Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wondrous Births-1

Indian mythology is full of wondrous birth incidents. Science cannot explain such births, one just has to believe on them. All of them cannot be listed here together, so here are listed only some such births.

Maharshi Aurv
There was a king in olden days, named Kritveerya. he was very rich and a good king. When he died his children became king. Once they needed some money. They heard that Bhrigu Vanshee Braahman had lots of money so they went to them to ask for some money as beggars. Seeing this some of them gave some money to them, some hid their money and left their houses, some just ran away. Kshatriya knew this so they started searching their houses. One Kshatriya found a lot of money while digging in a Braahman's house, seeing this all Kshatriya got very angry and they started killing them. Their women started running away from there. One of them was with the child in her thigh. A Braahman woman complained about her running away so they started following her.

While she was running away, and the Kshatriya were following her, the child came out of her thigh. He was shining like a Sun. His shine was so strong that it made all his followers blind. Now they could not see anything, but they understood that it happened because of that woman, so they went to that woman and asked for her forgiveness. They also told her that if they would get their eyesight back they would go back and would never commit such sinful acts. She said - "I am not angry with you or anybody. It is only this child who is angry with you on killing his forefathers. If you please him he might give your eyesight back. I have protected him in my thigh for more than 100 years. He knows  all Ved." So they prayed him, he got pleased and gave their eyesight back. After getting their eyesight back, they went away. Because of being born by tearing the thigh, he was known as Aurv.

Maharshi Jamadagni and Vishwaamitra
This story shows why Vishwaamitra Jee became a Brahmarshi even being a Kshatriya and why Parashuraam Jee became a Kshatriya even being a son of so Gyaanee Braahman. There was a great Rishi named Richeek. His wife's name was Satyavatee who was the daughter of King Gaadhi of Kushik Vansh. After a while both Satyavatee and his mother requested Rishi Richeek to give them a son, so the Rishi prepared two Charu (Kheer) - one for Satyavatee and another for her mother and told this to his wife. Satyavatee's mother thought that Rishi must have prepared better Charu for his wife, so she asked her daughter to give her her own Charu and she gave her own Charu to her daughter.

When Richeek Muni knew this, he said to his wife - "I prepared both Charu separately keeping in mind that since you are a Braahman's wife so you should have a Brahm Gyaanee son and your mother is the wife of a king so she should have a son possessing good Kshatriya qualities. Now since you have exchanged your Charu, now you will have a Kshatriya son and she will have a Brahm Gyaanee son." Hearing this Satyavatee started crying, asked for his forgiveness and said - "I don't need a Kshatriya son, have mercy on me." Richeek Muni said - "All right, Now not your son will be like this but your grandson will be like this."

So Satyavatee gave birth to Maharshi Jamadagni and her mother gave birth to Vishwaamitra Jee who even being born in a Kshatriya family attained the status of Brahmarshi. Jamadagni's son was Parashuraam who in spite of of being born in a Braahman family emptied Prithvi from Kshatriya 21 times and created five tanks filled from their blood which came to be known as Samant Panchak.

Rishi Saaraswat
Saaraswat Rishi was the son of Maharshi Dadheechi. People know him in the reference that his bones were so strong that they were even stronger than any weapon, that is why Indra was advised to ask for his bones to make his Vajra (thunderbolt) to kill Vritraasur Raakshas, because he was not killed by any other weapon. How his bones were so strong, it is because of his Tap (penance).

Once he was performing Tap that Indra, as usual, got worried that Dadheechi would get his kingdom, so he sent Alambooshaa Apsaraa to distract him from his Tap. She got successful in her objective. Seeing her Muni's semen fell in Saraswatee River. As it fell, Saraswatee River kept it in her womb. When the time came she gave birth to a baby boy. She brought it to Rishi and said - "This is your son, please accept him." Dadheechi got very happy to see him. He gave him to her and named him Saaraswat on his mother's name. Later once a severe famine occurred in the country so he then fed the people with the help of Saraswatee.

Maharshi Vashishth, Maharshi Agastya and Dronaachaarya
Originally Vashishth Jee was the brain child of Brahmaa Jee. Once he got angry with the King Nimi, both cursed each other and both left their mortal bodies. Later he was reborn from Mitraavarun and Urvashee Apsaraa.

Once Mitra and Varun were going somewhere that they saw Urvashee Apsaraa. Seeing her their semen fell. They immediately kept it in a pot. And from that pot two Rishi were born - first Vashishth Jee and later Agastya Jee. Both are thus called Kumbhaj - born from a Kumbh (pitcher).

Dronaachaarya was the son of Bharadwaaj Rishi. Drone means a pot. He was named Drone because he was born not from human body but from outside the body, from a pot. Once Bharadwaaj Jee was going to Gangaa River that he saw Ghritaachee Apsaraa who came there to take bath. Seeing her the sage was overcome with a desire to have her so his semen fell, but he collected it in a vessel (called Drone also), so from that fluid was born his son, and since he was born from a vessel, he came to be known as Drone.

There was a great Muni Uddaalak who had two sons - Nachiketaa and Shwetketu. he had a daughter also, named Sujaataa, whom he married to Kahod (or Kahol) - one of his very good disciples. Kahod also used to teach his disciples, so Sujaataa used to sit in their classes for the good of her unborn baby. Once Sujaataa was sitting in Kahod's class and Kahod was reciting some verse that the child from the womb spoke - "This is not the way to recite this verse, O Father." Hearing this Kahod got very angry but remained silent. When it happened 8 times, he could not tolerate his insult anymore and cursed him - "You will be born deformed from eight places of your body." So when the child was born he was crooked from eight places of his body - two feet, two knees, two arms, chest and head, and thus was named as Ashtaavakra.

Satyavatee was the wife of Raajaa Shaantanu. There was a king named Uparichar Vasu. He loved his wife very much. Once she expressed her desire to the king to have a child, but at the same time His Pitri came and asked for some food. So he went to forest to bring some good meat for them. But he remembered his wife, so he gave his seed to an eagle to carry it to his wife. The eagle took it in his beak and flew away. Another eagle saw it carrying something which it mistook as a meat piece so it tried to snatch it from its beak. In this process the semen fell down. Yamunaa river was flowing down, so it fell in the river. Immediately a fish swallowed it. The fish was an Apsaraa named Adrikaa.

A fisherman caught that fish but as he came to know that that fish was carrying he did not kill her and took great care of her. When the time came she gave birth to a twins - one girl and one boy. The fisherman took them to the King and the King recognized them as his own children. He gave the daughter to the fisherman and kept the boy with him. Later he appointed the boy as his Army General. The girl was thus brought up by the fisherman and was named as Satyavatee, but being living in fisherman's community she smelled like a fish so she was known as Matsyagandhaa.

How Kaurav were born? Shaantanu had two sons from Satyavatee - Chitraangad and Vichitraveerya. Unfortunately Chitraangad was killed in a battle with a Gandharv of the same name on a trivial matter even before he was married. Vichitraveerya was married to Ambikaa and Ambaalikee but he also died shortly after his marriage without having any child. Then Satyavatee asked her eldest son Ved Vyaas Jee to produce children from Vichitraveerya's widows. he produced two chldren from them - blind Dhritraashtra and Paandu. Dhritraashtra was married to Gaandhaaree and Paandu was married to Kuntee and Maadree. Dhritraashtra's son were called Kaurav and Paandu's son were called Paandav. Everybody knows that Paandav were the sons of Devtaa, but how Kaurav were born is interesting to know.

Gaandhaaree conceived before Kuntee conceived her first child, and thus was expecting her children before Kuntee's child. But she bore her first pregnancy for 2 years and no child was born to her. She was tired of this. In the meantime she heard that Kunte had given birth to a son, so she got more perturbed. Grieved with her situation, she struck her stomach with a stone and a mass of flesh as hard as an iron ball came out of her womb. As she was about to throw away, Vyaas Jee came there and asked her - "What did you do this?" Gaandhaaree said - "Hearing that Kuntee has a son I filled with grief and I struck my womb with a stone and this ball came out. You said that I would give birth to 100 sons, but this is only a mass of flesh?"

Vyaas Jee said - "You did not believe me that is why you did this. Now you get 100 pots of Ghee immediately and keep them in shady place. In the meantime pour cool water on this iron ball." Gaandhaaree got 100 pots filled of Ghee and poured cool water over the ball. As the cool water was poured on the ball it split into 101 pieces, each  of the size of a thumb. Vyaas Jee kept one piece each in 100 pots and asked Gaandhaaree to open the pots after full 2 years. Gandhaaree's 100 sons and 1 daughter were out of those pots. According to their order of birth, Duryodhan was their eldest son.

Apart from these wondrous births, there are other births also - Raajaa Prithu, Jaraasandh, Shishupaal, Makaradhwaj etc. I will write about them sometime later.

Sushma Gupta

Friday, April 20, 2012

Rishi and Divine Cows

In our mythology there have been a few Rishi who had Divine cows. These Divine cows were from Kaamdhenu family. Here are the names of those Rishi and the incidents related to it. The first three names are of Rishi who had the divine cows, and who entertained a King and his army with that cow. Kings got very jealous with those Rishi and had a kind of war with Rishi. The last two Rishi did not have any cow but had extraordinary powers and Mani (gem). They all could have what they wanted, they all hosted the Kings and three kings out of the four were jealous with Rishi's possession. Perhaps Bharat was not jealous with Bharadwaaj's possession because he was not an ordinary human being, he was the incarnation of Vishnu's Sudarshan Chakra.

(1) Maharshi Vashishth -
Vashishth Jee was the Purohit of Soorya Vansh - Raam's family. He had the Kapilaa cow to serve him for his Yagya and other Rishi's needs. Once King Vishwaamitra came that side while he was on hunting trip. he came to Vashishth Jee's Aashram. Vashishth Jee requested him to accept his hospitality. Vishwaamitra Jee was hesitant to accept it as they were many people and he thought that Rishi is only Rishi, how can he entertain them. But he agreed as Rishi insisted.  Vashishth Jee entertained him and his army with the help of that cow. Vishwaamitra Jee was very impressed with that cow and asked him for her. Vashishth Jee could not give her to him as she fulfilled all his needs. Vishwaamitra Jee's plea was that since he was a king, the cow's utility was more for him than for the Rishi. When Vashishth Jee did not give her to him, he used his force to take her, but the cow produced various kinds of army which pushed Vishwaamitra Jee's army away.

Not only Vishwaamitra Jee, but even the eighth Vasu named Dyau stole his cow. Once all the Vasu went to see Vashishth Jee. Dyau's wife saw the cow and got attracted to her. She asked her husband what were the qualities of that cow. He replied that whoever drank her milk would never become old. Now she had a friend for whom she wanted that cow so that she would remain always young. She expressed her wish to her husband to have that cow. Although Dyau knew that it was wrong to steal Rishi's cow but still he stole the cow for his wife. As Vashishth Jee came to know that Vasu had stolen the cow, he cursed all the Vasu to be born on Prithvi as human beings. Later he came to know that Dyau had stolen his cow so he cursed him that "Go, and be born as a human being on Prithvi and since you were so fond for your wife, be without wife for your whole life." Dyau brought back the cow and asked for Rishi's forgiveness. Rishi said - "Though you will be born as a human being you will earn name and fame as a good man."

Now who would bear them? Thinking thus they were going that they met Gangaa who was also cursed to be born on Prithvi as a human being, so they requested her to be their mother and give them Mukti as soon as they were born. Gangaa said - "But at least one has to live there." Then Dyau agreed to live there and each of the remaining 7 Vasu gave him 1/8th of their power to him live on Prithvi. Thus Shaantanu had 8 sons from Gangaa, out of them 7 were given Mukti as soon as they were born and the 8th one remained alive. He was later known as Bheeshm. He remained without wife his whole life.

(2) Maharshi Jamadagni Jee -
Maharshi Jamadagni Jee was the father of Parashuraam Jee. he also had Kaamdhenu cow for his Aashram needs. Once he entertained king Sahastrabaahu (Arjun) and his army. Seeing the qualities of the cow, Sahastrabaahu also wanted to take that cow, so he asked the Rishi to give that cow to him, but Jamadagni Jee also refuse to give the cow to him. At this he wanted to take her to his capital Maahishmatee Puree forcefully, but could not take her as she also produced lots of army which pushed Sahastrabaahu's army back. Later his sons came, killed Jamadagni Jee and took the cow to their capital. Later when Parashuraam Jee came to the Aashram, he went to Sahastrabaahu, killed him and brought the cow back to his father's Aashram.

(3) Muni Bharadwaaj -
It is worthwhile here to mention Bharadwaaj Muni's name also who hosted Bharat and his army while they were going to bring Raam back to Ayodhyaa. Although it was not not through cow, but through his Yog power. All, including Bharat, were astonished to see his hospitality for such a large group of people. Vaalmeeki Jee has described it very beautifully [V-Raamaayan, 2/35/91]

(4) Rishi Gaurmukh -
His story comes in Matsya Puraan and in Varaah Puraan. Although he did not have any cow, but he had a Mani given by Vishnu with which he could fulfill any desire. It was Chintaamani. He entertained Durjaya named king through this Mani. As Vishwaamitra and Sahastrabaahu wanted those cows for themselves, he also wanted that Mani for himself. In the end Vishnu killed him with His Chakra.

Sushma Gupta


Was Yudhishthir a Fool?
Many people consider Yudhishthir a fool, but I don't find any single instance of his foolishness in the whole Mahaabhaarat except that he put his brothers and wife on stake during the First Dice Game. When in the whole Mahaabhaarat there is no other incident of his foolishness, then why only the Dice game incident happened, is indeed questionable. It may be attributed only to the saying "Vinaash Kaale Vipareet Buddhi" - that is all. He has several other major important incidents on his side where one cannot deny his intelligence. He was always polite, with no ego and a follower of Dharm, even in adverse situations. We can cite here a few examples of his intelligence --

(1) Python Queries
His first incident which impresses the readers of Mahaabhaarat is of  python's questions and his answers. When Bheem was going in a forest to bring flowers for Draupadee, he was caught by a python (Raajaa Nahush). Nahush had a curse of Sage Agastya to become python and only to be released from his curse when he would catch the mightiest man in the world and Yudhishthir will answer his questions. When Bheem does not come for quite some time, Yudhishthir goes in search of his brother and following his footsteps come to that python. Python puts his condition that he will free Bheem only when Yudhishthir will answer his questions. Yudhishthir answers his questions and then only the python releases Bheem. Then the python shows his real form of Raajaa Nahush and goes to Swarg Lok.
Do you think that Yudhishthir was a fool?

(2) Yaksh Prashn
His second incident which impresses the readers most and is very famous, is of Yaksh Prashn reference. When Paandav were in their 12-year exile period, during the last days of their exile, a deer ran away taking a Braahman's worship material, so they all went behind that deer to recover his material. The deer ran away and they were left behind. It was a hot day, all of them were tired and thirsty, so Yudhishthir first asked Nakul to see if there was any water around. He found a pond and goes to bring some water for his brothers.

There he is warned by a Yaksh that he could drink water only when he had answered his questions, otherwise he would die, but he ignores his warning and dies as he drinks the water. Then go Sahadev, Arjun and Bheem, but all ignore the warning, drink water and die there. All the younger Paandav ignored the Yaksh's request because of their ego, drank water and died there. Then goes Yudhishthir and finds all his brothers lying on the shore of the pond. As he also tries to drink water, he is also warned by Yaksh. So it was only Yudhishthir who, paid respect to the Yaksh's request, answered his all the questions and got his brothers back to life.
Had Yudhishthir been a fool, how could he answer Yaksh's Prashn?

The valor of Arjun and Bheem failed them, while only the intelligence of Yudhishithir (acquired by virtue of his Dhaarmik conduct) helped to revive his brothers. Here too, when Yaksh grants him the life of his one brother, Yudhishthir chose Sahadev with the reason that Kuntee had her one son (himself) was alive, in the same way Maadree should also have her one son alive. Yudhishthir never chose Arjun or Bheem though they were more valiant than his stepmother's sons. Even when Yaksh grants him the life of his another brother's life, he again chooses Maadree's son Nakul. Pleased with his answers, Yaksh revives his own brothers too. He got so much pleased with his son that he not only revived his brothers, but also he granted him the boon that they would not be recognized in their A-Gyaat Vaas period.
If Yudhishthir were a fool, how could he please the Yaksh?

(3) Yudhishthir in Viraat's Court
There are two incidents in Viraat Nagar when Paandav were spending their time of incognito in Viraat's kingdom. Yudhishthir saved themselves from further calamities.

(1) First time, when Keechak, the brother-in-law of Viraat, misbehaved with Draupadee and Draupadee came running in Viraat's court, Bheem was there for some work. Seeing this he filled with rage and he started cutting a tree. Yudhishthir understood and asked Bheem - "What are you doing here?" Bheem replied - I came here to cut the wood for cooking." Yudhishthir said - "These are green trees, you should look for the woods for your cooking somewhere else." And Bheem went away. If Yudhishthir had not said this, Bheem would have killed Keechak then and there and the whole plan had failed...
Do you think that Yudhishthir took the intelligent action or......?

(2) Second time, when Viraat heard that his son Uttar is coming gaining the victory over Kaurav army in which were the great warriors like Bheeshm, Drone, Kripaa, Duryodhan, Karn, Ashwatthaamaa, he got so happy that he asked his Kank (Yudhishthir) to play Chausar (Dice Game) with him. Yudhishthir warned him several times that this is not the right time to play Chausar but he ignores his advice and both of them sit to play Chausar.

During the game Viraat is continuously praising his son and Yudhishthir continuously said that "Wherever Brihannalaa (Arjun) is, there cannot be any defeat." Hearing this continuously, Viraat got angry and he hit a dice on his nose. This caused bleeding from his nose. Viraat went away from thete to welcome his son and Yudhishthir immediately took that blood in a bowl, so that it does not fall on the ground. Yudhishthir knew that if Arjun had seen his blood fallen on the ground and knew the cause of it, he would destroy the whole Viraat kingdom, but he did not want that, because he knew the consequences of this action - they would have to go again for 13-year exile. So he managed to keep Arjun away from these moments. He asked Uttar to keep Arjun away from him for a while.
Was this not an intelligent action of Yudhishthir?

(4) Yudhishthir Just Before the War
As all were ready to begin the war, Yudhishthir takes an action, out of his Dhaarmik behavior. He climbs down from his chariot and proceedes towards kaurav army. Everybody including his own brothers are stunned to see this as what action he was going to take? Was he going to surrender? But it is not so. He comes to Bheeshm Pitaamaha, Guru Drone and Kul Guru Kripaa undauntedly and asks their permission to fight with them and ask their blessings for victory. Only because of his humility and good behavior he was able to obtain this blessing from all of them.
Was Yudhishthir a fool to act like this?

Our scriptures say " Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha " and not Buddhi (those who protect Dharm are protected by their Dharm itself and not by intelligence)
Why did scriptures give priority to Dharm over everything else?
Because, if one follows Dharm, Intelligence automatically flashes rightly in his mind when needed.
Intelligence is to be used for mundane things in life, like to eat intelligently, to manipulate things intelligently etc, but if we attempt to use intelligence in spirituality it will be disastrous. For spirituality one's heart (not the physical one) is required, not the intelligence.

If only intelligent people are wise, how does one justify an argument in the case of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, who is illiterate, yet the wisest of all. He never studied Upanishad but could answer any question on Upanishad since he used his heart to seat the holy Mother and not intelligence.
Therefore, Dharm is supreme and those who follow Dharm will be guided by correct intelligence automatically. Yudhishthir was undoubtedly Dharm personified, that is why he was intelligent enough to bring back his brothers to life and get the Lord's help at all times in his life.
Now who is a fool? Yudhishthir or those who call Yudhishthir a fool?

Before the Kuru Kshetra battle, Lord Krishn removed the ego of Bheem and Arjun - of Bheem through Hanumaan and the python (Nahush) and of Arjun by Kiraat and delivering him the Geetopadesh (Geetaa) that all the enemies are already slain by Krishn Himself before even the war occurred.

Sushma Gupta

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Durvaasaa's Curses

Birth of Durvaasaa
Durvaasaa Muni is the son of Atri Rishi (brain child of Brahmaa Jee) and Anasooyaa. Story of his birth is very strange. Once the three Devee, Saraswatee, Lakshmee and Paarvatee, argued among each other that who was more Pativrataa among them. When it could not be decided, they asked their husbands. The husbands said - "None of you is a real Pativrataa." Hearing this all Devee got angry and asked them the who was that woman who was more Pativrataa then them. The trio said - "Atri's wife Anasooyaa." Hearing this they got angrier than before and asked them to prove it.

So the trio went to Atri's Aashram in the absence of Atri Muni, assuming the form Braahman and asked for alms. Anasooyaa rose to go inside the hut to bring something to give it to them, but the three Braahman said - "We do not accept ordinary alms, when you give us the alms without wearing clothes then only we will accept the alms." This was a strange request. Anasooyaa got stunned hearing such a request. She could not have returned the Braahman empty handed. The Braahman were thinking, "Let us see what will she do?"

She paused only for a moment and said "All right, I bring it." She went inside the hut, took off her clothes, prayed her husband that if she has been always faithful to her husband, these Braahman should turn into newborn children. As she came out without clothes she saw three newborn babies crying on the mat. She picked them one by one, breastfed them to their satisfaction, and lay them down. She went inside, wore her clothes and came out.

When some time passed and Brahmaa, Vishnu and Shiv did not come back, the three Devee got worried and decided to go to Anasooyaa. They went there and found three babies lying and playing on the mat. They understood what must have happened. They requested her to give their husbands back to them. Anasooyaa loved those children very much, she was not ready to give them back to Devee. Then Brahmaa, Vishnu and Shiv promised to Anasooyaa to be her sons. Thus Anasooyaa had three sons - Dattaatreya from Vishnu, Chandramaa from Brahmaa, and Durvaasaa from Shiv. Thus Durvaasaa Rishi is the incarnation of Shiv.

Durvaasaa Rishi
Durvaasaa Rishi is a very angry Rishi. He becomes angry very soon. He has many incidents of his being angry, but only one incident of being pleased. He is so angry that he has not left even Devtaa. One incident is his asking for forgiveness. In this blog I will write only two incidents - one of being pleased and another of asking for forgiveness.

Durvaasaa and Kuntee
Kuntee whose birth name was Prithaa, was the daughter of King Shoorsen. Thus she was the sister of Vasudev and and Buaa of Krishn. Shoorsen had a cousin and friend kuntibhoj who had no child, so Shoorsen promised to give him his first child. His first child was Prithaa and according to his promise to Kuntibhoj he gave Prithaa to him. There she got known as Kuntee. As she grew up, seeing her polite and affectionate behavior, Kuntibhoj gave her the responsibility of the hospitality of guests.

Once Rishi Durvaasaa came to Kuntibhoj's palace and as usual Kuntee served him. She served him so well that he got very pleased with her services. He asked her to ask for anything as he was capable of giving her anything she wanted. Kuntee was young at that time, so she did not know what to ask for. Then Durvaasaa Jee gave her a Mantra which could invoke any Devtaa for any purpose.

Kuntee was so young that she could not believe this, so when Muni had left, she thought to test it. Once she used it to invoke Soorya Dev and Soorya Dev appeared in front of her within no time.Now she did not know what to ask from him. She got scared and she asked him to go away as she wanted only to test that Mantra, but Soorya Dev could not go without giving her something. She could not do anything and Sootya Dev gave her a son and went away. Since this son was born in her maidenhood period, because of being afraid of the society she flowed him in the nearby river. The same boy was known as Raadheya or Mahaabhaarat's Karn.

Durvaasaa and King Ambareesh
This story comes in Bhaagvat Puraan, 9/2. Manu's son was Nabhag, Nabhag's son was Naabhaag, and Naabhaag's son was Ambareesh. Ambareesh was a very religious and a great devotee of Vishnu. Even Brahm Shaap could never harm him. Pleased with his devotion Vishnu appointed His Chakra to guard him. Once Ambareesh did Dwaadashee Pradhaan Ekaadashee Vrat and at the end of the Vrat kept fast for three nights. When he was doing his Paaran (conclusion) of his Vrat, that Durvaasaa Rishi came there. King welcomed him and requested him to take food. Rishi agreed and went to do his daily chores to bank of Yamunaa. Now Dwaadashee remained only for one Ghadee. Not completing Vrat in Dwaadashee was also a sin and taking food without offering Braahman was also a sin, so he consulted Braahman to tell him a way so that he is not blamed for any sin. With the Braahman's consultation he took water, because it meant not to take food, and still maintaining the fast.

When Durvaasaa Rishi came, the King welcomed him but Muni understood that the King has done the Paaran of his Vrat. He became very angry, he broke a flock of his hair from his skull and produced a Krityaa to kill Ambareesh. Any Krityaa is always a sure shot, but it has one other characteristic - if it cannot kill the person whom it is meant for, it kills the person who had produced it. So the Krityaa proceeded towards Ambareesh to kill him but Ambareesh stood unmoved. Since Vishnu's Chakra guarded him, it killed the Krityaa and then proceeded towards Durvaasaa to kill him.

Now Durvaasaa ran away from there and wherever he went the Chakra followed him. He went to Brahmaa, Mahesh but both expressed their helplessness in this regard. Then he went to Vishnu, even Vishnu could not help him. He said - "Muni, I am under the control of my Bhakt, so I cannot help you, go to the same person to whom you have committed crime." He went back to Ambareesh and fell down on his feet. Ambareesh prayed Chakra to be calm so the Chakra calmed down. he then fed Muni, and took food himself too. Durvaasaa Muni blessed him and went to his Lok.

These two incidents are different from his life style. In fact he became angry with Ambareesh also, but Vishnu's Chakra saved him.

Sushma Gupta

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Becoming a Braahman

In Hinduism Braahman are regarded at the highest level of the society. It has been a long debate that who should be regarded as a Braahman - a man by birth or by Karm (actions). Most references support the idea that a person cannot be a Braahman only by birth unless his Karm are not like Braahman. And if somebody's Karm are like Braahman, he can become Braahman even from Chaandaal.

Here is the list of some non-Braahman or mixed caste great Deities, Saints and Sages of Hinduism. It will be apparent that these great men and women are responsible to a great extent for the development of Hinduism and that the title ‘Braahmanism’ is rather a misnomer for our Dharm. These references show that to become great it is not necessary to be born in a Braahman family.

1. Shree Raam : He was a Kshatriya belonging to the Soorya Vansh. His life is the theme of the popular Hindu epic Raamaayan. He is considered the 7th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who in turn represents the ‘Preserver’ aspect of God. He is considered an ideal son, an ideal king and so on. Hindu Utopia is often called ‘Raam Raajya’, i.e., ‘the kingdom of Shree Raam’.

2. Shree Krishn : He to the belonged to the Yaadav sub-caste. The Yaadav are currently enumerated amongst the ‘Other Backward Castes’ (OBC’s) in India. He is considered the most popular deity of Hindu, and revealed the Bhagvad Geetaa, which is the bedrock of modern Hinduism, and summarizes the philosophical teachings of all Hindu scriptures in a masterful manner. He is considered as the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

3. Shiv : He is often termed as a ‘Kiraat’ in the Puraan. The Kiraat would currently fall in the ‘Scheduled Tribes’ (ST) category in modern India. He is considered as a representation of the ‘Destroyer’ aspect of God and is one of the chief Hindu deities. He is the chief subject of numerous Hindu scriptures like the Shiv Puraan, the Koorm Puraan and so on.

4. Maharshi Aitareya Maheedaas : According to tradition, his mother was a maid named ‘Itara’. This Rishi is credited with the compilation of the Aitreya Braahman and sections 1-3 of the Aitreya Aaranyaka (the latter contains the Aitareya Upanishad - one of the 10 canonical Upanishads for Hindu) belonging to the Rig Ved.

5. Rishikaa Lopaamudraa : She was a Kshatriya princess from Vidarbh, who got married to Maharshi Agastya. She is the Seer of some verses of the Rig Ved. Several edifying dialogs between her and Sage Agastya are recorded in Puraan.

6. Maharshi Vishwaamitra : Everybody knows that he was originally a Kshatriya named Vishwarath. He is credited with revealing the Gayatri Mantra, the Hindu prayer par-excellence. He was elevated to Braahmanhood because of his spiritual luster.

7. Maharshi Ved Vyaas : He was the son of a fisher-woman named Satyavatee, from Rishi Paraashar. Considered the greatest Rishi of classical Hinduism, he is believed to have given the 4 Ved  ( = the most authoritative scriptures of Hindu) their present form. He also compiled the Mahaabhaarat and the Puraan, which are the mainstay of popular Hinduism. He also authored the Brahm Sootra- a text considered as one of the triple canon of Vedaantik Hinduism (the other two being the Geetaa and the Upanishad). His birthday is celebrated as Guru-Poornimaa by Hindu monks every year. All Hindu monastic orders trace their lineage from him and a popular saying goes : "vyaasochchishtam jagat sarvam" meaning that so great was the learning Rishi Ved Vyaas, that even his voluminous writings represent only the periphery of his knowledge.

8. Maharshi Matang : He was the son of a Shoodra mother and a Vaishya father. In fact, Chaandaal are often addressed as Matang in passages like Varaah Puraan 1.139.919.

9. Maharshi Vaalmeeki : He was a descendant from Sages but had become a Chaandaal (= an outcaste) named Ratnaakar, because he took to murder and highway robbery as his living. He was reformed by Prajaapati Brahmaa and was inspired by the divine Sage Naarad to compose the Hindu epic par excellence- the Raamaayan.

10. Rishika Sulabhaa Maitreyee : She was a Kshatriya lady who promulgated the Saulabhaa Shaakhaa of the Rig Ved. She is counted among the revered teachers of Rig Ved to whom respects are offered in texts like the Kaushitakee Braahman. The Saulabhaa Braahman is now lost but is mentioned in the Kashikaa - a commentary on the grammatical text named Ashtaadhyaayee. A dialog of Rishikaa Sulabhaa with King Janak of Videh on spirituality is recorded in the Shaanti Parv (12th book) of the Mahaabhaarat.

11. Mahaatmaa Vidur : He was the son of Maharshi Ved Vyaas and a maid of the widow Ambikaa (the queen of King Vichitraveerya. He is a wise man in the Mahaabhaarat and had counseled many towards truth. His teachings are collected in the Vidur Prajaagar section of the Udyog Parv (5th book) of Mahaabhaarat.

12. Gautam Buddha : The founder of Buddhism belonged to a marginal Kshatriya tribe called Shaakya. He lived and died as a Hindu, although his followers founded a new religion in his name. He advocated the supremacy of good ethics and morality over philosophical speculation and ritualism. He is considered the 9th incarnation of Lord Vishnu by devout Hindu.

13. Mahaaveer : The 24th and the last great Teacher of Jainism. He belonged to the Kshatriya Lichchhivi tribe of Bihaar. He advocated vegetarianism and the centrality of compassion in Dharm.

14. Bhakt Nammalvar : The foremost of the Alvar Vaishnav saints, he was a Shoodra by birth. His composition Tiruvayamolee, which is in the Tamil language, is considered at par with the Ved by the Sri Vaishnav Hindu.

15. Sikh Gurus : All the Sikh Gurus, from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh, were Kshatriya. The teachings of the first 5 and the 9th Guru are compiled in the Aadi Granth - the Sikh scripture. In the face of Islaamik persecutions, they revitalized the Hindu community of what is now Paakistan and parts of Northern India and preached the simple path of performance of good deeds, devotion to God by recitations of His names and singing of His glory and sharing of one another’s joys and sorrows without regard to caste.

16. Saint Kabeer : He was brought-up by a Julaahaa (cloth weaver) couple. Julahaa are a Muslim caste of weavers. He preached in the language of the masses and many of his verses are common proverbs in North India.

17. Narsee Mehtaa : He was born in a Vaishya family is a renowned Vaishnav saint of Gujaraat. One of his compositions - "Vaishnav Jan to tene kahiye..."  was a favorite song of Mahatma Gandhi. According to some, however, he was a Braahman.

18. Saint Tukaaram : He was a Vaishya who composed touching poems called the "Abhang" on the devotion of God. These compositions are recited with great fervor by numerous Hindu, especially in Mahaaraashtra by the members of the Warakaree community.

19. Saint Raidaas : He was a cobbler, and therefore of Shoodra origin. He advocated Bhakti and 16 of his compositions were incorporated in the Aadi Granth - the Sikh scripture.

20. Saint Meeraa : She was a Raajpoot Kshatriya princess of Mevaar, Raajsthaan and devoted her life to the service of Lord Krishn. Her beautiful poetical compositions addressed to Lord Krishn are recited with great fervor by Hindu down to this day.

21. Swaamee Vivekanand : One of the foremost reformers and teachers of modern Hinduism, he was of Kaayasth sub-caste of Bangaal. He spread the message of Vedaant in the United States and Europe and his writings and speeches are contained in “The Collected Writings of Swaamee Vivekaanand". He founded the Raamakrishna Mission - a religious organization to propagate the teachings of his Guru Swaamee Raamakrishn Paramahans. In Bangaal, Kaayasth are considered as Shoodra.

22. Vatsa : a descendant of Kanva, Rig Ved 6.1; and 8.8 etc; was called a Shoodra-putra (Panchvinsh Braahman 14.66).

23. Kakshivat : a Brahmvaadee, was the son of Deerghtamaa (son of Dev Guru Brihaspati and the brothger of Maharshi Bharadwaaj) by a Shoodra maid servant (Brihaddevataa 4.24-25).

24. Sage Kapinjalada was a Chaandaal and Sage Madan Paal was the son of a boatwoman - Mahaabhaarat, Anushaasan Parv, 53.13-19,

25. King Sudaas was also a Shoodra. Sudaas is one of the most celebrated kings of the Rig Ved, being the hero of the Dasarajnawar - Mahaabhaarat, Shaanti Parv.

Sushma Gupta