SHIVA UNDER THE ASPECT TO BESTOW THE DIVINE GRACE
TO HIS DEVOTED WORSHIPPERS
by YOGA teacher Gregorian Bivolaru
SHIVA-CHANDESH-ANUGRAHA is one of the most famous kind aspects of SHIVA. Under this aspect SHIVA gives his blessing to CHANDESHA, his ardent worshipper, and offers him his divine grace (ANUGRAHA). CHANDESHA is the leader of SHIVA’s worshippers, the one who preserves all that SHIVA needs after SHIVA had approved it. CHANDESHA is always next to SHIVA, on his left. The rituals proceeded in India in SHIVA’s temples, always give the last oblation to CHANDESHA as a token of continuous adoration of SHIVA.
The allegoric legend of CHANDESHA goes that CHANDESHA, called after his first name VICHARA-CHARMAR, was the son of a farmer ECHCHA-DATTAN. One day, the man who would drive the cattle grazing was found out beating and torturing the animals. Then, CHANDESHA who was kind and loving to all beings, could no longer stand it and went himself replace the violent shepherd. As an ardent worshipper of SHIVA, CHANDESHA would set out every early morning driving the cattle graze in rich places all day long. As the cattle were grazing, he would sit down meditate. At dusk, he would bring them back home, fed up and cheerful.
Therefore, the days CHANDESHA got the cows grazing, they started giving good milk. When CHANDESHA would sit in meditation on the Supreme almighty SHIVA, the cows would quietly come to him. After he finished the meditation, he would milk the cows and get lot of milk. Then, CHANDESHA made up a small altar under the shape of a sand LINGAM and there he started the SHIVA-PUJA ritual of worshipping SHIVA using the cows’ milk, which was abundant and offered with love, in order to paint the symbol of SHIVA (SHIVA-LINGA).
One day, an ignorant man passed by and not getting a thing from what CHANDESHA was doing, he was stupid to think that the young man was milking the cows and then spilt it on the sand uselessly. Then he went to CHANDESHA’s father and told him what he had seen, warning him that his son was wasting the people’s cow milk. Angry on hearing that, CHANDESHA’s father sneaked on his track the very next day and he watched him unawares from behind a bush. As usually, the cows came near CHANDESHA to offer him their milk just before he started the worshipping ritual for SHIVA (SHIVA-PUJA). CHANDESHA milked the cows, put the milk in some bowls and he started worshipping SHIVA, painting in milk the symbol of SHIVA (SHIVA-LINGA) which he had raised again in sand, his heart full of ardent devotion (BHAKTI).
As he didn’t realize that his son was in deep adoration towards SHIVA, proceeding a ritual consecrated to SHIVA, his father started to hit on CHANDESHA with a stick, in order to stop his son, who was understood to waste the cows milk. But CHANDESHA was so deep in his worshipping that he didn’t even feel his father hitting him. Then, ECHCHA-DATTAN made for the bowls full of milk, denying CHANDESHA have anymore of it, even if the milk was actually meant to paint the divine symbol of SHIVA, (SHIVA-LINGA). Then, as he realized his worshipping was jeopardised by an ignorant, CHANDESHA chased ECHCHA-DATTAN, whom he didn’t even recognise as his father. Emerged in his state of worshipping SHIVA (BHAKTI), in an attitude of plain equality of spirit and neutrality, CHANDESHA got rid of his father as any unwelcome being.
SHIVA was highly pleased with his worshipper’s devotion and imperturbable attitude and then appeared to him, wearing a wreath of marvellous fresh flowers on his head, as a token of the precious gifts of his worshippers. Delighted with the frenzy, ardour and utmost focus of worshipping, of the young VICHARA-CHARMAR, SHIVA named it then CHANDESHA and honoured him with that wreath on his head, as a token of divine blessing as stroking his head. Ever since, SHIVA put his devoted worshipper CHANDESHA on his left, granting him the position of guardian of all oblations (PRASADA) offered by the devotees during the worshipping rituals (SHIVA-PUJA). This is because CHANDESHA best knows their real value, as spiritual treasures of those devoted to SHIVA.
The personifications of this aspect (SHIVA-CHANDESH-ANUGRAHA) are extremely beautiful. Under this aspect, SHIVA is seated in the pleasant position (SUKHASANA), together with PARVATI, both on the same pedestal. CHANDESHA is next to SHIVA or standing below, whether on the right or on the left. He may also be right in front of SHIVA. SHIVA-CHANDESH-ANUGRAHA is personified with three eyes, the third eye is AJNA CHAKRA, and four arms. His hair is knitted in a crown. His upper hands hold the axe (PARASHU) and the antelope (MRIGA), his main symbols. According to the work SAKALAGAMA, his right hand in front gestures the offering of the divine gifts, as the other one is on CHANDESHA’s head in the pose of blessing. Sometimes SHIVA-CHANDESH-ANUGRAHA is represented as putting a wreath of flowers with the two fore- arms on CHANDESHA’s head, as his left hand gestures the offering of the spiritual gifts holding the end of the wreath.
Here is a final beautiful description of this kind aspect of SHIVA: “Full of kindness, the Divine Master of all beings and the protector of the devotees, SHIVA-CHANDESH-ANUGRAHA, the yellow one, holding the axe and the antelope, having PARVATI on his left, blesses the humble and devoted CHANDESHA putting his divine hand on his head. Him, the wonderful master of all souls, gilded in many precious adornments, wearing the Moon and the heavenly Ganges in his hair, spreads onto his devoted worshippers His Supreme Grace”.
12 March 2008