Friday, November 30, 2007

Weight of Lord Krishna

Satyabhama &Rukmini were the wives of Lord Krishna. Both were contrasting character. As Satyabhama was short tempered, the Rukmini was cool. Since LordVishnu was on earth as Krishna, there was trouble in heaven and he was needed there. So the Gods abducted him and took him to heaven. Satyabhama alleged that Rukmini was hiding Krishna so that she did not have to share him with the other queens. Narada told Satyabhama about Krishna's whereabouts and said that he could strike a deal with the Gods on her behalf. This would entitle her to special favours from Lord Krishna. After discussing with the Gods, he returned with the following proposal. If Satyabhama would give the Gods an offering that weighed more than Krishna, they would release him. This was a very easy proposal and she replied "I have enough jewels to weigh Krishna," said Satyabhama and asked Narada to bring Krishna from heaven for the weighing.
The weighing was arranged. Krishna was seated in one pan and Satyabhama began to load the other with gold and jewels. The vaults got emptied out but Krishna's pan did not move at all. The Gods were now ready to take Krishna with them back to heaven. The citizens of Dwarka then fell at Rukmini's feet, pleading that she do something to save their Lord. Rukmini first ordered the gold and the ornaments to be removed from the pan. While this was being done she went out and plucked a tulsi leaf & dropped it on the empty pan. The light leaf floated on to the pan and the pan went down and Krishna's side was swinging in the air. This story shows the significance of Tulsi and how a humble offering to God is greater than wealth. Since then people visiting Dwarka often make offering as “Tula Daan”. It means the donor is weighed against grains and other commodities purchased by him and these commodities equal to his weight are then given in charity. This is known as tuladaan - tula means scale and daan means charity.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tale of Dhruv

The king Swayambhu Manu had two sons- Priyvrat and Uttanpad. King Uttanpad had two queens- Suniti and Suruchi. Uttanpad loved Suruchi more than he loved Suniti. As a result the son of suruchi called Uttam enjoyed all the luxuries than the son of Suniti ,Dhruv. Once the King was playing with his soon Uttam who was siting in his lap. Meanwhile, Dhruv too arrived there and began insisting to sit in his father's lap. Just then, Suruchi too arrived there. Boasting at her fortune, she ridiculed Dhruv: 'Though you are also a son of the king, but you have no right to sit on the throne because you are not borne to me.Even then if you wish to have the throne, you begin to worship Lord Narayana, and take birth through me by His grace and then wait for your chance to sit in the King's lap.'
When Suniti heard about the incidence, she felt very sorry. Still, with patience she consoled her son Dhruv, She told him:
1. If you have to beg for something, let that be from God!
2. However much you ask of a human being, it will be little.
3. Many a times asking brings with it, humiliation.
4. When God gives, he gives in plenty.
5. God will make you sit on his lap with love. He is the true father of Mankind.
6. Before you go, ask for the blessings of Suruchi.
7. Suruchi has spoken words of truth, even if you want the throne, pray to the Lord!
8. Go to the forest and perform penance.
I am not sending you alone, my blessings and God are with you.

Mother's words shook the conscience of Dhruv. He at once set out with firm determination to please Shri Hari by penance.He met devarshi Narad in the way. Sage Narad tried to test his determination. Narad tried everything to convince Dhruv to send him back to his home, but he failed to shake the firm determination of the boy. Then with kindness, Narad preached Dhruv about Lord's appearance and gave him a mantra. Thus, Naradji performed his duty as Guru Dhruv arrived in Madhuvan and took a seat under a Kadamb tree on the bank of the river Yamuna. There he began to recite the mantra and meditation. During the first month he ate roots and tubers. In the second month he ate dried leaves. During the third month he managed with Yamuna's water. During the fourth month he sustained himself on the air only. Dhruv even stopped breathing. Now, standing on one leg only, he was fully concentrated in Lord Vasudev. At the moment when Dhruv stopped breathing and concentrated in Parbrahma, all the three worlds shook with fear.
All the gods ran to the refuge of Lord. Because of stopping of breath all the organisms stood still. Assuring them not to be afraid, Lord arrived in Madhuvan to see His beloved devotee Dhruv. As the Lord stood in front of Dhruv, the latter did not open his eyes as he was already seeing the Almighty within his own heart. The Lord made the form that Dhruv was witnessing within himself, disappear! Dhruv became restless and opened his eyes Seeing the Lord Himself arrived before him, Dhruv's eyes filled with tears. He said, " O Lord, I don't know how to worship you." Lord touched his cheek with His conch. With that, Dhruv came to realize the glory of God. With complete devotion and folded hands, he worshiped Shri Hari: He exclaimed: "You are also within me! You are the one that makes my senses come alive! You are responsible for inspiring my intellect! You have the power of saving man from the cycle of Life and Death! You are capable of fulfilling all desires…and yet men ask of you that which will be the cause of their destruction! One can achieve You only by Your Grace!
Pleased by his prayer Lord stroked Dhruv's head and said, " Your desire shall materialize. After enjoying your kingdom, you shall come to my abode which is far above the Saptrishis? The Lord knew that Dhruv had started his penance because he had wanted to sit in his father’s lap. Dhruv was transported to the highest point of heaven, where he sits on his Divine father’s lap as the Pole Star,also known as the North Star..

On his return his father handed him the kingdom of the entire earth. Thereafter Dhruv ruled the earth for a period of thirty-six thousand years. Even death bowed before him. Indeed, the devotees of God have no fear of death.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Incarnation of Lord Vishnu as sage Kapil

Once Lord Brahma asked Sage Kardam to beget children so that population on Earth could continue. Kardam did tapasya at the bank of river Saraswati to please Lord Vishnu. Being pleased Lord Vishnu appeared and said, "Soon, king Swyambhuv Manu will come here with his queen. They will want to marry their grown up daughter Devhuti to you. After you marry her, you will have nine daughters from whom generation will continue. You will also have one son. I will Myself incarnate as your son." Saying thus, Lord Vishnu disappeared. Devhuti was the daughter of Manu and Shatrupa.She was very religious and beautiful. She had no materialistic desires that’s why she was interested to marry a sage rather than king.Her parents found Sage Kardam to be most suitable match for devhuti. They visited the ashram of sage. But rishi kardam put a condition that he will remain household only till the child is born. After that he will spent entire life in tapasya. Shatrupa and Devhuti gave their consent to this condition of the sage. Thereafter, Manu married his daughter to the sage Kardam. After marriage, Devhuti began to serve her husband with full dedication. One day impressed with her dedication he granted her a divine vision. At that moment she expressed her desire to have children. Kardam then resolved to fulfill the desire of his wife. At appropriate time, Devhuti gave birth to nine beautiful daughters.With this the resolution of Kardam was completed.He assured his wife: that very soon the Lord will appear as your son. Thus, Devhuti began worshipping the Lord. At appropriate time, the Lord appeared as her son Kapil. Meanwhile, Brahma also came there with nine Prajapatis, Kardam married his daughters to those nine Prajapatis. Kalaa was married to Marich, Anusuya to Atri, Shraddha to Angira; Havirbhu to Pulastya, Gati to Pulah, Kriya to Kratu, Khyati To Brighu and Arundhati was married to sage Vashishtha.When Kapil grew up, then Kardam propitiated his son Kapil because Kapil was Vishnu. Sage Kapil said to sage Kardam, "I have descended in order to explain Sankhya yoga. This knowledge was lost in the course of time. Therefore, I will impart this knowledge again. I will impart the same knowledge to my mother so that she can attain liberation". Taking leave from Kapil, sage Kardam left the house and became a sanyasi. When Kardam had left, then Kapil stayed with his mother Devhuti. One day Devhuti remembered words of Lord Brahma. Brahma had already told her that Vishnu would incarnate as her son to impart her knowledge. Devhuti asked Kapil to give her Divine knowledge. Accordingly, sage Kapil explained to her Sankhya philosophy. After several years, Devhuti attained salvation and that place is now known as Siddhipad. She shed her body, which became a holy river named Gyanvapi. After passing on this knowledge to Devahuti ,Kapila like his father left Bindu Sarovar.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bond of Love

Arundhati was the daughter of sage Kardama & Devahuti. Rishi Vashishtha married her. Sage Vashishtha was one of the 7 great rishis called “Sapta Rishi”.They are residing in the sky as stars. From the east to west they are in order as follows-Marichi, Vasishtha, Angirasa, Athri, Pulasthya, Pulaaha and Krathu.Arundhati was an ideal wife. Once sage Vashishtha went to Himalayas for tapasya. Arundhati was alone in the forest. In the meantime a great famine occurred. For twelve years the famine continued. The rishi too stayed on in the Himalayas all those twelve years. During that time Arundhati had nothing to eat. She therefore started doing tapas herself. Lord Siva wanted to test her. He came to her dressed like an old Brahmin and asked for food. Arundhati said, "O Brahmin, I have only badari seeds to eat." Lord Siva said, "Will you cook these for me?" Arundhati started a fire. While frying the seeds in it. She told the Brahmin stories and talked of dharma. She neither ate nor slept, but went on explaining dharma. At the end of twelve years, the famine was over. Sage Vashishtha also-returned from the Himalayas. God Siva was pleased with Arundhati's tapas. So He took his real form and said to the sage Vashishtha, "Arundhati's tapas is greater than yours on the Himalayas!" . And he gave boon to her that she will be always remember as an ideal wife.
Even today rishi Vasishtha sits in the sky as a star. Arundhati also sits there by his side. Arundhati is the patron deity of marriage. Newly-married girls see the star Arundhati, They want to love their husbands, and live like her. As the marriage ceremony is over bridegroom show the bride the Star ARUNDHATI as also DHRUVA the polestar. Arundhati is proved as an ideal wife, the embodiment of chastity. DHRUVA is the one who attained immortality through single-minded devotion and perseverance – virtues to be follow through out married life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bharat Varsh ki Katha

Bharat was the son of Shakuntala and Dushyant. Dushyant was the king .Shakuntla was a daughter of Sage Vishwamitra and apsara Menka. Once while hunting in the forest, Dushyant saw Shakuntala. He fell in love with her and they married. Dushyant had to leave for his kingdom. He promised Shakuntala that he would come later and take her to Hastinapur. Once, lost in his thoughts, she forgot to serve Durvasa rishi when he arrived. Durvasa had a very short temper and he cursed her, "In forgetting to serve me, the one you were thinking of will forget you." Dushyant had forgotten Shakuntala because of that curse. He did not recognise Shakuntala when she went to Hastinapur. Thereafter, She did not have the heart to return to her father's ashram and started living in sage Marich's ashram. Here, unknown to Dushyant, Shakuntala gave birth to a son named Bharat. He was a very brave child. He was not afraid of anyone or anything. Bharat played with lion cubs everyday. Once, Dushyant happened to pass by the ashram. He watched a little boy playing with a lion cub. The boy opened the lion's jaws by his hands and said, " Open your mouth wide, so that could count your teeth." Dushyant was very surprised by the child's courage. Later Shakuntala came there and Dushyant realised that Bharat was his son. He was thrilled at this and hugged Bharat affectionately. Dushyant took Shakuntala and Bharat along with him to Hastinapur. Later Bharat grew into a great king. Our country's true name is Bharat (pronounced Bhaarat), named after him. Bharat is remembered by all for his bravery. Bharat was the most illustrious king of the dynasty. He expanded the empire greatly and was widely respected. Bharat had no son to rule the kingdom as a successor. So he adopted Bharadwaja as his heir. A descendant of Bharadwaja was Hasti who founded the city of Hastinapur, which was the capital of the kingdom at the time of the Mahabharata war. Hasti’s son Ajamidha had many sons who gave rise to dynasties of kings and Brahmins. However the Lunar dynasty continued through his son Riksha. Riksha’s grandson was Kuru. Several generations after Kuru was Shantanu, from whom the tale of Mahabharata commences.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Narka Chaturdashi

A day before diwali is celebrated as Narkchaturdashi. Narakasur was a demon king. He gained a boon from Brahma that he shall die only in the hands of a woman. Armed with the boon, he became a cruel king. He defeated Lord Indra (king of gods) and stole the earrings of Aditi (the heavenly mother goddess). When Satyabhama, the wife of lord krishna heard of the injustice being done to Aditi, she was furious. Satyabhama went to ask Lord Krishna, permission to wage a war against Narakasura, Krishna not only agreed, but also offered to drive her chariot in the warfield. On the day of the war, both the armies fought bravely and the war continued for some time. Satyabhama fought Narakasura bravely, but she was no match to him.After some days, when Narakasura got a chance, he took an aim at Krishna, hurting him lightly. Krishna fainted and made Satyabhama angry. She doubled her attack on the demon king and killed him finally.To announce the death of Narakasura, Krishna smeared the demon's blood on his forehead and returned the very next day along with Satyabhama to his kingdom. On their arrival, preparations were made to cleanse Krishna of the demon's blood. Thus, came Narakachathurthasi as a celebration of the death of the evil king. On this day bathing with oil is considered as auspicious.

Legend 2- This day is also considered as Kali Chaudash.. Goddeess Kali is the form of shakti. To kill the mighty demon Rakta-Beeja she took incarnation. This day is very important for tantriks. To ward off many evil powers special poojas are performed by them. Applying Kajal in the eyes  is important  ritual to be performed on this day to ward off the evil eye.Women must make sure that never to roam without tying the hairs on this day.

Legend 3- This day is also celebrated as "Roop Chaturdashi". A day to enhance the beauty of yourself. Sage Narad once suggested the importance of this day Oil bath as well as application of termeric paste on the baody has special significance. He said that preservance of the body is the first step in the world of spirituality.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Legend behind Dhan Teras

Dhanteras is also known as Yamadeepdaan and lamps are kept burning through the night to pray Lord Yama to keep away death and despair. A very interesting story about this day is associated to the sixteen year old son of King Hima. As per his horoscope he was doomed to die by a snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage. On that fateful fourth day of his marriage his young wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid all the ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a big heap at the entrance of her husband's palatial room and lighted infinite numbers of lamps all over the place. After all these, she went on telling stories and singing songs so that her husband is not able to sleep. When Yam, the god of Death arrived there appearing in form of a Serpent his eyes got blinded by the dazzle of those brilliant lights and he could not enter the Prince's chamber. Thus the young wife saved her husband from the clutches of death. Since then this day of Dhanteras came to be known as the day of "Yamadeepdaan" and lamps are kept burning throughout the night in remembering Yam, the god of Death. Thirteen lamps made of wheat flour and lit with oil are placed outside the house, facing southwards (direction of Lord Yama), in the evening. A lamp is never kept facing southwards except on this day.
Legend 2- Sage Durvasa cursed Lord Indra due to which Godess Laxmi abandon him. The demons, attacked heaven and defeated Lord Indra.Brihaspati, the Deva Guru found a solution. For that the ocean of milk had to be churned to become potent ambrosia, which, if consumed by the gods, would bring immortality. The churning would also bring back Lakshmi. Mandara Mountain was used as a churning rod and Vasuki, the king of the serpents, as a rope & Lord Vishnu, who took the form of a tortoise and lifts the mountain on his back. During the churning the divine goddess raised from the depths of the ocean of milk. She stood on a fully blossomed lotus, wearing a garland of lotus and neck. The sages began reciting hymns in praise of her. Gandharvas sang and Apsaras danced. Even the elephants on either side of her, sprinkled sacred Ganga water on her, bathing her with it, letting her be called Gajalakshmi. As she was born from the ocean of milk, she was referred to as Samudratanya. The king of the ocean appeared in his natural form and welcomed Lakshmi as a daughter The gods and demons continued to churn the ocean for Amrit. Ultimately, Dhanavantri emerged from the ocean of milk, carrying a jar of the amrit. Both the asuras and the devas wanted the ambrosia, but Vishnu was able to give the immortal nectar to the gods, and the asuras were defeated. The churning of the ocean resulted in the immortality of the devas and was the reason for Lakshmi's emergence.

Contributed by
Mr Gaurav Rustagi ji

Friday, November 2, 2007

Sandhya ki kahani

Kamdeva was son of Lord Brahma. He was a god of love. He was directed by Lord Brahma to help in the process of procreation by influencing people. At the same time Lord Brahma, creator god, created a beautiful female called “Sandhya”. To test the authenticity of Brahma's boon, Kamadeva took out his five arrows and wanted to examine their power. These arrows had effect of lust on Lord Brahma and Sandhya. Getting affected by those arrows, fourty nine types of thoughts emerged in Brahma's mind. Similarly, flaws were generated in Sandhya. Kamdeva became convinced of his powers and capabilities. But Dharma – another son of Brahma was saddened by this event. He prayed to lord Shiva. Everybody was ashamed because of reaching this news to Lord Shiva. Due to his shame, Brahmaji perspired profusely. From his perspiration were created the Pitraganas. Brahmaji was very angry with Kamadeva because of whom he was ridiculed by Shiva. He cursed him and said- "You would be charred to death by the arrow of Shiva." Later Sandhya did penance for her sin. She got boon of becoming chaste woman from Lord Shiva . Also she demanded that no body should have lust towards the member of his own clan. After this boon she sacrifices her life in fire. The fire burnt her body and carried it to the solar-system, where it was divided by the sun-god into three parts .The names of these three parts were Pratah-Sandhya, Madhyanha-Sandhya and Sayam Sandhya. From then onwards in each day there are 3 period of 2 ghati(each ghati=24 minutes)each which is considered to be very auspicious. That is why a couple who desires a virtuous child should avoid this period for “Garbhadhan Sanskar”.