Siva Gita – Chapter 3 – Instruction on Virajā Vow – Slokas 1 – Slokas 37, Uttara Khanda, Padma Purana

Agastya Maharshi uvācha, “One who is overcome by lust, greed, etc. does not respond well to any advice given in his or her best interest. The advice for his or her good does not agree with him or her just like medicine administered to a dying man.

 

O most exemplary of men! There is an ocean in the middle between you and Sita who has been carried away by the deceitful daitya. How is it that you have not considered the enormity of that and found a solution, as that seems to be a greater task than getting wisdom which you seem to be disinclined to receive.

 

All the gods have been bound hand and foot by Ravana like a troop of monkeys at the gates. Moreover, he has celestial damsels serving him with fans.

 

How can there be victory for you over Ravana, who, conceited and arrogant by the boon granted by Shambhu enjoys all the three worlds without a single enemy?

 

He has a son by the name of Indrajit, who is proud from the boon received by Lord Shiva. The residents of the heavenly worlds have fled from many a battle against him knowing the futility of waging war with him.

 

There is his brother called Kumbhakarna, who is the slayer of gods and another brother called Vibhishana, who is immortal (Chiranjeevi) and endowed with celestial weapons (divya astra).

 

Ravana has a fort called Lanka that is impregnable by the devathas and danavas and commands a four-limbed army (chaturanga) comprising of infantry, cavalry, elephantry and chariotry of unimaginable strength and number.

 

O Prince! He must be conquered by you single-handedly. How can that be? It is like a child wanting to hold the unattainable moon in his palm.

 

Similarly, you desire to defeat him though deluded by lust.”

 

Prabhu Shri Rama uvācha, “O foremost of the sages! I am a warrior. My virtuous wife has been abducted by a rakshasa. If I do not kill him, then what is the use of my living anymore?

 

Therefore, how can your wise philosophical words help me when my body is consumed with lust, anger and all that is associated with them.

 

Ego, too is persistently distressing me.

 

When one’s dear wife has been abducted or dishonoured by the enemy, then that man will be unable to control the outpouring of anger and grief and realise the value of wise words and philosophy and seek solace in them. If such a warrior forsakes his wife and duty and instead seeks to know the philosophical truth at this time, then he is the lowest man in all mankind.

 

Therefore, tell me, O revered one, the way to kill him upon crossing the ocean and fighting him in the battlefield. There is no other Guru for me except you.”

 

Agastya Maharshi uvācha, “If you surrender thus unto the Lord of Parvati, the Imperishable, and if He, the Lord appears before you, then He will be pleased to grant you all that you need.

 

And how is he who cannot be defeated even by Hari, Brahma and gods like Indra be killed by you without the grace of Lord Shiva?

 

Therefore, I will initiate you in the blemishless Virajā vow through which you can become radiant and transcend mortality.

 

By that initiation, you will destroy the enemies in battle and attain all that you want. And having enjoyed the pleasures of the earthly kingdom, you will attain union with Lord Shiva in the end.”

 

Sūta Maharshi uvācha, “Then, Rama on hearing the words of the greatest of sages prostrated before him and became rid of his sorrow and spoke with his heart full of joy.

 

Prabhu Shri Rama uvācha, “O Sage! I have become one accomplishing all that is to be accomplished. The desired goal has come to me. What indeed is impossible for me when you, who drank the ocean is present before me? Hence, kindly initiate me in the Virajā vow, O greatest among sages!”

 

Agastya Maharshi uvācha, “This initiation must be done preferably on Shukla Paksha Chaturdashi or Ashtami or on Ekadasi or on a Monday when Arudra nakshatra is in the ascendant.

 

The eternal Supreme Lord whom the wise describe as the most beautiful and call as Rudra is higher than the highest, the Supreme transcending all, the auspicious, the progenitor of Brahma, Vishnu, Agni and Vayu and the ever-blissful and benevolent.

 

Mediate on Him, mediate on the sacred Agni and Vayu, control the five elements (pancha bhutas) and render them powerless in the order of their respective qualities of sound, touch, form, taste and smell.

 

Meditate on the five subtle elements (pancha tanmatra) while gradually decreasing their potency within the five elements (pancha bhutas) wherein earth has five subtle qualities (pancha tanmatra), water has four, fire has three, air has two and ether has only one till one arrives at that state where there is no modicum of any subtle element or quality. From that state known as that of Prakriti or Maya, one can abide in the Supreme Self.

 

Then, after experiencing the eternal Self and attaining that Immortal Being, the five subtle elements (pancha tanmatra) and five elements (pancha bhutas) must be again established in this body. Thus, O Rama! By becoming immortal, observe the Pāsupata vow.

 

I will tell you this Pāsupata vow in brief. Resolve yourself to observe this in the auspicious hours of the morning by establishing the ritualistic fire according to your Vedic lineage.

 

Observe the sacred vow of fasting (upavās), be clean, bathe, wear white clothes, wear the white sacred thread and wear a white garland.

 

Then, offer sacrifice with the Virajā incantation and oblation of the vital airs of prana and apana and others. Remain with the single-pointed conviction in the mind, offer the customary samitgheecaru and barley separately till the end of the recitation of the Virajā.

 

Establishing the sacrificial fire in the Self with the mantra ‘O Thou Fire’, taking the sacred ash from the altar, sanctifying it with the mantra ‘Fire is the Ash’ and others, apply to the parts of the body like the forehead.

 

A learned twice-born (dwija) who is covered in the sacred ash is freed from all the sins resulting from deadly vices and is liberated eternally. There is no doubt about it.

 

Sacred ash is the power of Agni and hence, one is who is covered in sacred ash is powerful. The Brahmana who delights in adorning his body with sacred ash, bathing in it and who lies in sacred ash is one who has control over his sensory organs.

 

Such a person becomes freed from all sins and attains union with Shiva. O Great King! Wear the sacred ash in the manner described above and recite the One Thousand Names of Lord Shiva.

 

I will teach you this by means of which you will attain everything.”

 

Sūta Maharshi uvācha, “Having spoken thus, Agastya Maharshi imparted the One Thousand Names of Shiva to Rama which are declared to be the quintessence of the Vedas and that which brings about the direct vision of Lord Shiva.

 

Rama was then told by Agastya Maharshi, “O Rama! You shall chant what has been imparted to you constantly, day and night. Then, the Lord will appear and present the Maha Pāsupata arrow. By destroying your enemies with that, you will get back your beloved wife.

 

By the very potency of that arrow, you can make the sea dry up. That is the arrow of the Lord of Parvati dispensed by him for dissolving the universe.

 

Without that weapon, victory over the danavas is extremely challenging and difficult for you. Hence, to secure that divine arrow, surrender to Shankara.”

 

[Siva Gita – Chapter 3 – Instruction on Virajā Vow – Slokas 1 – Slokas 37, Uttara Khanda, Padma Purana]

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