Siva enquired whether the ever obedient Devas and the worlds were all doing their duties and whether they were all doing well. He had already heard about the clash. So he ordered a hundred ganeshas (lords of the Ganas – not our Ganesha!) to move to the scene of the fight.
Then to the sound of many kinds of instruments, the ganeshas set off, with many kinds of ornaments and vahanas (vehicles). Then the husband of Ambika (the Divine Mother), ascended the Ratham
(chariot). This was the Bhadra Ratham. (Kubera had a Chaitra Ratham. Chaitra refers to Chaitra Masa, the first lunar month asscoiated with Vasantha Rtu (approximately near spring). Bhadra Ratham could refer to the month of Bhadrapada, the second lunar month associated with the Varsha Rtu (approximately near the rainy season). Or it could refer to Bhadra Nakshatram in the Meena Rasi.
That Bhadra ratham was Pancha Mandala Manditam or decorated with 5 mandalas. (Mandala means circle, this could be a reference to natkshtras or to Veda Mandalas). It was shaped like the first and the last Pranava. (Pranava is the first ‘sound’ that resulted in creation. AUM.) Then his son (either Karthikeya or Vinayaka) with his Ganam (battallion), Indra and others, all followed Him.
With Chitra Dhvaja (attractive flags), Vyajana (fan), Caamara (Camara means yak, caamara of yak, so this is a fan made of yak hair), with a rain of flowers, with dance,with song, with musical instruments, that Pasupati (lord of all animals – living things), honoured by the Devas, went to the battle field.
Once there, he ordered everyone to be quiet and silently hid Himself. At that time Brahma and Vishnu were intent on killing each other using the Maaheshwara and the Paasupata Astras (weapons). (Again we see that the weapons being used are both named after Siva. One is called Mahesvara (of the great lord) and the other is called Pasupata (of the lord of all beings)). The weapons used by Brahma and Vishnu cast the three worlds into flames and Siva foresaw an untimely Pralayam. (Pralaya means toward Laya, that state of undifferentiatedness that is called the Dissolution).
Then right between them He, the Nishkala, turned into a great pillar of flames (Anala), of terrifying dimensions. The weapons of Brahma and Vishnu fell into this huge flame and were destroyed. Having seen this auspicious wonder which could calm the great weapons, Brahma nd Vishnu were surprised and started guessing what it was. They wished to investigate the pillar of energy and decided to reach its peak and source.Vishnu took the form of a suukara and Brahma took the form of a Hamsa.
In modern Indian languages, hamsa means swan and suukara means boar. But we have to remember that Sanatkumara is trying to help Vyasa with Advaita. That is how this Siva Mahapuranam began. In philosophical lexicon, using the reversal rule, - Hamsa stands for “Soham, Sah Aham – He I am”. This is one of the major mantras of the Advaita Philosophy derived from the Upanishads. Brahma tried to reach the top of the pillar of energy, with the thought Soham. Vishnu tried to reach the root or source of this energy. Suukara is frequently translated as boar, the digger. So it could be that he approached the source, by digging deeply. Or Suukara could be a deliberate distortion of Sukara – one who does good, an epithet of Vishnu. Thereby it could refer to action, duty, doing good.
Hari (Vishnu) reached the Patalam (a lower world) without discovering the source of Siva. Feeling tired he returned to the battle field.
Neither could Brahma sight the peak. He, however encountered a falling Ketaki flower. (Mogali, Ketakī केतकी (Pandanus odoratissimus ) – Kewdā केवड़ा –A fragrant flower used in making perfume and aromatic oil).
Brahma asked Ketaki why it was falling and who had held it up.
I am not sure which symbolism Ketaki symbolises, so when I find out I will put it here. But the talk of being held up (dhruta) and falling (patana), generally applies to disciples who are supported by their gurus and then fall when they disconnect and branch out on their own. We may hope to find it in some Nyayavali.
It had fallen off Siva, when He was laughing at Brahma and Vishnu. The flower told him that it had been falling since the beginning, when this causeless pillar suddenly appeared and so far it had seen only the middle, and neither the beginning nor the end of the pillar.
Brahma saluted the Ketaki and begged it to lie to Vishnu on his behalf, saying that he had reached the very top of the energy pillar. He said that it was not a sin to tell lie sin times of distress as per the Sastras.
This indicates many things. One clearly this verse refers to the ManuSmriti philosophy of ApatDharma – where the normal rules are excused in danger. Which matches with our anaysis so far, that the Manusmriti was composed before Vyasa’s time. The second thing is that the real Brahma, the creator, is a resident of Satya Loka and it is incongruous to think of him lying. The third thing is that this Vidyesvara Samhita is taught by Brahma himself and related by his son Sanatkumara to his great-great-grandson Vyasa!! Therefore the explanation has to be be allegorical or astronomical and not literal.
Brahma was delighted to see that Vishnu hadn’t made it to the source of the energy. With the Ketaki’s help. he claimed victory and Vishnu conceded. He performed the shodasha upacharas (sixteent services) to Brahma.
To punish fate (Vidhim Prahartum) ie Brahma, Siva emerged from the pillar. Brahma and Vishnu touched his feet with trembling hands. They said ” Your body is without beginning or end. It is impossible to realise you with an infatuated intellect, however hard one tries. Please forgive us (since) our sins are washed away by your presence. ” Isvara (The Lord) was pleased withthe truthfulness of Vishnu and decreed that Vishnu’s images would be worshipped everywhere. And thus did Siva grant Vishnu equality with Himself, (Sasamyatvam – a kind of liberation) as the Devas looked on.
The moral of the story? Effort, Action, Going to the Root of the Problem, Sincerity, Truthfulness will lead to being like Siva. Pretending to be Him (Soham) may lead to the temporary importance but it will lead to a final downfall. (Next Adhyayam). Siva is beyond comprehending with a mind, especially a mind deluded as to its own importance.
Thus ends the 7th part to be studied of the compilation of Vidyesvara, of the Siva Mahapuranam.
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Note : http://www.flowersofindia.net/mythology.html is a very useful site where you can see photographs of many of the flowers mentioned in our scriptures – including the Asoka tree under which Sita waited for Sri Rama and the Parijata which Sri Krishna brought for Satyabhama. It is a very good effort by Radhika Vasthan.
Siva Purana Mahatmya from Skanda Puranam
Siva Mahapuranam Vidyeswara Samhitam 3rd Adhyayam: To attain Sivapadam, listen to the Siva Puranam, repeat it, think about it and understand it with devotion.