Arjun was the son of Indra. He was a world renowned fighter and a friend of Lord Krishna. He was a man of just and righteousness. The Mahabharata War was impending. He went to the heavens, met his father Indra and received his blessings. Indra told him to worship Lord Shiva and take his blessing and his high potency weapons, particularly the irresistible Pasupatha arrow, which has no parallel in atomic potency. Arjun decided to go to the Himalayas and worship Lord Shiva. With the blessing of his elders, Arjun set out to the Himalayan Valley for meditation.
He was very eager and keen to establish transcendental communion with the supreme Lord. He had already engraved the divine form of Lord Shiva and Parvati on the walls of his heart. Arjun brought all his senses under control. He was claded himself in deer-skin and smeared vibhuti all over his body. He combed his hair and tied it with a Rudrakasha mala. Taking his massive bow and quiver full of arrows, he proceeded to the forest bare foot.
As he reached the Himalayan precincts, it seemed that the whole surroundings, creature and the nature were welcoming him with greetings of Panchakshari. Honeydews from the leaves of bushes and petals of flowers were dropping Pushpavrishti (sprinkling flowers) on him. The branches of trees beckoned him swaying their leaves with love platonic. As a prelude to his forthcoming fortune, the cuckoos started singing the rhapsodies.
He selected a flat and tidy place on the banks of the river surrounded by a large number of trees and bushes for his meditation. He collected sufficient water, flowers and other ingredients for his daily puja. Arjun spread a deer-skin on the floor and sat comfortably. He focused all his senses, closing down all the nine windows and sat in Yoga form closing his eyes slowly. He started controlling his breath, taking long and deep breath through the right nostril, containing the air in him for some time and slowly releasing it through his left nostril. He started chanting the Panchakshari – Aum Nama: Shivaya – incessantly.
Arjun severed his senses from the outside world. He did not know the touch of the scorching sun nor did he distinguish the cool, shining moon. He was not sensitive to the breeze that embraced him from all around. He was blind towards the blue sky where thousands of gold particles shone glazing. He did not care to enjoy the white clouds flying in different shapes over his head. The chirping birds did not attract him. He did not know that the animals were staring at him in astonishment with their wide open eyes. His hunger and thirst abandoned him long back. His body, each cell in it, his brain and intellect and his senses and mind – all commingled together and became one with the idol of his worship – Aum Nama: Shivaya. He was in Nirvana stage.
Arjun did not go for hunting even once, which was the pastime of a Kshatriya. Initially he consumed roots and wild fruits once daily. He refrained from eating cereals, pulses and spices. Eventually he abandoned them also and sustained his life eating tree leaves wafted by the wind. He drank rain water as and when it was available. Then he confined to consuming only ‘Air’ for sustenance.
He stood neck deep in the ice-melting water during winter and did his penance. He placed himself in the torrent during monsoon. He stood on one leg during burning summer amidst Panchagni (burning sun above and fire all around).He chanted the divine mantra during his awaking and sleeping stages. The effect of the intense tapa of Arjun caused tilting of the world order. Fumes spread all around the world. With the heat generated by his meditation, birds and small animals fell down dead. It was very heavily torturous and difficult to bear for the mankind.
Realising that Lord Shiva has not so far moved by Arjun’s meditation, the supreme personality of womanhood, Parvati alerted Shiva. Lord Shiva got highly pleased by the tapasya of Arjun and decided to appear before him.
(To be concluded)