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The Essence of Puranas – Padma Purana -1

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The Essence of Puranas – Padma Purana







Preface



Namasye Sarva Lokaanaam Vishwasya Jagathpatim,
Yayimankurutey bhaavam Srishti rupam pradhaanavit/
Loka krullokattva jneyoga maasthaya yogavit,
Asrujasatsarva bhutaanishtha varaani charaanicha,
Tamamjim Vishwa karmaanaam chitpatim Loka saakshinam,
Puraanaakhyaana jijnasurvajaami sharanam vibhum/


(My salutations to Sacchinaananda Parameswara who is the Supreme Scripter of Srishti Rupa, the Pro-active Visualizer and Designer of the Universe and the Creator of ‘Chaarachara’ Lokas).
At the behest of Maharshi Veda Vyas, his illustrious disciple Lomaharsha addressed the holy gathering of Rishis headed by Suta Maha Muni at ‘Naimisharanya’ to portray the Padma Purana comprising Five Khandas (Branches) viz. Srishti Khanda, Bhumi Khanda, Swarga Khanda, Patala Khanda and Uttara Khanda. As Padma (Lotus) got sprouted from Bhagavan Vishnu’s navel, Brahma surfaced. Bhagavan Vishnu narrated the Contents of the Purana to Brahma Deva and the latter conveyed the details to Maharshi Marichi; Brahma also passed it on to Sage Pulastya and Bhishma of Pandavas learnt it from Pulastya at Gangadwar (Haridwar) and that was how the posterity came to learn of the Padma Purana down the ages.


‘Bhagavaaneka Eva Janardana’! - The Unique and the Timeless Unknown
At the foremost, Brahma got materialised from a Golden Egg which was full of water; outside the water was ‘Tejas’ or Extraordinary Radiance; ‘Vayu’ the Source of Life, which in turn was enveloped by ‘Akash’ (the Sky). The resultant interaction was ‘Ahamkar’ (the Great Ego or the Temperament or the Natural Dispostion or the Image).
The ‘Maha Tatva’ led to the Creation of Three Kinds of mind-based ‘Ahamkaras’viz.  Vaikarik (Satvik), Taijasika (Rajasika) and Bhutaadi Rupa (Tamasika). The Tri Gunas created Five ‘Karmendriyas’ and Five ‘Jnanendriyas’; Five Elements of Prithvi, Jala, Tejas, Vayu, and Akash are also taken into count by the Maha Tatva. Tanmatras of Shabda, Sparsha, Rupa, Rasa and Gandha are the Jnanedriyas and the corresponding Karmendriyas viz. ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose. Bhagavan Vishnu in the form Brahma assumed ‘Rajo Guna’ and made the latter take up the task of Creation in theoretical and concrete forms alike ranging from Moving Objects like Devas to Danavas, human beings, animals, birds and reptiles to Immoveables like mountains, oceans, rivers, flora and fauna; the Lord Narayana embodied Satya Guna to preserve what all was created and Rudra symbolized Tamo Guna assumed the spirit of ‘Samhara’. At each of the termination points of Kalpas, Maha Vishnu rests on water over a self-generated Sesha Nag’s bed and after his ‘Yoga Nidra’ (Meditative Slumber) reassumes the forms of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara once again. Thus, Bhagavan Janardana carries on with the Eternal Tasks of ‘Srishti’, ‘Paalan’ and ‘Samhar’.He is the ‘Avinashi’ (Indestructible) Paramatma: Srishtisthithaynta Kaaranaad Brahma Vishnu Shivaatmakah, sa sanjnaam yaati Bhagavaaneka yeva Janardanah!


Concept of Time and ‘Brahma Srishti’ (Creation by Brahma)
Pulastya Maha Muni affirmed to Bhishma that Brahma was Narayana Himself and that in reality he was Eternal. But in a formal sense it was stated that Brahma was ‘created’ and in that normally recognised manner Brahma had hundred years of age; apparently, the concept of Time would have to have a basis and that was why Brahma’s age was determined notionally as of hundred Brahma Years;

in other words, ‘Para’or the first half was over and his present age has entered the ‘Paraartha’, the second half (viz. Fifty first year).This was how, the concept of Time emerged.
Every fifteen ‘Nimeshas’ constitute one ‘Kaashtha’; thirty Kashthas one one ‘Kala’; thirty Kalas make one ‘Muhurtha’; thirty Muhurtas make one day/night, thirty day/nights make on ‘Maasa’; (half Maasa makes one ‘Paksha’), six Maasas make one ‘Ayana’ and two Ayanas-Dakshinayana and Uttarayana- make one ‘Year’. Dakshinayana is a night for Devas and Uttarayana their day. One hundred human years make one day-night of Devas. Twelve thousand Deva Years make four Yugas viz, Satya Yuga, Treta Yuja, Dwapara Yuga and Kali Yuga and these four Yugas make one Maha Yuga which is Brahma’s one day! Satya Yuga comprises 4800 DevaYears including ‘Sandhya mana’ of 400 years and ‘Sandhyamsha maana of additional 400 years; Treta Yuga comprises 3600 Deva Years including 600 years of ‘Sandhya/ Sandhyamsha mana’each; Dwapara Yuga of 2400 years including 200 years of ‘Sandhya/ Sandhyamsha mana’each and Kali Yuga of 1000 years including 100 years each of Sandhya / Sandhyamsha manas.Deva Years are 360 times more than human years. For instance, the duration of Kali Yuga in human year terms is 432,000 years; Dwapara’s is 864000; Treta Yuga’s is12, 96,000 and of Satya Yuga is 17, 28,000 years; all the Yugas totalling 432, 00, 00,000 (432 million) make one Chaturyuga and that constitutes one Brahma Day! In one day of Brahma there are fourteen Manvantaras and each Manvantara has 8, 51,000 of Deva Years. There are two kalpas on one day-night of Brahma.At the end of the previous Kalpa, Brahma felt fresh from the previous night and found that Prithvi was submerged in water while Bhagavan Varaha Deva entered into water and Prithvi prayed to him; in response, Varahadeva emanated a ‘Ghur Ghur’ sound which was like the reverberation of Sama Veda, lifted up Prithvi from Rasala loka by the might of his horns, Devas rained fragrant flowers from the sky, Rishis went into rapturous tributes to Vishnu’s incarnated Varaha Rupa; and Brahma implored the latter to allow him recommence Srishti with his blessings as also to preserve and administer the Creation that he would so generate even as the Lord gracefully replied to say: ‘Tathastu!’ (So be it!).  
 Brahma’s first Srishti being Maha Tatva, the creation of Tanmatras was known as Bhuta Sarga or the Second Srishti; Vaikarika or Satvika Ahankara was the third Srishti of Indriyas or Aindriya Sarga; the Fourth Srishti is the Mukyha Sarga related to Mountains, Forests and other Sthaavara Srishti; the fifth Srishti relates to Pashu-Pakshi (Animals and Birds); the seventh Srishti was called Deva sarga or Urthva faced and was of Devas; and Seventh Srishti was of Manava Sarga; the Eighth was of Anugraha Sarga which could be of Satvika or Tamasic nature and finally the Ninth Srishti called the Kaumara Sarga which could be of Prakrita or Vaikrita Marg.
Depending on the carry forward of one’s own balance of ‘Papa-Punya’of the previous time-frame preceding the Pralaya, placement of lives was commenced by Brahma in the New Age. Arising out of his ‘Manasika Samkalpa’ (Mind born Proposal), Brahma created various species including Devas, Asuras, Pitaras and human beings. From his thighs, the evil Asuras emerged and as per his free will various birds were created. From his stomach surfaced cows, his shoulders the wolves; his face created horses, elephants, asses, nilgais, deer, camels, etc.each species multiplying several others. Brahma’s body hairs created fruits, roots and foodgrains. From his right extreme face, Brahma created, Gayatri Chhandah, Rig Veda, Tivritstoma, Rathantara, Agnihoshtha yagna; from South-faced he created Yajur Veda, Tristhub Chandas, Panchadasha stoma, Brihatsaama, etc; Sama Veda, Jagati Chhanda, Saptadashastoma, ‘Vairupa’ etc; from the Western face; Brahma created Ekavimshatstoma, Atharva Veda, Aptoryama, Anushthup chhanda, and Vairaja from the Uttaravarti Mukha. Miscellaneous ‘Pranis’ were created from any of the limbs of Brahma. To sum up thus at the beginning of the Kalpa, Prajapati Brahma created Devas, Asuras, Pitaras and human beings as also of Yakshas, Pishachas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Siddhas, Kinnaras, Raakshasaas, Lions, Birds, Animals and Reptiles.

Focussing attention on human beings now, Bhishma asked the highlights of Varnashrama Vidhi and Pulastya Muni explained that Brahma created Brahmanas from the face, Kshatriyas from ‘Vakshasthali’ (chest), Vaishyas from thighs; and Shudras from the feet.These four Varnas are the important constituents of ‘Yagnas’; Devas are satisfied wirh their respective portions of ‘Havis’ (oblations) to  Agni and being pleased with the Yagnas, Devas bestow good rains and good crops which leads to material prosperity. The hearts and hands of every body tend to be clean and social customs and virtuous living would go hand in hand. Prajapati decided the duties of the Four Varnas, depending on the professions that human beings tended to follow like Brahmanas performing Yagnas, Vratas, Temple Tasks, and enabling various religious deeds of Virtue in favour of the members of three other Varnas etc.; Kshatriyas discharging the responsibilities of Kingship, Administration, Security against external enemies, collection of taxes and maintenance of Internal Law and Order; Vaishyas performing business, farming, trading and all matters involving finance, provision of materials to others by allowing reasonable profits for the services given etc. and Shudras supporting the members of the Three Varnas in the discharge of duties being undertaken by them.
Brahma materialised the above various kinds of Creations by applying his mental faculties but was not quite satisfied as the next generations so created were not adequate to fill in the universe; therefore he created Sages like Bhrigu, Pulaha, Kratu, Angira, Marichi, Daksha, Atri and Vasishtha, in addition to the four ‘Manasa Putras’ viz. Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanat Kumaras. As not all these sons were interested in family lives, Brahma created Rudra from his forehead and decided that half of the body be a woman; thus Eleven Rudras got materialised along with as many Rudranis who had a variety of Rupas ranging from ‘Sowmya’ (composure), ‘Krura’(unkindness), ‘Shanta’
(peacefulness), ‘Shyama’ (darkness), ‘Gaura’ (wheatish) and such other colours. Further on, Brahma created Swayambhu Manu and the latter’s wife Shatarupa; the Manu couple gave birth to sons Priyavrata and Uttanapada and daughters Prasuti (married to Daksha) and Akruti (married to Ruchi Prajapati). To Prasuti and Daksha were born twenty four daughters, thirteen of whom were Shraddha, Lakshmi, Dhruti, Pushti, Tushti, Megha, Kriya, Buddhi, Lajja, Vapu, Shanti, Sidhi, and Kirthi (all these thirteen were married to Dharma); eleven more daughters were Khyati, Sati, Sambhuti,  Smriti, Preeti, Kshama, Sannati, Anasuya, Urja, Swaha and Swadha; they were wedded respectively to Bhrigu, Shiva, Marichi, Angira, Pusasthya, Kratu, Atri, Vasishtha, Agni and Pitras.The sons of Daksha’s daughters  were Kamak by Shraddha, Darpa to Lakshmi, Niyam to Dhriti, Santhosh to Tushti, Lobha to Pushti, Shruta to Megha;  Danda, Vinay and Naya to Kriya, Bodha to Buddhi, Vinay to Lajja, Vyavasayak to Vapu, Kshema to Shanti, Sukha to Siddhi, and Yash to Kirti.These were all the sons of Dharma. Kaam and Nandi gave birth to Harsha, the grand son of Dharma. Bhrigu and Khyati gave birth to Devi Lakshmi who was Lord Narayana’s wife. Bhagavan Rudra accepted Sati as his wife (Daksha’s daughter) but Devi Sati sacrificed her life pursuant to Daksha’s Yagna to which Rudra was uninvited but Sati insisted in attending it; she felt highly insulted by her father Daksha who also offended Rudra Deva and Rudra eventually destroyed Daksha Yagna.

Creation of Eight Vasus, Eleven Rudras, Twelve Adityas, Forty nine Marudganas, and Fourteen Manus
The initial lot of ‘Prajavarga’was created by ‘Sankalpa’ (Thought), ‘Darshana’ (Vision) and ‘Sparsha’ (Touch).But, the process of creation adopted by the aforesaid methodology was not quick enough as Daksha Pajapati initiated man-woman body contact by which means the process of Srishti became faster and more definitive;by adopting this technique, his wife ‘Veerini’ gave birth to ten Dharmas, thirteen Kashyapas, twenty  seven Chadramas, four Agnishtomikaas, two ‘Bhrigu Putras’, two Kushashvas and two Maharshi ‘Angeeras’.

The broadening the family base took place henceforth. Dharma’s wives were Arundhati, Vasu, Jaami, Lamba, Bhanu, Marutvati, Sankalpa, Muhurta, Sandhya, and Vishwa. Devas were born as follows: Vishwa begot Vishwadeva; Sandhya -naamak Devatas were born of Sandhya; Marutvati gave birth to Marut Devas; Vasu begot ‘Ashta Vasus’; Bhanu gave birth to Bhanu; Muhurtamani Devas were born to Muhurta Devi; from Lamba was born Ghosh; Jaami gave birth to Nagavidhi Kanya; from Arundhati were born all the ‘Praanis’on Earth and Sankalpas were born Sankalpa.These Devas were spread over and illuminated. The Ashta Vasus were Aapa, Dhruva, Soma, Dhara, Anila, Anala, Prathyusha, and Prabhasa. Aapa had four sons viz. Shanta, Vaitanda, Saamba and Muni Babhru and these are ‘Yajna Rakshaka Adhikaaris’ or the Security Officials of Yajnas. Dhruva’s son was called Kaal and Soma’s son was Varcha; Dhara’s sons were Dravina and Havyavaaha; Anil’s putras were Praana, Ramana and Sharira. Anal had several sons and were like Agni; they were born of ‘Sarkhandhis’ (sea shore grass); significant ones of these were Shaakha, Upashaakha and Naigameya. As ‘Krittikas’as well as Agni were responsible in the birth of Skanda Deva, he is also known as Kartikeya. Prathysha’s son was Devala Muni and Vishwakarma Prajapati was the son of Prabhasa and the Architect and Builder of Devas. Ekadasha Rudras viz. Ajaikapaada, Ahirbhudhnya,Virupaaksdha, Raivata, Hara, Bahurupa, Thraimbaka, Saavitra, Jayanta, Pinaki, and Aparajita are the Chiefs of Rudra ganas numbering eighty four crore Ganas, each wearing Trishuls. Kashyapa’s progeny from his wives Aditi, Diti, Danu, Arishta, Surasa, Surabhi, Vinata, Taamna, Krodhavasha, Ira, Kadru, Khasa and Muni was in multitudes. During the present Vaivaswata Manvantara, there are Twelve Adityas Adityas viz. Indra, Dhata, Bhaga, Twashta, Mitra, Varuna, Aryama, Viviswan, Savita, Pusha, Amshuman and Vishnu. These Aditya’s were born to Kashyap and Aditi.
Pulastya Maharshi then continued to describe to Bhishma the origin of Danavas born of Kashyapa and Diti viz. Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha. Hiranyakashipu had four sons-Ayushmaan, Shibi, Vaashkali and Virochan. The last mentioned had an illustrious son called Bali who had in turn hundred sons of whom Banasura was a mighty warrior with expertise in ‘Astras’ or the Science of Archery. Maha Shiva was so satisfied with Banasura’s Tapasya the he agreed to reside in the Asura’s Nagari. Shiva bestowed the title of Mahakaal to Banasura who was Shiva’s companion. Hiranyaksha had four sons, viz. Uluk, Shakuni, Bhutasantaapan and Maha Bheem, who among them produced twenty seven crore Danavas in their generations. Danu had from Kashyap hundred sons who were virtuous and mighty, important among them being Viprachit, Swarbhanu, Maya, Vrishaparva, and Vaishwanara; Mandodari was born to Maya; Vaiswanara’s daughter named Puloma gave birth to Paoloma and Kalakeya who created havoc among in the world on securing Brahma’s boons of invincibility and was finally killed by Arjuna of Maha Bharatha. Viprachit married Simhika and their son Rahu is the famous Planet who was stated to have tasted ‘Amrit’ and became deathless like Devas. Tamra was among the wives of Sage Kashyap who had six daughters who all gave birth to various birds viz. Shuki who created Shuka or parrots and Ullu or owls; Shaini created the birds of the same name; Bhasi created ‘Krr’ named bird; Grudhri created Grudhra or Kite; Sumrughni created Kabutar or Doves; Shuchi created Hamsa, Saras, Karanda and Plava birds. Devi Vinati who was the religiously inclined wife of Kashyap created two celebrated sons viz. Garuda the ‘Pakshi Raja’who was the Carrier of Maha Vishnu and Aruna the Carrier of Surya Deva. Vinati also gave birth to Saudamini who appears on the Sky occasionally as a fleeting lightning. Aruna had two sons viz. Sampaati and Jataayu. Surasa, another daughter of Kashyap and Diti, gave birth to thousands of serpents; but Kadru observed a noble Vrata and begot thousand-hooded Nagas of whom twenty six famous ones were Sesha, Vasuki, Karkotaka, Shankha, Itavata, Kambal, Dhananjaya, Mahanila, Padma, Ashwatara, Takshak, Ilapatra, Maha Padma, Dhritarashtra, Balahaka, Shankhapala, Nahusha, Ramana, Panini, Kapila, Durmukha and Patanjalimukha. Not many of the Nagas survived since Janamejaya the last reputed Pandava avenged Parikshit-his father’s- untimely death in the Sarpa Yagna and thousands of poisonous snakes perished in the fire-pit. Surabhi with the Amsa of Kashyap created Aprasas, the beautiful celestial damsels. Arishta gave birth to Kinnaras and Gandharvas. Ira Devi created trees, creepers, grass and the like, while Khasa gave birth to crores of Rakshasas and Yakshas.
Sage Pulastya continued to delineate the process of further Creation to Bhishma. As innumerable Daityas were killed in the series of Deva-Danava battles, especially at the time of ‘Samudra-Manthan’ (Churning of the Ocean) and ‘Amrita Prapti’ (Emergence of Amrita), Devi Diti was mentally shattered and performed severe Tapasya on the banks of River Sarasvati to Surya Deva with the singular objective of killing Indra and Devas. Kashyap assured that her objective should be fulfilled and that she should observe regulations such as reside in a Tapovana, take ample care of her ‘Garbha’, observe single meal a day, never go near a tree, never enter water nor a house/ shadow, keep calm, never hear bad news nor quarrel, never be overjoyed, keep engaged in propitious acts, and so on. As her confinement stage was nearing, Indra entered Diti’s garbha when she was asleep and cut the embrio of the boy about to be born into seven pieces, with each piece being cut into seven further pieces thus making a lot of forty nine pieces.As these pieces started crying, Indra tried to console the, saying :’ma rudah’ ( do not cry); Indra realised that Devi Diti was blessed due to the power of a Vrata that she was asked by Kashyap to perform; he apologised for his heinous act of entering her womb and cutting fortynine pieces of the baby, named the forty nine boys as Marudganas, elevated their status of Devas and made them eligible for sharing the ‘Havis’ or the ‘Yagna Phal’ and with veneration gave all the facilities due to Devas; and flew them across to Swargaloka along with Diti Devi, the Daitya Mata. Having described the Adi Sarga (Creation) and Pratisarga (Reabsorption), Sage Pulastya provided an overview of Manvavantaras to King Bhishma. Swayambhu, Swarochisha, Uouttama, Tamasa, Raivata and Chakshusa were the earlier six Manus and the on-going Seventh Manvantara is of Vaivaswata. During this period the Sapta Rishis are Atri, Vasishtha, Kashyapa, Gautama, Bharadwaja, Vishwamitra and Jamadagni.The future Manus are scheduled to be Sanavarnya, Rouchya, Bhoutya, Meru Savarnya, Ribhu, Veetadhama and Vishvaksena, thus totalling fourteen Manus.


‘Pitras’ and Shraddha Vidhana’ in brief
In Swarga loka, there are seven kinds of ‘Pitaras’, three ‘Murti Rahit’or without Form and four ‘Murti maan’ (with Form)-all of them being ‘Tejaswis’ or highly illuminated. The Formless Pitruganas are the progeny of Vairaja Prajapati called as Vairaja Pitruganas and Devaganas perform Yagnas to them. There are some lokas famed as Somalokas, where Sage Kashyap’s putra Pitruganas reside. Devatas always demonstrate devotion to them. Agnishpatha Pituganas reside there only. There is another ‘Vibhraaj’ named loka in Swarga, where Bahirshad sanjyak Pitruganas reside.


In these Lokas, there are thousands of Peacock Formed Aeroplanes and ‘Sankalpamaya’ (thought-based) Tree yielding fruits as per wishes and Pitaras in these Lokas, who too perform Shraadhas to their ancestors, are knowledgable about Spiritual Matters and enjoy full contentment of existence. In another Loka called Martanda those Pitragans of Marichi Garbha stay. Angira Muni Putras reside in Havishman loka; those who perform Shraddhas in Tirthas are entitled in Pitru loka. Some Pitaras could stay in Kamadugdha loka as per their wishes.Similarly, Pitras who were the desendents of Sages Kardama, Pulaha, Kulaha, Bhrigu; Bharadwaja etc. are also comfortably accommodated in other Pitralokas. Beyond Brahma loka is the Sumanasa loka where Pitras called Somapas reside who also partake in the task of Srishti and often visit Manasarovar. Those Vidyavans who tend to satisfy Pitras with Shraddha Daan by pronouncing the word ‘Swadha’and perform ‘havans’ are expected to be highly fortunate! Procedurally, those who perform rites facing the Dakshina direction, with Yagnopaveeta in ‘Apasavya’ or wearing it on right shoulder, using Tarpana’s with Black Til and water and recite the Swadha Mantra by giving away ghee in the Fire-pit are stated to be the ‘dhanyas’ or the blessed ones. The material liked in the fire oblations are Kusha grass, ‘udat dal’ (black gram), ‘saathi dhan’ rice, cow milk, honey, ‘sawa’, ‘jow’, Moong (Green gram), Sugarcane and white flowers are the most liked material for Pitras. On the other hand the following materials be avoided viz. Masoor dal, matar, Rajamash, kulthi, kamal, bilwa, Madara, Dhatura, Paaribhatraat, Rushak, Goat milk, Mahuva etc. By pleasing the Pitras, the devotees concerned secure physical strength, good health, good progeny and Swarga Prapti. ‘Havishyamaana Sanjnak’ Surya Deva who is the Chief of the Shraddhhas is stated to bestow immediate fruits for the ‘homa karyas’ so performed.
In fact, daily shraaddhas with ‘Anna’ (cooked rice), water or milk and fruits/ mulas (sprouts) are highly recommended.There are three kinds of Shraddhas viz. Nitya (regular), Naimittika (Occasional) and Kaamya (aiming at a purpose). Nitya Shradda need not be elaborate with formal ‘Arghya Pradana’ and ‘Avahana’ viz Offering formal Achamana and Welcome with the contents of Mantras. This may be construed as ‘Adaiva’ or targetted to a specific deity. But on ‘Parva dinas’ or special days, Parvana Shraddha is to be performed but those who undertake this Shraddha need to possess the requisite qualifications such as Vedajna, Mantra-Japa performer, Purana Vidwan, Pitru bhakta, etc. In fact, one should take pains to engage in such shraddhas. On the other hand, certain persons should be avioded such as Patitas (immoral), Napumsak (Impotent), diseased and manipulative. The invited Brahmanas for the Shraddhas are stated to assume the Sacred Form of Vayu Deva and usher the Pitras as the Brahmanas so seated. The ‘Pindadaan Vedika’ or the Platform to arrange the ‘Pindas’ of the three generation Pitras be kept ready before hand. The various material required for the Ceremony such as Jalapatra, Kamsya patra, Prokshana, Samidha, Kusha, Tilapatra, Clean Vastra, Gandha, Dhupa, chandana etc. be arranged towards the Southern side at a place purified with cow dung and urine, while Yagnopaveet should be on the right shoulder. In fact, the golden rule is that all actions related to and meant for the Three Generation Pitras of the deceased father/grand father/great grand father or deceased mother/ paternal grand mother/ paternal great grand mother, should be performed with Yagnopaveet on the right shoulder; actions related to Pitras or Rishis should accompany the Yagnopaveet around the neck as a Mala (garland); and all the actions related to the invocation of Devas and ‘Punya Karyas’ should accompany the Yagnopaveet in the normal wearing condition viz.on the left shoulder.At the outset, the ‘Kartha’ or the Performer(s) of Shraddha are required to settle down on a ‘darbhayukta Asana’ Seat with darbha underneath and formally perform ‘Achamana’ with ‘mantrochharana’or recitation of mantra. Normally, two Brahmanas are appointed one to represent Vaishwadeva and another for Pitras, in addition to the Chief Conductor. The Vaishva deva is formally set in the Fire-Pit and Agni, Soma and other deities are satisfied with ghee, Anna or cooked rice etc. The Anna Sesha (remainder) after the ‘homa’ may be converted as small ‘Pindas’ and given away to Brahmanas one by one along with til and water. The main Pindas are then placed on the Pinda Vedika in a row, representing the Three Generations of the Departed Souls, dressed with Kushas, tilas and water, worshipped with chandana, Dhupa and Naivedya, lift them up as gestures of daan on the ground from the Vedika along with mantras. The Pindaas are then consumed by cows, or goats, or Agni or are left in running waters; some times the wife of the householder or the Karta desirous of securing progeny might consume the middle pinda representing the grandfather along with appropriate mantra ‘Aadhhatta Pitaro Garbham’ etc. Then the Brahmanas are satisfied with wholesome meals, dakshina and Vastram; Pitru tarpanas are formally performed by the Karta and thereafter the Karta and the family take the ‘Pitru sesha’. The normal expectation is that neither the Brahmanas engaged, nor the Karta have another meal on the same day; resist from sleeping after the Ceremony during the day and observe abstinence, silence, etc.


Highlights of Surya Vamsha and Chandra Vamsha
Sage Kashyap and Devi Aditi gave birth to Vaivaswan and the latter had three wives viz. Sanjna, Raajni and Prabha. Raajni was blessed with Raivat and Prabha with Prabhat. Sanjna the daughter of Vishwakarma begot Vaivaswat Manu as also Yama and Yamuna. Since Sanjna could not bear the heat and illumination of Surya deva (Vaivaswan), she created from her body another woman exactly like her named Devi Chhaya and demanded her to serve her husband and also bring up her children as her own.

Chhaya gave birth to Saavarna Manu and in course of time to Shaneswara, besides two daughters Tapati and Vishti. The famed Yama went on tapasya on the banks of the holy Pushkarini and being pleased with the devotion, Lord Brahma conferred the status of Lokapalaka as also the boons of becoming the Ruler of Pitruloka and the Authority of Deciding Dharma and Adharma in the World. Chhaya Putra Shaneswara also performed Tapasya and got the boon of becoming a Planet. Yamuna and Tapati were converted as Holy Rivers. Vishti had a frightening Form and was in the position of Kala Swarupa. Vaiwasvata Manu had ten sons, viz. Ila, Ikshvaaku, Kushanaabha, Arishta, Dhrushta, Narishyant, Karusha, Mahabali Sharyati, Prushaghna and Naabhaga. By dint of relentless Tapasya, Vaivaswata secured the boon from Brahma of becoming the Supreme Administrator of Prithvi of high virtue and Fortune and thus he became the First Manu Ever! Ila also became ambitious and wandered several places and by mistake entered the ‘Sharavana’ Garden, little knowing that who ever entered the Sharavana would instantly turn into a woman as per the instructions of Parameswara where Shiva Deva was alone with Devi Parvati. Even outside the Sharavana, Ila as a woman was attracted to Budha, the son of Chandra (Moon). Ila’s brother Ikshvaku was worried about the disappearance of Ila and having realised the fact that any male entering the Sharavana would be converted as a female and that Ila also would have been converted like wise. Ihshvaku prayed to Shiva and as directed Ihshvaku announced Ashvamedha Yagna so that Ila as a female could be identified since the brave Ila would be definitely attracted to the Ashvamedha Yagna and the challenge of holding the horse.  Indeed the Plan of Ikshvaku worked well and Ila was identified as the ‘wife’ of Budha, the son of Chandra. The female Ila became a Kimpurush for six months and as a woman for six months as per the boon of Shiva. As a Kimpurush, Ila also known as Sudyumna gave birth to three sons Utkal, Gaya and Haritashwa and they became the Kings of Utkal (Orissa), Gaya, and Haritashwa or Kuru.

Ikshvaku became the King of Madhyadesha who begot hundred sons half of whom ruled the northern side of Meru and the others the Southern side. Kakustha was the eldest son of Ikshvaku and in that lineage was born Yuvanashwa and his great grandson was the famed Kuvalashva who killed the notorious demon Dundhumara. It was in this lineage that the illustrious Mandhata who was the Chakravarti of the Universe.In his lineage were the famous Purukutsa, Muchukunda, Harischandra, Dilip, Bhagiratha who brought the Sacred Ganga to Earth, Nabhaga, Ambarisha, Raghu, Dasaratha and the Incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Epic Hero Shri Rama who killed Ravanasura and his able brothers Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna; the Surya Vamsha of the clan of Ikshvaku was further extended by Kusha and Lava. 
Once Brahma instructed Maharshi Atri to contribute in the task of Creation; to invoke extraordinary Shakti for the purpose of Creation, Atri performed ‘Anutar’Tapasya which would have been performed by anyone in the past. From the Maharshi’s eyes trickled drops of tears that illuminated the whole World. Those tears got collected in his stomach and were materialised in his Garbha; the Maharshi discarded the Garbha and Brahma gave a unique form of a Youthful Male; He named the Youth as Chandra Deva. Rishis, Devatas, Gandharvas and Apsaras eulogised Chandra as Brahma declared him as the Master of Aoushadhis (Medicines) and the Leader of Brahmanas. In course of time, Daksha Prajapati dedicated twenty seven daughters of his as Chandra’s wives.Chandra worshipped for long in favour of Shri Narayana and requested him to enable to perform Rajasuya Yagna in Indraloka, that all the Deities should appear in person and accept the ‘Yagnabhagas’ and that  Maha Shiva should please ensure the success of the Function. Shri Narayana accepted the proposal and attended it in person. Bhagavan Srihari himself became the Brayhma of the Yagna, Atri attended as the ‘Hota’, Sage Bhrigu was the ‘Adhvaryu’ and Brahma the ‘Udgaata’. The Yagna was memorably successful and Chandra turned out to be very prosperous and the Chief of Sapta Lokas.Chandra gave birth to Budha and Brahma bestowed a planetary position among the Nava Grahas like Chandra himself. Budha and Ila produced Dharmatma Pururava who performed over hundred Ashwamedha Yagnas and was blessed as Lokeswara and the Conqueror of Sapta Dwipas; he defeated several demons like Keshi and became the Emperor of the Universe. Apsara Urvashi got attracted to him and begot eight sons, viz. Ayu, Dhrudhayu, Vashyayu, Vritthimaan, Vasu, Divijat and Subahu. Ayu’s sons were Nahush, Vriddha Sharma, Raji, Dambha and Vipaapma.Nahush had seven sons viz. Yayi, Yayati, Samyati, Udbhava, Para, Viyati and Vidyasaati.Yati took to vanaprastha even early in life. Yayati had two wives viz. Sharmishtha the daughter of Danavaraj Vrishaparva and Devayani the daughter of Shukracharya. Devayani begot Yadu and Turvasu, while Sharmishtha had Druyhu, Anu and Puru. The bright stars of Yadu Vamsa were Bhagavan Shri Krishna and Balaram who had considerably reduced the heavy weights of evil on Earth and assisted by Pandavas destroyed Kaurava Vamsa whose misfortunes were tied up the the Four Villians of Maha Bharata viz. the notorius Duryodhana, Dussashana, Karna and Shakuni. It was among the descendants of Yayati that the famed Kaartaveeryarjuna the thousand handed, noble and valiant Chakravarti who ruled Sapta Dwipas for eighty five thousand years; the great desciple of Mahatma Dattatreya and an epitome of Dharma; the memorable figure who humbled the Epic Villian Ravanasura, but finally destroyed by the Vishnu Avatar Parasurama.

In their previous births, Devaki and Vasudeva did relentless Tapasya to beget Lord Vishnu; Devaki was Aditi and Vasudeva was Sage Kashyap. Similarly, Nandagopal was Vasu Drona and Yashoda was Dhara and their Tapasya too bore fruit as they were eye witnesses of Kishana’s childhood escapades. Of the sixteen thousand and eight wives of Krishna, the foremost Rukmini gave birth to Pradyumna, Charudeshna, Sucharu, Charubhadra, Charuka and Charuhasa. Satyabhama’s sons were Bhanu, Bheemaratha, Kshana, Rohita etc. Jambavati putra was Samba; Mitravandi had three sons; likewise Krishna had thousands of sons! Whoever reads or hears the Legend of Krishna Deva, especially his birth, Leelas and Promotion of Dharma would certainly get rid of sins of the present and the past.
Krishnasya Janmaabhyudayam yah keertiyati nityashaha,
Krishnotiva naro nithyam Sarva paapaaih pramuchyatey/
Significance of Pushkara Tirtha and ‘Muni Ashramas’ in the vicinity
Materialised from Bhagavan Vishnu’s navel, a Lotus stem sprouted and on top of the lotus was seated Brahma; Pushkar Tirth is stated to be the personification of the Lotus top. Brahma decided to perform an unprecedented Maha Yagna on the banks of Pushkara Tirtha, which was situated not far from Chandra River and Saraswati River. The inhabitants of the Pushkar from times immemorial were Brahma Bhaktas in various disciplines of Bhakti like Manasa, Vaachika and Kayaka formats as also of Loukika, Vaidika and Adhyatmika methods.
Manasa Bhakti seeking to hold Buddhi by way of ‘Dhyana’ (meditation) and ‘Dharana’ (sustenance) was very dear to Brahma Deva. Mantra Japa and Veda Paatha known as Vaachika Bhakti were equally dear to Brahma Deva. Kayaka Bhakti encompasses performance of Vratas underlining mental restraints and physical Controls, Upavasas (fastings), ‘Niyamas’or the Strict Regime of Regulations, Sacrifices, etc. Brahma Deva liked this kind of Bhakti also as it involved difficult means of penance. Brahma liked Ritualistic Bhakti in a typically Loukika manner by worshipping him with milk, Deepa and Dhupa, Kusha, water, chandana, ornaments, precious metals and stones, nrithya, Vaadhya, Sangeeta, Naivedya of Bhakshya, Bhojya and such other food specialities. Brahma is also pleased with Vaidika Bhakti by way of Veda ‘Pathana’ (recitation), Manana (Cogitation) and Shravana (Listening) and Agni-Sambandhi Karyas.Adyatmika Bhakti of Saankhyaja or Yogika methods viz. Saankya Shastra based on Tatva Gyana ;or Yoga Practice of Yama, Niyama,  Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana and Samadhi are yet other methods of seeking Brahma. Thus Bhaktas observing one form of Bhakti or another with the underlining touchstones of sincerity and total dedication are all dear to Brahma, be it a man, woman, or of any Varnas or species!
When Brahma commenced the Maha Yagna, all the Saptarishis bent down their heads to Brahma’s feet; twelve Adityas, Eleven Rudras, two Ashvani Kumars, Eight Vasus, Forty Seven Marudganas were all present in reverence. Maha Nagas like Vasuki, Tarkshya, Arishtanemi, Garuda, Aruna and Vinati Kumars were there too.Daitya, Danava and Rakshasas were in full attendance. Maha Narayana Himself was present and requested Brahma to initiate the proceedings.Maha Deva too arrived at the right time. Danavas assured the Tri Murthis that during the Yagna, there would not be any bickerings with Devas! Brahma was particularly happy to hear the declaration. Meanwhile, whoever witnessed one’s own reflection in the sacred waters of Pushkarini looked quite handsome and the Sages stated that Pushkarini Tirtha was ‘Mukha Darshan Tirtha’. After taking bath in the Tirtha, the ‘Tapasvis’performed Agni Karyas and proclaimed that the Sarovar was the ‘Sreshtha Pushkar’. As Brahmanas received a number of gifts at the Yagna, quite a few of them desired to take bath in Saraswati River; many of them stayed on the banks of the River where Swadhyaya Mantras resounded. In the Pushkara Tirtha, the River Sarasvati surged in Five ‘Dharas’ (Streams) viz. Subrabha, Kanchana, Praachi, Nanda and Vishaal. In the Yagna of Brahma, Brahmanas fulfilled every wish of theirs including those which were subdued in the corners of their hearts and minds. As Sarasvati arrived at the Yagna Region, the happiness of Brahmanas and others was maximum; when Devas were present, Gandahravas sang and Apsaras danced, then the atmosphere was sublime! A srong belief till date is that whoever dies at the banks of the River in the Pushkar Tirtha would have no birth again. Whoever performed Suvarna Daana with Sesame seeds and water was as good as Meru Parvata Daana itself! Again Shraddhas performed at the Pushkar Tirtha tantamount to attainment of salvation by twenty one previous generations. This Tirtha is in fact the most beloved one to Pitras as Pindapradaan would yield complete Satisfaction to them. It is further believed that bathing in the evening/nights in the Pushkar and giving away ‘daan’, bestowed lasting happiness and contentment. After the Yagna by Brahma, River Saraswati disappeared in its full form and travelled west ward into the Sea, but reappeared as River Nanda.
While describing the ‘Mahatmya’ of Pushkar Kshetra, Sage Pulastya explained that there were three parts viz. Jyeshtha Pushkar, Madhyama Pushkar and Kanishtha Pushkar. Pushkar Tirtha was full of countless Rishis spread over a large area of two and half Yojanas of length and half Yojana of width. Even a single entry into the Tirtha bestows the result of performing Rajasuya and Ashwamedha Yagnas. On Chaitra Shukla Chaturdasi, it is believed that Brahma, Devas, Maharshis and Siddhas as well as Pitras descend from their respective Regions. Worship of Devasvas and Pitras by way of Tarpanas and Pujas on this day, especially at Jyeshtha Pushkara would prove highly fruitful. In fact, during the Pratahkal, Madhyahna and Sayamkaal on any day, the belief is that ten thousand crores of Devas especially, Adityas, Vasus, Rudras, Saandhyas, Marudganas, Gandharvas, and Apasaras turn out here. Even a sincere and purified thought in mind to travel to Pushkar could vanish. sins, and staying there for as many days as possible would yield proportionate fruits. Organising bhojans at Pushkar as charity would result in immense and far reaching returns. Bathing at Brahma Pushkar Sarovar Tirtha and worship at Adi Varaha Temple as well as at the unique Brahma Temple are to provide enormous advantages, especially on Kartika Purnima days.

Agastya Muni dries up the Ocean and enables to destroy the demon Kalakeya
In the vicinity of Pushkar Tirtha were ‘Ashramas’ of illustrious Mararshis like Agastya. A highly vily and valiant Danava named Kalakeya was in battle with Devas for many years and he kept another mighty Danava called Vritrasura as a  shield in between him and Devas. With folded hands, Devas approached Brahma to get rid of Vritrasura as well as Kalakeya. Brahma suggested that Vritrasura was invincible due to unprecedented boons given by Parameswara and the only way out was to approach Sage Dadheechi and beg him for his back-bone which could materialize a mighty ‘Vajrayudha’ which alone could destroy Vritrasura.
Devas prayed to Sage Dadheechi and keeping in view the holy task of killing Vritrasura, the Sage agreed to sacrifice his backbone and hence his life.
Devas approached Vishvakarma to create Vajrayudha. A fierce battle between Vritrasura backed by Kalakeya on the one hand and Indra armed with Vajrayudha as well as the full force of Devas followed. Vritrasura made such frightening screams that went shivers to Earth, the ‘Dishas’ (Directions), the Antariksha (Sky) and the Planets. Indra utilised the newly made Vajrayudha and felled down the huge body of Vritrasura to the ground. The demoralised ‘Asuras’ ran helter-skelter with a phenomenon called Vristrasura and finally took shelter in the deep Ocean. Kalakeya too hid in the Ocean and over a period of time, reformulated the Danavas who resorted to nightwarfare and nocturnal killings of lakhs of human beings in sleep and once again threatened the balance of power between the Davanvas and Devas. Indra and Devas approached Lord Vishnu and implored him to save them, the humanity as also the four kinds of ‘Srishti’viz. ‘Andajas’ or those born of Eggs, ‘Svedajas’ or those born of body sweat, ‘Jarayuja’ or those born of womb, and ‘Udbhuja’ or born of germination. Lord Vishnu told the Devas that the most dangerous Asura Kalakeyi along with his huge numbers of Danavas who concealed themselves in the deep waters of the Ocean were gradually killing all kinds of species mentioned above in the nights and the only way of exposing the Danavas in very large numbers would be to completely dry up the Oceans by taking out the water; Vishnu further declared that the only Sage who was powerful enough to dry up the Oceans was Mahatma Agastya, the son of Mitravaruna. Devas then approached Agastya Muni and prayed to him that in the past too, the Muni was kind enough to have averted crises for saving the very existence of the Universe in highly critical situations like when Nahusha occupied the chair of Indra on highly temporary basis and created embarrassment and havoc in the worlds and punished him subsequently; and when Vindhyachala grew up in height compared with Meru Mountain obstructing the passage of Surya and subdued Vindhya by asking him to bend in reverence and not allowing to stand up till date. Devas made to instant request to Agastya Muni to drink up the water of the Ocean exposing Kalakeya and followers so that they were trapped and destroyed at once by Devas. The dried up Ocean was refilled by another despatch of Ganga by a repeat performance by Bhagiratha.


‘Saptarshis’ censure Self-indulgence and accept ‘Daanaas’ for essentials only
Pulastya described to Bhishma about the pulls and pressures that normally overtake human actions and reactions and clarified that even Rishis, let alone virtuous Brahmanas some times become victims of greed and Self-indulgence and this repulsive tendency needed to be condemned at all costs.

In the past, several distinguished Rishis including Atri, Vasishtha, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Angira, Goutama, Sumati, Sumukha, Viswamitra, Sthulashira, Samvarta, Pratirdana, Raibhya, Brihaspati, Cyavana, Kashyapa, Bhrigu,Durvasa, Jamadagni, Markandeya, Gaalava, Ushaana, Bharadwaja, Yavakrita, Kanva, Sthulaaksha, Makaraaksha, Medhatithi, Narada, Parvata, Swaandhi, Trunaambu, Shabala, Dhoumya, Shatananda, Akrutavrana, Parashurama, Ashtaka and Krishna -dwaipayana arrived at Pushkara Tirtha along with families including sons and disciples and with decisive self-control and regulations practised Tapasya. Saptarshis among these Rishis were also visiting the Holy Tirtha very often and practised Vedic ways of life as though to subtly guide and encourage other Rishis. Once a terrible famine broke up and the world as a whole and the various Kings were concerned that the Rishis were affected badly and as such started pampering the Rishis overtly with Dhana, Dhanya, Ghrita-Dugdha, and various edibles, cows, gold, Ratnas etc. With this generosity, the Rishis were annoyed since frugal existence was the hall-mark of Brahmanas, Sanyasis, and Rishis. They reacted sharply and asserted that ten Kasayis or meat-cutters were better than one Chakri / Kumhara or oil dealer; ten chakris were better than a wine-dealer; ten wine dealers were better than a Veshya or a Prostitute; and ten Prostitutes were better than a King! Thus when Brahmanas accepting the charity of a King out of greed would surely suffer Tamishra-like hells! Sage Atri affirmed that material well-being in this World would provide semblance of temporary happiness but those who desired permanent bliss after life should never mistake the shadows to reality. Sage Vasishtha stated in no uncertain terms that storing Tapasya would anytime be better than ‘Dhana Sanjnaya’ or storing money, for no human being could ever assert happiness from possessions since the relative term of ‘Sangraha’ was as limitless as a deep pit! Sage Kashyap opined that ‘Dhana Sampatti’ or possession of Wealth would lead to ‘Moha’ or infatuation which was a distinct route to ‘Naraka’and that the two words of possession and abstinence are two poles of great distance where there could be no middle paths, since that kind of equilibrium would be always a myth.Equally false was a feeling that ‘Dhana’ helped furtherance of ‘Dharma’. Bharadwaj Muni stated that even when a human being lost teeth and hairs were fallen, the desire of possession would last till death and that unless the creeper of ‘Trishna’ (greed) was uprooted periodically, it germinated again and again.Similar views were also expressed by other Saptarshis who visited Pushkara Tirtha.
But the fact was that the famine which broke at the Pushkara Tirtha was a reality and sufferings that entailed the famine were practical. Hunger was such a leveller that its impact was far-reaching affecting the parents, wife, children and relatives; there could be consideration for the Guests, Gurus, Pitras and not even to Devatas! Thus there could never be a substitute for ‘Anna’ or Food. Universal existence depended on Anna, be it for Pitras, Devatas, Daithyas, Yakshas, Rakshasas, Kinnaras, human beings or Piscachas. Anna was the root cause for Tapa, Satya, Japa, Homa, Dhyana, Yoga, and Salvation. Anna was the life, physical power, and mental acumen. Thus ‘Anna Daan’ would indeed be the greatest task of nobility. Indeed this kind of life giving Daan has utmost importance but has to be tempered with ‘Indriya Samyama’ (Physical Control) and ‘Manonigraha’ (Mental Restraint); if acceptance of Daana without ‘Dama’ (Self-control) and ‘Niyama’ (Regulation). Thus Daana was an integral component of Dama and Yama and thus only such kind of Daana of essentials like ‘Anna’ or bare minimum needs which are worthy of acceptance without transgressing the limits of ‘Dama’ and ‘Niyama’ but certainly not the material possessions that the Saptarshis detested and disapproved otherwise without passing the tests of morality bordering on self-indulgence or intemperance! In fact acceptance of Daana with strings attached, for the sheer ‘show’ or publicity to the donor and the receiver, for the purpose of possession, and without regard to Restraints and Regulative Mechanisms should be considered as a sin that would need to be detested and avoided at any cost!


‘Saptarshis’ censure Self-indulgence and accept ‘Daanaas’ for essentials only
Maharshi Bhrigu’s grandson and the son of Mrikund, Markandeya came of five years of age, when a Siddha came to his house and releaved that he was destined to live only for another six months and a few more days. Sage Mrikund was alarmed at this revelation and so did the boy’s mother and grandfather Brighu. Sage Mrikund hastened to perform the boy’s ‘Upanayan Samskar’and asked the boy to greet each and every Sage that passed by thereafter.

Gradually, the six months were over and Markandeya saw Sapta Rishis roaming nearby and even unknowingly greeted and fell on the feet of the Rishis. The Saptarshis blessed the boy one by one and each one of them said: ‘Ayushman bhava Sowmya!’ Then the Saptarshis realised that they had all blessed the boy with long life where as Brahma’s clear-cut insruction was that the boy was destined to die soon! The Saptarshis took the boy to Para Brahma and the latter too blessed the boy who fell on the feet with ‘Chiraayu bhava’! Saptarshis were surprised when Para Brahma too blessed the boy like-wise; Brahma reaffirmed that the boy Markandeya would live as long as he himself would! Saptarshis brought the boy back to his father and left. The father was overjoyed and said that the boy was so fortunate to have not only met Brahma but secured the latter’s blessings of longevity and great fame and asked him to proceed to Pushkar Tirtha to worship Brahma in his temple.Accordingly the young Markandeya settled at Pushkar eversince and practised Tapasya even from his childhood. Visitors to Pushkar do make it a point till date to bathe and worship at the Markandeya Ghat for favour of securing longevity and good health.


When Lord Shri Rama, Devi Sita and Lakshmana visited Chitrakut Mountain during the ‘Vanavasa’ or Forest life of Fourteen Years and met Sage Atri to enquire of a Holy Place where the ‘Viyoga Duhkha’ or the sorrow of absence of his beloved relatives would be alleviated, Sage Atri recommended to visit the hermitage of the illustrious Markandeya who would be able to direct them to a Place called ‘Aviyoga’ near by on the banks of the Sacred Pushkar Tirtha which was built by Lord Brahma himself! There were two mountains named Maryada Parvat and Yagna Parvat and in between there were three Kundas viz. Jyeshtha Pushkara, Madhyama Pushkara and Kanishtha Pushkara. Accordingly Rama and the followers visited Markandeya and directed them to Aviyoga where one could witness not only departed soul of Dasaratha and immediate ancestors but also those who were alive then and were being missed! Shri Rama immediately remembered not only Dasaratha but the mothers, brothers and ‘Ayodhya puri vaasis’ or the inhabitants of Ayodhya who were all being missed. Shri Rama was excited to secure the vision of ‘Aviyogas’ and in his sleep at the last ‘Prahara’ or during the small hours of early morning had clear vision of all the persons being missed. But since Dasaratha who died was also visible, Markandeya advised to perform Shraaddha to Dasaratha and said that along with him, Jamadagni, Bharadwaj, Lomesha, Devarata and Shameeka would be the best possible Bhoktas! Shri Rama was further excited at the prospect of performing Shradda to Dashratha and two generations behind and detailed Laksmana to fetch excellent fruits from the forest. Sita cooked the Pradhana Vastu in the Shraddha viz. ‘Lisodey’and ‘Ambali’ as Pinda Daan. Thereafter, Rama decided to stay at this Sacred Pushkara Tirtha for a month and near the Maryada Mountain had the Darshan (Vision) of Trinetra Dhari Bhagavan Shiva.


Lord Rama’s Prayer to Maha Deva
Krutrasya yosya jagatah sacharaacharasya,
Kartaa krutasya cha tatha sukha duhkha hetu/
Samhaara heturapi yah punarantha kaaley,
thah Shankarah Sharanamidam sharanam vrajaami/
(I seek shelter from Shankara, who is the Creator of all Beings that are mobile and immobile; who maintains the Beings with sorrows and joys and at the end terminates the Universe)
Yah Yogino vigata moha tamoRajaska,
Bhaktaika taana manaso vinivrittha kaamaah/
Dhyaayanti nischaladhiyomita divya bhaavah,
tam Shankaram Sharanadam Sharanam vrajaami/
(I seek protection from Shankara the Supreme Yogi Purusha, whose heart and mind are devoid of desires emerging from Rajo Guna and Tamo Guna; whose complete attention is concentrated with meditation; whose mind is in a perfect position of poise and Equilibrium; and whose thinking process is none else but to bestow goodness to the totality of the Universe).
Yaschendu khand amamalam vilasan mukham sat
udhwa sadaa priyatamaam shirasaa vibharti,
Yachhardhadehamadadaad Giriraaja putrai
tam Shankaram sharanadam sharanam vrajaami/
(I take refuge from Shankara who has tied up the resplendent and cool Chandra in His ‘Jatajuut’which also wore the the Sacred Ganga on his head and who gave away half of his Body to ‘Giriraja putri’ Devi Parvati.)
Yosyam Sakrud vimala chaaru vilolatoyaam,
Gangaam Mahormi vishamaam Gaganaat Patanteem/
Murdhaadadey srajamiva pratilola pushpaam,
tam Shankaram Sharanadam Sharanam vrajaami/
(I take asylum from Shankara whose holy head withstands the mighty falls of clean, beautiful and unsteady gushes of Ganga from heavens and send shivers to all concerned onlookers as also provided views of dangling flower laces around his head)
Kailasashaila shikhiram pratikamyamaanam,
Kailasashringa sadrushena Dashaananena/
Yah paadapadma parivaadanamaadhanas
tam Shankaram sharanadam sharanam vrajaami
(I seek safety from Shankara as his lotus feet steadied the Top Mounts of Kailasa Mountain which were shaken by the Ten Headed Ravanasura out of frustration since the latter could not secure the vision of Maha Deva)
Yenaskrutopi vishayeshpapi saktabhaava,
jnaanaanvaya shruta gunairapi naiva yuktah,
yam samshritah sukhabhujah Purushaa bhavanti,
tam Shankaram Sharanadam sharanam vrajaami
(I seek indulgence from Shankara who approach him for pardon even by persons that are sinners, undue seekers of shameful delight, devoid of knowledge and of noble traits and good conduct.)
Agniprasuti Ravi koti samaana tejaah,
Santraasanam vibhuda daanavasattha maanaam/
Yah Kaalakutamapibat samudreernavegam,
tam Shankaram Sharanadam Sharanam vrajaami/
(I solicit safety from Shankara who is resplendent like crores of Suryas and Chandras and the saviour of the mightiest of Devas and Danavas from the ‘Kalakut’ ‘vishajwalas’ or the worst kind of deadly poisonous flames and saved the entire Universe.)
Kreedaarthameva Bhagavan Bhuvanaani Sapta
naanaa nadi vihagapaadapa manditaani
SaBrahmakaani vyasrujat sukrutaahitaani
tam Shankaram Sharanadam Sharanam vrajaami/
(Bhagavan Shankara! You create innumerable Rivers, Birds, Trees and Seven Lokas headed by Brahma for your sport and also preserve the entire Srishti by your Grace; to You I salute and pay worshipful homage).
Yasakhilam Jagadidam vashavarti nityam,
yoshthabhireva tanubhirbhuvanaani Jhaduttey,
Yah kaaranam sumahataamapi kaaranaanaam,
tam Shankaram Sharanam vrajaami
( My salutation to Shankara who commands the entire Universe including the Eight Entities including Pancha Bhutas as also Surya, Chandra and Yama, besides being the Karana-Tatvaas of Maha Karana or the Causes of the Great Cause!)
Ye twam Surottama Gurum Purushaa vimudhaa,
Jaananti nasya Jagatah Sacharaa –charasya,
Ishwaryamaana nigamaanushyena/
Paschaathey yatanaam twanubhavantya vishuddhichitthaah/
(Maha Deva! Those impure hearted persons who take pride in their wealth, egotism and so-called knowledge and not realise who Jagadguru/ the Greatest Master really is shall regret after Mrityu and on reaching Naraka, but then too late!)


Maha Pralaya, Vishnu kills Madhu Kaitabha and Creation of Brahma again
After the end of twelve thousand divine years or one Chatur Yuga, Brahma’s one day was completed and there was Maha Pralaya. Maha Muni Markandeya was the sole witness of Maha Vishnu lying on the top of a ‘Bargadi’ tree branch as a toddler while swimming in a huge sheet of deep water and the Lord accosted the Sage by his name and the surprised Markandeya wondered who the toddler was!
The boy replied that he was the ‘Purana Purusha’ who bestowed long life to the Sage. Maha Vishnu affirmed that He was the Virat Paramatma with thousands of heads, hands and feet; that He was ageless; that He was the Creator, Preserver and Annihilator; that He was the Devas, Danavas, Prajapatis, Maha Tatvas, Pancha bhutas, the Present / Past and Future; the Dharma /Artha / Moksha Rupa; the Karanam, Kaaranam and Karta or the Act / Action / and the Actor! The Sage Markandeya was overwhelmed with what he saw, heard and felt as Narayana Himself provided the blissful vision! Then the Golden Lotus sprouted from the Maha Vishnu’s navel and Lord Brahma was found with his Pancha Mukhas on the top of the Lotus surface, getting readied to script Universal Creation. Meanwhile two demons brothers called Madhu and Kaitabha approached Brahma and asked him as to who was he, why was he intiating the act of Creation and who authorised him to do so.Brahma replied that the Supreme Master of the Universe was Maha Vishnu from whose navel the Golden Lotus got sprouted. The demon brothers approached Vishnu, greeted him and asked for the boon of invincibility even while Vishnu enquired as to how they escaped death during the Maha Pralaya! The demon brothers reiterated their desire that they could be killed at a place where there was none killed earlier. As if their desire was granted, Vishnu expanded his thighs, bent them down and killed them. Brahma resorted to Tapasya and since he felt lonely, created his better half from his body and continued to create Ten Prajapatis and five ‘Kanyas’viz. Lakshmi, Saadhya, Viswesha, Devi and Sarasvati.Then he created Surabhi followed by Eleven Rudras. Surabhi gave birth to cows, Yagna and Devatas as also ‘Hamsa’ (Swan) and ‘Aushodhis’including ‘Anna’ (food). Lakshmi and Dharma gave birth to Soma and Sadhya gave birth to Devatas called Sadhyas viz. Bhava, Prabhava, Krushaaswa, Suvaha, Aruna, Varuna, Viswamitra, Chala, Dhruva, Havishman, Tanuja, Vidhana, Abhimata, Vatsara, Bhuti, Sarvaasuranishudana, Suparvi, Brihatkanta and Mahalokanamaskruta. Vasu Devi created Vasusanjnak Devatas who followed Indra. Vishva Devas were born to Vishvesha and Dharma and these were Mahabahu Daksha, King Pushkar, Chakshusa Manu, Mahoraga, Vishwanuga, Vasu, Bala, Nishkala, Rurudra and Parama Kantimaan Bhaskara. Marutwati gave birth to Marudganas viz. Agni, Chakshu, Jyoti, Saavitra, Mitra, Amara, Sharavrishta, Suvarsha, Mahabhuja Viraja, Raja, Viswayu, Sumati, Ashvagandha, Chitra Rashmi, Nishidha, Atmavidhi, Chaaritra, Padamaatraga, Brihat, Bahudrupa and Vishnusanabhiga. Aditi and Kashyapa gave birth to Twelve Adityas.


Birth of Tarakasura, Shiva’s wedding with Parvati and Kartikeya kills Tarakasura
Sage Kashyap blessed his wife Diti to give birth to a great warrior ‘Vajranga’ who like a diamond was unbreakable and indestructible. Diti desired to avenge the killing of several Asuras in the past by Indra and asked Vajranga to defeat and bring down Indra imprisoned in person; on doing so, Diti put Indra to shame and released him saying that his subduing was worse than his death.

Meanwhile, Vajranga did severe Tapasya to Brahma and the latter created Varangi as the wife of Vajranga. Brahma gave a boon to the pair that a Maha Shaktivaan called Tarakasura would be born after being retained for thousand years in confinement. There were harsh earthquakes and sea-uprisings when the Asura was born and the parents were filled with wild joy and excitement. As the boy attained youth, he turned out to be a frightening demon and developed friendship with other Asuras like Kujambha and Mahisha. Eventually, he reached a Pariyatra Mountain to perform Tapasya without food for hundred years, for another hundred years by consuming only dried leaves and for additional years by drinking water only. Brahma was pleased and gave a boon of invincibility except for a child of seven days of age, to be born of Shiva. After securing the boon from Brahma, Tarakasura raised a huge army of ten crore well-versed and trained soldiers along with the armies of renowned Asuras like Mahisha, Kunjara, Megha, Kaalanemi, Nimi, Manthana, Jambhaka and Sumbha. As Tarakaura declared war with Indra and Devas, Indra commissioned Vayu Deva as an emissary as per the advice of Deva Guru Brishaspati, but the mission failed and so did the proverbial Four ways of ‘Rajaniti’ or the Art of Politics viz. Sama (War-Counselling), Daana (luring by gifts), Bheda or by using the dividing politics of the opponents and Associates and finlally ‘danda’ or actual war. Yamaraja was the Senapati, the Commander sitting over his Vahana Buffalo; Indra sat on his Durjayta ratha (chariot) with Malini as his driver; and all other Devas like Agni, Vayu, Varuna, Kubera, Chandra and Aditya, besides Ashvini Kumars, Marudganas, Sandhyaganas, Yakshas, Gandharvas etc. But Tarakasura was too powerful to Devas whose soldiers were badly bruised and ran without direction. Indra and Devas approached Brahma and he replied that none excepting a seven day son of Shiva and Devi Parvati, called ‘Kartikeya’ could kill Tarakasura and none else in the world.
At this juncture, Indra prayed to Sage Narada to advise further plan in the context of the birth of Kartikerya. The Sage designed a route-map of action, first to approach Himavanta and his wife Mena as also Parvati to prepare them to wed Mahadeva; to secure access to Mahadeva for his consent to let Parvati assist the former in his daily Pujas and approach Kama Deva and Rati Devi to stealthly despatch ‘Pushpa Baanas’ or Amorous Arrows of Love in favour of Parvati while she was in service to Mahadeva. But the Plan did not quite succeed as Mahadeva’s eyes searched for Kama Deva and burnt him off with his third eye. As Devi Rati prayed to Maha Deva, the latter assured that Kama Deva would soon be created again as ‘Ananga’ or devoid of Physique. As Devi Parvati was shaken by the news of Kama Deva’s turning into ashes, she decided to take to Tapasya; her father Himavan addressed the daughter to say: ‘U’ ‘Ma’ meaning ‘Don’t do so’! But still she left to such a Place to perform rigorous Tapasya where even Devas did not desire to visit and was so inaccessible at the heights of Himalayas. As the Plan as scripted by Narada Muni was not yet in place, Indra prayed to ‘Sapta Rishis’ to intervene. The Rishis tested her unambiguous decision to perform the severe Tapasya by arguing with her that she was bent on marrying Maha Deva and none else; in fact she became angry with the Rishis that she reacted sharply against them and even condemned them to suggest any other name as her spouse excepting Shiva Deva. Sapta Rishis approached Maha Deva, underlined Parvati’s strong mental make up to wed only Maha Deva and emphasised the angle of ‘Loka Kalyan’ or the Universal Cause of destroying Tarakasura which could be accomplished only through the wedding with Parvati.Taking the consent of Maha Deva, Saptarishis negotiated the transaction of the holy wedding of Shiva and Parvati successfully and smoothly. At the appointed Muhurtha, the Greatest, the Most Auspicious and Most Unique Wedding of Shiva Parvati was celebrated in which Vishnu and Brahma along with Lakshmi and Vani took active part and so did Indra, Devas, Dikpalakas, the Planets along with their spouses; Yakshas, Danavas, Kimpurushas, Pramathaganas and Piscachas were all thrilled; Gandharvas sang tuneful songs, Apsaras danced away to their glories and Maharshis and Muniganas chanted Vedas and Hymns.  Such an event was neither commemorated in the Yugas that preceded nor followed.
As Devi Parvati and Shiva were enjoying their post-wedding life in beautiful gardens and Sarovars, one fine morning Parvati desired to take her bath and sought to clean up her body dirt after applying scented oils and made an idol of a handsome boy whose head resembled that of an elephant. Shiva played with that idol of a boy for a while and threw it in Ganga who was Parvati’s companion. Ganga brought the idol back from the flow and interestingly the boy became real with life and Devas called him as Gajanana and worshipped him; Brahma gave Gajanana the authority to head Ganas and was called as Ganapati or Ganadhyaksha eversince.Equally fascinating was the incident of Devi Parvati having planted an Ashoka Tree out of sport with Shiva. In a light moment, Indra, Brihaspati, Devas and Maharshis asked Parvati as to what kind of fruit would emerge from the tree and Parvati was extremely delighted with the query. She replied that if any thoughtful human being where there was inadequate water supply at a Place would dig up a Well, then that person would attain Swarga for as many years as the drops of that Well! She further said that if ten such wells were dug up, the ‘Punya’ would be ten times more; if ten bigger water bodies were dug up the ‘Punya’ would be tenfolded more; if ten Sarovars were dug up the resultant fruits would be tenfold more; ten Sarovars would equal the donation of a Kanya (virgin) and such ten donations would equalise one Vriksha (Tree)! Brihaspati, Devas and Rishis were stunned with the reply that Parvati gave and returned to their respective places thinking deep about what Devi Parvati stated!
For a number of years, Shiva and Parvati were in a joyful mood after their marriage and there was little news for Indras and Devas about the possible arrival of Kartikeya who alone could terminate Tatakasura. Agni Deva took the form of a parrot and entered the Palace of Shiva and Parvati who found that Parvati was enjoying a bath in a Sarovar playing with lotus flowers and Lord Shiva was resting in his bed. She found six Krittikas in the Sarovar and told them that she was desirous of seeing the water drops inside the lotus bulbs; the Kritthikas replied in fun that they would show the water drops provided they allow them also to share the joy of a child in her ‘garbha’! The Krittikas further said that they should allow them too to own the child as their own as much as that of Devi Parvati and she agreed to the mutual deal; Krittikas showed the water drops inside the lotus bulb and drank them. As soon as she drank the water drops, there emerged a handsome and healthy boy from Devi Parvati’s right abdomen with Sun-like luster and a powerful Physique wearing a ‘Shula’ and ‘Ankush’ in both of his hands. He was called ‘Kumar’ as many entities claimed parentage maily of course by Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati but also the Krittikas and even Agni. The boy had six brilliant faces and was popularly called by several names viz.Vishakha, Shanmukha, Skanda, Shadaanana and Kartikeya. Brahma, Vishnu, Indra and various Devas gifted the Child several valuable souvenirs like Chandan, Malas, Dhup, Toys, Umbrellas, and Bhushans and instantly appointed him as the Senapati or the Commander-in-Chief of Devas. Lord Vishnu presented several ‘Ayudhas’ or Arms; Kubera provided ten lakh of Yaksha Sena; Agni gave his Tej (Radiance) and Vayu provided speed as his ‘Vahan’ (Chariot). Kumar desired to ascertain as to what he could do for them and in one voice they wanted the demon Tarakasura to be killed and Kumar assured saying: So be it! Inspired by what Skanda Deva guaranteed, Indra sent an emissary to Tarakasura saying that soon Indra and Devas would arrive to destroy the demon and his followers. Danavas wondered that an additional Shakti must have joined the Deva Sena as otherwise they would not dare send a messenger alerting them to come prapared for a battle! Tarakasura remembered Brahma’s boon to him with the qualification of the risk of his death in the hands of a boy! Even Kalanemi and other Daityas had creepy feelings about the might of the stranger who joined the Deva Sena. As Tarakasura saw finally saw the so-called additional Shakti, he laughed away and made fun of the baby boy; he said that Devas did great injustice in projecting him ahead of them so that they could conveniently run away if need be! Kumar replied that there was no need to make fun of us since in a battle of ‘Shastras’, there was the brain power that was important but not the brute force; moreso, one did not require a huge serpent to kill an opponent but even a tiny snake could finish off the enemy by a small bite of poison! Bala Surya was always difficult to look at and never under-estimate a boy! Even as Kumar’s reply was over, the Asura threw a musala but the reply by way of a mighty Chakra from Kumar was instantaneous. The Daitya threw a metallic Bhindipal which Kumar stopped merely by one of his hands. Kartikeya targetted a ferocious mace which made ear-blowing sound and the demon was hardly able to escape its impact. The demon then realised that this boy was not an ordinary kid and one had to be tough with him; he used a very powerful Shastra which was undone by Kartikeya instantly. Then Kartikeya came into his form and massacred thousands of demons and the so-called mighty demons like Kalanemi could hardly defend themselves and ran away to save their skins. As a last resort, Tarakasura hit Kumar’s vahana of Peacock and going wild with this act, Kumara finally used the ‘Nirmal Shakti’ in his hands and threw it with force and speed and the Shakti dazzled the demon’s vision; he tried his best but  could not evade it since it flew behind wherever he went and ultimately pierced into his heart as the mountain-like Tarakasura fell making a thud, like a cloud-burst and the handful soldiers of the huge army of Davanas left behind alive ran for their lives. Devas went into a state of ecstacy with loud shouts and battle-cries of relief showering fragrant flowers all around, Gandharvas sang earsplitting songs of victory, Apsaras danced with gay abandon and the whole Universe wore a memorable look of unprecedented carnival.Vishnu and Brahma were highly satisfied that finally Dharma an Nyaya were vindicated by Kumara. Maha Deva and Devi Parvati seated on Nandi with Ganesha and Kartikeya flew across to Kailasa Mountain witnessing festivities all along the route!
Devas affirmed that whosoever read, or heard or analysed the Story of Kartikeya would be blessed; his life-span would increase, would become healthy, popular, and contented in life without unfufilled desires and at the end of Life would qualify for Salvation.



Ideal features of Brahmanas and significance of ‘Gayatri Mantra’


Janmana Brahmano jneyaha Samskarai Dwija Ucchatey,
Vidyaya yaati Vipratvam Thribhih Shrotria lakshanam/
Vidyaputho Mantraputho Veda putasthayaiva cha,
Tirtha-Snaanadibhirmedhyo Viprah Pujyatamah smrutah/
Narayane sadaa bhaktah shuddhantah karanastatha,
Jitendriyo Jitahkrodhah samamah Sarvajaneshu cha/
Gurudevaatiye bhaktah pitroh shusrushaney ratah,
Paradaarey manoyasya kadaachitraiva modatey/
Puranakathako nityam Dharmaakhyaanasya santatih,
Asatyaiva darshaatrithya -mashvamedhaadijah phalam/


(A Brahmana boy is a Brahmana by birth; by virtue of ‘samskara’or Training / Practice, he is known as a ‘Dwija’ and by virtue of ‘Vidya’ or education of Scriptures, he is called a ‘Vipra’. Thus the three features of a ‘Shrotriya’ or a Complete Brahmana are ‘Janma’ (birth), ‘Samskara’ (tradition and training) and ‘Vidya’ (Knowledge). A Brahmana becomes worthy of worship once he is purified with ‘Tirtha Snanas’ or bathing at holy Places and is fortified with Vidya, Mantra and Vedas.The ‘darshan’ or seeing of a complete Brahmana yields fruits of performing Ashwamedha Yagna etc. once he always maintains devotion of Bhagavan Narayana; his conscience is clear and clean of petty matters; his feelings are uniformly balanced for one and all; his bhakti is transparent and uniform to Gurus, Devatas and Atithis; his dedication and service is constant for his parents; his views and reactions are unblemished for women and transient desires and emotions; and his mind and speech are always engaged in and cogitative about Puranas and Matters of Spiritualism!)
Lord Brahma himself was stated to have described an ideal Brahmana as above to Devarshi Narada as quoted by Sage Pulastya to Bhishma. Lord Brahma also stated that a Brahmana was he who could treat a friend or foe with equal feelings of kindness; who could behave all human beings in an impartial and unbiased manner; who would never resort to thieving any object or money even if available in a free jungle; who would be completely devoid of desires, annoyances, mean mindedness, excessive possessions, jealousy, and anger; who is not controlled by ‘Indriyas’ or physical properties; and who would recite Yajur Veda and other Scriptures with their meanings, and the Twenty Four Lettered Tripada Gayatri! Lord Brahma further declared that even mere conversation by a person with a Brahmana as described above would lead him to ‘Uttama Gati’ or noble path, provided that person observed daily ‘snaan’ and Brahmana Puja, and practice of Noble ‘Vratas’ and consumption of Ganga water.
Narada enquired of Lord Brahma about the features, the special import of each ‘Akshar’ or Letter of Gayatri Mantra and the ‘Kukshi’-‘Charan’and ‘Gotra’ of the Stanza.The Gayatri Mantra’s Chhanda (Prosody or Poetic Structure) is called ‘Gayatri’ and ruling Devata is ‘Savita’. Gayatri Devi’s ‘Varna’ or colour is ‘Shukla’ (White); her face is of ‘Agni’ (Fire) and her Rishi is Viswamitra. Lord Brahma is Gayatri’s ‘Mastak’ (head); her ‘Shikha’ or the Head-hair is Rudra; her heart is of Lord Vishnu. She is the dominating Deity of ‘Upanayana Karma’ or the Task of Wearing the Holy Thread which qualifies a person to recite Gayatri Mantra. Devi Gayatri was born into ‘Saankhyaana Gotra’. Three Lokas are her Charanas or feet. Prithvi (Earth) lies in Gayatri’s ‘Kukshi’ or in her stomach. One aligns each letter of the Gayatri Mantra totalling twenty four to the parts of a human body from the feet to head and the process of alignment of the body part and each of the letters of the Mantra is called Nyasa. A Brahmana performing the Nyasa or alignment of the Letters of the Mantra with the concerned body part is stated to have attained Brahma Loka; to realise or to be aware of the meaning and significance of each letter of the Mantra would lead to ‘Vishnu Sayujya’ or accomplishment of Oneness with Vishnu. Gayatri’s second distinct Form comprises an Eighteen Lettered Yajur Mantra viz: Om Agneyrwaakpumsi Yajurvedina jushta Somam piba Swaha/ The Mantra commences with the word ‘Agni’ and ends up with the word ‘Swaha’. One has to recite this Mantra hundred times while standing in water. The power of this Mantra is such that the recitation dissolves crores of Sins including even the ‘Maha Patakas’ like ‘Brahma Hatya’. The same procedure is to be followed by reciting Vishnu Mantra, Maheswara Maha Mantra, Devi Mantra, Surya Mantra, Ganesha Mantra and so on. The Brahmanas who practise the Mantra recitals on these lines need to be given special ‘Danaas’ and the donors of the Daanaas achieve ‘Akshya Punya’ or Undiminishing Punya. Those Brahmanas who are ‘Swadhyaya parayanas’or self-taught and at the same time teach others, recite for the benefit of others and also let others read for every body’s benefit are as good as Vishnu. Practising Gayatri Mantra by the ‘Nyas’ or alignment of each word and body part, understand the purport and meaning of each word and perform ‘Pranayama’ concurrently bestows ‘Brahmapada prapti’.

 The next significant question posed by Sage Narada to Lord Brahma related to the Form or Swarupa of Pranayama, the concerned Deity relevant to each Word of Gayatri and the body part alignable with the specific letter of the Gayatri Mantra. The process of Pranayama comprises 1) ‘Puraka Kriya’ or the filling up the body with Prana Vayu (the wind of Life) from bottom to heart or mix up with ‘Apana’Vayu from the bottom with the Prana Vayu inhaled into the heart; 2) ‘Kumbhak Kriya’ or stopping the breath; 3) ‘Rechaka   Kriya’ or exhale by slowly removing the Vayu till one could hold. This cycle of inhaling fully out, stopping the breath with no air inside the body, exhaling slowly by removing the air till the dead-end is called Pranayama simultaneously reciting Gayatri Mantra each time fully. This Pranayama clears breathing and lung congestion, slashes cold and cough, improves the status of hearing, eases the digestive system and greatly enhances memory and concentration.

Now, Brahma detailed each relevant Deity in respect of each of the Twenty Four Letters of the Gayatri Mantra as follows: Agni, Vayu, Surya, Viyat (Akash),Yamaraja, Varun, Brihaspati, Parjanya, Indra, Gandharva, Pusha, Mitra, Twashta, Vasu, Marudganas, Soma, Angira, Vishwa Deva, Ashvini Kumars, Pragapati, Sampurna Devata, Rudra, Brahma and Shri Vishnu. The letter-to-letter seriatum of Deities represented in the Gayatri Mantra thus provided the ‘Vangmaya’/ ‘Vani Vishaya’ or the cross-referencing of the Letter-Deity implication. As regards the ‘Nyasa’ of the Aksharas of the Gayatri Mantra versus Body Limbs, the explanation is as follows: ‘Tat’-touch the thumbs of the feet; ‘Sa’-Gulpha (ankles); ‘Vi’-the two pindaliyas (calves); ‘thu’-ghutnas (Knees); ‘Var’-jangha (lap); ‘Re’-Terminal Part; ‘Nya’- ‘Andakosha; ‘M’-‘Kati bhagas’(  thighs); ‘Bha’-Nabhi Mandala; ‘orgo’-Udaram; ‘Dey’-both the breasts; ‘Va’- Hridaya; ‘Sya’-both the hands; ‘Dhee’-face; ‘Ma’-taalu; ‘hi’-top of Nasika( nose); ‘Dhi’-both the eyes; ‘Yo’- both bahus (hands); ‘Yo’- Lalaat; ‘Nah’-Muhka’s Purvabhaaga; ‘Pra’-‘Dakshna bhaag; ‘Cho’-Paschima bhaaga; ‘da’-Mukha’s Uttara Bhaga; ‘Yaat’-Mastak (head). By performing the Nyasa as above, all the ‘Aksharas’or the Letters are thus aligned to Brahma-Vishnu and Maheswara.
Another kind of Nyasa for the Sandhya-Kaalas is as follows:  
Om Bhuriti Hridaye-
Om Bhuvah Shirasi-
Om Swaha Shikhayai-
Om Tatsaviuvarenyamithi Kalebarey-
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi Netrayoh-
Om Dhiyoyonaha prachodayaatiti Karayoh-
Om Apo jyotee rasomritam Brahma Bhurbhuvah swarom/
The above Vyahruti and Twelve Omkaaraas along with Gayatri Mantra be performed at Sandhya Timings while touching water (Jala sparsha) followed by Pranayama Kriya thrice; then should follow the Gayatri Mantra Japa for as many times as possible. Then should follow ‘Punah-Nyasa’ or Repeat Nyasa as follows: Om Bhuh Padaabhyaam and touch the feet; Om Bhuvah Jaanubhyaam and touch both ‘ghutane’ (knees); Om Swahah Katyaam and touch kati bhaaga’ (thighs); Om Mahah Naabhou and touch Nabhistaan (navel); Om Janah Hridaye and touch Hridaya; Om Tapah Karaye and touch both the hands; Om Satyam and touch Lalaatey (Forehead) and finally recite the entire Mantra and touch the Shikha (tuft).
Lord Brahma affirmed to Narada as follows: 
Chatur Vedaascha Gayatri pura vai tulithaa maya,
Chatur Vedaat Paraa Gurvi Gayatri Mokshada Smrita/
Dashabhirjanma janitam shateyna cha puraakrutam,
Tri Yugam tu Sahasrena Gayatri hanthi kilbisham/
(I had in the past placed the Four Vedas and Gayatri on a Sensitive Balance and at that time Gayatri weighed heavier compared to the Four Vedas since Gayatri was certainly towards the path of Salvation. Gayatri Mantra Japa for ten times destroys the sins of the current birth, hundred times clears the sins of the previous birth and the Japa thousand times demolishes the sins of three Yugas!)
Those who perform Gayatri Japa in the morning and evening by rotating the Sacred Rudraksha Mala shall indeed reap the fruits of the Four Vedas. Contrarily, a Brahmana who is not aware of the Gayatri Mantra has no credential to perform Pitru Karyas, Shraddhas, and Daanas. Their visits to Tirthas, dips in Holy Rivers and performances of any kind of Propitious Tasks are treated as negative, like a fragrant and charming flower sprouting in a slushy and rotten cess-pool!

Significance of ‘Rudrakshas’ and ‘Tulasi’
In a congregation of Brahmansas, Veda Vyas explained the significance of ‘Rudrakshas’, their origin and methodology of wearing them. A person wearing a Rudraksha Mala with Brahma-grandhis and performs Japa-Daana-Stotra-Mantra-Deva Puja or any other propitious Task is stated to have executed the best possible worship ever. In Satya Yuga of the yore, a fearful Danava named Tripura had Brahma Deva’s boons of invincibility against Devas and harassed them besides all virtuous human beings, Sages and other species.
When Devas approached Maha Deva and described the atrocities perpetrated by the Asura, Shiva got perturbed and pulled out his powerful ‘Aajagava’ Dhanush and despatched his ‘Vikaraal’ named arrow and from his Divya Drishti (Celestial Vision) tracked Tripura down after extensive battle and killed him finally. In this tedious task, Maha Deva sweated profusely and the skin moisture of Maha Deva got materialised as a huge Tree of Rudrakshas (Eyes of Rudra). As Kartikeya asked Maha Deva about the significance of the Seeds of the Tree, the latter described that wearing a mala (garland) of Rudrakshas bestowed auspiciousness and acted like a shield against diseases, poverty, unhappiness, and discontentment in life. Those who wear Rudrakshas would immediately assume the personality of confidence, equanimity and maturity. If one wore Rudraksha on his head and died, the person concerned would immediately break the cycle of rebirths and secure salvation.
[‘Eka Mukhi’ symbolises Shiva and its Ruling Planet is Surya recommended to wear on Mondays for power, wealth and fame to ward off heart diseases and its Mantra is stated to be ‘Om Namah Shivaaya Om Hreem Namah’; ‘Dwi Mukhi’ symbolises ‘Ardha Naare -eswara’ or Shiva and Parvati with Moon as the Ruling Planet recommended to wear on Mondays for mental peace and mystic powers and its Mantra is ‘Om Namah’; ‘Tri Mukhi’ symbolises Agni and the Ruling Planet is Mars, recommended for wearing on Mondays for Physical Health, Knowledge and Divine Powers and its Mantra is: Om Kleem Namah/ Om Namah Shivaaya Namah; ‘Chatur Mukhi’ Rudraksha symbolises Brahma and the Ruling Planet is Mercury best worn on Mondays for curing paralysis, nervous tension and mental diseases and its Mantra is : Om Hreem Namah; the ‘Pancha Mukhi’ symbolises Rudra and the Ruling Planet is Jupiter affecting Liver, Kidneys, diabetes and obesity, meant for elimination of enemies and the Mantra is: Om Hreem Namah- it is stated that apart from the wearing of Ekamukhi, Pancha Mukhi is also rated high for wearing; The ‘Shashtya Mukhi’ symbolises Kartikeya and the Ruling Planet is Venus (Shukra) meant for attaining Concentration, Confidence, Succcess and Family life and for the benefit for reproductive organs while the relevant Mantra is Om Hreem Hroom; Maha Lakshmi symbolises the ‘Sapta Mukhi’ and the Ruling Planet is Saturn meant to cure muscular pain and impotence which is to be borne with red thread as the desired objectives are prosperity and well being and the relevant Mantra is Om Huum Namaha; the ‘Ashta Mukhi’ Rudraksha symbolises Ganesha and the Ruling Planet is Rahu aiming at concentration and business tactics normally preferred by Vaishyas and sought to set right lung disorder and skin problem and the Mantra is Om Ganeshaya Namhah; the ‘Nava Mukhi’ Rudraksha symbolises Durga and the Planetary Head is Kethu, bestowing courage, destruction of enemies and capacity to strike back and is meant for relief body pains and lung-bowel disoders, relevant Mantra being Om Hreem Hum Namah; the ‘Dasa Mukhi’Rudraksha worn on Sundays represents Maha Vishnu symbolising Ten Avataras, pacifying all the ill-effects of Nine Planets and destroying Evil Spirits like Piscachas, Goblins, Thieves etc.the relevant Mantra being Shri Narayaneya Shri Vaishnavey Namah; Like the Eka Mukhi and the Pancha Mukhi, the Ekadasha Mukhi Rudraksha is also reckoned very potent and useful representing Ekadasha Rudras (also stated alternatively as symbolising Hanuman) bestowing knowledge, Yoga and devotion as also procecting neuro-physiology if worn on Mondays by reciting the Mantra viz. Om Shri Rudraaya Namah; the ‘Dwadasha Mukhi’ Rudraksha symbolising ‘Dwadasha Adityas’with Surya as the Ruling Planet bestows Kingships, Leadership, courage and self-confidence, granting excellent health and great success in Life; Wearing the ‘Trayodasha Mukhi’ Rudraksha symbolising Indra and Kamadeva with Venus as the Ruling Planet provides unmistakable pleasures of life and even hypnotic powers and a ‘Chaturdasha Mukhi’ Rudraksha which is stated to  be a rarity is of the class or standing of Eka Mukhi, Pancha Mukhi and Ekadasha Mukhi and represents Maha Deva Himself with Saturn as the Ruling Planet and providing the most contented Life in ‘Iham’(the Present) and ‘Param’ (After-Life) as it has to be worn by reciting the Mantra: Om Namah Sivaaya. It is said that close contact zg of Rudrakshas with body parts like head, neck, heart, and hands protect the persons with medical values from depression, stress, diabetes, cancer, heart / blood related diseases!]
Veda Vyas told the congregation of Sages that Bhagavan Maha Deva described the benefits of Tulasi Tree (Holi Basil) to Kartikeya as it is highly auspicious, desire-fulfilling, very dear to Bhagavan Vishnu and hence called ‘Vaishnavi’; in fact, Vishnu considers Tulasi on par with even Lakshmi and far above the ranking of all other leaves and flowers. Daily worship to Bhagavan Vishnu with Tulasi leaves is considered as effective and propitious than even Daana, Homa, Yagnya and Vratas. Needless to say that Tulasi Puja to Bhagavan Vishnu bestows brightness, happiness, luxury items, fame, Lakshmi, noble ancestry, good wife and children, wealth, health, ‘Gyan’, Vigyan, Veda and Vedanga , Shastra, Purana, Tantra and Samhitas. Keeping a Tulasi Garden nearby is as effective and easy as keeping Lord Shri Krishna Himself and thus retaining Devi Lakshmi, Brahma and all other Devas.Thus a short-cut method is worshipping Tulasi to be able to keep all the Deities happy. As a corollary, Pretahs, Piscachas, Kushmandas, Brahma rakshasas, Bhutas and Rakshasas are nowhere in the vicinity and so would be far away from sins, fears, diseases and wants. In Kali Yuga, one effective way is to perform Tulasi Puja, Kirtana, Dhyana, Dharana and other means of worship to dry out and burn off all kinds of Sins and consolidate the path of reaching Swarga and Moksha.
Bhagavan Shankara stated: Pujaney kirtaney dhyaney ropaney dharaney Kalou, Tulasi dahatey paapam Swraga moksham dadaaticha/ Upadesham dadeydasyaah swayamaacharatey punah, sa yaati Paramam Staanam Madhavasya niketanam/ Lord Vishnu further said that in all  those tasks which were dear to him like Yagnas, Vratas etc. worship with even with one Tulasi leaf enhances the value of such tasks. Further, those who worship Tulasi attain the same fruits of worshipping Gurus, Brahmanas, Devatas and Tirthas. If one retains a leaf of Tulasi while dying has a path leading upwards to heavens. Those who worship Tulasi regularly and sincerely would not have to take ‘Punarjanma’ (another birth)!
Mere ‘Namocchharana’ or taking the name of Tulasi frightens Asuras but pleases Vishnu immensely; blessed are those in Kali Yuga who perform puja of ‘Shaligramas’ or Replicas of Maha Vishnu with Tulasi.What could Yama Raja say to Tulasi :
Tulasyamrita janmaasi sadaa twam Keshava Priyey!
Keshavaartha chinomi twaam Varadaa bhava shobhaney/
Twadanga sambhavairnityam pujayaami yathaa Harim,
Tatha kuru Pavitrangam Kalou mala vinaashini/
(Tulasi! You are born from Amrita and are the beloved of Kehava always. I select excellent leaves from your Tree for the puja of Bhagavan. Do become the provider of boons from this Puja and enable it in a manner that it pleases Bhagavan Keshava. Mother Tulasi! Only you could clean up the mess of Kali Yug and provide a sense of direction to absolve me of my sins).
 [Tulasi leaves yield a volatile oil called eugenol possessing anti bacterial properties which are anti- microbial, anti-inflammarory and expectorant promoting maximum
respiratory assistance].
After concluding the Srishti Khanda of Padma Purana, Suta Maha Muni proceeded with the depiction of Bhumi Khanda to the Congregation of Sages at Naimisharanya, taking the shelter of Bhagavan Narayana: Yam Sarva Devam Parameswaram hi nishkevalam Jnaanamayam pradhaanam, Vadanti Narayanadi Siddhvim Siddheswaram tam sharanam Prapadye (I salute and seek protection of Bhagavan Shriman Narayana who is stated to be of an Omni-Form, Parameswara, Unique and Jnaanamaya and the Adi Siddheswara of Siddhas).

‘Pitru Bhakti’ leads Shiva Sharma’s devoted sons to ‘Vishnu dhaam’
In Bhumi Khanda, the Concept of Pitru Bhakti was defined and described in good detail. On the banks of the Western Ocean of Bharat in Dwaraka, there was a Veda-Shastra Vidwan called Shiva Sharma who had five Sons named Yagna Sharma, Veda Sharma, Dharma Sharma, Vishnu Sharma and Soma Sharma, all with good knowledge of Scriptures and great devotees of their father.
Shiva Sharma decided to examine the ‘Pitru Bhakti’ of their sons and by the play of ‘Maya’ (Illusion) that he created declared that his wife died and asked his eldest son Yagna Sharma to cut the body of his mother into pieces and throw away; the son did exactly as was told by his father. Shiva Sharma asked his second son to convince another (illusory) woman whom he liked as it would be difficult for him to carry on without a wife. Veda Sharma approached the woman but she said that his father was old and diseased and that she would rather like to marry the son instead. Veda Sharma told her that it was unfair for her to talk like that and that he was prepared to do any thing if she married his father. The illusory woman demanded that she should then be able to vision Indra and other Devas. Veda Sharma was able to do so by the power of his Tapasya. The woman appreciated the achievement and sent away the Devas but she then demanded that Veda Sharma should cut off his head with his own hands and gift it to her! The illustrious son did so and the ‘Maya Stree’ showed the slain head to the father and the rest of his sons. Shiva Sharma then handed over the head of Veda Sharma to the third son Dharma Sharma and asked him to revive the life of Veda Sharma. Dharma Sharma invoked Dharma Raja and said that if only he did unswerving service to his Guru and had unparalelled Pitru Bhakti his elder brother’s life be revived. Dharma Raja was immensely pleased and not only agreed to revive the life of Veda Sharma but also agreed to give any other boon to him; Dharma Sharma desired that his Pitru Bhakti be enhanced further, that his Dharma (Virtue) be intensified and that he should attain ‘Moksha’ after his life. Then Shiva Sharma desired to test the fourth son Vishnu Sharma and that indeed was tougher further; he desired that the son should approach Indra Deva and bring ‘Amrit’ for all the family members! As Vishnu Sharma left for Indra Loka, Lord Indra was aware of the intention and commissioned Menaka to attract him; Vishnu Sharma was indeed aware of her intentions and asked her not to waste his time with her traditional tactics as he was not like Sage Vishwamitra to yield to her infatuations. As Menaka failed in her mission, Indra kept on placing obstructions in the way of Vishnu Sharma, the latter was infuriated and declared that he would kick down Indra and if needed, create another Indra! Indra was frightened and tendered apology as also accompanied the son to the father, handed over a pot of Amrit and told Shiva Sharma that there could never be a son like Vishnu Sharma and that there were such an unbelievable example of Pitru Bhakti in the family as one son was overshadowing another in their display of unparalelled devotion to the father! Meanwhile, the mother of the five sons re-appeared and expressed her enormous pleasure to have secured a husband like Shiva Sharma and the sons who proved their worth by their exemplary devotion to their father. The father who felt proud of their sons gave the four of them the boon of achieving ‘Goloka / Vishnu loka dham’ even as Lord Vishnu appeared before them to accompany the four-some; Shiva Sharma told the fifth son Soma Sharma that he and his wife would proceed to visit ‘Tirthas’ while Soma Sharma would have to protect the Amrit pot meanwhile. Soma Sharma guarded the Amrita Kumbha so sincerely that he did not leave it even for a minute and after ten years the parents returned highly diseased, ematiated, skinny with leprosy and fully spotted all over the bodies; the untouchable condition of the parents was also display of ‘Maya’, but the son performed the kind of service with grit and determination that no son could have ever done, as he cleaned the blood and pus from the body-cracks, tidied the ‘Mala-Mutras’ or the body rejects and without sleep or rest, looked after the parents that Devas on heavens were stunned! The parents refused to accept the Amrit, they refused to accept it, as curing of the leprosy was against the principle of natural justice, as they were destined to suffer.But, when the parents could not suffer beyond limits, they relented and finally asked for the Amrita Kumbha but Soma Sharma found to his utter surprise that the Kumbha was empty! Unnerved by this misfortune, Soma Sharma looked to Heavens and challenged fate that if he had truly and most faithfully served his parents with devotion all these years and that he controlled his ‘Indriyas’ of physique and mind with the greatest and unfailing commitment, then the Amrita Kumbha should be full up at once; indeed the Kumbha was full. The parents assured that the ‘Kushthu’disease was fake and the empty Kumbha was an illusion sothat his Pitru Bhakti had to be vindicated. Being extremely happy and contented that the last son Soma Sharma like his earlier brothers too passed the test of Pitru Bhakti, the proud parents blessed him and left for Vishnu Loka.

As Soma Sharma and his wife Sumana could not beget a son, Soma Sharma approached Maharshi Vasishta for guidance. Vasishtha told that Soma Sharma that in his earlier life, the latter was a miser and did not want to spend any amount even on the day of his departed father’s death anniversary. He had amassed considerable wealth but never did he perform any charity or any Punya Karya; he did not even enjoy any happiness excepting the joy of possession. He was suspicious even of his sons and at the time of his death no body knew where the wealth was deposited. But while alive, the Sudra did one single good task in his long life viz. of hosting a Vishnu Bhakta at his home and that day happened to be Ashadha Shukla Dwadashi and that was how he was born as a Brahmana in the current birth. Vasistha further advised that he would secure an excellent son by worshipping Vishnu Deva. As Soma Sharma was performing ‘japa’ (meditation) Saadhvi Sumana too served her husband with devotion. But there were many distractions like the appearances of big black snakes of poison, elephants, tigers, and even piscachas. However, Soma Sharma never got unnerved. One day a lion tried to hurt the Brahmana and then also he held on with the meditation more intensely than ever by chanting ‘Narasimha Stotra’. That was the time when Bhagavan Vishnu granted his vision in his full form with four hands armed with Shankha, Chakra, Gada and Saranga with an extremely charming face with a smile. Soma Sharma was overpowered with ecstacy and eulogised him for long time till his heart’s content. When Bhagavan Vishnu was pleased with Soma Sharma’s ‘Tapasya’, he asked the Brahmana for boons and the Brahmana desired that he should secure a son who should be a distinguished Vishnu Bhakta, a highly erudite and virtuous example of his ‘Vamsa’and a person of universal fame. In course of time, a boy of radiance and intelligence was born named Suvrata. Even from childhood, the boy visioned Bhagavan Narasimha in every part of the Universe, be it the Sky, Earth, Mountains, Forests, Water, Stones, all human beings, animals, birds and so on! As he grew he was completely immersed in ‘Vishnu Dhyana’, singing Vishnu Hymns, publicising the greatness of Vishnu and dedicating each and every action of his to Vishnu.
Pashyatyevam vadantyevam Janannatham Janaardanam,
sa dhyaayatey tameykam hi Vishvanaatham Parameswaram/
Truney Kaashthey cha paashaaney sushkey saandryem hi Keshavam,
Pashyatyevam sa Dharmaatmaa Govindam Kamalekshanam/
Akaashey Bhumimadhye tu Parvateshu Vaneshu cha,
Jaley Sthaley cha Paashaaney Jeeveshucha Mahamatih/
Nrisimham pashyatey Viprah Suvratah Sumanaasutah/
As Sumana, the mother of Suvrata called the son for food, he used to reply: Mother! I am extremely full in my stomach with the Amrit like Vishnu Dhyan; I have come into the fold of Bhagavan, while eating, wearing clothes, sitting, sleeping, and dedicating every act to Janardana Himself! Dhyayanti Devah satatam Muraarim yasyanga madhye Sakalam nivishtam, Yogeshwaram Paapavisaashanamcha bhajey sharanyam Madhusudanaakhyam/ In course of time, Suvrata commenced full-fledged Tapasya and eventually after many years of intense dedication, Lord Vishnu was pleased to give His ‘darshan’ (appearance), when Suvrata was overwhelmed with bliss and praised saying: Samsarasagaramateeva gabheera paaram, Duhkhormibhirvividha mohamayaistarangaih/ Sampurnamasti nijadosha gunaistu praaptam, tasmaat samuddhara Janaardana maam sudeenam/ ( Janardana! This Ocean of Samsara is inexplicably deep and most difficult to swim across; this is full of high tides of sorrow and infatuations. I am intensely helpless and ensnarled with my own limitations of sins and distesses. Could you my Lord! Save me from here!). Suvrata sought the boon of lifting him up along with his parents and wife with their own bodies to Vishnu dhaam!

King Vena misdirected and redeemed- both Vena and Pruthu of lofty virtue
InPrajapati Anga of Atri Vamsha, a defender of Dharma (Virtue) and an erudite scholar of Shastras was married to Sunitha who also was a follower of virtue and tradition. They were blessed with a son of high virtue called Vena, who on becoming a King, came under the evil influence of a Muni who followed a Devata called ‘Arhan’ followed a vicious and immoral way of life and used to preach his ‘Praja’ (Subjects) not to perform Homas and Yagnas, nor indulge in charities, Vratas and Tirtha Yatras.
In fact, he declared that he was Vishnu, Rudra, Brahma, Indra and Devas. The Rishis and Brahmanas were highly upset and undertook a huge procession to the King saying that a King was expected to guide and enforce Dharma, Nyaya (Justice) and discipline but instead Vena Kumar was getting self-opinionated by the day. The King shouted angrily that he was Dharma, Nyaya and Punya himself and that he could destroy Earth, throw it under water and break open the skies, if need be! The Rishis and Common men of the Kingdom forced their way to the King, surrounded him, forcibly overpowered and battered him. They screamed and asked him: ‘Nishida’ or ‘sit down’ and since then called him ‘Nishida!’ They rubbed his left thigh with force and out emerged streams of evil Beings like Nishadas, Kirathas, Bheels, Nahalakas, Bhramars, Pulinds and Mlecchas and Rishis were relieved that the King was relieved of sinners from his body. Then they rubbed the King’s right hand forcibly and initially came out profuse sweat but later on materialised a ‘Maha Purush’-a Unique Personality-who was magnificent like ‘Twelve Adityas’, with a natural Headgear of rare jewels and brilliant diamond ear-rings, armoured with Dhanush (Bow) and Divya Banas (Arrows) and a ‘Kavacha’(Body Shield)! The congregation of Rishis named him King Pruthu and many called him ‘Rajaraja’. Amidst recitations of Vedas, Rishis performed ‘Abhisheka’ or ‘Mangala Snaana’ (Sacred Bathing) and Lord Brahma Himself descended to witness the Celebrations and blessed him to herald a Golden Era where the Kingdom was full of propitiousness and Virtue but devoid of ‘Akals’ (Famines), diseases, untimely deaths, robberies and discontentment anywhere: na durbhiksham na cha Vyadhirnakaala maranam Nrinaam, Sarvey sukhena jeevanti lokaa Dharma paraayanaah! / 
In the past, when Praja or common persons saved ‘Anna Beej’ (Dhanya/ Crop Seeds), Prithvi finished the seeds and there was fufore since the seeds stored as security for the future were unavailable. King Pruthu became angry since the Praja was upset and pulled out his bow and arrows and ran behind the Prithvi who took the form of a Cow and ran to Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra but they did not come to her rescue and finally approached King Pruthu himself. Prithvi in the form of a Cow said that she was a woman and would not do any good to punish her but Pruthu replied that since Prithvi transgressed her limits of decency by destroying the seeds and since it was the responsibility of saving the Praja, he as the King would have to punish her. Prithvi then compromised and conceded her mistake and agreed to give away the seeds back so that crops were revived again; but Prithvi made a request to Pruthu to level the mountain tops which also could be harnessed for developing crops and instantly did so; in this context when there was interaction between Earth which was earlier called ‘Medini’ and King Pruthu, Earth was eversince called as Prithvi! Since then when Prithvi was controlled and regulated by the efforts of King Pruthu, there were plentiful crops and the resultant prosperity, health and contentment; also plenty of mountain top levelling done by King Pruthu facilitated Gandharvas to sing sonorous songs and Apsaras to dance in praise of the Creator!
 Before marriage, Sunita used to generally assist her father Mrityu and spend a carefree life in the company of her friends. Once she visited a forest and found a Gandarva Kumar called Sushankha and started teasing him while he was in Tapasya. In fact, she repeated the routine of teasing him and even beating him on his back; he admonished her and went away. Sunita confessed to her father as to how she behaved badly with the Gandharva boy and how he controlled his anger. Presuming that her father’s silence was an approval of her action, Sunita repeated her mischief with the Gandharva boy once again and the latter this time gave a ‘shaap’ (Curse); he said that whenever she would get married she would give birth to a notorious and misdirected boy who would harass the world as an evil King! This time Sunita really got frightened and reported the entire happening again to father Mrityu. As advised by her father, Sunita did highly repentant and severe Tapasya to Vishnu. While moving about along with her companions, Apsara Rambha found Sunita performing Tapasya and got the full background of Gandharva boy’s curse from Sunita’s friends. She advised Sunita not to worry much as Lord Srihari whom she was meditating sincerely was indeed kind and would certainly find a way out from the mess that she got into. She further said that there were indeed certain dormant qualities in Sunita’s family background of Mrityu Deva which should be promoted and nurtured further instead of brooding over what happened: such noble qualities were Rupa (Good Feature), Shiela (Character), Satya (Truth), ‘Aryata’ / ‘Sadachara’ (Good and noble Tradition), Dharma (Virtue), Satitva (Gentle feminity), Dhrudhata (Strength of Mind), Sahasa (Moral courage), Mangalagaan (Ability to sing auspitious songs), Kavya kushalata (cleverness of action), ‘Kamabhavaka Aadhikya’( excessive feelings of passion) and Ability of Sweet Conversation. Having said this, Rambha bestowed ‘Vidyabala’ (strength of knowledge. Thus boosting Sunita’s morale, Rambha enabled Sunita’s meeting with Atri Putra (Anga) and Sunita and performed ‘Gaandharva Vivaha’. As far as Anga was concerned, he performed Tapasya to Vishnu and secured a boon of begetting a son of the qualities of Indra and was looking for a suitable wife like Sunita, as recommended by Rambha. Thus an excellent boy was born, who was named Vena.
‘Daanas’and ‘Tirtha Yatras’-Grihastas to perform ‘Punya karyas’ together
On becoming a King, Vena was intially an exemplary King of high virtue.But in course of time, one unclad, broad-chested and Kamandal dhari Muni arrived in Vena’s court and brain-washed him in a belief that had no role for Yajan- Yaajan-Vedadhaayan Tapasya-Dana-Swadha /Shraadha-Swaha / Agnihotra or homa. Saptarshis tried their best to rescue from the evil grip of the misleading belief of ‘Arhan’.
Thus the Rishis and the majority of the wise and God-fearing masses churned the body of Vena and cleansed it as described earlier and installed Pruthu as the King. Vena was sent on Tirtha Yatras and performed Tapasya and Lord Vishnu appeared and got him back on the moral track to refresh in his memory of the values of what were vehemently opposed by him earlier, especially of Tirtha Yatras and charities.Bhagavan Vishnu Himself extolled the supremacy of Daan and advised King Vena to perform Daan as the sure destroyer of sins and promoter of fame and happiness. Vishnu affirmed that He would readily reward whoever gave charity with a clean heart to a well-deserving Brahmana of foodgrains, clothes, Gold, Bhumi, Cows, Cash and such other gifts. Bhagavan further described that there were four kinds of Danaas, viz. Nithya, Naimitthika, Kaamya and Praaya. Nitya Daana is in the form of Anna (food), fruits and flowers, Vastra (Clothes), Taamboola, Abhshana (Jewellery), Gold and such other items after worshipping Devas and Pitras. Naimitthika daanas are performed on Amavasyas, Pournamis, Ekadashis, Samkranti days or when Sun’s directon changes towards Uttarayana; Pournamis of Magha, Ashadha, Vaishakha and Kartika months; Somavati Amavasya, Aswin Krishna Trayodasi, Pitru Tithi etc. and these are effective and highly propitiating. Kaamya Daanaas are in the context of Vratas, Deva Pujas, weddings, Jaata karmas, Upanayanas, Temple Pujas, Bhu-sthapana karyas or Earth breaking tasks of housing, wells, Sarovars etc. all targetted for the success of the desired tasks. Other types of Danaas of Praya nature are oriented to ‘Mrityu’ and targetted to provide to Peace to departed Souls in ‘Paralokas’.
 Describing the significance of Tirtha Yatras to King Vena, Bhagavan Vishnu emphasised River Ganga as the most sacred, besides other Rivers like Sarasvati, Narmada, Yamuna, Taapi (Tapati), Charmanvati, Sarayu, Ghaghra, Vena, Kaveri, Kapila, Vishaala, Godavari, Tungabhadra, Bhimarathi, Vedika, Krishaanga, and so on. In fact, there are countless such Tirthas dotting the Punya Bhumi of Bharat in which Snaana and Daana karmas yield excellent results and all such Tirthas are called n fact, there are countless such Tirthas dotting the Punya Bhumi of Bharat in which Snaana and Daana karmas yield excellent results and all such Tirthas are called Vishnu Tirthas. In fact, Tirthas are every where like Sarovars of Manasa status, Mountains like Meru, Himalayas and Vindhya; Yagna Bhumis, Agnihotra Homa Places, Shraddha Bhumis, Deva Mandirs, Homa Shalas, Vaidika Swadhyaaya Mandirs, Goshaalas, residences of Somayaaji Brahmanas, where Pita and Mata live, where Puranas are recited and heard, where Veda Shravana is heard, where Guru lives and each and every Place of Worship!   
Another important aspect which Bhagavan Vishnu emphasised was that for a Grihasta, any daan given or a Tirtha Yatra performed, it would be compulsory for both husband and wife to execute together since a husband is the right portion of a wife and a wife is the left part of a husband. Shastras underlined the fact that a husband was the Tirtha to a wife and vice versa. Any daana- punya, Yagna-homa, Snaana-Puja, Tirtha Yatra or another sacred task performed by a Grihasta with his woman seated on the left side would be counter-productive and a sheer waste! Bhartrum prasaadaascha sarvam labhatey naatra samsayaha, Vidyamaaney yada kaantey Anya dharma karotiya/ nishphalam jaayatey tasyaaha pumshali parikathyatey! (A person while her life partner is alive and seeks to perform any kind of Dharma Karya is said to be a Vyabhicharini).


Dialogue of Yayati and Matali about Creation, Human Existence and Papa-Punyas
Sage Narada was impressed with the success of the Kingship of eighty five thousand years of Yayati who was the son of King Nahusha of Soma Vamsha; the latter was a glorious and incomparable King who organised hundred Yagnas as an exemplary proponent of Daana-Tirtha -Veda and Dharma way of life and became Indra, the Chief of Devas.

(In fact, Nahusha would have continued with the status of Indra but for an indiscretion of desiring Devi Sachi of the erstwhile Indra who abandoned ‘Indratva’ temporarily, owing to the fright of committing ‘Brahma hatya’ as he killed Vritrasura). Such was the magnificence of King Yayati who like his father was equally illustrious having performed one hundred Yagnas to his credit. After his visit to King Yayati, Sage Narada visited Lord Indra and liberally extolled the virtues of King Yayati. Indra became apprehensive of his own throne and commisioned Matali, the driver of Indra to bring Yayati to Swarga after assigning Kingship to one of his four sons and enjoy his stay in Swarga. King Yayati wondered as to why Indra specially sent Matali to him! He told Matali that even as his life continued, what could be the reason behind the liberal offer by Indra. Matali said that sooner than later the ‘deha’ (human body) would have to be abandoned since the body and the eternal soul were distinct and before the ‘Pancha Bhutas’ commence to fail the body into ‘Vriddhhapya’ (Old age), it would be wise that Yayati accepted the offer of Indra.Yayati argued that just as the existing body became of age, a new body would get created and that too would become decadent. Thus this cycle of life and death, rebirth and death again would be repetitive. Be it during the course of human existence or after attaining Swarga, any ‘Praani’could never be really happy!
In this connection, Matali explained how different types of birth are envisaged and what kinds of difficulties were encountered from birth through one’s life till the end and so on. Depending on the ‘Karma’ of a ‘Praani’, births are decided as ‘Udbhija’ (sprouted from Earth like grass, vegetables etc.), ‘Swedaja’ (Krumi, Keeta and Flies), ‘Andaja’ (Birds, Fish etc. born out of eggs) and ‘Jarayuja’ (Animals, human beings etc. born out of physical bodies). As a result of interaction of Pancha Bhutas viz. Earth, Fire, Water, Wind and Sky, ‘Anna’ or food gets materialised as six varieties viz. Bhakshya, Bhojya, Peya, lehya, Choshya and Khadya. Anna has twelve end results viz. Paaka( the cooked), Rasa (liquids), Mala or body reject, Rakta or blood, Roma (body hairs), ‘Maamsa’ or meat, kesha or head hairs, Snaayu or sinews, Mazza (marrow), haddi or bones, ‘Vasa’ and ‘Veerya’(sperm). The male Veerya and the female ‘Raza’ during the period of union would take an amorphous shape within five nights; within a month’s time are created neck, head, shoulders, back bone and stomach; within two months hands, feet, wrist, waist and the entire body; within three months body nerves; within four months fingers; within five months face, nose, ears; six months teeth gums and tongue; within seven months the terminal organs and within eight months the rest of the body’s other interior and exterior parts. The ‘Jeeva’feels locked in the mother’s womb and for the entire period of nine months going through such painful and hellish experiences by ‘Jatharagni’, blood, excreta etc.and craves for freedom to get out. The Jeeva possesses consciousness with the realisation of the Karmas of previous births and swears never ever to repeat the past sins.After delivery, the ‘Praani’ continues the journey of life through the phases of Baalya (Childhood), Kaumaara or the formative stage, the Youvana or the Youthful stage, Garhasthya, Vaanaprastha and finally Varthakya, but is engrossed in the pleasures and pains, the craving for education and wealth, livelihood,  fame, Samsara, and various ramifications of  the ‘Arishadvargas’. In the process a Praani is subjected to emotions, passions, sentiments, joys, sorrows, pains, fleeting experiences of happiness, contentment, mournings, distresses, and so on, some of which are of temporary nature and some of lasting impact. Among these phases of life, the Praani commits mistakes, indiscretions, and sins with or without awareness on the one hand and tasks of Dharmic nature, good deeds, charities etc.on the other.   
King Yayati enquired that in life human beings tended to commit several atrocities and as to what would be the end-results of such actions. Matali’s reply was that whenever a person criticised Vedas or Veda Sadachari (Exponent of Vedas) and ill treated the noble and the virtuous, he was stated to be a ‘Paataka’ or a Sinner. Those who abused parents, ill treated brothers and sisters and misbehaved with close relatives was also called a Paataka. When a Shraddha was performed by a person and if a brother in law or son in law staying nearby was not invited then that person was considered a Paataka. When several Brahmanas attended a function and favourtism were to be followed, then that person was called a Paataka. Those who resorted to Guru Ninda, ill treatment of the poor, the diseased, the elderly and the disabled were all called Paatakas. Fault-finding and talking lightheartedly in a hurting manner about women, friends, relatives and children is a pataka. Brahmana hatya, robbing gold, drinking wine, and keeping company with such sinners are stated to be ‘Maha Paatakas’. Accosting a poor Brahmana mendicant with a view to giving charity and turning him away on some pretext; taking in teasing or insulting manner to a poor but well read Vidwan; and seeking to converse with a Veda Pundit in a haughty manner to display one’s own knowledge and showing him down are all considered to be on par with Brahma-hatya Paatakas. If a person is thirsty and hungry and out of negligence or upmanship does not relieve that affected person that action is considered as a Maha Paataka. Seeking to usurp wealth / Bhumi / any other material or possessions rightfully belonging to others, especially women, disabled, children and ignorant / illiterate is considered as a blatant Brahma- Ghaati Paataka. Providing wrong evidences, hurting helpless animals, defacing or worse still destroying Temples, Religious Places, Tirthas, Public Utility places like water bodies, gardens, choultries etc. are all treated as Paatakas. Thieving other’s possessions like women, cows, land, jewellery, clothing, Dhanya, Karpura, Kasturi or other scented material is a Paataka too. Any ill-justified misbehaviour with women, children, helpless and the poor is also considered as Paataka; all Paatakas are richly deserving of retribution and payback.
Ten means of Punyas are stated to be Ahimsa (non-violence), Kshama (Forgiveness), Satya (Truthfulness), Lazza (Modesty), Shraddha (Patience), Indriya Samyam (Self-Control), Daan (Charity), Yagna (Sacred Rituals), Dhyaana (Meditation) and Gyan
(Knowledge). Eight types of main Charity are of Anna, Jala, Horse (Vahana), Cow, Vastra, Shayya (cot / bed), Sutha (Cotton / fibre), and Asana (Seat). Anna daana is stated to acount for half of all kinds of daana. Jala daan is of next best importance. Together, these two account for the best part of Daanaas. Among the Punyas, meditation and Gyan occupy pre-eminent position. The World of Devas is of ‘Vishwas’ or of faith, conviction and belief. Those who possess trust and devotion in Maha Deva Shiva by way of Dhyana, Kirtana, Bhajana, Prayer, Japa, Yoga, and such means of Approach to that Sat-Chit-Ananda, attain Shivaloka. Similarly, those who possess reliance and conviction in Chakradhari Narayana utilising the Vaishnava Approach by way of dedication, meditation, belief in Dualism of Bhagavan and a devotee and mutual equation between the two Entities have ‘Bhakti’ as the vehicle of drawing them together.
Shaivam cha Vaishnavam lokameka rupam Narotthama,
Dwayoschaapyantaram naasti Eka rupam Mahatmanoh/
Shivaaya Vishnu Rupaaya Vishnavey Shiva Rupiney,
Shivasya hridayey Vishnur Vishnosha hridaye Shivah/
Eka murthirstrayo Deva Brahma Vishnu Maheswarah,
Trayaanaamantaram naasti guna bhedah prakeertitah/
(O! Best of Men! Shri Shiva and Bhgavan Shri Vishnu are just the same and there is no difference in them; my greetings to Shri Vishnu rupa dhaari and Shri Shiva Rupa dhaari; Shri Vishnu’s heart is in the heart of Shri Shiva; The Three Entities of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are identical, excepting the emphasis of the Tri Gunas viz. Satva, Rajo and Tamo gunas.)





 





Om Tat Sat

(Continued)



(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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