A sandhyAvandana vidhi for all

682px-Sculpture_of_Surya_the_sun_god_dated_to_the_14th_century_from_Kannuru
[Image is of sUrya with His retinue and His seven horses and charioteer,sourced from Wikimedia Commons]

[This vidhi was shared to me by an upAsaka who wishes to remain private,just like the author of this blog]. And the advantage of this vidhi is that it can be performed by all regardless of initiation into vaidika gAyatrI or tAntrika or lack of it,or sex or caste,or birth.

Achamya(you do Achamana with achyutAya namaH,anantAya namaH,govindAya namaH) –

facing east, arghyapradAna[West at sunset]
gaNAdhipa surAdhyaksha chintAmani ganeShvara
siddhidAyaka vighnesha gR^ihAnArghyam namo’stute [This is a namaskAra to gaNesha]

gaNapataye namaH idamarghyam (3) [saying this mantra 3 times,offer arghya to ganesha three times]

rajjuvetra kasApANe kAshyape garuDAgraja
arka sutAruNa svAmin gR^ihAnArghyam namo’stute [This is a namaskAra to aruNa,sUrya’s charioteer]

aruNAya namaH idamarghyam (3)[saying this mantra 3 times,offer arghya to aruNa three times]

ehi sUrya sahasrAMSho tejorAse jagatpate
anukampaya mAm bhaktyA gR^ihAnArghyam namo’stute [namaskAra to sUrya bhagavAn]

sUryAya namaH idamarghyam (3)[saying this mantra 3 times,offer arghya to sUrya three times]

mitrAya namaH
ravaye namaH
sUryAya namaH
bhAnave namaH
khagAya namaH
pUshNe namaH
hiranyagarbhAya namaH
marIchaye namaH
AdityAya namaH
savitre namaH
arkAya namaH
bhAskarAya namaH (12 obeisances to sUrya with His names in the dative case)

kAmakrodhAdibhir mUDA pAtakam nu karomyaham
sarvapApakshayam kR^itvA raksha mAm dyumaNe prabho
AyurArogyam aishvaryam j~nAnam vittam prayachCha me
svargamapyapavargam cha jagadIshvara bhAskara

[Forgive whatever I have done from kAma and krodha,prabhu sUrya bhagavAn,and protect me from pApa. Please give me Ayuh,Arogya(health),Aishvarya(wealth),j~nAna,svarga and apavarga:Would refer to apavarga as mukti mArga here,jagadIshvara bhAskara(another name for sUrya)]

prAsya

The vidhi and mantras in देवनागरी लिपि

आचम्य

Facing east,अर्घ्यप्रदान[West at sunset]

गणाधिप सुराध्यक्श चिन्तामनि गनेष्वर
सिद्धिदायक विघ्नेश गृहानार्घ्यम् नमो’स्तुते[This is a namaskAra to गणेश]

गणपतये नमः इदमर्घ्यम् (३) [saying this mantra 3 times,offer अर्घ्य to गणेश three times]

रज्जुवेत्र कसापाणे काश्यपे गरुडाग्रज
अर्क सुतारुण स्वामिन् गृहानार्घ्यम् नमो’स्तुते[[This is a namaskAra to अरुण,सूर्य’s charioteer]

अरुणाय नमः इदमर्घ्यम् (३)[saying this mantra 3 times,offer अर्घ्य to अरुण three times]

एहि सूर्य सहस्रांषो तेजोरासे जगत्पते
अनुकम्पय माम् भक्त्या गृहानार्घ्यम् नमो’स्तुते

सूर्याय नमः इदमर्घ्यम् (३)[saying this mantra 3 times,offer अर्घ्य to सूर्य three times]

मित्राय नमः
रवये नमः
सूर्याय नमः
भानवे नमः
खगाय नमः
पूश्णे नमः
हिरन्यगर्भाय नमः
मरीचये नमः
आदित्याय नमः
सवित्रे नमः
अर्काय नमः
भास्कराय नमः

(12 obeisances to सूर्य with His names in the dative case)

कामक्रोधादिभिर् मूडा पातकम् नु करोम्यहम्
सर्वपापक्शयम् कृत्वा रक्श माम् द्युमणे प्रभो
आयुरारोग्यम् ऐश्वर्यम् ज्ञानम् वित्तम् प्रयच्छ मे
स्वर्गमप्यपवर्गम् च जगदीश्वर भास्कर

[Forgive whatever I have done from kāma and krodha,prabhu Sūrya bhagavān,and protect me from pāpa. Please give me āyuḥ ārogya (health),āiśvarya(wealth),jñāna,svarga and apavarga:Would refer to apavarga as mukti mārga here,jagadīśvara bhāskara (another name for Sūrya)]

प्रास्य

jagannAtha as puruShottama

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This article is to be read in conjunction with the previous article on how the wooden God was initially considered as narasiMha.

In quite a few Sanskrit works on the temple,we find the Lord of Puri being referred to as puruShottama. One might ask,what is the origin behind this name and why this particular name has been linked with jagannAtha historically? I am summarizing GC Tripathi’s work here

Early sAtavata conception

The early sAtavata conception of this term is noted in the 15th chapter of the Gita embedded in the Mahabharata,where kR^iShNa is identified as puruShottama,as beyond the kShara and akShara puruSha,and having an identity with them. Also the shloka that goes “…atō.smi lōkē vēdē ca prathitaḥ puruṣōttamaḥ৷” is indicative of Krishna-Vishnu being identified with the puruSha concept even in vaidika terms. In ritual that is extant even today,the puruSha sukta is used for worshipping viShNu in pUjAs that require 16 upAchAras(each of the mantras of the sukta being used for a particular upAchAra). That the fact this ritual is old is attested in the Bombay recension of the Skanda Purana.

puruShottama as used in early literary records and epigraphy of the Jagannath temple

  1. anargharAghava of murAri(circa 900s CE):puruShottama is described as being on the salt ocean and drawing patterns on the breasts of kamalA with paste of musk and His yAtrA.
  2. prabodhachandrodaya of kR^iShNamishra(was written between 1060-70CE) where the kShetra of puruShottama is referred to
  3. puruShottama mAhAtmya of the skanda purANa(1300s CE)
  4. mahApuruShavidyA(1600s CE?)
  5. Maihar inscription at a sarasvatI temple(middle of the 10th century)
  6. Dasgoba Copper plate grant of Rajarajadeva,recording the construction of the new temple of Jagannath Chodagangadeva.

 

puruShottama in tAntrika literature

Now that we have noted the earliest literary and epigraphical references to that term puruShottama,we should now turn to the tAntrika literature which has been influential in the usage of this term(and which has influenced the ritualism of the shrImandira) to understand what did the people in those eras mean when they said puruShottama(as already noticed in the anargharAghava,the deity is already alluded to as having an erotic component and is in play with lakShmI)

The aspects of puruShottama can be noted under the following headings in the shAradAtIlaka according to Tripathi

  1. puruShottama-trailokyamohana
  2. shrIkara-puruShottama
  3. kAma-puruShottama
  4. kR^iShNa gopijanavallabha

In later works like kramadIpikA of keshavabhaTTa(which has been influential on most of the existing pUjAvidhis of jagannAtha) and the gautamIya-tantra(one of the most influential Agamika texts on the worship of kR^iShNa) puruShottama is noted as puruShottama-bhuvanamohana  and puruShottama-trailokyamohana and invoked in the former in a highly erotic form with the yonI of lakShmI getting wet due to amorous excitement and the divine couple being surrounded by thousands of damsels of devas,nAgas etc intoxicated and languid due to the effect of love,and the gautamIyatantra’s description of the couple has shrI embracing Him tightly seducing Him with amorous gestures(sakAmalIlAya devam mohayantI). In these texts,it is puruShottama alone who is referred to as jagannAtha,which facilitated the name interchangeability. Whereas,in earlier texts like the shAradAtIlaka,trialokyamohanA whose link with kAma is obvious in His gAyatrI,and the dhyAna as elaborated by rAghavabhaTTa who notes that lakShmI embraces(dakShiNena Ali~Nganam) Him,and His eyes are enlarged and languid,due to the effect of liquor:And worshipping Him grants the 4 puruShArthas of life;in the later two texts,kR^iShNa becomes prominent and the puruShottama aspect becomes reduced to usages in special rites,while the jagannAtha epithet of puruShottama acquired more and more popularity amongst even literature in the vernacular and the masses.

The testimony of the skandapurANa’s puruShottama mAhAtmya

The puruShottama mAhAtmya refers to subhadrA as lakShmI at three incidents(two of which are being cited here),and interestingly,when referring to events cited as happening in the hoary past.

  1. The incident of puNDarIka and ambarISha;two mahApApIs who could visualize jagannAtha as being with lakShmI who is offering Him a betel-leaf(5th adhyaya). Later too SHe is described as shrI standing between viShNu and shesha
  2. The 19th adhyaya explicitly pleads for the identification of the female deity as shrI(lakShmI),and not any fraternal identity

The testimony of the mahApuruShavidyA

This mahApuruShavidyA(also called puruShottama mAhAtmya) is a text which,according to Tripathi has been composed by shAkta brAhmaNas of the Sasana villages near Puri,who are also with a great affinity towards the Jagannath cult sometime around the 1500s. In this text,the female deity is almost invariably identified as lakShmI even under the mere name of subhadrA

vAmA~NgarUpiNIM lakShmIM tasya dakShiNapArShvagam|
apashyad divyayA dR^iShTyA subhadrArUpadhAriNIM||

And She sports with Her lord like an ordinary human being in the cave of the nIlAchala mountain(nIlAchalaguhAmadhye naralIlAvihAravAn…)

The actual temple layout and aspects of ritual

  1. The garbhagR^iha has space for two(and only two) deities[implying that yes,balabhadra was added later,this is a matter that will be dealt with in a future article] representing puruShottama and lakShmI
  2. These two deities were represented by (kAma)-puruShottama and lakShmI
  3. In existing ritual at the shrImandira:the pIThashaktis of kAma-puruShottama reappear as the mates of bhUvaneshvarI(the current identity of the deity known as ‘subhadrA’). The artificial form of the names of these deities signify that these were originally meant for the worship of kAma-puruShottama and not bhuvaneshvarI initially,and were readapted into Her yantra here at a later date. Also when lakShmI is considered to be of golden complexion when She is in union with puruShottama in the shAradAtIlaka,the same bodily complexion of the deity identified as subhadrA today,the possibility of the female deity having being considered as the sister of viShNu is unlikely to have been the historical conception of the deity initially.
  4. The yantra for pUjA for jagannAtha Himself is a mixture of the yantras of trailokyamohana-puruShottama and shrIkR^iShNa gopijanavallabha in the sense that a sexagon is central,but an 8-petalled lotus is involved,rather than the standard 10 petalled lotus for shrIkR^iShNa.

 

namo gopIjanavallabhAya|

A practical note on purascharaNa(cited from kulArNava tantra and muNDamAlA tantra)

yad yad a~Ngam vihiyeta tatsaMkhyAdviguNo japaH|
kuryAd dvitrichatuHpa~nchasaMkhyaM vA sAdhakaH priye||
kurvita chA~Ngasiddhyartham tadashaktau sa bhaktitaH|
tachcheda~Ngam vihiyeta mantri neShTam avApnuyAt||

-kulArNavatantra,pa~nchadasha ullAsa (15th chapter,Kularnava tantra)

In Devanagari:

यद् यद् अङ्गम् विहियेत तत्संख्याद्विगुणो जपः।
कुर्याद् द्वित्रिचतुःपञ्चसंख्यं वा साधकः प्रिये॥
कुर्वित चाङ्गसिद्ध्यर्थम् तदशक्तौ स भक्तितः।
तच्चेदङ्गम् विहियेत मन्त्रि नेष्टम् अवाप्नुयात्॥

-कुलार्णवतन्त्र,पञ्चदश उल्लास

If one limb of a five limbed purashcharaNa is lacking,one does japa dviguNa(twice),triguNa(thrice),chaturguNA or 5 times to make up for it. [Apparently according to Buhnemann,a text called PA;perhaps is it the purashcharyArNava? states that the number of times one has to repeate this substitute japa depends on the varNa of the person doing the purashcharaNa,like brAhmaNas doing 2x,and the others in increasing orders:I’m not able to check for myself the original text of the purashcaryArNava].

Anyway,these are the range of rules the tantra has stated,what suits the individual sAdhaka is best learned from his guru who can clarify(and is the ultimate authority).

So,if one had the homa saMkhyA 10,000:He would have to do at least 20,000 japa to make up for the missed limb(a~Nga) of the purashcharaNa.

Practically,the author has seen mostly people recommending 2x or 4x to make up for the a~Ngas that could not be done(like homa,tarpana,etc).

Another note from muNDamAlA tantra(5h paTala):

nyunAdhikam na japtavyAmAsamAptaM sadA japet|

Also

rAtrisheshe japenna cha|

yastha yAvAn japaH proktastaddashAMshAmanukramAt|
tattaddravyairjapasyAnte homaM kuryAd dine dine||
homasya cha dashAMshena tarpaNaM proktameva cha|
tarpaNasya dashAMshena shiromArjanamiShyate||
taddashAMshena viprendrAn kurvIta kulakanyakAH|
saMbhojayet prItiyuktairdravyairnAnAvidhairapi||
homAdyAshakto deveshi!kuryAchya dviguNaM japam|
yadi pUjAdyAshaktaH syAd dravyAlAbhena sundarI|
kevalaM japamAtreNa purashcharyA vidhIyate||

Translation of the above relevant points that I cited:One should not do more or less japa every day till the very end. One should not do japa at the end of rAtri. One should do successive dashAMshas of homa,tarpaNa,mArjana,and brAhmaNabhojana. If one is incapable of homa,etc,he should do 2x the japa. If he is incapable of pUjA etc a~Ngas due to lack of dravyas,by japa alone he can complete the whole purashcharaNa.
Swami Sacchidananda Saraswati in his Purascharanapradipa states: অশক্তকল্পে:কেবল জপে জপেই যে কোন সাধক পুরশ্চরণ হইতে পারে। এমন কি ব্রাহ্মণভোজন অঙ্গের অন্যকল্পেও জপদ্বারাই তাহা সিদ্ধ হইতে পারিবে। যথা:-(and then quotes the last shloka I had cited here).

Personal note(I am no AchArya):pratyakSha brAhmaNabhojana is still the best option even if one has substituted all the other a~Ngas with japa for the reason it falls in the same category as kumAribhojana:Both of these remove all the doshas that might have been committed in the process of the mantrasAdhanA. And of course,the brAhmaNas should be vedaj~na or should be doing upAsanA of the same mantra as the sAdhaka is doing/be dIkShita in that same mantra.

The sculptor of Ma Bhavatarini of Dakshineshwar : Nabin Bhaskar

Translating Ranadeb Mukherjee’s post

The one whom Thakur Sri Ramakrishna called ‘Ma’,the one for whom without giving water,he would not take anything in his mouth:That same image of Ma Bhavatarini was made by the sculptor Nabin Bhaskar of Dainhat at Katwa . At the wish of Rani Rashmoni in 1855 he made the image of Bhavatarini Kali. For the time of a month he went to Kolkata,subsisted on haviShyAnna,followed AchAra and when he finished the work(of sculpting),then the image was not proportionate to the garbhagriha. She then ordered him to make another mUrti of Ma Bhavatarini again and told him to make that mUrti larger than the previous one.

Nabin Bhaskar made two images of Bhavatarini Kali. One is in Dakshineshwar and another in some house in Goa Bagan at Kolkata. His family claims that Rani Rashmoni donated an image to someone she knew. Nabin Bhaskar’s fame was such that the Rajas in Bengal presidency came to to Dainhat. Nabin Bhaskar got his raw material from Bihar. For procuring ‘kosthi pathor'(black stone) he purchased a hill in Jamalpur. At Nabin’s good fame,apart from the Burdwan Royal family,he was also commisioned by the royal families of Cossimbazar,Natore,Puntia,Rangpur,Dinajpur,Jemo,Muktagacha,Mymensingh,Manipur,Lalgarh to sculpt their grihadevatas. It is said that the Maharani of Dinajpur was so spellbound at Nabin Bhaskar’s skill that she gifted him a golden chisel.

Bhaskar took his craft to new heights on his sculpting the image of Dakshineshwar. His best creation is the creation of the murti of Yogadya at Kshirgram. Even today in his house broken images can be found that are in a state of neglect. Still,a very beautiful 10 inch idol of Kali has been closely kept in his successor Nimai Bhaskar’s possession. Along with this Kali Murti  he keeps a dazzling statue of ‘shwet pathor’. This is the last creation of Nabin. Today his workshop is broken and filled with weeds,and the naach-mahal is also dilapidated .His  ancestral dwelling has but one room, even it is mired in household disputes. This generation has but forgetten such a fabulous sculptor.

Nabin Bhaskar’s house is now in a state of decay,swallowed up by time. His descendants no longer carry the illustrious legacy of his sculpting. His left over creations are also slowly going to ruin, due to lack of care.  Due to the lack of anyone to look after that place,that family house at Dainhat is now like a dump. Some valuable works of that sculptor are still in that house.

Book Review:Fighting Proud:The Untold Story of the Gay Men Who Served in Two World Wars

Okay,this is going to be less a review and more of an outpouring of my personal feelings on my reading that book.

This book by Stephen Bourne is a book that deals with a sample of the materials available;gay men who served in the World Wars despite the difficulties faced by them due to a society prejudiced against them. I found the values of bravery,sacrifice,heroism and over all that,despite official bigotry from time to time;even the most outrageously camp/effeminate types were accomodated in roles as entertainers even if not directly in fighting. And the ones who were in the frontlines;their values of sacrifice,and the permanent relationships they could form(this was relatively successful over time,surprisingly) despite how formally society looked down upon them but unofficially tolerated them-because they were men of virtue beyond just liking men-IMO are ideals to look upto even after all these days and emaluate.

On worldly usages of Krishna mantras as seen in the 3rd rAtra of the Narada Pancharatra

The 3rd rAtra of the Narada Pancharatra(of the Krishna centred stream) gives various Krishna mantras and their dhyAnas and kAmya usages

  1. 18 and 20 akShara:smR^iti medhA mati balam labdhvA sa kavi vAgbhavet+mukundacharaNa lAbha
  2. bAlagopAla(11 akShara)[seated on yashodA]:gaining one’s desireSh
  3. puntanA-nAshaka(30 akShara):Relief from afflictions like bhUtas,bAlagrahas,loss of memory
  4. shakaTAri dhyAna[as the one who upturned shakaTAsura’s cart]:For vighnanAshana
  5. bAlagopAla(another dhyAna):For AyuH and Arogya
  6. puruShottama(10 akShara):For long life
  7. Krishna(30 akShara):For long life
  8. Poison eradicating mantras and dhyAnas:As dancer on kAliya’s heads
  9. govardhananAtha dhyAna+gopIkrIDA in yamunA dhyAna: For controlling rain
  10. kR^iShNa as the saviour of sandIpani muni’s sons:apamR^ityu nAsha
  11. putralAbha is also referred to
  12. A dhyAna regarding the vanquishing of enemies [Him emitting fire from His mouth,mounted from Gaurda,and also being referred to as the vanquisher of Rukmi]
  13. Krishna as pulling Kamsa from his throne:Destruction of enemies(even those who have taken amR^ita)
  14. Krishna as pArthasArathi on ratha with hand in vyAkhyAna mudrA/vishvarUpa dhyAna:For dharmavR^iddhi/explaining all shAstras respectively.

All the above are to be learned by sadguru to be effective,and I apologize if I have been misleading or anything wrong has been done.

Review of Samanya Dharma by Nithin Sridhar

Book title: Samanya Dharma

Author:Nithin Sridhar

This book gives a good introduction to dharma,and what dharmas are common to all humans,but specifically to those who are Hindus(since devotion to devas and gurus is definitely a part of some of its definitions,which are more expanded versions of the more concise definitions that don’t explicitly state it). It notes the seeds of these ideas in various shrutivAkyas and then nicely,in various places puts them as elucidated in various smR^itis and purANas,and notes their social benefit and usefulness/importance in yoga of all forms(pAta~njala,bhaktimArga,etc) and sAdhanA.

This is a book that is useful in educating Hindus about the basic dharma-s that they need to follow,especially in an era where certain classes of middle-class people do not have anything substantial to explain dharma beyond ‘way of life’ platitudes,and claiming ‘anything goes’ in Hinduism. All in all,a very good,neat little book that I would recommend to any Hindu(and in whatever language they know/speak).

 dharmaviduttamAbhyAm hariharAbhyAm namaH|

(Obeisances to Hari and Hara,the best of knowers of dharma)

A rambling note on the origins of the ideology of karmayoga

Karmayoga is a much abused concept these days,nowadays people think that it is doing whatever job one’s bosses or political superiors assign to them perfectly and  chores)pleasingly(or even daily. Or sometimes school students are told that their studying hard and getting good grades means they are good karmayogis, but no,it means nothing like that. This idea had its origins amongst(specifically) shuklayajurvaidika circles(as noted in the 2nd mantra of the ishopanishad). Karmayoga means doing one’s nitya and naimittika karmas and yAgas as laid down in the smArta systems as appropriate to one’s varNa while dedicating all its puNyas and other results to the supreme deity of whatever system your ideal is:vAsudeva,shiva,etc. In fact,this was probably the ideology of an old set of ritualists who later became the one of the groups that went into the formation of pA~NcharAtra:The mantrasiddhAntins are a group of brAhmaNas belonging to the kANva and mAdhyadina shAkhAs of the shuklayajurveda,who are supposed to meditate on vAsudeva as they are doing somayAga and dedicate their fruits to him. It is this strain of ritualist thought that found its expression in the karmayoga idea of the Gita(which,textually speaking is belonging to an old sAtavata esque strain of thought in ancient India). And of course,the other tendency of ancient Hindu thought to homologize all actions as ritual:even sex,would mean ending up in an Aurobindo-esque ‘All life is yoga.’ conclusion.

 

Above are verses from the charyapAda of the pAdmasaMhitA which note that the followers of mantrasiddhAnta do contemplation of vAsudeva with trayimantras(vedamantras),associated with the kANva and mAdhyadina shAkhAs,and thee brAhmaNas worship vAsudeva while performing somayAga. This was the original ideal of karmayoga,historically speaking.

An end (semi) rant: The vyAdha gItA has been completely hopelessly ripped out of its original context to a society which is scarcely little like anything that would have supported the historical-cum-mythical vyAdha.

On Agneeswarar and Haradatta

WhatsApp Image 2020-03-07 at 5.57.36 PMPic:utsavamUrti of Agneeshwarar of Kanjanur. This link mentioned Haradatta who was born as a Srivaishnava undergoing tribaulations to prove his shivabhakti but does not give the details. I have decided to fill in the details.

haradatta was born in a SV family in kanjanUr as sudarshana. As he grew up he showed his love for shiva, shivabhaktas & shivAcAryas.From the age of two, he would run to the nearby shiva temple & receive ash & shout hara hara with the devotees. His father thought that this was just a childish sport & ignored it. He thought it will be fixed after his upanayana. His upanayana was done at 5; his father told him, “From now on, you cannot act as you please. You must not go to shivAlaya. That will be a sin. You must not even see those who wear ash. You must take a bath at their very sight”. As soon as his father left, he wiped off his vaiShNava marks & replaced them with tripundra bhasma and he returned home like that in that very form. His father, vAsudeva was enraged. The other vaiShNavas in the agrahAra cursed him as a disgrace & a ruiner of the shrIvaiShNavas. His father, feeling humiliated, tied him to a pillar & whipped him hard. But after his father got tired & left, he would untie those ropes & run to agnIshvara. His father could bear no more,told him not to enter the house and told his wife not to feed the son. He would ask from outside the house, “mother, I’m hungry, serve me food”. His mother was in a dilemma: “How will I disobey your father, oh dear child? And how will I bear your cry for food? Why don’t you obey your father? You should act as per father’s desire only. I will go to the father & mother of the world for refuge. They will take care of me.”
Then he proceeded to agnIshvara and at there in front of the dakShiNAmUrti there in meditation. Knowing his habit to meditate for long periods, the shivabrAhmaNas left him there & locked up the temple.  He said: “agnIshvara, I have left my parents; you are my father; shakti my mother; Skanda & gaNesha my brothers & the gaNas my friends. This is my family now; accept me as yours oh god! Are you angry that I have done pUjA as  an ignorant child, contrary to vidhi? Even brahmA & viShNu cannot see your feet; who can truly do pUjA to them? Will you not accept me?! Curse me to become a work & get trampled by shivabhaktas; I will accept that fate gladly & reach you. Will you not show mercy to the low ones like me even now?”. Hearing all this, kalpakAmbikA could not bear it any more. She instigated bhagavAn to show mercy to the child, sudarshana, and then the great God smiled. Skanda & gaNesha came there to accept they’re new brother & the gaNas their new comrade. The munis & devas came there to shower flowers with vedaghoSa everywhere. And the parents of the world were there & gave him a divine vision of them. shiva granted him knowledge of all shAstras & made him omniscient. That very night,his father who came there (hearing his overnight stay at the temple) & other vaiShNavas all asked him questions. He was only 5 and answered all of them with shrutipramANas. So the vaiShNavas told him, “sit on a red hot iron bed & preach your shivaparatvam, if you do that, we will accept your doctrine”. He did it. They set up the iron seat at the local temple of varadarAja (as the vaiShNavas would obviously not enter a shiva temple). His father & others fell at his feet & asked him for prAyashcitta for their abuse of shiva & shaivas,and he married a vaidika shivabhakta’s daughter from the vAdhUlagotra & led an exemplary life.

One of his miracles was when a pANDya chieftain sent him an expensive yellow cloth via a brAhmaNa, he was doing a homa & thinking agnIshvara to be the lord of that agni, offered that cloth into the homAgni. The king heard about it & became stunned at the svAmI’s display of his lIlAvaibhavam. In the evening he went to have shrI haradatta’s darshana and asked him if the cloth he sent had safely reached him. “It reached us at an excellent time & has been offered to agnIshvara” replied haradatta. Later when the king went to the temple, that very cloth was on the mUlali~Nga-That cloth which was observed by the brAhmaNa to have been burnt into ashes.

Credit for the narration of this tale goes to @Ghorangirasa.

 

On seeing queer examples where they do not exist:Mīnākṣī in Madurai

Before I begin,may my speech be blessed by Dakṣīṇāmūrti,that noble fount of wisdom,who wears ornaments of both the sexes in His ears,signifying His eternal union with Śaktī.

Screenshot at 2020-02-14 01-06-38

http://srishtimadurai.blogspot.com/2013/06/secrets-of-meenakshi-temple-madurai.html?m=1

While  the author of this article appreciates the good work done by Srishti in Madurai and Gopi Shankar Madurai,there are a number of points in their(or their organization’s article) which he feels is not accurate,and which he feels the need to set right.

  • The author shall refrain from commenting about some of the sculptural evidence that the blog author there has noted,due to his not having seen them/not having examined them by an expert in iconography,notably
    • Neutrois theme in Kala Samhara deity. The deity, typically with a male like body, and represented with lack of any sexual organ typically represents a MTN (Male to Neutrois) person.
    • The Sanishwara deity which is the well known Transgendered deity can be seen in the temple
  • The author does not discount the possibility of erotic carvings in temples which depict homosexual acts.
  • Mīnākṣī being three breasted is not a sign of gender variance. It is one of those sort of tales in which a being loses his/her unique features when they meet a special person(example is Shishupala who was born with three eyes and four arms). Similarly She lost Her third breast when She met Śiva(whom She would marry).
  • Also Ardhanārīśvara is not really a gynandromorph condition….it is more of an ‘consciousness as impartial observer'(Puruṣa)-‘everything as the power inherent in that consciousness'(Prakṛti) represented in one mūrti. Gynandromorphs don’t exist in humans.
  • Harihara as a deity does not fit in the Procrustean bed of gender ideology in any way. The deity merely represents the concept that ‘śivāya viṣṇurupāya śivarūpāya viṣṇave'(Śiva is a form of Viṣṇu and Viṣṇu is a form of Śiva) along with injunctions that they must never be thought of in any manner except as equal and always both very respectful of each other.
  • Sri Pitchandavar=A Tamil name of Bhīkṣaṭana Rudra. As far as I know,there is nothing in His iconography that indicates any third gendered status. The main feature of His form is supreme attractiveness,and which is used in certain tantric rites of vaśikaraṇa(causing attraction of a girl to a boy or vice versa).
  • Bhagavān Vīrabhadra=The author would be very interested in knowing about any upāsana krama of this deity that involves being third gendered,and until one can provide that reliably,one fails to note what is third-gender about Vīrabhadra. He is a guru figure(cited from the Raurava Āgama) and greater than a hundred rudras(Mṛgendra Āgama).  He is the personified wrath of Rudra,who taught the Gods through his violent actions through the greatness and centrality and glory of Rudra. In this author’s limited experience He was worshipped by mostly wandering Jangama ascetics and Lingadhari brahmins in Andhra. All that is required to approach Him is initiation in His mantras,which,to the best knowledge of the author do not have any bearing on the sex of the person who is being initiated.
  • Also,Arjuna ended up in that condition of Brihannala due to a curse by the apsara Uruvashi(which was reduced by Indra to just the duration of one year),which implied that that condition in the times that story was told would be less than a normative/ideal/good one.
  • People who weren’t straight or non-trans,etc were generally kept at a distance in society,though not explicitly harmed:The author is right in this one aspect,definitely.

People who are Gender and Sexual Minorities should make their case using well supported evidence,not evidence that is flimsy(at best) on closer examination to earn the good will of Hindus who know and internalize the understanding of śāstra,and can hope for the best for their dignity in the larger society.