Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chamakam

The Chamakam is an extremely ancient prayer that comes to us from the Yajurveda. In the days of old, the priest of the Vedic sacrifice (yajna) would chant this long supplication to the Divine while pouring oblations into the holy fire. These days, as yajna rituals are rare, the Chamakam is mostly chanted in temples of Shiva following the other famous Yajurvedic prayer known as Sri Rudram or Rudradhyaya. In essence, the Chamakam supplicates the Divine to provide all the necessary things for humanity's continued survival and prosperity. Though the reciter repeatedly says me meaning "to me" (grant me), it should be understood that the supplication is on behalf of humanity, and not the individual.

A translation of the Chamakam is posted here. However, no translation can ever capture the mystifying beauty of the Vedic mantras in the original language (proto-Sanskrit). Also, it must be noted that several items being beseeched are those specific to ancient Vedic rituals and do not have names in modern languages. As the Vedic rituals were considered crucial for the well-being of all humanity, praying for the necessary items and correct performance of the ritual plays a central role in the hymn.




When listening to Vedic hymns being chanted, one ought not concentrate too much on understanding the words or the meaning. It is far more important to close one's eyes, mediate, and allow one's mind to be transformed by the divine vibrations therein.

Aum Namah Shivaya, and a blessed Maha Shivaratri to all my readers.

Phalguna Krsna 14, Samvat 2065
(Plava Samvatsara, Yugabda 5110) [?]

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Daksha's Supplication

Anyone who is familiar with the Tradition of Shiva is undoubtedly also familiar with the story of Daksha's Yajna. The story of Daksha's Yajna is one of the most famous Puranic Shaivite myths. Though it is a story with esoteric meaning, we will not, here, analyze this story. Suffice it to say that many Shaivite books and scriptures relate or allude to this story or events therein. In that, the epic Mahabharata is no exception.

What makes the Mahabharata epic unique among ancient books is that it was written by generations of writers over a period of a few hundred years (ca. 400 bce-400 ce). As a result, there are numerous interpolations and perhaps dozens of sections omitted from Sanskrit critical editions. The below prayer, here termed "Daksha's Supplication", appears to be from such an omitted part of the epic. Daksha's Supplication is found within an inserted section of 435 verses between chapter 274 and 275 of Book XII (Shanti Parva) of the Mahabharata.

As is evident below, Daksha's Supplication is a lengthy, 234-verse prayer to Shiva in His universal form. The prayer glorifies the Lord using almost every attribute, epithet and description imaginable. It is written as a prayer sung by Daksha-Prajapati to supplicate Shiva's fury. Judging by the age of the Mahabharata, coupled with references to the Sri Rudram and the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, we may assume that this prayer was composed by Pashupata ascetics.

While there are hundreds of hymns and prayers honoring Shiva in dozens of texts, this hymn captures a clear and beautiful image of ancient Shaivite thought from a time either before or during the composition of the Shaiva Puranas. It is a beautiful blending of Shaiva mythology and theology as taught by Pashupata sages. In its essence, what we find in Daksha's Supplication are the two core teachings: (a) In Shiva, in the Lord, all opposites, all contradictions cease and a sense of completeness is realized; and (b) Shiva is All, and All is Shiva. The unity in Divinity principle that is implicit in Daksha's Supplication remains a key feature of all Shaiva thought to this day.

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Daksha's Supplication

Yudhishthira said, “It behoveth thee, O sire, to tell me those names by which Daksha, that progenitor of creatures, adored the great Deity. O sinless one, a reverent curiosity impels me to hear them.”

Bhishma said, “Hear, O Bharata, what the names, both secret and proclaimed, are of that God of Gods, that Deity of extraordinary feats, that Ascetic of secret vows.”

Daksha said:

I bow to Thee! O Lord of all the Devas to the Destroyer of the forces of the Asuras.
Thou art the Paralyser of the strength of the celestial Chief Himself.
Thou art adored by both Devas and Danavas.
Thou art thousand-eyed, Thou art fierce-eyed, and Thou art three-eyed.
Thou art the Friend of the ruler of the Yakshas.
Thy hands and feet extend in all directions to all places.
Thy eyes also and head and mouth are turned on all sides.
Thy ears too are everywhere in the universe,
And Thou art Thyself everywhere, O Lord!
Thou art shaft-eared, Thou art large-eared, and Thou art pot-eared.
Thou art the Receptacle of the ocean.
Thy ears are like those of the elephant, or of the bull, or like extended palms.
Salutations to Thee!
Thou hast a hundred stomachs, a hundred revolutions, and a hundred tongues.
I bow to Thee!
The utterers of the Gayatri sing Thy praises in uttering the Gayatri,
And the worshippers of the Sun adore Thee in adoring the Sun.
The Rishis regard Thee as Brahmā, as Indra, and as the (illimitable) firmament above.
O Thou of mighty form, the ocean and the sky are Thy two forms.
All the Deities dwell in Thy form even as kine dwell within the fold.
In Thy body I behold Soma, and Agni, and the Lord of the Waters,
And Aditya, and Vishnu, and Brahmā, and Brihaspati.
Thou, O illustrious One, art Cause and Effect,
And Action and Instrument of everything unreal and real,
And Thou art Creation and Destruction.
I bow unto Thee that art called Bhava and Sharva and Rudra.
I bow unto Thee that art the Giver of boons.
I bow always unto Thee that art the Lord of all creatures.
Salutations to Thee that art the Slayer of Andhaka.
Salutations to Thee that hast three matted locks,
To Thee that hast three heads,
To Thee that art armed with an excellent trident;
To Thee that hast three eyes and that art, therefore, called Tryambaka and Trinetra!
Salutations to Thee that art the Destroyer of the triple city!
Salutations to Thee that art called Chanda, and Kunda;
To Thee that art the (universal) egg and also the bearer of the (universal) egg;
To Thee that art the Holder of the ascetic's stick,
To Thee that hast ears everywhere,
And to Thee that art called Dandimunda!
Salutations to Thee whose teeth and hair are turned upwards,
To Thee that art stainless and white, and that art stretched all over the universe;
To Thee that art red, to Thee that art tawny, and to Thee that hast a blue throat!
Salutations to Thee that art of incomparable form, that art of dreadful form,
And that art highly auspicious!
To Thee that art Surya, that hast a garland of Suryas round Thy neck,
And that hast standards and flags bearing the device of Surya.
Salutations to Thee that art the Lord of spirits and ghosts,
To Thee that art bull-necked, and that art armed with the bow;
To Thee that crushest all foes,
To Thee that art the personification of chastisement,
And to Thee that art clad in leaves (of trees) and rags.
Salutations to Thee that bearest gold in Thy stomach,
To Thee that art cased in golden mail,
To Thee that art gold-crested,
To Thee that art the Lord of all the gold in the world!
Salutations to Thee that hast been adored,
That deservest to be adored, and that art still being adored;
To Thee that art all things, that devourest all things,
And that art the Soul of all things!
Salutations to Thee that art the Hotri (in sacrifices),
That art the (Vedic) mantras uttered (in sacrifices),
And that ownest white flags and standards.
Salutations to Thee that art the navel of the universe,
That art both cause and effect in the form of the five primal elements,
And that art the Coverer of all covers.
Salutations to Thee that art called Krisanasa,
That art of thin limbs, and that art thin.
Salutations to Thee that art always cheerful
And that art the personification of confused sounds and voices.
Salutations to Thee that art about to be stretched on the Earth,
That art already stretched, and that standing upright.
Salutations to Thee that art fixed, that art running, that art bald,
And that bearest matted locks on Thy head.
Salutation to Thee that art fond of dancing
And that strikest Thy puffed cheeks making Thy mouth a drum.
Salutations to Thee that art fond of lotuses that blow in rivers,
And that art always fond of singing and playing on musical instruments.
Salutations to Thee that art the Eldest-Born,
That art the foremost of all creatures,
And that art the Crusher of the Asura Vala.
Salutations to Thee that art the Master of Time,
That art the personification of Kalpa;
That art the embodiment of all kinds of destruction, great and small.
Salutations to Thee that laughest awfully and as loud as the beat of a drum,
And that observest dreadful vows!
Salutations for ever to Thee that art fierce, and that hast ten arms.
Salutations to Thee that art armed with bones and that art fond of the ashes of funeral pyres.
Salutations to Thee that art awful, that art terrible to behold,
And that art an observer of dreadful vows and practices.
Salutations to Thee that ownest an ugly mouth,
That hast a tongue resembling a scimitar, and that hast large teeth.
Salutations to Thee that art fond of both cooked and uncooked meat,
And that regardest the gourded Vina as highly dear.
Salutations to Thee that causest rain, that helpest the cause of righteousness,
That art identifiable with the form of Nandi, and that art Righteousness' Self!
Salutations to Thee that art ever moving like wind and the other forces,
That the Controller of all things,
And that art always engaged in cooking all creatures (in the cauldron of time).
Salutations to Thee that art the foremost of all creatures,
That art superior, and that art the giver of boons.
Salutations to Thee that hast the best of garlands,
The best of scents, and the best of robes,
And that givest the best of boons to the best of creatures.
Salutations to Thee that art attached,
That art freed from all attachments,
That art of the form of yoga contemplation,
And that art adorned with a garland of Akshas.
Salutations to Thee that art united as cause and disunited as effects,
And that art the form of shadow and of light.
Salutations to Thee that art amiable, and that art frightful,
And that art exceedingly so.
Salutations to Thee that art auspicious,
That art tranquil, and that art most tranquil.
Salutations to Thee that art of one leg and many eyes,
And that hast only one head; to Thee that art fierce,
To Thee that art gratified with little offerings,
And Thee that art fond of equity.
Salutations to Thee that art the Artificer of the universe,
And that art ever united with the attribute of tranquility.
Salutations to Thee that bearest a foe-frightening bell,
That art of the form of the jingle made by a bell,
And that art of the form of sound when it is not perceptible by the ear.
Salutations to Thee that art like a thousand bells jingled together,
And that art fond of a garland of bells,
That art like the sound that the life-breaths make,
That art of the form of all scents and of the confused noise of boiling liquids.
Salutations to Thee that art beyond three Huns, and that art fond of two Huns.
Salutations to Thee that art exceedingly tranquil,
And that hast the shade of mountain trees for Thy habitation.
Thou art fond of the heart-flesh of all creatures,
That cleansest from all sins,
And that art of the form of sacrificial offerings.
Salutations to Thee that art of the form of Sacrifice,
That art the Sacrificer himself,
That art the brahmana into whose mouth is poured the sacrificial butter,
And that art the fire into which is poured the butter inspired with mantras.
Salutations to Thee that art of the form of (sacrificial) Ritvijas,
That hast Thy senses under control,
That art made of Sattva, and that hast Rajas also in Thy make.
Salutations to Thee that art of the banks of Rivers,
Of Rivers themselves, and of the Lord of all Rivers (the ocean)!
Salutations to Thee that art the Giver of food,
That art the Lord of all food, and that art identical with him that takes food!
Salutations to Thee that hast a thousand heads and a thousand feet,
To Thee that hast a Thousand tridents uplifted in Thy hands, and a Thousand eyes!
Salutations to Thee that art of the form of the rising Sun,
And that art of the form of a child,
That art the protector of attendants all of whom are of the form of children,
And that art, besides, of the form of children's toys.
Salutations to Thee that art old, that art covetous,
That art already agitated, and that art about to be agitated.
Salutations to Thee that hast locks of hair marked by the current of the Ganges,
And that hast locks of hair resembling blades of Munja grass!
Salutations to Thee that art gratified with the six acts,
And that art devoted to the performance of the three acts.
Salutations to Thee that hast assigned the duties of the respective modes of life.
Salutations to Thee that deservest to, be praised in sounds,
That art of the form of sorrow, and that art of the form of deep and confused noise.
Salutations to Thee that hast eyes both white and tawny, as also dark and red.
Salutations to Thee that hast conquered Thy vital breaths,
That art of the form of weapons, that rivest all things,
And that art exceedingly lean.
Salutations to Thee that always discoursest of religion,
Pleasure, profit, and emancipation.
Salutations to Thee that art a Sankhya, that art the foremost of Sankhyas,
And that art the Introducer of the Sankhya-Yoga.
Salutations to Thee that hast a car and that art without a car (for Thy journeys).
Salutations to Thee that hast the intersections of four roads for Thy car;
To Thee that hast the skin of a black deer for Thy upper garments,
And that hast a snake for Thy sacred thread.
Salutations to Thee that art Isana, that art of body as hard as thunderbolt,
And that art of green locks.
Salutations to Thee that art of three eyes,
That art the Lord of Ambika, that art Manifest, and that art Unmanifest.
Salutations to Thee that art Desire, that art the Giver of all desires,
That art the Killer of all desires,
And that art the discriminator between the gratified and the ungratified.
Salutations to Thee that art all things, the Giver of all things, and the Destroyer of all things.
Salutations to Thee that art the hues which appear in the evening sky.
Salutations to Thee that art of mighty strength, that art of mighty arms,
That art a mighty Being, and that art of great effulgence.
Salutations to Thee that lookest like a mighty mass of clouds,
And that art the embodiment of eternity!
Salutations to Thee that art of well-developed body,
That art of emaciated limbs, that bearest matted locks on Thy head,
And that art clad in barks of trees and skins of animals.
Salutations to Thee that hast matted locks as effulgent as the Sun or the Fire,
And that hast barks and skins for Thy attire.
Salutations to Thee that art possessed of the effulgence of a thousand Suns,
And that art ever engaged in penances.
Salutations to Thee that art the excitement of fever
And that art endued with matted locks drenched with the waters of the Ganges
Characterised by hundreds of eddies.
Salutations to Thee that repeatedly revolvest the Moon, the yugas, and the clouds.
Thou art food, Thou art he who eats that food,
Thou art the Giver of food, Thou art the Grower of food,
And Thou art the Creator of food.
Salutations to Thee that cookest food and that eatest cooked food,
And that art both wind and fire!
O Lord of all, the Lords of the Gods,
Thou art the four orders of living creatures.
Thou art the Creator of the mobile and immobile universe,
And Thou art their Destroyer!
O foremost of all persons conversant with Brahmā,
They that are conversant with Brahmā regard Thee as Brahmā!
The utterers of Brahmā say that Thou art the Supreme source of Mind,
And the Refuge upon which space, wind, and light rest.
Thou art the Riks and the Samans, and the syllable OM.
O foremost of all Deities!
Those utterers of Brahmā that sing the Samans constantly sing Thee,
When they utter the syllables Hayi-Hayi, Huva-Hayi, and Huva-Hoyi.
Thou art made up of the Yajus, of the Riks, and of the offerings poured on the sacrificial fire.
The hymns contained in the Vedas and the Upanishads adore Thee!
Thou art the Brahmanas and the Kshatriyas, the Vaisyas, and the Sudras,
And the other castes formed by intermixture.
Thou art those masses of clouds that appear in the sky;
Thou art lightning; and Thou art the roar of thunder.
Thou art the year, Thou art the seasons,
Thou art the month, and Thou art the fortnight.
Thou art Yuga, Thou art the time represented by a twinkle of the eye,
Thou art Kashtha, Thou art the Constellations, Thou art the Planets, Thou art Kala.
Thou art the tops of all trees, Thou art the highest summits of all mountains.
Thou art the tiger among the lower animals, Thou art Garuda among birds,
And Thou art Ananta among snakes.
Thou art the ocean of milk among all oceans,
And Thou art the bow among instruments for hurling weapons.
Thou art the thunder among weapons, and Thou art Truth among vows.
Thou art aversion and Thou art desire;
Thou art attachment and Thou art stupefaction (of judgment);
Thou art forgiveness and Thou art unforgiveness.
Thou art exertion, and Thou art patience;
Thou art cupidity; Thou art lust and Thou art wrath;
Thou art victory and Thou art defeat.
Thou art armed with mace, and Thou art armed with shaft;
Thou art armed with the bow,
And Thou bearest the Khattanga and the Jharjhara in Thy hands.
Thou art He who cuttest down and piercest and smitest.
Thou art He who leads (all creatures) and he who gives them pain and grief.
Thou art righteousness which is marked by ten virtues;
Thou art wealth or profit of every kind; and Thou art pleasure.
Thou art Ganga, Thou art the oceans, Thou art the rivers, Thou art the lakes,
And Thou art the tanks.
Thou art the thin creepers, Thou art the thicker creeping plants,
Thou art all kinds of grass, and Thou art the deciduous herbs.
Thou art all the lower animals and Thou art the birds.
Thou art the origin of all objects and acts,
And Thou art that season which yields fruits and flowers.
Thou art the beginning and Thou art the end of the Vedas;
Thou art the Gayatri, and Thou art OM.
Thou art green, Thou art red, Thou art blue, Thou art dark,
Thou art of bloody hue, Thou art of the colour of the Sun,
Thou art tawny, Thou art brown, and Thou art dark blue.
Thou art without colour, Thou art of the best colour,
Thou art the maker of colours, and Thou art without comparison.
Thou art of the name of gold, and Thou art fond of Gold.
Thou art Indra, Thou art Yama, Thou art the Giver of boons,
Thou art the Lord of wealth, and Thou art Agni.
Thou art the eclipse, Thou art the fire called Chitrabhanu,
Thou art Rahu, and Thou art the Sun.
Thou art the fire upon which sacrificial butter is poured.
Thou art He who pours the butter.
Thou art He in honour of whom the butter is poured,
Thou art the butter itself that is poured,
And Thou art the puissant Lord of all.
Thou art those sections of the Brahmanas that are called Trisuparna,
Thou art all the Vedas; and Thou art the sections called Satarudriya in the Yajus.
Thou art the Holiest of Holies, and the auspicious of all auspicious things.
Thou animatest the inanimate body.
Thou art the chit (consciousness) that dwellest in the human form.
Invested with attributes, Thou becomest subject to destruction.
Thou art Jiva, that is He who is never subject to destruction when uninvested with attributes.
Thou art full yet Thou becomest liable to decay and death in the form of the body,
Which is Jiva's accompaniment.
Thou art the breath of life, and Thou art sattva,
Thou art rajas, Thou art tamas, and Thou art not subject to error.
Thou art the life breaths called Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana, and Vyana.
Thou art the opening of the eye and shutting of the eye.
Thou art the act of sneezing and Thou art the act of yawning.
Thou art of red eyes which are ever turned inwards.
Thou art of large mouth and large stomach.
The bristles on Thy body are like needles.
The beard is green.
Thy hair is turned upwards.
Thou art swifter than the swiftest.
Thou art conversant with the principles of music both vocal and instrumental,
And fond of both vocal and instrumental music.
Thou art a fish roving in the waters,
And Thou art a fish entangled in the net.
Thou art full, Thou art fond of sports,
And Thou art of the form of all quarrels and disputes.
Thou art Time, Thou art bad time,
Thou art time that is premature,
And Thou art time that is over-mature.
Thou art the killing, Thou art the razor (that kills), and Thou art that which is killed.
Thou art the auxiliary and Thou art the adversary,
And Thou art the Destroyer of both auxiliaries and adversaries.
Thou art the time when clouds appear,
Thou art of large teeth,
And Thou art Samvartaka and Valahaka.
Thou art manifest in the form of splendour.
Thou art concealed in consequence of being invested with maya.
Thou art He who connects creatures with the fruits of their acts.
Thou hast a bell in Thy hand.
Thou playest with all mobile and immobile things (as with Thy toys).
Thou art the Cause of all causes.
Thou art Brahman (in the form of Pranava),
Thou art Swaha; Thou art the bearer of the Danda,
Thy head is bald, and Thou art he who has his words, deeds and Thoughts under control.
Thou art the four Yugas, Thou art the four Vedas,
Thou art He from whom the four (sacrificial) fires have flowed.
Thou art the Director of all the duties of the four modes of life.
Thou art the Maker of the four Orders.
Thou art always fond of dice.
Thou art cunning.
Thou art the Chief of the spirits distributed into ganas, and their Ruler.
Thou art adorned with red garlands and attired in robes that are red.
Thou sleepest on the mountain-breast, and Thou art fond of the red hue.
Thou art the Artisan; Thou art the foremost of artists;
And it is Thou from whom all arts have flowed.
Thou art the tearer of the eyes of Bhaga;
Thou art Fierce, and Thou art He who destroyed the teeth of Pushan.
Thou art Swaha, Thou art Swadha,
Thou art Vashat, Thou art Salutation's form,
And Thou art the words Namas-Namas uttered by all worshippers.
Thy observances and Thy penances are not known to others.
Thou art Pranava; Thou art the firmament bespangled with myriads of stars.
Thou art Dhatri, and Vidhatri, and Sandhatri, Vidhatri,
And the Refuge of all things in the form of the Supreme cause,
And Thou art independent of all Refuge.
Thou art conversant with Brahmā, Thou art Penance, Thou art Truth,
Thou art the Soul of brahmacharya, and Thou art Simplicity.
Thou art the Soul of creatures, Thou art the Creator of all creatures,
Thou art absolute Existence, and Thou art the Cause
Whence the past, the present, and the future, have sprung.
Thou art Earth, Thou art firmament, and Thou art heaven.
Thou art eternal, Thou art self-restrained, and Thou art the great God.
Thou art initiated, and Thou art not initiated.
Thou art forgiving; Thou art unforgiving;
And Thou art the Chastiser of all who are rebellious.
Thou art the lunar month, Thou art the cycle of the yugas (i.e., Kalpa),
Thou art destruction, and Thou art creation.
Thou art lust, Thou art the vital seed, Thou art subtile, Thou art gross,
And Thou art fond of garlands made of Karnikara flowers.
Thou hast a face like that of Nandi,
Thou hast a face that is terrible, Thou hast a handsome face,
Thou hast an ugly face, and Thou art without a face.
Thou hast four faces, Thou hast many faces,
And Thou hast a fiery face when engaged in battles.
Thou art gold-stomached (i.e., Narayana), Thou art (unattached to all things like) a bird,
Thou art Ananta (the lord of mighty snakes), and Thou art Virat (hugest of the huge).
Thou art the Destroyer of Unrighteousness, Thou art called Mahaparshva,
Thou art Chandradhara, and Thou art the Chief of the spirit-clans.
Thou lowedst like a cow, Thou wert the Protector of kine,
And Thou hast the Lord of bulls for Thy attendant.
Thou art the Protector of the three worlds,
Thou art Govinda, Thou art the director of the senses,
And Thou art incapable of being apprehended by the senses.
Thou art the foremost of all creatures,
Thou art fixed, Thou art immobile,
Thou tremblest not, and Thou art of the form of trembling!
Thou art incapable of being resisted,
Thou art the destroyer of all poisons,
Thou art incapable of being borne (in battle),
And Thou art incapable of being transcended,
Thou canst not be made to tremble,
Thou canst not be measured,
Thou canst not be vanquished,
And Thou art victory.
Thou art of swift speed,
Thou art the Moon,
Thou art Yama,
Thou bearest (without flinching) cold and heat and hunger and weakness and disease.
Thou art all mental agonies, Thou art all physical diseases,
Thou art the Curer of all diseases,
And Thou art those diseases themselves which Thou curest.
Thou art the destroyer of my Sacrifice which had endeavoured to escape in the form of deer.
Thou art the advent and the departure of all diseases.
Thou hast a high crest.
Thou hast eyes like lotus-petals.
Thy habitation is in the midst of a forest of lotuses.
Thou bearest the ascetic's staff in Thy hands.
Thou hast the three Vedas for Thy three eyes.
Thy chastisements are fierce and severe.
Thou art the Destroyer of the egg (whence the universe springs).
Thou art the Drinker of both poison and fire,
Thou art the foremost of all Deities,
Thou art the Drinker of Soma,
Thou art the Lord of the Maruts.
Thou art the Drinker of Nectar.
Thou art the Master of the universe.
Thou shinest in glory,
And Thou art the Lord of all the shining ones.
Thou protectest from poison and death,
And Thou drinkest milk and Soma.
Thou art the foremost of the protectors of those that have fallen off from heaven,
And Thou protectest him who is the first of the Deities.
Gold is Thy vital seed.
Thou art male, Thou art female, Thou art neuter.
Thou art an infant, Thou art a youth,
Thou art old in years with Thy teeth worn out,
Thou art the foremost of Nagas,
Thou art Sakra,
Thou art the Destroyer of the universe, and Thou art its Creator.
Thou art Prajapati, and Thou art adored by the Prajapatis,
Thou art the Supporter of the universe,
Thou hast the universe for Thy form,
Thou art endued with great energy,
And Thou hast faces turned towards all directions.
The Sun and the Moon are Thy two eyes,
And the Grandsire is Thy heart.
Thou art the ocean.
The Goddess Saraswati is Thy speech
And fire and wind are Thy might.
Thou art day and night.
Thou art all acts including the opening and the shutting of the eye.
Neither Brahmā nor Govinda nor the ancient Rishis,
Are competent to understand Thy greatness,
O auspicious Deity, truly.
Those subtile forms which Thou hast are invisible to us.
Rescue me and, O, protect me as the sire protects the son of his loins.
O, Protector! I deserve Thy protection.
I bow to Thee, O sinless One!
Thou, O illustrious One, art full of compassion for Thy devotees.
I am always devoted to Thee.
Let him be always my Protector who stayeth alone on the other side of the ocean,
In a form that is difficult to be apprehended,
And overwhelming many thousands of persons!
I bow to that Soul of yoga who is beheld in the form of an effulgent Light,
By persons that have their senses under control,
That are possessed of the attribute of sattva,
That have regulated their breaths,
And that have conquered sleep.
I bow to Him who is endued with matted locks,
Who bears the ascetic's staff in his hand,
Who is possessed of a body having a long abdomen,
Who has a kamandalu tied to his back,
And who is the Soul of Brahmā.
I bow to Him who is the Soul of water,
In whose hair are the clouds,
In the joints of whose body are the rivers,
And in whose stomach are the four oceans.
I seek the protection to Him who, when the end of the Yuga comes,
Devours all creatures and stretches himself (for sleep)
On the wide expanse of water that covers the universe.
Let him who entering Rahu's mouth drinketh Soma in the night
And who becoming Swarbhanu devoureth Surya also, protect me!
The Devas, who are mere infants
Ad who have all sprung from Thee after Brahmā's creation,
Enjoy their respective shares (in sacrificial offerings).
Let them (peacefully) enjoy those offerings made with Swaha and Swadha,
And let them derive pleasure from those presents -- I bow to them.
Let those Beings that are of the stature of the thumb,
And that dwell in all bodies, always protect and gratify me.
I always bow to those Beings who dwelling within embodied creatures
And make the latter cry in grief without themselves crying in grief,
And who gladden them without themselves being glad.
I always bow to those Rudras who dwell in rivers, in oceans,
In hills and mountains, in mountain-caves, in the roots of trees,
In cow-pens, in inaccessible forests, in the intersections of roads,
In roads, in open squares, in banks (of rivers and lakes and oceans),
In elephant-sheds, in stables, in car-sheds, in deserted gardens and houses,
In the five primal elements, and in the cardinal and subsidiary directions.
I bow repeatedly unto them that dwell in the space amidst the Sun and the Moon,
As also in rays of the Sun and the Moon, and them that dwell in the nether regions,
And them that have betaken themselves to renunciation,
And other superior practices for the sake of the Supreme.
I bow always unto them that are unnumbered, that are unmeasured,
And that have no form, unto those Rudras, that is, that are endued with infinite attributes.
Since Thou, O Rudra, art the Creator of all creatures,
Since, O Hara, Thou art the Master of all creatures,
And since Thou art the indwelling Soul of all creatures,
Therefore wert Thou not invited by me (to my sacrifices).
Since Thou art He who is adored in all sacrifices with plentiful gifts,
And since it is Thou that art the Creator of all things,
Therefore I did not invite Thee.
Or, perhaps, O God, stupefied by Thy subtile illusion I failed to invite Thee.
Be gratified with me, blessed by Thyself,
O Bhava, with me possessed by the quality of rajas.
My mind, my understanding, and my chitta all dwell in Thee, O God!

Mahabharata, Book XII [Shanti Parva]
Section between chapters 274 and 275: verses 155-388
Trans. Kisari Mohan Ganguli

Aum Aum Aum Shivaya Namah.

Phalguna Krsna 9, Samvat 2065 (Plava Samvatsara, Yugabda 5110) [?]

Friday, February 13, 2009

Date of Maha Shivaratri

As most may be already aware, the festival of Maha Shivaratri (the great night of Shiva) is rapidly approaching. In the year 2009, Maha Shivaratri will fall on February 22 (North and South America, Pacific) or February 23 (Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia).

Without doubt, Maha Shivaratri is one of the greatest festivals in the Hindu calendar, and the holiest day for all Shaivites. In a given solar year, there are actually twelve (or thirteen) Shivaratris, one per lunar month. Shivaratri occurs whenever the fourteenth lunar day of the waning moon (krsna paksha chaturdashi) is in effect at midnight local time.

Of the twelve (or thirteen) Shivaratris of the year, only one is considered Maha (great) Shivaratri. Within the lifetime of anyone reading this, Maha Shivaratri will fall sometime between February 12-March 13 when the Sun is in the sidereal constellation Kumbha (Aquarius).

Per the purnimanta mode of reckoning the Hindu calendar, the lunar date of Maha Shivaratri is defined as: Phalguna Krsna Chaturdashi ~ the fourteenth lunar day in the dark half (waning moon) in the month of Phalguna. The purnimanta mode is in vogue in Northern and Central India, parts of Orissa, Nepal and among Hindus in Pakistan.

Per the amanta mode of reckoning the Hindu calendar, the lunar date of Maha Shivaratri is defined as: Magha Krsna Chaturdashi ~ the fourteenth lunar day in the dark half (waning moon) in the month of Magha. The amanta mode is in vogue in Southern, Eastern and Western India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and among Hindus in South-East Asia.

Regardless of which reckoning mode one uses, the date and time of Maha Shivaratri is exactly the same. The two reckonings are, in fact, two ways of saying the same thing. The two systems only differ in how they define lunar months - whether they go from full moon to full moon (purnimanta) or new moon to new moon (amanta). However, it must be remembered that Maha Shivaratri, like all festivals on the Hindu calendar, does not necessarily fall on the same day throughout the world. One must observe this festival according to its actual occurance in your time zone.

As was stated at the beginning of the post, in all time zones that cover North and South America and the Pacific, Maha Shivaratri is to be observed on Sunday, February 22, 2009. In all time zones that cover Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, Maha Shivaratri is to be observed on Monday, February 23, 2009. Full celebrations generally begin around 6 pm on the given date, and continue on until 6 am (or local sunrise) on the following day.

Aum Namah Shivaya.
Phalguna Krsna 5, Samvat 2065
(Plava Samvatsara, Yugabda 5110) [?]

'Infertile' woman gives birth after visit to Hindu God Shiva

A woman who thought she had been left infertile by chemotherapy gave birth after visiting a statue of the Hindu God Shiva.

By Matthew Moore
Last Updated: 9:52AM GMT 13 Feb 2009

Doctors told Clare McVerry that she would never get pregnant because the breast cancer drugs she was taking could damage a child in the womb.

Her early-onset arthritis and a car crash she suffered in her 20s that left her with a weak spine should also have left her unable to carry a baby, according to The Sun newspaper.

But after visiting a statue of Shiva [...] while on holiday in India with her partner Tony Clarke, the 41-year-old gave birth to a son Mitchell.

"After I saw Shiva I was filled with a powerful feeling. I bought a model statue for my mantelpiece," she told the newspaper.

"When Mitchell grows up I will tell him how special the statue turned out to be."

Ms McVerry, from Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands, stopped taking her cancer drug Tamoxifen during pregnancy to give her baby a better chance.

He was born a healthy 7lb 10 oz in December 2007 and is still doing well.

Her consultant Dr Simon Bowman told The Sun: "He really is a miracle baby."

Source: The Telegraph

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