Shiva Purana: Koti Rudra Samhita - 1

As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 107

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Monk Suta for the satisfaction and delight of sages and wise men, on the humble imploration, again speaks about the grandeur and magnificence of major and minor lingams for the benefit of devotees…arrival of holy Ganga at the hermitage of Sage Atri and Anusuya – origin of Atrishwara

All sages, seers, wise men and devotees eloquently praised the lord and saluted, and afterward, they requested the great monk Suta to portray the charm and blessings of lingams again, significant major and minor Jyotirlingams for the wellbeing of created beings so that they live happily if he is happy with them. Suta told sages and other devotees that the heavenly and peace yielding spirit of lingams, permeates all the holy places and temples and one fails to keep account of innumerous lingams situated at various places. Lingams are images of the great lord. To bless the created beings – gods, asuras and human beings the great lord has situated lingams everywhere – the three lokas, so that devotees could easily pray, worship and enjoy holy glimpses of lingam, an image of lord Shiva. Wherever, the devotees prayed before the lord and worshipped, he appeared and established his image as lingam for the benefit, comforts and happiness of devotees, for lord is liberal and compassionate to all who are genuine and truthful in dedication.

Thereafter, he talked about the twelve jyotirlingams situated at different places again for the delight and pleasure of sages and wise men. Devotees with different desires go to the place of worship of a particular lingam and pray for the fulfillment of latent and obvious wishes, and the sacred lingams, the images of the lord bless all. Worship and prayers with a devoted mind and heart grant liberation to even the sinners and wicked people and later, guide them to the path of moksa. He continued to narrate the greatness, splendour and blissful influence of lingams for the happiness of devotees.

Once Ganga arrived at the ashrama of sage Atri and blessed divine spouse Anusuya of sage Atri. Rigorous penance and tapa of Atri and Anusuya causes the coming up of tirtha Atrishwara because lord Shiva and Parvati were happy at the sagely couple.

“O Anusuya, if you can offer the fruit of a year’s worship and bhakti of lord Sankara and sage Atri, I shall stay here and will always be ready to serve gods of heavens. A devoted and loyal woman provides divine joy, which I do not get anywhere else. A mere darshana of a devoted wife destroys sins and one becomes pure. If you wish to do well to humankind and give me what I want, then I shall stay here.”

Anusuya heard Ganga and offered punyas she had earned in a year. It delighted Shiva, who emerged out of holy lingam, appeared before her, and said, “O holy woman Anusuya, I am very happy to see you perform virtuous karmas. O dear devotee, ask for a boon because you are very dear to me.” Anusuya and sage Atri were very happy to have divine glimpses of the lord and so, they stood with folded hands, paid obeisance, and then, spoke to the lord, the patron of people, “If the lord is happy with us, we pray you stay in the ashrama with goddess Parvati and it would benefit the devotees of the three worlds.” The lord blessed and now, the people happily called it tirtha Atrishwara.

Later, Sage Suta narrated the tale of Riska, a brahmini, a devoted woman, who had become a widow during childhood because of some wicked karma in previous life. She adhered to utmost discipline and restraint on senses and undertook severe tapa. A dreadful asura Moodh noticed the beautiful woman in tapa. Beauty of holy woman fascinated him while passions continued to assail him, and therefore, he wanted to make love to the woman in meditation, who only concentrated on lord Shiva. When he did not stop, she was upset and remembered Shiva more intensely. Shiva was happy and he reduced the wicked soul to ashes and asked brahmini Riska to ask for a boon.

Saintly Riska praised the lord in many words as she was happy that the lord protected the world from a vicious daitya and therefore, wanted blessing so that she continued to concentrate at the divine feet of Shiva. She further requested that if the lord situated ‘the divine self’ at the place it would benefit people, the devotees. A very happy and delighted lord blessed. At that time, Brahma and Vishnu were happy when Shiva situated ‘the self’, and so they arrived and stood before him, saluted and worshipped the lord.

Sanctified Ganga was also very happy at the bhakti of Riska and requested the holy woman to allow her to stay for one day during the month of Baisakha – March/April at the tirtha. Gods were happy and after eulogising the lord and saintly woman Riska they left and from that day onward, the tirtha called Nandikesa became famous. Holy Ganga regularly visits this sacred tirtha and the people think that she still visits the place on the sacred day to wash sins of the wicked people and blesses the devotees.

To be Continued  


More by :  P C K Prem

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