Once upon a time, there used to live a sadbraahmana by name Sunandana in Meghankaram. He was a Saaranga-paani Bhakta (Paramashiva bhakta). He used to do archana of Parama Shiva, who was in the form of Saaranga-paani in Meghankaram. Sunandana was a Pandita, Veda-vedaanga nipuna and a Shuddha Brahmachaari. Hence was doing Nitya paaraayana of the 11th Adhyaayam of Shri Bhagavat-gita.
Once he went on a Teertha-yaatra to Kaantaasthali. It is the pavitra-kshetram where there prasiddha-aalayam of Shri Mahaalakshmi. A guide showed Sunandana the pavitra-kshetram and many siddha-pradeshams in it. He also told that the Nadi-jalam is very sweet and the people are good. However he advised Sunandana not to stay for the night and he added that even if he wanted, the villagers will not allow him to stay in the graama-satram.
Sunandana didnt understand why and requested the graama-adhikaari to grant him permission to stay in the satram. Finally Sunandana managed to convince the adhikaari. The adhikaari said “may be you are the person” and unwillingly gave his permission. Sunandana slept in the satram for that night and as usual woke up the next day before Suuryodayam.
However the villagers were awe-struck to see Sunandana alive. They requested Sunandana to give vimukti to Bhimamukha and told his story:
Bhimamukha was an ordinary Karshaka. Once when he was involved in doing his work in the fields near the satram, a Vruddha came there. Unfortunately, a vulture sees the Vruddha, who was not even having enough strength to walk, and attacks him. However Bhimamukha, being capable of saving the Vruddha, doesnt help him, because of being involved in his farming. Seeing this, a Sanyaasi who was passing near-by wanted to teach Bhimamukha a lesson so that no one will repeat such mistakes. He gives Bhimamukha a shaapam that he will become a raakshasa and a Nara-bhakshaka!
The shaapam of Bhimamukha turned out to be a shaapam for the villagers instead, because Bhimamukha was eating away the villagers one-by-one. All the villagers then ask the Sanyaasi for Sharanam. Sanyaasi gives abhayam and says that Bhimamukha will not cross the satram’s boundary and will only eat people who stay there in the night. Also when a Gnyaani who really has knowledge about Bhagavat-vishvaruupam comes, Bhimamukha will get vimukti.
Listening to this, Sunandana gives Vimukti to Bhimamukha and when aksed by Bhimamukha how he got so much Gnyaanam about Bhagavat-vishvaruupam, tells like this: “I used to do paaraayana of 11th Adhyaayam of Bhagavat-gita. Because of that I have gained this Gnyaanam. However since a perfect Brahmachaari, a Veda-vedaanga-tattvagnya and a Shiva-bhakta can only read it, ordinary people can do the smarana of ‘Sthavishthah’ naamam in Vishnu-sahasra-naamam instead and get the same phalam”.
Thus knowing the greatness of Vishnu-sahasra-naamam and in particular, the naamam of ‘sthavishthah’, the villagers and Bhimamukha do Naama-paarayana and get ananta-phalam.
Morals in the story:
- We must always do paropakaaram. Being capable of saving the Vruddha, Bhimamukha, being involved in his work, didnt save him. As told by this Sanyaasi, this is very bad.
- The greatness of Vishnu Sahasra naamam is well shown in the story. It is our adrushtam, that Bheeshma-aachraya and Veda Vyaasa gave us this ananta-nidhi. Especially in Kaliyugam Naama-sankeertanam is the easiest way for Mukti.