Shiva Purana: Uma Samhita - 6

As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 118

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Defeat of Suratha proves heartrending, it drives the king to the corner, and so he governs a tiny parcel of land, but when the enemies learn the truth they invade the country, and defeat him again as the confidants turn hostile and treacherous

King’s enemies took control of the entire land and kingdom, and threw him out of the capital. Suratha shifted to a small fort and began to govern a little part of the regime with the support of ministers and advisors but the enemies were vigilant, and when they discovered that he was the king of another little state, they attacked collectively and defeated Suratha again. Destiny played a sinister role as ministers turned enemies, proved treacherous and started conspiring. Thus, the designs of ministers and close confidants were ruinous, who usurped the treasury and took into custody everything meant to give security, refuge and power to the conquered King Suratha.

Left with no hope, Suratha on a pretext decided to leave the land and went out of the town to a dense forest for hunting. While he wandered in the forest futilely, he saw a wonderful hermitage. Many gardens of flowers surrounded the ashrama and the amazing glory and splendeur of gardens beautified the ashrama. He heard soothing and peaceful incantation of Vedic mantras. Divine environment of the blessed hermitage appeased a lacerated heart and forlorn spirits. Various living beings lived in the ashrama quietly as each minute intensified feelings of affinity and love for one another and ensured that peace and harmony prevail.

He evinced immense interest in the beautiful surroundings and observed that disciples of the monk always crowded the serene ashrama. Disciples and students initiated into learning recently lived in the ashrama. An unbreakable chain of disciples in a hierarchical array spoke of an astonishing continuity where learning of Holy Scriptures was the objective. Monk Medha wielded noble and religious influence in the entire forest area and outside. Even violent beasts of the jungle lived in harmony with pets and domestic and animals.

Salubrious beauty of the area charmed the king and therefore, he entered the holy ashrama. The holy man greeted the king with courteous and amiable words, delicious food, and then, provided a suitable seat and a place to relax. He knew of the glory and generosity of the king. For a change, the king was away from disloyalty, betrayal, treachery and conspiracies of the enemies, ministers and courtiers.

One day, the king felt quite worried and distraught, and then, contemplated on the excruciating aspects of life as if under the spell of delusions.

The king tried to understand the cause of sufferings and was engaged in serious deliberations when a vaisya arrived. He appeared sad and unhappy to the king and therefore, he asked, “O brother, who are you and why did you come? Why do you look sad and suffering? Tell frankly.”

Sympathy and affection dumbfounded vaisya. Expression of king’s love stirred. Smadhi the vaisya wept, tears flowed down, and thereafter, he restrained a little, and said modestly with gentle feelings of love, “O great king, I am a vaisya Smadhi. I am born in a very rich family but sons and wife out of greed for wealth and property shoved me out of the house. It is result of prarabath (past karmas determine present) and therefore, good or bad in life was destined to happen, and so, the outcome of karmas torments and ultimately, I came to the forest. O ocean of mercy, it is a long time I left home etc and now, I am unable to know about the wellbeing of sons, grandsons, wife, brothers, nephews, relations and well-wishers.”

The king listened and said, “You are a fool. Why love wicked and greedy sons and relations, who threw you out of the house?”

“O king…” Smadhi tried to say, “You said well and appear full of meaning. Even then, under the spell of love and obsession for the kith and kin, I am attached...” Smadhi’s sorrow and dejection wounded the king.

They were quite. They went back to past and thought of virtuous and sinful karmas.

A visit to nostalgic past taught lessons of life when they appeared and met, Medha told about the great goddess – the creator, the preserver and destroyer of the world and later, he told about the birth of powerful daityas Madhu and Kaitabha, who were enthusiastic to kill Brahma when he emerged out of Vishnu’s navel.

The king and Smadhi nostalgically visited past, and the thought of close relations increased feelings of remorse, pain and love. That moment they lacked love and warmth of relations. To get relief from the disturbed and agonising thoughts, they preferred to seek advice from the holy man of the ashrama. The king and Smadhi folded hands in respect, appeared before monk Medha, and saluted the monk.

The king said, “O holy man, please grant release from the bonds of worldly love, affection and passion human beings nurse for wealth, land and relations.”

He thought of unpleasant past and said, “For a while, Laksmi of the kingdom discarded and thereafter, I took path to the forest. Even then, I am not happy at the loss of kingdom and treasure. Please see at Smadhi, a vaisya whom relations threw out of the house for the hunger of wealth and property. Still, he is not free from the love and affection for the unfaithful and insincere relations. It appears quite strange and unjustifiable. Why it happens? What are the reasons? Please tell. We are wise enough to understand and know unsteady and insincere relations but still it perturbs and worries. We suffer from a terrible imprudence.” The king inquired but still he was cautious, and did not reveal real intent.

Medha heard honest pleas, thought over and said, “O king, goddess Jagadamba is the image of eternal power, a divinity incarnate. She is the treasure of mahamaya, a great delusory power. She attracts hearts and minds of created beings, and pushes to delusory realms of love and greed. O great king, it is difficult for man to know the nature of delusory powers of the great goddess. Even Supreme Brahma and gods do not know the essential essence. How a man can know? Goddess Jagadamba blesses you at the appropriate time, and you live safe in a divine sanctuary and the goddess protects with the comfort and gift of three gunas-sattva, rajas and tamas. Goddess is the creator, the preserver and the destroyer of the universe. O the greatest among the kings, she assumes different images as she desires and when pleased with a devotee, she frees him from the bonds of delusion, the world spreads under the spell of divine wishes.”

The king was apparently happy. He thought and then, asked, “O holy monk, who mesmerises created beings? How she took birth? Please tell.”

Medha understood the curiosity of the king and vaisya, and therefore, he said, “O king, at that time, entire universe was submerged in the water of Ekaranava, a vast ocean. The lord of yoga, Keshava was taking rest on the divine bed (Sheshanaga acts as bed of lord Keshava-Vishnu and provides comforts in the land of Vaikuntha). He was in deep yogic sleep and at that time, mighty asuras Madhu and Kaitabha took birth out of the excretion of the body of lord Vishnu. They appeared dreadful and frightening as if they carried the brilliance of a dazzling sun. It was reminiscent of the terrifying time of perdition and annihilation (mahapralaya). They looked fear-provoking, outrageous and amazing.”

After a few moments, he said again, “The demons of large jaws, fearsome mouth and teeth, made awesome faces as if eager to gulp down the whole universe. At that time, awful asuras witnessed a unique divine phenomenon. They saw Supreme Brahma ensconced on a divine lotus originating from the navel of Vishnu and therefore, asked, “Array, who you are?” Uttering impertinent words, the demons were ready to kill Supreme Brahma. They appeared eager to attack even as lord Janardhana relaxed and slept under the water of the great ocean Brahma observed.

He remembered Jagadamba and prayed, “O goddess Ambikei, please cast delusory shadow on the indomitable and doughty asuras, and simultaneously wakeup lord Narayana.”

The great monk was benignly somber as he looked around because he visualized future events.

Monk Medha was silent for some time and looked at the curious face of the king. Vaisya Smadhi just continued to notice the expressions of the monk in absolute wonder.

At that time, Brahma thought to request goddess to eliminate the deadly daityas and protect creation and so, he could foresee an inevitable war between the demons and lord Vishnu.

He added after a pause, “Thus, for the destruction of the dreadful demons, the great goddess, the mother of universe and the deity of knowledge, wisdom and delusory potency, on the request and prayer of Supreme Brahma appeared on the second day of sukla-paksa, in the month Phaguna (February/March). The goddess took the divine image and figure of captivating divine energy capable of spreading delusory spell in the three worlds. She was goddess Mahakaali.”

Soon a divine voice from the sky disturbed, “O noble soul sitting on a lotus flower, do not fear. I shall destroy Madhu and Kaitabha in a war very soon and thus, the dangers to life will be over.”

Delusory power (Mahamaya) said and emerged out of the eyes and mouth of Sri Hari and stood on the path leading to unborn Supreme Brahma. At that moment, Janaradhana Rishikesha got up and saw daityas Madhu and Kaitabha. Daityas just stood before him. A fierce war ensued between the unrivalled and infinite source of power Vishnu and the powerful daityas and it continued for five thousand years. Now, the delusory powers (Mahamaya) captivated the mighty daityas and therefore, the greatest demons said to the lord of goddess Laksmi, “You can ask for a boon that you earnestly need.”

They demonstrated audacity and stupidity. Perhaps, under the impact of delusory powers, they thought they were invincible and immortal. It was transitory but very soon they realised the eternal truth.

Lord Narayana smiled at the impertinence and said, “If you are pleased then, I should kill you and grant a boon. You confer blessings and I shall not ask you for more.”

Monk Medha said, “The asuras saw that the whole earth is immersed in water of Ekaranava. They thought over and then, said to Keshava, “You kill at a place where one does not find a chunk of land soaked in water.” The lord agreed to the request of the demons.

Keshava picked up divine Sudarshana Chakra, the great divine disc and caught hold of the demons, kept firmly daityas’ heads on his leg and the unyielding grasp did not permit daityas to move. The lord looked at the faces of the fearsome daityas and released the disc, and instantly, it cut asunder the heads. He destroyed the demons and fulfilled the boon he conferred on demons. O king, the goddess took birth this way and was the cause of death of the mighty demons. No doubt, the goddess is formless, indistinct and eternal but still she takes birth in different ages to protect gods and goddesses from sufferings. She materialises on earth with the divine energy, maya and thereafter, casts magic spell and alleviates the sufferings of gods and created beings.

One must understand that if one has faith in the invisible power or deity, one gets relief and to a large extent, miseries and sufferings are assuaged. Afterward, peace and tranquility prevailed. Now, to bless the three worlds, the great sage narrated the tale of emergence of goddess Maheshwari (Mahalaksmi also called goddess Shiva) from the unified radiant glow of gods and the charismatic creation, the incarnation killed Mahisha-asura.

Sage Medha’s narration of the tale of daitya Rambh is interesting. Rambh was the chief of the dynasty of asuras. In his house, Mahisha took birth. As time rolled on, Mahisha defeated all gods of heavens, took control of the throne of Indra, and began to govern the three worlds. The gods went to Brahma to seek remedy, and so he took all the gods to the place where lord Shiva and Vishnu were present and gave full account of the atrocities of daityas who had dethroned gods and driven away all of them out of their abode. Rambh was not allowing them to live in peace and in fact, all the daityas on the directions of the chief and other ferocious asuras were performing all karmas assigned to Surya, Chandram, Varuna, Kubera, Yama, Indra, Agni, Vayu, Gandharavas, Vidyadharas and Charanas. “O lords, we are unable to do anything. All gods have come to you to seek shelter. Kindly protect us and think about the killing of asura because you only are capable of doing so.” The gods told Vishnu and Shiva.

Vishnu and Shiva were angry. In intensity of anger, a terrific glow emerged out of the mouths of lord, and similar brightness came out of the bodies of celestial gods and this luminosity spread in all the ten directions and then, the luster and terrible blaze turned into a single unit and transformed itself into the figure of a woman.

She was in truth, the slaughterer of asura Mahisha. It was a divine creation and each limb of the body of celestial woman carried the features, qualities and strength of lord Shiva and Vishnu. Thereafter, lord Yama, Chandrama, Indra, Varuna, Prithvi, Brahma, Surya, Vasus, Kubera, Prajapati, Agni, Ganas, Vayu and other gods contributed their strength and potency including divine weapons – astra sastras to the celestial woman goddess Shiva – also called Maheshwari. All the gods honoured the divine woman Maheshwari. It was occasion of celebration on the emergence of goddess Shiva – a great delusory power, and all the lokas echoed with the joyful roars of gods and now, the gods of heavens, who were suffering, began to eulogise the great goddess.

Very soon, the mighty asura heard about the loud prayers and intense devotion and then, the imbued hymns of praise, and soon, he realised the gravity of situation. After a thought, he asked his army to get fully armoured and then, they marched toward the place from where those terrific and ear-tearing echoes had emerged. He arrived near the target and noticed the divine woman, who was spreading light, luminosity and radiance in the three worlds. Asura had a battery of great warriors, who immediately plunged into the battlefield and were engaged in violent struggle for survival.

At that time, the goddess said, “O fool, you have lost…why are you stubborn? Nobody can stand before me in the three worlds.”

Afterward, a fierce war began between the two and very soon, she killed him and thus, saved the gods of heaven from sufferings, he told the sagely king.

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