Friday, December 9, 2011

Why Mahaabhaarat War?

Why Mahaabhaarat war had to happen? Many MBH characters are full of revenges, ambitions, and jealousies, then war was inevitable. Some of these revenges, jealousies and ambitions which led to MBH war are given here. Let us start from the top -

1. Ambaa's Revenge With  Bheeshm
Since Shaantanu died when his children Chitraangad and Vichitraveerya were young, Bheeshm took their whole responsibility. He educated them and crowned Chjitraangad, but he also died soon, so he crowned Vichitraveerya and brought three princesses of Kaashee - Ambaa, Ambikaa and Ambaalikaa for him. Ambikaa and Ambaalikaa accepted him as their husband but Ambaa did not as she loved Shaalv. So she was sent back to Shaalv, but unfortunately Shaalv refused to accept her saying that he did not accept the thing which he has lost. Ambaa again came to Hastinaapur, blamed Bheeshm for this incident, and asked him to marry her. Bheeshm could not have married her at any cost because of his vow taken at the time of his father's marriage to Satyavatee, so she cursed him that even if she has to take several births, she will be the cause of Bheeshm's death.

That is how Ambaa was burning in her own fire and was planning to kill Bheeshm. She sought help from many people but nobody could help her. Then she pleased Mahaadev and he bestowed her a boon that she should be able to kill Bheeshm in her next life. She asked - "How, I am a woman, I cannot go in the battlefield." He said - "You will remember everything, you will get manhood and will be able to kill Bheeshm." and gave her a flower garland to hang somewhere. It would not wilt and in her next life when she would see it she would remember everything. So she hung it on Drupad's palace gate and died. Then she was born in Drupad's house as a girl and got manhood after her marriage, She became Shikhandee and became the cause of the death of Bheeshm.

2. Dhritraashtra's Ambition to Get Kingdom
Dhritraashtra is angry at his own fate of being born as a blind, and as a result this he was not getting kingdom. He always cursed his mother that why did she close her eyes at the time of seeing Vyaas Jee. His another anger was on Gaandhaaree that in spite of being pregnant before Kuntee she was not able to deliver her first son before Yudhishthir. Both the things were eating him like a termite. He agreed that he could not become the king as he was blind, but he was not ready to agree that why his son could not be a king?

3. Shakuni's Revenge with Bheeshm
Shakuni has to take revenge of his family's insult. When Bheeshm went to Gaandhaar to ask for Gaandhaaree, she got ready without any second thought and she tied a strip of cloth on her eyes too. Gaandhaaree was very beautiful. Seeing this that Bheeshm asked his beautiful sister for his blind nephew, Gaandhaaree's father did not feel much but Shakuni, her brother, got boiled with anger and he vowed to take revenge from the whole family that he would destroy his whole family. So he came to Hastinaapur and started manipulating the things in his own way.

4. Drupad's Revenge with Drone
Drupad wanted to take revenge of his own insult Drone did to him. Drone and Drupad were classmates. They were very good friends too. Drupad used to say - "Whatever is mine its half is yours." After the education Drupad became the king and Drone came home, got married, and had a son Ashwatthaamaa. He did not have any income so he could not afford even the necessary things for his son. One day when he saw Kripee giving him flour solution in place of milk and he sahying "this is not milk, I will not drink it." He became so sad that he went out of the house saying that he was going to bring a cow for his son, and he wouldn't be back until he gets one.

He went to Drupad and reminded him his promise, "Whatever is mine, its half is yours." and asked only one cow from his own share of his kingdom. But Drupad ignored it saying that it was the matter of childhood and there was no equality between them, and since friendship is between equal people only, they cannot be friends. Drone got very angry at this and came back with a thorn in his heart. Later he became the Guru of Kaurav and Paandav. He prepared them well and asked them to bring Drupad tying with a rope behind the chariot. Paandav fulfilled his wish. After taking his half kingdom, as he had already defeated him through his disciples, he took one cow from his own share and freed him. Since that day Drupad was burning in fire so much so that he even performed a Yagya to get a son who could kill Drupad - Dhrishtdyumn.

5. Duryodhan's Jealousy With Paandav
Duryodhan had several issues. First he wanted to take revenge of his father's insult by Vidur at the time of coronation of King of Hastinaapur. Vidur advised that since Dhritraashtra was blind he could not be appointed a king. That is why he always insulted Vidur. Secondly he was very jealous with Paandav, since the day they came from the forest after losing their father. he had taken for granted that Paandav belonged to forest and Hastinaapur was his kingdom and one day he would be the King of Hastinaapur. For the same reason he tried several times to kill Paandav but did not succeed. Later they took Draupadee also and were invited to live in Hastinaapur. he could not tolerate this and he forced his father to divide the kingdom.

Later when Yudhishthir did Raajsooya Yagya, he became extremely jealous seeing their wealth and prosperity. On top of that when he was visiting their royal court built by Maya Daanav, he fell in a pond taking it as a dry floor, and hit a wall taking it as a door. Seeing this Paandav and Draupadee laughed at him. he felt so much insulted at this that he could not stay there even a moment and came back to Hastinaapur and planned to take their wealth. He organized dice game and defeated Paandav cunningly and took their wealth including Draupadee. He also insulted her in the court. Luckily she succeeded in taking everything back. Seeing his plan failed he played the dice game again and sent them in exile. There also he troubled them a lot. Even after the completion of their term of exile he did not return their kingdom. He was not ready to give them even five villages, so the war was necessary.

Duryodhan was sure that he would win the war as he had Bheeshm (with Ichchhaa Mrityu boon), Drone with many unique weapons (learnt from Parashuraam), Kripaa and Ashwatthaamaa (both immortal, Karn, Shakuni and Dushaasan with him. In fact he was right in his thinking but when Destiny is against somebody nothing works.

6. Karn's Desire to Defeat Arjun
Karn always felt "Why he was a Soot-Putra? Why his mother had left him? Who was she?" Bercause of being Soot-Putra he had to suffer a lot. He wanted a good education in archery which he could not get it. First Drone did not accept him. Later he had to lie to become the disciple of Parashuraam Jee. And because once his this lie was known to Parshuraam Jee he cursed him and took his most precious education from him.

From the beginning he had the competition with Arjun. he was stopped showing his abilities in a royal demonstration of weapons and they declared Arjun the best archer, he did not like this at all. His plea was at least they should give chance to others also then only they could declare him the best archer. Next in Draupadee's Swayamvar, he was insulted by Draupadee when she said - "I will not marry a Soot-Putra." And Arjun took Draupadee. He was always eager to fight with Arjun, but unfortunately he could never stand him, still he was never disappointed and till the last moment he fought with him with the desire to kill him.

7. Draupadee's Revenge with Duryodhan and Dushaasan
Draupadee wanted to take revenge from Duryodhan - of her insult in the court, he wanted her to sit on his right thigh; and Dushaasan of her insult - dragging her in the court in an odd condition and disrobing her in the court. Even Karn insuted her by calling her a prostitute. Since that day she did not tie her hair and waited for Dushaasan's chest's blood to wash her hair. When Bheem brought it, then only she tied her hair.

8. Bheem is Angry Overall
Bheem is angry overall with Dhritraashtra and his family as a whole - the whole affair, since their coming to Hastinaapur, effort to kill him by feeding him poisonous Kheer, Baaranaavat incident, giving them a non-arable land as their mkingdom etc till not giving back their kingdom even after coming back from their exile. He fulfilled all his vows - killing all the 100 sons of Dhritraashtra, bringing Dushaasan's chest's blood to Draupadee, and breaking Duryodhan's thigh.

9. Arjun is Also Angry Overall
Arjun is is also overall angry - with Duryodhan - on Baaranaavat affair, on cheating in dice game, and on insulting Draupadee; with Dushaasan - on insulting Draupadee, and with Karn - on insulting Draupadee.

11. Krishn's Task
Krishn had to do His own work for which He had come in this world - kill many Raakshas, destruction of Kuru Vansh, Yadu Vansh and some other kings; and establishing Paandu's sons' rule.

When so many people are living with jealousies, ambitions and revenges in their hearts a war is a must to take place. 

Sushma Gupta

Chandra Grahan (Lunar Eclipse) Dec 2011

This blog writing time - December 9, 2011;  8.00 am,
Tomorrow on  December 10, is the Full Moon eclipse. This is the year's first total Lunar eclipse and surprisingly, it will last for unusually long time, a rare celestial treat - 1 hour 40 minutes. Last time the Moon was covered for so long in July 2000 - it was for 1 hour 47 minutes long.

Scientific Reason of the Lunar Eclipse
The full Moon normally glows from reflected sunlight. A total Lunar Eclipse occurs when the Moon glides through the long shadow cast by the Earth and is blocked from the sunlight that illuminates it.
As the Moon plunges deeper into the Earth's shadow, the disk will appear to gradually change color, turning from silver to orange or red. This is because some indirect sunlight still reaches the Moon after passing through the Earth's atmosphere, which scatters blue light. Only red light strikes the Moon, giving it an eerie crimson hue.

Hindu Mythological View - Story of Saagar Manthan
Long long time ago, once there was a Devaasur Sangraam (Dev and Asur War). Many Devtaa and Asur were killed in that war. Daity's Guru Shukra had the Sanjeevanee herb to bring Asur  to life after they were dead, so they all came back to life, while Devtaa were not. Seeing this Dev Raaj Indra went to Brahmaa Jee, reported this event and asked the remedy. Brahmaa Jee went to Vishnu along with Devtaa. Vishnu said - "Presently, you extend friendship with Asur. Make them agree to churn the Ksheer Saagar (Milky Ocean). It will give us Amrit (nectar), somehow I will manage to to give you Amrit and then you will be immortal." And He explained them His plan. Devtaa got very happy to hear this. They went to Asur King Bali and extended friendship with him and made him ready for churning the Ocean.

They used Sumeru Mountain as the churning rod and Vaasuki Naag as the churning rope. When they wanted to carry Sumeru Mountain to the Ocean, they could not lift it as it was very heavy. Vishnu had to help them by carrying it on His Garud. So the Mountain was set and the rope was tied to churn it. Devtaa took the mouth end of Vaasuki Naag and Asur took the tail end. After a while Asur thought "when Devtaa are at Naag's mouth end, there must be some good thing in it", so they exchanged the ends with Devtaa.

They started churning the Ocean, but the Ocean's movements were so strong that the Mount Meru was unable to stay at one place, thus it was difficult to churn the Ocean. So Vishnu again had to come to help them. He assumed the form of a tortoise (Kashchap Incarnation)  and Meru Mountain was kept on his back, but still the mountain kept shaking. Vishnu again rescued them and kept His one hand above the top of the Mountain to keep the Mountain at one place. Then only Devtaa and Asur were able to churn the Ocean.

Ocean Gives Amrit
Fourteen Ratn (gems) came out of this churning including - (1) Halaahal poison - Shiv Jee drank it; (2) Surabhi Cow - Rishi took it; (3) Uchchashraivaa Horse - Raajaa Bali took it; (4) Airaavat Elephant - Indra took it; (5) Kaustubh Mani (gem) - Vishnu took it; (6) Kalp Vriksh - was planted in Nandan Van of Indra; (7) Many Apsaraa - Indra took them; (8) Lakshmee - Vishnu took Her; (9) Vaarunee Devee (liquor) - Asur took her; (10) Dhanvantari Vaidya - with Aayur Ved in his one hand; and (11) Amrit in his another hand.

As soon as the Asur saw Amrit Kalash (pitcher of nectar), they snatched the Kalash from Dhanvatari's hands and ran away to drink it. Devtaa just stood watching them running away with the Amrit Kalash. Vishnu again rescued them. As Asur were running away with the Kalash, they saw a very beautiful woman coming towards them. She was Mohinee - Vishnu's 14th Incarnation. Mohinee said - "O Asur, What is in this pitcher? And where are you running away with it?" Asur said - "We have Amrit in it and we are going to drink it. We are running away from Devtaa so that they do not take it from us." Mohinee smiled and said - "There is no need to run away from here, I can do this in a better way. I will deceive them and I will give you all this Amrit." Asur got ready as they had got mesmerized by the beauty of Mohinee. They gave the Kalash to Her. In the meantime Devtaa also came there, so Mohinee asked all of them to sit in two separate rows - one for Asur and one for Devtaa. All sat down patiently.

Distribution of Amrit and Raahu
Now Mohinee started distributing Amrit. She was very clever. She gave Amrit to Devtaa and Suraa (liquor) to Asur. For some time it was all right, but then Raahu Asur noticed what was going on. He silently rose from his seat, changed his form to a Devtaa and sat in Devtaa's row between Soorya Dev (Sun) and Chandramaa (Moon). When Mohinee came to distribute Amrit to Devtaa, she gave some to Raahu also considering him Devtaa. As he gulped the Amrit, Soorya Dev and Chandramaa recognized his disguise and reported to Mohinee. Mohinee immediately took out Her Chakra and severed his head. But by then Raahu has already gulped the Amrit, so he did not die, his both parts remained alive. His head was known was Raahu and his trunk came to be known as Ketu. Later Brahmaa Jee bestowed both parts of Raahu the status of planet and that is how these two planets (Raahu and Ketu) have their own importance in Vaidik astrology.

Since then Raahu is very angry with Soorya and Chandramaa and whenever he gets chance he comes to eat them. Raahu eats Chandramaa on Poornimaa (on the Full Moon day) and Soorya on Amaavasyaa (New Moon day).

Since our Devtaa are in trouble at these times, it is advised that people should do Jaap, Mantra recitation, Daan (alms) etc during these times for their welfare. After the eclipse is complete, one should take bath and clean one's house with water.   - beautiful site to show eclipse time and regions, you will enjoy seeing it

Sushma Gupta

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Axe in Hindu Scriptures

Axe, which was used a lot for many purposes a few decades ago, has been vanishing much from the field today from the modern world as well as from India, because whatever the axe did in past days, machines are used to do it today. The main use of the axe in ancient days was to size woods removing bark and outer inferior wood of trees and preparing fire wood. People took their axe to forest, cut the wood and bring it to their home putting it on their head. Those people were called woodcutter. Besides, there are many types of axe, there are many sayings about axe, and there are many uses of axe. We have many references of axe in our scriptures also, you must be wondering, how? let us see... Along with the scriptural references, here is given a very common story too about axe.

(1) Parashuraam With His Axe
Let us start with Bhagavaan himself. Parashuraam Jee, Vishnu's 7th incarnation, was born as the son of sage Jamadagni. There are three Raam in our scriptures. How to differentiate them from each other?  - (1) First Raam is called Parashuraam. He is the 6th incarnation of Vishnu. Why is he called Parashuraam, because he had an axe as his weapon that is why he is called Parashu + Raam, (2) Second Raam is Balaraam. He is the incarnation of Shesh Naag. Why is he called Balaraam, because he was very mighty that is why he is called Bala + Raam and (3) Third Raam is Shree Raam. He is the 7th incarnation of Vishnu. Why is he called Shree Raam, because he had taken one-wife vow and was always with Lakshmee (Shree) Jee that is why he is called Shree Raam.Parashuraam Jee got his axe from Shiv Jee after performing long austerities. he gave it to him to end the atrocities of Asur born on Prithvi. There are several stories of his axe. There are very few temples for Parashuraam. One temple is at Tiruvallam near Trivendram in Kerala.

(1.1) Parashuraam and Sahastrabaahu
It was this axe from which Parashuraam Jee emptied this Prithvi from Kshatriya 21 times. Once Sahstrabaahu came to Parashuraam's father Maharshi Jamadagni. Jamadagni Jee welcomed him and entertained him and his army with the help of his Kaamdhenu cow. Seeing that cow Sahastrabaahu became surprised and asked him to give that cow to him as the king was the appropriate man who should own such a cow, but Rishi refused to give her to him as she was not only cow to him, she used to fulfill all the needs of his religious activities. He could not give her to him at any cost. But Sahastrabaahu did not listen to and took her forcefully. The cow got angry and she produced lots of army from her body and killed the King's all army, so the King went away.

Seeing this his sons got angry and once they went alone to Rishi's Aashram, killed the Rishi and took the cow. When Parashuraam cam and saw this, he got very angry, he took his axe and went to take revenge of his father's killing. He killed Sahastrabaahu, and his all sons, leaving five of them, and brought his cow back. He brought his father to life. He found many other kings also who were troubling society so he killed all of them. Thus he emptied this Prithvi from Kshatriya 21 times. He filled five large tanks from their blood which were known as Samant Panchak (they are near Delhi). Later he donated the Prithvi to Braahman, threw his axe in the sea and went to Mahendra Parvat to do Tapasyaa (penance).

(1.2) Parashuraam and Ganesh Jee
Once Parashuraam Jee went to see Shiv Jee. Shiv Jee was taking rest and Ganesh Jee was guarding his place. So when Parashuraam Jee was about to enter the place of Shiv Jee, Ganesh Jee stopped him - "Where are you going?" "I have to see my Guru Shiv." "You cannot see him now as he is taking rest now." :But I am in hurry, I have to see him with regard to some specific purpose and I am free to see him anytime." "No, You cannot." At this both started fighting, Parashuraam Jee took out his axe and hurled it on Ganesh Jee. Ganesh Jee immediately recognized the axe as the weapon of his father. He bowed to the axe, fell one his teeth on the ground in his honor. The axe went back to Parashuraam Jee.

All this was so much noisy that both Shiv and Paarvatee came out to find out what was happening. They saw Parashuraam Jee with his axe and their son only with one tooth. They understood what would have happened. Paarvatee Jee got very angry at this and got ready to curse Parashuraam Jee. Parashuraam Jee tried his best to explain his situation but she was adamant on her decision. Then Vishnu came and explained her that Parashhuraam was also like her son Ganesh, and she should forgive him. Then only she agreed and forgave Parashuraam Jee. Since then Ganesh Jee has been known as Ekdant.

(1.3) Parashuraam Created Kerala With His Axe
After attacking all kings on account of killing his father Jamadagni by Kaartaveerya Arjun (Sahastrabaahu), and giving all those lands to sage Kashyap as Daan, sage Parashuraam prayed God Varun to give him a piece of Land from sea for throwing his axe. The entire area covered by the axe was restored as Land. This land is present Kerala as per legends. It was Parashuraam who brought Nampoodaree families from North India, organized them and settled them in 64 Graam (villages). He constructed many temples and made them the chief priests of those temples. On account of this Kerala temples have Namboodaree as Tantree.

Another popular legend would have it that the land crust that forms the State was raised from the depths of the ocean. After killing all Kshatriya of Prithvi, at one moment Parashuraam Jee felt painful regret for the wanton annihilation he had wrought. He offered severe penance atop the mountain heights. In a mood of profound atonement, the sage heaved his mighty axe into the midst of the distant ocean. The waves foamed and frothed as a axe-shaped land, extending from Gokarn to Kanyaa Kumaaree. surfaced from the depths of the sea to form the state Kerala and hence the sobriquet - "Gods own Country". He made/worshiped at the 108 Shiv Kshetra all over the South Western coast of India, of which 105 exist in modern Kerala, followed by one in Sucheendram, Tamilnaadu, two in Karnaatak namely Kollur and Gokarn. These temples have special sanctity.

(2) Satyavaan-Saavitree Legend
In the Satyavaan and Saavitree legend, Satyavaan was a wood cutter. Saavitree was a princess of a great beauty, intellect and good conduct. When his father could nor find a groom for her, he asked his daughter to look for one herself. He sent her around with his ministers and her friends. She went around and saw a boy cutting the wood with his axe in the forest. She found out about him and informed her father about him.  The then Naarad Jee came there and told that that boy was not good for her because he had only one year to live from that day. The King asked Saavitree to choose any other one but she said - "Father, Indian girl chooses her husband only once. I have chosen him and that is all."  Later they got married.

Satyavaan didn't know anything about this, but Saavitree did not forget it. Three days before the appointed day, Saavitree started her worship and the third day she went to forest with Satyavaan in spite of explaining her several times. After a while Satyavaan complained about headache and died. Saavitree saw Yam Raaj taking Satyavaan's astral body taken out from his physical body. She followed him and got success to bring him back to life with her talking skills. They came back with their axe.  Read the full story.

(3) Kaali Daas and His Axe
Do not cut the branch you are sitting on. That is what Kaali Daas was doing, and that is why people took him as a fool. If a person is sitting on a branch and cutting it from the tree side, he is a first class fool, because as soon is the branch is cut, he will fall down. If one has to cut the branch sitting on it, he should sit on the tree side and cut the branch from outside. This axe was so important in his life that it helped him marry a very learned girl who had refused to marry many boys on the basis that they were unsuccessful in defeating her in discussions.   Read the full story.

A Story About Axe
Once there was a woodcutter living in a village. He was very poor and used to manage his family after selling the wood in the market. One day he was cutting a tree near a river that his axe got slipped from his hands and fell into the river. The tree was half cut. He had to finish it, and he had only one axe. He did not know swimming, so he prayed to God sitting on the bank of the river to get his axe back. The God heard his prayer and He suddenly appeared before him holding a Golden axe and asked him whether that was his axe? He said "No, this is not my axe." God took a dip in the river and got another axe. It was made of silver. God asked him again whether that was his axe, he still said "No".

Now God again took a dip in the river and appeared with an old iron axe. He again asked the man whether it was his axe. The man quickly replied God - "Yes, it is my axe." Seeing the truthfulness of the woodcutter, God gave him with all the three axes. The woodcutter first accomplished the task with his iron axe, and then sold his both gold and silver axes. Now he became very rich, but still he continued to cut wood and mange his family.

Now there lived another woodcutter in his neighborhood. He was greedy and jealous. As he saw that his neighbor had become very rich he got jealous. His wife was more jealous than him, so she asked him to go to the neighbor and asked him what did he do to become rich. He went to the neighbor and asked him - "Friend, What did you do to become so rich?" The neighbor was very simple so he told him the truth whatever happened with him. The neighbor went back to his home and reported it to his wife. His wife was very wise, she compelled him to go and cut the tree near the river and behave in the same way as his neighbor did. The envious woodcutter reached near the river and found a tree for cutting. He started cutting it, but the axe would not slip, so he wontedly threw the axe into the river and started praying the God to bring it to him.

God truly heard his prayer and came out of the river with his own iron axe and asked him whether it was his axe. But the envious woodcutter wanted not his iron axe but the golden axe to satisfy his wife, so he said that it was not his own axe. God again took a dip in the river and reappeared with a silver axe and asked him if it was his axe, but the envious woodcutter wanted not the silver axe but the golden axe to satisfy his wife, so he said that "No, it is not my axe." God again took a dip in the river and reappeared with the golden axe and asked him whether it was his axe. Seeing that axe, that person got very happy and quickly said that - "Yes, Yes, It is my axe." And he was going to almost snatch that axe from God’s hands, but God was very clever. He moved His hand back and the neighbor could not take that axe from God's hand.

Now God asked a question – "Do you cut the tree with this axe?" He never expected such a question from God, so he could not reply Him immediately. The God was so annoyed by his lies that He threw all axes back into the river and disappeared. Thus not only he lost the gold and silver axes due to his greed but his own good iron axe also which was his only means to earn livelihood.

Sushnma Gupta

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dog in Hindu Mythology

Dog in Hindu society is considered an inauspicious animal. In North India it is not a very common sight to see a dog in houses in general. An exception I saw in Kachchh, when I was in Anjaar, that dogs were welcomed there in the houses, sometimes even in the kitchen. The women there fed them and after eating the dogs went away.You will be surprised to know several descriptions of dog in our scriptures, how and where, let us see ---

(1) Dog in Ved
Rig Ved Rishi have mentioned Dogs in at least 3-4 Mantra in Rig Ved, however, the stories are not there, because Upanishad doesn't contain text related to popular Indra, Sinhaasan and Devtaa and Daitya, God or Demon type stories, their subject is only Brahm and Aatmaa.

(2) Dog in Raamaayan
In the Uttar Kaand of Vaalmeeki Raamaayan, (V-Raamaayan, 7/24 Sarg 24) there is reference to a complaint made by a dog against a Braahman who had hurt it without any reason. Raam summons the Braahman concerned and admonishes him. He then asked the dog what punishment should be given to the Braahman, and the dog says "Make him a Kulapati (a kind of University Vice Chancellor) Kaalanjar Pradesh for I was such a Kulapati in its previous birth and had hurt many students, that is why I took birth as a dog. When he would be the Kulapati, he will also behave in the same way, and will be born as a dog in his next life." Raam laughed and punished the Braahman as the dog prescribed.

(3) Dog in Mahaabhaarat - Yudhishthir's Dog
--Yudhishthir had a dog with him when he was going to Swarg (in Swargaarohan Parv of Mahaabhaarat). He did not leave this dog in spite of Indra's threat that he would not be able to go to Swarg because the dogs were allowed in Swarg. When he did not get ready to go to Swarg at any cost leaving the dog behind,, the dog showed his real form and blessed him. In reality that dog was the father of Yudhishthir - Dharm Raaj himself, although he did not now it. (MBH, G-7-Postwar/34)
-- Because of being inauspicious animal, once Raajaa Janamejaya was doing a Yagya along with his brothers, that a dog came there and just stood there. Janamejaya's brothers considering him inauspicious pushed him back. By chance they did not know who that dog was. So after being pushed away that dog went to his mother and when his mother saw him beaten badly, she asked him what had happened to him. He told the whole story that he was just standing near the Yagyashaalaa that Raajaa Janamejaya's brothers beat him and pushed him away, although he did not do anything to annoy them. In fact he was the son of Indra's bitch Saramaa, so Saramaa came to Janamejaya's Yagyashaalaa and asked them as why did they beat her son without any reason. They could not reply, so she cursed the King - An evil will fall on you when you will least expect it."Raajaa Janamejaya came back after the sacrifice and had to look for somebody who could neutralize its effect. (MBH, G-0-Prolog/4)

(4) Indra's Dog
--Indra himself has a bitch named Saramaa whose son was abused by Janamejaya's brothers when he was doing a Yagya. At that Saramaa cursed Janamejaya that his Yagya will come to stop in between by a Rishi - the story is given in under the heading - "Dog in Mahaabhaarat" above.
--Saramaa is said to have pursued and recovered the cows stolen by the Panai Asur and hidden in the nether world of Paataal.

(5) Yam Raaj's Dog
Yam Raaj, the God of death is believed to have two ferocious dogs Sarameyas (described as the off springs of Indra's dog). Both of these dogs have four eyes each and they guard the road to Yam Lok. Yam himself took the form of a dog, while guiding Yudhishthir to Swarg Lok, see below. [MBH, G-7-Postwar/34]

(6) Kaal Bhairav's Dog
The vehicle of Kaalbhairav (a fierce firm of Shiv Jee) is a dog.

(7) Bhagavaan Dattaatreya's Dogs
Dattaatreya's picture can always be seen with four dogs following him.

(8) Shankaraachaarya and Dogs
Once when Aadi Shankar was in Kaashee, while returning after a bath in Gangaa River, he was confronted by a Chaandaal with 4 dogs. The Chaandaal was none other than Vishwanaath, the presiding deity of Kaashee, Himself, in disguise. The 4 dogs were the 4 Ved. Not recognizing this, Aadi Shankar requested the Chaandaal and the 4 dogs to move away from his path, whence the Chaandaal questioned that - "Who is to move away - their body or Aatmaa? If Aatmaa is indeed the same amongst every one - a learned scholar, a low-caste person and the dogs, why should Aadi Shankar ask them to move? If Shankar was referring to the body, then by Shankar's own admission, this body was temporary and one should not identify oneself with the body. On this count also, there wasn't any difference between the two of them." Gifted with a razor-sharp intelligence, it did not take long for Shankar to realize his folly and that the Lord Himself was before him in the form of Chaandaal and dogs. He immediately burst out with a philosopher's delight - Maneesh Panchakam a five-stanza exposition of the body-soul concept.

(9) Dog's Reference Elsewhere
Five Characteristics of a Student
Kaak cheshtaa, bako dhyaanam, shwaan nidraa, alpahaaree,
griha Tyaagee, vidyaarthee panch lakshanam"
Roughly translated - the five indications of a good student are ---
(1) perseverance of a crow,
(2) concentration of a crane,
(3) light sleeper like a dog,
(4) light eater,
(5) staying away from home (means noise, emotions).

Read also     Dog or God,    and    Man and God

Sushma Gupta

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Old Guru and Modern Day Teachers

Guru, a Hindi term loosely translated as teacher, because Guru is more than a teacher, has a special place in our Vaidik culture. Now-a-days, those Guru have vanished and they have been replaced by modern teachers (Adhyaapak in Hindi). What is the difference between a Guru and a teacher?

1. The very first difference is that before Guru used to be only one, but today the teachers are many.
2. Guru's students were called disciples, while teachers' students are called students
3. Disciples were very much dedicated to their Guru, but today students have no responsibility towards their teachers
4. Guru and his wife were like parents to the disciple, while teachers are just teachers for the student. Today they are teaching them, and when they are not teaching them, they are nothing to them.
5. In olden days a person was identified by his Guru for his whole life, but today by the time a person has finished his education, he forgets his old teachers.
6. In those days disciple went to Guru's house to study, lived there until their education was finished. It was called Gurukul and Guru's wife used to take care of them there. They lived there with certain discipline. This was their Brahmcharya Aashram
7. They did not pay fees like today, monthly or whatever. They paid it only when they had finished their education and that also whatever Guru asked them to pay. Only disciple had to pay it, not his parents.

We have a few notable disciples whose dedication to their Guru is very well known --

There was a Rishi named Dhaumya who had three disciples in his Gurukul - Aaruni from Paanchaal country, Upamanyu, and Ved. All these three disciples were very faithfully dedicated to their Guru. Once a wall broke and water started coming in the farm. If it was not stopped soon it could have spoiled the crop. So Guru Jee asked Aaruni to go there and stop that water from coming in the field. So Aaruni went there and tried his best to stop the water, but he did not succeed in stopping the water anyhow. He found only one way to stop it that he himself should lie down against the wall from where the water was breaking in. So he himself lay down there and he succeeded in stopping it. After a while he tried to get up from there, but the water again broke it up, so he lay down there only.

When Guru Jee didn't see Aaruni for some time, he remembered him and asked his other disciples where was Aaruni. They said - "Guru Jee, You yourself have sent him to stop the water in the field." Guru Jee remembered it and said - "Yes, I sent him there. But he should have come back by now. Where is he?" Everybody showed his ignorance about him. Since it was evening now, he himself went to that field with his other disciples and called him in a loud voice - "Aaruni, Where are you?" Aaruni also spoke loudly - "Guru Jee, I am here, lying here to stop the water." Guru Jee reached there and saw Aaruni lying there along the wall - and the water was stopped. Aaruni further spoke - "I could not stop it by any other means so I myself lay down here to stop it. It is only after hearing your voice that I stood up. Now tell me what should I do?" Guru Jee said - "Since by getting up you have opened the water course, you will now be known as Uddaalak and since you have obeyed me, you will get a good fortune. All Ved and Dharm Shaastra will automatically shine in your heart." Aaruni went away from there and became a very learned Maharshi. He is the same Uddaalak who had two sons - Shwetketu and Nachiketaa. His sons' names come in several Upanishad.

Dhaumya Rishi's another disciple was Ved. When Ved completed his studies, he wanted to lead domestic life, so he asked his Guru's permission to leave the Gurukul. His Guru said - "Son, Serve your Guru for some more time, it will be good for you." Ved stayed back without any argument and served his Guru tolerating everything without a murmur.

One day he was rolling his fingers in his hair that a hair got plucked and came out in his hand. He saw it was gray. Then he knew that he had become old serving his Guru. He went to Guru and again asked his permission to go home saying - "I have grown old now, who is going to marry me?" Guru consoled him and made him young. Thus after a long time Guru was satisfied. As a result of this satisfaction he also got a good fortune and universal knowledge. This was Ved's trial. He then came back to his home and started leading his family life. While living in family, he also had three disciples. He never told them to do any work for him because he himself suffered a lot in his Guru's house.

Dhaumya Rishi's third disciple was Upamanyu. Once Guru Jee called Upamanyu and assigned him some cows to take care of. He started taking them to graze in the morning and bring them back in the evening. After a while, Muni asked - "How do you support yourself? You look quite healthy." Upamanyu said politely - "Guru Jee, I live upon the milk of these cows." Guru Jee said - "Son, It is not appropriate to drink milk of these cows without my permission." "Yes Guru Jee." and he went away to tend the cows.

After a while, Guru Jee again called him and when he came back and stood before his Guru Jee, Guru Jee observed that he was still healthy. He again asked him - "Upamanyu, You don't eat anything from alms, nor you go for alms second time, nor you are drinking milk of these cows, still you are healthy. How do you support yourself now?" Upamanyu said - "I sip the froth these calves throw out of their mouth while sucking their mother's teats." Guru Jee said - "These calves must be throwing much froth for you out of generosity. Don't you think that by doing this you should be sharing their full meal? It is unlawful for you to drink the froth like this." And Upamanyu accepting his mistake again went away to tend the cows.

Now he didn't have anything to eat - no alms, no milk, no froth. Once, out of hunger, Upamanyu ate Aak leaves (by eating these leaves one becomes blind) and became blind. As he was walking around, he fell into a pit, thus could not return home that evening. When Guru Jee did not see him in the evening, he got worried about him. He had restrained him from eating everything, so he didn't know how he would be. Thinking thus, he himself went in search of him. He called out in the forest - "O Upamanyu, Where are you?" Upamanyu replied - "I am here in this well. I ate Aak leaves, so I became blind and fell in this well." Guru Jee said - "Pray Ashwinee Kumaar, they will restore your sight."

And Upamanyu prayed them. Ashwinee Kumaar appeared before him and gave him a cake to eat. Upamanyu said - "You have said correctly, but I cannot take this cake without first offering to my Guru Jee." Ashwinee Kumaar said to him - "Once before your Guru invoked us and we gave a cake to him too, but he had eaten it without offering to his Guru. You also do the same what your Guru did." Upamanyu said - "I beg your pardon, but I cannot take this cake without offering to him first." Ashwinee Kumaar got very pleased with him and said to him - "We are very pleased with you. Your Guru's teeth are of black iron, but your teeth will be of gold. Your eyes will be all right and you will have good fortune." He got his sight back, came out of the well, and greeted Guru Jee. Guru Jee also blessed him with the knowledge of Ved and all Dharm Shaastra.

Continued...  Guru Dakshinaa

Sushma Gupta

Stories of Guru Dakshinaa

In the last blog I wrote about ancient Guru and modern teachers, and wrote that those disciples did not pay fees like today's students pay. Today the parents pay the fees for their children, each month and if they don't pay it they are expelled from the school. But in those days students did not pay like this. In fact paying fees was not a regular affair. It was paid only once - at the end of the education. Besides the disciple himself had to pay his fees and it was not paid by the disciple just like that, it was asked by the Guru what he wanted in lieu of his fees. That was called Guru Dakshinaa.

Why was that fees called Guru Dakshinaa? Guru Dakshinaa term is made up two words - Guru and Dakshinaa. Guru means teacher and Dakshinaa means fees which is normally given to Braahman; so Guru Dakshinaa means the fees which is paid to a Braahman. In those days normally all Guru used to be Braahman, as society was more or less strictly distributed in four Varn - Braahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shoodra. All these four Varn had been assigned their own duties - a Braahman's duty was to study and teach Ved, and to do religious activities for himself and for his Yajamaan (client); a Kshatriya's duty was to protect the society; a Vaishya's duty was to trade, rear animals and farming (to feed and to provide all things to all); and a Shoodra's duty was to serve all the three Varn. That is why all Guru used to be Braahman (because that was their duty), and it was customary to pay fees for their duties rendered to the society. That fees was called Dakshinaa. No duty of Braahman rendered to the society was considered complete without giving Dakshinaa to him. When a Braahman was paid a fee for educating the child, it was called Guru Dakshinaa and the fee paid for all other duties was called only Dakshinaa. Normally all Dakshinaa were paid by Yajamaan according his own will and status; but the funny thing was that Guru Dakshinaa was paid not by Yajamaan, but by the disciple himself and was paid only after his education was finished. Guru Dakshinaa not paid by the disciple at his own will, but was asked  by the Guru.

In our history many Guru Dakshinaa are famous. Today I am going to write about those Guru Dakshinaa.

Krishn's Guru Dakshinaa
Krishn was Bhagvaan. He did not need any education, still He was sent to Saandeepan Muni. He finished His education in a very little time. After he had finished it, He said to His Guru to ask Guru Dakshinaa. Guru Jee said - "Krishn, You did not any kind of education. You came her only to give me the honor of being your Guru. Only fortunate Guru gets a disciple like you. I don't need any Guru Dakshinaa from you. I feel most fortunate in this world that I am the Guru of a disciple like you." Krishn said - "I cannot go from here without paying Guru Dakshinaa, because without paying it my education is incomplete, so please tell me what should I pay to you?" Guru Jee said - "I still don't need anything. If you are insisting to pay something, then go and ask your Guru Maataa (Guru's wife) if she needs anything.

So Krishn went to Guru Maataa and said - "Maa, Our education is finished. Guru Jee has permitted us to go home. Now we want to pay Guru Dakshinaa. Guru Jee told that we should ask you if you need anything. Hearing this Guru Maataa broke into tears. They had a son who was lost on the sea coast and since then she was very sad and remembered him very much. In fact he died there, Guru Jee had reconciled with his death but Guru Maataa could not, and she still thought that her son had got lost and would come back after some time. But as he was already dead he did not come back. Seeing Krishn, she started loving Him as her own son. And now when He wanted to go, she could not tolerate His separation. She said - "Krishn, If you can bring my lost son back..." Krishn said - "Sure, Maataa."

So they both, Krishn and Balaraam, went to the sea and asked him if he had seen His Guru's son. The sea told Him that there lived a Daitya named Panchjan in his waters in the conch form, maybe he had taken him. So Krishn went there, killed the Daitya, but could not find his Guru's son in his stomach, so He took his body (conch - His Paanchjanya Shankh) and went to Yam Raaj. He got the dead son from him and came to His Guru Maataa and handed over her son to her. Guru Maataa was so so happy to see her lost son back. Krishn wanted to give that conch to His Guru Jee but he did  not take it saying - "This is yours, you keep it." This was Krishn's Guru Dakshinaa.

Eklavya's Guru Dakshinaa
Eklavya is a Mahaabhaarat (MBH) character. He was the son of a Bheel tribal king. He always wanted to be a very good archer, so he used to practice it very diligently. Once he saw Dronaachaarya teaching archery to Kaurav and Paandav. He found it useful, so he often went to the place where he taught them the archery and watched them learning archery for hours. After coming back he practiced it. Since he was learning all these skills from Dronaachaaraya, though indirectly, he regarded him as his Guru. So he had made an idol of Dronaachaarya and he worshiped him considering him his Guru.

On day Kaurav and Paandav came to the same place where he lived, and started sporting there. They had a dog also with them. By chance that dog came to the same spot where Eklavya was standing. As he saw the dog, he shot a few arrows aiming at his mouth and filled his mouth with arrows. the dog ran away from there and came to Kaurav's camp. Arjun saw that dog and was filled with surprise. He showed it to his Guru Jee. Guru Jee was also surprised to see it. Guru Jee wanted to know who did this to the dog. So they all came to the place where Eklavya was standing, searching for the person who did it to the dog.

They asked him who shot those arrows at the dog's mouth. Eklavya said - "I did." and told the whole story on asking how did he learn that archery. Guru Jee said - "When you have learnt archery from me then you have to give me Guru Dakshinaa too." Eklavya said - "Sure, It is sure that I have learnt archery from you only. Ask Guru Jee whatever your want in Guru Dakshinaa. There is  nothing in this world which I cannot give to you." Dronaachaarya foresaw the seed of a  better archer in Eklavya than Arjun, and he had already declared that Arjun would be the best archer of the world, so it became necessary to uproot that seed. He said - "Give me your right hand thumb." All Kaurav and Paandav stood wondering "what Guru has asked from" but Eklavya didn't take even a moment. He picked up a knife, cut his right hand thumb and kept near his Guru's feet. This was Eklavya's Guru Dakshinaa.

Kaurav and Paandav's Guru Dakshinaa
When Kaurav and Paandav had finished their education, the time came to pay Guru Dakshinaa to their Guru Dronaachaarya. Drone had been nurturing an enmity towards Drupad from the day he could not afford even some milk for his son Ashwatthaamaa. They were educated under the same Guru. They were very fast friends. At that time Drupad used to say whatever is mine, its half is yours. Drone kept it in his mind. After they finished their education, Drupad became the king of Paanchaal kingdom and Drone started his own life. He could not get enough money to survive. He told his wife that he was going to bring a cow for Ashwatthaamaa's milk and till he will not get a cow he wouldn't come back home.

At the same time he heard that Parashuraam Jee was donating his everything, so he went to him, but when he met him, he came to know that he had already donated everything, even this Prithvi, and he did not have anything to give to him. He had only some weapons and warfare techniques, which if he wished to learn, he could teach him. So he lived with him for some time and learnt some unusual weapons and war techniques. But this could not buy him food. So he remembered his friend Drupad and went to him and said - "When we were in Gurukul, you told me that whatever was yours its half was mine, so today I have come to take only one cow from that half share of mine." But Drupad told him that all those things were only childhood talks and he could not be a friend of his at any cost. Drone came back with a sharp thorn in his heart.

When he was coming back, he heard that Bheeshm was looking for a Guru for their grandchildren - Kaurav and Paandav. So he set off towards Hastinaapur. On the he saw Kaurav and Paandav playing ball. Their ball fell in a dry wall and they were unable to take it out. Drone saw this and asked them what was the matter. They told him about the fallen ball in the well and their inability to take it out. Drone said - "If you cannot take out a small ball out of the well, how will you manage a kingdom?" Arjun asked - "Can you take it out?" "Yes" and Drone took it out within no time. Not only ball, but he took out Yudhishthir's ring also from the well. All were surprised to see this. Arjun asked him what was his name, Drone replied "tell this incident and they will understand". When Arjun reported this to Bheeshm. Bheeshm understood that it was Drone and appointed him as the Guru of Kaurav and Paandav. Drone waited for the day when his army will be prepared to defeat Drupad.

So when the time came to take Guru Dakshinaa, he asked both Kaurav and Paandav to bring Drupad tied with a rope behind their chariot. First kaurav went but the came back without Drupad. Then went Paandav and they brought Drupad tied with a rope behind their chariot. Tus Paandav paid their Guru Dakshhinaa, but Kaurav's education remained incomplete as they could not pay their Guru Dakshinaa.

To be continued......

Sushma Gupta

Monday, November 28, 2011

Self Evaluation

In response to a recent blog I read, about the self evaluation, I would like to say that self evaluation is certainly good for self  improvement. In fact, we come to know about  many things about ourselves which even we are not even aware of and we get hoked to know as what we have been doing so far. Through the process of this evaluation, we come to know about our shortcomings/ drawbacks and work out the strategies to make corrections ( the concept of coulda , shoulda , woulda ) to overcome those shortcomings .

It is not easy to find faults in oneself. Why? Because everybody is right in his own ways. No one likes to agree that a particular behavior of his is wrong. Why? He has a reason for it. If he had known that his particular behavior was wrong, why he would have done it? It means that in those particular, circumstances, his behavior was right according to his own thinking and judgment (or say intelligence or wisdom). So it becomes difficult to find the fault with the self?

Everybody has a different level of thinking, understanding, and intelligence. And everybody does his all actions according to them only. So if somebody's thinking or understanding is different then his actions will also be different, but still there are some normal behaviors which people expect from others at a certain occasion. If any behavior is different from it, then it looks odd, and therefore it should be corrected through education and training. Various societies have their different values and those values must be taught from the childhood and should be modified at time to time according to changing environments of the individual.

Although it is not easy to perform self evaluation, but still one can try on the following line ---

How to Perform Self Evaluation
(1) First of all we should make a list of faults and shortcomings of other people, not ours, mind it, (presumably because we ourselves do not have any fault, the faults are only with others, that is why we have to make the list of faults of others, not ours). Then analyze them one by one and find out --Is there anything which I have common with others?"

(2) Am I not following the same kind of actions for which I do not like others. Instead the word hate here I have used the word "like" as "hate" is a hard concept, although we use it very often.

(3)  Do we behave the same way as we expect from the others?

(4) Preaching is easy, following is difficult. Many times people find excuse of their different circumstances from others to behave in a certain manner. It might be possible, but not always. So one must think over that whatever we preach others, have we been follow the same?

(5) Do we do something different or special for the people, for which people may admire us? Faith and Trust (main requirement of building social capital) are the important qualities of a person. If one could keep oneself faithful to even a few, then certainly he has made a place among those people. And if he has made a place among them, he has won their hearts. That is what you are looking for - to win the hearts - quite difficult thing.

Once you completed the list, you are likely to find that most people behave the same way, including yourself. To identify yourself differently and separately you have to change yourself. Although the change is constant but changing is difficult. If somebody can change a little bit bit, it would be a great achievement. Deviation from our good values according to some specific circumstances is painful.

Now you may perform your self evaluation, and find out the result? Could you do it objectively? This may provide you an opportunity at least to change you behavior at least not to criticize others. You may realize that you have achieved certain quality of not complaining about others, rather respecting others even with their faults - this is known as adjustment, and we need it everywhere, at home, at workplace and among the friends today.

Sushma Gupta

Sunday, November 27, 2011

You May Hate God, But Must Love His Devotees

God is certainly and infinitely merciful when it comes to relation with Him, but not at all merciful if you behave ill towards His Bhakt (devotes). Throughout Indian epics, Puraan, wherever anyone had sustained enmity towards God, he has been rewarded in proportion to how much he had remembered God. God being all love and merciful, does not discriminate against you, even if you remember him even with hatred. So we see instances of Raavan, Kans, Shishupaal etc who were killed by God Himself to grant them Mukti as a fruit of their constant remembrance of God.

On the other hand, if someone troubles God's devotees or God's beloved, God punishes him in the most severe manner. This we see in Kaurav, Karn, Ashwatthaamaa and others who hated Paandav, who were Krishn's devotees, they all  were punished or killed in various manners, but none was killed by the Lord Himself. Only Bheeshm, who was fighting from the side of Kaurav and did not hate Krishn or His devotees (the Paandav) was given an opportunity to be killed by the Lord when He raised his Sudarshan Chakra to kill him, although He did not kill him because it was not in His plan, (it was against His own vow. For God protecting the vow of his devotee, like Arjun, was more important than protecting his own vow made in any incarnation. But, Bheeshm's ego of being a warrior was so great in comparison to the force with which Krishn broke His vow. Also Krishn might have had a purpose behind not killing Bheeshm at that time as he became instrumental in teaching Dharm to Yudhishthir and others after the war was over.

There is another example of how God punished the enemies of His devotees - Lord Vishnu's disc followed Rishi Durvaasaa to kill him because the Rishi had cursed the Lord's devotee, the King Ambareesh, who was observing Ekaadashee Vrat in devotion to Lord Visnhu.

I am sure if you dig into Indian epics and even later history of various saints, you will find similar examples. Moral of the story - hate the Lord by all your means, but as long as you remember God because even by hating Him also you remember Him, you will benefit - but never hate or trouble his devotees in whatever form.

There are other examples of hatred towards Vishnu - of Jaya and Vijaya, the two doorkeepers of Vaikunth, who when cursed by Sanakaadi Muni did not want to live without Vishnu for long time. Given an option that 'whether they wanted to live as His Bhakt for 7 lives or as enemy for 3 lives, they opted for 3 lives as enemy. Hiranyakashyap, Raavan and Shishupaal, all three hated Vishnu like anything, and all of them were killed  by Vishnu Himself to give them good Gati, whhile the enemies of His Bhakt were not touched by Him.

So you may hate the God as much as you like, God Himself has to punish you; but never hate His Bhakt, He will never spare you for that.

Sushma Gupta

Saturday, November 26, 2011

How Vishnu Helped Shiv

In the last blog we wrote that both Shiv and Vishnu worship each other. Shiv has helped Vishnu and Vishnu has saved Shiv. Today we will write about how Vishnu saved Shiv several times. Shiv is called Bhole Baabaa and in this Bholaapan (innocence) he gives odd types of boons which many times are used against him. Here are some of them and the how Vishnu saved him from his own given odd boons..

(1) Vrikaasur
Vrikaasur was a very mighty Daitya. Once wandering around, he met Naarad Jee. He asked him who was the Devtaa who could be pleased the soonest. Naarad Jee said - "Shiv Jee." So he did Tap to please Shiv Jee and got a boon from him that "On whosoever's head I put my hand, he should die immediately." Shiv Jee bestowed the boon. Vrikaasur was very evil-minded, he desired to have Paarvatee Jee. For this had to kill Shhiv Jee first, so as he got the boon he tried to put his hand on Shiv's head. Shiv Jee guessed it so he ran away from there. Now Shiv Jee was in front and Vrikaasur was behind him. He headed towards the end of the Prithvi, towards Swarg but found Vrikaasur still following him. He turned towards North. Even the great Devtaa could not find the solution of his problem. In the end he came to Vaikunth Lok. There lives Vishnu Himself.

Vishnu found Shiv in trouble, so He assumed the form of Mohinee and sat in the way from where Vrikaasur was coming. Following Shiv Vrikaasur saw a beautiful woman standing. he paused briefly seeing her, that Mohinee asked him - "Where are going running so fast, take some rest." Vrikaasur said - "I have to catch Shiv." "tell me if I can do anything for you?" Vrikaasur stopped for a while and told her whatever happened between Shiv and him. Mohinee asked - "So you want to put your hand on Shiv's head? No need to run after him. I teach you how to do it." Saying this she asked him to copy her so that she could teach him the way to put his hand on his head. Mohinee started dancing and asked him to copy her. While dancing Mohinee kept her own hand on her head, so Vrikaasur also did it the same way, and as soon as he did it, he got killed.

Shiv thanked Vishnu to save his life.

(2) Gajamukhaasur
Once there was an Asur, Gajamukhaasur. He did a severe austerities for Shiv Jee and got a boon from him that Shiv should live in his stomach. Shiv could not say "no" to him and entered in his stomach. Now Paarvatee Jee did not see Shiv Jee for some time, so she went to Vishnu and told her problem. Vishnu assured her that He would surely find him soon. So He took along Nandee and came out in the form of a flutist in search of Shiv Jee. They started wandering in search of Shiv Jee.

Wandering around He came to the Asur's house and started playing His flute while Nandee started dancing on His tune. All living nearby came out to see this strange and funny dance. That Asur also came out. That Asur was so happy to see that dance that he asked Vishnu to ask whatever He wanted without knowing Him who He was. Vishnu got this opportunity and asked that he should free Shiv Jee. When Shiv Jee came out of his belly, his belly burst out, the Asur died and Shiv Jee got free.

It was then Shiv Jee promised Vishnu that he would serve Vishnu in one of His future Avataar and will help Him the same way as He did for him now. So when Vishnu incarnated as Raam, Shiv sent his one of the 11 forms as Hanumaan to help Him and protect Him. Thus Vishnu freed Shiv from that Asur's clutches.

(3) Killing of Bhasmaasur
This story is similar to Vrikaasur's story given above. Bhasmaasur was another such Daitya who was killed by Vishnu. Once Bhasmaasur did severe penance and pleased Shiv Jee. Shiv Jee appeared before him and asked him what he wanted. Bhasmaasur desired that his mere touching somebody's head should reduce the person to ashes. Shiv Jee conferred him the boon. Now Bhasmaasur wanted to test it. Who else was better candidate than Shiv himself for this test? so he proceeded towards Shiv Jee. Shiv Jee guessed it in time so he took to flight. He went in all Lok but he found Bhasmaasur following him, so he proceeded towards Vaikunth Lok.

When Vishnu saw Shiv Jee running like this, He understood that Shiv is in trouble. In order to save him from that predicament, Vishnu appeared as a voluptuous damsel (Mohinee) before the pursuing Asur and enticed him. He became amorous seeing the damsel and made advances to her. Vishnu said - "You are smelling very badly, go  to that spring and rub your body with water. When you become clean, then you can embrace me." As he was taking bath under the spring, his hand touched his body, and eventually his head to in order to clean his head. As soon as he touched his head, he fell down in a heap of ashes. That is how Vishnu saved Shiv Jee. He asked Shiv Jee - "Why do you grant such boon that you have to run all around to save yourself?"

Read also  Shiv Fights Vishnu

Sushma Gupta

Friday, November 25, 2011

Do You Know?

I will give you here a few pieces of not too well known information which is interesting to know but not found easily.

1. How many years did Hiranyakashyap live for?
--Hiranyakashyap lived for 10 million years by the boon of Shiv Jee.

2. Everybody knows that Vishnu holds Sudarshan Chakra in His one hand. Do you know who gave it to Him and why was it named as Sudarshan?
--That Chakra (Discus) was given to Him by Shiv after killing a Daitya and named it as Sudarshan because of its blazing energy nobody could even look at it except Shiv.

3. Everybody knows that Vishnu worships Shiv and Shiv cannot live without Vishnu. What Vishnu has done to worship is even difficult to imagine --
--When Raam was building the bridge to cross the sea to go to Lankaa, he desired to worship Shiv there. He wanted to worship him with 1000 lotus flowers. So He asked His Vaanar to bring 1000 flowers. They brought them and Raam started worshiping Shiv. Shiv thought to play a prank on Him, so he stole one flower out of those 1000 flowers. When Raam counted them they were 999. If he ordered to bring one flower more, it could have been late. He thought what to do. He thought "people say that my eyes are like lotus, so let me complete this number by adding my one eye." So as He wanted to take his eye to add to flowers, Shiv appeared there and brought that missing flower and blessed Him.

4. Do you know how Raam went to His Lok (Dhaam)? What made Him to go from here - Prithvi?
--One day Kaal (Time) came and delivered the message of Brahmaa Jee that His time on Prithvi was now over, so He should come back to His Lok. Raam, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughn settled their sons in their kingdoms and all took Jal Samaadhi in Sarayoo River. Many other people who came with Him (took birth only for His work) also went with Him. Whatever creation was created for Raam, everybody went with Raam's going to Swarg. Thus when He went to His Lok the whole Ayodhyaa went with Him.

5. When Vishnu and Shiv are so much cooperative to each other, can you imagine of any occasion when they fought with each other? There is one occasion when they fought with each other, read it here --
--You must have read or heard the love story of Ushaa and Aniruddh. Ushaa was the daughter of Daitya Raaj Baanaasur and Aniruddh was the grandson of Krishn. Ushaa saw Aniruddh in her dream and succeeded in getting him in her palace. When he was found missing in his palace, Krishn came to know that he was in Baanaasur's palace. So Krishn and Pradyumn invaded Baanaasur's city. Now Baanaasur's city was guarded by Shiv, so when Krishn came to fight, Shiv had to come to protect Baanaasur. At that time both fought. In the end Shiv got defeated and asked Krishn to spare his devotee Baanaasur. Krishn said - "Do not worry, I was not going to kill him anyway, because I have already bestowed the boon to Prahlaad that I will not kill anybody in your family."

6. In ancient time kings used to have many queens, but how many, 2, 4, 10, 100, how many? --
--Yuvanaashwa, Maandhaataa's father, had 100 wives
--Dasharath had 350 queens.
--Krishn had 16,108 queens. His all queens had separate palace for herself and Krishn lived with all of them together, that is how no queen ever felt His absence. In fact He married 16,100 princesses together also.

7. Can you believe that a Rishi also had many wives? You will say, one is all right, but what is the need for many wives to a Rishi? But yes, he had many wives. Who was he? What was his name?
--His name was Saubhari Rishi and he married Maandhaataa's 50 daughters for whom he built 50 palatial houses. Like Krishn he also lived with all of them together and that is why each princess used to think that her sister must be jealous with her that "Rishi lives with her only and he does not come to me".

8. Any idea how old was Dasharath when his four sons, Raam, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughn were born to him?
--60,000 years

9. Can any girl marry a boy who has only one year left of his age? You will immediately say, "What, is she a fool or insane?" But there was a girl who married such a boy and brought him back from the claws of Death. And not only she brought her husband back but she brought luck to her in-law's house and parents' house. Who was she?
--She was Saavitree, and she chose Satyavaan as her husband. Later Naarad Jee told her that the boy had only one year to live, better she should choose some other boy", but she said - "Once an Indian girl has chosen her husband, she has chosen, she does not change it. I will marry Satyavaan only, otherwise I will never marry."

10. Can you guess what might be reason for Vishnu to incarnate 10 times? Did He like it Himself or somebody asked Him to incarnate?
--In fact He was cursed by Maharshi Bhrigu that he should incarnate 10 times, and that is why He keeps coming. He has already come nine times, the last one, Kalki Avataar, is yet to come.

Sushma Gupta

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hindu's Ten Commandments

It is not that only Jews have their 10 Commandments, Hindu also have their 10 Commandments. What are those 10 Commandments and who gave them? Bheeshm gave them in Mahaabhaarat, Anushaasan Parv, Chapter 13. Yudhishthir asked Bheeshm - "Pitaamaha, What a man should do to pass his life comfortably in this world and in the other world? What conduct he should adopt and what practices he should follow so that he can live pleasantly?"

Bheeshm replied - "One should avoid three physical actions; four speech actions and three mind actions - these are the ten paths of action one should never ever take.

The three physical actions to be avoided at all are - 
(1) Hinsaa (violence) - never kill other creatures;
(2) Theft - never steal others property
(3) Adultery - never enjoy with other women than your own wife.

The four speech actions which should never be even thought of are -
(1) Evil conversation - never talk bad about anybody
(2) Harsh words - never speak such words that one feels bad
(3) Pointing other people's faults - never point out other people's faults
(4) Lying - never lie

The three actions performed by mind to be avoided are -
(1) To wish for others property - contentment with mind that you never ever think about others things
(2) To do injury to others - follow compassion for all creatures
(3) Disbelief in the words of Ved - that all actions whether good or bad bear fruits

In short, one should never do any evil by mind, speech and action (Manasaa, Vaachaa and Karmanaa), because by doing good or evil actions, one is sure to enjoy their fruits, there is no doubt about it.

Sushma Gupta

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Physical Transformation in Hindu Scriptures

There are many stories of physical transformation in our Hindu scriptures, some of them are given here.

Story of Apaalaa
Apaalaa of the Rig Ved. Apaalaa's story comes in the form of a verse composed at least 4,000 years ago by the most conservative estimates. The story goes like this that Apaalaa was not a very pretty woman. She was even rejected by her husband on the basis of her ugliness. She had coarse and ugly skin, a skin disease perhaps. One day, while walking in the woods, she picked up a plant and chewed on it. She did not know that it was the magical Som plant whose juice is very much liked by Devtaa (semi-gods). The extraction of its juice between her teeth caught the attention of Indra, king of the gods, who loves Som juice. So he appeared before her and offered her a boon. She asked him "Make me beautiful.". So, Indra pulled her through the hole of his chariot wheel three times causing her coarse skin to slough and she emerged radiant and beautiful, with very soft skin and a great beauty. Her sloughed skin turned into a hedgehog, an alligator and a chameleon, which is why they have coarse skin.

Story of Kaalee
Similar stories of physical transformation occur in Pauraanik stories that were written almost 3,000 years after the Rig Ved. In one story, Shiv laughs at Shakti because she is dark or Kaalee. So the goddess bathes in the river Yamunaa and emerges radiant, and comes to be known as Gauree, the fair one. The river acquires the dark complexion of the goddess and so comes to be known as Kaalindee. Later she became the wife of Krishn.

Story of Maharshi Chyavan
Another ancient story I can remember of Maharshi Chyavan. In  those days Raajaa Sharyaati used to rule the Earth. Once he came for hunting and camped in a forest. Near their camp was the hermitage of Maharshi Chyavan. At that time he was in Samaadhi state. Since he was sitting their for long time many ants made their house (anthill) around his body. Only two holes were there at the place of his eyes. Sharyaati has beautiful daughter Sukanyaa who came there with her friends wandering in the forest. Her friends went here and there, she remained alone and she saw an anthill in the forest. She got curious and came near the anthill. She did not know what was in the anthill. She saw two holes in it. Curiosity sake she peeped in those holes and found something shining inside. She took a straw and put it in those holes. Rishi's eyes were pierced and blood oozed out of those holes. She got frightened and came back to her camp. Later she had to pay a heavy price for this act - she had to marry that blind old Rishi.

Considering her fate she served him well for some time. later Ashwinee Kumaar, pleased with her devotion to her husband, helped her in regaining his eyes and youth. They asked him to take a dip in a tank and as he rose from the water, he became young and handsome and could see. Read his full story at Maharshi Chyavan.

Story of Maharshi Saubhari
This Maharshi transformed himself into a young handsome youth to marry Raajaa Maandhaataa's daughter. When Saubhari asked Maandhaataa to marry one of his 50 daughters, seeing his old age, the King said - "We give equal right to our daughters, so if any of them will like you, I will marry her to you." The King sent him to his daughters' palace with guards and asked them to bring the news. Saubhari Rishi got agreed and went to the princesses' palace. After reaching there he transformed himself into a handsome youth and met all of them. Now all princesses wanted to marry him. The guards informed the King this amazing news. Maandhaataa got very sad to hear this, but had to marry all of them to him. Since he was not satisfied with the Rishi and loved his daughters very much, later he went to see his daughters with his queen.

Seeing 50 gracious palaces in the hermitage of the Rishi, he thought that he had come to a wrong place, that one of his daughters came out from one of those palaces and called him, "Father". They went to her and asked her whether she was happy with the  Muni. She praise him a lot and then said - "But I am sad for my sisters, because Muni lives with me only all the time. They must be abusing me that Muni loves me very much and does not go to them at all. I do not know when does he go to them, because he lives with me all the time" Maandhaataa got happy as well sad hearing all this from his daughter.

Then they went to their other daughter expecting to hear that Muni loves only our one sister and never comes to me, but when they went to their other daughter, they heard the same what their first daughter said to them. And even the third daughter said the same. Maandhaataa smiled and greeted Muni in his heart. Of course he went to Muni also to meet him. There he saw a young handsome man, not an old Rishi. He greeted him, thanked him and came back to his city smilingly and satisfied.

Story of Kubjaa
There is a story comes in in the Bhaagavat Puraan. When Balaraam and Krishn go to Mathuraa on the invitation of Kans, wandering over Mathuraa's streets, they find an ugly bent woman Trivikra or Kubjaa. She used to prepare Chandan and other pastes for Kans and that time was taking that paste to Kans' palace. Krishn asked her to give some Chandan paste to Him also. She felt obliged and gave some Chandan paste to Krishn. In return of that Chandan paste, Krishn just touched her chin and lifted it a little that made her back straighten and beautiful.

Story of  Kaaraikal Ammaiyar
While the transformation of ugliness into beauty brings about erotic and household bliss, the transformation of beauty into ugliness is seen as critical for spiritual bliss. This is the story of Karaikal Ammaiyar, a Tamil female saint, who makes herself ugly so that she does not have to contend with the lustful desires of her husband and other men and she can focus on her devotion to Shiv. In the Puraan, Shiv is described as a handsome god, who smears his body with ash so that people realize that more valuable than the body is the soul within the body.

There is a clear shift in attitude towards body from Rig Ved times to the Pauraanik period. In the Rig Ved, the body and its beauty and fertility were celebrated. In later times, this celebration was balanced by a reminder of the mortality of flesh and the limitations of desire.

Sushma Gupta

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Story of Ling Worship

[This is a Pauraanik myth]
Once in the past, when all the Universe had become a single ocean, Brahmaa, Vishnu and Rudra arose from the water. They were alone there at that time, even wise men did not know it. The earth, which had been the domain of former beings, had been destroyed for a piercing wind had arisen and dried up the seven oceans. A single Sun appeared in the east and then a second one in the south, just like the first one, drying up all the waters with his rays and burning all that moved and was still. Then in the west a third Sun arose and in the north a fourth one; and later on eight more Suns arose, and thus there were 12 Suns. [12 Aaditya]

Rudra, the Fire of the Doomsday, arose from the subterranean Hell and filled all the regions out of the sky. The exalted one, as he is known everywhere, burned all of the underworld above and sideways, without exception, and then he went to his dwelling place which he had built before. Then came clouds, rained flooding everywhere and all the regions of the sky with waters. Afterwards, they plunged into the single ocean. There was no earth, no sky, no space, no Heaven. Everything was like a giant cask filled up to the brim.

Then the three eternal Dev came out of the water. The two - Ka (Brahmaa) and Vishnu - bowed to Sarv (Shiv) who blazed with strong energy and said - "You are the Lord of everything, perform creation as you wish." "I will." He said. Then he plunged into the waters and remained immersed for 1,000 celestial years. Then they said to one another - "What will we do without him? How will creation take place?" Hari said to the creator - "Do as I tell you, O Grandfather, let no more time go waste, but make an effort to create progeny, for you are capable of creating various creatures. I will give you my own Shakti (power), so that you will be the creator." So he thought about creating and he creating everything conducive to happiness - Devtaa, Daitya, Gandharv, Yaksh, serpents, men.

When his creation was complete, Shambhoo came out of the water, desirous of creating and thinking about it in his mind. But when he saw the whole sretching above and below with the gods etc, the great Devtaa's heart filled with anger and he thought, "What shall I do now? Brahmaa must have created everything, I will therefore destroy, cutting off my own seed." As he had said this, a flame came out of his mouth and it burned everything.

When Brahmaa saw this, that everything was on fire, he bowed to him and praised him. Shankar got pleased by the praise and told him, "I am Shankar, I will always accomplish everything that is to be done for anyone who seeks refuge with me. Now tell me what should I do with that excess energy which I gathered to destroy you creation. Tell me your desire." Hearing this Brahmaa Jee thought for a while carefully for the welfare of the world, and said - "O Lord. If you are pleased with me, let your energy enter the Sun, since you are the Lord over the Sun, for you are the creator, protector and destroyer. Let us live together with all the immortals in the energy of the Sun, and we will receive the sacred image of the three times (past, present and future) that was given by mankind. Then, at the end of the eon, you take the form of the Sun and burn this Universe at that time."

Shankar agreed to this and laughed, for he was secretly amused, and he said to Brahmaa, "There is no good use for this Ling except for the creation of progeny." And as he said this, he broke it off and threw it upon the surface of the earth. The Ling broke through the earth and went to the very sky. Vishnu sought the end of it below, and Brahmaa flew upwards, but both could not find the end of it for all their vital effort. Then a voice arose out of the sky as the two of them sat, "If the Ling of the god with braided hair is worshiped, it will certainly grant all desires that are longed for in the heart." When Brahmaa and Vishnu heard this, they and all the Divinities worshiped the Ling with their heart set on Rudra.

Sushma Gupta

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dharm and Lakshmee Live Together

It is an interesting story--

Once Vishnu and Lakshmee had an argument about "who was greater" between them. Vishnu said that I am greater as wherever I live, the person does not know you; while Lakshmee's logic was that wherever You live, I also live there and then Vishnu is no more important to him. Now how to decide it? So they decided to test this....

Vishnu Comes to the King
There was a king who was living very peacefully in his kingdom and was ruling his kingdom in a very justified way. So first Vishnu went to him assuming the form of a Sanyaasee. The King welcomed Him and said to Him - "Please, welcome. We needed a Sanyaasee to live in our company. It is good that you have come here. Please live with us." Vishnu said - "I need a place to live." King was king, he did not have any shortage of anything, so within no time a place got ready for the Sanyaasee. Vishnu Jee started living there and the King started having Satsang, preachings, discussion on Ved and Mantra etc with Him. The days were passing in great peace and earning knowledge. The King was very happy with this environment. Raajya Lakshmee (the treasury of the kingdom) got converted into happiness and the kingdom became very peaceful.

Lakshmee Comes to the King
After a while Lakshmee came there assuming the form of a female beggar and said to the King - "Bhikshaam Dehi" (give me alms). The King thought, "She is a Mother, maybe She is hungry, so he arranged many kinds of food for Her. The Mother took out five golden pots from Her bag and said to the King - "Please put your food in these pots." The King got very surprised to see that a beggar had five golden pots to eat from. He said - "Brahme Vaachapprahee Lokaam, Hey Maataa, Bhojanam Mam Brahme". She ate Her food and said to the King - "Now you can take these pots, because I do  not take food from the same pots twice." Hearing this the King was very much astonished. The King thought, "If she stays here for even a few days I will be very rich." He sent those golden pots inside his palace. Now She daily took food there and every time She gave 5 golden pots to the King. King was very happy.

When Lakshmee noticed that now the King has moved from his Dharm (it means that he moved from Vishnu too), one day She declared that now She wanted to go somewhere else. Hearing this the King became restless and said to Her sadly - "Where do you go, Maataa? Are you not happy here? Don't you get good food here? Do you need something else."

Lakshmee said - "No Its not like that, but I have my principles. Till you have that Sanyaasee in your Vaatikaa (garden), I cannot live here." The King could not think of Her relationship with Sanyaasee, still he said politely - "He is my honorable Guru. He educates me, I am His disciple. I cannot do this to Him." Lakshmee announced Her judgment - "Then I cannot live here." The King said - "Please, think of some way to stay back here." At this Lakshmee said - "Yes, There is way. If you do not go to him, nor you send Him food, He Himself will go away." The King was so much blind with wealth that he accepted Lakshmee's conditions and he did the same as Lakshmee told him. He stopped going to Sanyaasee and sending Him food too. After a while Vishnu left the place. Lakshmee continued to give golden pots to the King for some time.

Lakshmee Wants to Leave the King
After some time Lakshmee asked the King his permission to go away from there, that She wanted to go away. The King got very surprised to hear this, he again asked - "Now what happened, Maa? Why do you want to go away now? As you said I sent that Sanyaasee also from here and now you are also going away leaving me. This will be a curse for me." Lakshmee said - "No, O King, Now I cannot live here. He was my husband Vishnu. Wherever the husband lives, his wife also lives there. You have not given food to my husband, that is not Dharm. My husband is Dharm in person. You have insulted Dharm. Lakshmee is the wife of Dharm, so Lakshmee should be used properly." Saying this Lakshmee left the King's place. Surprisingly enough the golden pots which Lakshmee gave to the King got converted into worldly metal pots, as if they were never made of divine gold.

The King sat at in disappointment at the same place lowering his head, he said to himself - "What a great sin I have committed. I have sent that great Sanyaasee from my place and now my whole kingdom is also destroyed. What do I do now?"

Thus Lakshmee lives in his feet who knows his Self (Lakshmeem Brahm: Vaacho:); and if "Lakshmeem Brahme Vrataa:"; who does not worship Lakshmee (worship means "appropriate use") he loses Lakshmee. And who uses his wealth with Dharm, Lakshmee lives only in his house. And what is the appropriate use of wealth? Performing Yagya for Devtaa, performing good action through it. Whenever a person misuses it, he gets destroyed. When the Dharm is disregarded, then only the person starts misusing Lakshmee. Thus only Dharm is the protector of human being because if the person follows Dharm, he is wealthy, and if he has wealth, he can perform many good actions, and if he performs good actions, he attains meritorious regions after his death.

Sushma Gupta

Thursday, November 10, 2011

God's Rosebud

Today I read this story and although it is written in a Christian environment, I thought, how true it is in relation to our Hindu philosophy too, that God has written our fate and only He knows it what is in it, if we want to know it we will surely mess up with it. As the time passes, a single leaf opens up and shows us what is ahead in our lives.

One day a new minister was walking with an old and more seasoned minister in the garden. Feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was asking the older preacher for some advice. The older preacher walked up to a rosebush and handed over a rosebud to the young preacher and told him to open it without tearing off any petals. The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what this rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the will of God for his life and ministry. But because of his great respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to try to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact. It wasn't long before he realized
how impossible this was to do.

Noticing the younger preacher's inability to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the older preacher began to recite the following poem to him ...

"It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God's design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.

"The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so easily,
But in my hands they die.

"If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God's design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?"

"So I'll trust in God for leading
Each moment of my day.
I will look to God for guidance
In each step along the way."

"The path that lies before me,
Only my Lord and the Almighty knows.
I'll trust God to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose."

you enjoy reading the poem being reminded to let go.... and let God unfold your life.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Day Vishnu Got Attached

Hindu have many gods - 33 Crore gods, but 33 are well known - 12 Aaditya, 11 Rudra, 8 Vasu and 2 Ashwinee Kumaar. Still among these 33 gods there is group of three Devtaa who are even higher then them, they are Brahmaa (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver) and Shiv (the Destroyer). Among these three gods, Vishnu is believed to be detached from anything and everything. When He came on Earth as Krishn, he has declared this in His Geetaa too.

Now would you believe that once He also got attached? With whom? With a woman. What, with a woman? Yes, with a woman. Oh no, Who was that lucky woman? Let us read the story of that lucky woman to whom Vishnu got attached.

Once Indra and Brihaspati Jee were going to Kailaash Mountain to see Shiv Jee. As Shiv Jee saw them coming to him, he thought to test Indra's devotion to him, so he assumed the form of a hermit and sat in their way. When Indra saw him sitting like this, he asked him that who was he and what he was doing there, but Shiv didn't speak anything. Indra asked him several times but he did not speak anything. Indra got angry and he picked up his Vajra (thunderbolt) to hit him, that Shiv froze his hand with his Yaugik powers. Brihaspati Jee recognized Shiv and asked for his forgiveness. Shiv Jee got pleased and he redirected his angry look towards ocean. Indra and Brihaspati Jee went to their Lok after meeting him. BUT that angry sight which Shiv redirected towards ocean produced a child. He was born at the spot where Gangaa meets ocean.

The child started crying and that cry was so terrible that Devtaa had to go to Brahmaa Jee to do something about the child. Brahmaa Jee went to ocean. The ocean put that child in Brahmaa's lap and asked to name him and to tell him about his future. In the meantime the child pressed Brahmaa's neck so hard that tears rolled down from his eyes. Brahmaa Jee named him Jalandhar, and said that he would be a very mighty king of Asur and went away. Ocean brought him up with great care. Later Daitya Guru Shukraachaarya appointed him as the king of Asur, and asked the ocean to marry him to Kaalnemi's daughter Tulasee. Tulasee was a very pious girl, so because of her faithfulness and piety Jalandhar became invincible.

When Jalandhar saw Raahu without head, he became very perplexed and asked his Guru of its reason. Shukra told him the story of Saagar Manthan (churning of the Sea). Jalandhar got very angry hearing the story. He concluded from the story that  Devtaa stole the Amrit and jewels which appeared from the Saagar and thus insulted Daitya. So he sent a Daitya to Indra to hand him over all the gems which came out from the Saagar. When that messenger arrived in Indra's court and told the message of Jalandhar. Indra clearly refused to give anything to Jalandhar. At this Jalandhar invaded Devtaa under the commandership of Shumbh and Nishumbh. Devtaa got defeated and hid in Mount Sumeru caves. Then they went to Vishnu to ask for His help.

Vishnu set out to fight with Jalandhar.  As He was going, Lakshmee Jee requested Him not to kill Jalandhar, as he was Her brother - because both were born from the Sea. Both fought with no result. Then Vishnu told him about their relationship, so he invited Vishnu and Lakshmee to stay in his house. Meanwhile he confiscated all the wealth of Devtaa and became the ruler of Three Lok.

Jalandhar Fights With Shiv
Seeing Jalandhar the ruler of Trilok, Naarad Jee came to pay him a courtesy visit. Naarad Jee admired his city and kingdom very much, more than Kailaash, but one thing and that was Paarvatee. He told him that Paarvatee should be with him only. Jalandhar found a truth in Naarad's statement so he sent Raahu to Kailaash to tell Shiv Jee that he should hand over Paarvatee to him. As Raahu delivered his message to Shiv Jee, Shiv Jee produced a terrible human being from his eye brows. Raahu got frightened and asked Shiv's pardon as he was only the messenger of Jalandhar.

Shiv then called for Vishnu that why He had not killed Jalandhar till then, and why he lived with Jalandhar? Vishnu explained the birth of Jalandhar to Shiv and told him that only Shiv could kill him. He also told him that Jalandhar was invincible because of his wife's loyalty to him. On the other side Jalandhar was very angry at Shiv Jee as he did not give Paarvatee to him and threatened to his messenger also, so he organized his army and set off to invade Kailaash.

There was a great war. Whoever Daitya were killed Shukraachaarya brought them to life, so Shiv Jee produced a terrible woman who abducted Shukraachaaraya. Daitya got worried and retreated. Seeing this Jalandhar played another trick. he produced many Gandharv and Apsaraa who started dancing before Shiv Jee. Shiv Jee pardoned Jalandhar and he himself started dancing with them. Jalandhar wanted the same thing. He got the opportunity and he ran towards Paarvatee Jee to take her, but Paaravatee Jee disappeared and called Vishnu and expressed her anger to Him.

Vishnu and Tulasee
Here Tulasee was very much worried about Jalandhar, she went out in search of Jalandhar. When she was searching for him, Vishnu assumed the form of Jalandhar, met her and stayed with Tulasee. She regarded him as her husband, but soon she realized that this Jalandhar was free from bad habits. She knew that she was deceived by Vishnu so she cursed Him to change into a black stone and stay at her feet always. Vishnu accepted the curse, but asked her why, as a wife, she did not stop her husband to do all these atrocities. Tulasee accepted her mistake and in sheer guilt she died and fell on the feet of Paarvatee Jee.

After Tulasee's death Jalandhar attacked Shiv. Shiv inserted his big toe into the ocean and started to churn its waters. This created a terrible weapon, Sudarshan Chakra. Jalandhar fought with that Chakra also, but the Chakra cut his neck immediately. Shiv sent his blood and flesh to Yam Raaj and Yam Raaj created Mahaa Raurav Hell with their help. Jalandhar's soul was united with Shiv Jee.

But after Vrindaa's death, Vishnu got very sad. He took the ashes from her pyre and applied on HIs body and started wandering here and there - as once Shiv Jee wandered carrying Satee's body in his arms. Seeing the condition of Vishnu, Devtaa got worried about Him, because they had never seen Him like this before. They went to Shiv Jee and reported the incident requesting him to remove Vishnu's false attachment ot Vrindaa's body. Shiv Jee went to Paarvatee and said - "Now you are our only hope. Please help Vishnu." Then Paaravatee Jee took some seeds and with the help of Lakshmee Jee and Saraswate Jee gave them to Devtaa. Devtaa sprinkled them on the pyre of Vrindaa. Three holy plants grew from the pyre of Vrindaa - Tulasee, Aamalaa (Indian Gooseberry) and Maalatee. All the three are very dear to Vishnu.

That is how Vishnu's attachment was removed by Paarvatee Jee.

By Sushma Gupta

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Some of Our Early Vaidik Women

The Hindu Vaidik texts mention a number of women who were respected even by men. Some of them are given here.

1. Gaargee
Gaargee is the most famous Vaidik woman who enjoyed equality and respect from man's society. She was the daughter of a wise man Vaachaknu and was one of the nine gems (Nava Ratn) in Raajaa Janak's court. She never married. She has composed several hymn that question the origin of all things.

Once Raajaa Janak organized a world's first conference on philosophy and put a prize of 10,000 cows and 1,000 gold coins for the winner. Then Yaagyavalkya Jee came with his disciples and asked his disciple Somashravaa to drive the cows from the assembly. All other learned Braahman got angry at this as Yaagyavalkya was taking cows without any discussion, how he considered the most learned Braahman among them, so they asked him - "How can you take the cows just like that withiut having discussion with us? Do you think that you are the  most learned Braahman among us?' Yaagyavalkya answered - "Yes, I am taking these cows because I am sure that I am the most learned Braahman among you all." But then they sopped him and compelled him to have discussion with them. He did that and satisfied them all.

When all got defeated, Raajaa Janak said - "You cannot go without having a discussion with Gaargee." Yaagyavalkya agreed and got ready to talk to her. Gaargee asked him many tough questions, but Yaagyavalkya satisfied her. In the end he had to say to her - "Do not ask too many questions lest thy head falls off." And Gaargee accepted her defeat and praised Yaagyavalkya a lot saying - "None among you can defeat him in argument concerning Brahm." and became silent. Their dialogs is the part of Brihadaaranyak Upanishad. A part of it may be read here.

2. Lopaamudraa
Lopaamudraa was the wife of Muni Agastya. It is said that when Muni Agastya wanted to marry he could not find a girl according to his choice, so he selected the best from Brahmaa's creation and created a girl for himself. He kept her in a king's palace. There she grew up. When she had grown up in a fine young woman. he went to him to ask the hand of his daughter. Although the king was unwilling to do it but he had to do it. So Lopaamudraa got married to Agastya Muni. She is well known for giving us Lalitaa Sahstra Naam.

The Rig Ved includes a long discussion between Muni Agastya and Lopaamudraa that shows the great intelligence and virtue of Lopaamudraa (see  Rig Ved, Book 1, Hymn 179)

3. Ghoshaa
Ghoshaa was the granddaughter of Deerghtamaa, and daughter of Kakshivat. Both, father and daughter, have composed prayers for Ashwinee Kumaar - the Heavenly twins of Soorya Dev and gods' physicians. Ghoshaa has written two entire hymns in the 10th Book of Rig Ved, Hymns 39 and 40, each containing 14 verses. The first one eulogizes Ashwinee Kumaar, and the second one is a personal wish expressing her intimate feelings and desires for married life.

4. Maitreyee
Maitreyee is another woman philosopher of India. She lived at about the same time when Gaargee was living. She was the second wife of Yaagyavalkya. The first one was Kaatyaayanee, the daughter of Bhrardwaaj Muni and was an ordinary woman; while Maitryee was a learned woman and Brahm-vaadinee (knower of Brahm). According to legend, she did  ot want to marry Yaagyavalkya but she wanted to live with as his disciple and as a spiritual companion to do Saadhanaa. So she went to Yaagyavalkya's wife and asked her permission to live with her husband. She permitted her so she lived with him as his companion and became the member of household.

Rig Ved's about 10 hymns go to her credit. She has contributed towards the enhancement of her sage husband Yaagyavalkya's personality and the flowering of his spiritual thoughts. One day when the sage decided to make a choice between the forest and his two wives, he asked his wives their wishes. The learned Maitreyee asked if all the wealth could make her immortal. The sage replied simply that the wealth could make her rich nothing else; then she asked him to give her the wealth of immortality. Hearing this Yaagyavalkya got very happy and he imparted the knowledge of soul and the immortality. This is found in the 2nd and 4th chapters of Brihadaaranyak Upanishad.

5. Bhaaratee
Bhaaratee is not the early Vaidik woman, nor she has contributed anything to any Ved, but she was given the honor to be the judge of the arguments between Mandan Mishra, her husband and Shankaraachaarya. According to Bhavishya Puraan, Mandan Mishra was the incarnation of Brahmaa Jee and Bhaaratee is said to be the incarnation of Saraswatee Jee. She asked Shankar such questions that he had to come back after some time and then only he could satisfy her. She declared Shankar as a winner and then her husband Mandan Mishra became his disciple with the name "Sureshwaraachaarya".

by Sushma Gupta