Rudra-Shiva concept (Study)

by Maumita Bhattacharjee | 2018 | 54,352 words

This page relates ‘Protective or benevolent activities of Shiva’ of the study on the Rudra-Shiva concept in the Vedic and Puranic literature, starting with the concept of God as contemplated by the Rishis (Vedic sages). These pages further deal with the aspects, legends, iconography and eulology of Rudra-Shiva as found in the Samhitas, Brahamanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads Sutras and Puranas. The final chapters deal with descriptions of his greatness, various incarnations and epithets.

5. Protective or benevolent activities of Śiva

Lord Śiva’s benevolent activities are depicted in the Purāṇas. Śiva provided a boon to king Vena being satisfied by his austere prayer. Śiva bestowed a boon to Vena that he will become an Asura king, Andhaka originated from his body and he (Andhaka) will defeat the gods by his strength. When king Vena in his Andhaka form will desire to unite with Pārvatī, then Śiva will kill him and his (Vena) body will attain salvation. On his new birth, he will become a popular gaṇādhipa or the commander of gaṇas addressed as Bhṛṅgi.[1] Śiva is known as Varada or boon giver.[2] When Śiva satisfied by Śukra’s severe penance, gave him a boon. The boon was the benign sañjīvanī vidyā.[3] Sage Viśvānara and Śuciṣmatī achieved lord Śiva as their son with satisfying their austere penance on Śiva.[4]

Śiva gave Sudarśana cakra as a boon to Viṣṇu.[5] A legend regarding this boon has been depicted in the Purāṇic literature. According to this account—when the Asuras troubled all world, Viṣṇu performed worship of Śiva seeking a weapon from him (Śiva), so that he could destroy the demons with that very weapon. He performed reverence to Śiva reciting the thousand names of him (Śiva) with the offering of lotus flowers. In order to test Viṣṇu’s devotion, Śiva had kept hidden one of the thousand lotus flowers. Viṣṇu moved on the earth seeking the lotus. But he did not get it. When he was not able to find the lotus he decided to offer his eye to Śiva instead of the lotus. Śiva pleased by his worship and granted him the Sudarśana discus. Here, in this account, Viṣṇu told Śiva that there is no protector of the world better than Śiva.[6] Śiva showered his grace over Arjuna, one of the five pāṇḍavas, by bestowing his unbeatable Pāśupata astra (weapon) as a boon.[7]

One day Bāṇāsura started to praise Śiva. He performed Tāṇḍava dance for getting a boon from Śiva. Bāṇa desired for the healing of his injury as a boon. Afterthat he begged forgiveness for his dishonesty in the war and the kingship for Uṣā’s son at Śoṇitapura. Śiva pleased by his solemn prayer and fulfilled his desire. Then Bāṇa gained immortality and became a follower of Śiva.[8] Kṛṣṇa cut off four hands of Bāṇāsura by the grace of Śiva.[9] Śilāda, a sage achieved a son named Nandī who was free from death and was not born from human contact as a boon from lord Śiva. That son was the form of Śiva.[10]

The son of Ghuśmā regained his life by the grace of Śiva.[11] Ghuśmā was the wife of Sudharmā, a Brāhmaṇa of Bharadvāja race.[12] In ancient times, there was a prince named Bhadrāyu. Becoming satisfied by his devotion, Śiva bestowed him a divine conch as well as a sword as a boon. This divine sword could destroy his opponents.[13] Upamanyu earned Śiva’s blessing. The great lord granted him ten boons being satisfied by his austere penance.[14]

In order to help the Kauravas, Droṇa prayed to Śiva to achieve a son. Śiva granted him this boon and took birth as the son of Droṇa named Aśvatthāmā.[15] A reference has been found in the Purāṇa where a cāṇḍāla girl is said to be the achiever of the grace of lord Śiva.[16]

Śiva is the possessor of numerous epithets. In the Śiva Purāṇa, the greatness of his thousand names is mentioned in various ways. Here, it is mentioned that the devotees who listen to the thousand names of Śiva, attain imperishable success and their desires are fulfilled.[17] One who reads and teaches his names, he never gets miseries even in dreams.[18] When a king falls in danger and utters his (Śiva’s) name for thousand times, he attains welfare.[19] The thousand names of Śiva remove the diseases, give vidyā, wealth, charity, fulfill all wishes.[20] If a person recites his names, wishing something in his mind, his wishes will be fulfilled.[21] If a person recites the names of Śiva early in the morning with full devotion, he attains success in his whole life.[22]

Footnotes and references:

[2]:

namo bhavāya śarvāya varadāyograrūpiṇe | andhakāsurahantre ca paśūnāṃ pataye namaḥ || Ibid., 47.72

[3]:

Ibid., 62.42-43

[4]:

iti śrutvā vacanasya devo viśvānarasya hi | śuciḥ śucivratasyātha śuciṃ smitvābravīcchiśuḥ || tava putratvameṣyāmi śuciṣmatyāṃ mahāmate | khyāto gṛhapatirnāmnā śuciḥ sarvāmarapriyaḥ || Śiva-purāṇa, 3.13.55-57

[5]:

tataḥ prītaḥ prabhuḥ prādādviṣṇave paramaṃ padam | pratyakṣatejasā yuktaṃ divyaṃ cakraṃ sudarśanam || Vāmana-purāṇa, 82.22

[6]:

Śiva-purāṇa, 4.34.1-30

[7]:

astraṃ pāśupataṃ svīyaṃ durjayaṃ sarvadā’khilaiḥ | dadau tasmai maheśāno vacanañcedamabravīt || Ibid., 3.41.55

[8]:

Ibid., 2.5.56.10-33

[9]:

Ibid., 2.5.55.30

[10]:

tava putro bhaviṣyāmi nandī nāmnā tvayonijaḥ | pitā bhaviṣyasi mama piturvai jagatāṃ mune || Ibid., 3.6.34

[11]:

Ibid., 4.33

[12]:

ityevaṃ pārthitaḥ so’pi sudharmā priyayā tayā | ghuśmā tāṃ samupāyaṃsta vivāhavidhinā dvijaḥ || Ibid., 4.32.41

[13]:

avatāreṇa me yena bhadrāyurnṛpabālakaḥ...tataḥ sa kavacaṃ divyaṃ śaṅkhaṃ khaṅgaṃ ca bhāsvaram | dadau tasmai prasannātmā sarvaśatruvināśanam || Ibid., 3.4.40-43

[14]:

Ibid., 3.32

[15]:

Ibid., 3.36

[16]:

Ibid., 4.9

[17]:

ye śṛṇvanti sadā bhaktyā siddhiḥ syādanapāyini | kāmānāṃ sakalānāṃ ca prasadānmama suvrata || Ibid., 4.36.14

[18]:

anye ca je paṭhiṣyanti pāṭhayiṣyanti nityaśaḥ | teṣāṃ duḥkhaṃ na svapne’pi jāyate nātra saṅśayaḥ || Ibid., 4.36.21

[19]:

rājñāṃ ca saṅkaṭe prāpte śatāvṛttiṃ caredyadā | sāṅgaṃ ca vidhisaṃyuktaṃ kalyāṇaṃ labhate naraḥ || Ibid., 4.36.22

[20]:

roganāśakaraṃ hyetadvidyāvittadamuttamam | sarvakāmapradaṃ puṇyaṃ śivabhaktipradaṃ sadā || Ibid., 4.36.23

[21]:

yaduddiśya phalaṃ śreṣṭhaṃ paṭhiṣyanti narāstviha | lapsyante nātra sandehaḥ phalaṃ tatsatyamuttamam || Ibid., 4.36.24

[22]:

yaśca prātaḥ samutthāya pūjāṃ kṛtvā madīyikām | paṭhate matsamakṣaṃ vai nityaṃ siddhirna dūrataḥ || Ibid., 4.36.25

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