Kirtimukha (Face of glory)


Kirtimukha (Sanskrit kīrtimukha, mistakenly also kīrttimukha, a bahuvrihi compound translating to "glorious face") is the name of a swallowing fierce monster face with huge fangs, and gaping mouth, quite common in the iconography of Indian and Southeast Asian temple architecture. In Southeast Asia it is often referred to as Kala and in China it is known as T'ao t'ieh (Monster of Greed).

The word mukha in Sanskrit refers to the face while kīrti means "fame, glory". Kirtimukha has its origin in a legend from the Skanda Purana when an all-devouring monster created from Shiva's third eye willingly ate his body starting by its tail as per Lord Shiva's order, who pleased with the result gave it the name face of glory. Some authors have compared the Kirtimukha myth with the Greek myth of Ouroboros.

The Kirtimukha is often used as a decorative motif surmounting the pinnacle of a temple or the image of a deity, especially in South Indian architecture. This face is sometimes assimilated to, or confused with, another sculptural element, the lion face (Simhamukha). However, in order to be a Kirtimukha it has to be engaged in swallowing, for the Kirtimukha is the figure of the "all consuming" This monstrous face with bulging eyes sits also as an embellishment over the lintel of the gate to the inner sanctum in many Hindu temples signifying the reabsorption that marks the entry into the temple. Mostly it is only a face, although in some places its arms are portrayed as well. (Wikipedia)

 

Kirtimukha

Kirtimukha""

Kirtimukha

Image source: www.flickr.com

The kirtimukha eating its own tail

The kirtimukha eating its own tail

The kirtimukha eating its own tail

Image source: wordpress.com
Reference: wordpress.com

kirtimukha

kirtimukha

kirtimukha, Bamiyan Valley, Afghanistan

Image source: wordpress.com

Lord Ganesha Seated on His Vehicle Rat with Floral Aureole and Kirtimukha Atop

Lord Ganesha Seated on His Vehicle Rat with Floral Aureole and Kirtimukha Atop

Lord Ganesha Seated on His Vehicle Rat with Floral Aureole and Kirtimukha Atop, White Cedar Wood Statue from Trivandrum

Image source: www.amazon.in   Copy  


Face of Glory (Kirtimukha)

Face of Glory (Kirtimukha)

Face of Glory (Kirtimukha)

Image source and reference: Image courtesy of the Indianapolis Museum of Art

A Thai Kirthimukha at 'Wat Baan Ping' in Chiang Mai, Thailand

A Thai Kirthimukha at 'Wat Baan Ping' in Chiang Mai, Thailand

The Kirthimukha face in the gable of the ubosot-building of 'Wat Baan Ping' in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

Kala-Makara, a Kirtimukha of 9th century Javanese Sailendra Borobudur portal, Indonesia

A Kirtimukha at the Gate of Borobudur, Indonesia

Gate at the Borobudur
Kala-Makara, a Kirtimukha of 9th century Javanese Sailendra Borobudur portal, Indonesia

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

Kirtimukha at Prasat Kok Po A, Angkor, Siemreap, Cambodia. 9th century

Kirtimukha

Kirtimukha at Prasat Kok Po A, Angkor, Siemreap, Cambodia. 9th century

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

 

Kirtimukha on top of arch above entrance to Hindu temple

Kirtimukha on top of arch above entrance to Hindu temple

Kirtimukha on top of arch above entrance to Hindu temple in Kathmandu, Nepal

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

Kirtimukha at Kasivisvesvara Temple at Lakkundi, Gadag district, Karnataka, India

Kirtimukha at Kasivisvesvara Temple at Lakkundi, Gadag district, Karnataka, India

Kirtimukha at Kasivisvesvara Temple at Lakkundi, Gadag district, Karnataka, India

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

 

Rahu at a temple in Thailand

Rahu at a temple in Thailand

Rahu at a temple in Thailand

Image source: photobucket.com

Rahu, The Demon of Eclipses - Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Rahu, The Demon of Eclipses - Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Rahu, The Demon of Eclipses.

Image source and reference: collections.lacma.org

 

Rahu at Wat Mahathat Worawihan, Thailand

Rahu ornament at Wat Pan Tao,Chiang Mai,Thailand

Rahu at Wat Mahathat Worawihan, Thailand
Wat Mahathat Worawihan is a buddhist temple located in the province of Phetchaburi, Thailand

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

Rahu ornament at Wat Pan Tao,Chiang Mai,Thailand

Rahu ornament at Wat Pan Tao,Chiang Mai,Thailand

Rahu, who has a habit of swallowing the sun and the moon, ornament at Wat Pan Tao,Chiang Mai,Thailand

Image source: www.flickr.com

 

 

Rahu
Rahu,
Image source: www.ebay.com

A mural of Ketu. Depicted as the body without head, from Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur Ketu
Ketu. Depicted as the body without head
Image source: commons.wikimedia.org   www.exoticindiaart.com  

Rahu and Ketu

After the head of Svarbhānu, an Asura, was cut off by God Vishnu, his head and body joined with a snake. Rahu represents the head joined with the snake without a body and Ketu represents the body joined with snake without a head.

In Hindu tradition, Rahu is a severed head of an asura, that swallows the sun causing eclipses. He is depicted in art as a serpent with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. Rahu is one of the navagrahas (nine planets) in Vedic astrology and is paired with Ketu. The time of day considered to be under the influence of Rahu is called Rahu kala and is considered inauspicious. In Vedic astronomy, Rahu is considered to be a rogue planet.
Astronomically, Rahu and Ketu denote the points of intersection of the paths of the Sun and the Moon as they move on the celestial sphere. Therefore, Rahu and Ketu are respectively called the north and the south lunar nodes. The fact that eclipses occur when the Sun and the Moon are at one of these points gives rise to the myth of the swallowing of the Sun and the Moon by the demon snake. (Wikipedia)

Rahu and Ketu- the waxing and waning moon
The demon Rahu-left-is the thief of ambrosia or amrita- a crime for which the god Vishnu cut his body in half. In revenge Rahu periodically consumes the planets causing eclipses of the sun and moon. He represents the ascending node of the moon. Ketu- created from the severed body of Rahu has a serpent's tale and represents the descending node of the moon. (Reference: www.flickr.com )

 

Rahu, Moon in each hand - The British Museum

Rahu, Moon in each hand. - The British Museum

Rahu, Moon in each hand. - Made of stone (schist), The British Museum

Image source: The British Museum www.britishmuseum.org

Ketu, Sword in right hand - The British Museum

Ketu, Sword in right hand - The British Museum

Ketu, Sword in right hand, Made of stone (schist), The British Museum

Image source: The British Museum www.britishmuseum.org

 

 

What does the Kirtimukha mean?


The terrible monster ran up to eat Rahup
The terrible monster ran up to eat Rahu,
Image source: insine.exteen.com   in-sine.deviantart.com/

Shiva Parvati Standing on Lotus Pedestal with Floral Aureole and Kirtimukha Atop
Shiva Parvati Standing on Lotus Pedestal with Floral Aureole and Kirtimukha Atop
Image source: www.exoticindiaart.com

There was a very powerful king of the Daityas named Jalandara. He had conquered all the three worlds. At that time, the great Lord, Siva, had intended to wed Parvati, the daughter of the king of the Himalayas. Jalandara, incensed with pride, sent a messenger to Siva and contemptuously commanded the latter to give up his claims for Parvati’s hand. For, the beggar-Siva, so thought Jalandara, was not a proper match for the lovely princess who could but be a spouse of such a great king as himself.

When the courier, Rahu, delivered the message to Siva, the great god became so angry that a terrible being shot forth from between the eye-brows of the Lord. The being was roaring like thunder, and had a face like that of a lion, a protruding tongue, eyes burning with fire and its hair raised upwards. Though it had an emaciated body, it seemed like another Narasimha, the man-lion incarnation of Vishnu, in strength.

The terrible being ran up to eat Rahu, whereupon the latter prayed to Lord Siva to save him. Siva dissuaded the being from eating up Rahu, but the being complained to Siva of intense hunger and begged him for food. Siva ordered the being to appease its hunger by eating its own flesh; and the being forthwith did the same, leaving only its face intact.

This pleased the Lord Siva, very much; and he addressed the terrible face which had saved his honour that thenceforth it would be known as ‘Kirtimukha.’ Further, it was ordained that the ‘Kirtimukha’ should always remain at the doorways of Siva temples, and that whosoever failed to worship the ‘Kirtimukha’ would never acquire Siva’s grace. That is the reason why the ‘Kirtimukha’ has had a permanent place on the doorways of Siva temples.

Rahu

Vishnu beheading Rahu with his Sudarshana chakra.
Vishnu beheading Rahu with his Sudarshana chakra.
Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

In Hindu tradition, Rahu is a severed head of an asura, that swallows the sun causing eclipses. He is depicted in art as a serpent with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses.

According to legend, during the Samudra manthan, the asura Rahu drank some of the amrita (divine nectar). The sun and moon realized it and alerted Mohini (the female avatar of Vishnu). Mohini cut off the asura's head before the nectar could pass his throat. The head, however, remained immortal due to the effect of amrita and became Rahu.

It is believed that this immortal head from time to time swallows the sun, causing eclipses. Then, the sun passes through the opening at the neck, ending the eclipse. The body also turned into Ketu due to a boon, and it in turn swallows the moon on timely basis to cause a lunar eclipse.

Various names are assigned to Rahu in Vedic texts including: the chief, the advisor of the demons, the minister of the demons, ever-angry, the tormentor, bitter enemy of the luminaries, lord of illusions, one who frightens the Sun, the one who makes the Moon lustreless, the peacemaker, the immortal (having drunk the divine nectar), bestower of prosperity and wealth and ultimate knowledge.


Rahu in Buddhism

Rahu is mentioned explicitly in a pair of scriptures from the Samyutta Nikaya of the Pali Canon. In the Candima Sutta and the Suriya Sutta, Rahu attacks Chandra the moon deity and Surya the sun deity before being compelled to release them by their recitation of a brief stanza conveying their reverence for the Buddha. The Buddha responds by enjoining Rahu to release them, which Rahu does rather than have his "head split into seven pieces". The verses recited by the two celestial deities and the Buddha have since been incorporated into Buddhist liturgy as protective verses (paritta) recited by monks as prayers of protection.[

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Rahu (or Rahula; Tib. gza) is considered to have been subjugated by Padmasambhava, becoming one of the principle protectors of the Dzogchen teachings, particularly the Longchen Nyingthik. He is usually depicted with nine heads and a thousand eyes all over his dark-colored body. In his four arms he holds a bow and arrow, and often a lasso and victory banner. He is wrathful in appearance, ablaze with fire, and his lower body has the form of a snake. Rahula is a sa, a class of deities associated with the heavenly bodies. Rahu is one of the krodhadevatas (lit: Anger divinities. i.e., a divinity having the attributes of anger and the like).


 

Face of Glory - Joseph Campbell's interpretation

But to enjoy the world requires something more than mere good health and good spirits; for this world, as we all now surely know, is horrendous. "All life, " said the Buddha, "is sorrowful"; and so, indeed, it is. Life consuming life: that is the essence of its being,which is forever a becoming. "The world," said the Buddha, "is an ever burning fire." And so it is. And that is what one has to affirm, with a yea! a dance! a knowing, solemn, stately dance of the mystic bliss beyond pain that is at the heart of every mythic rite.

And so, to conclude, let me recount now a really marvelous Hindu legend to this point, from the infinitely rich mythology of the god Shiva and his glorious world-goddess Parvati. The occasion was of a time when there came before this great divinity and audacious demon who had just overthrown the ruling gods of the world and now came to confront the highest of all with a non-negotiable demand, namely, that the god should hand over his goddess to the demon. Well, what Shiva did in reply was simply to open that mystic third eye in the middle of his forehead, and paff! a lightning bolt hit the earth, and there was suddenly there a second demon, even larger than the first. He was a great lean thing with a lionlike head, hair waving to the quarters of the world, and his nature was sheer hunger. He had been brought into being to eat up the first, as was clearly fit to do so. The first thought: "So what do I do now?" and with a very fortunate decision threw himself upon Shiva's mercy.

Now it is a well-known theological rule that when you throw yourself on a god's mercy the god cannot refuse to protect you; and so Shiva had now to guard and protect the first demon from the second. Which left the second, however, without meat to quell his hunger and in anguish he asked Shiva, "Whom, then, do I eat?" to which the god replied, "Well let's see: why not eat yourself?"

And with that , no sooner said then begun. Commencing with his feet, teeth chopping away, and that grim phenomenon came right on up the line, through his own belly, on up through his chest and neck, until all that remained was a face. And the god, thereupon, was enchanted. For here at last was a perfect image of the monstrous thing that is life, which lives on itself. And to that sunlike mask, which was now all that was left of that lion like vision of hunger, Shiva said, exulting, "I shall call you 'Face of Glory,' Kirttimukha, and you shall shine above the doors to all my temples. No one who refuses to honor and worship you will come ever to knowledge of me."

The obvious less of all of which is that the first step to the knowledge of the highest divine symbol of the wonder and mystery of life is in the recognition of the monstrous nature of life and its glory in that character: the realization that this is just how it is and that it cannot and will not be changed. Those who think --and there name is legion-- that they know how the universe could have been better that it is, how ti would have been had they created it, without pain, without sorrow, without time, without life, are unfit for illumination. Or those who think --as do many-- "Let me first correct society, then get around to myself" are barred from even the outer gate of the mansion of God's peace. All societies are evil, sorrowful, inequitable; and so they will always be. So if you really want to help this world, what you will have to teach is how to live in it. And that no one can do who has not himself learned how to live in it in the joyful sorrow and the sorrowful joy of the knowledge of life as it is. That is the meaning of the monstrous Kirttimukha, "Face of Glory," over the entrances to the sanctuaries of the god of yoga, whose bride is the goddess of life. No one can know this god and goddess who will not bow to the mask in reverence and pass humbly through.

Face of Glory - Other interpretation

Excerpts from Kirtimukha (Face of Glory) Divine Creative Energy by Rev. Todd F. Eklof:
Campbell vs. Anderson (not really)
[ I first became familiar with this story through Joseph Campbell’s dialogue with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth. Campbell understands the meaning of this myth to say, "Life lives on life…" In this sense, Kirtimukha is another version of the sacred uroborus, the tail eating snake. We may not like to look at it this way, but life depends on destroying other life, whether your a veggin, a vegetarian, or a meat eater! One life form is sustained through the destruction of another. This truth is hard on the human psyche which often experiences guilt and denial because of it. We refer to our meats as beef, poultry and pork, rather than as cows, chickens and pigs. This is denial. Some people, who eat only fruits and vegetables, do so because they feel guilty eating animals, as if they have the right to determine the value of one life form over another, the value of animals over plants. But Shiva, whose cosmic dance becomes a balancing act between life and death, reminds us we must bow to Kirtimukha, the Face of Glory, who further reminds us we are all raging monsters, hungry for life. We’re all vampires draining the life out of others. And if death is merely an illusion, then, at the very least, we must admit we selfishly cling to and maintain our particular forms by consuming other life forms, taking their force as our own.
If we want to understand creation, Shiva’s dance, we must first acknowledge Kirtimukha, the truth that life lives on life. The cosmic dance is both creative and destructive, diastole and systole, Yin and Yang, Spring and Winter, devouring and being devoured, life and death. At least this the implication according to Joseph Cambell. ]

[ Recently, however, I came across another interpretation of the Kirtimukha myth. In his book, The Face of Glory, William Anderson says the story is about "the control and transformation of fierce and violent emotions." As the story indicates, there is something divine in this ability to transform rage into a face of glory! This is Divine Creative Energy. ]
[ Joseph Campbell’s understanding that Kirtimukha forces us to recognize the ugly truth that life is necessarily violent—life devouring life—is in direct opposition to William Anderson’s interpretation that Kirtimukha teaches us we must transform our violence into something creative. ]
[ When I first began contemplating this subject, I thought I would have to abandon one interpretation for the other. ... Then I saw a little book over ... with big blood-red letters on its cover, the word Death. I moved closer and read the complete title, Sex and the Origins of Death. That’s when it hit me! Sexual reproduction is the ultimate act of creativity, and here is an author, William R. Clark linking it with death. I’ve been pouring through the book ever since, and now realize Campbell’s and Anderson’s interpretations of the Kirtimukha myth are really two sides of the same coin, that death and life are the same, violence and destruction are merely the other side of creativity. ]
Immortality vs. Mortality
[ From this explanation, I think we can begin to understand the relationship between Joseph Campbell’s interpretation of the Kirtimukha story and William Anderson’s. Death and creativity are really the same thing! Sexual reproduction ultimately results in death. But, without it we would have all remained perfect immortal duplicates of our single celled ancestors. Instead we are complex multicellular beings who can laugh and love and dance with Shiva as together we create the ever-changing Universe. Sexual reproduction, which may be defined as the process of killing old ancestors, is a creative process that makes something completely new and unique! Death and creativity go hand in hand. ]
Permanence vs. Change
[ Thus, bowing before Kirtimukha, is to submit to the necessity of death in order to become creative. It is the act of letting go. We must stop clinging to life if we are to enter into the divine dance. ...
Bowing to Kirtimukha allows us to transform our rage into courage, our passion into compassion. Still, it seems it is our nature to resist change, to continue doing what has become comfortable habit for us, as if we can somehow remain unchanging, immortal. ...
Kirtimukha reminds us to let go, to bow before death, to open ourselves to change and transformation. Death, according to Shiva, is the greatest creation! Without it we remain frozen in time, unchanged forever, the price of immortality. Isn’t it better to cut our time short if it means we can enter into the cosmic dance with Shiva, to, albeit briefly, experience the endless variety of life? ]


 

 


Other versions of Kirtimukha (Face of Glory) myth

 

The myth of Kirti-mukha from the Linga Purana.

The myth of Kirti-mukha from the Linga Purana

The myth of Kirti-mukha from the Linga Purana

Image source: utkarshspeak.blogspot.com

Kirtimukha, the Face of Glory

Kirtimukha, the Face of Glory

Kirtimukha, the Face of Glory

Image source: kirtimukha.com

The Face of Glory

The Face of Glory

The Face of Glory

Image source: yogawithashton.com

Kirtimukha Motif in Temple Architecture

Kirtimukha in Rock cut Ratha

Kirtimukha Motif in Temple Architecture

Image source: know-your-heritage.blogspot.com


 

 



Jalandhara and Vrinda (The story of Tulsi).

Jalandhara (Jallandhar or Calantaran) is a figure in Hindu mythology who was born out of the union of the fire from Shiva's third eye and the ocean.

The legend of Jalandhara and Vrinda


Jalandhara and Vrinda

Jalandhara and Vrinda



The battle between Jalandhara and Lord Shiva

The battle between Jalandhara and Lord Shiva

In the Shiva Purana, when Indra and Brihaspati were going towards Mount Kailash to meet Shiva their way was blocked by a naked yogi with matted hair and a radiant face. The yogi was Shiva himself, who had taken the form to test the knowledge of Indra and Brihaspati. Indra did not recognize the yogi and was infuriated at the fact that the man was not moving out of their way. Indra asked him to move but the man did not budge. After getting no reply Indra became enraged and threatened him with his thunderbolt. Upon this action Indra's arm became paralyzed and Shiva neutralized the thunderbolt. Shiva became angry upon this action of Indra and his eyes turned red, frightening Indra. The anger caused Shiva's third eye to open, nearly killing Indra. Brihaspati recognized Shiva and prayed to him, requesting him to pardon Indra. To avoid killing Indra, Shiva sent the fire from his eye towards the ocean and upon meeting with the ocean it assumed the form of a boy.[1] The boy cried terribly which caused Brahma to descend from heaven. The ocean told Brahma that he did not know where the boy came from. Brahma then told him that the boy will one day become the emperor of Asuras, he could only be killed by Shiva and after his death he would return to Shiva's third eye.

Jalandhara's childhood was full of wonders. Borne up by the wind, he flew over the ocean; his pets were lions which he had caught; and the largest birds and fishes were subject to him. Jalandhara grew up to be a handsome man and was made the emperor of Asuras by Shukra, their guru. Jalandhara was exceedingly powerful and is considered to be one of the mightiest asuras of all time. He married Vrinda, the daughter of the Asura Kalanemi. Jalandhara ruled with justice and nobility. One day sage Bhrigu came to meet Jalandhara. He narrated the tales of Hiranyakashipu and Virochana. He also tells him how Vishnu severed Rahu's head and about the Samudra manthan. Jalandhara resented the Samudra manthan. He believed that the Devas had treacherously taken his father, Varuna's treasures. He sent one of his messengers, Ghasmar, to Indra to ask him to return his father's treasures. However Indra refused to do so. A fierce battle took place between the Devas and Asuras. Many warriors were killed on both sides. Shukra revived the Asuras using his Mritsanjivani vidya. Brihaspati revived the dead Devas by using the medicinal herbs from the Drongiri mountain. Shukra ordered Jalandhara to submerge the mountain so Brihaspati cannot use the medicinal herbs to revive the Devas. Jalandhara obeyed the command and submerged Drongiri mountain. Demoralized, the Devas requested Vishnu for his aid. Vishnu agreed but promised Lakshmi that he would not kill Jalandhara since he was born out of the ocean and Lakshmi considered him as her brother. A fierce battle was fought between Jalandhara and Vishnu which remained indecisive until the end. Vishnu was impressed by Jalandhara's valiance in battle and told him about Lakshmi's relationship with him. Vishnu then asked him to demand any boon he desired. Jalandhara asked Vishnu to make Ksheera Sagara his home. He agreed and started living there along with Lakshmi. Without his help the Devas were defeated by Asuras and Jalandhara became the emperor of the three worlds (heaven, earth and hell).

The Devas were unhappy about their defeat. They did not wish to be ruled by Jalandhara despite the fact that he was the son of Shiva. The sage Narada upon consulting with the Devas went to see Jalandhara. On being asked the purpose of his visit by Jalandhara he described the beauty of Kailash where Shiva lived and that he wondered whether any other place matched its beauty. In response, Jalandhara showed off his riches to Narada who commented that he did not have the most beautiful woman as his wife. Narada then continued to describe Shiva's residence and also described to him about Parvati's beauty.

Jalandhara sends his messenger Rahu to Shiva and accuses him of hypocrisy, pointing out that Shiva claims to be an ascetic but keeps a wife, Parvati. He proposes that Shiva hand over Parvati to him:

"How can you live on alms and yet keep the beautiful Parvati ? Give her to me, and wander from house to house with your alms bowl. You have fallen from your vow. You are a yogi, what need have you for the gem of wives? You live in the woods attended by goblins and ghosts; being a naked yogi, you should give your wife to one who will appreciate her better than you do."

Upon hearing these insults Shiva becomes so angry that a fearsome creature (Kīrttimukha) sprang from his brow and nearly killed Rahu, the messenger who had delivered the demand. War being determined on, Jalandhara marched first to Kailash; but finding that Shiva had forsaken it and taken up a position on a mountain near Lake Manasa, he surrounded the mountain with his troops. Nandi (bull) marched against them, and spread destruction, however, the army of the gods suffered losses. Parvati then urged Shiva to enter the war. Shiva carefully warned Parvati to be on her guard during his absence, as it was possible asuras in some disguise might visit her; after this, accompanied by Virabhadra and Manibhadra, two forms of his anger, Shiva went to the battlefield. Upon seeing Shiva and his avatars dominate the battlefield, Jalandhara created an illusion of beautiful apsaras singing and dancing. This distracted Shiva and his army. Meanwhile Jalandhara disguised himself as Shiva and went to Parvati in order to trick her into having sex with him. Parvati recognized him and became very angry. She attempted to attack him but Jalandhara escaped knowing he was no match for the goddess's anger. Parvati then went to Vishnu and requested him to trick Vrinda just like Jalandhara tried to trick her.

Jalandhara's wife Vrinda was very pious. First, Vishnu created an illusion that Jalandhara had been killed by Shiva and is then restored to life by him. Vrinda then embraces Jalandhara who is actually Vishnu in disguise. Vrinda realizes that it is Vishnu in disguise and curses him that someday someone would abduct his own wife (which becomes true when Sita is kidnapped by Ravana) and then enters the fire to immolate herself. Jalandhara, hearing of his wife's deception and death, was mad with rage and left Mount Kailash, and returned to the battlefield. The illusion by this time had ended and Shiva realized the truth. Shiva engaged Sumbha and Nisumbha in battle but they fled. They were later killed by Parvati. Jalandhara then engaged Shiva in battle, who killed him by thrusting his Trishula into his chest and cutting his head off with a chakra (discus) created from his toe. Upon his death his soul merged with Shiva just like Vrinda's soul had merged with Parvati.



Tulasi-Saligrama Vivaha (The marriage of Tulsi and Lord Vishnu)

Tulsi Vivah is the ceremonial marriage of the Tulsi plant (holy basil) to the Hindu god Vishnu or his Avatar Krishna. This ceremony can be performed any time between Prabodhini Ekadashi - the eleventh lunar day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu month Kartik to the full moon of the month (Kartik Poornima) but usually it is performed on the eleventh or the twelfth lunar day. The day varies from region to region. The Tulsi wedding signifies the end of the monsoon and the beginning of the Hindu wedding season

Tulasi-Saligrama Vivaha (The marriage of Tulsi and Lord Vishnu)

Tulasi-Saligrama Vivaha (The marriage of Tulsi and Lord Vishnu)

The Legend of Tulsi and Vishnu
Tulsi is venerated as a goddess in Hinduism and sometimes considered a wife of Vishnu, sometimes with the epithet Vishnupriya, "the beloved of Vishnu". The legend behind Tulsi Vivah and its rites are told in the scripture, Padma Purana.
According to Hindu scripture, the Tulsi plant was a woman named Vrinda (Brinda; a synonym of Tulsi). She was married to the demon-king Jalandhar, who due to her piety and devotion to Vishnu, became invincible. Even Shiva—the Destroyer in the Hindu Trinity—could not defeat Jalandhar, so he requested Vishnu - the preserver in the Trinity - to find a solution. Vishnu disguised himself as Jalandhar and tricked Vrinda.
Her chastity destroyed, Jalandhar lost his power and was killed by Shiva. Vrinda cursed Vishnu to become black in colour and would be separated from his wife, Lakshmi. This was later fulfilled when he was transformed into the black Shaligram stone (actually a fossil), and in his Rama avatar, was separated from his wife Sita, who was kidnapped by the demon-king Ravana. Vrinda then drowned herself in the ocean, and the gods (or Vishnu himself) transferred her soul to a plant, which was henceforth called Tulsi.
As per a blessing by Vishnu to marry Vrinda in her next birth, Vishnu – in form of Shaligram - married Tulsi on Prabodhini Ekadashi. To commemorate this event, the ceremony of Tulsi Vivah is performed.
Rituals
The marriage of Tulsi with Vishnu/Krishna resembles the traditional Hindu wedding. This ceremony is conducted at homes and also at temples. A fast is observed on the Tulsi Vivah day until evening when the ceremony begins. A mandap (marriage booth) is built around the courtyard of the house where the Tulsi plant is planted. The Tulsi plant is usually planted in centre of the courtyard in a brick plaster called Tulsi vrindavana. It is believed that the soul of Vrinda resides in the plant at night and leaves in the morning. The bride Tulsi is clothed with a sari and ornaments including earrings and necklaces. A human paper face with a bindi and nose-ring - may be attached to Tulsi. The groom is a brass image or picture of Vishnu or Krishna or sometimes Balarama or more frequently the Shaligram stone - the symbol of Vishnu. The image is clothed in a dhoti. Both Vishnu and Tulsi are bathed and decorated with flowers and garlands before the wedding. The couple is linked with a cotton thread (mala) in the ceremony.
Shaligram
Saligrama is a Sila (stone), highly venerated and worshipped by Hindu throughout the world, as it is considered the direct manifestation of Hindu God Vishnu himself (aniconic symbol).
Shila, (शिला in Devanagari, śila in IAST) or Shaligram refers to a Vaishnava (Hindu) aniconic representation of Vishnu, in the form of a spherical, usually black-coloured Ammonoid fossil found in the sacred river Gandaki. They are more often referred to as Shilas, with Shila being the shortened version. The word Shila translates simply to 'stone' and Shaligram is a less well-known name of Vishnu. The origin of the name is traced to a remote village in Nepal where Vishnu is known by the name of Shaligraman. Shaligram in Hinduism is also known as Salagrama. The name Salagrama refers to the name of the village on the bank of Gandaki where the holy stones are picked up. The name is derived from the hut (sala) of the sage Salankayana, who beheld the form of Vishnu in a tree outside his hut (cf. Varaha-purana).

Shiva Purana


Lord Shiva Spares The Life of Indra
Sutji narrates the following story to the sages-
"Once upon a time, Indra was going towards Kailash mountain to have a 'darshan' of lord Shiva. Sage Vrihaspati was accompanying him.
Lord Shiva came to know about his arrival. He wanted to test his devotion towards him. While both Indra and Vrihaspati were still on their way. Lord Shiva met them on their in the guise of a hermit. Indra did not recognize Shiva, who was sitting on the way disguised as a hermit. Indra inquired as to who he was and where he live. Lord Shiva sat quietly without saying a word. Indra repeatedly asked the same question, but each time Shiva remained quiet. Indra became furious and tried to attack lord Shiva with his Vajra.
Lord Shiva paralyzed the raised hands of Indra by his divine power. Shiva's eyes had reddened due to anger which made Indra very frightened sage Vrihaspati was able to recognize the real identity of the hermit as to who he was. He made salutations to lord Shiva and requested him to pardon Indra. Lord Shiva became pleased and diverted the power of his radiant eyes to the ocean. This way Indra's life was spared by Shiva. Lord Shiva then returned to Kailash mountain. Indra and sage Vrihaspati too returned to their respective abodes.
Manifestation of Jalandhar
The effulgence, which had been divided by lord Shiva into the Ocean resulted into the manifestation of a small child. This incident happened at the place where river Ganges submerged into the ocean and which is also known as Gangasagar now a days.
The child was crying so ferociously that an environment of fear was created everywhere. The deities and the sages went to lord Brahma to satisfy their curiously. Lord Brahma assured then to find out the reason. He went to the seashore. The sea put the child in his lap and enquired about the name of that child and also about his future.
Meanwhile the child pressed lord Brahma's neck with such power that tears rolled down from his eyes. For this reason he named the child as Jalandhar. Lord Brahma told the sea that the child will become the mighty ruler of the demons. No deity would be able to kill him except Shiva.
The sea was very pleased by lord Brahma's predictions. After Lord Brahma returned to his abode, the sea brought that child to his home and brought up that child with great love and care.
When Jalandhar grew up he married Vrinda, who was the daughter of Kalnemi. Later on he became the ruler of the demons.
Battle Between Jalandhar & The Deities
One day Sage Bhrigu came to meet Jalandhar. After receiving him with due respect Jalandhar asked him as to who severed the head of Rahu.
Sage Bhrigu then told him about Hiranyakashipu who was the maternal uncle of Rahu. Sage Bhrigu also told him about Virochana - the son of the extremely charitable king Bali. Then sage Bhrigu narrated the tale connected with the churning of ocean and how ambrosia emerged from the churning of the ocean.
Sage Bhrigu told Jalandhar how Rahu's head was severed by lord Vishnu, while he was sitting among the deities and at the time when ambrosia was being distributed to all the deities.
Jalandhar became very furious after hearing this story. He summoned one of his messengers whose name was Ghasmar and instructed him to go and ask Indra, as to why had he misappropriated all the wealth of his father (Sea) which emerged during the churning of Sea. He also instructed Ghasmar to warn Indra about the dire consequences unless he takes his (Indra's) refuge.
But Indra sent back Ghasmar without any specific assurance. This action of Indra made Jalandhar more angry than before. He collected his army and attacked Indra.
A fierce battle was fought between his army and the army of the deities. Many warriors got killed from both the sides. Shukracharya the guru of the deities brought back the dead warriors from the demon side back to life by his mritasanjivani vidya. Similarly Sage Vrihaspati brought back the dead warriors from the deities side back to life with the help of medicinal herbs.
When Shukracharya saw that, sage Vrihaspati too was successfully making the dead deities alive, he instructed Jalandhar to submerge the Drongiri mountain into the sea, so that it becomes impossible for Vrihaspati to get the medicinal herbs by the help of which he made the dead deities alive.
Jalandhar obeyed the command of Shukracharya and by lifting the Drongiri mountain submerged it into the sea. The deities became demoralized and fled from the battle field Jalandhar captured Indrapuri.
Battle Between Lord Vishnu & Jalandhar
The terrified deities took the refuge of lord Vishnu and sought his help. Lord Vishnu gave a patient hearing and agreed to help them, but there was a hitch. His consort goddess Laxmi considered Jalandhar as her brother because both of them originated from the sea. She instructed Lord Vishnu against killing Jalandhar.
Lord Vishnu promised to her that he won't kill Jalandhar. After giving his word to goddess Laxmi, he went to fight a battle with Jalandhar.
A fierce battle was fought between both of them which remained indecisive till the end. Lord Vishnu became very much impressed by the valiance of Jalandhar and asked him to demand any boon he liked.
Jalandhar requested him to make his dwelling in the Ksheersagar-the abode of Jalandhar, alongwith his sister (Laxmi). Lord Vishnu agreed to fulfill his wish and started living in the Ksheersagar along with his consort Laxmi.
Being undefeated by Lord Vishnu himself, Jalandhar became the ruler of all the three world. All his subjects were satisfied by his just and virtuous rule, except the deities. The deities now eulogized lord Shiva to seek his help in defeating Jalandhar.
Narad’s Stratagem
According to the wish of lord Shiva, Sage Narad came to meet the deities. The deities narrated their woeful tales to him. Feeling pity on their condition, he went accorded a grand reception by Jalandhar which pleased him very much.
Narad praised the splendours and prosperity of Jalandhar but added that it was nothing in comparison to Shiva's splendours Narad told him that inspite of all his authority and splendours, his prosperity was still incomplete, as he did not have a consort. Jalandhar asked curiously as to where could he find his consort.
According to his strategy, Narada advised Jalandhar to make Parvati as his consort Jalandhar fell into Narad's trap. He sent 'Rahu' to lord Shiva with a proposal to part with Parvati. Rahu went to lord Shiva and demanded Parvati, which made lord Shiva extremely furious. His anger resulted into the manifestation of a ferocious creature, which ran towards 'Rahu' to devour him. Rahu had no option but to take the refuge of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva protected the life of 'Rahu'.
The hungry creature, asked Shiva as to what should he eat to satisfy his hunger. Lord Shiva instructed him to devour his own limbs. The creative followed his instructions and devoured his limbs. Lord Shiva was very pleased by his sense of obedience. He named that creature of his palace. He also blessed him saying that he too would be worshipped along with him (Shiva).
Battle Between Lord Shiva & Jalandhar
Rahu went back to Jalandhar and narrated the whole story to him. Jalandhar then attacked Kailash mountain with his huge army. A fierce battle was fought between the Shiva-ganas and the demons. When Jalandhar realized that lord Shiva had begun to dominate the battle he created beautiful 'Apsaras' and 'Gandharvas' by his illusionary powers to divert the attention of lord Shiva and his ganas. He was successful in his attempt. Lord Shiva and his ganas became enchanted by the heavenly beauty of the apsaras. They stopped fighting and started watching their dance and music.
Meanwhile Jalandhar went to Parvati in the guise of lord Shiva but was recognized by her. Being enchanted by the beauty of goddess Parvati, he looked at her with his evil intentions, but was immobilized by her wrath.
Mother Parvati then went to lord Vishnu and narrated the whole story. She wanted to teach Jalandhar a lesson. She requested lord Vishnu to go to Jalandhar's wife in the guise of Jalandhar and act in the same way. Jalandhar had dared to do.
Vrinda Gets Dishonored
With the help of his divine powers, Lord Vishnu created many inauspicious dreams while Vrinda was asleep. Vrinda became very restless and when the anxieties become unbearable she proceeded towards the forest.
Vrinda saw a hermit in the forest who was preaching his disciples. The hermit was none other than lord Vishnu. She went to that hermit and prayed to save her husband's life.
Lord Vishnu disappeared from the scene and reappeared - this time in the guise of Jalandhar. But Vrinda was unable to recognize the real identity of her husband. She was very pleased after finding her husband. Both of them stayed in that very forest as husband and wife for a very long time.
One day, came to know about the real identity of the person, who was impersonating as her husband. Realizing that her chastity has been breached, she cursed lord Vishnu by saying that just as he had played a deceitful trick with her in the same way somebody would deceitfully abduct his wife and he too would wander in her search.
After cursing lord Vishnu, Vrinda embraced death by entering into the fire.
Killing of Jalandhar
On the other side, after the departure of Parvati from Kailash Mountain and after the illusionary powers created by Jalandhar had ended all the apsaras and gandharvas vanished. Shiva realized that whatever he was watching, was nothing more than illusion.
Lord Shiva recommenced his battle. The demons-Shumbh and Nishumbh, came forward to fight with him, but ultimately they had to flee from the battlefield. Lord Shiva warned both of them that though they had escaped death at that moment, but they would be killed by Parvati.
Now Jalandhar again arrived to fight with lord Shiva. A fierce battle commenced between them. Finding an opportune time, Shiva severed the head of Jalandhar by his 'Chakra' which had been created from his toe. After his death, Jalandhar's soul united with Shiva.
The Deities Express Gratitude
When the deities came to know about the killing of Jalandhar, they became overjoyed. They came to Lord Shiva and eulogized him. Thy also hailed his great achievement. After expressing their gratitude they returned to their respective abodes.
Manifestation of Amla (Myrobalan), Tulsi (~Basil) and Malti
Lord Vishnu was very much saddened by the death of Vrinda. He took the ashes from the pyre and after applying them on his body started wondering here and there.
The deities became very worried to see the condition of lord Vishnu. They went to lord Shiva and requested him to eliminate the false attachment with which Sri Vishnu was suffering.
Lord Shiva sent the deities to goddess Parvati, saying that she would ceratainly help in this regard. The deities went to goddess Parvati and prayed to her. She became very pleased and with the assistance of Laxmi and Saraswati, gave some seeds to them. The deities sprayed those seeds on the pyre, on which Vrinda had given up her life. Three holy plants manifested from that pyre-Amla, Tulsi and Malti. Later on Tulsi and Malti attained to the Vishnuloka, by the virtue of their respective penance.



BIRTH OF SHANKHACHUDA AND HIS MARRIAGE
Suta narrated the tale of the birth of Shankhachuda and how Shiva killed him with his Trishula. He told the sages that Shankhachuda was born to the demon king 'Dambha'. Shankhachuda was in fact, Sudama, in his previous life. He was born in the family of demons due to the curse of Radha. When Shankhachuda grew up, he went to Pushkar (Ajmer, Rajasthan) and did a tremendous penance to please lord Brahma. Lord Brahma blessed him and said that he would remain invincible. He also instructed Shankhachuda to go to 'Badrikashrama' where he would find his would be wife Tulsi, the daughter of Dharmadhwaja.
Shankhachuda went to Badrikasharama and married Tulsi as per the instructions of lord Brahma. He then returned back to his capital accompanied by his wife Tulsi.
SHANKHACHUDA BECOMES THE RULER OF ALL THE THREE WORLDS
When Shankhachuda reached his capital after marrying Tulsi, he was crowned as the king of the demons by Shukracharya. After his coronation, Shankhachuda attacked Indrapuri supported by his huge army and defeated the deities. In a very short time all the three worlds were under his control.
After being defeated by Shankhachuda, the deities went to lord Brahma and sought his help in eliminating the menance called Shankhachuda. Lord Brahma then took them to lord Vishnu. All of them were taken to lord Shiva by Vishnu. They expressed their request to liberate them from the troubles created by Shankhachuda.
Lord Shiva assured the deities that he will certainly kill Shankhachuda and hence they should not worry about him. The deities then happily returned to their respective abodes.
Lord Shiva sent his messenger named Pushpadant, to Shankhachuda to ask him to return back the kingdom of the deities to them. Shankhachuda refused to oblige this demand, on the contrary he expressed his willingness and readiness to fight lord Shiva. Pushpadant returned back and narrated the whole story to lord Shiva.
SHIVA KILLS SHANKHACHUDA
  Lord Shiva was now fully convinced about the inevitability of the battle. He first sent all his ganas under the leadership of Kartekiye and Ganesha. Later on Bhadrakali proceeded towards the battlefield with a huge army as per the own wish of lord Shiva himself. At last lord Shiva proceeded towards the battlefield accompanied by the deities. All the troops collected at the bank of river Chandrabhaga and rested under the shade of a Banyan tree.
Shankhachuda handed over the kingdom to his son and went to his wife to take her permission before going to the battlefield. His wife was reluctant to allow him to go, but he somehow managed to convince her. He then proceeded towards the banks of Chandrabhaga with a huge army.
A fierce battle started between the deities and the demons. Both of them attacked each other with the most destructive weapons. But when the army of Chandrachuda began to dominate the fight, the deities fled away and took the refuge of lord Shiva. They told Shiva of the number of deities who had been killed while fighting.
After the defeat of the deities and the ganas Kartikeya and Ganesha went to fight Shankhachuda. A spectacular battle was fought between Shankhachuda and both of them. Later on they were joined by Bhadrakali. Bhadrakali would have devoured Shankhachuda without any problem, but she spared his life because of the boon, given to him by Lord Brahma. Now it was the turn of Lord Shiva to join the battle, but even he could not cause any harm to him because of lord Brahma's boon.
While a tremendous battle was being fought between lord Shiva and Shankhachuda. Lord Vishnu appeared and demanded the armour from Shankhachuda, which he had put on, his body in the guise of a brahmin. Shankhachuda gave his armour to him without any kind of suspicion. Lord Vishnu then went to Shankhachuda's wife in the guise of her husband i.e. Shankhachuda. He destroyed the chastity of Tulsi, Shankhachuda's wife. Shankhachuda derived his power from the chastity of his wife and it vanished the moment, her chastity was destroyed.
Bhadrakali was creating havoc in the army of Shankhachuda. Shankhachuda became very furious and attacked Shiva. Shiva repulsed his assault and attacked him with his Trishul. Shankhachuda who had become powerless was killed instantaneously. The deities were very pleased at the death of Shankhachuda. After worshipping lord Shiva they went back to their respective abodes.
TULSI CURSES LORD VISHNU
After being instructed by goddess Parvati, Lord Vishnu had gone to Tulsi in the guise of her husband- Shankhachuda, so that the breach of Tulsi chastity could help lord Shiva to kill Shankhachuda, who derived his power from Tulsi's chastity and virtuosity.
Initially Tulsi could not recognize lord Vishnu. She was extremely joyous at his arrival. But very soon she was able to realize the real identity of lord Vishnu, who had disguised himself as her husband.
  She became very angry and cursed lord Vishnu to become a stone. She was crying unconsolably. Lord Vishnu contemplated on Shiva as a result of which he appeared. Lord Shiva blessed Tulsi that she would become the beloved of Lord Vishnu.
Due to Tulsi's curse, Lord Vishnu attained the form of Shaligram which is a stone and because of lord Shiva's blessings. Tulsi leaves started being offered to the Shaligram, in the process of its worship.


Siva Lingam, Shaligram?

Siva Lingam, Shaligram?