List of Hindu deities -Prana Kishore

List of Hindu deities -Prana Kishore

Hinduism is the dominant religion of the Indian subcontinent. It comprises three major traditions, ShaivismVaishnavism and Shaktism,[1] whose followers considered ShivaVishnu and Shakti (also called asDevi) to be the supreme deity respectively. Most of the other deities were either related to them or different forms (incarnations) of these deities. Hinduism has been called the “oldest religion” in the world, and many practitioners refer to Hinduism as “the eternal law“. (Sanātana Dharma).[2] Given below is a list of the chief Hindu deities followed by a list of Hindu deities

Para Brahman

According to Adi Shankara, there is only one supreme Para Brahman, and all of the other deities are its forms and expansions.

Under terms of some schools of Vedanta, it has three modal aspects, with the highest being Para Brahman. Para Brahman means Supreme Brahman, or Supreme Cosmic Spirit. Although an ineffable entity, it could be said to be that which contains and pervades the universe. Para Brahman, from beyond, encompasses the transcendent and immanent ultimate reality, Brahman, The Absolute Truth is both subject and object, so there is no qualitative difference. Terms like Parameshvara, IshvaraBhagavan, Brahman, and Paramatma are held to be synonymous with Para Brahman.

Hindu sects like ShaivismVaishnavism, and Shaktism have a concept of Para Brahman, identifying it with the deities ShivaVishnu and Adi Parashakti/Shakti (the Goddess) respectively. However, in contrast with Vaishnavism (in which Para Brahman denotes Saguna Brahman as Vishnu), either Saguna Brahman or the impersonal Nirguna Brahman may be connotated by other sects.

Trimurti and Tridevi[


Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva with their consorts.

Main articles: Trimurti and Tridevi

Shiva and Vishnu are regarded as Mahādevas (“great gods” ) due to their central positions in worship and scriptures.[3] These two along with Brahma are considered the Trimurti—the three aspects of the universal supreme God. These three aspects symbolize the entire circle of samsara in Hinduism: Brahma as creator, Vishnu as preserver or protector, and Shiva as destroyer or judge. The Hindu trinity consisted of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the followers of the last two formed two major sects.

The Tridevi or triplet goddesses of Hinduism have equal importance as the Trimurti and function as their consorts. Brahma is creator, so he needs knowledge or goddess Saraswati (Vaak) to create. Vishnu is preserver, so he needs the goddess of wealth and prosperity, goddess Lakshmi (Shri). Finally, Shiva is destroyer and re-creator, so he needs goddess ParvatiDurga, or Kali for power. They are the various manifestations of Goddess, Shakti.

Popular deities


Ganesha

In their personal religious practices, Hindus may worship primarily one or another of these aspects, known as their Ishta Devata or Ishvara[4] (chosen deity).[5] The particular deities worshipped are a matter of individual preference,[6] although regional and family traditions can play a large part in influencing this choice.[7] Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, and theGanapatya sects of Hinduism states that Vishnu, Shiva, Devi (shakti), and Ganesha respectively equate to Brahman, and that all other deities are aspects of their chosen deity.[8]

Besides the Trimurti and Tridevi and aspects of the goddesses already mentioned, Shiva’s sons Ganesha and Kartikeya, Vishnu’s avatars like Rama and Krishna are popular deities.

Some deities have regional popularity. Regional forms of Vishnu include JagannathVithoba and Venkateshwara.

Avatars as incarnations of gods

Many denominations of Hinduism, such as Vaishnavism and some schools of Saivism, teach that occasionally, a god comes to Earth as a human being to help humans in their struggle toward enlightenment and salvation (moksha). Such an incarnation of a god is called an avatar, or avatāra. Hinduism teaches that there have been multiple avatars throughout history and that there will be more.

Ten avatars of Vishnu

Main article: Dasavatara


The Dasavatara

The most famous of the divine incarnations are Rama, whose life is depicted in the Ramayana, and Krishna, whose life is depicted in the Mahābhārata and the Bhagavata Purana. The Bhagavad Gita, which contains the spiritual teachings of Krishna, is one of the most widely read scriptures in Hinduism. Mohini is a female incarnation of Vishnu who appeared during the early struggle between the Deva and Asura.

  1. Matsya, the fish, appeared in the Satya Yuga. Represents the beginning of life.
  2. Kurma, the tortoise, appeared in the Satya Yuga. Represents a human embryo just growing tiny legs, with a huge belly.
  3. Varaha, the boar,appeared in the Satya Yuga. Represents a human embryo which is almost ready. Its features are visible.
  4. Narasimha, the Man-Lion (Nara = man, simha = lion), appeared in the Satya Yuga. Represents a newborn baby, hairy and cranky, bawling and full of blood.Regarded as the greatest and most powerful avatar.
  5. Vamana, the Dwarf, appeared in the Treta Yuga. Represents a young child.
  6. Parashurama, Rama with the axe, appeared in the Treta Yuga. Represents both an angry young man and a grumpy old man simultaneously.
  7. Rama, Sri Ramachandra, the prince and king of Ayodhya, appeared in the Treta Yuga. Represents a married man with children and depicts and ideal society. one man one one wife etc..,. Lord Rama is considered Purna avatar, which means full incarnation of Vishnu.
  8. Krishna, Krishna is considered Purna avatar, which means full incarnation of Vishnu. Represents a more realistic society. As chaotic as it looks there is clear demarcation between right and wrong.
  9. Kalki (“Eternity”, or “time”, or “The Destroyer of foulness”), who is expected to appear at the end of Kali Yuga, the time period in which we currently exist, though it has not happened yet. However, over the centuries many sects have believed their spiritual leader to be Kalki. For example, Ismaili Khojas, a Muslim group from Gujarat and Sindh who are followers of Aga khan, believe in the 10 incarnations of Vishnu.

Some consider Balarama, brother of Krishna, to be the eighth Avatar of Vishnu. They make Krishna the ninth avatar and delete Buddha.[9] But other legends state that Balarama was an incarnation of Sheshaand hence Buddha, founder of Buddhism, is the ninth avatar of Vishnu and Kalki the tenth one who is yet to come at the end of Kaliyuga. Helmuth von Glasenapp attributed these developments to a Hindu desire to absorb Buddhism in a peaceful manner, both to win Buddhists to Vaishnavism and also to account for the fact that such a significant heresy could exist in India.[10]

Devas and devis

Main articles: Deva (Hinduism) and Devi


Indra is the god-king of heaven and god of thunder, lightning and rain.

The pantheon in Śrauta consists of many deities. Gods are called devas (or devatās) and goddesses are called devis. The most ancient Rigvedic deities included IndraAgni,SomaVarunaMitraSavitrRudraPrajapatiVishnuAryaman, and the Ashvins. Important goddesses were SarasvatiUshas, and Prithvi. Later scriptures called the Puranasrecount traditional stories about each individual deity, such as Ganesha and Hanuman, and avatars such as Rama and Krishna.

The Thirty-three gods of the Vedas are:

Adityas

  • Mitra, the patron god of oaths and of friendship,
  • Varuṇa, the patron god of water and the oceans,
  • Śakra, also called Indra, the king of gods, and the god of rains
  • Bhaga, god of wealth
  • Vivasvat, also called Ravi or Savitṛ,
  • Tvāṣṭṛ, the smith among the gods,
  • Pūṣan, patron god of travellers and herdsmen, god of roads,
  • Dhātṛ, god of health and magic, also called Dhūti
  • Yama, god of Dharma (moral ethics), of death and of justice.

Vasus

Assistants of Indra and of Vishnu

  • Agni the “Fire” god, also called Anala or “living”,
  • Vāyu the “Wind”, the air god, also called Anila (“wind”)
  • Dyauṣ the “Sky” god, also called Dyeus and Prabhāsa or the “shining dawn”
  • Pṛthivī the “Earth” god, also called Dharā or “support”
  • Sūrya the “Sun” god, also called Pratyūsha, (“break of dawn”, but often used to mean simply “light”), the Saura sectary worshipped Sūrya as their chief deity.
  • Soma the “Moon” god, also called Chandra
  • Aha (“pervading”) or Āpa (‘water’ or ether), also called Antarikṣa the “Atmosphere” or “Space” god,
  • Dhruva (“motionless”) the Polestar, also called Nakṣatra the god of the “Stars”,

Rudras

They are the 8 personifications of god Rudra and have various names.

Ashvins

]

The Ashvins (also called the Nāsatyas) were twin gods. Nasatya is also the name of one twin, while the other is called Dasra.

List in alphabetical order

Most of the Hindu temples are dedicated to ShivaVishnu (including his incarnations Krishna and Rama), Shakti (the mother goddess, hence including the forms of Durga and Kali and the goddesses Lakshmiand Saraswati), Ganesh and Hanuman.[7][8][9] The Hindu scriptures claimed that there were 33 Crore or 330 million (1 Crore = 10 million) gods. The number might be figurative but there are several names and forms for the multitude of gods. [10] Given below is an incomplete list of deities.

A

  • Acyutah, another name of Vishnu.
  • Adimurti one of Vishnu’s avatars.
  • Aditi is mother of the Devas.
  • Adityas, are the offspring of Aditi.
  • Agni* is the god of fire, and acceptor of sacrifices.
  • Ammavaru goddess who laid the egg that hatched Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu.
  • Anala “fire” in Sanskrit, equated among Agni.
  • Anilais one of the Vasus, gods of the elements of the cosmos. He is equated with the wind god Vāyu, Anila being understood as the name normally used for Vāyu when numbered among the Vasus.
  • Anumati (“divine favor” in Sanskrit, Devanagari: अनुमति), also known as Chandrama, is a lunar deity and goddess of wealth, intellect, children, spirituality, and prosperity. Her vehicle is Krisha Mrigam or Krishna Jinka (Blackbuck).
  • Ap In Hinduism, it is also the name of the deva, a personification of water, one of the Vasus in most later Puranic lists.
  • Apam Napatis an eminent figure of the Indo-Iranian pantheon. In Hinduism, Apām Napāt is the god of fresh water, such as in rivers and lakes. In Zoroastrianism, Apąm Napāt is also a divinity of water, see also Burz.
  • Aranyaniis a goddess of the forests and the animals that dwell within them.

Aranyani has the distinction of having one of the most descriptive hymns in the Rigveda dedicated to her, in which she is described as being elusive, fond of quiet glades in the jungle, and fearless of remote places.

  • Aravan also known as Iravat (इरावत्, Irāvat)[1] and Iravant, is a minor character from the Hindu epic of Mahabharata. The son of Pandava prince Arjuna (one of the main heroes of the Mahabharata) and the Naga princess Ulupi, Iravan is the central god of the cult of Kuttantavar (Tamil: கூத்தாண்டவர்) —which is also the name commonly given to him in that cult—and plays a major role in the cult of Draupadi.
  • Ardhanari is a composite androgynous form of the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Parvati (also known as Devi, Shakti and Uma in this icon). Ardhanarishvara is depicted as half male and half female, split down the middle. The right half is usually the male Shiva, illustrating his traditional attributes.
  • ArdraThe Hindu myth associated to Ardra is that of Taraka. Taraka is an asura who is granted invulnerability by Brahma.[1]
  • Arjuna-(pronounced [ɐrˈɟunɐ] in classical Sanskrit) (lit. ‘bright’ or ‘silver’ (cf. Latin argentum)) is the third of the Pandavas, the sons and princes of Pandu, who with Krishna, is considered to be the hero of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.
  • Aruna is a personification of the reddish glow of the rising Sun,[1] which is believed to have spiritual powers. The presence of Aruṇá, the coming of day, is invoked in Brahmin prayers to Surya.
  • Arundhati is the wife of the sage Vashista, one of the seven sages (Saptarshi) who are identified with the Ursa Major. She is identified with the morning star and also with the star Alcor which forms a double star with Mizar (identified as Vashista) in Ursa Major.
  • Aryaman is one of the early Vedic deities (devas). His name signifies “bosom friend”. He is the third son of Aditi. He is an Aditya, a solar deity. He is supposed to be the chief of the manes and the Milky Way is supposed to be his path.
  • Ashapura –Mata no Madh is one of aspect devi. Her temples are mainly found in Gujarat.
  • Aslesais the 9th Nakshatra among the 27 Nakshatras in Hindu astrology. Ashlesha is also known as the Clinging Star or Nāga.[1] It is known as Hydra. It extends from 16:40 to 30:00 Cancri.[2]
  • Asura(Sanskrit: असुर,[1] Sanskrit ásu – “life force”.[2] Compare: Æsir. Also see: Ahura Mazda) are non-suras, a different group of power-seeking deities besides the suras, sometimes considered naturalists, or nature-beings. They are the forces of chaos that are in constant battle with the Devas.
  • Asvayujau is a goddess of good luck, joy and happiness.
  • Aswiniis the first nakshatra (lunar mansion) in Hindu astrology, corresponding to the head of Aries, including the stars β and γ Arietis. The name aśvinī is used by Varahamihira (6th century). The older name of the asterism, found in the Atharvaveda (AVS 19.7; in the dual) and in Panini (4.3.36), was aśvayúj “harnessing horses”
  • Ayyappan is a Hindu deity worshiped in a number of shrines across India. Ayyappan is believed to be an incarnation of Dharma Sasta, who is the offspring of Shiva and Vishnu (as Mohini, is the only female avatar of the God Vishnu) and is generally depicted in a yogic posture

B

C

D

G

H

I

J

Jagaddhatri


K

L

M

N

P

R

S

T

Tara


U

V

Y

The Rigveda speaks of Thirty-three gods called the Tridasha (‘Three times ten’). They consisted of the 12 Adityas, the 8 Vasus, the 11 Rudras and the 2 AshvinsIndra also called Śakra, lord of the gods, is the first of the 33 followed by Agni. Some of these brother gods were invoked in pairs such as Indra-Agni, Mitra-Varuna and Soma-Rudra.

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Maha Lakshmi Diwali Blessings Mantras-Prana Kishore

Maha Lakshmi Diwali Blessings Mantras-Prana Kishore


Prana Kishore releases the album “Maha Lakshmi Diwali Blessings Mantras” world wide in collaboration with I Tunes and Amazon on 20th Oct 2014 for Diwali

1-Subham Karoti Kalyanam-Mantra for Lighting Lamp also Evening Mantra to Bless You With Wealth.Play this mantra on Diwali day,in Weddings and all Functions.

2-Karaagre Vasate Lakshmi-Morning Mantra in Bed Looking at Both Hands to Believe in Your Self and to Start thDay with Positive Attitude to Succeed

3-Samudra Vasane Devi-Morning Mantra to Mother Earth for Forgiveness for Touching Her With Your Feet.Mantra Gives Patience to Start the Day

4-Gange Cha-Mantra in Shower Since All Waters Come from Ganga and to Save Water as it is essential to Life

5-Ya Devi Sarva Bhoteshu– Lakshmi Mantra to Bless You With Good Fortune and Wealth

6-Yen Moole Sarvatheerthani-Tulasi Mantra to Remain as Pure as Tulasi in Life

7-Annaporne-Mantra Before Meals to Thank God for the Food By First Offering Food to God as Prasad.We should also eat food less like the prasad to be in good health.

8-Asathoma Sadgamaya-Diwali Mantra To Lead You From Darkness To Light, Truth To Untruth and from Death to Immortality

Let me explain about Diwali in a Q & A format easy to understand by the next generation.

How was the name Diwali formed ?

Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit  word Dīpāvali, formed from dīpa  “light” or “lamp” and āvalī  series, line, row). Dīpāvali or Deepavali thus meant a “row” or series of lights.



 

What is the meaning of Diwali?

Diwali also known as Deepavali and its meaning is “festival of lights” ancient Hindu festivals celebrated in autumn every year in Oct-Nov in India.It is also celebrated by Jains and Sikhs

In which countries is Diwali celebrated?

It is an official holiday in IndiaNepalSrilanka,, Myanmar, MauritiusGuyanaTrinidad,Tobago SurinameMalaysiaSingapore and Fiji.

80% of 1.2 Billion people in India are Hindus and there are 3 Million Hindus in USA.

It is also celebrated in Sri Lanka, PakistanMyanmar, ThailandMalaysiaSingaporeIndonesia,Australia New Zeeland, 

FijiMauritiusKenyaTanzaniaSouth AfricaGuyanaSuriname,

 Trinidad and Tobago, the NetherlandsCanada, the United Kingdom,

and  United Arab Emirates

What is the most important Diwali Prayer and Mantra one must learn and Pray on Diwali day?

Vedic prayer from Brhadaranyaka Upanishad celebrating lights is:

Asato ma sat gamaya

| (असतो मा सद्गमय

Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya |

तमसो मा  ज्योतिर्गमय

Mṛtyor ma amṛtam gamaya |

मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय

Om shanti shanti shantihi ||

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः

Prayer Meaning

Lead us from Untruth to Truth.
Lead us from Darkness to Light.
Lead us from Death to Immortality.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

Asathoma Sadgamaya-Diwali Mantra To Lead You From Darkness To Light, Untruth To Truth and from Death to Immortality. Listen to Prana Kishore CD on how to pronounce and sing this Mantra

 


What is the Religious Significance of Diwali In Hinduism?

The festival is mentioned in Padma Purana, the Skanda Purana, and other Hindu scriptures. In the  Hindu philosophy, a central belief is that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman. The celebration of Diwali as the “victory of good over evil”, refers to the light of higher knowledge dispelling all ignorance, the ignorance that masks one’s true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite,immanent and transcendent reality.

With this awakening comes compassion and the awareness of the oneness of all things, and knowledge overcomes ignorance. Diwali is the celebration of this Inner Light over spiritual darkness knowledge over ignorance, right over wrong, good over evil.
This is the message one can implement in their lives.

Diwali is honoring the return of the lord Rama, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana from exile, as told in Ramayana


Its also the return of Pandavas after 12 years of Vanvas and one year of agnyatavas as told in Mahabharata.


Diwali is linked to the celebration of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, and wife of deity Vishnu. The five day festival of Diwali begins on the day Lakshmi was born from the churning of cosmic ocean of milk during the tug of war between the forces of good and forces of evil; the night of Diwali is the day Lakshmi choose Vishnu as her husband and then married him.

Diwali is the day Vishnu came back to Lakshmi and their abode in the Vaikuntha; so those who worship Lakshmi receive her blessings of health and wealth during the year ahead.

Why is Diwali Celebrated ? – Popular Story From Ancient Times

In Ancient times a demon by name Narakasura, tortured common people.People prayed to Lord Sri Krishna to help them.Sri Krishna fought with Narakasura and killed him on Diwali day.The people then celebrated Narakasura’s defeat with sparklers, lights and firecrackers which is the tradition even today.

An effigy of demon Narakasura is made with Paper or Hay with fire crackers attached to it and then it is set to fire witnessed by a crowd of people.

.

 What are the Traditions and Rituals in Diwali?

Diwali is one of the happiest of holidays in India




1-Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate and decorate their homes

2-They light up diyas,lamps and lights inside and outside their home,

3-They buy new clothes for themselves and their families, gifts, appliances, kitchen utensils, cars and gold jewelry.People also buy gifts for family members and friends which include sweets, dry fruits and seasonal specialities..

4-Kids hear ancient stories, legends, from their parents and grand parents.

5-Girls and woman create rangoli and other patterns on floors, near doors and walkways.

6-Youth and adults helping with lighting decorations and preparing for fireworks

7-They exchange gifts among family and friends.

8-Families visiting temples in their city

9-Prayers and puja in the morning and evening to Lakshmi,Ganesha,Saraswathi,and Kubera.Eastern India they pray to Kali. Northern part they pray to Sri Krishna called feast of annakoot by offering 58-108 varieties of sweets.

10-Diwali feast lunch and dinner with sweets



11-Fire crackers after dinner at night. In Tamil Nadu they fire crackers early morning.


 Diwali is Celebrated for 5 days


First day is called Dhanteras-Comes 18days after dassera.They pray Lakshmi since it is her birthday.Lakshmi is Godess of wealth.It is also the birthday of Dhanvantri, godess of health and healing.All the normal traditions are done this day also.

Second day is called Naraka Chaturdasi (Choti Diwali)-Women wear henna to hands.This is the day the demon Narakasura was killed by Sri Krishna.

All the normal traditions are done this day also.Fire crackers are fired this day.

Third day is Called Diwali Day where the whole family and friends celebrate. Lakshmi is believed to roam the earth on Diwali night. On the evening of Diwali, people open their doors and windows to welcome Lakshmi, and place diya lights on their windowsills and balcony ledges to invite her inside their homes. All the normal traditions are done this day also.This is the main day to fire firecrackers. This is also a new year day for Gujarathis and Marwaris.

Forth Day is called Diwali Padva. dedicated to wife and husband relationship. This day ritually celebrates the love and mutual devotion between the wife and husband. Newly married daughters with their husbands are invited for special meals and Diwali.

Fifth day is called Bhau-Beej or Bhai dooj (Brother’s second). Dedicated to sister and brother relationship. Brothers bring their sister’s family to their homes to celebrate their sister-brother bond.

 Diwali by Jains.

Jains celebrate festival of lights to mark attainment of Moksha by Mahavir at
Pavapuri on 15 October 527 BCE.


Diwali by Sikhs

Sikhs celebrate Bandi Choorh Divas
Guru Har GobindJi freed himself and Hindu Kings, from Fort Gwalior, from the prison of Islamic ruler 
Jahangir, and arrived at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Ever since then, Sikhs celebrate Bandi Choorh Divas, with prayers and the annual lighting of Golden Temple, followed by fireworks.



Festival of Peace

On this festive occasion, Hindu, Jain and Sikh communities also mark charitable causes, kindness, and for peace. For example, at the international border, every year on Diwali, Indian forces approach Pakistani forces and offer traditional Indian sweets on the occasion of Diwali. The Pakistani soldiers anticipating the gesture, return the goodwill with an assortment of Pakistani sweets.

Diwali and Economics

Diwali is one of the happiest of holidays in India.Diwali is equivalent to Christmas.

Diwali is a peak buying season for gold and jewelry in India.It is also a major sweets, candy and fireworks buying season.US$ 800 million (INR 5,000 crores) worth of firecrackers are consumed in India over the Diwali season.


Diwali Greetings

This is how people wish each other Happy Diwali in different Languages:

 


Greeting in Nepali, Hindi and Sanskrit

“Shubha Deepawali” शुभ दीपावली:.

Greeting in Hindi

“Shubh Diwali” / Diwali ki Shubhkamnayein

 (दीवाली की शुभकामनाएं):

Greeting in Gujarati

Diwali Mubarak (દીવાળી મુબારક):

Greeting in Marathi

Shubh Diwali / Diwalichya hardik Shubhechha 

(शुभ दीवाली / दीवाळीच्या हार्दिक शुभेच्छा ):

Greeting in Tamil

Deepavali Nalvazhthukkal (தீபாவளி நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்) :

Greeting in Telugu

Deepavali Shubhakankshalu (దీపావళి శుభాకా౦క్షలు) :

Greeting in Malayalam

Deepavali Aashamsagal ( ദീപാവളി ആശംസകൾ):.

Greeting in Kannada

Deepavali Habbada Shubhashayagalu (ದೀಪಾವಳಿ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು):

Greeting in Punjabi

Tuhanu diwali diyan boht boht vadhaiyan 

(ਤੁਹਾਨੂੰ ਦਿਵਾਲੀ ਦੀਆਂ ਬਹੁਤ ਬਹੁਤ ਵਧਾਈਆਂ ਹੋਣ ):

Greeting in Bengali

Subho Deepabalir Preeti O Subechsha (শুভ দীপাবলীর প্রীতি ও শুভেচ্ছা) :

Greeting in Oriya

Deepavalira Anek Shubhechha (ଦୀପାବଳିର ଅନେକ ଶୁଭେଛା) :

Greeting in English

“Happy Deepavali!” or Happy Diwali :

Lets ensure that the lights are glowing in all homes and everyone is Happy

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Surya Vamsa – Sri Rama Is 64 th Ruler-Prana Kishore

Surya Vamsa – Sri Rama Is 64 th Ruler

ABOUT SURYA VAMSA: Ancestors of ShriRam: Co-relation of genealogy with genetic studies Indian history has recorded that ShriRam belonged to Surya Vansh and he was the 64th ruler of this dynasty. Most of the names and other relevant particulars of previous 63 kings are listed in ‘Ayodhya Ka Itihas’ written about eighty years back by Rai Bahadur Sita Ram. In fact most of the names of these ancestors of Lord Ram have been listed in Valmiki Ramayan itself as narrated by Vashistha Muni to Raja Janak. (1/70 and 71). (all listed below in table 1).

1. Manu 2. Iksvaku 3. Vikuksi-Sasada 4. Kakutstha 5. Anenas 6. Prithu 7. Vistarasva 8. Ardra 9. Yuvanasva (I) 10. Sravasta 11. Brihadasva 12. Kuvalasva 13. Drdhasva 14. Pramoda 15. Haryasva (I) 16. Nikumba 17. Samhatasva 18. Akrsasva 19. Prasenajit 20. Yuvanasva (II) 21. Mandhatr 22. Purukutsa 23. Trasadsyu 24. Sambhuta 25. Anaranya 26. Trasadsva 27. Haryasva (II) 28. Vasumata 29. Tridhanvan 30. Trayyaruna 31. Trishanku 32. Satyavrata 33. Harischandra 34. Rohita 35. Harita, Cancu 36. Vijaya 37. Ruruka 38. Vrka 39. Bahu (Asita) 40. Sagara 41. Asamanjas 42. Amsumant 43. Dilipa (I) 44. Bhagiratha 45. Sruta 46. Nabhaga 47. Amabarisa 48. Sindhudvipa 49. Ayutayus 50. Rtuparna 51. Sarvakama 52. Sudasa 53. Mitrasaha 54. Asmaka 55. Mulaka 56. Sataratha 57. Aidavida 58. Visvasaha (I) 59. Dilipa (II) 60. Dirghabahu 61. Raghu 62. Aja 63. Dasaratha 64. Ram 65. Kusa 66. Atithi 67. Nisadha 68. Nala 69. Nabhas 70. Pundarika 71. Ksemadhan 72. Devanika 73. Ahinagu 74. Paripatra 75. Bala 76. Uktha 77. Vajranabha 78.Sankhan 79. Vyusitasva 80. Visvasaha (II) 81. Hiranyabha 82. Pusya 83. Dhruvansan 84. Sudarsana 85. Agnivarna 86. Sighra 87. Maru 88. Prasusruta 89. Susandhi 90. Amarsa 91. Mahashwat 92. Visrutavant 93. Brihadbala 94. Brihatksaya

Why Sri Chakra or Sri Yantra is Powerful-Prana Kishore

Sri Chakra or Sri Yantra


Icons and symbols in Hinduism have in depth meaning and power

Sri Chakra, popularly mistaken to be a symbol of Lakshmi, is actually a representation of Lalita Mahatripurasundari, an aspect of Parvati
Devi. Shri does not mean Wealth in this context. The term ‘Shri’ is used to denote the reverence to be given to this holy Yantra.

The prefix ‘Shri’ denotes that the Yantra is auspicious, beneficent, salutary, benign and conducive to prosperity.

The Shri Chakra is often referred as the Chakra Raja which means King of all Chakra which makes it a supreme instrument in the path of spiritual advancement.

What is Sri Chakra or Sri Yantra ?

The Sri Yantra (“sacred instrument”) or Sri Chakra (“sacred wheel”) is a yantra formed by nine interlocking triangles that surround and radiate out from the central (bindu) point, the junction point between the physical universe and its unmanifest source.

What Does it represent?

It represents the goddess in her form of Shri Lalitha Or Tripura Sundari, “the beauty of the three worlds (Heaven, Earth, Hell)”.

Which Gods are associated with it?

The worship of the Sri Chakra is central to the Shri Vidya system of Hindu worship.

Four isosceles triangles with the apices upwards, representing Shiva or the Masculine. Five isosceles triangles with the apices downward,representing Shakti or Female .

Nine Triangles association it is also called Navayoni Chakra

Thus the Sri Yantra also represents the union of Masculine and Feminine Divine.

 “These nine triangles are of various sizes and intersect with one another. In the middle is the power point (bindu), visualizing the highest, the invisible, elusive centre from which the entire figure and the cosmos expand.

The triangles are enclosed by two rows of (8 and 16) petals, representing the lotus of creation and reproductive vital force. The broken lines of the outer frame denote the figure to be a sanctuary with four openings to the regions of the universe”.

Together
the nine triangles are interlaced in such a way as to form 43 smaller triangles in a web symbolic of the entire cosmos or a womb symbolic of creation.

Together they express Advaita or non-duality.

This is surrounded by a lotus of eight petals, a lotus of sixteen petals, and an earth square resembling a temple with four doors.

 

 

 The various deities residing in the nine layers of the Sri Yantra are described in the DeviKhadgamala Mantra.

 

 

The Shri Chakra is also known as the nav chakra because it can also be seen as having nine levels. “Nine” comes from “Nau or Nava” ofSanskrit.

Each level corresponds to a mudra, a yogini, and a specific form of the deity Tripura Sundari along with her mantra. These levels starting from the outside or bottom layer are:[1]

  1. Trailokya Mohan or Bhupar, a square of three lines with four portals
  2. Sarva Aasa Paripurak, a sixteen-petal lotus
  3. Sarva Sankshobahan, an eight-petal lotus
  4. Sarva Saubhagyadayak, composed of fourteen small triangles
  5. Sara Arthasadhak, composed of ten small triangles
  6. Sarva Rakshakar, composed of ten small triangles
  7. Sarva Rogahar, composed of eight small triangles
  8. Sarva Siddhiprada, composed of 1 small triangle
  9. Sarva Anandamay, composed of a point or bindu


The Sri Yantra in diagrammatic form, showing how its nine interlocking triangles form a total of 43 smaller triangles.

Sri Chakra installed in temples in India

  • Parashakthi Temple Rajagopuram in Pontiac, Michigan, USA.[6]
  • Kamakshi temple, JonnawadaNellore installed by Adi Shankaracharya
  • Kamakshi temple, Kanchipuram
  • Kalikambal temple, Chennai
  • Kamakshi temple, Mangadu, Chennai
  • Shree Kali Temple, Out side Sanganeri Gate, MotiDunri Road, Jaipur
  • Nimishamba temple, SriRangapatana, Mysore District.
  • Prasanna Meenakshi Temple, Shivanasamudra, Malavalli Tk, Mandya Dist,Karnataka.
  • Kollur Mookambike Temple, Udupi dist, Karnataka installed by Adi Shankaracharya
  • Pashupatinath TempleNepal, At the roof of Ganga Mai temple (This temple is carved in shape of meru shri yantra)
  • Matrubhuteshwar Temple, Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai installed by Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi
  • At Kamakhya Temple, Guwhati, Assam (This mandir itself in the shape of shree yantra)
  • Puthenkavil Devi Temple, Cherumukha, Nooranad, Alapphuzha, Kerala
  • Sri Thyagarajaswamy udanurai Vadivudai amman temple Thyagaraja Temple, Tiruvottiyur, – Installed by Adi shankara

 

Advanced Reading on Sri Yantra and Sri Chakra

Lalita Tripurasundari, the Red Goddess

Tripura is the ultimate, primordial Shakti, the light of manifestation. She, the pile of letters of the alphabet, gave birth to the three worlds. At dissolution, She is the abode of all tattvas, still remaining Herself –Vamakeshvaratantra

What is Shri Vidya and what relationship does it have to the goddess Lalita and to her yantra, the Shri Yantra? Vidya means knowledge, specifically female knowledge, or the goddess, and in this context relates to her aspect called Shri, Lalita or Tripurasundari whose magical diagram is called the Shri Yantra. She is a red flower, so her diagram is a flower too.

The tantrik tradition views its symbols as having a gross aspect, a subtle aspect, and a supreme aspect. In terms of Lalita, the gross form is the image of the goddess with her four arms and so forth, the subtle form is as yantra, and the supreme form is her mantra, all three being the goddess in different aspects. Behind the sometimes colourful symbolism is deep wisdom coupled with practical methods for realising oneself.


Lalita loves puja. This term is usually translated as worship. However, this is misleading, as it introduces a duality into a process intended to bring the practitioner (sadhaka or sadhvika) to a non-dual position. There can be various pujas including daily rites, those performed at the four twilights, rites done for specific objects, optional rites done on festival days, or on otherwise auspicious days such as lunar eclipses or the entrance of the sun into a sidereal constellation, rites in assemblies or groups, and rites accomplished with a partner. Subhagodaya, on this site, is a translation which gives the full puja of Tripurasundari or Lalita.

Lalita means She Who Plays. All creation, manifestation and dissolution is considered to be a play of Devi or the goddess. Mahatripurasundari is her name as transcendent beauty of the three cities, a description of the goddess as conqueror of the three cities of the demons, or as the triple city (Tripura), but really a metaphor for a human being.

What then is a yantra? The word is usually translated as a machine, but in the special sense of the tantrik tradition refers to the Devi in her linear or geometrical form. Yantras, by the way, are always used flat. They may be two-dimensional or three-dimensional. Every aspect of Devi has her own mantra and yantra. The yantra of Devi Lalita is Shri Yantra. The divinity of the yantra always occupies the centre or apex.

The different parts or petals and lines of the yantra are usually arranged in concentric circles (mandalas) and contain rays or sub-limbs of devi. The Shri Yantra has nine of these mandals, each filled with various aspects of the Devi. In Shri Yantra there are 111 aspects. The Shri Yantra is said to be a geometric form of the human body, which implies that goddess as Macrocosm is one with human being as Microcosm.

Formation of the Shri Yantra

The creation of the Shri Yantra is described in theYogini Hridaya (Heart of the Yogini Tantra), which still does not exist in an English translation, as far as we are aware. This is said to be the second part of the Vamakeshvara Tantra.

“From the fivefold Shakti comes creation and from the fourfold Fire dissolution. The sexual union of five Shaktis and four Fires causes the chakra to evolve. O Sinless One! I speak to you of the origin of the chakra.

“When she, the ultimate Shakti, of her own will (svecchaya) assumed the form of the universe, then the creation of the chakra revealed itself as a pulsating essence. From the void-like vowels with the visarga (:) emerged the bindu, quivering and fully conscious. From this pulsating stream of supreme light emanated the ocean of the cosmos, the very self of the three mothers.

“The baindava of the chakra has a triple form, dharma, adharma and atma, and matri, meya and prama. The chakra of nine yonis is the great mass of consciousness bliss and is the ninefold chakra and the nine divisions of the mantra.

“The baindava is placed on a dense flowery mass and is the Chitkala. Similarly, the ambika form of eight lines is the circle of the vowels. The nine triangles quiver forth the effulgent form of 10 lines. The Shakti, together with her surrounding nine blossomed forth the 10 trikonas. The second quivering form of 10 lines has Krodhisha as first of the 10. These four chakras, of the nature of light, create the 14-fold form, the essence of perception.” — Yogini Hridaya, I 6-16.

At the very heart of the bindu or centre of the Shri Yantra is that which caused it to emanate. This is Kamakala, consisting of the three bindus or potentials. One is red, one is white, and one is mixed. The red bindu is ova, the white bindu semen, and the mixed bindu the union of Shiva-Shakti, the individual as potential Shri Cakra.

Father and Mother are represented in Shri Vidya by two limbs or aspects of Lalita known as Varahi and Kurukulla. The semen of Varahi, the father-form, gives four alchemical dhatus to the child. The ova of Kurukulla, the mother-form, gives five dhatns to the child. Consciousness enters via orgasm. The three bindus, collectively known as Kamakala (digit of sexual desire), are the root potential of sun, moon and fire. It is like sun and moon coming together in an eclipse, or the seed from which the plant human being grows.

Varahi’s four alchemical dhatus are known as the four fires. Kurukulla’s alchemical dhatus are known as the five saktis. The combination of these five saktis (downward pointing triangles) and four fires (upward pointing triangles), forms the complex figure in the centre of Shri Cakra.

Varahi’s four fires are the 12 (3 x 4) sun Kalas, 12 sidereal constellations. Kurukulla’s five triangles are the 15 (5 x 3) Kalas of the moon, 15 lunar days. The complete individual grows within nine months to be born as a Shri Yantra or plant. The flowering of this plant is shown by the 24 petals of the yantra. The above all gives rise to the familiar shape of the Shri Yantra. The yantra is usually arranged in one of two forms. In the Bhuprastara, it is two dimensional and laid flat, usually facing the east, but sometimes the north, depending on the practice. The Meruprastara has the yantra in a pyramidal form. Unless the yantra be decorated with the appropriate bija and other mantras, it is worthless. It is also dead unless it is installed with life and the individual doing the puja is initiated into one of the lines (parampara).

The Nine Mandalas of the Shri Yantra

The Earth Square or Bhupura

This mandala represents the enclosing walls or fence of the zonule of a practitioner. The three linesof the bhupura of Shri Yantra each has a set of subsidiary aspects or sub-limbs of the goddess. On theouter line are the eight world protectors (lokapalas), the guardian spirits of the directions and intermediate directions.

On the middle line are eight Siddhi Saktis identified with the senses. On the inner line are eight Shaktis ruling Desire, Anger, Envy, Delusion, Greed, Jealousy, Virtue and Vice. They are the eight Matrikas. These saktis are collectively known as the Obvious Ones (Prakata Yoginis). A form of the triple Devi known as Tripura rules all these shaktis in this individual mandala of the yantra known as ‘The Chakra Ruling the Three Worlds’. She has four arms, is the colour of crystal, is adorned with pearls and holds a book, a pot, and a beautiful lotus. her Vidya is Am Am Sauh.

Outer line: Indra (E) wears yellow, rides an elephant; Agni (SE) wears red, rides a ram; Yam (S) wears black, carries a staff; Nirriti (SW) wears dark green; Varuna (W) wears blue, and his vehicle is a makar; Vayu (NE) wears pale clothes; Soma (N) wears pure white; Ishana (NE) is a form of Mahadeva Shiva.

Middle Line: The Siddhi Shaktis are smeared with vermilion, wear red garlands, carry noose and goad, and are as bright and beautiful as red lotuses.

Inner Line: Brahmi wears yellow, has four arms, is beautiful. One hand dispels fear, one grants boons, the others hold a jewelled jar and makes the gesture of purification. Mahesvari wears white, has three eyes, holds trident, skull, axe, and vessel containing sour curds. Kaumari wears yellow, holds shakti-dart, Javelin, and makes the gestures of dispelling fear and granting boons. Varahi is dark in colour, holds conch, discus, dispels fear, grants boons. She wears many ornaments and gems. She has the head of a pig, holding plough, mace, sword and shield. Indrani is black, carrying a bright blue lotus. Camunda is black, holds trident and damaru (hourglass drum), holds axe, and milk in a bowl. Mahalaksmi wears yellow, holds serpent, shield, bell and milk in a skull shaped cup.

The nature of this outermost mandala is fire of fire. The gem is topaz. The time is 24 minutes (360 breaths). The Mudra is the All Agitating.

Sixteen Petals

The saktis in this circle are known as the Hidden Ones.

The whole mandala of 16 petals is called ‘Fulfiller of Desire’. The presiding form of the Lalita is Tripureshi. Her vidya is Aim Klim Sauh. She is described as ornamented with all gems, carrying abook and a rosary. The 16 yoginis in this mandala are associated with the attainment of desires by the cultivation or strengthening of power over mind, ego, sound, touch, sight, taste, smell, intellect, steadiness, memory, name, growth, etheric body, revivification, and physical body. They are described as the Nitya Kalas. Each holds a noose, a goad, pot full of nectar, and makes the sign of giving. They are very red.

The gem of the mandala is sapphire. The dhatu of physical alchemy is chyle, the first product of the disintegration of food by the biological fires. The time is three hours (2700 breaths). The Mudra is the Wettening Mudra. The nature of the mandala is sun of fire.

Eight Petals

The saktis in this mandala are called the Very Secret Yoginis. The whole circle of eight petals is called the ‘All Exciting Cakra’. Presiding here is Tripura Sundari. Her vidya is Hrim Klim Sauh. She is described as swaying because of her love intoxicated state, with her eyes full of bliss.

She smiles with passion. She shows the mudras dispelling fears and granting boons.

The eight saktis in each of the eight petals of the mandala are described as saktis of Speech, Holding, Walking, Excreting, Pleasure, Abandoning, Concentration and Detachment. They are described as sapphire blue, holding noose, goad, dispelling fear, and holding blue lotus. Their names (Ananga Madana etc) all convey terms of loving sexuality.

The gem is cat’s eye. The dhatu is Flesh. The time is day and night (21600 breaths). The mandala’s nature is moon of fire.

Fourteen Triangles

This mandala is called ‘The Cakra Bestowing All Good Fortune’. The Yoginis are called ‘Concealed by Tradition’. The presiding form of the devi is Tripura Vasini. Her vidya is Haim Hklim Hsauh.

She is very red and very beautiful. Fourteen shaktis of the triangles are associated with the chief nadis or currents of bioenergy. They are described as being proud, wanton, young, colour of cochineal, ornamented with gems, holding noose, goad, mirror, winecup full of nectar. They are the Akarshanis or Attractors.

The gem is coral. The dhatu is blood. The time is weekday. The Mudra is called All Subjugating. The nature of the mandala is fire of sun.

Outer 10 Triangles

This mandala is called ‘The Cakra Bestowing All Objects to the Sadhaka’. The saktis are called the Kula Kaulas. The presiding aspect of Red Devi is Tripura Shri.

Here, the goddess is as effulgent as 1000 rising Suns, adorned with celestial ornaments, with large rising breasts, holding book and rosary, dispelling fears and granting boons.

The 10 shaktis in the triangles are described as having thrilled faces, holding noose and goad and adorned with various crystal and heavenly gems.

These are the Yoginis of the 10 vital breaths. The gem is pearl. The dhatu is Ova/Semen. The time is Lunar Day (tithi).

The Mudra is called the All Intoxicating with Love. The nature is sun of sun.

 

Inner 10 Triangles

The mandala is called ‘The Cakra Protecting All’. The Yoginis are called Without Origin. The presiding aspect of Lalita is Tripura Malini. Her vidya is Hrim Klim Blem.

She holds noose and goad, dispels fear, and holds a skull. She is of vermilion brightness.

Her shaktis are the colour of 1000 rising suns, adorned with pearls and gems, holding noose, chisel, and showing the gestures of knowledge, and giving boons. They are the saktis of the 10 Vital Fires. The gem is emerald. The dhatu is Marrow. The time is Lunar Fortnight. The Mudra is the Great Goad. The nature is moon of sun.

Eight Triangles

This mandala is called ‘The Cakra Destroying all Disease’. The yoginis are known as the Secret or Rahasya yoginis. The presiding aspect of the Red Goddess is Tripura Siddha.

Her vidya mantra is Hrim Shrim Sauh. She is described as the Destroyer of Poison.

Her yoginis are the colour of pomegranate flowers, wearing red clothes, smeared with red scent, each carrying five arrows and a bow. These saktis are the rulers of Cold, Heat, Happiness, Sorrow, Desire, and the three gunas Sattvas, Rajas, Tamas. They are also called the eight Vasinis and rule the eight Sanskrit letter groups. The gem in this mandala is diamond (Vajra). The time is month. The Mudra is Khecari Mudra. The nature of the mandala is said to be fire of moon.

The Four Weapons

In between the mandalas of eight triangles and the central triangles are the four weapons of the Red Goddess — flowery bow, flowery arrows, noose and goad.

 

 

 

 

 

Central Triangle

This mandala is called ‘The Cakra Giving All Success’. The Yoginis are called Very Secret. Lalita dwells here asTripura Amba, her Vidya being Hsraim Hsrklim Hsrsauh.

She is also known as Sampatprada Bhairavi, coppery effulgent, like 1000 suns, with three eyes, a face like the moon, adorned with white gems, with a beautiful figure, rising swelling breasts, intoxicated, wanton, young, proud, holding book, dispelling fear, holding a rosary and granting boons.

Her three saktis are called Lady of Lust (Kameshvari), Adamantine Lady (Vajreshi), and Flowery Vagina (Bhagamalini). Kameshvari is called the Rudra Shakti. She is white in colour, besmeared with camphor, adorned with pearls and crystal, and various other gems, holding book, rosary, bestowing boons and dispelling fear.

Vajreshi is the Vishnu Shakti. She is bright as red powder (kumkuma), adorned with flowers and gems, like the dawn sun. Her eyelids are smeared with sapphire dust, she holds sugarcane how, flowery arrows, bestows boons, dispels fear.

Bhagamalini is the Brahma Shakti. She is effulgent as molten gold, adorned with priceless gems, holds noose, goad, and shows the gestures of knowledge and bestowing boons.

The gem of the mandala is Gomaya. The dhatu is Fat. The time is season (two months). The Mudra is the Bija Mudra. The nature of the mandala is sun of moon.

Bindu

This mandala is called ‘Purely Blissful’. The Yogini in this mandala is theQueen of Queens, Rajarajeshvari, the Very Red One, her Transcendent Majesty Lalita Maheshvari Mahatripurasundari.

Her vidya (Kamaraja vidya) is ka e i la hrim ha sa ka ha la hrim sa ka la hrim, plus a secret 16th syllable. Her description is that given in Vamakeshvara Tantra.

Surrounding her are the Fifteen Nityas. The gem is ruby. The dhatu is hair. The time is year. The mudra is Yoni Mudra. The nature of this central mandala is moon of moon.

Yantra Mantra Tantra of Lalita

Lalita, as primordial devi, rays out her attendants and shaktis as modifications of moon, sun and fire. In this Shiva has no place, no qualities, is without the ability to act. Only when united with devi may ‘he’ act.

This is based on the subtle and practical idea of Shiva as pure consciousness, witness of the triple manifestation of his Shakti. This Shakti, the very essence of the three gunas of Sattvas, Rajas, and Tamas, is the cause of all manifestation in the universe and as a human being. The three shaktis, by blending and reblending, create all things.

Shakti is triple as sun, moon and fire — that is to say of all the sidereal constellations and planets, and therefore of Time itself. She is triple as Will (Iccha), Knowledge (Jnana) and Action (Kriya). She is threefold as intellect, feelings, physical sensation.

Shakti is triple as wake-dream-deep sleep. What is called the Fourth is the witness, Shiva, who is said to pervade the whole cosmos just as heat pervades a red hot iron.

The physical body, according to the precepts of Ayurveda, is triple as the ‘humours’ Vata, Pitta and Sleshma. The varying combinations of these three shaktis make up the physical body.

Shakti is also fivefold as aether, air, fire, water and earth. The combination of the five elements and three gunas produce Lalita’s Eternities (Nityas) — 15 in number, each identified with a lunar day of the bright fortnight. The moon, symbolising Shakti, is the mirror or reflection holding together all creation.

A close examination of the details relating to the nine mandalas of Shri Yantra reveals that the shaktis of the whole circle represent the human being, who, in potential, is Shakti-Shiva united. The aim is for a person to realise that all powers, energies and manifestation are shaktis of consciousness, pure awareness.

The yantra may be examined in two ways, either as manifestation or dissolution. Maintenance is an intermediate state between the two polarities. When she is worshipped as creatrix the order is from centre to perimeter. As dissolver, the puja is from perimeter to centre.

In Sivananda Yogi’s Subhagodaya is given the daily ritual or puja of Lalita’s Shri Yantra — based on the Vamakeshvara Tantra. This rite is based on non-dualism, in a spiritual sense the realisation of the intrinsic oneness of macrocosm and microcosm.

As the puja is intended to banish all thoughts of difference, the devi is first felt or visualised in the heart, and then drawn out via the breath and installed in the yantra. She is then worshipped as actually residing there. But a clear link has been made between subject and object. The true home of devi is as cosmo-creatrix in the heart of the body which is the devi in human form.

The Various Mandalas of Shri Yantra

The Triple Goddess, from her own will to manifest, extends herself in a ninefold way, as modifications of moon, sun and fire. The attributions of the various mandalas shows the type of energy represented. The meditation in Bhavana Upanshad is a figurative way of describing this celestial city or mountain which is a human being.

The island of jewels is the gross human body with its 9 alchemical bases or dhatus. Each is figuratively described as a gem — diamond, emerald, sapphire, ruby &c. The sea of nectar (semen/ova) is the base for the arising of the human body. The diagram suns up the meditation. We can see that this island of gems is a very pleasant place to he, full of gardens, with a beautiful, begemmed palace, wafted with a gentle breeze upon which is carried great fragrance, cool, alluring.

This indicates the Kaula view that one gains liberation by a very pleasant way, enjoying as one goes. This paradise island is very, very close. Each of the elements in the island meditation has a subtle meaning associated with the esoteric physiology of Shri Vidya.

She, Lalita, united with Shiva, is subtlety of subtlety, hidden behind the curtain hanging from the canopy. Her forms may appear to become progressively less subtle, but she still remains herself.

Bala-Sundari-Bhairavi

Although Tripurasundari, as mother of the universe (jagadamba) is the aspect most often met with in works of Shri Vidya, she is also worshipped as Bala (a young girl), and as Bhairavi (a crone).

As Bala, she is 16 years old, a virgin, very playful and dear. Bala has her own yantra and mantra. her vidya is Aim Klim Sauh.

Bhairavi is also an aspect of Lalita, but represents Shakti in whom menstruation has ceased, and has some affiliations with Kali.

Applications of Shri Vidya

There are many prayogas (ritual uses) related to Shri Yantra. Some rites depend on auspicious times, such as Full moon days or nights in specific solar months

Devi also manifests as the five elements of aether, fire, air, water and earth. The saktis are purple (air), white (water), red (fire), yellow (earth), blue (aether).

Chapter II of Vamakeshvara gives a large number of rites, which one is not entitled to perform unless the daily rite is also accomplished. These rites are called the shatkarma, six acts: protection, peace, victory, wealth, punishment, destruction. The categories vary occasionally. When punishing an enemy it is necessary to both protect yourself and to know the right time for performance, according to the rules, and also the vulnerable points, which vary with the phase of the moon and with astrological aspects.

It is important to remember that Shri Vidya was primarily oral, and vital information was often left out of the written versions, so it is necessary to know a host of things before a rite can be started.

Initiation

Devi Lalita may be installed in a disciple, a yantra, or an image. All the methods essentially follow a similar form, but the right time must be selected. A disciple must have the necessary qualifications and potential.

After initiation, she or he is to perform an operation to endue the vidya with energy or life. This involves the recitation of the root vidya a specified large number of times, although other valid methods exist for preparation.

The Vidya (Mantra)

There are said to be 15 lines of mantra, each perceived by a different Rishi (Seer). The most widespread seems to be that called Kadi (beginning with ‘Ka’), which itself has three sections. The other main division is Hadi, although it is said that the Kularnava Tantra incorporates both in a division called Kahadi. Devotees of the Kadi line worship the Shri Yantra from the perimeter to the centre, while Hadi devotees worship it from the centre to the perimeter. Some of the lines of the vidya are said to be broken, and do not run in a continuous stream.

The 64 Kaula Tantras

These tantras are enumerated in Vamakeshvaraand Kulachudamani Tantras, and in other places. At some time in history a school of Shri Vidya was formed on an orthodox Vedik basis. A proponent of this school, Lakshmidhara, wrote a commentary on the famous Shri Vidya hymn called Saudaryalahari.

Unfortunately, most of the 64 tantras are lost. But their contents may be gauged from Lakshmidhara’s commentary. We have to remember that the descriptions are based on an orthodox Vedic interpretation.

1) Mahamaya Sambhara. Deluding of intellect and senses. 2) Yogini Jala Sambhara. Involving the agency of Yoginis. 3) Tattva Sambhara. Causing elements to appear and transform. 4-11) Eight Bhairava Tantras. The commentator says that these are objectionable as they belong to the Kapalikas or skull wearers such as Naths, Aghoris, and so forth. 12-19) The Bahurupa Astaka. Importance attached to the eight shaktis or Matrikas.

20-27) The Eight Yamalas. Of these, only Rudra Yamala seems to have survived, although it is doubtful that the text which exists is the same as the original. Other of the yamalas do exist in part as quotations in later tantras. The commentator says these relate to Siddhi. 28) Candra Jnana. Expounds the 16 Nityas, but condemned as ‘it smacks of Kapalika tenets’. 29) Malini Vidya. Enabling one to cross great oceans. This could be the Malini Vijaya Tantra, a work of the Kashmir Saivites which includes magical operations based on the 36 tattvas.

30) Maha Sammohana. Hypnosis. 31-33) Vamajusta, Mahadeva and Vatula. These are condemned as they deal with Vamachara. 34-35) Vatula Uttara and Kamika. The latter is still extant, and belongs to the Kashmir group of Agamas. The chief guru of this school is the famous Abhinavagupta. 36) Hridbheda Tantra. Condemned through Vamachara. 37-38) Tantrabheda and Guhyatantra. Condemned because of retaliatory magic. 39) Kalavada. Digits of the moon, induction of chandrakalas, which are the 108 parts of the moon found in a horoscope.

40) Kalasara. The rules of colour. There is no reason given for its exclusion. 41) Kundika Mata. Attainment of siddhi through elixirs and drugs. 42) Mata Uttara. Deals with ‘quicksilver’. See the Matrikabheda Tantra. 43) Vinakhya. Power over Yakshinis. 44) Trotala. Magical practices of medicine and clairvoyance. 45) Trotala Uttara. Bringing the 64 crores of yoginis face to face. 46) Pancamrita. Nectar from the body. The five nectars are mentioned in the Kaula Jnana Nirnaya. 47) Rupabheda. 48) Bhuta Uddamara. 49) Kulasara. 50) Kullaoddisha. 51) Kulacudamani. 48,50 and 51 are still available. The commentator says these tantras are not sanctioned by Veda.

52-56) Sarvajna Tantra, Mahakali Mata, Arunesi, Modinisa, Vikunthesvara. They are all declared reprehensible as they belong to the digambaras (naked sadhus). 57-64) East, West, South, North, Uttara Kaulas, Vimala, Vimalotta, Devi Mata. One of these lines still exists.

The Nine Nathas

Each of the nine Nathas or lords is identified with an aperture of the human body, and with one of the nine mandalas of the whole Shri Yantra. One’s own guide is Shiva as pervading these nine chakras, and is identified with the current of bioenergy called Susunna. They are all meditated on as white, with two eyes and two arms, showing the gestures banishing fear and giving boons. They may be visualised as being in sexual intercourse with the presiding aspects of the Devi in the nine mandalas.

The Four Oceans

The four duties of a human being are described as oceans because of their limitless extent. The sadhaka in the zone is at the junction point or field of action of these four oceans, on the island of gems.

The Nine Bodily Dhatus

Each of the nine matters (dhatu) in the body is presided over by an aspect of Lalita. The Universe, in Shri Vidya, is said to be time, space, and a combination of the two. The first is Shakti, the second Shiva, and the third Shiva and Shakti in union. These are also the three eyes on Lalita’s face, and sun, moon, fire.

 

 

The Island of Nine Gems

On this island, which is all and everything, seed and sprout, the six seasons all manifest simultaneously. The Aeon Trees (Kalpadruma) are identified with resolution as any act undertaken with resolution is fruitful. The six seasons are identified with the six tastes of a human being.

Horses are the five senses as they lead one forward into action, figuratively taken as war. It is Lalita who slayed the demon Bhanda with all his fearful hordes. All her saktis assisted her in this. Then the celestial city, the Nagar was built. Elephants are the objects of senses, or the impressions.

Shri Vidya implies unity between knower, means of knowledge and knowledge itself. These are the three cities. This means that the knower, by means of the five instruments of knowledge, offers to knowledge itself, Devi in the yantra. (SeeBhavanopanishad).

The Fifteen Nitya Shaktis

These are modifications of Lalita as red goddess with her three gunas and her five elements of aether, air, fire, water and earth. They are identified with the 15 days of the lunar fortnight. As the moon remains itself, though appearing differently according to phase, so too Lalita. Each Nitya has her own vidya, yantra and group of energies (saktis). Lalita or Tripurasundari is the 16th day or Full moon, with her 15 digits. Each of the 15 Nityas has a certain number of arms, the totality of arms (= rays) of the whole circle being 108. Because any unit of time is taken as a microcosm or parallel of any other valid unit, each of the 15 Nityas has 1440 breaths.

One lunar fortnight is 21600 breaths — which is the number of a whole cycle or process. The breaths of a human being during one day and night are 21600 -10800 of which are solar, the other 10800 being lunar. By this device, the unity of the 15 Nityas, time, space and a human being is shown. As time is breath in Shri Vidya, we find that the periods of the four famous yugas are also based on breath. Each breath is influenced during the day by the planets in their waxing and waning of power.

These cause poisons to accumulate in the physical body. Nectar is released when the sun mandal ‘melts’ the moon mandal, and one attains to Hamsa. This is the nectar of compassion.

Lalita as the Whole Universe

Tantrik rites often include ‘nyasas’, the placing of some principles in a certain sequence on one’s own body. The idea is that this process purifies and divinises.

Lalita’s Sodha (sixfold) Nyasa is a highly complex rite in which a practitioner places on the body the 51 letters of the alphabet, the planets, the 27 naksatras or lunar mansions, the 12 sidereal constellations, and the 51 sacred sites (pithas) of all India.

Placing these different things on the body the practitioner comes to realise oneness with the whole cosmos. This ritual also illustrates some important concepts. The Tantraraja states that there is no difference between the circle of the letters of the alphabet and the sidereal Zodiac. Lalita as devi is Shakti as all language, mantra, sound, music and vibration. She is also Shakti of Time as all planets and constellations. She is the very essence of sun and moon. Each of these realms requires inner comment.

51 Ganesas and 51 Letters

The image of Ganesa illustrates the three realms. elephant, his body human, and his vehicle a mouse. These are three realms in one being. He is lord of obstacles in three ways. As elephant, his great strength can break harriers. As human, he can use his intelligence. As mouse, he can penetrate the smallest places. Every aspect of Shri Vidya may be understood in three ways — gross, subtle, and supreme — and so the meaning of things often remains uncertain unless you already know someone who has the key, or belong to the in group.

As letters of the alphabet, Lalita is Matrika Shakti, who deludes by her Maya through words, speech, mantra.

Planets

The tantriks knew the seven traditional planets of western astrology, and also had a greater number of shadowy planets, of which Rahu and Ketu — the nodes of the moon — are the best known. The planets are important to an understanding of Shri Vidya, but the details are so extensive that they must be reserved for a later time.

27 Nakshatras

These constellations were thought of as beyond the 12 sidereal constellations, so remote they were almost beyond time itself. These 27 are employed in Shri Vidya to determine suitability of partners, constructing Vajra Yantras, and so forth. Each of the 27 has its own animal. A yoni or lingam is classified as being harmonious or the reverse according to the position of the natal moon in these constellations. They are also associated with sacred herbs and trees, and much used in specific or optional rites.

Yoginis

The Yoginis of the bodily centres (dhatus) reveal very much of interest as they are associated with the well known but much misunderstood cakras. These Yoginis are really images of the ayurvedic or alchemic bases in the body.

They can only be understood in relation to such an alchemy. Kundalini is the body shakti, the great deluder, the trickster, the cause of sleep. To raise her means to become conscious of her manifestation. Shakti in the body has her various forms as Prana (Breath) Shakti, fire Shakti and so forth. When Prana Shakti becomes agitated, she zigzags up the body. At this time one starts to experience dissolution. Various things my be seen and felt.

Dakini, Rakini &c. preside over the alchemical physical bases of skin, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow. The last of these yoginis presides over the highest dhatu, highest as it forms the physical basis for new life — ova/semen. In this form she is truly limitless, as she manifests as the Aeon Tree (Kalpadruma). The Dakinis and Rakinis &c. are pictured as terrifying as they consuners of the food one ingests.

Twelve Rashis (Constellations)

These are viewed as 12 great suns or sun Kalas, mighty Adityas presiding over great affairs, feeding on human beings and their essence.

51 Pithas

These are places in India particularly sacred to devi, as they mark the spots where the parts of her body fell after it was sliced into pieces by the discus of Visnu. The yoni fell at Kamarupa, hence the special spiritual regard in which this place is held by Kaulas.

The Nadis

Nadi means river, and is extended to include other currents and courses, such as those of the bioenergy and the pulse. Ayurvaidyas have written works distinguishing various types of pulse indicating dysfunction of the three powers. Nadi is also 150th part of the ascendant in a birth chart based on the sidereal zodiac. Such a birth chart is called Rashi Kundali. It is impossible to cast accurate charts without knowing which nadi rules a person or time. Each nadi has an aspect of the devi ruling it, and a solar and lunar part — hence there are 3600 in the zodiac.

There are said to be 72000 nadis in the human organism. This number indicates a large but not infinite number of channels of bioenergy. They are the pathways of Prana Shakti.

The chief pathways are Susumna, extending from a point between the anus and genitals to the top of the head; ida and pingala, which are the solar and lunar pathways coiled around the central channel. This Susumna is Shiva and Shakti in sexual union. The human body is conceived of as a tree — the root is at the top of the head, and it ramifies downwards. These channels are the pathways or body vehicles for Vata, one of the three dosas or humours in Ayurveda of the human body, and constitute the central nervous system with three main concentrations.

Marmas

Marmas are 108 in number, well documented points of the human organisn which, if pierced, usually cause death. Many are recognised by western medicine. On the Shri Yantra, marmas are represented by the confluence of three or more lines.

Sandhis

These are joints in the human frame, knee joint, elbow joint &c. The body is the temple of the devi. On the Shri Yantra sandhis are represented by the junction of two lines.

Meaning of Kula

A ‘kula’ is a Shakti. The foregoing shows that each Shakti in the yantra is some energy of the human organism in its gross, subtle, or causal aspects. ‘Akula’ (lit. ‘not Kula’) is Shiva.

“Having abandoned her family of young Kula women, she becomes Shiva, with no qualities, no characteristics, devoid of the form of time.” —Vamakesvara Tantra

“All things the body. The body is the sacrificial ladle. Knowledge is the food.” — Shiva Sutras II, 9-10.

The Weapons of Lalita

Lalita holds five flowery arrows, noose, goad and bow. The noose is attachment (moon). The goad is repulsion (sun). The sugarcane bow is the mind. The flowery arrows are the five sense impressions. When oonsciousness perceives these, the outward directed arrows stop being dry sticks.

These five flowery arrows together with the bow are personified as six Krishnas or Kamadevas. V84 of ch xxiv of Tantrarajatantra states that Lalita assumed a male form as Krishna, and ‘by enveloping all women enchanted the whole world’. Each of the six forms is like dawn, with six arms, holding flute, noose, goad, sugarcane bow, flowers, sour milk.

Eroticism in Shri Vidya

The physiology of Shri Vidya postulates macrocosm and microcom as one. From this follows the realisation that the sexual union of man and wanan mirrors the cosmic creation. It is natural that loving sexuality should be seen to have a cosmic status.

Kaulas have been criticised as their works emphasise love and death, but they were always realists. Many tantras establish that the terrifying Kali and the benign Lalita are two sides of the same coin. This coin or currency is called life. Lalita, with her waxing moon, represents creation, and Kalika with her waning moon dissolution. Each is a complete symbol, of high sublimity and loaded with spiritual significance.

The 15 Syllable Mantra

A chart, in Sanskrit, in the Adyar Library edition ofVarivasya Rahasya, which deals with the 15 lettered Vidya of Lalita is so useful to an understanding of Shri Vidya and the yantra that we have summarised its contents below.

The Kadi Vidya runs ka e i la hrim: ha sa ka ha la hrim: sa ka la hrim. There is also a secret 16th syllable said to be the quintessence of Lalita.

There vidya, yantra, guru, disciple, goddess are all conceived of as being one. The Shri Yantra is within the wheel of time (Kalacakra), and represents the human body (microcosm), and the universe (macrocosm). These 15 letters are conceived to exist within the meru or spine of a human being, from the base to the top of the head.

The seven (or nine) ‘cakras’ are strung along this thread of light, as are the different mandals or circles of Shri Yantra. Note that the Lalita Vidya is itself divided into three parts, each represents fire, sun and moon.

Different letters of the alphabet all exist in a subtle form within the spinal cord. Each chakra is presided over by a Yogini whose function is connected with the transmutation of food, which is alchemy of the food factory.

There are 50 petals associated with these six cakras as there are 50 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. 21600/50 = 432. The cakra of the absolute or semen/ova itself has 1000 letters or petals. Semen is conceived of as residing here because of its alchemical nature as an elixir produced by the synthesis of the forms of food.

These three which are oneness are knower, means of knowledge, object of knowledge. Their union is called samarasa.

The three corners of the central triangle of the Shri Chakra are presided over by three symbolic Nathas. The Fourth Natha, Shiva Himself, is united with Shakti in the centre of the Bindu.

This Bindu, united Shiva Shakti, creates the cosmos. If we observe nature we see that the Shri Cakra (child) comes from the sexual union or samarasa (perfect assimilation) of man (Shiva) and woman (Shakti).

Their samarasa is known as the Fourth, because it appears when all three are present, and also produces or has the three as its powers or saktis.

This Fourth is awareness, the witness, the enjoyer, the measurer, the measuring stick, and the measured, Adinatha, the merulingam, beyond time and space, and therefore outside the Shri Yantra or the cosmos as modification or play of sun, moon and fire. These last three form the body of Lalita.

The three saktis of the Fourth are known as Kamesvari, Vajresi and Bhagamalini, in the symbolism of Shri Vidya.

They are also the saktis Iccha, Jnana and Kriya (Knowledge, Will, Action), and in their aspects as Creator, Maintainer and Destroyer are known as Vama, who vomits forth the universe, Jyesta who maintains, and Raudri who dissolves.

The body of a human being is made up of these three in combination and blending. They are active, passive and reconciling.

The three are also symbolised as three holy mountains known as Kamagiri, Purnagiri, and Jalandhari. The apex of these foothills is the very secret Oddiyana, at the centre of Shri Yantra. The three also represent three symbolic lingas within the human frame.

Conceived of as the human body, and as the Meru or subtle spine, these three places are points of convergence or pilgrimage of the channels of bioenergy connected with the sun and moon. There is a correspondence between these channels in the body, and the luminaries in the heaven.

As the Shri Yantra is Time and Space, all constellations, planets, lunar mansions, are conceived of as being the body of Lalita, Maha Tripura Sundari. It was these three cities that were destroyed by Lord Shiva, and described in the Shiva Mahimna Stotra.

At the confluence of the three rivers of bioenergy are three lingams of Supreme Shiva, resorted to by the wise. One united with the Fourth is liberated. Others are deluded by the Maya or play of the goddess, who, with her three aspects in all is known as Mahamaya Adya, the womb of all.

She deludes by her every process, and has the form of Matrika devi, or goddess of speech and words. The 15 syllables of the vidya are usually disguised in symbolic design or code. The three Hrims are called the three maya granthis or knots of delusion. This Hrim breaks down into Ha for Shiva, Ha for Shakti, and Im for samarasa.

The Fourth (Turiya) also pervades consciousness in its states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep. This is also expressed in the Shiva Sutra.

Meaning of Shri Vidya

The Yogini Hridaya, the second part of the Vamakeshvara Tantra, states that the mantra has several meanings. Some are literal, others traditional, inner, Kaulika, occult and real.

Literal Meaning

The syllables represent Shiva and Shakti. The first part, Ka E I La Hrim, is called Vagbhava, and is Vama Shakti, Brahma, Jnana Shakti, and Eastern Face. The second part, Ha Sa Ka Ha La hrim, is Kamaraja, Jyesta Shakti, Visnu, Iceha Shakti, and Southern Face. The third part, Sa Ka La hrim, is called Shakti, is Raudri Shakti, Rudra, Kriya Shakti and Western Face. The fourth part, the hidden or secret syllable, is mother goddess, Shambhu Natha, the totality of the three shaktis of Knowledge, Will and Action, and the Northern Face or amnaya.

Traditional Meaning

Ka = air, Ha = fire, Sa = water, La = earth, Ha = aether. The vowels are above aether. The 15 syllables are 1 of aether, 2 of air, three of fire, four of water, and five of earth. The three forms of La represent the three Worlds. The five forms of the letter Ha represent sound.

Inner Meaning

The vidya shows oneness of Shiva, Guru, devi and disciple; as it is Shiva in sound form (Shakti) which preserves the line.

Kaula Meaning

The Mother goddess is known as Ganeshi (Lady of Hosts), because of her great nunber of rays. These are the Ganesas of the sixfold Nyasa. Devi has three eyes which are sun, moon, fire. She has three saktis which are Will, Knowledge, Action. She has three gunas which are active, passive, reconciling. These are the nine planets. The 27 naksatras are 10 Knowledge and Action modes, 10 objects of senses, Devi, Deva, three gunas as one, and the four inner causes. The six yoginis have their names beginning Da, Ra, La, Ka, Sa, Ha — and end in ‘akini’. They preside over the physical bases (dhatus) of the body. The 12 sidereal constellations are the 10 vital breaths, the embodied being (jiva), and the Supreme Creator. The 51 pithas correspond to the letters of the alphabet, and are points of confluence one should visit within the body. Each of the three sections of the vidyas represents speech — in potential, in formation, in manifestation. The Devi is Matrika Shakti.

Breath is Time

This is a fundamental postulate of Shri Vidya and much of the symbolism is based on it. The letters of Sanskrit said to represent the embodiment of Laiita as mantra are 52 in number: 16 vowels and 36 consonants. These, multiplied together, total 576. This number, divided by nine yields 64. The Shri Yantra is said to have 64,000,000 yoginis in the nine sub-mandalas.

Each mandala has a unit of Time associated with it. The basic unit is a breath. One nadika is equal to 24 minutes or 1440 seconds, and each breath is one 360th of this, or four seconds. A human being breathes 21600 times each 24 hours.

A Kali Yuga is 432,000 years of 360 days. A Dvapara Yuga is 864,000 years. A Treta Yuga is 1,296,000 years. A Satya Yuga is 1,728,000 years. The circle of the sidereal zodiac has 12 constellations, each of which has nine parts (navamshas). These 108 (12 x 9) are called Candrakalas.

Each Candrakaia is, itself, a micro-constellation. The number of degrees in the sidereal cakra is 360. The number of minutes is 21600. A conjunction is 21600′, a square 5400′, an opposition 10800′. Each eternity (Nitya) of the root mantra has 1440 breaths. (See the prayoga of Bhavana Upanishad). This implies that Lalita is 21600, as she is the collectivity of the 15 Nityas.

Lalita’s cakra is the grand synthesis of Time, Space, and humankind. Her 36 tattvas are the whole cosmos.

Ritual Accessories (Upachara)

These can be multiplied indefinitely. The chief are scent (earth), incense (air), flame (fire), water, and flowers (aether). They should all be red, or tinged with red. They represent, in their basic form, the five impressions. See Gandharva Tantra.

 
 

Devatas of the Leftovers

At the end of the rite Vatuka Natha is in the NE, and takes flame leftovers; Yoginis in the SE take mantra leftovers; Kshetrapala in the SW takes scent and incense leftovers; Ganesa, in the NW, takes mudra leftovers. The aspect of Lalita called Sosika consumes everything that is left. She is worshipped in the NE in a circular pit.

Gayatri

This is the name of a specific kind of mantra used at the four twilights of dawn, midday, dusk and midnight. There are Vedik and Tantrik gayatris. Lalita has her own which is tripurasundaryai vidmahe kameshvaryai dhimahi tanno klinne prachodayat.

 
 

Esoteric Meaning of the Vidya

This leads the sadhaka to identify the vidya with moon, sun and fire, as sections of the central or Susunna Nadi, relating to Intellect, Emotions, and Physical Sensations. These have to he brought together for the Fourth to appear. There are 10 fire kalas, 12 sun kalas, and 15 moon kalas. The 16th includes them all.

Sound

The letters of the vidya are Nada, or sound, and the absolute, and end as uttered sound. When charged with the consciousness of the Fourth these mere letters become mantra. Otherwise, words continually delude.

The 16th syllable of the vidya also represents the Fourth. This Fourth is Kamakala. Beyond it is the Ultimate Absolute (Atiturya – beyond the Fourth), and beyond any sort of description.

Famous Places in Ramayana-Prana Kishore

Famous Places in Ramayana-Prana Kishore

 Ayodhya अयोध्या

Capital city of Kosala which was rules by Rama’s father, Dashratha

 Asoka-van or Ashoka vatika अशोकवनअशोकवाटिका

A place in Lanka where Ravana kept Sita after abduction

 Chitrakoot or Chitrakut चित्रकूट

Forest place on banks of Mandakini river where Ram, Sita and Laxman stayed eleven years during the vanvas (exile)

 Dandakaranya दंडकारण्य

Forest where Rama, Sita and Laxman traveled during vanvas (exile)

 Godavari गोदावरी

River, crossing which Rama, Sita and Laxman reached Panchavati

 Kailasa कैलास

Mountain where Hanuman found sanjivani; Abode of Lord Shiva

 Kiskindha किष्किंधा

Kingdom ruled by Sugriva, leader of monkey tribe

Kosala कौशल

Kingdom ruled by Dashratha

 Mithila मिथिला

kingdom ruled by king Janaka, Sita’s father

 Lanka लंका

Island kingdom ruled by demon king Ravana

 
 

Panchavati पंचवटी

Rama, Sita and Laxman’s forest hut, from where Sita was abducted by Ravana

 Prayag प्रयाग

Confluence of river Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati (presently known as Alhabad)

 Rameshwar रामेश्वर

A place where Ram sanctified Shivlinga; One of the twelve Jyotirlinga; famous pilgrim place

 Rishyamuk ऋष्यमूक

A mountain, where Sugriva made his abode to stay away from his brother Bali / Vali; A place where Ram and Laxman met Hanuman

Sarayu सरयू

River on the banks of which Ayodhya is situated

 Sringverpur शृंगवेरपुर

A place on banks of Ganga which Ram visited during exile.

  

Padma Purana -How Everything Got Created In The World-Prana Kishore

Padma Purana 

 

Padma Purana contains five parts – Srishtikhand, Bhumikhand, Swargkhand, Patalkhand and Uttarkhand.


Srishtikhand contains an explanation of metaphysical knowledge in a dialogue style between Bheeshma and the sage Pulastya. It contains a description of Pushkar Tirth. Surprisingly, this part ridicules the worship of the planets (Grahas).

Bhumikhand has a description of the earth, besides the tales of the kings like Prithu, Nahush, Yayati, Prabhriti and the sages like Shiva Varma, suvrata and Chyvan. For its description of the earth and archaic matter, this part is often regarded as the geography and the history of a period.

Swargakhand describes the sequence of creation first and then the glory of the holy places as well as the geographical expansion of India along with her mountains, rivers and the people.

In the Patalkhand, Sutaji narrates the tales related to the life and plays of Lord Rama in an assembly of the sages. This part also contains a description about the life and plays of Lord Krishna.

Uttarkhand contains a discussion about the metaphysical knowledge of religion presented in a dialogue style between Lord Shiva and Parvati. This part also contains thousand names of Lord Vishnu and one hundred names of Lord Rama.

Having revealed the contents of all the Puranas to his son Ugrashrava, Sage Lomaharshan instructed him to go to ‘Naimisharanya’ and spread it among the sages doing penance over there.

There is an interesting tale how this sacrosanct forest of Naimish derived it’s name —

Once, the sages sought Lord Vishnu’s help in finding a suitable place, where they could perform their religious activities unhindered. Lord Vishnu released his chakra and instructed them to follow it. ‘This chakra had many circumferences (Nemi) and all of you can commence your penance at the place where one of them gets detached from the chakra’ —said Lord Vishnu.

The Sages followed the chakra as per the instruction of Lord Vishnu. Once of the circumferences of chakra got detached and fell at a place called Gangavarta. In course of time this particular place was famous as ‘Naimish’ because the term ‘Nemi’ in Sanskrit means circumference. When Ugrashrava who was popularly known as ‘Sutji’ reached ‘Naimisharnya’ all the sages received him with enlighten all the sages on the divine tales of Padma Puran.

Sutji replied— Padma Puran consists of five sections and fifty-five thousand shlokas. The names of these sections are Shrishti-Khand, Bhumi-Khand, Swarg Khand, Patal Khand and Uttam-Khand. The tales of Padma-Puran praise the glory of Lord Vishnu. These tales were narrated to Lord Brahma by Lord Vishnu himself, who in turn propagated them in this world through various sages.

SHRISTHI KHAND – THE BEGINNING OF CREATION 

The Sages requested Sutji to narrate about the incident when sage Pulastya had met Bhishma. Sutji replied—- Bhishma was doing penance at a place called Gangadwar. Being pleased by his austere penance, Lord Brahma instructed Pulastya to go to Gangadwar and bless Bhishma.

After reaching there, Pulastya told Bhishma that Lord Brahma was pleased by his penance. ‘Ask any boon you wish for’ said Pulastya. Bhishma thanked his good fortune of getting a chance to meet Sage Pulastya. He requested Pulastya to reveal how Lord Brahma had created the world.

Pulastya replied— During the initial phase of his creation, Lord Brahma created the Mahattatva first of all. After that he created the three types of Ego from the Mahattatva—Satva, Rajas and Tamas. These three types of Ego are the origins of all the five sense-organs, organs of action and all the five basic elements–space, water, fire, air & earth.

An enormous egg came into existence with the permutation and combination of these five basic elements. Within this egg exists the whole universe including the mountains, islands, oceans, planets, deities, demons and the human beings. The layers of water, fire, air, space and darkness envelop this enormous egg. These elements are once again covered by the ‘Mahattatva’, which in turn is enveloped by the ‘Prakriti’ (nature). Lord Vishnu himself does creation in the form of Lord Brahma and also takes various incarnations to protect the mankind. At the end of the Kalpa, it is only He, who annihilates in the form of Rudra. After the end of Kalpa, he takes rest on the back of Sheshnag for the full period of deluge.

LORD BRAHMA’S LIFE-SPAN AND THE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER OF THE ‘ERAS’

Pulastya says—Lord Brahma, the embodiment of Lord Vishnu has a life-span of one hundred years. His life-span is also called ‘Par’, and half of its period is known as ‘Parardha’. One ‘Kashtha’ consists of 15 Nimesha while a Kala consists of 30 ‘Kashthas’. A muhurta consists of 30 Kalas. The periods of 30 muhurtas are equal to one day and Night of the human beings. A month of this world is equivalent to 30 days and nights. Six months make an ‘Ayan’ and a year consists of two ‘Ayans’. These two ‘Ayans’ are also known by two other names—Dakshinayan and Uttarayan. Dakshinayan is the night of the deities where as Uttarayan is their day.

Four yugas are equivalent to twelve thousand years of the deities, which occur in a cyclic order—Satya, Treta, Dwapar and Kaliyuga. The periods of these yugas are as follows—

Satya Yuga = 4000 years 
Treta Yuga = 3000 years 
Dwapar Yuga = 2000 years 
Kali Yuga = 1000 years
Total = 10,000 years

Each yuga is followed by the hibernation periods of ‘Sandhya’ and Sandhyansh, which are as follows

Satya Yuga 400 400 
Treta Yuga 300 300 
Dwapar Yuga 200 200 
Kali Yuga 100 100
Total 1000 years 1000 years 

Four Yuga are collectively known as ‘Chaturyuga’. A Brahma’s day consists of one-thousand such ‘Chaturyugas’. Altogether, fourteen Manu appear during this whole period of 1000 Chaturgas or in other words a day of Lord Brahma. Each ‘Manvantar’ is named after a Manu and is equivalent to little more than 71 Chaturyugas. It also has its own Indra, Saptarishis and other deities. This way, a manvantar is also equivalent to 8,52,000 years of the deities or divine years. Going by the standard of the years of this world a manvantar is equivalent to 30,67,20,000 years. On the basis of the years of this world, a Brahma’s day is equivalent to 30,67,20,000 x 14 = 4,29,40,80,000 yrs. This is the period after which a Brahma’s day is over and a deluge takes place when all the three worlds becomes devoid of life due to unbearable heat. Lord Brahma then takes rest for the same period (4,29,40,80,000 yrs) which is his night.

After the night is over, Lord Brahma again commences his creation. So, this process continues for the whole period of Brahma’s life span, i.e. 100 yrs.” Bheeshma requested Sage Pulastya to describe how Lord Brahma created life in the beginning of the present Kalpa.

Pulastya replied— At the end of the previous kalpa when Lord Brahma awakened from his sleep, he found the whole earth submerged in water. He meditated on Lord Vishnu, who took the incarnation of ‘Varah’ and retrieved the earth and established it in its original position. Lord Brahma then created all the four worlds–Bhurloka, Bhuvarloka, Swargloka and Maharloka and divided the earth into seven islands.

First of all, Lord Brahma created the ‘Mahattatva’. After that he created the ‘Tanmatras’, Indriyas (sense-organs), the immovable things like mountains, rivers, animals, deities, demons, human beings etc.

THE FOUR PROMINENT CASTES

On being asked by Bhishma about the origin of the four prominent castes, Sage Pulastya said— Lord Brahma created the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas from his mouth and chest respectively. Similarly, Vaishyas and Shudras manifested from Lord Brahma’s thigh and feet respectively.Lord Brahma had created his ‘manasputras’ with the objective of increasing the population and their names were Bhrigu, Pulah, Kratu, Angira, Marichi, Daksha, Atri and Vashishth. But all of them were free from worldly desires and extremely virtuous. Seeing his effort go in vain, Lord Brahma became furious, as a result of which Rudra manifested from his forehead. Half of Rudra’s body resembled like a male while the remaining half appeared like a female.Lord Brahma instructed Rudra to detach the female form from his body and commence copulative creation. Following his advice, Rudra detached the female part of his body and created eleven male entities. Similarly he created various female entities from the female part of his body.

This way, the first human pair-Manu and Shatarupa came into existence. In course of time four children were born to them—Priyavrata, Uttanpad, Prasuti and Aakuti. Prasuti was married to Daksha Prajpati, while Aakuti became the wife of Ruchi-Prajapati. Prasuti gave birth to 24 daughters– Shraddha, Laxmi, Dhriti, Pushti, Tushti, Medha, Kriya, Buddhi, Lajja, Vapu, Shanti, Keerti, Khyati, Sati, Sambhuti, Smriti, Preeti, Kshama, Santati, Ansuya,Urja, Swaha and Swadha. Out of them, the former thirteen were the wives of Dharma and the rest were married to various sages like Bhrigu, Shiv, Marichi, Angira, myself (Pulastya), Pulaha, Kratu, Atri, Vashishth Agni, etc.Shraddha gave birth to ‘Kaam’, Laxmi to ‘Daarpa, Dhriti to Niyam, Tushti to Santosh, Pushti to Lobha, Medha to Shrut, Kriya to Dand, Nay and Vinay, Buddhi to Bodh, Lajja to Vinay, Vapu to Vyavasay, Shanti to Kshama, Siddhi to Sukh and Keerti gave birth to Yash. All of them were the sons of Dharma.

Kaam had a son named Harsh from his wife Nandi, Bhrigu’s wife Khyati gave birth to a daughter named Laxmi–the consort of Lord Vishnu. Lord Rudra accepted Sati–the daughter of Daksha Prajapati as his wife. Hinsa was the wife of Adharm and gave birth to Anrit and Nikriti. Anrit had two sons—Maya and Narak, while Nikriti had two daughters–Maaya and Vedana. Maaya married Maya while Vedana became the wife of Narak. Maaya had a son named Mrityu–the lord of death and Vedana gave birth to Dukh. Five children were born to Mrityu–Vyadhi, Jara, Shok, Trishna and Krodha. All of them were celibates and had no progeny.

THE MANIFESTATION OF GODDESS LAXMI 

Bheeshma expressed his desire to know about the manifestation of goddess Laxmi.

Pulastya replied– Once, after being defeated by the demons, the deities went to Lord Vishnu and sought his help. Lord Vishnu instructed them to collect all the medicinal herbs, and put them in the Ksheersagar, so that after the churning of the ocean ambrosia could be retrieved.Lord Vishnu also advised them to use the Mandar mountain as a Churner and the serpent–Sheshnag as a rope for churning the ocean.The deities then reached an agreement with the demons according to which both the groups were supposed to unitedly churn the ocean. The great Mandar mountain was uprooted and placed on the back of the tortoise–the embodiment of Lord Vishnu. Sheshnag coiled around that mountain and both the ends were held by the demons and the deities respectively. The deities intelligently chose the tail-end, while the demons in their foolishness chose the mouth-end. The vemon spilled by Sheshnag destroyed the power and strength off the demons. When the process of Churning began, the first thing to emerge from the sea-bed was Kaamdhenu–the holy cow. The deities claimed the ownership of this divine cow. Subsequently, Vaaruni (intoxicating drink) emerged from the sea-bed, which was claimed by the ignorant demons. During the process of ocean-churning, various kinds of things emerged out from the ocean–Parijat, sixty crore apsaras, the moon and the Kaalkut (poison), which were distributed among the demons and the deities. Lord Mahadev drank the Kaalkut when he saw that there was no taker for it.

The churning of ocean also resulted into the manifestation of ambrosia-pot, Uchchaishrava (horse) and Eravat (elephant). Ultimately, goddess Laxmi manifested herself, seated on a lotus. The deities eulogised her by chanting the mantras of Sri Sukta. The deities were desirous of having goddess Laxmi on their side, so were the demons, but Lord Brahma instructed Vishnu to accept her as his consort. The demons became furious and snatched the ambrosia-pot from the hands of Sage Dhanvantari. Lord Vishnu then disguised himself as the most enchanting woman and fooled the demons into giving back the ambrosia-pot. Lord Vishnu gave the pot to the deities who became immortal after drinking ambrosia. A tremendous battle was fought between the demons and the deities. But, the demons were defeated in this battle and fled to the netherworld to protect their lives. The deities eulogised Lord Vishnu and returned to heaven.

SATI GIVES UP HER LIFE 

On being enquired by Bheeshma about the reason why Sati gave up her life, Sage Pulastya narrated the following tale —-

Once, Daksha Prajapati had organised a grand yagya in which he had invited everybody except Lord Shiva. This Yagya was presided over by four prominent sages—Vashishth, Angika, Vrihaspati and Narad. Sati went to attend the yagya despite Lord Shiva’s reluctance to send her. After reaching there she asked Daksha about the reason why he had not invited Lord Shiva.

Daksha said—“Your husband is unworthy of being in the company of other deities, because of his abhorrent appearance. He smears ashes on his body and wanders through the cremation grounds. In the name of clothes, your husband puts on tiger’s skin. A garland of skulls keep on hanging down his neck. All species of serpents coil around his body. Do you think he is eligible to sit in the company of the deities? Your husband had brought great shame on me and this is the reason why I did not invite him.”

Sati could no more listen to her husband’s criticism and gave up her life by jumping into the oblation-fire.When the news of Sati’s death reached Lord Shiva, he became extremely furious and sent his ganas to avenge her death. The Ganas went and created havoc at the oblation-site.After the death of Sati, Lord Shiva became a recluse and lost all interest in his life. His mind was preoccupied by nothing else but the thoughts of her beloved.One day, Sage Narad informed Lord Shiva about Sati’s rebirth as the daughter of Himvan and Mena. Lord Shiva became extremely pleased by this good news. Eventually, he reunited with her eternal consort Parvati.

THE ORIGIN OF DEITIES, DEMONS & SERPENTS 

Bheeshma requested Sage Pulastya to explain how different entities like the deities, demons and serpents came into being.

Pulastya replied—Having failed in his repeated attempts of increasing population by the means of ‘sankalpa’ Daksha Prajapati was left with no option but to take the help of copulative creation. He begot sixty daughters from his wife named Virini. In course of time ten of them were married to Dharma whose names were—Arundhati, Vasu, Jami, Lamba, Bhanu, Marutvati, Sankalpa, Muhurta, Saadhya and Vishwa.Vishwa gave birth to Vishwadeva, while Saadhyaa was the mother of Saddhya. Marutvati gave birth to Marutvan. Vasu had eight sons who became famous as the Vasus—yourself (Bheeshma), Dhruv, Soma, Dhar, Anil, Anal, Pratyush and Prabhas. Bhanu had a son by the same name i.e. Bhanu. Mahurta begot deities, who were the lords of auspicious moments. Lamba gave birth to Ghosh while Jami had a daughter named Nagvithi. Arundhati became the mother of all the creatures of this world. As far as the offspring of eight Vasus are concerned, ‘you’ (Bheeshma) have four sons–Shant, Vaitand, Samb and Munibabhru. Dhruv had a son named Kaal. While Soma was the father of Varcha. Dhar had two sons–Dravin and Havyavaah. Anil had three sons— Pran, Raman and Shishir. Anal also had three sons—Shakh, Upshakh and Naigameya. Pratyush had a son named Deval, who later on became a famous sage. Prabhas was the father of Prajapati Vishwakarma–the architect of the deities.

The names of the eleven Rudras are—Ajaikpad, Ahirbudhnya, Virupaksh, Raivat, Har, Bahuroop, Trayambak, Savitra, Jayant, Pinaki and Aparajit. All of them are said to be the lords of the Ganas and have all together 84 crore progenies known as the Rudraganas.

Sage Kashyap had thirteen wives—Aditi, Diti, Danu, Arishta, Sursa, Surabhi, Vinta, Tamra, Krodhvasha, Ira, Kadru, Khasa and Muni. Kashyap had two sons from Diti—Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha. Hiranyakashipu had four sons—Prahlad, Anuhlad, Sanhlad and Hlad. Prahlad also had four sons—One of them was Virochan. Virochan was the father of Bali. Vanasur, who had one thousand arms, was the eldest son of Bali.Hiranyaksha had four sons, who themselves had 27 crore sons and grandsons in all. Kashyap had begotten one hundred sons from Danu, among whom Viprachitti was the most powerful.Viprachitti had fourteen sons from Sinhika—Sainhikeya (Rahu), Kansa, Shankh, Nala, Vatapi, Ilwal, Namuchi, Khasrima, Anjan, Narak, Kaalnaabh, Parmanu, Kalpavirya and Dhanuvanshavivardhan.

Kashyap also had six daughters from Tamra–Shuki, Shyeni, Bhasi, Gridhi, Sugridhi and Shuchi. All six of them gave birth to various species of birds. Shuki was the mother of Parrots and Owls. Shyeni gave birth to hawks while Bhasi was the mother of ospreys (a large fish eating birds.) Gridhi gave birth to Vultures and Sugridhi was the mother of pigeons. Shuchi was the mother of cranes, Swans and other similar aquatic birds. Vinita was the mother of Garuda and Arun—Supreme among birds. Arun was the father of Sampati and Jatayu.Sursa was the mother of the serpents and had given birth to one thousand snakes. Similarly, Kadru gave birth to one thousand cobras.Surabhi, one of the thirteen wives of Kashyap had given birth to cows, buffaloes as well as beautiful women. Muni was the mother of the celestial damsels –apsaras. Arishta gave birth to Kinnars and Gandharvas. Ira was the mother of various vegetation like grass, trees, creepers and bushes.

Khasa gave birth to crore of Rakshashas (monsters) and Yakshas.Kashyap had also begotten forty-nine Marudganas from Diti.

THE ORIGIN OF MARUDGANAS

Bheeshma requested Sage Pulastya to describe how all the Marudganas came into existence.

Pulastya replied— All the sons and grandsons of Diti had perished in the battle fought between the deities and demons. Diti—the mother of daityas (demons) wanted to take revenge, so she started doing a penance at the bank of river Saraswati, which lasted for 100 years.Being pleased by her austere penance Sage Kashyap arrived and expressed his desire to bless her with a boon. Diti wanted a mighty son who could kill Indra. Sage Kashyap then implanted his sperms in Diti’s womb and instructed her to remain there (where she had been doing penance) for 100 years. He also instructed her on various do’s and don’ts which a pregnant woman is expected to observe. Diti agreed to follow his instructions.Mean while, Indra got wind of her pregnancy and became scared. He wanted to destroy the foetus at any cost, so he arrived at the place where Diti was staying. He had disguised himself to avoid being recognized by Diti. He engaged himself in her servitude, waiting for an opportune moment to destroy the foetus.

This way, ninety-nine years had passed and only three days were remaining after which Diti was expected to give birth to a son. As the inevitable day approached nearer, Indra started becoming restless.One day, Diti was very tired and fell down asleep. Her hair was untied and her head had stooped down while she was sleeping, just opposite to the instructions Kashyap had given to her. Finding the moment opportune, Indra entered into Diti’s womb and cut the foetus into seven pieces with his Vajra. The seven fragments of foetus instantaneously got transformed into seven infants and started wailing. Indra became furious and once again he attacked them with his vajra and severed them into seven pieces each. But to Indra’s sheer amazement, there were 49 infants, all wailing loudly. He tried to stop them from crying by shouting ‘Marud’ (don’t cry), but to no avail.

Indra realized that the infants had attained immortality on account of the ‘Pournamasi Vrata’, which Diti had devoutly observed during the course of her penance. Indra named the infants as Marudganas and blessed them. He then begged for Diti’s forgiveness and took her along with the Marudganas to heaven. The Marudganas, despite being born in the clans of demons, never associated with them and hence were revered even by the deities.Bheeshma expressed his curiosity to know about the detailed description of all the fourteen manvantars. Pulastya said–The first manvantar was called Swayambhuva, named after Swayambhuva- Manu. Yamya was the prominent deity of this manvantar. Marichi and other six prominent sages were the Saptarishis of this manvantar. Swayambhuva- Manu had ten sons—Aaghnigha, Agnibahu, Vibhu, Savan, Jyotishman, Dyutiman, Havya, Medha, Medhatithi and Vasu.

The second manvantar was named after Swarochish–Manu. Swarochish–Manu had four sons–Nabh, Nabhasya, Prasriti and Bhavan. Tushit was the prominent deity of this second manvantar. Dattatreya, Atri, Chyavan, Stanba, Pran, Kashyap and Vrihaspati were the saptarishis of this manvantar.

The third manvantar was called Autam and derived its name from Autami Manu, who had ten sons–Isha, Urj, Tanuj, Shuchi, Shukra, Madhu, Madhav, Nabhasya, Nabh and Saha, Bhanusangyak was the prominent deity of this manvantar. Sage Urj and other six sages were the saptarishis then.

The fourth manvantar was called Taamas–named after Taamas-manu, who also had ten sons like his predecessor. The names of his sons were–Akalmash, Tapodhanva, Tapomool, Tapodhan, Taporashi, Tapasya, Sutapasya, Parantap, Tapobhagi and Tapoyogi. Kavi, Prithu, Agni, Akapi, Kapi, Janya and Dhama were the Saptarishis of this manvantar, while Saadhyagana was the prominent deity.

The fifth manvantar was called Raivat–named after Raivat Manu, who had ten sons as well–Varun, Tatvadarshi, chitiman, Havyap, Kavi, Mukt, Nirutsuk, Satva, Vimoh and Prakashak, Bhutrajaa and Prakriti were the two prominent deities of this manvantar and the names of the saptarishis were–Devabahu, Subahu, Parjanya, Somap, Muni, Hiranyaroma and Saptashva.

Next arrived the sixth manvantar—Chakshush. This Manvantar derived its name from Chakshush–Manu, who had ten sons and among whom Ruru was the most prominent one. Lekh, Ribhu, Prithagbhoot, Varimool and Divau were the prominent deities of this manvantar. The names of Saptarishis were–Bhrigu, Sudhama, Viraj, Vishnu, Narad, Vivaswan and Abhimani.

The present manvantar, which is the seventh in order, is called Vaivaswat. The Saptarishis of this manvantar are—Atri, Vashishth, Kashyap, Gautam–yogi, Bhardwaj, Vishwamitra and Jamdagni.

The eighth manvantar will be called Savarnya and will be named after Savarni Manu, Savarni Manu will have ten sons—Dhriti, Variyan, Yavasu, Suvarna, Dhrishti, Charishnu, Aadya, Sumati, Vasu and Shukra. The Saptarishis of this manvantar will be–Ashwatthama, Rishyashringa, Kaushikya, Galav, Shatanand, Kaashyap and Parashuram.

The nineth manvantar will be named after Ruchi–Manu and will be called Rauchya manvantar. Ruchi–manu will have a son named Rauchya.

The tenth manvantar will be called Bhautya and will derive its name from Bhautya Manu–Son of Bhuti.

The eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth manvantars will be named after Merusavarni, Ribhu, Veetdhama and Vishkvasen Manus respectively.

All these fourteen Manus successively rule this world for the total period of 1000 Chaturyugas. At the end of Kalpa each of them unite with Lord Brahma.

KING PRITHU AND THE SURYA DYNASTY 

Bheeshma enquired Sage Pulastya about the mighty King Prithu upon whom the earth was named as Prithvi.

Sage Pulastya replied—Anga-Prajapati was the descendant of Swayambhuva Manu and Sunitha was his wife. In course of time, Sunitha gave birth to a son, who was named Ven. After growing up, Ven turned out to be an extremely irreligious person and used to spend his time committing all sorts of immoral deeds. The sages tried to bring him to the virtuous path but to no avail. They became furious and cursed Ven as the result of which he died. The sages then churned his dead body, which resulted into the manifestation of a mean caste called Mlechchha. They kept on churning his body and in the process, an extremely virtuous entity manifested from the right hand of Ven. He held various weapons like mace, bow and arrows in his hands. He was none other than Prithu–the embodiment of Lord Vishnu.

After being crowned as a king, Prithu was saddened to see the prevalence of immorality throughout the length and breadth of earth. The lack of virtuosity and religiousness among the inhabitants of earth made him extremely furious. He decided to destroy the earth. The earth became scared and fled in the guise of a cow. Prithu chased her wherever she went. At last, the cow halted at a place as she had got tired. To save her life, the cow agreed to fulfill all the desires of Prithu. Prithu then milked the cow, which later on got transformed into cereals. Similarly all the deities, ancestors and other human-beings milked the cow and received numerous invaluable things.

Prithu was a just king. Peace and prosperity prevailed during his reign. People were religious and free from any kind of sorrow. The earth is named after him as Prithvi.Sage Pulastya then went on to give a detailed description of Surya dynasty—Vivaswan (Surya) had three queens—Sangya, Ragyi and Prabha. Ragyi had a son named Raivat while Somgya was the mother of Vaivaswat–Manu, Yama and Yamuna. Once, Sangya being unable to bear the extreme radiance of Surya created a superficial entity from her body and instructed her to act as Surya’s wife in her absence. The name of this superficial woman was chhaya, who had two sons and two daughters from Surya. The names of her sons were Saavarna–Manu and Shanaishchar, while the names of her daughters were Tapti and Vishti.

Shanaishchar became immortal as a planet while Yamuna and Tapti became rivers. Vaivaswat Manu had ten sons among whom ‘Ila’ was the eldest. After appointing Ila as his successor, Vaivaswat, manu went to do penance.Once, Ila transformed into a woman after tresspassing a forest where Lord Shiva and Parvati were enjoying privacy. It was Lord Shiva’s curse that any male who ventured in to that forbidden forest would become a woman. Later on, Buddh became enchanted by Ila’s beauty and married her.

Meanwhile, when Ila did not return to his kingdom, his brother Ikshvaku went in search of him. Ikshvaku reached the outskirts of the same forest but did not enter it. He managed to please Shiva by his devotion. When Lord Shiva appeared, Ikshvaku requested him to make Ila a man once again. Shiva told him that it was impossible but assured him by saying “If you perform an Ashwamedha yagya and donate all the virtue thus acquired to me, then your brother will be able to live as a man for one month. But, after one month he will again become a woman. Thus, his form will keep on changing every alternate months.”

Meanwhile Ila gave birth to four sons among whom Utkal, Gaya and Haritashwa were prominent. This way, Ila became the source from which the lineage of chandra sprouted.Ikshvaku ruled over Madhya-desh. He had one hundred sons, all of whom ruled the territories situated north of Meru Mountain. Ikshvaku also had one hundred and fourteen more sons, who ruled over the areas situated south of Meru.Kakusttha was Ikshvaku’s grand-son. Kakusttha had a son named Suyodhan. Some other prominent kings coming from this lineage were–Prithu, Vrihadashwa, Kuwalashva, Purukutsu, Dharmasetu, Muchukund, Tridhanva, Traidharun, Satyavrat and Satyarath.

The most truthful king Harishchandra was Satyarath’s son and Rohit was his son. Famous kings like Raghu, Dilip Aja, Dirghabahu and Prajapati-Dasharath were the descendants of Ikshvaku. Dasharath had four sons among whom Sri Ram was the eldest and who had killed the demon king Ravana. Ram had two sons–Lav and Kush.

BASHKALI–THE DEMON KING 

Bheeshma requested Sage Pulastya to reveal Why Lord Vishnu had to take incarnation as Vaman. Sage Pulastya replied— Once, during Satyayuga, the demons had defeated the deities and driven them out from their abode–heaven. The mighty demon, Bashkali was their leader. He had become immortal an account of a boon received from Lord Brahma. Indra went to Lord Brahma and narrated the aweful tale of the deities. Lord Brahma assured him that Lord Vishnu would certainly help in this matter. Lord Brahma contemplated on Lord Vishnu who appeared in a very short time.

When, Lord Vishnu came to know about the deities’s pitiable condition, he promised them that very soon Bashkali’s wings would be clipped.

Lord Vishnu said—“Very soon, I will take incarnation as Vaman. Indra will have to come along with me and demand a piece of land measured by my three steps. I shall then reveal my giant form and send him to the patalloka after making him bereft of his kingdom. In course of time Lord Vishnu manifested as Vaman from Aditi’s womb. His manifestation was simultaneously marked by various auspicious signs–the air became full of fragrance, the deities started rejoicing, the trees started shedding flowers on their own and all the desires of living beings were fulfilled.

Lord Vaman then went to Bashkali’s palace accompanied by Indra. Both of them marvelled at the grandness of Bashkali’s city, which was surrounded by a high boundary-wall.Bashkali was a very virtuous and benevolent king. He was truthful and well versed in all the scripture. His subject lived in prosperity and enjoyed a long life.When the demons saw Indra coming with a dwarf they informed Bashkali. Bashkali instructed the demons to bring both the guests with due respect.

Bashkali treated his guests with all honour and asked Indra about the reason for his sudden arrival. Indra praised Bashkali’s benevolence and said—“The short brahmin accompanying me is desirous of a piece of land measured by his three steps.” Bashkali was amused at this ridiculous demand and requested Vaman to ask for anything he wished. But, Vaman wanted nothing more than a small piece of land measured by his three steps.

Shukracharya-Bashkali’s guru smelled something fishy and warned him, but he was not to listen. Bashkali then requested Vaman to go ahead and measure the land by his three steps.Suddenly, Lord Vaman transformed his physique into a giant size. His first step reached the Surya-loka and his second step touched the dhruva-loka. He hit the top of the universe with his third step as a result of which water poured down. The water got collected and came to be known as Vaishnavi river. But, the land had still not been measured and hence Lord Vaman reminded Bashkali of his vow and ultimately the helpless Bashkali surrendered to the will of Lord Vaman and sought his refuge. Lord Vaman blessed him and sent him to Patalloka.

SRI RAM KILLS SHAMBUK 

After killing the demons king Ravan, Sri Ram returned to Ayodhya. Many sages had arrived there to bless him on the occasion of his crowning ceremony. Sage Vashishth was one of them.As Sri Ram was conversing with the sages a brahmin arrived there with the corpse of his son and wailed—“O son! Your death is certainly due to some flaw of Sri Ram. Now, your mother and I have decided to give up our lives as there is no point in living.”

Sri Ram’s heart was filled with grief and he asked Sage Vashishth as to how the brahmin could be helped. Sage Vashishth revealed to Sri Ram that the brahmin’s son had died a premature death because of Shambuk. Vashishth said–“Shambuk is a Shudra by birth, but he is doing an austere penance. Shudras are not entitled to do penance in all the three yugas, except the Kaliyug. So, only his death can bring back the brahmin’s son alive.”

Sri Ram instructed both his younger brothers–Laxman and Bharat, to look after the state’s affairs in his absence and went in search of Shambuk boarded on his Pushpak Viman.Sri Ram saw a man doing penance at the shore of a reservoir. He landed his Pushpak Viman and went near that man. He introduced himself and enquired about the man’s identity–Sri Ram asked–Why are you doing such an austere penance. Who are you?

Without moving the man replied that he was a shudra named Shambuk. He said—- I am desirous of attaining to devaloka and hence I am doing this penance.Sri Ram took out his sword and severed Shambuk’s head. All the deities hailed Sri Ram and the brahmin’s child became alive once again.

MANIFESTATION OF GANESH & KARTIKEYA 

Once, before taking her bath, goddess Parvati anointed unguent on her body and while removing it created a human form from the accumulated dross. The head of this human form resembled an elephant. Parvati then playfully immersed the human-form into river Ganga. But, to her sheer amazement the human form became alive and of enormous size. She accepted him as her son and he was none other than elephant-headed deity-Ganesh.

Once, Lord Shiva became so deeply fascinated by her consort. Parvati hat he did not come out from his palace for 1000 years. The deities became worried and sent Agni to find out the reason. Agni disguised himself as a parrot and entered the palace where Shiva was enjoying privacy with Parvati.

Meanwhile, Parvati went at the bank of a reservoir to quench her thirst. After reaching there she saw six divine women (matrikas) carrying water in the leaves of lotus flowers. As Parvati was thirsty, she requested them to give some water. The matrikas agreed on the condition that a son born to her (Parvati) should also have to be accepted as their son. Parvati gave her conscent. The matrikas gave Parvati water to drink.

Hardly had Parvati finished drinking water than a divine child emerged out from her womb. The child possessed various weapons like, trident, shakti and a noose in his hands. He was none other than Kartikeya.The deities appointed Kartikeya as the commander of their army. During that time, a mighty demon named Tarakasur used to torment the deities. Kartikeya killed that demon on the request of deities.

AN IDEAL BRAHMIN AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF GAYATRI MANTRA

Describing about the qualities of an ideal brahmin, Sage Pulastya said— Once, Narad had asked Lord Brahma as to who was worthy of receiving Vishnu’s blessings. Lord Brahma had told Narad that Lord Vishnu showered his blessings on those who engaged themselves in the service of brahmins. A brahmin should be virtuous and well versed in all the scriptures. A brahmin who does not observe the rituals as mentioned in the Vedas, brings disgrace to his ancestors. An ideal brahmin is respectful towards his parents, teachers and treats his guests with due honour. He never aspires for women other than his wife and chants the sacred Gayatri mantra everyday.

Goddess Gayatri is said to have manifested in the lineage of Sankhyayan. She is of fair complexion and fire is the symbolical expression of her mouth. Lord Brahma dwells on her forehead, Lord Vishnu in her heart and Lord Rudra has his abode in her braided hair. The Gayatri mantra consists of 24 letters and each of them is related with a specific deity. There is a mention of Gayatri mantra, which consists of 18 letters. It begins with the word ‘agni’ and ends with ‘swaha’.

The mantra is as follows—OM AGNERVAKPUNSI YAJURDEDIN JUSHTA SOMAM PIBA SWAHA.

A person, who chants the mantra for 100 times, becomes liberated from gravest of sin. The various deities related with the twenty-four letters of Gayatri Mantra are as under-

Deity

1st letter —- Agni 
2nd letter —- Vayu 
3rd letter —- Surya 
4th letter —- Aakash 
5th letter —- Yamraj 
6th letter —- Varun 
7th letter —- Vrihaspati 
8th letter —- Parjanya 
9th letter —- Indra 
10th letter —- Gandharva 
11th letter —- Poosha 
12th letter —- Mitra 
13th letter —- Twashta 
14th letter —- Vasu 
15th letter —- Marudganas 
16th letter —- Soma 
17th letter —- Angira 
18th letter —- Vishwadeva 
19th letter —- Ashwini kumar 
20th letter —- Prajapati 
21st letter —- All the deities 
22nd letter —- Rudra 
23rd letter —- Brahma 
24th letter —- Vishnu 

A devotee should then perform the ritual of ‘nyas’ by mentally establishing different words of the Gayatri mantra in the various parts of his body as given below — 

OM BHUH — in the heart, 
OM BHUVAH — in the head, 
OM SWAH — in the top-knot (Shikha), 
OM TATSAVITURVARENYAM — in the whole body, 
OM BHARGODEVASYA DHIMAHI — in both the eyes 
OM DHIYO YO NAH PRACHODAYAT — in both the hands. 

Regular chanting of Gayatri mantra bestowes similar virtues attained by the study of all the four vedas. A brahmin who does not know Gayatri mantra is considered to be worse than a shudra. Anybody who chants Gayatri mantra attains salvation.

BRAHMIN’S LIVELIHOOD 

Describing how a brahmin should earn his livelihood, Lord Brahma said to Narad–Alms, which a brahmin gets without making any demand for it, is called Vritta. ‘Unchhavritti’ is even better than Vritti and it means collecting foodgrain which are scattered in places like fields, granary, market-place etc. A brahmin should accept the dakshina that his host gives him after the completion of yagya-ceremony. He should engage himself in educational activities. He can also earn his livelihood by engaging himself in other auspicious activities.

If the circumstances do not permit a brahmin to earn his livelihood by any of the above mentioned means, then he may opt for the occupation of a kshatriya. In such a case, he should endeavor to have mastery both over the vedas as well as different weaponary. Battle should be his last option. When the very existence of religiousness is at stake, he should wage a war against irreligious people and to protect the religion.

In an emergency situation, a brahmin can also choose the occupation of aVaishya and earn his livelihood by doing business or agriculture. But, while earning his livelihood by doing agriculture, he should in no circumstances abandon his own duties (duties of a brahmin). He should be honest while doing business and never try to exploit the customers.

NAROTTAM—THE BRAHMIN 

Describing about the importance of five virtuous deeds, Pulastya said to Bheeshma—“The five supreme virtuous deeds are–obedience to parents, faithfulness towards husband, equanimity, not having enmity towards friends and devotion towards Lord Vishnu. By pleasing his father, one pleases all the deities. Mother is superior even to all the places of pilgrimage combined together.

Pulastya then narrated the same tale to Bheeshma, which lord Brahma had once told some prominent sages —

Once, there lived a famous Brahmin called Narottam. He had acquired divine powers on account of his austere penance but unfortunately he never treated his parents with respect.After taking his daily bath, Narottam hanged his wet clothes in the open sky without any support and they used to dry without falling down on the earth. This special power had made him very arrogant.One day, a crane flying in the sky passed dung on his face, which made him very furious. Narottam cursed the crane as the result of which it was burnt to death. His special power vanished due to the sin acquired by killing an innocent bird. Now, no longer his clothes remained in suspended position in the sky.

Narottam became very sad. Suddenly he heard a heavenly voice instructing him to see a ‘chandala’ named Mook. “His discourses would be beneficial for you.”- Said the heavenly voice. Narottam went in search of Mook–the chandal and found him in the servitude of his parents. Mook was a great devotee of his parents and his total devotion towards his parents had blessed him with an extraordinary power-his house used to hang in the air without any support.Narottam was deeply amazed at this wonderful sight. He wanted to know how Mook had acquired such divine powers. But, Mook requested him to wait, which made Narottam very angry. Mook then told Narottam—“I can talk to you only after attending to my parents. I am not that crane which was charred to death by your curse. If you don’t have time then go and meet that ‘faithful-wife. She will answer your questions.”

Narottam did not know where that faithful wife lived, so he stood there wondering what to do next. Suddenly Lord Vishnu emerged from Mook’s house disguised as a brahmin. He took Narottam to the ‘faithful-wife’s house. All along the way Lord Vishnu preached Narottam on the qualities of a chaste woman. As both of them were about to reach that chaste woman’s house, lord Vishnu disappeared, leaving Narottam all alone.

Narottam requested the woman to enlighten him on the finer points of virtuosity. But, the woman was busy attending her husband and requested him to wait. Narottam threatened to curse her, to which the woman replied—I am not that crane whom you had cursed. If you are in a hurry then you can go and meet ‘Dharm–Tulaadhar’. He is an honest businessman and is capable of answering your queries.”

Lord Vishnu once again appeared from that woman’s house disguised as a brahmin. Narottam asked him as to how were both Mook and faithful-wife aware of the incident in which the crane was charred to death. Lord Vishnu told him that both of them had acquired this special power by the virtue of their respective religiousness.

Lord Vishnu and Narottam proceeded towards the place where Dharmtuladhar did his business transactions. As they were about to reach the place, Lord Vishnu disappeared once again, leaving Narottam all alone.Narottam saw Dharmtuladhar busy in his dealings with total honesty. He requested him to reveal as to what made the wet clothes to hang in the air without any support. Dharmtuladhar requested him to wait but Narottam was in a hurry to get answer to his questions. Dharmtuladhar told Narottam–Please wait for sometime, as I am busy doing my business transactions. If you don’t have time then you can go and meet Adrohak, who is fully capable of giving answer to your questions. Lord Vishnu once again accompanied him disguised as a brahmin.

When both of them were about to reach the place where Adrohak used to live, lord Vishnu disappeared and Narottam was left all by himself, once again. Narottam requested Adrohak to preach on the essence of religiousness. Adrohak was a man of impeccable conduct and had full control over the sensual urges. He advised Narottam to meet the supreme devotee of Lord Vishnu, who lived nearby. Adrohak said– You would get answers to all your questions. He will reveal to you the reason that made wet clothes to hang in air without any support.Narottam then proceeded towards the place where the supreme devotee of Lord Vishnu lived. Lord Vishnu once again accompanied him in the guise of a brahmin.After reaching there, Narottam expressed his desire of seeing Lord Vishnu. The supreme devotee took him to a temple situated inside the house-premise.

Narottam was amazed to see the same brahmin, who had been accompanying him all along the way, siting on a lotus flower. He realized that the brahmin was lord Vishnu himself. Lord Vishnu blessed him and said—Be respectful towards your parents, if you want to attain to my abode. I dwell in the houses of people who are virtuous, truthful, possessed equanimity and who have full control over their passion. This is why you found me present at the homes of chandal, Tuladhar & Adrohak.

Narottam realized his mistake and decided to be in the servitude of his parents for the rest of his life.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF RUDRAKSHA, AMLA & TULSI 

Once, while describing about the importance of Rudraksha to the sages, Vyas said— One who wears a Rudraksha rosary is supreme among all human beings. The mere sight of such a holy man absolves people of their sin. A Rudraksha bead bears features of a Linga and yoni on it’s surface. One should not wear a rudraksha on which above mentioned features are absent. Similarly two joint beads should never be worn. All the mantras become doubly powerful when chanted with the help of rudraksha-rosary. During Satya-yuga, there lived a mighty demon named Tripurasur. He had conquered the deities and was capable of moving in the space. The deities sought help of Lord Shiva, who killed Tripurasur by the sight of his third-eye. In the process, few drops of sweat, emanating from Shiva’s body fell down on the earth. These sweat drops got transformed into a large Rudraksha-tree.

Amla is a very nutritious fruit and great religious significance has been attached to it. Amla fruit is very dear to Lord Vishnu and its use on the auspicious day of Ekadashi brings unmatched virtue. A person who regularly eats amla enjoys a long life.The following tale adequately describes the religious importance of amla —

Once upon a time, a chandala went into the forest for hunting. He hunted many deer and birds. Feeling hungry, he saw an amla tree and climbed up the tree. This way he satiated his hunger by eating sweet amla fruits. Unfortumately while he was climbing down the tree, he fell down and died.When the attendants of Yamaraj arrived to take back his soul, they could not do so even after repeated attempts. The attendants of Yamaraj became very surprised and went to the sages for clarification. The sages revealed to the attendants that they could not go near the chandala’s dead body, because he had eaten amla just before his death.

Such is the glory of amla!

Once Kartikeya asked Lord Shiva about the holiest tree, which was capable of giving salvation. Lord shiva replied—The Tulsi plant is supreme among all the vegetations. She is very dear to lord Vishnu and fulfill’s all the desires of a man. Lord Krishna dwells near the place where there is a Tulsi plant. Spirits and ghosts never dare to venture near the Tulsi plant. If a man attaches a Tulsi leaf to his Shikha at the time of his death, he is liberated from all his sins. One who worships Lord Vishnu by offering Tulsi-leaves attains salvation.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SURYA’S WORSHIP 

Once, while describing about the importance of Surya’s worship to Vaishampayan, Sage Vyas narrated the following tale —

There lived a king named Bhadreshwar. He ruled over Madhyadesh. Once his left hand was infected with leprosy. Bhadreshwar, fearing the prospect of dreadful leprosy spreading to his whole body, decided to end his life. He expressed his desire to the head-priest. The head-priest cautioned Bhadreshwar that if he went ahead with his decision, then the whole kingdom would be destroyed. He said — ‘You will be cured of leprosy, if you worship Lord Surya.’

The head-priest then told the king about the appropriate rituals of Surya–worship. King Bhadreshwar began his austerities and worshipped Lord Surya by chanting mantras and offering articles like Naivedya, fruits, Ardhya, Akshat etc to the deity.King Bhadreshwar was cured of his leprosy within a year by the virtue of his deep devotion towards Lord Surya.

BHUMI KHAND

DIFFERENT TYPES OF SIN & VIRTUE 

Once, Yayati requested Matali to describe the various sinful and virtuous deeds, which a man normally commits in his life.

Matali replied—-‘One who criticizes the vedas and follows the religion of other’s after abandoning his own or torments virtuous people is a grave sinner. Similarly, not respecting one’s parents, not giving ‘dakshina’ to a brahmin after the completion of a shraddh ceremony, studying the scriptures in an impure physical state are some other sinful deeds.

‘One who obstructs a hungry man from having his food or thirsty person from quenching his thirst commits a sin similar to that of killing a brahmin.

Matali described some other types of sins —

Back biting, seeing faults with others and demeaning their efforts, acquiring other’s land by unfair means, killing innocent animals, having illicit relationship with women other than one’s wife, telling lies, showing disrespect to the guests etc, are considered to be sinful deeds.

Describing about the various types of virtuous deeds, Matali said —

Non-violence, forgiveness, truthfulness, devotion towards god, benevolence, abstinence, oblation & meditation are some of the virtuous deeds. Donating food-grains, domesticated animals like horse, cow etc. giving water to a thirsty person are some other types of virtuous deeds.A person who donates wooden sandals a needy brahmin attains to the heaven. Worshipping Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu enables a man to attain to the Shivaloka or Vishnuloka respectively.

KING YAYATI PROPAGATES VAISHNAVA–DHARMA 

King Yayati was the son of Nahush and a descendant of Soma–dynasty. He was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu and had contributed a lot in the propagation of Vaishnava–dharma. Yayati had sent many emissaries in all directions to propagate Vaishnava–dharma. During Yayati’s reign his subject were prosperous and were free from any kind of sorrow. Peace prevailed everywhere and people did not experience any natural calamity like draught or famine.

King Yayati enjoyed an unbelievably long life of one lakh years. He was blessed with eternal youth and his appearance was enough to give an inferiority complex to a young man. All this, he had attained by the virtue of his supreme devotion towards Lord Vishnu. Indra was very scared of Yayati’s increasing popularity and feared that if his virtuosity remained intact, he would very soon become the ruler of heaven. Indra instructed Kamadeva and Rati to find some means so that king Yayati could be enticed by human weaknesses like lust & infatuation.

Kamadeva, accompanied by other Gandharvas went to Yayati’s palace and sought his permission to stage a play. Yayati gave his permission and the play commenced. Rati appeared on the stage as a beautiful woman and was successful in corrupting the thoughts of Yayati. Yayati became so enchanted by Rati’s beauty that he lost his senses and fell down unconscious. Finding the time opportune ‘Vriddhavastha’ (deity of old age) and ‘Kamadeva’ entered Yayati’s body.This way the deities were successful in their designs and now the signs of old-age started to become evident in Yayati.

YAYATI MARRIES ASHRUBINDUMATI

Once, king Yayati went into a forest for hunting. He saw a stag, which had four horns and chased it. The deer led him deep into the forest and then disappeared. Yayati was tired and thirsty. He saw a lake and decided to quench his thirst. First of all he took his bath and then drank sweet water from the lake.As Yayati was relaxing at the bank of that lake, he heard a sweet voice singing a song. Yayati proceeded towards the direction from which the sound was coming. He saw a beautiful woman singing a song. Her companion accompanied the beautiful woman.Yayati became enchanted by the divine beauty of that woman and wanted to marry her. The beautiful woman’s companion told Yayati that her friend could marry him only after he shed the signs of his old age.

The beautiful woman was Ashrubindumati–the daughter of Rati.Vishala-her companion was the daughter of Varun. Yayati returned to his palace and requested his two sons–Taru and Yadu to exchange their youth in lieu of his old age, but both of them refused to oblige him. Yayati cursed both of them.

Yayati had a son—Puru from his wife named Sharmishtha. When he made the same request to Puru, he agreed without any hesitation. Yayati became pleased with Puru and appointed him as his successor.

Now, Yayati became young once again and went to meet Ashrubindumati. But, Ashrubindumati’s friend Vishala was still not convinced and expressed apprehension that her friend would never play second fiddle to his two wives–Sharmishtha and Devayani.King Yayati, being blinded by his lust, assured Vishala that Ashrubindumati would enjoy the supreme authority and she had nothing to fear. He said–“I promise that you will be my only wife and I will have nothing to do with my wives.”

This way Yayati married Ashrubindumati and enjoyed a blissful married life for twenty-thousand years. Once, Ashrubindumati expressed her desire of visiting all the divine places–Indraloka, Brahmaloka, Shivaloka and Vishnuloka. Yayati took back his old age from Puru and returned his youth. He appointed Puru as his successor and instructed his subject to live peacefully. But, the people wanted to be with Yayati, so all of them accompanied him to the heaven.Yayati visited all the divine places and ultimately attained to Vishnuloka.

KUNJAL–THE ENLIGHTENED PARROT 

Once, while describing about the importance of a teacher, Lord Vishnu had narrated the following tale to king Ven— Sage Chyavan came from the lineage of Bhargav. Once, he arrived at Omkareshwar with the objective of acquiring knowledge. Since he was tired, he decided to take rest under the shade of a Banyan tree. A parrot named Kunjal lived on that tree. The parrot had four young ones–Ujjawal, Samujjwal, Vijjwal and Kapinjal. Kunjal was a very learned parrot and had mastery over all the scriptures. Once, Ujjawal requested Kunjal to give discourse on various aspects of religiousness. Kunjal said—The whole world is full of sorrow. A man can be liberated from his sorrow by the means of salvation because salvation is free from sorrow. Salvation can be attained with the help of abstinence, self-control and having deep devotion in lord Vishnu. The soul being enlightened is also called ‘Paramatma’. But, covered by the darkness of ignorance it becomes difficult for the soul to attain salvation. A devotee can meditate on both the forms of Lord Vishnu–Sakar (with form) & Nirakar (formless). But, meditating on the Sakar form is easy for anybody. On the other hand only an enlightened soul can meditate on the ‘nirakar’ form of Lord Vishnu. There are various austerities related with Lord Vishnu and which if observed by a devotee, pleases him–Jaya, Vijaya, Jayanti, Vanjuli, Tilgandha, Trihsprisha, Akshanda and Manoraksha. All these austerities are similar to different types of Ekadashi or Dwadashi Vrata. Similarly, two other austerities namely Ashunyashayan and Janmashtami are capable of freeing a man from all his sin. A devotee who chants Shatnaam stotra attains salvation.

KUNJAL PREACHES VIJJWAL 

Describing the virtue of benevolence to Vijjwal. Kunjal–the learned parrot narrated the following tale —

Once, there lived a king named Subahu who ruled over chola desha. A learned brahmin named Jaimini used to counsel him on religious and spiritual matters.One day, while Jaimini was giving a discourse on the virtue of benevolence, Subahu requested him to describe about those deeds that enables a man either to attain to the heaven or to hell.

Jaimini replied— One who earns his livelihood by improper means definitely goes to hell. Similarly, atheists, licentious people, proudy, backbiters and ungrateful people go to hell too. One who gobbles up other’s wealth by illegal means or shows disrespect to his guest goes to hell.One who is a habitual liar or one who kills innocent animals or one who has abandoned the religious path is certain to go to hell.One who is truthful and engages himself in various virtuous deeds like penance, meditation, study of the scriptures, goes to the heaven. One who is respectful towards his elders and leads a virtuous life goes to the heaven. In the same manner, he who is benevolent and free from vices like jealousy hatred etc. goes to the heaven. Similarly, one who leads his life as per the instructions given in the scriptures or has full control over his sensual desires goes to the heaven.

King Subahu was so impressed by Jaimini’s preaching that he decided to spend rest of his life in the service of lord Madhusudan. He performed countless oblations as long as he was alive and attained to Vishnuloka after his death.

KUNJAL NARRATES ABOUT HIS PREVIOUS BIRTH 

Sage Chyavan, who had been listening to the narration of Kunjal, was amazed by his profound knowledge. He asked Kunjal—O great soul! Who are you? From where did you acquire such divine knowledge.’

Kunjal, who remembered everything about his previous birth said–

In my previous birth, I was the youngest son of a brahmin named Vidyadhar. My name was Dharma Sharma. Seeing my dislike for study, my father became worried about my future. I used to waste my time loitering here and there. People used to make fun of my stupidity, which made me extremely sad. I decided to acquire knowledge but did not find anybody willing to teach me.

In due course of time I became old but was still an idiot. One day, I was sitting in a temple cursing my fate. Suddenly, a sage arrived there and asked me as to what made me so sad. I narrated my woeful tale. The sage felt pity on my condition and blessed me with divine knowledge that made me capable of having advance knowledge of all the future incidents of the world. Sage Chyavan was curious to know about the reason that made Dharma Sharma to be born as a parrot.

Kunjal replied— O Brahmin! A man is influenced by the company he keeps. The reason why I took birth as a parrot is related with an incident, which occurred in my previous birth. Once, a wicked fowler sold a parrot to a brahmin who in turn presented it to me. With the passage of time I became very attached with the parrot and gradually deviated from my virtuous path. As a result all my divine knowledge vanished and I became an idiot once again.

One day,a cat arrived and killed that parrot in my absence. I became very sad and used to spend my time crying over the dead parrot. Ultimately I died but even at the time of death, my mind was preoccupied with the thoughts of my beloved parrot. As a result, I was born as a parrot but fortunately I remembered my previous birth even while I was still in my mother’s womb. I was full of remorse and used to curse myself for having wasted my life.Sage Chyavan was amazed by the narration of Kunjal–the learned parrot.

SWARGA KHAND

SOME PROMINENT HOLY PLACES OF BHARATVARSHA 

Once, sages requested Sutji to describe about the most prominent places of pilgrimage situated in Bharatvarsha. Sutji commenced his narration by describing the origin of creation and then switched over to the geographical characteristics of Bharatvarsha. Sutji said—‘There are seven prominent mountain ranges in Bharatvarsha–Mahendra, Malay, Sahya, Shaktiman, Rikshavan, Vindhya and Pariyatra. Some prominent rivers supplying potable water to the inhabitants of Bharatvarsha are—Ganga, Sindhu, Saraswati, Godwari, Narmada, Shatadru, Yamuna, Vipasha, Mahanadi, Vidisham, Varuna etc. The names of the main Janapadas situated in the northern part of Bharatvarsha are Kuru, Panchal, Shalva, Matreya, Jaangal, Shoorsen, Pulind, Baudh, Chedi, Matsya, Bhoj, Sindhu, Utkal, Koshal, Madra, Kalinga, Kashi, Malav, Magadh, Videh, Anga, Banga, Surashtra, Kekay, Kashmir & Gandhar. Similarly, Janpadas like Dravid, Keral. Prachya, karnatak, Kuntal, chol, Sauhrid, Kona, Korak, Kalad, Mushal and Sutap are situated in the southern part of Bharatvarsha.

Sutji then described about the greatness of Pushkar teerth by recounting an incident related with the Pandavas—

“One day, Sage Narad visited the Pandavas who were living in exile. The Pandavas had visited many places during the course of their exile period and wanted to know about the fruits they had acquired due to their pilgrimage.

“Sage Narad then recounted an incident when king Dilip had once posed the same question to Sage Vashishth. Sage Vashishth while describing about the greatness of Pushkar said—Pushkar teerth is the holiest place where lord Brahma has his abode. Deities consider themselves fortunate to be at Pushkar. A person who takes a holy dip at Pushkar and worships lord Brahma acquires virtues equivalent to the accomplishment of the Ashwamedha yagya.”

Sage Vashishth continued with the description of some other prominent places of pilgrimage like Jambumarg, Narmada Amarkantak etc.

JAMBUMARG, RIVER NARMADA AMARKANTAK 

Continuing with his narration, Sage Vashishth said— A man desirous of going on a pilgrimage should first of all visit Jambumarg, because it is revered even by the deities and the sages. By visiting this holy place a man acquires virtue equivalent to the accomplishment of an Ashwamedha yagya and attains to Vishnuloka. A man should then visit Tundulikashram, Agastya Ashram & Kanya Ashram, which are situated near Jambumarg. Taking a dip in the holy water of Kotiteerth, situated near Mahakal temple is believed to bestow undiminished virtue. Bhadravat is a famous place of pilgrimage related with Lord Shiva and paying a visit here gives virtue equivalent to donation of 1000 cows.

A man who takes holy dip in river Narmada and performs ‘tarpan’ in the name of manes acquires fruits similar to the accomplishment of Agnishtom yagya. Narmada is the holiest of all the river. A man becomes liberated from his sins by taking bath for three weeks in river Saraswati. Similarly it takes one week of regular bath in river yamuna for a man to become absolved of all his sins. The mere touch of Ganga water liberates a man from all his sins, but mere sight of river Narmada is enough to liberate a man from all his sins.

Kotirudras are believed to dwell in the vicinity of Amarkantak mountain. All together sixty crores and sixty thousand places of pilgrimage are situated all around this holy mountain. Anybody present in the vicinity of this mountain must refrain from any kind of sinful deeds. Visiting Amarkantak mountain during solar and Lunar eclipses is considered to be extremely auspicious. Similarly the confluence site of Narmada and Kaveri is considered to be sacrosanct. Anybody who takes a holy dip in the confluence of Narmada and Kaveri becomes liberated from his sins.

‘DHARMA-TEERTH’ & YAMUNA-SNAN 

Sage Narad continued with the description of various holy places and said— “A pilgrim must visit Dharma Teerth, which is named after the lord of death–Dharma. Once upon a time Dharmaraj had performed an austere penance at that place this is the reason why it became famous as Dharma Teerth. By visiting Dharma Teerth, a man liberated all his ancestors up to seventh generation. After that a pilgrim should go to Kalap-forest, Saugandhik-forest, Suvarna-Dhumavanti respectively. All the above mentioned holy places are capable of giving salvation.”

Describing about the virtues of taking a holy dip in river Kalini (Yamuna) sage Narad said —

A person who takes a holy dip in Yamuna becomes liberated from all his sorrows. The virtue acquired by taking a bath in Yamuna is greater than paying visits to various holy places like Pushkar, Kurukshetra, Brahmavarta and Kashi.Taking a dip in Yamuna also helps in the fulfillment of all the desires of a man. Although, different rituals have been attributed to various yugas like Saytayuga–penance, Treta–Knowledge, Dwapar–yagya and Kaliyug–Donation, yet virtue of taking a holy dip in Yamuna transcends even time.”

“Although the whole stretch of river Yamuna is believed to be holy, yet Yamuna flowing near Mathura holds special importance because of her deep association with lord Krishna.”Narad narrated a tale to prove the significance of taking a bath in Yamuna.

“During Satyayuga there lived a Vaishya named Hemakundal. He had earned lot of wealth by dint of hard work. Although he was very rich yet happiness deluded him, as he had no progeny. He was worried as to who would inherit his property after his death.

“In course of time, Hemakundal attained old age and after realizing about the impermanence of the world indulged himself in virtuous deeds. He was blessed with two sons–Shrikundal & Vikundal. When both his sons grew up, Hemakundal went into the forest to do penance.”

“Shri Kundal and Hemakundal squandered the whole wealth which their father had earned so painstakingly. Both of them were of loose moral character and had illicit relationship with many prostitutes. In a very short time they became poor and both of them starved to death. When the yamdoots reached yamloka after taking their souls, Yamraj ordered–‘Put Shri Kundal in Raurav hell but send Vikundal to the heaven.’ While Vikundal was being taken to the heaven he asked one of the yamdoots–‘The sins committed by my brother and me were almost identitical then why is my brother being sent to hell while I am being sent to heaven.’

The yamdoot replied-You are being metted out this special treatment on account of your virtues acquired by bathing twice in river Yamuna.There was a brahmin friend of your’s named Swamitra.You had accompanied him to Mathura and twice taken bath in the holy Yamuna. By the virtue of the first bath you became liberated from all your sins, while the second bath helped you in attaining to the heaven.Vikundal requested the yamdoot to allow his brother to accompany him to heaven. Yamdoot replied that his brother could accompany him to the heaven provided he donated all his virtues to him.
Vikundal agreed to donate his virtues to his elder brother for the sake of his liberation. This way, both Shrikundal and Vikundal attained to the heaven.

KASHIPURI, KAPARDISHWAR & GAYA 

On being asked by Yudhishthir about the grandeur of holy places like Kashipuri, Kapardishwar & Gaya. Narad said —

Just as Lord Mahadev is supreme among all the deities, in the same manner Kashipuri holds a significant status among all the places of pilgrimage. Hence an individual should make it a point to visit Kashi once in his life time. The famous Shiva linga Kopardishwar is installed at Kashi and is said to fulfill all the desires of a man. Performance of various rituals at Kashi liberates a man from all his sins-all his flaws are eliminated automatically just by residing in Kashi.

A devotee who regularly practices meditation in the temple of Lord Kapordishwar attains Yogasiddhi within six months. Worshipping Lord Kapardishwar after taking a holy dip in Pishach-mochan kunda liberates a man from gravest of sin like ‘Brahmahatya’, etc. Gaya is considered to be a sacrosanct place of pilgrimage and various rituals for the pacification of the souls of dead ancestors are performed here. Anybody who offers Pindadaan and tarpan at Gaya not only liberates his ancestors but also himself. There is a very famous Banyan tree named Akshayvat at Gaya. Gaya is situated at the bank of river Falgu.

PURANAS–THE EMBODIMENT OF SRIHARI 

According to Sutji, all the Puranas are nothing but the mediums through which Sri Hari manifests himself—Brahma Puran is said to be the Forhead of Srihari, Padma Puran is said to be the ‘heart’ of Srihari, Vishnu Puran is said to be the ‘right arm’ of Srihari. Shiva Puran is said to be the ‘left arm’ of Srihari. Shrimad Bhagawat is said to be His ‘thigh’, Narad Puran is said to be His ‘navel’, Markendeya Puran is said to be His ‘right-foot’. Agni Puran is said to be His ‘left foot’, Bhavish Puran is said to be His ‘right-knee’, Brahma Vaivratapuran is said to be His ‘left-knee’. Linga Puran is said to be His ‘right ankle’, Varaha Puran is said to be His ‘left ankle’ Skanda Puran is said to be the hair on the body of ‘Sri Hari.

Vaman Puran is said to be His Skin 
Kurma Puran is said to be His Back 
Matsya Puran is said to be His Stomach 
Garuda Puran is said to be His Bone-narrow 
Brahmanda Puran is said to be His Bone. 

So, all the Puranas being manifestation of different parts of Sri Hari’s body are very sacred and capable of bestowing salvation.

SHESHNAG NARRATES THE TALES OF SRI RAMA’S RETURN FROM LANKA 

Once, Sages requested Sutji to describe about Sri Ram’s return from Lanka. Sutji narrated the same tale, which Sheshnag had once told Vatsyayan.Sheshnag said–After the killing of demon king Ravan, Sri Ram appointed Vibhishan as the king of Lanka. He then decided to return to Ayodhya on Pushpak-Viman, which Vibhishan had presented to him. He along with Sita, Laxman, Sugreev and Hanuman boarded the aircraft and flew towards Ayodhya.The earth looked beautiful from such a high altitude and Sri Ram was continuously describing about the importance of various places over which the aircraft flew. As the aircraft was about to enter the airspace of Ayodhya, Sri Ram recognized Bharat, who was living at Nandigram at that time. Bharat had vowed not to enter Ayodhya till the return of Sri Ram, hence he stayed at Nandigram situated at the outskirts of Ayodhya awaiting Sri Ram’s return. He led an austere life as the result of which he had become weak and feeble.

On seeing Bharat, Sri Ram instructed Hanuman to inform him about his (Ram’s) arrival. Hanuman went to the hermitage of Bharat and informed him about Sri Ram’s arrival. Bharat’s joy knew no bound and he expressed his desire to reward Hanuman for bringing such auspicious news. Bharat then accompanied Hanuman and went to meet Sri Ram.Sri Ram’s heart was filled with grief when he saw Bharat, who looked like a hermit in his ‘Valkal’ and ‘Kaupin’. On the other hand Bharat cursed himself for being the cause of Sri Ram’s miseries. Bharat asked for Sri Ram’s forgiveness and said—‘O Lord! You had to go into exile only because of me. I can never be absolved of my sin.’

Sri Ram consoled him and after taking Bharat into his embrace enquired about his welfare. He told Bharat that he had to undergo the sufferings of exile because of his own destiny.’You are not at fault. Don’t curse yourself for my misery.’ said Sri Ram. At last all of them including Bharat boarded Pushpak Viman and the aircraft took- off for Ayodhya.Continuing with Sri Ram’s tale, Sheshnag said–When Sumanth brought the news of Sri Ram’s arrival at Ayodhya, people danced in joy, Preparations started being made for Sri Ram’s grand reception. The whole city of Ayodhya was decorated with rows of lighted lamps.

Sri Ram and Sita alighted from the Pushpak Viman and both of them were carried in a palanquin to the palace. People stood in queues on both sides of the road with folded hands. Sri Ram blessed them by raising his hand.First of all Ram went to meet Kaikayi who was full of remorse and guilt. Sri Ram consoled her and then went to meet Sumitra to pay his obeisance to her. At last, he went to meet his own mother–Kaushalya, who was dying to see him. Kaushalya blessed Sri Ram, Sita and Laxman. Bharat then instructed the royal astrologers to decide upon an auspicious moment for Sri Ram’s coronation. Thus Sri Ram became the king of Ayodhya. During his reign peace and prosperity prevailed everywhere. People were virtuous and there was no sign of sin.

PATALA KHAND

RAVANA– THE MIGHTY DEMON 

People of Ayodhya lived peacefully during Sri Ram’s reign until one fateful day when they were struck by a bad news–Sri Ram had abandoned Sita after a Washerman leveled an unfair charge against her character. Such was the greatness of Sri Ram that opinion of each and every individual was given due respect irrespective of his position and status. One day, Sage Agastya arrived in the royal court of Sri Ram. After the formal Salutations were over. Sage Agastya complimented Sri Ram for killing Ravana.

Sri Ram asked Agastya–‘Who was Ravana — the tormentor of deities? I am anxious to know about the origin of his whole clan.”

Sage Agastya replied–Vishrava was the grandson of Lord Brahma. His father was sage Pulastya. Vishrava had two wives–Mandakini and Kaikasi. Mandakani’s son was Kubera while Kaikasi was the mother of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Vibhishan. Kubera ruled over Lanka. One day, Kubera, came to see his parents boarded on his aircraft–Pushpak Viman. After he returned to Lanka, Ravana, who was very much impressed by Kubera’s royal appearances asked Kaikasi–“Who was this fellow? From where did he acquire such an amazing aircraft.”

Kaikasi revealed to Ravana that the guest was none other than his step-brother Kubera. She said–“Kubera is the son of your step mother–Mandakini. He has made his mother proud by his conduct but I am ashamed of you, because of your inconsequential existence. You are no better than a worm.”

Ravan decided to prove his mother wrong by acquiring insurmountable power and authority. Ravana went to the forest and performed an austere penance for ten thousand years by standing on one foot. He fixed his gaze at the sun and never for a moment did he remove his gaze from it. Kumbhakarna and Vibhishan also engaged themselves in austere penance. At last, Lord Brahma became pleased and blessed Ravana with a vast kingdom. Ravan then started tormenting his step-brother Kumbhakarna. He snatched Kubera’s Pushpak Viman and drove him out of Lanka. Ravan then turned his attention towards the deities and drove them out of heaven. The deities went to seek the help of Lord Brahma who in turn took them to Lord Shiva. Even Lord Shiva was clueless about the means by which the indomitable Ravana could be subdued. Ultimately all of them including Lord Shiva went to Lord Vishnu and sought his help.

Lord Vishnu assured them by saying —

“I shall take incarnation as Ram at a place called Ayodhya. Presently, Ayodhya is being ruled by Dashrath, who inspite of having three queens, does not have any son. I shall manifest myself as Ram. Don’t worry! I shall eliminate the menace called Ravana.” Sage Agastya also told Sri Ram that Ravana belonged to the caste called ‘Brahmrakshas’. This way, Sage Agastya after having finished his narration looked at Sri Ram anticipating further queries.

AGASTYA ADVISES SRIRAM TO PERFORM ASHWAMEDHA YAGYA 

Sri Ram requested sage Agastya to tell about the means by which he could become liberated from the sins of killing brahmins. Sage Agastya advised him to perform Ashwamedha-yagya. He also described the rituals of performing Ashwamedha Yagya— “Get a horse of white colour and after worshipping it on Vaishakh Purnima leave it to wander freely. Tie a piece of paper on its forehead on which your name and other details are mentioned. Soldiers should follow that horse wherever it goes. You should fight a battle against any king who dares to stop the horse. You should lead a celibate life till the horse returns back to the same place from where it had been let loose. It is customary for the performer of Ashwamedha yagya to indulge himself in benevolent deeds till the completion of Ashwamedha yagya.” Sri Ram agreed to perform Ashwamedha yagya. He went to the seashore accompanied by numerous sages. He then cultivated a vast expanse of land with the help of a golden plough. A large oblation site was constructed and thus began Ashwamedha yagya under the supervision of Vashishth.

THE HORSE IS LET LOOSE 

As per the advice of Sage Vashishth, Sri Ram instructed his soldiers to bring a white-horse. A white parasol was fixed on its back and the horse was decorated with colourful clothes. The horse was then let loose and the faithful soldiers of Sri Ram followed it wherever the horse went.A gold-sheet was hanged in the horse’s neck and upon which was inscribed–This horse belongs to Sri Ram–the son of Dasharath. Anybody who dares to stop this horse will meet ruthless punishment.

Shatrughan followed the horse as per the instruction of his elder brother — Sri Ram. Bharat and Pushkal also accompanied him. A huge army led by Kalnemi was marching behind the horse.

LAV FASTENS THE HORSE 

Some of the kings tried to stop the horse, but were defeated by Shatrughan. This way the horse continued to move ahead without any problem till it reached the bank of river Ganga.It was early morning and Lav after noticing the presence of horse become curious. He went near the horse and tried to read the inscription hanging down it’s neck. He made fun of the might of Sri Ram and fastened the horse.The soldiers tried to release the horse but Lav severed their arms. They returned to Shatrughan and narrated the whole incident to him.

LAV VANQUISHES THE WHOLE ARMY 

Shatrughan became extremely furious after seeing the condition of his injured soldiers. He instructed Kalnemi to teach Lav a lesson. Kalnemi confronted Lav with a huge army and a ferocious battle took place. Lav managed to kill Kalnemi, which created havoc in the rival’s army. The surviving soldiers tried to hold their ground but were forced to flee on account of a fierce assault from Lav.

Shatrughan then ordered Pushkal to fight Lav but he became unconscious after being hit by Lav’s arrow. Now, Shatrughan’s anger crossed all limits and he ordered Hanuman to kill Lav.Hanuman uprooted a large tree and tried to hit Lav, but Lav cut that tree into hundred pieces with a volley of arrows. Lav then released many arrows in the direction of Hanuman. Hanuman fought valiantly but ultimately he fell down unconscious.

LAV BECOMES UNCONSCIOUS 

When Shatrughan learnt about Hanuman’s fate he was infuriated and went to fight Lav. But when he saw a tender looking child in front of him he was surprised. Shatrughan asked —

‘O brave child! Who are you! Who is your father?’

But Lav was not interested in his irrelevant queries and challenged him for a duel. Shatrughan was left with no other option but to fight. A tremendous battle was fought between them. Shatrughan released volleys of arrow towards Lav but all of them were neutralized by him. For a brief time Shatrughan lost his consciousness. After regaining his consciousness, he aimed his most lethal weapon towards Lav. The arrow hit Lav and he fell down unconscious. Lav’s companions went and informed Sita about the whole incident. Kush came forward to fight against Sri Ram’s army. When he reached the battlefield he saw Lav who was held captive by the enemy’s army’s. By that time, Lav had regained his consciousness and after seeing Kush he somehow managed to free himself from the clutches of his captors.

Now, both the brothers launched a fierce attack on the enemy. The whole army of Sri Ram started running helter and shelter. It did not take much time for Lav and Kush to vanquish the whole army. All the great warriors like Hanuman, Sugreeva, Pushkal, Angad Veermani and even Shatrughan were either held captive or injured in the battle.Both the brothers fastened Hanuman and Sugreeva with ropes and took them to Sita. Sita immediately recognized Hanuman and Sugreeva. She instructed both her sons to set them free as well as the horse. Lav and Kush followed the instruction of Sita and released everybody from their captivity. Sita then whispered—‘May all the dead soldiers become alive.’ Her words came true and all the dead soldiers became alive once again. Shatrughan regained his consciousness too.

THE ARMY RETURNS TO AYODHYA 

Shatrughan decided to return to Ayodhya. He instructed Sumati to make all the necessary arrangements for the safe return of the Caravan, which comprised not only of Sri Ram’s army but also of all the defeated kings and their vanquished armies. When Sri Ram came to know about their arrival, he sent Laxman to receive them. Laxman received the victorious army with all the honour and the all of them came to the palace. Sri Ram curiously asked Sumati about everything that had happened.

Sumati paraded all the vanquished kings who had made the mistake of stopping the horse– Sumad, Sabahu, Daman, Satyavan, Surath, etc. He then narrated the brave deed of Lav and Kush.He also revealed how mighty warriors like Hanuman, Sugreeva Shatrughan etc had been defeated by both of them.

SRI RAM SENDS LAXMAN TO BRING SITA 

Sage Valmiki was present in Ayodhya to attend the Ashwamedha yagya. Sri Ram asked him about the identity of the two children–Lav and Kush, Valmiki said — Sita was pregnant at the time you had abandoned her. I gave her refuge in my hermitage where she gave birth to twins–Lav and Kush. Both the children were brought up in my hermitage with love and care. I taught them all the sacred texts and scriptures and made them masters of various weaponries. So, Lav and Kush are your sons. You must bring Sita back to Ayodhya with due honour, because she is pure and chaste. Moreover your whole army owe its life to her.”

Sri Ram’s heart was filled with grief. He instructed Laxman to bring Sita along with Lav and Kush. Laxman went to Valmiki’s hermitage and requested Sita to return to Ayodhya. Sita refused to return but sent Lav and Kush along with Laxman. When Sri Ram found that only Lav and Kush had come, he once again sent Laxman to bring Sita. Laxman followed his instruction and went to Valmiki’s hermitage for the second time.Meanwhile, Valmiki instructed Lav and Kush to sing the praise of Sri Ram in their melodious voice. Everybody was moved by their soulful rendition. Sri Ram took Lav and Kush in his embrace.

SITA RETURNS TO AYODHYA

Sri Ram eulogised all the revered sages who had arrived to attend the Ashwamedha yagya. The holy water of Saryu was brought and sprinkled in the yagya kund where Ashwamedha yagya was being performed, amidst the chanting of vedic mantras.Hardly had Sri Ram touched the horse with his hands then it transformed into a human being. Everybody was amazed by this incident. Sri Ram asked that man as to how he had attained the form of a horse. The man revealed to the assembled people that he had become a horse due to Durvasa’s curse. ‘Later on Sage Durvasa had mercy on me and assured that I would regain my human form by the divine touch of Sri Ram.’

Having said this the man attained to the heaven. In course of time Sri Ram organised two more Ashwamedha yagyas and his glory reverberated through all the three worlds.

UTTARA KHAND

BADRIKASHRAM 

Once, on being asked by the sages about the greatness of Badrikasharam, Sutji narrated the same tale, which Lord Shiva had once told sage Narad —

Lord Mahadeva had told Narad that altogether there were one lakh and twenty-five thousand mountains and Badrikashram was supreme among them. Lord Mahadeva said—Badrikasharam is the abode of Lord Nara-Narayan. Narayan–the origin of all creations has four arms and his complexion is dark. Narayan manifests himself in both forms–Sakar as well as Nirakar. He is the eternal Purusha and is worshipped by people during the full period of Uttarayan. Since Badrikashram is covered with snow during the period of Dakshinayan, Narayan is not worshipper during these six months. All the deities dwell at Badrikasharam. The sages live in their hermitages at Badrikasharam. River Alaknanda flows at Badrikasharam. Anybody taking a dip in the holy water of Alaknanda becomes liberated from his sins.

THE DESCENT OF RIVER GANGA 

Describing about the reason why river Ganga was brought down on the earth, Lord Mahadeva told Narad— King Bhagirath was the architect of Ganga’s arrival on the earth. He wanted to liberate his dead ancestorss from the curse of Sage Kapil.King Sagar came from the lineage of the famous king–Harishchandra. Sagar had two queens. The elder queen had sixty thousand sons while the younger queen had just one–Panchajan. Panchajan’s son was Anshuman, who himself was the father of Dilip. Dilip was the father of Bhagirath.

Bhagirath did an austere penance on the Himalayas for ten thousand years. As a result, river Ganga descended on the earth. I (Shiva) held her in the locks of my hair and she remained there for ten thousand more years. Bhagirath requested me to release Ganga so that his ancestors could be liberated. I agreed to release Ganga and Bhagirath took her to the Patalloka where his ancestor’s had been charred to death due to Kapil’s curse. Bhagirath sprinkled the water of Ganga on the ashes of his ancestors and each of them attained salvation as a result.Eventually, Ganga resurfaced at Haridwar–the most sacred place of pilgrimage.

DASHARATH PACIFIES SHANI 

Sage Narad curiously asked Lord Mahadeva as to what made Shani such a volatile planet. Lord Mahadeva replied— Shani is extremely violent by nature and everybody is scarred of this planet. Once, the royal astrologer of Dasharath was petrified at the prospect of Shani entering the constellation of Rohini and warned him of its dire consequences. ‘If the Shani is not prevented from entering Rohini, then famine would occur lasting for more than twelve years.’ said the royal astrologers.

Dasharath went above the sky to subdue the might of Shani well armed with divine weapons. Shani became terrified on seeing Dasharath in such a menacing mood and expressed his willingness to fulfill his desires.

QUALITIES OF A VAISHNAV 

Giving a detailed description of the qualities of a Vaishnava, Lord Mahadeva told Narad

A person who has total devotion in Lord Vishnu is called a Vaishnava. He is truthful, kind and forgiving by nature. He engages himself in austere penance and refrains from any kind of violence. He wears a Tulsi bead in his neck and puts on tilak. He is well versed in sacred text like the vedas, Purans etc.The mere sight of a Vaishnava is enough to liberate a sinner from all his sins. Feeding a Vaishnava bestowes virtue equivalent to feeding thousand of ordinary brahmins.

INDRAPRASTHA 

The sages enquired from Sutji about the holiest city situated on the banks of river yamuna.

Sutji narrated the tale which Sage Saubhari had once told Yudhishthir—Once, Narad and Parvat were travelling through an aerial route, while they were flying over Khandav forest, they were lured by the beautiful sight of river Yamuna. They decided to take rest for a while. Both of them descended down and entered river yamuna to take their bath.Meanwhile, King Shibi who ruled over Ushinar saw them. He eagerly waited at the bank of Yamuna. When Narad and Parvat emerged out of the yamuna, they found king Shibi eagerly waiting for them. Meanwhile king Shibi had noticed the remains of numerous ‘havan-kundas’ (oblation-altars) spread in a large area.

After the formal exchanges of pleasantaries were over, King Shibi asked Narad about those havan- kundas.

Narad replied–During ancient times Indra had performed numerous Yagyas at this place to express his gratitude to Lord Vishnu, with whose blessings he had regained the heaven from the clutches of Hiranyakashipu. In course of time, this place became famous as Indraprastha. This sacrosanct place is holier than all the holy places combined together. Indraprastha is spread in the area of one yojan from east to west and four yojans from north to south.

VAIKUNTH–THE ABODE OF LORD VISHNU 

Describing about the grandeur of Vaikunth, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati–A person who has total devotion in Lord Vishnu attains to Vaikunth after his death. Vaikuntha is the abode of Vishnu and constitutes of numerous Janapadas. The magnificence of Vaikunth is beyond description and it houses many grand palaces fully decorated with jewels and diamonds.The central part of Vaikuntha is called Ayodhya and is well protected by dwarpals named Chanda, Prachanda, Bhadra, Subhadra, Jaya, Vijay, Dhata and Vidhata.Vaikunth is inhabited by countless divine people who live in well illuminated houses.

In the central part of Ayodhya is situated the ‘antahpuri’ of Lord Vishnu. It is inhabited by celestial beauties–apsaras. There is a divine Canopy situated just at the centre of antahpuri, where Lord Vishnu has his divine throne. The divine throne is surrounded by deities as well as by the embodiments of all the four Vedas— Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda. The deities—Agni, Surya and Chandrama have their dwellings at the centre of Vishnu’s throne.There is a grand pedestal called yogapeeth established on the throne. A beautiful lotus flower is established on the yogapeeth on which is seated Lord Vishnu along with his consort- Laxmi.

Lord Vishnu appears divine in his complexion of a blue lotus, whose radiance is enough to subdue crores of sun. He has radiant ear-rings hangings down his earlobes. His forehead is covered with curly hair. He has the famous ‘Kaustubh mani’ in his neck. He holds a conch and a chakra in each of his two hands and the remaining two hands are in the posture of giving blessings.

THE INCARNATIONS OF MATSYA & KURMA 

Once, goddess Parvati expressed her desire to know about all the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Lord Mahadeva replied– Lord Brahma had created numerous Prajapatis like Bhrigu, Marichi, Atri, Daksha, Kardam, Pulastya, Pulaha, Angira and Kratu. Marichi was the father of Kashyap. Sage Kashyap had four wives–Aditi, Diti, Kadru and Vinta.Aditi was the mother of Deities while Diti gave birth to demons like–Makar, Hayagreeva, Mahabali, Hiranyaksha, Hiranyakashipu Jambha, Maya etc. Makar was a mighty demon, Who after deceitfully acquiring the Vedas from Lord Brahma had hidden himself inside an ocean. Lord Brahma requested Vishnu to liberate the sacred Vedas from the possession of Makar.

Lord Vishnu then took the incarnation of Matsya and after killing Makar gave back the vedas to Lord Brahma. Durvasa was the son of Sage Atri. Once, he went to Indraloka to see Indra. At that time, Indra was planning to go out somewhere. Durvasa presented a garland of Parijat flowers to Indra. Indra, after receiving the garland from Durvasa kept it carelessly on the forehead of his elephant-Eravat. This garland was trampled under its feet by the elephant, which infuriated Sage Durvasa. He cursed Indra by saying—Immense prosperity has made you arrogant. But you will become a pauper within a very short time.

Durvasa’s words came to be true and Indra found that not only the heaven but all the three worlds had become bereft of goddess Laxmi. Prosperity vanished and poverty prevailed everywhere.The deities became worried and went to take the help of Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma took the deities to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu became pleased with their eulogy and said —

I will take incarnation as Kurma. If the ocean were churned with the help of Mandarachal mountain and Vasuki, then goddess Laxmi would manifest herself. I shall hold the Mandarachal mountain on my back.This way the churning of ocean commenced. The Mandarachal mountain was uprooted and placed inside the ‘Ksheer-Sagar’ and which rested on the back of Lord Kurma. The serpent–Vasuki, was held by deities and demons on both the ends. First of all the most venomous poison–Kalkut emerged from the ocean. Seeing both the deities and demons unwilling to accept it. (Lord Shiva) drank it.

After the emergence of Kalkut, goddess Daridra and Varuni manifested themselves. Similarly, Eravat- elephant, Uchchaishrava-horse, Dhanvantaari, Surabhi–cow and Parijat- tree emerged from the ocean.Ultimately, goddess Laxmi manifested herself. The deities requested her to dwell in the heart of Lord Vishnu and bless all the three worlds by her presence. Goddess Laxmi agreed and blessed them.

NRISIMHA–INCARNATION 

Continuing with the various incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati —

Sage Kashyap had two mighty sons from Diti–Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha. Hiranyaksha had once carried the earth to Rasatala. The deities requested Lord Vishnu to rescue the earth. Lord Vishnu took the incarnation of a boar and killed Hiranyaksha with his sharp horn.When Hiranyakshipu learnt about his brother’s death he went to Merugiri mountain and started doing penance to please me (Lord Shiva). I blessed him with immortality, Later on, Hiranyakashipu married Uttanpad’s daughter–Kalyani and had a son named Prahlad from her.Inspite of being born in the clan of a demon, Prahlad proved to be an extremely religious child and was a supreme devotee of Lord Vishnu.

When Hiranyakshipu came to know about Prahlad’s religious tendency, he tried his best to stop him from worshipping Vishnu. But, all his efforts went in vain and Prahlad continued to worship Lord Vishnu.Hiranyakashipu instructed his subordinates to kill Prahlad but each time he came out unharmed. One day, Hiranyakashipu pulled out his sword and said—‘You say that Vishnu is omnipresent. Is he present in this pillar?’ Having said like this he assaulted the pillar with his sword. Suddenly to his Sheer amazement, Lord Vishnu manifested himself from that pillar in the form of Nrisimha.

Hiranyakashipu had been blessed by Lord Shiva that he could be killed neither by a man nor a beast. No weapon could harm him. He could be killed neither during the day nor during the night. Hiranyakashiu had taken into consideration all the possible threat perceptions to his life and tried to become immortal.But, Lord Vishnu takes incarnation to protect the humanity whenever religiousness is under threat. This time, Lord Vishnu took incarnation as Nrisimha (partly lion and partly human) and tore apart his belly with his sharp nails.After the death of Hiranyakashipu, Prahlad was coronated as his successor. Prahlad ruled justly and his subject were happy and satisfied.

VAMAN–INCARNATION 

Continuing with the various incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati —

Prahlad had a son named Virochan.The most benevolent king–‘Mahabahu-Bali’ was Virochan’s son. Bali had defeated the deities and ruled over all the three worlds. Sage Kashyap commenced the most austere penance–Payovrata to help the deities regain their lost kingdom (heaven) once again. He was accompanied by his wife–Aditi in his penance which lasted for one thousand years. At last, Lord Vishnu became pleased by their penance and appeared before them. Sage Kashyap narrated the woeful tales of the deities and requested him to make Indra the Lord of all the three worlds. Lord Vishnu promised that he would take incarnation as Vaman.In course of time, Aditi became pregnant and ultimately gave birth to Lord Vaman. Lord Vaman appeared in the form of a ‘Brahmchari’. He wore a deer–Skin and carried a stick and a ‘mekhala’ in both his hands. Lord Vishnu enquired the deities about the future course of action. The deities informed him that Bali was busy performing a yagya and he would not turn down any demand made to him because if he did so there was a fear of loosing all his virtues attained by the performance of the yagya.

Lord Vaman went to the oblation site where Bali was performing a yagya and demanded a small piece of land measured by his three steps. Bali agreed to meet the demand of his guest inspite of Shukracharya’s warning.Bali resolved to donate land by holding holy water in his palm. Now, Lord Vaman abandoned his dwarfish form and appeared in a giant form. He measured the whole earth by his first step. Lord Vishnu then measured the whole sky by his second step. The helpless Bali agreed to donate all the three worlds to protect his vow.Ultimately, Lord Vishnu sent Bali to the Rasatala and thus Indra became the ruler of heaven once again.

SRIRAM’S BIRTH 

Describing about Sri Ram’s incarnation Lord Mahadeva told Parvati–‘Once, Swayambhuva Manu had expressed his desire of having Lord Vishnu as his son to which Lord Vishnu had agreed. During tretayuga Manu manifested himself as Dasharath and Vishnu kept his promise by taking birth as his son–Sri Ram. Similarly, during dwaparyuga Manu was born as Vasudev and Lord Vishnu kept his word by taking birth as his son–Krishna. After the completion of one thousand divine years, Manu will be born in the village of Sambhal as Harigupta and lord Vishnu will take birth as his son–‘Kalki’.

Lord Shiva then continued with the incarnation of Sri Ram and said–‘Sage Vishrava was the son of Pulasya and was married to Kekashi. Ravan and Kumbhakarna were born to the couple. Sage Vishrava also had a daughter named Shurpanakha and a virtuous son named Vibhishan.Ravan and Kumbhakarna did austere penance to please me (Lord Shiva). When I appeared before Ravan he requested the boon of immortality from me. After receiving the boon, Ravan became very arrogant and started tormenting the inhabitants of all the three worlds. The deities became scarred and took the refuge of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu assured them that he would solve their problem by taking incarnation as Sri Ram.

Dasharath came from the lineage of Surya. He had three queens—Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. Once, Dasharath performed a Vaishnav Yagya with the objective of acquiring a son. Lord Vishnu appeared and assured him that he would take incarnation as Sri Ram in a short time. Lord Vishnu gave a bowl of divine kheer to Dasharath, which he distributed amongst his three queens. In course of time, Kaushalya gave birth to Sri Ram on the auspicious day of Chaitra-Navami. The deities and the sages rejoiced at his birth.

SRI RAM GROWS UP 

Continuing with the tale of Sri Ram, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati–Dasharath requested Vashishth to perform the Jaatkarm Sanskar of Sri Ram. In course of time Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharat–an incarnation of Panchajanya conch. Similarly, Sumitra gave birth to two sons–Laxman and Shatrughan. Laxman was the incarnation of Sheshnag while Shatrughan was the incarnation of Sudershan chakra. Sri Ram and his brothers received education under the guidance of Sage Vashishth. In a very short time they became proficient in all the scriptures and mastered various weaponaries. Although all the four brothers were very close to each other, yet Laxman could not bear to live in Ram’s separation even for a moment and was specially close to him.

Sita manifested herself from the field while Janak was ploughing it. King Janak brought up Sita with great love and care. At that time, Vishwamitra was busy performing a grand yagya at Siddhashram. But the demons created numerous problems and made it impossible for him to accomplish the yagya. Vishwamitra went to Ayodhya and requested Dasharath to send Sri Ram and Laxman along with him so that the yagya could be accomplished without any problems. Dasharath agreed to send Sri Ram and Laxman along with Vishwamitra.This way, Vishwamitra returned to his hermitage acompanied by both the brothers. Garuda presented a pair of bow and imperishable set of arrows to both the brothers.

While staying at the hermitage Sri Ram and Laxman killed many demons like Taraka and Subahu. When Marich tried to disrupt the yagya, Sri Ram attacked him with Pavan-astra, which sent Marich flying across the sea-shore.Meanwhile, on learning that Janak was performing Vajapeya yagya at Janakpur, Vishwamitra took Sri-Ram and Laxman to attend it. On the way Sri Ram liberated Ahalya who had turned into a rock after being cursed by her husband.After reaching Janakpur, Sri Ram broke Lord Shiva’s bow and married Sita. Laxman married Urmila. Dasharath had come to attend the marriage ceremony accompanied by Bharat and Shatrughan. Bharat was married to Mandavi while Shatrughan married Shrutkeerti.

Meanwhile, on learning that Sri Ram had broken Shiva’s bow, Parshuram arrived there and challenged him, but ultimately Parashuram realized about the divinity of Sri Ram and accepted his superiority.At last, Sri Ram, Laxman, Bharat and Shatrughan returned to Ayodhya alongwith their respective consorts.

SRI RAM’S EXILE 

Lord Mahadeva continued with the tale of Sri Ram and told Parvati –Dasharath wanted to appoint Sri Ram as his successor but Kaikeyi did not like this idea. She wanted Bharat to be made the king of Ayodhya and Sri Ram to be sent into exile for 14 years. Once, Kaikeyi had saved Dasharath’s life while he was fighting a battle against the demons. To show his gratitude, Dasharath had promised two boons to her. At that time, Kaikeyi had told Dasharath that she would make her demand at the appropriate time.

This way, Dasharath was compelled by Kaikeyi to accept the two demands. As a result, Sri Ram was sent into exile. Bharat refused to become the king of Ayodhya and vowed to wait till Sri Ram returned. Dasharath could not bear the sorrow of Ram’s separation and died in his sorrow. Bharat tried his best to convince Sri Ram to change his mind and accept the throne, but Sri Ram did not listen to his request. Bharat then brought Sri Ram’s wooden-sandal and kept it on the throne. He vowed to spend rest of his life in austerities till Sri Ram returned.

While Sri Ram was still in exile, he went to the hermitage of Sage Atri and received his blessings. Atri’s wife- Anasuya preached Sita on the virtues of chastity. Sri Ram also visited hermitages of some other prominent sages like Sharbhanga, Suteeksha, Agastya etc. Once, while Sri Ram was living in Panchavati, Shurpanakha arrived there. Shurpanakha was Ravana’s sister and wanted to marry Sri Ram, But Laxman severed her nose and ears. She went to a mighty demon named Khar and narrated her woeful tale. Khar attacked Ram with a huge army, which comprised of brave warriors like Trishira Dushan etc. Sri Ram was Victorious in this battle and Khar, Trishira and Dushan were killed.

Shurpanakha went to Ravan and informed him about the misdeeds of Ram. Ravan was infuriated and wanted to take revenge. He abducted Sita with the help of Marich.When Jatayu saw Ravan carrying Sita to Lanka, he fought with valiance but was injured in the ensuing battle.Sri Ram went in search of Sita and met Jatayu, who was injured and who informed Ram that Sita had been abducted by the demon king Ravan.Sri Ram met Hanuman at the Rishyamook mountain. Later on he befriended Sugreeva on the advice of Hanuman. Sugreeva had enemity with his brother-Bali. Sri Ram killed Bali and made Sugreeva the king.

Sri Ram requested Hanuman to find out the whereabouts of Sita. Hanuman went to Lanka and found Sita at Ashoka Vatika. He destroyed the garden and killed many demons including Ravana’s son–Akshay Kumar. Ultimately, he was captured by Meghnath and taken to Ravana’s court. Ravan ordered Hanuman’s tail to be ignited. Hanuman then burnt the city of Lanka and returned to Sri Ram. When Sri Ran came to know about the exact location of Sita, he decided to attack Lanka with a huge army, which comprised of monkeys. The army camped at the sea-shore where Vibhishan came to meet him.

A bridge was built across the ocean and the army reached Lanka. A fierce battle took place in which many demons were killed. At last, Ravan came forward to fight against Sri Ram but was killed.Sri Ram appointed Vibhishan as the king of Lanka and blessed him. Vibhishan presented his pushpak Viman to Sri Ram. All of them boarded the Pushpak Viman and flew towards Ayodhya. On the way Sri Ram met Bharat who was still awaiting his arrival at Nandigram. Sri Ram was very pleased to meet Bharat. Ultimately all of them returned to Ayodhya.

SRI RAM’S CORONATION 

Describing the coronation of Sri Ram Lord Mahadeva told Parvati–People of Ayodhya rejoiced at the return of Sri Ram. An auspicious day was chosen for his coronation and Sri Ram became the king of Ayodhya amidst the chantings of Vedic mantras. Sri Ram ruled over Ayodhya for one thousand years without any problem. Meanwhile, some ignorant people started pointing out fingers at the character of Sita.Sri Ram decided to abandon Sita in the forest to quell the rumour. Sita was pregnant at that time. Feeling pity on her condition, Valmiki took her to his hermitage where Sita gave birth to Lav and Kush.

Meanwhile Sri Ram decided to perform Ashwamedha yagya at the bank of river Gomati. But, since the yagya could not have been accomplished without Sita, therefore he performed the rituals seated beside a golden idol of Sita, In the mean time Valmiki arrived there, accompanied by Sita. He requested Sri Ram to accept Sita, vouching for her chastity.Sri Ram told Valmiki–‘I am confident of Sita’s chastity but she will have to prove her chastity for the satisfaction of common people.’

Sita was deeply hurt by Sri Ram’s unkind remarks. She said–‘May mother earth swallow me if I ever had thought about any man other than my lord Sri Ram.’ Hardly had Sita finished her lines than the earth cracked and Sita vanished into that crevice. Sri Ram’s heart was filled with remorse but thinking that it was perhaps in his destiny to live in separation with Sita, returned to Ayodhya accompanied by Lav and Kush. In course of time, Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi left for heavenly abode. Sri Ram continued to rule Ayodhya for 10,000 more years.

One day, Kala (death) arrived and reminded Sri Ram that the time had arrived for him to leave his mortal body. Meanwhile Laxman became aware of Sri Ram’s decision of leaving his mortal body. He gave up his life by taking samadhi in river Saryu. Sri Ram could not bear the sorrow caused by Laxman’s bereavment. He appointed Lav and Kush as the kings of Dwarawati and Kushawati respectively and decided to leave for heavenly abode.

Sri Ram entered the water of river Saryu, flowing at the distance of three yojans from Ayodhya.

SRI KRISHNA 

Parvati requested Lord Mahadeva to narrate the divine tales of Vasudeva Krishna. Lord Mahadeva replied–Vasudev was the descendant of yadu. His father was Devameedha. He was married to Devaki–the daughter of Ugrasena.Ugrasena also had a mighty son named Kansa. Kansa was extremely affectionate towards his sister Devaki. After her marriage, while Devaki was going to her husband’s house on a chariot being driven by Kansa, suddenly a heavenly voice was heard.

‘Kansa, you would meet death at the hands of Devaki’s eighth son.’

Kansa became very scarred and wanted to kill his sister then and there. But, Vasudev requested Kansa to spare Devaki’s life and promised to hand over any child that she gave birth to. Thus Kansa imprisoned both Vasudev and Devaki.In course of time, Devaki gave birth to seven sons and Kansa killed each of them. Lord Sri Hari manifested himself when Devaki conceived for the eighth time. It was the month of Shravan and the day was ‘Krishna-ashtami’ when Sri Hari took his incarnation at midnight. Soon after taking his incarnation he gave a glimpse of his divine form to Vasudev and Devaki. On the instruction of Sri Hari, Vasudeva carried the infant to Nand’s house. He had no problem in moving out of the prison as all the guards had fallen asleep due to the illusion of Sri Hari.

On seeing the swift currents of overflooded yamuna, Vasudev became worried. But the level of river Yamuna receded as soon as Sri Krishna touched the river with his feet. Sheshnag protected Sri Krishna from heavy rain with his thousand hoods. When Vasudev reached Nand’s house he found that Nand’s wife– Yashoda had given birth to a baby girl. Yashoda was sleeping at that time and Vasudev had no problem in exchanging Sri Krishna with that baby girl. Vasudev then returned to the prison and laid down the baby girl beside Devaki.

The baby-girl started crying and the guards immediately woke up. They informed Kansa about the birth of Devaki’s eighth child. Kansa tried to kill that baby girl by smashing her head, but she escaped from his hands and flew up in the sky. She thundered—‘Your death is certain as your assasin has already taken birth.’ Kansa was terrified at the prospect of his death. He instructed his soldiers to kill all the infants’ whereever they were to be found in his kingdom. He also ordered the release of Vasudev and Devaki, as there was no point keeping them in captivity.Meanwhile, Sri Krishna grew up under the guardianship of Nand and Yashoda.

One day Kansa sent a wicked ogress named Putna to kill Sri Krishna. Putma had applied poison on her breasts and tried to kill Krishna by breast-feeding him. Sri Krishna sucked her breast with such ferocity that she died. Thus, Sri Krishna gave the first glimpse of his divinity to the inhabitants of Vajra.Sri Krishna accomplished many such divine deeds during his childhood. He grew up to be a mischieveous child and used to play numerous pranks on the fellow Gopis. He used to steal their butter and curd. One day, all the Gopis complained to Yashoda about Sri Krishna’s misdeeds. Yashoda became angry and tied him with a wooden-mortar in order to prevent him from troubling the Gopis. She then placed that mortar between two trees so that Krishna could not move. But, Sri Krishna toddled away uprooting both the huge trees.

Once, a demon named Bakasur disguised himself as a huge heron and tried to kill Sri Krishna. But, Sri Krishna hit him with a stone with such force that he met an instant death.This way Sri Krishna had killed many ferocious demons while he was still a small child. Some of them well Kaliya–the serpent etc, Dhenukasur, Arisht, Keshi etc. A significant incident had occurred during Krishna’s childhood. People of Vraja were devotees of Indra and used to worship him. Sri Krishna stopped this tradition and encouraged people to worship Govardhan mountain. Indra became extremely furious and caused incessant rain for one week. Sri Krishna protected the people by lifting Govardhan mountain and shielding them from the continuous downpour.At last, Indra accepted defeat and eulogized Sri Krishna.

KILLING OF KANSA 

Continuing with the divine tales of Sri Krishna, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati–When Kansa failed in his repeated attempts to kill Sri Krishna, he instructed ‘Akrura’ to invite both Krishna and Balaram to Mathura on the pretext of attending a ceremony called Dhanush-yagya. Kansa had planned to kill Sri Krishna by deceitful means.Akrura was a great devotee of Sri Krishna and was aware of Kansa’s evil intentions. But, he had no other option but to follow the command of his master-Kansa. So, Akrura went to Vraja where Sri Krishna and Balaram used to live.

Sri Krishna and Balaram were delighted to meet Akrura. After the formal exchange of pleasantaries, Krishna took Akrura to his home. Akrura conveyed the instructions of Kansa to Nanda and requested him to send both Sri Krishna and Balaram to Mathura. Akrura said–‘Sri Krishna is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and Kansa will be killed by him.’Nanda and Yashoda were reluctant to send Sri Krishna to Mathura but Sri Krishna convinced them, Ultimately. Akrura returned to Mathura accompanied by Krishna and Balaram. The people of Vraja became sad when the time for Krishna’s departure to Mathura arrived.

When Akrura reached Mathura accompanied by Sri Krishna and Balaram it was already evening. Sri Krishna saw a dyer with colourful apparels going towards Kansa’s palace. Sri Krishna playfully demanded some set of clothes from that dyer which he refused to give. Sri Krishna was infuriated and slapped him so hard that he started vomiting blood. In a short time the dyer was dead. Sri Krishna and Balaram chose some beautiful set of clothes for themselves and proceeded towards the palace of Kansa. After sometime they met a crooked woman carrying ‘sandal-wood-paste’. Sri Krishna demanded some sandal wood paste from her, which she gave without any hesitation. Sri Krishna blessed that crooked woman as a result of which she was cured of her physical–deformity.

At last, both Sri Krishna and Balaram reached the oblation–site where ‘Dhanush-yagya’ was suppossed to be performed. Sri Krishna lifted the divine bow kept there and broke it into two pieces.When Kansa learnt that the divine bow had been broken, he ordered Chaanur to kill Krishna in a wrestling-bout. Kansa also fortified his palace by positioning wild elephants and mighty warriors at all the entrance-points.Sri Krishna and Balaram spent the night at the oblation-site. In the morning both of them proceeded towards the palace. Sri Krishna found an elephant named Kuvalyapeeda standing at the main entrance of the palace. He killed that ferocious elephant without much difficulty.

Sri Krishna and Balaram then entered the gymnasium where wrestling-bouts were supposed to take place. All the demons those who had witnessed Sri Krishna killing that huge elephant without any problem, became terrified and fled away from the gymnasium. Sri Krishna and Balaram entered the chamber of Kansa. Kansa became terrified and ordered his trusted lientenants–Chanur and Mushtik to kill Krishna.Chanur confronted Sri Krishna while Mushtik fought a duel with Balaram. Ultimately, both the demons were killed after a fierce duel. Now, Kansa was left all alone, Sri Krishna pulled Kansa from the throne where he was sitting and slapped him so hard that he fell down on the ground. The injury proved to be fatal and as a result Kansa died. Balaram also killed Kansa’s younger brother whose named was Sunama.

After killing Kansa, Krishna and Balaram went to meet their parents–Vasudev and Devaki. They also freed their maternal grandfather- Ugrasena who had been imprisioned by Kansa. At last they appointed Ugrasena as the king of Mathura.

JARASANDH 

Jarasandh was the father-in-law of Kansa. When he learnt about Kansa’ death he surrounded Mathura with a huge army. Sri Krishna was well aware of Jarasandh’s might and bravery. He was also convinced that it would not be easy to defeat Jarasandh. So, he remembered Daruk–his eternal charioteer and sought his help. Daruk appeared with a divine chariot named Sugreeva–pushpak. The chariot was well armed with all the divine weapons of lord Vishnu.

Sri Krishna and Balaram then entered the battlefied mounted on that divine chariot. A fierce battle was fought between Sri Krishna and Jarasandh’s army. Jarasandh covered Krishna chariot with his various weapons but Sri Krishna destroyed them with his ‘Chakra’. Sri Krishna then destroyed Jarasandh’s army by showering volley of arrows from his famous bow–Sharang. Seeing the death and destruction in his army, Jarasandh came forward to fight Balaram.

Balaram attacked Jarasandh with his dangerous weapon–Hala (plough) and destroyed his chariot. Jarasandh fell down on the ground and as Balaram was about to kill him Sri Krishna requested Balaram not to kill Jarasandh. After being defeated, Jarasandh sought the help of Kaalyan, who had a large army. Kaalyavan agreed to help Jarasandh and surrounded Mathura with his army.

Realizing that Mathura was no longer a safe place to live, Sri Krishna shifted the whole population of Mathura to Dwarka and went to fight Kaalyavan. The battle continued for a long period and after realizing that it was not easy to defeat his enemy, Sri Krishna, ran towards the cave where ‘Muchkund’ had been sleeping since many past eras. Muchkund was blessed with a boon according to which any person upon whom he put his glance after woking from his sleep would die. Krishna hid himself behind Muchkund. Kaalyavan, who was chasing Krishna, entered the cave and kicked Muchkund. Muchkund opened his eyes and saw Kaalyavan. Kaalyavan was burnt to ashes. This way, Sri Krishna was able to defeat his powerful enemy by his cleverness.

ABDUCTION OF RUKMINI 

Lord Mahadeva told Parvati— When Jarasandh learnt about Kaalyavan’s death, he attacked Balaram to avenge his friend’s death. But, very soon he realized that it was beyond his capacity to defeat Balaram, so he retreated alongwith his army. Sri Krishna and Balaram returned to Dwarka.In course of time, Balaram married Revati–the daugher of Raivat. At that time, there ruled a king named Bheeshmak. He ruled over Vidarbha. He had a beautiful daughter named Rukmini. He also had many sons among whom Rukmi was prominent.

Rukmi wanted Rumini to get married to Shishupal much against her wishes. Rukmini being an incarnation of goddess laxmi rightly wanted o have Sri Krishna as her husband.Rukmini sent a message to Sri Krishna about her brother’s intention. Sri Krishna went to help her, accompanied by Balaram.Sri Krishna reached Vidarbha on the same day, Rukmini was supposed to marry Shishupal and abducted her to Dwarka. Jarasandh and Rukmi chased Krishna’s chariot but Balaram defeated Jarasandh while Sri Krishna fastened Rukmi with the chariot. Sri Krishna also shaved off Rukmi’s hair, which filled him with so much of shame that he decided not to return to Vidarbha.After reaching Dwarka, Sri Krishna married Rukmini on an auspicious day.

SRI KRISHNA’S QUEENS 

Continuing with the divine tales of Sri Krishna, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati–Sri Krishna had 16 thousand queens among whom Satyabhama, Kalindi, Mitravinda, etc. were prominent.King Sattajit had a priceless diamond named–Syamantak, which he had presented to his younger brother–Prasena. Sri Krishna was fascinated by that diamond and demanded it from Prasena, which he refused to part with.

One day, Sri Krishna alongwith Prasena and other yadavas went into the forest for hunting. While chasing a deer, Prasena seceded from his group and was killed by a lion. The lion took the diamond and started playing with it. Incidentally, Jambavan–who had once fought along with Sri Ram against Ravana, saw the lion playing with the diamond. He killed that lion and took the diamond in his possession.

When Sri Krishna returned to Dwarka, he was surprised by a strange rumour, which pervaded the whole city. Some people suspected that Sri Krishna had killed Prasena for the diamond.Sri Krishna was very much distributed by this baseless rumour. To clear the doubts, he went into the forest accompanied by all the residents of Dwarka and showed the dead body of Prasena, which was still lying there. When people saw the mutilated corpse of Prasena, which bore marks of the lion’s claws and canines, they became convinced of Sri Krishna’s innocense.

While returning back to Dwarka, Sri Krishna saw an effulgent cave. Sri Krishna was very surprised and wanted to find out the source of light. He entered the cave and saw Prasena’s diamond hanging on top of a cradle, in which a child was lying. A woman was singing a lulaby so that the child falls asleep—‘The lion killed Prasena while Jambavan killed the lion and acquired this diamond from its possession. O child! Don’t cry as this priceless diamond belongs to your father.’Sri Krishna furiously blew his conch. Jambavan came out from the cave after listening to the sound of the conch. A fierce duel took place between them, which continued for ten days. At last, Jambavan realized that the person against whom he was fighting was none other than Sri Ram himself. Jambhavan then gave his daughter–Jambavati to Krishna in marriage and gave lot of wealth as dowry including that ‘Syamantak’ diamond. Bhadraraj had three daughters–Sulakshamana, Nagnajiti and Susheela. Sri Krishna had married all three of them in a ‘Swayamwara’. This way, Sri Krishna had altogether eight prominent queen consorts–Rukmini, Satyabhama, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Jambavati, Nagnajiti, Sulakshamana and Susheela.

There lived a mighty demon named Narakasur. He had defeated the deities and snatched the divine earrings of Aditi–the mother of deities. He had created an aerial city in which he lived alongwith other demons. The deities went to Sri Krishna and sought his help. Sri Krishna flew up in the sky mounted on the back of Garuda. Satyabhama was also accompanying him. Sri Krishna was amazed to see the well fortified palace of Narakasur. When the demons saw Srikrishna, they attacked him but Sri Krishna challenged them by blowin his conch. Narakasur came forward to fight Sri Krishna. A fierce battle took place in which Sri Krishna broke Narakasur’s bow with his arrows. Ultimately, Sri Krishna was successful in killing Narakasur.

Sri Krishna then returned the whole wealth to the deities, which Narakasur had looted from them. He also liberated sixteen thousand women whom Narakasur had imprisoned. After being liberated all the women accepted Sri Krishna as their husband.

ANIRUDHA MARRIES USHA 

Lord Mahadeva continued with the divine tales of Sri Krishna–O Parvati! Sri Krishna had a son from Rukmini whose name was ‘Aniruddha’. Aniruddha was very brave and had killed a demon named Shambasur. There is an interesting tale how Aniruddha married Usha.

Once, Usha–the daughter of Bangur, saw a very handsome young man in her dreams. She was so infatuated by his handsome personality that she developed a deep desire of marrying him. When she woke up next morning, she expressed her desire to her companion–Chitralekha.Chitralekha was an accomplished painter. She drew a sketch of a handsome man as per the descriptions of Usha. When the painting was ready, Chitralekha revealed to Usha that the preson who she had seen in her dream was none other than Aniruddha.

Chitralekha had divine powers. She went to Dwarka and abducted Aniruddha while he was asleep. She then carried the sleeping Aniruddha and laid him on the bed of Usha.When Usha woke up, She was thrilled to see the man of her dreams. Aniruddha remained there for many days without Banasur being aware of his presence.One day, Banasur came to know about Aniruddhas’ presence. He became furious and imprisoned Aniruddha.Sage Narad informed Sri Krishna about Aniruddha’s imprisonment. Sri Krishna went to fight a battle against Banasur and release Aniruddha from his imprisonment. Although Sri Krishna was leading a large army and was accompanied by mighty warriors like Baldeva and Pradyumna yet he was aware that it was not easy to fight Banasur who had one thousand arms and whom Lord Shiva had vowed to protect.

A fierce battle commenced between the armies of Sri Krishna and Lord Shiva. But the battle remained indecisive for a long time. Meanwhile, Banasur came forward to fight against Sri Krishna.Very soon Sri Krishna severed all the thousand hands of Banasur with his ‘chakra’. Lord Shiva then requested Sri Krishna to spare Banasur’s life and said -‘Banasur has received the boon of immortality from me. Now, only you can protect the dignity of my boon given to him.’ Sri Krishna spared Banasur’s life. Banasur then agreed to marry his daughter to Aniruddha. This way Aniruddha married Usha with great fanfare.

THE DECLINE OF YADU DYNASTY 

Parvati was listening to the divine tales of Sri Krishna with rapt attention. Lord Mahadeva told Parvati– ‘Paundrak was the king of Kashi. He did an austere penance for twelve years to please me. When I appeared before him, he requested me to make his appearance look like Sri Krishna. I blessed him with an appearance similar to that of Sri Krishna. People became confused as to who the real Krishna was.

One day, Narad arrived at Kashi and castigated Paundrak by saying that his intention of befooling people would not meet success as long as real Krishna was alive. Paundrak went to Dwarka with a large army and challenged Sri Krishna for a duel. Sri Krishna severed the impersonator’s head with his chakra. Meanwhile, Jarasandh continued to torment the yadavas. Sri Krishna decided to settle the matter for once and all. He advised Bheema to challenge Jarasandh for a wrestling-bout.

Jarasandh and Bheema fought valiantly for 27 days. While both of them were fighting, Sri Krishna signalled Bheema to tear apart Jarasandh’s thighs. After the killing of Jarasandh, Sri Krishna released all the kings who had been imprisoned by him. After the great war of Mahabharat had ended, Yudhishthir decided to perform a Rajasuya-yagya at Indraprashth. Sri Krishna also went there to bless the Pandavas. Shishupal was also present at the ceremony. He had an old grudge against Sri Krishna and started abusing him. Initially Krishna tried to overlook his abuses but when situation went beyond repair Sri Krishna severed his head with his chakra.

Dantavaktra attacked Mathura to avenge the death of Shishupal. A long battle was fought at the bank of river yamuna, which continued for many days. Ultimately, Sri Krishna was successful in killing Dantavaktra with his mace. There was a childhood friend of Sri Krishna whose name was Sudama. He was a poor brahmin. Once, he went to meet Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna, being an incarnation of the almighty immediately understood the precarious situation his poor friend was living in. He blessed Sudama as a result of which he got rid of his poverty and became prosperous. Sri Krishna had one crore sons from his sixteen thousand queens. Pradyumna was his eldest son. The yadavas dominated the whole earth and had become arrogant after being intoxicated by their power. There is an interesting tale how this powerful yadava dynasty met their downfall —

Once, some young yadavas played a prank with Sage Kanva, which caused the downfall of the Yadavas. One day, some Yadva children went at the bank of river Narmada where sage Kanva was doing penance. Samba was one of those Yadava children. He disguised himself as a pregnant woman by keeping a pestle under his clothes. All the yadava children then went near Sage Kanva and asked him as to when was the pregnant woman supposed to deliver a child.Sage Kanva furiously cursed them that the whole clan of yadavas would be liquidated because of that very pestle. All the children were scarred and told Sri Krishna about the mistake they had made. Sri Krishna ordered that the iron pestle be crushed to powder and be thrown into a pond. But, that was not the end of the matter, as long reeds grew all around the pond. The reeds had very sharp edges. A fish swallowed a small part of that iron pestle and was subsequently caught by a fowler, who retrieved that iron-piece from the fish and fixed it on the top of his arrow.

In course of time all the Yadavas developed enemity among themselves and killed each other with those sharp-edged reeds. Once, Sri Krishna was taking rest under the shade of ‘Kalpa’ tree. The fowler mistook his pink foot to be that of a deer and pierced it with his arrow. When the fowler arrived at the spot he found Sri Krishna in an injured condition. The fowler regretted his action and begged for Sri Krishna’s pardon. Sri Krishna consoled the fowler by saying that he had committed no crime. Meanwhile, Daruk arrived there on his chariot. Sri Krishna instructed Daruk to call Arjuna as soon as possible. Arjuna arrived at the site within a short time. Sri Krishna told Arjuna–‘The time for my final departure has arrived. Please call all my eight queen consorts.’

Arjuna rushed towards Dwarka to summon the queens but Sri Krishna had already left for his heavenly abode before he could come back with the queens. Arjuna informed the queens about Sri Krishna’s injury. In a short time the news spread like a wild fire and all the residents of Dwarka rushed towards the site of incident. After reaching there, the eight queen consorts of Krishna found that their beloved husband had already departed. All of them gave up their lives and united with Sri Krishna. The great Yadavas like Vasudev, Ugrasena and Akrur followed suit. Balaram could not bear the sorrow caused by Sri Krishna’s separation and he gave up his life. His wife–Revati entered the burning pyre with her husband’s body in her lap. Similarly all the rest of Sri Krishna’s family members like Rukmi’s daughter, Pradyumna, Usha and Aniruddha left for heavenly abode.

Arjuna performed the last rite of all the dead Yadavas.Eventually, Dwaraka got submerged into the ocean. Thus, Sri Krishna after having liberated the earth from all the sinners left his mortal body. After completing his story Lord Mahadeva told Parvati that Sri Krishna takes incarnation whenever there is predominance of sin or sinners. He also revealed to her that Sri Krishna would incarnate as Kalki at the fag end of Kalkiyuga to liquidate the ‘mlechchhas’.

RITUALS OF VISHNU WORSHIP 

Describing about the rituals connected with the worship of lord Vishnu, lord Mahaddeva told Parvati– A devotee can worship Lord Vishnu by making his idol. This mode of worship is known as ‘Sthapita’ (installation of an idol). There are also some sacred places related with lord Vishnu which are called ‘Swayam-Vyakata’ (self manifested) like Indradyumna Sarovar, (Kurma sthan), Kashi, Prayag, Dwarka, Naimisharanya, Mathura etc. In all these holy places, Lord Vishnu had manifested himself. A devotee should get up early in the morning and perform ‘aachaman’. He should then chant the holy name of Lord Vishnu. He should take his bath and sit down to worship Lord Vishnu.

A devotee should install idols of Laxmi-Narayana on a beautiful pedestal and adorn it with flowers. He should then make offerings of various articles like akshat, fruits, flowers, etc. to the deity. While worshipping, it is most necessary that a devotee followes the rituals as mentioned in the ancient scriptures like Shruti, Smriti, Vedas etc. He should chant the shlokas of Purush-Sukta as well as the cryptic mantra for the accomplishment of ‘Shodashopachar’. He should light a ghee lamp and make offerings of articles like camphor and betel leaves to Lord Vishnu. While making offerings in the sacrificial-fire, chanting of a shloka either from Purushsukta or Shrisukta is madatory.

There are some specific days which are considered to be specially auspicious for the worship of lord Vishnu–Amavasya, Saturday, Solar eclipse, lunar eclipse etc.

LORD VISHNU–THE ALMIGHTY GOD 

Describing about the superiority of Lord Vishnu among the trinity Gods’ Sage Vashishth narrated the following tale–During ancient times, Swayambhuva manu had once gone to Mandarachal mountain to perform a yagya. Many scholars and learned men had come to attend that yagya. Very soon, they got into a debate as to who was the supreme among all the deities. Some of them eulogised the greatness of Brahma, while some said that lord Shiva was the greatest of all the deities. Failing to come to any conclusion all of them requested Sage Bhrigu to find out as to who was the greatest among the trinity Gods.

Sage Bhrigu went to meet Lord Shiva at Kailash mountain. He saw Nandi standing guard at the main entrance. Sage Bhrigu arrogantly ordered Nandi to inform Lord Shiva of his arrival. Nandi refused to comply with Bhrigu’s command. Sage Bhrigu cursed Lord Shiva by saying–Your master- Shiva, would bear the consequences of showing disrespect to me. From today onwards people would make offerings of forbidden articles to him.’

Sage Bhrigu then went to meet Lord Brahma. After reaching Brahmaloka, he made salutations to lord Brahma.Lord Brahma also did not give any respect to Sage Bhrigu and neglected him. Sage Bhrigu became furious and cursed Lord Brahma—‘Being intoxicated by your Rajoguna, you have shown disrespect to me. From today onwards people will not worhsip you.’ Sage Bhrigu then went to meet Lord Vishnu at his abode- Ksheersagar. He did not have any problem in reaching the place where Lord Vishnu was taking rest on Sheshnag, engrossed in his yoganidra. Goddess Laxmi was pressing Vishnu’s legs with total devotion. Sage Bhrigu kicked Lord Vishnu on his chest. Lord Vishnu woke up and seeing sage Bhrigu said—‘O Great Brahmin! Your tender foot must have got hurt because of my chest, which is as hard as Vajra. How blessed I am to have been touched by a brahmin’s foot.’

Lord Vishnu got up and eulogised Sage Bhrigu. This gesture of Lord Vishnu made Sage Bhrigu cry in joy. Now, he was convinced as to who was the supreme among all the three deities.Sage Bhrigu returned to Mandarachal mountain where all the sages were anxiously waiting for him. He declared–

‘Lord Brahma is the possesser of Rajoguna, while Lord Shiva possesses tamoguna. Only Lord Vishnu is the proud possessor of Satvaguna and hence He is the supreme among all three of them.’ After finishing his tale, Sage Vashishth told the sages that anybody who worships Lord Vishnu with complete faith and total devotion become liberated from all his sins. A devotee of Lord Vishnu attains to Vishnu Loka after his death.

PARSHURAM 

Describing Lord Vishnu’s incarnation as Parshuram, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati–Sage Jamadagni came from the lineage of Bhrigu. He had pleased Indra by his tremendous penance and received Surabhi cow in return. In course of time he married the daughter of king Renuk whose name was Renuka. A child was born to them, who was named ‘Ram’ by Sage Bhrigu. The child was also known as ‘Jamadganya’ because of Jamdagni.

After growing up, Ram became proficient in all the scriptures. He also mastered various weaponaries. One day, the king of Haihaya named Arjun arrived at the hermitage of Jamadagni. Sage Jamdagni treated the king with due honour and respect. He presented numerous gifts to the king. Arjun wanted nothing else but the Surabhi–cow from Sage Jamdagni which he was unwilling to part away with. Ultimately, Arjun forcibly took away the divine cow. The cow was unwilling to go alongwith Arjun and she attacked his army with her sharp horns. As a result, Arjun’s whole army was liquidated within no time.The revengeful Arjun killed Jamadagni. At the time of this incident. Ram was not present in the hermitage.

Ram wanted to avenge his father’s death and did a tremendous penance to please Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu became pleased by his devotion and presented many divine weapons to him. The weapons included the famous axe–Parshu and Vaishnav-bow. After acquiring Parshu from Lord Vishnu, Ram became famous as Parshuram. He had vowed to kill all the Kshatriyas, which he did only, the clan of Ikshavaku was spared by him as he had promised his mother that he would not harm Ikshavaku and his clan.

After freeing the earth from the terror of Kshatriyas, Parshuram performed an Ashwamedha yagya and donated his whole kingdom, to the brahmins. He then went to do penance at the hermitage of Nar-Narayan.

END OF PADMA PURAN

The Complete List of Sacred texts in Hinduism Vedas-Upanishads-Puranas-All in One place- Prana Kishore

 

The Complete List of Sacred texts in Hinduism Vedas-Upanishads-Puranas-All in One place- Prana Kishore

 

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/sbe07/sbe07003.htm

 

The Vedas

There are four Vedas, the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. The Vedas are the primary texts of Hinduism. They also had a vast influence on Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Traditionally the text of the Vedas was coeval with the universe. Scholars have determined that the Rig Veda, the oldest of the four Vedas, was composed about 1500 B.C., and codified about 600 B.C. It is unknown when it was finally committed to writing, but this probably was at some point after 300 B.C.

The Vedas contain hymns, incantations, and rituals from ancient India. Along with the Book of the Dead, the Enuma Elish, the I Ching, and the Avesta, they are among the most ancient religious texts still in existence. Besides their spiritual value, they also give a unique view of everyday life in India four thousand years ago. The Vedas are also the most ancient extensive texts in an Indo-European language, and as such are invaluable in the study of comparative linguistics.

Rig Veda

 The Rig-Veda
translated by 
Ralph Griffith [1896]
A complete English translation of the Rig Veda. 

 
Rig-Veda (Sanskrit)

The complete Rig Veda in Sanskrit, in Unicode Devanagari script and standard romanization.

 Vedic Hymns, Part I (SBE 32)
Hymns to the Maruts, Rudra, Vâyu and Vâta, tr. by F. Max Müller [1891]
A masterpiece of linguistics and comparative mythology: translations and deep analysis of the Vedic Hymns to the Storm Gods. 

 
Vedic Hymns, Part II (SBE 46)

Hymns to Agni, tr. by Hermann Oldenberg [1897]
The Vedic Hymns to Agni. 

 A Vedic Reader for Students (excerpts)
by 
A.A. Macdonell [1917]
An introduction to the Dramatis Personæ of the Rig Veda.

Sama Veda

 The Sama-Veda
translated by 
Ralph Griffith [1895]
A collection of hymns used by the priests during the Soma sacrifice. Many of these duplicate in part or in whole hymns from the Rig Veda. This is a complete translation.

Yajur Veda

 The Yajur Veda (Taittiriya Sanhita)
translated by 
Arthur Berriedale Keith [1914]
A complete translation of the Black Yajur Veda. The Yajur Veda is a detailed manual of the Vedic sacrificial rites. 

 
The Texts of the White Yajurveda

translated by 
Ralph T.H. Griffith [1899]
A complete translation of the White Yajur Veda.

Atharva Veda

The Atharva Veda also contains material from the Rig Veda, but of interest are the numerous incantations and metaphysical texts, which this anthology (part of the Sacred Books of the East series) collects and categorizes. The Atharva Veda was written down much later than the rest of the Vedas, about 200 B.C.; it may have been composed about 1000 B.C.

 The Hymns of the Atharvaveda
translated by 
Ralph T.H. Griffith [1895-6]
The unabridged Atharva Veda translation by Ralph Griffith. 

 The Atharva-Veda
translated by 
Maurice Bloomfield [1897]
(Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 42)
The Sacred Books of the East translation of the Atharva-veda.Selected hymns from the Atharva-veda. 

Upanishads

The Upanishads are a continuation of the Vedic philosophy, and were written between 800 and 400 B.C. They elaborate on how the soul (Atman) can be united with the ultimate truth (Brahman) through contemplation and mediation, as well as the doctrine of Karma— the cumulative effects of a persons’ actions.

 The Upanishads (Sacred Books of the East, vols. 1 and 15):

 The Upanishads, Part I (SBE 1)
Max Müller, translator [1879]
The Chandogya, Talavakara, Aitreya-Aranyaka, the Kaushitaki-Brahmana, and the Vajasaneyi Samhita Upanishads 
 The Upanishads, Part II (SBE 15)
Max Müller, translator [1884]
Katha, Mundaka, Taittirîyaka, Brihadâranyaka, Svetâsvatara, Prasña, and Maitrâyana Brâhmana Upanishads.

 Thirty Minor Upanishads
by 
K. Narayanasvami Aiyar [1914]
Thirty shorter Upanishads, principally dealing with Yogic thought and practice.

 From the Upanishads
Charles Johnston, translator [1889]
Translations from the Katha, Prasna and Chhandogya Upanishads.

Puranas

The Puranas are post-Vedic texts which typically contain a complete narrative of the history of the Universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of the kings, heroes and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology and geography. There are 17 or 18 canonical Puranas, divided into three categories, each named after a deity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. There are also many other works termed Purana, known as ‘Upapuranas.’

 The Vishnu Purana
by 
H.H. Wilson [1840]
A primary text of the Vaishnava branch of Hinduism, and one of the canonical Puranas of the Vishnu category. Among the portions of interest are a cycle of legends of the boyhood deeds of Krishna and Rama. H.H. Wilson was one of the first Europeans to translate a Hindu sacred text from the original Sanskrit. His style and annotations are exceptional and very readable. 

 
The Garuda Purana

translated by 
Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam [1911]
A Vishnu Purana with Dantesque descriptions of the afterlife, and details of Hindu funeral rites.

 The S’rimad Devî Bhâgawatam
translated by 
Swami Vijnanananda (Hari Prasanna Chatterji) [1921]
One of the Upapuranas, devoted to the Devi (Goddess). 

 
The Devî Gita

translated by 
Swami Vijnanananda (Hari Prasanna Chatterji) [1921]
The Song of the Goddess. An excerpt from the S’rimad Devî Bhâgawatam (above) 

 
The Prem Sagur

(Prem Sagar) by 
Lallu Lal, translated by W. Hollings [1848]
English translation of a popular Hindi retelling of the Krishna cycle, based on the tenth book of the Bhagavata Purana. 

 
The Transmigration of the Seven Brahmans

translated by 
Henry David Thoreau [1931]
An excerpt from the Harivamsa, a Puranic text, translated by the American transcendentalist philosopher. 

 
Kundalini: The Mother of the Universe

by 
Rishi Singh Gherwal [1930]
Includes an English translation of the Lalita Sahasranama, the ‘Thousand Names of the Goddess,’ from the Brahmanda Purana.

Other Primary Texts

 The Laws of Manu
George Bühler, translator [1886]
(Sacred Books of the East, vol. 25)
Manu was the legendary first man, the Adam of the Hindus. This is a collection of laws attributed to Manu. 

 
The Sacred Laws of the Âryas, Part I (SBE 2)

George Bühler translator [1879]
(Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 2)
Hindu law books written by the sages Âpastamba and Gautama, in the first millenium B.C. 

 
The Sacred Laws of the Âryas, Part II (SBE 14)

George Bühler translator [1879]
(Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 14)
Hindu law books written by the sages Vasishtha and Baudhâyana, in the first millenium B.C. 

 
The Institutes of Vishnu (SBE 7)

Julius Jolly, translator [1880]
(Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 7)
This Hindu law book contains descriptions of yogic practises, and a moving hymn to the Goddess Prajapati. 

 
The Minor Law Books (SBE 33)

Julius Jolly, translator [1880]
(Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 33)
Later Hindu law books written by Narada and Brihaspati about 600 CE. 

 The Satapatha Brahmana
A primary source for Vedic-era mythology, philosophy and magical practices. The complete five part Sacred Books of the East Satapatha Brahmana translation is now online:
 
Satapatha Brahmana, Part I (SBE12)
 
Satapatha Brahmana, Part II (SBE26)
 
Satapatha Brahmana, Part III (SBE41)
 
Satapatha Brahmana, Part IV (SBE43)
 
Satapatha Brahmana, Part V (SBE44) 

 The Grihya Sutras, Part 1 (SBE 29)
Hermann Oldenberg, tr. [1886]
 The Grihya Sutras, Part 2 (SBE 30)
Hermann Oldenberg, tr. [1892]
Ancient Hindu household rites, including fertility, marriage, purity, initiations, and funerals.

The Epics

The Mahabharata and Ramayana are the national epics of India. They are probably the longest poems in any language. The Mahabharata, attributed to the sage Vyasa, was written down from 540 to 300 B.C. The Mahabharata tells the legends of the Bharatas, a Vedic Aryan group. The Ramayana, attributed to the poet Valmiki, was written down during the first century A.D., although it is based on oral traditions that go back six or seven centuries earlier. The Ramayana is a moving love story with moral and spiritual themes that has deep appeal in India to this day.

In addition, a key Hindu sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita, is embedded in Book Six of the Mahabharata.

Mahabharata

 The Mahabharata
translated by 
Kisari Mohan Ganguli [1883-1896]
Digitizing this unabridged translation of the Mahabharata was a joint venture between sacred-texts and Project Gutenberg. 

 The Mahabharata in Sanskrit
The text of the Mahabharata with parallel Devanagari and Romanization Unicode.

The Ramayana

 Rámáyan Of Válmíki
translated by 
Ralph T. H. Griffith [1870-1874]
The first complete public domain translation of the Ramayana to be placed online.

 The Ramayana in Sanskrit
The text of the Ramayana with parallel Unicode Devanagari and Romanization.

Abridged Versions

 The Ramayana and Mahabharata
R. Dutt translator [1899]
A very readable abridged version of these epics.

 Indian Idylls
Sir 
Edwin Arnold, translator [1883]
More stories from the Mahabharata, rendered in poetry.

 Love and Death
by 
Sri Arobindo [1921]
The popular story of Ruru and Priyumvada from the Mahabharata.

Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita, usually considered part of the sixth book of the Mahabharata (dating from about 400 or 300 B.C.), is a central text of Hinduism, a philosphical dialog between the god Krishna and the warrior Arjuna. This is one of the most popular and accessible of all Hindu scriptures, required reading for anyone interested in Hinduism. The Gita discusses selflessness, duty, devotion, and meditation, integrating many different threads of Hindu philosophy.

 The Bhagavadgîtâ (SBE 8)
with the Sanatsugâtîya and the Anugîtâ translated by
Kâshinâth Trimbak Telang, (Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 8) [1882]
A scholarly prose translation of the Bhagavad Gita with two other similar, less well known, works from the Mahabharata.

 The Bhagavad Gita in Sanskrit
A Unicode presentation of the Gita in Romanized Sanskrit.

 Srimad-Bhagavad-Gita
by 
Swami Swarupananda [1909]
A modern English prose translation of the Gita with commentary.

The Bhagavad Gita
A modern prose translation of the Gita, sanctioned by theInternational Gita Society.

 The Bhagavad Gita
Sir 
Edwin Arnold, translator [1885]
A classic poetic version of the Gita.

Vedanta

 The Vedântâ-Sûtras (SBE 48)
with commentary by 
Râmânuja, translated by George Thibaut; (Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 48) [1904

 
The Vedântâ-Sûtras Part I (SBE 34)

with commentary by 
Sankarâkârya, translated by George Thibaut; (Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 34) [1890

 
The Vedântâ-Sûtras Part II (SBE 38)

with commentary by 
Sankarâkârya, translated by George Thibaut; (Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 38) [1896

 
The Crest-Jewel of Wisdom

and other writings of 
Śankarâchârya; translation and commentaries by Charles Johnston [1946

 
Brahma-Knowledge

by 
L.D. Barnett [1911]
A short exposition of the Hindu Vedanta philosophy. 

 
Select Works of Sri Sankaracharya

tr. by 
S. Venkataramanan [1921]
A selection of works by the non-dualist Vedanta philosopher.

Later Texts

 The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Charles Johnston[1912]
This concise work describes an early stage in the philosophy and practise of Yoga. Dating from about 150 B.C., the work shows dualist and Buddhist influences. Required reading if you are interested in Yoga or meditation. 

 
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Another translation of this classic text of Yoga. 

 
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika

translated by 
Pancham Sinh [1914]
The oldest extant work about Hatha Yoga, including the full Sanskrit text. 

 
Dakshinamurti Stotra

translated by 
Alladi Mahadeva Sastri [1920]
Comparing Hindu schools of thought on the nature of reality. 

 
The Sánkhya Aphorisms of Kapila

translated by 
James R. Ballantyne [1885

 
Kalidasa: Translations of Shakuntala and Other Works

by 
Kalidasa, (fifth century C.E.), tr. by Arthur W. Ryder[1914]
The master dramas of the ‘Shakespeare of India,’ including Shakuntala. 

 
The Little Clay Cart

by 
Shudraka tr. by Arthur W. Ryder [1905]
The earliest Indian drama, a screwball comedy of manners, with a cast of courtesans, kings and scoundrels. 

 
Verses of Vemana

by 
Vemana (17th century), tr. from the Telugu by C.P. Brown[1829Verses of devotion by a Dravidian South Indian poet. 

 
Black Marigolds

(
Caurapañcāśikā) by Bilhana, tr. by Edward Powys Mathers[1919]
A free verse translation of Bilhana, an 11th century Kashmiri poet. 

 
Vikram and the Vampire

tr. by Sir 
Richard Burton. [1870]
Tales of a Vampire Scheherazade. 

 
Hymns of the Tamil Saivite Saints

tr. by 
F. Kingsbury and G.P. Phillips [1829]
Popular Tamil Hindu devotional poetry by worshippers of the god Shiva. 

 Songs of Kabîr
Kabir, tr. by Rabindranath Tagore, Introduction by Evelyn Underhill; New York, The Macmillan Company; [1915]
Kabir’s mystical and devotional poetry has been found inspirational by people of many different faiths. Kabir tried to find common ground between Hindus and Muslims. 
 Yoga Vashisht or Heaven Found
by 
Rishi Singh Gherwal [1930]
Excerpts from the shorter Yoga Vasishta 

Modern Books

 Relax with Yoga
by 
Arthur Liebers [1960]
An introduction to modern Raja Yoga, with photos of asanas. 

 
Great Systems of Yoga

by 
Ernest Wood [1954]
A review of the Yogic systems. 

 
Old Deccan Days

by 
Mary Frere [1868

 
Ramakrishna, His Life and Sayings

by 
F. Max Müller [1898]
The collected words of the Hindu sage from a humble background who transcended arbitrary religious boundaries. 

 
The Gospel of Ramakrishna

by 
Mahendra Nath Gupta, ed. by Swami Abhedananda[1907]
First-hand accounts of the Bengali holy man who preached the unity of religions. 

 
Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic

by 
W.J. Wilkins [1900]
A detailed walkthrough of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. 

 
How To Be A Yogi

by 
Swâmi Abhedânanda [1902A road-map of the Yogic schools. 

 
Twenty-two Goblins

by 
Arthur W. Ryder [1912

 
Indian Fairy Tales

by 
Joseph Jacobs [1912

 
Indian Myth and Legend

by 
Donald A. Mackenzie [1913]
Hindu mythology from the earliest times through the Mahabharata and Rayamaya. 

 
Karma-Yoga

by 
Swami Vivekananda [1921]
Can work be holy?

 Hindu Mysticism
by 
S.N. Dasgupta [1927]

 Writings of Sister Nivedita (Margaret E. Noble)

 Kali the Mother
by 
Sister Nivedita (Margaret E. Noble) [1900]
Sister Nivedita’s devotional writings to the Mother goddess Kali. 
 The Web of Indian Life
by 
Sister Nivedita (Margaret E. Noble) [1904]
 Studies from an Eastern Home
by 
Sister Nivedita (Margaret E. Noble) [1913]

 Writings of Rabindranath Tagore

 Gitanjali [1913]
 
Saddhana, The Realisation of Life
 [1915]
 
The Crescent Moon
 [1916]
 
Fruit-Gathering
 [1916]
 
Stray Birds
 [1916]
 
The Home and the World
 [1915]
 
Thought Relics
 [1921]
 
Songs of Kabîr
 [1915]

 The Indian Stories of F.W. Bain

Also of Interest

 Journal articles: Hinduism 
 Sacred Sexuality Kama Sutra, Ananga Ranga, and more. 
 
Sanskrit dictionary

Also refer to 
Sanskrit resources at WordGumbo.com[External Site] 


20 Reasons to go Vegitarian to Live 100 years-Prana Kishore

20 Reasons to go VEGETARIAN To live 100 Years

 
 

Consider making this healthy choice as one of your new year’s resolutions. ..

Stacks of studies confirm that a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables and grains is your best bet for living a longer, healthier and more enjoyable life. There are literally hundreds of great reasons to switch to a plant-based diet; here are 22 of the best:


1       You’ll live a lot longer. Vegetarians live about seven years longer, and vegans (who eat no animal products) about 15 years longer than meat eaters, according to a study from Loma Linda University. These findings are backed up by the China Health Project (the largest population study on diet and health to date), which found that Chinese people who eat the least amount of fat and animal products have the lowest risks of cancer, heart attack and other chronic degenerative diseases.

 2      You’ll save your heart. Cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer in the United States, and the standard American diet (SAD) that’s laden with saturated fat and cholesterol from meat and dairy is largely to blame. Plus, produce contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. Incidentally, cholesterol levels for vegetarians are 14 percent lower than meat eaters.

 3     You can put more money in your mutual fund. Replacing meat, chicken and fish with vegetables and fruits is estimated to cut food bills.

 4     You’ll reduce your risk of cancer. Studies done at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg suggest that this is because vegetarians’ immune systems are more effective in killing off tumour cells than meat eaters’. Studies have also found a plantbased diet helps protect against prostate, colon and skin cancers.

 5    You’ll add color to your plate. Meat, chicken and fish tend to come in boring shades of brown and beige, but fruits and vegetables come in all colours of the rainbow. Diseasefighting phytochemicals are responsible for giving produce their rich, varied hues. So cooking by colour is a good way to ensure you re eating a variety of naturally occurring substances that boost immunity and prevent a range of illnesses.

 6     You’ll fit into your old jeans. On average, vegetarians are slimmer than meat eaters, and when we diet, we keep the weight off up to seven years longer. That’s because diets that are higher in vegetable proteins are much lower in fat and calories than the SAD. Vegetarians are also less likely to fall victim to weight-related disorders like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

 7     You’ll give your body a spring cleaning. Giving up meat helps purge the body of toxins (pesticides, environmental pollutants, preservatives) that overload our systems and cause illness. When people begin formal detoxification programs, their first step is to replace meats and dairy products with fruits and vegetables and juices.

 8      You’ll make a strong political statement.  It’s a wonderful thing to be able to finish a delicious meal, knowing that no beings have suffered to make it..

 
 

9        Your meals will taste delicious. Vegetables are endlessly interesting to cook and a joy to eat. It’s an ever-changing parade of flavours and colors and textures and tastes.

 10    You’ll help reduce waste and air pollution.  Livestock farms creates phenomenal amounts of waste. The tons of manure, a substance that’s rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a top pollutants. And that’s not even counting the methane gas released by goats, pigs and poultry (which contributes to the greenhouse effect); the ammonia gases from urine; poison gases that emanate from manure lagoons; toxic chemicals from pesticides; and exhaust from farm equipment used to raise feed for animals.

 11       Your bones will last longer.  The average bone loss for a vegetarian woman at age 65 is 18 percent; for non-vegetarian women, it’s double that. Researchers attribute this to the consumption of excess protein. Excess protein interferes with the absorption and retention of calcium and actually prompts the body to excrete calcium, laying the ground for the brittle bone disease osteoporosis. Animal proteins, including milk, make the blood acidic, and to balance that condition, the body pulls calcium from bones. So rather than rely on milk for calcium, vegetarians turn to dark green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli and legumes, which, calorie for calorie, are superior sources.

 12      You’ll help reduce famine.  It takes 15 pounds of feed to get one pound of meat. But if the grain were given directly to people, there’d be enough food to feed the entire planet. In addition, using land for animal agriculture is inefficient in terms of maximizing food production. According to the journal Soil and Water, one acre of land could produce 50,000 pounds of tomatoes, 40,000 pounds of potatoes, 30,000 pounds of carrots or just 250 pounds of beef.

 13      You’ll avoid toxic chemicals. The EPA estimates that nearly 95 per cent of pesticide residue in our diet comes from meat, fish and dairy products. Fish, in particular, contain carcinogens (PCBs, DDT) and heavy metals (mercury, arsenic; lead, cadmium) that cannot be removed through cooking or freezing. Meat and dairy products are also laced with steroids and hormones.

 14     You’ll protect yourself from foodborne illnesses. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest in the US, which has stringent food standards, 25 per cent of all chicken sold in the United States carries salmonella bacteria and, the CDC estimates, 70 percent to 90 percent of chickens contain the bacteria campy-lobacter (some strains of which are antibiotic-resistan t), approximately 5 percent of cows carry the lethal strain of E. coli O157:H7 (which causes virulent diseases and death), and 30 percent of pigs slaughtered each year for food are infected with toxoplasmosis (caused by parasites).

 15      You may get rid of your back problems.  Back pain appears to begin, not in the back, but in the arteries. The degeneration of discs, for instance, which leads to nerves being pinched, starts with the arteries leading to the back. Eating a plant-based diet keeps these arteries clear of cholesterol- causing  blockages to help maintain a healthy back.

 16      You’ll be more ‘regular.’  Eating a lot of vegetables necessarily means consuming fiber, which pushes waste out of the body. Meat contains no fibre. Studies done at Harvard and Brigham Women’s Hospital found that people who ate a high-fiber diet had a 42 percent lower risk of diverticulitis. People who eat lower on the food chain also tend to have fewer incidences of constipation, hemorrhoids and spastic colon.

 17      You’ll cool those hot flashes. Plants, grains and legumes contain phytoestrogens that are believed to balance fluctuating hormones, so vegetarian women tend to go through menopause with fewer complaints of sleep problems, hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings, weight gain, depression and a diminished sex drive.

 18      You’ll help to bring down the national debt. We spend large amounts annually to treat the heart disease, cancer, obesity, and food poisoning that are byproducts of a diet heavy on animal products.

 19      You’ll preserve our fish population. Because of our voracious appetite for fish, 39 per cent of the oceans’ fish species are overharvested, and the Food & Agriculture Organization reports that 11 of 15 of the world’s major fishing grounds have become depleted.

 20      You’ll help protect the purity of water.  It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of mutton, but just 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat. Not only is this wasteful, but it contributes to rampant water pollution.

 21      You’ll provide a great role model for your kids. If you set a good example and feed your children good food, chances are they’ll live a longer and healthier life. You’re also providing a market for vegetarian products and making it more likely that they’ll be available for the children.

 22      Going vegetarian is easy!  Vegetarian cooking has never been so simple. We live in a country that has been vegetarian by default. Our traditional dishes are loaded with the goodness of vegetarian food. Switching over it very simple indeed.