(20) One of the names of Visnhu, as is Hari in the following verse.
(21) At a time when the devas and the
asuras were having one of their many wars, the three cities of the asuras were protected by a boon which specified that they could only be destroyed by one shot of a single arrow. When the
devas were on the point of finally losing, they appealed to Siva and he obliged them by destroying all the
asura cities with a single shot.
(22) Na, Ma, Si, Va, and Ya, which comprise
Nama Sivaya, meaning 'Obeisance to Siva'.
(23) There is a puranic story in which Siva appeared before some
rishis in the guise of a beggar. Through his power he caused the rishi's wives to fall in love with him. The
rishis, angered by his behaviour, decided to kill him. They dug a pit, out of which emerged a tiger. Siva killed it and wore its skin. Later snakes came out of the pit, but they had no effect on Siva. He wound them around his body and used them as ornaments. Because of this incident Siva is almost always depicted as having at least one poisonous snake wrapped around his body.
(24) A reference to the story Markandeya, a sixteen-year-old who, with Siva's help, managed to avoid his predestined death.
Mrikanda, Markandeya's father had prayed to Siva to get a son. Siva appeared before him and said,
'Do you desire to have a virtuous, wise and pious son who will only live to be sixteen, or a dull-witted, evil-natured son who will live for a long time.'
Mrikanda opted for the short-lived son, who turned out to be a child-sage. On the day of his appointed death, Yama came to collect him. Markandeya cried out to Siva for help and embraced the idol of Siva that he usually meditated on. Yama threw his rope and lassooed the idol as well as Markandeya. This angered Siva, who came roaring down from the heavens, after which he killed Yama with a single blow of his foot. Siva then gave Markandeya a boon that he could be sixteen forever, and thus avoid death, and he also restored Yama's life.
(25) After Siva had cut off Brahma's head, Brahma cursed him, saying that he would always have to beg for his food, using the skull as a begging bowl. This made Siva very angry, so he went on the rampage, killing thousands of
devas in the process. At one point Surya, the sun god, confronted him and tried to make him stop. Siva hit him in the face and knocked out all his teeth. When Siva's anger had subsided, he restored them all.
(26) As Virabhadra was driving out the gods and the sages from Daksha's sacrifice, he cut off Devi's nose. See note ten for more details of Daksha's sacrifice.
Butler learned classical Tamil during a stay at Ramanasramam in the
1980s. He is currently working on translations of Kuruntogai verses,
Tamil love poetry written about 2,000 years ago. Samples of his work
can be found at: http://homepage.