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.
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