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1008 Names of Siva is an interesting compilation and demonstrates the prodigal strength of the names evolved to describe and depict the most exuberant and prominent god of the Hindu pantheon - Lord Siva.
The names may be in Hindi or Sanskrit but their alphabetical portrayal and the proper easily understandable meaning of each one of them relates effectively to the reader and offers accumulated knowledge on the subject. Supposed to be Supreme in the world to whom none is superior, according to Hindu mythology, who is knowledge idiolized, destroyer of the enemy, a composite union of excelling various, a paramount proponent of power, Siva is equally reclaimed for his various Mudras i.e. Bhairava, Natraja etc. Which find accurate depiction through picture. Hence it is can educative and beneficial book for one and all as it highlight such relevant information about SIVA.
In almost all religions, the Divines have been addressed by different names, at different times, in order to praise them, express warm admiration, glorify them and in order to show their relation to a particular action. Their achievements, attributes and their blessings at different times have been exhilirated by ascribing different names. Different acts, deeds of the same deity have been described under different names. The salutations used in prayers and worship have also added to the list of names of the same God.
Some Gods like Visnu have personified in different incarnations (Avtaras) but many others have appeared in various manifestations, for the performance of benevolent deeds, for the welfare of the human beings and for the destruction of evil. Thus, God Siva has many manifestations and accordingly many names, acquired at numerous auspicious occasions.
When a person listens to a sermon by a holy person, the latter makes use of many names, which are unknown to the listener and thereby causing confusion in his mind. The other day, while listening to a preacher, who said Siva and Sankara are two different Gods, forgetting that Sankara is the blissful manifestation of Siva only. Initiative to publish a clarification was aroused.
With a view to avoid confusion in the mind of the listeners and the readers, an attempt has been made in this book, to give 1,008 names of God Siva, with a very brief description of each. While under any confusion, a reference to this book, will give a clarification regarding the names of God Siva. Thus it will serve as a ready reference book.
Scholars engrossed in research work in mythology, fine arts and spiritual scriptures, will have a handy reference guide on this topic of Hindu mythology.
A few illustrations, showing some typical manifestations and peculiar characteristics have been inserted, which would enlighten the reader about that particular name.
There are only two chapters in this book: Introduction with various names and Siva manifestations with more names.
The authors are highly obliged to Shri S.C. Sethi, Director Indiana Publishing House, the person who has been kind enough to render advice from time to time and are thankful to him for the beautiful timely output of this publication.
The Vedas are eternal in nature and not the work of any human agency. They are the breath of the infinite, the supreme one, reveals them for the benefit of the humanity at the time of creation. The PURANAS and ITIHASAS (History), which are based on the Vedas, elaborate the glory of the Almighty, in his different forms, which are indicated by different names.
The Vedas, which declare that the supreme reality is birthless, also relate in the same vein, that He assumes countless forms. How is one to understand this apparent contradiction? This is not a scriptural inconsistency, but the of the Almighty, who is beyond the ken of the senses and the mind. Further, the God realised saints, attest that it is due to His compassion that He incarnates from time to time, for the redemption if humanity.
He was accessible only to those, who lived during the eras, when He incarnated and the knowledge, we have now, is on the basis of the Puranas and Itihasas. So what is the way open for humanity during other periods. His names (Name) have the same potency and glory, which can be chanted by all any time.
Bhisham attests, before commencing the hymn, 'I am giving for the benefit of all, those names of His, which are far famed, which are indicative of His attributes and which find a place in the exalted hymns of the rishis. Spiritual disciplines of listening and chanting the names of God, take a man to spiritual perfection, as evidenced in the case of Draupadi, Prahalada and Ajamila.
The example of Ajamila occurs in this Bhagavata Purana, expounded by sage Suka to king Pareekshit. Though he was well versed in the scriptures and very pious, he fell into bad company and led a licentious life. But it was the divine name 'Narnaya' which came to his rescue, when he unintentionally uttered it while calling out to his son, when he breathed his last.
The woman Draupadi (Mahabharata), was a devotee of Lord K'rsna and hence the innumerable trials, she was subjected to later, were wiped out by HIM. A princess, who enjoyed all comforts. Was dragged to a public assembly and was made to face ignominy. But her stirring appeal to K'rsna, though HE was not present there, fetched her the needed protection from the atrocious act of the villains. Her agonising call was quickly answered and as a wicked man, attempted to cal was quickly answered and as a wicked man attempted to strip her, the saree she wore, rolled on endlessly, making the culprit give up his task. Her prayers, calling the name of the God, give all of us the hope that God will never fail to respond to genuine appeals by devotees. He is mankind's only permanent friend, at all times and on all occasions. The holy names of the lord, when recited with sincerity, will certainly bring relief. However there is a difference between merely chanting the names and uttering the same after offering one's total surrender and clinging to his feet.
That spiritual disciplines of listening and chanting the names of God, take a man to spiritual perfection, was related by the child devotee Prahalad, who though the son of a devil demon, was saved from every calamity by his remembering the name of the God at all times. Bhagwata Purana reiterates the efficacy of chanting the divine names, "Any name of the lord of excellent renown, which is distinctly pronounced knowingly or unknowningly destroys a man's sins as a fire consumes the fuel".
Human birth is the result of a long process of spiritual evolution from lower forms. Having reached this stage, man must make efforts to evolve further spirituality to avoid the possibility of a fall to a lower order of life. So human life should not be frittered away in the pursuit of mundane activities and three should be conscious effort to reorient all activities towards the goal of liberation. The NAMES have a philosophical importance and each name has been taken up for elaborate commentary from time to time. The names of the lord have been incorporated into the strotas (hymns). The procedure for undertaking Japas (recitation) of the mantras was strict and the intonation had to be learnt from one, who was proficient in them. This is emphasised because wrong pronunciation of the mantra gives adverse effect. It is with the well being of humanity in mind that different mantras have been prescribed.
Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion, made a significant contribution to RASA, known as NAMRASA or AMRITRASA. He called it by several names such as Maha Rasa, Sar Rasa, Sant Rasa, Har Rasa and Amis Rasa. He distinguished it from the pleasures of the five senses. NAM RASA is thrill not sensibility. It is the feeling of joy or rather bliss caused by the God's word in comparison to which every earthly Rasa (aesthetic enjoyment) appears insipid and tasteless. NAM RASA stills the human desires and brings bliss. It can be obtained through perfect guru. Nam Rasa, body. 'Nanak, sweet is the great elixer of Lord's name.
I quaff it day and night, with my body and soul'; as is written in ADI GRANTH on page 778.
Two instances are often quoted to attest to the efficacy of chanting divine names. The first is that of Sage Valmiki, who was a hunter by birth and did not have the learning or the circumstances to take to spiritual life. The name RAMA, was taught to him as the two syllable 'Ma' and 'Ra', but because of his sincere chanting, he scaled the heights of perfection. Blessed by divine grace, he became the chosen one to write the story of Lord Rama the RAMAYANA. The other instance is of Ajamila, already described.
The easiest method, by which spiritual progress can be achieved, is through recitation of the divine names. In the modern context, majority are bound to find, even this simple method, difficult to practice, the common excuse being that there is no time. If one peruses the life of the saints, who realised God by this method, one will be able to appreciate that devotion, which result from this practice is not just a means to liberation, but the end in itself. Such is the transforming power of the Lord's name that it brings a total change in the person, who recites it.
The easy method to escape from worldly pulls, is to meditate on God using his holy names, Saints have, time and again, reminded us about the efficacy of the divine names. Divine names, though some of them appear familiar and simple, yet contain mysterious power to cleanse the mind and make a devoted person see God within and in every human being.
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