Tag Archives: Markandeya

Prakriti and Purusha (Annapoorna and Mrityunjaya)

The SUPREME REALITY, the Parabrahma is One-without-a-second: NAMELESS, FORMLESS, ATTRIBUTELESS. This Reality alone becomes Purusha (Spirit or Energy) and Prakriti (Matter). The play of these two factors is “Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution” – the space-time world in which the cause-effect relationship exists as the plurality and the multiplicity that we see within and without us. 

PURUSHA acknowledges PRAKRITI: Once in Kailasa, Lord Shiva who is ever rooted in his Absolute State of Perfection was playing a game of dice with Parvati who is His Sakti. As they were playing, Shiva mentioned that all creation was nothing but a whiff of imagination and from the absolute standpoint it really never exists – it is all an illusion! Parvati, who is none other than Prakriti, was not happy with the Lord’s statement. Maya is indeed a mighty power, and tangible too. Shiva did not agree with her. To prove to Sankara the importance of Maya-sakti, she withdrew her prakriti-aspect from ‘anna’ or food, and settled in Kashi in all Her glory as Mother Annapoorna – the Goddess of Food and Nourishment. Because of this, the entire food-system collapsed. Though Lord Shiva did not need food, all the living creatures including his attendants needed food. Deprived of food, everyone in all the three worlds lost their power and strength. Lord Shiva realized the power of His own Sakti, and came to Kashi. Food was available only in the kitchen of Sri Annapoorna in Kashi. Sankara came to her with a begging bowl seeking alms from her. Goddess Annapoorneswari served the Lord with payasam (sweet delicacy made of rice, milk and sugar) from a gem-studded golden vessel. Shiva, who represents Purusha, acknowledged the importance of Prakriti in the ‘creation-sustenance-dissolution’ of the all the worlds. By accepting alms from Devi, the Lord also points out the sanctity and importance of both, the food and the giver-of-food.

PRAKRITI acknowledges PURUSHA: Markandeya, the young son of Sage Mrikandu was destined to live only for sixteen years. When he was informed about this, he undertook intense tapas and invoked Lord Shiva. When death approached him in the form of Lord Yama, Markandeya did not in the least get frightened or disturbed, but held onto to the Shiva-linga in a tight embrace. In spite of repeated calls by Yama, he did not leave the Shiva-linga. Finally, Yama flung his deadly noose which not only went around Markandeya but it went around the Shiva-linga also. Yama had dared to put the noose around Shiva! Lord Shiva manifested Himself in the Linga and told Yama to go away because He had given His protection to the young boy. When Lord Death refused to go, Shiva got angry, lifted his left leg and flung Yama back to his Yama-loka. Markandeya was saved. Back at Kailasa, Sankara narrated the whole episode to Parvati and told her that he had flung Yama back to his abode just by the touch of his left leg. Parvati did not like Shiva’s self-glorification. She told Shiva that it is she who resides in the left portion of his body and therefore it was actually her shakti that taught Yama a lesson. Shiva smiled and told Parvati that the left leg cannot be lifted and used even a little, without the right foot firmly established on the ground. And it is He who resides in the right foot! Here Prakriti acknowledged the importance of Purusha!

Prakriti and Purusha are both equally important. Their characteristics and qualities are completely different and are in opposition with each other. Yet, they align and complement each other very beautifully. One cannot exist without the other. Both the aspects: PRAKRITI and PURUSHA together alone constitute ONE WHOLE. 

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