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Thread: Nilakantha

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    Nilakantha

    Namaste All,

    Nilakantha is one of the epithets of Lord Shiva. The literal meaning of Nilakantha is blue-throated. There is a very famous Puranic legend called the churning of the cosmic ocean, where the Devas and Asuras decide to churn the cosmic ocean to extract amrita (nectar of immortality). They use the mountain Mandara as the churning stick, and the king of the serpents, Vasuki, as the rope. Vishnu in His Kurma Avatar acts as a base to support the mountain on His back. As they churn away, 14 items come out of the ocean, one of which is a deadly poison known as halahala or kalakuta. Lord Shiva drank the poison in order to save the universe, but Devi held His throat so He doesnt swallow it. The poison made His throat blue, hence the name Nilakantha.



    This story is filled with esoteric meaning. I would like this thread to be a discussion of the deeper meaning of this legend. The first question is: what does Nilakantha represent?

    OM Shanti,
    A.
    In whom the Adityas, Rudras and Vasus are held together; in whom are set firm the worlds; that which was and that which shall be tell me of that Support who may He be? (Atharvaveda Samhita X.7.22)


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    Re: Nilakantha

    Quote Originally Posted by Agnideva View Post

    This story is filled with esoteric meaning. I would like this thread to be a discussion of the deeper meaning of this legend. The first question is: what does Nilakantha represent?

    OM Shanti,
    A.
    I don't believe that in such story there is an "esoteric" or/and "deeper" meaning.
    This means that I will not make this thread what you would like it to be.

    You may read such story in Srimad Bhagavata Purana,Canto 8,Chapter 7.
    http://www.srimadbhagavatam.org/canto8/chapter7.html



    There some details about this story that I wish to share with you.

    Shiva was able to consume the kAlakUTa poison, not on his own powers
    but, on that obtained by chanting Vishnu-mantra.

    The
    Brahmanda purANA says:

    taM dR^iShTvA ghorasaN^kAshaM prAdurbhUtaM mahAviSham.h |
    dhyAtvA nArAyaNaM devaM hR^idaye garuDadhvajam.h ||

    (Seeing that terrible poison emerging, (Shiva) meditated on the Lord Vishnu,
    Garudadhvaja, residing in his heart).


    Another purANa says:

    yena jIrNaM cha garaLaM kaNThasthaM cha kapAlinaH |
    antarAtmadhR^itaM tasya hR^idaye garuDadhvaja ||

    It is only due to Shiva's meditating on Vishnu, that he was able to digest
    the terrible poison, right in his neck.


    In Garuda purana, Shiva tells Parvati:

    aprakAshamidaM devi guhyAdguhyataraM padam.h |
    purAhamabdhimathane patagendraviShAvaham.h |
    avadhyaM garalaM ghoramaJNbhujamamR^itaM yathA ||

    O Devi, this is not a well known fact. At the time of samudra-mathana,
    before consuming poison, I meditated on the Lord. (It is due to his mercy
    that ) I was able to drink it as easily as I had the nectar (amR^ita)


    This one is well known in the mantra-shAstras:

    achyutAnantagovindamantrato.apsu shubhaM param.h |
    OM iti sampuTIkR^ityajapanviShadharo.aharat.h ||

    Lord Shiva did 'abhimantraNa' of the poison with the most auspicious mantra:
    OM achyutAnantagovinda OM' and then consumed the poison.


    Another purANa says:

    nAmatrayaprabhAvAchcha viShNossarvagatasya vai |
    viShaM tadabhavajjIrNaM lokasamhArakAraNam.h |

    Due to the chanting of the 'nAmatraya' (three names) of that all-pervading
    Vishnu, that terrible poison, which could have destroyed the worlds, was
    digested ('jIrNam.h').


    Regards,
    Orlando.
    I aspire to have the darshan of the Lord

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    Re: Nilakantha

    Quote Originally Posted by Bhakta of God View Post
    I don't believe that in such story there is an "esoteric" or/and "deeper" meaning.
    This means that I will not make this thread what you would like it to be.
    Namaste Orlando,

    Thanks for your post. It's alright by me if you wish to take the story quite literally . There are many people, in fact, who believe these events to have actually taken place at a different level than our own, and that's perfectly acceptable. Personally, I am of the belief that such legends have something more to tell us than what they appear to be telling us literally. My question, therefore, is from that angle.

    OM Shanti,
    A.
    Last edited by Agnideva; 23 December 2006 at 03:03 PM.
    In whom the Adityas, Rudras and Vasus are held together; in whom are set firm the worlds; that which was and that which shall be tell me of that Support who may He be? (Atharvaveda Samhita X.7.22)


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    Re: Nilakantha

    Quote Originally Posted by Agnideva View Post
    Namaste Orlando,

    Thanks for your post. It's alright by me if you wish to take the story quite literally . There are many people, in fact, who believe these events to have actually taken place at a different level than our own, and that's perfectly acceptable. Personally, I am of the belief that such legends have something more to tell us than what they appear to be telling us literally. My question, therefore, is from that angle.

    OM Shanti,
    A.

    Please come out and do not create the suspense, Orlando or no Orlando.

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    Re: Nilakantha

    Sri Vaishnava sources also way that it was not Shiva who drank the poison but only Vishnu, making him a vessel to hold it! They quote this Rg Veda mantra as authority: Vayurasmaa upaamanyath pinishta smaa kunannamaa kesee vishasya PatrEna yad RudrEna pibath sa:

    Here are the links:
    http://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en...within+results
    http://www.ibiblio.org/sripedia/srir.../msg00051.html

    Can anyone explain the verbatim meaning and the connotations of this mantra?

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    Re: Nilakantha

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo View Post
    Sri Vaishnava sources also way that it was not Shiva who drank the poison but only Vishnu, making him a vessel to hold it! They quote this Rg Veda mantra as authority: Vayurasmaa upaamanyath pinishta smaa kunannamaa kesee vishasya PatrEna yad RudrEna pibath sa:

    Here are the links:
    http://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&lr=&as_qdr=all&q=+%22Neelakanta%22&as_q=poison&btnG=Search+within+results
    http://www.ibiblio.org/sripedia/srir.../msg00051.html

    Can anyone explain the verbatim meaning and the connotations of this mantra?

    Namaskar Saidevo ji


    This is Kesin Sukta. Kesins are rishis or the three Adityas: Indra, Vayu and Agni. “Vayu churned for Him” makes the intent clear.



    Rig Veda is in 10:136:7

    "vaayúr asmaa úpaamanthat pináSTi smaa kunannamaá
    keshií viSásya paátreNa yád rudréNaápibat sahá"

    Griffith translation

    Vayu hath churned for him: for him he poundeth things most hard to bend,
    When he with long loose locks hath drunk, with Rudra, poison from the cup.

    And comment of a Vaisnava:

    This is the story where Vayu had to gring the poison from the ocean for Rudra Deva as Rudra himself was not able to gring the poison or digest it. So Vayu Deva had to grind it for Rudra deva and also drink a major portion of this poison while giving only a small portion to Rudra Deva.


    This is Saraswati project translation:

    10.136.07 Va_yu churned for him, the inflexible (thunder) ground it when the radiant (Sun), along with Rudra, drank the water with his cup.


    There are many more arsenals in Vaisnava repertoire wherein Shiva is killed off by Vak Devi, Vishnu, Naraayana, Ram, Indra, Agni. On examination of the verses one cannot help but smile.

    But they are correct without knowing. Does the Self do anything. Atmic powers only act.


    Svet. Up.

    ghR^itaat paraM maNDamivaatisuuxma.n
    GYaatvaa shiva.n sarvabhuuteshhu guuDham.h .
    vishvasyaikaM pariveshhTitaara.n
    GYaatvaa devaM muchyate sarvapaashaiH .. 16..

    16. He who knows Siva (the blessed) hidden in all beings, like the subtle film that rises from out the clarified butter, alone enveloping everything, knows the god and is freed from all fetters.


    eshha devo vishvakarmaa mahaatmaa
    sadaa janaanaa.n hR^idaye sannivishhTaH .
    hR^idaa maniishhaa manasaabhiklR^ipto
    ya etad.h viduramR^itaaste bhavanti .. 17..

    17. That god, the maker of all thing, the great Self, always dwelling in the heart of man, IS PERCEIVED BY THE HEART, THE INTELLECT AND THE MIND; - they who know it become immortal.


    Om Namah Shivayya

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    Re: Nilakantha

    Namaste Atanu,

    Thanks for your explanation. I now understand that there is indeed truth in the saying that ultimate Grace is conferred when one is born into Saiva Siddhanta by birth or belief. I am glad that I am already a Saivite to who sees the inclusiveness and equality of all the three Gods in the Hindu Trinity and that anyone and everyone of them could equally be the Brahman.

    aum namah shivaya!

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    Re: Nilakantha

    Quote Originally Posted by Agnideva View Post
    Namaste All,
    This story is filled with esoteric meaning. I would like this thread to be a discussion of the deeper meaning of this legend. The first question is: what does Nilakantha represent?

    OM Shanti,
    A.
    namase Agnideva,
    I don't know why we can't just take the literal meaning of the story and why we have to look for esoteric meaning...but that's just my feeling only.

    Aside from the literal meaning of Nilakantha what does Nilakantha mean? May be it represents that the Lord holds all the negative things (karma) of devotees if one requests him to do so?

    Aside from shiva who among the devas has the power to hold the poison? Narayana will not do it himself when it comes to 'vish' or poison isn't our dear lord shiva in charge?

    shivom!
    satay

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    Re: Nilakantha

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~
    Quote Originally Posted by Agnideva View Post
    Namaste All,

    Nilakantha is one of the epithets of Lord Shiva. The literal meaning of Nilakantha is “blue-throated.” There is a very famous Puranic legend called the churning of the cosmic ocean, where the Devas and Asuras decide to churn the cosmic ocean to extract amrita (nectar of immortality).
    Namaste,
    I can see multiple posts on this matter... would it not be advisable to extract the greatest amount of good by starting with the notion of the cosmic ocean? What is its definition? What of its churning? and from this amrita extraction , for whom? and its delivery? The story is of myth.
    [ I use this in the most profund fashion of bring forth truth and NOT the contempory use as fable or falsehood.]
    "a myth (mythos) is a sacred story concerning the origins of the world or how the world and the creatures in it came to have their present form. The active beings in myths are generally gods and heroes. Myths often are said to take place before recorded history begins. In saying that a myth is a sacred narrative, what is meant is that a myth is believed to be true by people who attach religious or spiritual significance to it."
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  10. #10
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    Re: Nilakantha

    Namaste Satay,
    I don't know why we can't just take the literal meaning of the story and why we have to look for esoteric meaning...but that's just my feeling only.

    We can Satay, Im not saying we must not . For me, personally, learning the esotery behind the story makes that which is already meaningful even more so.

    Let me give you another example. Shiva is also called by the name Tripurantaka (Tripurari or Tripurantakari), the Destroyer of the three cities. The ordinary meaning of Tripurantaka comes from the legend that Shiva destroyed the three cities of gold, silver and iron built by the asura, Maya. In Shaivism, it has yet another meaning. Tripurantaka indicates that the Lord alone can destroy the three cities that bind us (the three pashas in Shaivism - maya, karma and anava) to samsara, and keep us from jnana realization. I was wondering if Nilakantha can also have such meaning, tis all.

    Aside from the literal meaning of Nilakantha what does Nilakantha mean? May be it represents that the Lord holds all the negative things (karma) of devotees if one requests him to do so?
    Aside from shiva who among the devas has the power to hold the poison? Narayana will not do it himself when it comes to 'vish' or poison isn't our dear lord shiva in charge?
    Thanks S . This is the kind of stuff I am looking for.

    OM Shanti,
    A.
    In whom the Adityas, Rudras and Vasus are held together; in whom are set firm the worlds; that which was and that which shall be tell me of that Support who may He be? (Atharvaveda Samhita X.7.22)


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