Archive for the ‘Mahadev’ Category

SHIVA

May 20, 2011

Shiva

Characteristics :

Destroyer, Kind Hearted

Other Names :

Shambhu Nath, Bhole Shankar, Shiv Shankar

Principal Scriptures:

Shiva Mahapurana

Consort :

Parvati

Sons :

Ganesha, Kartikay

Abode :

Mount Kailash

Vahana (Vehicle) :

Nandi (The Bull Representing Strength and Happiness)

Mula Mantra :

Om Namah Shivaye

Shiva Gayatri Mantra:

Aum Panchvakraye Vidmahe
Mahadevaye Dheemahi
Tanno Rudra Prachodayat

Lord Shiva or Siva is considered as the destroyer of the world. Shiva is one of the most popular gods of the Hindu religion. Lord Siva forms the part of the Trimurti (Trinity), the other being Brahma, the creator and Vishnu, the preserver. Shiva is known for the complexity of his nature, representing contradictory qualities. He is the destroyer and the restorer, the great ascetic and the symbol of sensuality, the kind herdsman of souls and a wrathful avenger.

Lord Shiva- The Role
Lord Shiva represents the vital goodness in the form of Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram i.e.; Truth, Goodness and Beauty .Lord Shiva performs a celestial role of dissolution and recreation of the universe, that’s why; he is mostly associated with the words, like destroyer and destruction. The role of Shiva is often confused with these terms and the difficulty arises, when the significance of his celestial role is not understood.

Lord ShivaThe conception is clear itself by a slight balance between the opposing forces of good and evil. When this balance gets disturbed and continuation of life becomes unfeasible, Lord Shiva dissolves the universe. This is known as ” pralay ” and it is done in order to create another cycle .So that the unliberated souls will get another opportunity to liberate themselves from the bondage of the material world. To put succinctly, Siva protects the souls from pain and suffering that is generated by the unhealthy universe.

Shiva – The Giver
Lord Shiva is known as the ”giver god”, lord of mercy and kindness. He always protects his devotees from evil forces like lust, greed and anger. He is the most kind -hearted God who grants boons and bestows grace to his devotees.

Shiva – The Image
Lord Shiva has the unclad body covered with ashes symbolizing the transcendental aspect of the universe. Siva’s three matted locks represent the integration of the mental, physical and spiritual energies. The crescent moon becomes the part of lord’s ornament symbolizing the time cycle through which creation evolves from the beginning to the end. The three eyes of Lord Shiva suggest: the Sun is his right eye, the Moon is the left eye and fire, the third eye.

The Snake around his neck symbolizes the yogic power, which he uses to dissolve and recreate the universe. The Rudraksha necklace worn by the lord shows that he uses his celestial powers without compromise,to maintain law and order. The trishula (trident), symbolizes the Lord’s three fundamental powers of will (iccha), action (kriya) and knowledge (gyana).The damaru (drum) and its two sides separated from each other symbolizes the two entirely dissimilar states of existence, invisible and evident.

The bull, Nandi is linked with Shiva and it is considered as his vehicle. The bull symbolizes both power and ignorance. Tiger’s skin makes Lord Shiva’s clothing and his seat, which illustrates the idea that he is the source of potential energy during the dissolution of the universe. Thus, Lord Shiva is well-regarded as the ultimate organizer of the birth and death in the corporeal world.

Shiva – The Lingam
Shiva is worshipped in his invisible and an unborn form, known as the lingam. Lingam is always accompanied by the Yoni, which is the female part, adjoining the base of the lingam. The lingam symbolizes the male creative power of Shiva.

Shiva Chalisa

Shiva Chalisa is a “forty verse” prayer. Verses are recited or chanted by groups. The acts and deeds of Shiva are recalled in these verses to aid the devotee to meditate on virtuous and noble qualities.

Lord Shiva

ll Doha ll
Jai Ganesh Girija Suvan, Mangal Mool Sujaan l l
Kahat Ayodhyadas Tum, Dehu Abhaya Vardan l

ll Chaupai ll
Jai Girijapati Deen Dayala, Sada Karat Santan Pratipala
Bhal Chandrama Sohati Neeke, Kanan Kundal Nag Phani Ke

Ang Gaur Shiv Ganga Bahaye, Mundamal Tan Kshar Lagaye
Vastra Khaal Baghambar Sohe, Chhavi Ko Dekh Nag Muni Mohe

Maina Matu Ki Priya Dulari, Bam Ang Sohat Chhavi Pyari
Kar Trishul Sohat Chhavi Bhari, Karat Sada Shatrun Shaykari

Nandi Ganesh Sohe Tanha Kaise, Sagar Madhya Kamal Hain Jaise
Kartik Shyam Aur Gana Raau, Ya Chhavi Ko Kahi Jaat Na Kaau

Devan Jabhee Jaaye Pukara,Tabahin Dukh Prabhu Ap Nivaara
Keen Upadrava Taarak Bhari, Devan Sab Mili Tumhee Pukari

Turat Shadanan Ap Pathayo, Luv Nimesh Mahi Mar Girayo
Ap Jallandhar Asur Sanhara, Suyash Tumhar Vidit Sansara

Tripurasur Sang Yuddha Machayi, Sabahin Kripa Kari Leen Bachayi
Keeya Taphin Bhagirath Bhari, Purahi Pratigya Tasu Purari

Darpa Chhod Ganga Tab Ayee, Sewak Astuti Karat Sadahee
Ved Naam Mahima Tav Gayaee, Akath Anadi Bhed Nahin Payee

Pragati Udadhi Manthan Mein Jwala, Jare Surasur Bhaye Vihaala
Mahadeva Tab Kari Sahayee, Neelkantha Tav Nam Dharayee

Poojan Ramchandra Jab Keenha, Lanka Jeet Vibhishan Deenha
Sahas Kamal me ho rahe dhaari, Keenha Pareeksha Tabahi Purari

Ek Kamal Prabhu Rakheu johee, Kamal Nayan Poojan Chahin Soyee
Kathin Bhakti Dekhi Prabhu Shankar, Bhaye Prasanna Deya Icchhit Var

Jai Jai Jai Ananta Avinasi, Karat Kripa Sab Ke Ghatvasi
Dushta Sakal Mohi Nitya Sataven, Bhramita Rahe Mohe Chain Na Aave

Trahi Trahi Main Nath Pukaro, Yeh Avasar Mohi Ani Ubaro
Lai Trishool Shatrun Ko Maro, Sankat Se Mohi Ani Ubaro

Mata Pita Bhrata Sab Hoi, Sankat Mein Poochat Nahi Koi
Swami Ek Hai Aas Tumhari, Aaye Harahu Mam Sankat Bhaari

Dhan Nirdhan Kon Det Sadaee, Arat Jan Ki Peer Mitaee
Astuti Kehi Vidhi Karahu Tumhari, Shamhu Naath Ab Chook Hamari

Shanker Ho Sankat Ke Nashan, Vighna Vinashan Mangal Kaaran
Yogi Yati Muni Dhyan Lagave, Sharad Narad Sheesh Navave

Namo Namo Jai Namah Shivaye, Sur Brahmadik Par Na Paaye
Jo Yeh Path Kare Man Layee, Tapar Hot Hain Shambu Sahayee

Riniya Jo Koi Ho Adhikaari, Paath Kare So Paavanhaari
Putra Heen Ichha Kar Koi, Nishchaya Shiv Prasad Tehi Hoi

Pandit Triyodashi Ko Lave, Dhyan Poorvak Hom Karave
Triyodashi Vrata Kare Hamesha, Tan Nahi Take Rahe Kalesha

Dhoop Deep Naivedya Chadhavai, Shanker Sanmukha Path Karavahi
Janam Janam Ki Pap Nasave, Anta Vaas Shivpur Men Paave

Hey Shankar Hai Aas Tumhari, Dukh Peera Ab Harahu Hamari

ll Doha ll
Nit Nem Kar Praatha Hee ,Paath Karo Chaalis l
Tum Meri Manokaamna, Puran Karo Jagdeesh ll
Magsar Chhati Hemant Ritu, Sanvat Chausadh Jaan l
Astuti Chaalisa Shivhi, Puran Keen Kalyaan ll

Shiva Legends

Shiva is considered as the destroyer of the universe, in Hinduism. Shiva is a complex god, in terms of nature and represents contradictory qualities, being the destroyer and the restorer simultaneously. There are numerous legends surrounding Lord Shiva and his powers. Here’re a few popular stories of Lord Shiva.

Story of Shiva Lingam – Why Shiva is worshipped in the Phallic Form
This is an interesting story regarding the worship of Lord Shiva in the phallic form. It is believed that once Brahma and Vishnu, the two deities of the Trinity, got into an argument regarding their supremacy. Lord Brahma declared himself to be more admired, being the creator. While the preserver, Vishnu, pronounced that he commanded more admiration. Just then a huge pillar of fire (lingam), called as Jyotirlinga, appeared in flames, before them. This Lingam enthralled both Brahma and Vishnu, with its hastily increasing size.

Legends of Lord Shiva With this incident, they forgot their quarrel and decided to find its size. Vishnu took the form of boar and went to the netherworld. Brahma assumed the form of a Swan and flew to the skies. However both of them were unsuccessful in completing the self-assumed tasks. At that time, Shiva appeared out of the lingam and acknowledged that he was the progenitor of both, Brahma and Vishnu. So, he should be worshipped in his phallic (lingam) form, and not in the anthropomorphic form.

Story of Shiva and the Hunter
Here is one more interesting story of Lord Shiva, showing his merciful nature. Once a hunter was wandering in a dense forest, to chase a deer and suddenly he found himself on the banks of river Kolidum, where he heard the roar of a tiger. In order to defend himself from the tiger, he climbed up a tree close by. The Tiger sat on the ground below the tree without the purpose to leave.

The huntsman stayed at the tree whole night and to keep himself awake, he plucked one leaf after another from the tree and threw it down. There was a Shiva Lingam under the tree and gracefully the tree turned out to be a ”bilva” tree (leaves of this tree are adored by Shiva). Without any knowledge, the huntsman had delighted the deity by pouring Bilva leaves all night. With the arrival of the sun, the hunter looked down and found the tiger gone. In its place, Lord Shiva was standing and he prostate before the lord. With Shiva’s blessings, he attained salvation from the bondage of the material world.

Different Names of Shiva

Lord Shiva is considered as the destroyer of the Universe as per the Hindu Mythology. Shiva is one of the most popular gods of the Hindus. Lord Shiva is a complex god like goddess Kali, being destroyer and restorer at the same time. Shiva is also known as Bhole Shankar, the innocent god, who gets appeased easily. Shiv Shambhu is also recognized as an ascetic, as he resides on Mount Kailash in meditation. God Shiv is worshipped usually in his phallic (Lingam) form. Special Worship of Shiva can be seen during the month of Saawan (July-August) of Hinduism. Lord Shiva is known by many different names. This list contains 108 names of Lord Shiva with their meanings:

Names

Meanings

Aashutosh

One Who Fulfills Wishes at once

Aja

Unborn

Akshayaguna

God with Numberless Attributes

Anagha

Without Any error

Anantadrishti

of Infinite Vision

Augadh

One Who Revels All the Time

Avyayaprabhu

Everlasting Lord

Bhairav

Lord of Terror

Bhalanetra

One Who Has an Eye in the Forehead

Bholenath

Kind Hearted Lord

Bhooteshwara

Lord of Ghosts and Evil Beings

Bhudeva

Lord of the Earth

Bhutapala

Protector of the Ghosts

Chandrapal

Master Of The Moon

Chandraprakash

One Who Has Moon As A Crest

Dayalu

Compassionate

Devadeva

Lord Of The Lords

Dhanadeepa

Lord Of Affluence

Dhyanadeep

Icon Of Meditation And Concentration

Dhyutidhara

Lord Of Radiance

Digambara

Ascetic Without Any Clothes

Durjaneeya

Difficult To Be Known

Durjaya

Unvanquished

Gangadhara

God Of River Ganga

Girijapati

Husband Of Girija (Parvati)

Gunagrahin

Acceptor Of Gunas

Gurudeva

Master Of All

Hara

Remover Of Sins

Jagadisha

Master Of The Universe

Jaradhishamana

Redeemer From Afflictions

Jatin

One Who Has Knotted Hair

Kailas

One Who Bestows Peace

Kailashadhipati

Lord Of Mount Kailash

Kailashnath

Master Of Mount Kailash

Kamalakshana

Lotus-Eyed Lord

Kantha

Ever-Radiant

Kapalin

One WhoWears A Necklace Of Skulls

Khatvangin

One Who Has The Missile (Khatvangin) In His Hand

Kundalin

One Who Wears Earrings

Lalataksha

One Who Has An Eye In The Forehead

Lingadhyaksha

Lord Of The Lingas

Lingaraja

Lord Of The Lingas

Lokankara

Maker Of The Three Worlds

Lokapal

One Who Takes Care Of The World

Mahabuddhi

Exceptionally Intelligent

Mahadeva

Greatest God

Mahakala

Lord Of All Times

Mahamaya

Of Great Illusions

Mahamrityunjaya

Great Victor Of Death

Mahanidhi

Great Storehouse

Mahashaktimaya

One Who Has Infinite Powers

Mahayogi

Supreme of All Gods

Mahesha

The Almighty

Maheshwara

Lord of the Lords

Nagabhushana

One Who Has Snakes as Ornaments

Nataraja

King of the Art of Dancing

Nilakantha

Blue Necked Lord

Nityasundara

Ever Beautiful

Nrityapriya

Lover of Dance

Omkara

Originator of OM

Palanhaar

One Who Protects Everyone

Parameshwara

First among All Gods

Paramjyoti

Greatest Splendor

Pashupati

Lord of All Living Beings

Pinakin

One Who Has a Bow In His Hand

Pranava

Originator of the Syllable of OM

Priyabhakta

Favorite of the Devotees

Priyadarshana

of Loving Vision

Pushkara

One Who Gives Nourishment

Pushpalochana

One Who Has Eyes like Flowers

Ravilochana

Having Sun as the Eye

Rudra

the Dreadful

Rudraksha

One Who Has Eyes like Rudra

Sadashiva

Eternal God

Sanatana

Eternal Lord

Sarvacharya

Preceptor of All

Sarvashiva

Always Chaste

Sarvatapana

Scorcher of All

Sarvayoni

Source of Everything

Sarveshwara

Lord of All Gods

Shambhu

One Who Bestows Prosperity

Shankara

One Who Gives Happiness

Shiva

Always Pure

Shoolin

One Who Has a Trident (Trishool)

Shrikantha

of Magnificent Neck

Shrutiprakasha

Illuminator of the Vedas

Shuddhavigraha

One Who Has a Pure Body

Skandaguru

Preceptor of Skanda

Someshwara

Lord of All Gods

Sukhada

Bestower of Happiness

Suprita

Well Pleased

Suragana

Having Gods As Attendants

Sureshwara

Lord Of All Gods

Swayambhu

Self-Manifested

Tejaswani

One Who Spreads Illumination

Trilochana

Three-Eyed Lord

Trilokpati

Master of All the Three Worlds

Tripurari

Enemy of Tripura

Trishoolin

One Who Has a Trident in His Hands

Umapati

Husband of Uma (Parvati)

Vachaspati

Lord of Speech

Vajrahasta

One Who Has a Thunderbolt in His Hands

Varada

Granter of Boons

Vedakarta

Creator of the Vedas

Veerabhadra

Supreme Lord of the Nether World

Vishalaksha

Wide-Eyed Lord s

Vishveshwara

Lord of the Universe

Vrishavahana

One Who Has Bull as His Mount

Story Related to Hanuman

May 20, 2011

Story Related to Hanuman

Hanuman“He [Hanuman] saw in that great city seven and eight story buildings inlaid with crystal and decorated with gold. Those houses of the Rakshasas shone brightly with their surfaces studded with vaidurya gems and decorated with strings of pearls.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 2.52-53)

saptabhaumāṣṭabhaumaiśca sa dadarśa mahāpurīm |

talaiḥ sphatikasaṃkīrṇaiḥ kārtasvaravibhūṣitaiḥ

vaiḍūryamaṇicitraiśca muktājālavibhūṣitaiḥ |

talaiḥ śuśubhire tāni bhavanānyatra rakśasām

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You work hard all your life, play by the rules, don’t bother anyone, and somehow manage to secure a high net worth full of valuable assets. When it comes time to protecting your wealth, you will go out of your way to ensure that the best possible care is taken and that all the potential pitfalls and areas prone to mistake are avoided. After all, it takes just one simple slip up, one move that is beyond the acceptable level of risk, to lose your entire fortune. One demoniac king in particular witnessed the devastating effects of improper wealth management, as one egregious transgression cost him everything, including the opulence of his kingdom. With all the wonderful palaces and their beautiful interior decorations adorning his city of Lanka, the king Ravana thought he was immune to loss. Yet due to his maltreatment of one particular individual, who also happened to be the source of all good fortune to not only him but to every single living entity in this world, everything would be lost.

!BkyHRS!Bmk~$(KGrHqYOKkIEsn!E07-YBLZBBurGl!~~_3Where does good fortune come from? Is not wealth rooted in our efforts of perseverance and unflinching dedication through adversity? If we take the risk of starting a new business, somehow manage to avoid having it be part of the ash heap of forgotten and failed ventures, and elevate it to a position of prominence in the world, should we not take some credit for the bountiful fruits that result? Surely there is reason to celebrate the rewards of material opulence that emerge from stiff competition in the business world, but taking ourselves to be the sole doers is a very short-sighted view. It is akin to the running back in football celebrating in the end zone after scoring a touchdown without acknowledging the hard work of the other ten members on the team. After all, if a running back had to face the defense, which consists of eleven players, all by himself, one against eleven, there would be no question of advancing to the goal line.

In a similar manner, success in any material venture requires the mutual cooperation of so many other entities, both large and small. A business that is successful at selling a product must have an appeal that makes the consuming public willing enough to peaceably and voluntarily part with their hard earned cash. Moreover, we know that many businessmen put in long hours at the office, play by the rules, and still don’t end up succeeding. Therefore there must be more to success and good fortune than just the actions of the doer. The actor in these cases is the individual, who gains his identity from the spiritual spark residing within the heart. The individual is the ishvara, or controller, of his body. He is the king of the castle. He decides what to do, where to go, and how to behave. But the other workings of the dwelling capable of action are out of the jurisdiction of the seemingly powerful and autonomous resident, the living entity. For instance, the spiritual spark has absolutely no control over the workings of the heart and the growth and appearance of the outer features. The heart, brain and vital organs operate involuntarily, as there is no conscious effort to keep them going.

“The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.27)

Bhagavad-gitaThe Vedas, the sacred texts coming down from time immemorial in India, accurately note that there are two spiritual entities residing within every life form. One spirit represents the individual entity, who is localized and very limited in his potencies. The other entity is all-pervading, for He actually resides within every heart, remaining connected through a giant network of consciousness. The individual spiritual spark is incapable of being privy to the consciousness of any other form of life unless and until other entities reveal information of their thought processes. Still, this sort of secondhand information isn’t the same as if one actually got to experience the events described. Even with the individual’s own experiences, consciousness is not perfect, as memories quickly fade. We know that we survived within the womb of our mother for nine months, but we have no memory of this time in our life.

“The Blessed Lord said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!” (Lord Krishna, Bg. 4.5)

The all-pervading soul, the one that has a unique, non-different instance in each life form, is conscious of not only every individual’s current life’s activities, but of every act that has ever been performed by any form of life existing past, present and future. In addition, this spiritual entity, which is known as the Paramatma, or Supersoul, is wholly responsible for distributing the results of action. Hence when we see two people train equally as hard for a specific race, with one person finishing the race more quickly than the other, we can understand that the worldly results and effects are due solely to the influence of the Supersoul and not the individual. As such, a wise man, one whose angle of vision has been purified through the acquisition of knowledge and dedication to the lotus feet of the original master of the universe, understands that all the assets he acquires are due simply to the grace of the most powerful spiritual entity, the owner of the divine consciousness.

Lakshmi-NarayanaThe Supersoul, though a direct but subtle manifestation of the original Personality of Godhead, doesn’t personally take part in any of the activities of the individual or in the distribution of outcomes. Rather, the Supersoul directs other entities, empowered living beings, to take charge of controlling various elements like rain, water, fire, wealth, punishment, etc. As far as fortune goes, no one is more wealthy than the Supreme Lord. Since He is married to the goddess of fortune, He is addressed by names such as Madhava and Shripati. Though His wife, who is known as Lakshmi Devi in the spiritual sky, controls all good fortune, her benedictions are not intended to be used unwisely. One who takes himself to be the doer and his worldly objects as his own is certainly not acting under intelligence. If he follows such a mindset and continues to ignore the source of all his wealth, he will gradually slip into a hellish condition. Such was the case with the demoniac king of Lanka many thousands of years ago.

Ravana, as a powerful Rakshasa leader, had tremendous opulence in his kingdom. We know many of the details of his extravagant position from the Ramayana, the beautiful, transcendental poem compiled by Maharishi Valmiki. The descriptions of Ravana’s kingdom and his palaces are found in the Sundara-kanda, or the book of beauty, of the Ramayana. Upon first glance, it may appear that this section is titled as such because of its inclusion of the descriptions of the interior of Ravana’s kingdom. But the beauty in this particular book lies solely in the feats of strength and exhibitions of undying love shown by Shri Hanuman, the servant of Lord Rama. As many waves as there are in the ocean are how many non-different incarnations of the person most of us refer to as God exist. His original form is described as exquisitely attractive and providing of unmatched transcendental bliss. Hence in the Vedic tradition He is known as Krishna. As Lord Rama, the Supreme Absolute Truth, the original Personality of Godhead, took on His warrior prince form, which was not devoid of any of the opulences belonging to the Supreme Person, including the ability to enchant others. Hanuman was one of the enchanted, as he dedicated his life to Rama as soon as he met the Lord. Rama needed some help from Hanuman, as His wife Sita Devi had gone missing. Just as Krishna, who is also known as Narayana in the spiritual world, had descended to the phenomenal world as Rama, Lakshmi had come as Sita Devi, the beautiful princess of Videha. As the most fortunate individual in any situation He finds himself in, Rama could not be married to any woman except Sita.

Sita and RamaThe miscreants are always jealous of God’s power and supreme position. In fact, this envy is the root cause of the existence of the material world. Ravana was unique in that his envy was at the highest level, for he was tasked with playing the role of God’s greatest enemy prior to his descent from the spiritual sky. Every individual is a spirit soul at the core, so by constitution everyone is a lover of God. When the loving propensity remains dormant or forgotten, attachment to worldly objects and opulence ensues. For as long as the delusion remains, the individual soul stays separated in terms of consciousness from the supreme loveable object. In reality, there is never any separation even after the descent of the purified soul from the spiritual sky. The Supersoul always accompanies the individual soul, but in the conditioned state, one takes their wealth as the object needing the most management and protection, while neglecting their actual valuable relationship with the divine entity residing within the heart.

Envious of Rama’s position, Ravana hatched a scheme to kidnap His wife. Rama is antaryami, or the supreme witness, so He knows all that goes on. As such, no one can cause Him any harm without His sanction. He is the Supersoul after all, so the ability that man is so proud of is actually sourced to the Supreme Spirit. Ravana’s taking of Sita set the wheels in motion for his demise. What’s ironic is that he already had tremendous opulence in his kingdom. He even had hundreds of beautiful wives he could cavort with regularly. Yet the benedictions provided by Lakshmi weren’t enough; he had to have her for himself. He had all the wealth in the world, and he protected it very well, but due to his maltreatment of Sita Devi, his fortune would be lost.

Hanuman bravely made his way to Lanka as part of a reconnaissance mission performed for Rama’s benefit. Hanuman’s task was to find Sita, and in order to succeed, he had to infiltrate Lanka. Deciding to assume a stature the size of a cat, Hanuman prepared to enter the majestic city. From the above referenced passage, we see that Hanuman saw seven and eight story mansions whose floors were bedecked with jewels and gold. It is one thing to have a high rise apartment or office building, but it is another to have the floors and surfaces fully inlaid with the most valuable jewels and crystals. This shows that Ravana indeed had tremendous wealth in his kingdom, opulence that he was very keen on protecting. His island was far away from any mainland, so its strategic location provided protection against enemy attack.

HanumanBut Hanuman was no ordinary enemy to Ravana. The demon had managed his wealth very well, but he neglected to take care of the source of all good fortune, that princess staying as a prisoner in the ashoka garden. Sita Devi was not treated very well in Ravana’s kingdom, as she was given an ultimatum that if she didn’t agree to become Ravana’s wife after a certain period of time, she would be killed. In addition, Ravana’s female Rakshasa associates were instructed to instill fear into her and harass her throughout the many days and nights she spent in separation from Rama. Because of his offenses, no amount of wealth management could protect Ravana from losing his assets which he originally had no claim to.

The tremendous opulence of the city was also meant to serve as a deterrent for anyone who thought of attacking. The spiritually disinterested and ignorant always take their mundane wealth and education to be indications of a highlife, one that is superior to the religious systems adopted by those considered destitute and poverty stricken. What the materially intoxicated don’t realize is that the highest class transcendentalist, one who understands the workings of the soul and the temporary nature of matter, sees excessive opulence not used for a tangible purpose as the greatest punishment. Ravana’s palaces were part of an illusion; they masked his high level of ignorance in regards to the supremacy of God and the temporary nature of life. By showing off their opulence, the demoniac hope to instill fear and awe in the saintly class.

Hanuman in LankaHanuman was impressed by the decoration of the city, but this didn’t stop him from proceeding forward. No amount of illusion can derail the train of spiritual freedom that is bhakti-yoga. Hanuman would eventually make his way to Sita, give her Rama’s ring, and then return back to Rama and inform Him of Sita’s location. But just before leaving Lanka, Hanuman gave Ravana a parting shot, a hint of what was to come. After Ravana set Hanuman’s tail on fire, the monkey-warrior decided to make the best use of the situation by expanding to a massive size and using his tail to burn the city. When Hanuman entered Lanka, there was a facade of opulence masking the demoniac nature of the king and his citizens. Upon leaving, Hanuman shore the city of its brilliance, exposing the Rakshasas for who they were, spiritually poverty-stricken individuals wholly deluded by illusion. Ravana’s high-story palaces fell like houses of cards. Rama would march to Lanka with millions of Hanuman’s closest friends and defeat Ravana and the Rakshasas. Sita would be rescued, and all would end well. Wherever Sita is well-protected and kindly served, there is never any chance of losing the most valuable asset one can attain in this life, love for God.

Lord SHIVA

December 5, 2009




Lord Shiva represents the aspect of the Supreme Being (Brahman of the Upanishads) that continuously dissolves to recreate in the cyclic process of creation, preservation, dissolution and recreation of the universe. As stated earlier, Lord Shiva is the third member of the Hindu Trinity, the other two being Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu.

Owing to His cosmic activity of dissolution and recreation, the words destroyer and destruction have been erroneously associated with Lord Shiva. This difficulty arises when people fail to grasp the true significance of His cosmic role. The creation sustains itself by a delicate balance between the opposing forces of good and evil. When this balance is disturbed and sustenance of life becomes impossible, Lord Shiva dissolves the universe for creation of the next cycle so that the unliberated souls will have another opportunity to liberate themselves from bondage with the physical world. Thus, Lord Shiva protects the souls from pain and suffering that would be caused by a dysfunctional universe. In analogous cyclic processes, winter is essential for spring to appear and the night is necessary for the morning to follow. To further illustrate, a goldsmith does not destroy gold when he melts old irreparable golden jewelry to create beautiful new ornaments.

Lord Shiva is the Lord of mercy and compassion. He protects devotees from evil forces such as lust, greed, and anger. He grants boons, bestows grace and awakens wisdom in His devotees. The symbolism discussed below includes major symbols that are common to all pictures and images of Shiva venerated by Hindus. Since the tasks of Lord Shiva are numerous, He cannot be symbolized in one form. For this reason the images of Shiva vary significantly in their symbolism.

* The unclad body covered with ashes: the unclad body symbolizes the transcendental aspect of the Lord. Since most things reduce to ashes when burned, ashes symbolize the physical universe. The ashes on the unclad body of the Lord signify that Shiva is the source of the entire universe which emanates from Him, but He transcends the physical phenomena and is not affected by it.
* Matted locks: Lord Shiva is the Master of yoga. The three matted locks on the head of the Lord convey the idea that integration of the physical, mental and spiritual energies is the ideal of yoga.
* Ganga: Ganga (river Ganges) is associated with Hindu mythology and is the most sacred river of Hindus. According to tradition, one who bathes in Ganga (revered as Mother Ganga) in accordance with traditional rites and ceremonies on religious occasions in combination with certain astrological events, is freed from sin and attains knowledge, purity and peace. Ganga, symbolically represented on the head of the Lord by a female (Mother Ganga) with a jet of water emanating from her mouth and falling on the ground, signifies that the Lord destroys sin, removes ignorance, and bestows knowledge, purity and peace on the devotees.
* The crescent moon: is shown on the side of the Lord’s head as an ornament, and not as an integral part of His countenance. The waxing and waning phenomenon of the moon symbolizes the time cycle through which creation evolves from the beginning to the end. Since the Lord is the Eternal Reality, He is beyond time. Thus, the crescent moon is only one of His ornaments, and not an integral part of Him.
* Three eyes: Lord Shiva, also called Tryambaka Deva (literally, “three-eyed Lord”), is depicted as having three eyes: the sun is His right eye, the moon the left eye and fire the third eye. The two eyes on the right and left indicate His activity in the physical world. The third eye in the center of the forehead symbolizes spiritual knowledge and power, and is thus called the eye of wisdom or knowledge. Like fire, the powerful gaze of Shiva’s third eye annihilates evil, and thus the evil-doers fear His third eye.
* Half-open eyes: when the Lord opens His eyes, a new cycle of creation emerges and when He closes them, the universe dissolves for creation of the next cycle. The half-open eyes convey the idea that creation is going through cyclic process, with no beginning and no end. Lord Shiva is the Master of Yoga, as He uses His yogic power to project the universe from Himself. The half-open eyes also symbolize His yogic posture.
* Kundalas (two ear rings): two Kundalas, Alakshya (meaning “which cannot be shown by any sign”) and Niranjan (meaning “which cannot be seen by mortal eyes”) in the ears of the Lord signify that He is beyond ordinary perception. Since the kundala in the left ear of the Lord is of the type used by women and the one in His right ear is of the type used by men, these Kundalas also symbolize the Shiva and Shakti (male and female) principle of creation.
* Snake around the neck: sages have used snakes to symbolize the yogic power of Lord Shiva with which He dissolves and recreates the universe. Like a yogi, a snake hoards nothing, carries nothing, builds nothing, lives on air alone for a long time, and lives in mountains and forests. The venom of a snake, therefore, symbolizes the yogic power.
* A snake (Vasuki Naga): is shown curled three times around the neck of the Lord and is looking towards His right side. The three coils of the snake symbolize the past, present and future – time in cycles. The Lord wearing the curled snake like an ornament signifies that creation proceeds in cycles and is time dependent, but the Lord Himself transcends time. The right side of the body symbolizes the human activities based upon knowledge, reason and logic. The snake looking towards the right side of the Lord signifies that the Lord’s eternal laws of reason and justice preserve natural order in the universe.
* Rudraksha necklace: Rudra is another name of Shiva. Rudra also means “strict or uncompromising” and aksha means “eye.” Rudraksha necklace worn by the Lord illustrates that He uses His cosmic laws firmly – without compromise – to maintain law and order in the universe. The necklace has 108 beads which symbolize the elements used in the creation of the world.
* Varda Mudra: the Lord’s right hand is shown in a boon- bestowing and blessing pose. As stated earlier, Lord Shiva annihilates evil, grants boons, bestows grace, destroys ignorance, and awakens wisdom in His devotees.
* Trident (Trisula): a three-pronged trident shown adjacent to the Lord symbolizes His three fundamental powers (shakti) of will (iccha), action (kriya) and knowledge (jnana). The trident also symbolizes the Lord’s power to destroy evil and ignorance.
* Damaru (drum): a small drum with two sides separated from each other by a thin neck-like structure symbolizes the two utterly dissimilar states of existence, unmanifest and manifest. When a damaru is vibrated, it produces dissimilar sounds which are fused together by resonance to create one sound. The sound thus produced symbolizes Nada, the cosmic sound of AUM, which can be heard during deep meditation. According to Hindu scriptures, Nada is the source of creation.
* Kamandalu: a water pot (Kamandalu) made from a dry pumpkin contains nectar and is shown on the ground next to Shiva. The process of making Kamandalu has deep spiritual significance. A ripe pumpkin is plucked from a plant, its fruit is removed and the shell is cleaned for containing the nectar. In the same way, an individual must break away from attachment to the physical world and clean his inner self of egoistic desires in order to experience the bliss of the Self, symbolized by the nectar in the Kamandalu.
* Nandi: the bull is associated with Shiva and is said to be His vehicle. The bull symbolizes both power and ignorance. Lord Shiva’s use of the bull as a vehicle conveys the idea that He removes ignorance and bestows power of wisdom on His devotees. The bull is called Vrisha in Sanskrit. Vrisha also means dharma (righteousness). Thus a bull shown next to Shiva also indicates that He is the etemal companion of righteousness.
* Tiger skin: a tiger skin symbolizes potential energy. Lord Shiva, sitting on or wearing a tiger skin, illustrates the idea that He is the source of the creative energy that remains in potential form during the dissolution state of the universe. Of His own Divine Will, the Lord activates the potential form of the creative energy to project the universe in endless cycles.
* Cremation ground: Shiva sitting in the cremation ground signifies that He is the controller of death in the physical world. Since birth and death are cyclic, controlling one implies controlling the other. Thus, Lord Shiva is revered as the ultimate controller of birth and death in the phenomenal world.

Shiv Katha

July 9, 2009

Shiv

Shiv Katha

It is said that Brahma sat in deep meditation holding all his vital energies and from the sound of Om that he held close to his heart, emerged Shiv. He came out of Brahma’s forehead.

Shiv married twice, once the granddaughter of Brahma, named Sati and also married Sati again when she was reborn as Parvati, the daughter of the King of the Himalayas, Daksha. He had two sons, Ganesh and Kartikeya.

Shiv is destroyer of evil and the most feared of the gods. He is commonly depicted seated in profound thought, with a third eye in the middle of his forehead. His hair is matted and the crescent moon sits on his head. The river Ganges flows from his head. One popular myth has it that the Divine river Ganges condescended to come down to earth after being assured that Shiv the great god of the Himalayan mountains, had been pleased with a devotees penance, and had agreed to bear the impact of the falling torrents of the river by controlling it in the matted locks of his head.

JYOTIRLINGA

Centuries ago, Shiv is said to have revealed himself to his true devotees in the form of a Jyoti or light. On their request to reside by them for an eternity, he installed himself near them, as Linga. Thus amongst the several lingas in the world, we have 12 which are called the Jyotirlinga. Many have described these Jyotirlinga as the divine light that emerged from the earth at the onset of creation of Mankind, while others see it as a golden egg, as bright as a thousand suns. The places where these are located are today considered to be pilgrim centers, a reference of which can be found in Shiv Purana.

1. SOMNATHShiv - 12 J Ling

An interesting story is associated with the emergence of this Jyotirlinga situated in the Veraval (Prabhas Kshetra) in Kathaiwad district. According to the Shiv Purana it was on the request of the Chandrama and other Gods that Bhagwan Shankar assumed the name Somchandra (Jyotirlinga) and resided there eternally. He became famous by the name of Somnath in the three worlds. It was the Prabhas Kshetra where Bhagwan Shri Krishna performed all his Lilas.

2. BHIMASHANKAR JYOTIRLINGA

Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga is situated in the north of Pune, on the Sahayadri, by the banks of the river Bhima. Pleased by the devotion of a king named Bhimak of the Sun dynasty, Shiv called the Jyotirlinga in his name. However, the Shiv Purana states that Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga is situated on the Mountain Brahmapur, district Kamrup of Assam, where Shiv had incarnated so that he could destroy the demons and protect his devotees. On the sincere request of the Gods and sages he agreed to reside there eternally by the name of Bhimashankar.

3. GHRUSHMESHWAR

The Jyotirlinga named Ghrushmeshwar, Ghurmeshwar or Ghushmeshwar is situated in a village called Verul, approximately 100 kms from Manmad station. The Shivpuran speaks of the emergence of the linga through the following story.
In the southern direction, on a mountain named Devagiri there lived a Brahmin named Brahmavetta Sudharm, along with his wife Sudeha. They did not have a child of their own because of which Sudeha got her sister Ghushma married to her husband. By the blessing of Shiv Ghushma was blessed with a beautiful fortunate baby boy. This made Sudeha jealous towards her sister and so one night she took Ghushma’s son and killed him and threw him in a lake. The next morning so absorbed was Ghushma in worshipping Shiv, that she did not deter even when she was told about her son’s death. She said, he who has given me this child shall protect him, and started reciting ‘Shiv-Shiv’ continuously. Pleased, Lord Shiv appeared before her and told her that her sister had killed her son. Ghushma however, told Shiv to forgive Sudeha and asked him to reside there in the form of a Jyotirling eternally for the benefit of the multitudes and be known by her name.

4. KEDARESHWAR

Shri Kedareshwar is situated on the Himalayas, on a mountain named Kedar. NarNarayan, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu performed severe penance in Badrikashraya of Bharat Khand. He regularly prayed to the Shivalinga. Pleased with his undeterred faith and devotion, lord Ashutosh asked him to wish for something. Nar Narayan, requested him to reside there eternally so that all people who worshipped him would be freed from their miseries. Granting the boon, Shiv assumed the form of a linga that was installed on the Kedar Mountain.

This is amongst the seven holy places that can liberate a human.

5. MAHAKALESHWAR LINGA


According to a story, a five-year-old boy named Shrikar was enthralled seeing the devotion of king Chandrasena of
Ujjain towards Shiv. He took a stone and by considering it a linga started worshipping it regularly. Pleased by the boy’s devotion Shiv assumed the Jyotirlinga form and resided in it. This Jyotirlinga is situated below the ground in a Garbha Griha. The linga is quite big in size and is encircled by a snake of silver. On one side of the linga there is the idol of Lord Ganesha, on another side is the idol of Parvati and Kartikeya.

6. MALLIKARJUNA

This is situated on mountain named Shri Shaila by the banks of the Krishna river in the state of Tamil Nadu of Southern India. It is also known as Kailash of the south. It is believed that by merely seeing the tip of this mountain one is free from all his sins and worries. The person becomes free from the vicious cycle of life and death. According to the Shiv Purana, when Shri Ganesh was married before Kartikeya it made Kartikeya angry, and despite being consoled by his parents Shiv-Parvati, he went away to the Kraunch Mountain. Shiv-Parvati were very sad and both decided that they would go to Kraunch mountain themselves. When Kartikeya came to know that his mother-father have arrived he went away. Eventually Lord Shiva assumed the form of a Jyotirlinga and resided on that mountain by the name of Mallikarjuna. Mallika means Parvati, while Arjuna is another name of Shiva. In this way both Shiva and Parvati reside in this linga.

7. NAGESHWARAM


I Shri Nageshwarnath Jyotirlinga is situated on the way from Gomati Dwarka to Bait Dwarka.According to the Shiv Purana there was once a demon called Daruk who had collected a huge army of demons and had started harassing all the innocent people residing in the sea. Amongst his prisoners there was a prisoner by the name Supriya. He was a great devotee of Shiv. He advised all prisoners to recite the mantra ‘AUM NAMAHA SHIVAYA.’

When Daruk came to know about this he ran to kill Supriya. Shiv then appeared through a small hole and a beautiful temple with walls was formed. In the middle of the temple a lustrous JyotirIinga was installed. In this way Shiv resides there eternally by the name of Nageshwar and Goddess Parvati by the name Nagesbwari. According to the Shiv Purana who ever reads with devotion the story of the birth and greatness of this Jyotirlinga will get all material happiness and will attain divine status in the end.

8. OMKARESHWAR


God of all the Gods Shiv’s Omkareshwar linga is situated on the mountain Mandhata. Mammaleshwar is another name which comes in the context of OMKARESHWAR, however the existence of these two is actually different. It is said that once upon a time Vidhya Parvat practiced severe penances and worshipped Parthivarchana along with Lord Omkareshwar for nearly six months. As a result Shiv was pleased and blessed him with the desired boon. On the sincere request of all the Gods and the sages Shiv made two parts of the ling. In one he resided as the Pranav or Omkar and assumed the form of Omkareshwar and Bhagwan Sadashiva, while parameshwar, Amareshwar or Amaleshwar assumed form from the Partivlinga.

9. RAMESHWARNATH


It is said that Ram installed this Linga here, when he was on his way to attack Ravana. Ram made a linga of sand and worshipped it and asked to be blessed so that he could vanquish Ravana. He also requested Shiv to reside eternally here so that entire mankind could benefit from it. Shiv then manifested himself and the Linga got installed there for eternity. Those who go to Rameshwar and seek Shiv’s blessings, shall always reside in Shivloka. There is a Shrine named Dhanushkodi twenty miles away from Rameshwaram. It is known for rites performed for the deceased ancestors. In the vicinity of this there are a number of temples.

10. TRIMBAKESHWAR

Shri Trimbakeshwar is situated in the district Nashik of Maharashtra state. Near this is the Brahmagiri mountain from which the Godavari flows. Once upon a time there lived a sage name Gautam with his wife named Ahilya. The ultimate aim of their life was penance and good of others. However the wives of other sages staying in the vicinity, jealous of them, conspired with their husbands, to drive Gautam Rishi and his wife out of the area. All the sages came together and started worshipping Ganesh who tried to dissuade the sages but when the sages did not listen he gave them what they wanted. The sages set up a trap for Gautam Rishi who humbly agreed to take the punishment for the crime that was pinned on him. The sages suggested a penace that only Gautam Rishi’s determination could make him complete. Seeing his dedication, Shiv told him the truth. However Sage Gautama defended those sages and pleased with him, Shiv gave him a boon. Gautam Rishi asked for the Ganga to stay there eternally for the good of all the people. On the request of all the Gods, Shiv resided by the river Gautami by the name Trimbakeshwar (one of the JyotirIingas.). This Jyotirlinga named Trimbak, is the one which fulfills everyone’s desires. It emancipates all from their sins and miseries.

11. VAIJNATH


This Jyotirlinga is situated, in the south west of Keeul Station situated on the Patna-Calcutta railway route. It is said that once Ravana started worshipping Shiv with mind and soul. He would partake Panchagni in the hot summer months, while staying in the cold water throughout winters. During the rains he would stay in the open fields and practice serve penance. He made a Parthivlinga and instal1ed it. He dug a pit near it and lighted fire just beside it. The Vedic scriptures state that he worshipped Shiv in front of the fire. One by one he would cut his heads and offer it to the Lord. When he was about to offer his tenth head to the God, Shiv appeared and blessed him with a boon. Ravana asked for invincibility and tremendous might and power and requested Shiv to accompany him to Lanka. Shiv gave him a linga telling Ravana that the Ling would fix itself to the ground and shall remain there for eternity. He thanked Shiv and holding the linga carefully started of for Lanka. On the way however, Ravana handed over the linga to a small boy who could not withstand the weight of the linga and dropped it on the ground. Despite all his efforts Ravana could not lift it. This Shiv linga is the Jyotirlinga named Vaijnath. By worshipping Vaijnath Jyotirlinga one can eliminate all worries and miseries, and attain Moksha.

I2. VISHWESHWARNATH


This Jyotirlinga is situated in Kashi and is famous by the name of Shiv Vishwanath Kashi. According to the scriptures this place was forever destroyed when the earth was submerged under water (Pralaya). It is believed that those who die here attain liberation and it is here that Shiv gives the Tarak Mantra. The one who prays and worships Vishweshwar with devotion attains all his desires and one who incessantly recites his name attains all siddhis and finally gets liberated.