In the beginning there was nothing. No light, no darkness, no time no universe, only a void space. Only the purest soul of Shiva and Shakti (Parwati) dwell.
The desire to have one more being flowered in their heart. With the desire, a being emerged from the left body part of Shiva, had 1000 eyes and 1000 arms.
He bowed before Shiva and spoke -“Oh great father, who I am, what is my name and what purpose I stand for. What should I do?
Shiva and Shakti named their son Vishnu and asked HIM to meditate.
Shree Vishnu meditated for another 1000 Dev years. At the end the water poured out from his Divine body in fountains and the whole universe was covered with water.
Hindu scriptures hold that Lord Vishnu, the protector and caretaker of all creation, sleeps in the middle of a vast ocean on the giant snake Sheshnaga.
When the cycle begins, Lord Brahma is born out of the 'lotus', an allusion to the kamal [lotus] which is the origin of all life.
This 'lotus' comes out of the navel of Lord Vishnu. The lotus is known as brahma kamal. The first sound of Lord Brahma is Om, the origin of all creation.
At first the ultimate truth "Brahman" was there from whom came out Shiva without any birth or death. Vishnu is formed from the vaamanga of Shiva or the left body.
Shiva is the extreme male power of the universe. He is the destroyer or annihilator of the universe. From him manifested the extreme female power of the universe Sati.
Then the preserver of the universe Vishnu took three forms,
Karnodakasayi visnu or Maha-Vishnu,
Maha Visnu have several Garbhodakasayivishnus in the spiritual sky(The ocean of Karana).
Each Garbhodakasayivishnu exhales and inhales and with each breath a Brahma is born who lives for 100 Brahma years and dies with the breath of Garbhodakasayi vishnu.
Each Brahma creates a universe which comes to an end with partial annihilation. After several Brahma years the annihilation of Garbhodakasayi vishnu takes place. At the last stage the dissolution of the whole
karan sagar with Maha vishnu is done by Shiva ,with Tandav, everything enters within Aadi Deva SHIVA and Shakti, and this cycle again begins.
This cycle of formation and annihilation is seen in Hinduism.
In the first Kalpa of Swetvarah, a battle was fought between Brahma and Shree Hari Vishnu to prove their superiority. Aadi Shiva manifested before arrogance. After that he also showed them his form in the shape of Shivalinga. From that day onwards the Shivalinga became famous."
The Deities go to Kailash Mountain Nandikeshwarji narrates the tale of battle between Shree Brahma and Shree Hari Vishnu.
"Once while travelling Shree Brahma reached the abode of Shree Vishnu. He saw Shree Vishnu. He saw Shree Vishnu resting on Shesh-Nag and being attended by Garuda and other attendants. When Brahmaji saw that Vishnu did not get up to receive him, he became very angry.
Very soon, Verbal dual erupted between them. It became so severe that a battle was fought between them, which continued for very long time. All the deities arrived from the heaven to watch the battle. They became very worried when they saw no sign of battle coming to an end. They decided to go to lord Shiva, to seek his help.
Anaal-Stambh (The Pillar of Fire)
"Though Adi Shiva knew everything, but still feigning ignorance, he asked about the well beings of the world. The deities told him about the battle, fought between Brahmaji and Vishnuji."
"Aadi Shiva then sent his one hundred Ganas to pacify both of them. He too went there accompanied by mother Parvati, boarded on a chariot. When Asdi Shiva reached there, he saw that Brahmaji and Vishnuji were about to use their deadly weapons- respectively. Fearing the destruction, which these deadly weapons might have caused, Aadi Shiva manifested himself in the form of
'Analstamba' (pillar of fire) between them. Brahmaji and Vishnuji had already released their weapons- Both the weapons fell into that pillar of fire and got destroyed. "Brahmaji and Vishnuji were very surprised to see the pillar of fire, which was so enormous in size that it reached the sky and penetrated down the earth.
Vishnuji transformed himself into a boar and went to the 'Patal' (nether world) to find the base of that 'Pillar of fire'. But he was unsuccessful in his attempt and came back. Similarly Brahmaji transformed himself into a swan and flew up in the sky to find its limit.
While going through the aerial route he met withered ‘Ketaki’ flowers, which had still some freshness and fragrance left in it."
"Aadi Shiva smiled at the futile attempts of Shri Brahmaji and Vishnuji. As a result of his smile the Ketaki flower fell down from the branch. Ketaki flower told Brahmaji that he had been present there since the beginning of the creation, but was unable to know about the origin of that 'Pillar of fine'. The flower also advised Brahmaji against making any effort in that direction, as it would be of no use." "Brahmaji then sought the help of Ketaki flower to give a false witness before lord Vishnu, that he (Brahmaji) had been successful in seeing the limit of that pillar of fire. Ketaki flower agreed. Both of them went to Vishnuji and Brahmaji told him that he had seen the limit of that Pillar of fire. Ketaki flower gave a witness. Vishnuji accepted the superiority of Brahmaji."
"Aadi Shiva became very angry with Brahmaji. He proceeded to punish Brahmaji for his falsehood. Shree Hari Vishnu requested Aadi Shiva to spare the life of Brahmaji. Aadi Shiva became pleased with Vishnuji and accorded him the same status as Hat of his own."
Shiva Obliges Brahma, Nandikeshwar continuing with the tale, said:
"After according same status to Vishnuji as that of his own, Aadi Dev Shiva opened his third eye from it manifested 'Bhairav'. He ordered Bhairav to kill Brahmaji.
Bhairav severed the fifth head of Lord Brahma with his sword. Brahmaji became very terrified. He was trembling in fear. Shree Vishnu felt pity on his condition and requested Aadi Shiva to forgive him. Shiva then stopped Bhairav, but told Brahma. "You spoke untruth with a desire to become worship able. It is my curse that, you will not be worshipped by anybody. You will posses only four heads."
Brahmaji begged his forgiveness. Shiva feeling pity on Brahmaji gave him a boon of being the presiding deity of all the yagya.
Similarly the Ketaki Flower also prohibited from being used during worship. But when Ketaki flower tendered his apology Shiva gave blessing that it would be fortunate to be offered to Shree Vishnu during the worship.
Consecration of Maheshwar
Vishnu and Brahma made salutations to Shiva and offered him a seat. They then worshipped him. This was the first time, Brahma and Vishnu had worshipped Aadi Dev Shiva. Shiva was very pleased.
Shiva-ratri has been continued to be celebrated since that day. This particular day is considered to be the most auspicious day for the worship of Lord Shiva.
A devotee who fasts on Shiva ratri remaining only on fruits, attain virtues equivalent to the worship done for the whole year.
The idol of Shiva is consecrated on this day.
Shiva has himself told the deities that he had manifested in the form of Pillar of Fire' in the month of Agahan and during the constellation of Ardra.
He also said-
"One who has my darshan on this day (Shivratri) or worships me in my form of linga is dearer to me than Kartikeya.
The place where, I manifested in the form of Pillar of fire will become famous as Lingasthan. Because of its resemblance with the 'Mountain of Fire', it will also be known Arunachal."
Later on Shiva brought back to life all the people who had died in the battle, fought between Brahmaji and Vishnuji.
Lord Shiva then preached Brahmaji and Vishnuji on the five duties
(Panchakritya) saying that 'Shrishti' (creation), 'Sthithi' (position), Samhar (Annihilation), Tirobhav (Concealment) and 'Anugrah' (obligation or kindness) are the five duties by which this world functions.
The source of this world in 'Sarga' or Nature.
The establishment of this world is 'Stithi' or position. The tendency of this world to destroy is Samhar or destruction. The feeling of absence of this world is Tirobhav or Concealment and Moksha or Salvation is obligation or Anugrah.
Shiva then goes on to explain that the first four duties like Sarga (Nature) etc help in the nutriment of the world and the fifth duty Anugrah is a giver of Salvation.
Shiva also told them (Brahmaji & Vishnuji) that he (Shiva) had blessed both of them to look after the two duties i.e. Shrishti and Sthiti.
Rudra and Mahesh have been entrusted with the job of Sanhar & Tiribhav.
"The fifth duty 'Anugrah' has been kept by me." Said Shiva.
After describing about the allocation of the various duties, Shiva described the meaning of 'OMKAR' to them.
He said that OMKAR signified the world and contained the power of both Shiva and Shakti. This powerful mantra gives all kinds of worldly accomplishment as well as salvation. After that Shiva initiated both Brahmaji and Vishnuji with the OMKAR' mantra. He also preached them on the importance of the worship of Shivalinga.
On the request of the sages, Sutaji describes about the methods of worshipping Shiva Linga.
He says "One should construct a Shivalinga either of mud, rock or metal and establish it in such a place where it can be worshipped daily without any hindrance."
"The 'Char' (mobile) Linga should be small in size and the Sthira (Fixed) linga should be large. The Linga should be constructed along with the pedestal.
The breadth of thickness of the Linga should be twelve times the thickness of the devotees (one who is constructing the linga) finger, while the length should be twenty-five times. After establishing the linga in the above mentioned way, it should be worshipped after performing the Shodasopachar.
The thumb also symbolizes a Shiva linga and its worship can be done. While worshipping the Shiva Linga, the mantra OM NAMAH SHIVAY should be continuously chanted.
Chanting this mantra for five crore times, helps a man in attaining to the abode of Shiva. Worship of Shiva done during the mid night is considered to be especially fructifying.
Conduct of the respective Castes
On the request of the sages, Sutaji described about the virtuous and in virtuous activities of a man according to the respective castes be belong. He said:
"A brahmin who performs the rituals, as described in the Vedas, only is entitled to be called a Dwija.
A brahmin who is not that proficient in the Vedas is called a 'Kshatriya brahmin'.
A brahmin engaged in agricultural activities and business is called a Vaishya-brahmin'.
A brahmin who is in the habit of condemning and criticizing others, is called a 'Shudra-Brahmin'.
"A Kshatriya who looks after the welfare of his subjects is called a king, while the rest of them are known as simply Kshatriya.
A Kshatriya who indulges in business is called a Vaishya Kshatriya.
Similarly a Kshatriya who engages himself in the service of the three superior castes – Brahmin Kshatriya and Vaishya is called a Shudra Kshatriya.