Friday, May 25, 2007

First Hymn to Agni

Per the previous post, we are aware 0f the unmistakable and essential identity between Rudra-Shiva and Agni. As we transition into the understanding of the oneness of Rudra and Agni, we shall consider several hymns to Agni from the Rigveda. After Indra, the Rigveda contains the most hymns addressed to Agni. In fact, the first word of the Rigveda is Agni, and the first hymn is a eulogy to Agni. Let us then proceed to examine some of these hymns to Agni from the Rigveda, as a prelude to understanding the oneness between Rudra and Agni.

|| ॐ नमः शिवाय ||


Agni Suktam
Holy Rigveda I.1.1-9
Trans. Raimundo Pannikkar

I magnify the Lord, the Divine, the Priest, Minister of the sacrifice, the Offerer, supreme Giver of treasure.

Worthy is the Lord to be praised by living as by ancient seers. He makes present for us the Devas.

The Lord brings us riches, food in daily abundance, renown, and hero sons to gladden our hearts.

Only that worship and sacrifice that You, Lord, guard on every side will reach the heavenly world of the Devas.

May the Lord, wise and true offerer, approach, most marvelous in splendor, encircled with his crown of Devas!

Whatever gift You may choose to give, O Lord, to Your worshiper, that gift, refulgent One, is true.

To You, Dispeller of the night, we come with daily prayer offering to You our reverence.

For You are Lord of sacrifice, Enlightener, Shepherd of the world, who wax mighty in Your own abode.

So, like a father to his sons, be to us easy of entreaty. Stay with us, O Lord, for our joy.

Pannikkar, Raimundo. The Vedic Experience: Mantramanjari. New Delhi: Motilal Banaridass. 2001.

Birth of Kumara

Verily, Prajāpati alone was here in the beginning. He desired, “May I exist, may I reproduce myself!” He toiled, He practiced austerity. From Him, worn out and heated, the Waters were created: from that heated Person the Waters are born.

The Waters said, “What is to become of us?” “Ye shall be heated,” He said. They were heated; they created foam: hence foam is produced in heated water.

The foam said, “What is to become of me?” “Thou shalt be heated!” He said. It was heated, and produced clay; for indeed the foam is heated, when it floats on the water, covering it; and when one beats upon it, it indeed becomes clay.

The clay said, “What is to become of me?” “Thou shalt be heated!” He said. It was heated, and produced sand; for this clay becomes indeed heated when they plough it; and if only they plough very fine then it becomes, as it were, sandy. So much, then, as to that “What is to become of me? What is to become of me?”

From the sated He created the pebble: whence sand finally indeed becomes a pebble; from the pebble the stone: whence the pebble finally indeed becomes a stone; from the stone metal ore: whence from stone they smelt ore; from ore gold: whence ore much smelted comes, as it were, to have the appearance of gold.

Now that which was created was flowing; and inasmuch as it was flowing (aksharat), a syllable (akshara) resulted therefrom; and inasmuch as it flowed eight times, that octa-syllabic Gāyatri was produced.

“This has indeed become (bhu) a foundation (resting-place),” so he thought: whence it became the Earth (bhumi). He spread it out (prath): it became the broad (Earth, prithivi). On this Earth, as on a foundation, the beings, and the Lord of beings, consecrated themselves for a year: the Lord of beings was the master of the house, and Ushas was the mistress.

Now, those beings are the seasons; and that Lord of beings is the year; and that Ushas, the mistress, is the Dawn. And these same creatures, as well as the Lord of beings, the year, laid seed into Ushas. There a boy (Kumāra) was born in a year: He cried.

Prajāpati said to Him, “My boy, why criest Thou, when Thou art born out of labour and trouble?” He said, “Nay, but I am not freed from (guarded against) evil; I have no name given to me: give me a name!” Hence one should give a name to the boy that is born, for thereby one frees him from evil; even a second, even a third (name), for thereby one frees him from evil time after time.

He said to Him, “Thou art Rudra.” And because He gave Him that name, Agni became suchlike (or, that form), for Rudra is Agni: because He cried (rud) therefore He is Rudra. He said, “Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!”

He said to Him, “Thou art Sarva.” And because He gave the Him that name, the Waters became suchlike, for Sarva is the Waters, inasmuch as from the water everything (sarva) here is produced. He said, “Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!”

He said to Him, “Thou art Paśupati.” And because He gave Him that name, the plants became suchlike, for Paśupati is the plants: hence when cattle (paśu) get plants, then they play the master (pati). He said, “Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!”

He said to Him, “Thou art Ugra.” And because He gave Him that name, Vāyu (the wind) became suchlike, for Ugra is Vāyu: hence when it blows strongly, they say “Ugra is blowing.” He said, “Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!”

He said to Him, “Thou art Aśani.” And because He gave Him that name, the lightning became suchlike, for Aśani is the lightning: hence they say of him whom the lightning strikes, “Aśani has smitten him.” He said, “Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!”

He said to Him, “Thou art Bhava.” And because He gave Him that name, Pārjanya (the rain cloud) became suchlike; for Bhava is Pārjanya, since everything here comes (bhavati) from the rain-cloud. He said, “Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!”

He said to Him, “Thou art Mahān Devah (the Great God).” And because He gave Him that name, the moon became suchlike, for the moon is Prajāpati, and Prajāpati is the Great God. He said, “Surely, I am mightier than that: give me yet a name!”

He said to Him, “Thou art Iśāna (the Ruler).” And because he gave Him that name, the Sun became suchlike, for Iśāna is the Sun, since the Sun rules over this All. He said, “So great indeed I am: give me no other name after that!”

These then are the eight forms of Agni. Kumāra (the boy) is the ninth: that is Agni’s threefold state.

And because there are eight forms of Agni, the Gāyatri consisting of eight syllables --therefore they say, “Agni is Gāyatra.” That boy entered into the forms one after another; for one never sees him as a mere boy (Kumāra), but one sees those forms of His, for He assumed those forms one after another.

Shatapatha Brahmana ( of the Shukla Yajurveda
Trans. Julius Eggeling (1894)


The above is a well-known passage from the Shatapatha Brahmana of the Shukla Yajurveda. In this passage, we have yet another glimpse into the foundations of the Ashtamurtis, albeit in rudimentary form. The extract itself is an allegorical depiction of how the basal elements that make up the manifest universe came to be from Prajapati-Brahma, the Creator. Similar descriptions are later found in the Purana texts in modified form. Significant to our study of the Tradition of Shiva, here, is the description of the birth of Kumara, the Divine Child, said to be born of the Lord of beings and Ushas. Lord of beings in this extract is clearly identified with the year (i.e. time), and Ushas with the Dawn. Since Dawn is visualized in the sky (open space), we may take Dawn as a symbol of space. Kumara, then, is the child born of time and space.

Upon His birth, the Kumara enters into the eightfold forms: Rudra, Sarva, Pasupati, Ugra, Asani, Bhava, Mahadeva, and Ishana, viz. the rudimentary Ashtamurtis. Here, Rudra is identified with fire (Agni), Sarva with water, Pashupati with plants (beings), Ugra with the wind (Vayu), Asani with lightning, Bhava with the rain-cloud (Parjanya), Mahadeva with the moon (and Prajapati Himself), and Ishana with the Sun.

The above extact from the Shatapatha Brahmana is pregnant with meaning. However, for the present discussion, only a few points are pertinent:

(1) It is stated that Prajapati alone was in the beginning, and that He is the Creator of all. As His creation progresses, the Kumara, the Divine Child of time and space, comes to be and subsequently it is that Kumara that becomes all, including Prajapati Himself! While claiming that Prajapati alone was, and then Kumara became Prajapati under Prajapati’s behest may defy logic, the illogical progression is provided quite intentionally. The point to be extracted is that creation is not a matter to be understood strictly through logic, nor as a linear progression of events. Creation is to be understood as an unfolding of an interconnected series of events, occurring simultaneously and in a non-mutually exclusive manner.

(2) One reading the above passage must acknowledge that it is truly that Divine Child who took all the forms that surround us - fire, water, living beings (plants), the wind, lightning, clouds, moon, and Sun. Again, in these eight forms we see the Ashtamurtis in their elementary forms. As the Ashtamurtis are considered the universal form of Rudra (Shiva), Kumara indeed is Shiva’s intermediate manifestation, from Whom unfold both the Creator (Prajapati-Brahma) as well as His creation.

(3) One begins to see in the above passage that Kumara is the Deity who holds within Himself collectively the Deities of fire, wind, water, rain, lightning, living beings, the moon, the sun and the so-called Creator of it all. We begin to see in this Kumara the unitary Godhead, who has first come into being, and then differentiated into the manifest material universe (becoming). In that respect, the Kumara can be considered the Leader of the Devas, their primary Commander.

(4) Another point to be taken from this passage is summarized in the verse: “These then are the eight forms of Agni.” Once again, a contradiction is created. Initially, it is stated that the Kumara entered all the forms; and now it is said that these are forms of Agni. It must be concluded, therefore, that Agni is but that Kumara. If Agni is the Kumara, and the Kumara is a manifestation of Shiva, then it follows that Agni is a manifestation of Shiva Himself. This brings to an important point of realization – the essential identity between Rudra (Shiva) of the Veda and Agni, who is otherwise commonly understood to be the Deity of fire. A deeper understanding of the Veda, though, would reveal that Agni truly represents the Flame of Divine Consciousness in which all of material existence finds its roots. In future posts, we will explore further the essential identity between Agni and Rudra-Shiva.

(5) The final point to be extracted from the passage is that there is indeed a ninth form – the Kumara Himself – beyond the eight. Together the Ashtamurtis and Kumara, the nine forms, are considered to be Agni’s threefold state. Threefold state, alluded to here, refers to the three physical planes of existence - prithivi (earth), antariksha (atmosphere) and dhyaus (heavens). The form of Agni-Kumara on the prithivi is fire, water and living beings; His form in the antariksha is the wind, lightning and clouds; His form in the dhyaus is the Moon, Sun, and the Kumara Himself.

So, who is this Agni-Kumara, the divine Child, who is manifest as the Ashtamurtis of Shiva, and is simultaneously beyond the eight forms? That Agni-Kumara is none other than Lord Skanda-Murugan (Kartikeya or Shanmukha). Truly, that Agni-Kumara is Shiva Himself, manifest within the context of time and space, who in sequence takes on the eight forms. It is that Kumara-Swami who brings Shiva, who is until then pure Consciousness, into material manifestation. It is that same Kumara-Swami who in Shaivite theology takes the seeker retrograde from material consciousness to Shiva consciousness. Unto the feet of that Skanda-Kumara, we pay obeisance.

tat puruShAya vidmahe mahAsenAya dhImahi tanno skanda prachodayAt
[~Skanda Gayatri]

© Agnideva, 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sharabha Deva

शरभ देव

Sharabha Deva, what beautiful form is Yours,
Neither a lion, nor human, nor bird are You.
How many arms have You, how many legs,
Why did You appear this way to Narasimha?
You have come to show, Lord, this fiery form,
To Your devotees who wish to see You,
Neither as human, nor animal, nor bird,
But all three in One, combined, united.
Those sharp claws and those pointy teeth,
Fear in our hearts and minds You instill.
Yet the wise always know, O dear Sharabha Deva,
That You are the epitome of compassion itself.

O Shiva, You have shown Yourself as Sharabha,
To tear asunder our worldly pangs of desire.
This creation is held together by You, Sharabha,
And indeed ripped apart by You alone at the end.
Sharabha, Your bodies are many, limbs unlimited,
Your forms unknown, Your glory unbound.
Deign make Yourself known to us, dear Lord,
For we see You not in every atom of world,
Embracing us within every fiber of our very being.
It is only Your painted image, blazing with flames,
That we look up to, awe-struck, and meditate upon.

Sharabha Deva, Lord mine of mighty wing span,
You must be the one the Vedas call Garutman.
For none else can encompass the universe like You,
Who is but that Nataraja, who spans the universe.
You are that Omkara, You are existence and bliss,
Ignorant indeed is He who sees not whom You are.
Your limbs and great body is the abode of all beings,
Your feet the earth, Your midsection the ethereal world,
Your head, O Lord, is the causal world so glorious.
In this splendid form You have flown into my heart,
Yet, O Sharabha Deva, You are beyond form all the same.

Aum Sharabhaya Namah ||

© Agnideva, 2007

Read the chapter on Appearance of Sharabha from the Shiva Purana.

Forms of Shiva

Forms of Shiva are numerous, both in theory and in tradition. No one can truly enumerate how many forms there are in tradition. In Saiva Siddhanta tradition, 25 or 64 or 108 anthropomorphic (iconic) forms are highlighted. The 25 forms of Shiva are most significant. In ancient India, different groups came up with lists of 24 or 25 forms (probably due to competition). The Shaivas have 25 forms of Shiva, the Vaishnavas have 25 avatars of Vishnu, the Buddhists have 25 Buddhas, and the Jains have 24 Tirthankaras. In Sanatana Dharma, the number 25 is significant because 25 is the number of tattvas (principles of reality) in the Sankhya philosophy, and the number of Sanskrit consonents in the 5 x 5 scheme (5 sets of pentad consonents - 5 glutterals, 5 palatals, 5 cerebrals, 5 dentals, 5 labials).

Building up from the number 25, is the number 64. 64 is significant in Shaivite and Shakta Agamic traditions. There are 64 Yoginis, 64 Siddhas, 64 Bhairavas, 64 Bhairava Agamas, 64 Kaula Tantras, 64 Tantric kriyas (rites), 64 Kalas, 64 Tamil Shaivite Saints (63 Nayannars + Manikkavasagar), and thus 64 forms of Shiva are also listed, which are inclusive of the 25 forms. 64 is a holy number because it is 8 x 8. Eight, as we've already seen, is significant because it is the number of existent entities in creation, all of which are Shiva Himself. Eight is also the state of Shiva beyond the seven higher worlds of creation (bhu, bhuva, svaha, maha, jana, tapa, satya) and beyond the seven chakras (muladhara, svadhisthana, manipura, anahata, vishuddha, ajna, and saharsra).

Finally, building up from the number 64, is the number 108. 108 is significant in the Vedic tradition. There are 108 Upanishads of the Muktika canon, 108 (main) Pancharatra Agamas of the Vaishnavas, 108 Divyadeshas (holy pilgrimage spots) of the Sri-Vaishnavas, 108 beads on japa malas (chanting rosaries), 108 divisions of the eclipctic in Vedic astrology, 108 names in the ashtottarashata namavalis (list of Divine names), etc. Thus 108 forms of Shiva are also listed, which are inclusive of the 64 forms. 108 is a holy number because it represents the completeness or fullness of the manifest Divine (Virat Purusha). Note that 108 is equal to 100 + 8. 100 is the number of Rudras according to the Rudra Adhyaya of the Yajurveda, and 8 represents Shiva, as we've seen in the above paragraph, and in previous posts.

The below list of the forms of Shiva are inclusive of the 25 forms (in bold), the 64 forms (bold + non-bold names), and the 108 forms (bold + non-bold + italicized names) per Saiva Siddhanta traditions. The anthropomorphic (iconic) forms of Shiva are called Maheshvara Murtis (forms of the Great Lord), and not to be considered as Avatars or incarnations. The Maheshvara Murtis are are secondary to the primary (aniconic) form, the Shiva Lingam, which is called the Sadashiva Murti. It should be noted that every school of Shaivism places greater emphasis on the aniconic Lingam rather than the iconic forms, but the iconic forms are deemed beneficial to for the human mind to relate to the Divine.

The list below was complied mainly using sources listed at the end. Every effort has been made to ensure that the same name is not repeated. Any repetition of the same or similar name is either due to ignorance on my part, or truly represents a separate form. The list has been edited to standardize spellings, and when appropriate duplicate names (or synonyms) are listed in parentheses. Therefore, the 108 names may not conform to other available lists. This list should not be confused with the prayer of 108 names (Ashtottarashata Namavali) of Shiva. The list below describes the represented iconic forms of Shiva either in temple iconography or art, and is based on various Vedic, Agamic and Puranic legends. As mentioned above, forms of Shiva are innumerous, literally and philosophically, so this list is far from exhaustive.

108 Maheshvara Murtis of Shiva
अष्टोत्तरशत महेश्वर मूर्ति
  1. Bhikshatana Murti
  2. Nataraja Murti
  3. Aja-Ekapada Murti
  4. Yoga-Dakshinamurti
  5. Lingodhava Murti
  6. Kamadahana Murti (Kamari)
  7. Tripurantaka Murti(Tripurari)
  8. Mahakaleshvara Murti (Kalari/Kalantaka/Kalasamhara)
  9. Jalandharavata Murti (Jalandhari)
  10. Gajasurasamhara Murti (Gajantika)
  11. Virabhadra Murti (Karala)
  12. Kankala-Bhairava Murti
  13. Kalyanasundara Murti
  14. Vrishabharudha Murti
  15. Chandrashekhara Murti
  16. Uma-Maheshvara Murti
  17. Shankaranarayana Murti (Keshavardha/Harihara)
  18. Ardanarishvara Murti
  19. Kirata Murti
  20. Chandeshvaranugraha Murti
  21. Chakradaneshvararupa Murti (Chakrapradasvarupa)
  22. Somaskanda Murti
  23. Gajamukhanugraha Murti
  24. Nilakantha-Maheshvara Murti
  25. Sukhasana Murti
  26. Mukhalinga Murti (Panchamukhalingam)
  27. Sadashiva Murti
  28. Mahasadashiva Murti
  29. Umesha Murti
  30. Vrishabhantika Murti
  31. Bhujangarlalita Murti
  32. Bhujangatrasa Murti
  33. Sandhyanritta Murti
  34. Sadanritta Murti
  35. Chanda-Tandava Murti
  36. Gangadhara Murti
  37. Gangavisarjana Murti
  38. Jvarabhagna Murti
  39. Shardhulahara Murti
  40. Pashupata Murti
  41. Vyakhyana-Dakshinamurti
  42. Vina-Dakshinamurti
  43. Vaguleshvara Murti
  44. Apat-Uddharana Murti
  45. Vatuka Bhairava Murti
  46. Kshetrapala Murti
  47. Aghorastra Murti
  48. Dakshayajnahara Murti
  49. Ashvarudha Murti
  50. Ekapada-Trimurti Murti
  51. Tripada-Trimurti Murti
  52. Gaurivaraprada Murti
  53. Gaurililasamanvita Murti
  54. Vrishabhaharana Murti
  55. Garudantika Murti
  56. Brahmasirachedataka Murti
  57. Kurmasamhara Murti (Kurmari)
  58. Mastyasamhara Murti (Mastyari)
  59. Varahasamhara Murti (Varahari)
  60. Simhagna Murti (Sharabha/Sharabheshvara)
  61. Raktabhikshapradana Murti
  62. Guru-Murti (Gurushiva)
  63. Prarthana-Murti
  64. Shishyabhava Murti
  65. Anandatandava Murti
  66. Shantyatandava Murti
  67. Samharatandava Murti
  68. Kapalishvara Murti (Brahmakapaladhara)
  69. Mahamritunjaya Murti
  70. Tryaksharmritunjaya Murti
  71. Shadaksharamrityunjaya Murti
  72. Andhasurasamhara Murti
  73. Juvarapaghna Murti
  74. Simhasana Murti
  75. Ilakeshvara Murti
  76. Satyanatha Murti
  77. Ishana Murti
  78. Tatpurusha Murti
  79. Aghora Murti
  80. Vamadeva Murti
  81. Ananteshvara Murti
  82. Kumaranugraha Murti
  83. Hayagrivanugraha Murti
  84. Maha Rudra Murti
  85. Nartana Rudra Murti
  86. Shanta Rudra Murti
  87. Yoga Rudra Murti
  88. Krodha Rudra Murti
  89. Vrinji Rudra Murti
  90. Muhunta Rudra Murti
  91. Dvibhuja Rudra Murti
  92. Ashtabhuja Rudra Murti
  93. Dashabhuja Rudra Murti
  94. Trimukha Rudra
  95. Panchamukhabhishana Rudra Murti
  96. Jvalakeshashadbhuja Rudra Murti
  97. Aghora Rudra Murti
  98. Vishnudharmottara Rudra Murti
  99. Bhima Rudra Murti
  100. Svarnakarshana Rudra Murti
  101. Bhishana Bhairava Murti
  102. Kapala Bhairava Murti
  103. Unmatta Bhairava Murti
  104. Krodha Bhairava Murti
  105. Asitanga Bhairava Murti
  106. Ruru Bhairava Murti
  107. Chanda Bhairava Murti
  108. Samhara Bhairava Murti

Sources: html

|| नमः शिवाय ||

© Agnideva, 2007

Related Post: Forms of Shiva II

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ashtamurti II

अष्टमूर्ति 2

Today’s entry is a continuation of the previous post on Ashtamurti, the eight classical forms of Shiva, which together constitute His universal form (Vishvarupa). The Ashtamurtis, as mentioned before, are associated with the eight terrestrial directions, as well as eight existent entities.

In all probability, the idea of the Ashtamurtis as Guardians of the eight directions is derived from the older Vedic Guardians of the eight directions (Digpalas). In the Vedic scheme, the Guardians of the directions are as follows:

Indra rules over the east
Ishana rules over the northeast
Soma (or Kubera) rules over the north
Vayu (or Marut) rules over the northwest
Varuna rules over the west
Nirriti rules over the southwest
Yama rules over the south
Agni rules over the southeast

There are at least a couple of commonalities we can note here that are overt. First, the name Ishana appears in the list of Vedic Digpalas as well as the Shaivite Ashtamurtis, although the direction assigned to Ishana is different. Secondly, we also note that some of the Deities of the Vedic Digpalas and the Shaivite Ashtamurtis are lords over certain material elements. For example, in the above scheme, we have Vayu who rules over the wind, Varuna who rules over water, and Agni who rules over fire. Other commonalities may be found, if we were to delve deeper.

Yet another Vedic scheme to consider vis-à-vis the Ashtamurtis is the octad of the Vasus. The Vasus (“Dwellers”) are Vedic Deities who rule over the elements, just as the Ashtamurtis rule over the eight existent entities. Per Shukla Yajurvedic tradition (Shatapatha Brahmana and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad) the eight Vasus are as follows:

1. Agni – fire
2. Prithvi – earth
3. Vayu – air
4. Antariksha – atmosphere
5. Dyaus – sky (space)
6. Aditya – the sun
7. Chandramas – the moon
8. Nakshatras – the asterisms

The above list of Vasus mentions antariksha (atmosphere) as an element, whereas the Ashtamurti list mentions water as an element. It must be noted though that in some lists of Vasus, Ap (water) is indeed mentioned instead of antariksha. The other main difference, alluded to in the previous post, is that there is no hint of anything metaphysical in the above list. The eighth element is listed as the asterisms, whereas in the Ashtamurti list, the eighth element is the Kshetrajna (Soul).

The main conclusion we can draw based on the Vedic octads (Digpalas and Vasus) and the Shaivite Ashtamurtis is that the Shaivite scheme is essentially derived from the Vedic scheme. Although the two schemes do not bear a one-to-one correlation, the overt similarities are enough to show that the Shaivite Ashtamurtis are built upon the Vedic octads, and have improved upon them to include metaphysical principles.

With time, the Ashtamurtis of Shiva have come to be very important, not only as representations of Shiva’s universal form (Vishvarupa) by their association with the elements and directions, but also as a way to establish Shaivite philosophy. In the mid-eleventh century CE commentary on Sage Vyasa’s Brahmasutras, Srikantha Shivacharya puts a different spin to the eight forms. Instead of aligning the Ashtamurtis with the elements or directions, the author concludes, based on the root of each name, that the eight names are designations of the Supreme Brahman (Shiva).

According to Srikantha Sivacharya, Brahman (Shiva) is called:

Bhava because He is the one existent everywhere.
Sharva because He is capable of destroying all.
Ishana because He has Lordship without limitations.
Ishvara (Pashupati) because He rules over all Pashus (Souls).
Rudra because He tears away the pains of worldly existence.
Ugra because He unimpeded by the luster of others.
Bhima because instills fear in souls based on their own karma.
Mahadeva because He is of great luster.

With this, we conclude our brief, yet broad, study of the eight forms of Lord Shiva; their meaning and significance as well as possible derivation.

|| अष्टमूर्तये नमः ||

© Agnideva, 2007

Related post: Ashtamurtis I

Wednesday, May 16, 2007



O Lord! Bhava, Sharva, Rudra, Pashupati, Ugra, Mahadeva, Bhima, and Ishana - these eight names of Yours are each treated in detail in the Vedas. To You, most beloved Lord Shankara, of resplendent form, I offer salutations.
~Shiva Mahimna Stotra, Verse 28

Lord Shiva is called Ashtamurti because He is of eight (ashta) forms (murtis). The eight forms of Shiva are:

1. Sharva
2. Bhava
3. Rudra
4. Ugra
5. Bhima
6. Pashupati
7. Ishana
8. Mahadeva

Sharva rules over the earth
Bhava rules over the water
Rudra rules over the fire
Ugra rules over the wind
Bhima rules over space
Pashupati rules over the soul
Ishana rules over the sun
Mahadeva rules over the moon

The earth, water, fire, wind, space, sun, moon and the Kshetrajna (knower of the field, i.e. soul) are the eight manifest forms of Shiva. This interpretation, per the Shiva Purana, implies that Shiva is the Knower and the known. Recall from a previous entry entitled Shivam, a verse from the Tirumantiram also spoke of Shiva manifesting as the eight (Note: sometimes the eighth entity is listed as the asterisms, but more often the eighth is the soul.)

The eight forms may also be viewed as the guardians of the eight terrestrial directions:

Sharva rules over the east
Bhava rules over the northeast
Rudra rules over the north
Ugra rules over the northwest
Bhima rules over the west
Pashupati rules over the southwest
Ishana rules over the south
Mahadeva over the southeast

Shiva is the center, and His eight forms are the eight directions. He is both the Pervader and the pervaded.

Some mantras to the eight forms of Shiva from a Shiva puja:

OM I offer this fragrance and flower to Sharva, the Earth form (East)
OM I offer this fragrance and flower to Bhava, the Water form (NE)
OM I offer this fragrance and flower to Rudra, the Fire form (N)
OM I offer this fragrance and flower to Ugra, the Air form (NW)
OM I offer this fragrance and flower to Bhima, the Ether form (W)
OM I offer this fragrance and flower to Pashupati, the Hidden form (SW)
OM I offer this fragrance and flower to Ishana, the Sun form (S)
OM I offer this fragrance and flower to Mahadeva, the Moon form (SE)

Extrapolating the number eight and the eight as Guardians of directions, we also see the same theme with the eight Bhairavas (fearful forms):

Asitanga Bhairava rules over the east
Samhara Bhairava rules over the northeast
Bhishana Bhairava rules over the north
Kapali Bhairava rules over the northwest
Unmatta Bhairava rules over the west
Krodhana Bhairava rules over the southwest
Chanda Bhairava rules over the south
Ruru Bhairava rules over the southeast

Mahakala Bhairava is the center, and His eight forms are the eight directions. Mahakala Bhairava is Shiva Himself, and the eight Bhairavas are the eight forms (Ashtamurtis) of Shiva in the Tantric scheme.

The eight forms of Shiva show, using ancient schemes of the eight existent entities, that Shiva is the manifest Divine. Thus, the Ashtamurtis together represent Shiva’s universal form (Vishvarupa).

|| नमः शिवाय ||

© Agnideva, 2007

Read the chapter on Ashtamurtis from Shiva Purana

Related post: Ashtamurti II

Vedasara Shivastavam

वेदसार शिवस्तवम्

Vedasara Shivastavam means the hymn (stavam) of Shiva which contains the essence (sara) of the Veda. It is a beautiful prayer and one of my favorites. It was composed by Adi Shankara Bhagavatpadacharya. This prayer incorporates both the mental image we have of Shiva per texts of tradition, and much Shaivite theology as well. Simultaneously, it extols Shiva as the formful Lord and formless Reality; as Immanent Divine and Transcendent Absolute. (Note: there are actually two versions of this prayer, listed here is the shorter of the two versions)

paSumnAM patiM pApa nASaM pareSaM
gajendrasya kR^ittiM vasAnAM vareNyam |
jaTAjUTamadhye sphurad ga.ngavAriM
mahAdevamekaM smarAmi smarAmim ||

The Lord of all beings, the Destroyer of sins,
That praiseworthy One donned in elephant skins,
From whose matted locks issues forth the Ganga,
On that Great Lord alone, I meditate, I meditate.

maheSaM sureSaM surArAtinASaM
vibhuM viSvarUpam vibhutyAnga bhUSham |
virUpAkSha mindvarka vahni trinetraM
sadAnanda mIDe prabhu pancha vaktram ||

O Great God, Lord of the Devas, Destroyer of the Asuras,
O Lord of the Universe besmeared with ashes,
O wide-eyed One, whose three eyes are the sun, moon and fire,
Ever with bliss I worship You, O Lord of faces five.

SivAkAnta Sambho SaSA.nkArdha maule
maheSAnaSUlin jaTAjUTadhArin |
tvameko jagadvyApako viSvarUpa
prasIda prasIda prabho pUrNa rUpa

O Lord of Shakti, O Shambhu, Bearer of the crescent moon,
O Great Lord of the Trident, Wearer of matted locks,
You alone are the all-pervasive One, the universal form,
Be pleased, O Lord, the form of Fullness (Plenum).

parAtmAnamekaM jagatbIjamAdyaM
nirIham nirAkAramomkAra vedyam |
yatho jAyate palyate yena viSvaM
tamIshaM bhaje lIyate yatra vishvam ||

That Supreme Soul, the Seed of the world,
Who is without desire or shape, known through the AUM
Who creates and sustains this universe,
I worship Him, in whom this universe merges.

na bhUmir na capo na vahnir na vAyur
na akASamAste na tandrA na nidrA |
na grIShmo na SItaM na desho na veSho
na yasyAstimUrti trimUrtiM tamIDe ||

He, who is the Trimurti, remains ever unaffected,
Unaffected He is by the earth, water, fire or wind
Unaffected by space, by lassitude, by sleep,
Unaffected by heat or cold, by dwelling place or garments.

ajaM SASvataM kAraNaM kAraNAnAM
SivaM kevalaM bhAsakaM bhAsakAnAm |
turIyam tamaH pAramAdhyanta hInaM
prapadye paraM pAvanaM dvaita hInam ||

To the Unborn Lord, the Eternal One, the Cause of all causes,
That Supremely Auspicious (Shiva) One, the Light of all lights,
He who is the Turiya state; without beginning, middle or end,
I praise the Supremely Holy Lord who is without any duality.

namaste namaste vibho vishvamUrte
namaste namaste cidAnanda mUrte |
namaste namaste tapo yoga gamya
namaste namaste shruti jnAna gamya

Salutations, salutations to the Lord, the form of the universe,
Salutations, salutations to Him who is Consciousness and Bliss,
Salutations, salutations to Him known by meditation and yoga,
Salutations, salutations to the Him known through the Shruti.

|| नमः शिवाय ||

For printable version, click here (Sanskrit text, transliteration and translation)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pancha Sukta Tradition

पञ्चसूक्त परम्परा

In every tradition of Sanatana Dharma, that accepts and uses the Vedas, five (pancha) Vedic hymns (suktas) are selected and considered the most important. The five hymns are recited especially in temple usually during the ablution ceremony (abhishekha).

The Shaiva Pancha Suktas are:

1. Rudra Sukta (Sri Rudram/Chamakam)
2. Purusha Sukta
3. Durga Sukta
4. Sri Sukta
5. Bhu Sukta

The Vaishnava Pancha Suktas are:

1. Purusha Sukta
2. Narayana Sukta
3. Sri Sukta
4. Bhu Sukta
5. Nila Sukta

The Smarta Pancha Suktas are:

1. Purusha Sukta
2. Narayana Sukta
3. Rudra Sukta (Sri Rudram/Chamakam)
4. Sri Sukta
5. Durga Sukta

The Shakta Pancha Suktas are:

1. Devi Sukta
2. Durga Sukta
3. Sri Sukta
4. Bhu Sukta
5. Nila Sukta

Simple observations:

1. All branches share the Sri Sukta.
2. Shaivas, Vaishnavas and Shaktas share the Bhu Sukta
3. Shaivas, Vaishnavas and Smartas share the Purusha Sukta
4. Shaivas, Vaishnavas and Smartas use suktas for both Deva and Devi
5. Shaktas use only suktas for Devi, and omit suktas for Deva
6. Shaktas are unique in using the Devi Sukta
7. Vaishnavas do not use the Rudra Sukta (Rudram/Chamakam)
8. Shaivas do not use the Narayana Sukta
9. Smartas use both Rudra Sukta and Narayana Sukta

Lesson to be learned:

The Pancha Suktas in no way represent the extent of the Vedic canon used by these branches. In fact, the Pancha Suktas represent only a small fraction of the Vedic canonical material utilized by a given branch. However, a simple analysis of which suktas are accepted as most important goes to show that while all these branches of Sanatana Dharma accept and follow the Veda, each branch quotes selectively per their need, and what is compatible with the theology and philosophy of that branch. What is deemed compatible is determined by the respective Agamas of that branch and secondary (smriti) literature. Only that which is compatible is generally highlighted.

The doctrines of different schools listed all find support in the Veda. Therefore, no particular branch can rightly claim theirs is the one and only true interpretation of the entire Veda. Each system within Sanatana Dharma is its own independent and sovereign path to be understood and analyzed within its own context, and not in the context of other systems. Given this background, it makes complete sense to say, as Shaivites do, that Shaivism is based on a dual canon -- the Vedic canon, which is general in nature, and the Agamic canon, which is specific in nature.

|| ॐ नमः शिवाय ||

© Agnideva, 2007

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ode to Bhairava

O Bhairava, O beautiful Lord mine!
So forgiving are You, yet so misunderstood.
The external shell that is Your fearful form,
Melts away when one understands Your inner formlessness.
Remove that fear of mine, Lord,
That everlasting fear of time, of age, of birth and death.
That Bhairava is all there is – He is within and without;
The space within my heart is filled by Him, who is beyond time.
In the melodies of sweet music and gentle flows of life
Is the essence of Lord Bhairava, the Eternal One.
O Lord of Kashi, O Mahakala Bhairava,

O Supreme Guardian of the directions ten,
You are but the directions that You guard.
May this ode be an offering to Him,
Who needs no offering.
May that Bhairava, the very Self of the Self,
That supremely Auspicious One, the highest Light,
Look upon me with a loving glance.
It is to Him that I dedicate, Him I invoke,
To Him I offer a sacrifice of the mind.

Aum Bhairavaya Namah.

© Agnideva, 2007

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Every so often, even down to present times, one comes across sectarian statements by Vaishnava Hindus and Shaiva Hindus quoting various texts in an attempt to prove that the Divine, as defined by their own religion, is the Supreme Lord (and by default the God of the rival religion is the Supreme Lord's servant). As this blogger was one day pondering upon this issue, his glance suddenly fell on a certain set of verses from the Parameshvara Agama. Today's blog entry will therefore be a quote from that text. It may be deduced from the below verses that even during the time of the composition of the aforementioned Agama (5th century CE?), statements of superiority and sectarianism must have been commonplace.

Ishvara said:
O Shailaja (Daughter of the Mountain), sometimes it so happens (in marriage) that the woman is the wearer of the Linga*, whereas the man is a devotee of Vishnu. On the contrary, sometimes it is the man who wears the Linga*, and the woman follows the order of the Vaishnavas. I ensure redemption to devotees of Vishnu and Shiva, as I have equal affection for both.

~Parameshvara Agama
Chapter 17, Verses 20-21.

* Wearer of the Linga here indicates a Virashaiva, who wears a small Linga icon on a necklace upon initiation.

|| नमः शिवाय ||

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Shivopasana Mantras


निधनपतये नमःनिधनपतान्तिकाये नमःऊर्ध्वाये नमःऊर्ध्वालिड्गाये नमःहिरण्याये नमःहिरण्यलिङ्गाये नमःसुवर्णाये नमः । सुवर्णलिङ्गाये नमःदिव्याये नमःदिव्यलिङ्गाये नमःभवाये नमःभवलिङ्गाये नमःशर्वाये नमःशर्वलिङ्गाये नमःशिवायेनमःशिवलिङ्गाये नमःज्वलाये नमःज्वललिङ्गाये नमःआत्माये नमःआत्मलिङ्गाये नमःपरमाये नमःपरमलिङ्गाये नमःएतत सोमस्य सूर्यस्य सर्वलिङ्गस्थापयति पाणिमन्त्रं पवित्रम् ।।

nidhana-pataye namaH | nidhana-patAntikAye namaH | UrdhvAye namaH | Urdhvali.ngAye namaH | hiraNyAye namaH | hiraNyali.ngAye namaH | suvarNAye namaH | suvarNali.ngAye namaH | divyAye namaH | divyali.ngAye namaH | bhavAye namaH | bhavali.ngAye namaH | Sarvaye namaH | Sarvali.ngAye namaH | SivAye namaH | Sivali.ngAye namaH | jvalAye namaH | jvalali.ngAye namaH | AtmAye namaH | Atmali.ngAye namaH | paramAye namaH | paramali.ngAye namaH | etat somasya sUryasya sarvali.ngasthApayati pANimantraM pavitram ||

Salutations to the Lord, the Dissolver of the Universe. Salutations to Lord, the Ender of the Lord of Dissolution. Salutations to the Highest One. Salutations to the Highest Icon the Lord. Salutations to the Golden One. Salutations to the Golden Icon the Lord. Salutations to the Splendrous One. Salutations to the Splendrous Icon the Lord. Salutations to the Effulgent One. Salutations to the Effulgent Icon of the Lord. Salutations to the Source of All (outflow at creation). Salutations to the Icon of the Lord, the Source of All. Salutations to the Suppressor of All (inflow at dissolution). Salutations to the Icon the Lord, the Suppressor of All. Salutations to the Auspicious One. Salutations to the Auspicious Icon of the Lord. Salutations to Brilliant. Salutations to the Brilliant Icon of the Lord. Salutations to the Soul of All. Salutations the Icon of the Lord, the Soul of All. Salutations to the Supreme One. Salutations the Supreme Icon of the Lord. All is purified upon repetition of these mantras holding in the hand the Linga Icon, which represents Soma and Surya.

~ Mahanarayana Upanishad (XVI.1-2) of the Krsna Yajurveda
(Taittiriya Aranyaka X.16.1-2 of the Krsna Yajurveda)

The above comes to us from the Taittiriya Aranyaka (X.16.1-2) of the Krsna Yajurveda. Since the tenth chapter of the Taittiriya Aranyaka is called the Mahanarayana Upanishad (or Yajniki Upanishad), it is equally correct to say that these mantras come from the Mahanarayana Upanishad. The above mantras are called the Shivopasana Mantras (mantras for worship of Shiva), and are recited at the end of the chanting of the Sri Rudram hymn. What is most interesting about this above passage is the final mantra in the series. Two important points are made in the final mantra: the image of holding Linga icon in the hand; and that the Linga icon represents Soma (Moon) and Surya (Sun). Holding the small Ishtalinga icon in the palm of the hand is an important part of daily Vira Shaiva puja. Whether the above has any connection to Vira Shaivism is not known. More importantly, what the last mantra shows is that iconic (murti) worship is present in this Upanishad, and the murti is said to be representative. What does it represent? Soma and Surya. In Tantric texts, one finds that Soma stands for Shakti, and Surya stands for Shiva. The Linga icon, therefore, is the Oneness of Shakti and Shiva. This passage from the Mahanarayana Upanishad establishes using Vedic mantras the worship of the Shiva Linga icon, and briefly elaborates its meaning using Vedic imagery.

More to come on Shiva-Shakti and Shiva Linga icon in future posts.

|| नमः शिवाय ||

© Agnideva, 2007

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Prayer for Forgiveness

क्षमा प्रार्थना

करचरणकृतं वाक्कायाजं कर्माजं वा
श्रवणनयनजं वा मानसं वापराधम् ।
विहितमविहितं वा सर्वमेतत्क्ष्मस्व
जय जय करुणाब्दे श्री महादेव शम्भो ॥

kara charaNa kritaM vAkkAyajaM karmajaM vA
SravaNa nayanajaM vA mAnasaM vAparAdham |
vihitama vihitaM vA sarvametatkSamasva
jaya jaya karuNAbde SrI mahAdeva Sambho ||

Whatever faults I may have committed by hand or foot,
In word or deed, with my ears or eyes, mind or body,
Knowingly or unknowingly - forgive me for them all,
Victory unto Thee, O Great Lord Shambhu, the Ocean of Compassion.

~Verse 16, Shiva Aparadha Kshama Stotra
by Adi Shankara Bhagavatpadacharya

|| ॐ नमः शिवाय ||

Rudra Suktam

रुद्र सूक्त्तं
Hymn of Rudra
Holy Rigveda II.33.1-15

O Father of Storms [Maruts], may Your favor flash upon us! Do not deprive us of the sight of the sun. May the Hero mounted on His charger spare us! Grant us, O Rudra, to live forth in our children.

Thanks to Your wholesome remedies, O Rudra, may I attain the span of a hundred winters! Drive far from us all hatreds and troubles; scatter to the four winds every sort of sickness.

O thunder-wielding God, You of all beings are most renowned and mightiest of the mighty. Conduct us to the further shore of sorrows in peace and frustrate all assaults of evil.

May we not anger You, O Rudra, in our worship by praise that is unworthy or by scanty tribute. Restore our warriors with Your medicaments. I know, O mightiest, You are the Best of Healers.

With invocation and offering I approach Him, eager to appease Rudra with my praises. May the God of Mercy, of dark, handsome looks, who is easy of entreaty, spare us His anger!

His Mightiness, escorted by the Storms [Maruts], has brought me strong comfort in distress. May I, unharmed, find shelter with Him as from glaring heat! May I secure the goodwill of God Rudra!

How I long, O God, for the gracious touch of Your hand which heals and brings refreshment, which softens all chastisements of the Gods. Regard me, O Mighty One, with an indulgent eye.

To the great One, the brown and whitish Bull, I offer a powerful hymn of praise. Adore His splendor with adorations! We glorify the mighty Name of God Rudra.

This God of firm limbs, of many forms, the brown One, the Mighty, has decked Himself with golden ornaments. The Power Divine of this sovereign God, the Ruler of the Universe, never dwindles.

Worthy are You of the bow and arrows, worthy of the many-colored, noble insignia; worthy are You to combat every horror, for none, O Rudra, is more powerful than You.

Praise to the youthful, far-famed God, enthroned on high, who slays like a wild beast! Have mercy on Your singer when he sings Your praises! May Your hosts spare us and cast down some other!

As a son salutes with reverence his father, so I bow down, O God, at Your approach. I praise You, mighty Lord, Rudra, Giver of treasures. Grant us Your medicines when we extol You.

Your remedies so pure, O powerful Storms [Maruts], afford us relief and bring us joy. Those which our father Manu chose I beg from the Lord for my own well-being.

May Rudra’s missile be deflected from us, may the anger of the blazing God overshoot us! Relax Your bow of wrath toward our well-wishers. Have pity on our sons and on their children!

O mighty Power, the God who never slumbers, be here attentive, O Lord Rudra; hear our cry. Not for You, O God, to be angry or destroy! May we speak, as men of valor, a strong word!

|| नमो भगवते रुद्राय ||


In the Vedas, Shiva is known as Rudra. The image of Rudra presented to us is that of a hunter, eager to release His arrow. Hymn after hymn eulogizing Rudra asks Him to lay down His bow, and take His gentler, calmer side. The Vedic sages give us an external image of an angry, feared God. On closer examination, however, He is not angry at all. In fact, within the Rudra form, Shiva’s true nature is brought out as gentle, peaceful and loving. If we read carefully, the anugraha (graceful) form comes through the ugra (fearful) form. The imagery of fear an indication of Rudra's unknowability, as humans fear that which is unknown. While Rudra is clearly known and depicted as an anugraha murti (form of Grace), there is yet an unknowable quality about Him, which is why He is painted in the color of fear.

From the above Rigvedic hymn, it is clear that despite the poetic verses that are meant to pacify Him, He is not be feared at all. Note that Rudra is praised as the “God of Mercy.” His gracious touch is said to bring healing and refreshment. The Rishi (Poet-Seer) of this hymn ends by saying, “Not for You, O God, to be angry or to destroy,” creating a clear contradiction between the angry portrayal of Rudra, and the benign, graceful vision of Shiva. The apparent contradiction in the portrayal of Rudra-Shiva in the Veda continues in later Shaivite theology and iconography. Shiva is depicted in the ugra (fearful) and anugraha (graceful) forms. His dual-nature represents a balance between the two sides. Truly, however, it may be concluded through Shaivite theology, that God Shiva encompasses both sets of opposite characteristics, and yet at the same time, He is beyond all pairs of opposites imaginable.

Another important contribution of the Vedic Rudra hymns to later Shaivite theology is the overt praise of Rudra as the sole Lord of the Universe. In the above hymn, Rudra is clearly eulogized as the Sovereign God, the Ruler of the Universe, and that there is none is more powerful than Him. He is called mightiest of the mighty, and the most-renowned of all. One can deduce from hymns such as these why a strong Rudra-Shiva centered theology and worship arose even in the early days. The doctrine of the Pashupatas, and early writings such as the Shvetasvatara Upanishad and the Shaiva Agamas likely have their written origins in Rudra hymns such as the one above.

© Agnideva, 2007

Ribhu Gita - Excerpt #1

The Ribhu Gita is a long philosophical discourse between the great sage Ribhu, and his disciple Nidagha. It is one of the most beautiful and sublime non-dualistic texts ever written. The Ribhu Gita is not accepted by any school of Shaivism as a canonical scripture, per se. However, its focus is definitely on Shiva-Shankara as the Absolute Reality, and so can be labeled as leaning toward non-dualistic Shaivism. The Sanskrit Ribhu Gita had been translated into Tamil some centuries ago, and so was available to Sri Ramana Maharshi of Tiruvannamalai. Sri Ramana Maharshi especially favored its teachings, and he would recommend this book to his disciples. Several years ago, the original Sanskrit Ribhu Gita was translated into English by some devotees of Sri Ramana Maharshi. Nevertheless, it continues to be a rather obscure text known to a select few. The Ribhu Gita itself occurs in a much larger text called the Shiva Rahasya. Some consider the Shiva Rahasya a minor purana, others consider it an itihasa, as with Ramayana or Mahabharata. The Shiva Rahasya contains much esoteric Shaivite teaching, and deserves our special attention. Unfortunately, the Shiva Rahasya remains to be translated into English.
Ribhu Gita - Chapter 1

रिभूनिदघ संवाद

1. Skanda: The Rishis spoke thus to Ribhu, the devotee of Sambhu, the desireless, the best among sages, decked with ashes and rudrakshas (holy berries), who was at Kedara on the Himalayan peak worshipping the Lord of Kedara.

2, 3. Rishis: Worthy son of Brahma, the lotus-born! For our Liberation, please enlighten us, with the knowledge, the wisdom of the Vedas and great aphorisms (mahavakyas), which you obtained on Mount Kailasa by worshipping Lord Isvara, by means of which we shall be enabled to cross the shoreless ocean of samsara, (the repetitious cycle of birth and death).

4. Suta: Gladdened by the words of the Sages and looking around, he addressed the wise assembly, who were established in the contemplation of the feet of the Lord of the octonary form.

5. Ribhu: There is nothing secret from you, great souls, the noble devotees of Sambhu. Looking at you from the mansion of love of the three-eyed Lord, I shall communicate to you this:

6, 7. The aphoristic Knowledge of Sankara, a great emanation from the head of the Vedas. Hear this, best of men, seekers after the Knowledge of Brahman! Hear this: the Ocean of Siva-Knowledge -- by which you shall, conquering your [attachment to the] senses by devotion to Siva, cross that sea of samsara (repetitive cycle of birth and death). Offering obeisance to Mahadeva, I shall expound to you the knowledge of Isvara.

8. The cause of the universe is the Divine Consort of Uma alone, the shining illuminator, the one cause of the sentient and the insentient world, and the one cause of joy. For Him, the great Isvara (Mahesvara), there is no need for any action. He, Hara, alone is the cause of all.

9. The charioteer born of the arrow, and the horses from the faces of the charioteer, the pair of eyes of you, the rider, as the pair of chariot wheels, the chariot fitted and yoked for the hunt, seated in the chariot with a crown on the head and bows and arrows in front, and steering the chariot -- may the dust of this Sthanu (the immovable, motionless One, Siva) protect us!

10, 11. Then, addressing Nidagha, Ribhu said: I shall tell you about the definition of the Self, which is not available in all the triad of time--past, present, and future -- ever the most secret of the secret, by summarizing what has been expounded by Siva. There is nothing that can be talked of as non-Self, neither the mind as the non-Self, nor the world as the non-Self. Be of the certitude that there is nothing that is non-Self.

12. By the absence of all sankalpas, by the elimination of all forms, by the conviction of there being only Brahman, be of the certitude that there is not anything that is non- Self.

13. In the absence of mind, there is no thinking; in the absence of the body, there is no aging. With the conviction of there being only Brahman, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.

14. Because of the absence of feet, there is no walking; because of the absence of hands, there is no work. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.

15. Because of the absence of Brahma, the Creator, there is no world; in the absence thereof, there is no Hari, the sustainer. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.

16. In the absence of aging, there is no death; nor is there the world or the Vedas or the Gods. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non- Self.

17. There is no dharma (righteous conduct), no purity, no [concept of] truth, no fear. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.

18. Because there is no decay, there is no movement. Because there is no decay, there is no insentience. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.

19. The Guru, indeed, does not exist; truly, there is no disciple. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.

20. There being nothing that is the first, there is nothing that is the second; there being no second, there is nothing as the first. If there is the concept of truth, something as nontruth will also arise.

21. If there be any concept of non-truth, a concept of truth will also arise, with it. If there is inauspiciousness, know that there is a notion of auspiciousness. Likewise, if there is auspiciousness, there will be inauspiciousness.

22. If you think of fearlessness, fear is postulated; fear is concomitant with fearlessness. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.

23. If there is bondage, there is liberation; in the absence of bondage, there is no liberation. If there is death, there is birth; in the absence of birth, there is no death either.

24. If there is "you," there is "I"; if there is no "you", there is no "I". If there is "this", then there is "that"; in the absence of "that", there is no "this" either.

25. "If it is there" implies something not being there; "it is not there" implies something being there. If there is an effect, there is some cause; in the absence of effect, there is no cause.

26. If there is duality, there is (a concept of) nonduality; in the absence of duality, there is no (concept of) nonduality either. If there is something to be "seen," a seer is also there; in the absence of anything to see, there is no seer at all either.

27. If there is an interior, there surely is an exterior; if there be no interior, there is also no exterior. If there be (a concept of) completeness, it implies something of incompleteness.

28. If there is a little that can be thought of, it becomes all in no time; if there is not a little--nothing whatsoever of anything at anytime--nothing arises.

29. Therefore, all this does not exist in the least at any time: neither you nor I, neither this nor that. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.

30. There is nothing by way of example in this world, nor is there anything for which an example is to be given. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.

31. There is no mind to think, "I am the Supreme Brahman," "This universe is only Brahman alone," "You are also only Brahman."

32. I am Consciousness, and there is no non-Self. Be of this certitude. Thus, in brief, the definition of the Self has been told to you.

33. By hearing this once, one becomes Brahman oneself.

34. Nidagha: Who are You? Who indeed? Tell me, best among speakers, that upon hearing which one is released instantaneously from the great hardship of samsara.

35. Ribhu: I, indeed, am the Supreme Brahman. I, indeed, am the Supreme Happiness. I, indeed, am myself. I, indeed, am. I am Brahman alone.

36. I am Consciousness alone. I am possessed of Divine Knowledge. I am without any words to express myself. I am Brahman alone.

37. I have no meaning. "This" is without meaning. I am devoid of the meaning of all. I am Brahman alone.

38. I am ever pure, enlightened, eternal, totally blemishless. I am of the nature of the Ever-Blissful. I am Brahman alone.

39. I am of the nature of the eternal Perfection. I am Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. I am of the nature of nonduality alone. I am Brahman alone.

40. I am of the nature that cannot be described. I am without beginning and without end. I am not of the nature of insentient matter. I am Brahman alone.

41. I am without any sankalpa of my own. I am devoid of all nescience. I am all. I am That itself; I am Brahman alone.

42. I am devoid of all names and such. I am devoid of all forms. I am devoid of all attachments. I am Brahman alone.

43. I am the creator of all speech. I am beyond the end of all the Vedas (Vedanta). I am the end of all times. I am Brahman alone.

44. I am the end of all forms. I am the joy that is the end of all names. I am the end of all the eons of time. I am Brahman alone.

45. I myself am joy and nothing else. I myself am changeless Consciousness. I myself am everywhere. I am Brahman alone.

46. I am the Self, which is Brahman alone. I am solely a mass of pure Consciousness. I am the sole-existent, undivided Essence. I am Brahman alone.

47. I am solely of the nature of Knowledge. I am of the nature that exists by itself. I am the sole-existent, complete Essence. I am Brahman alone.

48. I am of the nature of Existence. I, indeed, am of the nature of beatitude. I am beyond meaning or absence of meaning. I am Brahman alone.

49. I am of the nature that is immeasurable. I am of the nature that cannot be discussed. I am of the nature that cannot be comprehended. I am Brahman alone.

50. I am of the nature that is not woven together. I am without sorrow. I shine uninterruptedly. I am Brahman alone.

51. I am devoid of all activity. I am devoid of all differences. I am devoid of all doubts. I am Brahman alone.

52. I am without an ego. I am without a master. I am ever of the nature of Brahman. I am Brahman alone.

53. I am devoid of Brahma or the characteristics of Brahma and others, devoid of the characteristics of Kesava (Vishnu) and others. I am without the characteristics of Sankara and others; I am Brahman alone.

54. I am silently luminous. I am Brahman alone. I am nothing. I am not "the highest." I am a small thing. I am also the Supreme.

55. I do not have a lustrous body; nor am I the illuminator of the universe. I am a mass of Consciousness. I am of the nature of Consciousness. I am ever of the nature of Existence.

56. I am joyous. I am the embodiment of joy. I am Brahman alone. I am neither a boy, nor am I a youth, nor an old man. I am higher than the highest.

57. I am not of the nature that is manifold. I am Brahman alone. This, my own experience, has thus been told, the supreme Essence of all the Upanishads.

58. Whoever hears this becomes himself Brahman.

59. Those deluded by the intellect with ideas of "little of learning" and "omniscience" and the like, arising out of [conceptual interpretations of] the Vedas, scriptures, treatises, aphorisms, and the like, cannot, even by the study of hundreds of scriptures, know Sankara as being neither the gross nor the atomic, nor fire, wind, space, water, or earth, but as merely the shining Heart-space inside the sheaths within all beings.


|| शिवोहं शिवोहं सच्चिदानन्दोहम् ||

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