Daana-gunam

One day a Siddha by name Manovega came to Vikramaaditya Maharaja and said “Raaja! Near Udayaparvatam, there is a pushkarinii by name Aghanaasham. A Suvarna-Kalasham comes from it at Suuryodayam. As Suurya Bhagavaan raises, the Kalasham also goes up, at Madhyaahnam it reaches Suurya-mandalam. By Suuryaastamaanam, it again comes and goes into the Pushkarinii”. Listening to this Aashcharyam, Vikramaaditya Maharaja asked the Siddha how to reach Aghanaasham. Siddha replied that it can be reached through Yoga-maargam. He has a lehyam (paste) with him, which when applied to the leg, one can reach any place at Manovegam.

Both of them applied the Lehyam and reached Aghanaasham. They waited for Suuryodayam. As the Siddha said, the Divya Kalasham came. Vikramaaditya Maharaja jumped and sat on it. By Madhyaahnam, along with the Kalasham, Vikramaaditya reached Suurya-mandalam. Seeing Vikramaaditya, Suurya Bhagavaan said “Kumaara! No normal person can bear my teevra Tejas. My abhinandanams (congratulations) to your Yoga-shakti. I am very happy with you. Keep these Divya-kundalas as a Bahumaanam (gift) from Me. These are not ordinary Kundalas, they give 8 Pushkariniis full of Suvarnam (1 Baaruvu) everyday”! Taking the Kundalas, along with the Kalasham, Vikramaaditya reached Aghanaasham, after doing Namaskaaram to Suurya Bhagavaan. He then left for Ujjaini.

As soon as he reached Ujjaini, a Viprottama came near him and asked “Raaja! I live in Vidarbha-desham. With the Krupa of my elders, and the Dhanam earned by them, I do Annadaanam to 1000 people everyday. My Sodaras, with Iirsha, told asatyam about me and made the King give me punishment. I need to give away whole of my Sampada, property as a fine. In addition I need to pay somemore amount. To ask help from you I came here”.

Taking pity on the Viprottama, Vikramaaditya Maharaja gave the Divya Kundalams to him and sent him away! After telling this story, the Pratima on the Simhaasanam of Vikramaaditya continued “Bhoja Raaja! Did you see Vikramaaditya’s Daana Gunam? He never turns back an arthi empty handed. He gave away the Divya Kundalams as daanam. Do you have such Daana Gunam?

Morals in the Story:

  1. The Daana gunam of Vikramaaditya Maharaja is shown in the story. As soon as the Viprottama told his difficulty he gave away the Apoorva Divya Kundalas to the Viprottama.
  2. The Vinayam of the Viprottama is well shown in the story. Though he did many Anna-daanams he didnt have Garvam. He said only because of his elders he is able to do such good deeds.

Search Terms: Vikramaditya, Vikramaadithya, Vikramadithya, Vikramaarka, Vikramarka

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Published in: on October 11, 2006 at 11:59 pm  Comments (1)  

Daatrutvam

The major thing that the British achieved is to replace our Education system (see this picture). In our Bhaarateeya Samskruti, there was only Vidyaa-daanam (see Kautsa’s story too), never Vidyaa-vikrayam. This story happened when the British were ruling us and many of the schools were run by the English. However many of the Upaadhyaayakas were Bhaarateeyas only.

“Pay your fees, else you will be expelled from the school”, warned the authorities of the School. Many of the Vidyaarthis by that time paid the fees. However one very intelligent Vidyaarthi didnt because he came from a very poor family. Somebody gave advise to him, as he was sadly coming out of the school, “Baalaka! Dont be worried. If you go to ‘this’ person and tell your kashtam, he will help you”. The next day the baalaka went to ‘that’ person and told his deenaavastha to the person. The person first consoled the baalaka and gave him aasheervaadam. Then he gave him one note and sent him away.

In the aanandam, the baalaka didnt see what note it was. He saw after going for some distance. To his surprise he saw that it was a 100 Rupee note. In those days, 100 was a huge sum of money. Thinking that may be the person gave it by mistake, the baalaka went back to return the note to the person. The person, with chiru-mandahaasam, said “O Putra! This is for you only. Pay the fees. Buy the required books. Do Vidyaabhyaasam and become a true Bhaarateeya”. The baalaka was surprised seeing the Daatrutvam of the person. Though the person was an Upaadhyaayaka and himself earned very less, he helped him so much.

The person is none other than “Kaashiinaatha Naageshwara Rao“. Due to many many such Daanams, he became famous as “Vishvadaata”.

Morals in the story:

  1. The daana-gunam of Kaashiinaatha Naageshwara Rao is well shown in the story. Daanam is one of the greatest Punya-kaaryams in our Bhaarateeya Saampradaayam.
  2. The honesty of the Balaaka is also shown in the story. Thinking that the person may be in need of it, he went back to return the note once he saw 100 Rs. denomination on it.

Message to the present society:

From the times of Kautsa, through the times of Kaashiinaatha Naageshwara Rao, now we are in this “modern” society, where the most prospering bussiness is Education! Even ~10 years back we dont think there used to be any advertisements for Educational institutes. Now the newspapers, TV Channels are filled with advertisements of Schools, Hospitals and Hotels. Vidya, Vaidyam and Bhojanam are exactly the things that never are supposed to be “sold” in our Bhaarateeya Saampradaayam.

Search Terms: Kashinatha, Kasinatha, Nageshwara, Nageshvara, Nagesvara, Nageswara

Published in: on September 23, 2006 at 11:59 pm  Comments Off on Daatrutvam  

Dronaachaarya

Drona was the putra of the great Bharadvaaja maharshi. Bharadvaaja maharshi had a mitra by name Prushata, who was a King. Prushata’s putra was Drupada. Drupada and Drona used to study together in the aashramam of Bharadvaaja maharshi. They became good friends. After Vidyaabhyaasam, Drupada became the Raaja of Paanchaala-desham and thus they got separated.

Once Parashuraama, the avataar of Mahaavishnu, did Daanam of all His Sampada to others. He had this entire Bhuu-mandalam under His control, since He defeated all the Kings by going around the world 21 times. He gave away these Raajyams to able Kings, who will do Dharma-paalana and wanted to continue His Tapas. Knowing that Parashuraama is doing many great Daanams, Drona approached Him to ask for something. However by the time he reached, Parashuraama gave away everything.

Seeing the poor Drona, Parashuraama said “I have this shariiram (body) and Astra-Vidya only left with Me. Please ask Me what you want. I am ready to give”. With great aanandam, Drona asked to do Vidyaadaanam to him. Drona became an unparalleled Yoddha and learnt any Astras being shishya of Parashuraama. After Dharnurvidyaabhyaasam, Drona wanted to see his baalya-mitra, Drupada. However Drupada was not ready to accept that this poor Braahmana was his mitra. Having nothing to do, Drona left the place.

Bheeshmaachaarya, the Kuru-kula-pitaamaha, who was also a shishya of Parashuraama, appointed Drona as the aachaarya of the Paandavas and Kauravas. After Vidyaabhyaasam, Paandavas, with great Vinayam, asked Drona what Guru-dakshina they can give him? Drona asked them to defeat Drupada, who was then in Chhatrapati nagaram, and give his entire Raajyam to him.

What is impossible to the great Paandavas? They defeated Drupada in Dharma-yuddham and brought him to Dronaachaarya. Drona then said “O Drupada! I always wanted to remain as your mitra. But you said only a King can be your friend. Now I will rule the land to the North of Ganga and you rule that is South to it”. Lucky to atleast have got half-kingdom, Drupada left the place. However he developed permanent hatred on Drona. He wanted to somehow get a putra who can kill Drona!

One day he saw two great brothers, Yaajaka and Upayaajaka on Gangaa-tiiram. He approached Upayaajaka and asked “I will give you 10000 Go-daanams. Please tell me a way how I can get a putra who can kill Drona?”. However Upayaajaka replied that he doesnt have any dhana-kaanksha and remained quiet. But Drupada didnt leave his thought and for 1 year stayed with Upayaajaka and did great seva, help to Upayaajaka. Upayaajaka to show his Krutagnyata finally approached his elder brother to ask for a way to help Drupada.

(to be continued…)

Morals in the story:

  1. Daana, Paropakaara-buddhi of Parashuraama is well shown in the story. He gave away everything he had and when Drona approached him he was even ready to give away his own shariiram as Daanam!
  2. Though Drupada insulted Drona, Drona didnt develop Krodham on Drupada and just left him by teaching him a lesson. However Drupada developed Krodham, though the mistake was on his side. Krodham is the start for doing all paapa-kaaryams. It is one’s greatest shatru.
  3. Mitra-droham is very bad. See these stories to know more. As said in this story, Sajjanas never dare to do it.
  4. We must never come into the effect of Prolobham. Once a person comes into its grip, there will be end to the Paapa-kaaryas he does. Though Drupada wanted to create Prolobham in Upayaajaka by saying he will give away 10000 cows, Upayaajaka didnt accept.

Search Terms: Parashurama, Parasurama, Bheeshma, Bhishma, Upayajaka, Yajaka

Published in: on September 3, 2006 at 8:27 pm  Comments (1)  

Abhaya Daanam

(see Shibi Chakravarti story and Vibheeshana-varada story too)

There will be many who do Suvarna, Go, Bhuu daanam; but it is rare to find one who has sarva-bhuuta-daya.

One day, when Raghu maharaja was doing Tapas, a Viprottama approached him and asked for Sharanam. Seeing the Viprottama, who was trembling with fear, Raghu maharaja gave Abhayam and asked the reason for the fear. Meanwhile a Raakshasa came there saying “leave … leave”. He said to Raghu maharaja “Raja! leave him. This is the aahaaram that Brahma decided for me. Why are you protecting my aahaaram. I am very hungry”.

Raghu maharaja said “I will not. He, that too a Viprottama, came to me and asked for Sharanam. A sat-purusha always gives Abhayam to a Sharana-arthi. Also it is my Kshatriya-dharmam to protect this arthi. A person who does Abhaya-daanam will get more punyam than one who does all Yagnyas-Vratas. How can I cheat a person, to whom I said even giving my life I will protect you? For any paapam there might be a praayashchittam; but not for a Sharnaagata-hanta. I can get you any other aahaaram which you will like. With hunger how much you are suffering, this Vipra is also suffering that much with fear”.

Raakshasa replied “Like a Gnyaani you talked a lot about anya-samrakshana-dharmam. However you wont care about my hunger. When the tastiest food I want is before me, you are asking me to ask for some other aahaaram. Now if I die of hunger wont you get the paapam? Raja! you dont have daya. For Tapas, daya is the basis. Nirdaya gives paapam. Please save me – who is suffering from hunger. Leave the Vipra”.

Raghu maharaja then thought like this “If I leave this Vipra, Raakshasa will eat him. If I dont, Raakshasa may die of hunger. Without any doubt in either case I will get the paapam. What do to?”. Then he remembered his Guru, Vasishtha’s bodha — “Hari naama smaranam is the only way in case of difficulties”. So Raghu maharaja, with nishchala chittam, did Shri Hari dhyaanam and said “Paatu maam Bhagavaan Vishnuh”.

Just on hearing the Hari naamam, the Raakshasa got Divya-aakruti and said “I am a King by name Shatadyumna and got this ghora-ruupam because of Vashishtha maharshi shaapam, for my dushkaaryam. Because of hearing to Divya-Hari-naamam that too from a Dharmaatma, Tapasvi like you, I got Vimukti”. The Vipra also reached home safely.

Seeing this, Brahmadeva appeared before Raghu maharaja and said “O Mahiipaala! your Dharma-vartanam impressed Me. Please aboard this Divya-vimaanam and come to Satyalokam”. This Divya-gaadha was told by Shri Bhrugu maharshi to Shaunaka mahaa-muni.

Morals in the story:

  1. Bhuuta-daya and Sharanaagati-dharmam are well shown by Raghu maharaja. The Punyam got by Abhaya daanam is anantam! For such a person, Satyalokam is easy to reach.
  2. The importance of Shri Hari-naama-smarana is well shown in the story. Especially in Kali-yugam, Naama-sankeertanam, Daiva-bhajanam is the easiest way for Mukti.
Published in: on August 31, 2006 at 11:59 pm  Comments (5)  

Annapuurna

Dokkaa Seetamma was born in 1841 in Mandapeta. She was known by many as “Annapuurnamma”. This was because of her sadgunams like Atithi-seva and Anna-daanam. To whoever was hungry, she used to cook food and serve them. In no time her fame went to all directions.

In 1902, December, she was called to Delhi for receiving an award for her daana-gunam. With great Vinayam, thinking that Atithi-seva, Anna-daanam are the minimum things that Bhaarateeya Samskruti imposed in order to show one’s Krutagnyata to his fellow humans, she didnt attend the function to receive the award. She was a true Bhaarateeya who was humble, never thought about name and fame. The collector, knowing this, made a painting of her, put it in the award cermony and respected her.

Once on a heavy rainy day a Vruddha sharana-arthi was shouting like this from the other side of the Godaavari river “I am very hungry. Please give me food. O Seetamma!”. Listening to the aarta-naadam, Seetamma felt pain. She immediately cooked food and herself carried it across the river in the heavy rain and served the hungry old man.

In a village by name Munganda, there was a Bhraatru-hantaka (he killed his own brother for property). Due to this dushkarma, he became a pishaachi. He experienced ghora-narakam with that form. Once he came into a small girl and said “one night Seetamma did great Annadaanam to a Vruddha. Please ask her to give me this one Anna-daana phalam. With this I will get Vimukti”. The family ran to Seetamma and told this. Immediately Seetamma did Phalatyaagam of her Anna-daanam with the help of her Purohita. Before everybody, the pishaachi got Vimukti. Seeing this everybody came to know the greatness of Anna-daanam. Bhaarata-desham will never forget Dokkaa Seetamma. Annadaata Sukhiibhava!

Morals in the story:

  1. The Atithi-seva tattvam, Anna-daana gunam of a Bhaarata-naari is well shown in this story through Dokkaa Seetamma.
  2. The greatness of Anna-daanam is well shown in the story. The punya-phalam of one Anna-daanam was enough to give Vimukti to even a pishaachi.

Search Terms: Dokka Seethamma, Sitamma, Annapoornamma

Published in: on August 28, 2006 at 11:59 pm  Comments (26)  

Bhuu Daana Mahima

A person who gives daanam of a Bhuu-khandam that is sasya-sampuurnam (filled with useful plants, Vrukshas) and has many Phala-Vrukshams, to a Satpaatra (deserved one) will surely get Brahmapadam. An example of this is the following story told by Bruhaspati to Devendra:

There used to be a huge Shaalmalii-vruksham in a deep forest in Maalavadesham. Its spread was huge and it was the aashrayam for many many birds, insects and other creatures. There used to live a Shukam (parrot) by name “Taamratundam” on one of the branches of the Shaalmalii-vruksham.

Taamratundam used to feed its children with the grains it used to collect. While it used to put the grains into the mouth of its children, some grains use to fall down. In Varsha-rutu, the grains sprouted and a tiny paddy-crop was created. Once with hunger and exhaustion, a Gomaata (a cow) reached the shade of the Shaalmalii-vruksham. It was happy to see the plants that grew from the grains spilled by Taamratundam. She ate them to her satisfaction and went away. Then a Braahmana came there and collected the grains that were left over by the Gomaata and did Pancha-yagnyams using them!

Due to Kaala-dharmam, after some time, Taamratundam died. Because of its Punya-phalam, it was born as a Vaishya by name “Dhanika”, who was a Dharmaatma. Dhanika was a Mahaa-yasha, a Mahaa-teja and had puurva-janma-smruti. Hence he did many many Bhuu-daanams to Viprottamas. He gave fertile lands that had many useful plants and trees. Finally he reached Vishnu-lokam.

Devendra continued: Just because Taamratundam, Agnyaanavashatah, dropped few grains and the plants which grew from them were used by others, it got Moksham. What will be the Punyam of a person who does Bhuu-daanam of a Bhuumi that had many plants and tress? Even the Vishva-adhika, Paramashiva, also cannot tell how much!

The greatness of Bhuu-daanam to a Satpaatra is well shown in the story. Even though it did unknowingly, Taamratundam got Bhuu-daana-phalam!

Published in: on August 21, 2006 at 11:59 pm  Comments Off on Bhuu Daana Mahima  

Vidyaa Daana Mahima

A person who does Vidyaa-daanam to a satpaatra (deserved one), is considered to be a Shreshtha. Because of such a Vidyaa-daata, 100 Vamshams will be saved. Of the daatas a Vidyaa-pradaata is like Mahaavishnu in Devatas, Shri Mahaalakshmi in strii-jaati.

In the previous Kalpam, there used to be a braahmana by name “Sangira”. He used to do dustarkam with Panditas. Though he didnt have enough gnyaanam he used to have durahankaaram that he was a Gnyaani. He was a Hetuvaadi. He never thought about paramaartham and always tried to do dustarkam and show his greatness.

He used to do Veda-ninda! He used to say Vedas were written by humans!! Similarly Smrutis. He also used to do Puraana-ninda and Itihaasa-parihaasam. Without Lajja and Bhayam he used to take wrong meanings of Sadvishayams and do their duushana. Panditas used to close their ears unable to bear the words of this fellow. In those days, the shiksha for such people was Desha-bahishkaaram, since if he is left, he will spoil the others too. Thus Sangira was pushed out of Bhaarata-desham.

Sangira reached Mleccha-desham. There also he continued his Kutarkam and finally vidhivashah died there only. Reaching Yamalokam, crossing the Vaitaranii-nadi, itself was difficult for this paapi. Finally he reached Yamalokam. Yamadharmaraaja, the Samavarti, ordered that he must experience all the shikshas that were there, since there is no paapa-kaaryam which he didnt do! The klesham Sangira experienced in Naarakam is undescribable. There was no end to these shikshas. Howmuch ever the Yama-kinkaras tortured, Sangira’s paapam was not decreasing. Even the others in the Narakam used to say “he is a mahaa-paapi” (because he was experiencing many new shikshas which they never experienced).

Once, Shataananda, the putra of Gautama maharshi and Ahalyaa Devi, and the Purohita of Janaka maharaja, came there. Being a Dayaardra-hrudaya, he was not able to see the difficulties of the people in the Narakam. He also saw Sangira, due to the small Punyam Sangira did.

Shataananda then did bodha of Shiva-vidya to the people in the Narakam. Just because of Shiva-vidyaa-shravanam, Narakalokam became Naakalokam (Svargam)!! Sangira did pranaamam to Shataananda, the Shiva-vidyaa-pradaata and became a Punyaatma.

Our Shaastras say:

  1. Shilpa-vidyaa-daanam gives Brahmaloka-praapti
  2. Kalaa-vidyaa-daanam gives Vishnuloka-praapti
  3. Aayurveda-vidyaa-daanam gives Ayaachakaloka-praapti
  4. Tarka and Miimaamsa shaastra bodha gives Vaarunaloka-praapti
  5. Dharma-shaastra bodha gives Swargalokam and saves Pitru-devatas from Narakam for 10 Manvantarams
  6. Veda-vidyaa-daanam gives Swargaloka-nivaasam for 3 Kalpams
  7. Aatma-vidyaa-daana phalitam cannot be counted (Sankhyaatiitam)!
  8. Brahma-vidyaa-daanam gives phalam of doing all daanams!!

Vidyaa-daana-phalam is got by following things too: an Upaadhyaaya who makes Vidyaarthis study well, giving Anna-daanam or Vastra-daanam to Vidyaarthis, Grantha-daanam to a satpaatra, organizing puraana-pravachanams by Panditas etc.

Morals in the story:

  1. The greatness of Vidyaa-daanam is well shown in the story. Even a Mahaapaapi like Sangira can be saved by doing Vidyaa-bodha.
  2. Veda, Puraana, Itihaasa duushanam is a Mahaapaapam. We must be very careful to be away from these.
  3. Ahankaaram is the root cause of everything. Due to the Ahankaaram of being a Pandita, Sangira tried to de Kutarkam and show his greatness. Hence we must always have Vinayam.
Published in: on August 20, 2006 at 10:03 pm  Comments (1)  

Bharata — Dushyanta putra

(see this Bharata’s story too)

Bharata was the putra of the great Dushyanta and Shakuntala. Kanva maharshi did the jaataka-karmaadi samskaaram of Bharata. Bharata was Shri Hari’s amsha and was a paraakramashaali. Right from his childhood he was a Balashaali. He used to catch ferocious lions and play with them in his childhood! Dushyanta did pattaabhishekam of Bharata and went to the forests for Tapas. After Dushyanta, Bharata did Dharma-paalanam of this entire Bhuumandalam.

Bharata, the mahaa-yashasvi, became Chakravarti of the Sapta-dviipas. Since he is a Daiva-amsha-sambhuuta, his name will always be remembered. On his Dakshina hastam, Bharat had Chakra-chinham and on his legs had Padma-kosha Chinham.

He did 55 Ashvamedha Yaagas in the Karma Bhuumi between Gangaa-Saagara-sangamam and Gangotpatti-sthaanam. Later, with Diirghatapasa as Purohita, on the Yamunaa-tiiram, Bharata did 78 Ashvamedha Yaagas!

A collection 13084 Gomaata (cows) is called as “Dvandvam”. Bharata did “Dvandvam” daanam, along with the calfs, decorated with golden ornaments, to 1000 Viprottamas. During “Mashnaara” Yagnyam, he gave daanam of 1400000 Gajas (elephants), along with suvarnam (gold). Panditas say that, there has been none before and will be none after Bharata who did such adbhuta daanams!

Bharata was a great Dhairya, Paraakrama-shaali. During the course of the Ashvamedha Yaagams, Bharata caught 3300 ashvas and surprised the Kings! Bharata did dushta-samhaaram — he did vadha of Kiraata, Huuna, Yavana, Poundra, Kanku, Khashu, Shaku, Mlechchha and other Sanaata-Dharma-viruddha Raajas. Long ago, the asuras once defeated the Devatas, took away the Devata-striis and hid them in Rasaatalam. Bharata saved all of them and returned them to the Devatas. During his rule, both Svargam and Pruthvi used to give whatever the praja wanted.

Though Bharata had more sampada than Kubera and was unparalled in Paraakramam, knowing that Dhanam, Aishvaryam, Raajya-lakshmi, his priya putras … are all mithya, he never had Vishaya-bhogas and always wanted Shaanti. He did Yuddham of Dharma-sthaapana and not with Keerti-kaanksha or Raajya-kaanksha. Like this, with Vairaagyam, he did paalanam of this Bharata Khandam for 27000 years (see Kaala-maanam)! From him only the Bharata-vamsham originated. Also the Divya Mahaa-bhaarata aamnaayam, which was originally named by Vyaasa as Jayam, got its name as “Bhaaratam” because it describes this Bharata’s Vamsha-charitra. (this is only one of the meanings of Bhaaratam)

Morals in the story:

  1. The daana, paropakaara gunams of Bharata must be cultivated by all of us. People say a person who did so many divya-kaaaryas never ever existed or will ever exist (Na bhuuto na bhavishyati).
  2. Though Bharata had Paraakramam and Dhairyam, he did not do Yuddhams with Raajya, Dhana Kaanksha. He killed Kings who are against Sanaata-dharmam and did Dharma-sthaapana.
  3. The Vairaagya buddhi of Bhaarateeyas is well displayed in this story. They do Karma, but never are interested in the materialistic benifits of it and do it with Paropakaara-bhaavana.

Message:

It is indeed our adrushtam to be born as Bhaarateeyas. Bhaarata-desham is the only Karma-bhuumi. Hence, though Bharata ruled entire Bhuumandalam, he did all the Yaagas, Yagnyams, Vratams in this Karma-bhuumi only. As told in many of the previous stories, there are many Divya-kshetras, Siddha-pradeshas, Siddha-aashramams in this Bhaarata Desham.

Search Terms: Bharatha, Dushyantha, Sakuntala, Shakunthala, Sakunthala, Bhaaratham, Mahabharat

Published in: on August 11, 2006 at 11:59 pm  Comments (2)  

Story of Saktuprastha

In the bheekara Mahaabhaarata yuddham, out of 11 akshauhini sena of Kauravas and 7 akshauhini sena of Paandavas, only Ashwatthaama, Krutavarma and Krupaachaarya were left on the Kauravas side and Paandavas, Shri Krishna and Saatyaki were left on the side of Dharmaaatmas, the Paandavas. (1 akshauhini = 21870 Ratham, 21870 Gaja, 65410 Ashva, 109350 Padaatidalam). Dharmaraaja’s pattaabhishekam was done and Bheeshmaachaarya did bodha of sarva-Dharmas to Paandavas, gave the world Vishnu-Sahasranaamam and reached Vaikuntham.

Yudhishthira, who was a parama Dayaalu, was very sad that he lost all his relatives and aatmiiyas in the yuddham. Vidvaans suggested him to do Ashvamedha-yaagam and lighten his heart. According to the Pandita’s aadesham, Dharmaraaja immediately started Ashvamedha-yaagam. Chakravartis from Desha-Videshas, many Panditas from different Nagaras, lakhs of praja from various janapadas came to see the Divya yaagam.

For everyone Vastra, Anna daanams were done continously. Yudhishthira did Suvarna, Mani, Ratna daanas to Yogyas. There was not even one who was not satisfied. Seeing this Ashvamedham in which everyone was satisfied Devatas started Pushpa-varsham and did abhinandana of Dharmaraaja.

A mongoose then came to the Yaaga-shaala. Everyone was surprised to see how it came there. Smiling, it said “This is a Yaagam which even the Devatas praised”. Everyone became vismayas. Half of the mungiisa’s body was gold. It continued “compared to Saktuprastha’s Dharma-buddhi, where is this Daanam?”. Everyone asked who is that Mahaatma Saktuprastha and what is his story? The mongoose replied

“Very long time back in this Divya Kurukshetram, there used to live a Gruhastha by name Saktuprastha. He had only one putra, for whom he did Kalyaanam. All of them had Daya on sarva-bhuuta-koti (see this too). They left Kaama-Krodha-aadi arishadvargas and were doing Tapas. The putra and snusha always were involved in the seva of Saktuprastha-dampatis. They used to never harm anyone and live with samtrupti eating whatever they used to get by Vidhi, Praaptam. They used to take aahaaram only for living to do Parambrahma-dhyaanam.

Once they didnt get any aahaaam to eat for a long time. One day they collected some Dhaanya-beejas that fell in their surroundings, powdered them, cooked and shared it equally. Just when they were about to eat, a Vruddha came. He was very weak, thin. He had little energy to say that he was hungry. Saktuprastha brought the Vruddha in, with great aadaram, made him sit beside him and said

“Aarya! Please accept our aatithyam and bless us. We got this aahaaram by doing as less harm as possible to other creatures and without doing any Paapa-kaaryas. Also we cooked it as told in our Shaastras. Please lessen your hunger by accepting my share”. After eating it, the Vruddha said that he was still hungry. Immediately Saktuprastha’s arthaangi gave her share. After knowing that the Vruddha was still hungry, the putra and snusha also did the same. With great aanandam, the Vruddha said

“My son! Your atithi-satkaaram, annadaanam gave me Santrupti. Even though you all were hungry, you gave of all your aahaaram to me. You have also gained immense Punyam. You will be praised by many lokas from now on. A person who is suffering from Kshut-baadha, will dare do any Paapa-kaaryas. For aahaaram he may do any Daaruna-krutyas. In such a state, the aahaaram given to such a person will do immense hitam to the lokam too. Anna-daanam is one of the greatest daanams. It will give ananta-punyam too…” As the Vruddha was saying like this, a Divya-vimaanam came and before everyone, Saktuprastha and his family went to Uurdhva-lokas.

Seeing all this, after the Saktuprastha family went, I drank the water with which Saktuprastha washed the feet of the Vruddha and the parts of my body that touched the water became gold. After that I went to many many Daanams, but no where my other half of this body became gold. Here too it was the same case”.

Morals in the story:

  1. Saktuprastha and his family showed us what an Uttama daanam is. Saktuprastha had no ahankaar that he was giving and gave something he also wanted and something which is very useful to the daana-grahiita.
  2. Atithi-seva, Bhuutadaya, Samtrupti and other gunas of Saktuprastha must be learnt from the story.

Search Terms: Sakthuprastha, Dharmaraja, Pandava

Published in: on August 5, 2006 at 4:03 pm  Comments Off on Story of Saktuprastha  

Bhakta Purandaradas

Bhakta Purandaradaasa, the Karnataka Sangeeta Pitaamaha, belonged to the 17th century. The story of how he became a Bhakta is very unusual.

Navanidhi Shrinivaasa Naayaka was a great dhanavanta. However he was a parama-lobhi. His arthaangi, Saravasti Bai was a Bhakta and Daanagunashiili. When she used to do namaskaar to Shrinivaasa Naayaka, he used to say “What aashiirvaadam shall i give you? Shall I say do more daana-dharmas?”. Sarasvati Bai used to reply “after taking your anugnya only I am doing the vratam”. “Aa! aa! you took my anugnya. I thought it was Tulasi-puuja only and hence no expenditure will be there. But in that name you did dampati-puuja, many daanas,… so on. I came to know only when our suputra, Varada, told the accounts today. If you do 4 more of these, each of us must take a bhiksha-paatra and beg on the streets”. “Please donot say like that. If we dont give when God gives us, then can we give when He doesnt?” said Sarasvati. Naayaka used to reply “Now what is there that God gave in this? I, my father and ancestors earned it doing day and night hard-work”. “Dhanam which is not used for Daana-dharmas is it not waste? Also the Saadhu-sajjanas say that these are our stepping stones for satgatis in param” replied Sarasvati. “Aa! Leave these hita-bodhas of Saadhusanyaasis. We will get nothing in Iham if we listen to them. Look Sarasvati! Only a wealthy person is an uttama, uddanda and unnata. One who doesnt have it is a alpa, niicha, adhama. The importance will be realized by a person who earned it”. This was a small example of the kind of sambhaashanas the two had.

Because of Shrinivaasa Naayaka’s puurva janma punyam and because of the saushiilyam of Sarasvati Bai, Shri Paanduranga Vittala wanted to change Shrinivaasa Naayaka into Purandaradaasa. Everyday Shri Paanduranga Vittala used to come as a deena-braahmana, ask Naayaka for help. Everyday Naayaka used to send him away without giving anything. Sometimes he used to bring a baalaka and ask Naayaka to help do his son’s Upanayanam. However Naayaka’s reply was all the while “no”. Aaha! It is difficult to imagine how many pains the Lord took to change the lobhi. One day Shrinivaasa Naayaka told bluntly “I will not give You anything”. Vittala Nath replied “Ayya! some shubha-kaaryam. First I came to you only. Give me something. I will take whatever you give Me”. After confirming repeatedly that Vittala, who is in disguise of a Braahmana, will take anything he gives and goes away, he searched his entire house and finally brought a rusted coin and gave it to Paanduranga Vittala.

After Naayaka left to his shop, Vittala Nath came back to Naayaka’s house and told Sarasvati Bai that Naayaka gave Him a rusted coin, which how much ever He cleaned could not make out the denomination. With a lot of shame, Sarasvati Bai hide her head. Paramaatma replied “Amma! If you give that nose-ring to Me, My purpose will be solved”. Seeing the dainyata of the poor Braahmana, Sarasvati Bai gave away her nose-ring.

But what will she tell her husband? In no time Naayaka was back and immediately noticed that her nose-ring was missing and asked for it. Sarasvati Bai did not know what to say, how to convince him. Naayaka asked her to bring it if she kept it somewhere. Sarasvati Bai went inside. Told her deenata to the Lord Vittala. She thought it is not Satyayugam for miracles to happen and decided to take poison and did Daiva praarthana. She heard Vittala from Aakaashavaani “Saadhvi! I am very happy with you. You bought me completely by giving Me your nose-ring. Please take it back”. There were no limits to Sarasvati Bai’s aanandam. Shrinivaasa Naayaka was shocked to see the nose-ring, because the poor Braahmana sold it already to him in his shop. Both of them realized that it was Lord Vittala who came as the Braahmana.

The Punya-dampatis from then onwards became great Bhaagavatottamas and always did Bhagavannaama sankeertanam. Bhakta Purandaradaasa wrote around 4 lakh Keerthanas!! and gained the name of “the Karnataka Sangeeta Pitaamaha”

Morals in the story:

  1. Neither Paapam nor Punyam will be destroyed. Because of Naayaka’s purva janma Punyam, the Lord wanted to change him.
  2. Our elders many times stress the importance of the Gruhini having sadgunas. A purusha, by being good can save himself. But a Gruhini, who is a Saushiilavati like Sarasvati Bai, can change the entire family. Such a women will also be able to bring-up the children well.
  3. Lobham is a very dangerous durgunam. Even Paramaatma had to put so much effort to change Naayaka.

Search Terms: Shrinivasa Nayaka, Saraswathi Bai, Vittal, Panduranga, Carnatic Music

Published in: on July 19, 2006 at 6:04 pm  Comments (5)  
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