Great Efficacy of the Worship of Siva: The Story of Sage Lomala ||12||

1-2Narada said: Then they saw the great sage named Lomasa, O Partha. He had restrained all his senses, and had the power of Kriya-yoga. He was penance incarnate; matted hair on his head were turned tawny due to ablutions thrice a day. (He was so brilliant that) he appeared like fire with ghee poured in it.
3In his left hand he held a sheaf of straw for the sake of shade. The most excellent one among Brahmanas held an Aksamala (‘rosary of beads’) in his right hand. He was a follower of the path known as Maitra.
4Without injuring or causing harm to any living being moving over the earth with harsh words if one attains spiritual perfection by Japya (‘repetition of holy names’) one is called a Maitra sage.
5The crane, the king, the Brahmana sage, the owl, the vulture and the tortoise saw that long-lived ascetic in the Kalapa village and bowed down to him.
6They were warmly received by this (sage) by welcoming them, offering seats to them and according them all a very hospitable treatment in a befitting manner. They became delighted and disclosed to him what they had in their heart.
7The Tortoise said: This is king Indradyumna who has been the leader of all who used to perform Yajnas. In view of the Joss of his renown, he has been banished from heaven by Brahma.
8Through Markandeya and others, he redeemed his reputation, O excellent one. He does not desire Svarga (heaven) which (appears) terrible (to him) in view of his likely downfall once again and ( other similar risks).
9With your blessings he wishes to have Mal,odaya (‘salvation’) here itself. Hence this king needs to be enlightened by you. He is your disciple, O holy lord. He has been brought here to you by me. Tell him the good things that he desires.
10Helping others is the vow adopted by good men, especially in regard to those who are worthy of being enlightened and so have approached as disciple.
11-12If a good advice is given to sinners who are not worthy of being enlightened, undoubtedly it causes (mutual)
hatred or death to one of them. This sage who never errs in regard to those worthy of being enlightened gives the very same. Thus you (alone) understand virtue. Whence do we?
13Lomasa said: O tortoise, everything that has been said by you to me today is proper. It is an ancient injunction laid down in Dharmasastra. We have been reminded of it.
14Speak out, O king, confidently, the doubt that is lurking within your mind. Who said what to you? I shall undoubtedly tell you that which remains (yet to be told).
15-16Indradyumna said: O holy lord, this is my first question. Let this be explained to me. Even in this summer season, when the sun (is blazing) in the middle (of the sky), why don’t you have an Alrama (hermitage)? Even a small hut (you don’t have). You make a shade on the head through straws held in the hand.
17Lomasa said: This body shall fall down definitely as death is certainly inevitable. For whose sake is an abode (to be) made by persons in the middle of this transient world?
18-19In the case of a person whose friend happens to be Mrtyu (‘god of Death’) or who has imbibed excellent nectar, it is proper for him to say, “This will happen to me tomorrow or this day will come in thousands of Yugas.” But even that has assumed the existence of today. Of what account are persons who have the termination of life in death!
20An effect has conformity with its cause. This physical body is produced out of the semen virile. How can it have purity like the burning coal when it is washed? Tell me.
21excellent king, even for the sake of this body, people who are vanquished by the (internal) six enemies (viz. lust, anger etc.) commit sins. How is it that they are not ashamed?
22-23(Man) is born of Brahma here. He is produced out of two sandgrains. How can one who reads and listens to what is said in the Nigamas continue to live? The Maya of Vishnu, however, deludes the person who lacks discrimination. Even persons Jiving for hundreds of years do not know Death lurking in the heart.
24-25The teeth are shaky. Fortune is fickle and inconstant. Youth, life, charitable gifts, house of people-everything is transitory and unsteady, O king. After knowing thus that the worldly existence (itself) is worthless and extremely unsteady, for whose sake, O king, are huts (forts, strongholds etc.) being constructed?
26Indradyumna said: Your HoJiness (‘Bhagavan ’) alone are reported to be the longest-lived one in the whole of the three worlds. It was for this purpose that I came here. So why should you speak thus?
27Lomasa said: Once in every Kalpa, a hair falls off from my body. When all of them have fallen, my death will take place.
28Have a look at the spot around my knee. A patch of two Angulas on my body has become devoid of hair. Therefore I am afraid: of what avail are houses, when there is certainty of death?
29Narada said: On hearing his words thus the king was surprised much. He laughingly asked him the cause of such a longevity.
30lndradyumna asked: I am asking you this, O Brahmana, whether it was the power of charitable gifts or penance that your life. has become so Jong like this.
31Lomasa said: Listen, O king, I shall recount the meritorious story of what happened in my previous birth. That is connected with the holy rites of the Siva cult and that dispels all sins.
32Formerly I was an excessively impoverished Sudra roaming over the earth very much afflicted with hunger.
33-34A great Linga was caught by me in the net. ln the midday a pool of water was seen not very far off. Thereafter I entered the waters thereof and had my bath. I drank the water and bathed the Linga of Sambhu. (Its) worship was performed by means of splendid lotuses.
35I was overpowered by hunger. After bowing down to Srikantha, I set off once again. I died on the way, 0 excellent king.
36Thereafter. I was born as a son in the house of a Brahmana. I could recollect (the events of) the previous birth, due to the bathing of the Sivalinga and adoring it once with lotus flowers.
37Being aware (of the fact) that this universe is the manifestation of Avidya , that it is false and that it has only an apparent reality and after realizing that this universe is the outcome of Avidya I adopted silence.
38Since I had been obtained by him (as a son) in his old age after propitiating Mahesvara, the name given to me by him was lsana.
39That Brahmana decided thus: ‘I will remove (i.e. remedy) his dumbness.’ After resolving thus that Brahmana brought many medicines endearingly and tried to cure me.
40-43(He tried) many magical formulas and spells and many physicians were engaged. He tried many other means as well. On seeing the foolishness of my parents whose minds had got deluded by the great Maya, I began to laugh mentally. Similarly after attaining youth, every night I used to leave the house at night, worship Sarilbhu with lotuses and then go to bed. Afterwards when my father died I was forsaken by my kinsmen, thinking that I was stupid. I was glad at it. I remained (a devotee) having fruits alone for my food and I took delight in worshipping Isa with various kinds of lotuses.
44Thereupon, at the end of a hundred years, the Moon-crested Lord, the bestower of boons became directly visible. He was entreated to grant (me) the abolition of old age and death.
45Isvara said: There is neither immortality nor freedom from old age to one who bears a name and a form. Even if it happens to be I myself. there is the destruction of the physical body. So make a limit for the period of your existence.
46-47On hearing these words of Sambhu, the following (boon) was chosen by me then: “Let one hair (from my body) fall at the end of a Kalpa. If all the hair fall off, let me die. Thereafter, I shall be your Gana. This is the boon wished for by me.” Saying “So be it”, lord Hara vanished.
48-49Ever since then I became wholly devoted to penance. One is liberated from the sin of Brahmana-slaughter by worshipping Siva with solar lotuses or other varieties of lotuses. There is no doubt about this. Do this. O great king; you too will obtain what is desired by you.
50-51There is nothing difficult to be obtained in the three worlds by the people who are devotees of Hara (i.e. Siva). If one restrains external activities. and curbs the organs of sense and those of action and merges into Sadasiva perpetually, this is called Antaryoga (‘Internal Yoga’). Since this Antaryoga is very difficult to be practised, Siva himself recommended Bahiryoga (‘External Yoga’).
52The worship with the five Bhutas (‘elements’) is certainly conducive to special benefits. It is unaffected by hindrances, fruition of Karmas, latent impression etc.
53After propitiating lsana, if one repeats Pranava,a (i.e. Om). one shall attain salvation. Only when all the sins are destroyed, does one feel emotionally attached to Siva.
54-56Even the news of Siva will not reach those persons whose minds are afflicted with sins. Birth in the land of Bharata is very rare; worship of Siva is rare; ablution and holy dip in the river Ganga is rare. Devotion to Siva is still very rare; charitable gifts to a (gifts worthy) Brahmana is very rare; the worship of fire is very rare. (The good fortune of) the worship of Purusottama is very difficult to be attained by persons with little meritorious deeds.
57(Defective Verse) Yoga (can be achieved) with a hundred thousand bows (Dhanusam?); fire (can be attained) with half of it; one shall become a deserving person with a hundred thousand. Reva (i.e. Narmada) and Rudra (can be attained) with sixty hundred thousand(?).
58Thus everything concerning how my life got prolonged due to propitiation of Mahesvara, has been spoken to you, O king.
59It is definite that in the entirt! three worlds there is nothing very difficult to get, or impossible to be achieved, or rarely to be accomplished by noble-souled persons who perform (rites of) devotion to Siva.
60-61O king, who will not bow down to Sankara after knowing that Nandisvara attained fulfilment through that self same body after worshipping Siva? When Sveta, the king, worshipped Srikantha, even Kala (i.e. god of Death) was annihilated. Who then will not worship that Isa?
62Who will not seek refuge in him by whose will this universe is born (i.e. created), sustained and dissolved?
63The secret of the above is this that the most important duty of men is the worship of Siva, O king. The worlds of heaven etc. act as obstacles to the attainment of Siva. It is a fact that a person who bows down to Siva, attains Siva instantaneously.