Tryambaka: Having Three Eyes
Apart from the usual two eyes with which the mundane world is seen, Shiva Bhagawan is depicted with a third eye - the eye of Jnana. When that eye is opened it burns samsara to ashes. This happened to Kamadeva (the God of sensual enjoyment) which is why another of Shankara Bhagawans names is Smarahara.
The three eyes also represent sun, moon, and fire. They illuminate the world but they are only the reflected energy of Bhagawan. Once on Mt. Kailasa, Mata Parvati playfully covered Bhagawans eyes. As a result the world came to a standstill plunged into darkness. As they attempted to find the cause of this darkness, the Devas came across a lingam of light which seemed to stretch on forever. They sent Brahmaji on his hamsa to find the top and Vishnu Bhagawan (in the form of a boar) to dig down and find the bottom. After a seeming eternity of fruitless searching, Brahmaji gave up and declared that he had found the top. Vishnu Bhagawan also gave up but He truthfully declared he couldn't find the bottom and that this must be nothing other than a miracle of Shiva Bhagawan the true illuminator of the worlds. At that, the light of the sun, moon, and fire was suddenly restored. For lying Brahmaji was cursed to no longer be worshipped among men whereas Vishnu Bhagawan was blessed as the maintainer and protector of the worlds.
This particular name is invoked in the mahaa mR^tyunjaya mantra :
tryambakam yajaamahe sugandhim pushhTi -vardhanam
urvaarukamiva bandhanaat mR^tyor mukshiiya maa amR^tat.
Some additional notes based on list discussion:
> I have heard this story. But have not understood its esoteric
> meaning. There should be an inner meaning to saying that Brahmaaji,
> who is recognized as one of the Trinity, "told a lie." Can some
> member of the group explain the significance of this incident ?
I was talking to my father and he reminded me of a detail I had ommitted. As Brahmaji searches upwards, he sees a falling lotus. He thinks it must have been placed atop the lingam so He is near the top.
So it was incorrect of me to say He "lied" but He did jump to conclusions.
Compare also the Vaishnava-oriented version of why He is not worshipped. At the srshti, in order to create the worlds created Narada from the power of his mind and asked him to perform creation. But from the beginning, Naradaji was engrossed in Vishnubhakti and he refused to take part in the creation of samsara which would estrange living creatures from the experience of Bhagawan. Brahmaji cursed him to eternally wander the worlds and Naradji in return cursed him to not be worshipped anymore.
In both these accounts, it seems Brahmajis sin is short-sightedness. He assumes the infinite is finite and the phenomenal world is all there is and that makes Him unsuitable to be the object of our devotions.
Om Tryambakaya namah