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Shiva Lilas Part I

Tripurari | Siva Jyoti | Nilkantha | Ravana And Siva | Hari And Siva | Brahmas Boon | Birth of Subrahmanya | Lord Siva And Daksha | Dakshinamurti | Tripura Samahara | Lord Siva Curses And Pardon Nakirar

Tripurari

Siva was the destroyer of the Asuras, Tripuras. He destroyed the Tripuras or the three cities of the Asuras which were built of gold, silver and iron by Maya. The Asuras oppressed all theists, being protected by the three cities. Siva is called Tripurari because He destroyed the Asuras, Tripuras, and the cities, Tripuras.

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Siva Jyoti

Brahma and Vishnu were one day disputing which of the two was the greater. Siva appeared in the form of an Infinite Jyoti or fiery Linga, in order to destroy their pride. Brahma and Vishnu set out to measure the Jyoti. They failed in their attempts.

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Nilakantha

When the ocean was churned, a terrible poison came out. Siva swallowed this in order to save the world. This caused a blue stain on His throat. So He is called by the name Nilakantha.

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Ravana And Siva

Ravana was a great devotee of Lord Siva. He used to go everyday to Mount Kailas to worship Lord Siva. He found this very troublesome. He thought within himself to bring the whole mountain to his abode in Lanka in order to save himself from the trouble of a daily journey to Mount Kailas. He began to pull up the mountain which trembled. Parvati, consort of Siva, got frightened. She embraced Lord Siva. Siva pressed Ravana with His toe and sent him down to the nether world.

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Hari and Siva

Hari used to worship Siva daily with a thousand lotuses. One day one lotus was missing. He plucked out His own eye to make the number of a thousand. Siva gave Vishnu the Sudarsana Chakra or discus, being very much pleased with His devotion. It is this Sudarsana Chakra which Vishnu always bears. This discus is itself an embodiment of devotion.

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Brahma’s Boon

ARakshasa worshipped Brahma and asked Him to grant him the power to destroy the whole world. Brahma was partially unwilling to grant him this boon. He consented in a half-hearted manner and asked him to wait. The Devas, hearing this, were terribly frightened and went to Siva and told Him everything. Siva danced in order to delay the granting of this boon by Brahma, to distract him and thus save the world.

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Birth of Subrahmanya

The Asura Taraka drove all the gods from heaven. The gods went to Brahma. Brahma said to the gods: "The Asura has acquired his power through my grace. I cannot destroy him. I shall suggest to you one plan. Go to Lord Siva. He is in Yoga Samadhi. He must be tempted to unite with Parvati. A powerful son will be born unto Him. He will destroy the Asura".

Thereupon, Indra asked Cupid (Kama) to go with his wife Rati and his companion Vasanta (the spring), to Mount Kailas, the abode of Lord Siva. The three persons at once proceeded to Kailas. Spring season appeared there. All the Rishis were surprised at this. Kama stood behind a tree and shot an arrow at Siva. At this moment Parvati was worshipping Siva and offering flowers in His hand. Her hand touched the hands of Siva. Siva felt suddenly a thrill of passion and His seed came out. Siva was wondering what was it that thus distracted Him from His Yoga. He looked around and witnessed Kama behind a tree. He opened His third eye. A fire flashed and burnt Kama to ashes.

Siva’s seed was thrown into Agni (God of Fire). Agni was not able to bear it. He threw it into the Ganga. Ganga threw it into a forest of reeds where Subrahmanya, called the reed-born (Sara Janma, Saravana Bhava), was born. Subrahmanya became the commander of the Devas and destroyed the Asura as Brahma intended.

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Lord Siva and Daksha

Daksha goes to attend the sacrifice of the sages who are the progenitors of the world, and not being honoured by Rudra who has come before him, Daksha reproaches Him and leaves the place. Nandisvara in his turn, curses Daksha and other Brahmins. Rudra then leaves the place of sacrifice. Sati, daughter of Daksha, known also by the name Dakshayani, requests Siva’s permission to attend her father’s sacrifice, the Brihaspati-sava, and Siva shows how inadvisable it would be.

In spite of her Lord’s advice, Sati goes to Daksha’s sacrifice. Disregarded by her father and enraged at finding no offering made to Rudra, she praises the greatness of her Lord, censures Daksha and by the Yoga method casts off her body.

Hearing of Sati’s casting off her body, Sankara creates in His anger Virabhadra out of His Jata (or matted locks) and causes Daksha’s death.

Informed by the gods of the destruction of Daksha, Brahma pacifies Rudra, and Daksha and others are revived.

Being pleased with Brahma’s praise, Siva goes along with the gods to the scene of sacrifice; Daksha and others are revived; Vishnu issuing forth from the sacrificial fire is praised by Daksha and others. After the closing ceremony of ablutions, the gods return home. Maitreya describes the benefit of listening to this story, the birth of Sati as Parvati, and that of Skanda.

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Dakshinamurti

On the Mount Kailas, with Parvati Devi by His side, Lord Siva was sitting in a hall beautifully decorated by precious stones. At that time, Devi worshipped the Lord and requested Him to alter the name of Dakshayani given to her before, for being the daughter of Daksha. This Daksha was killed by Lord Siva for his disrespect and arrogance. On hearing this request Lord Siva ordained that Devi should be born as the daughter of Parvata Raj who was doing rigorous Tapas for getting a child. He also told Parvati that He would come over to her and marry her. Thus ordained, Parvati Devi was born as the child of Parvata Raj and since her fifth year, began to do rigorous Tapas for being the bride of Lord Siva.

Lord Dakshinamurti

During the absence of Devi, when Lord Siva was alone, the sons of Brahma, who are sages Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanatkumara, came to have Darsana of Lord Siva and prostrated before Him. They entreated the Lord to teach them the way to remove Avidya and attain salvation. They expressed that in spite of the vast study of scriptures they had no internal peace and they were in need of learning the inner secrets, by knowing which they could attain salvation.

Lord Siva, hearing this appeal made by the sages, assumed the form of Dakshinamurti and remaining as the Guru Supreme, began to teach them the inner secrets by keeping Mouna and showing the Chinmudra by His hand. The sages began to meditate on the lines shown by the Lord and attained the state of inexpressible and illimitable joy. Thus Lord Siva came to be known as Dakshinamurti. May the blessings of Lord Dakshinamurti be upon us all! May you all dive deep and enjoy the everlasting Peace and Bliss through His Grace!

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Tripura Samhara

This occurs in the Karna Parva of the Mahabharata. In times of yore, there was a war between the Devas and the Asuras. The Asuras were defeated in the battle. The three sons of the Asura, Taraka, wanted to take revenge on the Devas. They performed rigorous penance and obtained a boon from Brahma, the creator. By virtue of this boon, they could not be conquered by any one save somebody who could destroy their three castles by a single arrow.

They made three castles, one of gold in heaven, the second silver in air, and the third of iron on earth. They began to oppress the gods and the Rishis. Thereupon, all the gods made a complaint to Brahma. Brahma replied that no one save Mahadeva who knows Yoga and Sankhya, through particular penance, could vanquish these Asuras. All the gods approached Mahadeva and provided Him with a chariot out of all forms of the universe. They also supplied Him with a bow and arrow, the constituent parts of which were Vishnu, Soma and Agni. They requested Mahadeva to discharge the arrow against the three castles. Brahma became the charioteer. Mahadeva discharged the arrow against the three castles. The three castles fell down in the twinkling of an eye. Then all the gods eulogised Mahadeva and departed to heaven.

Mahadeva said to the gods that He Himself could not destroy the Asuras, as they were very strong, but that they themselves would be able to vanquish with the help of half His strength. The gods replied that they could not bear half His strength and that He should take up the task with the help of half their strength. Mahadeva agreed to this. He became stronger than all the gods. Hence He was called Mahadeva or the great God.

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Lord Siva Curses and Pardons Nakirar

Once, a Pandya king of Madurai felt that his queen’s hair had some kind of natural fragrance. A doubt arose in his mind as to whether human hair could have natural fragrance, or could be rendered fragrant only through association with flowers or scents. He went to the Sangham or the Tamil Academy the next day, suspended a bag containing one thousand gold pieces and said to the poets that anyone who would write a poem clearing the doubt he entertained in his mind would get the gold pieces as a prize. Many poets composed poems but they were not able to satisfy the king.

Darumi, a Brahmin priest in the temple, was extremely poor. He requested Lord Siva thus: "O all-merciful Lord! I am very poor. I wish to marry now. Relieve me of my poverty. Help me to get these gold pieces now. I take refuge in Thee alone". Lord Siva gave him a poem and said: "Take this poem to the Sangham. You will get the gold pieces".

The king was immensely pleased with the song as it cleared his doubt, but the Sangham poets did not accept it. Nakirar, one of them, said that there was a flaw in the poem. The poor priest was greatly afflicted at heart. He came back to the temple, stood in front of the Lord and said: "O Lord! Why did You give me the poem which contained a flaw? Nobody will take You for the Lord. I feel very much for this". The meaning of the poem is: "O fair-winged bee! You spend your time in gathering flower-dust. Do not speak out of love, but speak out of truth. Is there any among the flowers known to you that is more fragrant than the hair of this damsel who is most loving, is of the colour of the peacock and has beautiful rows of teeth!"

Thereupon, Lord Siva assumed the form of a poet, went to the Sangham and asked: "Which poet found out flaw in the poem?" Nakirar said: "It is I who said that there is a flaw." Lord Siva asked: "What is the flaw?" Nakirar said: "There is no flaw in the composition of words. There is flaw in the meaning." Lord Siva said: "May I know what defect is there in the meaning?" Nakirar said: "The hair of a damsel has no natural fragrance. It gets the fragrance from association with the flowers." Lord Siva said: Does the hair of Padmini also possess fragrance by association with the flowers?" Nakirar said, "Yes." Lord Siva said: "Does the hair of celestial damsels also possess fragrance by association with the flowers?" Nakirar replied, "Yes. Their hairs become fragrant by association with Mandara flowers." Lord Siva said: "Does the hair of Uma Devi who is on the left side of Lord Siva whom you worship possess fragrance by association with the flowers?" Nakirar replied: "Yes. Quite so."

Lord Siva slightly opened His third eye. Nakirar said: "I am not afraid of this third eye. Even if you are Lord Siva, even if you show eyes throughout your whole body, there is flaw in this poem." The fire from the third eye of Lord Siva fell upon Nakirar. Nakirar was not able to bear the heat. At once he jumped into the neighbouring lotus-tank to cool himself.

Then all the poets approached Lord Siva and said: "O Lord! Pardon Nakirar." Lord Siva appeared before Nakirar. Through the grace of Lord Siva his body was rendered cool. He repented for his mistake and said: "I pointed defect even for the hairs of Uma Devi. No one but the Lord can pardon me." He sang a song with intense devotion. Lord Siva entered the tank and brought him to the shore.

Then Nakirar and other poets gave the purse of gold to Darumi.

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