Monthly Archives: February 2014

true meaning of Shivlinga

The meaning and importance of Shivlinga

What is Shivlinga?

Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of linga from ancient times. Lord Shiva is one of the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and even considered to be supreme lord. He has been worshipped by various devtas (gods) in Hindu mythology and by Vishnu Dashavatara’s. But why in the form of Linga?

 

Worship of Linga is not a strange thing and it is a known fact that reproductive organs have been worshipped across various civilizations. This underlines the importance of linga. By representing Lord Supreme, the humankind is suggesting to give proper importance to linga, hence Shiv linga is worshipped.

 

But Shivlinga is and should be treated as the manifestation of male and female and thus represent the birth of everything. Though Lord Shiva is also regarded as the god of destruction, an important aspect is forgotten that he is the beginning as well. Thus Lord Shiva is given the highest status symbolically and physically both.

 

true meaning of Shivlinga

true meaning of Shivlinga

Puranas and scriptures in Hinduism narrate in detail why Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of linga. It is said that the he appeared before Lord Brahma and Vishnu in the form of a ‘pillar of fire’, which had no end and beginning. It is one among the many symbols of Brahman. There are numerous other incidents in the Puranas including the famous Deodar forest incident in which the wives of saints are attracted to Shiva and he castrates himself and leaves the Linga on earth as his symbol.
Incarnations of Lord Vishnu is known to have worshipped the Shivlinga including Lord Ram, Parashuram and Krishna.
When the mind is clear and is without prejudices, we will realize that the Linga form of Shiva is the most innocent form of Brahman that our ancestors had realized. It is pure and they got it from pure nature. Many of the forms that we worship today are the reflections of our mind, which is corrupted by ego, society and education. It is not pure.

As per the epic Mahabharata,  ‘Know everything, which is male, to be Ishana, and all that is female to be Uma; for this whole world, animate and inanimate, is pervaded by these two bodies. Shiva’s divine Linga is worshipped by the Gods, seers, Gandharvas and Apsaras.’ (Chapter 7, section 20, verse 22)

 The legend behind Shivlinga worship

 

There is an interesting story behind the worship of Shivlinga. 

 

Lord Shiva descended in form of Shivalinga on the day of Mahashivaratri. Worshipping Shivalinga on the day of Mahashivaratri has different mythological significance and story. The story is as follows. Once, Prajapati Daksha organised a Yagya and invited all kings and deities, but, he did not call husband of Sati (Parvati). Knowing this, Sati burnt herself in the fire of this Yagya and died.

 

Note: Shakti peeths were formed when Mata Sati’s body parts were fallen on earth.[button url=”http://ritsin.com/sati-and-shakti-peeths-gods-of-indian-mythology-world-mythology-story.html/” ]Read about Shakti Peeths[/button]

 

On the death of Mata Sati, lord Shiva became angry and started doing Tandav on earth in a naked form and started roaming on earth. Once, he reached the village of Brahmans. Brahmanis got fascinated by seeing this form of lord Shiva. On this, the Brahmans became angry and cursed him. As a result, lord Shiva’s Linga separated from his body and fell on earth. The weight of Linga was unbearable for earth. This incident created chaos in all the three Loks.

 

When the situation became worse, all god and Rishis reached lord Brahma for help. God Brahma came to knew the reason behind this incident. He went to lord Shiva with everyone. Lord Brahma worshipped Shiva and requested him to wear his Linga back. So, lord Shiva said that if everyone worship my linga then only he shall wore it back. On this, lord Brahma created a Shivlinga of gold and performed a systematic Puja. Later, all deities, Rishi, Muni created Shivlinga with different substance and worshipped it.

 

According to this legend, worshipping of Shivlinga had begun from that time. It is believed, a place where Shiva Linga is worshipped, changes into a pilgrimage. A person receives Shiva Lok if, he dies at a place where Shivlinga is worshipped always. Just by chanting the word ‘Shiva’, sins of a normal person are cancelled.

Sudarshan Chakra chasing Durvasa

Ambarish and Durvasa – when the hunter became hunted

Lord Durvasa is known for his curses. But there were times, when he was helpless before the power of a humble of follower of Lord Vishnu. One such instance was of Ambarisha. The full story goes as:

Ambarisha was a king and he was deeply into following Lord Vishnu. He and his queen used to observe various fasts over the year. On second day of Ekadashi, Ambarish had to end his fast. On that very day, Sage Durvasa paid a visit to Ambarisha.

That day was Ekadashi. Ambarish was very excited and felt privileged to service Durvasa and he invited him for the lunch. Sage Durvasa, along with his hundred disciples set off to wash themselves.

They took a long time to return and meanwhile the auspicious time of ending the fast was about to be breached. So, though he did not want to, but forced by his priests, Ambarish had to end his fast with a leaf of tulsi in absence of Sage Durvasa.

This opened a whole can of worms. This was discovered by Sage Durvasa and his disciples. Durvasa, who was the second name of anger, said to Ambarish that he will have to suffer for his misdeed and he directed a demoness to kill Ambarish.

Ambarish resigned to his fate with folded hands. But nothing happens to a person, who is helped by the Lord himself. Lord Vishnu sends his sudarshan chakra to safeguard Ambarish.

Durvasa curse to Ambarish

Durvasa curse to Ambarish

Soon, Sudarshan chakra burns the demoness. Now it was turn of Sage Durvasa as the chakra started to move towards Durvasa while spinning furiously. Durvasa realized that something unexpected was happening and his life was in peril. The hunter has become the hunted.

He ran for his dear life, but Sudarshan chakra was equal to the task. Durvasa approached Lord Shiva for a reprieve, but it was beyond his powers to stop the Sudarshan chakra. Durvasa kept running for a year and reached Lord Vishnu. He requested Lord Vishnu to stop the chakra. God replied that Sudarshan chakra returns after doing the assigned job. Durvasa started weeping.

Sudarshan Chakra chasing Durvasa

Sudarshan Chakra chasing Durvasa

Lord Vishnu said that he can be saved only if he is forgiven by Ambarish. Sage Durvasa immediately went to him fell to his feet asking for forgiveness. Here Ambarish was waiting for him without taking food for a year.

He said, ”King of Sages, your falling at my feet is not right.” Durvasa replied, ”Ambarish, you are a true devotee of the Lord. I have insulted you. Please forgive me. Save me from the Sudarshan Chakra.” King Ambarish prayed to the Sudarshan Chakra and said, ”If the love and respect I have for Durvasa at this moment are the same as they were when he first came to my palace, then, Oh Sudarshan Chakra! Please return to the Lord.

After this, Sudarshan chakra returned to Vishnu and Durvasa’s life was saved.

 

Lord Hanumana

The Ramayana story in pictures – Sunder kand (5) – Hanuman

Sunder Kand from The Ramayana (Hanuman)

Sunder Kand is the story of Hanuman finding Sita. The most important character for this chapter is of Hanuman’s.

Panchroopi bhagwan Hanuman

Panchroopi bhagwan Hanuman

Sunder Kand

After Jambvant praised and advised Hanuman, he started his journey to Lanka.  Mainak came forward to offer some rest, but he declined.

Hanuman and Mainak mountain

 On his way, first came Sursa. She was asked to test Hanuman’s skills and wisdom. She said that everyone has to pass through her mouth before one can resume its journey. Hanuman first enlarged his size.

Sursa and Hanuman

 In reply, Sursa also increased her mouth. Suddenly he reduced his size and entered her mouth and came out of her nose. Sursa blessed him for his skills. By using his wisdom, he proceeded further.

Sinhika and Hanuman

 Soon, another hurdle appeared. A demon caught his shadow. The demon was  Sinhika. Hanuman had to overcome her before he could proceed.  She managed to swallow  him, but soon enough, he killed her and restarted his journey towards  lanka.

Hanuman reaches the shores of Lanka. He found that many demons are guarding Lanka. He decides to enter lanka in night but ran into Lankini. Hanuman hit her hard. Lankini understands that end of Ravana is near as she was told by Brahma that when a monkey is cause of her pain, then it is about time. She praises his devotion towards Lord Rama.

  Hanuman hits Lankini

Hanuman then searches for Sita in Lanka. He even checked Ravana’s palace.

Looking for Sita

Then he came to another palace, which was Vibhishan’s. He met him. Vibhishan told him about Sita whereabouts. He goes to Ashok vatika and observes Sita.

Sita at Ashok vatika

At the same time, Ravana came there and threatened Sita with dire consequences, if she refuses to marry him.

Ravana in ashok vatika – threatening Sita

Trijata named demon consoles Sita. She said that she had seen in her dreams that end of Ravana is close. But Sita is still perturbed.

Trijata and Sita in Ashok Vatika

Hanuman then dropped the ring given by Lord Rama before Sita. Sita becomes happy by seeing and recognizing the ring of Lord Rama.

He then came before Sita and explained how he has come to lanka and ashok vatika. He pacifies Sita that Lord will come soon and then it will be end of all the problems.

Hanuman meets Sita at Ashok Vatika

With permission of Sita, Hanuman then ate fruits from Ashok Vatika and uprooted many trees.

Hanuman creating havoc in Ashok Vatika

He killed many demons including Akshaykumara. They went to Ravana for help. Ravana sent his warriors but they were defeated by Hanuman. Finally, Meghnaad used Brahmastra and used Nagpaash to tie him.

Meghnaad and Hanuman (Brahmastra and Nagpaash)

Meghnaad then brought Hanuman to the Ravana’s court. Hanuman told Ravana to return Sita to Rama and live in peace. Instead, he asked to burn his tail so that a lesson can be taught to him. Hanuman made his tail become bigger. Lot of oil and clothes were required to cover the tail. Finally the tail was set to fire. Hanuman used laghima and became small. Lanka is thus burnt.

Lanka dahan by Hanuman

Hanuman returns to Sita and seeks permission to go back. Sita gives her ornaments and requests them to be presented before Lord Rama.

Hanuman departing from lanka after meeting Sita

Hanuman heads back to Kishkindha.

Hanuman returns from lanka

Hanuman returns from lanka

He meets Rama and Laxmana and tells them the whole story.

he meets Rama and Laxman after returning from lanka.

he meets Rama and Laxman after returning from lanka.

Then, Rama, Laxman and Hanuman, meet Sugriva and decide future course of action.

Meeting with Sugriva

Meeting with Sugriva

After knowing the whereabouts of Sita, Rama sets out to free her. He is accompanied by Vanara Sena.

Rama reaches with vanar sena at the sea shore

Rama reaches with vanar sena at the sea shore

Demons report this to Mandodari. Mandodari reasons with ravana as Hanuman, the messenger of Rama has done so much damage. Pregnant demons suffer from miscarriage when they think of Hanuman. So this is not wise to keep Sita. Ravana does not heed to the advice.

Mandodari persuades Ravana to release Sita

Mandodari persuades Ravana to release Sita

Even Vibheeshana, brother of Ravana, persuades Ravana. Ravana insults him.

Vibheeshana and Ravana

Vibheeshana and Ravana

Vibheeshana meets Rama and requests for his companionship. Rama accepts him as his friend.

Rama and Vibheeshana

Rama and Vibheeshana

Ravana sends his spy to Rama’s abode. Shuka, the messenger, was captured and Laxman releases him with a letter to Ravana.

Shuka and Ravana

Shuka and Ravana

Rama requests Sea to give him way. When the sea does not listen, Rama intends to use Brahmastra. The Sagar yields and advises to consult Nal and Neela to find a way to Lanka.

Sea god (Sagar) and Lord Rama

Sea god (Sagar) and Lord Rama

 

Recommended Reading:

Seven unknown facts about Karna

Unknown fact about Draupadi – Why she had five husbands

When incarnation of Lord Vishnu could not defeat his bhakta

Do you know that Jambavant has seen a number of avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu. He even got his daughter married to Shri Krishna and there is an interesting story of his fight with Lord Krishna. You can find this story on this blog.

The legend of Narada muni or Sage Narada

Narada Muni

Narada muni is the person who is almost available everywhere in mythological texts. Who is he exactly and what is his role? He is the son of Lord Brahma and great devotee of Lord Vishnu.

Narada - The omnipresent sage

Narada – The omnipresent sage

Sage Narada had blessings that he could show up anywhere, anytime and anyplace. He used these blessings and appeared in all yugas (satya, treta and dwapara) from time to time to spread the good word and help the needy. He traversed distant worlds (or planets) but never went anywhere without a purpose. He used to make his purposeful entry by chanting the name of the lord Vishnu (Narayana) and playing a veena (a musical instrument).

It is said that he could not keep any secrets and thus fuelled a lot of controversies as he would reveal secrets a bad time or spreading gossip. Therefore he was often mistaken as a quarrel-monger and a talebearer. His deeds often brought a trouble and friction among gods, demons and men.

Narada had knowledge of all vedas and puranas and he strived for welfare of human being.

Deeds of Narada

Valmiki and Narada

Narada was behind the writing of the Ramayana by sage Valmiki. Apparently he told Valmiki about Lord Rama. Valmiki was looking for a person who was perfect. After Narada told him about Rama, Valmiki saw a hunter killing krounch birds. He wanted to curse the hunter, but a shloka came out of his mouth which became the first lines of the Ramayana.

Parahlada

Prahlada was taught by Narada when he was in his mother, Kudayu’s womb. Thus, he was a devotee of Lord Vishnu even before he was born. Later, Lord Vishnu took Narsingh avatar to kill prahalada’s father, Hiranyakashyap.

Monkeyfaced Sage

Once, Narada became proud and started boasting that he had conquered Kama. Lord Vishnu taught him a lesson. The whole story is available here.

Proud Narada

Proud Narada

Lord Vishnu’s challenge

Narada boasted that he was the most dedicated follower of lord. Vishnu asked him to carry a pot on his head and ensure that not a single drop is wasted. He obediently carried out the task. After this, Lord Vishnu asked what he was thinking when carrying the pot? He replied – of course, I was thinking that pot should be carried carefully. Lord Vishnu smiled and said, then how can you claim that you are the best devotee when you were not thinking about me? Narada learnt his lesson.

Narada and Lord Vishnu's challenge

Narada and Lord Vishnu’s challenge

Inspiration to Dhruva

Dhruva, son of king Uttanpada, was determined to carve out his own place after he was scolded by his stepmother, Suruchi. His mother, Sunita consoled him and asked him not to get distraught, but Dhruva was determined. Sage Narada was pleased with Dhruva and he given him a mantra “Om Namoh Bhagwate Vasudevay” to chant. Lord Vishnu, happy with Dhruva, awarded him a special place.

Dhruva, Narada and Lord Vishnu

Dhruva, Narada and Lord Vishnu

 

 

Neelkantha

108 names of Lord Shiva

 

Neelkantha

Neelkantha

108 Names of Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva, one of the holy trinity of gods, is believed to play the role of the destroyer to this universe. He is father of Lord Kartikeya and Lord Ganesha and is married to Goddess Parvati. There are various names of lord Shiva with Mahadeva being the most famous. He is also called Neelkanth after he consumed poison during amrita manthan.
Names of Lord Shiva

Names of Lord Shiva

Following picture is of wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Wedding of Shiva and Parvati

Wedding of Shiva and Parvati

Angry Shiva

Angry Shiva

Here are 108 names of Lord Shiva with its meaning.
  1. Aashutosh – One Who Fulfills Wishes Instantly.
  2. Aja- Unborn.
  3. Akshayaguna – God With Limitless Attributes
  4. Anagha – Without Any Fault
  5. Anantadrishti – Of Infinite Vision
  6. Augadh – One Who Revels All The Time
  7. Avyayaprabhu – Imperishable Lord
  8. Bhairav – Lord Of Terror
  9. Bhalanetra – One Who Has An Eye In The Forehead
  10. Bholenath – Kind Hearted Lord
  11. Bhooteshwara – Lord Of Ghosts And Evil Beings
  12. Bhudeva – Lord Of The Earth
  13. Bhutapala – Protector Of The Ghosts
  14. Chandrapal – Master Of The Moon
  15. Chandraprakash -One Who Has Moon As A Crest
  16. Dayalu -Compassionate
  17. Devadeva – Lord Of The Lords
  18. Dhanadeepa – Lord Of Wealth
  19. Dhyanadeep – Icon Of Meditation And Concentration
  20. Dhyutidhara – Lord Of Brilliance
  21. Digambara – Ascetic Without Any Clothes
  22. Durjaneeya – Difficult To Be Known
  23. Durjaya – Unvanquished
  24. Gangadhara – Lord Of River Ganga
  25. Girijapati – Consort Of Girija
  26. Gunagrahin – Acceptor Of Gunas
  27. Gurudeva – Master Of All
  28. Hara – Remover Of Sins
  29. Jagadisha – Master Of The Universe
  30. Jaradhishamana -Redeemer From Afflictions
  31. Jatin – One Who Has Matted Hair
  32. Kailas -One Who Bestows Peace
  33. Kailashadhipati -Lord Of Mount Kailash
  34. Kailashnath – Master Of Mount Kailash
  35. Kamalakshana – Lotus-Eyed Lord
  36. Kantha – Ever-Radiant
  37. Kapalin – One Wears A Necklace Of Skulls
  38. Khatvangin – One Who Has The Missile Khatvangin In His Hand
  39. Kundalin – One Who Wears Earrings
  40. Lalataksha – One Who Has An Eye In The Forehead
  41. Lingadhyaksha – Lord Of The Lingas
  42. Lingaraja – Lord Of The Lingas
  43. Lokankara – Creator Of The Three Worlds
  44. Lokapal – One Who Takes Care Of The World
  45. Mahabuddhi – Extremely Intelligent
  46. Mahadeva – Greatest God
  47. Mahakala – Lord Of All Times
  48. Mahamaya – Of Great Illusions
  49. Mahamrityunjaya – Great Victor Of Death
  50. Mahanidhi – Great Storehouse
  51. Mahashaktimaya – One Who Has Boundless Energies
  52. Mahayogi – Greatest Of All Gods
  53. Mahesha- Supreme Lord
  54. Maheshwara – Lord Of Gods
  55. Nagabhushana – One Who Has Serpents As Ornaments
  56. Nataraja – King Of The Art Of Dancing
  57. Nilakantha – Blue Necked Lord
  58. Nityasundara – Ever Beautiful
  59. Nrityapriya – Lover Of Dance
  60. Omkara – Creator Of OM
  61. Palanhaar – One Who Protects Everyone
  62. Parameshwara – First Among All Gods
  63. Paramjyoti – Greatest Splendour
  64. Pashupati – Lord Of All Living Beings
  65. Pinakin – One Who Has A Bow In His Hand
  66. Pranava – Originator Of The Syllable Of OM
  67. Priyabhakta – Favourite Of The Devotees
  68. Priyadarshana – Of Loving Vision
  69. Pushkara – One Who Gives Nourishment
  70. Pushpalochana – One Who Has Eyes Like Flowers
  71. Ravilochana – Having Sun As The Eye
  72. Rudra – The Terrible
  73. Rudraksha – One Who Has Eyes Like Rudra
  74. Sadashiva – Eternal God
  75. Sanatana – Eternal Lord
  76. Sarvacharya – Preceptor Of All
  77. Sarvashiva – Always Pure
  78. Sarvatapana – Scorcher Of All
  79. Sarvayoni – Source Of Everything
  80. Sarveshwara – Lord Of All Gods
  81. Shambhu – One Who Bestows Prosperity
  82. Shankara – One Who Gives Happiness
  83. Shiva – Always Pure
  84. Shoolin – One Who Has A Trident
  85. Shrikantha – Of Glorious Neck
  86. Shrutiprakasha – Illuminator Of The Vedas
  87. Shuddhavigraha – One Who Has A Pure Body
  88. Skandaguru – Preceptor Of Skanda
  89. Someshwara – Lord Of All Gods
  90. Sukhada – Bestower Of Happiness
  91. Suprita – Well Pleased
  92. Suragana – Having Gods As Attendants
  93. Sureshwara – Lord Of All Gods
  94. Swayambhu – Self-Manifested
  95. Tejaswani – One Who Spreads Illumination
  96. Trilochana – Three-Eyed Lord
  97. Trilokpati – Master Of All The Three Worlds
  98. Tripurari – Enemy Of Tripura
  99. Trishoolin – One Who Has A Trident In His Hands
  100. Umapati – Consort Of Uma
  101. Vachaspati – Lord Of Speech
  102. Vajrahasta – One Who Has A Thunderbolt In His Hands
  103. Varada – Granter Of Boons
  104. Vedakarta – Originator Of The Vedas
  105. Veerabhadra – Supreme Lord Of The Nether World
  106. Vishalaksha – Wide-Eyed Lord
  107. Vishveshwara – Lord Of The Universe
  108. Vrishavahana – One Who Has Bull As His Vehicle