Chapter 7: Lord S'iva Drinks the Poison Churned with the Mountain Mandara
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    Welcome, Guest · RSS 2019-07-17, 9:49 PM
    Chapter 7: Lord S'iva Drinks the Poison Churned with the Mountain Mandara
    (1) S'rî S'uka said: 'The Suras invited the king of the snakes Vâsuki, promised him a share of the result and wound him around the mountain to serve as a churning rope. Thereupon they commenced in great delight to churn the ocean in order to produce the nectar oh best of the Kurus. (2) Lord Hari was the first to take him by the head and then the demigods followed. (3) The Daitya leaders did not like the initiative of the Supreme Personality and said: 'We are not going to take the snake by its tail, that is its inferior part, [that is] not [in accord] with what we heard during the studies of our education and the fame of our birth and activities.' (4) Seeing how consequently the Daityas let it pass, the Supreme Personality smiled. He gave up the front portion and grasped together with the demigods the rear end. (5) Thus having settled on the positions to hold the snake, the sons of Kas'yapa [the godly and the demoniac ones] with great zeal churned to get the nectar from the ocean of milk. (6) As they were churning the ocean with the mountain it had no support so that it, despite of the fact that it was held by the strong men, because of its weight sank down in the water, oh son of Pându. (7) Confronted with the fact that their manliness was defeated by the stronger will of providence, their faces, heavily disappointed, darkened. (8) The infallible Lord, He whose ways and powers are inscrutable, saw the hindrance as arranged by providence and then expanded Himself into the wondrous body of a giant tortoise [Kûrma]. He entered the water with it and lifted up the mountain [see also Das'âvatâra-stotra verse 2]. (9) When the Suras and Asuras saw it rising they decided to churn again with the mountain Mandara that like a continent extended a hundred thousand yojanas wide on His back. (10) The rotating of the mountain that was moved by the strong arms of the Sura and Asura leaders my best one, was by the primal tortoise who carried it on His back, considered an infinitely pleasant scratching. (11) Thereafter, to encourage them and increase their strength and energy, Lord Vishnu entered the Asuras in the form of passion, the godly ones in the form of goodness and the king of the serpents [Vâsuki] in the form of ignorance. (12) Like another mountain holding on to the king of all mountains with one hand, He exhibited thousands of hands while from the sky Lord Brahmâ, Lord S'iva and King Indra, the head of the gods, offered prayers to Him who was showered with flowers. (13) With the Lord, the Supreme One, present on top and below the mountain as also within themselves [as the three primal qualities] and within the snake, the ocean that including its alligators with great strength was churned vehemently with the great mountain, got seriously agitated. (14) The serpent king spitted, hissing violently in all directions, fire and smoke from his thousands of heads. For that reason the Asuras headed by Pauloma, Kâleya, Bali and Ilvala, being troubled by the heat of his radiation, all began to look like sarala trees scorched in a forest fire. (15) Also the luster of the gods was affected by his fiery breath that smoked their dresses, fine garlands, armament and faces. Ordained by the Supreme Lord it then profusely began to rain while breezes were blowing clouds of vapor originating from the waves of the ocean. (16) When the ocean by the best of the godly ones and the Asuras was duly churned but no nectar appeared, the Invincible One Himself began to churn. (17) He as dark as a cloud, in yellow silks, with lightning earrings on His ears, with the gleaming hair on His head disheveled, with His garland, reddish eyes and victorious arms securing the universe, grabbed the snake to churn with the churning rod for which the mountain was used and assumed for that purpose a size as big as a mountain Himself. (18) From the churning of the ocean that agitated all kinds of fish, sharks, snakes, tortoises, whales, water elephants, crocodiles and timingilas [whale-eating whales], there was first of all a very strong poison called Hâlahala [or Kâlakûtha, see 8.6: 25]. (19) The terribly strong, unbearable poison, that unstoppably spread itself in all directions upwards and downwards, scared all the people so that they, missing the protection of their Lord and Master oh my best, sought the shelter of Lord S'iva. (20) When they saw him who for the welfare of the three worlds together with his wife sits on his mountain [Kailâsa], he, the best of the demigods served by saints who in austerity walk the path of liberation, they offered him their obeisances.

    (21) The lords of the created beings [the Prajâpatis] said: 'Oh Lord of Lords, oh Mahâdeva, oh soul of each, oh love of all, deliver us, who took shelter at your lotus feet, from this poison burning the three worlds. (22) You are the one lord and master over bondage and liberation in the entire universe. You whom we worship are the spiritual master able to carry the burden of the surrendered followers. (23) Oh mighty one, oh greatness, by your material potency, do you operating with the three modes of nature, in acceptance of  the creation, maintenance and destruction of this material world, manifest yourself as Brahmâ, Vishnu or S'iva. (24) You are the Supreme Brahman, the secret of the cause and effect of all the life forms of creation. You are with all the potencies that you manifest the Controller and Supersoul of the universe. (25) You are the source of the [spiritual, Vedic] sound, the origin of the universe, the soul, the life breath, the senses and the elements. You are the modes of nature and the natural disposition, the eternal time, the sacrifice and the dharma of truth [satya] and truthfulness [rita]. It is unto you that one utters the original syllable consisting of the three letters [A-U-M]. (26) Oh soul of all the godly ones, fire constitutes your mouth; oh Lord of all the worlds the surface of the globe is known as your lotus feet; oh self of the gods, time constitutes your movement, the directions are your ears and the controller of the waters [Varuna] is your taste. (27) With the ether for your navel, the air for your breath, the sun globe for your eyes, the water for your semen, the moon for your mind and the higher worlds oh Lord, for your head, your self constitutes the shelter of all living beings high and low [compare 8.5: 33-43]. (28) The oceans are your belly, the mountains are your bones, all the plants, creepers and herbs are your hairs, the  [seven types of] mantras [see 5.21: 15] are your seven layers [koshas] and all the religions oh you three Vedas [Rig, Yajur and Sâma] in person, constitute the core of your heart [see also 2.1: 32]. (29) The five secret texts of [the Vedic] philosophy [called Tatpurusha, Aghora, Sadyojâta, Vâmadeva and Îs'âna] constitute your faces with the collection of the thirty-eight important mantras [derived from them *] that describe the reality of the Supersoul, of you oh Lord, who in your position of enlightenment are celebrated as S'iva. (30) The waves of irreligion [lust, anger, greed and illusion] are nothing but your shadow, the shadow on the basis of which there are so many secondary creations. Your three eyes stand for the goodness, the passion and the darkness and simply glancing over [the creation with them] brought about the analytic scriptures of the Supersoul oh Lord full of verses, oh god of the Vedic literatures and their supplements. (31) None of the directors of the world oh Ruler on the Mountain, neither Brahmâ, nor Vishnu, nor the king of the Suras [Indra], can fathom your transcendental effulgence, the impersonal spirit [of Brahman] equal to everyone wherein the modes of passion, ignorance and goodness are not found. (32) In this world that has originated from you and at the time of her destruction is burned to ashes by you with the sparks of the fire emanating from your eyes, you have out of your mercy for the living beings annihilated Tripura [7.10: 53] as also put an end to the sacrifices out of desire [see e.g. 4.5], the poison of [false] time [in this story] and many other forms of misery. But these matters are not part of your praises, since you ban this world from your mind. (33) People not knowing your help and kindness shamelessly criticize you for being a savage person whom one always finds at the burial place [smeared with ashes] and for moving with your consort Umâ despite of your highly advanced austerity and the fact that your lotus feet are remembered by the [mystical] gurus of contentment with the soul. (34) Because you are transcendentally situated above the moving and the not moving living beings, you are difficult to understand. And when it is not possible for even Brahmâ and the ones belonging to him to properly understand your real nature oh great one, how much more would that not be true for us, we who, living their lives in line with what was created after the creation [that is of Brahmâ], still do our best to offer you our prayers? (35) We see the supreme of the form that you manifested to bless the world, but not the supreme of your transcendence oh great Lord whose ways are inscrutable.'

    (36) S'rî S'uka said: 'Seeing their pernicious predicament he, Mahâdeva, the friend of all living beings out of his compassion for the great distress spoke to his beloved Satî. (37) Lord S'iva said: 'Dear Bhavânî, just see how pitiable this situation is of all the living beings that are threatened by the poison resulting from churning the ocean. (38) Feeling responsible for all their lives, I must do something for their safety; is it my duty as the master to protect against distress. (39) Devotees at the cost of their own lives protect other living beings who, time bound and bewildered by the external energy, are of enmity with one another. (40) The Soul of All, the Lord, is pleased when one takes pity on others oh gentle one. When the Supreme Personality of the Lord is pleased also I and all other moving and not moving entities are happy. May there be the well-being of all creatures, with me drinking this poison.'

    (41) S'rî S'uka said: 'After Lord S'iva, the well-wisher of the universe thus had addressed Bhavânî she gave her permission, very well knowing his capabilities, whereupon he proceeded to drink the poison. (42) Mahâdeva out of compassion for the welfare of all living beings consequently took the widespread Hâlahala poison in his hand and drank it. (43) That poison from the water exhibited its potency to him by turning his neck dark-blue, a feature considered an ornament by the virtuous ones, the saints and the sages. (44) Good and honest people practically always take to heart the sufferings of their fellow men. This is considered the highest form of worshiping the Original Person, He who stands for the completeness of the soul [see also 1.5: 17-19, B.G. 18: 68-69 and 4: 7-8]. (45) Hearing about that act of S'iva, the god of gods, the graceful one, he was highly praised by the daughter of Daksha [Satî see also 4.3 & 4], by Brahmâ, by the Lord of Vaikunthha and by all the people. (46) Scorpions, cobras and other poisonous animals and plants are the beings who took care of the little bit that was scattered here and there as he drank from his palm.'