All stories related to Lord Shiva I have read till now seem to be in the Satyayuga, Treta or Dwapara. The last one I heard is I think in Dwapara, when Lord Shiva was testing Arjuna. I want to know whether there are any stories related to Lord Shiva from the Kaliyuga also.
Let me preface this by saying that since most of our scriptures were composed or compiled by Vyasa at the end of the Dwapara Yuga or the beginning of the Kali Yuga, most descriptions of Shiva's activities in the Kali Yuga would be in the form of prophecies. But here are at least some potential activities that Shiva may have done in the Kali Yuga:
One thing we know for sure that Shiva did in the Kali Yuga was attend the wedding of Venkateshwara (the Vishnu deity in Tirupati, aka Balaji or Srinivasa. Here is what this excerpt from the Venkatachala Mahatmya of the Skanda Purana says:
Then [Venkateshwara] proceeded towards Narayanapuri accompanied by Brahma, Isha [Shiva], Varuna, Yama, Yakshesha, Vasishta and other eminent sages, Sanaka and other Yogins as well as devotees and loyal followers of the Lord. The chieftains of Gandharvas sang. The groups of celestial damsels danced.
And when Vishnu took a loan from Kubera to pay for the wedding expenses, Shiva was one of the witnesses, as described in this excerpt from the Sthala Purana (temple scripture) of Tirupati (which you can read here):
"The entire Universe is at your beck and call. All my money is yours. I have no control over it. You are its master" said Kubera [to Vishnu]. Finally, Kubera agreed to lend the money required if the necessary document was executed by the debtor. Brahma then dictated a promissory note. The note was executed.
"This, the 7th day of the bright-fortnight of the month of Vysakha in Kaliyuga, The debtor is Srinivasa, the creditor is Dhaneswara. Purpose: marriage of the loanee. Amount of loan fourteen lakhs in Ramamudra coins. The loanee should repay it with interest in one thousand years after the loanee's marriage." Brahma and Siva attested as witnesses. The scribe was the loanee himself. After accepting the promissory note, Kubera paid the amount in cash.
The loan was handled by another incarnation of Vishnu named Govindaraja, as I discuss here. By the way, The "one thousand years" means years of the gods, which I discuss here; it basically means that the period of the loan would be the entire Kali Yuga. That is why the Tirumala Venkateshwara Temple in Tirupati created the custom of having an Hundi, a box where people could donate money in order to pay off the interest on Kubera's loan. Of course, other temples realized that it was a valuable way to fund temple operations, and nowadays Hundia are a standard feature in Hindu temples.
Many people believe that Adi Shankaracharya, the famous proponent of Advaita Vedanta, was an incarnation of Shiva. Some people dispute this because of the story of Shiva appearing before Adi Shankaracharya as a Chandala. But in any case, there are three quotes from Hindu scripture that various people cite as prophecies of Adi Shankaracharya. The first is from this excerpt from the Kurma Purana, which describes the Kali Yuga:
Shankara, Nilalohita, will take up incarnations for the purpose of establishing the Shrauta (Vedic) and Smarta (belonging to the Smritis) rites, with a desire for the welfare of his devotees. He will teach his disiciples the knowledge pertaining to the Brahman.
And then there are two quotes from the Padma Purana, which if genuine and if correctly identified with Adi Shankaracharya, would paint Advaita Vedanta in a negative light. The first is from this excerpt from the Uttara Kanda of the Padma Purana, where Vishnu says this to Shiva:
Being born in the ages like Dvapara and among men in the Kali Yuga make the people averse to me with the sacred texts prepared by you. So also censure me so that the world become better and better. I shall produce this delusion which will delude people. You too, O mighty-armed Rudra, produce sacred texts that would delude people. O you of great arms, produce (the texts) that are false and spurious. Manifest thyself and keep me hidden.
Genuine or not, I think it's possible that this verse is referring to Shiva's incarnation Lakukisha, whom I discuss below, rather than Adi Shankaracharya. But in any case, by far the most famous quote that people claim to be a prophecy of Adi Shankaracharya is from this excerpt from the Uttara Kanda of the Padma Purana, where Shiva says this:
Vishnu of the form of Buddha proclaimed the false Buddhist doctrine and those of the naked and wearing dark blue garments for the destruction of demons. The doctrine of Maya (illusion) is a wicked doctrine and said to be pseudo-Buddhist. I myself, of the form of a brAhmana, proclaimed it in Kali (age).
It shows the meaninglessness of the words of the holy texts and is condemned in the world. In this (doctrine) only the giving up of one's own duties is expounded. And that is said to be religiousness by those who have fallen from all duties. I have propounded the identity of the Highest Lord and the (individual) soul. I stated this Brahman's nature to be qualityless. O goddess, I myself have conceived, for the destruction of the worlds, and for deluding the world in this Kali age, the great doctrine resembling the purport of the Vedas, (but) non-Vedic due to the principle of Maya (illusion) (present in it).
Of course, Advaitins would dispute the authenticity of these verses, and I'm inclined to agree with them. Still, there's an interesting analytical point here, which is that Advaita bears some similarity to Buddhist thought. In fact, some scholars believe that Adi Shankaracharya's guru's guru Gaudapada was originally a Yogachara Buddhist, although as I discuss here Advaita tradition identifies Gaudapada's guru as Vyasa's son Shuka. In any case, for more information on how Vaishnavism views Advaita, see my answer here.
In this excerpt from the Shatarudra Samhita of the Shiva Purana, Shiva tells Brahma about his various Yogeshwara incarnations, which he takes once every Mahayuga. Here is what he says about the present Mahayuga:
In the twenty-eighth aeon of Dvapara, there will be Dvaipayana Vyasa, the son of Parashara ,and the most excellent of Purushas [Vishnu] shall be born as Krishna with his one-sixth part, as the foremost of the sons of Vasudeva. Then I too shall be born with the body of a Brahmachari and the soul of a Yogi by means of Yogic Maya to the great surprise of the worlds. On seeing a dead body forsaken in the cremation ground I shall enter into it and make it free from ailments by means of Yogic Maya for the welfare or Brahmins. Then I will enter the holy divine cavern of Meru along with you and Vishnu. O Brahma, I shall then be known as Lakulin.
Lakulin, also known as Lakulisha, was a famous Shaivite thinker who introduced Pashupata, an ancient sect of Shaivism which among other things involves smearing ash all over your body; Shiva is described as the originator of the Pashupati vow in this chapter and this chapter of the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata.
But it's not clear to me what Lakulisha's life story is, or whether he lived during the Dwapara Yuga or the Kali Yuga, that is why I asked this question.
Let me just add that apart from these three, there are probably other stories involving Shiva in the Kali Yuga. Just as the Alwars, the 12 Vaishnava poet-saints I discuss in my questions here, are said to have encountered Vishnu on various occasions, I expect that if you looked at the life stories of the 63 Nayanars, Shaivite poets living at about the same time, you may find stories of various run-ins with Shiva. But I'm not sure if Hindu scripture contains any prophecies of the Nayanars.
One story is of Baijnath Mahadev, Agar Malwa (MP): The Only Hindu Temple of Lord Shiva Built (Renovated) By a British Couple. . It goes like follows
The British ruled Indian subcontinent for hundreds of years, and built many churches and cathedrals. But in the 1880s, a Shiva temple in Agar Malwa, Madhya Pradesh, was renovated and almost rebuilt by Lt. Col. Martin as per the wish o her wife — the only Shiva temple ever made by an Englishman in India.
In 1879, when there was British were ruling in India, Lt. Col. Martin of Agar Malwa was leading the British army in the war against Afghanistan.
Col. Martin used to regularly send messages of his well-being to his wife. The war continued for long & Lady Martin stopped getting messages. She was very upset in the vicinity of Malwa far away from Kabul or Afghanistan.
Once riding on her horse, she was to pass by the temple of Baijnath Mahadev. She was quite attracted to the sound of Conch & Mantra. She went inside the Temple and came to know that the Brahmanas were worshipping Lord Shiva. They saw her sad face and asked her problem. She explained everything to them. They told her that Lord Shiva listens to the prayers of devotees and takes them out of difficult situations in no time. With the advice of the Brahmanas she started the “Laghurudri Anushtthan” of the Mantra: “Om Namah Shivaya” for 11 days. She prayed to Lord Shiva that if her husband reaches home safely, then she would get the temple renovated.
On the last of the “Laghurudri” a messenger came and gave a letter to her. Her husband had written: “I was regularly sending messages to you from the battle grounds but suddenly the Pathan Muslims surrounded us from all sides. We were entrapped in a situation where there was no scope of escaping death. Suddenly, I saw a Yogi of India with long hair, carrying a Trident (weapon with three pointers- Trishul). His personality was amazing and he was manoeuvring his weapon with a magnificent style. Seeing this great man, the Pathans started running back. With his grace our bad times turned into moments of victory. This was possible only because of that man of India wearing a lion skin & carrying a three-pointer weapon. That great Yogi told me that I should not worry and that he had come to rescue me because he was very pleased with my wife’s prayers.”
Tears of joy were falling down to the eyes of Lady Martin while reading the letter. Her heart was overwhelmed with joy and reverence. She fell beneath the stone symbol (Lingam) of Lord Shiva and burst in tears.
After a few weeks Col. Martin returned. Lady Martin narrated the whole incident to him. Now both husband & wife became devotees of Lord Shiva. In 1883 they donated Rs. 15,000 for renovating the temple. The information engraved slab for the same is still there in the Baijnath Mahadev Temple of Agar Malwa. This is the only Hindu temple built by the British.
And it is not difficult to meet Lord Shiva.
- Let no one be deceived! Twelve hundred long Divine Years lasting three hundred and sixty earth-years each, shall pass before I Manifest again and bring to the World a New Cosmic Cycle and a New Golden Age. Meanwhile, I shall appear only to My devotees. Verily, know this to be a matter a million times true: to My faithful devotees I shall appear any time they sincerely call upon Me, but not to the others. For, the others even if they saw Me, would fail to recognise Me - as even now they see Me but know Me not. 11 chapter SR
The origin of the Maheshwari community in Northern part of India is an example of one such story. The story is as follows:
Authentic historical literature about the origin of the Maheshwari community is not available. The sole source of information available is in the form of a book "Itihas Kalpdrum Maheshwari Kulbhushan" authored by late Shivkaranji Darak of Mundwa. Based on the book, following is the description of the origins of the Maheshwari community:
Suryawanshi King Khadgalsen of Chauhan dynasty was ruling over Khandelanagar state. He was very kind and just king. People lived happily and peacefully in his kingdom. He was always worried of not having a son.
One day the king had invited Brahmins and paid great honour to them. The Brahmins were very happy with the king's courtesy and asked him for a boon. The king then expressed his desire for a son. Brahmins said, ``if you worship Lord Shiva, you will be blessed with a very brave and adventurous son, but do not allow him to go towards the north and take bath in the Surya-kund there until he turns 16 years old". If the prince respects Brahmins, he will become a great king else will be reborn in the same kingdom. Hence being blessed by the Brahmins, the king rewarded them with fine clothes and jewelry and respectfully saw them off. The king worshipped God Shiva and was blessed with the boon.
King Khadgalsen had 24 queens. After some time, one of the queens, Champawati gave birth to a baby boy. The king was very happy and named the prince as Sujan Kunwar. The prince learned horse-riding, weaponry etc. by the age of 7 years. When he reached the age of 12, enemies were afraid of him. The king was quite satisfied with his work. He was careful not to let the prince go towards the North.
Once a Jain sadhu arrived and preached the prince about Jain religion luring him into anti-Shiva beliefs and showed the faults of Brahmins. At the age of 14, the prince opposed Shiva and started practicing Jain religion. He campaigned the Jain religion in East, West and South and banished idol worshipping. He harassed Brahmins and broke their sacred threads (janoi). He forbade all religious activities including yajna and hawan (holy fire). Out of the King's fear, he never went towards the North direction, but who can stop the destiny.
Once he went towards the North to the Suryakund with his 72 officers. There he grew angry when he saw 6 Rishis performing a yajna. He ordered his officers to destroy the yajna and harassed the rishis. Seeing this the rishis cursed them to become stone. So, the prince including all his officers and horses became stone. This news spread very quickly in all directions.
The King and citizens became worried after hearing this news. King Khadgalsen died of the shock. 16 of his queens became sati (self-immolated) with him. With no protector of the kingdom, neighbouring enemies attacked the state. They divided the state into many regions and merged them into their own states.
Even as this happened, the prince's widow and 72 officer's widows cried and went to the rishis. They humbly requested and begged for the lives of their husbands. Seeing this rishi had mercy upon them. However, they said they are not capable enough of revert the curse. They advised the ladies to go to a nearby cave and worship lord Shiva so that the curse can be taken off. All the ladies went to a cage and religiously meditated for appeasement of lord Shiva.
After some time, lord Shiva and Parvatiji (lord Shiva's consort) came around the place where the prince and officers were lying in the form of stones. Parvatiji asked what happened and lord Shiva told the whole history.
At this time the prince's wife and the officer's wives fell on the feet of Parvatiji and expressed their plight. Seeing this, Parvatiji requested lord Shiva of taking off the curse. Lord took off the curse and freed them of the stone-like state giving them a new life. Everybody fell on lord's feet in reverance.
As the prince became conscious, his mind filled with lust seeing Parvatiji's beauty. Seeing this Parvatiji cursed the prince like this: ``O evil man! you will always beg for food and all your coming generations shall beg for food!" These people were called "jaaga" (bhat) later on.
The 72 officers said: ``O God! Now we do not have a place to live. What should we do''? So Shivji informed them, that they quit their Kshatriya caste in a previous birth so now they are liable to accept the Vaishya caste. Go to the Suryakund and have a bath. As they bathed, their sword became pen, sword-case became stick and shields became weighing balance. All officers became Vaishya. As lord Mahesh (aka Shiva) gave them this lesson, they were called Maheshwari Vaishya.
When rishis came to know that everybody has been freed of curse, they asked God: ``O God! how will our incomplete Yajna will be completed''? Hence God preached to the officers that now onwards these rishis are your guru and you accept them as such. God told the rishis that they do not have anything as of now but when they have some occasion in their home they will give you material things to the best of their capabilities. You should teach them to follow their religion. Rishi accepted them as their pupils and each rishi accepted 12 pupils. Following is their description: (1) Parik from Parashar rishi (2) Dadma from Dadhichi rishi (3) Adigol from Gautam rishi (4) Khandelwal from Kharik rishi (5) Sukuwal from Sukumarg rishi (6) Saraswat brahmin/purohit from Sarasur rishi.
After some time of leaving Khandela all settled in Didwana. From these 72 officers, 72 nukh (clans) came into existence and from these nukh, depending upon the business, peta-nukh (sub-clan) came into existence.
This day was the ninth day of Jeth-sud month. This day is celebrated as "Mahesh Navami'' by Maheshwaris.
I recently heard the below. Kali yuga is dominated by evil . At the end Kaliyuga when good and evil go against each other and one will come out as a winner. To conquer evil Shiva comes up with shiva tandavam and crushes the evil. After destruction next cycle starts. While dancing shiva turns/rotates and you could see the back of Shiva's head.what do you find there ? None other than Brahma's face and shiva is smiling.
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