Bali chakravarti’s story

Maanavaas always want vyaapti — how much ever dhanam, yashas, aarogyam, kutumbam, power etc. one has, he always wants more and more. In the struggle to satisfy his wants he undergoes a lot of pain and experiences duhkha when the wants are not satisfied. A weaker mind may also resort to adharma maargas for achieving vyaapti. The story of Bali showcases his satya-vaak-paripaalana and the teaching of Vaamana murty about vyaapti.

Bali chakravarti is one of the greatest kings. Though he was a daitya, he never deviated from the path of truth or Dharma. He was a great Bhakta of Lord Vishnu and was praised by everyone. Since dharma was on his side, his power, strength kept on increasing. Once he decided to wage a war against Indra (as daityaas and devatas were always enemies). Indra, on knowing that Bali is coming for war, asked Mahaavishnu to save him. Bali was one of greatest bhaktas of Vishnu and also a firm follower of Dharma but only had the want for more and more vyaapti. Vishnu gave abhayam to Indra and took birth as the child of the Mahaapativrata Aditi and Kashyapa maharshi. Kashyapa and aditi did a very long tapas and hence Vishnu blessed them by being their child. After Upanayanam, the small vatu, Vaamana, taking tiny tiny steps, reached the palace of Bali.
Vishnu in vatu vesham

He did asheervaadam to Bali saying "Swasti". Bali did yathaavidhi namaskaars to the vatu and asked Him "divya vastra-abharanaas, very tasty mahaa phalas, huge vanyaas, best quality cows, rathaas, ratnaas, vimrushtaannaas, kanyas, elephants, gold, graamas, huge fertile lands, part of my kingdom (which includes all the 3 lookas!) and whatever you please I am ready to give you O great braahmana. Please ask me what you want". Vaamana murty replied "O mahaanubhaava Bali, I am a brahmachaari. What will I do with all these things? Please give me 1 or 2 steps of place. Also for a saamaanya like Me trupti is important. One must never worry if vyaapti is not achieved and must be always satisfied with whatever he gets by praaptam. A person who does not do like this will he be satisfied even if he gets the whole universe? (No)" Since Bali said that he will give whatever Vaamana asks, he was preparing to do the daanam. Sukraacharya, the guru of the daityaas, realizing that Vaamana is none other than Mahaavishnu who came to teach Bali a lesson, said "O Bali, in certain un-avoidable situations one need not keep up his word" and taught Bali his Raakshasa neeti. He also told Bali who Vaamana was. However Bali did not agree to break his word, infact he said "Aaha! what great punyaas have I done that the Hand of Srihari will be below & my hand will be above! It is not an ordinary hand. I will not loose this chance of giving daanam to the shrushti, sthiti, laya kaaraka of the entire universe, even if I loose my entire kingdom. Also what is there to think, as if this body will be forever." Saying this Bali gave 3 steps of place for Vaamana. Daanam must always be done assuming that the daana-grahita is none other than Vishnu avatar and Bali did it the same way. Immediately Vaamana murty started to grow like this to become Trivikrama:

He started growing, he touched the nabho-veedhi, he reached toyaja-mandalam, then prabhaa-raashi, crossed moon and sun, reached dhruva, touched mahavraati and then crossed satyalokam and finally filled the entire universe in all directions leaving no space! Then with one step he occupied earth, with the other the aakaasham. Since Bali did not have anything other than these, he showed his head as the third place and Trivikrama then took the third step and pushed Bali into rasaatalalokam. Seeing this un-believable, divya leela of Mahaavishnu Brahma deva asked Trivikrama "Naaraayana! You have ananta leelas. As soon as you asked Bali, he gave you daanam and kept his word. Also he is a great Bhakta of yours. What is your aantaryam in binding him?". Trivikrama murty replied "O Brahma! I will first take away all the arthaas of the person who I wish to bless. I will test my bhakta and remove any small buddhi-doshaas he has and give him moksham. Also I am making Bali the Indra during the Saavarni manvantaram."
satya-vaak-paripaalanam of Bali

Morals in the story:

  1. Vyaapti for a person is important but it must never be overdone. One must always be satisfied with what he has. The amruta vaakyaas of Lord Vaamana must always be remembered.
  2. Bali was prepared to loose anything for keeping up his word. God always likes such people only.
  3. Importance of atithi seva was well illustrated by Bali. He welcomed the vatu and offered to give whatever he asks.

Side Stories:

  • Seeing the adbhuta avataar of Lord Vishnu, Brahmadeva washed His feet. This water became the holy ganga maata, the daughter of Brahmadeva. Since Her birth was at Trivikrama murty'a feet, Ganga is the most sacred river for the Indians.
  • Jaambavanta, the avataar of Brahma (He created Himself in order to do tapas for Vishnu, since He was not getting free time from the task of creation 🙂 ) , seeing the divya roopa of Trivikrama, immediately made 7 pradakshinas to Lord Trivikrama!
  • Bali was the grandson of the great Bhakta Prahlada. He was born to King Virochana and Surochana.
Advertisements
Published in: on May 31, 2006 at 5:44 pm  Comments (27)  

Duraasha leads to difficulties

The story of the great Shibi chakravarti is well known. He is very famous for his daya and daana gunas. Even in his kingdom, there used to live a krupana by name Naarayana. Naaraayana had earned ten crores, but never gave anybody anything. Leave aside giving food to co-existing animals and neighbours, he never even gave proper food to his own mother.

One day he had to buy some fruits, so he started bargaining in the shop in his village. Feeling that the cost is very high, he walked all the way to the near by town to get for a lesser price. If the shopkeeper said 1 ana, he used to ask for 1/2 and so on. Finally in his greed he decided to go to a farm and steal them, since then he will get for free. We walked a very great distance to a farm. Though he was not young enough, he put effort and climbed the tree. With great difficulty he got some fruits and continued because of his greed. He in the greed started ascending the tree more and more. Suddenly he slipped and was hanging from a branch of the tree, which was pretty high from the ground.

Fortunately a maavati (Elephant master) was going along and naaraayana shouted for help. He also offered half of his property in case the maavati helped him. The maavati, in greed for naaraayana's money, went with the elephant near to him and stood on it and was trying to bring naaraayana down. Meanwhile, the elephant saw the near pond and it went away to drink some water, leaving the maavati hanging on to naaraayana. Maavati then begged naaraayana, "swamy I will give my elephant to you, please hold the branch tightly". To the relief of them there was a saahini (a horse rider) passing by. The maavati shouted to him for help and offered his elephant in return of favour. Saahini in greed for the elephant, went to help them and the horse too took the way of the elephant.

Morals in the story:

  1. One must never be greedy. Because of greed a man stops thinking and acts foolish.
  2. A greedy man not only destroys himself but also others.
  3. People must help each other with love and affection, but not for money.
Published in: on May 30, 2006 at 6:27 pm  Comments (1)  

Story of Shiva and Vishnu

“There are two mahaa-phala daayaka Vrukshas. One by the name Vaasudeva and the other by the name Vaamadeva. They differ only in their sumas (flowers) (‘su’ is replaced by ‘ma’ in their names), but both give the same phalas (fruits, which is moksham)”. It is also often said, “How much one does not see the difference between Shiva and Vishnu, that much his aayu will increase”.

One day, when Lakshmi and Vishnu were together in vihaaram, Lakshmi sees Ucchaishravam, her brother, the horse of Revanta who is the son of Surya. Engrossed in seeing her brother, she does not reply to the repeated calls of Vishnu. Seeing her attraction, Vishnu gives her shaapam to go to Bhulokam in the form of a horse and come back to Vaikuntam only after getting a son equal to Himself! She comes to Bhuloka to experience the shaapam and realizing that none other than her brother, Shiva can help her calm Vishnu, she immediately does a tapas for Him and Shiva appears to save her soodari. Lakshmi says “You and Vishnu are both same, the Paramaatma. Please help me!”. Shiva says “Soodari! How do you know that we both are same? All learned people know that. Who told you?”. Lakshmi says, “Once Mahavishnu Himself told me this. Seeing Him in deep Daiva-dhyaanam, I asked Him “During Samudramanthanam, I thought you were the greatest of all and hence chose you. Devaadideva! Who is better than you that you are in dhyaanam of Him?”. Mahavishnu replied “I am doing Shankara-dhyaanam. He is Eshwara. He is the same as Me. All learned people know that. If someone is my devotee but still hates Shiva, he will fall into naraka”.

Saying this, She asks Shiva to pursuade Vishnu to bless Her with a child. Shiva sends Chitrarupa as a duta to convince Vishnu. Vishnu immediately accepts and comes to Bhuloka and blesses Lakshmi with Ekaveera, who is equal to Vishnu Himself. From Ekaveera came forth the Haihaya dynasty, of which the most noted king is Kartavirya Arjuna (Ekaveera’s grandson).

————————————

Once when Naarada, the avatar of Vishnu, recited prayers glorifying Lord Shiva as the supreme controller of the universe, Lord Shiva, the best of Vaishnavas, at once covered his ears and angrily replied, “I am not the Lord of the universe, nor an object of Krishna’s mercy! I am just a poor aatma always hankering for the favor of the servants of His servants.” (Thus in this small story, Naarada, avataar of Vishnu, glorifies Shiva as the Paramaatma and Shiva glorifies Vishnu as the Paramaatma!)

(See this picture)

————————————
The story of Hanuman, who is the 11th avataar of Shiva and Raama, the purna avataar of Vishnu also reveals the same. Both of them acheived great tasks:

  1. Restricting the great samudram, Raama along with His entire army crossed the satpa-samudras! Hanuman, in one small jump, crossed it!
  2. In the greatest, unparalleled ghora-yuddham, which was never seen before or will ever be seen, Raama killed Raavana! Hanuman killed Mairaavana, who was many times stronger than Raavana, with great ease!
  3. Krishna lifted Govardhana giri, balanced on his little finger and saved the lives of Gopaalas! Hanuman brought the Sanjeevani Parvatam from Himaalayas to Lanka and saved Lakshmana!
  4. Raama melted a stone, with the touch of His lotus feet, for Ahalya! Hanuman melted a stone with His sweet Gandharva gaanam!

Though they did great tasks like this, always Hanuman worshipped Raama, with great Vinayam. And Raama worshipped Shiva with unparalleled devotion. (If one closely observes, for Paramaatma these tasks are not at all difficult/big. For He does everything right from Shrushti to Layam. And He only resides in everyone and gives life. However, since we cannot even imagine His power, we praise Him for these “small” tasks only 🙂 )

(see this picture)

————————————
Impressed by the great tapas of Viṣhṇu for Paramaśiva, Śiva gave Viṣhṇu the Sudarshana Cakram.

(SEE THIS IMAGE)

————————————
Annamaacharya, the great Vaak-geya-kaaraka of Aandhra Pradesh, in one of his divya sankeertana “Enta maatramuna evvaru talichina ….” says:

How much ever one imagines that much only are You:

  • For Vaishnavas You are Vishnu
  • For Vedaantas You are Parabrahma
  • For Shaivas and other bhaktas You are Shiva
  • For Kaapaalikas You are Kaala-Bhairava
  • For Shaakteyaas You are Shakti
  • For people with alpa-buddhi You appear as alpam
  • For people who know Your Garima and have Ghana-buddhi You are a Ghana
  • For people who are Sharanaagati You are Venkateshvara

————————————

Once Shri Krishna, the avataar of Mahaavishnu, came to Upamanyu maharshi, when he was at Himaalayas. Shri Krishna said “Upamanyu muniindra! You are the greatest in the Shiva Bhaktas. I came here to do Tapas of Paramashiva to get santaanam. Please teach Me Shaiva-vidhi and vidhaanam”.

Upamanyu replied “O Shri Krishna! I know who You are. Shiva puuja is not new to You. Though You know it, to make everybody know, I will tell You …” Saying thus, Upamanyu told Shri Krishna how to do Shiva-aaraadhana.

————————————

This happened after the episode of Naarada, coming under Vishnu maaya, gives shaapam to Vishnu: (This is one of the reasons of Shri Raama avatar)
Naarada says “Svaami! Please forgive Me. I, coming under influence of Your maaya, got ahankaar and did Your ninda. Please tell Me what can save Me from this ghora-paapam”. Vishnu says:

“O Priya Naarada! You go and do paaraayana of Shankara Shatanaamams. Then You will get Shaanti. Shiva is whom I respect the most. Even by mistake dont forget this. One who doesnt have Shiva-anugraham cannot be My Bhakta. Believe this … Then My maaya wont affect you.”

————————————

Once Vyaasa Bhagavaan came under the influence of Shiva-maaya and started telling in his Pravachanams that Vishnu is greater than Shiva. Once Nandeeshvara also heard Vyaasa Bhagavaan saying this. Vishnu Murty then appeared before Veda Vyaasa and told Him “O Maharshi! Dont you know that I and Shiva are the same? Knowing this why are you telling like this in your pravachanams?” Veda Vyaasa then had great pashchaattaapam and asked Kshama from Nandeeshvara.

————————————

The phalam of Vishnu Pooja is Shiva Bhakti — the example is that of Arjuna. Arjuna ofcourse was the greatest Shri Krishna Bhakta. But it was Shiva who gave Arjuna moksham, when Arjuna was born as Bhakta Kannappa, in the great Kaalahastsi Kshetram.

Similarly the phalam of Shiva Pooja is Shri Raama Bhakti — the examples are stories of Kaaka Bhushundi and Valmiki Maharshi. Kaaka Bhushundi was a great Shiva Bhakta and hence Shiva grants him Raama Bhakti Saamraajyam. Valmiki did tapas for Shiva using the Panchaakshari mantram given to him by the great Saptarshis and as a result became the Aadi Kavi and wrote the great Raamaayanam.

————————————

Raasaleela. It was the day when the “punya-vruksham” of Gopikas delivered its ripe fruits, called Moksham. It was the day when the Aaraadhana of Gopikas was blessed by Lord Krishna. Gopikas realized Shri Krishna, the Sarvaantaryaami, everywhere. As a result of their Aaraadhana-bhakti they realized the paramaatma’s poorna-svaroopam with each one of them. Who could miss watching the Raasaleela, where the Lord showered His Karuna-jyotsna ? All the Brahma-aadi devatas were present.

Parama Shiva, the greatest bhakta of Shri Krishna, was also present in the form of a Gopika. Shri Krishna, who is always in nirantara-shiva-dhyaanam, searched for Parameshvara. Finally He realized that Shiva is none other than one of the Gopikas having sampoorna aanandam of dancing with Him. Shri Krishna paramaatma then does stuti of Eshvara and asks to bless them by staying there at Vrundaavanam by the name of Gopeeshvara.

Even today we can visit Lord Shiva, in the form of Gopeeshvara, at Vrundaavanam.

—Contributed by ShobhitKaushik

————————————

THIRUTHANGAL
“Thiruthangal Uuranai”- Thirumangai aazhwar mangalasanam.
Banasuran was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. He once prayed to Shiva to bestow him with thousand arms so that he can play the mrudangam during his rudrathandavam. Shiva too did so. But instead of playing the instrument with his thousand arms he started fighting battles against one and all. Instigated by this malicious act Shiva said “ A person equal to me shall severe your thousand hands.” Usha was the daughter of Banasura. She once saw in a dream that a young prince played with her. She immediately wanted to know who he was. Chitralekha started drawing hundreds of pictures which did not yield the expected result. She then drew the pictures of Yadava rulers like Balarama, Krishna, Pradyumna and Anrudha. As soon as she sketched the picture of Anirudha Usha was only too excited. “It is he, It is he”- she exclaimed. Chitralekha being a yogini atonce brought Anirudha to her chamber even as he was sleeping atop his house. They then played there for a long time. Some spy who oversaw all this complained to Banasura who arrested Anirudha for no fault of his. Lord Krishna fought a tough battle. Banasura sought the refuge of Shiva who faught on his side. Lord Krishna severed all of Banasura’s hands except four. Krishna then told Shiva “ Iam you and you are me. Those who show hatred against me or you though a devotee of either shall attain hell. I as Brahma create, as Rudra destroy and as Vishnu protect. Your devotee is mine and my devotee is yours.I shall not kill Banasura, he being a descendent of Prahlada.” Thus Banasura was consoled and Anirudha was married to Usha. Rudra showed false anger at Banasura and asked him never to join his bhutaganas. A repenting Banasura asked for parihara when he said that a dip in the holy waters of Papavinashini teertha at Thiruthangal will cleanse him of his sin. Banasura did so and rejoined Rudragana. Thus those who visit this kshetra will beget their lost status and also beget a good groom. Victory be to him who visits this kshetra.

—- Contributed by Karthik Raman, from Shri Hariji’s blog

————————————

Morals in the Story:

  1. Shiva and Vishnu are the same.
  2. Both Raama and Hanuman did such super-human tasks, but they were never having even a bit of Ahankaar. They always were humble (see Setu-bandhanam story).
Published in: on May 29, 2006 at 6:01 pm  Comments (384)  

Vinayam gives Vruddhi. Ahankaar Destroys.

The story of Nahusha, the son of Aayu and father of the Yayaati, clearly shows us what un-attainable high positions one can achieve as long as he has vinayam and what drastic downfall can happen if one has ahankaar.

Nahusha was raised in his childhood by the great Brahmarshi Vasishta. Since he was unaffected by happiness or sorrow and did not feel the slighest ahankaar when once Devatas praised him in his childhood, he was named Nahusha. He learnt all shaastras and after his education became the King. Due to his great qualities his fame spread quickly to all directions. Everyone was in praise of him, to such an extent that even vedas praised him. He performed 100 Ashwamedha Yaagas and hence was deserving the position of Indra.

Once, Indra killed an asura by name Vrutraasura. Though Vrutra was an asura, he was a braahmana and hence Indra had to suffer brahmahatyaa-paatakam and Nahusha was offered the position of Indra. Nahusha continued to be good, until one day he realized that he was the ruler, king of all the 14-lookas! He suddenly became very proud and once a person has Ahankaar, he does not think, he assumes he is the greatest and that he can never be wrong. Such was the power of being the king for the Devatas and all the worlds! He sends a message to Sachi-devi, the great Pativrata and wife of Indra (the previous Indra, the eldest brother of Devatas) that she must serve him as he is the Indra now. The very moment he wanted a Pativrata, all his good qualities, tapas-shakti everything were lost and his end was destined.

Sachi-devi tells Nahusha "O great Indra! You are the God of the Gods. You are very great, please come to my house. But you being so great deserve to be carried by none other than Saptarishis. So please come in a pallaqi beared by them". Nahusha really feels that what Sachi-devi said is true (did not realize that she was a pativrata and hence the real meaning behind her words) and immediately ordered the Saptarishis to do so. Obviously the Saptarishis have conquered anger and ahankaar so they carry him. Nahusha sits in the pallaqi beared by them and in the height of his pride says "Sarpa Sarpa" (go fast) to Agasthya muni, since he was very short and was taking small small steps. Agasthya muni said "sarpobhava", in order to teach Nahusha a lesson. And immediately from the high position of Indra, he falls as a Ajagaram (huge Python) in some deep forest.

He spends thousand and thousands of years repenting for his mistake. Once when Paandavas were in the aashramam of Vrushaparva, Bhima goes to the forest and sees Nahusha who was in the form of an incredably huge Ajagaram. Bhima gets surprised by the amazing strength of it and asks it who it was. Nahusha tells his unfortunate story and says only the great Yudhishtira, who never deviates from the path of truth, can save him from this form. Meanwhile, Yudhishtira searching for Bhima reaches that place. Yudhishtira on knowing that the ajagaram is his ancestor Nahusha, he prostrates to him and takes his blessings. Later he answers all the questions of Nahusha and Nahusha gets freed from the terrible form, takes the form of a divya-purusha and goes to urdhva lokas in a divya vimaana.

Morals in the story:

  1. As long as Nahusha had Vinayam he was respected by everybody. Once taken over by Ahankaar, he committed great mistakes and later had to experience the result.
  2. Even for a great person like Nahusha, the power of simhaasanam made him bad. One must be more and more careful to be good and humble as his power in the society grows.
  3. Yudhishtira showed the way elders must be respected. One must never evaluate an elder for respecting them. According to our culture they always must be respected.
  4. Gnyaanam, knowledge of shaastra helped Yudhishtira answer the questions of Nahusha. One must always give utmost importance to gnyaanam and vigyaanam — using them one can acheive great wonders and help others.
  5. Pativratas power is graeater than anyone. One must never want a para-kaanta.
Published in: on May 28, 2006 at 6:31 pm  Comments (10)  

Power of always speaking the Truth

(Continuing Udanka’s story)
Paushya’s mahaarani gives her kundalas to Udanka, but warns him that “Takshaka always has an eye on this — so be careful”. Udanka thanks the queen and returns to Paushya to ask him for leave. Paushya, who knows the shaastras, pleaded Udanka to accept his aatithyam and eat at his place. Udanka accepted the King’s request and Udanka sat to eat in a separate Bhojana shaala for vidvaans. The very first piece he was about to eat had a hair strand in it!

For Indians, parishubhrata is of utmost importance and especially for eating. There are many rules in shaastras about how a person who eats must be, how the person who cooks must be and who clean the food itself must be etc. Even after following all the rules, some doshas might creep in. Hence Indians always put godhrutam (cow ghee) in the food before eating, considering the food as havis, the person who eats as havirbhokta and the the act of eating as a yagnyam!

Ukdanda gets angry on Paushya for offering uncleaned food. Since he knows all shaastras, he knows that neither the cook nor the person who served nor the head of the bhojanashaala must be blamed, it is the ajamaani who gave aatithyam, the King, who needs to be blamed for this (see this story). He, in the anger, says to Paushya “Since you gave me such food, may you become blind”. Knowing that Udanka gave him such a big punishment for a small mistake, Paushya says to Udanka “May you have no children”.

Since both Udanka and Paushya never deviated from the path of Truth, whatever they said now, in anger, became really true! The nature of a sajjana is that, he will never become angry and if he becomes angry, his anger will be like the spill of boiling milk, just for a fraction of a second. Immediately Paushya and Udanka realize their mistake and Paushya asks Udanka to save him from blindness. Udanka, with his tapas-shakti, told Paushya that he will be blind for a very short time. However Paushya could not give a shaapaavasaanam to Udanka. Paushya says “O great scholar! Since you are a sage and have immense tapas-shakti you were able to help me, but I cannot do it and my words cannot be changed, because of my satya-vaak-paripaalana”. Udanka then takes leave of Paushya and immediately resumes the work given by his Guru-patni.

Will Udanka be able to take the kundalas safely to his guru-patni? Wont Takshaka cause any trouble? Please keep reading to know the answers :).

Morals in the story:

  1. For a person who always speaks Truth, whatever he speaks will become true!
  2. Anger, even for a fraction of second, may cause disasters.
  3. Importance of parishubhrata, especially for bhojanam, is clearly displayed in the story. The otherwise calm Udanka, became angry because the food offered to him (an Atithi, knowing Atithi-devo-bhava) had dosham. One must do bhojanam as if he was doing a yagnyam.
  4. The knowledge of shaastras helped Udanka to immediately decide who needs to be blamed for the dosham in the food.
  5. The power in Tapas (Daiva-dhyaanam) is clearly displayed by Udanka. With his tapas-shakti, he was able to undo his mistake.

The story of Naimishaaranyam

Gauramukha maharshi is one of the great well-known maharshis. He was the obedient shishya of Semeeka maharshi (see Parikshit mahaaraja's story). After his education in Semeeka maharshi's ashram, he built up his own ashram to share the gnyaanam he got. The ashram was calm and peaceful. If Gauramukha maharshi's shishyas came to the forest to get some samidhas for yagnyam, then the trees used to bend and willingly, without experiencing pain, used to offer them their branches. If the shishyas while doing veda paarayana and by mistake pronounce some swara wrong, then the birds used to rectify them by saying it aloud with their sweet voices. The flowers there used to open only to be offered to God, just before the puja. All these were possible only because of the prashantata, the alhaada vaataavarnam and the tapas-shakti of the maharshi.

One day the king, Durjaya, came with his army to the forest. Gauramukha maharshi seeing the king gave aatithyam and requested the king to rest in his ashram for that night. Lord Raama and Lakshmana, during their visits to muni ashrams, used to always leave their weapons outside and enter the ashrams with the permission of the respective munis. However, Durjaya entered the calm and quiet ashram with his entire army. Gauramukha, who already conquered anger, was happy to welcome them. Since he had no apparent way of cooking food and showing a place to rest for such huge number of people, he went to the bank of the river, took a dip in it, became purified and prayed to Lord Vishnu. Due to his enormous concentration, Vishnu immediately appeared before him and gave him a Mani. With the help of the Mani, Gauramukha maharshi built a huge town for the army to rest and also provided good food for them. The next day as the king and army were leaving the place, the creation of the Mani vanished. Durjaya was amazed by the power of the mani and after reaching his kingdom sent his messengers to get the mani of Gauramukha maharshi for himself. Gauramukha maharshi sent the messengers back saying that the mani was not meant to be used for selfish reasons and must only be used for the good of the society. The king became angry knowing that his order was not carried out and sent his army to maharshi's ashram to get the mani by force.

Gauramukha maharshi prayed to the mani and a huge army came from the mani and destroyed the army. The unbeatable Vishnu chakram came from the mani and killed the king Durjaya. The whole army and Durjaya were killed in a nimisham! Thus the forest in which Gauramukha maharshi lived was henceforth known as 'Naimisaaranyam'. Naimisaaranyam, is a very pious place for the Indians. It is the abode of many Gods, rishis, munis and was the place where the great Suuta maharshi told Srimad Bhaagavatam to saunakaadi mahaamunis.

Morals in the story:

  1. All the wonders that happened in the story, the greatness of naimisaaranyam, can all be attributed to the tapas-shakti of Gauramukha maharshi. There is nothing that Bhagavannaama-smarana cannot achieve.
  2. One should never be proud of his power or strength and misuse the powers given to him. Durjaya in his ahankaar of being a king, destroyed himself and his army in a nimisham (The time taken for closing and opening the eyelid).
Published in: on May 26, 2006 at 5:01 pm  Comments (1)  

Story of the great Parikshit maharaja

Parikshit, the great Bhaagavatottama, was the son of veera Abhimanyu and Viraata's daughter, Uttara and was the only successor of Pandavas (see Aswatthaama killing Upa-Paandavas story). He, while in maatru-garbham itself, used to examine carefully all directions (paritaH eekshate) for God! Krishna, the sthiti kaaraka, saved Parikshit in Uttara's garbham, from the devastating Brahmaastra of Ashwatthaama. Parikshit was such a great favourite of God, to the extent that God suppressed the unstoppable Brahmaastra, because he was a great Bhakta and never deviated from the path of Dharma.

After Shri Krishna left to Vaikuntam, the Bhu-devi (who is realized to be in the form of Goomaata) again sank into uncontrollable sorrow. The Dharma-devata (who is realized to be in Vrishabha form) was tortured and legs cut off by Kali. Due to the entrance of Kali, all kinds of adharma kaaryas were encouraged. There is no shuchi-shubhrata, no daya-daanam, no vedas, puraanaas, or shaastra knowledge, no adherence to satyam etc. But Parikshit, with his power, controlled everything and taught Kali a lesson. Kali begged Parikshit mahaaraaja not to kill him saying that, following the kaala-dharma, since it is the start of Kalikaalam, he must be allowed to come and must not be killed. Parikshit to obey the kaala-dharmam allows him some specific places to stay in.

Though Parikshit was so great, due to Kaala Mahima (also see Kaala mahima story) and due to the effect of Kali, unfortunately did a mistake — for which the punishment was death! Once after Mrugaya-vihaaram and killing the trouble causing wild beasts in the forest, completely exhausted, Parikshit reaches the ashram of the great Semeeka maharshi. The maharshi at that time was in deep Daiva-dhyaanam and completely detached from his karmendriyas. Hence, he did not notice the exhausted Parikshit mahaaraaja. King Parikshit, completely exhausted, thought that the maharshi, knowing his exhaustion, did not offer him even water, leave aside aatithyam. So he puts a dead snake around the neck of Semeeka to insult him and leaves the place. Shrungi, the kid of Semeeka, realizing that Parikshit did such an insult to his father, who was a great maharshi, gives Parikshit a shaapam that in seven days Parikshit will die of Takshaka's vishaagnijwaalas. Meanwhile Semeeka maharshi comes back from dhyaanam and comes to know about the entire story.

Semeeka tells Shrungi "Krodham is the main hinderence to tapas. Krodham only stops Animaadi Ashtasiddhis. It is a big hurdle for following the path of Dharma. A tapaswi never should get krodham. Similar to how water unknowingly leakes away quitely from a filled pot, the tapas of a tapaswi who does not have kshama, the dhanam of a dhanavanta who has garvam and the kingdom of a ruler who does not follow Dharma also fade away. Parikshit mahaaraaja is not an ordinary king. It is because of him that Dharma-devata has all four legs. It is because of him Kali has been restricted. Why did you give such a big irrevocable shaapam for a small mistake Parikshit mahaaraaja committed? One must always think twice before he acts and never come into the clutches of anger. One's anger is his greatest enemy. A person looses his dharma-adharma gnyaanam, does not think and causes harm to others and himself because of anger. On receiving scoldings or beatings or whatever harm, a parama-bhakta will experience it with shaantam and will not take pratikaaram. I am quite sure, Parikshit mahaaraaja will not give you a prati-shaapam. Sajjana's do Upakaaram to Upakaaris and Apakaaris. Mahaatmas do not even feel the pleasures and sorrows, everything is same". Semeeka, knowing that now nothing can be done (since the words of Shrungi, who is a firm satya-vaak-paripaalaka, cannot be undone!), sends his shihsya, Gauramukha, to atleast inform Parikshit about the Shrungi's shaapam. Parikshit mahaaraaja comes to know about Shrungi's shaapam.

Parikshit mahaaraaja, thinking why he was taken over by kaama-kroodhaadi (Arishadvargas), says to himself "Why did I insult the great maharshi, knowing that they must always be respected? Why did I venture into such unpardonable Paapakaaryas? Anyway, who can change Daiva-sankalpam. One has to experience the result of his own paapam. Truly speaking what is the mistake of Shrungi? With the ahankaar of a king I act like this. Which son wont give shaapam for such an insult to his father? How can I always make sure that I wont unnecessarily cause pain to goomaatas, devatas and braahmanas?". Being a winner over Arishadvargaas, due to his undisturbed Bhakti on Parameshwara, Parikshit mahaaraaja did not get even a bit angry on Shrungi. Being capable of giving a pratishaapam, he did not give shaapam to Shrungi. Later, due to listening to Srimad Bhaagavatam from none other than Shri Shuka maharshi, Parikshit attains the unattainable Moksham.

Morals in the story:

  1. The importance of being able to control one's anger (and other Arishadvargaas) is well portrayed in the story. One small mistake of Parikshit mahaaraaja costed him his life. (Think — Why Krishna who saved him from the Brahmaastra did not save him from this also)
  2. The conversations between Semeeka maharshi and Shrungi; Parikshit and himself, are a great treasure for morals. Importance of shaantam, being unaffected by joy and sorrow, nature of a true Bhakta etc. can be learnt from the conversations.
  3. The end result for good people is always good (also see King Nruga's story). So though Parikshit mahaaraaja had to experience the result of his mistake, in the end, because he was a true Bhakta and firm-follower of Dharma got Paramapadam in the end.
  4. Knowing that he will be dying in 7 days, Parikshit mahaaraaja did not want to, in hurry, enjoy off all the pleasures before he dies nor he wasted time in trying to protect himself from Takshaka. This shows what unnata-bhaavas a Bhaagavatottama's (true Bhakta) will have!
Published in: on May 25, 2006 at 5:06 pm  Comments (69)  

The story of two brothers

Once upon a time, there were two brothers Shankha and Likhita, who were Munis and used to live in their Aashramams on the banks of the river Baahudaa. One day, the younger brother, Likhita, went to the Shankha’s aashramam and on not finding his brother, sat under a mango tree. He started eating one of its mangoes, without taking the permission of the owner of the tree (Shankha).

Shankha returned to his aashramam and found Likhita eating the mangoes. Shankha then told Likhita that, one must never take the things which do not belong to them. He said “You should have eaten it only after taking my permission”. He further told Likhita to go to the King, Sudyumna, tell him the mistake he did and take the appropriate punishment, according to the Danda-neeti-shaastram.

Likhita adheres to the word of his brother and immediately goes to Sudyumna. The King warmly welcomes the Muni and upon being asked the reason for coming, Likhita tells what had happened and begs the King for punishment.

The King who knows all the Dharma shastras, replied that “O great Muni! You leave all the pleasures of normal humans and do Tapas for the welfare of everyone. How can I give you punishment?”. Likhita replies saying that a King must never deviate for his duty and hence, must punish him. The King accepts and orders that Likhita’s hands must be cut-off (following Danda-neeti).

Likhita then returned to Shankha after experiencing the punishment. Shankha was very happy to see his brother and said “O Putra! you did a good thing. Because of you our entire vamsham will be saved. Dip in the Baahudaa Nadi and do Deva, Muni, Pitru Tarpanam and come. Suraapaanam, Guru Bhaaryaa Vyaamoham, Vipra-hatya, Vipra-Dhana-apaharanam and doing friendship with these four kinds of people are the Pancha-mahaa-paatakas (5 main sins). You became punyaatma because you experienced Dandanam (punishment) from Raaja. Go.”

Likhita immediately goes and takes a dip in the Baahudaa Nadi and to his surprise sees that he gets back his hands. Knowing that his hands came back due to the power of Shankha, he asked his brother that if he has so much power why did he ask him to go to the King for punishment, instead he himself could have given it. The elder brother said that everyone must do his own duty. Our duty is to do Tapas for the benefit of the society and the King’s duty is to punish the bad. Hence, he said, he had no right to punish his younger brother.

This story was told by Vyaasa Bhagavaan to Dharmaraaja when he was worried that all relatives, friends etc. are killed in the Yuddham. Vyaasa Bhagavaana says Dushtas must be punished. Duty of the King is to do that. So there is nothing wrong in Yudhishthira doing the Mahabhaarata Yuddham, to kill the bad.

Morals in the story:

  1. Respecting elders, though sometimes their words may seem harsh, is a very important aspect of Indian culture. The younger brother always respected his elder brother and adhered to his words. Also, the elder brother always wanted the good of his brother. Thus did not pamper him by neglecting the mistake he did, considering it small.
  2. Everyone in the story performed their duties. The sages did tapas, the King did Dharma-paalanam, younger brother listened to the elder one. The elder brother always thought about the good of the younger one.
  3. One has to experience the results of his own karma some or the other time. Knowing this, the elder brother asked his younger brother to experience the punishment given by the king rather than postponing it to hell.
  4. Stealing, knowingly or unknowingly results in big paapam. For stealing one mango, that too being a sage, the punishment was as severe as cutting off hands. The bad result of stealing (even by mistake) is well illustrated in King Nruga’s story too.

Message:

If stealing one person’s belonging is such a crime, imagine how much magnitude of crime is committed by stealing public/government money/property (bribes). Similarly, destroying public property must never be done. Since, it will effect many individuals not only one.

Published in: on May 24, 2006 at 5:46 pm  Comments (29)  

The story of two yogis

A person who does anything that he does to utmost perfection, without being involved in its materialistic aspects and benifits is called a Yogi. However, since it is very difficult for a person to attain such a state, principled ways like vaanaprastham, sanyaasam have been suggested, to train a person to be dettached from the materialistic world. The following story shows the importance in maintaining the central idea of vairaagyam (see Bhagiratha story's introduction).

Once upon a time, there was a sanyaasi. He used to visit all the kingdoms and used to preach the people "for attaining moksham one needs to give away everything he owns. He should not have any vyamoham or desire on anything. He should not think of the next minute. He should not store anything for future. He should not tell who he is to anyone and should do dhyaanam with peace and no desire. Then he can achieve moksham". The preachings of the sanyaasi were all very good, however, were very difficult for people to understand. One day Magadha raaja was inspired by the teachings of the sanyaasi. He gave away his kingdom and went to the forest for daiva-dhyaanam. In the same manner, Kaambhoja raaja was also inspired and went to the forest for daiva-dhyaanam. He also had given away everything he had.

Both the kings met each other in the forests, but they did not tell to each other that the were kings. They both used to go for bhiksha for their food. According to the rules, they used to eat the food that day itself without storing it for future. One day, they got only ganji (rice starch or rice soup). Kambhoja raaja commented to Magadha raaja that it would be better if there was some salt for the taste. Then the Magadha raaja told that he had some. The Kambhoja raaja questioned him "where did u get the salt from?". The Magadha raaja replied that he had picked small amount of it from the vindu bhojanam to which he was called. He had taken some with him in case he needed in the journey. Then the Kaambhoja raaja told Magadha raaja that he has given his whole empire but was unable to keep up the rule that they should not store any thing for future. The Magadha raaja replied that Kambhoja raaja who also left his kingdom with ease was not able to control his taste. Both were shocked realizing that they broke the rules.

They then realized the true meaning in the teachings of the sanyaasi and returned to their duties as kings and ruled with love,peace and harmony. But because of the learning from the forest, they were never involved in the bhogas of a king and were totally dettached. They got the unattainable moksham in the end.

Morals in the story:

  1. There is no need to go to the forest and to do the daiva-dhyaanam for moksham. One can achieve it while doing all his duties, but being a viraagi.Even Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavadgita:

    अनाश्रितः कर्मफलं कार्यं कर्म करोति यः।
    स सन्यासी च योगि च न निरग्निर्न चाक्रियः॥६-१॥
    "He who does his duty without expecting the fruit of action is sanyasi and yogi both, and not the one who has simply renounced the fire or given up all activity."

  2. The easiest way is to do nishkaama karma and surrender everything to God. Then one will not be attracted to the benefits of karma, whether good or bad.यत्करोषि यदश्नासि यज्जुहोषि ददासि यत्।
    यत्तपस्यसि कौन्तेय तत्कुरुष्व मदर्पणम्॥९-२७॥

    "Arjuna, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as oblation to sacred fire, whatever you bestow as a gift, whatever you do by way of penance, offer it all to Me. "

    सर्वधर्मान् परित्यज्य मामेकम् शरणं व्रज।
    अहं त्वा सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः॥१८-६६॥

    "Resigning all your duties to Me, the all-powerful and all-supporting Lord, take refuge in Me alone, I shall absolve you of all sins, worry not. "

Published in: on May 23, 2006 at 6:31 pm  Comments (5)  

Do not blame others

Our Indian culture is great. The rules it provides make everyone lead an ideal life. According to our shastras, it seems, a person who blames others (unnecessarily) gets half of the entire paapam of the person blamed and in addition gives away half of his entire punyam to the person blamed! So there a big loss for the person who blames and a big gain for the person blamed. The following is a small story showing how careful one needs to be while doing Dharma nirnayam and eventually blaming others.

Once a poor braahmana, with hunger, came to a person’s house and asked for bhiksha. The kind woman in the house took pity on him and immediately offered food. She asked the brahmana to sit under the shade of a huge tree in their house and she brought food for him. Before the braahmana cleaned himself, prayed to the God and started eating, a very unfortunate thing happened. There used to live a poisonous snake under the shelter of the tree and vidhi vashah it spilt its poison and it directly fell into the food the braahmana was going to eat. The braahmana unknowing that the food is poisoned, ate food and died.

Now, who needs to be blamed? Is it the woman who gave the food, or the snake or the owner or the braahmana himself. It seems that the person who decides and makes a decision that a particular individual is to be blamed will get the brahma-hatyaa-paatakam.

So did you notice how critical is a dharma-nirneta’s role. How many shastras should he have learnt before taking the seat of dharma-nirneta? How careful and unbiased should his thinking be? Imagine how great is Yamadharmaraaja to be able to do perfect justice for so many people for such huge amount of time. That is why He is called ‘Samavarti’. He has one of his legs in Shri-chandanam and the other in fire. Both are same for Him and thus very unbiased and impartial.

Morals in the story:

  1. A lot of thinking needs to be done before putting blame on others.
  2. A person should be highly knowledgeable and learned in order to be a dharma-nirneta. That is why it is customary in our Indian culture to always say “As far as i know, this is Dharma….” or “This is what I heard from my elders, hence …..”.

Message:

Atleast on hearing to this story, we hope all the govt. officials will be still more careful in performing their duties. The pathetic state of today’s nyaayasthaanas is well-known. The power given to a nyaayaadhikaari is immense. The story also shows how impartial, unbiased, honest and most importantly learned must the nyaayaadhikaris be… One may assume everything is going fine, but at sometime or the other one must experience the effects of his own karma.

Published in: on May 22, 2006 at 5:02 pm  Comments (15)  
अद्यतिथिः

Importance of this day!

Tīrtha Yātra

The glory of India

कः पन्थाः ?

महाजनो येन गतः स पन्थाः

Moral Stories

A tribute to the great Bharatiya Samskruti.