sabato 11 febbraio 2012

Shining lingam

We saw in the previous post, that the Vaishnava traditions narrate myths and legends to prove the supremacy of Vishnu over the other Gods of the Trimurti, and to explain why the god Brahma isn't worshiped in India. But of course there are myths and traditions of Shaivism that support exactly the opposite tesis: Shiva is the greatest among the Gods, who is the Absolute, the principle of all things. In short, the Skanda Purana, the Vayu Purana or Linga Purana tell us a different story. This one.
At the beginning of time, when nothing had been created, or, more precisely, in the period that elapsed between the destruction/absorption of the Universe and the creation of a new Universe, Vishnu was lying on the serpent Ananta sure to be the most powerful among all the Gods. Unexpected, however, appeared Brahma, who claimed to be the creator of the universe, who by whom all things are born. Between the two Gods arose a dispute, each supported with many issues to be the Absolute, and each told the facts, actions and heroic deeds that were supposed to prove their supremacy over the other.
But while this dispute was going on, in the vastness of space there was a deafening roar, a roar accompanied by a light beam, a column appeared suddenly glowing from the hell that came up to the infinite spaces spearing the oceans and the earth. It was a  infinite  and resplendent lingam, flamboyant and powerful, who left amazed and terrified the two Gods.
"But what is that?"  astonished Vishnu and Brahma asked. To understand they  decided that Vishnu would be plunged into the depths of the ocean and Brahma would fly in the infinite spaces to reach the two ends of that shining column which naked eye they could not measure, nor height nor depth.
Vishnu became a boar and plunged into the ocean, Brahma became a wild goose and flew in the celestial spaces. Their journey lasted over a thousand years, but for what they tried, they failed to reach the end of the column of fire that continued to grow.
Returning to the surface the two looked at each other, Vishnu admitted that he was not able to find the beginning of the lingam, Brahma instead, to win the challenge with Vishnu, lied saying he reached the summit at the fiery lingam.
At that moment, in the pillar of fire a fissure opened from which Shiva emerged, the Lord of lingam self-manifested and proclaimed his own supremacy as the Absolute, as creator, preserver and destroyer of the Universe, everything that exists including the two Gods. Vishnu and Brahma prostrated in front of the great God, and worshiped him recognizing his supremacy.
But it did not end there. According to the Skanda Purana, Shiva also launched a curse against Brahma becsause he had lied by claiming to have reached the top of the lingam of fire. No longer would worship existed in his honor. And so it was.

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