When the sages from Naimisaranyam worship Dakshinamurthy in Madurai, Dakshinamurthy appears before them. He has the appearance of a 16-year-old boy. In his right hand He is seen wearing a ring and in His left hand is the Sivagnana Bodham. As Siva appears before the sages in this form, they hear the chant of the Vedas. They delight in the appearance of the Lord, just as crops in a field greet the appearance of water in the fields, said Ragubai, in a lecture.
The sages request the young guru to teach them the meaning of the Vedas, so that they and the rest of the world might be blessed. Siva, as Dakshinamurthy, sits before the Chokkalingam in the Madurai temple, and says that the Vedas can and should be learnt only from a guru. Knowledge of the Vedas will cut asunder the bonds of samsaric life, and will liberate us. The Chokkalinga in the temple is a Swayambhu. The Linga and the Vedas are one and the same. All the Vedas praise the Lord. He is the One who creates, and destroys. The Vedas have two segments — the part that prescribes how to worship the Lord (Karma kandam) and the portion that is about realising God, and this is called Gnana kandam.
There are ten types of Siva punyams spoken of in the Karma kandam. These are the good traits we must cultivate to reach Lord Siva. They are: patience, honesty, fear of sinning, a liking for virtue, control of the mind, generosity, Siva archanai, penance, dhyana of Siva and desisting from harming anyone.
The Devas delight in what is offered to Siva, as if it has been offered to them. This is like all parts of a plant looking fresh, when the roots alone are watered. Gnana purifies our hearts and keeps us to the path of righteousness. This results in mental peace. Karma kandam and Gnana kandam are not to be seen as independent of each other. They are connected, and one leads to the other. Just as there are many steps in a ladder that we have to climb to reach the top, so also these are steps in the attempt to reach Siva. Worship of Siva, and the realisation of Siva, result in Siva darshan, installing lingas, honouring Siva’s devotees, wearing the symbols of Saivism and guru bhakti.