ANTIQUITY OF THE SAIVA RELIGION.
Extracts from Vishnu Bhagavata Purana with Notes.
R. A. SASTRI.
Satva, Rajas, and Tamas, thus there are three gunas of Prakriti; united with these, one Supreme Person (Para-Purusha) bears for the sake of the creation etc., of this (universe) the names respectively Hari, Virinchi and Hara. Of these, man can seek welfare from the satva-embodied one (satva-tanu) - ii. 2.3.
The Para-Purusha is distinguished form the Trimurtis; and the Purana is evidently intended for setting forth the glories of the Satvamurti.
Asvaththama ran for his life "like the Sun out of the fear of Rudra" or according to another reading "like Brahma out of the fear of Rudra". vii. 18.
When the astrologers cast the horoscope of Parikshit they said "He would resemble Girisa (Siva) in Prasada (grace) xii. 24.
The word Prasada is used in ancient literature in connection with the grace shown by Lord Siva to his chosen devotees.
When Arjuna remembers his past glories he says "the trident-holder, Lord, with the daughter of Himavat, being pleased, bestowed on me, his own weapon (Pasu-patastra). xv. 12.
One desirous of Vidya (knowledge or wisdom) should worship Girisa' one desirous of obtaining a good life partner, should worship Uma, the chaste. iii. 7.
Vidura puts the particular question to Uddhava, when he returns from Dvaraka after the departure of Sri Krishna from the world, thus 'Is Samba doing well, who is the beneficent son of Hari, handsome, who is the first among the charioteers, and whom Jambavati had brought forth by observing vows (to Siva), as Ambika, the divine guha (Subrahmanya) in olden days." i. 30.
The question is important as showing that the Yadava race was destroyed through the instrumentality of Samba who had the destructive amsa of Lord Siva, as anyone who performs this function receives His amsa for the time being vide XI-2, 14 to 16 verses.
When Brahma was not satisfied with his Tamasa creation, he next created the four mind-born sons, Sanaka etc., and told them to create the beings. When they refused to obey his orders he was angered beyond control but tried to restrain it. Though he controlled it by his intellect, from the centre of the eye-brows of the Prajapati, his anger sprang forth as the young Nilalohita (Rudra) ............. xii. 7.
Him again Brahma requested to undertake the function of creation. Thus, requisitioned the Lord Nilalohita began to create, being by nature Satva many like unto himself. Thus Brahma seeing many Rudras created, asked him to stop the creation. xii. 13, 14 and 16.
This story occurs in every Purana, whenever Brahma attempts creation, which shows that without Rudra neither creation nor protection can go on.
Maricha admonishes his wife (Diti) when she presses him to satisfy her lust in Pradosha time (evening) thus "In this Sandhya time, oh chasteful one, the Lord the creator of beings wanders with his vehicle Vrisha (the sacred bull) surrounded by his retinue. He who constructed the Setu whose guardians are Brahma and others, on whom as the cause the universe depends, to whom Maya is the hand-maid and whose actions with pisachas are mere play". xiv, 22, 23 and 28.
Diti praises Rudra for the safety of her womb, 'Prostrations to Rudra, the great, the Deva, the Ugra, the showerer of the desired objects, Siva, the peaceful, the ruler, the angry one. May he be pleased towards me that is related to him as his consort's sister. He is compassionate to all those who deserve compassion, especially towards the feminine sex and who is the lord of Sati (the chaste). xiv. 33, 34 and 35.
When the Rishi Atri performed penance for the sake of getting a son, he prayed thus " I take refuge in him who is the Lord of the Universe. May he be pleased to bestow on me a son equal to me" ....... Next, the three Gods appeared before him with their respective characteristics such as, by the vehicles, bull, swan and eagle. Then Atri addresses them thus "I know you all who are assuming forms respectively according to three gunas of Maya for the sake of creation preservation and destruction of the Universe in each Kalpa and bears names Brahma, Vishnu and Girisa. I adore you all. But who is he amongst you that was invoked by me." The three replied "as is your Sankalpa, so it will happen and not otherwise. Oh Brahmin as you are a Satya Sankalpa (true determination) that which you invoked are we." i. 20 to 30.
Vidura questions:- Why did Daksha, affectionate towards his daughter become inimical to Siva, the greatest among the virtuous, without caring for his daughter the Chaste. ii. 1.
How can anybody be inimical to that preceptor of the Universe, the one without enmity, of calm appearance who finds bliss in himself, and who is the Supreme Deity of the world. ii. 2.
He who for the sake of oneself, thinks harm to the Lord who is not revengeful falls away from the truth, with differentiated mind. ii. 22.
Let the ignorant soul (Pasu) forgetting his own destiny become entangled in worldly matters ............. ii. 24.
The fool will look upon ignorance with action as knowledge. They also who follow the reviler of Siva will continue the transmigratory life. ii. 25.
Devi addresses Daksha:- Who excepting you will revile one, who is omnipresent, free from enmity, to whom there is neither beloved friend or foe in the world of beings and who is of a lovable nature. iv. 11.
The wicked attribute vices to the virtuous, but, O, twice born one, men of your stamp do not do so. Great men appreciate greatly the small virtues; to them you attributed vice. iv. 12.
The chance utterance of his name of two letters (Shiva), removes the sin of men. You, an inauspicious person revile, are such a one of pure fame and inviolate authority. iv. 14.
The bee-like minds of the great, desirous of obtaining the honey of Brahmarasa, cling to his lotus-like feet; Such a one who is showering blessings on the needy world, who is the friend of all, you are reviling. iv. 15.
Even Brahma and others except thee do not consider Siva (the auspicious one) as Asiva (inauspicious). * * * iv. 16.
When the Lord, the protector of Dharma is being reviled, shutting the ears, one should clear away; if powerful, should forcibly cut off the slanderous tongue, or else should give up life. This is Dharma. iv. 17.
I shall not keep alive this body which has sprung out of thee the reviler of Sithikantha. It is said that the only expiation for eating prohibited food, out of delusion, is to vomit the same. iv. 18.
The discretion of the great Muni who is realising the self is not fettered by the sayings of the Vedas. * * * iv. 19.
Sati, thinking about the honey of the lotus like feet of her husband, saw nothing else. Her body became pure and was burnt by the fire produced by Samadhi. iv. 27.
Maitreya said:- Then all the Devas with the priests and those who had assembled there, being defeated by the armies of Rudra armed with weapons like the trident etc., with their limbs broken, prostrated before Brahma and reported all that had happened. vi. 1 and 2.
Knowing this beforehand, the lotus-born Brahma and the all-pervading Vishnu did not resort to the sacrifice of Daksha. vi. 3.
Having heard this, Brahma replied:- Those who seek welfare will not attain prosperity if wrong is done to spiritual beings. vi. 4.
You have committed fault by refusing oblations to him. Take hold of his feet. He will easily be pleased. Invoke him with pure minds. vi. 5.
Neither I, nor Yajna (Vishnu) nor you all, nor the sages, nor anybody else, know his true nature, nor his strength and power. Who will dictate means of pacifying him who is independent. vi. 7.
Brahma, thus having instructed the Devas, proceeded from his own residence together with the Pithris and the Prajapatis to Kailasa, the best among the mountains the favourite seat of the Lord Siva, the destroyer of the three cities. vi. 8.
That Kailasa, where those who are perfected by birth, medicines, austerities, Mantra and Yoga and also Kinnaras and others who are not human beings stay. vi. 9.
In about 25 verses, the beauties of Kailasa are described in detail, including the big banyan tree. Even the Vaikuntha has not been described so elaborately.
Under that tree of Mahayoga, they saw seated Siva, the refuge of those who seek salvation * * * * worshipped by Kubera and Sanandana and others who are perfected by Yoga and who possess equilibrium of mind, and who is thinking about the methods of wisdom, austerity and Yoga; who has forms desired by Tapasas; who is seated on an Asana, made of Manja grass, besmeared with holy ashes and explaining the eternal truth to Narada who was questioning while many others were also attending. That Siva who was keeping his left leg on the right knee, holding the prayer beads in his hand and exhibiting the symbol of Tharkamudra. vi. 33 to 38.
The sages together with the regents of the eight quarters, bowed to him, who was realising in his Samadhi, the Supreme self to be attained by the highest Yoga and who is the first of all the Manus. vi. 39.
.............Brahma said:- I know thee as the Lord of the Universe as transcending matter, the seed cause, Sakti and Siva and as the eternal Brahman. vi. 42.
Thou alone create, preserve and destroy the unvierse like a playful spider, by the effect of the union of Siva and Sakti. vi. 43.
Those created Yajna through the instrumentality of Daksha, for the sake of obtaining the result of Dharma and Artha, you aloe were the cause of the restrictive limits (of castes and grades) which the Brahmins and others faithfully follow. vi. 44.
You turn inauspicious actions into auspicious ones. You bestow rewards in this and other worlds when actions are done. The Evil-doers are sent to deep darkness .......... vi. 45.
Anger generally does not influence as it does the Pasus (ignorant Souls) those whose minds are devoted to thy feet, who realise you in all beings and also want to see all beings as existing in you. vi. 46.
Daksha when he had the head of the sacrificial animal fixed on his trunk, being looked at by Rudra, arose, at once, as if from sleep; and saw Siva before him. vii.. 9.
The Prajapati, whose mind was confused owing to enmity to Rudra, became free from mala (impurities) like a tank in the autumn as a result of the Sight of Siva vii. 10.
You at first created from the face the Brahmins who observe the vows of knowledge and austerities, for the sake of promulgating the truth between Brahman and Atman. O Supreme one, you are protecting those Brahmins in all dangers as the herdsman with the stick protects the Pasus. vii. 14.
Let the Lord be pleased with himself whom I without understanding his real nature reviled in the assembly with numberless arrow-like Evil words, and who protected with gracious eyes when I fell down in consequence of my reviling the great. vii. 15.
Vishnu addresses the revived assembly "Myself, Brahma, and Siva are the Supreme cause of the Universe, and also the Self, the ruler, the witness, the self-seer and the unconditioned. vii. 50.
"The fool looks upon Brahma, Rudra, and other beings, as separate from the Supreme-Self, Brahman, one without a second. vii. 52.
O Brahma, he attains peace who sees no difference amongst the three who are one in nature and who are the self of all". vii. 54.
Maitreya says:- I heart this achievement of Lord Siva, the destroyer of Daksha's Sacrifice from my spiritual disciple Uddhava the incarnation of Brihaspati. vii. 61.
O Parikshit, That man who after learning, repeats daily with devotion, the achievements of the Supreme ruler, which enhance fame, give long lease of life, and remove all sins, destroys sin. vii. 62.
When the mother earth refused to yield to the workers of the field; King Prithu is said to have got angry "like the destroyer of the three cities (Siva). (See also X. 7, 29, and X. 76, 12.) - xvii. 13.
During a horse-sacrifice performed by the King Prithu, Indra stole the horse. When the king found him out, and was about to discharge the arrows at him, Indra appeared "with matted hair and besmeared with ashes". He stayed his arrows out of respect for that holy appearance. xix. 14.
Vidura asks: How was it possible for the Prachetas to meet Siva in person in this world, as even the sages only meditate on him, and it is difficult for the mortals to meet him? It is said that the Lord Siva delighting in himself wanders about the world with his destructive energy for the sake of its welfare .... Following the direction of their father the Prachetas proceeded northwards till they reached the Manasu Lake. (Here follows a graphic description of the Lake). They there heard divine music and saw coming towards them the three eyed Siva with the body appearing like molten gold, and with a gracious face, surrounded by the Devas. The Prachetas joyously prostrated before him. Then Rudra, the remover of the difficulties of his devotees and upholder of Dharma addresses them .... He who takes refuge in the Lord Vasudeva who is above the jiva, bound by three gunas, is indeed dear to me .....xxiv. 17 to 31.
In the description of Bhugola it is said that the holy Bhava is the sole Deity in the Ilavrata continent. xvii. 15.
In his battle Vrithrasura Indra appeared "Like Rudra standing with anger before Yama." x. 15.
Chitraketu while travelling in the aerial car presented by Vishnu, came by Siva surrounded by Siddhas and Charanas. seeing Him embracing Parvati in the assembly of Munis, Chitraketu laughingky remarked. "He, the preceptor of the world, the direct promulgator of the Dharmas, among the embodied one's, the expounder of the truth of Brahman, and the observer of the highest vows, enjoys publicly the company of his wife like an ordinaty man". In answer to Chitraketu, who did not understand the real worth of Siva, Parvati spoke thus:- "His real nature is understood neither by Brahma, the sons of Brahma, Narada and others, the Kumaras, Kapila, nor Manu, such a one you are speaking of as having strayed from the path of virtue. His lotus-like feet are meditated upon by those mentioned above, he is the preceptor of the universe, and he is the auspiciousness of all auspiciousness (Mangala). Having reviled such great ones you deserve punishment .............. xvii, 4 to 12.
The stories of the destructor of the three cities are described. x, 53 to 71.
A number of places of pilgrimage is mentioned including Setu, Varanasi, Madura and Bindusaras, Bhuvanesvaram in Orissa. xiv, 28 to 32.
At the time of the churning of the ocean, the churning rod, the Mount Mandara, began to sink in the ocean. The strength of all the Devas was not sufficient to raise it up. It was then discovered that "the failure to propitiate Vignesvara" was the cause of all this. vii, 8.
In the course of the churning of the ocean, the great poison came out of it. All the Devas became helpless and ran in a body to Kailasa to seek the protection of Siva. They prostrated before him and praised him thus:- vii, 19 and 20.
O Lord of all lords, great Lord, the Soul of all, creator of beings, protect us, who have taken refuge in thee, from the poison which burns the three worlds. vii, 21.
You alone are the Lord of bondage and Salvation of all the worlds. The wise men worship you alone. You are the guru as well as the remover of the difficulties of the devotees. vii, 22.
When you create, preserve and destroy the universe, with your energy, then you assume the names of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. vii, 23.
You are the Brahman, and the Supreme Secret. You are the manifested and un-manifested. You are manifested as different energies. Thou art the Atman, the ruler of the universe. vii, 24.
In four verses his universal form (Vira Rupa) is described. 25 to 28.
The five upanishads viz., (1) Kaivalya, (2) Svetasvatara, (3) Atharvasirus, (4) Atharvasikha, (5) and Kalagnirudra. (These five are generally called 'five Rudras') are thy five faces ............Thy name 'Siva' is the Supreme Truth ..............vii, 29.
O Girisa, thy Supreme Light is not attainable by Brahma Vishnu, and Indra, who are the rulers of the unvierse. vii, 31.
O Mahadeva, we do not know anything beyond this. The manifestation of such a one as yours, whose actions are not explicit to us, is for the welfare of the world. vii, 35.
On hearing the achievements of Siva in swallowing the great poison, Brahma, Vishnu, Parvati, and the Prajapatis, praised him. vii, 45.
Kasyapa's wife observed the Payovrata to beget a son. Along with other prayers she addresses Siva thus .. 'Adoration to Siva, to Rudra, to the possessor of Sakti (may also be translated as Subrahmanya), adoration to the presiding deity of all vidyas, and adoration to the ruler of all beings. xvi, 32.
At the upanayana ceremony of the boy, Vamana (incarnation of Vishnu) the holy Uma, Ambika, the Chaste, bestowed the first Bhiksha (alms). xviii, 17.
Bhagiratha says to Ganga:- Rudra, who in the soul of all beings, and in whom the universe is woven and interwoven, like the thread in the cloth, will receive the force of your flow. ix. 7.
The Gopastris observed the Katyavani vrata; and having an image of sand before them, worshipped Parvati by offering sandal, &c. They invoked Parvati with the following mantra. O Katyayani, O Mahamaya, Mahayogini, Adhisvari, give us Nandagopa's son as husband. xxii, 1 to 4.
Parikshit asks Suka, how the conduct of Sri Krishna in his plays with the Gopis, can be justified. Suka answers thus: We should not judge the actions of great men by ordinary standards. Rudra drank the great posion. Can we do so? xxxiii, 31.
Once the Gopas went to a place of pilgrimage called 'Ambikavana' and worshipped there their family deity the all pervading Pasupati and Ambika. xxxiv, 1.
In her letter to Krishna, Rukmani refers to the custom of worshipping the family deity Girija in the day previous to the day of marriage. lii, 40.
The actual worship of Girija is conducted in detail. liii, 25, 44 to 46.
Bana, eldest son of Bali, is said to be a great devotee of Siva. lxiv, 3.
In Bala Ramas pilgrimage the following, among other places, are said to have been visited. Skanda, Sri Saila, Kanchi, Vrishabhadri (Nundi durg, Dakshina Madura, Setu, Kanya, (cape Comerin) and Gokurna where there remains the spiritual influence of Dhujati for ever. lxxix, 11 to 19.
Krishna says to Uddhava "Among the archers I am the destroyer of the three cities (Tripuraghna)" (In the Bhagavad gita he says " I am Sri Rama among the archers") xvi, 20.
Markandeya is said to have met Rudra who instructs him not to receive with difference the three deities, Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra. x, 21.
Vishnu's bow called Sarga is said to be Kala, (the Rudras amsa for destruction), xi, 15.
R. A. SASTRI.