Born in Kolkata (1955), Vamanan was named Krishnaswamy (at birth) by his father K. S. Narasimhan, an officer in the Indian Ordnance Factory, and mother, Kamala, a pious lady from Tiruturaipoondi, Tamil Nadu. He shifted to Chennai before he was 10 and, after a stint in philosophical research, took to journalism (The Hindu, Indian Express and India Today). He became proficient in his mother tongue, Tamil, and Sanskrit in later life.
He has documented Tamil film music from the earliest times and has scripted, directed and produced for national television a six-part Hindi docu-drama, Atmadarsan, on the great temples of Tamil Nadu. It was made in Tamil also.
A gifted poet, Vamanan has written many lyrics, including Krishnamritam, a well-received album on Sri Krishna. Calcutta-portrait of a great city, Karaiyatra Ala1gaI, a collection of mystic poems and J4ayee Kav&a4w4 a translation from Hindi of Atal Behari Vajpayee’s poetry, are among his Tamil works.
He is a great lover of Bengali poetry (Rabindranath Tagore, Ramprasad) and Urdu ghazal and nazm.
With the grace of Sri Sharadamba and the blessings of His Holiness Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal, Tattvaloka, the international English monthly of Sri Sharada Peetham, Sringeri, entered a new phase of growth in 2005, after 27 years of highlighting the values of Sanatana Dharma and spreading the Splendour of Truth.
At the inauguration on May 6, 2005 of the new Tattvaloka building -a divine landmark in the history of the magazine--at 76, Eldams Road, Chennai, three precious books were published. One of them was this book, entitled Siva Darsan, presenting the glory of Lord Siva with inspirational quotations and excellent pictorial reliefs.
Sringeri has an age-old tradition of Chandramoulisvara worship. It is appropriate that this book is published by the Peetham for the benefit of the devotees.
Of the 18 puranas written by Bhagavan Veda Vyasa, the Siva Purana highlights the glory of Paramesvara, or the Lord of all gods. To read and understand the entire Siva Purana one time may not be sufficient. So Tattvaloka has modestly tried to bring out a comprehensive illustrated book presenting the essence of the Siva Purana.
His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Sri Sannidhanam has seen the articles in their pre-print form and has also given his guidance and blessings to the team of professionals who have, with devotion and dedication, worked under the leadership of Sri T. R. Ramachandran, Editor of Tattvaloka, in preparing this valuable book.
Sri R. K. Somany, Trustee, Krishna Somany Charity Trust, 2 Red Cross Place, Kolkata 700 001, has sponsored reprint of this book by financing the cost. His noble deed in spreading Siva bhakti among the readers has been blessed by His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji.
We hope that the Asthikas will find it useful in imbibing the universal spirit of the all-pervading Lord and expanding their vision.
Conveying the benign blessings of the Jagadguru to all,
Great is the glory of Siva. He is the Supreme Being (Sada Siva,), great power (Mahesvara) and the source of the manifestation of Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra.
His nirguna form as the linga denotes the attributeless state of the supreme soul. His well-known sag/ma forms are five-Ardhanarisvara, the beneficent; Kapalika, the destructive; Bhikshatana, the vagrant; Nataraja, the cosmic dancer, and Mahadeva, the great.
The Siva Purana, the foremost in literature dealing with the greatness of Siva, describes his various manifestations, attributes, sacred spots related to Siva worship, and so on.
Tattvaloka, which has already brought out books, such as The Power of Gayatri, is inspired to release a rich, vividly illustrated and comprehensive book, entitled Siva Darsan, coinciding, as its does, with its relocation in its own new larger premises for expanded research activities.
Divided into eight chapters, Siva Darsan throws light on the origin, manifestations, mythological events, Shies Mahima, the Jyotirlingas and various temples and lee/as of the great Lord. Lives of some of the saints and seers who glorified themselves by deep devotion to Siva are also presented in one chapter, showing the power of Siva Bhakti.
Written in an imaginative style by Vamanan, this book draws its contents not only from the past thematic issues of Tattvaloka on Siva, but also from a variety of literature available on the subject, as attested to by a bibliography at the end.
The book is given pictorial significance by Dr. T. S. Narayana Swamy, its visualiser, by placing a number of eye-catching visuals, which include rare photographs, ancient paintings and illustrations selected from a very large and varied collection on the subject.
Darsan in Sanskrit means observing, seeing, knowing, understanding, perceiving, foreseeing and so on. We have made a concerted effort to make the book reflect all these senses of the term. This tribute to the glory of Lord Siva is released with the grace of Goddess Sharadamba and the blessings of His Holiness Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji.
It is Siva’s moment.., and it lasts all eternity.
Changeless and formless, Siva is in essence the Self in our hearts, infinite and all-pervasive. The Yajur Veda says that as Rudra he is in the fire, in the water and in the herbs, and has entered into creation. Time and space are the apparels he wears when we view him through the prism of the phenomenal world And in what splendorous forms brimming with messages to the man (fold concerns of our lives, Siva relates to us!
In his classic form, he shows himself with his consort Parvati, wearing a garland of quivering snakes and the crescent moon shining in his great matted locks wherein flows the celestial Ganga.
As Nataraja, the dancing lord, he spans the farthest limits of the universe, the tinkling of his anklets signifying the dance of the billion atoms that spell life. He is the ultimate picture of divine movement, at perpetual motion even while being absolutely still.
As Dakshinamurti, he is the embodiment of supreme Silence, serene and quiescent, jet communicating the speechless Word to true seekers! Ardhanarisvara, father and mother of the Universe in one form, Bikshatana, the universal beggar who seeks only our yearning and love, Nilakantha, the ultimate refuge of the world from the ravaging poison of worldly existence, Lingodbhava, the infinite pillar of light beckoning man to transcendence... Siva c divine manifestations cast a magical spell on man and lead him towards divine truth, light and immortality.
As the Linga, a symbol both of form and formlessness, Siva invites us to rise above the idols of the mind and the marketplace to the luminous realms of the spirit.
Siva Darsan celebrates the divine personality of Siva, taking the four special Siva issues of Tattv1oka as signposts and basic material the emphasis is on experiencing Siva in the light of the scriptures (Siva Mahapuranam) and the holy lives of saints consumed by Siva love... In this endeavour the rich material on Siva (see bibliography) has also been a source of great inspiration. Even so, whatever one writes about Siva can be on/y a drop in the ocean of his divine attributes...
The unfailing support, guidance and encouragement of Tattvaloka’s editor and publisher, Shri T. R. Ramachandran, has shored up my confidence to re-discover Siva... Without his trust, I would not have braced myself to venture into the Himalayan heights of Siva S’ divine personality.
May that Siva, white as moonlight and bearing the shining digit of the moon, gleam inwardly in my fickle heart... ‘Lisping this sloka of H. H. Chandrasekhara Bharati Swamigal, I pray to the Sringeri Acharya, H. H. Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamigal, custodian of the eternal verities of Sanatana Dharma, to bless this endeavour...
In Adi Sankara’s words, the current of divine bliss brims from the river of Siva c ho/y stories, flows into the mind of the devotee through the canals of his intellect and subdues the dust of sins and cools the heat of earthly misery born of wanderings in transmigratoy existence... With the Acharya c blessings, let this work be the vehicle that takes us to the divine realm of Siva....
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