Bhagavadgita Pages, Chapters 1 to 18

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Origin of Universe--Saiva view



Ardhanarisvara (Androgynous Siva. Left half is Sakti and right half is Siva

Tiruvenkadu, Thanjavur District. Height 101 cm. About 11th Century AD.

As the name indicates, Siva is represented here as half-male and half-female, typifying the male and female energies. The right half represents Siva and the left Parvati. Siva has a jatamakuta with a crescent moon. He has three arms of which the lower arm rests on the back of the bull, his vehicle., and the upper right has an axe. The whole of the right side is adorned with ornaments peculiar to Siva. The right leg is bent and rests on the pedestal. The drapery is shown upto the knee. On the left side the image has a karandamakuta. The drapery is upto the anklets and her leg is slightly bent, resting on the pedestal. This image is referred to in an inscription in the temple at Tiruvenkadu. Chennai Museum.



     Nidur, Mayavaram Taluk, Tanjore District. Height of Siva 50cm. of Paravti  44 cm. of Subrahmanya 29 cm. About 10th century AD.   
     Siva : Axe, antelope; abhaya, ahuya-varada.
     Parvati : Kataka, varada.
     Subrahmanya : kataka, fruit.
   The treatment of this image, especially the necklaces and faces, clearly mark it as of Chola type, in spite of the absence of the projecting elbow ornaments. The usual snake and flower are present on right and left respectively of the jewel in Siva's head-dress, which lacks the usual crescent. The flower is probably a Datura. The face and tail of the antelope are facing towards Siva. Subrahmanya is shown as standing erect and wears a karanda-makuta and patra-kundalas.
Chennai Museum.

In Hymns to Badrinath, hymn five touches on the theory of Ajata Vada and Srishti-Drishti Vada--the Great Truth is none other than THYSELF. Although Badrinarayan is Vishnu, Ramana Maharishi (Advaitist) explains the following theories.

1) Ajata Vada (Non-Causality Theory) The phenomenal world is perceptions of the body, mind and intellect of the seer (perceiver) and exists only as long as the perceiver exists..

Other theories are proposed about creation: 2) Creation-perception Theory (Srishti-Drishti Vada) 3) Perception-Creation Theory (Drishti-Srishti Vada).  Srishti = creation.  Drishti = seeing.

2) Creation-Perception Theory implies that the seer perceives creation because it exists. The obvious inference here is that creation existed before the seer acquired the faculty to perceive it. The emphasis is on creation and the seer and perception are secondary. This, the Vedas say, is the pedestrian (ajnani--the unwise) view.

3) Perception-Creation Theory says that creation exists because the seer perceives it. The emphasis is on the seer and perception and creation is secondary. If there are no seer and perception there is no (appreciation of) creation. This is the learned view of the Hindu Sacred Texts. There is only ONE, the SELF. We don't see the SELF or the Seer and only see the seen. It is like saying we do not see the Forest for the trees. (Forest is the Self and the trees are the seen--phenomenal world.)

Who is this Seer? It is Brahman. If there is no Seer there is no creation. The Seen is Brahman-dependent; thus the Seen has no independent existence apart from the Seer. The Seer and the Seen are one (and the same). The unwise give more importance to the Seen than to the Seer. The Seer has the Will, Knowledge and Action (Iccha, Jnana, Kriya). The creative power is Maya from which the universe of beings and matter proceed.

The model by which Perception-Creation Theory (Drishti-Srishti Vada) can be explained is the dream sleep. Dreams are built by the mind with disparate ingredients: impressions.... The dream is all real as long as we dream. Once we wake up, we know it is not real. Thus there are two worlds: one an awake phenomenal world of objects and beings and another a dream world. The mind and the ego are common to both. Where there is no mind, there is no phenomenal world or dream world. We accept the fact that the dreams are dreamer- and mind-dependent projections. In the same vein, the phenomenal world is a projection of Karma, the mind, ego and the I-thought. When the I-thought is erased, the phenomenal world does not exist. The seer creates out of his mind what he sees.  Ramana Maharishi says that people who cannot grasp this concept continue to argue in the following terms: `The dream experience is so short, while the world always exists. The dream experience was limited to me. But the world is felt and seen not only by me, but by so many others. We cannot call such a world non-existent.'  Literally, drishti-srishti means that the world only exists when it is perceived.

He summarized the difference between the Jnani's and the Ajnani's standpoint by saying that the world is unreal if it is perceived by the mind as a collection of discrete objects and real when it is directly experienced as an appearance in the Self.

Literally, drishti-srishti means that the world only exists when it is perceived whereas srishti-drishti means that the world existed prior to anyone's perception of it. Although the former theory sounds perverse, Sri Ramana insisted that serious seekers should be satisfied with it, partly because it is a close approximation to the truth and partly because it is the most beneficial attitude to adopt if one is seriously interested in realizing the Self.--Ramana


Explanation. Self is Brahman, God or Creator. You, your body, mind, ego and your name are one, without which we do not perceive the world. Brahman, his creation and the created objects are one.  Your mind recognizes Brahman, which is Brahman and the universe. Brahman has Iccha, Jnana and Kriya meaning He has the Will, the Knowledge and the Action potential. He willed to create, He has the knowledge to create, and He has innate ability to act or put in place His creation. Take the oft-repeated platitude: What you see is what you get. There is truism in it. What you see in the world is what you get and what you get is Brahman and His creation. Since we are limited men with limited will, knowledge and action, what we see of Brahman and His creation is not whole but only parts of It. It is like the Amoeba or a worm which cannot take a full measure of man. Likewise, we the people cannot make a full measure of Brahman and His creation. If we do not have the eye of the mind and ego, we would not see Brahman and His world. Take a deeply comatose man. He does not have the perceptive mind for that moment to appreciate what of him or his surroundings. The world does not exist for him. It is somewhat like drishti-srishti (Perception-Creation). Thus the world exists only, when it is perceived.


Other theories:

The universe and beings originate from  the Unmanifest (Avyakta) Mula Bhuta or Para Vastu (Supreme Substance or Essence second to none). This Para Vastu is the Stem substance, which is the progenitor of all substances in the universe.

Let us take the Big Bang and the Supernova. The Big Bang made the Hydrogen, Helium and Lithium. Hydrogen is the stem substance of all substances in the world. Nuclear fusion converts hydrogen into Helium and other substances.




February 12, 2013.  Cascade of Tattvas compared to the Cascading elements in Big Bang and Supernovae.

Burning of Hydrogen, Helium, Carbon, Neon, Oxygen and Silicon produce elements up to iron and Nickel. Assembly of heavier elements takes place within the stars and supernovae.   

Stage 1. The Big Bang made hydrogen, helium and traces of lithium by primordial Big Bang necleosynthesis, while all heavier elements are made in stars and Supernovae.  Hydrogen fuses into Helium. Stars burn (fuse) Helium into carbon.

Stage 2. Exploding Supernovae made elements.

Gas, dust, metals…populate the interstellar medium (between the star systems).

The White Dwarf detonates in a thermonuclear explosion converting the Carbon and Oxygen to heavier elements like nickel, magnesium, iron… These elements found in the earth are derived from the exploding  Supernovae by a process known as nuclear fusion and nucleosynthesis for elements heavier than iron.  We are all made of star dust.

When Carbon burns (fuses) with Helium in Supernova, it yields Oxygen; When oxygen burns, it yields Neon; Neon burns with helium to yield Magnesium.  This cascade is very much like the process that you see in Tattvas: one Tattva yielding the next Tattva. These Tattvas attain gradual and increasing solidity from the beginning to the end.

There are three factors or entities: Janman, Janaka, and Janya. Janman means production or generation; Janaka is substrate, cause, generator; Janya is substance, the generated or the effect. Vikrita is change, modification or transformation.  Paravastu undergoes transformation and produces Maha Tattva (Great Principle) which is made of three Gunas, Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, and Antahkarana.  Maha Tattva generates three kinds of Ahamkara, colored by Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas.  Avyakta, Mula Bhuta, Paravastu, Prakrti, Sabda Brahman, Bindu are synonyms in this context. Prakrti by process of Vikrita (transformation) becomes Vikrti (changed product) that is Maha Tattva; therefore, Maha Tattva or Vikrti (the product) is Pratibimba  of Prakrti or Para Vastu. (reflection of Prakrti).  (Vikrti = Maha Tattva) Every object has qualities and so Vikriti, the product of Prakrti, is colored by three qualities; Vikrti or Mahatattva generates eight products: Mahat1 (Intuition or Buddhi), Ahamkara2 (ego), Manas3 (mind), Akasa4 (Ether), Vayu5 (air), Tejas6 (Fire), Apas7 (water), and Kshiti8 (Earth).  Mahat, Ahamkara, Manas, Akasa, Vayu, Tejas, Apas, Kshiti.

Guna: quality

Sattva, Rajas and Tamas: Virtue, passion, and darkness.

Antah-karana: Internal-organ, the seat of thought and feeling, mind, the thinking faculty, the heart, the conscience, the soul. ref: Monier Williams.


The transformed Prakrti (Vikrti) and the eight elements that are its progeny are the primary and secondary causes of the universe. (In Tantra Sastra, all powers are of equal importance, while in Vaidic sastras, Purusa is the spirit and Prakrti is matter.) The nine centers, powers, Chakras or Conscious Powers are the eight Padmas or Lotuses: 1) Sahasrara, 2) Nada, 3) Bindu, 4) Ajna, 5) Visuddha, 6) Anahata, 7) Manipura, 8) Svadhisthana, and 9) Muladhara. Sahasrara Padma or Lotus is the seat of universal power which generated Nada and Bindu, Sound and Light. From Nada Sakti, the universe of beings and matter emanated. The lower six chakras contain fifty petals with 50 Sanskrit letters inscribed on them, attesting to the fact that the universe originates from Sound. The first three centers form the basis of Saiva Siddhanta philosophy. They are the Conscious Centers, the brain and the know-how behind creation, having the Iccha (Will) to create; they represent the Jnana (knowledge) aspect of the Creator. The 4th, 5th, and 6th centers represent the Kriya (action based on knowledge) Power of the Creator. The 7th, 8th, and 9th are the dilute human version of Siva-Sakti's Jnana, Iccha and Kriya.

Creation—Linga (Tamasa) Purana

In Linga Purana, Siva is the dominant God, as Visnu in Visnu Purana. He was androgynous (Ardhanari), right half male, and left half female. Ardhanari represents fusion of male and female principles in One and forms the basis for passion and lust.  Man is genetically XY, meaning he is half female and half male, while woman is XX, meaning that she is homozygous for the X chromosome.  The prevailing conjecture is that hermaphroditism was the order of the day before the species, subjected to many factors and stresses, differentiated into male and female.


Saktas believe that male descended from female and this is the learned view of the geneticists too. This information may fluster Adam because he believes that Eve came from him. Adam's presumed and unproven donation to male of the species is the Y chromosome which is not as robust as it once was, and shrinking and wasting away. Consider the gene-poor Y chromosome equal to a cash-poor wallet.

The Meiotic Chaos

Compare the robust size of X chromosome with its counterpart, a runt (the Y) lined up by its side. The Y is a loner; the Y rejects the advances of X to exchange genes except at the ends (PAR- PseudoAutosomal Region), when they do the dance of "give and take."  First an autosome became X chromosome; X duplicated resulting in XX. The duplicate copy of X (degenerate X) became the Y chromosome. The Y has been an immigrant haven for new genes which serve no useful purpose. The immigrant genes kept it alive; otherwise the Y would have attained extinction. Over ages, the immigrant genes die off.  There is no new "real blood" coming into Y. Will Y waste away and come to a naught? The laconic Y is short, dense and wasting way; it will take 10 million years for the Y to become a shell of its former self. Just like before, a mutant event will take place in the chromosomes and the SRY gene will come into being.  Its hyperbole, haughtiness, hubris, and bombast do not match its size. The house of Y is mostly junk. They (sperm) march by millions to assault one ovum with hardy accouterment, loaded with nourishment, so a lonely sperm can enter the premises for companionship and progeny. All the other prospective suitors die in battle, as one princely critter enters the once impregnable fortress and makes a mark with an X or Y. The little runt has a big ego; it has the ability to morph the primary default state of femaleness of the embryo into a male, if the critter carries the Y (SRY).  The critter says in effect, "I am the greatest; I punched a hole and broke through the formidable fortress; it is me who decides whether the progeny is male or not."  Genetically speaking, Y came into being from X about 300 million years ago.  Adam can draw little comfort from that notion.  Even worse, the X and Y were not sex chromosomes to begin with; they were autosomes before they became sexy. The future Y chromosome was a copy of X chromosome. Where is the male pride here? And a mere copy at that. Some call the Y X-degenerate. What would Adam say to this? The scientists traced the X and the Y chromosome backwards and found them not sexy but very unsexy autosomes.  The X is a repository of thousands of genes, while the Y is the poor - but proud- owner of a few dozen.  A dozen or so of the genes shared by the X and Y look like fossils from which scientists reconstructed the evolutionary story of the X and the Y.  The fossil genes are neatly arranged at the tips of the X chromosome, which speaks of good housekeeping. The Y chromosome fossil genes in a typical fashion are strewn up and down the length of the Y chromosome; this may explain why bachelor's dormitory rooms are in disarray. It is an evolutionary curse. Normal chromosomes exchange genes, when they line up during sperm or egg formation, just like children exchange baseball cards. By doing this mutual reciprocal exchange, the pair knows that they belong to each other;  if they do not recombine, the two may go their own separate ways and take other forms. This exchange or recombination was suppressed in the distant past during evolution. The blame goes to Y because Y moved the genes by taking chunks of DNA and flipping them upside down: inversion.  Inversion event is the way Y frustrates X. This is the temper tantrum of Y which flings the genes into places where the X cannot find and make reciprocal exchange.  The X chromosome DNA chunks are in good order. Now you can see why the house of Y is in disarray; moreover, Y likes it that way.  The scientists examined the X chromosome's suitcase of genes which are neatly arranged as four groups, one on top of another. The suitcase of the Y chromosome is a hodgepodge of disparate things thrown in carelessly.


300 million years ago--give or take a few million years-- one of the unsexy autosomal pair (the future sex chromosome) underwent mutation and started sporting SRY gene--Sex-determining Region Y. The partner without the SRY gene became the X chromosome. The SRY gene is the switch that is turned on in male fetus bearing Y chromosome.

    Since 95% of Y  (NRY= Non-recombining Region of Y) does not recombine with the X (the genes are all turned upside down in Y), it is isolated from X and starts accumulating  mutations. 98% of Y chromosome is junk and the male passes on the accumulated junk to his sons and along the male line.  Scientists scavenge the garbage dump (study the junk) and identify paternity; junk has value; Y junkyard is research and commercial paradise: Y carries $ signs.

    Y Chromosome is known to invite and harbor immigrant genes from other chromosomes that favor maleness like fertility genes.

When Kali says that she is the origin of men, women and matter, who is going to refute that claim? Remember that the original Y is a copy of X. The male genes hijacked (took residence in)  the autosome which would become Y. That is why most of the hijackers are male.  If you stay long enough in a place, you eventually own it. That is how the autosome became the Y chromosome, when the sex genes claimed ownership; there was a transfer of deed of ownership of the house to Y chromosome.  To begin with the new X and Y looked alike; they did their dance like all other autosomes and exchanged genes from each other. Then the Y became a loner and a lone ranger and stopped nuclear exchange with X except at the ends; simply put, Y was not talking much with X; this may be the primordial beginning of marital discord between X and Y.  Y also has a lot of palindromes of enormous lengths which forwards and backwards read the same like MADAM. There are palindromes within palindromes which are compared to hall of mirrors. Y is proud of his mirrors esp., the ones on the ceiling. The Y  chromosome chants these palindromes like Mantras, repeating them umpteen times.  One such palindrome is the infertility gene. Deletions in the gene during sperm formation leads to infertility. That is misspelling of Mantra, which equally has deleterious effect in the world of Tantrics. Remember all this drama takes place in meiosis in the testis. Man uses the female as the copying machine for his X and Y chromosomes; that is the sad Truth and speaks ill of  Y.


In Biblical terms, Adam's rib is the X chromosome (haploid, single), which became diploid (double)--that is XX in Eve. Could it be possible that the rib was a repository of XX instead of the normal XY?  We know of chimera: Why should a person have AB blood group instead of A, B or O? It is unlikely she was XO. It is a mystery in genetic terms how he withheld the Y chromosome from Eve. If you can stretch your imagination, Adam donated his X chromosome which underwent equal division in genetic terms, resulting in diploid XX.  Where do you go to harvest the life-giving cells, needed by a leukemic patient?  BMT (Bone marrow Transplantation) is the answer; of course stem cells are becoming important.

Coming to XX/XY chimera of Lord Ardhanaresvara, this genetic set up is seen in humans. It can be created also by therapeutic modality; after ablation of recipient's marrow, a marrow transplantation from a male donor to a female recipient will result in chimeric cell population (both XX and XY) in the recipient, a genetic Ardhanari.


Yin and Yang

    In China, the circle represents the origin and mystery of creation; it is beyond the beyond, similar to Paraparam (the Supreme Supreme, Beyond the beyond) of Saivites. This circle has no name and is beyond human understanding. The circle becomes two, the Yin and the Yang comparable to Ardhanarisvara. This circle is separated into two equal parts by a sinuous reverse S line, each one looking like a tear drop. The Yin and the Yang create ten thousand things and pervade in every one of them.


In Tai Chi, the Yin and the Yang exist together, each one having the seed of the other. This reciprocal fit within a circle represents two apparently oppositional elements achieving a balance and containment within the confines of the circle. They belong to each other; that is why the seed of the other is present in each moiety. The negative dark feminine abuts the positive, bright and masculine Yang; that is the night becoming day. Because they are contained in a circle they change their shape in a reciprocal manner so that one does not dominate the other; their basic proportions of 50-50 never changes.  Dominance in one pole is balanced by attenuation in the other pole.



    The British discovered some Indus Valley seals (dated C.2000 B.C.) depicting a Supreme Persona (Ithyphallic Siva) with three faces and a tumescent upright phallus, sitting in a Yoga posture on a low platform. Two graceful gazelles face each other in front of him along with a circle of animals surrounding him: a tiger, an elephant, a rhinoceros and a water buffalo. Other seals show bulls. He wears a trident-like crown with a pair of horns at the base which curve towards the center, enclosing the crown. This divine personage is regarded as the prototype of Siva, who is the Yogin of Yogins and consort of Kali. The image impels one to say that Siva is the Lord of animals (Pasu, also means individual souls). He has his trident at all times by his side. The upright phallus stands for Lingam, the Rupa-Arupa (form-formless) representation of Siva, who as Mahesvara has three faces. Bull (Nandisvara) is his mount. Buddhists like to view this personage as Buddha with two gazelles, three-jeweled headwear. Another seal shows worshippers and two serpents with raised hoods on either side of the meditating Yogin.  The upright tumescent phallus as opposed to downright tumescent phallus of earthbound people point to transmutation and ascent of sexual energy towards the head, the seat of Sahasrara Chakra of Kundalini Yoga.  This is where the concept of Urdhvaretas is portrayed. The sexual energy, contained and transmuted, ascends (without dissipation as in ordinary people) to where the union of Siva (Yang) and Sakti (Yin) produces the nectar of immortality. This transmuted energy spreads all over the body.

Urdhvaretās*: Vital fluid, according to Hindu belief, exists in a subtle state throughout the body. Sukra = White, Silver, Vital fluid, Essence, Semen. When sexual urge finds expression, the subtle substance gathers at the gonads and prostate and assumes a gross form as opposed to the subtle form of existence throughout the body. To rise to the level of Urdhvaretas is to prevent emission and facilitate reabsorption into the body of the stored seeds for in the perfected one it remains subtle for ever with atrophy of the gonads and involution of phallus -- signs of Urdhvaretas. Because of the subtle nature of Sukra and its pervasion throughout the chaste body in Urdhvaretas and lack of it in the gonadal and prostatic fluid, he smells like a lotus. (On the other hand, ordinary mortals (men) smell like goats for obvious reasons.) In perfect ones, the transmuted seminal energy rises to become the nectar (Amrta) of Siva Sakti, according to Tantric Texts. This diffuse radiant energy (Tejas) circulating in the body of the perfected ones, it is said, they, when cut, bleed not blood but Tejas in the form of semen.

  The Gurus recommend prolonging the sexual act without ejaculation; thus conservation of the seed is maintained.

By sublimating, conserving and transmuting sexual energy, it is said that the vital fluid rises to Sahasrara, becomes Soma, the nectar of immortality and spreads through the lymphatic system eventually finding its way to the brain where it becomes Ojas and Tejas (Vigor and splendor), which are essential for obtaining Superconsciousness.  This ascent of conserved energy is called Urdhvaretas. The message is orgasm is for the flesh, beatitude is for the spirit; between the two, beatitude is superior. Physical union is a weak emulation of union of Siva and Sakti.  

Now back to Creation, Saiva View.

        The halves of the Lord split; the male impregnates the female; this creative energy is Brahma himself; Vishnu is the product. Thus, Ardhanari form of the Lord is both efficient and material, paternal and maternal cause of the universe. (When you read about the Mesopotamian gods, father-daughter, brother-sister, and mother-son relationships appear common. Take Adam and Eve for example.)  The Cosmic Egg comes into existence in the womb of Visnu, when the seed of Siva enters it, and remains in the Cosmic Ocean for thousands of years. (When the sentient seed of Siva enters the womb, it stimulates and transforms the insentient Prakrti, matter.) The halves of the egg split open from the force of the wind and become the fourteen worlds including the heaven and the earth. They are, in ascending order, Bhurloka, Bhuvarloka, Svarloka, Maharloka, Janarloka, Taparloka and Satyaloka; in descending order starting from Bhurloka (earth) are the netherworlds, Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talatala, Rasatala, MahaTala and Patala. For definitions of these terms, please see file CREATION AND DISSOLUTION. The fetus, emerging from the Egg, became the Mount Meru (Visnu). When the Soul of Mahesvara entered the womb, Hiranyagarbha (Brahma) was born.


Linga Purana


Bhagavata Purana (Vishnu)



Skanda and Uma loka
















Bhurloka ---Earth plane

















Table points to the difference in the worlds, according to the dominant God.


Matter (Prakrti) consists of 24 elements made of unevolved Primordial Prakrti (Pradhana), intellect (Mahat), ego, Pada (five subtle elements or Tanmatras), Matra (five organs of action, Karmendriyas, or motor organs), Varna (five organs of knowledge, Janendriyas, or sensory organs), five gross elements (Yauvana, Mahabhutas) and the mind. Pradhana is the womb from which other elements take their origin. Linga Purana (20.73) says that Mahesvara owns and sows the seed, Brahma is the seed itself and Vishnu is the eternal womb.

The intellect, ego, consciousness, and the mind form a unit called Kaladvara. These are insentient and cannot come together to a life-form without the participating three sentient principles: Jiva (individual soul), Purusa (the cosmic soul), and Siva (the Supreme Soul or Paramatman).

            Jiva, the 25th entity, is the knower of the Primordial, undifferentiated, unevolved, and undeveloped Prakrti (Pradhana), the precursor of all 23 insentient elements. Pradhana is the 24th entity. Purusa, the 26th entity, ontologically placed higher, is the knower and the passive witness of Jiva and Pradhana. The preceding knowing entities have an adjunct status to the Supreme Soul, Siva or Mahadeva, the 27th entity, because only Mahadeva can give grace. He is Mahesvara because he transcends gunas, Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas (Virtue, passion, and darkness).

            Mahesvara manifests himself in three ways: Saptadah (seven forms), Sodasadha (16 forms), and 26 forms. It is a progressive form, going from subtle elements to gross elements to consciousness and to life itself, and ends in the creation of Brahma. Pradhana is the central column of support, around which these forms come into existence, resulting in Linga whose ends and glory are unfathomable. Only Mahesvara (the 27th entity) with 26 forms has the exclusive ability to grant Ananda (grace, beatitude).







27 elements

7 forms

16 forms

26 forms


Intellect (Buddhi) (1)





Ego (Ahamkara) (2)





Subtle elements (Tanmatras (3-7)





Five organs of action (8-12)





Five organs of sense (13-17)





Five gross elements (18-22)





Mind (23)





Pradhana (24)





Jiva (25)





Purusa (26)





Mahesvara (27) Bliss (Saptavimsaka)










Mahesvara, the Ultimate Supreme Principle, is Prabuddha, the Supreme Intelligence, Wisdom, All-awareness, the Awakened, All-enlightenment, expanded Consciousness, and the Supreme Pervader. Purusa, one step below Mahesvara is All-awareness and the Awakened.  Jiva is Buddhiman with less awareness and awakening, compared to Purusa. In his male form, he is whole without attributes (Niskala); in his female form he is parts with attributes (Sakala): (Brahma with Rajas and) creative power, (Vishnu with Sattva and) sustaining power, and (Rudra with Tamas and) destructive power. Niskala form is Brahman and transcendent and Sakala form is manifest Brahman and phenomenal.

            Linga is the Universe of beings and matter. It is the skambha (pillar) or Axis Mundi around which all elements, sentient and insentient are supported. Brahma is at the base of the shaft, engaged in creation; Vishnu is at the middle of the shaft, engaged in sustenance; and Rudra is at the top, engaged in destruction at the appointed time. All three functions are equipotent and necessary for balance and smooth running of the universe. Supreme Siva pervades Linga and provides the fillip for its functions.

Creation consists of primary, secondary, and tertiary phases.  In the primary phase, the building blocks, 24 elements, are formed; in the secondary phase, elements gain functions and bodies with or without life under the aegis of the Lord, with the creation of mobiles, immobiles, insentient objects, living things, animals, humans and gods; and in the tertiary phase, which is a combination of primary and secondary phases, Brahma creates his mind-born sons. The mind-born sons went against the will of Brahma and practiced celibacy. As buds would erupt from the stem, eleven sons erupted from the body of Brahma and blossomed out into full-grown sons. If you think these uneven eleven could be clones, I am not disputing it.  Please go to “Creation part three” Creation and Dissolution for details. Brahma assumes an androgynous status and divides into male and female halves; the male half separates and grows into fully formed man, Manu; the female half grows into a fully formed woman, Satarupa. Manu and Satarupa obey the will of Brahma and help augment the population of the world.  There are some similarities among religions on the appearance of the first man and the first woman.  Adam’s rib became the woman.  According to Koran 4:1, God created a single soul from which he created its mate and through them countless men and women. In ancient Egypt, Hapi was the androgynous god of the marshes with pendulous breasts, flooding the Nile.

The three qualities of the insentient and the sentient, Sattva, Rajas and Tamas assume an ontological status in Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra under the aegis of Mahesvara for creation, sustenance, and dissolution of the universe. Mahesvara pervades them all, and in their roles, they are called Alinga, Linga, and Lingalinga.  He is Pradhana (primordial unmanifested matter), Bija (the seed), and Yoni (the womb). Prakrti, the unmanifest matter, wakes up to become manifest and fecund upon the glance of the Lord Mahesvara.  This potentially nubile and fecund Aja (the unborn Prakrti) of red, white and black complexion (Rajas, Sattva and Tamas) enjoys the advances of Purusa when it comes of age and gives birth to this universe and beings. This gestation goes through several stages. The gunas of Aja undergo agitation and Mahat springs forth. This creative cascade, starting from Mahat, in a downstream fashion, results in ego (ahamkara) with three colors or gunas: Sattvika (white) ahamkara, Rajasic (red) ahamkara, and Tamasic (black) ahamkara. The Sattvika ahamkara gives rise to the mind and the presiding deities of the senses; the Rajasic ahamkara gives rise to the sensory and motor organs; the Tamasika ahamkara gives rise to the subtle elements like sound, touch, color and vision, taste, and odor.

The five subtle elements, upon combination, starting from sound give rise to gross elements with cumulative qualities.      


Resulting product–––>

 Cumulative & Special Quality




Ether –––––––>


Sound and touch

Air and Ether–––>


Sound, touch, and color or form

Air and Fire–––->


Sound, touch, color, and taste

Water and Fire––>


Sound, touch, color, taste, and odor

From the polychromatic ego develop 11 senses: Five organs of sense, five organs of action and the mind:  (ears) hearing, (skin) touching, (eyes) seeing, (tongue) tasting, and (nose) smelling; (voice box) speech, (hands) prehension or grasping, (feet) ambulation or movement, (anus) excretion, and (genitalia) generation; and the mind.

The building blocks (from Mahat and ending in indispensable and distinct elements -Visesha/bhutas) make the Cosmic Egg from which Brahma comes forth. This egg is surrounded in layers by water, fire, air, ether, ego, intellect, and Pradhana—seven in all. There are zillions and zillions of these Cosmic Eggs strewn all over this limitless space. In each Cosmic Egg, there reside four-faced Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra.  Mahesvara’s transformational seed and seeing of Pradhana brought about these Cosmic Eggs. Mahesvara uses Rajas for creation, Sattva for sustenance, and Tamas for destruction; and the entire cycle is repeated in an endless fashion.  Mahesvara is all in One: Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, Sadasiva, and Bhava.

The Lord, through his surrogate god, Brahma, brings about creation during day and dissolution during night--they are long days and nights measured in millions of years.

Much of the information on kalpas is omitted to avoid repetition and only new material is mentioned here.

The night of Brahma is graced by 28 crores (1 crore = 10 million) of gods whose transport is airborne chariot. Their population explodes to 392 crores during daytime of Brahma. Pradhana and Purusa come to a halt and the gunas come to equilibrium, an inert status, when the universe is in the state of dissolution. There is only one Mahesvara, but there are as many Brahmas and Vishnus as there are kalpas and cosmic eggs—numbers beyond human imagination. At nightfall, the worlds of Bhur, Bhuvah, Svar and Mahar meet destruction and the worlds above them escape dissolution. The universe is a watery grave in which sleeps Brahma in the form of Vishnu/Narayana. At the beginning of kalpa, Brahma wakes up, assumes the form of a boar and lifts the earth from the Ekarnava (nothing but one ocean, all oceans and waters joined to form one ocean) Ocean. Vishnu restores all features on the earth (as before destruction), mountains, hills, plains, rivers, lakes, oceans.

            Brahma, at the beginning of creation, was affected by five forms ignorance: Tamas, Moha, Mahamoha, Tamasira and Andhatamsira (darkness, delusion, great delusion, pitch-darkness, and extreme darkness). This ignorance resulted in the creation of the immovables, which are afflicted with the same ignorance. Brahma immersed himself in meditation and his vertical neck suddenly assumed a horizontal stance. This resulted in the emergence from his body of Tiryaksrotas, Udhavasrotas, Arvaksrotas, Anugraha, and bhutadi. (See part one for details, Creation and Dissolution.) First he created Mahat; second, Tanmatras; third, the sense organs; fourth, the immovables, fifth, animals; sixth, gods; seventh, men; eighth, emotions (anugraha); and ninth, Kaumaras (Sanadana, Sanaka and Sanatana).  The Kaumaras dedicated themselves to yoga and refused to proliferate. Rbhu and Sanatkumara sublimated their sexual urges and did not take part in propagation of the race. From his (Brahma) body and mind he created nine sons: Marici, Bhrgu, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratau, Daksa, Atri, and Vasistha.


    (Note on Sanatkumara . In The Uddhava Gita, Dialogue 11, verse 25, Krishna says, "Among celibates, I am the supreme celibate, Sanatkumara." Another notable celibate is Hanuman of Ramayana.  One may question, why Krishna who is married to tens of thousands of wives calls himself a celibate. The answer is the wives are us, the individual souls. Merger of the souls at the feet of Krishna is liberation and bliss and becoming one with the One. It is spiritual and and not physical. In verse29, Krishna gives a special place to Hanuman by saying, "Among the half-divine, I am Hanuman."--translation by Swami Saraswati.

    Srimad Bhagavadam, Canto ten, Discourse 29, Verse 10-11 says the following about Krishna and Gopis. Their sins went up in flames when they could not brook any separation from Krishna. When they embraced Krishna in loving meditation and enjoyed bliss, their merit depleted; the fetters of Karma broke; they cast off their bodies and united with Krishna though they (Gopis) know him only as a paramour.  Krishna says love for me is not physical proximity but meditating on me, hearing my eulogies, looking at me, and singing my glories. IBID--10.29.27.  As you have noticed, there is no physical union; they fixed him in their mind by meditation. )

    According to Linga Purana, Brahma and Vishnu got into an argument and a fight about the superiority of one over the other. Suddenly an effulgent Linga appeared before them. It was a fiery column with no obvious beginning, middle, or end.  Vishnu asked Brahma to find the top of the column, while he went to find the base. Vishnu assumed the form of a black Boar, and Brahma, the form of a swan; they moved at the speed of wind and mind for a thousand years. Brahma could not find the top and came back to the starting point, so also did Lord Visnu. Both of them paid their respects to Lord Siva; a loud sound “AUM” came out of the column. The letter "A" appeared on the right of the column; the letter "U" appeared on the left side; and the letter "M" appeared in the middle. Vibrations rang forth from the column, sounding the syllable OM.

    Vishnu saw the sun, the moon, and the refulgent fire; and on top of them, Siva appeared like a pristine crystal, which is devoid of any attributes.  Siva proved to Vishnu and Brahma that he is superior to both of them. Since then, the sakti is the altar for the Linga. It is Linga because, at dissolution, all elements, universe, gods, and beings dissolve in it.


Creation according to Skanda Purana


    The primordial Lord, Siva, created Brahma from right half of his body and Vishnu from left half. Brahma was infused with Raja Guna; Acyuta (Vishnu) was fortified with Sattva Guna. The first creative act of Brahma was mental; what he perceived in his mind materialized as full-grown Brahmana beginning with Marici. Beings broke out of his body; Daksa wriggled out of his thumb; Brahmanas poured forth from his mouth; Ksatriyas muscled their way out of his arms; Vaisyas emerged from his thighs; Sudras sauntered from his feet. Other beings of all kinds  were created: swimmers and crawlers, two-footed and winged, four-footed, multiped serpentine walkers, Gandharvas, and Manu. All of them produced abundant progeny. Acyuta (Vishnu) married the lotus-residing Lakshmi, daughter of Bhrgu. Vishnu did not remember either Isvara (Siva) or his incarnation as fish. Here, memory means the remembrance of one's organic relationship with Siva. All beings are organically connected to Isvara Siva both in spirit and body. Skanda Purana states that Vishnu and Brahma became arrogant on account of their portfolio of sustenance and creation. Each one thought and insisted that he was the Lord of the universe forgetting Siva Isvara who was their creator.

Brahma speaks his mind

    Brahma, the creator, felt immensely superior to Vishnu and advanced his reasons why he was superior to him. Brahma spoke as follows:

    O Vishnu,  I am the grandfather of all beings in this world. Cerumen-born Asuras,  Madhu and Kaitabha (born of your ear wax) were threatening me. They came out of your ears and were threatening me, sitting on the lotus sprouting from your navel.  The ocean that you live in is my perspiration; You were sinking in my perspiration; if it is not for the fig tree for your support, you would have drowned. You caught hold of one of the many serpents in the ocean created by me for your support, rest and Nidra (sleep). I am seated on the lotus above you and within your reach. Out of fear, you ran away from Daityas and found your refuge on a snake in the ocean, created by me. It took me such a long time to drive sleep (Yoga Nidra) out of your system, so that you can get up and fight them, because my life was in danger sitting on the lotus. You fought them for five thousand years, before you killed them. I am the most learned one in this universe; I have four faces; Vedas came out of my four mouths; my consort is the learned Sarasvati and is Sakti, the Pure Consciousness. I am the creator of all mobile and immobile (trees) living things; I offer protection to all of them through my progeny like Indra and other celestials. You are in my employment. Give me one reason why you are equal or superior to me.

    Brahma's vituperation and harsh words drew mischievous smile from Vishnu, who was known for his easy-going congeniality.

Vishnu retorts and addresses Brahma thus.

    You are caught up in the turbulence of emotion; you are an ostentatious braggart. You are born of me and you are still attached to and seated on the Lotus that springs from my navel. Because I killed Madhu and Kaitabha, you escaped with your life. You are demon-possessed by Raja Guna; you are all motion and passion; I am all Sattva Guna, all propitious and auspicious qualities. The Lotus that you sit on is my Sakti, without whose benign glance no being or universe will be existent. I am the Pervader of all things that you see. Time is in me; I am the Paramatman. Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, the Guardians of the Quarters and Manus are my body and spirit; the three worlds and Vedas depend on me. It is my Sakti that causes creation. How then is it possible that you are senior to me or my equal?

Chaos in the universe

    Sage Nandikesvara, the bull-faced chief attendant and devotee of Siva, is the narrator of this story in Skanda Purana. As Brahma and Vishnu were arguing back and forth, time slid by. Normality of universe was deteriorating; the Sun and the Moon neither rose nor set; the stars became weak; there was neither wind, nor fire; the sky, the earth and the Quarters lost their effulgence. The oceans roiled; the mountains shook; medicinal herbs wilted and dried; the creatures became weak, and bleak in their outlook. The days and nights were haphazard; fortnights, months, seasons and other time elements were inchoate. The celestials thought that there was a premature ending of kalpa. All these regressive things happened because of the dispute between the creator Brahma and the sustainer Vishnu; all orderly movements of the universe were in chaos. Rta, the Cosmic Law and Order, that holds the universe in balance was tottering. Siva Nataraja's dance and beat sustain the balance of this universe.



Rutilant Column of Fire paints the universe red.

    All living creature were crying for a remedy from this regression into Avidya Maya (ignorance and delusion). Siva saw the cause of the problem in Brahma and Vishnu, whose delusion took the universe into premature destruction. Siva decided to lift the Avidya Maya from their system and thus restore order in the universe. Between these two disputants rose a rutilant column (of fire) with no ends in sight. Rta was restored; things started to change; the oceans became calmer; the stars, the sun and the moon resumed their usual behavior and reflected effulgence of the fiery column; the mountains were swathed in red color from the splendor of fiery Lingam and vied with Mars and rising sun in their refulgent carmine cornucopia; the animals, the trees and the vegetations, the rivers, the oceans, the earth, and the firmament were painted red and pink by the luminous Lingam. The upper half of the Cosmic Egg looked smooth and shiny like the skull held by the moon-crested Lord with matted locks and robe of tiger skin. Everything in the universe was redness galore from the light of the fiery Lingam.

    The four-faced Brahma and four-armed Vishnu paused and gave up their disputation and mutual animosity. Seeing the splendor, they did not know what to think of. Could this be the light that came through the earth from the jewels of Sesa Serpent? Could this be the twelve suns marking the end of the kalpa? Could this be falling fragments of lightning? Its refulgence bathing the universe is so powerful that the objects lost their contours. Though the Lingam was dazzlingly brilliant and many tongues of fire were leaping to and licking the firmament, there was no heat and there were no secondary fires. Brahma and Vishnu drenched in red light. Where does it come from? Where are its ends?


Vishnu wants to find its ends.

    Vishnu smiled, looked at Brahma and told him, "I do not know one end from another. I do not see the ends. I do not know its origin. I am curious. This mass of Light is placed here to test us. He who finds its ends will be the Lord."

    Brahma metamorphosed into a swan and declared, "I shall find the top." Vishnu transformed himself as a Boar with curved teeth and steely hair and dug the earth. Vishnu appeared as if he was falling prostrate at the fiery column. He was all fired up with enthusiasm and vigor. He dug and dug; he made grunts all the way to Patala so much that the sound reverberated; he looked for the lower end of the fiery column in Patala (Nether world); it appeared no different from what it looked at the beginning. The snakes were coming out of the ground bathed in the effulgent light of the column. They appeared like shoots sprouting out of the column.  Vishnu noticed the tortoise looking like globular root of the Golden Mountain. He saw the Elephants of the quarters supporting the ankle of the earth and the frog holding the earth on its back . He saw the primordial Sakti, whose power energizes the supporting entities. He saw all the seven nether worlds. He even went past the city of Virocana (Bali King) and those of other Daityas. He was way below the ocean floors; the column had no change in appearance. The earth was gouged; the oceans were roaring; endless tsunamis were roiling the ocean and earth, and rose and touched the skies.

Vishnu's return journey

    The Boar was a heap of pain and suffering: the hoofs were worn; the curved teeth showed signs of erosion and damage; his body was frozen stiff from muscle spasm, his snout broke from too much digging; the fatigue was terminal; he could not move even one muscle of his body; endogenous fatigue and exogenous effulgence blinded his eyes. He decided he had enough and had to get back where he started. Slowly he moved up from the Nether Worlds, went past the oceans and climbed up. The physical exertion induced so much sweat that he was drowning in it. He was hugging close to the column as he climbed and it appeared that the column somehow was pulling him upwards as if by a rope. He surmised that Brahma could not have found the top of the column. He decided  to seek refuge in Siva. He realized that his delusion made him feel superior and that only Siva was superior to all. He shed his arrogance and reached the base where he started.

    High-flying Brahma

    Brahma was soaring high on his wings, the fluttering of which violently scattered the nimbus clouds, which moaned, groaned and shed torrential tears. What a pitiful sight! He was traversing the sky so fast above the scattered clouds that he appeared like a flushed rocketing bird straight up to the heavens. He flew up beyond the bird's domain; he pierced through the clouds, reached the clear skies, the domain of aerial chariots (reminds me of modern air travel), and was shooting for the domain of the stars. He hugged close to the carmine column, whose effulgence was his guiding light. He flew higher and higher and the thin air made his wings weary and breathing labored. We flew past seven layers of wind and saw the rutilant column pierce Brahmanda, the quasi-spherical egg (Cosmic Egg). Brahma wondered about Vishnu, who, he thought, might have found the root of the column. He could not bear the thought of seeing Vishnu victoriously cocking his head in a show of superiority.


    Brahma's mind was battered by a torrent of painful thoughts. How am I going to face Vishnu? My vital airs have not been of any use to me. My pride and vow are in tatters. What am I going to do? What is the right thing for me to do? Is there any help that I can seek? I hate Vishnu. I must device a stratagem to deceive and defeat the cloud-colored Vishnu. I am unable to defeat him by fair means. As he was rummaging his mind for foul means, he saw something streaking in the sky. He wondered in his mind thus: This streak is very bright. It could not be the moon. It looks like a lotus, but its location is out of place. It looks like a stalk, but there is no river or water. How can the stalk and the lotus float in the sky. The object came very near to Brahma and he at once recognized it as Ketaki leaf (Pandamus odoratissimus). (In other narrations, it was the Ketaki flower.) He could recognize the leaf by its fragrance, as it was approaching him.  He hastily grabbed the leaf, which in a trice turned into a talking leaf.

    The talking leaf

    The leaf was annoyed by the crushing claws of the bird; it felt like the vise of the talons. (Author conjectures that this is what the leaf told the bird: " I am a living leaf. Your clumsy claws abraded my epidermis. I may get dehydrated. You scraped off my cuticle and beautiful waxy shine, which is going to make me soaking wet, if it rains. You are choking my stomata (pores that allow breathing). Your claws gouged out the guard cells which open and shut my nostrils. You are blocking the sun shining on my palisade cells, that manufacture food. You are squishing my spongy cells that allow passage of gases, sugars, and water. Take a look at my vascular bundle with its beautiful xylem, phloem and other channels. You broke them all. Sap and gases are leaking out of me. You are killing me, you old fool.")


It was floating and flying  all this time on the wings of the Lord of Air with no worry or weariness until the swan caught it in midair. The Ketaki leaf, bent out of shape by the claws, spoke thus: Why did you catch me. Let go of me. I have been flying for a hundred thousand years. I need rest.    

    Brahma's fatigue was rising and his spirits were falling. His vow was yet to be realized. He was the creator-god; he had a lot of pride but no prescience. What was he going to do? He mused and worried about his failure which he equated to unmanliness. His wings were shattering and could not give him the lift he needed; feathers were falling off; his shoulder muscles were failing. Effulgence of the column made him blind and fatigued. He was close to taking a nosedive.  With every exhalation, his strength was draining. He even thought that he should curb his pride and rive rivalry with Vishnu from his consciousness. Brahma continued to entertain thoughts of despair and hopelessness. This column's breadth and width is greater than the space between earth and heavens. Its ends are out of sight and out of reach. Neither Vishnu nor I created this effulgent column.  Ketaki leaf under his choking hold was croaking for relief.  Brahma questioned the leaf, "Where are you from, O deciduous leaf?" Ketaki leaf replied, "I am originally adorned the head of Sambhu of the fiery column. I am on a visit to the terrestrial world." Brahma beseeched the leaf, "Please tell me the distance between here and the top of the column."

    Brahma let the leaf have a little relief from his hold. His croak suddenly modulated into his usual rustling voice; he regained his vigor; he spoke like the rustling leaves in a wind-swept night and not knowing that Brahma was the Vedic Scholar of first order, uttered carefree flippant remarks to him, "O Fool, you have no idea. Who are you anyway? What world are you coming from? His fiery column is the stumbha (Axis Mundi or Pole) that lends support to zillions of Brahmandas (Cosmic Eggs). I have been falling from his head for ten thousand Mahayugas (1 Mahayuga is 4.32million years) and I am now at the middle of the column." Brahma, having heard such description of the column, paid respects to the leaf with joined palms; his pride was in tatters.

A nefarious plan and enlisting a perjurer

    Brahma admitted his foolishness to Ketaki leaf and said that Vishnu and he became arrogant because they were given the portfolio of maintenance and creation by Siva.

    Suddenly an idea dazzled Brahma's mind. He continued to speak with false contrition: "I am ashamed of myself and swallow my pride; for the time being I want to leave them aside and talk to you as a friend. You know what friendship is. A flower of friendship blossoms, when two people together take seven steps and speak seven words between them. We turn a new leaf in our relationship from now on. That is Saptapada. (Sapta + pada = seven + steps = taking seven steps with which an alliance or marriage is concluded.  Sanskrit word "Patha" means Path or Road. Tamil Word "Paathai" means Path or Road.) Now that we spoke so much and took many steps together, we are more than friends. It is incumbent upon you as my friend to do me a favor. Vishnu and I are in competition to find the ends of this column of fire. The first finder will be declared the Lord of the Universe. I became the swan and Vishnu became the Boar. Vishnu went to find the root of the column and I went to find the top. I am uncertain as to what Vishnu is doing right now. I have been flying for a thousand years and am yet to find the top. I am utterly exhausted; I am ready to flop, plop and plump down hard on earth. By whose grace I do not know, I am here with you. I am your friend, willing and ready to become your slave; (that will make other leaves green with envy. I am your friend ready to fall at your feet like a stick--author's input.) You see me with my palms together in reverence to you. If Vishnu finds the root, that is the end of my desired supremacy. The idea of equality with Vishnu is abhorrent to me. All this humiliation can be avoided if you, as a friend, cooperate with me by telling a small lie to the discus-wielding Vishnu." You tell Vishnu the following: "Brahma in the form of a swan reached the top of the rutilant column. I bear witness to Brahma doing the same. The moon-crowned Lord with matted russet hair standing as the Fiery Column honored Pitamaha (Grandfather) Brahma, for finding the top. O Vishnu of thick lips and dark-blue complexion, Brahma is superior to you."

 Thus, Brahma led the leaf down the garden path. Ketaki fell for this plan, not knowing that this would be his fall from grace. Ketaki descended from his lofty heights along with Brahma as they were talking and brewing a plan, landed in front of Vishnu and uttered every word in his rustling voice to Vishnu.


Vishnu played along.

    Knowing Brahma from his past deeds, having rescued him from many ugly situations, and exercising his natural charm, wit, and politesse, Vishnu the Pervader and the Mayin of Mayins easily managed to summon an impish smile on his bow-shaped lustrous lips. (Mayin: artful skilled in cunning. Mayin is also applicable to Brahma and Siva.) Vishnu, the knower of minds of men and gods, knew that Brahma did not reach the top and conscripted the falling leaf to rustle up a lie and perjure himself.


Vishnu prays to Siva.

    Gentle and reverent thoughts about Siva wafted into the mind of Vishnu. He thought as follows: 'Only the Lord of gods, Siva, is capable of forgiving and blessing us ( Brahma and Vishnu). My arrogance, vanity and pretensions vanished (like dew in the morning sun.) My devotion to Siva has welled up in my heart. My pride is supplanted with eulogy for Siva Mahesvara whose limbs were Brahma's and my origin. Siva has to remove Brahma's pride and replace it with reverence for him. By conscripting a false witness, Brahma is trying to deceive me (and Siva). Siva is my refuge, will set matters right, expose Brahma for his lie and dispel miseries. Let Siva offer benevolence, pardon, and refuge to Brahma who uttered a lie, and is disrespectful and malevolent towards his seniors (Vishnu and Siva).'

Vishnu sings eulogy to Siva

    Victory to Lord Siva who is of the form of Water, Sun, Moon, Fire, Wind, Hotr (priest), and Ether. O Lord, you are beyond guna and Kala (Time and Death). You are the creator, maintainer, and annihilator of the universe and living beings. You are the most infinitesimal of all minute things. You are the greatest of all great things. You pervade the whole universe. You are transcendent and immanent in all beings and things. Nigamas are your breaths. You are the mountain; you are the peacock; you are the God of gods; there is nothing you are not. You are Yoga and the Yogins of yogins. You are the Supreme and Pure Consciousness. You are the beginning, the middle and the end of all things.

Siva makes his appearance.

The Lord of Pasus (Siva) broke through the column of Refulgence and appeared in front of Vishnu and Brahma. His entry was like that of the full moon breaking through vespertine clouds. He was sitting on a resplendent bull as white as the snow-clad peak of Kailas. His russet hair was matted; he sported a waxing moon on his head; he wore a garland of skulls of demons and Aaragh-vadha (Cassia Fistulosa). He had snakes as his earrings on all five heads; three eyes on each head were lustrous and the throats had dark blue stain on them from the poison he drank to save gods who were scorched and blackened by it during the churning of milk ocean. His faces radiated brilliance. His hands held accoutrements and the rest: a trident, a skull, a drum, a deer, an axe, a bow, Khatvangha (a club with skull above its collar), a sword and a serpent. His body was smeared with fragrant ash. Elephant hide that was stripped off the elephant sent by Rishis to destroy him, graced his upper body. Beautiful ornaments jiggled and jangled as he moved. Devas, hovering in the skies, were sending unending downpour of eulogies on him. Tiger skin, peeled by Siva from a tiger sent by Rishis to devour Siva because wandering mendicant Siva was the cynosure of Rishipatnis (wives of Rishis), graced his lower body.

Brahma lost his wits on seeing the lotus-eyed Siva with all divinity pulsating around him; in a state of confusion and paucity of understanding he danced wildly.

Siva's fury at Brahma and approval of Vishnu.

    Siva smiled at Vishnu benignly and spoke with his eyes his approval (of Vishnu). Suddenly his eyes were spewing fire, he uttered Hum and lifted four-faced Brahma up by his arms. He was dangling like a ragged doll. Siva let loose a tirade: Both of you on account of your portfolio and authority became arrogant and vain. This is what happens to gods and people with power.  Hari (Vishnu) is a quick study and became enlightened upon seeing my greatness. But you, Brahma, is suffused with deceit, vice, and deviant sexual behavior. I punished you many times; you do not learn. You laughed at me; you were punished. When you dallied with your own daughter, I punished you.  This is your third offence. From now on, I proclaim that there should not be any place of worship reserved for you, Brahma. The perjurer, Ketaki Bunch, will never adorn my head. Siva Mahesvara turned to Vishnu and spoke words of approval and appreciation: "Do not be afraid. I am pleased with you. I like your devotion to me. You are born of me. You are sattvic (virtuous) and your devotion to me is unparalleled; you will attain salvation." Siva gave his blessings and grace to Vishnu whose pride vanished and devotion to Siva increased. On seeing Siva giving grace to Vishnu, Brahma became frightened.

Brahma eulogizes Siva.

    Brahma watched Siva lavish his attention on Vishnu; knowing his precarious and untenable condition, Brahma immediately resorted to piling praises on Siva: "You are the consort of Parvati. You are Pati (Lord), while we are all Pasus (animals) tied down with Pasas (bondage, ties). You rescue and liberate us from the ocean of Samsara (birth and rebirth). You are Mahesvara controlling the 26 building blocks of the universe and beings. You are the Hunter with Agamas as your hunting dogs bearing down and killing wild animals such as Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), lobha (greed), Moha (delusion), Mada (pride), Matsarya (envy), Dambha (hypocrisy), and Asuya (displeasure at the merits or happiness of others). Your emanation Virabhadra punished us during Daksha's sacrifice, when Daksha insulted and caused the death of your consort Sati. Click for more details: >>>>Daksa >>>>. You are Time, Death and Fire (Kaala-Agni) destroying the universe and beings. I am subject to prurience and animal passions; I am ashamed of them. You killed Jalandhara, who held Vishnu captive and you released him. You swallowed the poison that came from the Milk Ocean and scorched the gods, and saved us from certain death. You wandered about in Daruka Vana (Himalaya Cedar Wood Forest) as a lowly mendicant and brought the Rishis to their senses. You subjugated the evil Apasmrti and saved the world from darkness. Apasmrti = one who is short on memory = one who lost memory of his organic relationship with god). As Ardhanari (androgynous form), you taught me to create this world of immobile and mobile things. You saved Vishnu in the cosmic ocean during the Great Deluge by tying up the snakes into a rope, and casting it to Hari in the form of Fish, Boar, Tortoise, and man-lion."

    Siva was pleased at the narrative eulogy from Brahma and addressed both of them: I am blessing both of you. Do your creation and maintenance well. Let all men who are within orbit of 3 Yojanas (36 kms) of this holy site be offered Sayujya Mukti (Click<<<Siva-Ashtamurthy>>>). Let my fiery column be transformed into a cool mountain, circumambulation of which will bring salvation to my devotees. After hearing this, Brahma and Vishnu took leave of Siva.

According to Saiva belief, Mahadeva (Supreme Siva) destroys the universe, beings, gods including Brahma, Vishnu and Siva (adjunct status of the same Gods). Saiva Siddhantists consider Supreme Siva, Paraparam (Beyond the Beyond, Supreme Supreme) as their God of gods; Siva, one of the Holy Triumvirate, is a mere god of the triad. The students from the west believe that Saiva Siddhantists selectively elevated the status of Siva of the earlier Triad to the Super-supreme status. Supreme Siva stays while Brahma and Vishnu come and go in this and many other countless universes.

Henotheists of Hindu religion are of the belief that Siva and Vishnu are of equal status, though Siva and Vishnu may stride up and down the parallel hierarchal ladders of their respective sects; Siva and Vishnu do not knock each other's ladder for supremacy; they switch their relative vertical positions with amity.















     Nidur, Mayavaram Taluk, Tanjore District. Height of Siva 50cm. of Paravti  44 cm. of Subrahmanya 29 cm. About 10th century AD.   
     Siva : Axe, antelope; abhaya, ahuya-varada.
     Parvati : Kataka, varada.
     Subrahmanya : kataka, fruit.
   The treatment of this image, especially the necklaces and faces, clearly mark it as of Chola type, in spite of the absence of the projecting elbow ornaments. The usual snake and flower are present on right and left respectively of the jewel in Siva's head-dress, which lacks the usual crescent. The flower is probably a Datura. The face and tail of the antelope are facing towards Siva. Subrahmanya is shown as standing erect and wears a karanda-makuta and patra-kundalas.



Tiruvenkadu, Thanjavur District. Height 101 cm. About 11th Century AD.

As the name indicates, Siva is represented here as half-male and half-female,
typifying the male and female energies. The right half represents Siva and the
left Parvati. Siva has a jatamakuta with a crescent moon. He has three arms
of which the lower arm rests on the back of the bull, his vehicle., and the
upper right has an axe. The whole of the right side is adorned with ornaments
peculiar to Siva. The right leg is bent and rests on the pedestal. The drapery is
shown upto the knee. On the left side the image has a karandamakuta.
The drapery is upto the anklets and her leg is slightly bent, resting on the
pedestal. This image is referred to in an inscription in the temple at Tiruvenkadu