Master of Boons & God of Languages-Lord Shiva

Picture shows 12 ft high Shivling is bathed with milk in Thanjavur Temple ,Tamil Nadu.


 Master of Boons & God of Languages-Lord Shiva

if an ocean is made the inkpot, the branch of the Parijata tree made the pen and Goddess Saraswati embarks to write the glory of Lord (Shiva) it still will be impossible to comprehend the greatness of the Lord fully’ – Shiva Mahimna Stotra of Pushpadanta.


Shiva is known by many names and one of them is Asutosh. That means he ‘can be pleased easily’ and made happy quickly. So people found it easier to pray to Shiva and obtain a number of boons. Shiva means ‘auspicious one’. So he gave many boons for the betterment of his devotees, but yet it was left to them to use the boons in the way they wanted.


Shiva is associated with languages and grammar as well. India’s two ancient languages Sanskrit and Tamil originated from Lord Shiva. Sanskrit language follows the grammar written by Panini. Panini says that the letters and its sounds came from the beats of Shiva’s kettle drum ‘Damarukam’.  The language formula is called Maheswara Sutrani. Tamil sage Agastya is also said to have learnt Tamil from Shiva and his son Murugan/Kartikeya. 17th century Tamil poet Paranjothy Muni sang that Shiva taught Sanskrit and Tamil to both. He said that from one side of the kettle drum came Sanskrit and from the other came Tamil.


Shiva not only gave language and grammar but also helped the world by giving all the good things when the milky ocean was churned by the Devas and Demons. When 14 good things came out of the ocean, poison also came out as a by product. All were scared to death. But Shiva swallowed it to save the mankind, stopped by his wife Uma half way through his throat. His neck became bluish in colour and he was known as Neela kanta (blue necked).This is also one of his acts of mercy.


His acts of compassion were too many to narrate here. He gave Lord Vishnu his wheel called Sudarsana. This wheel is like a boomerang. It will hit the target and return to Vishnu. When Vishnu fell short of one lotus flower while he was doing Puja, he offered one of his eyes to Shiva. Shiva was pleased and gave him discuss called Sudarsana wheel.

The best example of his compassion was the boon he gave to Pasmasura. That ‘Ash demon’ asked for a boon to kill anyone by placing his hand on the head of his victims. When Shiva gave him the boon, he tried to test it on Shiva’s head. Shiva had to run for his life and ultimately rescued by Vishnu. When Vishnu came like a beautiful girl, Pasmasura fell for her. She asked him to learn dance from her and asked to put his hand on his head as part of learning Abhinaya gestures. He was killed when he put his hand on his own head forgetting the boon he got.

Another act of mercy was giving Pasupathastra to Arjuna, the hero of Mahabharata. When Shiva came in the guise of a hunter a severe fight followed and then Shiva revealed himself. Tamil Saivaite poets gave a long list of his compassionate acts in their poems Thevaram and Thiruvasagam. He favoured a person who hit him with his shoes (Kannappa Nayanar), he blessed another person who hit him with stones (Sakkiya Nayanar) and he gave Pasupata Astra to one who shot him with arrow (Arjuna). He gave ocean of milk when a boy cried for a glass of milk (Upamanyu).

Madurai has the world famous Shiva temple (Please read my post THE WONDER THAT IS MADURAI MEENAKSHI TEMPLE). Shiva’s compassionate acts are enacted in every day festival at the Madurai temple. The list is a long list of 64 Divine Games (Tiru Vilaiyadal in Tamil). Tamils are very familiar with those beautiful stories. Even birds and animals including cranes, bees, pigs, elephants, cows, monkeys, eagles, spiders, ants and snakes were blessed by him.


He favours good and bad equally. He is even called the lord of the thieves, ‘taskaranam pati’. But the inherent weaknesses in the bad people bring their own downfall. Ravana, King of Sri Lanka, was a great devotee of Shiva. But he suffered when he could not control his passions.

Wikipedia picture of Thanjavur temple

Shiva in his Nataraja form was the most attractive form. In his cosmic capacity he appears as Nataraja. As the Lord of Dance ( Nata Raja), Shiva’s steps follow the rhythm of the universal forces. He dances in the circle of fire, treading upon a dwarfish figure who is the personification of ignorance.


Hinduism is a religion where God can be your child, your lover, your lady love, your mother, your master or your servant. In other religions God is a reverential ‘HE’ who lives far away in the sky, not even a ‘SHE’. But Hindus go to the extent of poking fun about God out of intimacy and not out of disrespect. One saint called him ‘one and a half eyed’ (When he split into two in Ardhanari form, his three eyes were shared by him and Uma). Another saint challenged him asking who is clever You or me. I only gave my love, but you gave me the entire world. God is compassionate. Shiva is more compassionate.


Let us pray to HIM who gives us instant (and constant) benefits!