Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Raavan and Devtaa

Raavan was the real mighty king of his times. He had won all Devtaa, Raakshas, Daitya, Gandharv, etc, no need to say of human beings. He was indeed the King of kings. It is said that all Devtaa used to stand in his service all the time. Here we would like to cite two incidents of his life related to Devtaa.

Raavan and Devtaa
Everybody knows that Raavan had won all Devtaa, Raakshas etc. So all Devtaa, Rishi etc used to stand in his service. He had employed Chandramaa to hold his royal umbrella, Varun Dev as the in-charge of water facilities, Kuber as wealth in-charge, Yam Raaj to take care of his enemies, and Indra Dev as his main counselor. Brahmaa Jee and Saptarshi always used to pray for him. Gandharv sang for him and Apsaraa danced for him. Gangaa always gave him good water. Vishwakarmaa was appointed for Anna Sanskaar. Other kings took care of his city.

Once Raavan came in his court and asked his ministers who and who kings were in his service. They named many of them - Maandhaataa, Nal, Arjun, Yayaati, Nahush, Bheem, Vidoorath etc, but Ajapaal named king was not there. Hearing this Raavan got very angry, he said - "Send somebody who can call him and tell him that if he did not come in my presence immediately I will kill him." Dhoomraaksh immediately went there and delivered the King's message to him, but Ajapaal sent him back. Then he called Jwar (fever) and sent him to Raavan. Jwar came and started affecting all of them. Raavan understood and he said to Dhoomraaksh - "Let Ajapaal be there wherever he is."

Raavan and Nava Graha Devtaa
It is believed that all the Nava Graha Devtaa lay as the stairs to his throne. He used to go to his throne by climbing upon them. When he stepped upon them at the time of climbing to his throne he used to feel a kind of thrill. Once Naarad Jee came to see him. Raavan welcomed him and asked his welfare. Naarad Jee thanked him and asked his welfare too. Naarad Jee noticed that while climbing to his throne, Raavan had nine stairs and on all those stairs Nava Graha were lying facing down. He used to climb on their back to reach his throne. Naarad Jee got very sorry to see this pathetic condition of those Devtaa who ruled the world before being won by Raavan.

Naarad Jee said to Shani Dev - "Shani Dev, You are the most powerful Devtaa among all the Nava Graha Devtaa. If you look at somebody even with half sight, he is destroyed completely, I feel very sorry for you to see you in this condition." Shani Dev said - "I know, Naarad Jee, I know. But what can I do? This Raavan has put all of us on his stairs facing down so there is no opportunity for me to look at him, otherwise I would have destroyed him too." Naarad Jee was indeed sorry for all of them, so he assured Shani Dev that he would do something for him, so that at least he can have a look at him.

Raavan said - "I am fine. See, I have all the Devtaa lying here as the stairs to my throne. I daily put my feet on their bodies and then sit on my throne." Naarad Jee admired him and his fate and said - "But Raavan, these Devtaa are lying here facing down and you climb on their back only. If they had been lying here facing upward, I think you must have enjoyed climbing upon them more than now, because then you could see the expressions on their faces too." Raavan got very happy to hear this, he said - "Naarad Jee, You have told me a very nice thing. I will do the same, and then I would be able to see their facial expression too. I am sure I will enjoy that scene more." Naarad Jee went away after talking to him.

Raavan then asked all the Devtaa to lie facing upward. As soon as Shani Dev turned himself to face up, he looked at Raavan and from the same day his bad days started. After that Shoorpanakhaa came and reported her incident, of severed nose and ears, to him.

Sushma Gupta

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Divine Weapons-2

Last time I wrote about Vishnu's Weapons. This time I am writing about some other Divine weapons which were used by other Devtaa. Although there are many Divine weapons apart from Vishnu's Divine weapons, but Shiv's Tri-shool (trident), Indra's Vajra are some other powerful ones.

Shiv's Tri-shool
According to one story, when Vishwakarmaa shaved off Soorya's Tej for his daughter Sangyaa, he made several Divine weapons from that shaving. Vishnu's Divine Disc was one, and Shiv's Tri-shool was another. In fact Tri-shool is not only three points are not only the points, but they depict many things, such as 3 Naadee, means energy channels. These three Naadee are Idaa, Pingalaa and Sushumnaa. There are many other three things which these three points depict, such as - Trinity (Creator, Sustainer and Destructor); three Ggun (Sat, Raj and Tam); Kaal or Time (past, present and future) etc etc. Shiv's Tri-shool is very powerful. It has done lots of jobs, Shiv Jee severed Ganesh's head with it. He kept Tripuraasur's head over it for 1,000 years.

Shiv's Bow
Shiv Jee has a bow also. Its name is Pinaak,  that is why he is called as Pinaak-dhaaree. Pinaak has the snake in place of bowstring," and this snake is a 7-headed snake. This bow is of rainbow color. He destroyed Tripur with an arrow shot from this bow.

Shiv's Shaft
He has a shaft too. Its name is Paashupat Astra. Once he gave this Astra to Arjun. Sage Upamanyu says that this Astra is superior than Brahmaastra, Vaishnavaastra, Varunaastra etc.

Shiv's Shool
he has one another weapon, called Shool. He gave this weapon to Lavanaasur and Lavanaasur killed King Maandhaataa with this weapon. It is a very terrible weapon making people's hair stand. The handle of this Shool is made of snake. It is indescribable.

Shiv'a Axe
He has one another weapon, that is axe. He gave this weapon to Parashuraam to destroy Kshatriya. Parashuraam used it to destroy them to empty Prithvi 21 times. It is sharp-edged battle-axe and is also adorned with snake.

Indra's Vajra
Indra's Vajra is another powerful Divine weapon. It was made when he had to subdue Vritraasur Raakshas. He was unable to be killed by any weapon, so Indra went to Brahmaa Jee and Brahmaa Jee sent him to Vishnu. Vishnu suggested him to go to Maharshi Dadheechi. He said - "Dadheechi's body is very strong after doing so hard Tap, so you go to him and ask him his bones. then you ask Vishwakarmaa to make a weapon from those bones and then you kill Vritraasur." Indra obeyed Him and went to Dadheechi and asked for his bones. Dadheechi left his mortal body through Yog for the welfare of Devtaa. Indra gave those bones to Vishwakarmaa, he made the Vajra out of those bones and then only Indra could kill Vritraasur.

Indra's Bow Vijaya
Indra had a Divine bow named Vijaya. When Parashuraam Jee killed Sahastrabaahu, he got so happy that he gave his Vijaya named bow to him. Parashuraam Jee used this bow to empty Prithvi from Ksahatriya 21 times. Later pleased with his disciple Karn, he gave this bow to him. Karn became unconquerable with the help of this bow.

Sushma Gupta

Friday, May 24, 2013

Vishnu Cheats

As Shiv is famous for granting odd types of boon without any considerations and then seeking solutions to save himself from those boons, Vishnu has to cheat them to save Devtaa or people from those boons. Here are some clear cut examples of His cheating, the boons are not necessarily granted by Shiv....

Killing of Jalandhar
Jalandhar was a Daitya who was granted a boon of immortality in the form of a Kavach (armor). Till his wife will be Pativrataa he will not die, and he should die at the hand of Shiv Jee. But since he had the armor of his wife, he could not be killed even Shiv Jee. So he became fearless and started troubling Devtaa and sages. Devtaa went to Brahmaa Jee. Brahmaa Jee said - "Only Shiv can kill him, so you go to Shiv." They went to Shiv Jee, Shiv Jee said - I alone cannot kill him,  but I will help you." So he talked to Vishnu. Vishnu got ready to break his wife's Paativrat so that Shiv could kill him. Shiv invited Jalandhar to fight with him and on the other hand Vishnu went to Jalandhar's wife in the form of Jalandhar. As soon as Vishnu broke her Paativrat, Shiv Jee killed Jalandhar.

Killing Virochan
Virochan was the son of most famous Vishnu Bhakt Daitya Prahlaad (son of Hiranyakashyap). Even being a Daitya he was very religious. Even his wife Vishaalaakshee was also very religious. She was a great devotee of Braahman. She used to invite Braahman daily, fed them and then only ate herself. His several stories are famous. Because of his religious nature Indra got afraid of him, so he went to Brahmaa Jee with other Devtaa to make a request to kill him. Brahmaa Jee sent them to Vishnu.  So Vishnu assumed the form of a Braahman and came to Virochan's palace. Vishaalaakshee got very happy to see a new Braahman. She welcomed Him and offered an Aasan to him to sit upon.

Vishnu said - "I accept the Aasan only from that person who promises to fulfill my wish." Vishaalaakshee got ready to fulfill His wish and she again insisted to take Aasan. Still Vishnu was not satisfied, He said - "I don't trust women so unless your husband gives me his word, I will not accept this Aasan." So both Virochan and Vishaalaakshee promised Him to fulfill His wish." As soon as they promised, Vishnu asked their age. They got very happy to hear. They washed Vishnu's feet drank Charanodak, left their moral body, assumed Divine body and went to Vaikunth Lok riding in a Divine Vimaan. That is how Vishnu eliminated Virochan from Devtaa's way.

Defeating Bali
Bali was the son of Virochan. He was also a great devotee of Vishnu.  When Bali came to know that Vishnu killed his father for Indra, he got very angry at Indra. He invaded Devtaa, defeated them and took over their kingdom - Indra Lok. He like Indra Lok very much so he wanted to live there for ever. He asked his Guru Shukra as how to live there forever. Shukra told him that he had to do 100 Ashwamedh Yagya to take it over. Bali did that, he had completed 99 Ashwamedh Yagya and now he was doing the 100th one.

Kashyap's wife Aditi was very sad for her sons, Indra etc, that they were living out of their city, so she requested Kashyap Jee to give her a son who could defeat Daitya and help her sons to regain their kingdom. Kashyap said - "So be it." As a result, Vishnu appeared in Kashyap's house as Aditi's son - Vaaman Avataar. His main aim was to stop Bali's 100th Ashwamedh Yagya and keeping him out of the Swarg. He went to Bali's Yagya to ask for alms.

When the gatekeepers saw that young handsome tender Brahmchaaree, they got mesmerized. They kept looking at Him. Vaaman said - "I want something from Raajaa Bali." As it was one of the requirements of any Ashwamedh Yagya that nobody should go empty handed from the Ygaya doer's door, the gatekeepers rushed to the King and informed him that a handsome boy is standing at the door and wants to see you for alms. Bali's Yagya was about to finish. he could not have taken any risk to break his Yagya, so he asked his people to bring the boy immediately. Gatekeepers took the boy immediately to the King. When Bali saw Him, he also got mesmerized to see Him.

He welcomed Him and asked Him what did He want? The boy said - "I want only three feet land for my Poojaa." Bali was stunned to hear the boy's request. He asked Him - "Do you know whom are you asking from? You are insulting me. I am the King of Tri-Lok. You could ask me so much and I can give you so much that your 10 further generations will not need to ask anything for their lives." Vaaman smiled and said - "Hey Raajan, I am a Brahmchaare, I can never have any generation. I just need only three feet land just for my own daily Poojaa." Bali was speechless hearing this and got ready to give Him three feet land. He asked his wife to bring some water to read Sankalp of the alms. His wife brought the water, Bali took the water in his hands and asked Shukra to read the Sankalp.

Shukra was astonished to hear such a request from such a young Braahman boy. He then understood and warned Bali not to give what that boy was asking; because he was not an ordinary beggar. He was Vishnu and came there to defeat him. But Bali was adamant and he did not listen to Shukra, he said - "Guru Jee, If He is an ordinary boy, then three feet land does not mean anything to me; and if He is Vishnu, then also I am not in loss. First, Vishnu who gives everything to everybody has come at my door to ask me something; secondly, I will be giving alms to Vishnu who gives everything to everybody. I will surely give whatever He wants. Now read the Sankalp." His wife started pouring water. To prevent giving that alms, Shukra entered the spout of the water pot to stop water going out. When water did not come out, Vaaman inserted Kush straw to open the hole. This Kush grass pierced the left eye. It hurt and bled, so he moved from there and Bali completed the Sankalp.

As soon as the Sankalp was completed, Vaamn started expanding His body, so much so that he had measured His one foot on Prithvi, His second foot reached in the Swarg and His body covered the whole empty space. Bali was again mesmaeized to eee Vshnu's Viraat Roop. Vishnu asked Bali - "Now where do I put my third foot?" Bali prayed Him and said - "You are the giver and the taker." and he lay down facing down. Vishnu got very pleased with Bali. He gave him the kingdom of Sutal Lok and appointed him Indra of the next Manvantar. Thus He gave Swarg Lok back to Indra.

Killing Baali
Baali was the so of Indra. he had a younger brother named Sugreev also. Some misunderstanding occurred between them, so Baali sent Sugreev out of his kingdom and took his wife. When Raam extended friendship with Sugreev, He promised him to kill Baali, and crown him as King. Raam could not have killed Baali just like that, so He had to kill him by cheating him. Raam sent Sugreev to fight with Baali and He Himself stood behind a tree. When He got a chance to kill Baali, he shot an arrow and killed him. That is how Raam then appointed Sugreev the King of Kishkindhaa.

Killing Jayadrath
After Jayadrath helped killing Arjun's son Abhimanyu, Arjun took the vow that if he could not kill Jayadrath by next day before sunset, he would immolate himself. Next day, Duryodhan put all his force to protect Jayadrath. It worked and he could not be killed a little before sunset. Arjun was worried. As the time was passing by he was imagining his death. But Krishn could not have tolerated this. He thought and thought and found a way. He brought some clouds in the sky and the Sun hid behind them. It looked like that the Sun had set. Arjun also saw this, so according to his vow, he started preparing a pyre to immolate himself. Jayadrath also saw that Sun had set, so he also came out of his security. At the same time Krishn removed the clouds, Sun appeared in the sky and He asked Arjun - "See it is not yet sunset, fulfill your vow."

Jayadrath had a boon from his father that whoever will cut his neck his own head will be split in thousand pieces as Jayadrath's head will touch the ground. In this way he could not be killed so easily. krishn had told this to Arjun, so Arjun immediately took his bow and shot an arrow at Jayadrath.  It cut the neck of Jayadrath in such a way that after cutting his neck, his head fell in the laps of his father. His father was doing Sandhyaa, so as the head fell in his lap, he stood up immediately. The head fell on the ground and according to his own boon to his son, his own head also split into thousand pieces - because Jayadrath's head fell from his lap. Thus Krishn killed both Jayadrath and his father together - killing two birds with one stone.

Killing Drone
When Dronaachaarya was not stopping the killing of Paandav army, only Krishn knew how to stop him. He suggested the way - to lie about his son Ashwatthaamaa, that he died (while everybody knew that he was immortal), so that he could put his weapons down. Krishn knew that Drone would not believe anybody else than Yudhishthir, so He prepared him to tell this lie with great difficulty. Bheem killed an elephant named Ashwatthaamaa and spread the rumor that "Ashwatthaamaa died".. As expected Drone asked Yudhishthir and Yudhishthir accepted it, "Yes Ashwatthaamaa died". He got very sad, he put his weapons down and he left his body through Yog. That is how Krishn got Drone killed.

They all are the incidents of cheating.

Sushma Gupta

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Created Women

Most men and women are born to their parents, still there are a few countable men and women who were created. We give here the names of those women who were created. The first two woman were created by Brahmaa Jee, the third one by Vshwakarmaa at the request of Brahmaa Jee and the fourth one was created by Maharshi Agastya Jee for himself..

Once Brahmaa Jee took all the most beautiful things from his creation and created a woman named Ahalyaa. The woman was very beautiful, and she was so much beautiful that after she was created, when she went around the Brahm Sabhaa, all Devtaa, Rishi etc could not take their eyes off her. Even Brahmaa Jee himself could not his eyes off her. Wherever she went Brahmaa Jee created his one face towards that side. Thus he had four faces in all the four directions and got known as Chaturaanan. Later he came to his senses and gave her to Rishi Gautam as Gautam Rishi had full control on his Indriyaan. Indra was also looking at her and was thinking about her only, but he got very disappointed seeing that Brahmaa Jee gave her to an ascetic. Since then Indra had his eyes on her and he had developed a jealousy with Rishi Gautam. (read Ahalyaa and Gautam's story here to know what happened later).

There was a king named Rukmaangad who was a great devotee of Vishnu. He himself kept fast of every Ekaadashee and forced his people also to keep it. This made Yam Lok empty as all people went to Vaikunth Lok after observing Ekaadashee Vrat. Yam Raaj got very sad and wanted to resign from his position as he had no work, his Yam Lok was empty. So he went to Brahmaa Jee and told him his saga. Brahmaa Jee was not so much troubled with this but Yam Raaj threatened him that the King should be removed from his way. So Brahmaa Jee got an idea. He collected most beautiful things from his Creation and created a woman. He had closed his eyes not to see her, but he found that other Devtaa etc were looking at her. The woman asked Brahmaa Jee what could she do for him?

Brahmaa Jee said - "There is a king named Rukmaangad on Prithvi. He has a son Dharmaangad who is more religious than his father. The borders of his kingdom have surpassed his father. He is still unmarried because of his father. You go to the King and move his mind. Because of your beauty you will be known as Mohinee. Mohinee went to Prithvi and started singing near a Shiv Ling.

Rukmaangad was very happy with his son, so he gave his kingdom to his son, and instructed him to follow Dharm. The son promised to his father that till he was alive, Dharm Raaj could not come in his kingdom.  Rukmaangad went to forest with his wife. From there he came to the same place where Mohinee was singing. Seeing her Rukmaangad got attracted to her and asked her to be with him. Mohinee said that she would live with him but he will have to agree with her with whatever and whenever she would tell him to do. Now the King was so much under her control that he agreed to it. Later, gradually she asked him to drop his Ekaadashee fast, Kaarttik Vrat and other good Karm and do other things which disturbed his program. When Rukmaangad did not agree to her, she asked him to kill his son. Dharmaangad gave the sword to his father and both Dharmaangad and his mother requested the King to kill him.

Mohinee got stunned seeing this and fied herself. The king raised his sword and Mohinee got unconscious. The King was about to cut his son's head that Vishnu held his hand. Vishnu was very pleased with his Dharm. He touched his body and all got absorbed in His body. Seeing this Yam Raaj told Brahmaa Jee that he did not want to work on that position any more. Devtaa wanted to bestow boon on Mohinee, but Rukmaangad's Purohit Vasu cane and cursed Mohinee to be burnt. She turned to ashes. That was not the end of Mohinee - Read this story in detail here.

Once there were two Asur brothers - Sund and Upasund. They loved each other very much and did not anything without each other. They ate together, they slept together, they did all their work together. Once they did Tapasyaa together and asked the boon of immortality from Brahmaa Jee. As usual he could not grant this boon, so he asked them to ask for another boon which could give them near immortality. They had a great confidence in their love that they would never fight with each other, so they said - "We want to be killed by one another." Brahmaa Jee said - "So be it." and disappeared. Now since they could not be killed  by anybody else, they started doing great atrocities all over the world, So Devtaa, sages, Chaaran, Siddh etc prayed Brahmaa Jee to kill them. According to the boon granted to them they could be killed by each other only, then how to create fight between them?

Brahmaa Jee thought and thought and asked Vshwakarmaa to create a beautiful woman. he created a woman and named her Tilottamaa. Brahmaa Jee asked her to lure those two Asur and then make them fight with each other, so that they could kill each other. One day both brothers were taking bath in a pond that they saw Tilottamaa coming towards them. Both got attracted towards her and both had a desire to marry her. Both started fighting with each other and fought so much that they killed each other.

Lopaamudraa was created by Agastya Muni. Once Agastya Jee was going somewhere that he saw some men hanging upside down in a well. He asked them who were they and how could they be saved? They said - "We are Agastya's ancestors and we are waiting for Agastya's son so that we can be saved." Agastya Jee said - "I am that unfortunate who has given you this condition. I will soon have a son and save you from this situation." He then went out to look for a girl from whom he can produce himself as his son, but found nobody of his liking. So he collected the most beautiful things from the Creation and produced a woman. At the same time the King of Vidarbh Desh was doing Tap for a child. He gave that woman to him and she was born there as his daughter. When she became of marriageable age, he married her. Thus Lopaamudraa is also a created woman.

Sushma Gupta

Monday, May 20, 2013

When Vishnu Got the Boon

Normally gods bestow boons to others. It is very unlikely that somebody else bestows boon on them. Who can be more powerful than them to be able to bestow boons on them?  It is not like that Brahmaa, Vishnu and Shiv always grant boons. Sometimes they also get boons from others. Today we will talk about the boons granted to Vishnu, and let us see who are such who could grant boons to Him --

Boon Granted by Madhu and Kaitabh
Madhu and Kaitabh were two great Asur who were born from Vishnu's earwax. In the beginning there was only water and on that water there was Vishnu lying on His Shesh Shayyaa. Then appeared Brahmaa Jee from His navel  After a while Brahmaa Jee started his creation. Earwax started flowing from Vishnu's ears and two great Asur were born from it - Madhu and Kaitabh. Since Brahmaa Jee were creating the world at that time so they were born from Rajo Gun and Tamo Gun.

They did Tapasyaa for 1,000s of years and got the boon of Ichchhaa Mrityu from Devee - when they want they will die at that time only. With this boon they started troubling the universe. Once they saw Brahmaa Jee, they asked him who was he and from where he had come? They came to know that he was born from Vishnu, so they came to Vishnu and started fighting with Him. The Asur were very powerful. the fight continued for 5,000 years. Vishnu knew that He was weaker, and the Asur also knew that they were more powerful than Vishnu, so they said to Vishnu proudly - "Surrender to us that you are our servant." Vishnu said - "We have been fighting for 5,000 years, but I am only a single and you are two. You have already taken rest in between, now let me take some rest, then I will fight. " So they left Vishnu alone for rest.

Vishnu remembered the boon granted by Devee to them. It was because of that boon that they were not feeling tiredness, so He decided to seek help from Devee too. Devee said - "Go and fight with them, and I will delude them with my sight." So Vishnu went to fight with them. Devee deluded them with her sight. At the same time Vishnu said to them - "I admire you, you are very brave, ask for a boon." They were very proud of their might, so they said - "We are not beggars, instead you ask us for any boon you wish for. We can give you whatever you want." Vishnu wanted the same, so He said - "If you are pleased with me then grant me this boon that you should be killed by me now." They said - "We are cheated." Since at that time the whole Prithvi was covered with water, they said - "Then kill us where there is no water on Prithvi."

Immediately Vishnu expanded His thighs, showed them the vast Prithvi on the waters. He asked them to keep their heads on His thighs. They also expanded their bodies to 10,000 Yojan. Vishnu also expanded His thighs twice the size of their bodies. Seeing this they kept their heads on His thighs. Vishnu immediately cut their necks with His Chakra. That is how those Asur granted the boon to Vishnu to kill themselves.

Boon Granted by Gajmukhaasur
Gajmukhaasur was a very powerful Daitya. Once he did a severe Tap for Shiv Jee and asked for a boon that he should live in his belly. As Shiv had granted this boon to him, he had to comply with tthe boon. he started living in his belly. Now some time passed and Paarvatee Jee did not see Shiv Jee so she went to Vishnu and asked His help. Vishnu took Shiv's Nandee Bull, assumed the form of a flute player and started playing flute. Nandee started dancing on His tune. Now they started going around playing flute and dancing.

Once they came to Gajmukhaasur's residence, many of the servants of Gajmukhaasur started coming there to see the show. Some admired the show to Gajmukhaasur also, so he also came out to see it. Vishnu understood that this Gajmukhaasur is the one who has hidden Shiv. So they played the flute and danced very well. Gajmukhaasur got very pleased hearing the flute and seeing the dance of a bull. He asked Vishnu to ask for a boon from him. Vishnu asked him - "Are you serious? You will grant me the boon?" The Asur said - "Yes, I will grant you the boon, ask me anything, I will give it to you." Vishnu said - "Then you release Shiv. You have hidden him, I want him back." The Asur now had to give Shiv back. As Shiv came bursting out of his belly, the Asur died in this process.

These are the only two boons Vishnu got from Asur.

Sushma Gupta

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Ganesh's Head and Ride

Today we will write about Ganesh Jee. He has two special things - one is his elephant head and another his ride - a tiny mouse. You must be thinking what may be the specialty of Ganesh Jee's elephant head and his tiny Mouse? You will really be surprised to know about them. Let us start from his head, then we will come down to his toe - his ride mouse. Ganesh Jee is identified from among thousands by his elephant's head and his ride tiny mouse. Where did they come from? There are a couple of stories about his elephant head and a special story about his ride..

(1) One Story About Ganesh's Elephant Head: Gajmukhaasur
Most people know its most common story, when Shiv Jee was away, Paarvatee Jee created a child from the dirt of her body and brought him to life. Thus neither Shiv Jee knew the child nor the child knew Shiv Jee.

Why Shiv Jee was away? There was a great Asur named Gajaasur. He did lots of Tap and pleased Shiv Jee. When Shiv Jee asked him to ask for any boon, he asked him to live in his belly. Shiv Jee had to comply with his boon and started living in his belly. When Paarvatee Jee did not see Shiv for some time, she sought the help of Vishnu. Vishnu took Nandee and started playing flute in front of Gajmukhaasur's house. He got very happy to hear the flute and asked Vishnu to ask for a boon. he did not know that he was Vishnu. Vishnu asked him to return Shiv to Him. Gajmukhaasur did that and in this process he died. While dying he asked the last boon from Shiv - "My head should be worshiped first and by all." Shiv said - "So be it." He came back with the head of that Asur.

When Shiv came back to home, Paarvatee Jee was taking bath and she instructed Ganesh to guard the door. Shiv wanted to enter his house that Ganesh faithfully stopped him to enter in his own house as he also did not know who was he. A fight ensued between both of them and at last Shiv severed his head. Seeing this Paarvatee started crying. To calm down Paarvatee Jee, Shiv Jee immediately fixed Gajmukhaasur's head on the severed trunk of Ganesh. He came back to life and Paarvatee Jee got happy. Later Shiv blessed Ganesh to be worshiped first and by all. That is how that Ganesh Jee got an elephant's head and that Asur's head is worshiped first and by all.

(2) Another Story About Ganesh's Elephant Head: Indra, Durvaasaa and the Elephant
Another story goes like this that Shiv and Paarvatee had a son after a long time, so they were very happy. They celebrated their son's birth All Devtaa, Gandharv Apsaraa etc were invited. Paarvatee Jee was sitting carrying her son in her laps, and Shiv Jee was sitting beside her. When the celebration was over all invitees came to see the child, bless him and present gift to him. All came one by one, blessed the child, present their gift and went away to their abodes. Only Shani Dev was not seen. He came in the last. He did not look at the child, just blessed him and went forward. Shiv and Paarvatee Jee insisted him to at least have a look at the child in spite of showing Shani's disinterest in looking at the child many times. He said - "You know my sight is not good, it might harm the child, I do not want to harm the child." But Shiv and Paarvatee did not listen to him and still insisted to have a look at the child. At last Shani had to have a look and as soon he cast his half look, the child's head was severed off.

Paarvatee Jee started crying. Shani told them about his warning and asked for their forgiveness and went away. Shiv Jee was also sad, but he acted fast. he sent his Gan to look for a mother who was sleeping facing opposite to her child, and bring such a child's head. When the Gan searched, they could find only a she-elephant sleeping like this. All human mothers were sleeping clinging their children to their breasts. They immediately cut the head of that elephant child's head and brought to Shiv Jee. Shiv Jee immediately fixed that head on the severed trunk of the child and the came back to life.

Who Was This Elephant?
(1) One story goes like this that Once Indra was roaming around that he saw Rambhaa Apsaraa. he asked her to satisfy him, which she did. Time went by. Once Durvaasaa Rishi was passing by from there. Indra saw him, he got up and greeted him. Seeing him in this condition, Durvaasaa understood, so he did not think proper to stay there, he just handed a flower to Indra saying - "whoever will have this flower on his head, he will be raised by the whole world." Indra took the flower and came back to Rambhaa. He threw that flower on an elephant. Elephant is only an elephant, he threw that flower on the ground and crushed it under his feet. Both Indra and the elephant forgot this incident. Because the way the elephant treated the flower he lost his head; and since he had Durvaasaa's flower on his head at least once his head is worshiped by all.

Ganesh's Ride: Who Is the Mouse?
Now let us see who is the mouse of Ganash Jee? There was a Raakshas whose name was Gajmukhaasur. He had a head of elephant and the body of human being. Once he did severe Tap for Brahmaa Jee. Brahmaa Jee got pleased and asked him to ask for a boon. he asked for immortality, but Brahmaa Jee told him that it was not possible, so he asked that he should be killed by a similar creature like him - head of an elephant and body of a human being. Brahmaa Jee said -  "So be it." and went away. So when Ganesh got such a body, he killed him with his broken tusk. Gajmukhaasur's dead body changed into a mouse and approached Ganesh Jee to bless him. Ganesh Jee blessed him and used him as his ride. Thus Ganesh's mouse is none other than an Asur whom only Ganesh could kill.

Thus both, Ganesh's head and ride, are specially blessed Asur and elephant.

Sushma VGupta

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Vishnu's Weapons

There are many weapons with Devtaa themselves to kill Asur and relieve humanity. Some of them belong to them only and nobody else can handle and use them, while some of them they hand over to others also and they can also use them. Today we are going to write about them. First we will take Vishnu and His weapons.

Vishnu's personality is identified by a lotus flower, a Gadaa (Mace), a Chakra (Discus), and a Shankh (conch) in His four hands. They are called His Aayudh. Although there are some other things also to identify Him, but these four things are seen just in the first look. If one can see these four things in His hands, he becomes more than half sure that it is Vishnu's picture.

His other things are Peetaambar (yellow cloth on His shoulders), yellow Dhotee, Vaijantee Maalaa (a special gems necklace), Kaustubh Mani (gem) around His neck, fish shape earrings and Shree Vats mark on His chest. And if His ride is also shown, then it should be Garud. Sometimes He is seen with His consort Lakshmee Jee. He has a bow and sword also, which are not always in His hands. His bow's name is Shaarng and the name of His sword is Nandak. He sleeps on 1,000-hooded Shesh Naag in Ksheer Saagar in a reclining pose. Sometimes they show lotus flower also growing out of His navel and Brahmaa Jee sitting on it.

It is a million dollar question that where His the three Aayudh - Gadaa, Chakra and Shankh came from? And how Garud became His ride? Today we will explore their origin.

Chakra (Disc)
Vishnu's Chakra's name is Sudarshan Chakra. How He got it, there are a few stories about it.
(1) Soorya Dev married Vishwakarmaa's daughter Sanjanaa or Sangyaa. Sanjanaa had 3 children from him - Vaivaswat Many and Yam and Yamunaa. She could not bear Soory's Tej so she left Soorya keeping her shadow Chhaayaa with him. For some time Soorya did not know that Chhaayaa was not his wife and they also had four children - Saavarni Manu, Shanaishchar, Tapatee and Vishti. Then he came to know that Chhaayaa was not his wife. He asked his father-in-law about Sangyaa and he told him her whereabouts. Soorya then went to Sangyaa and had a twin sons more from her - Ashwinee Kumaar. Then Vishwakarmaa put Soorya on his lathe and shaved his some Tej and with that shavings he made many weapons for Devtaa. Vishnu's Chakra was one of them (Vishnu Puraan, 3/1).

(2) Its another version is that, once Vishnu had to kill a Raakshas, but He did not have a proper weapon to kill him, so he worshiped Shiv. Shiv Jee got pleased and gave Him his Chakra to Him with the blessings that - "This Chakra will never fail to kill anybody and will come back to you after killing him."

(3) Mahaabhaarat, 1/3/16 says that Agni Dev gave a Chakra (Disc) to Krishn at the time of burning Khaandav forest, when he gave other things to Arjun.

(4) Mahaabhaarat Serial by BR Chopra shows that Krishn got His Chakra from Parashuraam Jee. Why it was with Parashuraam Jee, is not told in it, nor any story comes anywhere of this matter.

Vishnu's Gadaa's name is Kaumodakee. Where did He get it? There was a terrible Raakshas named Gad. In spite of being a terrible Raakshas, he was a good donor. he never refused to give anything to anybody when asked for. To save the people from his terror, once Vishnu assumed the form of a Braahman and asked him to give Him his bones. Gad ripped himself apart and gave his bones to Vishnu. He took those bones and built a Gadaa (mace) for Himself. Because that mace was built from Gad's bones, it was called Gadaa and even this word was added to the vocabulary. This Gadaa was created to protect the whole humanity, so there is nothing which it cannot conquer in the world.

Shankh (Conch)
The name of Vishnu's Shankh is Paanchjanya. It represents the 5-Bhoot. When Vishnu incarnated as Krishn and went to Saandeepan Muni for His education; at the end of His education He asked His Guru to ask for Guru Dakshinaa, as that time the custom was. Since Guru Jee knew who was Krishn, he refused to take any Guru Dakshinaa from Him saying that "I am blessed by teaching you, because it is a matter of pride to be a Guru of such a disciple." Still Krishn insisted to pay Guru Dakshinaa that His education will not be complete if He would not pay His Guru Dakshinaa. Then Guru Jee told Him to ask His Guru Maataa if she wanted anything. Krishn went to her and she asked Him to get her lost son back. So Krishn went to bring him back. First He went to the sea where he was lost. Sea told Him that he had not taken His Guru's son, maybe a Raakshas named Panchjanya who was in the form of a conch had taken him, so He might go to him and find out. Krishn went to him, killed him but he could not find His Guru's son there. he brought that Asur's body and gave to His Guru but Guru gave it back to Him. Since then that Shankh, Paanchjanya Shankh, on the name of that Asur is with Him. he always keeps it with Him.

Garud, The Ride
How Garud became Vishnu's ride? When Garud was born, he immediately got grown up and asked food to eat. His mother Vinataa sent him to Kashyap Jee. Kashyap Jee told him to eat a tortoise and an elephant. Garud picked up the tortoise and the elephant and started looking for a place to sit down so that he could eat his food comfortably. Once he tried to sit on a large tree branch but it started breaking by his weight, and many Rishi were sitting under that branch so he immediately picked that branch in his beak and started looking for another place to sit. Now he again started flying with the tortoise and elephant in his two paws and a branch of a tree in his beak.

On the way he met Vishnu. Vishnu asked him where was he going to? He told Him that he was looking for some place to sit and eat his food. Vishnu said - "Oh, Do not worry. Come and sit on my left arm and eat your food." Garud did not believe this. When so big big mountains and trees could not support his weight how that that tender left arm could bear his weight. He asked Him - "Are you sure?" "Yes, I am quite sure." Poor Garud sat on Vishnu's arm scared. But he was surprised to see that Vishnu's arm did not got a jerk or shake even a bit when he sat over it. He ate his food comfortably and then asked Him - "Who are you and what can I do for you?" Vishnu said - "I am Vishnu and I would love if you will be my ride." Garud said - "I am Kashyap's son Garud. Let me go and ask my father, then I will let you know." "Sure." Garud came to Kashyap Jee and told him that he had a Darshan of Vishnu and Vishnu has offered him to be his ride. Kashyap Jee got very pleased to hear this. He said - "Blessed are you that you had Darshan of Vishnu and have an offer to be His ride. Accept it without any second thought. Go and be happy." That is how Garud became the ride of Vishnu. When Vishnu fights with somebody Garud also helps Him.

Sushma Gupta

Mysterious Deaths

Sometime back I published a blog about wondrous births, today I am writing about mysterious deaths. It includes the deaths of those people also whose even body was not found, or they died in mysterious conditions, or people still are not sure how they died.

He was born in Kerala during 8th and 9th century AD. He is honored as Jagad Guru. He established 4 Math in all the four directions - (1) Jyotir Math in North in Jyotirmath, (2) Govardhan Math in East at Puree, (3) Shringeree Shaaradaa Peeth  in South in Shringeree, and (4) Dwaarakaa Peeth in West at Dwaarakaa. His death is also a mystery. It is said that he entered a cave in Kedaar Naath and then never came out.

Meeraa Baaee
Meeraa Baaee lived from 1498 to 1557 in Raajpootaanaa state of India. She died or say disappeared in Dwaarakaa in 1557. She was a great devotee of Krishn. She was Queen of Chittaud. She had connections with Taansen, Tulasee Daas, Kabeer Daas and Roop Goswaamee and it is believed that she was the disciple of Sant Raaya Daas. Her husband was very angry at this and he tried to kill her by several means - by mixing poison in the Prasaad of Charanaamrit, by sending box of snake to bite her, by making a bed of thorns etc but her devotion to Krishn saved her all the time. Later, one day after a great unbearable torture, she left the palace and went first to Vrindaa Van, and then to Dwaarakaa.

Last she was seen entering Dwaarakaadheesh Temple. Nobody saw her coming out of the temple. Only her wrapping cloth (her Saaree) was found around the statue of Krishn there. It is a mystery, where did she go? It seems that she disappeared in the Moorti of Dwaarakaadheesh. Some say that she got absorbed in the Moorti in front of all the audience.

Adolf Hitler
He was the Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 (April 30) - the Dictator of Nazi Germany. He was an Austrian born German - 1889-1945.  he was the center of World War II in Europe and the Holocaust. His aggressive foreign policy gave rise to the WWII situation. His policies were the cause of at least 5.5 million Jews and millions of other people. By late 1944, Hitler realized the he was going to lose the war, so he decided to make peace with USA and Britain, but the US President Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945. Hitler ordered to demolish all industrial structures before Germany fell in the hands of others, but the Arms Minister did not obey this order. On April, 22, when he found that his orders were not followed and heard the Russians had broken into Berlin, he declared that he would stay in Berlin till the end and shoot himself. By April 23, the Red Army had broken into Berlin. After midnight, on April 29, 1945, Hitler married Eva Braun in a bunker. He took breakfast with his new wife, he took his secretary, dictated his last will and testament witnessed by a few people. Later that afternoon Italian leader Benito Mussolini was assassinated. Next day, on April 30, Hitler and Eva committed suicide. Eva bit into a cyanide capsule, and Hitler shot himself. Both bodies were carried upstairs and burnt with petrol. Berlin surrendered on May 2.

Records in the Soviet archives - obtained after the fall of the Soviet Union - showed that the remains of Hitler, Braun, Hitler's dogs and others, were repeatedly buried and exhumed. The remains from the boxes were burned, crushed, and scattered into the Biederitz river, a tributary of the nearby Elbe.

His death is still a mystery - his body was not found. Nobody knows exactly how he died. Some say he died by poison, some guess by a snake bite, some argue by a gun shot.

Subhash Chandra Bose
Subhash Chandra Bose, or Netaa Jee, was a freedom fighter for India. He lived from 1897 to 1945? He was born in Cuttack, then in Bangaal. He was ousted from Indian National Congress on the basis of differences in 1939 and was kept captive, under house arrest, by British. He escaped from India to Germany  by assuming the form of a Pathaan on January 19, 1941 from his house. he lived there from 1941 to 1943. Then he left Germany for Japan in a submarine which went to Japan through the Cape of Good Hope. By 1945, he organized Indian National Army composed mostly by Indians working in British Army, but he failed to carry out his plan.

It is said that he died of third degree burns when he was trying to escape in an overloaded Japanese plane which crashed in Taiwan, on August 18, 1945. His body was cremated. His ashes were taken to Japan. The absence of his body led to the possibility of his survival. One claim is that he later died in Siberia while in Soviet captivity. Several committees were set up to find out about his death and they all gave different reports - there was no plane crash in Taiwan on August 18, 1945 in Taiwan. A newspaper of 1960s reported that Netaa Jee was in Russia and Khrushchev was ready to give him to India within 45 days if Nehru wished, but it never happened. In 1992, Netaa Jee was awarded the highest civilian award "Bharat Ratn", but it was not given as his death was not known.

Haile Selassie
Haile Selassie was the king of Ethiopia form  1930-1974. When he died or was killed, he was 83 years old - 1892-1975. He became Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930. He had several titles, "His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I" in his office, conquering "Lion of the Tribe of the Judah", "King of Kings" of Ethiopia, "Elect of God". He even enjoyed enormous prestige and respect outside Ethiopia. There happened a riot in February 1974. This riot continued to increase and most of the Imperial family was imprisoned in Addis Ababa prison Kerchele.

--Media reported that the Emperor died on August 27, 1975 because of respiratory failure.
--Another version says that all were ordered to leave the room in which Haile Selassie was there and the next day he was found dead in a strong chemical smelled room.
--In 1992, the Emperor's bones were found under a concrete slab in the palace ground.
--Some say that his bones were found under a latrine.
His death is still a mystery. There is still doubt that the Emperor indeed died in 1975.

Sushma Gupta

Monday, May 13, 2013

Who Was the Washerman

Raam and Seetaa's story is very famous and common. Who doesn't know their story? Tulasee's Raam Charit Maanas describes their story up to only Raam's crowning as the King of Ayodhyaa. It doesn't describe their story after that, but Vaalmeeki Jee's Raamaayan goes long further than this. He describes their story even up to their Param Dhaam Gaman.

Seetaa did not go in exile with Raam for 14 years only, She went in exile in Her later life also. At that time She was sent by Her husband Raam, for ever, even in that condition for which the daughters-in-law are brought in the house and when the daughters-in-law are well taken care of. In fact nobody is at fault at any time, for any condition and for anybody. It is all the game of Destiny. Now you will ask "What was the Destiny of Seetaa for which she had to be exiled by Raam at such time?"

All know the story of the washerman in Ayodhyaa kingdom as how he became the means of Seetaa's exile. Once Raam's spies were wandering in the city in the night just to find out that what people talk about their King Raam, Queen Seetaa and their administration. There were many spies and mostly they were hearing the praises of their King, but at one time one spy heard a washerman scolding his wife. She came home late in the night, so her husband said - "You go back to the same house where you had been the whole day. I am not Raam who will keep you in my house even if you have have been to some other person's house. He is the King, He can do anything He wants, but I cannot keep you in my house." Washerman's mother tried to console him that his wife was innocent and he should not behave like this with her, but he was adamant. Hearing all this the spy felt very bad and he came back.

Next day when Raam comes to know about this, He gets worried, and asks Lakshman to leave Seetaa near Vaalmeeki Jee's Aashram. Lakshman is bewildered by this order but obeys elder brother's orders crying.

Who Was This Washerman?
Now who was this washerman on whose words, Raam exiled His innocent, pious and faultless Seetaa? One day Seetaa, in Her childhood, was playing with Her friends in the garden of Her palace. There was a parrot couple who was talking like this - "There will be a king named Raam on this earth and His wife's name will be Seetaa. He will rule for 11,000 years. Blessed are they who will enjoy each other's company."

Seetaa understood birds' language, so She understood what they were talking about. She got curious hearing Her name and Her future. She thought, "let me ask some more about my future.", so She asked Her friends to catch those birds and they brought those birds to Her. Seetaa told the not to worry and tell Her from where they came? And who was this Raam and who was the Seetaa? The birds said - "There is a Rishi named Vaalmeeki. We live in his Aashram. He has written a book "Raamaayan" which seems very dear to him. He always read some couplets from it, that is how we have also remembered some of them. Now we tell you about those Raam and Seetaa. By the grace of sage Rishyashring, Vishnu will appear in His four forms - Raam, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughn. Raam will come to Mithilaa along with His brother Lakshman, break the bow and marry the daughter of Janak Seetaa. We have told you everything, now please free us."

Seetaa again asked - "Where will be Raam and whose son He will be? How he will look .like?" Hearing this, the she-parrot knew that that girl was Seetaa herself, so she fell on Her feet, she said - "His beauty cannot be described even with 100s of mouths. Blessed is Seetaa who will enjoy with Him or thousands of years. But who are you and why are you asking about Him with so much curiosity?" Seetaa said - "I am the same Seetaa whom you are talking about. When Raam will come here and accept me then only I will free you, till then you live with me and eat sweet things."

The she-parrot said - "Seetaa, We are forest dwellers, how we will live in your house? I am pregnant now, let me deliver my babies, then I will come and live with you." But Seetaa did not free them. The he-parrot also requested Seetaa to free his wife but She did not free her and let him go without his wife if he liked so. So the she-parrot cursed her, "You are separating me from my husband at the time of pregnancy, you will also be separated from Raam at the time of your pregnancy." and died in sorrow of the separation of her husband. Since she died taking Raam's name at the time of her death, a Divine vehicle took her to Raam's Dhaam. After her death, the he-parrot cursed Seetaa - "I will take birth in Ayodhyaa and will be the cause of your separation from Raam." and off he flew.

Because of the curse of the she-parrot Seetaa was separated from Raam at the time of Her pregnancy time; and since the he-parrot insulted Seetaa, he was born as a washerman (in a lower kind of order among human beings), and only his words became the cause of Her exile.

Sushma Gupta

Friday, May 10, 2013

Many Faced Personalities

Today's blog is on multi-faced figures or personalities in our Hindu Dharm. Normally all people, Raakshas, Yaksh Devta etc have only one face but we have a few personalities who have more than one faces. I have used the word "personalities" because it includes, Devtaa, Raakshas, and some others also. For faces we use two words - Shir and Aanan. Shir means head and Aanan means face. Thus both words mean almost the same - heads in a way. Since this word, Aanan, cannot be added to Tri (means 3), there is another word for the being who has three faces - Tri-shiraa. We have two Tri-shiraa. So let us start with three heads --

Vishwaroop Devtaa (Trishiraa)
Twashtaa was one of the 12 Aaditya. Now once Indra in antipathy to Indra, Twashtaa created a son with three heads which shone like Sun Moon and Fire. Mahaabhaarat, Stories, 5/3 says that he recited Ved from his first mouth, drank wine from his second mouth and looked with third mouth as if he would absorb the person in himself. While Bhaagvat Puraan, 6/4 says that from one mouth he drank Som Ras, from the second mouth he drank wine and from the third mouth he ate food. It also says that When Indra killed Vishwaroop, his one mouth which drank Som Ras became Papeehaa, his second mouth which drank wine became Gauraiyaa, and the third mouth which at food became Teetar.

Why Indra killed him - Once Indra did not pay proper respect to Dev Guru Brihaspati Jee so he became angry and went away. When Indra came to senses, he went out to look for him,  but the Guru was nowhere to be found. Indra went to Brahmaa Jee and told him everything. Brahmaa Jee suggested him that he must have a Purohit to be powerful otherwise Asur would win him, so he sent Indra to Twashtaa and asked him to request his son Vishwaroop to be their Purohit.  Indra requested Vishwaroop to be their Purohit and he accepted to be their Purohit. When Vishwaroop performed Yagya, he offered Aahuti for Devtaa loudly and softly, but because his mother was from Asur family, so he offered some share to Asur also. Indra noticed it and killed him.

One Raakshas (Trishiraa)
There was one Trishiraa Raakshas. He was living with Khar and Dooshan in Panchvatee. When Lakshman insulted Shoorpanakhaa, and Shoorpanakhaa went to her these three brothers, they came to fight with Raam. Raam killed all of them, along with their 14,000 army, in a few minutes. These three Raakshas had a blemished past life, that is why they were born as Raakshas.

Yaagyavalkya Jee had three sons - Chandrakaant, Mahaamedhaa and Vijaya. Later they were as three Raakshas because of Shiv's curse. Chandrakaant became Khar, Now these three Braahman had 14 disciples who also were born as 14 Brahm Raakshas. When Shoorpanakhaa complained about her insult, Khar had known that Vishnu had incarnated as Raam, so he decided to be killed by Him to be free from his curse. One of them was Trishiraa who had three heads.

Brahmaa Jee (Chaturaanan)
Brahmaa Jee is also multi-faced. he has 4 heads that is he is called Chaturaanan. His one head was cut off by Shiv Jee, otherwise he was Panchaanan before.

Shiv Jee (Panchaanan)
Shiv Jee has 5 faces, that is why he is called Panchaanan.

Hanumaan (Panchmukhaa)
Hanumaan is not 5-faced ordinarily, but once he assumed the form of a 5-faced to save Raam and Lakshman from Ahiraavan from Paataal Lok. Once Ahhiraavan took Raam and Lakshman in Paataal lok to offer their Aahuti. When Hanumaan came to know about this, he immediately went to bring them back. When he reached there, he came to know that he could not free them unless he puts 5 lamps out, lit in five directions, together. How to do that? So he created five faces on his body and blew out those 5  lamps together with the air thrown from his 5 mouths together. Since then his one form has become know as Panchmukhaa Hanumaan.

Kaarttikeya or Skand or Kumaar (Shadaanan)
Kaarttikeya, Skand or Kumaar, the son of Shiv and Paarvatee is 6-faced. When he was born 6 Krittikaa came to feed him, so to satisfy the affection of all of them, he assumed 6 faces and suckled on all the 6 Krittikaa's breasts.

Raavan (Dashaanan)
Raavan, the great Asur was born with 10 heads. It is said that he used to recite four Ved with his all the 10 mouths. Once when he did penance to please Bhagvaan and he offered his heads as Aahuti, one each at the end of each 1,000 years of his penance. When he wanted to offer his 10th head at the end of 10,000 years, Brahmaa Jee appeared and granted him his desired boon. In fact he was named Dashagreev by his father. Raavan is his later name when he lifted Kailaash mountain and Shiv Jee pressed his hands under the mountain, He continued to cry for 1,000 years in pain. Then Shiv said - Since you have been crying all these years, you will be known as Raavan."

Thus we have several personalities who have more than one face.

Sushma Gupta

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Shiv and Number 5

It is so amusing to learn that Shiv is associated with Number 5 in so many ways, maybe one even can't remember in how may ways. And second interesting thing to know about Shiv is that his most places are in southern India, and that is almost all in Tamil Naadu or in its vicinity. The first one related to number 5 is Shiv's own form, let us start with it ---

Panchaanan Shiv
Shiv is 5-faced. According to Shaiv Aagam, Shiv performs 5 actions - creation, preservation, dissolution, concealing grace and revealing grace. And each of the actions corresponds to a name and form of a Shiv with varying attributes. His Names with Relation to Action Performed, Direction Faced, and Associated Element are given here --

Sadyojaat - Creation. West. Earth.
Vaamdev - Preservation. North. Water.
Aghor -Dissolution/ Rejuvenation. South. Fire
Tatpurush - Concealing Grace. East. Air.
Eeshaan - Revealing Grace. North-east. Ether (Aakaash).

Though bearing each a different name, form, and set of qualities, these are all aspects of a one Supreme Being - Shiv, and are not to be looked upon as different Deities.

Shiv's Main Mantra
Even Shiv's main Mantra is also Panchaakshar (5-letter) Mantra - "Namah Shivaaya". The 5 alphabets of this Mantra - Na, Ma, Shi, Vaa, and Ya; represent his Eeshaan, Tatpurush, Aghor, Vaam Dev, and Sadyojaat named 5 faces.

Shiv has many temples which are also related to number 5 in many ways. Let us start with

(1) Panch Bhoot Ling Temples
These five Ling Temples are base on 5 elements of Nature - Earth, Water, Ether, Air and Fire. They are located at  (1) Ekaambarnaath Temple (at Kaancheepuram, Tamil Naadu  - Earth Lingam) - and here the Deity's name is Ekaambareshwar
(2) Kaalaahastee Temple (Near Tirupati, AP - Air Lingam) - and here the Deity's name is Srikaalaahasteeshwar
(2) Chidaambaram Temple (at Chidaambaram, Tamil Naadu - Ether Lingm) - and here the Deity's name is Nataraaj
(3) Arunaachalam Temple (at Tiruvannamalaai, Tamil Naadu - Fire Lingam) - and here the Deity's name is Arunachaleshwar
(5) Thiruvanikkaval Temple (Jambookeshwar at Trichy or Trichanaapallee, Tamil Naadu - Water Lingam) - and here the Deity's name is Jambookeshwar.

(2) Panch Kedaar Temples
These are also 5 and all of the 5 Kedaar Temples are located in Himaalaya, Uttaraakhand
(1) Kedaarnaath or Kedaareshwar
(2) Tungnaath,
(3) Rudranaath,
(4) Madhya-maheshwar, and
(5) Kalpeshwar

(3) Panch Sabhaa
These Panch sabhaa are also 5, and they are also located in Tamil Naadu. these are those 5 places where Shiv performed his Taandav Nritya (dance). Panch Sabhaa means 5 Assembly Halls, so Shiv danced in these 5 Halls various Taandav dances
(1) Chidaambaram - Kanak Sabhaa (Golden Assembly Hall) - Here he performed Aanad Taandav.
(2) Thiruvalngaadu - Ratna Sabhaa (Gem Assembly Hall) - Here he performed Oordhwa Taandav
(3) Madurai - Rajat Sabhaa (Silver Assembly Hall) - Here he performed Sandhyaa Taandav
(4) Tirunalvelly - Taamra Sabhaa (Copper Assembly Hall) - Here he performed Muni Taandav
(5) Kutraalam - Chitra Sabhaa (Picture Assembly Hall) - Here he performed here Tri-Pur Taandav

(4) Panch Raam Kshetra
Panch Aram Kshetra are those 5 Kshetra (places) where the Swaayambhoo Ling, which was broken at the time of the killing of Taarakaasur broke in his throat in 5 pieces. are installed. This Swaayambhoo Ling was being carried by Taarakaasur in his throat and Subramanya (Kaarttikeya) killed him. At that time those 5 pieces fell on the Earth on these places --
(1) Draakshaashraam - Draakshaash Raam Swaamee
(2) Samal Kot - Bheem Raam or Kumaar Raam Swaamee
(3) Guneepundee (Bheemvaram) - Som Raam Swaamee
(4) Palakolloo - Ksheer Raam Swaamee
(5) Amaraavatee - Amar Raam Swaamee - this is the foremost place among all. It is believed that here Indra and other Devtaa worshipped Shiv.

(5) Panch Mahaa Kshetra
Last but the least there is Panch Mahaa Kshetra. All of them are related to one or the other legend...
(1) Mahaabaleshwar at Gokarn,
(2) Shejjeshwar,
(3) Gunavanteshwar,
(4) Murudeshwar, and
(5) Dhaareshwar.

Thus these five Shiv Kshetra are also associated with number 5.

Sushma Gupta

Gifts from God

Many people have got many gifts from gods to protect them from being killed, or to serve them. Here are some names of those people.

(1) Baali
Baali and Sugreev were two brothers (in Raamaayan times). Baali had a necklace of jewels from his father Indra Dev to be undefeated in the battle till he had that necklace in his neck. he had a boon also from Brahmaa Jee that whenever he will be in the battlefield, he would draw half of the physical power of his opponent, thus increasing his own power and reducing his opponent's power. For the same reason it was impossible to kill him. That is why Raavan who had the boon to defeat everybody could not defeat Baali. It is said that for the same reason, Raam had to kill him from hiding, and unfortunately his necklace also broke before Raam shot His arrow at him.

(2) Madhu Daitya
There was a Daitya named Madhu. Once he performed penanance for Shiv Jee and  received a Dand (scepter) from him, that nobody else will be able to kill him till he had that Dand in his hand. When he died he gave that Dand to his son Lavanaasur. When Shatrughn was assigned the duty to kill him, he had to watch the time when he was without that Dand. One day Lavanaasur went out to collect his food without that Dand and Shatrughn got the opportunity to kill him.

(3) Satraajit
Satraajit, the father of Satyabhaamaa, once performed penance for Soorya Dev and got a gem from him - Syaamantak Mani (gem). That gem would give him lots of gold daily. Its condition was that he should keep the gem in a clean environment and use it for welfare work, otherwise it will destroy the wearer of the gem. He kept in clean environment and spent that money for yagya and for his public. Once he gave that gem to his brother Prasenjit to wear. he went to forest for hunting wearing it and could  not maintain its clean environment and was killed by a lion.

(4) Kaartveerya Arjun or Sahastraarjun or Sahastrabaahu
Sahastrabaahu, the son of Kritveerya, performed the penance for Dattaatreya Jee and got a garland from him, along with other boons. Till that garland was in his neck, nobody could defeat him. That is why Raavan who had the boon to defeat everybody could not defeat Arjun.

(5) Raavan
Once Raavan lifted Kailaash Mountain in great anger. As he lifted it, it shook. Shiv and Paarvatee were sitting there. Paarvatee asked - "Prabhu, What happened?" Shhiv Jee knew what had happened, he just pressed the Parvat with the smallest finger of his left foot. This made Raavan's arms pressed under the Mountain and he could not take them out. He stayed in this situation for about 1,000 years and continued to cry. After 1,000 years Shiv kindly released him. Since he continued to cry (Rotaa Rahaa) for all those years, Shiv gave him the name of Raavan. Later he gave him a sword too, named Chandrahaas, although it has never been mentioned in Raamaayan after that, that he used it anytime.

(6) Karn
Karn, son of Kuntee, was a threat to the life of Indra's son Arjun. To save his son Arjun, Indra decided to ask Karn's Kavach (armor) and Kundal (earrings) in alms, because everybody knew that at the noon time Karn used to give alms and everybody got what he wanted. karn never refused to give anything to anybody. So Indra went at the same time to ask for his Kavach and Kundal. Karn was born with them and they were his life savers. In spite of being warned by his father Soorya Dev, he did not move from his path of truth. Then Soorya Dev suggested him to ask for Indra's Power. So that is what he did.

After donating his Kavach and Kundal to Indra, Karn asked his Power. Indra gave that Power to him with the condition that after being used for once it would come back to him. Thus Karn got the Power from Indra. Although he asked it to kill Arjun, but he had to use it on Ghatotkach at Duryodhan's suggestion. Thus Ghatotkach was killed by that Power and Karn lost the power of his survival.

(7) Yudhishthir
When Yudhishthir, the eldest Paandav, had lost everything in the second Dice Game and had to go in exile, many Braahman who were dependent on him, also followed him. It had become impossible for him to feed them and to take care of them He tried to explain to them that he was not the king and he could not take care of them, so they should look for some other source,  but they insisted that he was the only king for them and they would not go anywhere leaving him like this.

This made Yudhisthir worried and with the suggestion of Rishi Dhaumya performed penance for Soorya Dev and received an Akshaya Paatra from him to maintain innumerable people from it. Soorya Dev said - Take this pot. It will give you as much food as you will want from it - all kinds of food, but only till Draupadee ate from it." Yudhishthir used that pot throughout his exile period, and there was never any shortage of food in his Aashram, of course till Draupadee ate.

Thus all these people were given some kind of gifts which made them either rich or invincible in the battlefield, or able to do welfare work for people.

Sushma Gupta

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Gayaa Teerth

In Hindu Dharm, there are many holy places, such as Allahabad, Kaashee, Badare  Naath, Kedaar Naath, Haridwaar etc etc. Gayaa is one of them and is mostly famous for Pitri Tarpan and Shraaddh. Why Gayaa is such a big Teerth? Gayaa, situated in Bihar State, is one of the very big and important Teerth (pilgrim place, or holy place) for Hindu. Why is it so? There is an interesting legend behind it.

In one of the previous Manvantar, Dharm had his wife named Dharmvatee. They had a daughter named Dharmvrataa. Dharm married her to Brahmaa's mental son Mareechi. Once Mareechi was very tired so he came home and asked his wife to massage his feet. She started massaging his feet. He felt so comfortable that he soon slept. In the meantime Brahmaa Jee came there. Now Dharmvrataa was in a flux that she should serve her husband or her father-in-law. She decided that since her husband had already slept, and Brahmaa Jee was her father-in-law, she might serve him now, so she got up and served Brahmaa Jee.

In the meantime Mareechi got up and did not find his wife around. He cursed her to become a stone. Dharmvrataa said to her husband - "Since you have cursed me without any fault, you will be cursed by Shiv." She kept aside Muni's curse and entered fire. Then she performed penance and all Devtaa bestowed her a boon - "Maharshi's curse cannot be averted, you have to be a stone, but we will have our footprints on you so you will become the holy stone. There is a Raakshas named Gayaasur. your stone will be used to stabilize his body. At that time you will be called by the names of Dev-Shilaa, Devavrataa, Sarv Dev Swaroopaa." Dharmvrataa said - :Then grant me one more boon, that after I have become stone all Devtaa and Devee should live in me." "So be it." and all Devtaa went away.

Now there was a Raakshas named Gayaasur. Once he performed severe penance and obtained the boon of being the holiest Teerth among all the Teerth. Bhagavaan granted this boon to him and disappeared. Now since he was the greatest Teerth, so all people came to him for his Darshan. Prithvi became empty, as all the people came to see him and went straight to Vishnu Dhaam after his Darshan, so Brahmaa Jee and all Devtaa went to Vishnu and told their saga. Vishnu Jee suggested them to go to Gayaasur and ask his body to be used for Yagya, so Brahmaa Jee and Devtaa went to Gayaasur and asked his body to perform a Yagya. Gayaasur considered it a holy act so he agreed.

Brahmaa Jee started a Yagya on his forehead. When the time came for Poorn Aahuti, his body started trembling. Brahmaa Jee again went to Vishnu and said to Him - "At the time of Poorn Aahuti, Gayaasur's body was scared and it was trembling, how to complete the Yagya?" Vishnu called Dharm and asked him to keep that Dev Shilaa on Gayaasur's body to stabilize it and asked all Devtaa to sit upon it. Still his body did not get stabilized. Then He kept His own Gadaadhar idol on the stone along with Devtaa, then only his body got stabilized. Brahmaa Jee completed his Yagya by offering the Poorn Aahuti.

After the Yagya, Gayaasur asked Devtaa - "Why did you need to put a Shilaa (stone) over me to stabilize my body? Couldn't be stabilized just by the words of Vishnu? Since you pressed my body with a stone, now you bestow me a boon." Devtaa said - "We just pressed your body with the stone only to make Teerth, that is why it will be a dwelling place for Vishnu, Brahma and Shiv. It will be more famous than other Teerth and it will give Brahm Lok to Pitar." After saying this all Devtaa started living there. Vishnu also always lives there in His Gadaadhar form. That is why Gayaa is the holiest Teerth among all the Teerth.

That is why Gayaa is the holiest Teerth among all the Teerth.

Sushma Gupta

Conditions of Marriage

In olden days, it was a common practice for the girls to choose their husband through some process - Swayamvar or just like that. Many Swayamvar and such processes are famous of those times. Who could not choose heir husbands with the consent of their family they used to manage their abduction by their lovers. Seetaa and Draupadee's Swayamvar; Paarvatee and Saavitree's selection of their husbands; and Rukminee and Subhadraa's abduction are the well-known examples for them. The most modern and well famous example of the abduction is of Prithviraaj Chauhaan abducting Sanyogitaa.

Sometimes these Swayamvar were arranged on the basis of some condition, as whoever will fulfill such and such condition, the girl would choose the same as her husband. Many times these conditions were put to test the strength of the groom, or intellect of the groom, or keeping in view of the groom himself. Here are some strange conditions put for the marriage of various girls ---

Seetaa's Swayamvar
Seetaa was the daughter of the King Janak of Mithilaa kingdom. Seetaa's Swayamvar's condition was that whoever would be able to handle a particular bow, only he would be able to marry Her. Many kings and princes came but were not able to even move it. Then Raam came and He was able to handle it so Seetaa chose Him as Her husband.

The reason of putting this condition was that once Seetaa moved this bow while cleaning the place where it was kept. Janak got very surprised to hear this, as how Seetaa, a girl, could move that old heavy bow which needed thousands of people to move it. On the same day he had decided that he would marry his daughter to the same who would be able to handle that bow. It was an old bow of Shiv and its name was Kindhur.

Draupadee's Swayamvar
Draupadee was the daughter of the King Drupad. Drupad put the condition of her marriage to that groom who will pierce the eye a revolving fish above looking at the shadow of that fish down below in a pond of oil. Many princes came but could not even the move the bow by which they had to pierce the eye of that fish. Karn had lifted the bow, and perhaps he might have pierced the eye also, but Draupadee refused to marry him saying that she would not marry a Soot-Putra (a son born to a Kshatriya man and a Braahman woman). Later Arjun, in the guise of a Braahman, pierced the eye of the fish and married Draupadee.

The origin of this condition is very strange. Kaurav and Paandav's Guru Drone had an enmity with King Drupad. So when Kaurav and Paandav's education was over, he asked them to bring Drupad to him by tying him from the rope behind their chariot. Kaurav could not do this, but Paandav did it. When Drupad saw Arjun fighting with him, he was so impressed with his warfare techniques that he wished for a daughter - "If I had a daughter I would have married her to him." Later he wanted to kill Drone, so he performed a Yagya to get such a son. Fortunately or unfortunately first he got a daughter (Draupadee) from that Yagya and later he got the son (Dhrishtdyumn) to kill Drone. Seeing Draupadee he got very happy that his wish would be fulfilled. Then he built that machine (fish machine) keeping in view Arjun that only he could pierce the eye of that fish and he would marry Draupadee to him. Since Paandav were living in hiding as Braahman, first Drupad got very disappointed, but later on when he came to know that only Arjun had taken his daughter, he got very happy.

Naagnjitee's Swayamvar
Naagnjitee was the daughter of the King Nagnjeet, King of Ayodhyaa. Krishn married her by putting one role in 78 difficult bull's noses together in one time.

How this condition came to Nagnjit's mind is not known, it seems that he was looking for some extraordinary groom who could tie those 7 difficult bulls with one rope in one time by piercing their noses with that rope.

Lakshmanaa's Swayamvar
Lakshmanaa was the daughter of the King Brihatsen of Madra Desh. He married her with the same condition as that of Draupadee's condition - piercing the eye of the fish.

Rukminee - by Kidnapping
Rukminee was the daughter of the King Bheeshmak. Rukminee wanted to marry Krishn, Her father also agreed for it, but her brother Rukmee did not want to marry her to Krishn. he wanted to marry Her to Shishupaal. So Rukminee sent this message to Krishn and Krishn abducted Her from the temple.

Mitravrindaa - by Kidnapping
Mitravrindaa was the daughter of Krishn's Booaa (Vasudev's sister) Raajaadhi Devee. She wanted to marry Krishn but her family did not her to marry to Him, so Krishn kidnapped her from her Swayamvar.

Subhadraa - by Kidnapping
Subhadraa was the sister of Krishn and Balaraam. Subhadraa used to love Arjun since her childhood, although she had never seen him. It was because Saatyaki studied under Drone along with Paandav and he described him very favorably. Once Shakuni advised Duryodhan to strengthen his relationship with Krishn and so marry Subhadraa. When Duryodhan took the training of Gadaa war from Balaraam he asked him a favor and that was to marry Subhadraa to him. balaraam was very pleased with him so he agreed. But krishn wanted to marry her to Arjun as she also loved him. So when Krishn heard this, He opposed and arranged her abduction by Arjun from the temple.

Sanyogitaa - by Kidnapping
While we are talking about all these kidnappings, it will not be inappropriate to mention the most modern kidnapping for marriage purpose. This was a strange way of kidnapping. Sanyogitaa was the daughter of the King Jayachand. Although Sanyogitaa wanted to marry Prithveeraaj Chauhaan but Jayachand did not to marry her to him, so at the time of her Swayamvar, he put an iron statue of Prithveeraaj at the door of the Swayamvar place. When her Swayamvar was taking place, she put her Jayamaalaa in that statue's neck in the absence of Prithveeraaj. Prithveeraaj was hiding near the place. As Sanyogitaa put her Jayamaalaa in that statue's neck, Prithveeraaj came from hiding riding on his horse and ran away carrying Sanyogitaa on his horse.

Satee - by Selection
Satee was the daughter of Prajaapati Daksh and Prasooti. She decided to marry Shiv in spite of the opposition of her father. So she married him. Later she had to suffer for her decision, She had to die in her father's Yagya Shaalaa.

Saavitree - by Selection
Saavitree was the daughter of the King of Ashwapati of Madra Desh. She was so qualitative that the King himself could not search a groom for her, so he sent her to search a groom for herself. She selected an unfortunate prince living in forest. When she came to know that he was going to live only for one year, she still did not leave him and married him.

Damayantee - by Selection
Damayantee was the daughter of King Bheem of Vidarbh Desh. She loved King Nal of Nishadh Desh. She was so beautiful that even Devtaa wanted to marry her. They even sent a message of this matter to Damayantee, but since she loved only Nal, she chose him over Devtaa. Later she had to suffer for her selection.

These are some examples of Swayamvar, kidnappings and self selection in choosing the husband.

Sushma Gupta