2.02.2009

An ode to Lord Shiva with Vilva leaves


I am your humble servant
I want to be at your feet Lord
I am so lost in your love
I want to touch you Lord
I am so overwhelmed in your presence
I want to cry out Lord
I am so intoxicated with your thought
I am hopeless without you Lord
I am so still with satisfaction
I do not connect with this world any more O Lord

Vilva, a simple leaf yet swollen with divinity is one of the most sacred ingridients that enhance the presence of Lord Shiva in the heart of the Bhakta. Emotion that is so strong and exalted, becomes a song when the perfect offering of Vilva is made to the Lord. This excitement is triggered at the moment of picking fresh vivla for puja, while washing these sacred leaves and while offering them as one's own eyes at the divine feet of the Lord. At the moment of worship, with the Lord present at his seat, with the lamp light flickering and illuminating this moment and the incense that bring fragrance in the air. I offer my prayers...

Tridalam trigunakaaram trinethram cha triyayusham |
Trijanma papa samharam Eka bilwam shivarpanam. ||

The leaf, my humble offering that is like the three eyed Lord Shiva Trayambakeshwara, I bow to you to bestow in me three qualities. This leaf which has three leaves in it, is like the triad of weapons that destroys all the sins I have commited in my last 3 births.

Trishakhai bilwapathraischa hyachidrai komalai shubai |
Shiva poojam karishyami, Eka bilwam shivarpanam ||

I offer this leaf to you Lord, that has 3 shoots which have no holes, nor are they torn. Their freshness and their beauty, I hope my Lord, it will please you.

Aganda bilwa pathrena poojithe nandikeshware |
Shudhyanthi sarva papebhyo, Eka bilwam shivarpanam ||

I worship Lord Nandikeshwara with this uncut Vilva leaf. I pray to you O Nandikeshwara, the devine vehicle of the Lord, that my sins be destroyed forever. I offer you this leaf.

Salagrama shilamekaam vipranam jatha cha arpayeth |
Soma yagna maha punyam, Eka bilwam shivarpanam ||

In these times of ignorance and delusion, I offer you Lord, this sacred leaf with all my devotion. This offering I make is equal to making an offering of a Salagrama to a Brahmin or being blessed with the magnitude of virtues that one is blessed with by performing the Soma yagna.

Dandi koti sahasrani vajapeya sathani cha |
Koti kanya maha danam, Eka bilwam shivarpanam ||

I offer the tender shoots of this divine leaf to you O lord. I wish to make this offering with the same intensity that will equal the gifting of a thousand elephants to you or equals the strength in making a hundred fire sacrifices. I make this offering as profound as making an offering of a million young maidens who will serve you devotedly.

Lakshmyasthanutha uthpannam mahadevasya cha priyam |
Bilwa vruksham prayachami, Eka bilwam shivarpanam ||

This small offering I make to your O Lord Shiva, I hope, will have the same energy as that of a Vilva tree offered to you, that which has been born from the bossom of Goddess Lakhmi herself. Such a pure Vilva tree is very dear to Lord Shiva.

Darshanam bilwa vrukshasya, sparsanam papa nasanam |
Aghora papa samharam, Eka bilwam shivarpanam ||

I offer this leaf to you O Lord Shiva, this leaf that is so pure, that if I touch it I will become pure, or even seeing this leaf will rid me off all my Karmic sins.

Kasi kshethra nivasam cha kala bhairava darshanam |
Prayaga madhavam drushtwa, Eka bilwam shivarpanam ||

I consider myself blessed if I can live in the holy city of Kasi and worship Lord Shiva in the form of Kalabhairava and be blessed by him. I would be cleansed off all my sorrow if I visited and worshiped the Lord Madhava at Prayag (Allahabad).

Moolatho brahma roopaya, madhyatho Vishnu roopini |
Agratha shiva roopaya, Eka bilwam shivarpanam ||

This verse I sing, realizing the utmost beauty of this tender leaf I hold. For now I feel the presence of Brahma who resides at the lowest tip, and Vishnu who resides in the central shoot and Lord Shiva reigns supreme at the upper end of this leaf.

Bilwashtakam idham punyaam, padeth shiva sannidhou |
Sarva papa nirmuktha Shiva loka maapnuyath ||

Having worshiped Lord Shiva, I sing these divine verses that describe my being. To the Lord who saves my from my sins and at the end takes me with him to his abode at Mount Kailasa.

15 comments:

JC said...

Hi Kavitha, The three-in-one God as the true image of the formless supreme being is believed manifested in 'Nature' as the composite leaf of the Bilva tree, and reflected by humans in the form of the man-made trident or 'Trishool' that is associated with Shiva the most evolved form of God...seen also in the form of our most evolved beautiful planet earth, and expressed in the saying "Satyam Shivam Sunderam"...

Kavitha said...

Hi Joshi Uncle

Isnt the Bilwashtakam just beautiful! I was so overwhelmed with it... it just made me feel so good.

One because i could understand all the verses and the meaning in entirety and also because i have vivlam and this makes my worship so much more meaningful. Now i know the meaning of what am saying... am not just reciting.

It is a very fulfilling experience to worship the Lord with vivla leaves... Am just thankful, very very thankful.

Regards
Kavitha

YOSEE said...

The Bilwashtakam is indeed a deeply comforting hymn. The leaf of Aegle marmelos lends itself to a great variety of symbolisms because of the magical number three. It serves as a catalyst for the mind to reach into deeper layers of consciousness in search of meanings and answers. The leaf may also have been considered sacred because the bilwa tree is one of the few that are fully useful - leaves, fruits,bark,twig,root,sap etc. And the bilwa ( both flower and leaf) are the only fresh offerings that can be used repeatedly in worship. For that, it can be termed a-mrtha.

JC said...

Yes, Kavitha, the Creator has taken lots of trouble to convey mutely what He has in His heart. However, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder...The 'yoga or uniion of the magical figure, '3' with its mirror image results in yet another magical figure, '8' that is associated with 8 directions (on a horizontal plane) as well as with 'Krishna' the eighth snd the only lucky (bhagyawan) child of Mother Devki!

JC said...

'I' haven't yet found a way to imagine how the yogis reached the 'ashtgraha', that is, eight members of the solar system to represent a galaxy (chakra) each reflected by each 'graha' or planet, including our sun, to be housed within the humnan form at different levels...and therefore do not easily believe the 'west' could ever reach that evolved stage of realisation...and thus the 'Hindu' Yogis' concept of activation of 'kundalini' to reach the Absolute Truth - the existence of a unique supreme being...

JC said...

Man as a model of the universe through our most evolved solar system can however be visualised with the continued practices of Astrology and Palmistry (8 fingers and 2 thumbs to represent 8 planets and the formless who contains the reach at different times through different models etc.)...

Kavitha said...

The various chakras in the body, the subtle self appears so distant and almost as if it cannot achieved.

Our astrological charts are so highly evolved, its amazing people take it for granted.

We seem to be on the way to exploiting everything sacred to us. Its sad, very sad

JC said...

Hi Kavitha, Although it is a hypothetical case, with the background knowledge that our universe is expanding like a balloon, one could perhaps imagine it to have originally started from a point ('Nadbindu' the point source of energy of the Hindu mythology). Thus, although its centre remains a point as before, the generated space can now be described by a sphere, or a near sphere, which can thus be imagined to have space below the centre and also above it...which could be understood as having generated positive and negative spaces around the original point due to its expansion...The Hindu belief explains the phenomenon of creation and destructions to be instantaneous - the creator being related with time and space zero -and believably almost like explosion of a 'diwali' cracker where there reigns silence after the explosion...If the phenomenon is recorded by a sensitive camera, one could then observe the explosion over longer time scale and also watch what happens to the material components of the cracker (the pieces of paper - each one's physical behaviour as they fly in different directions and get scattered on the ground) leisurely and minutely. Maybe, it is thus only of an academic interest, because the primary interest in exploding a cracker is to generate a loud sound...

JC said...

Kavitha, Every Diwali night in the Northindia, the seniors seem not to enjoy the loud sounds whereas the youth enjoy crackers that generate high decibel sounds, while smaller children go only for smaller crackers...However, in case of 'diwali anar', one is interested in the reach of the sparkles - the higher these go, the greater the pleasure. This phenomenon perhaps reflects the Yogis' attempt to reach the top most level, 'sahasrara', from 'mooladhar', and thus the ancients appear to see the complete reflection of the above thought in a bilva leaf also - and conforms with the Yogis' attempt to reach overall knowledge of the different energy forms involved in the process of creation of the physical universe, although maybe momentarily only...by Bhairavnath who evolved to Treyambakeshwar...

JC said...

Kavitha, 'I', therefore, visualise the apparent universe as the projection of the different processes involved in creation, sustenance, and transformation of the entire physical universe/ earth as its essence - like an open book that however is being read by different people from a particular page (carried over from past) to whatever one can during one life-span and the net outcome depends on one's capacity to recall the past...

JC said...

From Hindu's view-point what is the virat or enlarged form of Vishnu, from present day scientists' point of view, our universe comprises innumerable galaxies (chakras), each containing innumerable heavenly bodies of stars, planets etc., that fill the infinite void or the dark space. Perhaps a pocket or a sack/ attachee whose contents are ever changing - as its model - could help one to visualise it. It is visualised by the sceintists as a balloon that is ever increasing in size, whie its contgents also continue to get enlarged...(The Hindus realised the heavenly bodies as individuals or devtas, whereas the formless creator is believed to be represented by three members of our solar system as the most evolved one in the entire universe, symbolically represented by the bilva tree leaf)...

JC said...

As 'I' said elsewhere also, human form was realised by Yogis made of permutations and combinations of essences of the selected members of the solar system. And, man was thus realised to have its roots in the 'sky' or the dark universal space, whereas as it is very well known, trees are rooted to the planet earth. In the Gita, 'Krishna' indicates himself to reside in the most evolved tree, indicated as 'aswath', which believably emerged as a result of 'churning of the milky ocean' that perhaps points towards our galaxy (in whose centre, in present day words, a super gravity Black Hole is housed) and got planted in Indra's (as the king of devtas responsible for rain, our Sun) garden, which points towards planet earth where a variety of 'life' is found since ages...Vatvriksha, or the Banyan (that has numerous roots reaching the ground from the branches, and thus in appearance reflects a fountain/ diwali anar), has been indicated as related with Lord Ram (who also is indicated as the model of our Sun)...

JC said...

In the 'present' - conveyed by wise ancients as Kaliyuga, the 'dark age', that is, related with ignorance (being the beginning of evolution that eventually lead 'Shiva' to reach 'perfection' that is immortality)- could perhaps help one to associate it with the roots of trees that grow downwards into 'patal', or underground, and therefore remain unseen, unknown and unconscioius to an average man who is generally used to judge based on the exterior, or that which appears on the surface of earth...and thus there might be many interpretations of the same event/ thing at any given moment, including whatever has carried forth through time immemorial. Thus in the 'present' one is much more confused - for example in defining 'Hindu culture'/ 'secularism'...and so on...

JC said...

The compound leaf of Bilwa tree perhaps was understood to point out to humans the three aspects of creation, sustenance, and destruction of temporary physical forms - in unending cycles - till eternity, by the three-in-one formless God existing in physical forms of 'heavenly bodies', that is, members of our solar system that apparently are in existence since billions of years, as understood by the 'present day scientists' also...

The multi-million dollar question however is to seek the purpose of the creator, vis-a-vis the purpose of innumerable animal life forms...

In view of the above, perhaps it is the origin of the universe that interests the creator. The ancients appear to have failed in the task and they declared creator not only unending but also unborn...and therefore remains a mystery to humans (although they believably are images of God only) for all times to come...

workhard said...

You have taken a lot of time and pain to translate this and put up this post...Its very informative.

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