About the Book
It is said that even an accidental utterance of the name of Shiva destroys all one’s sins. Shiva is the supreme element, vast as the ocean. However, he can be perceived in a manifested form in the Shivalingam. Worship of the Shivalingam is the earthy worship of the cosmic Shiva.
This book contains a collection of stotras, devotional verses, created by aspirants over the ages in praise of Shiva. It also includes a simple guide to Rudrabhisheka, ceremonial worship of the Shivalingam.
Sri Shiva Stotra Mala a compilation of stotras as described in the Puranas in praise of Shiva. Shiva is that highest consciousness within us which is benevolent, eternal, beyond time, unborn, imperishable and ever-expanding. The word stotra literally means a ‘collection of mantras in praise of the supreme reality’. That state of highest consciousness has been personified as the almighty Lord Shiva, to whom these stotras are dedicated. Composed and sung by sages, seers and gods, the stotras praise Shiva with a view to propitiate him and awaken his power and grace. Sincere and heartfelt worship of Shiva brings untold grace to the lives of all.
In the Vedas, Lord Shiva has been eulogized as the source of all, and the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the universe. It is said that he cannot be seen with the eyes, but he can be experienced within heart in the form of truth and auspiciousness through meditation and surrender. Shiva is the supreme, almighty principle, and there is nothing beyond him. He is beyond happiness and sorrow, good and bad. He is the lustrous god of gods. He is easily appeased and attainable by one and all.
Shiva is the ideal yogi and the lord of yogis. His greatest, most auspicious and valuable contribution is his gift of the knowledge of yoga, bhakti, tantra, mantra and yantras, to humankind. He is the ideal and the inspiration for yoga aspirants, sannyasins and for those who seek freedom from the bondage of the world. He showers his grace on the deserving and also upon the hapless who are unable to cross the ocean of samsara, the material world. He is jagadguru, preceptor of the world.
Shiva is the god of love; he assumes the form of guru out of his supreme love for humankind. He is always engaged in the liberation of all beings, so that all may know him and thus attain the blissful state of Shiva-hood. His grace has no limit. The power of Shiva is said to have five chief functions: creation, maintenance, dissolution, concealment or diversion, and grace.
In Shiva’s appearance and form leis rich, sacred symbolism. His complexion is white, which represents the cultivation of pious thoughts and a pure and simple heart. Upon his forhead there are three lines of ash, signifying the destruction of the three impurities: anava, ego, karma, action performed with desire, and the three desires: wealth, wife and progeny; and the three cravings: recognition, the body and scriptural knowledge.
Shiva’s trident represents the three gunas or qualities of nature that we are all subject to: sattwa, luminosity; rajas, dynamism; and tamas, inertia. With a pure heart, one will attain him, he who is beyond sattwa, rajas and tamas. While we are under the influence of the gunas, however, Shiva controls and governs the universe with them.
Shiva has a damaru, hand drum, in his left hand which represents Om or pranavas, the primal seed sound, the source of all language. Shiva holds the cresents moon on his head, indicating that he has complete control over his mind and intellect. The stream of the Ganga emanating from his matted hair symbolizes the nectar of immortality. The elephant, on account of its large size, is the symbol of the egoistic nature. He wears the skin of the elephants, symbolizing his full control over the ego. He sits on a tiger-skin; the tiger is the symbol of sexual instinct, thus indicating that he has mastery over passion. He holds a deer with one of his hands, signifying that he has fully pacified the fidgety mind. The serpent coiled around his neck is the symbol of knowledge and eternity. He has the third eye on his forehead, therefor h e is known as trilochana or the three-eyed one. This eye is the symbol of jnana, wisdom.
Shiva’s nature is absolutely graceful. He is the greatest benefactor, ascetic, jnani, renunciate and orator. His majesty and glory are incomparable. To call him a destroyer is a mistake. In fact, he is the regenerator. When someone’s body becomes unfit for further evolution, either on account of sickness or old age, he destroys that body and gives a healthy, handsome new form for speedy evolution. In his benevolence, he wishes to provide the state of Shiva to one and all.
Shiva means auspiciousness or the giver of all that is auspicious. Even a little worship done with shraddha, faith, is enough to appease him. However we remember his name: rightly, wrongly, knowingly, unknowingly, with or without care, he grants the desired wish. The glory of the name of Shiva cannot be experienced through faith, devotion and japa, repetition of his name through the use of mantras. Each of his names is an inexhaustible storehouse of energy. The glory of his name is indescribable. It is said that the power inherent in the name of Lord Shiva is unfathomable.
The mind is purified through the continuous chating of Shiva stotras and remembrance of the name of Shiva. The stotras in this book are filled with good and pure thoughts and the japa of these Shiva mantras strenghthens the positive samskaras, the mental impressions. ‘As you think, so you become’, this is a psychological law. Therefor, one who cultivates positive thinking and pure thoughts develops the tendency to generate continuous positive thoughts. With the generation of continuous positive thoughts, one reaps a good character. Similarly, if one thinks of the form of Shiva, that highest reality, while chanting his stotras, one’s mind actually transforms into the form of that divinity. One, who imbibes the divine thought through continuous contemplation, becomes that divine form. One’s bhava. Feeling, and existence, becomes pure and divine.
Whoever has appeased Shiva has attained siddhi, perfection, and mukti, liberation. Ravana, the great demon-king of the Ramayana, appeased Shiva with Shiva Tandava Stotra. Pushpadanta propitiated Shiva with Shiva Mahimas Stotras. The glory of Shiva stotras is indescribable, thus everybody ought to sing them. Those who do so will receive his grace and his blessings, not in the unknown future, but right now, in this very moment.
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