Lord Shiva Stories
During the set up of the Universe the Gods were involved in a meeting. Lately, Bramha had 5 heads out of that 4 of them read Vedas & the 5th head was always separating Lord Vishnu. One day during mistreating Lord Vishnu, Bramha started abusing Lord Shiva. Shiva got annoyed & he pulled Brama’s Shatra (Bramhastra) & with that he cut Bramha’s 5th head. All the Gods were happy & started admiring Shiva for this. But Shiva realized sin for cutting Bramha’s 5th head & he decided to do apologize for this. He kept Bramha’s head on his shoulder & started going places to get the penance.
He went to several sacred places to get rid of this sin but was not possible as that was Bramha Hatya (Killing Bramha’s Head). The Bramha’s head was on his shoulder while wandering diverse places Shiva arrived to Nashik Panchavati. He covered himself & asked a Brahmin to permit him to reside in his house for a night time. While staying there at night Shiva heard a whisper Nandi was saying his mother (denoted as a cow) that he would slay the Bramhin tomorrow by his knife edge horns. Mother told Nandi that why are you doing this? What mistake did Brahmin do with you? Nandi told his mother that tomorrow Brahmin would make gap in his nose & fasten with a rope. Mother said that slaughtering Brahmin is a Bramha Hatya & is a vast offense. Nandi said to mother that I know this is Bramha Hatya & I know the place to do the sacrament. After hearing this, Lord Shiva got the answer to the crime he did.
Next morning Nandi slaughtered Brahmin & due to this offence his color changed to black from milky white and started running towards Ramkunda (Panchavati). Shiva also started running back to him to look out for the result. Now Nandi jumped into Ramkunda. It is the place where all the three rivers meet together after coming out from Ramkunda. Nandi again became milky white as before. His offense was washed out in the Ramkunda after seeing this Shiva also jumped into Ramakunda the head droped into the Ramkunda & Shiva’s apology was completed.
After seeing this, all the Gods present there started spreading flowers on Shiva for his commitment to do the apology. For the virtue of this, Lord Vishnu created a Shiva Linga at Panchavati. This linga is worshiped as Kapaleshwar. As Nandi was an instructor of Lord Shiva, Nandi is not sitting in front of Shiva Linga. He is sitting at Ramkunda.
By that time whoever take bath in Ramkunda & worship to Kapaleshwar will always be free from all the sins in his life. All of the apology will be accepted at Kapaleshwar. The power of 12 Jyotirlinga is mentioned in Kapaleshwar which will take all your sins away from your life. This is the great story behind the great Shiva linga Kapaleshwar which is situated at Nashik Panchavati.
This is another interesting story regarding the worship of Lord Shiva in the phallic form. It is believed that once upon a time Brahma and Vishnu, the two divinities of the Trinity, got into a quarrel regarding their superiority. Lord Brahma announced himself to be more respected and admired, being the creator of the universe. While the preserver, Vishnu, declared that he commanded more respect and admiration. Just then a giant pillar of fire (lingam), called as Jyotirlinga, emerged in flames, before them. This Lingam captivated both Brahma and Vishnu, with its rapidly increasing size. With this happening, they forgot their fight and chose to find out its size. Vishnu took the form of boar and went to the specified location. Brahma assumed the form of a Swan and flew to the sky. However both of them were unable to complete the self-assumed tasks. At that time, Shiva emerged out of the lingam and acknowledged that he was the mediator of both, Brahma and Vishnu. So, he should be worshipped in his phallic (lingam) form.
Story of Shiva and the Hunter:
Here is one more exciting story of Lord Shiva, showing his kind nature. Once a hunter was wandering in a dense forest, to hunt a deer and swiftly he found himself on the banks of river Kolidum, where he listened the roar of a tiger. In order to protect himself from the tiger, he climbed up in a nearby tree. The Tiger sat on the earth below the tree without the reason to leave. The hunter stayed at the tree full night and to keep himself alert, he plucked one leaf after another from the tree and threw it down. Under the same tree, there was a Shiva Lingam and gracefully the tree turned out to be a ”bilva” tree (leaves of this tree are adored by Shiva). Without any knowledge, the hunter had pleased the divinity by pouring Bilva leaves all night. At morning, the hunter looked down and found the tiger is gone. In its place, Lord Shiva was standing and he said thanks to the lord Shiva for saving his life. With Shiva’s blessings, he achieved salvation from the bondage of the material world.
Ganga Comes Down to the Earth:
A tale from the Ramayana speaks of King Bhagirath who once meditated before Lord Brahma for a thousand years for the deliverance of the souls of his ancestors. Pleased with his dedication Brahma gifted him a desire. He demanded the Lord to send the river Ganges down to the earth from heaven so that she could flow over his ancestors ashes and wash their curse away and permit them to go to the heaven. Brahma gracefully granted his wish but asked him to beg to Shiva, for he alone could support the weight of her tumble. Accordingly he pleaded to Shiva and he allowed the Ganges to come down on his head, and after meandering through his thick matted locks, the sacred river arrived at the earth. This story is re-enacted by bathing the ‘linga’.
Lord Shiva is considered to be the third god in the trinity. He has the ability to purify and ruin the world. It is after this destruction that Lord Brahma starts creation, once more. Devotees of Shiva believe him as the supreme power of the universe. Devotees think that he can easily be satisfied at the same time he becomes easily annoyed too. The actual meaning of the word Shiva is kind, good and pleasant. He is also known to be truthful to his 1st spouse Sati and afterwards to Parvati.
King Daksha was the father of devi Sati, Lord Shiva’s wife. Once, Daksha performed a yagna without inviting Lord Shiva and Sati. But Sati was eager in attending the yagna and went there. Insulted and Sad by the disrespect, King Daksha showed, she sacrificed herself by jumping into the yagnakunda. Angry and Fierce on finding out about the death of his wife, Lord Shiva acted Rudra Tandava by holding his wife’s body. Due to the enormous fire from his third eye, Daksha’s kingdom was wiped out. Lord Vishnu, to make Shiva quiet, detached the body of Devi Sati and threw the parts on the Earth. The body parts were scattered 52 places on the Earth where her body parts fell, later known as the Shakti Peethas.
Devi Parvati and Shiva
After the death of Devi Sati, Shiva became a hermit. As Parvati, daughter of Himavan, devi Sati once more took birth. After getting matured and old, Parvati understood about her past life. As she wanted to combine with Lord Shiva, she started resent less tapas. The continuous tapas of Parvati were ignored by Lord Shiva.
Parvati took the help of Kamadeva and requested him to do something in her favor. He is primarily known as Lord of love. He attempted to strike Shiva with arrow of love but He became angry and reduced Kamadeva into ashes with his powerful third eye. Afterwards, on the request of Rati, Kamadeva’s wife, Shiva revitalized Kamadeva. Parvati, in order to please Shiva started severe tapas. Soon, because of Parvati’s dedication and loyalty and obligation by sages, Shiva got married to her on the month of Phalguna, a day before Amavasya. This night is contributed to Lord Shiva and known as Mahashivaratri.
Worshippers of Lord Shiva all over the world, celebrate Mahashivaratri with a great enthusiasm, even today. Apart from visiting some prominent shrines of Lord Shiva, worshippers also monitor fast and night vigil.
According to another story, Mahashivaratri is the day when Devi Parvati performed tapas to evacuate all the bad spirits that can hurt Lord Shiva. According to the fable, Parvati had pleaded on the night of Amavasya in Phalguna for long life of Shiva. Following this custom of Parvati, women even today, present prayers and perform poojas to delight Shiva and wish for the long life of their spouses. From then the festival of Mahashivaratri is celebrated joyfully with a great passion all around the world.