"Yudhishthira said, 'O son of the River Ganga, thou hast heard all the names of Maheshwara, the Lord of the universe. Do thou tell us, O grandsire, all the names that are applied, O puissant one, unto Him who is called Isa and Sambhu. Do thou tell us all those names that are applied unto Him who is called Vabhru or vast, Him that has the universe for his form, Him that is the illustrious preceptor of all the deities and the Asuras, that is called Swayambhu (self-creating) and that is the cause of the origin and dissolution of the universe. Do thou tell us also of the puissance of Mahadeva.'
"Bhishma said, 'I am quite incompetent to recite the virtues of Mahadeva of highest intelligence. He pervades all things in the universe and yet is not seen anywhere. He is the creator of universal self and the Pragna (knowing) self and he is their master. All the deities, from Brahman to
the Pisachas, adore and worship him. He transcends both Prakriti and Purusha. It is of Him that Rishis, conversant with Yoga and possessing a knowledge of the tattwas, think and reflect. He is indestructible and Supreme Brahman. He is both existent and non-existent. Agitating both Prakriti and Purusha by means of His energy, He created therefrom the universal lord of creatures, viz., Brahma. Who is there that is competent to tell the virtues of that god of gods, that is endued with supreme Intelligence? Man is subject to conception (in the mother's womb), birth, decrepitude, and death. Being such, what man like me is competent to understand Bhava? Only Narayana, O son, that bearer of the discus and the mace, can comprehend Mahadeva. He is without deterioration. He is the foremost of all beings in attributes. He is Vishnu, because of his pervading the universe. He is irresistible. Endued with spiritual vision, He is possessed of supreme Energy. He sees all things with the eye of Yoga. It is in consequence of the devotion of the high-souled Krishna to the illustrious Rudra whom he gratified. O Bharata, in the retreat of Vadari, by penances, that he has succeeded in pervading the entire universe. O king of kings, it is through Maheswara of celestial vision that Vasudeva has obtained the attribute of universal agreeableness,--an agreeableness that is much greater than what is possessed by all articles included under the name of wealth. 1 For a full thousand years this Madhava underwent the austerest penances and at last succeeded in gratifying the illustrious and boon giving Siva, that Master of all the mobile and the immobile universe. In every new Yuga has Krishna (by such penances) gratified Mahadeva. In every Yuga has Mahadeva been gratified with the great devotion of the high-souled Krishna. How great is the puissance of the high-souled Mahadeva,--that original cause of the universe,--has been seen with his own eyes by Hari who himself transcends all deterioration, on the occasion of his penances in the retreat of Vadari undergone for obtaining a son. 2 I do not, O Bharata, behold any one that is superior to Mahadeva. To expound the names of that god of gods fully and without creating the desire of hearing more only Krishna is competent. This mighty-armed one of Yadu's race is alone competent to tell the attributes of the illustrious Siva. Verily, O king, only he is able to discourse on the puissance, in its entirety of the Supreme deity?'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said these words, the illustrious Bhishma, the grandsire of the Kurus, addressing Vasudeva, said the following words, dealing with the subject of the greatness of Bhava, O monarch.
"Bhishma said, 'Thou art the Master of all the deities and the Asuras. Thou art illustrious. Thou art Vishnu in consequence of thy pervading the whole universe. It behoveth thee to discourse on those subjects connected with Siva of universal form about which Yudhishthira has asked me. In days of yore, the Rishi Tandin, sprung from Brahma, recited in Brahma's region and before Brahma himself the thousand names of Mahadeva. Do thou recite those names before this conclave so that these Rishis endued with wealth of asceticism, observant of high vows, possessed of self-restraint, and numbering the Island-born Krishna among them, may hear thee. Do thou discourse on the high blessedness of Him who is immutable, who is always cheerful and happy, who is Hotri, who is the universal Protector, who is Creator, of the universe, and who is called Mundin and Kaparddin.' 1
"Vasudeva said, 'The very deities with Indra, and the Grandsire Brahma numbering among them, and the great Rishis also, are incompetent to understand the course of Mahadeva's acts truly and in all their details. Even He is the end which all righteous people attain. The very Adityas who are endued with subtile sight, are unable to behold his abode. How then can one that is merely a man succeed in comprehending Him? 2 I shall, therefore, truly recite to you some of the attributes of that illustrious slayer of Asuras, who is regarded as the Lord of all sacrifices and vows.
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said these words, the illustrious Vasudeva began his discourse on the attributes of the high-souled Mahadeva endued with the highest intelligence, after having purified himself by touching water."
"Vasudeva said, 'Hear, ye foremost of Brahmana's and thou Yudhishthira also, O sire, and hear thou too, O Ganga's son, the names that are applied unto Kaparddin. Hear ye, how in former days, I obtained a sight, so difficult to obtain, (of that great god), for the sake of Samva. Verily, in those days was the illustrious deity seen by me in consequence of Yoga-abstraction. 3 After twelve years had expired from the time when Pradyumna, the son of Rukmini, who is endued with great intelligence,
slew the Asura Samvara in days of yore, my spouse Jamvavati addressed me. Indeed, beholding Pradyumna and Charudeshna and other sons born of Rukmini, Jamvavati, desirous of a son, said these words unto me, O Yudhishthira,--Grant me, O thou of unfading glory, a son endued with heroism, the foremost of mighty men, possessed of the most agreeable features, sinless in conduct, and like unto thyself. And O, let there be no delay on thy part in granting this prayer of mine. There is nothing in the three worlds that is unattainable by thee, O perpetuator of Yadu's race, thou canst create other worlds if only thou wishest it. Observing a vow for twelve years and purifying thyself, thou hadst adored the Lord of all creatures (viz., Mahadeva) and then begot upon Rukmini the sons that she has obtained from thee, viz., Charudeshna and Sucharu and Charuvesa and Yasodhana and Charusravas and Charuyasas and Pradyumna and Sambhu. O slayer of Madhu, do thou grant to me a son like unto those of great powers whom thou hast begotten upon Rukmini?--Thus addressed by the princess, I replied unto her of slender waist,--Let me have thy permission (to leave thee for some time), O queen. I shall certainly obey thy behest. She answered me, saying,--Go, and may success and prosperity always attend thee. Let Brahma and Siva and Kasyapa, the Rivers, those deities that preside over the mind, the soil, all deciduous herbs, those Chhandas (Rhymes) that are regarded as bearers of the libations poured in sacrifices, the Rishis, Earth, the Oceans, the sacrificial presents, those syllables that are uttered for completing the cadences of Samans, the Rikshas, the Pitris, the Planets, the spouses of the deities, the celestial maidens, the celestial mothers, the great cycles, kine, Chandramas, Savitri, Agni, Savitri, the knowledge of the Vedas, the seasons, the year, small and big divisions of time, e.g., the Kshanas, the Labas, the Muhurtas, the Nimeshas, and the Yugas in succession, protect thee, O Yadava, and keep thee in happiness, wherever thou mayst stay. Let no danger overtake thee on thy way, and let no heedlessness be thine, O sinless one.--Thus blessed by her, I took her leave, bidding farewell unto the daughter of the prince of apes. Repairing then into the presence of that foremost of men, viz., my father, of my mother, of the king, and of Ahuka, I informed them of what the daughter of the prince of the Vidyadharas, in great affliction, had said unto me. Bidding them farewell with a sorrowful heart, I then repaired to Gada and to Rama of great might. These two cheerfully addressed me saying,--Let thy penances increase without any obstruction.--Having obtained the permission of all of them, I thought of Garuda. He immediately came to me and bore me to Himavat (at my bidding). Arrived at Himavat, I dismissed him. There on that foremost of mountains, I beheld many wonderful sights. I saw an excellent, wonderful, and agreeable retreat for the practice of penances. That delightful retreat was owned by the high-souled Upamanyu who was a descendant of Vyaghrapada. That retreat is applauded and reverenced by the deities and the Gandharvas, and seemed to be covered with Vedic beauty. It was adorned with Dhavas and
[paragraph continues] Kakubhas and Kadamvas and Cocas, with Kuruvakas and Ketakas and Jamvus and Patalas, with banians and Varunakas and Vatsanabhas and Vilwas, with Saralas and Kapitthas and Piyalas and Salas and palmyras with Vadaris and Kundas and Punnagas and Asokas and Amras and Kovidaras and Champakas and Panasas, and with diverse other trees endued with fruits and flowers. And that retreat was also decked with the straight stems of the Musa Supienta. 1 Truly, that asylum was adorned with diverse other kinds of trees and with diverse kinds of fruits forming the food of diverse kinds of birds. Heaps of ashes (of sacrificial fires) were thrown in proper places all around, which added to the beauty of the scene. It abounded with Rurus and apes and tigers and lions and leopards, with deer of diverse species and peacocks, and with cats and snakes. Indeed, large numbers of other animals also were seen there, as also buffaloes and bears. Delicious breezes constantly blew bearing the melodious strains of celestial nymphs. The babblings of mountain rivulets and springs, the sweet notes of winged choristers, the gruntings of elephants, the delicious stains of Kinnaras, and the auspicious voice of ascetics singing the Samans, O hero, and diverse other kinds of music, rendered that retreat extremely charming. The very imagination cannot conceive another retreat as delightful as the one I beheld. There were also large houses in that asylum, intended for keeping the sacred fire, and covered all over with flowering creepers. It was adorned with the river Ganga of clear and sacred water. Indeed, the daughter of Jahnu always remained there. It was decked also with many ascetics who were the foremost of all righteous persons, who were endued with high souls, and who resembled fire itself in energy. 2 Some of those ascetics subsisted upon air and some upon water, some were devoted to Japa or the silent recitation of sacred Mantras, and some were engaged in cleansing their souls by practising the virtues of compassion while some amongst them were Yogins devoted to the abstraction of Yoga-meditation. Some amongst them subsisted upon smoke only, and some subsisted upon fire, and some upon milk. Thus was that retreat
adorned with many foremost of regenerate persons. And some there were amongst them that had taken the vow of eating and drinking like kine,--that is, by giving up the use of the hands at once. And some used only two pieces of stone for husking their grain, and some used their teeth only for that purpose. And some subsisted by drinking only the rays of the moon, and some by drinking only froth. And some had betaken themselves to vow of living like deer. 1 And some there were that lived upon the fruits of the Ficus religiosa, and some that used to live upon water. And some dressed themselves in rags and some in animal skins and some in barks of trees. Indeed, I beheld diverse ascetics of the foremost order observing these and other painful vows. I desired then to enter that asylum. Verily, that asylum was honoured and adored by the deities and all high-souled beings, by Siva and others, O Bharata, and by all creatures of righteous acts. Thus addressed, it stood in all its beauty on the breast of Himavat, like the lunar disc in the firmament. The mongoose sported there with the snake, and the tiger with the deer, like friends, forgetting their natural enmity, in consequence of the energy of those ascetics of blazing penances and for their proximity to these high-souled ones. In that foremost of asylums, which was delightful to all creatures, inhabited by many foremost of Brahmanas fully conversant with the Vedas and their branches, and by many high-souled Rishis celebrated for the difficult vows they observed, I saw, as soon as I entered, a puissant Rishi with matted locks on head and dressed in rags, who seemed to blaze forth like fire with his penances and energy. Waited upon by his disciples and possessed of tranquil soul, that foremost of Brahmanas was young in aspect. His name was Upamanyu. Unto me who bowed unto him with a nod of the head, he said,--Welcome art thou, O thou of eyes like lotus petals. Today, by this visit of thine, we see that our penances have borne fruit. Thou art worthy of our adoration, but thou adorest us still. Thou art worthy of being seen, but thou desirest to see me.--Joining my hands I addressed him the usual enquiries respecting the well-being of the animals and birds that resided in his asylum, of the progress of his righteousness, and of his disciples. The illustrious Upamanyu then addressed me in words that were exceedingly sweet and delightful,--Thou shalt, O Krishna, obtain without doubt a son like unto thyself. Betaking thyself to severe penances, do thou gratify Isana, the Lord of all creatures. That divine Master, O Adhokshaja, sporteth here with his spouse by his side. O Janarddana, it was here that the deities with all the Rishis, in days of yore, gratified that foremost of deities by their penances and Brahmacharyya and truth and self-restraint, and succeeded in obtaining the fruition of many high desires. That illustrious god is verily the vast receptacle of all energies and penances. Projecting into existence and withdrawing once more unto himself all things fraught with
good and evil, that inconceivable Deity whom thou seekest, O destroyer of foes, lives here with his spouse. He who took his birth as the Danava named Hiranyakashipu, whose strength was so great that he could shake the very mountains of Meru, succeeded in obtaining from Mahadeva the puissance belonging to all the deities and enjoyed it for ten millions of years. He who was the foremost of all his sons and who was celebrated by the name of Mandara, succeeded, through the boon he had obtained from Mahadeva, in fighting Sakra for a million of years. The terrible discus of Vishnu and the thunderbolt of Indra were both unable to make the slightest impression, O Kesava, in days of yore, upon the body of that great cause of universal affliction. 1 The discus which thou bearest, O sinless one, was given unto thee by Mahadeva after he had slain a Daitya that was proud of his strength and used to live within the waters. That discus, blazing with energy and like unto fire, was created by the great god having for his device the bull. Wonderful and irresistible in energy it was given unto thee by that illustrious god. In consequence of its blazing energy it was incapable of being gazed at by any person save Siva the wielder of Pinaka. It was for this reason that Bhava (Siva) bestowed upon it the name of Sudarsana. From that time the name Sudarsana came to be current in all the worlds. Even the weapon, O Kesava, failed to make the slightest impression on the body of Hiranyakashipu's son Mandara, that appeared like an evil planet in the three worlds. Hundreds of Chakras like thine and thunderbolts like that of Sakra, could not inflict a scratch on the body of that evil planet endued with great might, who had obtained a boon from Mahadeva. Afflicted by the mighty Mandara, the deities fought hard against him and his associates, all of whom had obtained boons from Mahadeva. Gratified with another Danava named Vidyutprabha, Mahadeva granted to him the sovereignty of the three worlds. That Danava remained the sovereign of the three worlds for a hundred thousand years. And Mahadeva said unto him,--Thou shalt become one of my attendants.--Indeed, the puissant Lord further bestowed upon him the boon of a hundred millions of children. The Master without birth, of all creatures further gave the Danava the region known by the name of Kusadwipa for his kingdom. Another great Asura, of the name of Satamukha, was created by Brahma. For a hundred years he poured on' the sacrificial fire (as offerings unto Mahadeva) the flesh of his own body. Gratified with such penances, Sankara said unto him,--What can I do for thee?--Satamukha replied unto him, saying,--O thou that art most wonderful, let me have the power of creating new creatures and animals. Give also unto me, O foremost of all deities, eternal power.--The puissant lord, thus addressed by him, said unto him,--So be it.--The Self-born
[paragraph continues] Brahma, concentrating his mind in Yoga, 1 in days of yore, made a sacrifice for three hundred years, with the object of obtaining children. Mahadeva granted him a thousand sons possessed of qualifications commensurate with the merits of the sacrifice. Without doubt, thou knowest, O Krishna, the lord of Yoga, him that is, who is sung by the deities. The Rishi known by the name of Yajnavalkya is exceedingly virtuous. By adoring Mahadeva he has acquired great fame. The great ascetic who is Parasara's son, viz., Vyasa, of soul set on Yoga, has obtained great celebrity by adoring Sankara. The Valikhilyas were on a former occasion disregarded by Maghavat. Filled with wrath at this, they gratified the illustrious Rudra. That lord of the universe, that foremost one of all the deities, thus gratified by the Valikhilyas, said unto them,--Ye shall succeed by your penances in creating a bird that will rob Indra of the Amrita. Through the wrath of Mahadeva on a former occasion, all the waters disappeared. The deities gratified him by performing a sacrifice called Saptakapala, and caused, through his grace, other waters to flow into the worlds. Verily, when the three-eyed deity became gratified, water once more appeared in the world. The wife of Atri, who was conversant with the Vedas, abandoned her husband in a huff and said,--I shall no longer live in subjection to that ascetic.--Having said these words, she sought the protection of Mahadeva. Through fear of her lord, Atri, passed three hundred years, abstaining from all food. And all this time she slept on wooden clubs for the purpose of gratifying Bhava. The great deity then appeared unto her and then smilingly addressed her, saying--Thou shalt obtain a son. And thou shalt get that son without the need of a husband, simply through the grace of Rudra. Without doubt that son, born in the race of his father, shall become celebrated for his worth, and assume a name after thee. The illustrious Vikarna also, O slayer of Madhu, full of devotion to Mahadeva, gratified him with severe penances and obtained high and happy success. Sakalya, too, of restrained soul, adored Bhava in a mental sacrifice that he performed for nine hundred years, O Kesava. Gratified with him the illustrious deity said unto him,--Thou shalt become a great author. O son, inexhaustible shall thy fame be in the three worlds. Thy race also shall never come to an end and shall be adorned by many great Rishis that shall take birth in it. Thy son will become the foremost of Brahmanas and will make the Sutras of thy work. There was a celebrated Rishi of the name of Savarni in the Krita age. Here, in this asylum, he underwent severe penances for six thousand years. The illustrious Rudra said,--I am gratified with thee, O sinless one! Without being subject to decrepitude or death, thou shalt become an author celebrated through all the worlds!--In days of yore, Sakra, also, in Baranasi, filled with devotion, O Janarddana, adored Mahadeva who has empty space alone
for his garments and who is smeared with ashes as an agreeable unguent. Having adored Mahadeva thus, he obtained the sovereignty of the celestials. Narada also, in days of yore, adored the great Bhava with devotion of heart. Gratified with him, Mahadeva, that preceptor of the celestial preceptor, said these words.--No one shall be thy equal in energy and penances. Thou shalt always attend upon me with thy songs and instrumental music. Hear also, O Madhava, how in former times I succeeded in obtaining a sight of that god of gods, that Master of all creatures, O Lord. Hear also in detail for what object, O thou of great puissance. I invoked with restrained senses and mind that illustrious deity endued with supreme energy. I shall, O sinless one, tell thee with full details all that I succeeded in obtaining from that god of gods, viz., Maheswara. In ancient times, viz., Krita age, O son, there was a Rishi of great fame, named Vyaghrapada. He was celebrated for his knowledge and mastery over the Vedas and their branches. I was born as the son of that Rishi and Dhaumya took birth as my younger brother. On a certain occasion, Madhava, accompanied by Dhaumya, I came upon the asylum of certain Rishis of cleansed souls. There I beheld a cow that was being milked. I saw the milk and it appeared to me to resemble Amrita itself in taste. I then came home, and impelled by childishness, I addressed my mother and said,--Give me some food prepared with milk.--There was no milk in the house, and accordingly my mother was much grieved at my asking for it. My mother took a piece of (rice) cake and boiled it in water, Madhava. The water became whitened and my mother placed it before us saying that it was milk and bade us drink it. I had before that drunk milk on one occasion, for my father had, at the time of a sacrifice, taken me to the residence of some of our great kinsmen. A celestial cow, who delights the deities, was being milked on that occasion. Drinking her milk that resembled Amrita in taste, I knew what the virtues are of milk. I therefore, at once understood the origin of the substance that my mother offered me, telling me that it was milk. Verily, the taste of that cake, O son, did not afford me any pleasure whatever. Impelled by childishness I then addressed mother, saying,--This O mother, that thou hast given me is not any preparation of milk.--Filled with grief and sorrow at this, and embracing me from parental affection and smelling my head, O Madhava, she said unto me,--Whence, O child, can ascetics of cleansed souls obtain food prepared with milk? Such men always reside in the forest and subsist upon bulbs and roots and fruits. Whence shall we who live by the banks of rivers that are the resort of the Valikhilyas, we who have mountains and forest, for our home,--whence, indeed, O child, shall we obtain milk? We, dear child, live (sometimes) on air and sometimes on water. We dwell in asylums in the midst of forests and woods. We habitually abstain from all kinds of food that are taken by persons living in villages and towns. We are accustomed to only such food as is supplied by the produce of the wilderness. There cannot be any milk, O child, in the wilderness
where there are no offspring of Surabhi. 1 Dwelling on the banks of rivers or in caves or on mountain-breasts, or in tirthas and other places of the kind, we pass our time in the practice of penances and the recitation of sacred Mantras, Siva being our highest refuge. Without gratifying the boon-giving Sthanu of unfading glory,--him, that is, who has three eyes,--whence, O child, can one obtain food prepared with milk and good robes and other objects of enjoyment in the world? Do thou devote thyself, O dear son, to Sankara with thy whole soul. Through his grace, O child, thou art sure to obtain all such objects as administer to the indulgence of all thy wishes,--Hearing these words of my mother, O slayer of foes, that day, I joined my hands in reverence and bowing unto her, said,--O mother, who this Mahadeva? In what manner can one gratify him? Where does that god reside? How may he be seen? With what does he become pleased? What also is the form of Sarva? How may one succeed in obtaining a knowledge of him? If gratified, will he, O mother, show himself unto me?--After I had said these words, O Krishna, to my mother, she, filled with parental affection, smelt my head, O Govinda, her eyes covered with tears the while. Gently patting my body, O slayer of Madhu, my mother, adopting a tone of great humility, addressed me in the following words, O best of the deities.'
"My mother said, 'Mahadeva is exceedingly difficult to be known by persons of uncleansed souls. These men are incapable of bearing him in their hearts of comprehending him at all. They can retain him in their minds. They cannot seize him, nor can they obtain a sight of him. Men of wisdom aver that his forms are many. Many, again, are the places in which he resides. Many are the forms of his Grace. Who is there that can understand in their details the acts, which are all excellent, of Isa, or of all the forms that he has assumed in days of yore? Who can relate how Sarva sports and how he becomes gratified? Maheswara of universal form resides in the hearts of all creatures. While Munis discoursed on the auspicious and excellent acts of Isana, I have heard from them how, impelled by compassion towards his worshippers, he grants them a sight of his person. For the purpose of showing a favour unto the Brahmanas, the denizens of heaven have recited for their information the diverse forms that were assumed by Mahadeva in days of yore. Thou hast asked me about these. I shall recite them to thee, O son.'
"My mother continued, 'Bhava assumes the forms of Brahma and Vishnu and the chief of the celestials of the Rudras, the Adityas, and the Aswins; and of those deities that are called Viswadevas. He assumes the forms also of men and women, of Pretas and Pisachas, of Kiratas and Savaras, and of all aquatic animals. That illustrious deity assumes the forms of also those Savaras that dwell in the woods and forests. He assumes the forms of tortoises and fishes and conches. He it is that
assumes the forms of those coral sprouts that are used as ornaments by men. He assumes also the forms of Yakshas, Rakshasas and Snakes, of Daityas and Danavas. Indeed, the illustrious god assumes the forms of all creatures too that live in holes. He assumes the forms of tigers and lions and deer, of wolves and bears and birds, of owls and of jackals as well. He it is that assumes the forms of swans and crows and peacocks, of chameleons and lizards and storks. He it is that assumes the forms of cranes and vultures and Chakravakas. Verily, he it is that assumes the forms of Chasas and of mountains also. O son, it is Mahadeva that assumes the forms of kine and elephants and horses and camels and asses. He assumes also the forms of goats and leopards and diverse other varieties of animals. It is Bhava who assumes the forms of diverse kinds of birds of beautiful plumage. It is Mahadeva who bears the forms of persons with sticks and those with umbrellas and those with calabashes among Brahmanas. 1 He sometimes becomes six-faced and sometimes becomes multifaced. He sometimes assumes forms having three eyes and forms having many heads. And he sometimes assumes forms having many millions of legs and forms having innumerable stomachs and faces and forms endued with innumerable arms and innumerable sides. He sometimes appears surrounded by innumerable spirits and ghosts. He it is that assumes the forms of Rishis and Gandharvas, and of Siddhas and Charanas. He sometimes assumes a form that is rendered white with the ashes he smears on it and is adorned with a half-moon on the forehead. Adored with diverse hymns uttered with diverse kinds of voice and worshipped with diverse Mantras fraught with encomiums, he, that is sometimes called Sarva, is the Destroyer of all creatures in the universe, and it is upon him, again, that all creatures rest as on their common foundation. Mahadeva is the soul of all creatures. He pervades all things. He is the speaker of all discourses (on duties and rituals). He resides everywhere and should be known as dwelling in the hearts of all creatures in the universe. He knows the desire cherished by every one of his worshippers. He becomes acquainted with the object in which one pays him adorations. Do thou then, if it pleases thee, seek the protection of the chief of the deities. He sometimes rejoices, and sometimes yields to wrath, and sometimes utters the syllable Hum with a very loud noise. He sometimes arms himself with the discus, sometimes with the trident, sometimes with the mace, sometimes with the heavy mullets, sometimes with the scimitar, and sometimes with the battle axe. He it is that assumes the form of Sesha who sustains the world on his head. He has snakes for his belt, and his ears are adorned with ear-rings made of snakes. Snakes form also the sacred thread he wears. An elephant skin
forms his upper garment. 1 He sometimes laughs and sometimes sings and sometimes dances most beautifully. Surrounded by innumerable spirits and ghosts, he sometimes plays on musical instruments. Diverse, again are the instruments upon which he plays, and sweet the sounds they yield. He sometimes wanders (over crematoria), sometimes yawns, sometimes cries, and sometimes causes others to cry. He sometimes assumes the guise of one that is mad, and sometimes of one that is intoxicated, and he sometimes utters words that are exceedingly sweet. Endued with appalling fierceness, he sometimes laughs loudly, frightening all creatures with his eyes. He sometimes sleeps and sometimes remains awake and sometimes yawns as he pleases. He sometimes recites sacred Mantras and sometimes becomes the deity of those Mantras which are recited. He sometimes performs penances and sometimes becomes the deity for whose adoration those penances are undergone. He sometimes makes gifts and sometimes receives those gifts; sometimes disposes himself in Yoga and sometimes becomes the object of the Yoga contemplation of others. He may be seen on the sacrificial platform or in the sacrificial stake; in the midst of the cow-pen or in the fire. He may not again be seen there. He may be seen as a boy or as an old man. He sports with the daughters and the spouses of the Rishis. His hair is long and stands erect. He is perfectly naked, for he has the horizon for his garments. He is endued with terrible eyes. He is fair, he is darkish, he is dark, he is pale, he is of the colour of smoke, and he is red. He is possessed of eyes that are large and terrible. He has empty space for his covering and he it is that covers all things. Who is there that can truly understand the limits of Mahadeva who is formless, who is one and indivisible, who conjures of illusions, who is of the cause of all actions and destructive operations in the universe, who assumes the form of Hiranyagarbha, and who is without beginning and without end, and who is without birth. 2 He lives in the heart (of every creature). He is the prana, he is the mind, and he is Jiva (that is invested in the material case). He is the soul of Yoga, and it is that is called Yoga. He is the Yoga-contemplation into which Yogins enter. 3 He is the Supreme Soul. Indeed Maheswara, the purity in essence, is capable of being comprehended not by the senses but through only the Soul seizing his existence. He plays on diverse musical
instruments. He is a vocalist. He has a hundred thousand eyes, he has one mouth, he has two mouths, he has three mouths, and he has many mouths. Devoting thyself to him, setting thy heart upon him, depending upon him, and accepting him as thy one refuse, do thou, O son, adore Mahadeva and then mayst thou obtain the fruition of all thy wishes. Hearing those words of my mother, O slayer of foes, from that day my devotion was directed to Mahadeva, having nothing else for its object. I then applied myself to the practice of the austerest penances for gratifying Sankara. For one thousand years I stood on my left toe. After that I passed one thousand years, subsisting only upon fruits. The next one thousand years I passed, subsisting upon the fallen leaves of trees. The next thousand years I passed, subsisting upon water only. After that I passed seven hundred years, subsisting on air alone. In this way, I adored Mahadeva for a full thousand years of the celestials. After this, the puissant Mahadeva, the Master of all the universe, became gratified with me. Desirous of ascertaining whether I was solely devoted to him and him alone, he appeared before me in the form of Sakra surrounded by all the deities. As the celebrated Sakra, he had a thousand eyes on his person and was armed with the thunderbolt. And he rode on an elephant whose complexion was of the purest white, with eyes red, ears folded, the temporal juice trickling down his cheeks, with trunk contracted, terrible to look at, and endued with four tusks. Indeed, riding on such an elephant, the illustrious chief of the deities seemed to blaze forth with his energy. With a beautiful crown on his head and adorned with garlands round his neck and bracelets round his arms, he approached the spot where I was. A white umbrella was held over his head. And he was waited upon by many Apsaras, and many Gandharvas sang his praise. Addressing me, he said,--O foremost of regenerate persons, I have been gratified with thee. Beg of me whatever boon thou desirest,--Hearing these words of Sakra I did not become glad. Verily, O Krishna, I answered the chief of the celestials in these words.--I do not desire any boon at thy hands, or from the hands of any other deity. O amiable deity, I tell thee truly, that it is Mahadeva only from whom I have boons to ask. True, true it is, O Sakra, true are these words that I say unto thee. No other words are at all agreeable to me save those which relate to Maheswara. At the command of Pashupati, that Lord of all creatures, I am ready to become a worm or a tree with many branches. If not obtained through the grace represented by Mahadeva's boons, the very sovereignty of the three worlds would not be acceptable to me. Let me be born among the very Chandalas but let me still be devoted to the feet of Hara. Without, again, being devoted to that Lord of all creatures, I would not like to have birth in the palace of Indra himself. If a person be wanting in devotion to that Lord of the universe,--that Master of the deities and the Asuras,--his misery will not end even if from want of food he has to subsist upon only air and water. 1 What is the need of other discourses that are even fraught with other kinds of morality and
righteousness, unto those persons who do not like to live even a moment without thinking of feet of Mahadeva? When the unrighteous or sinful Kali Yuga comes, one should never pass a moment without devoting his heart upon Mahadeva. One that has drunk the Amrita constituted by the devotion to Hara, one becomes freed from the fear of the world. One that has not obtained the grace of Mahadeva can never succeed to devote oneself to Mahadeva for a single day or for half a day or for a Muhurta or for a Kshana or for a Lava (very small unit of time). At the command of Mahadeva I shall cheerfully become a worm or an insect, but I have no relish for even the sovereignty of the three worlds, if bestowed by thee, O Sakra. At the word of Hara I would become even a dog. In fact, that would accord with my highest wish. If not given by Maheswara, I would not have the sovereignty of the very deities. I do not wish to have this dominion of the Heavens. I do not wish to have the sovereignty of the celestials. I do not wish to have the region of Brahma. Indeed, I do not wish to have that cessation of individual existence which is called Emancipation and which involves a complete identification with Brahma. But I want to become the slave of Hara. As long as that Lord of all creatures, the illustrious Mahesa, with crown on his head and body possessed of the pure white complexion of the lunar disc, does not become gratified with me, so long shall I cheerfully bear all those afflictions, due to a hundred repetitions of decrepitude, death and birth, that befall to the lot of embodied beings. What person in the universe can obtain tranquillity, without gratifying Rudra that is freed from decripitude and death, that is endued with the effulgence of the Sun, the Moon, or the fire, that is the root or original cause of everything real and unreal in the three worlds, and that exists as one and indivisible entity? If in consequence of my faults, rebirths be mine, I shall, in those new births, devote myself solely to Bhava.'"
"Indra said, 'What reason canst thou assign for the existence of a Supreme Being or for His being the cause of all causes?'"
"Upamanyu said, 'I solicit boons from that great Deity named Siva whom utterers of Brahma has described as existent and non-existent, manifest and unmanifest, eternal or immutable, one and many. I solicit boons from Him who is without beginning and middle and end, who is Knowledge and Puissance, who is inconceivable and who is the Supreme Soul. I solicit boons from Him whence comes all Puissance, who has not been produced by any one, who is immutable, and who, though himself unsprung from any seed, is the seed of all things in the universe. I solicit boons from Him who is blazing Effulgence, (beyond Darkness) who is the essence of all penances, who transcends all faculties of which we are possessed and which we may devote for the purpose of comprehending
him, and by knowing whom every one becomes freed from grief or sorrow. I worship him, O Purandara, who is conversant with the creation of all elements and the thought of all living creatures, and who is the original cause of the existence or creation of all creatures, who is omnipresent, and who has the puissance to give everything. 1 I solicit boons from Him who cannot be comprehended by argument, who represents the object of the Sankhya and the Yoga systems of philosophy, and who transcends all things, and whom all persons conversant with the topics of enquiry worship and adore. 2 I solicit boons from Him, O Maghavat, who is the soul of Maghavat himself, who is said to be the God of the gods, and who is the Master of all creatures. I solicit boons from Him who it is that first created Brahma, that creator of all the worlds, having filled Space (with His energy) and evoked into existence the primeval egg. 3 Who else than that Supreme Lord could be creator of Fire, Water, Wind, Earth, Space, Mind, and that which is called Mahat? Tell me, O Sakra, who else than Siva could create Mind, Understanding, Consciousness or Ego, the Tanmatras, and the senses? Who is there higher than Siva? 4 The wise say that the Grandsire Brahma is the creator of this universe. Brahma, however, acquired his high puissance and prosperity by adoring and gratifying Mahadeva, that God of gods. That high puissance (consisting of all the three attributes of creation, protection, and destruction), which dwells in that illustrious Being who is endowed with the quality of being one, who created Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra, was derived from Mahadeva. Tell me who is there that is superior to the Supreme Lord? 5 Who else than that God of gods is competent to unite the sons of Diti with lordship and puissance, judging by the sovereignty and the power of oppressing conferred upon the foremost of the Daityas and Danavas? 6 The different points of the horizon, Time, the Sun, all fiery entities, planets, wind, water, and the stars and constellations,--these, know thou, are from Mahadeva. Tell us who is higher than the Supreme Lord? Who else is there, except Mahadeva, in the matter of the creation of Sacrifice and the destruction of Tripura? Who else except Mahadeva, the grinder of the foes,
has offered lordship to the principal? 1 What need, O Purandara, of many well-sounding statements fraught with spacious sophisms, when I behold thee of a thousand eyes, O best of the deities,--thee that art worshipped by Siddhas and Gandharvas and the deities and the Rishis? O best of the Kusikas, all this is due to the grace of that God of gods viz., Mahadeva. Know, O Kesava, that this all, consisting of animate and inanimate existences with heaven and other unseen entities, which occur in this world, and which has the all-pervading Lord for their soul, has flowed from Maheswara and has been created (by him) for enjoyment by Jiva. 2 In the worlds that are known by the names of Bhu, Bhuva, Swah, and Maha, in the midst of the mountains of Lokaloka, in the islands, in the mountains of Meru, in all things that yield happiness, and in the hearts of all creatures, O illustrious Maghavat, resides Mahadeva, as persons conversant with all the topics of enquiry say. If, O Sakra, the Devas (deities) and the Asuras could see any other puissant form than Bhava's, would not both of them, especially the former, when opposed and afflicted by the latter, have sought the protection of that form? In all hostile encounters of the deities, the Yakshas, the Uragas and the Rakshasas, that terminating in mutual destruction, it is Bhava that gives unto those that meet with destruction, puissance commensurate with their respective locations as dependent upon their acts. Tell me, who else than Maheswara is there for bestowing boons upon, and once more chastising the Andhaka and Sukra and Dundubhi and Maharshi and many foremost of Yakshas, Indra and Vala and Rakshasas and the Nivatakavachas? Was not the vital seed of Mahadeva, that Master of both the deities and the Asuras, poured as a libation upon the fire? From that seed sprung a mountain of gold. Who else is there whose seed can be said to be possessed of such virtue. 3 Who else in this world is praised as having the horizon only for his garments? Who else can be said to be a Brahmacharin with his vital seed drawn up? Who else is there that has half his body occupied by his dear spouse? 4 Who else is there that has been able to subjugate Kama, the
god of desire? Tell me, O Indra, what other Being possesses that high region of supreme felicity that is applauded by all the deities? Who else has the crematorium as his sporting ground? Who else is there that is so praised for his dancing? Whose puissance and worship remain immutable? Who else is there that sports with spirits and ghosts? Tell me, O deity, who else has associate that are possessed of strength like his own and that are, therefore, proud of that strength or puissance? 1 Who else is there whose status is applauded as unchangeable and worshipped with reverence by the three worlds? Who else is there that pours rain, gives heat, and blazes forth in Energy? From whom else do we derive our wealth of herbs? Who else upholds all kinds of wealth? Who else sports as much as he pleases in the three worlds of mobile and immobile things? O Indra, know Maheswara to be the original cause (of everything). He is adored by Yogins, by Rishis, by the Gandharvas, and by the Siddhas, with the aid of knowledge, (of ascetic) success, and of the rites laid down in the scriptural ordinances. 2 He is adored by both the deities and the Asuras with the aid of sacrifices by acts and the affliction of the ritual laid down in the scriptures. The fruits of action can never touch him for he transcends them all. Being such, I call him the original cause of everything. 3 He is both gross and subtile. He is without compare. He cannot be conceived by the senses. He is endued with attributes and he is divested of them. He is the lord of attributes, for they are under his control. Even such is the place that is Maheswara's. He is the cause of the maintenance and the creation (of the universe). He is the cause of the universe and the cause also of its destruction. He is the Past, the Present, and the Future. He is the parent of all things. Verily, He is the cause of every thing. He is that which is mutable, He is the unmanifest, He is Knowledge; He is ignorance; He is every act, He is every omission; He is righteousness; and He is unrighteousness. Him, O Sakra, do I call the cause of every thing. Behold, O Indra, in the image of Mahadeva the indications of both the sexes. That god of gods, viz., Rudra, that cause of both creation and destruction, displays in his form the indications of both the sexes as the one cause of the creation of the universe. My mother formerly told me that he is the cause of the universe and the one cause of everything. There
is no one that is higher than Isa, O Sakra. If it pleases thee, do thou throw thyself on his kindness and protection. Thou hast visible evidence, O chief of the celestials, of the fact that the universe has sprung from the union of the sexes (as represented by Mahadeva). The universe, thou knowest, is the sum of what is vested with attributes and what else is divested of attributes and has for its immediate cause the seeds of Brahma and others. Brahma and Indra and Hutasana and Vishnu and all the other deities, along with the Daityas and the Asuras, crowned with the fruition of a thousand desires, always say that there is none that is higher than Mahadeva. 1 Impelled by desire, I solicit, with restrained mind, that god known to all the mobile and immobile universe,--him, that is, who has been spoken of as the best and highest of all the gods, and who is auspiciousness itself, for obtaining without delay that highest of all acquisitions, viz., Emancipation. What necessity is there of other reasons (for establishing) what I believe? The supreme Mahadeva is the cause of all causes. We have never heard that the deities have, at any time, adored the sign of any other god than Mahadeva. If Maheswara be not accepted, tell me, if thou hast ever heard of it, who else is there whose sign has been worshipped or is being worshipped by all the deities? He whose sign is always worshipped by Brahma, by Vishnu, by thee, O Indra, with all the other deities, is verily the foremost of all adorable deities. 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 Ulna'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 provided by two kinds of forms (viz., male and female). It is from Mahadeva that I wish to obtain boons. Failing in this, O Kausika, I would rather prefer dissolution itself. Go or remain, O Sakra, as thou, O slayer of Vala, desirest. I wish to have boons or curses from Mahadeva. No other deity shall I ever acknowledge, nor would I have from any
other deity the fruition of all my wishes.--Having said these words unto the chief of the celestials, I became overwhelmed with grief at the thought of Mahadeva not having been gratified with me not withstanding my severe austerities. Within the twinkling of an eye, however, I saw the celestial elephant I had beheld before me transformed into a bull as white as a swan, or the Jasminum pubescens, or a stalk of the lotus or silver, or the ocean of milk. Of huge body, the hair of its tail was black and the hue of its eyes was tawny like that of honey. Its horns were hard as adamant and had the colour of gold. With their very sharp ends, whose hue was a mild red, the bull seemed to tear the Earth. The animal was adorned all over with ornaments made of the purest gold. Its face and hoofs and nose and ears were exceedingly beautiful and its waist too exceedingly well-formed. Its flanks were possessed of great beauty and its neck was very thick. Its whole form was exceedingly agreeable and beautiful to look at. Its hump shone with great beauty and seemed to occupy the whole of its shoulder-joint. And it looked like the summit of a mountain of snow or like a cliff of white clouds in the sky. Upon the back of that animal I beheld seated the illustrious Mahadeva with his spouse Uma. Verily, Mahadeva shone like the lord of stars while he is at his full. The fire born of his energy resembled in effulgence the lightening that flashes amid clouds. Verily, it seemed as if a thousand suns rose there, filling every side with a dazzling splendour. The energy of the Supreme Lord looked like the Samvartaka fire which destroys all creatures at the end of the Yuga. Overspread with that energy, the horizon became such that I could see nothing on any side. Filled with anxiety I once more thought what it could mean. That energy, however, did not pervade every side for any length of time, for soon, through the illusion of that god of gods, the horizon became clear. I then behold the illustrious Sthanu or Maheswara seated on the back of his bull, of blessed and agreeable appearance and looking like a smokeless fire. And the great god was accompanied by Parvati of faultless features. Indeed, I beheld the blue-throated and high-souled Sthanu, unattached to everything, that receptacle of all kinds of force, endued with eight and ten arms and adorned with all kinds of ornaments. Clad in white vestments, he wore white garlands, and had white unguents smeared upon his limbs. The colour of his banner, irresistible in the universe, was white. The sacred thread round his person was also white. He was surrounded with associates, all possessed with prowess equal to his own, who were singing or dancing or playing on diverse kinds of musical instruments. A crescent moon, of pale hue, formed his crown, and placed on his forehead it looked like the moon that rises in the autumnal firmament. He seemed to dazzle with splendour, in consequence of his three eyes that looked like three suns. The garland of the purest white, that was on his body, shone like a wreath of lotuses, of the purest white, adorned with jewels and gems. I also beheld, O Govinda, the weapons in their embodied forms and fraught with every kind of energy, that belong to Bhava of immeasurable prowess. The high-souled deity held a bow whose
hues resembled those of the rainbow. That bow is celebrated under the name of the Pinaka and is in reality a mighty snake. Indeed, that snake of seven heads and vast body, of sharp fangs and virulent poison, of large neck and the masculine sex, was twined round with the cord that served as its bowstring. And there was a shaft whose splendour looked like that of the sun or of the fire that appears at the end of the Yuga. Verily, that shaft was the excellent Pasupata that mighty and terrible weapon, which is without a second, indescribable for its power, and capable of striking every creature with fear. Of vast proportions, it seemed to constantly vomit sparks of fire. Possessed of one foot, of large teeth, and a thousand heads and thousand Stomachs, it has a thousand arms, a thousand tongues, and a thousand eyes. Indeed, it seemed to continually vomit fire. O thou of mighty arms, that weapon is superior to the Brahma, the Narayana, the Aindra, the Agneya, and the Varuna weapons. Verily, it is capable of neutralising every other weapon in the universe. It was with that weapon that the illustrious Mahadeva had in days of yore, burnt and consumed in a moment the triple city of the Asuras. With the greatest ease, O Govinda, Mahadeva, using that single arrow, achieved that feat. That weapon, shot by Mahadeva's arms, can, without doubt consume in half the time taken up by a twinkling of the eyes the entire universe with all its mobile and immobile creatures. In the universe there is no being including even Brahma and Vishnu and the deities, that are incapable of being slain by that weapon. O sire, I saw that excellent, wonderful and incomparable weapon in the hand of Mahadeva. There is another mysterious and very powerful weapon which is equal or perhaps, superior to the Pasupata weapon. I beheld that also. It is celebrated in all the worlds as the Sum of the Sula-armed Mahadeva. Hurled by the illustrious deity, that weapon is competent to rive the entire Earth or dry up the waters of the ocean or annihilate the entire universe. In days of yore, Yuvanaswa's son, king Mandhatri, that conqueror of the three worlds, possessed of imperial sway and endued with abundant energy, was, with all his troops, destroyed by means of that weapon. Endued with great might and great energy and resembling Sakra himself in prowess, the king, O Govinda, was slain by the Rakshasa Lavana with the aid of this Sula which he had got from Siva. The Sula has a very keen point. Exceedingly terrible, it is capable of causing everybody's hair stand on its end. I saw it in the hand of Mahadeva, as if roaring with rage, having contracted its forehead into three wrinkles. It resembled, O Krishna, a smokeless fire or the sun that rises at the end of the Yuga. The handle of that Sula, was made of a mighty snake. It is really indescribable. It looked like the universal Destroyer himself armed with his noose. I saw this weapon, O Govinda, in the hand of Mahadeva. I beheld also another weapon, viz., that sharp-edged battle-axe which, in days of yore, was given unto Rama by the gratified Mahadeva for enabling him to exterminate the Kshatriyas. It was with this weapon that Rama (of Bhrigu's race) slew in dreadful battle the great Karttaviryya who was the ruler of all the world. It was with that
weapon that Jamadagni's son, O Govinda, was able to exterminate the Kshatriyas for one and twenty times. Of blazing edge and exceedingly terrible, that axe was hanging on the shoulder, adorned with a snake, of Mahadeva. Indeed, it shone on Mahadeva's person like the flame of a blazing fire. I beheld innumerable other celestial weapons with Mahadeva of great intelligence. I have, however named only a few, O sinless one, in consequence of their principal character. On the left side of the great god stood the Grandsire Brahma seated on an excellent car unto which were attached swans endued with the speed of the mind. On the same side could be seen Narayana also, seated on the son of Vinata, and bearing the conch, the discus, and the mace. Close to the goddess Uma was Skanda seated on his peacock, bearing his fatal dart and bells, and looking like another Agni. In the front of Mahadeva I beheld Nandi standing armed with his Sula and looking like a second Sankara (for prowess and energy). The Munis headed by the Self-born Manu and Rishis having Bhrigu for their first, and the deities with Sakra at their head, all came there. All the tribes of spirits and ghosts, and the celestial Mothers, stood surrounding Mahadeva and saluting him with reverence. The deities were engaged in singing the praises of Mahadeva by uttering diverse hymns. The Grandsire Brahma uttering a Rathantara, praised Mahadeva. Narayana also, uttering the Jyestha Saman, sang the praises of Bhava. Sakra also did the same with the aid of those foremost of Vedic Mantras, viz., the Sata-Rudriam. Verily, Brahma and Narayana and Sakra,--those three high-souled deities,--shone there like three sacrificial fires. In their midst shone the illustrious God like the sun in the midst of his corona, emerged from autumnal clouds. I beheld myriads of suns and moons, also in the sky, O Kesava. I then praised the illustrious Lord of everything, the supreme Master of the universe.
"Upamanyu continued, 'I said, Salutations to thee, O illustrious one, O thou that constitutest the refuge of all things, O thou that art called Mahadeva! Salutations to thee that assumest the form of Sakra, that art Sakra, and that disguisest thyself in the form and vestments of Sakra. Salutations to thee that art armed with the thunder, to thee that art tawny, and thee that art always armed with the Pinaka. Salutations to thee that always bearest the conch and the Sula. Salutations to thee that art clad in black, to thee that art of dark and curly hair, to thee that hast a dark deer-skin for thy upper garment, to thee that presidest over the eighth lunation of the dark fortnight. Salutations to thee that art of white complexion, to thee that art called white, to thee that art clad in white robes, to thee that hast limbs smeared with white ashes, to thee that art ever engaged in white deeds. Salutations to thee that art red of colour, to thee that art clad in red vestments, to thee that ownest a red banner with red flags, to thee that wearest red garlands and usest red unguents. Salutations to thee that art brown in complexion, to thee that art clad in brown vestments, to thee, that hast a brown banner with brown flags, to thee that wearest brown garlands and usest brown unguents. Salutations
to thee that hast the umbrella of royalty held over thy head, to thee that wearest the foremost of crowns. Salutations unto thee that art adorned with half a garland and half an armlet, to thee that art decked with one ring for one year, to thee that art endued with the speed of the mind, to thee that art endued with great effulgence. Salutations to thee that art the foremost of deities, to thee that art the foremost of ascetics, to thee that art the foremost of celestials. Salutations to thee that wearest half a wreath of lotuses, to thee that hast many lotuses on thy body. Salutations to thee that hast half thy body smeared with sandal paste, to thee that hast half thy body decked with garlands of flowers and smeared with fragrant unguents. 1 Salutations to thee that art of the complexion of the Sun, to thee that art like the Sun, to thee whose face is like the Sun, to thee that hast eyes each of which is like the Sun. Salutations to thee that art Soma, to thee that art as mild as Soma, to thee that bearest the lunar disc, to thee that art of lunar aspect, to thee that art the foremost of all creatures, to thee that art adorned with a set of the most beautiful teeth. Salutations to thee that art of a dark complexion, to thee that art of a fair complexion, to thee that hast a form half of which is yellow and half white, to thee that hast a body half of which is male and half female, to thee that art both male and female. Salutations to thee that ownest a bull for thy vehicle, to thee that proceedest riding on the foremost of elephants, to thee that art obtained with difficulty, to thee that art capable of going to places unapproachable by others. Salutations to thee whose praises are sung by the Ganas, to thee that art devoted to the diverse Ganas, to thee that followest the track that is trod by the Ganas, to thee that art always devoted to the Ganas as to a vow. Salutations to thee that art of the complexion of white clouds, to thee that hast the splendour of the evening clouds, to thee that art incapable of being described by names, to thee that art of thy own form (having nothing else in the universe with which it can be compared). Salutations to thee that wearest a beautiful garland of red colour, to thee that art clad in robes of red colour. Salutations to thee that hast the crown of the head decked with gems, to thee that art adorned with a half-moon, to thee that wearest many beautiful gems in thy diadem, to thee that hast eight flowers on thy head. Salutations to thee that hast a fiery mouth and fiery eyes, to thee that hast eyes possessing the effulgence of a thousand moons, to thee that art of the form of fire, to thee that art beautiful and agreeable, to thee that art inconceivable and mysterious. Salutations to thee that rangest through the firmament, to thee that lovest and residest in lands affording pasture to kine, to thee that walkest on the Earth, to thee that art the Earth, to thee that art infinite, to thee
that art exceedingly auspicious. Salutations to thee that art unclad (or has the horizon alone for thy vestments), to thee that makest a happy home of every place where thou mayst happen to be for the moment. Salutations to thee that hast the universe for thy home, to thee that hast both Knowledge and Felicity for thy Soul. Salutations to thee that always wearest a diadem, to thee that wearest a large armlet, to thee that hast a snake for the garland round thy neck, to thee that wearest many beautiful ornaments on thy person. Salutations to thee that hast the Sun, the Moon, and Agni for thy three eyes, to thee that art possessed of a thousand eyes, to thee that art both male and female, to thee that art divested of sex, to thee that art a Sankhya, to thee that art a Yogin. Salutations to thee that art of the grace of those deities who are worshipped in sacrifices, to thee that art the Atharvans, to thee that art the alleviator of all kinds of disease and pain, to thee that art the dispeller of every sorrow. Salutations to thee that roarest as deep as the clouds, to thee that puttest forth diverse kinds of illusions, to thee that presidest over the soil and over the seed that is sown in it, to thee that art the Creator of everything. Salutations to thee that art the Lord of all the celestials, to thee that art the Master of the universe, to thee that art endued with the speed of the wind, to thee that art of the form of the wind. Salutations to thee that wearest a garland of gold, to thee that sportest on hills and mountains 1, to thee that art adorned by all who are enemies of the gods, to thee that art possessed of fierce speed and energy. Salutations to thee that torest away one of the heads of the Grandsire Brahma, to thee that hast slain the Asura named Mahisha, to thee that assumest three forms, to thee that bearest every form. Salutations to thee that art the destroyer of the triple city of the Asuras, to thee that art the destroyer of (Daksha's) sacrifice, to thee that art the destroyer of the body of Kama (the deity of Desire), to thee that wieldest the rod of destruction. Salutations to thee that art Skanda, to thee that art Visakha, to thee that art the rod of the Brahmana, to thee that art Bhava, to thee that art Sarva, to thee that art of universal form. Salutations to thee that art Isana, to thee that art the destroyer of Bhaga, to thee that art the slayer of Andhaka, to thee that art the universe, to thee that art possessed of illusion, to thee that art both conceivable and inconceivable. 2 Thou art the one end of all creatures, thou art the foremost, thou art the heart of everything. Thou art the Brahma of all the deities, thou art the Nilardhita Red and Blue of the Rudras. Thou art the Soul of the creatures, thou art He who is called Purusha in the Sankhya philosophy, thou art the Rishabha among all things sacred, thou art that which is called auspicious by Yogins and which, according to them, is without parts (being indivisible). Amongst
those that are observant of the different modes of life, thou art the House-holder, thou art the great Lord amongst the lords of the universe. Thou art Kuvera among all the Yakshas, and thou art Vishnu amongst all the sacrifices. 1 Thou art Meru amongst mountains, thou art the Moon among all luminaries of the firmament, thou art Vasishtha amongst Rishis, thou art Surya among the planets. Thou art the lion among all wild animals, and among all domestic animals, thou art the bull that is worshipped by all people. Among the Adityas thou art Vishnu (Upendra), among the Vasu thou art Pavaka, among birds thou art the son of Vinata (Garuda), and among snakes thou art Ananta (Sesha). Among the Vedas thou art the Samans, among the Yajushes thou art the Sata-Rudriyam, among Yogins thou art Sanatkumara, and among Sankhyas thou art Kapila. Among the Maruts thou art Sakra, among the Pitris thou art Devarat, among all the regions (for the residence of created beings) thou art the region of Brahman, and amongst all the ends that creatures attain to, thou art Moksha or Emancipation. Thou art the Ocean of milk among all oceans, among all rocky eminences thou art Himavat, among all the orders thou art the Brahmana, and among all learned Brahmanas thou art he that has undergone and is observant of the Diksha. Thou art the Sun among all things in the world, thou art the destroyer called Kala. Thou art whatever else possessed of superior energy of eminence that exists in the universe. Thou art possessed of supreme puissance. Even this is what represents my certain conclusion. Salutations to thee, O puissant and illustrious one, O thou that art kind to all thy worshippers. Salutations to thee, O lord of Yogins. I bow to thee, O original cause of the universe. Be thou gratified with me that am thy worshipper, that am very miserable and helpless, O Eternal Lord, do thou become the refuge of this adorer of thine that is very weak and miserable. O Supreme Lord, it behoveth thee to pardon all those transgressions of which I have been guilty, taking compassion upon me on the ground of my being thy devoted worshipper. I was stupefied by thee, O Lord of all the deities, in consequence of the disguise in which thou showest thyself to me. O Maheswara, I did not give thee the Arghya or water to wash thy feet. 2 Having hymned the praises of Isana in this way, I offered him, with great devotion, water to wash his feet and the ingredients of the Arghya, and then, with joined hands, I resigned myself to him, being prepared to do whatever he would bid. Then, O sire, an auspicious shower of flowers fell upon my head, possessed of celestial fragrance and bedewed with cold water. The celestial musicians began to play on their kettle-drums. A delicious breeze, fragrant and agreeable, began to blow and fill me with pleasure. Then Mahadeva accompanied by his spouse, and having the bull for his sign, having been gratified with me, addressed the celestials assembled
there in these words, filling me with great joy,--Behold, ye deities, the devotion of the high-souled Upamanyu. Verily, steady and great is that devotion, and entirely immutable, for it exists unalterably.--Thus addressed by the great God armed with the Sula, the deities, O Krishna, having bowed down unto him and joined their hands in reverence, said these words,--O illustrious one, O God of the gods, O master of the universe, O Lord of all, let this best of regenerate persons obtain from thee the fruition of all his desires.--Thus addressed by all the deities, with the Grandsire Brahma among them. Sarva, otherwise called Isa and Sankara, said these words as if smiling unto me.'"
"The illustrious Sankara said, 'O dear Upamanyu, I am gratified with thee. Behold me, O foremost of Munis, O learned Rishi, thou art firmly devoted to me and well hast thou been tested by me. I have been very highly pleased with thee in consequence of this thy devotion to Siva. I shall, therefore, give thee today the fruition of whatever desires thou mayst have in thy heart. Thus addressed by Mahadeva of great wisdom, tears of joy came into my eyes and my hair stood on its end (through emotion). Kneeling down unto him and bowing unto him repeatedly, I then, with a voice that was choked with delight, said unto him,--O illustrious god, it seems to me that I was hitherto dead and that it is only today that I have taken my birth, and that my birth bath today borne fruit, since I am staying now in the presence of Him who is the Master of both the deities and the Asuras! Who else is more praiseworthy than I, since I am beholding with these eyes of mine, Him of immeasurable prowess whom the very deities are unable to behold without first paying hearty worship? That which they that are possessed of learning and wisdom say is the highest of all topics, which is Eternal, which is distinguished from all else, which is unborn, which is Knowledge, which is indestructible, is identical with thee, O puissant and illustrious one, thee that art the beginning of all the topics, thee that art indestructible and changeless, thee that art conversant with the ordinances which govern all the topics, thee that art the foremost of Purushas, thee that art the highest of the high. Thou art he that hadst created from thy right side the Grandsire Brahma, the Creator of all things. Thou art he that hadst created from thy left side Vishnu for protecting the Creation. Thou art that puissant Lord who didst create Rudra when the end of the Yuga came and when the Creation was once more to be dissolved. That Rudra, who sprang from thee destroyed the Creation with all its mobile and immobile beings, assuming the form of Kala of great energy, of the cloud Samvartaka (charged with water which myriads of oceans are not capacious enough to bear), and of the all consuming fire. Verily, when the period comes for the dissolution of the universe, that Rudra stands, ready to swallow up the universe. Thou art that Mahadeva, who is the original Creator of the universe with all its mobile and immobile entities. Thou art he, who, at the end of the Kalpa, stands, withdrawing all things into thyself. Thou art he that pervadest all things, that art the Soul of all things, thou art
the Creator of the Creator of all entities. Incapable of being seen by even any of the deities, thou art he that exists, pervading all entities. If, O lord, thou hast been gratified with me and if thou wouldst grant me boons, let this be the boon, O Lord of all the deities, that my devotion to thee may remain unchanged. O best of the deities, let me, through thy grace, have knowledge of the Present, the Past, and the Future. I shall also, with all my kinsmen and friends, always eat food mixed with milk. And let thy illustrious self be for ever present at our retreat.--Thus addressed by me, the illustrious Maheswara endued with supreme energy, that Master of all mobile and immobile, viz., Siva, worshipped of all the universe, then said unto me these words.'
"The illustrious Deity said, 'Be thou free from every misery and pain, and be thou above decrepitude and death. Be thou possessed of fame, be thou endued with great energy, and let spiritual knowledge be thine. Thou shalt, through my grace, be always sought for by the Rishis. Be thy behaviour good and righteous, be every desirable attribute thine, be thou possessed of universal knowledge, and be thou of agreeable appearance. Let undecaying youth be thine, and let thy energy be like that of fire. Wherever, again, thou mayst desire the presence of the ocean of milk that is so agreeable to thee, there shall that ocean appear before thee (ready for being utilised by thee and thy friends for purposes of thy food). Do thou, with thy friends, always obtain food prepared with milk, with the celestial nectar besides being mixed with it. 1 After the expiration of a Kalpa thou shalt then obtain my companionship. Thy family and race and kinsmen shall be exhaustless. O foremost of regenerate ones, thy devotion to me shalt be eternal. And. O best of Brahmanas, I shall always accord my presence to thy asylum. Live, O son, whithersoever thou likest, and let no anxiety be thine. Thought of by thee, I shall, O learned Brahmana, grant thee a sight of myself again.--Having said these words, and granted me these boons, the illustrious Isana, endued with the effulgence of millions of Suns, disappeared there and then. It was even thus, O Krishna, that I beheld, with the aid of austere penances, that God of gods. I also obtained all that was said by the great Deity endued with supreme intelligence. Behold, O Krishna, before thy eyes, these Siddhas residing here and these Rishis and Vidyadharas and Yakshas and Gandharvas and Apsaras. Behold these trees and creepers and plants yielding all sorts of flowers and fruits. Behold them bearing the flowers of every season, with beautiful leaves, and shedding a sweet fragrance all around. O thou of mighty arms, all these are endued with a celestial nature through the grace of that god of gods, that Supreme Lord, that high-souled Deity.'
"Vasudeva continued, 'Hearing these words of his and beholding, as it were, with my own eyes all that he had related to me, I became filled
with wonder. I then addressed the great ascetic Upamanyu and said unto him,--Deserving of great praise art thou, O foremost of learned Brahmanas, for what righteous man is there other than thou whose retreat enjoys the distinction of being honoured with the presence of that God of gods? Will the puissant Siva, will the great Sankara, O chief of ascetics, grant me also a sight of his person and show me favour.'
"Upamanyu said, 'Without doubt, O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, thou wilt obtain a sight of Mahadeva very soon, even as, O sinless one, I succeeded in obtaining a sight of him. O thou of immeasurable prowess, I see with my spiritual eyes that thou wilt, in the sixth month from this, succeed in obtaining a sight of Mahadeva, O best of all persons. Thou, O foremost of the Yadus, wilt obtain from Maheswara and his spouse, four and twenty boons. I tell thee what is true. Through the grace of that Deity endued with supreme wisdom, the Past, the Future and the Present are known to me. The great Hara has favoured these Rishis numbering by thousands and others as numerous. Why will not the puissant Deity show favour to thee, O Mahadeva? The meeting of the gods is always commendable with one like thee, with one that is devoted to the Brahmanas, with one that is full of compassion and that is full of faith. I shall give thee certain Mantras. Recite them continuously. By this thou art certain to behold Sankara.'
"The blessed Vishnu continued, 'I then said unto him, O regenerate one, through thy grace, O great ascetic. I shall behold the lord of the deities, that grinder of multitudes of Diti's sons. Eight days, O Bharata, passed there like an hour, all of us being thus occupied with talk on Mahadeva. On the eighth day, I underwent the Diksha (initiation) according to due rites, at the hands of that Brahmana and received the staff from his hands. I underwent the prescribed shave. I took up a quantity of Kusa blades in my hand. I wore rags for my vestments. I rubbed my person with ghee. I encircled a cord of Munja grass round my loins. For one month I lived on fruits. The second month I subsisted upon water. The third, the fourth and the fifth months I passed, living upon air alone. I stood all the while, supporting myself upon one foot and with my arms also raised upwards, and foregoing sleep all the while. I then beheld, O Bharata, in the firmament an effulgence that seemed to be as dazzling as that of a thousand Suns combined together. Towards the centre of that effulgence, O son of Pandu, I saw a cloud looking like a mass of blue hills, adorned with rows of cranes, embellished with many a grand rainbow, with flashes of lightning and the thunder-fire looking like eyes set on it. 1 Within that cloud was the puissant Mahadeva. himself of dazzling splendour, accompanied by his spouse Uma. Verily, the great Deity seemed to shine with his penances, energy, beauty, effulgence,
and his dear spouse by his side. The puissant Maheswara, with his spouse by his side, shone in the midst of that cloud. The appearance seemed to be like that of the Sun in the midst of racking clouds with the Moon by his side. The hair on my body, O son of Kunti, stood on its end, and my eyes expanded with wonder upon beholding Hara, the refuge of all the deities and the dispeller of all their griefs. Mahadeva was adorned with a diadem on his head. He was armed with his Sula. He was clad in a tiger-skin, had matted locks on his head, and bore the staff (of the Sanyasin) in one of his hands. He was armed, besides with his Pinaka and the thunderbolt. His teeth was sharp-pointed. He was decked with an excellent bracelet for the upper arm. His sacred thread was constituted by a snake. He wore an excellent garland of diversified colours on his bosom, that hung down to his toes. Verily, I beheld him like the exceedingly bright moon of an autumnal evening. Surrounded by diverse clans of spirits and ghosts, he looked like the autumnal Sun difficult of being gazed at for its dazzling brightness. Eleven hundred Rudras stood around that Deity of restrained soul and white deeds, then seated upon his bull. All of them were employed in hymning his praises. The Adityas, the Vasus, the Sadhyas, the Viswedevas, and the twin Aswins praised that Lord of the universe by uttering the hymns occurring in the scriptures. The puissant Indra and his brother Upendra, the two sons of Aditi, and the Grandsire Brahma, all uttered, in the presence of Bhava, the Rathantara Saman. Innumerable masters of Yoga, all the regenerate Rishis with their children, all the celestial Rishis, the goddess Earth, the Sky (between Earth and Heaven), the Constellations, the Planets, the Months, the Fortnights, the Seasons, Night, the Years, the Kshanas, the Muhurtas, the Nimeshas, the Yugas one after another, all the celestial Sciences and branches of knowledge, and all beings conversant with Truth, were seen bowing down unto that Supreme Preceptor, that great Father, that giver (or origin) of Yoga. Sanatkumara, the Vedas, the Histories, Marichi, Angiras, Atri, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, the seven Manus, Soma, the Atharvans, and Vrihaspati, Bhrigu, Daksha, Kasyapa, Vasishtha, Kasya, the Schandas, Diksha, the Sacrifices, Dakshina, the Sacrificial Fires, the Havis (clarified butter) poured in sacrifices, and all the requisites of the sacrifices, were beheld by me, O Yudhishthira, standing there in their embodied forms. All the guardians of the worlds, all the Rivers, all the snakes, the mountains, the celestial Mothers, all the spouses and daughters of the celestials, thousands upon thousands and millions of ascetics, were seen to bow down to that puissant Lord who is the soul of tranquillity. The Mountains, the Oceans, and the Points of the compass also did the same, the Gandharvas and the Apsaras highly skilled in music, in celestial strains, sang and hymned the praises of Bhava who is full of wonder. The Vidyadharas, the Danavas, the Guhyakas, the Rakshasas, and all created beings, mobile and immobile, adorned, in thought, word and deed, that puissant Lord. Before me, that Lord of all the gods viz., Sarva, appeared seated in all his glory. Seeing that Isana had showed himself to me by
being seated in glory before my eyes, the whole universe, with the Grandsire and Sakra, looked at me. I, however, had not the power to look at Mahadeva. The great Deity then addressed me saying, 'Behold, O Krishna, and speak to me. Thou hast adorned me hundreds and thousands of times. There is no one in the three worlds that is dearer to me than thou.' After I had bowed unto him, his spouse, viz., the goddess Uma, became gratified with me. I then addressed in these words the great God whose praises are hymned by all the deities with the Grandsire Brahma at their head.'
"The blessed Vishnu said, 'I saluted Mahadeva, saying,--Salutations to thee, O thou that art the eternal origin of all things. The Rishis say that thou art the Lord of the Vedas. The righteous say that thou art Penance, thou art Sattwa, thou art Rajas, thou art Tamas, and thou art Truth. Thou art Brahman, thou art Rudra, thou art Varuna, thou art Agni, thou art Manu, thou art Bhava, thou art Dhatri, thou art Tashtri, thou art Vidhatri, thou art the puissant Master of all things, and thou art everywhere. All beings, mobile and immobile, have sprung from thee. This triple world with all its mobile and immobile entities, has been created by thee. The Rishis say that thou art superior to the senses, the mind, the vital breaths, the seven sacrificial fires, all others that have their refuge in the all-pervading Soul, and all the deities that are adored and worthy of adoration. Thou, O illustrious one, art the Vedas, the Sacrifices, Soma, Dakshina, Pavaka, Havi, and all other requisites of sacrifice. The merit obtained by sacrifices, gifts made to others, the study of the Vedas, vows, regulations in respect of restraint, Modesty, Fame, Prosperity, Splendour, Contentment, and Success, all exist for leading to thee. 1 Desire, Wrath, Fear, Cupidity, Pride, Stupefaction, and Malice, Pains and Diseases, are, O illustrious one, thy children. Thou art all acts that creatures do, thou art the joy and sorrow that flow from those acts, thou art the absence of joy and sorrow, thou art that Ignorance which is the indestructible seed of Desire, thou art the high origin of Mind, thou art Puissance, and thou art Eternity. 2 Thou art the Unmanifest, thou art Pavana, thou art inconceivable, thou art the thousand-rayed Sun, thou art the effulgent Chit, thou art the first of all the topics, and thou art the refuge of life. 3 The use of words like Mahat, Soul, Understanding, Brahman, Universe, Sambhu, and Self-born and other words occurring in succession (in the Vedas), show that thy nature has been judged (by persons conversant with the Vedas) as identical with Mahat and Soul. Verily, regarding thee as all
this, the learned Brahmanas win over that ignorance which lies at the root of the world. Thou residest in the heart of all creatures, and thou art adored by the Rishis as Kshetrajna. Thy arms and feet extend to every place, and thy eyes, head, and face are everywhere. Thou hearest everywhere in the universe, and thou stayest, pervading all things. Of all acts that are performed in the Nimeshas and other divisions of time that spring in consequence of the puissance of the Sun, thou art the fruit. 1 Thou art the original effulgence (of the supreme Chit). Thou art Purusha, and thou residest in the hearts of all things. Thou art the various Yogic attributes of success, viz., Subtility and Grossness and Fruition and Supremacy and Effulgence and Immutability. 2 Understanding and intelligence and all the worlds rest upon thee. They that are devoted to meditation, that are always engaged in Yoga, that are devoted to or firm in Truth and that have subjugated their passions, seek thee and rest on thee. 3 They that know thee for one that is Immutable, or one that resides in all hearts, or one that is endued with supreme puissance, or one that is the ancient Purusha, or one that is pure Knowledge, or one that is the effulgent Chit, or one that is the highest refuge of all persons endued with intelligence, are certainly persons of great intelligence. Verily, such persons stay, transcending intelligence. 4 By understanding the seven subtile entities (viz., Mahat, Ego, and five subtile primal elements called Tanmatras), by comprehending thy six attributes (of Omniscience, Contentment of Fullness, Knowledge without beginning, Independence, Puissance that is not at fault at any time and that is infinite), and being conversant with Yoga that is freed from every false notion, the man of knowledge succeeds in entering into thy great self.--After I had said these words, O Partha, unto Bhava, that dispeller of grief and pain, the universe, both mobile and immobile, sent up a leonine shout (expressive of their approval of the correctness of my words). The innumerable Brahmanas there present, the deities and the Asuras, the Nagas, the Pisachas, the Pitris, the birds, diverse Rakshasas, diverse classes of ghosts and spirits, and all the great Rishis, then bowed down unto that great Deity. There then fell upon my head showers of celestial flowers possessed of great fragrance, and delicious winds blew on the spot. The puissant Sankara then, devoted to the good of the universe, looked at the goddess Uma and the lord of the
celestials and myself also, and thus spoke unto me,--We know, O Krishna, that thou, O slayer of foes, art filled with the greatest devotion towards us. Do what is for thy good. My love and affection for thee is very great. Do thou ask for eight boons. I shall verily give them unto thee, O Krishna, O best of all persons, tell me what they are, O chief of the Yadavas. Name what thou wishest. However difficult of attainment they be, thou shalt have them still.'" 1