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The Essence of Puranas – Brahmanda Purana -2

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The Essence of Puranas – Brahmanda Purana

9    Rudimentary concepts for the study of Jyotisha

Agni the Base: Maha Muni Suta explained to Sages some basic concepts before delving deep into the Science of Astrology. Solar Movement which is stated to be responsible for the origin of all the Planets is strongly believed to be based on Agni by the Vedic Age. Rig Veda precscribed various Agni Karyas and Puranas also endorsed the belief. It is not only to determine the Solar Movement but also to the preservation of Tri Lokas that Agni is rudimentary. The rays of Surya which are able to captivate water from various sources are indeed due to the absorbtive capacity of Agni of the Sun Rays and hence the cycle of rains, the Ritus or Seasons, Ayanas, Samvatsaras, Kalamaana, Planetery positions, and the eventual  impact brought about on the human and other beings. There are three types of Agni viz. Devata related, Bhoutikaagni and Water generated Earth-related Agni called Vidyut Sambhava or Born out of Lightning or Abyoni; as the night is over the Unknown Brahma desired to visualise water and Earth in the darkness and asuumed the form of a tiny  ‘Khadyota’ (glow-worm) and viewed Agni for illumination and named it as ‘Parthivaagni’ or Terrestrial Fire and divided into three forms viz. ‘Vaidutaagni’, ‘Jatharaagni’ and ‘Souraagni’. Vaidyutaagni is not assuaged due to rains nor human bellies but only due to friction ofwood. Jatharaagni has no illumination and is not visible. Souraagni gets terminated by the Sun Set and enters Agni and gets revived at Sun Rise. Illumination and Heat promote and increase each other. Alike in the Northern and Souhern hemispheres, when Sun rises the night enters water and water gradually gains heat and radiation ; at the time of Sun Set the day enters waters and thus the latter gains transparency next morning. Thus in this order the Earth’s hemispheres the  Sun Rise and Sun Set or  the day and night respectively enter water. Surya Deva absorbs water through his rays and hence called ‘Shuchi’ or pure.This is related to Earth-related Agni and hence called Shuchi; the latter means Agni with thousand rays which absorb water from various sources like oceans, rivers, wells and all water-bodies. The rays of Agni create both cold water and hot water as also four hundred peculiar forms; those rays which could produce heavy rains are called chandana, Sadhya, Kutana, Akutana and Amrita. Besides these rays, there are three hundred other rays which produce snow. The Snow-fall creating rays are known as Drisyaas, Meghaas, Yaamyaas, Hradinyaas (resounding ones) and they have limited illumination and such rays are called Chandras. Those rays which create heat are white in colour numbering three hundred  are called Shuklas, Kuhakaas, and Vishvabhruts. Surya Deva distributes these rays to human beings as well as Pitru Devas equitably and satisfy them. Surya helps utilise these rays to Human beings by way of herbs and vegetation, to Pitras by way of Swadhaa-Homas and to Devatas by way of Amrita. In the Vasanta or Spring and Greeshma or Summer seasons, Surya blazes three hundred rays of Agni to heat up the World while he showers in Sharat Kaala or rainy season by four hundred Agni-Kiranas ; in Hemanta  or early winter and Sishira or late winter Seasons three hundred rays are utilised.

The Dwadasha Rudraas are Indra, Dhata, Bhriga, Pusha, Mitra, Varuna, Aryama, Amsha, Vivashwanta, Twashta, Savita and Vishnu. In the month of Maagha, Surya assumes the name of  Varuna, in Phalguna as Pusha, Chaitra as Amsha, Vaishakha as Dhata, Jyeshtha as Indra, Ashaadha as Savitah, Shravana as Viviswata, Bhadrapada as Bhriga, Ashwiyuja as Aryama or Parjanya, in Kartika as Twashta, Margasisa as Mitra and in Pushya as Vishnu. In Vasanta Ritu, Surya has Kapila Varna or of ochre (yellowish-brown) colour; in Greeshma golden colour; in Varsha or rainy Season Surya has white colour; in Sisira Rutu, Sun has red colour; an in Hemata Ritu, he has copper colour. Surya provides strength to herbs and medicines, facilitates enhancement of power to the offerings of Swadha to Pitras and potency to Amrita to Devas. Thus Sun bestows Shakti to Human beings, Pitras and Devas for the benefit of every Being in the Surya Mandala.

Surya the Sourcer : Surya Deva is the originator of Moon, Stars and Planets. Chandra is the Chief of Nakshatras and Surya is the King of Grahas. Angaraka Graha or the Planet of Mars is stated to be Skanda the Commander-in-Chief of Devas. Budha is stated to be of Narayana’s Amsha. Yama is of Rudra’s Form and is also the son of Vivaswanta or Surya Deva himself. Shani Deva is a significant Planet of slow pace but very dominant. The other two prominent Planets of Shukra and Brihaspati are the Mentors of Asuras and Devatas respectively. ----

Adityamula makhilam Trailokyam naatra samshayaha/

Bhavatyasmaa  Jagatkrustram Sadevaasura maanusham,

Rudropendreyndrachandraanaam Viprendraastri-divoukasam/

Dyutrir -dyutimataam krutsnam yattejah Sarva loukikam/

Sarvaatmaa Sarva Lokesho Maha Devah Prajaapatih/

Surya yeva triloukasya mulam Parama Daivatam,

Tatah Sanjaayatey Sarvam tatra chaiva Praliyatey/

Bhaavaabhaavouhi Lokaanaamaadityaa trihsrutou puraa,

Jagajjeyo Graho Vipraa Deeptimaanaasuprabho Ravih/

( It is doubtless indeed that Aditya is the source of the entirety of Three Lokas. The whole Universe of Devas, Asuras and Manushyaas is originated from Surya; the grandeur and glory of Rudra, Vishnu, Mahendra and Chandra, Devatas and Luminaries is all due to Surya. He is the Soul, the Lord, Prajapati and the highest of all who is the Creator and Destroyer of Everything. The very existence or otherwise of the Totality is due to him).

The Sapta Rashmis or the Seven Rays of Surya are Sushumna, Harikesha, Vishwakarma, Vishwashrava, Sampadvasu, Arvaavasu and Swaraat. Sushumna resuscitates the waning Moon and spreads up and sideways; Hariksha which is in the front of Surya is the originator of Nakshatras; to the South of Surya is Vishwakarma which sustains Budha or Jupiter; Vishwashrama from the western side of Sun is the originator of Shukra or Venus and promotes the cause of Panditas or or the Learned Human beings; Sampadsawa Rashmi of Surya is the originator of Kuja; the sixth Rashmi Arvavasu is the birth place of Brihaspati and the seventh Rashmi Swaraat is the originator of Saturn. All the Planets and Stars exist due to the magnificence of Surya Deva. Nakshatra literally means that it has no decadence and it is called Taraka as it redeems the Punya of those persons who performed extraordinary deeds.

Abodes of Planets: Through out various Manvantaras, the Abodes of various Planets are fixed and permanent. They are named after each one of them like Soura Sthaana or the Abode of Surya, Sowmya Sthana (Abode of Chandra), Shukra Sthana, Brihaspati (Jaiva) Sthana, Lohita Sthana (Kuja), Shanaischara Sthana,  Budha Sthana, Swarbhanu (Rahu) Sthana, and Jyotirgana or Nakshatra Sthanaas. In the current Vaivaswata Manvantara, the Planets are called ‘Vaitanikas’. Aditi’s son Vivaswanta is Surya; Dharma’s son Twishi the Vasu is called Chandra; belonging to Shukra Vamsha, the Rakshasa Guru Shukra is famed as Yajna  Yaajaka for the Daanavaas; Angiras’s son Brihatteaja or Brihaspati is popular as Deva Guru; Twishi’s son Budha is also reckoned as a virtuous Graha; Sanjna and Surya’s son Shanaischara is in his abode too; Lohita or Kuja was born toVikesi Devi and Agni Deva; The Stars called Rikshas are known as the daughters; and Rahu the son of Devi Simhika also called Swarbhanu is the originator of troubles. The Abode of Surya is full of Agni and white where as Twishi or Chandra is full of water and white; Budha or Mercury who is Pancha Kirana or of Five Rays too is full of water and of dark colour; Shukra Sthaana is a Lotus again with water and has sixteen Rays; Kuja also is full of water but of blood red colour; Brihaspati has a big Place and watery in green colour with twelve rays; Saturn has eight rays of black colour and Jalamaya or full of water; and Rahu Sthaana is of dark colour and is the tormentor of Praanis or Beings. All the Nakshatras are ‘ jalamayas’ or full of water and of white colour glitterting with illumination thanks to Surya Deva and these Stars were as old as Kalpa and are shiny due to the interaction of Surya.’

Sizes of Planets: Surya’s diameter is stated to be nine thousand  yojanas and its circumference is three times more. Chandra’s circumference three double that of Surya’s. Rahu’s circumferenc is equal to that of Sun and Moon. Rahu rotates underneath both Surya and Chandra. Taking after the spherical nature of Earth’s shadow, Rahu’s form too is spherical full of darkness. From his abode full of darkness Rahu comes out of Sun during fesdtive days like the New Moon and Full Moon and proceeds to Moon. During Solar Festive days, Rahu goes back to Sun from Moon. Shukra Mandala is one-sixteenth of Chandra Mandala and Brihaspati is one-fourth of that of Shuka. Kuja and Saturn occupy three fourths of Brihaspati while Budha is three fourths of Kuja or Saturn. Stars are of thesize of Budha. Stars are normally associated with Chandra and the former are some five hundred yojanas or lesser distance from each other although the minimum disatance from each other one and half yojana; in other words, there is no Nakshatra of lesse than one and half yojana. There are as many Stars on the sky as there are constellations.

Positions of Planets in ‘Ayanas’: Surya’s travel depends on the Ayana; in Uttarayana Chandra’s movement looks faster than that of Surya because the former happens to be on a higher position compared to that of Surya. While in Dakshinayana Sun takes to the lower elevation compared to Bhumi; It is aligned with the line of Earth or horizon during the New Moon and Full moon days though not normally visible regularly. On a New Moon day, Moon stationed in the Northern path becomes visible on the Southern path. Only on the Vishu days or Equinotical days, Sun Set and Moon Rise are at the same time but not otherwise. In the Dakshinayana, Surya is positioned under all the Planets: Moon orbits above Sun and so does the entire Galaxy of Stars; Budha orbits above the Chandra; Shukra orbits above Budha; Kuja orbits above Shukra; and Guru orbits above Kuja and Shani orbits above Guru. The Sapta Rishi Mandala or the Great Bear is above Shani and Dhruva or the Pole Star is situated above the Sapta Rishis. It is stated that the distance from the Nakshatras and the Planets is two lakh yojanas.   

Planets and Nakshatras: The various Nakshatra Mandalis or Star Constellations responsible for the beginnings of the various Planets were narrated by Suta Maha Muni quoting Veda Vyasa as follows: Vivaswan the son of Aditi was Sun the first Planet was born in the Constallation of Vishakha. Chandra or Tvisimam the son of Dharma originated in Krittika. Shukra the son of Bhrigu Maharshi was born in Tishya or Pushya. Brihaspati, the Deva Guru and the son of Angirasa Maharshi was born in ther constellation of Purva Phalguni. Kuja Deva the son of Prajapati is lit up with nine ‘Agni Jwaalas’was born from the Star Constellation of Purvashadha. Shani Deva the son of Surya is full of seven Flames of Fire was born in Revati ‘Nakshatra Mandali’. Budha Deva the son of Chandra too has five fires of illumination and was born of Dhanishta. Rahu the enemy Surya and Chandra of Tamasic trait was born in Bharani while Ketu the son of Mrityu who was full of darkness at his abode was born to Aslesha Constellation; his characteristic is known for destruction and death. As Rahu and Ketu were born in these Stars, those humans born in these Stars do have evil effects during the specified  Nakshatras and would to well to worship the respective Stars and Almighty as well to ward off the impact.

In sum, Aditya is the Prime Planet; Shukra is the Prime of Taraagrahas; Ketu is the Prime of meteors; Dhruva is the Prime fulcrum of all Luminaries scattered in all directions; Shravishta (Dhanishtha) is the best of Nakshatras; Uttaraayana is the Prime Ayana; Sisira is the Prime of Rithus; Magha is the best of ‘Maasaas’or Months; Shukla is the Prime of the Pakshas or Fortnights; Pratipat is the Prime Tithi; between Day and Night, the Day is better of the two; and the best of Muhurtas is that which is governed by Rudra Deva. Among ‘Kala Pramanaas’ or the Measurements of Time, the best indeed is ‘Nimesha’. The best Pancha Varsha or the Period of FiveYears called a ‘Yuga’ is what starts from Dhanishta to Shravana. Indeed, Divakara is identified as ‘Kaala’or the ‘Chaturvidha Bhuta Pravartaka’ or the Top Controller of Time. Indeed, this Universe is made and managed by Paramatma; and the Science of Jyotisha is unfathomable by those who could very well see and think:

Aagamaadanumaanaas –cha pratyakshaadupa pattitah,

Pareekshya Nipunam Buddhayaa Shraddhaatavyam vipaascitaa/

Chakshush Shastram Jalam Lekhyam Ganitam Buddhivittamaah,

Panchaitey hetao Vipraa Jyotirganana vivechaney/

(No human being could grasp or even guess the Form, Substance, Feature, Position and Movement of the Extra-Terrestrial Entities by mere vision. One has to perceive, guess , imagine and believe by various media like Scriptures, Interpretation, discernment and logic. The possible means are vision, water, picturisation and  computation.)

10    Halahala and Nilakantha, Shiva as a Fire Column and Shiva Linga as Worship Symbol

As Devi Parvati enquired of the origin of Maha Shiva’s  epithet as Nilakantha, the latter narrated that once when Devas and Danavas decided to churn Ksheera Samudra or the Ocean of Milk with the objective  of producing Amrita (Nectar), there burst out a huge column of Poisonous Fire called Halahala that enveloped the whole World threatening to destroy  Creation in totality. The agitated Deva-Daanavas approached Brahma Deva and conveyed to him:

Pradurbhavam Visham Ghoram Samvartaagni samaprabham,

Kaalamrityuravod- bhutam yugaantaadityavarchasam/

Trilokyotsamaad Suryaabham Visphurattat samamtatah,

Visheynottishthamaanena Kalaanala samatvishaa/

Nirdagdho Rakta gouraango krutah Krishno Janardanah,

Tam drushtwaa raktagouraangam krutam krishnam Janardanam/

Tatah sarvey vayam bheetaaswaameva sharanam garaah,

Suraanaamasuraanaam cha shrutwaa vaakyam bhayaavaham/

(Pitamaha Brahma! When the ocean was being churned, terrible fire of poisonous fumes emerged which was like ‘Kaalaagni’ that might destroy the Universe at the terminal time of the Yuga. It has even turned the red physique of Janardana into black colour and on seeing this we got frightened and have come to you for refuge!) Brahma replied that the Kalaagni thus created is not possible of elimination by neither himself nor Vishnu but could only be extinguished by Shankara alone;  so saying Brahma recalled Omkara Mantra and prayed to Parama Shiva as follows:

Namastubhyam Virupaaksha Namastey Divya chakshusey,

Namah Pinaaka hastaaya Vajrahastaaya vainamah/

Namahstrailokya naathaaya Bhutaanaam pataey namah,

Namah Suraari hantrecha Soma Suryaagni chakshusey/

Brahmaney chaiva Rudraaya Vishnavey chaiva tey namah,

Sankhyaaya chaiva Yogaaya Bhutagnaamaaya vai namah/

Manmathaanga vinaashaaya Kaala prushtaaya vainamah,

Suretasetha Rudraaya Devadevaaya ramhasey/

Kapardiney Karaalaaya Shankaraaya Haraaya cha,

Kapaaliney Virupaaya Shivaaya Varadaayacha/

Tripuraghna Makhagnaaya Maatrunaam pataye namah,

Vriddhaaya chaiva Shuddhaaya Muktaayaiva Balaayacha/

Lokatrayaikaveeraaya Chandraaya Varunaayacha,

Agraaya chaiva chograaya Vipraayaaneka chakshusey/

Rajasey chaiva Satvaaya Namasteyvyatayonaye,

Nityaaya chaivaanityaaya nityaanityaayavainamah/

Jagataamaarti –naashaaya Priyai Naaraayanaayacha,

Umaapriyaaya Sharvaaya Nandivaktraankitaayacha/

Pakshamaasarthamaasaaya Ritusamvatraraayacha,

Bahu rupaaya Mundaaya dandinecha Varuthiney/

Namah Kapaala hastaaya Digvaasaaya Shikhandiney,

Dhanviney Rathiney chaiva Yaminey Brahmachaariney/

Rugyajuhssaamavedaaya Purushaayeshwaraayacha,

ityevamaadicharitai stotraih stutya namostutey,

evam stutwaa tato Brahmaa pranipatya varaananey/

(Our prayers to you Virupaksha or of Uneven and of Divine Eyes; Our greetings to you Pinaaka Hasta, Vajra Hasta, Trailokyanaadha, Bhutapati, Suraari; You have Soma-Surya and Agni as your eyes; You are Brahma, Rudra and Vishnu; Samkhya, Yoga and congregation of all Spirits; You are the Destroyer of Manmatha; Kala Prushta or the Backing of Kala Deva or the God of Time; the Sacred Virility; Rudra; Deva Deva; Kapardini, Karaala; Shankara; Hara; Kapalini, Virupa; Shiva; Varada or the Benefactor; the Killer of Tripurasura; the Destroyer of Daksha Yajna; the Chief of Deva Matrikas; Sanatana, Shuddha; Mukta; Bala; Unique Hero of Three Lokas;  Chandra, Varuna, Agra or the Elder; Ugra or the Irate; Vipra, Multi-Visioned; Personification of Rajasa and Satwa Gunas; of Unknown Origin; Nitya or Everlasting; Anitya or Temporary; Both Permanent and  Unstable; Perceivable and Imperceivable; Chintya or Possible of Meditation and Achintya or beyond Contemplation; Shiva! You are the Form of various Time Units like Fortnight, Months, Seasons, and Years; You are Multi-Figured; of Shaven head; wearer of a ‘Danda’ or Staff; Leader or Army called Varudhini; Kapala hasta or the holder of a Skull; Digvastra; Sikhandi or of a tufted head, Dhwani or Sound; Rathi or the Charioteer; Yami or Self-Controlled; the Embodiment of Ruk-Yajur-Sama Vedas; Purusha; Ishwara and Bhagavan who is praised on several ways by devotees!) As Brahma eulogised Shiva as above, the latter enquired of the reason of Brahma and Devas approaching him and Brahma explained the urgency of the situation as Devas and Danavas undertook the deed ofchurning the Ocean of Milk and in the process emerged ‘Kaalaagni’ or the unprecedented and ever-increasing out-break of huge poisonous conflagration enveloping the Skies and there was no other might in the Worlds except himself capable of devouring the ‘Halahal’. Maha Deva readily agreed to consume the poison and as soon as commenced to do so, his throat turned blue and there was a sensation in the throat as though Takshaka the King of Cobras was licking his tongue and the ‘Kaalakuta’or the worst kind of poisonous stream was discharging which Maha Deva controlled instantly lest the flow would  travel down and possibly damage the body parts presumably hurting the Lokas in his stomach; then he retianed the enflamed blue-coloured poison in his throat and thus secured the epithet of Nilakantha; Suraasuraas, Yaksha, Gandharva, Bhuta, Pischacha, Uraga and Raakshasas were bewildered to witness the Scene of Maha Deva’s gulping the Halahala and broke into spontaneous and exclamatory commendation: and exclamatory commendation:

Aho Blam Viryaparaakkramastey twaho Vapuryoga balam tavesha/

Aho Prabhutwam tava Deva Deva Mahaadbhutam Manmadhadeha naashana,

Twameve Vishnuschaturaananatwam twameva Mrityurvaradastameva/

Twameva Suryo Rajanikarascha Vyaktiswameyvaasya charaacharasya/

Twameva Vahnih Pavanastwameva Twameva Bhumih Salilam twameva,

Twamevy Suryasya charaacharasya Dhaataa Vidhhaata Pralayastwameva!

(Ishwara! What an unimaginable and most surprising capacity that you possess! Your valour and intrepidity are unique and awe-inspiring! Manmadha naashaka! Deva Deva! How extraordinary is your Governance! You are Vishnu! You are the Chaturmukha or Four Faced Brahma! You are Mrityu, You are Varada, You are Surya, You are Chandra, You are indeed the Form of ‘Charaachara Jagat’; You are Agni; Vaayu Deva too; You are Prithvi; You are Jala; indeed you are the Supremr Creator, the Preserver and also the Extinguisher!). Bhagavan Shiva asserted: Any of my Bhaktaas would read or hear this incident of Nilakantha would secure benefits galore: Brahmanas would enrich their knowledge of Vedas; Khsatriyas secure plentyof Land; Vaishya would reap immence profits and riches and all others would secure happiness. Those who suffer from ill-health and chronic diseases  would gain excellent health; if under any kind of duress including even imprisonnment would become free; the expectant mothers would be assured of easy and comfortable deliveries; unmarried would secure admirable life-partners; those who lost wealth would recover it in double measure. Such  devotees would also receive the fruits of charity of hundreds of cows; those who read evan a Stanza would be rid of  bad dreams, obstacles, evil spirits and fears of any kind!

Shiva as a Column of  Fire: When King Bali conquered Swarga by defeating Indra and Devas,Vishnu assumed the Incarnation of Vama Deva and subdued Bali and freed TriLokas from the rule of Daitya-Danavas. The ever grateful Devas were re-instated and approached Bhagawan Vishnu lying  the Milk of Ocean; they accompanied  Siddha-Brahmarshi- Yaksha- Gandharva-Apsara- Naga-and others to convey their gratitude  to Narayana as Dharma was revived and injustice was abolished. Vishnu then replied that he was redeemed by a higher Deity who created the Universe in totality and that he was made to conceive from his belly a lotus on which was materialised another magnificent Being with Four Heads seated on a deer skin and carrying Kamandalu or the Vessel of Sacred Water called Brahma. Even as Vishnu mentioned this, Brahma arrived and asked Vishnu as to who was he! Brahma stated that he was a Swayambhu or Self-Born and Vishnu claimed that he was not only the Creator but the preserver too. While this diologue was going on, there appeared a huge ‘Agni Stambha’ or a Column of Fire. Both Brahma and Vishnu visioned the Column which was unusually resplendent and hot and as they went nearer it looked like a Linga an image of cosmic manhood and a Phallic symbol. It was made neither of Gold nor Silver nor even of a metal nor stone. It was seen or disappeared in flashes and looked as high as Sky and far underneath the Ground. The vision of this fiery column was frightening even to Vishnu and Brahma, let alone Devas and others who approached Vishnu for thanks-giving. Both Brahma and Vishnu realised that their own egoistic seniority inter-se was meaningless as there indeed was another far Superior Entity was visible before them. Brahma suggested that he would like to see the height of the Fiery Linga and requested Vishnu to assess its depth and gave themselves an outer limit of thousand years to accomplish the discovery failing which they could return to the same Place. As both of them failed in their missions they returned and prayed to the Linga as follows:

 Namostu tey Lokasuresha Deva Namostutey Bhutapatey Mahaatman,

Namostutey Shasvata Siddha Yoginey Namostutey Sarva Jagat pratishthita/

Parameshti Param Brahma twaksharam Paramam padam,

Jyesthastwam Vamadevascha Rudrah Skandah Shivah Prabhuh/

Twam Yagnastwam Vashatkaarastwamomkaarah Paratapah,

Swaahaakaaro Namaskaarah Samskaarah Sarvakarmanaam/

Swadhaakaarascha Yagnascha vrataani niyamaastathaa,

Vedaa lokaascha Devaascha Bhagavaaneva Sarvashah/

Aakaashasya cha Shabdastwam bhutaanaam Prabhavaapyayah,

Bhumou Gandho Rasaschaapsu tejorupam Maheshwarah/

Vaayoh sparshascha Devesha Vapushchandra -masastathaa/

Buddhou Jnaanam cha Devesha Prakruterbeejamevacha/

Samhartaa Sarvalokaanaam Kaalo Mrityumayomtakah,

Twam dhaarayasi lokaamstreemstwameva srujasi Prabho/

Purvena Vadanena twamindratwam prakaroshi vai, 

Dakshinena tu vaktrena lokaansamkshipasye punah/

Paschimena vaktrena Varunastho na samshayah,

Uttaarena tu vaktrena Somastwam Devasattamah/

Ekadhaa Bahudhaa Deva Lokaanaam  Prabhavaa- pyayah,

Adityaa Vasavo Rudraa Marutascha Sahaashvinah/

Saadhyaa Vidyaadharaa Naagaaschaaranascha Tapodhanaah/

Vaalakhilyaa Mahaatmaanastapah Siddhaascha Suvrataah/

Tatwatah Prasutaa Devesha yechaanye niyatavrataah,

Umaa Sitaa Sinivaali Kuhurgayatrya evacha/

Lakshmih Kirtirdhrutirmedhaa Lajja Kantirvapuh Swadhaa,

Tushti Pushtih Kriyaachaiva Vaachaam Devi Saraswati,

Twattah Prasutaa Devesha Sandhyaa Raatristathaiva cha/

Suryaayutaanaamayutaprabhaava Namostutey Chandra Sahasragoura,

Namostutey Vajra Pinaakidhaariney Namostutey Saayaka chaapa paanaye/

Namostutey Bhasma vibhushitaanga  Namostutey Kaama Sharira naashana,

Namostutey Deva Hiranya garbha Namostutey Deva  Hiranyavaasasey/

Namostutey Deva Hiranya yoney Namostutey Hiranyanaabha /

Namostutey Deva Hiranya retasey Namostusey  Netrasahasrachitra/

Namostutey Deva Hiranyavarna Namostutey Deva Hiranyakesha,

Namostutey Deva Hiranya Vira Namostutey Deva Hiranya daayiney/

Namostutey Deva Hiranya Naatha Namostutey Deva Hiranya Naada,

Namostutey Deva Pinaakapaaney Namostutey Shankara Nilakantha/  

(Salutations to You the Lord of Lokas, Devas and Sarva Bhutas, Mahatma! You are the One with everlasting yogic powers and the One who established in all over the Lokas; You are the Parameshthi or the Supreme Deity, Param Brahma or the Ultimate Brahma, the Final Destination; You are the Jyeshtha or Senior Most, Vamadeva, Rudra, Skanda, Shiva and Prabhu; You are the Yagna Swarupa; Vashatkara or the All- Pervasive Supreme Controller and the Personification of  Sacrifices; Omkara Swarupa; Swahakara or the Embodiment of all Yagna karmas; Samskaara or the Great Reformer; Sarva Karmanaam or He who directs all the Sacred Deeds; Swadhaakara or the Emblem of all the deeds in connection with worship to Pitru Devatas; the decider of the Regulations in the performance of Yagnas and Vratas; You are the Highest Authority on Vedas, to the Lokas, of Devas and for everything. You are the Akaasha (Sky) and its Shabda (Sound); You are the Origin and Termination of all the Beings; You are the Bhumi and its Gandha or smell; you are the Physique of Chandra; the Feelings of the Heart and the Knowledge of the Mind; You are the Basic Seed to Prakriti or Nature; You are the Samharta or Mrityu or Kaala; you are the Preserver and Sustainer of all the Lokas; the Supreme Creator; you keep Indra on your Eastern side; retain all the Lokas on your Southern side; keep Varuna on your west; keep Soma on your Northern side; Devadi Deva you are the creator and destroyer of the Lokas not once but again and again repeatedly. Maha Deva! You are the manifestation of Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Maruts, Aswinis, Sadhyas, Vidyadharas, Naagas, Charanas, Valakhilyas the Tapaswis; Siddhaas; and all the Mahatmas.Parama Shiva! you are the Srashta of Uma, Sita, Sinivali, Kuhu, Gayatri, Lakshmi, Kirti, Dhriti, Medha, Lajja, Kanti, Vasus, Swadha, Tushti, Pushti, Kriya, Sarasvati, Sandhya, and Raatri. You have the brilliance of Ten Thousand Suryas and thousand Chandras; Vajra Pinaka Dhari or the Wearer of Pinaka or Bow and Arrows of Diamond-like radiance, rigor and resistance! Both Brahma and Vishnu continued to extol  Parameshwara further: Bhasma Vibhushita, Mammadha marana kaaraka; Hiranya Garbha, Hiranya Vaktra, Hiranya Yoni, Hiranya Naabha, Hiranya Retasa, Sahasra netra yukta; Hiranya Varna, Hiranya Kesha, Hiranya Veera, Hiranyaprada, Hiranya Natha, Hiranya dhwani kaaraka; Shankara; and Nilakantha!)

As Nilakantha was glorified by Brahma and Vishnu as above, he replied with the thunderous voice of clouds and a reverberating voice that filled up the Universe stating that he was indeed pleased with their  commendation and asked them to visualise his Maha Yoga Shakti as they could not ascertain his beginning or end of his Linga Swarupa. He confirmed that both of them were born to him and were of his own ‘Amsha’or his Alternate Shakti. Brahma was born of Maha Deva’s right hand and Vishnu from his left hand and was invincible in any Loka! He blessed both of them and directed them to discharge their duties viz. Brahma to create and Vishnu to Preserve Dharma (Virtue) and Nyaaya (Justice).

Shiva Lingodbhava: Maha Muni then narrated the origin of Shiva Linga and its Universe

Worship to the Rishis at the Naimisha Forest: In the days of yore on Himalayas, there was Daruvana famed for rigorous Tapasya by Maharshis along with their wives; the Maharshis were performing several Sacred deeds like Yagnas, Vratas, Agni Karyas, Swadyaayana of Vedas and Scriptures and fastings: their life’s motto was Nitya Karma, penance and strict adherence of whatever Scriptures prescribed. The women folk of the Munis too followed the prescribed discipline, food restrictions and living regimen of austerity and devotion. Into this Society of Self Restraint,  unfailing virtue and orderliness arrived a semi-lunatic, nude and weird stranger who had compelling and  magnetic personality of strong and attractive physical limbs. His body was full of Bhasma (Ash); his hair was dishevelled; his teeth were crooked and his eyes were blood red. Some times, he laughs boisterously; some time he shouts; some times he cries loudly; suddenly he brays like a donkey;  and some other times he breaks into dances amourously. He makes sheepish advances to women irrespective of their age. The Maharshis in Daruvana suffered the Stranger for enough of time and finally confronted him in a group. Among the Rishis, somebody said that after all Rishis would not get angry normally but when they did, no force on Earth could be withstood! Bhrigu Maharshi cursed Vishnu himself and the latter had to take human births ten times! Gautama Rishi cursed Indra for his sin of cheating the Rishi’s wife into bed by Indra and the latter had to drop his male organ on Earth as a result. Agastya Muni cursed King Nahusha who became a temporary Indra and desired to visit Sachi Devi’s abode by the palanquin borne by Maharshis and as he got impatient kicked the short statured Agastya Muni saying ‘Sapra Sarpa’ or ‘Quick Quick’ but the angry Agastya purposively mis-understood and cursed Nhusha to become a serpent!  Thus arguing among themseslves the Rishis told the Stranger that it was highly improper for householders to behave irresponsibly as him and that he should atleast wear a piece of cloth when he could be respected; otherwise the alternative would be to drop his Linga (Male Organ). Maha Deva then replied that even Brahma would not be able to drop  his Linga by force, let alone Maharshis; yet, he himself would drop it on his own; having said so Maheshwara disappeared and assumed the Linga Swarupa. As this incident took place, there was all round havoc in the Universe:

Trailokye Sarvabhutaanaam praadurbhaavo na jaayatey,

Vyaakulam cha tadaa Sarvam na prakaashet kinshana/

Tapatey chaiva Naadityo nishprabhavah Paavakastathaa,

Nakshatraani Grahaschaiva Vipareetaa vijanjirey/

(In all the Tri Lokas, the process of Srishti got badly affected; there was Universal agitation and nothing was shining; Sun became pale, Agni lost its heat and the Stars ceased to twinkle; and the Planets lost their moorings). The Maharshis immediately realised that the dropping of the Linga brought in terrible consequences and ran up to Brahma and conveyed the entire incident but Brahma too was agitated as to what happened and confirmed that the so called Stranger was none else but Maha Deva himself; that it would take ages to realise him; that he was the Supreme Lord of Devas, Rishis and Pitru Devas; that after thousand Yugas he would assume the Form of Kaala Deva at the time of Pralaya; that he was the unique creator with his own radiance; that he was Vishnu with Lakshmi as his consort and Srivatsa as his invaluable ornament; that he was called as Maha Yogi during Krita Yuga; that he was the ‘Kratu Rupa’ or Yagna Swarupa in Treta Yuga; that in Dwapara Yuga, he was ‘Kaalaagni’ and in Kali Yuga he is Dharma ketu or the Insigna of Virtue; that Panditas ought to realise all these Forms; that he was the combined Shakti of Agni’s amoguna, Brahma’s Rajo Rupa and Vishnu’s Satvika Rupa; that he was ‘Digvasana’ and was named Shiva; and that hence the Maharshis should worship Shiva with singular ernestness as he was Ishana, Avyaya and that Maha Linga who would surely dispel the fund of ignorance which they never had as he desired to counsel you but you made in the incorrigible mistake of your life time!

As Brahma chided the Maharshis thus, the latter bent to him on their knees and commence worship to Maha Deva in his Linga Swarupa and after a year’s puja, the latter re-entered Daru Vana once again and all the Munis made a collective Prayer to him as follows:

Karmanaa Manasaa Vaachaa tatsarvam Kshanthumarhasi,

Charitaani Vichitraani Guhyaani Gahanaanicha/

Brahmaadeenaam cha Devaanaam Durvijnaani Shankara

Swaagatam  tey na jaaneemo gatim nava cha naiva cha/

Vishweshwara Mahadeva yosi sosi Namostutey,

Stuvanti twaam Mahatmaano Deva Devam Maheshwaram/

Namo Bhavaaya Bhavyaaya Bhaavanodbhavaayacha,

Ananta Bala Viryaya Bhutaanaam Pataye Namah/

Samhatraye Kapishaangaaya Avyayaaya Vyayaaya cha,

Gangaasalila dhaaraaya chaadhaaraaya Gunaatmaney/

Tryaimba –kaya Trinetraaya Trishula vara dhaariney,

Kandarpaaya Namastubhyam Namostu Paramatmaney/

Shankaraaya Vrishankaaya Ganaanaam Pataye Namah,

Danda- hastaaya Kaalaaya Pashahastaaya vai Namah/

Vedamantra pradhaanaaya Shata jihvaaya tey Namah,

Bhutam Bhavyam Bhavishyascha Sthaavaram Jangamam cha yat/

Tawa Dehaatsamutpannam Deva sarva midam Jagat,

Shambho paahi cha bhadram tey praseeda Bhagavamstatah/

Ajnaanaadyaadi vaa Jnaanadyantikachit kurutey Narah,

Tatsarvam Bhagavaaneva kurutey Yoga maayayaa/

(Maha Deva! As we were completely ignorant of our mistakes that were committed by our speech, thought and deed, do kindly pardon us.  Shankara! Your actions are indeed strange, secretive and incomprehensible not only to us but to Devas and to Brahma too.  We welcome you back to Daruvana as we are unable to find our ways and means as to how and what to do in the context of our unpardonable acts. Vishweshwara! We do not know as to who are you! Mahatma, Maheswara, Bhava, Bhavya (the marvellous one), Bhavana (The Purifier), Udbhava (The Originator), Ananta Bala Virya or the Symbol of Eternal Strength and Virility; Our salutations to you the Creator and the Destroyer; Bhuta Naatha; Samhaara; Kapishanga Rupa or of the ochre complexioned body; Avyaya; Gangaadhara; Savaadhaara; Gunaatma; Traiyambika; Trinetra; Trishula dhaara; Sundara Vigraha; Vrishankana or Bull-bannered; Pramthagana Pati; Paasha Hasta or the Carrier of Paasha in hands; Kaala Swarupa; Veda Mantra Pradhana; Sahasra Jihva or Thousand Tongued; the Knower of the Past, Present and Future; Sthavara Jangama Deva or the Lord of Immobile and Moving Beings; your body  creates the Universe in totality! Do save us Shambhu, Bhadra, Bhagavan! Kindly be pleased to human indiscretions like what we did  under the cover of Yoga Maya of Parameshwara; may you be restored in the Linga as earlier!).

As the famed Munis including Gautami, Atri, Angirasa, Bhrigu, Vasishtha, Vishwamitra, Sukesha, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Marichi, Kashyapa and  Samvarta sought Maha Deva’s un-qualified pardon and prostrated before him, Bhagavan was extremely pleased. Then the Munis requested Parama Shiva himself to provide clarifications on certain issues that remained unaswered to them so far:

Bhasma snaanam cha nagnatwam Vaamatwam pratilomataa,

Sevyaa sevyatvam tu Vibho etadicchaama veditum/

(The clarifications required are Bhasma Snaana or the bath of ash, nakedness, left-handed rituals, contrary actions, and the distinction of worthiness of Service to Deities or its unworthiness).

Bhagavan gave the clarifications:

Etaddaha sampravakshyami kathaa Sarvaswamadya vai,

Agniham Somayutah  Somaschaagna- mupaashritah/

Krutaakrutam Vandatyaagnim bhuyo lokaah samaashritaah,

Asakru cchaagninaadagdham Jagasthaavara jangamam/

Bhasmasaadhyam hi tatsarvam pavitramidamutthamam,

Bhasmanaa veeryamaasthaaya Bhutaani parishinchati/

Agni kaaryam cha yatkrutwaa karishyati cha trayaausham,

Bhasmanaa mama viryena muchyatey Sarva kilbishaih/

Bhaasayatyeva yadbhasma shubham vaasayatey cha yat,

Takshanaatsarva paapaanaam bhasmeti parikeertatey/

Ushmapaah Pitaro Jneyaa Devaavai Somasambhavaah,

Agnishomaatmakam sarvam Jagatsthaavara jangamam/

Ahamagnirmahaatejaah Somaschayaishaa mamaambikaa,

Ahamagnischa Somascha Prakrutyaa Purushahswayam/

Tasmaadbhasma Mahaa Bhaagaa mad-viryamiti chochyatey,

Swaviryam Vapushaachaiva dhaarayaameeti vai sthitah/

Tadaa Prabhruti Lokesh Rakshaarthamashubheshu cha,

Bhasmana kriyatey rakshaa sutikaanaam griheshucha/

Bhasmasnaana vishuddhaatmaa Jita krodho Jitendriyah/

Massmeepa mupaagamyana bhuyovinivartatey/



Sheshaaschaashra-minah Sarvey Panchaatsurashtaah Swayambhuva,

Srishtirshaa mayaa Srashtaa Lajja moha bhayaatmikaa/

Nagnaa eva hi jaayantey Devataa Munanyastathaa,

Ye chaanye Maanavaa Lokaey Sarvey jaayantyavaasasah/

Indriyairajiair nagnaa dukulenaapi samvrutaah,

Taireva samvruto gupto na vastram kaaranam smrutam/

Kshamaadhruti rahimsaacha vairaagyam chaiva Sarvashah,

Tulyomaanaapamaanow cha tat praa –varanamuttamam/

Bhasma paanduradigdhaango dhayatey manasaa bhavam,

Yadya kaarya sahasraani krutwaa snaayanti bhasmanaa/

Tadsarvam dahatey bhasmayathy- agnistejasaavanam/

Tasmaadyatnaparobhutwaa Trikaalamapi yah sadaa/

Bhasmanaa kurutey snaanam Ganapatyam sagacchati/

Samhyatya cha Kratun sarvaan gruhitwa –mamrutamuttamam/

Dhyaaanti ye Maha Devam leenaasttad bhaava bhaavitaah,

Uttareynaatha pradhaanam teymrutatwamavaapnyuh/

Dakshiney Naathapanthaanam ye smashaanani bhejirey/

Animaa Mahimaa chaiva Laghimaa praaptirevacha,

Garima Panchami chaiva shashtham praakaamyamevacha/

Ishitwam cha Vashitwam cha hyamaratvam cha tey gataah/ 

Indraadayastathaa Devaah kaamikam vratamaas-thitaah,

Aishvaryam Paramam praapya sarvy prathita tejasah/

Vyapagata mada mohamukta raagaastamairajadosha vivarjitaswabhaavaah/

Paribhavimidamuttamam viditwaa Pashupatidayitamidam vratey charadhwam/

Yah pathedvai shuchirbhutwaa shraddhaadhaano jitendriyah,

Sarva paapa vishuddhaatmaa Rudralokasa gacchati/     

( Maha Deva agreed to give a detailed reply to the Maharshis on the specific queries: ‘ I am  Agni;  Soma depends on me for every thing.  All the Lokas and their Beings are dependent on Agni. The Universe consisting of ‘Sthavara Jangamas’ or the Moving and Immobile Beings was burnt by Agni on countless occasions. The resultant Bhasma was sacred and acts like a perfect Purifier; for one thing Bhasma is the bye-Product of anything burnt in Prakriti and thus the cleanser and the steriliser but far more significantly since it was mixed with my own potency. All the hallowed deeds related to Agni thus enjoy the double benefit of Agni’s purification and my own virility. In fact Bhasma empowers as a ‘Trausha’ too or the trebler of the span of  life of  whosoever applies it on  his body. Bhasma’s accurate meaning is that it destroys sins. It provides radiance and fragrance of body and is a symbol of Auspiciousness. Pitras call it ‘Ushmava’ or the provider of coolneess. Devas enjoy longevity due their constant drinking of Soma Rasa; indeed Soma and Agni are myself. If I am Agni, my Ambika is Soma; I am the Purusha and she is Prakriti. And that indeed is the reason why Bhasma is my virility. That is why, Bhasma is used on occasions of inauspiciousness also, or to ward off Evil Spirits and at the Places of baby-births. Once a person has a ‘Bhasma-Snaana’ or ash-bath he gets his soul purified and overcomes anger and thus named Jitendriya or the One who controls his limbs. Bhasma is a constituent of Pashupata Yoga and Vrata and the impact of the Vrata is far-reaching as a sincere practitioner of the Vrata ceases to have a rebirth!

Again about the aspect of ‘Nagnatwa’; indeed none entered into the world with clothes; Devas and Maha Yogis are without clothes. Those who conquer their Physique have least significance or relevance for ‘Vastra’ and those who could not do so are as bad as  having the show of Vastras. Vastra is indeed not a protection for character or a sense of shame; on the other hand, it is more shameful to perform disapproved deeds even while covering the body with expensive clothes! Thus Vastra’s significance should be replaced by Kshama or Patience, Dhriti or Courage and determination, Ahimsa or Non-Violence, Equanimity, Non-Interference, Resistence to Material Attraction and Vairagya or an Outlook of Other-Worldi –ness. A person who applies bhasma constantly would  gradually develop noble traits till   purification of his conscience is attained. Invariably such an ash-prone person seldom does wrong; if by mischance he does indisretions then his latent virtue burns off the impact of such wrong-doings. Thus one must make it a point to apply the auspicious Bhasma regularly. Those who practise Yoga could attain Siddhis like Anima (Infinitesimal), Laghima (weightlessness), Mahima (Enormity), Prapti (Attainment), Garima (Heaviness), Prakyama (Independence of Thought), Isatwa (Superiority),Vasitwa (Capacity to control), and Amaratwa ( Immortality). Indra and Devas had attained Siddhis through the means of Kamaya Vratas; like wise Humans too could have access to the Mysique World

11    An Outline on Yagnas, Rishis and Vedas

During the intermission of Krita and Treta Yugas, the activity of agriculture was in full swing, ‘Varnashrama’ Dharma was established well and Swayambhuva Manvantara was well commenced; Indra Deva established the Insitution of Yagnas on firm footing. Maharshis launched the ‘Yagna Karmaas’ extensively. Ritwiks or the Brahmanas came to be fully engaged in the discipline of Yagnas; ‘Saamagaas’ or the practitioners of Sama Veda improved their finesse in singing the Stanzas and Atharvas perfected Yajna Kriyas. As Devas were invoked through the medium of Agni Homas by Brahmanas, the respective ‘Indriya –atmika’ Devas ( Adhi Devatas who are of the Form of Rasa- Rupa-  Gandha) were in receipt of the ‘Havi Pradaanaas’. But, the Yagnas so performed involved Sacrifices of Animals. There were violent arguments for and against the Sacrifices; the Maharshis were too divided and approched Indra to clarify; those who did not support violence to animals emphasised that such sacrifices were blatant Adhrama and quoted Brahma:

Adharmo Dharma ghaataaya prarabdhah Pashu himsayaa,

Naayam Dharmo hyadharmeyam na himsaa Dharma ucchatey/

Aagamena bhavaanyagnam karotu yadihecchati,

Vidhi drushtena Yagnena dharmenaavyapa setunaa/

Yajna beejaih Surasreshtha yeshu himsaa na vidyatey,

Trivarsham paramam kaala-mupaiteyraprarohibhih/

Esha Dharmo Mahaapraajna Virinchivihitah puraa,

Evam Vishva- bhungidrastu Rishibhisttatwa darshibhih/

( Dharma is being badly affected by the practice of animal sacrifices. Indeed, violence to animals is Adharma. If Yagnas are to be performed in according to Scriptures, they should  not affect the established tentets of Non-violence. Sacrifices should be executed with seeds not kept beyond three years maximum so that they should nor give out sprouts to grow. Therefore, usage of such seeds do not involve any violence and that was what Lord Brahma laid down). As such contradictory arguments were given, Indra asked King Vasu to clarify and the King without applying much of his own mind followed  Manu Smriti and gave the ruling that Sacrifice was an essential part of Yagnas. He also stated that after all, the Mantras in Darshana Grandhas were in accordance of the procedure of Sacrifice and to change the practice of Animal Sacrifice would tantamount to falsifying the Mantras concerned! Having stated thus, King Vasu the illustrious son of Uttanapada left for Rasatala and it so transpired that his return did not material subsequently inferring there by that his judgment was erroneous and invalid. Eventually, Swayambhu Manu too was in bad spot by the Maharshis in this context of his defence of animal sacrifice. It was also noticed that thousands of Munis and Brahmanas reached Swarga in executing Yagnas without resorting to animal sacrifice. In fact, several Munis were stated to have Salvation even without resorting to Yagnaas or or that matter even by the practice of Charity! Innumerable Munis took to the alternative of ‘Tapas’ or meditation by observing fasts or limited food of fruits and vegetables and accomplished Swarga; they observed Alobha or non-greediness, Bhuta Daya or compassion for co-Beings, Dama or Physical Control, Brahmacharya or Celibacy, Satya  or Truthfulness, Dhriti or Moral courage. Countless such practitioners of Dharma among Brahmanas and Kshatriyas reached Salvation like Uttanapada, Priyavrata, Dhruva, Sudhama, Viraja, Shankhu, Pandyaja, Prachina Barhi and so on proved that Tapas and Virtue were effective means of Salvation and Yagnas were not as effective!  With Yajna one might meet Devas but Tapas yields Vairaja or Kaivalya!

Rishis: The Truth of the Lokas is called ‘Ruta’ and those who know about it are called Rishis. There are five kinds of  ‘Risha Jaataas’viz. Ayaktaatmas, Mahan Atmaas, Antaratma, Bhutatma Riksa Jaataas and Indriyatmas. ‘Brahma Maanasa Putras’ were ten viz. Bhrigu, Marichi, Atri, Angirasa, Pulaha, Kratu, Manu, Daksha, Vasishta and Pulastya who were ‘Paramarshaas’ or Maharshis. Ishwara’s progeny were Kaavya or Shukra, Brihaspati, Kashyapa, Chyavana, Upadhya, Vamadeva, Apasya, Ushija, Kardama, Vishravasu, Shakti and Valakhilyas; all these were called ‘Aartavaas’ and they all attained Rishitwa due to their Tapas. Then there are Rishis called ‘Rishikaas’ viz. Vatsara,Nagriha, Bharadwaja, Deergha -tama, Brihaduktha, Sharadvat, Vaajasrava, Shruti, Vashvaashya, Paraashara, Dadhichi, Shamshapa, and Vaishravana- the King turned Rishi- due to their Satyatva or Truthfulness. These are all Rishis  who were Mantra Kartaas. Then there were nineteen Rishis called Mantra Vaadis viz. Bhriga, Kaavya, Prachetasa, Ruchika, Atmavanta, Ourva, Jamadagni, Vidudu, Saaraswata, Aarshishena, Yadhaajit, Veetahavya, Suvarchasa, Vaishya, Pruthuva, Divodaasa, Baadhyashva, Grutsna and Shounaka. Angirasa, Vaidyaga, Bhardwaja,  Bhashkali, Rituvaaka, Garga, Shini, Samkruti, Purukatsa, Mandhata, Ambarisha, Yavana -ashwa, Pourakutsa, Trisadasya, Dasyumanta, Aaharya, Ajameedha, Tukshya, Kapi, Vrishaadarbha, Virupaashwa, Kanva, Mudgala, Utathya, Sanadwaaja, Vaajashravasa, Ayasya, Chakravarti, Vaama Deva and Asija. Three Rishis of Angirasa Vamsha were also famed viz. Brihaduktha, Dirghatama, and Kakshivanta. From Kashyapa Varga were Kashyapa, Vatsaara, Naudhruva, Raibhya, Asita, and Devala and the six were all Brahmavaadis. From the clan of Atri were Atri himself, Avyasana, Shaavaashwa, Gavishthara, Avihotra, Dheemanta and Purvaatithi; all these were Maharshis and Mantrakaaraas. Of the Vasishta vamsha were Vasishtha, Shakti, Paraashara, Indrapramati, Bharadwaja, Maitravaruni and Kundina;  all of them were Brahmavaadis. From Kushika Vamsha were Vishwamitra the son of Gadhi, Devratha, Udgala, Madhucchanda, Agha-marshana, Ashtaka, Lohita, Katha, Kola, Devashravasu, Renu, Purana and Dhanamjaya. Maharshis Agastya, Aayu and Drudhaayu  and Idhmavaha were called Brahishthaas as they were appointed for Tapasya to Brahma. Manu the son of Vaivaswata and Pururava King called Aila were basically Khatriyaas but were also considered as Rishis. Similarly three Vaishyas viz. Balandana, Vatsa and Samkeela were also qualified as Rishis.

Vedas: In Treta Yuga, there was only one Veda divided by four parts. As there was no unanimity of opinion among Maharshis in terms of Mantras, their classification, seriatim and intonations / voice modulations, there was confusion at different Places among varied groups of Rishis. Neither the broad classification was uniform and approved nor the innumerable patterns of  editing; the process of reconciliation was too tardy; Rishis, Rishikas, and Rishi-Putras entered into unending and complex intrepretaions. In Dwapara Yuga, there was a division of Vedas into Ruk-Yajur-Saama Veda Samhitas by Maharshis with varied compositions, Mantra bhedas or variations, Swara bhedas or intonations etc. For eg. Yajur Veda which was rather unwieldy was presented in two parts. With passage of time the Vedas were evolved and so did Shastras; there were innumerable variations witnessed in Ayurveda and its branches, Jyotisha Shastra, Artha Shastra, Hethu Shastra or Tarka and so on. In Dwapara Yuga itself Veda Vyasa divided Vedas into Four Vedas of Ruk-Yajur-Saama and Atharva Swarupas. ‘Shrutarshas’or those conversant with the Knowledge of Vedas, in the subsequent generation of Veda Vyasa made several editions of each of the Vedas.The most prominent of the Shutarshas were Bahrucha, Bhargava, Pyla, Samskrutya, Jaabaali, Sandhyaasti, Maathara, Yagjnyavalkya, Parashara, Upamanyu, Indrapramati,Maamduki, Shaakali, Bhaskali, Shokapani, Naila, Alaka, Pannaga, Pakshiganta and so on totalling eighty six of them. In fact there are eighty six ‘shaakhaas’ or branches of Yajur Veda.  Among the illustrious Dwijarshas with Veda Jnaana were Vaishampayana, Louhithya, Kantha kaala, Avashaavadhuh, Shaamapati, Palandu, Alambi, and Kamalapati and their Sishyas. Now, the Sages called Adharvyus of the Charaka branch of Krishna Yajur Veda were different and they were Jaimini,Bharadwaja, Kaavya, Poushyanji, Hiranyanabha, Koushilya, Lougakshi, Kusumi, Laangali, Shalohotra, Shaktiraja, and Bhargava. King Pururava and forty six other Rishis and their Sishyas too were ‘Shrutarthas’ and they were specialist Vidyarthis  in ‘Homaas’ called Kaushiti, Kankamudya, Kundaka, Parashara, Lobhalobha, Brahmabala, Kranthala, Madagala and Markandeya.

The Term Sapta Vindhya is associated with Sama Veda and the constituents are Hrinkara, Pranava, Geeta, Prastaava, Pratihotra, Upadrava, and Nidhana. Minus the first and the second of these is called Pancha Vidya. In fact, the Mantras of Ruk-Yajur-Saama Vedas contain nine characteristics which are common and these are: Murti (Form), Ninda (Blame), Prashamsha    (Praise), Anugjna (Approval or Endorsement), Aakrosha ( Admonition), Tosha (Gladness), Prashna (Questioning), Aakhyaana (Narration), and Aaasashti (Blessing). The Mantra bhedaas or different Mantras related to the above nine characteristics are twenty-four types: viz. Prashamsha, Stuti, Aakrosha, Ninda, Parivedana, Abhishapa, Vishapa, Yagna, Aakshepa,  Prashna, Prativachana, Ashirvaada, Arthaakyana, Samkatha, Viyoga, Abhiyoga (Fight)  Katha, Samtha or Sthiti, Vara or boon, Pratishedha (Tiraskara or disapproval), Upadesha (Instruct), Namaskara, Spruha (Desire), and Vilapa.

Veda Vyasa appointed five disciples viz. Jaimini, Sumanta, Vaishampayana, Paila and Lomaharsha. He commisioned Paila to study Rig Veda, Yajur Veda to Vaishampayana, Saama Veda to Jaimini, and Atharva Veda to Sumanta. Suta Muni was asked by Vyasa to study Itihasaas, Puranas and Kalpa Vakyas. As regards, Yajur Veda, he made four parts and Chaturhotras or four Yajna vidhaanaas or procedures of conducting the Sacrifices. There are four Ritviks called Hota, Adhvaryu, Udgata, and Brahma. Vyasa appointed Adhvarya to recite Yajur Veda, Hota to recite Rig Veda, Udgata to recite Saama Veda and Brahma or the Chief of Rutviks to recite Atharva Veda. The Yajur Veda Mantras are quite long and complicated for pronounciation and that is why hundred Ritviks are required to participate in an Ashwa Medha Yagjna. Paila divided Rig Veda into two Samhitas and entrusted these to two disciples viz. Indrapramati and Bashkala. Bashkala made four Samhitas viz. Bodhya, Agnimatara, Paaraashari and Yagnyavalka Shakha. Indrapramati taught one Shakha to his own son Satyahita; the latter taught it to his son Satyashri. Shakalya, Rathitara and Bharadwaja the son of Bashkala were the students of Satyashri.  

Interestingly, Vaishampayana asked his disciple Yagnyavalkya to omit out whatever was learnt from him since the Guru was annoyed as the latter bragged that his Guru’s Brahma hatya sin could be redeemed all by himself out of his Tapasya; the cause of the Brahma Hatya was that the  Guru could not reach a specific place at an appointed time as per a Group understanding that failure to so reach would tantamount to Brahma hatya. Having left his Guru, Yagnyavalkya meditated to Surya Deva and the latter taught a fresh version of Yajur Veda which was not known to Vaishampayana too. Since Surya Deva assumed the Form of a horse to teach Yagnyavalkya, the Yajuveda Samhita was called ‘Vaajina’Yajur Veda or that which was taught to the latter.

Besides the Four Vedas, there were twelve more Vidyas, including the six Vedangas of Shiksha, Kalpa, Vyakarana, Nirukti, Chhandas and Jyotisha; besides Meemaamsa, Nyaaya Vistarana, Dharma Shastra and Puranas , as also Ayur Veda, Dhanur Veda, Gandharva Veda and Artha Shastra

Om Tat Sat


(My humble salutations to  the lotus feet of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamy ji and also my humble greatulness to  Brahmasree Sreeman V D N Rao ji  for the collection)


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