The power or active aspect of the immanent God is Sakti. Sakti is the embodiment of power. She is the supporter of the vast universe. She is the supreme power by which the world is upheld. She is the Universal Mother. She is Durga, Kali, Chandi, Chamundi, Tripurasundari, Rajesvari. There is no difference between God and His Sakti, just as there is no difference between fire and its burning power.
He who worships Sakti, that is, God in Mother form, as the supreme power which creates, sustains and withdraws the universe, is a Sakta. All women are forms of the Divine Mother.
Siva is the unchanging consciousness. Sakti is His changing power which appears as mind and matter. Saktivada or Saktadarsana is a form of monism or Advaitavada.
A Sakta does Sadhana which helps the union of Siva and Sakti, through the awakening of the forces within the body. He becomes a Siddha in the Sadhana, when he is able to awaken Kundalini and pierce the six Chakras. This is to be done in a perfect practical way under the guidance of a Guru who has become perfect. The Sakti must be awakened by Dhyana, by Bhava, by Japa, by Mantra-Sakti. The Mother, the embodiment of the fifty letters, is present in the various letters in the different Chakras. When the chords of a musical instrument are struck harmoniously, fine music is produced. Even so, when the chords of the letters are struck in their order, the Mother who moves in the six Chakras and who is the very self of the letters, awakens Herself. The Sadhaka attains Siddhi easily when She is roused. It is difficult to say when and how She shows Herself and to what Sadhaka. Sadhana means unfolding, rousing up or awakening of power or Sakti. Mode of Sadhana depends upon the tendencies and capacities of the Sadhaka.
Sakti may be termed as that by which we live and have our being in this universe. In this world all the wants of the child are provided by the mother. The child’s growth, development and sustenance are looked after by the mother. Even so, all the necessaries of life and its activities in this world and the energy needed for it, depend upon Sakti or the Universal Mother.
No one can free himself from the thraldom of mind and matter without Mother’s grace. The fetters of Maya are too hard to break. If you worship Her as the great Mother, you can very easily go beyond Prakriti through Her benign grace and blessings. She will remove all obstacles in the path and lead you safely into the illimitable domain of eternal bliss and make you free. When She is pleased and bestows Her blessings on you, then alone you can free yourself from the bondage of this formidable Samsara.
The first syllable which a child or a quadruped utters is the name of the beloved mother. Is there any child which does not owe its all to the affection and love of its mother? It is the mother who protects you, consoles you, cheers you and nurses you. She is your friend, philosopher, protector and guide throughout your life. Human mother is a manifestation of the Universal Mother.
The Supreme Lord is represented as Siva and His power is represented as his consort, Sakti or Durga or Kali. Just as the husband and wife look after the well-being of the family, so also Lord Siva and His Sakti are engaged in looking after the affairs of the world.
Radha, Durga, Lakshmi, Sarasvati and Savitri are the five primary forms of Prakriti or Devi. Durga destroyed Madhu and Kaitabha through Vishnu. As Mahalakshmi, She destroyed the Asura Mahisha and as Sarasvati She destroyed Sumbha and Nisumbha with their companions Dhumralochana, Chanda, Munda and Raktabija.
When Vishnu and Mahadeva destroyed various Asuras, the power of Devi was behind them. Devi took Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra and gave them necessary Sakti to proceed with the work of creation, preservation and destruction. She is at the centre of the universe. She is in Muladhara Chakra in our bodies. She vitalises the body through the Sushumna. She vitalises the universe from the summit of Mount Meru.
In this system of Sakti philosophy, Siva is omnipresent, impersonal, inactive. He is pure consciousness. Sakti is dynamic. Siva and Sakti are related as Prakasa and Vimarsa. Sakti or Vimarsa is the power that is latent in the pure consciousness. Vimarsa gives rise to the world of distinctions. Siva is Chit. Sakti is Chidrupini. Brahma, Vishnu and Siva do their functions of creation, preservation and destruction in obedience to Sakti. Sakti is endowed with Iccha (will), Jnana (knowledge) and Kriya (action). Siva and Sakti are one. Sakti Tattva and Siva Tattva are inseparable. Siva is always with Sakti. There are thirtysix Tattvas, in Sakti philosophy. Sakti is in Sakti Tattva, Nada in Sadakhya Tattva, Bindu in Isvara Tattva. The creative aspect of the Supreme Siva is called Siva Tattva. Siva Tattva is the first creative movement. Sakti Tattva is the will of Siva. It is the seed and womb of the entire world.
The first manifestation is called the Sadakhya or Sadasiva Tattva. In this Tattva there is the beginning of formation of ideas. There is Nada Sakti in this Tattva. Next comes Isvara Tattva. This Tattva is called Bindu. The fourth Tattva is Vidya or Suddhavidya. Then Prakriti modifies into the Tattvas of mind, senses and the matter which constitutes the world.
Nada, Bindu are all names for different aspects of Sakti. Nada is really Siva Sakti. Siva has two aspects. In one aspect, He is the supreme changeless one who is Satchidananda. This is Para Samvit. In the other aspect, He changes as the world. The cause of the change is Siva Tattva. This Siva Tattva and Sakti Tattva are inseparable. Sakti Tattva is the first dynamic aspect of Brahman.
Nishkala Siva is Nirguna Siva. He is not connected with the creative Sakti. Sakala Siva is associated with the creative Sakti. Maya or Prakriti is within the womb of Sakti. Maya is the matrix of the world. Maya is potential in the state of dissolution. She is dynamic in creation. Maya evolves into the several material elements and other physical parts of all sentient creatures under the direction of Sakti. There are thirtysix Tattvas in Sakti philosophy. In Sakti philosophy we have Brahman, Sakti, Nada, Bindu and Suddhamaya. In Saiva Siddhanta philosophy we have Siva, Sakti, Sadakhya and the Suddhamaya. The rest of the evolution in Sakti philosophy is the same as in Saiva Siddhanta philosophy.
Knowledge of Sakti leads to salvation. “Saktijnanam vina devi nirvanam naiva jayate—O Devi without the knowledge of Sakti, Mukti cannot be attained” (Isvara says to Devi). The Jiva or the individual soul thinks when he is under the influence of Maya that he is the doer and the enjoyer and identifies himself with the body. Through the grace of Sakti and through Sadhana or self-culture, the individual soul frees himself from all fetters, attains spiritual insight and merges himself in the Supreme.
There is in reality nothing but the One Self. The experienced is nothing but the experiencer. Brahman appears as the world through the mirror of mind or Maya. An object is nothing but the One Self appearing through Maya as non-self, to itself as subject. Triputi or knower, knowledge and knowable vanishes in Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Supreme Siva or Brahman alone exists.
In the Kenopanishad, it is said that the gods became puffed up with a victory over the Asuras. They wrongly took the success to be the result of their own valour and prowess. The Lord wanted to teach them a lesson. He appeared before them in the form of a Yaksha, a huge form, the beginning and end of which were not visible. The Devas wanted to find out the identity of this form and sent Agni for this purpose. The Yaksha asked Agni: “What is your name and power?” Agni replied: “I am Agni (Jatavedas). I can burn up the whole universe in a minute.” The Yaksha placed before Agni a dry blade of grass and asked him to burn it. Agni was nor able to burn it. He ran away from the Yaksha in shame. The gods then sent Vayu to enquire who the Yaksha was. Vayu approached the Yaksha. The Yaksha said to Vayu: “Who are you? What is your power?” Vayu said: “I am wind-god. I can blow up the whole world in a minute.” The Yaksha then placed a blade of grass before Vayu and told him to blow that away. Vayu could not make it move an inch from its place. He left the place in shame. Last of all came Indra himself. When Indra reached the place, he found that the Yaksha had vanished.
Then Uma appeared before Indra and revealed to him the real identity of the Yaksha. She said to Indra: “It is the power of the Divine Mother and not that of the gods that crowned the gods with victory. It is the Sakti or Uma or Haimavati, sister of Krishna, that is the source of the strength of all the gods.” Sakti is the great teacher of Jnana. She sheds wisdom on her devotees.
May you all obtain the grace of Sakti or the Universal Mother and enjoy the supreme bliss of the final emancipation.
Sakti is Chidrupini. She is pure, blissful Consciousness. She is the Mother of Nature. She is Nature itself. She is power of Lord Siva or Brahman. She runs this world-show. She maintains the sportive play or Lila of the Lord. She is Jagat-Janani (creator of the world), Mahishasuramardini (destroyer of Mahishasura) Bhranti-nasini (destroyer of illusion or Avidya), and Daridrya-nasini (destroyer of poverty).
Devi is Sakti of Lord Siva. She is Jada Sakti and Chit Sakti. She is Iccha Sakti, Kriya Sakti and Jnana Sakti. She is Maya Sakti. Sakti is Prakriti, Maya, Mahamaya, Sri Vidya. Sakti is Brahman itself. She is Lalita, Kundalini, Rajesvari, Tripurasundari, Sati and Parvati. Sati manifested to Lord Siva in the ten forms as the Dasa Maha Vidyas, viz., Kali, Bagalamukhi, Chinnamasta, Bhuvanesvari, Matangi, Shodasi, Dhumavati, Tripurasundari, Tara and Bhairavi.
Worship of Sakti or Saktism is one of the oldest and most widespread religions in the world. Everybody in this world wants power, loves to possess power. He is elated by power. He wants to domineer over others through power. War is the outcome of greed for power. Scientists are followers of Saktism. He who wishes to develop will-power and charming personality, is a follower of Saktism. In reality, every man in this world is a follower of Saktism.
Scientists say now that everything is energy only and that energy is the physical ultimate of all forms of matter. The followers of the Sakta school of philosophy have said the same thing, long ago. They further say that this energy is only a limited manifestation of the Infinite Supreme Power of Maha Sakti.
Sakti is always with Siva. They are inseparable like fire and heat. Sakti evolves Nada and Nada Bindu. The world is a manifestation of Sakti. Suddha Maya is Chit Sakti. Prakriti is Jada Sakti. Nada, Bindu and the rest are only names for different aspects of Sakti.
The countless universes are only dust of Divine Mother’s holy feet. Her glory is ineffable. Her splendour is indescribable. Her greatness is unfathomable. She showers Her grace on Her sincere devotees. She leads the individual soul from Chakra to Chakra, from plane to plane and unifies him with Lord Siva in the Sahasrara.
The body is Sakti. The needs of the body are the needs of Sakti. When a man enjoys, it is Sakti who enjoys through him. His eyes, ears, hands and feet are Hers. She sees through his eyes, hears through his ears. Body, mind, Prana, egoism, intellect, organs and all the other functions are Her manifestations.
Saktism speaks of personal and the impersonal aspects of Godhead. Brahman is Nishkala or without Prakriti and Sakala or with Prakriti. The Vedantin speaks of Nirupadhika Brahman (Pure Nirguna Brahman without Maya) and Sopadhika Brahman (with Upadhi or Maya) or Saguna Brahman. It is all the same. Names only are different. It is a play of words or Sabda Jalam. People fight on word only, carry on lingual warfare, hair-splitting, logical chopping and intellectual gymnastics. In reality the essence is one. Clay is the truth. All the modifications such as pot, etc., are in name only. In Nirguna Brahman, Sakti is potential, whereas in Saguna Brahman, it is kinetic or dynamic.
The basis of Saktism is the Veda. Saktism upholds that the only source and authority (Pramana) regarding transcendental or supersensual matters such as the nature of Brahman, etc., is Veda. Saktism is only Vedanta. The Saktas have the same spiritual experience as that of a Vedantin.
The Devi-Sukta of the Rig-Veda, the Sri-Sukta, Durga-Sukta, Bhu-Sukta and Nila-Sukta, and the specific Sakta Upanishads such as Tripuratapini Upanishad, Sitopanishad, Devi Upanishad, Saubhagya-Upanishad, Sarasvati Upanishad, Bhavanopanishad, Bhavrichopanishad, etc., emphatically declare about the Mother-aspect of God. The Kena Upanishad also speaks of Uma (Haimavati) who imparted wisdom of the Self to Indra and the Devas.
Divine Mother is everywhere triple. She is endowed with the three Gunas, viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. She manifests as Will (Iccha Sakti), Action (Kriya Sakti) and Knowledge (Jnana Sakti). She is Brahma Sakti (Sarasvati) in conjunction with Brahma, Vishnu Sakti (Lakshmi) in conjunction with Lord Vishnu, and Siva Sakti (Gauri) in conjunction with Lord Siva. Hence She is called Tripurasundari.
The abode of Tripurasundari, the Divine Mother is called Sri Nagara. This magnificent abode is surrounded by twentyfive ramparts, which represent the twentyfive Tattvas. The resplendent Chintamani palace is in the middle. The Divine Mother sits in the Bindu Pitha in Sri Chakra in that wonderful palace. There is a similar abode for Her in the body of man also. The whole world is Her body. Mountains are Her bones. Rivers are Her veins. Ocean is Her bladder. Sun and moon are Her eyes. Wind is Her breath. Agni is Her mouth.
The Sakti enjoys Bhukti (enjoyment in the world) and Mukti (liberation from all worlds). Siva is an embodiment of Bliss and Knowledge. Siva Himself appears in the form of man with a life—mixture of pleasure and pain. If you remember this point always, all dualism, all hatred, jealousy, pride will vanish. You must consider every human function as worship or a religious act. Answering calls of nature, talking, eating, walking, seeing, hearing, become worship of Lord, if you develop the right attitude. It is Siva who works in and through man. Where then is egoism or individuality? All human actions are divine actions. One universal life throbs in the hearts of all, sees in the eyes of all, works in the hands of all, hears in the ears of all. What a magnificent experience it is, if one can feel this by crushing this little ‘I’! The old Samskaras, the old Vasanas, the old habits of thinking, stand in the way of your realising this experience—Whole.
The aspirant thinks that the world is identical with the Divine Mother. He moves about thinking his own form to be the form of the Divine Mother and thus beholds oneness everywhere. He also feels that the Divine Mother is identical with Para Brahman.
The advanced Sadhaka feels: “I am the Devi and the Devi is in me”. He worships himself as Devi instead of adoring any external object. He says: “Sa-aham—I am She (Devi)”.
Saktism is not a mere theory or philosophy. It prescribes systematic Sadhana of Yoga, regular discipline, according to the temperament, capacity and degree of evolution of the Sadhaka. It helps the aspirant to arouse the Kundalini and unite Her with Lord Siva and enjoy the Supreme Bliss or Nirvikalpa Samadhi. When Kundalini sleeps, man is awake to the world. He has objective consciousness. When She awakes, he sleeps. He loses all consciousness of the world and becomes one with the Lord. In Samadhi, the body is maintained by the nectar which flows from the union of Siva and Sakti with Sahasrara.
Guru is indispensable for the practice of Sakti Yoga Sadhana. He initiates the aspirant and transmits the divine Sakti.
Physical contact with a female is gross Maithuna. This is due to Pasu Bhava or animal disposition or brutal instinct. Mother Kundalini Sakti unites with Lord Siva in Sahasrara during Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This is real Maithuna or blissful union. This is due to Divya Bhava or divine disposition. You must rise from Pasu Bhava to Divya Bhava, through Satsanga, service of Guru, renunciation and dispassion, discrimination, Japa and meditation.
Worship of the Divine Mother with intense faith and perfect devotion and self-surrender will help you to attain Her grace. Through Her grace alone, you can attain knowledge of the Imperishable.
Glory to Tripurasundari, the World-Mother, who is also Raja-Rajesvari and Lalita Devi. May Her blessings be upon you all!
Sakti Tattva is really the negative aspect of the Siva Tattva. Though they are spoken of separately they are really one. Sakti Tattva is the will of Siva.
Ambal, Ambika, Gauri, Jnanambika, Durga, Kali, Rajesvari, Tripurasundari are all other names for Sakti. Sakti is Herself pure, blissful consciousness and is nature itself born of the creative play of Her thought. This Sakti cult is the conception of God as the Universal Mother.
Sakti is spoken of as Mother, because that is the aspect of the Supreme in which She is regarded as the genetrix and nourisher of the universe. But God is neither male nor female. He is named according to the body in which He is manifested.
Hinduism is the only religion in the world which has emphasised much the motherhood of God. The Devi-Sukta appears in the tenth Mandala of the Rig-Veda. It was revealed by Bak, the daughter of Maharshi Ambrin. In this Rigvedic hymn addressed to the Divine Mother, Bak speaks of her realisation of God as Mother who pervades the whole universe. In Bengal, Mother-worship is very prevalent. ‘Ma’ is always on the lips of every Bengali.
Siva and Sakti are essentially one. It is said in the very first verse of Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsa that Sakti and Siva stand to each other in the same relationship as the word and its meaning. Just as heat and fire are inseparable, so Sakti and Siva are inseparable. Lord Siva cannot do anything without Sakti. This is emphasised by Sri Sankaracharya in the first verse of Saundarya Lahari.
Sakti is like the snake with motion. Siva is like the motionless snake. Waveless ocean is Siva. Ocean with waves is Sakti. The transcendental Supreme Being is Siva. The manifested, immanent aspect of the Supreme is Sakti. Siva is attributeless. He is Nishkriya. Sakti is with attributes. She creates. Sakti is compared to a rope made up of tricoloured threads.
Mother Kali dances on the breast of Siva. She has terrible form but She is not really terrible. She is all-merciful and gentle. She wears a garland made up of the skulls. What does this mean? She wears the heads of Her devotees. How loving and affectionate She is to Her devotees!
Kali is the Divine Mother. She is the Sakti or power of Lord Siva. She is the dynamic aspect of Siva. Siva is the static aspect. Lord Siva is like a dead corpse. What does this signify? He is absolutely calm, motionless, breathless, with His eyes closed in Samadhi. He is actionless, changeless. He is untouched by the cosmic play or Lila that is eternally going on, on His breast.
He is absolutely dead to the world. He is beyond the three Gunas. There is no duality, no plurality, no relativity, no differentiation between subject and object, no distinction, no difference, no Triputi, no Dvandvas, no Raga-Dvesha, no good and evil in Him. He is ever pure, Nirlipta (unattached). And yet He is the source, substratum, support, first cause for this universe. He simply gazes. Sakti is vitalised. She works and creates. In His mere presence Sakti keeps up the play of this universe or Lila. The whole world is a mere vibration or Spandana in Him. He is superconscious and yet He has cosmic consciousness. He constitutes all the names and forms and yet He is above all names and forms. This is a great marvel and a supreme mystery which cannot be comprehended by the finite intellect.
Without Siva, Sakti has no existence and without Sakti, Siva has no expression. It is through Sakti that the Impersonal Supreme Being Siva or Nirguna Brahman becomes the Personal Being or Saguna Brahman. Siva or Nirguna Brahman becomes the Personal Being or Saguna Brahman. Siva is the Soul of Durga or Kali. Durga or Kali is identical with Siva. Siva is Satchidananda. Durga or Kali is Satchidananda Mayi. Siva and Sakti are one and neither is higher than the other. Sakti is Chit, Chidrupini, Chinmatra Rupini.
O Devi! all auspicious one, giver of success and prosperity, we bow to Thee! Shower peace and amity on this earth and protect us ever more by Your kind compassion at a glance!
The daughter of the king of Parvatas, Himavan is Parvati. She is the wife or Sakti of Lord Siva. She is the matrix of the universe. She is the revealer of Brahman. She is not only Loka-Mata or World-Mother but also Brahma-Vidya. One of Her names is Sivajnana-Pradayini. She is also called Sivaduti, Sivaradhya, Sivamurti and Sivankari.
The grace of Devi is an indispensable factor for the attainment of God-realisation. Parvati or Sakti is all-in-all. You must rouse the Sakti by Yoga. Then the grace of Sakti will lead you to God-realisation and the attainment of the final emancipation and the achievement of infinite, eternal supreme bliss.
The glorious story of Parvati is related in detail in the Mahesvara Kanda of the Skanda Purana. Sati, the daughter of Daksha Prajapati, the son of Brahma, was wedded to Lord Siva. Daksha did not like his son-in-law on account of His queer form, strange manners and peculiar habits. Daksha performed a sacrifice. He did not invite his daughter and son-in-law. Sati felt the insult and went to Her father and questioned him. He gave Her a displeasing reply. Sati got enraged at this. She did not want any more to be called his daughter. She preferred to offer Her body to fire and to be born again as Parvati to marry Siva. She created fire through Her Yoga’s power and destroyed Herself in that Yogagni.
Lord Siva sent Virabhadra. He destroyed the sacrifice and drove away all the Devas who assembled there. The head of Daksha was cut off and thrown into the fire. Lord Siva had a goat’s head stuck to the body of Daksha at the request of Brahma.
Lord Siva repaired to the Himalayas to do austerities. Asura Taraka had a boon from Brahma that he should die only at the hands of the son of Siva and Parvati. Therefore the Devas requested Himavan to have Sati as his daughter. Himavan agreed. Sati was born as Parvati, the daughter of Himavan. She served Lord Siva during His penance and worshipped Him. Lord Siva married Parvati.
Narada proceeded to Kailasa and saw Siva and Parvati with one body, half male, half female in the form of Ardhanarisvara. He wanted to see their play at dice. Lord Siva said He won the game. Parvati said that She was victorious. There was a quarrel. Siva left Parvati and went to practise austerities. Parvati assumed the form of a huntress and met Siva. Siva fell in love with the huntress. He went with her to her father to get his consent for the marriage. Narada informed Lord Siva that the huntress was Parvati. Narada told Parvati to apologise to Her Lord. They were reunited.
Siva assumed the form of Arunachala hill as a Linga. He subdued the pride of Brahma and Vishnu who were quarrelling as to their relative greatness. Arunachala is a Tejolinga. Parvati saw Siva as Arunachala-Isvara. Siva took Parvati back to His side and made Her again Ardhanari.
Asura Taraka greatly oppressed the Devas. Mahi-Sagara-Sangama-Kshetra was his capital. Lord Subrahmanya, the second son of Parvati, killed the Asura on the seventh day after his birth.
Parvati created a child with the face of an elephant for Her pleasure. He was Lord Ganesa. He was made the Lord of all creatures to remove their obstacles. One day Lord Siva offered a fruit saying that it would be given to that child who would go round the world first. Lord Subrahmanya proceeded on a tour round the world. Lord Ganesa went round His father Siva, the Maha Linga who enveloped the whole universe, and got the fruit.
Parvati had a dark skin. One day Lord Siva playfully referred to Her dark colour. She was much touched by Siva’s remark. She went to the Himalayas to perform austerities. She attained a beautiful complexion and came to be called Gauri. Gauri joined Siva as Ardhanarisvara by the grace of Brahma.
One day Parvati came behind Lord Siva and closed His eyes. The whole universe lost life and light. Siva asked Parvati to practise austerities in order to make amends for Her folly. She proceeded to Kanchi (Kanjivaram) and did rigorous penance. Lord Siva created a flood. The Siva Linga which Parvati was worshipping was about to be washed away. She embraced the Linga. The Linga remained there as Ekambaresvara. She remained there as Kamakshi for the welfare of the world.
Parvati ever dwells with Siva as His Sakti. She is the Divine Mother of this universe. She sheds wisdom and grace on Her devotees and makes them attain union with Her Lord. Salutations to Parvati and Siva, the real Parents of all beings.
Children are more familiar with the mother than with the father. Mother is an embodiment of affection, tenderness and love. She looks after the wants of the children. Whenever a child wants anything it approaches the mother rather than the father. In spiritual matters also the aspirant has more concern with Mother Kali than Father Siva. Siva is indifferent to the external world. He is unattached. He is lost in Samadhi with His eyes closed. It is Sakti or the Divine Mother alone who really looks after the affairs of the world. She will introduce to Her Lord for the attainment of final emancipation when She is pleased with the earnestness of the devotee.
Siva and Sakti are inseparable. This is shown in Ardhanarisvara—Siva and Parvati (with one body, half-male and half-female). Lord Siva has Parvati as the left half of His body.
Siva-Jnana leads us on to the realisation of Self and bestows on us eternal bliss and frees us from births and deaths. It shows us the light of life. It is the eye of intuition. It is the third eye of Siva. This third eye destroys all illusions and passions.
Sakti is thought of in various forms. Sarasvati is the Goddess of learning. Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth. Parvati or Uma is the bliss-bestowing Goddess.
The Markandeya Purana contains seven hundred verses which are known as the Sapta-sati or the Chandi or the Devi-Mahatmya. It is one of the most famous religious texts of the Hindus. It ranks almost equal with the Gita. It describes in an allegorical form, that in the path of salvation the chief obstacles are our own desire, anger, greed and ignorance and we can overcome them through the grace of Divine Mother if we sincerely worship Her.
The book gives a beautiful description of the three aspects of the Mother as Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Maha Sarasvati—the Tamasic, the Rajasic and the Sattvic aspects of the Divine Mother.
The Devas were oppressed by the Asuras. The gods invoked the blessings of Divine Mother. She appeared as the above three forms and destroyed the Asuras and protected the gods. The Divine Mother has given men as well as gods, Her definite and infallible promise that whenever they would remember Her in danger or difficulties She would save them.
O Lord Siva! Silent adorations unto Thee! Thou art the only refuge, the only object of adoration, the one Governor of the Universe, the self-effulgent Being. Thou art the creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe. Thou art the Highest, the Immovable, the Absolute.
Sakti is the energy or the vital power that makes any activity possible. When a man does any work he does it only by virtue of his Sakti. If he is unable to do the work he says that he has no Sakti to do that work. Hence Sakti is that which enables one to work. Sakti is Devi. Sakti is the Divine Mother. Mind is Sakti. Prana is Sakti. Will is Sakti.
Devi Bhagavata deals with the forms of Prakriti. Devi took the Trimurtis to Her abode in Manidvipa, gave them their consorts Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Parvati and sent out for the life of universe in the new Kalpa.
Lord Narayana created Brahma from His navel. Brahma did not know what to do. Vishnu and Siva also did not know how to set going the life of a new universe in a new Kalpa after the dissolution. They were lifted in a Vimana or celestial car and they soon reached a strange region where they were transformed into women. They were in a land of women headed by Devi. It was Manidvipa in the Sudha Samudra, the ocean of nectar. The newly made women stayed there, for a hundred years. They did not know who they were, why they were there and what they were to do.
Then they were put in the company of men and they themselves became men. They were coupled, Brahma with Sarasvati, Vishnu with Lakshmi and Siva with Parvati. They found themselves at once in their original place and they knew what to do. They understood their functions. The Trimurtis attain Sakti through association with the Devi.
Parvati is the Sakti of Lord Siva who bestows Jnana and Mukti on men. Lakshmi is the Sakti of Vishnu who gives prosperity to the people. Sarasvati is the Sakti of Brahma who creates the world. Radha is the Sakti of Lord Krishna who leads humanity to Mukti through Bhakti.
May Sakti bless you all with Sakti!
The Ganga is the most sacred river of India. Lord Krishna says in the Gita: “I am the Ganga among rivers”. No germ can flourish in the waters of the Ganga. It is saturated with antiseptic minerals. In the West, doctors prescribe Ganga water for rubbing in the treatment of diseases of the skin. Ganga is not merely a river. It is a sacred Tirtha. It is possessed of mysterious powers which are not found in any other rivers of the world. Even scientists have admitted the efficacy of the Ganga water.
Dr. F.C. Harrison of McGill University, Canada, writes: “A peculiar fact, which has never been satisfactorily explained, is the quick death (in three or five hours) of the cholera vibrio in the waters of Ganga. When one remembers sewage, by numerous corpses of natives (often dead of cholera) and by the bathing of thousands of natives, it seems remarkable that the belief of the Hindus, that the water of this river is pure and cannot be defiled, and that they can safely drink it and bathe in it, should be confirmed by means of modern bacteriological research.” A well-known French physician Dr. D. Herelle, made similar investigations into the mystery of the Ganga. He observed some of the floating corpses of men dead of dysentery and cholera and was surprised to find that only a few feet below the bodies, where one would expect to find millions of these dysentery and cholera germs, there were no germs at all. He then grew germs from patients having the disease and to these cultures added water from the Ganga. When he incubated the mixture for a period, much to his surprise, the germs were completely destroyed.
A British physician Dr. C.E. Nelson, F.R.C.S. tells us of another striking fact. He says: “Ships leaving Calcutta for England take their water from the Hugli river which is one of the mouths of the filthy Ganga and this Ganga water will remain fresh all the way to England. On the other hand, ships leaving England for India, find that the water they take on in London will not stay fresh till they reach Bombay, the nearest Indian port, which is a week closer to England than Calcutta. They must replenish their water supply at Port Said, Suez or at Aden on the Red Sea. It is no wonder that the Indian people should hold that the Ganga is very sacred and possessed of mysterious powers.”
For a Hindu the word ‘Ganga’ has its own sacred association. Every Hindu thirsts for a dip in the Ganga, and for a drop of water at the time of his death. Aspirants and mendicants build their huts on the banks of the Ganga for practising penance, and meditation. Bhishma spoke very highly on the glory of the Ganga in his parting instructions to the Pandavas from his bed of arrows.
Whenever a pious Hindu goes to take his bath, he invokes first the Ganga, and feels Her presence in the water before he takes a plunge in the river. If he lives in a place far away from the Ganga, he intensely yearns to see Her on some day and feels blessed by bathing in the holy waters. He carries some water to his house and carefully saves it in a vessel so that he may use it for purposes of purification.
Hindus believe that all their sins are washed away if they take a dip in the sacred waters of the Ganga.
In the Satya Yuga, all places were sacred. In the Treta Yuga, Pushkara was considered as the most holy place. In the Dvapara Yuga, Kurukshetra was regarded as the most sacred place. In Kali Yuga, the Ganga has that glory. Devi Bhagavata says: “He who utters the name of Ganga even from hundreds of miles afar, is freed from sins and attains the abode of Lord Hari”.
The Ganga comes out of the Supreme Being. She enters the feet of Lord Hari and reaches Vaikuntha. She issues from Goloka and passes through the regions of Vishnu, Brahma, Siva, Dhruva, Chandra, Surya, Tapah, Janah, Mahah, and reaching Indraloka flows as Mandakini.
The Ganga entered the matted locks of Lord Siva at the request of Bhagiratha who did rigorous penance for the descent of Ganga to Patala for the redemption of his ancestors, the thousand sons of Sagara, who had been burnt to ashes by sage Kapila.
Thereupon, She flowed down from the locks of Lord Siva. She was drunk up by the sage Jahnu, as the water inundated the Yajnasala of the sage. Then again She issued out of the ear of the sage and acquired the name of Jahnavi. She is also known by the name Bhagirathi, daughter of Bhagiratha. The Ganga flowed into Patala as Bhagirathi. The ancestors of the king were raised to Svarga by the touch of the sacred waters of the Ganga.
Ganga had to take a human form on account of Her own fault in behaviour in the presence of Brahma. She became the wife of Santanu. Santanu also was a celestial being known as king Mahabhisha. He had to take birth in the world for his fault in conduct in the presence of Brahma by showing vanity. Ganga gave birth to Bhishma, the illustrious hero and sage.
Ganga consented to bear the seed of Lord Siva which was transferred to Her by Agni. She gave to the world Lord Subrahmanya, the great commander of the army of Devas, who killed the formidable Asura Taraka.
Ganga is the form of Vishnu. Her sight is soul-stirring and elevating. She flows in the valleys and lives by the side of Parvati, daughter of Himavan. How magnificent She is when She flows in the valley of Rishikesh! She has a blue colour like that of the ocean. The water is extremely clear and sweet. Rich people from the plains get water from Rishikesh. They take it in big copper-vessels to far off places in India.
To have a look at the Ganga in Rishikesh, is soul-elevating. To sit for a few minutes on a block of stone by the side of the Ganga, is a blessing. To stay for some months in Rishikesh on the bank of the Ganga and do Anushthana or Purascharana, is great Tapes which will take the aspirant to the abode of Lord Hari. To live for ever on the banks of the Ganga and spend the life in meditation is Sivanandam.
May Mother Ganga bless you all! May She help you to live on Her banks and practise Yoga and Tapas!
The three cities are Anava Mala (egoism), Karma (bondage of Karma) and Maya (the illusory power of Lord Siva which veils the individual souls). Destroy the first city Anava Mala through self-surrender to Lord Siva and consequent descent of His grace (Anugraha). Annihilate the second impurity, viz., Karma, through consecrating the fruits of your actions to the Lord and destroying the idea ‘I am the doer’, by developing the Nimitta Bhava, the Bhava that Lord Siva is working through your various organs and that you are a mere instrument in His hands (Chariyai and Kiriyai). You will not be bound by actions. You will attain purity of heart and through purity of heart, realisation of Sivanandam or eternal bliss of Siva. Annihilate the third impurity, viz., Maya, through the recitation of Panchakshara, worship of Guru, hearing and reflection of the attributes of the Lord and His various Lilas and meditation on His form and Satchidananda aspect.
This is the destruction of the three cities or castles. This is Tripura Rahasya.
Destroy Tamas through Rajas and convert Rajas into Sattva, by developing various virtuous qualities, by taking Sattvic food, by Satsanga, Japa of Panchakshara and meditation on Lord Siva. Transcend Sattva also. You will attain oneness with Lord Siva.
This is the destruction of the three cities or castles. This is Tripura Rahasya.
Annihilate the evil tendencies or Asubha Vasanas, viz., lust, anger, greed, hatred, jealousy, through Subha Vasanas or good tendencies, viz., Japa, meditation, study of religious books, Kirtan or singing Lord’s praise. You will enjoy the eternal bliss of Siva.
This is the destruction of the three cities or castles. This is Tripura Rahasya.
Serve the Guru. Purify your heart by serving him with faith and devotion. Learn the Yogic practices which lead to the awakening of Kundalini from him and practise them. Study the Yoga Sastras under him. Observe celibacy. Kill the Shadripus or six enemies. Look within. Take the Kundalini through the Sushumna Nadi and break the Granthis through the Chakras and unite Her with Her Lord Sadasiva at the Sahasrara Chakra at the crown of the head and enjoy the eternal bliss of Lord Siva.
This is the destruction of the three cities or castles. This is Tripura Rahasya.
Kill the three bodies, i.e., transcend the three bodies, viz., the gross or physical body (Sthula Deha), subtle body (Sukshma Deha) and causal body (Karana Sarira). Go above the five sheaths or Kosas (Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya and Anandamaya), through meditation on Lord Siva and attain Siva Sayujya.
This is the destruction of the three cities or castles. This is Tripura Rahasya.
Become a witness of the three states, viz., waking, dreaming and deep sleep states. Stand as a spectator. Withdraw yourself from the objective consciousness. Live within. Attain the Turiya state or the fourth state or Siva Pada.
This is the destruction of the three cities or castles. This is Tripura Rahasya.
Go above physical consciousness, subconsciousness and mental consciousness and attain the superconsciousness state or Nirvikalpa or Asamprajnata Samadhi.
This is the destruction of the three cities or castles. This is Tripura Rahasya.
Go above instinct, reason, understanding and open the eye of intuition, the third eye of Siva (Divya Chakshus) and merge yourself in the supreme light of Siva. Go above thinking, willing and feeling and enter the supreme silence or thoughtless state of Siva Nirvana.
This is the destruction of the three cities or castles. This is Tripura Rahasya.
Tripura Sundari is the Sakti of Lord Siva. She and Siva are one. She is extremely beautiful. She attracts the devotees to Her blissful Self and sheds wisdom, devotion and divine light on them. Hence, She is called Tripura Sundari. She helps the aspirants to destroy the three cities or castles mentioned above.
The whole world is under Her control. The entire universe is under the sway of Her three Gunas. All the ties and bonds of Karma can be broken down; the wheel of births and deaths can be rent asunder only by Her worship and benign grace. All sins can be destroyed and the eternal bliss of Siva can be realised only through singing Her praise and repetition of Her Names.
She is called Tripura, the three cities. The body of a man or a woman is one of the forms assumed by Her. The whole world is Her body. All the Devas are Her forms only. All the triplets of the sacred texts are contained in Her. The triplets, viz., the three Gunas, the three states of consciousness, the three fires, the three bodies, the three worlds, the triple power (Iccha Sakti, Kriya Sakti and Jnana Sakti), the three Svaras (Udatta, Anudatta and Svarita), the Trivarnikas, the three kinds of Karmas (Sanchita, Agami and Prarabdha), the Trimurtis, the three letters A, U, M, and the triad Pramata, Pramana and Prameya, knower, knowledge and knowable, seer, sight and seen, are all contained in Tripurasundari.
All the Devatas dwell in this body. They are the presiding deities of the various organs. The Lord Tryambaka dwells in Muladhara, Jambukesvara in Svadhishthana, Arunachalesvara in Manipura, Nataraja in Anahata, Kalahastisvara in Visuddha, Visvesvara in Ajna and Srikanthesvara in Sahasrara.
All the sacred places are in this body—Kedar in the forehead, Amaravati in the tip of the nose, Kurukshetra in the breasts and Prayaga in the heart.
All the nine planets have their special abodes in the body. Sun is in the Nada-Chakra, moon in the Bindu-Chakra, Mars in the eyes, Mercury in the heart, Jupiter in the Manipura, Venus in the Svadhishthana, Saturn in the navel, Rahu in the face and Ketu in the thorax.
Countless rivers and hills are also allotted special places in the body. Whatever is found in the outer world is found in the body also. This body is microcosm. It is Pindanda.
This is Tripura Rahasya.
May you attain the grace of Tripurasundari and understand the Tripura Rahasya and attain Sivananda or eternal bliss of Lord Siva.
The word ‘Muka’ means dumb. A certain devotee was performing rigorous austerities in the temple of Goddess Kamakshi at Kanchi to obtain Her Grace. Kamakshi appeared in the form of a beautiful maiden before the devotee to bless him. The devotee took Her to be an ordinary human maiden and did not show any veneration. She left him and found a person sleeping in another corner of the temple. He was dumb from his birth. She woke him up. He was extremely joyous when he saw Her. The Goddess wrote the Bijakshara on his tongue and blessed him with the power of speech. He became the celebrated Muka Kavi (dumb poet). He sang five hundred verses called the Panchasati which describe the glory of Devi, of Her lotus-feet, of Her grace, of Her gracious glance and of Her loving maternal smile. One hundred verses are devoted to each of these five aspects. Hence the work is called ‘Mukapanchasati’.
The dumb poet became the Acharya of the Kama Koti Pitha at Kumbakonam and occupied the seat for thirtynine years.
The Mukapanchasati is read with intense devotion during the Navaratri celebrations in South India by all religious-minded persons.
Kalidasa was an unlettered shepherd. He also was turned into India’s most talented poet through the benign grace of Mother Kali. Kalidasa in his famous Syamaladandaka, has praised Devi in a charming manner.
Glory to the Devi who is the giver of the power of speech!
Mother is more dear to the child than the father. Mother is gentle, soft, sweet, tender and affectionate. She is full of smiles. Father is stiff, harsh, rude, rough and hard-hearted. The child runs towards the mother for getting presents, sweets, fruits and other gifts. The child can open the heart more freely towards the mother than to the father.
Even so, poets and saints also are more familiar with the Divine Mother than with the Divine Father. They open their heart more freely towards the Divine Mother. They have found much more intimate cries of the heart when they speak of the Deity as their Mother, than when they address themselves to God as Father. Go through the following hymn to Mother by Sri Sankara. You will feel and realise the truth of the above statement.By my ignorance of Thy commands
By my poverty and sloth
I had not the power to do that which I should have done
Hence my omission to worship Thy feet
But O Mother, auspicious deliverer of all
All this should be forgiven,
For, a bad son may sometimes be born, but a bad mother never.
O Mother! Thou hast many sons on earth
But I, Thy son, am of no worth
Yet it is not meet, that Thou shouldst abandon me
For, a bad son may sometimes be born, but a bad mother never.
O Mother of the world! O Mother!
I have not worshipped Thy feet
Nor have I given abundant wealth to Thee
Yet the affection which Thou bestowest on me is without compare
For, a bad son may sometimes be born, but a bad mother never.
Virasaiva philosophy is only Sakti Visishtadvaita philosophy. It is a phase of Agamanta. It underwent radical changes in the hands of Sri Basavanna and his colleagues. Basava was the Prime Minister to a Jain king named Bijjala who ruled over Kalyan (1157-1167) which is sixty miles from Gulbarga in Karnataka State.
Basavanna was a magnetic personality. He exercised tremendous influence over the people. He held a spiritual conference. Three hundred Virasaiva saints assembled. There were sixty women saints also. Akka Mahadevi, the illustrious lady saint was also present on that grand occasion. Virasaivism became Lingayatism in the hands of Basava. Lingayatism is the special faith of the Karnatic Virasaivas. Sharanas are the saints of the Lingayat faith or cult.
Virasaivism or Lingayatism shows the way to attain the Lakshya or Lord Siva. Lord Siva, Lord Subrahmanya, king Rishabha, Santa Lingar, Kumara Devi, Sivaprakasa had all expounded lucidly this system of philosophy. Viragama is the chief source for this system of philosophy. Those who embrace this faith, live in great numbers in Karnataka.
Ordinary Saivites keep the Sivalinga in a box and worship it during the time of Puja. The Lingayats keep a small Linga in a small silver or golden box and wear it on the body with the chain attached to the box. Wearing the Linga on the body will remind one, of the Lord and help His constant remembrance. The Christians wear the cross in the neck. This also has the same object in view.
Sakti in Virasaiva philosophy is identical with Siva. Sakti works. Siva is the silent witness. Siva is infinite, self-luminous, eternal, all-pervading. He is an ocean of peace. He is stupendous silence. Siva illumines everything. He is all-full and self-contained. He is ever free and perfect. The whole world is an expression of the Divine Will. In Virasaiva philosophy, the world movement is not an illusion, but an integral play.
This is known by the name Pratyabhijna system. The Agamas are the basis for Kashmir Saivism. The Agamanta called Pratyabhijna Darsana, flourished in Kashmir. The twentyeight Agamas were written in Sanskrit in the valley of Kashmir, in order to make the meaning clear to every one. This Agamanta arose in North India long before Jainism came into prominence. Then it spread westwardly and southwards. In Western India, it was known by the name Vira Mahesvara Darsanam, and in South India, it was called Suddha Saiva Darsanam.
Siva is the only reality of the universe. Siva is infinite consciousness. He is independent, eternal, formless, secondless, omnipresent. Siva is the subject and the object, the experiencer and the experienced. The world exists within consciousness.
God creates by the mere force of His Will. Karma, material cause like Prakriti, Maya which produce illusion, forms, etc., are not admitted in this system. God makes the world appear in Himself just as objects appear in a mirror. He is not affected by the objects of His creation, just as the mirror is not affected by the reflected image in it. He appears in the form of souls by His own wonderful power inherent in Him. God is the substratum of this world. His activity (Spanda or vibration) produces all distinctions.
Siva is the changeless Reality. He is the underlying basic substratum for the whole world. His Sakti or energy has infinite aspects. Chit (intelligence), Ananda (bliss), Iccha (will), Jnana (knowledge) and Kriya (creative power) are Her chief aspects.
Sakti functions as Chit, then the Absolute becomes the pure experience known as Siva Tattva. The Ananda of Sakti functions and life comes in. Then there is the second stage of Sakti Tattva. The third stage is the will for self-expression. Then comes the fourth stage, Isvara Tattva with its power and will to create the world. It is the stage of conscious experience (Jnana) of being. In the fifth stage, there is the knower and also the object of knowledge. Action (Kriya) starts now. This is the stage of Suddha-vidya. There are thirtysix Tattvas or principles in this system.
Bondage is due to ignorance (Ajnana). The soul thinks: ‘I am finite’, ‘I am the body.’ It forgets that it is identical with Siva and that the world is wholly unreal apart from Siva.
Pratyabhijna or recognition of the reality, is all that is needed for attaining the final emancipation. When the soul recognises itself as God, it rests in the eternal bliss of oneness with God. The liberated soul is merged in Siva, as water in water, or milk in milk, when the imagination of duality has disappeared.
Vasu Gupta (eighth century A.D.) wrote the Siva Sutra and taught it to Kallata. Siva Drishti written by Somanatha may be considered equal in merit to Tirumandiram of Tirumular. Vasu Gupta’s Spanda Karika, Somanatha’s Siva Drishti (930 A.D.), Abhinava Gupta’s Paramarthasara and Pratyabhijna Vimarsini, Kimaraja’s Siva Sutra Vimarsini are some of the important works of this school.
They accept the Siva Agamas and the Siddhanta works as authoritative. They modify them in the light of Sankara’s Advaita. Somanatha’s Siva Drishti, Utpala’s Pratyabhijna Sutra and Abhinava Gupta’s works support non-dualism.
Siva is known by the name ‘Girisa’, as He is the Lord of the Mount Kailasa.
Siva is called ‘Tryambaka’, because He has a third eye in His forehead, the eye of wisdom (Jnana Chakshus).
The word ‘Hara’ is derived from the root ‘Hru’ to take and the suffix ‘Ati’, for He removes (Harati) all ills. ‘Hara’ means He who at the time of dissolution (Pralaya) withdraws the world within Himself.
Siva is holding in His hands Parasu (axe) and deer. He is making with the other two hands the Vara and the Abhaya Mudras. The deer here is Brahma. Siva is very powerful. Even Brahma is under His control.
Siva was the destroyer of the Asuras, Tripuras. He destroyed the Tripuras or the three cities of the Asuras which were built of gold, silver and iron by Maya. The Asuras oppressed all theists, being protected by the three cities. Siva is called Tripurari because He destroyed the Asuras, Tripuras, and the cities, Tripuras.
Brahma and Vishnu were one day disputing which of the two was the greater. Siva appeared in the form of an Infinite Jyoti or fiery Linga, in order to destroy their pride. Brahma and Vishnu set out to measure the Jyoti. They failed in their attempts.
When the ocean was churned, a terrible poison came out. Siva swallowed this in order to save the world. This caused a blue stain on His throat. So He is called by the name Nilakantha.
Ravana was a great devotee of Lord Siva. He used to go everyday to Mount Kailas to worship Lord Siva. He found this very troublesome. He thought within himself to bring the whole mountain to his abode in Lanka in order to save himself from the trouble of a daily journey to Mount Kailas. He began to pull up the mountain which trembled. Parvati, consort of Siva, got frightened. She embraced Lord Siva. Siva pressed Ravana with His toe and sent him down to the nether world.
Hari used to worship Siva daily with a thousand lotuses. One day one lotus was missing. He plucked out His own eye to make the number of a thousand. Siva gave Vishnu the Sudarsana Chakra or discus, being very much pleased with His devotion. It is this Sudarsana Chakra which Vishnu always bears. This discus is itself an embodiment of devotion.
A Rakshasa worshipped Brahma and asked Him to grant him the power to destroy the whole world. Brahma was partially unwilling to grant him this boon. He consented in a half-hearted manner and asked him to wait. The Devas, hearing this, were terribly frightened and went to Siva and told Him everything. Siva danced in order to delay the granting of this boon by Brahma, to distract him and thus save the world.
The Asura Taraka drove all the gods from heaven. The gods went to Brahma. Brahma said to the gods: “The Asura has acquired his power through my grace. I cannot destroy him. I shall suggest to you one plan. Go to Lord Siva. He is in Yoga Samadhi. He must be tempted to unite with Parvati. A powerful son will be born unto Him. He will destroy the Asura”.
Thereupon, Indra asked Cupid (Kama) to go with his wife Rati and his companion Vasanta (the spring), to Mount Kailas, the abode of Lord Siva. The three persons at once proceeded to Kailas. Spring season appeared there. All the Rishis were surprised at this. Kama stood behind a tree and shot an arrow at Siva. At this moment Parvati was worshipping Siva and offering flowers in His hand. Her hand touched the hands of Siva. Siva felt suddenly a thrill of passion and His seed came out. Siva was wondering what was it that thus distracted Him from His Yoga. He looked around and witnessed Kama behind a tree. He opened His third eye. A fire flashed and burnt Kama to ashes.
Siva’s seed was thrown into Agni (God of Fire). Agni was not able to bear it. He threw it into the Ganga. Ganga threw it into a forest of reeds where Subrahmanya, called the reed-born (Sara Janma, Saravana Bhava), was born. Subrahmanya became the commander of the Devas and destroyed the Asura as Brahma intended.
Daksha goes to attend the sacrifice of the sages who are the progenitors of the world, and not being honoured by Rudra who has come before him, Daksha reproaches Him and leaves the place. Nandisvara in his turn, curses Daksha and other Brahmins. Rudra then leaves the place of sacrifice.
Sati, daughter of Daksha, known also by the name Dakshayani, requests Siva’s permission to attend her father’s sacrifice, the Brihaspati-sava, and Siva shows how inadvisable it would be.
In spite of her Lord’s advice, Sati goes to Daksha’s sacrifice. Disregarded by her father and enraged at finding no offering made to Rudra, she praises the greatness of her Lord, censures Daksha and by the Yoga method casts off her body.
Hearing of Sati’s casting off her body, Sankara creates in His anger Virabhadra out of His Jata (or matted locks) and causes Daksha’s death.
Informed by the gods of the destruction of Daksha, Brahma pacifies Rudra, and Daksha and others are revived.
Being pleased with Brahma’s praise, Siva goes along with the gods to the scene of sacrifice; Daksha and others are revived; Vishnu issuing forth from the sacrificial fire is praised by Daksha and others. After the closing ceremony of ablutions, the gods return home. Maitreya describes the benefit of listening to this story, the birth of Sati as Parvati, and that of Skanda.
On the Mount Kailas, with Parvati Devi by His side, Lord Siva was sitting in a hall beautifully decorated by precious stones. At that time, Devi worshipped the Lord and requested Him to alter the name of Dakshayani given to her before, for being the daughter of Daksha. This Daksha was killed by Lord Siva for his disrespect and arrogance. On hearing this request Lord Siva ordained that Devi should be born as the daughter of Parvata Raj who was doing rigorous Tapas for getting a child. He also told Parvati that He would come over to her and marry her. Thus ordained, Parvati Devi was born as the child of Parvata Raj and since her fifth year, began to do rigorous Tapas for being the bride of Lord Siva.
During the absence of Devi, when Lord Siva was alone, the sons of Brahma, who are sages Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanatkumara, came to have Darsana of Lord Siva and prostrated before Him. They entreated the Lord to teach them the way to remove Avidya and attain salvation. They expressed that in spite of the vast study of scriptures they had no internal peace and they were in need of learning the inner secrets, by knowing which they could attain salvation.
Lord Siva, hearing this appeal made by the sages, assumed the form of Dakshinamurti and remaining as the Guru Supreme, began to teach them the inner secrets by keeping Mouna and showing the Chinmudra by His hand. The sages began to meditate on the lines shown by the Lord and attained the state of inexpressible and illimitable joy. Thus Lord Siva came to be known as Dakshinamurti. May the blessings of Lord Dakshinamurti be upon us all! May you all dive deep and enjoy the everlasting Peace and Bliss through His Grace!
This occurs in the Karna Parva of the Mahabharata. In times of yore, there was a war between the Devas and the Asuras. The Asuras were defeated in the battle. The three sons of the Asura, Taraka, wanted to take revenge on the Devas. They performed rigorous penance and obtained a boon from Brahma, the creator. By virtue of this boon, they could not be conquered by any one save somebody who could destroy their three castles by a single arrow.
They made three castles, one of gold in heaven, the second silver in air, and the third of iron on earth. They began to oppress the gods and the Rishis. Thereupon, all the gods made a complaint to Brahma. Brahma replied that no one save Mahadeva who knows Yoga and Sankhya, through particular penance, could vanquish these Asuras. All the gods approached Mahadeva and provided Him with a chariot out of all forms of the universe. They also supplied Him with a bow and arrow, the constituent parts of which were Vishnu, Soma and Agni. They requested Mahadeva to discharge the arrow against the three castles. Brahma became the charioteer. Mahadeva discharged the arrow against the three castles. The three castles fell down in the twinkling of an eye. Then all the gods eulogised Mahadeva and departed to heaven.
Mahadeva said to the gods that He Himself could not destroy the Asuras, as they were very strong, but that they themselves would be able to vanquish with the help of half His strength. The gods replied that they could not bear half His strength and that He should take up the task with the help of half their strength. Mahadeva agreed to this. He became stronger than all the gods. Hence He was called Mahadeva or the great God.
Once, a Pandya king of Madurai felt that his queen’s hair had some kind of natural fragrance. A doubt arose in his mind as to whether human hair could have natural fragrance, or could be rendered fragrant only through association with flowers or scents. He went to the Sangham or the Tamil Academy the next day, suspended a bag containing one thousand gold pieces and said to the poets that anyone who would write a poem clearing the doubt he entertained in his mind would get the gold pieces as a prize. Many poets composed poems but they were not able to satisfy the king.
Darumi, a Brahmin priest in the temple, was extremely poor. He requested Lord Siva thus: “O all-merciful Lord! I am very poor. I wish to marry now. Relieve me of my poverty. Help me to get these gold pieces now. I take refuge in Thee alone”. Lord Siva gave him a poem and said: “Take this poem to the Sangham. You will get the gold pieces”.
The king was immensely pleased with the song as it cleared his doubt, but the Sangham poets did not accept it. Nakirar, one of them, said that there was a flaw in the poem. The poor priest was greatly afflicted at heart. He came back to the temple, stood in front of the Lord and said: “O Lord! Why did You give me the poem which contained a flaw? Nobody will take You for the Lord. I feel very much for this”. The meaning of the poem is: “O fair-winged bee! You spend your time in gathering flower-dust. Do not speak out of love, but speak out of truth. Is there any among the flowers known to you that is more fragrant than the hair of this damsel who is most loving, is of the colour of the peacock and has beautiful rows of teeth!”
Thereupon, Lord Siva assumed the form of a poet, went to the Sangham and asked: “Which poet found out flaw in the poem?” Nakirar said: “It is I who said that there is a flaw.” Lord Siva asked: “What is the flaw?” Nakirar said: “There is no flaw in the composition of words. There is flaw in the meaning.” Lord Siva said: “May I know what defect is there in the meaning?” Nakirar said: “The hair of a damsel has no natural fragrance. It gets the fragrance from association with the flowers.” Lord Siva said: “Does the hair of Padmini also possess fragrance by association with the flowers?” Nakirar said, “Yes.” Lord Siva said: “Does the hair of celestial damsels also possess fragrance by association with the flowers?” Nakirar replied, “Yes. Their hairs become fragrant by association with Mandara flowers.” Lord Siva said: “Does the hair of Uma Devi who is on the left side of Lord Siva whom you worship possess fragrance by association with the flowers?” Nakirar replied: “Yes. Quite so.”
Lord Siva slightly opened His third eye. Nakirar said: “I am not afraid of this third eye. Even if you are Lord Siva, even if you show eyes throughout your whole body, there is flaw in this poem.” The fire from the third eye of Lord Siva fell upon Nakirar. Nakirar was not able to bear the heat. At once he jumped into the neighbouring lotus-tank to cool himself.
Then all the poets approached Lord Siva and said: “O Lord! Pardon Nakirar.” Lord Siva appeared before Nakirar. Through the grace of Lord Siva his body was rendered cool. He repented for his mistake and said: “I pointed defect even for the hairs of Uma Devi. No one but the Lord can pardon me.” He sang a song with intense devotion. Lord Siva entered the tank and brought him to the shore.
Then Nakirar and other poets gave the purse of gold to Darumi.
Devotion to the Lord dawns in the heart of a man who has done virtuous actions in his previous births without expectation of fruits and egoism or the idea of agency. Devotion leads to knowledge of the Self (Jnana) and through Jnana, he attains Moksha or the final emancipation.
In days of yore, Virasindhu was the king of Kalinga country. He did severe Tapas, meditation and Yoga in his previous birth, but did not attain Moksha. He became a Yoga-Bhrashta as he had to enjoy the fruits of some residual Karmas in this last birth of a King. He took his birth as the son of a king. When he attained the proper age, he was crowned as the king of Kalinga. He ruled the kingdom for a period of ten years.
Owing to the force of previous spiritual Samskaras, and the grace of the Lord, discrimination and dispassion dawned in his heart. He reflected within himself: “I am doing the same acts of eating, drinking and sleeping. My several forefathers who ruled the country, had been reduced to dust. I have no peace of mind despite my wealth and dominion. I should get a Guru and obtain initiation from him to get knowledge of the Atman and reach the abode of immortality and eternal bliss.
King Virasindhu sent invitation to all Pandits, Sannyasins, Sadhus and Mahatmas. He wrote in the letter thus: “I will give half of my dominion to that supreme Guru who will give me the right initiation and make me realise the Self. If he fails to do so he will be put in the prison.”
Many Pandits and Sadhus saw the king. One gave him Taraka Mantra, another gave Panchakshara, a third gave him Ashtakshara, but no one was able to satisfy the king. He put them all in the prison. He had initiation into these Mantras in his previous births.
King Virasindhu became very restless as he did not obtain his Guru. Lord Siva assumed the form of an ordinary coolie. He had a very black complexion. He wore some rags and appeared before the king. The king went in advance to receive him. Through the grace of the Lord, he came to know that this coolie was none other than the Lord. The coolie raised his hand towards the king and said “stop”, and vanished immediately. The king understood that the Guru has commanded him to stop the mind and control its movements. The king closed his eyes, while he was standing, and did not allow the mind to think of the sensual objects. He controlled all the modifications of the mind. It was easy for him as he had practised Yoga and meditation in his previous birth. He entered into Nirvikalpa Samadhi and became like a statue. He did not open his eyes.
The ministers were waiting in the Durbar Hall for hours together. King Virasindhu did not open his eyes for days together. Then the ministers reflected: The king is in Samadhi now. We do not know when he will return from the Samadhi. We will have to manage the affairs of the State.” They removed the ring from his finger and used it for putting the seal in the papers of the State.
The king opened his eyes after six years, and asked the ministers: “Where is my Guru?” The ministers replied: “O venerable king! The Guru said a word to your majesty and vanished at once. You are standing here like a statue for the last six years. We are conducting the affairs of the state with the aid of your ring. Here is the seal of your ring in all the registers and papers.”
The king was struck with awe and wonder. He thought within himself: “Six years have passed like a second. I enjoyed supreme bliss. I have no desire to rule the State after tasting the supreme bliss.” He left the palace and entered the forest and sat in Samadhi.
The force of Yogic Samskaras of the king that was generated by the practice of Yoga in his previous birth, helped him in the attainment of the beatitude in this birth. Those who have not much piety and religious inclination in this birth should do Japa, Kirtan, meditation, and study of religious books. They should live in the company of sages. They will develop good religious Samskaras. This will be a valuable asset for them in the next birth. They will start the practice of Yoga in the next birth in the early age.
It is difficult to say in what form the Guru or the Lord will appear before you to initiate you. He may come in the form of a leper as Sri Hanuman did, or in the form of an untouchable as Lord Krishna did, or in the form of a groom as Lord Siva did. The aspirants must be very careful and vigilant to detect the Lord in the various forms which He assumes.
Once, the Devas and the Asuras had a formidable fight for a very long period. Many Devas and Asuras died in the fight. The Devas thought that they should prolong their lives by drinking nectar and then continue the war. They approached Brahma with this desire in view. Brahma said: “This work cannot be done by me. It can be done only by Lord Vishnu.” Thereupon, Brahma and the Devas approached Lord Hari in Kshirasagara.
Lord Hari asked the Devas and Asuras to churn the ocean with the help of Mandaragiri as churning-rod and Vasuki, the serpent, as the rope. As they went on churning, poison (Halahala) came out first from the ocean. The terrible poison began to burn the people into ashes. The Devas, the Asuras and the Rishis began to fly away. Lord Vishnu was not able to destroy the poison. His body also became very black. He ran to Kailas along with the Devas and Brahma to see Lord Siva. He reported to Lord Siva all that had happened. Thereupon, Lord Siva collected the poison and kept it as a drop in the palm of His hand and swallowed it. Then Lord Vishnu and Brahma requested Lord Siva to keep it in His neck as a mark of their protection. Lord Siva did it accordingly. Due to the effect of the poison His throat became blue. From that day onwards Lord Siva is called by the name ‘Nilakantha’ (blue-necked one) or ‘Kalakantha Murti’. Then Lord Siva said to them: “If you churn again, you will get nectar and several other things.” They all started again the churning of the ocean and obtained nectar and many other things. All the Devas drank the nectar and rejoiced heartily.
Turning of Chatur-Yuga two thousand times, is a day of Brahma. Such thirty days make a month for him. Such twelve months make a year for him. Such hundred years make the full life of Brahma. The whole life-period of Brahma is a day for Lord Vishnu. After one hundred years, Lord Vishnu also will pass away or merge himself in Parabrahman. All the Andas will perish. On account of the heavy blowing of Prachanda Vayu, the seven oceans will ebb high and cover the whole world. Lord Siva alone will exist. He will burn everything into ashes through His fiery third eye and then dance.
The Dharmadevata or the Lord of Virtue reflected within himself: “How can I attain immortality? If I approach Lord Siva only, I can attain this.” He assumed the form of a bull, went to Lord Siva and said: “My venerable Lord! Kindly accept me as Thy vehicle and thus protect me.”
Lord Siva agreed to the humble request of the God of Dharma and said: “Conduct the Dharma with four feet in the Krita Yuga, with the three feet in the Treta Yuga, with two feet in the Dvapara Yuga, and with one foot in the Kali Yuga. On account of My grace, you will be endowed with all splendour and powers. You will be always My vehicle. You will be one with Me.”
When Lord Siva destroyed Tripuras or the three cities, Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a bull and supported Lord Siva.
Once upon a time in Mount Kailas, Parvati closed the eyes of Lord Siva with her hands. Thereupon the sun, moon and fire did not shine forth. This caused terrible havoc in the world. All were enveloped by darkness for a long period. Lord Siva opened His third eye a bit. The sun, moon and fire began to shine again and all darkness vanished.
Parvati was frightened. She removed her hands and dropped down the perspiration from her fingers. This perspiration was turned into ten Gangas with countless branches. These rivers did much havoc to the world. Thereupon Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Indra ran to Lord Siva and requested Him to avert this catastrophe.
Lord Siva felt compassionate and brought the whole waters in one hair of His matted locks. Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Indra requested Lord Siva to give a little of the water of the Ganga for their worlds. Lord Siva gave them a little. They became Virajanadi in Vaikuntha, Manasa Tirtha in Satyaloka and Devaganga in Indraloka. King Bhagiratha brought down the Ganga from Brahmaloka to save the sixty thousand sons of Sagara.
The Rishis of Darukavana thought that there was no use in loving and adoring Lord Siva and they could attain Moksha through the performance of sacrifices. They left off worship of the Lord and did sacrifices vigorously.
Then Lord Siva said to Lord Hari: “Assume the form of Mohini and enter the abode of all Rishis in Daruka forest. They have no regard for Me now. They are treading the wrong path now. We should teach them a severe lesson. Excite their passion and delude them. Destroy their Vratas.” He also put on the form of a mendicant-beggar.
Thereupon, Lord Hari assumed the form of Mohini and entered the dwelling places of the Rishis in Darukavana. All the Rishis lost their power of understanding and discrimination and followed Mohini under strong excitement of passion.
Lord Siva entered the Parnakutirs of the wives of the Rishis, sang the Srutis and hymns beautifully and roamed about as a mendicant-beggar. The wives of Rishis became excited and followed Lord Siva. They entreated Him in a variety of ways to satisfy them. Lord Siva multiplied Himself and appeared in the mind of each woman. All the wives of the Rishis enjoyed heartily. They all brought forth in the morning eighteen thousand Rishis with matted locks, Danda and Kamandalu. They all prayed to Lord Siva. Lord Siva blessed them to do Tapas in the forest. The Rishis acted accordingly.
The Rishis witnessed the condition of their wives and said: “We were deluded by the enchanting Mohini. The mendicant-beggar spoiled the chastity of our wives. Lo! how powerful is lust! Mysterious is Maya!”
The Rishis of Darukavana performed a Yajna to destroy Lord Siva. A cruel tiger came out of the fire. They commanded the tiger to kill Lord Siva. Lord Siva killed the tiger and wore the skin around His waist. Then they created a trident, to kill the Lord. Lord Siva wore it in His hand as His instrument. Then they created a deer with sharp horns, to kill the Lord. Lord Siva wore it in His left hand.
Later on they created countless black cobras to kill the Lord. Lord Siva wore them as His ornaments. Then they created countless Bhuta Ganas to kill the Lord. Lord Siva made them as His army. Then they created a Damaru to kill the Lord. Lord Siva wore it in His hand. Then they created an Asura, Muyalaka, to kill the Lord. Muyalaka marched with the Yajna fire to destroy Lord Siva. Lord Siva held the fire as Malu in His hand and kept the Asura under His feet.
After the Samhara was over, Lord Brahma born of the grace of Lord Siva thought of creating all beings. He created Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatsujata. They did not enter the life of householders. They developed wisdom and became great Yogis.
Lord Brahma went to Vaikuntha and saw Lord Hari and said to Him: “O venerable Lord! I am not able to continue the creation. Sanaka, Sanandana, etc., have become Yogis. They do not wish to become householders. Kindly suggest to me a way to continue my work of creation.” Lord Vishnu said: “This is not in my power. Let us go to Lord Siva who abides in Kailasa.”
Brahma and Vishnu saw the Lord of Kailasa and said to Him: “O God of gods! The creative work of Brahma has been stopped as the four Kumaras have become Yogis. Kindly bless him to continue his creative work.”
Lord Siva looked at the left side of His chest. Uma took Her birth from Lord Siva’s left side. Lord Siva said to them: “Now there is no difficulty in creation. It will continue without any hitch.” Thereupon Brahma and Vishnu repaired to their respective abodes. Then Lord Brahma created the worlds through the grace of Lord Siva. Men and women lived together happily and brought forth offsprings. The whole appearance is Saktimaya. Lord Siva witnesses Prakriti’s activities.
In days of yore, Gajasura did severe penance. Brahma appeared before him and asked him: “O Gajasura! I am pleased with your penance. What boon do you want?” Gajasura said: “O venerable Lord! Give me prowess and inexhaustible wealth.” “I have given you what you desired. But if you fight against Lord Siva, you will lose your boon.” Then Lord Brahma vanished.
Thereupon, Gajasura did Digvijaya, and defeated Devas and Indra. He troubled the Munis and the Rishis also. They repaired to Banares and fell at the feet of Lord Visvanatha and said: “Gajasura is trying to kill us. Protect us. O Lord! There is no other refuge for us.”
Gajasura attacked Lord Visvanatha also. The Lord killed the Asura, tore the skin and wore it as His garment. Then the Devas and the Rishis praised the Lord and became happy.
Varaguna Pandian was the king of Pandya kingdom. His capital was at Madurai. He was like Indra. Yemanathan, skilled in Vina, came to his Durbar from Northern India. He played thrilling songs on Vina. The king appreciated Yemanathan’s music, gave him rich presents and kept him in a separate bungalow. Yemanathan was very much puffed up owing to his skill in music.
Varaguna Pandian understood that Yemanathan was proud of his knowledge of music. He called his Durbar-musician Bhanabhadra and said to him: “O Bhadra! Will you be able to attain victory over the new musician Yemanathan?” Bhanabhadra replied: “I can certainly defeat him through your grace and the blessings of Lord Somasundara of Madurai.” The king said: “Well then, come tomorrow and exhibit your skill in music.”
The disciples of Yemanathan roamed about in all the streets and lanes of Madurai, played on Vina and vigorously advertised about their skill in music. Bhanabhadra heard this and reflected within himself: “These disciples are very efficient in music and Vina. If the disciples possess such knowledge, what must be the splendour and glory of their Guru! How can I attain victory over this master-musician?” Then he prayed to Lord Siva: “Kindly help me now to defeat Yemanathan. I am in need of Thy grace.”
Then the Lord assumed the form of a wood-cutter, wore a rag around his body and torn shoes on his feet. He had a Vina in his hand and a bundle of fuel on his head. He went to the house where Yemanathan was living and sat on the verandah. He took his Vina and played in a marvellous manner. He sang beautifully along with Vina.
Yemanathan was struck with wonder when he heard the wonderful music. He came out and asked the fuel-seller: “O fuel-seller! Who are you?” The fuel-seller replied: “I am one of the disciples and a servant of Bhanabhadra, the Durbar-singer of Varaguna Pandian. He has many disciples. As I became old, my master abandoned me and told me that I am unfit for singing.”
Yemanathan requested the fuel-seller to sing again. He sang again Satari Raga which melted the heart of Yemanathan. Lord Siva, who acted the part of fuel-seller, vanished with his bundle of fire-wood.
Yemanathan thought within himself: “I have not heard this Satari Raga till now. It is Devaraga. If this old man can sing this Raga in such a beautiful manner, what must be the knowledge and glory of his master! Surely God only ought to have taught him this Raga. I cannot stand before Bhanabhadra. Let me leave this place at once.” Yemanathan’s heart was filled with fear and shame. He left all the things and left the house at midnight along with his disciples.
Lord Somasundara appeared in the dream of Bhanabhadra and said: “Do not be afraid. I put on the form of fuel-seller, sat on the verandah of the house in which Yemanathan lived and played on the Vina. He was struck with wonder and ran away at midnight. Be at ease now.”
Bhanabhadra got up in the morning, went to the temple at Madurai and worshipped Lord Somasundara. Then he went to the Durbar of Varaguna Pandian. The king sent a servant to call Yemanathan. The servant searched him in several places. He was not able to find out the new musician. The neighbours of the house in which Yemanathan lived said: “One fuel-seller came and sang. The new singer left the place at midnight. This only we know.”
The servant reported the matter to the king. The king said to Bhanabhadra: “Could you tell me what you did after leaving me?” Bhanabhadra told the king: “My venerable Lord! I went to my house and prayed to Lord Somasundara to bless me. He appeared in my dream and said: ‘I put on the form of a fuel-seller, sang Satari Raga in the house of Yemanathan. I drove him away.’ I at once woke up. This is what happened.”
Varaguna Pandian came to know that this was the Lila of Lord Siva. He admired the devotion of Bhadra and gave him rich presents. He said to Bhadra: “The Lord who made Brahma and the other Devas His servants, became your servant and blessed you. We are all your servants only. I am your servant. In future sing the praise of Lord Somasundara always.”
Bhanabhadra rejoiced heartily. He was ever devoted to Lord Somasundara.
The following are the 25 Lilas (sportive plays) or manifestations of Lord Siva:
1. Wearing of moon on the head, 2. Living with Uma Devi, 3. Riding on ox, 4. Tandava dance with Kali, 5. Marriage with Parvati, 6. Begging, 7. Burning of Manmatha or the God of Love, 8. Victory over Yama or the God of Death, 9. Burning of Tripuras, 10. Killing of Jalandarasura, 11. Killing of Gajasura, 12. Incarnation of Virabhadra, 13. Harihara, 14. Ardhanarisvara, 15. Transforming into Kirata, (hunter), 16. Assuming the form of Kankala, 17. Blessing Chandisvara, 18. Drinking poison, 19. Giving of Chakra to Lord Vishnu, 20. Destroying of obstacles, 21. Having sons of Uma Devi with Him, 22. Becoming Ekapada Rudra, 23. Being in easy pose (Sukhasana), 24. Assuming the form of Dakshinamurti, and 25. Assuming Linga form.