Shiva Purana: Vayaveeya Samhita - 12

As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 135

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Legendary tale of monk Upamanyu of severe tapa, whom the god blesses with an ocean of milk…he knows the science of protective bhasma, the supreme energy of fire…he undergoes relentless tapa, pleases the great lord, who appears, blesses him and fulfills all desires and later, declares Upamanyu a dear son and thus, goddess Parvati becomes mother

The great sages asked, “O lord Vayudeva, when Upamanyu, the elder brother of monk Dhoumya was a small child, he had undergone severe tapasya for milk, which he did not get in childhood because of poverty. Tapa pleased the great lord and he gave him the ocean of milk. Nevertheless, please throw light on the mystery on his tapa during the childhood. During the childhood, he attained the power to edify devotees on the real meaning of Shiva’s treatise, understood the truth of Shiva, and thereafter, he was engaged in meditation! During the intense penance, he learnt the science of bhasma – the supreme energy, the veerya of Fire called Rudra-agni. How he attained self-protective bhasma?” The monks asked many questions again.

Vayudeva said, “Upamanyu was not an ordinary boy, who had undergone austere tapa O sages. He was son of wise monk Vyagrapaad, a great siddha, who had attained perfection during a long period – in this life and next birth. Because of some reasons, social norms divested him of higher social status, for he had violated the path of yoga – discipline. Fortunately, he took birth in the home of a monk and so was son of a monk.”

Long back, when he lived with a maternal uncle, he got some milk to drink. While a son of uncle had taken hot milk as desired and stood before him. Upamanyu was distressed to see son of maternal uncle in this way and so he went to his mother and said affectionately, “O mother, the most fortunate woman and tapasvani – a woman of tapa, please give me hot and sweet milk of cow. I often take little milk...” His mother felt deeply anguished. She hugged the boy warmly, and thought of poverty and began to lament.

The child wept and demanded milk repeatedly. She thought over and then an idea struck her. She had stored some grains. She grinded the little bits, made powder, mixed it with water and made a drink and so it looked like milk. However, the child disliked it and told that it was not milk. She told that because of poverty, she had nothing at home. It was possible if lord Shiva was generous. Without lord’s kindness one cannot have milk. “Whatever, goddess Parvati and her ganas offer at the holy feet of lord is the cause of various kinds of wealth in the worlds, you should know.” She told with an agonised heart. They did not pray before the lord, so the lord was not kind and compassionate, and as a result, they remained poor. It was the major reason that they had no milk. She told that it was result of karmas of previous birth. Perhaps, they did not worship the great lord.

She told, “O son, we never prayed before Shiva with a wish to have wealth and so we are poor and because of this I am unable to get milk for you. Whatever, a man offers at the feet of Shiva or Vishnu in previous life, he gets it in this birth, the present life.”

Upamanyu said, “O mother, if goddess Parvati and Shiva are present, then, it is futile to grumble or feel aggrieved. O mother, you are fortunate. Forget sorrow. Everything will be good. O ma, listen. If Mahadeva exists, sooner or later, I shall ask for the Ocean of Milk from him.” She was very happy when she heard son Upamanyu, Vayudeva continued.

She said, “O son, you think well. The very thought you nurse, gives me pleasure. Do not waste time. Engage in prayers and chant bhajans (hymns of glory of the lord). Do not think of gods but concentrate with a devotional mind and heart, voice and deeds at the feet of Saamb Sadashiva and parshadaganas who are always with him and afterward also praise and sing hymns of glory and chant mantra of ‘Aum Namah Shivai.”

She revealed the significance of chanting of great mantra. If a man did japa with a pure heart, the japa of five letters conferred boon of liberation from all sufferings. She emphasised the import of the great mantra and asked him to engage in japa and as a result, its strength would protect future. She looked at him and with a smile said, “O son, go and do as I told. God bless you.”

He bowed before the wish of holy mother and was ready to go and undertake severe tapa. At that time, she blessed him and said, “May all the gods bless you, O son.”

He got the consent of mother and very soon went to the top cliff of Himalaya, and with an intensely concentrated mind and heart, began the most austere tapa. During the rigorous tapa, he survived on air only. He built a temple with eight bricks only, made a Shivalinga with mud and established it. He sought consent and symbolic presence of goddess Parvati and disciples of Shiva and with a devoted heart began japa of Aum Namah Shivai. At that time, a few monks suffering from the curse of sage Marichi began to disturb boy Upamanyu in meditation and tapa because they were under the control of weird and pisaches’ powers. However, the young monk continued to chant mantra with more force. The moment the monks heard the japa of five letters, they abandoned ghostly wickedness, stopped torturing the young devotee and began to serve the great mahatma Upamanyu. The intensity of tapa emitted terrific radiance and illuminated the entire world.

After some time, on the appeal of Vishnu, Shiva thought to go to Upamanyu who was undergoing tapa. Shiva, in the guise of Indra, fully attired mounted vehicle Airavata, the celestial vehicle (elephant) and went to the ashrama where monk Upamanyu with frail body was engaged in meditation. Spouse Sachi also accompanied Indra(Shiva) when the divine couple planned to visit Upamanyu’s ashrama. Many gods of heavens, asuras, siddhas and famous nagas escorted the lord. It presented a wonderful divine scenario and after a joyful journey arrived at the hermitage of sage. When Upmanyu, the greatest monk, observed Indra in the guise of Shiva, he got up, bowed before the lord, saluted reverentially and said, “O lord of gods, the crown of gods, you came here, it is great. It sanctified this ashrama.”

Indra in the guise of Shiva, said, “O elder brother of Dhoumya, great monk Upamanyo, I am greatly satisfied with the tapa. I bless you and you may ask for any boon….I shall bestow on you the most sacred things.”

Vayudeva looked at the brahmins and when Indra spoke the above words of blessing, monk said with folded hands, “I wish uninterrupted devotion to lord Shiva.”

“Do you know me?” Indra said, and after a pause told again, “I am lord of gods and the lord of all the three lokas – the worlds. All gods salute me. You become my devotee. Worship me and you will have blessings. I shall give everything but abandon bhakti of Rudra, the nirguna, the formless. He would not help to attain the objective because he is outside the family of gods and therefore, qualities of pisaches – the raksasas and the wicked govern him.”

Upamanyu intoned the mantra and thought that Indra had come to obstruct his path to dharma of tapa and therefore, after a thought, he said, “You are eager to humiliate and disgrace Shiva. But when you told he is formless – nirguna, you obviously spoke about the supreme significance of lord Shiva.”

He further told him that lord Rudra was the god of all. He was beyond the cycle of birth, rebirth and death and in fact, he was the creator of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. He was sat – the eternal truth and holder of delusory energy, and expressible, clear and still subtle, the eternal …he was the lord, whom the knower of tattva worshipped and who was the meaning of yoga and knowledge. He told mildly but frankly that it was better to seek blessing and boon from the great lord Shiva.

“I nurse desire for milk. It appears it shall remain unfulfilled. But, be sure, I shall make use of Shiva-sastra and assassinate you and then relinquish bodily frame if you do not stop…” Upamanyu said at last.

While chanting mantra, he released the weapon at Indra. Nandiswara’s consent stopped the weapon the monk had released in anger at Indra and later, the monk was ready to relinquish physical frame. Thus, Vayudeva continued to narrate the great tale.

Om Namaha Shivaya was expressive of Shiva, the lord of gods, who blesses everyone mortal or immortal. Seven crores of the mantra and Pranava Om merge and emerge again. The chanter of mantra, the strongest of all, is authorised devotee, they say and the mantra protected all souls good or wicked as if it were Shiva. Five-syllable mantra is supreme. Even aghora arrow takes birth from the mantra. Chanting ensures full protection, he told about the importance of mantra that was gist of devotion.

At that time, Shiva appeared, blessed him, and fulfilled all long cherished desires. The monk had glimpses of many oceans of not only milk but so many other delicious things. Oceans of divine pleasure had overwhelmed sage Upamanyu. Now, lord Shiva called the monk, smelt his forehead, blessed, and told him to enjoy life with intimate relations sans sufferings but lot of divine joys and comforts. Shiva happily agreed to bestow on devotee Upamanyu joys of life. The lord gave him the Ocean of Milk and offered oceans of honey, curd, food grains, new sumptuous eatables etc. and so declared him his son and goddess Parvati his mother. He gave the knowledge of Pasupata rites and rituals and knowledge, and thereafter, conferred the ability to eloquently speak and expound the subtle discourse. Vayudeva continued to speak about the divine tale of devotee of lord Shiva.

Shiva was happy at the radiance and splendour of monk’s penance and so granted boons. Afterward, Mahadeva hugged his dear bhakta, kissed forehead and then, gave him to goddess Parvati, who took the child in the lap. She placed her hand on the forehead and blessed him with the status of eternal son and then, bestowed on him all the valuable blessings and then imparted eternal knowledge of Brahma along with divine blessing. Upamanyu was immensely happy and satisfied with the divine blessings. Shiva granted eternal saintly attributes of a celibate and conferred the status of lord of ganas and gifted divinity filled ocean of milk. Only grace of lord gives knowledge whereas with the blessing of lord, the great devotee had attained knowledge of shakti during boyhood.

He folded hands and said happily, “O lord, be happy. Please give me the strength so that I am engaged in your divine bhakti. Grant blessing so that devotion to you that is divine, eternal and steadfast remains resolute forever. O Mahedva, bless me so that I revere and love my intimate relations and known people, who are your devotees. Bless me with the highest love so that I live near you.”

On the other hand, the goddess delightedly blessed him with yogic opulence, long-lasting contentment, perpetual knowledge of Brahma, health and affluence. Shiva gave him the Pasupata rite and knowledge, the eternal ability to propound and enlighten wise holy men and devotee with discourse, Vayudeva told, and it delighted the sages immensely. Therefore, the great lord granted devotion – divine and unflinching and so he attained supreme bliss.

The lord blessed him and conferred on him all boons and so happily, he returned to his mother and lived in divine bliss as he had glimpses and gifts of divinity.

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