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The Essence of Puranas – Kurma Purana -3

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The Essence of Puranas – Kurma Purana

14    Triveni Sangama (Prayaga) Mahatmya

On the conclusion of Maha Bharata Battle at Kurukhsherta, Yuddishtara was crowned as the King, but a huge feeling of remorse haunted him as he was responsible for the killings of close relatives like grandfather-figures, Gurus, uncles, his own elder brother, first cousins and their sons apart from countless soldiers. He then expressed his wish to atone for the killings and requested Mahatma Markandeya to suggest the best way out perform ‘Prayaschitta’ or formal expiation as  per Vedic course. Markandeya readily suggested Prayaga Tirtha Darshana for the purpose of  penance and reparation. He stated that the Kshetra was protected against Evils by some sixty thousand Bows and Arrows in favour of Ganga and by Sabita Deva riding seven horses protecting River Yamuna while Devi Saraswati was flowing as ‘Antarvaahini’ or under ground-current at this famed Triveni Sanagamam or the Confluence of  the Three Rivers of Ganga-Yamuna-Saraswati. Markandeya also affirmed that Indra Deva along with Devas stayed at the Prayaga Kshetra and Vishnu himself protected the Prayaga Mandali. Further, Maha Deva himself secured Parayaga and the ‘Vata Vrikhsa’ or the Banyan Tree on its River-Banks. Indeed, a person who might have committed even a minute sin was not eligible to Moksha but let alone him or her committing high proportion of sins could be qualified for Salvation instantly:

Prayaagam smaranaamasya Sarvamaayaati Sankshamam,

Darshanaat tasya Tirthasya naama samkirtinaadapi,

Mrittikaa labhanaad vaapi Narah Paapaat Pramuchyatey/

(Prayaga Smarana or the very thought of Prayaga would suffice to unleash sins; Prayaga Darshana, Naama Samkirtana, or even a touch of the dust of Prayaga would destroy serious sins. There are Five Kundaas in the Confluence of Prayaga and each one of them were excellent points of Purification. If by mischance, a human being were to suffer diseases, taken to the ‘Triveni Sangama’ and died there, then transportation of Sun-Radiant Like Vimanas to Parama Pada. Markandeya stated further that Pitru oriented or even Self-oriented deeds must be accompanied by charities in the intermediate place of Ganga and Yamuna and such charities would have multiplier effect. Charity of a Kapila Cow with golden or silver covered horns and with clothing all over its body would have the Punya of accomplishing Rudra loka for thousand years! Markandeya warned those reaching Prayaga by a Vrishabha as they would be liable to reach Narakas. But auspicious deeds like weddings in the intermediate region of Ganga and Yamuna Sangam would avoid Narakas and assure joy for long long time. A person performing Snaana and severe / difficult Vrataas at the Sangam would reap the benefit of Ashwamedha and Rajasuya Yagnaas.  Along with the banks of Yamuna and Ganga are countless Tirthaas, each of which had a description to provide; for instance, Yamuna’s southern side two Maha Nagas called Kambal and Ashwatara who were Parama Bhaktas of Maha Deva stayed and sacred snaanaas at that Tirtha would wash off Maha Paapas. On Ganga’s eastern side there was a famed Sarva Saamudra Gahvara or Cave and those who could stay there for three days and nights observing Brahmacharya and mental control would secure Ashvamedha Yagna Punya. Another Tirtha named ‘Hamsaprapatana’ near Pratishthanapura and the belief was that Apsara Urvashi landed there by her Hamsa  and bathing there would fetch Yagna Phala. Then there was a very Sacred Koti Tirtha where if a person died then he or she would spend Swarga Loka for a crore of years. Siddha Kshetra on Ganaga banks near Prayaga is reputed as the one which provided salvation to human beings on Earth, to those in Pataala Lokas and also to Devas in Higher Lokas, thus the Tirtha was reputed as Tripathaga. Maharshi Markandeya emphasised Sangama Snaana in Magha Month for three days as that would secure passage to Higher Lokas. Another revelation was that those who could perform ‘Karishagni Seva’or Tapasya within a circle of flames of dried cow-dung at the Sangama Place would preserve his or her ‘Sarvaangaas’ in tact without any kind of illnesses through out their lives with physical  fitness! Yet another Tirtha on the nothern side of River Yamuna called ‘Runa Vimochana’ or freedom from indedtedness

15    I S H V A R A G I T A Delineation of Atma Tatwa Swarupa (Guhya Jnaana)

Suta Maha Muni quoted Veda Vyasa to the Rishis at Naimisha Forest that ‘Brahmavaadis’or those who cogitated about ‘Brahma Gyana’or the Knowledge of Brahma like Sanat Kumara,Sanaka, Sanandana, Angira, Bhrigu, Kanaada, Kapila, Vaama Deva, Shukra and Vasishtha prayed to Narayana Maharshi at Badarikaashrama and the latter appeared along with Nara Maharshi. The Brahmavaadis requested Narayana Maharshi to answer certain queries which had not been replied satisfactorily in their comprehension such as to what was the ‘raison d’tre’or the cause of Creation; which was the Shakti that scripted, sustained and decimated it; what precisely that Atma or Soul  meant and what indeed was the ‘Paramartha’ or the Final Goal all about! On hearing this, Maharshi Narayana discarded the Form of a Tapaswi and assumed the distinct Swarupa of Vishnu with Four Hands and Ornamentation of Shankha-Chakra-Gadaa-Saaranga besides Srivatsa accompanied by Devi Lakshmi. Simultaneously, Maha Deva too appeared at the behest of Vishnu as both of them were seated comfortably and when Vaasudeva posed the same questions that the Maharshis gave, Maheswara provided replies while cautioning confidentialty of the explanations:

Atmaa yah Kevalah Swasthaha Shaantah Sukshmah Sanaatanah,

Asti Sarvaantaraha Saakshaa-  cchinmaatrastamasah Parah/

Sontaryaami sa Purushaha sa Praanah sa Maheswaraha,

Sa Kaalogni-stadavyaktam sa Ye Vedamiti Shrutih/

Asmaad Vijaayatey Vishwamaschaiva pravileeyatey,

Sa maayi Maayaya baddhah karoti Vividhaastanuh/

(Vedas affirmed that ‘Atma’or The Soul which was Unique or Singular, Vigorous, Wholesome, Tranquil, Tiny, Ancient, Intrinsic and beyond Tamo Guna was the Purusha, the Praana or Life and Maheshwara himself as also Agni, Kaala and the Unknown! This Samasara or the Universe was created by Parameshwara who also absorbed it into him; the Maha Maya which surrounded lesser layers of Maya created various Beings; indeed, the Pure Atma was not subject to changes nor features; it neither allowed transformation  nor was prone to motivation).

Na chaapyam samsarati na cha Samsaarayet Prabhuh,

Naayam Prithi na Salilam na Tejah Pavano Nabhah/

Na Praano na Mano –Vyaktam Na shabdah sparsha yevacha,

Na Rupa rasaghandhaascha naaham Kartaa  na Vaagapi/

Na Paani paadow no paayurna chopastham Dwijottamaah,

Na Kartaacha na Bhoktaa vaa nacha Prakritin Purushou,

Na Maayaa naiva cha Praanashchaitanyam Paramaarthathah/

(The Supreme Atma was neither Earth,  nor Water, Tejas / Radiance, Wind nor  Sky. It was neither Life, nor Mind, nor the Unknown, nor Shabda /Sound-Rasa/ Taste-Gandha /Smell; it was not the feeling of the Self nor of the Voice. One coud not identify the Soul as hands, feet, nor the Marmaavayaas; neither the  Kartaa the Performer nor Bhokta- the one who experienced the performance; The Atma was not  Prakriti and Purusha; not the Maya /Illusion and Life; in fact the Universe and Paramatma are clearly separated entities!

Yathaa Prakaasha tamasoh sambandho nopapadyatey,

Tadvaikyam na sambanthah Prapancha Paramaatmanoh/

Chaayaa tapou yathaa lokey Paraspara vilakshanou,

Tadah tasya Bhaven muktirjanmaantara shatairapi/

Pashyanti Mumanayo yuktaah swaatmaanam Paramaardhatah,

Vikaara heenam Nirduhkha maanaanda -atmaanavyayam/

Aham Kartaa Sukhi Duhkhi Krusha Sthuleti yaa matih,

Saa chaahankaara krutwaadaatmanya ropyatey Janaih/

( Just as darkness and light were clearly distinctive, Samsara and Paramatma had no relevance of each other. Purusha and Prapancha too were quite different like sunshine and shadow. If Atma were unclean, diseased and full of malices by nature, then it could never have been purified even after thousands of lives and Yogis or Sages could never have visioned a spotless, blissful, indestructible and eternal Soul otherwise!) Paramatma therefore emphasised thus:

Aham Kartaa Sukhi Duhkhi Krushah Sthuleti yaa matih,

Saa chaahankaara kartutwaa daatma -atmanyaa ropyatey janaih/

Vadanti Veda Vidwaamsaha saakshinaam Prakruteyh Param,

Bhoktaara -maksharam Shuddham Sarvatra Samavasthitam/

Tasmaadajnaana mulo hi Samsaarah Sarva dehinaam,

Ajnaanaadyanyathaa Jnaanam taccha Prakriti sangatam/

( Human Beings tend to attribute their feelings as per their own mind-set and Ahamkaara/self- pride as though they were the Kartas or the responsible persons for their happiness, unhappiness, thinness or stoutness and  so on; accordingly they reflect their emotions and sentiments to their inner consciousness and Atma (Soul). But those who were enlightened and learned with the knowledge of Vedas and Scriptures would indeed  realise that there was a force beyond them and their nature and that indeed was the Eternal and All-Pervasive Para Tatwa; ignorance of that Reality which was far different from the illusion was the High Divider.)

Nityoditah Swayam Jyotih Sarvagah Purushah Parah,

Ahamkaaravivekena Kartaahamiti manyatey/

Pashyanti Rishayovyaktam Nityam Sadasaad –makam,

Pradhaanam Prakritim buddhwaa kaaranam Brahma vaadinah/

Tenaayam samgatohyatmaa Kutasthopi Niranjanah,

Swaatmaanamaksharam Brahma naavabudhyet Tatwath/

Anaatmanyaatma vijnaanam tasmaad duhkham tathetaram,

Raagadweshaadayo doshaah Sarvey bhraanti nibandha –naah/

Karmanyasya bhaved dosah Punyaapunyamiti stitih,

Tadhshaa Deva Sarveshaam Sarva Deva samudbhavah/ (Due to one’s own ego and ignorance, human beings tended to confuse themselves as Parama Purusha -the Self-Illuminated one- and declared that whatever was achieved or not was due to their own effort or lack of it. Brahmavaadi Rishiswould clearly distinguish the Supreme, the Prakriti, and the Cause as also the Truth and Fallacy and thus seek ‘Saakshaatkaara’or Ready Realisation. The dormant, invisible and  unfelt Truth would indeed co-exist with the illusions of life vis-à-vis the Eternal which got camouflaged! In the ‘Anaatma’ Tatwa or of the Non-Soul, even Atma Vijnana too woud get polluted due to ‘bhranti’ or illusions as likings and dislikings were produced  leading to Depravities or Moralities. This was the reason why Paapa-Punyaas got generated and different kinds of human beings came into existence.)

Nityah Sarvatragohyaatmaa Kutastho Dosha Varhitah,

Eka sa bhidyatey Shaktyaa Maayaya na swabhavatah/

Tasmaadadvaitamevaahur Munayah Paramaartaah,

Bhedo Vykaswabhaavena saa cha Maayaatmasamshrayaa/

Yathaa hi dhumasamparkaannaakaasho maliney bhavet,

Antahkaarana jairbhaavairaatmaa tadatra lipyatey/

Yathaa swaprabhayaa bhaati Kevalah Spatikomalah,

Upaadhiheeno Vimalaastathaivaatmaa Prakaashatey/

Jnaana swarupameyvaahur jagatetad Vichakshanaah,

Artha swarupamevaajnaah pashyantanye kudrushtayah/

( That was also the reason why the Unique Partamatma was displayed in variegated types of Beings due to Maya Shakti or the Power of Illusion. Munis therefore believed firmly that Atma by itself was ‘Advaita’ or Singular but due to interaction with Maya looked as several entities, just as hot sunshine would pollute the Sky and hence the Purity of Atma was affected) .

Yadaa Sarvani Bhutaani Swaatmanyevabhi pashyati,

Sarva Bhuteshu chaatmaanaam Brahmaa sampadyatey tadaa/

Yadaa Sarvaani Bhutaani samaadhistho na pashyati,

Ekibhutah parenaasou tyadaa bhavanti kevalah/

Yadaa Sarvey pramuchyatey Kaamaa yesya hrudi sthitaah,

Tadaasaavamrutibhutah kshemam gacchati Panditah/

Yadaa Bhuta prudhakbhaavamekastha manupashyati,

Tata eva cha vistaaram Brahmaa sampadyatey tadaa/

Yadaa pashyati chaatmaanam kevalam Paramaarthatah,

Mayaa maatram Jagat krutstnam tadaa Bhavai Nivrutah/

(When Yogis could view all the Beings as existed in their own selves, that would become the achievement of Brahma Bhava. When Yogis reached a Samadhi Position or an Elevated Status of Enlightenment perceiving that all Beings in the World were just the same then they would have reached Atma Darshana or the Vision of the Soul and Brahma Bhava or the feeling of Oneness. Yogis woud then have no further desires and reach a stage of Fulfillment; then they feel equality of  all Beings and sincerely reach a sensation of Oneness or Brahma Prapti. When Yogis vision ‘Paramaartha’ and the Uniqueness of the Supreme then Maya or Illusion would have been destroyed and the entire Universe would look as a Single Entity.)

Yadaa Janma jaraa duhkhavyaadheenaa meka bheshajam,

Kevalam Brahma Vijnaanam Jaayatosow tadaa Shivah/

Yathaa Nadee nadaa lokey Saarenaikataam yayuh,

Tadaatmaakharenaasou nishkalenai -kataam vrajet/

( When Yogis realise that birth, old-age, misery and disease would  happen due to ‘Karma’ or previous actions and of  the awareness of that Brahma Gyan, then Shiva Rupa would have been realised. Just as Rivers and Rivulets would reach the Ocean finally, the individual ‘Jeevatmaas’ would get submerged into Paramatma.)

Tasmad Vigjnanamevaasti na Prapancho na Samsrutih,

Agjnaanenaavrutam Loko Vigjnaanam tena muhyati/

Tad jnaanam Nirmalam Sukshmam Nirvikalpam yadavyayam,

Agjnaana mitarat Sarvam Vgjnaanamiti mey matam/

Etad vah Paramam Sankhyam bhaashitam Jnaana –muttamam,

Sarva Vedaanta saaram hi yogatastraikachittataa/

Yogaat sanjyayatey Jnaanam Jnaanaad yogah pravartatey,

Yogi Jnaanaabhi yuktasya naavaapyam Vidyatey kwachit/

Yadeva Yogino yaanti Saankhyaistadadhigamyatey,

Evam Saankhyam cha yoga cha pashyati sa tatwavit/

(Hence, Vigjnaanaa was ever-existent and not Samsara; Vigjnaana / Knowledge was surrounded by Agjnaana/ignorance. In other words, what ever was Nirmala, Sukshma and Avyaya was Jnaana and the rest was worthy of discarding. Sankhya Yoga was that Jnaana only and was the Essence of Vedas. That was what worth concentrating about.)

Having explained the above, Parameswara told the Brahmavadi Maharshis further as follows:

Esha Atmaahamavyakto Maayaavi Parameshwarah,

Keertitah Sarva Vedeshu Sarvaatmaa Sarvato –mukhah/

Sarva Kaamah Sarva rasah Sarvagandhojaraamarah,

Sarvatah paanipaadohamantaryaami Sanaatanah/

Apaani paado javano graheetaa hridi samsthitah,

Achakshurapi pasyaami tathaa karnah shrunomyaham/

Vedaaham Sarvamevedam na maam janaati kaschana,

Praahumarhaantam Purusham  maamekam Tatwa darshanah/

Pashyanti Rishayo hetumaatopanah Sukshma darshanah,

Nirgunaamala rupasya attaddaishwaryamuttamam/

Yatra Devaa vijaananti mohiyaa mama Maayayaa,

Vakshye samaahitaa yuyam Shrunudhwam Brahma vaadinah/

Naaham prashastaa Sarvasya Maayaatitah swabhavatah,

Preranaami yathaapeedam kaaranam Sooraye Viduh/

Yasmey guhyatamam deham sarvagam Tatwadarshanah,

Pravishtaa mama Saayujyam labhantey Yoginovyayam/

Teshaam hi vashamaapannaa Maayaa mey Vishwarupini,

Labhantey Paramaam Shuddhim Nirvaanam tey mayaa saha/

Na teshaam punaraavrittih Kalpakoti shatairapi,

Prasaadaan –mama Yogeendraa etad Vedaanushaasanam/

Naaputra sishya yogibhyo daatavyam Brahma -vaadibhih,  

Maduktametad Vigjnaanam Samkhyayoga samaashrayam/

( I am Antaryami, Avyakta, Maayavi , Parameshwara, Sarva Veda Swarupa, Sarvatma, Sarva Kaama, Sarva Rasa, Sarva Gandha, Ajara, Amara, Sanaatana and full bodied with hands and feet, although I can move without hands and feet. I am fully aware of the ins-and-outs of the Prapancha but none knows about me. Some call me Adviteeya and some ‘hetuvaadaas’ claim that they are aware of the Cause of their existence, but for sure even Devas are not aware of my Reality as they are all steeply immersed in Maya. Now, listen to me carefully: Even being fully independent of and distinct from Maya, I provoke Maya to create situations due to reasons of such situations and accordingly Maya generates the specific situations. My all-pervasive ‘deha’or Physique [which certainly not the outcome of Pancha Buthas or Gunas or Tatwas which were my branded products] is perhaps partly visioned  by Tatva darshis and Maha Yogis and some selected few are even absorbed into me which is called Sayujya! Such handpicked ones would not have ‘Punarjanma’ for even crores of Kalpas; indeed that would be my Directive and Discretion. The Atma Tatwa or ‘the Saankhya Yoga Samanvita Vijnaana’ that I am now indicating in a hazy form may be taught to Brahma Vaadis to their sons, dicsiples or trusted  Yogis only and to none else!)

16    Shiva Bhakti, Shiva Shakti, Shiva Tatwa and Shiva Tandava

Parama Shiva asserted:

Naaham Tapobhirvividhairna Daanena na cheyjyayaa,

Shakyo hi Purushair jaaturmutey Bhaktiamanuttamaam/

(I am always realisable by Bhakti or Pure Devotion and not necessarily by Tapasya, Daana or Charity and Yagnaas!)

Na madbhaktaa vinashyanti madbhaktaa veeta kalmashaah,

Aadaavetat pratigjaanam na mey bhaktah pranashyati/

Patram Pushpam Phalam toyam madaaraadhana kaaranaat,

Yo mey dadaati niyatah sa meyBhaktah Priyomatah/

(My Bhaktaas would never be destroyed nor harmed but would be washed off their sins as I took a vow that my Bhaktas are protected. Bhaktas are merely required to perform my Puja with utmost sincerity and offer leaves, flowers, fruits and even water as I would be pleased).

Shiva Shakti:

Aham hi Jagataa maadou Brahmanaam Parameshthinam,

Vidhaaya dattavaan Vedaanasehaanaatmanih srutaan/

Ahamevahi Sarveshaam yoginaam Gururavyayah,

Dhaarmika –naam cha goptaahey nihantaa Vedavidwishaam/

Aham vai Sarva samsaaraan mochako yoginaamiha,

Samsaara hetureyvaaham sarva Samsaara Varjitah/

( I had in the beginning created Brahma and gave him Vedas as the Guidelines; I am also the Yoga Guru and provided protection to the Virtuous Persons and punished those who negated the values enunciated in Vedas; and I am the liberator of  Yogis, the Cause of Samsara and yet also displeased with Samsaara.)

Ahamevahi Samhartaa Srashtaaham Paripaalakah,

Maayaavi Maamikaa Shaktirmayaa Loka Vimohini/

Mamaiva cha Paraa Shaktiryaa saa Vidyoti geeyatey,

Naashayaami tayaa Maayaam yoginaam hridi samsthitah/

Aham hi Sarva Shaktinaam Pravartak nivartakah,

Adhaara bhutah sarvaasaam nidhaanamamrutasya cha/

Ekaa sarvaantaraa Shaikih karoti vividham Jagat,

Aasthaaya  Brahmano rupam manmayee madadhishtitaa/

Anyaa cha Shaktirvipulaa Samsthaapayati mey Jagat,

Bhutwaa Naaraayanonanto Jagannaadho Jaganmayah/

Triteeyaa Mahati Shaktirnihanti sakalam Jagat,

Taamasi mey samaakhyaataa Kaalaakhyaa Rudra Rupini/

( I am the ‘Maayavi’or the Great Magician and my Shakti is Maya who is the Top Temptress of  the World. Parashakti is my product and is known as Vidya; I stay in the hearts of Yogis and counter the Maya ; All types of Shakti emerge from me and also submerge into me!) Shiva stated further:  I am the ‘Adhaara’or the Huge Hold of  the Prime Shakti; One facet of that Shakti is Brahma the Srashta;  my secondary Shakti is identified as Jagannadha Narayana.; the Third Ramification is Taamasi Shakti viz. Rudra-Kaala Shakti, which terminates the Creation).

Dhyanena maam prapashyanti kechirjjnanena chaaparey,

Aparey bhakti yogena chaaparey/

Sarveshaameva bhaktaamaamishtah Priyataro mama,

Yohi jnaanena maam nitya maadhaaraahyayati nyaayathaa/

Anye chaye trayo Bhaktaa madaaraadhana kaankshinah,

Teypi maam praapunanteva naavartantey cha vai punah/

(Some persons seek my Darshan through Dhyaana or meditation, some by Jnaana, but those by Bhakti are most dear to me and they would have no re-birth).

 Shiva Tatwa:

Mayaa tatamidam krutsnam Pradhaana Purushaatmakam,

Mayyeva Samsthitam  Vishwam mayaa sampreryatey Jagat /

Naaham prerayitaa Vipraah Paramam Yogamaashritah,

Prerayaami Jagatkrutsnametadyo Veda somrutah/

Pashyaamaseshamey Vedam Vartamaanam Swabhaavatah,

KarotiKaalo Bhagavaan Mahayogeshwarah swayam/

Yogah samprochyatey yogi Maayaa Shaastreshu Sooribhih,

Yogeshwaro sou Bhagavan MahadevoMahaan Prabhuh/

Mahatwam Sarva tatwaanaam Paratwaan Parameshthinah,

Prochyatey Bhagavan Brahmaa Mahaan Brahma –mayomalah/

Yo maamevam Vijaanaati Mahayogeswareswaram,

So Vikalpena Yogena yujjatey naatra samshayah/

Soham prerayitaa Devah Paramaananda maashritah,

Nrityaami Yogi satatam yastad Veda sa Vedavit/

Iti guhyatamam Jnaanam Sarva Vedeshu nisthitam,

Prasanna chetasy deyam Dharmakaayaahitaagnaye/

( My Purusha Swarupa is spread all over and the Samasara in totality is prompted by it. Yet I am always engrossed in Yoga and as such am not the Prompter either; indeed this is the key secret and those who realise this know every thing. As far as I am concerned, I do note the evolutions of the lives of the Beings and keep analysing the changes no doubt; but whatever actions need to be taken are performed Bhagavan Kaala himself. Vidwans of Shastras use the nomeclature of Maya and attribute it to the Maha Yogeshwara himself; Paramatma is far above and distinct Tatwas yet at the same time significance of Tatwas is hidden in Bhagavan! Those Maha Yogeshwaras visualise that Bhagavan is perhaps in Nirvikalpa Samaadhi and even the prompting of actions are not done my him! This indeed  appears to be the Guhya Jnaana unsolved and appears to have been hidden still in the unknown depths of Vedas! Perhaps the solution is left  in the tranquil imagination of Dharmic and Ever engaged Agnihotris!

Shiva Tandava (The Cosmic Dance of Maha Deva): Veda Vyas described Shiva Tandava on the clear skies along with Vishnu when Maharshis visioned as a feast to their eyes and to the full contentment of their life-time. Those Maharshis who imagine Shiva’s sacred feet in their imagination and get freed from their fears arising from their ignorance had the fill of their ambition; indeed they had  actually seen and heard most memorable action with reverberating sounds across the skies! They visioned Parama Rudra with thousand resplendent heads, hands and feet with matted hair, half moon on his head, tiger skin as his clothing, huge hands swaying Trishula, Danda held in palms, Three Eyes of Surya, Chandra  and Agni representing Three Vedas, Three Gunas, Tri Lokas; his physique encompassing the Brahmanda; producing ‘Agni Jwaalaas’from each thumping of his dancing feet and with an awesome and frightening body profile! The Brahmavaadis had actually seen with their inner eyes while Maha Deva was being worshipped by Brahma, Indra and Devatas besides Yogis and Maha Munis with their heads down, feet prostrated and hands folded kept on their heads; they all witnessed glimpses of Narayana also taking part in the Cosmic Dance. Sanat Kumara, Sanaka, Bhrigu, Sanatana, Sanandana, Rudra, Angira, Vamadeva, Shukra, Atri, Kapila and Marichi had all witnessed too the Celestial Scene and thanked themselves with exclamations of ‘Dhanya’or applauses of  rare and fortunate blessings! As the Tandava was in progress, there were echos of Omkara and Veda Mantras and the enraptured Maharshis resorted to Stuti as follows:

Twamekameesham Purusham Puranam Praneshwaram Rudramananta yogam,

Namaama Sarvey Hridi Samnivightam Prachetasam Brahmamayam Pavitram/ 

Ttwaam Pashyanti Munayo Brahmayonim Daantaah Shaantaa Vimalam Rukmavarnam,

Dhyaatwaatmasthamachalam swye Sharitey Kavim Parebhyah Paramam tatparamcha/

Twattah prasutaa Jagatah Prasutih Sarvaatmabhustwam Paramaanubhutah,

Anoraneeyaan Mahato Maheeyaam swatmeva Sarvam pravadanti Santah/

Hiranyagarbho Jagadantaraatmaa twattodhijaatah Purushah Puraanah,

Sanjaayhamano bhavataa visishto yadhaavidhaanam sakalam sasarja/

Twatto Vedaah sakalaah samprasutaa-stwayyevaantey samsthitim tey labhantey,

Pashyaamastwam jagato hetubhutam nrityantam swey hridaye samnivishtam/

Twayyai Vedaah  bhraamyatey Brahma chakram Maayaavi twam Jagataamekanaathah,

Namaamastwaam sharanam sampraannaa Yogaatmaanam chipytanti Divanrittyam/

Pashyamastwaam Paramaakaasha madhye nrittyatam tey Mahimaanam smaraamah,

Savaatmaanam bahudhaa samnivishtam Brahmaanandamanu bhuyaanbhuya/

Omkaarastey vaachako Mukti beejam twamaksharam Prakrutai gudha rupam,

Tatwaam Satyam pravadanteeh Santah Swayamprabham bhavato yatprakaasham/

Stuantitwaam Satatam Sarva Vedaa Namanti twaamrishayah ksheena doshaah,

Shaantaatmaanah Satyasandhaa Varishtam vishantitwaam yatayo Brahma nishthaah/

Eko Vedo Bahu shaakho hyanantastwaameyvaikam bodhayatyeka rupam,

Vedyam twaam sharanam ye prapaanaasteshaam Shaantih Shaswati netareshaam/

Bhavaaneeshonaadi – maamstejoraashir Brahmaa Vishwam Parameshthi Varishthah,

Swaatmaanada manubhuyaadhishete Swayam Jyotirachalo nitya muktah/

Eko Rudraswam karisheeha Vishwam twam paalayasyakhilam Vishwarupah,

Twaamevaantey nilayam vindateedam Namaamaswaam sharanam samprapannah/

Twaamekamaahuh Kavimeka Rudram praanam brihantam Harimagnimeesham,

Indram mrityu -manilam chenitaanam Dhaataaramaadityamanekarupam/

Twamaksharam Paramam Veditavyam  twamasya Vishwasya param nidhaanam,

Twamavyayah Shaswata dharma goptaa Sanaatanastwam Purushotthamosi/

Twaamekamaahuh Purusham Puraanamaadityavarnam Tamasah parastaat,

Chinmaatram avyaktam achintyarupam Swam Brahma shunyam Pratakritim Nirgunamcha/

Yadantaraa Sarvamidam vibhaati yadavyayam nirmalamekarupam,

Kimapyachintyam tawa rupametatam tadantaraa yatpratibhaati Tatwam/

Yogeshwaram Rudramanata Shaktim paraayanam Brahmatanum pavitram,

Nanaama Sarvey Sharanaarthinastaam praseeda bhutaabhipatey Mahesha/

Twadpaadapadma smaranaadasesha samsaara beejam vilayam prayaati,

Mano niyamyapranidhaaya Kaayam Prasaadayaamo vayamekameesham/

Namo Bhavaayastu Bhadbhavaaya Kaalaaya Sarvaaya Kapardine tey

Namognaye Deva nama Shivaaa!

(We pray to Ishwara, Purana Purusha, Praneshwara, Ananta Yoga Rupa, Hridaya Nivishtha or present in heart, Pracheta or responsible in-charge; and Brahma Maya; you are the Controller of Senses, Shanta, Achala, Nirmala, Swarna Swarupa, Para and Tatpara. You are the Creator of Samsara, Atma Swarupa and ‘Anu’ rupa or of the Form of an Atom; Paramatma! Indeed you are the Minutest and the Grossest; Brahma the Hiranya garbha and the Srashta of the Universe is engrossed in prayers to you; indeed, you are the ‘Vedotpanna’ or Creator of Vedas besides being the Preserver and the Destroyer. We can witness your Cosmic Dance in the center of the Sky; you are the Jagat Kaarana; the Regulator of Brahma Chakra; Mayavi; the Unique Swami of the Jagat; we are able to enjoy glimpses of your profile and are thrilled at the feast to our eyes. Paramatma! Your Omkara Vachaka is the seed of Mukti and is secretly absorbed in Prakriti; Sages call you as Satya Swarupa and Swayam Prakaasha; all the Vedas and Scriptures never tired of your magnificence; Rishi ganaas are always engaged in commending you while Yatis with Brahma nishtha try to enter into the glow of your profile! The several branches of Vedas and Scriptures stress repeatedly about  the Infinity and Singularity of Your Swarupa or the Uniqueness of your Mahatmya as also the extreme plurality of your manifestations; but they  fail to realise you and as such seek their unqualified protection and security.That feeling itself provides great peace of mind and contentment. Ishwara! You are the Anaadi or without a beginning; the Fund of Illumination; Brahma; Vishwarupa; Parameshthi; and Varishtha. Maharshis do experience pointers and hints of your glorious splendour and perform hard endeavour to enter near your orbit. We seek refuge into you Rudra the Srashta- Sharanya and Samhaara.You are commended as  Adviteeya, Kavi, Eka Rudra, Praana, Brihat, Hara, Agni, Esheara, Indra, rityu, Anila, Chekitana, Dhata, Aditya, and Aneka rupa.You are Aninaashi or Perpetual; Parmaashraya or the Greatest Sanctuary; You are Avyaya, Shaswata, Dharma Raksha, Sanatana, Purushottama; Vishnu and Chaturmukha Brahma; Vishwa Naabhi, Prakriti, Pratishtha, Sarweswara and Parameshwara! You are addressed  as Purana Purusha, Aditya Varna, Tamogunatita, Chinmatra, Avykta, Achintya Rupa, Aakaasha, Brahma, Shunya, Prakriti and Nirguna. It is due to you Mahadeva that the Universe gets illuminated and all the Tatwas are displayed. Our humble salutations to you Parama Yogeshwara, Brahma Murti, Ananta Shakti Rudra, Ashraya Swarupa, Bhutaadhipati, Mahesha! Even a thought about you would uproot the seed of Karma and the cycle of Janma- Mrityu. The two regulatory deeds of controlling Mind and Thought as also physical restrictions would indeed take one to step fast to Maheshwara. Our greetings to you Bhava, Bhavodbhava, Kaala, Sarva, Jatadhari, Agni Rupan Shiva, and Shiva the most Auspicious!!) As  the Maharshis eulogised to Shiva, the latter displayed his Viraat Swarupa along with the Full Form of Four Arms with Shankha- Chakra-Gada-Saranga and his typical and alluring smile!

17    Unfolding of Ishwara ‘Vibhutis’ (faculties) and concepts of Pashu-Paasha-Pashupati

Parameshwara addressed Maharshis and explained about his own Vibhutis as follows:

Paraat Parataram Brahma shasvatam nishkalam dhruvam,

Nityaanandam Nirvikalpam taddhaama Paramam mama/

(My Supreme Destination is far beyond ‘Paraatpara’, Brahma, Everlasting, Spotless, Steady, Blissful and Nirvikalpa / State of Oblivion): He  is the Swayambhu Brahma  among Brahmajnaanis; Avyaya Deva Hari among Mayavis; Parvati among yoginis; Vishnu among Dwadasa Adityaas; Paavaka among Ashta Vasus; Shankara among Ekaadasha Rudras; Garuda among birds; Iravata among elephants; Parashurama among ‘Shastradhaaris’ or weapon holders; Vasishtha among Rishis; Prahlada among ‘Sura dweshis’ or the Detestors of Devas; Vyaasa among Munis; Vinayaka among Shiva Ganaas; Veerabhadra among the Valiant; Sumeru among Mountains; Chandrama among Nakshatraas; Vajraayudha among diamonds; Satyanarayana among Vratas; Anantadeva among serpents; Kartikeya among ‘Senaanis’ or Chiefs of Soldiers; Grihastaashrama among the Ashramas; Maheshwara among Ishwaraas; Maha Kalpa among Kalpaas; Satya Yuga among Yugas; Kubera among Yakshaas; Veeraka among Ganeshwaraas; Daksha among Prajaapatis; Nirruti among Rakshasaas; Vayu Deva among the Balavaans and Pushkara among Dwipaas. Shiva furter states: I am a lion among animals; Dhanush among Yantraas; Sama Veda among Vedas; Shata Rudreeya among Yajurmantras; Savitri among the Japa Mantras; ‘Pranava’ among the confidential Mantras; Purusha Sukta among the Veda Suktas; am the Jyeshtha Saama among Saama Mantras; Swayambhu Manu among those who know the meanings of all Vedas; Brahmaavarta among various Deshas; Amimukta among Kshetras; Atma Vidya among the Vidyas; Ishrara Jnaana among ‘Jnanas’; ‘Aakaasha’among Pancha Bhutas; and Mrityu/ Yama among Satwaas

Parama Shiva then annotated the words of Pashu-Paasha-Pashupati as follows:

Vidyaanaamaatmavidyaaham Jnaanaamaishwaram param,

Bhutaanaamasmyaham Vyoma Satvaanaam Mrutyurevacha/

Paasshaanaa masmyaham Maayaa Kaalah Kalayataamaham,

Gateenaam Muktirevaaham Pareshaam Parameshwarah/

Atmaanah Pashavah Proktaah Sarvey Samsaarvartinah,

Teshaam Patiraham Devah smrutah :Pashpatirbudhaih/

Maayaa paashena badhnaami Pasunetaan swaleelayaa,

Maameva mochakam praahuh Pashnaam Vedavaadinah/

Maayaa paashena badhnaanaam mochakonyo na Vidyatey,

Maamrutey Paramaatmaanam Bhutaadhipatimavyayam/

( I am Parameshwara who is the Maya among Paashaas or the hard rope strings, Kaala or the Mrityu among the destroyers and among the Pathways am the destination of Mukti;  You should realise that the Most Lustrous and the Mightiest ‘Satwa Padaartha’ or the Virtuous Entity is myself and am the highest powerful provocator of actions among all of the Pashus or Jeevaas / Beings in the Univese is myself; as the Beings in Srishti are Pashus, I am indeed the Pashupati. I tie up the Pashus with Paashaas for fun; Vedagnaas seek to help release the Pashus from the ‘Samsaara Paashaas’ and are called the facilitating  ‘Mochakaas’ or Helping Liberators as I tie them all with the strong strings from their birth to death. Let it be made clear that there could be none else that might liberate from  these Paashaas excepting Paamatma the Eternal.

The twenty four Tatwaas, Maya, Karma and Tri- Gunas all put together hold the Jeevas or Pashus as ‘Paaashas’are enforced by Pashupati. The Tatwas are Manas or Mind, Buddhi or thought , Ahamkara or Ego, Prithvi, Jala, Vaayu and Akasaha; Ear, Skin, Eyes, Tongue, Nose, the two Marmendriyas, hands, feet, voice, shabda, sparsha, Rupa, Rasa, and Gandha which are all a part of Prakriti and the rest are all Vikaras or aberrations. There are two kinds of Paashaas viz. Dharma and Adharma besides the Karma bandhana; Avidya, Asmitaa or Ego, Raaga , Dwesha,  Abhinivesha or attachment –these Five are constant Paashaas called Taatvika bandhanas. Maya is stated to be the root of these bandhanas. Mula Prakriti, Pradhaana, Purusha, Mahat, Ahamkaaran are all manifestations of Sanatana Deva; he is the one creating bandhanaas; he is the Paasha-Pashu-and in the final analysis, he is the Pashupati!

18    Rudiments of Yoga Practice, Yoga Mahima and re-emphasis on the Oneness of Shiva-Narayana

Parameshwara himself describes to the Maharshis about the significance of Yoga in the quest of the Truth; just as Surya Deva is readily viewed on the Sky so could be the vision of Paramatma. Yogarupi Agni demolishes the store of sins and facilitates the attainment of such Jnaana that leads to Mukti.

Yogaat sanjaayatey Jnaanam Jnaanaad Yogah pravartatey,

Yoga jnaanaabhi yuktasya praseedati Maheshwarah/

(From Yoga is achieved Jnaana and Jnaanaa transforms Yoga to the further pursuit to Maheswara). Yoga practice might as well be performed once or twice or even thrice a day. Yoga could be in two forms: Abhaava Yoga or Maha Yoga; the former type aims at Nirvikalpa Swarupa or ‘Atma Sakshaatkara’ (Vision of the Inner Soul) while Maha Yoga targets  Parameswara (Super Soul).

The Ashtanga Yoga Sadhana has the following Eight-Steps viz. Yama-Niyama-Aasana-Praanayaama-Pratyaahara- Dharana-Dhyaana-Samaadhi. Briefly stated, Yama is meant by Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya or celibacy and Aparigraha (non-possession) and Yama purifies the heart and mind. Ahimsa is denoted by creating no problem at all by way of Mind, Conversation or Deed. Similarly, Satya or Truth should be such that it should not hurt any body and Asteya, Bramacharya and Aparigraha too should be such that one’s inner-conscience is clear in an objective manner. Niyama refers to Tapa, Swaadhyaaya, Santosha, Shoucha and Ishwara Puja. Tapa is meditation cum Upavaasas or fasting and observance of Vratas like Kruccha Chandrayana. Swadhyaaya or self-practice of recitation of Vedaanta Shastras, Shata Rudreeya and Pranava etc. providing Satwika-Vriddhi; Swaadhyaaya is of three types viz. Vaachika or Oral that could be heard by self and others, Upaamshu or which could be heard by the self and Manasika or what is recited mentally. Santosha means contentment and inner happiness or of  non-complaining nature. Shoucha includes Baahyaantara-Shuchi or physical and mental cleanliness and Ishwara Puja denotes Stuti by way of Manas or Mind, Vaani or recitation and Karma or deed perfoming Puja of Shodasopachaaras or the Sixteen kinds of Services like Dhyaana- Avaahana-Pushpa-Gandha-Naivedyas. Aasana is the prescribed way of comfortable Seating. Padmaasana is considered to be the best and that means keeping both feet lifted and placed on the opposite thighs. Pranaayama denotes regulation of the Prana or the Life-Air of a Being (actually Aayama means  nirodhana or stoppage). Recitation of Pranava Mantra viz. AUM by twelve times is called Dwadasha Matra; alternatively recitation of Gaytri Mantra viz. Om-Bhu-Bhuvah-Swah-Mahah-Janah-Tapah-Satyam three times is Tri Gayatri. Pranayama is denoted by Dwadasha Pranava or Tri Gayatri. A complete Pranayama consists of three operations viz. Rechaka or exhalation, Puraka is inhalation and retaining the  air is kumbhaka. Pratyahara involves managing the senses and going beyond them by conquering them instead of avoiding and suppressing them (taking cognizance of them but ignoring or sifting them) and that is a perfect starting point of commencing the stage of Dharana or practice of concentration; in fact the last three aspects of Ashtanga or the Eight-Limbed Yoga viz. Dharana, Dhyaana and Samadhi are the most crucial ones. Dharana is the skill of controlling the senses, rejecting the unimportant mental features and pushing the Self  inward on the way of Dhyaana. Imagining an ‘Ashtadala Kamala or an ‘Eight-leafed Lotus, one must concentrate on the Hiranmaya Kosha (Sheath) in which the Vishudda Parama Jyoti exists and nothing else would matter:

Yetad guhyatamam dhyaamam dhyaanantaramathocchatey,

Chintayitwaa tu Purvoktam Hritaye Padmamuttamam/

Atmaanamatha kartaaram tatraanala samatvisham,

Madhye vahnishikhaakaaram Purusham Panchavimshikam/

Chintayet Paramaatmaanam tanmadhye Gaganam Param,

Omkaara bodhitam tatwam shaswatam Shivamachyutam/

( Indeed this is a guarded meditation: by envisaging a famed Lotus inside one’s own heart which should be prayed to as there is a splendrous Agni-like Profile with twenty five Tatwas enclosing Paramatma who is Unknown, absorbing Prakriti, filled with Omkara, Niranjana, Nitya, Maheswara). Maha Deva himself suggests the Pashupati Yoga Yoga which is the Essence of Vedas and is accessible to those who firmly believe in Brahmacharya, Ahimsa, Kshama or fortitude, Shoucha, Tapa, Dama, Santosha, Satya and Asthikata or Unswerved Faith in the Supreme as these are the pre -requisites of the Pashupata Vrata.[Refer to Essence of Linga Purana as translated and edited by the same Author for the details of the Vrata.]

 Parama Shiva says:

Veeta raaga bhaya krodhaa manmayaa maamupaashritaah,

Bahavenena yogena putaa madbhaavamaagataah/

Ye yathaa maam praadyantey taamstayaiva bhajaamyahjam,

Jnaana yogena maam tasmaad yajeta Parameshwaram/

Athavaa Bjhakti yogena Vairaagyena parena tu,

Chetasaa bodha yuktena pujayenmaamsadaa shuchih/

(Those who shun desire, fear and anger do approach me by performing the Pashupati Vrata and had all been blessed; they could adopt the medium of Jnaana Yoga or Bhakti Yoga but I relieve them of Samsara Bandhanas for good). He further affirms:

Adveshata Sarva bhutaanaam maitrah Karuna yevacha,

Nirmomaa nirahankaaro yo madbhaktah sa mey Priyah/

Santhushtah Satatam Yogi yatatatmaa drudha nischayah,

Mayyarpitamano buddhiryo madhaktah sa mey priyah/

Yasmaannuddejito loko Lokaannujjeto cha yah,

Harshaamarsha bhayodvegairmukto yah sa hi mey priyah/

Anapekshah Shuchirdaksha udaaseeno gatvyathah,

Sarvaarambha parityaagi Bhaktimaan yah sda mey priyah/      

( Those Bhaktaas who treat every Being without malice, hatred, and self-pride; but with friendliness, kindness and affection are dear to me; those who are contented, self-controlled, strong willed, ever-engaged in Yoga and totally dedicated to me are dear to me; those who neither get excited nor prone to exciting others, but are fearless, placid and composed are dear to me; those who never crave for worldly desires, but are ready to sacrifice, are impartial, are ready to face challenges of the right kindand are not non-starters due to hesitation are indeed near and dear to me.) Having given his preferences, Maha Deva underscores that his bhaktas should perform Shiva-Linga Puja always and any where that is clean and pro-active, but with extreme devotion and dedication- be it in water, inside Agni, addressed to Surya or Sky and even in one’s own heart! What is of signifiance is that any Puja to Shiva performed in faith, concentration and total bhakti and that shall be rewarded without doubt.

Re-emphasis on the Oneness of Shiva-Narayana: In the context of the above, Maha Deva emphasised again as in earlier pages about the identity of himself and Vishnu Deva; this was necessary since a seperate ‘Ishwara Gita’in the current Kurma Purana sought to clarify that its contents were in no way contradictory ; even in the description of Shiva Tandava described above, Vishnu too was stated to have joined the Celestial Dance! Maha Deva thus confirmed as follows:

Ayam Narayano yohameeshwaro naatra samshayah,

Naantaram ye prapashyanti teshaam Devamidam param/

Mamaushaa Paramaa Murtirnaaraayana samaahvayaa,

Sarva Bhutaatmabhutasthaa Shantaa chaakshara sangjnitaa/

Ye twanyathaa prapashyanti lokey bheda drusho janaah,

Na tey maam samprapashyanti jayentey cha punah punah/

Yetwimam Vishnu – mavyaktam maam vaa Devam Maheswaram,

Ekibhavena pashyanti na teshaam punarudbhavah/

Tasmaadanaadi nidhanam Vishnumaatmaanamayayam,

Maameva samprapashayadhvam Puja-yadhvam tathaiva hi/

Yenyathaa maam prapashyanti matvemam Devataantaram,

ye yantin Narakaan ghoraan naaham teshu vyavasthitah/

Murkham vaa Panditam vaapi  Brahmanamvaa madaasrayam,

Mochayaami shvapaakam vaa Naaraayana nindakam/

Tasmaadesha Maha Yogi Mad Bhaktaih Purushottamah,

Archaneeyo Namaskaarye Matpreeti jananaaya hi/

( That Narayana is Ishwara that is me undoubtedly. There is indeed no difference between us and he too is to be worshipped. Narayana is ‘Shaanti-Akshara’ imprinted in every body’s heart. Some imagine otherwise that we are figured other wise and they continue to get into the cycle of birth and death and could never ever attain Mukti. Those who visualise me and Narayana as just the same would have no rebirth. As such, Vishnu has no beginning or end as in my case, meaning thereby we are both the same. Those who confuse Vishnu as another Deva would for sure reach Narakas. Those who are my bhaktaas being either Murkhaas or Stupids, Panditas or Learned Vidvans or even untouchables should indeed have the possibility of Mukti, provided they do not  dislike or distrust him. Hence my  bhaktaas ought to perform puja to Vishnu with all humilty and belief.) Then both Vishnu and Shiva disappeared simultaneously, stated Vyasa Muni.

Veda Vyasa thus concluded ISHWARA  GITA  with the Phala Shruti that whosoever reads, or hears or anylises the contents of this important Part of Kurma Purana would be freed from sins and attain Brahma loka.

19    Shraaddha Prakarana : Profile, Significance, Procedure and Do’s & Don’ts

Vyasa Maha Muni narrated the details of Shraadhha Karma as follows: As Amavasya of a Month arrives at the noon time, Brahmanas are required to perform ‘Pindaan-vaahaaryaka’ with sincerity and devotion.This Deed may be done only by those eligible to light up Agnihotra ( not by widowers) and is performed after Pitru Yajna and this is a Nitya Shraaddha on every Amavasya. Excepting on Chaturdashi in Krishna Paksha, these Shraaddaas could be done on any days, especially on the three Ashtamis of Pusha,Maagha and Phalgunas; also during the Rainy Season when Crops reach home as Trayodhashi preferably coinciding with Makha Nakshatra.  On Chandra and Surya Grahana Timings or on the days of death of relatives too Naimittika Shraaddha is to be done failing which, visits to Naraka Lokas are expected to  be certain. Shraaddhhas during the Uttaraayana and Dakshinaayana timings as also Vishu Kaala are also certain to provide ‘Ananta Phala’ or Ever lasting Punya. Samkraanti and ‘Janma Dina’ shraaddhas are also stated to be highly fruitful.

Kaamya Shraaddhaas are helpful in any Nakshatras; Kritthika Nakshatra bestows Swarga Prapti; Rohini Shraaddha is to provide Santana Prapti; Mrigashira yields Brahma Teja prapti; Ardra nakshatra for Roudra Karma Siddhi or Shourya Siddhi; Punarvasu : Bhumi; Pushya : Lakshmi Prapti; Aslesha Shraaddha for fulfillment of desires; Magha for Soubhaagya; Uttara Phalguni  for wealth; Purva Phalguni for destruction of sins; Hasta Nakshatra Shradda for Jaati Sreshthata or Superiority in the Jaati; Chitra for Putra Prapti; Swati :Vyapaara Siddhi; Vishakha : Suvarna Prapti; Anuraha for Bahu Mitrata or for Great Friendships; Jyeshtha for Rajya Prapti; Moola for Krishi; Purvaashadha for Samudra Yatra; Uttashadya for Kamya Siddhi; Sravana for Bahu Sreshthata; Dhanishta for Sarva Kaamna; Satabhisha for Parama Bala; Purva bhadra for Dhaatu Prapti or precious metals like gold and Silver; Uttaabhadra for Shubha Griha or construction; Revati Nakshatra Shraddha for Bahu-Dhenu prapti; Ashwini for Ashwa Prapti and Bharani Nakshatra Shraaddha for long life.

Dina Phalas of Shraadhas are: Sunday-Arogya; Monday: Sowbhagya; Tuesdays; Vijaya or Victory; Wednesday: Kaamna Siddhi; Thursday:Abhishta Vidya Siddhi; Friday Shraaddha: Wealth and Saturday: Ayu Prapti.

Tithi-wise Shraaddha Phalaas are: Pratipada: Putra Prapti; Dwitiya : Kanya; Tritiya: Vandijana or Persons with  Praises: Chaturthi: Kshudra Pashu or low class animal; Panchami: Sundara Putra; Shashthi: Gambling succsess; Saptami: Krishi; Ashtami: Business Success; Navami: Sukha; Dashami: Pashu Laabha; Ekaadashi: Silver material and Putra with Brahmavarchas; Dwadashi: Gold and Silver; Trayodhashi: Superiority of Jaati; Chaturdashi Shraaddha is Varjita or to be avoided; Purnima or Amavasya: Fulfillment of desires.

One should perform Abhudaya Shraaddhaas at the beginning of a Kaarya-Praarambha or at the commencement of a Deed, at the birth of a son or Festival Days. Manu Deva prescribed five kinds of Shraaddhhaas viz. Nithya Shraaddha, Kaamya Shraaddha, Ekodishtaadi Naimitthika Shraaddha, Vriddhi Shraaddha, and Paarvana Shraadha; additionally there could be Yatraa Samaya Shraaddhas. Brahma prescribed Shuddi Shaaddha and Daivika Shraaddha and the latter relieves of fear. Shraaddhaas are never to be performed in the evenings and nights as a rule. How ever as exceptions, Shraaddhas may be performed during the Eclipse Timings of Surya and Chandra.

Shraaddhas performed in Ganga, Prayaga and Amarakantaka Kshetras are of such superior quality that Pitaras sing hymns saying:

Yeshtavyaa bahavah putraah Sheelavanto gunaanvitaah,

Teshaam tu samavetaanaam Yadyekopi Gayaam Vrajet/

Gayaam praapyaanushangena yadi Shaaddham samaacharet,

Taaritaah Pitarastena sa yaati Paramaam Gatim/

( Pitaras sing hymns saying that one should be blessed with many sons since atleast some of them might reach Gaya and perform Shraaddha so that the Pitaras attain ‘Uttama Gati’ High Class Journeys and the Karthaas could secure Paramagati.) Varaha Parvata where Hari and Ganga reside, as also Maha Kshetras like Vaaranasi, Ganga Dwaar (Hari Dwaar), Prabhasa, Bilvaka Tirtha, Nila Parvata, Kurukshetra, Kubjaagra Tirtha, Bhrugu tunga, Mahalaya, Kedara Parvata, Phalgu Tirtha, Naimisharanya, Saraswati River, Pushkara, Narmada, Bhadrakarnika, Vetravati, Vipaasha, Krushaavarta, Shrishaila,Godavari, and such other Sacred Places, Pitru Shraadhas and Pujas would be of great significance. Pitaras are highly satisfied with materials like Vrihi, Yavas, Maasha, Moolaas, Phalaas, Wheat, Tilaas, and  such other food materials as al so fruits like mangoes, Draaksha / grapes, pomegranate, Bhumi Kushmanda, etc besides honey and sugar with fruits. But, food materials like buffalo milk, Kaala shaakam or pippili, Masoor dal, Raajamaasha, brinjal, pinda mula etc. should be avoided.

Eligibility of Brahmanas for Shraddhaas: Brahmanas who are ‘Veda Paraayanas’ or Experts in Vedas being eligible for Havya-Kavya-Daana-Tirthas should therefore perform Pitru Tarpanas and Pindaanvaahaaryaka Shraaddhhas on Amavasyas. Their eligibility qualifications are as follows: They should be Somapayis, Rajoguna rahitaas, Dharma vidas, Shanta Chitttas, Vrata Parayanaas, ‘Niyama baddhaas’, Panchaagni Sevakaas, Adhyayana Nirataas, Agnihotra paaraayanaas, Nyaaya Vetthaas; Vedaanga Jnaataas (Viz. Siksha, Kalpa, Vyakarana , Nirukta, Chhanda and Jyotisha Disciplines), Rishika or Rishi Putra, Yagjna karta, Samskaara Shudda like Naama Karama and Sandhyo- paasaka; Dana Karta, Chandraayana Vrata Karta; Satyavaadi, Purana Jnaana Sahita; Guru-Deva-Agni Pujaasakta; Jnaana Parayana; Brahma Jnaani; and so on. The best such Brahmanas could be the most ideal in the Shraadha Karyas. Matahaha, Pitamaha, Matula, Swashura, Jamaata, Guru and such intimate relatives are also eligible. But friends are not to take part in the Pankti Bhojana. Employees of Officials, Veda Vikrayas, Gram Purohitas, Patitas and their progeny, Naastikas, Napumsakas, Kaapaalikas, Madya Sevakaas, husbands of widows, Mitra drohis, those who sacrifice parents,wife and children; Santaana heenas, Rogis, and such other disqualified Brahmanas are not to be engaged in the Shraaddha Karmas.

Shraddhaas should not be performed in the houses of others and if not possible in one’s own, may be organised in common places like Punya Tirthas, Forests, Deva Mandiras, Choultries and such other ‘Saarvajanika’or common places where there is no owenership of an individual where black Tilaas are freely spread over to ensure that no evil spirits could enter and the Shraaddha Bhumi gets purified. Then, there must be facility for cooking various ‘Annas’/ food, besides bhojya, bhakshya, peya and other kinds of food material.

Shraaddha Vidhi: As the mid- day arrives, the Karta and the participating Brahmanas should take their baths to ensure physical purity and inward cleanliness before the commencement of the Sacred Deed. The designated Brahmanas are to be seated over three Kushas looking ‘Purvaabhi mukha’. The Karta should then sprinkle ‘Tilodaka’ and offer the seat to the Pitru Brahmana with the Sankalpa Mantra viz. Aasadhwam etc.Vaishvadeva (Agni Deva) sambandhi Brahmanaas-two of them-would be Purvaabhimukha and Pitru sambandhi Brahmanas-three of them- would be ‘Uttaraabhimukha’; keeping in view the factors of Desha-Kaala-kaaranas and of availability, even one Brahmana each might suffice for the representatives of Pitrus and Devas. All the Pitru Karyaas must be followed after Vaishvadeva Karmas. ‘Shraadhhiya Anna’or the Cooked Rice meant for Shraaddha,  without salt  but with ghee is served to Agni. The formal  ‘Prathama’ or the first Naivedya must be done ( in house) at Deva Mandira. Pitru Brahmanas may be offered ornaments if any, besides garlands, Yagjna Sutras,dhupa, Vastra, Gandha etc. Thereafter Deva Brahmana/s should be seated Uttaabhimukha and Vishvey deevaasa etc Rucha be recited to invoke (Aavahana) Devas; they would take two Pavitra Kushas and recite the Mantra viz. sham no Devi, pour water into the Paatra or vessel and recite again the Mantra viz. Yavooseetim placing Yavas with water into the Vessel; then along with the Mantra viz. Yaa divyaa etc. the Karta should leave the Arghya Patra jala into the hands of the the Deva Brahmana. The next step is that the Karta would perform ‘Apasayva’of the Yajnopaveeta facing ‘Dakshinaamukha’and invoke Pitras with the Rucha viz. Ushantastwaa etc. Then recite the Mantra Sham no Devi etc and pour water  with Tilas reciting the Mantra Tilomsi etc. As done earlier in case of Deva Brahmanas, Arghya or water be poured into the hands of the Pitru Brahmanas; then the Anna with ghee is taken in hand, after making ‘Savyam’or from left shoulder to right of Yagmopavita and keeping kusha on hand , make the offering to Agni reciting: Agnow karishye! Then the response would be Kurushwaa. Always, Pitru Kaarya should be done in Apasavya and Deva karyaas are to be in Savya. The Karta should keep the right Jaanu (Knee) on the ground for all Deva karyas and vice versa recite the Mantra Somaaya vai Pitrumatey swadhaanamah and perform havan to Agni saying Agnaye Kavyavaahanaaya Swadhaa/ Then keep towards the Southen side Three Pindas or Rice balls of equal size-representing three generations of the deceased (viz the father, grand father and great grand father) on a cow-dung cleaned ‘Bhuvedi’(Platform) over Kushas spread and arranged with right palms turned to left as the spare morsels be sprinkled and dressed  all around the Pindas. Then the Karta should perform ‘Aachamana’ of three spoons full of water, slowly breathe and greet the Pitaras placed in vertical order. The Pindaas be worshipped with Dhupa-Deepa-Naivedya and the rest of the Prashad is consumed by Brahmanas.The wife of the Karta desirous of securing good sons should consume the middle pinda.Then the Karta should clean his hands with water, perform Achamana and serve the food to family members, relatives and friends. On the night when shraaddhai is performed, the Karta should observe celibacy and any departure from the rule would attract Maha Rourava naraka to the husband and wife concerned. Shraddha Kartha as well as those Brahmanas involved in the Shraddha should be placid, peaceful and pure-minded and to the extent possible observe ‘Swaadhyaaya’; they should also observe one meal that day; the Karta is required not to travle that day. Those who perform Shraaddhaa without Agni Karya, who are definitely required to travel or  are unwell or  would have to perform ‘Aama Shraddha’ only giving away uncooked rice and other material to a Brahmana and the recipient should recite Agnoukarana Mantra while accepting the material and ‘dakshina’. Those who perform the Shraaddha as prescribed are blessed by Pitras who not only lessen the impact of sins committed by the Karta but bring in auspicious tidings to him and his family.                               

There after the Karta should pray the Pitras as follows:

Daataaram nobhivardhantaam Vedaah santatirevacha,

Shraddaacha no maa vyagmad bahudeyam cha nostwati/

( May our Vamsha be full of persons who give large daanaas ( donations) and who possess Veda Jnaana; may our progeny be increased in good srtength; may not the persons in my clan lessen our devotion to Brahmanas, Pitaras and Devas as also our great interest in Shastras and Scriptures!

20    Tirtha Mahima: Gaya, Pushkara, Sarasvata, Kaalanjara and many other Tirthas

Romaharshana (Veda Vyasa) addressing the Sages at Naimisha Forest provided brief descriptions of several Tirthas and a few of them are mentioned here-below:


Gayaa Tirtham param guhyam Pitrunaam chaativallabham,

Krutwaa pinda pradaanam tu na bhuyovjaayatey narah/

Sakrud Gayaabhigamanam krutwaa pidam dadaati yah,

Taaritam tarastena yaasyanti Paramaa Gatim/

(Gaya Kshetra is one of the most beloved Tirthaas of Pitru Devataas and human beings who offer Pindas to Pitras have no rebirth. Even if once the sacred deed of ‘Pinda Pradana’ is executed at Gaya, Pitraas would be freed from Narakaas and are forwarded to Parama Gati.). At Gaya the most hallowed signs of Rudra Deva’s feet are imprinted on a Stone and offering Pindaas there would most certainly bless the Karta and redeem the Pitraas. Even while a person  is in a position to visit Gaya and perform the Pinda Pradana, he is lazy or careless and  the Pitras would feel disgruntled and dissatisfied. The Pitraas woud avow:

Yadi syaat paatakopetah swaadharmarati varjitah,

Gayaam yaasyati yah kaschit sosmaan santaarayishyati/

(Even if a person in my Vamshaa were highly sinful for any reason and did not observe ‘Swadharama’ but had visited Gayan Tirth and gave away Pinda Pradana, he would still be liberated!).

Prabhasa: is a Holy Place where Bhgavan Shri Krishna and Yadava Chiefs spent the last months of their lives there. Worship at that Kshetra by way of Snaana, Tapa, Shraaddha and Brahmana Puja would have lasting benefits including Uttama Loka Prapti. Traiyambaka Tirtha is worshipped by Devas and ‘Rudraaraadhana’at the Jyotir Linga there would bestow Jyotishtoma Yajna phala; ‘Aaraadhana’ of Kapardi and ‘Suvarnaaksha’ Maha Deva would yield Gaanapatya Pada prapti. Someshwara Linga Tirtha and puja there grants Sarva Vyadhi Nivaarana or relief from all kinds of diseases. Vijaya Tirtha housing Vijaya Maheshwara Linga is known for a Six-month long day-time Upavaasa ending with Evening worship would grant Parama Gati. Ekaamra Kshetra is famed for Shankara in the banks of Maha Nadi especially during Eclipse Timings; Snaanaas and worship would secure devotees the Ganapatya Phala and Kingship in their instant lives. Viraja Nadi Snaana assures of Brahma Loka; Purushottama Kshetra puja of Narayana grants of Vishnu Loka Prapti; Gokarneshwara Lingaabhisheka with milk and bilwa secures Shiva Sayujya.

Pushkara Tirtha: The unique Tirtha of Brahma is widely renowned in the World as Pushkara whose mere thought is enough to secure a wipe-out of sins and ensure an access to Brahma Loka. It is believed that  besides human beings, Deva-Gandharva-Yaksha-Naaga-Raakshasa-Siddhas were constantly engaged in the worship of Parameshthi Brahma Deva and when one worshipped at the Tirtha. Indra darshan too is available at the Tirtha besides fulfillment of wishes and also of Brahma Loka Prapti.

Saptasaaraswata Tirtha is a well known Place of Shiva worship that is stated to fetch Ashwamedha Yagna Phala. The belief was that one Muni named Manganaka who was an unparalleled Shiva Bhakta excelled in the constant Japa of the Panchaakshari Mantra of Om Namah Shivaaya  for several years and started performing Shiva Tandava with ecstacy. Shankara once approached the Muni and asked for the reason of his excessive joy and an over confident Muni replied that his happiness was due to his devotion of Shiva and the effect of constant Panchaakshari Japa. Shiva decided that the Muni became arrogant and decided to show down the Muni; he surpassed the Muni’s Tandava and revealed himself with thousand heads, eyes and feet with fire all round and fearful. The Muni got frightened and intensified his Rudraadhaaya Japa and prostrated before Maha Deva. The latter then cooled down and having embraced the Muni rewarded him with his vision of Tripurasamhaara Maheshwara along with Devi Parvati. Maha Deva then warded off the Muni’s terror and explained about himself to the Muni:

Aham Sahasra nayanah Sarvaatmaa Sarvao mukhah,

Daahakah Sarva paapaanaam Kaalah Kaalaaro Harah/

Mayaiva preryatey krutsnam Cheanaachetanaatmakam,

Sontaryaami sa Purusho hyaaham vai Purushottamah/

Tasya saa Paramaa Maayaa Prakritistrigunmaatmikaa,

Prochatey Munibhih Shaktirjagardyonih Sanaatani/

Sa yesha Maayayaa Vishwam Vyaamohayati Vishwavit,

Naraayanah Paro Vyakto Maayaarupa iti Shrutih/

Yevamekajjagat Sarvam Sarvadaa Sthaaapa-yamyaham,

Yojayaami PrakrityaahamPurusham Pancha vimshikam/

( I am the thousand faced and thousand eyed Sarvaatma who demolishes sins of my devotees; I am Kaala as also the Creator of Kaala; it is through me that the Chetana ( Conscious and fully aware) or Achetana or unaware Jagat gets materialised. I am the Antaryami or the Hidden Purushottama whose Prakriti Rupa of Three Gunas is called Maya the captivator and whom Munis realise as Sanatatana Shakti which is the the root cause of the Universe. I am the Sarvajna Purusha who through the Maya Shakti mesmerises and whom Shritis acclaim as the Narayana, Para and Avyakta. This is how I establish the World and act as a catalyst of Prakriti in creating the Maha Tatwa which in turn was the product of the Twenty Five Tatvas.)---

Evametaani Tatwaani Pradhaana Purusheswaraah,

Vishnu Brahmaacha Bhagavaan Rudrah Kaala iti Shrutihi/

Trayamedanaadyantam Brahmanyeva Vyavasthitam,

Tadaatmakam Tadavyaktam Tadaksharamiti Shrutih/

Atmaanandaparam Tatwam Chinmaatram Paramam Padam,

Aakaasham Nishkalam Brahma tasmaayanna Vidyatey/

( This is how all these Tatwaas are of Pradhaana Purusheswara. Shrutis confirmed that the three Entities of Vishnu, Brahma and Kaala Rudra are manifested out of the same Parama Purusha who was Avyakta /Unknown, Akshara Imperishable, Atmaananda Swarupa, Parama Tatwa, Chinmaya, Parama pada Rupa, Aakaasha Rupa and Nishkala (Spotless) Brahma and none else. In fact, there is none and nothing else beyond!). Manganaka Muni heard every word of Maha Deva, who blessed the Muni to secure Shiva Loka.

Kalanjara Tirtha: A King named Shweta at Kalanjara was a passionate devotee of Rudra Deva and having formally installed a Linga with high dedication worshipped for several years. On one auspicious day Maha Deva granted his appearance but as a scary and dancing Figure with a Trishula in his powerful hands with garlands of  human skulls and serpents; the Rajarshi got startled and holding the Shiva Linga tight recited ‘Shata Rudriya’ loudly with disbelief and shock. Shiva consoled the King and transformed himself into a peaceful Swarupa along with Devi Parvati as the King prayed to him still in a trance:

Namo Bhavaaya hetavey Haraaya Visdhwa sambhavey,

Namah Shivaaya dheematey namopavarga daayine/

Namo namo namostutey Mahaa Vibhutaye namah,

Vibhaagarupiney namo Naraadhipaaya/ 

Namostutey Ganeshwara prapanna duhkha naashana,

Anaadi nithya bhutaye Varaaha shringa dhaariney/

Namo Vrishabhadhwajaaya tey Kapaala maaliney namah,

Namo Mahaa nataaya tey namo Vrishabhadhwajaya tey/

(Salutations to Bhava the Cause and Creation of  the World; Hara; the bestower of Moksha; Maha Vibhuti Swarupa or of Manifestations and Faculties of Shiva; the Destroyer of Sorrows of those dedicated to him; You are the one without beginning and termination and indivisible too; You are the Shringa or horn of the  Varaharupa (with which Bhu Devi was rescued from Rasaatala); You are the wearer of skulls as garlands and Vrishabha Vahana). As the Prayer was over, Maha Deva granted ‘Ganapatya’or the Status of the Chief of ‘Ganaas’. Such was the background of Kalanjara Tirtha, where ‘Shiva -Araadhana’was stated to be of immence consequence.

Other Sacred Tirthaas: Mahaalaya is a Secret Tirtha where a ‘Shilaatala Charana’ or the Sacred Feet of Maha Shiva got materialised as a proof and warning to Nastiks or Non-Believers and is continued as a Maha Tirtha where ash-smeared bodied Bhaktas engaged in recitations of ‘Maha Nyasa’ are visible to date.  Kedara Kshetra continues to attract  global attention, despite natural deterrents of snow and other difficulities of access on high- altitude where Vrishaketu Maha Deva Linga is venerated with singular devotion after taking bath in the Kshetra, besides performing Shraaddhas, Daanaas and other ‘Karmas’ with great sense of endurance and fulfillment. Godavari and Kaveri River Banks are dotted with Kshetras where Pitru Tarpanas and Shraddhas are performed on all occasions like Eclipses and ‘Parva Dinas’of localised popularity besides being the Halllowed Places of ‘Nimajjanaas’or formal immersionsof human ashes adfter deaths. Brahma Tirtha enjoys international fame for Pitru Karyas like Shraddhas and Brahma Puja, where Sacred River Saraswati literally goes under ground and provides glimpses at intermittent places like Prayaga Sangama before merging into the Ocean ; the much famed Vyasa Tirtha in a mountain cave exists as per belief from where Vyasa Muni scripted Maha Bharata while noted by Ganeshwara himself from a nearby cave by telepathy. Maanasa Sarovara snaana is stated to result in ‘Indra’s Arthaasana’ or of half of Indra’s half throne. This is a popular Mountain of extraordinary vegetation and natural surroundings of medicinal properties and there is a strong belief that bathing in the Pushkarini near by would wash off ‘Brahma Hatya Maha Pataka’or the heinous sin of killing a Brahmana; the Puranic belief was that Indra who killed Vritrasura a Brahmana suffered the chase of Brahma Hatya ‘Paapa’ Devi who could not locate Indra hiding in the stem of a lotus flower  inside the Sarovara and that was how the disappearance of Indra led the temporary crowning of King Nahusha as Indra as the former performed ninty nine Ashwamedhas; the qualifier to become Indra was to perform hundred such Yagnas. On reaching Badarikaashrama, human beings would have got rid of sins typical of  Kali Yuga. This is the hallowed Kshetra where Nara-Narayana Mahashris stayed and performed great Tapasyas. Also, Badari had been the spot that Mahadeva as particularly fond of. Also, Badari is the Place where Pitru Pujas are immensly valuable as the process of redemption to Pitras is stated to be  quick and effective

21    Shiva Linga ‘Patana’ at Deva Daaru Vana, Brahma’s reproof to Munis and their remorse

( Brahma extols Shiva Mahima, Muni Stuti and Shiva’s discourse on Karma & Jnaana Yogas)          

In the days yore, thousands of Munis were engaged in their Tapasya along with their wives and families observing an orderly routine of Vedic duties and performing Yagnas frequently. Into this routine, Maha Deva landed as an attractive and healthy youth along with Vishnu as Maya Devi of enticing body features and matchless beauty. Apparently, both of the Maha Devas viz.Shiva and Vishnu desired to teach the Maharshis about the  ‘Pravrutthi Marga’(Karma Yoga of Grihastis) as against the ‘Nivrutti Marga’ (Sanyasa Yoga).There was a commotion in the Society as the womenfolk got mesmerised with the body features of Shiva as a romantic male and the sons of Munis went berserk with Vishnu as a dazzling female. The presence of the couple was highly disturbing especially as they were displaying romance in public and were even dancing in provocative postures. Some of the elderly Maharshis encountered the male youth and asked him about his antecedents and the latter replied smilingly that they desired to perform Tapasya; the Rishis asked the male youth to do so without his wife but Shiva replied that neither his wife desired to possess another male nor he would leave her any way. Asked as to who was he, Shiva replied that he was a Siddha and had been residing earlier in the ‘Brahma Maya Mandala’! As Shiva in the form of a Male Youth gave such careless replies, the Munis surrounded him despising the youth’s semi-nakedness and assaulted  him physically with blows and  punches and said:

Dushtaa charanti Girisham nagnam vikruta lakshanam,

Prochuretad Bhavaallingamutpaatayatu Durmatey/

(When the semi-nude Girisha faced the Munis, the latter shouted on them and said : Durmatey! You better drop off your Linga, the Symbol of man-hood)! Shiva replied that if they so insisted likewise, he would do so and having done so, Shiva disappeared and so did Vishnu in the feminine form. While this happened, there was sudden darkness all around, severe earthquakes were experienced, Planets were out of their positions and oceans were highly disturbed .

Maharshis prayed to Brahma Deva at this occurrence and a highly nervous and distressed Brahma replied:

Ha kashtam bhavataamadya jaatam Sarvaarthanaashanam,

Dhigbalam dhik tapascharyaa mithyaiva bhavataamiha/

Sampraapya Punyasamskaaraannadheenam Paramam nidhim,

Upekshitam vridhaachaarairbhavadbhiriha mohitaih/

Kaamkshatey Yogino nityam yatnanto yatayo nidhim,

Yameva tam samaasaadya haabhavadbhirupekshitam/

(Ha! What a huge misfortune had befallen; fie on your stupidity and senselessness! What ever Tapasya had been done all these years and decades had come to nought! Alas! Whatever physical and mental sacrifices that were made and almost reached fruition had been ruined and got wasted! Alas indeed, the great Nidhi / Fund that Maha Yogis and Yatis craved for their life times was no doubt achieved but slipped through fingers irretrievably!)

Brahma further expressed his dismay and sorrow at this most unfotunate incident to the Maharshis and described Parama Shiva’s magnificence as follows: At the time of Pralayas or the Great Universal Exterminations repeatedly occuring for thousands of Yugas in the Timeless Past, Bhagavan Shankara assumes Kaala Swarupa and annihilates Devas, Rishis, Pitaras and all Physical Beings in Creation. He then resumes Stishti after each such Pralaya. Since there is no difference between him and Vishnu, some times he transforms himself as he pleases into Vishnu Swarupa with Chakra, Vajra and Shri Vatsa symbol; during Krita yuga Shiva assumes Yogi Swarupa; in Treta Yuga he adopts Yagna Swarupa; in Dwapara Yoga he assumes Kaaala Rupa and in Kali Yuga as Dhumaketu. Rudra has manifested as Three Murtis encompassing the entire Universe. It was stated that the Prime Form of Tamoguna is Agni, Brahma signifies Rajo guna and Vishnu represents Satwa guna. Shiva’s another Swarupa is stated to be  Digambara (Nude), Shaswata and Shivatmika and is known as Para Brahma; his one-half of physical Form is his wife as Artha Nariswara; indeed he is Paramatma Narayana who creates and absorbs every thing into him. He indeed is the Supreme Enchanter and the Final Destiny!

Sahasra Purushah Sahasraakshah Sahasrapaat,

Eka Shringo Mahatmaanaa Puraanashtaksharo Harih/

Chaturvedaschaturmurtir- trigunaha Parah,

Ekamurtirameyaatmaa Narayana iti Shrutih/

(Maha Purusha Shri Hari , the Ashtaakshara Murti of Om Namo Narayanaaya, who possesses thousands of heads, eyes and feet had the distinction of pulling up the Universe with one ‘shringa’ / horn; the Shritis underscore that Narayana is of the Manifestations of Chatur Vedas, Chatur Murtis, Tri Murtis and Tri Gunaas and yet is really of a Single Form!)

Narayana who is the Prime Form of Water is the decider of the Karma Phala of every Being.  All the virtuous practitioners of Dharma look to him as an Example and through various Stutis and Mantras seek solace from him in their strife for Salvation. That Paramatma who creates and ends up the Samsara is neither born nor terminated nor even grown. In the Swarupa of Brahma, He sows the seed; as Vishnu he preserves and as Shiva uproots. Thus Paramatma assumes different Swarupas depending on their end-objectives!

Having said this, Brahma instructed the Maharshis to instal Lingas along the Pratimas of Devi and Putras and worship vigourously with the help of relevant Mantras. The installation of Lingas has to be accomplished with utmost reverence along the recitations of Vedas and Shata Rudriyas and the next generations too should be sensitized to worship the Shiva Linga with increased vigour and faith. After Brahma explained on the above lines and disappeared, the Maharshis felt ashamed of their thoughtless action and resolved to propagate universal awareness of Linga Pratishtha and regular Shiva Linga Puja. Then they prostrated before Bhagavan Shiva in their own hearts, minds and inner visions and most repentantly made the following Stuti:

Namo Devaadi Devaaya Mahadevaaya tey namah,

Traiyambakaaya Namastubhyam Trishula vara dhaariney/

Namo Digvaasasey tubhyam Vikrutaaya Pinaakiney,

Sarva Pranata dehaaya Swayam Pranataatmaney/

Antakaanta krutey tubhyam Sarva Samhaaranaayacha,

Namostu Nrittya sheelaaya Namo Bhairava Rupiney/

Naranaari shariraaya yoginaam Guravey namah,

Namo Daantaaya Shaantaaya Tyaapasaaya Haraaya cha/

Vibhishanaaya Rudraaya Namastey Krittivaasasey,

Namastey Lolihaanaaya Shitikanthaaya tey namah/

Aghoraghora rupaaya Vaamadevaaya vai namah,

Namah Kanakamaalaaya Devyaah Priyakaraaya cha/

Ganga saliladhaaraaya Shambavey Parameshtiney,

Namo Yogaadhipataye Brahmaadhipataey Namah/

Praanaaya cha Namastubhyam namo Bhasmaanga raaginy,

Namastey Ghana vaahaaya damshtriney Vahniretasey/

Brahmanaas cha Shiro hatrey namastey Kaala rupiney,

Aaaganti  tey na jaaneemo ganti naiva cha naiva cha,

Vishweshwara Maha Deva yosi sosi namostutey/

Namah Pramathanaayaaya Daatrey cha Meedhushtamaaya tey,

Namah Kanaka Lingaaya Vaari Lingaaya tey namah/

Namo Vahnyarkya Lingaaya Jnaana Lingaaya tey namah,

Namo bhujanga haaraaya Karnikaara priyaaya cha,

Kirtiney Kundaliney Kaal Kaalaaya tey namah/

Vaama deva  Maheshaana Devadeva Trilochana,

Kshamyataam yatkrutam mohaat tatwameva sharanam hi nah/

Charitaani vichitraani gruhaani gahanaanicha,

Brahma deenaam cha Sarveshaam Durvijayosi Shankara/

Ajnaanaad yadi vaa Jnaanaad yatkinchit kurutey Narah,

Tatsarvam Bhagavaaneva kurutey Yogamaayayaa/

(Our sincere salutations to you Devaadi Deva, Maha Deva, Trishula dhaari, Traimbaka, Digambara, Vikruta Rupa, Pinaakini; You are the refuge to one and all while you do not require anybody’s shelter or support; if Yama is the destroyer, you are capable of destroying Yama, if need be; You are the Greatest Dancer and is Bhairava; You are of Nara-Naari Swarupa or Ardha Naarishwara and the Yoga Guru; our greetings to you the Daanta, Shaanta and Taapasa Swarupa; Rudra! You are the Most Ferocious one, wearing Animal Skins ; Lolihaana (Serpent: an epithet for Shiva); Sthitikantha ( white throated); Aghora; Ghora Rupa or of  Grotesque Form; Vaama Deva; garlanded by Kanaka pushpas; Devi Priya Karta; Gangaadhara; Pramatha naatha; Shambhu; Yogadhipati; Brahmaadhipati; Of Ash leden Limbs; Praana Rupa; Megha Vahana or The One carried by Clouds; Damshtri! Vahni Reta or Fire-Spermed; Brahma Shira Harana or He who snipped one of Brahma’s heads; Kaala Rupa; Gamanaagama Jnaana nirata or he who knows about the Entry and Exit of all Beings; Vishweswara! Maha Deva! We salute you in the same Swarupa as You were when you disappeared; You are Pramadha Nadha! Sampada daata or the Bestower of Prosperity; Kapaala dhaari! Meedhushta Linga! Kanaka Linga! Vaari Linga! Agni Linga! Surya Linga! Jnaana Linga! Sarpamaalaa Dhara! Karnikaara Pushpa Maalaa Dhara! Kireeta-Kundala Dhara! Kaala Kaala! Vaama Deva! Trilochana! Maheshaana! Devaadhi Deva! You have hypnotized us and we are ashamed of what we did to you; do very kindly pardon us for our inexcusable and disgraceful action but we are all in your protection! You defy description as you are deep, secretive and complex. Maha Deva! Brahma and others could  simply not comprehend you! Whatever Human beings act is only the product of what Maya does and indeed Maya’s actions are the product of your own choice!)

As Munis made the above submission to Maha Deva, the latter granted to them his appearance; there after select Maharshis like Bhrigu, Angira, Vasishtha, Vishwamitra, Goutama, Atri and so on made a request to Maha Deva as to how one should worship him; should it be by the means of Karma Yoga or Jnaana Yoga! In fact Maha Deva entered Deva Daru Vana like a semi-lunatic as an attractive youth along with Vishnu in Stree Swarupa only to clarify on this very subject of worship: should it be by the Pravrutti Marga or Nivrutti Marga?

Shiva’s discourse on Karma and Jnaana Yogas: Mahadeva replied to the above queries on the same lines of what he revealed to Brahmadeva too: To attain Mukti, human beings have two options of Sankhya Yoga; one is Karma Yoga another is Jnaana Yoga; Karma Yoga alone would not secure Moksha and it has to be supplemented with Jnaan Yoga:

Na kevalena Yogena drushyatey Purushah Parah,

Jnaanam tu kevalam samyagapavarga phala Pradam/

Bhavantah kevalam yogam sdamaashritya vimuktayey,

Vihaaya Saamkhyam Vimalamakur-vanta parishramam/

Etasmaat kaaranaat Vipraa Nrunaam kevaladharminaam,

Aaagatohamimam desham jnaapayan Moha sambhavam

/(Merely Karmayoga shall not reach one to Mukti; Jnaana nishtha or the discipline of Jnaana too is essential. You persons are merely following karma sadhana without jnaana and that was the reason why I had to descend down in disguise to correct you!). You should all try to learn, understand and visualise the Jnaana route to Mukti.  Atma (Inner Soul)  is pure, unadulterated with inhibitions, transparent and permanent. That is the Brahma bhava; Yatis who practise the vision of Vishwa Swarupa become aware of that Jnaana and distinguish wood for the forest! Karma yoga or the relentless practice of virtuous deeds is no doubt useful and essential  upto a point but knowing of  Paramatma and of his qualities of Omni Presence, Omni-Science, Omni Potence, of His Infinity and Permanance needs to be understood clearly and  then continuous meditation be resorted to).

Jnaana yogarataah Shaantaamameva sharanam gataah,

ye hi maam bhasmanirataa dhyaayanti satatam hridi/

Madbhakti Paramaa Nityam yatayah ksheenakalmashaah,

Naashayaamyachiraat teshaam ghoram Samsaara saagaram/

Those who truly understand the futility of Samsara in their hearts would smear Bhasma on their face and body as a sign of Vairagya, seek my protection  recognising my Supremacy and engage in my Dhyana constantly). My Bhaktas must practise equanimity of sorrows and joys; from temporary failures and successes besides worldly distractions and joys.Then they should practise Brahmacharya, accord least importance to dress and related attributes of physical looks, false prestiges and vanity; enforce physical-mental control and think of nothing else than me.

 Mahadeva stated that in the past, he prescribed Paashupata Vrata:

Yesha Paashupato Yogah sevaneeyo Mumukshubhih,

Bhasmacchannairhi satatam nishkaamairiti vishrutih/

Veetaraaga bhayakrodhaa manmaaa maamupaashritaah,

Bahavonena yogena putaa madbhaava –maagataah/

(Those ‘Mumukshus’ who aim at Moksha have no desires and are always in the practice of Pashupata Yoga with Bhasma and Nishkaama as their hall-marks. They are fully rid  of desire, fear and anger and surrender themselves into my sanctuary).

Bhagavan further asserted:

Veda murtiraham Vipraa naanya Shaastraardhavedibhih,

Jnaayatey matswarupam tu muktwaa Vedam Sanaatanam/

Sthaapayadhwamidam Maargam Pujayadhwam Maheshwaram,

Achiraadaishwaram Jnaanamut- pashyati na samshayah/

Mayi Bhaktischa Vipulaa Bhavataamastu Sattamaah,

Dhyaatamaatrohi Saamnidhyam daasyayaami Munisattamaah/

(Brahmanaas! I am the Veda Murti. Persons like you who ignored Sanaatana Vedas and sought to adopt novel interpretations of  Shastras could indeed never realise me; You must now on revise your ways of thinking and observe Ishwara Puja which should provide you the Sanatana  Jnaana of Ishwara  without doubt. May you all be granted with enormous devotion to me; as you ponder about me and meditate to me, you should be able to come near to me!)

As Maha Deva preached the above and disappeared, the Maharshis commenced worship with full vigour and in the process and passage of time, they broadened their vision and raised certain relevant and germane queries in the quest of further knowledge:

Kimasya Jagato Mulamaatmaa chaasmaka –meva hi,

Kopi syaat Sarva bhaavaanaam hetureeshwara eva cha/

(What is the root cause of this Universe! The reply would be : The Atma is the genesis of the Universe!; What is the causation or inter-connection between Atma and the Material in the Universe! The reply would be:  Maha Deva is the Creator of all ‘Bhaavaas’ or Material.)

To annotate these pertinent queries, Devi Parvati appeared and the Maharshis who visioned her with thousands of ‘Tejojwaalaas’ or innumerable strings of extra- ordinary flames as the Maharshis came  to realise that Maheshwari was the Mula Shakti- the ‘Paramasya Beejam’ or the Supreme Seed- which was the Causation! They commended Parvati as the Maha Maya Shakti and saluted her:

Iyam hi saa Jajato yonirekaa Sarvaatmikaa Sarvaniyaamikaa cha,

Maaheshwari Shaktiranaadi Siddhaa Vyomaabhidhaanaa Divi Raajateeva/

Asyaam Mahat Parameshthi Parastaanmaheshwarah Shiva Ekotha Rudrah,

Chakaara Vishwam Para Shakti nishthaam Maayaamathaaruhya sa Deva Devah/

Eko Devah Sarva Bhuteshu Goodho Maayee Rudrah Sakalo nishkalascha,

Sa yeva Devi na cha Tadvibhinnametatjjyaatwaa hyamrutatvam vrajanti/

(This Maheshwari Shakti is indeed the core source of the Samsara and its Supreme Enforcer and Regulator; Devadi Deva Parameshthi the Unique and Adviteeya depends  on his own manifestation as Maya does ably assist in the Creation and deeds of the Universe).

22    Kurma Purana Phala Shruti and Kurma Deva Stuti by Maharshis

Etat Puranam Paramam Bhashitam Kurmarupinaa,

Sakshaat Devaadi Devena Vishnunaa Vishwa yoninaa/

Yah pathet satatam Martyo niyamena samaahitah,

Sarva paapa vinirmukto Brahma lokey mahiyatey/

( Kurma Purana is stated to have been recited by the Kurma Rupa dhari Adideva Vishnu himself. Those who read the Purana with concentration and sincerity would have their Paapaas demolished and attain Brahma Loka.)

 If one could formally write down the Purana and gift it to a Vedajna Brahmana during the Vaishakha Month that commendable deed would secure prosperity in the current life and enjoyment of Swarga Sukhaas therafter; in the subsequent life, he would be reborn with Brahma Vidya. Even reading one chapter of the Purana and assimilate its purport, the Reader would secure Parama Punya.

 Persons who aspire for Moksha, especially those who desire to assimiltate the latent and intensive meaning of Vedas must read, hear, cogitate and digest the contents of this Purana. Gifting of this Purana to a learned and mature Pandita would add on to the fund of Punya as it would open new vistas of further learning to the receiver as also to the donor.

 In short, this Purana opens up fresh frontiers of Learning, especially to visualise Bhagavan Narayana who is stated to be ‘Avyaktam Shaswatam Vishnum -anatamajamavyayam’ or Unknown, Everlasting, Omni Present, Endless , Unborn and Indestructible.

                                      Stuti of  Kurma Deva by Maharshis

Namastey Kurmarupaaya Vishnavey Paramatmaney,

Narayanaya Vishwaaya Vaasudevaaya tey namah/

Namo namastey Krishnaaya Govindaaya Namo namah,

Maadhavaaya Namastubhyam namo Yajneshwaraaya cha/

Sahasra shirasey tubhyam sahasraakshaaya tey namah,

Namah Sahasra Hastaaya Sahasra Charanaayacha/

Om Namo Jnaanarupaaya Paramaastaswa rupiney,

Anandaaya Namastubhyam Mayatitaaya tey namah/

Namo gudha shariraaya Nirgunaaya Namostutey,

Purushaaya Puraanaya Satthaamaatra swarupiney/

Namah Sankhyaaya Yogaaya Kevalaaya Namostutey,

Dharmajnaadhigamyaaya Nishkalaaya Namo namah/

Namostu  Vyoma tatwaaya Maha Yogeshwaraaya cha,

Paraavaaranaam Prabhavey Veda Vedyaaya tey Namah/

Namo Buddhaaya Shuddhaaya Namo Yuktaaya Hetavey,

Namo Namo Namastubhyam Maayiney Vedhasey Namah/

Namostutey Varaahaaya Narasimhaaya tey Namah,

Vaamanaaya Namastubhyam Hrishikeshaaya tey Namah/

Namostu Kaala Rudraaya Kaalarupaaya tey Namah,

Swargaapavaraga daatrey cha Namo Pratihataatmaney/

Namo Yogaadhi gamyaaya Yoginey Yogadaayiney,

Devaanaam Pataye tubhyam Devaarti shamanaaya tey/

Bhagavamstat prasaadena Sarva Samsaara naashanam,

Asmaabhi –vanditam Jnaanam Yajjatwa amritamashnitey/

Shrutaastu vividhaa Dharmaa Vamshaa Manvanta –raani cha,

Sargascha Pratisargascha Brahmaandasyaasya vistarah/

Twam hi Sarva Jagatsaakshi Vishvo Naaraayana parah,

Traatumarhasyanantaatmamstwameva Sharanam gatih/

(Our salutations to Kurmarupa Vishnu, Vishwarupa, Narayana, Vaasudeva, Krishna, Govinda, Maadhava, Yagneshwara! You possess thousands of  heads, eyes,  hands and feet. You are the Pranava Swarupa, Jnaana Rupa, Ananda Rupa Paramatma! You are of Undisclosed Physique, Nirguna and Mayaateeta or Beyond Falsity! You are Purana Purusha, Sattamaatra (Shakti) Swarupa, Sankhya Yoga Rupa, Advitiya or Unique, and Nishkala. Narayana! You are attainable only by Dharma and Jnaana; Vyoma (Sky) Tatwa Swarupa; Maha Yogeshwara; Creator of ‘Paraapara’ Material; Veda Vedya; Shudda / Jnaana Swarupa and Embodiment of Purity; Nirakara Swarupa or of Shapeless Form; Buddha or Jnaana Swarupa; Yoga Yukta; Hetu Rupa or the Cause of the Universe; Mayavi or Maya Niyantraka or the Regulator of Illusions; and Vedha or ‘Prapancha Srashta’.Our sincere ‘Pranaams’ to you Vishnu Bhagavan! You had assumed incarnations like Varaha Rupa, Narasimha, and Vamaa Rupa! You are Hrishikesha or Indriyeshwara; Kaala Rudra, Kaala Rupa; and ‘Swargaapavarga Pradaata’ or the Decider of Heaven or otherwise to various Beings. Bhagavan, You are ‘Apratihataatma’ or the Everlasting and Imperishable Soul; Yogaadi gamya or the Goal of Yoga; Maha Yogi and Yoga daataa; Deva Swami and Deva Kashta Shamana or the Reliever of Difficulties faced by Devas.Our prostrations to you Bhagavan! It is through  your grace that one secures Mukti from Samsara. It is through your elegance that one obtains Jnaana with which to learn Amritatwa. Kurma Deva! Through you from this Kurma Purana that we have learnt innumerable facts about Dharma, Sarga, Prati Sarga, Brahmanada, and so on. Indeed you are the Permanent Evidence of the Universes that came or in position and yet to emerge; We seek protection from You Vishwarupa, Parama Narayana and Anantaatma!)


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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