Shiva Purana: Rudra Samhita: Sati - 18

As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 42

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A man embodies a soul, the image of the lord and if he cares to nurse it properly, perhaps new life of peace, harmony and bliss would permeate. Modesty and dedication to a pious objective earns kudos. Genuine devotion is a blessing. True devotion and bhakti can lead a man to peace and harmony in the contemporary context.

To fulfill wishes of human beings and eliminate evilness, gods of heavens definitely descend on earth to gratify devotees. Such is the magnificence, majesty, vivacity and maya of the Supreme. Lord accepts prayers and is delighted to hear praise from devotees. Nothing gives contentment to the lord more than the thought that disciples recognise the truth that nothing exists without the nod of the lord.

Truth and devotion are important. A man must question repeatedly as to how he exists. Which force works in the background and makes a man live? He does not know and still he professes he can distinguish. It is a great enigma. A man cannot invent air, water, earth, moon and the sky. If a man looks within, great revelations enlighten and he learns the meaning of life and existence.

The real objective of gods and goddesses is to regulate complex and mystifying movement of the world and make man’s life meaningful. Devotion and faith in the lord inspires abandonment of ‘the self’ and subsequently, purifies ‘the inner self.’ A man begins to love man and humanity, and it is the message of the Supreme.

One learns that the lord is the organ, the hand and karma, the soul and the patron of yajna. In truth, he makes it unequivocal that he exists in all the conscious and inorganic creation. A man ought to live a life of grace, honour, virtue, probity and integrity and adhere to the principles of truth and dharma. Ego, pride and self-image kill the instinct to think correctly and realistically a man should understand. Yajna, Daksa organised speaks eloquently of the designs of Supreme Lord.

In ancient times, the most sacred assembly of great sages, monks and men of great learning at Prayaga attracted devotees from many regions. They organised a huge yajna religiously as the Holy Scriptures dictated. Many siddhas, celestial sages, prajapatis, gods and learned men blessed with the holy darshana of Brahma ‘the Inner Self,’ arrived at Prayaga to join yajna. Supreme Brahma also reached the sacred place with holy nigamas and agamas (related to Vedas and sastras), who possessed terrific luster and radiance. Moments of great yajna appeared as if it were a celebration of many festivals where people of various communities also participated to witness the blessed galaxy of divine men including gods. It was an occasion of a sacrosanct dialogue on scriptures and knowledge.

Prajapati Daksa, the lord of the Cosmos did not greet Shiva out of ignorance and impertinence. It demonstrated ego, conceit, arrogance and lack of knowledge of essence of life and ‘the self’ and so, Nandi was very angry.

Rudra (Shiva), the benefactor of the three worlds, the mighty creator and the lord of lords also reached with consort Sati and counselors. When Shiva arrived at the place of yajna, all gods, siddhas, monks and Supreme Brahma saluted Shiva with the intensity of true feelings of devotion (bhakti) and praised the lord and Sati immensely. Afterward, they took permission of Shiva and sat merrily to witness splendour of yajna. Heavenly glimpses of Shiva filled every created being with happiness, and the godly souls felt satisfied, and thought it a fortunate phenomenon.

At this moment, the lord of prajapatis Daksa suddenly arrived at the place joyfully. He saluted Supreme Brahma, sought consent and sat amid the holy men. During the age, Daksa was the lord of entire cosmos and therefore, celestial souls and sages honoured him. Sadly, he was full of ego and pride because of the status he gained in the three worlds. However, he was unaware of the knowledge of tattva (essence of life and ‘the self, the soul’). At that time, all sages bowed, praised, saluted, and worshipped Daksa with folded hands. Everyone among the gods and sages, monks and siddhas granted respect to Daksa. However, the lord of maya (Shiva), an image of sovereignty, swamy of all and the lord of the worlds did not bow.

He was silent, did not move or get up to pay respect. Daksa apparently did not say anything but was thoroughly displeased at the conduct of Shiva. The act of Rudra filled Daksa with anger, as he did not recognise the real knowledge of ‘the self’ and so out of self-image and conceit he threw an enraged look at Rudra. He failed to hold down anger and therefore, said many bitter words loudly and heatedly. Everyone in the gathering heard strident and declaratory words steeped in roughness and irreverence.

“All gods of heavens, asuras and the learned brahmins bow heads before me,” Daksa said, “However, the man whom ghosts and pisachas surround and who thinks himself a great monk, did not salute as if he were a impious man. Why he did it? An unabashed and haughty man resides in a burial ground and does not salute. What is the reason? It appears he is devoid of Vedic karmas. He is full of pride as bhutas (eerie spirits and pisachas) serve him. They are his attendants. He ignores the principles of scriptures and thus, contaminates the environment of right and true laws. Those, who keep his company and follow him are swindlers, evils and sinful, and when such people see a brahmin they indulge in denigration.” Daksa remained unrelenting. He tried to humiliate Shiva. Everyone listened, as he knew the authority of the chief of prajapatis who was, at that time, the lord of the worlds.

Daksa was still not satisfied with the awesome and disparaging conduct. He said again, “He is attracted toward a woman, and is an expert in the art of love making. Therefore, I am ready to issue a curse. Rudra looks ugly, is indifferent, and appears separate from other varnas. Prohibit the ugly lord so that he does not attend any sacred ceremony and then, the patron ought to ask him to make exit from holy yajna. As a dweller of a cremation ground and a man of mean birth, he does not belong to an upright and respectable family. Therefore, he should not get share of offerings of yajna.”

When Daksa said sternly and insultingly, Bhrigu and other sages heard him and began to use unpleasant language, and censured Rudra, whom they thought unsightly and iniquitous. However, Nandi was very angry. He got up and with the intent to issue a curse against Daksa, said, “O foolish Daksa, you are a man of evil nature. Why did you forbid lord Rudra from attending yajna? Yajnas and tirthas appear sanctified and purified simply if one remembers him. The very name of lord Shiva cleanses and consecrates yajnas and holy places of pilgrimage. Why did you curse Mahadeva? You are foolish. O stupid Daksa, I understand an unsteady mind of a brahmin inspired you and therefore, you issued a curse against Rudra rather ineffectively. Lord Rudra is innocent. Still you tried to mock at him. A deriding tongue is not good. O man of adharma, he creates the universe, preserves and later on, destroys it. Even then, you cursed. How could you do?”

After he heard reproachful words of Nandi, prajapati Daksa was extremely angry and cursing severely, he said, “O ganas of Rudra, you are ostracised from approaching the Vedas. You will not follow Vedic Dharma, and the great sages would reject you and so, you will be engaged in fraudulent acts. You shall not follow laws of ideal conduct. Now, in future, you will grow jetted hair. Ashes-smeared bodies and ornaments of bones around the necks will adorn you… and further, you shall be addicted to liquor.”

When Daksa issued a severe curse against the counselors and ganas of Rudra, a tremendous antipathy overtook the most ardent devotee of Shiva.

The most favorite and brilliant counselor of Shiva, Nandi stood up and cursed Daksa strongly, “O stupid Daksa, you do not know tattva (the real essence, meaning, potency) of Shiva. Therefore, you unnecessarily cursed ganas. O conceited Daksa, sages like Bhrigu filled with evil and unholy thoughts of ego and arrogance brag as if they know Brahma-tattva (the knowledge of ‘the self’) and deride Mahadeva. Therefore, I curse those, who are against lord Rudra and brahmins like you and also those, who are present in the gathering. I curse such beings with the divine blessings of Rudra. Brahmins like you, who love and adulate reward of karmas, will be bereft of the knowledge of the Vedas even when they would boast of knowledge of the scriptures. You will never know tattva (the basic knowledge of the Vedas, the essence), even though you will profess, and brahmins will indulge in the pleasures of the world, and think heaven as the ultimate destination of life. They would proudly say ‘there is nothing beyond heavens’ and so, anger, greed and conceit will overcome and such people will live as imprudent bhikshus (men who live a life of renunciation or recluses or ascetics) and waste a valued god-gift.”

Nandi had not yet finished, as anger and the power of bhakti toward lord Rudra were deep and sincere. If he spoke, he carried the intensity of devotion and more so, he thought he had the consent of Shiva and a revelation of a great truth it was. When a bhakta is engrossed in devotion of a lord or deity, he loses identity and becomes one with the great soul. It is forgetting ones’ existence while existing physically on earth and it makes one a true devotee. In that case, a great invisible force speaks through him.

He continued, “O Daksa, many brahmins would think that they pursue path of the Vedas but in truth they will not be able to perform yajnas properly as enshrined in the sacred books. They will be poor of knowledge and wisdom. They will be engaged in accepting charity and because they will accept unholy gifts and endowments (dana), they will go to hell and thus, suffer. Some brahmins will nurse convictions of raksasas. Daksa, you consider Shiva as a god of ordinary stature and are jealous, and sustain animosity without judicious deliberations, and therefore, O Daksa of evil intellect, you shall turn away from the real knowledge of ‘the self.’ Viciousness of kama will cause a great downfall, and while you pursue the laws of a householder, you shall be engaged in karmas and the desires of fruit of karma and thus, sing glories of karmas while you will think, you hold fast to the path of the Vedas.”

He continued, “O Daksa, joys arising out of ‘the real self’ will perish. You will not know ‘the self’. If you forget the knowledge of ‘the self’, you will live animals’ life. Bereft of karmas, you will have the head of a goat.”

After a few moments, Nandi was silent.

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