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Chapter 161

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Vasudeva said, ‘O mighty-armed Yudhishthira, listen to me as I recite tothee the many names of Rudra as also the high blessedness of thathigh-souled one. The Rishis describe Mahadeva as Agni, and Sthanu, andMaheswara; as one-eyed, and three-eyed, of universal form, and Siva orhighly auspicious. Brahmanas conversant with the Vedas say that that godhas two forms. One of these is terrible, and the other mild andauspicious. Those two forms, again, are subdivided into many forms. Thatform which is fierce and terrible is regarded as identical with Agni andLightning and Surya. The other form which is mild and auspicious isidentical with Righteousness and water and Chandramas. Then, again, it issaid that half his body is fire and half is Soma (or the moon). That formof his which is mild and auspicious is said to be engaged in the practiceof the Brahmacharya vow. The other form of his which is supremelyterrible is engaged in all operations of destruction in the universe.Because he is great (Mahat) and the Supreme Lord of all (Iswara),therefore he is called Maheswara. And since he burns and oppresses, iskeen and fierce, and endued with great energy, and is engaged in eatingflesh and blood and marrow, he is said to be Rudra. Since he is theforemost of all the deities, and since his dominion and acquisitions arevery extensive, and since he protects the extensive universe, thereforehe is called Mahadeva. Since he is of the form or colour of smoke,therefore he is called Dhurjati. Since by all his acts he performssacrifices for all and seeks the good of every creature, therefore he iscalled Siva or the auspicious one. Staying above (in the sky) he burnsthe lives of all creatures and is, besides, fixed in a particular routefrom which he does not deviate. His emblem, again, is fixed and immovablefor all time. He is, for these reasons, called Sthanu. He is also ofmultiform aspect. He is present, past, and future. He is mobile andimmobile. For this he is called Vahurupa (of multiform aspect). Thedeities called Viswedevas reside in his body. He is, for this, calledViswarupa (of universal form). He is thousand-eyed; or, he ismyriad-eyed; or, he has eyes on all sides and on every part of his body,His energy issues through his eyes. There is no end of his eyes. Since healways nourishes all creatures and sports also with them, and since he istheir lord or master, therefore he is called Pasupati (the lord of allcreatures). Since his emblem is always observant of the vow ofBrahmacharya, all the worlds worship it accordingly. This act of worshipis said to gratify him highly. If there is one who worship him bycreating his image, another who worships his emblem, the latter it isthat attains to great prosperity for ever. The Rishis, the deities, theGandharvas, and the Apsaras, worship that emblem of his which is evererect and upraised. If his emblem is worshipped, Maheswara becomes highlygratified with the worshipper. Affectionate towards his devotees, hebestows happiness upon them with a cheerful soul. This great god loves toreside in crematoria and there he burns and consumes all corpses. Thosepersons that perform sacrifices on such grounds attain at the end tothose regions which have been set apart for heroes. Employed in hislegitimate function, he it is That is regarded as the Death that residesin the bodies of all creatures. He is, again, those breaths called Pranaand Apana in the bodies of all embodied beings. He has many blazing andterrible forms. All those forms are worshipped in the world and are knownto Brahmanas possessed of knowledge. Amongst the gods he has many namesall of which are fraught with grave import. Verily, the meanings of thosenames are derived from either his greatness or vastness, or his feats, orhis conduct. The Brahmanas always recite the excellent Sata-rudriya inhis honour, that occurs in the Vedas as also that which has been composedby Vyasa. Verily, the Brahmanas and Rishis call him the eldest of allbeings. He is the first of all the deities, and it was from his mouththat he created Agni. That righteous-souled deity, ever willing to grantprotection to all, never gives up his suppliants. He would much ratherabandon his own life-breaths and incur all possible afflictions himself.Long life, health and freedom from disease, affluence, wealth, diversekinds of pleasures and enjoyments, are conferred by him, and it is healso who snatches them away. The lordship and affluence that one sees inSakra and the other deities are, verily his. It is he who is alwaysengaged in all that is good and evil in the three worlds. In consequenceof his fullest control over all objects of enjoyment he is called Iswara(the Supreme Lord or Master). Since, again, he is the master of the vastuniverse, he is called Maheswara. The whole universe is pervaded by himin diverse forms. It is that deity whose mouth roars and burns the watersof the sea in the form of the huge mare’s head!'”[618]

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