In this beautiful excerpt from the Hymns to Shiva, Utpaladeva’s Shivastotravali (Chapter 14 verse 15) Swami Lakshmanjoo explains how Lord Shiva bestows grace to people – śaktipāta and why.
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Without qualifications, You bestow grace to people! That is śaktipāta.
Chapter 14a (40:37)
जय भीष्ममहामृत्युघटनापूर्वभैर ॥१५॥
jaya bhīṣmamahāmṛtyughaṭanāpūrvabhairava //15//
Anukampādi guṇa anapekṣa sahajonnate. A man possessing all [good] qualifications is worthy of receiving grace from the gods. If you have [good] qualifications, you will receive grace from Brahma, you will receive grace from Nārāyaṇa, you will receive grace from Rūdra, you will receive grace from your master, when you are qualified, when you are devoted to him. But this case is not attributed to You, Sir!
Anukampādi guṇa anapekṣa sahajonnate. Your unnate, Your greatness of bestowing grace is not dependable to all of these qualifications. Without qualifications, You bestow grace to people! That is śaktipāta.238
Anukampādi guṇa anapekṣa sahaja unnate. O Lord, Your greatness (unnate means Your greatness) is sahaja, unartificial. Your greatness is not developed by Your maintaining discipline and dharma and virtue and purity and good qualities.
[Generally], if you have developed good qualities, if you develop good qualities, purity and everything, then you are great, you are supposed to be great.
But Your greatness is unartificial. Your greatness is not developed by You. You have got natural greatness, without maintaining this discipline of anukampā.239
You must love your fellow men. You must not hate. You must not be rude to anybody. You must be pious. You must not tell lies. All of these qualities, when you develop [them], then you become great. This is the general case. But for You, this is not the case. You are naturally great. Glory be to Thee! Let You live for one hundred billion years!
Jaya bhīṣma mahā mṛtyu ghaṭanā pūrva bhairava. Bhīṣma mahā mṛtyu (bhīṣma means frightful; mahā mṛtyu means the great lord of death), the frightful great lord of death who is not conquered by anybody in this world . . . but that frightful lord of death also You have conquered, You have destroyed (ghaṭana; ghaṭana means “destroyer”).
O Lord, bhīṣma mahāmṛtyu, that great god of death who is bhīṣma (bhīṣma means furious), the lord of death, when he comes, he will meet us one by one–it is definite. But, at that time, when he comes to shake hands with us, just only shaking hands [with him] will terrify [us and that] will be our death time. We will suffocate at that very moment when he just touches us. Just by his slight touch, we’ll grumble at that moment. We will say, “ahhh, we are gone!” It is so furious. And that is bhīṣma māha mṛtyu, that lord of death is bhīṣma. So, he is furious!
O Lord, You ghatanā (ghaṭanā means You destroy), by destroying that lord of death also, You are apūrva bhairava, You are really the supreme Bhairava! You finish him also!
DEVOTEES: Lord of Death.
SWAMIJI: Lord of Death.
O destroyer of that frightful lord of death, O Lord Śiva, glory be to Thee! You have destroyed that god of death also.
So, there is no worry of His dying. We just [pray for Him] for our satisfaction; [we] pray for His long life. Otherwise, He is always there.
238 Grace, which is spontaneous (sahaja unnate). [Editor’s note]
239 Dharma, virtue, purity, etc.
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