As Continuing from the previous article on, Deep Secrets Revealed On Lord Shiva, also called as Lord Bholanath, mathomathis will be extending the article by discussing more on the real sense term on Lord Bholanath.
As he was a moral being, so he was simple, innocent, generous, benevolent and easily manageable, and hence, even the wicked ones often won his favor and boons of invincible powers and sometimes used them even against him. He, however, as readily punished them when he knew their designs and intentions. Ganga was mad in love for him and wished to unite with him by whatever mean, fair or fowl. When Bhagiratha did rigorous penance to bring Ganga from heaven to the earth for his ancestors' death rituals and redemption, Ganga designed to fulfill her long cherished desire of reaching Shiva. She appeared before Bhagiratha and agreed to emerge on the earth but warned at the same time that her current, unless Shiva took her on his head, would cleave the earth. Bhagiratha underwent another round of penance, pleased Shiva and got his prayer granted. But, when Ganga landed on his head and showed her supremacy, Shaiva kept her arrested into his hair till she herself prayed him to let her be released. For long containing Ganga into his hair, Shiva becomes known as Gangadhara Shiva.
It was the same with Jalandara, who was caused by Shiva himself. Shiva had opened his third eye for punishing Indra but on Brahispati's intervention let the fire emitting from it fall into the ocean. Out of this fire and from ocean's womb rose a male child. As he rose from jala, the water, he was named Jalandara. Later, when he grew into a gold-like glowing youth, he was married to the daughter of Kalanemi, the founder-father of demon clans.
Jalandara was now exceptionally powerful and wished to drive out Indra and his crew from Indraloka. Indra prayed Brahma for help but he was helpless against his might. Vishnu declined to act against him, as, being ocean born, he considered him his brother-in-law. Finally, the great sage Narad incited Jalandara to obtain Parvati, the most beautiful woman in all three worlds, and thus put him against Shiva, as he knew that Shiva alone could destroy him. Arrogant Jalandara challenged Shiva to hand him over his consort and in the process became victim of Shiva's wrath and got killed. Something of the similar kind happened in the case of Ravana, the king of Lanka. Pleased by his penance Shiva blessed him with the boon of immortality.
This bred in Ravana vanity and arrogance. This vain and arrogant Lanka ruler wished to have Mount Kailash, the abode of Shiva, shifted to Lanka. He went to Kailash and to uproot it began shaking it. His act of uprooting it sent tremors across the Mountain. Shiva perceived Ravana's arrogance and was annoyed. To punish Ravana he pressed the Mountain by the thumb of his foot, but before it crushed Ravana, he prayed for Lord's mercy and the compassionate Lord forgave him. Out of this compassionate nature of Shiva there emerged his Ravananugraha-murti, that is, the form of him who was kind to Ravana.
Shiva in Saumya and Raudra-rupas
Thus, Shiva's divine perception as well as iconic visualization developed into two directions, one growing out of his serene sublime benevolent Saumyarupa and the other out of his awe-striking Raudra-rupa. Even in his Saumyarupa, contrary to his Vaishnava counterparts, that is, Vishnu, Brahma or even Indra, whom Puranas define using feudal terms and iconography, Shiva is a simpler being, an amalgam of both, the Raudra and the Saumya rupas. In both aspects, jatamukuta is his crown, elephant hide his cloak, lion skin his loincloth, snakes his necklace, yajnopavita and other ornaments, bhang his favored drink and the shade of a roadside tree his castle. He is delighted in dance and dances for both, to create as well as to destroy, and in lasya as well as in Tandava and his Tandava is the Anand-tandava as it aims at re-creating and setting the cycle of creation-destruction-and recreation in motion.
He assists Devas, the gods, in their exploits and battles against demons but unlike them and always differently and in mightier way. Both, the gods and the demons, wish to be immortalized and for obtaining the immortalizing nectar join hands to churn ocean, which contained such nectar. But before the ocean yields nectar, there emerges from it the all-annihilating venom. Even by its vapors it begins to suffocate the entire creation. All, gods and demons, flee to save their lives leaving the creation to its destiny. Shiva comes to rescue. He deposits the venom into his throat and saves the creation from its devastating effect. Stored perpetually in the throat, the venom renders it blue and gives Shiva yet another name of Neelakantha, that is, the blue throated one. It was in consideration to such exploits that in subsequent days the Vaishnavites and Shaivites were seen with daggers-drawn on the question of the pre-eminence of their respective gods. Ultimately the wise ones of both sects had to discover for the votive images the Harihara form, which combined Hari and Hara, that is, Vishnu and Shiva, into one sanctum image and inspired sectarian unity.
In his purer Raudra-rupa, besides what the Vedas and Puranas perceived in it, these aspects farther expand. He is now perceived as Bhairava, Kapalika, Kalabhairava, Mahakala and in similar other terrific forms. He is the presiding deity of cremation ground, which is his loving abode. He rejoices dancing around a burning pyre and as much upon a dead body. The dark nights, when howls of jackals, wolves and other ignominious animals echoed, are his chosen hours to operate. These jackals and other animals living on human flesh are, otherwise too, his best companions. Bhairava wears around his neck the garland of human skulls and around his waist the girdle of dismembered human hands. Now, besides snake ornaments, scorpions make his earrings and ghostly spirits dance around him. The human skull is his cup and ashes of a burnt corpse his talc, with which he smears and adorns his body. In ritual worship, wine and flesh are his chosen offerings.
In these terrific forms of Shiva Kali, Smashan-Kali, Mahakali, Chhinnamasta, Chamunda, Vagulamukhi etc. are his female counterparts, perceived in Puranas often as his consorts.Bhairava, howsoever terrific his form, has his softer aspects when seated under a canopy or riding his Nandin he represents such beautiful musical modes as the Raga Bhairava, or Raga Kedara.
References and Further Reading downloaded from exotic India
Agrawala, Vasudeva S. Siva Mahadeva: Varanasi, 1984.
Danielou, Alain. Gods of Love and Ecstasy (The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus): Vermont, 1992.
Kramrisch, Stella. Manifestations of Shiva: Philadelphia, 1981.
Kramrisch, Stella. The Presence of Shiva: New Delhi, 1988.
Meister, Michael W. Discourses on Shiva: Bombay, 1984.
Rao, S.K. Ramachandra. Siva-Kosha: Bangalore, 1998.
Vanamali. Sri Shiva Lila: New Delhi, 2002.