The unassailable glory of lord Bhuvaneshwara – the primordial Skambha supporting the worlds

 

PRAYER

Article Contents

 

I bow to my divine brother, Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles, the first worshipable benevolent god; I bow to my divine brother, devasena-pati viz. Skanda, the commander-in-chief who presides over the positive forces (devatas). I prostrate before my divine parents, viz. mother Saraswati who presides over the intellect and Brahma who creates masterpieces. I prostrate before my divine parents viz. mother Lakshmi who grants splendor, intelligence, goal (lakshyam) and achievements and Narayana, who is the divine protector and sustainer of all the worlds; I prostrate before my divine parents viz. mother Parvati, the one supreme Shakti behind everything and Mahadeva, the lord without whose wish, not even an eye blinks. I prostrate before the divine sages viz. Nara and Narayana, the eternal devotees of lord Shiva, who never encounter defeat and whose presence ensures the presence of Victory and Prosperity. I prostrate before the great sage Sri Veerabrahmendra, the author of ‘kālajnānaṁ’ which never errs.

I bow to my ancestral sages, viz. Vashishtha, Kaundinya and Maitra-Varuna (Agastya) and their respective consorts to bless this child of their lineage with supreme scriptural wisdom. Also, I prostrate before the legendary Kāvyakanṭha Gaṇapati Muni and Bhagawān Ramaṇa Maharṣī.

Finally, I prostrate before my kula-dēvatās viz. Sita and Rama who are the epitome of righteousness, and I bow to my brother Hanuman who happens to be of same Gothram as that of mine.

 

| Om śivāya guravē namaḥ |
| namaḥ tripurasundariyai |
| Om tat sat |

 

1. Introduction


Lord Shiva is called as ‘Tribhuvanēśvara’ in his aspect of being the lord of the three worlds, viz. the higher worlds, the middle one called as ‘the Earth’, and the lower ones called as ‘nether-worlds’. Alternatively, when all the worlds are referred collectively, he is hailed simply as ‘bhuvanēśvara’. In both these names the common meaning is same i.e., – ‘bhuvana’ means ‘world(s) or abode(s)’ and ‘īśvara’ means ‘the lord, ruler, and owner’. Because Lord Shiva is the Supreme Lord of all the worlds, he is ‘bhuvanēśvara’. The earliest reference to Lord Shiva by the name of ‘bhuvanēśvara’ comes from the Rig Veda itself. The following verse of Rig Veda calls Bhagawan Rudra as ‘īśānādasya bhuvanasya’, meaning – ‘lord of all the bhuvana (worlds)’!

“sthirebhiraṅghaiḥ pururūpa ughro babhruḥ śukrebhiḥ pipiśehiraṇyaiḥ |
īśānādasya bhuvanasya bhūrerna vā u yoṣad rudrādasuryam |” (Rig Veda 2.33.9)
“He, the fierce god, with strong limbs, assuming many forms, the tawny Rudra, decked himself with brilliant golden ornaments. From Rudra, who is lord of this wide world (īśānādasya bhuvanasya), divine power will never depart”.

As always emphasized in almost all of my articles, I reiterate the same point here as well, which is – Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti are not different from each other as also evident from the below verse from sūta saṁhitā.

“na śivēna vinā śaktirna śaktirahitaḥ śivaḥ |
umāśankarayōraikyaṁ yaḥ paśyati sa paśyati ||” (sūta saṁhitā:04:13:30)

“Neither Shakti exists without Shiva, nor does Shiva exist without Shakti. The one who sees Uma and Shankara as one and the same is the one who really sees (i.e., knows the truth)”.

Even Shiva Purana voices the same opinion as follows.

“yathā śivastathā dēvī yathā dēvī tathā śivaḥ |
nānayōrantaraṁ vidyāchchandrachandrikayōriva ||” (Shiva Purana 7:2:4:9)

“As is Shiva so is Devi, as is Devi so is Shiva. There exists no difference between them as like as moon and moonlight”.

Hence for the same reason (as what we have seen for bhuvanēśvara), goddess Adi-Shakti is called as ‘bhuvanēśvarī’ meaning, ‘the supreme queen of all the worlds’.

Goddess bhuvanēśvarī is the fourth of the ‘daśa-mahāvidyā’ and her consort is bhuvanēśvara. In the ‘Brahma Purana’ the place which is called as ‘ēkāmra kṣhētra’ is the city today popularly known as ‘Bhubaneshwar’ and is the capital city of ‘Odisha’ state in the South-East region of India.  The name of ‘ēkāmra kṣhētra’ got changed to ‘Bhubaneswar’ because of the presence and fame of the presiding deities of that city viz. Lord Lingaraja (i.e., bhuvanēśvara) and his consort Goddess bhuvanēśvarī. There is a magnificent historical Temple of the lord in the city of Bhubaneswar and is called as ‘lingaraja’ Temple where the lord is addressed as ‘Lingaraja’

What is the reason behind the name ‘Lingaraja’ of the consort of bhuvanēśvarī who should otherwise, ideally be called as ‘bhuvanēśvara’? Moreover, why is he more famous as ‘Lingaraja’? There is a great mysticism hidden behind this name of ‘bhuvanēśvara’. The answer to that is this very article!.

.

The entire creation is not separate from the creator. The creator (Shiva), the created (universe) and the act of creation (through Maya Shakti) – this triad is verily Shiva alone. He is the efficient as well as the material cause of creation. Therefore the creation cannot remain outside of Shiva. It is within him. Shiva in his form of cosmic linga which is called as Skambha in Vedas – contains all the worlds within him. Hence he is Lingaraja, hence he is bhuvanēśvara!

 

2. ‘Jwala-Linga’ is the origin of entire creation – says Mahabharata!


In the Drona Parva of Mahabharata the illustrious sage Vyasa narrates the glories of lord Shiva to Ashwatthama, and before closing his great narrative, he states how Narayana who is called Kesava, worships Shiva and how Shiva cherishes a great affection for him. There Vyasa mentions that Kesava (Vishnu) always worships Shiva in linga form considering Linga as the origin of the universe. The corresponding verse is quoted below.

“sa eṣa rudra bhaktaś ca keśavo rudra saṃbhavaḥ | sarvabhūtabhavaṃ jñātvā liṅge ‘rcayati yaḥ prabhum | tasminn abhyadhikāṃ prītiṃ karoti vṛṣabhadhvajaḥ |” (MBH 7:172:89-90)
“Kesava is that devoted worshipper of Rudra who has sprung from Rudra himself. Kesava always worships the Lord Siva, regarding his Linga emblem to be the origin of the universe. The God having the bull for his mark cherisheth greater regard for Kesava”.

In Anushasana Parva of the same Mahabharata Krishna narrates to Yudhishthira about the great glories of Mahadeva and there he makes a statement saying – the seers call Mahadeva as Agni and Sthanu and Maheshwara! He continues and says that seers call him as the one who has three-eyes, and who is also single-eyed, who is of a universal form, and who bestows auspiciousness. The verse is quoted below.

“vadantyagnĩ mahādēvaṁ tathā sthāṇũ mahēśvaram |
ēkākṣaṁ tryambakaṁ caiva viśvarūpaṁ śivaṁ tathā ||” (MBH 13:161:2)

“The Rishis describe Mahadeva as Agni, and Sthanu, and Maheswara; as one-eyed, and three-eyed, of universal form, and Siva or highly auspicious”.

Our scriptures do not speak anything random that comes to the author’s mind (especially while dealing with Shiva and Shakti). Each and every word is carefully selected to give a ‘connecting’ meaning while making any statement by those speakers. In this above quoted verse from Mahabharata, Krishna said that the rishis call Mahadeva by names – Agni, and Sthanu, and Maheshwara and one-eyed, and three-eyed, and universal-form and auspicious. These are highly loaded with meanings that are connected with each other and they refer to him in his Jwala-Linga form which is the Brahman. Let’s see the details now.

Etymologically ‘sthāṇu’ means – ‘pillar’, ‘immovable’, ‘fixed’, ‘pole’, ‘trunk’, ‘stationary’. It has the same origins as that of the word ‘sthūṇa’ which etymologically means, – ‘pillar’, ‘post’.

The name ‘sthāṇu’ thus means – “he who is a pillar which cannot move because of having filled everything by himself and there is no place left outside him to pervade further”. In line with this point, mahAbhArata defines his name ‘sthāṇu’ as follows. So, it is clearly because he is the infinite brahman which has filled everything hence doesn’t have any palce further to mive and hence he is called a ‘pillar’ which is infinite to measure, hence everlasting.

“mahat pūrve sthito yacca prāṇotpattisthitasca yat ।
sthitaliṅgaśca yannityaṃ tasmāt sthāṇuriti smṛtaḥ ॥” (MBH 07:202:133)
“And since he is great and ancient and is the source of life and of its continuance, and since his linga-emblem is fixed (motionless) and is everlasting, he is for that reason called Sthanu”.

Now, he is called as Agni just before naming him as sthanu. Therefore this now means – He is that Agni which has filled everything hence immovable further. Although all the gods including the god of fire is Shiva’s form, yet, here in this context, the name Agni doesn’t mean to describe him as that deity of fire who couldn’t even burn a grass blade without his wish (recall kenopanishad third chapter!). Here the words Agni and Sthanu are to be taken together to get the right meaning which is – “He is that pillar of Agni (of consciousness) which is infinite and has filled everything hence is the unmovable one (sthāṇu)”. This concludes – He is ‘sthāṇu’ because he is that ‘Jwala-Linga’ which is infinite and has occupied everything by itself.

For this reason, recognizing Shiva as the Agni-Linga which is the Skambha (Pillar) supporting the whole universe on itself – Rig Veda has hailed Agni as ‘sthūṇa’, meaning ‘Pillar’ in the following verse. The word ‘sthūṇa’ is synonymous to ‘skambha’ or ‘stambha’ and all these mean alike – ‘pillar’! Vaisvanara is the Agni of consciousness (Atman) which sustains everyone by being in them pervading through ‘Sushumna’.

“vayā idaghne aghnayaste anye tve viśve amṛtā mādayante |
vaiśvānara nābhirasi kṣitīnāṃ sthūṇeva janānupamid yayantha ||” (Rig Veda 1:59:01)

“The other fires are, verily, thy branches; the Immortals all rejoice in thee, O Agni. Centre art thou, Vaiśvānara, of the people, sustaining men like a deep-founded pillar”.

Again for the same reason, recognizing Shiva’s infinite form of column of fire of consciousness, Yajurveda’s Taittiriya Aranyaka has offered its salutations to Lord Shiva’s Agni-Stambha as evident from below verse.

“jvalaliṅgāya namaḥ |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10:16:2)
“Salutations to Him, He, who has the form of the Agni Linga”.

This Jwala-Linga is termed as ‘Skambha’ in Atharva Veda primarily. Hence entire creation is said to have sprung from his ‘Jwala-linga (Skambha)’ form of Mahadeva as per the below verse from Athatva Veda’s Skambha Suktam.

“skambhó dādhāra dyā́vāpr̥thivī́ ubhé imé skambhó dādhārorv àntárikṣam
skambhó dādhāra pradíśaḥ ṣáḍ urvī́ḥ skambhá idáṃ víśvaṃ bhúvanam ā́ viveśa |” (Atharva Veda X:7:35)

“Skambha set fast these two, the earth and heaven, Skambha maintained the ample air (Antariksham) between them. Skambha established the six spacious regions: this whole world Skambha entered and pervaded”.

Now, we can understand why kesava worships ‘Shiva-Linga’ considering it as the origin of universe and why the same Vishnu as Krishna has called Mahadeva as ‘Agni’ and ‘Sthanu’. Now let’s relate his name ‘Maheshwara’ here. Because everything is created from him (his jwala-linga), hence he is the Supreme master of everything as there is no other master above him. Therefore he is Maheshwara. He possesses ‘three’ eyes because he is alone the knower of the past, the present and the future. He is again the possessor of one eye since he transcends the three divisions of time and is the ‘akṣara-kāla’ – an infinite expanse of undisturbed time (time without any ripples of changes) which is – Brahman. He is ‘Vishwarupa’ because all the thirty-three deities which are called as ‘Visvedevas’ reside in his form of ‘Jwala-Linga’ i.e., ‘Skambha’ as stated in below verse from Skambha Sukta. Also, As per Brihadaranyaka Upanishad there are only thirty-three gods and all others are the various forms of these thirty-three only.

“yásya tráyastriṃśad devā́ áṅge sárve samā́hitāḥ |
skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ |” (Atharva Veda X:7:13)

“Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha He in whose body are contained all three-and-thirty Deities?”

And finally, since he is the bestower of auspiciousness on the world, he is ‘Shiva’.

Did you see – how scriptures hide the nature of Mahadeva with interwoven complex fibers of messages and yet how beautifully they reveal the right information when understood in proper sense?

That is my father, Mahadeva! – Complex to comprehend for his haters and easily accessible for them who are devoted to him. And this is not something that I am stating newly; Vyasa himself has documented this in Mahabharata in couple of places as follows.

Sage Vyaghrapada’s wife narrates the following to his son while describing about Mahadeva.

“durvijñēyō mahādēvō durādhārō durantakaḥ |
durābādhaśca durgrāhyō durdṛśyō hyakṛtātmabhiḥ ||” (MBH 13:14:133)

“’Mahadeva is exceedingly difficult to be known by persons of uncleansed souls. These men are incapable of bearing him in their hearts or comprehending him at all. They cannot retain him in their minds. They cannot seize him, nor can they obtain a sight of him”.

The same fact has been spoken by Vyasa himself to Ashwatthama in other words as follows

“nālaṁ draṣṭũ yaṁ janā bhinnavṛttā brahmadviṣaghnamamṛtasya yōnim |
yaṁ paśyanti brāhmaṇāḥ sādhuvṛttāḥ kṣīṇē pāpē manasā vītaśōkāḥ ||” (MBH  7:201:67)

“Persons of wicked behaviour can never obtain a sight of that unborn one, that slayer of all haters of Brahmanas, that giver of emancipation. Only Brahmanas of righteous conduct, when cleansed of their sins and freed from the control of grief, behold him with their mind’s eye”.

Let’s now see the great glories of ‘bhuvaneshwara’ – who is the Supreme Brahman.
 

3. Lord Bhuvaneswara as Skambha is the Supreme Brahman


In this section, we’ll see many glorious details about Lord Bhuvaneshwara, including the narratives of his first appearance as ‘Linga’.

 

3.1. Lingodbhavam – The first appearance of Shiva as Skambha

 

 

Well, to call it ‘the first appearance’ is totally wrong! – Because, the creation is ‘anādi’ (begin less) and cyclical in nature. Hence this ‘lingōdbhavaṁ’ would also keep repeating in every fresh cycle of creation. So, all the phrases like ‘first kalpa’, ‘first time’ etc are relative in nature with reference to the present times. They refer to the remotest past within the knowable limits of the sages and deities of the present time.

The story of lord Shiva’s first appearance in his Skambha form is documented in multiple Puranas such as – Shiva Purana, Linga Purana, Skanda Purana and Devi Bhagawata Mahapurana. The name of Linga Purana itself is formed because of the very narrative of Shiva’s infinite Jwala-Linga in it. Such is the fame of this incident hence it finds its mention in so many Shaiva and Shakta Puranas. The famous place called ‘Arunachala Kshetra’ in Skanda Purana is today known by the name of ‘Tiruvannamalai’ in Tamil Nadu. The Agni-Linga of Shiva manifested itself in the form of a mountain for the sake of the devotees. This is why Arunachala-Ksetra is called as the Agni-linga ksetram among the pancha-bhuta-linga ksetras of lord Shiva. This is the mountain which has created many great sages in its vicinity such as – Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Kavyakantha Vashishtha Ganapati Muni, Sri Sheshadri Swami and many more. The glory of this Arunachala Kshetra has been documented in vivid detail in Skanda Purana’s ‘Arunachala Mahatmayam’ section.  However, we’ll be discussing the Skambha’s manifestation related facts from Shiva Purana here.

Sanatkumara approaches Nandikeshwara as a disciple to learn mystic secrets pertaining to the glories of lord Shiva. Nandi teaches him about the attributeless nature as well as the saguna aspect of Mahadeva. He also teaches him about the two modes of worship that are prescribed for Shiva viz. worshiping using Linga and worshiping his idol. After that discussion Sanatkumara enquires nandi to narrate to him how Shiva Linga did first came into appearance.

“sanatkumāra uvāca |
uktaṃ tvayā mahābhāga liṃgaberapracāraṇam ||24
śivasya ca tadanyeṣāṃ vibhajya paramārthataḥ |
tasmāttadeva paramaṃ liṃgaberādisaṃbhavam ||25
śrotumicchāmi yogīṃdra liṃgāvirbhāvalakṣaṇam ||” (Shiva Purana 1:5:24-26a)

“[Sanatkumara said:] Hey Yogindra! O thou of great fortune! You have very well narrated to me the reasons behind having both modes of worship for lord Shiva viz. Linga and idol. That’s true! I would like to listen from you how first of all – this Linga and Idol had emerged. Please tell me how the lingodbhava happened”.

In reply to his question, Nandi narrates to him the story of ‘lingōdbhavaṁ’ and explains how in the days of yore Brahma and Vishnu debated with each other to find out who out of them is the Supreme God; and then how Maheshwara intervened between them to stop their fight and then reveal who the actual Supreme Being is (which is he himself)! Mahadeva appeared in between them in his attributeless form of infinite column (Skambha) of jwala (fire).

“nandikeśvara uvāca |
śṛṇu vatsa bhavatprītyā vakṣyāmi paramārthataḥ ||26
purā kalpe mahākāle prapanne lokaviśrute |
āyudhyetāṃ mahātmānau brahmaviṣṇū parasparam ||27
tayormānaṃ nirākartuṃ tanmadhye parameśvaraḥ |
niṣkalastaṃbharūpeṇa svarūpaṃ samadarśayat ||” (Shiva Purana 1:5:26-28)

“Listen to me O son as I narrate with affection for you the highest truth. In earlier times in the first kalpa which is famous in this world, in that kalpa, Brahma and Vishnu indulged into a fight (debate) to prove one greater over the other. In order to resolve their conflict, in between them appeared Parameshwara (Shiva), in the form of a pillar (sthambha) devoid of attributes”.

It was not just any pillar; it was a column of fire (of consciousness). This stambha being a pillar of fire having neither beginning nor end is clearly stated in the below verse from Skanda Purana.

“agnistambhamayaṁ rūpaṁ śambhōrādyanta varjitaṁ |” (Skanda Purana:MK:03:01:37b)
“Then there appeared] a form of Shambhu in the form of an agni-sthambha (pillar of fire) which had neither beginning nor end”.

Not able to know who (and what) that Pillar was, Brahma and Vishnu come to an agreement saying – whosoever first finds the end of the Pillar would be declared as Supreme. And then Brahma flies upwards and Vishnu moves downwards to locate the two ends of the pillar (Skambha). Later finding that to be infinitely extending, Vishnu understanding it’s greatness traces his path backwards and truthfully accepts his defeat (owing to his Satwa nature), however, Brahma despite being failed in his task, tries to play a foul game by telling a lie that he had succeeded to find the upper end. And then what happens in the story, every Hindu knows which we’ll skip for now as our main focus in this section is to learn the details about Linga.

For the benefit of the worlds, since then, Mahadeva’s that blazing stambha has become the symbol (Linga) which denotes him in his aspect of being the attributeless Supreme Brahman. Then finally to reveal to Brahma and Vishnu who that pillar was, Shiva assumes his sakala aspect (Shiva in his form with attributes) and clarifies them that it is he who is Supreme. That form of Shiva is worshiped in the worlds as his idol thereafter.  Worshiping Shiva in linga as well as Idol form both bestows enjoyments as well as liberation.

“tataḥ svaliṃgacihnatvātstambhato niṣkalaṃ śivaḥ |
svaliṃgaṃ darśayāmāsa jagatāṃ hitakāmyayā ||29
tadāprabhṛti lokeṣu niṣkalaṃ liṃgamaiśvaram |
sakalaṃ ca tathā beraṃ śivasyaiva prakalpitam ||30
śivasya liṃgaberatvaṃ bhogamokṣapradaṃ śubham ||” (Shiva Purana 1:5:29-31c)

“For the benefit of the world that nirguna shiva from his (blazing) pillar (of fire) displayed his symbol (Linga). Therefore from that day that Sthambha (pillar) denoted the Nishkala (Nirguna) aspect of Shiva, and that has become called as Linga denoting Nirguna aspect of Maheshwara! Even Sakala form as idol also has been assumed by Shiva for himself. Lord Shiva’s worship in idol form or in the form of linga, both bestows enjoyments as well as liberation!”

Further, since Vishnu accepted the reality and didn’t lie like Brahma, Shiva became pleased with Vishnu’s truthfulness and rewarded him and punished Brahma (by severing his fifth head in the form of Bhairava). What reward Shiva gave to Vishnu is stated as follows.

“īśvara uvāca |
vatsaprasanno ‘smi hare yatastvamīśatvamicchannapi satyavākyam |
brūyāstataste bhavitā janeṣu sāmyaṃ mayā satkṛtirapyalapthāḥ ||31
itaḥ paraṃ te pṛthagātmanaśca kṣetrapratiṣṭhotsavapūjanaṃ ca ||” (Shiva Purana 1:7:31-32a)

“[Ishwara said:] Hey dear son Vishnu! I am highly pleased with you because even though you were desirous of gaining lordship (superiority) you remained a speaker of truth (didn’t lie to achieve victory); for this reason you would gain the lordship on this universe and you would gain equality with me and even would be honoured by me. From this day separate idols of yours would get established in various shrines and you would receive worship”.

 

“iti devaḥ purā prītaḥ satyena haraye param |
dadau svasāmyamatyarthaṃ devasaṃghe ca paśyati ||” (Shiva Purana 1:7:33)

“This way for the merit of speaking truth, Shiva became extremely pleased with Vishnu and in front of everyone he gave Vishnu an equal status as that of himself”.

3.2. Shiva is Nirguna as well as Saguna


Then Lord Shiva himself tells (to Brahma and Vishnu) that he is Brahman and also Ishwara in his Nishkala and Sakala forms.

“sakalaṃ niṣkalaṃ ceti svarūpadvayamasti me |
nānyasya kasyacittasmādanyaḥ sarvopyanīśvaraḥ ||” (Shiva Purana 1:9:30)

“Sakala (Saguna) and Nishkala (Nirguna) are the two forms I have; no one else has such kind of forms as that of mine”.

Shiva’s Skambha represents his Nirguna aspect whereas his visible form represents his Saguna aspect. He is truly the Supreme Brahman that is known through Vedanta and Vedas.  There cannot be two different gods being called as Brahman. Hence Shiva is the original Brahman and all other gods including Vishnu are his own forms. Scriptures identify other gods with Shiva and term them as “thou art Brahman” which is the ‘tat twam asi’ concept because there is in reality no difference. In all the forms it is Shiva who shines. Whether we worship Vishnu or Indra, it is Shiva who is internally being worshiped.

“purastātstaṃbharūpeṇa paścādrūpeṇa cārbhakau |
brahmatvaṃ niṣkalaṃ proktamīśatvaṃ sakalaṃ tathā ||31
dvayaṃ mamaiva saṃsiddhaṃ na madanyasya kasyacit |
tasmādīśatvamanyeṣāṃ yuvayorapi na kvacit ||” (Shiva Purana 1:9:31-32)
“At the very beginning of creation, I first appeared in the shape of pillar (sthambha) and then appeared in a form. That my nirguna-sthambha is called as Brahman and my form is termed as eshwara. These two are my own established forms and no one else’s; therefore the supreme lordship (over everything) belongs to me and no one else’s”.

It is Shiva alone who does the five heavenly tasks called panchakrutyam through his five aspects (forms). Hence when Brahma is creating, it is a relative truth which calls Brahma as the creator, the original creator is Shiva. If Vishnu is protecting, the original protector is Shiva and Vishnu is the aspect through which Shiva does that job, hence Vishnu’s involvement is relative in nature. Similarly the Kalagni-Rudra (called also as Bhairava) is an aspect of Shiva who manifests for the task of destruction. Maheshwara is the sampūrṇa-avatāra of Shiva within the universe (and stays in kailasa) and veils the world with his Maya and hides the truth. Sadashiva is none other than this Shiva himself who does anugraha.

“ahameva paraṃ brahma matsvarūpaṃ kalākalam |
brahmatvādīśvaraścāhaṃ kṛtyaṃ menugrahādikam ||” (Shiva Purana 1:9:36)

“I’m only called as Parabrahman, my swaroopam (form) is kalākalaṁ (with form and without form), being the Brahman I am the eshwara who does anugraha etc. pranchakrutyam (five tasks viz. creation, preservation, dissolution, veiling and grace)”

3.3. Bhuvaneswara i.e., Skambha is Brihat (vast) hence called – Brahman


Here lord Shiva tells to Brahma and Vishnu that – because he is “brihat”, he is termed as “brahman”. The word ‘brihat’ is the root from where the word ‘brahman’ was coined. The word ‘brihat’ means – vast, high, tall, and large. Because Shiva’s Skambha (Agni-Linga) was so tall that it’s end points could not be located even by Brahma and Vishnu; for this reason Shiva is termed ‘bihat’, and therefore called as ‘Brahman’ as described in Vedas and all other scriptures.

“bṛhattvādbṛṃhaṇatvācca brahmāhaṃ brahmakeśavau |
samatvādvyāpakatvācca tathaivātmāhamarbhakau ||” (Shiva Purana 1:9:37)

“O Brahma and Keshava! Because I’m ‘brihat’ (infinitely vast or tall) and I develop this world, hence I’m termed as ‘brahman’; having been and pervaded everywhere equally, I am alone the Atman (self) of all”.

This is in direct relation with the below cited verse of Sri Rudram from Yajurveda which salutes Rudra calling him as ‘Brahman’.

“namō bṛhatē ca |” (Yajurveda IV:5:5:i)
“Salutations to Rudra who is ‘bṛhat’ i.e., brahman”.

Further, the following verse from Atharvasiras Upanishad proves that Lord Shiva is infinite and it clearly says that he is called ‘ananta (endless)’ because his end is neither at the top nor at the bottom – exactly fitting the definition of ‘brihat’! Hence Rudra is the Supreme Brahman!

“atha kasmāduchyatē anantō yasmāduchchāryamāṇa ēva |
tiryagūrdhvamadhastāchchāsyāntō nopalabhyatē tasmāduchyatē anantaḥ ||” (Atharvasiras Upanishad 4:04)

“Next, why is He (Rudra) called ‘ananta’? Because, his end is available neither at the top nor at bottom, nor at right nor at left – therefore He is called ‘ananta (endless)’”.

Therefore from the Purana verses as well as the ‘Sri Rudram’ and ‘Atharvasiras Upanishad’ testimony it is crystal clear that Lord Shiva is the Brahman of Vedas.

3.4. Skambha is Shiva’s symbol (Linga) and it denotes him alone

 

Lord Shiva further explains that Skambha is the symbol (called as Linga in Sanskrit) which denotes him alone.

“īśatvādeva me nityaṃ na madanyasya kasyacit |
ādau brahmattvabuddhyarthaṃ niṣkalaṃ liṃgamutthitam ||39
tasmādajñātamīśatvaṃ vyaktaṃ dyotayituṃ hi vām |
sakalohamato jātaḥ sākṣādīśastu tatkṣaṇāt ||40
sakalatvamato jñeyamīśatvaṃ mayi satvaram |
yadidaṃ niṣkalaṃ staṃbhaṃ mama brahmatvabodhakam ||41
liṃgalakṣaṇayuktatvānmama liṃgaṃ bhavedidam |
tadidaṃ nityamabhyarcyaṃ yuvābhyāmatra putrakau ||” (Shiva Purana 1:9:39-42)   

“I am the lord of all and that (lordship) is mine, apart from me belongs to no one else. First (in front of you) I appeared in the form of linga to explain you about my nature of being Nishkala which is beyond the grasp of mind (comprehending), and then to become known to you, the next moment I myself appeared in my form (sakala). Therefore, know this ishwara form of mine as being with attributes, and whatever is this pillar (that you are seeing), should be known as the symbol of my nirguna nature, and this itself is my linga (symbol). Because there is no difference between my linga (symbol) and the one it denotes (i.e., myself), my (this) Linga should be worshipped always O dear sons!”

3.5. A narration of same story from the present Kalpa


Since creation is cyclic this incident of Lingodbhavam keeps happening at the beginning of every fresh creation. This is why Shiva Purana narrates in another section a story from the current Kalpa of the same incident. Note that Shiva Purana clearly calls out the previous story as a story from another Kalpa hence nullifying all chances for Shiva-haters of discarding both the stories by calling them as mutually contradictory. There is a reason why I am quoting the story from current Kalpa here, I would need to refer to this in another section.

Well, in the present Kalpa even Brahma remains truthful and doesn’t call for any false witnesses to say he was able to find out the end. Here Brahma accepts his inability in finding the upper end and comes back to the place where from they began their travel. Here Brahma doesn’t seek anyone’s false witness to support his false-victory. Here both of them only remain proud for some time.

“satvaraṁ savayatnēna tasyāntaṁ gyātumichchayā |
ṣrāntō na dr̥ṣtvā tasyāṁtamahaṁ kālādadhōgataḥ ||” (Shiva Purana 2:07:62)

“Even I with all my efforts tried to locate the (upper) end of that (Skambha), but in vain, got fatigued, and couldn’t find the end; and finally within time i came back downward (to the original palce where from I had begun my journey)”.

Then Even Vishnu comes back to original place after duly acknowledging his failure in locating the lower end of the cosmic pillar of fire of consciousness (Skambha). And then both of them stay standing in reverence with folded hands, praying to the lord to show up his manifested form, and to reveal himself and his glories to these seekers. This takes hundred years to get their pride nullified and only then Mahadeva displays himself to them.

“jānīvō nahi te rūpaṁyōsiyāsi mahāprabhō |
namōstutēmahēṣana rūpaṁdarṣayanautvaran ||
ēvaṁṣarachchatānyāsannamaskāraṁ prakurvatāḥ |
āvayōrmuniṣardūlamadamāstthitayōstadā ||” (Shiva Purana 2:07:68-69)

“Hey great lord (Mahāprabhō)! Whosoever you are, we do not know your manifest form, hey supreme lord (Mahēṣa)! Salutations to you. Please display your form to us. Hey great Muni (Narada)! By established in ego we both when prayed to him like this, we stood praying for a hundred years”.

Then when their pride of supremacy gets dispelled totally, Mahadeva shows them up in his form.

“brahmōvācha |
ēvaṁtayōrmuniṣrēṣtadarṣanaṁkānkṣamāṇayōḥ |
vigarvayōṣcha surayōḥsadānaisthitayōrmunē ||1
dayālurabhavat ṣhambhurdīnānāṁpratipālakaḥ |
garviṇāṁ garvahartā cha sarvēshāṁ prābhuravyayaḥ ||” (Shiva Purana 2:08:1-2)

“[Brahma said]: Hey foremost among munis (Narada)! This way due to the desire of the two deities (viz. Brahma, and Vishnu) for getting a vision of that lord, when their pride got dispelled, then lord Shiva who is the sustainer of both these gods; he (Shiva), the lord who knows no decay, who is the one who withdraws pride of the proudful became kind on them”.

Then the sound of Omkara reverberates everywhere emerging from the Stambha and subsequently Mahadeva displays himself in his form.

“tadā samabhavattatranādāvaiṣaṁbdalakṣaṇaḥ |
ōmōmiti suraṣreṣṭātsuvyaktaḥ plutalakṣaṇaḥ ||” (Shiva Purana 2:08:3)

“That time there emerged audible sounds of syllables. That sound that was heard was like – ‘ōm’… ‘ōm’ – which prolonged or lengthened to 3 mātrā-s”.

And then Shiva displays himself in his ‘Aksharamala’ form along with his consort Uma Devi seated alongside. The Aksharamala form we had earlier discussed in the article titled, “The Imperishable Glory of Lord Kameshwara – The Primordial God of Desire”. Shiva and Shakti always display themselves together because they are always one and the same and are hence called as Soma (Shiva with Uma) and Ardhanarishwara (Shiva who is half female).

Well, this section is very important, as I would frequently ask the readers to recall events from here in subsequent sections. So, one need to remember the events to avoid back and forth visits between sections.

 

4. Establishing the Authenticity of the Lingodbhava of Skambha


It is an unfortunate situation of this land that such a majestic story of ‘Lingodbhavam’ today is being questioned, and it needs to be proved as authentic to be accepted. It has to be proved not to the foreigners, not to people of other religions, but to the fellow inhabitants of the same land, to the fellow followers of the same ‘sanātana dharma’! No worries! Let me prove its authenticity for the sake of my lord ‘Shiva’, for the sake of ‘Vyasa’, for the sake of my ancestral sages, and for the sake of my ‘bhārata māta’!

4.1. Lingodbhava – The 5000 year old unsolved riddle!


It is so unfortunate situation among our Hindus that certain stories of Puranas are seen by few anti-Shiva cults as taboo and are attacked with staunch criticism even if someone makes a mere reference to such stories. Among such stories the one which stands at the topmost position is – the ‘lingodbhava’ incident. Well, if you do not believe about the hatred of Vaishnavas for this story, then just try touching this story as a topic in discussion with them. For sure, you would be literally beaten black and blue for bringing a ‘shaivite-interpolation’ or ‘sectarian’ story which ‘contradicts’ the ‘spirit of Hinduism’ – the ‘spirit’ which in their eyes is ‘Vishnu’s supremacy’ alone.

Yes, it’s true that none of the Vaishnavites including their very Acharyas have ever digested the story of Lingodbhava. How could they digest that, when none of them had the grace of Mahadeva shining on their heads to comprehend Shiva-tatwa? How could they understand that grand puzzle when they became devoid of mother Uma’s grace? I would not hesitate to even say that all those great public figures in their traditional spiritual lineages who were called as ‘Acharya-s’, who were proclaimed to be divine and who boasted of defeating other scholars from opponent schools – none of them had enough intelligence to comprehend the divine secrets behind the lingodbhava story. They were all the surface-thinkers as far as Shiva and Shakti related scriptures are concerned and they lacked the capability to discern the hidden messages behind that story. When you hate lord Shiva, how can Shiva-jnana dawn in your head? When you call that Shiva (who is actually beyond all the guṇā-s), as ‘tāmasik’ and then look at him with despise, how would you be able to see through the thick glasses of ‘tamas’ created by ‘Śāmbhavī-Māyā’ on your eyes?

The supreme knowledge of Brahman (Shiva) is bestowed by goddess Umā alone. This is evident from the below verse from ‘yajna-vaibhava-khanda’ of sūta saṁhitā.

“pārvatī paramā dēvī brahmavidyāpradāyinī |” (sūta saṁhitā:04:13:34a)
“The supreme goddess Parvati is the one who bestows knowledge of Brahman”.

This is not any new revelation. We have ‘kēnōpaniṣad’ as the testimony from śruti which also portrays goddess Umā-haimavatī (i.e., Umā the daughter of himavat) as the teacher who reveals the truth about ‘Yakṣa (i.e., Brahman)’ to Indra. So, it is crystal clear why the knowledge of Shiva doesn’t illuminate the intellect of those who malign Shiva. How could his consort Umā reveal divine secrets to them who constantly engage in hatred towards her own better half?

Five thousand years before, till the ‘Dwāpara-Yuga’ everyone had sound knowledge of ‘Shiva ‘ and ‘Shakti’ – This is why we have enough glories of them acknowledged by all sages and even by gods and their incarnations. Even Vyasa, Bhishma, Krishna, Arjuna, Romaharshana, Sauti, and all others had very high respect for Shiva considering him to be the Supreme Brahman. However, slowly at the end of the ‘Dwāpara’ entered the ‘Kali-Puruṣa’. All prior ‘yugā-s’ create battles or quarrels to create disturbance, but the style of ‘kaliyuga’ is different and unique! As and when ‘Kali-puruṣa’ joins his office – the first and foremost thing he does is – to shroud the intelligence of all those people with ignorance that do not follow the injunction of ‘Vedas’.

Mahabharata says that any kind of sin can be expiated, except those committed against Shiva. The same is the opinion of Shiva Purana as well. Shiva related Puranas say that the god of death ‘Yama’ grinds his teeth seeing them who malign mahadeva! These all are not new; the very ‘Śruti’ says this as quoted below. In Atharva Veda, the rishi of the hymn to Rudra under his names ‘Bhava’ and ‘Sharva’ commands people not to offend Rudra by their tongue. But from the beginning of Kaliyuga, people have forgotten the favours that Maheshwara did on this universe and started abusing him by various means. 

“sahasrākṣám atipaśyáṃ purástād rudrám ásyantaṃ bahudhā́ vipaścítam
mópārāma jihváyéyamānam ||” (Atharva Veda XI:2:17)

“Let us not with our tongue offend Rudra, who rushes on, thousand-eyed, overseeing all, who hurls (his shafts) forward, who is manifoldly wise!”

Further, in the same hymn, the rishi instructs everyone to worship Rudra not just on any special occasion, rather round the clock – in the morning, afternoon, evening and night. What more proof do we need than this to understand that Rudra is not any demi-god worthy of salutations on some particular day of a year, rather he is the very Supreme Being i.e., Ishwara himself hence who needs to be remembered and worshiped round the clock?

“námaḥ sāyáṃ námaḥ prātár námo rā́tryā námo dívā |
bhavā́ya ca śarvā́ya cobhā́bhyām akaraṃ námaḥ ||” (Atharva Veda XI:2:16)

“Let us pay our homage in the morning, during the day, in the evening, and at night – to the Lord who grants us life (Bhava) and who takes it away (Sarva)”.

Especially in the sinful age (i.e., Kali Yuga) one should never abandon Hara – is the injunction of Mahabharata – Which is again in sync with the above quoted command of Atharva Veda.

“haracaraṇaniratamatinā bhavitavyamanārjavaṃ yugaṃ prāpya ||” (MBH 13:14:183a)
“When the unrighteous or sinful Kali Yuga comes, one should never pass a moment without devoting his heart upon the feet of Hara”.

Now, what is the state of affairs with respect to Shiva’s image in Kali Yuga? Is it in sync with the instructions of Vedas, Mahabharata and Shiva Purana or is it totally against them? The answers we all know to be unfortunately standing against the scriptural injunctions! So, what would ‘Kali-Puruṣa’ do when he sees his supreme master being insulted by sinful humans of this age? Obviously, he would personally guide them carefully towards much more of ‘darkness’! That is what happens with all those cults which hate Mahadeva!

Therefore, what ‘Kali-Puruṣa’ does is – He covers the intellect with gloom, he reduces memory, he decreases faith in scriptures, he creates doubt, and then finally prepares all the people for a battle – not in a battleground like the other ’yuga-puruṣa-s’ did; he creates ‘intellectual battles’ where – by mutual contradictions, and refutations, the element of ‘doubt’ further multiples and finally whatever little residual ‘shraddha (faith)’ remains, that also gets destroyed due to the conflicts – and finally all sinners land in a state of misery! People divide in sects, and those sects become cults. The words of those cult originators become more valuable than the words of the ‘Vyasa’ so much so that, in order to uplift their favourite texts as the authoritative ones, they disregard and reject many of the works of Vyasa calling them as ‘tāmasik’. Till the ‘Dwāpara’ the ‘sanatana dharma’ which remained united, worshiping all godheads alike, while still sticking to one’s favourite form of choice – that sanctity of ‘sanātana dharma’ gets demolished in ‘kali yuga’. All this happened with the sinful Anti-Shiva humans of this ‘Yuga’ which includes even them who were hailed as ‘Acharyas’ of their cults.

Thus, the knowledge of ‘lingodbhava’ slowly became hidden, diminished and incomprehensible from Earth with the entry of ‘Kali yuga’ and with the increase in sinful people. Prior to that, Vyasa’s all ‘Purāṇa-s’ were learnt by everyone beginning with the ‘śaunakā’ sages. There is no recorded fact available which says that in previous yugas someone condemned ‘Shiva’ and ‘Shakti’ related ‘Purāṇa-s’ as unauthoritative. There is no evidence that people of prior yugas ever fought calling ‘lingodbhava’ as a bogus story. All such claims emerged in ‘Kali Yuga’ alone!

Therefore, this puzzle along with its solution was known to everyone till the end of ‘Dwāpara’. After ‘kaliyuga’ shrouded their intellect, it became a bogus story! Irony is that – till date everyone considered this ‘lingodbhava’ event as a ‘story’ and no body till date recognized it as a ‘riddle’ – a riddle revealing great secrets! With this present article, I hope that the state of affairs would get changed towards betterment.

 

4.2. Meaning of Lingōdbhava wasn’t made public in detail by anyone so far!

‘Lingodbhava’ is not merely a story of supremacy, but rather it is a ‘yōga-vijnāna-rahasya’, i.e., deep secret of yoga! In my research I could not find the mystic meaning disclosed by anyone hence I concluded that except Adi Shankara, Ramana Maharshi and Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni, in all likelihood, none of the other saints of Kaliyuga either hinted or revealed in totality, the secret meaning of this ‘lingodbhava’ incident.  This inference was also fuelled by the observation of the very fact that there is no work found where someone is seen standing by this story, refuting the allegations of Vaishnavas by explaining in ‘totality’ the true mystic meaning of ‘lingodbhava’; when Vaishnavas were alleging it as a sectarian-interpolation calling it as a ‘bogus’ story.  This is why till date the ‘lingodbhava-khaṇḍanaṁ’ work of ‘Sri Vijayendra Tirtha’ is not challenged. .

However, a knowledgeable reader has recently corrected my understanding by informing me about the great Shaivite saint of South India viz., ‘Tirumular’ who has purportedly mentioned the mystic meaning of ‘lingodbhava’ story in ‘verse 2426 of chapter 17 from tantra-8’ in his magnum opus work ‘Tirumandiram’. I went through that text and found that the mystic meaning was very well stated, but in a pithy and cryptic manner, probably because it was in poetic style. I’ve added this verse in “Section 4.3.7”.

Anyway, by that reader feedback, one good fact which came to light was that – the knowledge of actual meaning of ‘lingodbhava’ was alive till the time ‘śaivite’ saints called ‘nāyannārs’ were there on the Earth. In fact I always believed that ‘jnāna-sambandar’ being lord Kartikeya, he surely had the secret meaning with him, and the recent learning about ‘Tirumular’ has enforced my belief now. After the ‘nāyannārs’ the knowledge could have also possibly rested in the minds of other visionaries such as ‘abhinava-gupta’ et al. However, from none of the later sources any theory was seen ‘explicitly’ focusing towards solving the ‘lingodbhava’ puzzle in a way that is – ‘complete’, ‘understandable’, and ‘convincing‘! The reason could be that – adept ‘yōgīs’ and ‘avadhūtas’ take interest neither in debates nor in public-preaching; they teach mystic secrets either only to their disciples (if any) or focus on their own ‘sādhanā’ behaving outwardly like an ignorant man in the world. Coming to the general academicians and scholars from ancient centuries to modern day – however well they might have educated themselves in all the ‘śāstrās’, and were competent and interested in debates – the knowledge of the mystic secrets of ‘lingodbhava’, didn’t manifest in front of them – therefore this puzzle remained facing objections for so many centuries without anyone refuting the objections and establishing the truth.

I still take exceptions of the three saints who were later than ‘nāyannārs’ viz. – Adi Shankara, Ramana Maharshi and Ganapati Muni and firmly believe that they had the knowledge of the mystic secrets of ‘lingodbhava’ – this is because of the following reasons.

Shankara’s poetical works are highly pregnant with esoteric teachings, hence it is quite possible that the references to ‘Brahma and Vishnu not being able to find out Shiva’s ends’ in his work ‘Sivananda Lahari’ has been referenced both with outer as well as inner yogic meaning. Had he written a commentary on his own poem (Sivanandalahari) he would have probably explained the hidden secrets. From his another hymn on Bhavani viz. ‘Soundarya Lahari’, we know very well that, Shankara used his skills of cryptography and had beautifully encapsulated the ‘panchadasi-mantra’ and many ‘śrīvidyā rahasyā-s’ in that hymn under normal looking verses itself. For an uninitiated it would look like a normal hymn and for an adept ‘upasaka’ it would reveal the great mystic secrets of ‘śrīvidyā’. Based on that evidence and experience with Shankara’s high caliber poetic abilities it looks quite possible to me that his ‘Sivananda-Lahari’ also might be likewise esoteric. This is why I take Shankara as an exception.

Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi had never exhibited the divine secrets in words but from the life history of ‘Ganapati Muni’ we can learn how many times he had helped the latter during his stages of ‘yoga sadhana’. Hence from those instances we can conclude that there is no secret unknown to that ‘Guha’ who walked on earth as Bhagawan Ramana. In fact, in his first incarnation, Ramana (i.e., Skanda) as ‘Tiru-jnāna-sambandha-mūrty’ had referred to the ‘lingodhbhava’ incident in several of his poems. However, since in that incarnation Kartikeya’s goal was only the establishment of Bhakti, he probably didn’t explain what that story actually means. Moreover, in poetry – whether composed by ‘sambandha-mūrty’ or composed by ‘Shankara’ – it is not possible always to explain the real meanings of incidents, because, poetry would lose its beauty if esoteric truths are made open. Poets prefer mystic writings. For the very same reason we find Tirumular’s revelation also being very brief leaving the further interpretation to the readers based on their own austerities and merits.

Secondly, in the book “At the feet of Bhagawan” compiled by “Sri T. K. Sundaresa Iyer”, we get a startling revelation about Sri Ramana Maharshi. An extract form that book is quoted below.

“Who Am I, Nayana?”
Sri Bhagavan was in the Virupaksha Cave on the Hill. One evening after 7 p.m. they were all coming down the Hill to go round Arunachala. The other devotees had all gone in advance; only Sri Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni was in the company of Sri Maharshi, and they were slowly climbing down the steps from the cave.

Whey they had walked a few steps, all of a sudden Sri Maharshi stopped, and with Him Sri Kavyakanta as well. The full moon was shining bright in the East in the starry sky. Pointing to the moon and the beautiful sky, Sri Bhagavan said: “Nayana! If the sun, the moon, and all the stars have their being in ME, and the Sun himself goes round my hip with his satellites, who am I? who am I?”.

From this it is very clear that Sri Ramana (and also Ganapati Muni) were aware of both – the meaning of Linga as the Skambha in the macrocosm as well as its yogic meaning within the microcosm.

And finally, ‘Ganapati Muni’ is what I call – ‘a phenomenon’! He is a legend and not merely a human! The kind of mystic secrets he had revealed in all his works and especially in ‘Umā Sahasram’, when understood, would reveal to us the genius what he was! In one single work ‘Umā sahasram’ he had encoded the gist of ‘Dēvī-tatwaṁ’ from ‘śrutis’, ‘smritis’, ‘purānās’, and ‘tantras’. If one understands ‘Umā Sahasram’ one understands entire ‘Shākta’ doctrine. He had also written a thousand verses hymn titled ‘Hara Sahasram’ on lord ‘Shiva’, which was unfortunately lost during his own lifetime, he could have restored that entire hymn from his memory but he didn’t do – may be the time had not come for the divine secrets of Shiva to be revealed. But from the experience of ’Umā Sahasram’ I can say with confidence that he must surely have revealed the yogic-secrets behind the ‘lingodbhava’ in his ‘Hara-Sahasram’ work.

But all these certainties of my opinion is purely built on my ‘faith’ and ‘experience’ reading the works of these three saints and also these three saints being divine incarnations – it adds to my personal bias towards ranking their capabilities high. However, I acknowledge that my ‘surety’ (on them) stands as mere ‘speculation’ because it cannot be proved due to lack of evidence of ‘lingodbhavam’ explanation in their works.

Coming to Vaishnavite saints – I do not behold any Vaishnavite saint who could have understood the yogic secrets of the ‘lingodbhavam’. In fact, Vaishnavism is a great path for Bhakti and we have seen many legendary devotees being produced from the sects of Vaishnavism – right from Prahlada and Dhruva kumara to the saints like Tukaram, and Mirabai of modern times. They are my ideals in my path of ‘bhakti’. But Vaishnavism is unfit for being a path which could understand the Yogic secrets. This is why funnily we have “refutations” of such a divine ‘lingodbhava’ incident in the very first topic of the work of ‘Sri Vijayendra Tirtha’ titled, ‘śaiva sarvasva khanḍanaṁ’. When such a learned scholar of his times viz. ‘Sri Vijayendra Tirtha’ was himself unable to grasp the yogic secrets behind Shiva’s infinite linga, how could we expect the self-proclaimed ‘authorities’ of the current generation who are in multitude on internet these days, to understand what ‘Agni-Linga’ is all about?

Let me reveal in detail, the divine yogic secrets of lingodbhava story now. All glories of this knowledge go to Mahādēva who is my guru, who being my inner-self, teaches me through the ‘antaḥ sphuraṇa (inner voice)’, who has graced me with the right pointers to connect the dots and solve the unsolved puzzle. Likewise, I am eternally thankful to my dearest mother Umā for always taking my side and nominating my name to Mahēśvara as the receiver of such solutions to the grand riddles of Hinduism, many of which are solved by ‘Shiva’ in my brain but they are yet to come on paper. Or is it that my father takes my side and recommends me to my mother ‘Uma’ and she bestows these solutions to me as my inner self? Both ways it is correct as they are one and the same being ‘ardhanārīśvara’ and if my father is the knowledge giver ‘dakṣiṇāmūrtī’ then my mother ‘haimavatī’ too is the knowledge giver ‘brahma-vidyā’! Either way I am indebted to them. Without their unconditional love I am too small to grasp any such divine secrets. Hence all credits to this knowledge go to him and her; and whatever shortcomings that may exist, are purely due to my inability in translating their teachings in right words.

Let’s begin now! We’ll analyze and establish the authenticity of this story one by one at two levels, viz. – Pindanda (Microcosm) and Brahmanda (Macrocosm).

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4.3. In Microcosm – Lingōdbhava is not just any tale – It’s a ‘Yōga-vijnāna-rahasya’!


In the ‘jnānayōga-khanḍa’ of ‘sūta-saṁhitā’ we find the subtle details about the various nerves that help in Yoga sadhana.  There are hundreds of nerves; out of them fourteen are of importance. Out of the fourteen also only three are significant in Yoga Sadhana and their names are – ida, pingala and Sushumna. I’m presenting only the important and required verses here instead of detailing everything that is described about the yogic nerves in that scripture.

4.3.1. Placement or positioning of the three yogic nerves


Lord Shiva discourses about this nādī-maṇḍala to Br̥haspatī. Lord Shiva says that Sushumna nerve exists in the center of the body and runs along the spine from inside and extends till Sahasrara (the crown). In fact none of the nerves except Sushumna reach till Sahasrana.

“brahmanāḍīti sā prōktā munē vēdāntavēdibhiḥ |
pr̥ṣṭhamadhyē sthitēnāsthnā vīṇādandēna suvrata || 11
saha mastakaparyantaṁ suṣumnā supratiṣṭhitā |” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:11-12a)

“[That suṣumnā] is known as ‘brahmanāḍī’, O Muni, by the knowers of Vēdānta. O thou of good austerities, It exists in the centre of the back inside the vīṇādanda (i.e., spine). That suṣumnā exists till the tip of the head (i.e., in sahasrāra)”.

On the LEFT side of Sushumna exists the nerve called Ida and on the RIGHT side of Sushumna exists the Pingala as evident from the below verse. This is the absolute positioning system where positioning is determined with respect to our body irrespective of the direction we face towards. That means – Ida would always exist at our left hand side and Pingala always would exist at our right hand side.

“suṣumnāyā iḍā savyē dakṣiṇē piṇgalā sthitā |” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:15a)
“On Sushumna’s left side exists the Ida nerve and on the right side exists the nerve called Pingala”.

There is however another system, scriptures classify the positioning in which they use the relative positioning with respect to the direction we face at. In such a system it is assumed that the person would face eastwards and then they say that Ida is towards the north (uttara) direction of Sushumna and Pingala is stationed at the south (dakshina) direction of sushumna. Varaha Upanishad is such one scripture which talks about north and south placement. But in any manner, when our body is the frame of reference, Ida always would fall on the left hand side and Pingala always on the right hand side and Sushumna anyway remains in the middle only. So, the absolute positioning with respect to our body does not change, while the relative positioning with respect to direction we face may change based on the direction we face.

4.3.2. The end points of the three yogic nerves


In the body there are six major chakras out of which the bottommost chakra is called as ‘mūlādhāra-chakra’. This exists at a distance of just TWO digits above the anus and TWO digits below the genitals as confirmed in below verse from Upanishad.

“śarīraṁ sarvajantūnā̃ ṣaṇṇavatyaṅgulātmakam |
tanmadhyē pāyudēśāttu dvyaṅgulātparataḥ param ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:19)

“The body of every sentient being is ninety-six digits long. In the middle of the body, two digits above the anus and two digits below the sexual organ, is the centre of the body (called Mūlādhāra or sacral plexus)”.

There is a wheel of twelve spokes called as ‘nāḍī-chakra’ which exists NINE digits above the genital area as confirmed in Varaha Upanishad.

“mēḍhradēśādadhastāttu dvyaṅgulānmadhyamucyatē | mēḍhrānnatāṅgulādūrdhvaṁ nāḍīnā̃ kandamucyatē || caturaṅgulamutsēdhaṁ caturaṅgulamāyatam | aṇḍākāraṁ parivṛtaṁ mēdōmajjāsthiśōṇitaiḥ ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:20-21)
“Nine digits above the genitals, there is Kanda of Nadis which revolves oval-shaped, four digits high and four digits broad. It is surrounded by fat, flesh, bone and blood”.

“tatraiva nāḍīcakraṁ tu dvādaśāraṁ pratiṣṭhitam ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:22a)
“In it, is situate a Nadi-Chakra (wheel of nerves) having twelve spokes”.

At the downward ends – Ida and Pingala nerves actually originate at the ‘nāḍī-chakra’. Ida and Pingala are two of the twelve spokes that comprise the ‘nāḍī-chakra’. However, although Sushumna passes through this ‘nāḍī-chakra’ as like as a thread passes through a bead, yet it doesn’t originate in ‘nāḍī-chakra’; rather Sushumna originates in ‘mūlādhāra’ .

“anantarārayugmē tu vāruṇā ca yaśasvinī |
dakṣiṇārē suṣumṇāyāḥ piṅgalā vartatē kramāt ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:24)

“In the next two (spokes) are Varuna and Yasasvini. On the spoke south of Susumna is, in regular course, Pingala”.

“śaṅkhinī caiva gāndhārī tadanantarayōḥ sthitē |
uttarē tu suṣumnāyā iḍākhyā nivasatyasau ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:26)

“On the next two spokes are Sankhini and Gandhari. To the north of Susumna dwells Ida”.

Now let’s look at the upper end connections of these three nerves. We have already discussed that Sushumna extends till the highest chakra i.e., ‘sahasrāra chakra’. Now, let’s see where Ida and Pingala culminate at the higher end.

At the upper end, Ida (the LEFT nerve) goes and connects to the RIGHT nostril and Pingala (the RIGHT nerve) goes up and connects to the LEFT nostril. It looks like a cross mark because each nerve connects the OPPOSITE nostril. Note this point carefully!

“piṇgalāsaṁjnitā nāḍī yāmyanāsāntamiṣyatē | 20b
idā chōttaranāsāntaṁ sthitā vāchaspatē tathā | (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:20b-21a)

“That nerve which is denoted as pingala runs upto the left nostril, whereas the Ida nerve goes up to the right nostril, O Vachaspati!”

 

4.3.3. Some Interesting facts – The great ‘KEY’ of the Puzzle


Now the interesting fact revealed is – The god who denotes Sushumna is Shiva, the god of Ida (LEFT nerve) is Vishnu and the god of Pingala (RIGHT nerve) is Brahma as stated in below verse. This verse is the ‘key of the grand puzzle’!

“suṣumnāyāḥ śivō dēva iḍāyā dēvatā hariḥ |
piṇgalāyā viriṇchiḥ syātsaraswatyā virāṇmunē ||” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:37)

“The god who denotes Sushumna is Shiva, the deity of Ida is Hari, the deity of Pingala is Brahma and the deity of Saraswati nerve is Virat, O Muni!”

Before getting into further discussion, let me briefly stop here and share one interesting truth – what I call the ‘key of the puzzle’ cited above, is just another normal verse of ‘yōgic theory’ only. Because this section of ‘Sūta-Saṁhitā’ names out the presiding deities of all the fourteen nerves like – Hari (ida), Brahma (Pingala), Shiva (Sushumna), Virat (Saraswati), Digdevata (Pushan), Vayu (varuni), Varuna (hastijihva), Bhaskara (yashasvini), Chandra (gandhari)…etc., all the fourteen significant nerves have been detailed out. Even the great Mādhavāchārya (former name of Śrī Vidyāraṇya) who had done the commentary on the entire ‘Sūta-Saṁhitā’; just simply says, “uktanāḍīnāmadhiṣṭhātr̥dēvatā māha – suṣumnāyāḥ śiva ityādī”, meaning, “The presiding deities of the nerves such as Sushumna’s Shiva etc., have been stated”. But as soon as I my first glance had fallen on the verse which I call as the ‘key verse’ – instantly like a flash entire solution with all its corresponding branches for correlation manifested within my heart at a single go itself! It was like entire jigsaw puzzle of ‘lingōdbhavaṁ’ story of ‘Shiva Purana’ got automatically assembled in my mind with references from ‘Yoga Upanishads’ stitching the puzzle blocks and putting them in right place! And a great sense of happiness ran through my entire being.

Now, let me make a thing clear – by sharing the above mentioned incident of my life, my intentions are not to glorify myself, rather, my only wish is to tell the world how compassionate the great parents of mine viz. Uma and Maheshwara are! They who didn’t flash this solution to anyone till date in such detail which is ‘complete’, ‘understandable’, and ‘convincing‘; if they could confer their grace on my kind of common human just because I have devoted myself to them saying ‘I am your infant and you are my own parents’; then you should understand how boundless and unconditional is their love and grace! If my kind of person who is less learned in scriptures, whose ‘sādhanā’ is very minimal, who has not done many austerities, who has not done any service to mankind – if such a fellow who I am can get such a grace, you, the readers would surely be able to gain even greater things if you have done greater ‘sādhanā’!

Therefore, all I would like to urge here is – abandon all those philosophers who had called Shiva as a ‘demigod’ and had shown him as a useless fellow. Just hug Shiva’s and Uma’s feet once and then you yourself would repeat his glories to others from your own personal experiences the way I have done above. With this let me get everyone back to the mainstream discussion.

Further Maheshwara says to Brihaspati that in Ida nerve always moves the moon and in Pingala moves the sun as referenced in below verse from Suta Samhita.

 

“iḍāyāṁ chandramā nityaṁ charatyēva mahāmunē |
piṇgalāyāṁ ravistadvanmunē vēdavidāṁ vara ||” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:41)

“Thou learned in Vedic scriptures, O Muni! (Know that) In Ida always moves the moon, and in pingala moves the sun”.

“evaṃ nāḍīmayaṃ cakraṃ vijñeyaṃ yoginā sadā |
satataṃ prāṇavāhinyaḥ soma sūryāgnidevatāḥ ||54
iḍāpiṅgalāsuṣumnāstisro nāḍyaḥ prakīrtitāḥ ||” (Dhyanabindu Upanishad 54-55a)

“This Chakra of the Nadis should ever be known by the Yogins. The three Nadis Ida, Pingala and Susumna are said to carry Prana always and have as their Devatas, moon, sun and Agni”.

There is a great connection between Vishnu, Brahma, Sun and Moon – Moon is of the nature of Vishnu and both represent cooler aspects. Sun is of the nature of Brahma hence both represent the hotter aspects. Hence Ida is the nerve which intakes cooler wind from outside during Pranayama and Pingala exhales the hot wind present inside.

As a side note – This identification of Sun and Moon within Pingala and Ida are related to the jyotisha which is again an internal science not external one. In fact through yoga-Sadhana all the doshas (bad effects) of the planets could be erased. Sadly, unaware of the mysticism that lies within ourselves, people out of such ignorance go to temples and offer various items to nava-grahas for eradicating the doshas, and we all know how much the success rate of such worship is!  Well we will discuss one application of yogic secret on astrology in the “Appendix-C” separately. For the time being let’s not focus on Sun and Moon, let’s focus on Vishnu and Brahma.

 

4.3.4. The Yoga Sadhana – rechaka, puraka, kumbhaka


Since we have understood the nerve structuring – Let’s now start breathing. In Yoga Sadhana, Pranayama is a mandatory process which involves three tasks viz. – rechaka (Exhale), puraka (inhale) and kumbhaka (retention) of breath. In this connection the ‘Yoga Kunḍalinī Upanishad’ states that one should INHALE breath from the RIGHT nostril and EXHALE from the LEFT nostril.

“dakṣanāḍyā samākṛṣya bahiṣṭhaṃ pavanaṃ śanaiḥ |
yatheṣṭaṃ pūrayedvāyuṃ recayediḍayā tataḥ ||” (Yoga Kunḍalinī Upanishad 1:24)
“Slowly inhaling the breath from outside, as long as he desires, through the right nostril, he should exhale it through the left nostril”

“kapālaśodhane vāpi recayetpavanaṃ śanaiḥ |
catuṣkaṃ vātadoṣaṃ tu kṛmidoṣaṃ nihanti ca ||” (Yoga Kunḍalinī Upanishad 1:25)
“He should exhale it after purifying his skull (by forcing the breath up). This destroys the four kinds of evils caused by Vayu as also by intestinal worms”.

It further states that this process should be done often and it states that this process is called as ‘sūryabhēda’. And we are very much clear why it is called as ‘sūryabhēda’ because we have seen above that breath moves out of Left nostril which is said to be the path of Sun.

“punaḥ punaridaṃ kāryaṃ sūryabhedamudāhṛtam ||” (Yoga Kunḍalinī Upanishad 1:26a)
“This should be done often and it is this which is spoken of as Surya-Bheda”.

“mukhaṃ saṃyamya nāḍibhyāmākṛṣya pavanaṃ śanaiḥ ||26b
yathā lagati kaṇṭhāttu hṛdayāvadhi sasvanam |
pūrvavatkumbhayetprāṇaṃ recayediḍayā tataḥ ||27” (Yoga Kunḍalinī Upanishad 1:26b-27)
“Closing the mouth and drawing up slowly the breath as before with the nose through both the Nadis (i.e., nostrils) and retaining it in the space between the heart and the neck, one should exhale it through the left nostril”.

Let me explain this with my interpretation.

 

4.3.5. Paraspara-Virodha (mutual opposition) between Brahma and Vishnu


When Pranayama is performed, we inhale wind from one nostril and exhale from the other. Inhale means taking inside and exhale means expelling outside. This means movement of wind is opposite during inhale and exhale. This “Mutual (paraspara) Opposition (gharshana or virodha)” is what is called as the fight between Brahma (Pingala) and Vishnu (Ida).

Now, let’s interpret further.

4.3.6. Vishnu moving downwards and Brahma flying upwards

 



When we INHALE from RIGHT nostril, we PUSH the breath DOWNWARDS through IDA and Ida is Vishnu, hence this represents Vishnu travelling downwards. When we EXHALE from LEFT nostril, we would PULL the breath present inside our chest UPWARDS and expel it through PINGALA and Pingala is Brahma, hence this represents Brahma flying upwards.

4.3.7. Brahma and Vishnu failing to locate the Ends of Shiva


As we have already discussed above, Ida and Pingala nerves are far shorter in length compared to Sushumna. Ida and Pingala originate at the ‘nāḍī chakra’ which is nine digits above the genital area and rise upwards and reach upto the nostrils only. Sushumna however, begins at the ‘mūlādhāra chakra’ which is situated two digits below the genitals and extends upwards and connects the Sahasrara Chakra.

Therefore Ida and Pingala can never match the depths and heights where Sushumna’s reach extends. That means, Ida and Pingala can never measure the length of Sushumna!

As learnt from the aforementioned sections – Ida is Vishnu and Pingala is Brahma and Sushumna is Shiva. Therefore from this we can easily learn the meaning of Brahma and Vishnu failing to find the ends of Shiva. Since Sushumna is the supreme nerve in Yoga, Shiva is the supreme. There is no chance for Vishnu and Brahma to be ever successful in measuring the length of Shiva!

Note that Tamil ‘śaivite’ saint ‘tirumūlar’ had briefly mentioned the same secret that we have discussed above. In his work ‘tirumandiraṁ’ he says the following (His work is in Tamil, but the below stanza is taken from the English translation of ‘tirumandiraṁ’ by ‘Dr. B. Natarajan’ and published by ‘Ramakrishna Mutt’).

2426 Head and Feet Are Within
“They know not
The Head and Foot (of Lord) is within body,
The Head is in Sahasrara (Cranium)
The Foot in Muladhara;
Those who visioned thus in the Yogic way,
Remained in Prayer
Their heads bowed at Lord’s feet”. (Tirumandiram 8:17:2426)

 

4.3.8. Shiva appearing from the Stambha


We know from the legend that Shiva as stambha was visible as the infinite column which Brahma and Vishnu failed to measure. Then Shiva appears in his own form from that formless Stambha and tells about himself to Brahma and Vishnu and gives boons to them.

But before Shiva appeared in his form; Brahma and Vishnu after failing to find the ends, travel back to the same point where from they had begun their journeys and remain stationed there itself. Shiva appears in his form from the Stambha and the usual story continues i.e., – he blesses Vishnu for his truthfulness and scolds Brahma for telling a lie.

This brahma and Vishnu remaining stationed at one place without movement is what is called as ‘kumbhaka’ in Pranayama. Kumbhaka is the retention of breath in outward sense but actually it means the assimilation of knowledge. When such an internalization and assimilation of the knowledge of scriptures (via shravanam and mananam etc.,) is done, there appears Bhagawan Shiva and that is the state which gives emancipation. In this connection ‘Varaha Upanishad’ gives the following guidelines. Whatever we have discussed just now, let’s relate them with the Upanishad’s verses now.

Both Brahma and Vishnu came to their original position and with their heads bowing down in reverence stand there. We have seen in earlier sections a narrative from Shiva Purana (refer “Section 3.5”) where Brahma and Vishnu remain stationed in their original place wherefrom they had begun their travel. That is what the retention of breath is by stopping expiration and inspiration of breath as called out in below Upanishad verse.

“recakaṃ pūrakaṃ caiva kumbhamadhye nirodhayet |
dṛśyamāne pare lakṣye brahmaṇi svayamāśritaḥ ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:57)

“Both expiration and inspiration should (be stopped and made to) rest in restraint of breath (alone). He should depend solely on Brahman which is the highest aim of all visible”.

Upanishad further explains what the actual meaning of the three acts of Pranayama is! For the supreme knowledge of Brahman to shine in a Yogi, the internal meaning of Pranayama needs to be understood. The inhale of breath (Puraka) is nothing but imbibing the knowledge from scriptures via the processes of shravanam (listening), and mananam (contemplating on the things learnt). The exhale of breath (rechaka) is shedding attachment with all external objects. And the retention of breath (kunbhaka) is assimilating and internalization the knowledge of scriptures firmly in oneself (niddhidhyasanam). That gives the emancipation.

“bāhyasthaviṣayaṃ sarvaṃ recakaḥ samudāhṛtaḥ |
pūrakaṃ śāstravijñānaṃ kumbhakaṃ svagataṃ smṛtam ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:58)

“(The giving out of) all external objects is said to be Rechaka (expiration). The (taking in of the) spiritual knowledge of the Shastras is said to be Puraka (inspiration) and (the keeping to oneself of) such knowledge is said to be Kumbhaka (or restraint of breath)”.

“evamabhyāsacittaścetsamukto nātra saṃśayaḥ |
kumbhakena samāropya kumbhakena pūrayet ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:59)

“He is an emancipated person who practices thus such a Chitta. There is no doubt about it. Through Kumbhaka, it (the mind) should be always taken up and through Kumbhaka alone it should be filled up within”.

Kumbhaka as seen earlier is what is called as retention of breath by stopping the inhale and exhale. That means, when Vishnu and Brahma stop their travel and stand in their original position meditating on the Skambha, then lord Shiva displays them his form. This is why Upanishad says that within Kumbhaka is Bhagawan Shiva.

“kumbhena kumbhayetkumbhaṃ tadantasthaḥ paraṃ śivam ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:60a)
“It is only through Kumbhaka that Kumbhaka should be firmly mastered. Within it is Parama-Shiva”.

In order to achieve perfection in ‘yōga mārga’, one needs to master stillness of breath. Vedanta and Yoga both go hand in hand. Therefore whether ‘kumbhaka’ is seen as ‘assimilation of knowledge and firmly adiding in self’ or, seen as ‘the stillness of breath’ – both of these are required to be done. The mastery in ‘kumbhaka’ (i.e., mastery in stillness of breath and firmness of abiding in self) is very difficult and this is possible to be achieved only by the grace of the goddess ‘bagalāmukhī’ who is one of the ‘daśa mahāvidyā’. By the grace of goddess ‘bagala’ a yōgi gains ‘stambhana-siddhi’ i.e., mastery over the ‘stillness’ of breath and ‘firmness’ in abidance in self. The legendrary ‘vaidika’, a scholar par excellence and a great saint ‘kāvyakaṇṭha vāśiṣṭha gaṇapati munī’ has revealed this in ‘umā sahasraṁ’ as follows.

“piṇḍe cāṇḍe stambhanaśaktirbagalā |” (umā sahasraṁ 38.17)
“In the macrocosm (universe) as well as the microcosm (the body) – the power of stillness is known as ‘bagala’!”

This is the beauty of Shiva and Shakti. Their principles always go hand in hand. They are always identical. Without the grace of one, realizing the other is impossible. At every step we can see presence of both of them. While in the stillness of breath manifests the ‘skambha’ and Shiva is realized; to retain the breath one needs the grace of goddess ‘bagalamukhi’ – who is the power of stillness of breath and is an aspect of Shiva’s consort Uma herself! Without the help and grace of Shiva and Uma one can never get emancipation!

4.3.9. Why Skambha is called ‘Agni-stambha’ and what is ‘śiva-rātrī’?


We have seen from the verse from Skanda Purana that Shiva’s sthambha was Agni-Stambha. It is nothing but the fire of consciousness also called as ‘chidagni (chit-agni)’ which is identical with Kuṇḍalinī when we visualize that in female principle as a goddess.

The entire Lingodbhava process is the process of manifestation and ascension of the fire-Kunḍalinī. Shiva and Shakti are one and the same, hence when spoken in male principle he is called as – Jataveda-Agni, Skambha, Vaisvanara, Purusha, and Lingodbhava-murty. And when we look at it through the female principle, it is called as – Jātavēda-Durgā, Kuṇḍalinī, Lalitā, and Nārāyaṇa.

Talking about Agni flaming upwards ‘Varaha Upanishad’ states the following verses. It says that Mūlādhāra is the seat of Shiva in the form of Bindu. There is located the Parashakti called Kunḍalinī (which is identical with Shiva as we know), which with the force of vayu flames up inside the Sushumna i.e., Agni-Linga (Skambha) manifests.

“gudameḍhrāntarālasthaṃ mūlādhāraṃ trikoṇakam |
śivasya bindurūpasya sthānaṃ taddhi prakāśakam ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:50)

“In the centre of the anus and the genitals, there is the triangular Mūlādhāra. It illumines the seat of Shiva of the form of Bindu”.

“yatra kuṇḍalinī nāma parā śaktiḥ pratiṣṭhitā |
yasmādutpadyate vāyuryasmādvahniḥ pravardhate ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:51)

“There is located the Parasakti named Kunḍalinī. From that seat, Vayu arises. From that seat, Agni becomes increased”.

‘Yoga Kunḍalinī Upanishad’ also states the same as follows.

“tato yātau vahnyamānau prāṇamuṣṇasvarūpakam |
tenātyantapradīptena jvalano dehajastathā ||44
tena kuṇḍalinī suptā saṃtaptā samprabudhyate |45a” (Yoga Kunḍalinī Upanishad 1:44-45a)

“Then Agni and Apana come to (or commingle with) Prana in a heated state. Through this Agni which is very fiery, there arises in the body the flaming (or the fire) which rouses the sleeping Kunḍalinī through its heat”.

When the Agni-Linga is in motion (i.e., chidagni is rising upwards) it is called as ‘Kunḍalinī’ and when it has risen totally and is standing firm without motion, that state of stillness is ‘Skambha’. In other words, motion is Shakti, and stillness is Shiva. When it moves upwards, it is called ‘Kunḍalinī’, when it has reached ‘sahasrara’ and remains all-pervading through the sushumna from bottom to top – it is called Skambha!

The Lingodbhava-principle is encoded in various hymns of Vedas. Here is a verse which outwardly may look like generating fire in household, but it actually encapsulates the phenomenon of manifestation of Agni-Stambha. This verse is addressed to Agni because Skambha is verily Agni-Linga. In the below verse – ‘floods’ refer to the Prana, Apana etc., breaths; the ‘stones’ refer to the six pegs called ‘chakras’; the ‘trees’ are the various nerves within the forest of ‘nāḍī-maṇḍala’; Shiva being the universal law ‘rtam’, the agni-linga manifestation is called as the offspring of eternal-law. The ‘rubbing with force’, implies, the ‘mutual opposition of breaths’ in microcosm and the ‘mutual opposition between Brahma and Vishnu’ in macrocosm. When such rubbing with force happens, he, the Agni-Skambha is brought to life upon the lofty Earth (Mūlādhāra).

“yamāpo adrayo vanā gharbhaṃ ṛtasya piprati |
sahasā yo mathito jāyate nṛbhiḥ pṛthivyā adhi sānavi ||” (Rig Veda 6:48:5)

“He whom floods, stones, and trees support, the offspring of eternal Law; He who when rubbed with force is brought to life by men upon the lofty height of earth”.

In fact, Agni of any form is Shiva alone. This is why probably, even on the earthly plane – when gharśaṇa (friction) or opposition is created between two ‘araṇī’ sticks, then only Agni manifests between those sticks. This again is akin to the ‘Lingodbhava’ incident at household level.

Well, the immediately next verse of the same hymn from Rig Veda encapsulates another secret within it. The manifestation of Stambha as per Puranas is called out to have happened at night. That was the night, which is symbolic of gloom (tamas) which shrouded the intellect of the deities, and the emergence of the supreme light of consciousness in the form of blazing red colored Agni-Skambha, dispelling the darkness of the night of gloom – is celebrated as a great event ‘śiva-rātrī’! This phenomenon of ‘śiva-rātrī’ is encoded in the below verse of Rig Veda!

“ā yaḥ paprau bhānunā rodasī ubhe dhūmena dhāvate divi |
tirastamo dadṛśa ūrmyāsvā śyāvāsvaruṣo vṛṣā śyāvā aruṣo vṛṣā ||” (Rig Veda 6:48:6)

“He who hath filled both worlds fult with his brilliant shine, who hastens with his smoke to heaven;
He made himself apparent through the gloom by night, the Red Bull in the darksome nights, the Red Bull in the darksome nights”.


Just a side note:

 

Well, there is a possibility of a doubt here so proactively let me on my own do the job of putting that question and answering the same. We said ‘Skambha’ is ‘Brahman’ and in subsequent section (“Section 5.2.1”) I would also show that this ‘Skambha’ is verily the ‘Atman’. Then what is meant by ‘manifestation’ of ‘Skambha’? When it is ‘Brahman’ or ‘Atman’ it should always exist – why do Puranas say it ‘manifested’ in between Brahma and Vishnu? The answer is – “Atman (the self) or Brahman always exists but ‘realization’ doesn’t happen always. What ‘Yoga’ terms as ‘Kuṇḍalinī’, is the same which ‘Vedanta’ terms as ‘jnāna’. For an ignorant person the ‘Kuṇḍalinī’ remains dormant sleeping in ‘Mūlādhāra’ which is the seat of ‘tamas (ignorance)’. The phenomenon called ‘AWAKENING’ of ‘Kuṇḍalinī’ is same as ‘MANIFESTATION’ of ‘Skambha’ both of which mean alike – ‘DAWN’ of ‘Knowledge’! This dawn of knowledge leads to ‘REALIZATION’ of ‘Shiva’ who is the ‘self (Atman)’ or ‘Brahman’.

Till the time Brahma and Vishnu were ignorant of the Supreme Brahman, the ‘Skambha’ although always present everywhere, was ‘INVISIBLE’ for them. When they fought – they toiled hard – they toiled hard to find the ultimate ‘Supreme Being’ – this means they struggled for realization of ‘Who is Brahman?’ – Then only ‘Skambha’ which was always present everywhere but was ‘invisible’ to them, became ‘visible’ to them (i.e., dawn of knowledge happened), but only when they ‘surrendered’ their ‘Ego’ and prayed with folded hands; then, within that ‘Skambha’ they realized ‘Shiva’. This is ‘prajnānāṁ braḥman’ i.e., Skambha (knowledge or consciousness) and Shiva (Brahman) are one and the same! Similarly, the ‘self (Atman)’ is always present but we identify ourselves with the body and get entangled in ignorance. When the fire of ‘Kuṇḍalinī’ (jnāna) rises or awakens, and ‘kapāla bhēda (destruction of ego)’ happens – this phenomenon of ‘kapāla-bhēda’ happens by the grace of the great ‘Mahāvidyā’ named ‘chhinnamastā’. Subsequently, that ‘jnāna (Skambha)’ makes us ‘see (i.e., realize)’ the ‘self (Shiva)’”.

4.3.10. Why Brahma and Vishnu heard nada (Omkara) just before Shiva displayed himself in his form


If you remember the events of the section (refer “section 3.5”), we have seen that Brahma and Vishnu heard the Nada (Omkara) just before Shiva displayed them his form. That is nothing but the emergence of nada when Agni-Linga form of Shiva (Kunḍalinī Shakti) manifests.

“yasmādutpadyate binduryasmānnādaḥ pravardhate |
yasmādutpadyate haṃso yasmādutpadyate manaḥ ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:52)

“From that seat, Bindu originates and Nada becomes increased. From that seat, Hamsa is born. From that seat, Manas is born”.

4.3.11. Why Brahma and Vishnu saw Uma alongside Shiva in the Skambha


Also, in the same section (refer “Section 3.5”) before concluding we have discussed that when Shiva becomes visible to Brahma and Vishnu he displays them his ‘akṣaramālikā’ form and there remains goddess Uma also alongside Shiva. There should not be any doubt like – What was Uma doing in Shiva’s lingodbhava event? We have already discussed that Uma and Shiva always go hand in hand together. What is called as Lingodbhava when seen from male principle is the same as what is called as Kunḍalinī in female principle. This is why Shiva displayed his form and beside him there was Uma Devi also. This is why Narayana Suktam (which is a glorification of Kunḍalinī alone and not to be confused with Vishnu) finally states the Parabrahman in the form of an androgynous person (Ardhanareshvara).

“ṛtama satyaṁ paraṁ brahma puruṣaṁ kṛṣṇapiṅgalam .
ūrdhvarētaṁ virūpākśaṁ viśvarūpāya vai namō namaḥ |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.23.1)

“Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Righteousness (rita) and Truth (satyam), is the androgynous purusha (or Ardhanareeshwara) having dark blue and reddish brown hue, absolutely chaste (having semen rised up) and possessing uneven eyes (three eyed), salutations to Him alone whose form is the universe”.

This is evident from ‘Yoga Kunḍalinī’ Upanishad that Kunḍalinī finally becomes one with Shiva and that is the final outcome of Lingodbhava as the emancipation of the Yogi.

“prakṛtyaṣṭakarūpaṃ ca sthānaṃ gacchati kuṇḍalī |
kroḍīkṛtya śivaṃ yāti kroḍīkṛtya vilīyate ||” (Yoga Kunḍalinī Upanishad 1:74)

“Kunḍalinī assumes the eight forms of Prakriti (matter) and attains Shiva by encircling him and dissolves itself in Shiva”.

“sahasrakamale śaktiḥ śivena saha modate |
saivāvasthā parā jñeyā saiva nirvṛtikāriṇī iti ||” (Yoga Kunḍalinī Upanishad 1:86b)

“Then Sakti is happy with Shiva in ‘Sahasrara Kamala’. This should be known as the highest ‘avastha’ (state) and it alone is the giver of final beatitude”.

The vision of that Param-Jyoti called as Skambha or Agni-Linga is the giver of emancipation to the Yogis as also stated in the following verse from ‘Yoga Chudamani’ Upanishad.

“yatsamādhau paraṃjyotiranantaṃ viśvatomukham |
tasmindṛṣṭe kriyākarma yātāyāto na vidyate ||” (Yoga Chudamani Upanishad 113)

“After seeing the Param Jyothi which is spread everywhere, in Samadhi, duties and action neither come nor goes”.

4.3.12. When seen as a story of Goddess Bhuvaneswari – Lingodbhava becomes ascension of Kunḍalinī

 

As in all my articles I have been showing the same tatwam being seen identically reflecting in Shiva and Shakti both and I have always said that it is because Shiva and Shakti are one and the same. The oneness of Shiva and Shakti is evident from the verse of Suta Samhita quoted below.

“na śivēna vinā śaktirna śaktirahitaḥ śivaḥ |
umāśankarayōraikyaṁ yaḥ paśyati sa paśyati ||” (sūta saṁhitā:04:13:30)
“Neither Shakti exists without Shiva, nor does Shiva exist without Shakti. The one who sees Uma and Shankara as one and the same is the one who really sees (i.e., knows the truth)”.

Then surely, if ‘lingodbhava’ event is the glory of ‘Bhuvaneshwara’ it would be the glory of goddess ‘Bhuvaneswari’ also. This is why I am excited to reveal the same ‘tatwam’ from my mother Bhuvaneswari’s perspective. In ‘Lalita Sahasranama Stotram’ from ‘Brahmanda Purana’ she is clearly called as ‘bhuvaneśvarī’ in the 294th name.

In lalita Sahasranama we gain the glimpses of the same ‘lingodbhava’ tatwam in the 614th name which says the following.

“sacāmara-ramā-vāṇī-savya-dakṣiṇa-sevitā |” (Lalita Sahasranama:Verse 123)
“She who is being fanned by goddess Lakshmi and goddess Saraswati standing left and right respectively”.

Here it is said that ‘ramā (Lakshmi)’ stands at the left side and ‘vāṇī (Saraswati)’ stands at the right side of ‘Lalitāmbikā’ holding ‘chāmarā-s (hand fans made of soft fibers)’ and keep fanning the goddess. What is the meaning of them fanning the goddess? The answer is – This is again not any normal depiction. It too conveys the Yoga-rahasya alone.

When seen this ‘tatwa’ as a female principle we see that – Lakshmi and Saraswati take the same positions of left and right respectively as taken by their consorts Vishnu and Brahma; and Lalita takes the centre position as taken by her consort Shiva. Therefore here Lakshmi is Ida nerve, Vani is the Pingala nerve and Lalitambika shines through Sushumna

Ramā and Vāṇī have hand fans and they use them to fan Lalitambika. When chamaras (hand fans) are used to fan the master, when one servant’s hand goes up, the other’s hand goes down – this way constant supply of wind touching the whole body is ensured for the comfort of the master. Therefore, Vāṇī and Ramā’s hand-fans moving in opposite directions indicates the ‘pranayama’ procedure of inhale and exhale of wind and this indicates – the ‘paraspara-virodha’ (mutual opposition) of the Pranas in the Ida and Pingala nerves. Due to that, in the center blazes forth with splendor the red goddess ‘Lalitambika’ who is the ‘Kunḍalinī’ fire flowing through the ‘sushumna’.

This explains why Lalita Sahasranama Stotra of Brahmanda Purana hails Lalita as being fanned by Ramā and Vāṇī standing at her left and right sides respectively.

4.4. In Macrocosm – Lingodbhava is authentic and is a Universal truth


Yoga Kunḍalinī Upanishad puts in very clear words that the microcosm (pindanda) and Macocosm (brahmanda) are one and the same.

“piṇḍabrahmāṇḍayoraikyaṃ liṅgasūtrātmanorapi |
svāpāvyākṛtayoraikyaṃ svaprakāśacidātmanoḥ ||” (Yoga Kunḍalinī Upanishad 1:81)

“The microcosm and the macrocosm are one and the same; so also the Linga and Sutratman, Svabhava (substance) and form and the self-resplendent light and Chidatma”.

This is an established fact from various other scriptures also that the universe which we call as ‘braḥmāṇda’ and our individual body which is called ‘piṇḍāṇḍa’ are one and the same in organization and function. If there are fourteen worlds in the macrocosm (universe) then there are also those worlds within us too (Evidences for this statement we would see in section 5.2.1. while discussing ‘sarvalōka’).

Whatever events occur in the universe, they occur alike within our body as well and vice versa is also true. Only those who are aware of Vēdānta and Yōga can relate these concepts. For instance – Rāmāyaṇa is verily a tale which happens within our body itself. The three demon brothers – Rāvaṇa, Kumbhakarṇa and Vibheeṣaṇa are nothing but the three gunas – Rajas, Tamas and Satwa respectively. When Kumbhakarṇa remains at his peak; our laziness and sleepiness remains at their peak. When Rāvaṇa remains active, our mind revolves around things of passion and aggression. When Vibheeṣaṇa remains dominant, we remain of a balanced mind and look Sātwika in our behavior. We who are trapped in the city of ‘lanka’ symbolizing ignorance surrounded by the ocean of ‘saṁsāra’; when we realize the importance of liberation, we sincerely long for the self realization. This self is the Rāma who is the pure consciousness, which sends Hanumān as the ‘Guru’ to confer on us, the ‘swarūpa-jnāna’ of the self (Rāma). With that dawn of self knowledge, we take refuge in Rāma using our Satwa Guṇa (i.,e, Vibheeṣaṇa) and that Satwa Guṇa would help our self (Rama) to annihilate the two demons representing Rajas and Tamas and we would be finally carried away to the city of Braḥman (ayōdhyā) sitting in an aerial car ‘puṣpaka-vimāna’ which denotes ‘haṁsa’. This internal Rāmāyaṇa takes place in many of the ‘piṇḍāṇḍā-s’, but in the ‘braḥmāṇda’ it occurs only once in every ‘trētā-yuga’.

Similarly, Mahābhārata is also an internal story which occurs in the life of every yōgi at the level of piṇḍāṇḍa; but occurs only once in every ‘Dwāpara yūga’ in the life of Brahmāṇḍa. Likewise, even Samudra-Manthana, Tripura-Saṁhāra, Bhandāsura-Saṁhāra, Madhu-Kaithabha vadha, Mahishāsura mardana, Raktabīja-vadha, Chanda Muṇda and ṣuṁbha-niṣuṁbha samhāra – all these are in reality – the internal yōgic activities and keep occurring in the piṇḍāṇḍā-s in multiple yogis; but in Braḥmāṇḍa, they occur in some particular time frame and they become documented as legends in Purāṇā-s.

This is why there are always certain minor variations in the narration of these stories which vary from kalpa to kalpa at macrocosmic level – because they vary from the Yogic experiences of one yogi to another at the microcosmic level. For instance – if you read Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa – there Kumbhakarṇa is killed by Rāma and if you read the Rāmāyaṇa narration given in Vyāsa’s Mahābhārata – there Kumbhakarṇa is shown as slain by Lakṣmaṇa. So, whom would you call as false – Vyāsa or Vālmīkī? Both are correct because the Yōgic experiences of self realization differ from one Yōgi to another and although the procedure that is involved remains same, yet, the events differ sometimes. And since Brahmāṇda and Piṇḍāṇḍa are reflections of each other, we have differences in the events of the same story in various Kalpā-s at the level of Braḥmāṇḍa.

Unfortunately, we have a multitude of idiots under the garb of ‘authorities’ who are self-proclaimed ‘scholars’ and without even having the bare minimum knowledge of the divine secrets of ‘Shiva tatwam’ they raise questions on Shiva’s acts. Even traditional scholars were no exceptions. One such instance that comes to my mind is of Sri Vijayendra Tirtha who was doubtlessly a learned traditional scholar from ‘dwaita’ tradition and not a self-proclaimed ‘guru’, but he was ignorant of ‘Shiva tatwam’. He in his debate with Sri Appayya Deekshita asked him “As per Linga Purana it is Veerabhadra who becomes Sharabha and as per Shiva Purana it is Shiva himself who becomes Sharabha, now decide which of these two contradicting theories is correct, and let me know!” and then rejects those stories calling them as mutually contradicting depictions hence inauthentic to be referred in their debate. He was surely not aware that Shiva Purana, Linga Purana and other Puranas narrated stories from different kalpas of the same incident and in different kalpas the events take place with slight variations. He was also not aware of the fact that – Veerabhadra means: Veera (valor) and Bhadra (auspicious and protective) thus translate to – “Shiva’s that valorous power which does auspicious deeds of protection from calamities is called as Veerabhadra”. Hence whether Shiva comes himself or sends his form named ‘Veerabhadra’ – in both the cases the one who comes is; ‘the-valorous-and-auspicious-protector’ viz. Mahadeva alone.

In the light of above discussion where we have seen that ‘Piṇḍāṇḍa’ and ‘Braḥmāṇḍa’ are one and the same hence events within both must also occur alike; and also in the light of the previous sections where the ‘liṇgōdbhava’ has been proved to be a ‘yōgic’ secret and hence a reality within ‘Piṇḍāṇḍa’ – Combining both these elements It becomes an established fact that ‘liṇgōdbhava’ story in macrocosm is also true! That is, at the beginning of every fresh new creation, Brahma and Vishnu would surely conflict with each other to decide their supremacy and Shiva would manifest between them to reveal himself as the original Supreme Being and to teach them his own nature of ‘braḥma-tatwaṁ’.

Now, let us see some more evidences which support the ‘liṇgōdbhava’ as an absolutely true event.

4.4.1. Bhagawan Shiva is infinite – Ends cannot be located – says Upanishad!


The following verse from ‘Atharvasiras Upanishad’ proves that Lord Shiva is infinite and it clearly says that he is called ‘ananta (endless)’ because his end is neither at the top nor at the bottom – a clear cut evidence of the authenticity of ‘lingodbhava’ legend.

“atha kasmāduchyatē anantō yasmāduchchāryamāṇa ēva |
tiryagūrdhvamadhastāchchāsyāntō nopalabhyatē tasmāduchyatē anantaḥ ||” (Atharvasiras Upanishad 4:04)

“Next, why is He (Rudra) called ‘ananta’? Because, his end is available neither at the top nor at bottom, nor at right nor at left – therefore He is called ‘ananta (endless)’”.

4.4.2. Śwētavarāha – The very name of Kalpa is a testimony of Shiva’s Skambha incident


The most recent incident of Lingodbhava happened in the current Kalpa itself. In the beginning of the current Kalpa, the fight between Vishnu and Brahma had occurred to prove that the Supreme Being was one of them. Lord Shiva intervened and appeared as the agni-stambha in between them. Brahma assuming the form of a swan (Hamsa) flew upwards and Vishnu assuming the form of a boar (Varaha) moved downwards. Till this point everyone of us know the story. The interesting piece of information comes now!

Here Shiva Purana clearly says that Vishnu assumed the form of a white-boar (Svetavaraha) as evident from below verses.

“nārāyaṇōpi viṣvātmāsuṣwētōhyabhavattadā |
daṣayōjanavistīrṇēṣatayōjanamāyataṁ ||”  (Shiva Purana 2:07:56)

“And the soul of the universe, viz. narayana assumed the form of a white complexioned boar spreading hundred yōjanā-s in height and ten ‘yōjanā’ in girth”.

“mēruparvatavarṣamāṇaṁ gauratīkṣaṇōgradaṁṣhtriṇaṁ |
kālādityasamābhāsaṁdīrghaghōṇaṁmahāsvanaṁ ||
hrasvapādaṁ vichitrāngaṁjaitraṁ dr̥dhamanaupamaṁ |
vārāhākāramāsthāya gatavāṁstadadhau javāṭ ||”  (Shiva Purana 2:07:57-58)

“Having his chin as like as the meru mountain shining with white hue and having sharp-pointed teeth, resembling the radiance of the form of the sun which is seen at the time of destruction of the universe, having a long nose, creating huge noise, having medium feet, and strange looking parts, stern, victorious; assuming such an incomparable form of the boar, he with an excellent speed, moved downwards”.

This is why Shiva Purana clearly says that because Vishnu assumed the form of a white boar, this current kalpa is named after him as “Sveta-Varaha Kalpa”.

“ēvaṁvarṣasahasraṁ cha charanviṣṇuradhōgataḥ |
tathāprabhr̥ti lōkēṣhu ṣvētavārāhasaṁgyakaḥ ||”  (Shiva Purana 2:07:59)

“This way for thousands of years, Vishnu travelled down and down. (In remembrance of that incident) from that day, that Kalpa was famed as ṣvētavārāha kalpa”.

One may have a doubt – If the ‘lingodbhava’ event which happened in the current kalpa became the cause of naming the present kalpa as ‘Svetavaraha’, does that mean, that event didn’t take place in previous Kalpas? The answer is – Creation is cyclic and at the beginning of every new Kalpa (or if not in every kalpa, at least once in few kalpas) this supremacy debate occurs between Brahma and Vishnu and Shiva manifests as Skambha between them. Universe being identical to our body, the universal phenomenon are as cyclic as internal yogic phenomenon. If it is true that, in every Kalpa Yogis can attain the vision of ‘Skambha’ in them then surely, in universe also ‘lingodbhava’ event would occur at least once in a Kalpa. But all such Kalpas cannot be named as ‘Svetavaraha’ on account of ‘Lingodbhava’ incident just as like as – in every Kalpa Brahma sprouts from the ‘lotus’ of Vishnu’s navel but only one Kalpa gets named after that incident as ‘Padma Kalpa’. Similarly, in every Kalpa Shiva manifests from the forehead of Brahma into this universe as ‘Rudra’ but in remembrance of that event only one Kalpa is named as ‘Eshana Kalpa’ not all. Thus all names are just there in remembrance of events of time and despite all events occurring in every kalpa, every Kalpa cannot be named after all the events at once – unless Vyasa authors an ‘aṣṭōttara śata nāmāvalī’ (108 names) for Kalpa.

Let me now address another potential doubt – Vishnu had taken boar’s form in multiple occasions hence there may arise some questions in the minds of the readers such as – Why is it not right to consider this present Kalpa as named after the Boar form which Vishnu took at the beginning to lift the Earth which was submerged in cosmic waters of dissolution? Or why couldn’t this Kalpa be named after that Boar who manifested to kill Hiranyaksha who had submerged the Earth in the waters of nether worlds?

The answer to both the questions is same – That is – Vishnu assumed a ‘Dark’ coloured Varaha form in both those occasions hence the Kalpa cannot be called ‘śvētavarāha’. Let’s look at the references from scriptures as evidences in support of this answer.

4.4.3. The Varaha which lifted earth from cosmic waters was dark complexioned

 

4.4.3.1. Evidence from Taittiriya Aranyaka


There is a verse in taittiriya Aranyaka of Yajurveda which says that Earth was lifted by the Boar of dark complexion which had a hundred hands.

“bhūmirdhēnurdharaṇī lōkadhāriṇī |
uddhṛtāsi varāhēṇa kṛṣṇēna śatabāhunā ||” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.1.8.38)

“The earth is the giver of happiness like the milch cow, the sustainer of life and support for all living beings. Thou wert raised up by the boar, by the dark one, having hundred hands”.

Since Vedas are the seeds from which Puranas derive their narratives – Puranas should always follow Vedas as like a calf follows a cow. Puranas cannot contradict Vedas. Therefore, when Taittiriya Aranyaka has described the varaha of Earth-Lifting episode as ‘dark complexioned’ – No Purana is supposed to assign a different color. Vishnu’s varaha incarnation derives his color and pastimes from the blue-print present in this verse. I have done a little research on varaha from Puranas and here is what the findings are!

4.4.3.2. Evidence from Harivamsa Parva


Harivamsa Parva states that at the beginning, in order to commence the creation, when Earth was needed, which was submerged below waters. Hari contemplated thinking what form should be assumed to lift the Earth.

“tatō mahātmā manasā divyaṁ rūpamachintayat |
kiṁ nu rūpamahaṁ kr̥tvā uddharāmi vasuṁdharām |
jalē nimagnāṁ dharaṇīṁ yenāhaṁ vai samuddharē ||” (Harivamsa 3:34:27)

“[vaishampAyana said: O janamejaya!] Then the great soul (viShNu) thought about a divine form in his mind: Taking which form shall I uplift the earth? With what shall I uplift the earth, drowned in water?”

And then he identified the form of a boar as the suitable option for sporting in the water.

“ityēvaṁ chintayitvā tu devastatkaraṇē matiṁ |
jalakrīḍāruchistasmādvārāhaṁ rūpamasmarat ||” (Harivamsa 3:34:28)

“The Lord, thinking in this way with his intellect about the causes and the pleasure of playing in water, remembered about the form of the boar (varAha)”.

Hari then prepared himself for his job.

“hariruddharaṇe yuktastadābhūdasya bhūmibhr̥t ||” (Harivamsa 3:34:29)
“Lord hari, who holds the earth, prepared himself to uplift the earth”.

Then he assumed the form of a gigantic fierce boar of the complexion of Dark-Blue-Rain-Cloud.

“nīlamēghapratīkāshaṁ meghastanitaniḥsvanam |
mahāgireḥ saṁhananaṁ shvetadīptōgradāṁṣṭriṇaṁ ||” (Harivamsa 3:34:31)

“Having a colour, similar to that of a dark blue rain cloud, with a sound similar to the thunder of a rain cloud, with a body similar to that of a huge mountain, with his fang shining like the white island”.

“pīnōnnatakaṭīdēshaṁ vr̥ṣalakṣa-ṇapūjitaṁ |
rūpamāsthāya vipulaṁ vārāhamamitaṁ hariḥ ||” (Harivamsa 3:34:33)

“Having a large and high hip, typical of a bull worthy of worship, hari (viShNu) took up a vast and unbound form of the great boar (varAha)”.

4.4.3.3. Evidence from Vishnu Purana


Vishnu Purana says Vishnu’s Boar form was of ‘dark’ complexion.

“tataḥ samutkṣipya dharāṁ svadaṁṣtrayā mahāvarāhaḥ sphutapadmalōchanaḥ |
rasātalādutpalapatrasannibhaḥ samutthitō nīla ivāchalō mahān ||” (Vishnu Purana 1:04:26)

“The mighty boar, whose eyes were like the lotus, and whose body, vast as the Níla mountain, was of the dark colour of the lotus leaves, uplifted upon his ample tusks the earth from the lowest regions”.

N.B:- Other Puranas on Vishnu (I mean the so called six Satwika Puranas) have not detailed the appearance of Varaha such as – complexion, size, features etc while narrating the incident of lifting the Earth from cosmic waters. Even the very ‘Varaha Purana’ begins with the story about Varaha lifting the Earth, but doesn’t decorate the narration with colours, complexions and features. Not all the six (so called) satwika Puranas narrate Varaha incarnation, yet whichever of them mentions, have touched Varaha topic very briefly. Other Puranas such as Vayu Purana, Shiva Purana etc., detail Varaha’s complexion and they all unanimously call him Dark coloured boar. So, it is an established fact that Vishnu had always assumed a dark-boar form for lifting Earth from waters of dissolution.

 

4.4.4. Varaha which killed Hiranyaksha was also Dark complexioned

 

4.4.4.1. Evidence from Harivamsa Parva


Same Harivamsa continues Vishnu’s exploits in subsequent chapters and says that for killing Hiranyaksha Vishnu had assumed the SAME Varaha form which he had assumed while lifting the Earth in previous occasion.

“vaiśampāyana uvāca |
niṣprayatnē surapatau dharṣitēṣu surēṣu ca |
hiraṇyākṣavadhē buddhĩ cakrē cakragadādharaḥ ||” (Harivamsa 3:39:1)

“[vaishampAyana said O janamejaya!] As the efforts of the lord of deva-s (indra) were made useless and as the deva-s were oppressed, the one who holds the chakra (wheel) and mace, viShNu decided to kill hiraNyAkSha”.

“vārāhaḥ parvatō nāma yaḥ pūrvaṁ samudāhṛtaḥ |
sa ēṣa bhūtvā bhagavānājagāmāsurāntakṛta ||” (Harivamsa 3:39:2)

“The Lord taking the same form of varAha, huge as a mountain, which was explained before, went near the asura, hiraNyAkSha”.

Then here also Vishnu’s Varaha form’s complexion is narrated to be of Dark-Blue-Rain-Cloud kind of color.

“rarāja śaṅkhacakrābhyā̃ tābhyāmasurasūdanaḥ |
sūryacandramasōrmadhyē yathā nīlapayōdharaḥ ||” (Harivamsa 3:39:14)

“The slayer of asuras, sparkled with the conch and chakra (wheel) like a dark blue rain bearing cloud sparkles between the sun and the moon”.

4.4.4.2. Padma Purana narrates but doesn’t record complexion


Among other six (so called) satwika Puranas of Vishnu only Padma Purana describes Hiranyaksha killing episode somewhat comprehensively. Not all of the six Vishnu related Puranas include Hiranyaksha story, but whichever of them do; describe very briefly. The description of Varaha’s form in Padma Purana’s Uttara Khanda is comparatively more detailed than other Puranas of that list. But here also the colour or complexion is not mentioned. So, we should go by Harivamsa alone.

“varāharūpamāsthāyaviśvarūpaṁjanārdanaḥ |
anādimadhyāṁtavapuḥsarvadēvamayōvibhuḥ || 16
viśvataḥ pāṇipachchakṣhurmahādaṁṣtrōmahābhujaḥ |
daṁṣtraikayātutaṁdaityaṁjaghānaparamēśvaraḥ ||” 17 (Padma Purana:UK:237:16-17)

“Janardana, who has universe for his form, assumed the form of a boar, the body of which had no beginning or end and had all the deities within him. It had its hands everywhere, feet everywhere, and eyes everywhere; it had huge tusks and large shoulders. With one of his tusks that supreme lord pierced (and slayed) the demon”.

[Srimad Bhagawatam (SB 3:13:33) mentions the colour of the boar as “tāmala-nīlaṁ |” which means, “Of the bluish colour as like as the blue coloured Tamala tree”, and very much supports my analysis;, but still, I would not want to quote Srimad Bhagawatam which is not an authentic Purana. The original Bhagawatam among the list of 18 Puranas is Devi Bhagawatam not the Krishna’s Bhagawatam].

N.B:- Vishnu Purana doesn’t cover Varaha incarnation of Hiranyaksha killing episode. Garuda Purana while eulogizing all the incarnations of Hari makes a mention of Varaha killing Hiranyaksha but doesn’t detail it at all. As discussed, with the exception of Padma Purana other Puranas on Vishnu (I mean the so called six Satwika Puranas) have not detailed the appearance of Varaha even during the Hianyaksha killing incident. If at all they have touched, they have touched Varaha topic very briefly. Therefore, all the detailed-descriptive pieces of information that we have about Varaha – come from the other Puranas (such as Vayu Purana, Shiva Purana etc.) where all those Puranas unanimously state him to be of Dark complexioned.

4.4.4.3. Conclusion


By analysing the six (so called) satwika Puranas of Vishnu whatever we have discussed – That should clarify that Hari had never assumed a white coloured boar form in any other instance except during the lingodbhava episode. Therefore, the current Kalpa’s name ‘śwēta-varāha’ is a testimony that at the beginning of this Kalpa, Brahma and Vishnu’s mutual fight had occurred and lord Shiva’s supremacy was established there. On top of that, since Shiva Purana has explicitly and clearly mentioned that the current Kalpa’s name was formed as ‘śwētavarāha’ due to the Vishnu’s white boar form of Lingodbhava event; in the absence of any contradicting evidence from other Puranas, this fact remains unchallenged; hence, there remains no room for entertaining any further doubts in this matter.

This proves that this story of Lingodbhava is not a sectarian interpolation; rather it is a genuine one. Hence not only at the Pindanda level this Lingodbhava is a truth as a ‘Yoga rahasya’, but also at the Brahmanda level this event happens in a circular fashion every time at the beginning of a fresh new creation; and Shiva’s supremacy gets – established, understood and accepted by Brahma and Vishnu!


 

5. The ‘Bhuvaneswara’ Tatwam of lord Shiva

 

Lord Shiva is part-less and one non-dual being in reality, however his various aspects or principles are revealed to us by scriptures under various titles. The principle of creation is visible through the Kameshwara tatwam as we have seen in my article titled “The Imperishable Glory of Lord Kameshwara – The Primordial God of Desire”. And the principle of destruction which precedes the principle of creation in every new cycle, is visible through the Mahalala tatwam – which we have seen in my article titled “The Unfading Glory of Mahakala – The Primordial and Eternal Supreme Time!” This ‘Bhuvaneshwara’ principle lies in between the ‘Kameshwara’ principle (Creation) and ‘Mahakala’ principle (dissolution). Hence the ‘Bhuvaneshwara’ principle is the one in which universe gets contained, sustained and maintained. In the current context, let us understand what the bhuvaneswara tatwam is.

5.1. Definition of Bhuvaneswara tatwam


The entire principle of bhuvaneswara lies in the fact of – “containing all the worlds including all sentient & insentient beings within him, and pervading them all, without being contained in them”. This is the definition of Bhuvaneshwara principle.

This is the same principle explained in Bhagawad Gita in two chapters. Let’s see the verses from those chapters and analyse them now.

5.2. Bhagavad Gita (BG. 7.7) – All the worlds are contained in Bhuvaneshwara


Mahabharata through the Bhagawad Gita tells us that there is nothing superior that the Supreme Being and in him exist entire creation as like as pearls on a string as quoted below.

“mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcidasti dhanañjaya |
mayi sarvamidaṁ prōtaṁ sūtrē maṇi-gaṇā iva ||” (BG. 7.7)

“There is nothing else, O Dhananjaya, that is higher than myself. Upon me is all this placed like a row of pearls on a string”.

It talks about the Brahman being the substratum on which all the worlds including the beings are decked on. Here the use of simile (upamā-alṁkāra) – a direct comparison of the worlds with beads in a string is significant. Scriptures choose words very carefully. Why it didn’t say – upon me is all this – “like the spokes in a wheel”, OR “like the lines in a triangle”, OR “like randomly scattered like the stars in the sky” etc.?  The reason is that entire Gita is a tale of Lord Shiva as the Supreme Brahman where Krishna is the Acharya who revealed that knowledge by identifying himself with Shiva through Yoga.

Everything that exists – exists within this universe! It includes all the worlds, and all mobile and immobile creatures. All the worlds and everything are said to be strung on the Supreme Being as like as beads strung via a thread. The words – ‘sūtra (thread)’ and ‘maṇi-gaṇā (pearls)’ are specifically used because all the worlds and everything are in Shiva and Shiva pervades them containing them like a thread.

We’ll analyze this at two levels – viz. – Brahmanda (macrocosm) and Pindanda (microcosm) and we’ll se that this verse of Bhagavad Gita actually reveals the Bhuvaneshwara tatwam of Mahadeva!

5.2.1. At the level of the Pindanda


Scriptures always speak about the inward science and not about external things. All the worlds including the sentient and insentient habitants are established within us. At the level of Pindanda all the creation including heaven, earth, stars, planets everything – exists within the Sushumna which passes through the spiritual heart. Sushumna is the nerve which is central to this spiritual heart and hence is also called as ‘braḥma-nāḍī’ since it extends up to the city of Brahman (Sahasrara) and takes one to liberation. Within this Sushumna exists the inner-’ākāśa’ and inside that exists everything. This can be understood from the verses of Chandogya Upanishad from studying it carefully in the light of Yogic knowledge. But before that let’s see few details from ‘Subala Upanishad’ and subsequently we’ll get back to ‘Chandogya Upanishad’!

In the 9th section of the 5th chapter of ‘Subalopanishad’ is a description of how the various worlds viz. – Bhu, Bhuvar, Suvar, Mahar, Jana, Tapa, Satya, Prajapati’s region, and Brahma’s region – are stationed. Then, in line with the teaching of the Gita verse (BG. 7.7) ‘Subalopanishad’ states the following.

“ātmani brahmaṇi maṇaya ivautāśca prōtāścēti ||” (Subala Upanishad 5:09)
“All the worlds are extended, warp and woof, in the Brahman, like gems in a string – Thus he spoke”.

So, whether it is Macrocosm or Microcosm it is clear that all the worlds are arranged in a linear fashion like beads strung along a string (Puranas have already detailed the arrangement of worlds within the universe, hence we need not discuss that). Just before this above verse, ‘Subalopanishad’ states that all the worlds are woven into one another and finally into the Brahma’s region. Then Brahma’s world is woven finally into ‘sarvalōka’.  The ‘Devi Bhagawatam’ in the chapter 10 of the 12th book says – “The ‘sarvalōka’ mentioned in ‘Subalopanishad’ is the ‘Maṇidveepaṁ’”.

“vyāsa uvācha |
braḥmalōkādūrdhvabhāgē sarvalōkōsti yaḥ ṣr̥utaḥ |
maṇidwīpaḥ sa ēvāsti yatra dēvī virājatē || 1
sarvasmādadhikō yasmātsarvalōkastataḥ smr̥utaḥ |” (Devi Bhagawatam 12:10:1-2a)

“[Vyâsa said:] what is known in the Srutis (in the Subâla Upanishad), as the Sarvaloka over the Brahmaloka, that is Manidvîpa. Here the Devî resides. This region is superior (or higher) to all the other regions. Hence it is named ‘Sarvaloka'”.

This ‘sarvalōka (maṇidveepaṁ)’ is what is called as ‘the city of Brahman’ in ‘Chandogya Upanishad’ and it is nowhere outside – it is in the ‘sahasrāra’. The ‘Chandogya Upanishad’ says – In the city of Brahman there is a lotus which contains the inner ‘ākāśa’ – that is the Atman which has to be sought.

“atha yad idam asmin brahmapure daharaṃ puṇḍarīkaṃ veśma daharo ‘sminn antarākāsaḥ |
tasmin yad antas tad anveṣṭavyaṃ tad vāva vijijñāsitavyam iti ||” (Chandogya Upanishad VIII-i-1)

“Om! Now, in this city of Brahman, there is a mansion in the shape of a medium lotus; in it is a medium inner ‘ākāśa’. What is within that, that should be sought; that indeed, one should desire to understand”.

This Chandogya Upanishad doesn’t explicitly mention where this ‘‘ākāśa’’ is located, but this becomes clear from ‘yōgatatva upaniṣad’ – it clarifies that the ‘‘ākāśa’’ is the region in the head (sahasrāra).

“ābhrūmadhyāttu mūrdhāntamākāśasthānamuchyatē ||” (Yogatatva Upanishad 97b)
“From the centre of the eyebrows to the top of the head is said to be the region of ‘ākāśa’”

Then ‘Chandogya Upanishad’ further says that – The same ‘ākāśa’ (of the head) is also present within the spiritual heart region of our body. This ‘ākāśa’ of the heart contains all the worlds, heaven, earth, stars, sun, moon and everything.

“taṃ ced brūyur yad idam asmin brahmapure daharaṃ puṇḍarīkaṃ veśma daharo ‘sminn antarākāśaḥ kiṃ tad atra vidyate yad anveṣṭavyaṃ yad vāva vijijñāsitavyam iti |
sa brūyāt ||2
yāvān vā ayam ākāśas tāvān eṣo ‘ntarhṛdaya ākāśaḥ | ubhe ‘smin dyāvāpṛthivī antar eva samāhite |
ubhāv agniś ca vāyuś ca sūryācandramasāv ubhau vidyun nakṣatrāṇi | yac cāsyehāsti yac ca nāsti sarvaṃ tad asmin samāhitam iti ||” 3 (Chandogya Upanishad VIII-i-02-03)

“If the disciples should say to him, ‘In this city of Brahman in which is a medium mansion in the shape of a lotus and in the medium inner ‘ākāśa’ within – what is it that lies there which should be sought, which one should desire to understand?’ – He should say in reply, ‘As large indeed as is this ‘ākāśa’, so large is that ‘ākāśa’ in the heart. Within it, indeed, are contained both heaven and earth, both fire and air, both sun and the moon, lightning and the stars. Whatever there is of him in this world and whatever is not, all that is contained within it.’”.

From the above verse we see that the ‘ākāśa’ present in the head (sahasrāra) is same as the ‘ākāśa’ in the heart region. This heart region is called as ‘dahara’ in ‘yoga’ and ‘vedanta’ – hence the ‘ākāśa’ present there is termed as ‘daharākāśa’.  The great hymn to Lalitambika ‘lalita Sahasranama Stotram’ from ‘brahmanda Purana’ calls her as ‘daharākāśa-rūpiṇī’ as the 609th name, which means, “She who is the subtle either of the heart”.

This ‘dahara’ is the seat of ‘chitta (consciousness)’ as explained by ‘kāvyakaṇṭha gaṇapati muni’ in ‘umā sahasraṁ’. I’m quoting only the relevant portion of the verse here.

“tadanāhatasya vilasad dakṣiṇato daharanāmakaguhāyām cittaṁ …|” (umā sahasraṁ 4:17)
“The consciousness (chitta) is located in the cavity called dahara (heart) on the right side of anahata chakra”.

This seat of ‘chitta’ is within the ‘ākāśa’ – hence this palce is called as ‘chidākāśa’. Now, ‘ākāśa’ is also called as ‘ambara’ in Sanskrit. Therefore this ‘ambara’ is the place of ‘chit’ hence it is the place called as ‘chidambaraṁ’ where the Supreme Being i.e., Shiva always dances as ‘natarāja’! Since Shiva and Shakti are always one body and two halves – ‘Lalita Sahasranama Stotra’ of ‘Brahmanda Purana’ calls her as “naṭeśvarī” in the 734th name – which means ‘goddess of dance’, hence she is identical with ‘natarāja’ and becomes the one dancing in the ‘dahara’.

This ‘dahara’ of the heart being the ‘chidambara kṣētraṁ’ is even evident from ‘sūta saṁhitā’ as follows.

“chidaṁbaraṁ cha hr̥nmadhya ādhāraḥ kamalālayaḥ ||” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:51b)
“Chidambaram exists in the center of the heart and kamalalaya (tiruvayur) in the Mūlādhāra”.

Now, let’s come back to the mainstream discussion. The Atman exists in this heart. No, this Atman itself is esoterically called as the Heart.

“sa vā eṣa ātmā hṛdi | tasyaitad eva niruktaṃ hṛdy ayam iti tasmād dhṛd ayam | ahar ahar vā evaṃvit svargaṃ lokam eti ||” (Chandogya Upanishad VIII-iii-03)
“This Atman verily is in the heart. Its etymological explanation is this. This (Atman) is in the heart, hence it is the heart. He who knows thus indeed goes daily into the heavenly world”.

From above verse it is clear that there is no Heart in physical sense, rather the Atman itself is esoterically termed as ‘hridaya’ (heart). Interestingly, ‘Lalita Sahasranama Stotram’ in the 303rd name calls her as ‘hṛdyā’ meaning, “She who is in the heart” – revealing clearly that she is the ‘Atman’ – hence Brahman!

Now,  again focusing on the above cited ‘chandogya’ verse, a question arises – then where does this inner-’ākāśa’ containing all the worlds and everything reside? The answer is – in a nerve which contains this Heart (Atman) and inner ‘ākāśa’. There are Arteries (not arteries in literal sense that carry blood, rather these are the Yogic nerves called – ‘nāḍī-s’) which belong to this heart. Meaning – these arteries belong to the Atman (since Atman is this hridaya).

“atha yā etā hṛdayasya nāḍyas ||” (Chandogya Upanishad VIII-vi-01)
“Now, these arteries which belong to the heart”.

Through these arteries in deep sleep one enters the ‘ākāśa’ within the heart which is actually a passage to Brahman since this ‘ākāśa’ extends till (or exists in) the city of Brahman (as seen in previous verses).

“tad yatraitat suptaḥ samastaḥ saṃprasannaḥ svapnaṃ na vijānāti |
āsu tadā nāḍīṣu sṛpto bhavati |” (Chandogya Upanishad VIII-vi-03)

“Therefore when one is thus sound sleep, composed, serene so that he knows no dreams, then he enters into (the ‘ākāśa’ of the heart through) these arteries”.

Through which artery (nerve) one enters the ‘ākāśa’? As studied above this ‘ākāśa’ is inside the spiritual heart (Atman) and is within the city of Brahman. There exists one nerve in the body which contains this spiritual heart which extends till the crown (sahasrara) and that is the path to liberation. This nerve is called ‘Sushumna’ in Yoga, this has another name too – ‘apunarbhava’ as mentioned in ‘Subalōpanishad’. This Sushumna is called ‘apunarbhava’ because – one who travels through this path, reaches to the ‘ākāśa’ of the city of Brahman in the heart and later to the crown region and attains to Brahman and doesn’t come back to the world again.

“tad eṣa ślokaḥ | śataṃ caikā ca hṛdayasya nāḍyas tāsāṃ mūrdhānam abhiniḥsṛtaikā |
tayordhvam āyann amṛtatvam eti viṣvaṅṅ anyā utkramaṇe bhavanty utkramaṇe bhavanti ||” (Chandogya Upanishad VIII-vi-06)

“There is this verse about it: A hundred and one are the arteries of the heart; one of them leads up to the crown of the head. Passing upwards through that, one attains immortality, while the other arteries serve for departing in various other directions – yea, serve for departing”.

Upanishads do not state everything explicitly, so here it is not made explicit that this ‘ākāśa’ which contains all the worlds and everything indeed exists within Sushumna which is the route to the city of Brahman (Sahasrara). This truth that – Sushumna contains the inner ‘ākāśa’ where all the worlds and everything are present – is known through Yoga related scriptures more clearly. This truth is very directly revealed by Sri Krishna to Arjuna in Uttara Gita as mentioned in below verse.   

“tasya madhyagatāḥ sūryasōmāgniparamēśvarāḥ |
bhūtalōkā diśaḥ kṣētrasamudrāḥ parvatāḥ śilāḥ ||15
dvīpāśca nimnagā vēdāḥ śāstravidyākalākṣarāḥ |
svaramantrapurāṇāni guṇāścaitē ca sarvaśaḥ ||16
bījaṁ bījātmakāstēṣā̃ kṣētrajñaāḥ prāṇavāyavaḥ |
suṣumnāntargataṁ viśvaṁ tasminsarvaṁ pratiṣṭhitam  ||” (Uttara Gita 2:15-17)
“The Sun, the Moon, the Agni and the other great gods, the fourteen worlds, the ten directions, the sacred places, the seven oceans, the Himãlaya and other mountains, the seven Islands, the seven sacred rivers, the four Vedas, all the sacred philosophies, the sixteen vowels and twenty-four consonants, the Gãyatri and other sacred Mantras, the eighteen Purãnas, the three Gunas, Mahat itself, the root of the Jîvas, the Jîvas, the Prāṇā-s (breaths), the whole world, in fact, consisting of all these, exists in the Susumnã”.

Therefore from the above analysis it is clear that the Sushumna contains the inner ‘ākāśa’ where all the worlds and everything are placed. This inner ‘ākāśa’ is same as Atman which is contained in Sushumna. So, the purport of Bhagawad Gita (BG. 7.7) is an inward science talking about the Atman containing all the worlds and everything; and because everything is supported and strung like pearls in a thread in Sushumna (where Sushumna is the thread and all the worlds are the beads), this Gita verse talks about this concept of Sushumna.

Well, we already know who Sushumna is within us – Sushumna being lord Shiva is confirmed in Suta Samhita as stated below. Within the Pindanda Shiva stands as Sushumna containing all the worlds and within the Brahmanda this Sushumna translates to ‘Skambha (pillar)’ and inside both these entities Shiva stands in his ‘nirguna’ nature shining as the Atman.

“suṣumnāyāḥ śivō dēva iḍāyā dēvatā hariḥ |
piṇgalāyā viriṇchiḥ syātsaraswatyā virāṇmunē ||” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:37)

“The god who denotes Sushumna is Shiva, the deity of Ida is Hari, the deity of Pingala is Brahma and the deity of Saraswati nerve is Virat, O Muni!”

Also, Sushumna is the highest nerve becaue it alone reaches the crown of the head as also confirmed by Suta Samhita in below verse.

“brahmanāḍīti sā prōktā munē vēdāntavēdibhiḥ |
pr̥ṣṭhamadhyē sthitēnāsthnā vīṇādandēna suvrata || 11
saha mastakaparyantaṁ suṣumnā supratiṣṭhitā |” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:11-12a)

“[That suṣumnā] is known as ‘brahmanāḍī’, O Muni, by the knowers of Vēdānta. O thou of good austerities, It exists in the centre of the back inside the vīṇādanda (i.e., spine). That suṣumnā exists till the tip of the head (i.e., in sahasrāra)”.

Hence the Gita verse (BG. 7.7) translates to – “there is nothing higher than Sushumna (i.e., Shiva). All worlds are strung as beads in Sushumna (Shiva)”. Hence this Gita verse is totally a glorification of Shiva alone depicting the ‘bhuvaneswara’ tatwam.

For the reason of Shiva (Sushumna) being the one who contains the ‘ākāśa’ within the heart where in Shiva shines as the Atman; Yogis always meditate on him in their heart. The Skambha (Pillar of fire of consciousness) which is the ‘Linga’ of Shiva is visible within our own body in the ‘Sushumna’. This ‘Linga’ within our hearts is the ‘aṅguṣṭhamātraḥ puruṣa’ – that is – the purusha of the size of the thumb. As like as Chandogya Upanishad, Katha Upanishad (2:3:16) too states that – there are a hundred and one nerves of the heart and only one of them (i.e., Sushumna) leads one to liberation. Immediately after this verse it states about the Purusha residing in our hearts.

“aṅguṣṭhamātraḥ puruṣō’ntarātmā sadā janānā̃ hṛdayē sanniviṣṭaḥ |
taṁ vidyācchukramamṛtaṁ taṁ vidyācchukramamṛtamiti ||” (Katha Upanishad 2:3:17)

“Purusha of the size of a thumb, the inner Self, is ever seated in the heart of all living beings. One should know Him as pure and imperishable; one should know Him as pure and immperishable”.

That ‘aṅguṣṭhamātraḥ puruṣa’ contemplated in one’s hearts is the Shiva-Linga indeed. What is this ‘Shiva-Linga’? Recall that the heart is the place called ‘chidambaraṁ’ hence this is ‘ākāśa-linga’ of Shiva within which in the size of a thumb that Supreme Being, the cosmic dancer – Natarāja is seen dancing. The below verse from Shiva Purana is exactly a retelling of the verse of ‘Katha Upanishad’ cited above.

“parānandakaraṁ lingaṁ viṣuddhaṁ ṣivamakṣharaṁ |
niṣhkalaṁ sarvagaṁ gyēyaṁ yōgināṁ hr̥udisaṁsthitaṁ ||” (Shiva Purana 2:12:50)

“This Shiva-linga is pristine and confers supreme happiness, it is auspicious and imperishable. This is attributeless, all-pervasive, and resides in the hearts of Yogis”.

A rephrasing of the same fact emphasizing the point that Shiva resides in the heart of all beings, rishi Svetaswatara says as follows.

“eko devaḥ sarvabhūteṣu gūḍhaḥ sarvavyāpī sarvabhūtāntarātmā |
karmādhyakṣaḥ sarvabhūtādhivāsaḥ sākṣī cetā kevalo nirguṇaśca |” (Śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 6:11)
“He is the one God, hidden in all beings, all-pervading, the self within all beings, watching over all works, dwelling in all beings, the witness, the perceiver, the only one, free from qualities”.

Therefore, to conclude – it is clear that the purport of the Bhagawad Gita (BG. 7.7) verse is same as the definition of the Bhuvaneshwara-tatwam. Thus it narrates the Bhuvaneshwara tatwam of Lord Shiva who is Nirguna and is the Atman pervading all our bodies while containing all the worlds within him (in the ‘ākāśa’) and he also being the Sushumna supports them as like as a thread strings all the pearls.

 

5.2.2. At the level of the Brahmanda


At the macrocosmic level (i.e., in the universe), all worlds are strung like beads on the infinite Angi-Stambha of lord Shiva which is called as Skambha in Vedas. There are three regions in the universe viz. – Heaven, Antariksha, and the Earth – where Heaven is at the top, Earth is at the bottom and these two are separated by intermediary space called ‘antariksha’. In this antariksha exists all the intermediary worlds such as – bhuvarloka, suvarloka, tapoloka, janoloka etc. And all the nether worlds are counted not separately from Earth while speaking in the terminology of ‘three-worlds’. However, there is a deep mystery, a great secret that surrounds the name ‘antariksha’.

Well, the word ‘antarikṣa’ which we infer as a proper noun and a name of the ‘intermediate space region’ between the Heaven and Earth is in fact not the name of the ‘intermediary region’. It is the name of the Supreme Brahman who acts as the fulcrum supporting the heaven and the earth. Because he stands in between Heaven and Earth supporting all the intermediate worlds in between, the intermediary space has inherited the name of Brahman as ‘antarikṣa’!

In this connection, ‘Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana’ says that – In the beginning of creation, when there were neither worlds nor heaven nor earth; only ‘antarikṣa’ existed and that is true even now – that is – even now only Brahman called ‘antarikṣa’ exists. It clarifies that Brahman is termed ‘antarikṣa’ because he ‘cleanses’.

“idaṁ ēvēdaṁ agrē ‘ntarikṣam āsīt | tad v ēvāpy ētarḥi ||” (Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana 1:20:01)
“[All] this in the beginning was this ‘antariksha’ here; and that is so even now”.

“tad yad ētad antarikṣaṃ ya ēvāyam pavata ētad ēvāntarikṣam | ēṣa ḥa vā antarikṣanāma ||” (Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana 1:20:02)
“As for this antariksha – he who cleanses here, is this antariksha. For he is – ‘antariksha’ – by name!”

Now, ‘Atharva Veda’ in a hymn to Bhagawan Shiva under his names – Bhava, Sarva and Rudra – clearly salutes him calling him as ‘antariksha’.

“purástāt te námaḥ kr̥ṇma uttarā́d adharā́d utá |
abhīvargā́d divás páry antárikṣāya te námaḥ ||” (Atharvaveda XI:2:04)

“We offer reverence to thee from the east, from the north, and from the south; from (every) domain, and from heaven. Reverence be to thee ‘antárikṣā’!”

Now, it is clear that Bhagawan Rudra is verily the ‘Brahman’ called by the name ‘antariksha’.  After the worlds including the Heaven and Earth sprang into existence, this Brahman named ‘antarikṣa’ separated the Heaven and Earth pervading in their middle as the ‘akṣa’ (axle) which is the fulcrum or support and is nothing but another term used to denote – Skambha! Because this Brahman (called ‘antariksha’) has separated Heaven and Earth and stood in between hosting all the intermediary worlds in him – the middle region is named after this Brahman’s name and is called –  ‘antariksha’.

“ēṣa u ēvaiṣa vitataḥ | tad yatḥā kāṣṭḥēna palāśē viṣkabdḥē syātām akṣēṇa vā cakrāv ēvam ētēnēmau lokau viṣkabdḥau ||” (Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana 1:20:03)
“That same is stretched apart. As two leaves might be propped apart by means of a peg, or two wheels by means of an axle, so these [two] worlds are propped apart by means of this [antariksha]”.

But in reality, this ‘antariksha’ is not ‘contained’ in between Heaven and Earth; rather, it ‘contains’ all the worlds. He stood in between supporting Heaven at his Head and Earth at his feet, and because his name is ‘antariksha’, the intermediary regions are called as ‘antariksha’. The Brahman is called ‘antariksha’ because he contains everything within (‘antas’) himself and since he is the divine person (purusha) whose light illuminates all luminaries; he is the ‘yaksha’. The word ‘yaksha’ means – ‘divine or effulgent being’! Therefore the actual term for Brahman as per this scripture is ‘antar-yaksha’, which means – ‘the divine being who contains all worlds within him’. Vedas however hiding this secret esoterically call ‘antar-yaksha’ as ‘antariksha’. All this is evident form the below verse.

“tasminn idaṃ sarvam antaḥ | tad yad asminn idaṃ sarvam antas tasmād antaryakṣam |
antaryakṣaṃ ḥa vai nāmaitat | tad antarikṣam iti parokṣam ācakṣatē ||” (Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana 1:20:04)

“This all is within it. Because all this is within (antas) it, therefore [it is called] ‘antaryaksha’. ‘antaryaksha’ – verily is its name. It is called ‘antariksha’ in an esoteric way”.

Unlike the common belief of ‘antariksha’ being contained in between Heaven and Earth – since all the worlds are contained in ‘antariksha’ – all the worlds are strung on ‘antariksha’ as like as baskets bound to one another. This below verse which employs words such as ‘baskets’, is in fact a rephrasing of the words – “all words are strung on Brahman as like as beads in a thread”.

“tad yatḥā mūtāḥ prabaddḥāḥ pralambērann ēvaṃ ḥaitasmin sarvē lokāḥ prabaddḥāḥ pralambantē ||” (Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana 1:20:05)
“As baskets bound (to one another] would hang down, so in it all the worlds bound [to one another] hang down”.

And this ‘antar-yaksha’ is none other than Bhagawan Rudra as once again clearly evident from ‘Atharvasiras Upanishad’ verse quoted below!

“yasminnida sarvamōtaprōta tasmādanyanna parā ki~nchanāsti |
na tasmātpūrva na parā.n tadasti na bhūtā nōta bhavya yadāsIt |” (Atharvasiras Upanishad 5:05)

“There is none greater than him (Rudra), on whom all the worlds are strung like beads. Over ages, nothing so far in the past was ever greater than him and nothing is going to be greater than him in future”.

Hence rishi śvētasvatāra had seen this Veda Purusha Rudra as the one sole god having eyes, face, arms everywhere, and who after creating Heaven and Earth supported them together by standing in between as the Skambha (antariksha).

“viśvataścakṣuruta viśvatomukho viśvatobāhurutaviśvataspāt |
saṃ bāhubhyāṃ dhamati saṃ patatrairdyāvābhūmī janayan deva ekaḥ ||” (śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 3:03)

“That one god, having his eyes, his face, his arms, and his feet in every place, when producing heaven and earth, forges them together with his arms and his wings”.

And because this ‘antar-yaksha’ is none other than Bhagawan Rudra hence for that reason even Atharva Veda in a hymn addressing bhagawan Rudra in his names “Bhava”, “Sarva” and “Ugra”says that it is Rudra who is in earth antariksha and heaven. It says these three regions belong to Rudra and he is the one who pervades and supports them.

“táva cátasraḥ pradíśas táva dyáus táva pr̥thivī́ távedám ugrorv àntárikṣam |
távedáṃ sárvam ātmanvád yát prāṇát pr̥thivī́m ánu ||” (Atharva Veda XI:2:10)

“Thine, O strong god (ugra), are the four regions, thine the sky, thine the earth, and thine this broad atmosphere; thine is this all that has a spirit and has breath upon the earth”.

“bhavó divó bhavá īśe pr̥thivyā́ bhavá ā́ papra urv àntárikṣam |
tásyai námo yatamásyāṃ diśī̀táḥ ||” (Atharva Veda XI:2:27)

“Ruler of heaven and Lord of earth is Bhava. Bhava has filled the broad atmosphere. Wherever he be, to him be paid our homage!”

This ‘antar-yaksha’ who is called as the ‘antariksha’ who supports Heaven and Earth standing as a pillar (Skambha) in between them – for this reason Shiva is called as ‘Skambha’ and ‘Skambha Suktam’ sings the glories of lord Shiva’s Agni-Linga as Skambha and states that Skambha pervades the whole universe and has established heaven, earth, intermediate space (antariksha) and all regions on itself.

“skambhó dādhāra dyā́vāpr̥thivī́ ubhé imé skambhó dādhārorv àntárikṣam |
skambhó dādhāra pradíśaḥ ṣáḍ urvī́ḥ skambhá idáṃ víśvaṃ bhúvanam ā́ viveśa ||” (Atharvaveda X:7.35)

“Skambha set fast these two, the earth and heaven, Skambha maintained the ample air between them. Skambha established the six spacious regions: this whole universe Skambha entered and pervaded”.

This Skambha which pervades entire world is none other than Bhagawan Rudra as evident from Yajurveda.

“yō rudrō agnau yō apsu ya ōṣadhīṣu yō rudrō viśvā bhuvanā vivēśa tasmai rudrāya namō astu |” (Yajurveda 5:5:9:i)
“The Rudra in the fire, in the waters, in the plants; the Rudra that hath entered all the worlds, to that Rudra be homage”.

Skambha upholds heaven and earth. It is in fact the support of this entire universe with all its various worlds including all the habitant sentient beings (whichever has life).

“skambhénemé víṣṭabhite dyáuś ca bhū́miś ca tiṣṭhataḥ |
skambhá idáṃ sárvam ātmanvád yát prāṇán nimiṣác ca yát ||” (Atharvaveda X:8.2)

“Upheld by Skambha’s power these two, the heaven and the earth, stand fast. Skambha is all this world of life, whatever breathes or shuts eye”.

So, all worlds are strung on Skambha as like as pearls are strung on a thread. This is what the authoritative opinion of ‘Shiva Purana’ is as well, and it summarily tells everything in just a single verse as follows.

“tasya dēvādidēvasya mūrtaṣtakamayaṁ jagat |
tasmiṇvyāpya sthitaṁ viśvaṁ sūtrē maṇigaṇā iva ||” (Shiva Purana 7:2:3:17)

“This entire universe comprises of the eight forms of that ancient lord of lords. In him exists placed this universe as like as gems are strung on a thread”.

And this is what was said in the Bhagawad Gita verse exactly! Therefore, to conclude – it is clear that at the macrocosmic level also the Bhagavad Gita (BG. 7.7) narrates the greatness of the Bhuvaneswara Tatwam of Maheshwara alone! The purport of this verse of Gita clearly narrates the principle of Agni-Skambha!

N.B:- This interesting concept of ‘antar-yaksha’ would be revisited and dealt in much more detail in my commentary on Skambha Sukta verse no. 12 (Atharva Veda X:07:12) where we would also see that this Brahman who is named ‘antar-yaksha’ is verily the one who was the subject matter of ‘kēna upaniṣad’. Don’t skip that section considering it as a repeated matter!

 

5.2.3. Common inference from Analysis at Microcosmic and Macrocosmic Planes


Since the Skambha – the cosmic column at the macrocosmic level is the same as the sushumna at the microcosmic level; in both the levels the role played by Shiva is same, that is – Shiva contains all the worlds with all the sentient and insentient beings on him and pervades them as like as a string (sūtra) pervades all the pearls. Hence Bhagawad Gita (BG 7.7) reveals to us the grand narrative of ‘Bhuvaneshwara principle’!

 

5.3. Bhagavad Gita (BG. 9.4 – BG. 9.5) – Bhuvaneshwara is NOT contained in the worlds


Bhagawad Gita in the ninth chapter reveals apparently strange looking verses (BG. 9.4) and (BG. 9.5) as cited below.

“mayā tataṁidaṁ sarvaṁ jagad avyakta-mūrtinā |
mat-sthāni sarvabhūtāni na cāhaḿ teṣu avasthitaḥ ||” (BG. 9.4)

“This entire universe is pervaded by me in my unmanifest form. All entities are in me, but I do not reside in them”.

“na ca matsthāni bhūtāni paśya mē yōgamaiśvaraṁ |
bhūtabhṛn na ca bhūtastho mamātmā bhūtabhāvanaḥ ||” (BG. 9.5)

“Nor yet are all entities in me. Behold my divine power. Supporting all entities and producing all entities, myself doth not (yet) reside in (those) entities”.

Here the meaning of these two verses looks like mutually self-contradicting and also contradicting the verse (BG. 7.7) discussed in the section just before this. In the previous section we saw that Gita (BG. 7.7) says – “everything (all the worlds, all entities, all mobile and immobile creation) reside in me as like as pearls are strung in a thread”. And now in above verse (BG. 9.4) in the first part it says “The entire universe is pervaded by me”, and the second part says “I do not reside in them”. The second verse (BG. 9.5) totally disagrees with the verse (BG. 9.4) and says “not that all entities are in me”. What is this confusion all about?

Well, there is no contradiction, and there is no confusion at all. This confusion is all because of the wonderful divine Shakti (yōgamaiśvaraṁ). Creation has two angles to look at viz. – at vyāvahārika (transactional) level and second at pāramārthikā (absolute) level. At the transactional order of reality ‘creation’ is a reality, whereas at the absolute order of reality ‘creation’ is just a superimposition or projection of Māyā.

We’ll first understand this concept from pāramārthikā (absolute) level i.e., from the Vedantic point of view where creation is seen as false; and then I’ll walk everyone through the vyāvahārika or Vedic way of explanation of the same where we would consider creation to be true.


5.3.1. Explanation from the pāramārthikā (absolute) level of reality


Taking the standard snake-rope example of Vedanta if we see – A person sitting in the darkness, due to poor visibility created by the darkness gets frightened seeing a rope thinking it is a snake. To him that is a snake but in reality that is a rope. This means – the perception of “snake” is superimposed on the “rope” due to the darkness (avidyā). Hence going by the Gita verses (BG. 7.7) and (BG. 9.4) – “the (perception of) snake is contained in the rope as like as pearls in a string, and this rope pervades the (perception of) snake”.

But when someone switches the lights ‘ON’, the darkness (avidyā) gets vanished and that man gains visibility and finds that it is a rope and not a snake. Now for this man there is no fear because he knows that in reality snake didn’t exist in the first place. It was just a perception superimposed on a rope. This means – “the rope has never pervaded a snake and has never contained a snake but due to the divine power (yōgamaiśvaraṁ) it appeared that there was an image (snake) superimposed on a rope, hence making the rope as the container and snake as the contained” – and this is what is the purport of Gita verse (BG. 9.5).

Hence there are no contradictions and no confusions among these verses. Now let’s keep the Vedantic analysis aside and let’s understand the Bhuvaneshwara Tatwam that is hidden in these verses by looking at ‘creation’ as a reality.

5.3.2. Explanation from the vyāvahārika (transactional) level of reality


The essence of Gita verses (BG. 9.4) and (BG. 9.5) put together is – “All entities (including worlds and beings) are contained in him and pervaded by him in nirguna form and yet he is not contained in them”. This is what exactly the phenomenon of skambha is!

Lord Shiva is infinite and this entire universe with all worlds along with the habitants put together is finite. This entire universe is supported by Skambha (Shiva) and contained (established) in him as voiced by the below verse from Atharva Veda’s Skambha Suktam.

.

“yásmint stabdhvā́ prajā́patir lokā́nt sárvām̐ ádhārayat |
skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ  ||” ((Atharvaveda X:7:7)

“Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha, On whom Prajāpati set up and firmly established all the worlds? “

Bhagawan Rudra in his nirguna aspect as Skambha pervades the universe as evident from the below two verses from ‘Skambha Sukta’ of Atharva Veda.

“kíyatā skambháḥ prá viveśa bhūtám kíyad bhaviṣyád anvā́śaye ‘sya |
ékaṃ yád áṅgam ákr̥ṇot sahasradhā́ kíyatā skambháḥ prá viveśa tátra ||” (Atharvaveda X:7:9)

“How far within the past hath Skambha entered? How much of him hath reached into the future? That one part which he set in thousand places,—how far did Skambha penetrate within it?”

“skambhó dādhāra dyā́vāpr̥thivī́ ubhé imé skambhó dādhārorv àntárikṣam
skambhó dādhāra pradíśaḥ ṣáḍ urvī́ḥ skambhá idáṃ víśvaṃ bhúvanam ā́ viveśa” (Atharvaveda X:7.35)

“Skambha set fast these two, the earth and heaven, Skambha maintained the ample air between them. Skambha established the six spacious regions: this whole world Skambha entered and pervaded”.

Whatever exists under the name of ‘creation’ – is all from one half of his and he is beyond the universe. Hence Bhagawan Rudra (Skambha) cannot be ‘contained’ within this universe, he contains it rather!

“ékacakraṃ vartata ékanemi sahásrākṣaraṃ prá puró ní paścā |
ardhéna víśvaṃ bhúvanaṃ jajā́na yád asyārdháṃ kvà tád babhūva|” (Atharvaveda X:8:7)

“Up, eastward downward in the west, ‘it rolleth, with countless elements, one-wheeled, single-fellied. With half it hath begotten all creation. Where hath the other half become unnoticed?”

“ardhéna víśvaṃ bhúvanaṃ jajā́na yád asyārdháṃ katamáḥ sá ketúḥ |” (Atharvaveda X:8:13)
“He with one half engendered all Creation (bhuvanam). What sign is there to tell us of the other?”

Therefore Lord Rudra is infinite and in reality Lord Rudra is higher than the Heaven (Swarga). He alone supports Heaven, Earth, all abodes and created beings. Also, all 14 Bhuvanams are inside the Hiranyagarbha (the visible universe) and as per the above quote it becomes clear that Lord Rudra is higher than the universe (hiranyagarbha) hence he is the limitless infinite Para-Brahman. For this very reason Bhagawan Mahadeva proclaims himself as ‘viśvādhikō’ (higher than the universe) in ‘Bhasma-Jabala Upanishad’.

“sōmō’hamēva janitā viśvādhikō rudrō maharṣiḥ | hiraṇyagarbhādīnahaṁ jāyamānānpaśyāmi |” (bhasmajabala Upanishad 2:12)
“I, Soma, am the creator of various worlds, past, present and future. I, Rudra the great seer transcend this universe, and see the birth of Brahma and other beings”.

This creating entire universe from one part of him and his remaining half being transcendental is the secret behind the “aja-ēkapāda” principle of lord Shiva where “aja” means ‘unborn’ and “ēkapāda” means ‘one footed’ lord. He is one footed not in literal sense of being handicapped, rather, he is one footed because one part (foot) of his is all this creation and other part (foot) is still unknown. This is why he stands as ‘natarāja’ with one foot on the ground and another foot in the air uplifted. It means – one foot which he puts on ground standing, has become the creation and his other foot which he keeps lifted in the air is outside creation and is transcendental. This is why he is called as “viśvādhikō rudrō maharṣī…” (Rudra the great seer is higher than the universe).

Even at ‘vyāvahārika’ level of reality there cannot be ‘creation’ in purest sense because if we admit of something ‘created’ different from the creator, then there would be a defect in such a concept because that limits the creator from being within the created. Hence when we admit the universe as created, we should mean – everything should be the creator alone. For this reason, Yajurveda says that everything is Rudra alone as stated below.

“sarvō vai rudrastasmai rudrāya namō astu |”  (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10:24:1)
“All this is verily Rudra. To Rudra who is such we offer our salutations.”

Yajurveda further says the following to elaborate the above statement.

“viśvaṁ bhūtaṁ bhuvanaṁ citraṁ bahudhā jātaṁ jāyamānaṁ cayat sarvō hyēshā rudrastasmai rudrāya namō astu” – (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10:24:1)
“The whole universe, the created beings and whatever there is manifoldly and profusely created in the past and in the present in the form of the world, all that is indeed this Rudra. Salutations be to Rudra who is such”.

5.4. Inference


We have seen that in Bhagawad Gita the entire Bhuvaneshwara Tatwam is beautifully hidden. It lands us to the following understanding –

“Entire creation is ‘contained’ in Skambha, entire creation is ‘pervaded’ by Skambha, yet, Skambha is ‘not contained’ inside the universe and finally, since creation is not different from creator, hence there is nothing created, hence nothing rests (or is contained) in Skambha”.

This is the Bhuvaneshwara principle in all its glory!
 

6. Entire universe is Shiva alone – True Knowers do not dispute!

 

 We have already seen in above sections that yajurveda clearly calls out entire universe as Rudra (sarvō vai rudraḥ). Shiva Purana is in perfect agreement with that statement of Yajurveda. The below verses clearly say that the knowers of Shiva in his true sense do not fall into disputes because they clearly see entire universe as consisting of Shiva alone.

“ahō vichāratō nāsti hyanyattatvārthavādinaḥ |
niṣhkalaṁ sakalaṁ chittē sarvē ṣivamayaṁ jagat ||” (Shiva Purana 2:12:55)

“Those (learned men) who are tatvarthavadi (who know the inner essence of Vedantic knowledge), they have no business with disputes because all their minds are without parts since they know that – this entire universe is shivamayam (of the form of Shiva)”.

Even whatever is termed as ‘sat’ and ‘asat’ in Upanishads – that is this Shiva alone.

“pratyayārthē cha jagatāmēkasthōpi diva karaḥ |
ekōpi bahudhā dr̥uṣtō jalādhārādivastuṣhu || 59
dr̥uṣyatē ṣr̥ūyatē lōkē yadyatsadasadātmakaṁ |
tatatsarvē surā vitta paraṁ brahma ṣivātmakaṁ ||” (Shiva Purana 2:12:59-60)

“For the belief of the world the way one single Sun god appears as many in his reflections within various water bodies; similarly whatever is seen or heard as ‘sat (existence)’ and ‘asat (non-existence)’ in the universe, all that, O deities! Know that to be the supreme Brahman viz. Shiva alone”

Even Padma Purana (the so called Satwika Purana) itself speaks the aforementioned facts. The below verses are from Chapter 16 (Mokshadhikari Nirupanam) of ‘Shiva Gita’, which is from Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda. Here lord Shiva himself speaks the following verses.

“viśvaṁ śivamayaṁ yastu paśyatyātmānamātmanā |
tasya kṣētrēṣu tīrthēṣu kĩ kāryaṁ vānyakarmasu || (Padma Purana:Shiva Gita:16:19)

“One who sees this entire universe as Shivamayam (of being Shiva’s form), he doesn’t require to visit any sacred places of pilgrimage”.

The above verses are clearly in sync with Vedas which have also propagated the same teaching about Bhagawan Rudra as follows. Rudra envelops everything in the universe. He is everything. Every mobile and immobile creation is his form and he entered into everything.

“sarvō vai rudrastasmai rudrāya namō astu |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10:24:1)
“All this is verily Rudra. To Rudra we offer our salutations.”

“viśvaṁ bhūtaṁ bhuvanaṁ citraṁ bahudhā jātaṁ jāyāmānaṁ cayat sarvō hyēṣā rudrastasmai rudrāya namō astu |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10:24:1)
“The whole universe, the created beings and whatever there is manifoldly and profusely created in the past and in the present in the form of the world, all that is indeed this Rudra. Salutations be to Rudra who is such”.

Hence that Shiva who is in the form of this universe with all its beings, who pervades in every iota of the universe, who contains this universe in a part of him, and is the lord and ruler of all the worlds – is called as ‘Bhuvaneswara’! This is the principle behind ‘lingarāja’.

 

7. SKAMBHA SUKTAM – [Atharva Veda (X:7 – X:8)] – An Analysis

 

Although we have already understood that it is Bhagawan Mahadeva who is the ‘Skambha’ and we are pretty clear on that point; yet, before we analyze the Skambha Sukta of Atharva Veda in detail, let’s first see what Rig Veda has to say in this regard. This would give us an additional confirmation and would be a great tool in building our ‘shraddha’ (faith) in our understanding of ‘Skambha’ as ‘Shiva’!

7.1. Skambha is Rudra – Clearly Evident from the Rig Veda!


Skambha who is the ‘jyeṣṭhā́ya bráhmaṇ’ (Supreme Brahman) is none other than Bhagawan Rudra alone. We’ll prove this using three methods viz. – First using ‘Soma’ as the epithet and secondly using ‘Indra’ as the epithet, and finally using ‘Agni’ as the epithet! Actually, we had already seen Agni as being the skambha in one of the previous sections, however since that would fit in the context of this current section more appropriately – I would repeat that here.

7.1.1. Using sōma-pāvamāna sūkta


Bhagawan Rudra is called as ‘Soma’ in Yajurveda’s Sri Rudram as cited in below verse.

“namaḥ sōmāya cha rudrāya cha |” (Yajurveda IV:5:8:a)
“Salutations to him who is with Uma (Soma) and who relieves one from the miseries of samsāra (Rudra)”.

‘Soma’ which is split as ‘sa + uma’, means, ‘He (Shiva) with Uma’. It is a misconception that in Vedas ‘Soma’ only means a divine drink. Of course Soma is called as divine nectar, a drink of gods; but that is not the only meaning. Soma is the name of Rudra in his aspect of a healer; and in Vedas at numerous places we see Rudra being called as ‘Soma’. Bhagawan Rudra is the supreme physician (doctor) who has the medicines or remedies for the disease of samsaara. This is why Vedas seek the refuge of ‘Trayambaka’ to sail through the disease of ‘samsaara’. Not only Rudra is the doctor in that sense alone, but he is a doctor for all health related maladies also! For this reason also that ‘vaidyanatha’ is called as ‘soma’ in Vedas. In short, Rudra (Soma) is the one-stop shop for all maladies – be it ‘bhoutika’ or ‘ādhyātmika’!

Vedas, as we know, sing the glories of the same god by treating him in a pair or in triplets or likewise in multiplicity while calling his various names as persons. For example, consider the Bhava-Sarva hymn from Atharvaveda, it sings glories of same Rudra under his various names as – Bhava, Sarva, Ugra, Rudra etc., treating them as though they are different deities. That’s the poetic style of Vedas. Similarly, in Rig Veda also we find in various places, hymns addressed to paired Gods (actually same god’s two names) such as ‘Indra-Agni’, ‘Rudra-Agni’, etc.

On similar lines Rig Veda calls Rudra in his aspect as Soma while seeking his favour to drive away all illness of lives as well as the sins committed in lives.

“somārudrā yuvametānyasme viśvā tanūṣu bheṣajāni dhattam |
ava syataṃ muñcataṃ yan no asti tanūṣu baddhaṃ kṛtameno asmat ||” (Rig Veda 6:74:3)

“Provide, O Soma-Rudra, for our bodies all needful medicines to heal and cure us. Set free and draw away the sin committed which we have still inherent in our persons”.

In the below verse, Soma (Rudra) is being requested by Rig Veda to chase away all the sickness and confer happiness.

“somārudrā vi vṛhataṃ viṣūcīmamīvā yā no ghayamāviveśa |
āre bādhethāṃ nirtiṃ parācairasme bhadrā sauśravasāni santu ||” (Rig Veda 6:74:2)

“O Soma and Rudra, chase to every quarter the sickness that hath visited our dwelling. Drive Nirrti away into the distance, and give us excellent and happy glories”.

Further, Soma-Rudra is said to be wielding bow and arrows. Thus it is clear that Soma is not just a drink, he is a God! Soma is Rudra (who remains with Uma) in his aspect of being healer from Samsaara.

“tighmāyudhau tighmahetī suśevau somārudrāviha su mṛḷataṃ naḥ |
pra no muñcataṃ varuṇasya pāśād ghopāyataṃ naḥ sumanasyamānā ||” (Rig Veda 6:74:4)

“Armed with keen shafts and weapons, kind and loving, be gracious unto us, Soma and Rudra. Release us from the noose of Varuṇa; keep us from sorrow, in your tender loving-kindness”.

Now, the same Rig Veda in its Soma-Pavamana hymn clearly calls Soma as the ‘Skambha’ (Pillar) supporting the universe as shown in below verse. This should make it clear that Bhagawan Shiva (or Uma) is the Skambha!

“divo ya skambho dharuṇaḥ svātata āpūrṇo aṃśuḥ paryetiviśvataḥ |
seme mahī rodasī yakṣadāvṛtā samīcīne dādhāra samiṣaḥ kaviḥ ||” (Rig Veda 9:74:2)
“A far-extended ‘skambha’ (pillar) that supports the sky, the bearer of the Earth, the Soma, filled full, pervades every way. He shall bring both these great worlds while the rite proceeds: the Sage holds these who move together and all food”.

7.1.2. Using Indra sūkta


Rig Veda in a hymn to Indra says that it is Indra who is the Skambha which supports the Heaven and Earth on himself as stated below.

“indro divaḥ pratimānaṃ pṛthivyā viśvā veda savanā hantiśuṣṇam |
mahīṃ cid dyāmātanot sūryeṇa cāskambha citkambhanena skabhīyān ||” (Rig Veda 10:111:5)

“The counterpart of heaven and earth is Indra: he knoweth all libations, slayeth Śuṣṇa (the cloud and makes the rain). The vast sky and earth with the Sun hath he extended, he is the possessor of the supporting power, who bears it (the universe) with Skambha (pillar)”.

It is clear that Indra is the Skambha. Now, let’s analyze whom Vedas call as Indra! In Vedas, the name ‘Indra’ does not refer to the king of swargaloka (heaven). The name ‘Indra’ is given to the one sole ‘lord’ – one who has supreme authority over this universe – that is – the ‘iśāna’! In Rig Veda, Indra has been called as ‘Śiva’ in some hymns such as – (Rig Veda 2:20:3), (Rig Veda 6:45:17), (Rig Veda 8:93:3). Rig Veda hails Bhagawan Rudra only under the name of ‘Indra’ where ‘Indra’ signifies his total lordship over the entire universe comprising – Heaven, Earth and Mid-Air!

Rig Veda says that when Indra was born, he struck terror into all beings as quoted below.

“tvam adha prathamaṃ jāyamāno ‘me viśvā adhithā indra kṛṣṭīḥ ||” (Rig Veda 4:17:7a)
“Moreover, when thou first wast born, O Indra, thou struckest terror into all the people”.

Satapatha Brahmana clarifies who that so named ‘Indra’ was who struck terror when first manifested in the universe – And that god is actually Bhagawan Rudra!

“prajāpatervisrastāddevatā udakrāmaṃstameka eva | devo nājahānmanyureva so ‘tinnantarvitato ‘tiṣṭhatso ‘rodīttasya yānyaśrūṇi | prāskandaṃstānyasminmanyau pratyatiṣṭhantsa eva śataśīrṣā rudraḥ | samabhavatsahasrākṣaḥ śateṣudhiratha | so ‘yaṃ śataśīrṣā rudraḥ | sahasrākṣaḥ śateṣudhiradhijyadhanvā pratihitāyī bhīṣayamāṇo | ‘tiṣṭhadannamicamānastasmāddevā abibhayuḥ |” (Satapatha Brahmana 9:1:1:6)
“From Prajapati, when he had become enfeebled, all the deities departed from him. Only one god, Manyu, did not leave him, but continued extended within him. He (Prajapati) wept. The tears which fell from him remained in that ‘Manyu’. He became the hundred-headed, thousand-eyed, hundred-quivered Rudra. This Rudra with a thousand heads, eyes, and quivers, stood with his bow strung, and arrows on the string, causing terror, and demanding food. The gods were afraid of him.

“te prjāpatimabruvan | asmādvai bibhīmo yadvai no ‘yaṃ na hiṃsyāditi so | ‘bravīdannamasmai sambharata tenainaṃ śamayateti tasmā etadannaṃ | samabharañcatarudriyaṃ tenainamaśamayaṃstadyadetaṃ śataśīrṣāṇāṃ | rudrametenāśamayaṃstasmācatadyadetaṃ śataśīrṣāṇāṃ ||” (Satapatha Brahmana 9:1:1:7)
“They said to Prajapati,:’We are afraid of this being, lest he destroy us.’ Prajapati said to them: ‘Collect for him food, and with it appease him.’ They collected for him this food, the satarudriya.” Later, all gods, including Prajapati sang Satarudriya hymns and appeased Rudra”.

7.1.3. Using agni sūkta


Etymologically the word ‘sthūṇa’ means, – ‘pillar’, ‘post’. This is synonymous to ‘skambha’ or ‘stambha’ and all these mean alike – ‘pillar’! Recognizing Shiva as the Agni-Linga which is the Skambha (Pillar) supporting the whole universe on itself – Rig Veda has hailed Agni as ‘sthūṇa’, in the following verse.

“vayā idaghne aghnayaste anye tve viśve amṛtā mādayante |
vaiśvānara nābhirasi kṣitīnāṃ sthūṇeva janānupamid yayantha ||” (Rig Veda 1:59:01)

“The other fires are, verily, thy branches; the Immortals all rejoice in thee, O Agni. Centre art thou, Vaiśvānara, of the people, sustaining men like a deep-founded pillar”.

That Vaisvanara is the Agni of consciousness (Atman) which sustains everyone by being in them pervading through Sushumna – Hence he is ‘sthūṇa’ or ‘skambha’! Further, the next verse of the same hymn extols Agni as the one heralding between Heaven (sahasrāra in microcosm), and Earth (mūlādhāra in microcosm), whom the deities (i.e., Brahma and Vishnu, or, ida and pingala) have made to manifest to illuminate the noblest yogis with Brahma-jnana!

“mūrdhā divo nābhiraghniḥ pṛthivyā athābhavadaratī rodasyoḥ |
taṃ tvā devāso.ajanayanta devaṃ vaiśvānara jyotiridāryāya ||” (Rig Veda 1:59:02)

“The forehead of the sky, earth’s centre, Agni became the messenger of earth and heaven.
Vaiśvānara, the Deities produced thee, a God, to be a light unto the Ārya (noblest ones)”.

From all the analysis done in this article, we are clear that ‘skambha’ is the ‘linga’ of Shiva. Therefore ‘Skambha Sukta’ is nothing but a hymn to ‘Shiva-linga’, hence it is a ‘linga-sukta’. This fact jhas been very clearly stated in ‘Linga Purana’ as follows. Since this Purana is supporting my point, it means Veda-Vyasa himself is supporting me. Therefore, ‘Skambha SUkta’ is doubtlessly a hymn to Mahadeva’s limitlessness in the symbol of ‘shiva-linga’. This demolishes all arguments of Vaishnavas who say ‘Skambha Sukta’ is a hymn to Narayana.

“hotāraṃ liṃgasūktaṃ ca atharvaśira eva ca ।।” (Linga Purana I:64:78)
“(Parashara reciting the following hymns worshiped SHiva linga) Hotri-sukta, Linga-sukta (Skanbha-Sukta), and atharvashira”.

Thus, it is clear that Vedas call Bhagawan Rudra under various epithets and it is he who is the Skambha. Therefore, with the above understanding in place, grasping of Skambha Sukta as a hymn to Shiva would be much easier now!

7.2. The preface to Skambha Sukta of Atharva Veda


‘Skambha’ in reality is within our body itself. This ‘Skambha’ is the support for our body for it is verily inside our backbone supporting all the nerve centers, supporting all the worlds present within us, and also physically makes us stand erect or function. This I have already shown from ‘Uttara Gita’ verse that I discussed in previous sections, where Krishna had clearly said that ‘sushumna’ contains all the worlds within it. In the same place I’ve also shown that the Skambha Sukta too states the same fact. From the extensive discussion we had in previous sections I’ve already shown that the Skambha of the universe is verily the Sushumna within us.

I was pleasantly surprised recently to find that by the grace of Uma and Shiva whatever I have understood about the cosmic pillar Skambha as being the ‘sushumna’ supporting the spine – the same has been confirmed by the legendary sage ‘gōrakha nāth’. The great Yogi of ‘nāth saṁpradāya’ called by name ‘gōrakha nāth’ authored a text of hundred verses on Yoga called ‘goraksha shataka’ where I found the same fact mentioned by him. Therefore, now my thesis has a strong backing by ‘gōrakha nāth’ – the very incarnation of ‘Shiva’ himself.

“ēkastambhaṁ navadvāraṁ gr̥haṁ panchadhidaivataṁ |
svadēhaṁ yē na jānanti kathaaṁ sidhyanti yōginaḥ ||” (Goraksha Shataka 14)

“How can those Yogis who do not know their own body (as) a house of one column (i.e., Skambha), having nine doors, and presided over by five tutelary divinities, attain perfection in Yoga?”

It is interesting to observe that Skambha Sukta which is a hymn to lord Shiva’s infinite Agni-Stambha, is equally lengthy as like as the Skambha of Shiva itself. Also, it is fascinating to see that this hymn is divided into two parts and each part has equal no. of verses i.e., forty-four verses in each part; as though reminding us about Brahma and Vishnu who went in opposite directions for an equal duration of time and returned back. It is a beautiful hymn and encapsulates great mystic secrets of Yoga within it.

Adding to the beauty of the mysterious words, this hymn in almost all the verses puts puzzles through interesting questions to the readers and leaves them to solve those puzzles. This is the special style of Vedas that they don’t directly point at the deity and say “O thou art so and so”; they do the same but in interesting ways such as – posing questions, using metaphors, revealing information pertaining to the current hymn in some other hymn (hence all vedic hymns are actually interrelated), and using esoteric expressions of speech.

“O revered Sire Atharvaveda! By the grace and blessings of my parents viz. mother Uma and father Mahadeva; I would like to attempt solving the puzzles that thou have posed. Bless me O revered Veda with success and kindly accept the explanation or commentary with your utmost compassion!”

7.3. Skambha Sukta PART-I (Atharva Veda X-7)


The ‘dēvatā’ of this hymn is ‘skambha’ the ‘jyēṣṭhaṁ braḥman’.  Its verses are in various meters.

Verse – 1: Atharva Veda (X:7:01)

“kásminn áṅge tápo asyā́dhi tiṣṭhati kásminn áṅga r̥tám asyā́dhy ā́hitam |
kvà vratáṃ kvà śraddhā́sya tiṣṭhati kásminn áṅge satyám asya prátiṣṭhitam ||”1
“Which of his members is the seat of Fervour: Which is the base of Ceremonial Order? Where in him standeth Faith? Where Holy Duty? Where, in what part of him is truth implanted?”

Commentary:

Thou asketh – “Who is the seat of ‘tapas’, who is the ‘rtam’, who is ‘vratam’, who is ‘shraddha’, and who is ‘satyam’!”

By the grace of Uma and Maheshwara here is the answer – “It is Mahadeva alone, who is – the seat of tapas (fervour), the ritam (universal law), the vratam, shraddha, and satyam. Even all yajnas, chandas, and whatever existed in past, whatever exists in present and whatever would come in future – everything originates from Bhagawan Rudra”. Here’s how I prove my point.

In my previous article on Mahakala aspect of Bhagawan Shiva, titled, “The Unfading Glory of Mahakala – The Primordial and Eternal Supreme Time” it has been extensively analyzed and established that the Supreme time (akṣara-kāla) is Shiva alone. Vedas sing the glories of Shiva in several of his names. Likewise, from the ‘Kāla-Sūkta’ of Atharva-Veda which is a hymn to the ‘Mahākāla’ (Supreme Time) aspect of Bhagawan Rudra; it is clearly stated that from Shiva ‘tapas (fervour)’ was born.

“tápaḥ kālā́d ajāyata |” (Atharva Veda XIX:53:10)
“The tapas (creative fervour) from Time were born”.

All ‘yajnas’, ‘kratus’, ‘vratas’ – everything that was in the past of in the future – originate from Bhaagwan Rudra only. In this context, Svetaswatara Upanisahd clearly proclaims all those things are being projected by Rudra.

“chandā̃si yajñāḥ kratavō vratāni bhūtaṁ bhavyaṁ yacca vēdā vadanti .
asmān māyī sṛjatē viśvamētattasmĩścānyō māyayā sanniruddhaḥ |” (Śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 4:09)

“That from which the maker (māyīn i.e, Rudra) sends forth all this–the sacred verses (chandas), the offerings (kratu), the sacrifices (yajna), the panaceas (vratani), the past, the future, and all that the Vedas declare– Again, in that universe Brahman as the jiva is entangled through maya”.

Further the Taittiriya Aranyaka clearly identifies Shiva (Ardhanareeshwara) as the Purusha of Vedas and identifies him as the abode of – truth (satyam), and righteousness i.e., universal law (rtam) – which is evident from the below verse.

“ṛtaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ brahma puruṣaṁ kṛṣṇapiṅgalam |
ūrdhvarētaṁ virūpākśaṁ viśvarūpāya vai namō namaḥ |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.23.1)

“Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Righteousness (rita) and Truth (satyam), is the Purusha dark and tawny (ardhanareeshwara), absolutely chaste (having semen raised up) and possessing uneven eyes (three eyed) . Salutations to Him alone whose form is the universe”.

This Vedic verse is self-evident as a verse for Shiva. However, we get doubly confirmed as per below verse from ‘Vayaviya Samhita Uttara Khanda’ of Shiva Purana.

“ambikāpatirīśānaḥ pinākī vṛṣavāhanaḥ |
ēkō rudraḥ paraṁ brahma puruṣaḥ kṛṣṇapingalaḥ |” (Shiva Purana VS:UK:6:13)

“The Supreme Lord (Ishana) who is the consort of Ambika, who is the wielder of bow named Pinaka and rides on a bull; that Rudra who is the only one, is the Supreme Brahman,  is the Dark and tawny person”.

The Purusha Suktam which is a hymn to Bhagawan Rudra calling him as the Veda Purusha, states that whatever existed in the past and whatever would be in future, is this Purusha (Rudra) alone.

“puruṣa evedaṃ sarvaṃ yad bhūtaṃ yacca bhavyam ||” (Rig Veda 10:90:2)
“This Puruṣa is all that yet hath been and all that is to be”.

With the above analysis it is evident that the questions posed by this verse of Skambha Sukta are all related to Mahadeva, and all the entities such as – ‘tapas’, ‘rtam’, ‘satyam’, ‘vratam’ etc., everything has their origin from Bhagawan Rudra – whom in this context of the hymn we should refer as ‘Skambha’ because Rudra is in reality – the ‘nirguṇa’ cosmic pillar of conciousness! Therefore all these have their origin in Skambha i.e., ‘Agni-Linga’!


Verse – 2: Atharva Veda (X:7:02)

“kásmād áṅgād dīpyate agnír asya kásmād áṅgāt pavate mātaríśva |
kásmād áṅgād ví mimīté ‘dhi candrámā mahá skambhásya mímāno áṅgam ||”2
“Out of which member glows the light of Agni? From which proceeds the breath of Mātarisvan? From which doth Chandra measure out his journey, travelling over Skambha’s mighty body?”

Commentary:

The answer to thy puzzle O revered Atharvaveda, is this! – “Out of Sushumna (Skambha) alone glows the light of Agni. Out of Sushumna alone proceeds the prāṇa called Mātariśvān. Chandra measures his journey via the ‘piṇgal̥a’ nerve travelling over Skambha’s body”.

Through the Sushumna (i.e., the same Skambha within the pindanda) flames the Agni when Kunḍalinī is kindled by the ‘prāṇāyāma’ between ‘idā’ and ‘piṇgal̥a’. The wind (vāyu) which flows through Sushumna is called as ‘Mātariśvān’. This ‘Mātariśvān’ is another name of ‘Prâna’ as evident from the below verse from Atharva Veda.

“prāṇám āhur mātaríśvānaṃ |” (Atharva Veda XI:4:15)
They call Prâna Mâtarisvan (the wind)”.

It is through the Sushumna that the Mātariśvān (i.e., prana) travels upwards during the manifestation of Skambha (Kunḍalinī) as a part of the Yoga. Here Agni is flamed upwards by its envoy i.e., Mātariśvan (the Prāṇa). These yogic secrets are mystically hidden in Rig Veda also. Outwardly, these Vedas seem to be talking about – kindling of fire in sacrifice – but in reality these are mystic yogic secrets of Skambha (or Kunḍalinī). Let’s see few verses from Rig Veda in this context.

From Yoga related scriptures we learn that the region of Earth within our body is equivalent to ‘Mūlādhāra’. This Mūlādhāra is mystically called as the ‘sacrificial-altar’. In the center of Earth, in the altar (i.e., Mūlādhāra) when the sacrifice is kindled (through the breath in ‘ida’ and ‘Pingala’ as the fuels), the Agni-stambha (which is otherwise called as Kunḍalinī) supported by its envoy Mātariśvan rises upwards to the heaven (i.e., Sahasrāra).

“udu ṣṭutaḥ samidhā yahvo adyaud varṣman divo adhi nābhā pṛthivyāḥ |
mitro aghnirīḍyo mātariśvā dūto vakṣad yajathāya devān ||” (Rig Veda 3:5:09)

“Extolled, the Strong shone forth with kindled fuel to the earth’s centre, to the height of heaven. May Agni, Friend, adorable Mātariśvan, as envoy bring the Gods unto our worship”.

Before citing another verse of Rig Veda I need to explain one term i.e., ‘Bhṛgu’ which would be encountered in that verse. ‘Bhrigu’ is the name of ‘fire’. If the question is why is it so? The answer is – Because ‘Bhṛgu’, is verily the manifestation of fire indeed who later became a sage -Mahabharata clarifies it as follows. I’ll cite names of many other sages in detail in another section [Verse – 18: Atharva Veda (X:7:18)]. Here we only need to understand ‘Bhrigu’.

“aṅgārasaṃśrayāccaiva kavirityaparo’bhavat |
saha jvālābhirutpanno bhṛgustasmādbhṛguḥ smṛtaḥ ||” (MBH 13:85:105)

“The third sprang from a heap of extinguished charcoals and he came to be called by the name of Kavi. It has been already said that the first came out with flames emanating from his body and hence he was called Bhrigu”.

Now, in the light of the above explanation; let’s read the below verse of Rig Veda. The below verse from means to say that – Agni (Skambha) measures (traverses) from the far away Earth (Mūlādhāra) to heaven (sahasrara). Mātariśvan (the prāṇa) as fuel kindled this fire (called Bhṛgus) in the altar called Mūlādhāra inside which initially remained the Kunḍalinī (which is Agni-Linga) i.e., the secretly sleeping serpent.

“udastambhīt samidhā nākaṃ ṛṣvo.aghnirbhavannuttamo rocanānām |
yadī bhṛghubhyaḥ pari mātariśvā ghuhā santaṃ havyavāhaṃ samīdhe ||” (Rig Veda 3:5:10)

“Best of all luminaries lofty Agni supported with his flame the height of heaven; When, far from Bhṛgus, Mātariśvan kindled the oblation-bearer where he lay in secret”.

This can be understood in detail if the below verses from yoga related Upanishads are known.

“gudameḍhrāntarālasthaṃ mūlādhāraṃ trikoṇakam |
śivasya bindurūpasya sthānaṃ taddhi prakāśakam ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:50)

“In the centre of the anus and the genitals, there is the triangular Mūlādhāra. It illumines the seat of Shiva of the form of Bindu”.

“yatra kuṇḍalinī nāma parā śaktiḥ pratiṣṭhitā |
yasmādutpadyate vāyuryasmādvahniḥ pravardhate ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:51)

“There is located the Parasakti named Kunḍalinī. From that seat, Vayu arises. From that seat, Agni becomes increased”.

From above analysis it should be clear how esoteric are Vedas and how mystically they encode the deep yogic secrets in naive looking verses looking like hymns praising some outwardly sacrifice.


Verse – 3: Atharva Veda (X:7:03)

“kásminn áṅge tiṣṭhati bhū́mir asya kásminn áṅge tiṣṭhaty antárikṣam |
kásminn áṅge tiṣṭhaty ā́hitā dyáuḥ kásminn áṅge tiṣṭhaty úttaraṃ diváḥ ||”3
“Which of his members is the earth’s upholder? Which gives the middle air a base to rest on? Where, in which member is the sky established? Where hath the space above the sky its dwelling?”


Commentary:

The answer to your puzzle is this, O Atharvaveda! – “It is skambha (Sushumna) which is the fulcrum of the universe and is the upholder of earth, antariskha (space or middle region) and heaven. At the same time he extends beyond the universe hence the space above the sky (heaven) is unmanifest and is in Rudra, the Supreme Brahman”.

In the microcosm (pindanda) sushumna is the one which supports Mūlādhāra to sahasrara all the seven chakras. Mūlādhāra is the earth region within the pindanda and all other chakras till ajna-chakra form the antariksha region. Sahasrara is the one which forms the sky or heaven region. In between Earth and heaven – All the worlds such as bhuvar, suvar, mahar etc exist in Antariksha! Sushumna (skambha) upholds and pervades all the three. We have already seen these details in above (refer “section 5.2.1”) and understood that all the worlds are within Sushumna inside the inner-’ākāśa’. Here also Sushumna being Bhagawan Rudra, it is he alone who is the sole god who stands as the support of the three regions.

In the macrocosm (brahmanda) it is skambha which is the support of earth, mid air and sky. And this skambha is none other than Rudra’s Agni-Linga; hence for that reason Atharva Veda in a hymn addressing bhagawan Rudra in his names “bhava”, “Sarva” and “Ugra”says that it is Rudra who is in earth antariksha and heaven. It says these three regions belong to Rudra and he is the one who pervades and supports them.

“táva cátasraḥ pradíśas táva dyáus táva pr̥thivī́ távedám ugrorv àntárikṣam |
távedáṃ sárvam ātmanvád yát prāṇát pr̥thivī́m ánu ||” (Atharva Veda XI:2:10)

“Thine, O strong god (ugra), are the four regions, thine the sky, thine the earth, and thine this broad atmosphere; thine is this all that has a spirit and has breath upon the earth”.

“bhavó divó bhavá īśe pr̥thivyā́ bhavá ā́ papra urv àntárikṣam |
tásyai námo yatamásyāṃ diśī̀táḥ ||” (Atharva Veda XI:2:27)

“Ruler of heaven and Lord of earth is Bhava. Bhava has filled the broad atmosphere. Wherever he be, to him be paid our homage!”

Echoing to the words of Vedas, Mahabharata too affirms that it is Shiva who is in the form of Heaven, Intermediate-region (Antariksha), and Earth; and at the same time he is the lord and ruler of all of them. It also says that Mahadeva is the possessor of ‘Sri’ and is identical with the deity of blazing flames viz. Agni (the cosmic Agni-Linga is the reference).

“dyaurnabhaḥ pṛthivī khaṁ ca tathā caivaiṣa bhūpatiḥ |
sarvavidyēśvaraḥ śrīmānēṣa cāpi vibhāvasuḥ ||” (MBH 13:85:93)

“He (Mahadeva) is Heaven, Firmament, Earth, and the Welkin. He is called the Lord of the Earth. He is the Lord whose sway is owned by all obstacles. He is endued with ‘Sri’ and He is identical with the deity of blazing flames”.

Further, in Bhasmajabala Upanishad Mahadeva himself proclaims that he is higher than the universe as follows.

“ahamēva parō viśvādhikaḥ |” (Bhasmajabala Upanishad 2:12)
“I am alone supreme, transcending the universe”.

We’ll see the same point being mentioned in Skambha Sukta itself in further many verses such as (Atharva Veda X:8:13). There we would see more references about why Rudra is higher than the creation.

From the above analysis it is clear that it is Shiva as Sushumna (within us) and as Agni-Stambha (Brahman) in the macrocosm that is the supporter of Earth, Mid-air, and Heaven; while at the same time transcends the universe.


Verse – 4: Atharva Veda (X:7:04)

“kvà prépsan dīpyata ūrdhvó agníḥ kvà prépsan pavate mātaríśvā |
yátra prépsantīr abhiyánty āvŕ̥taḥ skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”4
“Whitherward yearning blazeth Agni upward? Whitherward yearning bloweth Mātarisvan? Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom with longing go the turning pathways?”


Commentary:

O revered Atharvaveda! Here is the answer to thy puzzle – “The blazing Agni goes upwards from Mūlādhāra to sahasrara via Sushumna. The mātaríśvān (Prāṇa) too goes upwards through sushumna and helps Agni flame upwards. Out of many nerves sushumna is that skambha whom with longing go the coiled nerves (pathways) Ida and pingala”.

This verse gives a very direct hint about Skambha suktam being a hymn of the Kunḍalinī (fire) ascension through Sushumna. It says “where does Agni blaze upwards” – the direction ‘upwards’ is the keyword. When kindled by the opposition of breath in Ida and Pungala during prāṇāyāmā, Shiva assuming form of the fire of Kunḍalinī manifests in the middle in sushumna and it blazes upwards. ‘Prāṇa-Vāyu’ helps pushing the fire upwards hence Agni and vāyu with mutual support flame upwards. This is evident from the below verses from Varaha Upanishad.

“gudameḍhrāntarālasthaṃ mūlādhāraṃ trikoṇakam |
śivasya bindurūpasya sthānaṃ taddhi prakāśakam ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:50)
“In the centre of the anus and the genitals, there is the triangular Mūlādhāra. It illumines the seat of Shiva of the form of Bindu”.

“yatra kuṇḍalinī nāma parā śaktiḥ pratiṣṭhitā |
yasmādutpadyate vāyuryasmādvahniḥ pravardhate ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:51)
“There is located the Parasakti named Kunḍalinī. From that seat, Vayu arises. From that seat, Agni becomes increased”.

This entire yoga-rahasya is secretly encoded in various hymns to Agni in Rig Veda. One who has understood the mystically encoded secrets in the below verses from hymns to Agni – has verily understood the yoga-rahasya!

The fire within the sacrificial altar (Mūlādhāra) when kindled with the libations pouting from ida and Pingala; the fire of Kunḍalinī, otherwise called as Skambha or Jwala-Linga; flames upwards with the help of Prana and reaches the highest heaven (Sahasrara).

“udu ṣṭutaḥ samidhā yahvo adyaud varṣman divo adhi nābhā pṛthivyāḥ |
mitro aghnirīḍyo mātariśvā dūto vakṣad yajathāya devān ||” (Rig Veda 3:5:09)
“Extolled, the Strong shone forth with kindled fuel to the earth’s centre, to the height of heaven.
May Agni, Friend, adorable Mātariśvan, as envoy bring the Gods unto our worship”.

As the Agni-Stambha, the Suporeme being viz. Shiva is the Atman, hence it illuminates all other luminaries with its presence. This is why the Agni-Linga is called as ‘best of all luminaries’ in below verse. Agni urged by the Prāṇa (Mātarśvān) i.e., wind rises to heaven (Sahasrāra).

“udastambhīt samidhā nākaṃ ṛṣvo.aghnirbhavannuttamo rocanānām |
yadī bhṛghubhyaḥ pari mātariśvā ghuhā santaṃ havyavāhaṃ samīdhe ||” (Rig Veda 3:5:10)
“Best of all luminaries lofty Agni supported with his flame the height of heaven.
When, far from Bhṛgus, Mātariśvan kindled the oblation-bearer where he lay in secret”.

“harayo dhūmaketavo vātajūtā upa dyavi | yatante vṛthaghaghnayaḥ ||” (Rig Veda 8:43:4)
“Gold-coloured, bannered with the smoke, urged by the wind, aloft to heaven;
Rise, lightly borne, the flames of fire”.

While it supports with its flame the height of heaven during the process all the blockers in the path of realization are destroyed – which means – when the Kunḍalinī fire (skambha) flames up, all knots (brahmagranthi, vishnugranthi, and rudragranthi) are cut asunder. This is the same process where and demon vr̥trā (the demon of tamas) gets slain. Subsequently, with the ‘tamas’ getting dispelled, the divine ‘brahmajnana’ dawns on the yogi and he gets liberated.

“ghnan mṛdhrāṇyapa dviṣo dahan rakṣāṃsi viśvahā |
aghnetighmena dīdihi ||” (Rig Veda 8:43:26)
“Slaying things deadly, burning up foes, Rākṣasas, on every side,
Shine, Agni, with thy sharpened flame”.

“sa tvamaghne vibhāvasuḥ sṛjan sūryo na raśmibhiḥ |
śardhan tamāṃsi jighnase ||” (Rig Veda 8:43:32)
“So thou, O Agni rich in light, beaming like Sūrya with thy rays. Boldly demolishest the gloom (tamas)”.

From the analysis of this section also we should be clear about the meaning of this verse of Skambha Sukta.


Verse – 5: Atharva Veda (X:7:05)

“kvā̀rdhamāsā́ḥ kvà yanti mā́sāḥ saṃvatsaréṇa sahá saṃvidānā́ḥ |
yátra yánty r̥távo yátrārtavā́ḥ skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”5
“Whitheward go the half-months, and, accordant with the full year, the months in their procession? Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom go seasons and the groups of seasons?”

Commentary:


O revered Sire, Atharvaveda! The answer to thy puzzle is this – “Out of many nerves it is Sushumna which is Skambha who is Shiva, is the one to whom go all these gradations of time. All these variations in time such as half-months, year, seasons, and groups of seasons – all are events that occur in the Sushumna within Pindanda and these are all the events that find their place on Skambha (Jwala-Linga) in brahmanda – and in both these cases it is Shiva who is the central axis for all such events”.

Skambha is esoterically spoken in scriptures as the ‘mahāmēru’ and many scriptures say that sun travels across the coordinates of meru causing days and nights. However, here I’m quoting two verses from only one scripture viz., ‘Valmiki Ramayana’ to attest this point.

While narrating the appearance of ocean god in front of Rama, Valmiki compares his arrival with Sun arising from Meru.

“tatō madhyāt samudrasya sāgaraḥ svayaṁ utthitaḥ |
udayan hi mahāshailān mērōr iva divākaraḥ ||” (Valmiki Ramayana 6:22:17)
“Then the ocean god viz. sāgara himself rose from the middle of the ocean as the sun rises at dawn from the huge mountain of Meru”.

While describing Kumbhakarna’s appearance Ramayana once again recounts the fact about Sun rising from Meru Mountain.

“tasya jājr̥imbhamāṇasya vaktraṁ pātālasamnibhaṁ |
dadr̥ushē mērushr̥iṇgāgrē divākara ivōditaḥ ||” (Valmiki Ramayana 6:60:57)
“His mouth yawning horribly resembled hell and appeared like the sun rising under the high peak of Meru Mountain”.

This is however an internal fact of ‘yōga rahasya’. Sun and moon flow through ‘pingala’ and ‘Ida’ nerves and travel through them across the body of ‘suṣumna’ which is the nerve which runs through the backbone and backbone is the ‘mahāmēru’ and is also called as ‘mērudanḍa’ or ‘vīṇādanḍa’. The waxing and waning of moon is characterized by the inhale and exhale of breath in Ida respectively. When breath is inhaled through Ida it moves downwards and culminates in Mūlādhāra hence merging of breath of Ida in Mūlādhāra is called as lunar-eclipse. The same way sunrise and sunset are characterized by the inhale and exhale of movement in pingala and merger of breath through pingala in the place of Kunḍalinī is called as solar-eclipse. ‘Suta Samhita’ discusses many such seasonal changes of time as events within our own body. We’ll not cover all of them; however, we’ll quickly see few references just to understand that all outward events of nature are in reality internal events which can be perceived by Yōgī-s.

Ida nerve carries the breath which is of the nature of moon (cool wind), whereas Pingala carries the breath of the nature of sun.

“iḍāyāṁ chandramā nityaṁ charatyēva mahāmunē |
piṇgalāyāṁ ravistadvanmunē vēdavidāṁ vara ||” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:41)
“Thou learned in Vedic scriptures, O Muni! (Know that) In Ida always moves the moon, and in pingala moves the sun”.

The phenomenon called ‘uttarāyaṇa’ happens due to mixing of breath from Pingala in Ida. Note here that breath is flowing in Ida now, which is moon’s nerve. This means moon is travelling down, which again means in Pingala the Sun (breath) is high towards the upward direction. The upward direction is denoted as ‘northward’ and downward direction is denoted as ‘southward’. Hence when moon is in south (downwards) and sun is in north (upwards) it is termed ‘uttarāyaṇa’. We’ll discuss in next section some verses from Mahabharata which say that the path of the deities (Dēvayāna) is equated to uttarāyaṇa based on the direction of travel i.e., upwards

“piṇgalāyā idāyāṁ tu vāyōḥ saṁkramaṇaṁ tu yat |
taduttarāyaṇaṁ prōktaṁ munē vēdārthavēdibhiḥ ||” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11: 42)
“From pingala in ida the movement (sankramana) of vayu is the phenomenon called as uttarayanam, O knower of the import of Vedas!”

The phenomenon called ‘dakṣiṇāyaṇa’ happens due to mixing of breath from Ida in Pingala. Similar to what we have discussed in previous verse, here the Sun is in south (downwards) and moon is in north (upwards) it is termed ‘dakṣiṇāyaṇa’. We’ll discuss in next section some verses from Mahabharata which say that the path of the ancestors i.e., manes (Pitr̥i-yāna) is equated to dakṣiṇāyaṇa based on the direction of travel i.e., downwards (i.e., return to earth again).

“idāyāḥ piṇgalāyāṁ tu prāṇasaṁkramaṇaṁ munē |
dakṣiṇāyanamityuktaṁ piṇgal̥āyāmiti śrutiḥ ||” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:43)
“O Muni! From ida in pingala the movement (sankramana) of vayu is the phenomenon called as dakshinayanam”.

Lunar eclipse happens when prana reaches the place of Kunḍalinī through the Ida nerve.

“idāyāḥ kuṇdalīsthānaṁ yadā prāṇaḥ samāgataḥ |
sōmagrahaṇamityuktaṁ tadā tatvavidāṁ vara ||” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:48)
“When Praana reaches the place of Kunḍalinī via the Ida nerve that phenomenon is called as lunar-eclipse O knower of truth”.

Solar eclipse happens when prana reaches the place of Kunḍalinī through the Pingala nerve.

“tathā piṇgalayā prāṇaḥ kuṇḍalīsthānamāgataḥ |
yadā tadā bhavētsūryagrahaṇaṁ munisattama ||” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:49)
“When Praana reaches the place of Kunḍalinī via the Pingala nerve that phenomenon is called as solar-eclipse O great muni”.

Similarly that text narrates other events of time such as ‘amavāsya’, ‘saṁkramaṇa’ etc. So, in summary, all the events of time are characterized by the placement (or movement) of Sun and Moon. The basic unit being day and night – they aggregate further to create weeks, half-months which are comprised of ‘amavāsya’ and ‘pourṇimā’, the half-months add up as months, months aggregate as seasons, seasons add up to ‘groups of seasons’ (i.e., half-year), and finally the groups of seasons viz. half-years constitute year.

Since, all these happen whithin a Yogi who channelizes the Prana (breath) in those nerves using ‘rēchaka, pūraka, kumbhaka’ etc., yogic exercises, – These are all done with the intent of blazing up the Skambha through the Sushumna. Therefore, to the puzzle of the current verse viz. “Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom go seasons and the groups of seasons?” – the answer is – it is ‘Sushumna’ to whom go these seasons and groups of seasons during the kindling of Kunḍalinī within it.

In the brahmanda also it is Shiva whom this verse addresses. It is lord Shiva who is the Supreme Brahman and is the ancient Agni-Skambha from whom sprang all the divisions of time. Although Shiva is the Mahākāla who exists as imperishable time (akṣara-kāla) which has no divisions; yet when creation is alive, in this universe he becomes the time having three divisions and each division further splits into various units – day, night, half months, months, season, groups of seasons, and year. In this connection, Mahabharata very clearly calls out that all the divisions of time are associated and originated from Agni.

“yāni dārūṇi niryāsāstē māsāḥ pakṣasañjñitāḥ |
ahōrātrā muhūrtāśca pittaṁ jyōtiśca dāruṇam ||” (MBH 13:85:111)
“The pieces of wood that keep alive the flames of Agni are regarded as the Months. The Juices that the fuel yields constitute the Fortnights. The liver of Agni is called the Day and Night, and his fierce light is called the Muhurtas”.

Further the same chapter says that all the gods, viz. Vasus, Rudras, Adityas and Ashwins, have sprung from this Agni. I’ve quoted those verses in the section of Skambha Suktam where it is most relevant where the Sukta discusses about the thirty-three-deities. Refer section “Verse – 13: Atharva Veda (X:7:13)” for details. Hence it is clear that the Agni being discussed is not the Agni who is one of the Vasus; rather, it is the Supreme Agni-Linga of Mahadeva which is the Supreme Brahman. This is why the same chapter of Mahabharata says that this Agni is proclaimed to be the Supreme Brahman by the creator himself.

“ādikartā ca lōkasya tatparaṁ brahma taddhruvam |
sarvakāmadamityāhustadrahasyamuvāca ha ||” (MBH 13:85:114)
“The first Creator of the universe declared Agni to be Supreme Brahman and Eternal, and the giver of all wishes. This is verily a mystery”.

In Adi-Parva of Mahabharata Brahma addresses Agni and calls him as the god who is himself the creator, preserver and destroyer – indicating again about him being Brahman.

“uvāca vacanaṁ ślakṣṇaṁ bhūtabhāvanamavyayam |
lōkānāmiha sarvēṣā̃ tvaṁ kartā cānta ēva ca |
tvaṁ dhārayasi lōkā̃strīnkriyāṇā̃ ca pravartakaḥ ||” (MBH 1:7:19-20a)
“And Brahma addressed Agni, the creator of all and eternal, in these gentle words, ‘Thou art the creator of the worlds and thou art their destroyer! Thou preserves the three worlds and thou art the promoter of all sacrifices and ceremonies!”

So, it is clear that Agni is verily the Supreme Brahman because this Agni is in reality Mahadeva in his form of Agni-Linga (Skambha). This is why in the Mahabharata while speaking of Mahadeva (as the Brahman who exists in the shape of entire universe comprising of heaven, antariksha and Earth), it is delared that this Agni spoken of as the Supreme Brahman is verily the Mahadeva himself.

“dyaurnabhaḥ pṛthivī khaṁ ca tathā caivaiṣa bhūpatiḥ |
sarvavidyēśvaraḥ śrīmānēṣa cāpi vibhāvasuḥ ||” (MBH 13:85:93)
“He (Mahadeva) is Heaven, Firmament, Earth, and the Welkin. He is called the Lord of the Earth. He is the Lord whose sway is owned by all obstacles. He is endued with ‘Sri’ and He is identical with the deity of blazing flames”.

So, it is clear from above analysis that it is Shiva who is the creator of all the divisions of time and all these divisions of time exists in him (Skambha). Therefore all these units of time go to Shiva i.e., Skambha. Before closing let me show that even Atharva Veda says that it is Shiva from whom all these units of time sprang from.

There is a hymn in Atharva Veda addressed to ascetic aspect of lord Shiva named ‘vrātya’. In that hymn is described how the entire universe was breathed forth by him. It says – seasons, groups of seasons, half-months, months and year, all are created from vratya. That Bhagawan Rudra is the foundation of the universe along with the Pancha Bhutas, gods and creatures. Here we will see only the verses relevant to units of Time from that hymn.

Atharva Veda – A Hymn to Vratya (Rudra) says:

” tásya vrā́tyasya |” (Atharva Veda 15:15:1)
” saptá prāṇā́ḥ saptā́pānā́ḥ saptá vyānā́ḥ |” (Atharva Veda 15:15:2)
“Of that Vrātya (Shiva). There are seven vital airs, seven downward breaths, seven diffused breaths”.

Out of his set of “seven Prana” breaths which depict that all the planetary elements and earthly creatures are born of him, I’ve removed all others except for the Sun, and Moon related verses. This Sun and Moon and their movement influence the units of time.

“yò ‘sya dvitī́yaḥ prāṇáḥ práuḍho nā́māsáu sá ādityáḥ |
yò ‘sya tr̥tī́yaḥ prāṇò ‘bhyū̀ḍho nā́māsáu sá candrámāḥ ||” (Atharva Veda 15:15:4-5)
“His second vital breath, called Mature, is that Āditya. His third vital breath, called Approached, is that Moon”.

Out of his set of “seven apana” breaths which depict that the elements of time, faith and sacrifice are born of him, I’ve removed the verses not relevant to the topic under discussion.

“yò ‘sya prathamò ‘pānáḥ sā́ paurṇamāsī́ | yò ‘sya dvitī́yo ‘pānáḥ sā́ṣṭakā | yò ‘sya tr̥tī́yo ‘pānáḥ sā́māvāsyā̀ ||” (Atharva Veda 15:16:1-3)
“His first downward breath is the time of Full Moon. His second downward breath is the eighth day after Full Moon. His third downward breath is the night of New Moon”.

Out of his set of “seven vyana” breaths which depict that the projection of Earth, Atnosphere, Heaven, Seasons, groups of seasons and Year are born of him, I’ve retained verses relevant to the current context only.

“yò ‘sya caturthó vyānás tā́ni nákṣatrāṇi | yò ‘sya pañcamó vyānás tá r̥távaḥ | yò ‘sya ṣaṣṭhó vyānás tá ārtavā́ḥ | yò ‘sya saptamó vyānáḥ sá saṃvatsaráḥ ||” (Atharva Veda 15:17:4-7)
“His fourth diffused breath are those Constellations. His fifth diffused breaths are the Seasons. His sixth diffused breaths are the Season-groups. His seventh diffused breath is the year “.

Hence the three sets of seven breaths which emerged from Rudra (Vratya) became instrumental in formation of the universe as well as the grades of time. Apart from being the macrocosmic elements, those life breaths of Rudra are also instrumental in supporting the microcosmic life forces of all creatures in the form of vital breaths.

Since entire universe is within Skambha (we would see that point in Atharva Veda X:7:07 shortly), all these time grades – day, night, fortnights, seasons, groups of seasons, and year – everything rests and find their existence in Skambha.

Thus, this section also is concluded and the summary is that – within the Pindanda as well as within the Brahmanda it is Skambha (or Sushumna), to whom go all divisions of time!


Verse – 6: Atharva Veda (X:7:06)

“kvà prépsantī yuvatī́ vírūpe ahorātré dravataḥ saṃvidāné |
yátra prépsantīr abhiyánty ā́paḥ skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”6
“Whitherward yearning speed the two young Damsels, accordant, Day and Night, of different colour? Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha to whom the Waters take their way with longing?”


Commentary:

O revered Atharvaveda! Thou asketh a puzzle referring to the two young damsels who weave a fabric with black and white threads denoting day and night. Thou asketh about those waters who taketh the path of Skambha with longing. Here are the answer to thy puzzle, O revered Sire!  – “The two young damsels are ‘Dhātā’ and ‘Vidhātā’ who sitting in a loom constantly weave a fabric with black and white threads denoting day and night. The waters are the gods and manes which take the path of Skambha northwards and southwards respectively”. Let me elaborate the answer now!

In Mahabharata there is a conversation between sage Utanka and his preceptor by name ‘Veda’, where Utanka narrates to his preceptor about the experiences he had during his journey to the world of serpents. He asks – Who were the two damsels sitting on a loom and weaving a fabric with black and white threads? To his question his preceptor Veda answers saying – The two damsels are dhata and vidhata and the threads black and white are night and day respectively.

“tēnāsmi nāgalōkaṁ gataḥ | tatra ca mayā dṛṣṭē striyau tantrē’dhirōpya paṭaṁ vayantyau tasmiśca kṛṣṇā sitāśca tantavaḥ kĩ tat ||” (MBH 1:3:160b-161)
“Therefore I had to go to the region of the Nagas . There I saw two damsels sitting at a loom, weaving a fabric with black and white threads. Pray, what is that?”

“sa tēnaivamukta upādhyāyaḥ pratyuvāca | yē tē striyau dhātā vidhātā ca yē ca tē kṛṣṇāḥ sitāstantavastē rātryahanī ||” (MBH 1:3:164b-165a)
“And his preceptor thus addressed said unto him, ‘The two damsels thou hast seen are Dhata and Vidhata; the black and white threads denote night and day’”.

The day and night are part of the time which keeps weaving continuously till the end of the cycle of creation. We have already analyzed and discussed in the previous section of Skambha Suktam that these time units have their existence in Skambha (Shiva) and they remain in motion till Shiva withdraws the entire creation.  So, first part of the puzzle is clear to us. Let’s now focus on the second part of the puzzle.

Devas (deities) and Pitris (manes) are both (esoterically) called as ‘waters’, this is evident from the Adi-Parva of Mahabharata, where Agni reveals those words.

“āpō dēvagaṇāḥ sarvē āpaḥ pitṛgaṇāstathā |
darśaśca paurṇamāsaśca dēvānā̃ pitṛbhiḥ saha ||” (MBH 1:7:08)
“The Devas are the waters; the Pitris are also the waters. The Devas have with the Pitris an equal right to the sacrifices called Darshas and Purnamasas”.

Therefore the puzzle “waters taking their path with longing to Skambha” refers to the path of the Gods, which is the upward movement through Sushumna piercing Sahasrara (in microcosm) and flying upwards towards the northern heights piercing Aditya-mandala (in macrocosm). The path of the gods is called as ‘Dēvayāna’, and the path of the pitris is called as ‘Pitr̥yāna’. When a Yogi travels on ‘Dēvayāna’path – it leads him to emancipation, and when ‘Pitr̥yāna’ path is strodden it leads to rebirth after enjoying luxury stay at higher abodes for some time. These two paths are more commonly known as – uttarāyaṇa and dakṣinayana.

In Shanti parva of Mahabharata there is a discussion between Yudhishthira and Arjuna where to one wrong notion of Arjuna related to attaining higher regions, Yudhishthira correcting his incorrect understanding explains the concept of the twofold path of the movement of the spirit, which is – uttarāyaṇa and dakṣinayana. He tells him that in this world after death the manes attain to higher regions (like Chandraloka, Swargaloka etc.,) because of doing meritorious acts such as gifts, sacrifices, rituals, austerities etc. These higher regions are attained by people owing to their merits and they fall down to the Earth after the balance of their merits get used up. This falling “down” is indicative of “southward” movement hence this path of gaining higher regions (which subsequently makes them fall down to earth) is called as ‘dakṣinayana’ (Southward or downward path).

“ajāśca pṛśnayaścaiva sikatāścaiva bhārata | aruṇāḥ kētavaścaiva svādhyāyēna divaṁ gatāḥ ||7
avāpyaitāni karmāṇi vēdōktāni dhanañjaya | dānamadhyayanaṁ yajñō nigrahaścaiva durgrahaḥ || 8
dakṣiṇēna ca panthānamaryamṇō yē divaṁ gatāḥ | ētānkriyāvatā̃ lōkānuktavānpūrvamapyaham ||” (MBH 12:26:7-9)
“The Ajas, the Prishnis, the Sikatas, O Bharata, the Arunas, and the Kitavas, have all gone to heaven through the merit of Vedic study. By performing those acts, O Dhananjaya, that are indicated in the Vedas, viz., battle, study of the Vedas, sacrifices, the restraint of passion that is so difficult, one goes to heaven by the southern path of the Sun (Dakshinayana). I have, before this, told thee that those very regions belong to persons that are observant of (Vedic) acts”.

However, the ‘uttarāyaṇa’ – that is – the upward or northward path – is strodden by the Yogis alone and they lead to emancipation and the Yogi does not return to Earth (rebirth) after that. It is the uttarāyaṇa that is superior than the southward path which leads to temporary luxury stay in higher abodes.

“uttarēṇa tu panthānaṁ niyamādyaṁ prapaśyasi | ētē yāgavatā̃ lōkā bhānti pārtha sanātanāḥ |
tatrōttarā̃ gatĩ pārtha praśaṁsanti purāvidaḥ ||” (MBH 12-26-10-11a)
“Thou shalt see, however, that the northern path (Uttarayana) is travelled by those that are devoted to Yoga penances. Those eternal and bright regions to which that path leads belong to men of Yoga. Of these two paths, the northern path is much applauded by those conversant with the ancient lore (Puranas)”.

Now, since this macrocosm and microcosm are one and the same, the paths – uttarāyaṇa’ and ‘dakṣiṇāyana’ too happen within the body of a Yogi also. Within the microcosm (the body) a Yogi knows that during the ‘Dēvayāna’ alone he can gain emancipation. Dēvayāna is the upward path via Suṣumna towards ‘sahasrāra’ hence that is also termed as ‘uttarāyaṇa’ where ‘uttara’ denotes upward and ‘āyana’ denotes movement.  Hence he would pierce his self alongwith the Kunḍalinī-fire through the Sushumna and rise upwards and get emancipated.

Whereas the people who are not Yogis and are virtuous people who have accumulated lot of merit by their austerities, gifts, and sacrifices – they rise to higher worlds like ‘svargaloka’ via other nerves present in the body (not through Sushumna). They remain in those worlds till their merits are exhausted and then they fall down to Earth – this descent is called as downward path (dakṣiṇāyana or Pitr̥yāna). All those temporary higher abodes are present within the universe which exists in Skambha hence entirely – this verse of Skambha Sukta refers to Shiva’s Agni-Linga in brahmanda and Sushumna in pindanda.

So, with this analysis we have understood that – “the Waters (deities) take their way with longing towards Sushumna on which stride the Yogi towards emancipation”.

Thus this section has been analysed and understood.


Verse – 7: Atharva Veda (X:7:07)

“yásmint stabdhvā́ prajā́patir lokā́nt sárvām̐ ádhārayat
skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”7
“Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha, On whom Prajāpati set up and firmly stablished all the worlds?”

Commentary:

O revered Atharvaveda, the answer to this puzzle is again Mahadeva! – “Out of many nerves it is Sushumna which contains all the worlds within itself. In Macrocosm It is Shiva again existing as the Agni-Stambha which is called as Skambha in Vedas, contains all the worlds within himself”.

Prajapati is another name for Viraj and both these terms refer to Vak. This Vak is tripurasundari, the consort of Shiva and in their ‘varṇamāla’ form (i.e., ‘mātrikā’ form) of alphabets Shiva and Vak created this universe. This entire universe is not separate from Shiva and is contained in him because he is the Supreme Brahman. We have studied these concepts in much detail in above sections as well as in my previous article titled – “The Imperishable Glory of Lord Kameshwara – The Primordial God of Desire”. Therefore I’m not elaborating the creation concept here.

From the perspective of Macrocosm if we talk about the universe – it comprises of three regions viz. Heaven, Intermediate space, and Earth. We have seen in previous sections of this Skambha Sukta a reference from Atharva Veda that it is Bhava alone who pervades these three regions and is the lord of them. So, at Macrocosm it is clear that Mahadeva in his Agni-Linga form which is called Skambha encompasses all the worlds within him.

From the perspective Microcosm if we talk about the universe – it is again contained with all its inhabitants inside the Sushumna as evident from the below verse of Uttara Gita. Sushumna is analogous to Skambha within the Pindanda and is again Shiva only as already learnt in earlier sections of this article.

“tasya madhyagatāḥ sūryasōmāgniparamēśvarāḥ |
bhūtalōkā diśaḥ kṣētrasamudrāḥ parvatāḥ śilāḥ ||15
dvīpāśca nimnagā vēdāḥ śāstravidyākalākṣarāḥ |
svaramantrapurāṇāni guṇāścaitē ca sarvaśaḥ ||16
bījaṁ bījātmakāstēṣā̃ kṣētrajñaāḥ prāṇavāyavaḥ |
suṣumnāntargataṁ viśvaṁ tasminsarvaṁ pratiṣṭhitam  ||” (Uttara Gita 2:15-17)
“The Sun, the Moon, the Agni and the other great gods, the fourteen worlds, the ten directions, the sacred places, the seven oceans, the Himãlaya and other mountains, the seven Islands, the seven sacred rivers, the four Vedas, all the sacred philosophies, the sixteen vowels and twenty-four consonants, the Gãyatri and other sacred Mantras, the eighteen Purãnas, the three Gunas, Mahat itself, the root of the Jîvas, the Jîvas, the Prāṇā-s (breaths), the whole world, in fact, consisting of all these, exists in the Susumnã”.

From the above discussion it is again evident that the Skambha on which prajapati (vak) established firmly all the worlds is verily Shiva alone.

Verse – 8: Atharva Veda (X:7:08)

“yát paramám avamám yác ca madhyamáṃ prajā́patiḥ sasr̥jé viśvárūpam |
kíyatā skambháḥ prá viveśa tátra yán ná prā́viśat kíyat tád babhūva |”8
“That universe which Prajāpati created, wearing all forms,, the highest, midmost, lowest, How far did Skambha penetrate within it? What portion did he leave unpenetrated?”


Commentary:

O Atharvaveda, thou have asketh – “How far skambha has penetrated within this universe”, the answer to that is –“That universe which Vak (Prajapati) created with Shiva as the substratum, comprising of hightest (heaven), midmost (Antariksha) and lowest (Earth), within that with only one part Bhagawan Rudra who is the Veda Purusha, has penetrated into it, his remaining three parts are nonentity”.
Bhagawan Rudra (Shiva) is the Veda Purusha who is the lord extolled in Purusha-Suktam. That hymn says that with one part he created entire creation and entered into it, and the remaining thre parts are beyond creation.

“tripādūrdhva udait puruṣaḥ pādo.asyehābhavat punaḥ |
tato viṣvaṃ vyakrāmat sāśanānaśane abhi ||” (Rig Veda 10:90:4)
“Three parts of his are beyond all this; all of this is but a part. Again and again, all that eats, and that eats not, appeared from this one part of His”.

Ekakshara Upanishad in its verse no. 3 clearly supports the same theory of Rig Veda and says that entire creation is from a fourth part of the supreme Purusha (Rudra) as follows.

“prāṇaḥ prasūtirbhuvanasya yōnirvyāptaṁ tvayā ēkapadēna viśvam ||” (Ekakshara Upanishad 3a)
“Thou art the Prana (Principle of life); Thou the manifestation (the manifested world); Thou the source of the world; by a quarter hast Thou pervaded this world”.

Since Mahadeva who is the Purusha, and the Brahman, is infinite, as we know from the Lingodbhava incident; all expressions such as – one part, three parts, half  etc., – all are just symbolic and metaphors to convey the meaning that only a portion of that Supreme Brahman has become all this creation, and that Rudra is not limited within the creation, rather, he is infinite and is over and above the creation. This is why in the upcoming verses of this Skambha Sukta itself we would see Atharva Veda saying that all this creation sprang from just half of Skambha and remaining half is beyond all this.That should not be considered as a contradiction to the above Rig Vedic statement for the reason that we discussed just now.

So, with above discussion we are good to move to the next verse now.

 


Verse – 9: Atharva Veda (X:7:09)

“kíyatā skambháḥ prá viveśa bhūtám kíyad bhaviṣyád anvā́śaye ‘sya |
ékaṃ yád áṅgam ákr̥ṇot sahasradhā́ kíyatā skambháḥ prá viveśa tátra ||”9
“How far within the past hath Skambha entered? How much of him hath reached into the future? That one part which he set in thousand places,—how far did Skambha penetrate within it?”


Commentary:


O revered sire, Atharvaveda! The answer to thy puzzle is – “Skambha has entered fully into the past, present and future. That one universe that he has set (i.e., created) in thousand places (i.e., ways), he has penetrated with a portion only and remaining portion is transcendental to all this”.

Lord Shiva is the ‘akṣara-kāla’ (imperishable, changeless time) which is nothing but Brahman alone. When he creates universe, he also becomes the time having three states viz. Past, Present and Future.  So, it is the Skambha which takes the form of the three states of time within the universe, and penetrates into it fully in the past, fully in the present and fully in the future.

In the Anusasana Parva of Mahabharata there is a great eulogy by legendary sage Tandi to lord Shiva where he clearly mentions that lord Shiva is the Kala as follows.

“tvattaḥ pravartatē sarvaṁ tvayi sarvaṁ pratiṣṭhitam
kālākhyaḥ puruṣākhyaśca brahmākhyaśca tvamēva hi |” (MBH 13:16:15)
“From thee flows everything. Upon thee rests everything. Thou art called Kala, thou art called Purusha, thou art called Brahman”.

The same fact that Bhagawan Rudra alone is the ‘Kala’ is evident from Yajurveda from a hymn to the praise of Vamadeva face of Mahadeva.

“vāmadēvāya namō jyēṣṭhāya namaḥ śrēṣṭhāya namō
rudrāya namaḥ kālāya namaḥ kalavikaraṇāya namō |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.18.1)
“Salutation to Vamadeva. Salutation to Jyestha (the Eldest, existing before creation). Salutation to Srestha (the most worthy and excellent). Salutation to Rudra. Salutation to Kala. Salutation to Kalavikarana (He who causes changes in the evolution of the universe beginning with Prakriti)”.

Similarly Lord Shiva clearly says he is the “Kala”, “Death”, “Deathlessness or Eternity”, “Past”, “Present”, and “Future” and everything. Here is the quote from chapter six of Shiva Gita.

“prāṇaḥ kālastathā mṛtyuramṛtaṁ bhūtamapyahama |
bhavyaṁ bhaviṣyatkṛtsnaṁ ca viśvaṁ sarvātmakō’pyahama |” (Shiva Gita 6:26)
“I’m the Prana (life force), I’m the time, death, and eternity. I’m the past, present and future. I’m everything indeed!”

We have already discussed at length, about lord Shiva as the Supreme Time, ‘Mahākāla’ in my article titled – “The Unfading Glory of Mahakala – The Primordial and Eternal Supreme Time!” There even the “Kāla-Sūktam”of Atharvaveda has been analyzed with a detailed commentatary. Therefore, there is no doubt that Kala is Shiva (Skambha) and he penetrates the entire creation in all the three states of time.

With this let’s move on to the next verse in line.


Verse – 10: Atharva Veda (X:7:10)

“yátra lokā́mś ca kóśāṃś cā́po bráhma jánā vidúḥ |
ásac ca yátra sác cāntá skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”10
“Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha in whom men recognize the Waters, Brahma, In whom they know the worlds and their enclosures, in whom are non-existence and existence?”


Commentary:


O Atharvaveda, here is the answer to this puzzle! – “Out of many nerves is this Sushumna which is the skambha in which men (Yogis) recognize the presence of waters (celestials), in which yogis realize Brahman, in which they know the existence of all worlds with all the enclosures, in whom are sat and asat”

We have already done a detailed analysis in some of the previous sections related to all these points referred in this current context. For the sake of removing the redundancy, won’t repeat all the verses here. However, would explain the concept in plain sentences..

In section (5.2.1.) we have seen that as per ‘Subala Upanishad’ all the worlds are woven into one another in the upward direction of hierarchy (i.e., nether worlds in rasatala, rasatala in bhu, bhu in bhuvar, bhuvar in suvar etc., till sarvaloka) and all the worlds are finally visible in ‘sarvaloka’ which is ‘manidweepam’. This ‘sarvaloka’ is called as ‘city of brahman’ and exists in ‘Sahasrara’. We have seen that in Chandogya Upanishad it is said that the same city of Brahman exists in the inner ‘ākāśa’. That ‘ākāśa’ contains all the worlds, all celestials, all mobile and immobile creation. This ‘ākāśa’ we have seen as actually existing inside the Sushumna – hence all the worlds with all the sentient and insentient beings are learnt as present inside Sushumna alone.

That Sushumna being the ‘Skambha’ within the microcosm is the Linga of Shiva which is the symbol of Brahman and Yogis contemplate on that within their hearts. Yogis realize Shiva in their hearts (within Sushumna) as the size of the thumb i.e., ‘aṅguṣṭhamātraḥ puruṣaḥ’.

.

“aṅguṣṭhamātraḥ puruṣō’ntarātmā sadā janānā̃ hṛdayē sanniviṣṭaḥ |
taṁ vidyācchukramamṛtaṁ taṁ vidyācchukramamṛtamiti ||” (Katha Upanishad 2:3:17)
“Purusha of the size of a thumb, the inner Self, is ever seated in the heart of all living beings. One should know Him as pure and immperishable; one should know Him as pure and immperishable”.

That ‘aṅguṣṭhamātraḥ puruṣa’ contemplated in one’s hearts is the Shiva-Linga indeed. The below verse from Shiva Purana is exactly a retelling of the verse of ‘Katha Upanishad’ cited above.

“parānandakaraṁ lingaṁ viṣuddhaṁ ṣivamakṣharaṁ |
niṣhkalaṁ sarvagaṁ gyēyaṁ yōgināṁ hr̥udisaṁsthitaṁ ||” (Shiva Purana 2:12:50)
“This Shiva-linga is pristine and confers supreme happiness, it is auspicious and imperishable. This is attributeless, all-pervasive, and resides in the hearts of Yogis”..

So, it is clear that the current verse of Skambha Sukta is verily a puzzle related to Sushumna in Microcosm which is called as Skambha in macrocosm.


Verse – 11: Atharva Veda (X:7:11)

“yátra tápaḥ parākrámya vratáṃ dhāráyaty úttaram |
r̥táṃ ca yátra śraddhā́ cā́po bráhma samā́hitāḥ skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”11
“Declare that. Skambha, who is he of many, In whom, exerting every power, Fervour maintains her loftiest vow; In whom are comprehended Law, Waters, Devotion and Belief”.


Commentary:


This is more or less identical to what the very first verse of Skambha Sukta says. The analysis and commentary done there (Atharva Veda X:7:01) holds true here as well.


Verse – 12: Atharva Veda (X:7:12)

“yásmin bhū́mir antárikṣaṃ dyáur yásminn ádhy ā́hitā |
yátrāgníś candrámāḥ sū́ryo vā́tas tiṣṭhanty ā́rpitāḥ skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”12
“Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha On whom as their foundation earth and firmament and sky are set; In whom as their appointed place rest Fire and Moon and Sun and Wind?”

Commentary:

O revered Sire, Atharvaveda! Allow me to solve this puzzle with a complex analysis. The answer to thy puzzle is – “Within the Microcosm out of many nerves it is Sushumna in which are founded all the three worlds and everything. In Pindanda Fire, Moon and Sun are actually present within the Sushumna itself in the inner-’ākāśa’, however, they also preside over the three nerves such as – Moon presides over ‘Ida’, Sun presides over ‘Pingala’ and Agni presides over ‘Sushumna’. In the Macrocosm it is the ‘antariksha’ which is another name of Skambha on whom are founded all the regions and all the entities”. Let’s elaborate these points now.

Let’s not repeat the Pindanda related concepts as we have already seen numerous times that all the worlds, all the deities (adityas, rudras, vasus), all the mobile and immobile creation exists in the ‘ākāśa’ within the Sushumna. So, let me not repeat them. I wish to focus here on the Brahmanda especially because here lot many great secrets we would discuss.

Well, all the worlds including Heaven and Earth are contained in ‘antariksha’. So, if we understand what this ‘antariksha’ is – we would understand Skambha properly!

The word ‘antarikṣa’ which we infer as a proper noun and a name of the ‘intermediate space region’ between the Heaven and Earth is in fact not the name of the ‘intermediary region’. It is the name of the Supreme Brahman who acts as the fulcrum supporting the heaven and the earth. Because he stands in between Heaven and Earth supporting all the intermediate worlds on him, the intermediary space has inherited the name of Brahman as ‘antarikṣa’!

In this connection, ‘Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana’ says that – In the beginning of creation, when there were neither worlds nor heaven nor earth, only ‘antarikṣa’ existed and that is true even now – that is – even now only Brahman called ‘antarikṣa’ exists. It clarifies that Brahman is termed ‘antarikṣa’ because he ‘cleanses’.

.

“idaṁ ēvēdaṁ agrē ‘ntarikṣam āsīt | tad v ēvāpy ētarḥi ||” (Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana 1:20:01)
“[All] this in the beginning was this ‘antariksha’ here; and that is so even now”.

“tad yad ētad antarikṣaṃ ya ēvāyam pavata ētad ēvāntarikṣam | ēṣa ḥa vā antarikṣanāma ||” (Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana 1:20:02)
“As for this antariksha – he who cleanses here, is this antariksha. For he is – ‘antariksha’ – by name!”

Now, ‘Atharva Veda’ in a hymn to Bhagawan Shiva under his names – Bhava, Sarva and Rudra – clearly salutes him calling him as ‘antariksha’.

“purástāt te námaḥ kr̥ṇma uttarā́d adharā́d utá |
abhīvargā́d divás páry antárikṣāya te námaḥ ||” (Atharvaveda XI:2:04)
“We offer reverence to thee from the east, from the north, and from the south; from (every) domain, and from heaven. Reverence be to thee ‘antárikṣā’!”

Now, it is clear that Bhagawan Rudra is verily the ‘Brahman’ called by the name ‘antariksha’.  After the worlds including the Heaven and Earth sprang into existence, this Brahman named ‘antarikṣa’ separated the Heaven and Earth pervading in their middle as the ‘akṣa’ (axle) which is the fulcrum or support and is nothing but another term used to denote – Skambha! Because this Brahman (called ‘antariksha’) has separated Heaven and Earth and stood in between hosting all the intermediary worlds in him – the middle region is named after this Brahman’s name and is called –  ‘antariksha’.

“ēṣa u ēvaiṣa vitataḥ | tad yatḥā kāṣṭḥēna palāśē viṣkabdḥē syātām akṣēṇa vā cakrāv ēvam ētēnēmau lokau viṣkabdḥau ||” (Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana 1:20:03)
“That same is stretched apart. As two leaves might be propped apart by means of a peg, or two wheels by means of an axle, so these [two] worlds are propped apart by means of this [antariksha]”.

But in reality, this ‘antariksha’ is not ‘contained’ in between Heaven and Earth; rather, it ‘contains’ all the worlds. He stood supporting Heaven at his Head and Earth at his feet, and because he is called as ‘antariksha’, the intermediary regions derived their name as ‘antariksha’. The Brahman is called ‘antariksha’ because he contains everything within (‘antas’) himself and is the divine person (purusha) whose light illuminates all luminarie – he is the ‘yaksha’. The word ‘yaksha’ means, ‘divine or effulgent being’. Therefore the actual term for Brahman as per this scripture is ‘antar-yaksha’, which means – ‘the divine being who contains all worlds within him’. Vedas – hiding this secret – esoterically calls ‘antar-yaksha’ as ‘antariksha’. All this is evident form the below verse.

“tasminn idaṃ sarvam antaḥ | tad yad asminn idaṃ sarvam antas tasmād antaryakṣam |
antaryakṣaṃ ḥa vai nāmaitat | tad antarikṣam iti parokṣam ācakṣatē ||” (Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana 1:20:04)
“This all is within it. Because all this is within (antas) it, therefore [it is called] ‘antaryaksha’. ‘antaryaksha’ – verily is its name. It is called ‘antariksha’ in an esoteric way”.

Unlike the common belief of ‘antariksha’ being contained in between Heaven and Earth – since all the worlds are contained in ‘antariksha’ – all the worlds are strung on ‘antariksha’ as like as baskets bound to one another. This is a rephrasing of the words – “all words are strung on Brahman as like as beads in a thread”.

“tad yatḥā mūtāḥ prabaddḥāḥ pralambērann ēvaṃ ḥaitasmin sarvē lokāḥ prabaddḥāḥ pralambantē ||” (Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana 1:20:05)
“As baskets bound (to one another] would hang down, so in it all the worlds bound [to one another] hang down”.

And the ‘Atharvasiras Upanishad’ confirms that this ‘antar-yakṣa’ on whom worlds are strung as baskets or beads is Bhagawan Shiva!

“yasminnida sarvamōtaprōta tasmādanyanna parā ki~nchanāsti |
na tasmātpūrva na parā.n tadasti na bhūtā nōta bhavya yadāsIt |” (Atharvasiras Upanishad 5:05)
“There is none greater than him (Rudra), on whom all the worlds are strung like beads. Over ages, nothing so far in the past was ever greater than him and nothing is going to be greater than him in future”.

We know that Brahman pervades everything as the inner-self (Atman), and also the outward universe (macrocosm) and inward universe (microcosm) are one and the same in structure and function. For the same reason, in Pindanda all worlds exist inside us within the Atman i.e., the inner-’ākāśa’ within ‘Sushumna’.

With this logic if we understand – at the level of Microcosm, this Atman (Brahman) is the self illuminating Purusha; it is he who is the divine-effulgent-being (yaksha) who resides within (antas) the hearts of all but people know him not! This Purusha who resides in the nine-portalled fort (i.e., our body of nine openings) is called as ‘Yaksha’ in Atharva Veda’s ‘pārṣṇī sūkta’ – which is a hymn to the indwelling being i.e., ‘Purusha’!

“tásmin hiraṇyáye kóśe tryàre trípratiṣṭhite |
tásmin yád yakṣám ātmanvát tád vái brahmavído viduḥ ||” (Atharvaveda X:2:32)
“Men deep in lore of Brahman know that Animated-Being (yakṣá) which dwells in the golden treasure-chest that hath three spokes and three supports”.

Thus ‘yaksha’ is a termed used for indwelling-Atman and since he is inside us; the word ‘antar’ when added, he becomes called as ‘antar-yaksha’! Thus the Atman being the ‘antar-yaksha’ – is the ‘antariksha’ within the Pindanda also.

For the same reason – Kenopanishad narrates a moral story to us teaching about the same ‘antar-yaksha’ (inner effulgent divine being) – who actually is the cause behind all actions and we all are mere instruments in those acts.

Once the very Gods failed to understand that it was the Brahman (inner-divine-being) who resides in their hearts achieved victory for them. Intoxicated with pride under the false pretence of their own efforts as the cause behind their success, they started celebrating. They failed to recognize the Shiva who resides in the hearts of all – including Devas, as evident from the below verse from Sri Rudram hymn.

“dēvānā hr̥dayēbhyō namaḥ |” (Yajurveda iv:5:9p)
“Salutations be to Rudra! One who dwells in the hearts of all the gods!”

Then seeing them unable to know him who is the ‘antar-yaksha’ of their hearts, that ‘yaksha (divine being)’ decided to manifest outside and present himself before them to teach them the truth! That’s what can be inferred from below verses.

“brahma ha dēvēbhyō vijigyē tasya ha brahmaṇō vijayē dēvā amahīyanta |1
ta aikṣantāsmākamēvāyaṁ vijayō’smākamēvāyaṁ mahimēti  | taddhaiṣā̃ vijajñau tēbhyō ha prādurbabhūva tanna vyajānata kimidaṁ yakṣamiti ||” (Kena Upansihad 3:01-02)
“Brahman obtained the victory for the Devas. The Devas became elated by the victory of Brahman, and they thought, this victory is ours only, this greatness is ours only. Brahman perceived this and appeared to them. But they did not know it, and said: ‘What sprite (yaksha) is this?’”.

Then what followed is well known! But in summary – yaksha challenged all the deities to exert their powers on a simple grass blade, and all of them failed. Then Indra went to know who that yaksha was and Yaksha disappeared and in his place came a lady who was none other than goddess Uma, the daughter of Himavat and consort of Shiva. She revealed to Indra that it was Brahman (Shiva) who obtained victory for them and everything happens by the wish of Shiva alone.

And that Yaksha was Lord Shiva alone because he is the indweller of all. Usually in commentaries of Acharyas on ‘Kena-Upanishad’ we don’t find direct mention of Yaksha as Lord Shiva and that makes ‘Shiva-Hating-Demonaic-Vaishnavas’ to resort to their usual tricks of magic and they condition the minds of unwary readers to believe that the ‘yaksha’ was Narayana and not Shiva. However, Vedavyasa was not an extremist to omit and erase Lord Shiva’s glories and award them to Vishnu. Because Shiva is Nirguna as well as Saguna, he is the Supreme Brahman. However, the intellect of Vaishnavites is clouded with ignorance hence they see Shiva only as a deity who sprang from Brahma, they fail to realize that it is he alone who existed even before Brahma and Vishnu were born; and from him alone they spring up to existence. Several Puranas have clearly identified that yaksha as Mahadeva, including the famous ‘sūta-saṁhitā’ of Skanda Purana.  However, I’m quoting here a verse from Shiva Purana.

“tadā maheśvarasteṣāṃ madhyato varaveṣadhṛk | svalakṣaṇairvihīnāṃgaḥ svayaṃ yakṣa ivābhavat ||” (Shiva Purana 7:2:2:47)
“Then Maheshwara showed himself in person among them. However he kept his real identity undisclosed and appeared in the form of a Yaksha”.

For the same reason the ‘śiva panchākṣara stōtraṁ’ hails him as “yakṣa swarūpāya jatādharāya”, meaning, “[Salutations to letter ‘ya’ which is Shiva] who assumed the form of ‘Yaksha’ and who has matted locks of hair”.

Therefore, from above analysis we see that – it is Shiva who is the divine spirit (yaksha) who resides inside us or inside whom all this exists – hence he is called ‘antar-yaksha’ and Vedas in order to maintain secrecy, called it esoterically ‘antariksha’. He is the ‘aksha (axle or fulcrum)’ that stands as the pillar (sthambha) separating Heaven and Earth – hence he is called ‘Skambha’ the pillar. Because he stands in between Heaven and Earth separating them, for this reason the intermediate regions are named ‘antariksha’ which is Shiva alone. All the deities such as Agni, Moon and Sun exist within Skambha – this point would be dealth in detail in immediately next section of Skambha Suktam.


Verse – 13: Atharva Veda (X:7:13)

“yásya tráyastriṃśad devā́ áṅge sárve samā́hitāḥ |
skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”13
“Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha He in whose body are contained all three-and-thirty Deities?”


Commentary:


O revered sire, Atharvaveda! Here is the answer to your puzzle – “In the Microcosm, out of many nerves Sushumna is that Skambha inside which dwell entire universe including the three and thirty deities. In Macrocosm again it is the Agni-Linga called Skambha which contains the universe within which dwell all the thirty three gods”.

Mahabharata reveals a great secret to us about the origin of thirty three gods. It clearly calls out that the Eight Vasus, Eleven Rudras, Twelve Adityas, and also other luminaries everything sprang from Agni! Note that this ‘Agni’ means the ‘Agni-Skambha’ of Shiva and does not mean the deity of fire as h is one of the Vasus and Vasus have sprung from this Supreme Agni.

“raudraṃ lauhitamityāhurlohitātkanakaṃ smṛtam |
tanmaitramiti vijñeyaṃ dhūmācca vasavaḥ smṛtāḥ ||112
arciṣo yāśca te rudrāstathā”dityā mahāprabhāḥ |
uddiṣṭāste tathāṅgārā ye dhiṣṇyeṣu divi sthitāḥ ||” (MBH 13:85:112-113)
“The blood of Agni is regarded as the source of the Rudras. From his blood sprang also the gold:complexioned deities called the Maitradevatas. From his smoke sprang the Vasus. From his flames sprang the Rudras as also the (twelve) Adityas of great effulgence. The Planets and Constellations and other stars that have been set in their respective orbits in the firmament, are regarded as the (burning) charcoals of Agni”.

This Supreme Agni has been revealed as the ‘Supreme brahman’ by the ancient creator (Brahma) himself. These verses make it clear that this ‘Supreme Agni’ is the ‘Agni-Skambha’ of Shiva!

“ādikartā ca lokasya tatparaṃ brahma taddhruvam |
sarvakāmadamityāhustadrahasyamuvāca ha ||” (MBH 13:85:114)
“The first Creator of the universe declared Agni to be Supreme Brahman and Eternal, and the giver of all wishes. This is verily a mystery”.

It is clear that all the deities numbering thirty-three have sprung from the supreme Agni (Shiva). However, for more elaboration let’s see what Vedas say.

‘Satapatha Brahmana’ has a chapter where yajnyavalkya answers who are all the thirty three gods. This chapter is a part of ‘Brihadaranyaka Upanishad’. We’ll see who are the thirty three gods first and then we’ll look at analyzing them.

The thirty three gods are – eight vasus, eleven rudras, twelve adityas and one prajapati and one Indra.

“katame te trayastriṃśad iti | aṣṭau vasava ekādaśa rudrā dvādaśādityāsta ekatriṃśadindraścaiva prajāpatiśca trayastrṃśāviti |” (Satapatha Brahmana 11:06:03:05)
“’Who are those thirty-three gods? Eight Vasus, eleven Rudras, and twelve Âdityas,–that makes thirty-one; and Indra and Pragâpati make up the thirty-three.’”.

The eight vasus are listed below.

“katame vasava iti | agniśca pṛthivī ca vāyuścāntarikṣaṃ cādityaśca dyauśca
candramāśca nakṣatrāṇi caite vasava ete hīdaṃ sarvaṃ vāsayante te yadidaṃ sarvaṃ
vāsayante tasmādvasava iti |” (Satapatha Brahmana 11:06:03:06)
“’Who are the Vasus?’–‘Agni, the Earth, Vâyu (the wind), the sky, Âditya (the sun), Heaven, the Moon, and the Stars:–these are the Vasus, for these cause all this (universe) to abide (vas), and hence they are the Vasus.’”.

There are eleven Rudras which are classified as the ten pranas and one mind.

“katame rudrā iti | daśeme puruṣe prāṇā ātmaikādaśaste
yadāsmānmartyācarīrādutkrāmantyatha rodayanti tadyadrodayanti tasmādrudrā iti |” (Satapatha Brahmana 11:06:03:07)
“Who are the Rudras?’–‘These ten vital airs in man, and the mind is the eleventh: when these depart from this mortal body, they cause wailing (rud), and hence they are the Rudras.’”

There are twelve Adityas – these are the twelve months of the year.

“katama ādityā iti | dvādaśa māsāḥ saṃvatsarasyaita ādityā ete hīdaṃ sarvamādadānā
yanti te yadidaṃ sarvamādadānā yanti tasmādādityā iti |” (Satapatha Brahmana 11:06:03:08)
“’Who are the Âdityas?’–‘The twelve months of the year: these are the Âdityas, for they pass whilst laying hold on everything here; and inasmuch as they pass whilst laying hold (â-dâ) on everything here, they are the Âdityas.’”.

Indra and Prajapati are respectively the thunder and the animals.

“katama indraḥ katamaḥ prajāpatir iti | stanayitnurevendro yajñaḥ prajāpatiriti katama
stanayitnurityaśaniriti katamo yajña iti paśava iti |” (Satapatha Brahmana 11:06:03:09)
“’Who is Indra, and who Pragâpati?’–‘Indra, indeed, is thunder, and Pragâpati the sacrifice.’–‘What is thunder?’–‘The thunderbolt.’–‘What is the sacrifice?’–‘Animals.’”.

Since, I’ve shown using Satapatha Brahmana and Kaushitaki Brahmana many times in earlier articles how Bhagawan Rudra has manifested himself into the eightfold forms viz. – Agni (Fire), Apas (Waters), Vayu (Wind), Prithvi (Earth), Parjanya (Cloud i.e., Sky), Chandrama (moon), Aditya (Sun), and Indra (Thunder) – for the sake of not being repetitive I wouldn’t quote those verses again. We’ll just discuss about them in plain words.

Yajurveda’s Satapatha Brahmana (chapter 6:1:3) and Rigveda’s Kaushitaki Brahmana (chapter 6:3) have clearly depicted the manifestation of the aforementioned eight forms of Rudra. These eight forms verily contain all the thirty-three deities.

The Eleven Rudras: The ‘vayu’ form of Rudra encompasses all the ten breaths and the ‘chandrama’ is the mind – thus these eleven put together become the ‘eleven’ rudras’. Thus Rudras are called as the sons of Rudra (Shiva).

“jyeṣṭhāso akaniṣṭhāsa ete sam bhrātaro vāvṛdhuḥ saubhaghāya |
yuvā pitā svapā rudra eṣāṃ sudughā pṛśniḥ sudinā marudbhyaḥ ||” (Rig Veda 5:60:5)
“As brothers, no one being the eldest or the youngest, they have grown up together to happiness. Young is their clever father Rudra, flowing with plenty milk is Prisni (their mother), always kind to the Maruts”.

[Note: – The immediate next verse of this hymn identifies Maruts with Rudras, so there should be no confusion with the identities between Maruts and Rudras]

The Twelve Adityas: The term ‘Aditya’ is not a proper noun. It is the term which means ‘Son of Aditi’. Bhagawan Rudra manifested as ‘Aditya’; and this Aditya is what is seen as twelve in number. This Aditya presides over the ‘Intelelct’ aspect in Pindanda and expands as twelve months of the year in Brahmanda. So, Bhagawan Rudra’s one aspect viz. ‘Aditya’ actually encompasses the twelve gods!

The Eight Vasus: The eightfold forms of Rudra are the eight vasus viz. five elements – Fire, Water, Wind, Sky, Earth, and then – the Moon (mind), Sun (Intellect) and Indra (ego). The aforementioned quote from Satapatha Brahmana mentions the eight Vasus as – Fire, Earth, wind, sky, sun, Heaven, Moon, and Stars. We should note that out of these – Heaven and stars are actually part of Sky. We have also seen in previous sections of this article that Heaven, Antariksha and earth are all created and pervaded by Bhagawan Shiva. So, all these Vasus are his forms only and reside in him.

In fact entire universe (Hiranyagarbha) was created by Shiva and all the gods were created by him and he only was the one who gave powers to them.

“yō dēvānā̃ prabhavaścōdbhavaśca viśvādhipō rudrō maharṣiḥ |
hiraṇyagarbhaṁ janayāmāsa pūrvaṁ sa nō buddhyā śubhayā saṁyunaktu ||” (śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 3:04)
“He, the omniscient Rudra, the creator of the gods and the bestower of their powers, the support of the universe, He who, in the beginning, gave birth to Hiranyagarbha—may He endow us with clear intellect!”.

Thus, all the gods are within the universe and the universe comprising of Heaven, Mid-Air and Earth is within the Skambha as we have seen in previous sections. Therefore, there is no doubt – all the thirty-three deities are in Skambha alone.


Verse – 14: Atharva Veda (X:7:14)

“yátra ŕ̥ṣayaḥ prathamajā́ ŕ̥caḥ sā́ma yájur mahī́ |
ekarṣír yásminn ā́rpitaḥ skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”14
“Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha. In whom the Sages earliest born, the Richas, Sāman, Yajus, Earth, and the one highest Sage abide?”


Commentary:

O revered Atharvaveda! The solution for this puzzle is thus – “The riks, yajus, sama, spring from Skambha (Shiva) at the time of creation and all the sages abide in Skambha in mind and spirit”.

In Atharvana Veda’s hymn ‘Kala Sukta’ which is a hymn to Mahakala form of Lord Shiva. It says:

“kāló ha bhūtáṃ bhávyaṃ ca putró ajanayat purā́ |
kālā́d ŕ̥caḥ sám abhavan yájuḥ kālā́d ajāyata ||” (Atharva Veda XIX:54:3)
“In Kala erst the text produced what is and what is yet to be.The Riks arose from Kala, the Yagus was born from Kala”.

“chandā̃si yajñaāḥ kratavō vratāni bhūtaṁ bhavyaṁ yacca vēdā vadanti |
asmāna māyī sṛjatē viśvamēta ttasmĩścānyō māyayā sanniruddhaḥ ||” (śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 4:09)
“That from which the maker (mâyin) sends forth all this–the sacred verses (chandas), the offerings (kratus), the sacrifices (yajnas), the panaceas (vratas), the past, the future, and all that the Vedas declare– Again, in that universe Brahman as the jiva is entangled through maya”.
Thus, it is Mahadeva in his primordial Skambha (nirguna linga) aspect at the beginning of creation projected all these.


Verse – 15: Atharva Veda (X:7:15)

“yátrāmŕ̥taṃ ca mr̥tyúś ca púruṣé ‘dhi samā́hite |
samudró yásya nāḍyàḥ púruṣé ‘dhi samā́hitāḥ skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”15
“Who out of many, tell me, is the Skambha. Who comprehendeth, for mankind, both immortality and death, He who containeth for mankind the gathered waters as his veins?”


Commentary:

O Atharvaveda here is the answer to this puzzle – “Out of many nerves it is Sushumna hich when strodden gives immortality, and all other paths lead to death”.

This verse is similar to the verse that we had analyzed earlier, hence we’ll not go repeat all that.

In summary – Out of many nerves it is Sushumna which leads to immortality when a Yogi strides upwards through that path. For non-yogis, based on their mertis their pranas depart through other nerves and that leads to higher worlds such as ‘chandra-loka’ and then they fall down to earth on exhaustion of their merits. Similarly, for non-yogis who have accumulated sins based on their evil actions – their pranas depart through those nerves which lead to nether regions and hell – there after getting the necessary punishments they again fall abck to the mortal world in one of the many wombs.

This means – the path upwards via Sushumna is the path towards emancipation i.e., immortality, all other paths lead to death to death, and birth to birth; hence they lead to death.


Verse – 16: Atharva Veda (X:7:16)

“yásya cátasraḥ pradíśo nāḍyàs tíṣṭhanti prathamā́ḥ |
yajñó yátra párākrāntaḥ skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”16
“Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha, the sky’s four directions stand there as whose chief arteries, in whom Sacrifice has advanced victorious?”


Commentary:

O revered Atharvaveda! The answer to this puzzle is thus – “Out of many nerves is Sushumna the SKambha which is surrounded by four chief arteries in four directions viz. Saraswati-nerve in the east, Kuhu in the west, Ida in the North and Pingala in the south. The sacrifice of yoga which is done in the altar called as ‘Mūlādhāra’ where the flame is the Agni-stambha otherwise called as Kunḍalinī which reaches Sahasrara completing the sacrifice with success – happens in Sushumna, which is the Skambha within the Pindanda. When talking about the Brahmanda, it is the Jwala-Linga of Shiva which is the Skambha (Support) of the universe where the four directions reside in him as the chief subjects and in that the fire of Shiva becomes victorious on the Tamas (avidya) and kills it, thus accomplishing the great night of Shiva viz. Shiva-ratri”.

There are seventy-two thousand nerves as mentioned in ‘dhyānabindu upaniṣad’ out of which one hundred and one are important. The ‘chandogya’ and ‘katha’ Upanishads indicated these hundred and one nerves. Out of these hundred and one nerves only fourteen are important. Out of these fourteen again ten are primary nerves. These ten nerves are – idā, piṇgalā, suṣumnā, saraswatī, hastijihvā, pūṣā, yaśasvinī, alambusā, kuhū, and śankhinī.

These ten nerves denote the ten directions of the compass and these carry ten winds (dasa pranas).

 

“ēvamētāsu nāḍīṣu dharanti daśavāyavaḥ |” (Varaha Upanishad 5:31a)
“Thus ten Vayus move in these Nadis”.

“prāṇōpānastathā vyānaḥ samānōdāna ēva cha | nāga kūrmaścha krukarō dēvadattō dhananjayaḥ |
ētē nāḍīṣū sarvāsu charanti daśa vāyavaḥ ||” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:25b-26)
“Prana, apana, and vyana, samana, udana also naga, kurma and krukara, devadatta and dhananjaya – these ten winds move in those ten nerves”.

Out of these ten the four nerves which stand in the four directions are – idā (north of sushumna), piṇgalā (south of sushumna), saraswatī (east of sushumna), and kuhū (west of sushumna).

The grand sacrifice of supreme wisdom is achieved in the altar called ‘mūlādhāra’ and the libations are poured by the prāṇās via idā and piṇgalā, and the fire of Kunḍalinī rises upwards till sahasrāra where from the primary libation called ‘sōma’ drips down. That accomplishes the grand sacrifice and the yōgī gets the supreme ‘brahma-jnāna’ and gets emancipated into the Brahman (i.e., shiva).

“śataṁ caikā ca hṛdayasya nāḍya stāsā̃ mūrdhānamabhiniḥsṛtaikā |
tayōrdhvamāyannamṛtatvamēti viṣvaṅṅanyā utkramaṇē bhavanti ||” (Katha Upanishad 2:III:16)..
“There are a hundred and one nerves of the heart. Of then, one goes out piercing the head. Going up through that, one attains immortality; the others serve for departing in different ways”.


Verse – 17: Atharva Veda (X:7:17)

“yé púruṣe bráhma vidús té viduḥ parameṣṭhínam |
yó véda parameṣṭhínaṃ yáś ca véda prajā́patim |
jyeṣṭháṃ yé brā́hmaṇaṃ vidús te skambhám anusáṃviduḥ ||”17
“They who in Purusha understand Brahma know Him who is Supreme. He who knows Him who is Supreme, and he who knows the Lord of Life, These know the loftiest Power Divine, and thence know Skambha thoroughly”.

Commentary:


O revered sire, Atharvaveda! The answer to thy puzzle is – “I understand Brahman to be this Shiva who is inside the Sushumna in Pindanda and who is the Skambha in the Brahmanda. I know that within Pindanda Sushumna is Supreme as no other nerve reaches its height and no other nerve reaches its depth and because it carries the supreme illuminating fire of concousness. In Brahmanda, I know Skambha as the supreme as neither Brahma nor Vishnu could measure its height and depth respectively, and because it is the infinite fire of consciousness – epitome of supreme infinite Brahman. It is this Skambha (or Sushumna) who is the lord of life as entire creation dwells within it. By the grace of Mahadeva and Uma having known the loftiest power divine, I know the Skambha thoroughly!”

We need not elaborate this section as after having learnt everything that was discussed in above sections so far, in this article – The current verse in context becomes pretty much self-explanatory now.


Verse – 18: Atharva Veda (X:7:18)

“yásya śíro vaiśvānaráś cákṣur áṅgirasó ‘bhavan |
áṅgāni yásya yātávaḥ skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”18
“Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha Of whom Vaisvānara became the head, the Angirases his eye, and Yātus his body parts?”


Commentary:

O revered sire Atharvaveda, thou have very much putteth a grand puzzle, which is one of the subject matter of Chandogya Upanishad. Here is the answer to thy puzzle – “Here Skambha is being visualized as a Purusha having body parts hence – Within the Pindanda, out of many nerves it is Sushumna within whom Vaisvanara-agni flows from top to bottom. This Agni is in the head, angirasa which makes the eye of Skambha is the son of Agni born of angara (burning-coal), hence it is also Agni; yatus which make the limbs of Skambha are the Pranas and prana is verily Agni. Thus in Pindanda, it is totally the Agni-Linga that flows in Sushumna. In the Brahmanda – Out of many it is the Purusha (Atman) who is the Skambha which in this verse is visualized as Vaishvanara-Atman. In the universe – heaven is vaisvanara, mid-air is also vaisvanara, water is the belly and is also vaisvanara, and finally earth is the feet which is too vaisvanara – for that reason entire universe (which is a part of Skambha) is Agni alone. Also entire Skambha is composed of Agni. Thus, entirely this verse is a visualization of Jwala-Linga only”.

Here there is one term ‘yātu’ which is a complex and controvercial term. The general meaning of ‘yātu’ (or ‘yātávaḥ’ in plural) is – acts of witchery, (or) evil spirit(s). All scriptural texts such as Atharva Veda (II:24:1-8), Rig Veda (7:21:5)  have used this word to refer to witchery, or evil spirit. However, while describing Skambha’s body we cannot use these meanings. As per the Sanskrit dictionary there are few additional meanings cited by Lexicographers for this word, such as – ‘wind’, ‘time’, ‘spirit’. Even though these meanings are not employed in scriptural statements for ‘yātu’, yet the most suitable meaning looks to be ‘wind’ and ‘spirit’ put together – That implies – ‘prāṇa’!

We know that Agni is verily Shiva. Mahabharata recognizes Mahadeva as identical with the deity of blazing flames viz. Agni (the cosmic Agni-Linga is the reference).

“dyaurnabhaḥ pṛthivī khaṁ ca tathā caivaiṣa bhūpatiḥ |
sarvavidyēśvaraḥ śrīmānēṣa cāpi vibhāvasuḥ ||” (MBH 13:85:93)
“He (Mahadeva) is Heaven, Firmament, Earth, and the Welkin. He is called the Lord of the Earth. He is the Lord whose sway is owned by all obstacles. He is endued with ‘Sri’ and He is identical with the deity of blazing flames”.

“vadantyagnĩ mahādēvaṁ tathā sthāṇũ mahēśvaram ||” (MBH 13:161:2a)
“The Rishis describe Mahadeva as Agni, and Sthanu, and Maheswara”.

Now, let’s see the equation between Shiva (Agni) and Angirasas. In this connection we have Aitareya Brahmana which tells us how Angirasa was born. It says that Angirasas sprang from the burning coal (i.e, ‘angārā’) hence the name ‘angirasas’. Therefore Angirasas is not different from Agni.

“yē angārā āsaṁstēngīrasōbhavan |” (Aitareya Brahmana III:34)
“The burning-coals became Angīrasas”.

The same episode of AItareya Brahmana is discussed in Mahabharata too where also we find the same assertion.

“pūrvamaṅgārēbhyō’ṅgirābhavat ||” (MBH 13:85:104)
“A second came from the burning coals (called Angara) and hence he came to be called by the name of Angiras”.

“īśvarō’ṅgirasaṁ cāgnērapatyārthamakalpayat ||” (MBH 13:85:123)
“Endued with every prosperity, Angiras came to be called the offspring of Agni”.

Angirasas being a transformation of Agni himself as his own child – Agni’s child cannot be different from Agni i.e., Agni’s child is verily Agni. Therefore, Angirasas is verily Agni, which again lets us conclude that – Angirasas is again Mahadeva alone.

Since ‘Yatus’ have been interpreted as ‘prana’; it is known that ‘prana’ is verily Agni as evident from the Satapatha Brahmana.

“prāṇo vā agnirjātamevainametatsantaṃ janayati |” (Satapatha Brahmana 2:2:2:15)
“For fire (Agni) indeed is breath (prana): he thereby produces the one thus produced”.

Thus, it is clear that within the Pindanda, inside the Sushumna flows the Jwala-Linga which is portrayed in the current verse of Skambha Suktam as a Purusha having head, eyes and corporeal limbs. Irrespective of whether it calls ‘vaisvanara’ as head, ‘Angirasas’ as eyes, and Prana (yatus) as all corporeal limbs of the Skambha – essentially all these term denote Shiva in his aspect of fire since vaisvanara is fire, angirasas is fire and prana is also fire. Thus, it is entirely the depiction of Skambha (Agni-Linga) from top to bottom visualizing it as a Purusha. Here ends the analysis with respect to Pindanda.

Now, let us look at the Skambha as a person with referece to brahmanda. When Skambha is seen as a universal Purusha, it is depected as the – Vaisvanara Atman.Chandogya Upanishad describes it in detail. We’ll see that entirely the Skambha from head to feet is vaisvanara (i.e., Agni) alone; thereby proving that Skambha’s depiction as Purusha is verily the Agni-Linga of Shiva.

Well, Chandogya Upanishad calls Vaisvanara as ‘Vaisvanara-Atman’ and doesn’t refer to it as Agni. But that should not be any impediment in understanding that Atman as verily the Agni. That is because this discussion on vaisvanara (of chandogya Upanishad) is originally adapted from Satapatha Brahmana (X:6:1) where after discussing the various limbs of the Vaisvanara-Atman viz. Head, eyes, trunk, feet etc.; then finally there the Vaisvanara Atman is clearly called out as ‘Vaisvanara-Agni’ and ‘Purusha’ as quoted below.

“sa eṣo’gnirvaiśvānaroyatpuruṣaḥ sa yo haitamevamagniṃ vaiśvānaram puruṣavidham puruṣe’ntaḥ
pratiṣṭhitaṃ vedāpa punarmṛtyuṃ jayati sarvamāyureti na hāsya bruvāṇaṃ cana vaiśvānaro hinasti ||” (Satapatha Brahmana X:6:1:11)
“This Agni Vaisvânara is no other than the Purusha; and, verily, whosoever thus knows that Agni Vaisvânara as Purusha-like, as established within the Purusha, repels death, and attains all life; and, verily, Vaisvânara does no harm to him that speaks of him.”

Therefore, this is enough to establish that from Head (heaven) to Feet (Earth) – ‘Vaisvanara-Atman’ is ‘Vaisvanara-Agni’ which is verily the Agni-Linga form of Shiva envisioned as Purusha (man) having head, eyes, trun and feet. Thus it is established beyond any doubt that Vaisvanara-Atman is Skambha alone!

With this context we should be now able to understand the pulse of the Vaisvanara-Atman discussed in Chandogya Upanishad. We have already discussed that Angirasas, Prana (yatus), are also none other than Agni. Hence all the parts of the Vaivanara Atman are composed of Agni (the fire of consciousness viz. Skambha i.e., Shiva-Linga).

Heaven is the Head of Vaisvanara-Agni.

“aupamanyava kaṁ tvamātmānamupāssa iti divamēva bhagavō rājanniti hōvācaiṣa vai sutējā ātmā vaiśvānarō ||” (Chandogya Upanishad V-xii-1)
“’O Aupamanyava, what is the Atman on which you meditate?’ He replied, ‘Heaven only, O venerable king’. The king said, ‘This that you meditate upon as Atman is the Vaisvanara Atman known as “the highly luminous”.

“mūrdhā tvēṣa ātmana iti ||” (Chandogya Upanishad V-xii-2)
“But this is only the head of the Atman”.

Sun is the Eye of Vaisvanara-Agni.

“atha hōvāca satyayajñaã pauluṣĩ prācīnayōgya kaṁ tvamātmānamupāssa ityādityamēva bhagavō rājanniti hōvācaiṣa vai viśvarūpa ātmā vaiśvānarō ||” (Chandogya Upanishad V-xiii-1)
“Then the king said to Satyayajna Paulusi, ‘O Pracinayogya, what is that Atman on which you meditate?’ He replied, ‘The sun only, O venerable king’. The king said, ‘This that you meditate upon as Atman is the Vaisvanara Atman known as “the multiform”.

“cakṣuṣētadātmana iti ||” (Chandogya Upanishad V-xiii-2
“But this is only the eye of the Atman”.

Air is the Prana of Vaisvanara-Agni.

“atha hōvācēndradyumnaṁ bhāllavēyaṁ vaiyāghrapadya kaṁ tvamātmānamupāssa iti vāyumēva bhagavō rājanniti hōvācaiṣa vai pṛthagvartmātmā vaiśvānarō ||” (Chandogya Upanishad V-xiv-1)
“Then the king said to Indradyumna Bhallaveya, ‘O descendant of Vyaghrapada, what is that Atman on which you meditate?’ He replied, ‘Air only, O venerable king.’ The king said, ‘This that you meditate upon as Atman is the Vaisvanara Atman known as “the diversely coursed”.

“prāṇastvēṣa ātmana iti ||” (Chandogya Upanishad V-xiv-2)
“But this is only the Prana of the Atman”.

‘ākāśa’ is the Trunk of Vaisvanara-Agni.

“atha hōvāca janamśārkarākṣya kaṁ tvamātmānamupāssa ityākāśamēva bhagavō rājanniti hōvācaiṣa vai bahula ātmā vaiśvānarō ||” (Chandogya Upanishad V-xv-1)
“Then the king said to Jana, ‘O Sarkaraksya, what is that Atman on which you meditate?’ He replied, ‘‘ākāśa’ only, O venerable king’. The king said, ‘This that you meditate upon as Atman is the Vaisvanara Atman known as “the manifold”.

“sandēhastvēṣa ātmana iti ||” (Chandogya Upanishad V-xv-2)
“But this is only the trunk of the Atman”.

Water is the Lower-Belly of Vaisvanara-Agni.

“atha hōvāca buḍilamāśvatarāśvĩ vaiyāghrapadya kaṁ tvamātmānamupāssa ityapa ēva bhagavō rājanniti hōvācaiṣa vai rayirātmā vaiśvānarō ||” (Chandogya Upanishad V-xvi-1)
“Then the king said to Budila Asvatarasvi, ‘O Vaiyaghrapadya, what is that Atman on which you meditate?’ He replied, ‘Water only, O venerable king’. The king said, ‘This that you meditate upon as Atman is the Vaisvanara Atman known as “the wealth”.

“bastistvēṣa ātmana iti ||” (Chandogya Upanishad V-xvi-2)
“But this is only the lower belly of the Atman”.

Earth is the Feet of Vaisvanara-Agni.

“atha hōvācōddālakamāruṇĩ gautama kaṁ tvamātmānamupassa iti pṛthivīmēva bhagavō rājanniti hōvācaiṣa vai pratiṣṭhātmā vaiśvānarō ||” (Chandogya Upanishad V-xvii-1)
“Then the king said to Uddalaka Aruni, ‘O Gautama, what is that Atman on which you meditate?’ He replied, ‘The earth only, O venerable king’. The king said, ‘This that you meditate upon as Atman is the Vaisvanara Atman known as ‘the foundation’”.

“pādau tvētāvātmana iti ||” (Chandogya Upanishad V-xvii-2)
“But this is only the feet of the Atman’”.

This is why Taittiriya Aranyaka of Yajurveda has clearly and beautifully summarized everything and said – the Sun, the Vasus, the fire in sacrifice, the domestic fire, the indwelling Atman (soul) of men and gods, the air, the submarine heat – all these are verily Agni.

“haṁsaḥ śuciṣadvasurantarikśasaddhōtā vēdiṣadatithirdurōṇasat |
nṛṣadvarasadṛtasadvyōmasadabjā gōjā ṛtajā adrijā ṛtaṁ bṛhat ||” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.12.2.6)
“That which is the sun who abides in the clear sky, is the Vasu in the mid-region, is the fire that dwells in the sacrificial altar and in the domestic hearth as the guest, is the fire that shines in men and in the gods, as the Soul, is the fire that is consecrated in the sacrifice, is dwelling in the sky as air, is born in water as submarine heat, is born in the rays of the sun, is the fire that is directly seen as the luminary, and is born on the mountain as the rising sun – that is the Supreme Truth, the Reality underlying all”.

Therefore, entire Purusha which is visualized as having a head, eyes, trunk and feet – is the Atman called as Vaisvanara and is verily identical with the Agni i.e., Skambha. Thus this verse of Skambha Sukta which says – “Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha of whom Vaisvānara became the head, the Angirases his eye, and Yātus his body parts?” – is entirely a visualization of Purusha (Shiva) who is the Agni-Linga hence Skambha.


Verse – 19: Atharva Veda (X:7:19)

“yásya bráhma múkham āhúr jihvā́ṃ madhukaśā́m utá |
virā́jam ū́dho yásyāhúḥ skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”19
“Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha Whose mouth they say is Holy Lore, his tongue the Honey- sweetened Whip, his udder is Virāj, they say?”


Commentary:

Thus I understand this puzzle of yours O Atharvaveda! -“Skambha is formless entity so the descriptive phrases such as ‘mouth’, ‘tongue’, ‘udder’ etc. are only for grasping that Skambha which is beyond ordinary man’s comprehension. Well, out of many Sushumna is that skambha in pindanda which contains everything and from which the parā-vāk transforms herself into vaikharI at vishuddha and gets projected through the mouth. Thus Brahman (Vedas) are said to have been breathed forth through the mouth of the Supreme being i.e., Shiva. Thus Skambha-rūpī shiva’s mouth is the holy lore (Vedas). He is Shiva because whatever he speaks or does – everything is auspicous alone. Even his anger has a specific purpose; there is nothing inauspicious in him. Thus his tongue is honey sweetened whip. Since he is the īśāna, hr is the lord of every prosperity. All prosperity that is seen in other godheads verily belongs to him. Thus he has an udder which milks every prosperity for the mankind”.

Well, other points except the ‘Viraj being the udder’ are self-explanatory hence I would not elaborate them. Let me explain why Viraj is talked as the ‘udder’ of Skambha.

Viraj is identical with Veda Purusha Rudra. It springs from purusha and through her he creates the universe of multiform. Viraj is the ‘vāk’ (speech) of the Supreme Being through which springs the universe.  To understand how universe springs from speech (vāk) and how ‘vāk’ is identical with ‘Viraj’ and how ‘Viraj’ and ‘vāk ‘ are not different from ‘Purusha (Rudra)’; one needs to refer to my article titled – “The imperishable glory of lord Kameshwara the primordial god of desire”.

Now, this Viraj is the storehouse of all prosperity which gods milk from her teats and obtain everything in the world. Viraj has the following four teats – ‘Rathantara’, ‘Brihat’, ‘Yajnāyajniya’, and ‘Vāmadevya’ . This is evident from Atharva Veda’s hymn to Viraj as follows.

“bṛhac ca rathaṃtaraṃ ca dvau stanāv āstāṃ yajñāyajñiyaṃ ca vāmadevyaṃ ca dvau ||” (Atharva Veda 8:10:13)
“Two teats she had – Rathantara and Brihat, and two (more) – Yajnāyajniya and Vāmadevya”.

The gods milked various prosperities from her teats like – plants, the wide expance, waters, and sacrifice or worship.

“oṣadhīr eva rathaṃtareṇa devā aduhran vyaco bṛhatā |14
apo vāmadevyena yajñaṃ yajñāyajñiyena ||” (Atharva Veda 8:10:14-15)
“With the Rathantara the Gods milked from her the Plants, and all the wide expanse with Brihat. They drew the Waters forth with Vāmadevya, with Yajnayajniya they milked out worship”.

Similarly, it further elaborates how the various gods, gandhervas, and snakes obtained their respective necessities from the udder of Viraj as quoted below.

“tāṃ bṛhaspatir āṅgiraso ‘dhok tāṃ brahma ca tapaś cādhok | tad brahma ca tapaś ca saptaṛṣaya upa jīvanti ||” (Atharva Veda 8:10:25)
“Brihaspati Āngirasa, her milker, drew from her udder Prayer and Holy Fervour. Fervour and Prayer maintain the Seven Rishis”.

“tāṃ devaḥ savitādhok tām ūrjām evādhok | tāṃ ūrjāṃ devā upa jīvanty ||” (Atharva Veda 8:10:26)
“God Savitar milked her, he milked forth Vigour. The Gods depend for life upon that Vigour”.

“tāṃ vasuruciḥ sauryavarcaso ‘dhok tāṃ puṇyam eva gandham adhok | taṃ puṇyaṃ gandhaṃ gandharvāpsarasa upa jīvanti ||” (Atharva Veda 8:10:27)
“The son of Sūryavarchas, Vasuruchi, milked and drew from her most delightful fragrance. That scent supports Apsarases and Gandharvas”.

“tāṃ rajatanābhiḥ kaberako ‘dhok tāṃ tirodhām evādhok | tāṃ tirodhām atirajanā pitara upa jīvanti ||” (Atharva Veda 8:10:28)
“Rajatanābhi, offspring of Kubera, milked her, and from her udder drew concealment. By that concealment live the Other People”.

“tāṃ dhṛtarāṣṭra airāvato ‘dhok tāṃ viṣam evādhok | tad viṣaṃ sarvā upa jīvanty ||” (Atharva Veda 8:10:29)
“Irāvān’s offspring, Dhritarāshtra milked her, and from her udder drew forth only poison. That poison quickens and supports the Serpents”

Finally, this Viraj is nothing but the ‘Parā-vāk’ (Tripurasundari) which is identical with the consciousness called Skambha (Shiva or Kameshwara) and is the causal state of ‘varṇamāla (alphabets)’ from where springs creation. This we have already seen in the article on ‘Kameshwara’. This is why when Vedas call veda Purusha Rudra as the one who existed in the beginning and creation proceeded from him; at the same time Viraj being the speech (Parā-vāk) and not different from him; Viraj is verily Rudra. This is why Viraj Sukta says – In the beginning Viraj was alone here.

“virāḍ vā idam agra āsīt ||” (Atharva Veda 8:10:01)
“Viraj was all this in the beginning”.

Thus, it is clear that even though the current verse of Skambha Suktam depicts the formless Skambha as having a form with various organs sucha s mouth, tongue and udder – in reality these all glorify the great Agni-Stambha alone in his various functions! Thus, it is Shiva as the Skambha who is all these aspects!


Verse – 20: Atharva Veda (X:7:20)

“yásmād ŕ̥co apā́takṣan yájur yásmād apā́kaṣan |
sā́māni yásya lómāny atharvāṅgiráso múkhaṃ skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”20
“Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha From whom they hewed the lichas off, from whom they chipped the Yajus, he Whose hairs are Sāma-verses and his mouth the Atharvāngi- rases?”


Commentary:

O Atharvaveda! Here is the solution to thus puzzle- “Once again the phrases such as ‘hairs’, ‘mouth’ etc as just for grasping the message otherwise where would you say the mouth and hairs of sushumna or skambha is located? Therefore here is the answer – it is Shiva who breathed forth the four Vedas”.

All Vedas spring from Mahadeva alone. He is the original preceptor who at first gives the Vedas to Brahma and Vishnu – from them they propagate further. Atharva Veda in its hymn to the ‘Mahākāla’ form of Lord Shiva says that Vedas were born from ‘Kāla’ as follows.

“kāló ha bhūtáṃ bhávyaṃ ca putró ajanayat purā́ |
kālā́d ŕ̥caḥ sám abhavan yájuḥ kālā́d ajāyata |” (Atharva Veda XIX-54-3)
“In Kala erst the text produced what is and what is yet to be.The Riks arose from Kala, the Yagus was born from Kala”.

The same is confirmed in Śvētasvatāra upaniṣad in the following words.

“chandā̃si yajñaāḥ kratavō vratāni bhūtaṁ bhavyaṁ yacca vēdā vadanti |
asmāna māyī sṛjatē viśvamēta ttasmĩścānyō māyayā sanniruddhaḥ ||” (śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 4:09)
“That from which the maker (mâyin) sends forth all this–the sacred verses (chandas), the offerings (kratus), the sacrifices (yajnas), the panaceas (vratas), the past, the future, and all that the Vedas declare– Again, in that universe Brahman as the jiva is entangled through maya”.

Thus, Vedas sprang form the Skambha who is Shiva.

 

Verse – 21: Atharva Veda (X:7:21)

“asaccākhā́ṃ pratíṣṭhantīṃ paramám iva jánā viduḥ |
utó sán manyanté ‘vare yé te śā́khām upā́sate ||”21
“The branch of Nonbeing which is far-extending men take to be the highest one of all. They reckon as inferior those who worship your other branch, the branch of Being”.


Commentary:

O sire Atharvaveda, the answer to thy puzzle is thus – “Lord Shiva as Skambha is the unmanifest nirguna-brahman; but a portion of his becomes the manifested universe and inside that he enters and assumes diverse forms such as Indra, Brahma, Vishnu and all creatures. Those who consider his forms as well as the universe as supreme and everlasting and devote themselves to such a philosophy are indeed inferior because they lack the understanding of the imperishable, changeless Brahman (skambha). They don’t attach themselves to Skambha (linga symbolizing formlessness) and worship god in form. However, the Vedantis who know the truth, consider the nonentity (unmanifest) Shiva to be their highest goal. That is in reality the Skambha in brahmanda and the jwala-linga (consciousness) inside Sushumna within pindanda”.

The above answer needs no elaboration as it is self explanatory!


Verse – 22: Atharva Veda (X:7:22)

“yátrādityā́ś ca rudrā́ś ca vásavaś ca samā́hítāḥ |
bhūtáṃ ca yátra bhávyaṃ ca sárve lokā́ḥ prátiṣṭhitāḥ skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”22
“Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha In whom Ādityas dwell, in whom Rudras and Vasus are contained, In whom the future and the past and all the worlds are firmly set”.


Commentary:

O revered sire Atharvaveda! Here is the answer to thy puzzle -“it is sushumna among many nerves which is the skambha which contains all the deities within it. Again in macrocosm too Skambha alone contains all the thirty three gods”.

Yajurveda’s Taittiriya Aranyaka calls Shiva as the pillar of fire viz. Skambha (in macrocosm) and sushumna in microcosm.

“jvalaliṅgāya namaḥ |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10:16:2)
“Salutations to Him, He, who has the form of the Agni Linga”.

Same Taittiriya Aranyaka hails Shiva as the Brahman having cosmic form.

“ṛtama satyaṁ paraṁ brahma puruṣaṁ kṛṣṇapiṅgalam .
ūrdhvarētaṁ virūpākśaṁ viśvarūpāya vai namō namaḥ |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.23.1)
“Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Righteousness (rita) and Truth (satyam), is the androgynous purusha (or Ardhanareeshwara) having dark blue and reddish brown hue, absolutely chaste (having semen rised up) and possessing uneven eyes (three eyed), salutations to Him alone whose form is the universe”.

Again the same Yajurveda in its Samhita portion calls Rudra as the god who is formless and also possesses a cosmic form encompassing all the gods and everything that exists.

“namō virūpēbhyō viśvarūpēbhyaśca vō namaḥ ||” (Yajurveda IV:5:4:f)
“Homage to thou, [O Rudra] in thy formless aspect; and homage to thou who has a universal form”.

So it is firmly clear that all gods dwell in Shiva alone. Now the question is where do they dwell? The answer is – entire universe is Shiva and also pervaded by him. Adityas dwell in heaven, Rudras in mid-air, and Vasus dwell on earthly plane.

All the worlds are firmly set in Skambha who is the Brahman. The universe comprises of three regions where as said above – adityas occupy the heaven rudras the mid-air and vasus the earth. It is Rudra who is the antar-yaksha within whom all worlds are stung as like as baskets are hanging. It is he again who as skambha who holds heaven and earth apart by himself. This is why Atharvaveda’s Bhava-sarva hymn calls Rudra as the indweller and lord of three regions. We have already seen references pertaining to these facts in earlier sections; hence they need not be repeated here.

Hence it is Skambha i.e., Shiva on whom dwell the three and thirty deities, in whom dwell the three grades of time (past, present and future) and in whom all worlds are firmly set.

Verse – 23: Atharva Veda (X:7:23)

“yásya tráyastriṃśad devā́ nidhíṃ rákṣanti sarvadā́ |
nidhíṃ tám adyá kó veda yáṃ devā abhirákṣatha ||”23
“Whose secret treasure evermore the three-and thirty Gods protect? Who knoweth now the treasure which, O Deities ye watch and guard?”


Commentary:

O great Atharvaveda, the answer to thy puzzle is this – “The gods always protect the divine knowledge (which leads to Brahman) from those who art unworthy of receiving it. Only for the worthy person they revealeth the path to emancipation – All those who art under the grace of Maheshwara, knoweth this secret!”

Whatever is called as ‘jnana’ in Vedanta; that is what is called as ‘Kunḍalinī’ in Yoga. The terminology is different but meaning is same. Whether ‘jnana’ dawns through the shravana, manana, nidhidhyasana of scriptures (OR) ‘Kunḍalinī’ awakens through the efforts of the yogi together with the grace ofgod and guru – in either case the end result is same – that is – attainment of emancipation!

The supreme knowledge dawns when Kunḍalinī (or Agni-Linga) of Shiva manifests in Sushumna from Mūlādhāra to Sahasrara. However, this is not easy for everyone. Gods themselves remain as impediments in the path of a yogi till his chitta becomes cleansed through Yoga and by his Guru’s grace and god’s wish the time becomes ripe for Skambha to manifest within him.

We know from scriptures that Gods reside in their favourite spot called Meru mountain. However, this is again an esoteric inner science which scriptures speak about. The backbone itself is the Meru mountain on which Gods dwell. They remain guarding the secret path to emancipation i.e., Sushumna. When in a perfected yogi Kunḍalinī (Skambha) becomes ready to manifest and shoot upwards, the Meru gets agitated through Yoga – it shakes and due to that Gods move away from the path and they no longer remain blocking the path.

“vāyūnā̃ gatimāvṛtya dhṛtvā pūrakakumbhakau |
samahastayugaṁ bhūmau samaṁ pādayugaṁ tathā |
vēdhakakramayōgēna catuṣpīṭhaṁ tu vāyunā |
āsphālayēnmahāmērũ vāyuvaktrē prakōṭibhiḥ ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:61- 62)
“Having checked the course of Vayu, having become perfect in the practice of expiration and restraint of breath and having planted evenly on the ground the two hands and the two feet, one should pierce the four seats through Vayu through the three Yogas. He should shake Mahameru with the (aid of) Prakotis (forces) at the mouth of Vayu”.

When gods give her (Kunḍalinī) a way to move up, the first knot called as Brahma Granthi opens its door for the Vayu (Kunḍalinī) to pass through.

“mērumadhyagatā dēvāścalantē mērucālanāt |
ādau sañjāyatē kṣipraṁ vēdhō’sya brahmagranthitaḥ ||” (Varaha Upanishad 5:64)
“Through the motion of Meru, the Devatas who stay in the centre of Meru move. At first in his Brahma-Granthi, there is produced soon a hole (or passage)”.

Thus within the Pindanda, Gods remain guarding the secret treasure of Brahman i.e., the path to emancipation viz. Sushumna.


Verse – 24: Atharva Veda (X:7:24)

“yátra devā́ brahmavído bráhma jyeṣṭhám upā́sate |
yó vái tā́n vidyā́t pratyákṣaṃ sá brahmā́ véditā syāt ||”24
“Where the Gods, versed in Sacred Lore (Vedas), worship the loftiest Brahman The priest who knows the Gods face to face may be a sage who knows the truth”.


Commentary:

O Sire Atharvaveda, the answer to thy puzzle is – “Gods learned in Brahman (Vedas) worship the highest Brahman viz. Shiva in Skambha and within the Pindanda they worship him in the inner-’ākāśa’ of the heart situated inside the Sushumna; as well as in the Sahasrara which is the actual city of Brahman”.

Gods worship Shiva who through ‘linga’. Shiva-linga is a symbol of Shiva’s infinite Skambha which is nothing but the supreme pillar of consciousness which is otherwise called as ‘Brahman’. Shiva Purana and Skanda Purana have declared very clearly that each god and goddess worship Shiva-Linga made of one or the other element such as – parthiva-linga, sphatika-linga, jala-linga etc. Since that chapter is huge to be quoted, I’m not quoting those verses here but the summary is – All gods and goddesses including but not limited to – Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, Kubera, Chandra, Yama, Saraswati, Lakshmi etc., everyone has their choice of linga which they worship! When these godheads themselves worship Shiva in his nirguna symbol, there is no question of the thirty-three deities worshiping that loftiest Brahman in any other mode.

This is why Mahabharata clearly says Kesava (i.e., Vishnu) worships Shiva linga. Linga symbolizes Skambha and hence Gods worship Brahman in Skambha only.

“sa eṣa rudra bhaktaś ca keśavo rudra saṃbhavaḥ | sarvabhūtabhavaṃ jñātvā liṅge ‘rcayati yaḥ prabhum | tasminn abhyadhikāṃ prītiṃ karoti vṛṣabhadhvajaḥ |” (MBH 7:172:89-90)
“Kesava is that devoted worshipper of Rudra who has sprung from Rudra himself. Kesava always worships the Lord Siva, regarding his Linga emblem to be the origin of the universe. The God having the bull for his mark cherisheth greater regard for Kesava”.

When it comes to internal worship – even all the gods have an indweller i.e., Shiva, whom they meditate upon within the inner ‘ākāśa’ inside their heart.

Thus, the truth of the current verse of Skambhs Sukta lies in the fact that – gods worship Shiva in Skambha, knowing it to be the infinite pillar of conciousness which is Brahman.

 

Verse – 25: Atharva Veda (X:7:25)

“br̥hánto nā́ma té devā́ yé ‘sataḥ pári jajñiré |
ékaṃ tád áṅgaṃ skambhásyā́sad āhuḥ paró jánāḥ ||”25
“Great, verily, are those Gods who sprang from non-existence into life. Further, men say that that one part of Skambha is nonentity”.


Commentary:

O revered Atharvaveda I had already solved this puzzle in great detail in my previous article titled “The imperishable glory of lord Kameshwara the primordial lord of desire“.

Let me summarize in few words here. “All the gods and all the creation including the twenty-four elements and mobile and immobile beings everything existed in their causal state in the Supreme Being viz. Shiva otherwise called as Kameshwara, in his unmanifest state. This unmanifest state is same as the pillar of consciousness viz. Skambha. That Skambha is the state of parā consciousness of the form of “akAra”. This (prakāśa-rūpī) Shiva united with his (vimarśa-rūpī) Shakti of the alphabet “ikāra” created the ishwara first. Likewise, by the various combinations of the ‘mātr̥ikās’ of the ‘akṣaramālā’ form of Shiva and Shakti all gods manifested in the universe.

We know that Virāj is verily ‘Vāk’. From the thirty-three consonants of the “varṇamālā” of ‘Virāj’, the Matrika Devi (Tripurasundari) creates the Thirty-Three gods viz. Eight Vasus, Eleven Rudras, Twelve Adityas, and Indra and Prajapati.

“sā virāttrayastriṁsadakṣara bhavati | trayastriṁśadvai dēvā |
aṣtau vasava ēkādaśa rudrā dvādaśādityaḥ prajāpatiścha vaṣatkāraścha ||” (Aitareya Brahmana 2:10:37)
“The Virāj is of thirty-three syllables; the gods are thirty-three – eight vasus, elevent rudras, twelve Adityas, Prajapati and vashatkāra (Indra)”.

Likewise in the article on ‘Kameshwara’ principle – I have shown that entire creation unfolded from Kameshwara. That Kameshwara is identical to Skambha which is the supreme fire of consciousness termed as Brahman.

In that article we have also seen that all this creation emerged only from a fourth part of speech. Remaining three parts are still unmanifest. These three parts are put together called as one unmanifest part of Skambha. Thus I have answered your puzzle in short O revered Atharvaveda!


Verse – 26: Atharva Veda (X:7:26)

“yátra skambháḥ prajanáyan purāṇáṃ vyávartayat |
ékaṃ tád áṅgaṃ skambhásya purāṇám anusáṃviduḥ ||”26
“Where Skambha generating gave the Ancient World its shape and form, They recognized that single part of Skambha as the Ancient World”.


Commentary:

O revered Atharvaveda, the answer to the current puzzle is already given in previous verse. However, in Sumamry here is the answer – “Skambha is the Purusha who generated this entire creation from a single portion of himself”.

From the fourth part of Purusha (Rudra) everything got created as stated below. This Purusha is identical with Skambha. The infinite Skambha is formless pillar, but when Rig Veda portrayed the infinite as having a form as like as a Purusha (man), it is termed Purusha. Also because the Skambha pervades all bodies (pura-s) as their indwelling Atman and illuminates (usha) them with life; hence Skambha is called Purusha. In both the hymns the terms Skambha and Purusha refer to the Agni-Stambha alone.

Skambha is infinite and the created universe is finite. The universe has sprung from a part of Skambha (Purusha) and is contained in him; but Skambha (Purusha) is higher than the universe. Hence when Rig Veda narrates saying – only one part of Purusha has begotten all these and three parts are beyond all this; Skambha Sukta groups the remaining three-partsh into one set adn says – all this is from one part of Skambha and the other part is non-entity!

“tripādūrdhva udait puruṣaḥ pādo.asyehābhavat punaḥ |
tato viṣvaṃ vyakrāmat sāśanānaśane abhi ||” (Rig Veda 10:90:4)
“Three parts of his are beyond all this; all of this is but a part. Again and again, all that eats, and that eats not, appeared from this one part of His”.

So, this is clear that the current verse is again a glorification of Bhagawan Rudra in his aspect of Skambha alone.


Verse – 27: Atharva Veda (X:7:27)

“yásya tráyastriṃśad devā́ áṅge gā́trā vibhejiré |
tā́n vái tráyastriṃśad devā́n éke brahamvído viduḥ ||”27
“The three-and-thirty Gods within his body were disposed as limbs: Some, deeply versed in Holy Lore, some know those three-and- thirty Gods”.


Commentary:

O revered Atharvaveda! The three and thirty gods who are disposed as limbs of Skambha are known as follows – “The twelve Adityas are disposed at the head (heaven) of Skambha. The eleven Rudras are disposes as the trunk (antariksha) of skambha. The eight vasus are disposed as the feet (earth) of Skambha. Indra is the thunder and Prajapati is symbolized as the generative organ of Skambha (as prajapati helps create the universe called hiranyagarbha). Thus, I have enumerated the three and thirty gods!”

This section needs no further elaboration.

Verse – 28: Atharva Veda (X:7:28)

“hiraṇyagarbhám paramám anatyudyáṃ jánā viduḥ |
skambhás tád ágre prā́siñcad dhíraṇyaṃ loké antarā́ ||”28
“28)Men know Hiranyagarbha as supreme and inexpressible: In the beginning, in the midst of the world, Skambha poured that gold”.


Commentary:

O reversed Atharvaveda! This has also been dealt in detail in my article titled “The imperishable glory of Kameshwara – the primordial god of desire“. Hiranyagarbha was created by Veda purusha Rudra only.

Supreme Rudra as Skambha is higher that the Hiranyagarbha (visible universe). He creates and pervades the universe. In this context Svetaswatara Maharshi says that Rudra is beyond all this (i.e., Hiranyagarbha).

“tataḥ paraṁ brahma paraṁ bṛhantaṁ yathānikāyaṁ sarvabhūtēṣu gūḍhama |
viśvasyaikaṁ parivēṣṭitāra mīśaṁ taṁ jñaātvā’mṛtā bhavanti ||” (śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 3:07)
“The Supreme Lord Rudra is higher than Virat, beyond Hiranyagarbha. He is vast and is hidden in the bodies of all living beings. By knowing Him who alone pervades the universe, men become immortal”.

He further states that it is Rudra who gave birth to Hiranyagarbha. This is clear cut evidence that Skambha which gave birth to Hiranyagarbha is nothing but the infinite Jwala-Linga of Bhagawan Rudra!

“yō dēvānā̃ prabhavaścōdbhavaśca viśvādhipō rudrō maharṣiḥ |
hiraṇyagarbhaṁ janayāmāsa pūrvaṁ sa nō buddhyā śubhayā saṁyunaktu ||” (śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 3:04)
“He, the omniscient Rudra, the creator of the gods and the bestower of their powers, the support of the universe, He who, in the beginning, gave birth to Hiranyagarbha—may He endow us with clear intellect!”

For this reason, Rudra is the overlord of Hiranyagarbha because he is the master!

“īśānaḥ sarvavidyānāmīśvaraḥ sarvabhūtānām | braḥmādhipatirbraḥmaṇō’dhipatirbraḥmā śivō mē astu sadāśivōṁ ||” (Taittariya Aranyaka 10:21:1)
“May the Supreme who is the ruler of all knowledge, ishana, controller of all created beings, the preserver of the Vedas and the one overlord of Hiranyagarbha, be benign to me. That Sadasiva described thus and denoted by Pranava (OM)”.

Even the same fact of creation of the universe is stated in the ‘Kala-Sukta’ of Atharva Veda which is a hymn to the Supreme Shiva in the form of ‘akshaya-kala’ (imperishable time), i.e., it is a hymn to Mahakala. This hymn clearly says that entire universe with Heaven and Earth, was created by Mahakala.

“téneṣitáṃ téna jātáṃ tád u tásmin prátiṣṭhitam
kāló ha bráhma bhūtvā́ bíbharti parameṣṭhínam |” (Atharva Veda XIX:53:09)
“By him this (universe) was urged forth, by him it was begotten, and upon him this (universe) was founded. Time, truly, having become the Brahman (spiritual exaltation), supports Parameshthin (the highest lord)”.

“kāló ‘mū́ṃ dívam ajanayat kālá imā́ḥ pr̥thivī́r utá
kālé ha bhūtáṃ bhávyaṃ ceṣitáṃ ha ví tiṣṭhate |” (Atharva Veda XIX:53:05)
“Time begot yonder heaven, Time also (begot) these earths. That which was, and that which shall be, urged forth by Time, spreads out”.

Thus, we have seen that from the Agni-Stambha, sprang forth the universe termed as Hiranyagarbha!


Verse – 29: Atharva Veda (X:7:29)

“skambhé lokā́ḥ skambhé tápaḥ skambhé ‘dhy r̥tám ā́hitam |
skámbha tvā́ veda pratyákṣam índre sárvaṃ samā́hitam ||”29
“On Skambha Fervour rests, the worlds and Holy Law repose on him. Skambha, I clearly know that all of thee on Indra is imposed”.


Commentary:

The first part of this verse is already analyzed in my commentary on verse no. 1. Here I would focus only on the second part.

This verse no. 29 and the immediately next verse (i.e, verse no. 30) are interrelated and are of great mystic value. These two verses are like a funnel or pipe, only the ends differ but the reality looked at using both ends is same i.e., Shiva. Hence these two verses need to be analyzed together.


Verse – 30: Atharva Veda (X:7:30)

“índre lokā́ índre tápa índre ‘dhy r̥tám ā́hitam |
índraṃ tvā́ veda pratyákṣaṃ skambhé sárvaṃ prátiṣṭhitam ||”30
“On Indra Fervour rests, on him the worlds and Holy Law recline. Indra, I clearly know that all of thee on Skambha findeth rest”.


Commentary:

These two verses when combined together are stating the foundation (pratishtha) of Brahman (Skambha) on Indra (in verse no. 29) and foundation (pratishtha) of Indra on Brahman (verse no. 30).

We’ll analyze these verses in two planes viz. – Pindanda and Brahmanda.

Analysis with respect to Microcosm (Pindanda)

Skambha is the attributeless-Shiva (Brahman) and Indra here is indicative of the ‘pratyagātmān’ which is indicated by “I am (aham)”. This concept is very much similar to what we see in Bhagavad Gita (14:27). We’ll understand the correlation between Skambha and Indra better if we understand the below Gita verse.

“braḥmaṇō hi pratiṣthāhaṁ ||” (BG. 14:27)
“I am the foundation (basis) of the absolute Brahman”.

This Gita verse is the most controversial and most complex riddle which had even puzzled the great acharyas; we do not see any concensus among the commentators. Based on the tradition you subscribe to – you would ‘tend’ to agree with the explanation given in that tradition.

The most realistic meaning which is easily understandable is shown by Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi; even Sri Abhinava Gupta’s commentary echos with Sri Ramana’s explanation.  For this Gita verse (14:27) I would prefer going by Sri Ramana’s path (which is same as Abhinava Gupta’s path), because that solves this riddle very easily. Sri Ramana taught the path of ‘ahaṁ aṇvēṣaṇa’ where he suggested that when we trace every thought to its root, the root what we find is the one that needs to be known in which everything is established. That root is “I am (aham)”. That is the ‘pratyagātmān’ which is in our hearts as the self.

In his talks no. 649, in reply to an enquiry of Mr. Thompson about Gita verse (BG. 14:27), Maharshi says, “In ‘braḥmaṇō hi pratiṣthāhaṁ’, if that ‘aham’ is known, whole is known”. Further to erase the duality we need to understand that ‘aham (true self)’ is not separate from ‘Brahman’; – to drive this point home, Sri Bhagwan quotes Gita (BG 10:20) “aham atma gudakesa sarva-bhutasaya-sthitah”, which means, “I am the self, O Gudakesa, seated in the hearts of all creatures”.

When we analyze in the context of Ramana’s words – Brahman is same as this Atman (as per the mahāvākya – ‘ayaṁ ātman braḥman’); hence the meaning of this Gita verse could be seen as – “‘I AM (i.e., the self or pratyagātmān which shines in the heart)’ is the support of Brahman”. At the same time the vice versa is also true i.e., the pratyagātmān is supported by Brahman. This is because ‘self’ and ‘brahman’ are like the two ends of a funnel or pipe and the object that you look at is the same; only the ends you choose may seem to be varying.

This ‘self’ is represented by ‘aham’ and ‘aham’ is indicative of ‘Indra’. Thus, the Skambha (Brahman) is supported by ‘Indra’ (within the hearts) as per verse no. 29 and this ‘Indra’ (the self) is again supported on Skambha (Brahman) as seen in verse no. 30.

Kaushitaki brahmana Upanishad indicates Indra as being the self (pratyagātmān) within all creatures as quoted in below verse.

“sa hōvāca prāṇō’smi prajñaātmā taṁ māmāyuramṛtamityupāsvāyuḥ ||” (Kaushitaki brahmana Upanishad III:02)
“He (Indra) said: ‘I am prâna, meditate on me as the conscious self (pragñâtman), as life, as immortality”.

That ‘Indra’ or call it ‘Prana (Atman)’ is verily Bhagawan Rudra alone because it is Shiva who pervades all creatures as their Atman as confirmed in Śvētasvatāra upaniṣad as follows.

“sarvānana-śiro-grīvaḥ sarva-bhūta-guhāśayaḥ |
sarva-vyāpī sa bhagavāṃs tasmāt sarva-gataḥ śivaḥ ||” (Svetashvatara Upanishad 3:11)
“All faces are His faces; all heads, His heads; all necks, His necks. He dwells in the hearts of all beings. He is the all— pervading Bhagavan. Therefore He is omnipresent Shiva”.

So, the Indra who shines within everyone’s hearts as the self (pratyagātmān) – is verily Shiva (Skambha).  By knowing this ‘aham’ one knows the ‘brahman’, hence this ‘Indra (aham)’ is the foundation to know that ‘Skambha (Brahman)’ and conversely, when that ‘Skambha (Brahman)’ is known as pervading us as ‘the self’, this ‘Indra (aham)’ gets known. And needless to reiterate that – this heart is located within the Sushumna in the inner-’ākāśa’!

Thus, ‘Skambha’ is the foundation of this ‘Indra’ and ‘Indra’ is the foundation of ‘Skambha’.

Analysis with respect to Macrocosm (Bahmanda)

Here also I would like to bring the Bhagavad Gita (BG 14:27) into context as that would be useful to understand the Skambha and Indra relationship here. Gita (BG. 14:27) says:

“braḥmaṇō hi pratiṣthāhaṁ ||” (BG. 14:27)
“I am the foundation (basis) of the absolute Brahman”.

Sri Shankara in his commentary states the following on the above verse. Verse translation is done by Swami Gambhirananda.

“yayā ca īśvaraśaktyā bhaktānugrahādiprayōjanāya brahma pratiṣṭhatē pravartatē, sā
śaktiḥ brahmaiva aham, śaktiśaktimatōḥ ananyatvāt ityabhiprāyaḥ ||” (Shankara Bhashya on Gita 14:27)
“Indeed, that power of God through which Brahman sets out, comes forth, for the purpose of favouring the devotees, etc., that power which is Brahman Itself, am I. For, a power and the possessor of that power are non-different.”

Which in simpler language if has to be understood, it would be – Saguna Brahman who was speaking to Arjuna, is identical with nirguna-brahman with his power (Maya). Since power (Shakti) and possessor of power (Shakta) are non-different from each other – Saguna Brahman is the prathishtha, i.e., abode of the essence of nirguna-brahman. They can neither be different nor can they be inferior or superior to one another. They are identical – Period!

In order to appreciate the nature of Saguna-brahman we need to look at the immediately preceeding verse of Gita (BG 14:26) which says that even when one devotes himself to the Saguna form, one attains to the same Brahman finally.

“māḿ ca yo ’vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena sevate |
sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate ||” (BG. 4:26)
“And he who serves me (the saguna Brahman) with unswerving devotion, he, going beyond the Gunas, is fit for becoming Brahman”.

So, coming back to the Skambha Sukta’s context – Skambha as we know is the infinite expance of fire of consciousness i.e., Skambha is the ‘brahman’. And Indra that is being hailed as the ‘pratishtha (abode)’ of this Skambha (Brahman) is nothing but the Saguna Brahman (as per verse no 29). And vice versa of this statement is found in verse no. 30. Let’s now first understand who ‘Indra’ is.

In Vedas, the name ‘Indra’ does not refer to the king of swargaloka (heaven). The name ‘Indra’ is given to the one sole ‘lord’ – one who has supreme authority over this universe – that is – the ‘iśāna’! Rig Veda says that Indra upheld Heaven, and supported Earth and Indra filled the mid-air as shown below.

“avaṃśe dyāmastabhāyad bṛhantamā rodasī apṛṇadantarikṣam |
sa dhārayad pṛthivīṃ paprathacca somasya tā mada indraścakāra ||” (Rig Veda 2:15:02)
“High heaven unsupported in space he stablished: he filled the two worlds and the air’s mid-region. Earth he upheld, and gave it wide expansion. These things did Indra in the Soma’s rapture”.

Atharva Veda removes this ambiguity and clarifies this deed as belonging to Rudra and says that it is Rudra who is in earth, antariksha and heaven. It says these three regions belong to Rudra and he is the one who pervades and supports them.

“táva cátasraḥ pradíśas táva dyáus táva pr̥thivī́ távedám ugrorv àntárikṣam |
távedáṃ sárvam ātmanvád yát prāṇát pr̥thivī́m ánu ||” (Atharva Veda XI:2:10)
“Thine, O strong god (ugra), are the four regions, thine the sky, thine the earth, and thine this broad atmosphere; thine is this all that has a spirit and has breath upon the earth”.

“bhavó divó bhavá īśe pr̥thivyā́ bhavá ā́ papra urv àntárikṣam |
tásyai námo yatamásyāṃ diśī̀táḥ ||” (Atharva Veda XI:2:27)
“Ruler of heaven and Lord of earth is Bhava. Bhava has filled the broad atmosphere. Wherever he be, to him be paid our homage!”

Further rishi Svetaswatara identifies Rudra as the one who produced Heaven and Earth and forged them with his arms.

“viśvataścakṣuruta viśvatomukho viśvatobāhurutaviśvataspāt |
saṃ bāhubhyāṃ dhamati saṃ patatrairdyāvābhūmī janayan deva ekaḥ ||” (śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 3:03)
“That one god, having his eyes, his face, his arms, and his feet in every place, when producing heaven and earth, forges them together with his arms and his wings”.

Should there be any further doubt pestering the mind – the below quote should erase all the doubts! Atharva Veda in its hymn to Rudra under his aspects as – ‘Bhava (the source)’, ‘Sarva (archer), and ‘Ugra (fierce)’ – clearly calls Rudra as the slayer of ‘’vr̥itrā” which otherwise Rig Veda has sung under the name of ‘Indra’.

“sahasrākṣáu vr̥trahánā huveháṃ dūrégavyūtī stuvánn emy ugráu |
yā́v asyéśathe dvipádo yáu cátuṣpadas táu no muñcatam áṃhasaḥ ||” (Atharva Veda IV:28:3)
“The thousand-eyed slayers of Vritra both do I invoke. I go praising the two strong gods (ugrau) whose pastures extend far. Ye, who rule all these two-footed and four-footed creatures, deliver us from grief and trouble”.

Now, since it is clear now that the ‘Indra’ talked in this Skambha Suktam verses is Shiva, the saguna Brahman; we’ll proceed ahead with further analysis. Shiva as the Skambha is Brahman and stays always. At the time of creation, he projects ‘hiranyagarbha’ which is this visible universe of egg-shaped. Inside that physical universe, Shiva enters assuming his celebrated form, and becomes the one sole supreme lord ‘īśvara’. This is evident form the ‘Vratya Suktam’ as follows.

Shiva was there before creation of universe. He engendered golden-womb (hiranyagarbha) and through that again Shiva was born (in his Saguan form now).

“vrā́tya āsīd ī́yamāna evá sá prajā́patiṃ sám airayat || sá prajā́patiḥ suvárṇam ātmánn apaśyat tát prā́janayat || tád ékam abhavat tál lalā́mam abhavat tán mahád abhavat táj jyeṣṭhám abhavat tád bráhmābhavat tát tápo ‘bhavat tát satyám abhavat téna prā́jāyata ||”  (Atharva Veda 15:1:1-3)
“There was Vratya (Ascetic form of Lord shiva) . He roused Prajapati to action. Prajapati beheld gold in himself and engendered it. That became unique, that became distinguished, that became great, that became excellent, that became Brahman, that became Tapas, that became Truth: through that he was born”.

That Saguna Bhagawan Shiva grew and became the Mahadeva (greatest God), he became the lord of all the gods hence became ‘Isana’.

“sò ‘vardhata sá mahā́n abhavat sá mahādevò ‘bhavat || sá devā́nām īśā́ṃ páry ait sá ī́śāno ‘bhavat || sá ekavrātyò ‘bhavat sá dhánur ā́datta tád evéndradhanúḥ || nī́lam asyodáraṃ lóhitaṃ pr̥ṣṭhám || nī́lenaivā́priyaṃ bhrā́tr̥vyaṃ prórṇoti lóhitena dviṣántaṃ vidhyatī́ti brahmavādíno vadanti ||”  (Atharva Veda 15:1:4-8)
“He grew, he became great, he became Mahadeva.He gained the lordship of the Gods. He became Ishana. He became Eka Vratya. He held a bow, even that Bow of Indra. His belly is dark-blue, his back is red (nilalohitam). With dark-blue he envelops a detested rival, with red he pierces the man who hates him: so the theologians say”.

This Sukta doesn’t say anything like the Saguna Rudra is a partial incarnation of the nirguna Rudra or anything like that. The attributeless Shiva (outside the universe) became Shiva with attributes inside the universe. Therefore even when we devote ourselves with unswerving devotion to this Saguna Shiva (call him Indra in this context), we would become one with the Nirguna-Shiva (Skambha) finally.

The same fact is conveyed in Shiva Purana too. Shiva says to Brahma and Vishnu in another occasion about his Saguna form ‘Maheshwara’ and says that he is verily Shiva (sadashiva) alone doubtlessly.

“hr̥udayaṁ mama yō rudrassa ēvāhaṁ na sanshayaḥ |
pūjyastava sadā sōpi brahmādīnāmapi dhruvaṁ ||” (Shiva Purana 2:2:25:26)
“This Rudra who is of the form of my heart, he is verily me alone – there is no doubt about this. This Rudra is certainly the object of worship for you (Vishnu), brahma and all deities”.

Thus, there is no difference in Skambha and Indra here – therefore, Skambha has its foundation in Indra and Indra has his foundation on Skambha. Both ways it is true and for a Yogi or a Vedantin or a Bhakta, either of the aspects is worth choosing for the target of emancipation! This also should put an end to all confusions and should provide clarity on the Bhagawad-Gita verse (BG. 14.27).

Thus, has been solved your grand riddle, O revered sire, Atharva Veda!


Verse – 31: Atharva Veda (X:7:31)

“nā́ma nā́mnā johavīti purā́ sū́ryāt puróṣásaḥ |
yád ajáḥ prathamáṃ saṃbabhū́va sá ha tát svarā́jyam iyāya yásmān nā́nyát páram ásti bhūtám ||”31
“Ere sun and dawn man calls and calls one Deity by the other’s name. When the Unborn first sprang into existence he reached that independent sovran lordship; than which aught higher never hath arisen”.


Commentary:

O Revered sire, Atharvaveda! Here is the answer to thy puzzle – “It is Rudra whom Vedas call by various names. He is unborn in reality, but creates the universe and enters into that (i.e., takes birth) and comes visibly into existence. He becomes the Sovran lord, who has no higher boss above him”.

In Vedas we usually tend to think that there are multiple gods whom the hymns are addressd, however, the truth is, Vedas sing only and only the glories of Bhagawan Rudra under various names based on his various actions or aspects. Because Rudra’s desire became instrumental in creation of universe he is called as ‘Kama’, because his anger maintains discipline in the administration, he is hailed as ‘manyu’, because he pervades everything, his all-pervasive nature is spoken as ‘Vishnu’, because he is the supreme lord, he is called as ‘Indra’, because he is the life-force of all the beings, he is called as ‘Prana’, because he is the creator unknown to gods who are later than creation, he is called as ‘Ka’, because he is the fire of consciousness, he is called as ‘Agni’, and so on!

Shiva was there before creation of universe. He engendered golden-womb (hiranyagarbha) and through that again Shiva was born (in his Saguan form now). In this connection below verses from Atharva Veda give clarity.

“vrā́tya āsīd ī́yamāna evá sá prajā́patiṃ sám airayat || sá prajā́patiḥ suvárṇam ātmánn apaśyat tát prā́janayat || tád ékam abhavat tál lalā́mam abhavat tán mahád abhavat táj jyeṣṭhám abhavat tád bráhmābhavat tát tápo ‘bhavat tát satyám abhavat téna prā́jāyata ||”  (Atharva Veda 15:1:1-3)
“There was Vratya (Ascetic form of Lord Shiva). He roused Prajapati to action. Prajapati beheld gold in himself and engendered it. That became unique, that became distinguished, that became great, that became excellent, that became Brahman, that became Tapas, that became Truth: through that he was born”.

Even Svetaswatara rishi confirms that Rudra has no cause of him. He is unborn and the supreme reality.

“na tasya kāryaṁ karaṇaṁ ca vidyatē na tatsamaścābhyadhikaśca dṛśyatē |
parāsya śaktirvividhaiva śrūyatē svābhāvikī jñānabalakriyā ca ||” (Śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 6:08)
“There is no effect and no cause known of him, no one is seen like unto him or better; his high power is revealed as manifold, as inherent, acting as force and knowledge”.

But he manifests within the universe for the sake of administration. Then that Saguna Bhagawan Shiva grew and became the Mahadeva (greatest God), he became the lord of all the gods hence became ‘Isana’.

“sò ‘vardhata sá mahā́n abhavat sá mahādevò ‘bhavat || sá devā́nām īśā́ṃ páry ait sá ī́śāno ‘bhavat || sá ekavrātyò ‘bhavat sá dhánur ā́datta tád evéndradhanúḥ || nī́lam asyodáraṃ lóhitaṃ pr̥ṣṭhám || nī́lenaivā́priyaṃ bhrā́tr̥vyaṃ prórṇoti lóhitena dviṣántaṃ vidhyatī́ti brahmavādíno vadanti ||”  (Atharva Veda 15:1:4-8)
“He grew, he became great, he became Mahadeva.He gained the lordship of the Gods. He became Ishana. He became Eka Vratya. He held a bow, even that Bow of Indra. His belly is dark-blue, his back is red (nilalohitam) . With dark-blue he envelops a detested rival, with red he pierces the man who hates him: so the theologians say”.

This is why Rig Veda clearly accepts the high imperial lordship of Bhagawan Rudra over all the gods and over all the beings on earth. The below verse calls Rudra as the ‘Isana’ (lord) of ‘bhuvana’ (abode(s))

“sthirebhiraṅghaiḥ pururūpa ughro babhruḥ śukrebhiḥ pipiśehiraṇyaiḥ |
īśānādasya bhuvanasya bhūrerna vā u yoṣad rudrādasuryam |” (Rig Veda 2.33.9)
“He, the fierce god, with strong limbs, assuming many forms, the tawny Rudra, decked himself with brilliant golden ornaments. From Rudra, who is lord of this wide world (īśānādasya bhuvanasya), divine power will never depart”.

Below verse says that Rudra’s lordship exists over all the lords of heaven as well as on all the beings on earth.

“sa hi kṣayeṇa kṣamyasya janmanaḥ sāmrājyena divyasya cetati |
avannavantīrupa no duraścarānamīvo rudra jāsu no bhava |” (Rig Veda 7:46:2)
“For, being the lord, he rules over or looks after what is born on earth; being the universal ruler, he rules or looks after what is born in heaven (through his high imperial sway). Come willingly to our doors that gladly welcome thee, and heal all sickness, Rudra., in our families”.

Śvētasvatāra upaniṣad declares him as the highest lord of all the lords, master of all other masters.

“tamīśvarāṇā̃ paramaṁ mahēśvaraṁ taṁ dēvatānā̃ paramaṁ ca daivatam |
patĩ patīnā̃ paramaṁ parastādvidāma dēvaṁ bhuvanēśamīḍyam ||” (Śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 5:07)
“Let us know that highest great lord of lords (mahēśvara), the highest deity of deities, the master of masters, the highest above, as god, the lord of the world (bhuvanēśa), the adorable”.

Should there be any question whether Rudra has any lord above him – Svetaswatara rishi has the answer as follows.

“na tasya kaścit patirasti lōkē na cēśitā naiva ca tasya liṇgam |
sa kāraṇaṁ karaṇādhipādhipō na cāsya kaścijjanitā na cādhipaḥ ||” (Śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 6:09)
“There is no master of his in the world, no ruler of his, not even a sign of him. He is the cause, the lord of the lords of the organs, and there is of him neither parent nor lord”.

In sync with above quotes further the rishis says that Rudra is the sovereign of all the gods.

“yo devānām adhipo | yasmin lokā adhiśritāḥ |
ya īśe asya dvipadaś catuṣpadaḥ | kasmai devāya haviṣā vidhema ||” (Śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 4:13)
“He who is the sovereign of the gods, in whom the worlds find their support, who rules over all two-footed and four-footed beings—let us serve that God, radiant and blissful, with an oblation”.

Thus, we have analyzed and understood that it is Rudra (Skambha) whom Vedas call by various names. He is unborn but springs into existence in the universe, and when he manifests he becomes the supreme lord of all the lords. This current verse is related to the previous verses i.e., 29 and 30 where Skambha is the unborn Shiva and Indra is his Saguna form.


Verse – 32: Atharva Veda (X:7:32)

“yásya bhū́miḥ pramā́ntárikṣam utódáram |
dívaṃ yáś cakré mūrdhā́naṃ tásmai jyeṣṭhā́ya bráhmaṇe námaḥ ||”32
“Be reverence paid to him, that highest Brahma, whose base is Earth, his belly Air, who made the sky to be his head”.


Commentary:

This verse is already analyzed in detail in previous sections viz. Verse 12 and 18. However, let’s sumamrize the previous points for a quick recollection.

The Skambha is visualized as the Vaisvanara-Agni which entering this universe spans from Heaven to Earth – hence visualized as having Heaven as it’s head, and Earth as the feet and belly as the mid-air (antariksha). We’ve analyzed this in verse no. 18 above already. Also, in verse no. 12., we have seen that Antariksha is the name of this Brahman (Skambha) who contains Heaven and Earth propped apart. This Antariksha is the ‘aksha’ (axle) which supports the universe as per the Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana. This axle is called as the ‘pillar’ i.e., Skambha, in the Skambha Suktam of Atharva Veda.

Therefore, O Atharvaveda, the answer to thy riddle is already analyzed which is – “It is Shiva who as Skambha is the ‘jyeṣṭhā́ya bráhmaṇ’ (Supreme Brahman) spanning Heaven, Air and Earth)”.


Verse – 33: Atharva Veda (X:7:33)

“yásya sū́ryaś cákṣuś candrámāś ca púnarṇavaḥ |
agníṃ yáś cakrá āsyàṃ tásmai jyeṣṭhā́ya bráhmaṇe námaḥ ||”33
“Homage to highest Brahma, him whose eye is Sūrya and the Moon who groweth young and new again, him who made Agni for his mouth”.


Commentary:

O revered Atharvaveda, this riddle is a direct indication of Mahadeva hence here is the answer to it – “It is Shiva who is the Highest Brahman, who is the Purusha whose right eye is Sun and left eye is moon and who has created Agni from his mouth”.

Skambha as we know is Shiva in his attributeless aspect as the cosmic pillar of consciousness. This Skambha when visualized as having a form of a man for the sake of grasping; Vedas assign him organs and portray as if he is a man. This is why we are seeing Skambha as having eyes, and mouth.

In this connection, Atharva Veda in its hymn to Shiva in his aspect of ‘vratya’ clearly says that Shiva’s eyes are sun and moon as follows.

“tásya vrā́tyasya || yád asya dákṣiṇam ákṣy asáu sá ādityó yád asya savyám ákṣy asáu sá candrámāḥ ||” (Atharva Veda 15:18:1-2)
“Of that Vratya (ascetic aspect of Lord Shiva) – The right eye is the Sun and the left eye is the Moon.”

This Bhagawan Rudra is the Veda-Purusha as clearly called out in Taittiriya Aranyaka of Yajurveda as follows.

“puruṣō vai rudraḥ |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10:24:1)
“Rudra is verily the Purusha”.

Rig Veda in its celebrated hymn called ‘Purusha Suktam’ clealryc alls this Veda Purusha Rudra as the one who created Agni from his mouth as follows.

“mukhādindraścāghniśca prāṇād vāyurajāyata ||” (Rig Veda 10:90:13)
“Indra and Agni from his mouth were born, and Vāyu from his breath”.

In Mahabharata there is a conversation between Sri Krishna and Yudhishthira regarding the greatness of Maheshwara. There, Krishna clearly calls out Agni as having been created by Mahadeva from his mouth.

“jyēṣṭhabhūtaṁ vadantyēnaṁ brāhmaṇā ṛṣayō’parē |
prathamō hyēṣa dēvānā̃ mukhādagnimajījanat ||” (MBH 13:161:24b-25a)
“Verily, the Brahmanas and Rishis call him the eldest of all beings. He is the first of all the deities, and it was from his mouth that he created Agni”.

As already discussed many times, these organs and the point of generation of all the deities are only for the sake of visualization of that Shiva who is beyond the grasp otherwise. Therefore, one should not take these depictions rigidly on the face value. Because to explain the concept, if Purusha Sukta and Mahabharata say Agni is Purusha’s mouth, then Vratya Sukta says Agni is the ear of Vratya (Shiva) which should not be looked at as a contradiction by any chance!

“yò ‘sya dákṣiṇaḥ kárṇo ‘yáṃ só agnír yò ‘sya savyáḥ kárṇo ‘yáṃ sá pávamānaḥ ||” (Atharva Veda 15:18:3)
“His right ear is Agni and his left ear is Pavamana”. 

Therefore, whatever may be the artistic expressions of language these Vedas adopt to explain, the underlying message is unanimously same which is – It is Bhagawan Rudra who has Surya, Chandrama, and Agni within himself and it is he who is the creator of them all. For this reason the great seer Svetaswatara has clearly seen Bhagawan Rudra as the supreme self present in all these forms of gods viz – Agni, Aditya, Chandrama etc.

“tadēvāgnistadāditya stadvāyustadu candramāḥ |
tadēva śukraṁ tada brahma tadāpastata prajāpatiḥ ||” (Śvētasvatāra upaniṣad IV:02)
“That Supreme Self (Rudra) is Agni (Fire); It is Aditya (Sun); It is Vayu (Wind); It is Chandrama (Moon). That Self is the luminous stars; it is Hiranyagarbha; It is water; It is Virat”.

Thus, we have found that it is Shiva who is the Skambha who is called as the ‘jyeṣṭhā́ bráhmaṇ’ (Highest Brahman) whose eyes are Sun and Moon, whose mouth is Agni.


Verse – 34: Atharva Veda (X:7:34)

“yásya vā́taḥ prāṇāpānáu cákṣur áṅgirasó ‘bhavan |
díśo yáś cakré prajñā́nīs tásmai jyeṣṭhā́ya bráhmaṇe námaḥ ||”34
“Homage to highest Brahma, him whose two life-breathings were the Wind, The Angirases his sight: who made the regions be his means of sense”.


Commentary:

This verse is a subset of verse no. 18 discussed above where we have discussed how Angirases became the eyes of Skambha (Shiva). Rest other points are also discussed already. Rudra who is the Veda Purusha created Vayu from his breath as per the below verse of Purusha Sukta.

“mukhādindraścāghniśca prāṇād vāyurajāyata ||” (Rig Veda 10:90:13)
“Indra and Agni from his mouth were born, and Vāyu from his breath”.

Thus, this section needs no further elaboration.


Verse – 35: Atharva Veda (X:7:35)

“skambhó dādhāra dyā́vāpr̥thivī́ ubhé imé skambhó dādhārorv àntárikṣam |
skambhó dādhāra pradíśaḥ ṣáḍ urvī́ḥ skambhá idáṃ víśvaṃ bhúvanam ā́ viveśa ||”35
“Skambha set fast these two, the earth and heaven, Skambha maintained the ample air between them. Skambha established the six spacious regions: this whole world Skambha entered and pervaded”.


Commentary:

O revered Atharvaveda, here is the answer to thy riddle – “Within the Pindanda, it is Sushumna which supports the three worlds within it and it establishes the six regions (chakras) on itself and pervades all these like a thread passing through beads. In Brahmanda it is Shiva as Skambha who upholds the three worlds and the six spacious regions on itself”

Within the Skambha are upheld the six regions viz. – Bhuvar, Suvar, Mahar, Jana, Tapa, and Satya. This Skambha’s feet is said to be the Earth (bhu), and the head touches the city of Brahman called as ‘Heaven’.

In Pindanda the Sushumna upholds the six regions viz. – mūlādhāra, svādhṣṭhāna, maṇipūraka, anāhata, viśuddha, and ājnā chakras and pervades through them as like as a thread pervades through beads. Sushumna contains the Earth at mūlādhāra and Heaven at the sahasrāra in the crown portion of the head..

Even Rig Veda states that Indra is the Skambha who supports heaven and Earth, as cited below.

“indro divaḥ pratimānaṃ pṛthivyā viśvā veda savanā hantiśuṣṇam |
mahīṃ cid dyāmātanot sūryeṇa cāskambha citkambhanena skabhīyān ||” (Rig Veda 10:111:5)
“The counterpart of heaven and earth is Indra: he knoweth all libations, slayeth Śuṣṇa (the cloud and makes the rain). The vast sky and earth with the Sun hath he extended, he is possessor of the supporting power, who bears it (the universe) with Skambha (pillar)”.

We have already learnt that Vedas call Rudra by the name of Indra. So, we need not prove this once again as we have done that already in previous sections. Now, the above hymn of Rig Veda says that Indra who is the Skambha supporting Earth, is the one who pervades many regions.

“indro mahnā mahato arṇavasya vratāminādaṅghirobhirghṛṇānaḥ |
purūṇi cin ni tatānā rajāṃsi dādhāra yodharuṇaṃ satyatātā ||” (Rig Veda 10:111:4)
“Praised by Aṅgirases, Indra demolished with might the works of the great watery monster
Full many regions, too, hath he pervaded, and by his truth supported earth’s foundation”.

Thus it is Shiva who is the Highest Brahman who upholds these worlds in microcosm as well as macrocosm and established the six spacious regions and pervaded them throughout!


Verse – 36: Atharva Veda (X:7:36)

“yáḥ śrámāt tápaso jātó lokā́nt sárvānt samānaśé |
sómaṃ yáś cakré kévalaṃ tásmai jyeṣṭhā́ya bráhmaṇe námaḥ ||”36
“Homage to highest Brahma, him who, sprung from Fervour and from toil, Filled all the worlds completely, who made Soma for himself alone”.


Commentary:

O revered sire Atharvaveda, here is the answer to thy riddle – “In the Pindanda, from the toil and fervor created in the ida and Pingala, the Supreme Brahman as the fire of Kunḍalinī takes birth in Sushumna and rising upwards, fills all the worlds completely. The Soma which drips from Sahasrara is made only for this chidagni alone. In Brahmanda, from the mutual opposition between Brahma and Vishnu which generated toil and fervour from their efforts, resulted in the manifestation of the Highest Brahman as Skambha. This Skambha always existed but became visible to their eyes because of the compassion of Shiva and prevented them from further quarrelling and made them realize the supreme reality of Shiva’s nature! This Skambha filled all the worlds, and the Soma which is the brahma-jnana is his alone which he gives out of mercy to everyone – who strives to know him”.

If one has understood the secrets of the internal yogic sacrifice, then for such a person this section needs no elaboration. For those who haven’t understood what Soma-Sacrifice is; let me explain in brief. The sacrificial altar is the ‘mūlādhāra’, the breaths are the libations, the fire within this altar viz. Kunḍalinī (or Skambha) is the ‘chidagni’, and when this sacrifice is at the peak, the fire reaches the sahasrara and from their drip Shiva in the form of Soma (amrita) downwards through the Sushumna. Thus, Shiva bestows the Yogi, the divine elixir – ‘brahma-jnana’ – in the form of ‘soma’. The below verse if understood, should explain everything.

“śvetaṃ rūpaṃ kṛṇute yat siṣāsati somo mīḍhvānasuro veda bhūmanaḥ |
dhiyā śamī sacate semabhi pravad divas kavandhamava darṣadudriṇam ||” (Rig Veda 9:74:7)
“Soma assumes white colour when he strives to gain: the bounteous Asura knows full many a precious boon. Down the steep slope, through song, he comes to sacrifice, and he will burst the water-holding cask of heaven”.

As we have seen and analyzed in earlier sections that, it is Shiva whom Rig Veda calls as ‘Indra’. With that understanding in place if the below verse is read, it would be clear, originally to whom the Soma belongs to; and whosoever obtained it have obtained by the pure compassion of Mahadeva. It is Shiva who let others share what actually is his!

“satrā somā abhavann asya viśve satrā madāso bṛhato madiṣṭhāḥ |
satrābhavo vasupatir vasūnāṃ datre viśvā adhithā indra kṛṣṭīḥ ||” (Rig Veda 4:17:6)
“All Soma juices are his own for ever, most gladdening draughts are ever his, the Mighty. Thou ever wast the Treasure-Lord of treasures: Indra, thou lettest all folk share thy”.

Thus, the Highest Brahman is Bhagawan Shiva who is the Skambha and manifests within the hearts of all yogis when they toil hard to get a vision of him.


Verse – 37: Atharva Veda (X:7:37)

“katháṃ vā́to nélayati katháṃ ná ramate mánaḥ |
kím ā́paḥ satyáṃ prépsantīr nélayanti kadā́ caná ||”37
“Why doth the Wind move ceaselessly? Why doth the mind take no rest? Why do the Waters, seeking truth, never at any time repose?”


Commentary:

O revered Sire Atharvaveda, the answer to this puzzle is again Shiva as – “Out of the fear of Shiva moves wind ceaselessly. Because he moves this universe as like as a magician, the mind, the waters (i.e., deities, and manes) seeking truth, remain in motion all the time to pursue their allotted tasks”.

Whether we look at the Pindanda or the brahmanda, in both cases – because Shiva exists in them, the wind blows! Because Shiva exists as the Atman pervading the Sushumna, the body has life and the breath ceaselessly flows in and out till the time of departure of the spirit comes. In macrocosm, since Shiva exists as the Shambka of the form of chaitanya inside the universe supporting it, the wind blows; when he withdraws the universes, only then there would be no wind to blow.

Regarding the question of – the mind and the deities (called esoterically as ‘waters’) ceaselessly moving doing their respective tasks for whom? The immediately next verse gives the answer. The current verse which possesses a question and the next verse which gives the answer are related. Therefore, let’s move on to the next verse.


Verse – 38: Atharva Veda (X:7:38)

“mahád yakṣáṃ bhúvanasya mádhye tápasi krāntáṃ salilásya pr̥ṣṭhé |
tásmin chrayante yá u ké ca devā́ vr̥kṣásya skándhaḥ paríta iva śā́khāḥ ||”38
“Absorbed in Fervour, is the mighty Being, in the world’s centre, on the waters’ surface. To him the Deities, one and all betake like the tree- trunk standing with the branches round it”.


Commentary:

Continuing from the previous verse, the current verse is the answer to the questions posed in the previous one.

The mighty being Shiva (mahád yakṣá) – as Skambha – stands as the axle or fulcrum at the center of the worlds supporting them by pervading through them. He stands administering everything being their witness. To this Skambha all the deities and everyone adhere and follow as like as the branches adhere to the trunk of the tree. Vedas do not use any metaphors simply just like that. Here the Skambha, the Brahman is compared to a Tree and all gods are shown as attaching themselves to it as like as Branches attach to the trunk of that tree. This is a code which we’ll decode now.

Vedas compared in several places Brahman with the Tree and called Heaven and Earth as created from its wood. More than once Satapatha Brahmana refers to Brahman as the ‘Palāsa tree’, such as – Satapatha Brahmana (V:2:4:18), Satapatha Brahmana (VI:6:3:7),  and Satapatha Brahmana (XII:7:2:15). Rig Veda too raises a question saying – ‘Which was the tree, which was the wood out of which they shaped Heaven and Earth’ as quoted in below verse.

“kiṃ svid vanaṃ ka u sa vṛkṣa āsa yato dyāvāpṛthivīniṣṭatakṣuḥ ||” (Rig Veda 10:31:7a)
“What was the tree, what wood, in sooth, produced it, from which they fashioned forth the Earth and Heaven?”

Rig Veda just throws the riddle and leaves the answer undisclosed. All Vedas are interrelated and hence the answer to a riddle in one palce is hidden secretly in another place. The answer to the above riddle is placed in ‘Taittiriya Brahmana’ of Yajurveda.   Taittiriya Brahmana exactly asks the above riddle first and then in the next verse gives the answer as follows. I’m not quoting the riddle to avoid redundancy as it is identical with above quoted verse from Rig Veda.

“braḥma vanaṁ braḥma sa vr̥kṣa āsīt ||” (Taittiriya Brahmana 2:8:9:6)
“Braḥman was the wood, and braḥman was the tree out of which they formed heaven and Earth”.

Therefore, now we can see the dots connecting together! – That is – Skambha is the tree called ‘Brahman’ and hence the highest object to adhere to. For this reason gods adhere to Skambha (Brahman).

This Shiva (Skambha) being the Supreme Being, is rigid in his discipline and hence his discipline creates fear due to which wind, sun, fire and all deities and everyone function with sincerity. Katha Upanishad states this in great detail as follows.

“bhayādasyāgnistapati bhayāttapati sūryaḥ |
bhayādindraśca vāyuśca mṛtyurdhāvati pajñcamaḥ |” (Katha Upanishad II.3.3)
“For fear of Him, fire burns; For fear of Him, shines the sun; For fear of Him, Indra and Vayu function; For fear of Him, death, the fifth, stalks on the earth”.

Thus this verse has been analyzed and understood to be a riddle unfolding to Shiva!


Verse – 39: Atharva Veda (X:7:39)

“yásmai hástābhyāṃ pā́dābhyāṃ vācā́ śrótreṇa cákṣuṣā |
yásmai devā́ḥ sádā balíṃ prayáchanti vímité ‘mitaṃ skambháṃ táṃ brūhi katamáḥ svid evá sáḥ ||”39
“Who out of many, tell me, is that Skambha. To whom the Deities with hands, with feet, and speech, and ear, and eye. Present unmeasured tribute in the measured hall of sacrifice?”


Commentary:

O Atharvaveda here is the solution to this riddle – “It is Sushumna within Pindanda which is the hall of sacrifice wherein reside all the Gods and who present unlimited tribute to the highest god Shiva who shines within it. Again it is Skambha in Brahmanda which is the fulcrum on which are founded all the worlds and all deities take rest on him hence they all pay their highest tributes to this Mahadeva through eyes, speech, ears and mind ”.

This verse needs no further elaboration.


Verse – 40: Atharva Veda (X:7:40)

“ápa tásya hatáṃ támo vyā́vr̥ttaḥ sá pāpmánā |
sárvāṇi tásmin jyótīṃṣi yā́ni trī́ṇi prajā́patau ||”40
“Darkness is chased away from him: he is exempt from all evil. In him are all the lights, the three abiding in Prajāpati”.


Commentary:

Here is the answer to thy riddle O Atharvaveda – “Skambha (and Sushumna) is the self-luminous Purusha who illuminates all luminaries. This Skambha is ‘Shiva’ because he is full of auspiciousness and no evil. Because of the presence of this Agni-Linga, all other luminaries reflect his light and have become luminous, including the three lights belonging to Sun, Moon and Agni. He is the light of ‘brahma-jnana’ which illuminates the minds of all and takes them beyond darkness”.

Shiva is the Purusha standing as the Skambha with his self-effulgence of Agni-Linga illuminating everything and dispelling the darkness of ignorance. It is because of his presence and hsi light that Sun, moon and Agni – the three luminaries look to be having lustre. One, who truly knows this real light behind all the so called lights, passes over the samsara. This is elaborated in Śvētasvatāra upaniṣad as follows.

“vēdāhamētaṁ puruṣaṁ mahānta mādityavarṇaṁ tamasaḥ parastāta |
tamēva viditvātimṛtyumēti nānyaḥ panthā vidyatē’yanāya ||” (Śvētasvatāra upaniṣad III:08)
“I know that great person (purusha) of sunlike lustre beyond the darkness. A man who knows him truly, passes over death; there is no other path to go”.

“mahāna prabhurvai puruṣaḥ satvasyaiṣa pravartakaḥ |
sunirmalāmimā̃ prāptimīśānō jyōtiravyayaḥ ||” (Śvētasvatāra upaniṣad III:12)
“That person (purusha) is the great lord (Isana); he is the mover of existence, he possesses that purest power of reaching everything, he is light, he is undecaying”.

When there is the dawn of true knowedge of Shiva in all the beings, all the other luminaries fade away and only the true light of Agni-Linga remains. That is the highest light called as ‘Savitri’ in Vedas. Then only Shiva remains and all other things become mithya (unreal).

“yadā’tamastānna divā na rātriḥ na sannacāsacchiva ēva kēvalaḥ |
tadakṣaraṁ tata saviturvarēṇyaṁ prajñaā ca tasmāta prasṛtā purāṇī ||” (Śvētasvatāra upaniṣad IV:18)
“When the light has risen, there is no day, no night, neither existence nor non-existence; Siva alone is there. That is the eternal, the adorable light of Savitri,–and the ancient wisdom proceeded thence”.

Thus we have analysed this section. Let’s move to the next one.


Verse – 41: Atharva Veda (X:7:41)

“yó vetasáṃ hiraṇyáyaṃ tiṣṭhantaṃ salilé véda |
sá vái gúhyaḥ prajā́patiḥ ||”41
“He verily who knows the Reed of Gold that stands amid the flood, is the mysterious Lord of Life”.


Commentary:

This verse is just a plain statement which needs no elaboration as it is self-explanatory.


Verse – 42: Atharva Veda (X:7:42)

“tantrám éke yuvatī́ vírūpe abhyākrā́maṃ vayataḥ ṣáṇmayūkham prā́nyā́ tántūṃs tiráte dhatté anyā́ nā́pa vr̥ñjāte ná gamāto ántam ||”42
“Singly the two young Maids of different colours approach the six-pegged warp in turns and weave it. The one draws out the threads, the other lays them: they break them not, they reach no end of labour”.


Commentary:

This has been already analyzed in verse no. 6 above where we have seen the answer to this puzzle as mentioned in below verse from Mahabharata.

“sa tēnaivamukta upādhyāyaḥ pratyuvāca | yē tē striyau dhātā vidhātā ca yē ca tē kṛṣṇāḥ sitāstantavastē rātryahanī ||” (MBH 1:3:164b-165a)
“And his preceptor thus addressed said unto him, ‘The two damsels thou hast seen are Dhata and Vidhata; the black and white threads denote night and day’”.

However, here the context is totally internalized and the current verse is related to the subsequent two verses and together they narrate the tale of Yoga process.

Therefore, let’s understand it in the Microcosm point of view now. The nerves ‘Ida’ and ‘Pingala’ are the two young damsels of different colors. The six-pegs are the six wheels (chakras). The ‘Ida’ and ‘Pingala’ take breathings in turns – one by one! This is called as weaving in turn by turn in this puzzle. They function opposite, hence it is said that when one draws the threads (in-breathing) the other lays them (out-breathing). They do not break this process and perpetually keep doing that.

(Continued the context in next verse)


Verse – 43: Atharva Veda (X:7:43)

“táyor aháṃ parinŕ̥tyantyor iva ná ví jānāmi yatarā́ parástāt
púmān enad vayaty úd gr̥ṇanti púmān enad ví jabhārā́dhi nā́ke ||”43
“Of these two, dancing round as ’twere, I cannot distinguish whether ranks before the other. A Male in weaves this web, a Male divides it: a Male hath stretched it to the cope of heaven”.


Commentary:

The dance is the movement of breaths through Ida and Pingala while encircling the Sushumna like snakes. These nerves run around Sushumna in spiral fashion while being Left and Right in position with respect to Sushumna. Therefore, movement of breaths in these two nerves looks like dancing of breaths. Which nerve ranks before the other is unknown because both these nerves are of same length (recall brahma and Vishnu travelling upwards and downwards for equal length and coming back failed). A male (Vishnu i.e., Ida) weaves the web (inhales), and a male (Brahma i.e., Pingala) divides it (exhales), and another male (Shiva i.e., Sushumna) stretches it (i.e., the breath Matarśvāṇ along with Agni) to the cope of heaven (sahasrāra chakra).

(Continued the context in next verse)


Verse – 44: Atharva Veda (X:7:44)

“imé mayū́khā úpa tastabhur dívaṃ sā́māni cakrus tásarāṇi vā́tave ||”44
“These pegs have buttressed up the sky. The Sāmans have turned them into shuttles for the weaving”.


Commentary:

These six pegs (six chakras) have reinforced up the Sky (sahasrāra), and sāmans are the divine revealations (sruti) of brahma-jnana.


 

7.4. Skambha Sukta PART-II (Atharva Veda X-8)


The ‘dēvatā’ of this hymn is ‘ātmān’.  Its verses are in various meters. This again proves that ‘Skambha’ is verily the ‘Ātmān’ and is the ‘jyēṣṭhaṁ braḥman’.


Verse – 1: Atharva Veda (X:8:01)

“yó bhūtáṃ ca bhávyaṃ ca sárvaṃ yáś cādhitíṣṭhati |
sv àryásya ca kévalaṃ tásmai jyeṣṭhā́ya bráhmaṇe námaḥ ||”1
“Worship to loftiest Brahma, Lord of what hath been and what shall be, To him who rules the universe, and heavenly light is all his own!”


Commentary:

The Highest Brahman, lord of Past and Future is Rudra who is the Veda Purusha. He in his nirguna-Agni-linga aspect is the Skambha which contains everything but transcends the contained!.

He is Mahakala – the supreme imperishable time – from whom the Kala (Time) having three divisions is formed. In this time get created, sustained and dissolved all worlds. For this reason, Rudra aka Skambha is the lord of past, present and future. This is why ‘Kala-Suktam’ of ATharvaveda which is a hymn to lord Mahakala states

“kālé ha bhūtáṃ bhávyaṃ ceṣitáṃ ha ví tiṣṭhate |” (Atharva Veda XIX:53:05b)
“That which was, and that which shall be, urged forth by Time, spreads out”.

Since this same Mahakala who is the Skambha is also called Purusha in Vedas. The same above fact is indicated in the Purusha Suktam of Rig Veda which is a hymn to Rudra as the Veda Purusha!

“puruṣa evedaṃ sarvaṃ yad bhūtaṃ yacca bhavyam ||” (Rig Veda 10:90:2)
“This Puruṣa (i.e., Rudra) is all that yet has been and all that is to be”.

This Supreme lord is again called as ‘īśānaḥ’ because his is the sole ‘lordship’ over the entire universe and all types of knowledge. All worlds with the inhabitants reside in the ‘Hiranyagarbha’ and this Bhagawan Skambha is the overlord of that golden-womb itself! This is clearly communicated by Taittiriya Aranyaka of Yajurveda in following words.

“īśānaḥ sarvavidyānāmīśvaraḥ sarvabhūtānām | braḥmādhipatirbraḥmaṇō’dhipatirbraḥmā śivō mē astu sadāśivōṁ ||” (Taittariya Aranyaka 10:21:1)
“May the Supreme who is the ruler of all knowledge, ishana, controller of all created beings, the preserver of the Vedas and the one overlord of Hiranyagarbha, be benign to me. That Sadasiva described thus and denoted by Pranava (OM)”.

The same message has been delivered by lord Shiva himself in Shiva Gita which is a part of Padma Purana as follows.

“prāṇaḥ kālastathā mṛtyuramṛtaṁ bhūtamapyahama |
bhavyaṁ bhaviṣyatkṛtsnaṁ ca viśvaṁ sarvātmakō’pyahama |” (Shiva Gita 6:26)
“I’m the Prana (life force), I’m the time, death, and eternity. I’m the past, present and future. I’m everything indeed!”

This Skambha is a blazing fire of consciousness which is the highest light. Hence the heavenly light belongs to Skambha alone. This ‘light’ of Skambha is called as ‘Original Conciousness’ in Vedanta. With the light of Skambha shines all other luminaries – whose secondary reflection is called as ‘Reflected Conciousness (chidābhāsa)’ in Vedanta.

Thus, it is clear that Skambha which is the Agni-Linga form of Shiva is the lord of the three divisions of time, is the lord of all created beings and all the worlds, and the original light of consciousness is all its property!


Verse – 2: Atharva Veda (X:8:02)

“skambhénemé víṣṭabhite dyáuś ca bhū́miś ca tiṣṭhataḥ
skambhá idáṃ sárvam ātmanvád yát prāṇán nimiṣác ca yát ||”2
“Upheld by Skambha’s power these two, the heaven and the earth,stand fast. Skambha is all this world of life, whatever breathes or shuts eye”.


Commentary:

It is Skambha, the Bhagawan Rudra who creates and upholds the Heaven and Earth. Because Rudra is the support on which they are firmly stationed – he is called Skambha. Svetaswatara Rishi in this context clearly sees Rudra as the one creating and supporting the Heaven and Earth.

“viśvataścakṣuruta viśvatomukho viśvatobāhurutaviśvataspāt |
saṃ bāhubhyāṃ dhamati saṃ patatrairdyāvābhūmī janayan deva ekaḥ ||” (śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 3:03)
“That one god, having his eyes, his face, his arms, and his feet in every place, when producing heaven and earth, forges them together with his arms and his wings”.

Bhagawan Shiva is not only the Agni, he is also the Atman by whose presence this entire creation comes to life. This is why Atharva Veda calls Shiva as Prana (i.e., Atman which is the Prana of all Pranas) and says that it is he who is lord of everyone who breathes or shuts the eye (i.e., sentient beings), and also the lord of them who do not breathe (i.e., the insentient matter).

“prāṇáḥ prajā́ ánu vaste pitā́ putrám iva priyám
prāṇó ha sárvasyeśvaró yác ca prāṇáti yác ca ná ||” (Atharvaveda XI:4:10)
“Prâna (i.e., Atman) clothes the creatures, as a father his dear son. Prâna, truly, is the lord of all, of all that breathes, and does not breathe”.

In fact this entire creation including everything that one’s mind could think of, is Rudra alone!

“vishvam bhutam bhuvanam citram bahudha jatam jayamanam cayat sarvo hyesha rudrastasmai rudraya namo astu |” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10:24:1 of Yajurveda)
“The whole universe, the created beings and whatever there is manifoldly and profusely created in the past and in the present in the form of the world, all that is indeed this Rudra. Salutations be to Rudra who is such”.

Thus, this Skambha is the support of entire universe and the entire creation of sentient and insentient beings is verily the Skambha!


Verse – 3: Atharva Veda (X:8:03)

“tisró ha prajā́ atyāyám āyan ny ànyā́ arkám abhíto ‘viśanta |
br̥hán ha tasthau rájaso vimā́no hárito háriṇīr ā́ viveśa ||”3
“Three generations have gone by and vanished and others near have entered into sunlight. There stood on high he who metes out the region into green, plants hath passed the Golden-coloured”.


Commentary:

By the laws of Skambha (Shiva), all the entities – living as well as non-living- manifest and get unmanifest in time. When the entities of the three generations of yore get dissolved, when the new cycle comes, new entities see sunlight. Shiva as Skambha stands i.e., remains as the witnesser, and all acts of creation are done with the help of Maya. However, Shiva metes i.e., measures out all the regions and entire creation by pervading them as their indwelling spirit i.e., Atman and making the creation come alive.


Verse – 4: Atharva Veda (X:8:04)

“dvā́daśa pradháyaś cakrám ékaṃ trī́ṇi nábhyāni ká u tác ciketa |
tátrā́hatās trī́ṇi śatā́ni śaṅkávaḥ ṣaṣṭíś ca khī́lā ávicācalā yé ||”4
“One is the wheel, the tires are twelve in number, the naves are three What man hath understood it? Three hundred spokes have there upon been hammered, and sixty pins set firmly in their places”.


Commentary:

This is again a very beautiful and cryptic verse which talks about the ‘Kāla-chakra’.

This verse elaborates on the wheel of time – The wheel represents the ‘Year’; the twelve spokes represent the ‘months’; the three hundred spokes with sixty pins are the ‘no. of days in a year’; the three naves are three major seasons viz. Summer, autumn and winter.  This concept is in very detail given in Mahabharata where Upamanyu prays to Ashvins to relieve him from blindness. There we can see the following description about the wheel of time!

“ēkāṁ nābhiṁ saptaśatā arāḥ śritāḥ pradhiṣvanyā viṁśatirarpitā arāḥ |
anēmi chakraṁ parivartatē~jaraṁ māyāśvinau ||” (MBH 1:3:61)
“The year is but the nave of a wheel to which is attached seven hundred and twenty spokes representing as many days and nights. The circumference of this wheel represented by twelve months is without end. This wheel is full of delusions and knows no deterioration. It affects all creatures whether to this or of the other worlds. Ye Aswins, this wheel of time is set in motion by you!”

“ēkaṁ chakraṁ vartatē dvādaśāraṁ ṣaṇṇābhimēkākṣamr̥tasya dhāraṇaṁ | yasmindēvā adhi viśvē viṣaktāstāvaśvinau munchataṁ mā viṣīdataṁ ||” (MBH 1:3:62)
“The wheel of Time as represented by the year has a nave represented by the six seasons. The number of spokes attached to that nave is twelve as represented by the twelve signs of the Zodiac. This wheel of Time manifests the fruits of the acts of all things. The presiding deities of Time abide in that wheel. Subject as I am to its distressful influence, ye Aswins, liberate me from that wheel of Time”.

We know that Time is a part of Skambha (Brahman), hence these descriptions are all about the Skambha as the wheel of time. However, when seen at the microcosmic level, the menaing of this verse could also related to some internal objects as follows – One is the wheel of nerve center called as ‘nāḍī-maṇḍala’, which has twelve spokes called as twelve nerves, the naves (axles) are three viz. ida, Pingala, Sushumna; these when work in sync with the time (three hundred and sixty days) in proper discipline as mandated by the Yoga, a Yogi would attain all the siddhis and also emancipation finally.


Verse – 5: Atharva Veda (X:8:05)

“idáṃ savitar ví jānīhi ṣáḍ yamā́ éka ekajáḥ |
tásmin hāpitvám ichante yá eṣām éka ekajáḥ ||”5
“Discern thou this, O Savitar. Six are the twins, one singly born.They claim relationship in that among them which is born alone”.


Commentary:

Savitar is the Sun and is symbolic of intellect. Therefore this verse is addressing the intellect or the wise (possessor of intellect) to discern the mystic meaning what it wants to convey. The six twins are the six senses – eye, ear, nose, skin, tongue and the inner organ mind; and the one singly born is the ‘Jiva’ (individual self). These sense organs claim their relationship with Jiva and cling to him.

The purport of this verse is to teach us (the wise people called as savitar) that – the indriyas cling to the Jiva who is actually independent, and bind him into various karmas through the sixth indriya the mind; For example, eyes only see, they do not distinguish what is good and what is bad, however when the vision is influenced by the mind, there arise interpretations of what is seen. Thus, good people’s mind interprets good messages out of the object that is seen and people with bad ‘vāsanās’ interpret the vision in bad ways, thus leading to getting entangled into samsaara. Hence a Yogi needs to find out by what karmas that Jiva is getting entagled into a body and getting shackled by the six senses and then develop a method to remove himself out of the cycle of births and deaths through Yoga by realizing the Skambha within him.


Verse – 6: Atharva Veda (X:8:06)

“āvíḥ sán níhitaṃ gúhā járan nā́ma mahát padám |
tátredáṃ sárvam ā́rpitam éjat prāṇát prátiṣṭhitam ||”6
“Though manifest, it lies concealed in the vast place they call the old: Therein is firmly stationed all the moving, breathing universe”.


Commentary:

We have already seen in this article that entire universe is hidden in the inner-’ākāśa’ within the heart. We have seen references from Chandogya Upanishad previously in this article; hence would just write the explanation without citing references. 

This spiritual heart (which exists slightly towards the right side) is different rom the physical heart of flesh that we have in our left side of chest.

This spiritual heart is termed as ‘guha’ (derived from ‘guhyam’) which means ‘secret’ because although it exists, yet it is not known to those whose vision is not turned inwards. Inside this heart which is within Sushumna exists the Skambha (the Linga) in the size of a thumb, but lies concealed.  Within that Sushumna, in this Agni-Linga can be seen the moving, breathing universe!


Verse – 7: Atharva Veda (X:8:07)

“ékacakraṃ vartata ékanemi sahásrākṣaraṃ prá puró ní paścā |
ardhéna víśvaṃ bhúvanaṃ jajā́na yád asyārdháṃ kvà tád babhūva ||”7
“Up, eastward downward in the west, ‘it rolleth, with countless elements, one-wheeled, single-fellied.With half it hath begotten all creation. Where hath the other half become unnoticed?”


Commentary:

We know that the Supreme Being who is eulogized in Purusha Suktam is Bhagawan Rudra alone. That hymn states that Rudra (the Purusha) had created Viraj (the universe) and entered into it i.e., he was born from Viraj. When he was born inside the universe, he manifested himself further into many other forms. That is, all the creatures – two-footed, four-footed or winged – are his forms only including the very gods also! He projected all beings in various directions sucha s – eastward, westward etc. This is stated in below verse from Purusha Suktam

“tasmād virāḷ ajāyata virājo adhi pūruṣaḥ |
sa jātoatyaricyata paścād bhūmimatho puraḥ ||” (Rig Veda 10:90:5)
“From him Virāj was born; again Puruṣa from Virāj was born. As soon as he was born he spread eastward and westward over the earth”.

The same fact about Rudra’s manifestation into various forms is voiced by Svetaswatara rishi also.

“tváṃ strī́ tváṃ púmān asi tváṃ kumārá utá vā kumārī́
tváṃ jīrṇó daṇḍéna vañcasi tváṃ jātó bhavasi viśvátomukhaḥ  ||” (śvētasvatāra upaniṣad IV:03)
“Thou art woman, Thou art man; Thou art youth and maiden too. Thou as an old man totterest along on a staff; it is Thou alone who, when born, assumest diverse forms”.

Thus, we are clear that the Supreme Skambha projects this universe and then enteres within it as the indwelling Atman (conciousness), and projects diverse forms within the universe and that we call as ‘creation’. All the forms are Rudra’s (Skambha’s) forms; this is why Rudra is called as of universal form (viśvarūpam) in Vedas.

“rhan bibharṣi sāyakāni dhanvārhan niṣkaṃ yajataṃ viśvarūpam |
arhannidaṃ dayase viśvamabhvaṃ na vā ojīyo rudra tvadasti ||” (Rig Veda 2:33:10)
“Worthy, thou carriest thy bow and arrows, worthy, thy cosmic-form (‘viśvarūpam’) and honoured necklace. Worthy, thou cuttest here each fiend to pieces: a mightier than thou there is not, Rudra”.

The same is stated in the great hymn Sri Rudram of Yajurveda.

“viśvarūpēbhyaṣcha vō namō ||”  (Yajurveda IV.5.4.f)
“Salutations to Lord Rudra, who assumes universal form”.

From above discussion this is clear that it is Skambha (the Rudra) who existed before creation and who manifested inside the creation and then created all the forms within the universe projecting them in diverse directions. Now, let’s analyze the second part of this hymn.

With a part the Skambha has generated this universe; the other part is beyond this universe. Even Rig Veda agrees to this point. Skambha is symbolically called as a ‘tree’ in Rig Veda as follows and says that form that tree universe comprising of Heaven and Earth was created.

“kiṃ svid vanaṃ ka u sa vṛkṣa āsa yato dyāvāpṛthivīniṣṭatakṣuḥ ||” (Rig Veda 10:31:7a)
“What was the tree, what wood, in sooth, produced it, from which they fashioned forth the Earth and Heaven?”

Rig Veda just throws the riddle and leaves the answer undisclosed. All Vedas are interrelated and hence the answer to a riddle in one palce is hidden secretly in another place. The answer to the above riddle is placed in ‘Taittiriya Brahmana’ of Yajurveda.   Taittiriya Brahmana exactly asks the above riddle first and then in the next verse gives the answer as follows. I’m not quoting the riddle to avoid redundancy as it is identical with above quoted verse from Rig Veda.

“braḥma vanaṁ braḥma sa vr̥kṣa āsīt ||” (Taittiriya Brahmana 2:8:9:6)
“Braḥman was the wood, and braḥman was the tree out of which they formed heaven and Earth”.

Therefore, now we can see the dots connecting together! – That is – Skambha is the tree called ‘Brahman’ which is Rudra!

Further, Rig Veda in the immediately next verse says that ‘more of that Tree (Skambha) is beyond us’ – which means – only a part of Skambha is all this and the other part is beyond this universe!

“naitāvadenā paro anyadastyukṣā sa dyāvāpṛthivībibharti ||” (Rig Veda 10:31:8)
“Not only here is this: more is beyond us. He is the Bull, the Heaven’s and Earth’s supporter”.

This is exactly stated in Purusha Suktam also as follows.

“tripādūrdhva udait puruṣaḥ pādo.asyehābhavat punaḥ |
tato viṣvaṃ vyakrāmat sāśanānaśane abhi ||” (Rig Veda 10:90:4)
“Three parts of his are beyond all this; all of this, is but a part. Again and again, all that eats, and that eats not appeared from this one part of His”.

Thus, we have seen that from Skambha the universe and all beings get projected; and all this creation is just from a part of Skambha and Skambha is higher than the universe. This is why Upanishads such as ‘Bhasmajabala’ have called Rudra as – “viśvādhikō rudrō maharṣī”, meaning, “Rudra the great seer transcends this universe” – because Rudra is the Skambha!


Verse – 7: Atharva Veda (X:8:08)

“pañcavāhī́ vahatyágram eṣāṃ práṣṭayo yuktā́ anusáṃvahanti |
áyātam asya dadr̥śé ná yātáṃ páraṃ nédīyó ‘varaṃ dávīyaḥ ||”8
“In front of these the five-horsed car moves onward: side-horses, harnessed with the others draw it. No one hath seen its hither course untravelled; the height sees it more near, the depth more distant”.


Commentary:

This is again a philosophical riddle that this hymn is talking about. It is explained as follows – The car (chariot) is the body, and the five horses with which it is made of, are the five elements. The side horses are the five sense organs and five motor organs, which are harnessed with the inner organs (mind, intellect and ego); and make this body function. This chariot (body) is set to move (i.e., brought to life) because of the presence of Skambha (Atman). Noone has seen Skambha coming here, because Skambha is the Brahman and always exists before everyone. Those who are wise and have reached the heights of knowledge, see him more near (i.e., they see Skambha as their very own self); whereas, those who are under the depths of the ocean of ignorance, they find Skambha more distant!


Verse – 9: Atharva Veda (X:8:09)

“tiryágbilaś camasá ūrdhvábudhnas tásmin yáśo níhitaṃ viśvárūpam |
tád āsata ŕ̥ṣayaḥ saptá sākáṃ yé asyá gopā́ maható babhūvúḥ ||”9
“The bowl with mouth inclined and bottom upward holds stored within it every form of glory. Thereon together sit the Seven Rishis who have become this mighty One’s protectors”.


Commentary:

This is a very philosophical verse. The bowl (or pot) with bottom upwards and mouth downwards is our head; and the seven rishis are the Pranas supporting the seven apertures of the head viz – two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and one mouth! They protect this bowl which contains all the knowledge and the highest seat of Yoga viz. sahasrara. Let me explain this philosophical riddle now in detail!

When we hear the word ‘Prana’ we usually tend to think either the five vital airs or the ten vital airs (the pancha-pranas and pancha-upapranas). However, this is only partially true! ‘Prana’ is the life-force; and every organ has a ‘Prana’ associated with it. Therefore, there could be hundreds of ‘pranas’ in our body as associated with the hundreds of corresponding organs. However, they are not multiple; in reality one Prana itself takes manifests as these many to do various functions.

Every organ has a Prana – this is clearly confirmed in Satapatha Brahmana as quoted below.

“aṅge ‘ṅge hi prāṇa ||” (Satapatha Brahmana 8:3:4:4)
“For in each limb there is a vital air”.

Satapatha Brahmana also says that there are seven vital airs of the head.

“atha yaṃ tṛtīya dakṣiṇato juhoti | prāṇāḥ sa sa saptakapālo bhavati sapta hi
śīrṣanprāṇāstamanantarhitam ||” (Satapatha Brahmana 9:3:1:22)
“And the third (cake) which he offers on the right side, is the vital airs; it is one of seven potsherds, for there are seven vital airs in the head”.

The answer to the question about the seven sages (rishis) of the head is clarified in Satapatha Brahmana as follows. It says that the seven rishis are created by the seven Pranas.

“saptabhirastuvateti | ya eveme sapta śīrṣanprāṇāstaireva tadastuvata sapta ṛṣayo ‘sṛjyanteti sapta ‘rṣayo ‘trāsṛjyanta dhātādhipatirāsīditi dhātātrādhipatirāsīt  ||” (Satapatha Brahmana 8:4:3:6)
“‘With seven they sang praises,’–what seven vital airs there are here in the head: it is with them they then sang praises;–‘the seven Rishis were created,’–the seven Rishis indeed were now created;–‘the creator was the lord!’–the creator indeed was now the lord”.

Now, more detailed philosophical answer is given and all doubts are clarified in ‘Brihadaranyaka Upanishad’ which is a part of Satapatha Brahmana alone! This Upanishad sums up all the points what we discussed above and additionally gives the names of the seven sages as – Gotama, Bharadwaja, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Kashyapa, Vashishtha, and Atri! It says – prāṇā vā ṛṣayaḥ (Pranas indeed are the sages).

“tad eṣa śloko bhavati –arvāgbilaś camasa ūrdhvabudhnas tasmin yaśo nihitaṃ viśvarūpam |
tasyāsata ṛṣayaḥ sapta tīre vāg aṣṭamī brahmaṇā saṃvidāneti | arvāgbilaś camasa ūrdhvabudhna iti | idaṃ tac charīra eṣa hy arvāgbilaś camasa ūrdhvabudhnaḥ | tasmin yaśo nihitaṃ viśvarūpam iti |
prāṇā vai yaśo viśvarūpam | prāṇān etad āha |tasyāsata ṛṣayaḥ sapta tīra iti | prāṇā vā ṛṣayaḥ |
prāṇāṇ etad āha | vāg aṣṭamī brahmaṇā saṃvidāneti | vāg ghy aṣṭamī brahmaṇā saṃvitte ||” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2:2:3)
“Regarding this there is the following pithy verse: ‘there is a bowl that has its opening below and bulges at the top; various kinds of knowledge have been put in it; seven sages sit by its side, and the organ of speech, which has communication with the Vedas, is the eighth’. The ‘bowl that has its opening below and bulges at the top’ is the head of ours, for it is the bowl that has its opening below and bulges at the top. ‘Various kinds of knowledge have been put in it’, refers to the organs; these indeed represent various kinds of knowledge. ‘Seven sages sit by its side’, refers to the organs; they (Pranas) indeed are the sages. ‘The organ of speech, which has communication with the Vedas, is the eighth’, because the organ of speech is the eighth and communicates with the Vedas”.

“imāv eva gotamabharadvājau | ayam eva gotamo ‘yaṃ bharadvājaḥ | imāv eva viśvāmitrajamadagnī | ayam eva viśvāmitro ‘yaṃ jamadagniḥ | imāv eva vasiṣṭhakaśyapau | ayam eva vasiṣṭho ‘yaṃ kaśyapaḥ | vāg evātriḥ | vācā hy annam adyate | attir ha vai nāmaitad yad autrir iti | sarvasyāttā bhavati | sarvam asyānnaṃ bhavati ya evaṃ veda ||” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2:2:4)
“These two (ears) are Gotama and Bharadvaja: this one is Gotama, and this one is Bharadvaja: These two (eyes) are Visvamitra and Jamadagni: this one is Visvamitra, and this one Jamadagni. These two (nostrils) are Vasistha, and Kashyapa: this one is Vasistha, and this one Kashyapa: the tongue is Atri, for through the tongue food is eaten. ‘Atri’ is but this name ‘Atti’. He who knows it as such becomes the eater of all, and everything becomes his food”.

This entire verse is a riddle on Prana (Atman) and it’s manifestation as ‘Prana-s’ (life forces); and all these rishis who protect these organs are manifestations of these ‘Prana-s’ only. And we know that Prana (Atman) is Rudra and Pranas are also his manifestations and are termed Maruts. Because Prana (Atman) is the Skambha, this entire philosophical discussion revolves around the role of Skambha in the lives of all sentient beings!


Verse – 10: Atharva Veda (X:8:10)

“yā́ purástād yujyáte yā́ ca paścā́d yā́ viśváto yujyáte yā́ ca sarvátaḥ |
yáyā yajñáḥ prā́ṅ tāyáte tā́ṃ tvā pr̥chāmi katamā́ sā́ r̥cā́m ||”10
“The Verse employed at opening and conclusion, the Verse employed in each and every portion; That by which sacrifice proceedeth onward. I ask thee which is that of all the Verses”.


Commentary:

This verse throws a puzzle by asking what that verse is which is pronounced at the beginning as well as the end of the sacrifice. Even Taittiriya Aranyaka touches this concept whiel revealing that Lord Shiva is higher than this ‘word’ which is pronounced at the commencement and end of a sacrifice – thus indicating that Maheshwara is higher than the struck-sound (āhata-nāda) and is identical with the unstuck-sound (anāhata-nāda).

“yō vēdādau svaraḥ prōktō vedāntē cha pratiṣṭhitaḥ | tasya prakr̥tilīnasya yaḥ paraḥ sa maheśvaraḥ || ” (Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.12.3.17)
“It is Lord Maheshwara who transcends the syllable which is uttered at the commencement of the recital of the Vedas, which is well established in the vēdānta (Upanishads) and which is dissolved in the primal cause during contemplation”.

The verse that is pronounced at the opening and conclusion of a sacrifice is the sacred mono-syllabled rik viz. ‘om (omkara)’. This context has been elaborately discussed in “Gopatha Brahmana (I:1:22)”, where it is clearly stated that the verse pronounced at the beginning and end of a sacrifice is the ‘om’. Here is a little excerpt form that scripture – “purastādōnkāraṁ prayunkta ētayaiva tadr̥chā pratyāmyāyayēdēṣaiva yajnasya purastātdyujyata ēṣā paśchāt sarvata ētayā yajnastāyatē|”

Thus, it is identified and the puzzle is successfully answered as – it is ‘Omkara’ which is the subject matter of this verse of Skambha Sukta. We know that Yajurveda clearly alls Rudra as the omkara as stated below.

“namastārāya cha ||” (Yajurveda IV:5:8:h)
“Salutations to Rudra who is the ‘tāraka’ i.e., praṇava-mantra – oṁ”

Thus the context of the verse is proved to be talking about Shiva the Skambha!


Verse – 11: Atharva Veda (X:8:11)

“yád éjati pátati yác ca tíṣṭhati prāṇád áprāṇan nimiṣác ca yád bhúvat |
tád dādhāra pr̥thivī́ṃ viśvárūpaṃ tát saṃbhū́ya bhavaty ékam evá ||”11
“That which hath power of motion, that which flies, or stands,which breathes or breathes not, which, existing, shuts the eye. Wearing all forms that entity upholds the earth, and in its close consistence still is only one”.


Commentary:

Shiva in the aspect of ‘Skambha’ (which is the ‘Atman’) pervades this entire creation as its indweller. It is he who is this entire creation as well as its indwelling spirit which gives life to the creation. Therefore, all the created beings – whether mobile or immobile in nature – are indeed this Rudra! With our ‘bhoutika-dr̥ṣti’ (earthly sight) when we look at creation and the created beings, we find them to be diverse and different from each other; however, a learned man when looks at the same creation, he looks at it using a ‘tātvika-dr̥ṣti’ (thevision of wisdom), he sees only one lord in all these forms – i.e., Rudra (Skambha).

This is why Atharvaveda has answered this query in another place while singing a hymn to Rudra in the form of ‘Prana (Atman)’ where it has stated that Prana (Atman) clothes (pervades) all creatures and is the lord of all that breathes (i.e., sentient) and breathes not (insentient).

“prāṇáḥ prajā́ ánu vaste pitā́ putrám iva priyám |
prāṇó ha sárvasyeśvaró yác ca prāṇáti yác ca ná ||” (Atharvaveda XI:4:10)
“Prâna clothes the creatures, as a father his dear son. Prâna, truly, is the lord of all, of all that breathes, anddoes not breathe”.

This is why Svetaswatara rishi has pronounced in very clear words that despite creating this creation with diverse forms, still he is their non-dual manifester.

“viśvataś cakṣur uta viśvato-mukho | viśvato-bāhur uta viśvatas-pāt |
saṃ bāhubhyāṃ dhamati sampatatrair | dyāv-ābhūmī janayan deva ekaḥ ||” (śvētāsvatāra upaniṣad 3:03)
“His eyes are everywhere, His faces everywhere, His arms everywhere, everywhere His feet. He it is who endows men with arms, birds with feet and wings and men likewise with feet. Having produced heaven and earth, this God (deva ekaḥ) remains as their non-dual manifester”.

Thus, we have analyzed and understood that it is Skambha (Shiva) whom we see as this diverse creation and as their indweller.


Verse – 12: Atharva Veda (X:8:12)

“anantáṃ vítataṃ purutrā́nantám ántavac cā sámante
té nākapāláś carati vicinván vidvā́n bhūtám utá bhávyam asya ||”12
“The infinite to every side extended, the finite and the infinite around us,These twain Heaven’s Lord divides as he advances, knowing the past hereof and all the future”.


Commentary:

The entity described as ‘infinite’ is the ‘kāraṇa (cause)’ and the entity described as ‘finite’ is the ‘kārya-jagat (created world)’. Shiva as the Skambha is infinite and is the cause of creation. Skambha has no cause for itself. The universe which is doubtlessly vast but is not infinite, it is or a finite size! This universe takes its shape and form from Skambha.

He is called as ‘heaven’s lord’ here where ‘Heaven’ refers to immortality (emancipation) and not any temporary abode.

What we see around us is the finite universe and what we see within us is the infinite Skambha (as the ‘ātman’ in within the ‘hridaya-ākāśa’). That lord dividing (i.e., differentiating) the finite (jagat) apart from the infinite (Brahman) stands there knowing past, present and future.


Verse – 13: Atharva Veda (X:8:13)

“prajā́patiś carati gárbhe antár ádr̥śyamāno bahudhā́ ví jāyate |
ardhéna víśvaṃ bhúvanaṃ jajā́na yád asyārdháṃ katamáḥ sá ketúḥ ||”13
“Within the womb Prajapati is moving: he, though unseen, is born in sundry places. He with one half engendered all creation. What sign is there to tell us of the other?”


Commentary:

Here ‘Prajāpati’ is an epithet to the Supreme Being (Shiva) and not to be confused with ‘Brahmā’ or his ‘mānasa putrā-s’. Here the word ‘garbhā (womb)’ refers to the ‘hiraṇyagarbhā’ (the universe), within which this Skambha has entered and is born assuming various forms.

This is very clearly explained in Purusha Suktam which is a hymn to Bhagawan Rudra as the Veda Purusha. It says that Purusha (Rudra) existed before creation, he created this ‘hiraṇyagarbhā’ and entering into that womb he is born in sundry places.

“tasmād virāḷ ajāyata virājo adhi pūruṣaḥ |
sa jātoatyaricyata paścād bhūmimatho puraḥ ||” (Rig Veda 10:90:5)
“From him Virāj was born; again Puruṣa from Virāj was born. As soon as he was born he spread eastward and westward over the earth”.

It is from Rudra that the ‘hiraṇyagarbhā’ (the universe) was born, is attested by Svetasvatara rishi as follows.

“yō dēvānā̃ prabhavaścōdbhavaśca viśvādhipō rudrō maharṣiḥ |
hiraṇyagarbhaṁ janayāmāsa pūrvaṁ sa nō buddhyā śubhayā saṁyunaktu ||” (śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 3:04)
“He, the omniscient Rudra, the creator of the gods and the bestower of their powers, the support of the universe, He who, in the beginning, gave birth to Hiranyagarbha—may He endow us with clear intellect!”.

After creating the ‘hiraṇyagarbhā’ (the universe), he enters inside and assumes all the forms of creation as voiced by Svetaswatara rishi also.

“tváṃ strī́ tváṃ púmān asi tváṃ kumārá utá vā kumārī́
tváṃ jīrṇó daṇḍéna vañcasi tváṃ jātó bhavasi viśvátomukhaḥ  ||” (śvētasvatāra upaniṣad IV:03)
“Thou art woman, Thou art man; Thou art youth and maiden too. Thou as an old man totterest along on a staff; it is Thou alone who, when born, assumest diverse forms”.

Now, this Rudra is the infinite Skambha, and from only a portion of this Rudra (Skambha) this finite universe has been created. He is infinite and is transcends this universe. This is why Purusha Suktam says that only a part of him is all this, other parts is beyond all this!

“tripādūrdhva udait puruṣaḥ pādo.asyehābhavat punaḥ |
tato viṣvaṃ vyakrāmat sāśanānaśane abhi ||” (Rig Veda 10:90:4)
“Three parts of his are beyond all this all of this, is but a part. Again and again, all that eats,and that eats not appeared from this one part of His”.

Thus, with this analysis the purport of this section should be clear as speaking about lord Shiva who is the Skambha!


Verse – 14: Atharva Veda (X:8:14)

“ūrdhváṃ bhárantam udakáṃ kumbhénevodahāryàm |
páśyanti sárve cákṣuṣā ná sárve mánasā viduḥ ||”14
“All men behold him with the eye, but with the mind they know not him. Holding aloft the water as a water-bearer in her jar”.


Commentary:

This verse means to say that “All common men and women even those who bear waters in their pots behold him always with their eye in his gross form, but with their mind they know him not!”.

This Shiva as Skambha pervades entire creation in diverse forms, and always readily remains available to bless everyone equally without any prejudice, hence only the learned men grasp him in his true nature by their mind and intellect; whereas others who are common people just behold him in all thr gross objects with their eyes not knowing his presence.

This context is nothing but what has been explained in Sri Rudram. Yajurveda’s Satarudriya says that every morning in the form of the rising sun, it is Shiva who remains approachable and available to be seen by the common village folks such as cow-herds, or the women carrying water from rivers.

“asau yō~vasarpati nīlagrīvō vilōhitaḥ | utainaṁ gōpā adr̥śannadr̥śannudahāryaḥ | utainaṁ viśvā bhūtāni sa dr̥ṣtō mr̥ḍayāti naḥ ||” (Yajurveda IV:5:1.h)
“He who creepeth away, Blue-necked and ruddy, Him the cowherds have seen this Rudra in the form of Surya, Have seen the bearers of water, and him all creatures; May be, seen, be gentle unto us”.

However, only few out of the multitude, knows Skambha truly! Such folks see him through their mind and intellect.


Verse – 15: Atharva Veda (X:8:15)

“dūré pūrṇéna vasati dūrá ūnéna hīyate |
mahád yakṣáṃ bhúvanasya mádhye tásmai balíṃ rāṣṭrabhŕ̥to bharanti ||”15
“With the full vase he dwells afar, is left far off what time it fails, A mighty Being in creation’s centre: to him the rulers of the realms bring tribute”.


Commentary:

The great ‘yakṣá (effulgent Supreme Being i.e., Shiva)’ amidst the creation, stands afar and dwells in the minds of them who have achieved the highest wisdom. He gets failed (rejected) by the ignorant fools (such as atheists) far behind. Knowing that Brahman (Skambha) properly the gods, – who are the rulers of all the realms – pay their tribute!


Verse – 16: Atharva Veda (X:8:16)

“yátaḥ sū́ryaḥ udéty ástaṃ yátra ca gáchati |
tád evá manye ‘háṃ jyeṣṭháṃ tád u nā́ty eti kíṃ caná ||”16
“That, whence the Sun arises, that whither he goes to take his rest,That verily I hold supreme: naught in the world surpasses it”.


Commentary:

This verse is indicative of Skambha who is the Mahakala in whom all actions are set and bound in time. For that reasom, Atharvaveda in its hymn to Kala states the following.

“kāló bhūtím asr̥jata kālé tápati sū́ryaḥ
kālé ha víśvā bhūtā́ni kālé cákṣur ví paśyati |” (Atharva Veda XIX:53:06)
“Time created the earth, in Time the sun burns. In Time are all beings, in Time the eye looks abroad”.

Thus it is clear that in Time Sun arises, and sun sets. That Time (Mahakala) who is identical with Skambha is verily the Supreme Brahman who is not surpassed by any other entity!


Verse – 17: Atharva Veda (X:8:17)

“yé arvā́ṅ mádhya utá vā purāṇáṃ védaṃ vidvā́ṃsam abhíto vádanti |
ādityám evá té pári vadanti sárve agníṃ dvitī́yaṃ trivŕ̥taṃ ca haṃsám ||”17
“Those who in recent times, midmost, or ancient, on all sides.greet the sage who knows the Veda, One and all, verily discuss Aditya, the second Agni, and the threefold Hansa”.


Commentary:

The meaning of this verse is thus – Those learned men in recent, middle, or ancient times greet (or glorify) from all sides, the great sage who knows the Veda (i.e., the Lord). All such learned men discourse about that God as – ‘unbroken or partless (ādityám)’, as the Agni, as the threefold hamsa (Pranas)!

It is Skambha who is the Brahman, which is non-dual, partless, and is composed of fire of consciousness and this Atman manifests as the threefold Pranas and travels through the three nerves – one travels downwards (in Ida), another travels upwards (in pingala) and the third one mātariśvān rises upwards (in Sushumna).


Verse – 18: Atharva Veda (X:8:18)

“sahasrāhṇyáṃ víyatāv asya pakṣáu hárer haṃsásya pátataḥ svargám |
sá devā́nt sárvān úrasy upadádya saṃpáśyan yāti bhúvanāni víśvā ||”18
“This gold-hued Hamsa’s wings, flying to heaven, spread o’er a thousand days’ continued journey.Supporting all the Gods upon his bosom, he goes his way beholding every creature”.


Commentary:

This verse along with the subsequent three verses (i.e., till verse 21) composes the ‘lingodbhava’ legend. The incident of Lord Brahma’s travel to locate the highest end of Skambha is the context of this verse.

This Hamsa is the Prana internally but this verse actually encodes the great legend of the ‘Lingodbhava’ where Brahma in the form of a Swan (hamsa) flew upwards to see the topmost end (Heaven) of the Skambha. Brahma continued his journey for a thousand days (i.e., for a greatly extended period – thousand doesn’t mean 1000 literally in Sanskrit). Brahma goes his way beholding every creature that comes on the way – that is – he tries to find a witness to deceitfully speak in his favour to prove him to be the victor and successful in finding the upper limit of Skambha.  For that reason Brahma met with ‘Ketaki’ flower and asked her to give a false witness, he met ‘Kamadhenu’ and sought her help as well in his favour.


Verse – 19: Atharva Veda (X:8:19)

“satyénordhvás tapati bráhmaṇārvā́ṅ ví paśyati |
prāṇéna tiryáṅ prā́ṇati yásmin jyeṣṭhám ádhi śritám ||”19
“By truth he blazes up aloft by Brahma, he looks down below: He breathes obliquely with his breath, he on whom what is highest rests”.


Commentary:

This verse again talks about the Skambha legend. This Highest Brahman called Agni-Linga is the context of this verse. Agni-Skambha blazes upwards by the power of truth and brahma (Vedas), Shiva (Skambha) looks down and witnesses the acts of Vishnu and Brahma (Ida and Pingala) from the heaven which is his head and is at the highest place. He breaths obliquely i.e., in reverse directions through ‘ida’ and ‘Pingala’.

It is Skambha on whom learned men realize the ‘jyeṣṭhá-braḥman’ (Supreme Brahman). This is already seen in Shiva Purana verses in “Section 3.3”.


Verse – 20: Atharva Veda (X:8:20)

?yó vái té vidyā́d aráṇī yā́bhyāṃ nirmathyáte vásu |
sá vidvā́n jyeṣṭháṃ manyeta sá vidyād brā́hmaṇaṃ mahát ||”20
“The sage who knows the kindling-sticks whence by attrition wealth is drawn,Will comprehend what is most high, will know the mighty Brahmana”.


Commentary:

The two kindling sticks ‘arāṇī’ are the two nerves ‘ida’ and ‘pingala’ within the microcosm, and brahma and Vishnu in the macrocosm. When they are involved in mutual conflict or opposition, then arises there the greatest wealth of wisdom in the form of the Agni-Skambha which dispels all ignorance when fully arisen.

The sage (learned one) who knows this secret and can see the meaning of this verse clearly, knows the highest God viz. ‘jyeṣṭhá-braḥman’ who is Skambha (Shiva)!


Verse – 21: Atharva Veda (X:8:21)

“apā́d ágre sám abhavat só ágre svàr ā́bharat |
cátuṣpād bhūtvā́ bhógyaḥ sárvam ā́datta bhójanam ||”21
“Footless at first was he produced, footless he brought celestial light. Four-footed grown, and meet for use, he seized each thing enjoyable”.


Commentary:

Skambha is partless, non-dual, continuous stream of consciousness which is Brahman. Hence he is footless. Being footless he is the celestial light of original consciousness. He is the Purusha beyond darkness and by his light all other luminaries shine.

As per Purusha Suktam – He is infinite and hence symbolically visualized as being of four parts (likened to jāgruti, swapna, suṣupti, turīya, where the jāgruta-prapṇcha is what is perceived as the gross-world) out of which only a single part of him is this manifested universe, and rest three parts are beyond and unseen.

“tripādūrdhva udait puruṣaḥ pādo.asyehābhavat punaḥ |
tato viṣvaṃ vyakrāmat sāśanānaśane abhi ||” (Rig Veda 10:90:4)
“Three parts of his are beyond all this all of this, is but a part. Again and again, all that eats,and that eats not appeared from this one part of His”.

What is enjoyable is the prosperity. Since he is the Lord (Ishwara) he is the owner of all prosperity. Therefore Shiva is the original owner of all things enjoyable, and only by his grace others get those prosperity. This is clearly mentioned by Veda Vyasa in Mahabharata as stated below.

“sendrādiṣu ca deveṣu tasya caiśvaryam ucyate |
sa caiva vyāhṛte loke manuṣyāṇāṃ śubhāśubhe |
aiśvaryāc caiva kāmānām īśvaraḥ punar ucyate |
maheśvaraś ca bhūtānāṃ mahatām īśvaraś ca saḥ |” (MBH 7:173:73-74)
“[Vyasa said:] The prosperity is his that is seen in Indra and other gods. He is ever engaged in the good and evil of men in this world. In consequence of his supremacy, he can always obtain whatever objects he desires. He is called Maheswara and is the lord of even the supreme ones”.

Thus we have understood the purport to be speaking about Shiva!


Verse – 22: Atharva Veda (X:8:22)

“bhógyo bhavad átho ánnam adad bahú |
yó devám uttarā́vantam upā́sātai sanātánam ||”22
“Useful will he become, and then will he consume great store of food The man who humbly worshippeth the eternal and victorious God”.


Commentary:

This is a great message which says – one who humbly worships the eternal and every victorious lord Shiva, who is the Skambha and the Supreme Brahman; would gain all prosperity and would consume great store of food.

Here ‘food’ has a dual meaning – In general sense surely one who worships Shiva humbly, would never have shortage of food because Shiva is the lord of food and his consort is goddess ‘annapūrṇēśvarī’.  In a mystical sense such a devotee would gain that food which would appease his hunger for ever. Normally, food when eaten satisfies hunger temporarily, but when the mystical food i.e., ‘brahma-jnana’ is obtained by the grace of this Shiva who is the ‘dakṣināmūrti’, the supreme storehouse of wisdom; all kinds of appetites are satiated for posterity!

This is why Lord Shiva is hailed as the lord of all types of food (whether mundane or mystic type) in Yajurveda as quoted below.

“namō babhluśāya vivyādhinē annanāṁ patayē namaḥ ||” (Yajurveda IV:5:2:d)
“Salutations and salutations, To him who rides on the bull, To him who is like disease to his enemies, And to him who is the lord of all food”.

Thus, we all are commanded by the Atharvaveda to worship lord Shiva with humility so that we can obtain the mystic food which puts an end to the hunger called transmigration for ever!

 

Verse – 23: Atharva Veda (X:8:23)

“sanātánam enam āhur utā́dyá syāt púnarṇavaḥ |
ahorātré prá jāyete anyó anyásya rūpáyoḥ ||”23
“Him they call eternal; he may become new again to-day.Day and Night reproduce themselves, each from the form the other wears”.


Commentary:

The learned sages call him i.e., Shiva (Skambha), eternal! Those who are in the darkest trenches of ignorance call him as perishable. For the learners he reveals himself newly in a new aspect everyday as like as day is produced from night and night is produced from day afresh.

The Skambha which is Shiva is eternal and infinite. It is beyond the comprehension of any one. Those who strive hard to know him; such men realize a new aspect of his mystic nature everyday.

Learning is a ‘tapasya’ and there is no shortcut to it. One cannot know him in an instant, because, he is beyond the reach of speech and mind. With steady practice of Yoga, and with constant indulgence in vedantic steps such as – shravanam, mananam, and nidhidhyasanam – and by the grace of Guru, grace of god, and more importantly and mandatorily when the grace of Umā (who is the braḥmavidyā) shines on the aspirant – then he or she becomes eligible to know Shiva in truth. Then everyday is a day of learning for such a high-souled aspirant; and various aspects of shiva’s mystic nature reveals to him afresh everyday as like as after everyday there comes a night and after every night there comes a day. The condition of those who hate Shiva is pitiable since there is no way ‘braḥmavidyā (i.e, Umā) who is the consort of Shiva would stay in their Heads!

Verse – 24: Atharva Veda (X:8:24)

“śatáṃ sahásram ayútaṃ nyàrbudam asaṃkhyeyáṃ svám asmin níviṣṭam |
tád asya ghnanty abhipáśyata evá tásmād devó rocat eṣá etát ||”24
“A hundred, thousand, myriad, yea a hundred million stores of wealth that passes count are laid in him. This wealth they kill as he looks on, and now this God shines bright therefrom”.


Commentary:

Skambha (i.e., Shiva) is Brahman and is the lord of everything. The highest wealth which has no comparison is – knowledge! Vedas are the storehouse of such a wealth of knowledge. It is Shiva who is the overlord of that highest wealth.

“īśānaḥ sarvavidyānāmīśvaraḥ sarvabhūtānām | braḥmādhipatirbraḥmaṇō’dhipatirbraḥmā śivō mē astu sadāśivōṁ ||” (Taittariya Aranyaka 10:21:1)
“May the Supreme who is the ruler of all knowledge, ishana, controller of all created beings, the preserver of the Vedas and the one overlord of Hiranyagarbha, be benign to me. That Sadasiva described thus and denoted by Pranava (OM)”.

Apart from this – he is the lord of the entire universe comprising of all the worlds as stated in Rig Veda in below verse.

“īśānādasya bhuvanasya |” (Rig Veda 2.33.9b)
“Rudra, is lord of this wide world (īśānādasya bhuvanasya)”.

Thus, all the wealth – be it material or spiritual – everything has Rudra for its sole lord. All kinds of wealth is laid in him. Thus, he is the ‘īśānā’ and ‘īśvara’!

“sendrādiṣu ca deveṣu tasya caiśvaryam ucyate |
sa caiva vyāhṛte loke manuṣyāṇāṃ śubhāśubhe |
aiśvaryāc caiva kāmānām īśvaraḥ punar ucyate |
maheśvaraś ca bhūtānāṃ mahatām īśvaraś ca saḥ |” (MBH 7:173:73-74)
“[Vyasa said:] The prosperity is his that is seen in Indra and other gods. He is ever engaged in the good and evil of men in this world. In consequence of his supremacy, he can always obtain whatever objects he desires. He is called Maheswara and is the lord of even the supreme ones”.

Vedanta says that ‘īśvara’ is the giver of all fruitions of acts done by all the Jivas (includes Gods also). Thus, possessing of wealth, prosperity, happiness etc., all depend upon the karmas one has done across the past births. This is why within the same family itself one may see one of the siblings being very rich and the other earning an average salary. All fruits of the deeds are awarded by Shiva because he is the great lord! Therefore, all the wealth that one sees in the Indra, Brahma, Vishnu, kind of gods exalted gods down till the humans at the grassroot level – everything actually belongs to Shiva (Skambha) and only by his mercy and grace they all get their respective share as per their deeds and fruition.


Verse – 25: Atharva Veda (X:8:25)

“bā́lād ékam aṇīyaskám utáikaṃ néva dr̥śyate |
tátaḥ páriṣvajīyasī devátā sā́ máma priyā́ ||”25
“One is yet finer than a hair, one is not even visible. And hence that Deity who grasps with firmer hold is dear to me”.


Commentary:

Lord Shiva who is the Skambha is called as ‘Brahman’ because he is infinitely vast i.e., ‘br̥hat’ – for this reason he is higher than the highest. He is again minuter than the minutest, hence he is called as ‘sūkṣma’ – for this reason he is perceived by the Yogis within their hearts in the size of a thumb. Such a god is dear to all knowers of Brahman!

In this context, Svetasvatara Upanishad says that Rudra is the Atman dwelling in every being.

“pratya~ṇjanāstiṣṭhati ||” (śvētāsvatāra upaniṣad 3.02)
“He (Rudra) dwells as the inner Self (Atman) of every living being”.

Now, Kaivalya Upanishad talking about the same Atman of all says that it is minuter than the minutest and is eternal. Hence when both these verses are studied together it clearly states that – Lord Rudra is the Supreme Brahman, who is the Atman of all and is minuter than the minutest and is eternal!

“yatparaṁ braḥma sarvātmā viśvasyāyatanaṁ mahat |
Sūkṣmātsūkśmataraṁ nityaṁ tattvamēva tvamēva tat ||” (Kaivalya Upanishad 16)
“That which is the Supreme Brahman, the soul of all, the great support of the universe, subtler than the subtle, and eternal – that is thyself, and thou art That”.
The same conclusion is arrived at following the words of ‘Atharvasiras Upanishad’ which clearly alls Rudra as minutest and pervading every body as their indwelling self (Atman).

“atha kasmāduchyatē sūkṣman yasmāduchchāryamāṇa ēva sūkṣmō bhūtvā |
sharīrāṇyadhitiṣṭhati sarvāṇi chā~ṇgānyamimr̥iśati tasmāduchyatē sūkṣman ||” (Atharvasiras Upanishad 4:07)
“Next, why is He (Rudra) called ‘sūkṣma’? Because, He pervades in a minute form all over the body; without touching any of the organs – therefore He is called ‘sūkṣma (minute)'”.

The same conclusion was stated long back by Veda Vyasa in Mahabharata itself. Here is a verse from Drona Parva where Vyasa himself narrates about Shiva and says that Shiva is minuter than the minutest and larger than the largest!

“sa tēna tapasā tāta  braḥmabhūtō yadābhavat |
tatō viśvēśvaraṁ yōniṁ viśvasya jagataḥ patiṁ ||61
dadarśa bhr̥śadurdharṣa sarvadēvēśamīśvaraṁ vairabhiṣṭutaṁ |
aṇīyāṁsamuṇubhyaścha br̥hadbhyaścha br̥hattamaṁ ||62
rudramīśānavr̥ṣabhaṁ haraṁ śambhuṁ kapardinaṁ |
chekitānaṁ parāṁ yōniṁ tiṣṭhatō gachchataścha ha ||” (MBH 7:201:61-63)
” When by those austerities, O sire, he became: like Brahman he then beheld the Master, Origin, and Guardian of the Universe, the Lord of all the gods, the Supreme Deity, who is exceedingly difficult of being gazed at, who is minuter than the minutest and larger than, the largest, who is called Rudra, who is the lord of all the superior ones, who is called Hara and Sambhu, who has matted locks on his head, who is the infuser of life into every form, who is the First cause of all immobile: and mobile things”.

Hence Skambha’s highest and minutest nature has been analyzed and established!


Verse – 26: Atharva Veda (X:8:26)

“iyáṃ kalyāṇy àjárā mártyasyāmŕ̥tā gr̥hé |
yásmai kr̥tā́ śáye sá yáś cakā́ra jajā́ra sáḥ ||”26
“This fair one is untouched by age, immortal in a mortal’s house. He for whom she was made lies low, and he who formed her hath grown old”.


Commentary:

That fair lady ‘Prakriti’ is ageless and is immortal. She resides in the mortal universe which is her house. Alternatively, she resides in our bodies which are mortal. For accomplishing whose desire of multiplication (as this universe) she sprang into action, He (Shiva), lies low sleeping in ignorance inside her lap, pretending as a ‘Jiva’ – whereas the one who formed her, He (Shiva) is the most aged one (i.e., the ancient god).

There is no one exept Shiva. He is the non-dual Brahman. Therefore, when he creates this world, he himself assumes the form of Jivas. This is evident from the below verse from yajurveda.

“nama ātaryāya cha |” (Yajurveda IV:5:8.n)
“Salutations to Rudra who is born in Samsara tasting the fruits of Karmas – in the form of Jiva”.

The same is stated in Maitreyi Upanishad also.

“dēhō dēvālayaḥ prōktaḥ sa jīvaḥ kēvalaḥ śivaḥ |
tyajēdajnānanirmālyan soahaṁbhāvēna pūjayēt |” (Maitreyi Upanishad II:1)
“The body is said to be the temple; the individual Self (Jiva) is verily Shiva alone. One should discard the faded flowers of the form of ignorance and worship God (with the conviction) ‘He and I are one’.

The purport of this section is to enunciate the oneness of ‘Jiva’ and ‘Brahman’. It is Shiva who under his own ‘Maya’ assumes a low profile and calls himself as ‘Jiva’. Again with his own play he educates himself on scriptures with the aid of a ‘guru’ (who is again Shiva) and gets the wisdom and comes out of his own curtain of maya and calls himself as liberated. In reality there is no liberation – Jiva is verily Shiva alone! One only needs to realize this fact!


Verse – 27: Atharva Veda (X:8:27)

“tváṃ strī́ tváṃ púmān asi tváṃ kumārá utá vā kumārī́ |
tváṃ jīrṇó daṇḍéna vañcasi tváṃ jātó bhavasi viśvátomukhaḥ ||”27
“Thou art a woman, and a man; thou art a damsel and a boy. Grown old thou totterest with a staff, new-born thou lookest every way”.


Commentary:

This is a very direct verse on Shiva. This is a great testimony that Skambha is verily Shiva in the form of Agni-Linga! This verse has been exactly used without any modification by Svetaswatara Rishi to eulogize Rudra in the fourth chapter of ‘Svetaswatara Upanishad’. Sē the Sanskrit verse as quoted below and compare it with the Skambha Sukta vese of current section!

“tváṃ strī́ tváṃ púmān asi tváṃ kumārá utá vā kumārī́ |
tváṃ jīrṇó daṇḍéna vañcasi tváṃ jātó bhavasi viśvátomukhaḥ ||” (śvētāsvatāra upaniṣad IV:3)
“Thou art woman, thou art man; thou art youth, thou art maiden; thou, as an old man, totterest along on thy staff; thou art born with thy face turned everywhere”.

Thus, the great visionary sage Svetaswatara had long back itself envisioned that ‘Skambha Sukta’ is a hymn to Bhagawan Rudra’s infinite ‘jwala-linga’.  This section needs no further explanation!


Verse – 28: Atharva Veda (X:8:28)

“utáiṣāṃ pitótá vā putrá eṣām utáiṣāṃ jyeṣṭhá utá vā kaniṣṭháḥ |
éko ha devó mánasi práviṣṭaḥ prathamó jātáḥ sá u gárbhe antáḥ ||”28
“Either the sire or son of these, the eldest or the youngest child. As sole God dwelling in the mind, first born, he still is in the womb”.


Commentary:

All the forms that we see in this universe are all the forms of Shiva! Whether in the past, of in the present, or in the future – whatever existed, whatever exists and whatever would exist – all are Mahadeva’s manifestations! We have in earlier sections seen that the Veda Purusha Rudra created the universe and entered into it and manifested himself into various forms. Therefore, whosoever takes birth or manifests, all such forms are nothing but manifestations of Rudra only. There is nothing beyond Rudra; there is no one who is different from Rudra. The below verses from Vedas clearly prove that it is only Lord Rudra who manifests himself. It is he who was in past, it is he who is at present and it is he who would come in future.

Yajur Veda (Sri Rudram hymn) confirms this fact as follows.

“namō jyēṣṭhāya cha kaniṣṭhāya cha |
namaḥ pūrvajāya cha aparajāya cha |
namō madhyamāya cha apakalpāya cha ||” (Yajurveda IV:5:6:a-c)
“Salutations to Him who is senior and who is junior. Salutations to Him who was born before all and who will be born after all. Salutations to Him who appears in the middle, and who appears undeveloped (Foetus)”.

Even the revered Sage Svetaswatara voices the same opinion as follows. Even “Atharvasiras Upanishad (5:01)” states the below verse of Svetaswatara Upanishad ditto!

“eṣo ha dēvaḥ pradiśōanu sarvāḥ pūrvō ha jātaḥ sa u garbhē antaḥ |
sa eva jātaḥ sa janiṣyamāṇaḥ pratyaṇ^janāstiṣṭhati sarvatomukhaḥ ||” (śvētāsvatāra upaniṣad 2:16)
“He indeed is the god who pervades all regions: he is the first-born (as Hiranyagarbha), and he is in the womb. He has been born, and he will be born. He stands behind all persons, looking everywhere”.

From the above analysis, it is evident that it is only Bhagawan Rudra who manifests. Nothing can exist without Rudra, all are dependent on him. All forms are Rudra’s forms only, which is clearly evident from the below verse.

“sarvānana śirōgrīvaḥ sarvabhūtaguhāśayaḥ |
sarvavyāpī sa bhagavānstasmāt sarvagataḥ śivaḥ ||” (śvētāsvatāra upaniṣad 3:11)
“All faces are His faces; all heads, His heads; all necks, His necks. He dwells in the hearts of all beings. He is the all-pervading ‘Bhagavan’. Therefore He is the omnipresent Lord Shiva”.

From this discussion it is clear that Skambha is all this – whatever exists, or existed or would exist!


Verse – 29: Atharva Veda (X:8:29)

“pūrṇā́t pūrṇám úd acati pūrṇáṃ pūrṇéna sicyate |
utó tád adyá vidyāma yátas tát pariṣicyáte ||”29
“Forth from the full he lifts the full, the full he sprinkles with the full. Now also may we know the source from which the stream is sprinkled round”.


Commentary:

From the Brahman who is full, arises this complete universe (i.e., creation). From that Brahman who is full, this complete universe gets irrigated (i.e., sustenance). That source from where the stream of sustenance is received by the universe is the lord Shiva who is the Skambha supporting and sustaining the universe.

This section needs no further explanation.


Verse – 30: Atharva Veda (X:8:30)

“eṣā́ sanátnī sánam evá jātáiṣā́ purāṇī́ pári sárvaṃ babhūva |
mahī́ devy ùṣáso vibhātī́ sáikenaikena miṣatā́ ví caṣṭe ||”30
“Brought forth in olden time, the everlasting, high over all that is was she, the Ancient. The mighty Goddess of the Morn, refulgent with one eye, looketh round with one that winketh”.


Commentary:

This verse is again a glorification of the ‘Prakriti’ who is ancient and imperishable. She looks at all the entities that have life (i.e., jivas) and until she becomes graceful on them there is no way out of the ‘samsaara’. It is she who is the ‘avidya’ as well as the ‘brahma-vidya’. When one clings to Lord Shiva with devotion or with knowledge, she removes the veil of ‘avidya’ and bestows ‘brahma-vidya’ and emancipates the ‘jiva’.

Without taking recourse to Shiva or Uma there is no way to sail through her ocean of Maya. Recall the Bhagawad Gita (BG. 7:14) verse “mama māyā duratyayā…


Verse – 31: Atharva Veda (X:8:31)

“ávir vái nā́ma devátarténāste párīvr̥tā |
tásyā rūpéṇemé vr̥kṣā́ háritā háritasrajaḥ ||”31
“Known by the name of Guardian Grace the Deity sits girt by Right.The trees have taken from her hue, green-garlanded, their robe of green”.


Commentary:

Known for being the caretaker, – that deity is surrounded by ‘r̥ta ‘(i.e., universal righteousness). For this reason she is called as ‘jagat-dhatri’

“jagat dhātrī |” (Lalita Sahasranama 935)
“She who supports and nourishes the world”.

These world-trees (samsāra-vr̥kṣā-s) are created as a blue-print of her – because entire universe is her body in the sence that she pervades this entire universe. Hence she is called as the root of this world i.e., she is the blue-print and this world is her form.

“kalyāṇī jagatī kandā |” (Lalita sahasranama: 324, 325)
“She who does good. She who is like a root to the world”.

Thus, this verse is an eulogy of ‘bhuvaneswari devi’.


Verse – 32: Atharva Veda (X:8:32)

“ánti sántaṃ ná jahāty ánti sántaṃ ná paśyati |
devásya paśya kā́vyaṃ ná mamāra ná jīryati ||”32
“When he is near she leaves him not, she sees him not though he is near. Behold the wisdom of the God; he hath not died, he grows not old”.


Commentary:

She is the Maya and when Shiva is near her (i.e., under her influence) as a ‘Jiva’ she leaves him not i.e., she curtains and shrouds his true nature and he behaves as an ignorant Jiva. But when that ‘Jiva’ beholds the Supreme Being through devotion or knowledge, and when his faith neither dies nor weakens – self-realization dawns on him; and then this Maya sees him as not being near i.e., not in samsaara anymore – He verily is Brahman and escapes the clutches of Maya!


Verse – 33: Atharva Veda (X:8:33)

“apūrvéṇeṣitā́ vā́cas tā́ vadanti yathāyathám |
vádantīr yátra gáchanti tád āhur brā́hmaṇaṃ mahát ||”33
“Voices that never were before emitted speak as fitteth them. Whither they go and speak, they say there is the mighty Brahmana”.


Commentary:

This verse speaks about the divine revealations (sruti) that a yogi sees when Skambha in him gets fully awakened. All the rishis (seers) were yogis and automatically divine Vedic verses were revealed to them in their Yogic-state.

It is said – ‘anantā vai vēdāḥ’, which means, ‘Vedas are infinite’ -Those mantras which were never before emitted, get revealed to the Yogi who has realized Skambha in its true form within himself as fits them i.e., All Vedic mantras have a name of the seer pre-assigned – therefore in every Kalpa the corresponding ‘rishis (seers)’ who have realized Brahman (Skambha) in their eharts – see those mantras and they get hailed as the ‘seer’ of those mantras.

As seen in the beginning sections of this Article, where we have seen excerpts from Shiva Purana relating to Brahma and Vishnu finally seeing Shiva from Skambha – We saw that Brahma and Vishnu heard ‘omkara’ emerging from Skambha first. This is the sound (śabda-brahmaṇ) that gets revealed first and from it emerges all other Vedic mantras. Although not discussed in this article elaborately, yet just for records – Shiva Purana says that after that, from that Skambha emerged Vedic ‘mahāvākyās’ such as ‘tat twaṁ asi’ as well as ‘mahāmantrās’ such as – ‘gāyatri’, ‘trayṁbaka’, etc.  Therefore the very first ‘rishis’ were Brahma and Vishnu – This is why probably all ‘darśanā-s’ claim their lineage as ‘nārāyaṇa samāraṁbhāṁ’ making ‘nārāyaṇa’ the first promulgator of those philosophies.

Those Yogis who realized their self as being Shiva and who see Skambha (linga) in their heart; they realize everything as composed of Shiva (Brahman). Thus they speak in ecstasy – “tád āhur brā́hmaṇaṃ mahát” (there is the mighty Brahman)!


Verse – 34: Atharva Veda (X:8:34)

“yátra devā́ś ca manuṣyā̀ś cārā́ nā́bhāv iva śritā́ḥ |
apā́ṃ tvā púṣpaṃ pr̥chāmi yátra tán māyáyā hitám ||”34
“I ask thee where the waters’ flower by wondrous magic art was placed, Thereon the Gods and men are set as spokes are fastened in the nave”.


Commentary:

The wondrous flower is the ‘sahasrāra’ – the lotus of thousand petals. It is magically set at the topmost part of Skambha.

It is wondrous because when one travels through other pathways they would never reach that highest station, but that yogi who takes his ‘Prāṇās’ via the path of Skambha, such a yogi easily reaches that wonderous flower situated at the head of Skambha! Brahma and Vishnu had tried hard and failed to locate Skambha’s head and feet respectively by travelling through ‘piṇgalā’ and ‘idā’. There is only one road to liberation in the path of Yoga – that is – the road through ‘suṣumṇa’!

There in ‘sahasrāra’ emancipated Jivas are said to be the spokes of the nave where the nave is ‘sahasrāra’. The menaing of this verse is elaborated as follows.

As stated in “yōgatatva upaniṣad”, after reaching ‘sahasrāra’ a Yogi can opt for whether to shed his body or retain it for further work on Earth. One who sheds his body, he gets absorbed into the Brahman in ‘sahasrāra’ (i.e., in sadashiva), and never returns; but one who retains his body – he is living in this world for some special task while simultaneously abiding in the highest self in ‘sahasrāra’ – Hence such liberated yogis and gods who haven’t shed their bodies are said to be living like spokes of a nave i.e., – they remain fixed with ‘sahasrāra’ i.e., they abide in the highest Brahman in ‘sahasrāra’! All the sages like – Agastya, Vashishtha, Bharadwaja, Atri, Bhrigu, Jamadagni, Kashyapa, Vishwamitra and such like were all adept yogis and were filled with the knowledge of Brahman – why did they survive for more than one Yuga when other contemporaries of their time died within the same yuga? They all were from Krita Yuga and still made appearances in Mahabharata in many incidences – This is because they wanted to be of some use in ‘jagat kalyāṇa’ (benefit to the world).

“parabraḥmaṁi līyēta na tasyōtkrāntiriṣyatē |
atha nō chētsamutsraṣṭu.n svasharīraṁ priya.n yadi ||108
sarvalōkēṣu viharannaṇimādiguṇānvitaḥ |
kadāchitsvēchchayā dēvō bhūtvā svargē mahīyatē ||109
manuṣyō vāpi yakṣō vā svechchayāpīkṣaṇadbhavet |
siṁhō vyāghrō gajō vāśvaḥ svechchayā bahutāmiyāt ||” (Yogatatva Upanishad 108-110)
“He will become absorbed in Parabrahman and does not require Utkranti. But if he does not so desire and if his body is dear to him, he lives in all the worlds possessing the Siddhis of Anima, etc. Sometimes he becomes a Deva and lives honoured in Svarga; or he becomes a man or an Yaksha through his will. He can also take the form of a lion, tiger, elephant, or horse through his own will”.

Thus, this verse is found to glorify the emancipation that is attained via the path of sushumna (skambha).


Verse – 35: Atharva Veda (X:8:35)

“yébhir vā́ta iṣitáḥ pravā́ti yé dádante páñca díśaḥ sadhrī́cīḥ |
yá ā́hutim atyámanyanta devā́ apā́ṃ netā́raḥ katamé tá āsan ||”35
“Who gave command unto the wind that blowet! Who ranged the five united heavenly regions? Who were the Gods who cared not for oblations! Which of them brought the sacrificial waters?”


Commentary:

In ‘Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana’ the Skambha Sukta verse that we are discussing in current context, has been discussed. Prithu asked the divine sages the same puzzle. Note carefully that entire verse is identical with Skambha Sukta’s verse present above.

“tad dha pr̥thur vāinyō divyān vrātyān parprachcha:-
‘yébhir vā́ta iṣitáḥ pravā́ti
yé dádante páñca díśaḥ sadhrī́cīḥ
yá ā́hutir atyámanyanta devā́
apā́ṃ netā́raḥ katamé tá āsan | iti ||” (Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana 1:34:1)
“Now the Pr̥thu Vāinya asked the divine mendicants thus: -‘Who gave command unto the wind that blowet! Who ranged the five united heavenly regions? Who were the Gods who cared not for oblations! Which of them brought the sacrificial waters?'”.

A very tricky answer was thus received from the sages.

“tē ha pratyūchur: ‘imāṁ ēṣāṁ prithivīṁ vastā ēkō ‘ntarikṣaṁ pary ēkō babhūva divaṁ ēkō dadatē yō vidhartā viśvā āśaḥ pratirakṣanty anyā iti | imāṁ ēṣāṁ pr̥thivīṁ vastā ēkā’ity agnir ha saḥ | antarikṣaṁ pary ēkō babhūvēti vāyur ha saḥ | divaṁ ēkō dadatē yō vidhartē ‘ty ādityō ha saḥ | viśvā āśāḥ pratirakṣanti anya iti | ētā ha vāi dēvatā viśvā āśāḥ pratirakṣanti chandramā nakṣatrāṇī’ti |’ ||” (Jaiminiya Upanishad Brahmana 1:34:1)
“They answered: ‘One of them dons this earth here, one has encompassed the atmosphere, and one who is the disposer gives (his duties to) the sky, others severally protect all-regions. One that dons this earth here, that is Agni. One who has encompassed the atmosphere is the Vayu. One, who is the disposer, gives (his duties to) the sky, that is the sun. Others severally protect all the regions; these divinities indeed severally protect all regions viz. moon and constellations'”.

Sages didn’t say who commands the wind to blow ceaselessly. They only revealed which region the wind god (Vayu) is deployed at duty. They gave the details of the presence of deities in all the five regions as their indweller and protector. Those five regions are – Earth, Atmosphere, Heaven (Sky), Chandrama and Nakshatra (constellations). With this the Sages leave us to think further to understand that other one – the original Supreme Being, by whose command these gods of all regions function ceaselessly. The answer also doesn’t speak about the second part of the question which is – ‘Who were the Gods who cared not for oblations! Which of them brought the sacrificial waters?’ – That is again because Veda is esoteric and full of puzzles. This part of puzzle is answered in Satapatha Brahmana which I would be discussing in this section.

Let’s carefully decode the real answer from the words of the sages quoted above. They said Agni is the one who resides on earth, Vayu in atmosphere, Sun in Sky, and other deities in Moon and constellation. Residing in their allocated places they do their allotted jobs of protecting and nourishing those regions ceaselelssly. But on whose command do they engage themselves in their jobs? The answer is – It is Rudra who created those deities and it is Rudra who is their indwelling spirit. It is he who commands them (being their inner self) and gets them to do the allotted jobs meticulously.

Satapatha Brahmana (6:1:3) clearly states that Agni, Vayu and Sun are the forms of Bhagawan Rudra and have manifested from him. These are three of the forms of the eight-fold forms of Rudra celebrated as ‘ashta-murty’ forms. Further it is he who has created all other gods and gave them their powers and remains as their indwelling self.

With this understanding if we look at the answer of the sages, we would understand that it is Bhagawan Rudra who is in the form of Agni, Vayu, Sun (and others) and again it is he who is their indwelling spirit (Atman). And it is again he on whose command these deities do their jobs diligently. This is why the original ‘ruler’ as well as the ‘owner’ of – Earth, Atmosphere and Heaven is Rudra! – And this conclusion is not new; it has already been spoken in Atharva Veda. The first verse proves the ownership of all regions to Rudra and the next verses proves his rulership over all those regions.

“táva cátasraḥ pradíśas táva dyáus táva pr̥thivī́ távedám ugrorv àntárikṣam
távedáṃ sárvam ātmanvád yát prāṇát pr̥thivī́m ánu |” Atharva Veda XI:2:10)
“Thine, O strong god (ugra), are the four regions, thine the sky, thine the earth, and thine this broad atmosphere; thine is this all that has a spirit and has breath upon the earth”.

“bhavó divó bhavá īśe pr̥thivyā́ bhavá ā́ papra urv àntárikṣam
tásyai námo yatamásyāṃ diśī̀táḥ |” (Atharva Veda XI:2:27)
“Bhava rules the sky, Bhava rules the earth; Bhava has filled the broad atmosphere. Reverence be to him in whatever direction from here (he abides)!”

Therefore even though the sages have answered the question of ‘Prithu’ with the secondary truth (by calling the names of deities who are mere instruments basically), – the hidden meaning as per Vedas is that it is Rudra who is in the form of all deities and by his command alone every deity functions. Further, Rudra being the sole lord can supervise everything from anywhere. Neither distance nor reach nor anything becomes a barrier in his lordship. This is beautifully explained in the below verse from Atharva Veda

“śiṃśumā́rā ajagarā́ḥ purīkáyā jaṣā́ mátsyā rajasā́ yébhyo ásyasi
ná te dūráṃ ná pariṣṭhā́sti te bhava sadyáḥ sárvāṃ pári paśyasi bhū́miṃ pū́rvasmād dhaṃsy úttarasmint samudré |” (Atharva Veda XI:2:25)
“The dolphins, great serpents (ajagarā́ḥ), purîkayas (water-animals), sea-monsters, fishes, ragasas at which thou shootest-there exists for thee, O Bhava, no distance, and no barrier. At a glance thou lookest around the entire earth; from the eastern thou slayest in the northern ocean”.

Therefore, let’s now understand the real solution to the current verse of Skambha Suktam. – It is out of the fear of Shiva moves wind ceaselessly. Because he moves this universe as like as a magician, the wind, the waters, fire, sun, etc., remain in action all the time to pursue their allotted tasks. All the regions remain united as per the commands of Rudra out of his fear.

Whether we look at the Pindanda or the brahmanda, in both cases – because Shiva exists in them, the wind blows! Because Shiva exists as the Atman pervading the Sushumna, the body has life and the breath ceaselessly flows in and out till the time of departure of the spirit comes. In macrocosm, since Shiva exists as the Skambha of the form of chaitanya inside the universe supporting it, the wind blows; when he withdraws the universes, only then there would be no wind to blow.

Similarly, this entire universe together with the very deities, the five elements, all the regions, and every living and non-living entity performs with discipline their respective allotted tasks by the fear of Rudra who is the Skambha! This is clear from the below verse from ‘Katha Upanishad’.

“yadidaṁ kiṁ cha jagat sarvaṁ prāṇa ejati niḥsr̥itaṁ |
mahadbhayaṁ vajramudyataṁ ya etadviduramr̥tāstē bhavanti ||” (Katha Upanishad 2:iii:2)
“This entire universe, evolved, moves in prana (in Rudra) – the most frightful like an uplifted thunderbolt. Those who know this become immortal”.

Regarding the terror of Rudra and how no god can face Rudra when he stands with his uplifted bow – there is a legend – Once gods performed a sacrifice without assigning any share to Rudra and with that sacrifice they ascended to heaven. Rudra became angry on their negligence; he stood with his uplifted weapon to strike; seeing which, the gods got terrified and set apart an oblation for Rudra! This is narrated in Satapatha Brahmana as follows.

“yajñena vai devāḥ | divamupodakrāmannatha yo ‘yaṃ devaḥ paśūnāmīṣṭe sa ihāhīyata ||” (Satapatha Brahmana 1:7:3:1)
“Now by means of the sacrifice the gods ascended to heaven. But the god who rules over the cattle was left behind here”.

“sa aikṣata | ahāsya hāntaryantyu mā yajñāditi so ‘nūccakrāma sa āyatayottarata
upotpede sa eṣa sviṣṭakṛtaḥ kālaḥ ||” (Satapatha Brahmana 1:7:3:3)
“He saw (what occurred, and said), ‘I have been left behind: they are excluding me from the sacrifice!’ He went up after them, and with his raised (weapon) rose up on the north–the time (when this happened) was that of the (performance of the) Svishtakrit”.

“te devā abruvan | mā visrakṣīriti te vai mā yajñānmāntargatāhutim me kalpayateti
tatheti sa samabṛhatsa nāsyatsa na kaṃ canāhinat ||” (Satapatha Brahmana 1:7:3:4)
“The gods said, ‘Do not hurl!’ He said, ‘Do not ye exclude me from the sacrifice! Set apart an oblation for me!’ They replied, ‘So be it!’ He withdrew (his weapon), and did not hurl it; nor did he injure any one”.

So, all the gods who ascended to heaven didn’t care for oblations to Rudra (who is Skambha – the Supreme Being) initially; but seeing his wrath they all trembled with terror and brought the sacrificial water (oblations) for Rudra!


Verse – 36: Atharva Veda (X:8:36)

“imā́m eṣāṃ pr̥thivī́ṃ vásta éko ‘ntárikṣaṃ páry éko babhūva |
dívam eṣāṃ dadate yó vidhartā́ víśvā ā́śāḥ práti rakṣanty éke ||”36
“One God inhabiteth the earth we live on; another hath encompassed air’s mid-region. One, the Supporter, takes the heaven and bears it: some keeping watch guard all the quarters safely”.


Commentary:

This verse clearly speaks about Bhagawan Shiva as the Skambha who pervades the earth, atmosphere, heaven and all directions! The same Atharva Veda in a hymn in praise of Shiva in his names – Bhava, Rudra, Sarva – makes everything explicitly clear as shown below!

It says that all the regions belong to Rudra (Skambha).

“táva cátasraḥ pradíśas táva dyáus táva pr̥thivī́ távedám ugrorv àntárikṣam |
távedáṃ sárvam ātmanvád yát prāṇát pr̥thivī́m ánu ||” (Atharvaveda XI:2:10)
“Thine, O strong god (ugra), are the four regions, thine the sky, thine the earth, and thine this broad atmosphere; thine is this all that has a spirit and has breath upon the earth”.

Further, it says that the lordship of the entire universe which includes – heaven, atmosphere, earth, and all directions – solely belongs to Rudra!

“bhavó divó bhavá īśe pr̥thivyā́ bhavá ā́ papra urv àntárikṣam |
tásyai námo yatamásyāṃ diśī̀táḥ ||” (Atharvaveda XI:2:27)
“Bhava rules the sky, Bhava rules the earth; Bhava has filled the broad: atmosphere. Reverence be to him in whatever direction from here (he abides)!”

For every direction there is a lord (dikpāla). However, it is only Bhagwan Rudra who is hailed as the lord of all directions. This is because he is verily the lord of the universe.

“diśāṁ cha patayē namō namō ||” (Yajurveda IV:5:2:a)
“Homage be to the lord of all directions, homage!”

Thus, it is evident that this current verse of Skambha Sukta beautifully talks about the glories of Bhagawan Rudra who is the Skambha, and the lord of – Heaven, Earth, Mid-Aid and all directions!


Verse – 37: Atharva Veda (X:8:37)

“yó vidyā́t sū́traṃ vítataṃ yásminn ótāḥ prajā́ imā́ḥ |
sū́traṃ sū́trasya yó vidyā́d sá vidyād brā́hmaṇaṃ mahát ||”37
“The man who knows the drawn-out string on which these creatures all are strung, The man who knows the thread’s thread, he may know the mighty Brahmana”.


Commentary:

This verse and the immediately next verse are related. Unlike previously seen sections where in one verse a riddle was asked and the enxt verse gave the answer – this verse poses a riddle and the next verse simply says that the answer is known to the Veda and keeps quiet.

Well, this is nothing but again a glorification of the Skambha (in macrocosm) and Sushumna (in microcosm) which is Shiva. In the microcosm Sushumna is the ‘thread’ and the Agni-Skambha (fire of consciousness) which runs through it is the ‘thread of thread’.

In Macrocosm – Meru is the ‘thread’ and the consciousness which pervades within it is the ‘thread of thread’.

Whosoever knows that it is Shiva who is the Agni-Skambha inside the body and inside the universe – knows the mighty Brahman (Shiva)!


Verse – 38: Atharva Veda (X:8:38)

“védāháṃ sū́traṃ vítataṃ yásminn ótāḥ prajā́ imā́ḥ |
sū́traṃ sū́trasyāháṃ vedā́tho yád brā́hmaṇaṃ mahád ||”38
“I know the drawn-out string, the thread whereon these creatures all are strung. I know the thread’s thread also, thus I know the mighty Brahmana”.

Commentary:

 Included in the previous verse – this verse needs no elaboration!


Verse – 39: Atharva Veda (X:8:39)

“yád antarā́ dyā́vāpr̥thivī́ agnír áit pradáhan viśvadāvyàḥ |
yátrā́tiṣṭhann ékapatnīḥ parástāt kvèvāsīn mātaríśvā tadā́nīm ||”39
“When Agni passed between the earth and heaven devouring with his flame the all-consumer,Where dwelt afar the spouse of one husband, where at that moment, where was Matarisvan?”


Commentary:

Skambha activated in a Yogi, inside the Sushumna, stands blazing from earth (mūlādhāra) to heaven (sahasrāra) it fully illuminating the Yogi with the fire of consciousness. While ascending upwards the fire consumes all his ‘vāsanās’ being the all-consumer. These ‘vāsanās’ are depicted as the ‘raktabēja’ sprouting from the blue-prints (read blood drops). The godess ‘kālīkā’ who is the fire of ‘kuṇdalinī’ consumes all the very seeds of the ‘vāsanās’ (rakta – beeja-s) and slays them!

When this Agni-Skambha is awakened, the faithful and chaste consort of this Shiva namely Uma (kuṇdalinī) dwells with him united with him in ‘sahasrāra’. At that moment ‘mātaríśvā’ which is the ‘Prāṇa’ too reaches and remains in ‘sahasrāra’.


Verse – 40: Atharva Veda (X:8:40)

“apsv ā̀sīn mātaríśvā práviṣṭaḥ práviṣṭā devā́ḥ salilā́ny āsan |
br̥hán ha tasthau rájaso vimā́naḥ pávamāno haríta ā́ viveśa ||”40
“Into the floods had Matarisvan entered, the deities had past into the waters. There stood the mighty measurer of the region: into the verdant plant went Pavamana”.


Commentary:

The second part of this verse occurs in verse no 3 (Atharvaveda X:8:03) above with the trailing portion having slight variation.

Well, ‘mātaríśvā’ (Prana) enters the Sushumna and rises upwards along with the supporting deities and travels through the Skambha upwards. Witnessing all these there remains Skambha (Shiva) who is the mighty measurer of all the seven regions. Into that fertile and green plant (Sushumna) entered and dripped down the purifying elixir Pavamana (Soma).


Verse – 41: Atharva Veda (X:8:41)

“úttareṇeva gayatrī́m amŕ̥té ‘dhi ví cakrame |
sā́mnā yé sā́ma saṃvidúr ajás tád dadr̥śe kvà ||”41
“Over the Gayatri, northwards, the immortal world he strode away.Those who by Song discovered Song–where did the Unborn see that thing?”


Commentary:

It is Agni (kuṇḍalinī) which shoots northwards (upwards) towards the world of immortality (sahasrāra).

Agni is hailed as being ‘three-fold’ in Yajurveda and Brahmanas many a times as follows.

“trivṛdagniryāvānagniryāvatyasya mātrā |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6:3:2:5)
“Threefold is Agni: as great as Agni is, as great as is his measure”.

Now, what does threefold Agni mean and what it means by his measure? We’ll analyze now. Gayatri is nothing but Agni himself as stated below.

“agnirvai gāyatrī |” (Shatapatha Brahmana 3:4:1:9)
“Gâyatrî is verily Agni”.

Well, not only that Gayatri is the name of Agni, but also the Gayatri meter (Chandas) is Agni’s meter. Agni’s measure also consists of 24 syllables because Gayatri meter consists of 24 syllables. This is evident from the following verse from Shatapatha Brahmana. Gayatri is called as “Tripada Gayatri” because it has three feet as like as Agni (both being identical), where each foot consist of eight syllables.

“yadveva caturviṃśatiḥ | caturviṃśatyakṣarā vai gāyatrī gāyatro‘gniryāvānagniryāvatyasya mātrā tāvataivainametatsaminddhe ||” (Shatapatha Brahmana 6.2.1.22)
“And, again, why there are twenty-four,–the Gâyatrî consists of twenty-four syllables and Agni is Gâyatra: as great as Agni is, as great as is his measure, by so much he thus kindles him”.

Now, a question arises, why is Agni’s measure being repeatedly praised here? What does Agni measure after all? And why Agni’s measure is three-fold? The answer is – it is the Kunḍalinī the Chid-Agni (Tripurasundari) who strides through the three inner worlds viz. Earth, Atmosphere and Sky via the three knots viz. Brahma Granthi, Vishnu Granthi and Rudra Granthi.

The truth is – Gayatri is “Chatushpada-Gayatri” (having four feet) however; it is called “tripada-gayatri” (having three feet) because only three feet of it is revealed. The fourth foot is supramundane and that foot is nothing but the Sun (i.e., Brahman) as Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad (VV-xiv-3) proclaims as given below.

“athᾱsya etad eva turīyaṁ darśatam padam parorajᾱ ya eṣa tapati; yad vai caturthaṁ tat turīyam; darśatam padam iti, dadṛśa iva. hy eṣaḥ; parorajᾱ iti, sarvam u hy evaiṣa raja upari upari tapati. evaṁ haiva śriyᾱ, yaśasᾱ tapati, yo’syᾱ etad evam padaṁ veda |” (Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad VV-xiv-3)
“Now its Turiya, apparently visible, supramundane foot is indeed this – the sun that shines. ‘Turiya’ means the fourth. ‘Apparently visible foot’, because he is seen, as it were. ‘Supramundane’, because he shines on the whole universe as its overlord. He who knows the fourth foot of the Gayatri to be such shines in the same way with splendour and fame”.

Thus this fourth foot is placed in the immortal world viz. ‘sahasrāra’!


Verse – 42: Atharva Veda (X:8:42)

“nivéśanaḥ saṃgámano vásūnāṃ devá iva savitā́ satyádharmā |
índro ná tasthau samaré dhánānām ||”42
“Luller to rest, and gatherer-up of treasures, Savitar like a God whose laws are constant, hath stood like Indra in the war for riches”.


Commentary:

Breakup: – wealth (vasu) – rest (nisheshana) – moves (samgamanaH) – righteousness and truth (satya dharma) – for the wealth (dhananam) – in the war (samara) – god (devah) – like the sun (savita iva) – Indra (indrah) – stood (tasthau).

Rephrasing:- The one who puts all the wealth to rest and moves; one who is the epitome of righteousness and truth; (that) god like the sun for the wealth stood like Indra in the war.

Shiva, is the supreme light, hence he is referred as ‘savitar’ in Svetaswatara Upanishad. He is the giver of the riches, which includes – siddhis (occult powers), wisdom as well as liberation. All those who are in the darkness of ignorance and are in ‘samsāra’, they are blanketed under ‘śiva-māyā’ and that is called ‘tirōdhāna’ (veiling) and for them all the wealth of liberation is kept concealed (i.e., kept to rest).

Those Yogis desirous of knowing Shiva when rise upwards through the path of ‘sushumna’, for them wealth moves (i.e., they gain the wealth of siddhis, jnana as well as liberation) by the ‘anugraha’ (grace) of Shiva who is the epitome of righteousness and truth. 

That supreme light viz. Shiva stands firm like Indra in the war against the ‘vritra’ who is the demon of ignorance shrouding the intellect of men. For the man who desiring knowledge and liberation takes refuge in Shiva (as a devotee) or strives to know about Shiva (as a vedantin) or travels on the internal path to Shiva (as a yogi) – assisting such persons Shiva stands as Indra and makes them free of ‘vritra’ demon by slaying him and grants the riches of – siddhis (powers), jnana (wisdom) and mukti (libration).

In AtharvaVeda’s ‘hymn to Bhava, and Sarva’ Rudra is called as – the thousand eyed slayer of vritra! Thus, it makes it clear that the Indra who slays vritra is Rudra!

“sahasrākṣáu vr̥trahánā huveháṃ dūrégavyūtī stuvánn emy ugráu |
yā́v asyéśathe dvipádo yáu cátuṣpadas táu no muñcatam áṃhasaḥ ||” (Atharvaveda IV:28:03)
“The thousand-eyed slayers of Vritra both do I invoke. I go praising the two strong gods (ugrau) whose pastures extend far. Ye who rule all these two-footed and four-footed creatures, deliver us from grief and trouble”.

Thus we have analysed this section. Now let’s move to the next one!


Verse – 43: Atharva Veda (X:8:43)

“puṇḍárīkaṃ návadvāraṃ tribhír guṇébhir ā́vr̥tam |
tásmin yád yakṣám ātmanvát tád vái brahmavído viduḥ ||”43
“Men versed in sacred knowledge know that living Being that abides. In the nine-portalled Lotus Flower, enclosed with triple bands and bonds”.


Commentary:

The second part of this verse is exactly same as spoken in Atharvaveda (X:2:32) a hymn to Purusha!

“tásmin hiraṇyáye kóśe tryàre trípratiṣṭhite |
tásmin yád yakṣám ātmanvát tád vái brahmavído viduḥ ||” (Atharvaveda X:2:32)
“Men deep in lore of Brahman know that animated Being (yakṣá) which dwells in the golden treasure-chest that hath three spokes and three supports”.

The nine-portalled lotus is our body having nine openings viz. – two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, one mouth, one anus, and one opening in the organ of generation! The triple bands are the three nerves viz. – Ida, pingala, and sushumna. The triple bonds are the three knots viz. – brahma-granthi, Vishnu-granthi and rudra-granthi.

Inside such a lotus (body) resides the lord Shiva as Agni-Skambha, illuminating the inanimate (lifeless) body with consciousness and making it animate (living). This Skambha is verily the Atman!


Verse – 44: Atharva Veda (X:8:44)

“akāmó dhī́ro amŕ̥taḥ svayaṃbhū́ rásena tr̥ptó ná kútaś canónaḥ |
tám evá vidvā́n ná bibhāya mr̥tyór ātmā́naṃ dhī́ram ajáraṃ yúvānam ||”44
“Desireless, firm, immortal, self-existent, contented with the essence, lacking nothing, Free from the fear of Death is he who knoweth that Soul courageous, youthful, undecaying”.


Commentary:

That learned person who knows this Shiva, who is the Skambha, as his very own self (Atman); for such a person everything is attained. Such a person remains free from desire, dwells firmly in Shiva, becomes immortal (liberated), becomes self-existent (on knowing himself not different from Shiva), becomes satisfied (as after attaining Shiva nothing exists to desire for attainment further), becomes full (hence lacks nothing), is not touched by ‘samsara’ (hence becomes free from the fear of births and deaths).

The conclusion of Skambha Sukta is – One who knows ‘Skambha’ truly – has nothing else to know!

 

8. APPENDIX A: – Vijayendra Tirtha’s flawed understanding of ‘lingodbhava’ is refuted

 

It is not a matter of surprise to see that even the great scholars and acharyas fail to comprehend Mahadeva’s nature when mother Uma doesn’t grace them. One such case is with a great scholar and acharya of ‘dwaita Vedanta sampradaya’ named – Sri Vijayendra Tirtha! He was doubtlessly a great scholar in his own right when it comes to the authority on Madhavacharya’s philosophy, but when it comes to his understanding of Shiva-tatwam – his understanding was totally wrong. Not his fault – all the Vaishnava sampradayas fail to comprehend Mahadeva in his true nature.

Recently, when I and my friends were discussing certain political issue on Mahabharata, one of my friends explained me beautifully how the “market economics” and “brand building” works to ones advantage in politics. He said:

“One may be slightly ahead of the pack in one aspect at a particular time. If he or his associates consolidates his position, he becomes a ‘Brand’! Subsequently, the brand reinforces itself and becomes the ‘Gold Standard’; and enjoys the benefit of doubt even if actions may not measure up to his status – Simple market economics – Applicable to politics!”

This exactly fits the case of Sri Vijayendra Tirtha. He was doubtlessly a scholar par excellence in his niche area of dualistic school of philoshphy, hence he became a brand. His brand got strengthened and had become a ‘Gold Standard’. Then he tried his hand in criticising stories from Shiva related Puranas, and had written a refutation of Shiva’s supremacy related stories. Even though this area being outside of his niche skillset, he enjoyed ‘benefit of doubt’ of all his followers and his works had gained the acceptance of the readers and followers – despite those works not measuring up to his status.

He authored a text called ‘śaiva-sarvasva-khaṇḍanaṁ’ – it is a medium work comprising of eleven puranic incidents of Shiva’s supremacy and their rebuttal. It is said that this text is seen as a part of ‘sarva siddhānta sārāsāra vivēchanaṁ’ in the published and printed books and is said to be available in Raghavendra Mutt. In this work, the very first story taken for refutation was – ‘lingodbhava’ legend. Sri Vijayendra Tirtha refutes it as follows:

(The below text is adapted from the postings from Dwaita related websites and blogs).

“That is false. That anecdote can be disregarded because it contradicts Vishnu’s sarvottamatva, which is known from sAttvika purANas. In any case, this anecdote appears in kUrma and linga purANas. That these two are tAmasic is well known. It is also that it is contradicted by scriptures such as – “uddhr̥itāsi varāhēṇa kr̥ṣṇēṇa śatabāhunā”, which refers to the support of the entire life, i.e., earth or prakr̥itī as being lifted by Vishnu. It cannot be said that whatever was lifted by Vishnu is not the ‘liṇga’; for, there is no pramāṇa that the śivaliṇga is aprākrita (not made of prakriti elements), or that there is no limit to the śivaliṇga”.

That’s it. He calls ‘liṇgōdbhava’ legend as worth being rejected as tāmasik!

Now I dearly wish that Sri Vijayendra Tirtha were alive today to read this article. Assuming that if he were alive, by this time he would have developed open-mindedness to accept the refutation of his work, and assuming he would not behave like the modern day dull-headed and adamant fanatics  – I believe; he would have accepted the grand ‘bhuvaneshvara principle’ that is hidden in ‘liṇgōdbhava’ legend as seen in the above article throughout!

  • He would have surely, understood that it is a ‘yōga vijnāna rahasya’ at the level of ‘piṇḍāṇḍa’ and a cosmic phenomenon at the level of ‘braḥmāṇḍa’.
  • He would surely, have understood that the ‘śivaliṇga’ is ‘aprākrita’ because it is the very Brahman being the pillar of cosmic fire of consciousness.
  • He would have accepted that the “Earth” which Vishnu (as Varāha) bore on his tusks and lifted it up, doesn’t contain this Skambha; rather, the earth is ‘contained’ within the Skambha! Hence Vishnu cannot ever lift Skambha on his tusks!

With this, I respectfully declare that his refutation of ‘liṇgōdbhava’ as contained in his work ‘śaiva-sarvasva-khaṇḍanaṁ’ – has been demolished! Other topics of that text are out of scope of this current article, they may be taken up separately for a response as and when Mahadeva wishes and commands me to do so!
 

9. APPENDIX B: – Worshiping ‘Shiva Linga’ is NOT ‘Phallus worship’! – Refuting WENDY DONIGER’S rampant garbage!

 

It is a huge misconception among people that ‘Linga’ and ‘Yoni’ refer to genitals and ‘linga puja’ is worshiping Shiva’s phallus. Such a disgusting concept has been propagated by the Christian missionary led indologists and so called researchers on Hinduism scriptures. In fact every anti-hindu religion such as Christianity and Islam (just to name few) – allege that Hindus are phallic worshipers. This has only 20% to do with pure ignorance of knowledge of Hinduism scriptures and rest 80% is clearly out of malicious, and wishful thinking to malign Hinduism so that their religions can be promoted. Here we’ll discuss the true import of scriptures with regard to Linga and Yoni.

The so called ‘scholars’ of Western countries, who have conferred ‘doctorate’ degrees on themselves, and thus consider themselves more authoritative than the real-scholars of this land of Hindus, paint Hinduism as a religion whose scriptures are authored by sex-addict, and perverted people. Foremost among such ‘scholars’ are ‘Wendy Doniger’ and her students whose interpretations of Hinduism especially Shiva, Shakti, and Ganesha are so filled with erotic meanings and ‘sexual nonsense’ that a true Hindu’s blood starts boiling on reading their stupid interpretations. Let me cite one verse from Wnedy Doniger’s pen.

“Lord Shiva is a serial adulterer & encourages adultery. His penis is worshipped as Lingam by Hindus”. – Wendy Doniger.

She flaunts her forty years of study on Hinduism. How come she could not understand what ‘linga’ means in reality even after having researched and studied Hinduism for forty years? I don’t think she is so dull and unintelligent; she is surely intelligent to know the true meanings. Therefore, I am convinced that her motives are only to malign Hinduism on purpose – and the purpose is the Christian missionary agenda – which is to push Hinduism down to uplift Christianity and get Hindus converted to their religion.

Well, I would leave to ‘Sri Rajiv Malhotra Ji’ and his team; the task of refuting ‘Wendy Doniger’ and her team’s works in totality, as he and his team are doing that job already. I would touch upon only one topic – ‘Linga worship’ and would refute the incorrect interpretations and would establish the meanings sanctioned by scriptures.

9.1. The meaning of ‘Linga’ as per scriptures


The word ‘Linga’ has several meanings – all synonymous to each other. Linga means – ‘sign’, or ‘symbol’, or ‘emblem’, or ‘image’ – However, the application of these meanings vary – this is because, Shiva is the Supreme Being  devoid of attributes, hence he has no linga (sign) of him in reality, but in order to denote him, some sign is necessary, therefore in different contexts different things become his linga (sign) to denote him. Let’s see few examples to understand this concept better.

Linga Purana says that the avyakta (Pradhana Prakriti) which comprises this universe is the ‘Linga’ of Shiva. This is logically true because Shiva is beyond creation and he again manifests as the creation, but to denote him who is attributeless, what could be a more appropriate sign than his creation itself? Hence Linga Purana says – ‘Pradhana (Prakriti)’ is the linga (sign) through which Shiva is denoted. In other words, Shiva who is the attributeless Supreme Being is known by the Prakriti, hence Prakriti is his symbol (linga).

“alingō lingamūlaṁ tu avyaktaṁ lingamuchyatē |
alingaḥ śiva ityuktō lingaṁ śaivamiti smr̥taṁ ||” (Linga Purana 3:01)
“The non-charecterized (i.e., one without a sign or linga) is the root of the charecterized (i.e., one with a sign or linga). The avyakta (manifest Prakriti) is the charecterized (linga), while Shiva is without sign (alinga), but the one with sign or linga (i.e., prakriti) is said to be related to Shiva”.

In above verse from Linga Purana we have seen that Prakriti is the ‘Linga’ of Shiva. Now, let’s see what Shiva Purana says.

In Shiva Purana, the sages asked Suta about the reason of existence of two modes of worship for lord Shiva i.e., – worship using linga and worship using idol. There Suta answers its aying, Shiva is the ‘brahman’ hence he is nishkala (attributeless) as well as sakala (with attributes). He further says that Shiva’s nishkala aspect is worshiped using linga as Linga itself is a symbol of formlessness and attributelessness. Then he says that since it is he who assumes a form with attributes, worshiping using idol is also a valid mode.

“munaya ūcuḥ |
beramātre tu sarvatra pūjyaṃte devatāgaṇāḥ |
liṃgebere ca sarvatra kathaṃ saṃpūjyate śivaḥ ||” (Shiva Purana_1:5:8)
“[Rishis asked:] Everywhere all other gods are worshipped in the form of idols not in the form of Linga but then why do we have the custom of worshipping Lord Shiva in the form of idol as well as linga?”

“sūta uvāca |
aho munīśvarāḥ puṇyaṃ praśnametanmahādbhutam |
atra vaktā mahādevo nānyo ‘sti puruṣaḥ kvacit ||9
śivenoktaṃ pravakṣyāmi kramādgurumukhācchrutam |
śivaiko brahmarūpatvānniṣkalaḥ parikīrtitaḥ ||10
rūpitvātsakalastadvattasmātsakalaniṣkalaḥ |
niṣkalatvānnirākāraṃ liṃgaṃ tasya samāgatam ||11
sakalatvāttathā beraṃ sākāraṃ tasya saṃgatam |
sakalākalarūpatvādbrahmaśabdābhidhaḥ paraḥ ||” (Shiva Purana_1:5:9-12)
“[Suta said:] Great sages! You have asked a very sacred and excellent question. No human could be competent to answer this; only Lord Shiva is the right person to answer this. Therefore, I would narrate the answer to this question exactly as I learnt from my Guru (Vyasa) who had heard the answer to this as stated by lord Shiva himself. — Lord Shiva alone is the ‘brahman’ hence he is called as ‘nishkala (devoid of attributes)’; again, he assumes a form hence he is called as ‘sakala (with attributes)’. This is why he is both saguna and Nirguna.  Because he is Nirguna (attributeless Brahman) the object of his worship viz. Linga is also a symbol of attributelessness (nirguna), it means, Shiva-Linga is a symbol of the Nirgunatwam (attributelessness) of lord Shiva. On the same lines, because Lord Shiva is also Saguna (with attributes) his idol denotes him with attributes. Because lord Shiva is both Sakala (with attributes) and Nishkala (without attributes), it is he who is the paramatman called as ‘Brahman’. This is the reason why he has both modes of worship i.e., idol worship as well as Linga worship”.

From the above extracts it is clear that ‘linga’ which is itself a symbol denoting attributelessness and formlessness, cannot denote a ‘genital’ as genitals are not formless organs. Hence the possibility of ‘linga’ being Shiva’s phallus is refuted. Thus, Linga is the ‘sign’ which denotes Shiva’s infinite attributeless nature.

Further, the same Shiva Purana says that, the question about the origin of ‘Linga’ and ‘Idol’ modes of worship was put forth by Sanatkumara to Nandi and Nandi replied saying that from the day when ‘lingodbhavam’ happened, and Shiva’s infinite nature of pillar of cosmic fire of consciousness was seen by Brahma and Vishnu – from that day that Agni-Skambha has been worshiped as ‘Linga’. Also because he displayed himself in his beautiful form also, his idol worship has been sanctioned for his saguna form.

“nandikeśvara uvāca |
śṛṇu vatsa bhavatprītyā vakṣyāmi paramārthataḥ ||26
purā kalpe mahākāle prapanne lokaviśrute |
āyudhyetāṃ mahātmānau brahmaviṣṇū parasparam ||27
tayormānaṃ nirākartuṃ tanmadhye parameśvaraḥ |
niṣkalastaṃbharūpeṇa svarūpaṃ samadarśayat ||28
tataḥ svaliṃgacihnatvātstambhato niṣkalaṃ śivaḥ |
svaliṃgaṃ darśayāmāsa jagatāṃ hitakāmyayā ||29
tadāprabhṛti lokeṣu niṣkalaṃ liṃgamaiśvaram |
sakalaṃ ca tathā beraṃ śivasyaiva prakalpitam ||30
śivānyeṣaḥ tu devānāṃ beramātraṃ prakalpitam |31ab
tattadberaṃ tu devānāṃ tattadbhogapradaṃ śubham ||31cd
śivasya liṃgaberatvaṃ bhogamokṣapradaṃ śubham ||” 31ef (Shiva Purana_1:526-31)
“Listen to me O son as I narrate with affection for you the highest truth. In earlier times in the first kalpa which is famous in this world, in that kalpa, Brahma and Vishnu indulged into a fight (debate) to prove oneself greater over the another. In order to resolve their conflict in between appeared Parameshwara (Shiva) in the form of an infinite pillar of fire. For the benefit of the world that nirguna shiva from his blazing pillar of fire displayed his form of linga. Therefore from that day that Sthambha (pillar) denoted the Nishkala (Nirguna) aspect of Shiva, and that has become called as Linga denoting Nirguna aspect of Maheshwara! Even Sakala form as idol also has been assumed by Shiva for himself. For gods other than Shiva only idol worship has been proposed. The idol worship of all other gods bestows all sorts of enjoyments whereas lord Shiva’s worship in idol form or in the form of linga, both bestows enjoyments as well as liberation!”

‘Skambha’ is not a pillar made of physical matter. It is the infinite fire of consciousness. Hence Skambha itself is ‘nirguṇa’. The word ‘nirguṇa’ itself is the ‘sign (linga)’ of ‘Brahman’ who is Shiva! Therefore, it is again clear that the Agni-Sthambha aspect of Shiva denotes his infinite ‘brahman’ aspect and hence that column of fire is his ‘linga’. Once again the allegations of ‘Linga’ being Shiva’s ‘phallus’ is found to have no support in scriptures!

Yet in another chapter, Shiva Purana calls the ‘Agni-Skambha’ of Shiva as the one which Yogis perceive in their hearts; and says that this ‘Skambha’ which is seen in one’s hearts is the symbol (Linga) denoting Shiva. Here is the corresponding verse cited below. The below verse talks about – the nirguna (attributeless), all-pervasive, imperishable, auspicious nature of Shiva-Linga – which are all nothing but the adjectives that Upanishads employ to describe Brahman. These are in no wierd imagination the attributes of a ‘phallus’.

“parānandakaraṁ lingaṁ viṣuddhaṁ ṣivamakṣharaṁ |
niṣhkalaṁ sarvagaṁ gyēyaṁ yōgināṁ hr̥udisaṁsthitaṁ || (Shiva Purana 2:12:50)
“This Shiva-linga is pristine and confers supreme happiness, it is auspicious and imperishable. This is attributeless, all-pervasive, and resides in the hearts of Yogis”.

The same attributes about the inner-linga is stated in other words in Swetashvatara Upanishad as follows.

“eko devaḥ sarvabhūteṣu gūḍhaḥ sarvavyāpī sarvabhūtāntarātmā |
karmādhyakṣaḥ sarvabhūtādhivāsaḥ sākṣī cetā kevalo nirguṇaśca |” (Śvētasvatāra upaniṣad 6:11)
“He is the one God, hidden in all beings, all-pervading, the self within all beings, watching over all works, dwelling in all beings, the witness, the perceiver, the only one, free from qualities”.

The Linga visible within the hearts of Yogis is the same which manifests outside as the gross linga for accepting worship of those who are not competent to turn their vision inwards. The below verses narrate that Shiva linga is of two types, the less learned ones worship it by forming it in shape outwardly (gross form) and the learned sages worship it in their inner self (subtle form). These verses again try to explain the same thing that from gross to subtle, from outward to inwards the vision needs to be turned in order to realize Shiva as their true self.

lingaṁtu dvividhaṁ prōktaṁ bāhyamābhyantaraṁ dvijāḥ |
bāhyasthūlaṁ samudyiṣhtaṁ sūkṣmamābhyantaraṁmataṁ || 51
karmayagyaratā ye cha sthūlalingārchane ratāḥ |
asataṁ bhāvanārthāya sūkṣhmēṇa sthūlavigrahāḥ || (Shiva Purana 2:12:51-52)
”Hey brahmanas! Linga is said to be of two types viz – outward and inward. The outward linga is called as ‘sthula linga’ (gross form) and the inward one is called as ‘sukshma linga’ (subtle one) (51). Those who are devoted to Karma-Yagya (actions) they take interest in worshipping the sthula-linga, for those who haven’t yet gained the knowledge to comprehend inward subtle linga for such people the subtle one itself manifests as the gross form (52).

“gyānināṁ sūkṣhmamamalaṁ bhāvātpratyakṣhamavyayaṁ |
yathā sthūlamayuktānāmutkr̥uṣhtādau prakalpitaṁ ||” (Shiva Purana 2:12:54)
“For the gyanis, devotion towards the sukshma-linga bestows purification of mind and with their contemplation that imperishable manifests itself the way for the less knowledgeable ones being entitled to sthula-linga worship gain the high results therefrom”.

This Skambha visible to the inner eyes of a Yogi inside his heart is called as the ‘Purusha of the size of a thumb (aṁguṣṭhamātra puruṣa)’ in Upanishads. That is the Linga of Shiva! Hence this inner linga cannot be a ‘phallus’ which is an external organ. Therefore once again the misconception of ‘linga’ being Shiva’s ‘phallus’ is clearly refuted.

Let’s once more talk about the ‘linga’ in the heart. The spiritual-heart is called ‘dahara’ and is the ‘ākāśa’. This ‘daharākāśa’ is the seat of ‘chitta (consciousness)’ as explained by ‘kāvyakaṇṭha gaṇapati muni’ in ‘umā sahasraṁ’. I’m quoting only the relevant portion of the verse here.

“tadanāhatasya vilasad dakṣiṇato daharanāmakaguhāyām cittaṁ …|” (umā sahasraṁ 4:17)
“The consciousness (chitta) is located in the cavity called dahara (heart) on the right side of anahata chakra”. 

This seat of ‘chitta’ is within the ‘ākāśa’ – hence this palce is called as ‘chidākāśa’. Now, ‘ākāśa’ is also called as ‘ambara’ in Sanskrit. Therefore this ‘ambara’ is the place of ‘chit’ hence it is the place called as ‘chidambaraṁ’ where the Supreme Being i.e., Shiva always dances as ‘natarāja’! Since Shiva and Shakti are always one body and two halves – ‘Lalita Sahasranama Stotra’ of ‘Brahmanda Purana’ calls her as “naṭeśvarī” in the 734th name – which means ‘goddess of dance’, hence she is identical with ‘natarāja’ and becomes the one dancing in the ‘dahara’.

This ‘dahara’ of the heart being the ‘chidambara kṣētraṁ’ is even evident from ‘sūta saṁhitā’ as follows.

“chidaṁbaraṁ cha hr̥nmadhya ādhāraḥ kamalālayaḥ ||” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:51b)
“Chidambaram exists in the center of the heart and kamalalaya (tiruvayur) in the Mūlādhāra”.

This ‘chidambaraṁ’ is one of the ‘panchabhūta lingā-s’ and is of the ‘ākāśa’ tatwa. Therefore ‘chidambaraṁ’ is Shiva’s ‘ākāśa linga’. Now tell me with what length of imagination is it possible to visualize somebody’s ‘phallus’ made up of sky (ākāśa)?

Therefore based on the context the application of the word ‘linga’ varies but in none of the case has ever a phallus been said to be representing Shiva. Whosoever had drawn such conclusions might have done either due to ignorance and incompetence in understanding scriptures or might have done with malicious intentions.

9.2. Shiva is Bhagawan because he is the owner of ‘bhaga’


Shiva is the only god who is hailed as ‘bhagawān’ in Vedas. Shiva Purana defines the word ‘bhagawān’ and says that – ‘bhaga’ belongs to ‘prakriti’ and ‘bhaga’ is the source of all ‘bhōga-s’ and since Shiva is the lord of that ‘bhaga’ he is ‘bharga’ and hence he is called ‘bhagawān’. This is stated in below verse from Shiva Purana.

“bhagasyedaṃ bhogamiti śabdārtho mukhyataḥ śrutaḥ |
mukhyo bhagastu prakṛtirbhagavāñchiva ucyate ||102
bhagavānbhogadātāhinā ‘nyobhogapradāyakaḥ |
bhagasvāmīcabhagavānbharga ityucyatebudhaiḥ ||” (Shiva Purana_1:16.102-103)
“‘bhoga’ is said to be from ‘bhaga’; this is the primary meaning of ‘bhaga’ and primarily it relates to Prakriti of the form of ‘bhaga’; and ‘bhagawan’ is said to be Shiva. The giver of bhoga is bhagawan alone, there is no other who gives bhoga, bhagawan is the lord of ‘bhaga’ and hence he is called as ‘bharga’.

In the above verse bhaga is said to be source of ‘bhoga’ and ‘bhoga’ can be experienced only with the association of Prakriti. Hence ‘bhaga’ relates to ‘Prakriti’. Shiva is the one who gives ‘bhoga’ to all. Well, ‘bhoga’ not only means pleasure, but even pain is ‘bhoga’; pleasure is explicit meaning but in order to appreciate Shiva’s role completely, we need to understand the implicit meaning of ‘pain’ too. Shiva is the ‘ishwara’ who is the ‘karma-phala-data’ – as he gives rewards and punishments to all jivas based on the ‘karmas (actions)’ good or bad respectively done by the ‘Jivas’. Since he is the giver of ‘bhoga’ – he is ‘bhagawan’ which is also termed as ‘ishwara’. For enjoying all bhogas one needs to have a body (dēha); and all such bodies are composed of Prakriti. Even after the death when a ‘Jiva’ who has committed sins moves to Yama’s abode, he is given a body called as ‘yātanā dēha’ (means – body for punishment). And with that body the Jiva gets tormented. When a ‘Jiva’ ascends to higher worlds such as ‘chandralōka’ (abode of moon), or ‘swargaloka’ (heaven) – a ‘Jiva’ is given a ‘divya- dēha’ (divine body) to enjoy pleasures for his good deeds. On getting his all bankbalance of virtues of vices used up – a ‘Jiva’ is given a ‘bhoutika-dēha’ (body made of five elements) and is given birth on Earth again to continue his life cycle. Therefore, in all the cases – it is Prakriti who actually gives ‘experiences’ of pains or pleasures. Shiva only rewards them! But since Shiva is the lord of Prakriti, he is the lord of ‘bhaga’.

Even Svetaswatara Upanishad calls Shiva as the lord of ‘bhaga’ (i.e., lord of – prosperity, bliss, fortune, virtues, and fruition)…

 

“sa vṛkṣakālākṛtibhiḥ paro’nyo |
yasmāta prapañcaḥ parivartate’yama ||
dharmāvahaṃ pāpanudaṃ bhageśaṃ |
jñaātvātmasthamamṛtaṃ viśvadhāma ||” (śvetāśvatāra upaniṣad VI:06)
“He is beyond all the forms of the tree (of the world) and of time, he is the other, from whom this world moves round, when one has known him who brings good and removes evil, the lord of ‘bhaga’, as dwelling within the self, the immortal, the support of all”.

At the level of Shiva and Shakti – the way ‘linga’ doesn’t mean ‘phallus’ despite being the generator of the seed of creation; similarly, ‘bhaga’ doesn’t mean ‘vagina’ even though it is the source of ‘bhoga’.

9.3. Meaning of – Brahman generates the seed and yoni of Prakriti receives the seed


Bhagawad Gita verse BG 14:03 (mama yōnir mahad braḥma tasmin garbhaṁ dadhāmy ahaṁ) and also BG 14:04 (tāsāṁ braḥma mahad yōnir ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā). Even the verse no. 8 of ‘rudrahr̥dayōpanṣat’ says that Rudra is the generator of ‘seed’ (rudrātpravartatē bījaṁ). Although all such scriptures talk outwardly about womb and the process of impregnation, yet this again has nothing to do with copulation! Creation of universe is not any sexual activity between uma-maheshwara. How creation occurs has been written in detail in my article on ‘Kāmēśvara tatwaṁ’, titled “The Imperishable Glory of Lord Kameshwara – The Primordial God of Desire“.

In summary let me touch upon the concept of creation. Creation occurs through ‘Vāk’ and ‘akāra’ (letter ‘a’) is said to be ‘sarvā vāk‘ meaning entire set of alphabet emerges from ‘akāra’. Thus ‘akāra’ is the seed for creation and Rudra is the one whose ‘vāk’ generates ‘akāra’ which is the seed and that is received by ‘Uma’ and when it unites with ‘ikāra’ of ‘Uma’, then creation proceeds. Further details one can read in tha above mentioned article.

Therefore Rudra is the cause of creation by giving the seed letter ‘akāra’ hence he is the seed giving father who is represented by Linga. Uma is the receiver of that ‘akāra’ in herself who exists as ‘ikāra’ and then their union of speech produces the world. Since she is the receiver of seed of Rudra, she is the ‘bhaga’ and since she is the prakriti which gives shape to this universe from her – She is the ‘source’ of the universe hence she is called ‘yōnī’ where ‘yōnī’ means ‘source’. One of the ‘brahma-sutra’ reads as ‘śāstra-yōnivat’, meaning ‘knowledge of brahman emanates from Vedas’; if ‘’yōnī’ is rigidly translated as ‘vagina’, I wonder how would this ‘brahma-sutra’ read!
Hence the Shiva Linga which is a combination of ellipsoidal ‘linga’ mounted on a circular base called ‘pīṭhā’ together represents the union of Uma and maheshwara and their union is not sexual but rather it is through ‘mātrikās (alphabets)’. Hence now it should have become clear that even though in certain places scriptures apparently support sexual meanings to ‘linga’ and ‘yōnī’, in reality they do not!

9.4. Creation is likened to cosmic sacrifice (yajna) and not to copulation


Even when scriptures state that entire universe emerged from Shiva’s ‘linga’, it cannot be interpreted sexually! For instance, In the Skambha Suktam – which is a hymn to Shiva Linga (the cosmic pillar), states that entire universe emerged from linga (Skambha).

“yátra skambháḥ prajanáyan purāṇáṃ vyávartayat ||” (Atharva Veda X:7:26)
“Where Skambha (i.e., linga) generating gave the ancient world its shape and form”.

The same is expressed in Mahabharata by Veda Vyasa who said that Kesava (i.e., Vishnu) considers entire universe to have sprung from ‘linga’ of Shiva.

“sa eṣa rudra bhaktaś ca keśavo rudra saṃbhavaḥ | sarvabhūtabhavaṃ jñātvā liṅge ‘rcayati yaḥ prabhum | tasminn abhyadhikāṃ prītiṃ karoti vṛṣabhadhvajaḥ |” (MBH 7:172:89-90)
“Kesava is that devoted worshipper of Rudra who has sprung from Rudra himself. Kesava always worships the Lord Siva, regarding his Linga emblem to be the origin of the universe. The God having the bull for his mark cherisheth greater regard for Kesava”.

Shiva’s linga is ‘Skambha’ which is the cosmic pillar, which is nothing but the infinite expanse of consciousness which is Shiva and he is basically Brahman – as consciousness is Brahman. Therefore Skambha or linga should not be understood as an organ of generation. To understand why the ‘all-generating-linga’ cannot be termed as ‘phallus’ let me put an argument – this would make the concept clearer!

Let’s forget for a while that purusha sukta’s four ‘varṇā-s’ emerging from ‘head, shoulders, thighs and feet’ etc descriptions are metaphorical. Let us take them very ‘literally’ for a while. Now think for a second, had the universe really been produced with sexual union of ‘linga’ and ‘yōnī’ of Shiva and Shakti, Vedic hymns such as ‘purusha sukta’ must have sung verses like “from his organ of generation proceeded brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas, and shudras….from his organ of generation proiceeded chandrama”. It makes no sense to see Veda purusha Rudra creating ‘brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishys, shudras and moon’ from face, shoulders, thighs, feet and mind respectively as stated in ‘Purusha Sukta’ if ‘linga’ was supposed to mean ‘organ of generation’.

Moreover, Purusha Sukta identifies cosmic creation process with ‘yajna (sacrifice)’ as could be easily seen from below verse.

“tasmād yajñāt sarvahutaḥ sambhṛtaṃ pṛṣadājyam |
paśūntāṃścakre vāyavyānāraṇyān ghrāmyāśca ye ||” (Rig Veda 10:90:8)
“From that great general sacrifice the dripping fat was gathered up. He formed the creatures of-the air, and animals both wild and tame”.

In fact there is a complete hymn in Atharva Veda (11:07) called “Hymn to Ucchistha” which is a hymn of creation through sacrifice. Its very first verse itself says that entire creation of name and form originated from the residue of sacrifice.

“úcchiṣṭe nā́ma rūpáṃ cócchiṣṭe loká ā́hitaḥ |
úcchiṣṭa índraś cāgníś ca víśvam antáḥ samā́hitam |” (Atharva Veda 11:07:01)
“The Residue of Sacrifice containeth name, and from, and world: Indra and Agni and the whole universe are comprised therein”.

The axiom is – Vedas cannot contradict each other! Skambha Sukta, Uchchishtha Sukta, and Purusha Sukta – all are from Vedas. Hence ‘Skambha’ is Shiva’s ‘linga (emblem)’ and not ‘phallus’; and since ‘skambha’ is verily Brahman who is also called as ‘Purusha’; entire universe sprang from Purusha (who is Shiva). And we have already seen that Purusha Sukta talks about creation through sacrifice, which is exactly same as what has been stated in ‘Ucchishtha sukta’ about creation! Thus, all these three hymns are in sync and this proves that the ‘linga’ is an ‘emblem’ and creation is not sexual. Hope now it is understood why ‘linga’ or ‘yōnī’ cannot be interpreted sexually!

9.5. Then why have the male-female organs of creatures been called ‘linga’ and ‘bhaga or yoni’?


Before getting into the technical details, let me tell you a story – it’s not a story per se, but it is a narrative of true incident – about a peculiar practice in villages in India. Since technological revolution is comparatively recent in origin and even though we enjoy the benefits of technology, yet there is a large segment of rural population which have no knowledge of technology and access to sophisticated tools. Hence in villages people follow a peculiar method for identifying their belongings. In villages people rear pigs, and a she-pig usually gives birth to multiple piglets at a time. In order to distinguish one’s piglets from a neighbour’s piglets, the owners put some permanent mark on the piglets like – cutting the left ear of all his piglets. His neighbour would follow a different mark like – cutting the right ear of all his piglets. Well, this is painful for us, but it has been seen as being followed. Now, they could easily let loose the piglets and stay relaxed. By the end of the day when their piglets or pigs are to be brought home, they would identify them as – “All the pigs and piglets with left ear mutilated are mine!” and similarly the neighbourhood owner would identify all the pigs having right ear mutilated for himself! On similar lines, even in the technologically advanced regions too we have same principle of marking one’s creation or possessions – such as – Every company has it’s distinguished and trademarked ‘logo’, be it Mercedes car, General Electric (GE) company, or any software industry like Microsoft, or banks like State bank of India – every company identifies it’s manufactured products by the logo they emboss on their products. This is a widespread style across all industries. By looking at the logo itself, we would be able to tell which car is Mercedes, which is Toyota, which is Honda; which cheque belongs to State Bank of India, and so on so forth!

This is the way Shankara and Uma also work! This entire cosmos along with all the creatures has been given birth by Uma and Maheshwara; hence it entirely belongs to them alone. There is no other god who has the absolute claim of ownership on all the beings of this universe. For that reason – all the creatures bear only the marks of Shiva and Uma on their bodies. The ‘Skambha’ is Shiva’s sign (Linga), which is embossed or carved on all masculine creatures and hence it is called ‘linga’. Similarly, the ‘Bhaga’ is the sign of ‘Prakriti’ (Uma) and hence that ‘sign’ has been embossed or carved on all the feminine creatures. This is how those ‘marks’ on all creature have ‘INHERITED’ the same names – ‘linga’ and ‘bhaga’ – from their owners viz. Uma and Maheshwara! This is how he is the lord of all animals (including gods and humans). Hence yajurveda calls him as ‘paśupati’.

“paśunāṁ patayē namō |” (Yajurveda IV:5:2:b)
“salutations to the lord of animals”.

In this connection Mahabharata has a beautiful and descriptive narration which is cited below. 

“na padmāṅkā na cakrāṅkā na vajrāṅkā yatah prajāḥ |
liṅgāṅkā ca bhagāṅkā ca tasmānmāheśvarī Praja |
devyāḥ kāraṇarūpabhāvajanitāḥ Sarva bhagāṅkāḥ striyo | 231
liṅgenāpi harasya sarvapuruṣāḥ pratyakṣacihnīkṛtāḥ |
yo’nyatkāraṇamīśvarātpravadate devyā ca yannāṅkitaṃ |
trailokye sacarācare sa tu pumānbāhyo bhaveddurmatiḥ | 232
puṃliṅgaṃ sarvamīśānaṃ strīliṅgaṃ viddhi cāpyumām |
dvābhyāṃ tanubhyāṃ vyāptaṃ hi carācaramidaṃ Jagat ||” (MBH 13:14:231-233)
“Brahma has for his sign the lotus, Vishnu has for his the discus, Indra has for his sign the thunder-bolt. But the creatures of the world do not bear any of the signs that distinguish these deities. On the other hand, all creatures bear the signs that mark Mahadeva and his spouse. Hence, all creatures must be regarded as belonging to Maheswara. All creatures of the feminine sex, have sprung from Uma’s nature as their cause, and hence it is they bear the mark of femininity that distinguishes Uma; while all creatures that are masculine, having sprung from Siva, bear the masculine mark that distinguishes Siva. That person who says that there is, in the three worlds with their mobile and immobile creatures, any other cause than the Supreme Lord, and that which is not marked with the mark of either Mahadeva or his spouse should be regarded as very wretched and should not be counted among the creatures of the universe. Every being with the mark of the masculine sex should be known to be of Isana, while every being with the mark of the feminine sex should be known to be of Uma. This universe of mobile and immobile creatures is pervaded by two kinds of forms (viz., male and female)”.

Exactly same message has been conveyed by shruti in ‘rudrahridaya Upanishad’ as follows.

“puṃliṅgaṃ sarvamīśānaṃ strīliṅgaṃ bhagavatyumā |
umārudrātmikāḥ sarvāḥ grajāḥ sthāvarajaṅgamāḥ ||” (Rudrahridaya Upanishad 9)
“The masculine gender is Lord Shiva. The feminine gender is Bhagavati Uma. All the mobile and immobile creation of this universe is filled up with Uma and Rudra”.

“rudro nara umā nārī tasmai tasyai namo namaḥ ||” (Rudrahridaya Upanishad 17)
“Rudra is man. Uma is woman – Prostrations to Him and Her”.

“rudro liṅgamumā pīṭhaṃ tasmai tasyai namo namaḥ ||” (Rudrahridaya Upanishad 23)
“Rudra is Linga. Uma is Pitha – Prostrations to Him and Her”.

Again exactly the same message has been confirmed in Shiva Purana also as shown in below verses.

“śankaraḥ puruṣāssarvē striyassarvā mahēśvarī |
sarvē strīpuruṣāstasmāttayōrēva vibhūtayaḥ ||” (Shiva Purana 7:2:4:54)
“All males are the forms of Shankara and all females are the forms of Maheswari. All male and females therefore are the forms of these two”.

“puṁlliṇgamakhilaṁ dhattē bhagavānpuraśāsanaḥ |
strīliṇgaṁ chākhilaṁ dhattē dēvī dēvamanōramā ||” (Shiva Purana 7:2:4:65)
“Everything that bears the sign of masculinity belongs to the one who rules over the bodies (Shiva) and everything that bears the sign of feminity belongs to the goddess, who pleases the heart of the God (Shiva)”.

“yathā na jāyatē putraḥ pitaraṁ mātaraṁ vinā |
tathā bhavaṁ bhavānīṁ cha vinā naitachcharācharaṁ |
strīpuṁsaprabhavaṁ viśvaṁ strīpuṁsātmakamēva cha ||” (Shiva Purana 7:2:4:37)
“As a son cannot be begotten without the existence of father and mother, so is this world of mobile and immobile beings without Bhava and Bhavani. This universe originates from male (Purusha i.e., spirit or conciousness) and female (Prakriti i.e., matter) principle and comprises of male and female forms”.

In the creation of human – a Mercedes ‘logo’ cannot generate another Mercedes car by itself, an Apple company ‘logo’ cannot create another ‘iPhone’ by itself – they have to be manufactured in the original factory alone, there is no other way for reproduction of these goods. These ‘logo(s)’ are just inert symbols there.

However, in the creation of Shiva and Shakti, their logos are not inert symbols – they have given the power of creation to these ‘logos’. Since Shiva’s ‘Skambha’ which is his sign (linga) is the one which creates the worlds, with the aid of his shakti (or maya) who is the Prakriti, the owner of ‘bhaga’, she becomes the ‘yoni (source)’ for the universe to spring from – Likewise, shiva has given similar powers to the creatures who bear his or her signs. This is the reason why all the creatures are able to use their masculine sign (‘linga’) with the feminine sign (‘bhaga’) and create their offspring. These signs are ‘considered’ as ‘organs’ in our world hence they are ‘termed’ as ‘genitals’. Because the feminine sign is a source of pleasure (bhoga) among the creatures, it is a ‘bhaga’ and since the new offspring takes its birth from it, this ‘bhaga’ being the ‘source’ of a newborn – it is termed ‘yoni’!

We have seen earlier that at the cosmic level, creation of Shiva-Shakti is said to be a ‘yajna (sacrifice)’, the same way since their marks are embossed on all creatures, and the lord has given the powers of reproduction to these creatures – even at the mundane level – the process of reproduction is said to be a ‘yajna (sacrifice)’. Our ‘sanatana dharma’ treats reproduction (within marital boundaries) as a sacred process and treats it very respectfully. Note that our scriptures use the metaphor of ‘yajna’, and words like – ‘vashat’, ‘swaha’, ‘dakshina’, etc – ‘only and only’ with the objects of highest spiritual significance. Therefore, the body itself is likened to a sacrificial-altar and whatever goes inside the body, is treated as ‘libations’ in our great religion.

This is clearly explained by Lord Sri Krishna to Arjuna while narrating ‘Anu-Gita’ in Mahabharata. He says – the ‘genital’ is a ‘sacrificial priest’. The discharge of ‘vital seed’ is a ‘libation’. Here is the complete extract quoted below.

“śrotraṃ tvakcakṣuṣī jihvā nāsikā caraṇau karau |
upasthaṃ vāyuriti vā hotṝṇi daśa bhāmini ||2
śabdasparśau rūparasau gandho vākyaṃ kriyā gatiḥ |
retomūtrapurīṣāṇāṃ tyāgo daśa havīṃṣi ca ||3
diśo vāyū raviścandraḥ pṛthvyagnī viṣṇureva ca |
indraḥ prajāpatirmitramagnayo daśa bhāmini ||4
daśendriyāṇi hotṝṇi havīṃṣi daśa bhāvini |
viṣayā nāma samidho hūyante tu daśāgniṣu ||5
cittaṃ sruvaśca vittaṃ ca pavitraṃ jñānamuttamam |
suvibhaktamidaṃ sarvaṃ jagadāsīditi śrutam ||” (MBH 14:21:2-6)
“The ear, the skin, the two eyes, the tongue, the nose, the two feet, the two hands, the genital organ, the lower duct, and speech,–these, O beautiful one, are the ten sacrificing priests. Sound and touch, colour and taste, scent, speech, action, motion, and the discharge of vital seed, of urine and of excreta, are the ten libations. The points of the compass, Quarters, Wind, Sun, Moon, Earth, Fire, Vishnu, Indra, Prajapati, and Mitra,–these, O beautiful one, are the ten (sacrificial) fires. The ten organs (of knowledge and action) are the sacrificing priests. The libations, O beautiful one, are ten. The objects of the senses are the fuel that are cast into these ten fires, as also the mind, which is the ladle, and the wealth (viz., the good and bad acts of the sacrificer). What remains is the pure, highest knowledge. We have heard that all this universe was well differentiated (from Knowledge)”.

Then what is a sacrificial altar when the libation is seed? The answer is clearly given in ‘shruti’ itself. BrihadAranyaka Upanishad clearly assigns sacredness to the female genital and treats the process of reproduction very reverentially. Here is the verse which talks about the sacrificial altar.

“tasyā vedir upasthaḥ | lomāni barhiś | carmādhiṣavaṇe | samiddho madhyatas tau muṣkau |” (BrihadAranyaka Upanishad VI:04:03)
“Her genital is a sacrificial altar; her hairs, the sacrificial grass; her skin, the soma-press. The two labia of the vulva are the fire in the middle”.

I don’t see why one should associate filthy thoughts with the sacred process of reproduction. In Hinduism reproduction within the marital boundaries is not considered as a taboo or a sin, rather, it is treated as a very sacred procedure which keeps the lineage alive. Hinduism strongly condems sexual congress with women other than one’s own wedded wife because it is a sin leading to Hell. In Mahabharata Bhishma the illustrious son of Ganga loudly and clearly states this as follows.

“paradārā na gantavyā sarvavarṇeṣu karhicit ||20b
nahīdṛśamanāyuṣyaṃ loke kiñcana vidyate |
yādṛśaṃ puruṣasyeha paradāropasevanam ||21
tādṛśaṃ puruṣasyeha dhanāyuṣyaharaṃ nṛṇām ||
yāvanto romakūpāḥ syuḥ strīṇāṃ gātreṣu nirmitāḥ |
tāvadvarṣasahasrāṇi narakaṃ paryupāsate ||” (MBH 13:104:20b-22)
“Persons of every order should never have sexual congress with other people’s wives. There is nothing that shortens life so effectually as sexual congress with other people’s wives. For as many thousand years shall the adulterer have to live in Hell as the number of pores on the bodies of the women with whom he may commit the offence”.

Last but not the least, Wendy Doniger in an interview said the following about the Shiva-Linga.

“Historically, the Shiva-linga was indeed understood as a representation of the phallus of Shiva; you can see this from visual representations like the Gudimallam linga”. – Wendy Doniger, (interviewed by Devdutt Patnaik).

Well, the ‘gudimallam linga’ is believed to be one of the oldest ‘shiva lingas’ of India traced to 1st century BC. Its speciality is that it has a linga (Pillar) and within that pillar Shiva is shown in idol form standing. Secondly, this pillar resembles a human phallus. So, this was the basis for Wendy to conclude that originally ‘linga’ meant ‘phallus’ but later day reformers of Hinduism made it purely an abstract symbol! But by now with the above analysis we should have understood where Wendy went wrong.

Alright, here is the explanation – As seen from all the scriptural quotes in this section, Shiva’s sign called ‘linga’is the ‘Skambha’, and it is to be noted carefully that nowhere scriptures said that ‘Skambha’ is Shiva’s ‘phallus’. That same ‘skambha’ is marked as a ‘logo’ on all the male creatures. Therefore that Skambha which is his ‘sign’ has become a ‘phallus’ on all males, so resemblance of Shiva-linga with an erect ‘phallus’ is not to be considered the other way round i.e., – we should not consider human ‘phallus’ as the ‘sign (linga)’ of Shiva because Shiva himself is the Skambha in totality, Skambha is never shown Shiva’s penis.

The picture of ‘gudimallam linga’ is very clear to understand and supports my arguement here. If you see the picture, it has Shiva standing within the linga (Skambha). This is what Brahma and Vishnu had seen in the infinite pillar of fire of consciousness of Shiva when they both had failed to measure and accepting their defeat finally, they prayed to the Skambha to show them his form. Shiva showed up himself in his native form within that pillar of fire. This pillar in Sanskrit is called as ‘stambha’ as well as ‘skambha’ – both words mean the same i.e., ‘pillar’. Thus the ‘gudimallam linga’ nowhere supports Wendy Doniger’s demented philosophy.

Well, in the light of the analysis done in this article as the base – any other controvercial references from scriptures or images from sculptures could be easily interpreted correctly. Therefore, I think this is the right moment to summarize and conclude this section.

9.6. Summary and Conclusion


From the above extensive discussion here are the points that we could conclude.

  1. Shiva-Linga is a symbol (sign) to denote his infinite ‘Agni-Skambha’ and is NOT his ‘Phallus’!
  2. ‘Bhaga’ is the source of all karma-phalas – and since all ‘bhoga-s’ can be enjoyed only with the help of Prakriti – Bhaga is said to belong to Prakriti – but it is NOT her ‘Vagina’
  3. Shiva is the ‘Ishwara’ who is the ‘karma-phala-data’ to all ‘Jivas’ for their good or bad deeds – He gives all such ‘bhogas’ through the help of ‘bhaga’ of ‘prakriti’ – hence he is the owner or lord of ‘bhaga’ – therefore he is the ‘bhagawan’ or ‘bhagesha’
  4. Shiva is the lord of all animals (all creatures including Gods) hence he is ‘Pashupati’
  5. Since all creatures belong to him – all creatures (including gods and goddesses too) bear his and Uma’s signs on them, where – Shiva’s sign is embossed on all males and Uma’s sign is embossed on all females – Hence these logos have RETAINED their original names as it is – hence the sign denoting masculine gender on all creatures is called ‘linga’ and the sign denoting feminine gender on all creatures is called ‘bhaga’
  6. From the union of Shiva and Shakti who are Purusha (consciousness) and Prakriti (matter) this universe gets created – this union is NOT sexual, rather it is through their alphabetic form (matrika-swarupa)
  7. The creation of universe by Shiva and Shakti is called to be a ‘yajna (sacrifice)’
  8. In order to continue the creation within this universe, Shiva and Shakti have given the powers of creation to their ‘logos’ which are marked on all male and female creatures.
  9. These trademarked ‘logos’ of Shiva and Shakti which every creature carry on their body – are in the material world – treated as ‘organs’ and are considered as one’s own part of the body
  10. Using these ‘signs’ or ‘logos’ that all creatures possess – they unite with the possessor of opposite ‘logo’ to create their kind of another being – who is technically termed ‘offspring’
  11. Even at the level of these creatures – their union is revered as a ‘yajna (sacrifice)’ and is highly sacred act when performed with one’s own wedded consort

From all above points the final inference is – “What we Hindus worship in Shiva Temple and in Shakti peethas is Shiva’s ‘sign’ and Shakti’s ‘sign’ respectively which are not their genitals! At the levels of creatures – their signs have become an inseparable part of body and are ‘termed’ as ‘genitals’ considering them as ‘organs’. So, while it is true that Shiva and Shakti’s symbols exist on us, the vice versa is NOT true. In other words – the ‘sign’ present on us is our ‘genital’, but the same ‘sign’ when seen at cosmic level of Shiva or Shakti’s – they are NOT genitals! Therefore ‘linga puja’ or ‘yoni puja’ are NOT worship of ‘phallus’ or ‘vagina’. Hence Hindus are not ‘phallic worshipers’! Period!

With this analysis, I hope that the sex-addicted and sex-obsessed “scholars” of the western countries would get educated about the truths of Hinduism related to Shiva-linga worship, and I expect them to correct themselves and stop propagating filthy interpretations of the divine worship of ‘Shiva linga’.
 

10. APPENDIX C: – Explaining why Rahu and Ketu are called snakes that swallow Sun and Moon

 

There is a Puranic legend about the origin of ‘Rāhu’ and ‘Kētu’ which is summarized as follows.

During the ‘Samudra Mathana’ (churning of ocean), when ‘Mōhini’ was distributing the nectar to gods, one ‘demon’ by name ‘svarabhānu’,  came in a disguise and sat among the gods in the same row.   Vishnu as Mohini gave him nectar to drink.  At that time Sun and Moon, recognized that demon in disguise of a god and reported their complaint to Mohini. Then Vishnu beheaded that demon using his discus quickly before the demon could gulp that nectar beyond his neck.  As such, the severed head of the demon was fixed to a snake’s body to become “Rāhu”, and the other portion without head is called as “Kētu”. Legend also goes like the cut off bodies were attached to the body of snakes hence Rāhu and Kētu have snake bodies. To take a revenge on Sūrya and Chandra, Rāhu tries to swallow Sūrya and Kētu tries to swallow Moon during Sūrya Grahaṇa and Chandra Grahaṇa respectively. 

Coupled with this legend the ‘jyōtiṣa-shāstra’ too considers the eclipses to be due to the snakes called Rāhu and Kētu swallowing Sun and moon respectively. That is why the solar and lunar eclipses are termed as ‘rāhugrasta sūryagrahaṇa’ and ‘kētugrasta chandragrahaṇa’ respectively.

Modern scholars say that treating Rāhu and Kētu as ‘snakes’ or someone who ‘swallow’ Sun and Moon, is a superstition and is not grounded on reality because science has proved that Rāhu and Kētu are planets and not snakes and eclipses happen not because of swallowing up of Sun and Moon, rather they happen because of the linear placement of Earth, Sun and Moon.

Modern science and the so called rationalists and critics have never understood the riddles of Hinduism. Our scriptures are highly esoteric and what they seem to speak is not always what they mean to speak! The secrets of Rāhu and Kētu swallowing Sun and Moon causing eclipse have been revealed by ‘sūta saṁhita’ very beautifully.

‘sūta saṁhita’ states that in ‘Ida’ nerve moves the moon and in ‘Pingala’ nerve moves the sun. That is, the life-breaths moving through these nerves are termed as ‘sun’ and ‘moon’.

“iḍāyāṁ chandramā nityaṁ charatyēva mahāmunē |
piṇgalāyāṁ ravistadvanmunē vēdavidāṁ vara ||” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:41)
“Thou learned in Vedic scriptures, O Muni! (Know that) In Ida always moves the moon, and in pingala moves the sun”.

When breath flows downwards through ‘ida’ and reaches the place of ‘Kunḍalinī’ it makes ‘lunar eclipse’ in a ‘Yogi’.

“idāyāḥ kuṇḍalīsthānaṁ yadā prāṇaḥ samāgataḥ |
sōmagrahaṇamityuktaṁ tadā tatvavidāṁ vara ||” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:48)
“When breath moves downward through ‘Ida’ nerve and reaches the palce of Kundali, that event is called as lunar-eclipse, O, knower of truth!”

When breath flows downwards through ‘pingala’ and reaches the place of ‘Kunḍalinī’ it makes ‘solar eclipse’ in a ‘Yogi’.

“tathā piṇgalayā prāṇaḥ kunḍalīsthānamāgataḥ |
yadā tadā bhavētsūryagrahaṇaṁ munisattama ||” (sūta saṁhitā:02:11:49)
“When breath moves downward through ‘Pingala’ nerve and reaches the palce of Kundali, that event is called as solar-eclipse, O, best of all munis!”

In fact there are other yogic secrets which say that all the nine planets and their influence could be alterned via the yogic procedures. Only the ignorant goes to temples and worships the nine planets and gives offerings (‘dānaṁ’) to priests in order to get warded off the evil effects of the planets. However, one who knows the internal sciences, such a yogi would easily ward himself off of all the planetary effects via the ‘yōga sādhanā’ itself. 

Not only this, entire Vedic body of knowledge is perfect without any flaws. Regarding planetary motions, science discovered the patterns very late in the game; our Vedas have recorded all the astronomical scientific truths of the space . For instance – Rig Veda’s ‘Aitareya Brahmana’ declares that the ‘Sun’ neither rises nor sets. Which clearly says that relative to sun, the earth and other planets move.

“eṣa na kadā canāstameti nodeti ||” (Aitereya Brahmana 3:44)
“This (Sun) never rises and never sets”.

This is a ballistic missile to prove that our Vedas have the knowledge of science too. Sun remains stationary that is what is meant here.

With this we can understand why the great ‘jyōtiṣa-śāstra’ called Rāhu and Kētu as snakes – it is because the nerves ‘iḍā’ and ‘piṇgalā’ resemble snakes having their mouths at the nostrils and they swallow the breath likened to sun and moon. Hence ‘jyōtiṣa-śāstra’ has esoterically described the yogic secrets of astrology within the ‘piṇḍāṇḍa’.

Hence Hinduism is ALWAYS correct when understood with the right person under the grace of Uma-Maheshwara.

 

11. FINAL CONCLUSION

 

With the detailed analysis done in this article, we have learnt and understood the following points -These are the takeaways for us.

  • ‘Lingodbhava’ is not any secratian interpolation or any bogus story – Rather it is a great ‘yōga vijnāna rahasya’ i.e., a great secret of ‘Yōga’. It has been reasoned and proved to be authentic in Microcosm as well as Macrocosm. So, no more nonsense from Vaishnavas of calling it ‘bogus’ should be entertained
  • As all events that occur within the microcosm, do occur in macrocosm – therefore, even the ‘lingodbhava’ story of supremacy conflict is very much true with respect to the Macrocosm
  • Neither in Microcosm nor in macrocosm would Brahma and Vishnu ever be able to measure the height or locate the ends of Shiva’s Agni-Skambha form which is infinite
  • Because Shiva’s Agni-Skambha is of great height, infinitely tall – it has brought him the name ‘Brahman’ where ‘brahman’ word comes from the Sanskrit root ‘brihat’ which means – vast, high, tall, and large – Therefore ‘Shiva’ is the ‘Brahman’ and not any demi-god
  • Bhuvaneshwara tatwam is sung in Mahabharata in a very beautiful way
  • Bhagawad Gita verses (BG 7.7),  (BG 9.4) and (BG 9.5) – all have been proved as talking about lord Shiva’s ‘bhuvaneshwara’ principle – The sections which I dealt related to these verses are my commentaries over those Gita verses revealing lord Shiva’s hidden glory
  • The Vedic hymn ‘Skambha Sukta’ from ‘Atharva Veda’ is doubtlessly a hymn singing the glories of lord Shiva’s infinite ‘Agni-Skambha’
  • Sri Vijayendra Tirtha’s refutation of ‘lingodbhava’ incident demolished
  • Wendy Doniger’s claim of ‘Shiva Linga’ as ‘Shiva’s phallus’ is demolished
  • The statements of ‘jyotisha Shastra’ related to rahu-Ketu being snakes that swallow Sun and Moon – have been explained and understood to be esoteric secret expressions to state an internal yogic phenomena
    Thus the grand ‘bhuvaneshwara’ principle has been explained in this article.

|| ētat sarvaṁ śrī bhuvanēśvarī samēta bhuvanēśvarārpaṇamastu ||


Copyright © 2015, by Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula. All Rights Reserved.

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Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (षण्मातुरः)
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Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (षण्मातुरः)

Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula, is 'षण्मातुरः' or 'षण्णां मातृणां पुत्रः' in detail, which means 'The son of six (divine) mothers' as he considers the six great goddesses viz. Parvati, Ganga, Lakshmi, Bhudevi, Saraswati, and Gayatri, as his own mothers, and sees himself as an infant in their laps. Together with their respective consorts he considers them as his own parents. He considers their children such as Ganesha, Skanda, Sanatkumara, Narada, Pradyumna etc., as his own siblings; in fact, not different from himself. He loves these six mothers very dearly, and equally loves the divine fathers; however, he has offered his 'devotion' only to Mahadeva! Hence he stands for lord Shiva safeguarding him from his haters. One would know him better from his writings.
Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (षण्मातुरः)
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71 Comments

  1. shashwata shastri.

    Excellent. And about rahu & ketu, I don’t give damn what the modern science says. The outer meaning of the shashtra is as true as it’s inner meaning. It is all about understanding it correctly.

    Reply
  2. shashwata shastri.

    May lord bless you. You shall be the pride of all Brahmans in near future. I can very well comprehend that. Om Shivamastu.

    Reply
    1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

      Thank you bandhu for your kind words and prayers/blessings. I submit your words of appreciation to the lotus feet of Maheshwara whom belongs all this glory. I am just an instrument in his hands.

      Thank you again!

      Reply
  3. shashwata shastri.

    Dear brother,
    Since you are the son of lord Mahadev ( Amritasya putrah) by that right I can call you my brother. Right? I know that your are trying your utmost to establish the supremacy of lord visheshwara in order to protect the vedic dharma and it’s ancient rituals, But besides that you need to take another duty on your hands, my brother. As a Brahman it is your soul and sworn duty to protect the vedic religion and it’s laws. A request of mine below your feet (I am 21 years old and I know you are much older than me). Raise your voice and pen against those demons which are trying to create a massacre in this holy land of dharma. Please try to abolish the allegations which are put against Santana recently. We were able to stop the Isckonists from spreading false propaganda against the vedic lord and the Brahmans in our area. But now there is a new problem which came right at our hand. A so called group called the Aryans have emerged suddenly from nowhere. A group foul jackals they are! And mind my words they are evil to their very core!These aryans are very cunning and they are misinterpreting the vedas through the help of modern science.The Aryan samajis which are against pratima puja are spreading false statements regarding the hindu pratima puja vidhi .Please confront them from your stand. They are brainwashing the Bengali timid Hindus towards greater chaos. Those hindus don’t even know what are they turning themselves into anymore. They have already lost their faith on the Gods ( Saguna Brahma). They believe that only the nirakara aspect of Ishvara is the ultimate truth. But they have forgotten this theory that the whole world is his own Sakara aspect. In order to establish a universe with visionary aspect Ishvara himself takes the visionary form through the help of his shakti. Ishvara is both sakara and nirakara and in a sense he is even beyond that ( Since time, space and parameters of this universe is generated from him only. Depending upon the infinite space which he has covered with his illusive power, which is known to us as the universe, similarly depending on that they are addressing him as nirakara only. But space was generated from him so he is also beyond that aspect also. Am I wrong?And if he can turn himself into all of these which exists then he can also take a form in order to maintain these existence which appear before us.
    Moreover, Varnasram Dharma is being destroyed here.I myself with some of my fellow Brahman brothers are trying to save our society from this heinous downfall.But it seems our actions are going in vain.Still some of the converted people are trying to come back from their evil grasp after listening to us. They are spreading the philosophy of Jaimini ( Purva Mimamsa but a little bit refined. They call it traittvam vada, in which the Brahman, Prakriti and Jiva are different, independent and eternal) which was long ago refuted by lord Shankara. However, the most interesting thing is they are only accepting the hymn division of Vedas as the original text andthey are proposing to people that rest of the vedic texts are bogus and vulgar, they have no significance in our vedic dharma. Lord Shankara (The avatar of Nilolohita Rudra as ascribed in kurma purana) has made it clear that the only philosophy is Advaitam. But right at this moment we are not worried about the philosophy. We are worried because atheism ( Nastikya) is being spread rapidly and the very core basics of our belief system is being shaken by this culprits. The absolute signs of Kali seems to be appearing before us. Write about regarding the above circumstances.
    I will refer this blog to my fellow brothers. As for my introduction: I am from Kashyapa clan, my pravara is apasar and noidhubro, I am a sama vedic brahmin of the koutoma shaka ( We were rigvedics but after coming to bengal our vedic system had changed). My ancestors are from bihar. We are originally sarasvat Brahmans.
    Best Regards,
    Shashwata Shastri

    Reply
    1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

      Dear brother,

      Since you are the son of lord Mahadev ( Amritasya putrah) by that right I can call you my brother. Right?

      Yeah brother, that’s right. “bAndhavAH shivabhaktAshcha …”

      Good to know your introduction, dear younger brother (you’re 21 so yes, I’m 13 yrs older than you hehe).

      I can understand your sentiments and empathize with you. However, my knowledge on their philosophy and teachings is very average and given the fact that they are in huge number working full time on their organization goals – it is practically not possible for me to stand in front of them because of the limited time that I get for any scriptural research. So, let me focus on my main job where I am equipped with all tools to function, and if the lord wishes, there would emerge someone knowledgeable whose interests and knowledge would be in the area which would help you in your wish. Hope for the best.

      Best regards

      Reply
      1. Shashwata Shastri

        Why is the lord called Vratya? What is the relation between the lord and the vratyashtom yajna?

        Reply
        1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

          Lord Shiva is all varnas – He is a brahmana (namo yajnOpavItine says rudram), he is a kShatriya (namo senAbhashcha senApatibhashcha namo says Rudram), similarly he is a vaishya, shudra, he is a chandala, he is a vrAtya…everything – the idea is to tell us that Rudra is in everyone. There is nothing that is not pervaded by him.

          I have not much idea what vrAtyasthoma yajna is – may be a Veda purohita might be able to guide you.

          Reply
          1. Shashwata Shastri

            I am still waiting for you to write something on the purana’s categorization topic, being shiva purana tamasic and all!

          2. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

            It’s in progress and would come after few more articles – so there is a delay in this project.

    2. sohini

      dear shashwat (well i think i can call you shashwat as i’m 23 @ this moment :)), are u too from bengal? i mean i’m a bengali too (& bengalees are NOT timid hindus :)). but even if u have said that the ISKCONites have been stopped, i don’t think so, they are very staunch manipulators, may be they can be stopped a little in india where KRSNAism (if thats a name) is not the ONLY religion/sect, and indians know their mythology well, so may be iskcon ideals can be controlled in india but these ISKCON people have spread all over the world and they are spreading their self made KRSNA (spelling should be noted :P) stories among non- hindus who may not even know that there exist other gods too in hinduism apart from krishna. i don’t think the arya samaj is any big threat for now atleast. At least they don’t come up with their self made stories, they deal with their own IDEALS which i think is much less manupulative than made up stories like ISKCON people, do u agree? And i think u should not disrespect SCIENCE because it is nothing but knowledge, and as per the vedas too, knowledge is everything (also u r using SCIENCE to comment on this blog, ri8 ? :)) so we must not debate on vedas vs science, lets say SCIENCE is just another name of the teachings of gods in some modern way 🙂 And our gods are too GYANGAMYA (can be attained by knowledge), so even our faith in god should have logic, i know that devotion does not obey any logic yet that’s what i think, and so i keep bombarding santoshji with loads of qstns 🙂 although no logic can change my devotion for lord shiv yet i’ll never stop searching for truth and logics. I’m a science student yet i am not nastik, what we all should do is to try to find links between religious ideals and science, we should not try to seperate these two

      Reply ↓

      Reply
  4. Ashvin

    All Nayanmars have sung and supported the story of Lingodbhava in their hymns .Thousands of verses in their hymns refer to the Lingodbhava incident.Saint Sambandhar who was given the divine elixir of Her breastmilk by Paramba refers to the incident of Lingodbhava and Brahma and Vishnu being unable to trace Siva’s feet in the ninth verse of all the thevaram decad he sung.So its entirely wrong for you to ”declare”that none except the three saints
    have dared to support the Lingodbhava story or that no saint except the three really understood or try to explain the tattvam behind Lingodbhava.Saint Thirumoolar has clearly explained the tattvam behind not only this incident but all important Siva leelas in his magnum opus Thirumantiram.Saint Umapati has also referred to Lingodbhavam in his Kunchitanghristavam.Sri Haradatta has outwardly cited this incident in his debate with Vaishnavas and defeated them,Without having any knowledge of any of their works and struggles against Vaishnavas its very wrong to make grandiose declarations that no acharya except the three has knowledge or dared to support the Lingodbhava incident.Its a great insult to their sacrifices and service to Siva .Nay its a insult to Siva Himself as any apacharam to His Bhakta is apacharam to HIm.

    Reply
    1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

      Dear Chandrasekhara Rajamurthy (original name) alias Ashwin (fake name),😊

      Well I have already named sambandar among the knowers and said he as well as his future incarnation as Ramana maharahi knew the secret.

      What I wrote is either not understood properly or because of your past bad relations with me purposely you wanted to see an error in my words. OK whatever be the case let me explain one more time –

      1) lot many saints among nayannars have USED that incident in their poems but those porms ONLY USE this incident just for glorification. I took exception of sambandar because although he also just USED that incident i firmly believe he had the knowledge of what it actually means because he was the very Kartikeya, the son of Shiva and who later as Ramana also hinted on the same to Ganapati muni. How can I doubt my Kartikeya whom I consider my own brother?

      2) All the debaters you cited, everyone had used that incident only to show a case of supremacy and never anyone had “explained” what that actually means in “microcosm” and “macrocosm”. If that was the case as you claim it to be – Sri Vijayendra tirtha would not have attempted a refutation if already a VALID explanation was available. If you say turumular or anyone else had already written what I have analyzed in my article above then that should never have let the lingodbhava incident dohbted till date. What fair means you see by which my explanation could be refuted ? Not boasting just want to build a case that the above analysis cannot be refuted by any fair means and unfair rejections would be plainly evident to even a common man after reading my article. If this same theory you say that someone else had already explained like this then no refutation should have come from vijayendra tirtha’s pen. Hope you are getting my point.

      If you disagree please show screenshots of their works where you claim as they had explained already what I have explained in my article. I would then edit my words and make necessary corrections as needed.

      I am not against shaivite saints the way you had formed an incorrect opinion about me. Hence your past hatred is reflecting in current comment also. Just know that I do NOT “follow” any saivite Acharya even though my goal is also same as theirs. I have my independent thoughts which I project and another reason why i don’t copy paste those shaiva acharyas is because i don’t want anybody’s works to restrict my original thinking pattern or condition my thoughts.

      Last time also this was the issue which made you angry with me that I did not follow Srikantha. Hope I made myself clear now?!

      Reply
    2. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

      P.S. You need not use any fake names. Please feel free to interact with your real name itself. The past bad relation need not stop you from posting under your own name. I would NOT have minded even if you would have used your true name here.

      The only area of contention was you wanted me to follow what shaiva acharyas have interpreted things as and I am someone who prefers my independent analysis based on my reading of scriptures. Occasionally my works may look totally different from what your traditional saiva acharyas might have interpreted them as but that should be OK. Hinduism is not Islam. Even there is no agreement within Brahma rishis themselves but Hinduism accepts and accommodates.

      Reply
  5. chandru

    In Tantra Eight Chapter 17 of Tirumantiram Tirumular explains what the head n feet of Siva actually signifies.In verse 2425 he explains feet and head in terms of jnana and Grace.In verse 2426 he gives a yogic interpretation.You can google and read the translation.In Tantra Seven he provides explanation for Linga in Yogic, macrocosm and microcosm context.In Tantra Two chapter two he provides yogic tattvam behind Siva leelas like tripura samharam yama nigraha etc.The Ramakrishna math translation is a good one.

    Reply
    1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

      Thank you for the pointers. I shall search and have a look at that document and would update the necessary comments/details as appropriate in my article.

      Reply
    2. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

      Apologies for not having studied Tirumandiram and for not having recognized the efforts of saint Tirumular earlier. based on your feedback and pointers to the document, I have corrected my notion and made necessary corrections in the article.

      I have made the following updates:-
      1) Acknowledged Sri Tirumular’s contribution and cited his verse no 2426.
      2) Toned down and almost rewrote 40% of the section 4.2
      3) Expanded the spectrum of knowers of the rahasya to include all the great saints. However, I cannot include vaishnavite saints and academicians and general scholars in that list hence retained them as the non-knowers.

      Well, I see you have submitted another lengthy comment – Most of which talks about the contention revolving around the Nayannar’s etc. Since I have addressed that contention by making necessary changes, i think publishing that comment and discussing it further doesn’t seem to be necessary. But this is my point of view. In case you need that please let me know.

      Reply
      1. chandru

        I’m very enthralled by your humility.Not many would be ready to change a stand they have taken.But you are always open to make alterations where you feel something is not correct.My only wish was that all Siva bhaktas should be appreciated.Sorry if I had hurt you in my enthusiasm.I also believe why even Lord Vishnu would agree that Vaishnavas never realized Lingodbhava tattvam.You are doing a great kainkaryam to Mahadeva.I can see the amount of time and energy you have spent in researching and publishing these articles.May Parvati Parameswara always be with you!You may delete my comments.

        Reply
        1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

          Thank you for the wishes & blessings. All the kind words I humbly submit at the lotus feet of uma-maheshwara who are the actual recipient of those good words. I am just their scribe and those errors were from my pen. There teachings are pristine. I need to be more attentive hereafter.

          Etat sarvaM shrI umAmahEshwara parabrahmArpaNamastu.

          Reply
  6. Ramya

    Namaste!!!!

    I offer my gratitude to the Creator Lord Shiva, Ma Bhagawathi, Whole Gurumandala and for you to bring out such a beautiful work.. There are so many people claim to know vedas and lot many scriptures having word to word knowledge but all vedas are very secretive in nature that their essence is locked and only a true aathma jnani and yogi can understand their real nature with the Grace of Creator and The Guru alone. And this proves to be such a blessed work.. Each and every secret of Self is demystified so elegantly..

    ##In my opinion ONLY three legendary scholars had the knowledge of it – they were :- Adi Shankara, Jnana Sambandar (i.e., Bhagawan Ramana – as both are same) Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni….####

    I truely believe that these sages definitely knew its secrets but I even do believe that a true Yogi and a Sadguru definitely would have this realization.. They may not have recorded in any form but would have tried to convey to their disciples.. Because each and everything described here is told by my Gurudev in practice.. Though not with reference to vedas (He has mentioned that all these are there in Vedas but not like in specific), but in dhyaana He teaches about connection between Pindadnda and Brahmanda and how they function similarly.. And Srividya Sadhana too has many riddles of pindanda and brahmanda which will be revealed to a Yogi in practice if He is meritorious.. (As you have pointed out in many articles including this, Srividya Sadhana Meru Sadhana Shiva Sadhana, all of these sadhanas only show us how united is Shiva and Shakti, they don’t show superiority of either Shiva or Shakti as they are always One)…

    Once my Gurudev decoded a mystery in simple terms as “Om Namah Shivaya! When Nayana (Na) and Manas (Ma) are turned inwards meditating on VashI/Prana (alpaprana), through sushumna, it merges with Mahaprana Sadashiva (Shivaya) in chidakasha (sahasrara) and when this realization happens Bindunaada/Brahmanaada Om is heard everywhere” ..

    vashI is the other name of prana as it controls all other aspects of body(also called as alpaprana, like the concept of jeevathma and paramathma, its alpaprana and mahaprana)

    A soul realises its true nature two times, when its in womb and when it leaves body, but unless its purified (gets rid of karmic baggage), it cannot merge with The Supreme Soul. When it is in the body, it identifies itself with the body and forgets to realise its true nature (ignorance). Shiva pervades all His creation and in the body He resides in the form of vashI controlling its activities.. As long as the vashI is covered with ignorance, it keeps fighting with materialistic world and considers itself as Supreme (like how Brahma and Vishnu were fighting for superiority) but when the real discrimination begins, vashI gets stabilised and enters crown chakra through susumna (like how Brahma and Vishnu surrender to Skamba) and realises the true nature of being Shiva..

    And finally, I am very very happy to see such divine essence being revealed to you by Supreme Source and with such selfless gratitude you are spreading this to your fellow beings.. I never knew these in detail.. Thank you so so so much.. Be blessed..

    PS: 1) I do not behold any scriptural knowledge, everything mentioned above is purely knowledge through practice graced by Gurudev and His teachings.. If there is anything wrong then I might articulated it wrong, nothing to do with Gurudev..

    2) Few times I remember you calling this a battle against Shiva haters, but I see the unconditional love you have for them and you are putting your efforts to best to take them to the Grace of Shiva 🙂

    Jai Gurudev!!!

    Reply
    1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

      Namaste Ramya ji,

      Thanks for the kind words. All glories i submit to Maheshwara as I am only his scribe. 🙂

      //but I even do believe that a true Yogi and a Sadguru definitely would have this realization.. They may not have recorded in any form but would have tried to convey to their disciples.//

      True! It was my mistake to have thought in a very narrow minded way. I have almost modified section 4.2 and re-written couple of paragraphs to expand the spectrum to the deserving saints.

      Reply
  7. Indiaspirituality Amrut

    Namaste,

    Excellent article. Recent articles explaining creation as coming from vak and explaining varnmala is excellent effort. Keep up the good work.

    While explaining Skambha sukta part II verse 43, you have correctly explained nine openings:

    **Atharvaveda X:2:32)
    “Men deep in lore of Brahman know that animated Being (yakṣá) which dwells in the golden treasure-chest that hath three spokes and three supports”.

    The nine-portalled lotus is our body having nine openings viz. – two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, one mouth, one anus, and one opening in the organ of generation!**

    There is an alternate meaning of nine openings. There are chakras in pranamaya kosha. These chakras are opening to the subtle worlds. The standard seven are known to connect with the seven worlds or with various powers.

    Great Guru Gorakshanath in his Siddha Siddhanta paddhati has said that there are more than 7 chakras. Some say it’s upto 13. Guru Gorakshanath has given two more as

    8. tAlu chakra – Palette chakra (from where nectar flows)
    9. AkAsha chakra – Inverted crown chakra (one chakra faces upwards and another (sahasrAra downwards)

    Another yogi and scholar T Krishnamacharya in his Yoga Makaranda has given names of ten chakras.

    1. muladhara cakra,
    2. svadhishtana cakra,
    3. manipuraka cakra,
    4. surya cakra – 3-4 inches below anAhata (if feel a strong pinch when you are emotionally hurt).
    5. manas cakra,- somewhere inside prANamaya kosha and not on surface of kosha (exact location is not mentioned).
    6. anahata cakra,
    7. visuddhi cakra,
    8. ajn a cakra,
    9. sahasrara cakra,
    10. brahmaguha (lalata) cakra. – on forehead above ajna

    Hence we can say that nine chakras are nine openings. Fits well with the pindanda explanation 🙂

    Hari OM

    Reply
    1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

      Thanks for the wonderful details Amrut bhai.

      Reply
  8. Srikanth

    Namaste Sir, Always I wanted to know about Shri Sharabheshwara Swamy, Shri Pratyangira mata & Shri Shoolini Durga mata and their tattvams. If you could reply soon, I feel fortunate and your work on it enlightens me. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

      Namaste,

      In various Kalpas events happen slightly differently. In some Kalpas Narayana’s Narasimha remains in control and closes his avatara properly, and no sharabha comes there. Ins ome other times Narasimha’s fury doesn’t subside and devatas and entire world get terrified, and to save the worlds from narasimha’s anger, Narasimha’s avatara need to be clsoed (upasamhara). There SHiva comes to aid and frees Vishnu from that ferocious body.

      Sharabha’s one wing is shooling (Durga) and another Kali (Pratyangira). This is Pratyangira (Kali) which tames narasimha. Thsi form of Kali is highly terrifying and is called atharvana bhadra kali.

      Reply
    2. Varāha/Narasińha embodies the same attributes as Madhu-Kaițabha, Mahişāsura and Śumbha-Niśumbha.

      Madhu-Kaițabha are symbols of besitality, Mahişāsura of monumental rage and Śumbha-Niśumbha of ego.

      Śarabha is Mahākālī, Bhadrakālī is Mahālakşmī and Pratyańgirā is Mahāsarasvatī.

      To counter Madhu-Kaițabha (besitality), Mahākālī (cunningness) is invoked.
      To counter Mahişāsura (monumental rage), Mahālakşmī (controlled rage) is invoked.
      To counter Śumbha-Niśumbha (ego), Mahāsarasvatī (pure consciousness) is invoked.

      When Varāha (in Kālikā Purāņa) and Narasińha (in Śiva Purāņa) disobeyed their own Iśțha Mahādeva out of their besital nature, monumental rage and ego, Mahādeva (Mahākālī’s male form) outsmarted Varāha/Narasińha by assuming the form of Śarabha. Bhadrakālī (Mahālakşmī) is controlled rage of Śarabha, while Pratyańgirā (Mahāsarasvatī) is Brahmavidyā that enlightened Varāha/Narasińha.

      Reply
  9. Gowtham.K

    Sir yesterday an iskconite came to argue with me in online .I posted so many things to show lord Shivas’s supremacy .Thanks to u sir.With the facts which i got from your blog i was able to argue with him.Atlast he called me a “mayavadi”.I expected this and i gave a good counter to him.Sir my humble request to you is write something about Shiva mahapurana And Linga mahapurana.I thank u for your valuable posts.May lord Shiva who is the ocean of mercy and who is the supreme lord give u a long healthy life

    Reply
    1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

      Thanks for your kind words. I definitely have plans to write about those puranas. It will take time however.

      Reply
    2. sohini

      ha ha 🙂 the iskconites keep calling every other sects mayavadi, while the the truth is its only themselves (iskconites) who are real mayavadis. Mahadev shiv shambhu bless these god forsaken iskcon cult. May be this seems really stupid and childlike to argue back with the iskcon people, but that’s the only way to erase the Maya, falsehood, made up stories created by iskcon. And for this mission (if we can call it so :)) we need people like u Gowtham ji. And we should approach those people who are being regularly manupulated by iskcon (spcly non hindus who may not even know about our other hindu gods apart from krishna), we can approach them via internet media.

      Reply
      1. Gowtham.K

        Thank u Sohini ji.Very sorry for this late reply.Ive seen now so many Iskconites and Pancharatra Vaishnavas who are much ignorant.These Iskconites at their highest ignorance level.Recently my friend who is reading Iskconites books is ignoring me as I advised him not to read those books by giving proofs.May Parameshwara save those poor Iskconites

        Reply
        1. ISKCON subscribes to Gaudiya Vaişņavism, that claims to be an ofshoot of Madhvācārya’s Brahma Sampradāya and is a dualist school.
          So naturally, they look down upon monist schools as inferior.

          There exists a verse in Padma Purāņa’s Uttara Khaņđa, that was interpolated by Madhva Brahmims. It says that in Kali Yuga, Mahādeva would incarnate as a Brāhmin and preach a blasphemous philosophy called “Māyāvāda”, that would be “Hidden Buddhism” and atheistic in nature.

          Points to be considered:-

          1. Why should anyone be obliged to accept interpolations of Madhva Brahmins?

          2. Even if we take the verse to be true, there have been many contemporary incarnations of Mahādeva in Kali Yuga. Besides, the verse doesn’t name Śańkarācārya explicitly. So who confirms that Ādi Śańkara was the incarnation who would propagate Māyāvāda?

          3. Being a Buddhist, a Jain, a Cāravāka, a Muslim, a Sufi, a Salafist, a Christian, a Jew, a Sikh, a Pagan, a Satanist, an atheist or follower of any other living religion makes you evil. So why should anyone be bothered about what religion the other person follows?

          According to Swami Vivekananda, the opinion of Vaişņavas of Śańkarācārya’s Kevalādvaita being “Māyāvāda” is a result of their accidental/wilful misreading of the “snake and rope” example, that explains the Advaitic perception of this world.

          According to this, a man mistakes a rope for a snake while in a dark room. Light a lamp, and it appears that what was percieved as a deadly snake, is a jute rope!
          In other words, it is the perception that is false. This means that Śrī Ādi Śańkarācārya’s Kevaladvaita is Vivartavāda, not Māyāvāda.

          Besides, Advaita Vedāńta preexists Śańkarācārya; His Guru and Paramaguru were Advaitins. So if we go with the Padma Purāņa verse, yet Advaita cannot be Māyāvāda since Śrī Śańkarācārya did not found it.

          Words of certain Vaişņavas, who derive more pleasure from Śivanińdā than they derive from Hari Kīrtana, is not to be taken seriously.

          śrī śrī priyańkāyē nama: ll

          Reply
          1. Arun Subramaniyan

            You have raised excellent points. The ‘Vedantic’ schools of Vaishnavism are based on Panchratra Agama which has been severely condemned as Veda virrudha and a product of Veda ninda by Adi Shankara in his Brahma Sutra Bhasya. This explains the venomous hostility exhibited by opponents of Advaita. Deep inside them they know they follow a school of thought which is completely contrary to the spirit of Vedas. So they mask their guilt and inferiority complex with false sense of superiority and abuse.

            Padma Purana defines a Vaishnava as one who regards Durga, Vishnu and Shiva as Para Brahman. So my conclusion is there are no Vaishnavas in this world.

            Kind Regards
            Arun

          2. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (षण्मातुरः) (Post author)

            Well said, bro!

  10. Prakash

    Excellent article… from where can I read/download Suta Samhita…?

    Reply
    1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

      Thank you! in archive.org there is a PDf version of suta Samhita for download.

      Suta Samhita Part-1
      Suta Samhita Part-2

      Reply
  11. Subhasis Dey

    Here is a grievance from me. I reckon each piece of Articles written by you as a great source of learning of scriptures especially of the Vedas and the Upanishadas. However, the verses there have been revealed in letters from the English Alphabet ( Roman Script). Although the rules of International Phonetics has been deftly followed, yet it is creating a great problem for me to properly pronounce those verses. Had there been depiction of those verses in Devnagari script also, I think it would have been of immensely helpful for the readers to read those verses out. Please take this request of mine for your kind consideration.

    Reply
    1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (Post author)

      I’m sorry to hear that and I can understand the difficulty. However, keeping the “world” as the audience I had no other choice than using IAST transliteration rather than using Devanagari. You could easily find some IAST to Devanagari converter online websites (Just google IAST to Devanagari converter), and there you could paste the verses in IAST and convert them to devanagari for reading.

      The problem with Devanagari is that within India itself not all people know reading it especially the south Indians who cannot read Hindi letters. What to say about foreigners such as russians etc., who are in large numbers into Shaivism who would want to know and learn about Shiva? Hence though I understand your pain, I can only suggest you to use converters to convert the script.

      To write in Devanagari and then also provide IAST followed by a translation, would be too heavy a effort on my part and also, it would unnecessarily increase the length of the article. Hence I chose to stick with IAST.

      Reply
  12. Subhasis Dey

    Could you please cite related verses from the Vedas where it has been depicted that Lord Siva is the giver of all the limbs of the four-footed and two-footed animals.

    Reply
    1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (षण्मातुरः) (Post author)

      He isn’t said as the ‘giver’, but he is himself in the form of all beings be it two footed or four footed. Purusha sukta is one such hymn.

      Reply
  13. Subhasis Dey

    I believe that Lord Siva is the Supreme Lord. No one is above/beyond Him. From You Articles I’ve learnt that even the Vedas, the Upanishadas and other scriptures of ours lend support to it. Therefore, there is no reason He should meditate on someone else. Why then in the images of Lord Siva we see Him deeply engrossed in meditation sitting in a yogic posture? What is the reason behind ? What do our scripture say about it ?

    Reply
    1. Santosh Kumar Ayalasomayajula (षण्मातुरः) (Post author)

      Shiva Purana clearly says, “सर्वे रुद्रं भजन्तेव रुद्रः किञ्चिद भेजेन्नाहि स्वात्मना भक्तवात्सल्याद भजत्येव कदाचन (Everyone worships Rudra but Rudra doesn’t worship a