Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Important aspects of Shiva worship

Important aspects of Shiva worship

  • The Abhisheka
    Abhisheka is the worshipping ritual of the God in which substances like Cow's milk, Ghee (clarified butter), curds (Yogurt), honey, finely ground sugar, sugar cane juice, coconut water, water, rice and similar items, which are believed to be dearer to Shiva are poured on the Shiva Linga. It is believed that Lord Shiva will be pleased to have more and more of these items to be poured on the Shiva Linga. Lord Shiva will bless his devotees with wealth, health etc depending on the substances they offer him in the Abhisheka.
  • Importance of Rudrabhisheka
    One kind of abhisheka is called Rudrabhisheka, which is considered to be the most important. By performing this abhisheka, it is believed that they will be spared from untimely death. More over, the mantra's (religious chant) for this abhisheka includes mantra's for being spared from Navagraha's (nine planets) wrath. Hence from this abhisheka, the wrath of the Navagraha's will dissipate. People suffering from seven-year animosity of Sani, or people having Sani dosham (ill effects) should perform this abhisheka. There is belief that women should not touch the Shiva Linga during the Abhisheka.
  • Upavas
    On the Maha ShivaRathri day all the devotees observe Upavas, which means fasting or staying away from food for the day. It is said that Shiva will be pleased if one observes Upavas on this day. Scholars say that the term Upavas has an inner and more profound meaning and that is staying near to or with the thoughts of God. So they say that God will be really pleased when the devotees observe Upavas in its real sense.
  • Bilva Pooja
    It is believed that Shiva is fond of Bilva (one kind of tree). This tree is also named SriVruksh and SriParli. As per the mythologies Vishnu created this tree, in order to perform puja to Shiva. It is believed that when the leaves of this tree are used to perform pooja, all the yearnings come true. So all the devotees on this day invariably place the leaves of the Bilva tree on the Shiva Linga.
    It is said that who ever places these leaves on the Shiva Linga on this day, whether knowingly or unknowingly will be sent to heaven after death and all his earlier wrong doings will be pardoned by Lord Shiva


The Puranas contain many stories and legends describing the origin of this festival. According to one, during the Samudra Manthan, a pot of poison emerged from the ocean. This terrified the gods and demons as the poison was capable of destroying the entire world, and they ran to Shiva for help. To protect the world from its evil effects, Shiva drank the deadly poison but held it in his throat instead of swallowing it. Because of it, his throat turned blue, and he was given the name Nilkantha, the blue-throated one. Shivratri is the celebration of this event by which Shiva saved the world.

According to one legend, once a hunter was roaming in the jungle on the bank of the Kolidum River. He was chasing a deer when he heard the growl of a tiger. He ran as fast as he could and climbed up a tree nearby. The tiger stood at the foot of the tree and did not leave. All through the night, the hunter had to stay up in the tree. Afraid that he would fall if he fell asleep, he gently plucked one leaf after another from the tree and threw it down. At the foot of the tree was a Shiva Linga (an image of Lord Shiva). Without realizing it, the hunter, who was sitting on a vilva tree, threw the leaves down at the Linga. The tiger left in at sunrise. The hunter looked down, and found that the tiger was gone, and in its place stood Lord Shiva. The hunter prostrated in front of Shiva and received mukti the release from the cycle of birth and death.

According to a legend in the Ramayana, King Bhagirath once left his kingdom to meditate for the salvation of the souls of his ancestors. He observed a penance to Brahma for a thousand years, requesting Ganga to come down to earth from heaven. He wanted her to wash over his ancestor's ashes to release them from a curse and allow them to go to heaven. Brahma granted his wish but told him to pray to Shiva, who alone could sustain the weight of her descent. Accordingly, Ganga descended on Shiva's head, and after meandering through his thick matted locks, reached the earth. According to a modified version, what reached the earth was just sprinkles from his hair. This story is re-enacted by bathing the linga. The love of water, the primary element of life, is also remembered in this ritualistic action.

According to another legend in the Shiva Purana, once Brahma and Vishnu were fighting over who was the superior of the two. Horrified at the intensity of the battle, the other gods asked Shiva to intervene. To make them realize the futility of their fight, Shiva assumed the form of a huge column of fire in between Brahma and Vishnu. Awestruck by its magnitude, they decided to find one end each to establish supremacy over the other. Brahma assumed the form of a swan and went upwards and Vishnu as Varaha went into the earth. Nevertheless, light has no limit and though they searched for thousands of miles, neither could find the end. On his journey upwards, Brahma came across a ketaki flower wafting down slowly. When asked where she had come from, the ketaki replied that she had been placed at the top of the fiery column as an offering. Unable to find the uppermost limit, Brahma decided to end his search and take the flower as a witness. At this, the angry Shiva revealed his true form. He punished Brahma for telling a lie, and cursed him that no one would ever pray to him. The ketaki flower too was banned from being used as an offering for any worship, as she had testified falsely. Since it was on the 14th day in the dark half of the month of Phalguna that Shiva first manifested himself in the form of a linga, the day is especially auspicious and is celebrated as Maha Shivratri. Worshipping Shiva on this day is believed to bestow one with happiness and prosperity.

There is another possible reason for the origin of the all-night worship. Maha Shivratri being a moonless night, people worship the god who wears the crescent moon as an adornment in his hair, Shiva. This was probably to ensure that the moon rose the next night.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Art of Shiv Manas Puja

The Art of Shiva Manasa Puja

Lost in his world of devotion to the Lord, the divine verses fell out of the great Shankaracharya 's mind:

Aaradhayami mani sannibham athma lingam|
Maayapuri hrudaya pankaja sannivishtam||
Sradha nadhi vimala chitha jalabishegai|
Nithyam samadhi kusmaira punarbhavai||

I worship the Linga which is a part of my soul, which resides as an illusory lotus within my heart. I worship the Linga which is bathed by the clear waters of my devotion which flows like a river through me. I worship this Linga with a lotus everyday, so that I am not born again in another birth.

Rathnai Kalpitham asanam, Himajalai snanam cha divyambaram|
Naana rathna vibhooshitham mruga madha modhanvitham Chandanam||
Jathi champaka bilwa pathra rachitham, pushpam cha deepam Thada|
Deepam deva dayanithe pasupathe, hrud kalpyatham gruhyatham||

I offer you an imaginary throne made of precious stones, I offer you a bath in the melted waters of the Himalayan snow. I drape you in sacred silks and adorn you with precious jewels. I offer you sandal and musk and make offerings of vivla and champaka flowers to you. I offer you this holy lamp and all these offerings i make in the portal of my mind. Please O merciful Lord, bless me with your grace.

- * - * -

These words of love that the Shankara sang in praise of the Lord bring a sense of overwhelming peace in lesser mortals like me. To believe in Lord Shiva is one thing, to worship regularly is another but to feel the presence of Lord Shiva deep within the emotions rooted in the hrudaya kamalam is something else. To recite songs to the Lord is one thing, to understand the meaning is another but to realize the beauty of his presence within the self is a completely overwhelming experience.

Hrudaya kamalam, is the blooming lotus in the heart chakra and the presence of the Lord is felt when these divine verses stop time, stop activity, trivialize worry, discard greed and vanquish destructive thought. That is when the Bhakta knows that the Lord has descended into his being and he then proclaims himself as the Athma Linga.

I feel blessed to have been granted the sensibility to worship the Lord, I feel blessed to have been given the consciousness to realize his presence. I feel blessed to be able to offer vilva leaves and lotus to the Lord during worship. I feel blessed that my mind dwells deep into Lord Shiva and with every passing breath, with every passing thought I feel him, his reality, his presence.

My heart is his throne,
My mind is his home
The lotus of my heart is his bed
My thoughts are music to him
My breath is the beat in his steps
My body is his fortress
My speech is a song to him
My actions are his will
My eyes are an offering of the three leafed vilva
My self is his beauty
My life is his prana
My soul is but a part of him
I am but He

As I offer these sacred leaves and as I place my mind on his thoughts, I realize there is no great happiness in this world. Events come and go, people come and go, feelings come and go but all that is there to stay is my mind, my thoughts and the Lord who resides deep within the lotus of my heart.

Aathma thwam Girija Mathi sahacharaa prana sarreram gruham|
Pooja theey vishayopa bhoga rachana nidhra samadhi sthithi||
Sanchara padayo pradakshina vidhi sthothrani sarva giraa|
Yadyath karma karomi thathad akhilam shambho thavaradhanam||

My soul is your temple O Lord, my activities are your attendants. My body is your home and my acts to please my senses are but in worship of you. My act of sleep is but in deep meditation on you, and my walks are all in circumambulation of you. All my actions are but in your worship and all that falls out of my mind are sacred verses in praise of you.

When the mind rests on the Lord, and all actions are but attributes of his presence, how then does it matter who or what I am?

-: Shiva & their symbolism :-

-: Shiva & their symbolism :-

Lord Shiva represents the aspect of the Supreme Being (Brahman of the Upanishads) that continuously dissolves to recreate in the cyclic process of creation, preservation, dissolution and recreation of the universe. As stated earlier, Lord Shiva is the third member of the Hindu Trinity, the other two being Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu.

Owing to His cosmic activity of dissolution and recreation, the words destroyer and destruction have been erroneously associated with Lord Shiva. This difficulty arises when people fail to grasp the true significance of His cosmic role. The creation sustains itself by a delicate balance between the opposing forces of good and evil. When this balance is disturbed and sustenance of life becomes impossible, Lord Shiva dissolves the universe for creation of the next cycle so that the unliberated souls will have another opportunity to liberate themselves from bondage with the physical world. Thus, Lord Shiva protects the souls from pain and suffering that would be caused by a dysfunctional universe. In analogous cyclic processes, winter is essential for spring to appear and the night is necessary for the morning to follow. To further illustrate, a goldsmith does not destroy gold when he melts old irreparable golden jewelry to create beautiful new ornaments.

Lord Shiva is the Lord of mercy and compassion. He protects devotees from evil forces such as lust, greed, and anger. He grants boons, bestows grace and awakens wisdom in His devotees. The symbolism discussed below includes major symbols that are common to all pictures and images of Shiva venerated by Hindus. Since the tasks of Lord Shiva are numerous, He cannot be symbolized in one form. For this reason the images of Shiva vary significantly in their symbolism.

  • The unclad body covered with ashes: the unclad body symbolizes the transcendental aspect of the Lord. Since most things reduce to ashes when burned, ashes symbolize the physical universe. The ashes on the unclad body of the Lord signify that Shiva is the source of the entire universe which emanates from Him, but He transcends the physical phenomena and is not affected by it.
  • Matted locks: Lord Shiva is the Master of yoga. The three matted locks on the head of the Lord convey the idea that integration of the physical, mental and spiritual energies is the ideal of yoga.
  • Ganga: Ganga (river Ganges) is associated with Hindu mythology and is the most sacred river of Hindus. According to tradition, one who bathes in Ganga (revered as Mother Ganga) in accordance with traditional rites and ceremonies on religious occasions in combination with certain astrological events, is freed from sin and attains knowledge, purity and peace. Ganga, symbolically represented on the head of the Lord by a female (Mother Ganga) with a jet of water emanating from her mouth and falling on the ground, signifies that the Lord destroys sin, removes ignorance, and bestows knowledge, purity and peace on the devotees.
  • The crescent moon: is shown on the side of the Lord's head as an ornament, and not as an integral part of His countenance. The waxing and waning phenomenon of the moon symbolizes the time cycle through which creation evolves from the beginning to the end. Since the Lord is the Eternal Reality, He is beyond time. Thus, the crescent moon is only one of His ornaments, and not an integral part of Him.
  • Three eyes: Lord Shiva, also called Tryambaka Deva (literally, "three-eyed Lord"), is depicted as having three eyes: the sun is His right eye, the moon the left eye and fire the third eye. The two eyes on the right and left indicate His activity in the physical world. The third eye in the center of the forehead symbolizes spiritual knowledge and power, and is thus called the eye of wisdom or knowledge. Like fire, the powerful gaze of Shiva's third eye annihilates evil, and thus the evil-doers fear His third eye.
  • Half-open eyes: when the Lord opens His eyes, a new cycle of creation emerges and when He closes them, the universe dissolves for creation of the next cycle. The half-open eyes convey the idea that creation is going through cyclic process, with no beginning and no end. Lord Shiva is the Master of Yoga, as He uses His yogic power to project the universe from Himself. The half-open eyes also symbolize His yogic posture.
  • Kundalas (two ear rings): two Kundalas, Alakshya (meaning "which cannot be shown by any sign") and Niranjan (meaning "which cannot be seen by mortal eyes") in the ears of the Lord signify that He is beyond ordinary perception. Since the kundala in the left ear of the Lord is of the type used by women and the one in His right ear is of the type used by men, these Kundalas also symbolize the Shiva and Shakti (male and female) principle of creation.
  • Snake around the neck: sages have used snakes to symbolize the yogic power of Lord Shiva with which He dissolves and recreates the universe. Like a yogi, a snake hoards nothing, carries nothing, builds nothing, lives on air alone for a long time, and lives in mountains and forests. The venom of a snake, therefore, symbolizes the yogic power.
  • A snake (Vasuki Naga): is shown curled three times around the neck of the Lord and is looking towards His right side. The three coils of the snake symbolize the past, present and future - time in cycles. The Lord wearing the curled snake like an ornament signifies that creation proceeds in cycles and is time dependent, but the Lord Himself transcends time. The right side of the body symbolizes the human activities based upon knowledge, reason and logic. The snake looking towards the right side of the Lord signifies that the Lord's eternal laws of reason and justice preserve natural order in the universe.
  • Rudraksha necklace: Rudra is another name of Shiva. Rudra also means "strict or uncompromising" and aksha means "eye." Rudraksha necklace worn by the Lord illustrates that He uses His cosmic laws firmly - without compromise - to maintain law and order in the universe. The necklace has 108 beads which symbolize the elements used in the creation of the world.
  • Varda Mudra: the Lord's right hand is shown in a boon- bestowing and blessing pose. As stated earlier, Lord Shiva annihilates evil, grants boons, bestows grace, destroys ignorance, and awakens wisdom in His devotees.
  • Trident (Trisula): a three-pronged trident shown adjacent to the Lord symbolizes His three fundamental powers (shakti) of will (iccha), action (kriya) and knowledge (jnana). The trident also symbolizes the Lord's power to destroy evil and ignorance.
  • Damaru (drum): a small drum with two sides separated from each other by a thin neck-like structure symbolizes the two utterly dissimilar states of existence, unmanifest and manifest. When a damaru is vibrated, it produces dissimilar sounds which are fused together by resonance to create one sound. The sound thus produced symbolizes Nada, the cosmic sound of AUM, which can be heard during deep meditation. According to Hindu scriptures, Nada is the source of creation.
  • Kamandalu: a water pot (Kamandalu) made from a dry pumpkin contains nectar and is shown on the ground next to Shiva. The process of making Kamandalu has deep spiritual significance. A ripe pumpkin is plucked from a plant, its fruit is removed and the shell is cleaned for containing the nectar. In the same way, an individual must break away from attachment to the physical world and clean his inner self of egoistic desires in order to experience the bliss of the Self, symbolized by the nectar in the Kamandalu.
  • Nandi: the bull is associated with Shiva and is said to be His vehicle. The bull symbolizes both power and ignorance. Lord Shiva's use of the bull as a vehicle conveys the idea that He removes ignorance and bestows power of wisdom on His devotees. The bull is called Vrisha in Sanskrit. Vrisha also means dharma (righteousness). Thus a bull shown next to Shiva also indicates that He is the etemal companion of righteousness.
  • Tiger skin: a tiger skin symbolizes potential energy. Lord Shiva, sitting on or wearing a tiger skin, illustrates the idea that He is the source of the creative energy that remains in potential form during the dissolution state of the universe. Of His own Divine Will, the Lord activates the potential form of the creative energy to project the universe in endless cycles.
  • Cremation ground: Shiva sitting in the cremation ground signifies that He is the controller of death in the physical world. Since birth and death are cyclic, controlling one implies controlling the other. Thus, Lord Shiva is revered as the ultimate controller of birth and death in the phenomenal world.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mahadev & Swaminarayan

Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh are the three devas (deities) of creation, sustenance and destruction, respectively. The deva of destruction, Mahesh, is also more commonly known as Shiv, Shankar and Mahadev. He has many other names, related to his other virtues as we shall see later.

In the shastras he is described as having three eyes (the third in the centre of the forehead), a trishul (trident) and damru (small hand drum), coiled hair with the river Ganga pouring out, a crescent moon on the head, a cobra around his blue (neel) neck (kanth) and holy ash (bhabhut) smeared over his body.

Shivji’s consort is Parvati, also known as Sati. Consort means bhakta. His vehicle is Nandishwar – a divine cow. His abode (dham) is the Munjvat peak on Mount Kailas in the Himalayas, near Lake Maansarovar. His celestial abode is on Mt. Meru. His two sons are Kartikeya and Ganeshji. In his work he is helped by celestial beings known as devas, gandharvas, apsaras (damsels), devarshis, Yaatudhaans, rakshasas (demons), Kuber, ghosts and spirits. They are all known as Rudraganh – group belonging to Rudra (Shivji) and they live on Munjvat peak.

Shivji has also gifted half his body to Parvati. Therefore we also see this form of Shivji known as Ardhanarishwar. Ardha means half. Nari means female. Ishwar means Bhagwan. He is also Lord of the cosmic dance – Taandav. From the sounds of his damru originated Panini rishi’s Sanskrit grammar. Shivji also gave to mankind the knowledge of Ayurved and Dhanurved.

Other names of Shivji –
(1) Neelkanth: During the Samudra Manthan, the churning of the ocean, 14 objects, known as ratnas, sprung out. The first was a very deadly poison. It frightened both the devas and demons. They fled to Shivji for help. Being merciful, he drank the poison, but kept it in his throat (kanth). This turned it blue (neel). Hence he is also known as Neelkanth
(2) Chandrashekhar: The poison’s heat was so great, that to cool Shivji, the crescent chandra (moon), which appeared later from the ocean, took its place on Shivji’s head. Chandra has a cooling effect. Hence, he is named Chandrashekhar.
(3) Pashupatinath: Once he battled with three demons known as Taaraaksh, Kamalaaksh and Vidyunmaali. The beads of sweat from his forehead while fighting fell on earth. They became rudraksh, often used to make mala beads. The devas appointed him as pashupati during this battle. Nath means leader. Hence Pashupatinath.
(4) Har: This means destroyer. The sacred city of
Hardwar is named from this. Mahadev is also worshipped as ling form, known as Shivling. This is a smooth and rounded form of black stone. Worship of the Shivling is first mentioned in the Shvetashvatar Upanishad (1-13).

Archaeologists have discovered the murti of Rudra in a meditational posture from the ancient site of the Mohenjo-daro civilization.

There are 12 sacred Jyotirlings in India, which are all divinely formed. Their names and location are given in the pilgrimage section of this website.

Additionally, there is the naturally forming ling from ice in a cave in Amarnath, in the Himalayas. Thousands of pilgrims trek there between the months of Ashadh and Shravan (June to August).

Mount Kailas, formerly in India, (now in Chinese territory), is itself a huge, grand Shivling!

Shivji and the Swaminarayan Sampraday
(1) During NilkanthVarni’s Kalyan Yatra, Shivji and Parvati served food to NilkanthVarni on two occasions – in
Hardwar and in a desolate place in the jungles of south India.

(2) Bhagwan Swaminarayan consecrated Shivji in the Junagadh mandir as Siddheshwar Mahadev, on 1/5/1828 (Vaishakh vad 2, Samvat 1884).

(3) In the Shikshapatri (84), Bhagwan Swaminarayan has advocated venerable worship of Shivji, along with four other devas of Sanatan Dharma; Vishnu, Ganpati, Parvati and Surya.
In shlok 79, He commands us to devotionally celebrate Maha Shivratri with great festivity and observe a fast by having only farari food.

(4) The greatest Maha Shivratri pujan outside India, is performed in the Shri Swaminarayana Mandir, London. Thousands of devotees line up to do abhishek with milk of two large Shivlings, while sadhus chant Sanskrit mantras.

(5) Shivlings are consecrated in Ganapati’s shrine in all shikharbaddh (pinnacled) mandirs of the BAPS Sanstha. Besides the daily worship rituals, these Shivlings are offered pujan with bili patra (bili leaves) on behalf of bhaktas by the pujari everyday during the holy Shravan month.

Lord Shiva and Shravan Month Festival
Shravan Month Festival of Lord Shiva. The shravan mas(month) is known as the month of lord shiva. In Hinduism, The shravan month is the holiest month in a year.In shravanmas all mondays(Somvar) people worship lord shiva and fast. In the morning go to Lord Shiva temple and pray, pile the linga with Bel leaves, milk, yoghurt, clarified butter.

The belief is that in Shravan month, offering milk, holy water to Lord Shiva earns a lot's of punya. also belief that Girls who fast on all Mondays(somvar) of Shravan get a nice husband.

Many festival in Shravan Months

Naga-Panchami Festival
Hindola or Swinging Festival
Narali Purnima Festival
Shravani Purnima Festival
Raksha Bandhan Festival
Rishi Panchami Festival
Sitala Saptami Festival
Janmashtami Festival
Ajaikadasi Festival

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

kashi vishvanath - jyortiling

Benares (Vishwanath) : Jyotirlinga India

Varanasi (Vishwanath) : Jyotirlinga in India

Varanasi - Benares – Kaasi (in India) is considered to be the holiest of all pilgrimage sites in India. It is considered home to Lord Shiva - Visweswara. Benares is also known as Kaasi because it is beleived that Supreme brilliance shines there, and lights the way to salvation (Kas - to shine). Varanasi is located between two rivers Varana and Asi, and hence the name Varanasi (in Uttar Pradesh) UP.

This place is said to give the greatest delight to Hindu God and hence the name Anandakanana; the five elements lie in this great cremation ground as will all dead bodies at the time of the final deluge and hence the name Mahasmasaanam.

Benares has been a pilgrimage center since time immemorial. It is believed that the fifth head of Hindu God Bhrama which clung to Shiva's palms came unstuck only after he reached Varanasi. Varanasi has been mentioned in the Tamil Tevaram hymns of the first millennium CE. Kasi is mentioned repeatedly in the scriptures such as the Bhramanas, Upanishads, Kavyas and Puranas. It is the oldest center of learning, and is vibrant with centuries of tradition.
Benares houses the Kaasi Visweswara (Viswanatha) temple, enshrining one of the twelve Jyotirlingams of Lord Shiva. This temple was desecrated and rebuilt several times. The latest structure dating back to the 18th century (thanks to the efforts of Rani Ahilyabhai Holkar) is the center of attention of the millions of pilgrims who converge here, to perform an abhishekam to the sacred Jyotirlingam, with water from the Ganges. Benares is also considered to be one of the Shakti Peethas of India. It is believed that the left hand of Sati fell at Varanasi, and that Annapurna or Visalakshi represent the Shakti Peetham here.

Apart from these temples, there are five other sacred spots in
Benares. The Asi-Ganga sangamam, at Lolarka houses a temple to the Sun God. The rivers Ganga and Varana converge at a spot where there is a shrine to Kesava. The Panchaganga Ghat houses a temple to Bindu-Madhava. It is believed that five rivers Kirana, Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati and Dhuta-papa converge here. The Dasaswamedha Ghat where it is believed that the ancient kings performed the aswamedha sacrifice ten times and took a dip in the Ganga.

The last of the sacred spots is the Manikarnika Ghat. Legend has it that Vishnu dug a pit with his chakra, and the sweat created during his meditation filled the pit. Shiva shook his head and his jeweled earring fell into the pit, hence the name Manikarnika. Tradition has it that those that die at
Benares and get cremated at the Manikarnika ghat, get liberated from the cycle of life and death.

Hyuen Tsang, the Chinese traveller visited
Varanasi in the 7th century. His travel accounts speak of the grandeur of the city and of its temples. This writer describes a hundred feet high statue of Shiva Maheshwara made of brass that adorned the city.

Several other temples and shrines adorn the city of
Benares. Virtually every block houses a shrine here. Mention must be made of the modern shrine to Kaasi Viswanatha elsewhere in the city. Shivaratri in the month of Aquarius is a season of great festivity at Benares.

Meaning of the Panchakshar Mantra

Meaning of the panchakshara mantra

Jul, 08 '09 Subject: MAHADEV, Viewed by: 0

Meaning of the panchakshara mantra

The meaning of this matchless mantra is abound. The puranas and the philosophical texts talk in a very detailed and elaborate manner its meaning and significance and hail its ultimateness. Here only a simple meaning is presented to start with. The word shiva means auspiciousness and perfection. It refers to the god who is perfect without any kind of dependency on anything external to make it complete. Naturally because of this self-perfection, it is completely blissful and ever auspicious. (all other auspicious things are in one way or the other dependent on the external circumstances etc.) The prefix namah is the mantra of salutation. The mantra namahshivaya salutationally invoke the perfect god shiva.

Ways of chanting the panchakshari While many mantras have restrictions as to when and how it can be chanted etc., there is no such restriction to the panchakshara mantra. “When you sleep as well as when you do not sleep, think of the holy five syllables with heartful of devotion ! This is the mantra that terribly kicked out the death when chanted (by markandeya) with sincerity.” Whoever you are, whenever be the time, whatever be the situation chant the holy five syllables. There are no restrictions of color, creed, caste, gender or any other restrictions. All it requires is sincerity. This mantra could be chanted as it is as panchakshara or could be chanted along with the pranava (aum) as shadakshara mantra (om namahshivaya). In fact it is to be noted that pranava itself is panchakshara mantra (akara, ukara, makara, bindhu, natham). Benefit of chanting the mantra
The thoughts make the person. The one who has the positive thoughts is happier and the one full of worries is the sad one. The thoughts not only have effect at that moment but they definitely make impression on the personality of the individual, which could have a very long lasting impact. In this background while the good thoughts itself would be making things better, what needs to be said about the super-powered mantras that are rich in meaning as well as energy ! Given the fact that “we tend to become what we keep thinking about”, when one chants the sacred panchakshara that hails the god as perfection and auspicious, it would take one towards that blissful perfection. It takes to the union with the supreme god. What else can be more rewarding ! Even the worst sinner would get corrected and get to the glorious states if chants this mantra piously.

Learning the various scriptures and chanting thousands of stotras (praise) of god, is all given secondary importance to chanting this great mantra. The authentic scriptures very clearly state that for the one who chants this mantra, even if none of the other scriptures are known or even any other worship of god is undertaken, that person would definitely gets eligible for the immense grace of the supreme lord shiva. For this the chanting of the holy five syllables has been prescribed as a definite requirement for the devotee. The sadhaka who wears the holy ash (vibhooti or bhasma) and rudrksha and chant (jap) the panchakshari with rudraksha japa mala gets more fruitful results. The supreme mantra very simple to chant and comes with no restrictions attached in order for everybody to chant and get benefitted. With no inertia in mind chant and keep chanting as much as possible namahshivaya.

Full of love, with melting heart, tears brimming, one who chants leading them to the glorious path, the name that is the real essence of the four vedas is the mantra nanaha shivaya.
***Sarve Janan Sukhino Bhavantu***
***Mahadeva Kataksha Siddhirastu***

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Shiv Katha

It is said that Brahma sat in deep meditation holding all his vital energies and from the sound of Om that he held close to his heart, emerged Shiv. He came out of Brahma’s forehead.

Shiv married twice, once the granddaughter of Brahma, named Sati and also married Sati again when she was reborn as Parvati, the daughter of the King of the Himalayas, Daksha. He had two sons, Ganesh and Kartikeya.

Shiv is destroyer of evil and the most feared of the gods. He is commonly depicted seated in profound thought, with a third eye in the middle of his forehead. His hair is matted and the crescent moon sits on his head. The river Ganges flows from his head. One popular myth has it that the Divine river Ganges condescended to come down to earth after being assured that Shiv the great god of the Himalayan mountains, had been pleased with a devotees penance, and had agreed to bear the impact of the falling torrents of the river by controlling it in the matted locks of his head.


Centuries ago, Shiv is said to have revealed himself to his true devotees in the form of a Jyoti or light. On their request to reside by them for an eternity, he installed himself near them, as Linga. Thus amongst the several lingas in the world, we have 12 which are called the Jyotirlinga. Many have described these Jyotirlinga as the divine light that emerged from the earth at the onset of creation of Mankind, while others see it as a golden egg, as bright as a thousand suns. The places where these are located are today considered to be pilgrim centers, a reference of which can be found in Shiv Purana.


An interesting story is associated with the emergence of this Jyotirlinga situated in the Veraval (Prabhas Kshetra) in Kathaiwad district. According to the Shiv Purana it was on the request of the Chandrama and other Gods that Bhagwan Shankar assumed the name Somchandra (Jyotirlinga) and resided there eternally. He became famous by the name of Somnath in the three worlds. It was the Prabhas Kshetra where Bhagwan Shri Krishna performed all his Lilas.


Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga is situated in the north of Pune, on the Sahayadri, by the banks of the river Bhima. Pleased by the devotion of a king named Bhimak of the Sun dynasty, Shiv called the Jyotirlinga in his name. However, the Shiv Purana states that Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga is situated on the Mountain Brahmapur, district Kamrup of
Assam, where Shiv had incarnated so that he could destroy the demons and protect his devotees. On the sincere request of the Gods and sages he agreed to reside there eternally by the name of Bhimashankar.


The Jyotirlinga named Ghrushmeshwar, Ghurmeshwar or Ghushmeshwar is situated in a village called Verul, approximately 100 kms from Manmad station. The Shivpuran speaks of the emergence of the linga through the following story.
In the southern direction, on a mountain named Devagiri there lived a Brahmin named Brahmavetta Sudharm, along with his wife Sudeha. They did not have a child of their own because of which Sudeha got her sister Ghushma married to her husband. By the blessing of Shiv Ghushma was blessed with a beautiful fortunate baby boy. This made Sudeha jealous towards her sister and so one night she took Ghushma's son and killed him and threw him in a lake. The next morning so absorbed was Ghushma in worshipping Shiv, that she did not deter even when she was told about her son's death. She said, he who has given me this child shall protect him, and started reciting 'Shiv-Shiv' continuously. Pleased, Lord Shiv appeared before her and told her that her sister had killed her son. Ghushma however, told Shiv to forgive Sudeha and asked him to reside there in the form of a Jyotirling eternally for the benefit of the multitudes and be known by her name.


Shri Kedareshwar is situated on the Himalayas, on a mountain named Kedar. NarNarayan, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu performed severe penance in Badrikashraya of Bharat Khand. He regularly prayed to the Shivalinga. Pleased with his undeterred faith and devotion, lord Ashutosh asked him to wish for something. Nar Narayan, requested him to reside there eternally so that all people who worshipped him would be freed from their miseries. Granting the boon, Shiv assumed the form of a linga that was installed on the
Kedar Mountain.

This is amongst the seven holy places that can liberate a human.


According to a story, a five-year-old boy named Shrikar was enthralled seeing the devotion of king Chandrasena of
Ujjain towards Shiv. He took a stone and by considering it a linga started worshipping it regularly. Pleased by the boy's devotion Shiv assumed the Jyotirlinga form and resided in it. This Jyotirlinga is situated below the ground in a Garbha Griha. The linga is quite big in size and is encircled by a snake of silver. On one side of the linga there is the idol of Lord Ganesha, on another side is the idol of Parvati and Kartikeya.


This is situated on mountain named Shri Shaila by the banks of the
Krishna river in the state of Tamil Nadu of Southern India. It is also known as Kailash of the south. It is believed that by merely seeing the tip of this mountain one is free from all his sins and worries. The person becomes free from the vicious cycle of life and death. According to the Shiv Purana, when Shri Ganesh was married before Kartikeya it made Kartikeya angry, and despite being consoled by his parents Shiv-Parvati, he went away to the Kraunch Mountain. Shiv-Parvati were very sad and both decided that they would go to Kraunch mountain themselves. When Kartikeya came to know that his mother-father have arrived he went away. Eventually Lord Shiva assumed the form of a Jyotirlinga and resided on that mountain by the name of Mallikarjuna. Mallika means Parvati, while Arjuna is another name of Shiva. In this way both Shiva and Parvati reside in this linga.


I Shri Nageshwarnath Jyotirlinga is situated on the way from Gomati Dwarka to Bait Dwarka.According to the Shiv Purana there was once a demon called Daruk who had collected a huge army of demons and had started harassing all the innocent people residing in the sea. Amongst his prisoners there was a prisoner by the name Supriya. He was a great devotee of Shiv. He advised all prisoners to recite the mantra 'AUM NAMAHA SHIVAYA.'

When Daruk came to know about this he ran to kill Supriya. Shiv then appeared through a small hole and a beautiful temple with walls was formed. In the middle of the temple a lustrous JyotirIinga was installed. In this way Shiv resides there eternally by the name of Nageshwar and Goddess Parvati by the name Nagesbwari. According to the Shiv Purana who ever reads with devotion the story of the birth and greatness of this Jyotirlinga will get all material happiness and will attain divine status in the end.


God of all the Gods Shiv's Omkareshwar linga is situated on the mountain Mandhata. Mammaleshwar is another name which comes in the context of OMKARESHWAR, however the existence of these two is actually different. It is said that once upon a time Vidhya Parvat practiced severe penances and worshipped Parthivarchana along with Lord Omkareshwar for nearly six months. As a result Shiv was pleased and blessed him with the desired boon. On the sincere request of all the Gods and the sages Shiv made two parts of the ling. In one he resided as the Pranav or Omkar and assumed the form of Omkareshwar and Bhagwan Sadashiva, while parameshwar, Amareshwar or Amaleshwar assumed form from the Partivlinga.


It is said that Ram installed this Linga here, when he was on his way to attack Ravana. Ram made a linga of sand and worshipped it and asked to be blessed so that he could vanquish Ravana. He also requested Shiv to reside eternally here so that entire mankind could benefit from it. Shiv then manifested himself and the Linga got installed there for eternity. Those who go to Rameshwar and seek Shiv's blessings, shall always reside in Shivloka. There is a Shrine named Dhanushkodi twenty miles away from Rameshwaram. It is known for rites performed for the deceased ancestors. In the vicinity of this there are a number of temples.


Shri Trimbakeshwar is situated in the district Nashik of
Maharashtra state. Near this is the Brahmagiri mountain from which the Godavari flows. Once upon a time there lived a sage name Gautam with his wife named Ahilya. The ultimate aim of their life was penance and good of others. However the wives of other sages staying in the vicinity, jealous of them, conspired with their husbands, to drive Gautam Rishi and his wife out of the area. All the sages came together and started worshipping Ganesh who tried to dissuade the sages but when the sages did not listen he gave them what they wanted. The sages set up a trap for Gautam Rishi who humbly agreed to take the punishment for the crime that was pinned on him. The sages suggested a penace that only Gautam Rishi's determination could make him complete. Seeing his dedication, Shiv told him the truth. However Sage Gautama defended those sages and pleased with him, Shiv gave him a boon. Gautam Rishi asked for the Ganga to stay there eternally for the good of all the people. On the request of all the Gods, Shiv resided by the river Gautami by the name Trimbakeshwar (one of the JyotirIingas.). This Jyotirlinga named Trimbak, is the one which fulfills everyone's desires. It emancipates all from their sins and miseries.


This Jyotirlinga is situated, in the south west of Keeul Station situated on the Patna-Calcutta railway route. It is said that once Ravana started worshipping Shiv with mind and soul. He would partake Panchagni in the hot summer months, while staying in the cold water throughout winters. During the rains he would stay in the open fields and practice serve penance. He made a Parthivlinga and instal1ed it. He dug a pit near it and lighted fire just beside it. The Vedic scriptures state that he worshipped Shiv in front of the fire. One by one he would cut his heads and offer it to the Lord. When he was about to offer his tenth head to the God, Shiv appeared and blessed him with a boon. Ravana asked for invincibility and tremendous might and power and requested Shiv to accompany him to Lanka. Shiv gave him a linga telling Ravana that the Ling would fix itself to the ground and shall remain there for eternity. He thanked Shiv and holding the linga carefully started of for Lanka. On the way however, Ravana handed over the linga to a small boy who could not withstand the weight of the linga and dropped it on the ground. Despite all his efforts Ravana could not lift it. This Shiv linga is the Jyotirlinga named Vaijnath. By worshipping Vaijnath Jyotirlinga one can eliminate all worries and miseries, and attain Moksha.


This Jyotirlinga is situated in Kashi and is famous by the name of Shiv Vishwanath Kashi. According to the scriptures this place was forever destroyed when the earth was submerged under water (Pralaya). It is believed that those who die here attain liberation and it is here that Shiv gives the Tarak Mantra. The one who prays and worships Vishweshwar with devotion attains all his desires and one who incessantly recites his name attains all siddhis and finally gets liberated.