TransLiteral Foundation

BILVA - बिल्व

See also बिल्व
(VILVA). A devotee of Viṣṇu. There is a story in [Skanda Purāṇa] about Bilva who lived as a Vaiṣṇavite first and then was converted to a Śaivite. In the beginning Brahmā created many things among which Vilva (tree) (Crataeva religiosa) also was created. Under that tree an anonymous man began to live. Brahmā gave him the name Vilva. Being pleased at the behaviour and devotion of Bilva, Indra asked him to turn the wheel of administration of the earth. Accepting the offer Bilva requested Indra to give him the Vajra (diamond) for the smooth running of the administration of the earth. Indra told him that vajrāyudha (diamond-weapon) would be at his disposal, when he thought about it, if the occasion required it. Once Kapila a Śaivite reached the palace of Bilva. After a long conversation both became fast friends. One day there was a debate between Bilva and Kapila as to whether penance or Action (doing one's duty) was appreciable. In this discussion Bilva lost the equilibrium of his mind and thinking of the diamond-weapon of Indra cut off the head of Kapila. In Kapila there was the power of penance as well as the power of Śiva. So through Śiva Kapila got immortality. In the meanwhile Bilva went to Viṣṇu and got a boon that every living thing in the earth should fear him. But the boon was futile. This was a turning point for Bilva. The mind of Bilva changed to devotion for Śiva. He concentrated his attention on the worship of Śivaliṅga at the forest of Mahākāla. One day Kapila came by that way and was greeted by Bilva with honour and regard, and they again became fast friends.

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