Why did Hindu Gods lose their Heads? (Post No.4420)

Written by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 21 NOVEMBER 2017

 

Time uploaded in London- 21–04

 

 

Post No. 4420

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.

 

 

Why did Lord Ganesh lose his head?

 Why did Lord Vishnu lose his head?

Why did Lord Brahma lose his head?

Why did Daksha lose his head?

Why did Bhrigu lose his head?

Daksha got goat’s head!

We have various versions of Daksha’s fire sacrifice in the Puranas and epics. In one of the versions Bhrigu loses his head. In another version Daksha himself lost his head. All this happened when he refused to invite Lord Siva for the sacrifice. Siva married Daksha’s daughter Sati.  Siva became angry and destroyed the Yaga. He decapitated Daksha and threw his head into fire. Later Siva was propitiated and he couldn’t find Daksha’s head. So he replaced it with that of a goat.

(We have goat headed figures in Indus valley civilisation)

 

Ganesh got Elephant’s Head

Ganesa is the god of wisdom and remover of obstacles. There is a variety of legends accounting for his elephant’s head. When his mother Parvati proudly asked Saturn to look at him he looked at him. Immediately Ganesa’s head was burnt to ashes. Brahma told Parvati in her distress to replace the head with  whatever she finds in the first place. Since she found only an elephant’s head , it was fixed on Ganesa’s head.

Another story is that Ganesh was guarding the bath room door of Parvati. Siva was refused permission. In his rage he cut off the head . When Parvati felt sad, Siva replaced it with an elephant’s head just to pacify her.

 

Brahma lost his head for lying

Again there are different versions about Brahma losing his head. One point is common in all these stories. Brahma had five heads and Siva also had five heads. And Brahma lost one. When Parvati got confused and went near Brahma thinking it was Siva, Lord Siva became angry and cut off one of the five heads to avoid future confusion.

 

Another version is Siva decapitated one of the 5 heads of Brahma, because he spoke disrespect fully. Now Brahma has only four heads.

 

Another version is that he was looking at his daughter Satarupa with bad intention and his head was cut off as a punishment.

 

All these Head losing stories are symbolic. They were told to illustrate certain points.

Why did Vishnu lose his Head?

There is a strange story of Vishnu losing head in Satapata Brahmana:

Satapata Brahmana (SB) belongs to the White (Sukla) Yajur Veda (Vajasaneyi Samhita). It consists of 100 sections (sata+path) and so it is known as the Satapata Brahmana. This is the most important Brahmana (SB) because it deals with various fire sacrifices, both minor and major. Most of the stories told in the Brahmana re symbolic. One of the stories is about Vishnu and ants.

The 14th book contains a legend concerning a contention among the gods in which Vishnu came off victorious. So it is customary to say ‘Vishnu is the luckiest (Sreshta) of the gods’ or ‘Vishnu is the most excellent of the gods’. Vishnu has brought into prominence for the first time. Earlier the legend of his three strides was known. The three stride episode is mentioned in the Satapata Brahmana also. Later the Puranas shifted this to the Vamana (Trivikrama) Avatar.

 

When Indra came to know that Vishnu won, he struck off his (Vishnu’s)  head in jealousy, says the SB. There is another version :-

 

The gods sent forth ants to gnaw the bow string of Vishnu. They did it out of jealousy. When Vishnu was standing leaning on the bended bow they sent the ants. They thought once the ants cut off the string, the bow will strike on Vishnu and knock him down. The string snapped as expected and sprang upwards, severed his (Vishnu’s) head from the body. The same legend appears in Taittiriya Aranyaka as well.

 

–Subham–

 

 

SIX DOORS TO BRAHMAN (Post No.4338)

Written by London Swaminathan

 

Date: 26 October 2017

 

Time uploaded in London- 16-31

 

 

Post No. 4338

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.

 

Brahmana literature in prose which followed the poems in Vedas have many mysteries like the Vedas. A lot of research—rather than research—intuition of great saints will help us to understand the mysteries.

 

Here are some curious passages from the Satapata Brahmana:

“There are six doors to Brahma(n), viz. Agni, Vayu, the Waters, the Moon, Lightning (Indra) and the Sun. He who sacrifices with a burnt offering arrives by Agni, as the door to Brahma; and having so arrived, he attains to a union with Brahma and abides in the same sphere with him.

 

 

“When he performs the Viasvadeva offerings, then he becomes Agni and attains union with Agni and to co-existence in his world…. and when he performs the Sakha-medha offerings, then he becomes Indra and attains to union with Indra and to co-existence in his world – Satapata Brahmana 2-6-4-8

A man who reads the Vedas in a particular manner is “freed from dying again and attains to a sameness of nature with Brahma. Even if he cannot recite with much power, let him read one sentence relating to the gods”– Satapata Brahmana 9-5-6-9

“The man who knows this, that the sun never sets, enjoys union and sameness of nature with him and abides in the same sphere—Aitareya Brahmana3-4-4

DOOR TO HEAVEN

In the Sat.Brah(6-6-2-4), it is said that the door of heaven (Swarga Loka) is situated in the north-eastern regions; while by that which the heaven of the Fathers is entered lies to the south-east (13-8-1-5).

 

In a legend in Sat.Brah (11-6-1-6), it is related that Bhrigu, son of Varuna, visited, by his father’s command, the four points of the compass, where he saw men being cut into piece and eaten by other men, who when questioned by Bhrigu, declared they were revenging on their victims the treatment which they had received at their hands in the other world (earth). These victims are allegorically explained in the Brahmana as representing the trees, animals, plants and waters employed in sacrifice.

The idea of rebirth or transmigration of soul is in our Upanishads and Brahmanas.

“The spring, assuredly comes to life again out of the winter, for out of the one the other is born again; therefore he who knows this is indeed born again in the world -1-5-3-14

 

The Mahabharata gives the stories of previous births of several individuals. The Puranas are all replete with such stories. The idea of re-incrnation is one which lives deep in the Hindu mind. Hindu philosophers have held this doctrine for ages past, and the chief object which the Hindu shastras have in view is, is to obtain emancipation from the series of Re incarnations which every soul by its actions, is heir to . Every Hindu believes in the doctrine and our females are not behind in their beliefs.

According to a very ancient conception, the soul ascends to the abodes of the blessedon the wings of the air, of the wind, having itself changd into an aerial from.

“Whoever departs from this world, knowing this, goes with his voice to fire (Agni), with his eye to the Sun (Aditya), with his mind (manas) to the moon (Soma) with his ear to the regions, with his breath (prana) to the wind (Vayu). Having attained the nature of these and become any one of these deities that he desires, he rests (10-3-3-8)

When the voice of the departed soul goes to fire, his breath to the wind, his eye to the sun, his mind to the moon, his hearing to the regions, his body to the earth, his soul to the ether, the hairs of his head to the trees, his blood and his seminal fluid to the waters  — Where then is the spirit?(15-6-2-13)

 

The rays of him who shines (the Sun) are the pious. The ligt which is above is Prajapati or the heavenly world (1-9-3-10)

The stars are the lights of the practisers of holy acts who go to heaven (6-5-4-8)

 

The earth is macrocosm and our body is microcosm is developed from this. Greeks copied it from us.

 

The stars are the lights of the holy people is in Vana Parva of Mahabharata as well.

 

–Subham–

 

“If There is No Food, Let Brahma Perish!”

guimet brahma from cambodia
Statue of Brahma from Cambodia at Guimet Museum, Paris, France.

By London Swaminathan;
Post No. 1002; Date:25th April 2014.

((Please read post No.860 “ Reference to Brahma in Purananuu- by Dr R.Nagaswamy posted here on 23-2-14.))

Hindu poets are far ahead of communists! Communists in India raise slogans only against private industrialists and big companies in their meetings and processions. But Hindu poets raised slogans against Brahma, God of Creation, for the disparities in the society. What they meant is that inequality must be done away with. In India, if some poet quotes God’s name that means the highest emphasis and not that God of creation should perish.

Tamil poet Valluvar, who lived at least 1500 years ago, said ‘Let the creator of the world (Brahma) Perish’!
Tirukkural 1062 of Tiru Valluvar:

May the creator perish wandering about if he has pre ordained begging too, as a mean of existence.
Mr C Rajagopalachari, First Governor General of India, commented on this Kural: “ If the world were so ordered that one of its inhabitants lives in dependence and on the mercy of others, the Creator would indeed deserve the curse of becoming a wandering beggar himself”.

A Sangam age poet says Brahma was uncultured! (Puram 194:5) because we could see in one house women are happy because a wedding is going to take place and another house had a deserted look because of a death in the family. Hasn’t the Creator any sense? So do good things and avoid bad things in life.

A Buddhist poet bursts out in fierce anger:
He who has eyes can see the sickening sight;
Why does not Brahma set his creatures right?
If his wide power no limits can restrain,
Why is his hand so rarely spread to bless?
Why are his creatures all condemned to pain?
Why does he not to all give happiness?
Why do fraud, lies and ignorance prevail?
Why triumphs falsehood – truth and justice fail?

(The Jataka Stories; translated by Cowell and Rouse, vol.6 (1907, p.110)

Bharati’s Outburst
But Subramanya Bharathi, greatest of the modern Tamil poets, said let us destroy the world even if one has to go without food! He was revolutionary in his thoughts, words and deeds.

brahma3,cholas,1050
Brahma statue of Choza Period.

Krishna says it is sin to cook for one’s own sake:-
Lord Krishna said in Bhagavad Gita, It is sin to eat without giving it to others:
“ But those who cook for their own sake truly eat sin”—(Gita 3-13)
Bhagavad Gita Commentators refer here to the Pancha Yajnas (Five Types of offering) that Hindu householders have to perform every day:

1.Deva Yajna: Offering to Gods by way of Pujas
2.Brahma Yajna: Studying Scriptures
3.Pitru Yajna: Offering to ancestors (water oblations)
4. Manushya Yajna: Feeding the poor or any guest that comes to your door step
5.Bhuta Yajna: Feeding all creatures from Elephant to ant, particularly cows.

Manu on Householder’s duty:
Manu, the Hindu Law Giver, says in 3-77 that the people who are in three stages (Student, Pensioner and acetic) depends on householders (grihasthas) and in another rule 3-76, he says:

From food creatures come into being;
From rain is the birth of food;
From sacrifice rain comes into being;
And sacrifice is born of work

Annad bhavanti bhutani
Parjanyad anna sambhavah
Yajnad bhavati parjanyo
Yajna karma samudbhavak (The Laws of Manu 3-76)

Valluvar even spoke about violence against who refuse to give: “Crush them like sugarcane; Twist their arms and punch on the jaw till it breaks!”

Kural 1077:
The mean will not even shake off what sticks to their hands to any but those who would break their jaws with their clenched fists.

Kural 1078:
Good men of virtue give charity at the mere call for help, but ignoble ones,
Will give only when crushed like the sugarcane.

At a mere word the good will melt; but the mean, like the sugarcane, yieled only under pressure.

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Hindu God with 1000 Heads

Picture Shanmuka Temple, Bangaluru

Head Count: 3 for Trisiras, 4 for Brahma, 5 for Siva, 6 for Skanda, 10 for Ravana, 1000 for God; Why?

Purushasuktam is one of the most popular Vedic hymns. It is in the Tenth Mandala of the oldest scripture in the world Rig Veda. It is recited in almost all the temple and domestic rituals. Orthodox Hindus who have studied Vedas recite it every day. The first few verses describe the omnipresence and omnipotence of the God

“ The Purusha (Supreme Being) who has thousands of heads, thousands of eyes and thousands of feet enveloped the earth on all sides and stood beyond it in ten directions of space. All this is Purusha only. All that has been and all that will be. And he is the Lord of Immortality which grows by food”.

In short he is all pervading. He was there and he will be there. He is the giver of immortality. God is projected in cosmic form.

Four Faces of Brahma

Brahma is the creator of the universe, the father of gods and men and he is the lord of wisdom from whose heads the four Vedas said to have sprung. Brahma is worshipped as the first member of the Hindu trinity. He is depicted with four Faces/Heads and four arms, holding a sceptre, Akshamala/rosary, Vedas and a bow. Four faces represent Four Vedas Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana

Brahma originally had five heads and lost one head according to the mythology. He is called Prajapathi/Pitamaha. He created a beautiful daughter Satarupa and fell in love with her. When she walked around him he looked at her and one face grew for each direction. When she went to the sky a fifth head emerged to look at her. Brahma’s fifth head was burnt off by the fire of Siva’s third eye because he had spoken disrespectfully.

Five Faces of Lord Shiva

Shiva had many forms and formless Linga as well. His five faces are described in Vedas and Agamas. They are Satyojata, Vamadeva, Agora, Tatpurusha and Isana. Five faces/heads represent five elements and five senses. Five faced Shiva is called Panchanana Shiva and a hymn is also there. Four faces look at four different directions and the fifth looks at the sky. Each is attributed with different colour and action.

The gigantic Trimurti statue at Elephanta caves near Mumbai is actually five faced (Panchanana ) Shiva, but two faces are not carved because of its close position to rocky walls of the caves.

Six Faces of Lord Skanda

Lord Skanda, son of Shiva, is the most popular god in South India, particularly in Tamil Nadu. Six of his famous temples are there. He is projected as a god with six heads. In fact one of his names is Six Faced (Shan Muka). From Sangam Tamil age until today people have been composing poems on him. Tirumurukatrupadai is one of the Ten Lyrics of Sangam age. Nakkiran was the poet who sang the praise of the lord approximately 2000 years ago. He is describing his six faces as follows:

His faces blossom out from the hearts of devotees, practising austere Tapas

Of these, one face sheds rays of light brightening fully the world shrouded in great darkness

One face lovingly gives boons, being gladdened by the praise of his loving devotees.

One face takes care that no harm befalls the Yagnas performed by Brahmanas according to strict Vedic tradition

One face, like the full moon, spreads light in all quarters removing the doubts of Maharishis, after teaching the truths of science difficult of reach

One face performs the battle sacrifice crushing the hostile hosts, with thoughts dark with revenge and biased against them

One face smiled with joy on his young highland bride with the creeper like waist

In consonance with these various functions of these six faces

On his broad towering shoulders………………………………

Arunagiri’s Praise

Arunagirinathar, a poet of fifteenth century sang Tiruppugaz in praise of Lord Skanda. He praised Lord Murugan/Skandan with six faces as follows:

One face mounted the peacock and flew sportively

One face preached the True Knowledge to Lord Shiva

One face removed the past deeds of devotees who sang your praise

One face stoically directed the spear to pierce through the Mount Krauncha

One face that destroyed the rebellious demons

One face that came forward to marry Valli in wedlock

How come you are known as Lord with the Six Hallowed faces?

Oh Lord you are seated in the old town of Tiruannamalai, oh great one.

Inner meaning:

Sri Gopalasundaram who has translated Arunagiri’s Thiruppugaz into English gives the inner meaning for the six faces:

1.Mounting the Peacock that is my mind you fly around sportively

2.Coming as my Master, Kindly preach me the true knowledge

3.Kindly destroy all my past deeds (bad Karma)

4.Wield your spear to destroy my delusion and attachments

5.Kindly suppress my two slag: egoism and possessiveness

6.Take me over to keep me affixed to your Hallowed feet

In this manner kindly shower compassion from all your six hallowed faces, Oh, Lord Muruga.

 

Ravana: Ravana’s Ten Heads/Faces mean he had control over ten directions. He has conquered all his enemies in the ten directions. Another explanation is that he mastered Four Vedas+Six Shastras; the third explanation is that he has created an illusion that he was everywhere i.e. in all directions.

Hindus divide directions into ten. This means eight cardinal points in the compass+up and down.

Trisiras:  It means Three headed. He was the son of Twashta. Trisiras had another name Viswarupa.He was killed by Indra. Twashta then created another son Vritrasura to take revenge against Indra.

Dattatreya: There are other gods shown with many heads and they are only symbolic. Several virtues are attributed to them through each head. Dattareya is portrayed with three heads to show the three aspects of Creator, Preserver and Destroyer i.e. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Brahma from Cambodia, Paris Museum

References for Tamil Readers:

முருகனின் ஆறுமுகம், திருப்புகழ், அருணகிரிநாதர்

ஏறுமயில் ஏறி விளையாடும் முகம் ஒன்றே

ஈசருடன் ஞான மொழி பேசும் முகம் ஒன்றே

கூறுமடியார்கள் வினை தீர்த்த முகம் ஒன்றே

குன்றுருவ வேல் வாங்கி நின்ற முகம் ஒன்றே

மாறுபடு சூரரை வதைத்த முகம் ஒன்றே

வள்ளியை மணம் புணர வந்த முகம் ஒன்றே

ஆறுமுகமான பொருள் நீயருளல் வேண்டும்

ஆதி அருணாசலம் அமர்ந்த பெருமாளே.

——-

திருமுருகாற்றுப்படை (நக்கீரர்)

மாயிருள் ஞாலம் மறுவின்றி விளங்கப்

பலகதிர் விரிந்தன்று ஒருமுகம் ஒருமுகம்

ஆர்வலர் ஏத்த அமர்ந்தினிது ஒழுகி

காதலின் உவந்து வரம் கொடுத்தன்றே ஒருமுகம்

மந்திர விதியின் மரபுளி வழா அ

அந்தணர் வேள்வி ஓர்க்கும்மே  ஒருமுகம்

எஞ்சிய பொருள்களை ஏமுற நாடித்

திங்கள் போல திசை விளக்கும்மே ஒருமுகம்

செறுநர் தேய்த்து செல் சம முருகி

அறுவுகொள் நெஞ்சமொடு களம் வேட்டன்றே ஒருமுகம்

குறவர் மடமகள் கொடிபோல் நுசிப்பின்

மடவார் வள்ளியொடு நடையமர்ந்தன்றே

Picture; Shiva in Elephanta caves.

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