The verses in Siva Puranam illustrate the profound philosophy of Shaivism.
Sivapuranam in English – Vayaviya Samhita
Spoke Sage Soota :
Holy sirs! Now we come to the last leg of our Shiva Puran Journey. It is a very enlightening chapter. It may contain answers to several questions that your minds have been always troubled over. So, you must hear carefully. In Varaha Kalpa there arose a debate amongst the seers, sages and spiritual scholars about who or what exactly was the Parabrahma, the Eternal Force PRIMORDIAL. There were different opinions. So, all of them went to Creator Brahma to seek the explanation.
Brahma revealed that Shiva was that Eternal Force who inspired the creation of the universe by manifesting as the members of Trinity. He kept manifesting in different forms to fill the gaps, solve the problems, remove hurdles, provide guidance, deal with by product villains and for so many other reasons. A plethora of incarnations, manifestations, secondary manifestations was confusing the sages. Then, Brahma produced a luminous wheel ‘Manomaya’ and tossed it in the space.
told the sages that Vayu, the wind god would blow away their confusions and provide all the answers. The sages were advised to perform a Satra yajna where the wheel would land to invoke Vayu. All the sages followed the wheel as it sailed through the space, Then it headed towards the earth to the delight of the sages. It fell in a forest which came to be known as Naimish Aranya.
The wheel had struck a stone and smashed and it that spot came to be known as Chakra Teertha because it became a pilgrim centre. The sages performed the yajna there that lasted ten thousand years. At last Vayu materialised before the sages accompanied by his host of 49 kinds of wind powers as Brahma had prophesied.
To Vayu all the sages made obeisance and prayed to enlighten them on the subject of what was the real form of Primordial Power Supreme and who amongst the deities really represented that eternal force? Through Brahma Vayudeva already knew the academic issue the sages were agitated over.
Shiva Tattwa (Element)
Vayudeva revealed Shiva Tattwa (core element) was the Primordial Force. And that Tattawa was better known as ‘Rudra’. He asserted that Rudra indeed was the Parabrahma. Rudra brought Brahma and other divitities into the existence. He is eternal, transcends time and space, is constant and luminous as sun at its brilliant best.
He is Eeshana the master of all and everything. He pervades everything yet is beyond everything. He exists in every creature as its soul element but does not become a part of it and does not participate in acts. He does not have eyes but nothing is secret from it. No ears He has but listens every sound. He knows nothing but knows all.
He is the core of the atom and at the same time it is infinitely big. He is beyond desires, conditions, states, properties, scopes, shapes, forms and time. He is self radiant. No work, profession or occupation He engages in. No sign or symbol He has. He is unborn, eternal and infinite. Such is Rudra. He is the soul of Ultimate truth. Such Shiva Tattwa is wroth knowing and seeking.
Sages asked Vayudeva to explain the mystery of time. How the time could be brought under one’s control?
Vayudeva revealed: Time (Kaal) is beyond the scope of everyone except Shiva Tattwa. Only it transcends time factor. Infact time, seconds and moments are light, flashes and shimmerings of the radiance of Shiva Tattwa. No one else but Him can transgress time. Everything is subject to time. Even Trinity is bound by it.
The mystery of time defies any solution or explanation. It was difficult to grasp as Shiva Tattwa. Time is the nothingness on which destiny writes something which is our fate. The life of all the creatures is dictated by the time and it rules all the worlds.
The time is the regulator of air, sunshine, cold and rain through seasons making crops grow, ripen, trees flower, bear fruit, snow fall on hills to keep the rivers ever replenished etc. It makes sure that everything bom is led to old age and death. For the time immortality is the ugliest word. No one has ever won battle against time. It takes toll from everything and everyone. All things of the world are just a matter of time and time itself is a matter of eternal mystery.
Then, Vayudev proceeded to tell the sages about the measurements of time and its spans of ages. A wink of an eye makes a Nimisha (moment). The time taken by an eyelid to fall and rise is thus the basic unit. Fifteen Nimishas make as Kashta (second). Thirty Kashtas become a Kuala (minute). Thirty Kaalas make a Muhurta (hour).
Thirty Muhuratas add up to make an Ahoratra (Day/night). Fifteen days make a Paksha (Fortnight). Two fortnights or thirty days become a month. The Pakshas are Shukla Paksha, the period of the ascending moon phase and Krishna Paksha, the period of waning moon phase.
Six months make an Ayana (Solstice). Two Ayanas, Uttarayana (Winter solstice) and Dakshinayana (Summer solstice) make a year which has twelve months. This is an earth year. One earth year makes a day of celestial world of the gods. Our solstices are their day and night. Such twelve months make one celestial year. Thus, one celestial years is equal to 360 earth years.
According to this scale ages (Yugas) or aeons are determined. A creation (life of a universe) is divided in four Yugas (Ages or Aeons). The first is Krita Yuga having 4800 celestial years. In earth years, it comes to the figure of 17,28,000. The next is Treta Yuga having 3600 celestial years or 12,96,000 earth years. Dwapara Yuga consists of 2400 celestial years or 864000 Earth years. Kaliyuga has 1,200 celestial years or 4,32,000 earth years. Thus the total span of four Yugas is 12,000 celestial years or 43,20,000 earth years.
And then, four Yugas make a Mahay uga and around 71 Mahayugas become a Manvantra. 14 Manvantras make a Kalpa. One thousand Kalpas are one year of Brahma. A term of Brahma extends to such 8000 Brahma years. Entire life span of Brahma (8000 Brahma years, 14 Manvantras or 71 Mahayugas) is just one day of Vishnu.
Entire span of Vishnu is just one day for Rudra. Total life of a Rudra is only a day of Maheshwara. When one Maheshwara ends up into Him it is one day of Shiva. For five faced Shiva there is no time scale or time form or time limit. A life of a cosmos is His day and the night is Doom of the cosmos. Really days or nights do not exist for Shiva.
Shiva specially created Brahma to start the work of creation of this universe. After coming into existence Brahma received the divine command to create. He started creating things or creatures by using his imagination. Everything that came into existence was just a brainchild of Brahma. But such creation was static. It did not evolve or multiply on its own or generate diversity.
The created world had become stagnant. So, creator made penance to seek guidance from the Deity Supreme. In answer He showed up in Ardhanareeshwara form. It gave Brahma the hint that he needed to create gender based world with male and females to sexually interact and reproduce to add variety and evolutionary spirit.
By manifesting His female Shakti aspect He showed Brahma what female form was like. Then Brahma started to create gender based world and reproductive creatures’ began to multiply and evolve. Brahma no more had to create from his mind. A self generative world was diversifying madly by mating, romancing and capulating.
Tale Of Divine Mischief
Introduction of sex in the creation generated a host of new factors. The sentiments of love, lechery, romance, soft feelings,philandery etc. came into play as side effects. Kama, Rati and Basant Sena were born to run the business of love. The life had become very exciting and animated.
Even the divine ranks found sex very interesting. They found unprecedented joy in amorous games, playing hide and seek, romancing and a bit of teasing. Sex had added spice to their lives as well. Even Shiva and Parvati found the game of teasing each other very pleasing in a wicked way. Parvati had dark complexion. Shiva found great pleasure in teasing her by calling her Kaali (the blacky).
It hurt Parvati and often she got madly angry. Sex had seeded the sentiment of jealousy in her mind. Now whenever she saw a woman with fair complexion she felt jealous. One day when Shiva again called her Kaali she stormed out seething in anger. To the deep forest she went and began to make penance to demand fair colour from Brahma.
With a deep devotion and an intense feeling she carried on her exercise. In that very forest a tiger lived that failed to find a prey for a couple of days. gender based world and reproductive creatures’ began to multiply and evolve. Brahma no more had to create from his mind. A self generative world was diversifying madly by mating, romancing and capulating.
Tale Of Divine Mischief
Introduction of sex in the creation generated a host of new factors. The sentiments of love, lechery, romance, soft feelings, philandery etc. came into play as side effects. Kama, Rati and Basant Sena were born to run the business of love. The life had become very exciting and animated.
Even the divine ranks found sex very interesting. They found unprecedented joy in amorous games, playing hide and seek, romancing and a bit of teasing. Sex had added spice to their lives as well. Even Shiva and Parvati found the game of teasing each other very pleasing in a wicked way. Parvati had dark complexion.
Shiva found great pleasure in teasing her by calling her Kaali (the blacky). It hurt Parvati and often she got madly angry. Sex had seeded the sentiment of jealousy in her mind. Now whenever she saw a woman with fair complexion she felt jealous. One day when Shiva again called her Kaali she stormed out seething in anger. To the deep forest she went and began to make penance to demand fair colour from Brahma.
With a deep devotion and an intense feeling she carried on her exercise. In that very forest a tiger lived that failed to find a prey for a couple of days. The hunger was making it mad and desperate. Then, it saw Parvati in the posture of meditation there. It tried to pounce at her. But strangely however hard it mary try it was not reaching her.
The noise made Parvati open her eyes and spot the tiger in attack mode. She did not panic or feel angry. She looked into the eyes of tiger with compassion as if it were her pet or child. The tiger felt satiated and its cruelty was also gone. It stayed in the abode of Parvati as a pet on guard. It would sit near Parvati while she meditated. Sometimes it would close its eyes and try to emulate her.
Meanwhile, the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha had made the lives of the gods miserable. They had sought the protection of Brahma and he in turn went to Parvati to seek her help. Parvati told Brahma about her intention to shed her black skin and gain a fair one by the grace of Holy Father. Brahma prayed her not to shed away her black complexion till the evil demons were not properly dealt with.
In response to the prayer of Brahma, Parvati manifested an alter ego from her dark element which was called Kaushiki. Brahma presented her a lion to serve as her mount and got her stationed at Vindyachala where the demons were living. Brahma arranged for food and drinks of Kaushiki. Later, Kaushiki challenged the demons and slew them one by one and finally made Shumbha and Nishumbha too a history.
Gauri And Somanandi Tale
After sending her black element to fight the demons, the left behind Parvati had now become Gauri, a milky white complexioned beauty. As Gauri she went back to Kailasha accompanied by her faithful pet tiger. The sight of Gauri, the new look Parvati surprised the ganas and attendants. They stared in disbelief. At first they could not recognise her. Gauri went straight into the room of Shiva to give him a surprise of his life.
Shiva looked at her with eyes wide open. Only the features said it was Parvati indeed and not any stranger. He now realised what she had done. Shiva sprang up and gathered Gauri in his arms and danced around planting kisses on her.
When excitement died down Gauri revealed about Devi, Kaushiki and her mission. Then ganas brought in Gauri’s tiger. Gauri said she would keep the tiger as her pet and guard if He had no objection. Lord looked at the tiger benignly and lo! It transformed into a fine soldierly woman. Gauri and Shiva named her ‘Somanandi’.
Yoga And Shiva Mantras
Vayudeva explained to the sages how Deity Supreme Shiva had created and laid down eight disciplines of yoga called Ashtangayoga, namely- Yama, Niyama, Aasana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. The regular exercise of these disciplines can set one aglow with Shiva power and shall lead to the true knowledge and spiritual siddhi (mastery). This will require a great dedication and perseverance only ascetic minded seekers may muster.
But Shiva is a benign Lord who can be available to the ordinary folk as well and there are singular regimes to earn His grace. Just incantation of eight mantras of Shiva’s name can be as rewarding as yoga regimes. The only requirement is the true faith and honest devotion to Supreme Deity. The Ashtamantras are.
- Om Shivayananah.
- Om Maheshwarayanamah
- Om Rudyanamaha.
- Om Vishnavemamaha.
- Om Pitamahayanamah.
- Om Samsarabhishaenamah.
- Om Atmayanamah.
- Om Parmatmayanamah.
The five of these are invocation of Lord and the letter three are salvation earners. The incantation of three even without delving into the depths of their mystical import are efficacious.
Even those who can’t afford to engage in the incantation rituals there are still more simple and practical ways to earn His grace. Adopting some noble values as principles of life, making them a habit or a part of everyday exercise amount to worship of Lord in true sense and silent incantation or penance making indirectly. It is sublime pooja of Shiva. Adopt following disciplines in every day life.
- Control over sensory temptations,
- Compassion to all,
- Peaceful conduct without harbouring enmity to any one and being forgiveful,
- Being considerate,
- Dedication to duty – It is practical meditation and
- Being polite and corteous to all and
Vayudeva also revealed the ways of worshipping Lingams practised by various sects or families according to their traditions. To examplify the generosity of Lord he recounted the story of Upamanyu.
Upamanyu was the son of Sage Vyaghrapada. Soon after his birth the sage died. His wife went to live with her brother with her young child. The uncles of Upamanyu used to live in a joint family. They had their own sons.
The family had plenty of milk for its own children but not a drop for poor Upamanyu. His mother was a helpless woman living at the mercy of her brothers. She could not complain or demand. Her child often looked at the milk guzzling boys of the family longingly.
He looked at her mother pitiably, silently demanding milk. To console her child the mother put some flour in a bowl of water and prepared a whitish solution. She gave it to him as milk. The child knew it was just a make believe milk. It broke her heart.
The boy now consoled has mother and told her that he would make penance to propitiate Shiva and gain the sublime milk of His grace for both of them. He did go to the forest and made a severe penance. His penance worried the gods. They went to Kailasha to pray to Shiva.
To test the devotion of the boy Shiva went to Upamanyu in the disguise of Indra and tried to trick the young faithful but the young devout was firm on his resolve and refused to budge from his objective.
At last Shiva manifested with his Consort before the boy and gave him many boons without asking. By His grace Upamanyu gained sublime Shivajnana and later gave the benefit of his knowledge to Lord Krishna when he went to Kailasha to gain the grace of Deity Supreme.
After hearing the long sermon of Vayudeva and getting all the doubts banished and mysteries unfolded the sages offered the final oblations to conclude their long yajna. Then, they all went to take the holy bath and proceeded to make obeisance to Brahma. Brahma advised them to go to Sumeru mountain where they would meet Sanatakumara who was waiting for them. Holy father said all of them were to gain moksha soon and for that they needed to undertake Pashupata Vrata.
The sages went to Sumeru and found Sanatakumara making penance. They revealed how Brahma had sent them to meet him. Just then Nandikeshwara arrived there. They ail made obeisance to him. Sanatakumara revealed the identity of the sages and requested Nandikeshwara to give the benefit of his sublime knowledge to them.
Nandikeshwara obliquely spoke on Shivatattwa and enlightened the visitors. Then he went away and the sages also departed for Prayaga where they performed the holy Ates and took dips. There they learnt about the impending arrival of Kaliyuga. This made them go to Kashi to undertake Pashupata Vrata. It ended in success and all of them gained Shiva domain.
Vyasa spoke, This concludes Shiva Puran. One who recites its or hears it gets all his sins cleansed. The second time doing so gains one devotion to Lord Shiva and deepening of it. Third timer earns moksha. To get the wishes fulfilled recite or hear it five times. In ancient times several kings, sages and faithfuls had seen Shiva materialise at hearing this Puran seven times. This is Lord Shiva’s dearest object. This book is as sacred and as efficacious as Vedas. The grace of Shiva ever shines on one who reads this book regularly.