LINGA PURAN PART I

SUTJI NARRATES THE DIVINE TALES OF LINGA PURAN

Once, sage, Narad arrived at Naimisharanya where he found many sages engaged in austerities. All the sages were delighted to see him. They eulogized him in reverence and offered him seat. Sage Narad narrated some amazing tales describing about the greatness of Linga Puran. This made the sages even more curious about Linga Puran. Right then, Sutji also arrived there and the sages requested him to narrate the tales of Linga Puran.

After making salutations to lord Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh and Sage Krishna Dwaipayan, Sutji said--- Sound is the medium through which the almighty Brahma manifests himself. Brahma manifests himself in the sacrosanct OMKAR mantra. Rigveda is his mouth, Samaveda his tongue, Yajurveda his neck and Atharvaveda is his heart. He is the Supreme Being and is beyond the reach of creation or deluge. He is one but manifests himself as three distinct deities---Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. These three deities are the expression of the three natural qualities respectively-Rajas, Satva and Tamas. He manifests himself as Mahesh in his formless (Nirguna) identity. He manifests himself in all the living creatures as well as imperceptible things in the form of seven natural elements-Mahattatva (5 basic elements) Ahankara (ego), Shabda (Sound) Sparsh (touch), Roop (appearance), Rasa (taste) and Gandha (smell).

Lord Brahma compiled the divine tales of Linga Puran. It covers wide range of subjects like the beginning of creation, the origin of universe, description of the time, tales of different Kalpas, the greatness of Linga and its worship, tales related with Lord Shiva, characteristics of Shiva temple etc. It specially elaborates upon the greatness of Shiva linga and its worship.

FIRST CANTO PRATHAM SARG

Shiva is both invisible as well as the root cause of all the delusions of the world. This is why Shiva is also known as Alinga (unknowable). Linga is nothing but the non-manifested (Auyakta) form of Shiva. This implies that the visible world is the medium through which Shiva manifests himself. Nature (Prakriti) in itself is devoid of qualities like smell, taste, touch etc. But, all these qualities become apparent in it only because of Shiva, who is imperishable and whose characteristics are the natural qualities like taste, smell, touch and sound.

The whole world along with the gross and subtle has originated from Alinga Shiva. The whole world comes into being with the help of eleven components-10 sense organs and mind. It is pervaded by the delusions of 'Alinga Shiva'. The three prominent deities---Brahma Vishnu and Mahesh are the manifestations of Shiva. He is the creator in the form of Brahma, the nurturer in the form of Vishnu and the annihilator in the form of Mahesh.

Nature is pervaded by the delusion of Shiva, which is also known as Ajaa (unborn). The three basic colour -red, white and black are the symbolic expressions of the three qualities Raja, Sat and Tamo respectively. Majorities of people fall prey to the delusions of this world and get entangled in its illusionary appearances, but there are few that understand the futility of this illusionary world.

With the desire of beginning creation, the supreme Almighty manifest himself in the imperceptible which results into the creation of the Mahattatva (five basic elements). From Mahattatva manifests the ego or 'ahankara which comprises of three gunas. From Ego manifests the Tanmantras or subtle forms of matter-sound, form, taste smell and touch. Among these subtle forms of matter, Sound came into being first of all and space originated from it. The second tanmantra, touch originated from the space. Air manifested from touch or sparsh. The third tanmantra, form or roopa originated from air or Yayu. Fire or Agni manifested from roopa. The fourth tanmantra, taste or rasa manifested from Agni.

Similarly, water or Jal manifested from Rasa, smell or Gandha from Jal and Earth manifested from Gandha respectively.

All the five organs of action (Karmendriya) sense organs and mind originated from pure Ego (Satva ahankara). In course of time all these elements got transformed into a mammoth egg (Anda), inside which Lord Brahma manifested himself. The whole universe is said to be established inside the above mentioned egg.
The egg is covered by seven layers and Lord Brahma dwells inside it, seated on a lotus flower. The mammoth egg contains crores of universes inside its fold.

THE BEGINNING OF CREATION

The whole creation lasts for the total period equivalent to Brahma's day. The almighty God created during daytime and annihilated during night. One day of Lord Brahma is equivalent to one Kalpa of this world. The cycle of four Yugas occur periodically for 1000 times, during which period altogether fourteen Manus take incarnation, one after another. Satyuga consists of 4000 years.

Fifteen Nimesha make one Kashtha (unit of time measurement) Thirty Kalas make a Muhurta, fifteen Muhurta a day and night each.The dark lunar phase is said to be the day, while bright lunar phase is said to be the night of the manes. One year of this world consists of 360 days.The deities' day lasts for the full period, when the sun is positioned towards the north of equator. Similarly, the deities' night lasts for the total period when the sun is positioned towards the south of equator. One year of the deities is equivalent to thirty years of this world. Similarly three months of the deities are equivalent to one hundred months of this world.

Each of the four Yugas is measured on the basis of divine years. Satya Yuga is equivalent to 40,000 divine years, while Treta Yuga is equivalent to 80,000 divine years. Dwarpar Yuga is equivalent to 20,000 years of the deities, while Kali Yuga is equivalent to 60,000 years of the deities. The period of each Yuga given here is exclusive of the periods of Sandhya (evening) and Sandhyansh (part of evening.)

Lord Brahma commences creation at the fag end of night and all his creations exist for the whole day. When the night descends, everything is annihilated. This is the time when Kalpa ends.

THE ORIGIN OF CREATION

In the initial phase of his creation, Lord Brahma created immovable natural things like trees, mountains etc-then birds and animals. In the process of creation, he created various things and human being was his seventh creation.

First of all Lord Brahma created his Manasputras-Sanak, Sanandan etc, who had no worldly desires. He then created the nine supreme sages---Marichi, Bhrigu, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Daksha, Atri and Vashishth by the help of his yogic powers. After that, it was the turn of the twelve Prajapatis-Ribhu, Sanatkumar, Sanatan etc. All of them were divine, extremely virtuous and had realized the supreme - self, Brahma.Shatarupa had begotten four children from Swayambhuva Manu-Priyavrata, Uttanpad, Aakuti and Prasuti.

Aakuti was married to a Prajapati named Ruchi, while Prasuti married Daksha. Aakuti gave birth to two children-Dakshina and Yagya. Dakshina had twelve sons.Prasuti-the youngest daughter of Shatarupa had begotten twenty four daughters from Yaksha-Shraddha, Lakshmi, Dhriti, Tushti, Pushti, Megha, Kriya, Buddhi, Lajja, Vapu, Siddhi, Keerti, Khyati, Sambhuti, Smriti, Preeti, Kshama, Sannati, Anusuya, Urja, Swaha, Sura Arani and Swadha. Thirteen of them were married to Dharma-a Prajapati. Khyati was married to sage Bhrigu while Arani married sage Bhargava. Similarly various sages like Marichi, Angira, Pulastya, Pulaha, Ritu, Atri and Vashishth got married with Sambhuti, Smriti, Preeti, Kshama, Sannati Anusuya and Urjaa respectively. Swaha was married to Vibhavasu while Swadha married the Pitrishwaras.

Dharma had begotten all together 15 sons from his thirteen wives-Kaam, Darp, Niyam, Santosh, Alobha, Shrut, Dand, Samay, Body, Mahadyuti, Apramadd, Vinay, Vyavasay, Kshem, Sukh and Yash. Khyati-wife of sage Bhrigu gave birth to Shri who later became the consort of lord Vishnu. She also had two sons named Dhata and Vidhata.

Prabhuti-wife of sage Marichi gave birth to two sons-Puranama and Maarich. She also had four daughters-Tushti, Drishti, Krishi and Apachi.Kshama-wife of Sage Pulaha had many offspring among whom Kardam & Sahishnu were prominent. Preeti, wife of Sage Pulastya had two sons named Dattarnavr and Dahvahu. She also had a daughter named Dwashdwati. Kratu's wife-Sannati had six thousand offspring who became famous as Baalkhilyas.

Smriti-Wife of Sage Angiras had given birth to five daughters--- Sini, Vali, Kuhu, Raka and Anumati. Anusuya, wife of Sage Atri had six children-five sons and one daughter. The names of the sons were - Satyanetra, Bhavyamuni, Murtiray, Shanaishchar and Somatha.Urjaa, wife of sage Vashishth gave birth to seven sons-Jyayji, Pundarikaaksh, Raj, Suhotra, Bahu, Nishpaap, Shravan, Tapasvi and Shukra. Agni's consort Swaha gave birth to three sons-Pavamaan, Paavak and Shuchi.

LORD SHIVA - THE SUPREME LIBERATOR

Sati- daughter of Daksha had married lord Shiva much against the wish of her father. Once, Daksha organized a grand yagya in which he did not invite his son-in-law. Sati went to attend the yagya ceremony inspite of Shiva's forbiddance. After seeing her, Daksha calumniated Lord Shiva and made fun of him. This infuriated her to such an extent that she gave up her life by jumping into the sacrificial fire. She was born as Parvati in her next birth and once again got Shiva as her husband.

Once, Lord Brahma requested Shiva to create a world, which was free from death. Lord Shiva refused apprehending its disastrous consequences. Lord Brahma was left with no other option than to commence creation on his own. Meanwhile, Shiva became immovable just like the trunk of a tree (sthanu). Lord Shiva, who is capable of attaining any form. He showers benediction on mankind. He is engrossed in the supreme state of Yoga with effortless case. Nobody can attain liberation without his grace. He is the bestower of religiousness (Dharma), knowledge (Gyan), asceticism (Vairagya) and splendour (Aishwarya). Sinners who do not take refuge in Shiva have to experiences the unbearable tortures of countless hells.

INCARNATIONS OF MANU & VYAS

On being asked about the incarnation of Sage Vyas during various eras and Manvantars, Sutji replied-O Brahmin! Now I am going to mention the names of all the incarnations of Vyas who existed during Vaivasvat manvantar of Varah kalp. The names are as follows-Ritu, Satya, Bhargava, Angira, Savita, Mrityu, Shatakratu, Vashishth, Saraswat, Tridhatma, Trivrit, Swayam, Dharm, Narayan, Tarakshu, Aaruni, Kritanjay, Trina, Bindu, Ruksha, Muni, Shakti, Parashar, Jatukarnya and Sri Krishna Dwaipayan.

The names of Manu's belonging to different manvantars of Varah kalp are-Swayambhu, Swarochi's, Uttam, Tamas, Raivat, Chakchhus, Vaivaswat, Savarni, Dharmasavarni, Vishang, Avishang, Shabal and Varnak. All of these Manu's were named according to their appearances and complexions. For example vaivaswat Manu was of dark complexion.

THE ESSENCE OF YOGA

Yoga means union with God. The state of yoga is impossible to attain without the blessings of Lord Shiva. It needs a concentrated and focussed mind. There are some specific spots in the human body concentrating upon which, enables a man to attain the state of yoga-spot between the eyebrows, lower part of the throat, Navel and six inches above it etc.

The state of yoga can never be attained until and unless a person has fully controlled the tendencies of sense organs. It can be achieved with the help of eight means-Yama (Penance), Niyam (discipline), Aasan (Posture), Pranayam (Breath-control), Pratyahar (restraint of passion), Dharan (retention), Dhyan (concentration) and Samadhi (deep meditation). Each of them holds an important position in the path of yoga.

Describing about the methods of performing yoga, Sutji says--- A person should sit with his legs crossed in Padmasan and try to concentrate his mind by fixing his gaze between his eyebrows. He should keep his spine erect. He should meditate either on the form of Omkar or on the form of lord Shiva. Breath control is an important aspect of yogic exercise. A man should exhale deeply for 32 times and then breathe in deeply. He should then retain his breath as long as possible and visualize lord Shiva within his body. By constant practice he will achieve mastery over this art and a time will come when he will experience divine bliss. This divine bliss can not be experienced unless one has attained a deep state of meditation (Samadhi).

OBSTACLES IN THE PATH OF YOGA

A man experiences numerous obstacles in the path of Yoga-laziness, restlessness confusion, a diseased body etc. The main reason for being lazy is a bulky physique and one's inability to concentrate his mind. Lack of concentration results in restlessness, which is a major obstacle in the path of yoga. If a person in unsure about the results he becomes confused. It is impossible for a person suffering from any disease to concentrate his mind.

All the above mentioned hurdles can be overcome by firm resolution. A man who has successfully overcome all these obstacles might experience other obstacles in the form of siddhis (divine powers). There is a real danger of getting lured by these divine powers. As a result his mind may get distracted from his original goal and he may deviate from his path. The names of these siddhis or divine powers are-Pratibha (having knowledge of past present & future incident), Shravan (being capable of listening to abnormal sounds), Varta (whatever is said becomes true), Darshana (capable of seeing things which can mot be seen by the mortal eyes), Aaswada (being capable of experiencing divine (tastes), Vedana (being capable of relieving other's pain by a mere touch). If a person successfully overcomes all these allurements then he becomes a siddha- or man of accomplishment and divine powers.

REALISATION OF SHIVA

Lord Shiva showers his blessing on one and all without any discrimination, but virtuous people have special privilege in the sense that it is easier for them to realize Lord Shiva.Once, Parvati asked Lord Shiva as to how a devotee could realize him. Lord Shiva recalled an incident when Lord Brahma had asked the same question. Lord Shiva had told lord Brahma-"Anybody can realize me by having deep devotion towards me. A devotee can meditate upon me in the form of Linga with total devotion. It is only by deep devotion that a man can achieve true knowledge as well as salvation."

VENERABLENESS OF SADYOJAAT

The sages asked Sutji as to how was lord Brahma able to have a divine glimpse of Sadyojaat. Sutji replied-During the Kalpa named Shwetalohit, once lord Brahma witnessed the manifestation of a divine child who was of mixed (red & white) complexion. The child had a Shikha (topknot) on his head. Considering him to be an embodiment of almighty God, Lord Brahma eulogized that child. Suddenly four children appeared and formed a protective ring around Sadyojaat. The names of these children were-Sunand, Nandan, Vishwanand, and Upanand. All of them were of fair complexion and very handsome.Anybody who is desirous of attaining to Rudraloka must take refuge in Sadyojaat.

LORD VAAMDEV

Once, during thirtieth kalpa named Rakta, Lord Brahma was meditating on Parameshthi Shiva. Suddenly a divine child appeared before him who was of red complexion and who had put on red apparels. He was none other than Lord Vaamdev. Lord Brahma immediately realized the divinity of that child and was convinced that he was the embodiment of Almighty God.

Lord Brahma eulogized Vaamdev who was pleased by his devotions. Four divine entities-Virija, Vivahu, Vishoka and Vishwabhavana manifested from the body of Vaamdev. All of them had great resemblance to Lord Vaamdev. Vaamdev preached them on the finer points of religiousness so that mankind could be benefited by this knowledge.

LORD TATPURUSH

The thirty-first kalpa was known as Peet Kalpa. The term 'Peet' means yellow and this Kalpa was named Peet because Lord Brahma had put on yellow apparels during this Kalpa. Once, while he was meditating on the form of Lord Shiva, a divine child manifested before him. The child had a halo of light all around him and had put on yellow coloured clothes. Even his turban, sacred-thread and garland were yellow in colour. His arms were abnormally long.

Lord Brahma immediately realized that the child was none other than Lord Maheshwar himself. Suddenly a divine cow appeared from the mouth of Maheshwar, who had four faces and possessed all the thirty-two qualities. The divine cow was none other than Goddess Gayatri herself.Lord Brahma eulogized her and Maheshwar was very pleased by his deep devotion. Maheshwar also blessed him with divine knowledge and unrevealed the secret of yoga to him. Right then, many divine children appeared from the body of lord Maheshwar. Each of them had put on yellow apparels and had great resemblance to lord Maheshwar. They were extremely virtuous and served the mankind by giving sermons. After having completed their mission of spreading the message of virtuosity to the mankind, all of them got united with Lord Maheshwar ultimately.

A person, who is desirous of getting liberated from all his sin, must seek the blessings of Lord Maheshwar who is also known as Tatpurush.

LORD AGHORESH

Peet kalpa was followed by Pradhritta kalpa. Black was the predominant colour of this kalpa. Initially, the whole earth was submerged in the water and Lord Brahma desirous of commencing his creations wished for a son. As a result, a divine child manifested whose complexion was dark. Not only that he had put on black apparels and a black crown on his head. A black sacred thread was hanging across his shoulder.

Lord Brahma immediately recognized Aghoresh and eulogized him. Lord Aghoresh became pleased by his devotion and blessed him. Just like the preceding Kalpas, four divine children manifested from lord Aghoresh's body. All of them had great resemblance with Aghoresh in every respect. In course of time, they did tremendous penance and preached the virtue of religiousness to the mankind. A person who worships Lord Aghoresh and has deep devotion in him becomes liberated from gravest of sins like Brahmhatya (sin acquired due to killing a Brahmin) etc.

LORD ISHAAN

In the beginning of Vishwaroopa kalpa, lord Brahma, desirous of commencing creation was engrossed in deep meditation. This resulted into the manifestation of a divine cow, which puzzled lord Brahma very much. Actually, this divine cow was none other then Vishwaroopa Saraswati, but lord Brahma failed to recognize her. Lord Brahma decided to take the help of Lord Ishaan and started meditating on him.

When Lord Ishaan appeared before him, he was requested by Lord Brahma to shed light on the identity of that divine cow. Lord Ishaan replied by saying-"The present kalpa is called Vishwaroopa kalpa. It has originated from the left side of my body and is the thirty-third kalpa. This divine cow has also originated from me. She is goddess Gauri-the source of all creation. After saying like this, Lord Ishaan created four divine entities from the body of the cow-Jati, Mundi, Shikhandi and Ardhamund. All of them were very luminous and virtuous. After preaching the world for thousands of divine year. They got reunited with lord Rudra.

THE ORIGIN OF SHIVA LINGA

The sages asked Sutji--- Lord Shiva is formless then how come Shiva Linga is worshipped? What is the significance of Shiva Linga? What is the proper method of worshipping a Shiva Linga ?

Sutji replied--- Once, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu developed serious different on the matter of superiority. A tremendous duel broke out between them. As they were fighting a mammoth Linga appeared on the scence, the effulgence of which made efforts both of them amazed.Both of them decided to find out the origin of that divine Linga. Lord Brahma transformed his appearance into that of a swan and flew up in the sky to determine the height of that Linga. Lord Vishnu transformed himself into a roar and entered the depth of earth to find the source of that Shiva Linga. But both of them failed in their objectives and returned to the same place exhausted.

Suddenly, they heard a loud sound of AUM emanating from the Shiva Linga. Very soon, the whole form of OM, consisting of all the three letters A, U and M became visible. (The letters A, U and M symbolize Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh respectively).

At last, both of them realized their mistake and stopped quarrelling. This way, Lord Shiva was successful in subduing their arrogance.Lord Rudra is beyond sensual perception. He is the supreme Almighty and the bestowers of divine bliss. The mystical form of Shivalinga is a symbolical expression of sacred mantra-AUM. The letter A symbolizes Beeja (Seed), M the creator himself and U is the symbolical expression of Yoni (Vagina).

Lord Rudra is beyond sensual perception. He is the supreme Almighty and the bestowers of divine bliss. The mystical form of Shivalinga is a symbolical expression of sacred mantra-AUM. The letter A symbolizes Beeja (Seed), M the creator himself and U is the symbolical expression of Yoni (Vagina).