Category Archives: Siva

Who is Siva?

Siva is not just the destroyer. He is Brāhman, He is Purusha, He is Sadāsiva, He is pure consciousness. He drank halāhal (the poison coming out of the churning of the Ocean) to save humanity. Will a destroyer do that? He brought holy river Gangā on earth by carrying her weight in his matted hair. Will a destroyer help nourish the earth?

He is not just the destroyer. He is all five: the Creator, the Preserver, the Destroyer, the Māyā (illusion) and the Grace. The word Siva means the auspicious one. He embraces everyone. He is Pashupati, the lord of all creatures. For Siva, there is no good or bad, there is no right or wrong. He is the friend of demons and ghosts. He wears snakes around his neck and carries a skull as his begging bowl. He smears ashes of the dead on his body and dwells in cremation grounds and icy caves of the mountains. Kubera (the king of yakshas), Ravana (the king of demons) and Shukra (the guru of asuras) are among his greatest devotees. There is nothing inauspicious when we are talking about Siva. And there is nothing else other than Siva. Om Namaha Sivāya.


Abdur Rahim and lord Siva praising Tulsidas

It is Tulsidas Jayanti today, the birthday of saint and poet Goswami Tulsidas. Tulsidas was born during the month of Sravana, on the 7th lunar day (Saptami Tithi) of the waxing half of Moon cycle (Shukla Paksha). It falls on August 21 this year.

Tulsidas was an ardent devotee of Lord Rama. At the time of his birth, he already had all his 32 teeth in place. He was born in lunar constellation of Moola Nakshatra. His family abandoned him considering it to be a bad omen. According to some astrologers, Moola Nakshatra is one of the set of nakshatras known as Ganda Moola that are considered inauspicious. But it is also believed that if a child born in one of these nakshatras survives first few years, he/she grows up to be very intelligent.

Tulsidas was an incarnation of Sage Valmiki. Valmiki composed the original Ramayana in Sanskrit. Tulsidas re-wrote Ramayana in Awadhi dialect of Hindi so that common people could understand. His version is known as the epic Ramacharitmanas.

Lord Siva on Tulsidas: In Bhavishyottar Purana, lord Shiva tells his wife Parvati how Valmiki, who got a boon from Hanuman to sing the glory of Rama, will incarnate in future in the Kali Yuga:

वाल्मीकिस्तुलसीदासः कलौ देवि भविष्यति ।
रामचन्द्रकथामेतां भाषाबद्धां करिष्यति ॥

vālmīkistulasīdāsaḥ kalau devi bhaviṣyati ।
rāmacandrakathāmetāṃ bhāṣābaddhāṃ kariṣyati ॥

O Goddess! Valmiki will become Tulsidas in the Kali age, and will compose this narrative of Rama in the vernacular language. ~ Bhavishyottar Purana

Tulsidas also gave us Hanuman Chalisa. Without Tulsidas, we would not be singing glories of Hanuman in this beautiful lyrical form.

Surdas, a devotee of Krishna and a contemporary of Tulsidas, called Tulsidas as Sant Shiromani (the highest jewel among holy men). Abdur Rahim Khankhana, famous Muslim poet who was one of the Navaratnas (nine-gems) in the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar, was a personal friend of Tulsidas. Rahim composed the following verse describing the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas.

रामचरितमानस बिमल संतनजीवन प्रान ।
हिन्दुवान को बेद सम जवनहिं प्रगट कुरान ॥

rāmacaritamānasa bimala santanajīvana prāna ।
hinduvāna ko beda sama javanahi̐ pragaṭa kurāna ॥

The immaculate Ramcharitmanas is the breath of the life of saints. It is similar to the Vedas for the Hindus, and it is the Quran manifest for the Muslims.

Jai Tulsidas!

Goswami Tulsidas