Nov 30, 2023
Nov 30, 2023
by P C K Prem
As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 111
Rigorous meditation of Ravana delights Shiva and at this place, the great king establishes lingam – Vaidanatheshwara against his wishes. Shiva is happy with Ravana and permits him to take the lingam home but tells him not to stay anywhere or else he will fail…and on a request, a shepherd fails to hold it when the king wants to ease out and so the lingam situates itself there.
Later, sage Narada provokes Ravana and so the mighty king goes to lift mountain Kailasa< and thus, annoys goddess Parvati and suffers a curse from goddess and after ages, dies at the hand of Rama
Devotion to lord Shiva grants divine blessings to created beings and makes life happy and prosperous. The lord never disappoints his devotees if they are sincere and genuine in bhakti. The tapa of Ravana led to the establishment of lingam, which people knew as Vaidanatheshwara. Later, sage Suta narrated the legendary tale of Ravana’s tapa for ages, his digging a deep pit and establishing fire and later, situating lingam at the place, he undertook rigorous tapa while sitting amidst five fires and thus, confirmed painstaking penance in all its intensity.
When the lord was not pleased, he began to cut off his heads one after the other and offered it to the lord. He continued to do it until he cut off nine heads. Lord was delighted at the devotion and therefore, appeared before the great raksasa. The lord blessed him, restored all the nine heads, and then fulfilled his wish.
He said, “You can take this holiest lingam home but when you go home if you get tired or for any reason you stay, and if you keep holy lingam on earth, it will not move anywhere and would situate itself at the place. Now, you do what you want.”
Ravana agreed and so carried it but on the way, he wanted to answer nature’s call and so when he saw a shepherd, he requested him to hold lingam for some time and went to ease out. Shepherd was tired and so failed to hold it anymore, kept it on the ground, and so, lingam situated itself there and became famous as Vaidanatheshwara that granted happiness and prosperity to people if they or anyone else prayed and worshipped holy lingam. Ravana prayed at the place, and after fully contended, he went home and told everything to the queen.
When Narada, the celestial sage visited Ravana, he advised, “You go and lift Mountain Kailasa and then, only one would know the success of boon Shiva conferred on you.”
Ravana did it but annoyed goddess Parvati – Girija, who looked at the lord and the lord understood and so he issued a curse, “O man of evil nature, do not feel proud of this act. A brave man will descend on earth very soon in the near future, and he would crush you and your strong arms, and pride and ego.” Ravana was happy because he, the devotee of lord, had the blessing to die at the hand of great lord.
The devotees of lord attain moksa whatever may be the situation, circumstances and nature of devotees. Intensity in bhakti was a path to deliverance. Sage Suta was very happy at the curiosity of holy souls, brahmins, monks and devotees, who wanted to know more about the delusory potency of the great lord, images and incarnations. Many times the lord for the happiness of bhaktas invariably agreed to stay and live at the place devotees and gods of heavens wanted and therefore, lived in the image of holy lingam. Sage Suta, the virtuous soul, narrated the legendary and divine tales of lingams the lord agreed to situate at the place so desired and the place later, became a tirtha – a place of pilgrimage.
Now the lord narrated the tale of Daruk, a raksasa and Daruka his wife. Daruk was cause of trouble and anguish to many noble souls. Terrified people sought shelter at the ashrama of sage Aurava, who issued a curse against the wicked raksasas and therefore, to steer clear of the menace of curse Daruka with the support of blessing of goddess took her tribe to the sea and saved the clan.
Her husband did not correct evil ways. Once, he tortured a devotee of Shiva, Supriya a vaisya and the lord was angry with the demons and destroyed all and made the forest fit for the people who in peace, prosperity and happiness adhered to truth and virtues. However, Daruka was unhappy but the goddess blessed and later, out of the dynasty of raksasas, powerful Veersen son of Mahasen governed the vast empire, for he was devotee of Shiva and here like the king, people of the empire also adhered to the principles of dharma. All prayed before lord Shiva and made the lord happy, who for the happiness of people, brahmins, devotees and virtuous people situated ‘the self’ at the sacred place called tirtha – Jyotirlingam Mahadeva Nageswara and goddess Shiva as Nageshwari.
In this background to authenticate the avowal, he narrated the tale of Daruka, a devotee of goddess Parvati, who had secured a boon from the goddess. It was reason of Daruka’s ego and pride. Husband Daruk, a raksasa was cause of anarchy, disturbance and distress to saintly souls and was against religious faith of people. Daruka enjoyed the beauty and charisma of the forest, which goddess had given her. However, Daruk was a terror. Terrified people sought shelter at the ashrama of sage Aurav, who issued a curse against raksasas. It proved lethal as the wicked raksasas faced gradual death and destruction. Daruka took refuge under the boon of goddess, carried away the forest and living beings to the vast sea, and began to live safely. However, Daruk did not relent.
Once he took into custody boats in which people were coming to the seashore and threatened them. Spriya, a vaisya and a devotee of Shiva, was the chief of the huge group and he had taught all how to chant mantra of Shiva. Supriya requested lord Sankara for protection and when the lord was pleased with intense devotion, he appeared before the devotee. Sankara blessed him and at once, a grand temple appeared at the place. In the center of the temple, he saw an illuminated lingam and immediately he began to pray and worship the holy image along with the family and other people of the tribe.
Later, Sambhu – Sankara destroyed the wicked raksasas and blessed the great forest that became a holy and happy place of living for virtuous brahmins, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras – the four varnas where famous monks and sages of sattvic gunas – virtuous qualities resided but it did not permit raksasas of tamas qualities to stay in the holy forest. In future, only men and devotees who loved and worshipped Shiva, pursued and spread his message, lived there in peace and harmony.
Daruka was remorseful and in humility stood before the goddess and prayed for security of life for the dynasty of raksasas.
Goddess blessed and said, “I speak the great truth. I shall protect dynasty of raksasas.” In later ages, it happened. Goddess said that she was part of Shiva, Daruka was image of the divine power, and in future, coming generations of raksasas would continue to live in the forest. Shiva was extremely impressed. The devotion of Daruka toward Parvati delighted the lord immensely and so he decided to stay in the forest and bless devotees. Lord told, “Whoever, in future would pursue dharma and principles of varnas, meditate and pray, will enjoy my divine glimpses and will be a mighty emperor in future and people will know him as Veersen son of Mahasen, the king of kings. He will come to the forest, pray and the blessing will make him the ruler of the world.” Sage Suta revealed that the lord stayed there for the happiness of brahmins, noble souls and devotees, and after that, established ‘the holy self.’ The devotees and the people knew the sacred tirtha as Jyotirlingam Mahadeva Nageswara and goddess Shiva as Nageshwari.
Later, he recounted the legend of Gusma whose prayers and entreaties brought rich dividends because the lord stayed there and situated ‘the self’ as Jyotirlinga Ghumesha – lingam Ghumesha and it turned out a tirtha of bhakti, devotion and worship – a sure path to moksa.
Sudharma and Sudeha were devotees of Shiva but they were distressed because they did not have a son. Sudeha asked noble man to marry her sister Gusma. She was also a Shiva’s devotee. A son took birth and it caused bitterness in the mind and heart of Sudeha for obvious reasons. Sudeha killed the baby and cut him into several pieces, and threw the little parts in the water pond where Gusma immersed lingam after daily prayers and worship.
However, Gusma believed in Shiva and meditated on him, and thought Shiva alone as the guardian of devotees. When the lord appeared, she asked for protection of sister Sudeha. She knew that the lord loved if a devotees thought well of others. On Gusma prayers and entreaties, the lord stayed there and situated ‘the self’ as Jyotirlinga Ghumesha – lingam Ghumesha and it turned out a tirtha of bhakti, devotion and worship – a true path to moksa. Sage Suta did not fail to emphasise the significance of prayers before ‘lingam’ the image of lord Shiva, who always blessed devotees and provided strong refuge against adversities.
Sage Suta continued to narrate the tales of origin of different holy lingams at different places and told brahmins and monks that it was blessing of lord Shiva that the devotees attained the glimpses of lord so easily after glorifying the lord devotedly with a pure heart. He spoke about the origin of lingam called Rameshwara and its significance. Amazing tale of devotion of Sudharma and his wife Sudeha at the mountain of Devgiri told of intensity of tapa the holy couple often underwent. They had the radiance of sun with the knowledge of the Vedas.
They had no son and it caused suffering. After serious thought, Sudeha asked Sudharma to marry her sister Gusma. Later, Gusma, a devotee of Shiva, gave birth to a son. When he was married, it caused jealousy in the mind of Sudeha and for various reasons, her concealed mistrust and suppressed abhorrence did not end. All were devotees of Shiva but the women failed to get rid of inner jealousy.
One day, she killed her son, cut the body into pieces and threw them in the water pool where Gusma worshipped and immersed sacred lingams in the sarovar after daily prayers and worship. It caused immense grief but sister of Gusma was indifferent when her son died. Gusma’s lamentation and sorrow did not lessen when she looked at the blood soaked bed, she thought of the lord and whispered as if in prayers and expressed hopes that whoever blessed her with a son, would help her take care of loss. She, as a devotee left to the lord to bless.
She knew Sambhu was the guardian of created beings and if he made rosary of beads, he had the power to split it up and that was the essence of life. Now, she was not worried. With a wholesome intent, she went to the water pond with the lingams, immersed all in the water, and returned. Fortunately, the moment she turned back, she saw the dead son was standing before her to give a surprise. She stood expressionless and at that time, lord Meheshwara appeared as an illuminated being and asked her to ask for a boon.
Gusma asked for the protection because she feared her wicked sister Sudeha. To care for the comforts and wellbeing of others delights the lord for he is the knower of everything. Lord wanted to bless her with another boon and therefore, Gusma prayed and requested the lord to stay there so that people could recognise the lord through her as Jyotirlinga Ghumesha. After the boon, the great lord situated ‘the self’ as lingam – Ghumesha and the people knew the pond as Shivalaya. Brahmin and the spouses instantly prayed and worshipped. They went around the lingam hundred times and as a result, felt purified and very soon, experienced inner happiness. Sage Suta felt overjoyed after he narrated the holy tales of Jyotirlingams and also spoke feelingly about people’s deep devotion toward the lord. Intense and pure bhakti fulfills devotees, grants pleasure of life and ultimately leads a man to moksa.
More by : P C K Prem