Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dice Games on Earth

Last time we wrote some events about the Dice Games in Heaven.Those games were mainly played by Shiv and Paarvatee and are mentioned in our scriptures. This article is about the Dice games played on Earth and these games are also mentioned in our scriptures. How they had affected the people is given here. There are three very main popular stories of Dice game go around.

(1) Nal and Pushkar
This story is very well known. It comes in Mahaabhaarat too. King Nal and King Pushkar were both brothers. Once Pushkar invited Nal to play Chausar (a kind of Dice game). Nal went there and started playing Chausar with him. In a few days time Nal lost his all wealth and kingdom in the game. He left the game saying that he had lost everything and he did not have anything to lose more so he was leaving. Pushkar reminded him to put his wife on stake but he was sensible so he left the game and the kingdom too.

He had to wander in the forest for several years. During their wanderings they had no food for several days and Then Nal saw some birds. Nal wanted to catch them for his food. Since they did not have anything to catch he threw his single cloth he had, a loin cloth he was wearing, to catch them as a net, but see the game of fate, that instead of helping in catching the birds, those birds flew away carrying the cloth and he remained naked. He got so distressed that he left his wife Damayantee sleeping and went away thinking that she would go to her parents' house.

Damayantee did reach her parents' house and started searching for her husband. By the wisdom of Damayantee they met again. Thus they had to suffer a lot before Nal could regain his kingdom and wealth from Pushkar. After returning from the forest, he played another Dice game with Pushkar and won it. Although he had won Pushkar's all wealth and kingdom but knowing the difficulties of the defeat he had seen during the past years he returned everything to him warning that he would not play Dice game again.

(2) Balaraam and Rukmee
Another story is from Bhaagvat Puraan. Krishn was married to Rukminee. Their son Pradyumn was married to Rukminee's brother Rukmee's daughter Rukmvatee, and Pradyumn's son Aniruddh was married to Rukmee's granddaughter Rochanaa. When Krishn and Balaraam went to marry Aniruddh to Rochanaa, everything went well and the marriage was performed without any significant event.

In the end, the King of Kaling said to Rukmee - "This Balaraam is ignorant in Dice game, if you can defeat him in Dice game, he will be degraded. Why not we should degrade him?" Rukmee got ready and he began to play the game with Balaraam. Rukmee won the few starting stakes. At this the King of Kaling teased Balaraam - "This man does not know anything of Dice game, how he can play the Dice game? He is only a cowherd. It is royal game. He just has only a passion for it, but it does not mean that he knows the game."

 Balaraam Jee got very angry hearing all this and played his next chance with an increased money and won it. But Rukmee was blind in his winning so he did not agree to Balaraam's winning in spite of the Divine voice which declared Balaraam a winner. Balaraam got up in rage and hit Rukmee's head with the board of the game on which they were playing and killed him. He killed other princes also who were laughing at him. That is how the marriage and the game ended

(3) Paandav and Kaurav
This is the most known and most mentioned incident related to Dice game. This comes from Mahaabhaarat.  Kaurav, especially their eldest brother Duryodhan was very jealous with Paandav and wanted to take their kingdom or kill them at any cost. After he failed to kill them in Baaranaavat Fair, and he failed to get Draupadee in marriage, his anger rose very high. He threatened his father to commit suicide or separate Paandav from him, so Dhritraashtra divided the kingdom and gave Khaandav Prasth to Paandav. When Paandav performed Raajsooya Yagya, he invited Dhritraashtra and his sons also. When Duryodhan saw his prosperity there in such a short time, his jealousy rose to sky high. Then he hatched a plan with the consultation of his Maamaa Shakuni. He invited Paandav for a Dice game.

Yudhishthir was addicted to Dice game, so he immediately came to Hastinaapur to play the game. According to his religious and moral nature, he played it on the terms of Duryodhan and lost all his wealth and kingdom. But then because of his addiction, he put on stake his brothers, and then even his wife and lost all of them too. As a result of his addiction, his wife had to suffer so much insult in the Dice game court that even Krishn had to come to help her and Bheem and Arjun had to take vows then and there only.

Somehow they got their wealth, kingdom, brothers and wife back and got ready to return to their kingdom, but how Duryodhan could tolerate all this? This was not his aim, so he invited them again to play the game and this time also he succeeded in defeating them with his evil tricks and sending them to forest for 13 years - 12 years of normal exile and one year of living incognito.

These are the three main famous incidents of the effects of Dice games played on Earth.

Sushma Gupta 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dice Games in Heaven

A die, its plural is dice, from Old French language "de", from Latin datum "something which is given or played" is a small throwable object with multiple resting positions, used for generating random numbers normally from 1-6. This makes dice suitable for gambling games or for use in non-gambling tabletop games. A traditional die is an often rounded cube, with each of its six faces showing a different number from 1–6. The design as a whole is aimed at the die providing a random number, from one to six, each of those values being equally likely to appear at any given throw.

The most interesting thing is that the Dice game's origin has been found in Asia, especially in Iran and Indus Valley ruins, in the Rig Ved, and in Atharv Ved too. Still more interesting thing to be noted is that the earliest games were played between Shiv and his consort Paarvatee Jee. Here are a few stories of Shiv and Paarvatee's games. These stories are of heavenly games, next time we will talk about the Dice games on Earth.

(1) A Story from Mahaabhaarat
This story is from Mahaabhaarat when King Drupad was not ready to marry his daughter Draupadee to five men. When Draupadee was won by Arjun, but Kuntee told Paandav to distribute among themselves, it became a great morality issue. After a short thought Yudhishthir also told that it was according to morality that the five brothers could share one wife. So when they came to Drupad's palace to perform marriage ceremonies and Yudhishthir told Drupad that they all will marry Draupadee, both Drupad and Dhrishtdyumn raised the question of morality. They told that they heard one man many wives, but they did not hear many man and one wife. At the same time Ved Vyaas Jee came there and told Drupad and Dhrishtdyumn this story -----

"Vyaas Jee said - "In olden days, once the celestials performed a great sacrifice in Naimish Aranya. At that sacrifice Yam, the son of Vivaswaan, became the slayer of sacrificial animals. He did not kill even a single human being during that period, so the number of people on the earth increased a lot. Som, Sakra, Varun, Ashwinee Kumaar, Kuber, Saadhya, Rudra etc went to Brahmaa Jee and told about this increase. Brahmaa Jee said - "You need not to worry about this increase. You all are immortal." They said - "But the mortals have also become immortals. Now there is no difference between them and us. We have come to you to make the distinction between us." Brahmaa Jee said - "In fact Yam is also engaged in sacrifice now a days that is why people are not dying, but when this sacrifice is over, people again will start dying - in thousands."

Vyaas Jee continued - "Hearing this from the first-born, the celestials came back to the place of sacrifice. At that time Indra sitting near Bhaageerathee saw a golden lotus floating on her waters. Seeing it he wondered much and out of curiosity he proceeded up the course of Bhaageerathee to know its origin. There he saw a woman weeping and washing herself in the stream. Her tears were falling in the stream and were turning into golden lotus. Seeing this Indra was more surprised. He asked her - "Who are you? Why do you weep? I want to know, please tell me everything."

 Vyaas Jee said - "The woman said - "O Sakra, You know me that who I am and why do I weep. It is unfortunate that I weep. Come with me and see for yourself that why do I weep." So Indra followed her. Soon they came to a place where a young man was sitting with a young woman on a throne on a peak of Himaalaya. They were playing dice." Indra said to him - "This universe is under my control." But he was so engrossed in playing that he didn't listen to him. Indra repeated his statement with a little anger. Now the youth was Mahaadev. He smiled at him and cast a glance at him. That glance made Indra immediately paralyzed and he remained standing there only. When the dice game was over Mahaadev asked the weeping woman to bring Indra to him.

 (2) A Story From Sthal Puraan
This story comes in Sthal Puraan, but may be found in several other Puraan too  -- Once Shiv and Paarvatee were playing Dice game on Kailaash Parvat that Ambaa said - "I have won the game." Shiv Jee said - "No, I am the winner." In anger Shiv Jee cursed Paarvatee - "Go and born as a cow and keep roaming on the Earth." Shiv Jee is the Lord of all animals (Pashupati) and Paarvatee is the Paraa Shakti, still he cursed her. She realized that she was at mistake, and since she is a great Pativrataa, she accepted the curse, and she started roaming around on Earth as a cow.

Vishnu is Ambaa's brother. When He heard that his brother-in-law Shiv had driven her out, He thought that at least He should take care of her. he took the form of a cowherd and started roaming with the Divine cow. [he was not cursed still he was roaming on the earth as a cowherd - this was just to show the people His love towards His sister - He liked His job so much that He came as a cowherd with the name of Gopaal, which also means Pashupati. If you can correlate these two names of Shiv and Vishnu, you will not differentiate between Shiv and Vishnu.]

One day when the Divine cow (Paarvatee) was grazing, her hoof hit a stone and a Shiv Ling appeared there. The cow thought she had committed a sin by touching the Shiv Ling with her foot, so she ran away from there. The cowherd pacified her and brought her back. It was Vishnu who married Meenaakshee to Sundareshwar wishing to unite them again. He worshiped Shiv and pleased him. Pleased Shiv said to Him - "You keep grazing the cow until you come to Kaaveree. Give her a bath there and she will gain her original form. I shall tell you when I will marry her." Vishnu did as Shiv said to Him. The Divine cow had gained her original form after the bath. Shiv himself appeared there. But he wanted to play one game more.

A sage was performing austerities for Ambaa to be born as his daughter, so Shiv Jee asked Ambaa to be born in his house as his daughter and that he would come at the appropriate time and marry her. So she did. Vishnu waited for the day when Shiv appeared to marry His sister. Shiv came and Vishnu married His sister to him. The present story contains a warning against the evil consequences of Ahankaar and gambling and tells us how a wife should be dutiful towards her husband and how a brother should be affectionate towards and concerned about his sister.

(3) Another Story from a Puraan
In one Pauraanik story, once Shiv and Paarvatee were playing Dice game. They needed an umpire who could decide who was the winner, so when they sat to play the game they appointed their ride Nandee Bull as the umpire. Now Nandee is favorite of Shiv and devoted to him. They started the game and Shiv lost the game, but Nandee declared him winner. At this Paarvatee got very angry with Nandee and cursed him that he should die with an incurable disease. At this Nandee fell on Paarvatee's feet and asked for her forgiveness - "Please forgive me, Mother. Should I not show some gratitude towards my master? Is it not humiliating for me to declare my master as a loser?"

When Nandee offered such pleas, Paarvatee smiled and forgave him and taught him the means to do Praayashchit (atonement) for this. She told him that Bhaadrapad Chaturthee was her son Ganesh's birthday so he had to offer him what he liked most (green grass). This means that one atones for one's sins when one offers to the Lord what is most pleasing and enjoyable to him. For Nandee the most enjoyable and relishing food was green grass. As directed by Paarvatee Nandee worshiped Ganapati by offering green grass. He was then relieved of his dreaded disease. His health improved and by the grace of Paarvatee he was redeemed.

(4) 16 Mondays Fast Story
This story is told when people observe 16-Mondays fasts. These 16 Mondays should be started from Shraavan month, if possible, and are normally done continuously for 16 Mondays. Its Kathaa is like this  :

Once Mahaadev was wandering in Mrityu Lok with his consort Paarvatee Jee. Wandering around they came to Amaraavatee named city in Vidarbh Desh. There was a beautiful Shiv temple in that city, so Mahaadev Jee started living there with Paarvatee Jee. Once Paarvatee Jee proposed to Shiv Jee to play Chaucer with her just for fun. So they started playing Chaucer.

At the same time, the priest of that temple came there to do his daily worship. Paarvatee Jee asked the priest "Tell me, who will win in this Chaucer?" As if destined, the words came out from his mouth - "Mahaadev Jee will win." But after a while Paarvatee Jee won and Mahaadev Jee lost. At his lies Paarvatee Jee filled with rage and she got ready to curse him. Although Mahaadev Jee tried to convince her that he was not at fault, still she cursed him to be a leper. Now he became a leper and started suffering with various kinds of afflictions.

Thus a lot of time passed for the Priest suffering like this. One day some Apsaraa came to worship Shiv Jee in that temple. They saw the Priest suffering with leprosy. Compassionately they asked him his story. He told them all what happened. They said to him - "Now you need not to suffer for long. You observe 16 Mondays Vrat." The priest asked the method of doing it.

Apsaraa said - "On Monday, after taking bath, put on clean clothes, make Panjeeree (Kasaar) of half kilo wheat flour (roasted wheat flour with enough Ghee, and when it gets cool, mix ground sugar of equal quantity in it). Divide it in three parts. Worship Shiv Bhagavaan in Pradosh time with as many things as you can. Distribute one third of the Panjeeree to people present there as Shiv Jee's Prasaad and take the Prasaad himself also. Thus one should do 16 Mondays. On the 17th Monday, take 1/4 kilo wheat flour and make Baatee (round shaped balls fried in Ghee). Mix equal quantity of sugar and a little Ghee to make its Chooramaa. Offer it to Shiv Jee and distribute it to the people present there, take it yourself also. The priest did this for 16 Monday and he got cured. And he started living happily.

One day, after some time, Shiv and Paarvatee Jee visited that temple again, and they found that that priest was quite normal and healthy. Paarvatee Jee asked the Braahman how he got cured. The Braahman told her all that what he did - 16 Som Vaar Vrat. Paarvatee got very happy to hear about this Vrat. She also did this Vrat and because of this Vrat her son Kaarttikeya came back home and became obedient to her. Kaarttikeya wished to know how his mind got changed like this (to come back home). Paarvatee Jee told him the same 16-Som Vaar Vrat method. Kaarttikeya got very happy to hear this.

Sushma Gupta