July 19, 2013. A HYPOTHESIS

Of God and Stars. Supernova in 1054 AD created the concept of Lord of Dance Nataraja.
A lecture on ‘Heritage Performances’ threw light on the concepts of science and their representation in religion.
A major celestial event that happened in the 11th century gave birth to the concept of Lord Nataraja, the cosmic dancer, who is often confined to a ring representing the Earth and a star-studded horizontal hair.
“Indians who witnessed supernova explosion in 1054 AD created the Nataraja concept. Only during this period, large and huge number of Nataraja statues were made and consecrated in many places,” said V.R. Devika, Managing Trustee of ASEEMA Trust in Chennai. She was addressing the students of Jain Vidyalaya during a lecture session on “Heritage performances” organised by INTACH, Madurai.
“Chinese and Arabs have recorded the explosion and India has created the Nataraja concept,” she added.
She explained the horizontal star-studded hair and flying cloth-like structure that show him in a spinning spree and answered questions on why Lord Bairavar sits on Nataraja’s head, why river Ganga flows from Lord Shiva locks and why Nataraja dances on the demon Muyalagan and so on.
“They have conceptualised the observations of the constellation and its star Betelgeuse or Alpha Orions and presented a pictorial representation in the form of Nataraja,” she said and added “the star ‘Canis Minor’ represents ‘Bairavar’ and Lepus represents Muyalagan and Ganges the milky way. There is a link between the Orion constellation and Nataraja.”
“Astrophysicist Dr. Nirupama Raghavan conducted studies on the concept of Nataraja and his worship in various temples of Tamil Nadu,” she said.



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The Lord of Dance








The Dance of Lord Nataraja: a different Perspective. Ref. Sakthi Vikatan, 2007. Notes on April 19, 2017

The art of dance leads all arts, claiming antiquity and greatness. Dance remains the pinnacle of arts. His dance platform is the space in the universe. His dance maintains the equilibrium among the stars and planets in the universe. Lord Nataraja’s sacred form encompasses many Tattvas. Mārgazhi’s (December-January) Tiruvāthirai holy day worship is one of the favorite ones. What does Lord Nataraja’s form tell us?

Nataraja’s holy visage: It tells God is second to none and his borderless (incomparable) beauty.

Russet matted hair: It tells us of the proper moral compass of his Tapas (austerity).

Ganga on his head: It explains God’s omnipotence and his skill to destroy man’s ego and rule over him.

The crescent moon worn on his head: It tells of his benevolence to support and safeguard the surrenderers.

Curved Eyebrow: It demonstrates his ability to show a strong streak of compassion, apprehend intuitively, and listen attentively to the devotee’s litany of complaints, pleas and deficiencies.

Tinkling Smile: He receives with grace the devotees seeking refuge, forgives their sins, gives them a new lease on life and brings joy in their lives.

Coral-red Body:  His body is coral-red. He is like fire. Fire cleanses all that comes in its way and makes them pure. Likewise, whoever comes with love to him, he removes the flaws, makes him pure and grants grace.

Milk-white Ash: All objects are reduced to ash. Ash does not mutate into another substance. Therefore, sacred ash shows indestructibility and is of pure nature.

The forehead eye: It is the special feature of Perumāṉ.

Blue Throat (neck): Noble-minded by nature, he ingested poison, gave the gods Ambrosia and granted grace.

Hourglass Drum: Carrying an hourglass drum on his right hand, making sound, collecting a pile of dust, and creating world objects: These indicate the Creation fervor.

Fire: The fire in the left hand of God, who created a world of beings, undergoing birth, rebirth and suffering, is the sign of relief from metempsychosis.

Have-No-Fear Hand: ‘Thou shall give up fear. We will safeguard you.’  This is a stance of God to his devotees, offering appeasement and consolation.  The hand pose of God indicates the stance of protection.

The swung left arm: The left hand known as Gajahastam has swung to the right in the likeness of the elephant’s proboscis. One finger of this hand (swung to the right) points to the holy left foot (swung to the right and raised).

The Raised Holy Foot (Left): The foot rescuing the souls, which are struggling in the sea of metempsychosis, indicates the grace of God.  

Planted Holy Foot (Right): This is God’s right foot (swung to the other side).  Muyalakan remaining subdued, God’s foot is firmly planted on him. God stands on Muyalakan neither crushing him nor letting him escape.

This refers to the three impurities Āṇavam, Kaṉmam, and Māyai, which do not completely destroy or inflict grievous injury to the embodied soul but cause the souls ‘eat’ the fruits of the Karma. This is obscuration (of Spiritual Knowledge), preventing the soul from attaining liberation until the impurities are removed.

Muyalakaṉ: Muyalakaṉ is the poster boy for Āṇvam (Ego). Āṇvam does not perish.  Likewise, Muyalakaṉ remains eternally under the holy foot of the Lord. In the state of liberation, the Ego remains subdued; likewise, Muyalakaṉ remains subdued.  

Facing South: In all temples, Nataraja Peruman faces south by intention. Yama, the god of south and death causes no trouble to the devotees of Nataraja, who dances, facing south according to some. But Parańjoti Muṉivar says Nataraja dances facing south for the love of pure Tamil and south winds.

The reason God performs his dance in Thillai  (cosmic Stage) is because it is the center of the world. If you obtain Darśan of this dance in the month of Mārkazi (Dec-Jan) and Tiruvāthirai Nakshatra, you will receive a great boon.

75-77. The word Śiva signifies him who controls everything and whom none can control, (Śiva Vāsī) just as Siṁha signifies the creature who attacks other animals and whom other animals cannot attack (Simha = Himsa). The word Śiva is given another interpretation. The syllable. Ś means Permanent Bliss. The letter “I’‘ means Purusa (the primordial male energy), the syllable “Va” means Sakti (the primordial female energy). A harmonious compound of these syllables is Śiva. The devotee shall likewise make his own soul a harmonious whole and worship Śiva.

Page 124 Verse 75-77 Vidyesvarasamhita  Siva Purana English Translation by J.L.Shastri


September 19, 2013

In Īśvara  we have the two elements of wisdom and power, Śiva and Śakti. By the latter the Supreme who is unmeasured and immeasurable becomes measured and defined.

 Immutable being becomes infinite fecundity. Pure being, which is the free basis and support of cosmic existence, is not the whole of our experience. Between the Absolute and the World-soul is the Creative Consciousness. It is prajńāna-ghana or truth-consciousness If sat denotes the primordial being in its undifferenced unity, satya is the same being immanent in its differentiations. If the Absolute is pure unity without any extension or variation, God is the creative power by which worlds spring into existence. The Absolute has moved out of its primal poise and become knowledge-will. It is the all-determining principle It is the Absolute in action as Lord and Creator. While the Absolute is spaceless and timeless potentiality, God is the vast self-awareness comprehending, apprehending every possibility.1

Brahman is not merely a featureless Absolute. It is all this world. Vayu or air is said to be manifest Brahman, pratyakṣam Brahma. The Svetāśvatara Upaniṣad makes out that Brahman is beast, bird and insect, the tottering old man, boy and girl. Brahman sustains the cosmos and is the self of each individual Supra-cosmic transcendence and cosmic universality are both real phases of the one

Supreme. In the former aspect the Spirit is in no way dependent on the cosmic manifold, in the latter the Spirit functions as the principle of the cosmic manifold. The supra-cosmic silence and the cosmic integration are both real. The two, nirguna and saguna BrahmanAbsolute and God, are not different. Jayatirtha contends that Samkara is wrong in holding that Brahman is of two kinds--brahmano dvairūpyasya aprāmākatvāt 2 It is the same Brahman who is described in different ways.

apprehending every possibility.1 = Eckhart says 'God and Godhead are as different as heaven from earth. God becomes and unbecomes. ' 'All in Godhead is one, and of this naught can be said. God works, but Godhead works not. There is no work for it to do and no working in it. Never did it contemplate anything of work. God and Godhead differ after the manner of working and not working.        When I come into the Ground, into the depths, into the flow and fount of Godhead, none will ask me whence I have come or whither I go. None will have missed me, God passes away' Sermon LVT Evans' E T 

The Principal Upanisads Dr. Radhakrishnan. Page 64.

திருவாசகம் திருவண்டப்பகுதி; 5. ஒளிக்கும் சோரன்

மாணிக்கவாசகர் பாடல்கள்

by MāṇikkaVācakar in praise of Siva

This is the vision, Manikkavasakar had of Siva.

As great joy [of Siva] blossoms and spreads like wave, this body not worthy of praise, I will not bear. Heap of green emeralds and Red Rubies shine in lightning gold brightness. [As great joy of Siva blossoms and spreads like waves, I will not say I would tolerate this body, unworthy of praise.] A heap of green emeralds and red rubies join to emit brightness.  [A heap of green emeralds and red rubies refer to Siva and Uma].  Both shine and yet hide from Brahma who is in search of Siva and Sakti.  Siva hides from the four-faced Brahma in search of Siva.  Order-adherent endeavourer (Vishnu), Siva hides from. He cannot be found by the celestials. Likewise, the Veda-chanting adulators cannot find Him.  The austere with pristine observances cannot find Him.  The unorthodox seekers cannot find Him. The ones who seek Him in the form of Male, Female and Intersex cannot find Him.  Siva hides also from the ones who control their sense organs and engage in austerities. He hides from the ones with the intellect to discern between existence and non-existence. He is of nature of splendor and yet not found in the ancient past or the present; such as He is, I found Siva. --Manickavasakar.

ஆற்றா இன்பம் அலர்ந்து அலை செய்யப்
போற்றா ஆக்கையைப் பொறுத்தல் புகலேன்
மரகதக் குவாஅல் மாமணிப் பிறக்கம்
மின்ஒளி கொண்ட பொன்ளி திகழத் 125

திசைமுகன் சென்று தேடினர்க்கு ஒளித்தும்
முறையுளி ஒற்றி முயன்றவர்க்கு ஒளித்தும்
ஒற்றுமை கொண்டு நோக்கும் உள்ளத்து
உற்றவர் வருந்த உறைப்பவர்க்கு ஒளித்தும்
மறைத்திறம் நோக்கி வருந்தினர்க்கு ஒளித்தும் 130

இத்தந் திரத்தில் காண்டும் என்று இருந்தோர்க்கு
அத்தந் திரத்தில் அவ்வயின் ஒளித்தும்
முனிவு அற நோக்கி நனிவரக் கௌவி
ஆணெனத் தோன்றி அலியெனப் பெயர்ந்து
வாள்நுதல் பெண்என ஒளித்தும் சேண்வயின் 135

ஐம்புலன் செலவிடுத்து அருவரை தொறும் போய்த்
துற்றவை துறந்த வெற்று உயிர் ஆக்கை
அருந்தவர் காட்சியுள் திருந்த ஒளித்தும்
ஒன்று உண்டு இல்லை ன்று அறிவு ளித்தும்
பண்டே பயில்தொறும் இன்றே பயில் தொறும் 140





உலகெலாம் உணர்ந்து ஓதற்கு அரியவன்
நிலவுலாவிய நீர்மலி வேணியன்
அலகில் சோதியன் அம்பலத்து ஆடுவான்
மலர் சிலம்படி வாழ்த்தி வணங்குவோம்.

He is realizable and worship-worthy for the world. He wears the crescent moon and Ganga on his matted hair. Having the form of splendor, He dances in Ambalam (Chidambaram). Let us adore and worship His Lotus feet adorned with anklets. --Verse 1.


ஆதியாய் நடுவும் ஆகி
அளவிலா அளவும் ஆகிச்
சோதியாய் உணர்வும் ஆகிப்
தோன்றிய பொருளும் ஆகிப்
பெண்ணுமாய் ஆணும் ஆகிப்
போதியா நிற்கும் தில்லைப்
பொதுநடம் போற்றி போற்றி. --Verse 350
Siva is the Primordial Being, the middle and the incomprehensible limitless Principle beyond the beyond. He is Effulgence and Supreme knowledge. He is the Origin of all. He is the One pervading all. He is the male and the female. He abides and dances in Thillai (Chidambaram). Praise to His sacred Feet. --Verse 350.
கற்பனை கடந்த சோதி
கருணையே உருவம் ஆகி
அற்புதக் கோலம் நீடி
அருமறைச் சிரத்தின் மோலாம்
சிற்பர வியோமம் ஆகும்
திருசிற்றம் பலத்துள் நின்று
பொற்புற நடம்செய் கின்ற
பூங்கால் போற்றி போற்றி. Verse 351
He is splendor beyond imagination (beyond the apprehension of the senses). He is of the form of compassion. He is of wondrous appearance. He is the essence of Vedas. He abides as Ether Consciousness and in Tiruchitrambalam (Chidambaram). I praise the sacred Lotus feet of Him who performs the most beautiful dance. Verse 351.

--Appar Sekkizar Verses 1- 350-351 Periyapuranam.

Chidambaram = Cit + Ambaram = Consciousness + Ether, sky, or atmosphere = Ether Consciousness: this is the Sanskrit version.

Chidambaram = Cit + Ambalam = Consciousness + Hall = Hall of Consciousness: this is the Tamil version.

Nataraja: Nata + Raja = Dance + King = King of Dance. Ambalavaanan: Ambala + Vaanan = Hall + Resident = Resident of the Hall = Siva as the presiding deity at the shrine in Chidambaram.

    I was blessed to have been a resident of Chidambaram in the 1950s for two years when I was a student in Annamalai University.  I visited the temple many times not really knowing the greatness of Lord Nataraja. But who does really know him?


Chidambaram is a temple town of great antiquity going back to early Christian era. Sankara visited the town and temple. Periyapuranam was composed in the thousand-pillared hall. Four Saiva Saints (Appar, Sundarar, Sambandar and Manikkavacakar)  worshipped at the temple. Today Sambandar stands (as a stucco statue) at the South Gate, Appar at the West Gate, Sundarar at the North Gate and Mannikkavacakar at the East Gate. The gates are the entry points in the towers or gopurams. Together with domed Chit Sabha, the five structures represent the five faces of Siva. Other names for Chidambaram and the Nataraja temple are as follows:

Name 1:Puliyur

Tiger Town


Tiger Town


Great Ether Tiger Town

Name 4:Chitrambalam

Hall of Consciousness


Purndarikam* = (White) Lotus Tiger. Puram = Town. Lotus Town, Tiger Town


Hrdya = heart. Kamalam = lotus. lotus of the heart.

Name 7:Koyil


9:Ponnambalam  (pon = gold)

Golden Hall

10. Tillai = தில்லை

Tree, Excoecaria agallocha





Prof. Ananadanataraja Deekshidar of Annamalai University (my almamater) mentions a few other names for Chidambaram: Booloka Kailas (Kailas on earth) Jnana-akasa (Akasa = space, spiritual ether jnana = wisdom). He further states, "Some temples are famous for Moorthi (Idol), some for Thirtham (water), and some for Sthalam (place). Chidambaram is famous in all three: the Nataraja as Moorthy, Sivaganga as Thirtham and Chidambaram as Sthalam."

akasa space, ether from a-kas to shine, be brilliant   

Nataraja with consort Sivakami to his left, Vishnu-Govindaraja on his snake bed to his right, Nandi, his bull mount in the bottom center, Vyaghrapada (Tigerfoot) to the immediate right of Nandi, Patanjali, the famous expounder of Kundalini Yoga to the Bull's immediate left, Apasmara Purusa-Muyalakan under the Lord's foot. (Tanjore painting)



Saint Manikavasakar entered the temple through the east gateway. Situated on the proper left side of the Nataraja this gopuram invoked the feeling of love, tenderness and softness to His beloved. This sentiment is mirrored in Manikavasakar’s compositions. 

    Through the south gateway the soul approaches the Lord directly, as only a child can do. It was the child-saint-poet Jnanasambandar who related himself to the Lord and goddess as a child and son and entered the temple through the south gateway.  Siva faces the South Gopuram with two flapping flags at the summit. South Gopura was completed before 1272 C.E.

    The western gateway symbolises the place of the friend, on the Lord’s right-hand side. Through this gateway entered saint Sundaramurti. 

    One who enters the temple through the north gateway follows the Lord from behind. This is the place of the slave. Saint Tiruvanukarasar entered through this gate, and we find this sentiment and attitude throughout his work. 

    The east gateway is Tat Purusha, or the Lord Himself. It is also called the Sthulalinga, or Totality of the Form of God, the images within the temple being the minor forms that take their powers from the greater source.  Sthulalinga = Sthula + Linga = Gross material + Linga or Linga in material form. Ethereal form is invisible, while material form pleases the eyes and makes an imprint on the mind.  When the gods go in procession, they are not carried through the main entrance itself, but use an alternate entrance at its side in deference to the greatness of Lingam.  Lingam is ontologically superior to Nataraja, who is only Isvara, or manifest Brahman. SIVA- HEIRARCHY. West and East Gopuras are believed to have been completed by 1250 C.E.

    It is said that the temple was built around 7th Century C.E. depicting Kundalini Chakras and Saiva Siddhanta philosophy (Kundalini Power Primer in Saiva Siddhanta)

    It must be emphasized that the temple Gopuras are on the side of a rectangular perimeter, asymmetrically placed except the South Gopura, which is in line with Chit Sabha.  Nandikesvara, the Chief Attendant of Siva with bull face, is responsible for the security of the temple and the premises. He is also the Gurunatha of all the Munis including Upamanyu. His guards (Paritam) are in charge of the Chit Sabha security, Bhutas in charge of the 2nd Prakaram or courtyard, Pisacas in charge of the 3rd Prakaram Kali, and stern and angry Kulis in charge of the next prakaram and Bhairavas in charge of what is beyond. Five layers of security were put in place for the temple and the city by Nandikesvara; the above entities are invisible and mythical.  If you do not believe in mythical beings, read Joseph Campbell making a perceptive remark on myths in his book Myths of Light on page 9.   

As soon as you start talking about mythology, you must not take the terms concretely that's the mistake of the whole Judeo­Christian tradition.12 Read myths as newspaper reports by reporters who were there and it doesn't work. Reread them as poems and they become luminous.  

    The temple town is known as Tillai after the forest shrub (excoecaria Agallocha). Vyagharapada, Son of ascetic Madhyandina Rishi of Ganga River-fame, worshipped two Svayambhuva Lingas, one under a Banyan tree and the second near a Lotus Tank in Tillai. (Svyambhuva Linga = natural outcropping of obelisk, having the shape of Lingam). It is also said that wherever Ganga water fell from the head of Siva, it became a Lingam and a Tirtham (place of pilgrimage). The gods including Brahma and Vishnu came to Chidambaram to witness the Ananda Tandavam and set up Lingas in their own names for worship by the Sivaganga tank.   The four Gopuras are four Vedas the house is effulgent with five walls and five Halls, which represent the kosas or sheaths. The Lord dances in Bliss Sheath. The Halls and Chakras correspond to the sheaths as depicted in the table.

Kosas, their origin, and their connections

Entity Annamaya Kosa Pranamaya Kosa Manomaya Kosa Vijnanamaya Kosa Anandamaya Kosa
Sheaths Food Sheath Vital Air Sheath &


Mind Sheath Knowledge Sheath Bliss Sheath
Halls Raja Sabha Deva Sabha Nrtta Sabha Kanaka Sabha Chit Sabha
Origin Earth, Water and Fire. Lower three Chakras Anahata and Visuddha Chakras Ajna Chakra Nada and Bindu Chakras Sahasrara Chakra
Prakaram Courtyard, Walkway 3rd Prakaram 2nd Prakaram 2nd Prakaram Inner Prakaram Inner Prakaram
Saiva View Brahma shines in Food Sheath. Vishnu shines in Breath Sheath.

Rudra shines in the Mind Sheath.

Mahesa shines in the sheath of Consciousness. Sadasiva shines in the sheath of Bliss.
Saiva view is expressed by a real-life sage-poet, Umapati Sivacharya (around 1300 C.E.) in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu.

 Svayambhuva Lingam is the Form-Formless (Rupa-Arupa) representation of Siva. For details and explanation of Alinga, Linga, and Lingalinga, go to The Red Mountain.  A devotee wanted to offer to Siva-Lingam Vilva leaves and flowers which bees did not visit, trample and defile, whose nectar they did not imbibe, in whose nectar they did not drown; he prayed for and obtained from Siva, feet, claws, and eyes of a tiger so that he could climb the trees like a tiger very early in the morning before swarm of bees came to the flowers, and gather flowers untouched by bees. The devotee was called Tigerfoot (Vyaghra-pada). Tigerfoot also had eyes on the paw so not to miss any pluck-worthy flowers. Chidambaram also goes by the name of Puliyur (Tiger Town) to honor Vyaghra-Pada (Tiger Foot).  Puli (புலி = Tamil) = Vyaghra (व्‌याघ्‌र = Sanskrit) = Tiger. Tigerfoot married the daughter of Rishi Vasistha who gave him a son, Upamanyu, expounder of Saivism.

    The nature-born svayambhuva Lingam along with Uma-Parvati is housed in Mulasthana (Root Place) within the temple complex with Ardha Mandapam in front of Mulasthana. Ardha Mandapam for good reason also houses Vyaghra-Pada (Tiger Foot) and Patanjali. Ardha + Mandapam = Half + Hall attached to Gargbhagraham (inner Sanctum).  Gargbhagraham  = Garbham + Graham = Womb + House or habitat = Inner Sanctuary or Sanctum. Students of Hinduism regard the Sanctum Sanctorum as the Womb of the universe and the passage that exits from the Sanctum is analogous to birth passage. The whole universe proceeds from the Womb and passage. This is especially true in the portrayal of mother Goddess by Saktas.

Chidambaram is the heart of the Virat Purusa, anthropomorphic form of Siva. The temple is a breathing and living representation of Purusa with a heart and circulation and nine gates (nine apertures of the body). Nine stupas represent nine apertures: two nostrils, two eyes, two ears, one mouth, one anus and one genital aperture. The 21,600 gold tiles represent 21600 respirations in a 24-hour period.

    The temple has five prakaras (walkways cum courtyards) concentric in its configuration representing five Mahabhutas (Great elements-- Water, Fire, Air, Earth and Ether. The innermost prakaram is under the Golden Roof accessible only to the priests.



  Siva Purana translation by Prof. Shastri, Śiva Purāna, Mohanlal Banarsidass pub.

Book one C18.75-77

75-77. The word Śiva signifies him who controls everything and whom none can control, (Śiva Vaśī) just as Siha signifies the creature who attacks other animals and whom other animals cannot attack ( Siha = Hisa). The word Śiva is given another interpretation. The syllable, Ś means Permanent Bliss. The letter "i" means Purua (the primordial male energy), the syllable "Va" means Sakti (the primordial female energy). A harmonious compound of these syllables is Śiva. The devotee shall likewise make his own soul a harmonious whole and worship Śiva.


The eight forms of Siva : "When the life-principle became manifest it had no name, so it cried. Prajāpati asked the reason and being informed that the child wanted a name, first gave him the name Rūdra, then Śarva, Paśupati, Ugra, Aśani, Bhava, Mahādeva and Iśāna, This was the conception from which the purāa writers developed the Atamūrti conception of Śiva. The fact is that the  eight forms of Siva symbolize the five gross material elements (ether, air, fire, water, and earth,  two opposite principles of Prāa and Apāna (heat and cold represented by the sun and the moon) and the principle of mind (मनस) which is the eighth.


பிச்சாடனன் =  piccāaaṉ = Beggar = Siva in the guise of a Beggar.

   The Rishis of Tillai were an arrogant bunch, intoxicated with self-importance because of facade of scholastic erudition and distinction, which gave them a lapse in memory of their origin from Isvara. The Rishis also felt that they can control gods by Mantras, magic and rituals. Siva and Vishnu, the Gods of the universe hatched a plan to teach them a lesson. The story goes like this: Siva fell back to his old usual (cunning, clever, cupidinous and transcendent)  physical and mental pose of a mendicant-beggar. Vishnu, as usual, assumed the physical and mental attributes of Mohini of incomparable divine beauty, which he had done previously to fool the dasypygal Daityas and deprive them of Ambrosia. Siva was of a handsome physique; he was like a centripetal magnet for women. His eyes were radiant like the rising moon. He was decked out in the best of jewels of Suras and Asuras (gods and demons). Jeweled sandals graced his feet; a white dhoti (a wrap around the waist) shone as the sun dazzled on it. Holy fragrant ash and sacred thread adorned his body. A bhuta (attendant) was by his side with a pot of ash for the Lord's use on demand. He brandished a white skull-bowl on his left hand and a drum on his right. His head was like a bud on vine of his neck; his petal lips parted with a blossom of a smile; dalliance of his brilliant eyes cast a spell and delusion on the world of beings. The drops of hot sweat on his cosmic forehead reflected the moon on his crest. The bees graced his wavy locks in serpentine rows. He was of coral color and moved like a coral mountain. Vishnu, as Mohini, was as much radiant as Siva.

Both of them headed for Daruka forest, the place of blissfully married Rishis. The consorts of Rishis (Rishipatnis) fell head over heels in love with the couple. Beat of the drum, jingle of the anklets, joyous face and petal-soft smile of Siva drew the women out of their hermitages; the women were receiving a million suggestive glances, as they gave alms to mendicant Siva.  Passion sprang, welled up and brimmed over from the heart, mind and soul of the Rishipatnis. They were without self-awareness arranging their tresses, and fussing with flowers; the girdles, guard, and shawls dropped from their perches. The radiance of his smile invited sweet words from the Rishipatnis who openly asked for divine pleasure of embracing him.  Some were out of cooked rice and brought grains of rice in their lotus-like palms where the fire of love and passion cooked the rice.  They in utter confusion put their alms on the ground thinking it was the bowl, sprinkled the ground with petals and flowers, as they were looking at his lotus face. Some women were cocksure that he was a lover from their past. Some thought that Kama, God of love, made his appearance without his consort Rati.  A few had the courage to ask Siva, "Why are you in a hurry? You just came for alms. Your departure is like a setting sun leaving us in darkness. I drink the nectar of your beauty and grace; it kindles fire in my forlorn heart. Make my heart's wish come true. I see you, I pine, I wither, I waste;  look at my bangles, they drop off on their own. What have you done to me?" One woman held Siva back from going on his way.  As Siva held his begging bowl, they held their firm breasts to lead him to their hermitage. Some poured forth their heart, "Do what you want, where you want, when you want, here on the ground, anywhere is home with you around. We will go with you where you take us. Take us to another forest, if you please. One Rishipatni said, "Please don't go anywhere. Come to my house, I have plenty of alms." Some danced, some sang and danced for joy. They walked beside him; some were hugging close to him some pressed their tresses, their garlands, and their jewels against him. The Rishipatnis, having thus been deluded and deceived by the Maya of Siva, made a spectacle of their womanly wiles in front of the trident-bearing Siva who laughed long and hard.

Vishnu stood there by Siva's side like an unchaste woman in the eyes of Rishis who were intently looking at Mohini.

The Rishis did not like it one bit and grew angry with the mendicant and Mohini for upsetting the status quo and becoming the cynosure of Rishipatnis. Immediately they put their heads together, cooked up some magic to inflict punishment on the duo and decided to raise a sacrificial fire from which they produced tiger, deer, axe, Mantras, globe of fire, serpent and dwarf Asura one after another and dispatched them one at a time to attack mendicant Siva. Siva, the Lord of the Universe, the Supreme Ruler, the Yogin of Yogis, the Supreme Master of Yogic feats, was amused with the puerile antics and every trick, gag and feint of reckless Rishis. The ferocious tiger jumped out of the sacrificial fire and pounced on Siva on all its paws and claws with intent to sink its teeth into the jugulars of Siva in a wink and trice, he caught the tiger by its belly and peeled the skin of living tiger with nail of little finger with surgical precision and wore it on his waist. He cast the carcass at the feet of the Rishis. That should have taught a lesson to the vain Rishis who gained supermundane yogic feats and powers through Tapas. With the skinned dead tiger at their feet, they became angrier, adamant, and foolish and sent a ball of fire to Siva in their vain attempt to incinerate him. Siva caught the ball of fire with his left hand and held it aloft for all of them to see. Still the Rishis were clueless as to the identity of the handsome visitors. The Rishis failed to notice the blue throat of Siva because he disguised himself as a mendicant. If they only noticed it, they would not have flaunted their yogic powers wantonly and vainly on mendicant Siva. The Rishis would not give up; their fiery anger and pride were burning inside. They raised a serpent and sent it hissing to Siva. Siva just caught hold of the snake and wore it like a Mala (garland) around his neck. They did not yet run out of their facile and yet futile tricks; they raised an Asura-Titan (Apasmara Muyalakan), short on memory and long on brawn, and sent him to Siva. Siva dwarfed the Titan by his yogic power, bounced him like a ball with his foot and pressed him down under his right foot.  Short on memory = forgetfulness of soul of its origin from Isvara (Siva). Another version of the episode tells that the hispid Rishis (with angry erectile hairs = horripilation) were fuming and frothing in their mouths and sent tiger, deer, axe, Mantras, globe of fire, serpent and dwarf Asura all at once to attack Siva. You know now what happened to them. The Rishis came to realization that they were witnessing Siva and Vishnu and immediately begged for forgiveness. Siva performed Ananda Tandava (Dance of Divine Bliss) for them. Siva and Vishnu, having taught a lesson to the Rishis, left the Daruka forest.

    The above piece is an extract from Chidambara Mahatmya, as told to Sesa by Lord Vishnu.

    Siva sits on the tiger skin and meditates. There are several reasons for this. The tiger head attached to the skin with staring eyes represents an alive ego, hatred, greed and hunger, which should be overcome and sublimated before one can approach Siva.

There is another version in Skanda Purana as to how the Lingam came to be worshipped by gods and men. Sati, Siva's consort died of internal combustion from excessive heat generated by Tapas because Daksha in his ignorance did not invite Siva and Sati for the celebrated Yagna. once Sati died, Siva lost all interest and wandered into the forest naked in the land of Anarta (present Northern Gujarat) with a skull as the begging bowl. That forest was chockfull of Sages and their wives, who saw the wandering naked Siva and wondered aloud among themselves with comments like: "Only that lady is blessed who can freely and confidently embrace all the organs of the noble-souled sage."  Their eyes blossomed out wide following every movement of the new sage. Some were running here and there aimlessly in utter preoccupation of their minds. To attract His attention, they employed all feminine ingenious ways to catch His attention: Some wore collyrium only on one eye. Some knotted only one side of their tresses. They ignored their children. With all these mental tumult of the Rishipatnis, Siva was walking up and down the walkways seeking alms. The Sages seeing their wives ogling Siva were raging with anger. They cursed Siva so that his penis will fall on the ground, which happened immediately. Siva ran to the nearest cave and hid himself in a fetal position. The fall of the penis had dire consequences. The mountain tops came tumbling down, the oceans rose, and meteors came shooting down. The gods were struck with fear. Vishnu and the gods came running to four-faced Brahma of Great Erudition and Mantras and eulogized and gave Him an earful of complaints. He looked at the trembling gods and human beings and by divine vision he saw the cause of this misfortune.


 Obeisance to the Lord (Siva) beyond elaboration by words.

கரும்பணக் கச்சைக் கடவுள் வாழ்க!
அரும்தவர்க்கு அருளும் ஆதி வாழ்க!
அச்சம் தவிர்த்த சேவகன் வாழ்க!
நிச்சலும் ஈர்த்து ஆட்கொள்வோன் வாழ்க!
சூழ் இரும் துன்பம் துடைப்போன் வாழ்க! 100 

Tiruvasakam by Manicka-Vasakar

May the Lord wearing the hooded poisonous serpent around the waist prosper!

May the First granting Grace to the Tapasvins (ascetic) prosper!

May the Savior who prevents fear (of rebirth) prosper!

May the ever magnetic Enslaver prosper!

May the Lord who wipes away the enveloping sorrow prosper!

எய்தினர்க்கு ஆரமுது அளிப்போன் வாழ்க!
கூர்இருள் கூத்தொடு குனிப்போன் வாழ்க!
பேர்அமைத் தோளி காதலன் வாழ்க!
ஏதிலார்க்கு ஏதில் எம் இறைவன் வாழ்க!
காதலர்க்கு எய்ப்பினில் வைப்பு வாழ்க 105

May the Grantor of ever sweet Ambrosia to the reverencers prosper!

May the Lord who bends while dancing in the depth of darkness prosper!

May the Lover of Uma with famous bamboo shoulders prosper!

May my God who does not dispense harm to strangers prosper!

May the Lord prosper as He doles out Grace to the needy loving devotees.

தோளன் = Tholan = Šiva, who has eight shoulders. பேர்அமைத் தோளி = Tholi = Uma, the consort of Šiva, the one with famous Bamboo shoulders. பேர்அமைத் தோளி = the famous bamboo-shouldered (woman). Shoulders that resemble the bamboo pole are a mark of beauty.

Translation: Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

    (In the temple Gopuras, Siva is carved in stone as a beggar. The Yogin of yogins loves to beg for food with a saunter, and a trudge as day goes by, carrying his skull-bowl which reeks of rotting food inviting the hawks to take a swoop for a plunder. He wears barks for clothes and begs the snake to shed its skin for his use. Between beggings, interludes are spent in dancing with fire. Having jackals as his audience, he stages his dance in the burning ground. The ash smeared on his body and the russet matted locks fly all around him as he spins. The moon that he wears on his crest shines his handsome face and the ground. His music and songs are enchanting and the women are beside themselves as they witness his dance, his smile, and his handsome frame and listen to the music. The earth shakes and the palmyra fruits fall to the ground. Sometimes he is accompanied by Munis and his Spouse. He loves playing Vina.  Sometimes he wears elephant skin, sometimes silk on his waist. when he discards his reeking bowl, the smell of sandal paste on his body is telling. This universe is his; his swagger and jaunt are telling and unmistakable. Why does he beg? He owns this cosmos, why beg?  Begging is atonement for cutting one of the five heads of Brahma who told a blatant lie that he found the upper end of Fiery Lingam. He begs from the wives of Rishis as he makes his way from Daruka forest to Varnasi [Benares] to obtain absolution. )    

    Adisesha, the serpent (bed of Vishnu), heard about the Ananda Tandavam from Vishnu, and by celestial grapevine and very much wished to see the Dance. With Vishnu's permission and offering prayers to Siva, Adisesha descended to earth as Patanjali, the son of Anasuya and Atri, and the expounder of Kundalini Yoga. Another story goes like this: Sesa left his son in charge of his portfolio, takes a composite chimeric form (Patanjali, see below the half serpent and half man image), burrows into the subterranean region of Nagas (snakes), and climbs up a conduit leading to Chidambaram, which was said to sit on the top of a mythological mountain. Patanjali is depicted in East gopuram as having a head, upper torso, and hands of a human, from the navel down a body of snake with tail hanging in front, and from the shoulder up, a protective hood with five snake heads. It appears that  Adisesha (Patanjali) did not really give up his serpentine body but assumed a form of upper half man and lower half snake (Composite Chimera:  part man, part snake in this instance). Patanjali is famous as the author of his namesake Sastra, Patanjali Sastra, which deals with Kundalini Yoga.

Patanjali: credit: exoticindia.com

    Skanda Purana I.ii.33.21-22 identifies Lord Siva-Nataraja as Srikantha who swallowed and retained the Halahala poison which was destructive to the Cosmic Egg. Siva-Nataraja, having become concerned and distressed by the impending danger to the Cosmic Egg performed the Tandava Dance of misery.

    In Greek mythology, you heard about Centaurs, part horse and part man living in the mountains of Thessaly and Arcadia. The Centaurs were driven by animal passion. They were the draft animals for the chariot of wine god Dionysus driven by Eros, the god of love, which spoke of their proneness to inebriation and debauchery. Some Greek mythologists are of the opinion that the centaurs were the creation of imagination, living in the mountains and forests. Centaur is a composite of a human being in the front and of a body and legs of a horse. Centaur was man from waist up, and horse (animal) from waist down and backwards. They used tree limbs as weapons. One of the Centaurs, Chiron, broke the mold of his race, and became a wise physician. Chiron taught medicine to Asclepius, son of Apollo (god of prophesy, truth and healing) and nymph Coronis.  Zeus, the king of gods, equal to Indra, the chief of gods, wielder of thunderbolt, afraid that Asclepius  (Danvantri of Hindu mythology) would confer immortality to all men.



(Ambrosia-Amrta of Hindu mythology sent a thunderbolt to Asclepius and killed him.  Note some commonality between Zeus and Indra, and Asclepius and Danvantri. Danvantri took charge of Ambrosia, nectar of immortality, obtained from Milk Ocean. Temples were built for Asclepius and people slept in the temple premises in the hope that Asclepius would heal them in their dreams. Asclepius is portrayed as a bare- and broad-chested muscular physician, sporting a long cloak, and a staff with a serpent coiled around it. Caduceus, a superficial variation of the authentic icon of medicine, consists of a winged staff with intertwined serpents, and is the magical wand of Hermes or Mercury, "the god of roads, commerce, invention, cunning, and theft." It is hoped that the physicians are aware of what their symbol stands for, which does not speak well of them.

Patanjali = Pata + Anjali = fall + apposed palms in salutation. He and Vyaghra-pada set up their hermitages at Tillai in Chidambaram. Siva decided to give them Darsan (live appearance), but Kalika Devi, the resident goddess would not permit that to happen. Kali just moved into the forest of Tillai after defeating and killing Sumbha and Nisumbha. Some sources say that she and her minions terrorized the neighboring villages and towns. Another version of this depicts Kali and her companions were disrupting worship of Siva in the pine forest of Tillai. The devotees submit a complaint to Siva against Kali. Siva and Parvati decided that Kalika  (Kali) Devi had no right to inflict her unfair will on others. They invited Kalika Devi for pas de deux (actually it was a Dance contest) in the presence of devotees and it was decided that the winner would be the ruler of Tillai. In his famous dance at Nritta Sabha (Dance Hall), Siva's right ear ring fell on the dance floor and in a fluid movement of Dance, he picked it up with his right foot and appended it on his right ear by carrying the right foot to the earlobe in balletic feat and grace and no one noticed it at all. You can see the earring hanging from the big toe of the right foot. It is suspected that this balletic move exposed his genitalia for public view. That dance was Urdhva Tandavam (High Dance) (inset: credit exoticindia.com), which involves the straight-line raising of the foot above the head in balletic grace. (West and East Gopura depict Urdhtandavamurti raising his right foot well above his crown.) Kali (Bhadrakali) being a goddess would not perform such balletic move of raising the foot to the earlobe because it would mean an immodest move by a woman in the dance . Thus, Siva became the god of Tillai. This dance took place in Nrtta Sabha (built by Kulottunga III [1178-1216]) of Chidambaram and Ruby hall (Rathna Sabha) in Tiruvalangadu; there is a bronze of Kali  and Siva doing the dance of Urdhatandava.  Urdh-tandava-murti sculptures are seen in south, west and east gopura in Chidambaram. In Nrtta Sabha, an image of Kali keeps company with Urdha-tandava Siva.  There is a Kali temple about a mile north east of Nataraja Temple, where Kali sports four heads, representing four Vedas. There is also a Sarabha shrine in Nrtta Sabha; this is the king of birds (Sarabha-Siva) that killed Man-lion Narasimha close to Urdhatandava and Kali. There had been amity between Siva and Vishnu all along Siva declared many times that He and Vishnu are one and the same. But there have been a few fatal encounters with Siva, when Vishnu was in the form and incarnation of Turtle, and Narasimha. Vishnu had been defeated by Siva a few times: Boar and Vamana.

Tandavam: Leaping, jumping. Tāndu: leap or jump. Anandatandavam (Leaping for Joy Dance): Ecstatic dance of Siva, as exhibited in the shrine at Chidambaram. This dance of Lord Nataraja is the dance of creation, maintenance, sublation, obscuration and grace. The drum stands for creation, abhaya stance for maintenance, the fire for destruction, the left foot standing on Pasmarapurusa for obscuration and the raised right foot for Anugraha or revealing Grace.

    (You heard about and might have seen Radio City Music Hall Rockettes perform eye-high kick which is anatomically a straight-leg movement forwards and upwards without dislocating the head of the femur from the socket; what you see when the leg is up, is the high heel with the sole and the back of the knee. Lord Nataraja's sky-high forward and later sideways movement involves medio-lateral rotation of the head of the femur to a complete range of 180° in its socket and later a medial and inferior dislocation of the femoral head out of the socket when the right leg is held up, the patella (knee cap) and the dorsum of the foot (instead of the sole) are facing the spectator; it is quite a feat. When he brings the leg down there is a spontaneous reduction of dislocation in a fluid movement.)

    Lord Nataraja performed Ananda Tandavam in a Sabha (Hall) for Tiger Foot (Vyaghra-pada), Patanjali, Rishis, devotees and Sivakamasundari. The assembled devotees begged Siva to stay in Tillai and continue performing his Dance. His dance was captured in a bronze idol of Nataraja in Chidambaram. Nataraja = King of Dance, Lord of Dance.  He is the Lord of Tandava and not Tarantism, a maniacal uncontrollable desire to dance precipitated allegedly by the bite of Tarantula.

He performed his Cosmic Dance in the hall of Consciousness (Chit Sabha, the main shrine or Chitrambalam) with his left foot raised. It is the Dance of creation, maintenance, destruction, veiling and grace (Pancha Krityas, five acts of Siva). Three Saktis (Iccha Sakti, Jnana Sakti and Kriya Sakti) worship at the feet of the Lord of Dance in Chit Sabha. He willed (Iccha Sakti) to alleviate the suffering of Jivas, the individual life-souls, save, bring them back and offer refuge at his feet; he creates this world with that purpose in mind. Jnana Sakti is the knowledge that reposes in him and creates this world because Iccha Sakti by itself is not executory. Kriya Sakti is creation itself. Sivakamasundari standing beside him is Iccha Sakti. Sivakamasundari in a separate temple is Jnana Saksti  Durga in a separate temple serves as Kriya Sakti. As it is obvious, the Saktis are his consorts; he has one consort with different names, manifestations, functions, and divine duties. Three consorts of Siva representing three Saktis create problems for Siva in the mind of the poet. Sivakamasundari in Chit Sabha standing beside him expresses jealousy and rancor because Siva dared to come to her in the morning to Chit Sabha, after spending the night with Jnana and Kriya Saktis. The daughter of Mountain expresses her vexation, saying "You  don't need me, no one wants me. Go back to the riverside to cohabit with my companions, Jnana and Kriya Saktis. You sport with them all night long and have the audacity to show up here in the morning." The Lord of Dance appeased her. Para Sakti is in charge of all five functions of the Lord: creation, maintenance, dissolution, veiling and grace She creates out of Maya, the Tattvas: Pure, Pure/Impure, and Impure Tattvas. The Lord performed Anandatandava for the first time in Daruka forest after Amsa (part manifestation) of Parvati killed a demon in the forest.

    Siva Nataraja performs a wide repertoire of dances of which seven are the most important: Ananda Tandavam1, Sandhya Tandavam2, Gauri Tandavam3, Tripura Tandavam4, Kali Tandavam5 (Urdhva Tandavam), Muni Tandavam6, and Samhara Tandavam7. All dances are performed by the Lord to please Uma-Parvati, consort of Siva Nataraja. Every now and then, Siva takes Parvati on an aerial ride on his mount Nandi through length and breadth of India, shows her the golden peak of Kedara, Kasi (Benares or Varnasi), Kanchipuram, Arunagiri, Svetaranya, Vedaranya and comes back to Chidambaram, his home base.

Tripuram: The aerial cities of gold, silver, and iron burnt by Siva.

    Sandhya Tandavam: The main guest for this dance performed at Kailash is Gauri, the consort of Siva. Other invited participants are Veena-playing Sarasvati, flute-playing Indra, singer Lakshmi, Mridangam-playing Vishnu, and Cymbal-playing Brahma. The invited guests are the Gandharvas, Yakshas, Patagas, Uragas, Siddhas, Vidyadharas, Amaras, and Apsaras. Sages, Rishis, Holy Men and devotees have not seen this dance.

Tirumular mentions the five dances of Siva in verse 2723: Sivananda Dance, Sundara Dance, Golden Dance, Golden Tillai Dance, and Wondrous Dance. Verses 2724 to 2803 describe these dances in detail.

    Sivananda Dance: The Lord performs this dance with Sakti in the vast endless space beyond the Sun Mandala,  the sphere of the sun which stands for one of his Saktis, Jnana. Vedas and Agamas, Gita (melody), seven universes, five gross elements, all the worlds, and Nada Sakti are the fellow participants in this Dance of knowledge and Bliss. Panchakrityam (five functions, Creation, Sustenance, Destruction, Veiling and Grace) unfolds as he dances. He created during this dance five elements, and worlds of Bhoga (enjoyment), Yoga, Time, Mukti (liberation), passions and thirsts. The Supreme Siddha, Lord Siva, danced in five Suddha Tattvas. See TATTVAS-36 for details. Mular says that Devas, Asuras, Humans, Siddhas, Vidyadharas, the Trinity, 33 gods, seven Rishis, and all creation, both mobile and immobile, danced along with Nataraja.

    Sundara Dance (Beauty Dance): The dark-blue-throated Lord performed this dance for his consort Uma in the arena beyond the seven universes. At the beginning of the dance, the worlds come into existence and at the end of the dance, they come to an end. In the forest of Devadaru,  the Lord of Dance destroyed the challenging Rishis. Tillai (Chidambaram) and Alavanam are the other places he performed this dance. He dances all through the cosmos. He also dances in Susumna Nadi; once he enters this Nadi, he never leaves. Go to Kundalini Power for more details. He dances in Jnana and Yoga. He dances nine dances for nine Saktis; he dances in the thoughts of his devotees; by his dance, he delights the Jivas and Saktis; he dances in the forests. He dances in five Saktis, five forms of Siva, eight muktis, eight siddhis, eight Siva states, and eight suddhies. He dances in Chit Sabha that is the heart of the temple-town, nation, world and universe. At the feet of dancing Siva lie seven clouds, seven oceans, seven bodies, seven Siva-suns, seven appetites, seven Santis (appeasement).

    Golden Hall Dance: Five faces adorn Siva facing south, east, north, west, and skyward.

South (Right) East (front) North (left) West (back) Skyward
Aghora Tatpurusa Vamadeva Sadyojata Isana
Destruction and regeneration Supreme Spirit Healing and sustenance Creation Grace

Siva also has a hidden sixth face (Tamasa face) which has the color of  Nilakanta (blue throat) caused by poison Kalakuta from the Ocean of Milk. Kaalakuuta / kalakuta = Ambassador or emissary of Death.  He is also known as Shitikantha (peacock-throated). The Lord with five faces dances in five elements under three conditions: Formless (Arupa), Form/formless (Rupa-Arupa), and Form (Rupa). His original and intrinsic state is one of formlessness (Arupa) which is called Sivam. His act of love for the souls manifests in a form, Mahesvara; the intermediate state between form and formlessness is Sadasiva.  When you consider Suddha Tattvas (Siva, Sakti, Sadasiva, Mahesvara and Suddha Vidya Tattvas), Mahesvara is engaged in obscuration and Sadasiva confers Grace. What Mahesvara conceals, Sadasiva reveals.   

 Those who witnessed the Golden hall Dance attain the feet of the Lord. Mular says that he sat still like a picture under the influence of Siva as he danced the Dance of Jnana. Tarparan ( That Supreme; Tatpara / Supreme Being) dances in the hearts of the Jivas--individual souls. The devotees lose control over their emotions, dance, sob, feel fear, lose consciousness and fall in a faint, upon witnessing the dance. Desire and sorrow leave them; thoughts become pure and steady; Prana (breath) finds its way up the Nadi in yoga; senses gain reins on them; heart seeks and finds bliss. Such is the power of witnessing the Dance. The Lord dances with Kali, demons, world, water, fire, wind, and sky; he dances day in and day out in the temple. He dances in the spinal column (Axis Mundi or Stambha), and the Nadis, Ida, Pingala, and Susumna.

    Golden Tillai Dance: He dances on a stage made of five elements; seven worlds are his abode; Kundalini Sakti is the sacred dancing hall. He is the Supreme Light that danced in ecstasy. He dances with Sakti. The primal Supreme Lord danced Fire in his hand, danced his sacred matted locks, danced in exhilaration and joy, he danced the moon on his crest, he danced the dance of Nadanta in union with Nada. There are seven universes, 21 worlds, 108 religions to show the path to God. His supreme sacred feet danced with his other half, the Sakti. He dances in four states of Bliss: Nada, Nadanta, Natana and Natananta (Sound, edge of Sound (be-all and end-all of Sound, Beyond Sound), or silence dance and edge of Dance, be-all and end-all of Dance, Beyond Dance, Sacred Dance). Nadanta exists in Svadhisthana, Manipura, and Visuddha Chakras at the level of pubis, navel, and throat. Nada exists in Anahata or heart plane. He dances in all the Chakras, Mandalas and beyond: Muladhara, Svadhistahana, Manipura, Anahata, Ajna, and Sahasrara, Fire, Sun and Moon Mandalas or spheres. He dances in Veda, on the top of the Fire of Kundalini, in Bodha (Pure Consciousness), with celestials, in sacred temples, and with the three Gods and Minis.

     Nadanta Dance is a Dance in the void, beyond the limits or edges of sound (be-all and end-all of sound), where there is deafening silence, where the air, the fire and the world are dead, and where the beginnings of movement (Nada = Sound) and Light (Bindu) take place, where Siva and Sakti transform from pure Consciousness and Supreme Power and tone down to Suddha Tattvas, Suddha-Asuddha Tattvas, and Asuddha Tattvas of the material world. Nadanta Dance forms the basis for Saiva Siddhanta philosophy where tetralogy consisting of Siva, Sakti, Nada, and Bindu play exclusive roll in the unfolding of the universe; this is evolution. Involution is the inverse order where the Tattvas (building blocks) involute backwards into Nada and Nadanta, the latter being the Void, Sunya or black hole, where only Siva and Sakti exist, having become the repository of all Tattvas in their subtle state.

    (Para Sound or transcendental Sound (Nada Tattva) originates from Siva Tattva, the First of the Suddha Tattvas and remains there in its most subtle state.  (See file, Tattvas-36, for details on Tattvas.) Para Sound (Para Sabda) stays unmanifested in Kundali Sakti according to Tantras. Pasyanti or visual sound originates from Sakti Tattva (Kundali Sakti), the 2nd of the Suddha Tattvas. Since Pasyanti sound is visual, Sakti Tattva is also known as Bindu Tattva, Bindu for Light. Creation is Sound and Light Show and therefore, Nada and Bindu are two sides of the same coin. But Nada is recognized as the origin of Bindu. While the coin is minted, Nada is the first stamp on the coin and Bindu is the 2nd stamp.)

He declared, "I am the religion, I am the Guru, I am the six ways to liberation. I chose Chidambaram temple in South to do the Dance Inimitable." He dances in limitless vast spaces; his effulgent dancing feet rise to heavens and reaches five-lettered Nada's point, though they descend to bless his devotees. The dances are very many; the foot movements are many; the songs are many; the sounds of jingling anklets are many; seek them all in your heart; you are freed from rebirth for ever. As Prana radiates from your heart to your limbs and sense organs, he dances on the stage of nine gems; he is the sacred Guru; he is the Red Ruby dancer; he danced in ecstasy on all stages.

    Wonder Dance (Arbuda Dance): He dances in the form of Guru as he dances in formless form as Tiripurai. She is Uma dancing in form-formless state. It is said that Siva merges with Uma and performs Wonder Dance. Uma comes out of the body of Siva-Uma composite entity and later goes back to merge with him. Siva dances before Uma holding beads, drum, fire, goad, rope, spear, skull, and wearing moon and Ganga. He is Sadasiva, when he dances in his form/formless entity. He is also Gurupara (Supreme Guru). Mular says that Prana rises from inside the head 12 inches above the head to reach Dvâtasântam (Dvatasantam / dvadasanta), which is the mystic center and where the Lord of Nadanta dances.

Dvadasanta.  There are Âdhāra centers in the body and NirÂdhāra centers are Sahasrara Chakra and above. Adhara = support. Niradhara = without support centers above the sixth Chakra.  There are six Adhara Centers in the body: Muladhara, Svadisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddhi, and Ajna  each one presided by a deity, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Mahesvara, Sadasiva, and Apara Bindu. Adhara yogam is accomplished by Kundalini yogi who ascends all the six centers to reach the seventh Sahasrara center in the crown presided by Paranada where he unites with Siva. Kundlini yoga is Adhara yogam. Beyond Ajna center, Sahasrara Chakra and other centers are the Niradhara centers without any apparent support reaching it as a group is Niradhara yogam. Jnana and Prana ascend beyond the seven centers and course through eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh sthanas (posts), presided respectively by Parabindu, Paranada, Parasakti and Parasiva. Beyond these eleven centers is the 12th and furthest ultimate point of yogic journey (the Ultima Thule), Dvadasanta. This journey from Sahasrara chakra to the 12th point in space is Niradhara Yogam which is the state of the soul, when it loses its self-consciousness, attains Sivahood and remains without any attachment. Reaching Dvadasanta Siva (Paraipara) in Jnana form is Bliss. (Please note that there are several variants of the theme in different texts.) Many other texts say that this center is 12 inches above the crown as opposed to the above description. Realization from the 8th to 12th is progressively deeper and the 12th is ultimate experience (ultima Thule).

Dvādasāntham / Tvādasāntham (Tamil)

1. (Yoga.) A mystic centre which is believed to be 12 inches above crown

2. (Yoga.) The 12th and last stage of experience of the soul in yoga practice


    Lightning, wind, nimbus clouds, rainbow, sky and thunder arise in the external space; in the internal space, he is Light itself; he is of the form of Light and stays hidden in the body; he is also the effulgent radiant rays of the six Chakras. The Lord dances for those devoid of delusion and envy (mamaya). The Lord stands in five elements, spreads in eight directions, rises up and down, transcends human intelligence and is divine Bliss. The dancer merges with Sakti, stainless Bliss, and pure Jnana the dancer merges with his consort in dance.

    The Lord and Sakti, which took half of his body, danced, which I (Mular) witnessed; he danced for the Jivas shrouded in Maya; he stands as redemption, while he dances his eternal dance. The astral space between the eyebrows within the forehead is Chidambaram where he dances; there you will find mantra OM, if you focus your eyes; you will find Dancing Siva there, if in earnest you look for him. He dances on the seven stages of the vast universe, many Tattvas, Sadasiva, Susumna Nadi, Sâthavi (absolute goodness as sakti), Sambavi (Parvati, as the Sakti of Sambhu, Siva), and Kundalini. The astral flower and its four petals in Muladhara Chakra lights up the entire dance stage and blossoms into 100 petals and many universes in the vast space. There are seven crores (1 crore = 10 million) each of universes, various life forms, ocean-hugging continents, and Lingas these are the temples, where the Lord performs his cosmic Dance. The vastness of space is his body; demon Muyalakan is the darkness in the space; the eight directions are his flailing arms; his three eyes are Sun, Moon and Fire; he dances in the space stage, which is his Cosmic Body. The dance stage is his creation, his holy feet, Water and Fire Mandalas (spheres), and five letters (Na-Ma-Si-Va-Ya). He performs the Pândaranga dance at the end of dissolution of the universe. Pândaranga  = Pânda + Ranga = Whiteness + dance Stage = Dance of Siva when he destroyed Tripura --in one of his eleven dances. The pipes are playing; the drums are reverberating with beats; humming of Aum hymns pervades the air; the feet are dancing. "That is the Lord, dancing," so say the Ganas and Bhutas (attendants of Siva). Tripurai is in flames; Lord Siva performs his Pandaranga dance - the Dance of dissolution. The devas (celestials) near and far,  the holy devotees of ocean-hugging world continents drank the dance of the sacred lotus feet of Siva with their eyes thus soaking in bliss; they attained final beatitude (Gathi). As tamarind elicits salivation, the dance elicits tears of joy in the spectators; they melt in love of Lord of Dance; Light of Bliss rises in the hearts. The nine (six chakras, the sun, the moon and the fire) danced the sixteen (the sixteen petals of Visuddha Chakra lotus) danced six loving faiths (Vaishnavas, Saivas, Saktas, Sauras, Ganapatyas and Kaumaras; the worshippers of Vishnu, Siva, Devi, Sun, Ganapathy and Kaumara (Skanda, Kumaran, Murugan (Shanmuga -six faces, or Kartikeyan) danced Seven melodies (Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da, and Ni)  28 rhythmic beats and the Love dance. He danced the Ananda Dance (Dance of Bliss).  Ananda = Ân + anta = No + limit = Bliss. The Lord descended as the Supreme Light. A, U, and M, and Na, Ma, Si, Va, and Ya became 360 rays (360 days). He danced in the three pasas (bondages), the dance of Mohanta (elimination of confusion of mind, mental darkness). When the creator dances, the created worlds dance with him; he dances in our thought and heart. The tattvas danced; Sadasiva danced; thoughts danced; Siva-Sakti danced; the Vedas danced; the Lord danced the Dance of Ananda. He danced in Chidambaram in his form, formless, and cosmic form for Tiger foot and Patanjali Rishis. Vyaghrapada = Tiger foot. Siva danced ;Sakti Danced; Tattvas danced; he danced inside the Truth, Vedanta-Siddhanta. Nadanta is the end of Nada (Sound); Bodhanta is the end of Bodha (knowledge, be-all and end-all of knowledge) Vedanta is the end of Vedas. Vedangas are the limbs, extensions or auxiliary to the Vedas. Vedanga consists of six parts: 1. Siksa (knowledge, art, skill correct pronunciation and articulation, 2. Chandas (prosody), 3. Vyakarana (Grammar), 4. Nirukta (etymological interpretation), 5. Jyothisa (astronomy), 6. Kalpa (rituals and rules for ceremonial sacrifices).

Here is a list of apparently contradictory qualities of Siva which the devotees in love and devotion praise. Many of them reveal the multi-faceted sides of Siva.

Siva, the Supreme God of contrasts and confluence.

Siva is all sweetness in his form with innumerable gunas and yet He is the Immutable above Gunas (Niskalatattva = Tattva without parts or prakrti). His substance and seat are Tamasa Guna and thus he is Tamogunamaya (replete with Tamoguna). Though seated on the throne of  Tamasaguna, he is effulgent like a silver mountain. He is the Supreme Guru, the Guru of all Gurus endowed with spiritual knowledge (Brahma Vidya). His habitat is cremation grounds, though He owns the whole universe. He is Maharudra of destruction and ocean of peace in one Being. He is the Sadhaka of all Sadhakas, austere and yet he is all Joy, Mercy and Love. He is Virūpāksa, having eyes not conforming to usual appearance and form. His eyes are dreamy-looking, ptotic*, and slanting from inside outwards, giving the appearance of having been stoned with bhang**. ptotic* = half-closed or droopy eye lids. 

bhang** (bang), n.

  • 1. a mild preparation of marijuana made from young leaves and stems of the Indian hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, drunk with milk or water as a fermented brew or smoked for its hallucinogenic effects. (RHD)
  • As you notice here, in day to day language, it is insulting to say that a person appears stoned with Bhang. In this instance, Siva is characterized as queer-eyed and dopey-looking. It is not an insult but a portrayal of his appearance. He is the owner of the half of the body of the daughter of the mountain (Parvati; AdrijA = mountain-born), though He is One Unity.  That is the portrayal of Ardhanarisvara. He is companionless though he seeks companionship with Parvati. He is the Supreme Exponent of Vairagya and A-Kāma, though he appears always coupled with his consort (Yugala form = coupled form). He confers Kaivalya unasked to all souls in Benares. He is the Grantor of the fruits of action (Karmaphala) to the whole Universe. Though he is the most wrathful, He is easily appeased. He is white in complexion with blue throat.

    Four Armed Shiva 

                                                             White Siva (Exoticindia.com) click to enlarge  zp10_small.jpg       


    Notes July 2009:

    Definition of Blue Dog Democrat: They walk like a Democrat but bark like a Republican.

    Everybody knows that Siva has a blue throat hence the name Nilakantappa-- the one with blue throat. He swallowed the poison from the churning ocean to save humanity and gods. His spouse Parvati  choked (?) His neck so that he did not have to swallow the poison and die. The poison stayed in the throat and changed the neck from white to blue color.

    The democrats who are fiscally conservative are named Blue Dog democrats and the Blue Dog Coalition was formed in 1994. The normal Yellow Dog was choked blue by the left-leaning democrats so much so the Dog turned blue, meaning that the Blue Dog Democrat is a democrat outside but has some qualities of a Republican in the inside. Some democrats wrested the legislative seats from the Republicans by becoming a Blue Dog Democrats. They walk like a Democrat but (quack, rather) bark like a Republican.

    He is the savior of the three worlds, though he swallowed the deathly Halahala poison coming out of the milk ocean. And yet he is the destroyer of the Universe. Though he indulges in adorning himself with serpents, he is the Lord of dispassion. He sports the moon on his head, though it is covered by matted hair. Though He carries the axe and trident and appears to project fear and dismay, He dispels fear and confers Bliss. Though He is stepped on and trampled under the feet of Devi and He is prostrate at Her feet, He is the Grantor of Moksa or liberation. Siva is Sava (dead) without Sakti; Sakti without Siva has no consciousness. Mahabhairava is Joy incarnate, though he drinks wine of joy. He broadcasts Abhaya Mudra (fear-not pose of hands), though He is Bharaiva (frightful Being) Himself. He shows five faces, though he is thousand-headed. He shows three eyes, though they see in all directions. He is Digambara (naked) robed in space, though he is Space Himself. He shows eight forms (Ashtamurti--the five elements plus the sun, the moon and the ascrificing priest), though he is of infinite forms. Go to Siva's eight forms.  He is knowledge and its preceptor.  He is the liberator and the Liberation. He is the Lord of Kailas and Kasi, though He is the Lord of the Universe. He is the Lord of the Spirit world and Bhutapati (the Lord of beings). He is Pasupati, though he destroys the Pāsas of Pasus. Pasas (Pāsas) are the bonds which keep the ignorant man bound to Samsara. The bonds are pity, ignorance, shame, family, custom and caste. (page 303--Principles of Tantra Part II by Sir John Woodroffe.) He has fire in his forehead third eye and holds Ganga in his matted locks. He is the destroyer of Daksa's Yajna, though He is the Yajnesvara (Lord of Yajna). Go to SIVA'S FURY - DAKSA.  Devi's death at Daksa's Yajna caused grief in Siva, though He is above Moha and MAyA (infatuation and delusion). He is the son-in-law of the King of mountains, though he is the Lord of the Mountains and is beyond any relationships (Akula). He is self-born. He fathers Heramba (Ganesa), though He is attributeless Parabrahman beyond all causes. He is the Linga, the source of the origin of the universe. He is YogaNidra though he is attainable by Karma, Jnana and Yoga. He is the cause of Yoganidra (Yoga sleep), the Sakti that brings about involution and unity with Siva. Yoganidra is meditation sleep, which facilitates a full deployment of mental powers in a Yogi. He is the refuge of all his devotees, though he is the destroyer of the three worlds. He is the companion of the Bhaktas (devotees), though he is attainable by Jnana Yogis well versed in the spiritual knowledge. He holds the hands of the poor and the helpless, though he is the Lord of the Universe. He is the revealer of Mantras, though he is the object of worship by Mantras and Yantras.  He is Rajarajesvara (King of kings) in the devotee's heart, though he is the Isvara (the Supreme Ruler or Controller) of the universe.

     Thevaram On Siva

    The Sacred number Nine is a miracle number:

    9x9 = 81; 8+1= 9.


    ஒன்பது போல் அவர் வாசல் வகுத்தன

    ஒன்பது போல் அவர் மார்பினின் நூல் இழை

    ஒன்பது போல் அவர் கோலக் குழற்சடை

    ஒன்பது போல் அவர் பார் இடம் தானே.  


    Nine doors He devised (in the human body).

    Nine are the twisted strands of [sacred] thread on His chest.

    Nine are His decorative curly matted locks.

    Nine are the parts of His Earth.


    Explanation: There are nine openings in the body: two ears, two eyes, two nostrils, one mouth, one anus and one urethra. (The females have ten openings in the body: nine plus one vagina.) The sacred thread on Siva’s chest has nine strands. He sports nine curly matted locks on His head. River Goddess Ganga abides in one of the locks. The world is divided into nine parts. 

    The nine parts of the Earth are known as Nava-kantam (நவகண்டம்).  

    நவகண்டம் nava-kaṇṭam , n. < navan</I> kīḻpāl- vitēkam, mēlpālvitēkam, vaṭapālvitēkam, teṉpāl- vitēkam, vaṭapālirēpatam, teṉpālirēpatam, vaṭapāṟparatam, teṉpāṟparatam, mattima- kaṇṭam;

    கீழ்பால்விதேகம் [Lower division], மேல்பால்விதேகம்[Upper Division] , வட பால்விதேகம்[North Division], தென்பால்விதேகம்[South Division], வடபாலிரேபதம்[Northern Continent], தென்பாலிரேபதம்[Southern continent], வடபாற்பரதம்[North India], தென்பாற்பரதம்[South India], மத்திமகண்டம் [Middle Country], எனப் பூமியின் பிரிவாயமைந்துள்ள ஒன்பது கண்டங்கள். Tamil Lexicon

        Here is the story of how Lord Siva came to wear a sliver of the moon on his hair.   

        Soma (Moon) married 27 daughters of Daksa, the twenty-seven lunar asterisms. He was so much in deep love and devotion to his fourth wife Rohini that others complained to their father Daksa who cursed him to be childless and suffer from consumption (Tuberculosis). His health and body waned, which made the wives pity him and asked their father to repeal his curse. Daksa refused and modified the curse so that there would be gradual waning alternating with waxing but no disappearance.

        Here is another version.

    Vishnu in the form of Mohini separated the gods from the demons. The purpose was to let the gods imbibe the nectar of Immortality and con the demons out of their share because they did not deserve the nectar. One of the Daityas (Rahu) got wise, disguised himself as an Aditya (god), sat between the sun god and moon god, and drank the nectar. The Sun and the moon gods knew a Daitya if they saw one even in the dark and immediately reported him to the Lord, who sent his spinning discus to slice his head off his neck, as he was drinking the nectar.                                                                                         

    Since Rahu tasted the nectar but before he had a chance to gulp it down, the discus cut off his head with the result that the head survived and the body died! (Now you know where the expression 'Talking heads' came from!) Lord Brahma accepted the Daitya Rahu’s head as a planet. This painting shows the head of Rahu without his body. He was naturally angry with the sun and moon and therefore he tried to swallow the sun and the moon which explains the solar and lunar eclipses.  The Adityas (the gods) were always serving at the feet of the Lord and therefore the Lord gave them the nectar of immortality. The Daityas were not the devotees of the Lord and never sought him and therefore they never had the chance to imbibe the nectar.


    Yet another version of why the moon waxes and wanes.

              Soma (Moon) performed a sacrifice and became powerful, so much so the he took away Tara, the wife of Brihaspati, the preceptor of gods. Brahma’s entreaties did not persuade Soma to part with Tara. Soma impregnated Tara according to later admission by Tara. Indra and gods sided with Brihaspati, while the Danavas and Daityas joined the Soma camp. A war broke out between gods and demons. Siva sliced Soma into pieces and wore a sliver of him on his hair acquiring the name Chandrasekhara (the moon-crested one). Siva devoured Sukracharya (grandson of Bhrgu), the high priest of the demons and released him through his urinary passage. Tara gave birth to Budha (the planet Mercury).

    Sivananda is the Bliss of Siva; Sadasivananda is without end in all; he dances Siva Natana; he is the Nada Brahman (Brahman of Sound). He, by his hand gesture, signals "Si" inviting his devotees to come and merge with him. "Va" signal removes fear in Tapasvins. "Ya" signal invites the celestials. Na signal comes from fire-holding hand. Ma signal emanates from his planted right foot thus. Hhe dances his entire five-letter mantra: Na, Ma, Si, Va, Ya.







    The soul’s journey to Grace

    Veiling or Tirodhana

    Mala or impurity

    Lord Siva

    Arul or Grace

    The Jiva or individual soul

    Limbs Left posterior hand holding the blazing fire is Na. The right planted foot is Ma. The right posterior hand that holds the drum is Si The right anterior hand, offering grace is Va The left anterior hand offering refuge is Ya

    Panchaakshara (Five Syllables)


    The Universe

    Lord Siva

    Revealing Grace

    The Jiva

    Body Parts@. letter, assigned to body part, is contemplated.

    the feet

    the abdomen or navel

    the shoulders

    The mouth or face

    The eyes or the head.

    Dynamic Panchaakshara of Nataraja. Fire in the hand Right foot on Muyalakan


    drum out-stretched hand left anterior hand, dispelling fear

    Siva’s five functions in Nataraja stance

    Destruction (left posterior hand with flame).

    Concealing Grace, planted right foot.

    Creation, right posterior hand with the drum.

    Revealing Grace, left anterior hand pointing down to left foot--Jiva's refuge

    Maintenance (Sthiti), right anterior hand with supinated upright palm. (A-bhaya mudra—fear-not symbol)

    [high-five position of palm]

    Five Elements





    Akasa or ether

    Muladhara triangle-Kundalini

    Earth and Brahma

    Water and Vishnu

    Fire and Rudra

    Vayu and Rudra

    Akasa and Sadasiva




    A (Siva)

    U (Sakti)


    Perpetual Bliss






    Jnana (knowledge)






    Pure Joy



    Pure Joy

    Pure Joy

    Pure Joy

    Tandava dance of dissolution merges in






    Agamic Mantra



    A (Sadasiva)

    U (Sadasiva)


    Pati-Pasu-Pasa Triangle






    Siva and Sakti



    A (Srim)

    U (Krim)


    A and U



    Body of Siva

    Body of Siva


    The dance letters of Siva’s rhythmic dance steps.






     Five groves@@






    Five hoods of snake@@          
    Five finger@@          
    five Cupid's arrows@@          
    Soul caught between malas on one hand and concealment and Grace on the other hand. Na is Mala Ma is Mala Si is Siva's concealment Va is Siva's Grace Ya is the soul



       Prof. Shastri. Translation of Siva Purana, Book one, page 148:  Jyotirlingas are twelve in number: (I) Somanātha at Somanath Pattan, Gujarat, (2) Mallikārjuna or Srīsaila (on a mountain near the river Kṛṣṇā) , (3) Mahākāla, Mahakalesvara (at Ujjain), (4) Omkara Mandhata on the Narmada, (5) Amaresvara (at Ujjain) ,(6) Vaidyanatha also called Naganatha (at Deogarh Bengal), (7) Ramesa or Ramesvara (on the island of Ramesvara ); (8) Bhima Sankara (in the Rajamundrv district), (9) Visvesvara at Benares, 10) Nageshvar on the banks of the Gomati, (11) Gautamesa, also called Varnesvara (not located), (12) Kedarnatha in the Himalayas.

    You may notice there is no concurrence in various descriptions. The Lord carries many names for His one aspect. Some listings are out of sequence.



    Siva appeared as Jyotirlinga (Linga of Light) across the length and breath of India.

    Śiva Purāṇa tells the story of the origin of Jyotirliṅgas (ज्योतिर्लिङ्ग)


    सौराष्ट्रे सोमनाथं च श्रीशैले मल्लिकार्जुनम् ।

    saurāṣṭre somanātha ca śrīśaile mallikārjunam|

    ऊज्ज्यैन्यां महाकालमोंकारे परमेश्वरम् ।।

    ūjjyainyā mahākālamokāre parameśvara ||

    केदारं हिमवत्पृष्ठे डाकिन्यां भीमशङ्करम् ।

    kedāra himavatpṛṣṭhe ākinyā bhimaśakaram |

    वाराणस्यं च विश्वेशं त्र्यम्बकं गौतमीतटे ।।            

    vārāṇasyaṁ  ca viśveśa tryambhaka gautamītae ||

    वैध्यनाथं चिताभूमौ नागेशं दारुकावने ।

    vaidhyanātha citābhūmau nāgeśaṁ  dārukāvane |

    सेतुबंधे च रामेशं घुश्मेशं च शिवालये ।।

    setubadhe  ca rāmeśa ghuśmeśa ca śivālaye ||

    द्वादशैतानि नामानि प्रतरुत्थाय यः पठेत् ।

    dvādaśaitāni nāmāni prātarutthāya yah paṭhet |

    शर्व पापविनिर्मुक्त सर्वसिद्धि फलं लभेत् ।।

    sarva pāpavinirmukhta sarvasiddhi phala labhet ||

    Source: http://www.shreemaa.org



    In Saurāṣṭra, somanāthaṁ and in Śrīśailam, Mallikārjunam;

    In Ujjain, Mahākālam;  in Parameśvaraṁ, Oṁkāre;

    In the back of Himalayas, Kedāraṁ; In the south, Bhimaśaṅkaram ;

    In Vārāṇasi,  Viśveśaṁ; in Gautami,  Tryambhakaṁ;

    In the land of Citta (consciousness), Vaidhyanāthaṁ;  In Dārukā forest, Nāgeśaṁ;

    In the area of the bridge, Rāmeśaṁ;  in Śivālaya,  Ghuśmeśaṁ ;

    Whosoever reads these twelve names at daybreak

    would be released from all sins and attain fruits of all siddhis



    Śiva is worshipped as Jyotirliṅgas (Light-Lingam) in twelve shrines scattered across India. The devotees singing the dvādaśa liṅga Stotram will attain enlightenment, liberation and Sāyujya (सायुज्य) mukti, which (सायुज्य) is the state of final extinction wherein the individual is completely merged in the universal Soul.  By eating Prasadam, all sins become extinct.







    1. Somanātha

    Sauraṣtra Gujarat

    2. Mallikārjuna

    Mountain Śriśaila AP

    3. Mahākāla

    Ujjayinī MP

    4A. Amareśvara

    4B. Omkareśvar

    Oṁkāra. Mandhata hill

    5. Māndhatā  (?)

    Mandhata hill

    6. Kedāra

    Himalaya. Uttarkhand, Kedarnath

    7. Bhīmaśaṅkara

    city of Dākinī

    8. Viśveśvara


    9. Tryambaka /

    9. Vaidyanatha

    banks of Gautamī

    Deogarah Behar

    10. Nāgeśa

    Forest of Dārukā

    11. Rāmeśvara

    Setubandha: Ramesvaram TN

    12. Ghuśmeśvara

     Devagiri near Ellora


    The origin of the First Jyotirliṅga, Somanātha


    Dakṣa gave Aśvinī and others (27 daughters in all) in marriage to the Moon. Of the 27 wives, The Moon loved Rohiṇī the most.  The other wives ran to their father Dakṣa in distress and complained about their predicament and rejection by the Moon.  Dakṣa with broken heart went to The Moon and appealed to his better nature to treat all his wives equally and that otherwise his discriminating behavior and treatment of his wives would earn him a place in hell. The Moon assured Dakṣa of his proposed evenness of love to all his wives. Being under the influence of Śiva's Māyā, the Moon did not carry out his promise. He continued his odd behavior, loved Rohinī exclusively and precipitated distress in other wives and Dakṣa, who came back to the Moon and advised him to be equal in his love for his 27 wives.  With so many pleadings to mend his ways going unheeded, Brahma laid a curse on him, which brought on a wasting disease on The Moon instantaneously.  The Moon shocked and shaken, was wasting away like the digits of the waning the Moon.  On receiving soulful complaint from the Moon, Vasiṣṭha, Indra and other gods went to Brahma, who demanded to hear the Moon's rap sheet read to him loud. The wayward Moon went to Bṛhaspati's house, abducted his wife Tārā, and made a treaty of alliance with the anti-gods, the Daityas.  Father-in-law Brahma advised the Moon not to fight with the gods and return Tārā back to Bṛhaspati, which the Moon did.  Bṛhaspati was happy to see his wife return but rejected her because she was pregnant with the child of the Moon.  Brahma persuaded Bṛhaspati to take his pregnant wife back, which he did unwillingly.  On enquiry, Tārā said that the seed of the Moon is growing in her womb. Brahma immediately terminated the pregnancy and was glad to see Bṛhaspati accept Tārā back into his hearth and home.

    Brahma said that the Moon would not give up his evil ways because of innumerable evil deeds in the past. He had no remorse and no willingness to mend his ways. 


    Mṛtyuńjaya Mantra

    महा मृत्युंजय मन्त्र

    ॐ त्रयम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम्

    उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मा मृतात्

    Mahā Mṛtyuńjaya Mantra

    Om Tryambakam yajāmahe sugandhim puṣṭi-vardhanam

    Urvārukamiva bandhanān mṛtyormukṣīya mā mṛtāt


    The Great Death-conquering Mantra

    ॐ त्रयम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम्

    उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मा मृतात्



    = Om = Om; त्रयम्बकं = Tryambakam = Three-eyed Lord ;  यजामहे = yajāmahe = we worship;   सुगन्धिं = sugandhim = sweet fragrance;  पुष्टिवर्धनम् = puṣṭi-vardhanam =  wealth augmenter; उर्वारुकमिव  = Urvārukam-iva = like disease;  बन्धनात्  = bandhanāt = from attachment  मृत्योर्मुक्षीय = मृत्यो: मुक्षीय = mṛtyoḥ mukṣiya = from death liberate us; (but)    मा मृतात्= mā mṛtāt =  not (from)  immortality.

    Om,  Three-Eyed Lord, We worship You. You are sweet fragrance. You augment our wellbeing.  Release us from attachment, disease and death but not from Immortality.


    Dakṣa's curse resulting in a wasting disease could not be undone. The only recourse left was The Moon had to go to the auspicious shrine at Prabhāsa accompanied by gods and propitiate Lord Śiva according to Mṛtyuńjaya rites. Pleased Śiva will cure him of his consumption.  The gods, sages and Dakṣa took The Moon to Prabhāsa, left him there and returned home.

    The Moon chanted the Mantra a hundred million times with a steady tranquil mind. Lord Mṛtyuńjaya  (Śiva) appeared before him and said, "I am pleased with you; ask Me any boon you want."

    The Moon said, "I am wasting away from the curse. Please forgive all my faults and show me benevolence."

    Siva said, " Let you wane in one fortnight and wax in the next fortnight." All the gods, sages and the Moon were ecstatic and joined their palms together in reverence to Śiva. The Moon praised the Lord in His Nirguna and Saguna aspects. All the assembled gods and sages begged Śiva to stay there along with Umā. That is how Śiva received the name of Someśvara (Soma + Īśvara = Moon + Lord = Lord of the Moon). Worship of Śiva helps remove suffering and diseases like consumption, leprosy.... A pond, named Moon Pond, was dug in the very spot and used by Brahma and Śiva.  Anyone taking a dip in the Moon Pond is absolved of all sins. After death, heavenly gods honor him.  The image of Śiva in the form of Somalińga upon sight and worship removes all sins and assures heaven after death.

    Copyright Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

    The origin of the second Jyotirliṅga, Mallikārjuna.

    Mallikārjuna = Mallika + Arjuna are the other names for Pārvatī and Śiva. Both of them wanted their sons Kumāra and Gaṇeśvara married.  The proposal was whosoever circumambulates the world first would marry first. Kumāra took off on his Mayilvāhana (Peacock) to go around the world, while Gaṇeśa circumambulated his parents saying that they are the world for him.

    Kumāra came back to Kailāsa after his long flight around the globe. Nārada the tale-bearing sage told the tired globetrotting Kumāra that Gaṇesa was married already and the circumstances surrounding the decision.  Kumāra offered his obeisance to his parents and left in anger to Kruńca Mountain against the advice of his parents. Pārvatī was heart-broken and consoled by Śiva that Kumāra would return to Kailāsa one day.  Pārvatī was in grief and so Śiva sent Nārada, gods and sages  to bring Kumāra back.  Nārada's persuasion did not work and he returned home empty-handed. Kumāra was too proud to accept his defeat.  The distressed  Śiva and Pārvatī went to where Kumāra was. Coming to know of their arrival, Kārttika moved thirty-six km further away. Śiva and Pārvatī stayed there in their fiery form on the hills. The legend says that Śiva went there every new moon day and Pārvatī every full moon day. Thus the Śiva liṅgam became a fixture on the hills.  The devotee who sees and worships the Mallikārjuna Liṅgam will remove all his sins, fulfill all his desires, become wealthy, attain supreme happiness and never suffer rebirth gain.


    The Origin of the Jyotirliṅga Mahākāla (3)

    There was a glorious city by name Avanti (modern Ujjain), the favorite of Śiva, giving liberation to all souls. A Brahmana by name Vedapriya, scholarly in Vedas and proficient in Vedic rites, lived there. He maintained the sacrificial fires and worshipped the idol of Śiva. He attained Mokṣa, the abode of the good.  His four sons, Devapriya, Priyamedha, Sukṛta, and Dharmavāhin, no less than their father in the devotion to Śiva, continued the tradition.  Happiness suffused the earth and its beings and the city delighted in Brahmanical effulgence. Then a misfortune fell on the city. Daitya Asura Dūṣaṇa living on the Ratnamāla hill was not a supporter of Vedic rites and rituals, hated virtue in all forms, defeated and expelled the gods from their place and portfolios.  Vedic rites fell into disuse all over the globe. Temples became victim to his ordinance to abolish all Vedic rites.  Thus, Dharma suffered exile from the land. Avanti lost its splendor. The Asura with a sizable army marched on the Brahmanas in the temples and places of Vedic rituals. Dūṣaṇa picked four stout and muscular  Daityas and sent them to the Brahmanas with a message: "You wicked Brahmanas, do what I say. Otherwise, you will suffer the consequences.  Cease and desist from performing the Vedic rites and rituals.  The gods and kings suffered defeat in my hands.  Why should I leave the Brahmanas alone? Give up all rites and rituals glorifying Śiva. It is very much in doubt the Brahmanas will live if they do not follow my injunctions."

    The four Daityas seized the four corners of the city. The Brahmanas, not afraid of the Daitya king, continued meditation, and the Vedic rituals and rites, placing their trust in Śiva.  In the mean time, the Daitya army marched on the town and the Brahmanas.  The four brothers, the sons of Vedapriya, comforted the people saying, "We have no army to fight the wicked Daitya king and his army. The insults piled on us by him are directed to omnipotent Śiva Himself. We will take refuge in Śiva, who is kind and benignant to His devotees."


    The four brothers continued their meditation on the earthen Śiva idol, unable to listen to the shouts of the king and his army.  The king approached the meditating Brahmanas with the intent to kill them. The area around the Pārthiva idol caved in with a loud noise and from the cavernous hole came up Śiva with a terrible form. That was Mahākāla, The Great Time, the killer of the wicked and the savior of the good.  

    Mahākāla said, " I am Mahākāla the Great Time and the god of death. I rose to protect the Brahmanas and punish the wicked like you. Leave the Brahmanas alone." No sooner than Śiva uttered the sound HUM,  Dūṣaṇa  and part of the army came down in a pile of dust.  The rest of the army took to their heels.  As darkness dissipates at sunrise, so did the army on rise of Śiva.  The skies pealed with the sound of drums. An avalanche of flowers poured from the sky. Viṣṇu and Brahmā arrived in time to participate in the celebration. All joined and raised their joined palms to Śiva in reverence and eulogized Him.

    Śiva the destroyer of the wicked in His benignant mood addressed the Brahmanas and offered to give them a boon.  They begged Śiva to stay there for ever for the protection of the people and added, "O Śiva, take us away from this miserable world and give us liberation."

    The Brahmanas obtained salvation.  The base of the Liṅga extended 3 Km in each direction. There in that moment, Śiva became the Mahākāleśvara -- The Lord of Great Time. Anyone seeing it, will not suffer misery even in their dreams and attain salvation thereafter.

    The greatness of Jyotirliṅga Mahākāla continues. In Ujjainī there was a devotee of Śiva king Candrasena well-versed in Sastras and well-controlled in his sense-organs. He was the friend of Maṇibhadra, the chief Śiva's Gaṇas, who once gave the king a gift, an exquisite jewel, Cintāmaṇi, which shone like Kaustubha of Kṛṣṇa. It offered blessings to the ones, who meditated on, saw, and heard it.  Any metal or stone that came into contact with it became gold.  The bejeweled king Candrasena shone like a sun in the midst of gods. The kings were jealous of Candrasena for his possession of Cintāmaṇi. Unable to persuade Candrasena to part with his jewel became infuriated. The jealous kings supported by four kinds of armies (elephant, chariot, cavalry and infantry divisions) seized the four main gates of Candrasena's kingdom. Candrasena, turning away from defending the city, took refuge in Mahākāla and worshipped Him day and night without taking even a morsel of food or drink.  Lord Śiva took notice of devotion of the king, decided to raise a real life phantasm to save the king.

    A lost cowherd woman accidentally came in the presence of Mahākāla, saw the king worship Śiva and later found her way back to her camp. Her five-year-old son stayed back, picked up a pebble, installed it as Śiva Liṅga and worshipped it. As his imagination ran rampant, things appeared in his imagination before the pebble Liṅga in the form of sweets, fruits, incense.... He danced before the Liṅga, worshipping Him with great reverence and dedication. His mother called out for him to come and eat meals. Having not heard any response, the mother went looking for him and found him worshipping the Liṅga. She pulled him away from worship, beat and dragged her reluctant son back to her camp. He cried and cried uttering the name of Śiva. Soon, he lost his consciousness for some time and woke up to find a beautiful temple of Mahākāla with all accouterments and regalia fit for a rich temple. Everywhere the doors, the floors, the walls, the columns and the rest of the temple were replete with diamonds, gold.... The Liṅga was studded with diamonds, jewels....  He stood up, prayed to munificent Śiva and enjoyed spiritual bliss.  He saw his mother sleeping in corner looking like a celestial, all decked in jewels. He woke his mother up. She on seeing the richness of the place hugged her son, immersed herself in bliss and sent the word to the king, who came with his retinue and dove into a ocean of bliss. A wave of boldness, confidence and reverence to Śiva came upon him. The news spread to the kings hellbent to wreak a devastation to the city in the morning.

    The kings had a conference and pondered on the pros and cons of attacking the city. They concluded that Candrasena was a great devotee of Śiva, whom they dared not offend. They decided to make peace with the king and thus placate Śiva. They abandoned their weapons, shed their jealousy and greed, regained the purity of mind, and accepted the invitation of Candrasena to enter the city in peace and reverence to Śiva. They visited with the cowherd and her son, who raised a beautiful temple just by his imagination. The erstwhile jealous kings piled praise and gifts upon the cowherd boy and thanked him for saving them from ruin. They made him the chief of all cowherds in their kingdoms.

    Out of thin air, appeared the effulgent Lord of monkeys, Hanumat, who bewildered the kings by the suddeness of his appearance. They paid homage to Hanumat, who embraced the boy and addressed the assembled kings. O kings, best wishes to you all. This shepherd boy witnessed worship of Śiva and himself performed worship without the aid of Mantras and attained bliss with guarantee of salvation. Nanda a future Cowherd king will be born eight generations from now and he will be the father of Kṛṣṇa. From now on, the boy will be known all over the world as Śrīkara.  The son of Ańjanā (அஞ்ஜனா) looked at all the kings showering grace and initiated the boy according to the rites of Śiva. No sooner, Hanumat vanished into thin air.  Copyright: Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

    Ańjanā, the daughter of Kuńjara and wife of Kesarin was sitting on the summit of a mountain. The wind god passed by, displaced her garment slightly, noticed her beauty, anthropomorphized into a man, asked her to fulfill his desire, consented not to violate her chastity, made her conceive without union and thus sired a son, Hanūmat (= Large jaw as in a simian). The erstwhile hostile kings became sattvic and went home in peace. Śrīkara and Candrasena worshipped Śiva in the form of Mahākāla and eventually attained the world of Śiva.


    The Greatness of  Jyotirliṅga  Oṁkāreśvara, the fourth Jyotirliṅga (4)

    Liṅga of Śiva named parameśa manifested from Oṁkāra. Nārada worshipped Gokaṛna Liṅga. Vindhya mountain separates the North from the South and is the source of Narmadā river.  Vindhya Mountain took on the form of man, worshipped and addressed Nārada, "Everything is in me and I am not deficient in anything." Thus saying, he took his seat before Nārada, who on knowing his arrogance, told Vindhya, "If you are the repository of everything, how is it that Mount Meru is taller, loftier and divine (unlike you)? Vindya was upset and decided to pray to Lord Śiva and perform penance. He went to Oṁkāra, made an earthen idol of Śiva, did meditation, penance and propitiation of Śiva continuously for six months. 

    Śiva appeared before Vindya in His real form not seen even by the Yogis and offered to fulfill his wish. Vindhya without any hesitations, said, "O Lord of gods, please confer on me the intellect necessary to obtain any object. You are well-known to confer boons on your devotees." Śiva knowing that Vindhya may use the boon to hurt others decided to give an auspicious boon, which would not harm others. Śiva told Vindhya," I am pleased to confer on you the boon of your desires."

    The assembled gods and sages begged Śiva to stay there forever and grace the place. Śiva decided to stay there to make all the three worlds happy. The Jyotirliṅga image of Oṁkāra is towfold: the earthen idol of Parameśvara and Oṁkāra (Sadaśiva in Oṁkāra).  These images confer fruits of their desires and salvation.  The sages and sages attained many boons, having worshipped Śiva. The gods went back to their abodes. Vindhya realized his desires and gave up his distress and despair. Śiva's devotees attain all their desires and will not be born again in this world again, thus attaining to Śiva.

    The Greatness of the fifth Jyotirliṅga Kedareśvara (5)

    Nara and Nārāyaṇa, the incarnations of Viṣṇu,  were doing penance in the hermitage of Badrikāśrama in the Bhārata Khāṇḍa. Since Śiva is subservient to His devotees, He came there every day to infuse the Liṅga with His presence. The worship of the spiritual sons of Śiva went on for ages and one day Śiva said to them to ask for any boons from Him. Nara and Nārāyaṇa, being munificent and benignant to the world, asked Śiva to stay there in Kedāra on the Himavat in the form of Jyotirliṅga Kedāreśvara in Badrikāśrama. By His benign appearance and worship, he confers fulfillment of desires. Devotees worshipping Jyotirliṅga Kedāreśvara earnestly will not suffer any miseries even in dreams. Once the Paṇḍavas saw Śiva; the latter morphed into a bull, ran and buried His head in the earth showing only his tail and rump to the Paṇḍavas, who pursued Śiva to Kedāra to ask for forgiveness for killing their cousins in the war.  Śiva appeared before them, absolved them of all their sins and asked the Paṇḍavas to worship Him in that form. Śiva remained in that form in the name of Bhaktavatsala in the city of Nayapāla. Any one who worships Śiva in Kedāra, assumes the form of Śiva.  He expunges all his sins and attains Jīvan Mukti (liberation while living --Corporeal liberation.   On seeing Nara, Nārāyaṇa and Kedāreśvara, one can attain liberation without any doubt. Anyone who dies on his way to see Kedāreśvara will attain Mukti.

    Sūta says all people should worship Nara, Nārāyaṇśvara and Kedāreśvara.   Copyright: Veeraswamy Krishnaraj


    The greatness of Jyotirliṅga  Bhīmeśvara (The Lord of Bhīma), the sixth one. (6)

    Śiva, the repository of happiness and benignity for the welfare of people, took incarnation as Kāmarūpa, the sacred Mahāpīṭha. Bhīma was a strong Rākṣasa who harassed all beings and disrupted the sacred rites and rituals. He born of Karakaṭi and Kumbhakarṇa lived with his mother in Sahya mountain (in the northern part of Western Ghats, the source of Kāverī, Kṛṣṇā, Nirvindhyā rivers). Kumbhakarṇa died in the hands of Rāma.  Bhīma once asked his mother where his father was and why she is living alone. Karakaṭi told her son that he was the product of rape by Kumbhakarṇa, who along with his brother Ravanā the abductor of mother Sīta was killed by Rāma. Bhīma became very angry at Viṣṇu/Rāma for killing his father and leaving his mother and him alone on the mountain.  Bhīma to reap vengeance on Viṣṇu performed penance for a thousand years with Brahmā as his goal. With his eyes looking at the sun, standing one foot, and raising one hand high up in the air, he did the penance. His head sprang a fiery effulgent column of fire scorching the gods, who promptly went to supplicate Brahmā. The gods begged Brahmā to grant Bhīma his boon so that he would break his penance and stop his fiery ruinous emanation. Brahmā appeared before Bhīma and said to him, "I am pleased with you; what boon do you want me to grant you."  Bhīma asked Brahmā to confer on him the greatest strength".

    Brahmā, having conferred the boon, went back to his abode. Bhīma went back to his mother, flexed his muscles and showed her his immense strength. He promised her that he would draw the gods and Indra to a fight and that would draw Viṣṇu and that he would conquer them all. He went to fight all of them; all including Viṣṇu came to a defeat. He conquered the earth and the devotee of Śiva, Sudakṣiṇa, the mighty king of Kāmarūpa, whom he threw in the jail, where the king made a Liṅga out of earth and worshipped Śiva. He and his wife chanted five-syllable Mantra, Om Namasivāya before the earthen idol. Bhīma in his arrogance and wanton exercise of power, disrupted the rites and rituals, interrupted the devotional chanting of the Śiva Mantra and commanded the royal couple to make the offerings and prayer to him. The gods, the sages and the Brahmanas were harassed. All gods, sages, Indra, Viṣṇu... rushed to seek refuge with Śiva on the banks of Mahākośī. They set up a camp and made an earthen Liṅga idol for worship.

    Śiva told them that He was pleased with them and they can ask for a boon. All of them chorused," O our Lord, You know the minds of all beings. There is nothing that you don't know. Please bestow mercy on us. Bhīma with immense strength exercises his boon given by Brahmā to harass the gods. Śiva, in a show mercy and compassion, assured the gods, "I would kill him. King Kāmarūpa is my excellent devotee. I cannot bear to see him suffer in the hands of the Rākṣasa Bhīma. I will make it possible for Kāmarūpa to continue his devotion to Me."  The gods, pleased by Śiva's assurances, went to king Kāmarūpa and told him of the good news.

    Kāmarūpa continued doing meditation on Śiva. Someone went to Bhīma and told him that the jailed king was performing black magic against him. Without hesitation or forethought, the Rākṣasa grabbed  a sword and rushed towards the king Kāmarūpa. Bhīma saw the earthen idol of Linga and furiously asked the king to tell the truth. The king replied, O Rākṣasa, I am meditating on Śiva. He protects all His devotees unfailingly without any doubt. Bhīma spoke very disparagingly about Śiva being a servant of Brahmā.  He promised that he would destroy Lord Śiva once he saw Him. The king continued to speak of his devotion to Śiva, while Bhīma called Śiva a beggar, a drunk and a dope, and added that a Yogi cannot offer protection to his devotee (like the king). Thus insulted by the Rākṣasa, the king continued to offer worship to the earthen Liṅga. The Rākṣasa Bhīma laughed in the midst of other Rākṣasas and struck the Liṅga with his sword. No sooner he smote the idol, Śiva rose from the idol and said, "I am Bhīmeśvara, revealing myself before all of you to protect my devotee at all times." Thus saying, Śiva split the sword into two pieces with his Pināka (bow). Rākṣasa threw a spear, which was broken into a hundred pieces by Śiva, who also broke a lance into one hundred thousand pieces with his arrow. Rākṣasa threw a huge iron club which was broken to zillion pieces, each one the size of sesame seed with His Trident.

    A fight ensued between the Ganas of Śiva and the attendants of the Rākṣasa. The gods and sages expressed disappointment at asking Śiva for help. Nārada came along and asked Śiva to do away with the Rākṣasa soon and put an  end to the conflict. Śiva uttered the word Huṁ and reduced the Rākṣasa to ashes. The heap of ash grew as other Rākṣasas were reduced to rubble. The forest caught the fire, which soon died down; later the ash of Rākṣasas spread on the forest floor, letting herbs grow in the forest. The people begged Śiva to stay in Ayodhyā for their welfare and named Him Bhīmaśaṅkara for worship. The Liṅga would prevent devastation to the people. Śiva agreed to stay there for worship.

    The greatness of Viśveśvara, The Lord of the universe, the 7th one. (7)

    Śiva split into Male and Female, Śiva and Śakti or Cit and Ānanda. Cit gave rise to Puruṣa and Ānanda to Prakṛti. Puruṣa and Prakṛti entertained doubt as to their ability to create progeny.  A voice came from Nirguna Brahman (Śiva without attributes) asking them to perform penance for starting the creation. Puruṣa and Prakṛti complained to Śiva as to where they can sit and do the penance. Śiva created a town with all amenities. Vishnu started meditating with a desire for creation and as a result, water started flowing in streams.  A jewel fell from his ear and that area became the holy place, Maṇikarṇikā measuring five Krośas (pańcakrośī; Krośa = क्रो= 2 miles), which started floating and later supported on the Trident by Nirguṇa Śiva. iva supported the center with His trident.) With His consort Prakṛti, Viṣṇu slept there, sporting a navel-lotus, wherein Brahma was born. By the order of Śiva, fourteen worlds were created in the cosmic egg. The dimension of the Egg was 500 million (50 crores) Yojanas ( = योजन = 4-9 miles) across. Siva questioned how these beings bound by actions (and Karma) would be released so they could attain Me. Śiva created Kāśī, saying that it was the destroyer of action and Karma, the bestower of auspiciousness, bestower of knowledge and illuminator of salvation.  The city (Kāśīkā) was His favorite. The Liṅga image Avimukta (A form of Śiva Liṅga) was installed by Śiva himself in the city. Thus saying, Śiva released the city Kāśīkā from His Trident to the mortal world. When the world comes to destruction, the city once again is held by the Trident of Śiva. When the world is recreated, Śiva releases the city from His Trident and calls it Kāśī because it drags out or destroys our actions (and Karma).  A city that destroys actions (karma) does not come to destruction during Pralaya, because Śiva Himself holds the city up by His trident. The Liṅga called Avimukteśvara stays in Kāśī always at all times irrespective of any cosmic events, giving salvation to all people including the sinners. Kāśī is the only place that offers Sāyujya (सायुज्य) the best kind of salvation. There are four kinds of salvation: 1) सलोक्य Sālokya = residence in the same heaven with the deity; 2) सामीप्य = Proximity or nearness to the deity;  3) सारूपय = likeness or similarity to the deity; 4) सायुज्य = complete absorption into the divine essence. The last (सायुज्य) is the state of final extinction wherein the individual is completely merged in the universal Soul.  Footnote: Page 1341 Siva Purana, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.

    Even gods desire death in Kāśī. Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Siddhas, Yogis... praise the city. The Lord of Kailāsa, Sattvic inside and Tamasic outside, is known as Kālāgni, the Supreme Being, Nirguṇa and Saguṇa Brahman. Rudra Sūta and Avimukta praised Śiva and begged Him to stay in Kāśī.

    The greatness of the Jyotirliṅga Kāśi-Viśvesvara (The Lord of the Universe in Kasi)  Continued                                                 

    Goddess Pārvatī requested Śiva to explain to Her the greatness of The two Avimuktas --Kāsī and Viśveśvara. Śiva in His munificence uttered the following to Pārvatī.

    Vārāṇasī, my mysterious shrine offers salvation to the people. The Siddhas living here and worshipping various Liṅgas always want to come to My world. Pāśupata Yogis have brought their sense organs under control, thus acquiring not only Bhoga but also Moksa. My devotee and Jńāna Yogi deserve  liberation based on the observance of the Dos and the Don'ts  (Niyama and Yama).  I firmly assert that they must attain salvation irrespective of the place of their death. People of all ages, all castes and all stages of life (Asramas) attain liberation upon their death in Vārāṇasī.  Pure and impure ones, virgins and married women, widow and the barren, postpartum women, and women with menstrual disorders attain liberation when they die here. Even the bugs, birds, fauna and flora do not gain liberation elsewhere but they do here. There are no preconditions such as perfect spiritual knowledge, devotion, holy rites or charitable gifts to earn salvation in this city. There is no dependence on culture, meditation, chanting of names and mantras or adoration to attain liberation. My beloved Pārvatī, This divine city of mine is such that Brahmā and others do not know its mystery and greatness. For that reason, the city is Avimukta, greater than Naimiṣa and the rest of the holy places that offer salvation to the deceased. Truth is the essence of Dharma; equanimity is essence of salvation.  Avimukta is the esoteric doctrine of all shrines and holy places. Bhogis, Yogis, and all people pursuing different life styles attain liberation, when they shuffle their mortal coil in Avimukta. Sinners coming as ghosts and staying in Kāsī are much better off than the ones performing a thousand sacrifices and not going to Kāsī. Hence the people try hard to come to Kāsī.  The sages meditate on Liṅga form of Śiva. My dear Pārvatī, I dispense different fruits on the ones who perform penance. Everyone who dies here attains complete identity with Me. Brahmā, Viṣṇu, the sun, the gods, the sages and other noble souls worship Me.  People who are out and out Bhogis and eschewed virtue are not reborn when they die in Kāśī.  Sinless men attain salvation immediately. Karma is of three kinds: Sańcita, Krīyamāṇa and Prārabdha.   Copyright: Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

    Sańcita karma, Tolvinai = सञ्चित (தொல்வினை--ancient karma; Storehouse seed karma, the silos)

    Kriyamāṇa  Karma =  क्रियमाण are the actions done in this birth waiting for fruits in the next birth.

     Prārabdha Karma, = प्रारब्ध Nukarvinai, =  (நுகர்வினை--eating karma at present) Actively sprouting seed karma)

    Prārabdha has no cure and has to be suffered. There is a cure for Sańcita and Krīyamāṇa  Karma by worship of Śiva. All three actions can be expunged in Kāśī. Ceremonial bath in Gańga, the current and the accumulated (Krīyamāṇa  and Sańcita) karma are destroyed. Prārabdha has to be experienced. After that, it is destroyed. if a person goes to Kāśī and later commits sins, he will be taken back to Kāśī and his sins are reduced to ashes. If a person dies in Kāśī, he is free from rebirth. If a man dies in Prayāga Bhoga and Mokṣa (मोक्ष) are attained. That is the greatness of Kāśī  and Viśveśvara. Prayāga gives Bhoga and Mokṣa, while Kāsī gives only Mokṣa.

    The Greatness of Gautama, the eighth Jyotirliṅga: Tryambhaka (8)

    Sage Gautama and his wife Ahalyā were virtuous couple.  Gautama performed penance for ten thousand years on the Brahmagiri mountain near Godavari river in the present. A drought struck that area. No sprout to see, to pluck or to eat: it was that bad. Everybody moved out of there including the sages, the birds, the bees, the beasts.... The sages and the Brahmanas began meditating and observing Prāāyāma (breath control). Gutagama, the best among the sages decided to invoke the god of rain Varuna by observing Varuna Vrata for six months. Varuna appeared before Gautama and told him to ask for any boon. Gautama asked for rain. Varuna told him that the drought was the wish of the gods and that he could not countermand their orders.  Gautama insisted on obtaining water to quench the thirsts of men, birds and beasts. "Who else can give water if not for the Lord of waters", so said Gautama. Varuna struck on an idea without breaking the divine injunction. He asked Gautama to dig a ditch at the spot he was standing. This reminds me of Moses (Numbers 20.8-11) smiting the rock twice on the order of god to get water.


    And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,


    Take the rod, and gather you the assembly together, you and Aaron your brother, and speak you to the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and you shall bring forth to them water out of the rock: so you shall give the congregation and their beasts drink.


    And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him.


     And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said to them, Hear now, you rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?


    And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.

    The only difference between god of waters Varuna and the god of Moses is it is more likely to get water from the earth than from the rock. I understand it is the faith you place in the word of god. Getting water from the rock demands complete trust in the word of God and speaks of God's ability to do the impossible, according to Bible.  

    Varuna said, "Let there be perennial supply of water from this ditch."  The sages and the Brahmanas performed penance, rituals and rites, and Śrāddha to the ancestors. God of water Varuna, the recipient of eulogy from all, vanished from there.  The sages and the Brahmanas resumed their ceremonial rites and rituals. The earth blossomed with flowers, the plants appeared after plowing and seeding, the birds were chirping, the barren fruit trees started yielding, the whole place was a verdant oasis. The mountain came alive with abundance of life. Everywhere there were green fields of grains....

    Not everything was dandy in the land of Sage Gautama.  Gautama's disciples went to the watery ditch to obtain water. The wives of other sages prevented them to draw water and advised them to take their turn. The disciples returned back home and took Ahalyā, wife of Gautama to fetch water. Ahalyā pacified the women, and took the water back to the hermitage so that Gautama could perform the rites, wherein water was essential.  The other wives waiting, ranting and raving decided to take vengeance and made a beeline dart to their respective sage-husbands, who in a show of Rishi power and haughtiness invoked the god of obstruction and remover of obstacles, Gaṇeśvara. The god promptly appeared before the supplicating evil sages. (Can you imagine that sages can be evil? It is an oxymoron and yet it so.)  Vighneśvara gave them sage advice, "When you were all dying of thirst, Gautama rescued you from death by thirst. You should not do any harm to him at all." He added, "Wicked men claiming to be sages can never be saints. Saints never show perversion in their pursuits. My advice would help only Gautama and not you, the evil sages."   The evil sages paid no attention and insisted on getting their wish fulfilled. The god of obstruction and the Lord of beginnings saw no good in their intention and being subservient to them, granted their wish, knowing well that their destructive behavior would backfire on them. He vanished giving them their wish. (In modern days as in olden days, the criminal has more rights than the victim.)

    Gautama and his wife were completely out of the loop about the conspiracy of the evil sages.

    The conspiracy is taking shape and runs its course.

    A starving feeble cow staggered into green grain fields owned by Sage Gautama and started eating the plants. Gautama was making a casual visit to his fields and noticing the weak marauding cow, Gautama offered a few blades of grass. As soon as the grass touched the muzzle of the cow, it just simply fell and died instantly. Seeing the shock on the face of Gautama, the evil sages and their rishipatnis yelled out, "See, what Gautama did to the sacred cow."

    Gautama made a dash to his wife with a broken heart and wondered aloud, "The sin of killing a cow has befallen me. Why did it happen? What should I do? Where should we go?

    The brahmins and their wives gathered around them like snapping wolves around a fallen animal. The evil wives leveled threats against Ahalyā. They cast aspersions on Gautama, "Fie on you Gautama, the cow killer.  Take your face out of here. We will take a bath to wash off the sins for having seen the face of a cow killer. We will neither offer you gifts nor accept gifts from you. Get out soon with your disciples."

    As soon as they delivered vituperation, the stones were landing on Sage Gautama. Insults were piling high on Ahalyā. Gautama in the spirit of a man of peace told the evil sages that he would leave forthwith with his wife. They allotted him a modest hermitage with the stipulation that he should not perform any rites, as long as the curse in force.  Gautama sat in the hermitage for a couple of weeks moping and sulking. Then he gathered up courage; standing far away, meekly asked the evil sages individually and collectively what he should do. Thus, the noble soul was pining for a resolution. The evil sages told him, " Go around the earth three times and after that perform holy Vrata (penance) for a month. (The holy one is getting the runaround.) For the proper performance of Vrata, you should go around the Brahmagiri mountain one hundred and one times. You should bring fresh water from Gaṅgā river and perform ceremonial ablution. You should make ten million earthen Liṅga images of Śiva to propitiate Him. In the beginning of Vrata, you should go around this mountain eleven times. You should take a bath in Gaṅgā to become pure. You should perform ablution of Liṅga with a hundred pots of water." Sage Gautama followed the instructions by the letter. Ahalyā and his disciples were of great help in the observation of the conditions of the expiation rites.

    Once the tasks were complete, pleased Śiva appeared before Gautama with a troop of Gaṇas and uttered the following words, "O great Gautama, I am pleased with your devotion. Ask for a boon. The evil brahmins cooked up the evil plot against you."

    Gautama said, "If it is not for them, I would not have had the opportunity to see you. I wish you get Gaṅga here before me so that all my sins are expunged. Śiva said, "You have been sinless all the time." At the wish of Gautama, Gaṅga came there, cleansed Gautama, and thus earned the name Gautami. Gautama begged Śiva  and Parvatī to stay there for worship by devotees. The Liṅga, worshipped by Gautama, became Tryambakam (= त्र्यम्बकम् = three-eyed) Gaṅga returned to Her place. This is the origin of Jyotirliṅga Tryambaka, which offers all desires and confers liberation.

    The glory and greatness of the Jyotirliṅga Tryambakeśvara (The Lord with Three Eyes) (8; continued)   

    Gaṅgā descended from Gaṅgādvāra in Brahmagiri hill (, which is in the south and not in the North as Haridvāra which is the famous town of pilgrimage). Gautama and his disciples took their bath in Gaṅgā.  (Gaṅgādvāra in Brahmagiri hill is a mythological entity.) When the evil sages came there to take bath, Gaṅgā vanished at their sight and scent. Gautama was disappointed and wanted to help the very evil sages who did harm to him. He pleaded with Gaṅgā to appear again. A booming voice said, "O Gautama, these evil sages should do circumambulation of Brahmagiri hill under your guidance." Hearing these words the penitent sages agreed. After doing the circumambulation, a ditch by name Kuśāvarta appeared below the Gaṅgādvāra, from where Gaṅgā flowed. Taking bath in Gaṅgā after eschewing sins help liberate the soul. The erstwhile ungrateful and evil sages expressed regret, thanked Gautama and took their bath in the river.

    The glory and greatness of Jyotirliṅga Vaidyanātheśvara  (9)

    The wicked Rāvaṇa, the scion of the family of Pulastiya worshipped Śiva on Kailāsa for a very long time. He was rebuffed by Śiva many times. Then during his worship, he started cutting off one head at a time until only one head alone was on his shoulders. Śiva, pleased by his act, appeared before him. Śiva put all his severed heads back in their places. Rāvaṇa asked for and obtained great strength and sought refuge in Him. He obtained permission to take Liṅga to Laṅka . Śiva told him that Liṅga would become stationary and fixed in the place he first put it down. With that warning, Rāvana, went to Laṅka. On his way he felt the urge to pass urine and so gave the Liṅga to a shepherd who was standing there by happenstance. Since Rāvana did not return for hours, the shepherd put the Linga down. Soon the gods came visiting to pay homage and offer worship to Liṅga. The gods worried that Śiva's boon to the wicked Rāvana is bad news and thus, a devastation to the gods. They were afraid Rāvana would conquer and subjugate them. Nārada intervened and assured the gods that he would take care of the problem on hand. He went to vana and told him to check the validity of the boon by lifting Kailāsa mountain, because Śiva might have given the worthless boon in a state of mental aberration.  Rāvana, deluded by the words of Nārada, lifted the mountain and turned upside down everything on the mountain. Śiva became very angry and laid a curse on him, saying that someone would come in the future to destroy the arrogance of his mighty arms and unparalleled strength. Unknowing of Śiva's curse, Rāvana went back to his abode in a glow of happiness. He conquered all his enemies on the boon of Śiva and ruled his kingdom. The Liṅga left on the ground by the shepherd became the Vaidyanātha.   Copyright: Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

    Devastation caused by Rākṣasas of Dārukāvana. The origin of Jyotirliṅga Nāgeśa. (10)

    This episode explains the origin of Nāgeśa. Ogre Dārukā obtained a boon from Pārvatī. Her husband Dāruka was also very powerful. He tormented the good and destroyed their sacrifices. His forest was on the west coast. The terrified people went to Aurva the grandson of Bhṛgu Muni.  Sage Aurva said, 'the Rākṣasas would die if they torture any living being on the earth. For every person killed, the Rākṣasas will die.' Realizing the vulnerability of Rākṣasas, the gods with Indra came down to fight the demons. The demons assembled and worried that they were dying while fighting; the enemies were living.  Dārukā remembered the boon she received from Pārvatī. That boon said of the survival if the demons left the place and moved to an island in the ocean. The whole colony of demons moved like the flying mountains.  In ancient days the mountains had wings and demanded gifts from towns and villages (Protection Racket), threatening to destroy them if they did not come forth with gifts. Indra clipped their wings and permanently grounded them.  For fear of losing life, the demons did not set foot on earth. They harassed the sea-faring people, abducted them, hijacked their vessels, killed some of them. The terror went unpunished. They hijacked one ship and imprisoned the inmates. One of the prisoners was a Śiva devotee by name Supriya, who taught other inmates to make the Liṅgas and offer worship to them. The inmates unfamiliar with the rites, meditated on Śiva with Śiva mantra, Om Namasivāya. on seeing a beautiful Liṅga, the servants informed Dāruka, who promptly came to him and asked to reveal the words he was using in the recitation. Dāruka said he did not know the words. The Demon in Chief got very angry and decided to return with armed demons. In the meantime Supriya ( a Vaiśya) began chanting the name of Śiva and sought His help. Śiva appeared from out of a crevice and landed before Supriya, who went about killing the Rākṣasas. Seeing the decimation of the Rākṣasas, Dārukā went to Pārvatī  seeking protection of her race from the attendants of Śiva. Pārvatī guaranteed protection of Rākṣasas and went to Śiva and quarreled with Him for his protection of the people who were against the Rākṣasas.   Pārvatī  told that Rākṣasī Dārukā was Her own Śakti and that She cannot work against Herself and Dārukā would rule her kingdom in the forest. Śiva acceded to her request that the Rākṣasas would be back on the forest and Śiva would protect His devotees. Śiva told Pārvatī, that in the future, a king (Vīrsena) would come along and rule the people. Thus, Śiva and Śivā remained there as Nāgeśvara and Nāgeśvarī, both of whom became the favorites of the devotees.

    There was a king in the land of Niṣadha by name Vīrasena, son of Mahāsena. He worshipped Śiva for twelve years and Śiva appeared before him, asked him to go on a sea voyage to the west of the country to an island, worship Nāgeśvara, acquire missile Pāśupata  and destroy the Rākṣasī and others. Vīrasena followed the instructions of Śiva. Mlecchas of the forest became pious. This is how the worship of  Nāgeśvara and Nāgeśvarī came about.

    The Origin and greatness of Rāmeśvara, The Lord of Rāma) (11)  place Rameśvaram.

    Viṣṇu the favorite of Sattvic people took an incarnation as Rāma, whose wife Sītā was abducted by Rāvana and taken to Laṅkā. While Rāma was searching for her, he came to Kiṣkindhā the kingdom of monkeys, established alliance with Sugrīva and killed Bāli or Vāli as a favor to Sugrīva. (Kiṣkindhā is the present Raichur-Bellary area of Mysore and surrounding regions.) Rāma sent Hanumat, the chief of monkeys to find Sītā, who was given a crest jewel known to Sītā so as to tell her that Hanumat was the emissary of Rāma to find her. Hanumat came back to Rāma and informed him of her location. Rāma along with Hanumān, Lakṣmaṇa, Sugrīva and the great army of 18 thousand billion monkeys reached the southern shores of the salt ocean. Rāma sat down and performed worship of Śiva with the water brought by a monkey. Rāma addressed Śiva and wondered how he was going to cross the deep ocean with the army of fickle monkeys, who may not measure up to fighting Rāvaṇa who received boons from Śiva Himself  that he would remain the strongest king in the world. Śiva, pleased with the entreaties and eulogies, appeared with His attendants before Rāma. Śiva assured Rāma that victory was His. Rāma pleaded with Śiva to stay there so His devotees can worship Him. That is how Śiva-Liṇga called Rāmeśvara came to be installed. It destroys the sins and gives Bhoga and Mokṣa to His devotees.                       

    The greatness of Jyotiliṅga Ghuśmeśa (12)

    A Brahmana Sudharmā of Bhāradvāja lineage of Śiva cult lived near Devagiri with is excellent but barren wife Sudehā and was the best among the Knowers of Brahman. Sudharmā an expert in Vedas and Śāstras maintained sacrificial fires. Sudharmā did not worry about not having a child, but his wife was very much distressed. She went visiting with the neighbor's wife, who had a son of her own. The neighbor's wife made her miserable saying that her property for lack of a son would be taken away by the king. This episode became a conversation piece between the couple almost every day. One day Sudharma during his prayer session told his wife the right-side flower between the two, which would yield her a son. She picked the wrong flower and thus both were dejected. Sudehā begged her husband to take his younger sister as the second wife and have a son by her, because she was convinced she would not bear a son. She promised she would not become jealous of her sister. After strenuous persuasion, he took a second wife, Ghuśma, who made 101 earthen idols and threw them in the local lake as offerings to the Lord. This ceremonial immersion of idols in the lake was the wish-yielding worship of Śiva. After immersion of 100,000 images, she managed to beget a son. The first wife, erstwhile cool and collected, became jealous of her sister. In due course of time, the son came of age and married a suitable bride. The sister's son and the bride considered Sudehā as the mother and mother- in-law. But Sudehā did not reciprocate their kindness and had in heart to somehow inflict injury to the son of her sister.  She cut off the limbs of the son of her sister, while he was sleeping in the bed and cast them in the nearby lake. Ghuśma coming to know of this in the morning, being a devotee of Śiva, telling herself that Śiva would take care of everything, continued her Siva worship on the banks of the lake and threw the Liṅga image of Śiva into the lake. Suddenly, Ghuśma found her son standing before her.  She was neither elated nor depressed at his appearance, because she was even-minded always. Śiva appeared before her and promised to kill her evil sister with his trident. Ghuśma pleaded with Śiva not to do it because His very sight would expunge the sins of her sister, Sudhehā.  Ghuśma  begged Śiva to stay there for the benefit of His devotees, to which He agreed. Śiva conferred the boon of a lineage of sons with wealth and auspiciousness. The lake is now known as Śivālaya in Aurangabad near Devagiri; Śivaliṅga is known as Ghuśmeśa. The evil sister on seeing the son of her sister, was ashamed, changed her ways, performed expiatory rites and asked for forgiveness.

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     Mular elaborates on the Dance of Siva in Tantra (fourth Chapter) as follows:

    884: I worship thee I praise thee His wisdom is my refuge. He is always in my thought I seek relief at the Holy Feet of the Lord.  I explain Siva yoga. I recite the One Letter (AUM) which is Lord Himself.

        885: By one Letter (A),  he became the world  by two Letters (A,U), he became two--Siva and Sakti by three Letters (A,U,M), He became the effulgent Jyoti (Jyoti = light = Jnana = wisdom). By Letter M, Maya made its appearance. Comment: go to files: 1) Om Namasivaya.  2) Yogi rides the Sound Waves of OM

    886: Chitrambalam is where Devas live Chidambaram is where Devas live Tiru Ambalam is where Devas live The Great Hall of the South (in the Temple at Chidambaram) is where Devas live.

        Comment: The Sabah or the Great hall in the Temple at Chidambaram is where Lord Nataraja dances Tandava, which is witnessed by Devas, Sadakas, Siddhars, Rishis, and devotees. It is the Hall of Consciousness (Chit Sabah). Tirumular calls AUM as one-letter Mantra, representing Tandava, the Divine Dance of Siva. Tandava is derived from Tandu, a dancer and servant of Siva. Any act performed by Siva is a dance. He is Mahanata. Maha + Nata = Great + Dancer. Nataraja = Dance/Dancer + King = King of Dance or Dancers. The dances are named according to his acts (creation, maintenance, destruction, veiling and Grace), places (Chidambaram), and competition (Urdhva), 25 Lilas (acts of play). The most celebrated dance is the ‘Tandava’ in Chidambaram. Chidambaram = Chit + Ambaram = Mind or Will + Sky or Space.) If you are a Seer or Rishi full of Brahma and Siva Jnana and Devotee of Siva Nataraja, you can witness the Ananda Tandavam in your inner vision of divine eyes (Divya Caksus), so say the learned ones. End of comment.

    Chidambaram = Cit + Ambaram = Consciousness + Ether, sky, or atmosphere = Ether Consciousness: this is the Sanskrit version.

    Chidambaram = Cit + Ambalam = Consciousness + Hall = Hall of Consciousness: this is the Tamil version.

         Chidambaram is a temple town of great antiquity going back to early Christian era. Sankara visited the town and temple and Periyapuranam was composed in the thousand-pillared hall. Four Saiva Saints (Appar, Sundarar, Sambandar and Manikkavacakar)  worshipped at the temple. Today Sambandar stands (as a stucco statue) at the South Gate, Appar at the West Gate, Sundarar at the North Gate and Mannikkavacakar at the East Gate. The gates are the entry points in the towers or gopurams. Together with domed Chit Sabha, the five structures represent the five faces of Siva.  

        887:  In the Golden Hall it is a wonder dance the dance is Bliss itself it is sacred dance of Anavarta (eternal) Tandavam  that dance is Pralaya (the Great deluge) dance. It is samhara (dissolution) dance.

    Comment: Siva dances Arpuda, Ananada, Anavarta, Pralaya and Samhara Dances in the Golden Hall. End of comment.

    888: Tandavam is that one-letter  word (AUM) Tandavam is Anugraha act (of the Lord) Tandava Dance stands alone as the Highest of Dance in the Golden Hall. Anugraha = grace.

    889: He is the Supreme Light he stands as all Tattvas he stands as Akāram and Ukāram he is the Supreme Light of Tattva Dance he is himself the earthly support of all. Akāram and Ukāram: Letter A and letter U.

    890: He is the highest Paramaparan in every corner of the worlds. In the realm of Fire he is Na-Ma-Si-Va-Ya in the realm of sun, he is Va-Si-Ya. In the sphere of Yoga, he is Va-Si.

    Comment: Spheres of Muladhara, Fire, Sun and Moon are the progressively higher centers of Kundalini yoga. Siva is the resident deity in all the centers. In the plane of Muladhara (Kundalini, fist plane), he stands as Na-Ma-Si-Va-Ya--Na for earth and Brahma, Ma for water and Vishnu, Si for fire and Rudra, Va for Vayu and Rudra, Ya for Akasa and Sadasiva. NaMaSiVaYa has contextual meanings:  

    Tirumular says that anagram Mantra, Na-Ma-Va-Si-Ya stands in the sphere of Fire Va-Si-Ya stands in that of Sun and Va-Si stands in the sphere of  Moon, which is the source of nectar of eternity, which the Yogi imbibes. . Chanting Namasivaya drives away the fiery snake of Pasa--bondage. Sivaya Nama is the Sukshma (subtle) Mantra, chanting which eight thousand times reveals the subtle path of Sushumna, destroys karma, and gives the bliss of Siva.  For a detailed presentation of AUM (OM) go to POTPOURRI End of comment.

    891: Siva and Sakti are A and U (of AUM). They are supreme and beyond thought. They contain in them the sacred Dance of Siva, transcending human understanding. They are Siva Gati and pure joy. Siva Gati: Refuge at the feet of Siva.

    892: Pure Bliss is three (syllables, Si,Va, Ya). The two (Si, Ya) are unitary one in Jnana. The Pure Bliss, Si,Va, Ya, not many know. Those who who know this Bliss will discover (vision) the Ananda Tandava (Dance of Bliss).

    893:  Masters of many arts and letters recite two letters (A and U). Omkara subsides in five letters (Si, Va, ya, Na, Ma.) The Samkhara Dance (of dissolution) subside in them. This (SIVaYa) residing in (the Muladhara genital) Triangle ascends to other Adharas or Chakras.

    894: They (Si and Va) are Sadasiva they are imperishable Agamas. They offer Siva Gati (refuge of Siva) in a manner that the tree is the refuge of bees. They are the sacred Dance they are the sacred text of Agamas. They are the pristine purity of sacred Dance Hall.

    895: They (the letters) are Pati, Pasu, Pasam and Agamas of stainless purity. They are the Tirotayakam Bliss. (Bliss of obscuration, on of the attributes of Siva). The pure letters are Anavam, Mayai, and Kamiyam (Ego, Maya, and Desire). The pure letters are the site of Sacred Dance.  Tirotayakam = Tirodhana (Sanskrit).

    Comment: Maintenance includes obscuration or veiling in Sakala Avastha dissolution includes Grace in liberation of the soul.

    896: He stands as the head of his own Self he stands himself as his own mountain he stands as his own Self he stands as the Lord of himself.

    897: Standing as Talaivan (= தலைவன் = Leader, Headman, Lord, God) is the Supreme Lord of Dance. Standing as Talaivan is Sar-Pāttiram (Worthy recipient for gifts, virtuous person). Standing as Talaivan is the Lord blossoming of Jnana flower. Standing as Talaivan is the Lord whose feet is beyond compare.

    898: The sacred feet of incomparable Lord are the eight letters. The feet of incomparable Lord are (letters) two and five. The feet of incomparable Lord are letters fifty-one. The feet of  incomparable Lord are seven thousand.

    899: The seven thousand (Mantras) become twenty (plus) thirty (fifty), later swells into seventy million. The seven thousand Mantras beyond thought and calculation subside in the life of seven and two (Mantras). Comment: According to Dr. B. Natarajan, seventy million is a less likely than seven terminal word endings of Mantras: Nama, Svata, Svaha, Vamshat, Vashat, Hum, and Phat.

    OM Sri Maha Ganapataye namah. (Namah=Salutation.)

    900: There are seven thousand Mantras those Mantras have no power. This Mantra is of Siva's holy frame and form. All Mantras take this color and nature.

    901: He is by himself in his Dance he stands as A and U. He hums to the Dance of Tattvas. His dance is incomparable in all the worlds.

    902: The Dance in two letters is pleasing and joyous. The Dance in two letters is Naman's Dance of dissolution. The Dance in two letters is scorn-free Mantra (Mantra leading to Bliss.) The dancing Siva Lingam transforms Copper-Jiva  into golden Siva. Naman = Death, Time personified.

    903: Chanting Sivaya Nama turns copper into gold Chit Para turns copper into gold. Chanting "Srim" and "Krim" turns copper into gold. It is the sacred Hall where copper turned into gold.   Comment: Chit Para = Intelligence Supreme. It is existent in Sivaya Nama Mantra. Srim and Krim are the Bija (Seed) Mantras of Siva and Sakti they are derivatives of Sanskrit letters. Seed Mantra naturally connotes that other Mantras grow from the seed Mantras.

    904: Draw Tiruvambala Chakra draw Tiruvambala Chakra with six lines twice, (six vertical and six horizontal) make twenty-five squares Meditate on them.

    905: Chant as follows: Sivaya nama, Sivaya Nama If you chant thus, there will be no more birth. With his Grace, you can witness his eternal Dance.  Copper (that is Jiva) turns into gold (that is Siva).

    906: Do not chant this Mantra loud Say it sotto voce (or in silence).  Golden Mantra in its radiant glow turns your body into gold and in due course of time you will see the Golden Feet of the Lord.

    907: You will witness the Golden Feet you will bring forth distinguished children. The Golden Feet will turn copper into gold (jiva into Siva). As you witness the Golden Feet, your body will turn into a holy one. You shall witness the Dance of the Golden Feet as your thoughts dwell on the Mantra.

    908: It is easy to transmigrate into any body. Goodly Madavār will grace you by her presence. As you chant the Mantra, the fiery snake of Pāsa will take leave of you. Chant the Mantra it is the secret of Sacred Dance. 

    Madavār = woman in this context it is Sakti.

    909: As you chant the Sukshma (subtle) Mantra eight thousand times, the Sukshma Path shall come into view. The subtle Karma will come to ruin you shall enjoy the Sukshma Siva Ananda. Ananda =bliss.

    910: Anandam, Anandam: thus you chant. Anandam, Anandam: A,E,U,I, O (A,E,I,O,U, the life-vowels) are the source of Anandam Anandam, Anandam, they become the five-letter Mantra. Anandam, Anandam, it resides in Hum, Hrim, Hum, Sum, and Aum (the five seed letters).

    911: The two-letter (A, U) Mantra is the body (of the Lord) Chant it Sotto Voce.  You undergo  transformation, as the two-letter Mantra pervades your body. The two-letter body of the Lord becomes five letters: U, A, I, E, O (that are Jiva or individual soul). The two-letter body of the Lord become five letters, I, O, U, A, E that are Siva Dance.

    912: The Dance is SiVaYaNaMa. The dance that is I, U, A, E, O, become Sivaya Nama the Dance, that is I, U, A, E, O, become SiVaYa Nama the Dance letters I, U, A, E, O become NaMaSiVaYa, the Supreme goal.

    913: He dances as one he dances as two (with Sakti) he dances in three, (Sun, Moon and Fire). He danced in seven worlds he danced on one foot he danced in nine (Saktis). He danced on a stage that is Space he danced the Dance of Ruby.

    914: The squares are formed as follows: draw twelve perpendicular lines and twelve horizontal lines across the former; thus there are one hundred and twenty one enclosed squares (மனை = Manai = அறை = cell). The Lord dances in this Chakra of squares (Checkerboard).

    915: He lives in his own Letter (Si); the four Letters are the Great Letters of his name.  The four sides of his Chakra are present in his five letters. In the one Letter he lives is Hara's Mantra.

    The priests of Chidambaram.

       The priests of Chidambaram are a hereditary bunch and some are wealthy by Indian standards. A true priest has to undergo Diksa to qualify for his function. His body, mind, and soul have to undergo purification. It starts with external purity internal purity involves involution and absorption of matter into Bindu, the progenitor of Tattvas or Kalas. The final beatitude comes from eradication of all malas (impurities) particularly Anava mala (impurity of the soul). When that happens he attains Nirvana state. The priest has to ascend from the Earth Tattva to Bindu Tattva to attain Nirvana and blossom out as Spirit. As he ascends, he sheds matter and acquires a higher Spirit or Consciousness. This ascent is well described and documented by Kundalini Yogis. Siva's Pure Consciousness is like a diamond and human consciousness is like a common stone. Once the priest becomes a Diksita, he is equal to Siva. This part is described in great detail in Lingapurana Part two, Chapters 19 to 24.

    <<<<Bindu.htm>>>> for details

      Bindu Sakti--Light Energy

        Nada and Bindu are two saktis (power). Naada (Nada) is sound and Bindu is dot, or point. Nada and Bindu are the progenitors of Tattvas, the building blocks of the universe. Nada is Sakti and Bindu is Siva (Siva-Sakti) Nada is action and Bindu is static Nada is white and Bindu is red. There are three saktis: Iccha, Jnana and Kriya. Iccha Sakti gave rise to Maya which in union with Bindu gave rise to three Mayas or major Tattvas: Suddha, Suddha-Asuddha and Asuddha Mayas. This is the Ma-Kaara mode of Bindu, where diversity finds expression. (AUM is A-Kaara, U-kaara, and Ma-Kaara.) Sakti's U-Kaara mode is revealed in creation (churning out objects and beings) here, the sakti is operative in Prakriti Tattva, the first of the Asuddha Tattvas/Mayas and the 13th down the line among the 36 Tattvas. The world is fully awake with A-Kaara state, meaning that all Tattvas down to the last Tattva #36, earth, are manifested. Nada is high-born in the sense it arose from Para. In their subtle state they do not have a physical dimension. As they evolve in a linear or cascade fashion, the product acquires a supranormal quality (Pure Consciousness), can acquire a human character as desire or ego, take on a physical dimension such as an eye, can glide on airwaves as sound, or can become earth itself. (When all these entities involute, they collapse (involute) into a point, Bindu. That is interesting for we are told that the universe came from a point or dot, the size of a grain of sand.) Nada and Bindu are all aspects of this universe, known and unknown. Even gods came from these entities. Nada in its original intent was an act like the union of two entities with a resultant product: Sodium combining with Chloride is Nada or Mithuna (union). Here "Nada is Mithuna of Siva and Sakti", according to Woodroffe. "Nada is action", where there is a form (Rupa) to the action (Kriya) of power (Sakti), Kriya-Sakti-Rupa. The product in this case is Bindu (Para-Bindu or Supreme Bindu). Para Bindu is a drop, a particle or a dot. It is Light, it is space, it is devoid of decay. Bindu (derived from Parabindu)  is one compact, superdense powerpack (Sakti), ready for blossoming out into the building blocks of the universe in an orderly fashion AND NOT WITH A BIG BANG. Maya Sakti brings about blossoming, actualization and unfolding of this universe from Bindu in this cosmic choreography. Para Bindu resides in Sahasrara or thousand petalled Lotus, the seat of Isvara. Empty void (sunya) is in Para Bindu and is Nirguna Siva. Jiva and Kundali are part of Para Bindu. In Sahasrara, the seat of Para Bindu, Sakti of Nirvana, and kalas of Nirvana and Ama and fire of Nibodhika reside.  Kalaa / kala generaly means "part."  36 Tattvas, categories, products or building blocks came out of Supreme Bindu.  Some were Pure products, some were Impure products and some were half Pure and half Impure: Suddha Tattvas, Asuddha Tattvas and Suddha-Asuddha Tattvas.

    Maya, born of Bindu, is identified as Asuddha Bindu hence, there is no confusion, when one passage reads that Bindu is the cause of Tattvas and another passage says that Maya is the cause of Tattvas. Mular says Maya arose out of Iccha Sakti and Maya in union with Bindu gave rise to Suddha, Asuddha, and Prakriti--Verse 399.

    Suddha Tattvas: 1-5 (5)

    1. Siva Tattva, 2. Sakti Tattva, 3. Sadasiva Tattva, 4. Isvara or IsaTattva, 5. Suddha Vidya Tattva(m).

    The five gods, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra-Siva, Sadasiva, and Mahesvara were born when Anava Sakti united with Bindu.

    SuddhaAsuddha Tattvas: 6-12 (7)

    6. Maya: material cause of asuddham (impurity)
    7. Kaala: Time: determines the duration of soul's experiences.
    8. Niyati: destiny which makes soul's experience correspond to the fruits of its own karma.
    9. Kalaa: variable aptitude of the soul to spiritual knowledge.
    10. Vidya: Soul's ability to discriminate.
    11. Raaga: Soul's desire to experience the world.
    12.Purusa: Sakalar class soul having all three malas, Maya, Anava, and Kanma .  mala = impurity

    Asuddha Tattvas: 13-36  (24)

    13. PrakrtiTattva, 14. Buddhi, 15. Ahamkara 16. Manas, 17. hearing, 18. tactile sense, 19. vision and color, 20. tasting, 21. smell 22. speech, 23. grasp, 24. ambulation, 25. evacuation, 26. procreation, 27. sound, 28. palpation, 29. form, 30. taste, 31. odor, 32. ether, 33. air, 34. fire, 35. water, 36. earth.    

     Dīksâ, Diksa or Diksai is initiation of a disciple into the mysteries of Saiva religion it consists of three stages: Samaya-diksai, Viceta-diksai, and nirvana-diksai (initiatory rites, second or middle step in initiation, which gives the disciple special privilege of making Puja to Siva, and Third and last step, which helps the disciple free himself from the bonds of existence and attain emancipation--Tamil Lexicon). As fire destroys cotton and reduces it into ashes, Diksai reduces all Malas into ashes and obtains liberation. Mantras destroy prarabdha karma and guarantees no rebirth, as fire roasts seeds and renders them unproductive.  The earth Guru, on behalf of Siva, transfers all the five elements and the soul on to the rope, equal to the height of the disciple. Now the parts (kalas, elements) are marked in color on the rope. Next day, the Guru, separates the symbolic constituent parts of the rope and casts them in the order in which Nivrtti takes place. Nivrtti Marga is involution backwards (upwards) to Siva Consciousness of the Jiva from its last Tattva, Earth the latter Tattva gets reabsorbed into the former one until all 35 Tattvas are reabsorbed into Siva Tattva. See TATTVAS-36 for details. Earth is reabsorbed into Water which is reabsorbed into Fire and so on through all 35 Tattvas, kalas or parts. This is known as Saanti-y-atiita. The fire of Yoga destroys all kalais or Tattvas until the state of Sivahood is reached by the soul the matter gradually perishes in fire as spirit evolves. The elements and matter burn in effigy of rope. Saanti-y-atiita / Santiyatita = Santi + Atita = Quietism + edge, limit = Quietism, be-all and end-all. That is Nirvana. Once the disciple goes through these rituals, the disciple becomes a Guru. Consecration of Guru is known as Acarya-abhiseka, which is the culmination of initiation of a Sadhaka or priest into Guruhood. Abhiseka may involve music, riding a palanquin, lamps, chanting of Vedas, singing and dancing.

        Diksa is the essential element in the liberation of the soul, because Diksa, causing destruction of Anava Mala,  by the grace of Siva brings about liberation.

        Chidambaram Nataraja Temple has five Sabhas (halls). Chit Sabha, Deva Sabha, Kanaka Sabha, Nritta Sabha, and Raja Sabha (Chitrambalam, Perambalam, Ponnambalam, Nritta Sabahai, and Raja Sabhai).

        Chit Sabha consists of stone floor, sandalwood pillars, walls and roof beams, gold-gilded copper tiles and rectangular arched roof (Sikaram).

        Deva Sabha, also known as Perambalam (Great hall) where the Panchamurtis administer Grace to the devotees.

        Kanaka Sabha, also known as Ponnambalam (Golden Hall) is in front of the Chit Sabha. Here Spatika Linga receives six daily pujas, while Ratnasabapati gets Abhishekam (ritual ablution). Sanskrit Spatika = Tamil Patika = Crystal; Patika Lingam = Crystal Lingam.

        Nritta Sabha is located to the south of the flag post of Lord Nataraja. This is where Urdhava Tandavam took place.

        Raja Sabha is the thousand-pillared hall. The highlights of this hall are MAnikkavasakar made a mute to speak, Sambandar received vision of the Tillai hereditary Brahmana priests of the temple as Siva Ganas (servants), Umapati Sivam made the flag rise on the pole by singing Kodik-kavi (flag poem), SEnthanAr made the stuck temple car move by singing "Pallandu," and Sekkhizar composed and published his magnum opus here on the verbal cue "Ulakelam" (the world over) from Lord Nataraja's heavenly voice.

        Chit Sabha, Hall of Consciousness, is the main shrine where the Lord performed Ananda Tandavam. The presiding God is Lord Nataraja Siva in his dancing stance performing Ananda Tandavam. ChitSabha or the Hall of Consciousness houses Nataraja and his consort Sivakami, the latter representing Siva's Will or Iccha Sakti. Other Saktis are Jnana and Kriya Sakti thus, his consort is his Will, Jnana and Kriya.  Chitsabha shrine is a hut made of wooden pillars and a roof with golden tiles and two curtains, red inner (enlightenment) and black outer (illusion), in front of which are housed Lord Nataraja and Sivakami.  The Rahasya curtains represent the Aroopa (formless) form of Siva and Parvati. Curtains measuring 1.5m high and 3.5m wide covers the background of both Lord Nataraja and the Chidambara Rahasyam. The Chit Sabha also houses Ratnasabhapati (Ruby Nataraja), Spatika Lingam of Chandramauleevara, Bhairavar, Siva's Padukas, golden sandals, Balinayaka murthi and the severed head of Brahma (in the form of Lingam/ mukhalingam) which was cut off for lying to Siva. Go to <<<<FIERY LINGAM>>>> for details. Patanjali's Puja Sutra forms the basis for rituals in worship. Though Agamas are the primary source of Mantras, the Brahmanas pride themselves as having come from a Vedic tradition in North India and use Vedic Mantras.

        Chit Sabha, the Hall of Consciousness, is the Consciousness of the universe. The Lord of Dance is Pure Consciousness that resides not only in the Hall of Consciousness, but also in the heart of every being. Heart is considered as the seat of Consciousness in a human being. It is said that such a Great Lord resides in a small hall in such manner that he also resides in the nook of the heart. Ramana MahaRishi is of the opinion that spiritual heart is not the same as the anatomical "fleshy" heart and is located in the right side of the chest.

    Nadis, the land of India, and the Chakras.

        In the Chit Sabha resides Lord Nataraja. It is the heart of the universe and the seat of Consciousness, which exists in the nook of the heart of every being. The Sabha itself is the body of the Lord. The land mass of India is compared to Mother and the Nadis run through the length of India. Susumna Nadi runs through Chidambaram Ida Nadi runs through Sri Lanka Pingala Nadi goes through Himalayas. Go to <<<<Kundalini Power>>>> for details on Nadis. Temple towns of India are the equivalents of the Chakras in the body: Varanasi, the Ajna Chakra Kalahasti, the Visuddha Chakra Chidambaram, the Anahata (heart) Chakra Arunachala (Tiruvannamalai), Manipura Chakra Jambhukesvara, the Svadhisthana Chakra and Tiruvarur, Muladhara Chakra.

        To the right of Siva Nataraja is the Chidambara Rahasyam (the Secret of Chidambaram), representative of Akasa or Ether graced by a garland of Vilva leaves, a favorite of Siva, and Yantra behind the leaves. 

    Quote from David Smith, page 256, The Dance of Siva.

    "Again, Kane, in his long list of pilgrimage sites (very weak on South India) in his authoritative study of Dharmasastra, says that the Cidambaram temple 'contains the "air linga" i.e. no Linga is actually visible but a curtain is hung before a wall and when visitors enter the curtain is withdrawn and the wall is exhibited'"

        Siva is Sunya, worshipped by Yogis the yogic path is very difficult to follow to reach Sunya. Those who want to enjoy worldly pleasures should worship the visible and palpable Linga. (Skanda Purana I.ii.33.25-34

    Go to <<<<OM NAMASIVAYA>>>> for explanation of Yantra. This is symbolic of creation proceeding from Pure Consciousness of Siva  to 36 spiritual and material Tattvas. Go to <<<< TATTVAS-36>>>>>. Curtains of Chidambara Rahasyam are lifted and lamps are waved in ceremonial worship for the devotees to look into the Secret that empty Space is God. Ether stands for Pure Supreme Consciousness.  Curtains represent Siva and Parvati. When the curtains are parted, a whole new world comes into view, ignorance dissipates, the Light of Wisdom dawns, SatChitAnanda manifests, and the Lord is the form of Void.

    Siva and Parvati receive an ensemble of gods



        The Lord is endowed with three Saktis: Iccha Sakti, Jnana Sakti and Kriya Sakti in that order. They are Will, Knowledge and Action. Man also has these three saktis in a different order: Knowledge, will, and action. Anyone can have a will but will without knowledge leads to futile or faulty action. The Lord has the Will to act because he has the Knowledge. Surya Mandala is Jnana Sakti Moon Mandala is  Kriya Sakti Fire Mandala is Iccha Sakti. These Mandalas are described in Kundalini yoga. Parvati in various names and forms represents all three saktis, one form and name ascribed to one sakti.


    Source: Thirumanthiram

    Pati (Sorupam) is its own self (Pati in situ) and uncreated. It has no beginning, middle, or end is beyond creation, maintenance, destruction, obscuration (or grace) (five functions) is Sat-Cit-Ananda (Being, Consciousness, and bliss) is void (sunya) in Parabindu, which is Nirguna Siva without any attributes does not possess a gross or subtle form and is pure, all-pervasive, and transcendent. Joseph Campbell explains what transcendent is. In Occidental theology, the word transcendent is used to mean outside of the world. In the East, it means outside of thought. He is Sivam and Parasivam he is beyond thought, word and comprehension. When Sivam showers Grace, he becomes comprehensible and manifests five functions. Pati in his Tatattam state is manifest controller (Siva Isvara) of the five functions as mentioned earlier. Tatattam as opposed Sorupam, causes Pancha Kiruttiyam, five functions. In Tattatam form, Pati forms a trilateral relationship with Pasu and Pasa. 

    Tattatam = Tadastha in Sanskrit = The aspect of God which causes pancha-kiruttiyam, opposite to Sorupam.

    In his Tattatam state, he has three forms: Arupam, Rupa-Arupam and Rupam. Arupam is formlessness or an invisible state which is amply manifested in Chidambaram by Akasa (Ether) he is the Void Void is his form that forms the core of Chidambara Rahasyam (secret), the abode of Akasa Lingam in Lord Nataraja Temple. Nataraja, Somaskanthar Chandrasekarar and other visible forms portray his Rupa (form) state. Leaping fire takes forms of infinite variety, changing moment by moment: that is form-formless state. Siva Linga also belongs to the Rupa-Arupa state.

    Based on Arupam, Iccha, Jnana and Kriya (Formlessness, Desire or Will, Knowledge, and Action), Siva goes by three names: Sattar (Ilaya Sivan, Arupa Sivan), Yutti-Yuttar, and Piraviruttar.

    Sattar and Ilaya Sivan are the other names for Arupa Sivan meaning that he is formless his pure power is in potent unmanifest form he has no intentions, plans, or inclinations to create cosmos his power is undifferentiated without any palpable entity he is Nishkala (without parts or attributes) He is Niskriya (no activity) and his body is pure Consciousness. The opposite of Niskriya is Sakriya, the one full of actions.

    Yutti-Yuttar: The name means that he is a logician or sophist. He is the embodiment of  skills and knowledge to create cosmos. He is NOT just Nishkala anymore, he is Nishkala-Sakala (Siva without and with parts and attributes). He is Nishkala because he has masses of unmanifest energy without parts, he is Sakala because he has parts and Pasus (individual souls in bondage waddling in malas - impurities). Nishkala-Sakala is a transitional state between His Unmanifest (Avyakta) to his manifest state of many forms (Sakala). His energy or Consciousness shows differentiation in five Suddha Tattvas: Siva Tattva, Sakti Tattva, Sadasiva Tattva, Isvara Tattva, and Suddha Vidya Tattva.

        Siva Tattva: He is Para Sakti, Nishkala-Sakala Siva, Sat-Cit-Ananda, and Cosmic Dancer after Mahapralaya (dissolution of the universe). He originates Para Nada and Nada, from which Bindu originates Bindu is the progenitor of Prakritic Asuddha Tattvas. Of the five tattvas mentioned here Siva Tattva is Pure Consciousness the other succeeding four take their birth from Siva Tattva in a father-son linear fashion with step-down dilution of Consciousness.

        Sakti Tattva: He is Paramesvara, the Supreme Soul, Nataraja (personal God), and Androgynous Ardhanaresvara. He is a Cosmic Dancer after Pralaya (dissolution). He is endowed with Kriya Sakti, Action Energy. He is the Light of lights (Bindu).    

        Sadasiva Tattva: His energy has the revealing power (Anugraha) and Grace in conferring of liberation.  He is Sadasiva, he is ever auspicious. He has Jnana and Kriya Sakti. He has five faces. For details go to SADASIVA.htm.

        Isvara Tattva: He obscures and conceals Grace. In him knowledge translates into action. He is Para Bindu. Go to Bindu.htm.

        Suddha Vidya Tattva: He is pure Knowledge and his portfolio includes creation (Brahma), maintenance (Vishnu), and destruction (Rudra-Siva). Pure knowledge is by no means Pure Consciousness.

    Piraviruttar: Pira-viruttan means he who exercises Pra-Vritti. Pra-vritti = moving forward, advance, manifestation, activity, function, prosecution of. Piraviruttan is Tamil spelling. Piraviruttar is honorific way of addressing God. This belongs to Suddha Vidya Tattva. The Consciousness compared to Siva Tattva is less, but activity (creation, maintenance, destruction) has enhanced. He is Sakalan here for he has many parts, attributes, and action saktis (powers) he is Mahesvara whose subsidiary manifestations are Brahma, the creator Vishnu, the maintainer and Siva-Rudra, the destroyer.

    Pati has nine archetypical forms: Siva, Sakti, Nada, Bindu, Sadasiva, Mahesvara, Rudra-Siva, Vishnu and Brahma, who range from Nishkala, to Nishkala-Sakala and to Sakala. Sakti and Siva, Nada and Bindu form the Quadplex, essential in the manifestation of universe and beings. I name this quadplex as Tetralogy (four entities) of Saiva Siddhanta.

    Sadasiva as Yutti-Yuttar confers Grace and liberation eventually ending in Para mukti (Supreme liberation, likeness to Siva) to Vijnanakalars who are in advanced stage of ripeness (Sakti-nipatam).  These blessed souls are Anusadasivars, Vittiyesurans, and Rudras who enjoy Divine Bliss in Sadakiya Tattuvam, where knowledge and action are in balance. Anusadasivar = Souls enjoying Divine Bliss in Sadakkiya  (Sadasiva) Tattuvam.  Vittiyesurans = learned scholar, one who possesses Vidhi, knowledge. Sakti-nipatam: settling of Divine Grace in the soul when it is ripe.

        The Point of no return

        The back of Chit Sabha carries as much secrets as Chidambara Rahasyam.  That is where Yogis go and never return. Yogis attain Samadhi in Chit Sabha. The event is portrayed here. Jnāna of Yogis is self-knowledge and according to Chāndogya Upanishad 8.4.1 to 3, knowledge of the Self is liberating. Self is a bridge over which neither day, nor night, nor old age, nor death, nor sorrow, nor well-being, nor ill-being crosses. The one-way bridge separates the night of miseries of existence at the entry point from the day of effulgent bliss at the exit point: it is the Brahma-world, a world of illumination free from evil all the maladies of the world such as “blindness and wounds” stay behind. Those who know this sacred knowledge of the self enter the Brahma-world (behind the Chit Sabha) and are forever free from all miseries of existence. This one-way bridge on the River of Samsāra separates the phenomenal world from the Real there is no toll, and the password is Self-knowledge. Hazardous materials of the phenomenal world have no permission to go on the bridge to the other side, the land of the Real, known only to the Yogis.

        Kanaka Sabha, the Golden Hall, is in front of it, south of Chit Sabha and that is where Ritual worship is performed. Both Chit and Kanaka Sabhas are on elevated platforms, the former is 1 meter above the latter platform silver-paneled doors with five steps representing Panchakshara (five syllables) Mantra Na-Ma-Si-Va-Ya, are placed at the entrance of both shrines. The granite platform of the Sanctuary represent Mount Kailash and thus is called Parvatam (Mountain), which is worshipped on special occasions. Govindaraja Perumal occupies a place to the southwest of Nataraja, facing East. Kanaka Sabha is a misnomer in technical terms because the roof is made of gilded copper and not gold, but its spirit rivals gold. The roof of Kanaka Sabha is lower than that of Chit Sabha. Kanaka Sabha houses Nandin, Ruby Nataraja, and Crystal Lingam which was a gift to the priests from Siva himself. Bronze Nataraja and Sivakamasundari of 1930 vintage are housed in a glass enclosure in a Mandapam adjoining the front of the Kanaka Sabha. 

    Vishnu Shrine is placed southwest of Kanaka Sabha in the same innermost courtyard. There are two shrines for Vishnu-Govindaraja. The earlier Vishnu is lying in Yoganidra on a couch of coils of Sesa snake with five heads, with his head (face) in the north as a sign of submission to Siva and his feet in the south. A second latter Vishnu is in repose with his feet in the north and head in the south, as a sign of independence. Remember that the dual Vishnu shrine is southwest of the joint shrine of Cit Sabha and Kanaka sabha. Arcakars (priests, followers of Vaikhaanasa Agama) perform rituals here Dikshitars do the Siva rituals at other locations. Arcakars and Dikshitars are poles apart, though they are only a few feet away from each other. Achutadevaraya built the Vishnu Shrine in the 16th century. The second courtyard has three features: Deva Sabha northeast of Hall of Consciousness, Linga Shrine (Mulasthana), further north of Hall of Consciousness, and Nritta Sabhaa, south of Kanaka Sabha. The third courtyard is huge and has four gopuras. To the north of the second courtyard are from west to east Sivakamasundari shrine, hundred-pillared Hall, temple tank and thousand-pillared Hall.

    There is story behind the Ethereal Siva. There was a real-life sage-poet by name Umapati Sivacharya (around 1300 C.E.) in Chidambaram. He was a devotee of Siva, and meditated on him very intensely. One day when the hereditary priests opened the door to Chit Sabha, the Lord of Sabha and Ambika were not there. They convened a meeting of the temple priests and came to a conclusion that the Lord of Dance remained in the place as Space or Ether in Parabrahman state without attributes, and that someone had exercised gravitational pull on the Lord of Sabha and Ambika. This, they conjectured, was the magnetic attraction of Siva to a devotee. The Lord spoke to them, " I am in the hermitage of Umapati. You will find me in a jeweled box along with Uma. You must invite Umapati and honor him in the Jeweled Hall before the Chit Sabha. Put him on a throne. Be seated in front of him during the morning milking and listen to his Purana in Tamil each verse is nectar. Once the first word comes out of his mouth, I shall enter the Sabha and assume a visible form. Go and fetch Umapati." The Brahmanas rushed to the hermitage, uttered the incredible story, beseeched him to come to the temple and recite his poem. Umapati ascended a throne carried by the Brahmanas to the Sabha, where he faced east, paid tribute to the Lord of the Sabha with hands held high in apposition, meditated on the Lord and recited his poem. The Lord of Dance entered the Sabha to the delight of everyone. This episode went to confirm that the Lord of Dance was Ether itself.

    There are other images in Chit Sabha such as images of Ratna-sabha-pati (Ruby-Hall-Lord = Ruby Lord of Sabha, form of Lord in Ruby), Sphatika Lingam (Crystal Lingam), Chandramaulisvara and others. It is the belief that Ruby that came out of the sacrificial fire was a present to the priests. The Lord gifted the Crystal Lingam for worship to the devotees the crystal Lingam is made from the foam of Amrtam (Nectar / Ambrosia) derived from the moon on the Lord's crest, and like a diamond, exceeding the luster of  the moon, sun, fire, lightning, and the stars. Mular eulogizes Lingam in Chapter Seven of Tirumantiram: Verse 1712: No one knows what Lingam is. Lingam is eight directions. Lingam is 16 Kalas. Lingam is the manifest world. V1713: His first manifestation in this world is Sakti. He came in Sakti form in this world. His sakti's attributes manifested in this world. It is Sadasiva (Lingam) who conceived and created this world. V1718: Manifest Lingam is Vimana (arc-like roof of the shrine). The resident Sadasiva is the subtle lingam the altar is Bhadra Lingam. V1721: Brahmins worship crystal Lingam. Kings worship gold Lingam. Vaishyas worship emerald Lingam. Sudras worship stone Lingam. V1726: Man's (human) form is Siva Lingam. Man's form is Chidambaram. Man's form is Sadasivam. Man's form is Sacred Dance of Siva. V1758: The Sakti's pedestal (of Lingam) contains Atma Tattvas central part, the Vidya Tattvas upper part, the Siva Tattvas Sakti's Soul, Sadasiva himself. Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Mahesa, five-faced Sadasiva, Bindu, Nada, Sakti, and Siva are the nine aspects of Lingam which gives grace as (in the form of) Supreme Nandi.


       Kala: The Lord wearing the moon with 16 Kalais (Kalas) confers a vision of himself to those who are steady in the practice of breath control, channeling the Prana through Susumna Nadi. (Kalaa = Kala = Kalai) Kala approximately means "parts." Siva is Niskala, meaning he has no parts, he is whole, he is undivided, he is absolute or Nirguna Brahman--Brahman without attributes. Another synonym for Niskala is Niskalatattva (Tattva without parts or contaminating matter, Prakrti). Nirguna Brahman = Supreme Narayana (Adhi Narayana) = Parasambhu Siva. Siva is also Sakala, meaning he has many parts--Tattvas, universe, and beings.

        Umapati figures again in the disappearance of Casket with the Lingam from its premises. It is the trick the Lord played to teach a lesson to the high-born hereditary priests numbering 3000. Umapati was forbidden to enter the Lord's chamber, because he became the disciple of Thiru-Jnana-Sambandar. They looked everywhere panic was the order of the day, they went to the storage place nowhere it was found. The priests went back to the Chit Sabha for worship. An old man stood up and his voice boomed across the Hall of Consciousness. "I am the Lord of Dance. On my command, the box with Linga is with my dear devotee Umapati. You may bring it back here."  Umapati served as the priest for Linga worship, after its arrival to the temple. Siva does not take incarnations. He appears at critical moments and soon disappears once the task is accomplished.

        The endogamous priests, known as Dikshitars,  claim that they are the progeny of the priests who came to Chidambaram along with the Kashmiri king, Simhavarman II (550-575 C.E.) who in the hope of curing his leprosy, took a dip in the tank near the Nataraja-Siva Temple and obtained a cure.

        Siva is Formless, Formless/Form, and Form: the first is Akasa Lingam, the second is Crystal Lingam, and the third is Image of Lingam. The south-facing Siva defies death for himself and his devotees. Yama, god of death, treats Siva's devotees with deference. Sanskrit Yama, Tamil Yaman, Persian Yima, Nordic Ymir, and Canaanite god Yam are one and the same god.

        Mulanathar, a form of Siva, is housed in 2nd prakaram (courtyard). The outermost prakaram-walkaround- houses Sivakami, consort of Siva.      

    Deva Sabha, Hall of gods, is where festivals and meetings are held.  It is in the second prakaram. It serves as a house for festival gods, and images of Panchamurtis (Somaskandar, Parvati, Vinayaka, Subramanya, and Chandikesvara and other deities. Daily worship here is not open to the public. The Temple priests (Dīksitars) hold conference on the steps.

        Kanaka Sabha, hall of Gold, is where the bejeweled Nataraja is housed with a roof made of 17,500 gilded gold tiles representing the number of breaths a person takes in a day, 12.15 breaths per minute, 729 breaths an hour and 17,500 breaths in 24 hours.

        Nritta Sabha, the Dance hall, is held aloft by 56 pillars of engraved dancing figures. It is in the second prakaram in the south side of the perimeter. It is in the shape of a stone chariot (Ratha) and two horses. This is where Urdhva Tandava took place. It houses Urdhvatandava Siva and Kali. Siva (Murti) destroyed (Samhara) two demon cities (Tripuras) therefore, the Lord is known Tripurasamhara Murti. He descended later in front of Chit Sabha from his horse-drawn chariot with sun and moon as the wheels. This landing of Siva gave the other name to Nritta Sabha as Edir Ambalam (Opposite Hall).

        Raja Sabha, the Hall of Kings, is rock-solid thousand-pillared hall, where Chola and Pandya kings celebrated their coronation (Chola) and victory . The pilgrims, devotees, visitors, and meditators assemble here only twice in a year. Its thousand pillars correspond to thousand petals of inverted lotus of Sahasrara Chakra of Kundalini Yoga. Nataraja and Sivakamasundari dance here during the Chariot festival.


        Kanaka Sabha (Ponnambalam or Golden hall) in Chidambaram is where Lord Nataraja performed Nadanta Tandavam(1).  In the famous stance, the left leg is raised in a frozen dance pose in the idol. In Madurai temple, the idol is covered with plated silver and the Lord's right leg is raised this dance is known as Anada Tandavam(2), Dance of Bliss performed in Velliambalam (Hall of Silver). In Himalayas, Siva dances the Evening Dance, Pradosha Tandavam(3) for Parvati to alleviate the suffering of his created beings. Siva sports only two hands in this dance and has no Asura (Apasmara purusa, Muyalaka) under his foot.     

        There are Dance Halls scattered around India.

    1: Kanaka Sabha (Hall of Gold) at Chidambaram.

    2: Rajata Sabha (Hall of Silver) at Madurai.

    3: Ratna Sabha (Hall of Rubies) at Tiruvalangadu.

    4: Tamra Sabha (Hall of copper) at Tirunelvelli.

    5: Chitra Sabha (Hall of pictures) at Kutralam.

    There are other halls too.

    There are other halls too.

    Coming to hierarchy of the temple, priests are expected to honor Gurus starting from Sveta, one's own Guru, Ganesa, Uma, Skanda, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, the latter being the foremost of all Gurus. Brahma was one of the historians (story tellers) in Linga Purana. He relates this story of Sveta to Nandin (Nandikesvara), the chief attendant of Siva. Sveta was a cave-dwelling Brahmana Sage of ripe old age. Time came to him in the form of Death (Yama) Sveta recognized the dispenser of Death and at once meditated on three-eyed Siva. Sveta pointed to Linga and asked the Death Dealer what possibly he could do to him in the presence of Linga, the creator of Devas, including Yama. He asked Time in the form of Death to take his trip back to his quarters, because he was the Eater of Death, who fed on men and drained their life forces. In ordinary parlance, it would have sounded like this, " Get out of here, before I call Siva.."  He added, "I am Death of Death, who feeds on men. Since you are dead, there is no dying for me."  Having heard defiant retort, Death bared his fangs, turned red in his face, roared like a lion, whirled his noose menacingly, clapped his hands many times, and bound Sveta, devotee of Siva-Rudra, with his ropes. Death grew bold and spewed out venomous words, "You are bound. What can your Linga ( Siva-Rudra) do now? Where are your devotion, worship, your beneficial fruit of karma? I am here but where is your Linga? I have no one to fear."  Suddenly, Siva with his retinue consisting of His Consort Uma, Nandi, and the ganas (attendants) appeared in front of Sveta and Time as Death. He roared with laughter that scattered the clouds. The sight of Siva killed Yama, who fell dead at the feet of Sveta like a stick. Sveta roared louder than thunder and along with other Devas, paid obeisance to Siva and Uma. Nandin derided Yama for his stupidity. Siva disappeared soon, having saved his devotee from Death's noose. (The above episode appears in Linga Purana, Chapter 30.)

    Here is an excerpt from Psalms 18.5 to 18.8 and 18.16 to 18.19 and find some similarity with the above episode. A Psalm of David to the Lord.

    5 The cords of the grave are coiled around me

    the snares of death confronted me.

    6 In my distress I called to the LORD

    I cried to my God for help.

    From his temple he heard my voice

    my cry came before him, into his ears.

    7 The earth trembled and quaked,

    and the foundations of the mountains shook

    they trembled because he was angry.

    8 Smoke rose from his nostrils

    consuming fire came from his mouth,

    burning coals blazed out of it.

    ·  16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me

    ·  he drew me out of deep waters.

    ·  17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,

    ·  from my foes, who were too strong for me.

    ·  18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,

    ·  but the LORD was my support.

    ·  19 He brought me out into a spacious place

    ·  he rescued me because he delighted in me.


        Real-life sage-poet by name Umapati Sivacharya (around 1300 C.E.) in Chidambaram was the pupil of Sveta, child-saint-poet Sambandar, Vyasa, and Siva.

    Upasana, the Puja rituals.

     The cardinal features of Upasana (Puja) are as follows:

    1) Bhutasuddhi: Cleansing Bhutas or gross elements of the subtle body.

    2) Nyasa: By the power of Sound and Mantra, he invokes the spirit to descend on his body.

    3) Pranayama: Breath Control.

    4) Dhyana: meditation.

    5) Chantless mental worship.

    6) Japa or chanting of Mantra.


    Once body is cleansed and purified, the divine enters the body of the priest, who is Siva himself except that he does not wear matted locks, sport a moon on his crown, have a third eye, and divine lady on his side. The priest has to destroy his papam (sin) next he purifies his subtle body by Pranayama (breath control). He goes on to purify the five elements in his body (bhutasuddhi). The priest activates the Kundalini fire in Muladhara Chakra and takes it through upper Chakras to Sahasrara Chakra for union with the spirit. This rise of kundalini fire power destroys the gross and subtle body, as it were, of the priest. Now the spirit has descended on his body (of the priest) devoid of any worldly taints. The priest is now an ethereal body, devoid of Sthula and Suksma Sarira, and occupied by the spirit thus, the priest has acquired Divya Sarira (divine body). The deity has taken residence in his spiritual heart. For the divine spirit to spread all over the body and organs, he performs Nyasa.

    (Nyasa follows Butasuddhi.) Nyasa is impressing of the body with fingers and mental appropriation or assignment of various parts of the body to the tutelary deities, according to Monier-Williams. Consider it as a painless form of acupuncture (digital pressure) that infuses divine power where the fingers apply pressure. Here you do not use Acus (needle) but digits come in handy for application of touch and pressure. Digital application (Nyasa) is accompanied by chanting of Mantra and visualization of specific Devata or Bija (seed) Mantra. Sequential touching of the body parts in geographic progression depends on the type of Nyasa. Once Nyasa is complete, the priest transfers the divine in him to the idol, which is known as Avahana (invitation). By Mudras (gestures), he infuses life into the idol (Pranapratistha). Once the worship is over, the god is dismissed from the idol (Visarjana or Udvasa) and Samhara Mudra (expressive gesture of dissolution). Visarjana = discharging, dismissal. Udvasa = leaving empty, uninhabited. The idea of invitation and dismissal of divinity with regards to the idol sounds apparently ridiculous because god is everywhere and he does not need invitation or dismissal. Avahana and Visarjana are confirmation of his presence everywhere.

    Some points:  After the deity is bathed, dressed, decorated and jeweled, the priest keeps all articles near him. He performs ritual acamana, or purification of the mouth before he utters the mantra. He makes a samkalpa (intention) for welfare of any of the entities of the world: that is the purpose of worship. Consecration of water follows by invoking in it the seven holy rivers of India. This Arghya (water offered reverentially to gods or devotees) is used wherever water is necessary for rituals.

    Siva devotees engage in eight kinds of Bhakti.

    1. தொண்டர் அடி தொழுதல். 1. Worshipping at the feet of devotee-slave of Siva.
    2. தொண்டர் ஆதல். 2. Becoming a devotee-slave of Siva.
    3. பூசைத் தொழிலில் மகிழ்தல். 3. Exultation performing worship of Siva.
    4. அருச்சினை புரிதல் 4. Performance of Archana (ritual worship).
    5. ஆசார நியமங்கள் கொண்டு ஒழுகுதல். 5. Abiding in sacred injunctions.
    6. பத்திக் கதைகளைக் கேட்டு மகிழ்தல். ஆனந்தக் கண்ணீர் பெருக்குதல். 6. Exulting in devotional stories. Brimming with tears of joy
    7. திருக்கோயில் திருப்பணி செய்தல். 7. Dedicated Service (to the Lord) in the temple.
    8. உணவு கொள்ளாது விரதங்கள் இருத்தல். 8. Fasting with observance of viratha (religious vow).
    Ramasubramaniyam Tiruvasakam Original Text and Commentary. page 112. திருவாசகம் மூலமும் உரையும் உரையாசிரியர் வ.த. இராம சுப்பிரமணியம். Translation by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj


    The priest, Dvadasanta, Niralamba, absorption, and Amrta.

        The five faces of Sadasiva represent five elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Ether. Our body represents five elements: From the foot to the knees, it is earth from the knees to the navel, it is water from the navel to the throat it is fire from the throat to the mouth it is wind from the mouth to the crown it is ether. We are stuck in the mud up to our knees, standing in navel-deep water, roasted by fire in our upper body, fanned by the wind on the face and tortured by Ether.

    Of all the five elements, Ether is the most subtle and earth is the least subtle. All elements are necessary to constitute this physical body. From the most gross earth to the most subtle Ether, the subtler element controls the one below and Ether is the master of all. They represent all states of matter: Solid, liquid, gas, plasma. Ether is the orchestrator of all elements and also the root or Stem substance. Water controls earth since it can erode earth; Fire controls water because it can evaporate it; Air controls the fire because it can boost the fire or blow it away; Ether controls the Air because Air abides in Ether. From Ether to Earth, they form a lineage right down the line. Since Ether is the most powerful progenitor of all things physical on this earth and the world, we are its slave; the sense organs exist because of the progenitor substance Ether. Go to Akasa (Ether) POTPOURRI ONE.

    The function of Ether is Sound if you control its function you attain liberation from all elements that serve Ether. Mantra is the cure for the oppressor substance, Ether. Sound exists in unmanifest Para form to manifest Vaikhari form, articulate speech. Sound <<Click to go to Sound>>>. The first Sound in the Universe is Pranava, OM. In this day of  hurly-burly, eat-on-the-go, TV, and other distractions, Kirtana, or Chanting or singing the glory of the Lord is the most efficient tool for the Kaliyuga man to obtain liberation.  Or you can use one of the Mantras. Go to Mantra for details. You can chant OM as a generic Mantra, which has no affiliation to any group or religion. Om is older than the universe and religions. Go to >>>POTPOURRI ONE>>> and scroll down to AUM.

    Dvâtasântam (Dvatasantam / dvadasanta) is the mystic center 12 inches above the crown. Dva = two. Dasa = ten. Anta = edge. two+ten+edge = twelve inches above the edge. This is called Niralamba (a place that hangs without support). What it means is that the mind is disconnected from the world. The Spirit is hanging in a weightless state without the burden of the body. Above the Sahasrara plane is Niraalamba pradesam, a place without support. It is a  state where jiva exists without support, props and such. Niralamba = hanging without support. Just imagine the moon hanging out there in space. It means that the mind, having attained realization of the Brahman, is free from connection with material world. Some of the other terms express equivalent state: Samadhi, Unmani, Manonmani, Paramapada, Advaita, Jivanmukti, Niralamba, Amanaska, Advaitama, Niranjana, Sahaja, Sunya, Sunya-asunya, Amaratvam, Jivan Mukti, Parama Pada, laya, Tattva, Suddha Sattva, and Turiya. Dvadasanta is the place where Yogi or priest attains absorption into Siva with the resultant production of Amrta ( nectar), which spreads to the rest of the body upon the return of the Yogi or priest to a lower center.

    Unmani is a state when mind ceases to exist; in other words the manasness of the Manas or mind ceases to exist. Unmani is mandatory state for Yogi; no Unmani, no Yogi. When Unmani state is attained, the Citta is free from the mind (that keeps it attached to the world) and floats freely in ether. Imagine the free-floating astronauts; the Yogis are "Ethernauts with no fear of cosmic radiation.

    Siva is worshipped in many forms: Ether, Water, Air, Fire, Earth, the Soul, the Sun and the Moon. He presides over these entities.

    Sarva Bhava Rudra Ugra Bhima Pasupati Isana Mahadeva
    Earth form Water form Fire form Wind/Air form Ether /sky form Soul, Yajamana form Sun form Moon form

    Sarva is the Lord of Earth who holds the entire universe of mobile and immobile beings (trees).

    Bhava is the Lord of Water, which is essential for all living entities.

    Rudra is Lord of Fire, which is the heat in the body, the earth, the sun and other elements and which carries oblations to the gods.

    Ugra is the awesome, formidable, fierce, and ferocious force that keeps the inner and outer universe pulsate autonomously.

    Bhima is the Lord of Space that includes  firmament, and pervasive space in all entities. Where ever there is space--between atoms or inside atoms--, that is Bhima. It differentiates elements from one another.

    Pasupati is the Lord of Pasus (individual souls) and breaks the bonds or ties that keep the soul from its centripetal march towards the Lord.

    Isana is the Lord of Sun who "moves in an arch" in heaven and illuminates the universe.

    Mahadeva is the Lord of Moon which offers nectarlike rays and sap to beings and plants, assuring satiety and fullness to the universe. He is also the Great Soul or Atman which is more pervasive than all other forms. Another source tells that moon forms the left eye of Narasimha, one of the Avatars of Vishnu. Because of his divine effulgent form, he is the favorite of all ages. Soma-Sava is a great YAgam performed to honor the moon, who in return gives milch cows to humanity, thorough-bred breed of horses, and intelligent, learned, brave Satputras who observe all religious vows.

    Watering the roots of  a tree carries the sap to the branches which blossom and bear fruits in like manner, worship of Siva sustains and develops this universe.

    Here is a variation of the same theme. Eight physical forms of Siva = Eight Lingas = Earth, water, Fire, Air, Ether, the Sun, the Moon, and the sacrificing priest.  The earth form = Sarva Water form = Bhava Fire form = Rudra wind form = Ugra Sky form = Bhima Yajamana form = Pasupati Moon form = Mahadeva Sun form = Isana.

    Bhima: He is worshipped in his formless form (Ether) in Chidambaram Chidambara Rahasyam (the Secret of Chidambaram) is the abode of Akasa Lingam, Lingam of formless limitless space. In this abode, the representative objects are the five silver-plated steps leading to the shrine and standing for five letters of Namasivaya, Na-Ma-Si-Va-ya, a Prabha or arch, and a Vel (spear) with golden Vilva mala (a garland of Vilva leaves, Aegle marmelos) It has a curtain (depicting Arupam, formless form of Siva and Parvati) at the entrance, which is lifted for Arati, waving of lamps.

    Many Lingams:

        Configuration of various Lingams are based on the Bhutas or elements: Fire, Earth, Wind, Water and Sky or Ether. The idea is that Siva exists in all elements thus he exists in your body.

    Element Lingam Place
    Fire Fire Lingam Tiruvannamalai
    Earth Earth Lingam Kanchipuram
    Wind Wind Lingam Kalahasti
    Water Water Lingam Jambukeshvar (Trichy)
    Sky or Ether Sky Lingam Chidambaram

    When the curtain to Chit Sabah (Hall of Consciousness) in Chidambaram is drawn, what you see is an empty space representing Sky Lingam this is the Chidambara Rahasyam (the Secret of Chidambaram) the Lord exists in all the apparently empty spaces from the atom to the vast spaces of cosmos thus, he is the Cosmic Dancer. The Red Mountain of  Tiruvannamalai is the Fire Lingam.  





    Siva's heroic nature is described by Tirumular in Tirumantiram, Tantra Two as follows:

    Eight Heroic Deeds of Siva, 0339-0346  

    Click<<<<Tantra Two>>> for more

    1: The killing of Antaka: Antaka, more ferocious than the God of Death and endowed with divine boons, harassed men and gods the celestials lodged a complaint with Siva, who destroyed him with his trident. 2: Beheading of Daksa  and xenograft with goat's head: and Daksa was the son of Brahma and challenged the Lord’s authority. The Lord cut his head off and put a goat’s head in its place, which should serve as an object lesson and stop others from challenging his universal authority. The Lord’s feet are all-pervasive and life-sustaining. 3: Brahma minus one head and Mal bled into Brahma's skull: Brahma and Mal (Vishnu) challenged his authority Siva-Bhairava cut off one of the five heads of Brahma and asked Achuta (Vishnu) to fill the Brahma's skull-bowl with his blood (through Ugra (Ghora) manifestation Bhairava). Vishnu obliged instantly to the orders of Bhairava and slit the artery in his forehead and drained the blood into the bowl, held by Bhairava. Vishnu fainted and fell to the ground from low blood volume and shock, before he could fill the bottomless bowl. Bhairava picked him up, resuscitated him, revived him back to health and let him go. Bhairava went to other gods and extracted payment with blood from them for their arrogant behavior. Bhairava went to Kanchipuram and upon command from Siva distributed the blood among Siva's Ganas (attendants). Siva made him the resident guardian Deity of Kanchi. Upon Siva's divine edict, all worshippers of Bhairava would be absolved of their sins. Thus Siva put all gods in their place. Brahma's head is placed on the right side of Siva for all people to see and Brahma is allowed to partake remnants of offerings made to Siva. Bhairava is seen as the bronze idol in Chit Sabha in the form of Svarna-kala-bhairava. His accoutrement and weapons consist of drum, trident, noose, skull, and a dog. He is the destroyer of all sins of those who die the town. Dog is the incarnation of Kundoraran, an attendant-Gana of Siva, who has a pot belly, and is short in stature. 4: Jalandhara's  hideous passion for Parvati, resulting in death: Jalandhara was a titan and the son of Varuna. He received a boon that he would not be killed by anyone. Comment: Jaladhara was very arrogant for he knew that no one could kill him. He found a match in an inanimate object to be his killer. He (Jaladhara) had an eye on Parvati, the consort of Siva and sent a messenger-scalawag Rahu to persuade Siva to give up Parvati for Jalandhara, for Siva, being an ascetic and frequenter of cremation grounds, would not deserve or need a consort. Like a reflex, thunder and flash emanated from Siva’s third eye. Soon a leonine being with a whip-like tongue and fiery eyes appeared in front of the messenger Rahu. He had the appearance of the man-lion avatar of Vishnu, Narasimha and was ready to devour Rahu, who begged Siva that he being a Brahmin and messenger did not deserve to die and he sought his protection from Siva’s eye-born man-lion. Siva, out of compassion, asked his gana (servant) to leave Rahu alone. Jaladhara, coming to know of Rahu’s failure to bring Parvati, went to battle Siva, who drew a line around him in a circle, which transformed itself into a wheel. Siva persuaded him to lift the wheel up to his neck, which, being a test of his strength,  would make him eligible to fight with him.  Jalandhara lifted the wheel up to his neck the wheel spun on orders from Siva and severed his head. That was the end of Daitya Jaladhara. End of Comment. 

    Bhairava He of the black body, the Fierce One, the Wearer of skulls, the   Angry One, the Terrific One, the Mad One, Ruru, and the Destroyer.   These Bhairavas are aspects or emanations of the God Siva. Woodroffe The Great Liberation page 115. 


        [Ugra: powerful, mighty, terrible. one of the eight elemental forms of Rudra, four being ghora and the other four being Saumya: Ghora aspects, Ugra , Rudra, Sarva, and Asani  and Saumya (pleasant) aspects such as  Bhava, Pasupati, Mahadeva and Isana. Ghora: Terrible. Aghora: Not terrifying. the southern face of Siva, representing dharma, buddhi, and tattva. Aghora epithet is given to Siva to propitiate him. Rudra: Red one, Red flashing one, Red Roarer,  Red Crier. Rud = Red, Cry.  The students from the west advance the following opinions on Siva.  Vedic Rudra was a Storm-god and the Lord of Cattle (Pasupati) and later was identified as Siva. Siva is the product of major inflow of Pre-Vedic Non-Aryan belief systems into Vedic and post-Vedic Aryan belief systems in the process of assimilation, Siva was born. The Red Flashing One of Non-Aryan tribes became the Auspicious Siva of both Aryan and non-Aryan cults. Rudra-Siva maintained  his Ghora and Saumya aspects.  Ugra is powerful, mighty and terrible. Sarva is a wielder of lightning (and thunder) and destroys enemies with it. He is an archer with dark hair. Asani strikes with thunderbolt, lightning or meteorite and terror and fear in the hearts of enemies.

        Bhava is god of cattle and men, owner of earth, heaven and sky, a protector from jackals, and a destroyer of those who do not offer sacrifices and despise gods. Bhava is becoming in that after destruction, there is new beginning. Pasupati: Pasu is a domesticated animal (typically a cow), while Mrga (Tamil: mirugam) is a wild animal. All animals having  lingam or yoni (genitalia) are Siva's creatures. He is the chief or Lord of animals. In Saiva Siddhanta context Pasu refers to the individual soul, who may have the quality of an animal or human depending upon the classification of humans by Tantrics into three types: pasu (animal), Vira (hero) and Divya (divine). Mahadeva: He is the great God. Isana is the god of progeny.]

    5. Destruction by fire of Tripura: The Primal Lord wears the sacred River Ganga on his crimson matted locks. The ignorant say that he destroyed three cities, but what he destroyed was a triad of malas: Anava, Karma and Maya. 6. Killing of Demon Gajasura: The celestials lit sacrificial  fires, which rose to the heavens out of which came an elephant, Gajasura which attacked Siva on orders from the celestials. Siva peeled the skin of the elephant and wore it as raiment. Siva made the same sacrificial fires to consume them. The kundalini fire rose from Muladhara up the spine to Brahmarandara, and destroyed god of Death himself. That happened in Kadavur. 7.Saving of Markandeya:  Mrikandu Muni, a devotee of Siva was asked to make a choice between a stupid son with a long life and a gifted son with a short life of 16 years. He chose the latter and when the boy was destined to tryst with his destiny at the altar of Siva Lingam, Yama came to take his life.  Markandeya was praying and the noose of Yama landed around Markandeya and the Lingam he embraced, out of which emerged Siva himself in fury and thunder. Siva killed Death, but later revived him back to life under the stipulation that the youth (Markandeya) would live and remain sixteen for ever.

    8. Kama's end: The Lord was seated in yogic meditation. Kama came along to disturb his meditation, but was destroyed by Siva. Comment: Siva, the destroyer, was in meditation for sometime, which resulted in the increase in the population of earth and a heavy burden on Mother Earth.  The gods sent Kama (god of love) to shoot flowery Harshana (one of the five erotic arrows) on Siva and disturb his penance at the precise moment he woke up to receive his Divine Consort Parvati.  He also by his magical power created an ambience of spring in the air, earth, and trees, conducive to love. Siva woke up from meditation, took one look at Parvati, and could not stop enjoying and articulating his appreciation of beautiful features of Parvati, who, in the privacy of Siva’s presence, lay bare gracefully, with sidelong glances. Siva felt like two persons, one imbibing the beauty of Parvati and another Yogi of all yogis bent on control of the senses. He felt that if seeing is great pleasure, embracing must offer even greater pleasure. Suddenly it dawned on him that he was stung by Kama ’s arrows and bitten by love. How could that happen to a Yogi of yogis, who have complete control over their senses? The Paramayogi Siva addressed Parvati in a loving manner and wondered aloud to her, how he became a victim to Kama and how that downfall is harmful to his excellent reputation as the Lord of Vairagya (desirelessness). He advised Parvati, in a spirit of detachment, not to sit by his side on the couch, and looked around for he felt uncomfortable in being aroused. He felt that the Vairagin and Yogi (in him) was associating with a wife of someone else such was the depth of his Vairagya.  Kama continued to shoot the arrows at Siva with no effects. Siva's anger was coming to surface. A fire rising from the third eye of Siva incinerated Kama into ashes. That incident happened in Korukkai. End of comment. Linga Puranam.

    Siva, Why the Phallic Form. (based on Sivapuranam, Chapter 12)

    The sages were curious why Siva assumed the phallic form. Siva Purana in the words of Suta tells the following episode. Daruvana forest, near Badrinath, is where the devotees of Siva meditate on him. Once the chief Brahmana sage goes deep into the woods to collect twigs for sacrificial fire. Siva is wont to test his devotees by any means that he could devise. A stark naked man smeared with ash all over his body is walking around holding his phallus and doing all unimaginable activities and tricks with it. His intent is noble and doing good to the forest-dwelling sages pleases him most. Some Rishipatnis (the wives of sages or Rishis) are frightened to look at a man with wayward phallus performing antics. Other wives of the sages, fascinated, excited, and impressed by the newness of the show, gather around him. Some actually embrace him and some hold his hands. There is a gleeful melee among the wives to get close to him. The jingle and the jangle attract the attention of the blissfully married sages, who come close to their wives and the man whose only wear is ash. They see the Ash-Man perform unimaginable and perverse antics with his phallus, fume and froth and challenge him, "Who are you?" The Ash-Man does not answer; it is for them to find out who he is on their own. They lay a curse on him, "You, pervert. You violated the Vedic injunctions and moral path. Let your phallus fall to the ground."

        Suta continued his story of Avadhuta.  (Avadhuta: One who has shaken off from himself worldly goods, feeling and obligation, a philosopher. The highest form of renunciation.) The sages have power in their words; the phallus at once falls to the ground. It burns the ground where it falls and the self-propelling phallus starts moving leaving a burning trail; almost everything is burnt in its path. It goes to the netherworld, later to heaven, and back to earth; it cannot stay in one place. The occupants of earth, netherworlds, and heavens are panic-stricken; the sages go into grief; the gods enjoy no peace or joy. The sages and gods rush to Brahma and relate to him the story of wayward itinerant phallus with a trail of raging fire. Brahma, the Vedic Scholar, at once sees the hand (phallus) of Siva and his Maya at work.

        Brahma pulls them by the scruff and tells them that they violated the first etiquette of serving a guest (Avadhuta Siva) in midday. That violation bestows on them the onerous sin, which will dog them as karma. Brahma comes to a shrewd conclusion that the wandering phallus should be immobilized first. The anxious sages ponder on the question of pinning down the ambulating phallus. They have no idea and beg Brahma to offer some suggestions. The Vedic Scholar puts his four heads together and comes to another brilliant suggestion: The sages must find a suitable trap or cage for the meandering phallus. The sages rake their brains for ideas; none popped up in their sagacious mind. They look at Brahma, the Grandfather of the worlds, in a supplicant manner. Brahma tells the sages that they must propitiate goddess Parvati, offer prayers and beg her to transform Herself into a vaginal passage to receive, fixate and contain the wayward fiery phallus.  Now the sages are not sure about the procedural elements in intromission, immobilization and containment of the phallus in its natural passage. Again Brahma comes up with the solution. He makes the following suggestions:

    1. Act with love and devotion to goddess Parvati, the consort of Siva. Aim at pleasing her.

    2. Draw an eight-petalled mystic diagram (yantra) of lotus and place a pot in the center of it. Pour waters from Tirthas (holy places by the holy rivers) along with sprouts and sprigs of barley and Durva grass (Panicum Dactylon).

    3. Vedic Mantras should be chanted and the pot, thus infused and invoked, becomes sanctified. Remember Siva and offer prayers to the sacred pot.

    4. The phallus must be cooled and appeased by dousing it with water. Chanting of Satarudriya Mantras along with sprinkling of water will immobilize and stabilize the restless phallus. Satarudriyam: A Vedic hymn addressed to Rudra or Siva in his hundred aspects. Satam = sacred vessel, that which is perpetual, eternal. Sata-Viryam = Bermuda grass.

    5. Parvati in the form of birth passage and an auspicious arrow will constitute the pedestal in which the phallus will be installed with the chanting of Vedic Mantras. (The pedestal correlates anatomically to the pudendum, and lingam to the phallus. The allegorical elements represent the pedestal and Lingam; the anatomical pudendum and phallus stand for the creative force of Sakti and Siva. There is no prurient or deviant suggestion in this representation, according to devotees of Siva. From this entity only the universe of beings and matter originate through 36 Tattvas. ♂  ♀:  If you wondered where circle and arrow came from, now you know their origin. The circle is the pedestal or pudendum; the lingam is the phallus and the arrow, power, vigor, and manliness.)

    6. Please, propitiate, and worship Lord Siva with fragrant scents, sandal paste, flowers, incense and food. Fall prostrate at his holy feet, sing sacred hymns, play musical instruments, utter Svastyayana mantras and glorify the victory of the Lord. Svastyayana: mantras recited for good luck.

    7. Say the prayers to the Lord as follows: "You are the Lord of gods; you are the delighter of the universe; you are the creator, protector, and destroyer of the universe; You are Akshara, the imperishable." This will bring stability, prosperity, restoration of balance, and happiness to the universe.

    The sages follow these rituals and Lord Siva expresses his delight. Siva suggests that only Parvati can be the receptacle for his phallus, as no other woman can fit the role and this will make his phallus quiescent. Upon directions from Siva, the sages and gods take Brahma to Parvati and offer her their salutations and worship. Parvati obliges and accepts to conform to the request. This is how the phallus comes to be known as Hatesa and Siva-Siva. The worlds become one happy place. Lingam will offer liberation to the devotees. Lingam is Li and Gam meaning to dissolve and go out, meaning that Lingam is ultimate Reality in which everything dissolves and from which everything takes its origin. Siva is Yogin of Yogins,  who has supreme control over his senses. How do we explain his dalliance and dawdling? He is the Soul of the universe and all beings are the individual souls who take origin from him. Therefore, it is the compulsion of the homing device of the soul to seek out Siva and merge with him. This merging takes a story form in Puranas, where two opposite polarities come together and present as Linga embedded in a pedestal, from which the whole universe of matter and beings emanate and in which they subside. Ancient Greece is known for the festival of Demeter and Persephone and female devotees carrying phalli made of dough  and live snakes in procession as icons of generation and regeneration. Tantrics practice codified mantra-driven rituals of sexual intercourse within the confines of marriage.

       David Smith quotes Kanta Puranam (12th Century) that Siva did have a physical relationship with the Rishi's wives and they instantaneously gave birth to 84,000 boys who on the advice of Siva became ascetics.

    This is an allegory of merging of the individual souls with the Supreme Soul, Siva and the resulting product is liberation.

        Swami Vivekananda explains the origin of Siva-Linga in a lecture at the Paris Congress in 1900. A German Orientalist, Gustav Oppert, reduced whole concept of Linga worship in its association with Salagrama-Silai (sanctified natural stone image of Siva) as mere phallism. Swami, in his erudite rendition of the history of Linga origin, says that Atharva Veda Samhita identifies Skambha (Sacrificial Post, Axis Mundi) with Eternal Brahman. The bull that carries the sacrificial twigs for such an event becomes the mount of Siva also. The Skambha over time becomes Linga which later is associated with Siva-Linga. Swami raises another possibility: Vishnavas pick up the idea of Stupas from Buddhists and associate stones with Salagrama-sila. The association of Salagrama-sila with phallus comes after the fall of Buddhism in India. Siva Lingam and Salagrama-silai have nothing to do with sex as much as Holy Communion in Christianity has nothing to do with cannibalism.

    Some Scholars regard Rudra as a Dravidian god of thunder and lightning, and Indra as the Aryan counterpart. Rudra means “Red and flashing One.” Rudras or Maruts are the sons of Rudra. When Maruts enter, they raise a ruckus, flash there lightning, roar like a lion, unleash their thunder, and wear robes of rain. Rudra wields 100 weapons and is Pasupati, the Lord of the cattle. Rudra is later known as Siva, who was born of Brahma and is in charge of dissolution of the universe. Lord Siva is part of the Hindu Holy Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. Siva’s image appears usually (in the temples) in the form of Linga, which has at least two meanings:

    1.      Li, to dissolve and gam, to go out

    2.      Sign

    The meaning has significance in that what leaves the body after death or dissolution and is involved in transmigration of the soul is Lingasarira or subtle body. Linga also means “Sign.” The sign stands for transcendental power and generative principle. MERU is a mountain, considered as the epicenter of the universe and the abode and playground of the gods. Ganga River gracefully falls from its high point and runs down in four directions. Brahma's city of gold graces the summit, surrounding which there are eight satellite cities Krishna and Vishnu have abodes on Mount Meru. Deep below the base of the mountain are the seven netherworlds, and the mountain is supported by and balanced on the seven manifold heads of snake Vāsuki, whose movement causes tremor of the mountain. At Pralaya or dissolution, his fiery breath consumes the whole creation and universe. (Mount Meru is the Himalayas and the tremor felt is from the manifold head of the snake [of a South Asian subcontinent thrusting] under the Himalayas.) As Olympus is the mythical abode of the greater Grecian gods, Meru is the abode of Hindu gods.


        The British discovered some Indus Valley seals (dated C.2000 B.C.) depicting a Supreme Persona with three faces and a tumescent 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 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 phallus stands for Lingam, the Rupa-Arupa 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.

        Joseph Campbell explains the meaning of Bull, Moon, snake and sun. In the mythologies of the world, the horns of the moon and the bull are equated. The celestial moon wanes and dies and waxes and resurrects the power of life over death shows in the waxing of the moon. Moonlight gives the sap in the plants according to Hindus. The bull represents the conquest of life over death. Students of Siva and Nandi (Bull) say that the Bull is the theriomorphic form of Lord Siva.

        Snake has the same power of life over death in that death comes in the form of slough and life comes when the snake emerges from the slough thus the bull and the moon and the snake are equated. Its amphibious life in water and on earth indicates its ease of movement; its flicking tongue is fire and heat; the earth and water, its habitat,  are essential elements in life, providing nourishment.


        Dravidian Yogis were known for austere penances, meditation, detachment and renunciation (Yoga). The Aryans were known for sacrifices, and pacifying and panegyrizing gods. It took about 800 years for the Aryans to catch on that the Dravidians had something special that they did not even think of: Yoga and meditation. Intermarriage and social interaction over years helped syncretize and come up with a system of philosophy and practice that is seen to this day. Campbell believes that renunciation, the sine quo non of Yoga system and an earlier tradition, was unique to the Dravidians of Indus Valley that became the central tenet of early Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The Dravidian Yogi was seeking peace, solace, and god within himself, while the Aryan priest, the cousin of the Greeks, was seeking gods in the elements, fire, water, earth, sky, ether, clouds and thunder. The Yogi was drawing on his inner strength, while the Aryan priest was drawing his strength from outside.  The Yogi renounced all, while the Aryan priest sought (by his sacrifice) health, wealth, happiness, children, and kine from his gods; thus, Sanatana Dharma is a syncretic religion peculiar to the Indian subcontinent, both Dionysian and consumptive on the Aryan side and renounciation on the Dravidian side.  The fire sacrifice to the gods gave the Aryan his fulfillment. The inner fire (Tapas) of the meditating Yogi gave him peace and bliss. Matter and spirit come together in Sanatana Dharma.

        While the Brahmin priest's attention was engaged in exoteric rites, the Ksatriyas began thinking about the inner man. That was the time (timeless) Upanishads started surfacing on the horizon of Indian thought. It was not the priest, but the king who thought deeply about the inner man and the outer world. That is why Kundalini Yoga is Raja Yoga. One such king was the Buddha, who is considered as incarnation of Vishnu.

        Go to  YOGI  and Kundalini Power for more details.



    Here is a statement from Joseph Campbell that says that Siva originated in an alien land and migrated to India. It is disconcerting and ego-deflating since we are Siva devotees, we will swallow our pride and ego and listen to what Campbell says in his book, Myths of Light, page 57.


    Just how old are these images? Also, are they native to India? This is a very deep and very interesting question and problem. As we said, the earliest dates that we have for the culture world in India connect with the Dravidian culture in the Indus Valley, from the period of around 2500 to 1500 B.C. This is the period, just to the west, of ancient Akkad, Sumer, and the Mesopotamian city--states--the period of Sargon and Hammurabi. In Egypt it is the end of the Late and beginning of the Middle Kingdom.

    Most interestingly, it is the period of the great palace period in Crete. It is worthwhile to note that Siva's symbols are the trident, the bull, and the lingam. These are exactly the symbols of Poseidon, who was, understandably, the principal divinity of ancient sea-bound Crete. It seems clear, beyond a reasonable doubt, that both of these worlds, Crete and India, received their civilization from the much older high civilized domain of the Near East. The archaeological record in Iran, Syria, and Turkey goes back thousands of years earlier than 2500 B.C. We have evidence of a recognizable civilization at Catal Huyuk in Anatolia (modern Turkey-- my note) going back as far as 8000 B.C..--at least five millennia prior to Mohenjo Daro and Harappa. This is almost as many years as mark the time from India's first civilization to the present. And these divinities that are worshiped today in India, and whose Implications have been developed in these glorious philosophies, have their roots back there. India has continued and developed an inspiration with respect to a poetic image, to the order of the world, that traces its roots back to the first of the great high cultures. End of passage.

    My note:

    When the west sees something, a person, mother of languages, or even gods unique to India, at once they lay a claim to it, find some tenuous connections outside of India or assign its origin to some alien land and people. If there is something good, it must have their imprint in it; there is no way, it can be purely Indian. If it is good, it cannot be Indian; it has to be from somewhere else. We have been brainwashed long enough by the uninvited foreigners coming as invaders and occupiers. When it comes to caste, it is special to India and unlike seen anywhere else and a despicable legacy, which it is. In genetics and language, we are listed as Indo-European. Why do they have to append that European eponym to us? Is it because it is good or bad? Are we not proud of Dravidian and Indo-Aryan culture, customs, religion, genealogy? Of course, the "Aryan invaders" introduced the caste system in India. Indians are beginning to question the Aryan invasion theory.  It is the opinion of the west that ancestors of Italians, Greeks, Germans, English, Celtic, Iranian, and Hindi-speaking North Indians originated in Central Asia and dispersed to the west into Europe, east and south into India.

    Why did the Aryans not carry memories of their existence outside India. There is no spoken or written records of them in Rg Veda, the first and the most ancient composition of the world.  Even Dravidians and Tamil, civilized race and fine language, before the "arrival of nomadic Aryans," came from somewhere outside India. Can you believe that? Yes, it is true that we all originated in Africa  and moved out and on the way to the new place, we lost, gained, modified, and augmented some anthropomorphic features of our African progenitors. The cranial structure of the whites and Caucasoid races (Indians) changed; the whites acquired light skin; the Indians acquired the brown skin and the Asiatics retained and augmented the faint orange-colored skin of their African ancestors, in addition to the epicanthus.  Consider this statement. After the centrifugal African wave, we borrowed everything from people around Euphrates and Tigris river region: their genes, their language, their customs, their religion, their gods. How true and valid are these statements? India is not our land, but a land of immigrants, as America is!


    Siva Lingams according to Linga Purana Chapter 74

    Brahma the creator of the universe under the Lordship of Siva asked the celestial architect, Visvakarma,  to design and make Lingas according to specifications.

    Sapphire was wrought into a Linga and given to Vishnu for worship.  Ruby Linga was the object of worship for Indra. Visvaras worshipped Gold Linga. The following deities worshipped Lingas made of a particular material.

    Vasus Vayu Asvins Varuna Adityas
    Magnetic Linga Brass Earth Crystal Copper


    Soma Ananta Daityas Raksasas Guhyakas
    Pearls Coral Iron  Linga Iron  Linga Three metals


    Ganas Camunda Mothers Nairrti Yama
    All metals Sand Sand Wood Emarald


    Nilarudra Lakshmi Guha Sages Vamadeva
    Ash Linga Bilva tree cowdung Kusa grass Puspa Linga


    Manonmani Saraswati Durga Mantras Vedas
    Scents Jewel Linga Gold Ghee Curds




    Linga worship sustains the mobile and the immobile world. There are six types of Linga with forty-four subtypes.

    1st type 2nd type 3rd type 4th type 5th type 6th type
    Rock Jewels Metals Wood Clay Momentary type (Ksanika)
    4 subtypes 7 subtypes 8 subtypes 16 subtypes 2 subtypes 7 subtypes


    Each material of which the Linga is made and consecrated has special powers which the devotee and worshipper enjoys.


    Jewel Linga Rock Metals Wood Clay  
    fortune Siddhis Wealth Earthly joys Siddhis  

    Root of the Linga harbors Brahma, middle Vishnu, and top Rudra, Mahadeva and Sadasiva, who is Pranava. The pedestal of the Linga is the Goddess with three gunas.

    The following is an extract from Lingapurana translation by The Board of Scholars of Motilal Banarsidass Publishers (page 368-369).

    The person who worships the Linga is eulogized by Indra, Brahma, Agni, Yama, Varuna, Kubera, Siddhas, Vidyadharas, the king of serpents, Yaksas, Danavas and Kinnaras with the sounds of the divine drum. He is a meritorious soul. shining brilliantly with splendor he gradually occupies and passes through Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svah and Mahar worlds and then beyond Janaloka he shall go on to Tapas and Satya, illuminating them with his own brilliance. He shall unhesitatingly pierce the cosmic Egg by means of the large sword deposited in the holy path wherein the Lingas had been installed.

    26-30. After eschewing the Lingas of rock, or of jewels, or of metals, or of wood or of clay or of the momentary type he shall establish his entire body in the Linga.

    The man who installs the splendid Linga white as the kunda flower or cow's milk, in accordance with the injunctions, along with Skanda and Uma undoubtedly becomes Rudra embodied in human form. By touching him or seeing him men attain great bliss. O leading brahmins, his merit cannot be mentioned by me even in hundreds of yugas. Hence one should install the Linga in the above manner.

    Linga is full of bliss, purity, auspiciousness, and imperishability. Linga is of two types: External and internal. External Linga is visible to the naked eye and is the Linga of the external or gross man, who cannot conceive anything that does not appear before his eyes. The internal, subtle or spiritual Linga is perceptible to the Yogin. Sivalinga is Niskala for the spiritual man and Sakala for the gross man. Siva is indivisible like ether, which can be contained in a pot or present everywhere. Though ether is one, the pot make it look as many. The sun is one but appears as many in manifold water mirrors, like lakes, puddles.... Man, animal and plant are made of five elements, though they have myriad forms in their Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species, and individuals.  All this plus whatever you see, hear, do not see, do not hear and anything else perceived or not perceived by the senses is Siva. There is nothing he is not. The difference between individuals is mere illusion. This illusion is a dream which is not real but gave all the experiences.

    The physical body of Siva is of three types: Niskala, Niskala-Sakala, and Sakala. Yogins worship and meditate on Niskala form some the Niskala-Sakala form others with their families the Sakala form. Sakala form is the visible form. Siva is also the goddess, whom the Saktas worship. Some regard Siva as One some as two (dvigunam--Purusa and Prakrti) some as Trigunam (Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra).


    Worship of seated Siva with Uma and Skanda -by making the idol-makes the devotee Siva-like, traveling in aerial cars to many worlds of Uma, Kumara, Isana, Brahma, Prajapati, Janarloka, Maharloka, Bhuvarloka, Meru and the abodes of Devas. He attains SAyujya (union) with Siva. Siva created Vishnu from his left side Brahma right side Prakrti left side cosmic intellect from Intellect Cosmic Ego from his own Ego, the origin of Tanmatras sense organs from his own sense organs the earth from the base of the foot water from his genitalia fire from navel the sun from the heart the moon from the neck and the soul and heaven from the middle of the eyebrows and forehead.

    When Siva is worshipped in his dancing stance-by making the idol- along with the daughter of the mountain with his thousand arms or four arms, surrounded by Bhrgu and goblins, mothers and sages, bowing Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, Soma and other Devas, the devotee receives blessings equal to 10 million times the benefits obtained and accumulated by doing all Yajnas, penances, gifts, pilgrimages and visits to Devas.  He goes to Siva Puram, the Mythical City of Sivapura built on the peak of Kailasa in Himalayas. Once his sojourn ends with the dissolution of all living beings, the next creation brings him back to earth as a mortal.

    When Siva is worshipped-by making the idol- in the form Ardhanariswara (half male, half female) with four arms giving boons, the devotee experiences all the joys of Sivaloka and receives the power of Animaa (ability to assume a minute form), the appropriate knowledge lasting as long as the moon and stars and liberation.
    The Sakala (one with attributes) and divinely splendid body of the lord is worthy of being conceived by all men. But the Niskala (attributeless) body of the lord can be conceived only by the yogin, is all pervasive and remains in the heart of the yogin.

    Worship of Siva has merit whose depth depends on the type. The highest form of worship is Dhyanayajna. Dhyana (meditation) confers perfect knowledge. Japayajna (sacrifice as Japam: derived from Jap = to murmur or whisper chanting or repeating mantras or name of a deity.) is superior to thousands of Tapoyajnas which are sacrifice in the form of austerity. Tapoyajna is superior to thousands of Karmayajnas (sacrifices dominant in holy rites).

    Holy rites, austerity, chanting, and meditation are sequentially superior. In Dhyanayajna, Siva himself appears in the vision of the Sadhaka.

    History and mythology of Chidambaram: Chidambara Mahatmyam (CM)

    CM is a collection of local legends and myths and history of the hereditary priests who came to Chidambaram from North India. King Hiranyavarman took a bath in the Siva Ganga tank, the waters of which cured his leprosy. He expressed gratitude by bringing 3000 Dikshitars, who previously moved to the North. Patanjali wrote the manual of temple rites which do not follow the Saiva Agamas.

        Naimisa forest takes after the eponymous Nimsar on the left bank of Gomati River in Uttar Pradesh. Naimisha means a moment, twinkling or winking of eye and therefore connotes time, a second or fraction thereof, 2/5ths of a second necessary to wink the eye.  The forest was so named because the Asuras (anti-gods, A-suras) were defeated in a twinkling by Sage Gauramukha. The wheel of Virtue broke and instead of spinning all over, it found its permanent place here. This is the most famous forest where all the Puranas were narrated. The forest were full of a variety of trees, flowers, birds and beasts. It was known for Champaka tree (Michelia champaca), pools and lakes. The forest was teeming with people of all four castes, forest dwellers, ascetics, Gurus, hermits, cows and cattle. The people grew barley, chick peas, beans, pulses, sesamum, sugarcane, paddy, and vegetables. They held sacrifices. Romaharshana, a Suta (rhymes with Soota) born of a Ksatriya father and a Brahmana mother arrived at the forest. Romaharahana = Roma + harahana = hair + bristling a person whose hair bristles or stands erect obviously Romaharshana is hirsute. He is one of the greatest sages, a pupil of the Mahabharata-fame Vyasa and the narrator of the Puranas. Romaharshana is also know as Lomaharashana. Loma = hair. Suta had six disciples: Agnivarcas, Akrtavrana, Sumati,  Mitrayus, Samsapayana and Savarani.

        Suta praised the 3000 sages and compared them to Sarasvati and Brahma in their knowledge and study of Vedas. The sages were known for their generosity, intelligence, Siva worship, devotion, and smearing Vibhuti (Sacred Ash) on themselves as a sign of Siva devotion. Vibhuti also refers to halo and the eight Siddhis of Siva: Anima, Laghima, Prāpti, Prakāmya, Mahima, İśitva, Vaśitva, Kāmāvasāyitā.

    When you receive Vibhuti in the temple, you must observe certain rules.

    When you receive Vibhuti, receive it a cupped right palm nestled above the let palm. You should never transfer it to the lift palm.

    You must never spill it on the floor. If it happens, you must clean that part of the floor well. 

    You must never dump the remaining Vibhuti in a part of the temple.

    What must you observe when you apply it on the forehead?

    Stand looking towards south or north, and apply the Vibhuti. It is auspicious to chant Siva names like, “Siva Siva, Om Namasivaya, Om Sivaya Namaha”

    You may think of your Ishta Devata and apply it.

    Vibhuthi means wealth. That being so, we apply Vibhuti to keep wealth with us.

    Barring the right thumb and the little of the 5th finger, apply a three-stripe Vibhuti on the forehead beginning at the lateral end of the left eyebrow and ending at the lateral end of the right eyebrow.

    At Brumadya, you may apply the most favorite of Ambal, the Kum-kum.

    Image credit: Pinterest.

    Ref: Kumudam BAKTHIUpdated: May 26, 2020


        Ash in Sivapurana

        Bilva/ Vilva / Bael tree (Aegle marmelos.)     Click to enlarge

        There are several sources for making the Ash.

        Simultaneously chanting the mantras, burn the cow dung of Kapila (brown) cow along with Asvattha, palasa, Vata, Aragvadha or Bilva. The resulting ash is called Sivāgnija.  Alternately the twigs can be burnt in Darbha grass fire chanting Siva Mantra. The ash is sieved through a cloth strainer and the powder is put in a pot (metal, wood, earth or cloth or silk bag). Ash prepared by Vaidk devotees can be used by all, while Tantric Ash is used only by Tantrics.

    Ash is called Bhasma meaning that which is honored or adored controlling the essence of the whole universe. The ash represents the essence of the sacred plants. Siva destroys the universe periodically and the resulting ash is the essence of the destroyed universe, which he smears all over his body.  The essence of each element constitutes parts of his body: the principle of Akasa is his hair, Fire his heart, waters his hips, the Earth his knees and so on. The tripundraka (three parallel ash marks on the forehead) constitutes the essence of Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. The red Tilaka (dot) constitutes the essence of Mahesvara. Siva means the One who controls everything and whom no one can control. S in Siva is eternal bliss; I Purusa, the primordial male energy; Va Sakti, the primordial female energy. Ash is applied on the body and latter in stripes on the forehead. A round dab of ash on the forehead of the disciple is the mark of Siva, applied by the devotee himself or the Guru; it purifies the devotee. The devotee must regard the Guru as Siva or Lingam. The father brings the son into the world in a physical form and drowns him in the ocean of Samsara, while Guru helps him cross the ocean.

        The Naimisa forest sages wanted to know about Sage Vyaghrapada (literal meaning = Tigerfoot). His name, before he was popularly known as Tigerfoot, was Madhyanthana, whose father had the same name. Tigerfoot, a devotee of Siva, was well-versed in Vedic texts and learnt Panchakshara mantra from his father. The sages asked Madhyanthana Sr. earnestly about the means of attaining to the feet of Ambikapati Siva. Ambikapati = Goddess Ambika's husband, Siva.) He answered it as follows:  The seasons (Ritu) and the year are divided into 6 parts instead of 12 months. If a Sadaka performs meditation and worship during winter, rainy, and spring months eclipses of sun and moon on the top of the mountains in Siva temples and thick jungles on the banks of the rivers in verdant gardens abounding in fruits and flowers and eats only fruits, roots, and leaves from the jungle, he will attain and enjoy Brahmaloka, but will return to Samsara (birth and death) on earth again. He will not achieve Sayujya with Siva, which entails merging with Siva and no return to this earth.

        Here is a table explaining the seasons.

    Solstice Zodiac Ritu (season) Months condition
    Northern Kumbam and Meenam (Aquarius & pisces) Sisira Magha and Phalguna = Mid JAN to mid MAR cold, chilly, frigid
    Northern Mesh and Rshaba 

    (Aries & Taurus)

    Vasantha Chaitra and Vaisakha: mid MAR to mid MAY Spring
    Northern Mithuna &Karkataka (Gemini & Cancer) Grishma Gyaishtha & Ashadha: mid MAY to mid JUL Summer, Hot season
    Southern Simha & Kanya (Leo & Virgo) Varsha Sravana & Bhadra: mid JUL to mid SEP Rain, Monsoon
    Southern Thulam & Vrischika (Libra & Scorpio) Sharad Asvina &Kartika: mid SEP to mid mid NOV Autumn
    Southern Dhanu & Makram (Sagittarius & Capricorn) Hemant Margasirsha & Pausa: mid NOV to Mid JAN Winter

        Madhyanthana Sr. continued his advice. If a Sadhaka wants union with Siva, which ensures merger with Siva and freedom from birth and rebirth, when he worships to Parama Siva (Supreme Siva). Offering prayers to other gods is unnecessary. To a question by his son, he said that Siva is omniscient and the auspicious places for prayers, meditation and worship are Kailasa in the Himalayan mountains and the Svaymabhu Lingam (natural Lingam and not an artifact) in the Tillai forest in Chidambaram. 


        Bhakti (personal devotion), temple worship and ritual are important elements in Siva worship. Sambandar eulogizes the Brahmins of Tillai as the guardians of virtue, conquerors of cosmic evil, tenders of sacrificial fire and repository of sacred texts.

      The devotees of Siva are affectionately known as and call themselves Adiyar (the footman or the one who serves at the foot of Siva). Adimai and thondu are some of the qualifications of a Siva devotee. Adimai - slavery to Siva and his devotees. Thondu = service to god and men. The Saiva poets of even Brahmana caste did not discriminate against the lower caste Saiva poets or devotees.    

    God is open to access on four paths: Chariyai, Kriyai, Yogam and Jnanam. Go to TANTRA  and Siva-Ashtamurthy for more details. The first three are important paths though Jnanam is the most important, capable of giving Paramukti. Paramukti is supreme Mukti or liberation (release) after death, while mukti while living is Jiva mukti. The file Siva-Ashtamurthy uses the analogy of a ladder consisting of four steps, the bottom being Chariyai and the top Jnanam. In each step the soul relates to Siva in a different manner: slave, son, friend, and likeness.

    Service Chariyai Kriyai Yogam Jnanam
    Relation with Siva Slave Son or child Friend Likeness to Siva

        Chariyai is manual work of a devotee in the worship of Siva: collecting flowers, keeping the temple clean and the like. Kriyai is ceremonial and ritual acts based Agamic prescription. Yogam and Jnanam are higher forms of worship. Yogam is contemplation on Siva, the devotee wanting to be and becoming one with Siva. Jnanam is the most difficult and hard to obtain. It is not the mundane knowledge but Siva Jnanam, the knowledge that truly knows the oneness of Pati and pasu.  The four paths start with the physical, going to the metaphysical and ending in the transcendental Siva Jnanam. The stepladder pattern of ascent from one to another is a  measure of spiritual intelligence of the devotee.



    Siva and Parvati on the Bull--Tanjore painting


    Vrishavahana Shiva and Parvati

    Siva and Padma Puranas write on Rudraksa wearing, mantras and benefits. You will notice many differences, especially the recited Mantras.

    Rudraksa seeds are derived from the tree Elaecarpus ganitrus Roxb that grows in Himalayan Tibet and India and Indonesia.

    From Siva Purana about Rudraksa

    Rudraksa = Rudra +Aksha = Rudra + eyes = Rudra’s eyes.

    The most favorite seed of Siva is Rudraksa. It sanctifies, and destroys the sins by sight, contact and prayers. Siva describes the origin of Rudraksa. “I have been doing penance for many thousands of divine years (one divine year = 12 earth years). I opened my eyes to help this universe and tear drops rolled down from my eyes and fell on the earth. Rudraksa plants grew from these tear drops. They were given to the devotees of Vishnu according to their Varna. They grow in Gauda, Mathura, Lanka, Ayodhya, Malaya (western ghats), Sahya (mountain range), Kasi. They have the ability to destroy the sins. They are of four types and colors: White Rudraksa for Brahmins, Red for Ksatriyas, Yellow for Vaisya, and black for Sudra. All of them are auspicious.  Rudraksa beads confer upon the wearer benefits, worldly pleasures, and liberation.  Rudraksa of  the size of Emblic Myrabalan (Amla size >2.3cm) is the best among them. The one with natural hole from pole to pole is the best. The one that has the hole drilled is the middling. If one wears eleven hundred Rudraksas, he assumes Rudra rupa (Rudra form). Words cannot describe the benefits derived from wearing 1150 beads.  A coronet of 550 beads is worn by a devotee. A pious man wears three circular strings in the manner of Sacred thread, each string having 360 beads. One should use three beads on the tuft and six in each ear. A rosary of 108 beads should be worn around the neck. Three arm bands of 11 Rudraksas should be worn on the arm, elbow and wrist of each hand. Three Rudraksas should grace the sacred thread five Rudraksas should be worn around the hips.  Such a person is worthy of worship like me. Such a person should be addressed, “Upon your sight, all sins are destroyed.” Even women and men of all Varnas and Asramas can wear Rudraksa. The sins of those who wear the Rudraksa have their sins wiped out: morning sins are destroyed by afternoon so on and so forth.

            A Rudraksa of one face is Siva Himself and destroys the sin of Brahmin slaughter by sight;  that of two faces is Isa Himself and satisfies all desires. One of three faces confers enjoyment one of four faces is Brahma Himself and wipes out the sin of manslaughter sighting and touching it fulfils four objectives in life. One with five faces is Rudra Himself and confers salvation and expunges all sins from adultery and eating forbidden food.

    Wearing Rudraksa of these faces confer these advantages.

    Six faces seven faces eight faces nine faces Ten faces
    kartikeya Ananga Vasumurti and Bhairava Bhairava. Presiding deity is Durga of 9 forms. Jnardana
    expels sin of Brahmin slaughter. poor man turns into a Lord lives a full life and becomes Siva with trident.   attains the fruits of all desires.
    Eleven faces 12 faces on the hair of head 13 faces 14 faces  
    Rudra All 12 Suns are there Visvedeva The Highest Siva  
    Victory is guaranteed   good fortune and auspiciousness destroys all sins  

               These are the Mantras specific for Rudraksa of various faces.

    Face Mantra
    one face Rudraksa Om Hrīm Namah
    2 faces Om Namah
    3 faces Om Klīm Namah
    4 faces Om Hrīm Namah
    5 faces Om Hrīm Namah
    6 faces Om Hrīm Hum Namah
    7 faces Om Hum Namah
    8 faces Om Hum Namah
    9 faces Om Hrīm Hum Namah
    10 faces Om Hrīm Namah
    11 faces Om Hrīm Hum Namah
    12 faces Om Kraum Ksaum Raum Namah
    13 faces Om Hrīm Namah
    14 faces Om Namah



    Another auspicious procedure is wearing one bead on the tuft, thirty on the head, 50 around the neck, 16 around the arm on each side, 12 around each wrist 500 on the shoulders 3 strings of 108 beads each worn as the sacred thread. He who wears all these 1000 beads and performs rites punctiliously is worthy of worship like Rudra.

                A votary of Siva should not eat meat, garlic, seasoning herbs, pork and refrain from drinking liquors. The sight of a devotee with the garland of Rudraksas drives out evil spirits,  ghosts, Pisacas, witches, charms and spells.  Siva, Vishnu, Devi, Ganapati, the sun and other gods are pleased with the devotee with Rudraksa garland. Rudraksa garland and ash please Siva. If Mahadeva is worshipped without Rudrakasha and ash, his desires are not realized.

        Padma Purana says the following in Chapter 59.

                    A Rudraksa without a mouth (face), one eaten by an insect, broken one, one derived from conjoined berries are to be avoided. A Rosary made by a person for himself either in a loose or separately-tied fashion is recommended. The one strung by a Sudra or lower classes is impure. Mantras in praise of Vishnu, Siva, Ganesa, or the sun on a clean surface, at the root of a tree, a cow pen, or in a house muttered with the Rosary are beneficial. Use of Rosary with muttering of Mantras in praise of goddess in a vacant house, cremation ground, and crossroads gives success.

                    Rudraksas were formed from the drops of perspiration of Siva, when he killed demon Tripura in Kritayuga, who was hiding in the intermediate zone between earth and heaven. When Skanda asked Siva its benefits, He answered, "Merit upon seeing Rudraksa increases by 100,000, by wearing 100 million, and chanting the hymns billions." Wearing Rudraksa on one's body cancels out all impious acts and erases all sins. If an animal chokes and dies on a Rudraksa it receives Rudrahood, what about human beings? Just holding Rudraksa absolves the holder of all sins.

    Notice the differences between Siva and Padma Purana. Wearing Rudraksa with various mouths (faces) destroys sins as follows.

    one mouth (face) 2 mouths 3 mouths 4 mouths 5 mouths
    Siva Vishnu Fire Brahma himself Rudra's son
    Absolves one of Brahmanacide absolves the sin of killing cows Prarabda karma is destroyed. Brahmanacide and homicide of a woman are excused. adept in religion and secular knowledge honored by gods in front of Siva over millions of kalpas
    goes to Kailasa goes to heaven No diseases in the abdomen never defeated Lord of beings Sovereign emperor
    6 mouths 7 mouths 8 mouths 9 mouths 10 mouths
    worn on right arm never defeated like Kartikeya virtuous Parvati the giver of boons acts like his mother equal to Ananta resistant to poisons sins of adultery with his teacher's wife expunged God Vinayaka Himself born intelligent adept in letters sins of adultery with his teacher's wife expunged Bhairava Himself sin of killing millions absolved honored like Indra in heaven he is Ganesa Himself. serpents perish
    God-like pleasure in all three worlds enjoys heaven
    11 mouths 12 mouths 13 mouths 14 mouths
    wears it on the topknot equal to merit of thousands of horse sacrifices millions of sacrifices equal to a gift of 100,000 cows to a Brahmana.


    worn around his neck fire and diseases do not affect him the sin of Killing endangered species (elephants) is destroyed. fulfills all desires sin of killing of father, mother, siblings or teacher is expunged. wear it on one's head he is the darling of gods  
    Equal to Hara Equal to Rudra eternally lives in Heaven

    These are the accompanying mouth- or face-specific Mantras chanted while wearing the Rudraksas. The merits without recital of hymns are mentioned before; the merits obtained while wearing and reciting the mouth-specific mantras are beyond numbers and imagination.

     ekamukhi = one mouth;  Vaktra = face

    1 mouth

    Om Rudra ekavaktrasya

    2 mouths

    Om kham dvivaktrasya

    3 mouths Om ambum trivaktrasya
    4 mouths Om hrīm caturvaktrasya
    5 mouths Om hrām pancavaktrasya
    6 mouths Om, hrūm sadvaktrasya
    7 mouths Om hrah saptavaktrasya
    8 mouths Om kam astavaktrasya
    9 mouths Om jūm navavaktrasya
    10 mouths Om aksam dasavaktrasya
    11 mouths Om srīm ekadasavaktrasya
    12 mouths Om hrīmdvadasavaktrasya
    13 mouths Om ksom trayodasavaktrasya
    14 mouths Om nrām caturdasavaktrasya

    A man who wears Rudraksas of all mouths is equal to Siva Himself. He who dies while wearing a rosary of Rudraksas or just one Rudraksa becomes the follower of Siva, Sakti, Ganapati or the sun. He who recites the Mantras to himself or for others or listens to such Mantras or causes others to listen to them becomes free from all sins and goes to heaven.

    Here is a table that explains the Rudraksa seeds, the faces between the rills, the associated deities and the benefits.

    Different Mukhi Rudraksha; the face between the rills (trenches)

    God / Goddess and the benefits

    One Face

    Lakshmi rupam; Goddess Lakshmi. Rarely available.

    Two face

    Ardhanarisvara: Androgynous Siva-Sakti.

    Three Face

    Sarasvati, Goddess of learning; Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesa-The Triad.

    Four Face

    Brahma, the Creator. The four-faced Brahma.

    Five Face

    Rudra, God of destruction;

    Six Face

    Kartikeya, son of Siva, Warrior god.

    Seven Face

    Saptarishi (Seven Rishis).

    Eight Face

    Ganesa, god of beginnings; Ashta Vasus. The eight Vasus are the personifications of natural phenomena:

    Apa for water, Dhruva for the Pole-star, Soma for moon, Dhava or Dhara for earth, Anila for wind, Anala for fire, Pratyusha for Dawn, and Prabhasa for light.

    Nine Face

    Durga has Tejas of all gods.

    Ten Face

    Vishnu, God of maintenance; Krishna

    Eleven Face

    Eleven forms of Siva (SB 3.12.12). Manyu, Manu, Mahinasa, Mahaan, Siva, Rtadhwaja, Ugraretaa, Bhava, Kaala, Vaamadeva and Dhrtavrata.

    Twelve Face

    Vishnu or Sun whose chariot passes the 12 points of the Zodiac.

    Thirteen Face

    Visvadeva (Indra) and lesser gods provide fortune and happiness.

    Fourteen Face

    Siva: This bead is worn on the forehead, the location of Ajna Chakra.

    It is not uncommon for the nuts to be powdered, mixed with milk and taken internally to cure diseases.


    Vibhuti = Vi + bhūti = Apart + existence, manifest, reveal =  Apart from existence = Holy ash.

    It is said that Siva applied ash from Sacrificial fires from Vedic times and thus the practice began among the votaries. There are several instances of the people rising from death after a Sadhu or holy man sprinkled ash on the dead body. 

    Roman Catholics and Ashes

    Ash Wednesday (Day of Ashes), marking the onset of Lent (spring) is the Roman Christian tradition of 40-day period of fasting and penance and wearing ash from burnt palm fronds of previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration of triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. The followers partake the sufferings and sorrows of Christ.  Blessed ashes stand for mourning and penance and thus the observant remains in sackcloth and ashes, which are sprinkled over the head since Mosaic times.  Num 19:9-10, 17. 9“A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They shall be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin. 10The man who gathers up the ashes of the heifer must also wash his clothes, and he too will be unclean till evening. This will be a lasting ordinance both for the Israelites and for the aliens living among them. 17“For the unclean person, put some ashes from the burned purification offering into a jar and pour fresh water over them. As in Hindu religion, ash is a reminder of death and our (soul's) mortality. The priest puts on the forehead the sign of the Cross with the ashes, using his thumb and saying, "Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return."  People may use ash bought in the religious store.

        The Biblical act for repentance is to wear ash and sackcloth, sit in dust and ashes and sprinkle dust and ashes on one's forehead. Fasting and wearing ash have survived to this day.

        People are encouraged to abstain from meat during the whole period of 40 days.

        Ash from the dead bodies was worn in primitive times to remind us about the impermanence of life on earth and the reality of death. Ash as a symbol of nothingness brings home the point that all objects that give a feeling of I and Mine in the world eventually come to end; greed and possessiveness have no place in the world. Ash is the remains of the body and what remains after the body is the immortal soul. To be attached to the impermanent body and not to the eternal soul is the paradox of mundane living.  Body is burdened with impurities (Malams) while the individual soul by itself is pure. Ash is pure and has undergone test by fire; thus, all impurities should be rendered into ash. All matter (Panchabhutas) is perishable revealing the underlying eternal Parmatman. Siva smearing himself with Ash is the reminder of impermanence of the five elements and the underlying eternality of Brahman, (who is the hypostasis of all that exists).

    The Stars (dots) and Stripes, and colors

    The forehead mark is white, red, or black most of the time.  Three horizontal white ash stripes (Vibhuti, Tripundaram) on the forehead along with the red dot below the stripes (see picture) are the mark of Saivites; three vertical stripes (Namam) the sign of Vaishnavites; black Pottu (dot) the sign of the black moon and the premarital virgins with sexual purity. Red Pottu (Kum-Kum) is the sign of a happily married women. Red mark is worn by men also, worshipping Mother Goddess (Saktas).

    Votaries belonging to Mādvachārya sect wear sandal paste vertical line on their forehead instead of red line. Guruvayurappan (Lord Krishna in Guruvayur in Kerala) is seen with the U mark on his forehead, made of sandalwood paste and saffron. Preparatory rites involve using of sandalwood paste and its distribution to the votaries as Prasadam at the end of ceremony. Sandalwood paste is used on various parts of the body for Sandhyavandanam and post-Upanayanam worship. Vadakalais wear U Namam; Tenkalais wear Y Namam.

                                         Horizontal and Vertical Markings

    The distinctive head markings (namas) identify the sects of Hinduism. Shaivites apply bands across their foreheads (left). Vaishnavites, adherents of Vishnu, wear three vertical lines (right).

    Happiness in tranquility (credit: kamat.com)

    A Muth and its Swamiji are the nucleus of cultural, spiritual and philanthopic activities
    Shown above: Picture of Swamiji of Shirali Muth

    Tranquil physiognomy

    Eight Vibhuti stripes on body

    Forehead, neck, three in each arm.

    Credit Kamat.com

    Namam and its locations

    Vaishnavite priest, credit: kamat.com

    Heaps of vermilion

    Note his Sandal paste marks on Visuddha and Ajna Chakras

    Kum-Kum Vendor, Credit: Kamat.com


    Scintillating ebullience

    Red Pottu (dot) of  married women

    credit Kamat.com


    Credit: Kamat.com

    Grace and dignity in loss: Woman sans vermilion (Widow)

    Credit (kamat.com)

                Sacred Ash are of three types: Karpam, Anukarpam, and  Upakarpam. Karpam is the ash made from cow-dung caught as it drops by hand and prepared according to Agamic rites. Anukarpam is the ash made from the cow-dung picked up from the pasture lands. Upakarpam is the ash prepared from the ashes left behind after forest fires and the ashes in the brick kiln.

             These marks teach the devotee of all sects that he should remove the triads from his system. (Tri = three) They also indicate the opening of the eye of wisdom in Bhrumadhya (spot between the eyebrows. Bhrū = Brow;  Madhya = mid point. Sanskrit Bhrū is cognate with brow; now you know the British and Europeans won't know what to call the arched cluster of hairs above the eyes until taught by the Sanskritist. Same is true with tri or three.

    The origin of words and numerals: The view of Devabhāṣya School (Sanskrit language revealed by devas).

    Here is a story of the word Bhrū. A Sanskrit scholar, an European and an Englishman were linguists 5000 years ago. (Later, somebody called  them, Indo-Europeans) They were brewing a liquid concoction by boiling some unnamed leaves brought by the Sanskritist and enjoying its bouquet, aroma and flavor. The Sanskritist from India was dubbed  later to belong to DevabhAsya School claiming that Sanskrit is the origin of the so-called Indo-European languages. DevabhAsya = Divine revelation, made visible by the divine. They were the first ones to name parts of the body precisely, sitting by the fireside. (Greeks, you are alpha and omega of Human Anatomy; Joseph Campbell says that Greeks are the cousins of Indo-Aryans.) They (man-men-manas = thinking animal-thinking animals-mind) were thinking up words. There was a brisk wind. A louse from the head of the Sanskritist jumped and landed on the eyebrow of the European.  The brisk wind carried several flakes of the Sanskritist's dandruff and deposited them on the Englishman's head.  The Sanskritist saw a head louse taking a stroll on the left eyebrow of the European. The observant Englishman said, "that little walking thing of your color (pointing to the Sanskritist- dubbed as Brown Aryan) is taking a stroll on the arch of hairs above the left eye of  this (man, pointing to the European) from up there, (pointing in the direction of Europe)." The European saw three lice taking a straddling unsteady walk between the hairs on the head of the Sanskritist, and said, "this (man) has louse, louse, louse walking on head between the hairs." The Sanskritist and the European saw white flakes and scales on the hair of the Englishman and said,  "this thing on your hair is like this (pointing to the white color of the Englishman)."  They all went to the doctor for consultation and treatment. They had problem explaining what the problems were. The Sanskritist ( the Brown Guru) came to the rescue and said pointing to the eyebrow, "We call this BhrU."  All practiced the intonation of the word, BhrU.  They could not get it right the first few times. They were forcing the wind by the closed lips and vibrating the lips 10 times a second. Eventually they got it right. The Sanskritist continued, "Tri", pointing to the three lice and counting louse, louse, louse with his fingers. They got that right, right away. They were stuck as to what to call the silvery scales. The Sanskritst ran out of patience and asked the Englishman, " Man (Manas-thinking animal), What is your NAma".  All including the doctor blinked their eyes and looked blank.  The Sanskritist pointing to himself said, "Mama nAma PujAri."  All got the idea instantaneously. The Englishman said, My nAma (name) is Daniel Druff.  All agreed to call those flaky white silvery scales, DanDruff.  The Sanskritist continued to speak, "Now that we know that the doctor and the Englishman do not have louse on them, they have SUnyA (empty = 0) louse." Sunya became ciphr, sifr, cipher, zero, zilch, Nada, Null by the time, it spread around the world. How could you spread nothing around the world? That is the beauty of zero of Devabhasya School.

    That is how the words, Man (manas -thinking), Name (NAma), Three (Tri), Brow (brU), Zero and Dandruff entered Indo-European languages.  The doctor recommended applying the same brew they were drinking to the scalp for the dandruff, and on the lice. They were cured.

    NAma = name; Manas = (Mind) Man; BhrU = Brow; Tri  = three.

    Fibonacci says the following about Hindu numeral system, mistakenly called Arabic numerals today.

    There, following my introduction, as a consequence of marvelous instruction in the art, to the nine digits of the Hindus, the knowledge of the art very much appealed to me before all others, and for it I realized that all its aspects were studied in Egypt, Syria, Greece, Sicily, and Provence, with their varying methods; and at these places thereafter, while on business.

    Mark Twain says,  "India is, the cradle of the human race, the  birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the  grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most constructive materials in the history of  man are treasured up in India only."


    1. Mummalam (three impurities: Anava Malam, Maya Malam, and Kanma Malam—I-ness and mineness; illusion; selfish acts.
    2. It brings relief from three miseries of human existence: Exogenous misery, endogenous misery and theogenous misery (Adhibautika, adhiatmika, Adhidaivika).
    3. It depicts the transcendence of rising above the three gunas: Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas.

            The forehead is an important locus in the body by which a person distinguishes himself by his Jnanan (spiritual wisdom). That glabellar locus (Bhrumadhya) is the 6th locus in Adhara Yogam of Kundalini, Ajna Chakra, by which a man transcends and rises from the secular to the spiritual sphere.  As the person acquires external and internal purity there is no need for demonstrative signs on his body like ash stripes. External purity and the advent of internal purity have begun. Siva has taken an abode in his heart, a sign of internal purity. Such a devotee becomes the temple of God and becomes the man of the universe, treating all equally.

            Three Strikes and You're Out

    If you are convicted of Ego, Ignorance and Bad Karma, You are out and cast into the world of misery of birth and rebirth. With three strikes against you, you are taken for a ride of life and death in the ever-revolving metempsychosis. You could get out of this Ferris Wheel of life and death by reducing Ego, Ignorance and Bad Karma into ash, earning the three stripes, and showing off your rank by applying the ash on the forehead as three stripes, which are a badge of honor. You may even flaunt your good conduct by wearing the badge of three stripes on nine parts of your body: forehead, two upper arms, two elbows, two wrists, neck and chest. The stripes indicate the removal of Ego, Spiritual Ignorance and Bad Karma. Ego comes between you and the next person and also between you and God. An aspirant cannot approach God with the feeling of ego, "I" and "mine." There is only one "I" in this world and that is the "I" of God. You, He, She, They and That (matter) are parts of God. Removal of spiritual ignorance is the beginning of the descent of Jnanam (spiritual knowledge and wisdom) into your soul--Saktinipatam). The eradication of karma is known as Irruvinaioppu, meaning that both good and bad Karmas are brought to naught (equilibrium) individually. If one has ten good karmas and five bad karmas, it does not mean a positive balance of good karmas would preclude his birth into this world. Having a load of Karma means life on earth, whether it is good or bad. Good karmas lead to good fruits and good life and bad Karma gives bad fruits and suffering in this world. Null Karma is the object and that is Iruvinaioppu, which guarantees no birth.

    Siva's temple in Tiruvaiyaru is eulogized as the place of five tirthas (holy waters): Surya Tirtham, Chandra Tirtham, water in the foam in the mouth of Nandi, Kavir River, and Water from Ambal's breast milk. Here Nandi is known as Adhikara Nandi.

    Bhakti is a mental state and not a stickler to codified rituals and ceremonyA hunter becomes the forest priest.

    Here is a real life story of a hunter offering worship to Siva. A hunter was trudging the forest floor for a game. On his weary path, he came across an unattended Lingam covered in dust, leaves and debris of forest. He was not a man known for niceties and codes of worship. He knew what Lingam was, and the need for offering worship. He cleared the leaves and used his footwear to do a fine job of removing the dust and debris from the Lingam. Siva the omnipresent Lord felt exhilaration throughout his Body and enjoyed each rub, slap and stroke as if they were massage therapy.  The hunter not satisfied yet with the dusting wanted to wash the lingam with water. He knew his topography and dashed to the nearest river he always used for bathing and drinking.  He did not have a vessel to carry the water; he did the next best thing by carrying the water in his mouth. He spat the water out of his mouth on to the lingam, which amounted to ritual ablution. Siva accepted the unconventional ablution with utmost satisfaction as if a codified ablution was performed with accompaniment of Namakam and Samakam (Vedic hymn addressing Siva and Vedic hymn praising Siva.  He was hungry and felt that Lingam also must be hungry. He had no stored food on hand and so went on his stealthy way in the forest to bring a game as food for him and Lingam. Soon enough he heard a grunt and saw a wild boar digging the forest floor with his snout, unaware of its lurking mortal enemy. A stone flew out of the hand of the hunter; down and dead was the wild boar.  He ripped the flesh with his bare hands and sampled it for palatability. The test was a pass. Soon he was on his way to the Lingam to serve the meat, which Siva accepted with relish.  For Siva, it was nothing less than the special fare served to Him in the form of PanchAmrta (A mixture of five delicious substances usually plantain, honey, sugar, ghee, grape used for anointing idols) and pancha-patciya-paramAnnam ( ŔďşŔđş˘ÂŔĂÁˇýÉő = A sumptuous feast with dainties of five kinds. Siva did not consider the hunter's use of foot wear, saliva-stained water for ablution and game meat as offensive and accepted his Supreme Bhakti stand on its own merit before Him.




    Saiva Siddhanta believes that there is a chasm between Pure Consciousness of Siva on one hand and Maya, Tattvas, and matter on the other hand. This chasm can be traversed by Sakti; there is no physical connection between Siva and matter; all apparent connections are through the intermediation of Sakti. Yes, He is Water, Air, Fire, Ether and Sky. Let me explain this apparent contradiction.  Siva has three levels of perfection: Supreme Siva, Parasakti and Parameshvara. Parameshvara has the connection with matter through Sakti. Supreme Siva is Atattva (Not THAT, not matter). Atattva is NOT mutable, while Tattvas (matter) are mutable.

    Supreme Siva,  1st perfection,  The following are other epithets. SivaLinga, Absolute Reality, Paramatman or Supreme Atman, Nirguna Brahman (Brahman without attributes or ParaBrahman, Brahman without Parvati), A-Tattva (Beyond Tattva),  Niskalatattva = the Tattva without Kala or Prakriti. Niskala (No Kala [parts] = No manifested Sakti), Niskriya (No action = actionless), Asabda (No sound = beyond sound = unmanifest sound), Amanaska (without Manas or mind), Nir-vikalpa Samadhi (absence of differentiation; union; absorption, nondual state between Yogi and Brahman). Siva is Niskala, meaning he has no parts, he is whole, he is undivided, he is absolute or Nirguna Brahman--Brahman without attributes; undifferentiated Brahman. As you see here, there is no connection between 1st perfection and matter.

    Horizontal relationship among other entities and sects

    Nirguna Brahman = Supreme Narayana (Adhi Narayana) = Parasambhu Siva = Brahmamayi (Here you get an instance where attributeless undifferentiated Brahman becomes Clinical Brahman [Saguna Brahman, Brahman with attributes] who can be any of the following depending on the sect of the worshipper: Vishnu of Vaishnavas, Siva of Saivites, or Devi of Saktas (worshippers of Mother Goddess.) Their common ontologic superior is genderless non-sectarian undifferentiated Para Brahman or Nirguna Brahman.

    Parasakti: 2nd perfection, Sakala (many forms; consisting of parts as opposed to Niskala), Saguna Brahman (Brahman with attributes, Sabda Brahman or Sound Brahman, Sakala Siva with attributes and actions, Saguna Brahman with maya Parvati), Sat-Chit-Ananda (Sachidananda, Being-Consciousness-Bliss), Sa-vikalpa Samadhi (Duality between object and Subject [Yogi and Brahman], differentiation.)

    Paramesvara: 3rd Perfection, Paramapurusa (Supreme Purusa), manifest Brahman --clinical Brahman, Siva-Sakti. This is where Siva, who maintains the portfolio of destruction, has connection with matter through Sakti.

    The Supreme Paramasiva (Parabrahman Siva)  lives in Satyaloka. Sambhu lives in Maharloka. Sadasiva, Isa, Rudra, Vishnu, and Brahma, whose abodes are Tapoloka, Janaloka, Svarloka, Bhuvarloka and Bhurloka,  preside over the five elements respectively: Earth, water, fire, air, and ether.  Paramasiva is the abiding place of all Devatas.

    SivaLinga: How do you represent an entity that has no form, and is beyond attributes and imagination? Lingam is that aniconic Icon. It is the rounded, elliptical, aniconic image usually set in on a circular base, or Pitha, according to Lexicon in Dancing with Siva by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. Sivalinga is Parasiva (Supreme Siva beyond all forms and qualities. The base (Pitha) represents Parasakti.

    AnAdilinga = Anadi + Linga = without beginning + Linga. Also it is known as swyambhu or self-existent. Anadhilinga is supernatural Linga-shaped outcroppings as a natural formation from the earth. These are not fashioned by human hand. Anadi Lingas are present at Vaidyanatha, Tarakesvara and Chandrasekara (Chittacong). 

    Alinga, Linga, Lingalinga


    Alinga -   A = not + Linga = mark. the Non-Mark, the entity which cannot serve as mark for inferring the existence of something else; the causa finalis. Epithet of the fundamental material substance, the causa sui.--Indopedia definition.

    Linga is Mark and the Mark of male is Phallus; thus Linga means phallus; that is the sign of Siva. The question comes up why Lingam is the way it looks. Let me explain. If there is smoke, there is fire. The smoke is the sign that fire is present. When you see Washington Monument, you think of Washington, though the monument does not look anything like Washington. The monument, everyone decided, should be stupendous and elegant to honor the First President of the young nation. Just like Washington Monument is an abstract form of President Washington, Linga is an abstract form of Siva and a generative principle. Siva, according to Saivites, is the First God; He is the Father of all beings; He is the First One to say, "Aham" meaning I, the First I in the Universe. There was no one else in the universe except His Sakti (Power by His side). Thus, Siva and Sakti is a unitary force from which the First I  (through Sakti) became He, She, and It, which cover everything in the Universe; I or One became many.  Lingam is an obelisk well grounded in a labial vestibular pedestal and the aniconic form (Niskala) of Siva. The three white stripes, sandalwood, red dots, and the serpent at the base of the lingam have significance. The serpent represents Sakti-Kundalini.

    Alinga is One without Mark.: The Great Supreme Vyaktam (manifestation) is beyond the ancient atma Mahan, which is beyond intelligence, the essence of the mind; the latter is beyond the mind, which is beyond the senses.  Beyond avyaktam is the entity who is all-pervasive and devoid of any mark (alinga). Knowing him brings liberation and immortality.  Linga consists of prakrtic elements such as buddhi, ahamkara, manas, indriyas and Tanmatras (intellect, ego, mind, sense organs and subtle elements); the Supreme is not tainted with these factors; therefore, it is not subject to samsara. Linga status marks manifest Isvara, while Alinga status carries no marks and is unknowable; it is avyaktam, primordial, undifferentiated, unmanifest, noumenal state. Eyes have never seen this form. He can be known by (spiritual) heart, mind and (spiritual) wisdom. Mental focus helps apprehend Reality. When the five senses (vision, hearing, taste and speech, touch and grasp) and the mind come to a standstill and the intellect does not stir, that is the highest state (Paramam). When the prakrti-bound senses and the mind come to an arrest, the spiritual world that lies beyond the grasp of the senses comes into access.  This is yoga; it needs control of the senses; distractions make yoga come and go.

    Another view:

        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.

    The Linga and the icon:

       SivaLinga is attributeless Nirguna Brahman. It is point of coalescence and condensation with no mass, where all Tattvas merge into transcendental Singularity. Nataraja is the Saguna Brahman, the clinical Entity with attributes and the wielder of all Tattvas and Prakrti.

    Siva sports three forms in another variation of the same theme. : 1) Sakala Thirumeni, 2) Sakala Nishkala Thirumeni, and 3) Nishkala Thirumeni [1) சகல திருமேனி, 2) சகல நிஷ்கல திருமேனி, 3) நிஷ்கல திருமேனி = 1) the Form: Anthropomorphic Sacred Body of Siva in the form of an idol, Nataraja or the Lord of Dance 2) the Form-Formless: Semi-anthropomorphic form, the crystal Linga of Chandramoulisvarar, 3) the formless, as the Space, "Akash-Lingam" (= Ether Lingam) or the vacant space in Chidambara Rahasyam in the inner sanctum in Chidambaram.

    Threefold Siva:

        Some others look at Siva in three forms: Mahesa, Sadasiva, and Nishkala Siva. Mahesa is Sakala form, having body parts, a clinical form; Sadasiva is Misra rupa (mixed form), both with and without attributes; Nishkala (Nirguna) Siva has no form or attributes and is full of Bliss; therefore, it is called Ananda Rupa (Bliss form). In Dance festival (Nritotsava = Nrit +Utsava = Dance Festival), it is the (Ananda Tandava) Bliss Dance by Nishkala Siva.

    Many Lingams:

        Configuration of various Lingams are based on the Bhutas or elements: Fire, Earth, Wind, Water and Sky or Ether. The idea is that Siva exists in all elements; thus he exists in your body, whether you know it or not. Thus you body is sacrosanct.

    Element Lingam Place
    Fire Fire Lingam Tiruvannamalai
    Earth Earth Lingam Kanchipuram
    Wind Wind Lingam Kalahasti
    Water Water Lingam Jambukeshvar (Trichy)
    Sky or Ether Sky Lingam Chidambaram

    When the curtain to Chit Sabah (Hall of Consciousness) in Chidambaram is drawn, what you see is an empty space representing Sky Lingam; this is the Chidambara Rahasyam (the Secret of Chidambaram); the Lord exists in all the apparently empty spaces from the atom to the vast spaces of cosmos; thus, he is the Cosmic Dancer. The Red Mountain of  Tiruvannamalai is the Fire Lingam.

    Linga Worship by gods and others, Linga material,  and their respective mantras.

    Skanda Purana Chapter 13 tells that anyone who abandons worshipping of Siva, abandons the nectar from his hand and chases a mirage. This universe is Siva and Sakti marked with Linga and Bhaga; they are Rudra and Ambika, the Father and the Mother; anyone abandoning them and making offerings to manes has less merit.  Verses 144b-194 indicate the beings, the Lingas they worship, and the mantra japas. This is not a full list--listed 58/100. The Mantras constitute Satarudriya (100 names of Rudra or Siva). Visvakarman, the celestial carpenter,  is the designer and manufacturer of Lingas of disparate material for the Devas to worship.

    The god who worships Siva--the First Vertical Column.
    The material that goes to make Linga--the Second vertical column.
    The name of Siva (one among many) that the god worships--teh third vertical column.


    Brahma Sanaka Saptarishis Indra The Sun The Moon Fire god Sukra
    Hataka linga Krishna (black) Linga Darbha Linga Adamantine Linga Copper Linga Pearl Linga Sapphire Linga Ruby Linga


    Jagatpradhana   Visvayonika Visvatman Visvasrj Jagatpati Visvesvara Visvakarman


    Kubera Visvedevas Wind god Vasus The Mothers Raksasas Guhyas Jaigisavya
    Golden Linga Silver Linga Brass Linga Bell-metal Linga three metal Linga iron Linga Lead Linga Brahmarandhra Linga
    Isvara Jagatam Pati Sambhu Svayambhu Bhutesa Bhutabhavyabhavodbhava Yoga Yogesvara


    Nimi Dhanvantari Gandhravas Raghava Bana Varuna Nagas
    Lingas in his two eyes Gomaya linga Timber Linga Lapis Lazuli Linga Emerald Linga Crystal Linga Coral Linga
    Sarva Sarvalokesvaresvara Sarvasrestha Jagajjyestha Vasistha Paramesvara Lokatryamkara


    Bharati Sani Ravana Sidddhas Bali Maricipas
    Taralinga Sangamavrta Jasmine plant Linga Manasa Linga Linga of gleaned grains Flower Linga
    Lokatriyasrita Jagannatha Sadurjaya Kamamrtyujaritiga Jnanatman Jnanagamaya


    Kapila Devas Kama Saci Viswakarman Vibhisana
    Valukalinga Gold Linga Jagary Linga Salt Linga Prasada Linga Dust Linga
    Varada Sitikantha Ratida Babhurukesa Yamaya Suhrttama


    Lakshmi Yogins Humans Urvasi Siddha Yoginis Dakinis
    Lepya Linga all-pervasive Linga all kinds of Linga red lead linga Sandalwood Linga Mamsa-Linga
    Harinetra Sthanu Purusamnaman Priyavasana Sahasraksa Midhusa


    Manus Agastya Valmiki Daityas Dasnavas Clouds
    Anna Linga Rice grain Linga Valmika (ant hill) Black mustard Linga Wind Linga Nira (H2O) Linga
    Girisa Susanta Ciravasi Ugra Dikpati parjanyapati


    Skanda Yama Mandhata Cows Birds Earth
    Stone Linga Black iron Linga Sugar Linga Milk Linga Sky Linga Merulinga
    Senanya Dhanvin Bahuyuga Netrasahasraka Sarvatmaka Dvitanu


    Pasupati Brahmanas Vasuki Padma Sages Goddess Siva  
    Sacred Ash Linga Brahmalinga Visa Linga Srngi Linga Knowledge Linga Mercury Linga  
    Mahesvara Jyestha Sankara Dhurjati Cirasthana Tryambaka  

    If one wants Purusarthas (virtue, wealth, love, and liberation), Hara-Siva should be worshipped. He brings all three worlds to his devotee.

        Siva is Sunya, worshipped by Yogis; the yogic path is very difficult to follow to reach Sunya. Those who want to enjoy worldly pleasures should worship the visible and palpable Linga. (Skanda Purana I.ii.33.25-34)

       Skanda Purana i.II.33.27... says bathing Linga in pure water, the whole universe from Brahma to a blade of grass is propitiated. Bathing Linga with Pancamrita is tantamount to bathing and propitiating the Pitrs. Offering seasonal flowers in worship of Linga is worshipping the whole universe. If a talented man offers Naivedya to Linga, it is tantamount to feeding the whole universe.  Whatever is offered to linga in worship, large or little, brings joy to all.  As Agni is the all-devouring mouth of Devas, Linga is the mouth of all worlds. Installation of Linga in a temple gives logarithmic benefits with each successive construction. Constructing a rounded pinnacle on top of the temple gives a place in the world of Rudra till the end of Kalpa for him and 21 generations in his family.

    Go to TATTVAS-36 

    Siva as described by Sivaraman in his book Saivism in Philosophical Perspective, page 47.

    The Destroyer-God is not the mere deity of des­truction who has a co-ordinate function and existence along with the deities of creation and preservation. The term hara denotes the Su­preme Being in a general as well as in a unique sense.28 Literally, of course, hara is one that destroys, and yet its application extends not to any destroyer nor again to a mere destroyer but only to a specific one to whom it belongs uniquely. Siva, the Supreme, who is indicated suggestively by the name of Hara is not to be identified with 'rudra' to whom belongs the office of limited dissolution. Siva is maha-mdra, not guni-rudra.29 He is the universal Destroyer of whom rudra and other deities are only the operative aspects.

    The Saivagamas make this crucial distinction in univocal terms. They say thht Srikantha-rudra, the agent of periodic dissolution (avantara-pralaya) is but a mature soul belonging to that group or class of Pasus which, though bound are not bound as we the earthly souls are, but whose bonds are snapped at the time of final Dissolution About Siva Himself it is said that He is pati, the Lord of the bound (pasupati)  who freely descends and assumes the states of laya, bhoga and adhikara and take on the respective forms of Siva, sadasiva and Mahesvara and performs the respective functions of dissolution, governance and crea­tion of all the realms of existence including the realm of speech. As referred to Siva the Agent par excellence, differences of the functions of sristi Sthiti, and samhara do not imply a difference in the cause of the functions: Siva, sadasiva and Mahesvara are functional differences belong­ing to the same unity behind them, whereas, with reference to the in­termediary agencies, their differences involve differences of agents also.

    In the Saiva hymns too the same distinction is drawn at innumerable places. Siva's 'office' of Dissolution is not co-ordinate with the offices of the trinity, including that of rudra. The entire universe with its creators, conservers and destroyers is under Siva's control 'even as dried leaves whirl under the control of a stormy wind. He is the Creator of the creator. He is the God that sustains the sustainer of creation. He remains hidden from what He sustains. Confounding Siva with one of the trinities is, therefore, a species of theological heresy of con founding God with creature, the transcendent with the non-transcen­dent, the Ever Free with the Bound, and comes in for a  vehement con­demnation at the hands of the Saiva hymnists.

    Here is more information on Siva as found in his book.

    In Saiva hymns, Siva is not one of the trinities. He is above them and behind them and the latter know Him not. He is the indwelling spirit in them. He transcends all Tattvas. he performs all cosmic functions through his intermediaries like Rudra, Brahma, and Vishnu and more. Destruction is dissolving relations and conditions and making it free from the phenomenal.




    Siva devotees engage in eight kinds of Bhakti.

    1. தொண்டர் அடி தொழுதல். 1. Worshipping at the feet of devotee-slave of Siva.
    2. தொண்டர் ஆதல். 2. Becoming a devotee-slave of Siva.
    3. பூசைத் தொழிலில் மகிழ்தல். 3. Exultation performing worship of Siva.
    4. அருச்சினை புரிதல் 4. Performance of Archana (ritual worship).
    5. ஆசார நியமங்கள் கொண்டு ஒழுகுதல். 5. Abiding in sacred injunctions.
    6. பத்திக் கதைகளைக் கேட்டு மகிழ்தல். ஆனந்தக் கண்ணீர் பெருக்குதல். 6. Exulting in devotional stories. Brimming with tears of joy
    7. திருக்கோயில் திருப்பணி செய்தல். 7. Service to the Lord in the temple.
    8. உணவு கொள்ளாது விரதங்கள் இருத்தல். 8. Fasting with observance of viratha (religious vow).





    Photos and Scripts by Chennai Museum


    Chennai Museum--Siva in many forms





    Penukonda, Anantapur District. Andhra Pradesh. About 10th Century AD.

    Umamahesvara seated with Uma on his left. Siva has jatamakuta and makarakundala on one ear. As for ornaments, he has Yajnopavita, udarabandha and necklaces. He is holding a sula, naga and in alingana posture. As for Uma she has dhammilla fashion hairdo. One of her hands is kept on Siva’s thigh and the other is holding a flower. Nandi is sculpted on the pedestal.


         Mudiyanur, South Arcot District. About 13th Century AD.

         Carved in great artistic detail. Here Siva is shown as emerging from the Linga. His jatabhara and feet are not shown. A hamsa bird is shown on the left upper side of the Linga denoting Brahma and a boar is shown on the right bottom of the Linga denoting Vishnu. Here all the trimurtis are shown. Siva has all his usual ornaments.


    Penukonda, Anantapur District. Andhra Pradesh. About 10th Century AD.

         Umamahesvara is seated with Uma on his left. Siva has jatamakuta and makarakundala on one ear. As for ornaments he has Yajnopavita, udarabandha and necklaces. He is holding a sula, naga and in alingana posture. As for Uma she has dhammilla fashion hairdo. One of her hands is kept on Siva’s thigh and the other is holding a flower. Nandi is sculpted on the pedestal and there is an inscription in letters of 9-10th Centuries.




         Mullangudi, Thanjavur District. About 15th Century AD.

         Dakshinamurti seated on a small hillock with four hands in three of which he carries nagapasa, agnijvala and a book. The fourth hand is held in the fashion of chinmudra attitude. His left foot rests on his right knee. The right foot is shown placed on the back of apasmara purusha. There is a patrakundala on his left ear and makarakundala on his right ear. The jata is arranged somewhat in the jatabhara fashion. On the slope of the hillock there are two sages one on either side of Dakshinamurti.


          Cholamaligai, Thanjavur District. About 12th Century AD.

          Seated on or almost over his vehicle Nandi over a a seat. His left leg is kept on the seat while his right leg is trampling the apasmara. Hands holding - akshamala, naga, Vyakhyana mudra and holding a book. Ornaments - Jatabhara showing Ganga and crescent moon, necklaces, armlets, wristlets, Yajnopavita and udharabandha are present. Bringipadas and padasaras are present on the leg.


         Mozhayur, Thanjavur District. About 12th Century AD.

         Bhairava standing naked. He is holding damaru, broken; broken and Kapala in his four hands as attributes. As for ornaments he is having patra and makara kundalas in his ears; necklets, armlets, wristlets are present. He is also having udharabandha, yajnopavita and a long garland of bells, naga katisutra, anklets and padasaras. A hound is shown behind him. 




        Vadamarudur, South Arcot District. About 10th Century AD.

        Parvati seated with one foot resting on the seat and the other dangling down. She carries a lily in her right hand.


         Bhikshandarkoil, Trichy District. About 10th Century AD.

         Standing image of Bhikshatanamurti with four hands in two of which he holds weapons which cannot be distinguished perhaps damaru and sula. The hand holding the kapala is broken. The hand holding out a bit of grass for the deer is slightly damaged. His jata is arranged in a jatamandala fashion and Ganga is shown on his head. On the waist there is a snake girdle. There is a single patrakundala on the left ear. There is a dwarfish gana on his left side holding the begging bowl on his head.


         Locality unknown. Height 95 cm.About 15th Century AD.

         Virabhadra standing on a padmasana over a square bhadrasana. He has four hands. The upper hands hold axe and bow, while his lower right holding an arrow and left resting on the shield. He is seen wearing a Kiritamakuta instead of the usual jatamakuta. There are patrakundalas in ears. Keyuras and valayas are present. A long garland hangs from shoulder to the knees.


         Poruppumettuppatti, Tirumangalam Taluk, Madurai District. About 9th Century AD.

         Nataraja in an altogether different posture, usually met with images found in the temples of the Pandya kings. Dancing with right leg lifted up on the demon , who is shown to be under great strain. The demon with curly hair, bracelets and other ornaments and with a serpent in his left hand is carved on the rectangular pitha. The pitha has a depression in its middle part the figure of lions in great activity in front and at the back and has flower designs at the sides. The pitha at its sides has two stumps supported by a mythical animal to receive the prabhavali, which is missing. The figure of Nataraja is adorned with jatamakuta. He wears simhakundala and patrakundalas in his ears. Three necklaces, the lowest one being the broadest, keyuras, bracelets, armlets, wristlets and rings on the fingers are present. padasaras are present.


         Tanjore District. Height 39 cm. About 10th Century AD.

         Hands: Axe, antelope; abhaya, ahuya-varada. Pedestal missing.

         The snake and crescent are very small and inconspicuous on right and left respectively of the upper part of head-dress. There is a Makara-kundala in the right ear, patra-kundala in the left. Necklaces and waist-band with large and finely finished ornaments are in front. Thread divided into two below small ornamental knot above left breast. Antelope spotted in its breast and back of head towards Siva, its feet resting on the tips of his fingers.

         In the absence of the pedestal it is impossible to be sure that this figure did not form part of an Umasahita or Somaskanda group.


         Tirukkodikkaval, Kumbakonam Taluk, Thanjavur District. Height 100 cm. About 11th Century AD.

         Siva is depicted here as a samharamurti, after he destroyed the three asuras who dwelt in three forts made of metals. There are two pairs of hands. He is standing on a padmasana. He carries his emblem, the axe in the right upper hand while the emblem on the upper left is broken and missing. The lower hands are in the posture of carrying the bow and arrow. The workmanship of the jatamakuta and the ornaments are splendid.


         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.


        Kuram, Chengalpattu District. Height 53cm. 9th Century AD.

        According to Bharata's Natyasastra this model is called Urdhvajanu. This is the only representation of Natesa in this pose in metal. The upper left hand holds a snake, instead of fire, a noteworthy feature. Draperies are beautifully moulded. Though the face is worn out, the modelling of the figure and the treatment of the ornaments and garments are unmistakably in the Pallava style.


         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.


        Kankoduttavanitham, Thanjavur District. Height 86cm. 12th Century AD.  

        This figure of Natesa also has four arms carrying damaru and agni in his upper hands. The lower left is in gajahasta and his lower right is in abhaya. This image is noted for its vigour and it is one among the well executed bronzes. The prabha has interesting details and has become ornate

     The following is an Englsih translation of Chidambara Paintings and Drawings by Prema Narayanan in Sakti Vikatan.

    All images below were photos taken by S.Devarajan

           சக்தி விகடன் - 17 Jan, 2017  ·       திருத்தலங்கள்  Posted Date : 06:00 (03/01/2017)·        

    Chidambara Paintings and Drawings that enthrall the mind.

    Prema Narayanan

    In Thillai Ambalam surrounded by Thillai Forest, Thillai Tree is Sthala Virutsam (Sacred Tree). The temple and the property around it spreads to 43 acres. There are many art works. The premises houses Nataraja.
    Famous historical art works, several-hundred-years old are in the 1000-pillar Mandapam (Hall), Sri Sivakami Sundari Sanctum, and Nandi Mandapam behind Nataraja’ sanctum (= Cit-Sabah = Hall of Consciousness).
    A year before the Kumbabishekam (consecration), renovation of the Canopy Paintings behind Nataraja Sanctum took place. Sixteen paintings over 1000 years old depicting the ancient history of Chidambaram are among the rare paintings. These paintings originally drawn with Herbal colors were deteriorating.  On the recommendation of Dikshithars, under the guidance of the most famous antique painter Silpi’s pupil Painter Padmavasan, pictures and portraits were drawn with new brightness and grandness.  Mr. Padmavasan stayed in Temple grounds in Chidambaram Koil for many months, bought Kerala herbal colors and redrew on Singapore Canvas Fabric the ancient 16 paintings in living colors for many hundred thousand of rupees.

    These framed paintings on fireproof plates were overlaid on the original drawings.  Artist Padmavasan without compromising on the ancient grandeur of the drawings, drew paintings with natural colors with wonderful results.  Annamalai University Professor Rajasomasekara Dikshithar serving as the head priest spoke to the reporter about this.

    “The temple drawings were the ancient Fresco art. The paints and the colors were all natural. For example, the green color is obtained from flora.”

    The drawings were over 1000 years old. They were drawn between 3rd to 8th century.  It can be asserted with certainty these drawings were prior to 12th century.
    The time of Fresco drawings as proof of the art of painting attest to the establishment of the temple.
    Around the Nataraja Sanctum, there are about over 100 drawings. They are thematic drawings based on an idea or a story. Many temples have drawings with natural colors of events from Ramayana. Chittanna gateway has drawings depicting Jain religious ideas. Likewise, there are drawings depicting the rise of Chidambaram, the story of Manickavasakar, Saiva Samaya Kuravar, Saiva worship and practice.

    The drawings in Nandi Mandapam behind Sri Nataraja Sanctum were in ruins. Renovation of paintings were done in time for the Kudamuzakku festival in May 2015 for Re.150,000.

    Drawing the sacred forms of deities and temple depictions were entrusted to the famous Spiritual Artist Padmavasan. Staying in the temple premises for about a year, he brought his service to fruition eminently.  Without sacrificing their uniqueness and intrinsic beauty, he drew them with natural colors.  All the drawings without deviating from their old charm came again into the visual perception of the devotees.
    In Sri Sivakama Sundari Amman shrine, the beautiful drawings are in a state of ruination.  Consecration is expected soon in that temple.  We formed a committee to discuss the renovation of drawings. Preparations are in progress.  Raja Somasekara Dikshithar observed, “Soon Amman Sannidhi drawings will get a new life.” He described some of the Puranic events depicted in the drawings.


    Māththiyanthaṇar gets Vyākkirapātham = Maththiyanthanar gets tiger foot.
    Chidambara Puṛāna declares Adhimula Nathar Lingam’s sacred body was the residing deity in that place before Lord Nataraja. M
    āththiyanthinar the devotee of Siva was collecting flowers in Nandavanam as ‘Pushpa Kainkaryam’ (flower-collecting services) for daily puja. Every deed has its own dharma. Likewise, Pushpa Kainkariyam has its Dharma.

    We by ourselves should collect flowers by our hands, that too thinking of the Bhagavan.  The religious duty or obligation is purity in collection and laying of the flowers on the deity. Mathiyanthinar wanted to pluck the flowers by reaching the upper branches before the honeybees step on them to imbibe the honey.  The flowers visited and sucked by the bees are said to have been contaminated the flowers with their saliva. Purity is lost. The right time to pluck flowers is early in the morning in Brahma Muhurtam (4:30-6AM) before the bees.  Mathiyanthanar supplicated to Siva to offer him a suitable body to climb the tree in the dark and pluck the flowers.  Siva immersed in the devotion of his Bhakta made up his mind to confer him the grace.

    Siva conferred on Maththiyanthinar the tiger feet to climb the trees, sharp eyes of the tiger to see the distant flowers and an acute sense of smell as in a tiger to follow the scent of the flowers. These sensory attributes of a tiger in Mathithiyanthinar gave him the eponymous name, ‘Vyākkira pāthar (Tiger-foot)

    Patanjali – Ananda Tandavam (dance) because of Vyakkirapaathar.

    Vyakkirapathar and Patanjali (Avatara of Serpent Sessa, the bed of Perumal in Milk Ocean) performed severe austerity in Thillaivanam (Forest of Thillai trees) to witness the Ananda Natanam in Kailas as enjoyed by Devas and Munis, and pay homage to Siva. Siva, happy at their austerity, came down from Kailas and performed Ananda Tandavam in Thaipūsam (Full moon day in mid-January to Mid-February) on a Thursday, Amirtha Siddhiyoga Virushapa Lagna.

    They beseeched Siva to come down to Chidambaram for the people to receive benefits from watching the Dance of Siva as they did. They further begged Siva to appear in his Dancing Pose. Siva-Nataraja, assenting to their request, came down with 3000 Bhutha-Ganas to Chidambaram on the day of full moon in the month of Thai.

    அதையே  ஆனந்தத் தாண்டவ ஓவியம் விவரிக்கிறது.

    The drawing explicates the Siva Dance.

    The Inner Abider (Siva) in the human form of Pitchadanar went to Deva-Taruka-Vanam, subdued the Rishis (forest-dwelling sages), caused removal of their arrogance and self-conceit and impressed on them that soulful love and devotion only could lead them to Bhagavan. All these events were depicted in paintings here.  In the month of Margazi, Thiruvathiri Dharsana festival on the 8th day (January 9, 2017) will be celebrated; the devotees can see Bhagavan Nataraja going on a procession as Pitchadanar.

    Let us go to the Chidambaram Koil, the treasure of paintings and drawings, obtain Dharsan of Ananda Tandava Murthy and attain supreme bliss in this auspicious month.

    படங்கள்: எஸ்.தேவராஜன்

    Photos: S. Devarajan


    Thillai’s Wonders

    Devotees of Siva assert Koil means Chidambaram.

    In Siva temples, Sivalingam is the primary deity. But in Chidambaram, Nataraja is the fixed Deity (மூலவர்).  Chidambaram has the distinction because it is the only temple where Mūlavar (Fixed) becomes the processional deity (Uṛtsavar) twice in a year. Of the five Elemental Temples, the Sky Temple is Chidambaram. This temple offers Mukti (Liberation), upon Dharsan.  

    Standing on Sannidhi’s Heart Lotus (location in temple to see the deity) a devotee can see both deities at one time, left eye seeing Vishnu Perumal and right seeing Siva. This arrangement is seen nowhere else.

    Nataraja’s right side presents a screen. On the rocky wall behind the screen, a Vilva garland hangs.  A devotee can obtain Dharsan of two congruous discs Sri and Siva on the wall.  Sri is Ambal or Sakti and Siva is the Inner Abider (இறைவன்). Above them are puṉuku and javvātu (புனுகு, ஜவ்வாது) Civet perfumes applied a long time ago, still seen now.

    Five Assembly Halls grace this temple: Chit sabhā conferring Dharsan by Mūlavar, Kanaka sabhā for ritual ablutions, Deva sabhā conferring Dharsan from Siva family deities, Raja sabhā comprising 1000 pillars Hall, and Nṛitya sabhā where Nataraja and Kali presented competitive dances.

    Besides the Great Halls, Chidambaram Koil has entities based on the Pentad: five deities, five-syllable steps, five processional paths…

    If the Earth is shaped as Virāṭa Puruṣa, every organ of His has a temple. His heart lies in Chidambaram. That is why in the Golden Hall (பொன்னம்பலம்), Nataraja abides on the left side.

    Chidambaram is the only temple without a money collection receptacle (உண்டி). Likewise, there is no queue. The temple serves morning and evening meals for 1000 persons every day.  Eminence, excellence, superiority, greatness…: That is Sakasrabojan, 1000 meals.

    Daily one Dikshithar performs according to injunctions ritual ablution of Chandramaulīsvarar (Spatika Lingam = Crystal Lingam) in the Golden Hall six times a day. He goes to the Hall with purity of body, mind and soul early in the morning to perform three morning ablutions and does not drink or eat for that duration. He should not leave the premises for any reason.  After midday meals, three ritual ablutions take place in the evening with applicable injunctions. The Dikshithars consider it as lifelong auspicious and privileged destiny and perform the rituals.

    The jewels gifted by Tippu Sultan and Ramanathapuram Raja are kept in safe and used on special occasions.


    செவ்வாய், 25 மார்ச் 2008 (12:04 IST)  Sakthi Vikatan

                                                What is the importance of the Sacred Tree inside the temple.
    Sthala Virutsam  (Shrine Tree) means the deity self-created himself or herself in that a place adjacent to a tree. The native tree in that place was responsible for the appearance of Svambhu deity (self-existent deity), who remained in place unknown and undiscovered by people. A letdown (of milk) by kār-ām-pacu made it possible for the discovery of Svayabhu Linga (self-existent natural Lingam). The nearby tree is the Sthala Virutsam (Shrine tree).

    காராம்பசு kār-ām-pacu.  கரு-மை + ஆம் +. [M. kārāmbašu.] Cow with black tongue and nipple;

    If a person circumambulates the tree, he will obtain the full benefits by going around the Grbhagraham (Inner sanctuary). Only a few of the Vedic scholars can access the inner shrine. But anyone can go around the Shrine Tree.

    A temple in Uththirakosha Mangai has an old Jujube tree (Zizyphus jujube). KAvappuli-Kandar meditated (under the tree), received vision of Siva and obtained a boon from him.

    இலந்தைą ilantai n. [K. elaci, M. ilanda.] Jujube-tree, m. tr., Zizyphus jujuba;


    In many temples, there is a platform near the sacred tree. It is the traditional belief that Siddhars (mystics or perfected ones) sit on it. The deity’s śakti or power augments several folds because of the Siddhars. Because of their Tapas (austere penance) the temple’s strength improves. They perform penance under the sacred tree.


    Virudhachalam Viruththakirīśvarar Temple’s sacred tree is Indian mesquite. The temple’s Vivasuththu Muni sits on the platform under the tree. Circumambulation of him is good enough.

    Indian mesquite, m. tr., Prosopis spicigera


    A poem states you may antagonize Siva himself but not the grace-giving Siddha, blessed with the grace of Siva.

    Sthala Virutsam has more Sakthi than the diety.

    You go around Sthala Virutsam as many times as you can. It is enough to do it once.


      From Reddiars in Facebook in Tamil