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Mahabharat Without Siva's role is incomplete because we see his presence in many important events that carried the story forward.
Gandhari was a great Siva devotee. She worshipped Siva and got the boon of becoming the mother of hundred sons.
Amba did penance and got a boon from Siva that she will be the cause of Bhishma's death in her next birth.She was born as Sikhandi and fulfilled the purpose of her life.
Panchali's previous birth story is connected to Siva only.Nalayani did penance to please Siva and he granted her five husbands in her next birth. In Five Indras Episode that was narrated by Vyasa to Drupada Siva played a prominent role in getting Five Indras take birth as Pandavas and be the husbands of Draupadi.
When Arjuna went on pilgrimage,he married Chitrangada,princess of Manipur whose father told Arjuna that Siva granted a boon to his ancestor Prabhanjana that only one child will be born to each king in his clan who should be the perpetuator of the clan.
The most famous Siva centric event was Arjuna's penance for Pasupatastra.Sadashiv comes down to Arjun in the guise of a tribal and tests his valour.. He then grants him MahapasupatStr.This great incident is even taken as the theme by great Bharavi who wrote the mahakavya Kiratarjuniyam.
Jayadhrath Who was punished by Pandavas for abducting Draupadi did penance to please Mahadev. Shiv grants him a boon as per which Jayadhrath can win Pandavas for one day except Arjuna. That day happened to be the 13 th day of war where the four Pandavas were prevented by Jayadhradh from helping Abhimanyu.
On 13 th night of Kurukshetra war Arjuna visualises his journey to Kailas with Krishna. Mahadev blesses him and demonstrates the Mahapasupat Astra again.
Then from one of the sides of Siva's body there came out a Brahmacharin of tawny eyes.
Of blue throat and red locks, he was endued with great might.
Taking up that best of bows that Brahmacharin stood placing (both the bow and his feet properly). And fixing the arrow on the bowstring, he began to stretch the latter duly.
Beholding the manner of his seizing the handle of the bow and drawing the string and placing of his feet, and hearing also the Mantras uttered by Bhava, the son of Pandu, of inconceivable prowess, learnt everything duly.
It was a wonderful description that offers such bliss as we see Adi Dhanurdhar Shiv instructing Arjun in presence of Narayan. Veda Vyas indicates the Shiv Keshav abhinnatv through their grace towards Arjuna.
Veda Vyasa tells Aswathama that both Krishna and Arjun always worship Ling Swarup mahadev..while Aswathama worships Shiv's sakar murthi.
Arjuna asks Veda Vyasa about that form which he sees before his eyes when he fights his foes. He who is slaying his rivals with a lance before his arrows could strike them. Vyasa enlightens Arjun that he is Siva,Bhava,the consort Of Uma whom Arjun had seen in his dream when Krishna took him to Kailas.
Specially we find Satarudriyam narrated by Vyasa to Arjuna here which is ..precious and of immense power.
Aswathama gets the sword of Rudr when he was about to attempt the massacre at midnight,killing the sons of Pandavas and Panchal warriors including Drishtdyumna.
In Anusasana Parva Krishna describes how he got his son Samba by doing severe penance and by gratifying Siva.
The conversation of Uma and Maheswara is an integral part of the Parva.
Krishna narrates the attributes of Siva that were told to him by Upamanyu,Who was a great devotee Of Siva.
Most Of the anusasanika Parva contains Siva related Jnan.
Here we also come across how the mahapasupata can neutralise any other Astra and thereby hailed as the most powerful Astra.
the excellent Pasupata that mighty and terrible weapon, which is without a second, indescribable for its power, and capable of striking every creature with fear. Of vast proportions, it seemed to constantly vomit sparks of fire. Possessed of one foot, of large teeth, and a thousand heads and thousand Stomachs, it has a thousand arms, a thousand tongues, and a thousand eyes. Indeed, it seemed to continually vomit fire. O thou of mighty arms, that weapon is superior to Brahma,the Narayana,The Aindra,The Agneya,and the Varuna weapons. Verily, it is capable of neutralising every other weapon in the universe.XIV KMG
What more to say?
We can't imagine Mahabharat without Krishna..but the fact is we see Siva's presence directly or indirectly throughout the story .
Those who think of interpolations can feel Anusasana Parva As interpolation...But I don't agree to that.
As I told earlier Mahabharat with 18 parvas is my revered Epic. Vedavyasa s Epic in totality I worship.
Unabridged Editions And Bori Critical Edition Of Mahabharata And Kisari Mohan Ganguli Translation
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