Shiva Purana: Uma Samhita - 3

As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 115

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Importance of acts of charity – to give food grains is the supreme dana, the wise men say…food is Trinity – the image of great lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – eight danas of substance…dana of water, shelter and planting trees bestows blessings

A man who acts benevolently and gives food, house and other valuables in charity is blessed and Yama is pleased with the man. To give gold, jewel etc protects man from dreadful sufferings and challenges, he told Vyasa. To feed the hungry, to offer grain and food is a supreme act of charity-punya karma because hungry men meet death very soon and therefore, to provide food is the greatest act of charity, Sanatkumara told. Therefore, people praise food grains and worship because food is essential for everyone. To give food as gift is the greatest act of charity and no other dana is equal to it. Food sustains the entire world and so wise men call it energy giving because food is the life breath of living beings, the great monk told.

One should never speak shoddily or reprehensibly of food and should never throw it. Food given as charity (dana) to a dog or chandala (a man working in a burial ground) is never destroyed. To give food to an unknown and fatigued traveler without feelings of disinclination or hesitation causes prosperity to the giver. He further told Vyasa that a man, who gives food and satisfies gods, pitres, brahmins and guests is supremely blessed. The gifting away of food and water is equally important for a sudra and brahmin. A wise man should not ask any question regarding lineage, gotra or education or location or place of living from a man, who needs food.

Sanatkumara clearly told that food is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Act of dana of food is incomparable in life here and even beyond. No other gift is equal to the dana of food. If a man is a sinner and gives food in dana, he is free from all sins and straightway goes to heaven. Dana (gifting away as charity) of food, water, horse, cow, clothes, bed, shelter and a place to sit are eight kinds of danas or say punya karmas which are considered supreme even in the land of Yama he told Vyasa. Noble acts without hurting anyone, acts of charity and alliance of virtuous people saves man from the sufferings of hell and so he lives life of joy, comforts and divine bliss, Sanantkumara told briefly.

He further emphasised the significance of dana of water, which is also supreme. He told that it is good to man if he constructs water ponds (like digging of wells, making of canals etc). A man should plant trees, for these are life giving to man and further, he must speak the truth in life. To undergo tapa – meditation is again the greatest blessing for a worldly man.

No joy or comfort is possible in the world without Tapasya (hard work – meditation etc). Tapa and hard work bring eternal joys and pleasures of life and this truth is clear to men of the Vedas, for it is source of everlasting wisdom and knowledge, science, freedom from diseases, beauty and health and fortunes, he told. Brahma creates the worlds because of severe tapa he undergoes. Again, because of tapa and its strength, Vishnu takes care of the universe and again the great Shiva in the image of Rudra with the power of intense tapa, destroys the worlds and so tapa inspires and encourages man and gods alike to keep the world in perfect health he wanted to convey.

Next, he spoke about the significance of study of the Vedas and observance of discipline during the learning process. He told further that to teach wisdom of the Vedas gives many more rewards

The great sage Sanatkumara continued to satisfy curiosity of the great sage and now, spoke about the benevolent and elevating influence of the self-study of the Vedas while living an austere life observing full restraint on food. It gives reward two times more if a man engaged in tapa during the study of the Vedas. To teach wisdom of the Vedas gives more joy and the man earns blessings and great fruit. He impresses upon the significance of study and disseminating wisdom of the Vedas.

Wisdom and knowledge of the Vedas dispels darkness like the Moon and Sun that drive away darkness and bring light, the monk continued. He also told him of the true significance and splendor of acts of charity – punya karmas. The wise monk again describes the nature of narakas – hells and dwells upon the sinful and wicked karmas that cause fall of man who commits sins, and at this moment, the glimpses punishment simply instill fear and dread.

The monk then advises that to remember the name of Shiva and engage in devotion are the best ways to express remorse and penitence for the sinful acts and thereafter, he spoke on the importance of knowledge (of Shaivism). A man who is genuinely engaged in devotion of lord Shiva day and night and keeps the lord in mind, is blessed because the lord destroys all his sins and he never goes to hell, the monk told. Hell and heaven are other names for sins and acts of goodwill and charity. One gives pain and agony and the other causes joy and pleasure. When the same thing at times gives anguish and next time, causes joy and delight then, one can conclude that not anything is origin of ache or comfort. Enjoyment and pain are aspects of distortion in discernment and understanding in one’s mind. In truth, wisdom is Parambrahma and it is essence of true knowledge. The entire mobile and immobile world is knowledge permeated and nothing exists without the supreme knowledge he told. 

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