Glories of Maha Deva, his manifestations , origin of Shiva Lingas, Dwadasha Lingas and significance of Shiva Ratri

Slow-poison of Atheism by Arihan led to the killings of Tripurasuras by Maha Deva:

As Skanda Kumara killed the most dreaded Tarakasura, his sons Tarkasha, Vidyunmali and Kamalaksha who were dejected at their father’s death were anxious to take revenge against Devas who planned for the birth of Shiva’s son Kartikeya. They all resorted to extreme Tapasya to please Brahma and secured boons to construct three invincible forts built of gold, silver and iron situated in the Skies, Earth and the Lower Worlds and dominated the Universe tormenting the three lokas and tormenting Devas and Rishis. Devas had to vacate the higher lokas and approached Brahma and subsequently to Vishnu for succor. Vishnu realised that the Asuras were adept in ‘Karmakanda’ or performing rituals as per Vedas and Scriptures and as such some another method of deviating from the Rituals. Vishnu created from his body an Athiest called Arihan who made way to the Asuras and in the garb of teaching them rituals taught the medium of Reasoning and created confusion in their minds the concepts of faith versus logic or religion versus skepticism.Thus the slow poison of non-belief got spread out from the Asura Kings to their Subjects. Thus firm grounds were prepared for the destruction of their castles in which rituals were abolished and the ‘why and what’ kind of so-called rationalism prevailed. Then it was a very easy situation of the  invincible forts to be destroyed  in one go by Maha Deva himself by his most potent weapon viz. the Pashupataastra to terminate the Asuras and uproot their followers.

Demon Jalandhar supported by Lakshmi but fascinated with Parvati and killed by Shiva :

Even as a child born at Gangasagar the terminal point of Ganga and the Ocean, Jalandhar was so mighty and energetic that when he kicked  Brahma in his neck who fondled the child the latter had tears in his eyes!  Samudra brought up the child and thus Lakshmi the daughter of Samudra had a soft corner for her brother. As Jalandhar grew up he was married to Vrinda the daughter another Daitya King Kalanemi and the became the most cruel King of Daityas himself and forced Indra and Devas to vacate their positions in Swarga.Vishnu remained neutral due to Lakshmi’s reluctance to harm Jalandhar; instead the latter had access to Ksheera Samudra the abode of Lakshmi-Narayana.  Narada Muni meanwhile created a problem for Jalandhar on two counts that Shiva’s riches and powers were by far the most superior and that his wife Parvati was the prettiest woman in the Universe. Jalandhar sent Rahu as an emissary to Parvati with a proposal to wed  him and the latter was motionless at the Daitya’s audacity and kicked out Rahu as he was a mere emissary. She complained toVishnu about this incident and the latter adopted the same technique of approaching  Jalandhar’s wife Vrinda disguised as a Brahmana with a similar proposal of marrying her. Some time later Vishnu impersonated as Jalandhar and approached Vrinda and on knowing the truth later, she cursed Vishnu before her self-immolation that he too would face similar situation later; indeed Rama was looking for Sita all over as she was abducted by Ravanasura! Jalandhar instigated the Shubh-Nikumbh brothers to attack Shiva who no doubt subdued them but assured them that eventually they would be terminated by  Devi Bhagavati herself. Finally Jalandhar faced Shiva in a battle and the latter slit his throat by a fiery ‘chakra’ produced from his left toe! Vishnu suffered a guilt complex  at the self-immolation of Vrinda and performed penance. Maha Deva asked Parvati to rally the support of Lakshmi and Sarasvati in this context and the three Devis materialised three seeds of trees viz. Amla, Tulsi and Malati and sprayed them at the Place where Vrinda self-immolated. The seeds  were sprayed at Vrinda’s immolation place and as they grew to become big trees they were sent to Vaikuntha  as tokens of blessings to Vrinda’s soul there!

Demon Shankhachooda was terminated by Shiva while Vishnu impersonated the Demon to cheat the latter’s wife Tulasi!

In his earlier birth the Demon Shankhacooda was Sudama the Chief Attendant of Lord Krishna’s ‘Raasa mandali’ or The Dance Group of Gopikas and Krishna at Brindavana; he was a ‘Jatismara’ or the person with the knowledge of previous birth. He was cursed by Radha Devi due to an indisrcetion to become a Demon. Sudama fell in love with Devi Tulasi and she too was cursed to be born along with Sudama as his wfe  and she too was a jatismara. Shankachooda was fortified with constant recitation of Narayana Kavacha and thus became an invincible demon with enormous strength and fortitude; he defeated Devas and dislodged Indra and Devas from their thrones. The latter approached Maha Deva who sent Pushpadanta with a warning to Shankhachooda  but the demon had the audacity of attacking Maha Deva him self! Shiva sent Shivaganas along with Bhadrakaali but to no avail. Then Ganesha and Kartikeya led Devas along with the  Eleven Rudras, Dwadasha Bhaskaras  and a huge contingent of Pramatha Ganas. While  Shankachooda was waging the battle, Vishnu spread out his Maya and entered Devi Tulasi’s chamber as Shankhachooda and pretended that there was a victory in the battle and that he was tired to rest with her. In the course of their union, Tulasi cursed Vishnu even as the news of her husband’s death was learnt. The distraught Tulasi who lost her chastity gave a curse to Vishnu to turn ino a Stone. Vishnu however blessed Tulasi to accept her as his consort and become immortal as a Tree who was worthy  of daily worship all over the World. As a result of Tulasi’s  curse Vishnu turned out to be a ‘Salagrama’ worthy of daily worship too.

Andhakasura’s each blood drop was drenched out by Chandika Devi as instructed by Maha Deva

Originally a darling boy of Devi Parvati, Andhakasura bacame a menace to the Universe. In a playful mood, she closed Shiva’s eyes and the perspiration on the latter’s forehead created a boy of muscular strength called Andhaka. Parvati nurtured the boy with affection and care. When the Daitya King Hiranyaksha pleased Maha Deva with the King’s rigorous Tapasya for several years and obtained the boons of longevity and invincibilty, Lord Shiva also gifted Andhaka to the King to assist him and treat him as his own son.  Together, both Hirankasha and Andhaka conquered the Three worlds and the former even sought to pull down Bhumi besides Vedas and Scriptures to Rasatala and Vishnu had to assume the Form of Varaha and destroyed Hiranyaksha. Andhaka then resorted to severe Tapasya and obtained the boon that none other than Shiva could kill him. Empowered with the boon, Andhaka became arrogant and tormented Devas and Rishis even ignoring Parvati and Shiva. Meanwhile Daitya Guru Shukracharya pleased Maha Deva with his meditation and secured ‘Mrita Sanjeevani’ Vidya and stalled the killings of Daitya-Danavas and revived the dead ones also. A fiery Shiva was incensed that the Vidya was being misused and killed Shukracharya; as he was being killed, the Guru expressed his sincere regret and the merciful Shiva released the Guru through his semen. Shiva then applied his Trident and killed Andhakasura but thanks to his boon of Brahma, the Daitya multipled himself for each drop of his blood. Maha Deva had then to instruct Devi Chandika to expand her tongue and drenched out the blood  of Andakasura’s body totally. Shiva lifted the body of the Demon as the latter prayed to Maha Deva to grant him admission to Siva Ganas.

Gajasura’s boon to reside in his belly and got killed to attain Shiva Ganatwa:

Gajasura’s boon to reside in his belly and get killed only by Maha Deva: ajasura an ardent devotee of Shiva performed severe penance and secured the boon of Shiva’s  residing in the belly of the Asura. A highly agitated Parvati requested Vishnu to locate the missing Shiva. Vishnu disguised himself as a street player along with Nandeeswara searched all over the Kingdom of Gajasura and came to learn that Shiva was inside the King’s belly. The dance of Nandi pleased the Asura and Vishnu requested the latter to release Shiva on the condition that Shiva could exit from the belly by making him secure everlasting glory and that was how Shiva  wore the skin of the Elephant-Demon as ‘Gajambara dhaari’ and assumed the name of Krittivaseshwara. [Another interpreation is that having pierced out of the Asura’s belly, Shiva blessed the latter to let his head get fixed on his son’s shoulders and make Gajasura’s memory permanent as Ganesha!]

Several such Shiva Leelas were  ascribed to Maha Deva like the Daitya Nirhada the maternal uncle of Prahlada who initiated the practice of  co-Daityas killing Brahmanans in the form of  tigers when the Brahmanas were asleep at Yagna Shalaas and Shiva too assumed the form of another tiger to kill the Asura tigers. On one Shiva Ratri, thousands of  Brahmanas were awake after Shiva Lingaarchanas and Shiva assumed thousands of tiger forms to kill the perpetrator Asuras. Another story described was that of Vidal and Utpal Daityas  who entered the Shiva Ganas in their forms during a ball game in which Shiva and Parvati were at play and the Omnisceint Super Gods hit the balls so hard that the masquerading Asuras died instantly and the balls got converted as Siva Lingas.

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham

Kamakoti.org presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.

Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by
V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager,
India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi
Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India
The author can be contacted at raovdn@yahoo.co.in