Saturday, October 27, 2012

Curses to God

When I was writing about the boons and curses of Raavan, my little grandson asked me - "Amma, Can somebody curse Bhagavaan also?" Reflexively I replied - "How Bhagavaan can be cursed? Who has the courage to curse Him? Who is above Him? No, No, It is not possible." He then said - "But Amma, what is the curse? When somebody does not like anybody's particular action or behavior so much that he cannot tolerate it, he curses the other; or maybe somebody has harmed somebody so much that he is also compelled to wish bad for him, that is curse. Isn't it?" 
"Yes." I said. 
"Then many people must be there who do not like Bhagavaan's some actions for which they are compelled to curse Him." My grandson suggested.
"Yes. There may be, but human beings normally do not do that for two reasons - one, that since He is the giver of all things, they cannot curse Him, otherwise if they will ask Him something in future, He will not give that to them; two, they do not have that much power that their words come true. And not only God, they normally do not curse even gods (Devtaa)."

But then immediately it came to my mind that really He had been cursed several times by several people, so I thought to write about them here, because nobody can think of cursing God or gods. Here are some curses to God.

(1) Curse By Maharshi Bhrigu
The first case is of Maharshi Bhrigu, Brahmaa Jee's son, by whose curse Vishnu had to incarnate on Prithvi 10 times. This story comes in Bhavishya Puraan.
Once in the beginning of the Sat Yug, Maharshi Bhrigu and his wife Divyaa were living in an Aashram. She used to work hard for her house. Once, at the time of Dev-Asur war, Asur got very afraid of Vishnu so all Asur came to Bhrigu Rishi. He gave them shelter in his Aashram, handed over his work to Divyaa and he himself went to northern part of Himaalaya to obtain Sanjeevanee Vidyaa. He wanted to please Shankar Jee to make Asur always victorious by obtaining Sanjeevanee Vidyaa.

At the same time Vishnu came there riding on His Garud and started killing Asur. He killed most of them in a few moments. At this Bhrigu's wife Divyaa got angry and was ready to curse Vishnu. Vishnu immediately cut her head by His Chakra (Divine disc). In the meantime Bhrigu also came there after obtaining Sanjeevanee Vidyaa from Shiv Jee. He saw that all Daitya have been killed and his wife has also been killed. Filled with rage he cursed Vishnu - "You will have to be born ten times on Prithvi." That is why Vishnu had to come to
Prithvi 10 times. He has already come on Prithvi nine times in different incarnations, and His tenth incarnation, Kalki Incarnation, still remains.

(2) Curse by Gaandhaaree 

When Vishnu came as Krishn in Dwaapar Yug, Gaandhaaree had cursed Him.Gaandhaaree was a very powerful woman. I think she was the only powerful woman in the whole Mahaabhaarat. She had pleased Shiv Jee with her Tap and got the boon of having 100 sons. Even if other characters of Mahaabhaarat were powerful they were only powerful because of the human intervention, but she was the only one who was powerful because of her Tap. If you remember, she could even change her son's body into metallic body.

So after the Mahaabhaarat war was over, all, men and women, went to the battlefield to see the dead bodies of the warriors. (Mahaabhaarat) There Gaandhaaree weeps a lot and blames Krishn for all this. Then she curses Him - "Paandav's and Dhritraashtra's all kinsmen and relatives are dead. I don't know why were you indifferent to them? You were capable to stop this war, you had the power to bring peace because you had a large force behind you, but you deliberately did not stop it, let it happen, you will reap the fruit of this act. Through my little power I have acquired by being faithful to my husband, I curse you that since you were indifferent between Kuru and Paandav while they slew each other, you will be the killer of your own kinsmen. In the 36th year from now, after killing your own people you will die in a very disgusting way in the wilderness. Your women will also weep and cry like Bharat Vansh women."

Krishn replied - "Nobody else, except myself is able to kill Vrishni, I know that. By cursing me like this you have made my work easier. Vrishni are incapable of being killed  by any human being or Devtaa. The Yaadav now will be slained by each other."
[And that is what happened, all Vrishni were killed fighting among themselves, and Krishn died in the widerness in a disgusting way.] 

(3) Curse by Naarad Jee
This is the most important curse by a Rishi to Vishnu. This story comes in Tulasee's Maanas. He gives this story as a reason of Raam Avataar, as why did He incarnate as Raam. Once Naarad Jee did some Tap which, as usual, troubled Indra. He sent Kaam Dev to disturb his Tap, but he could not do it. This made Naarad Jee very proud that he had won Kaam Dev. He expressed his pride to Shiv Jee and Brahmaa Jee and in spite of being warned by them he told it to Vishnu also. Vishnu thought to remove this pride from His Bhakt.

He created a Maayaa city on the way, with its King and his beautiful daughter. The King was organizing his daughter's Swayamvar. Naarad Jee reached there and found that the Princess was destined to marry God, but he wanted to marry her himself. So he went to Vishnu, as he considered Him his best counselor, to ask for beauty so that the Princess can marry him. Vishnu gave him a monkey's face which, of course, other could not see except the Princess. So seeing his monkey face, she did not choose him as her husband.

Vishnu also came there as her suitor, and she chose  Him as her husband. There were two Shiv's Gan around who could see Naarad's monkey face, they made the mockery of his face and asked him to see it in some mirror. Naarad Jee got very angry to see his monkey face and went ditrectly to Vishnu. He met Him on the way and cursed him that, "You go and be born as a human being. You also suffer in your wife's separation as I am suffering. because you have given me monkey's face, that is why only monkeys will help you."

That is why, Vishnu incarnated as a human being (Raam), tolerated wife's separation (when Raavan abducted Seetaa), and monkeys helped Him to recover Her.

(4)  Vrindaa
There was a
Raakshas named Jalandhar. His wife Vrindaa was a very faithful wife. Because of his faithful wife he used to do many bad deeds, so Devtaa requested Vishnu to do something for them. Vishnu promised to help them. Vishnu knew that Vrindaa was a faithful woman and Jalandhar was doing all that with her powers, so once He went to Vrindaa and had her assuming her husband Jalandhar's form.

During the process, Vrindaa knew that the man was not her husband but was Vishnu, so she cursed Him to turn into a black stone. Vishnu accepted her curse, and said - "I accept your curse, but since my Darshan does not go waste I bestow you two boons,
--you would turn into a river and I would live in your heart. So Vrindaa turned into Gandakee River and Shaaligraam stones are found in that river.
 --that you would turn into a plant named Tulasee and I will not accept any food without you. That is why Vishnu's Bhog (Naivedya) is always incomplete without a Tulasee leaf. You will grow abundantly in a place where I will incarnate as Krishn, so she did. That place is called Vrindaa Van

Sushma Gupta

Raavan's Defeats

Recently I published two blogs about Raavan - Raavan's Boons and Raavan's Curses. This blog is about Raavan's defeats. After reading those blogs, you must be thinking that I am joking. How can Raavan, after getting the boon of being invincible and of being almost immortal be defeated by anybody? But I am not joking, he really got defeated by some or say he could not win them. Because of his boons he became so proud that wherever he used to go, he said to him - "Either fight with me or accept your defeat".  Let us see who defeated him and how did he feel when he got defeated.

(1) Raajaa Bali
After winning Kuber, his half brother, and taking Lankaa from him, he won many, kings, Devtaa (Varun, Yam, Soorya, Chandramaa etc). His hunger of winning was increasing day by day. One day  he came to Ashm Nagar. There he saw gem studded palaces with golden pillars, Vaidoorya Mani and diamond studded stairs etc. He kept thinking whose city it could be. He had his Chief Army Chief Prahast with him so he sent him to find out about that city. Eventually Prahast came to a grand palace. There he didn't find anybody at the gate so he kept walking in and came inside the palace. In a room he saw a very graceful Yam-like man. He got frightened seeing him so he came back immediately and reported Raavan about him.

Raavan came down from his Pushpak Vimaan and was about to enter the palace, that he saw a very graceful man who had a Moon on his head, fire-like tongue, and conch shaped neck, at the gate. Raavan got frightened seeing that man. That man said - "O Raavan, fight with me carefully, or if you want to fight with Bali Mahaaraaj, then tell me like that." Raavan said patiently - "Whoever is the master of this palace, I want to fight with him only." That man said - "He is Raajaa Bali." and took him inside the palace. This Bali was the Daitya King - he was in the lineage of Hiranyakashyap. Hisranyakshyap's son was Prahlaad, Prahlaad's son was Virochan and Virochan's son was Raajaa Bali.

Seeing Raavan, Bali said - "What has brought you here?"
Raavan said - "I have heard that Vishnu has controlled you, I can free you from His control."
Bali replied - "Did you see that man who was at the gate, he has controlled me. He cannot be defeated by anybody. And you see that fire-like disc lying there? Bring it to me."

Raavan tried to pick it up, but he could not pick it up, then he tried to move it, but then he fell down senseless. Seeing this Raavan's ministers got very sad. When he came in senses about in half an hour, Bali said to him - "This is my great grandfather's one earring which you were trying to pick up. He had got the boon that he would not be killed by Kaal, Death, disease, in day or night, in water or land, and by any kind of weapon. When an argument took place between him and his son Prahlaad then a horrible man named Narasinh (Vishnu's Avataar) appeared from a pillar. He caught hold of mighty Hiranyakashyap with His both hands, put him on his thighs and tore his chest with His nails. Look Raavan, He is the most respectable man among Devtaa who is standing at our door."

Raavan said - "I have seen many Devtaa but never this one, so introduce him to me." Bali said - "He is the deliverer of Saankhya Shaastra." Raavan proceeded to see him, but by then He had disappeared  thinking that since Brahmaa Jee has bestowed him the boon of long life, this is not the appropriate time to kill him. When Raavan did not see Him he went away from there only.
[Raavan came back even without fighting with Raajaa Bali]

(2) Raajaa Maandhaataa
After visiting Raajaa Bali he won Soorya Dev and headed towards Raajaa Maandhaataa (the King of Ayodhyaa) on the advice of Parvat Muni. Raavan challenged Maandhaataa for the fight and the fight started between them. Once Maandhaataa made Raavan unconscious. When Raavan came into senses, he wanted to use Brahm Astra, seeing this Maaandhaataa took out his Paashupat Astra. At this Maharshi Gaalav and Maharshi Pulastya Jee (Raavan's grandfather) came and ceased their fight. After that they became friends.
[Thus Raavan could not defeat Maandhaataa also as Rishi Gaalav and Pulastya Jee intervened.]

(3) Raavan and Kapil Jee
Once Raavan went to western seashore. There he saw a very gracious man. He said the same thing to him also - "Either fight with me or accept your defeat." That man roared at Raavan. Raavan started shooting arrows at Him, but He remained unmoved. He then slapped Raavan and Raavan fell down unconscious. In the meantime, that man went to Paataal Lok. When Raavan came into senses, he asked his Ministers as where that man went. They told him that he had gone to Paataal Lok, so Raavan also went to Paataal Lok.

There he saw 30 million (3 Crores) men dancing in the same form and attire in which he saw that man on the seashore. He just came back from there. As he was coming back, he saw a man sleeping on a valuable bed and a very beautiful woman was sitting beside him. Seeing Raavan, that man laughed loudly and Raavan again fell unconscious. The man said to him - "O Raavan, You will not die at this time because of Brahmaa's boon, so you get up and go." Raavan tried to ask His introduction but He said - "What will you do of who I am? I don't want to kill you now." Raavan said - "I cannot be killed by Brahmaa's boon, but I wish that I should be killed by you only." Then Raavan saw the whole Universe in His body. He got very surprised to see that scene. He came back from there.
[Who was He? He was Bhagvaan Kapil Dev.]

(4) Raavan and Sahastraarjun
There was a King named Kaartveerya Arjun. Because he had 1,000 arms, he became known as Sahastraarjun or Sahasbaahu. He was of Haihaya Vansh, and his capital was Maahishmatee Nagaree. Wandering around with the desire of fight and victory, once Raavan arrived in Maahismatee Nagaree and expressed his desire to fight with the King. His guards told him that he had gone to take bath in Narmadaa River. So he came to Narmadaa River. He liked the place so he thought to worship Shiv Jee there. He sat down, established his golden Shiv Ling on the shore and started worshiping it.

As he was worshiping it, that Narmadaa's water started flowing backward and Raavan's worshiping material started floating over that water. He got surprised to see this. He looked around as what was happening to river's water, but he could not see anything special. In fact a little down the place where Raavan was worshiping, Arjun was taking bath with his women. He had spread his 1,000 arms around to stop the water of the river to play in that water. Raavan got very angry seeing his worship disturbed, so he challenged him for a fight. Arjun came out of the water and started fighting with Raavan. In the last he caught Raavan and took him to his city.

Hearing Raavan's arrest, Pulastya Rishi Jee came to Sahastraarjun. Sahastraarjun welcomed him and regarding him as a Rishi asked him what he could do for him. Pulastya Jee said - "You have caught my grandson, so now you free him for me." Arjun did not consider proper to disobey him, so he called Raavan and released him. He made him wear divine clothes and jewelry, declared him his friend in front of Agni and put a condition that if Raavan will ask him any help to trouble somebody he couldn't be able to help him."
[Thus Raavan could not win Sahastraarjun also and his grandfather had to come to free him.]

(5) Raavan and Vaanar Raaj Baali
Still there is one more who kept Raavan in his armpit for three days. Who was he? He was Vaanar Raaj Baali - Sugreev's brother. Raavan soon forgot his insult by Sahastraarjun and he again started wandering around with the desire of fight and victory. One day he came to Kishkindhaa Nagaree and challenged Baali for a fight. Baali was not at home. His father-in-law told him that he had gone to do his Sandhyaa on all the four seas, so if he wanted to wait, he could wait, otherwise go there and meet him.

Raavan was very impatient for the fight so he went to South Sea and saw Baali worshiping on the coast. He went slowly behind him with the desire to catch him, but Baali had already seen him coming to him, so he caught him first, and since his Sandhyaa was not yet complete, he kept him in his armpit and resumed his Sandhyaa.. When he finished his Sandhyaa there, he went to other seas for his Poojaa. Raavan's Ministers saw Baali taking Raavan, so they followed him but could not pace with him so they came back. Baali went to North Sea, then East Sea and whole the time Raavan was in his armpit.

When Baali reached Kishkindhaa, he released Raavan from his armpit and asked him - "Who are you and why have you come here?" Because of being in armpit for all this time, Raavan was not feeling well, so he replied - "I am Raavan. I came to fight with you, but you have defeated me easily, now I want you to be my friend." So Baali became friend of Raavan in front of Agni and Raavan returned to Lankaa.
[Thus Baali kept him under his armpit for three days then only he released him.].

What do you think about Raavan's defeats? Interesting, isn't it?

Sushma Gupta

Friday, October 26, 2012

Raavan's Curses

Last time we wrote about Raavan's boons by which he became so powerful. This time we are going to learn about his curses for which he was killed the way he was killed. Several of his curses were because of his pride of being powerful by those boons. You may read about these curses in Vaalmeeki Raamaayan from here

(1) First Curse of Shiv's Nandee
The very first curse he bagged was of Shiv's Gan Nandee. After becoming almost immortal by the grace of Brahmaa Jee, Raavan went on victory tour. Once he was returning from somewhere that he came to pass a forest on a mountain. His Pushpak Vimaan stopped there. He thought, "Why should it be stopped here?" That he saw Shiv's Nandee having very dark complexion, he said to Raavan - "Shankar and Paarvatee Jee sport here on this mountain that is why others are forbidden to come here. Hearing this Raavan got very angry and asked him - "Who is this Shankar?" Saying this he came down of his Vimaan and saw Nandee in Vaanar form. Raavan laughed at Nandee in his Vaanar form. Nandee said to him - "You have made a mockery of my Vaanar form that is why Vaanar like me will destroy your family. Nails and teeth will be their weapons, and these Vaanar's speed will be as fast as the speed of mind."
[That is why Raam had to build his army with Vaanar.]

(2) Second Curse of Vedvatee
Another time wandering around Raavan came to a forest in Himaalaya. There he saw a very beautiful girl doing Tap. A desire rose in his heart to have her. He came to her and proposed her to be his wife. She said - "I am the daughter of Maharshi Kushdhwaj. Many Devtaa, Yaksh etc came with the desire to marry me but my father wanted to marry me to Vishnu only. A Dambhu named Daitya got this news and he killed my father in sleep. My mother immolated herself. Now I am doing this Tap to fulfill my father's wish to get Vishnu as my husband."

Raavan got very angry hearing this and he tried to explain her that he himself was the Lord of Tri-Lok, so what she will do of Vishnu, but when she did not listen to him he tried to have her forcefully by holding her hair. Vedvatee cut her hair from her swords like hands, freed herself and said - "You have disturbed my Tap, you should be cursed, but by cursing you my Tap will be destroyed that is why I will not curse you, but I will enter this Agni (fire) and take a vow that I will be born again and be cause of your death." Saying this she jumped into the fire.
[The same Vedvatee was born as Seetaa and became the cause of Raavan's death.

(3) Third Curse of Raajaa Anranya
Once Raavan was coming after winning Raajaa Marut, he came to Ayodhyaa. At that time Raajaa Anranya was ruling there. When Raavan saw him, he was busy doing a Yagya. Because of being invincible, Raavan used to say to everybody - "Either fight with me or accept your defeat." Raavan said the same to Anranya too. Anranya fought with him, but because of the boon he could not win him. Raavan slapped on his head and he fell down. Raavan said - "You have not heard my boon that is why you have not said "I am defeated" that is why you are suffering like this." Anranya said - "I am not defeated, I have not run away from the battlefield, I have not defamed Ikshwaaku Vansh. My Kaal (Time of Death) has come that is why I am going and curse you that "Raam will be born to Dasharath in Ikshwaaku Vansh to kill you." If I have done some Punya my words will be true."
[That is why Raam was  born to Dasharath and killed Raavan.]

(4) Fourth Curse of Nal-Koobar
Once Raavan went to his sister's house to get help of her husband Madhu in his victory tour. Raavan took Madhu and his army and came to Kailaash Parvat for night stay. Everybody slept but Raavan was awake. He was enjoying the night, stars, cool, slow, fragrant air etc. Singing and dancing sounds were coming from Kuber's palace. At the same time Rambhaa Apsaraa passed through that way. A desire rose in his heart to have her so he caught her and said - "Nobody in the world is comparable to me at this time. Your duty is to please Devtaa, today you please me instead of Devtaa."

Rambhaa got scared and said - "You are like my father-in-law. I am going to Nal-Koobar, your brother Kuber's son. It is not good to rape your son's wife." Raavan said - "You are not my son's wife, you are an Apsaraa." And Raavan had her there only. When Rambhaa came to Nal-Koobar, she told him the whole story. Nal-Koobar got so angry hearing this that he cursed Raavan - "In future, if he will have any woman without her wish his head will break into seven pieces." Hearing this Devtaa got very happy and started beating drums.
[That is why Raavan could not have even touch any woman without her wish.]
[How he took Seetaa to Lankaa, this is questionable]

(5) Fifth Curse of Many Women
Once Raavan went to fight with Raajaa Bali and when he was coming back to Lankaa, he fought many other Devtaa, Daanav, Asur etc and abducted many of their women. Those women were crying loudly - "We don't know what will happen to us now? How this Raavan will treat us? How will our family members survive without us? This evil Raakshas has made us widow after killing our husbands. We curse him that, because you looked at others' wives, that is why you will die because of a woman only". Hearing this curse, Raavan got sad and thought - "Their curse cannot fail."
[That is why Raavan was killed only because of a woman - Seetaa]

Sushma Gupta

Raavan's Boons

Dashaharaa came and went. On that day Raam killed Raavan - the 10-headed Raavan. At innumerable places this event was dramatized. But why was he born on Earth and why only Vishnu had to incarnate to kill him? Anyway, It is an interesting story --

Who Was Raavan?
This story comes in Tulasee's Raam Charit Maanas while describing the reasons of Raam Avataar. Once Sanakaadi Muni, they are four, came to see Vishnu wandering around. They met His two gatekeepers, Jaya and Vijaya, at the gate of Vishnu's palace. As they were entering the palace, both the gatekeepers did not allow them to enter the palace. Sanakaadi Muni got very angry at this, they shouted at them - "You don't know who we are. You are not worthy to live in Vaikunth. You don't know how to behave. We curse you to be born as Asur on Prithvi"

Vishnu was taking rest. He heard some noise at the door, so He himself came out running and found Sanakaadi Muni at the door shouting at His gatekeepers. He asked them what happened and the Muni told Him the whole story. Vishnu immediately asked their forgiveness and requested them to soften their curse. Sanakaadi Muni went away saying - "You know better, only you decide what to do with them."

Vishnu asked them as how would they like to pass their curse period - they could be born either 7 times on the Earth as His Bhakt, or 3 lives as His most dreadful enemy. Jaya and Vijaya replied - "Bhagavan, We cannot live without you for a long time that is why we accept 3 lives as your greatest enemy. But we desire that when we are born as Asur, we should not forget out Gyaan (knowledge) and we should be killed by you only in all our 3 lives." Vishnu said - "So be it." And thus both were born on Prithvi 3 times - (1) Hiranyaaksh and Hiranyakashyap (killed by Varaah and Narasinh Avataar respectively); (2) Raavan and Kumbhkarn (killed by Raam Avataar); and (3) Shishupaal and Vakradant (killed by Krishn Avataar).

Raavan and Kumbhkarn
This was the second life of Jaya and Vijaya. They were born to Maharshi Vishravaa, the son of Maharshi Pulastya Jee, and an Asur woman Kaikasee. They had a real brother Vibheeshan who was very religious and an half-brother Kuber also. Raavan was born with 10 heads that is why Vishravaa named him Dashgreev - who has 10 necks. To get the powers all the three did a severe penance.

First Boon to Raavan - Three Boons in One
Raavan did his Tap for 10,000 years. At the end of every 1,000 year he used to offer his one head in Agni. At the end of 10,000 years when he was about to offer his 10th head, the last one, Brahmaa Jee appeared before him and asked him to ask for any boon. Raavan asked him immortality, but Brahmaa Jee said - "This boon is not possible, ask for any other boon." Raavan said - "Then give me this boon that I could not be killed by Garud, Daanav, Devtaa, Daitya, Gandharv, Yaksh." Brahmaa Jee said - "Be it so. And I give another boon of my own that whatever heads you have offered us in Agni, they will all be like before as they were. And you will be able to take any form you would like."
[Here it is notable that Raavan did not include human beings and monkeys in this list.]

Second Boon to Raavan - Raavan Name, Longer Age and a Sword
The first boon made Raavan very courageous, fearless and proud. He started roaming around, fighting and winning all kinds of species as now he had no fear of any one of them. Once he was coming from his victory tour that his Pushpak Vimaan stopped on the way. Raavan was thinking that why his Vimaan stopped that Shiv's Nandee told him that Shiv himself plays here on this mountain, so all others are prohibited here. Raavan said - "I will dig out this mountain as it has stopped my way. As he started digging the mountain, it shook violently. Shiv and Paarvatee were sporting there. They got afraid but when Shiv Jee understood what was happening, he pressed the Parvat with is his left big toe and it got stabilized.

At this time Raavan's hands were pressed and he could not pull out his hands from under the mountain. For long time he kept crying. On his Minister's advice he prayed Shiv. Shiv got pleased after 1,000 years. He said - "Since you have cried for so long, you will be called Raavan. You can go anywhere without any problem." Besides, Raavan said to Shiv - "If you are pleased with me then give me this Var that Devtaa, Gandharv, Daanav, Raakshas, Guhyak cannot kill me - I have got this boon from Brahmaa too. Give me longer life than Brahmaa gave it to me." So at the prayer of Raavan, Mahaadev increased his age and gave him a sword name Chandrahaas.

So Raavan had these boons because of which he became so powerful, but he had lot many curses also on his head. In next blog we will talk about his curses which were because of these boons.

Sushma Gupta

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Greatness of Raam Naam

Today is Dashaharaa, or Vijayaa Dashamee. There are four main Hindu festivals of Hindu - one each for one Varn

(1) Rakshaa Bandhan for Braahman - Because this festival is for Braahman Varn it is celebrated in a most solemnized way. Braahman go to their Yajamaan's house and tie a protective thread to him and the yajamaan gives him Dakshinaa for this.
(2) Dashaharaa or Vijayaa Dashamee for Kshatriya - This festival is mainly of Kshatriya. It is celebrated in lieu of Raam's victory over Raavan. Since this festival is of Kshatriya, they celebrated it  by worshiping their weapons. Weapons do not mean only swords and guns, they are for a Kshatriya, but for others they may mean, for example, pen for a writer, tools for a mechanic, musical instruments for a musician etc etc.
(3) Divaalee for Deepaavalee for Vaishya - This festival is for Vaishya, and that is why it is celebrated with lots of pomp and show. This day Vaishya clean, decorate and illuminate their houses; worship Lakshmee Jee, and begin their new year of their business. They eat and distribute sweets and wear new clothes. They keep awake the whole night and wait for Lakshmee Jee to come to their house.
(4) Holee for Shoodra - This  festival is celebrated in lieu of the victory of Prahlaad over Hiranyakashyap who asked his sis gter Holikaa to burn Prahlaad. Holkaa hersef got burnt in the firea and Prahlaad came out of fire safely and smiling. and that is why it is celebrated in the most unorganized way. They play with colors, dry or wet, and whatever they get anywhere - mud, ink, sticky materials etc etc. All celebrate it alike and people do not feel bad of anything done by anybody whether he is of low status or of higher status - "Buraa Na Maano Holee Hai"

Today on Vijayaa Dashamee people worship Raam and their weapons in the morning and burn Raavan and Kumbhkarn's figures in the evening. Fairs are organized and many people go there to see Raavan and Kumbhkarn burning. Today on this occasion I write this blog about the Mahimaa (greatness) of Raam Naam ---

Greatness of Raam Naam
Raam Naam (Raam's name) is said to be Taarak Mantra (which can stop a man coming in this world) in the world. There are two Taarak Mantra - Om and Raam. All Mantra have to be prefixed with Om for obtaining the benefits of those Mantra, whereas there is no need to prefix any Om when the name of Raam is recited because the name itself is "Taarak Naam" even if it is pronounced in reverse order. I tell you here a few incidents about the greatness of Raam Naam --

(1) Hanumaan Crosses the 100 Yojan Sea
Hanumaan crosses the 100 Yojan (900 miles wide) sea just by taking Raam Naam

(2) Ratnaakar Became Vaalmeeki
Ratnaakar became Aadi Kavi (the first poet) Maharshi Vaalmeeki by reciting in reverse order. Think if he recited in correct order.

(3) Stones Floated on Water
Raam Naam Mahimaa in limitless. When Raam wanted to cross the sea, Nal and Neel wrote the name of Raam on stones and threw them in the sea. They did not sink, they floated. It is said that when Raam saw them throwing the stones in water and seeing them floating, He thought "let me also throw some stones so that the bridge will be built soon." So He also threw one stone in the water, but it did not float, it sank. Raam was surprised to see this. Hanumaan was looking at this, he said - "Stones are floating because your name is written on it and thus they are carrying your power."

(4) Agastya Rishi and Raam Naam
Once Paarvatee Jee did Tapasyaa. At the end of it she wanted to feed some Brahm Vettaa Maharshi. She chose Agastya Jee and asked Shiv Jee to invite him for food. Shiv Jee warned her - "You cannot feed him as he has drank the whole sea, your food will fall short." Paarvatee Jee said - "I am Annapoornaa, I feed the whole world, how my food will fall short? I have lots of food, you may invite him without hesitation." Shiv Jee again warned her - "Keep in your mind that he has drank the whole sea." Paarvatee Jee ignored this and again insisted him to invite Rishi for food. Shiv Jee invited him and Paarvatee Jee started offering him food.

Now Agastya Jee started eating food and continued to eat, and eat, and eat. Paarvatee Jee got tired, her food got finished. She got worried as this was not a good omen that after inviting somebody to eat food one should not feed him to his satisfaction. So she asked Shiv Jee the way - "Prabhu, You were right. My all food is finished and Agastya Jee is not yet satisfied, what should I do?" Shiv Jee smiled - "Paarvatee, I told you before also, but you did not listen to me." Paarvatee Jee said - "But tell me what should I do now. Tell me some way." Shiv Jee said - "Agastya Jee is not hungry for food, he is hungry of Raam Naam. You write Raam's Naam on a Tulasee leaf, mix it with food and feed him. He will be satisfied." Paarvatee did so and as he ate that leaf, he said - "Devee, I am satisfied. That is all." Paarvatee Jee got relieved.

(5) A Crow Refuses to Drink Water
Once, during their stay in the forest, Lakshman observed a Crow going to a river to drink water, but returned without drinking the water. Like this it kept on trying for innumerable times but never drank the water. Lakshman could not understand why the crow was doing like this and sought an explanation from Raam. Raam said - "This crow is uttering the name of Raam, non-stop. He is afraid he may have to stop uttering the name if he starts drinking water. He is willing to die without water rather than stop chanting the name of Raam." All kinds of sins are completely washed away by the utterance of all Naam but it is only the Raam Naam that shields against the sins committed even in the future also. Such is the greatness of Raam Naam.

This is the Mahimaa (greatness) of Raam Naam.

Sushma Gupta

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Change of Gender in Ancient History of India

How do you feel about changing gender? Here we mean by changing gender is male to female or female to male. Surprisingly there are several cases of gender change in our ancient Indian history. It is interesting to note here that some gender changing incidents are all either Shiv's creation or are related to Shiv in some way or the other, whether it is Ilaa, or Ambaa, Shikhandee or Saamb.Today I am going to write about them.

(1) Beginning of Chandra Vansh - Ilaa / Sudyumn
Even the beginning of Chandra Vansh (Lunar Dynasty) is not free from gender problem. His or her story comes in Bhaagvat Puraan. Since at first she was a woman, that is why we will use "she" for her. In Vaivaswat Manvantar, Vaivaswat Manu did not have any child in the beginning, so he asked Vashishth Jee to do a Yagya so that he can have a son. When Vashishth Jee was doing the Yagya, Manu's wife Shraddhaa requested Vashishth Jee for a daughter, so a daughter was born from that Yagya. Manu was not happy with that girl, so he asked Vashishth Jee to get a son to him. Vashishth Jee then changed that girl (Ilaa) into a man and then he was named as Sudyumn.

Once he was wandering for hunting that he entered a forest. As soon as he entered the forest with his soldiers that all got converted into women. They were all very surprised to see this, but could not do anything. Later they came to know that that forest belonged to Shiv and Paarvatee Jee. And since they played there often, they had made a rule that whoever man will enter the forest, will become a woman, that is why when Sudyumn entered the forest with his soldiers, they all turned onto women. Now all wandered in that forest as women. Sudyumn got known as Ilaa.

By chance there lived Chandramaa's son Budh in an Aashram. Once he saw Sudyumn and got attracted to her. he married her and had a son named Pururavaa. From him starts the Chandra Vansh on Prithvi. Later when Manu did  not find his son, Vashishth Jee came to know the real situation of Sudyumn. Vashishth Jee prayed Shiv Jee for his gender change and he permitted Sudyumn to be man for one month and woman for another month.

(2) Ambaa
Ambaa even commits suicide to change her gender. This story comes from Mahaabhaarat. King Shaantanu had two sons from Satyavatee - Chitraangad and Vichitraveerya. Chitraangad was killed in a battle with a Gandharv, and for Vichitraveerya Bheeshm brought three Princesses from Kaashee - Ambaa, Ambikaa and Ambaalikaa. Ambikaa and Ambaalikaa accepted Vichitraveeya as their husband, but Ambaa loved Shaalv Kumaar, so she did not accept him as her husband. Vichitraveerya returned her with respect. But Shaalv Kumaar also did not accept her so she came back to Hastinaapur and asked to marry Bheeshm on ythe ground that she was brought there when she wanted to choose her husband so she wanted to use her that right and wanted Bheeshm as her husband. Bheeshm tried to convince her that he was not brought her for himself as he was already bound to his vow, he brought her for his half brother, but she did not listen to him and cursed him - "You have insulted me that is why, even I will have to take as many births as possible but I will be the cause of your death."

She tried several means to influence Bheeshm to marry her but nothing worked, so she prayed Shiv Jee, and Shiv Jee blessed her that she will be able to kill Bheeshm. "But how? I am a woman, how will I be able to kill him as women cannot go in the battlefield." Shiv Jee said - "In next birth you will be born as a girl and gain the manhood. You will remember everything of your past life and then you will be able to kill Bheeshm." The same thing happened. Ambaa immolated herself after this and was born as a daughter in Drupad's house as Shikhandinee.
[Read Shikhandee below]

(3) Shikhandee
Drupad also had a boon from Shiv Jee that first he would have a daughter, then she will become a man. So he brought her up as a  boy and married her to a girl. The girl ran away to her father's house saying that she was cheated by being married to a girl. But patient Drupad asked her father to send anybody to check his daughter. Now Shikhandinee was in a flux, so she ran away from the palace. In a forest a cursed yaksh was going from skyway, he gave his own manhood to her for one year and went away. Taking the manhood that Yaksh, Shikhandinee came back to the palace, passed the test and became Shikhndee. Later she was able to help Arjun killing Bheeshm.

(4) Arjun
This story comes in Mahaabhaarat, Van Parv. When Paandav had lost the second Dice game, they went to forest for 13 years, including 1 year to pass as incognito. When they were living in forest, Vyaas Jee advised Yudhishthir to get ready for the war, and for that he advised him to send Arjun to obtain Divine weapons. He first sent Arjun to Shiv Jee to get his Paashhupat Astra. He did that but Shiv Jee advised him to go to Indra, Arjun's father to get Divine weapons from his first. So he went to Swarg to his father.There he got all kinds of Divine weapons. Indra taught him music and dance also to prepare him to pass the one year exile incognito.

Once Urvashee saw his dance and got attracted to him and proposed for her love. Arjun clearly refused it saying that since she was the wife of Pururavaa, his ancestor, he considered her as his mother and that is why he could not even think of making love to her. This filled Urvashee with rage and she cursed him that he should be an eunuch all his life.

Arjun got scared. he immediately went to his father Indra and told everything. Indra called Urvashee and told her that she had no right to behave with him in such a way, because she was an Apsaraa and Apsaraa lived in Heaven. Urvashee said - "He has insulted me, so he should be punished. You yourself may decide his punishment." Then Indra limited his term of punishment for one year and that also he could use it any time at his will. Later he used that curse when he had to pass the year incognito in Viraat's palace as Brihannalaa teaching music and dance to the royal women and girls.

(5) Bhangaaswan
This story comes in MBH Anushaasan Parv.Once Yudhishthir asked Bheeshm Pitaamaha  - "O Great Sire, While having sex who gets more pleasure? he or she?" Pitaamaha said - "This question can only be answered by that single individual who has enjoyed it both as a man and a woman." Now where one can find such a man who has enjoyed it as a man and as well as a woman, but then he told a story (actually it was not a story, it actually happened with one person).So he narrates the incident of a King named Bhangaaswan. He said that this story has been satisfying many people with this kind of curiosity in their mind. He said - "There was a king named Bhangaswanshaas. he had 100 sons from his wife as a result of a Yagya performed for this purpose. Although he did this Yagya in a large splendid way but he did not invite Indra, the king of Devtaa. This made Indra angry. He decided to take the revenge of his insult.

Once the King Bhangaaswan went for hunting. Indra thought this time was appropriate for his revenge so he misguided the King from his path. The King lost his way in that thick forest. The King was tired of wandering here and there, that he came to a beautiful pond filled with clean and clear water. He got relieved to see it. He entered the pond to take bath and as he came out of the pond, he was surprised to see that he was turned into a woman. Even he started behaving like a woman. The King was so embarrassed to see himself like this. Anyway he returned to his capital. He handed over his kingdom to his sons and left for the forest.

In the forest he started living with a saint as his wife and gave birth to 100 sons. When they had grown up, he sent them tol his kingdom living with their brothers. Indra again took the revenge of his insult, so both of that King's sons - his sons when he was king and his sons when he was the wife of the saint, started quarreling and all died in that quarrel.

When the King came to know about the death of his 200 sons, he went to Indra and said to him - "I never insulted you knowingly, it was just a slip of memory." Indra got convinced by his statement and asked him if he wanted to be male again, but surprisingly the King did not want to become male again. Indra got surprised to hear his "No" and asked the reason. The King said - "O Dev Raaj, whatever pleasure I have experienced in sex as a woman was unparallel. A man cannot experience such heavenly enjoyment as a woman does. I do  not want to lose this, so I choose to remain a woman throughout my life than to regain my manhood."

(6) Saamb
This story comes in Bhaaagvat Puraan, 11/1,  and  Vishnu Puraan, 5/14. Once Some Rishi came and stayed near Dwaarakaa. Some Yadu Princes also happened to come there and saw them staying there. So they thought to cut a joke with them. They prepared Jaambvatee's son Saamb as a woman with pregnancy, took him to those Rishi and asked them - "Hey Braahman, This beautiful woman is pregnant and wishes to know that whether she will give birth to a boy or a girl? You know everything. She has a strong desire to have a son." The Rishi looked at Saamb appeared in the form of a woman, they said - "She will give birth to a Moosal (pestle) which will destroy your whole Kul (Vansh or family)." Rishi indeed knew everything.

Hearing this all the boys got frightened. They immediately opened the stomach of saamb and found a Moosal in his stomach. They ran towards Ugrasen's (Kans' father) court. They told him everything and showed the iron Moosal to him. Hearing this all who were sitting there also got frightened since everybody knew that Braahman's curse could not be untrue. Immediately Ugrasen crushed that Moosal and threw its powder into the sea. Later the same happened as the Rishi forecast.

Sushma Gupta

Some Memorable Trials

Many people were put on trial for their new ideas which did not suit to the people, government or kings of their time . If we think about them today, they seem to be a foolishness on their part that how foolish were those people or king or government that they killed them on no account of any harm done to the society. Some were executed (Socrates and Jesus Christ) while others were pardoned posthumously (Galileo Galilei and Eckhart).

(469-399 BC) The first trial is of Socrates who was killed by poison. His trial is a very famous one of all times. Socrates was a great Greek philosopher in ancient Greece during 469-399 BC. He is well known for his wisdom. Unfortunately his own writing are not available in original form, but his two disciples - Plato and Xenophon; and his contemporary Aristophanes. he was accused of two issues - he did not acknowledge the gods who were acknowledged by the citizens of that time; and introducing new Deities. His trial was conducted by 500 juries who sentenced him to death. He was to be convicted by drinking Hemlock based liquid. His death was voluntary in order to justify his opposition to the Athenian democracy, and that he felt that the old age will be unpleasant anyway.

Jesus Christ
(6-2 BC-30-36 AD) Another most known and famous trial of the world, and then sentenced to death by crucifixion is of Jesus Christ. He was a Jewish teacher baptized by John the Baptist. Christian believe that he was the son of Holy Spirit  born through virgin Mary. He died on crucifix, rose from the dead, and ascended to the Heaven, from where he will return in future. he was crucified by Pontius Pilate who was the ruler of Judea from 26 to 36 AD. Jesus started his ministry at the age of about 30 and continued for about 3 years, During his last week of life, called Passion Week also, Jesus visits Temple, has problem with money changers about the use of temple for commercial purpose. Then he has a debate with elders in which his authority is questioned and the Woes of the Pharisees in which Jesus criticizes there hypocrisy. One of his disciples Judas Iscariot decides to betray him at the cost of 30 pieces of silver. Towards the last day of the week Jesus has Last Supper. After the Supper he goes in a garden to pray. There he is betrayed by Judas with a kiss to identify him as Jesus and is arrested. After the arrest Jesus' disciples go in hiding.

Jesus is taken to a body, Sanhedrin, and is tried, mocked and beaten and is condemned for making claims to be the Son of God. He is then taken to Pontius Pilate for his judgment and punishment. Pilate then orders his crucifixion he is then taken to High Priest's house where he is again mocked and beaten. Jesus speaks very little and does not defend himself. The Priest asks him - "Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed?" Jesus says - "I am." Hearing this the priest tears his own clothes and blames Jesus of blasphemy. Priest again asks - "Are you then the Son of God?" Jesus answers - "You say that I am affirming the title of Son of God."Then the Pilate accuses him claiming the King of Jews.

Then the Pilate realizes that Jesus is from Galilee and thus he should be under Herod Antipas, so he sends him there. There also Herod's soldiers mock him, put on a gorgeous robe on him like a king's robe and send him back to Pilate. Pilate declares that he has not found any fault with him. Pilate orders INRI to be engraved in his cross. The trial by Pilate follows putting a purple robe on his body (mark of the dress of a king), a crown of thorns, beat him, mock him and send him to Calvary to be crucified. At Calvary he is offered wine mixed with gall to drink (as a painkiller), but he refused to drink it, and then the soldiers crucified him by nailing his hands and feet on the cross. He was crucified between two thieves. One of them rebuked Jesus while the other one defended him. This was on Friday.

After he had died his body was wrapped in a clean cloth and buried in a new rock hewn tomb. Next day they checked whether the body was still safe in the tomb. But the third day, on Sunday, his followers find the tomb empty - Jesus had risen. Jesus appeared before his followers on that day and later several times.

Galileo Galilei
(Feb 15, 1564-Jan 8, 1642) Yet another trial is of Galileo Galilei. He was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher. His major contribution to the scientific community are improvements to the telescope and thus consequently astronomical observations, and support to Copernicanism. He is known as the "father of modern observational astronomy? and "the father of modern physics", and "the father of science".  His major contributions are - the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter (named the Galilean moons in his honour), and the observation and analysis of sunspots.

Galileo's heliocentrism was much criticized in his lifetime. Most astronomers opposed him on this issue. Only in 1615 it was suggested that it could only be a possibility not an established fact. Galileo later defended his ideas which attacked the Pope Urban VIII and the Jesuits. he was tried by the Inquisition "vehemently suspect of heresy", forced to recant, and spend the rest of his life under house arrest. It was when he was living in his house, he wrote one of his finest works - "Two New Sciences" in which he summarized his work which he did 40 years before. These two new sciences are now known as Kinematics, and Strength of Materials.

Biblical references, Psalm 93.1 and 1 Chronicles 16.30 say that "the world is  firmly established, it cannot be moved." In the same way Psalm 104.5 says that "The Lord set the Earth on its foundations, it can never be moved."; and Ecclesiastes 1.5 states that "And the Sun rises and sets and returns to its place." etc.Galileo defended heliocentrism, and claimed that it was not contrary to those Scripture passages. He took Augustine's views on Scripture, that one should not to take every passage of the scripture literally, particularly when the scripture in question is a book of poetry and songs, not a book of instructions or history. He believed that the writers of the Scripture merely wrote it from the perspective of the terrestrial world, from that vantage point that the sun does rise and set. So Galileo claimed that science did not contradict Scripture, as Scripture was discussing a different kind of "movement" of the Earth, and not rotations

By 1616 his criticism had gone on the top, so he went to Rome to try persuade the Catholic Church not to ban Copernicus ideas. At last a Decree was issued declaring the ideas that the Sun stood still and the Earth moved were false, and was altogether contrary to the scripture. Thus suspending the idea of Copernicus until it was proved true.

Galileo was informed about this Decree before it was issued that his ideas could not be defended, so he should abandon them. Galileo obeyed it. He stayed away from the controversies for several years. Then he wrote a book on this subject in 1623 with the Papal permission. The book "Dialog Concerning the Two Chief World Systems" was published in 1632. Although Pope Urban was a friend of Galileo, but he was facing pressure from state. At this time the case of Galileo was presented to Pope by court insiders and enemies of Galileo. Other people were blaming Pope dealing with Galileo softly so a Cardinal behaved with anger and fear. In 1632 Galileo was asked to come to Rome and he arrived there in February 1633. In the court, throughout his trial, he stuck to his statement that since 1616 he has denied them, not even defended his statements, but he was eventually persuaded to admit those blames put on him.

In July 1633, the court concluded with his being threatened with torture, if he did not tell the truth, but he maintained his denial despite the threat. The sentence of the Inquisition was delivered on June 22. It was in three essential parts:

(1) Galileo was found "vehemently suspect of heresy", namely of having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the center of the universe, that the Earth is not at its center and moves, and that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. He was required to "abjure, curse and detest" those opinions.
(2)  He was sentenced to formal imprisonment at the pleasure of the Inquisition. On the following day this was commuted to house arrest, which he remained under for the rest of his life.
(3) His offending Dialogue was banned; and in an action not announced at the trial, publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future.

Even later, in 1990, it was told that "The Church at the time of Galileo kept much more closely to reason than did Galileo himself, and she took into consideration the ethical and social consequences of Galileo's teaching too. Her verdict against Galileo was rational and just and the revision of this verdict can be justified only on the grounds of what is politically opportune."

 Galileo was allowed to return to his home in 1634, where he lived under house arrest. He went completely blind in 1638 and was suffering from a painful hernia and insomnia. He died on 8 January 1642, aged 77. He was not even allowed to be buried with his ancestors because he was condemned by the Catholic Church for "vehement suspicion of heresy". He was buried in a small room. He was reburied in the main body of the basilica in 1737 after a monument had been erected there in his honor. During this move, three fingers and a tooth were removed from his remains. One of these fingers, the middle finger from Galileo's right hand, is currently on exhibition at the Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy.

 The Inquisition's ban on reprinting Galileo's works was lifted in 1718 when permission was granted to publish an edition of his works (excluding the condemned Dialogue) in Florence. All traces of official opposition to heliocentrism by the church disappeared in 1835.

On 31 October 1992, Pope John Paul II expressed regret for how the Galileo affair was handled, and issued a declaration acknowledging the errors committed by the Catholic Church tribunal that judged the scientific positions of Galileo Galilei. In March 2008 the head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences announced to honor Galileo by erecting his statue inside the Vatican walls but later it was suspended. In December of the same year, during events to mark the 400th anniversary of Galileo's earliest telescopic observations, Pope praised his contributions to astronomy.

(1260-Feb 13, 1327 AD) Eckhart von Hochheim or better known as Meister Eckhart was a German philosopher, theologian and mystic born in Roman Empire. His Meister designation is the "Master" which refers to "Magister in Theologia" he obtained in Paris, France. He was tried as a Heretic by Pope John XXII. His defense is famous for his reasoned arguments to his all challenged articles and his refutation of heretic intent. he purportly died before even his verdict was announced.although no record of his death or burial site has ever been discovered. His most reputed disciple were John Tauler and Henry Suso. he was very well known among pious lay people for his "Friends of God".

Although on his death day, he stated in his protested, which was read in public, that he had always hated his writings, and if that kind of thing is still found in his writings, he now hates it. Still Pope John XXII issued a bull on March 27, 1329, that many ideas of his writings have been described as heretical.

In the spring of 2010, there was a response from Vatican, in a letter dated 1992, Timothy Redcliffe, recipient of the letter, summarized the contents of the letter as follows - "We tried to have the censure lifted on Eckhart, and were told that there was really no need, since he had never been condemned by name, just some propositions which he was supposed to have held, and so we are perfectly free to say that he is a good and orthodox theologian."

Professor Winfried Trusen, a correspondent of Radcliffe wrote in part of the defense of Eckhart - "Only 28 propositions were censured, but they were taken out of their context and and impossible to verify, since there were no manuscripts in Avignon."

Sushma Gupta

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Real Names

In our scriptures, there are many personalities who are not known by their real names. Some have some reasons to be known by their other names while others have not.  It is really interesting to know about them that how did they come to by their popular names. and not  by their real names..

(1) Ved Vyaas
Ved Vyaas Jee has been a great sage of his times. He was the 19th incarnation of Vishnu from among the 24 incarnations. He was the son of sage Paraashar (grandson of Maharshi Vashishth Jee) and a fisherwoman Satyavatee. Paraashar saw Satyavatee and intended to give her a child. In spite of opposiong the idea, as she was an unmarried girl, Paraashar created a smoke all around them and gave her a son. Since he had very dark complexion (Krishn)  and was born on an island (Dweep) he was named as Krishn Dwaipaayan. Krishn means dark complexioned and Dwaipaayan is a compound word - Dweep + Ayan. Dweep means island and Ayan means home or dwelling place; sp Dwaipaayan means whose dwelling place is an island.

This Ved Vyaas is not his real name. Later when he divided the Ved, then he was known as Ved Vyaas. Ved means Ved and Vyaas means who has divided; so Ved Vyaas means who has divided Ved. For general information, in every Chatur-Yug - one Sat, Tretaa, Dwaapar and Kali combined is called a Chatur-Yug; in the end of the Dwaapar Yug a Ved Vyaas is born to divide the Ved. This Ved Vyaas was born in 28th Dwaaper Yug. 27 Ved Vyaas have been there before him. Thus Ved Vyaas is not a name but a title for the person who divides the Ved, but he is more popularly by this name only.

(2) Bheeshm
Who does not know Bheeshm? Especially after seeing Mahaabhaarat Serial. If you have seen it, you must also be knowing that Bheeshm was not his real name. Then what was his real name? Bheeshm was the 8th son of Raajaa Shaantanu and Gangaa. Gangaa had already freed Shaantanu's 7 sons from birth and death cycle, but this their 8th son had to live on Prithvi. Gangaa named him Devavrat and took him along with her to Swarg to educate him. When he was 16 years old, she handed over him to his father and went back to Swarg.

Shaantanu had only one son and his wife was gone. A fear was in his mind if something happened to his only son...? So he intended to marry again. Fortunately he found that fisherwoman (Ved Vyaas' mother) and got attracted to her, but unfortunately when he proposed to her father her father did not get ready to marry his daughter to him, because he was sure that Satyavatee's children will rule a kingdom, and Shaantanu had already declared Satyavrat his Crown Prince. Hearing this Shaantanu became sad as he coulf not do injustice with his first-born son. He withdrew himself from his royal duties which worried Devavrat.

When Devavrat found his father sad, he went to Satyavatee's father and asked the whole matter. The fisherman told him everything. Devavrat said - "Today I take a vow that I will not claim the throne for my whole life. Now are you ready to marry Satyavatee to my father?" The fisherman said - "Not yet Prince."  "Why?"  "It is all right that you have given up your rights on the throne, but if your children asked for it, then...?"  Devavrat did not take even a moment to decide what he had to do, he took another vow immediately - "I will never marry in my whole life time, I will live alone and die alone, this is my vow." At the same time gods appeared in the sky, showered the flowers on him and gave him the name Bheeshm because of taking such a difficult vow. Thus Bheeshm is not his name, his name is Devavrat but nobody knows his real name. he is known as Bheeshm.

(3) Soot Jee
Soot is also not a name. Soot is word for those children whose father has married a woman whose Varn (Braahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shoodra - these are the four Varn in a Hindu society) is higher than his own, for example if the boy  is of Vaishya Varn, and he marries a Braahman girl, their children will be called Soot. This type of marriage is called Vilom (reverse) marriage. Such children did not have much respect in the society because the Vilom marriage was not the prescribed way of marriage. They were not otherwise inferior in any way - they were intelligent but they just did not reach at the right status in the society.

Many Soot may be seen in Mahaabhaarat times - Shaantanu's charioteer Adhirath was a Soot, Dhritraashtra's charioteer was a Soot, Karn being the son of Adhirath was also known as Soot. They were otherwise all intelligent and brave. It mostly happened with kings (Kshatriya) so being a Soot they could not be the prince or king, but they became the charioteer of the kings. They were their friends and counselors too in their depression times. Sanjaya's role in Mahaabhaarat is so crucial.

Such one Soot was a very dear disciple of Ved Vyaas Jee. His name was Romharshan (or Lomharshan). Vyaas Jee noticed his interest in Itihaas (history), so he taught him Mahaabhaarat. And he assigned him to tell Puraan to others on Prithvi. That is why his name is found in most Puraan. His real name appears very rarely, mostly he is described by the title "Soot Jee" and thus nobody knows his real name.

Another Soot Jee - Since he was known as Soot Jee, his son also came to be known as Soot Jee. His son's real name was Ugrashravaa. When Balaraam Jee had killed Romharshan in anger, he was replaced by his son Ugrashravaa who was given all powers and knowledge of Romharshan Jee by Balaraam Jee. Both names, Romharshan and Ugrashravaa, are not known to people.

(4) Shaunak Jee
If you have read Puraan, you must have heard and read the name of Shaunak Jee. There are many stories told and heard by Shaunak Jee. He was the son of sage Shunak Jee that is why he came to be known as Shaunak Jee. His real name was Ghritsamad which is not generally known to people.

(5) Trishanku
This is the name of a King. Can you tell the real name of this King? Or otherwise also, who was he? You must have heard the name of Truth-speaker Harishchandra, Trishanku was his father. So what was his real name - his real name was Satyavrat. Once it came to his mind that he should go to Swarg (Heaven) with his physical body, so he handed over his kingdom to his son Harishchandra and went to forest and started looking for a sage who could send him to Swarg with his physical body. He approached his family priest Vashishth Jee but he refused saying that it was not possible.

By chance, in those days, Vishwaamitra Jee was doing great Tap to compete with Vashishth Jee. When Vishwaamitra Jee heard this, he found an opportunity to test his Tapasyaa and he got ready to send him to Swarg with his physical body. Story is long, and Vishwaamitra Jee succeeded to send the King to Swarg in his physical body. But since it was against the law of nature, he got hung in between the Swarg and Prithvi and he is hung there even today. Since that day he became known as Trishanku. Trishanku means "who is neither here, nor there."

But Trishanku was not his real name. Then what was it? His name was King Satyavrat.

(6) Vishwaamitra Jee
Who does not know Vishwaamitra Jee. His name comes in reference of writing Rig Ved Mantra and Gayatri Mantra, Raam and Lakshman in Raamaayan and Vaalmeeki Raamaayan; Shakuntalaa whose son was Bharat on whose name this country is called Bhaarat; and Truth-speaker Harishchandra, that he tested him in his jealousy with Vashishth. Another strange thing about him that he is not even Rishi, he was a Kshatriya King. He became a Brahmarshi only after doing rigorous tap. He is the only one most known converted Braahman from a Kshatriya. Vishwaamitra Jee is the son of King Gaadhi, and Parashuraam's father Jamadagni's Maamaa.

His real name was also not Vishwaamitra. When he was born he was named Vishwarath. He came to be known as Vishwaamitra later after becoming the Brahmarshi.

See the Real Names-2 also to know the real names of Kali Yug personalities.

Sushma Gupta

Thursday, October 4, 2012

God's Grace in Kali Yug

When people read stories of Bhagvaan's Darshan in Puraan and in our other scriptures, they do not believe them for several reasons -
(1) Many times they do not even believe in Bhagvaan
(2) Many times they do not believe that Bhagvaan can show up to a mortal man
(3) Many times they say that these things happened only in Sat, or Tretaa or Dwaapar Yug, this is Kali Yug, it does not happen in Kali Yug.
(4) Many times they say that  those are only stories, just to confuse or misguide innocent people.

They might be true in their own beliefs, but here I have collected some incidents, happened only in Kali Yug, when Bhagvaan did either miracles to them or gave His Darshan to them.

(1) Mayoor
There was a Sanskrit poet, named Mayoor, during 6th-7th century,  he was a relative of another famous Sanskrit poet Baan Bhatt. Some say that he was Shree Harsh's court while others maintain that he was in King Bhoj's court. he is the same King Bhoj about whom a saying in Hindi is very famous - "Kahaan Raajaa Bhoj aur Kahaan Gangoo Telee". It is regarding Bhoj's immense wealth. As Mayoor was a relative of Baan Bhatt - it is said that Mayoor's sister was married to Baan. Once Mayoor wrote a new poem and went to his sister's house to tell it to his friend Baan, but there he found his sister quarreling with her hsband, and Baan was trying to please her with his beautiful poems. Mayoor could not control himself hearing his submissive poems, so he recited some poetical lines himself too. His sister got so angry hearing that, that she cursed him to be a leper. His sister was a Pativrataa woman so her curse came true, and the marks of leprosy appeared on his body as she pronounced the curse on him.

Although he went to the King's court next day in that condition, but seeing him in that condition, Bhoj sent him back. Now he retired to a temple of Soorya Dev and started worshiping him with his 100-verse long poem which became famous as "Soorya Shatak". When he had recited the 6th verse, Soorya Bhagvaan appeared before him in person and asked what he could for him. Mayoor bowed to him and said - "Deliver me from my leprosy." Soorya Bhagvaan said - "Although I also suffer in my feet, but I will cure you from your leprosy. I will give you my one ray." And his one ray enveloped Mayoor's body and his all leprosy spots disappeared immediately. At this Mayoor's fame increased a lot.

(2) Baan Bhatt
Baan Bhatt was a Sanskrit poet, in Shree Harsh or King Bhoj's court. Mayoor was his good friend, so Mayoor married his sister to him. After Mayoor became famous, Baan developed a kind of jealousy with him, so to show his own power, he cut his own arms and feet and praised Devee Chandikaa with 100-verse Stotra, It is said that at the recitation of the 6th syllable of the 1st verse Devee Chandikaa herself appeared in person, and restored his all limbs.

(3) Maanatungaa (a Jain)
When all that happened with Mayiir and Baan, some non-believers in Bhagvaan said to Jain people - "Do you also have something like this in your religion? If you have, then show something, otherwise go out of the city." There was one Jain monk Maanatungaa there, he said - "Our Deities have got emancipation, so what miracles they can show, still, I will show you the work of their servants - the lower gods." So he allowed himself to be bound with 44 fetters and sat in the back part of the Rishabh Dev Temple. He then composed a hymn of praise and recited it. Surprisingly with the recitation of each stanza, his one fetter broke, and as he completed his 44 stanzas, he was free from those fetters. Then he faced the tTemple and taught the law.

(4) Tulasee Daas Jee - Darshan of Hanumaan,  Raam and Lakshman
Everybody must have heard  the name of Tulasee Daas - he lived during 15th and 16th centuries. He was a great Raam Bhakt. He has written Raamaayan and many other poetry books in praise of Raam. Since Hanumaan Jee was also Raam Bhakt, he also worshiped Hanumaan. When Tulasee was in Vaaraanasee, he used to go to take bath in Gangaa River every morning. He carried a small pitcher with him in which he brought some water. While coming back he poured that water into the roots of a tree. That was his routine.

By chance a Pret lived on that tree. Once that Pret got very pleased with Tulasee's routine, so he appeared before him and asked him to ask for something from him. Tulasee was not in a mood to ask anything from a Pret so he tried to ignore his request, but the Pret was adamant, so he said - "I am Raam Bhakt, so I wish to have Darshan of Shree Raam, if possible." Pret said - "I cannot do this work myself, but I can tell you the person who can help you in this regard. You go to the temple, Raam Kathaa is going on there. There comes a leper who comes first among all the pwople and goes in the last of all. He is not a leper, he is Hanumaan Jee. You go and hold his feet, I am sure he will surely help you." Tulasee Daas Jee got very happy to hear this.

Tulasee went to that temple. He did find a leper who came first of all the Bhakt coming there and sat there till last. When the Raam Kathaa was over, Tulasee Daas Jee held his feet. Hanumaan Jee tried to be free from his grip but Tulasee did not leave them, he said - "I know that you are not a leper, but Hanumaan Jee. Please help me to get Raam's Darshan." Hanumaan Jee said - "All right, you go and live in Chitrakoot, you will have His Darshan there." Tulasee Daas Jee went to Chitrakoot. Once he was sitting outside his hut and he saw two most handsome princes riding their horses, but he could not recognize them. Hanumaan Jee was sitting nearby, he asked him - "Did you see them?" "Who?" "Those Raam and Lakshman?"  "Where?"  "They were going on horses just now." Tulasee started crying at his ignorance. Hanumaan Jee consoled him and assured him that he would see them again and he himself would tell him when they would be there.

Once Tulasee was rubbing sandalwood to apply sandal Tilak to pilgrims, that two most handsome youths came there and asked him to apply the Tilak to them. Tulasee applied sandal Tilak to them too. Hanumaan was sitting on a nearby tree, he immediate read a Dohaa - "Chitrakoot ke Ghaat pe Bhaee Santan kee Bheer, Tulasee Daas Chandan Ghisen Tilak Det Raghubeer." Hearing this Tulasee Daas Jee recognized Raaam and Lakshman and he fell on their feet.

(5) Tulasee Daas - when Krishn picked bow and arrow
Once Tulasee Daas Jee went to Dwaarakaa (a city in modern day state of Gujaraat, India, which is a birthplace of Krishn) to visit Nand Daas, a devotee of Krishn. On reaching there, he found Nand Daas in the Krishn temple, so he went there to see him. Tulasee Daas could not bear to look at the idol of Krishn. He could not understand why Nand Daas worshipped Krishn instead of Raam.

Nand Daas was saddened by Tulasee Daas' incorrect attitude towards other deities. He prayed to Krishn to help his friend. Within minutes, the idol of Krishn was transformed into that of  Raam. Immediately, Tulasee Daas realized his mistake. He realized that both were different forms of the same Lord and none was superior to the other. He felt repentant and tears started rolling down his cheeks. He hugged the idol and asked the Lord to forgive him. Nand Daas was happy too, as Tulasee Daas had finally realized the Truth. Both felt gratitude towards the Lord.

In its another version, Tulasee Daas heard the beauty of temples of Mathuraa, so he wenr there to se them. He went in one temple and just stood there admiring the statue of Krishn, but he did not bow his head to Him. The priest of that temple asked him to bow his head to him but Tualsee said -
"Tulasee Maathaa Tab Nabai jab Dhanush Baan Lo Haath".

It is said that immediately Krishn's idol was seen carrying bow and arrow in His hands and then only Tulasee bowed his head. The priest was so surprised to see Tulasee's Bhakti towards Raam.

(6) Tulasee Daas Jee - Hanumaan's grace
Once Tulasee Daas Jee had a very bad pain in his arm. When the pain became unbearable, he prayed Hanumaan by writing a prayer to Hanumaan - Hanumaan Baahuk, and Hanumaan Jee cured his pain.

(7)  Soor Daas
Soor Daas Jee was a great poet of 15th and 16th century. He lived in Tulasee and Akbar's period. He was blind since birth. He used to write devotional songs for Krishn and sang them in his sweet voice. It is said that since he was blind, either he himself fell in a dry well or somebody pushed him there. He shouted loudly to take him out of the well, but nobody came to his help. He was there for 7 days. Then one day he heard a child's voice - "Come and hold my hand, I will take you out." Soor Daas held his hand and the child took him out. It is said that Krishn Himself came there to take him out of the well, gave him His Darshan and asked him to ask for any boon. Soor Daas said - "I do not want to see any other thing after seeing you, besides you give me your unbroken love throughout my life." Krishn said - "So be it." and disappeared. Soor Daas became blind again singing krishn's Bhajan.

(8) Melpaathur Naaraayan Bhattathiri
Melpaathur was a Malayaalam poet, from Kerala. He was born in a Namboodareepaad Braahman family (Namboodareepaad are considered very high Braahman there) and lived during the 16th and 17th century. Once his father-in-law was suffering from severe rheumatism, he prayed God and got his disease transferred to himself. He consulted a great translator of Raamaayan of that time and he suggested to him to write about all incarnations of Vishnu - starting from His Fish incarnation. Melpaathur then wrote the summary of Bhaagvat Puraan. He planned to write 100 chapters and wrote one chapter of 10 Shlok each each day . His younger brother wrote it down for him. Its 3rd chapter shows a prayer about his father's-in-law sickness and suffering, because in that chapter he prays Lord to cure him. From then on every last verse of his every chapter contains a plea to God to cure him.

His book was completed on November 27, 1587. People believe that when Melpaathur recited the last chapter of his book, he had the Darshan of Lord Krishn or Guruvayurappan and he got cured of his disease. Millions of devotees have been cured by the recital of Naaraayaneeyam, and many of them have been cured of the disease of rheumatism. It is available in several languages - Malayaalam, Tamil, and English. It can be read in any language to get its benefit.

Thus these events are not very old and prove that Bhagvaan is there and give His Darshan to His Bhakt and help them too in their bad times. More later....

See also  Stotra by Poets for Cure  to read more about the people who had Darshan of God.
See also God's Grace in Kali Yug-2 to read more incidents of God's Grace in Kali Yug

Sushma Gupta