day by day. Sumbha and Nisumbha were the courageous Daityas. They began to terrorize and bully the Gods. The Gods came to Himalaya invoked, prayed and worshipped the Goddess as - Ambika, Kalika, Mahakali, Uma or Shiva and felt protected. The Goddess as Tara is an embodiment of knowledge and wisdom while the image of Bhairavi destroys sufferings of the devotees. She listens to, eavesdrops and comes forward to shield Her devotees. The Daityas like –Doomraksha, Dhoomralochana and Raktabeeja were collosal and unrivaled in power but the Goddess in a single sound chewed and reduced them to ashes. When the war gained momentum and no sign of early termination appeared the Goddess argued and told to Daityas that She belonged to Lord Shiva - the Supreme Lord beyond Brahma, Vishnu and the Vedas. She in a subtle image - the Prakriti of Sadashiva - stood on the peak of the Himalaya adorned with many wonderful ornaments and divine weapons to tease and increase fear in the mind of Daitya Kings. Many Daityas were killed by mighty Goddess and Her vehicle the Lion gobbled up several Asuras. Amid this chaos of war appears Asura King Sumbha on bejeweled Chariot bedeafing enemies with loud blow of the conch and piercing the directions by the sound of the twang of his bow typically symbolic of imminent death. From another side roared the lion of the Goddess. The sky continued for a long time to echo and re - echo fear - instilling sounds. The Daitya appeared frightening in the battlefield in ten thousand arms to increase the ferocity of the war. But the Godess knew the death of the Daitya, that’s why, despite his firm hold, stay and fierce retaliation on the battlefield his head was cut by the Trident of the Goddess. Even after death the Daitya attained divine status and enjoyed divine blessings of the Goddess. To entertain the audience Monk Sanatkumara muses on the concept of death and its inevitability. There after all the Gods congregate, shed the feeling of ego and worship the Goddess in Her twin form of Ardhanariswara.

Long long ago, Durgama - a dreadful Daitya, lived and ruled a vast kingdom. He was an authority on the Vedas and a man of immeasurable wisdom and knowledge. In order to please the Supreme Lord he undergoes penance to accumulate more and more worldly powers and pelf. Delighted by Durgama’s Tapa the Lord blesses him with the boons of invincibility and immortality. Now his ego turns rampant. It becomes difficult even for the Gods to restrict/restrain his activities. The vicious fangs of his governance spread far and wide. Sins and crimes increase in abundance to annoy the Nature. The fury of nature in the form of calamities, droughts and other sort of evils started spreading its tentacles. It was a time of downfall, defeat , devastation, ruin and casualties. In brief Adharma prevailed and virtues were guillotined. Having no other alternative, the Gods approached the Goddess for the redressal of their miseries and misfortunes. The Goddess too did not wish the Gods to suffer for more stretches of time. Additionally, as a mother, She felt extremely distressed and aggrieved by the predicament of the created beings. Her poignant heart had immense love and compassion for devotees - the Bhaktas. So much so that holy water flows from her eyes to fill herbal plants and miscellaneous vegetations. All rivers and oceans overflow, various kinds of fruits and roots sprout. It is due to the blessings of the Goddess that all the Gods, created beings, celestials, Sages and Brahmins are satisfied after years of thirst and hunger. Above all the Goddess as an image of Humanity and benevolence fulfills all. Convinced by Her convictions the Gods and the Beings leave for their respective abodes. Shortly afterwards, the heavens begin to exhibit clatter, jangle and wild frenzy. The huge noise and unusual clamor foretell imminent disaster and the bleakness of future events. The Daitya knowing all about the developments concerning nature begins to fortify the heavens from all directions to incarcerate, to stop the further march of the Goddess. Soon, a terrible war follows. Rain of arrows and lethal weapons create panic and hysteria. In a moment from the divine body of the Goddess ten Mahavidyas namely - Tara, Kali, Chhinnamasta, Srividya, Bhuvaneswari, Bhairavi, Bagla, Dhoomra, Tripura Sundari and Matangi emerge effusively buttressed by desired weapons - Astra - Sastras. Thereafter numerous Matrikas and an image of the Goddess resolved to destroy, and defeat appears with divine participants. The war tured uncertain for a moment or two. But soon the Matrikas destroyed the army of Durgama and Goddess Herself picked up the horrible Trident and in a single stroke wiped out the Daitya Durgama. After annihilating the Daitya She got back the Vedas and returned the Holy Scriptures to the Gods. The Gods were immensely pleased therefore, they together eulogised the Goddess by various names - Satakshi, Shakambhari, Bhagvati Durga, Yogeswari and so on and worshipped Her with the sanctified knowledge of the Scriptures. They for a long time continued to sing songs in Her praise. After being pleased, She apprised the Gods with future plans/ maneuvers. Simultaneously, imparted them the knowledge of Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. Later Sanatkumara narrates extensively the Kriya Yoga and the efficacy of devotional worship of the Goddess for the house - holders and devotees at their respective temples.

11. Kailash Samhita: - It has a total number of 1000, 200 and 40 Slokas. A redolent tete - a - tete, a meaningful dialogue among Sages like Vyasa, Saunaka and Suta bare some profound truths, the truths about life and death, Parvati - the Goddess revealed earlier. It’s a complex set of values - an attempt at explaining the meaning of the Puranas/Samhitas understandably. The essential components which form part of the conversation proliferate around the dialogue pertaining to principles governing the life of a Shiva devotee who intends to pursue the path of an ascetic - a recluse or a Sanyasis. The non - dualistic nature of Shiva provides rules for daily routines - everyday chores/missions of the ascetics. These include: the initiation of a devotee, the set of laws he has to adhere to, the rigorous structure of discipline S/ he has to undergo and the observance of given rites, the stringent procedures for consecration and ablution. The path to Sannyasa if espoused properly leads a devotee to the land where the Gods live. Shiva - tattva and Shiva tenets vividly tell that He resides in a single - syllable mantra - OM. The Sages want to know the real purport of the Pranava - its real meaning. At the origin of the Vedas Shiva is the Pranava. Pranava is Shiva. Simply OM creates the universe and Pranava is the cause of everything. Sage Suta explains detailed meaning of the Pranava after propitiating Shiva, Uma, Ganesha, the Gods, Manes and the Sages. Then he draws sketches of Vamadeva - the very embodiment of Shiva. Vamadeva in ash - smeared body, in knotted ornaments, entwined hair and loops had no permanent abode. He loves to stay naked and often many known Sages surround him. Being interpreter of Pranava, he explains the modus operandi of all rituals for the benefit of those who want to follow the path of Sanyasa - renunciation. Besides, he wanders around the world to assist Shiva devotees who follow rigid norms of Bhakti including the use of Bhasma and Rudraksha. An interesting conversation between Vamdeva and Skanda meticulously spell out Shaivism - a definite rationale to know life and existence - an easy path to worship the duo - Shiva/Shakti. Concisely Kailash Samhita forms a major signpost for understanding Shiva - Purana.

12. Vayaveeya Samhita : - As stated earlier Shiva Purana is numbered - 4, in the hierarchy of Puranas. The Vayaveeya alone has 4000 slokas. In Sage Vyasa’s rendering there are 24000 Slokas - Verses, for the benefit and convenience of ordinary/common readers without impairing its originality. At first Brahma was created from cosmic Yoni for taking up stupendous task of creation. He lived in Brahmavana - from his mouth came out four Vedas. A day of Brahma is equal to a Kalpa. At the appeal of the Sages Brahma revealed the real essence of Shiva, His powers, magnitude and characteristics in the image of a timeless supreme being who is beyond beginning and end whose worship grants freedom from bondage - Pasu - Pasa. He can be attained by austere Tapa. The glory of Naimisha forest is sung as it is the most lovely and blessed place for men of Tapa. It was created by the Split - up of divine disc. Many Yagnas were held here to extol the Glory of Shiva who cannot be defined by reason only by devotion He can be attained. Later Shiva comes out from the mouth of Brahma with eleven images called Rudras - the symbols of the Supreme. Rudras are the life breath and life’s breath is Rudra. When Brahma got up from the stupor and comatose, he started eulogizing the Rudras for their unparalleled brilliance and enlightenment. Thereafter again began the process of creation as earlier. Now Brahma in a deep state of meditation created different living beings with three attributes of - Sattva, Rajas and Tamas - three modes of Prakriti. Similarly, from the most secret parts of his body Brahma gave birth to Yakshas, Pisaches, Gandharvas, Nymphs and various human beings including the Rakshasas. Thereafter He consented the performance of Karmas and as per determined the nature of beings their classes and Varnas. Thus, the sacred work of creation got completed. However, Brahma was not happy with His creation. He wanted to create a population by the union of male and female. So, Brahma undertook severe penance to please the Maheswara. Being pleased the Maheswara created a woman of His own kind from the half of His body. The other half was the Lord Himself. This is a mysterious figure of Ardhnarishawara - a form of man and woman in equal ratio. Dharma was established and within the framework of morality the sacred functions of creation and procreation were recommended This form was eulogized by Brahma immensely.

Immediately after Vayudeva - the God of winds appears to narrate the sequence of events. Out of this male - female constituent emerged a huge figure called - Swayambhuva Manu. Manu became husband of Satrupa - a brilliant/radiant woman of Tapa and charms. Thousands of years rolled and a tremendous increase in population was envisaged. Meanwhile, the narrator pleasantly acquaints with legends of Mandrachala - a mountain of exquisite beauty and charm - divinely ornamented with amazing caves and valleys where Lord Shiva wandered and sported with Goddess Parvati for many more years. Another legend that the narrator unfolds for the pleasure of the world is regarding the complexion of the Goddess. Once Lord Shiva at Brahma’s entreaty playfully said to Parvati that She was black. Initially hearing disparaging words of blame She got enraged but resolved to proceed for Tapa - the penance and accordingly asked Shiva for consent. He was in deep silent meditation. So, the Goddess went to the same place for Tapa where She did Her penance in ancient times. There She saw a Vyagra - lion. The lion looked hungry and intent on devouring Parvati. She was delighted to see the lion, blessed it so to be a devotee to protect Her from wild beasts of the forest. When the lion pledged in affirmative, and She went into deep meditation Brahma the Lord of the universe appeared. Ignoring the reality Brahma asked the Goddess for reason of austere Tapa. The Goddess made Her intent obvious by stating the need of Sattvic means for changing Her color from black to fair, for charm and beauty and charismatic physique. Knowing Brahma to be a Pitamahah, Parvati right away cast-off black complexion and looked white complexioned. Brahma smiled, revealed the knowledge of Vyagra’s previous life and blessed the lion to be Her stead and guard. The lion escorted the Goddess to the wonderful mountain - Mandrachal where lived the Lord. The Goddess too was extremely happy for the words She gave to her beloved Lord. Deep love, passionate emotions and harmony encompassed one and all. The world is - Agnisomastaka. Kalagni stays below and Shakti above. Going up is life - burning, while going down is death - soaking. Shiva is Shakti from below and sustainer of Shakti from above. Thus Shiva - Shakti the eternal powers permeate entire cosmos.

The Cosmos is an entire corollary of Vag - Artha - Shiva and Parvati in the form of Word and Meaning. The multiple images of Shakti called Kundalini has six end - results - three pertain to the Word and three to the Meaning. The Vayudeva is there to further explain eloquently the meaning of Pati, Pasu, Pasa and the methodology for observance of Pasupata fast. Formerly, Upamanyu the elder brother of Monk Dhoumya when he was a small child underwent severe Tapa only to get a glass of pure cow milk from her mother. The legend illustrates the importance of Bhasma - the seed of Agni - fire as well as the effect and efficacy of the mantra - Aum Namah Shivay ! How Upamanyu became an adorable son of Shiva/Parvati is a pretty good tale for delightful reading of one and all.

13. Vayaveeya Samhita Second Segment: Upamanyu is the Monk of Bhasma smeared body, with mark of Tripundas on his forehead and a rosary of Rudrakshas. He appears full of splendor and radiance always surrounded by the Sages, the Brahmins and Shiva - devotees. Once Lord Krishna comes to his Ashrama with a wish to have a son. The sheer sight of the Monk fills Krishna with the joy of wisdom so he feels freed from the trap of delusions worldly Karmas create. At the bidding of Guru Upamanyu Krishna meditates on Shiva, gets His blessings and later is blessed with a son from Jambvati’s womb christened Samba. Upamanyu also bestows on Krishna the knowledge of Pasupati - the destruction of worldly attachments by revealing the omnipresent nature of Shiva. Different images of the Lord through different qualities and Gunas take care of the functions of creation, preservation and destruction. A devotee by faith and dedication sooner or later comes to realize and infer that the Lord Supreme - the Pasupati, is the purest form bereft of all the dirt and filth the Maya weaves. The Maya is His Prakriti, Shakti - the grace bestowed on the devotees that stands always on the left of the Lord. This increases the curiosity of Krishna and Upamanyu narrates more and more about Shiva’s true nature - the essence called Shivtattva further inscribed as Saivism. Only those devotees who pursue eight - fold path as prescribed are Mahatmas so very dear to the heart of the Lord. The monk talks of 28 great Gurus as incarnations of Shiva known as Yogacharyas in the 7th Manvantara. As mentioned earlier the glory and effectiveness of five - 5 syllabled Mantra - Aum Namah Shivaya - expresses Shiva in totality. Not only Shivagama/Shivagyana but also the Vedas contain/ storehouse this brief aphorism - Panchashayri Mantra. The dialogue continues and when the Goddess asks for increasing immorality, acts of sin and crime, violence and religious abrasions, the Lord clearly tells that taking resort to five syllabled Mantra is the sole remedy for rampant evils and malady of Kaliyuga - contemporary times. Anyone who worships with devotion and undertakes Japa of the Mantra attains deliverance and liberation is an assured guarantee. The Lord further tells Goddess that each letter of the Mantra is a potent seed. The sage of the Mantra is Vamdeva, Lord Himself is the deity. It’s a memorable Shiv - Sutra. Then the Goddess is acquainted by the Lord about initiation process of the Mantra by a Guru to a disciple devotee. Guru is Shiva who imparts knowledge and wisdom to His devotees after carefully scrutinizing their potentials. Moreover, all specific rites/rituals essential for consecration ceremony of a disciple by the Guru are narrated in detail by the Sage for the practice and delight of the people - devotees. It is called Shaivite initiation. One who wants to attain liberation and final emancipation should strictly adhere to the rules/principles as told by Upamanyu. The second part of Vayaveeya Samhita has an elaborate inventory so one ought to go through the entire discourse in order to understand the modus operandi. A useful description of compulsory and optional rites/rituals for the benefit of the Sadhakas is also discussed as per the tenets of the scriptures.

Shiva and Shakti - the God and the Goddess are apparently two but in reality are one - the indivisible identical entity. Being cause of creation they are the source of worldly pleasures/joys and show to devotees - Bhaktas, the path of salvation - the ultimate good.

Upamanyu then explicates the image of Shiva in the form of Lingam, its incomprehensible infinite features, divine wisdom and unparalleled dimensions as having no beginning so no end. Being origin of theVedas efficacy of meditation on single syllable AUM elivates devotees. Even the great Lords –Brahma and Vishnu have to pray, praise and lavish tributes on Him in extreme modesty. The worship requires five types of meditations or Yogas - Mantrayoga to Mahayoga. The nature of each Yoga and necessity of practicing them for mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing/welfare of the Bhaktas to make their life happy and significant, has been dealt at length. Practice of Japa and meditation is also Yoga. Concentration of mind and control of activities leads to the state of serenity and tranquility that enlightens the inner self. The inner self after the attainment of Siddhis - perfections, enjoys immense powers and pleasures of the world and the great beyond. The monk also talks of perfections related to the powers over water, fire, air, time space, physical and material which are under control of a Yogi. A Yogi through mental powers materializes the desires which appear miraculous. Clarity of images meditated upon brings results depending upon intensity one wields on the focal point. Reward is either immediate or belated but sure to accrue. It is ultimate deliverance/progression toward perfection by attaining harmony of mind and intellect. Simply, a stable mind undertakes meditation on the gross and moves on to the subtle. One is called Sabeeja and another Nirbeeja. When soul is in an ecstatic state illumination dawns. The outcome of prayers, worship and intensity of faith is a healthy Self - belief, a blessed gift, a sweet fruit called - Prasada together with a little lamp that drives out the darkness. The Sages after performing daily rites /ablutions in rivers such as - the Saraswati, the Ganges arrive at Varanasi. There at Avimuktaesvara they see a dazzling cluster of light pervading entire cosmos/ encompassing all directions. The Sages of the Naimisa Forest amazingly see this strange phenomenon. But to their respite Narada and Tumburu intercede, Nymphs and the Gandharvas assemble to transmit the divine music. Meanwhile Brahma appears to tell the Sages about the great significance of the illumination - the Jyotirmaya Lingam of Varanasi and further advises the Sages to go to Meru Mountain where dwells Sanatkumara amidst mystifying nature surrounding the lake. He implicitly reveals Nandi’s curse. Then speaks eloquently about eternal harmony that prevailed among birds, beasts and other animals. Precisely, the Sages of Naimisa Forest on their visit see Sanatkumara sitting calmly on a deerskin under the tree decorated by rocky platform. The holy Sages bow to pay respect then stand before him with folded hands. The moment they were to reveal the purpose of their visit they hear sound of musical instruments and see unforeseen divine radiance. They feel deeply contented to see the radiance landing down and down in the form of an aerial airliner beautiful and majestic carrying Lord Shiva surrounded by the Ganas, Apasaras and musical instruments while many strings of pearls and jewels bedecking canopy of the aircraft. All monks, sons of Brahma including Sanatkumara prostrate in reverence /acquiescence and sing songs of eternal glory of the Lord. Nandi comes forward in a benign smile and looks momentarily to bless the Monks, to free them from bondages - the worldly snares - the Pasas and later imparts wisdom, knowledge of Saivite virtues - Shiva Yoga and Saivism. He gives this knowledge in an ideal manner first to Sage Vyasa who imparts it to Monk Suta and Suta in turns reveals it to the Sages of Naimisha. Those who are Shiva’s devotees and possess knowledge of the Vedas are verily qualified to acquire this gem of wisdom - Shiva Purana. Sage Suta after imparting the secret and sacred knowledge which fulfills the aspirations/objectives of the devotees signals an auspicious time ahead and departs. As the age of Kali was nearing to besmirch and corrupt both the living and non - living, Sage Vyasa instructs and counsels for edification of those who hear and read the Purana. Even an inconsequential study and negligible hearing reduces to ashes all the evils/sins accruing from many past births and grants salvation certainly and emphatically. One should read it as many times as possible in order to ward off rampant and raging imminent waves of epidemic/pandemic. Thus, after explicating the advent of vicious Kaliyuga the Sage prays and pleads for the well - being of the people –the devotees of Lord Shiva and for the materialization of Shiva Purana’s teachings in the days yet to dawn and then is seen disappearing into the halo of quietude from his discourses.

Concluded

Works Cited

1. Prem. P. C. K. “As I Know The Lord Of The Mountains SHIVA PURANA”: New Delhi - Authors Press, First edition - 2021.

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02-Apr-2022
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