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Tag: shiva

Lingodbhava

Hello Readers, I am penning this story after a long gap today to celebrate the eighth anniversary of Storibuzz.in today.

Thank you all for reading the stories and giving me your valuable comments which I cherish. It feels so nice to know that the blog is being useful to many and serving the purpose with which I started it.

Mahashivaratri is around the corner and I am offering this story of Lord Shiva today as an offering to Him.

All of us would have seen the murti of ‘Lingodbhava’ in almost all Shiva temples. He is usually stationed right behind the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Shiva, on the outer wall exactly behind where the Linga is on the inside.

Lingodbhava is Linga Udhbhava which means, emergence of a Linga.

Now, what is this story or from where did this Linga emerge? This is the legend we shall see today.

Once upon a time, in heaven, there was a dispute between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu on who was superior. They could not arrive at a conclusion and decided to ask Shambhu (Another name for Lord Shiva) and so they went to Him.

As they mentioned about their disagreement, Lord Shiva disappeared and a huge column of fire appeared. It looked like a huge Lingam and was so huge that there did not seem to be an end to it nor could anyone fathom the beginning. The voice of Lord Shiva was heard, asking Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma to find the beginning or end of the column of fire. Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu knew that this fire in a Linga form, was Lord Shiva.

Lord Brahma said to Lord Vishnu, “I will search the end of this Linga of Fire” and he assumed the form of a swan and started flying upward.

Lord Vishnu had no option but to find the beginning or origin of the Linga. The Linga was going beneath the ground on the earth and no one knew from where it had begun. So Lord Vishnu chose to assume the form of a wild boar and with its horns, the boar dug the earth furiously around the Linga and went down little by little hoping to find the beginning of the Linga.

As he went down further and further it was of no avail. He was extremely tired and he was nowhere near the beginning.

Lord Brahma on the other hand also could not find the end of the fire column and he was also getting tired. But he was too egoistic to go and admit to Lord Vishnu that he had been unsuccessful. He thought that if Lord Vishnu had managed to find the beginning of the Linga, Lord Vishnu would be considered supreme.

He was pondering as to what to do when he suddenly saw a Ketaki flower falling from up. Ketaki flower is called as “Thazampoo” in Tamizh. Brahma stopped the Ketaki flower and demanded where it was coming from. The flower replied that it was falling from the head of Lord Shiva.

“Aha!” thought Lord Brahma to himself. “This is an opportunity for me to establish my supremacy. Let me try.” Thinking so he told the flower about his challenge with Lord Vishnu and tried to convince the flower to be his partner in crime.

“You come with me to Lord Vishnu and tell him that you are a witness to my finding the end of the Lingam. Lord Vishnu will believe you since you adorn Lord Shiva’s locks” said he, knowing fully well that it was wrong to cheat like that.

The Ketaki flower was reluctant at first, but agreed to do as Lord Brahma said, and it descended along the column of fire along with Lord Brahma. When they reached the ground Lord Vishnu was puzzled as he saw the Ketaki flower with Lord Brahma.

Lord Brahma uttered a lie to Lord Vishnu without any shame. “Lord Vishnu, I have seen the end of this Lingam, which is Lord Shiva’s head” said he with a proud smile. Pointing to the Ketaki flower, he said, “I have obtained this flower from the ‘Shiras’ (head) of Lord Shiva”. The flower nodded in agreement.

Lord Vishnu, who did not even imagine that Lord Brahma would try to cheat, immediately folded his hands in obeisance to Lord Brahma. “I accept your supremacy Lord Brahma” he said with utmost humility and was about to bow his head when a booming voice emerged from the huge Lingam.

“Stop!!” said the voice.

As Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma looked around bewildered, Lord Shiva emerged from the fiery Lingam, his eyes red with anger.

He was enraged as Lord Brahma had uttered a lie and was trying to cheat Lord Vishnu.

Looking at Lord Brahma Lord Shiva said in a thundering voice, “You, Brahma! You have cheated! How dare you tell a lie? You could not find the end of the Lingam but you lied to Lord Vishnu? I curse you that you will never be worshipped in temples by the people of the world. This is a punishment for your conceit!”

Turning to the Ketaki flower which was trembling with fear, Lord Shiva said, “And you, Ketaki! You also agreed to the words of Brahma and jointly cheated Vishnu? I am disgusted with your behavior! I curse you that hence forth you shall not be used for worshipping me! You don’t deserve to be in my company!”

Then, he turned to Lord Vishnu with a smile and held his hands and said lovingly, “Hari, you will be loved and worshipped by mankind as they worship me!”

From then, there are no temples for Lord Brahma and the Ketaki flower is not used in the worship of Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu, on the other hand is equally loved and worshipped as Lord Shiva is, in this world!

This is the story depicted by the ‘Lingodbhava’ murti in Shiva temples. Do not forget to observe Him when you go to a Shiva temple this Shivaratri.

Kubera and Ganesha

Dear friends, we have seen some Ganesha stories in this site namely the story of Nambiyandar Nambi and also the story of how Ganesha got the celestial fruit from his parents.

With Ganesh Chaturthi tomorrow, this time, I am giving you a story Ganesha and Kubera.

Kubera is the treasurer of the Gods and the ruler of the North direction. He has his beautiful palace in the city by name Alakapuri and he had all the best things in there. The best ornaments, the finest silks, the costliest furniture, the most beautiful garden by name Chaitra Ratha, with scented waters in their fountains, the ornately decorated palace with golden walls and diamond ceilings, the finest foods in his kitchen made by the best chefs in the world. He became so arrogant of his wealth and wanted to show it off to someone or the other.

“The others in Devaloka should come to know of my great wealth”, he thought to himself. “Well what do I do to spread the word? Hmm…”

He got an idea. “Yes. I know what to do. I will invite Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati for a lunch in my palace and then the word will spread”, he said to himself. “I will do this immediately”

He took his vimana (aircraft) and immediately proceeded to Kailash to see the Lord Shiva.

Shiva was very much there in his abode with Parvati and was surprised to see Kubera coming in.

“Welcome, welcome Kubera .What brings you here?” asked Shiva.

“Well…. Umm… My Lord, I have a request for you and Mother Parvati. I am hosting a lunch for you both tomorrow in my palace and came to invite you for the same. Please do not disappoint me O Lord. What time will it be convenient for you?” Kubera talked nonstop expecting an affirmative reply from Lord Shiva.

The Lord looked at Parvati and then said, “Kubera, though we would very much like to come for the lunch hosted by you, this is the month of Shravan and I keep fast for the whole of this month. As you know, Parvati will not eat if I do not eat…”

“Lord, please, please do not disappoint me. I have made special arrangements for you” said Kubera hurriedly, alarmed that his plan would fizzle out.

“Well…” said Lord Shiva thinking for a while as he noticed little Ganesha entering the hall. “Okay Kubera, we do not want to disappoint you. Instead of us Little Ganesha can come and have lunch at your palace tomorrow as our representative. Is it okay?”

Kubera turned around to see the little Ganesha chewing on a ripe guava and thought to himself, “Well, this kid will not eat much, but at least he will be fascinated by my riches and spread the word of my riches in the celestial world”

“Kubera?”

Lord Shiva’s voice brought him back to the present.

“Yes Lord, I am honoured by Ganesha’s visit to my palace” said he with a grin and turned to little Ganesha.

“Ganesha, please come to my palace tomorrow and I will see that you will eat the tastiest food you have ever eaten in your life” The voice was full of pride.

Ganesha meekly shook his head. Kubera went home happy that his plan was working.

The next day Ganesha went to Kubera’s palace at the appointed time. Kubera was waiting at the entrance to receive his little guest. He had a beautifully decorated tray with sweet smelling Sandal powder and rosewater in a diamond studded vessel used for sprinkling rosewater in functions. He had a sweet smelling flower garland with flowers in vibrant colours one would have never seen.

He sprinkled rosewater and offered the flower garland and walked him around his gardens.

“Have you seen such sweet scented water like in the fountains of my beautiful garden Chaitra Ratha?” asked he with great pride.

“And the flowering plants in my garden have been brought from various places. Have you even seen flowers in these colours before?” he asked Ganesh sarcastically. “And see the fruit trees, mangoes, oranges, bananas and pomegranates, there is enough to feed your father’s Bhootaganas (army of Lord Shiva), Hahaha….” he guffawed.

Ganesha gave a look of disinterest and asked Kubera, “Is the food not ready yet?” He looked at the direction from where the nice aroma of food was coming.

“Oh! Oh!” said Kubera. “I am sorry. I did not remember that you are after all, a little boy and you need to be given food on time. Come on, I will take you to the dining place”. So saying, he lead Ganesha to the huge dining hall where a silk mat had been spread for Little Ganesha to sit and in front of him, two huge banana leaves were spread out neatly.

Ganesha sat down and Kubera asked him, “Well my little guest, my chefs have prepared over five hundred dishes for you. What would you like to have first, child? Some sweet dish or Kheer or fruit juice or mixed rice? Tell me, boy.”

Ganesha sniffed in the direction where the kitchen and said, “Bring a little of everything for me to taste”

“Waiters!” ordered Kubera, “Bring a little of everything first and serve our little guest”

All the waiters lined up and started serving all the delicious dishes one by one. Ganesha with full gusto started eating them up as they were served and to the surprise of one and all each dish disappeared as the next was served.

“Little Ganesha is hungry I suppose” thought Kubera to himself. “Let him eat to his heart’s content and he will go and tell others about the tasty food of my kitchen”

Thinking aloud he said, “Eat Ganesha, eat as much as you want. There is enough and more to be served. You can carry food back home for your brother Kartik too!”

Ganesha did not reply but started eating faster. The waiters had to increase the speed of their serving. From walking at normal pace, they started to walk faster, and faster and faster… They had started to run now. The quantity of the prepared dishes was fast reducing now. The lunch had been prepared keeping into account all the members in the household and the servants which was over five hundred people, but the way Ganesha was eating, it seemed all would get over soon.

Kubera was watching in awe when Ganesh called out. “Kubera” he said, “I am very very hungry and these little portions served with ladles are very unsatisfactory. Why don’t you tell the waiters to bring the dishes in the vessels in which they were made huh?”

Kubera was already panicky but could not help but obey Ganesha.

“Waiters, bring the dishes with the vessels in which they were made”, he ordered and the men obeyed immediately.

But within moments of the dish being placed in front of him, they had to carry back the empty vessel. Liquid items like Kheer, Sambar, Rasam, Buttermilk, Aam Panna, Juices etc. were pulled in by Ganesha using his trunk like a huge straw and all other items which were solid were grabbed by the trunk in one go and vanished into his mouth.

All the waiters were watching with their mouths wide open and eyes rolling in fright. All the dishes were over and as the last dish was placed before Ganesha, Kubera was literally trembling as to what Ganesha would ask next.

Ganesha looked around. “Over?” he asked. When the waiters pathetically shook their heads, he said, “I am still hungry Kubera. I don’t mind uncooked foods also. Where is the store room?”

And before Kubera could even react, he got up and stomped into the store room which was adjacent to the kitchen.

Lots of vegetables, fruits, grains, millets, milk and curd and ghee were kept in there. After all it was Kubera’s store room and it was always stocked well beyond what was needed!

With his trunk swishing and swashing here and there it was a matter of minutes when the store room became a scene of total disarray with all the empty vessels rolling all over the place and vegetable and fruits getting over and grains and millets strewn over everywhere after Ganesha had eaten them. Even the peels of the vegetables and fruits that remained to be thrown away after the lunch had been cooked was eaten up in a gulp by Ganesha.

“What Kubera? You have got only this much food. I am still hungry” said Ganesha as he looked around keenly as to what he could lay his trunk upon. Kubera was watching helplessly as a bunch of coconuts on a coconut tree outside in the garden met the eyes of Ganesha.

“Wow! Coconuts!” exclaimed Ganesha, “I simply love coconuts” and off he went into the garden and with his trunk lowered the tree and plucked the coconuts and ate them. Many trees unable to bear the pull of Ganesha’s trunk broke into two and fell. After coconuts, it was the turn of bananas, then the chickoos and the pomegranates and in no time all the fruits vanished.The garden was a sight of destruction with trees broken and twigs strewn around.

Kubera watched in horror as Ganesha next started ripping the leaves of the trees and eating them.

“Oh, God!” thought Kubera, knowing fully well that next the inanimate things would be Ganesha’s target. Through the back door, he ran to Mount Kailash, panting for breath.

“Lord Shiva, Lord Shiva!” he shouted as he entered the hall where Lord Shiva was preparing for meditation.

“Kubera! What happened? Where is Ganesha? Did he not come to your place as promised?” asked Lord Shiva as if he knew nothing of what had happened.

Kubera was almost in tears. He narrated to the Lord how Ganesha had consumed every single thing which was edible and was now eating whatever was in his sight.

“Please O Lord” pleaded Kubera, “please for my sake stop your son! All my property is being ruined Please O Lord, please call him back. I will do whatever you tell me to do to stop Ganesha…”

Shiva, with a smile asked him, “Kubera, did you call me and Parvati to really honour us or….?”

With his eyes downcast Kubera in a low voice said, “I am sorry Lord. I really wanted to only show off my wealth so that others would come to know of it and I realise now that I was very vain of my riches. Ganesha has taught me a lesson. I am really sorry my lord! Please give me a solution to my problem”. So saying, he fell at Lord Shiva’s feet.

Lord Shiva who is always compassionate, knowing that Kubera had learnt his lesson said “Take this fistful of rice and go back to your palace and offer it to Ganesha with sincerity and humility and he will accept it”. Saying so, he gave Kubera a fistful of rice.

Kubera rushed back to his palace where he noticed, Ganesha was drinking up the scented waters of his fountains. He ran straight to where Ganesha was. Ganesha put forward his trunk seeing Kubera.

“I am still hungry, Kubera” he said.

Kubera knelt on his knees with raw rice in his cupped palms and cried aloud “Oh Ganesha! Please forgive me for my arrogance. I have learnt my lesson. Please accept this offering with my sincere prayer to you to give your blessings. I shall never be arrogant hereafter. Please eat this rice and satiate your hunger. I have nothing more to offer. This moment I have become a pauper. Please do forgive me”.

He bent down and his head touched the feet of Ganesha and his tears washing Ganesha’s feet. His regret was from his heart and Ganesha could easily see that Kubera’s pride had been humbled.

Ganesha looked at him with sympathy and smiled. “I accept this Kubera!” So saying, he drew the rice from Kubera’s palms and ate it with relish. He burped with satisfaction and said, “Well Kubera, my stomach is full. I shall take leave”.

And off he went hopping on to his Mooshak while Kubera learnt a lesson of his life not to be arrogant ever.

The Story of Mars (Chevvai)

India has succeeded in the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) in the first attempt just a few days ago and it occurred to me that I should write the mythological story of Mars.

In our Puranas, it is said that once when Lord Shiva was in deep meditation, a drop of sweat from the brow of the Lord fell on the ground. It was transformed into a boy named Angarakan.

Since it fell on earth, Mother Earth known as Bhooma Devi took him and brought him up as her own son. When he was a young child, she took him to Sage Bharadwaja who took him under his tutelage and taught him all the knowledge there was to be learnt especially in the martial arts and warfare. After his learning was over Angaraka wanted to do severe penance and did penance for many years and Lord Shiva, who was pleased with his penance appeared before him and granted him the status of a planet.

Mars is known in modern times as the red planet. But amazingly, our Puranas have told this long back wherein he is called “Chevvai” which word has its origins in the word “chemmai” meaning red. Chevvai is described as being red, wearing red garland and red clothes. He is supposed to affect the blood and bone marrow of the human beings. His influence is also attributed to war or warlike situations, sibling rivalry and land dealings.

It is known that even the Romans considered Mars as the God of War and the month March is named after him. It is said that they celebrate festivals in honour of Mars. The festivals consist of mainly military activities.

Now for some interesting titbits.

In Astrology and numerology, the number nine is assigned to Mars or Chevvai. An interesting thing is that in the bloodiest war which is there in the Puranas, that is the Mahabharata war, the number 18 is predominant. 18 when added as 1+8 totals to 9.

The Mahabharata war lasted for 18 days

The Gita which was told by the Lord has 18 chapters

There were a total of 18 divisions or “akshauhinis” as there were called – 11 of the Kauravas and 7 of the Pandavas.

Each Akshauhini had chariots, elephants, horses and infantry in the ratio 1:1:3:5 and had 21870 (2+1+8+7+0=18) chariots, 21870 elephants, 65610 (6+5+6+1+0=18) horsemen and 109350(1+0+9+3+5+0=18) infantry in each Akshauhini.

 

 

It’s A Small World, After All!!

Once upon a time, Sage Narada visited Lord Shiva at Mount Kailash. “Narayana Narayana!” he came in chanting as was his usual style. Lord Shiva welcomed him with a smile. He knew that Narada had come there with a sure purpose. Narada’s visit was never ordinary.

“Come Narada”, welcomed the Lord. “How are things? And what brings you here?”

“Well, I am fine…. Er… I got something special for you and so thought I should give it and go…” said Narada taking out a delicious looking mango. The aroma of the mango wafted throughout Kailash and the moment when Lord Shiva took it from him, the two children of Lord Shiva, Ganesha and Kartikeya came in.

Seeing the mango in the hands of their father Ganesha said, “I want the mango” “No”, said Kartikeya, I already smelt it before you saw it and so it belongs to me”

“Me”

“No, Me only”

“I saw it first”

“I smelt it first”

“I want it”

“No, I want it”

The children started quarrelling. Narada was watching amused when Shiva offered to cut the mango into half.

“Nay” said Narada, “The fruit should be eaten wholly by one person only and he will become the most intelligent one in the world”

To the children and the Divine couple who looked at him in dismay, he continued, “Why not have a competition? The winner of the competition shall have the fruit”

“Competition? What competition?” chorused Ganesha and Kartikeya. Lord Shiva and Parvati realised that Narada was up to some mischief but they also decided to watch the fun.

“Well” said Narada, “this mango can be had by one who goes around the world three times fastest and comes back”

The very next moment Kartikeya was rushing towards his peacock, the majestic vehicle of his which could carry him at the speed of a whirlwind. Kartikeya was a handsome boy and was slightly proud of himself and his vehicle. After all, his elder brother was short and had a pot belly and could not even run fast! And the vehicle of his brother was Mooshak, a rat which was no comparison to his peacock. Within a second he had mounted the peacock and was off!!

Ganesha pondered for a while. He knew for sure that he could be of no match to his brother’s speed. But then, he had to get the mango. “Hmm” he said to himself. The next minute, his face lit up and he, gathering all his speed, came around his parents and circumambulated (Pradakshinam) them three times.

Looking at Narada, he said, “You told us to go around the world. My parents are my world and so I went around them and my brother has still not returned. So, I should have the mango”

Narada smiled with pride. Here was this boy who had been so intelligent and it was to witness this that Narada had come there.

Lord Shiva, smiling at his son gave him the mango and just then Kartikeya returned panting and puffing. He was furious to see the mango in the hands of Ganesha.

Angry that the mango was given to him, Kartikeya left the place in a huff. Then Shiva and Parvati had to pacify Kartikeya and bring him back and thereafter Kartikeya graciously accepted defeat and bowed to his elder brother.

This story is very small, but it conveys a lot. For one, it conveys that for children, the world is their parents. They look up to them for everything and learn everything from them.  But, the deeper meaning is this. Shiva represents matter, and Shakti (Parvathi) represents energy as the name means. The world is full of matter and energy and therefore instead of going around the physical world full of matter and energy, Ganesha chooses to go around his parents who are the embodiment of matter and energy.

This is the story of Ganesha and Kartikeya and the mango.

 

 

 

Ravana Humbled – Part I

Ravana was the unparalleled king of Lanka. He had the whole wealth of the world and the beings of the three worlds were at his beck and call. This, coupled with the unbridled grace of Lord Shiva, of whom Ravana was a great devotee, made him all the more arrogant.

On three occasions, however, Ravana was humbled, interestingly, by three different beings: God, man and animal.

The first episode we are going to see is how Ravana was humbled by Lord Shiva.

Ravana’s recent possession was the Pushpak Vimana- the aerial chariot, which he had snatched from his half-brother Kubera. The Vimana was so much more than a modern day marvel such that it could fly according to the will of the pilot. Ravana was exploring the world with his new-found possession, going over hills and valleys, plains and fields, seas and rivers and to all the other realms of the universe.

One day, when he was flying towards Mt. Kailash, which was the abode of Lord Shiva and wanted to fly over it, the Vimana suddenly stopped. Ravana tried with all his might, but the chariot did not budge. Ravana looked up at the mountain and an arrogant thought crossed his mind. “How can there be an obstacle to me, the great Ravana?”, thought he. “If my chariot cannot fly over this mountain, the mountain does not deserve to stand before me. I shall unearth this hurdle and throw it aside”. So saying, he went below the mountain and tried to lift it up with his massive arms. A tremor was suddenly felt by Parvati, who was on the mountain with her consort, Lord Shiva. The Earth shook and rocks fell from the sides of the mountain and Parvati almost fell down. She was startled at the sudden disturbance and looked up at Shiva with fear.

Lord Shiva knew it all. With a smile, he got up, went to the edge of the mountain and pressed it lightly with the big toe of his right foot. Ravana was almost crushed and gave a shriek. Lord Shiva, still smiling, did not remove his foot and told Parvati that it was Ravana who was behind the tremor. The great Ravana knew that it was his Lord, who was punishing him for his arrogance. Humbled, almost immediately, Ravana started to sing a hymn on Lord Shiva and continued singing for a long time. He prayed to Lord Shiva that he appear before him and forgive him. Lord Shiva, who is always captivated by good music, was moved by Ravana’s devotion and appeared before him. Ravana prostrated before him and begged for forgiveness. Shiva, pleased with his devotion, gifted him his sword called the Chandrahaasa.

Ravana thankfully took the sword, and repenting for his foolish act, went back home wiser.

The Story of Poosalar Nayanar


There are lots of stories in our culture about people who have lived to see God and his miracles. The following story is about one such person.

Poosalar, a poor , but educated man lived in Tiruninravur which is near modern day Chennai. He was an ardent devotee of Shiva and his most cherished desire was to build a temple for Lord Shiva. But he was a very poor man and he could not imagine building even a wall, leave alone a temple. But Poosalar’s desire only kept growing day by day. So he consulted the spiritual texts on the rules of building a temple.

There are certain rules to be followed in designing a temple and those rules are strictly followed. So, Poosalar studied all those rules and started to construct a temple in his mind. Today he would build one portion, tomorrow, another. The next day he would build the entrance and the next day the doors. He kept on building the structure in his mind like this daily, deciding the places for the deities and deciding on the sculptures to be placed.

This went on for a while and he even fixed a date for performing the “Kumbabhishekam” or inauguration of the temple. He would perform the Kumbabhishekam also in his mind.

In the meanwhile, a Pallava king named Rajasimha had built a grand temple for Lord Kailasanatha (Shiva) at Kancheepuram (near modern day Chennai). He had fixed a date for the grand inaugural of his temple and incidentally it was the same date as Poosalar had decided for his imaginary temple.

A few days before the consecration, Lord Shiva appeared in the dream of the Raja and expressed his inability to come for the consecration of the temple as he had to “attend Poosalar’s temple function at Tiruninravur” on that same day.

The king was aghast that there was another temple superior to his that the Lord himself wanted to go. The very next day Rajasimha  set out to Tiruninravur to see for himself how Poosalar’s temple was better than his. But when he reached there and enquired, he came to know that Poosalar was a poor scholar not even capable of buying ten bricks. But since Lord Shiva himself had appeared in his dream, he called Poosalar and enquired about his temple. Poosalar reluctantly told him of his imaginary temple. The king was taken aback by the sheer devotion of this poor fellow. He immediately  ordered a temple to be built at that very spot in the same design Poosalar had envisaged.

Poosalar was very grateful and thanked Lord Shiva. The temple is there still  at Tiruninravur and is named “Hridayaleeswarar” temple (Lord of the heart) aptly. The Lord’s name is Hridayaleeswarar.

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