Everything about the Lord is 'Satyam Sivam Sundaram' (Truth-Auspiciousness-Beauty) - His names, forms, qualities, nature
He is therefore truly worshipful (pujya), as are His worshippers (pujakas).
Param Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda, the Head of Chinmaya Mission, gave discourses on the Siva Manasa Puja (the mental worship of Lord Shiva) of Adi Sankaracarya in February 2005 as his worship (puja) of the Lord on the occasion of the inauguration of a Shiva Temple. We are glad to present these words of worship in a book-form as out offering at the feet of the Lord.
Further, dedicated seva was added by Sri Krishnamurthi of Mayapuri Graphics, Chennai (cover-page design), Smt. Meena Murthy of CIRS, Coimbatore (typing) and Smt. Radhika Krishnakumar, Chennai (editing) as their offering. Our grateful thanks to all.
It was His Grace that makes all effort possible. May His Grace be ever on all His worshippers.
The Siva (Siva's) Manasa (mental) Puja (worship) is a prayer in praise of God (stotra) written by Adi Sankaracarya. Worship involves the act of worship (puja) done with a worshipful attitude (pujya bhava). A mere mechanical act without the exalted feeling and right attitude is joyless and meaningless. Also feelings unexpressed in words or actions too, give no results. Feelings find fulfillment, when expressed in action. We find that, often love expresses in serving the beloved. When there are feelings, there is a greater chance of them culminating in action. However, mechanical action too, when done over a period of time, have a better chance of kindling or intensifying feelings than no action at all. We see that worship done as routine, in time, creates the worshipful attitude and devotion in the heart of the worshipper. Hence, the act of worship too has its own place of importance.
In worship, there exists the triad of the worshipper (pujaka). the altar of worship (pujya) and the act of worship (puja). Let us now explore and think about them.
Pujya: Who is the altar of worship? All of us, even those who do not believe in God, have ideals. We idolize a person, who exemplifies our ideals or a cause that personifies them. We may not use words like worship, but we do value, respect and idolize someone or the other. Such feelings do find expression in various ways.
So, whom do we respect, worship or idolize? This depends largely on what we value. We respect a person, who exemplifies or, at least to some extent has, what we value. Some give importance to age, and so respect elders. Others value wealth, power, health, knowledge, character, talent, nature and so on, and, therefore, respect the rich, powerful, healthy, knowledgeable, virtuous, talented and natural beauty respectively. The more we find the characteristic we value in an individual, the more we respect him/her. (The lack of these in some, may also cause disrespect). Imagine one who has all the characteristics we value and give importance to, and that too, in infinite measure. Would we not have the highest respect for him/her? Would he/she not become the most worshipful?
Isvara - the Lord is Himself infinite, and has infinite virtues. (Rama ananta, ananta guna). The existence of the part itself proves the existence of the Infinite (ananta). The water in all the taps proves the existence of water in the overhead tank. God is the infinite treasure house of all virtues. An individual's virtues may be acquired, cultivated, inherited, earned or given up. They increase, decrease and sometimes disappear altogether. However, the virtues of the Lord are inherent. They are His very nature, inseparable from Him (abhinna) and hence, ever present in Him.
The Truth (God) is One, but is spoken of by the wise in many ways, (ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti), He is One, His names and forms are many. One of His names is Siva - the Auspicious One. As the Lord, He is the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the world. People generally call Lord Siva, the destroyer of the universe. However, the three functions go on simultaneously in creation. Once the mother scolded the child, "Why did you break the glass?" The child replied "Look at it this way. I've created many glass pieces!" Siva is the one who blesses (anugraha) and controls (nigraha) all beings. He is Rudra-the terrible, who terrifies the evil. Rudra is one, who makes others weep (rodayati iti). The evil cry, when they are punished, and the devoted cry, when their hearts are filled with love for the Lord. Siva is the formless Truth (Brahman), who alone assumes all the forms of the world. He is the omniscient, omnipotent Lord (sarvajna sarvasaktiman). He presides over all actions and makes sure, that their results reach people in accordance with the law of Karma (karmadhyaksa karmaphaladata). He symbolises faith (‘bhavani sankarau vande sraddha visvasa rupinau' - Tulasi Ramayana). He is both, an ideal devotee (of Sri Rama) and the altar of devotion. He is seen both, as a meditator and the One meditated upon. He is easily pleased (asutosa). He fulfills our desires and destroys them as well. Being the very source of all knowledge, He is also the first Teacher - adi guru. (vande bodhamayam nityam gurum sankara rupinam-I bow down to Siva, who is the eternal Knowledge incarnate Guru.' - (Tulasi Ramayana), He is the initiator of the teacher-taught lineage (Guru-sisya parampara) through which all knowledge, especially spiritual knowledge, is transmitted from beginningless time till now. We are the blessed recipients of this same knowledge.
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