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Durga or Shakti
All About About Seven Great Goddesses By
Snehil Sharma & Ajay Singh Aswal
Yogmaya Acknowledgement The BOOK “Story of Seven Great Goddesses” is consisted of truths and Knowledge regarding The Mythology of India. It forecasts the importance and legends of Goddesses which is from our side that may help to improve the condition of Women and significance of Girl Childs in India by defining importance of Super Feminine “Goddesses of Indian Mythology”. The book is on the motivation of our brothers Sahil Sharma and Anoop Singh Aswal and friends Bubal, Anoop, Sunil Rajwinder, Raman, Narinder and Bhupinder which is on the basis of following references. References: Wikipedia.org (Approved Sites) Markendaya Purana or Durga Sapthashati Skanda Purana Hindu Mythology Articles, Facts @ Indian Divinity_com (Approved Site) Brahma – Vaivrata Purana
Snehil Sharma & Ajay Singh Aswal
Chapters Topic Goddess of Knowledge, Consort of Brahma Goddess of Wealth, Consort of Vishnu Goddess of Power, Consort of Shiva Page No.
1) Goddess Saraswati
4 – 10
2) Goddess Lakshmi (Legend of Origin incarnations)
3) Goddess Shakti (Legends of Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati, Parvati, Kali, Durga, Sati).
62 – 89
4) Goddess Gayatri
Mother of Vedas
90 – 92
5) Goddess Ganga
93 – 96
6) Goddess Radha
Goddess of Purity and Love
97 – 101
7) Goddess Yogmaya
Goddess beyond Understand
102 – 105
Chapter – 1st Goddess Saraswati
Saraswati (Sanskrit: सरसवती, sarasvatī; Malay: Saraswati; Thai: Saraswati) is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music and the arts. Saraswati has been identified with the Vedic Saraswati River. She is alternately considered either the daughter or the consort of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. Thus, with the goddesses Lakshmi and Parvati or Durga, she forms the Tridevi ("three goddesses"), who are consorts of the Saraswati male trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, respectively. Saraswati’s children are the Vedas, which are the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism. As a river/water goddess, Saraswati symbolizes fertility and prosperity. She is associated with purity and creativity, especially in the context of communication, such as in literary and verbal skills. In the Learning, the Arts, Music, and river post-Vedic age, She began to lose Affiliation Devi her status as a river goddess and became increasingly associated with Mantra Om Eim Saraswatyei Swaha literature, arts, music, etc. Her name Consort Brahma literally means "the one who flows", Mount swan, peacock which apparently was applied to thoughts, words, or the flow of a river (in Sanskrit: "dhaarapravaah").Saraswati is known as Benzaiten in Japan.
Saraswati as River Goddess
The Rigvedic hymns dedicated to Saraswati mention her as a mighty river with creative, purifying, and nourishing properties. The best theory regarding the Vedic Saraswati River states that it was formed by the present headwaters of the Yamuna River. In ancient times, after leaving the Himalayan foothills, the waters of the Yamuna turned west instead of east at Paonta Sahib. Next, the river flowed southwest across the Punjab and Haryana regions along the course of the modern Ghaggar-Hakra River in a pathway roughly parallel to the smaller Indus River to its west. The Sutlej flowed further east than it does
today, and joined the Saraswati somewhere near Bahawalpur. Eventually, the wide river emptied into the Rann of Kutch, which at the time was a more integral part of the Arabian Sea. Along the course of the Sarasvati, the Harappan Civilization developed. The earliest known examples of writing in India have been found in the ruined cities that line the now dry riverbed of the ancient waterway. Some have postulated that the goddess Saraswati gained her role as personified communication and the giver of knowledge due to the role of the Sarasvati River in the development of written language in ancient India. Between 2000 B.C. and 1700 B.C., seismic activity caused the waters of the river's two main sources to change course. The Sutlej moved course westward and became a tributary of the Indus River. The Yamuna moved course eastward and became a tributary of the Ganges. The tremendous loss of water which resulted from these movements caused the once mighty river to become sluggish and dry up in the Thar Desert without ever reaching the sea. Without any water for irrigation or transportation, the dense population of the river basin soon shifted east with the waters of the Yamuna to the Ganges River valley. Late Vedic texts record the river as disappearing at Vinasana (literally, "the disappearing"), and as joining both the Yamuna and Ganges as an invisible river. Some claim that the sanctity of the modern Ganges is directly related to its assumption of the holy, life-giving waters of the ancient Sarasvati. Recently, archaeologists using satellite images have been able to trace the course of the river. A small channel of water flows near Kurukshetra. A nearby signboard denoting the former path of the once great Sarasvati River can be seen along the main highway.
Mahavidya Nila Saraswati
Nila Saraswati is another form of Mahavidya Tara. There are separate dhyana shlokas and mantras for her worship in Tantrasara.
Origins and Iconography in Hinduism
Origin : - In the Rig-Veda (6,61,7), Saraswati is credited, in association with Indra, with killing the serpentine being Vritraasura, a demon which hoarded all of the earth's water and so represents drought, darkness, and chaos. She is often seen as equivalent to other Vedic goddesses such as Vak, Savitri, and Gayatri. Saraswati represents intelligence, consciousness, cosmic knowledge, creativity,
education, enlightenment, music, the arts, and power. She is not only worshipped for secular knowledge, but for the true divine knowledge essential to achieve moksha. She is also referred to as Shonapunya, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘one purified of blood’. According to Vedanta she is considered to be the feminine energy and knowledge aspect (Shakti) of Brahman, as one of many aspects of Adi Shakti. Iconography: - Saraswati (Thuyathadi in Burmese) represented in Bamar fashion, seated on a hansa, and holding scriptures of the Tipitaka, by a river. The Goddess Saraswati is often depicted as a beautiful, white-skinned woman dressed in pure white often seated on a white Nelumbo nucifera lotus (although Her actual vahana is believed to be a swan), which symbolizes that she is founded in the experience of the Absolute Truth. Thus, she not only has the knowledge but also the experience of the Highest Reality. She is mainly associated with the color white, which signifies the purity of true knowledge. Occasionally, however, she is also associated with the color yellow, the color of the flowers of the mustard plant that bloom at the time of her festival in the spring. She is not adorned heavily with jewels and gold, unlike the goddess Lakshmi, but is dressed modestly — perhaps representing her preference of knowledge over worldly material things. She is generally shown to have four arms, which represent the four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness, and ego. Alternatively, these four arms also represent the 4 Vedas, the primary sacred books for Hindus. The Vedas, in turn, represent the 3 forms of literature:
• • •
Poetry — the Rig-Veda contains hymns, representing poetry Prose — Yajur Veda contains prose Music — Sama Veda represents music.
The four hands also depict this thusly — prose is represented by the book in one hand, poetry by the garland of crystal, music by the Veena. The pot of sacred water represents purity in all of these three, or their power to purify human thought. She is shown to hold the following in her hands:
A book, which is the sacred Vedas, representing the universal, divine, eternal, and true knowledge as well as her perfection of the sciences and the scriptures.
• • •
A Mala (rosary) of crystals, representing the power of meditation and spirituality. A pot of sacred water, representing creative and purificatory powers. The veena, a musical instrument that represents her perfection of all arts and sciences. Saraswati is also associated with anurāga, the love for and rhythm of music which represents all emotions and feelings expressed in speech or music. It is believed that children born with that name will prove to be very lucky in their studies.
A white swan is often located next to her feet. The sacred swan, if offered a mixture of milk and water, is said to be able to drink the milk alone. The swan thus symbolizes discrimination between the good and the bad or the eternal and the evanescent. Due to her association with the swan, Goddess Saraswati is also referred to as Hansa-vahini, which means "she who has a swan as her vehicle". She is usually depicted near a flowing river, which may be related to her early history as a river goddess. The swan and her association with the lotus flower also point to her ancient origin. Sometimes a peacock is shown beside the goddess. The peacock represents arrogance and pride over its beauty, and by having a peacock as her mount, the Goddess teaches Hindus not to be concerned with external appearance and to be wise regarding the eternal truth.
Festivals Associated with Goddess Saraswati
Saraswati festival on Dasashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi, India, January 2007 Saraswati Puja is performed on the 5th day of Magha month of Hindu calendar (Also known as Basant Panchami). In several parts of India, generally states to the south, Saraswati Poojas are conducted during Navaratri - a 9 day long festival celebrating the power of feminity. Navaratri is celebrated in all goddess-temples of India- especially with great pomp and splendor in south and east India. The last three days of Navaratri starting from Mahalaya Amavasya (the New Moon day) are dedicated to the goddess. On the ninth day of Navaratri (Mahanavami), books and all musical instruments are ceremoniously kept near the gods early at dawn and worshipped with special prayers. No studies or any performance of arts is carried out; as it is considered that the Goddess herself is blessing the books and the instruments. The festival is concluded on the tenth day of Navaratri (Vijaya Dashami) and the goddess is worshipped again before the books and
the musical instruments are removed. It is customary to study on this day, which is called Vidyarambham (literally, Commencement of Knowledge). All students are traditionally required to study a part of all that they have learn till that day, and also to start the study of something new on the same day. Gurus (Preceptors) are worshipped on this day as embodiments of Saraswati. In major part of India this Navaratri is associated with Goddess Durga (Parvati), but down South is celebrated as Saraswati Puja.
Major temples for the goddess are in Basara Town (Andhra Pradesh, www.BasaraTemple.org) Shringeri (Karnataka), Pushkar (Rajasthan), Panachikkad (Kerala), South Paravoor (Kerala). Though temples for Saraswati are rare, there are some minor temples in Kumbakonam, Koothanur (Tamilnadu), Basar, Nuzvid (Krishna Dt...)(Andhra Pradesh), Bharathi temple (known as Kollam Bharathi locally) near Atmakur, Kurnool Dist in Andhra, shradapeth (ruins) (kashmir) Also Deupatan, Kamalakshi, Thimi, Bhadrakali ,Gairidhara in the Kathmandu region have her temples.
Goddess Saraswati Images Legend of Goddess Saraswati
In the Vedas, Saraswati was a water deity and was revered for purifying, fertilizing and enriching powers. The next stage in Saraswati mythological history was her identification with the holy rituals performed on the banks of river Saraswati. She is said to have invented Sanskrit, known as the mother of all languages, of scriptures and scholarship. It is also believed that it was her who discovered soma or amrita. According to the Matsya Purana, Saraswati evolved from the mouth of Brahma. Such was her beauty and grace that Brahma pursued her. As she fled in different directions a head appeared and so Brahma is attributed with five heads. She was the most unique creation of Brahma. The moon and the lotus associated with Saraswati are both symbols of eternal womanhood. Some of the many mythological stories connected with Saraswati have interesting sociological interpretations. The gods and the demons by the mutual agreement decided to churn the ocean for the Amrit or the elixir of life. Mainak Mountain was used as the churning rod and Basuki – a python, as the churning rope. When Lakshmi appeared with the Amrit kumbha both wanted the elixir. Mohini, the Feminie form of Lord Vishnu with her exquisite beauty lured away the asuras or the demons. As the gods were drinking the Amrit, Rahu and Ketu, two asuras saw them and slipped with the Gods. As they drank the Amrit which would make them immoral like the gods, Vishnu detected them. He immediately cut off their heads. The two enraged asuras swallowed the sun and moon but could not retain them as their throats where cut. This led to the origin of solar and lunar eclipse. Saraswati, who was instrumental in helping the Gods to be immortal, was established in the heaven as the Goddess Saraswati. The Gods and the Gandharvas both wanted the Soma Ras. It was again Saraswati who with her beauty and grace lured and so exhausted the Gandharvas that they could not acquire the Soma Ras which naturally went to the gods. The Aryans fought with the non - Aryan Comi tribe (tribal dominance among the Aryans) like Nished, Sabar and Pulindar on the banks of the river Saraswati. At the request of Vishnu, Saraswati disappeared underground and again reappeared in far of Rajasthan. The tribals were thus deprived of the life saving water. They were forced to abandon the area. In both cases we see the important of the river Saraswati in Aryan life and how Saraswati was used to deprive the weak of water, without which life is impossible. Saraswati is known as Prithudhar (subjugator of the Aryans).
Vashishtha and Vishwamitra, the two sages, were both violently opposed to each other. Vishwamitra ordered the river Saraswati to wash away Vashishtha along with all he possessed. Saraswati refused to comply with his command. To punish Saraswati, he turned the water of the river to blood. At the behest of Shiva, the two sages became amicable and once again there was pure water in the river of Saraswati. In Eastern India, particularly Orissa and Bengal, Saraswati has been absorbed into their culture. She has been given the mantle of daughter of Parvati and is treated as a daughter. History tells us that the Aryans came to India through the Khyber pass and settled in Punjab, Haryana and North Rajasthan. Saraswati was one of the seven holy rivers flowing through modern Punjab, Haryana and North Rajasthan. The mythological background of Saraswati shows the importance of the river Saraswati in the life of the Aryans settled along her river banks. Sociologically the River Saraswati was an important factor in ancient civilization. She is therefore a part of the fertility cult. The Aryans who lived along the banks of the river were pastoral and rural. All early development took place on the river bank. Consequently Saraswati came to be venerated as a symbol of knowledge. It is evident that the upper strata of society used their superior knowledge and expertise to deprive the ignorant lower half of society. The story of Kalidas has been built around Saraswati. There was a proud and learned princess who rejected all suitors who could not match to her knowledge. The pundits in anger planned to marry her off to a fool. They saw a man cutting the branch on which he was sitting and decided he was the ideal fool for the princess. Kalidas was presented to the princess as a man of wisdom who only spoke in signs. The pundits answered the entire princess's question by interpreting Kalidas's signs. The two were married but on the wedding night the princess realized she had been duped. She kicked Kalidas out of her bed. He in sorrow and shame went to commit suicide. The Goddess Saraswati appeared and asked him to take a dip in the river. As he emerged from the river Kalidas was transformed. He began to recite verses in praise of the Goddess. Unfortunately for him he began to praise her beauty not from her feet upwards but from her breasts downwards. Saraswati in anger cursed Kalidas for his audacity. He would die in an ignonimous place.
Chapter -2 Goddess Lakshmi
Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, luck, love and beauty, the lotus flower and fertility. Representations of Lakshmi (or Shri) are found in Jain and Buddhist monuments, in addition to Hindu temples. Analogous to the Greek Aphrodite and Roman Venus - who also originated from the oceans - she is generally thought of as the personification of material fortune, beauty and prosperity. She is the consort of Vishnu. Iconography Physically, goddess Lakshmi is described as a fair lady, with four arms, seated on a lotus, dressed in fine garments and precious jewels. Her expression is always calm and loving. The most striking feature of the iconography of Lakshmi is her persistent association with the lotus. The meaning of the lotus in relation to Shri-Lakshmi refers to purity and spiritual power. Rooted in the mud but blossoming above the water, completely uncontaminated by the mud, the lotus represents spiritual perfection and authority. Furthermore, the lotus seat is a common motif in Hindu iconography. Goddess Lakshmi's traditionally accepted vehicle, the owl (Ulooka in Sanskrit), is a bird that sleeps through the day and prowls through the night.
Image of Goddess Lakshmi Affiliation Devi/Shakti Consort Vishnu Mount Owl
Forms of Goddess Lakshmi
Ashta Lakshmi (Sanskrit: Aṣṭalakṣmī lit. "Eight Lakshmis") are a group of eight secondary manifestations of the goddess Lakshmi, who preside over eight sources of wealth and thus represent the powers of Shri-Lakshmi. They are: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) Ādi Lakṣmī Dhānya Lakṣmī Dhairya Lakṣmī Gaja Lakṣmī Santāna Lakṣmī Vijaya Lakṣmī Vidyā Lakṣmī Dhana Lakṣmī [The First manifestation of Lakshmi] [Granary wealth] [Wealth of courage] [Elephants, symbols of wealth] [Wealth of continuity, progeny] [Wealth of victory] [Wealth of knowledge and education] [Monetary wealth]
Celebration in Hindu society
Lakshmi idol at Bhubaneswar during (Laxmi Puja) Festival Hindus worship Lakshmi the most on Diwali, the festival of lights. According to tradition people would put small oil lamps outside their homes on Diwali and hope Lakshmi will come to bless them. In Bengal, Lakshmi is worshiped during a night in autumn when the moon is full, the brightest night of the year. It is believed that she showers wealth on this night. She, along with her mount, the great white owl, descends to earth and takes away the darkness of poverty, stagnation, anger, and laziness from our lives. The prefix Sri (also spelled as Shri, pronounced as shree) renders as 'one who takes delight in Sri' Lakshmi, meaning wealth, wealth of any kind. Any thing that need be affluent gets the auspicious prefix or suffix 'Lakshmi', or 'Sri' like Rajya Lakshmi (Wealth of Empire), Shanti Sri (Wealth of Peace), etc. In modern India, common titles standing in for the English Mr. and Mrs. are Shri
(also Sri or Shree) and Shrimati (also Srimati or Shreemati), as in "Sri Gupta" or "Srimati Mangeshkar". Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped by those who wish to acquire or to preserve wealth. It is believed that Lakshmi (wealth) goes only to those houses which are clean and where the people are hardworking. She does not visit the places which are unclean/dirty or where the people are lazy. In the Sri Vaishnava philosophy however, Sri (Lakshmi) is honored as the "Iswarigm sarva bhootanam" i.e. the Supreme goddess and not just the goddess of wealth. This is an important distinction between Sri Vaishnavism and other materialistic philosophies. In Uttarakhand, after the worship of the goddess on Diwali night, the Shankha or Conch is not blown. This is because the shankha is also from the ocean like the goddess herself, so it is given a day of rest. Worship Two of the most famous prayers for worshipping Ma Lakshmi are: Sri Lakshmi Stuti by Indra and Sri Sukta. There is another famous prayer pronounced by the great sage Agasti: Agasti Lakshmi Stotra. Although Mother Lakshmi is worshipped as the Goddess of fortune, when she is worshipped with Narayana not only wealth but also peace and prosperity never leave the home of the worshipper. They can be worshipped in various forms such as LakshmiNarayana, LakshmiNarasimha, SitaRam, VithalRakhumai (VithhalRukmini).
Legends of Goddess Lakshmi
Origin: - Goddess Lakshmi is regarded as goddess of wealth and fortune. All the fortunes and beauty lies in the feet of the goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the queen consort of the Lord Vishnu, Who is protector and preserver of the world, so the goddess Lakshmi counterpart His this activity, by providing wealth and fortune for preservation of whole Material world. Why Maa Lakshmi is designated as the goddess of wealth? It is because of the fact from the legend of her origin. The legend goes as follow: Once upon a time there was a long lasting battle b/w Demigods and Demons, all the demigods and demons got fed up due to loss of large amount of life loss, the all approached to the trinity, and the holy trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh) suggested them a solution of peace treaty and Samundra Manthana, in which one must churn sea to obtain different material objects that provides wealth and fortune to them, these objects would be equally distributed among demons and demigods. Here Sheshnaga, the holy seat of Lord Vishnu acted as Churner and Vindhyachala Mountain acted as the material upon which the churner churns. When the activity started, First material to be obtained is KALKUTA VISH (Poison). There was no one who has ability to take the poison except for Lord of all Lords, LORD SHIVA. After annihilating the Poison, the throat of the Lord Shiva got blue. After this, He was then recognized with name Neelkantha. After the Poison, all the luxurious materials were driven out of the ocean. These were obtained in following order. S.No 1) 2) 3) 4) Material Kamdhenu Airawata Holy Tree Mani Description The holy Cow Holder Demigods King of The ten headed holy vehicle Gods, INDRA Using which a person never gets old Heaven King of The greatest mani Demons, BALI
After all the materiality objects next one that was obtained from the manthana was a very beautiful lady who was red dressed, wore many ornaments of Diamond, Gold and Silver. Her appearance was very much like personality of Rajo Guna. She was then named as Goddess of wealth, glory and Light, Goddess Lakshmi. But, there was nobody who was apt for her as her Consort. She was then supposed to choose husband of her own. She found herself equally glorified with Lord of All Lords, Shri
hari Vishnu. She then was married to Lord Vishnu in very glorified manner. After the evolution of Goddess Lakshmi, the Holy Dhanvantri holding the AMRITA came out. It was the glory full Drink, that makes the inhalator immortal. For the Drink they started quarrelling. But here Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Mohini, which attracted the demons, with her consciousness; she gave water to Demons and The Drink to Demigods. But a clever demon Rahu knew all the unfair, and assumed the getup of Demigod. He took Drink from Mohini, But Lord Surya due to Spritual intervene of Goddess Sarswati, knew the Maya of Rahu and told to Goddess Mohini, and then Mohini assumed the shape of Lord Vishnu and Cuts of the head of Rahu. But till that Amrita reached to his throat. Now his head is immortal and rest of the body is dead. Since Narayana is the consort of Goddess Lakshmi, the Jointly Referred as:a) Laxmi Narayana b) Laxmikant c) Ramakant d) Sri Hari (Shri or Sri is the name specially adjusted to Goddess Lakshmi).
Other Legends are reflected in her Avatars, She incarnated as wife of all almost all the incarnations of Lord Vishnu, which reflects many principles of Women. Tulsi Avatar Vedavati Avatar Sita Avatar Rukmani Avatar Vashnavi Avatar (typically is the Shakti form of Goddess Parvati and spritual cum physical form of Goddess Lakshmi).
Legend of Goddess Vedavati
In Hindu mythology, Vedavati is speculated to have been the spirit of Sita Devi, the wife of Rama in the epic Ramayana. She was another avatar of Devi Laxmi.
Vedavati is the daughter of Brahmarishi Kusadhvaja, who is the son of Brihaspati, Lord-Guru of the Devas, the Gods. Having spent his life chanting and studying the sacred Vedas, he names his daughter Vedavati, or Embodiment of the Vedas, born as the fruit of his bhakti and tapasya.
Dedication to Vishnu
Her father wants his child to have Lord Vishnu for a husband. He thus rejects many powerful kings and celestial beings who sought his daughter's hand. Outraged by his rejection, a powerful Daitya king Sambhu murders her parents in the middle of a moonless night. Vedavati continues to live in the ashram of her parents, meditating night and day and performing a great
tapasya to win Vishnu for her husband. The Ramayana describes her as wearing the hide of a black antelope, her hair matted in a jata, like a rishi. She is inexpressibly beautiful, in the bloom of her youth, enhanced by her tapasya.
Immolation and death
Ravana, the emperor of Lanka and the rakshasa race found Vedavati sitting in meditation and is captivated by her incredible beauty. After mocking her dedication to Vishnu and her penance, he attacks her, viciously, by pulling her hair. Her chastity and reputation destroyed, Vedavati immolates herself by building a pyre, while Ravana is watching.
Vedavati refuses to curse Ravana as it would exhaust her tapasya, but pledges to return in another age and be the cause of his destruction. The Rishi Agastya tells Rama that Vedavati was re-born as Sita, his wife, and became the cause of Ravana's destruction at his hands. She also thus obtained Vishnu, whose Avatara Rama is, as her husband.
Legend of Sita Devi
Sita is the wife of Rama, the seventh avatāra of Vishnu, and is esteemed as an exemplary of wifely and womanly virtue. Understood theologically in Hinduism, Sita is an avatāra of Lakshmi, Vishnu's consort, who chose to reincarnate herself on Earth as Sita and endure an arduous life, to provide humankind with an example of good virtues. Sita is one of the principal characters in the Ramayana, a Hindu epic named after her husband Rama.
Sita was a foundling, discovered in a furrow in a ploughed field, and for that reason is regarded as a daughter of Bhudevi, the earth Goddess. She was found and adopted by Janaka, king of Mithila (modern-day Janakpur, Nepal) and his wife Sunayana. Upon her coming of age, a swayamwara was held to select a suitable husband for her, and she was wed to Rama, prince of Ayodhya, an Avatara of Vishnu.
Ravana abducts Sita, by Ravi Varma
Some time after the wedding, circumstances forced Rama to leave Ayodhya and spend a period of exile in the forests of Dandaka. Sita willingly renounced the comforts of the palace and joined her husband in braving the travails of exile, even living in Dandaka forest. However, worse was to
come: the forest was the scene for the abduction of Sita by Ravana, King of Lanka, one of her former suitors. Ravana kidnapped Sita, disguising himself as a brahmana mendicant while her husband was away fetching a magnificent golden deer to please her (this deer was actually Ravana's demon uncle, Mareecha, in disguise). Jatayu, the vulture-king, who was a friend of Rama's, tried to protect her, but Ravana chopped off his wings. Jatayu survived long enough to inform Rama of what had happened. Ravana held Sita captive in his distant island realm. In captivity, Sita not only consistently rejected the many advances of her powerful and royal captor, but also preserved her chastity of mind, never once wavering in her adherence to her husband. She was finally rescued by Rama, who waged a tremendous battle to defeat Ravana and secure the release of Sita. Since Sita was kept in captivity by Ravana all this time, Rama asked her to go through the 'Agni-Pariksha', the test of going through the fire, which would prove her chastity. In Hindu dharma every action has results irrespective of the stature of the person. A school of thought states that Rama questioned Sita on her integrity as a punishment for her questioning the integrity of Lakshmana who had left all his comfort and served Rama and Sita for 14 years. Lakshmana was asked to create the fire despite his protests about needing such a procedure to prove that Sita is innocent. The couple returned to Ayodhya, where Rama was crowned king with Sita by his side. While Rama's trust and affection for Sita never wavered, it soon became evident that some of Ayodhya could not accept Sita's long captivity under the power of Ravana.
During Rama's period of rule, an intemperate washerman, while berating his wayward wife, declared that he was "no pusillanimous Rama who would take his wife back after she had lived in the house of another man". This calumnious statement was reported back to Rama, who knew that the aspersion cast on Sita was entirely baseless. Nevertheless, he felt his position as ruler undermined by the ever-present possibility of slander attaching itself to his hitherto unimpeachable dynasty and personal reign. It was this train of thought that led Rama to remove Sita from his household. Sita was thus again in exile; she was not only alone this time, but also pregnant. She attempted to commit suicide in the Ganges, but she was
rescued by the sage Valmiki. He gave her refuge in his hermitage, where she delivered a son named Lava. Once day Sita left her son with Valmiki, and went to the river bank to fetch water. Valmiki who was in deep dhabas without noticing the return of Sita and picking up her child, created by his ascetic power another baby with Dharba. She finds two sons of the same virtue and hears from the sage what happened there in her absence. She accepted both sons as her own, naming the other Kusha. In the hermitage, Sita raised her sons alone, as a single mother. They grew up to be valiant and intelligent, and were eventually united with their father. Once she had witnessed the acceptance of her children by Rama, Sita sought final refuge in the arms of her mother Bhumidevi, the Earth Goddess. Hearing her plea for release from an unjust world and from a life that had rarely been happy, the earth dramatically split open; Bhumidevi appeared and took Sita away to a better world. Sita also took part in the Hindu ritual of Ashvamedha, as narrated in the Uttara Kanda (book 7). In this narrative, Rama was married to a single wife, Sita, who at the time was not with him, having been excluded from Rama's capital of Ayodhya. She was therefore represented by a statue for the queen's ceremony. Sita was living in Valmiki's forest ashram with her twin children, Lava and Kusha, whose birth was unknown to Rama. In its wanderings, the horse, accompanied by an army and the monkey-king Hanuman, entered the forest and encountered Lava, who ignored the warning written on the horse's headplate not to hinder its progress. He tethered the horse, and with Kusha challenged the army, which was unable to defeat the brothers.
Hanuman Parambhakta Of Sita Rama
Legend of Goddess Tulsi
THE APPEARANCE OF TULSI DEVI
Narada Muni asked Lord Narayana, "O Bhagavan! How did the pure, chaste Tulsi Devi become Your wife? Where was she born? Who was she in her previous birth? What family did she come from? And what austerities did she perform to get You as her husband--You, who are above the material energy, not subject to change, the Cosmic Self, the Supreme God, the Lord of all, omniscient, the cause of all, omnipresent, container and preserver of all. And how did Tulsi Devi, Your chief goddess, become a tree? O You who resolves all doubts, my mind is curious to know all about these points; therefore, it compels me to ask you these questions. Kindly remove these doubts from my mind." Lord Narayana then related the following account... Manu Daksa Savarni was a partial expansion of Lord Vishnu. He was extremely virtuous, devoted to the Lord, and very famous for his good
deeds. Daksa Savarni's son, Dharma Savarni, was also extremely virtuous. Dharma Savarni's pious son was called Vishnu Savarni, and his son, who was a great Vaishnava, was known as Raja Savarni. However, Raja Savarni's son, Vrisadhvaja, was fanatically devoted to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva lived in Vrisadhvaja's house for three celestial yugas (ages) and loved him more than his own sons. Vrisadhvaja did not revere Lord Narayana, Goddess Lakshmi or any of the demigods. He abolished the worship of Lakshmi in the month of Bhadra (Aug., Sept.) and the worship of Saraswati in the month of Magha (Jan., Feb.). He did not participate in the sacrifice and worship performed out of respect for Lord Vishnu (Narayana) and criticized them rather severely. The demigods did not curse him because they feared Lord Shiva. However, Surya, the sun god, no longer able to restrain his wrath, cursed him: "O King, just as you are completely devoted to Lord Shiva and only to Lord Shiva, and just as you do not recognize any of the other deity, I declare that you will now lose your wealth and prosperity!" When Lord Shiva heard this curse, he became angry. Seizing his trident, he ran after Lord Surya. Afrid, the sun god went with his father, Kasyapa Muni, to Brahmaloka, the highest material planet, to take shelter of Lord Brahma. But Lord Shiva pursued him there. Lord Brahma, also afraid of Lord Shiva, took Lord Surya and Kasyapa Muni to the region of Vaikuntha, the spiritual or eternal world. There, with throats parched due to anxiety, they took refuge of Lord Narayana, the Lord of all. They offered obeisance to Him and praised Him repeatedly and finally explained why they were so apprehensive. Lord Narayana bestowed His mercy on them and granted them the power to be fearless. He said, "O fearful ones; be consoled. How can you be afraid of anyone while I am here? If anyone remembers Me when he is in danger, wherever he may be, I hurry to him with my Sudarsan disc in my hand and save him. O demigods! Param Brahman Parmeshvar OM always is the creator, preserver and destroyer of this universe. In the form of Me, He is the preserver; in the form of Brahma, He is the creator; and in the form of Shiva, he is the destroyer. I am Shiva, Shiva is me. I and He assume numerous forms and preserve the universe. So go back to your respective places. You have nothing to be afraid of. All will be well. "From this day on, you have nothing to fear from Lord Shiva. He is the shelter of the pious, is easily pleased, is the servant and lord of his devotees, and is great minded. Lord Shiva and the Sudarsan chakra are dearer to Me than My life. In the world of valour, they excel all. Lord Shiva can easily create ten million Suryas and ten million Brahmas. For him, nothing is impossible. He is not conscious of
the external world. He always Meditate on Me and Me on Him. He is absorbed day and night and he always sings My glories and Me Vice Versa. Day and night, I also always think of his welfare and he also thinks of My Welfare. To whatever degree one worships Him, to that degree He favor that ones. The nature of Shiva is all-auspiciousness." While Lord Narayana was speaking, Lord Shiva arrived. His eyes red, and he was sitting on his bull carrier holding his trident. Lord Narayana, Vishnu, was sitting on His jewel-studded throne. He was decorated with a crown, earrings, and a garland, and was holding His disc. His form was extremely beautiful, and His complexions like a fresh blue rain cloud. Each of His attendants had four arms and was fanning Him with four hands. His body was anointed with sandal paste and He was wearing a yellow garment. Lord Vishnu, who shows kindness to His devotees, was chewing betel nut that had been offered to Him by His wife Lakshmi. Smiling, He was watching and listening to the dancing and singing of the Vidyadharis. After Lord Shiva bowed down to Lord Narayana, he bowed to Lord Brahma and Both Narayana and Brahma Bowed Down to Lord Shiva. Lord Surya and Kasyapa Muni respectfully saluted Lord Shiva. The attendants of Lord Narayana began to fan Lord Shiva with white whisks to relieve him of the fatigue of his journey. Lord Shiva, because of being in contact with Lord Vishnu's virtues, then assumed a cheerful disposition and adored the Eternal Being with his five mouths. Lord Narayana was highly gratified. With sweet, nectarine words, He said, "O Lord Shiva, you are the symbol of all good and welfare. Thus, to ask about your welfare would be foolish. I would ask you only out of respect for the rules of society and the method prescribed in the Vedas. One who yields fruits of devotion and gives all prosperity should not be asked about his austerities or material prosperity. Since you preside over knowledge, it would be useless to ask if you are increasing in knowledge. It would be equally useless to ask a conqueror of death if he is free from all danger. But you have come to my residence for a reason. What is it? Have you become angry over something?" "O Lord Vishnu!," Lord Shiva began. "King Vrisadhvaja is my great devotee. Lord Surya has cursed him and that has made me angry. Out of affection for my son, the king, I was about to kill Surya. But Surya sought shelter of Lord Brahma, and now both of them have sought Your protection. Those who are distressed and take shelter of You, either by speaking about You or by remembering You, become completely safe or free from danger. What to speak of those who come personally to You and take shelter. When one remembers You, his dangers disappear. All good comes to him. O Lord
of the world! What will become of my foolish devotee who, by the curse of Lord Surya, has lost his fortune and prosperity?" Lord Vishnu replied, "O Lord Shiva! A half hour has elapsed here in Vaikuntha. In that time, twenty-one celestial yugas have passed away. Therefore, King Vrisadhvaja, through the revolution of irresistible and dreadful time, is dead. His son, Hamsadhvaja, in the course of time, also died. Hamsadhvaja begot two noble sons named Dharmadhvaja and Kusadhvaja. They are both great Vaishnava but, because of Lord Surya's curse, they have become luckless. They lost their kingdoms, including all property and prosperity. But they are now engaged in worshiping Goddess Lakshmi, who is pleased with their efforts. Therefore, She has agreed to descend to Earth and expand Herself partially by taking birth from the wives of those two kings. Then, by the favor of Goddess Lakshmi, Dharmadhvaja and Kusadhvaja will become prosperous, mighty kings. O Lord Shiva! Your devotee Vrisadhvaja is dead, so return to your abode. O Lord Brahma, Lord Surya and Kasyapa Muni--you also should return your realms." Bhagavan Vishnu then went with His wife to the inner apartments. The demigods went cheerfully to their own abodes, Lord Shiva continuing his practice of austerity. Dharmadhvaja and Kusadhvaja performed harsh asceticism and worshiped Goddess Lakshmi. Thereafter, they separately obtained the blessings they desired. By Goddess Lakshmi's favor, they again became the rulers of the earth. They acquired great spiritual merits, were married, and begot children. King Dharmadhvaja was married to Madhavi. After some time, she became pregnant with a partial incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. However, the infant remained in Madhavi's womb for one hundred celestial years. Day by day Madhavi's lustre increased. Then, on an auspicious day and moment, when there was a full moon, in the month of Kartika, on a Friday, she gave birth. The grace of the Goddess of Fortune, Lakshmi, manifested through the baby. There were marks of the lotus flower on the infant's feet. Her face looked like the autumnal moon, her eyes resembled blooming lotuses, and her lips appeared like ripe bimba fruit. Her palms and the soles of her feet were reddish, her navel was deep, and just above it were three folds. Her buttocks were round, and her body was delightfully warm in the winter and cool in the summer--very pleasant to touch. Her breast was firm and her waist thin and the light shining from her body surrounded her like a halo. Her complexion was white, like a Champaka flower, and her hair looked beautiful. Because her beauty was incomparable, the sages called her Tulsi.
TULSI PERFORMS AUSTERITIES As soon as she was born, Tulsi resolved to go to the mountainous region of Badarinatha to practice severe austerities. Though many persons tried to dissuade her, no one was able to; for she was determined to stay and pray in the forest till Lord Vishnu appeared and agreed to become her husband. During a period of one hundred thousand celestial years, she endured the following: In the summer, she exposed herself to four fires around her and the sun above; in the winter, she submerged herself in the icy waters; and in the rainy season, she subjected herself to heavy downpours at the funeral grounds. For 20,000 years, she subsisted on fruits and water; for 30,000 years, she chewed dry leaves; for 40,000 years she lived only on air; and for 10,000 years she ate nothing and just stood on one leg. Finally, she saw Lord Brahma in the sky, riding on his swan carrier and sweeping down towards her. Believing that he had come to grant her a boon, she bowed down low to him. Lord Brahma said, "O Tulsi, ask me for a boon. Whether it be devotion to Lord Hari or servitor ship to Him or freedom from old age or freedom from death--I will grant it." "Yes, O Lord, I will ask. Please listen. I will not hide my desires out of fear or shame, since you are all-knowing. My name is Tulsi. Formally I was a cowherd girl in Goloka, and there I served Radharani, the beloved of Sri Vishnu. I am a partial expansion of Radharani and was her favorite companion. But one day in the place where the rasa dance had occurred, Vishnu became intimate with me and I fainted from excessive joy. While I was lying there, Radharani suddenly appeared and saw me in that condition. She was not at all pleased. Blinded with fury, she first reproached Vishnu and then cursed me. She said, `O vile one! Go! And take birth as a human being!' "Then Vishnu said to me, `When you take birth in India, if you practice austerities, Lord Brahma will grant you a blessing. He will arrange for you to marry the four-armed Narayana, who is an expansion of me.' Then Vishnu disappeared. And out of fear of Radharani, I left Goloka and was born in this world...So please grant me that boon. I want to have that handsome and peaceful Narayana as my husband." Lord Brahma replied, "O Tulsi, Sudama was a partial expansion of Vishnu and was one of Vishnu's cowherd boyfriends in Goloka. As a result of a curse by Radharani, he is presently living on earth among the Danavas (demons). His name is Sankhacuda. He
is very energetic and no one can compare with him in strength. While living in Goloka, he was very attracted to you and wanted to marry you. But because he feared Radharani, he did not make any overtures. "Just as you are a jatismara--that is, one who knows her previous births-Sankhacuda also is. Remembering his past desire to be close to you, he has performed severe austerities to obtain you as his wife. I now wish to grant his desire. Therefore, O beautiful one, please agree to wed him. However, later on, by the special arrangement of Providence, you will get the beautiful Narayana as your husband. But after that, He will curse you and you will be transformed into the world-purifying Tulsi plant (holy basil Ocillium Basildum Sanctum). You will be the best of flowers and dearer to Narayana than His own life. No one's worship will be complete without your leaves. You will remain as a tree in Varindavana and will be widely known as Varindavani. The cowherd men and women will worship Lord Hari with your leaves. As the presiding deity of the Tulsi plant, you will always enjoy the company of Vishnu, the best of cowherd boys." Tulsi Devi smiled and gladly said to Lord Brahma, "O Father, I will be honest with you. I am not as devoted to the four-armed Narayana as I am to the two-armed Vishnu. For in Goloka, my close encounter with Vishnu was suddenly interrupted, leaving me still longing for Him. Thus, it was only because Vishnu had asked me that I have been praying to get Narayana for my husband. But now it appears certain that by your grace I will again get Vishnu, who is very difficult to attain. However, O lord, please grant me the following boon: that I lose my fear of Radharani." Lord Brahma replied, "O child, I shall now give you the sixteen-lettered Radha mantra. By this boon you will be as dear to Radharani as Her life, and She will approve of Your intimate dealings with Vishnu." Lord Brahma initiated Tulsi Devi into to the sixteen-lettered mantra, the hymn, and the mode of worship of Sri Radha. Then, blessing her, he disappeared. As directed, Tulsi engaged herself in worshiping Srimati Radharani and, after twelve years, attained success. Obtaining the desired boon, she reaped the fruits that were unattainable by others. As the pangs of her austerities ended, she became cheerful. When one gets the fruits of one's labour and then considers the difficulties experienced in attaining them, the difficulties then seem pleasurable. Tulsi was in the prime of her youth and she longed for the company of Sri Vishnu. Finishing her food and drink, she lay down on a beautiful bed decorated with flowers and perfumed with sandal paste. She went to sleep with a happy heart. But while she slept, Kamadeva, the god of love, shot five arrows at her--arrows that were meant to enchant her.
Consequently, though she was anointed with cooling sandal paste and slept on a bed strewn with flowers, her body began to feel as though it were on fire. Out of joy, the hairs on her body stood on end, her eyes reddened and her body began to tremble. One moment she looked thin and at another moment she grew restless or drowsy. Sometimes she became agitated or warm with desire, at other times she fainted, then recovered, then sorrowed. Sometimes she got up from the bed, walked this way and that way, sat down or lay down. This abnormal condition of her body and mind increased daily; so much so that her soft bed felt like a bed of thorns; delicious fruits and water tasted like poison; her house seemed like a desert; her soft delicate cloth felt hot like fire; and the vermilion mark on her forehead pained like a boil. In her dreams she saw a nicely dressed, smiling, jolly youth. He was adorned with jewels, besmeared with sandal paste and garlanded with flowers. Gazing at her face, he spoke to her affectionately, and embraced and kissed her repeatedly. One moment he went away; the next moment he returned; then she cried out, "O Lord of my heart, where are you going? Please don't go!" When she awakened, she wept again and again. In this way Tulsi Devi passed her days at Badarikashrama. THE BIRTH OF SANKHACHUDA The sage Kasyapa was the son of the prajapati (forefather) Marici and the grandson of Lord Brahma, and was very learned. Daksa, another prajapati, gave him thirteen of his daughters in marriage. One of Kasyapa Muni's wives was known as Danu. She was very attractive and chaste, and Kasyapa cared for her with love and devotion. Danu bore many mighty sons, one of whom was Vipracitti, who was exceedingly powerful and courageous. His son Dambha was self-controlled and a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. But he could not beget a son, so he became anxious. Therefore, to improve the situation, he went to Puskara Forest and performed severe austerity for a hundred thousand years. There, sitting in a steady posture and uttering the Vishnu mantra, he practiced japa. While practicing, intolerable effulgence shot out from Dambha's head and spread everywhere. It was so hot that all the demigods, sages and Manus were scorched by it. Thus, with Indra leading, they all sought shelter of Lord Brahma. Arriving at Lord Brahma's abode, they praised him and then informed him of the situation. After hearing about it, Lord Brahma, to relate the problem to Lord Vishnu, led them to Vaikuntha. There, with palms joined reverentially, they praised the great saviour and Lord of the three worlds. The demigods
then asked, "O Lord, we do not know what has caused this. Please tell us. What is that light by which we have been scorched?" Lord Vishnu laughed and lovingly said, "O demigods, do not be afraid; remain calm and unshaken. No flood will occur and it is not the time of universal dissolution. The asura Dambha, one of my devotees, is performing asceticism to obtain a son. I shall soon bless him and that will quiet him." Encouraged by this, Lord Brahma and the other demigods returned to their own realms. Lord Vishnu then went to Puskara where Dambha was practicing austerity. Seeing that Dambha was repeating His name, the Lord consoled him and asked, "What blessing do you want Me to grant you?" Dambha offered his obeisances with great devotion and praised the Lord repeatedly. Then he said, "O Lord of lords, O lotus-eyed one, obeisances unto You. O Lord of Lakshmi, O Lord of the three worlds, please be merciful to me. Please give me a powerful and courageous son who will be Your devotee, be invincible to the demigods, and be the conqueror of the three worlds." Lord Vishnu asked Dambha to stop his austerity, granted him the blessing, and disappeared. As the Lord vanished, Dambha offered obeisance in that direction and returned home. Within a short while his blessed wife became pregnant. She radiated effulgence that illuminated the inner apartment of her residence. The soul residing in her womb was Sudama, one of Lord Vishnu's leading cowherd companions who had been cursed by Srimati Radharani. When Dambha's chaste wife gave birth to a radiant-looking son, Dambha invited the sages to his place and had the postnatal rites performed. There was great jubilation and, on a favourable day, the father named him Sankhacuda. The son grew up in his father's residence like the moon in its bright half. In his childhood he learned all the traditions, customs, injunctions and prohibitions, and became resplendent. Engaging in childhood play, he delighted his parents and became the favourite of all the family members. Later on, to obtain a boon from Lord Brahma, Sankhacuda performed an austerity in Puskara for a long while. He concentrated his mind, restrained his senses and organs of action, and chanted a mantra that his preceptor, Jaigisavya, had imparted to him. Finally, Lord Brahma went to Sankhacuda to grant him a blessing. Lord Brahma asked, "Tell me what boon you want." Seeing Lord Brahma, the Danava king bowed to him humbly and praised him with devotional words. Then he said, "Please make me invincible to the demigods, and also enable me to marry Tulsi. "So be it," Brahma replied. Then he gave Sankhacuda the Divine amulet of Lord Sri Vishnu. This amulet, called Sarvamangalamaya (Conqueror of the World), was considered the most auspicious of all auspicious things in the world, for it guaranteed victory everywhere. Brahma continued, "Now you
should go to Badarikashrama. Tulsi Devi is performing penance there by her own will. You should marry her there. She is the daughter of King Dharmadhvaja." Lord Brahma then disappeared. Sankhacuda, whose austerity had now borne fruit at Puskara, tied that most precious amulet round his neck. He then set out for Badarikashrama, his face beaming with joy. TULSI DEVI TESTS KING SANKHACHUDA Tulsi saw Sankhacuda approaching in his jewelled airplane and noticed that he was in the prime of his youth. He was handsome like Cupid, whitecomplexioned like the Champaka flower and decorated with gems. His face resembled the full moon of autumn, his eyes looked like lotuses in full bloom, and his cheeks flashed with the glow of his earrings. A Parijata flower garlanded his neck, musk and saffron anointed his body, and sandal paste perfumed his person. As he came closer, Tulsi hid her face in her shawl and smiled at him with sidelong glances. Blushing at the thought of this first meeting, she bowed her head nervously and eagerly drank in with her eyes the lotus of his face. Sankhacuda also gazed at Tulsi, seated as she was on a lovely bed strewn with flowers and sandalwood. Her teeth shown like pearls, her lips were like Bimba fruit, her nose was graceful and her complexion golden. She resembled the autumnal moon. Adding to her grace, just below the parting of her hair, was the mark of sandal paste and musk; and, just below them, a mark of vermilion. She had a low yet deep navel, and below it, three lovely abdominal folds. Her palms were reddish, her fingernails were glowing, and her feet were radiant and crimson, coloured with lac-dye. Her glowing toenails surpassed the glow of the autumn moon, giving her an unrivalled beauty. Tulsi was adorned with lovely jingling ornaments, and the knot of hair at the back of her head was decorated with a jasmine wreath. Shark-shaped earrings adorned her cheeks while a diamond necklace beautified her breast. She wore gorgeous bangles of conch on her arms and wrists, as well as precious jewels on her fingers. Sankhacuda sat down and said to her, "O beautiful girl, whose daughter are you? And how have you come to this forest? You look most fortunate and blessed. Indeed, you are the personification of heavenly joy--the best of women! You are a model of loveliness and can certainly bewilder even the saints!" When Tulsi gave no reply, he asked, "O gracious one, why don't you speak? I am your servant, so please greet me with the melody of your speech."
Her head lowered, her face smiling, the beautiful-eyed Tulsi said, "I am the daughter of King Dharmadhvaja and have been practicing asceticism here. But who are you? And why are you talking to me? If a noble man sees a virtuous woman alone, he does not talk to her. So go away--wherever you please." But Sankhacuda did not move. Tulsi continued. "The shastras say that only a degraded man desires a woman. At first a woman is sweet to a man, but later proves fatal. Though her mouth rains honey, her heart is like a jar of poison. She uses sweet words but her heart is sharp like a razor. To achieve her own selfish ends she is submissive to her husband; otherwise, she is unsubmissive. While her face looks cheerful, her heart is dirty. Even the Vedas and the Puranas cannot fathom her character. A wise man never trusts a base woman. She has no friend or enemy; for all she wants are new lovers. When a woman sees a well-dressed man, she inwardly desires him, but outwardly she appears chaste and modest. She is naturally passionate, attracts men's minds, and eagerly engages in sex. Though outwardly she hides her lust and appears modest, when she meets her lover in secret, she is ready to swallow him up. When she does not have sex with him, she feels offended, her body burns with anger, and she begins to quarrel. When her passions are fully satisfied, she becomes cheerful; when unsatisfied, morose. "A woman likes a good lover more than sweet foods or refreshing drinks; she likes him even more than her own son; he is dearer to her than her life. But if the lover becomes impotent or aged, she regards him as an enemy. Quarrels and anger ensue. Then she devours him as a snake eats a rat. She is rashness personified and a mine of vices. A woman is hypocritical, obstinate and unfaithful. Even Lord Brahma and other gods are deluded by her. She is a hindrance on the path of austerity, an obstacle to liberation, an impediment to developing faith in Lord Hari, a refuge of all delusion and a living chain that binds men to the world. She is like a magician and is as false as dreams. She appears to be very beautiful, but is she is a bucket of stool, urine, gas and blood. When God created her, he arranged that she should become the spirit of delusion to the deluded and poison to those who desire liberation. Thus, on no account should a woman be desired, and by all means she should be avoided." Sankhacuda smiled and then answered, "O goddess, what you have said is not completely false. It is partly true and partly false. From the Creator have come chaste and unchaste women. One is praiseworthy, the other isn't. Examples of chaste women are Lakshmi, Sarasvati, Durga, Savitri and Radha. Women who are expansions of them are auspicious, glorious and very commendable, such as Satarupa, Devahuti,
Svadha, Savaha, Daksina, Anasuya, Ganga, Diti, Aditi, Vedavati, etc. In every yuga cycle these women are excellent. The heavenly prostitutes are also expansions and partial expansions of the above women, but they are not praiseworthy because they are unchaste. Women who are in the mode of goodness are virtuous and pure. The sages declare them to be excellent. But those who are in the modes of passion and ignorance are not so praiseworthy. The passionate ones are fond of sense pleasures, indulge in them, and always want to fulfil their selfish goals. Such women are usually insincere, deluded and irreligious. Generally, they are unchaste. But woman in the mode of ignorance are considered the worst. They are irresistible. "A virtuous man would never court another man's wife in either public or private. But I have come to you by Lord Brahma's command--to marry you according to the Gandharva rite. (In this, the bride and bridegroom meet each other of their own accord and consummate their meeting in sexual union. No sacred rituals are necessary. "My name is Sankhacuda. When the demigods see me, they flee in fear. In my previous birth, I lived in Goloka and was a cowherd boy named Sudama. I was a close friend of Sri Vishnu's, one of His attendants. I was one of the eight celebrated cowherds. Then Srimati Radharani cursed me to be born in India in a demon family. By Vishnu's grace and by His mantra, I am a jatismara, that is, I know the history of my previous birth. You also are a jatismara. So you know that in your previous birth, in Goloka, when Radharani caught you alone with Vishnu, she became angry and cursed you to be born here, in India. In Goloka I very much wanted to consort with you; but because I feared Radharani, I did not do so." Sankhacuda stopped talking. Then Tulsi smiled and cheerfully said, "Persons like you are famous in this world and good women desire such husbands. You have defeated me in argument. A man who is conquered by a woman is very impure and condemned by people in general. The forefathers and the demigods regard men who are conquered by women as low and contemptible. Even their fathers and mothers mentally despise them. The Vedas say that when a child is born or a relative dies, the brahmanas are purified in ten days; the ksatriyas in twelve days; the vaisyas in fifteen days; and the sudras as well as other low classes in twenty-one days. But a man conquered by a woman always remains impure. Only when his body is burned to ashes does he become purified. Neither the ancestors nor the demigods accept from him offerings of cakes, flowers, etc. Men whose hearts are totally conquered by women acquire no fruits from their knowledge, austerities, japa, fire sacrifices, worship, learning or fame. "I tested you to determine how strong you are in knowledge. One should choose one's husband by examining a man's merits and defects. If one gives
his daughter in marriage to a man devoid of all good qualifications, to an old man, to a man who is ignorant or poor, illiterate, diseased, ugly, wrathful, harsh, lame, limbless, deaf, dumb, inactive, or impotent--this sin is equivalent to the sin of murdering a brahmana. But if one gives his daughter in marriage to a young Vaishnava who is learned, well-qualified and peaceful, one acquires the fruits of performing ten horse sacrifices. If one raises a daughter and then sells her out of greed for profit, he falls to the hell known as Kumbhipaka. There, for a period equal to fourteen of Lord Indra's lifespans, such a sinner has to drink his daughter's urine and eat her stool as well as be bitten by worms and crows. When this period ends, he has to be born in this world as a diseased person and earn his livelihood by selling and carrying meat." TULSI MARRIES SANKHACHUDA When Tulsi Devi stopped speaking, Lord Brahma suddenly appeared there. After Sankhacuda and Tulsi offered him their respects, Lord Brahma said, "O Sankhacuda! Why are you wasting your time in such empty talks with Tulsi? Marry her now by the Gandharva rites. As you are a gem among males, she is a gem among females. When a clever couple marry, the union is very happy. And who would abandon happiness when it is at hand? Anyone who would do so is worse than a beast. And you, Tulsi! Why are you testing this noble and qualified person who can subdue both the gods and the demons? Marry Sankhacuda, just as Lakshmi is married to Narayana, Radhika to Vishnu, my Savitri to me, Saci to Indra and Aditi to Kasyapa. Stay with the handsome Sankhacuda for a long time and, as you like, wander with him to various places. When Sankhacuda leaves his body, you will return to Goloka and get Vishnu as your husband." Lord Brahma then blessed them and returned to his own abode. Sankhacuda then married Tulsi by the Gandharva rite. Glorifying the marriage, the demigods sounded their drums and showered flowers on them from the sky. Sometimes the newly married couple would go to a flower grove and at other times to a river bank. There they would sleep on flower beds smeared with sandal paste and enjoy marital pleasures. Tulsi easily stole the heart of her husband, and Sankhacuda also attracted Tulsi's heart. After Tulsi garlanded her husband with parijata flowers, which prevent disease and old age, she placed a precious jewelled ring on his finger and offered him rare beautiful gems. Bowing down to his feet with devotion, she repeatedly said, "I am at your service!" Sankhacuda smiled. He then presented Tulsi with clothes he had obtained from Lord Varuna's house; he
also gave her a precious necklace of jewels, an armlet he had gotten from Swaha (Agni's wife), armlets from Chhaya (the sun god's wife), earrings from Rohini (the moon god's wife), finger rings from Rati (Cupid's wife), conch ornaments from Visvakarma, as well as excellent bedding adorned with pearls and jewels. After further adorning her, he placed her feet on his chest and said, "I am your servant." They left the hermitage and began to travel to various places. They went to different mountains, flower gardens, caves, beaches, riversides and forests. Wherever they went, they enjoyed each other's company with great satisfaction, never tiring of one another. Sankhacuda then brought Tulsi to his own kingdom and there they continued to delight in each other's company. LORD VISHNU HELPS THE DEMIGODS Sankhacuda enjoyed his kingdom for one Manvantara (4,320,000 years) and, during that period, gained control over all the Devas, Dhanavas, Gandharvas, Kinnaras and Raksasas. He dispossessed the gods of their realms and privileges, deprived them of their rights with respect to worship and offerings, and seized their weapons and ornaments. Consequently, they wandered about the universe like helpless beggars. Finally, they united in a group and went to Lord Brahma's assembly. Sobbing, they related the whole story of how Sankhacuda had oppressed them. Lord Brahma took them to Lord Shiva's realm and related to Shiva the details of the case. Lord Shiva then took them all to the highest place, Vaikuntha, where there is neither old age nor death. As they approached the first gate, they saw the watchmen guarding the gate and sitting on jewelled seats. The watchmen had beautiful dark blue bodies and looked effulgent. They had smiles on their faces, lotus like eyes, and four arms--each hand holding a conch, mace, disc and lotus. They wore yellow garments, were decorated with jewelled ornaments, and were garlanded with forest flowers. Lord Brahma asked them for admittance and they nodded their approval. Then, after passing through sixteen gates, the group finally arrived before Lord Narayana. The assembly hall was filled with saints and four-armed attendants who resembled Narayana and were wearing Kaustubha jewels. The assembly hall was so brilliant with rays of light that it appeared as though the moon had just arisen. By Lord Narayana's mercy, there were diamonds, gems and necklaces of jewels placed in various areas. In some spots there were rows of pearls that shed their splendour and brilliance, and in other spots there were mirrors arranged in a circle. In certain areas there were jewels called Padmaragas which were artistically arranged to appear
like lotuses spreading their radiant beauty everywhere. There were rows of steps made of Syamantaka jewels. Throughout the hall were wonderful pillars built of Indranilam jewels. There were sandal leaves strung high from pillar to pillar. There were also golden jars full of water. All around were parijata-flower garlands, sweet-scented sandal trees, and saffron and musk; the whole atmosphere was permeated with sweet fragrances. The Vidyadaras were dancing in one area. The assembly hall measured eight thousand miles in circumference. All over, numerous servants were engaged in various services. Lord Brahma and other demigods saw Lord Hari (Narayana) sitting in the centre on a precious jewelled throne; He looked like the moon surrounded by many stars. He was wearing a crown on His head, earrings, a wildflower garland round His neck and sandal paste on His body. Holding a lotus in His hand, He was smiling, watching the dancers and listening to the music. He looked very tranquil. Lakshmi was gently holding His feet and He was chewing the sweet-scented betel she had given Him. Ganga was fanning Him devotedly with a white chamara, and others were singing hymns to Him with their heads lowered in devotion. Lord Brahma and the other gods offered their obeisances to Lord Vishnu. As they did, their hairs stood on end, tears flowed from their eyes and their voices were choked with emotion. Then Lord Brahma, his hands clasped and his head bowed, informed the Lord about Sankhacuda's doings. Lord Hari smiled and said, "O lotus born! I know all about Sankhacuda. In his previous birth he was my great devotee, a very energetic cowherd boy in Goloka. I will tell you something about him which is quite sanctifying. His name was Sudama and he was my chief attendant. He is now a Danava because in Goloka Radha pronounced a terrible curse on him. Here is how it happened... "One day I left Radha's company and went to the rasa dance area with the gopi named Viraja. Radha soon heard from one of Her maidservants that I had flirted with Viraja. Blinded with fury, She hastened there with Her attendants to see if this were true. Seeing that it was, Radha immediately converted Viraja into a river. I myself disappeared, so Radha rushed home angrily with Her attendants. "Later, when I was with Sudama and She saw me, Radha rebuked me very much. However, I remained silent. But Sudama could not tolerate this, so he rebuked Radha in My very presence. This was quite intolerable to Her dignity. Her eyes became red with anger and She immediately ordered thousands of Her attendants to drive him away. Sudama then trembled with fear. As Radha's attendants tried to drive him away, he resisted and repeated his reproaches against Her. When She heard them, She cursed him, saying, `May you be born in the womb of a Danavi (demon
woman)!' "Sudama bowed down to Me and, crying, began to leave. But Radha, who is quite merciful, began to melt. Weeping, she tried repeatedly to stop him from leaving. "Wait!" She called. "Wait! Where are you going? You don't have to go. Please come back." She became distressed, and Her attendants and the cowherd boys began to weep. I then explained to them, `In about a half a moment Sudama will return, having fulfilled the conditions of the curse. Of course a half moment here is equal to about one Manvantara (4,320,000 years) on Earth.' I then called to Sudama. `O Sudama, when the curse expires, please came back here!' "O demigods, that expert mystic and devotee Sankhacuda will return to Goloka. Therefore, O gods, go quickly to India. Lord Shiva will kill the Danava with the trident. The demon is wearing My auspicious amulet around his neck. It is called the "Conqueror of the World." As long as he keeps wearing it, no one can kill him. So I will go to him disguised as a Brahman and beg the amulet from him. But you have granted him the boon that he cannot die unless his wife's chastity is violated. I will take care of this as well. Then he will surely die. Later, when his wife leaves her body, she will become my dearest wife." AN ENVOY SENT TO SANKHACHUDA Lord Brahma and the other demigods returned to their respective abodes. Later, to gain victory for the demigods, Lord Shiva pitched his big tent and camped on the banks of the Chandrabhaga River under a beautiful fig tree. He then sent Puspadanta, the leader of the Gandharvas, as a messenger to Sankhacuda. When Puspadanta arrived at Sankhacuda capital, he noticed that it was more beautiful than Indra's realm and more opulent than Kuvera's. The city was 40 miles wide and 80 miles long. It was built of pearl and jewel crystals, and on all sides there were roadways. Seven inaccessible moats, one after another, surrounded the city. There were hundreds of shops full of trade articles and marketable commodities. Palatial buildings of traders and merchants were all over. Thousands and thousands of beautiful buildings, constructed with scarlet gems, inlaid with various ornaments and decorated with fancy articles, gave the place a boundless charm. The Gandharva chief saw that Sankhacuda's palace was spherical like the moon. Four successive moats with fiery flames encircled it. On top of the palace were ramparts, made of jewels that touched the sky. The palace was inaccessible to enemies but offered no hindrance to friends. The twelve gates, decorated with lotuses, jewelled mirrors, paintings and
statues, were guarded by twelve gatekeepers. On all sides the place was protected by very powerful, graceful, well-dressed and richly adorned demons who were holding heavenly weapons in their hands. When Puspadanta approached the first gate, he saw that it was guarded by a man who had a hideous face, copper complexion and tawny eyes, and who was smiling and holding a trident in his hand. Puspadanta explained to him the purpose of his mission--that he was a war ambassador--and the guard allowed him to pass inside; the other gatekeepers did the same. At the last gate he said to the guard, "O guard, quickly inform your king that a war is about to occur." The guard did so and, obtaining Sankhacuda's permission, ushered the messenger inside. There, the Gandharva saw the well-formed, handsome demon seated in the centre of the royal assembly on a golden throne. One attendant was holding a jewelled umbrella over the king's head while other attendants were fanning him with white chamaras (whisks). Countless demons surrounded him and armed guards walked here and there. Sankhacuda was beautifully dressed in heavenly garments, covered with garlands, and anointed with fragrance. Seeing all this, Puspadanta was thunderstruck and said to Sankhacuda, "O King, I am a messenger of Lord Shiva and my name is Puspadanta. My lord has ordered me to tell you the following: The demigods have sought the protection of Lord Hari. So you had better restore to them their kingdoms and rights. Lord Hari has asked him to wage war against you if necessary. Presently, Lord Shiva is residing under the shade of a fig tree on the bank of the Puspabhadra River. Either you must return to the demigods their property or you must be ready to fight with Lord Shiva...What shall I tell my lord is your reply?" The demon laughed loudly and said, "You had better leave. I shall go to him in the morning." The messenger returned to Lord Shiva and conveyed the demon's message. In the meantime the following group of persons appeared before Lord Shiva: Kartika, Nandi, Bana, Manibhadra, the eight Bhairavas, the eleven Rudras, the eight Vasus, the twelve Adityas, Indra, Agni, Chandra, Viswakarma, the two Aswini-kumaras, Kuvera, Yama, Jayanta, NalaKuvara, Vayu, Varuna, Budha, Mangala, Dharma, Sani, Kama, Ugra-chanda, Kottari, the hundred-armed Goddess Durga or Adi Shakti Parvati, Who was seated on Well jeweled seat of Lions, as well as many other personages. She carried a trident, an iron spear, conches, a wheel, mace, lotus, bow, arrows, dumbbells, a scimitar, thunder, the weapons of Vishnu and Varuna, a snake noose, the weapons of Agni, Narayana, Brahma, Gandharva, Garuda, Pasupata, a pestle, shield, staff, as well as other irresistible weapons. This fearsome goddess was accompanied by millions of devotee Yoginis and
Dakinis, and also countless ghosts, goblins and demons known as Bhutas, Pretas, Pisachas, Kusmandas, Brahma Raksasas and Raksasas, as well as Yaksas and Kinnaras. Then Kartikkeya arrived and he bowed down to his father Lord Shiva and Great Goddess Parvati who meanwhile was in the Shape of Durga, who asked him to sit on his left side and help him. The army remained there in battle array. SANKHACHUDA CONSOLES TULSI At the palace, the mighty Sankhacuda went to the women's quarters and informed Tulsi about the imminent war. Hearing this, her palate, lips and throat became dry. With a sorrowful heart, she said to him, "O my lord, my friend, my master! Stay for a moment and sit within my heart. Fill me with life for a moment. Please satisfy my human desire. Let me gaze at you fully so that my eyes may be satisfied. My breathing is very agitated now. For at the end of night I had a very bad dream. Therefore, I feel a burning within myself." The king finished his meal and, in truthful and beneficial words, said to Tulsi, "O my queen, when it is time to reap the results of one's past acts, one experiences good and evil, pleasure and pain, fear and sorrow. In time, trees grow, branches develop, flowers blossom and fruits appear. In time, the fruitful tree decays. Similarly, in time, human beings grow and decline. In time, the creator creates, the preserver preserves and the destroyer destroys. This is the law of creation, preservation and destruction. Therefore, you should always adore Lord Vishnu, as He is Presever, He has neither beginning nor end, and He does not depend on material nature. Lord Vishnu, by His own will, has manifested nature with its animate and inanimate objects. "All things, from Lord Brahma down to a blade of grass, are artificial and temporary. In time, they grow and decay. Thus it would be better for you to adore Lakshmi consort, Lord Vishnu, who is distinct from the three modes of material nature, who is the Supersoul within all and the Great Lord. Take shelter of Vishnu, for it is by His command that the wind blows swiftly, the sun radiates heat, Indra pours rain, death visits human beings, fire burns, and the moon travels through the sky. Seek the Supreme Vishnu, who is the death of death, the time of time, the creator of the creator, the preserver of the preserver and the destroyer of the destroyer. Take refuge in Him. My dearest, no one is a friend of anyone, but Lord Hari (Vishnu) is the friend of all. Therefore, pray to Him and serve Him.
"My love, who am I and who are you? By our karma, Providence has united us. Providence will also separate us. When danger comes, only fools are disturbed. The wise are never thus shaken. Like wheels, pleasure and pain always revolve. In Badarikashrama you absorbed yourself in austerities to obtain Lord Narayana as your husband. Surely you will get Him. I myself practiced austerities to obtain you as my wife. And by Lord Brahma's grace I have gotten you. Very soon you will get Govinda in Goloka Varindavana. And when I leave my demoniac body, I too shall go there. In that realm we will regularly see one another. By Radha's curse I was born in the precious land of India. But I will return to Goloka. Therefore, my dear, do not worry about me. You too will quit your human form and assume a spiritual form and go to Lord Hari. So you need not sorrow." Tulsi was thus consoled. Sankhacuda spent the night with Tulsi in the temple of gems, which was lit by diamond lamps. They rested on a nicely decorated bed that was strewn with flowers and anointed with sandal paste. Then Tulsi, who had not eaten any food and thus looked thin, became overwhelmed with grief and began weeping. The king, who knew the truth about life, clasped her to his chest and again appeased her in various ways. The spiritual instructions he had received in Bhandira Forest from Lord Vishnu, which were capable of destroying all sorrows and delusions, he now carefully conveyed to Tulsi. Upon receiving them, her joy knew no bounds, for she realised that everything in this world is temporary. She and her husband then spent the remainder of the night in loving exchanges. SANKHACHUDA PREPARES FOR WAR At Brahma Muhurta (48 mins before sunrise), Sankhacuda got up from his flower-strewn bed. He discarded his night clothes, bathed in pure water, put on freshly washed clothing, and smeared his body and forehead with bright tilaka markings. He performed his necessary rites and worshiped his personal Deity. He then saw such auspicious things as curd, ghee, honey, parched rice, etc., and, as usual, distributed to the brahmanas the best jewels, pearls, clothing and gold. To make his departure for war favourable, he gave to his guru some pearls, gems and diamonds, and he gave to the poor some horses, elephants and cows. He then gave to the brahmanas a thousand storehouses, three lakhs (300,000) of towns and seven lakhs (700,000) of villages. He installed his son Suchandra as the acting king and entrusted to him the care of his family, kingdom, treasury, subjects, wealth, storehouses and conveyances.
Sankhacuda dressed himself for war and armed himself with bow and arrows. The king ordered the armies to gather, so three hundred thousand horses, one hundred thousand elephants, ten thousand chariots, three crores of archers (30 million), three crores of armed soldiers and three crores of trident holders readied themselves for battle. After counting his forces, the king appointed a maharatha, an expert in the science of warfare, as commander-in-chief over three lakh aksauhini forces (300,000). [An aksauhini is a whole army consisting of 109,000 foot soldiers, 65,610 horses, 21,870 chariots and 21,870 elephants]. Ordering three aksauhinis to beat war drums, he remembered Lord Hari and emerged from the pavilion. Sankhacuda rode on a fine chariot and, headed by his guru and his elders, left for Lord Shiva's place. Lord Shiva at that time was staying on the banks of the Puspabhadra River at Siddhasrama. This holy place was known to enable sadhus to easily attain perfection in yoga. It was here that Lord Kapila practiced asceticism, and thus devotees of Lord Kapila went there and did the same. The place was bounded on the west by the western sea, on the east by the Malaya mountain range, on the south by the Sri Saila mountain and on the north by the Gandha-madhan mountain. The Puspabhadra River was forty miles wide and four thousand miles long. This auspicious river offered great spiritual merit, and was always full of transparent, sparkling water. She is the favourite spouse of the Lavana (salt) ocean and is indeed very sacred. This river issues from the Saraswati in the Himalayas and, keeping the Gomati River on her left side, she eventually merges with the western ocean. LORD SHIVA'S COUNSEL When the demon arrived there, he saw Lord Shiva sitting in a yogic meditation posture at the root of a fig tree. Looking as bright as a million suns, Lord Shiva was smiling. He appeared as though the Infinite Light were radiating from every pore of his body. He was wearing a tiger skin and holding a trident and axe, and his head was covered with bright bunches of matted hair. He had five faces and three eyes in each, and there were sacred snakes coiled around his neck. He was the death of death, the destroyer of the world and a powerful and Lord of all. His face was serene and beautiful. He immortalises his devotees, awards the fruits of asceticism and is a source of prosperity. He destroys the world and rescues sinners from hell. Upon seeing Lord Shiva, Sankhacuda got down from his chariot and, with his entire army, bowed low to him. He also saluted Goddess Durga, who was
on Lord Shiva's left side, and Kartikkeya, who was in the front. In response, they bestowed blessings on him. Nandi and other devotees of Lord Shiva got up and greeted him in a suitable manner. Sankhacuda spoke cordially to them and then sat down beside Lord Shiva, who greeted him cheerfully and said, "O King, Lord Brahma, the creator of the world and the father of religious duty, had a Vaishnava son named Marici, who begat the virtuous Kasyapa. Daksa, another son of Lord Brahma, bowed to Kasyapa and gave him his thirteen daughters in marriage. Of these daughters, Danu, who was very blessed and chaste, gave birth to forty sons. They were all very spirited and known as Danavas. Amongst them, Vipracitti was prominent--he was most valorous, pious and devoted to Lord Vishnu. His son's name was Dambha and he obtained Sukracarya as his guru. Following his teacher's advice, he worshiped Lord Vishnu at Puskara by reciting the Vishnu mantra for one hundred thousand years. Consequently, by Lord Vishnu's boon, he was able to get a son like You. "In your former birth, in Goloka, you were very religious and were the chief cowherd friend of Lord Vishnu. By Radha's curse you have become lord of the demons here. But you are also a Vaishnava. And a Vaishnava regards everything--from the form of Lord Brahma down to the form of a blade of grass--as very illusory. Even if the four kinds of liberation are offered to him, namely, Salokya, Sarsti, Sayujya and Samipya (to live on the same planet as Lord Vishnu, to have the same opulence's as Lord Vishnu, to merge with Lord Vishnu and to have equal association with Lord Vishnu, respectively), he does not care at all for them; for he is only interested in serving Lord Vishnu. Nor does he care to have the position of Indra, Kuvera or Brahma, for he thinks them all insignificant. He only cares to worship and serve Lord Vishnu. Now You are a true Vishnu devotee. Therefore, why do you care for those things that belong to the demigods and which are false to you? Better return to the demigods their kingdoms and please me by this act. Let the demigods be reinstated in their own positions and you govern your own kingdom happily. You are all descendants of Kasyapa Muni. So it is not desirable for relatives to feud. In fact, the sin committed by killing a brahmana is not even one sixteenth as great as that of creating hostilities amongst one's relatives. "O King, pause. If you think that by restoring to the demigods their kingdoms, you will lose prestige, you should also consider that no one's position is stable or unchanging. When the world is completely dissolved, even Lord Brahma disappears; then, by the will of God and Me, he subsequently reappears. And later, by virtue of his knowledge, he again creates everything. But the type of knowledge, intellect and memory that people receive depends on the amount of austerity they practiced in their previous births. "Also, consider this: truth
is the support of dharma or virtue. In the Satya-yuga (golden or truthful age), virtue is complete; in the Treta-yuga (silver age), it is reduced by one fourth; in the Dvapara yuga (copper age) by one half; and in the Kali yuga (iron age or age of quarrel), by three fourths; and at the end of the Kali yuga, virtue becomes reduced even more, like the moon on the dark-moon night. "Or consider the sun: in the summer its light is very intense; but not so in the winter. At noon, the sun is very hot; but not so in the morning and evening. In time, the sun rises; in time, it becomes powerful; and in time, it sets. By the working of time, it is obscured by clouds. "Then consider the moon: when the moon is devoured by Rahu (as in a lunar eclipse) it trembles; when it is released, it becomes bright again. In the full-moon night it becomes full, but does not remain so. In the bright fortnight it waxes daily, but in the dark fortnight it wanes daily. In the bright fortnight, the moon looks healthy and rich but in the dark fortnight it looks decreasingly thinner, as if afflicted by consumption. Thus at one time the moon looks powerful and at another time it looks weak and pale. "Similarly, Bali Maharaja is presently living in Patala loka (one of the planets beneath the earth) but at another time he will become lord of the demigods. At one time the earth is lush with grains and is the resting place of all beings, but at another time it becomes covered with water. The entire world, including everything moving and non moving, appears at one time and disappears at another. "Only the Supreme Personality of Godhead, remains the same. It is by my knowledge that I obtained the name Mrtyunjaya (the Conqueror of Death). I have witnessed many dissolutions of the world and I shall continue to witness them. Lord Vishnu and Me had Both Seen the Sixteen Worlds and are the Supreme Being. He is the individual soul as well as the Supreme Soul. Me is The Time to which all dissolutions of many Worlds are absorbed. We both are forms of same Supreme Personality. Though he and I assumes many forms. The Supreme Being has created Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; and me, the destroyer. By That Supreme reality we possess those potencies and influences. O King! I have delegated Kala, Agni and Rudra to do the work of destruction, whereas I myself only repeat OM. For this reason I am called Mrityunjaya, and by my knowledge, I have conquered death. I am fearless. When death sees me, he flies away just as snakes flee when they see Garuda." King Sankhacuda thanked and praised Lord Shiva repeatedly, and replied modestly. "What you have said is quite true. But please allow me to say a few words. Kindly listen...You have just said that fighting with one's relatives is a great sin. Then why did the Lord, on behalf of the demigods,
take away all of Bali Maharaja's possessions and send him down to Patala? And why did the Lord, You and Goddess Durga, for the same reason, kill Hiranyaksa, Hiranyakasipu, Tripurassura, Shumbhu and Nishumbhu, Mahishasura and other Danavas (demons)? Long ago the demons and the demigods worked hard together churning the ocean to obtain nectar from it; but why did the Lord give the nectar to the demigods? O lord, this universe is the sporting ground of Lord Vishnu, Maa Durga and You; and anyone You all favor with fortune and glory obtains them. The quarrelling between the demigods and the demons is eternal. Victory and defeat come to each party alternately. So it is improper and unnecessary for You all to interfere in our quarrel. For you, O great Lord, are both my relative and my friend. And your nature is of the Highest Self. To You, the demigods and the demons are equal. So it is certainly shameful for you to become our opponent and favor the demigods. If you win this battle, the glory and fame you would gain would not be as great as if we win. And if we defeat you, the disgrace and infamy you would earn would be much greater than that which we would if we were defeated: for we are small and you are great. Lord Shiva smiled and gently said, "O King, you have descended from a Brahman family, so if I am defeated by you, how shall I incur shame? In former days the Lord Vishnu fought with Madhu and Kaitabha as well as Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa. And I fought with Tripura. And the universal mother and my Wife, Durga Devi or Devi Parvati, fought with Shumbha and other demons. But none of the demons just mentioned, who were killed in the war, can be compared to you in prowess. You are the best of Lord Vishnu's attendants. The demigods have sought Lord Hari's protection, so He has sent me on their behalf to approach you. If I am defeated by a sublime person like you, how can I be disgraced? But I'm surprised to hear you talk of disgrace and infamy. There is no point in continuing this useless talk. Now, either return to the demigods their kingdoms or prepare to fight with me. I am firm in my determination." THE WAR BEGINS Sankhacuda quickly got up, bowed down to Lord Shiva, and ascended his chariot with his ministers. Lord Shiva ordered his army to be ready immediately, and Sankhacuda did the same. Musical instruments blared out, formally announcing the start of war. There was a great clamour along with the cries of the warriors. Then the fight between the demigods and demons began, and both sides fought righteously. Indra fought with Vrsaparvan,
Bhaskara (the sun god) with Vipracitti, Nisakara (the moon god) with Dambha, Fire with Gokarna, Kuvera with Kalakeya, and Viswakarma with Maya. Mrtyu (the death god) battled with Bhayamkara, Yama with Sambara, Vayu with Bala, Vaurna with Vikamka, Budha with Dhritapristha, Sani with Raktaksa, Jayanta with Ratnasara, the Vasus with the groups of Varchases, the two Aswini Kumaras with the two Diptimans, Nalukuvara with Dhuma, and Dharma with Dhurandhara. Mangala contended with Ganakaksa, Vaisvana with Sobhakara, Mammatha with Pipita, the twelve sun gods with Gokamukha, Curna, Kahdga, Dhumra, Samhala, Visva and Palasa. The eleven Rudras fought with eleven terrible and powerful asuras, Mahamani fought with Ugracanda and others, and Nandisvara and the rest fought with the leading demons. Lord Shiva, the Goddess Durga and their son Karttikeya encamped at the root of the holy fig tree. King Sankhacuda, adorned with gems and surrounded by millions of demons, sat down on a beautiful jewelled throne. Then a great battle ensued. Many mystical and supernatural weapons were hurled, and numerous demigods and demons were killed. Maces, long and short swords, Pattisas, Bhusundis, Mudgaras (different types of iron clubs), javelins, spears, axes and other weapons glowed in the soldiers' hands. Fighting with these weapons, the jubilant warriors roared and cut off each other's heads. Elephants, horses, chariot and foot soldiers, along with their drivers and passengers were hit and torn apart. Arms, thighs, hands, hips, ears and feet were cut off. Flags, arrows, swords, coats of mail and beautiful ornaments were split apart. From the tussle, glowing heads with earrings as well as elephant like thighs were strewn about the earth. Severed arms with their ornaments and weapons were scattered about like honeycombs. Warriors running on the battlefield saw several headless bodies that jumped and which were still holding their weapons. The warriors discharged so many arrows at each other that the sun became obscured and it appeared as if the rainy season had arrived. Heroes roared like lions, blew conches loudly and fought furiously. Though the combat was terrible and tumultuous, it was pleasurable to the fighters. Then the demigods were defeated. Many were wounded by weapons and missiles, and, frightened, they fled the battlefield. KARTTIKEYA AND DURGA ENTER THE BATTLE The demigods returned to Lord Shiva and sought refuge in him. Disturbed, they cried out, "O Lord, please save us! Save us!" Lord Shiva, noting the demigods' defeat and hearing their fearful cries, became greatly enraged. Glancing at the demigods sympathetically, he
assured them of his protection. He ordered his son, the great hero Karttikeya, to attack the enemy. Fighting courageously with the hosts of demons, Kartikkeya shouted angrily and roared heroically, killing one hundred aksauhinis in the battle. Then Durga, her eyes like a red lotus, chopped off their heads with Her Axe. She fought in many ways, frightening both the demigods and the demons. Wherever She went, there She Killed Demons. With one hand she grabbed ten million elephants and ten million men and playfully throws them to Sky. Her Power and Strength was Beyond Reach. Karttikeya again became furious. Showering countless volleys of arrows, he struck thousands of demon leaders within a few seconds. Terrified, many of the Danavas fled, but those who stayed were slain. The demons Vrsaparvan, Vipracitti, Danda and Vikampana fought with Karttikeya by turns, and all of them were wounded by his spear. Durga assisted Kartikkeya, and together they won the battle. In the heavens, the celestials pounded their drums and showered down flowers. Sankhacuda saw the appalling spectacle wrought by Karttikeya and Maa Durga; it appeared as terrible as the final dissolution of the world. Furious, he prepared for battle. Accompanied by many heroes, he climbed into his diamond-studded airplane, which was equipped with weapons and missiles. This enlivened and encouraged his men, especially when Sankhacuda, sitting in the middle of the plane, drew his bowstring to his ear and discharged volleys of arrows. The shafts were terrifying and could not be endured. They resembled a shower of rain and covered the battlefield with intense darkness, relieved only by occasional flashes of fire. At this, Nandisvara and the other demigods fled, however, Karttikeya stayed. Then the Danava king showered mountains, serpents, pythons and trees so horrendously that they could not be resisted. Thus Karttikeya looked like the sun covered by thick sheets of frost. Sankhacuda broke Karttikeya's car, cut to pieces his bow, chariot and horses, and shattered his peacock carrier. Then he hurled his effulgent spear at Karttikeya's chest, and the force of the blow caused him to fall unconscious. Quickly regaining consciousness, Karttikeya mounted his sturdy, bejewelled chariot, took up his weapons and missiles and fought awesomely. Using his mystic weapons, he furiously split the weapons that had been hurled at him, namely, the serpents, mountains, trees and rocks. Then he put out a fire with his water weapon, split apart the demon's bow and chariot, and killed his charioteer. Roaring and shouting repeatedly like a hero; he split Sankhacuda's armour and crown, and then hurled his blazing spear at the demon's chest. Sankhacuda collapsed unconscious. But within a second that powerful asura regained consciousness and, with the strength of a lion, got
up and roared. The demon grabbed another bow and more arrows and mounted another chariot. Foremost in the use of mystic powers, the demon caused a tremendous downpour of arrows on Karttikeya that completely enshrouded him. Then the demon grabbed an invincible iron spear, which was filled with Lord Vishnu's energy; it was radiant like a hundred suns and looked like the vast fire that occurs at the end of the world. Sankhacuda hurled it at Karttikeya and it hit him with the impact of a massive fireball, causing him to drop unconscious. Durga immediately went to him, lifted her son to her breast and carried him to Lord Shiva. By virtue of his deep knowledge, Lord Shiva revived Karttikeya and endowed him with inexhaustible strength. He then got up full of vigour but remained guarded by Lord Shiva. Then After Seeing the condition of her son Durga Assumed the form of Most ferocious Goddess Kali. Kali followed by Nandiswara, the Gandharvas, the Yaksas and the Kinnaras, returned to the battlefield. Hundreds of war drums were pounded and hundreds of persons carried wine. When Kali began to roar like a lioness, the demons fainted. Seeing this, she burst into cackles of laughter repeatedly, boding ill to the asuras. Then Kali drank wine and danced on the battlefield, and the Yoginis, Dakinis and the demigods also drank, roaring and revelling. When Sankhacuda saw Kali, he hastened to the field. Though his men were frightened by her, he assured them of his protection. Kali then hurled a fire weapon and it shot over the field like the fire that manifests when the world is about to come to an end. of final devastation; but the king shot water weapon at it and quickly extinguished it. Kali hurled the Varuna weapon at him but he baffled it with the Gandharva weapon. Kali threw the Maheswara weapon, but he destroyed it with his Vaishnava weapon. Then, after uttering some mantras, Kali discharged the Narayana weapon. Seeing it coming at him, the king jumped off his chariot and bowed down to Mother Kali as She was Unconqurable, causing the weapon to zoom upwards like the fire of final dissolution. The demon, full of devotion, fell prostrate on the ground. The goddess recited a mantra and hurled a Brahmastra at him, but he baffled it with his own Brahmastra. Then she threw a weapon at him that was eight miles long, but Sankhacuda cut it to pieces with his celestial weapon. Infuriated, the demon discharged celestial missiles at the goddess but she merely opened her mouth wide, swallowed them and roared with loud laughter. This terrified the demons. Sankhacuda then hurled a weapon at her that was eight hundred miles long, but she shattered it into a hundred pieces with celestial missiles. He flung the Vaishnava missile at the goddess but she blocked it with a Mahesvara
missile. The fight continued for a long time and all the demigods and demons stood watching it. Kali was now infuriated. Just as she readied herself to throw the Pasupata weapon, a heavenly voice from the sky cried out, "O Goddess! Do not throw this missile at Sankhacuda. So long as Lord Hari's amulet remains on his neck and his wife's chastity is not violated, For You Nothing is Impossible as You are Perssonification of Velocity and Who can dissolute the Universe in just Seconds. You Kind hearted Goddess shouldn’t hurl Your never-failing Pasupata weapon at him as it would violate the rules of Vedas. Lord Brahma gave him this boon." Kali heeded the voice and desisted from hurling the weapon. But out of hunger she devoured millions of demons. She then hastened to devour Sankhacuda but he resisted her with his sharp celestial weapons. She next aimed a scimitar at him that flashed like the noonday sun but the king cut it to pieces. So she ran after him to swallow him. But the skilful demon prevented her by expanding his body. Highly enraged, the dreadful goddess smashed his chariot, killed his charioteer, and hurled a terrible spear at him--one that looked like the awesome fire that occurs when the world is about to end. But the king caught it with his left hand. The goddess then angrily struck him with her fists and caused the demon enough pain to make him reel and fall unconscious for a moment. Regaining consciousness, he got up, but he would not engage in hand-to-hand combat with Kali, Because it was impossible to fight with The Goddess Kali as She is itself the Personification of Power and speed, and Speed is undefeatable and immortal. Rather, he bowed down to her. After that Goddess Shows her Divine form of Singh-Vahini to bless his Bravery and asked him to fight the war. The goddess then threw other weapons at Sankhacuda, but he partly cut them down and partly took them up and absorbed them, rendering them futile. Then Kali caught hold of him, whirled him around repeatedly and angrily flung him into the sky. The demon came down with a tremendous crash, but he immediately got up and bowed to the goddess. Next, he gladly climbed up onto another stunning jewelled chariot and, feeling fatigue from the battle with Goddess Kali, continued fighting. Then Kali, feeling hungry, began drinking the blood and eating the fat and flesh of the demons. After this the goddess returned to Lord Shiva and described to him in detail the progression of the war--from beginning to end. Hearing about the demise of the demons, Lord Shiva laughed. Kali remarked that the only demons alive were the ones who crawled out of her mouth
while she was chewing them, which amounted to about one hundred thousand. "And when I took hold of the Pasupata weapon to kill Sankhacuda, an invisible celestial voice cried, “He cannot be killed by you." LORD SHIVA ENTERS THE BATTLE After hearing the goddess' report, Lord Shiva, versed in the highest knowledge, went with his entire retinue into battle. He sat on his great bull and was encircled by Virabhadra and others, as well as the Bhairavas and the Ksetrapalas, all equal to him in valour. As Lord Shiva entered the battle ground, he assumed a heroic form and shone well as the incarnation form of the destroyer. When Sankhacuda saw him, he alighted from his aerial chariot and offered obeisances to him by lying flat on the ground. Then he got up, quickly returned to his chariot, and, seizing his bow and arrows, readied himself for the fight. The fight lasted for a year. The two heroes showered arrows fiercely on one another the way clouds continuously pelt the earth with rain. When Sankhacuda playfully shot dreadful arrows, Lord Shiva split them all with his own arrows. Lord Shiva hit the demon's limbs with various weapons. Sankhacuda then grabbed his sword and shield, hastened toward Lord Shiva's sacred bull and hit it on the head. Seeing this, Lord Shiva smashed that sword and the shining shield by his Ksurapra weapon. Then the demon threw his spear but Lord Shiva shot an arrow at it and split it in half. Sankhacuda, now infuriated, flung a discus, but Shiva punched it with his fist and splattered it. The demon threw his club vigorously at Lord Shiva; however Shiva split it apart and reduced it to ashes. Grabbing an axe, Sankhacuda rushed toward Lord Shiva, but Shiva released such a volley of arrows at him that he fell unconscious. The Danava quickly regained consciousness and mounted his beautiful chariot. Covering the whole sky, he shone resplendently with his mystic weapons and arrows. When Lord Shiva saw him coming toward him, he pounded his drum with enthusiasm and twanged his bowstring with a loud sound. Shiva filled all four quarters with the sound of his horn and then, roaring loudly, frightened the demons. Next, the noble bull bellowed thunderously, filling the sky, earth and eight quarters and shaming the proud trumpeting elephants. Lord Shiva surpassed all previous sounds by clapping the earth and the sky. The warriors emitted a raucous laughing sound, portending ill for the asuras. Shiva also roared in that mighty battle. The demons were frightened by these piercing and dreadful sounds. However, the Danava king became extremely angry.
Lord Shiva shouted, "O wicked one, stay! Stay," and the gods and his companions quickly shouted, "Victory! Victory!" Sankhacuda then hurled at Lord Shiva his awesome flame-shooting spear; as it travelled, it blazed brilliantly like a mighty fire. However, one of Lord Shiva's followers shot a meteor at it and stopped it. As the battle between Lord Shiva and the demon king continued, the heavens, earth, mountains, oceans and rivers shook and trembled. Lord Shiva split apart hundreds and thousands of Sankhacuda's arrows, and the king did the same to Lord Shiva's shafts. Then the infuriated Shiva hit Sankhacuda with his trident and knocked him unconscious. But quickly regaining consciousness, he grabbed his bow, discharged some arrows and hit Lord Shiva and his assistants. Then, by means of magic, the asura assumed ten thousand arms and quickly surrounded Lord Shiva with ten thousand discuses. But Lord Shiva shot wonderful arrows at them and split them all apart. Sankhacuda next seized his mace and, accompanied by a massive army, charged Lord Shiva with the intention of destroying him. However, Lord Shiva split the mace, making the Danava furious. The demon then seized a spear that, to the enemy, blazed unbearably; as he neared Lord Shiva, the latter hit him in the chest with his trident. Then, a huge, valorous being came out of the demon's chest and said, "Stand by, stand by." Lord Shiva laughed loudly and, with his sword, cut off the fearsome head that was emerging, and it fell to the ground. Spreading her mouth wide open, Kali angrily consumed countless demons, crushing their heads with her fierce fangs. The enraged Ksetrapala consumed many other demons, and Lord Shiva shot missiles at some and killed them. Others were just wounded. Virabhadra and Nandisvara destroyed many other demons. Thus a major portion of Sankhacuda's army was killed while many of his terrified troops cowardly fled the battlefield. But Sankhacuda stood firm and said to Lord Shiva, "I'm here, ready to fight with you. Come on. So what if many of my men have been killed. Fight me, face to face!" LORD VISHNU APPEARS Sankhacuda threw mystic missiles at Lord Shiva. He also, like a cloud pouring rain, showered arrows on him. He used different kinds of illusory methods that were invisible and bewildering to the demigods and Lord Shiva's followers. Seeing this, Lord Shiva released his supernatural Mahesvara missiles and these quickly destroyed the illusions, divesting them of their brilliance. Then the powerful Lord Shiva suddenly grabbed his trident--a trident that could not be withstood even by great persons--so as to
slay Sankhacuda. But to stop him, an unembodied heavenly voice boomed, "O Shiva, do not throw the trident now. Listen to this request...There is no doubt that you are able to destroy the universe in a second. So what would be the difficulty in destroying this one Danava, Sankhacuda? Still you should not ignore the rules of the Vedas. O great one, rather make it truthful and fruitful. Understand that Lord Brahma has stated that as long as Sankhacuda wears the armour of Lord Vishnu --namely, the amulet around his neck--and as long as his wife maintains her marital faithfulness, he can neither die nor grow old. He is under these boons. Therefore, please make these boons truthful by not violating them." Lord Shiva replied, "So be it." At that moment Lord Shiva desired to see Lord Vishnu, and so Lord Vishnu appeared there. Lord Shiva told Him what he desired and Lord Vishnu agreed to help him. So, dressed as an aged brahmana, Lord Vishnu, foremost in mystic power, approached Sankhacuda and requested, "O King of the Danavas, please grant my request. You give away in charity all kinds of wealth and riches, so please grant me what I desire. I am a quiet, peaceful, aged brahmana. I am very hungry and thirsty. But first make your promise, and then I will tell you what I want." The king, with a kind face and a pleasing eye, swore to Him that he would give Him whatever He asked for. So the brahmana said affectionately, "I would like your amulet." Sankhacuda, a well-wisher of the brahmanas who spoke the truth, thus handed over to the disguised Lord Vishnu his divine amulet. Then Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Sankhacuda and went to Tulsi Devi's palace. When He approached the entrance, He created the appearance of a victory homecoming, causing others to beat their drums and to shout "Victory". Tulsi Devi was awakened from sleep. On hearing the sounds, the chaste woman was ecstatic. She eagerly peeped through the windows onto the road. When she realised that her husband had returned, she observed all auspicious rites and offered cash gifts to the brahmanas. Then she beautified herself. Lord Vishnu went to Tulsi's apartment. When she saw the Lord and thought He was her husband, she was gladdened. She bathed His feet, offered obeisances to Him, and sobbed. Then she had Him sit on the jewelled throne and handed Him the auspicious betal leaf that had been made fragrant with camphor. She said, "Today my life has become happy. For my beloved, who went to fight, has now returned home." Drinking him in with wide eyes and a smiling face, Tulsi Devi sweetly asked him about the events of the battle. "My lord, how did you do in the battle with Lord Shiva? He is the protector of the demigods and the annihilator of
countless universes. You have returned cheerfully after defeating the great lord. How did you beat him? Tell me all about it." Lord Vishnu laughed and said sweetly, "When I reached the battlefield, there was a terrible clamour. A big battle then followed. The demigods fought the demons, and each side was eager for victory. The demigods defeated the demons. But then I fought the powerful demigods. Those whom I defeated sought shelter of Lord Shiva. Then Lord Shiva, to help them, fought me for a long time. My dear wife, Lord Shiva and I fought continuously for a year. All the demons were killed. Then Lord Brahma made us agree to peace. Thus, at Lord Brahma's order, the powers of authority were re-assigned to the demigods...So, I have come home and Lord Shiva has gone to Shivaloka. All have returned to health and normalcy. Thus the trouble has ended." Lord Vishnu then lay down on the bed with Tulsi devi and became close with her. THE FINAL BATTLE At this time, on the battlefield, King Sankhacuda approached Lord Shiva without his armour. The latter seized his blazing trident to slay the demon. The trident's name was Vijaya, and it was as bright as a hundred summer suns and was most powerful weapon of all time that was much more powerful then the heat of millions of Surya Heat. The front of it was presided over by Lord Narayana, the middle by Lord Brahma, the root by Lord Shiva and the edge by Time. It was bright like the fire of devastation at the end of the world--dauntless, irresistible, fixed and destructive in its aim. In brilliance it equalled the Sudarsana Chakra, and Surdarshan was one of the topmost of all weapons. No one but Goddess Parvati (Durga and Kali) or Lord Vishnu or Lord Shiva could wield it, and all other gods were afraid of it. The trident was 14,000 cubits long and 100 cubits wide. One could not tell from where and how it proceeded. By its own will, this trident could destroy all the worlds and Universe; No one could wield it except for Lord Shiva Himself or Devi Parvati (Durga and Kali). Lord Shiva raised the trident high, aimed and hurled it at Sankhacuda. Seeing it coming, the demon king dropped his bow and arrows, collected his mind, sat down in a yoga posture, and meditated on the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu with great devotion. The trident whirled around Sankhacuda's head for a while. Then, at Lord Shiva's command, it smashed into the demon's head and burned him and his chariot to ashes. Thereafter, the trident returned to Lord Shiva, and then left for the airways at the speed of the mind, and
finally returned with force and gladness to Lord Narayana. In the heavens, the celestials beat their drums, the Gandharvas and Kinnaras sang, the sages and demigods chanted eulogies and all the damsels danced. Flowers continuously rained down upon Parvati-Shiva, and Lakshmi – Vishnu. Brahma, Indra and other notables praised Them. Out of compassion, Lord Shiva tossed the demon's bones into the sea and these bones became transformed into all the conches in the world. They are always considered very holy and favourable in the worship of the demigods. The water in the conch is also considered very sacred and satisfying to the demigods--as sacred as the water in any holy river. It can be offered to all the Gods but not to Lord Shiva. Wherever the conch is blown, Lakshmi dwells there with great delight. If one bathes with the conch water, this is equivalent to bathing in all the holy rivers. Wherever the conch is placed, Lord Hari and Goddess Lakshmi live there, and all inauspicious things disappear from that place. However, wherever the females and sudras blow the conch, Goddess Lakshmi becomes annoyed and, out of fear, travels to other places. Lord Shiva with her consort Goddess Durga then mounted his bull and Lion carrier and, with all his followers, returned to his own residence. All the demigods also returned to their abodes with great joy. Before leaving, Lord Shiva favoured Sankhacuda by releasing him from his curse, and thus he regained his original form as the cowherd boy Sudama. Adorned with jewels, holding a flute, mounted on a divine chariot, and surrounded by numerous cowherd boys from Goloka Varindavana, Sankhacuda then flew to the spiritual sky, Goloka, which is full of devotees of Lord Vishnu who have various transcendental relationships with Him. When Sudama saw Srimati Lakshmi and Sri Vishnu, he bowed down to Their lotus feet with devotion. Seeing him, the Divine couple were filled with love for him and, with kind faces and joyful eyes, lifted him up and took him on Their laps. TULSI CURSES LORD VISHNU Meanwhile, at the palace, Tulsi Devi was still lying on the bed with Lord Vishnu, who was still disguised as Sankhacuda. She suddenly realised that there was a distinct difference in the way her husband had expressed his affection to her in the past from the way he had just expressed it. This made her suspicious, and she began to wonder whether the man with whom she had just been intimate was really her husband. Then, not feeling the same happiness, affection and attraction, she looked at him distrustfully and said,
"You're--you're not--" Realising in the core of her heart that He was not her husband, she asked, "Who--who are you?" Tulsi Devi became angry. "Yes, who are you? I want to know immediately. For I know you have deceived me to enjoy me! You have outraged my modesty! For this I shall curse you!" Lord Vishnu then assumed His own true beautiful form. Tulsi saw the Lord of the demigods before her. His complexion was deep blue, like fresh rain clouds, His eyes were like autumnal lotuses, and He was decked with jewels and ornaments. His smiling face looked very gracious, and He wore a yellow robe. Seeing Vasudeva's handsome form, Tulsi fainted. A few moments later she regained consciousness and said, "O Lord, you are like a stone! You are merciless! You violated my chastity by deception. And by this means you have killed my husband. O Lord, you are merciless! Yes, Your heart is like a stone. Therefore, I curse you to become a stone. Those who call you holy are doubtlessly wrong. Your devotee committed no offence and yet, for the sake of others, You killed him! Why?" Overpowered with grief and sadness, Tulsi cried loudly and repeatedly lamented. Seeing her so upset, Narayana, who is an ocean of mercy, tried to console her according to dharmic rules. He said, "O exalted one, you performed austerities for a long time to get Me as your husband. And Sankhacuda also performed austerities for a long time to get you as his wife. By that austerity, he fulfilled his wish. It was then necessary for Me to fulfil your wish. For this reason, I had to do what I did. Now leave your earthly body and assume a spiritual body--and be married to Me. Be like Lakshmi. Your body will become a famous river known as Gandaki, a virtuous, pure and transparent river in this holy land of India. Your hairs will be transformed into holy trees; and since the trees will be born of you, they will be known as Tulsi trees. All the residents of the three worlds will perform worship with the leaves and flowers of this tree. Thus, you, Tulsi, will reign as the best among trees and flowers." BLESSINGS TULSI DEVI WILL BESTOW Lord Narayana continued... "The sanctifying Tulsi tree will grow in Goloka, on the coast of the Viraja River, on the rasa-dance site, in the forests of Varindavana, Bhandira, Champaka, Chandana, and in the groves of Madhavi, Ketaki, Kunda, Mallika and Malati. You will live in sacred places and bestow the highest religious merit. All the holy spots will converge and reside at the root of the Tulsi tree, and thus spiritual merits will accrue to all.
O fair one, all the demigods and I will wait there to gather the falling Tulsi leaves. "Whoever will be moistened or anointed with the water that has been sanctified by Tulsi leaves, will reap the benefits of having bathed in all the sacred rivers and performed all kinds of sacrifices. "Lord Hari will not be as pleased with the gift of a thousand jars of honey as with one Tulsi leaf. "Offering one such leaf as a gift will bring the same reward obtained by offering millions of cows. "If one offers Tulsi leaves during the month of Kartika, he gets the same rewards as those just mentioned. "If, at the time of death, one drinks or gets the Tulsi-leaf water, one will be freed of all his sins and proceed to Vaikuntha. "Whoever drinks the Tulsi-leaf water daily will be redeemed in his lifetime and receive the benefit of a dip in the Ganges. "Whoever plucks a Tulsi leaf, keeps it on his person, and then leaves his body in a holy place, will go to Vishnuloka. "Anyone who worships Me with this leaf daily will reap the blessings of a hundred thousand horse sacrifices. "Anyone who leaves his body holding a Tulsi leaf in his hands will be saved from all sins. "Anyone who wears a necklace composed of Tulsi wood, will surely, at every step, get the reward of a horse sacrifice. "Whoever breaks his promise while holding the Tulsi leaf will go to the Kalsutra hell for as long as the sun and moon last. "Anyone who gives false evidence in the presence of the Tulsi leaf, will go to the Kumbhipaka hell for as long as the lifespans of fourteen Indras. "Whoever at the time of death drinks or gets a little Tulsi-leaf water will certainly proceed to Vaikuntha, leaving in a jewelled airplane. "Lord Hari will decapitate that person who, on the day of the new moon or the full moon, or on the twelfth or last day of the lunar month, or after being anointed with oil just before taking a bath, or at noon, night, daybreak or sundown, or in a state of impurity or in one's night dress--will cull or pluck the Tulsi leaf. "O chaste one, even if such a leaf is kept for three nights and becomes dry, it can still be employed in connection with funeral ceremonies, vows, gifts, consecration of temples and the worship of demigods. "If Tulsi leaves that were offered to Lord Vishnu have fallen on the ground or on water are then properly washed, they may still be used for other sacred purposes. "You will always be the presiding deity of the Tulsi plant here on Earth, and at the same time you will always sport with Sri Vishnu in solitude in Goloka. You will also be the presiding deity of the Gandaki River, and thereby shower India with religious merit. You will further be the wife of the ocean
of salt, which is My partial expansion. O chaste goddess, you will always remain personally by My side and enjoy My company, as Lakshmi does. BLESSINGS OF THE SALIGRAM Lord Hari continued... "As for Me, by your curse, I will become a stone and remain close to the bank of the Gandaki River. Millions of Vajrakita worms, with their sharp teeth, will make convolutions or rings in the stones there (Chakras), representing Me. These will be known as Saligrams or sacred stones. "Those stones which have one entrance hole, four rings (Chakras), are marked with a garland of wild flowers, and look like a fresh rain cloud, will be known as Lakshmi-Narayana murtis or forms. "Those stones that have one entrance hole, four rings (Chakras), look like fresh rain clouds but have no garland mark will be called Lakshmi-Janardana chakras. "Those that have two entrance holes, four rings (Chakras), are impressed with the marks of cow-hooves but have no garland mark, will be called Raghunatha chakras.” Those that are very small, have two rings (Chakras), look like fresh rain clouds but have no garland mark will be called Vamana chakras. They shall be auspicious to householders. "Those stones that are very small having two rings and a garland mark will be called Sridhara chakras. They will bring prosperity to householders. "Those stones that are large, circular, have two rings but no garland mark will be known as Damodara chakras."Those that are medium-large, have two rings, have the marks of arrows and quivers will be known as Rana-rama chakras. "Those that are medium-sized, have seven rings, and have the marks of an umbrella and ornaments will be called Rajarajesvaras (king of kings) chakra, and give royal prosperity to the people. "Those that are large, have fourteen wheels (Chakras), look like fresh rain clouds will be called Ananta chakras. They will bestow the fourfold fruits--artha, kama, dharma and moksa (wealth, pleasure, righteousness and liberation). "Those that are spherical, beautiful, medium-large, have two rings, look like rain clouds, and are marked with cow hooves will be called Madhusudana chakras. "Those that have one ring (Chakra) will be called Sudarsana chakras. "Those that have their rings (Chakras) hidden will be called Gadadhara chakras. "Those that have two rings (Chakras) and the face of a horse will be called Hayagrivas. "Those that have two rings (Chakras), their mouths very wide and extended, and look very terrifying will be called Narasimhas. They will bestow detachment on their worshipers.
"Those that have two rings, extended mouths and garland marks (elliptical) will be called Lakshmi Nrisimhas. They will bestow blessings on the householders who worship them. "Those that have, near their doors, two rings that are of equal size and beautiful, with manifested marks, will be known as Vasudevas. They will fulfil all desires. "Those that have a thin ring, look like fresh rain clouds, and have many fine holes within their wide gaping facets will be called Pradyumnas. They will give happiness to all householders. "Those whose rings are united and whose backs are capacious will be called Sankarsanas. They will always bestow happiness to householders. "Those that look yellow, round and very beautiful will be known as Aniruddhas. They also will give happiness to householders. "Wherever there are Shaligrama stones, Lord Hari Himself exists. And wherever Lord Hari is, Goddess Lakshmi and all the holy places also exist. "By worshiping the Shaligrama shila (stone), one destroys the sin of having killed a brahmana and any other type of sin. "By worshiping Shaligrama stones of the following shapes, the following effects take place: "If the stone looks like an umbrella, one may obtain a kingdom. "If the stone looks round, great prosperity. "If it is cart-shaped, miseries. "If its ends are spear-shaped, death. "If its facets are distorted, poverty. "If it is yellow, evils and afflictions. "If its rings (Chakras) look broken, diseases. "If its rings (Chakras) are split into fragments, certain death. "If one observes vows, offers gifts, consecrates a temple, performs shraddha or funeral ceremonies, or worships the demigods before the Shaligrama shila--all these acts become highly exalted. "If one worships the Shaligrama shila, one acquires the merits of bathing in all the tirthas (holy rivers) and being initiated into all the Vedic sacrifices. "Furthermore, one acquires all the merits acquired by performing all the Vedic sacrifices by visiting all the holy places, by fulfilling vows, by practicing all austerities and by reading all the Vedas. "Whoever performs His Abhisheka (bathing) ceremony always with Shalagrama water--being sprinkled with this water at the initiation and installation ceremonies--acquires the spiritual merits gained by offering all sorts of gifts and walking around the entire earth. "Without a doubt, the demigods are pleased with the person who daily worships the Shalagrama shila. He becomes so holy that even all the holy places desire his touch. He becomes a jivanmukta (liberated while in his physical body) and very godly. Ultimately he goes to Vaikuntha and serves Lord Hari there eternally. Any sin, such as the killing of a brahmana, flies
away from him just as snakes flee at the sight of Garuda (Lord Vishnu's eagle carrier). The earth is consecrated by the dust of his feet. By his birth, he redeems one hundred thousand of his ancestors. "Anyone who, while dying, drinks the Shalagrama shila water, will be freed from all his sins and go to Vaikuntha. He becomes completely freed from the effects of karma (material action and reaction) and, without a doubt, becomes forever absorbed in the vision of Lord Vishnu's feet. "Anyone who lies while holding the Shaligrama in his hands goes to Kumbhipaka hell for as long as Lord Brahma is alive (311 trillion and 40 billion earth years).”If one breaks his promise while holding the Shaligram in his hand, he goes to the Asipatra hell for one hundred thousand manvantaras. "He who worships the Shaligram shila without offering Tulsi leaves on it, or who separates the leaves from the stone, will have to suffer separation from his wife in his next birth.”And if one does not offer the Tulsi leaves in a conch, he remains without his wife for seven births and becomes diseased. "He who maintains the Shaligrama shila, the Tulsi, and the conch in one place, becomes very dear to Lord Narayana. "It is painful for a person to separate from his beloved, whose company he once enjoyed. You were the dearmost of Sankhacuda for one manvantara, so it is now very difficult for you to separate from him. TULSI RETURNS TO THE SPIRITUAL WORLD When Lord Hari stopped speaking, Tulsi left her physical body, assumed a celestial form and went to Vaikuntha. There she remained in the heart of Sri Hari, as did Goddess Lakshmi. Lord Hari also went with her to Vaikuntha. As soon as Tulsi Devi quit her physical body, this body became the Gandaki River; and Lord Hari manifested Himself as the mountain on the bank of that river, giving spiritual merit to the people. The worms on that mountain cut and fashion, i.e. construct, various kinds of stones. Those that fall into the river and assume the colour of clouds, without a doubt, yield results; but those that drop onto the dry land become brown by the sun's rays and unfit for worship. Lord Hari duly honoured Tulsi and began to sport with her along with Goddess Lakshmi. He elevated Tulsi to the rank of Lakshmi, making her blessed and glorious. Lakshmi and Goddess Ganga allowed and tolerated this new union of Lord Narayana and Tulsi. However, Goddess Saraswati became angered and could not tolerate Tulsi's elevated position. Once, in the presence of Lord Hari, the dignified Saraswati quarrelled with
Tulsi and hurt her. Tulsi, humiliated and insulted, disappeared. Then, out of anger, the wise and adept Tulsi became invisible even to Lord Hari. When Lord Hari did not see Tulsi, he appeased Saraswati and, obtaining her permission, proceeded to the Tulsi forest--Varindavana. He was very much disturbed by separation from her. There, he took a bath; then, with proper rites, he worshiped the chaste Tulsi with His whole heart, and then meditated on her with devotion, and uttered, "Obeisances to Tulsi Devi, Queen of Varindavana Forest." During the worship, Tulsi was offered a lighted ghee lamp, frankincense, sandal flowers and sacrificial offerings. Anyone who worships Tulsi in this way will achieve complete perfection. The Lord then began to praise His glorious devotee. "The Tulsi trees collect in many groups, thus the pandits call it Vrinda. I praise that dear Tulsi. Long ago she appeared in the Vrindavana forest and is thus known as Vrindavani. I adore that auspicious and glorious one. She is always worshiped in countless universes and so is known as Visvapujita--one who is worshiped throughout the world. I worship that Visvapujita. "Countless universes are made pure and holy by her contact. She is therefore called Visvapavani--one who purifies the whole universe. Remembering her, I am suffering from separation from her. Though other flowers are heaped upon the demigods, they are not satisfied unless Tulsi is offered. Thus she is considered the essence of all flowers and is called Puspasara. Now I am anguished and troubled and very eager to see her--she who is purity incarnate. I crave the favor of that goddess. Because attainment of her brings faith and joy, she is called Nandini. O may she be pleased with Me. In the whole world she is incomparable, thus she is called Tulsi. I take refuge of that dear Tulsi. Very chaste and dear, she is the life of Vishnu and so is known as Vishnujivani. O may that goddess save my life." After Lord Hari finished the ceremony and prayers, Tulsi was pleased and came out of the tree. She immediately took refuge at Lord Hari's lotus feet. He blessed her by saying, "O Tulsi, you will be worshiped by all throughout the world. Dearest, I will hold you on my head and in my heart; and all the demigods will hold you on their heads." When Lord Hari saw that the dignified Tulsi was weeping because her feelings had been hurt by Saraswati, He clasped her to His breast, took her to Saraswati and reconciled their differences. Then He blessed Tulsi, saying, "You will be worshiped by all, honoured by all and respected by all. And all will carry you on their heads. I also will worship, honour
and respect you and carry you on My head." Tulsi was now very happy. Saraswati then embraced her and seated her by her side. Lakshmi and Ganga, smiling, also hugged her, and then took her home.
Legend of Rukmani Avatara
There was a king by name Bhishmaka in the kingdom of Vidharbha. He had five sons by name Rukmi, Rukmaratha, Rukmabahu, Rukmakesha and Rukmamali. Sriman Narayana was born for killing Kansa and with a view to establishing righteousness. When he was thus born as Krishna, Lakshmi was born as Rukmini, daughter of Bhismaka. She was beautiful and virtuous. Father Bhishmaka was not only god-fearing but had also great respect for Sri Krishna. He thought of giving Rukmini in marriage to Sri Krishna. But Bhishmaks's first son Rukmi did LAKSHMI - CONSORT OF not agree to it. He had joined a gang of wicked men VISHNU formed by Shishupala and others. He brought pressure on his father to give sister Rukmini in marriage to Shishupala. As Rukmi hated Sri Krishna he did not agree to have the relationship. Bhishmaka was not bold enough to ignore his advice. Rukmini's marriage with Shishupala was fixed. But Rukmini, having heard of Sri Krishna's good character and greatness, had mentally accepted him as her husband. She sent a messenger to Dwaraka with the message that she would marry Krishna; and if not possible, she would give her life. Sri Krishna had already heard of Rukmini's character, virtue and beauty. He wished to marry her. Therefore, he immediately boarded a chariot and came to Bhishmaka's town. Balarama came to know that Sri Krishna went alone. Instantly he followed with a large army to help his brother. In the capital of Vidarbha all arrangements were being made for Rukmini's marriage. Shishupala had arrived with his friends Jarasandha, Salva, Paundraka and others. Balarama and Krishna also joined. Balarama had stationed his army far away outside the city. After sometime the marriage rituals commenced. Rukmini went with her entourage to the temple to worship Gowri. She worshipped Gowri and prayed: "Let only Sri Krishna
become my husband." She was not aware of Sri Krishna's having come to the town. She was worried about what would happen. Rukmini completed worship of Gowri and came out of the temple. Instantly Sri Krishna brought his chariot, made her mount it and drove away towards Dwaraka. Jarasandha and others, when they came to know of this incident became angry and went after Sri Krishna. A terrible war was fought. Krishna and Balarama defeated all and set out to Dwaraka. Thereafter the marriage of Sri Krishna and Rukmini was celebrated grandly at Dwaraka. Rukmini was the senior queen. Pradyumna is Rukmini's son.
Images Of Goddess Lakshmi
Legend of Goddess Vaishnavi
The temple of Mata Vaishno Devi lies at a height of 3500 feet in the Trikuta Mountains, in the state of Jammu, and each year millions of pilgrims make this journey by foot, to pay homage to the Divine Goddess. It is believed that if you ask for something with a true heart and devotion, your wish will come true. Many of these devotees come to pray to their Mata every year, unfailingly, no matter what their caste or religion. Vaishno Devi is one of the Shakti forms of the Goddess Parvati and Spiritual form of Goddess Lakshmi. According to legend, the three main forms of Parvati are Lakshmi, Kali and Saraswati. One day, the three of them combined their spiritual strength (Mostly of Goddess Lakshmi) and created a beautiful young girl. She then undertook Vishnu’s blessings. She was commanded by Lord Vishnu to take birth in the house of Ratankar, a good, honest and devout man, and to evolve herself spiritually until she became one with Lord Vishnu. Thus it happened that Ratankar's wife gave birth to a girl, who grew up to be as religious, devout and learned as she was beautiful. As Vashnavi grew older, she decided to renounce the world and to live a life of penance in the forests. During this time she came across Lord Rama, whom she recognized to be a form of Vishnu, and begged him to let her merge herself with him, so she would be encompassed by her Lord. But he felt that the time wasn't right. He said that he would return after a few years, and if she recognized him again, he would grant her wish. However when he returned in the guise of an old man, Vashnavi failed to recognize him. She was devastated, and Lord Rama consoled her. He set up and ashram for her at the foothills of the Trikuta Hills, and encouraged her to continue with her meditation. Thus, she took a vow of celibacy and resumed meditating with renewed devotion. Vashnavi's fame spread far and wide, until it reached the ears of Gorakh Nath, a Tantric. Gorakh Nath sent his disciple, Bhairon Nath to spy on her and find out if she had attainted a high level of spirituality. However, Bhairon Nath fell in love with her, and started harassing her, by pleading with her to marry him. She refused, and journeyed up into the Trikuta Mountains to continue her penance in peace. Bhairon Nath followed her up the mountain, past Banganga. At Banganga, Mata Vashnavi felt thirsty and shot an arrow into the ground. Water gushed out from this spot, and Mata drank some of this water and rested here. The 'Charan Paduka' marks the place where she rested.
Mata entered a cave at Adhkawari and stayed inside for nine months, during which time she mediated and prayed. The cave is thus symbolic of a womb and is called Garbh Joon. When Bhairon Nath finally located her, Mata raised her trident and lashed it against the opposite wall of the cave, creating a tiny opening, from which she crawled out. The chase continued up to the Holy Cave at Darbar. Mata was then forced to assume the form of eight armed Goddess striding on Tiger. She appeared before Bhairon Nath, and cut off his head using her divine Chakra. After his death he prayed to her for forgiveness, and she granted it to him, along with the boon that every devotee who comes to her shrine to seek her blessings would have to pay homage to Bhairon Nath afterwards, or his pilgrimage will remain incomplete. However, legend goes that if anyone visits the Bhairon Nath cave first, he will be unable to do Mata's Darshan. Stories have trickled down through the ages about various devotees who tried visiting Bhairon Nath first and then continued to pay homage to Mata, but they never made it because they fell sick, met with an accident or died on the way. One devotee even reported seeing a tiger appear before him preventing his entrance to Mata's temple. Mother Vashnavi in Pindi of
Chapter 3 Goddess Shakti
Parvati or Durga or Shakti, the Consort of Shiva perhaps is one of the most important Goddess in Hindu Mythology. She is characterized with both of her Fierce and mild forms. She is a Adi Shakti multi-dimensional goddess. She has so many names, so many personalities and so many facets. She is worshipped by millions of people allover India and a sizeable number of them give her an importance more than Lord Shiva himself. Durga has a variety of forms with different attributes. In her milder form she is PARVATI (the mountain-girl), UMA (the light), GAURI (the yellow-white complexioned Mounted on bull Goddess of Total Energy beauty), HIMAVATI (daughter of Himalaya), JAGATMATA (mother Affiliation Universal Truth of the world) and BHAVANI (the Trishul (trident), Chakram, goddess of the universe); in her Scimitar, Snake, terrible form she is DURGA (the Weapon Conch shell, Mace, inaccessible), KALI or SHYAMA Bow, Talwar (long sword), (the black complexioned), Lotus, Thunderbolt CHANDIKA or CHANDI (the Consort Adi – Shiva fearful one) and BHAIRAVI (the Mount Dawon (tiger or lion) terrible). All these are broadly included under the name of DEVI or MAHADEVI (the great goddess). Shakti's various names have a special significance. Since Ishwara or Shiva is also called 'BHAVA' his wife is known as 'BHAVANI'. She is 'PARVATI', being the daughter of the king of mountains, PARVATARAJA. With the same connotation she has two other names, 'GIRIJA' and 'SHAILAJA'. As she is the source of all good things to all those who have faith and follow the path of virtue, she is 'SARVAMANGALA'. Since her childhood days she was a devotee of Lord Shiva. She would constantly engage herself in
meditation and worship of Shiva, without even changing the posture. So her mother Mena would out of exasperation say "Parvati, don't do this tapas (meditation)." In Sanskrit 'u' is a word of address and 'ma' means 'don't' or 'not wanted'. Hence she got the name 'UMA'. Now we will Discuss all her manifestations in detail: a) Mahakali (Legend of Madhu kaitabha). b) Chandika or Mahalakshmi (Legend of Mahishasura). c) Sati. d) Parvati (Individual Importance). Birth and Marriage with Lord Shiva. Birth of Lord Ganesha. e) Goddess Ambika (Mahasaraswati) and Kali (Legend of Shumbhu and Nishumbhu). f) Goddess Durga (Slayer of Demon Durgam) g) Nava-Durga and Mahavidyas.
Legend of Mahakali
Mahakali literally translated as Great Kali, is sometimes considered as greater form of Kali, identified with the Ultimate reality Brahman. It can also simply be used as an honorific of the Goddess Kali, signifying her greatness by the prefix "Maha-". Mahakali, in Sanskrit, is etymologically the feminized variant of Mahakala or Great Time (which is interpreted also as Death), an epithet of the God Shiva in Hinduism. Mahakali is the presiding Goddess of the first episode of Devi Mahatmya. Here she is depicted as Devi in her universal form as Shakti. Here Devi serves as the agent who allows the cosmic order to be restored. When the excellent Tamasi Shakti, the Goddess presiding over sleep came out from the eyes, mouth, nose, heart, etc., of the body of the World-Guru Vishnu and rested in the celestial space, then the powerful Lord Vishnu began to yawn and got up. He saw the Prajapati Brahma, terrified and spoke to him in words, deep like rumbling in the clouds: -- “O Bhagavan Padmayone! What makes you come here, and leave your tapasya? Why do you look so terrified and anxious?” Hearing this, Brahmâ said: “O Deva! The two very powerful and very terrible Daityas, Madhu Kaitabha sprung from the wax of Thy ears approached to kill me; terrified thus, I have come to Thee. So, O Lord of the Universe! O Vasudeva! Now I am quite out of senses and terrified; save me.” Vishnu, then, said :-“Now go and rest in peace, without any fear; let those two stupids, whose life has been well nigh exhausted, come to me for battle; I will certainly kill them.” While Bhagavan Vishnu, the Lord of all the Devas, was thus saying, those two very powerful Danavas, elated with pride, came up there, in their search for Brahmâ. O Munis! The two proud Daityas stood there in the midst of the Pralaya water without anything to stand on and with calm attitude. They then spoke to Brahmâ as follows: -- O You have fled and come here? You cannot escape. Go on and fight. I will kill You before this one. Then I will kill him also who sleeps on this bed of serpent. Either give us battle or acknowledge yourself as our servant. Hearing their words, Janardan Vishnu addressed them as follows:-- “O two Danavas, mad for war! Come and fight with me as you like; I will surely curb your pride. O two powerful ones! If you trust me, come and fight”. Hearing this, the two Danavas in the midst of that mass of water resting without any support, came up there to fight, with their eyes rolling with anger. The Daitya, named Madhu, became very angry, came up quickly to fight while Kaitabha remained where he stood. Then the hand-to-hand fight ensued between the two mad athletes; Bhagavan Hari and Madhu became tired; Kaitabha came up and began to fight. After that Madhu and Kaitabha joined and, blind with rage, began to fight again and again hand to hand with the very powerful Vishnu. And Bhagavan Brahmâ and the Prime Force Adi Shakti witnessed this from the celestial Heavens. So the fight lasted for a long, long, time; yet the two Danavas did not feel a bit tired: rather Bhagavan Vishnu became tired. Thus five thousand years passed away; Hari then began to ponder over their mode of death. He thought: -- “I fought for five thousands of years but the two formidable Danavas have not been tired anything, rather I am tired; it is a matter of great surprise. Where has gone my prowess? And what for the two Danavas were not tired; what is the cause? This is a matter, now, seriously to be thought over”. Seeing Bhagavan Hari thus sunk in cares, the two haughty Danavas spoke to him with great glee and with a voice like that of the
rumbling of cloud :-- “O Vishnu ! If you feel tired, if you have no sufficient strength to fight with us, then raise your folded palms on your head and acknowledge that you are our servant; or if you can, go on fighting. O intelligent one! We will take away your life first; and then slay this four-faced Brahmâ”. Hearing the words of the two Danavas, resting there without any support in the vast ocean, the highminded Vishnu spoke to them in sweet consoling words: -- “See, O heroes! No one ever fights with one who is tired, afraid, who is weaponless, who is fallen and who is a child; this is the Dharma of the heroes. Both of you fought with me for five thousands of years. But I am single handed; you are two, and both equally powerful and both of you took rest at intervals. I will therefore take rest for a while, and then fight with certainty. Both of you are very powerful and very much elated in vanity. Therefore rest a while. After taking rest for a while I will fight with you according to the just rules of warfare.” Hearing these words of Hari, the two chief Danavas trusted and remained far aloof, ready to fight again.
Now the four-armed Vasudeva, seeing them at a sufficient distance, began to ponder in his mind thus: -- “How their death can be affected? Thinking for a time, he came to know that they have been granted, by the Supreme Shakti Devi, death at their will and therefore they are not getting tired. I fought so long with them uselessly; my labour went in vain. How then can I now fight, with this certain knowledge? Again if I do not fight, how these two Danavas, elated with their boon and giving troubles to all, be destroyed? When the boon is granted by the Devi their death is also well nigh impracticable. Who wants his own death, even placed in very great distressed circumstances? Attacked by terrible diseases, reduced to indigent poverty no one wants to die; so how can it be expected that these two haughty Danavas would want their death themselves? Therefore it is advisable me to take refuge of that Adi Shakti, the giver of the fruits of all desires. No desires can ever be fructified unless she is thoroughly pleased. Thus thinking, Bhagavan Vishnu saw the beautiful Devi Yoga Nidra Shiva, shining in the air. Then the supreme Yogi, Bhagavan Vishnu, of immeasurable spirit began to praise with folded palms that great Bhuvaneshwarî Mahakali, the giver of boons for the destruction of the Danavas. “O Devi! I bow down to Thee O Mahâmâyâ, the Creatress and Destructress! Thou beginning less and deathless! O auspicious Kalike! The Bestower of enjoyment and liberation I do not know Thy Saguna or Nirguna forms; how then can I know Thy glorious deeds, innumerable as they are. To-day Thy indescribable prowess has been experienced by me, I being made senseless and unconscious by Thy power of sleep. Being tried again and again by Brahma with great care to bring me back to my consciousness, I could not become conscious, so much my senses were contracted down. O Mother! By Thy power, Thou didst keep me unconscious and Thou again hast freed me from sleep, and I also fought so many times. O giver of one's honor! Now I am tired; but Thou hast granted boon to the two Danavas and therefore they are not getting tired. These two Danavas, puffed up with pride, were ready to kill Brahmâ; and therefore I challenged them to fight with me and they too are fighting fiercely with me in this vast ocean. But Thou hast granted them the wonderful boon that they will die whenever they will; and therefore I have now come to Thy refuge, as Thou protect those that come under Thy shelter.
Therefore, O Mother, the remover of the Devas' troubles! These two Danavas are become exceedingly elated by Thy boon and I, too, am tired. Therefore Thou help me now. See! those two sinners are ready to kill me; without Thy grace, what can I do now? And where to go?”
50-59. Thus praised by the eternal Vasudeva Jagannatha Hari, with humility and pranams, the Devi Mahakali, resting in the air, said smiling :-- “O Deva deva Hari! Fight again; O Vishnu! These two heroes, when deluded by My Maya, would be slain by you; I will delude them certainly, by my side long glance; O Narayana! Then slay quickly the two Danavas, when conjured by My Maya”. Hearing these loving words of Bhagavatî, Bhagavan Vishnu went to the scene of battle in the middle of that ocean, when the two powerful Danavas of serene tempers and eager to light, became very glad on seeing Vishnu in the battle and said :-- “O four-armed one! We see your desire is very lofty indeed; well stand! Stand! Now be ready for battle, knowing that victory or defeat is surely dependent on Destiny. You should think now thus :-- Though it is generally true that the more powerful one wins victory; but it also happens sometimes that the weak gets the victory by queer turn of Fate; so the high souled persons should not be glad at their victories, nor should express their sorrows at their defeat; so don’t be glad, thinking, that you on many former occasions fought with many Danavas who were your enemies, and got the victory; nor be sorry that now you are defeated by the two Danavas”. Thus saying, the powerful Madhu Kaitabha came up to fight. Seeing this, Bhagavan Vishnu struck them immediately by fist with great violence; the two Danavas, elated with their strength, struck Hari in return with their fists. Thus fighting went on vigorously. Now seeing the two Danavas of great powers, fighting on incessantly, Narayana Hari cast a glance expressive of great distress, towards the face of the Devi Mahakali. Seeing Vishnu thus distressed, the Devi laughed loudly and began to look constantly with eyes somewhat reddish and shot towards the two Asuras side-long glances, of love and amorous feelings which were like arrows from the Cupid. The two vicious Daityas became fascinated by the side-long glances of the Devi and took great pleasures in them; being extremely agitated by these amorous darts, looked with one steady gaze towards the Devi, of spotless lustre. Bhagavan Hari, too, saw the wonderful enchanting pastime of the Devi. Then Hari, perfectly expert in adopting means to secure ends, began to speak smiling and in voice like that of the rambling cloud, knowing the two Danavas enchanted by Mahâmâyâ, thus :-- O two heroes! I am very glad at the mode of your fighting. So ask from me boons. I will grant that to you. I saw many Danavas before, fighting; but never I saw them expert like you, nor I heard like this. I am therefore, very much satisfied by such unrivalled powers. Therefore, O greatly powerful pair of Danavas! I wish to grant both of you any boon that you want. Seeing the Devi Mahâmâyâ, the gladdener, of the Universe, the two Danavas felt themselves amorous; and therefore they became proud on hearing Vishnu’s those words and told Vishnu, with their lotus-like eyes wide open, thus :-- O Hari! What do you like to give us? We are not beggars; we do not want anything from you. O Lord of the Devas! Rather we will give you whatever you desire; we are donors; not receivers. So O Vasudeva! Hrisi Kesa! We are glad to see your- wonderful
fight; so ask from us any boon that you desire. Hearing their words, Bhagavan Janardan said: -- “If you both are so much pleased with me, then I want this that both of you be killed by me.” Hearing these words of Vishnu, Madhu Kaitabha became very much wondered and thinking “we are now cheated” remained for some time merged in sorrow. Then reflecting that there is water everywhere and solid earth nowhere, they said:-“O Janârdana Hari! We know that you are truthful; therefore now we want this desired boon from you that you wanted to grant us before now grant us this desired boon of ours. O Madhusûdana! We will be slain by you; but kill us, O Madhava! On a solid earth, free from any water; and thus keep your word. Shri Bhagavan Hari laughed and remembering His Sudarsan disc said: -- “O two highly fortunate ones! Verily, I will kill both of you on the vast solid spot without any trace of water. Thus saying, the Devadeva Hari expanded His own thighs and showed to those Danavas the vast solid earth on the surface of water and said :-“O two Danavas! See, here is no water. Place your two heads here; thus I will keep my word and you would keep your word.” Hearing this, Madhu Kaitabha thought over in their minds and expanded their bodies to ten thousand Yojanas. Bhagavan Vishnu Hari also extended his thighs to twice that amount. Seeing this, they were greatly, surprised and laid their heads on the thighs of Vishnu. Vishnu of wonderful prowess then cut off quickly with His Sudarsan disc the two very big heads over His thighs. Thus the two Danavas Madhu Kaitabha passed away; and the marrow (meda) of them filled the ocean. O Munis! For this reason, this earth is named Medinî and the earth is unfit for eatable purpose. Thus I have described to you all that you asked. The sum and substance is this that the wise persons should serve Mahâmâyâ with all their hearts. The Supreme Shakti is worshipped by all the Devas. Verily, I say unto you that this is decided, in all the Vedas and other Shastras that there is nothing higher than this Adi Shakti. Therefore this Supreme Shakti should be worshipped anyhow; either in Her Saguna form or in Her Nirguna state.
Mahakali is portrayed mostly in two forms: the popular four-armed form and the ten-armed Mahakali form. In both of her forms, she is described as being black in color but is most often depicted as blue in popular Indian art. Her eyes are described as red with intoxication and in absolute rage, her hair is shown disheveled, small fangs sometimes protrude out of Her mouth and Her tongue is lolling. Universal Force of Destruction She is often shown naked or just wearing a skirt made of human Affiliation Devi , Adi Shakti, Brahman arms and a garland of human heads. Om Krīm Kālyai namaḥ , She is also accompanied by Om Kapālinaye Namah, serpents and a jackal while standing Mantra on a seemingly dead Shiva, usually Om Hrim Shrim Krim right foot forward to symbolize the Parameshvari Kalike Svaha more popular Dakshinamarga or Weapon Weapons of Almost all Devas right-handed path, as opposed to the more infamous and transgress Vamamarga or left-handed path. [ In the ten armed form of Mahakali she is depicted as shining like a blue stone. She has ten faces and ten feet and three eyes. She has ornaments decked on all her limbs. There is no association with Siva. In the Mahakali form she has ten heads, ten arms, and ten legs. Each of her ten hands is carrying a various implement which vary in different accounts, but each of these represent the power of one of the Devas or Hindu Gods and are often the identifying weapon or ritual item of a given Deva. The implication is that Mahakali subsumes and is responsible for the powers that these deities possess and this is in line with the interpretation that Mahakali is identical with Brahman. While not displaying ten heads, an “ekamukhi” or one headed image may be displayed with ten arms, signifying the same concept: the powers of the various Gods come only through Her grace.
Legend of Mahalakshmi or Chandika
Chandi (Sanskrit: चणडी, or Chandika) is the Great Goddess also known as Chandi or Durga Sapthashati. Chandi is described as the Supreme reality who is a combination of Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. Later in the Murti Rahasya she is described as Maha Lakshmi with eighteen arms (Ashtadasa Bhuja Mahalakshmi) bearing weapons. But she is fearful form of Devi Parvati, who even sends Shiva as her messenger . Thus she is also called as Shivduti. There are many legends depicting Her glory. But most famous of them is that as a slayer of Mahishasura.
The legend goes like that
Ramba and Karamba were the sons of the demon Dhanu. Both of them decided to undertake a severe penance. Karamba immersed himself neck-deep in water and Ramba entered a blazing fire. Indra, the king of the Demi-Gods foresaw danger to his throne. He assumed the form of a crocodile, and killed Karamba who was meditating in the water. Ramba, after realizing that his brother was dead, got frightened and prepared to commit suicide. Agni, the god of fire, intervened and offered a boon to Ramba. Ramba asked for a son who would be strong. On his way back home, Ramba met a beautiful female demon, who was in the form of a buffalo. He fell in love with her and decided to take her home. At midnight while Ramba was making love with the demoness, another wild male buffalo attacked and killed him. The grief-stricken she-buffalo also gave up her life by jumping into the funeral pyre of Ramba. But Agni's boon had to come true. Therefore a baby boy was born from the funeral fire. The boy was later named Mahishasura, the buffalo demon. Mahishasura was brought up by Ramba’s relatives who trained him to be their king. He worshipped Lord Brahma and performed severe penance for a boon. Brahma was pleased and appeared before him. Mahishasura obtained a boon from Brahma by which no male could kill him. He could not even conceive of a situation in which a female would challenge him. After receiving the boon, Mahishasura began expanding his kingdom. Finally he entered Heaven, defeated Indra and threw out all the demi-Gods When the demon Mahishasura was the leader of the demons; they fought the gods and vanquished them. Then Mahishasura became the lord of heaven, an Indra, and assumed the duties of Surya, Agni, Vayu, Chandra, Yama and Varuna. The gods approached Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva became very angry when they heard the pitiful story of the god’s defeat. From their faces, as well as from the faces of all the gods who were present there, an intense light emerged that pervaded all quarters of the universe. That light then assumed a female form. Thus Devi was manifest from the lightened power of all gods. Then the gods all gave her their respective weapons and other gifts: Lord Shiva gave her His trident; Vishnu his chakra; Indra his thunderbolt and so on all the gods gave their respective weapons to Devi. Armed with the power of the gods and all their weapons, Devi started out to kill Mahishasura. The earth trembled under Her feet. The twang of Her bow raised fear in the hearts of the demons. Mahishasura generals, Ciksura, Udagra, Mahahanu, Asiloman, Baskala, Privarita, Bidala and great many other demons came out to fight Devi in millions of numbers with millions of horses, elephants and chariots. They fought with arrows, javelins, spears, swords, maces, clubs, axes and every other kind of weapon. Devi 69
killed the demons by the thousands while Her lion killed several hundreds more. Each of Her sighs in the battle gave birth to a battalion of army which fought and killed the demons by the million. The blood that was spilled on the battle ground flowed like a large river. Then one of Mahishasura generals, Ciksura, got very angry and attacked Devi with many kinds of weapons. Devi nullified all of his weapons and killed him by hurling a spear at him. This brought Camara in to the battle who was very angry for the death of Ciksura. He attacked Devi from atop a huge elephant, but Devi’s mount, the lion, killed both the demon and the elephant. Next Udagra, Karala, Uddhata, Baskala, Tamara and Andhaka were killed by Devi in fierce battles. Last of Mahishasura’s generals, Ugrasya, Ugravirya, Bidala, Durdhara and Durmudha, were killed by Devi in no time. Thus, all of the army of Mahishasura was killed in the battle by Devi. Mahishasura gets killed Then Mahishasura himself came on to the battle field in the form of a fiercely terrible buffalo. He was ferocious and killed many soldiers on the battle field with his horns and trampling them under his feet. He charged at Devi’s lion. He kicked up so much dust with his hooves that the earth trembled. The mountains were tossed and the clouds were shattered by his horns. The force of his breath swept away even the biggest mountains. Seeing him in that ferocious buffalo form, Devi bound the demon by throwing Her noose over him, but the demon quit his buffalo form and became a lion and charged towards Devi. She cut his head off but it did not kill him. Instead he took a human form with a sword in his hand. When Devi killed the demon in the human form, the demon appeared as an elephant and tried to drag the lion with his trunk. Devi then cut the elephant’s trunk off. Seeing that all his magical powers were useless before Devi, Mahishasura took his original buffalo form and charged at Devi with such speed and fury, that the three worlds shook and trembled. Devi was angry now. She sipped a divine drink and jumped down onto the demon from atop her lion and pinned the demon under her foot. While pinning him down, she brought down the Trident in her right hand with all the force to sever the head of the demon. Thus, loosing all his magical powers, Mahishasura was finally slain. Therefore, Devi is called Mahishmardini (Killer of Mahishasura) Mahalakshmi. There upon, all the gods praised Devi with bent shoulders and heads and offered her celestial.
Chandi Slays Mahishasura
Chandi Slays Mahishasura
Mahalakshmi (Greator form of Lakshmi) is the presiding Goddess of the Middle episode of Devi Mahatmya. She is called Mahalakshmi because she provides fortune to all demigods by killing the demon, Mahishasura and Since Goddess Lakshmi is Personfication of Light energy and Power means Parvati. Since she was manifested from Power (Parvati) of various God and gods in the form of light energy (Lakshmi). Here she is depicted as Devi in her universal form of Shakti. The manifestation of the Devi to kill Mahishasura is formed by the effulgence of all the gods. The Goddess is described as eighteen armed bearing string of beads, battle axe, Chandi maze, arrow, thunderbolt, lotus, bow, water-pot, cudgel, lance, sword, shield, conch, bell, wine-cup, trident, noose and the discuss Sudarsan. She has a complexion of coral and is seated on a lotus. so She is known as Ashta Dasa Bhuja Mahalakshmi. But, Being associated with Power, Hence Mahalakshmi is described as one of the most powerful form of Goddess Parvati. Chandi or Chandika is the name by which the Supreme Goddess is referred to in Devi Mahatmya. "Chandika is "the violent and Universal Force of Preservation impetuous one". The designation of Affiliation Devi / Adi Shakti Chandi or Chandika is used twentynine times in the Devi Mahatmya. It is Om aim hrim klim chamuṇḍai Mantra the most common epithet used for the vice Goddess. In Devi Mahatmya, Chandi, Mount Lion Chandika, Ambika and Durga have been used synonymously. Chandi is one of the most popular folk deities in Bengal, and a number of poems and literary compositions in Bengali called Chandi Mangala Kavyas were written from 13th century to early 19th century. These had the effect of merging the local folk and tribal goddesses with mainstream Hinduism. The Mangala kavyas often associate Chandi with goddess Kali or Kalika and recognize her as a consort of Shiva and mother of Ganesha and Kartikeya, Considering her as a form of goddess Parvati or Durga. The concept of Chandi as the supreme Goddess also underwent a change. The worship of the Goddess became heterogeneous in nature. Chandi is associated with good fortune as well as disaster. Her auspicious forms like Mangal Chandi, Sankat Mangal Chandi, and Rana Chandi bestow joy, riches, children, good hunting and victory in battles while other forms like Olai Chandi cure diseases like cholera, plague and cattle diseases.
Legend of Goddess Sati
The legend of Goddess Sati starts when; Prajapati Daksa the son of Lord Brahma preached and worshiped the Jagdamba Devi (Feminine Personification of Omkara) so that she could take birth as her daughter. As per her bless to the Daksa, she took birth in the home of Daksa. She was looked as Murti of Dharma karma hence she was named as Sati. Because she was the daughter of Daksa, She is also called as Dakhyani. Since she was an incarnation of Shakti, She was one who was associated with Lord Shiva. From the childhood she worshiped Lord Shiva. And when she grew younger, She made hard Penance to achieve Shiva as her consort. As per the hard penance, she achieved what she wanted. She then married to Lord Shiva. But the marriage was ensured without the consent of Daksa that makes him angry towards Lord Shiva. In an incident after wedding that arose his anger to across the limit When Daksa made the occasion of marriage of his other 42 daughters with moon, there all the guests stood on the arrival of Daksa to the ceremony except for Lord Shiva, who meanwhile was in meditation as usual. Daksa here insulted Shiva with wrong words, which could not be sustained by Goddess Sati. And she and Lord Shiva left the Ceremony. But it can not be restrained by Daksa, He than plans to get rid of it. Daksa instituted a massive sacrifice and in the ceremonies apportioned no share to Shiva. Sati, his daughter, had come to this ceremony against the advice other husband, Shiva, who was not invited by the latter's father-in-Law. Sati could not bear this insult and entered the sacrificial fire. Hearing the news Shiva flew in a rage and reached there with his blazing trident. He pierced the sacrificial altar with great violence. He ran up to the gods sitting there and knocked out all things at the spot. Many powerful demi-gods in attendance to Shiva attacked the place together with their lord. The mountains tottered, the earth shook, the winds roared and the depths of the sea were disturbed. The catastrophe is thus described in Purana, "Indra is knocked down and trampled on, Yama has his staff broken and Matris have their noses wounded, Bhag has his eyes pulled out, Pushan has his teeth knocked down his throat, Chandra (the moon) is pummeled, Agni’s hands are broken, Bhragu's beard is crushed, Prajapatis are beaten and the gods are running around scared." In the end Vishnu intervened and propitiated the wrath of Shiva. Daksa acknowledged Shiva's supremacy and apportioned a due share to this god. It is said that after the destruction of massive Sacrifice, Shiva lifted the burnt Body of Goddess Sati on his shoulders and started Violent Tandva Nritya that Tampered Whole universe. Seeking this, Lord Vishnu threshed the body of Goddess Sati and Made Shiva outside the Moh of Goddess Sati. Due to that thresh of the Goddess’s Body, her different the body parts and Jewelry fell to different parts of Indian Sub-Continent. The places where different body parts fell are now recognized as Shakti Peeths. They are 51 in number.
Some important Peeths are written bellow. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) Devi Vashnavi. Devi Jwalamukhi. Devi Vrajeshvari. Devi Mansa. Devi Chamunda. Devi Kalighat. Devi Chintpurni. Devi Shakumbri. Devi Kamkhya.
Birth and Marriage: -
Legend of Goddess Parvati
After the self immolation of Goddess Sati, Lord Shiva thought to live in Brahmchari mode; he didn’t want to marry again. He led the posture of a Yogi, continued to make His concentration on Param OM. But at the same time there was a demon, Tarakasura who undertook deep Penance of Lord Brahma and at last when Brahma got happy. Then clever Tarakasura took bless from Brahma, the he should be killed by Son of Lord Shiva. So he thought him self immortal as Shiva’s Son can’t be born unless Lord Shiva got married. Meanwhile Shiva was in Brahmcharya mode so he couldn’t marry. Making help of this, Tarakasura captured all the three lokas and led the Indra outside from heaven. At this time, Lord Vishnu too couldn’t help them to save from the demon as He was under the limit of Vardana of Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu suggested them to worship Adi-Shakti Goddess Bhuvaneshwari, so that She could incarnate again in the Sakara Roop and merry Lord Shiva. After their advice all the demigods worshiped The Goddess. The Goddess appeared as Singh-vahini before them and said “She will be soon incarnated in the house of Raja Himalaya, The incarnation of mine will be so divine, and that she would be regarded as Goddess of all Goddesses, and my total energy, forces and powers will be vested in her. She will have various Divine forms and manifestation. She will be regarded as My Shakti Swaroop and this incarnation will be married to my Ishta Deva, God of all Demi-gods “Lord Shiva”. Mena Rani, the wife of Raja Himalaya, Had worshiped me in her previous Life and wanted me as her daughter. So now I will take birth as her daughter but will not take birth from her Garbha. I will be incarnated as ajanma immortal Girl that will led Shiva-Shakti or Time-Power Unity to led Creation or Energy. Hence She can be depicted as rebirth of Goddess Sati” She then went to her celestial Loka.
After some time, the sayings of the Goddess gets trued, She took birth in the house of Raja Himalaya. Narada, the Devrishi along with Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma reached there to see the great Goddess in the Form of Newly Born baby. She then was recognized by the name Parvati. When she grew little younger, Narada was made guru of Her. When She was of eight, she was so beautiful and was golden 74
complexioned and named as Gauri. In childhood, she had two friends Ajaya and Vijaya. Narada from the childhood started explaining the prosperity and glories of Lord Shiva. When she grew younger she started deep worship of Godhead Shiva and wanted Him as Her Consort. Narada told her for deep Penance, if she wanted Shiva as her Consort. Then she started Years and years of penance. But there was no answer from Lord Shiva as he was in deep Meditation. So arising Lord Shiva from deep Meditation was a very difficult task. As it was like an action to dip your hand in the mouth of Lion. As there was no one who could hold Shiva’s anger except for Kamadeva. Then Indra sent Kamadeva to awake Shiva. After a lot difficulty he awoke Lord Shiva. But, Shiva’s anger arose very far that He burnt Kamadeva by fire from his Third eye. But bow to lord Shiva led the feelings of Love in the heart of Shiva. After the request of Devi Rati, Wife of Kamadeva, and Shiva gave her boon that she would have his Husband back in dwapra Yuga, and took birth as son of Lord Krishna. Years and years of penance of Goddess Parvati finally brought Shiva before her one day, just for a second. Parvati was only more besotted afterwards. Very soon afterwards, Shiva came to Parvati in the guise of an old man and asked why a beautiful woman such as her should waste her time dreaming of a man who wore leopard skin and smeared his body with ashes. Surely there are more handsome men in the world. Parvati was deeply offended. She scorned the old man for saying such things about her beloved. Her objection convinced Shiva of her love for him and he showed her his true form. Thus, like Sati, Parvati underwent severe penance (tapas), pleased Shiva and regained him as her husband. Because she didn’t take one piece of leave she is called by the name Aparana. Shiva gave her boon to accept Her as his Consort. But Mena Rani didn’t want Parvati’s wedding with Shivji and She thought Parvati could not spend whole life with Lord of Ghosts, Shiva. But, She wasn’t recognized by the Divine form of Lord Shiva, As Shiva is a personification of Time, which is above all in any respect. Also, Shiva is thus recognized as ultimate reality. But later on, Mena Rani gave her permission for the divine marriage. The marriage ceremony of Shiva – Parvati was most colorful marriage. In the barat of Lord Shiva every person via Devas, Danavas, Bhootas, Pishachas and Brahma and Vishnu along with their Consorts were invited. Seeing the barat of Bhootas, Pishachas and other ghostly powers, Mena Rani and friends of Parvati couldn’t cop with it and lose her consciousness. Even Raja Himalaya gets terrified seeing this. But Goddess Parvati, requested Lord Shiva to remove His Maya and to come in his Divine form. When Lord Shiva assumes his divine form all the personnel there praised Shiva in his Divine form. At last Shiva Parvati gets married. After her marriage, from the tej of Lord Shiva, a divine son took birth he is recognized with the names Skanda, Kartikeya and by the respect of Boon of Lord Brahma. Tarakasura was then killed by god Skanda in the battle field. As Skanda is the son of Maa Parvati, she is then recognized by the name Skandmata, one of the forms in Nava-Durga form. Parvati had another divine son named “GANESHA”
Legend of Lord Ganesha: Though Ganesha considered as son of Shiva and Parvati, the Matsya Purana, Shiva Purana and Skanda Purana ascribe the birth of Ganesha to Parvati only, without any form of participation of Shiva in Ganesha's birth. Once, while Parvati wanted to take a bath, there were no attendants around to guard her and stop anyone from accidentally entering the house. Hence she created an image of a boy out of turmeric paste which she prepared to cleanse her body, and infused life into it, and thus Ganesha was born. Parvati ordered Ganesha not to allow anyone to enter the house, and Ganesha obediently followed his mother's orders. After a while Shiva returned and tried to enter the house, Ganesha stopped him. First Lord Shiva sent His Gana to remove Ganesha from Door, But Ganesha was so powerful that no one could stand against him. After that all the demi gods also came there to fight with Ganesha but all was failed against the Lord Ganesha. Trinity then came their, after failure attacks of Vishnu and Brahma. Shiva was infuriated and severed Ganesha's head with his Trishul (trident). When Parvati came out and saw her son's lifeless body, she was very angry and sad. She then assumed the form of Nava Durga and terrifically said to all Devas to restore Ganesha's life at once. Unfortunately, Shiva's Trishul was so powerful that it had hurled Ganesha's head very far off and thus could not be found. Finally, an elephant's head was attached to Ganesha's body and bringing him back to life. Still upset, Parvati demanded her son be made head of the celestial armies and worshipped by everyone before beginning any activity and gods accepted this condition. Ganesha is identified as a god named after his mother. He is called Umaputra, Parvatisuta, Gaurisuta meaning son of Parvati and Heramba, "mother's beloved (son)".
Goddess Parvati with Lord Ganesha
Parvati (Sanskrit: पावती), sometimes व spelled Parvathi or Parvathy, is a Hindu goddess and nominally the second consort of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and rejuvenation. However, she is not different from Sati, being the reincarnation of that former consort of Shiva. She is also the mother of Ganesha and Skanda (Kartikeya). Some communities also believe her to be the sister of Lord Vishnu and Shaktas consider her as the ultimate Divine Shakti - the embodiment of the total energy in the universe. In many interpretations of the scriptures, Parvati is also regarded as a representation of Shakti, albeit the gentle aspect of that goddess because she is a mother goddess. She is regarded as the daughter of the Himalayas.
Goddess of Power Affiliation Abode Weapon Consort Mahadevi, Adi-Shakti Himalaya when unmarried, otherwise Kailash Trishul, Conch, Chakram, crossbow, lotus. Shiva
Parvati when depicted alongside Shiva Mount Lion or Tiger appears with two arms, but when alone, she is shown having four arms, and astride a tiger or lion. Generally considered a benign goddess, but also has fearful aspects like Durga, Kali, Chandi and the Mahavidyas as well as benevolent forms like Mahagauri, Shailputri and Lalita. Sometimes, Parvati is considered as the supreme Divine Mother and all other goddesses are referred to as her incarnations or manifestations. In Shavias, Parvati and Durga are same, but followers of Shakti and Vishnu consider Durga, Chandi and Kali as fearful aspects of Parvati, considering her as Supreme goddess of Power. Parvata is one of the Sanskrit words for "mountain"; "Parvati" translates to "She of the mountains" and refers to Parvati being born the daughter of Himavan, lord of the mountains and the personification of the Himalayas. Other names which associate her with mountains are Shailaja (Daughter of the mountains), Girirajaputri (Daughter of king of the mountains). She is also known by a number of 108 other names, including Ambika (mother), Durga (the inaccessible) Gauri (golden, fair), Shyama (dark complexioned), Bhairavi (awesome), Kali (black-colored), Uma, Lalita, Aparna, the maternal epithet Mataji, and many hundreds of others; the Lalita sahasranama contains an authoritative listing. The name Uma is used for Sati in earlier texts, but in Ramayana is used as synonym for Parvati. In Harivamsa, Parvati is referred to as Aparna (One who took no sustenance) and then addressed as Uma, who was dissuaded by her mother from severe penance by saying u ma (oh don't).
The apparent contradiction that Parvati is addressed as the fair one, Gauri as well as the dark one Kali or Shyama... The goddess is usually represented as a fair and beautiful. The color of her vestments is milk-white, the color of enlightenment and knowledge. Since white is a combination of all colors it shows that She has all the qualities or Gunas. Since white also depicts colorlessness, it indicates that She is devoid of all Gunas. Hence, She is referred to as Trigunatmika (having the three Gunas- Sattva (Mahasaraswati), Rajas (Mahalakshmi), and Tamas (Mahakali) and at the same time being Nirguna (without any Gunas). That’s why, Chamunda is an aspect of Mahakali, Mahishasuramardini Durga is Mahalakshmi and Kaushiki is Mahasaraswati (Sri Sri Chandi) all are manifestations of Adi Shakti, Parvati. She has three eyes. Her accoutrements tend to be those of a Rishi (seer) but she may also wear the ceremonial garments and carry the ritual items of a Guru (Himalayan Oracle). She is also usually depicted with jatamukuta or a crown of matted hair, as Shiva is usually depicted. But sometimes, she has jeweled crown, usually when she assumes the shape of Singh-vahini Durga. Sometimes, She is also shown as having a crescent moon bound in her locks, like Shiva. Parvati’s Vahana (animal vehicle), is usually considered to be a lion, in the form of Durga, In certain aspects of Parvati, such as the Mahagauri form of the Navadurga group, her vahana is Shiva's vahana, Nandi, the sacred bull.
PARVATI – As Singh-vahini
Parvati in Ascetic Mode
Legend of Mahasaraswati or Kaushiki And Goddess Kali
Long long ago there existed two powerful demons called Shumbhu and Nishumbhu. As they grew in strength, they usurped the vast empire of the King of Gods, Indra and dispossessed all the gods like Surya, Chandra, Yam, Varuna, Pawan and Agni. Both of them also managed to throw the god-host away from heaven. Sorely distressed the gods went to the mortal realm (Earth) and began to brood on how to get rid of these demons permanently. The solution was to pray to Maa Parvati, the wife of Shiva, so that she could took the form of Shakti and destroy the two demons. They reached the Himalayas and prayed to please the kind hearted Goddess Parvati. Parvati, on her way to fetch water from the river Ganga, arrives and asks the gods who the hymns are meant for. In answer to her queries, a fair complexioned, eight-armed goddess, seated astride a lion, emerges from Parvati's body (or sheath called Sharirakosha or simply Kosha in Sanskrit) and claims the prayers to be made to her. As she emerges from Parvati's kosha, she is called Kaushiki. The Devi is frequently called Ambika or Mahasaraswati. Her exit from Devi Parvati’s body caused the latter to turn dark and black and assumes the shape of Goddess Kalika. Here Goddess Parvati was incarnated to two forms Mahasaraswati or Kaushiki and Kalika. She was then known as Kaushiki who began to dwell over the mountain ranges and Kalika starts wondering the whole world. When the sycophants of the demons, Chanda and Munda saw the dazzling light in the beautiful form of Ambika, they were enchanted by her superb beauty. They went to the demons Shumbhu and Nishumbhu and said, “Your Lordship! This woman is the most beautiful female in the entire Universe”. They described her beauty in such superlative terms that Shumbhu and Nishumbhu could not resist sending their messenger Sugreeva to bring her to them. Sugreeva reached Ambika and extolled the virtues of his masters Shumbhu and Nishumbhu to influence the Goddess. But she smiled indulgently and replied: “You may be right in the assessment of your masters but I cannot break my oath. I might have done it rather unconsciously but the fact is that now I stand committed to my oath, which is that whosoever can defeat me in battle and brow-beat me; whosoever can match my power, only he shall only be my master. So go and tell your masters to show their strength and win me in the battle” The messenger replied: “Listen, O Lady! You are very arrogant and adamant. Don’t challenge my masters, against whose might the universe shudders in fright. They, who have browbeaten the gods and have thrown them out of Heaven, are very powerful. You are a mere woman, and you cannot match their might. Follow my advice and come with me to accept their proposal. Or else you shall be pulled by your hair and taken to their feet.” The Goddess replied: “Whatever you say may be true. Maybe your Shumbhu is so powerful and your Nishumbhu is so virile but I am committed to my pledge. But go now and explain the whole situation to the Demon-lords. Let them come and defeat me!”
Sugreeva then went to his masters Shumbhu and Nishumbhu and explained the whole situation at length. Shumbhu and Nishumbhu became angry and they sent another demon Dhoomralochan to fetch her. But a mere loud cry and wrathful gaze of the Goddess was enough to incinerate the demon Dhoomralochan. The lion of the Goddess slayed the accompanying demons. Then the Demon kings sent Chanda and Munda with a large army to capture the Great Goddess. They encircled the Himalayas to nab the Goddess. The Goddess then summoned a black figure of frightening form, called Kali-Devi or Kalika Devi. She destroyed the demons easily, hacked off the heads of Chanda and Munda and brought them to the Goddess Ambika. Since she had hacked off the heads of Chanda Munda, she became famous as Chamunda Devi. Hearing the death of Chanda and Munda, the Demon Kings sent another huge army headed by seven commanders. To match their combined strength the seven gods: Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Indra, Mahavaraaha, Nrisingha, Swami Kartikeya dispatched their forces. Saraswati of Lord Brahma Maha Gauri of Lord Shiva Lakshmi of Lord Vishnu Amba of Lord Kartikeya Mahavaraahi of Mahavaraaha Narisinghi of Lord Nrisingha Devi Indrani of god-king Indra Seeing the temerity of the demons, another beam of power in the form of a woman emerged from the Goddess Ambika’s body called Chandika, who sent Lord Shiva as her messenger to Shumbhu and Nishumbhu with the message: “If you want your welfare, return the realm of gods to gods along with their right to perform yagyas, and you must now go down to Paataal Loka (Neither world).. Shumbhu and Nishumbhu refused to accept the Goddess’s advice and leading a huge army of terrible demons, reached the battlefield. Supported by the divine powers, the Goddess began to massacre the demons. At that time the demon forces were led by a demon, Raktabeeja. He had the power to reproduce as many demons of his form and dimension as the drops of his blood which fell to the ground. After a fierce battle the Goddess Chandika ordered Chamunda (Kali Maa) to spread her mouth far and wide and swallow Raktabeeja along with his blood. Chamunda did exactly that and hacked off the head of demon. Kali Maa then devoured the slain bodies of the asuras and danced a fierce dance to celebrate the victory. This dance of destruction began by Kali and her attendants continued for long and none could stop her. To stop her, Shiva himself mingled among the asuras whom she was annihilating. Shiva allowed himself to be trampled upon by her in this dance of victory because this was the only remedy left to bring her to senses and to protect the world from total annihilation. When Kali Maa saw that she was dancing over the body of her husband, she put her tongue out of her mouth in sorrow and surprise. She remained stunned in this posture and this is how Kali is shown in images with the red tongue protruding from her mouth.
Durga Maa then fought the demon Nishumbhu who was slain in no time. Now Shumbhu decided to take on the Goddess (Durga Maa) himself. Reaching the battlefield, he said to the Goddess: You take pride on others strength. Why don’t you show your own powers? The Goddess replied with a smile: Fool! The whole world is just Me. All Creation is my form in a variety of dimensions. I am the cause and effect of everything: all things emerge from me only and ultimately enter me only. The whole world is in harmony with My Being. Then after the nine celestial powers (Kali Maa and Chandi Maa being two of them) which had emerged from the Goddess Ambika went back into her. Which combined powers of nine-celestial Powers to acquire the form of Singh vahini Maa Parvati with 100 arms and She single handedly killed the demon Shumbhu.
Ambika or Kaushiki
Hundred Armed Goddess Shakti
Iconography of Goddess Kali
Kali, also known as Kalika (Sanskrit: काली), is a Hindu goddess associated with death and destruction. Despite her negative connotations, she is not actually the goddess of death, but rather of Time and Change. Although sometimes presented as black and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilation still has some influence. More complex Tantric beliefs sometimes extend her role so far as to be the "Ultimate Reality" or Brahman. She is also revered as Bhavatarini (lit. "Redeemer of the universe"). Comparatively recent devotional movements largely conceive Kali as a benevolent mother-goddess.
The Goddess beyond Time
Kali is represented as the consort of Affiliation Devi , Mahavidya , God Shiva, on whose body she is Matrika often seen standing. She is associated Abode Cremation grounds with many other Hindu goddesses like Durga, Bhadrakali, Sati, Rudrani, Mantra Om Krīm Kālyai Parvati and Chamunda. She is the namaḥ foremost among the DasaOm Kapālinaye Namah, Mahavidyas, ten fierce Tantric goddesses. Om Hrim Shrim Krim Kali is portrayed mostly in two Parameshvari Kalike forms: the popular four-armed form Svaha and the ten-armed Mahakali form. In both of her forms, she is described as Weapon Sword being black in color but is most often Consort Shiva depicted as blue in popular Indian art. Her eyes are described as red with Mount Jackal intoxication and in absolute rage, Her hair is shown disheveled, small fangs sometimes protrude out of Her mouth and Her tongue is lolling. She is often shown naked or just wearing a skirt made of human arms and a garland of human heads. She is also accompanied by serpents and a jackal while standing on a seemingly dead Shiva, usually right foot forward to symbolize the more popular Dakshinamarga or right-handed path, as opposed to the more infamous and transgress Vamamarga or left-handed path.
Iconography of Kaushiki
Mahasaraswati is the presiding Goddess of the Final episode of Devi Mahatmya. In this she is recognized as Goddess Kaushiki also. She is depicted as eightarmed. Wielding in her lotus-hands the bell, trident, ploughshare, conch, pestle, discus, bow, and arrow, her lustre is like that of a moon shining in the autumn sky. She is born from the body of Parvati, the supreme Goddess (Adi-Devi) and is the sustaining base of the three worlds. The Mahasaraswati I worship here who destroyed Shumbhu and other asuras. Markandeya Purana places the five forms of Devi Kaushiki in the following order: AMBIKA – The goddess who first received and showed her beautiful face to entice the demons DASHBHOOJA – In this form she destroyed the demon Dhoomralochan. CHAMMUNDA – In this form, She slew with Chanda – Munda and Raktabij, the general whose drops of blood created thousands of demons VANACHANDI - In this form, She slew Nishumbhu. Mount
Universal Force of Creation
Affiliation Weapon Adi-Shakti, Brahman, Devi Trishul (trident), Chakram, Scimitar, Conch shell, Mace, Bow, Talwar (long sword), Lotus. Tiger or Lion
100 ARMED GODDESS PARVATI – In this form she slew Shumbhu, the demon.
Legend of Goddess Durga
How Parvati came to have the name of Durga is an interesting narration. On one occasion the sage AGASTYA asked Kartikeya why Parvati, his mother is called Durga. Kartikeya replied that once there was a demon, named DURGUMASURA, the son of RURU. The Guru of Demons provoked him and Asked him to worship Lord Brahma. He pleased Brahma with his strong penance. He demanded for Vedas in which all the secrets and glory of all Devas were written. As the Vedas are the lineal progenitors of Sanatana Dharma and is the power of all Devas. He conquered the three worlds and even dethroned Indra, the king of gods. He abolished all religious ceremonies so that Brahmans were terrified because all mantras were now functionless as Vedas were captured by the cheap demon. All the gods assembled and prayed to Trinity to protect them from the tyranny of this demon. They took pity on them and asked Parvati, The unlimited power, to go and destroy the evil demon as Her power was Beyond Vedas. She calmed the gods and agreed to rescue them from the evil Durgumasura. There was long and fierce battle. As soon as the giant came near with his evil followers Parvati assumed 1000 arms and also brought out a number of weapons out of her body. She repelled every attack and in the end the demon assumed the shape of a fearful buffalo and with his horns cast trees, rocks and mountains on the goddess, who cut everything into pieces. The goddess Parvati pierced him with her trident and subdued him. The gods with this deliverance praised the goddess and honored MAA PARVATI with the name of MAA DURGA; actually the goddess was none other than the Goddess Mahalakshmi (Not Wife of Vishnu), but the Goddess who slayed Mahishasura.
In Hinduism, Durga (Sanskrit: "the inaccessible" or "the invincible") or Maa Durga (Mother Durga) is a form of Devi, the supreme goddess. Goddess Durga is considered by Hindus to be the mother of Ganesha, Kartikeya, as well as Saraswati and Lakshmi. She is thus considered the fiercer, demonfighting form of Shiva's wife, Great Goddess Parvati. Durga is depicted as a warrior aspect of Devi Parvati with 8 or 10 Goddess Beyond Reach arms who rides a lion or a tiger, carries weapons and assumes mudras, or symbolic hand gestures. Affiliation Avatar of Devi This form of the Goddess is the Abode Kailash embodiment of feminine and Om Dum Durgayei Namaha Om creative energy (Shakti). The Great Mantra Aing Hring Kling Chamundayei Goddess Durga is said to be exquisitely beautiful. Her form is Vichche blindingly bright (Devi), with three lotus-like eyes, ten or eigth or 100 Trishula (trident), Chakram, or 1000 powerful hands, lush hair Scimitar, Snake, with beautiful curls, a red-golden Weapon Conch shell, Mace, glow from her skin and a quarter moons on her forehead. She wears Bow, Talwar (longsword), shiny oceanic blue attire emitting Lotus, Thunderbolt fierce rays. Her ornaments were carved beautifully of gold, with Consort Shiva ocean pearls and precious stones Mount Dawon (tiger or lion) embedded in it. Each god also gave her their own most powerful weapons, Rudra's trident, Vishnu's discus, Indra's thunderbolt, Brahma's kamandal, Kuber's gada, etc along with Khanda. Himalayas gifted her fierce whitish golden lion. On the end of the 8th and beginning of the 9th day of waxing moon. The 4 days Durga Puja is the biggest annual festival in Bengal, celebrated likewise with much fervour in the other extremity of India, Gujarat, and parts of Eastern India, but it is celebrated in various forms throughout the Hindu universe.
The day of Durga's victory is celebrated as Vijaya Dashmi (East and South India), Dashain (Nepal) or Dussehra (North India) - these words literally mean "the Victorius Tenth" (day), vijaya means "of-victory". In Kashmir she is worshipped as shaarika (the main temple is in Hari Parbat in Srinagar). The actual period of the worship however may be on the preceding nine days followed by the last day called Vijayadashami in North India or five days in Bengal, (from the sixth to tenth day of the waxing-moon fortnight). Nine aspects of Durga known as Navadurga are meditated upon, one by one during the nine-day festival by devout shakti worshippers. In North India, this tenth day, signifying Rama's victory in his battle against the demon Ravana, is celebrated as Dussehra - gigantic straw effigies of Ravana are burnt in designated open spaces (e.g. Delhi's Ram Lila grounds), watched by thousands of families and little children. In Gujarat it is celebrated as the last day of Navaratri, during which the Garba dance is performed to celebrate the vigorous victory of Mahishasura-mardini Durga. The Goddess Durga worshipped in her peaceful form as MahaGauri, The Fair Lady, Shree Shantadurga also known as santeri , is the patron Goddess of Goa. She is worshipped by all Goan Hindus irrespective of caste and even by some Christians in Goa. Goddess Durga is worshipped in many temples of Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. Another important text on Durga is the 21-verse long Mahishasura Mardini Stotram (Prayer to the Goddess who killed Mahishasura) written by Sri Sri Sri Shankara Bhagavatpadacharya. Durga, in fact, is the goddess most widely worshipped throughout India in various ways and under various names. The goddess Durga has nine important forms called the NavaDurga. During the Navaratri festival (October), each of the goddesses is worshipped on a particular night for the destruction of evil and for the preservation of Dharma (religion).
The nine Durgas are:
SHAILPUTRI: She is worshipped on the first night and is the daughter of Himavan. She has two hands, one holding a trident and the other a lotus. She rides a bull. BRAHMACHARINI: The second Durga-Shakti has two hands. One holds a water-pot and the other a rosary. She symbolizes devotion. CHANDRAGHANTA: The third Durga-Shakti is golden complexioned, rides a tiger and has ten hands and three eyes. The hands hold various types of weapons with two in a boon-giving and protective mode. KUSHMANDA: The fourth Durga-Shakti has eight arms, holding various types of weapons and a rosary. She rides a tiger and has a presence like that of the Sun. SKANDAMATA: Riding a lion, she is the mother of Skanda who is shown sitting on her lap. She has three eyes and four arms with two holding lotus flowers and two in a blessing and protective mode. MAHISHAMARDINEE eight arms holding KATYAYANI: The sixth Durga-Shakti is the daughter of the sage Katya. Riding a lion, she has three eyes and various weapons. She is golden colored.
KALARATRI: She is black colored with flowing hair, has three eyes and rides a donkey. She has four hands with two holding a cleaver and a torch. MAHAGAURI: She is fair complexioned with four arms and wearing white clothes. She holds a drum and a trident and rides a bull. She has a peaceful expression on her face. SIDDHIDHATRI: This form is shown seated on a lotus or a tiger. She has four arms and has the ability to bless her devotees with twenty-six different boons.
Mahavidyas (Great Wisdoms) are aspects of Devi in Hinduism. The Ten Mahavidyas are known as Wisdom Goddesses. The spectrum of these ten goddesses covers the whole range of feminine divinity, encompassing horrific goddesses at one end, to the ravishingly beautiful at the other. The name Mahavidyas comes from the roots maha (great) and vidya (revelation, manifestation, knowledge, wisdom). In the Tantric tradition, these are identified as: 1. Kali 2. Tara 3. Tripura Sundari 4. Bhuvaneshvari 5. Bhairavi 6. Chhinnamasta 7. Dhumavati 8. Bagalamukhi 9. Matangi 10. Kamalatmika The Mahabhagavata-purana and Brhaddharma-purana provide a slightly different list of the Mahavidyas: Kali, Tara, Chinnamasta, Bhuvanesvari, Bagala, Dumavati, Kamala, Matangi, Sodasi, and Bhairavi. The Guhyatiguyha-tantra associates the Mahavidyas with the ten avatars of Vishnu, and states that the Mahavidyas are the source from which the avatars of Vishnu arose. All ten forms of the Goddess, whether gentle or terrifying, are worshiped as the universal Mother.
Birth of Das Mahavidyas
Once during their numerous love games, things got out of hand between Shiva and Parvati. What had started in jest turned into a serious matter with an incensed Shiva threatening to walk out on Parvati. No amount of coaxing or cajoling by Parvati could reverse matters. Left with no choice, Parvati multiplied herself into ten different forms for each of the ten directions. Thus however hard Shiva might try to escape from his beloved Parvati, he would find her standing as a guardian, guarding all escape routes. Each of the Devi's manifested forms made Shiva realize essential truths, made him aware of the eternal nature of their mutual love and most significantly established for always in the canon of Indian thought the Goddess's superiority over her male counterpart. Not that Shiva in any way felt belittled by this awareness, only spiritually awakened. This is true as much for this Great Lord as for us ordinary mortals. Befittingly thus they are referred
to as the Great Goddesses of Wisdom, known in Sanskrit as the Mahavidyas. Indeed in the process of spiritual learning the Goddess is the muse who guides and inspires us. She is the high priestess who unfolds the inner truths. Another story (told in several of the puranas) involves an argument between Shiva and Sati (Dakshayani), an earlier incarnation of Parvati. When Shiva and Sati were wed, Sati's father Daksha disapproved of the match and organized a great sacrifice to which he invited everyone except for the newlywed couple. Sati, incensed, insisted on attending the sacrifice, which Shiva forbade until Sati transformed herself into a terrible appearance and multipled into the ten Mahavidyas, whereby she subdued Shiva's resistance and attended the sacrifice.
Chapter 4 Goddess Gayatri
Gayatri is in fact the name applied to one of the most well known Vedic hymn consisting of twenty-four syllables. This hymn is addressed to god Surya (sun) as the supreme generative force. Being translated this hymn means "We meditate on that glorious light of the divine Surya (Sun), may he, the lord of light, illuminate our minds". It is ordained that repeating this hymn again and again leads to salvation. One who desires to attain heaven should recite it a thousand times each day. A man of the upper caste, who daily repeats the Gayatri hymn 3000 times for one month, shall be freed from guilt, however great. Gayatri later came to be personified as a goddess. She is shown having five heads and is usually seated within a lotus. She is another consort of Brahma. According to the myth one day Saraswati was late to arrive at the time when Brahma was to perform his sacrifices to gods. Brahma became very angry because his consort's presence was indispensable to complete the ceremonies. Brahma asked the priest to fetch him any GAYATRI woman and wed him to her at the spot. Just in the neighbourhood was found a very lovely shepherdess. In reality she was no other person than this Vedic hymn of Gayatri incarnated in the shape of that beautiful girl. Brahma immediately married that girl and kept her as his other wife together with Saraswati. The five heads of Gayatri represent the four Vedas of ancient Aryans and the remaining one represents the Almighty Lord himself. In her ten hands she holds all the symbols of Lord Vishnu including mace, lotus, axe, conch, Sudarsan, lotus, etc. One of the sacred texts explicitly reads, 'The Gayatri is Brahma, the Gayatri is Vishnu, the Gayatri is Shiva, the Gayatri is Vedas". All sects of Hindus accept the importance of this hymn. Even the Arya
Samajists, who do not believe in the worship of images and idols, proclaim this hymn as the most sacred one and in every prayer of theirs repeat the holy mantra to achieve success as well as salvation.
In Devanagari the hymn is as following:
ॐ भूभुवः सवः । व तत ् सिवतुवरे णयं । व भगो दे वसय धीमिि । िधयो यो नः पचोदयात ्
Word-by-word explanation:• • • • • • • • • • •
Om The mystical Om syllable. bhu "earth" bhuvas "atmosphere" svar "light, heaven" tat "that" savitur devasya "of Savitr, the god" (genitives of savitr-, 'stimulator, rouser; name of a sun-deity' and deva- 'god' or 'demi-god') varenyam accusative of varenya- "desirable, excellent" bhargo "radiance, lustre, splendour, glory" Dhīmahi "may we attain" (1st person plural middle optative of dhā'set, bring, fix' etc.) dhiyaḥ naḥ "our prayers" (accusative plural of dhi- 'thought, meditation, devotion, prayer' and naḥ enclitic personal pronoun) yaḥ pracodayāt "who may stimulate" (nominative singular of relative pronoun yad-; causative 3rd person of pra-cud- 'set in motion, drive on, urge, impel')
Legend of Origin
Rishis selected the words of the Gayatri Mantra and arranged them so that they not only convey meaning but also create specific power of righteous wisdom through their utterance. The ideal times for chanting the mantra are three times a day - at dawn, mid-day, and at dusk. These times are known as the three sandhyas - morning, mid-day and evening. The maximum benefit
of chanting the mantra is said to be obtained by chanting it 108 times. However, one may chant it for 3, 9, or 18 times when pressed for time. The syllables of the mantra are said to positively affect all the chakras or energy centers in the human body - hence, proper pronunciation and enunciation are very important. In general, Brahmarishi Vishwamitra is credited with the authorship of the Gayatri Mantra. Iconography Originally the personification of the mantra, the goddess Gayatri is considered the Veda Mata, the mother of all Vedas and the consort of the God Brahma and also the personification of the all-pervading Para Brahman, the ultimate unchanging reality that lies behind all phenomena. Gayatri Veda Mata is seen by many Hindus to be not just a Goddess, but a portrayal of Brahman himself, in the feminine form. Essentially, the Goddess is seen to combine all the phenomenal attributes of Brahman, including Past, Present and Future as well as the three realms of existence. Gayatri is typically portrayed as seated on a red lotus, signifying wealth. She appears in either of these forms:
Having five heads with the ten eyes looking in the eight directions plus the earth and sky, and ten arms holding all the weapons of Vishnu, symbolizing all her reincarnations.
Accompanied by a white swan, holding a book to portray knowledge in one hand and a cure in the other, as the goddess of Education.
Param Brahman Goddess Gayatri
Chapter – 5
This goddess representing the holy river of Ganges is shown as a white woman, wearing a white crown, sitting on the sea animal crocodile, holding in her right hand a water lily and in her left hand a lute. GANGA Rig Veda mention the name of GANGA DAUGHTER Ganga only twice but in the later period of Puranic age OF PARVATARAJA Ganga assumed great importance as a goddess. The legend says that she was produced from the sweat of Vishnu's feet, which Brahma caught and filled in his KAMANDAL (vessel-container).
SAGAR GETTING BLESSED BY SHIVA
Another legend states that Ganga is the daughter of Parvataraja and is the sister of Parvati who is the consort of Shiva. The story of Ganga's coming from heaven to earth is a famous mythological tale. Sagar, a legendary king of Ayodhya had no children. He performed long and arduous penances worshipping Shiva as a result of which he was promised the birth of sixty thousand children.
THE ASHWAMEDA YAGYA
Sagar did get these sons and when they grew up king Sagar resolved to perform the ASHVAMEDH YAGYA (a ritual of proclaiming oneself unbeatable). Indra the lord of heavens was alarmed and feared that Sagar would become INDRA STEALING THE very strong and dethrone him.
Indra descended to the earth and stealthily carried away the horse, which he placed in PATAL (the subterranean region) just near the famous sage Kapil, who was sitting there in deep meditation. The sixty thousand sons of Sagar, after searching that horse on the whole of earth, dug a hole and reached
patal. There they found the horse standing near a sage who was sitting with eyes closed in meditation. They thought that he was the thief and began beating the sage Kapil, who awoke at this and in anger reduced all the princes to ashes. The wandering sage Narada informed Sagar about the fate of his sixty SAGE KAPILA BURNT THE thousand sons. King Sagar prayed to SONS OF SAGAR TO ASHES sage Kapil for relief, and was advised that if he could somehow bring the goddess Ganga from heavens on the earth and if the ashes were washed with her water, their salvation would come. Sagar gave the throne to the one surviving son of his and went to forest for prayers but perished in his efforts. So also his son, who too sacrificed his life as a penance after giving throne to his son (Sagar's great grand-son), named Dalip. Dalip had no son from any of his two wives. With god Shiva's blessings he did get a son named Bhagirath who was deformed. When this boy became young a sage blessed him and he turned into a healthy and handsome prince. Bhagirath now addressed prayers regularly to different gods for the restoration of his sixty thousand relations suffering on account of a curse. He performed severe penance and prayed earnestly for a very long time. Both god Shiva and goddess Ganga were ultimately propitiated. As Ganga had to fall from heaven to earth, Bhagirath was afraid lest the earth be crushed by her fall. GANGA DESCENDING TO EARTH Ganga swept down in three great installments and Shiva standing on Mountain Himalaya, caught Ganga in his matted hair to mitigate the impact. At length Shiva allowed a part of Ganga to fall on earth and Bhagirath blowing the conch given to him by god Vishnu led Ganga to seas. Later she was taken to patal (nether region) and so all the sixty thousand sons of Sagar were purified and saved from doom.
On way to the nether region what happened to Ganga is no less interesting. Accompanying Bhagirath Ganga asked him at what spot his sixty thousand relations were laying whom she was to deliver. As he could not inform the location Ganga before entering the sea divided herself into a hundred streams so as to ensure the salvation of the cursed wherever they might be laying. When Ganga was thus falling from heaven on the earth, the gods prayed to Brahma that they also needed Ganga in the heavens to wash off their sins. At this Brahma assured them that a part of Ganga would main in heaven too. Thus the goddess Ganga is called MANDAKENEE in heavens, GANGA on earth and BHAGIRATHI in patal. BHAGIRATHA PERFORMING PENANCE Iconography This goddess bears a great importance in holy books. Purana declare that the sight, the name and the touch of Ganga take's away all sins and that bathing in Ganga bestows blessings of the highest order. Not only have those who bathe in Ganga obtained SWARGA (heaven), but also those whose bones, hair, etc., are left in the river. All the land over which Ganga flows is to be regarded as hallowed ground.
GANGA ON CROCODILE
SHIVA CHECKING GANGA'S FALL
The cremation of a dead body at the banks of Ganga and throwing the remains in its water even when the dead bodies burnt elsewhere is thought propitious. It is preferred that bones of the deceased be brought to Ganga and cast into holy river. It is said that this leads to salvation of the deceased. Hindus particularly choose this river for holy rituals because the merits of works performed here
BHAGIRATHA LEADING GANGA
become manifold in their results. Another name of Ganga is VISHNUPADI, the one flowing from the foot of god Vishnu. Vishnu Purana says that Ganga encloses Brahma's great city situated on Mount Meru and then divides into four mighty rivers flowing in four directions. GANGAJAL, the water of Ganga, is held so sacred that with this in hand no Hindu dare speak untruth. Those who die within specified limits around Ganga, called GANGAKSHETRA (the land of Ganga), are believed to go to the heavenly world and all their sins washed off.
Chapter 6 Radha Rani
In the story of Krishna, as told in the Mahabharata and the Bhagavata Purana, he spends much of his youth in the company of young cow-herd girls, called Gopis in the village of Varindavana. The Mahabharata does not describe Krishna's earlier life in Varindavana in much detail, and focuses more on the later battle of Kurukshetra but within the Bhagavata Purana the child-hood pastimes of Krishna are described very vividly. Within the Bhagavata Purana, Radha is not mentioned by name but is alluded to within the tenth chapter of the text as one of the Gopis who Krishna plays with during his upbringing as a young boy. It is in later texts such as the Gita Govinda where we find the story of Radha given in more detail.
Radha with Krishna, as painted by Raja Ravi Varma
Vaishnava tradition states that Radha was born in either Varshana, or Rawal, a village about 8 kilometers from Varindavana, near present day New Delhi in India. There are a number of accounts of her parentage. According to one of the common ones, her father is the leader (sometimes regarded as king) of cowherds called Vrishabhanu, and her mother is called Kamalavati, or Kirtida. Her worship is especially prominent in Vrindavan, the place where Krishna is said to have lived over 5000 years ago. Wherein Her importance surpasses even the importance of Krishna. Radha's love for Krishna is held within Gaudiya Vaishnavism as the most perfect primarily because of its endless and unconditional nature. Thus she is the most
important consort of Krishna, 'His heart and soul', and His 'hladini-shakti' (spiritual pleasure potency). In the Brihad-Gautamiya Tantra, Radharani is described as follows: "The transcendental goddess Srimati Radharani is the direct counterpart of Lord Sri Krishna. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She possesses all the attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead. She is the primeval internal potency of the Lord."
Radha (right) with Krishna at Krishna-Balarama Temple in Vrindavan Radha's birthday is celebrated as Radhastami. During this time devotees are allowed special sanctions not normally allowed. For example, Radha's name is normally not chanted due to the possibility of committing offenses towards her. Neither are all devotees qualified to enter into her kunda, or lake, which is considered holy. On the festival day of the appearance of Radha Kunda (Radharani's lake), devotees wait up until midnight in order to bathe there. And there is much recitation of her holy names on her "appearance day" or "birthday". She is said to "appear" because she does not take birth or die, being an eternal associate of Krishna, both of whom are liberated. She is the most chaste woman, "married" to Krishna.
The foremost of the Gopis
The Padma Purana describes 18,000 cowherd-girls (gopis) among whom it says 108 are the most important. Among those 108, eight are considered more important still, and among the eight, two have a special position - Chandravali and Radharani. Of the two, Radha is considered the foremost.
Names & Worship
Temple in Varsana, dedicated to the worship of Radha and Krishna Radha has many epithets describing her qualities and characteristics.
• • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • •
Gandharvi - expert singer Govinda-nandini - She who gives pleasure to Govinda (Krishna) Govinda-mohini - She who mystifies Govinda Govinda-sarvasva - the all-in-all of Govinda Sarva-kanta Shiromani - the crown jewel of all Krishna's consorts Krishnamayi - the one who sees Krishna both within and without Radhika - Her worship of the Krishna consists of fulfilling His desires Madan-Mohan-Mohini - Within Gaudiya tradition Krishna (as the Supreme Person) is believed to be the enchanter of all living beings, including even Kamadeva (Madan) - the god of attraction. Because Radha has the unique position of being able to enchant even Krishna she is therefore know as MadanMohan-Mohini: the enchanter of the enchanter of Cupid. Aradhana - The root name of Radharani, meaning one who excels in worshiping Krishna Sarva-lakshmi - The original source of all the goddesses of fortune Vrshabhanu-nandini - daughter of Vrishabanu Vrndavaneshvari - Queen of Vrindavana Lalita-Sakhi - friend of the gopi Lalita Gokula-Taruni - She whom all young girls of Gokul worship Damodara Rati - She who dresses herself to please Damodara (Krishna) Radharani – Radha the queen RadhaKrishna - Worship of Krishna with Radha
One of her names, Hara (mentioned in Narada-pancaratra 5.5.59), in vocative Hare, forms a part of the Hare Krishna 'Maha-Mantra', one of the most popular Vedic mantras, especially amongst Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Radharani's names hold a place of prime importance within Gaudiya Vaishnava religious practices.
Temples dedicated to Radha
Barsana and Vrindavan in Mathura District, Northern India contain a large number of temples dedicated to both Radha and Krishna, including the Radhavallabh Temple. Barsana Dham in Austin, Texas, USA, one of the largest Hindu temples in the western Hemisphere.
Temple Deities in India and abroad are generally named in order of Radharani first and then Krishna. Krishna is approachable through the mercy of Srimati Radharani and no one else. So for example, if one were to enter the Govindaji temple in Vrindavan the Deities are named Radha Govinda and devotees of Krishna would pray to Radha and Govinda not just Krishna. This is because Krishna is controlled by Radharani's love.
Quotations about Radha
"Although the effulgence of the moon is brilliant initially at night, in the daytime it fades away. Similarly, although the lotus is beautiful during the daytime, at night it closes. But, O My friend, the face of My most dear Srimati Radharani is always bright and beautiful, both day and night. Therefore, to what can Her face be compared?" (Vidagdha-madhava 5.20) "When Srimati Radharani smiles, waves of joy overtake Her cheeks, and Her arched eyebrows dance like the bow of Cupid. Her glance is so enchanting that it is like a dancing bumblebee, moving unsteadily due to intoxication. That bee has bitten the whorl of My heart." (Vidagdha-madhava 2.51) "Just as Srimati Radharani is most dear to Krishna, Her bathing pond is similarly dear. Of all the gopis, She is the most beloved of the Lord." (Padma Purana) "The transcendental goddess Srimati Radharani is the direct counterpart of Lord Sri Krishna. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She possesses all attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead. She is the primeval internal potency of the Lord." (Brihad-gautamiya-tantra) "Among all persons, it is Sri Radha in whose company Lord Madhava is especially glorious, as She is especially glorious in His." (Rig-parisishta)
"Radharani is the source of spiritual inspiration" (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada).
RADHA-The foremost Gopi
Radha and Other 108 Gopis
Radha – Madhava
Chapter – 7 Vishnu Maya or Yogmaya
Introduction and the legend Vishnu Maya, the illusion, is the internal Moh rupa, of Hari, Lord of all, by help of which the Lord easily can preserve the World, which is create by Lord Brahma. The Goddess is none other than Consort of Lord Shiva, but the Mother Goddess, Uma is here Enlightend here to this form of the goddess. Thus Parvati Maa is also reflected as the Goddess of illusion or the divine sister of Lord Vishnu and called by the names Narayani, Vishnu Maya or Moh. Legend
Once Sri Narada Rishi, the great devotee of Narayana went to Dwaraka to see Lord Krishna. After talking for some time, they went out for a walk. During the course of the walk, they spoke about a lot of topics. At this juncture, Narada said to Vasudeva, "Narayana, Krishna, Govinda, Vishnu, great sages speak of your Shakti called Vishnumaya, by which the whole universe is deluded into thinking of "I and mine" and by the operation of which there is forgetfulness of You. May I know, Vasudeva, what that Vishnumaya is, if you are pleased to reveal that to me, your servant's servant." Recalling to His mind a similar request made by the sage Markandeya to Himself in the form of Nara-Narayana, Govinda said "Sure, you are my dear devotee. My devotees' desires will never be unfulfilled. I will fulfill your desire." Satisified with the reply of Madhusudhana, Narada continued the walk. 103
Having walked a long distance, they almost came to a suburb of Dvaraka. At this juncture, Lord Krishna felt thirsty. He told Narada, "Dear Narada, I feel quite thirsty. We have come a long way from our home. We cannot go back home to quench my thirst. Can you do Me a favour?” Narada replied, "Prabho, your wish is my order. Command me, your servant, what I should do". Narayana replied, "At a short distance from here, there is a village. Please go to that village and fetch water for Me. Till that time, I will be sitting beneath that tree. Don't miss Me." Glad to be of service to Vishnu, which is the only business of the soul, Narada rushed to the said village. On reaching the first house, he knocked the door, anxious to quickly procure water for Govinda, whose feet-washings constitute the perennial Ganga. The door was opened by a young girl whose beauty stupefied the mind of Narada, stopping for a moment his incessant chant of "Narayana, Narayana". Forgetting both Krishna and His thirst the very purpose of his coming there - he enquired the girl "Dear, who are you? Who is your father? I would consider myself most fortunate if I can marry you." The girl replied, "My father is inside. You can talk to him." Narada went inside and spoke to the girl's father, "Respected Sir, you may know me to be Narada, Narayana’s servant. Attracted by the beauty and modesty of your daughter, I propose to marry her. I would consider it Hari's grace if you consent to it." The father readily agreed to the proposal. A few days later, the wedding happened. Time, the power of Vishnu that crushes into oblivion those turned away from Hari's feet, rolled on. Narada begot several children in this period of 12 years and considered his life most happy. But how can anything other than the service of Padmanabha be permanent? One day the clouds turned very grey foreboding terrible rains. Soon it started raining heavily with powerful thunderclaps accompanied by a furious
wind. In a few hours, the whole village where Narada lived was flooded and many people started moving out of the village. To save himself and his family, Narada too made preparations for exiting the village. He took a small set of necessary household articles, clutched the hands of his wife and elder children, took his younger ones on his shoulders and slowly waded through the waters. With powerful rains and thunder from above, whirling water below and furious winds in all directions, Narada could not understand where he was going. The whirling pull of the waters was so high that the bag of household articles that Narada was clutching in his hands slipped away from him. Narada began to lament the loss of his cherished items, just like a householder attached to his wealth. While thus lamenting, a powerful whirlpool snatched away one of his sons. Weeping to the extreme and bemoaning the loss of his beloved son, Narada said "O Narayana, what is this that is happening to me. Please look at your sorrowstricken servant. How can he live without his son?" Soon the powerful waves of the waters snatched or drowned all his children one by one. Suffering to the extreme, unable to bear the heavy loss, Narada clung to his wife and pathetically cried, "Govinda, why should I live anymore. Why does not Death snatch me? Why don't you protect me? Do you lack either mercy or power? If you don't protect me any further, you will lose your good name as the `Protector of the Devotees' ". Narada now held his wife's hands very tightly as she was his only remaining meaning in life. But, as if to smear salt on a wound, a powerful whirlpool snatched away his dearest wife from his hands. Losing everything without exception, suffering to the extreme and losing all meaning in life, Narada cried out at the top of his voice, "O Narayana, is this what you do to your servants, you merciless rogue." As if the heavens heard this cry, a very powerful flash of lightning lighted the sky blinding the eyes of Narada for a few seconds. When he opened his eyes, what he saw stupefied him. Neither the rains nor the thunder, neither the floods nor the storm, could Narada see. Instead Narada saw a four-
handed beauty sitting beneath a tree, as if anxiously waiting for something. Distressed by the horrible events and surprised by the enigmatic vision of Vishnu, Narada found himself thoroughly confused and disoriented. Trying to get this clear, Narada approached the Presence which spoke in a sonorous voice. "Dear Narada, I was thirsty and asked you to get some water for Me. I have been waiting for almost half an hour. Have you brought Me the water?", said the `rogue' with a mischievous smile playing on His lips. In a flash, Narada understood everything; and like a mad man, he rushed to the Lord, clasped the feet of the Lord extremely tight and cried bitterly like a child. Bathing the feet of the Lord with his tears, he could not come to normalcy for a long time. Then he regained himself and said, "Today, Narayana, You have revealed to me Your Vishnumaya Shakti. I, your servant, have been thoroughly confounded by your Vishnumaya with the false notion of I, mine, my family, my wife, my child, my wealth etc. Taking this impermanent world as the source of happiness, I wandered about in the dense darkness of household life, totally forgetting your lotus feet. In the end, I underwent extreme sorrow as the fruit of my self-centered household life and the consequent forgetfulness of You. This much is clear to me, Lord, that those who serve Your lotus feet are immune to Vishnumaya, while those who are turned away from Your service are repeatedly going round and round in this Samsara chakra. Let me ask this one boon from you, Govinda: may I have unabating love for your lotus feet and let me never again be affected by Vishnumaya." Granting his request gladly, Hari thought of the experiences that Narada endured in Vishnumaya. Pitying him for his pains, Krishna caressed Narada with supreme affection, while Narada found himself transported to the highest realms of Supreme Love.
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