Shiva, the destroyer yet the preserver

Shiva and Parvati married on this day, the day of Maha Shivratri. Devotees on this day observe fast, visit temple and follow all sort of rituals to get the blessings of Mahadeva. On this day, I did what I am good with. I read about Shiva and write about Shiva; this is my way of devotion to the Lord.

Who is the supreme among the trinity?

Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the preserver and Shiva is the destroyer. Once these three Gods started discussing about their supremacy; which one of us is supreme! Finally, Shiva turned himself into a pillar. He challenged Brahma and Vishnu to find one end of the pillar.

By WL - originally posted to Flickr as R0019100, CC BY 2.0, Link
By WL – originally posted to Flickr as R0019100, CC BY 2.0, Link

Vishnu turned into a boar and started digging downwards to get at the lowest end of the pillar. Brahma rode his swan and started flying upwards to find the upper end. Neither of the Gods finds out the ends of the pillar. Vishnu bowed down to Shiva and accepted his supremacy. But Brahma gambled with his luck and took the help of a flower, ketaki. He asked Ketaki to give a false statement in front of Shiva and Vishnu that, she witnessed Brahma finding the upper end of the pillar. This enraged Shiva and he cursed Brahma, not to be worshipped on the earth by any human. And he also cursed Ketaki; not to be used any religious ritual. So, somewhere it means Shiva is the supreme among all.

Well, if he is the supreme of the three; to whom he keeps on praying with his meditation? Once Parvati asked this question to Shiva and his reply surprised her. Shiva said, I am praying to my Lord, Vishnu. He is the supreme of all.

The above two stories makes it clear that, there is no supremacy among Shiva and Vishnu; they are both equal. In fact, there is a form of the God called Hari-Hara; whose one half is Vishnu and the other half is Shiva.

Shiva and Churning of Ocean

Everyone is aware of the story surrounding Sagar-Manthan. When Devas and Asuras decided to extract the nectar of immortality; they joined hands and started churning the ocean of milk. They have used the Mount Mandar as the churning rod where as the great Vasuki played the role of the rope. While the churning of ocean produced a lot of gems and celestial things; it also produced one of the deadliest poisons known to mankind, the Halahala. It becomes a threat to the mankind. They all prayed to Shiva for protection. Shiva came to rescue and consumed this deadly poison to save the mankind. Because of this poison his throat turned blue and he came to known as “Neela-Kantha”, the one with blue throat. This is how he saves mankind and we still call him the destroyer!

But do you know, he saved the mankind one more time by taming the fierce river Ganga!

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Why Ganesha Wrote Mahabharata?

Mythology always generates a curiosity among all the masses. Some accept the mythology as the stories designed to keep our moral alive. Some others consider them as a part of history; where they believe the events are actually took place. I am not expert on this, so I can’t be sure of either of these theories. I dedicate my knowledge of mythology to my parents and grand-parents who told me those stories which some how become a part of my identity. Later books also contributed a lot to this.

Now, let me tell you a mythological story that I heard in my younger days. When the great sage Vyasa decided to write the epic JAYA (better known as MAHABHARATA); he requested Lord Ganesha to wrote down the epic on his dictation. But Ganesha said, he was really busy and does not have the leisure to spend numerous days while you are taking your time to make the verses look more beautiful. So, I will pen down the epic on a condition. The condition is; you have to dictate it without taking any pause during the recitation of your verses. Now, it put the sage in a difficult spot. It is not an easy task to create the verses without taking any pauses! The intelligent sage put a counter condition to the elephant headed God. Vyasa said, “I will continue dictating the verses without taking any pauses but you have to make sure that you properly understand each of the verses that come out of my mouth”! Ganesha agreed to it. And from there they started penning down the epic.

Ganesha

After years when I visit this particular story, I come across several questions.

Why someone of Vyasa’s caliber need anyone to write for him?

Why did Ganesha and Vyasa put such conditions?

So, I tried to reconstruct the story in my mind. May be this would have been a better explanation to the original story.

When Vyasa decided to write the epic, he needed an editor to check out his works. Though, he is an expert of words still an editor is a must for all the writings. That’s why he must have summoned Ganesha. Being the most intelligent among all, Ganesha knew that the human mind is very fickle! If you give someone a good time to think over he/she can manipulate the words just to suit the most popular view point or his own view point. And Ganesha wanted the epic to be written in a way it happened and not from Vyasa’s point of view of that epic. The great sage agreed to it and in return he must have requested Ganesha that, it is his duty to make sure that the verses delivers the correct message to the masses. They should not be misused by others to suit their needs. And that is how the epic comes into existence.

PS: I would like to thank Sunil Mane who draw the painting of Lord Ganesha, that I have used here.

Was it necessary to kill Ravana?- Part-II

First of all, I apologize all for taking this privilege of writing on behalf of my Grandfather. Well, a week back I wrote an article titled “Was it necessary to kill Ravana?” and at the end I leave that article with a question. A good number of my readers appreciate my point of view and also gave their answer to my question. However, I was not fully satisfied. Finally, I thought what it would have been the answer of my grand father Shri. Ramnath Satapathy for this question! And after some time, strangely I got an answer which satisfies me well! So, here I am writing his would be answer for my question. And again I apologize to all for being the unauthorized voice of such a great personality. From here onwards, I am using his words.

Aja

The question that has been asked by Nirlipta in his article is “Who need to be tamed; only the mind which generates negative thoughts or the person who has that mind and those thoughts?” The answer is very simple, kill the thoughts! That is what Lord Ram did when he find the negative thoughts in Sage Parshuram’s mind. Then why he killed Ravana? To answer this, I would like to ask you one counter question. How to kill, someone’s negativity?

In his incarnation of Vamana avatar, he killed the negativity of King Mahabali. (He is believed to be still alive and visited the earth during Onam festival). But he killed “Hiranyakashyap” and “Hiranyaksha” in his Narasimha avatar and Varaha avatar. So, what is that makes Parshuram and Mahabali differs from that of Hiranyakashyap, Hiranyaksha and Ravana?

The point is both Parshuram and Mahabali allows their liberator to tame and destroy their negative thoughts. They did it willingly! But in case of the other three; they stick to their ego and negativity till the end. That is the difference.

The moral of the story is; the negativity needs to be tamed and killed but to do that; one must accept his/her mistakes and allows the supreme Lord to kill their negative thoughts. On the other hand, if you don’t allow yourself to tame the negative thoughts, you will meet the same fate of Hiranyakashyap, Hiranyaksha or Ravana?

Was it necessary to kill Ravana?

What is more destructive; negative thoughts or the person who has negative thoughts? What need to be tamed; the negative thoughts or the person with negative thoughts?

In Ramayan, there is small part where the sage Parshuram meets with Ram. When Ram broke the prestigious Shiv-Dhanush at Sita’s swayamvar; it annoys Parshuram. He stormed into the marriage hall to meet the culprit. In this encounter between these two avatars of Lord Vishnu; a lot has been exchanged in the heat of moment. And finally, Parshuram challenges Ram to prove his strength by handling the famous Saranga bow; which is Lord Vishnu’s bow, gifted to sage Parshuram. Without a moment’s of hesitation Ram took the bow and in his hands and easily mounted the arrow on it. While Parshuram stood with an astonished look, Ram asked, “Once the arrow is mounted on a bow, it need to be used. Tell me on whom I should use it?” By this time, Parshuram realized his mistakes. The great sage, who strikes a terror by killing all the Kings from the world for 21 times, is now at receiving end. With a folded hand, he requested Ram to aim the arrow to his mind; which is now full of negative thoughts like violence, hatred and ego. Ram obliged in that manner. There after, the Great Parshuram threw his famous axe; for which he has been named as “Parshu-Ram”; in to the sea and renounced violence for ever!

Well, hitting the mind of Parshuram may be a metaphorical way of presenting the philosophy that; you don’t need to kill the person to get rid of his negativity; it is only the mind that generates negativity and which need to be tamed!

Photo Courtesy -By Scan/photo by: User:Henryart (who is owner of the original painting/object/photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

{Photo Courtesy -By Scan/photo by: User:Henryart (who is owner of the original painting/object/photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons}

Wait; if this is true why Ram killed Ravana? The King of Lanka has 10 heads out of which only one head contains the knowledge of Brahman and the other nine heads represents his ego and full of negative thoughts. Parshuram makes the whole world deprive of any kings for 21 generations just because a king named Arjuna Kirtavirya killed his parents. It is an act of vengeance! Ravana abducts Sita to take revenge on Ram who insulted his sister by mutilating her face. Where as Ram let go Parshuram by killing his negative mind but killed Ravana for his deed of vengeance!

Was it necessary to kill Ravana? Some argued that; it is meant to liberate Ravana who is actually a servant of Lord Vishnu cursed to take birth on earth. Some argued that; Ravana lusts for a married lady and it is the ultimate crime that can’t be forgiven! But as a follower of mythology; I found these justifications very weak! Is there any thing that my tiny mind is incapable of thinking? I request all my readers to provide me their answer to this question. Who need to be tamed; only the mind which generates negative thoughts or the person who has that mind and those thoughts?