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The Essence of Puranas – Bhavishya Purana-1

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The Essence of Puranas – Bhavishya Purana

Yo goshatam kanakashringamayam dadaati
 vipraaya Vedavidushe cha bahu shrutaaya,
Punyaam Bhavishyasukathaam shrunuyaat samagraam
 Punyam samam bhavati tasya cha tasya chaiva/

(The ‘Punya’ or the high merit of donating hundreds of  cows with golden horns to Vidwan Brahmanas who are steeped in the knowledge of Vedas and other Holy Scriptures is accomplished by reading / hearing this Bhavishya Maha Purana).
[A ‘Purana’ literally denotes an account of the past History, but Bhavishya Purana is the History of the Future- a blend of the Past and the Future- occupying a distinct place among the Eighteen Maha Puranas. This Purana contains Brahma Parva, Madhyama Parva, Pratisarga Parva and Uttara Parva. The First Parva broadly describes the Major Deities of Vishnu, Shiva and Sun God as also methods of worship; the Madhyama and Prati Sargas deal with Rituals and Predictions of ‘Future’ reflecting the trends of Modern History and the Uttar Parva constitutes a hand book of religious faiths and Vratas. Considering the fact that this Purana was dated some time in the Fifth Cenury BC, the Predictions contained were so sound and accurate that they defied one’s imagination!]

1      Preface of the Purana

At a holy gathering convened by King Shataanik of Pandava Vamsa (clan) where a galaxy of illustrious Maharshis like Vasishth, Parashar, Jaimini, Yagnyavalkya, Goutam, Vaishampaayan, Shaunak, Angira and Bharadwaj were present, Veda Vyas along with one of his disciples Sage Sumantu made an entry and introduced the pupil as a highly competent Scholar and could be depended on to clear any of the King’s doubts; the latter was interested in hearing of Bhavishya Purana which was originally recited by Brahma, then on to Maha Deva to Vishnu to Narada to Indra to Parashar to Vyasa and further down to Sumantu.The underlining Message in the Purana was that ‘Sadachara Dharma’ or Moralistic Virtue was the best way of life: Idam swastyayatanam shreshthamidam buddhi vivardhanam, idam yashasyam satatamidam nih shreyasam param/ (This Purana is the most propitious, the enhancer of high quality virtue, reputation and ‘Paramapadam’ or Salvation.).

Sumantu prefaced that this Purana had five features viz. Sarga (Creation), Pratisarga (Secondary Creation) that preceded each Kalpa, Water and Earth; Vamsa, Manvantara and Vamsanuchara. There were also fourteen Vidyas viz. Four Vedas of Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva; six Vedangas viz. Siksha (Phonetics or Study and Application of Knowledge), Kalpa (Ritual), Vyakarana(Grammar), Niruti (Entymology or ‘Utpatti’ or the Production of Word-derivatives), Chandas (Meter or Prosody/ Rhythemics of Verses), and Jyotisha (Study and Practice of Astronomy); ‘Meemamsa’ (Reasoning and or to perform a duty); Nyaya; (Justice); Purana and Dharma Shastra (The Guidebook on Virtue); additionally, there are four more Vidyas viz. ‘Ayur Veda’ or the Veda related to Longevity and Good Health, Dhanur Veda (The Martial Art of Bow and Arrows), Gandharva Veda (The discipline Fine Arts) and Artha Shastra (The discipline of Fine Arts) thus totalling Eighteen Vidyas.

2      Creation and Concept of Time

At the beginning of Creation, there was darkness all around and the Supreme Energy created ‘Maha Jal’ (the Great Water) first. ‘Parabrahma’had his resting place (Ayana) in the water (Naara) and materialised Maya or Prakriti and as a result of the interaction, there was a Golden Egg out of which emerged Brahma. After persistent ‘Tapasya’ (meditation), Brahma created ‘Bhumi’(Earth) from one part of the Egg and ‘Akash’ (Sky) from another; from the middle portion of the Egg was created ‘Swarga’ or the Celestial Region, Eight Directions, ‘Samudra’ or the Great Ocean, the ‘Maha Tatvas’(Great Awareness or Consciousness of Elements) and the ‘Charachara Srishti’ or the Moveable and Non-moving Beings. After creating the Sky, he created Vayu (Air), Agni (Fire), Jal (water) and Prithvi. Brahma prescribed the names and tasks of each Institution or Entity.He created Devas and their ‘Ganas’ (troupes), the Yagnas like Jyothistomas; Grahas (Planets), Nakshatras (Stars), Nadis (Rivers), Samudras (Seas), Parvatas (Mountains), Concept of Time like Samvarsaras (Years), Masas (Months), Dinas (days), and Ritus ( Seasons). He created ‘Shadvargas’viz. Kama (Desire), Krodha (Anger), Lobha (Greed), Moha (Infatuation), Mada (Ego) and Matsara (Jealousy); Dharma (Virtue), Adharma (Vice), Sukha (Happiness) and Duhkha (Grief) etc. Brahma created Brahmanas from his face, Kshatriyas from his hands, Vaishyas from thighs and others from his feet. He created Rig Veda from his Eastern Face which was received byVasistha Muni; Yajur Veda from his Southern Head as secured by Yagnyavalkya Muni, Sama Veda from the Western Head achieved by Gautama Muni, Atharva Veda from the Northern Face obtained by Shaunaka Muni, and from his Upturned Face emerged Eighteen Puranas, Itihasas and Shastras. He divided his body on the right side to generate males and the left side to create women. He materialised a Virat Purusha or a Gigantic Male who performed Tapasya for long time to create Ten Prajapatis viz. Narada, Bhrugu, Vasishtha, Pracheta, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulastya, Atri, Angirasa and Marichi as also a number of Secondary Rishis. The he created Devatas, Munis, Daityas, Rakshasas, Piscachas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Pitras, Human Beings, Nagas, Serpents, and so on and set them all in their positions. Lightnings, Clouds, Rainbows, Dhumaketus, Ulkas, Thunders, Fishes, Animals, Birds, and moveable and non moveable objects. Eversince ‘Srishti’ or Creation commenced, Brahma’s one day lasts till the end of a ‘Kalpa’ and at the end of his one day comes a ‘Pralaya’(The Great Annihilation); Srishti is resumed by the next morning again. It is said that one ‘Truti’ makes one Nimesha, eighteen nimeshas a Kashtha, thirty kashthas one Kala, thirty kalas one Kshana, twelve kshanas one Muhurta, thirty muhurtas make a day and night, thirty day-nights make one month, two months one Ritu, three Ritus one Ayana, and two Ayanas a year. One day-night of Pitras equals one month of human beings; in other words, Shukla Paksha or a fortnight of humans makes a day for Pitras and Krishna Paksha a night. Satya Yuga comprises 4,800 Divya years or 17, 28,000 solar years; Treta Yuga comprises 3,600 Divya years or 12, 96,000 solar Years; Dwapara Yuga comprises 2,400 Divya years or 8, 64,000 solar years and Kali Yuga comprises 1,200 Divya years or 43,200 solar years; thus one Chatur Yuga or Maha Yuga adds up to 32000 Divya years or 43, 20, 000 solar years. One thousand years of Devas equals one day of Brahma and another thousand Divya years make Brahma’s night; 12,000 Divya years make one Divya Yuga and 170 Maha Yugas make one Manvantara, while fourteen Manvantaras make one Brahma day.

3      ‘Samskaras’ (Sacred Rites)

Vedas and Shastras prescribed forty kinds of ‘Samskaras’, relevant to Brahmanas among the ‘Chaturvarnas’ or Four Castes ranging from ‘Garbha Dhaan’/ ‘Rutusanti’ (Impregnation); ‘Pumsavana’, a Sacred Rite after third month of Conception; ‘Seemantonnayan’, literally meaning the parting of hair of the pregnant mother or the Rite performed in the sixth or eighth month of pregnancy; ‘Jaata Karma or cutting of the navel-tube; ‘Naamkarana’ or giving a name to the child; ‘Annaprasasna’ giving the first morsel of food; ‘Chooda Karma’ or cutting the lock of hair of the baby; ‘Upanayana’
( Sacred Rite of wearing Holy Thread and ‘Upadesha’or Instruction of Gayatri Mantra); Four-folded Veda Vrata; Vivaha (Wedding); ‘Pancha Maha Yagna’ or the Sacrifices addressed to Devas, Pitras, Human Beings, Pancha Bhutas and Brahma to satisfy them; ‘Sapta Paaka Yagna Samstha’ or Seven-folded Sacrifices of Cooked Materials viz.’Ashtakaadvaya’, ‘Paarvana’, ‘Shraavani’, ‘Aagrahaayani’, ‘Chaitri’/’Shulagava’and ‘Aashvayuji’; ‘Sapta havijna Samstha’ or Seven-folded ‘Havis’ or oblations in Agni /Fire viz. ‘Agnyadhaan’, ‘Agni-hotra’, ‘Darsha-Pournamasa,’ ‘Chaaturmaasya’, ‘Niruddha Pashu Bandha’, ‘Soutramani’; and ‘Sapta Soma Samstha’ viz. ‘Agnishtoma’, ‘Athaygnishtoma’, ‘Ukthya’, ‘Shodashi’, ‘Vaajapeya’, ‘Atiraatra’and ‘Aaptoryami; these are the Samskaras relevant to Brahmanas. The Brahmanas are expected to practise Eight ‘Atma Gunas’ or Self-oriented Features or Characteristics viz.

Anasuya Dayaa Kshaantiranaayasam cha Mangalam,
Akaarpanyam tathaa shouchamaspuhaa cha Kuruduha!

(The seven salient features of Brahmanas are non-jealousy, Mercifulness, Forgiveness, unconcern, propitiousness, equanimity, inward and outward cleanliness and detachment).The Sacred Rites like Garbhadhaan, Pumsavan, Seemantotrayan, Jatakarma, Anna -praashana, Chuda karma and Yagnopaveet are meant of removing ‘beeja-sambandhi’ or Seed-related Doshas or Blemishes, whereas Vedaadhyana (Study of Vedas), Vratas or Pujas, Homams (Fire Rituals), Tri Vidya Vratas, Devarshi-Pitru ‘Tarpanas’ (Water oblations), ‘Putrotpaadana’, Pancha Maha Yagna and such other Jyotishtoma Yagnas are targetted to ‘Brahma Praapti’ or attaining Salvation.
Jaatakarma, a ritual for boys is performed along with Veda Mantras on the tenth day, or twelfth day, or eighteenth or on the completion of birth; the infant is taken out from the house either on the twelfth day or the fourth month and this act is called ‘Nishkraman’. During the sixth month, ‘Annaprashana’or first touch of food is performed; either during the first or third year his ‘Mundan’ or first hair-cut is done. In the fifth or eighth year Yagnopaveet Samskar is performed to Brahmanas; the sixth or eleventh year after birth for Kshatriyas, and during the eighth or twelfth year to Vaishyas. But this Sanskar is futile beyond sixteenth year for Brahmanas, twenty two years for Kshatriyas and twenty fourth years for Vaishyas; such persons are known as ‘Vraatya’ and are not qualified for wearing the ‘Yagnopaveeta’, unless a Ritual called ‘Vatsyashtom Yagna’ is performed for ‘Prayaschittha’ or purification. Brahmanas are expected to perform ‘Achamana’ before taking up any Sacred Ritual, after cleaning hands and feet seated on a clean ‘Asana’ or Seat looking East or North, with the right hand on the right thigh, sipping spoonfuls of water reciting the names of Keshava, Narayana, Govinda and so on. The act of Achamana is not to be done while standing, conversing, looking sideways without concentration, or in a hurry and least of all while being angry or with a disturbed mind. It is stated that in a Brahmana’s right palm are five ‘Tirthas’viz. Deva Tirtha (on top of the four fingers excepting the thumb), Pitru Tirtha at the bottom of the pointing finger, Brahma Tirtha at the bottom of the middle wrist, Prajapatya Tirtha underneath the little finger and Soumya Tirtha at the center of the palm. Hence, all Achananas etc. related to Deva Karmas including ‘Devarchana’/ Pujas of Devas or giving dakshina or ‘daana’ (charity) to Brahmanas are to be performed from the finger tops excepting the thumb; Tarpanas, Pinda daanas, or all acts related to Pitras are done from Pitru Tirthas; Achamana is executed from Brahma Tirtha or at the bottom of right palm above the wrist; Prajaparthya Tirtha area is utilised to perform all the propitious tasks involving Weddings, Upanayanas etc. and Soma Tirtha is utilised for certain other tasks like ‘Kamandalu grahana’ or accepting Holy Water Vessels or ‘Dadhi Prashana’ ceremonies. As Achamanas are carried out, the first sip of water signifies Rig Veda, the second sip for Yajur Veda, the third one for Sama Veda; later on when the right thumb touches the face, Atharva Veda is satisfied, when the lips are touched Itihaasas and Puranas are contented, when water is sprinkled on the head Bhagavan Rudra is gladdened, Rishiganas are happy as the tuft is touched, when both the eyes are touched Surya Deva is satisfied, touch of the nose satisfies Vayu Deva, ears satisfy the Ten ‘Dishas’ or Directions, and shoulders make Yama Dharma Raja, Kubera, Varuna, Indra and Agni Deva satisfied. Also, when Brahmanas perform Achamana, they should touch eyes with thumb along with Tarjani (fore finger), nose with thumb along with Anamika finger, face with thumb and Madhyama finger, ears with thumb and Kanishtha (little) finger, shoulders with all fingers, thumb with navel, and all the fingers with head; Angushtha is of Agni Swarupa, Tarjani Vayu, Madhyama Prajapati, Anamika is of Surya Rupa, and Kanishthika of Indra. Another precaution is that Brahmanas must perform Achamana involving Brahma Tirtha, Prajapatya Tirtha, and Deva Tirtha, but not Pitru Tirtha.

4      ‘Brahmachari Dharma’ (Duties of Bachelor Life)

Having taught the basics like ‘Suacha’ (Purity), ‘Aachaar’ (Tradition), and ‘Aachaman’, Sumantu Muni proceeded to describe the method of teaching ‘Vedadhyayana’ after a Vidyarthi got seated on a Kushagrass-made mat, wore a ‘Pavitra’ made again of Kusha, performed three ‘Pranayamas’or nasal exercises and recite ‘Omkara’- the representation of Three Vedas by the words viz. Akara, Uukara and Makara, or AUM. Further, Gayatri’s three ‘Padas’ or steps again taken from three Vedas were ‘Bhuh, Bhuvah and Swaha’, thus the integrated Tripada Gayatri viz. ‘Om Bhurbhuvah Swaha’. Those who recite Gayatri Mantra for three years continuously and formally in the prescribed manner with devotion would take the form of ‘Vayu’ (wind) and fly with speed on the sky and attain Brahma Tatwa. The single word OM is Parabrahma and ‘Pranayam’ is itself a unique Tapas (meditation).There is no better Mantra than Savitri or Gayatri. ‘Mouna’ or avoidance of talking except the Truth, Tapasya, ‘Havan’ or formal obeisance to Fire God, Daan, and Yagna-related tasks might have implications of practice / shortcomings and might even be subject to diminishing significance ; but recital of Omkar by way of ‘Japa Yagna’ of Pranava has an everlasting importance. While ‘Upanshu Japa’with only the movement of lips and tongue without making the least sound is far more effective than Japa otherwise, ‘Manasika Japa’ (only in mind) is stated to be more Superior to Upanshu Japa; this is as valuable as ‘Paka Yagna’comprising Pitru Karma, Havan and Bali Vaiswa Deva executed together in a formal manner and hence the utmost significance of Gayatri-Japa, which would be a must to Brahamanas!
Recital of Gayatri Mantra at ‘Praathah Sandhya’ or before Sunrise is very significant and so is ‘Sayam Sandhya’ or before Sun set till the appearance of Stars on the Sky. Praatah Sandhya is better performed while standing so that the sins of the previous night are demolished and contrarily Gayatri Japa before Sun set is effected while seated; the Place for carrying the Gayatri Japa should be secluded in Privacy, an open space or lonely banks of a river or water bodies and without ‘Uccharana’ or vocal utterance. A Brahmachari is expected to stay at the residence of a Guru, without comforts but with bare necessities; for example he is to sleep on Earth; perform service to Guru / Parents; by absorbing the know-how or the awareness of contempory happenings without reactions as mere water drops on a lotus leaf! Besides one’s own Parents and his Guru (teacher), a Brahmachari has ten more Teachers viz. the son(s) of Guru, those who provide service, afford Knowledge and awareness of daily tasks, a Dharmic or a Virtuous; a Pavitra or a Puritan, ‘Vishwasi’or a Confidant worthy of Trust, ‘Shaktimaan’ or a source of Physical Strength, an ‘Udaar’ or liberal-minded, ‘Sadhu Swabhaav’ or Gentleman and a person of his own clan. A Brahmana is stated to have three births, one from his mother, another after wearing Yagnopaveet and the third after taking ‘diksha’ (observance) of Yagna. At the time of ‘Yagnopaveeta dharana’, mother is Gayatri and ‘Acharya’ or the intiator is father; the latter too is the Guru since the Brahmachari is bestowed with the authority of learning Vedas or ‘Vedadhyaayana’ and heretofore, boy was as good as others. But, since then or after Gayatri’s eligibility, a Brahmachari is bound by do’s and don’t’s as that eligibility entails duties such as wear Mekhala skin, Danda, ‘Vastras’ (clothes) as presribed and of course the Yagnopapeet. He should always maintain purity, discipline, restraint and dignity.He ought to be involved with the use of flowers, fruits, water, ‘Samidhas’ or dry wooden pieces for Agni Homams, mrittika or the water-bed earth, kusha grass, and such other material for the use of Sacred Tasks.

Needless to emphasise that a Brahmachari should get rid of meat, madya (intoxicants), gandha or scented bases, flower garlands, violence, body-decoratives and scents, footwear, umbrellas, dance and music other than for religious purposes. The other ‘taboos’include ‘Asatya’ (utterances of lies), ‘Asteya’ (stealing), ‘Para Ninda’(criticism of others), company of women and involvement of ‘Arishad -vargas’ or the Six Enemies of human beings like desire, anger, greed, attachment, ego and envy. Whenever there is ‘Guru Ninda’ or criticism of Guru by others, be passive or aviod or close the ears. Thus a ‘Vidyardhi’ or a ‘Brahmachari’ has to euip and prepare himself in all the directions of moral life fully before he enters the hard core life of ‘Garhastya’ ahead! Before marriage, one has to realise that the two major corner-stones of wedded life are the kind of woman to marry and the utmost consideration of earning livelihood in a righteous way; mutual compatibility of man and woman by according equal status to each other is the key to perform ‘Dharmika Vidhis’ or the Duties of Virtue to accomplish the four essential ingredients of ideal human life viz. Dharma (Rectitude), Artha (Wealth / Well Being), Kama (Fulfillment of Desires) and Moksha (Salvation)

5      ‘Grahastya Dharma’ (Virtues of Married Life)

Sumantu Muni enlightened the King Shataanik about the importance of Agnihotra ( Fire-pit), ‘Vratas’(formal Pujas with Vows), ‘Upavasas’(fastings), ‘Niyamas’ (Self-control measures), Daanas (charities), Deva ‘Stutis’(hymns of extolling) and Bhakti (Devotion) in the households of human beings, especially of Brahmanas.

(Vratopavasa niyamai naanaa daanaistatha Nripa!
Devaadayo bhavantyeva preetaasteshaam na samshayah/
viseshaadupavasena tithaih kila Maheepathey
prretaa Devaadayastheshaam bhavanti Kurunandana/

It was the confirmed view of the Muni that a Brahmana household which had no Agnihotra was as bad as that of a home with a dead body. A home of a Brahmana Grihasta is incomplete without formally performing ‘Pancha Yagnas’viz. Brahma Yagna, Pitru Yagna, Deva Yagna, Bhuta Yagna and Atithi Yana; these Yagnas are to be executed to ward off the ‘doshas’ or defects in each and every home arising out of ‘Jeeva-himsa’ being commited at five places viz. ‘okhli’ or mortar cum pounder; ‘chakki’ or grinder of corn into flour; ‘chulha’ or cooking stove; ‘Jhaadu’or sweeper of floor; and water-pipe! Brahma Yagna denotes Veda- Adhyana (recitation) and Adhyapana (instruction); Pitru Yagna is to satisfy Pitras by ‘Tarpanas’ or water-based oblations, Shraddha Karmas etc.; Deva Yagna is dedicated to Devas by way of ‘Havana karyas’or offerings of classified butter / ghee in Agnihotra so as to forward throug that medium to designated Devas through appropriate Mantras; Bhuta Yagnas as offerings to Balivaishva Deva; and Atithi Yagna or welcoming and hosting guests in the house holds. These regulations or Yagnas ward off the defects in a household.

6      ‘Vratas’ on ‘Pratipada’, ‘Dwiteeya’ and ‘Triteeya’ ‘Tithis’

Muni Sumantu described about the significance of performing Tithi-specific Vratas and procedures: By way of ‘Upavasas’(fastings), one should consume milk on the Pratipada or the first day of a month; on the Dviteeya (Second) day only saltless food; on Triteeya (third) day rice with tilas (sesame seed); on the Chaturthi(Fourth) day only milk; on the Panchami (fifth) day, only fruits; on the Shashthi (Sixth) day, cooked vegetables only; on the Saptami (Seventh) day, only ‘bilwaahaar’ or wood-apple leaves; on the Ashtami (eighth) day, only barley be consumed; on the Navami (ninth) day only ‘Anagnipaak’ or uncooked edibles; on Dashami and Ehadashi (tenth and eleventh) ‘ghrutaahar’or food with ghee; on Dwadashi (twelfth) day, ‘kheer’ or cooked rice and sugared milk; on Trayodashi (Thirteenth) day only ‘Gomutra’ or cow’s urine; on Chaturdashi (fourteenth day) one could consume ‘Yavaanna’ or rice with Yava (Cumin seeds); on ‘Purnima’
(Full Moon) day one should consume water with kusha grass and on ‘Amavasya’ (Dark Moon) day ‘Havishya Bhojan’or normally Moong Dal, Til oil, Jeera and Tamarind. This type of ‘Tithi Bhojan’ for one fortnight yields the fruit of performing ten Ashvamedha Yagna; for three/four months would give the reward of hundred Ashvamedha and Rajasuya Yagnas and the happiness of staying in Swarga for one Manvantara; and for one year of fastings, the stay in Surya loka is assured for fourteen Manvantaras. This ‘Upavasa Vrata’ could be performed by men, women of any ‘Varna’.

On the Pratipada Tithi especially of Kartika month, worship to Brahma is executed to signify Brahma’s Creation Process on that day in the Pratipadika Kalpa; Yagna, Tapas, Tirtha Snaan, Puja by Lotus and other flowers / fruits along with the traditional Sixteen Services like Abhishek (Bathing) of Pratima (idol) with milk, curd, honey and ghee with Veda Mantras; Dhupa, Deepa, Vastra, Aabhushana or ornaments, Naivedya and Daan of a Kapila Cow. Continous ‘Japa’ of Gayatri Mantra is a natural component of the Puja package. On Kartika Shukla Tithi specially, Brahma’s ‘Ratha Yatra’ (Procession of the Chariot) be celebrated with the Idols of Brahma and Gayatri, followed by night-long ‘Jaagaran’ (Keeping Awake) with Recitation of Vedas and Puja on the following day would be performed with devotion. The resultant remuneration of this devotion would be the devotee’s long stay at Brahma loka after life.

To signify the illustration of Sage Chyavan and his wife Sukanya during the second Kalpa, a significant Vrata known as Pushpa Dwiteeya is executed in Kartika Shulka month commencing from Dwiteeya for one year by eating only flowers of the season and by giving away Gold / Silver Flowers or atleast lotus flowers as charity to Brahmanas by which Ashvini Kumars would be pleased to bestow beautiful physiques of youth and good health. A young princess called Sukanya entered into a forest along with her friends and by mistake pierced into the eyes causing blindness of Chyavana Muni who was performing Tapas sitting behind a thick bush since she felt that the eyes were glittering worms and as a result the Muni cursed that the soldiers of the King whose daughter that the princess was, would suffer from the stoppage of their body excrements; the King apologised to the blinded Muni and to appease the latter’s agony offered his daughter in wedding. Sukanya, a mere girl, suffered silenty about the wedding with an old Sage but the passing Ashwini Kumars (Celestial Physicians) over the sky understood the plight of the girl and blessed that her husband would be transformed to a handsome young youth. The Muni gave a boon in turn to Ashwini Kumars that they could be supplied Ambrosia (Amrit) as they were not eligible to secure it as Deva’s Physicians but they were not Devas. There was an altercation between the Muni and Indra and finally the Muni by his Mantra Shakti made eligible to receive ‘havis’ from Yagnas as Devas and thus secured access to Amrit. Successful performance of this Pushpa Dwiteeya Vrata would facilitate the devotees concerned to reach heavens till the end of the ‘Kalpa’ and on return to Martya loka would bless them with excellent health, fame and family happiness.

On the Dwiteeya of Shravana Krishna Paksha, worship of Bhagavan Vishnu along with Devi Lakshmi by way of ‘Ashunya Shayana’ Vrata or Phala Dwiteeya is recommended to ensure that no married woman would become a widow and that she and her husband would not leave company of each other as long as they live with mutual fondness and happiness. The Vrata should commence with ‘Vishnu Praarthana’ or Prayer as follows:
Shrivatsadhharir chhreekaanta Shrivatsa Shripateyravyaya, Garhasthyam maa pranaamsham mey yatu Dharmarthakaamadam/ Gaavascha maa pranashyantu maa pranashyantu mey janaah/ Jaamayo maa pranashyantu mattho daampatya bhedatah,
Lakshmya viyujyeham Deva na kadaachidyatha Bhaganaan/ Tatha kalatra sambandho Deva maa mey viyujyataam, Lakshmyaa nashunyam varada yathaa tey shayanam sadaa,
Shayya mamaapya shunyaastu tatha tu Madhusudana/ (Hey Bhagavan Vishnu who adorns Srivatsa insignia and Lakshmi Devi’s dear husband, kinldly protect our ‘Garhastya’ by fulfilling our desires of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha; please ensure that our family members, cows, womenfolk and all of us face any difficulty, that there should never be any diffrence of opinions; that we would never ever part with Lakshmi nor part with each other; our beds should never be empty, just as your bed should never part with Lakshmi Devi!). After praying Vishnu and Lakshmi, the couple performing the Phala Dwiteeya Vrata should consume only fruits in the nights and after the next morning Pujas donate variety of ripe and sweet fruits to Brahmanas along with clothes, suvarna (gold) and prized gifts. The Vrata is to be continued for four months likewise to ensure all round propitiousness and joy to the entire family.

At the beginning of the Third Kalpa, Devi Gauri prescribed Mangala Gauri Triteeya Tithi Vrata as conveyed to Yama Dharma Raja. Those women who perform this Vrata should always be happy along with their husbands, just as Devi Gauri enjoys her company with Lord Shiva. Unmarried girls ought to perform this Vrata sincerely to ensure securing ideal husbands. Widows too might perform the Vrat to ensure that there would not be widowhood in subsequent births. During the observance of this Vrata, consumption of salt ought to be avoided; in fact, a day before the Puja, the womenfolk should fast and on the day of the puja to Gauri Pratima (Idol), the fast might be terminated by night with saltless food; they should sleep near the Idol in the Puja Place itself; after the repeat Puja again on the subsequent day satisfy Brahmanas with Vastras, Dakshina and other gifts.
Devi Indrani carried out the Vrata and secured a virtuous son named Jayanta. Devi Arundhati did the Vrata and attained a high place as a Star on the Sky along with her husband Vasistha! Devi Rohini secured the best position among the co-wives of Chandra by the grace of Devi Gauri after executing the Vrata successfully. Thus the Triteeya Vrata is performed on the Third days of Vaishaka, Bhadrapada or / and Magha months.
Observance of Akshaya Triteeya in any of these months by donating Anna-Vastra-Bhojan-Suvarna and Jala after fasting and worship would bestow Akshaya (endless) benefits of Ruddhi (Prosperity), Buddhi (Intellect), Vriddhi (Enhancement), Siddhi
(Achievement) and Shri (Wealth)!

7      ‘Ganesha Chaturthi Vrata’-Origin, Procedure and Reward  

Ganesha Chaturthi Vrata scheduled on Bhadrapada Shulka Chaturthi every year is a popular and auspicious function observed in several parts of Bharat by all the members of households and by all Varnas to ensure fulfillment of long standing desires, ‘Vidya’ (education), good health, wealth, longevity and most importantly clearance of obstacles and assurance of success as ‘Vighneswara’ is the Foremost Deity of Sanction to be appeased for the accomplishment of any task to be undertaken not only by human beings but even Devas, Rakshasas and even Trimurthis! Once Ganesha’s younger brother, Kartikeya, was stated to have attempted the scripting of the characteristics of men and women but Ganesha seemed to have frustrated the attempts of Kartikeya who almost did the description of ‘Purusha Lakshanas’ but left the effort concerning the features of women.In fact, Kartikeya felt so angry that he pulled out one of the tusks of Ganesha. When Parameswara intervened and enquired about his own ‘Purusha Lakshanas’, Kartikeya described about Shiva that he was a ‘Kapaali’ and of none-too pleasant a visage, Shiva got irritated and threw away the Script in the Sea. Shiva commanded ‘Samudra’ (the Sea) to complete the Script of the Characteristics of Women and retrieve the Script of Kartikeya about men. Hence the Scripts were named ‘Samudrika Shastra’. Even now, the Idols of Ganesha are presented as holding a part of his tusks with one of his hands! Another context which prompted Shiva to let Brahma authorise Ganesha to become the ‘Gana Nayaka’and ‘Vighna Rajah’ was when even ordinary and often egoistic human beings in Krita Yuga had no bounds and barriers in performing deeds that they were not expected to do; also there was no access to human beings to get bad dreams or omens so that they would realise forewarnings not to indulge in such avoidable activities. This was the reason why human beings had to be aware of warnings of impediments and non-achievements and as such all the beings in Srishti are made to realise perforce that there would never be a ready and unquestioned admittance to the gates of success, without proper propitiation of Vighna Deva.!

After comfortably seated on his throne, the Idol of Vighna Rajah is welcomed for initiating worship by the devotees with ‘Snaan’ or bathing with scented waters and ‘Panchamritams’ being the mix of milk, curd, honey, fruit-pulp and coconut water. While performing the ‘Snaan’/‘Abhisheka’, the following ‘Mantra’be recited:

Sahasraaksham shata dhaaramrushibhih paavanam kritam,
thena twamabhishinchaami paavamaanyaha punantutey/
bhagamtey Varuno raajaa bhagam Suryo Brihapatih,
Bhagamindrischa Vaayuscha bhagam Saptarshayo daduh/
yatey Kesheshu dourbhaagyamseemantey yaccha Murdhani,
Lalaatey karnayo rakshanoraapastadughnantu tey sadaa/

After the ‘Mantra Snaan’, the devotee should offer palm-ful of flowers by reciting the Mantra:

Rupam dehi yasho dehi bhagam Bhagavati dehi mey, Putraan dehi dhanam dehi Sarvaan Kaamaamscha dehi mey, Achalaam Buddhim mey dehi Dharaayaam Khyatimevacha /

(Hey Bhagavati, Kindly bestow to us attractive appearance, reputation, vivacity, ideal progeny, prosperity and fulfillment of all our desires; do grant me steady intellect and status in life!). Following formal worship to Ganesha, his Wives Buddhi (Wisdom) and Siddhi (Accompishment), Shiva, Devi Parvati, Devi Lakshmi, Surya, Kartikeya, and other Devas, Brahmanas are satisfied with Bhojan, Vastras, Dakshinas and Gifts.
While Ganesh Puja is performed on Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturthi regularly, there is basically no specific time of Tithi, Nakshatra and Maasa restraints. Like performing Devi Gayatri Mantra daily, Ganesha Gayatri too could be a daily recited Mantra, viz.

Mahakarnaaya vidmahey Vakratundaaya dheemahi tanno Dantih prachodayaat;

in fact worship of Vighneswara is a ‘must’ before any ‘Puja’ as prescribed in Vedic faith.

Specifically speaking however, Chaturthi in Bhadrapada Shukla Paksha has added significance since that day happens to be an auspicious day for Shiva worship too. That is also the day of devotion to a married woman’s parents-in-law to achieve ‘Sowbhagyata’ or longevity of her husband and propitiousness to all the members of the family, since Puja on that day has the double advantage of Shiva and Ganesha. Further, worship on any Shukla Chaturthi coinciding with Bhoumavara (Tuesday) bestows contentment and pleasure, besides ‘Soundaryata’ (beauty and grace) to women, since that day signifies the Mangala Deva-the ‘Tejas’ of Shiva and Parvati transferred to Bhu Devi- who wears blood-red Vastras and of fiery nature- also popular as Kuja, Rakta, Veera and Angaraka.

8      ‘Naga Panchami’ Vrata`-Origin and Procedure of Worship

When Rakshasas and Devas undertook the task of churning the Ocean to seek the emergence of ‘Amrit’, several entities got materialised among whom was a Horse named ‘Uchhaih Shrava’ with a white body but black in hair. Kadru the mother of Nagas (Snakes) remarked to her ‘Sapatni’ (co-wife) Vinata that Ucchhaih Shrava was white in body but black in hair, but Vinata replied that the horse was all white.The ‘Sapatnis’ took a bet and to prove her point, Kadru called her Naga sons to paint the horse hair white all over.The Naga sons did not to do so as it was immoral and an angry Kadru gave a ‘Shaap’(curse) to her sons that after the Great Battle of Maha Bharata between Pandavas and Kauravas, a Pandava King named Janamejaya would perform a ‘Sarpa Yagna’ in which the entire ‘Sarpa Vamsa’would be destroyed. The ‘Naga Ganas’ were afraid of their mother’s curse and with the help of Vasuki approached Lord Brahma who assuaged their fears and said that ‘Tapasvi’Brahmana called Astika, son of Jaratkaaru, would save a sizeable snake population from destruction. Lord Shri Krishna also confirmed the fact to Yudhishtara of Pandavas in the Epic of Maha Bharata that some hundred years hence King Janamejaya would perform ‘Sarpa Yagna’ or Sacrifice of Serpents to avenge the death of his father King Pareekshit who died of the bite of Taksha the most obnoxious serpent following a curse of a Brahmana son of a Sage in meditation for an insult caused by the King to the Sage by hanging a dead snake around the Sage’s neck. The intervention of Astika to stop the Sarpa Yagna of burning crores of poisonous snakes in the ‘Homaagni’ or the Sacrificial Fire was held on a Panchami Tithi Day when the Snake Vamsa was rescued and that was why Naga Panchami, the fifth day of Shravana Shuddha Fortnight came to be observed. Thus worship of poisonous Snakes on that day by way of washing and feeding them at their pits with milk as also performing formal Pujas with flowers, ‘Dhup’by incense sticks, ‘Arati’ with camphor lighting or Oil-soaked cotton vicks, and Naivedya with ‘Kheer’ to the Serpent. Brahmanas recite Mantras like the following to protect the devotees:

Sarva Nagaah preeyantam mey yey kechit Prithivithaley,
yey cha helimarichistha yentarey Divi samstithah/
Yey Nadeeshu Mahanaga ye Sarasvati gaaminah,
yey cha Vaapee tadagashu teshu sarveshu vai namah

(May all Nagas whether on Earth, Sky, Swarga, in the Sun rays, Sarovaras or lakes, wells or other water bodies, be appeased as we greet these deities again and again). After the formal worship, Brahmanas are treated by good food commencing with sweets and savouries and by ‘dakshinas’ or cash and gifts.The ‘Sarpa Vrata’ is best observed in the Panchami Tithis of all the months by worshipping the Twelve leading Snakes named: Ananta, Vasuki, Shankha, Padma, Kambala, Karkotaka, Aswatara, Dhrita Rashtra, Shankhapaala, Kaaliya, Takshaka and Pingala. Sincere devotion to Naga Devas by peforming the Pujas would save the entire family of ‘Naga Bhaya’ or the Fear of Snakes as also of Snake bites to the entire generation of their lives. Nag Puja also bestows health, longevity, and great peace of mind.

Sage Sumantu quoted to King Shataani the conversation between Maharshis Kashyapa and Gautama about the features, appearances and types of serpents: During the Jeyshtha and Ashaadha months, serpents tend to very aggressive and the male /female variety turns into mutual union. During the rainy season, the female snake conceives and remains pregnant for four months and during the Kartika month delivers two hundred forty eggs but by the dispensation of Mother Nature only a very few remain intact. The mother snake retain the eggs for six months and seven days after their emergence, the baby serpents assume black colour. Normally the life span of a serpent is twenty years but it is a known fact that every day there is a threat of life to the reptile from peacocks, human beings,chakora birds, cats, pigs, scorpions, as also by cows, buffalos, horses and camels which kill the snakes by their horns and feet. After a bite, its poison gets immediately gets replenished. A serpent has two hundred feet enabling tremendous speed in mobility but in a stationary state not visible. It has a mouth, two tongues, thirty two teeth and four
extended teeth called makari, karaali, kaalaratri and yamaduti stated to signify Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra and Yama. There are eight reasons as to why a snake bites, viz. by way of hard weight, erstwhile enemity, fear, arrogance, hunger, speedy production of excessive poison, safety of its progeny and provocation.A snake bite is normally irrevocable causing death.But, depending on physical indications of the affected person, there certainly are ‘Aoushadhis’ which could do miracles!

Seven Stages of physical features as per the speed impact of the poison after the snake bite: In the first stage of the speed effect, the indication is ‘Romancha’or stiffening of body hair; in the second stage, there would be excessive sweating; in the third stage, there wuld be body shiver; in the fourth stage hearing capacity is affected; in the fifth stage, there would be hiccups or gulping sounds; in the sixth stage the neck gets dropped; in the seventh stage, poison gets spread all over the body.

If eye-vision is diminishing and the whole body has a burning sensation, then probably the skin of the poisoned person is affected; a pounded mixture of ‘Aaak Jad’, ‘Apamaarg’, ‘Tagar’ and ‘Priyangu’ in water should reduce the impact of the poison.
Since blood flow into the skin pores is spreading poison, the person feels excessively thirsty and might even swoon and hence cold items be provided with a grinding of ‘Usheer’ /’Khas’, ‘chandan’, ‘kuut’, Tagar’, ‘Neelotpal’, ‘Sinduvaar Jada’, ‘Dhuter jad’,
‘Hing’ (Asafoetida), and ‘mircha’ should help; if not: ‘Bhatakatayya’, ‘Indrana jad’, and ‘Sarpagandhi’ should be ground in a mix and administered; if this mix is also ineffective, grinding of Sinduvar and Hing powder be given as a drink with water; these powders could also be used as ‘Anjan’ and ‘Lepa’.
If poison enters ‘pitta’ into blood, the patient jumps up and down, the body becomes yellowish, vision becomes yellowish too, the person gets thirsty and swooning; at this stage, a mixture of Peepul, honey, mahuva, ghee, ‘thumba jad’ and Indrayana Jad should all be ground together and along with Cow’s urine made into a paste as powder, lepana and Anjana.If poison enters ‘Kapha’ due to Pitta, the body becomes stiff, breating becomes difficult, throat makes sounds, and ‘lar’ comes out of mouth; then ‘Peepul, mirch, sounth, sleshmataka of bahuvara vriksha/tree and lodh and Madhusara’ should be mixed (grinding) and an equal part with cow’s urine and used as a lepana /anjana.
If poison enters Vaata with Kapha, the affected person’s stomach gets bloated and vision gets blocked, then ‘Shona (Sonagaachha) jad, Priyal, Gajapeepul, Bhaarangi, Vacha, Peepul, Devadaru, Mahuva, Madhusara, Sinduvara and Hing’ should be powdered (grinding) in ‘golis’ and make the patient eat, as also use as lepana/anjana.
If poison enters ‘Mazza’ due to Vaata, the affected person gets blinded and all body parts get disfunctioned, then a mixture of ghee, honey, sugar with Khas, ane chandana be pounded and given as a drink, or administer its powder through inhaling.
If poison enters majja to ‘marmasthaan’, all body parts fail and the body drops on the Earth; by cutting the veins blood is not shown, then the ultimate medicine prescribed by Lord Rudra would be ‘Mritasanjeevani Auoshadhi’ viz. Peacock Pitta and Marajarika Pitta, Gandhanadi jad, Kumkum, tagar, kut, Kaasamarda’s chhaal, Utpal, Kumud and Kamal all in equal parts along with Cow’s urine be mixed (grinding) and use a nashya/anjana; by so doing Kalasarpa becomes a Hamsa (swan).
Sage Kashyapa advised humanity through Gautama Muni, that recital of the following Mantra especially after sincerely performing Naga Panchami Vrata on the Panchami Tithis of Shravana Shukla, Bhadrapada Shukla as also Ahwin Shukla months viz.
Om Kurukulley phat swaha. Recital of the Mantra is a Heavy Security Shield and no snake of any description would and could approach the devotee concerned.

9      Skanda Shashthi Vrata

Kartika Deva’s ‘Avirbhaava’ or Holy Appearance was stated to have occurred in Kartika Month on the Shashthi day of the Shukla Paksha (Fortnight), as Kritthika Devis enabled his birth; Bhagavan Shiva, Agni Deva and Devi Ganga had vital roles in the birth. Again, it was on the same Tithi of Shashthi that Kartikeya was conferred the Title of Deva Senapati. The Skanda Vrata is performed on both the Shukla and Krishna Paksha Shashthis of the month. On these days, the ground rules are to observe fasting (except consume a few fruits), celibacy and sleeping on ground, and worship Kartikeya ‘Pratima’(Idol) with ‘Arghya Pradaana’ or offering Water by the Mantra:

Saptarshidaaraja Skanda Swaahaapati samudbhava,
Rudraaryamaagnija vibho Gangaagarbha namostutey,
Preeyatam Devasenaaneeh sapaadayatu hrudgutam.

The Vrata proceeds with the worship of Skanda by flowers, ghee, curd and such other material. Brahmanas are to be satisfied with Bhojan, dakshinas and Vastra. By the grace of Skanda Deva, performance of this Vrata in a formal manner would bestow Siddhi (Achievement), Dhruti (Firmness), Tushti (Contentment), Rajya (Kingship), Ayu
(Longevity), Arogya (Health) and Mukti (Salvation). Kartikeya Vrata is performed on Shasthi day of Bhadrapada month also in the same manner and veneration as above. In fact, the Vrata is also observed on the Shashthi of Maragasirsha Shukla Month too.
It was in this context that Sumantu Muni emphasised that ‘Vedadhyana’ was indeed a pre-requisite of ‘Vrata paalana’, but the principal objective is ‘Sadacharana’ or Good Practice / Application of Values in the performance of Vratas;

Achaara heenan na punanti Veda
yadyapyadheetah saha shatbhirangaih,
shilpam hi Vedadhyayanam Dwijaanam
vrutam Smrutam Brahmana lakshmanam tu/

(Reading Vedas is no doubt an important requisite, since Vedas fom the framework but practice of what Vedas contained is the principal objective of Brahmanas.) Hence Practice of Vratas with sincerity is far more crucial than the knowledge of performing them.

10S U R Y O P A A K H Y A N A

Surya ‘Mahatmya’, ‘Saptami Vrata’: Method and Reward of ‘Ratha Satpami’

It was on ‘Saptami’Tithi that Bhagavan Surya made his initial manifestation to the Universe. His original Appearance inside a Holy Egg continued and from there itself, he grew and hence was called ‘Martaanda’. He was wedded to the daughter of Daksha Prajapati, called Sanjna, and begot Dharma Raja, Vaivasvata and Yamuna Devi. But since Sanjna was unable to bear the heat and dazzle of Surya Deva, created from her shadow a similar substitute, called Chhaya Devi to proxy her and left for Uttarakuru Desha to perform Tapasya in the form of as a horse. Meanwhile, Chhaya Devi gave birth to Shaneswara and Devi Tapati, but aftersome time, Chhaya Devi’s partial attitude to her own children and those of Sanjna came to be noticed; Yama Dharma pointed out to Chhaya Devi about the differential treatment and in course of the argument, Yama raised his right leg’s ankle which was objected to by Chhaya and she gave a curse to Yama that if his feet ankles were placed on Earth they would be eaten by worms! As Dharma Raja complained to Surya Deva, the father assuaged the feelings of his son, who was in fact a specimen of virtue, saying that the ‘shaap’of Sandhya Devi was not to be too harmful since, after all, worms might take away the flesh and blood of his ankle to Bhuloka but feet would be in tact any way. Sandhya was frightened and blurted the truth to Surya Deva that Sanjna materialised her to deputise her and the latter left to her father’s place; Daksha told Surya Deva that Sanjna could not withstand his heat and had been performing Tapasya in the form of a horse at Uttarakuru. Surya requested Vishwakarma to reduce his heat and radiance and after assuming the forms of a horse approached Sanjna and by the mutual contact of the noses of Surya and Sanjana in horse forms were born Ashvini Kumars and Raivata. Since the Episode of Sanjna and Surya occurred on Sapta Tithi of Magha Shukla Paksha as above, the day is considered as most auspicious to signify the union the Couple. Those who perform the Saptami Vrata of Bhagavan Surya by keeping fast on Shashthi, the previous day as well as on that day till the dusk time, perform formal Puja on Saptami, give away a good food with penty of Vegetables to Brahmanas along with Vastras, dakshina and gifts, and break the fast with the food observing silence during the night would be eligible to the fulfillment of desires, victory, and even Kingship. King Kuru observed this Vrata for several years at Kurukshetra on Magha Saptami and attained fulfillment of all desires. Kartika Shukla Saptami, Bhadrapada Panchami /Shashthi, Vaisakha Triteeya, and again on Ashvin Navami are also considered aupicious to observe the Vrata.
Lord Shri Krishna advised his son Samba that there could be no other Deity like Suryanayana since he could be sighted readily on the Sky. He said:

Pratyaksham Devata Suryo Jagatchhaykshu Divakarah,
Tasmaadabhayadhika kaachiddevata naasti shaashvati/
yasmaadidam jagajjaatam layam yaasyati yatracha/

(Bhagavan Suryanarayana is the readily available vision to the eyes in the whole Universe beyond whom could be no other Deity; the entire ‘Jagat’ has emerged and also terminated only by him.) Time measurement is facilitated only by him since the earliest Satya Yuga; he is the unique cause for the Presence of Grahas ( Planets), Nakshatras (Stars), Yogas, Karanaas, Rashis, Aditya, Vasu, Rudra, Vayu, Agni, Ashvani Kumaras, Indra, Prajapati, Dishas, Bhuh, Bhuvah, and Swah. Besides, he is the permanent ‘Saakshi’ (Evidence) of Mountains, Rivers, Samudra, Naga and all other ‘Charaachara’ or Stationary and Mobile Beings; the World wakes up with him and sleeps due to him; Vedas, Shastras and Itihasas
are never tired of praising him as Paramatma, Antaratma and such other truisms; he is present every where, he is eternal and he is all-knowing; and he is the only and distinctive refuge-point to every one always. Having said this, Lord Shri Krishna advised his son Samba about the method of regular and daily worship so demolish sins and ‘Vighnas’ (obstacles). Early morning, before Sun rise, one should complete the ablutions, bathing, wearing clean clothes and offering ‘Achamana’or sipping of three spoonful water by reciting Kesavaya Swaha, Narayana Swaha, and Madhvavaya Swaha etc.and offer ‘Arghya’ (water with both the palms) to Suryanarayana by mentally reciting the ‘Sakshaatkara Mantra’ viz. OM KHAKHOL -KHAYA SWAHA; perform Tri-vidha Praanaayaama of Purak, Rechak and Kumbhak or the inhaling, holding and exhaling the four kinds airs viz. Vayavi, Agneyi , Mahendri and Vaaruni for attaining ‘baahyaantara suddhi’or external and internal purity by means of ‘Soshan’, ‘Dahan’, ‘Stambhan’ and ‘Plaavan’ of one’s body. Then, one has to integrate the ‘Sthula’or the physical and ‘Sukshma’ or the miniscule ‘Indriyas’ or limbs. Thereafter one has to perform ‘Anganyasa’ as follows:


Thereafter, water is sprinkled on all the worship materials and performs the worship by way of all the Services including offerings of flowers, incense material, lighting of oil-soaked cotton vicks and camphor lighting, Naivedya etc. Worship by day is to be done to Surya Deva’s idol and by the night through Agni Deva and facing East in the morning while facing west in the evening and night. At all these times, the worship is to be performed by thinking of an Eight Leaf Lotus with Surya in the center and reciting the mantra Om kakholkhaya Swaha. After the Services of Dhyana (meditation), Awahana (welcome), Naama Puja, Pushparchana, Dhupa, Deepa, Naivedya, Vastra etc. ‘Mudras’ should be displayed viz. Vyoma Mudra, Ravi Mudra, Padma Mudra, Mahaswata Mudra and Astra Mudras.If the worship is carried out in this manner for a year with devotion and sincerity, then no diseases would reach that person anywhere nearby, no shortage of monetary funds would ever be felt, no possibility of disrepute or controversy would occur in life and no limitation of well being and success is faced ever. Lord Shri Krishna further described to son Samba the names of Surya Deva to be worshipped on each Saptami of in months of a year: In Magha month, he is worshipped by the name of ‘Varuna’; in Phalguna month as ‘Surya’, in Chaitra as ‘Vaishakha’; in Vaishakha as ‘Dhata’; in Jeshtha as Indra; in Ashaadha as ‘Ravi’, in Shravana as ‘Nabha’; in Bhadrapada as ‘Yama’, in Ashwin as ‘Parjanya’; in Kartika as ‘Twashta’, in Margasirsha as ‘Mitra’; and in Poushya as ‘Vishnu’. After performing the Saptami Vrata year-long as above, ‘ Ratha Saptami’ is to be executed on Magha Shukla Saptami, marking the seventh day of ‘Uttarayana’ or the northerly movement of Surya Deva in a year. Vernal equinox starting from Capricon or Makara symbolically reverses the direction of Surya’s chariot from his southerly to northerly direction. The Charioteer Aruna is seated facing Surya Deva on the chariot drawn by seven horses representing seven colours the names of the horses being Jaya, Vijaya, Ajaya, Jayanti, Aparajita, Mahajaya, Nanda and Bhadra. Ratha Saptami also marks the birth day of Surya Deva, heralding the commencement of Spring Season celebrated as the season of harvesting and is celebrated as season of joy and auspiciouness all over Bharat. Surya Deva’s chariot has one ‘Chakra’, three ‘Naabhi’or Chakra fixer, five ‘ares’or cutters and eight ‘nemis’ ((nails); the length of the Ratha is of ten thousand yojanas of length and width; Devas, Rishis, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Nagas and Rakshasas travel along on the Chariot on bi-monthly basis of change; Bhagavan Suryanarayana is always mobile day and night taking rounds of Sapta Dwipas. The names of the ‘Saptaashvas’are If the Ratha is at Amaravati of Indra then it happens to be noon, Sunrise time at Samyamnipuri of Lord Yama, midnight at Varuna Deva’s City called Sukha, and at Chandra Deva’s Vibha Nagari the Suryasta / evening. Thus Sun God circumambulates the entire Universe daily.The directions are also determined by the movement of Surya Deva; similarly the degrees from zero to three hundred sixty as Surya moves to twenty, thirty, forty and so on till ninety by mid-day; Surya Deva’s movement also decides the positiong of the Navagrahas (Planets); he decides the rotation of ‘Rutus’or Seasons of Vasantha, Greeshma, Varsha, Sharad, Hemanta, and Sishira. Surya Deva’s colours also are tranformed according to the Seasons, viz. Kapila Varna in Vasanta, furnaced gold in Greeshma, Sweta or white in Varsha / rainy season, Pandu Varna in Sharad Ritu, copper colour in Hemanta Ritu and Rakta Varna (blood red) in Sishira Ritu. [Incidentally there are seven notes of Music-Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da and Ni; there are Seven Chakras in a human body viz.Mulaadhara, Swaadhishtana, Manipuraka, Anahata,Vishuddhi, Aagna, and Sahasrara; seven kinds of Sahitya, viz. Kaavya, Nataka, Alamkara, Purana, Itihaasa, Shastra and Smritis; and Seven Chhandas viz. Jayanti, Jagati, Usnik,Trishthup, Anushthup, Pankti and Bhubhruti].
Surya Deva’s ‘Ratha Yatra and ‘Indrotsava’ are propitious to the whole Universe and where ever these are celebrated there would not be any famine, natural calamities, fear of robberies or political upheavals.On Margaseersha Shukla Saptami, if one takes a devotional bath and after Surya Puja offers ‘Naivedya’ of cooked rice with ghee and jaggery, the person concerned would be destined to reach Brahmaloka.
‘Nadi Snaanas’: On Poushya Shukla Saptami, holy bathings along with Veda Mantras in favour of Surya Deva, preferably coinciding Surya ‘Abhishekas’, would assume considerable significance at Prayaga, Pushkara, Kurukshetra, Naimisha, Pruthudak (Pehva), Shona, Gokarna, Brahmaavarta, Kushhavarta, Bilvaka, Neelaparvat, Gangaadwar, Kaalapriya, Mitravan, Chakra Tirtha, Rama Tirtha, Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Sindhu, Chandrabhaaga, Narmada, Vipaasha (Vyasanadi), Taapi, Shiva, Vetravati, Godavari, Payohni (Mandakini), Krishna, Venya, Shatadru (Satlej), Pushkarini, Kaushiki (Kosi) and Sarayu. The holy baths accompanied by worship of Sun God with devotion would certainly yield memorable results.After the baths in the Rivers and Abhishkas to Suryanarana ‘Pratima’, the Idols of Surya as well as those of Sanjna and Chhaya are transferred to a Chariot drawn by seven horses as also Aruna, the Ratha Sarathi , and with decorate the interior of the chariot with figurines of Tri Murthis of Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara, Dikpalakas and so on; the Ratha should be accompanied by Seven Brahmanas, signifying Sapta Rishis reciting Veda Mantras, as also Gandharvas denoting singers and dancers and taken around a Temple / main roads of the Vllages/ Town ships etc. The Organisers, participants, Brahmanas and all who witness the Ratha Yatra would be blessed as their mere presence at the Event removes property, enhances health, great opportunities of Life and attainment of Suryaloka.

11Brahmopadesha to Yagnavalkya Muni about Surya ‘Naama-Stotras’ 

Lord Brahma’s ‘Upadesha’ (Instruction) of Surya Deva’s ‘Naama Stotra’ to Yagnavalkya Muni as follows:

Namah Suryaya Nityaya Ravayerkaaya Bhanavey
Bhaskaraya Mataangaaya Maartaandaaya Vivasvathey
Aaadityayaadi Devaaya Namastey Rashmimaliney
Divaakaraya Deeptaaya Agnaye Mihiraayacha
Prabhaakaraya Mitraaya Namasteyditi sambhavah
Namo Gopataye nityam dishaam cha patayenamah
Namo Dhaatrey Vidhaatrey cha Aryamno Varunaayacha
Puushney Bhagaaya Mitraaya Parjanyaayamshavey Namah
Namo Himakrutey Nityam Dharmaaya Tapanaaya cha
Harayey Haritaashvaaya Vishvashvya Pataye namah
Vishnavey Brahmaney nityam Thriambakaaya tathaatmaney
Namastey Sapta lokesha Namastey Sapta Saptaye
Ekasmaih Namastubhyameka chakra rathaaya cha
Jyotishaam pataye nityam Sarva Praana bhrutey namah
Hitaaya Sarvabhutaanaam Shivaayaarti haraaya cha
Namah Padmaprabodhaaya namo Vedaadi murtaye
Kaadhijaaya Namastubhyam Namastaaraa stutaayacha
Bheemajaaya Namastubhyam Paavakaayacha vai namah
Dhishanaaya namo nityam namah Krishnaaya nityadaa
Namostwaditi putraaya Namo Lakshyaaya Nityashah

Lord Brahma told Sage Yaagnavalkya that any person recites the above ‘Dashapadi’ both in the morning and evening, his / her desires expressed or otherwise would surely be fulfilled; if the person is improsoned or involved in any problem of dispute would be freed instantly and would be authorised for reaping the end-results of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha; he should be able to secure the best of his ongoing life as well as the forthcoming and by the grace of Ravi Deva should be able to overcome all difficultees in the day to day life.

12Surya’s Dwadasha Murtis and his Moderated Form (Stuti by Devas included)

Sumantu Muni informed King Shataanika that Samba, the son of Shri Krishna set up a Temple of Bhagavan Suryanarayana on the banks of the River Chandrabhaga where in the remote past Surya Deva performed ‘Tapas’ after creating Devas and human beings and also giving birth of himself to Aditi Devi as ‘Adithya’; he also assumed Twelve other Murtis viz. Indra, Dhata, Parjanya, Pusha, Twashta, Aryama, Bhaga, Vivishwan, Amshu, Vishnu, Varuna and Mitra. Among these twelve Murthis, Indra was Chief of Devas ruling Amaravati and destroying Daityas and Danavas from time to time. Dhata being in the Status of Prajapati took up the task of Creation; Parjanya in the Form of Sun rays rained all over the Universe; Pusha is in the form of Mantras engaged for Prajaaposhana; Twashtha is present in the form of ‘Vanaspati’ and ‘Aushadhi’ (Vegetable Oils and Herbal Medicines); Aryama who provides protection and relief to humanity; Bhaga is in the form of Earth and Mountains; Viviswan in the form of Agni / Fire and is the cooking facilitator of food as also of the destroying power; the ninth name of Surya Deva is Amshu or of the form of Chandra Deva who provides coolness and pleasure of existence; Vishnu is the tenth name of Surya who constanly checks the evil forces in the World and slays Danavaas and establishes virtue from time to time by assuming Incarnations; Varuna is the eleventh appearance present in water as the source of life and fertility staying in Oceans, Rivers and various water profiles; and finally, Mitra or form of propitiousness and help to humanity. In whatever form he might be, Surya Deva is indeed the ‘Karanam, Kaaranam and Karta’ or the Act, Action and the Supreme Actor in the drama of Life! Bhakti (Devotion), Shraddha (fortitude) and Puja (Worship) sum up the meanings of human life! The corresponding Twelve Names of Aditya are stated to identify with the Twelve Months of a Year viz. Chaitra with Vishnu, Vaishakha with Aryama, Jyeshtha with Viviswan, Ashadha with Amshuman, Shravana with Parjanya, Badrapada with Varuna, Ashwin with Indra, Kartika with Dhata, Margasirsha with Mitra, Pausha with Pusha, Magha with Bhaga and Twashta in Phalguna. Surya Deva has thousands of Kiranas (Rays) of which four hundred rays, known as Chandana generate Vrishti or rains; three hundred kiranas of yellow colour provide coolness entitled Chandra; three hundred more rays coloured white bestowing Aushadhis, Swadha, and Amrit by which human beings, Pitras and Devas are all happy. The names of the twenty most important rays are stated to be Heti, Kiran, Gow, Rashmi, Gabhasti, Abheeshu, Ghan, Usnu, Marichi, Naadi, Deedhiti, Saandhya, Mayukha, Amshu, Saptarchi, Suparna, Kara and Paada.
DEVA STUTI: At the time of ‘Pralaya’ or the Great Destruction when darkness engulfed the Universe, the foremost materialisation was of ‘Buddhi’ (Intelligence) which led to ‘Ahamkara’ (Self-image), which in turn created the ‘Pancha Bhutas’ or Five Elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Sky whose interplay led to the emergence of the Golden Egg containing Seven Lokas and Seven Oceans and Tri Murtis. A massive embodiment of Radiance appeared and the Devas extolled the Adi Deva as follows:

Adi Devosi Devanaam eeshwaraanaam Tameeswarah,
Adikartaasi Bhutaanaam Deva Deva Sanaatanah/
Jeevanam sarva satvaanaam Deva Gandharva Raakshasam,
Muni Kinnara Siddhanaam tadhaivoraga pakshinaam/
Twam Brahma twam Mahaa Devastvam Vishnustwam Prajaapatih,
Vayurindrascha Somescha Viviswaan Varunastathha/
Twam Kaalah Srishtikarta cha hartaa Traataa Prabhustatha,
Saritah Saagarah Shailavidhyudindra dhanushi cha,
Pralayah Prabhuvaschaiva Vyaktaavyakta Sanaatanah/
Eshwaraatparato Vidyaa Vidyaayah Paratah Shivah,
Shivaatparataro Devastwameva Parameswarah
/Sarvatah Praanipaadastwam Sarvatokshi shiro mukhah,
Sahsraamshustwam tu Deva Sahasrakiranasathaa/
Bhuraadi bhurbhuvahaswascha maharjanastapatasthaa,
Pradeeptam deeptimannityam Sarvaloka prakaashakam/
Durnireeksham Surendraanaam Yadyapam tasya the namah /
Sura sidhhir ganairjushtamBhrugvatri pulahaadibhih,
Shubham Paramamavyagram yadruupam tasya the namah/
Panchaateetsthitaam tadvai dashokaadasha eva cha,
Arthamasamatikramyasthitam tatsuryamandaley,
Tasmai rupaya the deva pranataam Sarva Devataah/
Vishwakruth-Visha bhrutbhutamcha Vishwanarasuraarchitam,
Vishwasthitamachintyam cha yadrupam tasya tey namah/
Param Yagnaatparam Devaatparam Lokaatparam divah,
Duraatikrameti yah khyatastasmaadapi Paramparaat,
Paramaatmeti vikyhatam yadrupam tasya tey namah/
Avigneyamachintyam cha Adhyaatmagatamavyayam,
Anaadi nidhanam Devam yadrupam tasya tey namah/
Namo namah Kaaranakaaranaya Namo namah Paapavinaashanaaya,
Namo Namo Vanditavandanaya Namo Namo Roga –vinaashanaaya/
Namo namah Sarva varapradaaya Namo namah Sarva balapradaaya,
Namo Namo Gyaananidhey Sadaiva Namo Namah Panchadashaatmakaya

( Hey Sanatana Deva, You are the foremost Creator and the Supreme Adi Deva; You are the Sourcer of Life of Devas, Gandharvas, Raakshasas, Munis, Kinnaras, Siddhas, Nagas, etc.; You are Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu; Prajapati ,Vayu, Indra, Soma, Vishvaswaan, Varuna and Kaala; You are the Creator, Destroyer and Preserver of the World; You are the Rivers, Oceans, Vidyut and Rainbows, Pralaya, Prabhava or cycle of birth and death; You are the comprehensible and incomprehensible; the Vidya/ knowledge prompted by Ishvara, Shiva prompted by Vidya and Paramadeva prompted by Shiva; You are spread all over the feet, legs, eyes, head and face; Your thousands of blazing rays illuminate all over including the Lokas of Bhuh, Bhuvah, Swah, Mahah, Janah, Tapah, and Satya; You are not possible to vision even by Indra and all other Devas, yet provide propitiousness and Peace to Munis like Bhrigu, Atri, Pulaha, and many other Siddhas; Your basic Rupa or Form is just not possible to visualise by the Five / Ten / or Eleven Indriyas (Faculties);
We pray to that Form of Vishvasrashta, Vishvasthita and Vishvabhuta who is Unique, worshipped by Indra and all other Devas; You are the Holy Form of Yagnas, Devatas, Lokas and the Great Sky and even far beyond as You are Endless, inexplicable, and inexhaustible; and You are the reason of reasons, sinless and sin-destroyer, worshipped by the Highest of the Highest, Panchadashatmika and the bestower of the best of boons and Powers; We greet You with all humility and veneration!). As all the Devas prayed to
Surya Deva, the latter appeared and asked for the boon of considerably diminishing his conflagration and radiance; Surya Deva requested Vishvakarma to trim down his severity and with the Shakti so reduced be utilized for materialising Vishnu Deva’s Sudarshana Chakra, Shiva’s Shula, and various other ‘Ayudhas’or weapons like maces, Vajras, Dhanush and arrows, and so on. Thus Surya Deva’s extreme heat and illumination got reduced substantially and thus became some what less harsh and ruthless.


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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