Ashit and Hema Desai (Gujarati)
Pujya Rameshbhai Oza (Sanskrit)
Lord Shiva is considered as one of the three main Deity [ त्रिदेव: The three forms of God – Brahma (creator), Vishnu (sustainer) and Mahesh or Shiva (destroyer) ] of Hindus. Aadi Shankaracharya has written quite a few stotras (songs of worship) on Lord Shiva. Many known and unknown scholars have also expressed their adoration for Lord Shiva with their own poetic verses. However among all stotras or stutis, the one written by Pushpadanta became very popular.
It would be interesting to know the circumstances which led Pushpadanta to compose this great song. Pushpadant was a Gandharva (गांधर्व - musician in the court of Indra). He had a particular liking for flowers. It so happened that he saw beautiful garden adorned with charming flowers. It was King Chitraratha’s royal garden. King Chitraratha was a devotee of Lord Shiva. Every day, he used to offer flowers from his palatial garden as a symbol of his devotion to Lord Shiva.
Pushpadanta was fascinated by those stunning flowers, so he began to steal them. As a consequence, king Chitraratha was unable to pick flowers for offering to Lord Shiva. It was not an isolated incident. It became a routine affair. King Chitraratha made every effort to address the issue but remained unsuccessful. The reason was very simple; Pushpadanta had divine power to remain invisible.
At last, King spread Bilva leaves (बिलीपत्र), considered auspicious offering to Lord Shiva in his garden. Pushpadanta, unaware of this sudden change, stepped on Bilva leaves and incurred Lord Shiva’s wrath. Shiva punished him for his misdeed and Pushpadanta lost his divine power of invisibility.
In order to seek absolution and please Lord Shiva, Pushpadant created a stotra (song of praise) in which he elaborated at length upon Shiva’s greatness. Shiva was pleased with the hymn, absolved him and returned his divine powers. The very stotra became known as the 'Shiva-mahimna Stotra'.
The recital of this stotra is very beneficial as proclaimed by one of its verses:
अहरहरनवद्यं धूर्जटेः स्तोत्रमेतत् । पठति परमभक्त्या शुद्धचित्तः पुमान्यः ॥
स बवति शिवलोके रुद्रतुल्यस्तथाडत्र । प्रचुरतर धनायुः पुत्रवान्कीर्तिमांश्च ॥
“Anyone who recites this hymn with a pure heart and devotion will be blessed with fame (कीर्ति), wealth (धन), long life (आयु) and many children (सुत) in this mortal world, and will attain Kailas, Shiva’s abode, after death.”
दीक्षा दानं तपस्तीर्थं ज्ञानं यागादिकाः क्रियाः ।
महिम्नस्तवपाठस्य कलां नार्हन्ति षोडशीम् ॥
“Benefit of singing Shivmahimna stotra is far greater than either the benefit of spiritual initiation (दीक्षा), charity (दान), austerity (तप), pilgrimage (तीर्थ), knowledge of the scriptures (ज्ञान), or the performance of ceremonial sacrifice (यज्ञ-याग).”
Shivmahimna Stotra has 43 verses in Sanskrit. For the benefit of Gujarati people, Shri Yogeshwarji has translated it into simple and easy-to-understand Gujarati language.
It is interesting to know that Gujarati translation of Shiv Mahimna Stotra was completed by Shri Yogeshwarji in the year 1949. When Yogeshwarji first visited Amarnath – the famous pilgrim place of Lord Shiva in 1951, he offered this stotra to Lord Shiva along with ‘Amarnath Stuti’ and was blessed with the divine vision of the Lord.
Ashit and Hema Desai - famous Gujarati singer duo composed an audio album entitled ‘Vande Sadashivam’ containing Yogeshwarji’s poetic rendering of Shivmahimna Stotra in Gujarati. The album also contains immensely popular Shiv Stuti and Amarnath Stuti, also written by Yogeshwarji.
The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us.