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Glory of Lord Shiva

by Swami Sivananda

Om. I bow with folded hands to Lord Siva, Who is the Lord of the universe (Jagat-Pati), world's teacher (Jagad-Guru), Who is the destroyer of Tripuras (3 cities, egoism, lust and anger), Who is the Lord of Uma (Uma Sankar), Gauri (Gauri Sankar), Ganga (Ganga Sankar), who is full of light (Jyotirmaya), knowledge and bliss (Chidananda Maya), Who is the Lord of Yogins (Yogeesvara), Who is the storehouse of knowledge and Who is known by the various names as Mahadeva, Sankara, Hara, Sambhu, Sadasiva, Rudra, Soolapani, Bhairava, Uma- Mahesvara, Neelakantha, Trilochana or Tryambaka (the three-eyed), Visvanatha, Chandrasekhara, Ardhanareesvara, Mahesvara, Neelalohita, Parama Siva, Digambara, Dakshinamurti, etc.

How merciful He is! How loving and kind He is! He even wears the skulls of His devotees as a garland around His neck. He is an embodiment of renunciation, mercy, love and wisdom. It is a mistake to say that He is the destroyer. Lord Siva in reality is the regenerator. Whenever one's physical body becomes unfit for further evolution in this birth either by disease, old age or other causes, He at once removes this rotten physical sheath and gives a new, healthy, vigorous body for further quick evolution. He wants to take all His children to His Lotus Feet quickly. He desires to give them His glorious "Siva-Pada". It is easier to please Siva than Hari. A little Prem and devotion, a little chanting of His Panchakshara is quite sufficient to infuse delight in Siva. He gives boons to His devotees quite readily. How large is His heart! He gave Pasupatastra to Arjuna without any difficulty for his little penance. He gave a precious boon to Bhasmasura. In Kalahasti near Tirupati He gave Darshan for Kannappa Nayanar, the devoted hunter who plucked his two eyes to replace the weeping eyes in the Murti. In Chidambaram even the untouchable saint Nandanar had Darshan of Lord Siva. He ran with tremendous speed to make the boy Markandeya immortal when he was in the clutches of the God of Death-Yama. Ravana of Lanka pleased Siva with his Sama chantings. He initiated the four virgin youths Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanatkumara into the mysteries of Jnana in the form of Guru Dakshinamoorthy. In Madurai in Tamil Nadu, Sundaresvara (Lord Siva) assumed the form of a boy and carried earth on his head for a devoted lady for the sake of Puttu (a kind of sweetmeat) as wages when an anicut was erected in the Vaigai river. Look at the unbounded mercy for His devotees! When Brahma and Lord Vishnu went to find out the head and feet of Lord Siva, He assumed an infinite, expansive blaze of light (Jyotirmaya). They were baffled in their attempts. How magnanimous and self-effulgent He is! He lived in the house of Pattinattu Swami in Southern India for several years as his adopted son and disappeared after giving him the small note: "Even the broken needles will not follow you after your death. " The reading of this note was the starting point for attainment of Jnana for Pattinattu Swami. Why not you all attempt this very second with sincerity to realise God (Lord Siva)?

Hatha Yogins awaken the Kundalini Sakti that is lying dormant in the Muladhara Chakra by Asana, Pranayama, Kumbhaka, Mudra and Bandha, take it above through different Chakras (centres of spiritual energy) Svadhishthna, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha and Ajna and join it with Lord Siva at the Sahasrara, the thousand-petalled lotus at the crown of the head. They drink the nectar of Immortality (Siva-Jnana-Amritam). This is termed Amrita-srava. When the Sakti is united with Siva, full illumination comes for the Yogi.

Lord Siva represents the destructive aspect of Brahman. That portion of Brahman that is enveloped by Tamo-Guna-Pradhana-Maya is Lord Siva who is the all-pervading Isvara and who also dwells in Mount Kailas. He is the Bhandar or store-house for wisdom. Siva minus Parvati or Kaali or Durga is pure Nirguna Brahman. With Maya (Parvati) He becomes the Saguna Brahman for the purpose of pious devotion of His devotees. Devotees of Rama must worship Lord Siva also. Rama Himself worshipped Lord Siva at the famous Ramesvaram. Lord Siva is the Lord of ascetics and Lord of Yogins robed in space (Digambara).

His Trishul (trident) that is held in His right hand represents the three Gunas-Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. That is the emblem of sovereignty. He wields the world through these three Gunas. The Damaru in His left hand represents the Sabda Brahman. It represents OM from which all languages are formed. It is He who formed the Sanskrit language out of the Damaru sound.

The wearing of the crescent moon on His head indicates that He has controlled the mind perfectly. The flow of the Ganga represents the nectar of immortality. Elephant represents symbolically the Vritti, pride. Wearing the skin of the elephant denotes that He has controlled pride. Tiger represents lust. His sitting on the tiger's skin indicates that he has conquered lust. His holding a deer in one hand indicates that He has removed the Chanchalata (tossing) of the mind. Deer jumps from one place to another swiftly. The mind also jumps from one object to another. His wearing of serpents on the neck denotes wisdom and eternity. Serpents live for a large number of years. He is Trilochana, the three-eyed One, in the centre of whose forehead is the third eye, the eye of wisdom. Nandi, the bull that sits in front of Sivalingam represents Pranava (Omkara). The Lingam represents Advaita. It points out "I am one without a second. Ekam eva Advaiteeyam" just as a man raises his right hand above his head pointing out his right index finger only.

Kailas hills in Tibet are a huge range with a central, beautiful, naturally carved and decorated shining peak, eternally clad with silvery snow 22, 980 feet above sea-level. Some take the height to be 22, 028 feet. This particular peak is in the form of a natural, huge Siva Linga (Virat Form). This is worshipped as the form of Lord Siva from a distance. There is neither a temple nor a Poojari nor a daily Pooja there. I had the fortune to have Darshan of Kailas through the grace of Lord Siva on July 22, 1931. I even climbed with panting breath to the foot of Kailas peak where the Indus takes its origin. It is a very picturesque, soul-stirring scenery. You will have to ascend from Didipha Gupha, the first halting stage in Parikrama of Kailas. The Indus gushes out as a small streamlet through blocks of ice from behind the back portion of Kailas peak. Though in the pictures of Lord Siva it is shown that the Ganga flows from His head, it is really the Indus that takes its origin from the head of Siva (Kailas) in the physical plane. Parikrama of Kailas covers 30 miles. It takes three days. On the way comes the famous and sacred Gauri Kund which is eternally covered with snow. You will have to break the snow when you take a bath.

JYOTIRLINGAS

THE FOLLOWING ARE THE TWELVE JYOTIRLINGAS OF LORD SIVA:

Somanath in Gujarat.

Mallikarjuna in Srisaila Parvat in Andhra Pradesh.

Mahakala in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.

Omkaresvar on the banks of Narmada in Amalesvarm.

Baijnath near Gaya (Paralya).

Naganath in Southern India.

Kedarnath in Himalayas, Uttar Pradesh.

Tryambak, near the source of the Godavari in the Nasik District, Maharashtra.

Ramesvaram, in Ramnad district, Tamil Nadu.

Bhima Sankar, near Poona.

Visvanath in Benares.

Grishnesvar (Gokarna) in Karwar district, Karnataka.

Even if people remember these 12 places both morning and evening, the sins of seven births will be destroyed.

In Southern India, there are five famous Siva Lingas which represent the five elements.

In Shiyali, Tanjore district, there is Prithvi Lingam.

In Tiruvana Koil, Trichinopoly district, there is Appu Lingam. The Lingam is always in water. Tiruvana Koil is otherwise known as Jambukesvaram.

In Kalahasti, Andhra Pradesh, there is a Vayu Lingam.

In Tiruvannamalai, via Villupuram Junction, North Arcot District, there is the Tejolingam (Arunachalesvar).

In Chidambaram, there is the Akasa Lingam.

During my recent travels, I used to hold Sankirtan in Monghyr (All-India Kirtan Sammelan 1932), Sitapur, Lakhimpur, Ayodhya, Lucknow, Kakinada, Calcutta and other places. People were very much attracted towards my three charming Siva Namavalis. I shall mention them here.

PANCHAKSHARA NAMAVALI

Sivaya Nama Om Sivaya Namah; Sivaya Nama Om Namah Sivaya.

Siva Sambho Sadasiva, Sambho Sadasiva, Sambho Sadasiva Bhum Bhum Bhum.

Hara Hara Siva Siva Sambho, Hara Hara Siva Siva, Hara Hara Sambho, Siva Siva Sambho.

Rudra is the destructive aspect of Siva. There are eleven Rudras in the cosmic hierarchy. Esoterically the Pranas and the mind represent the eleven Rudras. Sri Hanuman is a manifestation or aspect of Siva only.

THESE 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 Nandi. 4. Tandava dancing with Kaali. 5. Marriage with Parvati. 6. Begging. 7. Burning of Manmatha or the God of Love. 8. Victory over Yama the God of death. 9. Burning of Tripuras. 10. Killing of Jalandarasura. 11. Killing of Gajasura. 12. Incarnation of Virabhadra. 13. Harihara. 14. Ardhanareesvara. 15. Trans- forming into Kirata. 16. Assuming the form of Kankala. 17. Blessing Chandusvara. 18. Drinking poison. 19. Giving of Chakra. 20. Destroying of obstacles. 21. Having sons of Uma with Him. 22. Becoming Ekapada Rudra. 23. Being in easy pose (Sukhasana). 24. Assuming the form of Dakshinamoorthy. 25. Assuming Linga form.

In Me the universe had its origin, In Me alone the whole subsists; In Me it is lost-this Siva - The Timeless, It is I Myself! Sivoham! Sivoham! ! Sivoham! ! !


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