TOWARDS LORD SHIVA
Skanda Puran begins with
the eulogy of Lord Shiva--
YASYAGYA JAGAT SRISHTA
VIRANCHIH PALKO HARIH;
SANHARTA KAALRUDRAKHYO NAMASTASMAI PINAKINE.
to Lord Shankar who has entrusted the job of creation to Lord Brahma--Who has
instructed Lord Vishnu to nurture the world and who himself acts as the supreme
annihilator.During ancient times, once, Sage Shaunak had performed a grand
'yagya' at his hermitage in Naimisharanya forest. Many sages had thronged
Naimisharanya to attend it. One of them was Sage Lomesh.After the yagya was
over, all the assembled Sages requested Sage Lomesh to narrate the divine tales
of Lord Shiva.
said--Daksha-Prajapati had got his daughter, Sati married to Lord Shiva. Once,
he had performed a grand yagya in which he had invited everybody except his own
son-in-law.When Sati learnt about the yagya, she sought Lord Shiva's permission
to attend that yagya. Lord Shiva tried to convince her that it was not proper to
attend a ceremony in which one had not been invited. But Sati did not pay any
heed and was bent upon attending that yagya. Ultimately, Lord Shiva had no
option but to give his conscent. But he did not forget to send his 'Rudraganas'
with her for her protection.
SATI JUMPS INTO THE
When Sati reached her
father's place, she saw a grand yagya being performed. A large number of people
had been invited--the deities, the sages and the hermits.
Sati became sad because
Daksha had invited everybody except her husband. She knew quite well that it was
a deliberate decision on part of her father, not to invite Lord Shiva. But, she
got infuriated when she found that Daksha had not even kept Shiva's share in the
yagya while the 'shares' of other deities had been kept.
When Daksha saw Sati, he
was enraged---How dare you come here? Your husband is an embodiment of
inauspiciousness. He is the Lord of the spirits, ghosts and all types of mean
powers. This was the reason why I did not invite him.'
The insult heaped on her
husband in front of everybody devastated Sati. She felt so humiliated that she
decided to give up her life. Before any one could understand, she jumped into
the sacrificial fire and was charred to death. All the deities present there
were stunned by this sudden development. All the 'Rudraganas' mourned Sati's
death with deep sorrow.Meanwhile, Lord Shiva got the sad news from Narad. He got
mad with anger and uprooted some hair from his scalp. He then dashed the hair
against a mountain. There was a thundering sound and Veerbhadra manifested
within a split second. Lord Shiva ordered him to punish Daksha for his evil
deed, which caused the death of Sati.Veerbhadra proceeded with a huge army of
spirits, ghosts and marudganas to punish Daksha. When he reached the oblation
site, Daksha and all the other deities became scarred. But, Sage Bhrigu came at
the deities' rescue and told them not to worry. He then chanted few mantras,
which helped the deities to win the first round of the battle.
The defeat of his army
enraged Veerbhadra to such an extent that he created havoc in the ranks of
deities' army. He showered volleys of arrow on them, which forced the deities to
make a hasty retreat from there. Veerbhadra dashed Sage Bhrigu against the
ground and uprooted his beard. He then severed the head of Daksha and threw it
in flames of sacrificial fire.Lord Brahma took the refuge of Lord Shiva and
requested him to stop Veerbhadra from causing further death and destruction.
Lord Shiva told Brahma--'Nobody else but Daksha himself was responsible for his
death.But, Lord Brahma requested Lord Shiva to make Daksha alive once again.
Lord Shiva then went to Daksha's place and fixed a goat's head on the trunk of
Daksha's body. This way Daksha became alive once again albeit with a goats body.
He was very ashamed of his behaviour and requested Lord Shiva to forgive him.
Lord Shiva blessed him and said--
"Salvation can not
be attained merely by performing the rituals. If you are desirous of salvation
then engage yourself in virtuous deeds with."
WORSHIPPING LORD SHIVA
Sage Lomesh told the
assembled sages--- One who brooms the courtyard of Shiva temple attains to Shiva
loka. Those who make offerings of incense to lord Shiva not only liberate
himself from the bondage of this world but also both his 'Kulas'. One who gets
constructed a Shiva temple or renovates it, attains incomparable virtue. One who
chants the holy mantra 'OM NAMAH SHIVAY' daily and begins his day by visiting
Shiva temple in the morning becomes absolved of all his sins.
CHURNING OF THE OCEAN
Sage Lomesh narrated the
tale, which described how Indra lost heaven after he showed disrespect to
Once, Indra was enjoying
the songs sung by Gandharvas when sage Vashishth arrived. But, Indra was so
engrossed in music, that he forgot to welcome his distinguished guest. Sage
Vashishth was enraged by his behaviour and went away fuming with anger.When the
demon King Bali--the lord of Patalloka, learnt about this incident he attacked
Indraloka with a large army. A fierce battle took place in which all the deities
were defeated. Bali and his army brought all the wealth to Patalloka. But the
demons were not destined to be the owner of this plundered wealth for too long
as the whole wealth got submerged into the ocean. Bali was surprised and asked
Shukracharya about the reason. Sage Shukracharya revealed to Bali that he could
not enjoy the splendours of deities' wealth because he had not performed 100
The deities, after being
defeated went to seek Lord Vishnu's help. Lord Brahma was also present with
them. After giving a deep thought to the whole issue, Lord Vishnu advised them
to patch up with the demons so that all the wealth could be retrieved from the
ocean bed.The deities went to Patal-loka and convinced the demons to participate
in the churning of the ocean. When the process of churning of the ocean began,
Mandarachal mountain was used as a churner and the serpent -Vasuki as the
rope.Both the parties immersed the Mandarachal mountain into the ocean but it
sank down, as there was no base upon which it could be placed. So, Lord Vishnu
took the form of a tortoise and held the mountain on his back.
Churning of the ocean
resulted into the emergence of many things like Chandrama, Surabhi (cow), Kalpa
tree, Kaustubh, Uchchaihshrava (Horse), Eravat (elephant), goddess Laxmi,
poison, ambrosia, intoxication etc.When poison emerged from the sea bed, neither
the deities nor the demons made any claim for it. The poison was so venomous
that the whole world started getting inflamed by it. Lord Shiva then drank the
Halahal poison and thus the world was saved.Lord Vishnu accepted goddess Laxmi
as his consort.
THE EMERGENCE OF AMBROSIA
When Dhanvantri appeared
with a pot of ambrosia in his hands, a demon named Vrishparva snatched it from
him. All the demons then fled to Patal loka with the pot of ambrosia.Lord Vishnu
disguised himself as an enchanting beauty and went to Patalloka. There, he found
all the demons quarrelling among themselves. Each of them wanted to have his own
share of ambrosia.The demons were stunned by Mohini's beauty the moment they saw
Lord Vishnu in the form of a beautiful lady. Mohini took control of the ambrosia
pot and summoned the deities to Patal loka.
All the deities and
demons were made to sit in separate rows. Mohini then started distributing
ambrosia to the deities. A demon named Rahu, who had disguised himself as a
deity was also sitting among the deities. Hardly had Rahu gulped down some
ambrosia then Mohini severed his head on the information given by chandrama (Moon).The
severed head of Rahu tried to take revenge by swallowing chandrama, who took the
refuge of Lord Shiva. Shiva kept chandrama within the lock of his hair.
Meanwhile, Rahu too came chasing chandrama and Lord Shiva wore his head as a
garland in his neck.
LORD BRAHMA'S BOON TO
After the death of Sati,
Lord Shiva became aloof and engaged himself in an austere penance. His lack of
interest in performing his duties resulted into the predominance of sin in the
world.A demon named Tarakasur had received a boon of invincibility from lord
Brahma. Only a child and nobody else could kill him. Tarakasur, being drunk with
power started to torment the deities.
All the deities
eulogized Lord Brahma and they heard a heavenly voice saying---
'Nobody can kill
Tarakasur except Shiva's son. So you must put all your efforts to help Shiva get
The deities were aware
that after the death of Sati, Shiva had lost all interest in life and was living
like a recluse. Nevertheless, they wanted to give a try. So they went to
Himalaya, who had no progeny at that time and requested him to beget a girl.
Himalaya agreed, as he was aware of the misdeeds of Tarakasur.In course of time,
Himalaya's wife, Mena gave birth to a girl child who was in fact the
reincarnation of Sati. The girl child was named Girija.Girija was brought up
with great love and care. When she attained the age of eight, Himalaya once took
her to the cave where Lord Shiva was doing penance. Initially, Shiva was little
hesitant to meet Himalaya because Girija was accompanying her father and he had
vowed never to put his glance on any woman after the death of Sati. But, Later
on he relented and allowed both of them to meet him whenever they liked. Now,
Girija made it her habit to visit Lord Shiva regularly. She used to look after
all the needs of Shiva while he was engrossed in his penance.
Even after the passage
of a long time the deities' wishes did not look like getting fulfilled, as Shiva
remained as nonchalant as ever. So, the deities requested Kamadeva's help in
sowing the seeds of love and passion in Shiva's heart.Kamadeva went to the place
where Lord Shiva was doing his penance. He tried to sow seeds of compassion in
Shiva's heart only to receive his wrath. Lord Shiva was infuriated by the
efforts of Kamadeva. He opened his third eye as the result of which Kamadeva was
charred to death.Rati started wailing inconsolably at the death of her husband
but Girija assured her that she would try to bring Kamadeva back to life.Girija
commenced her penance to please Lord Shiva. There was a great turmoil in the
world on account of her penance. Lord Vishnu led the deities to Shiva and
requested him to marry Girija so that the world could be protected from the
torments of Tarakasur. Finally, Shiva gave his conscent and went to the place
where Girija was doing penance.
TEST'S PARVATI'S DEVOTION
After reaching there, Lord Shiva found Parvati engrossed in her penance. Parvati was surrounded by her few trusted companions.Lord Shiva decided to test Parvati's devotion towards him. So he disguised himself as a hermit and asked her companions about the reason why Parvati was doing such a severe Penance. Jaya, one of Parvati's companions informed him that her friend was doing penance in order to get Lord Shiva as her husband. Jaya also informed Lord Shiva that her friend Girija was the daughter of Himalaya.
Lord Shiva, who was in
the guise of a hermit said---'Why is this tender girl so eager to marry Shiva
who is an embodiment of inauspiciousness--who carries a skull in his hand and
who lives in a crematorium. How can your friend think of marrying one who has
been expelled by Daksha from the yagya ceremony? Does your friend know that
Shiva wears a snake around his neck and is surrounded by numerous spirits and
Parvati, who had been
listening to all those nonsensical utterances, told Jaya---'This fellow seems to
abhor Shiva. We should not talk to this evil person. Tell him to leave at
once.'Lord Shiva was extremely pleased by Parvati's unwavering devotion towards
him. He appeared in his original form and said--'You can ask for anything you
But Parvati replied---
'O Supreme Lord! I am the same Sati for the sake of whom you had destroyed
Daksha's yagya. Don't you recognize me? There is a great purpose behind my
reincarnation. A son born to us would kill Tarakasur. So go to my father and
request for my hand in marriage.'But Lord Shiva refused to make a request to
Himalaya considering it as an undignified act. He then returned to the place
where he had been meditating. After a while, Himalaya and Mena arrived there and
asked Parvati how her penance had been progressing. Parvati narrated the whole
incident how Lord Shiva had finally given his conscent to marry her.Himalaya and
Mena were extremely pleased by this good news.
THE ARRIVAL OF 'SAPTARISHIS'
Later on Lord Shiva sent
the Saptarishis with the proposal of marriage to Himalaya. Himalaya received his
distinguished guests with respect and enquired about the purpose of their visit.
The Saptarishis replied--'We have come to request you to give your daughter's
hand in marriage to Shiva.'After consulting his wife, Mena and other mountains,
Himalaya agreed to accept Shiva as his son-in-law. The Saptarishis then returned
and conveyed the good news to Shiva.The preparation for marriage ceremony
started being made. Finally the marriage procession proceeded towards the
bride's home. The marriage procession consisted of all the deities, apsaras,
gandharvas even spirits and ghosts.
Sage Garg Supervised the
rituals of marriage ceremony. Vishwakarma constructed the canopy, where marriage
ceremony was supposed to take place.After the marriage was over, Himalaya
performed the ritual of Kanyadan and this way Shiva returned with his consort.
BIRTH OF KARTIKEYA
Lord Shiva and Parvati
lived happily at Gandhamadan Mountain enjoying every bit of their conjugal life.
Once it so happened that a small quantity of Shiva's sperm fell on the ground
while he was enjoying intimate moments with Parvati. As a result, tremendous
amount of heat was generated and the whole world started burning. Lord Brahma
and Lord Vishnu instructed Agni to employ some means so that the destruction
caused by Shiva's over flowing sperms could come to an end. Agni went to
Gandhamadan mountain in the guise of a hermit. He requested Parvati by
saying---'O Mother! Please give me something as alms. I have nothing but my
hands as a begging bowl'
Parvati kept Shiva's
sperms on his palm, which was eaten up by Agni. Parvati was enraged to see this
and cursed Agni--"You have shown disrespect to me. From today onwards you
would become omnivorous. The sperms which you have devoured would cause
unbearable inflammation in your body."
As the result of
Parvati's curse, Agni really started experiencing unbearable inflammation in his
body. He requested Lord Shiva to reveal the means by which his pain would come
to an end. Lord Shiva instructed Agni to implant those sperms in any woman's
womb to get rid of the unbearable inflammation. Thus, Agni, who was suffering
from extreme heat that generated in his body, sat at a lonely place waiting
eagerly for a woman to arrive there.He did not have to wait for too long, as six
Kritikas, shivering with cold arrived there to warm themselves. The sperms of
Shiva entered into their bodies through the pores. These six Kritikas became
When their respective
husbands learnt about their pregnancy they cursed them. As a result they got
transformed into 'Nakshatras' and established themselves in the sky. But, they
aborted their respective foetus at Himalaya mountain before getting transformed
into six constellations. The holy Ganges carried that foetus to a secluded
place, which was covered with dense bushes of reeds.In course of time, Lord
Kartikeya manifested from those reed bushes. He had six heads. The deities were
delighted at the birth of Kartikeya. Lord Shiva along with Parvati went to the
place where Kartikeya had incarnated. Parvati took young Kartikeya in her
Lord Shiva assured the
deities, who were also present there that Tarakasur's days were numbered. The
deities's army then proceeded towards the battlefield.On their way, the deities
heard a heavenly voice--'You can defeat the demons only if you fight under the
leadership of Kartikeya.'
Now all the deities
requested Kartikeya to become their leader. Menawhile, Devasena--the daughter of
Mrityu arrived there and requested Kartikeya to become her husband. Kartikeya
accepted Devasena as his wife. This is the reason why he is also known as Deva
senapati.Karitkeya was leading the deities' army, mounted on an elephant. The
army had all the deities in its rank- Indra, Varun, Vayu, Kuber, Dharma Raj,
etc.Both the rival armies met at an island situated between Ganga and Yamuna.
Tarakasur had come with a large army, which boasted of many brave and mighty
The battle commenced and
the first phase was dominated by the demons. The deities could not stand up to
the might of demons. Even Indra was severely wounded when Tarakasur attacked him
with his deadly weapon- 'Shakti'. On seeing the level of destruction caused in
the deities' army, King Muchkunda, who was on the side of the deities' attacked
Tarakasur. In the ensuing battle Muchkunda got injured and fell down on the
ground. He got up furiously and tried to kill Tarakasur with his Brahmashtra.
Sage Narad told him that Brahmashtra would be of no use as Tarakasur had been
blessed with invincibility against mortals. Narad said--'Only Kartikeya is
capable of killing Tarakasur. So, you all need to have patience till Kartikeya
accomplishes his mission.'
was fighting a dual bought against Tarakasur. He had already caused
indescribable losses to the demons. While the fight was going on, Tarakasur
realized that it was not easy to defeat him. So, he decided to use his
illusionary powers, which helped him in acquiring ten thousand hands. The
deities ran away from the battle field, when they saw ferocious Tarakasur
approaching them.Lord Vishnu instructed Kartikeya to kill Tarakasur before it
was too late. Kartikeya chased Tarakasur with his deadly weapon- Shakti in his
hand. A fierce fight took place between both of them. Kartikeya attacked
Tarakasur with his Shakti. Tarakasur retaliated by hitting him with his own
Shakti. The assault was so severe that Karikeya lost his consciousness for few
When Kartikeya regained
his consciousness, he got up quickly to fight against Tarakasur. Once again a
fierce battle commenced. Kartikeya remembered his parents in reverence and
released his Shakti in the direction of Tarakasur.Tarakasur died instantly. The
deities were delighted at the death of their tormentor.
VIRTUES OF OBSERVING
FAST ON 'SHIVARATRI'
Sage Lomesh eulogizes
the virtues of Shivaratri in the following words--'The fourteenth day of the
dark half of a month is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva and is famously
known as 'Shivaratri'. It destroys all the sins committed by a man.Sage Lomesh
then narrated a tale, which emphasized the greatness of Shivaratri--
Once upon a time a brahmin widow developed an illicit relationship with a 'Chandal' (a low caste man). Later on she gave birth to a son who was named Dussah. Her son had all the bad qualities one can think of-- a gambler, a drunker, a thief, a murderer, etc.
One day, Dussah went to
a Shiva temple with the intention of committing robbery. It was the festive
night of Shivaratri and people had thronged the temple in a large number. So, he
did not get an opportunity to steal temple property. He remained awakened for
the whole night waiting for an opportune moment but his wishes remained
unfulfilled. He spent his time listening to the divine tales of Lord Shiva that
was being narrated by the temple priest. Though he was a sinner yet he took his
next birth in a royal family on account of his two virtuous deeds--he had
remained awakened for the whole night of Shivaratri and he had listened to the
tales of Shiva. In his next birth, he was born to a king named Chitrangad and he
himself was named Vichitraveerya.Vichitraveerya was a great devotee of Lord
Shiva. He ultimately united with lord Shiva and manifested as Veerabhadra at the
time when Lord Shiva had shaken his head violently after hearing the sad news of
Sati's demise.There are numerous instances of people attaining salvation by
observing a fast on Shivaratri. The names of some great devotees to do so are
King Bharat, Mandhata, Dhundhumar, Harishchandra etc.
While the deities hailed
the glory of Kartikeya for having killed Tarakasur, Kartikeya himself was
saddened by his act. He told the deities--'I regret for having killed Tarakasur
because he was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Is there any way to atone for my
Lord Vishnu consoled
him---'Killing a wicked person, who nourishes himself on the blood of innocent
people, is not a sinful deed. But, still, if you feel guilty then there is no
better way to atone for your sin than worshipping Lord Shiva. Install
Shivalingas and worship them with deep devotion.'Kartikeya instructed
Vishnukarma to make three divine Shivalingas. Later on Kartikeya installed these
Shivalingas at three different places and worshipped them with appropriate
rituals. In course of time these three holy places came to be known as
Pratigyeshwar, Kapaleshwar and Kumareshwar. Kartikeya, while worshipping at
Kapaleshwar sprinkled holy water on the Shivalinga and prayed so that
Tarakasur's soul rested in peace. He also offered sesame seeds to lord
Kapaleshwar and prayed --
'May my offerings made
in the form of sesame seeds reach Tarak--the descendant of Sage Kashyap.'
This way, Kartikeya was
absolved of his sins.
KILLING OF PRALAMB
A demon named Pralamb
had escaped unharmed in the battle fought between the deities and demons. As the
deities were busy installing Shivalingas at different places, Pralamb started to
torment their families in their absence. The deities got this information from
Kumud who appeared at the time when the deities were digging up a reservoir near
'Siddheshwar' temple.All the deities requested Kartikeya to do something.
Kartikeya released his fiery weapon, Shakti in the direction of Pralamb. Shakti
pierced the heart of earth and went right up to Patal loka where Pralamb lived
with the surviving demons. All the demons were killed within few moments.
A long tunnel had been
created as the impact of Shakti's penetration of the earth. This tunnel was
later on filled up with the water of Patal Ganga and became famous as 'Siddha-koopa.'
There is an amazing tale
related with the birth of Kaalbhiti. During ancient times there lived a sonless
brahmin named Manti in Kashi. He did an austere penance to get a son. At last,
lord Shiva became pleased by his devotion and appeared. Lord Shiva said--'You
will be blessed with an enlightened son who would liberate your whole clan.'
In course of time
Manti's wife became pregnant but amazingly did not deliver a baby even after a
long time. Four years passed like this but Manti's wife did not deliver the
child. Manti was perplexed by this unusual event so he asked the baby, who was
still in his mother's womb as to why he was hesitant to come out.The child
replied that he feared 'Kaal' and this was the reason why he was not taking
birth. The child said--'If you can assure me of protection from 'Kaal' then I
shall certainly take birth.' How could have Manti given such an assurance. So he
took refuge in Lord Shiva.Lord Shiva ordered four of his ganas to go and
convince the baby. The names of these five ganas were Dharma, Gyan, Vairagya
Aishwarya and Adharma. They assured the baby by saying--'Get rid of your fear.
We assure you that each four of us (Dharma, Gyan, Vairagya and Aishwarya) will
never abandon you."
The fifth gana named
Adharma on the contrary promised not to caste his evil Shadow on the baby. These
assurances were enough for the baby to come out from the womb. But, even after
taking birth the child was trembling and wailing in fear.The ganas said--Manti!
Your child is still fearful of the Kaal. He is trembling and crying inspite of
the best of our efforts to drive away is fears. So he will become famous as
Kaalbhiti (one who is fearful of Kaal).
Kaalbhiti grew up to be
a virtuous person. He used to engage himself in various kinds of austerities. He
was a great devotee of Lord Shiva.One day, as Kaalbhiti was meditating under a 'bael'
tree (wood apple), he went into his trance. The joy experienced during trance
period was something, which he had never experienced before. He decided to
regularly meditate under that tree. He did penance for one hundred years
standing on his toe.Lord Shiva became pleased by his devotion and appeared in
the guise of a human being. Lord Shiva said--'O Great soul Please discontinue
with your penance. I have brought some water for you! Please quench your
But Kaalbhiti refused to
take water from an unknown person. He requested Lord Shiva to reveal his
identity. Kaalbhiti also inquired Lord Shiva about his religion and conduct.
Lord Shiva told him that he was beyond any religion or conduct.When Kaalbhiti
refused to have water, Lord Shiva dug up a large pit and emptied the pot into
it. After that he disappeared.Kaalbheeti stood fixed at that place, being
stunned by the disappearance of Lord Shiva. Suddenly, an effulgent Shivalinga
appeared under that bael (wood apple) tree. Kaalbheeti worshipped that
shiva-linga which was radiating light in all directions.Now, lord Shiva appeared
and blessed Kaalbheeti to become free from the fear of Kaal(Death). From that
day onwards the Shivalinga situated there became famous as Mahakaal. Before
disappearing once again, Lord Shiva instructed Kaalbheeti to preach Sage
Karandham who was expected to visit him shortly. Kaalbheeti himself became
renowned as Mahakaal because he had been successful in conquering death.
As predicted by Lord
Shiva, king Karandham arrived at the place where Mahakaal (Kaalbheeti) was
staying. First of all he worshipped Lord Mahakaal and subsequently went to meet
sage Mahakaal (previously Kaalbheeti).King Karandham had numerous doubts
regarding the rituals of Shraddh so he asked Mahakaal--'How does the rituals
related to 'tarpan' satisfy the dead ancestors?'
souls of dead ancestors are capable of accepting whatever is offered to them.
Time and distance does not matter to them. They accept only the essence of
whatever is offered to them and not the gross materials as such.Karandham posed
his second query--'I think a soul, after it has abandoned the mortal body is
bound by its own karma. Then, how, can the dead ancestors be expected of giving
us blessings and changing our fortunes.'
all Pitras (dead ancestors) are bound by their karma. Pitras belonging to
different classes like deities, 'asuras' and 'yaksha' are unembodied and
formless (amurta). Similarly, the dead ancestors of all the four castes are
called 'murta Pitras' (with form). These seven types of Pitras are considered to
be eternal and powerful. They also transcend the law of Karma. A total number of
31 ganas are subordinate to them. The rituals of Shraddh are performed for the
pacification of these seven eternal Pitras. These seven Pitras are the ones who
shower blessings on the performers of Shraddh rituals.'Karandham's next question
was--'Some people are of the view that one can attain salvation only by taking
refuge in Lord Vishnu. While some think that only Lord Brahma is capable of
giving salvation. There are many people who consider Lord Shiva as the supreme
liberator. What do you have to say on this?'
is one. The three deities you have named even they eulogize each other. It is
nothing but foolishness to grade them as superior, average or inferior. The
thing, which matters most in the path of salvation, is individual's unflinching
faith and devotion. Any deity in whom he has total devotion is capable of giving
salvation.Karandham then requested Mahakaal to describe the appropriate rituals
related with the worship of Lord Shiva.
devotee who puts on 'tripund' mark on his forehead, chest and both the shoulders
while worshipping Lord Shiva is blessed to see the divine appearance of Lord
Shiva. He should enter the temple premise with a pure heart. After entering the
temple he should purify the Shiva linga by removing all the unnecessary articles
which may be lying there. He should then fill up four 'Garuas' (drinking pot
with a curved spout) with water. Articles like milk, curd clarified butter,
honey and Sugarcane juice are kept to the left side of Shiva linga.The devotee
should then come out of the temple and worship the 'dwarpalas'. After that,
deities like Kuldevta, Nandi, Mahakaal Dhata and Vidhata are worshipped.
Once again he should
enter the temple and sit in front of the Shivalinga and meditate on Lord Shiva.
While performing 'ardhya' he should make offerings of articles like water,
akshat, Kusha grass, sandalwood, flowers, mustard seeds, milk, curd and
honey.Having offered ardhya, a devotee should perform the ritual of ablution
with water, milk, curd, honey, clarified butter, and sugarcane juice in the
While performing this ritual the devotee should also offer dhupa (incense) and chant
'OM HOOM VISHVAMURTAYE NAMAH'.
Some other deities whom a devotee must worship along with the worship of Lord Shiva are Ishan, Tatpurush, Sadryojat etc. A devotee must also not forget to worship Shiva's trident. While doing this he should chant
TRISHUL DHANUH KHADGA KAPAL KUTHAREBHYO NAMAH.
A devotee should
conclude his worship by begging for Lord Shiva's forgiveness for any mistake
that he might have committed while performing the rituals.
ARUNACHAL SHIVA LINGA
Once, Sutji had gone to
Naimisharanya. All the sages residing there asked him about the manifestation of
Arunachal Shivalinga.Sutji recounted a tale when Sage Sanak had posed the same
query to Lord Brahma -- 'Lord Brahma had told Sanak-Son, once Lord Vishnu and I
witnessed an effulgent Pillar. It had manifested from nowhere and was limitless
in size. It's radiance put the whole world ablaze. Both of us worshipped that
marvelous pillar by chanting vedic mantras.'Actually, that effulgent pillar was
a Shivalinga. Lord Shiva manifested from it after being pleased by our devotion.
We requested him to minimize his size and establish himself in the form of
'Lord Shiva agreed to
minimize his size as well as his effulgence by establishing himself in the form
of 'Arunachaleshwar'.The holy place of Arunachaleshwar remains untouched while
the whole world gets submerged in water at the time of deluge.
The sages then asked
Sutji how Lord Shiva had created the universe.
Shiva commenced creation by his own will. Vishnu manifested from the left side
of his body while Brahma from the right side. He then attributed the qualities
of 'Rajas' and 'Satva' to Brahma and Vishnu respectively. From then onwards Lord
Brahma took the responsibility of further creation and Lord Vishnu became the
preserver of the world.Later on Lord Brahma created his ten Manasputra (Marichi
etc,) by his will and Daksha Prajapati from his right thumb. He also created the
brahmins from his mouth, Kshatriyas from both his arms, Vaishyas from both his
thighs and Shudras from both his feet respectively.Both, the deities and demons
came from the lineage of Sage Kashyap, who himself was Marichi's son. Not only
that Kashyap also fathered different species like Marut, Nag, Yaksha, Gandharva
Similarly, Lord Brahma
had also created Manu who is believed to be the person from whom human race
originated. All the sages as well as the Kshatriyas are the descendants of Sage
Atri. Yakshas originated from Pulastya whereas Rakshashas were the descendants
of Pulah. Agni as well as Sages like Chyavan was the descendant of Bhrigu. Many
famous sages came from the lineage of Vasishth. These are the names of few
prominent sages, whose descendants have populated the earth.Thus, Lord Shiva is
the Sovereign creator because he created Brahma--the creator.
EXECUTION OF SHUMBH
NISHUMBH & MAHISHASUR
The demons named Shumbh
and Nishumbh had received boons from Brahma according to which no deity, demon
or Man could kill him. Shumbh and Nishumbh became excessively arrogant and
started tormenting the deities. All the deities including Lord Vishnu went to
Lord Shiva and requested for his help. Lord Shiva assured them that both the
demons would be killed at the opportune time. The deities were satisfied and
returned back to their respective abodes.Parvati was of dark complexion. She
thought that Shiva would be more affectionate towards her if she somehow
discarded her dark skin. She eventually discarded her dark skin at a place and
it instantly got transformed into 'Kali Kaushiki'. She then did an austere
penance at Vindhyachal mountain. At that time, Shumbh and Nishumbh lived there.
When both the demons saw goddess Kali Kaushiki her divine beauty infatuated
them. But Goddess Kali Kaushiki ultimately killed both of them.
Having accomplished her
mission, Kali Kaushiki did a tremendous penance at 'Gauri-peak' and regained her
fair complexion. In course of time she became the mother of Ganesh and Kartikeya.
Once, goddess Parvati went to Arunachal mountain where Sage Gautam was doing
penance. She was so enchanted by the scenery over there that she decided to do
penance. She instructed goddess Durga to stand guard till she accomplished her
penance. She also ordered the two goddesses Subhaga and Dhundhukumari to keep a
watch in all directions.
sent a female messenger to convince Parvati into marrying him. The female
messenger disguised herself as a female hermit and tried to impress all the
three goddess who were keeping surveillance by praising the glory of
'O beautiful ladies! Why
is your mistress living in such a secluded place? She is worthy of living in a
royal palace. There is nobody among the deities who is fit enough to marry her.
But, Mahishasur--the lord of all the three worlds is certainly fit to become her
husband.'But all the three goddesses drove the female messenger away.
Ultimately, Mahishasur came accompanied by a large army to forcibly abduct
goddess Parvati. The commotion caused by the demons disturbed Parvati's
meditation. She instructed Durga to kill all the demons.Goddess Durga
transformed her appearance. Now she looked ferocious in her new appearance. She
was well equipped with all sort of lethal weapons and was mounted on a lion. She
thundered loudly and challenged Mahishasur. Countless 'yoginis' manifested from
her body. These yoginis attacked Mahishasur's army and killed many demons. The
whole battlefield was splashed with blood.
Goddess Chamunda (Durga)
severed the heads of 'Chand' and 'Mund' with her chakra. Mahishasur was enraged
and he attacked goddess Durga. Some other demons like Prachanda, Chamar,
Mahamauli, Mahahanu, Ugravaktra, Vikataksha and Dahan also came forward to help
him but each one of them was killed by goddess Durga.Now, Mahishasur's anger
crossed all limits and he menacingly ran towards goddess Durga. A severe battle
was fought between both of them. When Mahishasur realized that the goddess was
dominating the battle, he started changing his guises frequently. He tried to
dodge goddess Durga by transforming his appearance into that of a boar. But,
goddess Durga kept on chasing him. Then, Mahishasur became a lion. This way he
kept on changing his appearances frequently to avoid getting killed by goddess
Durga. Once he transformed himself into a buffalo but goddess Durga attacked
This way, Mahishasur was
forced to change his appearance frequently on account of relentless attack by
goddess Durga. Ultimately Durga killed him. Goddess Durga picked up his severed
head and danced in joy. The deities were relieved at the death of Mahishasur.