Zitierweise / cite as:
Somadeva <11. Jhdt. n. Chr.>: Kathāsaritsāgara : der Ozean der Erzählungsströme : ausgewählte Erzählungen / übersetzt und erläutert von Alois Payer. -- 2. Buch I, Welle 1. -- 1. Vers 1 -3: Anrufung von Śiva, Pārvatī, Gaṇeśa und Sarasvatī. -- Fassung vom 2006-10-26. -- http://www.payer.de/somadeva/soma021.htm
Erstmals publiziert: 2006-10-26
Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung WS 2006/07
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Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Sanskrit von Tüpfli's Global Village Library
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Der Sanskrit-Text folgt im Wesentlichen folgender Ausgabe:
Somadevabhaṭṭa <11. Jhdt.>: Kathāsaritsāra / ed. by Durgāprasād and Kāśīnāth Pāṇḍurāṅg Parab. -- 4. ed. / revised by Wāsudev Laxman Śāstrī Paṇśikar. -- Bombay : Nirnaya-Sagar Press, 1930, -- 597 S. -- [in Devanāgarī]
Der von großen Dichter, dem Ehrwürdigen Gelehrten Somadeva verfasste Ozean der Erzählungsströme
Zu Autor und Werk siehe:
Somadeva <11. Jhdt. n. Chr.>: Kathāsaritsāgara : der Ozean der Erzählungsströme : ausgewählte Erzählungen / übersetzt und erläutert von Alois Payer. -- 1. Einleitung. -- http://www.payer.de/somadeva/soma01.htm
Erster Schwall1 "Die Grundlage der Erzählung"
1 lambaka: zu lamb 1 Ā: herabhängen, abhängen, herunterfallen, untergehen. In unserem Zusammenhang (Flüsse, Ozean) vielleicht "Schwall" ("was in das Meer herunterfällt"). lambaka wird in unserem Zusammenhang meist mit "Buch" übersetzt.
Die Verse sind, wenn nichts anderes vermerkt ist, im Versmaß Śloka abgefasst.
Definition des Śloka in einem Śloka:
śloke ṣaṣṭhaṃ guru jñeyaṃ
sarvatra laghu pañcamam
saptamaṃ dīrgham anyayoḥ
"Im Śloka ist die sechste Silbe eines Pāda schwer, die fünfte in allen Pādas leicht
Die siebte Silbe ist im zweiten und vierten Pāda kurz, lang in den beiden anderen."
Das metrische Schema ist also:
̽ ̽ ̽ ̽ ˘ˉˉ ̽
̽ ̽ ̽ ̽ ˘ˉ˘ ̽
̽ ̽ ̽ ̽ ˘ˉˉ ̽
̽ ̽ ̽ ̽ ˘ˉ˘ ̽
Zur Metrik siehe:
Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Einführung in die Exegese von Sanskrittexten : Skript. -- Kap. 8: Die eigentliche Exegese, Teil II: Zu einzelnen Fragestellungen synchronen Verstehens. -- Anhang B: Zur Metrik von Sanskrittexten. -- URL: http://www.payer.de/exegese/exeg08b.htm
Abb.: Śiva-Eisliṅga, Amarnath-Höhle, Kaschmir
purā kila kathāmṛtaṃ haramukhāmbudher udgatam |
prasahya sarayanti ye vigatavighnalabdharddhayo
dhuraṃ dadhati vaibudhīṃ bhuvi bhavaprasādena te ||
Diejenigen, die diesen Unsterblichkeitstrank der Erzählungen gewaltig fließen lassen, der gewiss einst aus des Zerstörers1 Mund-Ozean kam, der aus Zuneigung zur Tochter3 des ehrwürdigen Fürsten2 der Berge langsam hin und her schwang4, diese werden frei von Hindernissen und erlangen Gedeih und setzen5 durch die Gnade des Seins6 einen göttlichen Ehrenplatz auf diese Erde.
1 Zerstörers = Hara = einer der Namen Śivas, siehe unten zu Vers 1
2 Fürsten der Berge = Himavat = der Gott Himālaya, Gatte der Menā (Menakā), Vater der Gaṅgā und Umā (Pārvatī, Gattin Śivas)
3 Tochter des Fürsten der Berge = Pārvatī ("Tochter des Berges"), Gattin Śivas, siehe unten zu Vers 1
4 d.h. sprach
5 d.h. erhalten
6 Sein = Bhava = Śiva
Pṛthvī (17 Silben, 8.9.)
Definition: jasau jasayalā vasugrahayatiś ca pṛthvī guruḥ
"Die Pṛthvī: ja sa ja sa ya la ga, Zäsur nach der 8. (vasua = Vasugottheiten = 8) und der 9. (grahab = Planeten = 9) Silbe."
ja sa ja sa ya la ga
"In Hinduism, the Vasus are attendant deities of Indra, and later Vishnu. They are eight elemental gods representing aspects of nature, representing cosmic natural phenomenon. The name Vasu means 'Dweller' or 'Dwelling'.
There are varying lists of the eight Vasus in different texts, sometimes only because particular deities have varying names. The following are names and meanings according to the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and according to the Mahabharata as normally equated:
Bṛhadaraṇyaka Mahābhārata Name Meaning Name Meaning Agni "fire" Anala (also called Agni) "living" Pṛthvī "earth" Dharā "support" Vāyu "wind" Anila "wind" Antarikṣa "atmosphere" Aha "pervading" Āditya "eternal", a very common name for the sun Sūrya Pratyūsha "pre-dawn", that is morning twilight, but often used to mean simply "light" Dyaus "sky" Prabhāsa "shining dawn" Candramas "moon" Soma "soma-plant", and a very common name for the moon Nakṣatrāni "stars" Dhruva "motionless", the name of the Polestar
Though the Shatapatha Brahmana uses the Brhad-Aranyaka names, most later texts follow the Mahabharata names with the exception that Āpa 'water' usually appears in place of Aha. The Vishnu Purana equates Prabhāsa with the lights of the 27 or 28 Nakshetra (Constellations/Lunar Mansions) and Dhruva with Akash Tatwa, that is "space", Dhruva seemingly taking over Aha's role when Aha is replaced by Āpa.
In the Ramayana the Vasus are children of the sage Kashyapa by Aditi and so are full siblings to the Ādityas. However the Mahabharata makes them sons of Prajāpati son of Manu son of Brahmā by various mothers.
The Mahabharata relates how the Vasus, led by "Prithu" (presumably here a male form of Privthvi) were enjoying themselves in the forest, when the wife of Dyaus spotted an excellent cow and persuaded her husband Dyaus to steal it, which he did with the agreement and aid of Pirthu and his other brothers. Unfortunately for the Vasus, the cow was owned by the sage Vasishta who learned through his ascetic powers that the Vasus had stolen it and immediately cursed them to be born on earth as mortals. Vasishta responded to pleading by the Vasus by promising that seven of them would be free of earthly life within a year of being born and that only Dyaus would pay the full penalty. The Vasus then requested the river-goddess Ganga to be their mother. Ganga incarnated and became the wife of King Santanu on condition that he never gainsaid her in any way. As seven children were born, one after the other, Ganga drowned them in her own waters, freeing them from their punishment and the king made no opposition. Only when the eighth was born did the king finally oppose his wife, who therefore left him. So the eighth son, Dyaus incarnated, remained alive, imprisoned in mortal form, and later became known in his mortal incarnation as Bhishma.
A later section of the Mahabharata gives an alternate version in which each of the Vasus gives a portion of himself to create a ninth being and so all eight are later drowned leaving only this ninth composite as an incarnation of parts of all the Vasus to live out a very long mortal life as Bhishma."
[Quelle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasu. -- Zugriff am 2006-10-26]
b "Planeten" (graha)
sūryaś candro maṅgalaś ca
budhaś cāpi bṛhaspatiḥ |
śukraḥ śanaiścaro rāhuḥ
ketuś ceti grahā nava ||
"In Hindu astrology, the Navagraha (Sanskrit: नवग्रह, nine planets or nine realms) are the nine "planets", personified as celestial beings:
Name English Name Image Yantra Sūrya (सूर्य) Sun Candra (चंद्र) Moon Maṅgala (मंगल) Mars Budha (बुध) Mercury Bṛhaspati (बृहस्पति) Jupiter Śukra (शुक्र) Venus Śani (शनि) Saturn Rāhu (राहु) Head of Demon Snake
Ascending/North Lunar Node
[Bewirker der Mond- und Sonnenfinsternisse]
Ketu (केतु) Tail of Demon Snake
Descending/South Lunar Node
"Nava" means "nine". Graha is sometimes translated as "planet", but the Sun, Moon, and Rahu and Ketu are not "planets" according to modern astronomy. "Graha" is sometimes translated as "celestial body", but Rahu and Ketu are not celestial bodies either. A third translation is celestial god or demi-god, but again, Rahu and Ketu are Asuras not Devas. Rahu and Ketu are further believed to be only positions in the planetary paths. A fact common to all navagrahas is that they have relative movement with respect to the backgound of fixed stars in the zodiac belt.
There is also a stotra in the praise of the Navagrahas.
Namaḥ Sūryāya, Candrāya,
Maṅgalāya, Budhāya ca, |
Rāhuve, Ketuve Namaḥ ||
Some people believe that by chanting this stotra, man is relieved from all his sins and bad effects that may occur due to these grahas on him.
In several parts of India, there are clusters of Navagraha temples. One such cluster is near the town of Kumbakonam [கும்பகோணம], Tamil Nadu [தமிழ் நாடு]; another is in [Guwahati গুৱাহাটী], Assam [অসম]."
[Quelle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navagraha. -- Zugriff am 2006-10-26]
Die erste Welle1
1 Dem Titel des Werkes entsprechend heißen die einzelnen Kapitel taraṅga = Welle, Woge
Abb.: Śiva und Pārvatī, Ellora (वेरूळ), Höhle 29
śriyaṃ diśatu vaḥ śaṃbhoḥ
śyāmaḥ kaṇṭho manobhuvā |
pāśair iva viveṣṭitaḥ |1|
1. Glück1 möge euch des Glücksbewirkers2 schwarzer Hals3 durch die Liebe4 zeigen, der gleichsam umhüllt ist von den Fesseln der Blicke der auf seinem Schoß sitzenden Pārvatī5.
1 Glück (śrī): das Werk beginnt kunstgerecht mit einem glücksverheißenden Wort (maṅgala)
2 Glücksbewirker: śambhū = Name Śivas, aus śam + bhū erklärt: śam Indekl.: Partikel, der einen Segen oder Glückswunsch ausdrückt.
Abb.: A giant statue in Bangalore [ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು] depicting Shiva meditating
Devanagari: शिव Sanskrit Transliteration: Śiva Affiliation: Trimurti Abode: Kailash Weapon: Trishula Consort: Parvathi Mount: Nandi
Shiva (Sanskrit: शिव; Hindi: शिव; Tamil,சிவன; Malayalam ശിവന് (when used to distinguish lordly status), also known as Siva and written Śiva in the official IAST transliteration, pronounced as /ɕiʋə/) is a form of Ishvara or God in the later Vedic scriptures of Hinduism. Shiva is the supreme God in Shaivism, one of the major branches of Hinduism practiced in India.
He is the formless, timeless and spaceless Supreme God. Adi Sankara interprets the name Shiva meaning "One who purifies everyone by the utterance of His name" or the Pure One. The name Shiva is the Holiest of Holy names. The Good Lord is beyond and unaffected by the three gunas (characteristics) of Prakrti (matter/nature) namely Satva, Rajas, and Tamas.
Rudra is one of the Trimurti (i.e "trinity"). In the Trimurti, Rudra is the destroyer, and Brahma is the creator and Vishnu is the preserver. Shiva, according to many Hindu traditions, does everything. All other hindu gods and goddess are lesser than Shiva. According to Shaivism, the Good Lord Shiva is performs five functions: 1. Creator, 2. Preserver, 3. Destroyer, 4. Reprieving us from the sins, and most importantly, 5. Blessing.
Other views contend that Shiva produces Vishnu who produces Brahma and thus creation began, within which the cycle of the Trimurti exists. Shiva also assumes many other roles, including the Lord of Ascetics (Mahadeva, or the Great God), the Lord of Boons (Rudra, or The Howler - rud-iti rudra), and also the Universal Divinity (Maheshvara, the Great Lord).Shaivaites, the worshippers of Shiva consider as the Ultimate Reality (see Ishta-Deva for fuller discussion).
Shiva is usually represented by the Shiva linga (or lingam), usually depicted as a clay mound with three horizontal stripes on it, or visualised as a blazing pillar. In anthropomorphised images, he is generally represented as immersed in deep meditation on Mount Kailash, his traditional abode.Introduction
Abb.: The Meenakshi temple in Madurai [மதுரை], India is one of the most famous temples dedicated to Siva.
Lord Shiva is the Good Lord and the Greatest God (Mahadeva) and God of Gods (Devadeva). He is mysterious and complex. He is the formless, timeless and spaceless Supreme God, but also the Supreme Lord of the Universe (Vishweshwara), Supreme Lord of Time (Mahakala) and Lord of Everything (Sarveshwara). There is nothing but he but he is above everything. He is beyond description, beyond all manifestation, beyond limitation of form, time and space. He is eternal, infinite, all pervading, all knowing and all powerful.
Lord Shiva is referred to as the good lord. One of his names is Bholenath, which means the innocent God. Shiva as Rudra is considered to be the destroyer of evil and sorrow. Shiva as Shankara is the doer of good. Shiva is 'tri netra' (three - eyed), and is 'Nīlakantha' (= "blue throated", as he consumed the poison Halahala to save the world from destruction). Shiva as Nataraja is the Divine Cosmic Dancer. Shiva as Ardh narishvara is both man and woman.
He is both static and dynamic; both creator and destroyer. He is the oldest and the youngest; he is the eternal youth as well as the infant. He is the source of fertility in all living beings. He has gentle as well as fierce forms. Shiva is the greatest of renouncers as well as the ideal lover. He destroys evil and protects good. He bestows prosperity on worshipers although he is austere. He is omnipresent and resides in everyone as pure consciousness.
Shiva is inseparable from Parvati (also referred to as Shakti), who is the daughter of Himavant and Haimavatī. There is no Shakti without Shiva and Shakti is his expression; the two are one, the absolute state of being - consciousness and bliss. Shakti in turn is the entire energy of the cosmos. Shiva is said to have shared half of his body for Shakti and is known as Ardhanarishwara (half woman, half man) in this form. In Hinduism, Shiva is said to have taken this form is to depict the equality of men and women.
The five mantras that constitute Shiva's body are Sadyojaata, Vaamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Eesaana. Sadyojaata is Shiva realized in his basic reality (as in the element earth, in the sense of smell, in the power of procreation and in the mind). "Eesaana" is Shiva invisible to the human eye. The Vishnudharmottara Purana assigns a face and an element to each of the above mantras (Sadyojaata - earth, Vaamadeva - water, Aghora - fire, Tatpurusha - air and Eesaana - space).
The names of the deified faces with their elements are Mahadeva (earth), Uma (water), Bhairava (fire), Nandi (air) and Sadasiva (space).
In Shiva temples, Navagraha (9 planets), Ganesh, Skanda, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Vishnu, Brahma, Ashtathig balar, Durga, Bairava, and all the other Hindu gods will have the place, denoting that Shiva is unique among the gods, so that only he is in a shapeless form (i.e. in linga form).
The five different avataras(forms) of Shiva are
- Bhairava भैरव
- Nataraja नटराज
- Dakshinamurthy दक्षिनमुर्थ्य्
- Somaskandha सोमस्कन्ध
- Pitkchadanar पित्क्चदनर्
In most of the South Indian temples, we can see all the five forms in a Shiva temple. All the five characteristics in a single face is said to be Sadashiva.
Shiva is not limited to the personal characteristics as he is given in many images and can transcend all attributes. Hence, Shiva is often worshipped in an abstract manner, as God without form, in the form of linga. This view is similar in some ways to the view of God in Semitic religions such as Islam or Judaism, which hold that God has no personal characteristics. Hindus, on the other hand, believe that God can transcend all personal characteristics and yet have personal characteristics for the grace of the embodied human devotee. Personal characteristics are a way for the devotee to focus on God. Shiva is also described as Anaadi (without beginning/birth) and Ananta (without end/death).
The tale about Shiva splitting into two halves of male and female indicates the origin of the Ardhanarishvara - the union of spirit and material, the Being and his Shakti (force). He is also above Spirit and Material.Shiva: Supreme God
Shiva is the supreme God of Shaivism, one of the four main branches of Hinduism practiced in India today (the others being Vaishnavism, Shaktism, and Smartism.) His abode is called Kailasa, a mountain in south Tibet.
His holy Vahana (Sanskrit for transport) is Nandi, the Bull. His attendant is named Bhadra. Shiva is usually represented by the Shiva linga. In images, he is generally represented as immersed in deep meditation on Mount Kailash (reputed to be the same as the Mount Kailash in the south of Tibet, near the Manasarovar Lake) in the Himalayas, his traditional abode).
Abb.: 108 shiva lingas carved on the rock at the banks of river Tungabhadra, Hampi [ಹ೦ಪೆ]
Stamp Issued by India Post in June 19, 2003 on Government Museum, Chennai showing Nataraj.
Shiva is the God of all and is worshipped by all, from Devas (gods) such as Brahma, Indra, by Asuras (demons) like Bana, Ravana, by humans like Adi Shankara, Nayanars, by creatures such as Jatayu, an eagle, Vali, an ape, and the list goes on and on. Furthermore, the site states that people of different backgrounds and qualities worship the Shiva, with many temples having histories of even cranes, bees, elephants, (see Kalahasti), spiders, snakes, worshipping Shiva and getting blessed. It concludes that the Lord, as the Supreme one, blesses anyone who worships him in sincere devotion as there is no discrimination on who the seeker is. Although Lord Shiva loves His devotees equally as He does not ignore the tapasya of rakshasas, asuras or anybody, even those with bad intentions, He always finds ways to protect dharma and not allow anybody evil to triumph over good.
Major deities, rishis, planets, worshipped Shiva and established Shivalingas in various places in South India.
- Somnath located at Prabhas Patan in Saurashtra in Gujarat.
- Dwarka in Gujarat is home to the Nageshwar Jyotirlinga temple.
- Mahakal, Ujjain (or Avanti) in Madhya Pradesh is home to the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple.
- Srisailam - Srisailam [ಶ್ರೀಶೈಲ]near Kurnool enshrines Mallikarjuna in an ancient temple architecturally and sculpturally rich.
- Bhimashankar, in the Sahyadri range of Maharashtra, contains a Jyotirlinga shrine associated with Shiva destroying the demon Tripurasura.
- Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh is an island in the Narmada river, home to a Jyotirlinga shrine and the Amareshwar temple.
- Kedarnath in Uttaranchal is the northernmost of the Jyotirlingas.
- Varanasi (Benares) in Uttar Pradesh is home to the Vishwanath Jyotirling temple.
- Trimbakeshwar, near Nashik in Maharashtra, has a Jyotirlinga shrine located associated with the origin of the Godavari river.
- Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga shrine, in Maharashtra, is located near the rock-cut temples of Ellora.
- Deoghar, in the Santhal Parganas region of Jharkhand, is home to the Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga temple.
- Ganesh worshipped Shiva at Pillayar patti (100 km from Madurai, India)
- The four Vedas worshipped Shiva at Thirumaraikaadu (i.e., Vedaaranyam near Tanjore)
- Skanda worshipped Shiva at Thiruchendur (200 km from Madurai, India)
- Rama (avatar of Vishnu) worshipped Shiva in Rameswaram (India)
- Vishnu worshipped Shiva at Kanchipuram (Kachiswarar Temple)
- Parasurama (avatar of Vishnu) worshipped Shiva at Sreesailam, Karnataka and also at Chennai (Parasurama at Lingeshwara Temple, Iyanavaram)
- Goddess Lakshmi (wife of Vishnu) worshipped Shiva at Tirupachethi (50 km from Madurai).
- Surya worshipped Shiva at Srivilliputhur (Vaidhyanathaar Temple 100 km from Madurai)
- Brahma and Vishnu at Tiruvannamalai [திருவண்ணாமலை] (180 km from Chennai)
- Brahma at Vrinchipuram (155 km from Chennai, 15 km from Vellore)
- Raahu and Kethu at Kaalahasthi (50 km from Tirupathi [తిరుపతి], Andhra Pradesh, India)
- Indra at Madurai [(மதுரை] (Soma Sundareeswar Temple)
- The Rishi Agastya at Papanasam (100 km from Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India)
- Goddess Parvati at Kancheepuram (Ekambeeswarar Temple, 70 km from Chennai, India)
- Shani at Thirnallar (near Kaaraikal, Pondicherry)
- Moongod at Thingalur (near Tanjore)
- Shiva and Sani at Thirvidaimaruthoor (near Kumbakonam)
- Brahma at Kumbakoonam (Kumbeeswarar, near Tanjore [தஞ்சாவூர])
- Ujjain [उज्जैन] Jyotirlinga shrine, in Madhya Pradesh.Consorts, and the burning of Kamadeva
Abb.: Shiva and Parvati, a painting from Smithsonian Institute
Shiva's consort is Devi, God's energy or the Divine Mother who comes in many different forms, one of whom is Kali, Adi Shakti. Parvati, a more pacific form of Devi is also popular. Sati is another form of Devi who is the daughter of Daksha, who forbade the union with Lord Shiva. Sati disobeyed her father. Daksha once held a Yajna, but did not invite the Lord. In disgust, Sati self-immolated through yogic meditation (or, in another version, in the same fire Daksha used in his sacrifice)which awoke Lord Shiva from deep meditation.
Different versions of what happened afterwards follow. It is reported that Lord Shiva in his anger, began the cosmic dance of death, Tandav which threatened to destroy the world. Worried, the Gods and priests attending the Yajna decided to scatter Sati's ashes over Lord Shiva which calmed him and in deep anguish over the loss of his wife, he went back into meditation.
Another version of the story says that upon learning of Sati's death, the Lord tore off a lock of his hair and lashed it against the ground. The stalk split in two, one half transforming into the terrifying gana Virabhadra, while the other caused Mahakali to manifest on the scene. The Supreme Lord ordered the pair immediately to annihilate Daksha's Yajna. They destroyed the Yajna as commanded by the Lord. Daksha was decapitated by Virabhadra.
Sati was later reborn in the house of Himavat (Himalaya mountain-range personified) and performed great penance (Skt: Tapasya) to win over Shiva's attention. Her penance brought Kamadeva and his consort Rati to the scene, whereupon they attempted to interrupt Shiva's meditation with Kamadeva's arrow of passion. It caused Shiva to break his Samadhi, but he was so infuriated by Kamadeva's assault that he burned the deva of passion to ashes on the spot with his glare. It was only after Rati's pleading that Shiva agreed to reincarnate Kamadeva.
Parvati would try again without Kamadeva's aid to win over Shiva, and this time, through her devotion and the persuasion of other rishis, yogis, and devas, he eventually accepted her.The sons of Shiva
Abb.: Kiillikkurussimangalam Mahadeva Kshetram (Kerala)
Shiva and Parvati are the parents of Karthikeya and Ganesha. Shiva also had a son, Ayyappan with Mahavishnu (Mohini).Attributes of Shiva
Abb.: Shiva, shown in his cosmic form.
The Third Eye: The third eye of Shiva on his forehead is the eye of wisdom, known as "bindi". It is the eye that looks beyond the obvious. Thus he is known as Trinetrishwara (The Lord with Three Eyes). The third eye of Shiva is also popularly associated with his untamed energy which destroys evil doers and sins.
The Cobra Necklace: Shiva is beyond the powers of death and is often the sole support in case of distress. He swallowed the poison kalketu for the wellbeing of the Universe. In order that he not be harmed by this poison, his consort Parvati is said to have tied a cobra to his neck. This retained the poison in his throat and thereby turned it blue and hence the name Neelakanta (The one with a blue throat). The deadly cobra represents the “death” aspect that Shiva has thoroughly conquered. Shiva is also known as Naageshwara (The Lord of Serpents). The cobras around his neck also represent the dormant energy, called Kundalini, the serpent power.
Matted hair (Jata): The flow of his matted hair represents him as the lord of wind or Vayu, who is the subtle form of breath present in all living beings. Thus it is Shiva which is the lifeline for all living being. He is Pashupatinath.
Crescent: Shiva bears on his head the crescent of the fifth day (panchami) moon. This is placed near the fiery third eye and this shows the power of Soma, the sacrificial offering, which is the representative of moon. It means that Shiva possesses the power of procreation along with the power of destruction. The moon is also a measure of time; thus the Crescent also represents his control over time. Thus Shiva is known by the names of Somasundara and Chandrashekara.
Sacred Ganga: Ganga, the holiest of the holy rivers, flows from the matted hair of Shiva. Shiva allowed an outlet to the great river to traverse the earth and bring purifying water to human beings (See: Origin of Ganga). The flowing water is one of the five elements which compose the whole Universe and from which earth arises. Ganga also denotes fertility one of the creative aspect of the Rudra.
The Drum: The drum in the hand of Shiva is the originator of the universal word ॐ which is the source of all the language and expression. The drum is known as "Damru".
The Vibhuti: Vibhuti is three lines of ashes drawn on the forehead that represents the essence of our Being, which remains after all the malas (impurities of ignorance, ego and action) and vasanas (likes and dislikes, attachments to one's body, world, worldly fame, worldly enjoyments, etc.) have been burnt in the fire of knowledge. Hence vibhuti is revered as the very form of Shiva and signifies the Immortality of the soul and manifested glory of the Lord.
The Ashes: Shiva smears his body with cemetery ashes (Bhasma) points the philosophy of the life and death and the fact that death is the ultimate reality of the life.
Tiger skin: The tiger is the vehicle of Shakti, the goddess of power and force. Shiva is beyond and above any kind of force. He is the master of Shakti. The tiger skin that he wears symbolises victory over every force. Tigers also represent lust. Thus sitting on Tiger skin, Shiva indicates that he has conquered lust.
The Elephant & Deer Skin: Shiva also wears elephant skins. Elephants represent pride. Wearing elephant skin, Shiva indicates that he has conquered pride. Similarly deer represent the jumping of minds (flickering mind). Shiva wears deer skin which indicates that he has controlled the mind perfectly.
Rudraksha: Shiva wears wrist bands of Rudraksha which are supposed to have medicinal properties.
The Trident: The three head of Shiva’s Trishul symbolizes three functions of the triad – the creation, the sustenance and the destruction. The Trident, in the hand of Shiva indicates that all the three aspects are in his control. It is said that the ancient city of Kashi or modern Varanasi sits atop Shiva's Trishul.
As a weapon the trident represents the instrument of punishment to the evil doer on all the three planes – spiritual, subtle and physical.
Another interpretation of the three headed trident is its head represent the past, the present and the future. The trident in the hand of Rudra indicates his control over the present the past and the future.Other forms and traditions
Abb.: Kottiyoor Shivatemple festival
Adi Sankara interprets the name Shiva to mean "One who purifies everyone by the utterance of His name" or the Pure One. That is, Shiva is unaffected by the three gunas (characteristics) of Prakrti (matter): Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas.
Additionally, Shiva also means, "the Auspicious One." He is often depicted as the husband of Uma or Parvati. In the process of manifestation, Shiva is the primeval consciousness and creates the other members of the trimurti. He is symbolized by the wisdom of the Serpent. He has many other names, for example Shankara and Mahadeva.
Shiva gave Parashurama, an avatar of Vishnu, his axe. Shiva's great bow is called Pināka and thus he is also called Pinaki. Most depictions of Shiva show the three-pointed spear Trishula, another of his weapons, in the background. He is also known for having given the Pandava Arjuna the divine weapon (Skt: Astra) Pashupata, with the stipulation of using it against someone of equal strength, for the weapon would otherwise lay waste to the mortal realm.
According to the foundation of Kaalism, the goddess Kali came into existence when Shiva looked into himself. She is considered his mirror image, the divine Adi-shakti or primordial energy while he is the formless, timeless and spaceless supreme Lord.
In another version, Kali had gone out to destroy the Asuras storming Swargaloka, but became enraged and erratic. To calm her, Shiva went and lay down on the ground in front of her path. When she stepped on him, she looked down and realized that she had just stepped on Shiva. Taken aback by his actions, she realized the Lord below her feet and was greatly ashamed and bit her tongue in astonishment.
As Nataraja, Shiva is the Lord of the Dance, and symbolises the dance of the Universe, with all its heavenly bodies and natural laws complimenting and balancing each other. At times, he is also symbolized as doing his great dance of destruction, called Tandava, at the time of pralaya, or dissolution of the universe at the end of every Kalpa.
Some Hindus, especially Smartas, believe Shiva to be one of many different forms of the universal Atman, or Brahman. Others see him as the one true God from whom all the other deities and principles are emanations. This view is usually related to the bhakti sects of Shaivism.
Although he is defined as a destroyer in his Rudra aspect, Lord Shiva is the the most benevolent God. One of his names is Aashutosh, he who is easy to please, or, he who gives greatly in return for little.
Shiva is the ultimate reality who is the nature of Bliss itself and all complete in Himself. He is beyond description, beyond all manifestation, beyond limitation of form, time and space. He is eternal, infinite, all pervading, all knowing and all powerful.
He is the supreme lord whom Rama worshipped at Rameshwaram. He was worshipped by Krishna to beget a son who would be a great undefeated warriour. The Good Lord answered Krishna's prayers and blessed him with a son. Krishna named his son Samba after Lord Shiva.Avatars of Shiva
It is said in the Hanuman Chalisa and Shiva Mahapurana that Shri Hanuman is an incarnation of Shiva.
Smarthas, who are followers of Adishankaracharya believe that Shiva is pervader of all beings in this universe. The advaitha school of thought propagated by Adishankaracharya believes that everyone through realisation can become one with Shiva. They dont believe that Shiva exists somewhere outside body. Shiva is the Kshethragnan the owner of the kshetra( the body).Bhairava
Bhairava is another form similar to Durga's Kali.Adi Shankar(acharya)
The philosopher of the Vedanta darshana of Hinduism united the Astika Vedics under Vedanta against the Nastik Buddhists and taught them the Vedanta and Brahman. Adi Shankar believed in the Nirguna Brahman and was himself a worshipper of Shiva. He was named "Shankar" after Lord Shiva.Agastiya
The Vedic Rishi Agastya is proposed by some to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The Rishi is said to have initiated Shiva-worship by the South Indians.Schools and views of Shaivism in South India
Abb.: This 14th century statue depicts Shiva (on the left) and his wife Uma (on the right). It is housed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Nayanars (or Nayanmars), saints from Southern India, were mostly responsible for development of Shaivism in the first millennium. Of the schools today, many Śaivite sects are in Kashmir and Northern India, with Lingayats and Virasaivas from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Southern India. The Saiva Siddhanta is a major Śaivite tradition developed in Southern India.
The Lord's actions are often depicted in short stage dramas to help his devotees (particularly nayanmars) better understand his aspects. This is greatly explained in the Thiruvilayadalpuram. This form is especially prevalent in South India, particularly Tamil Nadu.
Shiva is an icon of masculinity. In mythology and folklore, he can be interpreted to inspire masculine characteristics of the most extreme: absolute virility and fertility; aggression, rage and supreme powers in war; his resolve, meditation is absolute, as is his love for his consort. This form of Siva is strongly worshiped in Tantric Hinduism, especially with the linga as the icon of fertility, piety and the power of the Lord.
Apart from Shaivism, Shiva also inspires Shaktism in Hinduism, which is strong in Assam and West Bengal, the eastern states of India. Shakti is the root power, force of Shiva. Shakti, his prime consort, is the female half of the Supreme Godhead. It is the root of the life force of every living being, and the entire Universe. The bond of absolute love, devotion and passion which embodies the existence of Shiva and Shakti, is considered the Ultimate Godhead form by itself, that a man is an incomplete half without a woman, who is the Ardhangini, (the Other Half) of his existence and power.
The pilgrimage to Amarnath, Mount Kailash (just over the Chinese line of the Himalayas, deep in the highest mountains of the world), and Anantnag in Kashmir are the most difficult and dangerous, yet exalted pilgrimages for Hindus of all sects, ethnic origins and classes. The glaciers in sacred caves forms the Sivalinga or the natural embodiment of his form.Origin theories
The Good Lord Shiva in the Vedic hymns appears as the name of a Indra. It is said that "Siv" comes from Sanskrit "Si" meaning auspicious or maybe even "Civappu" which in Sanskrit means red. One of his synonyms, however, is the name of a Vedic deity, the attributes and nature of which show a good deal of similarity to the post-Vedic Rudra. Rudra, the god of the roaring storm, is usually portrayed in accordance with the element he represents as a fierce, destructive deity whose fearful arrows cause death and disease to men and cattle. He is also called Kapardin (wearing his hair spirally braided like a shell), one of the synonyms of Shiva. The Atharva Veda mentions several other names of the same god, some of which appear even placed together, as in one passage where Bhava, Sarva, Rudra and Pasupati are conjunct. Some were possibly the names under which the same deity was already worshipped in different parts of Northern India. This was certainly the case in later times, since it is expressly stated in one of the later works of the Brahmana period that Sarva was used by the Eastern people and Bhava by a Western tribe. It is also worthy of note that in the same work, composed at a time when the Vedic triad of Agni, Indra-Vayu and Surya was still recognized, attempts are made to identify the Shiva of many names with Agni; and that in one passage in the Mahabharata it is stated that the Brahmins said that Agni was Shiva.
Abb.: Bronze Chola Statue of Nataraja at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
It is in his character as destroyer that Shiva holds his place in the triad, and in this he is identified with the Vedic Rudra. Another very important function appears, however, to have been assigned to him early on. Plausible conjecture has been put forth that linga symbol was originally prevalent among the non-Aryan population and later introduced into the worship of Shiva due to similarities.
The Vedic Shiva was frequently invoked as the lord of nourishment, to bestow food, wealth and other blessings. With the divine Soma, he was called the progenitor of heaven and earth, and is connected with the marriage ceremony, where he is asked to lead the bride to the bridegroom and make her prosperous (Skt: Civatama). Additionally, he has the epithet Kapardin, as has Rudra and the later Shiva, and is called Par Upa, or guardian of cattle, whence the latter derives his name Parupati. Parupa is a powerful and even fierce deity, who with his goad or golden spear, smites the foes of his worshipper, and thus in this respect offers some similarity to Rudra, which may have favored the fusion of the two gods into a monotheistic conception of God as Shiva.
There is however, the matter of the Pashupati (Lord of the Beasts) emblem on a seal discovered in Mohenjodaro, a major city-state in the Indus Valley Civilization. It puts forward a strong case for Shiva to be a God not of Indo-Aryan roots, but rooted in the people of the Indus valley, and the indigenous Dravidian and tribal peoples who inhabited the subcontinent. Shiva occupies an exalted, supreme position in Hinduism, making the case that Hinduism is not an Aryan religion, but a synthesis of Aryan, Dravidian and other influences.
Also see: JyotirlingaImage of God Jyotiba Near Kholhapur city Maharashtra , An avatara of Shiva
Names of Shiva
The Shiva Purana lists 108 names for Shiva and the Shiva sahasranama lists 1008 names. Each of his names, in Sanskrit, signifies a certain attribute of his. Some of his names are listed below:
- Mahādeva (Sanskrit महादेव) - The Supreme Lord : Maha = great, Deva = God - more often than not, the Aghora (fierce) version
- Rudra (Sanskrit रुद्र) - The one who howls or strict and uncompromising
- Maheshwara (Sanskrit महेश्वर) - The Supreme Lord: Maha = great, Eshwar = God
- Rameshwara (Sanskrit रमेश्वर) - The one whom Ram worships: Ram, Eshwar = worships, God; Ram's God
- Mahāyogi (Sanskrit महायोगी) - The Supreme Yogi: Maha = great, Yogi = one who practices Yoga
- Mahābaleshwara (Sanskrit महाबलेश्वर) - God of Great Strength : Maha = great, Bal = strength, Eshwar = God
- Trinetra (Sanskrit त्रिनेत्र) - Three-Eyed One, i.e. All-Knowing: Tri = three, Netra = Eye
- Triaksha (Sanskrit त्रिअक्ष) - Three-Eyed One, i.e. All-Knowing: Tri = three, Aksha = Eye
- Trinayana (Sanskrit त्रिनयन) - Three-Eyed One, i.e. All-Knowing: Tri = three, Nayana = Eye
- Tryambakam (Sanskrit त्र्यम्बकम्) - Three-Eyed One, i.e. All-Knowing: Tri = three, Ambakam = Eye
- Mahākala (Sanskrit महाकाल) - Great Time, i.e. Conqueror of Time: Maha = three, Kala = Time
- Neelakaṇtha (Sanskrit नीलकण्ठ) - The one with a Blue Throat: Neel = blue, Kantha = throat
- Digambara (Sanskrit दिगम्बर) - One who has the skies as his clothes, i.e. The Naked One: Dik = Clothes, Ambara = Sky
- Shankara (Sanskrit शङ्कर) - Giver of Joy
- Shambhu (Sanskrit शम्भु) - Abode of Joy
- Vyomkesha (Sanskrit व्योमकेश) - The One who has the sky as his hair: Vyom = sky, Kesha =hair
- Chandrashekhara (Sanskrit चन्द्रशेखर) - The master of the Moon: Chandra = Moon, Shekhara = master
- Siddheshwara (Sanskrit सिद्धेश्वर) - The Perfect Lord
- Trishuldhari (Sanskrit त्रिशूलधारी) - He who holds the divine Trishul or Trident: Trishul = Trident, Dhari = He who holds
- Dakhshiṇāmurthi (Sanskrit दक्षिणामूर्ति) - The Cosmic Tutor
- Kailashpati (Sanskrit कैलशपति) - Lord of Mount Kailash
- Pashupatinātha (Sanskrit पशूपतीनाथ) - Lord of all Creatures or Pashupati
- Umāpati (Sanskrit उमापति) - The husband of Uma
- Gangādhara (Sanskrit गङ्गाधर) - He who holds the river Ganga
- Bhairava (Sanskrit भैरव) - The Frightful One
- Sabesan (Sanskrit सबेसन्) - Lord who dances in the dais
- Nāgaraja (Sanskrit नागराज) - King of snakes (Lord/Ruler/Controller of snakes)
- Ekambaranatha (Sanskrit एकम्बरनथ) - The destroyer of evil (name used scarcely, mostly in temples)
- Tripurāntaka (Sanskrit त्रिपुरान्तक) - The destroyer of the triplet fortresses, Tripura, of the Asuras.
[Quelle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva. -- Zugriff am 2006-10-13]
3 schwarzer Hals: weil er bei der Quirlung des Weltozeans das Gift der Schlange Vāsuki schluckte, eine Tat mit der Śiva die Welt rettete
"The most famous legend in Hinduism that Vasuki [vāsuki] takes part in was when the incident churning the ocean of milk. He agreed to allow the devas (gods) and the asuras (demons) use him as the churning rope, bound with Mount Meru when they churned the ocean of milk for the ambrosia of immortality. While Vasuki was being used as a rope, he was feeling a lot of strain and pain. This strain caused him to exhale Alahala, the most potent venom in the universe. There was the danger that the Alahala could destroy all living beings and perhaps the universe itself. Then Shiva, in order to prevent the destruction of the cosmos, decided to swallow the poison himself. However, instead of swallowing the poison completely he left it in his throat, turning his throat blue and earning him the title Nilakanta [nīlakaṇṭha] (blue-throated)."
[Quelle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasuki. -- Zugriff am 2006-10-18]
4 Liebe: Śiva und Pārvatī sind durch die Liebe eine Einheit.
Vgl. Kālidāsa: Raghuvaṃśa I, 1:
vāgarthāviva sampṛktau vāgārthapratipattaye
jagataḥ pitarau vande pārvatīparameśvarau
"Ich grüße die Eltern der Welt, Pārvatī und den Höchsten Herrn (Śiva), die miteinander verbunden sind wie sprachlicher Ausdruck und Bedeutung bei der Hervorbringung der Bedeutung eines sprachlichen Ausdrucks."
"Pārvatī (Sanskrit: पार्वती), sometimes spelled Parvathi or Parvathy, is a Hindu goddess. She is especially worshipped by married women to seek the health and longevity of their husbands. Also, those who pray to Parvati may be asking for help to overcome obstacles in life.
In many interpretations of the scriptures, Parvati is also regarded as a representation of Shakti or Durga, albeit the gentle aspect of that goddess. Parvati's other names include Uma, Lalitha, Gowri, Shivakamini, Aparna, the maternal epithet Mataji, and many hundreds of others; the Lalita sahasranama contains an authoritative listing.
Parvata is one of the Sanskrit words for "mountain"; "Parvati" translates to "She of the mountains" and refers to Parvati being born the daughter of Himavan, lord of the mountains. Parvati's parents are Himavat, the personification of the Himalaya mountains, and the apsaras Menā. Parvati is nominally the second consort of Shiva, the Hindu God of destruction and rejuvination. However, she is not different from Dakshayani, being the reincarnation of that former consort of Lord Shiva.Symbolism
Parvati symbolises many noble virtues esteemed by Hindu tradition. Just as Shiva is at once the presiding deity of destruction and regeneration, the couple jointly symbolise at once both the power of renunciation and asceticism and the blessings of marital felicity. Kalidasa's epic Kumarasambhavam details with matchlessly lyrical beauty the story of the maiden Parvati; her devotions aimed at gaining the favour of Shiva; the subsequent annihilation of Kamadeva; the universe falling barren and lifeless resultantly; the subsequent nuptials, in these circumstances, of the partners of many previous births; the immaculate birth of Subrahmanya and the eventual resurrection of Kamadeva after intercession by Parvati to Shiva in his favour.
Parvati thus symbolises many different virtues esteemed by Hindu tradition: fertility, marital felicity, devotion to the spouse, asceticism and power. It is said in the Saundarya Lahiri, a famous literary work on the Goddess, that She is the source of all power in this Universe and that because of Her, Lord Shiva gets all His powers. She is occasionally depicted as half of Lord Shiva."
[Quelle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parvati. -- Zugriff am 2006-10-13]
Abb.: Tanzender Gaṇeśa, Museum Chennai
[Bildquelle: bunnicula. -- http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunnicula/131444795/. -- Zugrif am 2006-10-13. -- Creative Commons Lizenz (Namensnennung, keine Bearbeitung)]
kareṇoddhūya vighnajit |
kalpayann iva pātu vaḥ |2|
2, Möge euch der Hindernisbesieger1 behüten, der beim Tanzfest in der Abenddämmerung mit seinem Rüssel die Sterne aufscheucht und dann mit dem Sprühregen seines freudigen Zischens2 gleichsam neue erzeugt.
1 Hindernisbesieger: Gaṇeśa
"In Hinduism, Ganesha (Sanskrit: गणेश or श्रीगणेश) (when used to distinguish lordly status) (or "lord of the hosts," also spelled as Ganesa and Ganesh, often also referred to as Ganapati) is one of the most well-known and venerated representations of God. He is the first born son of Shiva and Parvati, and the 'consort' of Buddhi (also called Riddhi) and Siddhi. 'Ga' symbolizes Buddhi (intellect) and 'Na' symbolizes Vidnyana (wisdom). Ganesha is thus considered the master of intellect and wisdom. He is depicted as a big-bellied, yellow or red god with four arms and the head of a one-tusked elephant, riding on, or attended to by, a mouse. He is frequently represented sitting down, with one leg raised in the air and bent over the other. Typically, his name is prefixed with the Hindu title of respect, 'Shree' or Sri.
The popularity of Ganesha is widely diffused, even outside of India. Some of his devotees identify Ganesha as the Supreme deity and are called the Ganapatya.Iconography
As is the case with every other external form with which Hinduism represents god, in the sense of the personal appearance of Brahman (also referred to as Ishvara, the Lord), the figure of Ganesha too is an archetype loaded with multiple meanings and symbolism which expresses a state of perfection as well as the means of obtaining it. Ganesha, in fact, is the symbol of he who has discovered the Divinity within himself.
Ganesha is the first sound, OM, in which all hymns were born. When Shakti (Energy / Matter) and Shiva (Being / Consciousness) meet, both Sound (Ganesha) and Light (Skanda) were born. He represents the perfect equilibrium between force and kindness and between power and beauty. He also symbolizes the discriminative capacities which provide the ability to perceive distinctions between truth and illusion, the real and the unreal.
A description of all of the characteristics and attributes of Ganesha can be found in the Ganapati Upanishad (an Upanishad dedicated to Ganesha) of the rishi Atharva, in which Ganesha is identified with Brahman and Atman. This Vedic Hymn also contains one of the most famous mantras associated with this divinity: Om Gam Ganapataye Namah (literally, I surrender myself to You, Lord of the hosts).
According to the strict rules of Hindu iconography, Ganesha figures with only two hands are taboo. Hence, Ganesha figures are most commonly seen with four hands which signify their divinity. Some figures may be seen with six, some with eight, some with ten, some with twelve and some with fourteen hands, each hand carrying a symbol which differs from the symbols in other hands, there being about fifty-seven symbols in all, according to some scholars.
The image of Ganesha is a composite one. Four animals, man, elephant, the serpent and the mouse have contributed to the makeup of his figure. All of them individually and collectively have deep symbolic significance.The lord of good fortune
In general terms, Ganesha is a much beloved and frequently invoked divinity, since he is the Lord of Good Fortune who provides prosperity and fortune and also the Destroyer of Obstacles of a material or spiritual order. It is for this reason that his grace is invoked before the undertaking of any task (e.g. traveling, taking an examination, conducting a business affair, a job interview, performing a ceremony,) with such incantations as Aum Shri Ganeshaya Namah (hail the name of Ganesha), or similar. It is also for this reason that, traditionally, all sessions of bhajan (devotional chanting) begin with an invocation of Ganesha, Lord of the "good beginnings" of chants. Throughout India and the Hindu culture, Lord Ganesha is the first icon placed into any new home or abode.
Moreover, Ganesha is associated with the first chakra (wheel), which represents the instinct of conservation and survival, of procreation and material well-being.Bodily attributes
Abb.: A popular representation of Ganesha.
Every element of the body of Ganesha has its own value and its own significance:
The lord whose form is OM
- The elephant head indicates fidelity, intelligence and discriminative power;
- The fact that he has a single tusk (the other being broken off) indicates Ganesha’s ability to overcome all forms of dualism;
- The wide ears denote wisdom, ability to listen to people who seek help and to reflect on spiritual truths. They signify the importance of listening in order to assimilate ideas. Ears are used to gain knowledge. The large ears indicate that when God is known, all knowledge is known;
- the curved trunk indicates the intellectual potentialities which manifest themselves in the faculty of discrimination between real and unreal;
- on the forehead, the Trishula (weapon of Shiva, similar to Trident) is depicted, symbolising time (past, present and future) and Ganesha's mastery over it;
- Ganesha’s pot belly contains infinite universes. It signifies the bounty of nature and equanimity, the ability of Ganesha to swallow the sorrows of the Universe and protect the world;
- the position of his legs (one resting on the ground and one raised) indicate the importance of living and participating in the material world as well as in the spiritual world, the ability to live in the world without being of the world.
- The four arms of Ganesha represent the four inner attributes of the subtle body, that is: mind (Manas), intellect (Buddhi), ego (Ahamkara), and conditioned conscience (Chitta). Lord Ganesha represents the pure consciousness - the Atman - which enables these four attributes to function in us;
- The hand waving an axe, is a symbol of the retrenchment of all desires, bearers of pain and suffering. With this axe Ganesha can both strike and repel obstacles. The axe is also to prod man to the path of righteousness and truth;
- The second hand holds a whip, symbol of the force that ties the devout person to the eternal beatitude of God. The whip conveys that worldly attachments and desires should be rid of;
- The third hand, turned towards the devotee, is in a pose of blessing, refuge and protection (abhaya);
- the fourth hand holds a lotus flower (padma), and it symbolizes the highest goal of human evolution, the sweetness of the realised inner self.
Abb.: OM auf dem Kopf eines Tempelelefanten
Ganesha is also described as Omkara or Aumkara, that is having the form of Om. The shape of his body is a copy of the outline of the Devanagari letter which indicates the celebrated Bija Mantra. For this reason, Ganesha is considered the bodily incarnation of the entire Cosmos, He who is at the base of all of the phenomenal world (Vishvadhara, Jagadoddhara). Moreover, in the Tamil language, the sacred syllable is indicated precisely by a character which recalls the shape of the elephant's head of Ganesha.Ganesha and the mouse
Abb.: Ganesha riding on his mouse. Note the flowers offered by the devotees. A sculpture at the Vaidyeshwara temple at Talakkadu, Karnataka [ಕನಾ೯ಟಕ], India
According to one interpretation, Ganesha's divine vehicle, the mouse or mooshikam represents wisdom, talent and intelligence. It symbolizes minute investigation of a cryptic subject. A mouse leads a secret life below the ground. Thus it is also a symbol of ignorance that is dominant in darkness and fears light and knowledge. As the vehicle of Lord Ganesha, a mouse teaches us to remain always on alert and illuminate our inner-self with the light of knowledge.
Both Ganesha and the Mooshak love modaka, a sweet dish which is traditionally offered to them both during worship ceremonies. The Mooshak is usually depicted as very small in relation to Ganesha, in contrast to the depictions of vehicles of other deities. However, it was once traditional in Maharashtrian art to depict Mooshak as a very large mouse, and for Ganesha to be mounted on him like a horse.
Yet another interpretation says that the mouse (Mushika or Akhu) represents the ego, the mind with all of its desires, and the pride of the individual. Ganesha, riding atop the mouse, becomes the master (and not the slave) of these tendencies, indicating the power that the intellect and the discriminative faculties have over the mind. Moreover, the mouse (extremely voracious by nature) is often depicted next to a plate of sweets with his eyes turned toward Ganesha while he tightly holds on to a morsel of food between his paws, as if expecting an order from Ganesha. This represents the mind which has been completely subordinated to the superior faculty of the intellect, the mind under strict supervision, which fixes Ganesha and does not approach the food unless it has permission.
Lastly it is a very evocative presentation of how humble and modest one should be. Ganesha in spite of his huge physical, mental and intellectual prowess conducts and carries himself so lightly that he can very well be carried by a very very small (compared to the size of Ganesha) and insignificant being-the mouse.Married or celibate?
It is interesting to note how, according to tradition, Ganesha was generated by his mother Parvati without the intervention of her husband Shiva. Shiva, in fact, being eternal (Sadashiva), did not feel any need to have children. Consequently, the relationship of Ganesha and his mother is unique and special.
This devotion is the reason that the traditions of southern India represent him as celibate (see the anecdote Devotion to his mother). It is said that Ganesha, believing his mother to be the most beautiful and perfect woman in the universe, exclaimed: "Bring me a woman as beautiful as she and I will marry her."
In the north of India, on the other hand, Ganesha is often portrayed as married to the two daughters of Brahma: Buddhi (intellect) and Siddhi (spiritual power). Popularly in north India Ganesha is accompanied by Sarasvati (goddess of culture and art) and Lakshmi (goddess of luck and prosperity), symbolizing that these qualities always accompany he who has discovered his own internal divinity. Symbolically this represents the fact that wealth, prosperity and success accompany those who have the qualities wisdom, prudence, patience, etc. that Ganesha symbolises.
There is another mythology, especially in Bengal, which goes in that Ganesha is married to the Kalabou. The Kalabou is nothing but a banana tree draped in traditional white with a Bengali saree with a red border. The story goes that, when Ganesha was supposed to marry, one day when he came home, he saw his mother Durga eating with all her ten hands. Shocked, he asked why is she doing it. Durga replied that if, after Ganesha marries, his wife would not give Durga any food, so Durga is eating to her heart's content with all ten hands. Feeling very sad, Ganesha decided that he would marry a banana tree or Kalabou so that her mother never has any worries about food, as a banana tree cannot stop her from eating.
In the early hours of Saptami, the kalabou is taken for a bath to the Holy Ganges. Water from the Ganges accompanied with Dhak and Kanshi finishes the bathing ceremony. After the bathing ceremony she is adorned in a red-bordered white sari and vermilion is smeared on its leaves. She is then placed on a decorated pedestal and worshipped with flowers, sandalwood paste, and incense sticks. Later she is placed on the right side of Lord Ganesh. This is the reason she is popularly known as Ganesh's wife.Etymology and Derivatations of Ganesha
Ganesha as the Head of the Republic
Abb.: Image of Pune city god Shree Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati
In North Indian Jat [Hindi: जाट, Punjabi: ਜੱਟ, Urdu: جاٹ] traditions, Ganesha is known as the Lord of the Gana (Republic). The word Ganesh is considered by them to formed by Gana + īsha, with sandhi at the join. Gana indicates the republic and the suffix ish indicates "Lord" or "Head". Ganesh is also known as Ganapati, the suffix 'pati' indicating Lord or protector of the Republic. According to the beliefs of the Jats, He guided the affairs of the republic. Nothing happened in the republic without his permission. A marriage ceremony would be performed with his blessings and entry to the republic area would be with his permission.Mythological Anecdotes
How did he obtain his elephant head?
The highly articulated mythology of Hinduism presents many stories which explain how Ganesha obtained his elephant head; often the origin of this particular attribute is to be found in the same anecdotes which tell about his birth. And many of these same stories reveal the origins of the enormous popularity of his cult.Decapitated and reanimated by Shiva
The most well-known story is probably the one taken from the Shiva Purana. Once, while his mother Parvati wanted to take a bath, there were no attendants around to guard her and stop anyone from accidentally entering the house. Hence she created an image of a boy out of turmeric paste which she prepared to cleanse her body (turmeric was used for its antiseptic and cooling properties), and infused life into it, and thus Ganesha was born. Parvati ordered Ganesha not to allow anyone to enter the house, and Ganesha obediently followed his mother's orders. After a while Shiva returned from outside, and as he tried to enter the house, Ganesha stopped him. Shiva was infuriated at this strange little boy who dared to challenge him. He told Ganesha that he was Parvati's husband, and demanded that Ganesha let him go in. But Ganesha would not hear any person's word other than his dear mother's. Shiva lost his patience and had a fierce battle with Ganesha. At last he severed Ganesha's head with his Trishula (trident). When Parvati came out and saw her son's lifeless body, she was very angry and sad. She demanded that Shiva restore Ganesha's life at once.
Unfortunately, Shiva's Trishula was so powerful that it had hurled Ganesha's head very far off. All attempts to find the head were in vain. As a last resort, Shiva approached Brahma who suggested that he replace Ganesha's head with the first living being that came his way which lay with its head facing north. Shiva then sent his celestial armies (Gana) to find and take the head of whatever creature they happened to find asleep with its head facing north. They found a dying elephant which slept in this manner, and after its death took its head, attaching the elephant's head to Ganesha's body and bringing him back to life. From then on, he was called Ganapathi, or head of the celestial armies, and was to be worshipped by everyone before beginning any activity.Shiva and Gajasura
Abb.: This statue of Ganesha was created in the Mysore District of Karnataka in the 13th century.
Another story regarding the origins of Ganesha and his elephant head narrates that, once, there existed an Asura (demon) with all the characteristics of an elephant, called Gajasura, who was undergoing a penitence (or tapas). Shiva, satisfied by this austerity, decided to grant him, as a reward, whatever gift he desired. The demon wished that he could emanate fire continually from his own body so that no one could ever dare to approach him. The Lord granted him his request. Gajasura continued his penitence and Shiva, who appeared in front of him from time to time, asked him once again what he desired. The demon responded: "I desire that You inhabit my stomach."
Shiva granted even this request and he took up residence in the demon's stomach. In fact, Shiva is also known as Bhola Shankara because he is a deity easily propitiated; when he is satisfied with a devotee he grants him whatever he desires, and this, from time to time, generates particularly intricate situations. It was for this reason that Parvati, his wife, sought him everywhere without results. As a last recourse, she went to her brother Vishnu, asking him to find her husband. He, who knows everything, reassured her: "Don't worry, dear sister, your husband is Bhola Shankara and promptly grants to his devotees whatever they ask of him, without regard for the consequences; for this reason, I think he has gotten himself into some trouble. I will find out what has happened."
Then Vishnu, the omniscient director of the cosmic game, staged a small comedy. He transformed Nandi (the bull of Shiva) into a dancing bull and conducted him in front of Gajasura, assuming, at the same time, the appearance of a flutist. The enchanting performance of the bull sent the demon into ecstasies, and he asked the flutist to tell him what he desired. The musical Vishnua responded: "Can you give me that which I ask?" Gajasura replied: "Who do you take me for? I can immediately give you whatever you ask." The flutist then said: "If that's so, liberate Shiva from your stomach." Gajasura understood then that this must have been no other than Vishnu himself, the only one who could have known that secret and he threw himself at his feet. Having liberated Shiva, he asked him for one last gift: "I have been blessed by you with many gifts; my last request is that everyone remember me adoring my head when I am dead." Shiva then brought his own son there and substitued his head with that of Gajasura. From then on, in India, the tradition is that any action, in order to prosper, must begin with the adoration of Ganesha. This is the result of the gift of Shiva to Gajasura.The gaze of Shani
A less well-known story from the Brahma Vaivarta Purana narrates a different version of Ganesha's birth. On the insistence of Shiva, Parvati fasted for a year (punyaka vrata) to propitiate Vishnu so that he would grant her a son. Lord Vishnu, after the completion of the sacrifice, announced that he would incarnate himself as her son in every kalpa (eon). Accordingly, Krishna was born to Parvati as a charming infant. This event was celebrated with great enthusiasm and all the gods were invited to take a look at the baby. However Shani (Saturn), the son of Surya, hesitated to look at the baby since Shani was cursed with the gaze of destruction. However Parvati insisted that he look at the baby, which Shani did, and immediately the infant's head fell off and flew to Goloka. Seeing Shiva and Parvati grief stricken, Vishnu mounted on Garuda, his divine eagle, and rushed to the banks of the Pushpa-Bhadra river, from where he brought back the head of a young elephant. The head of the elephant was joined with the headless body of Parvati's son, thus reviving him. The infant was named Ganesha and all the Gods blessed Ganesha and wished Him power and prosperity.Other versions
Another tale of Ganesha's birth relates to an incident in which Shiva slew Aditya, the son of a sage. Shiva restored life to the dead boy, but this could not pacify the outraged sage Kashyapa, who was one of the seven great Rishis. Kashyap cursed Shiva and declared that Shiva's son would lose his head. When this happened, the head of Indra's elephant was used to replace it.
Still another tale states that on one occasion, Parvati's used bath-water was thrown into the Ganges, and this water was drunk by the elephant-headed Goddess Malini, who gave birth to a baby with four arms and five elephant heads. The river goddess Ganga claimed him as her son, but Shiva declared him to be Parvati's son, reduced his five heads to one and enthroned him as the Controller of obstacles (Vigneshwara).How did Ganesha's tusk break off?
There are various anecdotes which explain how Ganesha broke off one of his tusks.Ganesha the scribe
In the first part of the epic poem Mahabharata, it is written that the sage Vyasa asked Ganesha to transcribe the poem as he dictated it to him. Ganesha agreed, but only on the condition that Vyasa recite the poem uninterruptedly, without pausing. The sage, in his turn, posed the condition that Ganesha would not only have to write, but would have to understand everything that he heard before writing it down. In this way, Vyasa might recuperate a bit from his continuous talking by simply reciting a difficult verse which Ganesha could not understand. The dictation began, but in the rush of writing Ganesha's feather pen broke. He broke off a tusk and used it as a pen so that the transcription could proceed without interruption, permitting him to keep his word.Ganesha and Parashurama
One day Parashurama, an avatar of Vishnu, went to pay a visit to Shiva, but along the way he was blocked by Ganesha. Parashurama hurled himself at Ganesha with his axe and Ganesha (knowing that this axe was given to him by Shiva) allowed himself out of respect to be struck and lost his tusk as a result.Ganesha and the Moon
It is said that one day Ganesha, after having received from many of his devotees an enormous amount of sweets (Modak), in order to better digest this incredible mass of food, decided to go for a ride. He got on the mouse which he used as his vehicle and took off. It was a magnificent night and the moon was resplendent. Suddenly a snake appeared out of nowhere and nearly frightened the mouse to death, causing it to jump and Ganesha was thrown off his mount. Ganesha's huge stomach smashed against the ground so forefully that it burst open and all of the sweets that he had eaten were scattered around him. Nonetheless, he was too intelligent to get angry about this accident and, without wasting any time in useless lamentations, he tried to remedy the situation as best he could. He took the serpent which had caused the accident and used it as a belt to keep his stomach closed and bandage the injury. Satisfied by this solution, he remounted his mouse and continued his excursion. Chandradev (Moon God) saw the whole scene and laughed. Ganesha, being the short-tempered one, cursed Chandradev for his arrogance and breaking off one of his tusks, hurled it against the Moon, slashing its luminous face in two. He then cursed it, decreeing that anyone who happens to see the moon will incur bad luck. Hearing this, Chandradev realised his folly and asked for forgiveness from Ganesha. Ganesha relented and since a curse cannot be revoked, only softened it. Ganesha softened his curse such that the moon would wax and wane in intensity every fifteen days and anyone who looks at the moon during Ganesh Chaturthi would incur bad-luck. This explains why, in certain moments, the light of the Moon goes off and then begins gradually to reappear; but its face appears whole only for a brief period of time, since it is once again "broken" in half to the point of disappearing.Ganesha, head of the celestial armies
Abb: Statue of Ganesha with a flower
There once took place a great competition between the Devas to decide who among them should be the head of the Gana (the troops of semi-gods at the service of Shiva). The competitors were required to circle the world as fast as possible and return to the Feet of Shiva. The gods took off, each on his or her own vehicle, and even Ganesha participated with enthusiasm in the race; but he was extremely heavy and was riding on a mouse! Naturally, his pace was remarkably slow and this was a great disadvantage. He had not yet made much headway when there appeared before him the sage Narada (son of Brahma), who asked him where he was going. Ganesha was very annoyed and went into a rage because it was considered unlucky to encounter a solitary Brahmin just at the beginning of a voyage. Notwithstanding the fact that Narada was the greatest of Brahmins, son of Brahma himself, this was still a bad omen. Moreover, it wasn't considered a good sign to be asked where one was heading when one was already on the way to some destination; therefore, Ganesha felt doubly unfortunate. Nonetheless, the great Brahmin succeeded in calming his fury. Ganeshs explained to him the motives for his sadness and his terrible desire to win. Narada consoled and exhorted him not to despair.
Ganesha returned to his father, who asked him how he was able to finish the race so quickly. Ganesha told him of his encounter with Narada and of the Brahmin's counsel. Shiva, satisfied with this response, pronouned his son the winner and, from that moment on, he was acclaimed with the name of Ganapati (Conductor of the celestial armies) and Vinayaka (Lord of all beings).Ganesha's appetite
Ganesha is also known as the destroyer of vanity, egoism and pride.
One anecdote, taken from the Purana, narrates that the treasurer of Svarga (paradise) and god of wealth, Kubera, went one day to mount Kailasa in order to receive the darshan (vision) of Shiva. Since he was extremely vain, he invited Shiva to a feast in his fabulous city, Alakapuri, so that he could show off to him all of his wealth. Shiva smiled and said to him: "I cannot come, but you can invite my son Ganesha. But I warn you that he is a voracious eater." Unperturbed, Kubera felt confident that he could satisfy even the most insatiable appetite, like that of Ganesha, with his opulence. He took the little son of Shiva with him into his great city. There, he offered him a ceremonial bath and dressed him in sumptuous clothing. After these initial rites, the great banquet began. While the servants of Kubera were working themselves to the bone in order to bring the portions, the little Ganesha just continued to eat and eat and eat.... His appetite did not decrease even after he had devoured the servings which were destined for the other guests. There was not even time to substitute one plate with another because Ganesha had already devoured everything, and with gestures of impatience, continued waiting for more food. Having devoured everything which had been prepared, Ganesha began eating the decorations, the tableware, the furniture, the chandelier.... Terrified, Kubera prostrated himself in front of the little omnivorous one and supplicated him to spare him, at least, the rest of the palace.
"I am hungry. If you don't give me something else to eat, I will eat you as well!", he said to Kubera. Desperate, Kubera rushed to mount Kailasa to ask Shiva to remedy the situation. The Lord then gave him a handful of roasted rice, saying that something as simple as a handful of roasted rice would satiate Ganesha, if it was offered with humility and love. Ganesha had swallowed up almost the entire city when Kubera finally arrived and humbly gave him the rice. With that, Ganesha was finally satisfied and calmed.Ganesha's reverence for his parents
Once there was a competition between Ganesha and his brother Karthikeya as to who could circumbulate the three worlds faster and hence win the fruit of knowledge. Karthikeya went off on a journey to cover the three worlds while Ganesha simply circumbulated his parents. When asked why he did so, he answered that his parents Shiva and Parvati constituted the three worlds, and was given the fruit of knowledge.Devotion to his mother
While playing, once, Ganesha wounded a cat. When he returned home he found a wound in his Mother's body. He enquired how she got hurt. Mother Parvati replied that this was caused by none other than Ganesha himself! Surprised, Ganesha wanted to know when he hurt her. Parvati explained that She as Divine Power was immanent in all beings. When he wounded the cat she was hurt. Ganesha realised that all women were veritable manifestations of his Mother. He decided not to marry. That's how he remained a brahmachari, a life-long celibate, following the strict rules of Brahmacharya. However, in some scriptures and images Ganesha is often portrayed as married to the two daughters of Brahma: Buddhi (intellect) and Siddhi (spiritual power).Festivals and worship of Ganesha
In India, there is an important festival honouring Lord Ganesha. While it is most popular in the state of Maharashtra, it is performed all over India. It is celebrated for ten days starting from Ganesh Chaturthi. This festival is celebrated and it culminates on the day of Ananta Chaturdashi when the murti of Lord Ganesha is immersed into the most convenient body of water. In Mumbai [मुंबई] (earlier known as Bombay), the murti is immersed in the Arabian Sea and in Pune [पुण] the Mula-Mutha river. In various North and East Indian cities, like Kolkata [কলকাতা], they are immersed in the holy Ganga river. One who really wants to taste the festival needs to come down to the city of Mumbai; particularly at Lalbaug where the divine idol of Lalbaugcha raja (The Lord Of Lalbaug, as Ganesha is fondly called) is set. The Ganesha festival starts on Ganesh Chaturthi (fourth day of Hindu calendar month Bhadrapada) and ends on Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of Bhadrapada).
Abb.: Immersion of Ganesh murti at Chowpatty Beach, Mumbai
Popularity of Ganesha
Abb.: Celebrations of Ganesh by the Indian and Sri Lankan Tamil community in Paris, France
Ganesha has two Siddhis (symbolically represented as wives or consorts): Siddhi (success) and Riddhi (prosperity). It is widely believed that "Wherever there is Ganesh, there is Success and Prosperity" and "Wherever there is Success and Prosperity there is Ganesh". This is why Ganesh is believed to be the harbinger of good fortune, and why he is invoked first at any ritual or ceremony. Whether it is diwali puja, a new house, a new vehicle, students praying before the exams, or people praying before job interviews, it is Ganesha they pray to, because it is believed that he will come to their aid and grant them success in their endeavor. Check this out : www.kasbaganpati.org [Zugriff am 2006-10-13]The names of Ganesha
108 Names of Lord Ganesha http://www.thesindhuworld.com/rf_lordganesha108names.htm [Zugriff am 2006-10-13]
Like other devas (Hindu male deities) and devis (female deities), Ganesha has many other titles of respect or symbolic names, and is often worshipped through the chanting of the Ganesha Sahasranama, which literally means A thousand names of Ganesha. The Ganesha Sahasranama is part of the Ganesha Purana, a Hindu mythological text that venerates Ganesha. Each name in the Sahasranama conveys a different meaning and symbolises a different aspect of Ganesha.Other media
- Ganesha was controversially portrayed as Monster in My Pocket #62, although he was depicted with only two arms (though still with a broken tusk). After protestation by local Hindu groups, he was removed from the line in England, but continued to be included in other countries.
- In Monkeybone, Jumbo the Elephant God is somewhat based on Ganesha.
- In The Simpsons, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is a devoted follower of Ganesha.
- Ganesha was depicted in the Mighty Max episode "Good Golly Ms. Kali" under the control of Naga.
- The movie Garden State begins with an invocation to Ganesha. The Ganesha Mantram is sung melodiously several times during a traumatic event.
- The video game Postal² features a grocery store named "Lucky Ganesh".
- In Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods, Ganesha appears as a minor character who provides assistance.
- In the collectible miniatures game Dreamblade, the Thunder Sultan figure greatly resembles Ganesha, albeit with two trunks and only two armsfact.
- A statue of Ganesh appears in Digger as a major character. As a statue of Ganesh, it is partially divine itself."
[Quelle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganesha. -- Zugriff am 2006-10-13]
2 freudigen Zischens: sītkāra: der Laut sīt, der beim zufriedenen Einatmen entsteht
Abb.: Sarasvatī / von Raja Ravi Varma
praṇamya vācaṃ niḥśeṣa-
saṃgrahaṃ racayāmy aham |3|
3. Ich verbeuge mich vor der Rede1, der Lampe, die die Bedeutung aller Worte aufblitzen lässt. Dann verfasse ich eine Zusammenfassung des Wesentlichen der Bṛhatkathā2.
1 Rede (vāc): die Göttin der Rede = Sarasvatī
"Saraswathi (Sanskrit: सरस्वती) is the first of the three great goddesses of Hinduism, the other two being Lakshmi [लक्ष्मी] and Durga [दुर्गा, দূর্গা]. Saraswati is the consort of Lord Brahmā [ब्रह्मा], the Creator.
Origins and context in Hinduism
Saraswati is a goddess worshipped in the Vedic religion. She is the goddess of knowledge and all literary arts including music, arts, and speech. She is also worshipped as the goddess of thoughts of truth and forgivings. She is mentioned in the Rig Veda as well as in Puranic texts.
In Vedanta, she is considered as the feminine energy and knowledge aspect (shakti) of Brahman. As in ancient times, she is the goddess of knowledge, speech, poetry and music. Vedantins believe that only through the acquisition of knowledge does one reach the final path to moksha, or liberation from reincarnation. Only by worshiping Saraswati and continuously seeking true knowledge with complete undeviating attention can one attain the enlightenment necessary for moksha.Saraswati as a river
Main article: Sarasvati River
The Rigvedic hymns dedicated to Saraswati mention her as a mighty river with creative, purifying, and nourishing properties. The likeliest theory about the Vedic Sarasvati River is that it was formed by the present headwaters of the Yamuna River. In ancient times, after they had left the Himalaya foothills, the waters of the Yamuna turned west instead of east at Paonta Saheb . Next, the river flowed southwest across Punjab and Haryana along the course of the modern Ghaggar-Hakra River in a pathway roughly parallel to the smaller Indus River to its west. The Sutlej flowed further east than now and joined the Sarasvati somewhere near Bahawalpur. Eventually, the wide river emptied into the Rann of Kutch, which at the time was a more integral part of the Arabian Sea.
Along the course of the Sarasvati, the Harappan Civilization or Saraswati-Sindhu Civilization grew and developed. The earliest known examples of writing in India have been found in the ruined cities that line the now dry riverbed of the ancient waterway. Some have postulated that the goddess Saraswati gained her role as personified communication and the giver of knowledge due to the role of the Sarasvati River in the development of written language in ancient India.
Between 2000 B.C. and 1700 B.C., seismic activity caused the waters of the river's two main sources to change course. The Sutlej moved course westward and became a tributary of the Indus River. The Yamuna moved course eastward and became a tributary of the Ganga. The tremendous loss of water which resulted from these movements caused the once mighty river to become sluggish and dry up in the Thar Desert without ever reaching the sea. Without any water for irrigation or transportation, the dense population of the river basin soon shifted east with the waters of the Yamuna to the Ganga River valley. Late Vedic texts record the river as disappearing at Vinasana (literally, "the disappearing"), and as joining both the Yamuna and Ganga as an invisible river. Some claim that the sanctity of the modern Ganga is directly related to its assumption of the holy, life-giving waters of the of the ancient Sarasvati.
Recently, archaeologists using satellite images have been able to trace the course of the river. A small channel of water flows near Kurukshetra. A nearby signboard denoting the former path of the once great Sarasvati River can be seen along the main highway (GT road).Other associations
As a river/water goddess, She symbolises fertility and prosperity. She is associated with purity and creativity, especially in the context of communication- such as in literary and verbal skills. In the post-Vedic age, She began to lose her status as a river goddess and was increasingly associated with literature, arts, music, etc. Her name literally means "the one who flows", which apparently was applied to thoughts, words, or the flow of a river (in Sanskrit: "dhaara-pravaah").
In the Rig-Veda (6,61,7), Saraswati/Sarasvati is credited, in association with Indra, with killing the serpentine being Vritraasura (demon), who had hoarded all of the earth's water and so represents drought, darkness, and chaos. She is often seen as equivalent to the other Vedic goddesses like Vāk, Savitri and Gayatri. Saraswati represents intelligence, consciousness and cosmic knowledge.
As the ancient river dried up or changed course, the Goddess became less related to the river. The Divine Mother Saraswati is the wife or consort of Lord Brahmā, the creator. Therefore, later, She stands for creativity. Goddess Saraswati stands for knowledge, education, enlightenment, music, arts, and power. She is not only worshipped for secular knowledge, but for the true divine knowledge which is essential to achieve self-realization, or moksha.
Saraswati Stuthi states that she is the only Goddess to be revered by all the three great gods of Hinduism, Brahmā, Vishnu, and Shiva. She is the only goddess to be worshipped equally by all the gods, the Asuras (demons), the gandharvas (the divine musicians), and the nagas (the divine serpents).Appearance
Abb.: Saraswati represented in Bamar fashion, seated on a hamsa, and holding scriptures of the Tipitaka, by a river.
Goddess Saraswati is often depicted as a beautiful, fair-skinned woman dressed in pure white often seated on a white lotus (although Her actual vaahan is believed to be swan), which symbolizes that she is founded in the experience of the Absolute Truth. Thus, she not only has the knowledge but also the experience of the Highest Reality. She is mainly associated with the colour white, which signifies the purity of true knowledge. Occasionally, however, she is also associated with the colour yellow, the colour of the flowers of the mustard plant that bloom at the time of her festival in the spring. She is not adorned heavily with jewels and gold like the goddess Lakshmi, but is dressed austerely--perhaps representing her preference of knowledge over worldly material things. She is generally shown to have four arms representing four aspects of human personality in learning; mind, intellect, alertness and ego., holding in Her hands:-
- A book, which is the sacred Vedas, representing the universal, divine, eternal, true knowledge and her perfection of all the sciences and the scriptures.
- A mala of white pearls, representing the power of meditation and spirituality.
- A pot of sacred water, representing creative and purificatory powers.
- The musical instrument called the veena, representing her perfection of all arts and sciences.The great goddess also associates herself with Anurag- the love and rythum of music which represents all emotions and feelings expressed in speech or music.Hence Anurag is very loved by Saraswati Mata. It is believed that children born with that name are extreemly lucky in their learning and music.
A white swan is often besides her feet. The sacred swan, if offered a mixture of milk and water, is said to be able to drink the milk alone. The swan thus symbolizes discrimination between the good and the bad or the eternal and the evanescent. Due to her association with the swan, Goddess Saraswati is also referred to as Hamsa-vahini, which means "she who has a swan as her vehicle". She is usually depicted near a flowing river, which may be related to her early origins as a water goddess. The swan and her association with the lotus also point to her ancient origin.
Sometimes a peacock is shown beside the goddess. The peacock represents arrogance and pride over its beauty, and by having a peacock as her mount, the Goddess teaches us not to be proud of external appearances and be wise to know the eternal truth.Festivals for Saraswati
The goddess Saraswati is worshipped during Navaratri. In South India, Saraswati Puja is a very important festival. The last three days of Navarathri starting from Mahalaya Amavasya (the New Moon day) are dedicated to the goddess. On the ninth day of Navaratri (Mahanavami), books and all musical instruments are ceremoniously kept near the gods early at dawn and worshipped with special prayers. No studies or any performance of arts is carried out, as it is considered that the Goddess herself is blessing the books and the instruments. The puja is concluded on the tenth day of Navaratri (Vijaya Dashami) and the goddess is worshipped again before the books and the musical instruments are removed. It is customary to study on this day, which is called Vidya-aarambham (literally, Commencement of Knowledge).
Abb.: Goddess Saraswati prepared for Vasant Panchami in the streets of Kolkata (কলকাতা)
During Basant Panchmi, which comes either at the end of January or the beginning of February, prayers and pujas are offered to her, especially by artists, musicians, scientists, doctors, lawyers.
In Pushkar in Rajasthan, a temple has been made in her name on a mountain higher than that of Lord Brahmā's.Saraswati in other cultures
Besides her role in Hinduism, she was also, like the Hindu goddess Tara, absorbed from Vedic culture into the Buddhist pantheon and came to China via the Chinese translations of the Sutra of Golden Light [金光明經], which has a section devoted to her.
Abb.: 弁財天, Hogonji
Now largely forgotten in China, she is still worshipped in Japan under the name Benzaiten [弁才天, 弁財天]. Other names for her include:-
- Vinidrā ("she who is always awake")
- brahmani (Brahmā's consort)
- Bhāratī ("One who radiates knowledge and wisdom")
- Hamsavahini ("one who has a swan for a mount")
- Arya ("The Noble One")
- Maha-vani ("the transcendent word")
- Vagishvari ("Goddess of speech").
- The Tibetan Buddhist dakini Yeshey Tsogyel is sometimes considered a manifestation of Saraswati.
- Some purport that in Judeo-Christo-Islamic religions Saraswati and a-Brahmā appear as Abraham and Sarah in the Old Testament.
- Saraswati is worshipped in Myanmar as Thuyathati (သူရသ္သတီ), and is represented by a virgin or pee pee sitting on a hintha (hamsa). She is worshipped by Burmese Buddhists, particularly before examinations and tests."
[Quelle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saraswati. -- Zugriff am 2006-10-13]
"Die Dichter Daṇḍin, Subandhu und Bāṇa bezeugen, dass es im 6. Jahrhundert n. Chr. ein Werk der unterhaltenden Erzählungsliteratur gegeben hat, das unter dem Namen Bṛhatkathā, »der große Roman«, bekannt und berühmt war, als dessen Verfasser ein mit Vyāsa und Vālmīki in eine Reihe gestellter Dichter Guṇāḍhya genannt wird. Die Sprache dieses Werkes war nicht das Sanskrit, sondern der in der Littratur sonst nicht verwendete Paiśācī-Dialekt. Dieses Werk ist uns in seiner ursprünglichen Form leider nicht mehr erhalten, sondern nur in Sanskrit-Überarbeitungen, die wahrscheinlich durch viele Jahrhunderte von dem ursprünglichen Werk getrennt sind. Nur aus diesen späteren Werken können wir auf den Inhalt der Bṛhatkathā Wahrscheinlichkeitsschlüsse ziehen. Eine einleitende Erzählung berichtete vermutlich über das Leben und die Abenteuer des Udayana, des Königs der Vatsas, seine Heirat mit Vāsavadattā und Padmāvatī und die Geburt seines Sohnes Naravāhanadatta. Die Haupterzählung berichtete dann über die Abenteuer des Naravāhanadatta, wie er zu seinen zahlreichen Frauen kam und schließlich zum Herrscher über alle Vidyādharas — halbgöttliche Wesen, die an den Leiden und Freuden der Menschen mehr Anteil nehmen als andere Gottheiten — wurde. Dieser Märchenroman bildete, wie wir auf Grund der abgeleiteten Werke annehmen dürfen, einen Rahmen, in welchen viele andere Märchen und Erzählungen eingefügt waren. Zweifelhaft ist, ob die Erzählungen des Pañcatantra und der Vetālapañcaviṃśati, die wir in den späteren Bearbeitungen der Bṛhatkathā finden, schon dem ursprünglichen Werk angehört haben oder nicht. Wenn aber die Bṛhatkathā auch die Udayana-Sage enthielt, so ist es höchst wahrscheinlich, dass schon der Dichter Bhāsa die Stoffe für seine berühmtesten Dramen dem Werk des Guṇāḍhya entnommen hat. Dann muss aber Guṇāḍhya älter sein als Bhāsa und etwa im 3. Jahrhundert oder noch früher gelebt haben.
Dass es einen Dichter Guṇāḍhya gegeben hat, unterliegt wohl keinem Zweifel, da die Tradition darüber zu bestimmt ist. Aber über den Dichter selbst wissen wir nichts, ein so buntes Sagengewebe sich auch an seinen Namen geknüpft hat. Er soll in Pratiṣṭhāna geboren sein. Es gab aber eine Stadt dieses Namens an der Godāvarī im Dekkan, welche die Hauptstadt der Andhrabhṛtyas oder Sātavāhanas war. Infolgedessen wurde der Dichter von der Sage zum Minister eines Königs Sātavāhana gemacht. Nun ist aber Sātavāhana ein Name nicht eines Königs, sondern der Herrscher der Andhradynastie überhaupt. Es würde also nicht viel für das Alter des Guṇāḍhya beweisen, wenn die Sage, die ihn zum Minister des Sātavāhana macht, einen geschichtlichen Hintergrund hätte. Ich kann diesen Geschichten, die erst im 11. Jahrhundert erzählt werden, keinen geschichtlichen Wert zuschreiben. Wahrscheinlich ist aber ein anderes Pratiṣṭhāna im nördlichen Indien, das sich am Zusammenfluss von Ganges und Yamunā in der Gegend von Kauśambī oder Ujjayinī befand, die wirkliche Heimat des Dichters gewesen. Denn die Geographie der Bṛhatkathā (soweit sich die Ereignisse nicht, was allerdings häufig der Fall ist, in Himmelsregionen abspielen) deutet in keiner Weise auf den Süden, sondern vielmehr auf die Gegend von Kauśambī hin.
Die übereinstimmende Tradition berichtet, das Guṇāḍhya sein Werk in einer »Paiśācī« genannten Sprache verfasste, Daṇḍin hat darunter die »Sprache der Dämonen« verstanden. Die Meinungen der Forscher gehen aber darüber sehr auseinander, was für ein Dialekt unter dieser Bezeichnung verborgen ist. Die größte Wahrscheinlichkeit hat die Ansicht für sich, dass wir darunter einen nordwestindischen Dialekt zu verstehen haben. Aber wie immer wir den Namen »Paiśācī« erklären mögen — ob er den Dialekt der Piśācas, eines wirklich so genannten oder mit dem Namen »Teufel« als Spottnamen belegten Volksstammes bezeichnet, oder ob der Name »Sprache der Teufel« dem Dialekt wegen seines rauhen Klanges oder im Gegensatz zu den literarischen Sprachen gegeben wurde —, wir können nicht annehmen, dass die Bṛhatkathā bei einem wilden oder halbwilden Volk entstanden oder berühmt geworden ist. Denn wenn ich es auch für vergebliche Mühe halte, aus den bisher bekannten Versionen das ursprüngliche Werk wiederherstellen zu wollen, so viel können wir doch aus ihnen schließen, dass die Bṛhatkathā eine Dichtung war, die nur in einem Kreis feingebildeter Menschen entstehen und Anklang finden konnte. Bisher sind zwei Rezensionen der Bṛhatkathā bekannt, eine kaschmirische, die uns in zwei versifizierten Bearbeitungen (Kṣ emendras Bṛhatkathāmañjarī und Somadevas Kathāsaritsāgara) erhalten ist, und eine nepalesische, die uns (leider unvollständig) in einer freien dichterischen Bearbeitung von Budhasvāmin vorliegt. Andere Rezensionen werden erwähnt... "
[Quelle: Winternitz, Moriz <1863 - 1937>: Geschichte der indischen Literatur. Stuttgart : Koehler. -- Band 3: Die Kunstdichtung, die wissenschaftliche Literatur, neuindische Literatur. - 1920. -- S. 312 - 315]
Seither sind weitere Bearbeitungen der Bṛhatkathā bekanntgeworden, insbesondere die jainistische Vasudevahiṇḍī (in Prākṛt). Die literarhistorischen Fragen liegen außerhalb der Zielsetzung dieser Lehrveranstaltung.
Zu: 2. Vers 4 - 12: Inhaltsübersicht, Methode und Zweck