Affectionate towards his devotees, he bestows happiness
upon them with a cheerful soul. This great god
loves to reside in crematoria and there he burns and
consumes all corpses. Those persons that perform
sacrifices on such grounds attain at the end to those
regions which have been set apart for heroes.
Employed in his legitimate function, he it is That
is regarded as the Death that resides in the bodies
of all creatures. He is, again, those breaths
called Prana and Apana in the bodies of all embodied
beings. He has many blazing and terrible forms.
All those forms are worshipped in the world and are
known to Brahmanas possessed of knowledge. Amongst
the gods he has many names all of which are fraught
with grave import. Verily, the meanings of those
names are derived from either his greatness or vastness,
or his feats, or his conduct. The Brahmanas always
recite the excellent Sata-rudriya in his honour, that
occurs in the Vedas as also that which has been composed
by Vyasa. Verily, the Brahmanas and Rishis call
him the eldest of all beings. He is the first
of all the deities, and it was from his mouth that
he created Agni. That righteous-souled deity,
ever willing to grant protection to all, never gives
up his suppliants. He would much rather abandon
his own life-breaths and incur all possible afflictions
himself. Long life, health and freedom from disease,
affluence, wealth, diverse kinds of pleasures and
enjoyments, are conferred by him, and it is he also
who snatches them away. The lordship and affluence
that one sees in Sakra and the other deities are,
verily his. It is he who is always engaged in
all that is good and evil in the three worlds.
In consequence of his fullest control over all objects
of enjoyment he is called Iswara (the Supreme Lord
or Master). Since, again, he is the master of
the vast universe, he is called Maheswara. The
whole universe is pervaded by him in diverse forms.
It is that deity whose mouth roars and burns the waters
of the sea in the form of the huge mare’s head!’"
“Vaisampayana said, ’After Krishna, the
son of Devaki, had said these words, Yudhishthira
once more asked Bhishma the son of Santanu, saying,
’O thou of great intelligence; O foremost of
all persons conversant with duties, which, indeed,
of the two, direct perception and the scriptures,
is to be regarded as authority for arriving at a conclusion?’
“Bhishma said, ’I think, there is no doubt
in this. Listen to me, O thou of great wisdom!
I shall answer thee. The question thou hast asked
is certainly proper. It is easy to cherish doubt.
But the solution of that doubt is difficult.
Innumerable are the instances, in respect of both
direct perception and audition (or the scriptures),
in which doubts may arise. Certain persons, who
delight in the name of logicians, verily imagining
themselves to be possessed of superior wisdom, affirm