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Valmiki Ramayana - Bala Kanda in Prose Sarga 36


Shiva on his marriage with Uma is in the conjugal bliss for a long period due to his yogic powers. Fearing the result of that prolonged activity all gods prey for the cessation of it because none in any world can carry that offspring. Shiva accepting that request asks them where to discharge the sperm that has already stirred up. Gods indicate the earth as the taker. Shiva accordingly inundates the earth with his fluid. Then the Fire-god is dispatched to consolidate that into a reed forest called sharavaNa . Goddess Uma ireful at the prevention of begetting a son curse gods and earth to be childless.




When that sage Vishvamitra has finished narration of the legend of the daughters of Himavanta, both the brave ones, namely Raghava and Lakshmana in their turn have extolled that legend and spoke to that eminent-sage. 

"This admirable discourse given by you about Ganga is exhaustive in righteousness, oh, Brahman, and it will be apt of you to tell emphatically about the divine and earthly legend of the elder daughter of Himavanta, namely Ganga, for you are aware to expatiate upon it. By which reason that world purifier Ganga influxes into three paths? Oh, virtue-knower, and connected with which deeds of merit this triple-courser Ganga is renowned as the best one among all the rivers in three worlds?" Thus Rama and Lakshmana have asked the sage Vishvamitra. 

When Kakutstha-s have enquired that way, the ascetically-wealthy sage Vishvamitra has narrated all the legend of Ganga in its entirety, staying among the sages. 

"On his getting married to Uma, oh, Rama, the sublime-ascetic and bluish throated god Shiva, as his throat became blue when he consumed poison during the churning of Milky Ocean, at one time with a predilection towards her he has started lovemaking with her. While that sublime, sagacious and blue-throated God Shiva is in lovemaking, oh, enemy-scorcher Rama, a hundred divine years have elapsed, even then he had no son in her, namely Goddess Uma. 

The hundred divine years are said to be 36,000 mortal years and this goes with the calculation of yuga Indian 'era' calculation where two thousand of four yuga-s, kR^ita, treta, dvaapara, kali yuga-s are one brahma dina Brahma's day etc.

"All the gods headed by Brahma have then started to ponder, 'is there anybody who can inevitably sustain that being which emerges from this goddess Uma after this prolonged yogic act of copulation with Shiva?' This being the worry of all gods they have prepared for action. 

"All of the gods on approaching and paying their deference to Shiva spoke this to him, 'oh, God of Gods, oh, one who is interested in the welfare of these worlds, oh, Great-God, considering the supplication of all gods it will be apt of you to bestow grace.' 

This prolonged act of copulation is an act of yoga called mahaa maithuna. The Shaktaite Tantriks who practise panca ma kaara : madya, maamsa, matsya, mudra, maithuna 'liquor' 'mutton' 'fish' 'postures' [loosely: callisthenics] and 'copulation' make use of these things. In these practises, the yogis use mudra-s 'posture' 'callisthenics' at the time of copulation even, so that there will be no ejaculation for a longer period. This is their 'Five-element theory...'

" 'Worlds cannot capably bear your offspring born out of your effulgence, oh, Supreme-God, hence you may practice yogic asceticism along with your consort Goddess Uma in unison with Vedic postulates of Yoga, rather than progeniture, and desiring the welfare of the three worlds you may please retain your refulgent seed within your own radiance, thus protect this universe, since it will not be apt of you to render it devoid of worlds with the efflux of the unmanageable potence of yours .' So said gods to Shiva. 

The word tejas also means semen, or offspring, besides resplendence tejaH paraakrame praaNe varcas arciShi retasi - ratnamaala thus the prospective offspring through ejaculation is the problem here, because Kumara, or, Skanda takes birth with all the irrepressible effulgence of Shiva, plus his own.

"On listening the words of gods that Rarefied-God of Universe, namely Shiva said, 'so be it,' and further spoke this to all of the gods, indeed. I wish to bear my sperm in my virility and Uma in hers, let the immortals and mortals as well, derive a perfect bliss. But that part which has already stirred up from its place is irrestrainable, as such, oh gods of eminence, you tell me who can contain that part of the unexcelled potence.' So said Shiva to gods. 

"Thus spoken by Shiva, then the gods in reply spoke to him whose banner is Divine-Bull, namely Shiva, 'that part of the potence which has already stirred up, the earth indeed endures that now. Thus said by the gods that Yogi of par excellence and the God of Gods, Shiva, discharged his refulgent semen with which the earth together with its mountains and forests is overspread. 

"Thereby the gods in their turn said even to Fire-god, 'you enter the great-potence of Rudra along with Wind-god, lest that potence may annihilate the earth and earthlings, because you can consume anything that comes in touch with you. And when Fire-god invaded that great-potence of Shiva it has emerged as White-mountain, also thus it has become as a divine forest of reeds equalling the Sun and Fire in its resplendence, wherefrom the highly brilliant Kumara has emerged. 

Because Kumara, or Skanda took birth through Fire-god from the great-potence of Shiva, he is called the one born out of fire. Because Krittika stars have suckled him he is also called as Kaaritkeya. The birth and legend of Kaartikeya is detailed in the next chapter relating to Ganga.

"Later on, the gods together with the assemblages of sages are well pleased at heart as it has happened according to their prayer, thereby they fulsomely adored Shiva and even Uma. Oh, Rama, but the daughter of Himalayan Mountain, namely Uma, while irefully saying this to the divinities she cursed them all with her eyes reddened in anger. 

" 'Wherefore, I who am desirous of a son had been prevented from the intimacy with my husband, therefore you shall be infecund to beget progeny through your own wives. And from now onwards you wives shall remain infertile...' and on saying this way to all of the gods she also gave a curse to the earth.

Thus the celestials do not directly breed. They take the agency of humans or other mortals to bring forth their offspring as in the case of the monkey race, and Menaka, and as in the case of Vishvamitra giving birth to Shakuntala, who in her turn gave birth to Bharata, so on.

" 'Oh, Earth, your appearance shall be bizarre and you will be a wife to many. And oh, verily base-minded earth, rendered sully by my anger you shall have no gratification caused by the children as you are bigoted against my son. 

The sin of earth to bear the curse of Uma Devi is to accept the semen of Shiva on her surface. The appearance of earth will not be in one kind or quality for it has lands and oceans, deserts and forests, volcanoes and mountains, ice and humidity, etc. Further, the earth is the official wife to numerous kings. The earth is also cursed to not to have the delight of her children. The earth has Naraka, the demon, and Seetha as her children. But these two are not begotten through any seminal contact by earth, and further, for earth it is as good as not having these two as her children, for such is the plight of these two so-called children of earth on earth. After many tumults in her life, even Seetha asks her mother on earth, i.e., mother earth herself, to take her back into her womb.

"That God of Gods Shiva becoming ill at ease to look at all of the distressed gods, equally feeling small to convince his consort Uma, he has started to journey towards the western quarter which is ruled by Rain-god. On going to the northern side of Himalayan Mountains, that God of Gods, Shiva settled down in ascesis along with his consort Uma on the peak of a mountain emerged from Himalayas.

Here some say the mountain on which Shiva settled for ascesis as himavat prabhava giving it a full name, like Mt. Kailash or Kanchanjunga etc. If any such mountain peak is named and available in mythologies or in Himalayas, this needs a revision.

"This is the legend of mountain's daughter, namely Goddess Uma vividly narrated to you, oh, Rama, and now listen from me along with Lakshmana about the emergence of Ganga. 



Thus, this is the 36th chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India. 

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2002, Desiraju Kumari [Revised : August 04]