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The Essence of Puranas – Matsya Purana -2

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The Essence of Puranas – Matsya Purana

13    Significance of ‘Vratas’, procedures and their fruits (Over-view of Sixty Vratas included)

Matsya Bhagavan narrated to Manu that Mahadeva explained to Uma Devi a number of formal ‘Vratas’ meant for fulfillment of human desires, especially to assure all round propititiousness, health and wealth, name and fame and forward steps towards ‘Moksha’. Among several Vratas so described by Mahadeva, a few selected Vratas are given below:

ANANTA TRITEEYA VRATA: This Vrata is observed on Shukla Triteeya of Bhadrapada, Vaishakha, Pousha, or Margasirsha months by either male or female after taking bath with yellow mustard seeds and wearing ‘tilakam’on the forehead by a mix of ‘chandana’, curd, ‘gomutra’, cowdung, ‘gorochana’ and mushta (cyprus rotundus) which is a favourite of Devi Parvati. The color of ‘Vastras’ may be yellow of men, red for women, unmarried girls white and widows ochre or terracota / Indian Red colour. The Idol of Devi should be bathed first in Panchagavya (cow’s milk, curd, urine, dung and ghee) and later in milk, honey, chandana and flower mix. Lalitha Devi is fond of white flowers, variety of fruits, milk and curd. Puja is to be performed as follows: Varadaai Namah (paadow pujayami/ feet), Shria namah (gulfow/ ankles), Parvathainamah (Janghow lower sheen) Ahokayai namah (Jaanuh or knees) Mangala kaarinyai naah (Uru or hips), Vamadevyai namah (kati or waist), Padmodaraayai namah (udara or stomach), Kaamaashriyai namah (vakshasthala), Sowbhaagyadaayinyai namah (both hands), Shriyai namah (hands, stomach and face), Darpana vaasinyai namah (mirror-like or teeth), Smaradaayai namah (smile), Gouryai namah ( nasika or nose), Utpalaayai namah (netra or eyes), tushtyai namah (lalaata or forehead), Katyaayanyai namah (head and hair); thereafter, touch the feet of the idol by saying: Dhishtyai namah, Kaanthyai namah, Shriyai namah, Rambhaayai namah, Lalitaayia namah, and Vaasudevyai namah/ After the puja on the above lines, ‘Archana’ with ‘Kunkuma’ with lotus leaves spread over on the platform twelve times be performed to the Idol; then set up Pratimas of Gauri and Aparna on the Eastern side, Devi Bhavani on the Southern side, Nirruti side Rudrani, Western side Sowmya Rupa Madanavasini, Vayavya side Devi Paatala, and on the Northern side Devi Uma. In the Madhya bhaaga or the middle area, the idols of Lakshmi, Swaha, Swadha, Tushti, Mangala, Kumuda and Sati should be set up. Lord Rudra is to be set up in the Central portion of the Lotus and on the Lotus earside, Lalita Devi is to be established. Then, songs and musical instruments may be organised; white ‘Akshatas’ and plain water be used to sprinkled on the Deity, red clothing be offered , red flower garland be worn, and hair-parting on her head be coloured with ‘sindoor’; Devi is fond of Sindoor and Kunkuma always. Guru / Acharya puja is also done later as a finale.
In Bhadrapada month, the puja is done with Neel Kamal (Blue Lotus), in Aswin Month with Bandhujiva flowers, in Kartik with Shatapatrak Kamal, in Margashira month with Jaati Malati, in Pushya Month with yellow Kurantak/Katasaraia flowers, in Maagha Month with Kunda and kumkuma, in Phalguna with Sinduwara or Malati, in Chaitra with Mallika and Ashoka, in Vaishakha with Gandhapatala, in Jyeshtha with Lotus and Mandara, Ashadha with Champa and in Shravana with Kadamba and Malati. In the months of Bhadrapada through Ashwin, the material to be used are Gomutra, Gobar, milk, curd, Ghee, Kushodak, Bilwa patra, Mandara flower, Goghrundeka, Panchagavya, and Bel patra; and in other months Naivadya is as per standards prescribed. At the end, there must be Dampati Puja or reverence to husband-wife pair by way of Vastra, flower garland, and chandana-Tambula. Ananta Triteeya Vrata shall indeed yield long life, ideal progeny, excellent health, prosperity, contentment and ‘Shilaloka prapti’at the end of life.

SARASVATHA VRATA: Matsya Deva described to Manu about the importance of this Vrata to be observed by persons for ‘Sowbhagya’ (great propitiousness), high intelligence, expertise in ‘Vidyas’, excellent relationship between husband and wife, affection with relatives, long healthy life, and contentment in life. Devi Saraswati is pleased even by taking her name. Men and women may observe this Vrata any ‘Panchami’ day or any Sunday when ‘Tara’ (Star) and ‘Graha’ (Planets) are in order, as decided by Brahmanas. After performing puja by way of ‘Shodasopachaaraas’ or the Sixteen Services to Gayatri with devotion including ‘Avahana’, ‘Snaana’, ‘Vastra’, ‘Sweta / white Pushpa mala’, ‘Phala, ‘Chandana’, ‘Dhupa’, ‘Deepa’ and ‘Naivedya’, the following be recited: Yathaa na Devi Bhagavan Brahmalokey Pitamahah, Twam parityajya samtishthet tathaa bhava Varapradaa/ (Devi! just as Brahma never leaves you in Brahmaloka alone, bestow to me the same kind of boon); Vedah Shastreena Sarvaani Geeta nrityaadikam cha yat, Na viheenam twayaa Devi tathaa mey santhu siddhaayah/ (Devi! Just as Vedas, Shastras in totality, all the fine arts including Geeta-Nrityas never exist without you, do favour me the same way to provide fulfillment to me also) Lakshmi Medhaa Dharaa Pushti Gauri Tushtih Prabhaa Matih, Etaabhih paahi Ashtaabhistanubhimaam Saraswati! (Kindly provide me protection from the Ashta Murtis viz. Lakshmi, Medha, Dhara, Pushti, Gauri, Tushti, Prabha, and Mati). This way, Gayatri who wears Veena, Rudraaksha Maala, Kaandalu, and Pustak, should be addresed to her and give away to a Brahmana as ‘daan’ including rice, milk, ghee, Suvarna /gold and bell and treat him to Bhojan (Meals) to secure the blessing of Gayatri Devi. Those who perform the Vrata with devotion and humility shall bestow smartness and attractiveness as also stay in Vidyadhara loka and Brahmaloka in three ‘Kalpantaas’.
BHIMA DWADASHI VRATA: Popularised as Bhima Vrata since Bhima of Maha Bharata fame observed it and secured multiple benefits, this Dwadashi Vrata is held in Magha month’s Sukla Paksha. This Vrata was prescribed by Bhagavan Shri Krishna to Bhima:
Ashesha yagnaphaladamaseshaagha vinaashanam,
Aseshadushtashamanamasesha sura pujitam/
Pavitraanaam Pavitram cha Mangalaanaam cha Mangalam,
Bhavishyamcha Bhavishya –anaam Puraanaanam puraatanam/
(This Vrata is equated with many yagnas, destroyer of all kinds of sins, reliever of all kinds of blemishes, respected by all Devatas, sanctified among all kinds of materials, provider of all types of propitiousness, the best of all holy deeds in future and indeed one of the ancient Vratas.) Having taken bath with ghee and ‘tilas’/ sesame seeds, a Bhakta should commence the Vrata on Ekadashi day by reciting the name of Om Namo Narayanaaya/ By saying Krishnaya namah touch both the feet of the Idol, Sarvaatmaney namah worship the mastak /head; Vaikunthaya namah touch the kantha / neck; Shri Vatsa dhaariney namah touch vakshasthala /chest; and then recite the ‘Avahana Mantra’ with Shankhiney namah, Chakriney namah, Gadiney namah, Varadaaya namah, Sarva Narayanasya touch Bhagavan’s hands; then perform Puja to Udaraayanamah udaram pujayaami, Panchasharaayanamah jananendriyam pujayami, Sowbhaagya nathaayanamah jenghey pujayami, Bhuta dhaariney namah jaanuh pujayami; namo Neelaaya vai janghey paadow Vishwa srujey namah, then to Devi Lakshmi: Namo Devyai namah Shaanthai namo Lakshmai namah Shriyai/ Namah Pushtyai Namastushtyai Dhrushtyai Hrushtyai namo namah/ later on perform worship to Garuda saying: Namo Vihanga naathaaya Vayuvegaaya pakshiney, Vishapramaathiney nityam Garudam chaabhi pujayet/ Now, worship with Gandha, Pushpa, Dhupa, Deepa and Naivedya to Shri Krishna, Maha Deva, and Ganesha. By Sun set time, after Sandyha Vandana, pray to Shri Krishna: Namo Narayanaayeti twaamaham sharanam gatah (Bhagavan Narayana! my reverential salutations to you and all the Deities; I am in your ‘Sharanam’ / protection). That night, the devotee Karta should observe ‘Jaagaran’ or night long prayers, singing of Bhajans and such activitees. Next morning on Dwadashi day, puja be performed to Keshava and make oblations into Agni by ghee and declare before Bhagavan:
Ekaadashaayam niraahaarah samabhyarcha Keshavam,
Raatrim cha sakalaam sthitwaa snaanamcha payasaa tatha/
Saprisha chaapi dahanam hutwa Brahmana pungavaih,
Sahaiva Pundarikaaksha Dwadashyam Ksheera bhojanam,
Karishyaami yataatmaaham nirvighnenaastu tacchamey/
( Pundarikaaksha! I am on fast on Ekadashi and on Dwadashi shall have ‘Ksheera’ along with Brahmanas; kindly bless me to see through the Vrata without any obstacle). To start the actual Vrata, a Vedika be prepared. There must be a kalasha hanging from the ceiling with strings with a small hole at the bottom through which water drops must fall on the head of the Kartha through out the previous night seated on the vedika. Similarly another hanging kalasha should drop milk through a minute hole on the idol of Bhagavan Vishnu. Through another kalasha with a hole there should be ghee drops into the Havan kund. Down on the Vedika there should be thirteen Kalashas with white cloth around each filled up with various ‘Bhakshya Padarthaas’ (Eatables), along with a copper vessel and ‘Pancha Ratnas’or five kinds of jewels. Four Brahmanas should be reciting Rig Veda facing north of the Havan Kunda, four Yajurvedi Brahmanas should recite Rudraadhyaaya, four more Samavedi Brahmanas should recite Arishadvarga sahita Vaishnava Sama. The designated twelve Brahmanas should be revered with Vastra, Pushpa, Chandana, Golden Ring, wrist ornament, golden chain, and bed to each. The thirteenth Brahmana would be the Acharya who should be respected with double of the items provided with the other Brahmanas as also cows additionally. At the end of the Daanaas, there should be a full and hearty meal with Bhakshya, Bhojya, Lehya, Choshya, and Paaniyas. But the Karta should only eat saltless rice meal. The Karta, his wife, children and all other family members should then pray to Keshava with the avowed identity of Keshava and Shiva :
Shivasya hridaye Vishnur Vishnoscha hridaye Shivah,
Yadhaantaram na pashyami tathaamey Swastichaayushah/
(May we have the confirmed view that Shiva and Vishnu are just the same, and thus may we be blessed with longevity and extreme propitiousness).

MAHESWARA (SHIVA CHATURDASHI) VRATA: Nandikeswara described the Procedure of the Vrata to Brahmarshi Narada which is observed in all the Lokas. On Margasirsha Shukla Trayodasi, a person resolving to perform the Vrata should take food only once on the day and declare to Maha Deva:

Margaseersha Trayodasyaam sitaayekabhojaam,
Praarthayet Devadevesham twaamaham sharanam gatah/
Chaturdashyam niraahaaram samyagbhyarchya Shankaram,
Suvarma Vrishabham datwaa bhyokshyaami chaparehani/

(Shankara! As a first of this Vrata, I shall take only one meal on Margaseersha Sukla Trayodashi as you should take me in my ‘sharan’ / procection; being on fast on Chaturdashi and only after my worship to you and daana of a Golden Vrishabha to a deserving Brahmana that I shall take next meal again.) Next morning after ablutions, Snaana and Nitya Karmas, the Karta should perform puja to Maha Deva and Devi Parvati with lotus and other flowers, Chandana and Dhupa/ Deepa as follows:

Paadow namah Shivaayeti- Shirah Sarvaatmaney namah,
Trinetraayeti netraani-Lalaatam Haraye Namah/
Mukhamindu mukhaayeti-Shrikanthaayeti kandharam,
Sadyojaataaya karnou tu Vaamadevaayai bhujow/
Aghora hridayaayeti-hridayam chaabhipujayet,
Stanow Tatpurushaayeti tatheshaanaaya chodaram/
Parshou chaananta Dharmaaya Jnaana bhutaaya vai katim,
Uru chaananta vairaagya simhaayetyabhi pujayet,
Anaantyaiswarya nathaaya jaanunee chaaryayed Budhaah,
Prathaanaya namo janghai gulfou Vyomaatmaney namah/
Vyomakeshaatma rupaaya keshaan pushtam cha pujayet,
Namah Pushtyai Namasyushtyai Parvateem chaapi pujayet/

Thus after worshipping the feet, head, forehead, face, neck, ears, hands, heart, chest, stomach, waist, knees, lower sheen, ankles, back etc.of Shiva and Parvati ‘Pratimas’ , the Karta should perform ‘daana’ to a Brahmana of waterful ‘Kalasha’, white flower garland, Vastras, pratima of golden Vrishabha studded with Pancha Ratnas and a variety of food preparations and treat Brahmanas to hearty meals and give ample ‘dakshinas’/ cash. The Karta himself should take in that night only curd and ghee of cows and sleep on floor northward (Uttaabhimukha). On the next morning, after Puja again, then only the fast would be broken along with Brahmanas. The Vrata is to be performed every month year-long on Shukla Trayodashi-Chaturdashi
ending with Krishna Chaturdashi next. The repeat Pujas every month till Kartika month should be performed as follows:

Shankaraaya namastestu namastey karaveeraka/
Traimabakaaya namastestu Maheswaramatah param,
Namastestu Mahaa Deva Staanavecha tatah param/
Namah Pashupatey naatha Namastey Shaambhavey punah,
Namastey Paramaananda Namah Somaartha dhaariney/
Namo Bheemaaya ityevam twaamaham sharanam gatah/

Every month on Trayodashi-Chaturdashi days, the Karta’s intake should alternatively be Gomutra, Gobar, milk, curd, ghee, kushodak, Panchagavya, bel, karpur, Agaru, Yava, and black til. Similarly, the special flower of the respective months would be Mandara (Paribhadra), Malati, Dhatura, Sinduvaara, Ashoka, Mallika, Paatala or red rose, Mandara (Suryamukhi), Kadamba, Shatapati (White Lotus or Gulab), and Kamal. On the Kartika Krishna Chaturdashi, similar program is to be repeated as on the final day of the previous year. Those who duly observe the Shiva Chaturdashi Vrata as prescribed secure the fruits of performing thousand Ashvamedha Yagnas. If he or his father / brothers had perpetrated huge sins like Brahma hatya or equivalent ones would be free from these ‘paatakaas’. The Kartas would receive long life, excellent health, prosperity to his/ her entire family and even to their ‘Vamsa’. After their life they would be four armed Ganaadhipas in Swarga and later on in Shivaloka for several ‘Kalpas’.

14    Over-view of Sixty Vratas

Nandikeswara indicated that while innumerable Vratas were described in the Eighteen Maha Puranas or otherwise as per the beliefs of humanity in several parts of Bharat, sixty select Vratas were worthy of shortlisting. *Persons observing day long fast till the evening for the duration of a full year, after performing daily puja to Bhagavan Shiva and after a year donating a golden Chakra and Trishula to a family Brahamana along with food and dakshina is called Deva Vrata which entitles Shivaloka Prapti.* Those who perform Rudra Vrata by fasting similarly during every day till the dusk time to worship Shiva and after a year donate a pair of golden pratimas of a cow and ox to a Brahmana with bhojan and dakshina are also sanctioned Rudra loka, besides destroying their previous sins and future discomfitures in life.* Similar day time fasting and worship of Vishnu for a year and giving away daana of a sugarful of vessel and a golden neel-kamal (blue lotus) along with a live’Vrishabha’/Ox is called Neela Vrata bestowing great contentment in life and Vaikuntha thereafter. * Preeti Vrata is called when a devotee observes it without applying and using oil for four months beginning from ‘Ashadha’ month and donates Bhojana Material including vessels to vegetables and glasses to grains at the end of the Vrata would endear himself to one and all. *Those who abstain from milk, curd, ghee and sugar as also their related products during the Chaitra month and resort to sincere worship to Devi Gauri daily after which make charity to a Brahmana couple with silver vessels full of various fruits and juices and honour them with Vastras and gifts are stated to have acted upon Devi Gauri Vrata. * Persons who execute Kama Vrata resort to fasting day long on the day previous to Trayodadshi coinciding with Pushya Nakshatra and donate a golden Ashoka tree of ten inches along with sugar cane and vastras to a Brahmana before proper Puja to Pradyumna Deva are blessed with destruction of all difficulties and obstacles in life and attain Vishnu loka there after. *Those observing four-month long Shiva Vrata from Ashadha Purnima to Kartika Purnima without cutting hair and nails and refraining from eating ‘bhanta’ or round brinjals and at the end of that period donating pots of honey and ghee and donating a golden bhanta on the Purnima to a Brahmana are destined to contentment in life and ‘Sivaloka prapti’thereafter. *Resisting from the beauty and fragrance of the seasonal flowers during ‘Hemanta and Shishira Ritus’ (winter and cold /dewy seasons), persons observing Sowmya Vrata on Phalguna Purnima day would perform puja to Bhagavan Shiva and Keshava would donate seasonal flowers of their choice in gold to a Brahmana in the evening time for fulfilment of desires and attaining ‘Paramapada’after life. *Sowbhagya Vrata commences from Phalguna Month’s Triteeya Tithi for a full year when the Karta should stop consuming salt and salty food and the Deity for worship is Devi Bhavani. At the close of the Vrata, Karta and his wife should perform ‘Dampati Puja’-husband and wife-presuming that the worship was for ‘Adi- Dampatis’ of Bhagavan Shiva and Bhavani and give away all kinds of household items as donation, especially beds; this Vrata bestows the fruits of ‘Gauri loka Nivas’ till ‘Kalpanta’to both Karta and his wife. *Those who take up the Sarasvata Vrata should observe silence in evening Sandhyas for a year and at the end of the year donate gheeful ‘ghatas’/ pots, Vastras, tila seeds, and ghanta (bell). The Kartas would be blessed with Soundarya, Vidya and intelligence and ‘Sarasvata Pada’/ Vidyadhara and Brahmalokas later on.
*Sampad Vrata is commenced on a ‘Panchami’and goes on for a year on a Panchami again when Lakshmi’s puja is held to Devi Lakshmi. On the concluding day, formal Puja is performed and a cow as also a golden lotus is given as ‘daan’ to a Brahmana. In the present life, the Karta’s sorrows and difficulties are terminated and in every subsequent life he would be born in exceedingly properous and renowned families. *Ayur Vrata is performed by those who carry out ‘lepana’ or paste their heads to the Bhumi before the Idols of Shiva and Keshava for a year and at the close of the year donate a cow with waterful of pot would be Kings for thousand years (ie. for long, long time) and after death reach Shivaloka. * Persons who abstain from jealousy, take food once a day, practise silence and try to worship ‘peepul’ tree, Surya Deva and Ganga for a year and at the end donate three cows and golden tree replicas to a husband-wife pair are known to have observed Kirti Vrata who are blessed with instant opulence and reputation and attain the benefit of organising an Ashwamedha Yagna. * Saama Vrata is successfully done by devotees of Bhagavan Shiva or Keshava who are required to reside in a cow-dung house for a year and worship the Deities by performing snaan with ghee and puja with flowers, Akshatas, Dhupa, Deepa etc. After a year’s observance of the Vrata, charity of a cow with Tila seeds as also an eight inch long golden lotus is to be made a Sama Veda Pandit for attainment of Shivaloka.* Veera Vrata is essentially meant for women and observed on Navami days for a year ; they should take a single meal in the day along with as many ‘Kanyas’ as possible and gift them ‘Asanas’( Chairs) along with gold embroidered jackets with stars and sarees, besides a golden Simha / Lion as a symbol of bravery and strength to be given away to a Brahmana; such ladies would become prettier, healthier and happier by the day and through crores of births ahead to finally reach Shivaloka. *Pitru Vrata commences on a Purnima day and goes on for a year when the Karta lives only on milk and at the twelfth Purnima again, perform Shraadha and provide ‘daanaa’ of five milk yielding cows, red Vastras and waterful of pots; this Vrata would relieve of the ‘pitaras’ of hundred past generations, and bestow them Kingship for the current and next Kalpa times too. *Those persons who perform Ananda Vrata for four months from Chaitra Month by providing running water or ‘Jala daana’ without asking and at the end provide ‘Anna daana’, besides donate Vastras and pots of water with tila seeds apart from suvarna (gold) to a Brahmana would certainly become a ‘Bhupala’/ King in the same life and at the end of his/her life qualify to reach Brahmaloka. * Ghriti Vrata is observed by performing ‘Panchamrita Snaana’ (bathing with milk, curd, ghee, madhu/honey, and sugar) to the Idol of Bhagavan for a year daily and after the year donating a cow with Panchaamrita and a ‘Shankha’/ conchshell would yield the fruits of becoming a King and attaining Brahmaloka. * Those that do not eat meat for a year and donate a cow and a golden deer’s pratima at the end would get the fruit of performing Ashwamedha Yagna and becoming a King at the ‘Kalpantha’ and this is known as Ahimsa Vrata. * If a person takes bath in the ‘Brahma Muhurta’ in Magha Month, prays to rising Sun and performs ‘Brahmana Dampati Puja’ by providing ‘Bhojan’along with donation of Vastras and ornaments, that is called Surya Vrata and he is entitled with Suryaloka till ‘Kalpaanta’. * Vishnu Vrata has duration of four months from the beginning of Ashadha month till Kartika Purnima and its procedure is to worship Vishnu Deva commencing from ‘pratahkaala snaana’, daily puja to Vishnu Pratima by way of Pushpa, Gandha, Dhupa, Deepa and Naivedya and Brahmana Bhojana every day and Go-daana at the close of the Vrata; this Vrata bestows Vishnu loka.*Those devoted persons who abstain from flowers and ghee from Uttarayana to Dakshinayana and at the end of the Vrata at the Uttarayana time, donate a cow to a Brahmana with ‘pushpa malaas’/ flower garlands along with ‘Khaadya Padaarthaas’/ sweets and savouries made of milk and ghee would accomplish Shivaloka; this is called Sheela Vrata which bestows ‘Sushilata’ / Excellent Manners and ‘Neerogata’/ Good health. * Persons who give ‘deepa daana’ every evening for a year, give up oil and ghee items of food and at the end of a year donate golden chakra, Trishula, two Vastras and deepas become ‘Tejaswis’ or bright and brilliant and after their life attain Rudraloka and this is called Deepa Vrata. * Ishwara Vrata is observed for a year from the beginning of Kartika Month to perform ‘Nakta Vrata’ or eating food only at the night and donate a cow at the end; this Vrata provides Kingship and the ‘phala’of residing in Gauri loka till Kalpanta. *Dhrudha Vrata involves abstinence of ‘Sugandhas’ or scented materials from Chaitra Month and gives up ‘Gandha dharana’ for a year and at the end of the Vrata donates a variety of scented material and vastras; those who observe the Vrata attain Varuna loka. * Kanti Vrata bestows body radiance and brilliance of mind to the Karta of the Vrata who has to give up salt and flowers during Vaishakha month and at the close of the Vrata performs ‘Godaana’; at the end of the Vrata, the Karta would achieve a position of royalty and fame during his on-going life and thereafter accomplish Vishnu loka. *Those who observe Brahma Vrata should prepare an Idol of ‘Brahmaanda’ (Universe) in gold and set it on a ‘tila raashi’, perform Agni homas for three days and organise meals to Brahmanas with til daanas, and on the fourth day execute Brahmana Dampati Puja while donating ‘pushpamaalaas’/ flower garlands, vastras/ clothes and golden ornaments as also the Brahmanda Pratima in gold would attain Moksha and have no rebirth. * Dhenu Vrata is performed by taking a little milk only for a full day and the next morning donate a ‘dwi-mukhi pratima’ (two faced idol) of a cow and calf with as much gold as possible to a Brahmana; this would impart the blessing of Moksha on ‘punaraagamana rahit’ or non-return to another life basis. * Similarly, if a Karta carries out a three day long milk-consuming Payovrata and donates a golden Kalpa Vriksha / tree pratima on top of a heap of rice on the next day, he/she would achieve Brahmapada as a result of Kalpa Vrata. *Those devotees who are ‘niraahaars’ without food and complete a month observing Bhima Vrata and donate a healthy cow to a Brahmana would possess right of entry to Vishnu loka.* By executing Dhara Vrata, an individual takes milk once a day and next morning gives charity of a golden replica of Prithvi, he/she is allowed firm and lasting entry to Rudra loka. * If a human being performs ‘Gud-Dhenu daan’/ molasses-cow charity after keeping a ‘guda vrata’ either on Chaitra or Maagha Triteeya, that human being would attain Gauri loka and that is called Maha Vrata. * Prabha Vrata requires ‘nirahara’/ without food for a fortnight and donation of two ‘kapila’ cows thereafter; such a devotee who does so becomes worship-worthy by both Danavas and Devatas and is readily admitted into Brahmaloka and after one Kalpa becomes a Sovereign on Earth.* If a person takes only one meal a day for a year and therafter provides a full-fledged bhojan with ‘Shadrasas’ or six courses of tastes to a Brahmana along with a big pot of water, this activity is called Prapti Vrata and the Karta would be destined to Shivaloka for a Kalpa time. * Sugati Vrata is to be observed by fasting till the evening on every Ashtami day of a year and donates a cow at the conclusion of theVrata and it entitles Indraloka after life. * From Varsha Ritu (rainy season) for four Ritus onward, if cooking material is donated daily to a Brahmana, and at the end of the Vrata a cow is donated then the donor’s sins are washed out and after death gets absorbed in Parabrahma; this is called Vaishvanara Vrata. * If a day long fast is observed for a year on every Ekadashi and on the last Ekadashi evening a Brahmana is treated to a wholesome meal along with a golden Vishnu Chakra, the Krishna Vrata facilitates the donor to reach Vishnu loka and by the ‘Kalpantara’ enables the donor to become an Emperor. *Eating ‘Kheer’ (milk and cooked rice /wheat grains) once a day for a year and donating two cows after the Vrata enables a person performing Devi Vrata to get prosperous in life and reach Lakshmi loka after life. * Bhanu Vrata involves single bhojan on Saptami after sun-sets during a full year and provides charity of a healthy cow on the last Saptami after prayers to Surya Deva at the Sun-set time blesses the Karta with good health and Suryaloka prapti.* For one full year on every Chaturthi if day-long ‘Upavaas’is exercised and on the last Chaturthi donation of a golden elephant is given to a Brahmana, Vinayaka Vrata enables removal of obstacles in life and Shivaloka prapti there after. * Phala Vrata involves avoidance of five fruits viz. bel fruit, jamun (Indian blackberry), ber (Indian jubub), kaith (wood apple) and seedy lemon for four months preceding Kartika Purnima and donation of the five fruit pratimas in gold and a cow, resulting in contentment in on-going life and Vishnuloka prapti after life.* Soura Vrata entails fastings on Saptami days for a year and donation of a golden lotus, cow, potful of water, and Bhojana to a Brahmana on the last Saptami shall result in Surya loka prapti and great fame in the on-going life. * Dwadashi Upavasas for a year and ‘daanaas’ of vastra, dhenu and suvarna help secure eventful and long healthy life and attainment of Vaikuntha after life in Vishnu Vrata. * Nakta Vrata on Kartika Purnima as also ‘Vrushotsarga’ (release of a bull) is known as Vaarsha Vrata. * Those perform Krucchrut- Chandrayana Vrata (increasing the daily meaures of food-units from Prathama to Purnima Tithis in Shukla paksha and decreasing the daily intakes from Prathama to Amavasya in Krishna paksha) and at the end of the month, provide Bhojana and dakshina to as many Brahmanas as possible is called Praajaapatya Vrata its punya would be such that the Karta is blessed with health and wealth on his life and Shilaloka later. *Triayabaka Vrata is observed by fasting on all Chaturdashis till the nights for a year and providing go-daan at the close of the Vrata which secures Shivaloka prapti. *Those performing day-long fasts till the nights and at the end of the week donates ‘Ghata purna Ghrita’ or pot-ful of ghee are stated as ¬Ghrita Vrata kartas and their destiny after death would be Brahma loka.* Whoever sleeps in the open during the Varsha Ritu or rainy season and at the end of the Season donates a cow with calf shall be gifted with access to Indraloka to stay there for long time and this is called Indra Vrata. *Persons not eating cooked items on Triteeya tithis for a year and concludes the Shreyo Vrata by Go-daan would reap excellent happiness and health and reach Shivaloka after life. * Without taking food till night, Ashwa Vrata is concluded after a year with food and donation of a golden pratima of a chariot drawn by two horses to a Brahmana and this would yield the fruits of becoming a King in life and residence of several Kalpas in Satyaloka.* Similar is the pattern of Kari Vrata of daily fasting for a year and donation of golden pratima of two elephants drawing a chariot to a Brahmana and the results would be simlar too. * Observance of day-long ‘upavasa’for a year and performing Go-daana at the end is called Sukha Vrata which would yield happines as long the Karta lives and later on would be in high position in Yakshaloka. * If a person lives in water through out the night and performs Go-daana next morning, he / she would be eligible for Varunaloka and the task is known as Varuna Vrata. * Chandraloka prapti is bestowed on a person practising Chandrayana Vrata or eating measured meals as per the Tithis of Shukla and Krishna Pakshas respectively and at the end donating a golden Pratima of Moon.* Maha Rudra Vrata is practised by those who stay with Panchagnis around through out the day till the evenings of Jyeshtha Ashtami and Chaturdashi days and by the evening of the latter tithi make a donation of gold made cow would be ever contented in life and attain Swargaloka eventually. * A person arranging silver work in a Shiva Temple on a Triteeya tithi and after a year executes Go-daan is blessed with entry in Bhavaniloka for the successful completion of Bhavani Vrata. * Pavana Vrata involves any bhakta of Vayu Deva who keeps drenched wearing wet Vastras through out Magha Saptami night and donates a cow next morning after ablutions and bathing; such a person would become a King and a resident of Swara for a period of a Kalpa. * Dhaama Vrata is observed a person who practises ‘Upavaasa’ for three nights and donates a beautiful house to a Brahmana on Phalguna Purnima day; that person is bestowed with opulence in the on-going life and Surya loka prapti thereafter. * A fasting person who would perform ‘Dampati Pujas’to Brahman couples three times a day in the morning, afternoon and evening with ornaments, vastras and gifts is stated to be executing more than Indra Vrata and eventually would be highly prosperous and happy in the on-going life and finally qualify for Moksha Prapti. * There is a reputed Vrata in the name of Soma Deva called Soma Vrata and whosoever would perform this has to donate to a Brahmana a vessel full of salt in the name of the Deva on a Shukla Paksha Dwiteeya and at the end of a year make go-daana; the fruits of the Vrata are immense including contented and healthy life besides Shivaloka Prapti and Kingship on Prithvi by the Kalpantara. * Maha Deva Vrata is observed on Pratipada Tithi by taking only one meal a day and at the end of a year donates a kapila cow, and then the person concerned would accomplish ‘Vaishwanara loka’.* Those who take a single meal a day commencing from Dashamis and after a year donate golden plaque depicting ‘Dasa dishas’/ ten directions and ten cows to Brahmanas are stated to have successfully concluded the Vishwa Vrata and such persons attain great fame besides eventuallly becoming highly renowned ‘Adhipatis’ or Overlords of ‘Brahmanda’(Universe). This Vrata destroys ‘Maha Patakas’or the Greatest Sins. Those persons who read or listen about the afore-mentioned accounts of the SHASTHA VRATAS would indeed qualify for Gandharva Loka.

15    Yudhishtara’s atonement of killings at Kurukshetra by Visit to Prayaga Kshetra

Nandikeshwara informed Brahmarshi Narada that Maharshi Markandeya pacified Yuddhishtara about the havoc created at the Maha Bharata Battle where eleven Akshouhinis of warriors fought from Kuru Vamsha and seven Akshouhinis from Pandavas and survivors were but a few and far between. There was such huge bloodshed and slaughter where brothers killed brothers, grand sons killed grandfathers, and nephews killed uncles. A person of Yudhishtara’s virtuosity had to be a liar and fraud to announce ‘Ashvatthhama hatah’ loudly and whisper: ‘Kunjarah’ to let down his revered Guru Drona so that Arjuna could pierce his arrows into the Guru’s body; and arranged Shikhandi to face Bhishma ‘Pitamaha’who taught Pandava Kumaras to put their feet on the ground! Thus overwhelmed by extreme remorse and sense of shame, Yuddhistra wondered: Katamo viniyogo vaa niyamam Tirthamevacha, Yenaaham sheeghramaa- munchey mahaa paataka kilimbhashaat/ Yatra sthitwa naroyaati Vishnuloka manutthamam/ (Is there a dispensation / atonement or a possible relief or Tirtha!). Maharshi Markandeya replied: Shrunu Rajan Mahabaaho Sarva paataka naashanam, Prayaaga gamanam shreshtham naraanaam punyakarmanam/ (Dharma Raja! For all human beings, the most propitious deed would be to make a visit to Prayaga that would destroy all ‘paatakas’. Prayaga is near Pratishthanapura (near Jhansi) which was in the days of yore a residing place of the famed Kambal and Ashvatara Nagas who were the descendants of Maha Naga Vasuki Deva and was also the illustrious Prajapati Kshetra known all over the Three Lokas of Prithvi, Patala and Swarga. It is believed that bathing at Prayaga Sangam-the Meeting Place of the Three Most Sacred Rivers of Ganga, Jamuna and Sarasvati- fetched the ‘Punya’ (Phala) of demolishing all the sins committed thus far, that those who died at this hallowed place would have no rebirth and that Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara were always present there to bless the devotees and keep vigil to protect the Kshetra. Indra too was ready to make sure they were no disturbances of Adhi Daivika, Adhyatmika and Adhibhoudhika nature. Surya Deva always kept a watchful vision, especially of his daughter Yamuna. Markandeya thus explained to Yudhishtara:
Prayaagam smaramaanaasya sarvamaayaati sankshayam/
Darshanaat tasya teerthasya Nama sakeertanaadapi,
Mrittikaalambhanaad vaapi narah paapaata pramuchyatey/
(At the very thought of Prayaga, its ‘darshan’/ vision, ‘naama-samkeertana’or the chanting of its hymns, and the smearing of the mud of its river-bed are all the means of obliterating wrong doings and crimes of the persons concerned). Even as one entered the Prayaga Kshetra, one would experience a vibration or an intense feeling of mental quiet and as one sights the River of Ganga, all the sins would fade out. At the point of Ganga-Yamuna -Sarasvati Sangam (confluence) if one took a dip, not only all the piccadillos would get washed out but whatever desires came to the top of one’s mind would be fulfilled. When Pitru Tarpans and Shraddhas are dutifully performed at the Sangam, the responses of Devas and Pitrus would literally be on line instantly. It is believed that Bhagavans, Brahma, Shankara / Narayana are visioned before the devotees in the form of the Rivers! A stay of atleast a month at Prayaga with full control of body, mind and soul would lead to shaping one’s own life ahead; little wonder that Devas, Danavas, Gandharvas, Rishis, Siddhaas, Chaaranas and all make frequent trips the Sangam for the fulfillment of their own wishes and prayers. Among those human beings, who are ‘daridras’or born poor, or sufferers from long-drawn diseases and infirmities due to old age, if somebody happened to breath last in this Maha Kshetra, they would alight into ‘Vimanas’destined to Swarga and enjoy the company of Gandharva and Apsaras. Also, when a person performs Go-daana, Bhu daana, Griha daana, Suvarna daana, Rajita daana, Mani daana, Dhana daana, Vastu daana, Kanya daana, Shayya daana, Vidya daana, Vahana daana, etc. he or she is qualifed with returns of thousand fold, lakh fold and crore fold, depending the index of the utility and happiness to the receiver of the daana and the sacrifice that the donor made in parting with the quality, quantity, numbers and of the daana under reference.
Tatra daanam prakrutavyam yathaa vibhava sambhavam,
tena teertha phalam chaiva vardhatey naatra samshayah/
Swargey tishthati Rajendra yaavadaabhuta samplavam/
(Charity in Prayaga has to be according to the means of the donor; if done so the benefits would get multiplied and the donor would continue to reside in Swarga till the Pralaya time, undoubtedly). If Kanya daan is performed at Prayaga as per Vedic Rites, the Kartas would never have to visit ‘Naraka’ and on the other hand the couple would live for long with happiness and excellent progeny of grand children for ensuing generations too. Even at the time of ‘Pralaya’, Maharshi Markandeya conveyed to Yudhishtar, then too Bhagavan Vishnu would take the Form of an infant and rest in Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep) atop an ‘Akshaya Vriksha’ in Prayaga submerged in endless water; such is the Mahatmya of Prayaga. That was the reason why even Brahma, Devas, Rishis, Siddhaas, Chaaranas, Lokapalakas, Sadhya ganas, Pitru Devas, Sanaka and other Parama Rishis, Angira and other Maharshis and Brahmarshis, Nagaas, Garuda, and all other Celestial Beings, and above all Vishnu and Maheswara had been extolling the unimaginable significance of this unparalelled Punya Kshetra.
Tatraabhishekam yah kuryaat Sangamey shaamsitavratah,
Tulyam phalamavaapnoti Rajasuyaashwamedhayoh/
(Those persons with ‘Vrata nishtha’ or abiding by the Vrata bathe in this Sangama Kshetra, would secure the fruits equivalent to performing Rajasuya and Ashwamedha Yagnas).
Yaa gatiryoga yuktasyasatyasthasya maneeshinah,
saa gatistasyajatah praanaan Gangaayamuna sangamey/
(Persons who die at the Ganga-Yamuna Sangam would have the same kind of ‘Parama gati’or unique position that only ‘Yoga Nishta’/Experts in Yoga or Satyaparayana Vidwans /Great Persons of Learning and Truthfulness) could think of). Further, those who had not visited Prayaga wasted their valuable lives and those who had would have their sins abandoned like Rahugraha left Chandragraha after Lunar Eclipse! Incidentally, formal bathings in the ‘Sangam’after Lunar or Solar Eclipses by prayers to Moon and Sun respectively should not only wash off their sins instantly but also reside in the respective lokas for unimaginably long times. At Prayaga, all the Trimurthis are believed to reside, since Brahma stays in the northern portion of the five yojana long Kshetra in a hidden form to ensure that wrongdoings are forestalled as watched by teams of Devas under his supervision; Bhagavan Vishnu is present in the Sangam area in the Venee Madhava Rupa and Parama Shiva in the Form of Akshaya Vriksha. In the neighbourhood of Prayaga are quite a few other Tirthas: on the southern banks of Yamuna where two famed Nagas called Kambal and Ashvatar resided and taking thar water and bathing it is expected to destroy all the sins of the Yatris; there is a ‘Hamsaprapatan’ on the northern side of Pratishthana pura where bathing fetches the punya of performing Ashwamedha Yagna; ‘Hamsapandura’ Tirtha where bathing enables at the end of life to reach Swarga for the company of Apsaras like Urvashi; another Tirtha known as ‘Tripathaga’where bathing as long as possible would enable so many bones of the body to rest in Swarga. In fact, the Tirthas nearby this hallowed Place are all significant, each bestowing great benefits. Fully convinced of the significance of Prayaga Kshetra as described by Markandeya, Yudhishtar visited the Place along with his brothers and Draupadi, where he performed ‘Tarpanas’ to Pitaras, and relatives and associates who attained ‘Vira Swarga’ at the battle.With surprisingly, Lord Shri Krishna too appeared before Pandavas and asserted:
Mama vaakyam cha kartavyam Maharaja braveemyaham,
Nityam japaswa juhwaswa Payaago vigatajwarah/
Prayaagam smara vai nityam sahaasmaabhir yudhishtarah,
Swayam Praapyati Rajendra Swarlakokam na Samshayah/
Prayagamanu -gaccheda vaa vasatey vaapi yo narah,
Sarva paapa Vishuddhaatmaa Rudralokakamsa gachati/
(Yudhishtara! you should always perform ‘japa’ and ‘havan’at Prayaga and side by side, take the name of Prayaga devoid of any sorrows whatsoever. Undoubtedly indeed, you would all reach in Swarga in course of time. Those who visit Prayaga and reside for a few days there would certainly get rid of all kinds of transgressions and attain Rudraloka!)

16     Tripurasuras harass Trilokas and Maha Deva destroys Tripuras

As the ever shrewdest and the nastiest Daitya called Maya commenced his brutal Tapasya, two more Danavas of equal disrepute and desperation viz. Vidyunmali and Taraka joined him and their extreme tenacity was such that they meditated in snow valleys during high winter nights, amid ‘Panchagnis’during blood blister summer days and during incessant and torrential rains standing under open skies. It looked that Earth trembled with the severity of their meditation and Brahma had to bestow the choice boons of indestructibility except by Parameswara that too by a single arrow-shot destroying their abodes together. The most noted top architect and builder that he was, Mayasura built ‘Tripuras’/ three Tower Castles-each of hundred yojanas- one of indestructible iron on Earth, another on the Sky made of shining silver and the third above the second one made of glittering gold, all encased in inner- castle structures of same size of circumference but each invisible from outside in all directions. Each of the Tripuras is equipped with ‘yantras’/ machines that could destroy hundreds in each shot, Chakras, Trishulas, Dhwajas on the high wall structures, and ‘Shikharas’ (minarets) recognisable through the mountain tops of Meru and Mandarachala.These ‘Puras’ were insurmountable, let alone destructible to Devas, Danavas and any other species, excepting Maha Deva! Daithyas had very contented lives inside the Tripuras. Devas and other Celestial Beings were thrown out of their abodes and all the luxuries and joys of Swarga were confiscated. In course of time, the inhabitants of Tripuras became intolerable, awfully sinful, corrupt, wicked and highly immoral.While Maya Daitya was kept busy in the deeds of beauty, living comfort and pressing into the services of Devas as their servants to cater to the happiness of the inhabitant Daityas, Vidyunmali was kept busy with matters of Internal Administration and Taraka was made commander in Chief. In course of time, there came inevitable internal dissensions, group politics, differences of living styles and class-distinctions, ‘Alakshmi’(poverty),‘Asuya’ (jealousy), Trishna (avarice), ‘Vibhuksha’ (hunger), Kali and Kalaha (quarrels) among the residents of the Tripuras.This situation of ‘Alakshmi’ led to ‘Atyaachaaras’ or transgressions on Devas, other Celestial Beings, Maharshis, the entire humanity and all other species of Lord’s creation. The canker spread across the ‘Tribhuvanas’and Devas sought refuge from Brahma who gave the boons to the three goons! Lord Brahma pacified the delegation of Devas and assured that the heinous and wildly vicious deeds of the Trio of Daityas reached a climax and that it was time to approach Parama Shiva who was the one and only Saviour that could destroy the abodes of the three Daityas in one go with one arrow, even if these residences were far apart from each other on Prithvi, Akaash and far beyond in the strong-hold Tripura fortresses! As Devas and Brahma reached Maha Deva, they visioned ‘Trishulapaani Shankar’ relaxing with Devi Parvati and Mahatma Nandi. They saw that ‘Bhuta bhavishya Swami’whose eyes were red like ‘Agni kundas’and physique was shimmering with thousand Suns with a pleasant countenance ornamented with a Bala Purna Chandra, even as Devas broke down into ecstacy and extolled him as follows:

Namo bhavaaya Shravaya Rudraaya Varadaayacha,
Pashuunaam Pataye Nityam ugra -ayacha Kapardiney/

(Our reverences to you the Creator and Preserver of Srishti; the Annihilator of the Universe; the life-line of all the Beings; the provider of welfare to ‘Pranis’; Ugra or the seniormost among the Ekadasha Rudras and ‘Jatajuta dhari’!)

Mahadevaya Bheemaaya Triyambakaya cha Shaantaye,
Ishaanaaya Bhayaghnaaya namaswandhaka ghatiney/

(The Supreme of Devas, the awesome, Trinetraya/ the Three Eyed Deity - the Junior most of Eleven Rudras; the Embodiment of Peace, The highest Administrator, the Destroyer of Terror and the Exterminator of Andhakaasura);

Neelagreevaya Bhimaya Vedhasey Vedhataastutey,
Kumara Shatru nighnaaya Kumaara janakaayacha

/(The blue-necked; the frightener, Brahma Swarupa, the Praised one by every body, the destroyer of the Enemies of Kartikeya, and the illustrious father of Kumara)

Vilohitaaya Dhumraaya Varaaya Krathanaaya cha,
Nityam neela shikhandaaya Shuliney Divyashaayiney/

(The Red and Ash-coloured, the Protector of the Universe, the Maker of Pralaya, the unique one with blue course-hair, the carrier of Trishula, the one immersed in Celestial Nidra)

Uragaaya Trinetraaya Hiranyavasu -retasey,
Achintyaambikaa Bhartrey Sarva devaastutaayacha/

(Sarvadhaari, the Three-Eyed Bhagavaan, the ultimate of gold and opulence, the inconceivable, the husband of Ambika, who is eulogized by all Devas)

Budhadhwajaaya Mundaaya Jatiney Brahma -chariney,
Tapyamaanaaya sasiley Brhahmanyaajitaayacha/

(The one with hoisted Bull-flag , Munda dhaari, Jataadhaari, Brahmachari, he who meditates inside water bodies, the devotee of Brahmanas, and the invincible);

Vishwatmaney Vishwasrujey Vishwama -avruttya tishthatey,
Namostu Divya rupaaya Prabhavey Divyashambhavey/

(The Supreme Soul of the Universe, the Super Creator, the All-Pervading Authority, the Highest Form of Sanctity, the Most Capable, and the Epitome of Auspiciousness)

Abhigamyaya Kaamyaaya Stutayaacharya Sarvadaa,
Bhakta -anukampiney Nityam dishatey yanmanogatam/

(Our salutations to the Ultimate Haven and Refuge, the Most Charming, the most extolled, the Unique source of Kindness and the bestower of desires).

Having pleased Parama Shiva thus, Devas explained the gravity and seriousness of the crisis created by the Tripura Daityas who not only unseated and tormented Devas and Celestial Entities but were also sending shock-waves all over the Universe, humiliating Sages, frightening women and children, making mass-scale carnage and blood bath of humanity and uprooting Dharma and age-old Values and Principles. Parameshwara infused confidence into the demoralised Devas and asked them to construct an exceptional chariot with unique specifications: Prithvi as the Ratha / Chariot, Meru and Mandara Mountains as axles, Surya and Chandra as Chakras made of gold and silver respectively, the Four Vedas of Ruk-Yajur-Sama and Atharva acted as the horses; Shukra, Brihaspati, Budha, Mangal, and Shanaischara seated on the Ratha ready to charge; the famous serpents viz. Takshaka, Karkotaka, Dhanajaya and Padmadwaya acted as the strings which were tied to the horses; most poisonous snakes like Surasa, Devashuni, Sarama, Kadru, Vinata, Shuchi, Trusha, and Bubhuksha were used as arrows; Mrutyu, Brahmahatya, Gohatya, Balahatya and Prajaabhaya were loaded on the Chariot so that they get activised as maces; Omkara and Vashatkara were the symbols on the Ratha; Sinivali, Kuhu, Raaka and Anumati - the ‘Adhishtana’/ in charge Deities of Chaturdashi, Amavasya, Suddha Purnima, Pratipadika Purnima respectively were used as auxiliary strings to the horses; the dhanush made of six ‘ritus’/ seasons which is safeguarded by Devi Ambika herself never to be broken; the specific arrow with which to kill the Tripurasura was strengthened by Vishnu, Soma and Agni and its head propelled by Agni and Chandra by its rear and Vishnu Maya smeared all over; and the extreme poison of Nagaraja Vasuki was loaded to ensure stability and speed of the arrow; Vayu was made in charge of the high velocity of the Chariot and finally Brahma was the Charioteer and Sesha Naag was made in charge of the personal security of Brahma as also of the Chariot. Yama Raja with his buffalo, Kubera on his serpent, Indra on Iravata, Ganeswara by his Mushika Vahana, Karikeya on his Peacock, Nandeshwara with his Shula running behind and sides of the Ratha were in full preparedness. Maharshis Bhrigu, Bharadwaja, Vasishtha, Goutama, Kratu, Pulastya, Pulaha, Marichi, Atri, Angira, Parashara, and Agastya were there too at the kick-start of the Battle to recite Veda Vachanas and Shiv Stutis. The Pramatha ganas were ready to charge as the army against the opponents- all swarmed around the Rath. Meanwhile, Sage Narada reached the Tripuras and tried his best to mend his ways, give back Indrapuri to Devas and avoid the worst ever battle in which the indestructible Tripuras would be destroyed along with the Three Demons as Maha Deva himself was approaching these Places with full preparation. Instead of talking peace, the Demons alerted their vast armies, and prepared for turning their defensive positions to that of an offence. On the instruction of Shankara Deva, Indra took his enormous army and attacked Tripura. As the Deva Sena made a highly offensive assault in full force, what with the revenge and frustration experienced by them for long as they were out of power as also owing to the excellent backing of Maheswara, they seized the best part of Tripuras. While quite a few Danavas sought to escape for their lives through the exit gates of Tripuras, Pramatha ganas calculated that the enemies would try to sneek out at those points and buchered thousands of Danavas.The remaining Danavas inside the Trinagaris were utterly confused by contradictoy shouts that Taraka died or Shiva was defeated. In that melee, a srong contingent of Danavas quickly regrouped their men and material to make offensive attacks under the leadership of Vidunmali and Maya. Ganeswara divided Tripuras in three regions as Nandeswara was attacking Vudyunmali, while he was in position against Maya. Meanwhile, Vidyunmali threw a ‘Parigha’ on Nandi who was hurt and the enraged three ‘Parshadaganas’ named Ghantaakarna, Shankukarna and Mahakaal retaliated; they assumed the Forms of Ganeswara and assailed Vidyunmali by making the roars of lions. Even while the Parswaganas were about to leap on Vidyunmali, the hurt Nandikeswara hurled a Rudra Shakti on the demon who fell down like a mountain. There was utter silence among Danavas who were stunned and retreated. But, the highly cunning and crafty Mayasura chased the Ganas of Ganeshwara to divert attention of his own men from the fallen Vidyunmali to the Ganesha ganas. Mayasura created rains of Agni, crocodiles, snakes, huge mountains, lions, tigers, trees, black deers, eight-legged ‘Sharabhas’/ a species of oversized deer, torrential rain and powerful sand storms. As Taraka came into the battle field, Devas too appeared in full force, including Yamaraja, Varuna, Bhaskara, Kartikeya heading a Deva Sena of a Crore, with Indra, Shanaishchara, Chandra, and Rudras. The ‘Maayavi’ Mayaasura created several Wells full of herbal juices for envigoration and Danavas were in high spirits as their body strength increased manifold. But Keshava took the form of ‘Vrishabha’and drank up the juice along with Devas and dried up the wells and Devas occupied the Tripuras finally. Mayasura and other Daityas were forced to hide in the Sea. That was the decisive moment when there was an all-out battle on the seashores. Shankara divided the ‘Tridevamaya’ arrow into three parts and released it when Tripuras were destroyed; Shiva felt sad however that one of his own dear devotees, Mayasura too was involved. Nandi went faster than the arrow and saved Maya, well before the Tripuras were destroyed. In the end Taraka and Vidyunmali were killed and Maya was condoned with the curse of Indra that all his constructions would be burnt off eventually and Mayasura continued to hide in the Seas.

17    ‘Skandopaakhyaana’ (The Chapter on Skanda)

Brahma Manasa Putra Prajapati Dhaksha married Veerini and they were blessed with sixty daughters; of these daughters, ten were married to Dharma, thirteen to Maharshi Kashyapa, twenty seven to Chandra Deva, four to Arishtanemi, two to Bahuka and two to Krushaswa. Kashyapa’s wives were Aditi, Diti, Danu, Vishwa, Arishta, Surasa, Surabhi, Vinata, Taamra, Krodhavasha, Ira, Kadru and Muni. Aditi begot Devendra, Upendra, Surya and all Devatas. Diti gave birth to Hiranyakashipu and innumerable Daityas. Danu gave birth to Danavas; Surabhi the cows and other animals; Vinata the birds like Garuda; Kadru the Nagas and other repitles; and so on. As Devas and Daityas developed mutual hatred and enemity, there had been periodical battles and each time Daityas defeated and occupied Swarga for long spells of time, Devas with the help of Narayana were regaining Swarga again and there had been as a result mass killings of Daityas and Devas had been enjoying the last laugh! Diti was unable to bear this let-down time and again. Kashyapa Muni taught to perform a severe Vrata which she performed meticulously for thousand years and after some time got pregnant. Indra came to know the purpose of Diti’s Vrata viz. to bless her to conceive a boy who could terminate Indra and Devas, Indra ultilised his powers / Siddhis of Anima and Parakaya; entered her womb and cut the foetus with the help of his Vjrayudha seven times making seven slices from each of the seven parts thus making forty nine ‘Marudganas’. After this tragic end, Diti once again prayed to Kashyapa to grant her a son who was indestrcutible even by a Vajra and as result of ten thousand years of Tapasya there was a mighty Daitya called Vajranga was born to Diti. As per Diti’s instruction Vajranga brought Indra imprisoned to his mother. But Brahma and Kashyapa asked Vajranga to release Indra by saying:

Apamaano Vadhah proktah Putra Sambhaavitasyacha,
Asmadvaakyena yo mukto viddhitam mrutamevacha/

(Son! Respectable personalities like Indra ought to feel humbled and humiliated; hence release Indra on my instruction.). Brahma also created Varangi so that Vajranga would wed her. Brahma instructed the couple to perform Tapasya in dfficult situations, some times by raising hands, sometimes sitting with Panchagnis around, sometimes sitting in deep waters and invariably without food and even water. Finally, the couple was blessed with a mighty and unique son, named Tarakasura. Fully understanding the purpose of his birth which his parents had strived for after performing thousands of years of Tapasya as also to fulfill the singular ambition of his grand mother to destroy Indra and Devas, Tarakasura took a vow at a grand conference of Daityas and Danavas-the descendents of Diti and Danu- and proceeded to Paritraya Parvat (the western side of Aravali and Vindhya mountain range and observed strict Tapasya during hundred year time-slots by rotation by way of ‘Niraahaara’ (without food), Panchagni ( in the midst of Five huge Fire bodies) in sizzling summers, ‘Jala madhya’ inside in chilled running water in the worst winter nights, eating only fallen dry leaves, etc. Brahma had no option but to present himself and ask for his boons. He bargained of absolute invincibility and deathlessness but finally agreed that only a seven days long boy could kill him, if at all! Not far from the day when Brahma bestowed the boons, Tarakasura redesigned and reformed his lines of Military Forces and attacked Indraloka. A long-drawn and ferocious Devasura-Daitya ensued when there was considerable blood-shed in either side. Danaveswara Grasan and Yama Dharma Raja, Jambha and Kubera, Durjaya and Varuna, Mahishasura and Chandra, Kalanemi and Surya were the prominent opponents. As it looked that Devas were at the moment of collapse under the leadership of Tarakasura, Lord Vishnu sat on Garuda Deva and alighted on the battle field. All the Asura-leaders surrounded Vishnu and rained Astras against him in one go; Kalanemi shot sixty arrows, Nimi hundred arrows, Mathan fired eighty arrows, Jambhaka seventy, Shumbha ten powereful Astras, and many others as many as they could at just one target , viz. Narayana. Bhagavan Vishnu responded to all these arrows and shot severally and on one-to-one basis. The battle continued on and on; inspired by Vishnu Deva, Indra regrouped Deva Sena by strenghening patches and enlarging the volumes of the Deva Sena by recalling Yakshas, Gandharvas, and Kinnaras who brought their own powerful weapons. Vishnu called up for the assistance of Ekadasha Rudras viz. Kapali, Pingala, Bheema, Virupaksha, Vilohita, Ajesha, Shasana, Shasta, Shambhu, Chanda and Dhruva. The Rudra Swarupas dominated the battle field by annihilating thousands of Daityas. Maha Daitya Gajasura was torn into pieces and his skin was draped over the body of Kapila Rudra the Daityas made ‘hahaakaaras’ when they ran helter-skelter. Indra attacked Daitya Nimi and thumped his chest with his ‘Vajraayudha’. At the humilation of the death of Gajasura by Rudra, Jambhasura challenged Indra and after a fearful skirmish, Lord Indra shot Brahmastra and the Daitya was killed instantly. But fully armed by the boon of invincibility, the end result was that Tarakasura over powered Devas, Vishnu was indeed aware of the boon to Tarakasura and withdrew from the battle and the defeated Indra and Devas were dislodged from Swarga.

Indra and Devas reached Satyaloka to seek Brahma’s help and the latter predicted that soon the King of Himachala would be blessed with a daughter named Parvati who would be married to Parama Shiva and the couple woud beget a child named Skanda; that boy after attaining seven days should kill Tarakasura. Brahma further told Devas that meanwhile they would have to be patient and that he had already chalked out action plans till the objective was achieved. Having assured Devas thus, Brahma called for Devi Vibhavari ( Ratri Devi) and briefed her that Shiva’s earlier wife Sati Devi had immolated herself as she could not control her emotions arising out of her own father’s (Daksha Prajapati) misdeeds of insulting Bhagavan Shiva, that the latter avenged Sati’s self-immolation by destroying Daksha Yagna and Daksha and that Shiva was at the moment not in a mood to remarry but that the Sacred Wedding between him and Devi Parvati was of top urgency since the child of their union could save the entire universe as their son could only kill Tarakasura as per the boons that the Demon secured. The instruction of Brahma to Devi Vibhavari therefore was as follows:
Virahokanthitaa gaadham Hara sangama laalasaa,
Tayoh sutapta tapasoh samyogah swaacchhubaananey/
Garbhastaaney cha tanmaatruhu swena ruupena rajjaya/

( As both the ‘Tapaswinis’ would be tempted to unite with each other, she should enter Devi Parvati’s ‘garbha’ and imprint Shiva Deva’s manly image there). Then the virility so discharged would be carried by Agnideva and the Sarovara’s reefs that would carry the drops would help Krittikas to bring up the boy from the spills-over of Shiva’s virility; Devi Parvati would then retire to bed and would know only later that she gave birth to a boy. In the action plan, the next step as devised by Indra was to stimulate Shankara with feelings of romance and to create favourable situations around; indeed Kamadeva was able to succeed momentarily but when Shiva understood the game plan; Manmatha was burnt into ashes by Shiva’s ‘humkar’ followed by the opening of third eye in a split-second!

Devi Rati was stunned at the sudden turn of events, since she felt that the Act of Madana Kumara was to usher in propitiousness and happiness as the worst menace of three Lokas would be rid of by the end of Tarakasura, pursuant to Shiva- Parvati’s wedding and the hastening of their son’s auspicious birth. Unfortunately, her husband became the victim, for no fault of his, as the entire drama was enacted by Indra Deva, who too could not be blamed since each step in Lord Brahma’s Action Plan was for the great advantage of the Universe as a whole. She stooped down at her husband’s ash-heap and while crying incessantly prayed to Bhagavan Shiva as follows:

Namah Shivaayaastu Niraamayaaya Namah Shivavaayastu Manomayaya/
Namah Shivaayaastu Suraarchitaaya, Tubhyam Sadaa Bhakta Kripaaparaaya/
Namo Bhavaayaastu Bhavodbhavaaya, Namostu tey Dhwasta mano bhavaaya/ Namostutey goodha mahaa vrataaya, Namostu Maaya Gahanaashrayaya/
Namostu Sharvaaya Namah Shivaaya, Namostu Siddhaaya Puraatanaaya/
Namostu Kaalaaya Namah Kalaaya, Namostutey Jnaana vara prasaadaaya/
Namostutey Kaalakalatigaaya, Namo Nisargaamala bhushanaaya/ Namostvameyaandhaka mardakaaya, Namah Sharanyaaya Namo gunaaya/
Namostutey Bheemaganaanugaaya, Namostu Nanaa bhuvanenakartrey/ Sarvaavasaaneyhyavi naasha netrey, Namostu Naanaa Jagatey Vidhhaatrey,
Namostu tey Chitra phala Prayoktrey
/ Namostu Bhaktaabhimata pradaatrey, Namah sadaa teybhava sanga hatrey/
Ananta rupaaya sadaiva tubhyamasya kopaaya namostu tubhyam/
Shashaanka chihnaaya sadaiva tubhya mameya maanaaya namah stutaaya/ Vrishendrayaanaaya Puraantakaaya, Namah prasiddhaaya Mahoushadhaaya/
Namostu Bhaktyaabhimata pradaaya, Namostu Sarvaarti haraaya tubhyam/ Charaachara vichaaravarya maachaaryamutprekshita bhutasargam/ Twaamindu moulim sharanam prapanna Priyaaprameyam mahataam Mahesham/ Prayacchamey kaamayashah samruddhim, Punah Prabho jeevatu Kamadevah/
Priyam binaa twaam Priya jeeviteshu, Twattoparah ko bhuvaneshwahaasti/
Prabhuh Priyaayaah prasavah priyaanaam, Praneetaparyaaya paraparaarthah/ Twameyvameko Bhuvanasyanaatho Dayaalurnmeelita bhakabheetih/
(Parama Shiva! My salutations to you; you are the Spotless; the mental reflection of all the Beings; worshipped by all the Devas always; the epitome of kindness to the devotees; the Supreme Creator of the World; you burnt up Kamadeva, my husband and my deferential apologies to you for the diturbance caused when you were in a confidential Vrata. Kindly accept my devotion since you do protect those and who take refuge as they become victims of the forests of ‘Maya’; You are the Punisher as well as the Provider of Propitiousness; the Kala Swarupa /Appraiser of Time as also of Achievements since you are the Supreme Gyani / with the knowledge of those who transgress limits of time; You are the Form of Nature and the Wearer of Sacred and Untainted Ornaments; You possess spontaneous Might and destroy Evil Forces like Andhakaraasura; the Nirguna devoid of features and the point of ultimate refuge; You are the Creator of several Worlds and the Scripter of many Universes; the bestower of multiple benefits, the patented destroyer at the time of Pralayas as also the saviour of a few Beings at such extreme situations; the Enjoyer of the due ‘Yagnaphala’ which is liberally distributed to devotees; the demolisher of worldly desires; you possess myriad forms but your anger is unbridled; you are the coolness of Moon, the Symbol of self-esteem , the eulogy to all, the carrier of Nandi, the obliterator of Tripuras, the Source of ‘Aushadhis’/ medicines, the donor of desires, the remover of all difficulties, the Ultimate Regulator of ‘Achaaras’/ ‘Vichaaras’-traditions and customs; The ‘Acharya’or the Unique Guide to the Moving and Immobile Object; The Over Seer of the entire Srishti; the Provider of Coolness and radiance to the Moon of his head; the Unparalelled Personification of Pure Love, Maheshwara! do kindly bestow everlasting fame and name to my husband Kama Deva with which he would get back to life; You are the one and only Saviour who could bring blossoms to his ashes; who else in the Universe could be competent to get my husband back to Life!). Pleased by the ‘Stuti’ of Rati Devi, Maha Deva cooled down from his anger and pacified her to assure that she would secure her husband back after some time and would be popularly called ‘Ananga’. Disturbed by the happenings that happened as Kama Deva was burnt by Maha Deva and Devi Rati’s distress, Devi Parvati was rather disllusioned and decided to proceed to perform Tapasya. Her father gave her encouragement and said:

Umeti Chapaley Putri! na kshamam taavakam vapuh,
Sodhum klesha swaruupascya Tapasah Soundarya darshiney/

(My daughter, you are too restless; ‘U’-stands for THIS and MA-stands for: ‘do not do this’; in other words: ‘you do not have to perform ‘Tapasya’; Your slender and tender body is not capable of withstanding Tapasya). As Himavan was pleading to his daughter not to think of Tapasya thus, there was a Celestial Voice (Akasha vaani) addressed to Himavaan which asserted that Parvati should not think in terms of Tapasya;

Umetinaama tey naasyaa Bhuvaneshu Bhavishyati,
Siddhim cha Murtimatyashey Saadha vidhyanti chintitaam/

(Himaraja! what you uttered was that your daughter was really ‘Chanchala’or highly unsteady and wavering; in the entire Universe her name shall be everlasting and would always be bestowing boons to the fulfillment of her ‘Bhaktas’).
Indra Deva who was anxious to take further steps in expediting Shiva-Parvati’s wedding, called up the illustrious Sapta Rishis to ascertaining the mind of Devi Parvati by visiting her personally and once convinced to visit Parama Shiva too to find out his inclination too. The Chief Negotiators were thus engaged in the delicate task which however had to be given a soft and swift push; they reached Parvati first and presented to her a negative picture of Shiva stating that he was perhaps not an appropriate candidate befitting her beauty and grace and that she might as well seek of another ‘greater’and more presentable and qualified husband; they argued that he was a semi-clad, uncouth, funnily dressed, resident of ‘Smashaanas’/ grave yards, kapala dhari / wearer of skulls, bhikshukh / mendicant, with frightening eyes, apparently looking mentally unsound! Devi Parvati was rather annoyed and even surprised at the opinions expressed by the Sapta Rishis of their popular standing and affirmed:

Naaham Bhadraah kileycchaami Rutey Sharvaat Pinaakinah,
Sthitamcha taaratamyena Praaninaam paramam twidam/
Dheebalai –shvaryakaaryaadi pramaanam mahataam mahat,
Yasmaatra kinchitaparam sarvey yasmaat pravartatey/
Yasvaishwaryamanaadyantam tamahamsharanam gataa,
Eshamey Vyaavasaayascha deerghoti vipareetakah/

(Bhadra Purusha Saptarshis! I am not at all ready to wed any unsteady and petty-minded entities, excepting Pinakadhari Shankara Maha Deva; despite what might be described about the greatness of other suitors, I am most emphatically anchoring my hopes on him, as he is the most certainly outstanding Maha Purusha, whose might, mind and magnificence are unparalelled. This unflinching resolution of mine might look odd to you; you may either concede or quit!). As the Saptarshis heard Devi Parvati, they were overjoyed; they said they were only testing her resolve before approaching Maha Deva to sound his mind. May this determination of yours be fulfilled soon! After all, how could the radiance of Surya be without Surya! How could the sparkle of a diamond be without the diamond! How could the meaning of ‘Aksharas’ (letters / alphabet) be detached from their ‘meaning/ implication’! Similarly how Devi Parvati could be disconnected from Maha Deva! So saying, the Saptarshis proceeded to Himalaya Mountain peak to meet Parama Shiva to sound him on the subject of the most auspicious wedding of Shiva-Parvati. They met the Veeraka the Dwarapalaka and sensitised him about the purpose of their visit and in course of time, Bhagavan met the Saptarshis. The latter being an Omniscient he said:

Jaaney loka vidhhanasya Kanyaa satkaarya mutthamam,
Jaataa praaleya shailasya samketaka nirupanaah/

(I am aware that for the welfare of the whole world, the role of this damsel is quite significant; she is the daughter of Himavaan and you are desirous of proposing her for this task).

Satya mutktah kanthitaah sarvey Deva kaaryaarthamudyataah,
Teshaam twaranti chetaamsi kinthu kaaryam vivakshitam/
(This is indeed true that there has been considerable enthusiasm and haste, yet there would be some slow down in completing the task).

Lokayaatraanugantavya viseshana vichakshanaihi,
Sevantey they yato Dharma tat pramaanaayaat parey sthitaa/

(The Vidwans would do well in properly following the formalties and the established traditions of ‘Dharma’, since this action plan would constitute a regular standard to the posterity). The implication of what Maha Deva stated was fully understood by Sapta Rishis and they left to the Palace of Himavanta instantly. They conveyed to Himavanta and his wife Mena the exciting news of Maha Deva’s implicit consent to offer himself as the bridegroom to Devi Parvati. Mena said that normally the parents of the bride would propose an alliance but the bridegroom proposed instead! Anyhow, she asked that they might as well approach Parvati directly. The Rishis replied that the ground was already prepared and Parvati was in fact performing Tapasya only to accomplish Shiva’s hand. In any case, they would approach her as a formality and in response, Parvati terminated her Tapasya and came back home. Parvati felt so anxious that the previous night before the wedding preparations commenced was like ten thousand long nights. Next morning at the ‘Brahma Muhurta, the propitious acts were initiated; the ‘Shadritus’or the Six Seasons arrived; Vayu Deva and Varuna Deva took up the cleaning operations of the huge mountain range to receive the Wedding Guests; Devi Lakshmi set various arrangements including the golden and silver vessels required; Chitamani and many other jewels were spread all over; Kalpa Vriksha and Kamadhenu were pressed into service; all kinds of ‘Aoushadhis’, ‘Rasaayans’, and ‘Dhatus’turned up to be of use in the food preparations.
There at the ‘Gandhamaadana’ Mountain range, assemblies of Maha Munis, Nagas, Yakshas, Gandharvas and Kinnaras started hotting up. Brahma intiated the make-up of Parama Shiva and for a start, combed the ‘Jatajutas’/ the coarse hair and set the position of ‘Chandra Khanda’ right; Devi Chamunda decorated a big ‘kapaala’on one side of Shiva’s broad head and said that once a son was born from the wedding, the latter should fill up the skull with the blood of Tarakasura and gift that Kapala to her to enjoy the drink! Vishnu arrived with a golden ‘Kirita (‘head gear) studded with ‘Nava Ratnas’ and well-ornamented with live snakes which added to the luster of the ‘Sarpa Manis’on the heads of the snakes; Indra arrived in haste with the ‘Gaja Charma’/ Elephant Skin and draped it on the body of Shiva; Lord Vayu took over the charge of Nandeswara and took great pains to swathe a gold-laced white silk bejewelled with nine gems decorated on the back to make a cushioned seat on which Maha Deva could be seated comfortably; ‘Loka Sakshis’( Ready Universal Evidences) Surya, Chandra and Agni Devas lit up the ‘Three Netras’/Three Eyes with renewed radiance and radiation and garnished them with dark clouds as eye-tex; Preta Raja Yama Deva embellished Shiva’s broad forehead with ‘Chita bhasma’ in three straight lines and ornamented his fore arms and wrists with strings of human bones; Kubera gifted invaluable jewellery made of nine gems studded in pure gold worn along with a heap of live and hissing snakes, while Varuna brought special ‘Kundalas’/Ear rings with coiled Vasuki and Taksha serpents.
As the bride groom got ready and sat comfortably on Nandeswara, the procession commenced with firm and dignifiedly slow steps and Bhu Devi was in shivers with each step of Nandeswara carrying the Supreme Lord of Trilokas, and behind him were Vishnu, Brahma, Indra, Dikpalakas, the Nava Grahas, Devas, Gandharvas, Yakshas, Pramatha Ganas and so on each with their wives, unless they had already reported to duty at the bride’s Palaces. Veerak, the Dwarapalaka of Maha Deva, in the lead was addressing hoarse the surging crowds ahead of the ‘Ratha’ to make way and let it pass; after all, when Maha Deva was himself moving ahead, could any one in the hysteric mass of humanity resist the temptation of catching a glimspe of Bhagavan! Behind the Dignitaries following the procession were the celebrations of singing Gandharvas, dancing Apsaras, and the tuneful Kinnaras, further followed by Maharshis, Sages and Brahmanas reciting Vedas and Sacred Hymns. The whole Universe was charged with myriad emotions as the groom’s party arrived at the bride’s palace.
At the ‘Kalyana Mandapa’, the Parvarta Raja Himavan was in a state of dazed ecstacy since Parama Shiva himself was his son-in-law.

Pranateynaachalendrena Pujitotha Chaturmukhah,
Chakaara vidhinaa Sarvam Vidhimantra purah saram/

(Parvata Raja performed puja with respects to Brahma and with the full course of formal Mantras, the wedding was celebrated in tradition and dignity);

Sharveyna Paanigrahana maagneena saakshikamakshatam,
Daataa Mahibhrutaam Natho hotaa Devaschaturmukhah/
Varah Pashupati Saakshaat Kanyaa Vishaaranistathaa

(Then Parama Shiva wedded Parvati with Agni Saakshi or in the presence of Agni, when Daata / donor was Himavaan, Brahma as Hota (the Head Priest), Shiva as the bride groom and bride as Aranibhuta Devi Parvati.). Devas were extremely happy that the best was yet to happen; Indra gifted a golden umbrella, Gandharvas sang tuneful songs, Apsaras danced to their best, Kinnaras organised instrumental extravaganza and the whole world cebebrated, but of course Daityas and Danavas who had ruled for thousand years were highly dejected quite understandably. After a few days the new couple of Shiva and Devi Parvati took permission of Parvata Raja Himavaan and moved back to Mandarachala.

Years passed by and Shiva and Parvati continued to enjoy their marital bliss. Out of fun, Bhagavan Shiva teased Parvati once as follows:

Shareerey mama tatwaangi sitey bhaasya sitadyutih,
Bhujaangee vaasita shuddhaa samslishtaa chandaney tarow/
Chandraatapena sampruktaa ruchirambaraa tathaa,
Rajaneevaasitey pakshey drushti dosham dadaasimey/

(Devi Parvati! As your physical colour is rather dark and mine is fair, it looks that a dark serpent is circling a chandana tree! Also, there is a similie -comparison- of a shining Moon against the background of dark cloud on the sky!). Understandably, Parvati was not amused, and in fact, badly hurt, when Shankara made these remarks even as a joke. Instantly, she left out home and proceeded to perform ‘Tapasya’ to Brahma for a number of years to change her body colour. Any amount of pleading and supplication by Shiva did not change her mind.
Meanwhile, the son of Andhakasura and the brother of Bakasura called ‘Aadi’ performed strict ‘Tapas’ to Brahma Deva and asked for the boon of ‘Amaratwa’ or immunity from death. As Brahma could not grant this advantage, Aadi amended the request that he should be able to convert his Body Form as per his wish; Brahma agreed provided that the Daitya could do so only twice. As Veerak was guarding the Entry Point of Shankara and as it was not possible to enter ‘Shiva dwar’, Aadi converted his Form as a snake and entered Shankara’s abode through an under ground hole and slithered in; thereafter Aadi assumed the Form of Devi Parvati, approached Maha Deva and pretended that she had given up Tapasya as the severity of meditation just to change of body colour from ‘Krishna Varna’ to ‘Gaura Varna’ was not worth the strict regimen. Parama Shiva was happy initially that she changed her mind and returned back to him. But on second thoughts and knowing that Parvati would not take a flippant decision to return without achieving her objective, he suspected the fake Parvati and killed the ‘Mayavi’ Daitya. The original Parvati Devi’s Tapasya pleased Brahma Deva and blessed her to change her body colour as she pleased either as of Gaura ( white)Varna or of Shyama Varna; Parvati returned home to Maha Deva but the unwitting Veeraka, the ‘Dwarapalaka’ refused her entry to her own house! As any amount of convincing did not help Veeraka, Devi Gauri was tired out to reason him and finally gave a ‘Shaap’ that he would be born as a human and after the duration of the curse would return to her again. Parama Shiva was so excited as Gauri entered his interior bed room that a delegation of Devas headed by Indra was turned out saying that he was busy. Indra detailed Agni Deva to take the form of a parrot and peep in through a window as to what was happening inside their bed-chamber. Exactly at that time, the parrot peeped in when Shiva-Parvati were actually in Ekanta; Shiva noticed the parrot and recognised Agni. He scolded Agni and said now that he created ‘Vighna’ (obstacle) between him and Parvati and hence he might as well rectify the situation by drinking up his virility. The highly explosive drops shining like molten gold punctured Agni’s belly and got spread over the Maha Sarovar nearby. Several lotus flowers which got sprouted all over in the deep waters emitted strong and fragrant scents and the intoxication affected ‘Krittikas’who happened to bathe in the Sarovar; the Krittikas desired to take the lotus leaves home but Devi Parvati jocularly remarked to the Krittikas that she could take the drops of water on the lotus leaves as well. In turn Krittikas joked that they would take the water home, provided the child born of the water consumed by them should have equal right to the motherhood of the boy so born! As the deal was struck between Kritthikas and Parvati, the Krittika damsels gave the lotus leaves as also the water drops to Parvati. Subsequently, Devi Parvati drank up the water around the lotuses and from her right and left ‘kukshis’ gave birth to two male children later united into one and the child who had the extraordinary radiance of Surya Deva; each of the Six Krittikas shaped up one head each of the child; thus the boy was named ‘Kumara’ by Parvati; ‘Kartikeya’, ‘Shanmukha’, ‘Shadvaktra’ by the Krittikas and as ‘Vishakha’ or the different ‘Shakhas’/ branches of the lotus leaves that carried the golden drops. On Chaitra Shukla Shashthi, the child was declared as the ‘Deva Senapati’/ the Commander-in- Chief of Devas.Vishnu gifted varieties of ‘Ayudhas’/ Arms and ‘Astras’or Mantrik Arrows. Kubera presented him a lakh-strong of yaksha army. Vayu Deva gave him a ‘Mayura Vahana’/ Peacock Carrier, while Twashta Prajapati gifted a toy in the form of a Cock which could change its form as the boy wished. All the Devas presented souvenirs, prostrated before Skanda and extolled him:

Namah Kumaaraaya Mahaa Prabhaaya Skandaayacha Skandita daanavaaya,
Navaarka Vidyutdyutaye Namostutey, Namostutey Shanmukha Kaamarupa/
Pinadwi nanaabharanaaya Bhartrey Namo raney Daarudaaranaaya,
Namostu teyrka pratima prabhhaya, Namostu Guhyaaya Guhyaaya tubhyam/
Namostu Thrailokya bhaayaapahaaya, Namostutey Baala kripaa paraaya,
Namo Vishaalaamala lochanaaya, Namo Vishaakhaaya Maha Vrataaya/
Namo Namastestu Manoharaaya, Namo namastestu Ranotkataaya,
Namo Mayurojjwala vaahanaaya, Namostu Keyura dharaayatubhyam/
Namo Dhrutodagna pataakiney Namo Namah Prabaavapranataaya testu,
Namo Namastey Varaveerya shaalininey, Kripaaparo no bhava Bhavyamurtey/
Kripaaparaa Yagnapatim cha stutwaa, Viromirowam twamaraadhi paadyaah,
Yevam tadaa Shadwadanam tu sendraa mudaa santhushta Guhastatastaan/

(Our Greetings to You, Kamarupa Shanmukha! You are Kumara, the radiant son of Maha Shiva and the destroyer of Danavas; your physical form is the glow of rising son and of the heat of Agni; you are appropriately adorned, the Army Chief of Devas; the dreadful on the battle front; Guhya Rupa, the abolisher of fear in Trilokas in the Form of a Child; gifted with broad and clear eyes; Vishaakhaa! Our reverences to you as the practitioner of Maha Vratas; you are a terror in battle fields although of pleasant visage otherwise; you have a peacock as your carrier and wear a Keyura / wrist bangles; the high flier of flags; the bestower of boons to devotees; the high profile symbol of courage and strength; you possess a Magnificent Form.This was how Indra and Devas extolled Skanda.)
Even as Kumara was replying to assure Devas that very soon the desire of retrieving their lost glories would be fulfilled, an emissary of Tarakasura arrived and conveyed their Chief’s message to Indra with a warning not to repeat his past mistakes of challenging a giant Daitya of the stature of that great Tarakaura who shook up the Universe and converted Devas as his servants; he also remarked that instead of playing balls and toys, the baby boy Skanda should gradually get acclimatised to battle fields and face mighty Asuras much later in life! As Tarakasura was in a jocular mood, Skanda Deva said: ‘Taraka! Never under-esimate the ‘Shakti’ of a kid; can you not realise that a baby serpent could perform permanent damage to you and that a boy who has ‘Alpaakshara Gyan’in releasing ‘Astras’ could reach you directly to Naraka! Even while Skanda was conversing like this, Taraka threw a ‘Mudgara’ (hammer) and an agile Kumara destroyed it with his ‘Vajraayudha; Taraka threw a ‘Bhindapaal’ which was destroyed by Kumara’s own hands. Skanda materialised a Gada / Mace and despatched it against Kalanemi Daitya who became furious and rained a stream of Arrows. These arrows had little impact on Skanda. Instead, Kalanemi and his associates were thrashed by Kumara and they had to sprint from the battle lines. Takakasura then appeared center-stage and was furious in releasing a powerful arrow which hurt Kumara Swami’s ‘MayuraVahana’;The infuriated Skanda and threw the most potent‘Shakti Bana’ which was indeed the decisive point that sealed Tarakasura’s fate and the greatest menace in the Trilokas who dominated the scene for thousands of years was finally destroyed, even as Devas sounded ‘dundhubhis’ (large drums) and showered rose petals which filled up the Earth, Sky and the Nether lokas with the fragrance of Parijata flowers from Swarga. Gandharvas and Kinnaras sang melliflous praises of Kumara and his proud parents, Apsaras were ecstatic and Sapta Rishis recited Mangala Mantras.Those who read or hear about the glories of Skanda would neither have sins nor diseases but lead a contented life ahead!

18    Bhagavan Vishnu’s Incarnation as Lord Nrisimha

Daitya Hiranyakashipu was engaged in stiff ‘Tapasya’ with ‘Mouna Vrata’ (Silence), ‘Manah Samyama’ (Control of Mind), ‘Indriya Nigrah’ (Command of Physical Limbs), ‘Brahma charya’ (Celibacy) and ‘Niyama Palana’ (Administering of Regulations) for eleven thousand years in deep water and Lord Brahma arrived at last by his ‘Hamsa Vimana’ along with Twelve Adityas viz.Dhata, Mitra, Aryama, Shakra, Varuna, Amshuman, Bhaga, Vaivaswanta, Pusha, Savita, Tvashta and Vishnu; Eighteen Vasus Viz. Apa, Dhruva, Soma, Dhara, Anila, Anala, Pratyusha and Prabhasa; Forty Marud- ganas from seven categories viz. Avaha, Pravaha, Sambhava, Udvaha, Vivah, Parivaha, and Varvah of seven each; Ekadasha Rudras viz. Hara, Bahurupa, Tryambaka, Aparajita, Vrisha kapi, Shambhu, Kapardi, Raivata, Mriga Vyadha, Sarpa and Kapali, Devas, Saptrashis, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Yakshas etc. In the presence of all these Deities Brahma gave the boon of invincibility from Devatas, Asuras, Gandharvas, Yakshas, Nagas, Rakshasas, human being, piscachas, Rishi ganas with immunity from ‘Shaapaas’ or curses, Astras, Shastras, Mountains, Trees, neither dried material nor wet, neither during day nor night, from Planets, Grahas, Nakshatras, Ten Directions, Krodha, Kama, varuna, Indra, Yama, Kubera, and Kimpurashas.As Brahma granted the boon to the Daitya accordingly, there were protests from all the Celestal quarters but Brahma conveyed that he had to give away the boons, since in all fairness the Tapasya that was performed by the daitya was genuine and had to be according to the wishes of the Danava. It did not take much time that Hiranya Kashipu waited to dethrone Indra and Devas; controlled Lokapalas, Pancha bhutas, Navagrahas, Dikpalakaas, Adityas, Vasus, Marudganas, and Rudras; obtained Yagna bhagaas and changed the texts of Sacred Scriptures; forced human beings to worship him but not Srihari, humiliated and killed Vishnu Bhaktas as they did not fall in line and in short tampered Vedic Tradtions to his personal advantage. There was hue and cry and Devas who approached Bhagavan Vishnu who assured Devas that he would soon take an incarnation of a species which would defy the imagination of Hiranyakashipu while he took the boons from Brahma. Parama Bhakta of Narayana, Prahlada the son of Hiranyakashipu realised in his Celestial Vision that Lord Vishnu had arrived in an incarnation as Nrisimha (Half Man and Half Lion) and that it was becoming increasingly clear that the Incarnation would end up the King Hiranyakashipu and Daityas. The vision indicated further that in the Physique of the Man-Loin were images of all Devatas, Oceans, Rivers, Himalaya and other Mountains, Stars on the Sky, Adityas, Vasuganas, Kubera, Varuna, Yama, Indra, Marudganas, Gandharvas, Maharshis, Yakshas, Nagas, Piscachas, Rakshasas, Brahma and Shankara.
Even as Prahlada cautioned the Great King in a full House of top officials, the latter commanded the peculiar Man-Lion to be caught where ever it would be, the ‘beast’ as the King imagined stood then and there right before him; the stunned Danava King lost his senses for a while but quickly recovered his composure and materailised Astras, Kala Chakras, earth-shaking Brahmastras, hell-binding Danava Chakras, Vajraayudhaas, Trishulas, Kankaals, Musalas, Mohanas, Shoshans, Santaapanaas, Vilaapanaas, Vaayavyaas, Mathans, Kaapaals, Shaktis, Brahmashitaastraas, Somaastras, Kaalamudgaras, Gandharvaastras, Vayavyastras, Hayashirastras, Naagastras, Paishachastras and such ‘Maaranastras’against Nrisimha Swami who got more and irritated in devastating the ‘Astra-Shastras’ which were either smashed by his Vajra-like body or redirected them back to Hiranyakashipu which had to be defended or tore parts of his body in the process. Simultaneously, the hastily grouped warriors, Senapatis, Ministers and the armies of Hiranyakashipu attacked Nrisimha and the highly enraged Bhagavan went so angry that fire balls emerged out of his eyes and relentless roars shattered the distant regions.Even by the fire and sound thus released, the battalions of soldiers whose shapes and forms were nauseating and frightening with faces of donkeys and wild pigs got decimated in thousands. Hiranyakashipu kept on hurling Shakti-weapons which were instantly retaliated by the mere ‘Hunkaar’ of Bhagavan and as though he was tired of fighting further, he tossed the body of the demon up, sat on an elevated place, kept the body of the demon on his thighs and with his pointed finger nails tore apart his stomach and heart when blood surged out in spirals and the greatest menace in Trlokas breathed his last. As the son of Diti succumbed, the whole universe fell into a strange spell of silence mingled with feelings of deliverance and disbelief, even as Prithvi, Kaal, Chandrama, Akash, Grahaganas, Surya, the Ten Dishas, Oceans, Rivers, Mountains and the Forests suppressed their surging incredibility. Lords Brahma, Rudra and Mahendra led the chorus of spontaneous Eulogy of Nrisimha Deva by Devatas, Gandharvas, Apsaras and Maharshis as follows:

Param cha siddhim cha Paramcha Devam, Paramcha Mantram Paramam Havischah/ Paramcha Dharmam Paramcha Vishvam,Twaamaahuragryam Purusham Puraanam/ Param shareeram Paraamcha Brahma, Paramha Yogam Paramaamcha Vaaneem/ Param rahasyam Paramaam gatimcha,Twaamaahargryam Purusham Puraanam/ Yevam Parasyaapi Param Padam yat, Param parishyaapi Paramcha Devam/ Param parisyaapi param cha Bhutam, Twamaahuragryam Purusham Puraanam/ Param parasyaapi param rahasyam, Param parasyaapi Param mahatvam/ Param parasyaapi param Mahadyat, Twamaahuagryam Purusham Puraanam/
Param parasyaapi param nidhaanam, Param parasyaapi param pavitram/
Param parasyaapi param cha daantam, Twamaahuragryam Purusham Puranam/

(Devadi Deva! You are Brahma, Rudra and Mahendra; the Loka Karta, Samharta, Upasthitaana/ Creator, Destroyer and Preserver; You are imperishable, the Utmost Siddhi /accomplishment; Paratpara, Parama Deva, Parama Mantra, Parama Havi /Invocation to Agni by Ghee; Parama Dharma, Parama Vishwa, Adi Purusha; You are the Supreme Physique, Param Brahma, Parama Yoga, Parama Vaani , Parama Rahasya, Parama Gati / Direction and Target; and Purana Purusha / the Very First Being; indeed you are the Paratpara Pada /Supreme Step Forward, Paratpara Deva, Partpara Bhuta / Organism, Paratpara Mahatva, Sarva sreshtha / the noblest of all; the One beyond comprehension, the Highest Form of Sacredness and Spotlessness!).

As Brahma and Parameswara expressed the gratitude of Devas and in fact of the entire Universe, Bhagavan Nrisimha was extremely happy, Gandharvas sang tuneful songs in praise of the Lord, Maharshis recited Vedas and Shanti Mantras, Apsaras danced to their heart’s content and Devas sounded celestial drums and rained flowers from the skies. Bhagavan Vishnu then boarded Garuda Vahana and flew toward Kshira Sagara. Brahma and Indra asssured that the Avatar of Nrisimha Bhagavan would be worshipped for ever since Lord Vishnu would incarnate Himself; he assured that as and when Dharma was in jeopardy, he would reappear again and again in every ‘Yuga’.

17     Daityas dominate over Devas and Kalanemi terminated by Vishnu

There had always been mutual hatred and battles among Devas and Daityas, the progeny of Sage Kashyapa and his wives Diti and Aditi; Diti’s offspring were Daityas and that of Aditi were Devas. There were several phases when wicked Daityas dominated the scene of the Universe and the virtuous Devas were defeated, kicked out of their rightful Place of Swarga and were humiliated and harassed; history was replete with innumerable instances when long spells of supremacy of Danavas were prominent as and when a powerful leader among them got floated. When such long and dark chapters occurred and Dharma, Nyaya and Devotion hit the lowest ebbs, the Preserver of the Universe, Vishnu had to intervene and revive moral values depending situations and exigencies.

Eversince Parameswara excused Mayasura at the time when Tripuras were destroyed, Mayasura and several of his associates were hiding under the Seas; they were awaiting opportunities to attack Indra and Devas to once again occupy Swargaloka. It was at that juncture that Maha Daitya Kalanemi joined Mayasura and fought so fiercely with Devas that Devas could not recover from their injuries for long. As Kalanemi’s evil deeds reached climaxes, Veda, Dharma, Kshama / endurance, Truth and Lakshmi were being gradually replaced with their opposite qualities. Kalanemi was curious-in fact envious of Narayana and saw him once with four hands wearing Shankha, Chakra, Gada and Padma and when Vishnu was rotating his mace to show off that he would destroy the Evil any time and anywhere. That particular scene of Narayana had badly hurt the Demon’s pride and ego and ruminated that after all it was that Vishnu who had been the sworn enemy of Daityas who killed stalwarts like Hiranyakashipu and Madhu-Kaitabha brothers. It was he who cheated King Bali as a ‘Vamana Brahmachari’ and pretended that only three-steps of narrow area was required and occupied Three Worlds! It was he under whose protection, Maharshis performed oblations of ghee into Agni and enabled various Devas to become prosperous and contented; it was he who was responsible for mass-murders of Daityas and made their wives hapless widows and rendered them and their children homeless! It was indeed due to him that all the Daityas got into the vicious circle of his Sudarshana Chakra! Kalanemi thus got tempted with a golden opportunity of being near to Bhagavan, little realising that ‘opportunity’ was created by Bhagavan Himself as it was time to terminate Kalanemi’s existence!

When Kalanemi prepared himself with his armoury and ‘Astras’ to attack Narayana by making huge shouts and allegations, Bhagavan smilingly replied:

Alpam darpabalam Daitya Sthiramakrodhajam Balam,
Hatastwam Darpajairdoshairhitwa yad bhashasay kshamaam/

(Boasting is a sign of cowardice and determination is a symbol of strength; since you are showing audacity and bluster, I am convinced of your timidity). He further said the norms of decency and regulations established by Brahma should never be infringed at any cost; and whoever tried to do so had no place for existence. As Vishnu was counselling Kalanemi, the latter raised his thousand hands and released ‘Astras’ on Vishnu which were deftly retaliated by Bhagavan, but as Garuda attacked the Davava, the latter hit the Giant Bird with his ‘Gada’ / mace which hurt Garuda Deva on his head. The infuriated Vishnu Bhagavan summoned his Sudarshana Chakra and insructed that his thousands of hands be mutilated first; but the Danava remained steady and like a tree without branches continued his fight with his utterances of Mantras which took various forms of ugly creatures that attacked Garuda as also Bhagavan. Garuda Deva expanded the length and breadth of his wings and as the velocity and might of Vayu helped his wings, thumped the Daitya’s huge chest and knocked him down from a sky-high elevation to fall on the ground with a thud. As Lord Brahma extolled Bhagavan Vishnu, the latter was no doubt happy but cautioned Devas not to be complacent as other Daityas like Virochana and the Rahu Graha ran away and should be on the constant vigil; he therefore appointed Indra to safeguard the East, Varun to keep alert on the Western front, Yama on the South and Kubera on the North. Surya Deva should ensure that the ‘Ayanas’-the Uttaraayana and Dakshinaayana-should be in Place always and similarly the ‘Ritus’ or the Six Seasons must not be disturbed and rains ought be timely. In the ‘Yagnaas’, the Devas ought to turn up without fail and repond as and when the Yagna kartaas recall them; Brahmanas should offer oblations with ghee into Agni; Devas should take advantage of the ‘Agnihotra Karyas’; Maharshis should be contented with ‘Swadhyaayaas’ and Pitru Devatas should be satisfied with ‘Shradhaas’ and finally all the Trilokas be contented.

20    Andhakasura’s killing necessitated Shiva to create ‘Maatrikas’

Armed heavily with ‘Tapobala’ (power of extreme meditation), Andhakaasura desired to abduct Devi Parvati and Mahadeva fought with him in the frightful ‘Mahakalavana’ near Avantika. As the Demon was not coming under control even after a long drawn battle, Rudra Deva had to finally utilise the most powerful Shakti called ‘Pashupati Astra’.As blood flowed in streams from the Daitya’s body, each drop of blood produced an ‘Andhakasura’ and to lick up the drops of blood, Maha Deva had to create innumerable ‘Matrikas’such as Mahewari, Braahmi, Kaumari, Malini, Sowparni, Vyayavya, Shaakri, Nairruti, Shouri, Sowmya, Shiva, Duuti, Chamunda, Varuni, Vaarahi, Naarasimhi and so on. All the Marikaas accomplished the deed of lickng the blood drops and enjoyed the same. But the progeny of the Matrikas also gave birth to Andhakasuras with a ‘shula’ and a ‘mudgara’and kept on pestering Shiva. Mahedeva approached Vishnu for help and the latter created ‘Sushka Revati’ who dried up the blood of all the Andhakas. It was then easy for Shiva to target the Daitya’s head and the destoyed. Andhakasura eulogized Parama Shiva who was pleased and bestowed ‘Ganeshatwa’ or the Title of ‘Ganas’.
But the innumerable ‘Matrikas’ who were created by Shiva threatened him saying that they would gradually eat up humanity; Shiva warned the Matrikas that they were only to perform virtuous deeds but not kill human beings; nonetheless, these Matrikas defied the instructions and were let loose eating up men, women and children. Shiva meditated Nrisimha Deva who appeared and destroyed all the vicious Matrikas. Shiva displayed his gratitude to Nrisimha Deva and prayed to him as follows:
Namastestu Janannatha Narasimhavapurdharah,
Daitya naathasrujaa purna nakha shakti viraajita/
Tatah Sakalasamlagna Hemapingala Vigrah,
Natosmi Padmanaabha twaam Surashakrajagadguro/
Kalpaantaambhoda nirghosha Suyakoti samaprabha,
Sahasrayamasamkrodha Sahasrendra paraakrama/
Sahasradhanadaspheeta Sahasra varunaatmaka,
Sahasra kaala rachita Sahasra niyatendriya/
Sasrabhumahaadhairya Sahasraananta murtiman,
Sasra chandra pratima Sahasra graha vikrama/
Sahasra Rudra tejaska Sahasra Brahma Samstuta/
Sahasra baahuvegogra Sahasraasya nireekshana/
Sahasrayantra mathana Sahasra vadhamochana/
(Jagannadha! You had assumed the Form of Nrisimha and with the sharpness and might of your nails had torn apart Hiranyakashipu and tasted his blood, my reverences to you; Padmanabha!You are all pervading, your physique is of molten gold colour and you are the mentor of Devaraj Indra, my sincere greetings to you; Your lion’s-growl is like the continuous reverberation of black clouds at the Pralaya Time, your splendour is like that of crores of Suns, your rage is like that of thousands of Yamas, your valour is like that of thousands of Indras, your opulence is like that of thousands of Kuberas, your profusion is comparable to that of thousands of Varunas, abundance of your fortitude is comparable to that of thousands of Prithvi, your unique courage was amply scripted of the thousands of ‘Kaalas’ or times rolled by, your poise and coolness of attitude is comparable to thousands of Chandramas, your energy is thousand times more forceful than those of Navagrahas, your radiance is comparable to thousands of Rudras, thousands of Brahamas are ready to commend you, you are of thousands of hands, faces and eyes; your swiftness and momentum is of the highest order, your Shakti is such that it could devastate thousands of ‘yantras’/ machines in one go; and your competence is such that you could make or mar thousands of persons at a time.) Having said this, Bhagavan! I created countless ‘Matrikas’to demolish Andhakasura, but these Shaktis are not obeying me; how could I knock down them all! That was how Shiva conluded his appeal to Nrisimha. Then Srihari-the Incarnation of Nrisimha- segregated Vageeswari from the tongue, Maya from the hridaya / heart, Bhavamalini from the Guhya Pradesha and Kalika from the extraordinarly strong bones of Sushkarevati and created afresh thirty two Matrikas from his own body and these new Matrikas are:
Ghantaakarni, Trailokyamohini, Punyamayi Sarvasattva- vashamkari, Chakra hridaya, Panchavi Vyomacharini, Shankhini, Lekhini and Kaala samkarshini who are the deputies of Vageeswari. The deputies of Maya are Sankarshini, Ashraddha, Beejabhaava, Aparaajita, Kalyani, Madhudamshtri, Kamala, and Utpalahastika. The deputies of Bhavamalini are Ajita, Sukshma -hridaya, Vruddha, Vesharama darshini, Nrisimha bhairava, Bilwa, Garudmad -hridaya, and Jaya. The deputies of Kalika/ Sushkarevati are: Aakarshini, Sambhata, Uttaramalika, Jwaalaamukhi, Bheeshanika, Kamadhenu, Baalika and Padmakara.
Each one of these Matrikas is of extraordinary Shakti and capacity to destroy the Trilokas! Nrisimha Deva instructed the Matrikas that just as human beings and animals / birds etc. bring up their progeny, they should also safeguard them and ensure no untoward incident should occur to them; the Matrikas should hold Rudra in their high esteem and he would too bestow them powers to be utilised for the welfare of every being; when human beings perform puja to them they too respond to their wishes for fulfllment.
Sushkaam sampujayishyanti eye cha Purtaardhino janaah,
Teshaam putrapradaa Devi bhavishyati na shamshayaha/
(Those who worship Sushkara Revati Devi for excellent progeny and fulfillment of worldy desires would certainly be granted by her.)


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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