Shiva Gita (study and summary)
by K. V. Anantharaman | 2010 | 35,332 words
This page is entitled “ashta murtis (forms) of lord shiva” contained in the Shiva Gita (Study and English comments by K. V. Anantharaman). The Shiva Gita is a philosophical text from the Padma-purana in the form of a dialogue between Lord Shiva and Shri Rama. It deals with topics such as Advaita metaphysics and Bhakti and consists of 768 verses.
Appendix 8 - Aṣṭa Mūrtis (forms) of Lord Śiva
Prelude: [see previous appendix]: [...] Word Śiva enjoys the prakṛti and puruṣa He is called Īśāna. This Īśāna appears in its eight fold forms, technically called Aṣṭamūrti—these are earth, water, fire, air, ākāśa, the soul, the sun and the moon. [...]
The Vedas speak of the Aṣṭa Mūrtis (forms) of Lord Śiva. Śarva, Bhava, Rudra, Ugra, Bhīma. Paśupati, Mahādeva, and Īśāna are the eight Mūrtis of Śiva. Purāṇas explain the Adhistānas for these eight forms, which are Śarva for earth, Bhava for water, Rudra for fire, Ugra for wind, Bhīma for space, Paśupati for yajamāna, Mahādeva for moon and Īśana for Sun. Śiva is also called Paśupati i.e. Lord Śiva with his enormous grace on the Jīva means paśu, cuts the Pāśa or the string and makes it move free to join him with devotion. In this way, his name Paśupati is more meaningful. Each of the following Kṣetras (places) in India and Nepal are connected to the Lord’s eight forms, so that the devotee can know clearly how the ancient purāṇas took care to locate these places both geographically and spiritually. Śiva, Brahma purāṇas are the main sources.
The following forms or forces of nature are worshipped in their primal form only without any special idols representing them.
Bhūmi Liṅga, Kancheepuram. Tamil Nadu. It is in Śiva Kāñci Kṣetra, where the Lord is in the form of Kṣiti Liṅga in the Ekāmra tree (Āmra-Mango in Sankrit), which yields only one fruit per year. Pārvatī worshipped this form first. There is no Abhiṣeka done with water at this shrine, jasmine oil is used instead. The Devi’s name here is Kamakṣi. All the desires of the devotees are fulfilled with her gracious eyes.
Jala Liṅga, Tiruvanaikoil, (Jambukeśvaram), Tamil Nadu. This temple is located on the outskirts of Trichy, where Lord Jambukeśvara is seated and showers all his blessings to his devotees. This Kṣetra is called Jambhukeśvara Kṣetra, also known Abhijñāna Śākuntala Jala Liṅga. The devotees can see from the outside of Garbha Gṛha the water bubbles coming out from sanctum sanctorum. There is a Jambu tree, which is very old and very big. The legends say Lord Śiva wanted to stay here along with the Jambu tree. So the devotees treat this tree Abhijñāna Śākuntala sacred Abhijñāna Śākuntala the Lord.
Agni or Tejo (Divine Light) Liṅga, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu—Aruṇācaleśvara. In Tiruvannamalai, Lord Śiva is seated in the form of Tejoliṅga. The whole mountain appears to be a Liṅga. Abhijñāna Śākuntala a result of Pārvatī’s great penance, a sharp spark of fire came from Aruṇācala and took shape Abhijñāna Śākuntala Aruṇaliṅga.
Vāyu Liṅga, Śrī Kalahasthi, Andhra Pradesh. The Śrī Kālahasthīśvara temple is situated on the banks of Svama Mukhi River in Śrī Kālahasthi. Spiritually elevated souls only can see that there is a strong wind blowing around the Liṅga. Bhakta Kannappa story is connected to this temple. Even animals got salvation by worshipping this Lord. Three animals—Cobweb (Śrī), Kāla (snake), Hasthi (elephant) prayed to God with utmost faith and devotion and attained Moksa. One can see these symbols there on the Śiva Liṅga even today
Ākāśa Liṅga, Chidambaram. Tamil Nadu. This Kṣetra also called Puṅdarīka or Vyāgrapura is on the banks of Cauvery. We don’t see any Mūrti in the temple Garbha Gṛha. The purāṇas speak of this Kṣetra very highly. No one can see the Lord’s Mūrti, except the highest spiritual souls. There is a space in the Garbha Gṛha and many Ābharaṇas are decorated and the devotees assume the Lord is seated there. A very beautiful Naṭarāja mūrti is in outer Garbha Gṛha for worship and for the satisfaction of the devotees.
Yajamāna (Lord) Liṅga, Kathmandu. Nepal. In Nepal, Paśupatinādha [Paśupatinātha?] Kṣetra is famous and the Lord here is in human form. The devotee can see the deity up to his waist only. The Mūrti is decorated with Gold Kavaśa always. Nobody can enter into the Garbha Gṛha except the Arcaka (not even the King of Nepal). Many devotees from all over the globe pray to this Lord with highest devotion and get their wishes fulfilled.
Candra Liṅga, West Bengal. Candra nātha Liṅga is situated in West Bengal 34 miles away from Chatagav City. Many sacred tīrthas surround this Kṣetra. Devī purāṇa lauded this Kṣetra greatly.
Sūrya Liṅga, Konark Temple, Orissa. This Kṣetra is in Orissa state near Puri Jagannath Kṣetra. Konark is now in ruins and the temple is in fragments and now, devotees can’t see any God or Goddess here. The legend says that Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s son Sāmba suffered once from leprosy and was cured by worshipping the Sūrya and the Liṅga here and since then this Kṣetra became a remedy centre for all diseases. Even in these days the worship is going on with same faith and devotion.