Bhakta Chikroḍa and Govardhana

Pryaagam Paataliiputram Vijayanagaram Puriim |

Indraprastham Gayaam chaiva pratyushe pratyaham smaret ||

Such is the greatness of Indraprastham. What more needs to be said about a Nagaram which was once ruled by the great Yudhishthira? This story happened in Tretaa-yugam (see Kaala-maanam) during Setu-bandhanam:

Every one was enthusiastic. Setu-bandhanam was going in full swing. Vaanaras were bringing huge paashaanams (boulders), writing Divya Shri Raama Naamam on them. Nala-Neela were throwing them into the ocean. Due to Shri Raama Naama mahima, the stones floated.

Everyone showed their Bhakti towards Shri Raama, the purushottama. Even though they knew that their small effort doesnt matter for accomplishing the impossible task of Setu-bandhanam, and that it is the power of Shri Raama only helping them, they put in effort and were doing whatever they could. Everyone was doing Parishrama according to their capability. Parama Bhakta Hanumaan was bringing huge Parvatams and throwing into the ocean. The tiny Chikroa (squirrel) was rolling in water, then rolling on the sands and then rolling in water so that the sands stuck to its body go into the water. Seeing the Parishrama and Bhakti of the Chikroa, Paramaatma took it in His hands, carresed the squirrel’s back and blessed it. (Only Indian squirrels have three lines on their back)

http://ecoheritage.cpreec.org/
In this, once Hanumaan reached the great Indraprastham in search of Parvatams to throw into the ocean and build the Setu (bridge). There He saw a Giri-raaja by name Govardhana. Seeing Hanumaan, Govardhana had paramaanandam. He thought that now is when his body is being of some use. He invited Hanumaan to carry him so that he can be of some help to Paramaatma Shri Raama. Bhakta Hanumaan also was very happy to see the Bhakti of Govardhana.

But some duutas (messengers) from Shri Raama came and informed Hanumaan that Setu-bandhanam is over and He can return to the Saagaram. Listening to this news there was no end to the duhkham of Govardhana. He thought due to some paapa-kaaryam he did in his previous janma, he now is not able to serve Parandhaama, Shri Raama. Seeing the duhkham of Govardhana, Hanumaan went to Shri Raama and told about Govardhana.

Shri Raama had great aanandam seeing the Bhakti of Govardhana. He gave a varam to Govardhana that he will do Uddharana of Govardhana in Dvaapara-yugam when He is Shri Krishna.

For 7 days, Shri Krishna lifts Govardhana Parvatam and saves lifes of the Gopaalas. Govardhana then has great aanandam for being of some use to the Paramaatma Shri Krishna.

Morals in the Story:

  1. We must always put in efforts, hard-work for doing a good deed, whether or not it is possible or impossible for us. God will be happy with the Parishrama (hard-work) we put in and bless us immaterial of the result. Though it was not capable of doing much, the squirrel did whatever it could and impressed the Lord.
  2. The nishkaama Bhakti of the squirrel and Govardhana must be inculcated. God always protects His Bhaktas, like He did to Govardhana.

Search Terms: Chikroda, Rama, Anjaneya, Hanuman

Published in: on October 13, 2006 at 11:28 pm  Comments (4)  

The story of a Karṣhaka

Once upon a time there lived a hard-working karṣhaka in a small grāmam. He had 1 acre of land. Since he was hard-working, without having to depend on others he always managed to get sufficient food for his family. There was no scarcity for anything in their house, because they were satisfied with what they had. But kālam does not remain the same always. Its lakṣhaṇam is gamanam. Ups and downs are un-avoidable. Vaividhyam will be there only because of these ups and downs. Caitanyam will be there only because of this vaividhyam. And caitanyam is the greatest boon for a human, without which there will be no difference between him and a stone. As the years passed by, the monsoons started decreasing and finally there were no rains. Common farmer’s life became miserable as they were 3 years, 7 years of durbhikṣha.

The poor karṣhaka’s state was no different. All sides were filled with gāḍhāndhakāram. There was no hope. But still our karṣhaka’s life style did not change. As usual, he used to wake up before the Sun, eat whatever was able and leave for his work at the farm, carrying the plough on his shoulder. He used to try and do whatever he could, though he knows there is no use. One day, while the farmer was doing his dina-carya, Pārvatī Parameśvara saw the poor hard-working karṣhaka. Surprised seeing the karṣhaka, Parameśvara asked “why are you ploughing the field, when you know there is no water?”, coming in the guise of a Pathika. The karṣhaka replied “Ayya! Looks like you are new to our village. This is my everyday dina-carya. If I stop doing it and neglect my Vṛtti, which gave me food all this while, I will not be able to do it once rains come. That is why I do not want to loose my habit of hard-working”. Annapūrṇādevi had heart-full ānandam. (O Mother! is it not for your kaṭākṣham that of all of us strive our entire lives?) Parameśvara also said “Only if I give varṣhas (of śubhas) will my name of Śiva be true, so let Me too not change my svabhāvam and give you rains. This karṣhaka is a dhanya jīvi”. And Lord Śiva blessed their village with good rains.

Morals in the story:

  1. Whether or not the kālam is good for us, we must never forget doing hard-work.
  2. Discipline is the greatest character of a human. With it, one can achieve any difficult goal.
Published in: on June 15, 2006 at 6:58 pm  Comments (1)  

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)  

Hard work can do wonders

In Indian culture vairaagyam was always given ultimate importance. But careful, there is a very thin line that separates vairaagyam and laziness. In vairaagyam all karma is done but without expecting anything in return, without being involved in the materialistic aspects of karma. Bhagiratha, with his unparalleled effort to bring Ganga to earth, showed us how much effort a man can put in and as a result what wonders can be done.

On knowing that his ancestors (60000 Sagara Kumaras) will reach swarga only if the pure waters of Ganga flow through their ashes, from his mother, Bhagiratha immediately leaves to Himalayas to do tapas for Lord Brahma:

  1. After purifying himself in a pushkarini, it starts tapas with extra-ordinary concentration.
  2. Starts with padmaasana and in winter stood in the freezing waters of the lake with water up to chest!
  3. In Summer stands in the middle of burning pancha-agnis (four agnis + sun) and steadily stared at the sun with eyes wide open (all the while concentrating on Brahma deva)!!
  4. During the first few days, he had food only once a day. Later it was once in a few days. Then it became once in a month. After that, he just used to drink a little water and continue his ‘Tapas’. Finally the air was his only food!!!
  5. 1000 years passed….!!!!

Brahma, the creator of the worlds, on the requests of Gods to save them from the tremendous tapaagni of Bhagiratha, appears before him and blesses him with children and Ganga. However, Brahma deva suggests that none except Parama Shiva can take the force when Ganga falls onto earth, and if not with that force earth will be washed away…

Men are of three kinds:

  1. There are cowards, who do not begin their work at all, afraid that some trouble may arise midway.
  2. Those who begin but later give up the task, afraid of the difficulties that arise.
  3. Brave people who belong to a third group. They continue to work in spite of even an army of difficulties, and finally achieve the goal.

Bhagiratha belonged to this third category of brave men. He again began a severe ‘Tapas’ to please Lord Ishwara. With folded hands, and standing on one leg, he meditated on Lord iswara with the deepest concentration. So a whole year passed. Pleased with Bhagiratha’s devotion Lord ishwara takes the immense force of Ganga and controls her in his jataajutam. He completely stops her from flowing to teach her a lesson (she was a mischievous girl, proud of her strength!), but for Bhagiratha it was another difficulty… But he again with tapas pleases Lord Shiva to release Ganga down to earth. Ganga followed Bhagiratha shyly and slowly, like his daughter (Bhaagirathi). But she grew a little mischievous, though Shiva taught her a lesson once, when near Jahnu maharshi’s ashram. She wandered all over the Ashrama like a small girl and the entire place was filled with water. Disturbed from tapas by it, Jahnu maharshi in a single gulp swallows her entirely. And suddenly difficulties again for Bhagiratha. But it is not the first time for him, so immediately pleases Jahnu maharshi (Jaahnavi comes out of Jahnu maharshi’s ear) and finally sends his ancestors to higher worlds…..

(SEE THIS IMAGE)

(SEE THIS IMAGE)
Morals in the story:

  1. Karma must be done in massive quantity as Bhagiratha did, but selflessly…
  2. Brave people continue to work in spite of even an army of difficulties, and finally achieve their goal.
  3. Man can achieve wonders, once he puts in effort and dedication….
  4. One must never be proud of one’s strength or other qualities. Else you will be humiliated when you meet a greater person. (Shiva taught the naughty kid, Ganga, a lesson by controlling her unparralled strength & force, with great ease….)

Message:

Let us all put effort, learn all the good qualities and be true Indians. Impossible is nothing.

Search Terms: Bhageeratha, Bhagirata, Siva, Bhaageerathi

Published in: on May 14, 2006 at 2:50 pm  Comments (42)  
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