Story of Heeraakaanii

We heard many many stories about greatness of Chatrapati Shivaji. Shivaji always followed the path of Dharmam. He never enjoyed the bhogas of a King. He had no vyaamoham on stri and never went even near by any suraapaanam (see this too). He gave daanam of his Raajyam to a Sanyaasi and ruled the Raajyam as his pratinidhi (this is the recommended way of ruling a kingdom according to our Shaastras). He never used to put unnecessary taxes on people (see this too). Even his own Pattaabhishekam he did with his own money.

Shivaji maharaja had para-mata-sahanam, even though in his Raajyam the others were in minority. He did this even though he knew that in the neighbouring kingdoms the Moghul emporers suppressed, killed the Hindus and destroyed many many Devaalayas. Daya and Karuna were his svaabhaavika-lakshanas. This small story happened when he had his Durgam (fort) at Raayagadh.

Shivaji’s Durgam at Raayagadh was impenetrable. It protected him and his kingdom from many enemy kings. Security of the Durgam was of ultimate importance for the Raajyam. The Simhadvaaram of the Durgam used to be heavily guarded and it was strictly opened during 6am to 9pm only. Raaja-aagnya was that no one must be allowed in or out from the Dvaaram except in these times.

Heerakaanii was a ordinary women. She used to supply Goksheeram to the Raaja-aasthaanam. Everyday she used to come and go, for this purpose, into the Raayagadh Durgam.

One day, wife of one of the Sainikas was having Prasava-vedana. Heeraakaanii helped her and in that she became late. By the time the work was over, it was past 9pm and the Simhadvaaram was closed. Heeraakaanii told the Dvaara-paalaka to let her out. She said if she doesnt go back to her house, her baby will not get her milk. The Dvaara-paalakas took pity on her but they did not go against Raaja-aagnya and followed Seva-dharmam. They adviced her to take rest in the Sainika’s house and since Heeraakaanii’s husband is there in the house, he will manage feeding the baby.

The next day morning as soon as it passed 6am, the Dvaara-paalaka searched everywhere for Heeraakaanii, to send her out of the Durgam. He didnt find her. They searched everywhere and found signs that Heeraakaanii crossed the Durgam!! The Sainikas were ashtonished because even great great mahaaveeras can never cross the Durgam; how come Heeraakaanii crossed it? Fearing insecurity, they immediately reported the news to Chatrapati Shivaji.

Shivaji immediately came to the Dvaaram and checked what happened. While everyone was wondering how this happened, Heeraakaanii came before Shivaji and told Shivaji that she didnt follow Raaja-aagnya because she had to feed her baby. She said she was very sorry and was ready to take the punishment for her mistake. She said she herself didnt know how she managed to cross the Durgam and went out.

Shivaji fell at Heeraakaanii’s feet, did Saashtaanga pranaamam to her and ask her to pardon his mistake! He said “Amma! Your Maatruhrudayam I can understand. Please excuse me for not being able to send you out. No rule is greater before a Maatruhrudaya-karuna. This watch tower will be named on your name in order to respect your Maatruhrudayam”. From that time onwards the tower became famous as Heeraakaanii Buruzu and people never forgot the greatness of Shivaji and Heeraakaanii.

Morals in the Story:

  1. The story clearly showcases the importance our people gave to a mother and a women. Shivaji though being a Chatrapati maharaja did Saashtaanga-pranaamam seeing the Maatruhrudayam of Heeraakaanii.
  2. The paropakaara buddhi of Heeraakaanii was well shown in the story. She immediately helped the Sainika’s wife, whenshe was in need.
  3. The Maatru-prema of Heeraakaanii was so high that even the impenetrable Durgam was easy for her to pass through
  4. The qualities of a good ruler are shown well by Shivaji. He gave daanam of his Raajyam to a Sanyaasi and ruled the Raajyam as his pratinidhi. The Sanyaasi never wanted the bhogas of a King and asked Shivaji to rule the Raajyam without going against Dharmam.
  5. Para-mata-sahanam (does not even remotely mean we follow other people’s religion) was always recommended by our Shaastras. Shivaji was a firm follower of it.
  6. Seva-dharmam is one of the most difficult Dharmas to follow. The Sainikas of Shivaji firmly followed it.

Search Terms: Shivaji, Shivaaji, Sivaji, Sivaaji, Hirakani, Heerakani, Hirakaani, Heera Kaani, Hira Kani, Chhatrapati

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Published in: on July 25, 2006 at 7:18 pm  Comments (14)  

Kaikasī’s Śiva Bhakti

Rāvaṇa’s śakti increased day by day and we all know what ghora pāpa kāryas he did once he got Ahaṅkār seeing his own śakti. Devendra, hence, wanted to reduce the śakti of Rāvaṇa (Devatas, the Aditi putras, do not have kāma-krodhādi Ariṣhaḍvargas). He learnt that his śakti was mainly due to his Mātṛ-bhakti and her (Kaikasī’s) śakti was due to her niścala Śiva bhakti. Hence Devendra, once attempted to stop the Śiva pūja of Kaikasī: Kaikasī used to do Śiva pūja everyday on the banks of the ocean and on one day the ocean with its high tide came and washed away the Śiva saikata (made of sand) Liṅgam; stopping her Śiva pūja.

On seeing the great duhkham of her mother, Kaikasī, Rāvaṇa immediately gets angry on Mahāviṣhṇu and blames him to have stopped her mother’s Śiva pūja! Kaikasī then does hita-bodha saying that “if really my Śiva bhakti had no doṣhas then nobody could have stopped it. This happened means there is some mistake committed by us only and it is more important to please Paramaśiva and correct our mistakes than blaming others. Also none can stand against the great Viṣhṇu and even though we are Śaivas must never do Viṣhṇu droham (see this too)”. Realizing his mistake Rāvaṇa immediately sets out to do a tapas for Parameśvara for Śiva Ātma-Liṅgam (to replace his mother’s Saikata Liṅgam)!!

Morals in the story:

  1. Before blaming others for the mistakes they committed it is very important to correct ourselves. Anyway no one will be spared by the God for the mistakes they have done (if they escape King’s punishement on the earth).
  2. The importance of Mātṛ-bhakti is well shown by Rāvaṇa.
  3. The story also shows how a mother, not encouraging the durguṇas of her child, can instead inspire him to do wonders. The parents must always try they level best to teach their children what is good and bad, rather than leaving them on their own.

Search Terms: Ravana, Kaikasi, Shiva, Indra, pooja

Published in: on June 28, 2006 at 5:42 pm  Comments Off on Kaikasī’s Śiva Bhakti  

Sādhana, dīkṣha of a cātaka pakṣhi

It is grīṣhmam. Sūrya deva, the emporer of the sky, is shining brightly and showing his pratāpam. In the sky are going two infant cātaka pakṣhis, along with their mother. The mother is desparately searching for a shade. Who else, than the mother, will know the needs of the babies? Bhūmāta is showing her mātṛtvam to the cātaka birds, by allowing a huge aśvattha (vaṭa) vṛkṣham to tear her śarīram and grow. The aśvattha vṛkṣham is providing āśrayam to thousands of life forms. The holes of its root, are the homes of pipīlikas and mūṣhikas. The dry trunks, holed by age, are being used by many sarpas. The wide branches are having immense variety of pakṣhis. If a normal vṛkṣham can be an ādhāram for such a large number of jīvas, to how many more can an uttama, in whose buddhi are deeply rooted good character, lakṣhyam, sādhana and dīkṣha, be an ādhāram for!!

May be knowing the value of sāmājika saha jīvanam or may be out of pure daya towards the tired cātaka birds, two small pakṣhi brothers are telling to their mother "Ho! Ayyo! It looks like those cātaka birds do not have a house. How sad." The mother thought "āha! Now is when my janma became worthwhile. My mātṛtvam now has a meaning. All my years of efforts and pain are not waste. My kids are able to realize the difficulties of others and are trying to be compassionate." They happily invited the cātaka birds on to the shade of the aśvattha vṛkṣham.

It is like a new chance for life for the cātaka birds. But a sādhaka never deviates from his lakṣhyam and his niyamam. They asked the birds, who invited them, "Was this aśvattha vṛkṣham born with the first drops of svāti rain?". Kālagati, vidhi are never in one's control. The birds sadly replied "no". A dhīra never loses hope. Never blames adṛṣhṭam. He believes in God and his manobalam. The cātaka birds slowly carried on their fight for life and slowly disappeared in the bright sun light. Putting the finger on her nose, the mother pakṣhi, with her eye signal, told the brother birds to learn the character of dīkṣha from the cātaka birds.

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hamsaH padmavanaM samicchati yathā nīlāMbudaM cātakaH, kokaH kokanadapriyaM pratidinaM candraM cakorastathā |

ceto vāñchati māmakaM paśupate cinmārgamṛgyaM vibho, gaurīnātha bhavatpadābjayugalaM kaivalyasaukhyapradaM ||

Jagadguru, Ādi Śankarācārya describes the yearning of a devotee's heart for the lotus feet of Śiva, by means of beautiful similes. The Hamsa eats the stalk of the lotus flower. So it is always longing for a lake filled with lotuses. The cātaka bird drinks rain drops as they fall down from the clouds. It does not drink water in any other form. The cakravāka pairs of birds are supposed to be separated from each other during the night and they are supposed to unite during the day. The cakravāka birds, therefore, long for the appearance of the sun. The cakora bird lives eating candra jyotsna. The devotee's heart longs for the lotus feet of Śiva which can be reached by the path of knowledge. Those lotus feet of Śiva bestow the bliss that is mokṣham.

Morals in the story:

1. The importance of pariśrama, dīkṣha, sādhana for achieving a particular lakṣhya are well displayed in the story. A person who has dīkṣha, if not now, sometime will achieve his lakṣhyam.
2. Parents will be happy with their santānam only when they do good deeds.
3. Nothing comes in the way of dhīras. They never loose their hope and progress towards their lakṣhyam.

Search Terms: Aadi Shankara-acharya, Chaataka, Chakora pakshi

Published in: on June 7, 2006 at 5:10 pm  Comments (2)  

Draupadi, an ikon of a true Indian woman

Draupadi, the daughter of King Drupada, appears from the yagnyaagni as a full grown, in the bloom of her youth. One can observe that it is always Paramaatma who takes birth and avataaras (“Paritraanaaya sadhunam …”). However, always Yoga-Maaya (or Shakti) never takes birth, she just appears. It is the same case with Sita devi, Rukmini devi, Draupadi, Maatulungi etc. The following piece of story of draupadi shows the boundaries of following Dharma. May be none can be better!

Ashwatthaama, the chiranjeevi, does a daaruna krutyam after the Mahaabhaaratam. Unusual to his nature, He, without even little daya, beheads the sleeping babies of draupadi — the upa-paandavas. Draupadi realizes what happened. All her 10 sons, who were little baalakas, who were sleeping, who never did any kind of harm to Ashwatthaama and who cannot even react to the harm committed to them were lying in a pool of blood. Draupadi breaks down to tears and weeps in great sorrow. Arjuna very sad himself, consoles Her and says it does not look nice for a Veera maata to cry like this. He says that He will immediately avenge the act and kill Ashwatthaama. On killing him, she can take bath standing on his head. Immediately Lord Krishna and Arjuna set out on their Hanumadhdhvaja ratham to catch the fleeing Ashwatthaama.

Seeing that Arjuna is closing by his ratham and that his horses are a little exhausted, Aswaththaama sees Brahmaastra as the only way to save himself. Though not knowing the way of retrieving the astra, he immediately uses Brahmaastra on Arjuna, after stopping the ratham, doing aachamanam and purifying himself. Lord Krishna orders Arjuna to use Brahmaastra to counter Ashwatthaama’s. Arjuna also purifies himself, does achamanam, does a pradakshina to the Almighty and uses Brahmaastra. The two astras, one like Agni and the other like sun, fight each other and in no time the worlds start to burn under the influence of the astras. Krishna, the protector of the worlds, immediately orders Arjuna to take back both Astras, as only a Brahmachaari can take back a Brahmaastra!

Arjuna takes back both the Brahmaastras, showing clearly what a perfect Brahmachaari he was. Arjuna, who was the friend of the Askalita Brahmachaari Lord Krishna, obviously knows the shastras and the ways to maintain his Brahmacharyam, though married. Arjuna ties Ahswaththaama and takes him to Draupadi, like a Yagnya pashu is taken to the Yagnya shaala. The acts of Draupadi in this following episode make even Krishna praise Krishnaa (Draupadi) for her Dharma.

On seeing the killer of all her sons being brought by Arjuna, Draupadi, of the beauty of her nature out of compassion, does a namaskar to him and says as per the Vedas in the absence of the Guru, Guru-putra takes his place, so she is doing a namaskaar to Drona! It was unbearable for her having him brought being bound and she said: “Release him, for he is a brahmana, our Aacharya. Do not make his mother, Drona’s wife, cry the way I do in my chastity shedding tears constantly in distress over a lost child”. Yudhishtira, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva, Saatyaki, Krishna and other queens supported the statements of Paanchaali as they were in accord with the principles of Sanaatana Dharma, of justice, merciful, without duplicity and glorious in equity. Krishna, amazed by the Dharmya vartana of Draupadi, praises her very much. However, Bhima also raised a valid point that a person who by nature has daya is a brahmana, is Ashwatthaama, who mercilessly killed the baalakas, worth being called one? Saying “surely death is the only punishment for such a person”, Bhima proceeds to kill Ashwatthaama, but the Lord, with His chaturbhuja’s stops Bhima and says the following with a smile:

Dhrmyam of Draupadi!

“The Guru-putra, a braahmana must not be killed – this both is by Me, certainly prescribed to be carried out abiding by the rules.” However, Arjuna has to keep to the truth as promised while pacifying his wife, and also act to the satisfaction of Bhima and Himself (by punishing the bad). So they remove the divya mani on the head of Ashwatthaama and remove his hair, as, for a veera, tonsuring is equivalent to killing him.

Morals in the story:

  1. The Dhramya vartana of Draupadi is well portrayed in the story. This shows us that, even at the time of great stress, sorrow, difficulty, one never must deviate from the path of truth, Dharma.
  2. Even though Ashwatthaama was great, in his momentary anger he committed an unpardonable crime. One must be very careful and need to think what is right and what is wrong before acting. This is what the pandavas do in the later part of the story, with the help of Krishna. They, though Kshattriyas, were not overwhelmed by revenge. They acted according to the words of Krishna, who is Dharma in human form.
  3. The importance given to keeping up one’s word is protrayed well. Arjuna promises Draupadi to kill Ashwatthaama, but according to Dharma is must not be killed. So they do an equivalent act of killing.
  4. The importance of cleanliness is also displayed. Both Ashwatthaama and Arjuna purify themselves, do aachamanam before chanting the mantras for Brahmaastra. They do this even when they were in such a great press for time.
  5. The power of Brahmacharyam is well shown through this story. Arjuna, who knew the Shatras, was a brahmachaari and hence could not only take back his, but Ashwatthaama’s astra too.
  6. The heart of a mother is well exposed when Draupadi comments “Do not make his mother, Drona’s wife, cry the way I do in my chastity shedding tears constantly in distress over a lost child“. She knows the pain of loosing children, so did not want another mother to experience it!

Message to present society:

Being Kshatriyas, people with lot of Shauryam, Paandavas thought so much (analyzing what is Dharmam, what is adharmam) before avenging their son’s death. Now-a-days even films show people mercilessly killing each other in the name of revenge.

Published in: on May 15, 2006 at 7:47 pm  Comments (35)  
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