Feb 29, 2024
Feb 29, 2024
by P C K Prem
As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 117
Devotion is essential to get rid of inner contradictions while demands of an upright life create difficulties, the legendary tale of Suratha reveals
To know the background is necessary though it may look a little digression. Suratha is a king of virtues, who is always worried about the wellbeing of public unlike contemporary rulers, who eat up even public share and boast of ethical values? Suratha conduct of uprightness and honesty does not suit many and even relations at times, do not approve of right conduct, and therefore, conspiracies drive him to war and frequent defeats, and ultimately, he decides to abandon his land and kingdom, goes to the forest on a pretext, and arrives in the ashrama of monk Medha. He lives in peace as grandeur of the ashrama captivates and when he hears melodious rendering of Vedic mantras, the divine experience proves soothing.
Arrival of a vaisya Smadhi, who appears sad and depressed, worries Suratha. Callous and greedy relations also had also thrown him out and severed all ties. Suratha advises him that one should not worry about such relations because obsession and attachments do not permit man to grow but make him miserable. Thoughts of past and relations only cause remorse and to get rid of the agonies, they decide to go to monk Medha. He listens to the king and tells that a man lives in delusion and never reaches reality of life, and so, he feels upset. Even gods fail to know the essential soul of life. It is at the feet of goddess that one feels blessed, for she is the sanctuary.
A man should know that she is the creator, the preserver and the destroyer and she only liberates a man from a delusory existence. Later, he tells how Vishnu, Brahma and gods seek help of goddess to get rid of the threat of mighty daityas Madhu and Kaitabha, who take birth out of the excretion of the body of lord Vishnu and then, indulge in acts of atrocities and violence. With the blessing of goddess, the world gets rid of audacious daityas even if they take birth through the blessings and generosity of Vishnu.
Faith in the invisible, grants relief to a worldly man from miseries and sufferings one should understand. Harmonious and peaceful life in any age emerges out of clean and honest acts whereas even joys do not provide respite to a man, who lives in violence, greed and hatred, masked or otherwise. Faith and surrender to virtues blesses. Belief in god or goddess purifies heart, intellect and act and one is bereft of conflicts, and at this moment, life turns beautiful – is the message one often gets when one returns to the pages of ancient scriptural literature.
Goddess Uma is the adhya of Brahma, the supreme lord Maheshwara, and devotees know and worship goddess as the eternal and indissoluble Uma. She is pra-ashakti the supreme power that creates the three worlds. To know the divine qualities of the goddess is a great experience that exercises therapeutic and soporific influence on people, who think of holy goddess. A mere thought of souls or divine powers, instills confidence and inspiration in the minds and hearts of the distraught wanting to attain peace and prosperity. Contemporary life-styles do not agree to relaxation or joy to man and so life is almost unsteady, violent, peripatetic and corrupt and no peace to man comes until he learns to look within. Faith and yielding to the will of the great goddess bestows blessedness and prosperity on a devotee, and it sanctifies everyone and thus, he lives life meaningfully bereft of inner contradictions.
In ancient times, King Viratha governed the vast land happily. He was very famous because of nobility, integrity and virtues, and was devoted to the welfare of people. Viratha’s son Suratha was powerful and mighty, a man of dharma, and very cultured and scholarly. He was a man of charity with dignified and heroic qualities and pursued religious doctrines without deviation. A highly erudite devotee of goddess Durga (Uma) he was was a fountainhead of mercy and compassion and looked after the people with love and affection.
In divine power, glory and strength, Suratha was equal to lord Indra. When he was the king, nine other kings on earth tried to snatch Suratha’s kingdom. They wanted to defeat and then preside over the destiny of the whole world. To defeat and kill mighty Suratha, the nine kings made concerted efforts, and ultimately, surrounded Suratha’s capital Kolapuri. They launched collective offensive, mobilised vast armies of each regime and thereafter, the combined armies resolved and finally, invaded so that they are able to destabilise the country of Suratha. A terrible and dreadful war brought disturbance and anarchy. The invading kings had many strong and gallant warriors with large armies. It was difficult for Suratha to overcome powerful kings and finally, in the war that lasted many years, he was defeated.
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