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The Essence of Puranas – Brahma Vaivarta Purana -2

Posted by gopalakrishna

The Essence of Puranas – Brahma Vaivarta Purana

11    Mutual curses of Lakshmi, Saraswati and Ganga land them in Bharata Varsha

Originally Lakshmi, Saraswati and Ganga were the wives of Shri Hari in Vaikuntha. Saraswati felt that Shri Hari was getting fonder of Ganga and complained to Lakshmi but Lakshmi was neutral. Saraswati was irritated and cursed Lakshmi to become a tree as she was insenstive. Ganga felt bad that Saraswati was unnecessarily interfering and cursed Saraswati; this led Saraswati to curse Ganga. Reacting to these curses, Shri Hari gave dispensations as follows: Lakshmi would be born as a tree in the house of King Dharmadhwaja and become the wife of Asura Shankhachuda, a Vishnu devotee and later on turn out to be Shri Hari’s dear wife and live for ever as Tulasi and also as a River named Padmavati in BharataVarsha; Devi Ganga due to Saraswati’s curse would become a Holy River to demolish the sins of those who take baths on her waters and eventually flow down in Bharata Varsha due to the persistent efforts of Bhagirath and be called as Bhagirathi and be the wife of Samudra who was also of Shri Hari’s ‘Amsha’ and at the same time be at the ‘Shiva Sthaan’; and Saraswati as a result of Ganga’s curse would become the wife of Brahma; and finally Lakshmi who was of Satwa Tatwa without any anger or jealousy and would be Shri Hari’s own wife eventually.As Shri Hari gave the dispensations as follows, all the three Devis viz. Lakshmi, Saraswati and Ganga embraced each other and felt ashamed of their indiscretions which resulted in the repercussions and prayed to Bhagavan Shrihari as to when the arrangements would terminate and the latter pacified the Devis that he would not only ratify the curses that they made to each other but also retain their positions in Vaikuntha with equal attentions and affections to all the three Devis. Saraswati would keep half ‘Amsha’ in Bharata Varsha and half with Brahma and the total Amsha with himself (Shri Hari); similarly in respect of Ganga, half of Vishnu’s Amsha would be Bhagirathi in Bharata Varsha sanctifying the Beings and by slashing their sins there and the rest of Amsha remaining intact with himself as also have the unique privilege of remaining on Shankara’s holy head; as regards Lakshmi, one Amsha would be Tulasi as also as River Padmavati for Kali Yuga’s five thousand years and all the Devis would return to Vaikuntha thereafter.The occurrence of the curses among the Devis and the arrangements that were made about them by Shri Hari had some hidden meaning: even while there were several Tirthas in Bharat Varsha, there was a great need for some outstanding Rivers and Punya Kshetras where not only devotees of Shri Hari, but even hopeless sinners and ‘Nastiks’(athiests) should have possibilities for self-improvement. That was the reason for the emergence of these Sacred and sin-washing Rivers for quick-if not instant- relief to them. Bhagavan Vishnu indicated that there were several persons, who thrived on cheating, making false promises, social parasites, promise breakers, ‘Vishwaas ghaatis’, givers of wrong and misleading evidences, occupiers of others’ properties and belongings; those who discard parents and blood-relatives; swindle or forcibly bamboozle others etc. The purpose of the Sacred Tirthas like Ganga, Padma and Saraswati was thus to exonerate and correct such misled persons to reform them and lessen the budren on Earth.

12    Origin of Prithvi, worship and consequences of disrespect to her

At Shri Krishna’s twinkle of an eye, Lord Brahma’s age of hundred Brahma years are over and there would be a ‘Prakritik Pralaya’ when Prithvi (Earth) sinks in water and merges into Parabrahma Paramatma Shri Krishna. Maharshi Narayana narrated to Narada that there had been a belief when Daityas Madhu and Kaitabha were killed on the expanded dry place of Narayana’s thighs (since the Daityas agreed to be mutually killed only on a dry place without wetness) and the ‘Meda’ or fat of the demons’ dead bodies got dried up by Sun’s heat and that was how Medini was formed. Another version about the origin of Prithvi which Narayana Rishi narrated was what Mahatma Dharma told the Rishi: The ‘roma kupas’or the hair-roots of Maha Purusha’s body emitted dirt which created Prithvi and as many hair roots mixed with the sweat (water) emitted dirt so many times the formation of Prithvi takes place! Each time Prithvi is created, it emerges from the Seven Seas, along with Seven Dwipas, with Himalaya, Meru anf other Mountains; with Surya, Chandra and other Planets; with Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara abiding the Maha Puurusha’s instructions; along with Devas and other Pranis would get materialised too; Punya Tirthas are also created; Seven Heavens and Seven Under Worlds are created too; Brahma loka, Dhruva loka and so on woud also get materialised. Such is the repetitive activity which takes place in each Kalpa.[Brahma’s age is hundred Brahma years of which he has completed fifty years and the first day of his fifty first year is in progress and a day/night of Brahma is two kalpas; thus each Kalpa has a thousand Mahayugas equivalent to 4.32 billion human years] The current Sweta Varaha Kalpa too, Brahma requested Shri Hari to save Prithvi from the onslaught of Demon Haranayaksha who tried to be dump her in Rasatala and Shri Hari assumed the incarnation of Varaha Murti and rescued Prithvi by his ‘dumshtras’( tusks). A grateful Prithvi prayed to Narayana and the latter bestowed the boon to her that hence forth, she would be worshipped by Munis, Manus, Devatas, Siddhhas, Danavas and Manavas as and when there would be activities of construction like Griha Pravseh, Griharambha, irrigation projects etc.and those ‘Murkhas’(Idoits) who would not do so would go to hell! Meanwhile, Devi Prithvi and Varaha Devagave birth to Mangala Deva who became a Planet eventually. Maharshi Narayana then advised Narada about the procedure of Bhumi Puja by first invoking her with the Mula Mantra viz. Om Hreem Shreem Vasudhaayai swaahaa/ Bhagavan Vishnu himself prayed to her as follows:
Yagna sukarajaayaa twam Jayam dehi Jayaavahey,
Jayey Jayey Jayaadhaarey Jaya sheeley Jaya pradey/
Saraadhaaraey Sarva beejey Sarva Shakti samanvitey,
Sarva kaamapradey Devi Sarveshtam dehi mey bhavey/
Sarva shasaalaey sarvashasyaadhaye
Sarva shasyaharey Kaaley Sarva shsyaatmakey bhavey/
Mangaley angalaadhaarey Mangalye Mangala pradey,
Mangalaarthey Mangaleshey Mangalam dehi mey bhavey/
Bhumey Bhumipa sarwasvye Bhumipaala paraayaney,
Bhumipaahankaara rupey Bhumim dehi cha Bhumidey/
(You are Yagna Varaaha’s wife, the provider of Victory and the mainspring of Victory with the basic feature of victory! You are the principal sustainer and supporter of the entire world, the Bija Swarupa and the Emblem of all Powers and the bestower of all desires; kindly grant me each and everything of significance to me. You are the personification of harvests; the provider and also the destroyer of crops! You are also the symbol of auspiciousness, its major hinge and the pride of ‘Bhumipalakaas’ or (Kings) and large farmers. Do grant me unending property, Devi!)
Maharshi Narayana apprised Narada that whosoever recited the above ‘Stuti’ to Bhu devi would for several successive births become Kings, renowned Landlords and property owners of great substance. Further, any person who gives ‘Bhu daan’(charity) becomes eligible to reach Vishnudhaam; if a piece of Earth with standing crops is donated, the person concerned stays in Vishnudhaam for a long period of time. Those who donate to Brahmanas sizeable villages and huge chunks of agricultural lands would be residents of Vaikuntha. Even those who encourage the deeds of donation would be the beneficiaries of Punya. Contrarily, those who steal land especially from virtuous Brahmanas, or abet in such shady transactions would be destined to Kaalasutra, Kumbhipaka or Asipatra and Rourava Narakas depending on the intensity of cheating in the transactions, besides sufferings in the on-going lives too, great losses of physical well being, family disasters, loss of property and ignominy in the Society finally ending up with fateful and tragic end of life. Having described the pluses and minuses of donations or misuses of Land, Maharshi Narayana had not only described the Procedure of worship by way of Bhumi Puja by performing ‘Shodasopacharas’ or the Sixteen Services with Pushpa, Gandha, Deepa, Dhupa and Naivedyas, he also cautioned not to keep on bare earth certain items viz. Deepas, Shivalingas, Bhagavan/Bhagavati Murtis, Shankha, Yantra, Shalagrama, pushpa, japamala, pushpamala, Karpura, Chandana wood, Rudraksha mala, pustaka and Yagnopaveeta. At the time of Earthquakes or Grahanas (Eclipses), there should never be any breaking of Bhumi which might eventually cause sufferances of the limbs of persons responsible. Bhu Devi is complemented by several epithets such as ‘Kaashyapi’ as she was the daughter of Kashyapa Muni; ‘Sthira’ as she is stable; ‘Vishvambhara’ as she carries the burden of the world; ‘Ananta’ or of Endless nature; ‘Prithvi’ as the provider of desires in the form of a Kamadhenu at the behest of King Pruthu and ‘Bhumi’ as the base for building ‘Bhuvanas’or Residences of Comfort to one and all as per their own luck and deservedness!

13    ‘Ganga’: Bhagirath’s efforts, Puja to her and final restoration as Vishnu’s wife

Of the two wives of King Sagara viz. Vaidarbhi and Shaibya, Asamanjasa was born to Shaibya while Vaidarbhi delivered a ‘Maamsa pinda’ (piece of meat); Vaidarbhi meditated to Bhagavan Shankara sincerely and the latter arrived in the form of a Brahmana and cut the piece of meat into thousand pieces which turned out to be as many sons. As they grew of age, the thousand sons accompanied a horse meant for Rajasuya Yagna of King Sagara and behaved flippantly with Kapila Muni while in Tapasya and the furious Muni burnt off the thousand sons into ash. As the King approached the Muni for clemency, the latter assured that if Sacred Ganga were brought from heavens to the ashes of the sons cursed by him, their souls would attain salvation. Asamanjasa and his son Amshuman resorted to Tapasya to Devi Ganga for long time and died but the son of Amshuman named the legendary Bhagirath was fortunate to vision Shri Krishna who in turn instructed Devi Ganga who in any case was to descend to Bhuloka owing to Sarasvati’s curse and the pursuant dispensation of Bhagavan Vishnu. Shri Krishna blessed Ganga not only to provide Mukti to Sagara’s sons but purify the sins of the troubled human beings through out Kali Yuga who would bathe in Ganga and worship her; even by saying ‘Gangey Gangey’from a distance the devotees would be relieved of their sins and if per chance any Prani died while touching Ganga, that Prani would surely attain Vaikuntha!
Narada Muni enquired of Narayana Maharshi about the formal procedure of worship to Ganga desirous of reaping maximum advantages. In fact, King Bhagirath was stated to have followed the following procedure as described by the Maharshi. He performed worship to six Deities before qualifying the puja to Ganga Devi, viz. Shri Ganesha, Bhagavan Surya, Agni Deva, Vishnu, Shiva and Bhagavati Parvati. Subsequently, Bhagiratha prayed to Devi Ganga as follows: ‘You are pure like the white champaka flower ready to demolish the sins of those worshipping you as you have been materialised by the Vigraha of Paramatma Shri Krishna who had given you the status of thousands of ‘Sharatkaala Chandras’as you are the most propitious Narayana Priya, always peaceful and smiling with adornnents of Malati Pushpa garlands, ‘chandana bindus’ on your broad forehead shining prominently with ‘Sinduri bindu’; with pearl like teeth and profusely kind eyes; with such soft feet that put the most delicate white lotus petals to shame; surrounded by Devatas, Siddhas, Muni Ganas and Tapasvis. I greet that Maha Ganga who only knows to bestow boons, purify sinners and enhance the levels of devotees to finally reach peaks of Self-Realisation on par to Mukti. After performing Dhyana on the above lines, the devotee would carry out ‘Shodshopa -chaaraas’ of Asana, Paadya, Arghya, Snaana, Anulepana, Dhupa, Deepa, Naivedya, Tambula, Sheetala Jala, Vastra, Aabhushana, Maalaa, Chandana, Aachamana and Shayya. Thus dedicating his total self Bharirath requested Ganga to follow that route which passed through where the ashes of Sagara Putras were rested as a result of Muni Kapila’s curse, thus relieving their souls and receiving the epithet of ‘Bhagirathi’.
Maharshi Narayana conveyed an interesting episode to Narada about a Radha Mahotsava which was being celebrated on a Kartika Purnima at a Rasamanadali. Devi Saraswati took up her Veena and created mellifluous tunes in perfect ‘Tala Swaras’ and Brahma was delighted to gift a rare ‘Ratna’ as a gift. Shiva gifted an invaluable ‘Mani’, Krishna gifted Koustubha, Devi Radha prsented a wonderful Navaratna Maala and various Devatas gifted their own gifts too. Meanwhile Bhagavan Shankara rendered a fantastic Poem which was scripted with highly envigorating usage of select words that shook up the moods of the Raasleela congregation. On hearing the extraordinary piece of rendition, the entire audience was spell bound in unbelievable rapture and ecstacy and took time to gain normalcy. But the Rasamandala was in deep distress as Radha and Krishna were not traceable. There was an ‘Akaasha Vani’ or a Celestial Voice which directed Bhagavan Maha Deva to materialise Tantra Shastra and create Mantras and Kavachas that would be appropriate to the Tantras to be thus created. In reply, Shankara made a vow by swearing over ‘Gangaajal’ which was present in Shiva’s ‘kamandalu’(vessel) which indeed was the Sangam of Radha and Krishna who were untraceable so far in the Raasa Sabha that was spell bound hitherto pursuant to Shiva’s rendition!
After the effect of curses by Sarasvati to Ganga and Lakshmi to assume their own Rupas on Martya Loka, lasting for Kali Yuga’s five thousand years, the respective Devis reached back to Vaikuntha and including the Rupa of Devi Tulasi got materialised as Four Wives of Shri Hari; these four wives reached their positions, representing also like Four Vedas. Indeed these formations of Sarasvati, Ganga, Tulasi and Lakshmi were of Bhagavan Shri Hari’s ramifications. Paramatma Shri Krishna in Goloka who created the Trinity along with his alter-ego Devi Radha or the Devi Prakriti is the Unique Paramatma Swarupa.

14    Vedavati-Maya Sita- Draupadi and finally as Devi Tulasi

In the lineage of Manu Daksha Savarni were born Brahma Savarni-Dharma Savarni-Rudra Savarni-Deva Savarni and Indra Savarni who were all Parama Bhaktas of Bhagavan Vishnu.The son of Indra Savarni viz. King Vrishabhadhwaja was a great devotee of Parama Shiva and the latter considered the King even more important than his own sons Ganesha and Kumara. Somehow the King never followed the Vaishnava Dharma and even discouraged Vishnu Puja and Lakshmi Puja. An infuriated Surya Deva cursed the King that his Rajya Lakshmi would abandon him. Shiva in turn lifted his Trishul and ran behind Surya Deva and the latter sought refuge from his father Kashyapa Muni and Brahma. The three some of Surya, Kasyapa and Brahma sought protection from Vishnu Deva. Shiva too reached there and told Vishnu that Vrishabhadhwaja was his personal Bhakta and Surya cursed the King. Vishnu replied that by the time Shiva reached Vaikuntha, lot of time elapsed and not only Vrishabhadhwaja lost his Empire and died but also his son Rathadwaja passed away and the latter’s sons Dharmadwaja and Kushadwaja became intense Bhaktas of Vishnu and were performing Tapasya to Lakshmi Devi; Vishnu further said that an ‘Amsha’ of Maha Lakshmi would be soon born to Malavati, the blessed wife of Kushadwaja. As soon as the baby was born, she recited Vedas and was thus named Vedavati. In course of time, Vedavati took to severe Tapasya. There was an Akaasha Vani (Celestial Voice) which pronouned that Vedavati in her next birth would be Vishnu’s wife. On hearing this, Vedavati left for Gandhamadana Mountain and intensified herTapasya further. The demon Ravanasura spotted Vedavati in Tapasya and made advances to her; she cursed Ravana at his misbehaviour, declared that she would sacrifice her life by jumping into Agni Kunda and in her next birth would become responsible for his death as Devi Sita, the wife of a human Avatara of Vishnu to be called Shri Rama. Devi Sita was wedded to Shri Rama in the next birth. To keep up the word of his father Dasharatha, Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana moved on to the forests and Agni Deva approached Rama as a Brahmana and conveyed that since the time for Sita’s abduction by Ravana was imminent, he (Agni) should replace Devi Sita with Maya Sita and after the episode of Ravana’s killing was over, he would replace real Sita with the shadow Sita after the ‘Agni Pariksha’ time. Vedavati alias Chhaya Sita proceeded to perform Tapasya at Pushkara Kshetra and in Dwapara Yuga became Draupadi as the daughter of Drupada Raja and further as the wife of Pandavas. Thus Vedavati was blessed as a Trihaayani born in Satya, Treta and Dwapara yogas.
The daughter of King Dharmadhwaja and Malati was named Tulasi as both men and women could not weigh the beauty and charm of the Child-Tulanaasmartha- she was named as Tulasi. Being a ‘Jatismara’ with the memory of her previous births, Tulasi performed very strict Tapasya to Brahma Deva who appeared and asked Tulasi to seek a boon. Tulasi recalled that she was in her earlier birth she was a Gopi by the same name as Tulasi, that she was in Goloka as a close companion of Devi Radha and was fond of a boy called Govinda who was too a Gopa boy in the ‘Raasa Samaaja’, that their freindship blossomed into lust, that Devi Radha cursed the lovers to be born into ‘Martyaloka’/ Bhuloka and assured that on performing Tapasya to Brahma Deva the latter would give the boon of marrying Shri Krishna. Brahma smiled and told Tulasi that the same Gopa was already born with the ‘Amsha’of Shri Krishna as a Danava King called Shankhachooda residing in Samudra, who was invincible to even Parama Shiva and that he would be her husband initially and subsequently wed Vishnu Deva as his very dear wife when Tulasi would become a Tree /Shrub when the whole Universe would worship as Vrindaavani. Devi Tulasi was thrilled at what Brahma revealed about the future course of events, but had a lurking fear of Radha Devi as to whether she would make this dream-like future possible as predicted by Brahma. Brahma again smiled and taught the procedure of pleasing Devi Radha by a Shodashopachara Mantra, Radha Stotra, Kavacha and Puja Vidhana.Tulasi was determined to please Radha and performed incessant ‘Raadhopaasana’. In course of time, Tulasi had dreamt of a handsome youth and on the next day a Yogi called Shankhachooda landed at ‘Badarivana’who practised Shri Krishna Mantra and Kavacha, thanks to Jaigeeshva Muni. As Tulasi got his darshan at a common place she was readily got attracted to him and vice versa. They exchanged pleasantries as also serious matters of Vedanta content, especially in the background of both of them being Jatismaras, when Brahma appeared and encouraged their Gandharva Vivaha.
Even as Shankhachooda was enjoying his new marital life, he was simultaneously warring with Devatas, as he was essentially a Danava and tortured Devas and forcibly dislodged them from Indraloka. He acquired three crore ‘Dhanurdhaaras’/ ace bowmen, three lakh race horses, five lakh top rate elephants, Trishula dhaaris, countless chariots, and highly trained Maharathis and virtually became an unconquerable force in the entire Universe. On top of it he was a staunch Krishna devotee and the latter himself bestowed a talisman which fortified his prowess further. Shri Krishna was no doubt aware that the Danava King was performing all acts of Viciousness, brutality and violence; yet the demon’s staunch devotion to him far outweighed his vices and cruelties to Devas, Maharhis, Sages and Brahmanas. This situation prompted Bhagavan Shiva to advise the Danava King and mediated peace with Devas. He used all his skills and powers of bringing about rapproachment; he said: ‘Raja! You release the kingdom of Devas and make me and every body happy; you enjoy your own Kingdom and desist from fraternal enemities as Daityas, Danavaas and Devatas are all from the Kashyapa Muni and the own sisters of Diti, Danu and Aditi respectively. ‘Brahma hatya’ and ‘Jaati droha’ would be equally despicable etc. He also threatened that besides Indra, Surya, Yama, Varuna, Vayu, Shaneswara, Kubera etc. the illustrious Kumara, Nandi, Bhadra Kaali and he himself too would fight against him and the opponents. But the good advice given by Maha Deva himself fell flat on Shankhachooda’s deaf ears and the great battle of Devas and Daanavas which could have been avoided did take place due to the persistence of one Daitya King Shankhachooda! The King descended to the battle field adorned with the Dhanush and arrows that Bhagavan Vishnu gifted to him once. Skanda intiated the battle by destroying Shankhachooda’s chariot, Kavacha, the charioteer and his headgear and made the Daitya faint. But the latter recovered quickly and took up a Vishnu Shakti and attacked Skanda, by the powerful strike of which Skanda fell down. Devi Kaali took over and assaulted the Daitya who was an expert in Maya Shakti and dodged the Devi. Bhagavan Shiva revived Skanda by his Jnaana Shakti in a moment. Maha Deva then declared a fulfledged war in which Indra was pitted against Vrishaparva, Surya Deva against Viprachittha, Chandra against Dambha, Kaala Deva against Kaleswara, Agni against Gokarna, Kubera versus Kalakeya, Vishwakarma against Mayasura , Mrityu Devata against Bhayankara, Yama Raja against Samhara Danava, Varuna against Kalivinka, Vayu versus Chanchalasura, Budha against Ghritaprishtha and Shanaischara versus Raktaksha, Jayanta versus Ratnasaara, Vasugana versus Varchogana, Nalakubara versus Dhumra, Dharma vs.Dhanurdhara, and Mangala vs. Mandukasha. The Adityaganas, Ekadasha Rudras, Rudraganas headed by Nandeswara, Gandharvas, Yakshas and Kinnaras were all a the battle where the Danava Sena was annihilated mercilessly and there were streams of blood and floating dead bodies of soldiers and animals on the battle front. As there was a climatic moment at the combat, Maha Kali released Brahmastra at the Danava King who retalliated with another Brahmastra with the result was a nought. Then Devi Kaali intiated the Mantra to release ‘Brahmastra’ when a Celesial Voice was heard to say: King Shankhachooda is a ‘Maha Purusha’ (Illustrious Noble Being) and Pashupataastra should not be released against him, since he would not be killed by it. In fact, as long as a ‘Kavacha’(Shield) given by Shri Hari was carried on his body and as along as his wife’s ‘Pativratya’(High devotion to her husband) would last, the Danava would continue to be indestructible as these were the boons to him by Brahma. Bhadrakali then refrained from attacking the King but concentrated on destroying the rest of the Danavas and their Chiefs and so did the other Devas.Meanwhile, Bhagavan Vishnu took the form of an old Brahmana and approached for a boon. When Danava King replied that he could grant him anything, the Brahmana asked for the ‘Krishna Kavacha’; the Danava King who abided by his word parted with the Kavacha. Bhagavan Vishnu then assumed the Form of Shankhachooda and entered Devi Tulasi’s interior room in a delightful mood saying that he won the battle and wished to rest. Devi Tulasi was full of joy and in a celebrating mood of relaxation; the Maya Shankhachooda and Devi Tulasi were happy in their union and thus Tulasi’s ‘pativratya’ got affected. As both the hurdles of ‘Krishna Kavacha’ being donated by the Danava King to a Brahmana and the ruin of Tulasi’s Pativratya by Vishnu impersonating as Shankhacooda were removed, it was easy for Mahadeva to terminate the Danava King who returned to Devi Radha’s Rasa-leela party at Goloka as Sudama and Bhagavan Krishna and Devi Radha welcomed him back into their fold. From the bodybone - remains of Shankhachooda emerged several kinds of ‘Shankhaas’(conchshells) which were not only adorned on Shri Krishna’s hands but had since then found a permanent place in every Puja of Govinda. Meanwhile Devi Tulasi suspected the Maya Shankhachooda and as Vishnu revealed himself she was upset that original Danava King was no more, cursed Vishnu to become a ‘Paashaana’(rock piece) since he was unscrupulous and heartless and played the drama and removed her husband from the scene; eversince formal Vishnu Puja had been through the Sacred Form of a Shaaligraama. Vishnu then gave a reverse curse that Tulasi would become a holy River Gandaki as also as a Sacred Tree / shrub worshipped throught the Universe including Bhuloka, Swargaloka and Pataalalokas; Vishnu further said that ‘Abhisheka’with Tulasi leaves to Narayana would provide the same effect as ‘Sampurna Snaanas’ or baths in all hallowed places including Sarva Kshetras; performing several Yagnas; satisfying Shri Hari with thousands of Abhishekas of holy waters along with ‘Tulasi Dalaas’; thousnad ‘godaanas’ to equate a Tulasi patra daan; serving tulasi water at the time of a death; any puja with Tulasi to any Deity as good as lakhs of Ashwanmedha Yagnas or death with a tulasi on hand resulting in access to Vaikuntha. If a person swears with a Tulasi on hand, his pledge is considered to be an unquestioned belief and breaking the vow with a Tulasi would attract Kalasutra and Kubhipaaka Narakas. Bhagavan Shri Hari futher said that in order to make her curse to him true, he would become black ‘Paashaanas’ (Saligramas) on the banks of River Gandaki and several ‘krimi keedas’would bite the imprints of Shri Chakra thus becoming eligible for worship. Those Saligrams which have the colour of Cloud / Shyama Varna would be callled Lakshmi Narayana; those stones which have one door and four chakras are called ‘Vanamaali’; stones of light blue colour are called ‘Lakshmi Janaardana’; those with two doors, four chakras and a cow’s horn are called ‘Raghavendra’; small stones with two chakras of black colour are known as ‘Dadhi Vaamanaas’; very small stones with two chakras and vanamaali are called ‘Shridhara’; round stones with clear chakra and Vanamali sign are ‘Damodaras’; and so on. Narayana Rishi described the Puja to Devi Tulasi with the ‘Dasaakshara’ (Ten worded) Mula Mantra / Beeja Mantra viz. (OM) SHREEM HREEM KLEEM AIM BRINDAAVINYAI SWAAHAA comprising Lakshmi Beeja (Shreem), Maya beeja (Hreem), Kaama bija (Kleem) and Vaani beeja (Aim). After reciting the Mantra, formal Puja must be performed, followed by offering ghee soaked Deepa, Dhupa, Sindura, Chandana, Naivedya and flowers followed by the ‘Stuti’ that Vishnu himself recited:
Vrindaa rupascha vrikshaascha yadaiktra bhavanti cha,
Vidhurbhudaastena Vrindam matpriyaam taam bhajaamyaham/
Puraa babhuva yaa Devi twaadow vrindaavaney vaney,
Tena Vrindaavani khyaataa soybhaagyam taam bhajaamyaham/
Asamkhyeshu cha viseshu pujitaa yaa nirantaram,
Tena Vishwapujitaakhyaam Jagat-pujyaam bhajaamyaham/
Asamkhyaani cha Vishwaani pavitraani yayaa sadaa,
Taam Vishwapaavaneem Deveem virahena smraanyaham/
Devaa na tushtaah pushpaanaam samuhena yaya vinaa,
Taam Pushpa saaraam Shraddhaam cha drashtumicchhaami shokatah/
Vishwey yatpraaptimaatrena bhaktaanando bhaveda dhruvam,
Nandini tena vikhyaataa saa preetaa bhavataabhi mey/
Yasya Devyaastulaa naast Visweshu nikhileshu cha,
Tulasee tena vikhyaataa taam yaami sharanam priyaam/
Krishna jeevana rupaa yaa shaswatpriyatamaa Sati,
Tena Krishna jeevaneeti mama rakkshantu jeevanam/
(When Vrinda tree and another kind of tree look alike, then intelligent persons call the group of trees as Vrinda only! It is that Vrinda who is popular that I pray; my greetings to that auspicious Devi who emerged in ancient times in Brindavana and was called as Brindaavani; I implore that unique tree which is worshipped among innumerable other trees and is called as Vishwa pujita; I greet that universally revered tree in veneration; it is the Pushpasaaraa which is held in high esteem among several other flowers and is meditated by all Devas that I yearn to vision with emotion and anxiety; may Tulasi be kind to me as she is known for spreading happiness around and fulfil one’s desires and that is why her epithet is Nandini. I seek shelter from that Devi whose inherent values are impossible to weigh (tulana) and therefore called Tulasi. It is that Vrinda Swarupa who is considered as Krishna jeevani that protects the life of Shri Krishna!). In short, Tulasi Stotra is: Vrindaa Vrindaavani Vishwapijita Vishwapaavani, Pushpa -saaraa Nandini cha Tulasi Krishna jeevani/ Etannaamaashtakam chaiva Stotram Naamaartha samyutam, yah pathet taam cha sapujya soshwamedha phalam labhet/ After the Stotra as above, the formal Puja comprising the ‘Shodashopachaaraas’ are required to be performed by men and women for prosperity, long and healthy life.

15    Devi Savitri’s ‘Puja Vidhana’

Devi Savitri is the mother of Vedas whom Brahma Deva worshipped first followed by all the Devas. A reputed King of Madradesha called Ashwapati and his queen Malati whose qualities of virtue, charity and devotion brought them fame in the contemporary times but had unfortunately no children. Maharshi Vasishta gave ‘Upadesha’ (Instruction) of Gayatri Mantra and the royal couple performed sincere ‘japa’ (repetitive muttering of Mantra) and worship but to no avail; they shifted to Pushkara Kshetra and intensified their devotion. Meanwhile, there was a celestial voice which directed the King to perform Gaytri Mantra japa ten lakh times. At the same time Maharshi Parashara arrived and advised the King as follows: One Gayatri japa a day would demolish sins of that day; ten Gayatris would remove the sins of a day and night; hundred times a day would destroy a month’s sins and thousand a day would blow up a month’s. The Japa of a lakh of Gayatri Mantra would relieve a life time’s sins and that of ten lakhs would bestow Siddhis. Gayatri Japa of a crore times would give highly positive impact and of ten crores would secure Mukti! Maharshi Parashara thus advised the King to perform ‘Trikaala Sandhyas’in the morning, mid day and the evening; he said that whatever virtuous deeds are done on a day would have no value to any Brahmana unless the Trikaala Sandhyas are achieved. If a person sincerely executes the Japas would become radiant like a Surya and the dust under his feet would become worship-worthy! Parashara Maharshi also taught the way the Gayatri Japa had to be done:
Karam sarpa phanaakaaram krutwaa tam turdharva mudritam/ Aanamnamurthwamachalam prajepet praangmukho dwijah,
Anaamikaa madhdya deshaadadho vaamakramaneyna cha/ Tarjanee mula paryantam japasyesha krama karey/
(A Brahmana should sit towards the East, keep the right hand lifted up and perform ‘Mudras’(hand postures or gestures) while the body is slightly bent down; the count of Gayatri should commence from the middle part of the Anamika finger and to its lower part; then to the little finger’s lower, middle and top portions; back to the top of Anamika finger; then the top of the middle finger; again top of the fore finger, its middle and lower parts; and further to the lower parts of middle and Anamika fingers, thus totalling twelve).
Maharshi Narayana explained to Narada that Savitri Vrata should be observed starting from the evening of Jyeshtha Krishna Trayodashi and on the following Charurdashi day perform the Savitri Puja with fourteen kinds of fruits and fourteen types of Naivedyas, pushpa, dhupa, Vastra, Yagnopaveeta etc.The Vrata Karta has to set up a Kalasha (vessel) and invoke Ganesha, Surya, Agni, Vishnu, Shiva and Parvati, and then execute Savitri dhyana, stotra and the formal puja. The ‘dhyana’ (meditation) to Devi Savitri would be on the following lines: ‘Devi Savitri! You have the complexion of molten gold with the radiance of Brahma Teja like the severe summer’s thousand mid-day Suryas wearing two Agni Shudha vastras. You are known as ‘Sukhada’, ‘Muktida’, ‘Shanta’, ‘Sarasampad Swarupa’ and ‘Sarva sampad pradaatri’(Provider of bliss, Salvation, Peace, and Wealth since you are the Symbol of Prosperity). May I invoke the ‘Adhishthaatri’or the Over-all in charge of Vedas and Shastras and meditate that Veda beeja Swarupa Savitri!’ After the invocation thus, the devotee would have to offer the ‘Shodashopachaaraas’ of Aasana, Paadya, Arghya, Snaana, Anulepana, Dhupa, Deepa, Naivedya, Taambula, Sheetala Jala, Vastra, Bhushana, Maalaa, Chandana, Aachamana and Shayya. [Details of Pativrata Savitri-Yama Raja dialogues are given in the Essence of Matsya Purana by the same author.]

16    Mahalakshmi: her exit from Swarga and restoration, and Puja Vidhana

(‘Shodashopacharas’ and ‘Stuti’ by Indra included)

Parabrahma Paramatma divided himself into two Bhagavans viz. Shri Krishna and Vishnu at the beginning of ‘Srishti’. Paramatma also divided into two Devis; from his right side was manifested Devi Radha and from the left Maha Lakshmi. Krishna and Radha resided in ‘Goloka’ while Vishnu and Lakshmi resided in Vaikuntha. Both Krishna and Vishnu as well as their Consorts were equal in their ‘Amshas’ traits in terms of Form, Profile, complextion, radiance, fame, dresses, adornments, Gunas, comprehension, voice, gait, morale and psychology, excepting Krishna was with two hands and Narayana with two hands. ‘Maha Lahshmi’ is called like wise as she is the supreme leader of womanhood representing idealism, virtue, grace, kindness, and all that is propitious and auspicious. She is called ‘Swarga Lakshmi’ as she is the Archetype of Wealth, Prosperity, and Magnificence. She is ‘Rajya Lakshmi’ standing for the Excellence of Royalty and Opulence; ‘Griha Lakshmi’ worshipped in each and every household and the symbol of patience, service, generosity, fertility, devotion and practical wisdom of all ‘Grihinis’. In fact, she is not confined to only Ashta Lakshmis viz. Adi Lakshmi, Dhanya Lakshmi, Dhairya Lakshmi, Gaja Lakshmi, Santana Lakshmi, Vijaya Lakshmi, Vidya Lakshmi and Dhana Lakshmi, but characterizes several good aspects like Arogya Lakshmi, Shri Lakshmi, Shobha Lakshmi, Shubha Lakshmi, Rama, Indira, Chakrika, Kamalika, Kalyani, Vaishnavi, Narayani, Shri Devi, Jalaja, Madhavi, Aishwearya, Padma Priya, Padmakshi, Ulka Vahini and so on. She is present in all materials of significance like Bhushanas, Precious metals and Nava Ratnas, flowers, fruits, water, Kings and Queens, Homes, Palaces, Dhanyas, Vastras, Sacred Places, Deva Pratimas, Mangala Kalashas, Manikyas, Chandana and other fragrances, Dhanya, Vidya-Arogya and Puja related items etc. At the very first, Bhagavan Vishnu performed worship to Maha Lakshmi at Vaikuntha, followed by Brahma, Parama Shiva, Swayambhu Manu, Indra and Devas, Gandharvas, Nagas and Rishis and Munis. Brahma worshipped on Bhadrapada Shuka Ashtami. Vishnu initiated Pujas on Chaitra, Pousha, and Bhadrapada Tuesdays and Fridays.
Durvasa Muni was on way to Kailasha from Vaikuntha en route Swarga; on way he met Indra, blessed him and did the rare honour of gifting a Parijata flower garland which Vishnu presented to the Muni. Out of arrogance, Indra placed the garland around the neck of ‘Iraavata’-the Elephant Carrier of Indra! The infuriated Muni felt that this sacrilegious and irrevernt act of Indra was not only indicative of disrespect for himself but also an act of unpardonable profanity to Bhagavan Vishnu! He therefore cursed Indra saying that an invaluable gift rewarded to Durvasa by Narayana was parted with and out of consideration to Indra who ignored its inherent worth. Hence, the root cause of Lakshmi, who was the Form of Prosperity, should abandon Swarga forth with. He further said that as a Bhakta of Narayana, he had the least fear for Brahma or Shiva; in fact the head of the elephant which wore the Parajata garland should by sliced off and eventualy replace Ganesha’s head! With this furious curse of Durvasa, Indra came to senses and realised his unpardonable folly and said: Aishwaryam vipadaam beejam jnaana pracchanya kaaranam, Muktimargargalam daadhyam Hari bhakti vyavasaayikam/ Janma mrityu jaraa roga shoka bheetaamkuram Param, Sampatthi timiraandham cha Mukti maarga na pashyati/ (Aishwaryam or Great Prosperity is the seed from which difficulties arise, suppressing Gyan or Wisdom and the barrier of Mukti Marga creating obstacles all through the way of Hari- Bhakti. Opulence happens to be the seedling to Janma /Birth, Mrityu/ Death, Jara / Old Age, Shoka / grief and Anurag / Desire. It is due to wealth that obstacles and blindness to ‘Mukti Marga’are caused). By so saying, Indra fell on Sage Durvasa’s feet with subdued ego and repentance. Muni Durvasa pardoned Indra and advised Deva Guru to be inolved to perform worship to Shri Krishna. Brihaspati gave him encouragement and said that virtuous and brave persons should not get disheartened on occasions like this; ‘Sampatti’ or fortune and ‘Vipatti’ or complex trouble would occur due to the Karma phala of previous births. Deva Guru further said: Maha vipattow samsaarey yah smaren Madhusudanam, Vipattow tasya Sampattir bhaveydvidityaaha Shankarah/ (A person who remembers the name of Madhusudana at the time of hardship would definitely find a way out from Vipatti to Sampatti according to Shankara). Later on Deva Guru and Indra approached Brahma Deva who in turn took Indra and Devas to Vaikuntha. Bhagavan Vishnu stated that just as the whole Universe was undre his control, he himself was bound by what his Bhaktaas dictated to him! Indeed, those who ignored Vishnu, my devotee Lakshmi too would leave that Place at once! After all, Maha Muni Durvasa of Shankara Deva’s Amsha was Vishnu’s parama Bhakta and his anger was indeed justified! As his shraddhaa in Govinda was unbreakable, the Muni cursed Indra for his unpardonable blunder. Indeed Lakshmi would instantly leave-and so would Vishnu- that house where there was no sound of ‘Shankha’ (Conchshell), nor where a Tulasi shrub was worshipped; nor where Shankara Puja was executed, and where Brahmanas were not invited to take food. Bhagavan Vishnu further said that Devi Lakshmi would not stay in such residences where Vishnu Bhaktas were critisised, where food was served on Ekadashis and Janmashtamis; where unmarried girls of Devi’s names were sold or purchased; where guests were not entertained for food or stay; where persons eat food before Sunrise; where persons sleep during the days or those who sleep naked; those Brahmanas who never performed Vratas, fastings, Sandhya vandanas and Vishnu pujas; and where there was ‘Jeeva himsa’ or Cruelty of human or other beings of any description. Contrarily, Lakshmi would stay permanently in those houses where there are discussions, Bhagavat Kirtanas, singings of hymns, Shankha dhwanis, pujas of Shalagramas and Tulasi, Pujas of Devas and Devis, Devatarchanas and Naivedyas, renderings of Mantras and veneration of Deva Bhaktas, Godmen, Brahmanas and Sumangalis. Having explained on these lines, Vishnu advised Devi Lakshmi to stay in Ksheera Samudra till Devas and Danavas did ‘Amrita Manthana’or churning of the Ocean. Soon thereafter, the Sagara Manthana commenced with Mandara Mountain as ‘kaashtha’ or the Churning rod; Kurmavatara / the incarnation of Bhagavan Vishnu as Tortoise to balance the Mountain, Sesha Naaga as the rope with which to rotate the ‘kaashtha’, and Devas and Danavas as the Churning Parties. As result of the ‘Manthana’, first emerged ‘Halahala’( the massive poisonous flames) which was devoured by Maha Deva and kept in his throat and then surfaced elephant Iravata, Ucchhaishvara horse, Sudarshana Chakra, Koustubha Mani, Chandra and Devi Lakshmi whereafter emerged Dhanvantari and Amrit. Devi Lakshmi adorned Vishnu with Vanamali when Vishnu worshipped her, followed by Maha Deva, Brahma, Indra and Devatas when Durvasa’s curse to Indra was cleared and Lakshmi’s ‘Amsha’ reappeared as Swarga Lakshmi.

17    Lakshmi Puja by Indra -‘shodashopachaaraas’ (Sixteen Services) and ‘Stuti’

An ever grateful Indra to Devi Lashmi then performed formal worship to the restored Swarga Lakshmi as follows commenced with Dhyana: ‘Parama Pujya Bhagavati Maha Lakshmi seated on a thousand petalled Lotus illuminated with the lustre of countless Chandras! We are mesmerised to vision your stunning and gorgeous Rupa like that of molten gold wearing silks of extraordinary grace and charismatic smile as the Embodiment of Affluence and Propitiousness. May we deserve the extraordinary fortune of worshipping you in person?’
Asanam: Amulya Ratna saaram cha nirmitam Vishwakarmanaa, Pashyaani prakrush -taani varaani durlabhaani cha, Aasaanamcha vichitram cha Maha Lakshmi pragruhnataam/ (Bhagavati Maha Lakshmi! May I offer in your service an invaluable and distinguished seat made of Choicest Jewels specially designed and crafted by Vishwakarma, the Celestial Designer!) Paadyam: Shuddham Gangodakamidam Sarva Vanditameepsitam, Paapedhma vahni rupam cha gruhyataam Kamalaalay/ (Kamalaalaye! This pure and hallowed Ganga water is borne by the heads of one and all as the same is endeared and revered by them; this is considered as Agni Swarupa which burns off all kinds of sins; do kindly accept it to wash your sacred feet); Arghyam: Pushpa chandana durvaadi samyuktam Jaahnaveejalam, Shankha garbhastitam shuddham gruhnataam Padma vaasini/( Padmavaasini! This Ganga water in a Shankha along with flowers, Chandana, Durva and such other consecrated material is offered to you as a welcome drink) Sugandhi Pushpa thailam: Sugandhi pushpa thailam cha Sugandhaamalaki phalam, Deha Soundrya beejam cha gruhnataam Shri Harey Priye! (Shri Hari Priye! This fragrant oil extracted from Amala fruit is a pleasing application to enrich physical beauty and skin smoothening; do please allow it to be used as a bathing device); Dhoop :Vriksha niryaa swarupam cha Gandhadravyaadi samyutam, Shri Krishna kaantey dhupam cha pavitram prati-guhyataam/(Shri Krishna Kantey! I proffer ‘dhoop’or the aromatic smoke of incense material mixed with a vegetable gum; do kindly accept this smoke offered with sanctity); Chandan: Malayaachala sambhutam vriksha saaram manoharam, Sugandha yuktam sukhadam Chandanam Devi gruhnataam/ (Devi! this chandana ‘gandha’ which originated from the chandana tree on Malaya mountain is not only sweet-smelling but also provider of coolness; I request you to apply on your body to give soothening effect); Deepam: Jagacchasthuh swarupam cha dhwaanta pradhwansa kaaranam, Pradeepam shuddha rupam cha gruhyataam Parameswari/ (Parameswari! Kindly allow this Sacred Light which is the vision of eyes, remover of darkness and a symbol of Purity to please you and light the surroundings); Naivedya: Naanopahaara rupam cha nanaa rasa samanvitam, Naanaa swaadukaram chaiva Naivedyam Pratigruhnnataam/ (Devi! I am tendering this ‘Naivedya’or the offering of various eats and juices which have been prepared with taste and flavor; I should be obliged of these snacks are consumed to please me). Anna: Annam Brahma swarupam cha Pranarakshana kaaranam, Tushtidam Pushtidam chaiva Devyaannam pratigruhyataam/ (Devi! Annam/ food is considered to be of Brahma Swarupa; food is also a life saving material which ensures eating-satisfaction and enhances strength in the natural way; I request you to taste this food); Kheer: Shaalyakshata supakwam cha sharkaraagavya samyutam suswaadu samanoharam, Swaadu yuktam Maha -Lakshmi Paramaannam Pratiguhyataam/( Maha Lakshmi! This Kheer or cooked rice with sugar and ghee is specially prepared for your taste; please taste this preparation); Swaastika Mishtaanna: Shakaraa gavya pakwam cha suswaadu sumanoharam, Mayaa niveditam LakshmiSwaastikam pratiguhnataam/ (Lakshmi! This is ‘Mrishta- anna’/Sweet rice called Swastika which is a mix of sugar and ghee in cooked rice which is being offered as a Naivedya to you for your kind acceptance). Phala: Naanaa vidhani ramyaani pakkvaani cha phalaanicha, Swaaduyuktaani Kamaley gruhyataam phaladaani cha/ (Devi Kamaley! These are various fruits ripe for eating, which are not only sweet luscious but also desire-fulfilling; may I present these juicy fruits for approval). Dughdha: Surabhistana sambhutam swaadu sumanoharam, Martra -amrutam sugavyam cha gruhnnataamachyuta priye/ (Achyuta Priye! This pure milk which is fresh from Surabhi cow’s udder is meant for Martyaloka residents and is tasty like ambrosia; I beseech you to taste it and gratify me!) Gud / Jaggery: Suswaada rasa samyuktamikshu vriksha samudbhavam, Agnipakkamati swaadu gudam cha prati- guhyataam/ (Devi! this jaggery has been made of sugarcane juice heated up and solidified; indeed this is very sweet and fresh; please savour this). Mrishtaanna: Yava godhuma sashyaanaam churna renu samudbhavam, Supakvam guda gavyaaktam Mrishtaannam Devi gruhyataam/ (Devi! This is a sweet preparation made of wheat and ‘Yava’grains-mix, nicely cooked with jaggery and ghee which too is very appetizing for favour of your taste); Pishtak: Shasyachurnodbhavam pakkvam Swastikaadi sumanvitam, Mayaa niveditam DeviPishtakam pratigruhyataam/ (Devi! This pishtak made of rice powder with Swastika and other signs is a fried and crisp savoury for your taste); Eik/ Sugar cane: Paarthivo vriksha bhedascha vividha dravya kaaranam, Suswaadurasa samyutam Eikshuscha pratigruhyatam/ (Devi! This sugar cane is an extraordinary tree on Earth and is a source of several bye products like jaggery, sugar and simple juice from raw cane; this juice is indeed very sweet and succulent; it is my prayer that you may drink up this juice!); Vyanjan: Sheeta vaayu pradam chaiva daahey cha sukhadam param, Kamaley! Gruhyataam chedam vyajanam shweta chaamaram/ (Kamaley! In this stuffy climate, a white ‘chamara’/ hand fan would certainly bring relief and happiness; may I serve you with ‘Vyanjana’ for your comfort); Taamboola: Taambulamcha varam ramyam karpuraadi suvaasitam, Jihwaa jaadyacchedakaram Taamboolam Devi gruhyataam/ (Devi! This ‘Taamboola’ made of tender betel leaves and fragrant materials like ‘karpura’/ camphor and other scented edible digestibles would provide freshness and good feeling to your tongue and mouth; may I tender this to you); Jala: Suvaasitam sheetalamcha pipaasaa naashakaaranam, Jagajjevaa rupamcha jeevanam Devi gruhyataam/ (Devi! To quench thirst, there is nothing like very cold, nicely scented and life-reviving water; do please accept this as well); Maalya: Deha soundarya bijam cha sadaa Shobha vivardhanam, Kaarpaasaja cha krumijam vasanam Devi gruhyataam/ (Devi! The bouquets and garlands made of a wide variety of fresh and perfumed seasonal flowers provide invaluable joy to the wearers of these as also enhance beauty and grace to them; it is my privilege and unique opportunity to proffer these flowers to you); Achamaneeya: Punya tirthakam chaiva Vishuddham Suddhidam sadaa, Grhnateem Krishna Kaantey twam ramyamaachaneeyakam/ ( Krishna Kaantey! This ‘Tirtha jala’which is sanctified on its own as also purify others is highly worthy of ‘Achamaneeya’; do accept the same); Shayya: Ratnasaaraadi nirmaanam pushpachandana samyutm, Ratnabhusha bhushaadhyam sutalpam Devi gruhnnataam/
(This invaluable and highly comfortable bed with soft cotton and silk clothing, which is bejewelled and treated with fresh and intoxicating flowers and fragrances, is tendered to you Devi! please do accept this for your relaxation); Apurva Dravya: Yadyad dravyamapurvam cha Prithivyaapi durlabham, Deva bhushaarbhogyam cha taddrayam Devi gruhnataam/ (Devi! Not only these but whatever invaluable and even impossible maretials are available on Earth or elsewhere that are worthy of adorning your body would be available at your nod of head!) After performing the ‘Shodashopa -charaas’ thus, Indra pleased Devi Lakshmi with the recital of the Moola Mantras which were taught to him by Brahma Deva: These Mantras include: ‘Shri Beeja’ (Shreem), ‘Maya Beeja’ (Hreem), ‘Kama Beeja’ (Kleem), and ‘Vani Beeja’ (Aim), followed by the word ‘Kamalavaasinyai’ and further adding the word ‘Swaahaa’; the Mantrarajaa would be : SHREEM HREEM KLEEM AIM KAMALAVAASINYAI SWAAHAA/ Kubera recited this Mantra for long time to Devi Lakshmi and attained unprecedented ‘Aishwarya’(Wealth); also Daksha Savarni Manu secured unique Sovereignty of ‘Sapta Dwipas’. As Bhagavati Maha Lakshmi gave ‘darshan’ (vision) to Indra Deva, he was overtaken by extreme emotion and praised her as follows:
Indra ‘Stuti’ to Devi Lakshmi
Om Namo Maha Lakshmyai/ Om Namah Kamala vaasinyai Naraayanyai Namo Namah,
Krishnapriyayai Suraaryai Padmaayai cha Namo Namah/
Padmapakshetranaayai cha Padmaasyaayai Namo Namah,
Padmaasanaayai Padmasanaayai Padminyai Vaishnavyai cha Namo Namah/
Sarasampatsarwarupaayai Sarva daatryai Namo Namah,
Sukhadaayai Moksadaayai Siddhidaayai Namo Namah/
Haribhakti pradaatryai cha Harshadaatryai Namo Namah,
Krishna vakshahsthaalaayai cha Krishneyshaayai Namo Namah/
Krishna shobha swarupayai ratna padmey cha shobhaney,
Samapattadhishthaatru Devyai Maha Devyai Namo Namah/
Shasyaadhishthaatru Devyai Shasyaayai cha Namo Namah,
Namo Buddhiswarupayai Buddhidaayai Namo Namah/
Vaikunthey yaa Mahaalakshmeeryaa Lakshmeeh ksheerasaagarey,
Swarga Lakshmeerindra gehey Rajyalakshmeernupaalaye/
Grihalakshmischa grihaanaam gehey cha Griha Devataa,
Surabhih saa gavaam Maataa Dakshinaa Yajnakaaminee/
Aditirdeva mataa twam Kamalaa Kamalaalaye,
Swaahaa twam cha Havirdaaney Kaavya daavey Swadhaa smrutaa/
Twam hi Vishnuswarupaa cha Sarvadhaaraa Vasundharaa,
Shuddha Satwa Swarupaa Twam Naraayanaparaayanaa/
Krodha himsaa varjitaa cha Varadaa cha Shubhaananaa,
Paramaarthapradaa twam cha Haridaasyapradaa Paraa/
Yayaa vinaa Jagatsarwam Bhasmee bhutamasaarakam,
Jeevanmritam cha Vishvam cha Shavastulyam yayaa vinaa/
Sarveshaam cha Paraa twam hi Sarva bandhavarupini,
Yayaa vinaa na Sambhaashyo Baandharvair baandhavah sadaa/
Twayaa heeno Bandhu heeno twayaa yuktah sabaandhavah,
Dharmaartha kaama mokshaanaam twam cha Kaarana rupinee/
Yathaa Maataa stanandhaanaam shishuunaam Shaishavey sadaa,
Tathaa twam sarvadaa Maataa Sarveshaam Sarvarupatah/
Maatru heenah stanaandhascha sa chejjeevati Daivatah,
Twayaa heeno janah kopina Jeevatyeva nischitam/
Suprasanna Swarupaa twam maam prasanna Bhavaambikey,
Vairigrastam cha ishyam dehi mahyaam Sanaatani/
Vayam yaavat twayaa heenaa bandhu heenascha Bhikshukaah,
Sarava sampad viheenaascha taava Deva Haripriye/
Raajyam dehi Shriyam dehi Balam dehi Sureswari,
Keertim dehi Dhanam dehi Yasho Mahyaamcha dehi vai/
Kaamamdehi Matim dehi Bhogaan dehi Haripriye,
Jnaanam dehi Dharmam cha Sarva Soubhaagyameepsitam/
abhaavamcha Prataapamcha Sarvaadhikaaraevacha,
Jayam Paraakramam Yuddhey Paramaishwarya meyvacha/
[ Bhagavati Kamalavaasini, Devi Narayani, my repeated greetings to you. Samsaara saara bhutaa Krishna Priya Bhagavati Padma! My innumerable greetings to you. You possess lotus eyes and lotus face, Bhagavati Maha Lahshmi! My repeated salutations to you Maha Lakshmi; you are called Padmaasana, Padmini and Devi Vaishnavi; you are also Sukha daayani, Sarva Sampadswarupini, Moksha daayani, and Siddhi daayani. You lead to the Sacred Path of dedication to Shrihari and the Provider of Happiness to those who excel in devotion to Him. My sincere salutation to you as you exist in full bloom on Krishna’s chest and is therefore called as Krishna’s Hridayeshwari. You are the major possessor of Krishna’s Shobha or Splendour and the ‘Adhisthatri’ (Sovereign) of ‘Sampurna Sampatti’ (the Totality of Wealth) as also the Adhishthatri of ‘Dhanya’ (Harvest) and Dhanya Swarupa. You are the Maha Lakshmi of Vaikuntha, Lakshmi of Ksheera Sagara, Rajya Lakshmi of Kingdoms, Swarga Lakshmi in Indra’s Swarga, Griha Lakshmi in households, Griha Devata, Go Lakshmi called Surabhi, Dakshina Lakshmi in Yagnaas, Aditi Maataa Lakshmi to Devas, Swaha Lakshmi at Havyapradaana at Yagnaas,and Swadha Lakshmi at the Kavya Pradaana. You are the Bhu Lakshmi, Sudha Satwa Swarupa, ‘Akrodhi Swarupa’, ‘Ahimsa Swarupa’, Varada, Sharada, Shubhaa, Paramaarthadaa and Haridaasapradaa. Without you, the entire Universe is dissipated and dead. You are the ‘Bandhu Swarupa’ and the Gateway to Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. The World is your milk-providing toddler and you are the ever kind Mother whose natural trait is to help with patience! Hari Priye! Till I could not vision you, I am a ‘Bandhu heen’, a beggar, and a pauper. Mother, grant me Rajya, Opulence, Power, Fame, Prosperity, any possession of my choice, Buddhi, Bhoga, Jnaana, Dharma , Sowbhagya, Prabhava, Pratapa, Adhikaara /Authority, Victory in battles, Parakrama and Paramaishwarya.] Those who recite the above Stuti thrice a day could retain Lakshmi for ever.

18    Worship of Swaha, Swadha, Dakshina, Shashthi, Mangala Chandi and Manasa

At the time of Srishti, Devas approached Brahma to formalise an arrangement of their food. As Brahma requested Vishnu, the latter materialised an ‘Amsha’ in the form of ‘Yagna’and which ever ‘havishyas’ (oblations) were made to Agni by Brahma were transferred to Devas. But the offerings made by Brahmanas, Kshatriyas etc. never reached to Devas. As Brahma requested Shri Krishna to sort out the problem, the latter desired Mula Prakriti to release one of her ‘Kalas’ or features and Prakriti materialised the Dahika Shakti of Agni in the form of Swaha Devi. Brahma suggested Swaha Devi to marry Agni Deva, but she was reluctant to do so as her intense desire was to wed Shri Krishna and none else; she performed severe Tapasya and Shri Krishna advised her to marry Agni Deva for the time being and wait till the end of Varaha Kalpa when she would be be reborn as Devi Nagnajiti, the daughter of King Nagnajit. As advised, Swaha Devi married Agni and gave birth to three famous sons named ‘Dakshinaagni’, ‘Garhapatyagni’ and ‘Ahavaneeyaagni.’ Meanwhile, Rishis, Munis, Brahmanas, Kshatriyas etc. came to practise the pronounciation of Swaha Mantra and lasting arrangement of food for Devas had been made eversince. In fact, those ‘havishyas’ / ‘Ahutis’ made to Agni without the Swaha Mantra is like a snake without poison, a Brahmana without the knowledge of Veda, a woman who has to devotion to her husband, a person without ‘Vidya’(education) and a tree which does not bear fruits. Worship of Swaha Devi thus continued with the Mula Mantra: Om Hreem Shreem Vahnijaayai Devyai Swaha and formal puja with Shodashopachaaraas or the Sixteen Services The Sixteen Sacred names of Swaha Devi are as follows: Swaha, Aadyaa, Prakrutyamsha, Mantratantranga Rupini, Mantraphaladaatri, Jagaddhaatri, Sati, Siddhiswarupa, Siddha, Sadaa Nrunaam Siddhidaa, Hutaashaadaahikaa Shakti, Hutaashaa Praanaa-dhika Rupini, Samsaara saararupa, Ghora samsaara taarini, Deva jeevana rupa and Devaposhana kaarini. Recital of these names would bestow Siddhis; the persons concerned are also shielded against Anga heenata, Bharyaa heenata and Putra heenata (physical disablity, dearth of wife or deficiency of progeny respectively).
Swadha Devi is an enricher of ‘Pitru Trupti’ and ‘Shraddhaas’. At the time of Srishti, Brahma created seven Pitaras (Kardama, Pulaha, Kulah, Bhrigu, Bharadwaja, Marichi and Angira) and their descendants of whom four were ‘Murtimaans’ (with Form) and three in the form of ‘Tejas’.The daily duties of Brahmanas include Trikaala Sandhya, Shraaddha, Tarpana, Balivaishwa Deva, and Veda Pathana. Also ‘Tarpanaanta Snaana, Shraddha paryanta Pujana and Trikaala Sandhyaanta Ahnika Karma are the duties as prescribed by ‘Shrutis’.Brahma stipulated ‘Shraddha Vidhana’/ procedure including the material to be used etc. but the food oblations to Pitrus by Brahmanas never reached them properly and the Pitras complained to Brahma and as in the case of Swaha Devi, Mula Prakriti manifested from one of her Amshas another Devi Swadha like white Champaka with the features of Vidya, Guna, Buddhi and Shuddhi or Knowledge, Characteristics, Temperament and Purity respectively similar to Lakshmi Devi. Brahma declared Swadha Devi as the wife of Pitras, just as Swaha Devi in the case of Agni. In respect of ‘Vastu daana’and offerings to Devatas at Yagnas / Homas through Agni Deva, the Mantra suffix Swaha is to be recited, offerings to Pitras are to be suffixed with the Mantra viz. Swadhaana. Here again, offerings to Pitras by way of Tarpanas and Shraddhaas are invalid without the suffix Mantra viz. Swadhaana. Swadhaa Swadhaa Swadheytyevam Trisandhyam yah pathennarah, Priyaam vineetaam sa labhet Saddhvi putrah gunaanvitam, Pitruunaam Pranatulyaa twam Dwija jeevana rupini, Shradhhadhishthaatru Devi cha Shraddhaadeenaam phalapradaa/ (Those who recite the Sacred name of ‘Swadha, Swadha, Swadha’ at the time of Trikaala Sandhya would be bestowed with a loving and loyal wife as also well behaved children. Devi! You are the ‘Prana Tulya’ to Pitaras and the ‘Jeevana Swarupa’ of Brahmanas, being the ‘Adhishthaatri’of ‘Shraaddhas’; it is through your kindness that Shraddhas and Tarpanas become successful. You provide ‘Tushti’ (satisfaction) to Pitras, Preeti (fulfilment) to Dwijas and ‘Abhivruddhi’ to ‘Grihastis’or house-holders). Maharshi Narayana further advised Sage Narada about the Mula Mantra of Swadha Devi viz. Om Hreem Shreem Kleem Swadhaa Devyai Swahaa. After invoking the Devi with the Mantra, Brahmanas perform Puja, Stuti and prostration to seek the blessings of Pitru Devas.
Maharshi Narayana narrated to Narada about the background of Gopika Susheela of Rasamandali of Goloka. She was deeply desirous of Shri Krishna and Devi Radha was annoyed and asked Susheela to leave Goloka. Almost instantly Shri Krishna disappeared and Devi Radha was confused and prayed to him saying that despite her being with him for long, she could not overcome the temperament of a woman. As though he pardoned Devi Radha, Shri Krishna re-appeared at Goloka. Meanwhile, Devi Susheela assumed the name of Dakshina Devi and performed harsh Tapasya to Shri Hari and the latter blessed her and handed her over to Brahma who in turn declared her as the wife of Yagna Deva. ‘Phala’ was the son of Dakshina and Yagna. Besides Yagnas, any Sacred Karya-be it a Vrata, a Mangala charya, a devotional task of any description needs to be rewarded as Dakshina to Brahmanas concerned immediately; other wise the Punya Karma is stated to be a futile exercise and gets registered as an enrty into the stomach of ‘Bali’! Dakshina Devi is stated to have materialised from the right shoulder of Devi Lakshmi as an important ‘Kala’ (feature) and is a formaliser and the fulfilling agent of any Punya Karya! Worship to Dakshina Devi by way of Dhyana by the Mula Mantra - Om Shreem Kleem Hreem Dakshinayai Swaha-followed by Padya, Arghya, Naivedya etc. would grant Vidya to Vidyaheen, Dhan to Dhanaheen, Bhumi to Bhumiheen, Bharya to Bharyaheen, Putra to Putraheen etc. Those who face difficulties, dangers and complexities would be freed by reciting the Mula Mantra for a month and the beneficial results would be sure to folllow.
Shashthi Devi is a Matrika Devi called Devasena, the consort of Kartika and is also known as ‘Balada’ and ‘Vishnu Maya’. Her natural characteristic is to provide shield to children by way of security, development, intelligence, good health, happiness and long-life. King Priyavrata, the illustrious son of Swayambhu Manu by deftly divided the World into Sapta Dwipas performed a tough Yagna to secure a son. When his wife got pregnant, the King was delighted and anxiously awaited the birth of a son, but alas his wife delivered a still child. The King took the dead child to the cremation ground, cremated him and desired to take away his life too. All of a sudden, there was a flood of light and a Devi appeared who said that she was Shashthi, the wife of Kartikeya also called Devasena, the Manasa Kanya of Brahma Deva and a Matrika born out of the sixth Amsha of Prakriti Devi. She revived the dead boy to life and commanded him that he should perform worship to her as also popularise her puja among his subjects, that his revived son would be named Suvrata who would perform hundred Ashwamedha Yagnas, and that he would become a Supreme Monarch. King Priyavrata declared Shashthi Puja on the sixth day of every new child, besides observing Shukla Shasthi of every month for her worship. Besides, the twenty first day after each child’s birth would be the day of Nama Karan and again on the day of ‘Annaprashan’too, there would be celebrations in the name of the Devi who indeed was the provider of security and good health to the new-borns throught out their childhood. Devi Shashthi’s worshipped was popularised in each household with the Mula Mantra japa viz. Om Hreem Shashthi Devavyai swaha and formal Puja with Stotra, dhupa, deepa, Naivedya etc. Devi Shashti’s constant puja provides excellent health and Vidya to all the growing children. Also those who have no children would be blessed with good offspring who again are granted growth, health and happiness.
Mangala Chandi literally denotes competent and capable Provider of Auspiciousness. In the Manu Vamsha (Lineage), there was a famous Emperor named Mangala who ruled Sapta Dwipas (Seven Islands). He always prayed to Mangala Chandi of Mula Prakriti’s manifestation of Durga, who was an ‘Ishta Devata’ of women-folk. Mangala Chandi too was of the Amsha of Bhumi who was the mother of Mangala Graha. When Shankara encountered a problem with Tripurasura who felled the aeroplane by which the former was travelling, Bhagavati Durga assured Shankara that Vishnu would take the form of ‘Vrishabha’ (bull) and with her grace would kill Tripurasura. Then Shankara out of gratitude worshipped Durga Devi in the form of Mangala Chandi with the Mula Mantra Om Hreem Shreem Kleem Sarva pujyai Devi Mangala Chandikey Aim Kruum Phat Swaha and worshipped her with Dhyana, Padya, Arghya, Achamana, Vastra, Pushpa, Chandana, Naivedya, Bali, Alamkara, Maala, Pishtaka, Madhu, Sudha and a variety of fruits. Parama Shiva also complemented Mangala Chandi with the Stotra saying: ‘Bhagavati Mangala Chandi! You are destroyer of evils and difficulties providing a full shield and protection to all the Bhaktas. You are the Mangala Daksha, Shubha Mangala Chandika, Mangala, Mangalaarha and Sarva Mangala Mangalya! You are the Mangala Devi of Mangalas and the Epitome of Mangala or Proptiousness. Do grant us of everything that is positive and auspicious! May my prayers in Tuesdays be fruitful and rewarding!’
Mansa Devi is famed Deity who has been the constant fulfiller of genuine wishes of her devotees was the mind-born daughter of Kashyapa Muni. She is addressed by several epithets as ‘Vaishnavi Devi’as the Meditator for Three Yugas and when Parameshwara appeared before her he called her ‘Jaratkaaru’ seeing her torn vastra and emaciated body ; he also blessed her that she would be woshipped as a Deity in Swarga, Brahmaloka, Bhumandala and Paataala; as she was of extreme ‘Goura Varna’ with extraordinary beauty and grace, she came to be called ‘Gagadgouri’; as she was trained in the discipline of devotion by Parama Shiva, she is ‘Shaivi’; since she was the unique devotee of Bhagavan Vishnu, she has been called ‘Vaishnavi’; as she rescued innumerable snakes in the Sarpa Yagna performed by King Janamejaya of Padanvas of Maha Bharata as a retribution against a snake called Daksha killed his father Parikshit, she came to be called ‘Nageswari’ and ‘Nagabhagini’; as she was a destroyer of ‘Visha’(Poison), she came to be named as ‘Vishahaari’; as she secured Yoga Siddhi from Shiva Deva, she is called’Siddha Yogini’; as Shiva bestowed ‘Mrita Sanjeevani Vidya’ or the Mantra Vidhana of reviving the Dead, she got the description of ‘Maha Jnaana Yukta’; she is also called ‘Jaratkaaru Priya’ or the beloved wife of Jaratkaaru Muni and also as ‘Astika Maata’ or mother of Sage Astika. (Jaratkaarur Jagadgouri Manasaa Siddha Yogini, Vaishnavi Naagabhagini Shaivi Nageswari tathaa/ Jaratkaarupriya Astika Maataa Vishaharoticha, MahaaJnaana yuktaa chaiva saa Devi Vishwa -pujitaa/ Dwaadashaitaani nammani pujakaaley tu yah pathet, Tasya Nagabhayam naasti tasya Vamshodbhavasya cha/) If a person is afraid of snakes, or resides in a place where serpents move about or are infested with snakes, recital of the above Stanza would instantly run away from that Place; those who recite the Stotra ten lakh times would attain Naga Siddhi and would become immune from snake bites and his / hers body would be poison-proof . That person could even play with snakes and hang them around their necks! They would also attain Siddhis like Nagasana and Naga Talpa. Mansa Devi’s Mula Mantra is Om Hreem Shreem Kleem Aim Manasa Devyai Swaha/ A devotee who performs worship to her with this Mantra followed by the sixteen services of Dhyana, Pushpa, Gandha, Naivedya etc. especially on Ashadha Sankranti Panchami day -Naga Pachami day- would certainly become Dhanavaan, Putravaan and Kirtimaan.
An incident related to Sadhvi Manasa was that her husband Sage Jaratkaru was resting on her lap one evening and she had to disturb him since it was time to perform Sandhyo -pasana; the Muni cursed her to give birth in a Chandala family but when she gave the reason of disturbing him was known, he tried to curse Surya who said that he had to do his daily duty. When Manasa cried, he lightened the curse that she could meet him any time and blessed that an excellent son of Brahma Gyan, Tapaswi and Vishnu Bhakta would be born; by the grace of Shri Krishna, the Manasa- Jaratkaru were able to meet as and when desired and they gave birth toAstika. Eventually, Deity Surabhi, the Divine Mother of the Vamsa of Cows appeared and bestowed her milk to Manasa and by her grace she attained Swarga Loka!

19    Devi Radha-Her origin at Goloka, birth on Earth & return and Puja Vidhan

Maharshi Narayana narrated to Narada Muni that Maha Deva explained to Devi Parvati about the ‘Praadurbhaava’ and ‘Mahatwa’ (Origin and Magnificence) of Devi Radha. Maha Deva said: Radhaa bhajeti Shri Krishnam sa cha taam cha parasparam, Ubhayoh Sarvasaamyam cha sadaa Santho vadanti cha/ (Devi Radha worships Shri Krishna and Shri Krishna worships Radha; they both are the ‘Araadhya’ and ‘Araadhaka’ (worship and the worshipped) respectively.The Great Learned Experts are convinced and strongly believed that both Radha and Krishna are unified as also the counterpart concepts. Radha emerged from the words of ‘Ra’ denoting ‘Raasa’ and ‘Dhaavan’ denoting attraction or magnetism for the beloved (Shri Krishna). Another interpretation would be: Mere pronouncement of the ‘Shabda’ (word) ‘Raa’ would readily attract the unobtainable ‘Mukti’ and pronounciation of the word ‘Dhaa’ would instantly chase Shri Krishna’s sacred feet! A simpler interpretation of the word ‘Raa’ denotes accomplishment and the word ‘Dha’means ‘Nirvana’ or ‘Moksha’. Maha Deva further explained that from the hair roots of Radha emerged innumerable ‘Gopis’ and from Shri Krishna’s ‘romakupas’ emerged as many ‘Gopas’. From the left side of Radha was materialised Devi Lakshmi who was the ‘Adhishtatri’or Sovereign of ‘Sashya’ or Crops; Griha Lakshmi of house-holds; the Four armed Maha Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu of Vaikuntha and the Rajyalakshmi of Kingships. Radha herself resides in Krishna’s own chest and is the ‘Adhistatri’ of Krishna’s very existence, but for the curse of Sudama, due to which she had to descend from Goloka to Bhuloka as the daughter of Vrishabhunu Gopa and his wife Kalaavati. When once Radha was angry with Krishna during their love-hate dialogue objecting to Krishna’s tolerance of Viraja Gopi’s open declaration of love for Krishna, Sudama Gopa intervened and Radha therefore cursed him to become an ‘Asura’ viz. Shankhachuda the wife of Tulasi, and Radha received Sudama’s return curse to become Radha on Earth. Vrishabhanu’s wife Kalaavati gave birth to Yoga Maya Vayu alias Radha. As Radha grew up, her parents decided to marry her off to Rayana, but at the time of wedding, Maya Radha was materialised and the real Radha diappeared. In the name of security, the newly- born Krishna was transferred across the River Yamuna for the fear of King Kamsa from Mathura; Rayana was the brother of Devi Yashoda who was married to Maya Radha. Real Radha appeared at Pushkar Tirtha since Brahma performed long time Tapasya for her and blessed him; after a little stint at Brindavan at Rasa leelas with the human Krishna, the Real Radha who made hazy appearances at Brindavana;s ‘rasaleelas’ with Krishna left forTirtha Yatras for hundred years left for Goloka, while meanwhile the human form of Shri Krishna lightened of the burden on Earth by killing several Danavas inhuman forms like Kamsa, Shishupala etc. Prajapati Drona was reborn as Nanda and Yashoda who had the good fortune of parenthood of Shri Krishna; Maharshi Kashyapa was born as Vasudeva and Aditi as Devaki, while Kalavati became Radha Devi’s mother and Vrishabhanu was Vasudama Gopa.
The famed Dhruva of Manu Vamsha had a noted son called King Utkal who performed several Yagnas and Brahma himself gave him the title of Suyagna. At one of the Yagnas, there was an excellent congregation of Maharshis like Santkumaras, Pulaha, Pulastya, Pracheta, Bhrigu, Marichi, Kashyapa and so on. Into this great ‘Sabha’ walked in an ill-dressed Brahmana called Sutapa and the King was not quite enthusiastic and did not attend to him in reverence. The Brahmana Muni was hurt and annoyed as also gave him a curse that his wealth and Kingship would be lost due to the King’s indifferent attitude. One by one the Maharhis in the Court supported the Brahmana Muni and passed their adverse comments too. The King begged of the unqualified pardon of Sutapa and advised the highly remorseful Suyagna to worship Maha Devi Radha with Dhyana, Stuti, Kavacha, Mantra and the formal Puja comprising ‘Shodaposhacharas’ who could only reverse Brahmana ‘Shaapa’ (curse).He taught the Mula mantra viz. OM SHRI RADHAYAI SWAHA and perfomed formal Puja after Dhyana as follows: Shweta champaka varnaabhaam Koti chandra Sama prabhaam,
Sharatpaavarna chandraasyaam Sharat Pankaja lochanaam/
Sushreyneem sunatimbaam cha pakka bimbaadharaam varaam/
Muktaapankti vinidyaikadantapankti manoharaam,
Ishadbhaasya prasannasyaam Bhaktaanugraha kaataraam/
Vahni shuddhaamshukaadaanaam ratnamaalaavibhushitaam/
Ratna keyuara valayaam ratna manjeeraranjitaam,
Ratna kundala yugmeyna vichitrena viraajataam/
Suryaprabhaa pratikruti gandasthala viraajitaam/
Amulya ratna nirmaana graiveya vibhushitaam,
Sadratnanirmaana kireeta makutojjvalaam/
Rataagaleeya samyuktaam ratna paashaka shobhitaam/
Vibhrateem kabareebharam Maalati maala bhushitaam/
Rupaadhistaatru Deveem cha Gajendramanda gaamineem/
Gopobhih Suprima abischa sevitaam Shweta chaamaryaih,
Kasturi vindubhih Saadbhramadhas chandana bindunaa/
Sindura bindunaa chaaruseemantaathahojjvalaam,
Raasey Raasewara yutaam Radhaam Raseswareem bhajey!
After the Dhyana, the ‘Puja Krama’ to Radha Devi includes the Sixteen Services viz. Asana, Vastra, Padya, Arghya, Gandha, Chandana, Dhupa, Deepa, Pushpa, Snaana, Bhushana, Naivedya, Tambula, Jala, Madhuparka and Shayya. Pujas to eight ‘Nayikas’ also need to be performed and these are Malavati in East, Madhavi in Agneya, Ratnamala in South, Susheela in Nairuti, Shashikala in west, Parijata in Vayavyakona, Padmavati in North and Sundari in Ishana kona. These pujas concluded, there should a Parihara Mantra by way of Stuti in Saama Veda manner:
Twam Devi jagataam Mataa Vishnu Mayaa Sanaatani,
Krishna praanaadhi Dvi cha Krishna Praanaadhika Shubhaa/
Krishna prema mayi Shaktih Krishna Sowbhagya rupini,
Krishna bhakti pradey Raadhey Namatey Mangalapradey/
Adyame saphalam janma jeevanam saarthakam mama,
Pujitaasi mayaa saa yaa Shri Krishnena pujitaa/
Krisha Vakshasi yaa Radhaa Sarva Sowbhagya samyutaa,
Raasey Raaseswari rupaa Vrindey Vrindaavaney Vaney/
Krishna piiyaacha Golokey Tulasi kaananey tu yaa,
Champaavati Krishnasangey kreedaa champaka kaananey/
Chandraavali Chandra – vaney Shatashringey Sateeticha,
Viraaja darpahantri cha virajaa tata kaananey/
Padmavati Padmavaney Krishnaa Krishna sarovarey,
Bhadraa kunja kuteerey cha Kaamyaa vai Kaamyakey vaney/
Vaikunthecha MahaLakshmi varni Naraayanorasi,
Ksheeradey Sindhu kanyaa cha Martyai Lakshmirharipriya/
Sarva Swargey Swarga Lakshmirdevaduhkha vinaashani,
Sanaatani Vishnu maayaa Durgaa Shankara vakshasi/
Savitri Veda maataacha kalayaa Brahmavakshasi,
Kalayaa Dharma patni twam Naranaraayana prasuh/
Kalayaa Tulasi twam cha Gangaa Bhuvana Paavani,
Lomakupodbhavaa gopyah Kalaamshaa Rohini ratih/
Kalaa kalaamcharupaacha Shatarupaa Shachee Ditih,
ditirdeva maataa cha twatkalaamsha Hari Priyaa/
Devyasha Muni patnischa twatkalaa kalayaa shubhey,
Krishna bhaktim Krishna daasyam dehimey Krishna pujitey/
Yevam krutwaa pareehaaram Stutwaa cha Kavacham patheth,
Puraakrutam Stotrametadbhakti daasya pradam Shubham/
Those who recite the above Radha Stuti for a year would bestow many-sided boons of attaining wealth, progeny, health, and complete contentment in life and Goloka Prapti subsequently. Indeed, constant ‘Radhopaasana’ provides Sampurna Tirtha Snaan, all kinds of Daanaas, performance of several Vratas, Prithvi Parikramana Phala, many Yagna diksha grahana, protection of Satya and Dharma, Nitya Krishna Seva, Chaturveda pathanaa phala.

20    ‘Durga’s ‘Shodasanaama Vyaakhya’, Puja, Stotra and Kavacha

Devi Durga’s sixteen names viz. Durga, Narayani, Ishaana, Vishnu Maya, Shiva, Sati, Nitya, Satya, Bhagavati, Saavarni, Sarva Mangala, Ambika, Vaishnavi, Gauri, Parvati and Sanatani. Bhagavan Vishnu annotated the above names: In the word Durga + ‘aa’, the shabda ‘aa’ stands for ‘hanta’or demolisher; in other words Durga demolishes Daityas, Maha Vighna, Bhava bandhana, Karma, Shoka, Duhkha, Naraka, Janma / birth, Yamadanda, Maha Bhaya and Atyanta Roga or extreme illnesses. Narayani denotes kirti (fame), teja (radiance), rupa (excellent Form) and guna (characteristics). The break-up of the word Ishaana is Ishaan + ‘aa’; Ishaan indicates ‘Siddhis’and ‘aa’ stands for ‘Provider’. Vishnu Maya refers to the Thick Cover of Maya or illusion created by Bhagavan Vishnu at the time of Creation of the Universe. Shiv+ aa refers to Durga who is bestower of Shiv / ‘Kalyana’or propitiousness. Sati denotes the Better Half of Shiva, Pativrata and the epitome of Sadbuddhi / excellent outlook. Durga is Nitya or Everlasting as is ‘Paramatma’. Satya is the the Everlasting Truth like Paramatma is. Bhagavati denotes the one who is the emblem Bhaga (blessing). Saavarni provides uniform qualities to all Beings in Srishti from Brahma downward. Sarva Mangala is theEmbodient of Priopitiousness. Durga is Ambika or the Universal Mother. Vaishnavi is the Shakti of Durga Devi. Durga is Gauri as she has Goura Varna; also she possesses Parama Shakti; Shiva is her Guru as well as Shri Krishna. She is Parvati or Parvata Raja Putri and the Adhishtaana Devata of ‘Parva’/Festivities. Sanatani denotes ‘Sanaa’ or Sarvada and ‘tani’ or Vidyamaan.
Paramatma Shri Krishna worshipped Devi Durga at the time of Srishti at Goloka in the Raasa mandali of Brindavana for the first time. At the second time, Brahma worshipped as the whole Universe was in the grip of fear due to the Daityas Madhu and Kaitabha. Shiva worshipped Durga at the third time when he had to encounter Tripurari. Indra performed ‘Aradhana’ to Devi Bhagavati as he was dethroned due to Durvasa Muni’s curse and Rajya Lakshmi deserted Swargaloka. Eversince then, Munindras, Siddhendras, Devatas and others had been worshipping Devi Durga to accomplish their own ends. At the beginning of Dwiteeya Parardha, there was a King called Surata in the lineage of Dhruva who lost his Kingdom to another King called Nanidi and took shelter from the Ashram of Muni Medhasa. Meanwhle a Vaishya called Samadhi also sought shelter form the Muni since, Samadhi’s wife and sons were unscrupulous and turned Samadhi out from his house. The Muni taught the Durga Puja Vidhana, Stotra, Kavacha and Mula Mantra to both the fugitives, one from his Kingdom and another from his own house. Prakriti Devi was pleased and bestowed Suratha his Kingdom, Manutva after his life.Vaishya was asked as to what could be bestowed to him; did he desire Siddhis, or Manutwa, Indratwa, Amaratwa aor even Brahmatwa! Samadhi replied that he did not know what the best was for him but she might please bestow the best of boons. She said that the best she could offer was what even Devarshis would not be able to achieve viz. Golokadham and Shri Krishna and there could be nothing beyond it! Devi said:
Smaranam Vandanam Dhyaana -marchanam Guna kirtanam,
Shravanam Bhaavanam Sevaa Krishney Sarva -nivedanam/
Etayeva Vaishnavaanaam Navadhaa Bhakti lakshanam,
Janma mrityu jaraa vyaadhi yama taadana khandanam/
[The nine features of Vaishnava Bhakti are Bhagavan Shri Krishna’s Smarana (memorising), Vandana (greeting), Dhyaana (meditation), Pujana (worship), Guna Kirtana (extolling His qualities), Shravana ( hearing), Bhavana (introspection), and Seva (service)] Having said this, Bhagavati Prakriti Devi disappeared and Samadhi Vaishya left for Pushkara Tirtha and turned out to be a Krishna daasa. King Suratha practised Para Prakriti’s Aradhana.
Maharshi Narayana then narrated Krishna’s Stotra to Devi Durga to Narada Muni:
Twameva Sarva janani Mula Prakritireeswari/
Twamevaadyaa Srishti vidhow Swecchayaa Trigunaatmika/
Karyaartha Sagunaa twam cha Vastuto Nirgunaa swayam,
Parabrahma Swarupaa twam Satyaa Nithyaa Sanaatani/
Tejah swarupaa Paramaa Bhaktaanugraha vigrahaa,
Sarwa Swarupaa Sarveshaa Sarvaadhaaraa Paratparaa/
Sarva beeja swarupaacha Sarva pujyaa Niraashrayaa,
Sarvajnaa Sarvatobhadraa Sarva mangala Mangalaa/
Sarwa Buddhi Swarupaacha Sarva Shakti Swarupini,
Sarva jnaana pradaa Devi Sarvajnaa SarvaBhavini/
Twam Swaahaa Devadaaney cha Pitrudaaney Swadhaa Swayam,
Dakshinaa sarva daaney cha Sarva Shakti Swarupini/
Nidraa twamcha Dayaa twam cha Trishnaa twamcha Manah Priyaa,
Kshukshaantih Shaantireeshaa cha Kantih Srishtischa Shasvati/
Shraddhaa Pushtischa tandraa cha Lazza Shobhaa Dayaa tathaa,
Sataam Sampadsarwa rupaa cha vipattirasaytaamiha/
Preeti Rupaa Punyavantaa Paapinaam Kalahaankuraa,
Shaswatkarmamayi Shaktih Sarvadaa Sarva jeevinaam/
Devebhyah Swapadodaatri Dhaaturdhaatri kripaamayi,
Hitaaya Sarva Devaanaam Sarvaasura vinaashini/
Yoga nidraa Yoga rupaa Yogadaatri cha Yoginaam,
Siddhi Swarupaa Siddhaanaam Siddhi daa Siddha yogini/
Brahmaani Maheswaricha Vishnu maayaa cha Vaishnavi,
Bhadradaa Bhadra Kaalicha Sarva loka bhayankari/
Graamey Graamey Graama Devi Gruhey Devi Grihey Grihey,
Sataam kirtih Pratishthaa cha ninda twamasataam sadaa/
Maha Yuddhey Mahaa Maari Dushta samhaara rupini,
R akshaa Swarupa Sishtaanaam Maateva Hitakaarini/
Vandya Pujya Stutaa twamcha Brahmaadeenaam cha Sarvadaa,
Brahmanya rupaa Vipraanaam Tapasyaacha Tapaswanaam/
Vidyaa Vidyavataam twam cha Buddhibuddimataam sataam,
Meghaasmriti Swarupaacha Pratibhaa Prati bhaavataam/
Raajnaam Prataaparupaa cha vishaam Vaanijya rupineem/
Srashtow Srushiswarupaa twam Rakshaa rupaa cha paalaney/
Tathaantey twam Mahamaari Vishwasya Vishva Pujitey,
Kaaala raatrir mahaaraatrir moharaatri scha Mohini/
Duratyaya mey Maayaa twam yayaa Sammohitam jagat,
Yayaa mugdho hi Vidwaamscha Moksha maargam na pashyati/
Ityaatmanaa krutam Stotram Durgaa Durgayaa Durga naashanam,
Pujaa kaaley pathedyo hi siddhirbhavati vaanchhitaa/
(Devi! Sarvajanani, Mula Prakriti Ishwari, Adya Shakti in Srishti; You are Triguna -mayi but assume Sagunas as per needs but basically ‘Nirguna’; You are the Truth, the Everlasting, the most Ancient Parabrahma Swarupa and the Most Radiant; but you assume varied Forms as per the imagination and descriptions of Bhaktas! You are Sarwa Swarupa, Sarveswari, Sarwaadhaara, Paraatpara, Sarwa beeja swarupa, Sarwa Pujya, Niraashrayaa, Sarvajnaa, Sarvatobhadra, Sarva Mangala Mangalaa, Sarwa Buddhi Swarupa, Sarwa Shakti Rupini, and Sarwa jnaanapradaa. You are of the Swarupa of Swaaha to enable ‘havishya daana’ to Devaas; the Swarupa of Swadhaa to pass on Shraaddha and Tarpanas to Pitaras and of Dakshina Swarupa at all kinds of Sacred ‘Karyas’ including ‘Daana Yajnaas’! You are the Nidra Devi, Daya Devi, Trishna /thirst, Kshudha /hunger, Kshama /Patience, Shanti /Peace, Ishwari, Kanti / Illumination, Shashwati / the Permanent, Shraddhaa /fortitude, Pushti/ physical strength, Tandra /fatigue, Lajja / disgrace, Shobha /brilliance, and Daya / mercy.Devi! You are the ‘Sampatti’ or prosperity to ‘Satpurushas’/ virtuous persons and ‘Vipatti’for ‘Dushtas’.Even to Brahma, you are the ‘Dharana-Poshana’/ Preserver and Promoter. You ensure that the balance of ‘Samsara’ is maintained by destroying the Asuras / the Evil and encourage Devas/ the Virtue; You are the Yoga Nidra, the awarder of Yoga phal to Yogis, Siddhi to Siddhaas, and thus the Embodiment of Siddhi and Yoga.You are the Brahmaani, Maaheswari, Vishnu Maya, Vaishnavi, Bhadraayani and Bhadra Kaali. You are the ‘Graama Devi’/ Deity of Villages, ‘Griha Devi’/ the Resident Deity of Households. In Maha Yuddhaas / Great Battles, you are the ‘Dushta samhaarini’/ the annihilator of the wicked and to Sishta Purushas / the Protector and Unique Mother-Figure of the Righteous. You provide Brahmanatwa to Brahmanas, Tapasya to Tapaswis, Vidya to Vidwaans, Buddhi to Buddhimaans, Medha / intellect and memory power to the Intellectuals, Pratibha / mental agility to Buddhishaalis, Valour to Kings, Business Skills to Vaishyaas, and physical strength and well being to Shudras. At the time of Destruction, You shatter the Universe as ‘Mahamaari’, ‘Kaalaraatri’, and Maha Maya or the Great Deluge!) Sincere recital of the above ‘Durgama Sankata Naasha Stotra’ extolled by Shri Krishna to Durga Devi would most certainly fulfil any desire of the Reciter. If a woman without a child, or delivers a dead or deformed child recites or hears the Stotra for a year, she would definitely give birth to an excellent boy. If a person in imprisonment languishing in custody recites the ‘Sankata naasha Stotra’ even for a month, he or she would be freed with grace. Similarly, persons suffering from incurable diseases; differences of opinions or unending quarrels; house-fires; robberies or natural disasters or difficulties of any descriprtion would smoothly overcome such situations as hard as even death!Bhagavan Narayana then imparted the following ‘Maha Durlabha Kavacha of Durga’(very difficult to secure Shield) to Narada Muni; by wearing this Shield, Bhadra Kaali killed Raktabija; Indra regained Rajya Lakshmi and his lost Indratwa; Mahaakaal became a Chirajeevi and Dharma Purusha, Nandi became a Maha Jnaani; Parashu Rama attained invinciblity and rooted out the then Kshatriyas who were most hated at one time; and Durvasa Muni was blessed as an equivalent in his powers as Maha Deva himself! The following Kavacha Shlokas protect and empower each body part of its Reciter and provide strength, mental power and ‘Jeevan Mukti’ or Salvation in one’s own life! Durga Kavacham:
Om Durgeti chaturyantam swaahaanto mey shirovatu,
Mantraha Shadaksharoyam cha Bhaktaanaam Kalpapaadapah,
Vichaaro naasti Vedeshu grahanecha Manomuney/
Mantragrahana maatrena Vishnu tulyo Bhavennnarah,
Mama Vaktram sadaa paatu Om Durgaayai namontatah/
Om Durgaa raksha iti cha kantham paatu sadaa mama,
Om Hreem Shreem iti Mantroyam Skandhah paatu narantaram/
Om Hreem Shreem Kleem iti pushtam cha paatu mey sarvatah sadaa,
Hreem mey Vakshahthalam paatu hastam Shimati santatam/
Om Shreem Hreem Kleem paatu sarvaangam swapney jaagaraney tathaa,
Praachyaam maam paatu Prakritih paatu Vahnai cha Chandikaa/
Dakshiney Bhadra Kaalicha Nairrutey cha Maheswari,
Vaaruney paatu Vaaraahi Vaayavyaam Sarva Mangalaa/
Uttarey Vaishnavi paatu tathaishaanaam Shiva priyaa,
Jaley sthaley chaantarikshey paatu maam Jagadambikaa/
Iti tey katitham Vatsa! Kavacham cha sudurlabham,
Yasmai kasmai na daatavyam praktavyam na kasyachit/
Gurumbhyarchya Vidhivadstraa – lankaara chandanaih,
Kavacham dhaarayedyastu sopi Vishnurna samshayah/
Bhramaney sarva Tirthaanaam Prithivyaascha pradakshiney,
Yat phalam labhatey lokasta detadbhaaraney Muney/
Pancha laksha japyenaiva siddhamedbhaved dhruvam,
Lokamcha Siddha kavacham naasrtam vidhyati samkatey/
Na tasya Mrityurbhavati jaley Vahney Vished dhruvam,
Jeevanmukto bhavet sopi Sarva siddheshvarah swayam/
Yadi syat Siddha kavacho Vishnutulyo bhaved dhruvam/
(May this Mantra of Six Aksharas / Letters which are like a ‘Kalpa Vriksha’ viz. ‘Om Durgayai swaha’ protect my head. There was no mention in Vedas about this and as soon as the Mantra is instructed, the person concerned to whom it is taught is as good as Vishnu himself! Let the Mantra ‘Om Durgayai Namah’ guard my face. Let the Mantra ‘Om Durgey Raksha’ safeguard my throat. May the Mantra ‘Om Hreem Shreem’ protect my shoulders always. May the Mantra ‘Om Hreem Shreem Kleem’ save the rear part of my body! Let the Mantras ‘Hreem’ protect my chest and ‘Shreem’ my hands.May the Mantra ‘Om Shreem Hreem Kleem’ keep my entire body safe while I am awake or asleep. Prakriti Devi! Please save me from my Eastern side. Chandika Devi! Keep me secure from the Agneya side. May Bhadrakaali save me from the Southern direction, Maheswari from Nirruti kona, Vaaraahi from the Western direction, Sarva Mangala from Vayavya kona, Vaishnavi from North, Shiva Priya from Ishanakona, and Jagadambika from water, Bhumi and Sky. Vatsa! I have given you this Kavacha which is hard to secure and this should not be given away to each and everybody nor should be recited before any body. One should formally worship Guru with Vastra / clothing, Aabhushana/ ornament and Chandana and then only wear the Kavacha as this is as good as Vishnu Himself. This gives the ‘Phala’ of performing Sampurna/ complete Tirtha Yatras and full circling of Prithvi. This Sacred Kavacha has to be recited five lakh times to attain its fruition or Siddhi. Once a person secures Siddhi, no Astra could demolish him; he could enter water and Agni with ease; and he would the status of ‘Jeevan Mukta’).After the recitals of the Durga Stotra and Kavacha, formal Durga Puja is performed with Asana, Vasana, etc. as also to Ashta Nayakas viz. Ugrachanda, Prachanda, Chandogra, Chandanayika, Atichanda, Chanda, and Chandavati as also to Ashta Shaktis viz. Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Roudri, Maheswari, Narasimhi, Vaaraahi, Indraani and Kaumari.


Om Tat Sat


(My humble salutations to  the lotus feet of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamy ji and also my humble greatulness to  Brahmasree Sreeman V D N Rao ji  for the collection)


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MANDAR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MANDAR said...

‘Durga’s ‘Shodasanaama Vyaakhya’, Puja, Stotra and Kavacha is incomplete. The verses after "Pujaa kaaley pathedyo hi siddhirbhavati vaanchhitaa" as explained in the translation, are absent.

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