PART-II

Krishna's Prayer by Kunti

Character of Priyavrata

Swayambhuv Manu's second son Priyavrata was a great devotee to God. He performed a great service to divine sage, Devarshi Narada and thereby received ultimate knowledge. He had freed himself completely from the worldly attachment. His father Swayambhuv Manu, However, thought that Priyavrata had a very good character and that he should be made the king.

Priyavrata found himself in a great trouble. He was, if fact, a yogi, who rejoiced in his self-knowledge. He thought, if he is engaged in royal duties, he will have no time for his devotion. So, he decided not to accept the responsibility. Since he thought devotion to God to be the most important duty, he decided to commit the sin of disobeying the father.

Manu's father Lord Brahma, however, always has the sole object of increasing the population of the world. When he saw Priyavrata to be indifferent from carrying out the obligations of domestic life, he came to impress upon him. With folded hands everybody greeted Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma then said to Priyavrata—Listen son, I am going to tell you something very important. Listen carefully. Even myself, your father Manu and Devarshi Narada are leading lives as desired by God. What are the works that we have to do, the amount of sufferings that we have to undergo, the amount of fear that we have to receive, all this is determined by God. As an animal tied with a rope moves, likewise we all are tied by God's desire. Even if someone abandons the domestic life and proceeds for forest, the knot still remains. Those, who are knowledgeable or who rejoice in their self-knowledge, what harm can be done to them by the Grihasthashram, the domestic stage of life?

So O Son! take shelter in the feet of God, enjoy the stately pleasures given by God and then having been unaccompanied fix yourself in your self-form.

`As you please' said Priyavrata and accepted Lord Brahma's order.

Fixing his attention towards the feet of God and to honour the order of the elders, Priyavrata started ruling the state. In spite of being among the worldly pleasures and family, he always remained unattached.

There is another story about Priyavrata according to which he noticed darkness over half of the earth. So, he resolved that there should be light all over the earth. He mounted a glittering chariot and drove it after the Sun in the speed alike. Due to his devotion towards God, he had been so powerful that he completed seven Parikramas (circumambulations) of the earth. The wheels of his chariot made out seven tracks that subsequently became seven oceans and seven islands. Priyavrata gifted the kingly state of one island each to his seven sons.

When finally he was fed up enjoying the worldly pleasures of domestic life he thought—`Curse on me! I am still drawn towards worldly pleasures'. He then abandoned his wives and devoting himself to the thoughts of God proceeded towards the way described by Devarshi Narada. Slowly having renounced the world he fixed himself in his self-form.

 

Incarnation of lord Rishabhadev

Lord Rishabhadev became incarnate through the womb of King Nabhi's wife Merudevi. King Nabhi named him as Rishabha (the superior).

Once out of jealousy Indra caused no rain in his state. Prince Rishabha then, through his yogic powers, caused heavy rain over his portion of land that was called Ajanabha Warsha. The King was very pleased with his son. His council of ministers and the people of the state were also very happy with him and loved him. After his coronation the King proceeded to Badrikashram where while in worship and adoration of Lord Nar-Narayana he immersed in Lord.

Lord Rishabhadev chose his state Ajanabha Warsha as the field of his 

activities. First of all he went to a gurukul and had a better education. After giving proper guru-dakshina (fee) to his teacher, he entered grihasthashrama (the domestic stage of life). He married Jayanti, the daughter of Devraj Indra. He had hundred sons, of whom the eldest Bharata was most virtuous and a mahayogi (great ascetic). It was after his name that Ajanabha Warsha was subsequently called Bharata Warsha.

Of the hundred sons of King Rishabhadev, the eldest one, Bharata became the King. Rishabhadev was always joyful and delighted. He inparted the knowledge of domestic life to his people. Through his appropriate conduct he clearly showed how the enjoyment of pleasures of peace, love, compassion, religion and children was possible in the grihasthashrama (domestic stage of life). Rishabhadev's subjects were obedient to him. All were well to do and it was happiness and delight all around.

He enthroned his eldest son Bharata to support and maintain the earth while he 

himself became unattached to present an ideal of knowledge, devotion and asceticism before the supreme souls.

He abandoned property and wealth completely and did not keep anything for himself. He renounced his family life, even his attire and became Digamber (naked ascetic). He was Rishabhadev who gave rise to Jain sect. He renounced even agnihotra (obtain to sacrificial fire). With disheveled hair he always kept silent. He roamed around here and there as an ascetic behaving like an inert, blind, deaf, dumb and insane. When he wandered in villages, forests, mountains and human habitats he was teased by foolish people who used to hit him by stones and abuses but he endured all this and led a peaceful life. He, thus, moved about in a state of being a supreme soul.

When he noted obstacles in his meditation and devotion, he adopted Ajagar Vritti, which meant that he kept sitting wherever he was. Sitting at one place he would eat if he got something to eat or 

would go without it. He defecated and urinated also at the same place. Sometimes he even rolled over it. His excrement, however, emitted sweet smell rather than a foul one and the area around him was always fragrant.

To teach the ascetics about an ideal life Rishabhadev used to behave strangely. He had achieved various super-natural powers. He could assume whatever form he wished, could reach any destination within a second, yet he did not utilise his powers.

He kept on moving about naked like an insane in the guise of an ascetic. Once suddenly there was a storm that caused friction among the bamboos of the forest thereby resulting in a fire and he submitted his body to the flames and thus ended the life of Rishabhdevji.

 

Tale of Bharata

Bharata was an illustrious and brilliant King. After successfully ruling for many years he renounced everything and proceeded to forest for worship and adoration of God. Once after having his bath in the river Gandaki, he was muttering prayers on its bank when a pregnant doe came there to drink water. While she was drinking water the roar of a lion was heard. The frightened doe leaped with full force to reach the other side of the river and in the process her young fawn fell in the water from her womb. The doe fell down on the other side of the river and died. Bharata saw the fawn floating in the water. He rushed and saved it. He brought the baby deer to his Ashram (abode) and nursed it like a mother.

In course of rearing the baby deer in his abode Bharata developed an attachment towards it. He was always engrossed in the thought to arrange for its food and to save 

it from the wolves. He used to cut grass and leaves from the forest and fed it most affectionately.

Thus the fawn was the centre of all his thoughts and time. He thought—this fawn has come to me for protection. Now I am its all in all. I have got to do everything for it. If I reproach it, it would be the biggest sin. He was so engaged in the upbringing of the baby deer that he had least time for worship and adoration. He kept on thinking that it was the act of God that the fawn had come to him. God willed him to serve Him through the fawn. He considered the upbringing of the baby to be his devotion. He kept it always in his company so that it may not be devoured by any wolf or lion. When it leapt here and there to eat grass Bharata used to lift it over his head and roamed about.

Unending was Bharata's attachment towards the fawn. Even for a while when the fawn was out of his sight, he would get bewildered and distressed. He would pray to God—`Please save him'. He used to become 

so distressed as though the dearest friend of somebody had died or the riches had been destroyed. Sometimes he used to talk to himself—`How foolish I am that I let it got out. I do not deserve to be excused.' He used to recollect—how playful was it! When I would try to sit in meditation, it would distract me by scratching with his tender horns. Sometimes he would talk to the fawn—Prince fawn, where are you? When will you come and please me?

This way his attachment kept on increasing. Whenever he sat for meditation the fawn used to titillate him with its paws. When he prepared for sacrificial ladle, it would take away the flowers and would thereby make all the materials impure. Bharata, however, considered all these acts to be its innocence and fondled the fawn. He considered the fawn to be his son and at times felt that the earth was fortunate enough for his son has placed its feet on it. Wherever the fawn placed its feet, he considered the land to be the place for sacrificial rites. This way Bharata was 

engrossed in his own empire of imagination and deviated from the path of Bhakti (devotion) and Yoga (meditation).

An ascetic Bharata, who had considered his own sons to be obstacle in the way of the ultimate goal and had renounced them was now so attached to the fawn that even at the time of death his thoughts were centred around him and so in his reincarnation he received the body of a deer but for the ascetic fervour of his previous birth the memory of his earlier births persisted. He understood it well that it was his deviation from devotion and attachment towards the deer that he had got the body of a deer.

He, therefore, decided to keep away from worldly attachments. He left his mother doe and came back to the same Pulah ashram (abode) where he had practised penance in earlier birth and it was here that he waited for the remaining days of his life to complete. When the end came he kept half of his body immersed in the river Gandaki, kept on chanting the name of God and left his body.

In his next life Bharata was born as a son to a brahmin from Angiras Gotra (family lineage). Father named him as Bharata. Since he had the memory of his earlier births, he was not inclined to worldly attachment and kept aloof from his parents and his own brothers. He was different from other children. All the while he remembered God and the others considered him to be a fool, a deaf and dumb. His father, however, had a great affection for his `foolish' son. He tried to teach him everything but he was not ready to learn at all. The father thought about teaching him the Gayatri Mantra (a sacred verse) at least but Bharata could not properly pronounce `Om' even. The father miserably failed and died when the time of his death came. Bharata's mother handed over her children to their step-mother and committed Sati (burnt herself on the funeral pyre of her husband). Bharata then became care free and lived like an insane. In fact, he had kept hidden his brilliance. People thought him to be a fool. They got all sorts of works done by him in exchange of some plain and simple 

food yet he remained care-free. People addressed him as mad, stupid and deaf, but he never felt insulted. He had a healthy well built body and he remained lying like a bull. People insulted him for his dirty attire and janeu (sacred thread) but he did not mind.

Thus Bharata was leading his life. People called him jada (inert) Bharata. Once a leader of a gang of robbers was worshipping goddess Kali with a desire to have a son. He resolved to offer human sacrifice to the goddess. They had held a man for the purpose, who somehow fled away. They were now in search of another person when they came across stout Bharata. They caught hold and took him for the sacrifice. According to rituals they bathed, dressed, fed him and tied him with a rope. Bharata did not object. Having done all this the robbers started dancing on the beats of drums. When they raised the sword to offer sacrifice, his radiance as though set the idol of goddess on fire. The goddess appeared and beheaded all the robbers with the same sword and played with their sculls like a ball. Bharata was free to return home.

Once King Rahugan of Sindhu Souveer state was going to the abode of sage Kapil in a palanquin. On his way on the bank of Icchumati river one of the palanquin carriers became unwell. They were in search for someone to replace him, when they met healthy and stout Bharata. They entrusted him the work of carrying the palanquin. Bharata had no objection for any work but he had never carried a palanquin earlier and so he was unable to match the steps of other palanquin carriers. Besides, there was another problem. Bharata was very attentive while on move to avoid crushing any insect under his feet. So, he jumped whenever he saw an insect, thereby disturbing the balance of palanquin. Naturally, it caused inconvenience to the king.

The king said to the palanquin carriers—carry the palanquin properly. Why are you carrying it like this?

The three palanquin carriers replied—your majesty! We are carrying it properly. It is this new carrier who is not doing so.

The King thought that the fault of one destroyed the good work of others so it was 

necessary to rectify the fault. King Rahugan then addressed Bharata in most bitter and sarcastic words—`O great soul! You must have got tired as you are singularly carrying the load of palanquin from such a long distance, besides you are physically frail and old. It so happens in old age.

Bharata was, in fact, healthy and young and beside him three more carriers were carrying the palanquin. The king had said so just to insult him. Bharata, however, remained cool. He had no vanity that the body was his or that he was the body. He kept on moving as he did without any change. When the palanquin wavered again the king got enraged and said—Are you dead or what? You are not listening to my orders. Now you would know what punishment awaits you for disobeying the King.

The King's anger had least effect on Bharata, who smiled and replied—O King! your ill words make no difference to me. If there is load, someone is needed to carry it. Road has importance only when someone moves on it. Stout or frail, old or young are the adjectives for the body, not for the soul.

So, these are not for me. Meanwhile, you said something about my death. I know it well that in this world the birth of everything has death attached to it. I keep on being care-free, you cannot alter this state. Calling me an insane if you try to punish me, it would be a futile attempt like grinding again the milled flour.

Having heard such knowledgeable words from Bharata King Rahugan got down from the palanquin, prostrated on his feet and begged forgiveness—O revered brahmin! you have kept yourself hidden. I hope, you are not the superior Awadhoot (an ascetic) Lord Dattatreya. I am not afraid of anyone in this world. I only fear that I should not insult any brahmin. Kindly forgive me for my ill words. I am going to see the great sage Kapil. I hope he has not come in your form to test me.

After begging forgiveness from Bharata, King Rahugan placed his various queries before him. Bharata replied along with his spiritual instructions.

Thereafter, Bharata thus told his tale to King Rahugan—In my earlier birth I was King Bharata. Having enjoyed all the worldly and next worldly pleasures I engaged myself in meditation of God. Even after that during last days of my life I got attached to a fawn and as a result I had a reincarnation as a deer but due to my devotion to God memory of my earlier life persisted. Now, having renounced the body of the deer I am born as a Jad (inert) Bharata. Memory of my earlier births still persist and so in this birth I do not keep attachment with anyone. It was a faulty attachment that I squandered a birth. Now, I am leading my life this way and people consider me inert, fool and insane. What I mean to say is that in the company of great men we should awaken asceticism in our lives. By speaking and listening about the Leelas (acts) of God, constant memory of God persists with the help of which we may easily cross the worldly jungle.

 

 

Tale of Ajamil

In Kanyakubj town (Kannauj) there lived a brahmin named Ajamil. He had deserted his wife and had spoilt his whole life in his infatuation for a prostitute. To please her he could commit the gravest of the sins without caring a bit. He caused various pains to various people to please her and thus lived for eighty eight years. He had ten sons from that prostitute and named the youngest of them as Narayana.

Ajamil loved his son Narayana a lot and all the while he was engrossed in his thoughts—how nice talks my Narayana; how nice does he play... In this way he spent most of his time in feeding, bathing, dressing and taking his child for play etc. and was least aware that the death was knocking at his door. When the time of his death finally came, he was still thinking about his son.

At the time of death Ajamil saw three fearsome messengers of Yama (Lord of Death), who had twisted mouths, long body hair and noose in hands. The messengers of Yama tied his subtle body with a rope and readied themselves to separate it from the gross body. Right at that moment out of utter perplexity he called out his son whom he loved the most. O Narayana! O Narayana!!

The sooner he uttered `Narayana' from his mouth, the Parshads (attendants) of the supreme God arrived and noticed that the messengers of Yama were pulling the subtle body of Ajamil to separate it from the gross one. They prevented Yama's messengers from doing so.

Yama's messengers asked—Who are you all? Why are you obstructing our work? Don't you know that we are the messengers of Dharmaraj (Yama)? Where from have you come?

The Parshads of Supreme Lord Vishnu said to the messengers of Yama—If you are following the dictates of Dharmaraj, tell us 

what is Dharma (the righteousness). Please also tell how and who is punished? Whoever has committed sins deserves to be punished or is there any such person who does not have to undergo punishment despite committing sins? Is there any such rule? Why are you taking Ajamil with you?

The messengers of Yama said that Ajamil had no sense of ego. He was kind to all, did not speak unnecessarily and ignored the faults of others. One, who possesses these qualities is considered to be a good person.

How such a good person got engaged in wrong deeds? The messengers of Yama said that one day, according the orders of his fathers Ajamil went to forest to collect flowers, leaves and Kusha (sacred grass). While returning, he saw a prostitute on way and got involved with her. He even deserted his wife and to please the prostitute started doing meanest of the works. Now, we have come here to take him to Yamaraj (Lord of Death), who will send him to the hell for atonement of his sins.

The attendants of God, the Supreme being, then said—You all have, in fact, ruined the dharma. Your decision to take Ajamil to hell is wrong. O messengers of Yamaraj! Ajamil has not only atoned the sins that he had committed in this birth but those of his previous births also. He had uttered the auspicious name of Supreme God `Narayana'. Matters little if he has done so in a helpless state. All his sins got erased, the very moment he uttered the name of `Narayana'. God embraces the one, who pronounces His name and then cleans all his sins Himself.

So O messengers of Yama! at the time of death since he had uttered the name of God, all his sins have been washed away and as such please do not take him along with you. As fuel gets burnt with the contact of fire knowingly or unknowingly, similarly if some one invokes the name of God, even if unknowingly, all his sins are destroyed. Even if somebody, who has scant respect for God, utters the name of God, his sins would be destroyed.

Having heard this from the Parshads (attendants) of God, the Yamadoots (messengers of Yama) took out the noose from the subtle body of Ajamil.

When they came back to Lord Dharmaraj, they explained the details of the incident to him. Thus Ajamil escaped the noose of death. His mind and heart became pure and sacred and devotion towards God got awakened in his inner faculties. He was now repentant—`Alas! I have committed so many misdeeds in my life. In my involvement with a prostitute I have fathered so many children and have spoilt my qualities. Curse on me! I am a sinner, but feeling differently with the sight that I have seen just now. I wonder whether it was a dream or an experience while I was awake. Where have those people disappeared, who were pulling me having tied the noose! They were taking me to the hell but four accomplished persons got me released. Although I have committed so many sins but definitely I might have done some good 

Karma (deed) that I could have the sight of God's attendants. The very recollection of theirs is filling me with joy.

Ajamil thought—I was so deceitful and a sinner yet I uttered the sacred name of God that destroyed all my vices and contented me. Now I will keep clear of evil deeds and will sing and praise God.

Ajamil renounced his family and went away to Haridwar, where he practised yoga to keep a control on himself. Then he had the darshan (sight) of those four Parshads of God, whom he had seen earlier. Having their darshan Ajamil gave up his body on the banks of the Ganges. He became a Parshad himself and proceeded to Vaikuntha (heavenly abode of Lord Vishnu) riding over an aerial vehicle.

 

Daksha's curse to Narada

Daksha produced ten thousand sons from his wife Aksini and their name was Haryashwa. Daksha ordered them to produce children but asked them to perform ascetic fervour before that for which they went to Narayana-Sarovar, a place of pilgrimage. Great seers, sages and noble souled persons lived there. The sooner Haryashwas took their bath in the Narayana Sarovar (lake) their hearts and souls got completely pure and sacred. Their father had ordered them to produce children but their hearts were not ready to get entangled in worldly affairs. Devarshi Narada reached there that very moment.

Devarshi Narada told them—O Haryashwas! you all are the sons of Daksha Prajapati but you are fools. Your hearts and 

souls have become so pure and pious that you have developed inclination towards God, the supreme being, yet you wish to get married and produce children?

Narada then gave them certain riddles and they got engaged in solving those. They all were devotees to God and intelligent enough. They thought that though their father had ordered to get engaged in Karma (the action) but it would be better for them if they remained detached from the Karma. So, they unanimously decided not to produce children and proceeded on the path of Moksha (liberation).

Daksha Prajapati was waiting for his sons to return when he came to know that Narada had made them all ascetics. He became very angry. Lord Brahma came to comfort him.

Daksha again produced a thousand sons and named them as Shabalashwas. They also went to the Narayana-Sarovar and when they took their baths even their hearts got completely pure and pious. Narada again 

reached there and said—O Shabalashwas! listen to me. Your elder brothers had done great work and you all should also follow them.

They all agreed and set out being unattached to the worldly affairs. This enraged Daksha and he abused Narada like anything and said—you are wicked, lier and deceitful. You provoke innocent children to become ascetic and force them to go about begging. This way you have done a great harm to me.

Daksha further said to Narada—O sinner! you have spoilt them all. You have no compassion in your heart. Having thus spoilt the children you call yourself to be the Parshad (aide) of God! You are shameless and you have disgraced God. I know God's Parshads (aides) are kind and loving to all. Your love, however, is a great destroyer. You are enemy to those, who have done no harm to you. I hereby curse you. From now on you will never be able to stay at one place. You will ruin the place where 

you stay. So keep on wandering about, you will never find a definite place to stay.

When Daksha cursed, Narada, the supreme saint only said—`Thank you'. Although he had the power to counter curse Daksha but he did not. This is the distinguishing feature of the ascetics.

Prajapati Daksha then went to Lord Brahma and explained to him the total incident as to how Devarshi Narada used his influence to turn all his sons into ascetics. He then asked Lord Brahma what should he do? Lord Brahma then advised him to produce daughters.

Daksha then produced many daughters and this whole world is their children only.

 

Ale of Vritrasur

Once having gained the kingdom of heaven Indra became very conceited. One day while he was sitting on the throne with his wife Shachi and while the music and dance of the Gandharwas (heavenly minstrels) and the Apsaras (dancing girls of heaven) was in progress, Acharya Brihaspati, the spiritual preceptor of gods, arrived in the court. Indra neither greeted him nor stood up from his seat out of conceit.

Brihaspati retreated quietly and went away to his house. A little while after his departure, Indra realised, ``I have committed a grave sin by insulting my spiritual preceptor. I now need to prostrate resting my head on his feet and beg forgiveness.''

However, when he reached Brihaspati's house, he had disappeared by the power of his Yoga (super natural power). Indra made 

various attempts but to no avail. He was at a loss to comprehend what to do and what not. He was in a state of mental decline. Meanwhile, when the Daityas (demons) learnt that having been displeased with Indra, Brihaspati had gone somewhere, they launched an attack on the heaven. Being utmost perturbed Indra went to Lord Brahma.

Having heard about the incident Lord Brahma advised Indra to go to Vishwaroop, the son of Twashta, to please him with his services and to make him his spiritual preceptor. Lord Brahma also told that the maternal uncle of Vishwaroop was a demon but they should not mind it for Vishwaroop was an ascetic brahmin and he would surely help.

According to Lord Brahma's advice the gods went to Vishwaroop and addressed him most affectionately—O Son! we have come to you as a guest. You may consider us alike your father and serve us like a son. Presently, we have been defeated by the enemy. Relieve us from this suffering.

Vishwaroop replied—O Gods! even being alike my father, when you are requesting me, it is my duty to carry out your orders. I will help you with all my might.

Vishwaroop was definite of his words. He became the family priest of gods and secured Indra by Vaishnavi Vidya (Narayan's armour) with the influence of which Indra could defeat the army of the Asuras (demons).

Vishwaroop's father Twashta belonged to the lineage of gods while his mother belonged to that of the demons. He recited mantras (sacred verses) aloud while making offerings to the gods during yajnas (sacrificial act), but at the same time he used to make offerings, though quietly, to the demons due to their relations with his mother.

One day having seen it, Indra became furious and beheaded all the three heads of Vishwaroop. Thus he committed a sin of brahma-hatya (killing of a brahmin). Indra 

conceded the sin and went on pilgrimage for one year.

Having heard about the assasination of his son Vishwaroop, his father Twashta became very angry and performed a havan (sacrificial ladle) with a vow to kill Indra. After the completion of havan a ferocious demon appeared from its fire. When he shouted and danced with his sparkling trident, the earth trembled. His mouth was more like a mountain-cave. Having seen such a blood-thirsty demon people ran halter-skelter. Since this demon surrounded whole of the world he was named Vritrasur.

The Devatas (gods) now got highly perturbed. They prayed to Lord Narayana, having heard which Lord appeared. All bowed before Him in salutation. Being pleased, Lord assured them that Vritrasur will not be able to kill them.

Lord Narayana said—O Indra! Maharshi Dadhichi is a great saint. If you ask, he may give you even his body. You may ask Vishwakarma to make a superior

weapon, the Vajra from his bones. Being well equipped by the Narayana Kawach (armour) you will be able to kill Vritrasur and after his death you may regain your strength and property. All would be well for you and be sure none can harm those, who come to Me for protection.

All the gods then went to Dadhichi and begged for his body. Maharshi Dadhichi then with his yogic powers dissolved himself in the supreme being and renounced his body. He was now free of all bonds since he was now attached to God and he did not at all feel that he had left the body.

Out of Dadhichi's bones Vishwakarma made a Vajra with the help of which Indra attacked on Vritrasur accompanied by all the gods along with their respective weapons. A fierce war between the gods and the demons followed.

Despite being a demon Vritrasur was a great devotee of God. He fought heroically and while fighting he prayed to God—O God! give me as many lives as you wish 

but I ask only one thing from you, kindly ensure that I always remain a slave of your slaves. Do favour me so that I may keep on serving those in every life of mine who are dependent on you with entire devotion. I should always sing in your praise, should keep in mind your qualities and my body should also be in your service always.

Instead of getting victory over Indra, Vritrasur considered it better to die in the battlefield and get the abode of God. Finally he was killed by the Vajra.

Having heard the tale of Vritrasur, King Parikshita asked—`O Lord! how is it possible that a sinner and a causer of distress to others be at the same time a devotee to God'. Sage Shukdeo replied—In this respect I am telling you what I have known from my preceptors. During ancient time King Chitraketu ruled Shoorsen state. He had everything but in spite of many wives he was devoid of any child, which made him a sorrowful person. Once sage Angira came to him.

King Chitraketu told him about his distress—O worshipful Lord! since I have no child, my ancestors will remain deprived of the offering of Pinda (oblation to ancestors). So, kindly do something so that I may have a child.

Sage Angira then performed a proper yajna (sacrificial act) and gave khir (rice boiled in milk) to the elder queen Kritadyuti as Prasad (propitiatory offering) and said—O King! now you will have a son, who may be the cause of your joy and sorrow.

Sage Angira went away and in due course of time queen Kritadyuti gave birth to a son. The occasion was largely celebrated in the state. The child began to grow up slowly. The king now spent most of his time with Kritadyuti which made other queens jealous and they poisoned the child.

Queen Kritadyuti thought that the child was in sleep and so she remained busy in her work. After sometime she asked her maid to bring the child since it was time to feed him milk. When the maid went to 

the child she found him dead. Crying and wailing she fell down on earth.

Queen Kritadyuti hurried and fainted having seen her son dead. Other maids and queens of the palace also reached there and out of sympathy or for show started wailing. When the King came to know of the incident even he rushed to the spot. The King and queen both wailed and said—O Lord Brahma! you are the creator. Why are you behaving to the contrary? Instead of the old you are taking away the lives of children.

While crying both of them addressed their dead son—Son! where have you gone having left us? See, how distressed are we without you. Come back. I am ready to feed you my milk. Why aren't you coming? Open your eyes and see how distressed by grief is your father. Has Yamraj really taken you to the place from where none returns?

Seeing their King and queen crying even their subject burst into tears. Having seen such a sight Devarshi Narada and Sage Angira reached there to console King 

Chitraketu. They told him—O King! whom are your crying for? Just think over who is he? He was not yours before the birth and he is not yours after death also. It is strange that you consider him to be yours.

The consoling words of the sages had a soothing effect on Chitraketu. He wiped his face and said—O venerable souls! I am a person ignorant and ensnared by delusion. Please lead me to the proper path.

Sage Angira said—O King! you were crying to have a son. I wished to lend you my advice but you were not in a position to listen and understand. Then I had gifted you a son through yajna. It's me Angira and with me is Devarshi Narada. We have thought over that you are a great devotee to God and that you should not feel distressed. So, we have come here to impress upon you. You have realized, how distressed are those who have son, wife, wealth, affluence, state, army etc.

Just to erase Chitraketu's attachment towards his son Devarshi Narada called the 

soul of dead prince and said—O soul! see how distressed are you parents and relatives in your absence. Here lies your body. You may enter it and enjoy the state that your father would gift you, and please every one.

The soul replied—O Devarshi Narada! you are telling me that they are my parents, but to which of my births? I have had numerous births. Sometimes I was an animal, sometimes a bird, sometimes a brahmin, sometimes a heavenly minstrel. According to my deeds I had various births and in every births I had different parents. A creature has relation with a body for a short period of time and for that short period he has attachment with his body and with it he forms relations of affection with relatives. In fact, a creature does not have any one as his own or a stranger.

Having said so, the soul went away and with it the distress of King Chitraketu. Having given spiritual instructions to Chitraketu, Devarshi Narada departed for Brahmalok (heaven of Lord Brahma) along  

with sage Angira. Chitraketu observed a seven days' rite taking only water which made his mind all the more sacred and pious and he reached Lord Shesha.

He sang the glory of Lord Shesha. Being pleased with him Lord Shesha said—Whatever Devarshi Narada and sage Angira have told you about me and they caused you to see me, has made you a `siddha' (accomplished).

Chitraketu was now free to roam about through aerial path. Once while roaming about he saw Lord Shiva sitting with goddess Parvati in his lap. The sight prompted Chitraketu to comment—Look at this venerable guru (teacher), who enlightens the world, is sitting with his consort in his lap in the presence of all the seers, sages and full assembly. Even an uncivilized person would not do so. He would rather sit like this in a lonely place.

Hearing the comments of Chitraketu, Lord Shiva only smiled and did not say anything. Seeing Lord Shiva keeping quiet 

all the seers and sages also kept quiet but this enraged goddess Parvati. She could not digest the insult of Lord Shiva by Chitraketu. Addressing Chitraketu she said—O son! I curse you. Since you have insulted a great person and have thereby committed the biggest sin, may you have a rebirth as an Asur (demon).

King Chitraketu most respectfully got down from the Viman (aerial vehicle) and bowed down with a pleasing face and said—O mother Parvati! with due respect and folded hands I accept your curse. I beg excuse for my wrong words that have pained you.

Having said so Chitraketu went away riding his viman.

It was this Chitraketu who had appeared from the sacrificial fire of the yajna by Twashta in the form of Vritrasur. However, the enlightenment and devotion towards God persisted in his heart. His devotion persisted even while he was fighting with Indra.

 

Tale of Prahlad

When in His Varah (boar) incarnation Lord Vishnu killed Hiranyaksha, his elder brother Hiranyakashyapu was so enraged that he felt like destroying the whole world and killing Lord Vishnu since He had killed his brother. He asked all the daityas (demons) to go the earth, where religious rites are observed and to kill all the devotees. It is due to the religious acts performed by the devotees that the religiousity increases and due to the increase in religiousity increases the strength of Lord Vishnu.

Executing the orders of Hiranyakashyapu, the demons started destroying the observance of religious rites and troubling the people. They plundered villages and burnt the houses. Hiranyakashyapu thought of becoming immortal for which he went to mount 

Mandrachal for penance. His penance was so powerful that his body emitted fire and the earth staggered. Lord Brahma appeared before him and asked him to ask for a boon.

Hiranyakashyapu said—O Lord Brahma! grant me the boon that my death may not be caused by any creature of your creation i.e. human, animal, god, demon, reptile etc.; that I should neither die inside nor outside, neither on earth nor in sky, neither by any armament nor by any weapon; that no body would be able to face me in war.

Having granted the boon Lord Brahma went back to his abode. With the boon tyranny of Hiranyakashyapu further increased.

Hiranyakashyapu had four sons, of whom youngest was Prahlad. He was a great devotee of God since childhood and had all the qualities one could think of.

Since childhood Prahlad was so engrossed in the thoughts of God that unlike other children he had least inclination 

towards play. At times he laughed and at times he cried, sang, played and offered food to God.

Shukracharya was the preceptor of the daityas (demons) and had two sons viz. Shanda and Amarka. It was their responsibility to impart the education of demon-ethics to Prahlad.

One day taking his son in arms Hiranya-kashyapu asked him most affectionately—`Son, which of the lessons that your teacher teaches you, you like the most?'

Prahlad replied—Father, what I consider the best is to avoid worldly affairs, renounce the household and to proceed to the forests to seek refuge in God.

Such words from his son enraged Hiranyakashyapu. He sent for his teachers and asked why such wrong things were taught to the children? At this Prahlad said—`I have not learnt this from the teachers. Those, who themselves are unaware to live life properly, how such ignorant people would teach others?'

Both the teachers were extremely frightened. Hiranyakashyapu punished them in various ways. Once again they resumed teaching him and when they thought that Prahlad had gained all the knowledge, they bathed him, he was given new clothes to wear and then taken to his father. Prahlad placed his head over the feet of his father to pay his respect.

Hiranyakashyapu embraced and blessed his son and then asked—Son, last time you had made some mistake. I hope, this time your teachers have taught you properly. Do tell me some good thing that you have learnt.

Prahlad replied—`Father, I think, the best thing for man is devotion to God. There are nine forms of devotion. We may adopt all or one of those. The nine forms of devotion are as follows—listening to the leelas (acts) of Lord Vishnu, singing in praise of His nature and qualities, meditating upon Him, serving and worshipping his feet, praying a sense of service and friendliness to Him and self dedication.'

When Hiranyakashyapu heard Prahlad say so, in anger he dashed him down on earth and ordered the daityas (demons) to take him away and kill him as he was his enemy in the form of his son. To execute the orders of Hiranyakahsyapu the demons tried to kill Prahlad by spears and tridents but he remained unaffected. They threw him from the mountain, burnt him in fire but could not harm him. Prahlad remained quiet.

Hiranyakashyapu said, `You fool! all the three worlds tremble in fright of my anger. I am so angry with you, still you are unmoved and talking of some God other than me? Where is the God?

Prahlad replied that God was present everywhere. At this Hiranyakashyapu said that if God was everywhere. He must be in the pillar also. He further told Prahlad that he was going to behead him and see for himself how the omnipresent God saved him.

Having said so he jumped with force and instead of hitting Prahlad, Hiranyakashyapu's blow landed on the pillar. There was such 

a catastrophic sound as if the world was going to end. Lord Nrisimha appeared from the pillar. The form of Lord Nrisimha was very unusual. Neither He was fully human nor lion. Hiranyakashyapu wondered who that strange creature was?

Lord Nrisimha stood before him in His fearsome form. He had wide eyes. His monstrous body was touching the sky. He had big hair, fearsome beard and frowning eyebrows. He had large nails on His hands. Having seen Him all the daityas (demons) ran away out of fright. Hiranyakashyapu, however, charged over Him with his mace. How could he harm Lord Nrisimha, who played duel with him for sometime. At times Hiranyakashyapu felt that he was going to win and he fought with renewed vigour.

It was evening after a while when Lord Nrisimha took him to the door-frame, lifted him over His thighs and tore his body with His nails. Nobody could dare to go before Him. Having killed Hiranyakashyapu, He sat on his high throne.

When the gods saw that Hiranyakashyapu had been killed, they all showered flower-petals on Lord and sang his glory but they could not pacify His anger and so, they sent Goddess Lakshmi to pacify Him. Having seen the fearsome form of Lord Nrisimha, even she got perplexed. Finally, Lord Brahma said to Prahlad, ``Look son, Lord Nrisimha has assumed such a fearsome form out of anger on your father. So, you should go and pacify Him.''

With Lord Brahma's blessings Prahlad went near Lord Nrisimha, prostrated before Him to pay his respect. When Lord Nrisimha found Prahlad before Him, He was so overwhelmed with emotion due to the divine touch that tears rolled out of his eyes. He assumed the feet of Lord in his heart with great devotion.

When Lord Nrisimha asked Prahlad to ask for any boon, Prahlad felt sorry as he thought that demanding something was the biggest obstacle in the way of devotion. One, who demanded or asked for anything, 

lost his splendour. So, with a smile he said—`O Lord! I had the feeling that I had no desire left as such but since you are asking me to fulfil my desire, it means that I must be having some hidden desire. So, Lord, kindly grant me a boon to drive away that desire of mine from me.

O Lord,I request you to grant me a special boon. My father condemned you by saying murderer of his brother and hated very much. As a devotee of your's he also hatred me. He became spritual as soon as you saw him, though as a son I seek forgiveness on his behalf and also request you to turn him as a pious soul.

God Nrisimha told Prahlad affectionately —Son 21 generation of a family become pious, where devotee like you born. Your father become pure soul as soon as I touched him, though you have to do his last rite according to your family's tradition. This is the duty of a Son. Now, perform your duties as a king as worship towards me. After giving blessings to Prahlad God went to Heaven.

 

Salvation of Gajendra

In Ksheersagar, the ocean of milk, there was a stunning mountain named Trikoot over which lived an elephant Gajendra, who was the leader of elephants. Whenever he roamed about in his delight, rest of the animals were alarmed and scared of him.

Once in summer heat he felt very thirsty. He went to a large lake to quench his thirst where he sucked water through his trunk and drank it. After drinking water he bathed in the lake and since he was in a playfull mood he sprinkled water over the faces of his mates.

While Gajendra was fully engrossed in his delight and fun a strong crocodile in the lake came and caught hold of his leg in its jaw. Gajendra tried his best to get his leg released. His mates also tried to help him out by pulling his leg while his children were pulling his tail. Everybody was trying 

but the crocodile was not loosening its grip and was least affected as while in water a crocodile is extremely strong.

Unable to release himself from the crocodile Gajendra thought that while elephants like him failed, how could his mates help? Finally, he thought of seeking refuge in God, the almighty, who is the one and only shelter for the whole world. Whosoever seeks refuge in God for protection, he saves him by all means. Having thought so he started eulogizing God through hymns, that he had learnt in his previous birth.

Lord Shri Hari appeared there right at that moment. Having heard the eulogy of Gajendra Lord Shri Hari came riding over Garuda. When Gajendra saw Lord Shri Hari with His Chakra, the discus, riding Garuda he picked up a lovely lotus from the lake by his trunk and offered it to Lord with respectful salutation.

Lord jumped from Garuda and mercifully brought out both Gajendra and the crocodile. In presence of all the Gods

Shri Hari split open the mouth of the crocodile by His Chakra (discus) and released Gajendra. As Lord granted salvation to both the elephant and the crocodile, all the gods showered flowers on them.

This crocodile was earlier a gandharva (heavenly minstrel) named Hu-Hu, who reincarnated as a crocodile due to a curse by sage Deval and with the divine touch he earned salvation. He saluted Lord Shri Hari placing his head over His feet and eulogized Him. The crocodile circumambulated Lord, saluted Him and left for his heavenly abode before everybody.

Meanwhile, Gajendra also attained salvation with the divine touch of Lord and get a form like that of Lord Himself. In his previous birth he was a king named Indradyumn, who had renaunced his throne and started ascetic practices at mount Malay.

It was by chance that Agastya Muni (saint) passed through the mount and found the King practicing ascetic fervour like ascetics abandoning his duty of protection 

of subjects. The saint cursed the King for acting arbitrarily. He said since the King was intellectually dull like elephant may he reincarnate as an elephant. Saint Agastya departed having cursed the King Indradyumn, who thought it to be his fate and felt content. Subsequently he reincarnated as an elephant and it was the influence of his Lord-worship that despite being an elephant he remembered God. Lord Shri Hari not only granted salvation to him but accepted him as one of His Parshads (attendant). Taking Parshad Gajendra with Him Lord proceeded to His abode on Garuda.

Whatsoever recites the eulogy that Gajendra had recited surely attains God at the time of death. God descends in his life. Lord Himself had said so to Gajendra in front of everybody.

 

 

Churning of the Ocean

Once having awakened all their powers, the demons or the Asuras attacked the heaven and conquered the kingdom of the gods or the Suras. Indra, Varun and other gods went to Lord Brahma and told him about their objection. Lord Brahma himself observed the inertness of the gods while the demons were flourishing.

Lord Brahma then went to the adobe of Lord Ajit at Vaikuntha (heaven) along with the gods. When they all reached there, they could see nothing. Lord Brahma then sang the glory of God with full concentration of mind. God, the supreme, appeared before them with such a radiance as if thousands of Suns had arisen. Their eyes got closed and they could not see anything. Only Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva could see God.

God addressed to them—O Gods! what I am going to say, listen attentively. Lord Kaal (time) is favouring the Asuras (demons) at present. Therefore, it would be better for you to have a treaty with them. If you are to accomplish something big, you may have a reconciliation even with your enemy. God further said—without wasting any more time you should try to bring out the nectar. So, first of all drop all sorts of grass, straws, creepers and herbs in the Ksheer-Sagar (ocean of milk) and then with the churning stick of Mandrachal (mountain) and using Vasuki as a churning cord, churn the ocean with my help. There is no more time for laziness. Concede all the demands of the Asuras (demons). Through peace you may achieve everything but not through anger. First of all Kaal-Koot, a deadly poison will emerge from the ocean. Do not get afraid and nurse no greed for anything and if the desire is not fulfilled one should not at all be angry.

The Devas (gods) and the Asuras (demons) then entered into a friendly alliance and started preparing for the churning of the ocean. Using their total strength they uprooted Mandrachal and tried to carry it towards the ocean but it was too heavy to carry. They dashed it down. Many gods and demons got crushed under it. Having seen it, God riding on Garuda appeared and most casually lifted Mandrachal on Garuda and then placed it at appropriate place.

The Devas told Vasuki, the snake, that even he would have his share in the nectar, that would emerge from the churning of the ocean and so Vasuki agreed to be the cord for churning. Winding it around Mandrachal everybody got ready to churn the ocean. God then said that he would hold the head of snake Vasuki. Along with Him all the gods stood on the side of Vasuki's head. This enraged the Asuras, who said that they were 

not at all inferior to the gods; that they had also studied the texts of the Vedas and had accomplished various valiant deeds; and that they had the right to be on the head-side and that they would not be on the tail-side.

At this God said—``There is no point in quarrelling. We may go to the tail-side'' and smilingly he left the mouth of Vasuki and held his tail instead along with other gods. Both the sides then got engaged in churning. During the course of churning mount Mandrachal began to sink in spite of everybody's holding it. This made everybody pensive. God then assumed the shape of a giant turtle and lifted Mandrachal on His back. While Mandrachal was spinning on His back, He felt as though someone was scratching His back.

On the strength of God the churning of the ocean went on due to which the eyes and breath of Vasuki emitted poisonous 

flame and the Asuras (demons) started burning in it. The churning created a lot of commotion and disturbance in the ocean. The fishes, crocodiles, snakes, turtles etc. started hurrying helter-skelter in utter confusion. Right at that time first of all emerged the most powerful poison named Kaal-Koot. Having been frightened everybody flocked around Lord Shiva and started singing his glory—`O Lord! you are the God of all gods. You are the soul of all and you do good to all. We have come to you for protection. Please relieve us.'

Hearing all this Lord Shiva became compassionate towards them and told his beloved Sati—Look! the people are in distress due to this Kaal-Koot poison and I must relieve them. The life of those who have strength and power is meaningful only when they protect the wretched and the distressed.

Shiva and so she nodded in agreement. Lord Shiva then accepted the poison, drank and preserved it in throat. While Lord Shiva was drinking the poison few of its drops dropped and were consumed by snakes, scorpions, other poisonous creatures and herbs.

When Lord Shiva finished drinking the poison, the gods and the demons became very happy and started the churning of the ocean with new vigour and energy. Then appeared a cow, Kamdhenu from the ocean. Kamdhenu was the source of milk, clarified butter and other materials of Agnihotra (sacrificial fire). The ritualistic sages engaged in sacrificial rites accepted it. After Kamdhenu emerged a horse named Uchchaishravah, who was white like Moon. Bali took it.

Thereafter emerged Airaavat, the elephant. It was very beautiful and had four tusks. Indra kept it with him. After it emerged Padmarag-precious jewel named

Kaustubh, which Lord Ajit wore Himself. Subsequently, appeared Kalpa-Vriksha, the tree that gives whatever one desires. This tree added to the glamour of Swarga, the heaven. After this appeared Apsaras, the dancing girls, who were very beautiful and who were to please the gods. 

After all these appeared goddess Lakshami. She was so beautiful that the gods, demons and humans, all desired her to marry them. Goddess Lakshmi on the other hand with lotus-garland in hands was thinking about whom she should marry. She wanted such a husband who was free of any fault. Finally, she opted for Lord Vishnu, who had all the desired qualities. Lord Vishnu also provided her place over his chest.

Then in the form of Varuni (wine) appeared a very beautiful girl, who was taken by Asuras. Subsequently appeared Dhanvantari having a Kalash (jar) of nectar 

in his hands. The demons snatched away the jar and the gods could do nothing about it.

Lord Vishnu then consoled the gods and through his Maya (magical power) sowed the seeds of discord among the demons. They started quarrelling among themselves. Everybody wanted to drink the nectar first. In the meantime Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Mohini (the most charming woman). Everybody was infatuated by her charms and tried to attract her attention towards them in various ways. They said—``Who are you? Where you come from? How beautiful are you! Whose daughter are you? Why don't you distribute this nectar among us? We are 

agreeable to whatever you say.''

Lord in His Mohini form said—``You all are the descendants of great sage Kashyap while I am only a promiscuous woman. Why would you accept my decisions? It is said that such woman should not be relied upon''.

The demons or the daityas replied—``No, no, we have full faith in you. Whatever you say, we will agree''.

Mohini then seated the Devatas (gods) and the Daityas (demons) in two different rows and started to distribute the nectar from the gods' side. From time to time she kept on casting her sight on the Daityas with a smile and distributed all the nectar among the gods only. Rahu having guessed it had sat in between the Sun and the Moon so that even he may get a share in the nectar. The sooner he drank the nectar he was beheaded by God, the supreme. The nectar had not reached the torso, so it fell down while the head could remain alive as a planet or heavenly body and that is why it eclipses the Sun and the Moon from time to time.

When all the gods received the nectar, God, the supreme abandoned the Mohini form and came back to His original form.

The Devatas (gods) and the Daityas  (demons) had done the same deed, at the same time and for the same reason but got different results. The gods had easily received the nectar since they had sought refuge in the feet of Lord, the supreme while being indifferent to Lord the Daityas were deprived of the desired result despite their tail.

 

 

Ale of lord Ãman

King Bali was the son of Virochan and grandson of Prahlad. Since they served the brahmins from the lineage of Bhrigu, the brahmins were so pleased with them that to have a right over Swarga (paradise) they got performed a very big Yajna (sacrificial rite). From the sacrificial pit of the Yajna emerged a chariot alongwith beautiful horses, bows, never empty quivers etc. Thus all the preparations were accomplished. Ready for war, King Bali embarked on that chariot and set out for Amaravati, the capital of Indra. Bali besieged it from all sides and blew the conch shell with a great force. Having heard the sound of the conch shell the gods were alarmed. They all went to their mentor Brihaspati and said—O worshipful Lord! this time Bali has made a great preparation for war and it seems, we may not be able to confront him. Know not how his strength 

got so increased. Please tell, where from he got so much of strength?

Devguru (the preceptor of gods) Brihaspati explained—``Indra! the brahmin descendants of Bhrigu have made him so strong and powerful that at this time none except the supreme Lord can face him. It would, therefore, be just for you all to hide somewhere and save yourselves. You should wait for the time when the cycle of his fortune changes.

The gods accepted the advice of Devguru and abandoned Swarga (the paradise). Bali acquired the kingdom of heaven without any war. The brahmin descendants of Bhrigu then made Bali to perform a hundred Ashwamedha (vedic horse-sacrifice) yajna (rites). With the influence of these yajnas the name and fame of Bali spread in all the directions.

When the gods ran away into hiding and the demons captured the heaven, god-mother Aditi felt highly distressed. Her husband seer Kashyap had gone to practise penance. On his return he said—``You always remain 

jolly but right now you look very pensive. What's the matter? Is everything going well with your children?

Aditi replied—My Lord! Please think about me. The enemies have snatched away the property as well as the adobe from my sons. Kindly do something so that they may regain whatever they have lost.

Seer Kashyap then said to Aditi—``There is only one way for you to come out of this crisis, you should engage yourself in adoration and worship of Lord Vasudeva. He also advised her to observe Punsavan Vrata, a religious rite and explained her the method to observe this fast.

As advised by seer Kashyap Aditi most carefully observed this fast for twelve days and having been pleased by her fast Lord Vasudeva appeared before her with His Conch-Shell, Discus, Mace and Lotus. Aditi was overwhelmed. She bowed before Lord and sang His glory with folded hands.

Lord said to Aditi—``Aditi! I know what you desire. The enemies have snatched the property of your sons and have driven 

them out of heaven. You desire the victory of your sons and you also wish to worship God along with them, but O lady! I believe those demons may not be defeated right at this time as God and the brahmins are favourable to them. The war at this time may not bring about any happiness, yet I am pleased by the observance of your fast. So, I will have to do something for you to make sure that your fast does not go in vain. By becoming your son, I will protect your children.'' Having said so Lord Vasudeva disappeared.

In due course of time Lord Vasudeva appeared before Aditi in His four-armed form. His form was extremely graceful. Divine musical instruments started playing. When Aditi saw the supreme Lord appear through her womb, she was extremely pleased. Although the supreme Lord had appeared with His ornaments and weapons but in no time He assumed the form of a Vaman Brahmachari (dwarf religious student).

When the supreme Lord assumed the 

form of Vaman, the seers and sages were extremely pleased. Keeping sage Kashyap in the fore front they got all the birth ceremonial rituals performed. Everybody was so pleased having seen his such a cute and small form.

Lord, the supreme then went to King Bali, who was performing yajna, the sacrificial act. The radiance of Lord Vaman made everybody feel as if Sun was present before their eyes. Matching with the small form of Lord Vaman, all his body-organs were small and beautiful. King Bali was highly pleased. He offered best seat to Lord Vaman.

Bali washed the feet of Lord Vaman, worshipped Him and applied His foot-nectar over his forehead. Bali said—O young brahmin! I am highly pleased with your arrival and I bow in salutation before you. Please order, how I may serve you. O Lord! it seems, you want something. Whatever you require, do ask from me. Cows, gold, fully decorated chariots, sacred food grains, eatable materials, marriageable brahmin girl, 

thriving villages, horses, elephants, I may give everything.

Having been pleased with the sweet words of Bali, Lord Vaman said—O King! your words are as per your family tradition. Naturally, it will add to your glory, and why not, since you have accepted Shukracharya, son of Bhrigu as your preceptor who is the foremost sage. You have always followed the orders of your grandfather Prahlad. No miser or heartless person has ever born in your family. In your family none has ever born to go back from his words having made a commitment for charity. One, who goes back from his words at the time of charity, loses all his brilliance. However, no such person has ever born in your family. Prahlad has been in your family tradition. Hiranyaksha also belonged to your family-lineage. Hiranyakashyapu was born in your family, from whom even God, the supreme gets afraid. O King Bali, you are blessed. Your father Virochan was also a very generous person and I am sure, you are going to behave likewise.

Lord Vaman further said—O Demon-King! you are capable of giving everything but I ask for land measuring only three of my steps. I know, you are the master of the world and quite liberal too but I do not want anything more than this. A learned person should accept charity only as much as he needs, which saves him from the sin of accumulation.

Astonished King Bali said—Young brahmin! you talk like older people but your intelligence is like children. What have you asked from me? I could have given you a whole island and you have asked for meagre three steps of land. I only wish that one who comes to me for charity should be given sufficient enough so that he may not need to beg from anybody else. So, for your livelihood ask from me as much land as you need.

Lord Vaman replied—O King! you say that I should ask for sufficient enough so that I may not need to beg anymore but the one, who is not satisfied with three steps of land will not be satisfied with a whole island 

either because then he would desire to have all the seven islands. One, who is satisfied with whatever is provided by his fate, can remain happy in this world. O King! although you are capable of giving me everything, yet I need only three steps of land because one should accumulate as much wealth as need be.

Having heard Lord Vaman, King Bali laughed aloud and said—Alright, as you wish.

The King ordered for some water to make sankalpa (commitment). Right at that time his guru (teacher) Shukracharya said—O son of Virochan! you do not know what you are giving and to whom. He is none other than Lord Vishnu Himself, who has incarnated as the son of Kashyap and Aditi. By making a sankalpa to provide charity to Him, you are doing wrong and it might cause a great loss to the Daityas (the demons). It is not proper. This dwarf is a mayawi, a deciever. He will take everything from you and will give it to the Devatas (the gods), thereby making you a pauper. He will make 

his body so big that it would spread over the total sky. In two steps of his he would enclose all your three lokas (worlds) and when you would be unable to provide him place to keep his third step, you would have to go to hell. Giving away charity is good but while doing so, you should save something for yourself. It is better you refuse.

The demon-king replied in a peaceful tone—O my revered teacher! I am the grandson of Prahlad. How can I commit to give something and then go back from my words? It is the biggest sin to decieve brahmins. What is the use of accumulation of wealth if it could not satisfy the brahmins?

The King further said—You say that he is none other than Lord Vishnu. If Lord Vishnu Himself comes to me as a beggar what else can be better than this? Further, if he is someone else in the disguise of a brahmin, I will still not turn him away.

King Bali's words enraged Shukracharya and by God's inspiration he cursed him— 

O fool! you consider yourself to be very learned and are trying to teach me. You are insulting my words and feeling proud in it. You have disobeyed me. So, prosperity will abandon your life.

King Bali then worshipped Lord Vaman according to rule. He also made a sankalpa to give away three steps of land to Lord Vaman taking water in his hand. After Bali had made the commitment, the small body of Lord Vaman started becoming huge. He enlarged His body to such an extent that in first step he could measure all the land of Bali. In second step he measured Swargalok, the heaven and there was no space left where the third step could be placed. At such a time Lord Brahma washed the feet of the supreme God through his divine Kamandal (water-pot). The same water appeared on the Earth in the form of river Ganges.

Meanwhile, all the Daityas (the demons) discussed among themselves that Vaman had come to beg three steps of land and snatched away everything from our King in the 

process. He is mayawi (deciever) Vishnu. Since our King will not do anything, it is our duty to launch an attack.

As soon as the Daityas (demons) prepared for attack, all the Parshads (attendants) of Lord Vishnu suppressed them in no time. When the Parshads started killing the Daityas Bali said—Listen, when time was favourable to us, the God had made us very strong. Since the God and time is with them now, be quiet and wait for favourable time to come.

After listening to Bali all the Daityas went away to Rasãtal, lowest of the seven hells. Then Garuda, who was aware of Lord Vishnu's desire tied Bali with the noose of Varuna. The sight made everybody sigh in grief that despite giving away his everything a generous person like Bali is being tied.

The supreme God, however, did not sit quiet as He was to bring to the fore the qualities of Bali before everyone. He chided Bali and said—You had agreed to give me three steps of land but I have measured everything in two steps. Now, If you do not 

provide me a place where I may place my third step, you will have to go to the hell. You were talking big that you could give me everything and why had I demanded only three steps of land. What happened to those big talks? You were very proud of your riches. You said that you would give me but you did not. Now, for this falsehood you would be cast into hell for few years.

God tied down the demon King Bali and tested his patience through scolding. But he remained unmoved, and said—O Lord the supreme! I am neither telling a lie nor am decieving you. Please place your third step on my head. O Lord! I am afraid of none in this world. I would not fear if I am tied down or if I have to go to hell or if I am punished. I am afraid only of my disrepute. Lord! you are the teacher of teachers. If you punish or trouble someone, you do so for one's betterment. Likewise, you have taught us, the Asuras (demons) a good lesson. When we are blind in pride of our riches, strength and family lineage you punish us appropriately by snatching away everything.

By snatching away everything from me you have initiated the process to call me to yourself. We, the Asuras earn various siddhis (supernatural powers) and pursue enmity with you, still you provide us what is due to your devotees. This is your greatness. Right now you have tied me with the noose of Varuna and have passed various comments. I am not at all dejected as I am aware you are doing all this for my betterment.

Meanwhile Prahlad, the supreme devotee of Lord reached there and after respectfully saluting to Lord he said—O Lord! It was you, who gave everything to Bali and now you are taking it back. One, who gives away has the right to take back. You have done right by taking away riches and wealth from my grandson because its attachment makes one forget oneself.

Lord then said to Bali—Wish you well. Go to Sutal Lok (one of the seven subterraneon region) where even the gods of heaven crave to go. Now, you will be invincible. My Chakra (the discus) will cut to pieces the one, who disobeys you. I will 

protect you in every possible way. I will be at your gate. You will find me always by your side. My influence will destroy your demonish character. You will become Indra in your next birth.

Having heard God's words tears came to Bali's eyes. His voice choked. With folded hands and being overwhelmed with emotion he said—O Lord! I did not completely bow before you in salutation, had only tried a bit, yet you have so kindly rewarded me, the way you reward your devotees, who seek your protection.

The sooner he said so, he was free from Varuna Pash, the noose of Varuna and proceeded for Sutal Lok.

In this way having taken the kingdom from Bali Lord the Supreme gifted it to Indra and fulfilled the desire of Aditi, and Himself became Upendra.

 

 

Tale of Maharshi Chyavan

Once while roaming about in the jungle along with his daughter Sukanya, King Sharyati came to the adobe of Sage Chyavan. The sage was practising penance. His whole body was covered with the soil accumulated by the termites. There were only two holes through which his eyes were shining bright. Sukanya mistook those to be fireflies and out of mischief poured thorns in it. The eyes got injured and blood gushed out.

Suddenly every body felt a bit restless. The king realized that something wrong had happened. When he enquired, Sukanya hesitantly told everything. The king then pleaded to the sage and begged forgiveness. He handed over the hands of Sukanya to the sage for his service.

Sukanya engaged herself in the service of her husband with full devotion. The sage was highly pleased with her. Even he wished to please her but due to old age he had become very weak and looked ugly. Once Ashwini Kumars visited his adobe. They bathed him in a pool from where appeared three handsome and identical men. Sukanya could not identify her husband and so she prayed to Ashwini Kumars. Having been pleased with her, Ashwini Kumars told her, who among those three men was her husband. Sukanya now had an energetic and brilliant husband and they lived happily for a long long time.

 

 

Tale of Ambarish

King Ambarish was a great devotee of God. His sight was always fixed on the idol of God, legs were engaged in visiting various places of God on foot and his mind always reflected upon God. His wife was also religious like him. They both personally sweeped the temple and served the God. Having been pleased by their devotion, God entrusted their security to His discus, the Sudarshan Chakra.

King Ambarish used to observe fast on Ekadashi (eleventh day of lunar fortnight) and as a rule the fast could be completed on the Dwadashi (twelfth day of lunar fortnight) only after eating something. This was called Paran of the fast, or rather accomplishment. Once while he was doing it, arrived sage Durvasa. The King respectfully bowed before him and requested 

im to have food. Sage Durvasa accepted his offer and went to the river-shore to have bath before food. After bath he got so engrossed in trans that he was unaware of the time consumed.

Dwadashi was now nearing its end. According to the brahmins if Paran (accomplishment) of the fast is not done, it involves sin, but how can one eat himself without feeding the guest? After a long thought Ambarish completed his fast by drinking only water.

Sage Durvasa, in the meantime, arrived there and having seen King Ambarish drinking water became furious. He tore one of his matted hair through which appeared a terrible demoness _ Kritya, who ran towards the King to kill him. King Ambarish remained quiet but the Sudarshan Chakra burnt the demoness and then rushed towards Sage Durvasa, who ran for safety to Lord Brahma. When Lord Brahma could not save him, he went for protection to Lord Shiva, who impressed upon him to seek protection 

from Lord Narayana, whom the Sudarshan Chakra belonged.

Durvasa then went to Lord Narayana and pleaded to Him falling on His feet—O Lord! I have offended your devotee, but now I seek your protection. Please save me.

Lord Narayana replied—Sage Durvasa! I am always under the control of my simple and ingenuous devotees. You better go to King Ambarish and beg his forgiveness, only then you will be relieved.

Finally, Sage Durvasa came back to King Ambarish and held his feet. Ambarish felt highly embarassed. He sang praises for Sudarshan Chakra and the discus calmed down. The Sage Durvasa then praised King Ambarish and blessed him.

 

 

Foreword

By the grace of Shri Radha Raman, the 2nd volume of "Samadhan-The Solutions" is being published. My efforts and my mission received your support and the benign guidance of my peers and preachers.

It's a marathon task to cull and clip stories from a great text like the Shrimad Bhagwat. Every word of every shloka is a totality in itself. No wonder the power of the Bhagwat is proclaimed in the assertion that a home bereft of the Bhagwat or the Bhagwat's shlokas is a foresaken house.

The Bhagwat is a rare encyclopedia that embodies all knowledge along with solutions for all problems and traditions in the form of fables and parables. "Samadhan" teaches us to worship that supreme God who assumes the form of Narayana, Krishna, Rama, Durga, Vaishnavi, Ganesh, Shiv and so on. The ultimate form is the one and only paramatma. All forms sum up in vishnave parvishnave.

There have been all kinds of ideologies about this intense spiritual emotion. Usually half truths about scriptures prevail and derail. Some people make subversive attempts to distort the Bhagwat & other scriptures to win a short cut to cult careerism. They wish to enjoy a better clientele.

In fact the Bhagwat points out that in the Kaliyuga this is precisely what is going to happen; namely those who know less will patronise those who know lesser and create their own sects. There will be many self acclaimed gods though whenever a God was born he never made such claims.

Presently all sorts of views about devotion are prevalent. Some claim they follow the Krishna cult and they do not believe in Rama or Shiva. This is ridiculous. When even an ordinary mortal has two or three names, how can you frown upon multiple names of God. Religion simply says that the form of your faith is super and all other forms support that super form. Or it is like this : a king has many ministers and they look after their portfolios. Similarly our chosen God is the Power Superior of the Universe and his cabinet colleagues are supervising their respective departments. Now if you like you can take your appeal either to the power superior or to his cabinet. Your devotion will not suffer because your appeal to the cabinet certifies its universality, unity, unanimity and dedication.

Dedication gets distorted only when we do not have full faith on our God and try to desert him on instigation of those self-styled saints or sadhus who pass off as miraclemen. We get vocal about our petty problems and encourage such elements. By following the Bhagwat regularly, We can escape these flaws. We must reject practices of instant charisma and hype.

Taking all this into consideration, I have prepared these volumes in Hindi and English(1st part Hindi-English combine and 2nd part Hindi-English separately). On purpose, I have given them the look of a handbook to save on your time and tune.

Affectionately yours

Om Prakash Dhanuka

 

Few Words from writer
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