Vitthala… Panduranga…!!

Sri Muralidhara Swamy – Veedu Thedi Varuvan Vitthalan show in Star Vijay , in 2009 or 2010 (not very sure about the year ) introduced me to Vitthal/Vithoba/Panduranga and to the world of Namasankeertanam !!! 

This topic is an ocean 🙂 One can go on and on about it , I have tried to highlight few incidents and stories of few saints who were very fond of Vithoba of Pandharpur ! 

Story of Pundalik : Pundalik was the only son to his parents..Let’s read on more about his life : 

Pundalik used to torture his parents along with his wife. Unable to bear the torture given by them, the old parents decided to go to Kashi for a pilgrimage tour, knowing this plan Pundalik and his wife also joined them . On reaching there they stayed in the ashram of Saint Kukkutswamy. One night Pundalik woke up and saw 3 women going inside the saint’s hut with soiled clothes but when they came out their dress turned out to be neat and clean and they suddenly vanished out of the sight. Pundalik could not understand what was happening so he stayed awake the next night to see if they would come again , as expected 3 of them came in ,Pundalik gathered courage and spoke to them. The women introduced themselves as the Holy Ganga,Yamuna and Saraswati and their clothes become dirty because of the sins which is washed away by the devotees taking bath in the river but after they clean the hut of the Saint Kukkutswamy , the dirt in their clothes is also cleaned.

They further added that , Pundalik was the biggest sinner of all , as he was torturing his parents , which was not the right thing to do. Pundalik realised his mistake and was a transformed person from that minute. He understood ‘Mata’ and ‘Pita’ are gods in the form of humans . Pundalik and his wife apologised to his parents and requested them to return back to Dandirvan.

Conversation between Sage Narada & Sri Krishna :

Once Sage Narada visited Dwaraka to meet Lord Krishna. He found Lord Krishna looking sad and dull. Narada was worried , Paramatma who is always happy and keeps the world happy with his leelas is now sad?! On enquiring , Sri Krishna replied saying , though he had a really good time in his childhood at Vrindavan with – Mother Yashoda and Father Nanda , he felt bad for not having got an opportunity to play , tease and love his parents Devaki and Vasudeva. Narada understood Lord Krishna’s feelings and asked him what would quench his thirst of having missed his childhood with his parents Devaki and Vasudeva , who were jailed because of the Lord. Krishna thought for a while and said if on this earth there is a son who sincerely takes care of his parents like humans worshipping god, then that sight would give him solace! Narada smiled and replied Yes there is one such person , name being Pundalik. Lord immediately started from Dwaraka to Dandirvan,his consort Rukmini also joined them.

Krishna meets Pundalik :

When Lord Krishna and Rukmini reached Pundalik’s hut , he was busy attending his parents. Though he knew Lord Krishna, the king of Dwaraka had come to meet him, he did not leave his parents abruptly, Pundalik threw a brick for the Lord to stand on and continued serving his dear parents. This part is described beautifully by Sri. Muralidhara Swamy in one of his discourse, like how when humans observe someone very keenly , it becomes an involuntary action to take both hand and place them on their hip, same way Lord Krishna was so engrossed with the sight of Pundalik serving his parents that he took his hand and put them on his hip, this being the exact posture of Pandhuranga !!

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Sri Krishna staying there forever as Vitthal : 

Pundalik after attending to his parents , came out running prostrated before the Lord and offered his apologies. Lord Krishna was so ecstatic and happy seeing such a devoted son, he hugged Pundalik and offered him a boon. Pundalik requested the Lord to stay there with him forever. As an act of granting this wish , a divya murthy(divine idol) came out of Lord Krishna and Rukmini , which is now the presiding deity at Pandharpur 🙂 no sculpture , sculpted the idol 🙂

Pundalik is referred to as “Uttama(best)-Bhakt(devotee)” – as Lord personally came to Dandirvan to meet him.

Vitthal , Vithoba of Pandharipur : 

“Vit” means brick in Marathi , hence Lord Krishna was named as “Vitthal” or “Vithoba” 

Lord is referred to be of someone who has the qualities of –

  • Saulabhyam(one who can be attained easily) and Saundaryam- (Beauty personified).
  • Chaitanya (one who shines or radiates) and Chinmayam (one with vast knowledge)

Paramatma can be seen in different postures in this world :

  • Reclining posture – Arthasayanam , Yogasayanam , Virayasayanam, Bhogasayanam
  • Standing posture 
  • Dancing posture , like Kaliya Narthanam Krishna and so many other !

In Pandharpur , the posture of Lord Krishna is described as “Samacharana Sarojam” meaning–Both his feet are placed equally (Sama) signifying that for Lord everyone is equal , lord does not differentiate between  :

  • rich or poor
  • educated or uneducated
  • intelligent or foolish
  • human or any other living species.

Mahan or Great Saints of Pandharpur : 

Pandharpur situated at the banks of Chandrabhaga River is a reservoir of Saints !!! Again Sri Muralidhara Swamy explains beautifully that “Each grain of sand in Pandharpur is considered sacred and he also says – “One can count the number of grains of sand in Pandharpur but we cannot get the total count of the number of Saints/Mahan/Devotees who have stayed there and immersed themselves in the pure devotion of Vithoba by singing and dancing with his name – Vitthal , Vitthal , Vitthal on their lips !!

Vitthal is one god who played , danced, washed utensils, became a barber , cobbler for the sake of his devotees.It is not possible to cover all the saints in one blog 🙂 there are so many ! Dyanehswar, Nivritti, Sopana , Muktabai , Eknath , Namadev , Tukaram …..list goes on !!

I have written about a few 🙂 Most of the saints lived in the 13th century !

Saint Dyaneshwar :Dynaeshwar Maharaj was born in the auspicious day of Krishna Janmashtami 🙂 he is supposed to be the one who established the Bhakti Marg. Saints-Nivritti , Nyanadev , Sopana , Mukta Bai were the siblings of Dyaneshwar. Many miracles did happen in his life . Some of which are :

  • Seeing the cruelty imposed upon a buffalo by a man and being ridiculed on trying to stop it , he made the buffalo recite vedas by keeping his hand on the buffalo’s forehead stunning everyone present there and giving a message that all living beings have to be respected !
  • In another episode , he was challenged by Changdev who could ride on tigers using his mystical powers , Dyaneshwar Maharaj made a wall fly and rode on it, thus vanquishing the pride of Changdev, who later became a great disciple of Dyaneshwar Maharaj.. He spread Vitthal nama and bhakti through out his life.

Sant Namdev : Namadev was born in a very pious family , from his childood he had no interest in anything other than thinking about Vitthal and chanting his name. When he was young he used to love going to temple of Vithoba with his mother. Once his mother prepared a delicacy and sent it as an offering for Lord Vitthal through Namdev , Namdev went to the temple and offered it to the Lord, on seeing no signs of the Lord having it , he started crying very badly , Lord who could not see his devotee crying came out in a human form and consumed the food. Namdev’s joy knew no bounds, he ran and narrated the incident to his mother who was shocked. The next day again she sent some food to be offered to the Lord through Namdev but this time she followed him stealthily and when she saw the Lord coming out and having food from her son , her joy knew no bounds !!!! Namdev also had the opportunity to meet Sant Nyanadev and both became close friends because of their common love and devotion towards Vithoba of Pandharpur , they even went out for pilgrimage together !

Sant Tukaram : Tukaram was an ardent devotee of Vitthal and has contributed various works in literature , it is believed Lord Vitthal himself came in his dreams and initiated him with the words ” Rama Krishna Hari”. Namasankeertanam now is full of abhangs by Sant Tukaram ! Tukaram remains as one of the greatest saints in the history of Pandharpur.

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Narhari Sonar :  Narhari Sonar was a goldsmith and was a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva and stayed in Pandharpur, he never visited Vitthal temple as he was so devoted to Lord Rudra and did not want to worhip any other god.  Once a rich merchant wanted to make a waistband in gold for Lord Vitthal as an offering , he ordered for the same to Narhari Sonar, being a staunch Shiva bhakt he refused to go to the temple to take the measurements , the merchant got him the exact measurement and a beautiful waistband  with gold and other precious gems was made by Narhari Sonar , when the merchant offered it to Lord, it was found to be very tight so he took it back to Narhari Sonar to lengthen it, after it was lengthened and offered to Lord Vithoba again , it was found to be loose, the merchant suggested Narhari Sonar to be blindfolded and come inside the temple premises to take the exact measurements so as to avoid any more confusions! Narhari touched Vitthal and to his shock he felt it as a shiva lingam ! In his disbelief he opened his blindfold but saw Vitthal standing there and smiling at him 🙂 he blindfolded his eyes again and touched Vitthal , again felt Lord Shiva  , but standing infront of him was Vithoba of Pandharpur !! Narhari Sonar understood Lord Shiva and Lord Vitthal were one and the same 🙂 he embraced Vitthal’s legs tightly and started shedding happy tears !! He has written numerous bhajans on Vitthal and glorified the Lord !

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Mastaka Linga – If we see Lord Vithoba his head has a shape of Shiva Lingam , hence he is also called as Mastaka Linga 🙂 Swarupa Linga 🙂

Janabai : Janabai was the maid servant of Sant Namdev and had unadulterated love towards Vitthal, she was also the closest follower of Sant Namadev, it is said that Lord Vitthal used to help Janabai in her household chores and through her selfless service she attained god 🙂

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Ashada Ekadesi : 

On ashada ekadasi the annual procession takes place in Pandharpur.

Pandharpur Wari – where the procession of devotees in huge numbers , carrying the “Paduka” (footwear) of deity and saints in palanquin happens. The two most admired palanquins are of Saint Dnyaneshwar which comes from Alandi and the second one is of Sant Tukaram which is from Dehu. This is carried out as a tradition for the past many years and is celeberated with great pomp and splendour !!

Namasankeerthanam : 

In Pandharpur Lord is made happy very easily just by chanting of his name !! Nama Japa or Nama-Sankeerthanam 🙂

As how it is mentioned in Srimad Bhagvatam Canto 12, Chapter 03, Text 52

kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇuṁ
tretāyāṁ yajato makhaiḥ
dvāpare paricaryāyāṁ
kalau tad dhari-kīrtanāt

In Satya Yugam – meditation was the means to attain God.

In Treta Yugam – performing holy sacrifices was the means to attain God.

In Dwapara Yuga – worshipping the lord’s lotus feet (archana) was the means to attain God.

In Kali Yuga – chanting of god’s name or Nama Sankeertanam is the only way to attain God 🙂

Nama Cha Bajar Pandhari – ‘Bajar’ means market , Pandharpur is a bajar where you get hari naam in abundace!!

I have not visited Pandharpur .. but few Vithoba temples which I have visited are :

  • Sri Vitthal Temple – Govindapuram , Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu.
  • Sri Panduranga Perumal Temple – Thennangur , Tamil Nadu.
  • Panduranga Swamy Temple – Triplicane (this is very close to Parthasarathy Swamy temple )
  • Sri Panduranga Ashramam – Kodambakkam

Today being Ashada Ekadesi 🙂 I hope you all had a good time reading this blog and spending few minutes thinking only about Vitthal and his bhaktas 🙂  While I was typing, I kept listening to an Abhang [on loop] leaving the link here , do listen if interested 🙂 

Lets meditate on the form of Vitthal !  Samacharana Saroja – Mastaka Linga, Kasturi Thilakam , Makara Kundalam Panduranga !!! Jai Jai Vitthala , Jai Hari Vitthala !!

As already mentioned one blog is not sufficient to cover about Pandharpur & Vithoba !! Signing off half heartedly 😦 but yes do let me know if you wish to see a part 2 of this and also please post your comments on this blog 🙂

Link of Abhang : 

Source of the pics : Pintrest 🙂

First image is by my favourite artist Kesav , instagram page – @krishnafortoday

Damodarlila…

Lord Krishna has many names, one among them being “Damodar”.

Bound to a Mortar :

Once while Mother Yashoda was churning curd and humming a sweet song , Little Krishna who was sleeping woke up and came crawling to her , as he was hungry and wanted his mother’s milk. Yashoda made her little baby lie on her lap and started feeding Krishna, she caressed his hair softly and admired his lotus eyes and charming smile, when suddenly she remembered about the pot of milk kept on the hearth, leaving him down abruptly Mother Yahsoda ran inside the kitchen.
Not happy about this negligence, Krishna broke the pot containing curd with the churning rod and crawled outside the house 🙂
Yashoda heard a loud sound of a crackling pot , she came running inside the room only to find the entire house in a mess. Not finding Krishna in the room , she went out in search of him and found him feeding butter to a cat.
Krishna on seeing his mother started running away from her , Yashoda caught hold of running Krishna – who assumed the expression of fear seeing his enraged mother.
Yashoda took a rope and tried tying him to a grinding mortar , the rope fell short of two fingers, she took several pieces of rope ,tied them together to make a long one – no matter how much she tried the rope used to tie him always fell short of two fingers. Atlast seeing his dear mother tired ,Krishna allowed himself to be tied.
Dama means rope , Udar meaning belly .
Damodar – “The one whose belly is bound with rope” – “rope of love”.
I am sure all of you must have heard the song ‘Enna tavam seidanai Yashoda’ which glorifies this incident.
My favourite line in it is -“bhramanum indranum manadil porAmai koLLa
uralil kaTTi vAi pottik-kenjavaittAi tAyE” —-What a deep meaning it has !
Liberation of Nalakuvara & Manigriva :
After mother Yashoda went inside the house, Krishna always mischievous, started crawling,dragging the grinding mortar behind him. At a distance he saw two tall Kakubha trees. He crawled between two trees and using the mortar uprooted them, which fell down with a loud thud.
Out came two celestials who were Nalakuvara and Manigriva (sons of Kubera) , they were cursed by sage Narada to become trees on Earth. Sri Krishna delivered their souls.
Why were they cursed by Narada?
The two sons of Kubera Nalakuvara and Manigriva had attained great prosperity by worshipping Lord Shiva. They were infatuated and with the pride of their wealth , lived a life of sensuality.
Once it so happened that Lord Narada met them in a state of intoxication , surrounded by young women , singing and dancing in the sacred Ganges. The women on seeing the sage, out of respect put on their robes and tried hiding, but the sons of Kubera paid no attention to Sage Narada and continued enjoying stark naked in the Ganges. Enraged seeing this, Narada cursed them to be born as Kakubha trees in Vraja (Vrindavan) and they will be released from this curse only once Lord Hari (Krishna) comes there.
Being born as trees in Vrindavan was not a curse for them.. or was it 🙂
Nalakuvara & Manigriva got the opportunity to see all the mischievious activities of Little Krishna 🙂
They realised – we ran after beautiful women – thinking them to be the best and that they would satisfy our sense organs, we were so wrong Krishna !!!
They thought– If a person is born as a human on this Earth :
  • If he has eyes- it must be used only to see Krishna and his leelas.
  • If he has ears- it must be used only to listen to the stories of Krishna.
  • If he has mouth – it must be used only to sing about Lord Krishna

In short , all the sense must be engaged only in remembering, worshipping the Paramatma 🙂 who is the epitome of Beauty 🙂

Hearing the terrified sound caused by falling of the trees, Krishna’s father Nanda came running and untied the rope . They took him inside saying ” Only Lord’s grace has saved our child ” 😉

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My Corner :
  • The ‘rope’ mentioned here is nothing but the distance between the ‘jivatma’ and ‘paramatma’. If we are very far from him, the length of the rope is too long and it is difficult to reach God. If our love for him is pure and unadulterated, its is very easy to tie him- with the shortest rope.
  • Yashoda , had no education , nor did she have the knowledge of chanting any slokas or did any tedious fasting or Yagna to attain Lord. All she had was pure motherly love for her son Krishna.
  • Like how a child is bound to mother by an umblical cord , similarly we are bound to Lord Krishna with the same cord, who is the epicentre of the entire Universe.
  • It is said that the place where this divine incident took place is the epicentre of the Earth and that place has most attraction or magnetic power around 🙂 In sanskrit Kukshi means- interior part of womb , Yashoda ties the rope at Kishna’s kukshi , the lord’s womb the place where evolution begins, so Yahsoda ties the whole world , with the rope.

Ukhal Bandhan : The mortar on which Lord Krishna was tied 🙂

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Andal’s Thiruppavai :

  • Andal also tells about Damodarlila in her 5th pasuram :
Pasuram 5 :
māyanai mannu vaḍa madurai maindanai |
tūya perunīr yamunai turaivanai |
āyar kulattinil tōnnum aṇi-viḷakkai |
tāyai kuḍal viḷakkan ceyda dāmodaranai |
tūyōmāy vandu nām tūmalar tūvit tozhudu |
vāyināl pāḍi manattināl cindikka |
pōya pizhaiyum puhudaruvān ninnanavum |
tīyinil tūśāhum ceppēlōr empāvāy ||
Referring to Sri Krishna as ‘Mayan’, Andal says he took birth in Mathura. Lived,played along the banks of river Yamuna, making Yashoda and the entire aayar kulam(Yadhu Kul) happy he is also called damodaran , worshipping him with great devotion,all our sins will be vanquished.

Damodarashtakam :

  • Most beautiful ashtakam – containing 8 verses- origin being the ‘Padma Puran’ , which explains this Damodarlila of Lord Krishna 🙂
  • During the month of Kartik , it is believed to be very auspicious to light a ghee lamp infront of Lord Krishna.
  • Last year (2019) – during the month of Kartik , I learnt how to recite Damodarashtakam and also got my own copy of Bhagavad Gita 🙂
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Please do watch and listen to this melodious version of Damodarashtakam 🙂 it will take only few minutes !
P.S : Source of the Lord Krishna’s pictures – Internet

Thiruvallikeni Parthasarathy

History behind the name :

Every name of a place has a history associated with it. Madras was called so because in olden days it was ruled by ‘Sri Maduresan’ and the current name Chennai goes after the name of Sri Chennapa Nayakudu who ruled the city years back.

Similarly- In Sanskrit a pond which is full of water lily is called as ‘Kairaveni Saras’. Water lilly known as ‘alli’ in tamil grew in bunches in a pond , near the temple and hence alli-keni (small pond )- came to be known as Thiru-Alli-Keni aka Thiruvallikeni. Now termed as Triplicane, after the British Rule. Hence the temple which was built close to the pond full of lillies(alli flowers) came to be knows as Thiruvallikeni Temple. In olden days this place was covered with Tulsi Plants.

History of the Temple :

There was once a king named Sumathi, who prayed to Lord Venkateshwara in ThiruVenkatam (Tirupathi) and requested him to give a darshan as Lord Krishna (with 2 hands) , as the one who preached Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna in the great war of Mahabharat. Lord Venkateshwara as we all know is ChaturBhujam (one with 4 hands) , promised him and asked him to wait for sometime, very soon he would give darshan to all his devotees as the Lord who preached Gita.

Sage Vyasa made the utsava murthy and gave it to his disciple Sage Athreya and told him to take the murthy to Kairaveni Saras and worship the Lord .After sometime -Lord Venkateshwara told the King to visit the temple and fulfilled his wish.

Speciality :

  • 8th Century Vaishnava Temple – has 5 prominent sannidhis- where equal importance is given to each of the sannidhi.
  • One among the 108 divyadesams  which is within the city limits.
  • Lord Parthasarathy holds the conch -Panchajanyam on one hand and horse whip on the other hand, as we know that Lord Krishna promised not to use any weapon in the war against the Kauravas – so we do not see the Sudarshana Chakram here.
  • Lord Krishna has a moustache here, as he was born as a Kshatriya in the Yadhava Dynasty, it was a thing for Kshatriya men to sport a moustache.

The Lord gives darshan here with 4 generations in the Main Shrine/Sannidhi :

1)Parthasarathy- Utsava Murthy

  • Having scars on his face, said to be from the arrows of Bhishma which hit Krishna in the Mahabharat.
  • Since it is the utsava murthy who is brought out of the temple all the time during procession and taken around in the area. The temple is famous with his name and people mistakenly assume it to be the name of the Moolavar (main deity) 🙂 I was one among them too…until a few years back when my uncle cleared it to me 🙂
  • On Fridays during special abhisekams – Utsava Murthy is decorated with a moustache.

Another feature here is, because of the scars , special care is taken —the neivedhyam offered to the lord is full of ghee. Spices like chilli are not included in the prasdam offered to him 🙂

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Utsava Murthy – Parthasarathy – with scars on his face

Venkata Krishnan- Moolavar– Lord is 9 feet tall and as already told has a moustache. He is called as Venkata (from the Kalyuga Perumal Venkateshwara) and being Krishna swaroopam combining them together came to be known as Venkata Krishnan.

In the sanctum santorum along with Lord Venkata Krishnan we have –

Rukmini– His wife, Balaram– Elder Brother, Satyakai– Younger brother, Pradhyumna Son, Anirrudh – Grandson. (Now go back and see the first picture in this blog).

2)Vedhavalli Thayar Sannidhi –

  • A legend which says that Sage Brigu , once did severe penance and wished to have the Lord as his son in law. One morning, the sage went to the Kairaveni Pushkarani to do his morning ablutions and found a girl child lying.Taking this as Lord’s blessing , the sage accepted the little girl as his own daughter and named her ‘Vedavalli’.
  • When Vedavalli attained marriageable age , Lord Ranganatha came and married her. Hence, there is a seperate shrine for Mother Vedavalli in this temple, she comes out during Fridays and goes round the prakaram, but is never taken outside the temple.

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Vedavalli Thayar

3)Narasimhar Swamy Sannidhi – Also called as ‘Thelliya Singa-Perumal’, his shrine is just behind Parthasarathi Perumal’s shrine and is west facing. There is a seperate entrance in this temple for Narasimha Swamy. The bells used here do not have tongues, so as not to disturb the yogic state of the swamy.

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Entrance of Thelliya Singa Perumal – Yoga Narasimhar

4)Ranganadha Swamy Sannidhi :

  • There is a separate shrine within the main shrine for Sri Ranganatha resting on Adi Sesha and facing East with his consorts and Brahma emanating from naval.

5)Rama-Lakshmana-Sita Sannidhi

  • There is again a seperate shrine for Rama, lakshmana and Sita devi here, facing south withing the precincts of the main shrine. Just opposite to this shrine is Lord Hanuman with Ustavar Moorthy.

6)Gajendra Varadarajan Sannidhi

  • Moolavar here is seated on Garuda, carrying both Sudharshana Chakram and his Conch Panchajanyam.

7) Andal : A seperate shrine for Andal, incarnation of Bhu Devi is present in this temple.

Parthasarathy Perumal without Moustache :

  • During the festival of Pagul Pathu (December-January), lord is seen without his moustache fr 4 days (Day 6 to Day 10).

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Bhagavad Gita & The qualities of Lord Krishna :

Bhakta Vatsalya :

  • Krishna as Arjuna’s Parthasarathy in the epic war Mahabharat – gives us a great example of how ‘simple’ one should be in their life. The Parabrahman – ruler of the universe , becomes a mere charioteer of Arjuna , out of his love and friendship for Arjuna.
  • Arjuna orders Lord Krishna in the first chapter to take their chariot and place in-between the two parties in the battlefield so that he can see who are the people fighting against them in the war. The Lord obliges and obeys the order given by his friend- this shows the compassion and Bhakta Vatsalya(lover of his devotee) qualities of the Lord.
  • As we all know Bhagavad Gita contains 18 chapters , each of it describing the dos and donts for the mankind. Off all the slokas , the most special one is given in the last-18th chapter – 66th slokam , also called as ‘Charama Slokam’

sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah

In simple words- ‘Surrender unto me’ being the crux of this sloka.

If you google you can find so many wonderful explanations and deeper meaning for mam ekam saranam vraja , but the underlying principle says ‘Abandon everything and surrender to me’.

Bhagavad Gita is a nectar , told by the Lord Madhava himself .

One question as to When Gita is so important why is it that it was not told to all the Pandavas and only to Arjuna?…

The answer for this lies in the very sloka of Bhagavad Gita – Chaper 2 – Sloka 7 –

karpanya-dosopahata-svabhavah
prcchami tvam dharma-sammudha-cetah
yac chreyah syan niscitam bruhi tan me
sisyas te ‘ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam

Arjuna in this sloka expresses his state of confusion and his incapacity to decide what is good for him in that moment and surrenders to the Lord saying I am your disciple now (sisyas te ham) , please instruct me /enlighten me on what is to be done !!

As already explained before in the Charama Slokam , this is what the Lord expects from us !! Absolute Surrender !!!

On his completer surrender, Arjuna was able to listen to the spiritual nectar from Lord Krishna and also ultimately had victory in the war.

Krishna as Parthasarathy- (Partha- friend – Sarathy- Charioteer) is my most loved and adored form.

My most memorable visits to this temple :

  1. 1st day of Margazhi – 2018
  2. Vaikunta ekadesi – 2018 – I was lucky to get a pass and stay in the temple full night and be a part of all the festivities!!
  3. Early morning – Viswaroopam Darshanam ! – Absolute bliss.
  4. In the year 2010- I got an arrear in my 6th semester of engineering and it was a crucial semester as we had the placements lined up ! I remember running to Parthasarathy Perumal temple with my coll bestie Akshaya and my mother the very next day, I was so sad and prayed to the Lord, worried about my future. Nevertheless to say god blessed me with not one but 2 offers ,both from Tier A companies in the college placement.

One cannot get over the heroic form of Parthasarathy here-handsome, majestic and magnanimous, whom you can see right from the entrance of the shrine ! Given a chance I would love to be in Thiruvallikeni and visit him every single day ! How blessed are the people who actually get the chance to see ‘Geethacharya’ everyday!

It is said that —- If you visit this ‘one’ temple its like visiting – Kanchi Vardar Swamy , Ahobilam Narasimhar , Srivilliputhur Andal , Srirangam Ranganatha Swamy , Ayodhya Ramar, Anjaneyar- all at the same time !!

If you have not visited this temple then you must– to see the grandeur of one of the oldest temple in Tamil Nadu. The lords blessing us along with his family ( symbolising -unity among the family) with the same form which he had while rendering Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna and not to forget the marks which the utsavar -Parthasarathy has on his face (also symbolising – external beauty is nothing but an illusion , which will eventually fade….)

I would like to end this blog with the last sloka in the bhagavad gita – chapter 18 – 78th sloka-

yatra yogeśhvaraḥ kṛiṣhṇo yatra pārtho dhanur-dharaḥ
tatra śhrīr vijayo bhūtir dhruvā nītir matir mama

Wherever there is Krishna, lord of yugas and Arjuna – his friend – Victory , fortune , prosperity – is for sure to be present.

Hence if we have Lord Krishna by our side…there is nothing which is impossible….

P.S – pics uploaded here have been taken from internet.

There are 2 sources which helped me in writing this blog – would like to leave the links here, gave me so much insight on Lord Parthasarathy and the temple , do listen to them if interested 🙂

Narasmihar Jayanthi 2020

Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar Para Brahmane Namaha !!

As most of you will be knowing today (06/05/20) is Narasimhar Jayanthi 🙂 One of my most favourite gods,so let me write about some of my favourite Narasimahar temples which I have visited and also to keep a record of it – to be read and cherished in future 🙂

P.S – I will try to keep it short and crisp 😛

1)Singaperumal Temple – Chengalpettu – Chennai

My asthana kovil 🙂 I have lost count on the number of times I have visited this temple. It is a ritual every new year for us to visit this particular temple as the very first one 🙂 My first darshan of Singaperumal was in my 12th Std from my school where they took all of us , with our hall tickets 🙂

Quick Facts :

  1. Close to 1500 years old temple, believed to be a swayambu(self manifested) deity on hill, Lord Narasimhar is 8 feet tall. Also called as Padaladri Narasimhar.
  2. Thayar : Amirthavalli Thayar, also has Lakshmi Narasimhar and Andal Sannidhi.
  3. Speciality : The most unique part about the god is , he has trinetram (three eyes) and adorns a ‘Garland of Saligramam’.
  4. We can get the darshanam of the third eye when the priest shows us the aarti by lifting the Thirunamam of Lord Narasimha 🙂 (Goosebumps! Every time I see it, same feeling even while typing it now).
  5. Circumambulation around the hill is considered to be very sacred.

Narasimhan SingaPerumal Koil

Now about the exciting part – Prasadam : D – You cannot miss the Kal Dosai that we get there and ofcourse the chakkarai pongal and puliyodrai 🙂 🙂

Till my college days there used to be a small shop outside the temple, selling instant soup for Rs.6 , I could never leave the place without having it, they also used to sell small photos , slokam books and CDs. Now the sweet shopkeeper uncle has expanded his shop and built a super market 🙂 , with no more instant soup in it 😦

2) Sri Ahobilam Navanarasimhar – Ahobilam- Andhra Pradesh

This temple is one among the 108 Divya Desams. As the name suggest , there are 9 narasimhar temples, all together constitute as 1 Divya Desam.

Explaining about each of the temple will probably require an entirely seperate blog. So I will briefly name each temple.

The temples are divided into Lower Ahobilam and Upper Ahobilam-

  1. Sri Ahobila Narasimha
  2. Sri Jwala Narasimha
  3. Sri Kroda Narasimha
  4. Sri Malola Narasimha
  5. Sri Kaaranja Narasimha
  6. Sri Bhargava Narasimha
  7. Sri Chatravata Narasimha
  8. Sri Yogananda Narasimha
  9. Sri Paavana Narasimha

Sri Ahobila Narasimha is the main shrine and the Lord is said to be in a fierce form here, exactly the way how he was when he came out of the pillar to kill Hiranyakashiyapu.

Sri Jwala Narasimhar – This is at the top , a tedious trek , narrow path and also a waterfall on the way leads to the temple

Ugra Sthambam : A huge rock situated at the top most part of the hill.This rock is believed to be the pillar, out of which Lord Narasimha emerged to save his most pure devotee, Prahalada. A flag is fixed on top of this hill , marking it as the highest point.

ahobilam

I did not have the guts to walk till Ugra Sthamba as it was too steep and offered my pranams from Jwala Narasimhar temple. It was indeed an adventurous religious cum trekking trip! Since those days we did not have camera mobiles, I could not take many pics, there were few taken in ‘Digi cams’ but unfortunately I lost them .I visited this temple during Pongal and we kept kannu pudi there 🙂 stayed in ahobilam maadam 🙂

hahobilam635

3) Melkote Narasimhar – Mandya District- Karnataka

I have visited this temple so many times and how much I love the view once we reach the top of the hill 🙂 pure bliss. There are around 365 steps to be climbed here. It is one of the Abhimana Sthalams 🙂

Quick Facts :

  • The Yoga Narasmiha Moorty (Main deity/Moolavar) was said to be worshipped by Prahalada himself and is situated at the top of the temple.
  • Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple – Located at the bottom of the hill. [One cannot take their eyes off this god 🙂 ]
  • Thayar – Yadhugiri Nachiyar (At Chelluvanarayana Swamy Temple )
  • Speciality : Ramanujar stayed at this temple for 14 years and glorified the lord 🙂

4) Singrikudi – Poorvarasankuppam- Parikkal -Tamil Nadu

It is a popular belief that all the 3 temples are to be visited and worshipped on the same day 🙂

Singrikudi :

  • More than 1600 years old temple.
  • Speciality : Lord Narasimha has 16 hands here 🙂
  • Thayar : Kanakavalli Thayar
  • One more speciality is – Apart from Prahalad , we can see Sage Sukrahcharya(Acharya of the Asuras) and Sage Vashishta. We can also find Neelavathi , Hiranyakasiyapu’s wife present near the lord , worshipping him 🙂

Poorvarasankuppam :

  • Approximately 1200 years old . Also called as ‘Dakshina Ahobilam‘.
  • Presiding Deity : Lakshmi Narasimhar
  • Thayar : Amirthavalli Thayar
  • Speciality : Amirthavalli Thayar is said to be looking at god with one eye and the devotees with the other eye 🙂

Parikkal :

  • Approximately 1800 years old.
  • Thayar : Kanakavalli Thayar
  • Speciality : Perumal and thayar are said to be embracing each other here 🙂
  • Two Anjaneyars – Bhakta and Veera Anjaneyar are also present in this temple.

Capture

There are many more really nice temples which I have visited but I felt these 4 would be the best ones to cover 🙂

However I would like to include one last pic of Sholingur Narasimhar , wonderful temple to visit 🙂 :

Lakshmi Narasimhar_sholingur

Popular Slokas on Lord Narasimhar which I know :
Sri Nrisimha Maha-mantra
ugram viram maha-vishnum
jvalantam sarvato mukham
nrisimham bhishanam bhadram
mrityur mrityum namamy aham

Narasimha Prapatti

Mata Narasimha, Pita Narasimha
Bratha Narasimha, Sakha Narasimha
Vidyaa Narasimha, Dravinam Narasimha
Swami Narasimha, Sakalam Narasimha
Itho Narasimha, Paratho Narasimha
Yatho Yatho Yahihi, Tatho Narasimha
Narasimha Devaath Paro Na Kaschit
Tasmaan Narasimha Sharanam Prapadye

and

Runa Vimochana Mantra (you can google it, if interested to know more on it). Karavalamba stotram, which is also a very important one is yet to be learnt 🙂

Always indebted to my english teacher and (my extended family member) Mrs.Renganayaki , who took me to Singaperumal and Ahobilam temples for the first time along with my family 🙂

Very recently she told me “Krishnar vendina kuda , avan aadi asanju varuvan de, but Narasimhar ta romba careful ah irukanum 🙂 Odi vandu kudturvaru, kai mela palan”

Translation : If you pray to Lord Krishna, he will come to you at his own pace, but Lord Narasimha is always on his toes , comes running for his bhaktas , so you have to be very careful about what you ask him 🙂

If you ask me to pick one as favourite from the list above , I would say Singaperumal ♡☆ I have always worshipped him , visited him in different stages of my life and he has always blessed me and my family in many ways .A temple which is very close to my heart. ♡♡

May Lord Narasimha bless us all 🙂 and help us fight this COVID-19, and I hope all of you reading this had a good virtual darshan of the temples sitting at home 🙂

Enjoy the day 🙂 and oh yes do make Panakam and offer it to the Lord 🙂 Most easiest and his favourite prasadam 🙂

Note : Sources of the pics and slokam content : Internet

Draupadi & her Swayamvara- Spectrum of Characters- Part 8

Draupadi or Panchali (as she was the princess of the Panchala kingdom).

Draupadi was the daughter of King Drupada. She was born out of a pure sacrificial fire, her father had vowed to take revenge on Drona(wondering why?! please read my blog about Drona) and wished for a son(Drishtadyumna) who would kill Drona also a beautiful daughter who would one fine day wed Arjuna , Arjuna who was the most powerful warrior and also the most favourite student of Guru Drona , thereby helping him seek his revenge. When she was born it was also foretold by the sages that , this woman would be the reason for the destruction of the ‘Kauravas’.
Since Draupadi was born out of fire, she did not have any childhood and was born as an adult. She was extremely beautiful and intelligent. King Drupada arranged for a Swayamvara for his daughter to find a suitable match . Arjuna and his brothers who were staying in Ekachakara village(after the Lakshagraha incident-read my blog on Vidhura !) heard about this and decided to participate in it.EJKDZ04XUAAfZYB
The Pandava brothers were disguised as Brahmanas and traveled to the kingdom of Panchala to attend the Swayamvara. The brothers sat along with other brahmins who had come to attend the auspicious ceremony.
Draupadi arrived in the hall amidst melodious music and beating of drums with her brother Drishtadyumna.

Challenge Announced :

Drishtadyumna addressed the crowd gathered and welcomed everyone. He further announced that there was a golden fish hanging on top of the roof , just below it was a vessel filled with water and one had to shoot arrow right on the eye of the fish by looking at the reflection in the water body placed below.
The tricky part about this challenge was :

  • The Golden Fish which was hanging, kept rotating.
  • The Bow and arrow kept for this , was too heavy for any ordinary man to be lifted.

Crowd & the Participants :

All great warriors like Duryodhana , Dushasana , Karna (who missed the target by a tiny mark !), King Shalya, King of Kosla tried but could not succeed. There was also Lord Krishna seated among the crowds.

A participant who made everyone curious :

draupadi-swayamvar-kurukshetra
Then arose a young brahmin from the crowd, seeing him there were murmurs in the crowd and slowly turned to criticisms. Hearing these hush hush Drishtadyumna declared he was ready to give his sister for wedding to any person who is able to win the challenge. Hearing this the brahmin walked confidently towards the bow and arrow. Many ridiculed the young brahmin , saying when so many skilled kshatriyas have returned back to there seats disappointed , why does this young fellow want to make a fool of himself in front of all? On the other hand the Brahmins who were seated there cheered and encouraged him.
He was none other than the Mighty Arjuna who after taking his eldest brother Yudhistira’s permission decided to take part in the Swayamvara!
All pairs of eyes were on the young lad, the brahmins praying in their hearts for him to win , for it would be such pride for their community. The Kshatriya king looked at him with piercing eyes as if he had thrown an open confrontation on their strenghts.
The young brahmin picked the bow and arrow effortlessly! A gasp of shock was let out by all the Kshatriyas and the brahmins began to applaud and clap wildly ,expressing their happiness! Arjuna recited a small prayer with his eyes closed and let out the bow , which hit the golden fish’s eye on the mark and fell on the ground with a loud thud! The ecstatic brahmins broke into a thunderous applause and waved their angavastram in happiness!! Arjuna had won Draupadi in the Swayamvara fair and square. Draupadi who was so happy about Arjuna being victorious , walked towards him carrying the garland.

Protests & Fights :

Just then all the Kings started objecting and challenged the brahmana for a war and tried attacking him not knowing he is Arjuna! Lord Krishna who was present there told the brahmin had won Draupadi rightly and they should be allowed to get married but the kings were just not convinced ! The brahmins present went forward and tried protecting the young lad. As soon as Bhima saw the kings approaching Arjuna, he uprooted a tree and threw it on them , shocking everyone present there.
A tough fight took place but the Pandavas managed to take Draupadi away from there by defeating all the kings and taking Draupadi to the forest where they were staying.

Wedding with all the 5 brothers :

Once they reached their hut, Mother Kunti who thought that her sons had gone for hunting , mistakenly said whatever is brought , please share it equally among yourselves. Since they could not disobey their mother’s words Draupadi had to be wife of all the 5 Pandavas.
A folklore which also says that Draupadi in her previous birth had prayed to Lord Shiva to get a husband with certain qualities and the 5 Pandava brothers were said to possess each of it. Therefore it was as per the boon that Draupadi got 5 husbands with her desired qualities.
Drishtadyumna , who had followed Draupadi to the forest was secretly listening to each of it and was very happy to know that Draupadi had wedded the Great Arjuna. He went back to the palace and informed his father about the happenings in the forest. Drupada was very happy about knowing that it was as per his wish that Arjuna had become his son in law , but also sad that Draupadi was to wed all the 5 brothers. Just then Sage Vyasa arrived their and explained that it was nothing but Lord Rudra’s blessing on daughter Draupadi! Convinced of it Drupada invited Mother Kunti & the Pandavas to the kingdom and the wedding of Panchali & the Pandavas took place with great pomp and splendor.
Draupadi became the most important character , who changed the events and fate of the Kuru Dynasty. More about her coming soon in the upcoming blogs…topics like her friendship with Lord Krishna 🙂 Once I post the subsequent blogs about the most powerful woman , will include my views in – ‘My Corner’ zone 🙂

A special mention on this painting , it is by my cousin sister ‘Soundarya’! who is one among the first person to read each of my blog and comes up with her views and suggestions ! I could not stop myself from including her painting.

Soundarya
Alright folks hope you guys enjoyed reading this blog 🙂 Please do leave your comments and feedback below 🙂

Take care!! Stay Safe !!

#letsfightcovid #thistooshallpass

Dronacharya~~Part 7

Welcome back to Indian Mythology through My Eyes series.
The world is going through a pandemic and all of us are locked inside , waiting and hoping for better days to come…may the almighty give courage and strength to each individual who is going through a stressful time…So I decided to make use of this quarantined time to get back into my habit of blogging..
Emphasizing once again that I am no Sanskrit scholar , so apologies if there are any mistakes in the fact and words used.
Also if you are reading my blog for the first time, please do check out the previous parts about Bhishma , Kunti, Shakuni, Vidhura etc and give your comments:)
This blog is about the Guru of the Royal Kauravas & Pandavas – DRONACHARYA
Drona was the son of Guru Bharadwaj. He had a poverty stricken childhood, but had learnt all the subjects needed for a warrior such as- archery, military,science and was proficient in it. The prince of Panchala , Drupada also studied with him in the same hermitage. Both of them were best friends.
While they were studying together, Drupada out of friendly affection used to say Drona that once he becomes the King of Panchala he would give his best friend (Drona) half of his kingdom.
As years went by both grew older , Drona married Kripi ,the sister of Kripacharya. Drupada was crowned as the King of Panchala. Drona had a son with Kripi named ‘Ashwattama’. As he was very poor , Drona decided to go to Parashurama (6th Avtar of Vishnu and also known to be the most powerful Brahmin) who was giving away all his wealth to the brahmins. By the time he reached Parashurama had given away all his wealth , not to disappoint him Parashurama decided to teach him all the knowledge he had about weapons.
Not satisfied with what life had given them , Drona’s wife insisted him on approaching his friend Drupada and ask him for some financial assistance. Drona hesitated but for the sake of his wife and son decided to go to the Kingdom of Panchala and ask for help.
Once Drona reached Panchala, he faced a very different Drupada , who spoke not as a friend but as an Emperor. Drona reminded him of their times in the hermitage while they were kids and his promise. King Drupada furious remarked that friendship was possible only between two persons who were equal in status and position. He was ready to give alms to a lowly brahmin like Drona but objected him being addressed as such Drona’s friend.
Drona felt extremely insulted but did not speak a word , walked off with his head hung in shame. He resolved in his mind to take revenge for this insult.

Drona and his school :

Based on the learnings from the Weapon Expert – Parashurama, he started his own school and started imparting education on weapons,archery. His fame spread far and wide.
Once he happened to meet the Kuru princes (Kauravas & Pandavas) and helped them in accomplishing a task, the kuru princes told about this to Bhishma , who understood that it was Drona and requested him to be the Acharya (Royal Guru) of the Kauravas and Pandavas and train them in advance military. As Drona started training , Arjuna due to his natural grasping abilities and concentration excelled in every task that was given to the Kuru Princes and became Drona’s most favourite student, being his chum Drona taught Arjuna the powerful and most special knowledge to invoke the Brahma Astra.
download (1)

‘Gurudakshina’ or ‘The Revenge’ :

As Gurudakshina , Drona wanted his disciples to fight with the King of Panchala and bring to him King Drupada as a captive. The Kauravas went first but as King Drupada was powerful , he created a chakravyuh (a wheel like formation in the war) and could not break it to go inside, returned back defeated. Next the Pandavs went and Arjuna who was the cleverest easily penetrated into the Chakravyuh and defeated Drupada and brought him as a prisoner to his Guru . Drona now had his chance to take revenge and said to Drupada , now your entire kingdom belongs to me , I offer you as a ‘favour’ one half of ‘MY’ kingdom for you to rule, thus healing his wounds of the great insult that he had faced in the kingdom of Panchala.

Ekalavya :

Many of you would have already known the story of the perfect student ‘Ekalavya’ but for the benefit of those who do not know 🙂 I would like to put it here in brief words. Ekalavya who belonged to tribal clan wished to learn archery from Dronacharya , but Drona refused as he was the ‘royal’ teacher and would not teach the lowly class. Ekalavya hid behind trees and started learning the art from Drona. He made a clay idol of Drona and started worshipping it, also practised archery in front of the idol.
Once it so happened that , Arjuna saw a dog with its mouth covered with arrows in such a way that it would not harm it , but did not allow the dog to open its mouth wide enough to bark. Such skillful archery !!! Drona also saw it and began to wonder who had such talents. Ekalavya introduced himself as the person behind it and on enquiring who his Guru was – he pointed at Drona 🙂 Drona was shocked , as he wanted only Arjuna to be the best , he asked for his right thumb as Gurudakshina. Ekalavya without a second thought happily cut off his right thumb and presented it to his Guru……
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My Corner :

  • Drona was undoubtedly the greatest teacher of his times.
  • He was partial towards Arjuna 🙂 but i feel the other Pandavas (including Kauravas and especially Bhima) had talents of their own which was never recognised much by the Guru.
  • As a Guru he should have been impartial.
  • Drona had his personal motives of revenge behind training the Kurus – one they were the most powerful empire under Bhishma and the other he foresaw what a great warrior Arjuna would be both being a perfect combination for him to defeat Drupada.
  • Taking advantage of Ekalavya was the most stone hearted thing to do- seeing his talents and capability – he could have accepted him as his student & trained Ekalavya more skillfully.As a guru dakshina he could have asked Ekalavya to support the Pandavas or himself when they are in need(if he had doubts that Ekalavya would one day fight against Arjuna), rather than chopping of his entire career , which he was so passionate about. – Very similar to the current day’s politics isnt it ? 🙂
Alright folks I hope you guys enjoyed it :)Thank you for spending your valuable time in reading my post ! Do share your views and suggestion in the comments below 🙂

My previous blog post :

https://mystiquecharm.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/vidura-the-wax-palace-part-6/

Vidura & The Wax Palace- Part-6

Welcome back to another chapter of “Indian Mythology through my eyes series”.

This blog is about a character named “Vidura”.

Who was he? What role did he play in this great epic? Keep reading to find out more….
Vidura
Once there lived a sage called Mandavya, who acquired great knowledge and wisdom through penance. One day while he was in deep meditation a band of robbers ,who were running away with huge amount of wealth , halted near the sage’s hermitage and decided to hide their stolen goods at his ashram as nobody would suspect a sage. The king’s army who came there in search of the robbers saw a holy saint doing penance. The chief being ignorant of the saint’s yogic powers questioned him , Mandavya being in a transcendental state did not reply to any of the interrogation. On searching the ashram the kings men found the jewellery and wealth which had gone missing along with the fugitives who were hiding there. They assumed the sage to be the leader of the robbers.
The king came to know about this incident and without even trying to verify the facts he ordered his commander in chief to take action on the innocent sage. The commander struck Mandavya’s head with a spear. Mandavya though impaled did not die as he was in a yogic state. The king came to know about this and out of fear ran to the forest to apologise to the great saint.
Mandavya however was not angry with the King. He went straight to Lord Dharma and asked him -What crime had he committed to deserve such a torture? To which Lord Dharma replied saying “You have tortured birds and bees when you were a child , any action big or small has to have its consequences” .Not convinced with this answer and stating that the degree of punishment received for the sin committed by him in childhood was way too much , the sage cursed Dharma to be born as mortal in the world.
Dharma incarnated as Vidura , he was the son of Vyasa and the servant-maid of
Ambalika(the wife of Vichitravirya). Vidura was an epitome of righteousness, unparalleled knowledge of the shastras, skilled in the management of public affairs. He was appointed by Bhishma as the chief counselor to King Dhritrashtra at the royal court when he was in his teens. He was deeply respected by everyone for his qualities of Dharma and statesmanship.
The Wax Palace : Lakshagraha
The Kauravas from the childhood hated the growing popularity of their cousins. Pandavas were loved by all in the kingdom and the people of Hastinapura openly discussed on how good their kingdom would be if they are ruled by “Yudhistra”. When this hit the ears of Duryodhana , he became furious and along with his Shakuni Mama conspired to put an end to the Pandavas once and for all.
“One of their most evil plot”
Duryodhana and Shakuni managed to convince the soft hearted Dhritrashtra that as long as the Pandavas were alive , the public would never accept his sons as the king.Vidura_and_Dhritarashtra
~~~~ Varnavata – The city where the wax palace was build ~~~~
All the ministers praised the city of Varnavata infront of the Pandavas and mentioned that a grand event in the honour of Lord Siva will be conducted there with great pomp and splendor. The Pandavas were easily persuaded to go and stay there and that too when Dhritrashtra told them to go and attend the function in a very sweet tone, the pandavas could not refuse him. All arrangements were made for the Pandavas to leave for Varnavata and spend some time there.
Duryodhana appointed a wicked minister named “Purochana” who went to Varnavata well in advance and started constructing a palace exclusively for the Pandavas to reside. The Palace was getting constructed with all combustible materials like Ghee,Lac, Jute. The architecture was skillfully done. Constructed with all dry things so that, even with a small spark that is ignited the entire palace would rapidly catch fire like it happens in forest fire. The Pandavas took leave reverentially from the palace after taking blessings of the elders.
When the Pandavas went to take blessings of Vidura before leaving, He warned them especially Yudhistra saying that

“He alone will escape from danger who forestalls the intentions of an astute enemy. There are weapons sharper than those made of steel. And the wise man who would escape destruction must know the means to guard against them. The conflagration that devastates a forest cannot hurt a rat which shelters itself in a hole or a porcupine which burrows in the earth. The wise man knows his bearings by looking at the stars.” **

On listening to these words Yudhistra understood that some danger was going to befall on them and became very sad. The Pandavas were received with great happiness from the people of Varnavata, they stayed in others houses for a brief period as the palace which was specially being built for them was not yet ready. After a few months the Pandavas moved into the palace named as “Sivam”
Owing to the warnings by Vidura, Yudhistra inspected every element of the palace and found out that it was no doubt made of every combustible material available on the planet. Knowing very well that the palace was nothing but a “death trap” for them,he informed his brothers and mother Kunti about the warnings of Vidura and how the palace was built.
Within a few days an expert miner contacted the Pandavas and informed them that he was sent by Vidura to help them, he built a passage under the palace which would lead the Pandavas straight out of the palace to the nearby forests. This process went on for an year,as Purochana also wanted to strike at the right time he used to monitor the Pandavas from the house which he had built for himself near the palace. The Pandavas went for hunting during the day but their main motive behind this activity was to get familiarize with the forest areas.
Exactly after an year Purochana decided not to wait anymore and strike while no one will suspect. Yudhishtra knew that the unlucky day was not very far behind.
On the unfateful day Kunti organised a grand feast for all in the city,many people came and took part in the gathering and were fed sumptuously including Purochana. At night when everybody had fallen asleep, Bhima set fire to all possible places in the palace, the Pandavas and Kunti escaped from the tunnel built by Vidura’s helper and came out in the forest. Purochana’s house which was near the palace also caught fire and as he was in deep sleep and before he could realize what had happened , Purochana himself fell into the fire and died burning. All the people of Varnavata wailed and blamed the wicked Duryodhana and that it must be his evil plot to kill the Pandavas.lakshagraha
This news reached the royal kingdom, the Kauravas cast of their royal garments as a mark of condolence and went to the rivers to perform the last rites of the Pandavas and Kunti. No outward show of grief was spared by the Kauravas, Shakuni and Dhritrashtra. Bhishma was extremely saddened. Seeing his sadness Vidura put in a word to him that the Pandavas were very much alive and had escaped the mishap.
The Pandavas wandered in the forest for many days and came across Sage Vyasa, Kunti narrated the sorrows that had fallen on them to the great Sage, the sage consoled her and the Pandavas and advised them to take shelter in the kingdom of Ekchakra and “wait for better days to come”.
My Corner :

  • Since he was the incarnation of Dharma “righteousness” was in his blood,heart,soul.
  • “Vidurneeti” a term coined in the Indian mythology is still used in today’s politics,comes from the ways Vidura worked relentlessly in making Hastinapura a better empire.
  • Inspite of being the half brother of King Pandu and King Dhritrashtra he was not given the same status in the kingdom as he was born out of a servant maid. That did not stop him from performing his duties sincerely and giving his best to the royal kingdom.
  • Vidura’s timely advice saved Pandavas from falling into a death trap.
  • Vidura was also the only person who objected Draupadi’s Vastraharan (to be covered in the upcoming blogs) in the royal court.
  • Purochana who helped the Kauravas in this evil plot, met his end in a very pathetic way. If you support evil doings and doers,one fine day it will consume you.

A personification of “Truth and Justice”.
Alright folks hope you have enjoyed reading it 🙂 Please do leave your views in the comment section below 🙂
** the quote is taken as it is mentioned in The Mahabharata book ,written by C.Rajagopalachari.
Source of the pics used : Internet
Previous Blog Link :
https://mystiquecharm.wordpress.com/2019/06/03/spectrum-of-charactersshakuni-part-5-of-the-series

Spectrum of Characters~~Shakuni ~~~~ Part 5

Indian Mythology through my eyes ~~~ Series~~~

I am back again after a really longggg break !! Apologies for it! I was totally caught up in the other world, I missed writing blogs so much but somehow could not bring myself together to sit in a corner with my laptop and start punching the keys.

On a brighter note a few people actually took time and sent message, asking me why I had not posted the next of the series and that they missed reading it ! Really thankful to them ❤ I feel all the more encouraged ❤ 🙂 (Wide Smile)..

So here I am continuing, for those reading my blog for the first time and wondering where did this series begin?!  I will leave the links of the previous articles at the end.

Now…this blog is going to speak about a very interesting character. 

Shakuni : The King of Conspiracy

SHAKUNI-MAMA-digital-art-341294

So called “Betrayal” : Shakuni was the brother of Gandhari, who was married to Dhritrashtra. It was said that before Gandhari got married, an astrologer pointed out some ill omen in her astrological chart and said that her second husband would only survive. Owing to such superstitious beliefs Gandhari first married a goat which was killed immediately after her wedding. Shortly after this incident she got married to Dhritrashtra, after few days when the incident of Gandhari being married to a goat came out in public, The entire Kuru kingdom felt abashed and betrayed..as Gandhari was technically a widow!

Imprisonment of the Gandhars : Bhishma along with his crew marched to Gandhar, defeated them and brought 100 Gandhars(Shakuni,his brothers and his father Subala) as captive. As a punishment they were given only one fistful of rice everyday to eat.

Only during this time it was decided by Subala, father of Shakuni (and Gandhari) that Shakuni must be the only person fed daily and he would grow up to take their revenge on the Kauravas.

There is also another story which tells us why Subala chose Shakuni to eat the morsel of rice, once in the prison he called upon all his sons and gave them a test, one who manages to insert a thread through a bone will emerge victorious and will be fed with the entire fistful of rice everyday. All his sons tried and tried but failed whereas Shakuni cleverly tied a grain of rice to the thread and put it near an ant.. which in turn carried the grain through the bone along with the thread !

Shakuni was also asked to eat the flesh of his father Subala. He made a set of dice with the bones of his father(limb bones). One by one all the Gandhar’s died, Shakuni was the only survivor and was released from the prison on Gandhari’s insistence. Shakuni was given the task of being the caretaker of the Kauravas.

Dice from the Bones of Subala : It is the dice which was created by Shakuni from the bones of his father became the game changer, it was said to contain the soul of his father and produce the same numbers as requested by Shakuni. As a result of which the Pandavas were cheated and lost everything in the great game of gambling.

My Corner ~~~~

  1. Shakuni had major motives to take revenge on the Kauravas : The Gandhar kingdom married off their beautiful and only dear daughter to a “blind king” ,despite of which the Kuru clan could not bear the thought of Gandhari being married to a goat,the other-captivating all of them(100 brothers of Gandhari) in a prison and making them fight amongst themselves for a small amount of rice–for survival.
  2. I personally believe Shakuni very well knew that the Pandavas are way more powerful than the Kauravas and instigating them for a war would only lead to the downfall of the latter. So all the while he had been plotting against the Kauravas indirectly.
  3. Right from the childhood of the Kauravas , Shakuni Mama(Maternal Uncle) slowly poisoned their minds against their  “cousins” – Pandavas.
  4. One of the most intelligent characters in the story, he skillfully carried out his plan right under the nose of the Kauravas. I also admire his so called “wickedness” and planning strategies. Out of his sheer intelligence he judged all the characters very well, he made use of the envy growing inside the Kauravas against their cousins right from their tender age.
  5. Once they grew up, Shakuni also sensed the weakness of Yudhistra being addicted to the game of gambling and made use of it against them.
  6. Shakuni was selfless and his ultimate aim was the destruction of the “Kuru Clan” which he achieved 🙂

 

Alright then 🙂 I hope you guys enjoyed reading this post. Please do leave your comments below 🙂

 

Previous Blog Links :

https://mystiquecharm.wordpress.com/2018/11/28/mahabharat-an-epic-saga-part-1
https://mystiquecharm.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/spectrum-of-characters-Part 2
https://mystiquecharm.wordpress.com/2018/12/21/spectrum-of-characters-part-3https://mystiquecharm.wordpress.com/2019/01/04/kunti-part-4-of-the-series

 

P.S : Source of the pic used : Internet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kunti ~~~ Part – 4 of the series

Welcome Back to chapter 4 of Indian Mythology- through my eyes series !!

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous New Year ! May this year bring loads of good luck to all.

My first post of 2019.

~~~~ Kunti ~~~~ 

Kunti born as “Pritha” was the daughter of Sura ,from the Yadhava Kingdom and sister of Vasudeva (Lord Krishna’s father).
Sura’s cousin Kuntibhoja was childless, Pritha was given to him for adoption and he named her as “Kunti”.

Once when Kunti was a young girl, Sage Durvasa stayed in their kingdom as a guest. Kunti looked after the guest with utmost care and devotion. Pleased with her service , Kunti was bestowed with a powerful child bearing mantra.
If Kunti chants it and calls upon any god , the god would appear in front of her and give her a son. It is said sage Durvasa did foresee Kunti’s misfortune of not being able to have a child with her future husband and granted this boon.

Kunti being in her teens, young and curious, tried the mantra on a sunny day invoking Sun God, who manifested before her to bless her with a child. Kunti realised her folly immediately and begged the sun-god to go away ,shaken at the thought of having a child out of wed-lock and the disgrace it would bring upon on her father and her kingdom.The sun god could not turn away because of the power of the mantra and assured Kunti that she would gain back her maidenhood as soon as she gives birth to the child. 

kunti_surya

Kunti gave birth to a beautiful child, named as “Karna”(The Unknown Pandav). He was born with shining armour and earrings as he was the divine child of the sun-god. Scared that she might get caught , Kunti sealed the child in a box and set it to float on a river.This box was noticed by a charioteer who was childless,he took the child to his maiden who poured her infinite love on the child and raised him to be one of the most powerful and greatest heroes.

Kunti returned back to her kingdom and after few years her father arranged a swayamvar for her beloved daughter , where Kings from different directions flocked in to participate as Kunti was known for her beauty and poise. She chose King Pandu and put a garland around his neck. The marriage took place with all due customs and Kunti left, to live in the kingdom of Hastinapur with her husband King Pandu.

Pandu also married Madri ,sister of King Madra as it was common in those days to take more than one wife for the sake of progeny.
Once when Pandu was hunting he shot an arrow on a deer, who was a sage in disguise with his wife (also disguised as a deer). The sage angrily cursed Pandu that he would meet his end the moment he tastes the pleasure of bed. Heartbroken that he would never have an offspring Pandu retired to the forest with his wife Madri and Kunti, leaving the kingdom under the care of Bhishma as his brother Dhritrashtra was blind.

Pandu pined , Kunti then told her husband about the boon given to her by Sage Duravasa, Pandu requested his queen Kunti to bear child using the mantra.

THE PANDAVAS

True to their lineage, each son demonstrated heroic qualities inherited by their respective fathers.

Kunti prayed to different gods gave birth to 3 sons (with certain age gap between them) .

  • Yudhistra the eldest one – blessed to her by Lord Yama (Dharmaraj) ,was righteous and steadfast , a strict follower of Dharmic principles. 
  • Bhima – blessed to her by Lord Vayu(wind god), was the strongest, bravest of all his brothers.
  • Arjuna – blessed to her by Lord Indra, was the most skilled , matchless in knowledge and is said to have possessed most of the divine weapons.

800px-Boon_of_Indra_to_Kunti

 Few years after Arjuna was born the King convinced Kunti to share the mantra with Madri for begetting more children.

  • Nakul & Sahadev – blessed to her by Ashvinis – The twin gods – Nastya and Dasra.
  • Nakul was good with animals and a very charming person, Sahadev was the wisest of all the Pandavas.

The kids  grew up in the forest amidst the saints..

Once in the forest Pandu wished to indulge in pleasure with his Queen Madri, despite of  warnings from Madri,reminding her husband about the curse, Pandu ignoring her wails continued in indulgence and met his fate- Death. Unable to bear it and holding herself responsible for her husband’s death , Madri burnt herself on the pyre of her husband , leaving her kids orphaned.

The sage of the forest took the lamenting family to Bhishma and left them under his care. The eldest among them , Yudhishtra was about 16 years old. The entire kingdom was grief stricken. Sage Vyasa advised Satyavati , Amba and Ambalika to retire into the forest and spend their last few years in hermitage. The 3 queens retired into the forest and spared themselves of all the sorrows that was waiting to fall on their grand children.

My Corner ~~~

  • She did give birth to Karna in her teens,abandoned him as an infant.This only throws light on “the society” which held stigmas against women. Kunti sacrificed her motherhood fearing the society and the insults which would befall on her and her dear father, as having a child unmarried would have been taboo.

  • As her sons(Pandavas) were fatherless they loved and adored their mother so much, that her words were “gospel truth” to them.Had she revealed the truth to them,they would have accepted Karna with open arms, but the society would have branded Karna as an illegitimate child and that even the Pandavas would have had to live with it. Karna would have never attained the “heroic” title in the epic, had he been accepted by his family at a young age.
  • Kunti accepted Karna as her son only at the end,as any mother she would have lived with tones of guilt and sorrow of setting her first child adrift in water.
  • Karna grew upto be an indisputable warrior and could have easily outrun the Pandavas with his power in the Mahabharat . Kunti opened her mouth only when the time had come for her to speak and save the war, save Dharma and indirectly saving her Panch Padavas who ruled their kingdom after the war and spread justice in the world.

“Karna”is one of the most loved character(my favourite too! ♥) in Mahabharat, he received enormous love from his adoptive parents and was brought up well. The point of Kunti abandoning him and asking him to spare her sons at the end of the war might not be a digestible fact for many ! Totally agreed !

But but but lets look at this in another perspective :

Kunti was a practical and a farsighted woman. Just like how Bhishma was tied and was not able to support Draupadi during Vastraharan, owing to the situation , Kunti too was never able to open her mouth and accept the fact openly about her first born till a situation for it  actually arised. Many such instances can be quoted, like how Dhritrashtra (Pandu’s blind brother) openly supported his sons Kauravas instead of treating them (Pandavas and Kauravas )all equal, succumbing to the situation.

In short she was “One of the strong characters” in the epic who shaped the entire course of the destiny in the Mahabharat.

Previous Blog Links :

https://mystiquecharm.wordpress.com/2018/11/28/mahabharat-an-epic-saga-part-1
https://mystiquecharm.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/spectrum-of-characters-Part 2
https://mystiquecharm.wordpress.com/2018/12/21/spectrum-of-characters-part-3

Hope you all enjoyed reading this post 🙂 Feel free to drop in your comments below 🙂 and share it to your near and dear ones!

Stay Cool and once again Happy New Year 2019 to all 🙂 

Love,

Mystique Charm

P.S : Source of the pictures used – Internet.

 

 

 

 

~~Spectrum of Characters~~ Part 3

Welcome Back to another chapter of Indian Mythology – through my eyes series 🙂

Continuing  more on Bhishma.

If u have read my last blog (if not will leave the links at the end of this post) you would know that it was Amba ,who took rebirth as Shikandi.

Shikandi was the daughter of King Drupad, sister of Draupadi. The garland of “ever fresh lotus” lay hanging on the gates of Drupad’s kingdom. Playfully Shikandi wore it around her neck, unknowingly becoming the one reason for Bhishma’s death.

Seeing this King Drupad feared that she might become a victim of Bhishma’s anger and sent her to forest to live in exile. Shikandi performed several austerities in the forest and switched her gender , became “Shikandin”. 

True to the prophecy  Shikandin became Arjuna’s charioteer in the great Kurukshetra war, Bhishma who followed a strict medieval system of knighthood, knew that Shikandin was born female and refused to attack an unworthy person. This gave Arjuna an advantage and he was able to conquer Bhishma guarded by Shikandin. As the stream of arrows hit Bhishma , the great warrior dismounted from his chariot knowing that the arrows were from “Arjuna” and not Shikandin since they burned his flesh, with not even an inch of gap left in his body , the grand sire decided to end the combat.

The mighty son of Ganga fell, it is said that even the gods in the heaven folded their hands in salutation at the sight of the great Bhishma falling down, and showered cool drops of rain on earth. The invincible warrior’s body was covered with arrows and therefore his body did not touch the ground, his head lay hanging , for which Arjuna placed 3 arrows under it to support Pitamah’s head.

Bhishma had been granted a boon of “wishful death” , he remained lying on the bed of arrows till the war ended. He felt thirsty , Arjuna again seeing his godfather in thirst  took his bow and arrow , prayed and shot a shaft on the ground near Pitamah and Lo ! water came gushing out, wetting the grand sire’s dry , parched lips. It is said Goddess Ganga herself came there to quench the thirst of her dying son.

As mentioned in my previous blog posts it was only during this time that Krishna urged Yudhishtra to learn about dharma from Pitamaha leading us to “Vishnusahasranamam”.

Vishnusahasranamam contains 1000 names of Lord Vishnu. 

“Sahasra” meaning 1000.  “Namam” means names.

So literally it means a one thousand names of Lord Vishnu.

The brothers(and also Sri Krishna) rounded around Bhishma and listened to the grand sire in rapt silent. Mesmerized.

Bheeshma-Ekadasi

The below explanation is an excerpt from a commentary given by Kanchi Maha Periyavaar on Vishnu Sahasranamam.

After Bhishma finished glorifying Lord Vishnu everyone opened their eyes, Yudhishtra anxious, asked a question “None of us noted down the 1000 beautiful names of Lord Vishnu told by Pitamaha, how will we pass it on to the coming generations?” They turned to Sri Krishna for help , who said Sahadev ( One among the Pandavas) would be able to recollect and recite it back to Sage Vyasa.

The Earliest Tape Recorder 🙂 

Everyone was curious as to how Sahadev who had also been listening to the 1000 names just like them ,will be of any help. Lord Krishna continued – Sahadev was carrying the oldest tape recorder known to mankind with him 🙂 he was adorned with the “Sutha Spatika Mala”. If Sahadev meditates on Lord Shiva , the spatika can be converted into waves of sound. It is in nature of the spatika to capture sounds in calm environment which can be retrieved at a meditative state , upon praying to Lord Shiva.

Both Sahadev and Vyas sat at the same place near Bhishma, meditated and recovered the sound waves.

So, from the earliest tape recorder it was conveyed to Sage Vyasa and passed on to us 🙂

Coming back to Bhishma , he ended his life after knowing the result of war, carefree that Hastinapura will now be governed by the right rulers. He chose a perfect day in Uttarayana , on the day of Rathasapthami to leave the mortal world and attain salvation. This day is celebrated as Bhishma Ekadesi in many parts of India. 

My corner : ) 

The place where Bhishma recited Vishnusahasranamam still exists in India.

Bhishma Kund – Kurukshetra,Haryana.

The presiding  deities are Panch Pandavas , Sri Krishna and Bhisma (lying on the bed of arrows). There is a water body nearby,  believed to be the source from where water oozed out for Pitamaha. 

I had the fortune of visiting this place and chanting Sahasranamam at its very origin ! 🙂

The vibrations at this place are so divine and cannot be expressed in words, one has to go there and experience the solitude of the place.The moment is etched deep in my heart. I can only thank Lord Krishna for blessing me with such an opportunity.

Sharing few pictures (source Internet).

bhishma_kund_1

95db0c4fbccd5ce76766a2827238b93f

images

If you have visited the place then please do share you experience in the below comments 🙂

For those who have not and wish to visit , leaving below the exact location : 

https://goo.gl/maps/tB5vwLEmMr82

That’s all for the day 🙂 

Thank you for taking time to read this 🙂 Please do pass it on to your near and dear ones.

Previous Blog Links :

https://mystiquecharm.wordpress.com/2018/11/28/mahabharat-an-epic-saga-part-1/

https://mystiquecharm.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/spectrum-of-characters/

Cheers,

MystiqueCharm

P.S : Source of the pictures used – Internet.