IMPORTANCE OF NAIVEDYA AND BILVA-LEAVES
Suta then described about the important of Naivedya offered to Lord Shiva.
“A devotee gets liberated from all of his sins merely at the sight of the Naivedya, which have been offered to lord Shiva. He attains great virtues by having the Prasada.”
A man must not accept the Prasada if the worship have been done under supervision of a ‘Chandala’, but some of the Shivalingas like Banlinga, Siddhalinga and Swayambhu Linga are exceptions to this rule. The prasada which has been offered to the Shivalinga and remains lying on it, is prohibited from having, but the prasad which is not touching the Shivalinga should be accepted.
Bilva fruit is considered to be a form of lord Shiva Its greatness has been eulogized even by the deities himself. It is believed that all the places of pilgrimages, dwell in the Bilva-leaf. Lord Shiva is believed to have his abode in the roots of the Bilva tree. A devotee who waters the roots of the Bilva tree attains greater virtues than offering water to the deities of all the places of pilgrimages. Similarly a devotee who worships the roots of the Bilva tree attains to the abode of lord Shiva.
Suta then goes on he explain the greatness of Shiva’s name and the importance of Bhasma (ash) and rudraksha beads in his worship. The name of Shiva is as sacred as Ganges. Similarly ‘Bhasma’ and ‘Rudraksha’ are as holy as the rivers Yamuna and Saraswati. Therefore a devotee who possesses the name of lord Shiva on his lips, who applies Bhasma on his person and who wears a rudraksha in his neck attain the virtues similar to that of taking a bath in the sangam. In ancient times, a king by the name of Indrayumna got liberated from the bondages of the world, just by chanting the name of Shiva.