Shiva Purana: Vayaveeya Samhita (2) - 6

As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 141

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Incarnations of Shiva is the subject of the great monk here, who talks of twenty-eight great gurusYogacharayas in the seventh Manavantara …men of austere habits who smear bodies with bhasma and live in denials… essence of Shiva, true meaning and allusions – Shaivism and its eternal principles

Later, in the next phase of narration, on the request of Krishna, Upamanyu told him about the twenty-eight incarnations of lord Shiva as Yogacharyas in the seventh Manavantara and his disciples in different Yugas. He also gave name of yogacharyas along with four disciples, who lived in the Varaha Kalpa. Disciples were of tranquil and serene minds. They were more than one hundred disciples of lord. They, were the great Siddhas, who performed Pasupata rites and smeared bodies with Bhasma (ashes of yagya considered sanctified, it is also symbol of renunciation and the great lord Shiva), understood fully the essence of various scriptures, and as such were learned men of the Vedas and Vedangas.

They were devotees of Shiva and sang hymns in lord’s praise and while living in the hermitage, they concentrated minds on Shiva. They lived for the wellbeing of created beings and never cared for the vagaries of weather and were men of extreme restraint and discipline beyond normal human flaws in acts, language and living. Strings of Rudraksa were the only ornaments they wore and had jutted hair or matted tresses or shaven heads. Food was simple and they often took fruit, roots, or leaves, practiced yoga, and meditated on Shiva. They lived a detached life and focused minds on Shiva.

Krishna wanted to know the essence and true nature of lord Shiva because he thought there was none in the three worlds, who could explain the true meaning of lord and implication of substance. His curiosity to know more about the lord increased, and thirst to gain wisdom and knowledge of Shavism and the trident-bearing lord was unquenchable. He wanted to know about goddess UmaParvati and asked questions about the stay when they were at Mandrachala Mountain while she sat beside Shiva.

Monk Upamanyu was delighted to hear very relevant questions and knew that Krishna was the right person and devotee of Shiva. The monk was happy. They were wandering in mountain Mandara that had many beautiful caves and while they loitered in the garden, an intimate and cheerful friend of Parvati brought many beautiful flowers and offered to the goddess, he told. Now, they sat leisurely and enjoyed the scenario for, she, the beloved of lord bedecked with wonderful flowers appeared divinely beautiful. Women and ganas continued to attend to the god and goddess.

She asked, “O lord, tell me how unintelligent men not interested in spiritual quests and principles and who observe no restraint, can win you?”

If a devotee even if he was genuine in the performance of holy rites, meditation, japa and had knowledge but lacked faith, could not control the great lord and win his heart. Only men of faith in the lord could worship or touch, the monk told what the lord had told goddess. Only men of faith can keep the lord under control and are eligible to enjoy lord’s blessings. It is also essential for the devotee to pursue duties and obligations relating to his caste and stage of life. Duties and obligations of life a man ought to perform in various stages of life are enshrined in the Vedas, and Brahma’s Dharma mentions the duties that Brahma had already told. Rites are difficult and carry stress for the devotees but men of faith can attain virtue, love, wealth and liberation, lord Shiva told Parvati. The monk continued to tell.

Only men of faith are fit to perform duties as Brahma’s assigns in respect of dharma of man and therefore, devotees who come to the lord rightly and with pure hearts, attain liberation and are free from the trap of dirt and maya because of lord’s grace, and therefore, they feel blessed. Finally, devotees merge in the great lord and become identical. If one performs duties as assigned, he is very dear to the lord and unites with the supreme bliss. He, who seeks shelter at lord’s feet even if he is unaware of the varna dharma, he salvages his soul and attains deliverance.

If one is distracted from the path of moksa, and tries to attain some other objective, it harms him and it is just attachment, blindness and stupidity. A man, who is not a devotee cannot have access to the knowledge of generations, lord told goddess. He further told that men, who are fools and do not practice Yoga should work hard. Sanatan Dharma has four stages – Knowledge, activity or acts, daily conduct and yoga. Awareness of pasu, pasa and pati is the genuine knowledge – jnana. Kriya is a process of purification as a guru guides.

Charya is application of routine rites with regard to prayer, worship and duties in different stages of life and castes. Yoga is fixation of mind and restraining of various activities of mind and body. Discipline of mind is superior to any other art and is conducive to salvation but not possible for men, who are fond of sensual objects. Detachment leads to knowledge and it makes easy to practice yoga. Mercy, non-violence, knowledge, truth, non-stealing, faith in holy books and god, self-restraint, teaching, studying, spirit of sacrifice, presiding over act of sacrifice, meditation, piety etc are good for the person, who practices yoga.

He, who works for the attainment of these qualities gets perfect knowledge and reaches stage of yoga. Due to the lord’s grace, a yogi discards entanglement of karmas, for karmas are obstacles in the path of liberation. Merit and demerit are worthless for a yogi. Mere rites do not help man to get rid of bondages. To aspire for fruit of actions means to stay in bondages – pasas. A devotee through karmayajna worships and then, he moves on to the path of knowledge and thereafter, it is easy to practice yoga, the monk told. Worship is external as well as internal.

Prayer is through words, mind and body, and worship and request is possible through observance of tapa, rites, japa, meditation and knowledge. Mind focused on lord, and lips that utter lord’s name are right. It is sincerity and genuineness toward lord that matters. If a devotee chants five-syllable mantra, pranava or hymn relating to Rudra it is not study of the Vedas, monk told Krishna what the great lord said to Parvati. Internal worship is the greatest, for it is within, and appears devoid of flaws and imperfections. It is not so with regard to external worship.

Purity relates to the internal apparatus of body. External purity is inadequate. Purity means both internal and external that makes a devotee true and so he reaches the preferred goal. If one is devoid of devotion, it causes loss. He told Krishna that lord wants internal and external purity from a devotee. Karma of soul is devotion and if devotion is mental, verbal and physical without a desire for fruit it is the best, he told. Lord bestows fruit depending upon the intensity of devotion. Lord loves devotees who meditate without hope of reward or fruit. Genuine dedication is a path to the land of Shiva, the monk told.

Only devotees of lord are the real great souls – mahatmas, who pursue eight-fold path of Dharma the lord prescribes and the characteristics of such devotees and noble souls are – love for devotees, adherence to worship and adoration, self-motivation towards lord’s worship, performance of bodily acts for the lord. To evince interest in listening to the blissful tale of lord, concentration on the lord, remembering the lord perpetually and to surrender at the feet of lord while earning livelihood are good for devotees.

Even if an outcaste adheres to the eight-fold principles of devotion of the lord, he is equal to a learned brahmin, a sage or an ascetic or a scholar the lord told holy goddess, monk Upamanyu continued as Krishna heard glorious teachings. If a man is devoted to the lord even if he works in a cremation ground, he is dearer to the lord than a master of the four Vedas is, the monk further told about what Shiva said to Parvati. He who surrenders with a deep sense of dedication to the lord, is always within great lord’s divine sight.

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More by :  P C K Prem

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