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Shiva, Pasupata - Astra

Submitted by admin on Tue, 03/22/2011 - 05:49

Brahma and Vishnu witness the Fiery Lingam

 

Once upon a time, the Yogin of
yogins and the master of Maya, was having his siesta on a bed of coiled snake.
He had the goddess of wealth, Mahalakshmi by his side with his attendants.  Brahma, the Vedic scholar of scholars, dropped
in on Vishnu by happenstance unannounced. Haughty Brahma fired off a salvo of
insults at Vishnu for he thought that Vishnu was not paying respects to a
scholar of such colossal intelligence and learning. Brahma put the lotus-eyed Vishnu on the
defensive by blaming him to be haughty. Brahma told Vishnu that he was his Lord
and respect was not forthcoming from Vishnu.  He suggested that Vishnu would have to perform
expiatory rites  to erase the infraction and called him the most wretched
of the wretches.

Vishnu, a cool god under all
circumstances, was so shocked that his hair including the mark of Srivatsa stood
on end. He bristled up with anger and
such was his anger that seethed inside him when Hiranyaksa took the earth to
the bottom of the ocean and Lord Vishnu in the form of Boar had to rescue Bhumidevi,
the Earth Goddess, who was hanging to Lord Boar’s tusk by the toenails.  He was boiling inside but being Mayin, he was
cool outside. He invited Brahma to sit on his snake couch and accorded him formalities
of reception fit for the Lord of Creation. He, in a concerned voice, asked him
why his face was contorted and showed agitation and why his eyes were blazing
with fire of anger. He never saw such anger in his eyes before, which was
almost equal to the fire emitted by Sankarshana at the beginning of fiery
dissolution of the universe.

Brahma said to Vishnu that he
traveled at the speed of wind, mind and Time, that he expected him to receive him
with honor fit for the creator and protector of the Universe and that he was
his protector too. Vishnu replied, “Sonny, you sprang from me. But for me, your
existence would not have come about. What are you talking about? Remember you
were born on the lotus of my navel. You are talking nonsense and your words are
frivolous.”  They were arguing back and
forth, quoting citations about the superiority of one over the other.  It soon worsened and they were fighting like (Rocky Mountain)
goats (Oreamnos americanus,[their Indian cousins]) who
try to defend and augment their harem, with a band of
females watching from a safe distance sporting a mirthful grin on their faces.

 

Both of them summoned Vedas to
tell them who the unchanging entity in the universe was. They assumed a human
form and voice. Rgveda said that Rudra was the repository of all Bhutas
(elements) and origin of everything and he was the greatest entity. Yajurveda
said that Siva was the object of worship, sacrifice and meditation and that Siva
was the sole Seer. Samaveda said that the universe existed on account of Siva,
that he was meditated upon by Yogins, and that he was the Light of the universe.
Atharvaveda said that Siva was the most auspicious One beyond all misery, that
he was the Lord of gods, and that devotees obtained vision of Siva.  Brahma
and Vishnu then went ahead and leveled attacks on Siva's personal appearance. They
said, " You (Vedas) lost your mind, relevance and meaning. You have no wisdom. Siva is
naked, of yellow complexion, and laden with dust. He is ugly and his dress is
atrocious. He rides a bull, he wears a russet matted hair, and he wears snakes
around his neck. How is it possible he could be Brahman?

Pranava (OM) glorified Siva about
his Sakti, effulgence, eternality, and bliss. Brahma and Vishnu were not
convinced on account of Maya of Siva having a sway on them.--Siva Purana

Brahma was seated on his graceful
Swan, his vehicle of choice, and not to be outdone, Vishnu was seated on his glorious
Garuda, the possessor of power and devotion. 
They fought and fought, feathers were flying all around.  Soon blows were exchanged and they stepped
back to regroup and use more lethal weapons. The Devas and other celestials,
who always enjoyed a good fight, started gathering to witness the fight of the
kalpa. They came in aerial cars and hung in the midair for a while, but soon
started to scamper looking for vantage point to witness the mother of all
fights. They knew that they had to share their stories with their consorts; the
one with the best story always got the best review. They knew this was no
ordinary fight like what they always had with the Asuras. This was special: a
fight between the Creator and the Preserver. They had a high regard for both,
because their very existence depended on the fighting gods. They took a stand
and it was to stay neutral and out of the way. They showered flowers from celestial trees, which
have both ripe fruits and flowers in full blossom at the same time.

Brahma and Vishnu entertained thoughts on
weapons of mass destruction. Vishnu shot arrows on the chest of Brahma. It was an
endless rain of arrows and Brahma started looking like he was growing steely
hairs on his chest. The arrows rained and rained and it was like the
rain that Indra sent to the cowherds,

Gopis and the animals, who took shelter
under the Govardhana hill held aloft by Lord Krishna.

Brahma returned the favor and sent a shower of arrows to Vishnu. The Devas and
the Celestials were shaking in fear and wonder. They never saw a fight of this
intensity; the fight with Asuras was a picnic compared to this. 
Vishnu, the cool, collected, benevolent God of great Grace, started
showing traces of annoyance towards Brahma and uttered a few Mantras (like the
software program [and hardware of the modern day weapons]) and shot the Mahesvara weapon.
Brahma was so agitated knowing the launch of such a weapon that he sent an
antimissile missile called Pasupata weapon. The missiles met in the air and destroyed
each other. (The idea of missiles and antimissile missiles existed in Indian
Mythology.)

 

Soon they realized that they were
equal in weapon systems, called truce and went to Siva for arbitration.  Siva, the Supreme Brahman, who bears the
Trident (!), is the creator, the preserver, and the destroyer of the universe
and besides no one (I mean no one) exceeds him in Obscuration and Grace (Tirobhava and
Anugraha).  Nothing moves in this world
and universe (including galaxies, high seas, air, and land) from Brahma to a
blade of grass without his knowledge and consent. Such is his Greatness. Siva
being the creator of the Universe, Intel (intelligence) flows into him in a
continuous stream. They (Brahma and Vishnu) both knew Siva’s Abode, the summit of Kailas,
where the God who sports the moon on his forelocks lives. Kailas
shone like a thousand suns and the summit was of the shape of Omkara (OM), the
first sound of the universe. Brahma and Vishnu hung their heads in deep
reverence and entered the Palace of palaces, the abode of Siva. They went into
the council chamber. There he was, the Lord of the Universe, Siva himself.  He was seated on the Throne of thrones,
studded with precious diamonds and gems of all kinds. Uma was seated beside
him. His right leg was placed over the knee of the left leg. His lotus-like
hands were resting on his legs.  He was
auspiciousness personified. His attendants were standing all around him. The
attending celestial ladies were fanning him. The sound from the recital of Vedas
praising his virtues filled the large chamber. Tears of joy ran down from the
eyes of Devas, when they witnessed this grandeur.  The auspicious Lord was conferring his Grace
on every one. The Devas fell prone like sticks and performed Danda-Pranama to
the Lord by falling prostrate towards the feet of Lord Siva with all eight
parts of their body on the floor: the outstretched hands, the chest, the
forehead, the eyes, the throat, the body, the knees, and the feet. What a
spectacle of respect, reverence, devotion and grace!

Siva called the Devas to come close
and addressed them in the manner of a parent to children (Vatsalya). He inquired
about their welfare and wondered aloud why they were so concerned about the
fight between Brahma and Vishnu.  He
smiled at them benignly and used sweet words to soothe them, saying that he was
already aware of the fight and that he would do everything in his power to
prevent any catastrophe. He announced that he would personally lead his army
and ordered the commanders to get their men ready for war (a strategy). Hundreds
of commanders went out and readied their men and weapons. The army set in
motion with accompanying music.  The Lord
himself mounted a vehicle shaped like Omkara; His sons, Ganas (attendants), Devas
(gods), Indra and other celestials were in tow. The banners were flapping in the
wind, showers of flowers were pouring down from the sky; music filled the air;
chowries and fans cooled the commanders; and goddess Parvati and Pasupati (Siva)
went to the battlefield. (Siva without Sakti [goddess Parvati, the Sakti or
power of Siva] is unthinkable.)

Siva on the way to the battlefield
suddenly disappeared into thin air. There was a sudden silence; music stopped
and the attendants and field commanders wondered what happened to their Lord,
the Commander-in-Chief.  Meanwhile Brahma
and Vishnu were wondering whether the missiles, Mahesvara and Pasupata,
launched by them reached their target. As the missiles were cruising in the sky
they left in their trail a tail of fiery flame which burned the three worlds. Upon
seeing what looked like the end of the world by fire, the bodiless form of Siva
assumed the most terrifying form of a huge tower of fire with no ends at sight.


 

Brahma and Vishnu upon seeing the
column of fire exchanged glances and words, wondering what it was. They never
saw a fire of this magnitude and shape. According to Linga Purana
(Chapter 17) a pillar of flame with a thousand tongues appeared in front of
them. It had no beginning, no end, no middle, and no distinct parts. It was
beyond comprehension and explanation. The Eternal First letter A appeared on
the right side of the column of fire, the letter U on the left side, the letter
M in the middle, and the sound of AUM came from the end. In a flash, the
configuration changed. Vishnu saw the First Syllable A in the south, which
appeared as a brilliant disk of the sun. The letter U appeared in the north and
had the fiery brilliance of the fire. The letter M appeared in the middle and
looked as bright as the full moon.  Towering all these elements, Lord Siva
appeared as a pure crystal, which was the fourth dimension which had no
interior or exterior, and no duality of opposites. It was void and Bliss.  It was the Source itself. Lord Vishnu, the
Mayin of mayins was himself deluded by the Maya of Siva. They agreed mutually
that they had to find the ends of this fiery column. Nothing could be
accomplished if both went together in search of the bottom and the top.  So saying Vishnu took the form of a Boar (he
looked like a moving glob of black collyrium—Linga Purana) and went in search
of the bottom end of the column of Fire. The Black Boar measured a hundred
Yojanas in length and ten Yojanas in girth, (1 Yojana = 8 miles). It was as big
as Mount Meru.
It had glistening curved white teeth. It had the splendor exceeding that of the
sun and a grunt louder than a thousand thunderclaps.  Its body on closer inspection was
multicolored and its legs were short. Brahma assumed the form of a swan and
flew at the speed of wind, mind, and thought to find the top of the column.  Vishnu dug and burrowed his way through the netherworlds
and utterly exhausted, not finding the bottom, came back to the battlefield in
dejection. Brahma, flying higher and higher hoping to reach the top, saw a flower falling down from above him. This flower
dropped from the head of Siva as Siva was laughing at the childish fight
between Brahma and Vishnu. Brahma, noticing the flower, asked it who was wearing
it and why it was falling. The flower replied that he was falling from the
middle of the fiery column for eons, that it never saw the top of it and that
it would be impossible for Brahma to reach the top. Brahma hit upon the idea of
recruiting a false witness in the flower who would back his claim that he
(Brahma) reached the top of the column. He bowed again and again to the Ketaki
flower and persuaded the flower to collude with him. On reaching the
battleground and seeing Vishnu thoroughly dejected and unhappy, Brahma jumped
for joy. Siva Purana mentions that Vishnu admitted to Brahma his failure to
find the bottom was worse than a eunuch’s inability to mount a conjugal
response (7.26). Brahma addressed Lord Hari (Vishnu) saying that he found the
top and the Ketaki flower was his witness. The flower supported what Brahma
said and spoke in words confirming what Brahma said to Vishnu. Vishnu paid homage
to Brahma and worshipped him ritually in sixteen ways.  Siva the True Witness of the universe and the
Repository of intel (intelligence) came out
of the fiery column to punish Brahma for his false claim and conscripting a
false witness. Vishnu on seeing Lord Siva, immediately stood up in respect, paid
homage, fell prostrate at his feet and held them.  He spoke to Siva saying that out of
foolishness, ignorance, delusion and false pride he undertook the journey
to find the ends of his body of fiery column, which was unfathomable. He wanted
a full pardon and forgiveness and wondered aloud whether this was a divine sport
of Lord Siva to test, and teach him a lesson.

Lord Siva told Vishnu that he admired
his honesty and adherence to the truth, though in a moment of temporary delusion
he wanted to be the Lord of the Universe. He further stated that from then on
he would be equal to him in every way and that he would be honored in a manner
equal to him. Vishnu was glad to hear from Siva that he would have his own separate
temples of worship, idols, images, devotees, festivals, rituals and rites. Devas
witnessed all these happenings in the Hall of Siva.

Mahadeva (Siva) created from his
glabella (forehead between the eyebrows) a person by name Bhairava for the
specific purpose of teaching a lesson to Brahma and redress his misplaced pride,
untruth and false testimony. 
Bhairava
knelt before Lord Siva, waiting for orders. Shiva ordered Bhairava (Lord Fear
himself) to cut the lying head off from Brahma’s five head cluster with a
sword. Bhairava caught hold of the tuft of the lying head of Brahma, the fifth
head that pronounced the falsity and shook the sword in a menacing way. His
body shook like a plantain tree caught in a storm, his jewels fell here and there,
his clothes became loose and slid down, the garland was hanging around his neck
askew, the once-glorious tuft was mussed up, and the head fell at the feet of
Bhairava.

Acyuta (Vishnu) standing by Lord
Siva saw all that happened, was shocked, saddened and overtaken by compassion,
shed rivers of tears on the compassionate feet of  the Lord, begged him to spare Brahma’s life,
held his palms together as a mark of reverence and prattled like a baby. Vishnu
continued to speak to Siva saying that he was the one who gave Brahma the five heads, that he was the one who cut off his fifth head and
that he should spare his life. Siva turned towards the four-headed Brahma and
told that henceforth he would not be honored any more and that no temple would
be built for him. He turned to Ketaka flower, guilty of perjury, and told that
henceforth, the Ketaka flower would not be used or worn by him (remember that
it fell off his head before) and the Devas in worship. But out of consideration
and compassion, Siva told that Ketaka flowers could be used for decorative
purposes. That was the fall of the Ketaka flower from grace.

Brahma, Vishnu and the Devas praised
the Lord who, having been pleased, declared that henceforth, that day would be
celebrated as “Sivaratri, the night of Siva.” Any one who worships the Lord in
the form of Linga on that day would benefit from merits equal to one year of
worship. Linga confers joy, salvation and complete liberation from
samsara.  Since the fiery Linga rose like
a mountain of fire, the Linga would become famous as Red (Aruna meaning red)
mountain. In Tamil Nadu, Arunachala mountain
of Tiruvannamalai
represents the
fiery Linga. Worshipping the Linga form confers five kinds of salvation:
Salokya, Samipya, Sarupya, Sarsti, and Sayujya.

The dead soldiers and attendants of Lord Brahma and Vishnu came
back to life from the grace of Siva. He told them that he has two forms: the Manifest
and the Unmanifest. Siva is formless and Unmanifest Brahman; Linga is his
manifest form. Brahman is Brahmatva and Linga is Isatva, the embodied form. The
symbolic fiery column is his Brahmatva. Siva performs fivefold duty: creation,
maintenance, destruction, veiling and grace. 
Sarga is creation, Sthiti is preservation, Samhara is destruction, Tirobhava
is veiling, and Anugraha is liberation. The Lord’s activities are in evidence
in the five elements: Creation in earth, maintenance in water, destruction in
fire, veiling in the wind, and Grace in ether. The five faces of Siva preside
over these five activities. Brahma and Vishnu receive the portfolio of creation
and maintenance respectively, Rudra is in charge of destruction, Mahesa
(Mahesvara) in charge of veiling. But Grace, the fifth function is the
exclusive right, privilege, and function of Sadasiva. Siva tells that Brahma and Vishnu forgot their assignments
and regarded themselves as Mahesa, the giver of Grace, which is impossible. This
lack of knowledge was because of failure to worship Lord Siva by Brahma and
Vishnu. He urged them to resume worship of him.  He taught them the Omkara mantra. A comes
from northern face, U comes from the western face, M comes from the southern
face and the Bindu comes from the eastern face. Nada, the mystical sound comes
from the middle face, the one pointing to the sky. Name and form are pervaded
by mantra, Om, which is Siva and sakti. Om

is also the origin of Namasivaya, the five-syllabled mantra. Siva in the
presence of Ambika, his consort, placed his hands on the heads of Brahma and
Vishnu and taught them the mantra, when they were facing north. Mantra, yantra and tantra
accompanied worship performed by Brahma and Vishnu who repeated the mantra
three times. Mantra is a magical formula based on a sound, a syllable, a word, a
phrase or a verse which, when chanted in silence, solo, or chorus, creates wholesome
vibrations and energy.
Yantra is a mystical diagram made of alphabets, syllables,
and diagrams etched on metals and stones, whose purpose is to invoke god for
progeny, health, wealth etc. Computer circuit board is a comparable analogy for
Yantra.   Tantra is the sacred text comprised of descriptive,
instructive and prescriptive scriptures about religion, science, practices
(Pranayama, breathing exercises), and mystical knowledge. Yantra is the hardware, Mantra is the coded
computer language, and Tantra is the software application.

            Brahma and
Vishnu held their hands against their chest with opposing palms as a mark of
reverence and paid their fees by dedication to the cause. They sang his glory.
Siva is without form; full of luster; the Soul of all souls including theirs;
the origin of Pranava, Om; and the creator, the preserver
and the destroyer. Siva proceeded to instruct Brahma and Siva on Pranava and
five-lettered Mantra, Na-Ma-Si-Va-Ya and later vanished into thin air.

           

          
Yantra

 

Notes from Exodus.

When God's servant Moses led his people out of Egypt,
they were directed by a
pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It is interesting to note
pillar of fire is another manifestation of fiery Lingam. Cloud and fire are the
God's guiding elements.  It appears that all the elements that Hindus
consider as Brahman or God came to the rescue of Moses and his people. Clouds
and fire served as guide; the waters parted as the wind blew and held the sea
back as two walls to their left and right. When the wet mud clogged the chariots
of the pursuing Egyptians, the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down
upon and discomfited the host of Egyptians.