Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi had narrated this beautiful story from the Siva Purana to his followers at his Tiruvannamalai Ashram on an auspicious day of Sivaratri. As an ardent devotee of Bhagavan, am sharing this story today on this same day of Sivaratri. Before narrating this story, Bhagavan told a few Golden words about Lord Siva that day. Here’s what he said,

“Siva has the transcendental and immanent aspects as represented by His invisible, transcendental being and the linga aspect respectively. The linga, manifested as Arunachala originally, stands even to this day. In the sphere of speech, Pranava – the mystic sound AUM – represents the transcendental or the nirguna aspect of Siva; whereas the Panchakshari – the five-syllable mantra – represents Siva’s immanent or the Saguna aspect”. PERIOD

Let me now tell you who exactly Siva is. This knowledge is based upon my decades of study and understanding of what is written about Him in our sacred Hindu texts. SIVOHAM

According to Smarta tradition,

Siva is one of the five primary forms of the Hindu God namely Siva, Vishnu, Sakthi, Surya and Ganesha. Siva is the “Manah Karaka”, which means He is not only the Cause of our Mind but also it’s Commander. It is under His command that our mind operates and it is under the command of our mind that we humans operate. Thus Siva becomes the primary God Whom we must offer all our prayers and Whom we should meditate upon for our overall well being.

Explaining Who Lord Siva is, chapter three of the Svetasvatara Upanishad says, “There is only one Rudra who rules all the worlds by His powers. There is no one besides Him who can make Him the second. He is present inside the hearts of all beings. He creates all the worlds; maintains them and finally withdraws them into Himself”. 

In Siva Purana, Rudra is another name of Siva and is the destructive aspect of Siva. In all, there are eleven Rudras in the cosmic hierarchy. Esoterically, the Pranas (or the ten senses) and the mind represent these eleven Rudras. Lord Hanuman is none other than a manifestation of Rudra.

Rudra is also the embodiment of all the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. They are all different manifestations of Rudra. On the right side of Rudra, there is Sun God, then the four-headed Brahma, and then the three Agnis (fires). On the left side, there exists Sri Umadevi, and also Vishnu and the Moon. 

Among all the Gods, Rudra is the one who destroys all our sins and removes all our miseries and confers upon us all the worldly wisdom and bliss. He is the Antaryami or the Indweller of all beings. He is spoken of as being in eight visible forms (Ashtamurti). The eight forms are the Sun, the Moon, Water, Fire, Wind, Sky and Earth and the Priest who performs Homam or the Fire sacrifice. 

The Siva Purana says, “Siva is beyond both Prakriti and Purusha, He is Mahesvara. As Mahesvara He is the witness, the well wisher and the nourisher of all beings. Bhagavad Gita says: ‘Upadrashtanu mantha cha bharta bhokta mahesvarah’. As Mahesvara, He  conducts the work of creation according to His will and pleasure. If Prakriti or Nature is Maya, Mahesvara is the wielder of Maya or Prakriti. The Sruti says, ‘Mayam tu prakritim viddhi mayinam tu mahesvaram’.

Siva is also the Lord of all Yogis and the Adi Guru of Yoga Who teaches Yoga and Meditation to all the holy Sages. When there was neither light nor darkness, neither form nor energy, neither sound nor matter, when there was no manifestation of phenomenal existence, Siva alone existed in Himself. He is a timeless, spaceless, birthless, deathless, decay less Divine entity. He is beyond the pairs of opposites. 

The most auspicious and useful work beneficial to mankind ever carried out by Lord Siva, is to impart the knowledge of Yoga, Bhakti and Jnana to the world. He blesses those who deserve His grace and who cannot get out of Samsara without His grace. He is not only the Jagath Guru but also an ideal example of the Jivanmukta or sage. He teaches us by His very actions in His daily life. 

As a transcendental reality, Siva – Who is totally absorbed in Himself –  is also the God of meditation and fine arts. As the Origin of Om, Siva is the Omkara Swaroopa, the First among the Rishis, the Creator of the Vedas, of the Mantras and also of the Sanskrit language. 

In His other Divine form as Dakshinamurthy, Siva is the Bestower of Jnana Who leads us to enlightenment; and the Supreme Guru Who teaches us in all silence during our Meditation how to stay connected with the ultimate Reality – the Supreme Consciousness. 

He is the dweller in the cremation-ground, in the region of the dead, those who are dead to the world. The Jivas and the world originate from Him, exist in Him, are sustained and rejected by Him, and are ultimately merged in Him. He is the support, source and substratum of the whole world. 

The Upanishads say,

“Siva is that one God, having His eyes, His face, His arms and feet in every place, when producing heaven and earth, forges them together with His arms and His wings”. Siva is the Impersonal Absolute Brahman. He is untouched by pleasure and pain, good and evil. He cannot be seen by the eyes but can be realized within the heart through devotion and meditation. He is the Supreme personal God when He is identified with His power. 

As Sadasiva, He is the root cause of all Creation and it is from Him all the Creation in all the universe and in our human world began. In Manusmriti He is called Svayambhu. He is the Destroyer of Tamas and shines as the self-resplendent light bringing forth the five great elements of Nature into being.

Siva is the pure, changeless, attributeless, all pervading transcendental consciousness. He is the inactive (Nishkriya) Purusha. Prakriti is dancing on His chest and performing the creative, preservative and destructive processes. He dances in supreme joy and creates, sustains and destroys with the rhythm of His dancing movements. He destroys all bondage, limitation and sorrow of His devotees. He is the giver of Mukti or the final emancipation.

He is the universal Self. He is the true Self of all creatures. He is an embodiment of Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Bliss. He is Satyam, Sivam, Subham, Sundaram, Kantam. He is the God of gods, Devadi Deva. He is the Great Deity Mahadeva. He is the God of manes (Prajapati). He is the most awe inspiring and terrifying deity, Rudra, with Trisul or trident in His hand. He is also the most easily pleased God (Asutosha).

My dear reader, that is Siva for you.

Now here’s the story Bhagavan narrated to his followers in Tiruvannamalai Ashram on a Sivaratri.

Read on..

One day..  

In their desperate search for Sita, after Ravana had abducted her, Rama and Lakhmana were desperately wandering in a forest.

Rama was full of grief and pain.

Exactly at that time..

Lord Siva and Goddess Parvati were going around in the sky above the two grief stricken brothers of Rama and Lakshmana.

Looking at them..

Siva humbly bowed down His head and offered His Namaskar to Rama. 

Parvati was surprised to see Siva – the Lord of the Universe Who is worshipped and meditated upon by all including Herself – to explain why did He bow down His head and offer His Namaskar to an ordinary human being who having missed his wife was helplessly wandering in wilderness searching for her. 

Smiling at His wife’s innocence, Siva said,

“Rama is enacting His role of a human being to perfection just as any ordinary human being would do under such grievous circumstances. However, He is none other than Lord Vishnu in human form and by all means deserves to be saluted, so I did. If you want, you may go and check for yourself whether He is Visnu or not”. 

Finding Siva’s words quite interesting…

Parvati smiled at her husband and immediately turned Herself into the form of Sita, landed a few feet away from Rama in the forest and slowly started walking towards Him. 

Rama looked at Parvati appearing as Sita, smiled at Her and asked, “Why Parvati, why are you here? Where is Sambhu..?? Why have you taken the form of Sita?”

Parvati felt abashed and explained how she had come there to test him and sought an explanation for Siva saluting him.

It was then Rama spoke those golden words explaining the Divinity of Siva to Parvati which Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi told his followers on a Sivaratri.

Here’s what Rama said,

“Parvati, we are all mere aspects of Siva, worshipping Him at sight and remembering Him out of sight. He is the One to be worshipped by all living beings in His creation”. 

Stunned with Rama’s explanation of her husband’s Divinity more so about His humility despite being the Supreme God, Parvati returned to Siva Who received her with a smile. SIVOHAM

“Sivasya hridayam Vishnum, Vishnusya hridayam Sivam”.

Much love

Narrenaditya Komaragiri

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