Today is the Great and Auspicious day called MahaShivaratri. Today is the day, when all the Devote of Maheshwara, worship to the Master of Universe and every objects (Mobile and immobile creatures) Shiva, who has no end. On this occasion, I am going to post beautiful narrations from the Great Epic Mahabharata.
The Posts are in five Parts.
- Krishna is going for Mahadeva’s penance
- Conversations between Krishna and Upamanyu regarding Shiva
- Shiva gives the boon to Upamanyu
- Shiva gives the boon to Krishna
- Shiva’s forms and 1008 Names
Part 1 – Krishna going for Mahadeva’s penance
Yudhishthira said, ‘O son of the River Ganga (Bhisma), thou hast heard all the names of Maheshwara, the Lord of the universe. Do thou tell us, O grandsire, all the names that are applied, O puissant one, unto Him who is called Isa and Sambhu. Do thou tell us all those names that are applied unto Him who is called Vabhru or vast, Him that has the universe for his form, Him that is the illustrious preceptor of all the deities and the Asuras, that is called Swayambhu (self-creating) and that is the cause of the origin and dissolution of the universe. Do thou tell us also of the puissance of Mahadeva.’
Bhishma said, ‘I am quite incompetent to recite the virtues of Mahadeva of highest intelligence. He pervades all things in the universe and yet is not seen anywhere.
- He is the creator of universal self and the Pragna (knowing) self and he is their master.
- All the deities, from Brahman to the Pisachas, adore and worship him.
- He transcends both Prakriti and Purusha.
- It is of Him that Rishis, conversant with Yoga and possessing a knowledge of the tattwas, think and reflect.
- He is indestructible and Supreme Brahman.
- He is both existent and non-existent. Agitating both
- Prakriti and Purusha by means of His energy, He created therefrom the universal lord of creatures, viz., Brahma. Who is there that is competent to tell the virtues of that god of gods, that is endued with supreme Intelligence? Man is subject to conception (in the mother’s womb), birth, decrepitude, and death. Being such, what man like me is competent to understand Bhava?
- Only Narayana, O son, that bearer of the discus and the mace, can comprehend Mahadeva. He is without deterioration. He is the foremost of all beings in attributes. He is Vishnu, because of his pervading the universe. He is irresistible. Endued with spiritual vision, He is possessed of supreme Energy. He sees all things with the eye of Yoga. It is in consequence of the devotion of the high-souled Krishna to the illustrious Rudra whom he gratified. O Bharata, in the retreat of Vadari, by penances, that he has succeeded in pervading the entire universe. O king of kings, it is through Maheswara of celestial vision that Vasudeva has obtained the attribute of universal agreeableness,–an agreeableness that is much greater than what is possessed by all articles included under the name of wealth. For a full thousand years this Madhava underwent the austerest penances and at last succeeded in gratifying the illustrious and boon giving Siva, that Master of all the mobile and the immobile universe.
- In every new Yuga has Krishna (by such penances) gratified Mahadeva. In every Yuga has Mahadeva been gratified with the great devotion of the high-souled Krishna. How great is the puissance of the high-souled Mahadeva,–that original cause of the universe,–has been seen with his own eyes by Hari who himself transcends all deterioration, on the occasion of his penances in the retreat of Vadari undergone for obtaining a son. I do not, O Bharata, behold any one that is superior to Mahadeva. To expound the names of that god of gods fully and without creating the desire of hearing more only Krishna is competent.
- This mighty-armed one of Yadu’s race is alone competent to tell the attributes of the illustrious Siva. Verily, O king, only he is able to discourse on the puissance, in its entirety of the Supreme deity?’
Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having said these words, the illustrious Bhishma, the grandsire of the Kurus, addressing Vasudeva, said the following words, dealing with the subject of the greatness of Bhava, O monarch.
Bhishma said, ‘Thou art the Master of all the deities and the Asuras. Thou art illustrious. Thou art Vishnu in consequence of thy pervading the whole universe. It behoveth thee to discourse on those subjects connected with Siva of universal form about which Yudhishthira has asked me. In days of yore, the Rishi Tandin, sprung from Brahma, recited in Brahma’s region and before Brahma himself the thousand names of Mahadeva. Do thou recite those names before this conclave so that these Rishis endued with wealth of asceticism, observant of high vows, possessed of self-restraint, and numbering the Island-born Krishna among them, may hear thee. Do thou discourse on the high blessedness of Him who is immutable, who is always cheerful and happy, who is Hotri, who is the universal Protector, who is Creator, of the universe, and who is called Mundin and Kaparddin.’
Krishna Vasudeva said, ‘The very deities with Indra, and the Grandsire Brahma numbering among them, and the great Rishis also, are incompetent to understand the course of Mahadeva’s acts truly and in all their details. Even He is the end which all righteous people attain. The very Adityas who are endued with subtile sight, are unable to behold his abode. How then can one that is merely a man succeed in comprehending Him? I hall, therefore, truly recite to you some of the attributes of that illustrious slayer of Asuras, who is regarded as the Lord of all sacrifices and vows.
Vaisampayana continued, ‘Having said these words, the illustrious Vasudeva began his discourse on the attributes of the high-souled Mahadeva endued with the highest intelligence, after having purified himself by touching water.”
Vasudeva said, ‘Hear, ye foremost of Brahmana’s and thou Yudhishthira also, O sire, and hear thou too, O Ganga’s son, the names that are applied unto Kaparddin. Hear ye, how in former days, I obtained a sight, so difficult to obtain, (of that great god), for the sake of Samva. (The Mighty son of Krishna and son in law of Duryodhna) Verily, in those days was the illustrious deity seen by me in consequence of Yoga-abstraction.\After twelve years had expired from the time when Pradyumna (Krishna’s son), the son of Rukmini, who is endued with great intelligence, slew the Asura Samvara in days of yore, my spouse Jamvavati (Krsihna’s another spouse) addressed me. Indeed, beholding Pradyumna and Charudeshna and other sons born of Rukmini, Jamvavati, desirous of a son, said these words unto me, O Yudhishthira.
Jamvavati said “Grant me, O thou of unfading glory, a son endued with heroism, the foremost of mighty men, possessed of the most agreeable features, sinless in conduct, and like unto thyself. And O, let there be no delay on thy part in granting this prayer of mine. There is nothing in the three worlds that is unattainable by thee, O perpetuator of Yadu’s race, thou canst create other worlds if only thou wishest it. Observing a vow for twelve years and purifying thyself, thou hadst adored the Lord of all creatures (viz., Mahadeva) and then begot upon Rukmini the sons that he has obtained from thee, viz., Charudeshna and Sucharu and Charuvesa nd Yasodhana and Charusravas and Charuyasas and Pradyumna and Sambhu. O slayer of Madhu, do thou grant to me a son like unto those of great powers whom thou hast begotten upon Rukmini?
Krishna Continued “Thus addressed by the princess, I replied unto her of slender waist,–Let me have thy permission (to leave thee for some time), O queen. I shall certainly obey thy behest.
Jamavati said “Go, and may success and prosperity always attend thee. Let Brahma and Siva and Kasyapa, the Rivers, those deities that preside over the mind, the soil, all deciduous herbs, those Chhandas (Rhymes) that are regarded as bearers of the libations poured in sacrifices, the Rishis, Earth, the Oceans, the sacrificial presents, those syllables that are uttered for completing the cadences of Samans, the Rikshas, the Pitris, the Planets, the spouses of the deities, the celestial maidens, the celestial mothers, the great cycles, kine, Chandramas, Savitri, Agni, Savitri, the knowledge of the Vedas, the seasons, the year, small and big divisions of time, e.g., the Kshanas, the Labas, the Muhurtas, the Nimeshas, and the Yugas in succession, protect thee, O Yadava, and keep thee in happiness, wherever thou mayst stay. Let no danger overtake thee on thy way, and let no heedlessness be thine, O sinless one.
Krishna continued “Thus blessed by her, I took her leave, bidding farewell unto the daughter of the prince of apes. Repairing then into the presence of that foremost of men, viz., my father, of my mother, of the king, and of Ahuka, I informed them of what the daughter of the prince of the Vidyadharas, in great affliction, had said unto me. Bidding them farewell with a sorrowful heart, I then repaired to Gada and to Rama of great might. These two cheerfully addressed me saying,–Let thy penances increase without any obstruction.–Having obtained the permission of all of them, I thought of Garuda. He immediately came to me and bore me to Himavat (at my bidding). Arrived at Himavat, I dismissed him. There on that foremost of mountains, I beheld many wonderful sights. I saw an excellent, wonderful, and agreeable retreat for the practice of penances.
That delightful retreat was owned by the high-souled Upamanyu who was a descendant of Vyaghrapada. That retreat is applauded and reverenced by the deities and the Gandharvas, and seemed to be covered with Vedic beauty. It was adorned with Dhavas and Kakubhas and Kadamvas and Cocas, ith Kuruvakas and Ketakas and Jamvus and Patalas, with banians and Varunakas and Vatsanabhas and Vilwas, with Saralas and Kapitthas and Piyalas and Salas and palmyras with Vadaris and Kundas and Punnagas and Asokas and Amras and Kovidaras and Champakas and Panasas, and with diverse other trees endued with fruits and flowers. And that retreat was also decked with the straight stems of the Musa Supienta.
Truly, that asylum was adorned with diverse other kinds of trees and with diverse kinds of fruits forming the food of diverse kinds of birds. Heaps of ashes (of sacrificial fires) were thrown in proper places all around, which added to the beauty of the scene. It abounded with Rurus and apes and tigers and lions and leopards, with deer of diverse species and peacocks, and with cats and snakes. Indeed, large numbers of other animals also were seen there, as also buffaloes and bears. Delicious breezes constantly blew bearing the melodious strains of celestial nymphs. The babblings of mountain rivulets and springs, the sweet notes of winged choristers, the gruntings of elephants, the delicious stains of Kinnaras, and the auspicious voice of ascetics singing the Samans, O hero, and diverse other kinds of music, rendered that retreat extremely charming.
The very imagination cannot conceive another retreat as delightful as the one I beheld. There were also large houses in that asylum, intended for keeping the sacred fire, and covered all over with flowering creepers. It was adorned with the river Ganga of clear and sacred water. Indeed, the daughter of Jahnu always remained there. It was decked also with many ascetics who were the foremost of all righteous persons, who were endued with high souls, and who resembled fire itself in energy.
Krishna describing the forms of penances that ascetics were doing..
- Some of those ascetics subsisted upon air and some upon water
- Some were devoted to Japa or the silent recitation of sacred Mantras
- Some were engaged in cleansing their souls by practising the virtues of compassion while some amongst them were Yogins devoted to the abstraction of Yoga-meditation.
- Some amongst them subsisted upon smoke only
- Some subsisted upon fire, and some upon milk.
- Thus was that retreat adorned with many foremost of regenerate persons.
- Some there were amongst them that had taken the vow of eating and drinking like kine,–that is, by giving up the use of the hands at once.
- Some used only two pieces of stone for husking their grain
- Some used their teeth only for that purpose.
- Some subsisted by drinking only the rays of the moon
- Some by drinking only froth.
- Some had betaken themselves to vow of living like deer.
- Some there were that lived upon the fruits of the Ficus religiosa
- Some that used to live upon water.
- Some dressed themselves in rags and some in animal skins and some in barks of trees.
Indeed, I beheld diverse ascetics of the foremost order observing these and other painful vows. I desired then to enter that asylum. Verily, that asylum was honoured and adored by the deities and all high-souled beings, by Siva and others, O Bharata, and by all creatures of righteous acts. Thus addressed, it stood in all its beauty on the breast of Himavat, like the lunar disc in the firmament. The mongoose sported there with the snake, and the tiger with the deer, like friends, forgetting their natural enmity, in consequence of the energy of those ascetics of blazing penances and for their proximity to these high-souled ones.
In that foremost of asylums, which was delightful to all creatures, inhabited by many foremost of Brahmanas fully conversant with the Vedas and their branches, and by many high-souled Rishis celebrated for the difficult vows they observed, I saw, as soon as I entered, a puissant Rishi with matted locks on head and dressed in rags, who seemed to blaze forth like fire with his penances and energy.
Waited upon by his disciples and possessed of tranquil soul, that foremost ofBrahmanas was young in aspect. His name was Upamanyu. Unto me who bowed unto him with a nod of the head, he said,……
Upamanyu said “Welcome art thou, O thou of eyes like lotus petals. Today, by this visit of thine, we see that our penances have borne fruit. Thou art worthy of our adoration, but thou adorest us still. Thou art worthy of being seen, but thou desirest to see me.
Krishna Continued ‘Joining my hands I addressed him the usual enquiries respecting the well-being of the animals and birds that resided in his asylum, of the progress of his righteousness, and of his disciples. The illustrious Upamanyu then addressed me in words that were exceedingly sweet and delightful,
Upamanyu said “Thou shalt, O Krishna, obtain without doubt a son like unto thyself. Betaking thyself to severe penances, do thou gratify Isana, the Lord of all creatures. That divine Master, O Adhokshaja, sporteth here with his spouse by his side. O Janarddana, it was here that the deities with all the Rishis, in days of yore, gratified that foremost of deities by their penances and Brahmacharyya and truth and self-restraint, and succeeded in obtaining the fruition of many high desires. That illustrious god is verily the vast receptacle of all energies and penances. Projecting into existence and withdrawing once more unto himself all things fraught with good and evil, that inconceivable Deity whom thou seekest, O destroyer of foes, lives here with his spouse.
He who took his birth as the Danava named Hiranyakashipu, whose strength was so great that he could shake the very mountains of Meru, succeeded in obtaining from Mahadeva the puissance belonging to all the deities and enjoyed it for ten millions of years. He who was the foremost of all his sons and who was celebrated by the name of Mandara, succeeded, through the boon he had obtained from Mahadeva, in fighting Sakra for a million of years.
The terrible discus of Vishnu and the thunderbolt of Indra were both unable to make the slightest impression, O Kesava, in days of yore, upon the body of that great cause of universal affliction. The discus (Sudarshan Chakra) which thou bearest, O sinless one, was given unto thee by Mahadeva after he had slain a Daitya that was proud of his strength and used to live within the waters. That discus, blazing with energy and like unto fire, was created by the great god having for his device the bull. Wonderful and irresistible in energy it was given unto thee by that illustrious god. In consequence of its blazing energy it was incapable of being gazed at by any person save Siva the wielder of Pinaka. It was for this reason that Bhava (Siva) bestowed upon it the name of Sudarsana.
From that time the name Sudarsana came to be current in all the worlds. Even the weapon, O Kesava, failed to make the slightest impression on the body of Hiranyakashipu’s son Mandara, that appeared like an evil planet in the three worlds. Hundreds of Chakras like thine and thunderbolts like that of Sakra, could not inflict a scratch on the body of that evil planet endued with great might, who had obtained a boon from Mahadeva. Afflicted by the mighty Mandara, the deities fought hard against him and his associates, all of whom had obtained boons from Mahadeva.
Gratified with another Danava named Vidyutprabha, Mahadeva granted to him the sovereignty of the three worlds. That Danava remained the sovereign of the three worlds for a hundred thousand years. And Mahadeva said unto him,–Thou shalt become one of my attendants.–Indeed, the puissant Lord further bestowed upon him the boon of a hundred millions of children.
The Master without birth, of all creatures further gave the Danava the region known by the name of Kusadwipa for his kingdom. Another great Asura, of the name of Satamukha, was created by Brahma. For a hundred years he poured on’ the sacrificial fire (as offerings unto Mahadeva) the flesh of his own body. Gratified with such penances, Sankara said unto him,–What can I do for thee?–Satamukha replied unto him, saying,–O thou that art most wonderful, let me have the power of creating new creatures and animals. Give also unto me, O foremost of all deities, eternal power.–The puissant lord, thus addressed by him, said unto him,–So be it.
The Self-born Brahma, concentrating his mind in Yoga, in days of yore, made a sacrifice for three hundred years, with the object of obtaining children. Mahadeva granted him a thousand sons possessed of qualifications commensurate with the merits of the sacrifice. Without doubt, thou knowest, O Krishna, the lord of Yoga, him that is, who is sung by the deities.
The Rishi known by the name of Yajnavalkya is exceedingly virtuous. By adoring Mahadeva he has acquired great fame.
The great ascetic who is Parasara’s son, viz., Vyasa, of soul set on Yoga, has obtained great celebrity by adoring Sankara.
The Valikhilyas were on a former occasion disregarded by Maghavat. Filled with wrath at this, they gratified the illustrious Rudra. That lord of the universe, that foremost one of all the deities, thus gratified by the Valikhilyas, said unto them,–Ye shall succeed by your penances in creating a bird that will rob Indra of the Amrita.
Through the wrath of Mahadeva on a former occasion, all the waters disappeared. The deities gratified him by performing a sacrifice called Saptakapala, and caused, through his grace, other waters to flow into the worlds. Verily, when the three-eyed deity became gratified, water once more appeared in the world. The wife of Atri, who was conversant with the Vedas, abandoned her husband in a huff and said,–I shall no longer live in subjection to that ascetic.–Having said these words, she sought the protection of Mahadeva. Through fear of her lord, Atri, passed three hundred years, abstaining from all food. And all this time she slept on wooden clubs for the purpose of gratifying Bhava. The great deity then appeared unto her and then smilingly addressed her, saying–Thou shalt obtain a son. And thou shalt get that son without the need of a husband, simply through the grace of Rudra.
Without doubt that son, born in the race of his father, shall become celebrated for his worth, and assume a name after thee. The illustrious Vikarna also, O slayer of Madhu, full of devotion to Mahadeva, gratified him with severe penances and obtained high and happy success. Sakalya, too, of restrained soul, adored Bhava in a mental sacrifice that he performed for nine hundred years, O Kesava. Gratified with him the illustrious deity said unto him,–Thou shalt become a great author. O son, inexhaustible shall thy fame be in the three worlds. Thy race also shall never come to an end and shall be adorned by many great Rishis that shall take birth in it. Thy son will become the foremost of Brahmanas and will make the Sutras of thy work.
There was a celebrated Rishi of the name of Savarni in the Krita age. Here, in this asylum, he underwent severe penances for six thousand years. The illustrious Rudra said,–I am gratified with thee, O sinless one! Without being subject to decrepitude or death, thou shalt become an author celebrated through all the worlds!–In days of yore, Sakra, also, in Baranasi, filled with devotion, O Janarddana, adored Mahadeva who has empty space alone for his garments and who is smeared with ashes as an agreeable unguent. Having adored Mahadeva thus, he obtained the sovereignty of the celestials.
Narada also, in days of yore, adored the great Bhava with devotion of heart. Gratified with him, Mahadeva, that preceptor of the celestial preceptor, said these words.–No one shall be thy equal in energy and penances. Thou shalt always attend upon me with thy songs and instrumental music.
Hear also, O Madhava, how in former times I succeeded in obtaining a sight of that god of gods, that Master of all creatures, O Lord. Hear also in detail for what object, O thou of great puissance. I invoked with restrained senses and mind that illustrious deity endued with supreme energy. I shall, O sinless one, tell thee with full details all that I succeeded in obtaining from that god of gods, viz., Maheswara.
Deepak Kumar Jha (A Learner)