Fom the Jacket
The Puranas in the Indian Religious context are considered to be the important set of the religious literature, after the Vedic literature totally became beyond the reach of the common man. The void thus created in the Indian religious thought was filled by the epics of the Ramayai3a of Valmiki as well as the Mahabharata. But besides these, the Puranas which were composed by the sage Vyasa and other sages gained the importance of their own. Some of them were devoted to Visnu, while others were devoted to Siva, Sakti as well as the other deities. Of these, Siva Purana and the Linga Purana are mainly the Saiva Puranas. In these Puranas, lord Siva is eulogised in different ways and both of them have their own importance.
The distinctive aspect of the Linga Purana is that thousand and eight names of Siva have been repeated twice in this Purana. In Chapter-65, the thousand and eight names have been spoken out by the sage Tandin, while in chapter-98 of the same Purana, the thousand and eight names of Siva were recited by lord Visnu himself in order to get cakra from lord Siva, at the behest of the gods. Besides these, there are many other topics in this Purai3a, which will be of great interest to the readers. This Purana is divided into two parts. The first part has a hundred and eight chapters, while the second part has fifty five chapters.
This is for the first time that an English translation of Linga Purana is being published along with complete Sanskrit text. The importance of the book is enhanced with an exhaustive introduction on the subject and an index of verses is provided at the end of the second volume for the benefit of the readers.
Lord Siva is being worshipped in the country and abroad from time immemorial. Genesis of Siva worship can be traced in the Harappan culture as well, where he is believed to have been adored in the human as well as symbolic form. Nandin, his bull, too had immense importance at that stage of the Indian culture, where the bull is depicted over a large number of seals discovered from the Harappan sites of the stage of history. In fact, Siva is the great god, Mahadeva. He is the immortal Divine Principle who has entered the mortal beings. He is known as the Death-conquering Deity, Mrtyunjaya. The Great God is the eternal life-principle. He incarnates in matter and comes within the orbit of individual experience. He is unmanifest in his universal form, but manifest in each individual body whether of men, animals or plants. At each level of manifestation, the immortal and divine nature of the Great God is evident. He represents the predominant effect of existence and the mysterious force called Life or Prana.
Mahadeva is named as Rudra and Siva in Indian tradition. He is identified with Agni or vice versa. Agni is stated to be of a double aspect, viz., Rudra in his terrible form and Siva in his auspicious form. Agni is called the immortal god. The Vedic thinkers expressed their concept of the Great God in a threefold formulation firstly, the Agni is Rudra; secondly, that Agni is the immortal principle among mortals; thirdly, that Agni is the life-principle called Praia within the mortal bodies. For example, it is stated in the Rgveda; “O Agni, you are Rudra.” In the Satapatha Brahmana, it is said “Who is Rudra, is the same as Agni.” In the Tandye Brahmana, we read “Rudra is Agni”, and in the Taittiriya Brahmana, “That which is Agni is Rudra.”
Siva Mahadeva has been worshipped for thousands of years as the Great God of India. His cult extended from the homeland of the Sakas in Central Asia to Kanya Kumari or Cape Comorin on the seashore. There are numerous myths and legends associated with him. He was conceived as the God of the Mountain, married to the Daughter of the Mountain. He is the Lord of Yogins and the foremost teacher of Yoga. He expounds all the mystic doctrines and the occult religious cults of Tantras, Agamas and Samhitas. His great exploits are the vanquishing of the Andhakasura or the Demon of Darkness, and Tripurasura, the Demon of the three cities of Gold, Silver and Copper. He is also the controller of the Ten-Headed king of Lanka named Ravana who casts a challenge to all gods and men.
Siva is identified in the Vedas as the Immortal God, who has entered the mortal beings, who is the .same as Agni or the mysterious Vital Fire manifest in matter or the five gross elements, who as Yogi consumed the God of Love, Kamadeva and re-created him in the subconscious world of the human mind and the conscious spheres of the human body or the central nervous system. It has been a matter of extreme happiness for us to gain an insight into the mysteries of Siva philosophy as limited not to cosmic lucubration but Yoga and spiritual Sac/bang for the control of the Pranic energy. It is this aspect of the symbolism of Siva which received the greatest emphasis from the Vedic times and in the Puranas and Saiva Agamas.
The great Kailasa is the symbol of the highest mind on which god Siva has his eternal abode as the Universal Divine Principle wrapped in samadhi or mental illumination where Universal Consciousness throws open its innermost sheaths for the vision of man. The working and powers of the cortex or higher brain are still a mystery to modem science. The ancient Yoga- Vidya has explained them in an orthodox symbolism or terminology which deserves to be studied and interpreted for the modem man who wishes to understand the fully chartered map of his personality as expressed on the level of mind, vital airs and material elements. These three are the basic elements described as the three cities of Gold, Silver and Copper and symbolised as the demon Tripura, who could be pierced by a single shaft released from the bow of Siva which is none other than the central nervous system, named as Sumeru or Pinaka that is the Golden Rod or Axis of the human body.
In this symbolism, Kundalini or the metabolic energy symbolised as Parvati is destined to play an important role and that was made the subject of Yogic and Agamic descriptions of the most pleasing kind. The vital energy of Prana is the fiery principle of metabolism or basal vitality in which all the Yogins of the east and the west have believed from the ancient most times. She was conceived as the Serpent Power which lies coiled in the lowest caves or chambers of the human body but when properly quickened unfolds her vibrating and buoyant hoods in upward sweeps and lighting up the five plexi or centres within the spinal cord into multi-coloured flames ultimately enters the brain through the Kraunca Dvara by taking a crooked bend. Its entry into the three regions of the lower, middle and higher ends is a celestial event occasioning her wedding with Lord Siva. Its beatitude and blissful chain-action is said to be beyond the region of words. Just as human wedding releases the highest ecstasies of the flesh, similarly the wedding of kundalini with Siva in the snowy atmosphere of Kailasa or the Higher Mind is the best symbol of the Universal Bliss attainable by the individual. In mythology these regions of the hypothalamus and the cortex are conceived as the snowy atmosphere of Kailasa where the Voice of Silence or the Eternal Speech rests in layers upon layers with infinite meanings which the yogins decode as Knowledge by means of Vedic symbols or images.
The half-male and the half-female aspects of Siva symbolise the two Universal Parents also named as the Father and the Mother or Heaven and Earth throughout Indian literature and also other great religions of the world. In ancient Egypt and Greece, these definitions recur with truthful sobriety. In actual cult, most beautiful prayers were sung as homage to the joint form &