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Chapter 43 - Tantuk's Shri Shailya Yatra on Maha Shivaratri

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Tantuk, a weaver, was one of Shri Guru's devotees. He served Shri Guru devotedly. He did his profession till afternoon, then bathed and swept the courtyard of Shri Guru's Math. Maha Shivaratri was approaching. His parents and other relations started for Shri Shailya, and asked Tantuk to come with them. Tantuk said, 'My Shri Shailya is here' and he lived alone at home.

Shri Guru asked him 'Why did you not go for yatra?' He replied, 'My yatra is at your feet.'

On the Maha Shivaratri day Shri Gure went to Sangam for bath. Tantuk observed fast and he also went to the Sangam and bowed to Shri Guru.

Shri Guru said 'All your relatives went for yatra. You only remained behind. Do you want to see Shri Shailya? Follow me, I shall show you. Shut your eyes and hold my Sandals firmly.' `Saying so, he took him to Shri Shailya within a moment. Shri Guru asked him to open his eyes. Tantuk saw Shri Giri before him. Shri Guru told Tantuk to do Kshour, bathe and see the Malleshwar. He went to the river where he met his parents and relatives. They asked him `why did you not come with us but came stealthily,' He asked , `I came just now with Shri Guru.' Some people did not believe in his words.

Doing Kshour and taking `bel' and flowers he went to the temple. While worshipping, he saw Shri Guru sitting on the Linga. He offered pooja with devotion and came back to Shri Guru who asked him, `Will you stay or come with me?'

Tantuk said, `I saw a wonder today. While worshipping Shri Shankar, I saw you in the place. When you are there why people come so far? Kindly explain this to me.'

Shri Guru said, `God is all over. But significance of the place is there. The greatness of this place is narrated in the Skand Purana. Formerly Vimarshan was a king of the Kirat desh. He had won all the kings. He was adulterer, and ate was pious and devoted. She once asked the king, `You are adulterer and eat meat. Yet how are you devoted to God?'

The king said, `I shall tell you an account of my previous birth. I was a dog in Pampa city. On the Shivaratri day all were worshipping shri Shiva in the temple. I went there hoping to get something to eat. The people began to drive me out of the temple and beat me with sticks and stones. I ran round the temple and entered into a drain. I saw the worship of Shiva, that was being performed there but due to the thrashing given to me by the people, I died in front of the temple. Due to that meritorious deed, I became a king in this life, but the nature of dog of eating anything has not left me.'

The queen asked, `You narrated your previous life. Please tell me of my previous life.'

The king said, `You were a Kapoti (Bird). You were flying with a piece of flesh in your mouth. A kite saw this and it attacked you, You ran in the forest at Giri and began to take rounds at the Shiva temple. The kite followed you all along. Ultimately you got tired, you sat at the top of the temple and the kite attacked you and took away the flesh that you had. You too died instantly. Due to the merit of the rounds of the Shiva temple, you became my queen in this life.'

The queen further asks, 'What will be our future life? The king said, 'I shall be king of the Sindhu desh and you will be born in the Srinjaya desh and you shall again be my queen. Later I shall be the king of Sourashtra and you shall be born in Kdaling and shall be my queen. In the fourth birth I shall be the king of Gandhar and you will be born in Magadh and shall be my queen. In the fifth, I shall be the king of Awanti and you will be born in Dasharha and shall be my wife. Next I shall be the king of Anart and you being a daughter of Yayati, you will marry me. Seventh time I shall be the king of Pandya and 'Padvarma' will be my name. You being the Vidarbha princess 'Vasumati' shall marry me in a Swayamvara. After performing many sacrifices, I shall accept Sanyasa and study Brahmavidya at Agastimooni's Ashram and in the end I shall go to the heaven with you.'

Such is the greatness of the worship of Shri Shailya. 'Shri Guru then said, 'There is Kalleshwar in Gangapur. Thinking him as Mallikarjuna worship Him. 'Tantuk said, 'When I saw thyself at the place of Mallikarjuna, why should I worship other shrines?'

Hearing this Shri Guru smiled and asked Tantuk to shut his eyes and hold his padukas (sandals) firmly and instantly both returned to Ganagapur. Shri Guru sent Tantuk in the town to call his disciples.

Seeing Tantuk in clean shave, people wondered and asked him why he had shaved. Tantuk said, 'I had been to Shri Shailya. Here is the bukka and prasad.' All laughed and said, 'We saw you here in the morning. How can you go to and return from Shri Shailya so soon?' He said, ' I had been there with Shri Guru and have just returned. Shri Guru is at the Sangam and he has asked me to call you.'

Hearing this all were astonished. They went to the sangam and praised Shri Guru. The persons, who had been to Shri Shailya, returned in a fortnight. They also wondered to know this episode.

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