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Linga Purana (English)

Linga Purana (English)

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Published by: nss1234567890 on Aug 03, 2011
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Linga Purana
Suta and Other Sages
We first pray to Brhama, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; and Shiva, thedestroyer. We also pray to the sages Nara and Narayana and Sarasvati, the goddessof learning. Our prayers are due to the sage Vedavyasa. It is only after these prayersthat we can begin to read the sacred texts.A tirtha is a place of pilgrimage. The sage Narada visited several such tirthas andeventually arrived at the forest known as naimisharanya. At that time, many othersages had assembled in naimisharanya. They greeted Narada warmly and offeredhim their respects. While all this was going on, who should arrive there but the sutaLomaharshana? (Sutas were a class of raconteurs. They were cross-breeds who werethe offspring of kshatriya fathers and brahmana mothers. A kshatriya fathers andbrahmana mothers . A brahmana belonged to the first of the four classes and akshatriya to the second.)The sages greeted Lomaharshana and said, "You had studied the Puranas underVedavyasa himself. Please recite for us the Purana that describes the glory of Shiva’slinga (image). It is our great good fortune that the sage Narada is also here. He has just returned after worshipping many tingas at many tirthas. What better occasioncan there be?"Lomaharshana agreed. He began with the account of the creation.
 The divine essence is known as the brahman. In the beginning, the only object in theuniverse was the divine essence. There was nothing else. It was this brahman whichdivided itself into three different parts, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma becamethe creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer.There was only water in the universe then. In the water, a gigantic egg (anda)appeared. Brahma emerged from this egg. Inside the egg were also all the worldsthat would be created.During Brahma’s day , creation flourishes. But during Brahma’s night, there isdestruction (pralaya). When Brahma merged out of the primordial egg, thatconstituted the original process of creation (sarga). But the following the process of destruction that takes place during Brahma’s night, there is also a periodical processof re-creation (pratisarga).Time is divided into four different eras - satya yuga, treta yuga, dvapara yuga andkali yuga. Satya yuga lasts for four thousand years of the gods, treta yuga for threethousand, dvapara yuga for two thousand and kali yuga for one thousand. Amahayuga is the period from the beginning of satya yuga to the end of kali yuga. Itthus lasts for then thousand years of the gods. But in addition, there are interveningperiods (sandhyamsha) between satya yuga and treta yuga is seven hundred years,that between treta yuga and dvapara yuga five hundred years, that between dvaparayuga and kali yuga three hundred years and that between kali yuga and the newsatya yuga five hundred years. This adds another two thousand years. Thus amahayuga really lasts for twelve thousands years of the gods.
How long is one year of the gods? To understand that, one needs to know a little bitabout the measurement of time.The smallest unit of time is a nimesha. That is the length of time it takes to blinkone’s eyes. Fifteen nimeshas constitute a kashtha, thirty kashthas are called a kalaand thirty kalas make up one muhurta. There are fifteen muhurtas during the dayand fifteen muhurtas during the night. Thirty muhurtas make up night and day,known as ahoratra. One year for humans is equivalent to one ahoratra for the gods.The six months during which the gods have their day is called uttarayana and the sixmonths during which the gods have their night is called dakshinayana. Threehundred and sixty human years are equivalent to one divine year. Thus, twelvethousand divine years are equivalent to 4,320,000 human years and this is thelength of a mahayuga.Satya yuga lasts for 1,440,000 human years; treta yuga or 1,080,000; dvapara yugafor 720,000; and kali yuga for 360,000. This adds up to a total of 3,600,000 humanyears. Once one adds 720,000 years for the sandhyamshas, one obtains the figure of 4,320,000 human years in a mahayuga.There are a little over seventy-one mahayugas in a manvantara. Seventy-onemahayugas would add up to 296,720,000 human years. There are actually306,720,000 human years in a manvantara.One thousand mahayugas make up one kalpa. There are thus 4,320,000,000 humanyears in a kalpa. Equivalently, fourteen manvantaras constitute one kalpa. A kalpacorresponds to Brahma’s adhoratra.One thousand kalpas are one year for Brahma and eight thousand such years areone yuga for Brahma. One thousand of Brahma’s yugas are equivalent to one of Vishnu’s days. Nine thousand of Vishnu’s days are equivalent to merely one day forShiva. (This is an attempt to establish Shiva’s supremacy. In a Purana that glorifiesVishnu more, the relative rankings of Shiva and Vishnu would be reversed.)At the end of one of Brahma’s days, the entire universe and all the beings in it aredestroyed Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are not however destroyed. There is darknessand water everywhere and Vishnu sleeps on this water. Since nara means water andayana means resting -place, Vishnu is also known as Narayana.When the day dawns, Brahma begins creation afresh.Brahma first created three sons through his mental powers. Their names wereSananda, Sanaka and Sanatan. (In other Puranas, a fourth son namedSanatakumara is mentioned.) These sons became sages and performed intensemeditation. Brahma also created another nine sons through his mental powers. Theirnames were Marichi, Bhrigu, Angira, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Daksha, Atri andVashishtha.To ensure that creation progressed further, Brahma next divided his body into twohalves. The male half was known as Svayambhuva Manu and the female half wasknown as Shatarupa. These two married and had two sons and two daughters. Thesons were Uttanapada and Priyavrata and the daughters were Akuti and Prasuti.
Daksha married Prasuti and they had twenty-four daughters. (The number of Daksha’s daughters is sometimes given as twenty-four, sometimes as fifty andsometimes as sixty.) One of Daksha’s daughters was named Sati and she wasmarried to Shiva. When Sati died, she was reborn as Parvati, the daughter of theHimalayas, She was married again to Shiva as Parvati.In fact, before starting to create, Brahma told Shiva, "Please help me out by creatingsome beings, I can not cope on my own."Shiva gladly agreed and started to create beings who were just like him inappearance. These came to be known as the rudras."What are you doing?" exclaimed Brahma. "Don’t create immortal beings who arelike yourself. Create beings who are mortal.""That I flatly refused to do," replied Shiva."Then please desist from creating," requested Brahama. "I shall take care of creationmyself."Shiva complied, but the rudras whom he had already created, remained.
The sages told Lomaharshana, "Please tell us about yoga."Lomaharshana complied.(Yoga literally means union. It is a technique of meditation that enables one torealize the union between the divine soul (paramatman) and the individual humansoul (atman or jivatman).)Shiva is also known as Pashupati. The technique of yoga that Shiva taught is knownas pashupata yoga. To teach this yoga, Shiva has an incarnation (avatara) in everykali yuga. In the present kalpa, there have been twenty-eight kali yugas and therehave accordingly been twenty-eight incarnations of Shiva, all known as Yogeshvaras.Their names are as follows.(1) Shveta.(2) Sutara.(3) Madana.(4) Suhotra.(5) Kanchana.(6) Lokakshi.(7) Jaigishavya.(8) Dadhivahana.

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