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–

 

 

Efficacy of Vishnu Sahasranamam (Post No.2868)

vishnu sahas

Article written by S.NAGARAJAN

 

Date: 5 June 2016

 

Post No. 2868

 

Time uploaded in London :–  6-32 AM

 

( Thanks for the Pictures)

 

DON’T REBLOG IT AT LEAST FOR A WEEK!  DON’T USE THE PICTURES; THEY ARE COPYRIGHTED BY SOMEONE.

 

(for old articles go to tamilandvedas.com OR swamiindology.blogspot.com)

 

Contact swami_48@yahoo.com

 

 

 

  1. Nagarajan

Sri_Vishnu_Sahas_4f3cd95c2dbd5

Sri Kulkarni, an ardent devotee of Vishnu is collecting all information regarding Vishnusahasramam.

 

He contacted me for any useful information

 

For the benefit of all, LIFCO, Chennai -17, have published Vishnusahasramam along with  meaning. The efficacy of Vishnusahasramam has been given in detail in this TAMIL book.

(The price is also very reasonable and all can buy this easily)

 

I am giving below one portion of the above details for the benefit of all.

 

Education : to gain knowledge

Vedo veda-vidha-vyango vedango veda-vit-kavih ||  Sloka 14

 

To cure stomach ache

Bhrajishnu rbhojanam bhokta sahishnu rajaga-dadijah |   Sloka 16

 

For enthusiasm

Ateendriyo maha-mayo mahotsaho maha-balah ||   Sloka 18

 

To get shukshma buddhi

Maha-buddhir-maha-veeryo maha-shaktir-maha-dyuthih |   Sloka 19

 

Eys sight improvement

Sahasra-moordha vishvatma saha-srakshah saha-srapat ||    Sloka 24

 

To gain great respect

Satkarta satkruta-sadhuh jahnur-narayano narah ||  Sloka 26

 

To fufill one’s desires

Siddhar-thah siddha-sankalpah siddhida siddhi-sadhanah ||  Sloka 27

 

For Marriage

Kamaha-kama-krutkantah kamah kama-pradah prabhuh ||  Sloka 32

 

Great job

Vyava-sayo vyava-sthanah sams-thanah sthanado dhruvah | Sloka 42

 

To get over Fear of Deatth

Vaikunthah purushah pranah pranadah pranavah pruthuh | Sloka 44

Sri_Vishnu_Sahas_4c53f65c0d0a3

To gain Wealth

Artho-nartho maha-kosho maha-bhogo maha-dhanah || Sloka 46

 

To have good mind (Buddhi)

Sarva-darshee nivru-tatma sarva-gno gnana muttamam ||  Sloka 48

 

To have Ananda (pleasure)

Anando nandano nandah satya-dharma trivi-kramah ||  Sloka 56

 

For Kshemam

Anivarthee nivru-ttatma samkshepta kshema-krutchhivah | Sloka 64

 

To get away from all Shoka (pain, difficulties)

Bhooshayo bhooshano bhooti vishoka shoka-nashanah ||  Sloka 67

 

To cure diseases

Poornah poorayita punyah punya-keerti rana-mayah ||  Sloka 73

 

For Liberation (Moksha)

Sadgati satkruti-satta sadbhooti satpa-rayanah | Sloka 75

 

Chhatru jayam (Victory over enemies)

Sulabha suvratah siddhah shatruji chhatru-tapanah | Sloka 88

 

To distance oneself from all accidents

Amoorti ranagho chintyo bhaya-krudbhaya-nashanah ||  Sloka 89

 

For Mangalam

Svastida svasti-krut svasti svastibhuk svasti-dakshinah ||   Sloka 96

 

To avoid bad dreams

Uttarano dushkrutiha punyo dussvapna nashanah | Sloka 99

 

For Papa nasam

Devakee nandana srashta kshiteeshah papa-nashanah ||  Sloka 106

 

Our sastras/ scriptures like Siddhisaram  karma vibhaga samuchchayam etc have prescribed Vishnusahasranamam for  pariharams ( to remove various illness/thoshas)

 

We will see some of them in my next article.

 

****************

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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