The Nirgunatva of the Siva Linga: The manifestation of Bhavani ||20||

1The sages said: Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra were mentioned by you as (deities) possessing Gunas. Similarly Isa has Linga for his form. How is he beyond Gunas? Tell us.
2This universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings is pervaded by the three Gunas. Whatever is great, pervasive or small-everything is of the nature of Maya and appears so. Whence and through what does it appear without the Linga?
3Whatever is visible whether great or small is perishable, O Suta, because it is created.
4Hence, O Suta, it behoves you to ponder over everything, critically examine it and dispel our doubts. By the grace of Vyasa you and none else, know everything.
5Suka said: In this matter everything has been told (explained) by Vyasa to Suka. Suka enquired: Sambhu has Linga as his form. How is he described as free from Gunas by you? O dear father, it behoves you to dispel this doubt of mine completely.
6Vyasa explained: Listen, O dear one. I shall tell it. It was formerly explained by Nandi to Agastya who asked about it. O Suka, everything was heard by him.
7Know that the Great Atman is devoid of Gunas but it is in the form of Linga. Similarly Sati, the greatest and eternal Sakti, should also be known as devoid of Gunas.
8It is by her that this ultimately perishable universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings and evolved out of the three Gunas, has been created.
9The Atman alone, the greatest unsullied Lord in the form of Linga (is eternal). Those three Gunas got merged into it (the Supreme Atman) along with Prakrti.
10It was hence called formerly Linga because of Layana (‘merging’). Even the Para Sakti gots merged into the Linga. What of others?
11At the instance of Rudra, the Gunas whereby mobile and immobile beings are bound, become merged, O highly fortunate one. Hence one should worship Linga.
12Know, O excellent Brahmanas, that Linga is devoid of Gunas. It is on account of the merging of the Gunas that the Linga is glorified.
13Sankara is described by learned men as the bestower of happiness. He is called Sarva, O Brahmanas, as he is indeed the support of all.
14-15O Brahmanas, he is called Sambhu because he is one from whom auspiciousness originates. Thus, all the names of the great Atman are meaningful. The entire universe is enveloped by that Sambhu, Parameshthin (the Supreme God).
16-17The sages enquired: Sati of great fortune, the daughter of Daksha, fell into the sacred fire of the holy rite of Yajna of Daksha. When did she appear again, O Suta? Let it be described now by you. How did the greatest Sakti re-join Mahesa?
18All these incidents of yore, O (Sage) of great fortune, should be described to us truthfully. There is no other person to recount it.
19-21Sura replied: O Brahmanas, when Dakshayani got her limbs (i.e. body) burnt in (the fire of) the Yajna, Mahesa was left without Sakti. Hence he performed a great penance on the Himalaya mountain with a body playfully assumed by him. He was surrounded by Bhpigi, Visva, Nandi, Canda, Munda and other Batus (young boys in the stage of religious students). He was surrounded by ten crores of Ganas (i. e. attendants).
22The Bull-bannered Lord was surrounded by other Ganas numbering one crore and sixty thousand.
23The Supreme Atman thus engaged in penance suddenly went to the top of Himalaya surrounded by his Ganas, the chief of whom was Virabhadra. He was alone, being bereft of the Mulavidya.
24-26In the meantime, Daityas were born of Avidya. Bali was bound by Vishnu. Then those powerful Daityas became tormentors of Indra, O Brahmanas. They were Kalakhanjas, the exceedingly terrible Kalakayas (? Kalakeyas) and others. There were Nivatakavacas and those named Ravaravakas. There were many other Daityas causing the massacre of the subjects.
27Taraka, the son of Namuci, propitiated Brahma by means of a great penance. Brahma was pleased with him.
28He granted to the evil-minded Taraka boons just according to his wish. He said: “Choose your boon. Welfare unto you. I shall give you all that your desire.”
29On hearing those words of Brahma Parameshthin, he chose a boon that instilled terror in all the worlds:
30“If you are pleased with me, grant me freedom from old age and death and give me invincibility too as you know it.”
31-32On being told thus by the evil-minded Taraka, (Brahmana) laughingly spoke these words: “Where from can you have immortality? Know it as a fact that certain indeed is death unto one who is born.” Then Taraka laughed and said: “Then give me invincibility.”
33Brahma then said to the Daitya: “Invincibility has been granted to you, O sinless one, except from an infant. An infant will defeat you.”
34Then Taraka bowed down and said to Brahma: “O lord, O lord of Devas, I am blessed and contented by your grace now.”
35Having acquired the boon thus, Taraka, the Asura of great strength, challenged Devas for war and fought with them.
36-38Resorting to Mucukunda , Devas became victorious. Although Devas were repeatedly attacked and tormented by Taraka, they gained victory through the power of Mucukunda. “What is to be done by us? We are being continuously attacked and dragged into war.’ Thinking thus, Suras including Vasava (Indra) went to Brahma’s region. Going in front of Brahma, they spoke thus:
39-40Devas said: Madhusadana is staying in Patala along with Bali. Without Vishnu, all those, Vrisha and others have fallen on account of the enemies, the leading Daityas. O highly fortunate one, O lord, it behoves you to save us. Then an ethereal voice spoke to them consolingly:
41-46aO Devas, let my suggestion be carried out exactly and immediately. O Devas, when an exceedingly powerful son is born to Siva, he will undoubtedly kill Taraka in battle. Take such a course of action that lord Sambhu, dwelling in the cavity of the heart of everyone, takes a wife unto himself. Let a great effort be made by you all. These words cannot be otherwise. Know this, O ye Devas.” So said the unembodied voice. Struck with wonder, Devas spoke to one another. After hearing the ethereal voice, all the Devas of great fortune came to Himalaya keeping Brihaspati at their head. They spoke these words to Himalaya on account of the seriousness of the matter:
46b-47“O Himalaya of great fortune, let our words be heard now. Taraka terrorizes us. Render assistance in killing him. Be refuge unto us and to all the ascetics. It is for this that we have come here accompanied by Mahendra, O lord.”
48-51Lomasa said: On being requested thus by Devas, Himavan, the most excellent among mountains spoke these words laughingly to Devas. Himavan, the most excellent one among those con-versant with the (use of) words, was full of satirical laughter against Mahendra: “O Suras, it was by Mahendra himself that we have been made incapable of anything. What task of Suras can we do in this matter of killing Taraka? If only we had our wings, O excellent Suras, we would have killed Taraka along with his kinsmen. I am an Acala (immobile; mountain). I am a Vipaksha (devoid of wings; belonging to the opposite side); what shall I do unto you all?”
52-53On hearing his words, all the Devas spoke to him: “A II of you and all of us are incapable of killing Taraka, O highly fortunate one. Let the means whereby Taraka, our enemy of great power, can be brought under control, be thought off.” Then the highly refulgent Himavan spoke to Suras:
54“By what means, O Devas, do you wish to kill Taraka? Be pleased to tell me quickly so that I can understand the matter on hand.”
55Then everything that had been previously declared by the (ethereal) voice in regard to their duty was mentioned by Suras. When it was heard by the Mountain, the Himalaya mountain spoke these words:
56-57“When Taraka, the Daitya of great soul, is to be slain by the intelligent son of Siva. every objective of Suras shall be auspicious. What has been said by the ethereal voice shall become true. Hence let that be done by you, which makes Mahesa take up a wife unto himself. Who is that girl suitable to Siva? Let that be ascertained by Suras now.”
58On hearing his words, Suras laughed and said: “For the sake of Siva and for accomplishing our task, a daughter has to be begotten by you.
59O Mountain of great intellect, carry out the suggestion of Suras. You will undoubtedly become the support of Devas.”
60-63On being told thus by Devas, the lord of mountains went to his house. He said to his wife Mena: “The task of Suras has become our responsibility. For the accomplishment of the task of Devas a good daughter has to be begotten. It is for the benefit of Devas, sages and ascetics. (Of course) the birth of a daughter may not be pleasing to women. Still, O lady of splendid face, a daughter has to be procreated.” Mena laughed and spoke to her husband Himalaya: O What has been spoken by you (is true). Let my words be heard by you now.
64O my lord, a daughter is the cause of misery unto men. So also, O highly intelligent one, she causes sorrow unto women. Hence ponder over this for a Jong time yourself with your keen intellect. Let what is conducive to our welfare be told, O lord of Mountains.”
65On hearing the words of his wife, the intelligent Himavan spoke these words motivated by a desire to help others:
66“By an intelligent person, that whereby others can sustain themselves, should be done.
67The same should be done by a woman also, viz. that which helps others.” Thus his queen was made to comply by the Mountain. Then the lucky Mena conceived a girl in her womb.
68She was the great Vidya, the great Maya, the embodiment of the highest intellect. She was Amba, the great daughter of Daksha, Rudrakali, Sati.
69The chaste lady of beautiful eyes and excellent fortune, Mena, bore in her womb that highest glory of large eyes.
70Then Devas, sages, Yakshas and Kinnaras eulogized Mena of excessive fortune and the Mountain Himavan.
71-74In the meantime, their daughter named Girija was born. When the goddess, the bestower of happiness on all, manifested herself, divine drums were sounded; celestial damsels danced; lords of Gandharvas sang; Siddhas and Caranas eulogized (her); Devas showered plenty of flowers. Then everything, the entire unit of the three worlds became delighted. When the great Sati, Girija, incarnated herself, Daityas became excessively frightened. The groups of Devas, the great Sages, Caranas and the groups of Siddhas attained great joy.