As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 38
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Sankara (Shiva) does not appear physically or presents ‘the self’ before Rama but pays respect – doubts arise in the mind of Parvati (Sati) and the lord requests her to put Rama on test
When Rama and Laksmana were trying to find out the whereabouts of Sita, at that time, the most generous and merciful Sankara appeared, saluted happily, bowed as a mark of respect to him, said many words of praise, and went away to a different direction.
The beloved of devotees did not present ‘the self’ physically before lord Rama. It was a salutation to a great incarnation while the lord preferred to stay invisible.
That he saluted Rama, bowed before him but remained invisible, surprised goddess Sati, and the amazing act of Shiva immensely amazed her and she was stunned at the maya of Sankara.
Astonished at the delusory act of Shiva, she said, “O lord of gods, the Supreme Lord, Brahma, Vishnu and gods of heavens forever serve and obey you. You are worth revering and therefore, created beings worship you. All should serve and meditate on you, for that is the way to salvation. You are the unpolluted and formless lord, whom people know through genuine and earnest efforts even while the Vedas and scriptures make clear and unambiguous the truth of lord and his essence. You are the Supreme god, O lord.”
After a few moments, she asked, “O lord, who are the souls…you saluted? Intense anguish born of separation of a beloved appears to trouble…it seems they have lost someone very intimate and dear. The great archers wandering in the forest look quite agonised and pitiable. The elder appears of dark complexion (syama)… a lotus flower. What is the reason of happiness when you looked at the miserable brothers? Your joy and subdued delight defies logic. Why did you feel very charmed? Why did you become humble as if a devotee? O swamy, benevolent lord Shiva, please listen to reservations I nurse. I am anxious to know. Apprehensions increase each moment. It does not appear appropriate if a lord salutes a devotee.”
The primordial power, the most benevolent goddess of goddesses asked innocent questions under the spell of mesmerising impact of delusory potency of Shiva.
Sankara heard inquisitive and distrustful but chary words of Sati and said with a smile, “O goddess, please listen. I relate to you happily a very important matter of truth. Nothing is unusual and it is truth. I was under the influence of a boon and therefore, saluted Rama reverently. Brave people honour Rama and Laksmana, who were born in Surya Dynasty. They are wise sons of King Dasaratha. Younger Laksmana is fair complexioned and is an image of shesha (the lord of nagas). Elder Rama is an incarnation of lord Vishnu. Anarchy and violence stay away from him. He descended on earth for the protection of holy people, and for the wellbeing of created beings and the gods of heavens.”
The creator of the universe said slowly but emphatically and later, was silent. After she heard Shiva, Sati was not fully convinced as certain doubts continued to assail her mind. Shiva read thoughts going on in the mind of Sati. She probably thought of maya, which vanquished the entire three worlds Shiva thought.
Therefore, ‘Sati does not believe my words,’ Shiva thought again but did not reveal what he thought. He knew fully the mind of holy consort, and so after a pause, the lord of maya, the eternal god, Sambhu (Shiva) said, “O goddess, listen to me again. If you do not believe what I say, then it is better you go and put Rama to test as you wish.”
He observed silence for a few moments and then, said again, “O dear Sati, you should do everything possible so that doubts and uncertainties are destroyed. You can go and put them to ordeals. Until then, I stand under the tree of vargada.” He said clearly. Sati appeared quite skeptical. She heard Shiva’s suggestion, looked at him and emitted a smile, which perhaps carried symptoms of suspicions, even as she surveyed the four directions.
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