Category Archives: lord shiva

Naama Traya Astra Mantra: Lord’s Names become a Weapon!

# The devatas and rakshasas came together to churn Ksheera Sagar, the great milk-ocean to obtain Amrita. The Mandara mountain was the churning rod and Vasuki, the serpent became the churning rope. Lord Vishnu helped by bearing Mandara mountain on his back in the form of a tortoise. As they churned, Vasuki started spewing venom from his mouth. The deadly poison “Halahala” or “Kalakoota” spread in all directions threatening to burn and destroy all the worlds. Fire and poisonous fumes rose almost upto the sky. All the devatas prayed to Lord Sankara, “the One who bestows well-being to all”. Lord Shiva immediately came and saw the havoc and disaster that the poison was creating. Sankara invoked Sri Hari: “Om Achyuthaaya Namaha – Om Anantaaya Namaha – Om Govindaaya Namaha.” This empowered him to be able to drink and handle the deadly poison. He contained the poison in his throat because of which it turned blue giving him the name “Neelakanta“. The three names of the Lord became known as “Naama Traya“, capable of handling any adversity – physical, mental or intellectual.

# Bhandasura was a very powerful rakshasa ruling over Shonitapura. Through severe penance he had acquired boons from the Lord. His was a regime for 60,000 years without any interference. Also whoever confronted him in war, half their strength would go to him. No one could overpower and defeat him. No weapon, however powerful it might be, could destroy him. And his death, if at all, was at the hands of “a woman not born of another woman!” With all these boons, he presumed that he was invincible and harassed both heaven and earth.
All the devatas prayed to the Lord who suggested that they should perform a Yagna, and offer themselves and their powers as oblations to it. And out of the Yagna-fire, Adi Parashakti, the Mother of the Universe would manifest herself and become the destroyer of Bhandasura. The devatas performed the Mahayagna and out of the yagna-kund, Sri Lalitha Maha Tripurasundari manifested herself. Riding on the Srichakraraja Ratha, accompanied by her army, she waged a war on Bhandasura. Every astra that he discharged was countered by her. It was a very fierce battle.

Seeing her might and power, greatness and glory, Bhandasura invoked and discharged a weapon charged with various deadly diseases, the Maha Roga Astra (Weapon of Deadly Diseases). The astra brought forth various types of deadly diseases which spread all around. Under the influence of this astra, the whole army of Devi collapsed. To counter the rakshasa’s astra, Devi through her yogic powers, invoked the powers of “Om – the Supreme Parabrahma” and created and released the most powerful and invincible Astra comprising of the Lord’s three Names which were invoked by Lord Shiva earlier, the Naama Traya Astra (Triple-Name Weapon): “Om Achyutaaya Namaha, Om Anantaaya Namaha, Om Govindaaya Namaha“. The three names of the Lord which are very powerful nullified the effect of the Maha Roga Astra, restored health and brought Devi’s entire army back to life. Bhandasura was finally killed by Sri Lalitha Maha Tripurasundari.

The Naama Traya Astra is considered as a very powerful Mantra (Triple-Name Chant) which can remove all the negative forces around a person. It is able to cure a person of all types of deadly diseases and serves as an antidote for toxic substances. It bestows good health, well-being and protects a person from misfortunes and untimely death. Lord Agni, the presiding deity of fire, assures that whoever chants “Achyutha – Ananta – Govinda” will be benifitted immensely. The Naama Traya Astra Mantra can also be used for japa and contemplation. The names not only indicate Saguna Paramatma but also suggest and signify the characteristics of Nirguna Parabrahma. Achyutha: One who is Unconditioned, Unlimited and who is unfailing. Ananta: Endless and All-pervading. Govinda: Supreme Lord of All.

Om Achyuthaaya Namaha! Om Anantaaya Namaha! Om Govindaaya Namaha!

Achyuthaanantha Govinda Naamoochhaarana Bheshajaat I Nashyanthi Sakala Rogaha Satyam Satyam Vadaamyaham II – Bhagavan Sri Veda Vyasa

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Tripurantaka – Lord Shiva


Tarakaksha, Vidyunmali and Kamalaksha were the sons of Tarakasura. When the wicked Tarakasura was killed by Lord Subramanya, these three brothers decided to do penance and acquire powers to seek revenge on the devatas. The three brothers did vigorous penance to please Lord Brahma. They meditated for a hundred years standing on one foot, for the next thousand years by only taking in air, and then for another thousand years by standing on their heads.

Pleased with the rigorous tapas, Lord Brahma appeared and asked them to seek for a boon. All the three brothers wanted immortality. The Lord denied them immortality because according to the Laws of Nature, whoever is born has to die one day. Then they asked for three flying city-forts, one fort made of gold ruled by Tarakaksha which would be in the heavens, the silver fort ruled by Kamalaksha in the sky (intermediate space) and the third fort ruled by Vidyunmali made of iron on the earth. Each fort which was capable of flying was a huge city by itself. They were together called as “Tripura”. They would align once every thousand years for a very short span of time, and if anyone could destroy all the three forts with one arrow when they align, only then their death would be possible. Lord Brahma granted their unique wish.

Ruling these flying cities, these asuras gradually became arrogant and followed the path of adharma. They tormented the devatas, the rishis and beings on earth. All the devatas along with Brahma and Vishnu went to Lord Shiva and asked him to annihilate the asuras.

Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva agreed and waited for the right time when the three of them would align themselves. Bhumidevi herself became the golden chariot. Brahma became the charioteer crafted by Viswakarma, the celestial architect. Mount Meru became the bow and Vasuki, the serpent became the string of the bow. Lord Vishnu himself became the arrow called the Pashupatastra. All the celestial beings assembled in the sky to witness the destruction of Tripura. When all the three city-forts came in one line which was hardly for a few seconds, Lord Shiva who was waiting with all attention and alertness, released the arrow which went through all the three cities. The cities as well as the three asuras were burnt with the fiery astra. The Lord adorned his forehead with three horizontal strips with the ash left over. Lord Shiva is therefore known as “Tripurantaka”.

Significance: The three cities as a whole represent an individual’s three equipments, the body, mind and intellect. They also represent the three periods of time – past, present and future; the three states which we go through – waking, dream and deep sleep states; the three moods or conditions of the mind – sattvic, rajasic and tamasic; the three worlds – higher, mortal and lower worlds. An individual is composed of the three equipments, states, conditions of the mind and transacts in the three worlds in the three periods of time. All of them are constantly in a state of flux (change). 

Shiva represents a seeker in his seat of meditation striving to transcend all the three factors and reach the State of Enlightenment. The alignment of the three cities represents the state of stable and neutral equilibrium reached by the seeker within himself. The arrow released indicates the transcendence of all the tri-groups and consequently the realization of the Supreme State of Absolute Oneness. In the Highest Vision of Oneness experienced within oneself, all plurality and multiplicity dissolves away or gets burnt down. This is represented by the ash which adorns the Lord. Vibhuti means ‘ash’ and it also means ‘divine glory’. The glory, ornament and beauty of a Jeevanmukta is his REALIZATION.

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Glory of Gokarna

Ravana’s mother was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. She worshipped the Lord with great fervour so that with the power and blessings of the Lord, Ravana would become invincible. Indra, the king of the Gods came to know about this, and he stealthily took away the Shiva linga which Ravana’s mother was worshipping and hid it in the ocean. Unable to find the altar of her pooja, she refused to touch food unless she got the Shiva linga back. Ravana consoled his mother and said that he would go to Kailasa and bring the Lord’s Atma-linga itself.

Ravana went to the Himalayas and undertook severe penance. Lord Sankara pleased with his tapas appeared before him and asked him what he wanted. Ravana asked for the Lord’s Atma-linga for his mother to worship. The Lord gave Ravana His own Atma-linga, but warned him that enroute if he placed the Atma-linga down on the ground, the Atma-linga would get rooted there itself and he would not be able to lift it up again. Ravana was very happy to receive the divine linga and started off to Lanka by the air route.

All the Gods were worried. Atma-linga in Lanka meant Ravana would be very difficult to conquer and vanquish. They all went to Lord Vishnu for help. In the meantime, Devi Parvati also was not happy with Ravana taking the Atma-linga to Lanka. Lord Vishnu and Ganapati came up with a plan to prevent the Linga from reaching Lanka.

Ravana was very particular and strict about performing his religious duties. Knowing this, Vishnu used His Sudarshan Chakra and covered the sun, which gave an illusion that it was dusk time. Ravana immediately thought it was the time to perform his sandhyavandana. He landed down on the shores of the ocean. He looked around and saw a young brahmana boy with cows standing nearby. It was none other than Ganapati in disguise. Ravana asked the boy if he could hold the Atma-linga in his hands until he finished his sandhyavandana. The boy agreed but on one condition. He said he did not have much time to spare and therefore Ravana must finish his prayers and come back quickly. “Three times I will call you, if you don’t come back by then I will place the Linga down”, said Ganapati in disguise. 

Ravana promised to come back quickly and walked towards the waters of the ocean for his sandhya prayers. Ravana had hardly reached the ocean and started his prayers, when Ganapati called out “Ravana” three times. Ravana hurriedly finished the ritual and came running back. By then Ganapati placed the Atma-linga on the ground  and started running away along with the cows. Ravana was furious and ran behind Ganapati but could not catch him. But he caught hold of the ear of one of the cows. The cow disappeared into the earth. All that remained above the earth’s surface was the cow’s ear. Hence the name of the place became Gokarna – ‘Ear of the Cow’. 

Ravana tried with all his might to uproot the Linga, but he could not. Since the Atma-linga was so powerful that it defied even the strength of his twenty hands, he called the Atma-linga as “Mahabaleshwar”.  Hence the Atma Linga of Lord Shiva is worshipped as Mahabaleshwar in Gokarna which is situated on the western coast of Karnataka.

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]

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Sri Dakshinamurthi: Chin-Mudra

Lord Shiva, in order to instruct the Rishis and the Seers, assumed the form of a Guru and sitting on the peak of Kailash, He turned southward to serve all seekers. The term “dakshina” means “that divine power of subtle perception which is generated in a fully integrated pure intellect”. This “dakshina-power”, when flowing towards the vasana-conditioned hearts of the disciples, is called “turned southward” and this is Shiva. The Teacher is none other than the Supreme, who manifests Himself in the divine form of Sri Dakshinamurthi to bless the struggling aspirant.

It is such a Teacher, who has become one with the Infinite, and has established his Oneness with the Infinite Substratum of the Universe who instructs an integrated and well-disciplined student in the Highest Truth through the SIGN of Knowledge, called Jnanamudra (Chin Mudra).

The auspicious SIGN demonstrated beautifully to the disciple the oneness of the inner Self and the Self everywhere. Jnanamudra (Chin Mudra) is generally indicated by holding the little, ring and middle fingers erect, straight and together, and the index finger bent to touch the middle of the thumb, so that a circle is formed between the index finger, palm and the lower-half of the thumb. This sign shown with the palm they called as the “Sign of Knowledge”.

This is indeed significant. The three fingers can be indicated to mean the gross, subtle and the causal bodies, and when they are completely disciplined and made single-pointed, the (individual) Self indicated by the index finger, that presides over the body of the seeker, gets itself detached and comes forward to meet the thumb, that represents the Self everywhere present. This experience that the “Self within” is the “Self everywhere” is the Infinite Experience, and the Infinitude is represented here by the circle formed between the index finger and the thumb – a circle which can have no beginning and no end.

~ Swami Chinmayananda

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