by J. L. Shastri | 1970 | 616,585 words
This page relates “mena obtains the boon” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.
1. When the Goddess Durgā vanished and the gods returned to their abodes, what happened next?
2. O dear, how did Menā and the lord of the mountains perform the great penance? How did he beget a daughter of Menā. Please narrate.
3. O best of brahmins, O most excellent of my sons, listen to that great account. After bowing to Śiva with devotion I shall narrate that story which increases devotion.
4. When Viṣṇu and other gods returned after instructing him, the lord of the mountains and Menā performed a great penance.
5. Meditating on Śivā and Śiva day and night with devout mind, the couple worshipped them continuously.
6. The beloved of the mountain worshipped the goddess along with Śiva, joyously. She gave charitable gifts always to the brahmins for their satisfaction.
7. Desirous of obtaining a child, she worshipped Śivā everyday for twenty-seven years beginning it in the month of March-April.
8. Observing a fast on the eighth day of the lunar fortnight, she made charitable gifts of sweets, offerings of oblation rice cakes, puddings and fragrant flowers on the ninth day.
10. On some days she observed a complete fast. On some days she observed sacred rites. Some days wind alone constituted her food and some days she drank only water.
11. With her mind fixed on Śivā, Menā passed twenty seven years with pleasure and brilliant lustre.
12. At the end of twenty-seven years, Umā the beloved of Śiva, the mother of the world and identical with the universe became highly delighted.
13. The goddess Śivā, delighted by her good devotion appeared in front of Menā in order to bless her.
14. Appearing to her in a form of divine limbs through a lustrous zone, she smilingly said to Menā.
The Goddess said:—
15. O beloved of the mountain, I am delighted by your penance. O chaste lady, tell me what you desire in your mind.
16. O Menā, whatever is desired by you by penance, sacred rites and ecstatic contemplation I shall grant you and that too whenever you wish for it.
17. Then seeing the goddess in her presence Menā bowed and spoke these words:—
18. O Goddess, your form has been perceived by me directly, just now. I wish to eulogise you. Be pleased.
19. On being thus requested by Menā, the goddess Umā, the enchantress of everyone, embraced Menā and was highly delighted.
20. Acquiring very great wisdom, Menā eulogised Śivā, who had appeared in person, by means of pleasing words with great devotion.
21. I bow to the great goddess, the bestower of all desires, I bow to her who wields great illusion, the creator and sustainer of the universe.
22. I bow to her of contemplative sleep, and to her the wielder of great illusion and the cause of permanent bliss. I bow to the mother of the universe. I bow to Siddhā having the garland of auspicious lotuses.
23. I bow to the grandmother, of perpetual bliss. I bow to the goddess who dispels the sorrow of the devotees, who is a model for all women and who constitutes the intellect of all living beings.
24. You are the cause of the snapping of all fetters of ascetics. Which one of your powers can be sung by women like me? You are violence mentioned in the Atharvaveda. You (of such powerful means) fulfil my desire.
25. The living beings are being united to the different principles of the nature of permanence and otherwise and those without substance are discarded. You are the inherent power of those permanent principles. In the proper time you become a woman of ability with Yogic powers.
26. You are the origin and the sustainer of the worlds. You are the eternal Prakṛti, the great, by whom even the Brahman is brought under control. O you, of noble nature, O mother, be pleased with me.
27. You are the great power latent in fire; you are the burning power of the sun’s rays; you are the pleasing power of the extensive moonlight. O Goddess, I bow to you.
28. To good women you manifest yourself as their beloved; to persons of perfect self-control and sublimation you manifest yourself as eternal; to the entire universe you manifest as desire; as of Viṣṇu you are the Māyā so you are of Śiva.
29. You assume different forms as you please for the purpose of creation, sustenance and annihilation and give birth to the bodies of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva. You, of such potentiality, be pleased. Obeisance to you again.
30. Thus eulogised, the goddess spoke to Menā desiring her to choose a boon.
31. O Himācala’s beloved, you are as favourite to me as my vital air. Whatever you desire I shall give you. There is nothing that I can withhold from you.
32. On hearing these nectar-like words of the Goddess, the delighted Menā, the wife of Himācala, said.
33. O Śivā, Hail, Hail! O great goddess, If you consider me worthy of a boon, I shall choose one.
34. O mother of the universe, at first let me have a hundred sons endowed with longevity, heroism, prosperity and accomplishments.
35. After that let me have a daughter of comely features and good qualities who will delight both the families and who will be revered by the three worlds.
36. O Śivā, be my daughter for fulfilling the needs of the gods. O Goddess, be Rudra’s wife and indulge in divine sports with the lord.
37. On hearing the words of Menā, the delighted goddess spoke smilingly, fulfilling her desire.
The Goddess said:—
3 8. May hundred heroic sons be born to you. One of them very strong will be born at first.
39. I shall be born as your daughter since I am delighted by your devotion. Since I have been served by the gods I shall fulfil their desire and carry out their activities.
40. Saying so, the Goddess Śivā vanished from there even as Menā was watching.
41. O dear one, on getting the desired boon from the Goddess, Menā attained immeasurable joy. Her misery occasioned by penance vanished.
42. Bowing down in that direction, the chaste lady of delighted mind returned to her abode repeating the benedictory word “Jaya” (be victorious).
43. She told her husband about the boon, which had already been understood by him through good omens, by her words which were rendered useless.
44. On hearing the words of Menā, the lord of mountains became delighted. He praised his wife who was devoted to Śiva lovingly.
45. O sage, when their mutual sexual intercourse took place, Menā conceived and the child in the womb gradually grew up.
46-48. She gave birth to a beautiful son Maināka who later on became the worthy recepient of the love of Nāga ladies and who later on entered into an alliance with the lord of ocean. O celestial sage, when Indra, the slayer of Vṛtra, became angry and began to chop off the wings of mountains, he retained his wings, nay, he did not even feel the pain of being wounded by the thunderbolt. He had good limbs. He had neat strength and prowess. He was the most important of all the mountains born of him. He too became the lord of mountains.
49. In the city of Himācala there was a wonderful celebration of the event. The couple were highly delighted. Their pain was at an end.
50. He gave monetary gifts and charitable offerings to brahmins. Their devotion to Śivā and Śiva became increased.
Footnotes and references:
It was the capital of Himavat. Cf. Kālidāsa’s Kumāra 6. 33, 36. The name indicates that it was a market place for the mountainous herbs.
The Goddess Śivā is mentioned here under a variety of names, forms, attributes and actions. She is contemplated upon by the ascetics for the deliverance from the bondage of this world. She is propitiated for the satiation of desires with the bloody sacrifices performed according to Atharvanic rites.
She is represented in her milder and fiercer forms. In her milder form she is pleasing as the moon, gracious as the mother. In her terrible aspect she is furious as the fire and scorching as the sun.
Maināka, the son of Menakā and Himavat, is represented as the most valiant of a hundred sons of his parents. When Indra clipped the wings of the mountains he is said to have been the only one who escaped.
He is placed near the southern sea between India and Ceylon, for the present text glorifies his friendship with the ocean. Cf also Skanda P. VI 9. 10-11 “Mainākaḥ Sumudrāntaḥ”.