Siva’s third eye

There are many references in the puranas and myths to the important role of Siva’s third eye in restoring balance and justice in the universe. For instance, Siva’s third eye that caused Manmatha to be burnt, also brought forth Muruga, and this is symbolic of the truth that wrong desires have to be burnt, and new life engendered to bring peace and auspiciousness to the world, pointed out Dr. Sudha Seshaiyan in a discourse.

Daksha’s yagna is disrupted when Sati, upset at Daksha’s open enmity towards Siva who is the Lord of the universe, decides to shed her form as his daughter and immolates herself in the fire. Back in Kailasa, she repents for her wilful conduct that made her disobey Siva’s advice when he had dissuaded her from attending Daksha’s yagna. She is born as the daughter of Himavan and is filled with Siva Bhakti. She does austere penance in the Himalayas to gain Siva once again. After Sati’s departure from Kailasa, Siva too goes to a remote place in Kailasa and begins the most severe penance. Now there arises an exigency which only Siva could handle. The asura Taraka, a great Shiva bhakta, through rigorous penance, has obtained from Brahma a boon by which he can only be killed by one born of Siva. So he begins to indulge in atrocities, and the celestial beings, unable to bear all this, seek Brahma and Vishnu for help. It is decided that somehow Siva has to come out of his penance to bring about the union with Uma. They entrust Manmatha with the task of distracting Siva by aiming his arrows of love on Him. Siva is angered by the disturbance and, noticing Manmatha as the cause, opens his third eye which burns him to ashes. It is from the same third eye that Muruga is born who ultimately destroys Taraka and brings relief to the world.

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