The Story of a thief: Incarnation of Rama ||8||

1-3Lomasa said: O Brahmanas, once there was a great sinner . He was a thief. He was excommunicated from all religious rites. He was a Brahmana-slayer, a drink-addict and a thief of gold. He sought the company of excellent women in an illicit way. He was stupid and slow and always engaged in gambling along with gamblers and cunning fellows. Once while playing, he lost wonderfully (large amount). Smashed and hit by rogues and gamblers, he did not speak anything.
4-5Though he was harassed and tormented, he kept quiet. Then that great sinner was asked thus by them: “You have lost this much wealth in the game of dice. Are you going to give it or not? O wicked fellow, let this be told immediately and precisely.” Then he said : “What bas been lost by me, I shall give at night.”
6Thanks to that statement, he was released by them. Those gamblers and rogues then went away. Then at mid-night he went to the temple of Siva.
7Climbing on to the head of Sambhu, he attempted to take the bell. At that time on the peak of Kailasa, Sambhu said to his servants:
8“What has been done by this fellow today is far superior to anything done by anyone on the earth. He is the most excellent one among all my devotees, hence he is my great favourite.”
9After saying this, he commanded the Ganas beginning with Virabhadra to bring him {the thief-gambler). They hurriedly started from Kailasa, the favourite (resort) of Siva.
10The three worlds were filled with the sound of Pamarus by all of them. On seeing them, the evil-minded thief got down suddenly from the top of the Linga and took to his heels immediately.
11-14On seeing him fleeing, Virabhadra called him: “Whom do you fear, O stupid fellow? Mahesvara, the lord of Devas, has been pleased with you, as he is very liberal-minded.” After saying thus and placing him in the aerial chariot, he came to Kailasa. The thief was made an attendant by that noble souled (lord). Hence, devotion to Siva must be preserved and cultivated by all embodied beings. Even animals will be worthy of being worshipped thereby. What to say of men on the earth?
15-16The followers of Tarka-Shstra are engaged in abstract reasoning and arguments . So are the followers of the Mimasha School. They go on arguing and disputing among themselves. And there are others who deliberate on and discuss about the existence, nature etc. of the Soul, but never reach any unanimity, or reconciliation of (their) differences. They are excluded from the worship of Siva. Without Siva, of what significance are they, by whom only arguments are forwarded?
17Of what avail is much talk? All mobile and immobile beings, all animals too, are born bearing the Linga.
18Just as the Linga is placed (and consecrated) in conjunction with the Pindi (globular solid pedestal), so also men are endowed with Lingas and women are Pindis.
19The entire universe consisting of the mobile and immobile beings is endowed with (the union of) Siva and Sakti. Those are foolish fellows who, out of delusion, eschew devotion to such Siva and worship others.
20Their Dharma is extremely insignificant, perishable and momentary. He who is Vishnu should be known as Siva. He who is Siva is Vishnu alone .
21The pedestal is the form of Vishnu and Mahesvara is in the form of Linga. Hence the worship of Linga, O Brahmanas, is excellent for everyone.
22Brahma worships a Ruby-Linga always, lndra worships a Linga made of gems and Candra (the Moon-god) one of pearls.
23Bhanu (the Sun-god) always worships a splendid copper (coloured) Linga. Kubera worships a golden Linga and Varuna a Linga red in colour.
24Yama worships a sapphire Linga, Nairrta worships a silver Linga, Pavana (Wind-god) always worships a saffron Linga of the lord.
25Thus, all Guardians of the Quarters including Indra have been characterised as worshippers of Linga. So are all (persons) in the nether world and also Gandharvas and Kinnaras.
26-27Among Daityas, O Brahmanas, there are certain devotees of Vishnu, the chief of whom was Prahlada . So also, among Rakshasas, those having Vibhishana as their leader. So also (were) Bali, Namuci, Hiranyakasipu. Vrisaparvan, Vrisa, Sarhhrada and Bana .
28These and many others who were the disciples of the intelligent Sukra were engaged in worshipping Siva. All these Daityas and Danavas (were devotees of Siva).
29-32All the following were Rakshasas and they were always engaged in the worship of Siva. They were: Heti, Praheti, Samyati, Vighasa, Praghasa, Vidyujjihva, Tikshnadamshtra, Dhumraksha of terrible valour, Mali, SumaIi and the extremely terrible Malyavan, Vidyutkesa, Tadijjihva, Ravana of great strength, the invincible Kumbhakarna and Vegadarsi of great valour. These were great Rakshasas, who were always engaged in worshipping Siva. After worshipping the Linga formerly, they had always attained Siddhi.
33A severe penance unbearable to all was performed by Ravana. Then Mahadeva, the lord of penance, became much pleased.
34-35He granted him boons very difficult to be achieved by all others. Wisdom with perfect knowledge was obtained by him from Sadasiva. He further obtained (invincibility) in battle and twice the number of heads (as those of god Siva), for Mahadeva had only five faces. whereas Ravana had ten faces.
36Thanks to the grace of Mahesa, that powerful (Rakshasa) defeated Devas, sages and manes by means of his penance and became superior to all.
37He was made the great king and ruler of Trikuta by Mahesa. He occupied the greatest and most excellent position (seat) among Rakshasas.
38It was for testing (the enduring capacity of) the sages that he harassed them. Violence towards the sages was indulged in, O Brahmanas, by Ravana who was himself an ascetic, only because he wanted to test them.
39Ravana who made the whole world cry and scream, became great and invincible. Thanks to the grace and favour of Sankara, another creation was evolved by him.
40The guardians of the worlds were conquered by that ascetic by means of his valour. Brahma too was subdued by him only through great penance.
41By becoming the nectar-rayed one, he conquered the Moon, O Brahmanas. Through the power of burning, the Fire-god was conquered and Isa (himself) was conquered by lifting up Kailasa (mountain).
42Indra was conquered by means of his Aisvarya (power and prosperity). So also, Vishnu, the omnipresent one. By worshipping and propitiating the Linga, all the three worlds were controlled by him.
43At that time, all the groups of Suras, with Brahma and Vishnu as their leaders, gathered together on the top of Meru and began their deliberation and discussion:
44-45“We have been tormented by Ravana through his penance, very difficult to be performed (by others). O Devas, let this wonderful story be listened to. On the mountain named Gokarna, worship of the Linga itself was performed by that noble-souled (hero). What could be known only through knowledge, what could be achieved only through knowledge, whatever great miracle was there, that which is very difficult to be surpassed by everyone-all these were done by Ravana alone.
46He had adopted the greatest vairagya (detachment) as well as liberal-midedness greater even than that (vairagya). The feeling of mamata (mineness) was eschewed by the noble-souled Ravana.
47After a period of a thousand years, that (hero) of great arms cut one of his own head and offered it with his own hand, for the sake of worshipping the Linga.
48Ravana’s body short of one head stood in front of it in the vicinity. It was endowed with Yogic dharana (steady abstraction) and the greatest samadhi (concentration).
49Fixing his attention deeply on the Linga after about a kala, he cut off another head and worshipped Siva with it. Such (performance of) worship was never done by any sage nor by anyone else.
50Thus many heads were chopped off and offered by him in worshipping Siva. Again and again he became a headless body. Then Siva became a bestower of boons.
51‘Formerly without being myself transformed into a Pindi… . O descendant of Pulastya, choose boons as you please. I shall grant you the same.’
52-53Then Siva of greatest auspiciousness was requested by Ravana: ‘lf Your Lordship are pleased, the excellent boon should be given to me. I do not wish to seek any other boon. If you have merciful favour towards me, you should give me such a boon whereby I (always) resort to your feet.’
54Then Ra.vat}.a who made the world cry and scream was told by Sadasiva: ‘By my favour, you will obtain everything mentally desired by you.’
55-59It was thus, O leading Suras, that everything was obtained by Ravana from Siva. Hence this Ravana should be subdued by you all only through great penance. This is what I think.” On hearing the words of Acyuta, the groups of Devas beginning with Brahma became anxious, because all of them had been addicted to sensual pleasures. Brahma was overpowered by sexual desire and he attempted sexual act with his own daughter. Indra was an adulterer. Candra (the Moon-god) defiled the bed of his Guru (preceptor Brihaspati). Yama has been avaricious and stingy. Sadagati (the Wind-god) has been fickle. Pavaka has been indiscriminate in eating anything and everything. The others among the groups of Devas (had similar defects). Hence, all these were incapable of conquering Ravana who had become very great by means of penance.
60Sailada was an elderly excellent Gana of great splendour. He was intelligent, an expert in adopting the right course of action, highly powerful and very valorous.
61-62He was a favourite of Siva and was identical with Rudra. The noble-souled one asked all of them led by Indra,
“Why have you all come here in great excitement? Let the whole thing be reported in detail.” On being asked by Nandi, all of them hurriedly said then:
63Devas said: All of us along with the sages have been conquered by Ravana. We have come to propitiate Siva, the lord of the lords of the worlds.
64Lord Nandi laughed and said to Brahma: “Where are you? Where is auspicious Sambhu? (There is a world of difference between you two.) By means of great penance, he should be seen seated in the middle of the heart. He cannot be seen today.
65As long as the emotional attitudes are too many, the objects of senses are plentiful and there is the feeling of mineness, so long Isa is very difficult to be attained.
66Siva in the form of the Linga is easy of access to those noble-souled ones who have subdued the senses, are quiescent and have stabilized themselves in him. He is very difficult to be obtained by you all.”
67Then Brahma and other Devas as well as the learned sages bowed down to Nandi and said: “Why do you have the face of a monkey? Tell us everything about it. Tell us about the power of the penance of Ravana.”
68-70Nandisvara said: Kubera had been made by the noble-souled Sankara the over-lord of wealth and assets. Ravana came here to see him, riding in his own vehicle. He was in a hurry. On seeing me, he said furiously: “Did Kubera come here? Was he seen by you here? Let this be told immediately.”
71-72He was asked by me: “What have you to do with Dhanada (Kubera) today?” Then Ravana of great splendour, who made the world scream, said: “At the outset he (Kubera) had been indifferent towards me. He did not care for me. Addicted to sensual pleasures, as he is, he has been highly arrogant. He began to teach 1ne saying, ‘O lord. it should not be done like this. Just as I am endowed with glory and splendour, just as I am rich and strong, so also you do become, O fool. Do not get into delusion and stupidity.’
73Have been made a fool and a deluded person by the noble-souled Kubera. On being turned out by me angrily, that Guhyaka (i.e. Kubera) performed penance.
74Did that Kubera come, O Nandi, to your abode? Let that Kubera be handed over (to me). You need not hesitate in this matter.”
75-79On hearing the words of Ravana, I hurriedly replied: “You are a Lingaka (worshipper of Linga), an exalted one. I too am one like that. Knowing the equality between us both you are prattling in vain, O vicious one.” As he was told thus, he in his arrogance due to his might, asked me about my face in the same manner as I have been asked about my face by you noble-souled ones. The old story was recounted by me about the benefit of the holy rite of the worship of Siva. “Sarupya (having the same form as that of the lord) was granted by Siva, but it was not accepted by me then. The face of a monkey was requested by me from Sambhu. It was then granted to me kindly by Siva who is by nature compassionate. Those who are devoid of false prestige, those who are free from arrogance and those who have no property or possessions, should be known as favourites of Sarhbhu. Others are excluded by Siva.”
80-86abThen Ravana said to me: “On the strength of my penance, I had been sensible enough to request for ten heads.” At his derisive statement, Ravana who made the world scream, was cursed by me then: “When an excellent man of great penance accompanied by those who have faces like this (monkey faces like mine) (comes to your city) keeping me at the head, he will undoubtedly kill you.” Thus, O Brahma, Ravana who made the world scream, was cursed by me. Only the Linga was worshipped by Ravana without the noble-souled Vishnu stationed in the form of the pedestal, O excellent Suras. Hence, O excessively fortunate ones, Mahesvara, Mahadeva, the lord of Devas, in the f onn of Vishnu will carry out everything. May all of you pray to Vishnu lying within the cavity of the heart of everyone. Therefore, I shall be at the head of all Devas.
86cOn hearing the words of Nandi, all of them became joyous in their minds. They came to Vaikuntha and began to eulogize Vishnu by means of (good) words.
87Devas said: Obeisance to you, the lord, O lord of Devas, O lord of the universe. This entire universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings has you for its basis and support.
88This Linga has been held by you, O Vishnu, in the form of the Pindi (globular pedestal). In the form of Mahavishnu (the demons) Madhu and Kaitabha were killed by you.
89Similarly, in the form of a tortoise, the Mandara mountain was held up and supported by you (at the time of churning of ocean for nectar). Assuming the form of a boar, Hiranyaksha was killed by you.
90Hiranyakasipu, the Daitya, was killed by you by assuming the form of Nrihari (Man-lion). Bali, the Daitya, was
held and bound by you in the form of Vimana (Dwarf).
91The son of Krtavirya (Sahasrarjuna) was killed by you after taking birth in the family of Bhrigus. Here after too, O great Vishnu, protect us in the same manner.
92It behoves you to protect us instantaneously from the fear of Ravana.
93On being entreated thus by Devas, the lord Vasudeva, the sanctifier (the creator) of all living beings, who is immanent in the universe, said to all those Suras:
94“O Devas, let this important statement he heard. It is relevant to this occasion. With Sailadi (Nandin) as your head (leader), all of you immediately take incarnations in the form (bodies) of monkeys.
95I shall become a human being enveloped by Ajnana (Ignorance). I shall be born in Ayodhya in the abode of Dasaratha for the attainment of your objectives. I am having Brahmavidya (the knowledge of Brahman) as my assistant.
96Brahmavidya herself will be born in the abode of Janaka . In fact, Ravana is (my) devotee as he is directly engaged in the meditation on Siva.
97When a man endowed with great penance desires for Brahmavidya, he can be easily managed and won over by means of virtue.”
98-100After saying this, lord Vishnu, the highly auspicious one (vanished). VaIi was born of a part of Indra. Sugriva was the son of the Sun. Jambavan, the leading Riksha (bear), was born of a part of Brahma. Nandi, the son of Silada, who was a favourite follower of Siva, incarnated as the great monkey Hanuman for rendering assistance to Vishnu of unmeasured splendour.
101The monkeys beginning with Mainda were all the excellent Suras. Thus, all Suras incarnated in a befitting manner.
102Similarly, Vishnu was born as one who increased the delight of Kausalya. He is called Rama by learned men, because he pleased and gratified the entire universe.
103Due to his devotion to Vishnu, Sesha descended on the earth by means of the power of his penance.
104The mighty arms of Vishnu incarnated as the valorous (Princes) named Satrughna and Bharata well-renowned in the three worlds.
105“She who was mentioned as Brahmavidya by the expounders of the Vedas, incarnated as the daughter of the ruler of Mithila for the fulfilment of the task of Suras. She was born from a furrow arising from the ploughing of the field with the ploughshare .
106Hence, she became famous as Sita. She was the Science of Metaphysics (personified). Since she was born in Mithila, she is called Maithili.
107She was born in the family of Janaka. Hence, she is well-known as Janakatmaja (Janaka). This Brahmavidya, the destroyer of sins, was formerly known as Vedavati.
108-110She was given by Janaka himself to Vishnu, the Supreme Soul. Along with her, the Vidyii (incarnated), Vishnu
the greatest among the auspicious ones, the lord of Devas, the lord protector of the universe, became engaged in a severe penance. As he was desirous of defeating Ravana for the sake of the fulfilment of the task of Devas, the lotus-eyed Rama stayed in forest (for the same purpose).
111Though the great incarnation of Sesha, (Lakshmana) performed an exceedingly difficult penance by means of his great Sakti (power), for the sake of the fulfilment of the task of Devas.
112- 115Satrughna and Bharata too performed very great penance. Rama who was thus endowed with the power of penance and was assisted and accompanied by those groups of Devas, killed Ravana along with his followers within six months. Killed by Vishnu by means of weapons, O sages of holy rites, he attained Sarupya (having the same form as the god) of Siva, along with his kinsmen and followers. By the grace of Siva, he became (realized) the entire Dvaitadvaita (the essence of the philosophy of dualism and non-dualism) . Even the sages are deluded in the matter of discrimination between dualism and non-dualism. Men who are engaged in worshipping Siva derive all those things.
116Those who continuously worship Siva in the form of Linga, whether they be women or siidras or candas or other low-caste people, do attain Siva, the destroyer of all miseries.
117-118Even animals have attained the supreme lord. What then to say about human beings? The twice-born castes who have practised great penance observing the vow of celibacy and who have performed Yajnas for many years have attained (merely) Svarga (Heaven).
119-123There are many Yajnas such as Jyotishtoma, Vajapeya, Atiratra and so on. These Yajnas undoubtedly do bestow heavenly pleasures on those who perform them. After enjoying the heavenly pleasures, when their merits become exhausted, those sacrificers come back to the mortal world. Having descended to the world, they are born in the different species with their intellect of the nature of the three Gunas of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Thus, many souls wander about in cycles of birth and death. By chance or as good luck would have it, some of them serve Siva.
124Instantaneous removal of Maya takes place in the case of men who are engaged in regular meditation on Siva and who have restrained their minds and not otherwise.
125When Maya is dispelled, the three Gunas perish. Then a person transcends the three Gunas and becomes liberated thereby.
126-128Hence, the worship of Linga should be thought of and pursued by all embodied beings. Siva assumes the form of Linga and protects all mobile and immobile beings. Formerly I have been asked by you about how Siva assumed the form of Linga. Everything has now been truthfully spoken (by me), O Brahmanas. How Siva. the great lord of the worlds, swallowed poison (Halahala), may be listened to, O Brahmanas. I shall recount it to you as it actually took place.