Monday, January 21, 2008

Tale of King Harishchandra

King Harishchandra, the king of Ayodhyaa was the son of Satyavrat. He was the 28th king in solar dynasty.He had a devotee wife and a son, Rohit.He was famous for his tuthfulness.One night Sage Vishwaamitra came in his dreams and asked his whole kingdom.Although it was all in dream, still Sage Vishwamitra appeared in his court next day and asked for it. As per promise he was firm to gave the kingdom to Sage Vishwamitra.King decided to go to Kaashi with wife and a son. At the last moment Sage demanded “Dakshina” also.But since King didn't had anything after donating the whole Prithvi to Vishwaamitra, he sold his wife and son,Rohit to a Braahman, still he couldn't met the demand of Vishwaamitra, so he sold himself to a Chaandaal (who normally does the lowest jobs in Hindu society such as cremation of dead bodies). So he made Harishchandra the guard of cremation place. He gave all that money to Vishwaamitra.Once, the son had been to the garden to pluck flowers for his master's prayer, when he was bitten by a snake and he died instantly. His mother, having nobody to console her, carried his body to the cremation grounds. In acute poverty, she could not even pay the taxes needed to cremate him. Harishchandra did not recognise his wife and son.He asked the lady to sell her golden Mangalasutra and pay the tax.It is at this instance that his wife recognises the man as her husband.She has a boon that her husband only could see her mangalasutra. Harishchandra then came to her and recognised her as his wife . Seeing his only son dead he filled with grief.But, Harishchandra, was dutybound . He demanded taxes before last ceremonies.But she was helpless.So, he asked his wife, if she was willing to undergo further hardships and stand by him in this hour of calamity. The faithful wife readily gave assent. She had in her possession only a saree, a part of which was used to cover the dead body of her son. She offers half of her lone dress as the tax, which Harishchandra could accept and perform the last rites of his son.As she was taking off her half remaining Saree off to pay taxes, Bhagvaan Vishnu appeared there along with Indra and Vishwaamitra. Chandaal was non else but Yama, came to his original appearance.Lord Vishnu made Rohit alive and asked them to come to Heaven, but Harishchandra refused to go there on the basis of that his public would have been sad without him.Harishchandra asked Indra to take all his public to Swarg, but Indra said that it is not possible because every one has it’s own good and bad karmas. Then Harishchandra said - "Then I donate my all Punya Karmas to them and I am ready to go to Hell." Indra got very happy to hear this, so all people of Ayodhyaa went to Swarg with Harishchandra. Vishwaamitra inhabited Ayodhyaa with new people and appointed Rohit the king of that kindom.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Close call for Sage Durvasa

In Surya dynasty there was a king Ambreesh.Ambareesh was great devotee of Lord Vishnu.Pleased with his devotion Vishnu appointed His Chakra to guard him.Once, Ambarish followed Nirjala Ekadashi Vrat (waterless fast observed on the eleventh day of each phase of lunar month) for a year. During one such fast, on the twelfth day, king Ambarish was about to break his fast, when sage Durvasa arrived there along with his ten thousands disciples. Welcoming him, the king requested Durvasa to accept food. But the sage turned down the request saying that it was prayer time for him, so he would first go to take bath, then worship and take food. But the sage Durvasa did not return for long. As per rule of fasting it was necessary to beak the fast before the next tithi. At the same time he was in dilemma because he could not took food before serving to Sage Durvasa.With the Braahman's consultation he decided to take water to break the fast.Just then sage Durvasa returned and saw Ambarish breaking his fast. So taking it as an insult. he broke a flock of his hair from his skull and produced a Krityaa to kill Ambareesh. She proceeded towards Ambareesh to kill him but Ambareesh stood unmoved. Vishnu's Chakra killed the Krityaa and then proceeded towards Durvaasaa.
When Durvasa saw Sudarshan aimed at him, he ran for his life. Durvasa reached Vaikunthdham, the supreme abode of Lord Vishnu. He was feeling intense heat of the wheel. He felt at the Lord's feet and asked for help.
He said - "I am under the control of my devotee, so I cannot help you, go to king Ambreesh for forgiveness". He went back to Ambareesh and fell down on his feet. Ambareesh prayed Chakra. Lord Vishnu the Chakra back.King Ambreesh fed Sage Durvasa.At the end Sage Durvaasaa blessed him and went to his Lok.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Vaman Avtaar

King Bali was Prahalad’s grandson.He was very powerful and popular king. To reach the maximum height he performed a yagya. This rose an alarm for the Gods because after that Bali would become an invincible.They went to Vishnu for help. King Bali proceeded with the sacrificial ceremony under the guidance of his Guru, Shukracharya. As part of the sacrificial rites, Bali decided that he would grant special favours to anyone who asked him. He would immediately give whatever that person wanted. All of a sudden, a dwarf joined the gathering and started chanting from the Vedas, the Upanishads and other holy scriptures. Bali was impressed by the dwaf and asked him for his wish. At that moment, Shukracharya sensed that the dwarf was actually Lord Vishnu and warned Bali not to grant his wish.But in those days keeping a promise was an ultimate thing. So he ignored his advise. As a ritual Bali ordered the vessel(Kamandal) of water to sprinkle the feet of dwarf. At that moment Shukracharya occultly entered into the vessel and sealed up the opening with his body. He felt that if he could stop the flow of the water, the purification ceremony could not be performed and Bali would not be able to fulfil the dwarf’s wish.Bali did not knew that his Guru was inside the earthen vessel. When Bali sat at the feet of the dwarf and tried to pour the water, he discovered that the mouthpiece of the vessel was sealed. Bali used a straw of hay to remove the blockage. Unfortunately, the straw pierced one of his Guru’s eyes, leaving him blind in that eye. Naturally, When Shukracharya emerged from the vessel holding his left eye, Bali felt sad. But Bali was determined and performed the ceremony of purification of dwarf. After that he asked dwarf for the wish. The dwarf asked for 3 steps of earth.Bali was surprised as it was next to nothing for him to fulfill this desire. So, he agreed. Upon hearing Bali’s words, the dwarf, who was Lord Vishnu himself, resumed his universal form. With one stride, he covered the whole world; with his second stride, he covered the Brahmaloka. For his third king Bali offered his head.Lord Vishnu kept his 3rd step on Bali’s head and send him to Pataal Lok. This is the story of Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as a dwarf, who was called Vamana. Since then this day is celebrated as "Bali Pratipada" on the next day of Diwali

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Naag Devta

After the death of King Parkishit, his son Janmejaya felt to took revenge against snakes because snake Takshak had bitten his father. He arrange a Yagya. Each Day the fire of Yagya consume one snake. As a result many snakes died .This hurt a lot to the king of snakes, Vasuki. He went to his sister Jaratkaru for the help . As per Brahama only her son, Aasteek had a power to stop this Yagya. Aasteek was too a great scholar and was too young. But he agreed for the help. After assuring Vasuki, Aasteek left for the venue of the Yagya. On listening to the sweet voice of Aasteek, Janmejaya gave him permission to attend the Yagya and called him inside the premises. Janmejaya was highly impressed by the knowledge of Aasteek. He thought that he should grant the boy a wish. At the same time Janmejaya then requested to all those who were present there to ensure that his Yagya was successful and that soon Takshak (the snake who had bitten his father, Parikshit), would fall into the fires of the Yagya and die. Since it was the turn of Takshak to die so he hide himself in Indralok. Hearing this Janmejaya requested the sages and priests to chant such a mantra that even Indra would be powerless before it and would fall into the fire with Takshak. On listening this, the priests did as they were told and soon Takshak along with Indra was pulled towards the fire. Now that Janmejaya was assured that his enemy would die, he turned to Aasteek and requested him to ask for anything that he wished for. Aasteek, seeing that Takshak would soon fall into the fire, took advantage of the situation and asked Janmejaya to stop the Snake Yagya so that the snakes who were left could survive. This shocked Janmejaya but he could not refuse what he had promised. Janmejaya had to relent and stooped the Yagya .Takshak was relieved Aasteek then left to go to Vasuki, his Uncle and Jaratkaru, his mother and narrated the whole incident to them. They blessed Aasteek and asked him to ask them for a boon. Aasteek wished that anyone who chanted the three mantras given by him at least once a day, should be spared death by a snake bite. He then chanted the three Mantras called Asit, Aartiman and Suneeth. The snakes granted Aasteek his wish and it is believed that if one chants one of these mantras even once a day, he will have nothing to fear from the snakes.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

No Moon Please Tonight !

On Ganesh Chaturthi it is prohibited to look at the moon. As per legend once Moon made fun of Lord Ganesha when he fell down on the ground. Lord Ganesha was so annoyed that he cursed him that no one should look at the moon on the Ganesh Chaturthi day. If anyone does, he will surely earn a bad name and will be falsely accused. If someone sees the moon on this night, he/she may remedy the situation by listening to (or reciting) the story of the syamantaka jewel(Mani) found in the Puranas which was as follows.
King Satrajit, who secured a jewel syamantaka from Surya, did not part with it even when Krishna the Lord of Dwaraka, asked for it saying it would be safe with him. Prasena, the brother of Satrajit went out hunting wearing the jewel but was killed by a lion. Later in forest Jambavant (another character of the Ramayana) killed the lion and gave it to his son to play with. When Prasena did not return, Satrajit falsely accused Krishna of killing Prasena for the sake of the jewel. Krishna, in order to remove the stain on his reputation, set out in search of the jewel and found it in Jambavant's cave, with his child. Jambavant attacked Krishna thinking him to be an intruder who had come to take away the jewel. They fought each other for 28 days. Later Jambavant recognized Him as Lord Rama. As a repentance for his having fought Krishna, Jambavant gave Krishna the jewel and also his daughter Jambavati in marriage. Krishna returned to Dwaraka with Jambavati and the jewel, and returned it to Satrajit, who in turn repented for his false accusation. He promptly offered to give Krishna the jewel and his daughter Satyabhama in marriage. Krishna accepted Satyabhama as his wife but did not accept the jewel. The one who read this story will be librated from the charge of false acusation

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Height of forgiveness

Vishwamitra wanted Vashishtha to call him “Brahmarshi”,a title given to a person who has attained the absolute highest. But Vashishtha refused to use that title when he was speaking to Vishwamitra. This was sufficient to irritate Vishwamitra .He said, "If he did not confer the title of Braharishi then I shall kill all your children one by one." Even then Vashishtha would not address him by that title, so Vishwamitra killed Vashishtha's one hundred disciples. Still Vashishtha would not declare that Vishwamitra had achieved the status of Brahmarshi. His wife, Arundhati, requested him that he should change his decision. In spite of his wife's request, Vashishtha remained firm. One night Vishwamitra had come to kill Vashishtha. As he stood in front of the door to Vashishtha's cottage, he overheard Vashishtha's wife say, "Why do you not want to tell him that he has realised the highest Truth?". Then he heard Vashishtha's words of reply: "Because I love him. If I tell him at this stage of his life that he has realised the Highest, then it will be a lie. He will think that he has realised the Highest and yet he will not be able to get the results of the Highest. He will not be able to drink Amrit. Since I love him, I cannot tell him a lie." Vashishtha's words touched Vishwamitra's heart, and immediately he fell at Vashishtha's feet. At once Vashishtha forgave him. By touching Vashishtha's feet, Vishwamitra did reach the Highest.