Pratignyaa-paalana

It was Congress Mahaasabha in Belgam in 1924, December. Many important people came for the Sabha. A famous Nyaayavaadi also came. Just before the Sabha was about to start Indore Maharaja came there. Straight he went to the Nyaayavaadi.

“Aarya! I am in great difficulties. Please accept this 25 lakhs. After you win the case I will give 25 more” requested the Maharaja. In those days, 50 lakhs was really a very huge sum of money.

The Maharaja was alleged in a murder case. The Nyaayavaadi must be very good to speak before the Viceroy. Hence Indore Maharaja requested this Nyaayavaadi. If it were anybody else they would have accepted. However the Nyaayavaadi replied boldly

“Aarya! Kshama. I have a Pratignya that I wont step into English-Nyaayasthaanams (British courts). Until we get Swaraajyam I wont enter these Nyaayasthaanams. With Pralobham of Dhanam I cannot break my Pratignya“. Maharaja then searched for another Nyaayavaadi.

The Nyaayavaadi is none other than “Chittaranjan Daas“, well known as “Desha-bandhu“.


Search Terms: Chiththaranjan Das, Desabandhu, lawyer, Independence, Swadeshi Udyamam

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Published in: on October 5, 2006 at 11:59 pm  Comments (1)  

Kāṭama Rāja

Long time ago, Kaatama Raaja used to be the King of the Gopaalakas. He used to do Janaa-ranjaka Paalanam of his praja, without deviating from the path of Dharmam.

Once a great Kshaamam (famine) came. The life of an ordinary man became very difficult. Seeing the duhkham of his praja and the Go-sampada, the King was worried. He could not bear seeing the Gomaatas not even having water to drink. He thought what is the use of he living if he is not able to save the praja and the Go-maatas. He thought “but what can I do. This is not Satya-yugam to expect miracles to happen”.

One day when the King was in this great depression, duhkham, that he is not able to save his praja, a Braahmana came to him and asked for aahaaram. The King who was already very disturbed, said “O Vipra! You seem to be a person who does Anushthaanam. But why dont you have Nigraham? People and Gomaatas are dying there not even getting water; cant you bear your hunger for one day?” Even though the King spoke like this, the Braahmana replied “Bhikshaam Dehi”. Howmuch ever the King insulted him, because of his bad mood, the Braahmana persisted and finally the King gave him some Dhaanyam etc. and sent him away.

Curious to know what the Braahmana will do with the Dhaanyam, Kaatama Raaja followed him. The Vipra entered his house, woke his Arthaangi, who was very very hungry and asked her to eat the aahaaram. The pativrata enquired whether the Vipra had Bhojanam or not? The Vipra replied to his arthaangi, “O Priya! Obviously our Dharmaatma Raaja will never send an arthi empty handed. I satisified my Kshut-baadha, then only brought you this”. The arthangi then ate the aahaaram.

Seeing all this, the King asked the Vipra why did he do all this. The Vipra replied “O Raaja! Before Panditas, my elders, and most importantly Agni-deva, I gave my word during Kalyaanam that ‘Dharmecha, Arthecha, Kaamecha, Naaticharitavyaaiti, Naaticharaami’. So in any circumstances it is my prathama Kartavyam to do rakshana and poshana of my Arthaangi, so even though you insulted me, I didnt have any other go than to persist asking you for Bhiksha”.

Listening to the Amruta-vaakyas of the Vipra, the Raaja remembered his Kartavyam. He thought there is no point worrying that he is not able to save the Praja, Gomaatas from the Kshaamam, instead he can plan, work-hard, do Daiva-dhyaanam or do Tapas or anything else to save his Desham and Raajyam. Once there is a will there is a way. In no time, the Raajyam again became Sasyashyaamalam.

Morals in the Story:

  1. “Krushi to Naasti Durbhiksham”. The king thinking what he, a mere mortal can do, was worried; instead he could have spent that time in trying to do something constructive. Later the words of the Vipra changed him.
  2. The Amruta vaakyas of the Vipra must never be forgotten. The prathama kartavyam of a Bharta is to protect his arthaangi. Bhaarateeyas, to keep up their word, undergo all kinds of pains, but never go against Satyam.

Search Terms: Katama, Kaatamaraaja, Katamaraajulu, Kaatamarajulu

Published in: on September 22, 2006 at 11:59 pm  Comments Off on Kāṭama Rāja  

Shri Raama – Satyasandhah

(continuation of this series of stories)

This series of stories on Shri Raama Chandra Murty try to showcase the 16 important sadgunas or the Shodasha-kalas in Shri Raama.

Satyasandhah – Pratignya to the Rushis

After taking leave from the great Sutiikshna maharshi, Shri Raama, Sitadevi, Lakshmana will be walking through the forest. Sita, the Janakanandini, the Yogamaaya, then did this manohara bhaashanam with Shri Raama Chandra:

“A person who is away from vyasanas can only follow Dharmam. Mithyaavaakyam and paradaaraabhigamanam are against Raama shabdam itself.

However, though we do not have vairam (enemity) with Raakshasas, with the vyasanam of protecting the Rushis, why are we developing vairam with them?” (though we are now in Muni-vesham why are we still carrying Dhanurbaanas?)

Sitadevi tells the following katha as an udaaharanam:

“How wood acts as fuel to increase the fire, Dhanurbaanas (aayudhas) similarly increase the tejobalam of Kshatriyas.

Once upon a time there used to live a great Muni in a prashaanta aashramam. Devendra once wanted to test the Muni and came in the form of a rakshaka-bhata. He said “Svaami! Please keep this sword of mine safely with you. I will come back after sometime and collect it”. Because an aayudham was near him, in due course of time, some kruura lakshanas started in him. Slowly he started to do Himsa. Finally he reached Narakam.

Where are aayudhas? Where are we in Muni-vesham? Kshetriya Dharmam and Tapas are very contradicting.

O Raama! With chapala-buddhi I told what I know. You are a Satyasandha. You decide and do what are Yukta-ayuktas”.

Shri Raama Chandra explains His Pratignya-svaruupam (explaining what is Satyam):

“In this Dandakaaranyam many great Mahaamunis, Maharshis do Tapas, leading a nir-aadambara jiivanam. Raakshas, who are maamsa bhakshakas, are eating them away. They are many huge heaps of skeletons of Rushis who were eaten away by the Raakshasas. These Rushis though they can give shaapam to the Raakshasas, knowing that Krodham eats away Tapobalam, they are not giving shaapam to them. As you know, they came and asked Me to help them. Then I did a Pratignya to do dushta-samhaaram, shishta-rakshana and protect the Maharshis.

Infact, I need not have even waited for them to ask Me help.
(Shri Raama, at many instances in Raamaayana tells that “My father gave Raajyam to Bharata and Vana-raajyam to Me”. So though they are in Muni-vesham, He must follow Raaja-dharmam and do shishta-rakshana, dushta-sikshana. This is what He does and tells to Vaali too.)

O Sita! I will leave My life, Lakshmana, You, but not Satyam (My word, Pratignya). That too a word given to these Sadbraahmanas I can never leave.

However what Dharmam you told Me is good for a Sahadharmachaarani…” saying this, They continued to walk in the Tapobhuumis.

(SEE THIS IMAGE)

Discussion of story:

Knowing what is himsa, what is Ahimsa; what is Satyam, what is asatyam; even though one knows Satyam, doing anusandhaanam of it as Shri Raama did in this beautiful story, are all difficult and intricate things to understand.

As Sita said “in the company of aayudhas, a person may some or the other time for atleast a very small time get Kruura svabhaavam. This may result in himsa”. However since Shri Raama is a Satyasandha, He would exactly use His aayudhas only to the extent of keeping up His pratignya. This way he could do be in a Muni-vesham, do Tapas and also satisfy His Raaja-dharmam and Pratignya. Also the Pratignya which Shri Raama made is Dharmasammatam. He was given “vana-rajyam” by Dasharatha.

One might have many sadbhaavas, but a Satyasandha is a person who can do anusandhaanam of all the Dharmasuukshmas and apply then in nitya-jiivitam. If anusandhaanam of the sadgunas is not done, then they dissapear after sometime. So even though They were in Muni-vesham doing Tapas, Shri Raama didnt leave His Raaja-Dharmam and gave Pratignya to the Rushis and proved His Satyasandhatvam.

Jayam to the great Bhaarata bhuumi on which such great people once walked……

Sadgunam to be learnt: Satyasandhatvam.

Search Terms: Rama, Seeta, Seetha, Sutikshna, Suthikshna, Rishi, Dandaka, Sathyam, Indra

Published in: on July 18, 2006 at 6:24 pm  Comments (2)  

Satyavrata

Once upon a time, in Kosala, there lived a brāhmaṇa by name Devadatta. Since he was not having santānam, he decided to perform the putrakāmeṣṭhi yāgam on the banks of Tamasā Nadi. Several great ṛṣhis were invited for the yāgam, such as Suhotra, Yājñavalkya, Bṛhaspati, Paila and Gobhila to preside over various aspects of the yāgam . Gobhila, whose expertise was in reciting the Sāmaveda, however, repeatedly committed errors in the mantrās, due to his failure to control his breathing. Angered by this, Devadatta accused Gobhila of spoiling the performance of the yāgam and called him a mūrkha.

Angered by Devadatta’s allegation, Gobhila retorted that he had been called a mūrkha without any justification and that the errors were caused only because he could not control his breaths. He further went on to curse Devadatta that he would beget a mūrkha as his son. Devadatta, realising his folly, apologised to the ṛṣhi for his haste and lamenting that it would be better to not have a son rather than have a mūrkha son! Gobhila ṛṣhi, moved by Devadatta’s pleas, said “Though the son would be a mūrkha, he will go on to become a māhakavi due to the grace of Mother Śakti.”

Following the completion of the yāgam, Devadatta’s wife Rohiṇī delivered a baby in due course of time. The boy, who was named Vuthadhya, was stupid, by virtue of the curse and could learn nothing; soon everyone began to humiliate him calling him a mūrkha. Unable to put up with this, Vuthadhya left his father’s āśrama and repaired to the banks of the Ganga, where he practised a life of brahmacharyam and satyavratam. The only good thing that Vuthadhya knew was the importance of speaking the truth on all occassions. Even though he did not know to perform Veda-adhyayanam, Gāyatrī, japa, tapa, dhyānam, prāṇāyāma etc. he never left the practice of speaking the truth, leading to people giving him the appellation Satyavrata. He never did any good or harm to anyone; he remained docile and innocent, though dejected about his stupidity. He consoled himself that this must be due to the sins committed by him in his previous janmās. He spent fourteen years thus.

One day, while a vyādha was chasing a kanṭakaśreṇī mṛgam, it ran from the vyādha’s arrow to save its life, shouting ‘I’, ‘I’, ‘I’ , coming towards a bush near Satyavrata’s kuṭīr. Satyavrata was overcome by sympathy. Also, Satyavrata, on hearing the mṛgam' s cries, had begun mentally repeating, ‘I… I… I…’ in his mind. This, being the bījākṣara, whose recital brings the grace of Mother Śakti, Satyavrata immediately became enlightened. With the blessings of Goddess Sarasvatī, he became a mahākavi. When the vyādha asked as to the whereabouts of the mṛgam he was hunting, knowing fully well that Satyavrata would only say the truth, the enlightened Satyavrata spontaneously uttered the following śloka:

यः पश्यति न स ब्रूते यः ब्रूते स न पश्यति।
अहो व्याध! स्वकार्यार्थिन्! किं पृच्छसि पुनः पुनः॥

yaḥ paśyati na sa brūte yaḥ brūte sa na paśyati| aho vyādha! svakāryārthin! kiṁ pṛcchasi punaḥ punaḥ||

“That which sees does not speak. That which speaks does not see! Oh vyādha! Why do you keep questioning me?” (In other words, he said "I did not see the mṛgam with my mouth, please do not ask me repeatedly." )

Thus Satyavrata neither told the whereabouts of the mṛgam — thereby he did not become the reason for the killing of the mṛgam, nor he stopped the vyādha from having his meal, nor he spoke false.

Morals in the story:

  1. One must never deviate from path of truth. By practising satya-vāk-paripālanam firmly and with the Jñānam gained by the blessing of Sarasvatī devi, one can avoid speaking false even in difficult situations, like Satyavrata.
  2. Krodham even for a short while must be avoided, this is shown through Devadatta and Gobhila ṛṣhi's conversation.

Search Terms: Saraswathi, Porcupine

Published in: on June 6, 2006 at 6:00 pm  Comments Off on Satyavrata  

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.
Published in: on May 31, 2006 at 5:44 pm  Comments (27)  

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.

Satyameva Jayate

No collection of moral stories will be complete without the mention of Satya Harishcandra. His story is well known and praised by everyone. Truth is the most fundamental moral to be learnt by everyone and it is alone enough to reach God. The following is a small incident showing the satya vaak paripaalanam of Harishchandra:

When travelling in the forest, with his family and Nakshatraka to the great kaashi kshetram, Harishchandra sees un-controllable Daavaagni (forest fire) sorrounding them. They donot understand the reason for it and Nakshatraka worries a lot, not knowing any way of getting out of the fire. Harishchandra worries for a different reason. He was not worried for loosing his life, but if he dies in the agni, then he will not be able to return the debt to Vishwaamitra maharshi and thus will not be able to keep up his word.

Seeing this, Agnideva (sent by Vishwaamitra) tells them a way to cross the fire safely. He says anyone who says that his name is not his own name, can safely walk through him. Immediately Nakshatraka, to attract them to say a lie, says I name is not Nakshatraka and walks into the fires. Nothing happens to him and he walks back suggesting Harishchandra and his family to try out the same. Obviously Harishchandra will not say a lie, but gets worried since he will be not be able to repay Vishwaamitra maharshi. Seeing the worry of her husband, Chandramati devi does a stotram to agni saying that if she were a pativrata, then the agni must stop. Immediately the huge daavaagni vanishes and they cross the forest safely.

The whole episode of Vishwaamitra maharshi testing Harishchandra starts with a conversion at Indra Sabha: A discussion will be raised to zero-in on a vratam which anyone whether rich or poor, whether king or servant, kid or elder, male or female can follow, exists or not. Vasishta maharshi suggests that satya vratam (speaking truth always) is there and tells that Harishchandra is a firm follower of it. Vasishta and Vishwaamitra both challenge each other, Vasishta saying "In the impossible event of Harishchandra uttering a lie I will leave sandhyaavandanaadi aahnikas, japa, tapas, remove yagnyopavita, become Bhrasta, have wine and behave in a way co-rishis will hate me, throw me out of there community and eventually goto naraka!". Vishwaanitra says "If Harishchandra stands my tests I will give half of my till now earned entire tapashshakti, make him rule the earth for many years and for 14 manvantaras will make him occupy the ardha-simhaasanam of Indra". Harishchandra in the end qualifies the tests of Vishwaamitra, enjoys all these bhogas and in the end with Lord Shiva's anugraham gets Moksham.

Morals in the Story:

  1. Let even death may came, one must never leave the path of truth.
  2. Though a person has to face temporary difficulties for following the path of truth, in the end always truth only wins.
  3. The power of pativrata is enormous. It seems the power of Agni or howmuch ever tapashshakti cannot equal that of a pativrata. This is evident by the power of Chandramati devi.
  4. निन्दन्तु नीतिनिपुणाः यदि वा स्तुवन्तु
    लक्ष्मीः समाविशतु गच्छतु वा यथेष्टम्।
    अद्यैव वा मरणमस्तु युगान्तरे वा
    न्याय्यात्पथः प्रविचलन्ति पदं न धीराः॥
    — भर्तृहरेः नीतिशतकम्
    nindantu nītinipuṇāḥ yadi vā stuvantu
    lakṣmīḥ āgacchatu gacchatu vā yatheṣṭam|
    adyaiva maraṇamastu yugāantare vā
    nyāyyātpathaḥ pravicalanti padaṁ na dhīrāḥ||
    — bhartṛhareḥ nītiśatakam

    “May those proficient in law praise or decry;
    May the Goddess of Wealth come or go as she pleases;
    Let Death come today or at the end of the yuga;
    The resolute will not deviate from the path of righteousness!”

Published in: on May 19, 2006 at 5:12 pm  Comments (13)  

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)  

Respect to Elders

The story of markandeya maharshi, the child born with Alpaayu but made a chiranjeeva by the grace of Lord Shiva, is well known. His father was Mrukanda maharshi. He also had alpaayu. So after his upanayanam his father told him to bow to all elders and get their blessings. He followed his father’s words. He used to bow to every one whether a pandit or a lay man. Once saptarshis came to Mrukanda’s father. Mrukanda in his usual habit, bowed to them and got the blessings of the great saptarishis. The blessing was “dhirga ayushman bhava”. After knowing the truth that is life was short they went to Lord Bramha to solve this puzzle. Mrukanda bowed to Brahma too. And he also gave him the same boon, “dhirga ayushman bhava”.

Morals in the story:

  1. Respecting elders and parents is one of the foremost principles of Indian culture. Even Lord Krishna used to prostrate before his elders, however bad they may be…
  2. Since the saptarishis always speak the truth, whatever they spoke became true. With the power of truth, even the unavoidable death can be stopped!
Published in: on May 14, 2006 at 2:18 pm  Comments (25)  

Importance of keeping one’s word

We all know that the pandavas left their kingdom for 13 long years for keeping up their word! Well, for Arjuna going away from the bhogas of a king, for the sake of truth, was not new. He did it once well before the aranyavaas. The story goes like this:

The kalyaanam of pandavas with Draupadi was an unusual one. However, it was perfectly according to dharma shastras. Infact Draupadi is one of the greatest pativratas and praised even by Lord Krishna for her Dharma vartana. A few reasons to justify the kalyaanam:

  1. Kunti Devi, the mother of pandavas, who never knew what a lie was, gave her will.
  2. Vyaasa Maharshi, one of the avataar of Lord Vishnu, ordered the kalyaanam to be done.
  3. Lord Shiva, pleased with her tapas, gave a boon to Draupadi to marry the pandavas.
  4. Pandavas, though were five physically, were all amshas of Indra, the King of the Gods. Hence, pandavas were actually one.

Naarada, again an avataar of Lord Vishnu, suggested some rules to be followed by pandavas and Draupadi for living together. This is because, though they were amshas of Gods and Godesses, since they had a human form some addition rules according to dharma shastras needed to be followed. One of the rules was that: Draupadi should spend one year with each of the pandavas and while she was with one of them, no other pandavas should visit the palace where they might be. In case of any breach of their rule, one-year pilgrimage was prescribed by way of penance leaving the kingdom.The pandavas and Draupadi were living happily until one day: a brahmana came running to Arjuna saying that the thieves had stolen his cows. Arjuna wanted to rush with him to catch the thieves but he realised that his bow and arrows were kept in Yudhisthira's palace and he was there in the company of Draupadi. He hesitated for a while, then seeing brahmana's plight he rushed in to Yudhisthira 's palace took his bow and arrows and ran to catch the thieves. After he caught the thieves and punished them, after restoring the cows of the brahmana, Arjuna came back to Yudhisthira and told him about his transgression of the rule.

Yudhisthira, knowing the reason of the breach of their rule, said their is no need for Arjuna to take the pilgrimage. Since it is a mistake committed towards him, and that too for a good reason, he will pardon arjuna . However, Arjuna would never break his word. He immediately set out for a one-year pilgrimage. May be this is why Arjuna is such a favourite sakha of Lord Krishna.

Morals in the Story:

  1. The story shows how important it is to keep up ones word, whether it is of any consequence or not, how much ever difficult it is.
  2. Arjuna, knowing that he will be punished for breaching the rule, did not stop doing his duty as a king to protect his people and punish the theif. Thus, one must always perform his duty without any laziness or any kind of fear.
  3. Rewards for such people do show up as immediate difficulties, but in the end – it is truth is what always wins (Satyameva jayate). Arjuna's win was in the way of gaining eternal friendship with the Lord.

Message:

  1. Imagine if everyone keeps his word and always speaks truth — will we have corruption? will we have poverty? Though its a very difficult to inculcate, unless we are truthful there will be no development.
  2. Like Arjuna if everyone does they duty — will there be such slow development for such a large community of intelligent people?
  3. Temporal gains got by saying lies never will be permanent. They will not only bring us down on a long run in life, leave aside winning the heart of the God.
Published in: on May 14, 2006 at 9:09 am  Comments (35)  
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