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Penances - from Shiva Purana

  1. Penance of Sandhya (At Chandrabhaga mountain) (For self purification)
  2. Penance of Devi Sati (For getting Lord Shiva as husband)
  3. Penance of Devi Parvati (At Shringi Tirtha later known as Gauri Shikhara) (For getting Lord Shiva as husband)

Penance of Sandhya (later Devi Arundhati) - from Shiva Purana:

Devi Arundhati Shiva Purana (Rudra Samhita - Sati Khanda 5): Introduction: Sandhya was the daughter of Lord Brahma born from his mind. She was looked at with lustful eyes by Brahma and also by other sages due to the influence of Kamadeva. She inturn also had passionate feelings. Therefore she decided to give up her body by tapas and also establish a tradition that no new born will have lustful feelings.

Going to Chandrabhaga mountain and river: Sandhya went to Chandrabhaga mountain for performing penance. It was also the origin of river Chandrabhaga and on the bank of river Chandrabhaga.

Vashistha instructing: To make her penance successful, Lord Brahma told sage Vashistha to go to the Chandrabhaga mountain and instruct her in tapas. Sage Vashistha went to her taking the form of a brahmachari luminous with tapas and enquired about her purpose. She revealed her purpose and also sought instructions from the brahmachari for performing tapas. The brahmachari instructed her to meditate on Lord Shiva and repeat the mantra "Om Namah Shankaraya Om". He also told her to observe silence and take bath while worshipping Hara. During the first and second sasthakalas she should only take water. During the third sasthakala she should observe complete fast.

The tapas: Receiving the instructions from the brahmachari, Sandhya started performing tapas on the bank of Brihallohita lake. She meditated on Lord Shiva and recited the mantra given to her. In this way four yugas elapsed.

Shiva giving darshan: After four yugas have elapsed in tapas, Lord Shiva displayed His form to her both from within as well as outside on the sky. Sandhya became nervous thinking about how to pray to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva entered her heart and bestowed divine knowledge, divine speech and divine vision. Becoming endowed with divine knowledge Sandhya eulogized Lord Shiva.

Shiva granting boon: Hearing her eulogy, Shiva became pleased and told her to ask for a boon. Sandhya asked the first boon that no living being should have lustful feelings immediately after birth. She asked the second boon that no woman in the three worlds should match her. She asked the third boon that none of her creations should be lustful. If any person (apart from her husband) looked at her with lust, he will go towards his own downfall and become an eunuch. Shiva granted these boons and also told her that her husband would be a great ascetic and will live with her for three kalpas.

Giving up her body: Sandhya decided to give up her present body in tapas. For this Lord Shiva told her to go to the place on the bank of river Chandrabhaga where sage Medhatithi was performing the great Jyotistoma yagya spanning twelve years, and then enter into the fire of the yagya. Shiva told her that she will be invisible while entering the fire. Thereafter she will be born as the daughter of sage Medhatithi. While entering the fire she should remember the boons sought by her. As per the instruction of Lord Shiva Sandhya gave up her body by entering into the fire of yagya. While entering she sought the brahmachari (sage Vashitha in that form) as her husband.

Birth as daughter of Medhatithi: At the end of the yagya, sage Medhatithi got a girl from within the fire whose complexion was like molten gold. Sage Medhatithi delightfully took up the girl and gave her the name Arundhati. The girl started growing up as the daughter of sage Medhatithi at Tapasaranya on the bank of river Chandrabhaga.

Marriage with sage Vashistha: When she grew up, Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva married her to sage Vashistha. A huge marriage ceremony was held. From the hands of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha, the water that was dropped formed seven rivers like Shipra etc.

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Penance of Devi Sati - from Shiva Purana

Devi worshipping Shiva Shiva Purana (Rudra Samhita - Sati Khanda 15): Devi Sati performing Nanda Vrata: Devi Sati performed Nanda Vrata to get Lord Shiva as her husband. She worshipped Lord Shiva with various food items and flowers at home with great devotion and concentrated mind on the following days:
- On Ashwina on the Nanda Tithi
- On Kartika Chaturdasi
- On Margashirsha Ashtami
- On Pausha Shukla Saptami
- On Magha Poornima
- On Chaitra Shukla Chaturdasi
- On Magha Shukla Tritiya
- On Jyestha Poornima
- On Ashadha Shukla Chaturdasi
- On Shravana Ashtami and Chaturdasi
- On Bhadra Krishna Trayodashi

Shiva bestowing boon: After completion of Her Vrata, Brahma, Vishnu and other devas went to the abode of Shiva and requested Him to accept Sati as His wife. Shiva agreed and finally appearing before Sati told Her to ask for a boon. Overpowered by shyness, Sati told Shiva to bestow a boon according to His liking. Shiva said: "Become my wife".

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Penance of Devi Parvati - from Shiva Purana

Penance of Devi Parvati Shiva Purana (Rudra Samhita - Parvati Khanda 22 & later): Parvati taking permission for penance: After Shiva burnt Kamadeva and vanished from the place, Devi Parvati decided to win Shiva through penance. She went to her parents with maids Jaya and Vijaya to get permission for penance. Father Himavan agreed but mother Mena initially refused. Since Mena initially refused, Parvati got the name Uma. However later, seeing Her sorrowful, Mena agreed to her tapas.

Preparation for tapas: Maids Jaya and Vijaya accompanied Parvati to the place of penance. Parvati took off her ornaments and wore bark garment, deer skin and girdle of munja rope. She went to the place where Ganga had descended and where Shiva burnt Kamadeva. She started performing penance at Shringi Tirtha which later came to be known as Gauri Shikhara. To test the result of her tapas, She planted various auspicious plants. Performing Bhoomi Shuddhi (purification of ground), She created a Vedi (platform for tapas).

The tapas: Restraining mind and all the senses, She started performing tapas. During grishma (summer), She lighted fire all around and sitting in the middle continuously performed japa. During varsha (rainy season), She performed tapas sitting on bare rock which was drenched. During shita (winter), She sat within the water and continued Her tapas with great devotion day and night without taking food. Like this She continued to perform tapas reciting the Panchakshara mantra. During leasure, She watered the plants and trees along with Her maids and extended hospitality to others. Her mind was peaceful amidst all variations of climate and events. Initially She consumed food and later leaves. Then, She stopped consuming even leaves and continued tapas by fasting. Since She discarded even leaves and continued to exist, hence the devas called her as Aparna. Then standing on one leg She continued to recite the Panchakshara mantra. Thus three thousand years elapsed in the tapovana, in the place where Hara performed tapas for sixty thousand years. All the sages reached there to see Her tapas and praised Her.

Himavan trying to dissuade Her: In the meantime Himavan tried to dissuade Parvati from continuing Her tapas, but Parvati was firm. She made Her tapas more severe.

The effect of Her tapas: Due to Her severe tapas, all beings became heated and suffered. The devas and other celestial beings went to Brahma to know the reason. Lord Brahma told them the cause. Knowing that the entire universe will be burnt by Her tapas, Brahma and other devas went to Vishnu, and they together went to Shiva. Shiva agreed to marry Parvati.

Saptarshis testing Parvati: Shiva sent the Saptarshis to test the firmness of Parvati. The Saptarshis tried to dissuade Parvati in various ways, but found that She was firm in Her resolve.

Shiva testing Parvati and revealing Himself: Then Shiva taking the form of an old brahmana tested Parvati in various ways. Finally Shiva revealed His true form to Parvati, bringing the penance to fulfillment.

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Bharatavarsha - The Land of Gods and Sages:

1. Stotras by Deity:
Initial: Ganesha - Hanuman - Gurudeva - Gayatri
Tridevas: Brahma - (Vishnu - Narasimha - Rama - Krishna) - Shiva
Tridevis: Saraswati - (Lakshmi - Tulasi - Bhoomi) - Parvati
Others: Murugan - Surya - Ganga - Yamuna - Narmada - Others
Final: Vedas - Brahman

2. Pilgrimages by Deity:
Initial: Ganesha
Tridevas: Brahma - (Vishnu - Narasimha - Rama - Krishna) - Shiva
Tridevis: Saraswati - Lakshmi - (Parvati - Shakambari)
Others: Murugan - Ganga

3. Sadhana: Sadhana - Hermitages - Penances

4. Saints: Ramakrishna - Vivekananda - Ramana - Saints

5. Sacred Geography: Forests - Mountains - Rivers - Lakes

6. Puranas: Scriptures

7. Religious Life: Stotras - Puja - Pilgrimages - Festivals - Varnashramas - Samskaras - Traditions

8. Other Aspects: Sanskrit - Arts - Music - Dance - Medicine - Architecture - Astronomy

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May there be Peace in the Earth,
May there be Peace in the Water,
May there be Peace in the Plants,
May there be Peace in the Trees,
May there be Peace in the Gods in the various Worlds,
May there be Peace in Brahman,
May there be Peace in All,
May there be Peace Indeed within Peace,
Giving Me the Peace which Grows within Me,
Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.

(Shanti Mantra of Upanishad)

Preserve Nature,
And Nature will preserve Us,
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Last updated on Oct-2017

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