Showing posts with label Andhra Pradesh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Andhra Pradesh. Show all posts

Bhringi – The Story of Devotion and Curse

Parangi (The Wanderer), a sage was one of the greatest devotees of Lord Shiva. His Bhakti for the Lord knew no bounds. Every morning he offered prayers to Lord Shiva earnestly at Mount Kailash. He exclusively worshipped Lord Shiva, ignoring goddess Parvathi.  The goddess, who failed to get any attention of any kind from Parangi grew jealous and complained to Lord Shiva. The next day, goddess Parvathi was seen seated on the lap of Lord Shiva by Maharishi Parangi who had then come to offer prayers to the Lord. Parangi was dumbstruck at this situation and using his yogic powers transformed into a snake (some accounts mention this form also as a rat) to circumambulate only the Lord in the gap between him and the goddess, in order to avoid the goddess.
Ardhanareshwara - Badami Cave
Bhringi - Shri Kedareshwara Temple, Nagalapura
 Goddess Parvathi was very hurt at his behavior and complained to Lord Shiva as follows, “When you and I are one, then why should Rishi Parangi ignore me and offer prayers only to you”? The Lord smiled and replied, “His (Parangi’s) behavior should not bother you”. However, to please his beloved, Lord Shiva unites with his goddess to form Ardhanareshwara” (a composite form of Lord Shiva and Parvathi). On seeing this form of the Lord, Rishi Parangi again used his yogic powers and this time turned into a beetle (some accounts mention this form as a bee) to bore hole through the navel of Ardhanareshwara and go around Lord Shiva’s half only, avoiding the goddess again. Thus he gets the name Bhringi, meaning bee/beetle.  Parangi’s devotion only towards Lord Shiva and ignorant attitude towards her added to the goddess’s agony, who was now enraged enough to curse him.  She cursed him to lose the parts of his body received from his mother. According to our Puranic beliefs, the bones and nerves come from the father and blood and muscles come from the mother. Though this may not be completely true as per genetics, it signifies the importance of both parents equally contributing to their child’s physical characteristics. Due to this curse of goddess Parvathi, Parangi (Bhringi) loses all his muscles and blood and falls down at the feet of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva then blesses his ardent devotee with a third leg to provide support to his body, similar to a tripod.
Monkey Faced Bhringi
Lord Nataraja with Nandi, Shri Veerabhadra Swamy Temple, Gangadevanahalli
 Bhringi is usually seen with folded hands, in full devotion standing besides Lord Ardhanareshwara, which is beautifully depicted at Cave No.2 of Badami. Bhringi is also considered as the ‘Dance Master of the Gods‘and is associated with many nritya murtis of Lord Shiva. One such beautiful depiction can be seen at the Natya mandapa of Sri Veerabhadra Swamy temple of Lepakshi.  He is also said to have a monkey’s face, owing to the curse of goddess Parvathi. Bhringi is also classified as a form of Lord Bhairava; the same is depicted on the outer wall of Sri Veerabhadra Swamy temple at Gangadevanahalli. Also, Bhringi is one among the 8 Commanders/Ganas of Lord Shiva, along with Devi, Chandesha, Mahakala, Vrishabha, Nandi, Ganesha and Murugan. He was also entrusted with the administration of Lord Shiva’s troops. He along with Lord Nandi guard the doors of Lord Shiva’s residence at Kailash. 
Dance Master Bhringi, Lepakshi
Nataraja Panel, Mandapeshwar Caves, Mumbai
Master "Dance Master"  -Bhringi
There are many such beautiful stories of devotion/bhakti.

1. Pratima Kosha - A book 
2. Iconography of Shiva - T A Gopinath Rao  

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1. The Great Destroyer - Samharamurtis
2. The Divine beggar - Bhkshatanamurti 
3. Lepakshi Chitra Katha

Forms of Lord Shiva, The Great Destroyer - Samharamurtis

Gajasurasamharamurti - Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple
"Samharamurtis" are one among the five classes of representation of Lord Shiva’s various aspects, the others being the Anugraha-murtis (or boon-conferring aspects), the Nritta-murtis (or dancing aspects), the Dakshina-murtis (or the yogic, musical and philosophic aspects), and other minor aspects. Samharamurtis portray the destructive or terrific aspects of Lord Shiva. Each form or image of Lord Shiva under this aspect is indicative of the destruction of a particular maleficent and troublesome being. The various forms comprised in Samharamurtis are Kamantakamurti, Gajasuramsamharamurti, Kalarimurti, Tripurantakamurti, Sarabhesamurti, Brahmasiraschchhedakamurti, Veerabhadramurti, Jalandharavadhamurti, Mallarishivamurti, Andhakasuravadhamurti, Aghoramurti, and Mahakala.
The ‘Kamantakamurtiillustrates Lord Shiva burning down and destroying Kama/Manmatha, the god of love by opening his third eye and emitting flames of fire which reduced Kama to ashes. Lord Shiva is portrayed in yogasana, with three eyes and four-arms.  Kama lies standing before him accompanied by Devbhaga while his consort Rati stands nearby along with Vasantha. Kamantaka’s mudras are pataka and suchi; his emblems are a drum and trident.
Kamantakamurti - Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, Basaralu
The ‘Gajasurasamharamurti depicts the destruction of the elephant demon Gajasura by Lord Shiva, who is depicted in a terrific form dancing vigorously on the elephant’s head with the animal’s hide arranged behind him like a prabhamandala (aureole). The right leg of Lord Shiva is planted firmly on the elephant's head while the left is bent and lifted up towards the knee of the other leg. He may hold a tusk, club, dhatura flowers, alms-bowl, bell, drum, sword, skull-topped staff, antelope, snake and spear.
Gajasurasamharamurti - Sri Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebeedu
The ‘Kalarimurti depicts the legend of Lord Shiva punishing the god of death, Kala/Yama for attempting to kill Markandeya who was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is seen as four armed, issuing from the linga in front of which is the boy Markandeya kneeling with his arms folded on his bent knees. One of the right and left hands of Lord Shiva grasp a stout handled sharp trident aimed at Yama’s abdomen. The other right hand rests on the hip (katyalambita hasta) and the left hand is held in vismaya pose. The right leg of Shiva is buried up to the knee in the linga and the left leg is represented as kicking Kala. Kalari’s emblems are a skull-cap, sword, shield, antelope, axe, snake, noose, trident and vajra.
Kalarimurti - Dasavatara Cave, Ellora
The ‘Tripurantakamurti depicts Lord Shiva destroying the three asuras (demons) Vidyunmlali, Tarakaksha and Kamalaksha (sons of demon Tarakasura) who dwelt in three forts constructed of metals and caused great damage to the suras and the rishis (sages). Lord Shiva stands in a chariot with his left leg kept forward and the right one behind; the body of Shiva is turned away form the objects aimed at, but his face and arms are turned in the direction of the three castles which he is about to destroy. He seems to have had ten arms; those that still remain unbroken are seen carrying the sword, shield, arrow string in the bow-string and a bent bow. Lord Brahma is driving the chariot which is yoked to two horses.
Tripurantakamurti - Dasavatara Cave, Ellora
Tripurantakamurti - Sri Kailashnath Temple, Ellora
The ‘Sarabhesamurti depicts the slaying of Lord Narasimha by Lord Shiva in a fierce form, part man, beast and bird, when Lord Vishnu refuses to abate his terrific attitude after killing the demon Hiranyaksha (an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva) which was causing damage to the inhabitants of the world. Sarabha is described as having eight lion-like legs with sharp claws, a long tail and two wings of resplendent beauty; the body above the loins should be that of a human being but having the face of a lion which should be wearing a kirita-makuta upon its head.
Sarabhesamurti - Sri Airavateshwara temple, Darasuram
The ‘Brahmasiraschchhedakamurti depicts the form Lord Shiva assumes while cutting off the fifth head of Lord Brahma with his left thumb-nail. Shiva is portrayed as three-eyed and four-armed with a jatamakuta on the head, and wearing a makarakundala in the left ear and patrakundala in the right. In his left hand are the shula (trident) and Brahma’s skull and the right hand are a vajra (thunderbolt) and parasu (axe).
Brahmasiraschchhedakamurti - Srikanteshwara Swamy Temple, Nanjanagud
The ‘Veerabhadramurti depicts the form Lord Shiva assumed at the time of the destruction of the yagna (or sacrifice) of Daksha. Lord Veerabhadra is depicted as three-eyed, four-armed, and with tusks protruding from his mouth. He wears sandals and a jatamakuta, and is decked with garlands of skulls, bells, scorpions and other ornaments, a yagnopavita (scared  thread) of snake, and adorned with beautiful anklets. He is seen carrying a khadga (sword), khetaka (shield), dhanush (bow) and bana (arrow). In the below photograph is seen an unusual and rare depiction of Lord Veerabhadra having 5 faces and 12 arms, with Daksha Mahaprabhu standing besides him.
Panchamukhi Veerabhadra Swamy, Kurugodu
The Jalandharavadhamurti illustrates the destruction of the demon Jalandhara by Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is depicted as three-eyed and two-armed; holding an umbrella in his right hand and a kamandalu or a water-vessel in his left. He is adorned with kundalas (earrings) in the ears, haaras (necklaces) on the neck, anklets on his legs, with his feet resting on a pair of sandals. The posture of Lord Shiva is indicative of his desire to move quickly.
Jalandharavadhamurti - Srikanteshwara Swamy Temple, Nanjanagud 
The ‘Andhakasuravadhamurti depicts the destruction of the demon Andhakasura by Lord Shiva. He carries a trishula (trident) at the end of which is pinned the body of Andhakasura and from it blood drops down into a cup held by the goddess Yogeshwari (Kali). In the below picture, he is seen with 14 arms with Lord Nandi on his right. He may hold a drum, rosary, chisel, trident, spear, staff with a pierced head, bow, arrow, noose, and a thunderbolt.
Andhakasuravadhamurti - Sri Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebeedu

1. Elements of Hindu Iconography Vol II Part I – T.A.Gopinath
2. The Illustrated dictionary of Hindu Iconography – Margaret Stutley

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