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QUIZ - DIVINE DISCOURSES

ON LORD SHIVA



Right answer on your 1st attempt
3 Points
Right answer on your 2nd attempt
2 Points
Right answer on your 3rd attempt
1 Point

We begin the quiz with a poem on Lord Shiva as described by Bhagavan Baba.

He has abundant hair with the moon adorning His head,
The cool water of the Ganga flowing between the matted locks,
With His radiant eye of wisdom in the middle of the forehead,
And the purple neck gleaming like the sheen of a blackberry.
He wears serpent bracelets and a snake belt,
His entire body is smeared with Vibhuti,
His forehead is adorned with a kumkum dot,
His ruddy lips glow with the juice of the betel,
Diamond-studded gold earrings dangle from His ears
And His whole swarthy body glows with divine effulgence.

(Telugu Poem)

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1. In His Divine Mahashivarathri Discourse from 2007, Swami narrates the story of how Lord Shiva’s unkempt external appearance could not dissuade Goddess Parvathi from marrying Him. “Once Lord Easwara was absorbed in intense tapas (penance). Parvathi wished to marry Him, but her parents tried to dissuade her. They started to reason with her, describing Shiva's form thus: ‘Oh! Gowri! You are very young and Sambashiva is old; He has matted locks and wears a tiger skin; He rides a bull and is constantly on the move; He is adorned with snakes; how did you court Him? Don't you know all this? He has no house of His own and sleeps in the cremation ground.’

Why did Parvathi not pay any heed to all this reasoning?





2. In a Divine Discourse from 1997, Swami shares with us the story of how a prayer from a pure heart to Lord Shiva can save a devotee even from the hands of the Lord of Death! “Markandeya was allotted only a lifespan of sixteen years. The mother looked after him all those sixteen years as the apple of her eye. The father protected him from all dangers from any quarter. The teacher took care of his education. But none of them had any control over his lifespan. The lad realized this truth. Hence he placed his reliance on God regarding his destiny.

A few days before he was to complete his sixteenth year, he went to the Shiva temple and prayed: ‘Oh Lord! My parents have protected my body. The teacher looked after my education. Bur God alone can protect my life. Hence, make me one with You.’ Placing his head on the Shivalinga, hugging the linga, with both his arms, he declared: ‘Eeshvara! You are my sole refuge!’ Saying so, he closed his eyes. When the sixteen years were over, the Lord of Death arrived and cast his noose to take the life of Markandeya.”

Why was the Lord of Death not able to take Markandeya’s life?

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3. In a Divine Discourse from 1961, Swami narrates the story of how a spiritual seeker attained Realization from Lord Shiva. “There was once a sadhaka (spiritual seeker) who approached a guru for guidance. The guru gave him an idol of Vishnu and also necessary instructions for daily worship. But the saadhaka found that, even after some months of meticulous puja, he did not get any spiritual reward or elation. So, he reported his dissatisfaction and the guru gave him another idol, this time of Shiva and asked him to have another try. The disciple came after another six months demanding another idol, because even Shiva had failed him. This time, he got a Durga idol, which he duly installed in his domestic shrine. The two previous idols were standing, dust-ridden and neglected, on the window-sill.

One day, while Durga-puja (ritual worship of Goddess Durga) was going on, the disciple found that the perfumed smoke from the incense-stick was being wafted by the breeze towards the idol of Shiva on the window-sill. He got wild that the ungrateful stonehearted God who was deaf to his powerful entreaties should get the perfume intended for his latest idol! So, he took a piece of cloth and tied it round the face of Shiva, closing up the nostrils that were inhaling the perfume. Just at that moment, to his immense surprise Shiva appeared in His splendour and Glory before the sadhaka! The man was dumb-founded. He did not know how the ill-treatment had induced Shiva to give him darshan. But, what had really happened?”





4.In a Divine Mahashivaratri Discourse from 1962, Swami narrates a story of how Lord Shiva proves to Goddess Parvathi that God could respond if one cries longingly even for a physical mother: “Even if you are not able to conceive the idea of a Lord or a God, you must be able to know what Love is by experience, is it not? You have experienced the love of your parents, of a friend, of a partner or of a brother or sister, or towards your own children. That love is itself a spark of God, who is all Love, who is all the Love in all the worlds at all times. Call upon your mother and even if your physical mother cannot come to your rescue, some Mother or the Supreme Mother herself will certainly hurry towards you.

There is a fine story to illustrate this: One dark night when Shiva and Parvathi were journeying through the sky, they saw a man perched on the branch of a tree, about to fall on the ground through sheer exhaustion of limbs. Parvathi pleaded on his behalf and wanted that Shiva should save him; and Shiva preferred that She should save him, instead!”

What did Lord Shiva and Parvathi decide to do then?





5. In a Divine Discourse from 1961, Swami narrates a story of how Lord Shiva tested a devotee’s faith: “When a house is to be certified as habitable, the engineer tests the foundations. The Lord too tests the foundations whether Faith is true and deep. Shiruthondar, a devotee of Shiva was also similarly tested by Shiva who came as a jangama (ascetic). When Shiruthondar showed that he had no attachment to the world, Shiva revealed Himself and said, ‘Worship Me as your own Self’.”

What did Shiruthondar say in reply?





6. In a Divine Discourse from 1977, Swami narrates a very touching story of how compassionate Lord Shiva is towards a truthful act of service: “Millions come to Kashi as pilgrims. It is said that those who see Kashi will not be born again. One day at Kailasha, Parvathi asked Shiva, ‘Lord, I have heard it said that all those who visit Kashi, where there is a celebrated shrine for Your worship, will attain Kailasha and stay on there in Your presence. Millions are coming to Kashi, but is this place big enough to accommodate all of them?’ Shiva replied, ‘All the millions cannot come to Kailasha. I shall design a play and make clear to you who among the millions can come here. You, too, have a role to act. Do as I direct you to.’

Parvathi became an old hag of 80 and Shiva a rickety old man of 90. The old woman had the old man on her lap, right at the main entrance of the famous Shiva shrine of Vishweshwara, and she implored in piteous tones to the pilgrims who passed by on their way to the temple.”

What did Goddess Parvathi say to the passing pilgrims?





7. In a Divine Discourse from 1997, Swami shares with us a story of how Lord Shiva (Eshvara) readily grants whatever boon His devotee prays for without considering the consequences: “Once upon a time there was an asura (demon) named Gajaasura. He performed a penance. Eshvara, pleased with his penance, offered him as a boon whatever he desired. Eshvara is a deity who is easily propitiated. Hence He is known as Bhola Shankara. When He is pleased with a devotee, He gives the devotee whatever he asks.”

What was the boon that the demon Gajaasura desired from Lord Shiva?





8. In a Divine Discourse from 1961, Swami narrates yet another amazing story of how Lord Shiva used the formidable and fearful Planet Shani (Saturn) to prove that nothing can avert Divine Will: “I shall tell you the story of Ishwara Sankalpa (Will of the Supreme Lord) and how nothing could stop its realization. Shiva was every day discoursing on Kailaasa to sages and saints and Devas in the evening hours. One day, Parvathi suggested that a Hall be constructed for accommodating them all, so that they could all listen without being affected by the constant fog and mist and cold winds. Shiva did not have the Sankalpa to put it up; still, Parvathi insisted that her idea must be implemented. The astrologer who was consulted before the foundations were dug said: ‘The stars forecast that the Hall will be consumed by fire, since Shani (Saturn) is not propitious from the very beginning.’ The Hall was completed, nevertheless. Now, that set a problem for the Couple.”

What did Lord Shiva propose to do about it?





9. In a Divine Mahashivaraathri Discourse from 1978, Swami tells us: “Shivaraathri is celebrated in all Shiva temples; Shrishailam is a particularly famous temple of Shiva. There is a fine story told about this festival at Shrishailam. At the foot of the Shrishailam range of hills there is a village, where a boy of nine years named Baala Raamanna, attended primary school. He learned from his friends at school that their sisters and brothers-in-law were coming to their homes in order to attend the Shivaraathri celebrations on the Shrishailam Hills.

Raamanna came home and wanted that his mother should send his sister and brother-in-law too to the festival. His mother told him that he had no sister and, therefore, no brother-in-law. But he would not listen. He said he must have a sister and a brother- in-law like his friends. So his mother just to quieten him, said, ‘You have a sister and a brother-in-law, but they are in the temple on the Shrishailam. Their names are Bhramaraamba and Mallikaarjuna.’ She gave him the names by which Shiva and His consort are known - Bhramaraamba meaning 'bee' and Mallikaarjuna meaning the 'white jasmine.' These names are very apt, because the consort draws inspiration, instruction and wisdom from the Lord even as the bee draws its sustenance from the jasmine flowers. When he was told that his sister was in the temple on the Shrishailam, Raamanna insisted that he would go and invite his sister and brother-in-law to come home and stay there for some time. He wanted to take some presents for them, but his mother said that they were far too rich and that younger members of the family should not present anything to the elders. The mother sent the boy with a neighbour who was going to the temple to see the festival. She gave him some money so that he could get presents for the boy. Raamanna hastened up the hill and rushed into the temple, crying ‘Sister...Brother-in-law,’ and fell at the feet of the idol of Bhramaraamba. He held the idol in embrace and began dragging it, wanting it to accompany him. He clasped the idol of Mallikaarjuna and would not leave it. At last the priests in the temple drove him away as a mad boy.”

What act of Raamanna appeased Lord Shiva and His Consort enough to go to his house?





10. In a Divine Discourse from 1995, Swami shares with us the story of the result of the effect of the intense love that Lord Shiva bestowed on Nandi (His Divine Bull) when he was put to test, thereby redeeming his life: “Shiva and His consort Parvathi were playing a game of dice. For any game there has to be an umpire, who has to declare who is the winner. Shiva and Parvathi agreed to have Nandi (the divine bull) as the umpire. Nandi is a favourite of Shiva, as he is Shiva's vehicle. Although Shiva lost the game, Nandi declared Him the winner.

It is stated that Parvathi was indignant over Nandi's partiality for Shiva and cursed him that he should die from an incurable disease. Thereupon Nandi fell at the feet of Parvathi and pleaded for forgiveness. ‘Mother! Forgive me. Should I not show at least this amount of gratitude to one who is my Master? Is it not humiliating for me to declare that my Master has lost the game? To uphold his honour I no doubt uttered a lie. But am I to be punished with such severity for so small an offence?’ Nandi prayed for forgiveness in this manner.”

How was Lord Shiva’s Nandi able to atone for his sins?






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- Heart2Heart Team


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Vol 7 Issue 02 - FEBRUARY 2009
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