6.30.2008

Shiva within the sacrificial fire



To Lord Lingodbhava within the wall of fire I pray
To Lord Rudra, the vanquisher of evil, I bow
To Lord Nataraja who dances with grace within a ring of fire
In adoration I pour my heart in the form of flowers

Shiva has been depicted with fire as Lingodbhava, as Rudra, and as Nataraja. Fire, Agni, Surya denote Shiva, as the very flame of wisdom within our heart. How do we in this life and at these times connect to this divine fire? The secret of this is in the worship of the Lord through fire sacrifice.

Tantra 1 in
the Thirumantiram reveals the beauty of this sacrificial flame as well as its potency. As the words in Tamil poetry roll out the worship of this sacred flame in rhythmic verses, the Thirumantiram also brings out its value to us.

Prosperity springs from sacrifice, for fire is a unique method of conversation with the supreme. Fire, is not just an element, but a path that connects the mortal with the supreme. Fire cannot be created, it can only be discovered and its true potency can only be realized by that aspirant who worships its very flames. Fire doesn’t die, it just appears and disappears, it is the very presence of the Lord, that we fail to realize. Fire is sacred, its pure, it is the power of life revealed.

Fire is the path that through which every mantra recited is purified. When mantra is recited feeding the fire with ghee, it burns away all our karma, both good and bad. This fire that rises out of the sacrificial pit, burns our ego in its divine flames. It purifies our thoughts and kills the ego within our heart. It is the path to salvation; its flames are our door to ever lasting bliss. Within the inner flame of the heart, all karmic evils accumulated are a wick that burns in this divine flame. All diseases that karma brings in its presence, fade and fall into the sacrificial fire that rapidly rises within us.

Sacrifice brings with it wealth, wealth and honor of a different kind. While accumulated wealth brings lack of peace and constant greed, its a grievous curse we live with. The fire of the sacrificial pit brings wealth to us, beyond the limited materialism of our mind. As fire sacrifices are performed, undying wealth is attained.

Lord Shiva himself is the fire, he is that burning flame that resides within my heart. He is the Lord who has fire in his eyes, each flame is denoted by Surya, Chandra and Agni. The Lord is the master of the holy fire sacrifice. The fire of Agni that of enlightenment is the fire in his third eye. The Lord is the fire within all fires, he is the inner flame, the inner fire. He is that which burns, He is the heat, He is the light, He is the flame that dances, He is that life giving flame within my heart. The Lord is the fire I trigger in the sacrificial pit, growing His warmth with twigs and ghee, reciting His various names with mantra, calming His climbing flames with honey.

Lord Shiva is in the fire of the funeral pyre. He raises the soul to a higher realm, to the truth of existence. He whispers the Taraka to the dead and holds the flaming Kali over Himself, leading the dead through transit from life to that beyond.

Within this limited time of my life, I raise the sacrificial flames of the Lord within the yagna kunda. Bless me with prosperity Lord, bless me with new life. Keep this fire within my heart alive, day and night, render me immortal with these flames.

Another interpretation of the sacrificial fire is given in the 3rd chapter (verse 14) of the Bhagavat Gita. Lord Krishna says, that Karma has to be performed, one cannot escape it. Its within these undying flames that the same Karma is burnt.

Chapter 3 verse 14, Bhagavat Gita:

Annaad bhavanti bhootaani parjanyaad anna sambhavah|
Yajnaad bhavati parjanyo yajnah karma samudbhavah||

From food comes forth being, and from rain food is produced, from the fire sacrifice arises the rain and sacrifice is born of action.

Lord Krishna says, it is the fire sacrifice that sustains us, for its through the flames of this sacrifice that the rain is brought. When it rains the parched land awakens, and blooms into prosperity. When there is abundance, food is produced and from this life sustaining food comes the being.

The Bhagavat Gita renders the meaning of this prosperity most beautifully and it requires Karma to get these riches. Without karma we cannot live and by accumulating it we do not attain salvation. The only way out of this karmic cycle is the offering of the self to the sacrificial fire.

Photo courtesy:
Ermes's Public Gallery, Picasa
Copyright © community.webshots.com/user/ancientcoinsofindia
Copyright © Britannica

19 comments:

kavitha said...

Anilji, Joshi Uncle,

Anybody home?? Where is everyone? Feel like am talking to myself!!!

Regds
Kavitha

JC said...

Hi Kavitha, Yes, ‘I’ had seen the post in the morning, but ‘I’ wanted someone else to take the lead this time, for ‘I’ had before that already walked miles – almost alone!

‘I’ am reminded of a beat policeman at a new post on the highway. The policeman he took charge from indicated to him the range of his beat - till where there was a red light seen in the distance. He proceeded towards the light. But to the surprise of his officer he didn’t return the whole night and was back quite late the next day. When asked where he was, he replied that the red light he was shown was a tail-light of a car that had gone across the border to the other state and had stopped only near a hotel!

The Hindu mythology in many ways similarly points to the ‘fire’ that is energy locked up at the ‘Mooladhar’ the tail-end of human spine that believably houses the essence of planet Mars, the ‘Lord of fire and war’, that needs to be activated to reach the Truth or Shiva the infinite column of fire represented by the universe!

geetika said...

hi kavitha

i just chanced upon your blog sometime back and i think it is simply a wonderful attempt on your part.i do post things on and off on my blog but your consistent effort is simply praise worthy

i m working onlakulisa cult and find your observations and descriptions pretty useful
do keep up the good work

regards
geetika

kavitha said...

HI Geetika

Interesting to note you are working on Lakulisa cult. Which aspect have you taken up? Are you doing research on the pashupata cult or just iconography of lakulisa?

Do let me know, it would be really interesting to discuss on this rather unknown saint of the shaivite order!

Regds
Kavitha

JC said...

Due to ‘slavery of time’, the generality of men have a tendency to quote from, say, Bhagavad Gita, and also many other ‘Hindu’ scriptures, without first of all being clear of the essence – that is, man is a model of the universe, a mere instrument, which Krishna also told Arjuna, in the battlefield, that he was only a medium of communication of ‘truth’ that is Shiva, Vishnu’s supreme physical form…
It should perhaps be clear to us humans that ‘man was realized as ‘a model of the universe’…and even in the ‘present’, human brain is realized as a super analogous computer…

With the above as background, and also the indication that it is the slavery of time that prevents humans to realize that what ‘we’ believable to be happening in the ‘present’, in fact, are projections of events related to the ‘past’ of Bhootnath Shiva…and hence the relevance of ‘panchbhootas’, with ‘Sati’ or ‘Sakti’ the ‘energy’, that is, ‘fire’ as the leader…which could help realize the sifnificance of ‘havan’, the apparent worship of ‘fire’…and now only ‘OM’ the sound energy is relevant…

JC said...

Talking of ‘fire’, one could perhaps imagine brown coloured firewood, a product of ‘earth’, that when ignited with the help of, maybe, an insignificant appearing flash of ‘fire’ - helped by ‘air’ - results in black charcoal and whitish grey ash. And, maybe one might hear crackling sound emanating from the fire that slowly gets bigger…

Also, there is a saying, in Hindi, to the effect, “A rope might burn (and turn into ashes), but it its twists will still be seen.” Thus that above is perhaps a reflection of the ‘Absolute Truth’, that is, the Vedantis expressing ‘life’ a result of ‘Maya’ that is illusion created by the ‘Supreme Being’ - for His purpose unknown even to the ‘wisest of wise men’…
Thus in the present ‘OM’ alone was realized to be relevant as the ‘Cosmic Hum’, as the balance energy (Shesha in Sanskrit) of the ‘Big Bang’ that is believed to be the original cause of the balloon-like ever expanding universe...

JC said...

The ‘Sacred Fire’, thus as per the essence of ancient beliefs read between lines, appears as the symbolic pointer to the soul, that is, a special form of energy that believably one each was implanted - like an eye or an indestructible camera - within innumerable forms at the beginning of ‘Big Bang’ to track the various apparent physical components that were formed to fill up the infinite dark void of the universe in all directions as per a pre planned design. And also their different paths as each collapsed back to the one and only zero once again…

JC said...

Kavitha, All ‘inferior life forms’ are believed by relatively superior life forms, that is, humans - irrespective of any particular individual’s status within the hierarchy - to exist upon earth to serve human beings for whatever period of time they appear to live on earth, before they, anyway, eventually merged with earth. We, therefore, in selfish human interest have no problem in sacrificing goods, viz., firewood, clarified butter, ‘havan samagri’ that is a mixture prepared from aromatic herbs etc…as well as a variety of birds and animals that could be used also as food…
The ‘wise Hindus’ thus advised offer to ‘fire’, as ‘sacrifice’, their dead in order to release the soul for its ‘natural’ forward journey to its goal that apparently has ever remained unknown to humans. Whereas, ancient Egyptians offered their dead Pharaoh to slow fire inside a grand edifice called pyramid, literally ‘fire within’…

JC said...

Based on the above thought, 'I' have sent the following to 'my newspaper' as a reaction to an article.

This refers to Sub Verse article ‘The vanishing point’ by Pandit Mukul Sharma (July 3), which provided deep insight into the philosophy of homoeopathic treatment…

I have many options available at my disposal to travel from one station to another. The simplest and perhaps the ideal most would be to use my own power.

In the ‘present’, with the given background status of development in the ‘external material world’, if the distance isn’t much and I feel fit enough, I can walk down on my own two feet. However, if I were innovative enough I might have either one or possible combinations of physical, mental and spiritual powers that I believably have at my disposal – but Alas! 'I' am unable to know because of ‘slavery of time’ how to exploit these powers!

In view of the above-stated helplessness, it is just a matter of ‘my’ luck or chance how ‘I’ would reach the destination, or maybe not reach at all (thanks to the ‘Blue Line Bus’, or perhaps 'blue sky', for example)!



In the words of the ‘wise ancients’ (read between lines), I am just a blind man (perhaps worse even than a ‘blind bat’) who seeks direction from innumerable other blind persons to lead me to nowhere :-)

JC said...

Nandu: Have been seeing your posts - for the past couple of months. They are simple wonderful. One should become SHIVA to know SHIVA. Sadar Pranam…Nandu
**********************************
3 Jul 08, 12:55
Kavitha: Nandu, very simply put, am speechless.
**********************************
Hi Kavitha, ‘I’ saw the above messages on the message box. Yes, once you know that you are not the body, but solely the soul, which is a component of immortal Shiva, the word itself conveying that it is opposite of Visha that is poison and, therefore, signifying immortality of the Supreme Soul…The problem however is what is the purpose 'I' am serving to HIm!

JC said...

The above, of course, helps ‘me’ when ‘I’ ponder over it to become aware that maybe small, or negligible as far as ‘my’ size is concerned, ‘I’ am a small component of the infinite physical Universe, which is believed to be the physical form of the unending Creator!

Perhaps thus, ‘I’ can imagine ‘myself’ to be serving some purpose like a bacterium that compared to ‘my’ physical form is negligible, but serves some useful/ harmful purpose, as part of a grand design known only to Him, for He alone believably is all-knowing. And, like ‘I’ am not concerned or bothered whether my utensils/ machines/ tools etc. know their/ my purpose or not but ‘I’ use those day in and day out, He too similarly might not think it necessary for ‘me’ - a relatively more intelligent machine - to know ‘my’ purpose, or His in the eternal review of His ‘past’!

kavitha said...

Joshi Uncle

I can assure you, your purpose for sure is far more significant than a lot other insignificant parts that make this grand universe and your knowledge is immense compare to many other not so significant elements put together.

:)

JC said...

Hahaha :-), While thanking ‘you’ for ‘your’ comment, ‘I’ would like to be conscious that He alone, whose component resides within each one of us, is all knowing…and we are like innumerable body parts, playing some useful role for Him as long as one is needed, for some specific task(s), in a particular form…

‘Hindus’ believe in ‘life after life’, thus the soul believably continues in different other forms from time to time, to unending time – maybe with some rest in between those…

JC said...

The ‘wise ancient Hindus’ described the soul as indestructible, citing - one out of some examples - that it can’t be destroyed by ‘fire’. And, the story of child Prahlad and his aunt Holika, that is, a sister of his father Hiranyakashyap, indicates that even the eventually mortal human form, through Yogic exercises/ creator’s will, can for some time appear to have become indestructible.

The above is so possible believably because physical exterior also is a reflection or model of the indestructible soul. And, although eventually mortal at a certain stage in the time cycle or ‘kalchakra’, human body believably is a model of apparently ‘permanent’ solar system members, for their essence believably goes into human structure’s formation. And, our Sun is the symbolic source of ‘intense white fire’ related with ‘blue sky’ during the day…and the different colours that make the rainbow can, in the words of the ancients, be said to be different images of white light itself…

However, as part of the interesting mysterious drama, to sustain one's interest, the stories indicate the independent looking Sun, sometimes called ‘surya devta’ or ‘Sun god’, also as part of the Trimurty, i.e., Brahma of the three gods responsible independently for different functions of creation, sustenance and destruction!

JC said...

Kavitha, Maybe the above could help visualize how the festival of colours ‘Holi’ (named after Holika the ‘evil person’ who had acquired superior powers for harm to ‘simple’ people) depicts change of season, the symbolic transition from winter to summer in India. It is thus celebrated with symbolic burning of fires in the night, which is then followed next day by playing with coloured water, and with application of different coloured powders on faces of friends and relatives, and even unknown persons…for all become equal on that day – persons belonging to earth’s family, therefore called ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’…

JC said...

As far as our planet earth is concerned, ‘Fire’ or energy is well known to be housed in its core, or ‘heart of Shiva’ in the eyes of the 'wise ancient Hindus', where - in the mythological stories – ‘Mother Kali/ and indirectly ‘Sati’ as the better half of Ardhanarishwar Shiva’ is indicated to be housed. It is well known that the molten magma - when it appears on the surface of earth after a volcano erupts – revives the existing top-soil by increasing its fertility and thus results in sustenance of plant life directly, and indirectly also the animal and human life for some more time…

JC said...

‘Fire in the heart of earth’, or ‘Mother Kali in the heart of Shiva’ to a ‘Hindu’ makes its eternal presence felt in the form of erupting volcanoes, which with the advancement in technology, as in the ‘present’ also and maybe in the ‘past’ too, is brought to the knowledge of man located anywhere in the globe thanks to TV channels and in greater details of the phenomena to the Volcanologists…and perhaps as its model in ‘nature’ through the ‘fire-fly’ even!

However, as part of a grand design, whereby human society always appears to naturally gets divided into minimum two (‘for’ and ‘against’ any issue), or maximum three categories (inclusion of ‘neutral’ too), characters called ‘non-believers’ explain it as a scientific phenomenon - to occur because of presence of an element called Phosphorus within its body.
Krishna in the Gita, however, states all wrong acts to happen because of lack of overall knowledge. He states that although the entire creation is present within Him, however, it is because of ‘Maya’ that is illusion that everyone feels His presence within him! But, He indicates that He is present within the best, or ‘sarvottam’, of all creations in different physical forms.

The Hindu belief expresses the above stated also through the occurrence of re-incarnations of Lord Vishnu, as different stages of apparent time related evolution of physical forms from sound energy ‘OM’ to Trimurty Shiva, the three-in-one God for the eternal cycle of creation, sustenance, and destruction of innumerable physical forms…

JC said...

With the above thought regarding ‘fire’ or energy, ‘I’ have sent the following reaction to references related with the ‘burning issue’ of ‘nuke deal’, in ‘my newspaper’, for information at least of the visitors to your blog.

"This refers to the conversations covered under the heading ‘Religion plays no role in nuclear deal’ (July 4).

The problem ‘I’ have in understanding the issue is whether Brahma of the ‘Hindu’ Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesha, or Trimurty Shiva, is considered part of ‘religion’ or not? For, the Hindu Mythological stories convey in code words the story of the formless creator and His different forms, in which Brahma alludes to our Sun the source of direct or indirect form of energy on planet earth…and nuclear energy, viz. Hydrogen Bomb (‘Brahmastra’ in Sanskrit) is directly related with Sun…also called 'surya devta' or Sun god, etc.

Second Opinion is requested please."

JC said...

As siblings born and brought up away from the home-town in a cosmopolitan environment, we were surprised as well as jealous of our Bengali friends on Saraswati Puja Day: They didn’t touch their books as those, together with all writing materials etc., were kept in their prayer room and thus remained untouched! And, later, ‘I’ got to see how all skilled workers employed anywhere in the east/ northeast would religiously not touch their tools on Vishwakarma Day, for Vishwakarma is believed to be the engineer of the gods!
Only later ‘I’ could visualize the significance of the above narrated observations. That is, Saraswati believably is the goddess of knowledge, and ‘wise Hindus’ realised Her, that is, ‘Supreme Knowledge’ to be recorded in eight chakras within each human form, which however needed to be gathered together from all levels - tail-bone end to the head - like lifting all material from different floors of a multi-storey structure to the top floor! And, Vishwakarma created the material world believably without the use of tools! The concept can perhaps be observed in ‘flowing water’, with its dynamic energy or ‘fire’, scouring relatively softer limestone to form underground tunnels and chambers, and also sculpting various forms on rocks all over the world. As we saw earlier also, even in North America appearing like an eagle and Australia appearing as the head of a bull: the said animals being related by ‘wise ancient Hindus’ with Vishnu and Shiva respectively!