Friday, March 29, 2013


Shaastra say that bones are impure but Shankh are super pure. Shankh (conch) has a very special and important place in our religious lives. It has been regarded very holy and is used in worship. The Sanskrit word Shankh has the etymological meaning of pacifying the inauspicious (Unadi-Sootra, 1:104, ‘samyati ashubham asmat’).  It is most characteristically associated with Vishnu, and is one of the four of His Aayudh (literally ‘weapon’, but employed in the sense of whatever is held in the hand) usually found in his hands; the discus (Chakra), the mace (Gadaa) and the lotus (Padma) being the other three. Normally it is considered the house of some animal when he leaves his house, his house is collected.

Uses of Shankh
How do we use Shankh?
--When an Aaratee of God is performed in an house or in a temple, Shankh is blown.
--There are some Shankh which are good even for worshiping, such as Lakshmee Shankh.
--When something is begun, a Shankh is blown to indicate the start of that event.
--In Mahaabhaarat war Mahaarathee had their own Shankh and they were identified by those Shankh, such as Krishn by His Paanchjanya Shankh, Arjun  by his Devdatt Shankh etc.
--In Mahaabhaarat, when Duryodhan wanted to identify Paandav in Viraat's kingdom, he attacked Viraat's kingdom. And when Arjun proceeded to fight with them with Uttar, Kaurav could not recognize him. But when he blew his Devdatt Shankh, they recognized him by his Shankh only.
--Mahaabhaarat war used to begin and end with the blow of Shankh.

How Shakh Came on Prithvi? 
Its story goes like this that there was a Vishnu's Paaarshad (personal guard) named Sudaamaa in Gau Lok. Once Raadhaa cursed him to be born on Prithvi, so he was born on Prithvi as Shankhchood Asur. He was very mighty. Above that he obtained an armor too from Brahmaa Jee after a severe penance. The armor was that till his wife will be chaste to him he will not be hurt by anybody. Now he became fearless and he started tormenting people in Tri-Lok. His wife Tulasee was a very Pativrataa woman, so he was safe

Seeing his atrocities, Devtaa went to Brahmaa Jee to request him to kill Shankhchood, and Brahmaa Jee went to Vishnu. Vishnu planned to kill him this way that, He sent Shiv to fight with Shankhchood, and He himself went to Tulasee in disguise of Shankhchood and asked for her favor to be with Him. Tulasee yielded to his desire. As she came to know that he was not her husband but was Vishnu she filled with rage. Since Vishnu broke her Paativrat Dharm, she cursed Him in frustration to be a black stone. Vishnu accepted her curse, and said - "I accept your curse. You did what you should have done, now I will do what I should do. My Darshan does not go waste, so I grant you the boon that you will become a River (Gandakae River) and I will live in your heart in the form of stone (Shaalgraam). Besides, your hair will be grown as Tulasee plant and I will not accept any food without you. Even your husband's bones will appear on Prithvi as conch and they will be considered holy and will be used in my worship.

Asur With the Body of Shankh
There are a couple of Asur also who had the body of Shankh - they were Panchjan and Shankhaasur.
(1) Panchjan Asur lived in Sea and was killed by Krishn when He was looking for His Guru's son to pay His Guru Dakshinaa to him. After killing him he took his body (Shankh) and kept is it with Him. Even today whatever Shankh you see in His hand is the same. Coming from Panchjan's body, its name is Paanchjanya Shankh.
(2) Another Asur was Shankhaasur. His body was also of Shankh. He was the son of Samudra (Sea). he had stolen Ved, so Vishnu had to kill him and He asked Rishi to collect Ved Mantra from the Sea.

Some Famous Shankh
There are some famous and holy Shankh, such as - Lakshmee Shankh, known as Dakshinaavartee Shankh or Vallampuree Sanggu also (used in Abhishek and Aaratee),  Vishnu Shankh;  Heeraa Shankh or Pahaadee Shankh - it attracts wealth; etc.

Sushma Gupta

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Legends of Holee

Holee is one of the four great festivals of Hindu - Holee, Rakshaabandhan, Dashaharaa, and Divaalee. It is celebrated on Phaalgun Poornimaa and then enjoying it with dry and wet colors by throwing on each other next day. Nobody feels bad in Holee. There is no high or low cadre, there is no enmity, even the long time enmities are changed into friendship this day. Delicious food is cooked and when people come to play Holee colors, it is served to them. People gather sticks, wood and all kinds of things and burn Holee on Prathamaa of Chaitra Maas day. After burning the Holee people play with colors till lunch time. Then they take bath, eat food, take some rest and then go to see their friends in the evening. There they play Holee with dry colors only.

There are two main legends behind Holee festival. One is of Hiranyakashyap and Prahlaad, and the second of Shiv and Kaam Dev. Shiv and Kaam Dev legend has been immortalized by Kaali Daas in his great poetry 'Kumaar Sambhavam'.

Story of Prahlaad
After Vishnu had killed Hiranyakashyap's brother Hiranyaaksh (taking Varaah Avataar), the great Demon King Hiranyakashyap got very angry and upset with Vishnu and he decided to kill Him; but he needed special powers to kill Him, so he did severe penance and obtained a boon from Brahmaa Jee not to be killed either in day or night, inside or outside of the house, morning or evening, from any kind of weapon, and by any type of Brahmaa's created creature. By obtaining this boon Hiranyakashyap was ready to kill Vishnu.

Hiranyakashyap had 5 sons, Prahlaad being his youngest son.  Hiranyakashyap  was the greatest enemy of Vishnu and  Prahlaad was a great devotee of Vishnu, so he always opposed his father, Both were no match to each other. Hiranyakashyap could not tolerate this and tried to kill Prahlaad several times by several ways - rolling down from hills, drowning in the sea, biting by snakes, giving him poison etc etc.

When he could not kill him by any way, he thought for another way. Hiranyakashyap had a sister named Holikaa who had a boon that she would not be burnt in the fire. Hiranyakashyap took her help that she would sit in the fire carrying Prahlaad in  her lap and will burn him. She herself would not be burnt as she already had the boon not to be burnt by the fire. As planned she sat in the fire carrying her nephew in her lap to burn him, but unfortunately Prahlaad escaped and she got burnt. That was the day of Prathamaa of Chaitra month. People celebrate this day as Holee in the commemoration of Prahlaad's escape and Holikaa's Dahan.

Story of Kaam Dahan
When Satee had immolated herself in her father's Yagya, Shiv became very dejected and went to do penance. In the mena time a Daitya named Taarakaasur was born and got very mighty by the boon of Brahmaa Jee. His boon was strange. He asked for the boon that he should be killed by a 6-day old son of Shiv. he thought that Satee had already died so Shiv cannot have a son. Secondly, Shiv was busy in penance so he will not have a son for long time. Thirdly even if he would have a son, a 6-day old infant cannot kill him. And thus he thought that he had got immortality. So now he had started his atrocities greatly.

Devtaa and Rishi got tired of his atrocities, so they went to Brahmaa Jee to request him to kill him. Brahmaa Jee told that he would not be able to kill him as he had already granted him a boon, and only Shiv's 6-day old son could kill him. On the other side, Satee had incarnated as Paarvatee in Himvaan's house and was doing Tap to get Shiv Jee as her husband. But Shiv Jee was busy in his Tap, so how to get him ready to marry Paarvatee Jee and get a son from him to kill Taarakaasur?  Devtaa sought the help of Kaam Dev to lure Shiv Jee to wake up from his Tap and marry Paarvatee Jee and have a son so that he could kill Taarakaasur..Kaam Dev knew that luring Shiv Jee was a risky affair, it could take his life but he got ready to do their work.

Kaam Dev went to the place where Shiv Jee was doing Tap and started creating environment for luring him. As he wanted to shoot his mango flower arrow at Shiv Jee, Shiv Jee opened his third eye and looked at him, and he just got reduced to ashes. As Rati, Kaam Dev's wife, heard this she got very sad and came to Shiv Jee crying. She told him that he did this to do Devtaa's work, so he should be granted his life. Here there are two versions - one that Shiv Jee granted Kaam Dev his Life and, two that Shiv Jee told her that her husband will be born in Dwaapar Yug as the son of Krishn when Vishnu will incarnate as Krishn in Dwaapar Yug. She should wait till then. And till then her husband will be with people without body (Anang). Later Kaam Dev was born as Pradyumn to Rukminee Jee. It is believed that Shiv burnt Kaam Dev on this day, that is why people celebrate this day like this in this season.

Sushma Gupta

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dharm in Kali Yug

You must have heard that Dharm stands with his four legs in Sat Yug, with his three legs in Tretaa Yug, with his two legs in Dwaapar Yug  and with his one leg only in Kali Yug. Have you ever thoght why does it happen so? This is because Dharm is cursed to be like this. Whose curse it was? Let us read this story.

There was a Muni Pippalaad. He was the son of Rishi Dadheechi. You must have heard the name of Dadheechi also. He is the same Rishi who gave his bones to Indra to make Vajra (thunderbolt) to kill Vritraasur. Pippalaad Muni was the incarnation of Rudra. Dadheechi performed a severe penance and asked Shiv to be born as his son.

When Dadheechi gave his bones to Devtaa, his wife was not there. When she came back to the Aashram and found her husband dead, she got very angry. She cursed Indra and other Devtaa; got pyre ready to become Satee. The then a Divine voice said - "You are carrying Rishi's child so do not think of being Satee." But she wanted to go to her husband, so she tore her stomach and the embryo came out. As it came out it was shining like Sun in Tri-Lok. When she came to know that he was Rudra's incarnation, she offered her prayers to him, left him near a fig tree and went to her husband. Brahmaa Jee named him Pippalaad because he was born under a Peepal tree.

Rishi Pippalaad
Once Pippalaad was taking bath in Pushpbhadraa River, that a he saw a beautiful princess Padmaa, incarnation of Paarvatee. He got attracted to her and asked her hand from her father. First the king did not want to marry his daughter to that old Rishi, but seeing his Tej he married his daughter to him. Padmaa was very beautiful and a very Pativrataa woman.

One day Dharm Dev wanted to test the Paativrat Dharm of Padmaa. So he came to her near the river and tried to distract her pointing out again and again the old age of Rishi. At this Padmaa got annoyed and cursed Dharm to diminish soon. Hearing this curse Dharm Dev appeared in his real form. Seeing Dharm Dev, Padmaa asked for his apology and told him that she cursed him unknowingly, but she could not take her curse back. She then modified it - "In every Yug one part of Dharm will be destroyed, thus in Sat Yug Dharm will be present in all the four forms, in Tretaa Yug Dharm will be present in three forms, in Dwaaapar Hug Dharm will be present with two forms and in Kali Yug it will be present only in one form."

That is why Kali Yug is so short of Dharm. Dharm was satisfied with Padmaa's Paativrat Dharm. he blessed her with 10 sons and made her husband a handsome youth. Both .lived for long time enjoying their life. They had 10 sons and all of them were great sages like their father.

Sushma Gupta

Saturday, March 23, 2013

When Kshatriya Taught Braahman

According to our Hindu religion, normally it is Braahman's duty to study and teaching Ved etc, but we find in our scriptures a few cases when Kshatriya (normally means kings) taught Gyaan to Braahman. And these Braahman were also not an ordinary Braahman, rather they were great Braahman.

(1) King Janak Initiated Shuk Dev Jee
Shuk Dev Jee was the son of Ved Vyaas Jee. Whenever he used to ask his father to initiate him for Moksh Gyaan, his father used to say - "King Janak is the only person who can initiate you, so you go to him. Don't think that he is a king. He is the only person who can connect you to Naam (name of God) and initiate you." For long time this statement of his father stopped him to go to the King Janak, because his mind always pleaded that how could a king be the only person to initiate him. But whenever he talked to his father he always answered in the same way. So one day he went to him. Now King Janak wouldn't initiate him just like that. First he would test him whether he was worthy to be initiated or not. So he did and when he was satisfied then only he initiated him.
Read their full story here.

(2) King Jaivaali Taught Muni Uddaalak
Rishi Uddaalak was the son of Aaruni (a famous disciple of Rishi Dhaumya). Uddaalak had two sons - Shwetaketu and Nachiketaa; and one daughter Sujaataa. He married Sujaataa to one of his disciples named Kaahod. He taught Shwetaketu very well. Once Shwetaketu went to the assembly of the King of Paanchaal Desh, King Jaivaali. There the King asked him a few (precisely 5) questions but Shwetaketu could not answer any of the questions. Feeling embarrassed he came home and said to his father - "You said that you taught me well but I could not answer their even one question from among 5 questions." Uddaalak asked the questions they asked his son and said - "My Son, I also don't know their answers, how could I teach you what I myself do not know." And he set off to Paanchaal Desh.

There he straight away went to the King and asked him to teach him the answers of those questions which he asked his son and his son was not able to answer them. Uddaalak accepted that he also did not know the answers of those questions. King Jaivaali said - "O Braahman, This knowledge has never gone to any Braahman before, that is why it belongs only to Kshatriya alone and you do not know it." And then he teaches Muni Uddaalak that knowledge.
Read this story in Brihadaaranyak Upanishad

A similar story comes in Chhaandogya Upanishad also

(3) King Ajaatshatru Taught Aachaarya Balaaki
This story was shown in TV Serial "Upanishad Gangaa", Episode 31.
Aachaarya Balaaki was the disciple of Garg Rishi. Once he went to the Kaashee King Ajaatshatru with the desire of some wealth, so he asked the King - "Are you ready to get educated from me?" Ajaatshatru replied - "I take a vow to give you 1,000 cows in Guru Dakshinaa in advance." So Balaaki started teaching the King Ajaatshatru. Surprisingly enough Ajaatshatru knew all those things before, rather he knew more than that. Thus Balaaki got defeated. Then Balaaki asked Ajaatshatru to teach him Gyaan. Ajaatshatru said - "Hey Braahman, My duty is to protect people, not to teach. If I have to teach you I will have to leave this throne." and he left the throne to teach Gyaan to Balaaki.

That is why it is not always true that whoever's duty is to teach, only he would teach. Anybody can teach who has Gyaan, and anybody should take Gyaan from anybody who has Gyaan. Above examples show that even great Rishi did not hesitate in taking Gyaan from Kshatriya to whom they were supposed to impart Gyaan.

Sushma Gupta

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Famous Maamaa

In Northern India there is a saying - "Ghar ke Baahar Naalaa, Deevaar mein Aalaa, and Ghar mein Saalaa are always dangerous". Its English translation is "An outlet of dirty water outside the house, a small empty place to keep some small things in a wall and the wife's brother (Maamaa) in the house - all three are dangerous." In many contexts it is true also. Here I will tell you about some Maamaa (mothers brother) who have been famous, here it is not necessary that they were living in the house or not, the important point is that they all were Maamaa.

(1) Kans
The first name which comes to the mind is of Kans. Kans was King Ugrasen's son, Devakee's brother and thus Krishn's Maamaa. Everybody knows about what he did to his nephews. He loved his sister Devakee very much and he loved his friend Vasudev also very much, so he decided to marry Devakee to Vasudev. He did that and to show his love towards Devakee, he himself drove their chariot to their place from his palace. When he was driving the chariot, a Divine voice said - "To whom you are taking with so much love, her eighth child will be your killer." Hearing this Divine voice, he got so much upset that he got ready to kill Devakee at the same time drawing his sword. Vasudev was very intelligent. He pacified him saying many soothing words. He said  - "It does not look nice for you to kill (1) your sister to whom you love so much, (2) She is a woman, it is not good for a Kshatriya of your caliber to kill a woman, (3) It is not good to kill a newly-wed girl, and lastly (4) It is only her eighth child, so there is still time, why to kill her now. You can take her eighth child, I myself will give you her eighth child, and you may do with him whatever you like."

Kans got agreed on the condition that Vasudev would give all his children to him. To make sure, and to keep track of  each child he kept both of them in prison and asked his men to inform him about the birth of each child. Those people did that and he killed their 6 sons. Nobody knew about the 7th son as Bhagavaan's Yog Maayaa took the child out of the womb of Devakee and put it in the womb of Rohinee, another wife of Vasudev. But as soon as he heard the the eighth child is born, he immediately came to the prison and tried to kill him. But he was so surprised to see that it was not a son, but a daughter. He did not want to take any chance and he killed her also. As he hit her on the stone, she flew into the sky from his hands announcing that "Your killer has already been born, why do you want to kill me?"

Kans then ordered his people to kill all children born during the last couple of days. Pootanaa demoness did that, but still Krishn was not killed, rather He killed her. Kans sent many Raakshas to kill Krishn, but all his Raakshass were killed. In the last Kans was killed by Krishn.

(2) Shakuni
The second names comes to mind is of Shakuni. Shakuni was the Prince of Gaandhaar country and when his sister Gaandhaaree was married to blind Dhritraashtra, he got very angry. At the same time he took a vow that he would destroy the whole family of Dhritraashtra. He also came to Hastinaapur and started living there. Thus Shakuni was the Maamaa of Kaurav - Duryodhan, Dushaasan etc brothers. He was the master mind of all the evil feats of Duryodhan. He never advised him properly, rather he always fanned the fire of his jealousy towards Paandav and in the end he became the cause of the destruction of the whole Kuru family.

From the very beginning, from mixing poison in Bheem's Kheer, planning to kill all Paandav in Laakshaa Griha, dividing the kingdom (in Hastinaapur and Khaandav Prasth), idea of playing Dice Game and then cheating in it while playing, then the second  Dice game, exile of 13 years to Paandav including one year of living incognito, insulting Paandav by sending Durvaasaa Muni to them after their food time etc etc, all were his evil planning to get kingdom for Duryodhan. In the last he was killed by Sahadev.

(3) Shalya
The third Maamaa, Shalya was the King of Madra kingdom and he married his sister Maadree to King Paandu. Maadree had a twins, Nakul and Sahadev. Thus Shalya was Maamaa of Paandav. Shalya was very brave, a Mahaarathee. Keechak was also very brave, he had the strength of 10,000 elephants, so there were only four people who could kill Keechak - Bheeshm, Shalya, Balaraam and Bheem; and thus Shalya was one of them. It shows that he was equal to Bheeshm, or Balaraam or Bheem or Keechak. He was a very good charioteer too - Karn compared him with Krishn when he requested him to be his charioteer.

When it was decided that the war had to happen, both Kaurav and Paandav invited their people to join them. So Shalya should have joined Paandav being their Maamaa and with the same intention he set off on his journey. But with the cunning advice of Shakuni, Duryodhan made a very good arrangement of his rest areas at all appropriate points on his path and felicitated him with all kinds of comforts. Seeing all this arrangement Shalya was so happy that at all points where he stayed, he said to the servants that he would praise their services to the King. As per instructions of Duryodhan, his servants never said a word about those camps as who made that arrangement for him.

When Shalya arrived in Paandav's camp, he admired their arrangement. Yudhishthir said - "But we haven't made any arrangement." Shalya asked - "Then who made that arrangement? When I said that "I will give a good report of your good services to the King, then also they did not tell me anything. I did not know this that you have not made this arrangement, if I had known this I would have never stayed there. Now what should I do? I have accepted his food, I cannot leave him." Yudhishthir said - "Maamaa, You have been cheated. Duryodhan has played this trick to bring you on his side. I know that you cannot leave him now, but please promise us that you will always discourage Karn to fight with Arjun."

Shalya could not do anything else, but he did what Yudhishthir said to him. His own nephews, Nakul and Sahadev were so sad with this, that they said to him - "Maamaa, Today you made us the children of  stepmother." In the end Yudhishthir killed him.

Sushma Gupta

Friday, March 15, 2013

Princesses Who Went to Forest

This blog is about those princesses who went to forest with their husband. In our ancient history there are many princesses who have either gone or lived in the forest with their husbands after their marriage. The last three princesses did not go to forest just after their marriage but when their husband had to go to forest, they did not live in palaces or in their father's palaces, they also went to forest with their husband.

Lopaamudraa was the princess of Vidarbh Desh. She was married to Agastya Rishi. Her father did not want to marry her to a Rishi but the Rishi was adamant, and when he threatened the King, Lopaamudraa had to agree. She left back her all royal attire and  go to the forest with her husband. But it is said that once Agastya Rishi asked her to give him a son, then she asked him to adorn her in proper attire and jewelry so that she can attract the Rishi properly. Agastya Jee told her that he was only a Rishi, where he would bring all that for her from? She said - "You have done a lots of Tap. You can do anything through it." Rishi said - "I am not going to waste my Tap to get you good clothes and jewelry, but I will do something else." Then he killed Vaataapi Daitya, got his wealth and bought good clothes and jewelry for Lopaamudraa.

Satyavatee was the daughter of the King Gaadhi (Vishwaamitra's father). Once Richeek Rishi went to King Gaadhi and asked him to marry his daughter to him. King Gaadhi did not want to marry his daughter to a Rishi so he kept a condition that if the Rishi would bring him 1,000 white horses with their one ear black, he would marry his daughter to him. Richeek understood that the King did  not want to marry his daughter to him, but he did not care. He brought those horses from Varun and gave them to the King. King Gaadhi had to marry his daughter to him. After the marriage Satyavatee went to live in forest with her husband.

Saavitree was also a Princess - the daughter of Ashwapati of Madra Desh. She was so qualitative that Ashwapati could not find a boy fpor her to marry. He then asked his daughter to look for a boy herself as her husband. She chose a boy who lived in forest. She told this to her father. At that time Naarad Jee was sitting with him. He told the King that the boy had all the qualities except that he would live only exactly for one year more. Still Saavitree did not move from her selection. She married him and went to forest to live with him and his parents. Later she brought her dead husband back to life, regained her in-law's kingdom and eyesight along with sons for herself and her parents.

Sukanyaa was the daughter of the King Sharyaati (the son of present Manu - Vaivaswat Manu). Once she came to forest with her father. She was wandering around that she saw an anthill with two holes and a light coming out of those holes. She got curious and she inserted a straw in those holes. A stream of b lood flowed from those holes. She got frightened and came to her camp. That anthill was built by ants around Chyavan Rishi who was doing Tapasyaa there. He felt pain and he cursed the people of the King. Their excretory system got blocked. The King understood what it could mean and asked his people as who had done anything to the Rishi? Sukanyaa feeling guilty accepted that maybe she did something to him. King immediately went to him and asked for his forgiveness. Rishi said - "You should marry your daughter to me." The King hesitated to marry his beautiful daughter to that old Rishi, but he could not do anything, so he married Sukanyaa to Chayavan. And Sukanyaa started living with that old Rishi as his wife in the forest. Later she got Rishi's youth and eyes back from Ashwinee Kumaar.

Maandhaataa's 50 Daughters
Maandhaataa was a king in Soorya Vansh. He had 50 daughters. There was a Saubhari Rishi also. Once he did a severe Tap and was taking bath in the river that he saw a big fish playing with his grandchildren happily. Seeing that happy family, he also desired to enjoy that happiness of a family, so he decided to marry. he went to the King Maandhaataa and asked to marry his any of the daughters to him. But Maandhaataa was doubtful that any of his daughters would marry that old Rishi. He said to the Rishi - "I have 50 daughters, but I regard the choice of my daughters. You may show yourself to them and if anyone likes you, you may marry her." So he arranged a few eunuchs to take Rishi to his daughters palaces. Rishi was a great Yogee, so as he went in the palace he changed himself into a handsome prince. As soon all the daughters saw that handsome prince, they all said that they all wanted to marry him. The eunuchs reported this to the King. the King got very surprised to hear this but what could he do. He married his all daughters to Rishi Saubahri. And all the princesses went to the forest with their husband.

Later they all got their separate palaces for themselves, and not only this, Rishi used to be with them all the time, as Krishn lived with His 16,000 wives all the time nobody felt His absence. The King was very worried about his daughters so one day he with his wife came to Rishi's Aashram to kknow about his daughtres' welfare, but he got stunned to see many palaces there. The place was  not looking like an Aashram. Hesitatingly he entered in one palace and found his one daughter there. When he talked to her, she told him that she was very sorry about her other sisters as Rishi was spending his whole time with her, King heard the same thing from his other daughters also. He got very happy to hear this and greeted the Rishi and went away. Rishi also enjoyed with his 50 wives for long time, had many children and grandchildren. Later he left everything and went to forest. His all wives also went with him.

Damayantee was the Princess of Vidarbh Desh. She chose Nal over many Devtaa. Kali got angry at this and he set a trap to punish Nal. He sat in Nal's younger brother Pushkar's head and he invited King Nal to play dice game. Nal lost the game and he had to leave his kingdom. He asked his wife to go to her father's place with children, but she did not go there, she sent only her children there. She went with her husband. In the forest she had to tolerate many difficulties. Even she had to lose her husband also. Later with her intelligence she found him.

Everybody knows Seetaa's story. She was the princess of Mithilaa and the daughter of King Janak. She was married to Ayodhyaa's King Dasharath's eldest son Raam. When Dasharath wanted to declare Raam the Crown Prince, his youngest queen Kaikeyee asked her two boons - once Dasharath promised to give her. She said - "Give me my two boons - one, the kingdom to my son Bharat and two, exile to Raam for 14 years." Dasharath had to fulfill her wishes. So Raam had to go to forest. In spite of advising by Raam, Kaushalyaa and Dasharat Seetaa did not stay at home. She went with Raam to forest. She lived there for 14 years. There She was abducted by Raavan. She lived there for one year. She came back to Ayodhyaa after 14 years.

Draupadee was the princess of Paanchaal Desh, the daughter of Drupad. Drupad wanted to marry her to Arjun but hearing the Laakshaa Grih incident he was very disappointed, but to his good luck Paandav were alive and they attended Draupadee's Swayamvar in disguise of Braahman. In the same disguise Arjun won Draupadee. Later when Paandav lost their kingdom in the dice game with Duryodhan they had to leave their kingdom Indra Prasth and had to go to forest for 13 years, including one year of incognito. Paandav asked Draupadee to stay at her father's place but she decided to be with Paandav. She also suffered with them for 14 years. She suffered most in the last one year when she had to work as a maid of Viraat's wife Sudeshnaa's handmaid.

All these princesses did not choose to live in palace, as they could have, but they lived with their husband in spite of knowing that forest life was not at all easy.

Sushma Gupta

Friday, March 8, 2013

Kings Tested by Devtaa

There are some stories in our scriptures when Devtaa had tested the righteous kings. Some stories are very famous among them. Here are three such stories ---

Raajaa Rantidev
There was a king named Ranti Dev. He was in the lineage of Chandra Vansh - Bharat -> .Bharadwaaj -> Manyu -> Nar -> Sankriti -> Rantidev. It was his principle that he did not take any money from his royal treasury for his own expenditure. he used only those things which he got without any labor. And since he did not touch anything that belonged to the kingdom, gradually his own capital was decreasing. Once it so happened that he could not get even water for drink for 48 days. His family was suffering because of this. On the 49th day he got some Ghee, Halavaa,  Kheer and water in the morning.

Rantidev started distributing food among themselves, and wanted to eat it that a Braahman came and asked for some food. Rantidev saw Bhagvaan in everybody, so he gave some food to him and he went away after being satisfied. After he had left, Rantidev again sat for eating, that a Shoodra came to him and asked for some food. Rantidev gave some food to him too, and the Shoodra also left.

After the Shoodra had left, Rantidev again sat to eat that a man came with his dogs. He said - "Raajan, My dogs and I are very hungry, give us some food." The King gave the remaining food to him and bowed to Bhagvaan. Now only water remained with Rantidev. So he wanted to take that water that a Chaandaal came asked him to give some water to him. Rantidev gave that remaining water also to him. After he drank water all three, Brahmaa, Vishnu and Mahesh appeared before him and blessed him. They asked him to ask for a boon but he had no desire so everything just got disappeared and his people also got the same Gati as he got.

Raajaa Harishchadra
Raajaa Harishchandra was a Soorya Vanshee King. Once Indra asked in his court that whether there was any king who was the follower of Truth, on Prithvi? Vashishth Jee said - "Yes, There is one king. He is Harishchandra of Ayodhyaa." Vishwaamitra Jee was also sitting there, he opposed him and said - "No, He is not." Both got ready to test the King Harishchandra. Vishwaamitra said - "He cannot stick to truth, I will put him in such a condition that he will have to move from the truth. And if I could not move him, I will change my name."

So Vishwaamitra Jee went to him and asked the gold in donation. He gave it. Vishwaamitra Jee accepted it but left it with him and went away saying that whenever he would need it he would come and take it. Later he trapped him in such a way that he had to leave his kingdom. At that time he asked his gold. Harishchandra gave that kingdom to Vishwaamitra. Then he asked Dakshinaa. The King did not have anything with him so he sold his wife to a Braahman and himself to a Dom (cremation ground caretaker) and gave that money to him.

Now one day a snake bit the King's son Rohit. He died of its bite. His mother did not have any cloth to wrap the body, so she tore half of her Saaree, wrapped his body in it and brought him to the cremation ground, but Harishchandra would not allow her to burn the body without giving tax. She said - "I don't have anything to give you tax, you may take the other half piece of my Saaree as tax." Harishchandra got ready and as his wife started taking off her half Saaree, Vishnu, Indra, Vishwaamitra and vashishth Jee came there and blessed him. Read the whole story here.

Raajaa Shivi
Once the gods, Indra and Dharm Raaj, decided to test Raajaa Shivi for his compassionate nature. Once a living being came under his protection, he used to protect him even at the cost of his life. So one day Indra assumed the form of a pigeon and and Yam Raaj assumed the form of a hawk. The hawk started chasing the pigeon and the pigeon flying came to the King's court and fell in the laps of the King.

As soon as the King saw him, he protected him and when the hawk came to ask for his prey, he clearly refused to give him to the hawk. The King, instead, promised to give the hawk some other animal's flesh. First the hawk did not agree at this but when the King got agreed giving on his own flesh, he got agreed. Still the hawk put two conditions - that when the King will give his own flesh he will not shed any tear, and that his family should be there too. Shivi agreed. His family was called, a scale was brought and Shivi started keeping his flesh on the other side of the scale. He continued to keep his flesh, but still his flesh was not equal to weight of the hawk. At last he himself sat on the scale. As he sat on the scale, hawk and pigeon changed into Indra and Dharm Raaj and blessed him. Read the whole story here.

Sushma Gupta

Monday, March 4, 2013

God's Grace in Kali Yug-2

I wrote a blog on "God's Grace in Kali Yug" which described those people who had the Darshan of Bhagavaan (God) in this Kali Yug. They were Mayoor, Baan Bhatt, Maanatungaa (a Jain), Tulasee Daas (3 times), Soor Daas and Melpaathur Naaraayan Bhataathiri.

Today I am going to write about some more people who either  had Darshan of  Bhagavaan or got help from Him in this Kali Yug. The incident quoted here of Samarth Raamdaas shows that he had the Darshan of Raam, but about Meeraa Bai, we are not sure whether she had Darshan or not, The other two Danaji Pant and Dasopant certainly did not have Darshan but they were saved by Him.

Samarth Raamdaas
Samarth Raamdaas was a great saint and Bhakt of Raam and Hanumaan from Maharashtra. He used to do Keertan (Jaap of Hari Naam) of  "Shree Raam Jaya Raam, Jaya Jaya Raam". There are 13 Akshar (letters) in this. He performed 13 crore Jap of this Mantra at Tafaalee, near Naasik, on the banks of the Godaavaree. Once Raam appeared before him. He told Raam - "I am unable to concentrate on the Jap if I keep counting it like this. I wish to do the Jap thinking of you,instead, I am compelled to count the Jap." So he ordered Raam - "When my 13 crore Jap is completed, ring the bell of your "Kodand" (bow)!" and Raam complied with this request. Every time, Raamdaas completed 13 crore Jaap, Raam would then appear before him and request him - "If people like you sat in the cave doing Jap, then who would do "Uddhaar" (help) of the people of the world? So, go out to do "Lok Uddhaar"." It is also said that Raam ordered him to visit holy places.

Meeraa Bai
Meeraa Bai was a Raajpoot queen. She was living in Raajpootaanaa (modern Raajasthaan) in 6th century. She was the wife of Raanaa kumbhaa of Chittaur Garh. She was a great devotee of Krishn, so she refused to worship the family Deity Durgaa. She neglected the household responsibilities also because of which she had to face many difficulties. Her husband tried to kill her by several ways (by giving her poison, by sending snakes etc) several times (as Hiranyakashyap tried to kill his son Prahlaad), but because of her Deity Krish she always survived. She used to write poems as a Krishn Bhakt, but this was also not like by her family members. After all, she left the home at the age of 30, and went first  to   Mathuraa and Vrindaa Van and then to Dwaarakaa.

It is believed that she became one with Krishn, as people saw her going in the temple and singing in a state of ecstasy. The temple door was shut after her. When the door of the temple was opened, her Saaree was found around the statue of Krishn.

Damaji Pant
Damaji Pant (pronounced as Daamaajee Pant) was an ardent devotee of Vithobaa (Krishn) of Pandharpur. He was a village official at Mangalvedh under the Muslim rule. Once there happened a famine and the King did not take care of his people. Damaji noticed this and distributed grains from the government granary. Some people who were not happy with Damaji, complained the King about this that either he should pay for the grains or he should be punished, At the last minute a person named Vitthu (Krishn) came from nowhere and paid the full amount.

A similar account is found in Dattaatreya Gyaanopadesh about Dasopant (pronounced as Daasopant). he was a village clerk of Bidar. He also donated grains to people, and was imprisoned and was threatened that he would have to be converted to a Muslim if he did  not pay the required amount within a month. At the last moment a man named as Datta Padewar came and paid the money in full and save Dasopant to convert in a Muslim. he was none other than Dattaatreya,

See also God's Grace in Kali Yug to read some incidents of God's Grace in Kali Yug.

Sushma Gupta