LINGA PURAN PART III

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF FOUR ERAS

Shilad requested Indra to shed light on the special characteristics of each of the four eras.

Indra replied---Lord Brahma created the four eras (yugas)--Satya, Treta, Dwapar and Kali. There eras keep on occuring in a cyclic order where the former is followed by the latter.Saoguna (Pure) prevails during Satyayuga. Rajoguna is the dominant quality prevailing during tretayuga. During Dwapar yuga both Rajoguna and tamoguna are present. Tamoguna (Dark) is the dominant quality prevailing during Kaliyuga. During Satya yuga, meditation was the means by the help of which a man could achieve salvation while oblation, devotion and donation were said to be the means capable of giving salvation during Treta, Dwapar and Kaliyuga respectively.

The inhabitants of Satyayuga were virtuous and free from sorrow. But, the vice of desire started to raise it's head during Treta and people started being troubled by it. Lord Brahma created the warrior caste Kshatriya for the protection of virtuosity.Lord Brahma propogated the rituals of oblation during Tretayuga. Everything was fine till Tretayuga but there was a drastic change in the human behaviour during Dwapar Yuga. All the vices surfaced and people were troubled by them. Some extraordinary lietarary feats were accomplished during dwapar--Sage Vyas categorized the veda into four sections, all the major puranas were compiled and smritis were written.

Kaliyuga saw the devline of virtuosity and religiousness. Ignorance and false knowledge prevailed everywhere during this era.

KALIYUGA

Describing about the decline in moral values during Kaliyuga, Indra told Shilad-- In Kaliyuga, people will be under the total influence of the worldly illusions. Ignorance diseases, fear and hunger will be prevalent everywhere. Famine and drought would occur quite frequently as the fall out of inadequate rain. Sinners would outnumber the virtuous people would deviate from the path of religiousness. Brahmins would lose their superiority and Shudras would become the rulers. Brahmins will not be respected and will be forced to serve the lowlye people. Majority of women would be immoral and progenies would not obey the commands of their parents.

Predicting a grim scenario, Indra stressed great importance of religiousness during Kaliyuga and said-- A virtuous deed accomplished in Kaliyuga gives fruits in aday as compared to Treta and Dwapar, which take one year and one month respectively.

MANIFESTATION OF BRAHMA

Once, Lord Brahma did an austere penance to please Lord Shiva. Shiva manifestated as Ardhnarishwar (Partly male partly female) from his forehead and said--'I am your son'. But, the unberabale heat emanating from the effulgence of Ardhanarishwar burnt the whole world including Lord Brahma.

Lord Shiva then separated the feminine part of his body (Goddess Parmeshwari) and instructed her to begin creation.Both Brahma and Vishnu manifested from the body of goddess Parmeshwari.

Lord Vishnu divided his body into two halves and created the world. Lord Brahma once again did a tremendous penance which lasted for ten thousand years. Once again Shiva manifested from his forehead, but this time as Neelalohit. Lord NeelaLohit became pleased by Brahma's eulogy and blessed him.

MANIFESTATION OF NANDISHWAR

Shilad did a tremendous penance to please Lord Shiva. His penance continued for thousands of year. At last, Lord Shiva appeared before him and said--"I am extremely pleased by you devotion. I shall bless you with a son who will become famous for his knowledge and learning." But, Shilad was desirous of a self-born and immortal son. Lord Shiva said--'Your desire will be fulfilled. Even Lord Brahma had requested me to take an incarnation. I will take birth as your son and my name will be Nandi."

In course of time, Shiva manifested from the oblation site. The deities became pleased after seeing Nandi, who possessed three eyes, four arms and a crown on his head.

THE NETHER WORLD

Lord Shiva is the source from where all the different worlds originate. People in their ignorance are unware of the fact that the whole universe is nothing but a medium through which Shiva manifests himself.The various worlds like Maha, Jana, Tapa, Satya etc. and all the natural e;ements like earth, Sky ocean etc, owe their origin to Shiva. Underneath the earth lies the netherworlds which are all together seven in number-- Tala, Vitalo, Sutala etc. The netherworld named Mahatala is the dwelling place of Lord Muchkand and king Bali. Sutala is yellow in colour while Vitalo shines brightly like a coral. Atala is of white colour and Tala has a shade of white.

All these netherworld have the same expanse as the earth. Rasatal is the place where Vasuki resides. Talatal is the dwelling place of mighty demons like Virochan and Hiranyaksha. It is also the place where hell is situated. The netherworld named Sutal is the dwelling place where Tarka, Agnimukh and Prahlada live. Tala is the dwelling place of mighty warriors like Mahakumbh, Hayagreeva etc.

THE SEVEN ISLANDS

The earth consists of seven islands, many rivers, mountains and seven oceans. The Plaksha, Shaalmali, Kush, Kraunch, Shaak and Pushkar. Lord Shiva alongwith goddess Ambika and his ganas dwell in all these seven islands in one form or the other.

The name of the seven oceans are Ksharod, Rasod, Surod, Ghatodakshi, Dadhyarnav, Kshirod and Swadood. LOrd SHiva manifests himself in all of them. Lord Shiva dwells in the ocean named Kshirarnav. King Priyavrata was the grandson of Manu, who ruled during Swayambhuva manvantar. He had ten sons-- Agnighra, Agnibahu, Meghatithi, Vasu, Vayushmaan. Jyotishmaan, Dyutimaan, Havya, Savan etc. Priyavrata had made Aghnighra the king of Jambudweepa. Similarly the islands of Plakshadweepa, Shaalmali, Kushadweepa, Kraunchdweepa, Shaalvadweepa and Pushkar were given to Medhatithi, Vayushmaan, Jyotishmaan, Dyutimaan Havya and Savan respectively. Havya had seven sons who became rulers and the different territories they ruled desired their names from them.

BHARAT VARSH

Agnighra--the ruler of Jambudweepa was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. He had nine sons--Nabhi, Kimpurush, Harivarsha, Ilavrata, Ramya, Hiranyamaan, Kuru, Bhadrashva and Ketumaal. Agnighra appointed Nabhi the king of Hemakhya. Similarly, Kimpurush, Harivarsha, Ilavrata, Ramya, Hiranyaman, Kuru, Bhadrashva and Ketumaal were given the kingdoms of Hemakoot, Naishadh, Meru, Neelachal, Shwet, Shringavarsh, Maalvan and Gandhamoodan respectively. After this, Agnighra renounced everything and went to do penance.

Merudevi was Nabhi's wife and the mother of Rishabh. After growing up Rishabh got married and became the father of no less than one hundred sons. Among them Bharat was the eldest. When Bharat grow up, Rishabh appointed him as his successor and after renouncing everything went to the forest.

Bharat went on to become a great king and ruled over the whole territory southwards of Himalaya. Our country derives it's name from him. Bharat had a son named Sumati who succeeded his father as a king.

THE MERU MOUNTAIN

Meru mountain is situated in the heart of Jambudweepa. The Meru range is spread in the area of 16 thousand yojan. It's towering peak is 84 thousand in height from the ground level and had even penetrated the depth of earth to the measurement of 16 thousand yojan. Meru mountain is considered to be very sacred and is believed to be the dwelling place of the deities.

Yamraj's abode--Vaivaswatipuri is situated in the souther part of Meru mountain. SOme other holy places like Shuddhavati, Gandhavati and Yashomati are also situated on this mountain where Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are believed to have their respective abodes.The sun continuously shines over Meru mountain. A river named Jambu flows down this mountain. There is also a tree by the same name which is eternally ladden with fruits. The Meru mountain is surrounded on all its sides by a country Ilavrita. The residents of Ilavrita relish the fruits of Jambu tree.

THE PROMINENT MOUNTAINS

Describing about the physical characteristics os all tje seven islands, Sutji says ---

"Seven mountains are situated in Plaksha dweepa-Gobhedak, Chaandra, Narad, Dundubhi, Soyak, Sumana and Vaibhraj. Similarly, the prominent mountain ranges situated in Shaalmali dweepa are Kumud, Uttam, Balahak, Drona, Karkamahish Kumudman etc. Kushadweepa also has seven mountains among which Vidhrabh and Hem are the prominent ones. All these seven islands are surrounded by seven oceans. The mountain named Lokalok is so gigantic in size that half of its part is always covered in darkness.

The omnipresent Lord Shiva pervades the whole universe. Once, being confronted by the effulgence of Lord Shiva, who had disguised himself as a Yaksha, all the deities became devoid of their power. Indra was amazed and asked the Yaksha as to who he was. Lord Shiva disappeared without giving any answer and goddess Ambika appeared before the deities. Indra asked her the same question to which goddess Ambika replied--- He was none other than the almighty Shiva. I being the Prakriti (nature) do creation following his instructions. He is the embodiment of Purush (Supreme almighty).

THE SUN

The movement of Sun is rapid when it is positioned south of equator (Dakshinayan), on the other hand its movement is slow when positioned north os equator (Uttarayan).The time is indicated by the various positions of Sun while it is on its course of movement in the horizon. While the sun is situated in the South-East direction it is believed to be the morning time. Similarlt, when the Sun has positioned itself in the south-west, North-west or South-East direction, it is said to be the 'before-noon', 'after-noon' and Night respectively.

The Sun is believed to be mounted on a chariot while on its course of movement in the Horizon. All the deities, apsaras and gandharvas are believed to follow its movement.The periods of day and night consist of 30 ghadi each. The Sun causes rainfall due to the process of evaporation. Water is the source of life and is the manifestation of Lord Shiva himself.

LORD BRAHMA ASSIGNS LORDSHIPS TO THE DEITIES.

The Sages requested Sutji to describe how Lord Brahma assigned Lordships to all the deities and the demons.

Sutji replied--- The Sun was made the lord of all the planets. Soma was made the lord of all the constellations and medicinal herbs. Similarly, Vaun was made the Lord of water, while Kuber was assigned the Lordship of wealth. Lord Vishnu attained the Lordship of Aadityas, Pawak of Vasus, Daksha of Prajapatis, Indra of deities, and Prahlad attained the Lordship of all the demons. Some other prominent species and the assigned Lordships are as follows---

SPECIES

LORD

Animals

Rudra

Women

Uma

Rudras

Neelalohit

Obstacles

Gajanan

Power of Speech

Saraswati

Mountains

Himalaya

Rivers

Ganga

Oceans

Ksheersagar

Trees

Peepal (Holy Fig)

Gandharvas

Chitrarathi

Serpents

Takshak

Birds

Garuda



Prithu was made the lord of Earth and Lord Shiva the lord of whole universe.

THE CHARIOTS OF SUN MOON & OTHER PLANETS

The chariot of Surya is believed to have been created by Lord Brahma. It is made up of gold and its wheels have five spokeseach. The chariot is very huge in size and its expanse covers the area of nine thousand yojan. It is pulled by seven horses which are of green complexion. The movement of Sun results into the occurence of day and night. The moon's chariot consists of three wheela and is pulled by ten white horses. Each wheel is supported by one hundred spokes.The chariots of Mercury, Mars and Jupiter are believed to be pulled by eight horses each. The chariot of Saturn is believed to be pulled by ten black horses.

THE RADIANCE OF SURYA

The Surya is the source to which all the living beings owe their existence. All the deities derive their effulgence from Surya, who in turn derives its own radiance from Lord Mahadev.Time is determined with the help of Surya's movement. One can not even imagine the various units of time, like Kshana, muhurta day, night, fortnight, month, season etc. without the existence of Surya.

The Sun, which illuminates the whole world is nothing but the medium through which the almighty Rudra manifests himself. The Sun sheds thousands of rays among which seven are prominent-Sushumna, Rishikesh, Vishwakarma, Vishwatyacha, Annadh, Sarvavasu and Swarah.