Prequel to Siva Sahasranama

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This document outlines the events leading to the Siva Sahasranama in the 13th parva of the Mahabharatha.

Text of Prequel to Siva Sahasranama

Prequel to Siva Sahasranama- The stories leading to it, as told in Mahabharatha Anushasanika parva.

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IntroductionThere are several known versions of Siva Sahasranama in various scriptures like Mahabharatha, Siva Purana, Linga Purana, Rudrayamala Tantra, etc. Amongst them the version that occurs in the 13th Parva of the Mahabharatha is considered by many, to be the most ancient and popular. It is in the same parva (13th = Anushasanika), the highly popular Vishnu Sahasranama, is also found. Unlike the Vishnu Sahasranama, which is recited by Grandsire Bheeshma himself, this Siva Sahasranama is uttered by Lord Krishna, upon Bheeshmas request. Both these hymns occupy a very high place in the Sanathana Dharma tradition. The stories that lead to the Shiva Sahasranama, in the 13th Parva of the Mahabharatha, are not quite well known. The benefit in knowing these stories, especially to those devoted to worshipping God as Lord Shiva, is that it inspires them and strengthens their devotion. When one finds God incarnate, Lord Krishna adoring Parameshwara (as told in Mahabharatha) it provides great inspiration to the Shiva Bhakthas. Similarly, the description in Bhagavatham of Lord Siva assuming the form of a gopi to partake of the bliss of Rasa Leela enacted by Shri Krishna, would undoubtedly act as great source of inspiration to Vaishnavas. Mahabharatha is replete with several instances of Hari single-mindedly worshipping Hara and vice versa. Even grandsire Brahma is extolled as supreme, in certain sections of the epic (like in Karna Parva). This only goes to show the essential non-difference between the trinity, especially between Shri Hari and Lord Shiva. These stories serve to inspire aspirants from various backgrounds, to not only rigorously adhere to their Sadhana in a bid to realize their chosen ideal but in the process live in respectful mutual harmony with fellow spiritual aspirants of different backgrounds and faiths. Another beautiful aspect of Mahabharatha in general, is that it gives considerable importance to various schools of philosophy and religious view points. A good example of it, is in the way it harmonizes the Advaitic view point with the element of Bhakthi. So it doesnt come as a surprise that this epic, on account of its vast breadth and depth, in matters pertaining to Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha, is often regarded as Panchama Veda or the 5th Veda. Several instances are to be found in Mahabharatha wherein devotional temperament and philosophical utterances, go hand-in-hand. One such remarkable episode occurs in the 13th Parva of the great epic. The Chapter 14 of this parva begins with Yudhisthira questioning Bheeshma w.r.t the various names of Lord Shiva. All discussions and hymns that ensued thence forth till the point the actual Siva Sahasranama itself was delivered by Shri Krishna, form the subject matter of this document. The Sahasranama itself is not listed here. It is hoped that the reader upon going through this extract, gets the divine inspiration, to pursue the recitation and/or reading and/or listening of this great Shiva Sahasranama, described as stavaraja king of the hymns, from other available sources.11 Source 1 (English): http://www.hindupedia.com/en/Shiva_Sahasranamam Source 2 (Sanskrit): http://www.shaivam.org/sanskrit/ssshiv1000_1.pdf

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Motivation There are two wonderful references for this epic that was resorted to, for this effort. Both are English translations of the Mahabharatha. Reference 1: The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa - Translated into English Prose by Kisari Mohan Ganguli, between (1883-1896) Reference 2: Mahbhrata: translated into English with original Sanskrit text; translation according to M.N. Dutt (2001) It was interesting to note that both these works have made remarkably similar choice of English words for their translations, despite being 100 years apart. Needless to say these excellent translations are voluminous and several excellent gems are buried under several 100s of pages. While the reference 1 is available in e-format (online), the reference 2 is not. The Reference 1 is not easy to read at times, either due to formatting or linguistic style or sheer size of the material. Thus a clear and inspired goal emerged, to put in an effort to bring out an abridged selection of the events/stories that lead to Siva Sahasranama proper, in a more readable electronic format. Liberty was taken to re-write certain portions of the content to make it tractable to modern day reader. Another perhaps lesser known fact is that Daksha Prajapati also supposedly adored Lord Shiva with 1008 names as mentioned in Santi Parva (Parva # 12). But that story is not focus of the current subject matter. However in the Epilogue section, some brief information is given in brief w.r.t to this Santi Parva version. Let not the authority of the writer offend thee, whether he be of great or small learning; but let the love of pure truth draw thee to read. (The Imitation of Christ V.1 Thomas A. Kempis.)"

Table of ContentsYudhisthiras request ............................................................................................................. 4 How Shri Krishna met Upamanyu ? ...................................................................................... 5 Lord Shiva: The Universal Object of Adoration.................................................................... 7 Who was Upamanyu ? ........................................................................................................... 8 Upamanyus Mothers discourse on Lord Shiva ................................................................... 9 Upamanyus Tapas and Shiva Darshan ............................................................................... 11 Shri Krishnas vision of Lord Shiva .................................................................................... 16 Story of Tandin and Origin of Shiva Sahasranama ............................................................. 20 Epilogue ............................................................................................................................... 22

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Yudhisthiras requestAfter having spent several days in enlightening discussion with his illustrious grandsire Bheeshma, Yudhisthira prompted by divine inspiration asked the following question (Chapter 14 - Anushasanika Parva) : "Yudhisthira Uvacha O Son of Ganga, you have heard all the names of the Lord of the Universe. Tell us, O grandsire, those very names applied to Him who is called Isa and Shambu"

Tell us all those names which are applied to him who is called Babhru (Vast), Him who has the

universe for his form (Vishwaroopaya), Him who is the illustrious Lord of all the Devas and the Mahadeva"

Asuras, the One who is called Sankara, and who is Unmanifest. Tell us of the supreme glory of Shri

Unlike the Vishnu Sahasranama wherein the glories of the Lord are extolled by Bheeshma himself, here one finds Bheeshma expressing his inadequacy for the sublime task. This is indeed surprising considering Bheeshma is undoubtedly one of the most glorious human being alive at the time. Bheeshma was iconic leader of men, thoroughly accomplished warrior who had never tasted defeat; a great statesmen; direct disciple of divine personages like Shri Parasurama & Shri Vasishtha; one who is held in high esteem by people at large, saints, Devas and the divine incarnation Shri Krishna himself. How surprising it must have been to those assembled, to hear such a gem of human being, expressing his inability to extol Mahadeva?!"Bheeshma Uvacha I am incompetent to recite the virtues of the source of all intelligence - Mahadeva. He pervades all

things in the universe and yet is not seen anywhere. He is the creator of Brahma, Vishnu and Indra. All deities from Brahma down to Pisachas, adore him. Beyond all principles of nature and consciousness, He is the object of the contemplation of those Rishis conversant with Yoga. Beyond Brahman.

the principles of creation and destruction; both existent and non-existent, He is verily the supreme

Who is there who is competent to recount the virtues of Mahadeva ? Man is subject to birth, decay and death. Being such what man like me can understand Bhava2?

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Essence & form of the act of attention

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Only Narayana, that holder of conch, discuss, mace can comprehend Mahadeva. The all-pervading Vishnu with spiritual vision and supreme energy sees all with the eye of the Yoga.

On account of his devotion to the illustrious Rudra, whom he pleased in the Badarikashram, by through Maheshwara's grace that Vasudeva has got the most cherished quality of Universal Agreeableness.

Tapas, that great Krishna has succeeded in overwhelming the entire universe. O Rajan, it is

For a long time, this Madhava performed intense Tapas and at last succeeded in pleasing the

illustrious and boon giving Shiva, that lord of all mobile and immobile universes. In every cycle (Kalpa) has Krishna pleased Mahadeva with his unalloyed devotion. Hari, who himself is above all occasion of his penances in the retreat of Badarikashram. decay, experienced the great glory of Mahadeva that original cause of the universe, on the

None other than this mighty armed Yadhava, is competent to explain the various attributes and names of the illustrious Mahadeva"

Thus the stage is set for Paarthasarathy to actively perform the leela of adoring Lord Shiva. It can be viewed as a leela (a play) considering Shri Krishna is nondifferent from Lord Shiva. Yet the gracious Lord of Gopis (Gopinath) chooses to express his Bhakthi bhavam towards his Ista Gopeshwar Mahadeva. Shri Krishna who till then was silently watching the developments, is now addressed by Bheeshma directly."Bheeshma Uvacha Oh Lord of all - Shri Vishnu. Kindly