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The Essence of Puranas – Varaha Purana -1

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The Essence of Puranas – Varaha Purana








1       Introduction

By assuming the incarnation of Varaha, Lord Vishnu salvaged Earth (Bhu Devi) from being sunk into the under-world of ‘Rasatala’ by the fierceful demon Hiranyakasipu. The Great Boar lifted up Earth by His ‘damshtra’ (Jaws) even as the demon was annihilated. Bhu Devi was stupified in bewilderment but after recovering from the shock, she was emboldened to pose a volley of queries to Varaha Deva as to how the entire Universe got dissolved, how the process of Creation was revived after each Kalpa, how ‘Dharma’ (Virtue) and ‘Adharma’ (Vice) were balanced and in which kind of extreme situations that Lord Vishnu would incarnate in various forms. Lord Varaha outlined Bhu Devi’s difficult queries in a brief manner.

2       The Origin of Creation

The Supernatural Power is indeed singular and eternal. Once this fundamental fact is recognised, explanations on the above queries would not be far to seek. At the commencement of Creation, the Supreme Energy created ‘Pancha Bhuthas’ (The Five Elements) of Air, Sky, Fire, Water and Earth; ‘Ahamkara’(Ego or the Sense of Self or Personality); the Maha Tatva ( The Great Element); Nature; the Collective and Individual Consciousness reflected in the ‘Tri-Gunas’ or Three Aspects or qualities of Behaviour viz. ‘Satva’ ( Pure as coloured white), ‘Rajas’ ( Passion as coloured red) and ‘Tamas’ (Ignorance as coloured dark) in varying permutations and combinations; the ‘Atman’ or ‘Kshetrajna’ (Soul) and ‘Prakriti’ or Maya (Illusion); the‘Tanmatras’ or the subtle forms of Matter as produced by the interaction of the Three Gunas; the ‘Pancha- Indriyas’ (Sense Organs) which are created by Tanmatras viz. Eyes, Ears, Nose, Tongue and Skin; the extensions of the Five Sense Organs or the ‘Jnanendriyas’( Cognitive) as perceived in the forms of Vision, Sound, Smell, Taste and Touch as also the further extensions viz. the ‘Karmendriyas’or the Active Expressions of Speaking, Grasping, Moving, Eliminating and Reproducing. (Together, the Jnanendriyas constitute the Entrance Doors of the Sense Organs and the Karmendriyas constitute the Exit Doors).

Before the conception of the basic canons of Creation as described above, the Supreme Force manifested as Lord Narayan-‘Nara’ meaning water and ‘ayan’denoting abode- who in turn created Earth. Together, Narayan and Earth produced an Egg and from the navel of the Lord, who was lying in yogic sleep, sprouted a lotus; on the top of the lotus stem appeared Lord Brahma who was asked to commence Creation. Lord Brahma could not succeed and out of anger and frustration appeared Lord Rudra who too entered water to perform penance. Brahma executed severe penace too and eventually attained the powers of Creation. He created Prajapathi from the left toe of his right foot and also created the latter’s consort from the right toe of his left foot. The copulative action of Prajapati and his consort had thus paved the way of ‘Srishti’ in a formal manner. Swayambhu Manu who was born from the Prajapathis had thus launched the creation in a regular manner.

While Creation was initiated at the end of each Kalpa, there were more of such steps in the Process. For instance, there were five kinds of ‘Avidyas’ (False Knowledge) produced by Lord Narayana viz. ‘Tamas’ (Darkness), ‘Moha’ (Attachment), ‘Maha Moha’ (Extreme attachment), ‘Tasmira’ (Jealousy) and ‘Andha Tasmira’ (Anger). Thereafter, there was the ‘Mukhya Sarga’ or the principal creation of immovable objects like mountains and trees. Also, there was ‘Thiryaksrota’ related to animals (quadruped);
the sixth creation was called ‘Satvik Sarga’or of Deities with Virtuous nature; the Seventh creation was called ‘Arvaaksrota Sarga’ related to human beings; the Eighth creation viz. ‘Anugraha Sarga’ pertaining to Sages and hermits and finally the ninth creation was of ‘Kaumara Sarga’ related to Eternal Adolescents like Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanat Kumara; then emerged the Ten Manasa Putras viz.Marichi, Angira, Atri, Pulah, Kratu, Pulasya, Pracheta, Bhrigu, Narad and Vasishtha. But, the foremost creation of Lord Rudra was as ‘Artha Nareeswara’; collectively there were Eleven Rudras, viz. Maha Deva, Shiva, Maha Rudra, Shankara, Neelalohita, Esana Rudra, Vijaya Rudra, Bheema Rudra, Deva Deva, Bhavodbhava and Adityatmika Sri Rudra; their corresponding consorts are Dhee Devi, Dhriti Devi, Ushna or Rasala Devi, Uma Devi, Neeyut Devi, Sarpi Devi, Ela Devi, Ambika Devi, Iravati Devi, Sudha Devi and Deeksha Devi.

3       Exemplary Devotion of Priyavrata, Ashvasira, Vasu and Raibhya (Pundarikaksha and Gadadhara Mantras included)

In the context of balancing the forces of Dharma and Adharma, instances of exemplary devotion displayed by Illustrious Kings and Sages through the ages were cited by Bhagavan Varaha to Prithvi. King Priyavrata, son of Swayambhu Manu, relinquished his Kingdom to his sons and Sage Narada visited his hermitage once.The Sage narrated his own interesting experiences. In one case, he passed by a lake in Swethadvipa and found a highly attractive and lonely damsel when he felt infatuated and lusty. Soon he discovered that she was Devi Savitri Herself- the embodiment of Virtue- and felt an unpardonable sense of shame for his sin. From Her body emerged three male figures, viz. the three Vedas of Rik, Yajur and Sama. However, Devi Savitri pardoned Narada’s momentary indiscretion and embarrassment and blessed him with his knowledge of past lives. In one of his earlier lives, Narada was a rich and virtuous youth in a Brahmin family, became a Scholar, donated lot of his wealth for several noble causes, performed pilgrimages, Sacrifices, penances etc; constantly recited ‘Om Namo Narayana’ and finally secured Lord Vishnu’s ‘Darshan’(Direct Appearance). But the Lord declined ‘Mukti’ (Eternal Bliss) to Narada as he was to play important roles through many births ahead till he became a Brahma Manasa Putra (Lord Brahma’s mind-born son).Exhorted by Narada, King Priyavrata decided to emulate the example of Narada through out his remaining life.
King Ashvasira was another example of a highly righteous and worthy devotee of Lord Vishnu who performed several donations, Sacrifices and an Aswamedha Yajna. Sage Kapila, accompanied by Sage Jaigishvya visited Ashvasira’s Court and the King received the Sages with great veneration and devotion. The King desired to know from the Sages as to how best he could attain ‘Sayujyam’ or oneness with Lord Vishnu. They replied that they were the Lord Vishnu themselves! The King replied politely that the Sages were indeed most revered and memorable no doubt but how could they claim to be Vishnu himself; for one thing the Supreme Lord is unique and singular! The Sages created a make believe situation by the help of illusion that they were Vishnu and His Carrier Garuda.They taught a lesson to the King that Lord Vishnu resided in each and every being and the Pure Soul in each object is as good as Lord Vishnu among all. The Sages had thus helped the King’s ‘Jnananethra’ or the Eye of Wisdom open up to witness that Lord Vishnu was all pervasive and Omni Present and that he should be able to witness Lord Vishnu all over! The King was apparently convinced, yet had raised a doubt that the Sages should please clear up: ‘who is able to realise Almighty?-a Knowledgeable person or a person who does his rightful deed or duty?’ In reply,the Sages Kapila and Jaigishvya narrated a story to the King that Sage Raibhya and King Vasu too sought a reply on a similar query from Deva Guru Brihaspati.The Guru explained that who ever would perform his duty with a sense of complete detachment would also have access to Salvation. To illustrate this, Deva Guru described an incident: There was a Brahmana, named Sanyaman, who was a descendent of Sage Atri. While he was taking bath in a river, he met a person named Nishthoor who was a fowler, killing birds and animals for his living.The Brahmana scolded the fowler for his evil deeds, but the latter did not show any signs of remorse; instead he justified the acts. He said that whoever sought salvation ought to keep in mind that the doer was God, the act was His own and the reason for doing the act too was God Himself-‘Karanam, Kaaranam and Kartha!’ The moment ego came to play while performing the act, the doer would be called cruel, but when he did it with perfect detachment and as a duty, then the situation would be different.Thus spoke Brihaspati that anybody could certainly aspire for salvation, be he a householder or a hermit or a seeker of knowledge.King Ashvasira was thus convinced about his doubts from the Sages Kapila and Jaigishvya, moved on to Naimisharanya for the rest of his life and in the course of several Yagnas that he conducted he found a sheet of effulgence approching him and got engulfed into Lord Vishnu finally.
King Vasu and Sage Raibhya were totally convinced by the preachings of Deva guru as mentioned above.The King renounced his kingship in favour of his son and left for Pushkar Teertha always reciting ‘Pundarikaksha Mantra.’
Pundarikaksha Mantra : ‘Namastey Pundarikaksha Namastey Madhusudana, Namasthey Sarva lokesha Namasthey Thigmachakriney, Vishvamurthi Mahabahum Varadam Sarvatejasam, Namami Pundarikaksham Vidyaavidyatmakam Vibhum, Adidevam Mahadevam Veda Vedangapaaragam, Gambhiram Sarva Devaanam Namami Madhusudanam, Vishva Murthi Maha Murthi Vidya Murthi Trimurthikam, Kavacham Sarva Devaanam Namasye Vaarijekshanam, Sahasrasirshinam Devam Sahasraaksham Mahabhujam, Jagat- samvyaapya Thishthanthim Namasye Parameswaram, Sharanya Sharanam Devam Vishnum Jishnum Sanatanam, Neelamegha pratikamsham Namasye Chakrapaaninam, Suddham Sarvagathim Nityam Vyomarupam Sanaatanam, Bhavaabhava Vinurmuktam Namasya Sarvagum Harim, Naanyat kinchit prapashyami Vyatiriktam thvada-Achuta, Tvanmayamcha prapashyami Sarvametatcharacharam’.
The Mantra means: ‘I greet Pundarikaksha, I greet Madhusudan, I greet ‘Sarva Lokesha’ or the Lord of all the Worlds, I greet ‘Tigmachakrinam’ or He who carries a fearful and glowing wheel; You are Visva Murthi, Maha bahu (mighty armed), Varadam (Giver of boons), Sarva Tejo Swarupa or All Radiant Figure, I greet Pundarikaksha, ‘Vidyaavidyatmikam’(The Embodiment of Learning and Ignorance alike), ‘Vibhum’or the Super Lord, ‘Adi Devam’ or the Original God; Maha Devam( The Greatest Deity), ‘Veda Vedanga Paaranam’ ( The Supreme Sourcer of Vedas and other Scriptures), ‘Gambhiram’( The Complex), ‘Sarva Devaanam’ ( All in one of Devas), I greet Madhusudanam ( Destroyer of The Demon Madhu), Viswa Murthim, Maha Murthim, Vidya Murthim, Tri Murthikam or The Union of Three Gods of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara; Kavacham Sarva Devanam or the Safeguard of all Devas, I greet ‘Varijekshanam’or He who is Lotus Eyed, ‘Sahsrasirsham Devam’ or He who has Thousand (countless) Heads, ‘Sahasraaksham’ or countless Eyes; ‘Maha Bhujam’ (Great Shoulders), ‘Jagasamvyapya’( All Pervasive); I greet ‘Parameswaram’, ( Supreme God); ‘Sharanyam Sharanam’ ( Protect me , hey Vishnu, Jishnu, Sanatanam or Omni Present, Omni Scient and Ageless), ‘Nilameghapratikasham’ or He who is likened to blue clouds, ‘Chakrapaninam’ or He who carries the famous and all powerful Sacred Wheel; ‘Suddham’ or Pure, Sarvagatam or All Present, ‘Nityam’ (Permanent), ‘Vyomarupam’ or Resembler of Sky; Bhavabhava nirmuktam (He who is devoid of materialistic feelings or otherwise); ‘Namaste Sarvagum Harim’or I greet Hari who is replete all over; ‘Naanyat kinchit Prapasyaami Vyatiriktam Twadaachyuta’ or I cannot visualise any thing else other than You Achyuta! You are all over the Universe comprising all movable and immobile objects!)’
While the King was chanting the Mantra, a blue human form emerged from the King’s body and conveyed that in an earlier birth he (Vasu) was a King too who killed a Brahmin in disguise as a deer and as a penance performed Eakadasi Vrathas, donated cows and many other austerities. But at the time of death uttered his wife’s name Narayani instead of the name of Narayan. In his next birth too, King Vasu was a King of Kashmir but then again he no doubt did Yagnas and many other virtuous deeds but not heeded to chant the name of Lord Vishnu; out of vengence the soul of the Brahmin in the form of the dead deer continued to haunt the King of Kashmir. Since in the current birth as King Vasu continued the chanting of the Pundarikaksha Mantra at Pushkar Teertha, not only the tormented soul of the Brahmin dead as a deer got relieved but the King Vasu got rid of the sin of killing a Brahmana and eventually reached Vishnu Loka.
Sage Raibhya decided to emulate the example of King Vasu in the quest of Salvation.He left for Gaya to perform the ‘Shraddh’ (Annual Ceremony) of his ancestors.One of Brahma Manasa Putras-Sanat Kumara was pleased with the ‘Shraddha’ or complete dedication with which the Sage Raibhya performed by the Ceremony. Sanat Kumara complimented the Sage and confirmed that visiting the Sacred Place of Gaya and performing ‘Pindapradan’ to the ancestors in a systematic manner ought to be considered as highly significant; what is more, Gaya is the the abode of Gadadhar Sri Hari Himself and the Ceremonies performed with sincerity and devotion to Gadadhar would yield immense results to the ‘Kartha’or the Performer and the ancestors of three generations as well. In this connection, Sanat Kumara gave the example of King Vishal who was greatly perturbed as he had no son and thus called for a Conference of Brahmanas to suggest a solution. The advice received was that the King was cursed by his ancestors and their souls were being tormented in the abscence of the Annual Ceremonies which were never performed in the past. Hence he should perform a Shraddha Ceremony at Gaya. During the course of the Ceremony, the King found three elderly Brahmanas and introduced themselves as the deceased of three generations viz. the Father, Grand Father and the Great Grand Father.Thus as a result of the success of the function performed at Gaya by the King, the souls of the deceased three generations were liberated. Sage Raibhya continued to stay at Gaya till the end of his life and prayed to Lord Gadadhar till he joined the league of Vaikuntha.The Gadadhara Mantra with the power of which Sage Raibhya was blessed to attain Vaikuntha is as follows:

(1) ‘Gadadharam Vibhudhajanaira- bheeshtitham dhrutakshamam kshuditha janaarthi nashanam, Shivam Visalaasurasainya mardanam, Namaamyaham hatasakalaasubham smruthou’ (I pray to Lord Gadadhara who is praised by all the Devas for the fulfillment of their desires; who is ever-kind to respond to the wails of human beings and demolish their needs; who is a lasting source of propitiousness as also a merciless destroyer of Demons and Evil Forces); (2) ‘Puranapurvam Purusham Purushottamam Puratanam Vimalaamalam Nrinam Gatim, Trivikramam Dhrutadharanim Bleham Gadadharam Rahasi Namami Kesavam’(I bow to Gadadhar Kesav who is Originless, Existent far before the Universe, Most Ancient, Pure, Spotless, Capable, Trend setter to Humanity, Trivikram, the Holder of Earth, and Appointer of Bali); (3) ‘Susuddha bhavam Vibhavirupavritam Shriyavrutam Vigataamalam Vichakshanam, Kshithiswarair- apagata kilbishaih Stutam Gadadharam Pranamati yah sukham vaset’( I implore Gadadharam who is charming, pure hearted, highly prosperous and flourishing, immaculate, featureless, scholarly, bright, sinless, Ever eulogized and blissful); (4) ‘Surasurairarchita pada pankajam Kaiyura haaraangada mouli dharinam, Abdhou Shananam cha rathanga paaninam’ ( I revere Him whose lotus-like feet are worshipped, wears hand-jewellery, necklace, body part adornments and headgear, relaxes comfortably on milk-ocean, and holds Sudarshan wheel and mace); (5) ‘Sitam kruthey Tretayugerunam Vibhum tatha Tritiye peetha varnamachyutam, Kalou Ghanaalipratimam Maheshwaram Gadadharam pranamati yah sukham vaseth’ ( I beseech the blessings of Maheswara Gadadhara who is happily coloured white in Kritha Yuga, crimson in Treta Yuga, yellow during Dwapara Yuga and cloud-like in Kali Yuga); (6) ‘Bijoddhvo yah Sujathey Chaturmukhastayaiva Narayana Rupathojagat, Prapaalayet Rudra vapurastathantakrut Gadadharo Jayatu Shadartrimurthiman’ (Victory to Gadadhara who assumed three forms of Lord Brahma born out of the former’s seed being responsible for the task of Creation, Lord Narayana being responsible for Administration and Lord Rudra for Universal destruction); (7) ‘Satva Rajaschiva Tamo Gunaastraya sthaveteshu naanyasya samudbhavah kila, sa chaika eva thrividho Gadadharo dadhatu dhairya mama Dharma mokshiyoh’; (There are Satva, Rajas and Tamo Gunas and beyond these three Gunas there are none else; Hey Gadadharo, kindly bestow me strength and courage to secure Dharma/ Virtuousness and Moksha / Salvation to obtain a proper mix of these Gunas);(8) ‘Samsara thoyarna vadum khatanthubhi viyogana kramakramanih subheeshanaih, Majjanthamujjaih sutaraam Mahaplavey Gadadharo mamu dadhaatu pothavat’; (May Gadadhar pull me up from the frightful Ocean of ‘Samsara’ and from the strong ropes of attachments like the body, family and constant fear of death); (9) ‘Swayam Trimurthih Svamivatmanaatmani Svashaktitah anda midam sasarjaha, thasmijjalothaasanam arya thejasam sasarja yasthah pranatosmi Bhudharam’ ( I salute Gadadhar as He holds Earth and the Trimurthis by His own might, created the Universe and the highly radiant Kamalaasan Brahma);(10) ‘Matsyadi namani jagatsu kevalam Suraadi samrakshanato Vrushakapih, Mukhya swarupena smanthato Vibhu Gadadharo me Vidudhaatu sadgatim’(May Incarnations of Gadadhar like Matsya meant only to protect Devas and the Virtuous be kind to lead me to Salvation!)

4       Overview of Lord Vishnu’s Incarnations

To one of the queries of Bhu Devi about the instances when Lord Vishnu assumed various forms as extreme situations were faced by the Universe, especially when injustice and evil forces reached a point of no return, the reply from Lord Varaha was quite positive. In an earlier case, Lord Vishnu assumed the form of ‘Matsya’ or a Giant Fish. As the Lord found in His Yoga Nidra at the time of ‘Pralay’ that The Four Vedas were being destroyed, He took the very first Incarnation to rescue the Sciptures. Even Dieties were frightened to find the collossal form of ‘Matsya’ and after the retrieval of the Vedas from the Ocean bed, euloguised and entreated the Lord to reduce the size of the Fish. On another occasion, Lord Vishnu assumed various other forms such as ‘Kurma’ (Tortoise) at the time of Ocean-churning to balance the Manthara Mountain by using the Great Serpent Vasu as the huge string as both ‘Devas’ and ‘Danavas’ toiled to fetch ‘Amrit’
(Ambrosia). On occasions following the ‘Varaha Avatar’, Lord Vishnu incarnated as ‘Narasimha Avatar’ (The Man-Lion form) to destroy Demon Hiranyaksha and save the highly dedicated devotee of Vishnu. The Lord assumed ‘Vamana Avatar’ (The Dwarf) to control the ambitions of King Bali and threw him down under the Sub-terranian world. In a conscious effort to obliterate the clan of ‘Kshatriyas’ or Rulers who oppressed and tormented the contemporary world and became tyrannical, Lord Vishnu incarnated as ‘Parasurama’ and vindicated Virtue against Vice. Bhagavan Vishnu incarnted as‘Shri Rama’ - a ‘Maryada Purusha’ or a Model Man of Dignity and Valour who established bench- marks to humanity and annihilated the clan of Demons in Lanka headed by Ravana who not only terrorised the world but trampled all limits of decency by abducting Lady Sita and performing endless acts of cruelty. In Dwapara Yuga, the most charismatic was the Avatar of Sri Krishna, the Central Figure of the momerable Epic Maha Bharata who declared: Yada Yadahi Dharmasya glanir bhavati Bharata! Abhyuthana madharmasya tadatmanam srijamyaham/ (As and when Virtue is trampled and Wickedness dominates, I incarnate myself to correct the balance); Paritranaya Sadhuunam vinasaayacha dushkrutam Dharma Samsthapanaardhaaya Sambhavaami Yuge Yuge/ (I make my presence felt in various Yugas to save the Virtuous and root out the Wicked). In the earlier phase of Kali Yuga, Lord Buddha was born to preach the triumph of Dharma (Virtue), Nyaya (Justice) and Ahimsa (Non- Violence) and popularised Buddhism as a powerful tool in the quest of Truth and Self-Realisation. The tenth incarnation of Lord Vishnu at the termination of Kali Yuga is to be that of Kalki Avatar brandishing a sword on a horse back to herald a New Age of Dharma.

5       Rituals of Shraddha (Amavasya Tarpana Mantra included)

Once Maharshi Markandeya visited Sage Gomukh in Naimsharanya and discussed matters related to Pitras and Rituals for venerating the deceased souls. First about the Pitras: While Lord Narayana is the Adi Guru and created Brahma, the latter created Sapta Rishis or Seven Sages (Brahma Manasa Puthras) and instructed them to worship him but instead they worshipped themselves and disobeyed Brahma’s oders. They were cursed that the knowledge acquired by them be forgotten. Eventually, the Seven Sages known as ‘Vimaniks’ procreated a number of sons. Pursuant to the death of the Seven Sages, the progeny performed Shraddhas by way of ‘Pindadaan’mantras to the deceased and the latter attained Swarga Loka. Of the Sapta Rishis, four of them such as Marichi were entitled to ‘Amrit’.The remaining three were not; some were sent to the Santanak Loka or Bhaswar Loka residents of which were ‘Amurthis’ or without Bodies ie. Chinmatra or Abhouthik category. Sages Sanatana, Kashyap, Vasu and so on belong to this classification. Some Pitras belong to another category viz. ‘Vairaj’, named after Prajapati Viraj and so on. [Sapta Rishis are stated to vary as per Manvantaras: The First Manvantara Group is mentioned as Marichi, Atri, Angirasa, Pulaha, Kratu, Pulasthya and Vasistha; in the Current Seventh Vaivasvata Manvantara, the Group is stated as Kashyapa, Atri, Vasishtha, Viswamitra, Gautami, Jamadagni and Bharadwaja]
Appropriate days for performing Kamya Shraddha include: the days when Uttarayan or Dakshinayan commence, during Solar/Lunar eclipses, if apprehended or experienced by evil influences of specific planet or constellation, when Sun changes its course from zodiac to another and so on. Days falling with Stars Anuradha, Visakha and Swati especially coinciding with Amavasya are considered auspicious.Similarly Shraddhas on Amavasya days coinciding with Stars of Pushya or Punarvasi are extremely auspicious to the ancestors and the Karthas (those who perform the Ceremonies). The third day of the bright half of Vaisakha month, the Ninth day of the bright half of Kartik, the thirteenth day of the dark half of Bhadrapad and Amavasya of Magha month are also commended for performing Kamya Shraddhas. Tarpana (Libation) to Pitras and Forefathers of three generations atleast constitutes as an essential component of Kamya Shraddha, besides physical and internal cleanliness.The Pitrugan keep expecting anxiously as to when would Rainy Season arrive in Makha Star, or when would Magha month’s Amavasya would come soon to quench the thirst of the departed souls! The Kartha ought to observe distinct mind, affordable charity, ample time and attention, devotion, Shraddha or Patience and dedication to satisfy the tormented souls!

[Amavaasya Tarpana Vidhaanam : Achamya….Punya tithou…preethyatham…Prayukta Punya kaaley Devarshi Pitruunuddhishya Devarshi Pithru Preethyartham Devarshi Pitru Tarpanam karishye (Ithi Samkalpya); Note: Recite ‘Tarpayami’ once at the end of each Mantra; twice or thrice as indicated in each category below; leave spoonful of water each time after saying Tarpayami:Brahmodayo ye Devah thaan Devagumstrapayami-Sarvaan Devaagumstrapayami- Sarvaan Devaganaagum strapayami-Sarvaan Deva patneestharpayami-Sarvaan Deva Putraagumstarpayami-Sarvaan Deva poutragumstarpayami-Bhuur Devaagumstarpayami-Bhuvardevaagumsturpayami-Suvardevaagumstarpayami-Bhurbhuvassuvardevaagum starpayami [ Now wear Yajnopaveetham as a Maala] Atha Krishna dwaipaya naadayo ye Rishaah: Thaan Risheegumstarpayami Tarpayaami (2)-Sarvaan Rishi ganaagumstarpayami Tarpayami (2)-Sarvah Rishi Patneestrapayami tarpayami (2)-Sarvaan Rishigum Putraamstarpayami tarpayami(2)-Sarvaan Risheegum Poutraamstarpayami Tarpayami (2)-Bhur Risheegum starpayami Tharpayami (2)-Bhuvar Risheegum starpayami Tarpayami (2)-Suvar Risheegumstarpayami Tarpayami(2)-Bhurbhuvassuvar Risheegum starpayami Tarpayami (2)-Kaandarshi Tarpanam:-Prajapatim Kaanda Rishim-Starpayami Tarpayami (2)-Somam Kaanda Rishim Tarpayami Tarpayami(2)-Agnim Kaanda Rishim Tarpayami Tharpayami (2) Sarvaan Devaan Kaanda Risheegum Tarpayami Tarpayami (2) Saagumhiteer devata Upanishada Tarpayami Tarpayani (2)-Yaajnikir Devataa Upanishada Tarpayami Tarpayami (2) Vaarunir Devata Upanishada Tarpayami Tarpayami (2)-Havyavaaham Tarpayami Tarpayami (2)-Viswaan Devaan Kandarsheegum Tarpayami Tarpayami (2)-Brahmaanagum Swayam Bhuvam Tarpayami Tarpayami (2)-Vanaspatim Tarpayami Tarpayami (2)
NOW Tarpanam to Pitarah (Note: Yagnopaveetam to be turned left as ‘Praacheenaaveeti)
Somah Pitruman Yamom Girasvanagnisshaatvaagni kavyavaahanaadayo ye thaan
Pitarah Pitruun SwadhanamastarpayamiSwadhanamastarpayami Swadhaanamastarpayami (3)
Punarvisvaan Devan
Kaandarsheegum -Do- -Do- -Do-
Arunaan Kaandarsheegum -Do- -Do- -Do-
Sarvaan Pitruugum -Do- -Do- -Do-
Sarvaan Pitruganaagum -Do- -Do- -Do-
Sarvah Pitru Patnee -Do- -Do- -Do-
Sarvaan Pitru Putraagum -Do- -Do- -Do-
Sarvaan Poutraagum -Do- -Do- -Do-
Bhuh Pitruugum -Do- -Do- -Do-
Bhuvah Pitruugum -Do- -Do- -Do-
Suvah Pitruugum -Do- -Do- -Do-
Bhurbhvassuvah Pitruugum -Do- -Do- -Do-
Anena Devarshi Pitru Tarpanena Bhagavan Sarvaatmakah Sri Parameswarah Preeyataam
Yetat Phalam Sri Parameswara arpanamasthu.
Pitru Tarpanam:
Achamya, Evam ….Preetyartham Pituh Pitruunaam Akshayya Punyalokaphala vaapartham Darsa Prayukta Maha Punya Kaley Thila Tarpanam karishye (Praacheenaa -veeti, Daksinaamukhah Savyam Jaanvaachya or facing South with left knee bent seated). While performing Tarpan Brahmanas recite ‘Sharmaanam’, Ksatriyas say ‘Varmaanam’ and Vysyas say ‘Guptam’).
The seriatim of the departed souls for the purpose of performing Tarpanam is as follows by taking care of those who are alive should not, repeat not, be included in the process as the list is only suggestive; The Tarpana Vidhanam or Procedure is to recite (A) the relationship of the Karta (Performer) to the Concerned Departed Soul, (B) His/Her Gotram, and (C) the Name of the Soul and then perform the Tarpanam three times by saying the Mantram thrice viz. Svadhanamaha Tarpayami.For example:
Pitaram-Haradasa Gothram-Narayana Murti Sharmanaam-Swadhaanamah Tarpayami (The last word to be uttered thrice and simultaneously tarpanam be left thrice as well)
Note: Tila or Sesame / Ginjelley seeds must be mixed with the water to be utilised for Tarpanam)
Pitaram-Father, Pitamaham- Grand Father, Prapitamaham-Great Grand Father, Mataram-Mother, Pitamahim- Father’s mother, Prapitamahim- Father’s Grand Mother, Sapnatimataram- Father’s another wife if applicable; if Karta (Performer) was adopted to another family then to his adopted parents viz. Janaka Pitaram and Janaka Mataram; Matamaham- Mother’s Father, Mathuh Pitamaham- Maternal Grand Father, Mathu Prapithamaham-Mother’s Great Grand Father, Matamahim- Mother’s Mother, Mathuh Pitamahim-Mother’s Grand Mother, Mathuh prapitamahim- Mother’s Great Grand Mother, Atma Patnim-Wife, Sutham- Sons, Bhrataram- Brothers, Pitravyam-Father’s Brothers, Mathulam- Maternal Uncles and their Wives, Duhitaram-Daughters, Bhagineem-Sisters, Dauhitram-Grand Sons, Bhagineyam- Nephews, Pitru Bhagineem- Father’s Sisters, Matru Bhagineem- Mother’s elder/younger Sisters, Jamatharam-Son in laws, Bhavukam- Brothers in laws and their wives, Snushaam-Daughter in law, Swasuram / Swasrum- Wife’s father/ mother, Syalakam-Wife’s brothers and their wives, Guru and Rikthinam- the Main Shop Keeper ( in fact ,wherever not mentioned tarpanam may be done as Sapatneekam or Sabhartreekam as the case may be, if the departed Souls are devoid of wives/husbands. As a round up-Evam Tarpanam kuryat: Echasrutkuley Jaata Aputhro gotrinomrutah, they gruhnanthu maya dattam sutra nishpeedanodakam
(May my Tarpanas be please accepted on behalf of those in our Vamsam, the Sagotras or those who died without sons by way of sqeezing water from my Yajnopaveeth; this Mantra be recited by wearing the Holy Thread as a mala or long necklace and be left in the Tarpana Plate)]

6       Regular Annual Shraddha 

Maharshi Markandeya emphasised to Sage Gomukha about the best suitability of Brahmanas to execute Shraddh. He quoted Brahma Putra Sanandana that Brahmanas who are experts in Mantras related to ‘Trinachiket’ (Adhrvyu Yajna), ‘Trimadhu’ (Madhuvvata) and ‘Trisuparna’ or expert in Vedic Dicsiplines like Siksha, Chhand, Vyakaran, Jyotish and Shat Vedanga as also in Vedas would please Brahma Himself! Contrarily, those Brahmanas who are cheaters of friends, crooked-hand nailed, black teethed, ignorant of Vedas and Agni, thieves, Gram yachaks or beggars, remarried, those who abandoned parents, or those who have not married according to their traditions be certainly disqualified to partake in Shraddhas. The Ceremony be performed by any of the close relatives of the deceased apart from a son, such as maternal nephew, grand son of daughter, father in law, son in law, maternal uncle, failing which a Tapasvi Brahmana. Scriptures had prescribed the number of Brahmins as odd numbers, say one, three, five etc.But the Shraddh involving deities be engaged in even numbers, unless however there is a limitation in obtaining the even number. In other words, atleast one Brahmin repesenting Devas and one repesenting Pitrugan might be in order. The Brahmins invited for the Ceremony be invited atleast one day ahead. While performing the Pitru Shraddh, especially involving Deities, it is mandatory to invoke Vaishva Deva. The invocation to Agni Deva is to be performed thrice with ‘Anna’ (Cooked Rice) by the Mantras: 1) ‘Agnaye Kavyahanaya Swaha’ 2) ‘Somaya Pitrumatey Swaha’ and 3) ‘Vaivasvataya Swaha’.Then, Brahmanas (Bhoktas) are welcomed formally by relevant Mantras by washing their feet and with the request of taking Food with Bhakshya (Special Recipes, Snacks and Sweets), Bhojya (Main Course with Vegetables, Dals, and Chutneys), Lehya (Preparations which are licked with tongue), Choshya (Items which are sucked) and Paniyas or a variety of drinks with ‘Mouna’ (Silence) and comfort. There after Shraddha- Karta is to be conveyed through Rakshodhana and other Mantras recited by the Brahmanas that Bhumi is cleansed by Tilas and that the Bhokta Brahmanas are of the form of Pitaras (the departed three generations) and Deities.Tarpanas are a part of the Ceremony in favour of those deceased as detailed above. One another significant ritual relates to Pinda Daan; ‘Pindas’ made of Cooked rice or Wheat Flour along with black Sesame (Tila) seeds and water, each rounded in equal size placed on Kusa all facing South are worshipped by Dhup, Deep and Naivedyas.The Pindas represent the forefathers of three generations, viz. Father, Grand Father and Great Grand Father; in case of Shradda for mother, the two other gerations would be father’s mother and father’s grand mother ‘Bali Vaishva Deva Rituals’ mark the end of Shraddha and ‘Prasad’ as the remains of what Bhoktas and other Brahmanas had eaten is consumed. The Kartha/s should not leave the Shraddha Ceremony at any point of time till the end nor get destracted. The Entire Ceremony as a composite and uninterrupted Sacred Duty and any infringement is considered as a wanton Sin. Not only are the Forefathers affected but more importantly the Kartha and the Brahmanas responsible for the success or otherwise of the Ceremony attract the blame or the benefit.
7       Origin of some Deities, specific days for worship and fruitful results

There lived a noble King during Satya Yuga by name Prajapal who met a Sage Mahatapa in the latter’s hermitage during a hunting session in a forest. During the meeting, the
King enquired about the prominence of specific Deities and their importance. The Sage underlined that all the Deities are of the manifestation of Lord Vishnu and the fruits of worship to each and every Deity belong to the Lord. Prajapal asked sage Mahatapa as to how various Deities like Agni, Ashvini Kumars, Gauri, Gajanan, Seshnag, Kartikeya, Aditya, Chandrama, Durga, Ashta Matrikas, Dishatey, Kuber, Vayu, Yama, Rudra, Dharma, Pitra Ganas etc.were created, what is the Sanjna (Number) and the Tithi.
8    Creation of Agni Deva, his several names and implication of worship
When Maha Vishnu created ‘Panchabhutas’9Five Elements) and Loka Pitamah Brahma and commanded the latter to initiate creation, Brahma could not do so and he was extermely confused and hence angry and the rage created thousands of flames called Agni who became extremely thirsty. When Agni asked Brahma as to how his thirst could be quenched, Brahma showed three types of satisfying it viz.sharing the ‘Dakshinas’ received by Devas and hence Agni was known as ‘Dakshinagni’; the second way of Agni’s thirst was by carrying the Havans (Homas and Yajnas) performed in the Trilokas (Three Worlds) in favour of various Deities as their ‘Vahan’, thus becoming Agni popular as ‘Havyavahan’; the third way is that since Agni is present in each ‘Griha’ or household, he is known as ‘Garhapatyagni’. Brahma further named Agni as ‘Vaisvanara’ as the latter provides the means of bestowing ‘Sadgati’ (Salvation) to the virtuous beings performing havans and other good deeds. Agni is ‘Jataveda’ or protector of both Known and Unknown material; ‘Naaraa Prashamsa’-‘Naar’or people, especially ‘Dwijas’or twice born Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vysyas do ‘Prashamsa’ or praise; Known as ‘Dravinoda’as Agni provides money power. The other popular names accorded by Brahma to Agni are ‘Tanunpath’ (Agni protects Sharir/Asharir), ‘Prapurna’ (full of everything) and many other names. Agni desired to Brahma to designate a day of each Month so that all concerned would perform worship to Him. Since this was a unique request made by any Deity for the first time, Brahma confirmed Pratipada as a day of significance for Agni. Brahma blessed Agni that Pratipada be popularised among all the Lokas and worship to Agni by way of fasting (Upavas) or at the most by taking milk would quality a devotee to acquire prosperity and Tejas (radiance) during the current birth and to secure Kingship in the next birth and certainly please the Pitru Loka.

9    Origin of Aswini Kumars and their worship on ‘Dviteeya’ (Narayana Mantra included)
Sage Mahatapa explained to Prajapal how Aswini Kumars were born. Marichi was Brahma’s son and Kashyap was the son of Marichi. Kashyap and Aditi begot Twelve ‘Adityas’ (Suns). [According to Vishnupurana the Adityas were Amsa, Aryaman, Bhaga, Dhuti, Mitra, Pusan, Sakra, Savitur, Twastha, Varuna, Vishnu/Vamana, Vaivaswat; Martand too was known as one of these, but Aditi appeared to have disowned him?] Martand wedded Viswakarma’s daughter Sangya and begot two children-Yama and Yami. Sangya was unable to bear the extreme heat of Martand, thus created her shadow counterpart with instructions to serve her husband in all ways and left for a place known as Uttarkuru. Eventually Martand came to know the truth, discovered her in the form of a mare, married her and gave birth to two Aswini Kumars! Martand instructed the sons to dedicate themselves in the worship of Narayana and after severe ‘Tapasya’by incessantly uttering ‘Narayana Mantra’ which was taught by Martand, Prajapati Narayan was finally pleased to appear Himself before them. When King Prajapal desired to learn the Mantra from the Sage Mahatapa, the latter obliged and recited it.
The Text of the Narayana Mantra is as follows:
‘Namastey Nishkriya Nishprapancha Nirashraya Nirapeksha, Niralamba Nirguna Niraloka Niradhara Nirjara Nirakara-Brahman Maha Brahman Brahmanapriya Purusha Maha Puroshottama-Deva Maha Devottam Sthano Sthitasthapaka, Bhuta Maha Bhuta Bhutadhipati Yaksha Maha Yaksha Yakshadhipatey-Griha Maha Grihatipatey Sowmya Maha Sowmya Sowmyadhipathey, Pakshi Mahapakshapathey Ditya Maha Dityadhi pathey-Rudra Maha Rudradhipathey Vishnu Maha Vishnupathey, Parameswara Narayana Prajapathaye Namah-Evam Stuthastada Thabhyama Sivabhyam sa Prajapathih, Thrutosha Paramapreetya Vakyamcheda mukhavachah-Varam Varayatham Sheeghram Daivaih Paramadurlabham, yena me varadaaney charathastridivam Sukham’.
Aswini Kumars had ‘Darshan’of Narayana and were blessed with boons of securing portions of Yajna, the authority of obtaining Amrit along with Devas, handsome figures, radiance and knowledge of medicine. As the Aswini Kumars are two in number, Brahma designated the second day of month or ‘Dviteeya’as the day of worship to them. Whoever reads or hears the story of Asvini Kumars and recites Narayana Matra would be blessed with noble sons and be relieved of sins.

10    Significance of Triteeya as the day of worship to Devi Gauri /Devi Parvati (Rudra Stuti included)
Brahma created Lord Rudra and instructed Him to organise Creation, but Rudra being extremely spiritual executed penance. Meanwhile Devi Gauri was born to Daksha Prajapati and was known as Dakshayani. Rudra got disturbed in His ‘Tapasya’ as Daksha initiated one Yagna which was supported by Lord Vishnu. There was an altercation between Rudra and Vishnu but Brahma intervened as both of them were imperative in the context of Universal Existence and thus declared that both Hari and Hara would be equally crucial. To appease Rudra, Brahma offered a major portion of ‘Havis’ or the oblations to Agni for distribution to various Devas who sought to cool down Rudra by extolling Him:
Rudra Stuti:

‘ Bhaganetra haram Devam Pushno danta vinasanam,
Stutim kuruth ma Seeghram Geetyirethesthu Namami
Namo Vishama netraya Nameste Triambakayacha,
Namah Sahsara netraya Namasthe Suulipaanine-
Namah Khatvanga hasthaaya Dandabhrutey kare,
Tvam Deva Hutabhungjwala kotibhanu samaprabahah-
Adarshaneyat Deva Mridavijnanatodhuna,
Krutamasmabhirevesha Thadatra kshayataam Prabho-
Namah Trinetrayatriharaya Shambho,
Trisulapaney Vikritasya rupa-
Samasta Deveswara Suddha bhava,
Praseeda Rudrachyuta Sarvabhava-
Pushnosya Dantatmaka Bhima rupa Pralambabhogindra lulinthakanthah,
Vishala Dehachyuta Neelakantha Praseeda Visweswara Viswamurthih-
Bhagakshi Samsphotana Dakshakarma,
Grihanabhagam muhatah pradhanam,
Praseeda Deveshvara Neela kantha Prapahinah Sarvagunopapannah-
Sitangaraga pratipanna murthyem Kapaladhaarim Tripuraghna Deva,
Prapahinah Sarva Bhayashu chaiva Umapathey Pushakaranala janma-
Pashyamte Dehagatan Suresh Sargadayo Vedavaraanananta,
Saangaan Savidhyan Sapadakramancha Sarvaan Nileenaamsthvayi Deva Deva-
Bhava Sarva Mahadeva Pinaakin Rudra the Hara,
Natah sma Sarvam Viswesa Aaahinah Parameswara’.

Rudra was pleased with Devas who prevailed on Rudra to wed Devi Gauri eventually. As time passed on, Daksha Prajapati planned another Yagna but did not invite either his daughter or Rudra who ought to have occupied the Prime Seat being eligible for the major portion of the ‘Havis’! More than Rudra who was immune from such lapses as not inviting Him, Devi Gauri felt insulted and despite Rudra’s protests attended her father’s Yagna Ceremony uninvited. Daksha was not only cool at his daughter but started abusing Rudra; she could not control Herself and immolated Her life in Yoga Agni. As a sequel to this most unfortunate development, Rudra created Veerabhadra, got the ‘Daksha Yagna’ devastated and severed the head of Daksha. Later on, Rudra was reconciled and as Devas sincerely entreated to forgive Daksha in the interest of Universal Governance as he was Prajapati, revived the latter by refixing the head of the Goat meant for Sacrifice at the Yagna. As time rolled on, Devi Parvati was born to the King of Himalayas viz. Himavanth and since Her childhood yearned to wed Lord Siva. A powerful ‘Asura’ (Demon) named Tarakasura secured boons from Brahma that none in the Universe could kill him except Lord Siva’s son, presumably since Lord Siva would never marry, especially after the Daksha incident of Devi Gauri. Brahma and Vishnu accompanied by all the Devas and related Deities approached Lord Siva to marry but Maha Deva was in Tapasya. Devi Parvati in Her firm resolve to wed Siva approached Him to perform services like timely provision of flowers and such other material such as fruits, Dhoop and ‘Arthi’ (Light) to Siva for enabling worship by Himself to the Supreme Power. Devas utilised the services of ‘Mammadha’-son of Lord Narayana- and his wife Devi Sati to somehow draw Siva’s attention to Devi Parvati and change Siva’s attitude in favour of Devi Parvati and pave the way for their wedding so that Siva would beget a son who could kill the Demon Tarakasura.But unfortunately the desires of Devi Parvati, Devas and indeed the whole world misfired and Siva opened His third eye to punish Manmadha by converting him as Ashes! As time passed, Lord Siva married Devi Parvati and was blessed with Son, Lord Subrahmanya who annihilated Takasura the dreaded Demon. Since the birth and wedding of Devi Gauri as also of Devi Parvati coincided on the Thriteeya day of a month, Lord Brahma declared that this day is worthy of special worship and austerity to Devi Gauri / Devi Parvati. Both men and women ought to avoid consumption of salt or salted material and those who observe this practice would certainly become prosperous, healthy and famous.
11    Birth of Gajanana, Priority Invocation and adoration on Chaturthi (Ganesha Vrata Vidhana included)
As Devas faced a strange problem of recurring failures as and when they take up a fresh assignment whereas Demons seemed to be going ahead with novel operations, they approached Lord Siva and Devi Parvati to provide a solution. In reply Bhagavan Siva started thinking that among the Panchabhutas (Five Elements), there was an identifiable personification of a Deity among Prithvi (Earth), Varun (Water), Tejas (Fire) and Vayu
(Wind God), but how was it that ‘Akash’ (Sky) did not have? By so thinking Lord Siva laughed loudly and Devi Parvati could guess by her Jnana Shakti (Power of Knowledge) what Bhagavan was laughing boisterously about. From that energetic hilarity with an open mouth emerged a replica of Siva who was strong, handsome and powerful whom Devi Parvati kept gazing and got mesmerised. Lord Siva got annoyed by the instant reaction of Devi Parvati, became jealous of the Super Boy and infact got angry and cursed him saying that he would possess an elephant face, disproportionate belly and serpented Yagnopaveeth (Holy Thread).Siva was still angry and from His body hair roots kept on multiplying innumerable Vinayaks resembling the original and Lord Brahma flew over the Sky and as ‘Akashvani’( a loud announcement from the Sky) declared that Devas should be grateful to Lord Siva to have provided the solution to the problem posed by them and that the various forms of Vinayak which got materialised would indeed ensure that as and when Devas ( and human beings) initiated a task they should invoke the blessings of Vinayak foremost. As the announcement from Brahma was heard, Siva was by then cooled down and addressed Vinayaka endearingly; Ganesh Puja:
‘Vinayako Vighnakaro Gajasyo Ganesha naamaacha Bhavasya Putrah, Yethecha Sarvam thava yanthu Bhruthya Vinayakayaah Kruura drishtah Prachandah-Vucchushma daanaadi vuvruddhva dehaha Karyeshu siddhim prati paadayanthah, Bhavaamsva Deveshu thadha makeshu kaaryashu chanteshu Mahanubhavat-Agreshu Pujam Labhatenyatha cha Vinashayishyastatha kaarya siddhim’ ( Hey Putra! Vinayaka, Vighnakara, Gajavadana, Ganesha, Shankara Putra; all these cruel-eyed, harsh and angry Vinayaks will be your servants; those who are desirous of giving well earned materials as ‘daanas’ or alms be provided with Siddhis or boons. At Yajnas or various Propitious Tasks, all the devotees shall be provided the highest veneration, lest their tasks or worships be discounted’).
As Devas performed ‘Abhishek’ (Sacred Bath to Ganesha, they extolled him as follows:
‘ Namasthe Gajavaktraya Namasthe Gananayaka, Viyayaka Namastestu Namaste Chanda Vikrama-Namastestu tey Vighna kartha Namaste Sarpa Mekhala Namaste Rudra Vaktrotha Pralambajatharaasrita- Sarva Deva Namaskaaradavighnam kuru Sarvada (‘We greet you Gajavadan, Gananayak, Prachanda Vikram, Vighna kartha, Naga bhushana, Rudra Mukha Utpanna, Lambodhara, Avighna Karak, Kalyan Pradata ; Sarva devas are greeting you, Kindy ensure that we enjoy Avighnam always). Since Ganapati was born on Chaturthi, this day of each month is worthy of His worship; but Bhadrapada Sukla Paksha Chaturdhi is the most auspicious day for a fulfledged worship with ‘Shodasa Upacharas’ or Sixteen Services of Avahana ( Welcome), Asana ( Seating), Padyam ( water for washing feet), Arghya (water for sipping), Snana or body wash, Gandham (Sandal wood paste), Dhupam (Incense), Deepam ( offering lights), Naivedyam ( Food and Fruits) Tambula ( betel leaves and nuts), Paneeya (coconut water), Vastram (clothing), Alankaram ( Decoration), Abharanam (Jewellery), Stotram (Extolling) and ‘Arati’ (Camphor lighting)
12    Adulation of ‘Nag Devatas’ on every ‘Panchami’ day
Before Sage Mahatapa’s explanation to King Prajapal about the significance of Panchami Puja every month, he first narrated the origin of the Serpents. In Lord Brahma’s creation, Sage Marichi gave birth to Kashyap and the latter’s wife Kadru begot mighty sons like Ananth Nag, Vasuki, Kambal, Karkotak, Padma, Maha Padma, Shankh, Kulik, and Aparajit. No doubt some of these serpents were illustrious and were utilised for Deva Karyas (or tasks entrusted to them by Devas) like Vasuki used for churning the Ocean to secure Amrit, Sesha Nag underneath Lord Narayana as his bed and a few more exceptions, but by virtue of their nature and nurture, the majority of the race of serpents was ferocious, vengeful and crooked utilising their natural tendency of producing poison most of which being ued for killings. In fact some of the notorious leaders of serpents as mentioned above kill for kicks, some out of spite and some for self-defence. Lord Brahma was approached by Devas and Great Sages that the untimely, indiscriminate and defenceless deaths especially among human beings were very frequent, unprovoked and unnatural. Lord Brahma called for a large gathering of Serpents and threatened them for dire consequences and warned them severly; He commanded them to migrate to their abodes permanently to the lower regions of the Universe like Rasatala, Patala and so on. He threatened them that if they did not mend their ways, He would have the immoral serpents exterminated in the ensuing Vaivasvata Manvantara and encourage ‘Sarpa Yagnas’ as King Janamejaya would indeed execute when only the virtuous ones might manage to survive.In response to the warning by Brahma, most of the venomous serpents did migrate to the lower regions, barring a very few still moving surreptitiously causing sporadic incidents of poisonous killings.Brahma advised the serpents as a race to refrain from the areas where herbs, medicinal plants and Kites fly on the Sky which have a powerful eyesight from far off distances. Unfortunately, even the well meaning serpents of non-poisonous type are hunted out and killed by human beings. But those remaining type are venerated especially girls desirous of marrying good husbands and women craving for children by providing milk and eats. Come Naga Panchami, especially in the week following Deepavali celebrations, women observe fast and refrain from eating sour and milk praparations of food in several parts of Bharat till date.
13    Kartikeya’s worship on ‘Shasthi’ and its auspiciousness
ched Maha Deva Siva for a quick solution. It was realised that in the union of Siva and Devi Parvati, an unknown power was created called ‘Ahamkar’ a Personality Ego or Self-Image. It was this ‘Ahamkar’ which was personified and created as Lord Kartikeya. Maha Deva declared that Kumar would be the best choice for the position of Deva Senapati or the Commander-in-Chief of the Deities. He was named after ‘Krittikas’ who fed the boy with their breast-milk. Infact, as Sage Mahatapa explained to King Prajapaal, Krittikas, Agni, other Matru Gana, and Devi Parvati, aside from, of course, Maha Deva the Principal Cause and the ‘Ahankar’ were all responsible for the Genesis of Kartikeya. [‘Krittikas’ were the the Six wives of Sapta Rishis-named the Pleides or the Nymphs in modern Astronomy; when Lord Siva and Devi Parvati were enjoying conjugal happiness at Kailasa, all the Devas, Brahma and Vishnu sought an emergency audience with Lord Siva who in a hurry spilt his semen on the ground and Agni Deva transformed as a pigeon pecked up the drops but could not bear the inflammation. Maha Deva Himself advised the pigeon to inject the drops into a woman of unparalelled virtue. Agni identified Six Women-supposed to be the Six wives of Sapta Rishis- and injected the drops into the pores of hairs of their body; the Six women too could not bear the extreme effervescence and relocated the drops into the violent flow of River Ganges which in turn carried to the bushes of the reed (Sarkanda) and there appeared a boy of mysterious magnificence. Devi Parvati came to learn of the incident and cursed all the Devas who disturbed Her privacy with Siva and cursed their wives to become barren. Sage Visvamitra appeared at the bushes and named the boy as
Guha and bestowed him the totality of Vedic Knowledge and the title Brahmarshi; the Six Krittikas tried to breast feed and the boy solved the problem by assuming six heads and mouths and is called Shanmukha.]

Lord Siva gifted Kumar two significant ‘toys’ to play with, one a live ‘Kukkut’( rooster) and branch of Tree as also a play mate named ‘Visakha’. All the Devas who present congratulated Kumar and commended (‘Stuti’) him as follows:

‘Bhavasva Deva Senani Maheswarastuta Prabho
Shanmukha Kanda Visvesha kukkutadwaja Paavake-
Kampitare Kumaresha Skanda Balagrahnuga
Jitaare Krounchavidhvamsa Krittikasuta Matruja-
Bhutagrahapati sreshtha Paavaki Priya Darshana,
Maha Bhutapateh Putra Trilochana Namostutey-
Yvam Stutastada Devaihi vavardha Bhavanandanah,
Dwadasaadithya samkaso vabhuvaadhuta Darshanah
Trilokyamapi tattejasthaapayamaasa Parthiva!’

The birth of Kartikeya at the Krittika Star on the Sixth day of the bright fortnight of Margasira month (Krittika Nakshatra of Shashthi Tithi of Suddha Paksha of Margasirsha Month) brought relief to the Universe, immense joy to the Siva Couple, sense of liberation to all Devas who were indeed the direct beneficiaries since Brahma’s boon was that only Siva’s son could terminate the Demon Tarakasura and finally great fear and apprehension to Tarakasura and followers! Brahma had formally declared Shashthi of every month would be a day of austerity and fast only with ‘Phalaahar’ or fruits as food. Those who are deviod of sons, prosperity and status ought to observe the fast and recite the above Karikeya Stuti for instant results.
14    Devotion to ‘Surya’ on ‘Saptamis’ (Text of Adithya Hridayam included)
The unparalelled and ageless Jnana Shakti of the Supreme Energy is but a token sign on the Sky in the form of Surya’s everlasting luminosity and heat, constantly reminding human beings of the wonder of Creation. The unique radiance of Surya on the Sky providing fleeting glimpses of ‘Mahan Atma’ is named Ravi. Surya is also called Bhaskar or Prabhakar. As he is visible during daytime, Surya is called Diwakar. Since He is the known Deity from the beginning, one calls Him Aditya. Although the presence of Surya was a matter of immense happiness initially, Devas started to feel the excessive illumination and heat and as such prayed to Him to tone down these to bearable levels;They said that He was too sizzling and literally burning Devalokas; the glow emerging from the Chariot is too dazzling to look at; that He was always invited to share the oblations of Ghee ( Classified butter) in Yagnas and they were grateful to do so; but He must become far less blistering and radiant to limits of tolerance and that they would sincerely beseech Him to do so. Sun God responded to the requests of Devas and since that day of ‘Saptami’ became visible at Prithvi also initially.Those human beings on Earth sincerely worship Surya Deva along with recitation of ‘Aditya Hridayam’ on this day would certainly have their desires fulfilled.

Aditya Hridayam:
‘ Thato Yuddha parishrantham Samare chinmayaasthitham,
Raavanam chaagratho dhrushtva Yuddhaya Samupasthitham /
Daivathescha samaagamya drashtumaabhayagato ranam,
Upagamya braveedrama magastyo Bhagavan Rishih/
Raama Raama mahabaho, Shrunu Guhyam Sanaathanam,
Ena sarvaanareenvathsa Samere vijayashasi.
Aditya Hridayam Punyam Sarva Shathru vinaasanam,
Jayaavaham Japennithyam akshayyam pramam Shivam /
Sarva Mangala maanganglyam sarva paapa pranasanam
chintashoka prashamana mayurvardhhana muttamam /
Rashmimantham Samudyantam Devasura Namaskrutam,
Pujayaswa vivaswantham Bhaaskaram Bhuvaneshwaram/
Sarva Vedaanthako heysshas Tejasvi rasmibhaavanah
yesha Devaassura gananlokan paathi gabhastibhih /
Esha Brahmecha Vishnuscha Shiva Skanda Prajapathih,
Mahendro Dhanadah Kaalo Yama Somohyapaampathim/
Pitaro Vasavassaadhya Hyashvino marutomaruh,
Vaayurvahnih Prajaaprana ritukartha Prabhakarah/
Aaditya Savithassuryah khagah pushaa Gabhastiman,
Suvarna sadruso Bhaanuh vishva retha Divaakarah/
Hardasyva ssahasararchi Sapta Saptir Marichiman /
Timironmadhana Shambhustwasthta Martandam Anushman/
Hiranyagarbhas sisirahstapano Bhaskaro Ravih,
Agnigarbhodite putrah sankhassisira naashanah/
Vyomanathahstamo bhedi Rig yajur Saama paaragah
Ghanavrishtirapam mitro vindhya Veedheeh plavangamaha/
Aatapee mandalir mrutyur pingalah sarva thaapanah,
Kavirvisvo Maha Tejah rakta sarva ssabodbhavah/
Nakshatragana Taaraana madhipo Viswa bhaavana,
Tejasamapi Tejasvi Dwadashatma namosthutey/
Namah purvaya giraye paschimaadrayenamah,
Jyotiragaanam dinadhi pathaye namah/
Jayaya Jaya Bhadraya Haryasvaya namonamah,
Namo namassahasramso Adityaya nomonamah/
Namah Ugraya Veeraya Saarangaya namonamah,
Namah Padma Prabhodaya Marthaandaya namah /
Brahmeshanaachuteshaya Suryaadithya varchase,
Bhaaswate Sarva bhakshaya Roudraya Vapushe namah /
Tamoghnaya Himaghnaya Shatrughnaya amithatmanye
Krithaghna hanyaya Devaya Jyotishampathaye namah/
Taptachaamika rabhyaya Haraye Vishvakarmane,
Namasthamobhignaya Ruchaye Loka Saakshiney/
Naasayatyesha vibhutam tha Deva srujatih Prabhuh,
Payatyesha Tapatyesha varshatyesha gabhasitih/
Esha Supteshu Jaagarti Bhuteshu parinishthithah,
Esha evagnihothramcha phalam chaivagnihotrinam/
Vedantha kratavaschiva Kratuunam Phalamevacha,
Yani krutyani lokeshu Sarva esha Ravi Prabhuh/
Yena maapathsyu krushcheshu kanthareshu bhayeshucha,
kirthayan Purusha kaschinnavaseedhati Raghava/
Pujasvinamekagro Deva Devam Jagatpatim,
ethah Trigunitham jatva Yuddesh vijaishyasi/
Asmin kshane Maha Baaho Ravanam twam Vadhishyasi,
Evamuktwa Agasthyo jagam yadhagatham/
Edhat srutwa Maha Teja nashta shoka abhavat tada,
Dharayamasa Suptreetho Raghava prayathtmaavan/
Adithya preksha japtwa thu pavan Harsha mavaptavaan,
Thriraachamya Suchirbhuthva dhanuraadhaaya Viryavan/
Ravanam preshya hrushtatma yuddhaya samupagamat,
Sarva yathnena Mahata vadhetasya dhruto bhavat/
Adhaaraveera vadha nireekshya Ramam, Muditamana paramam prahurshyamana/ Nisicharapathi Samakshyam vidhitwa, Suragana madhyo vachaswarethi/

(A meditatve Lord Rama was about to commence the battle with Ravana and an all-knowing Sage Agasthya who joined Gods to witness the Great Battle assured that the victory would indeed be Lord Rama’s for sure!
This Sacred Hymn ‘Adithya Hridayam’ dedicated to Sun God is highly propitious, extinguishes all enemies, ushers Glorious Victory and is worthy of reciting always ensuring eternal bliss.This Holy Prayer is a guarantee to achieve Prosperity; destroys sins, anxieties and wavering thoughts as also secures long life with contentment. We pray to Sun God as He has fully risen on the sky and is revered by Devas for the high splendour providing to the entire Universe.He embodies the totality of Celestial Deities and is self-radiant nourished by His own rays and heat, energising the whole world with its inhabitants including all the Objects of God’s creation. He is Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, Skanda, Prajapathi, Mahendra, Kubera, Kala, Soma, and Varuna. He is Pitras, Vasus, Sadhyas, Asvini Kumars (Physicians of Gods), Marud Ganas responsible for breeze, Manu, Vayu, Agni, Prana, the Season Maker and Prabhakara, the Provider of radiance. He is the son of Aditi, Savitha, Surya, Traversor of Sky, the Energy to perform various things, the cause for rains, the One to create shining Golden rays and the Maker of the Day. He has propitiously green horses, emits innumerable rays, rides seven horses, dispels darkness, destroys life, enables rebirth and provides unending effulgence. He is the Sourcer of Gold, imparts coolness, provides heat, causes illumination, has fire within, praised by one and all, melts off snow and enjoys sky-wide rides. He is the Lord of the Sky; Master of Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas; cause of heavy rains, friend of water and rapid traveller over Vindhya Mountains. He originates heat, causes death, provides shape to the Universe, assumes colour of gold, heats up everything, connoisseur of knowledge, loved universally, Manager of the Universe and Great Organiser. Our Salutations to Him who has Twelve Forms, is the Chief of Stars, Planets and Zodiac and the Great Illuminator. Our reverences to Him who rises from the East and sinks in the West, the Master of Jyotirganas, the Sovereign of the Days and the Lord of Objects that shines. Our veneration to Him the embodiment and basis of Victories and Eternal Rider of the memorable Green Horses, the immortal personality of Thousand Rays and the Illustrious Son of Aditi Devi. Greetings to Him, who is a terror to the Vicious, a hero to the admirers, a prompt and fast voyager of the Sky, an efficient opener of Lotus and an efficient Energiser of lives. Our worship to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as also Surya who is blessed with Aditi; He is ever shining, consumes everything and has a formidable form of Rudra! He destroys darkness, snow and enemies; has a huge body, devastates the ungrateful and the Lord of everything that shines. Our Salutations to Him who is yellow like molten gold, has the form of Fire, is the Creator of the World and the demolisher of ignorance; He endears one and all, and the ready witness to all! This God facilitates everything to grow and also demolishes; with His powerful rays, He generates extreme heat and also causes heavy rains! He is awake and active when everybody is fast asleep without even our knowing about it; He is the Fire Sacrifice Himself and also the one who performs the Sacrifice too. All the pious tasks carried on in the Universe related to Vedas, Yagnas and Yagas are Lord Surya Himself. Hey Raghava, any one who recites this Hymn in praise of Adithya in times of danger or suffering or in wild forests, and in times of fear shall indeed cross over the problems for sure. Do worship this Lord of the Universe with single minded devotion and faith thrice and indeed the Victory shall be yours. Sri Rama, the Her of Heros, you shall annihilate the Demon Ravana in a second, thus said Sage Agasthya and left his way. On hearing this, Lord Rama became free from any sorrow and prepared Himself to execute the Prayer with utmost devotion; He cleaned Himself, did ‘Achamana’thrice, lifted the bow towards Sun God and was excited with happiness to commence the Battle. He faced Ravana with the firm resolve to destroy the Demon. The Lord of Skies Bhagavan Adithya, along a bevy of Gods, blessed Rama to kill the Demon forthwith.]
15    Manifestations of ‘Ashta Matrikas’ and worship on ‘Ashtami’
The entire Universe was upset by the wickedness and glaring transgression of morals by the uninterrupted evils displayed by Demon Andhakasura [Siva Purana states that Devi Parvati was playful with Maha Deva by closing His eyes tightly and from the Lord’s perspiration on His forehead a boy of muscular strength was created.]Eventually Andhakasura became the Unconquered King of the Lower Regions like Patala and tormented the entire Universe. After a series of battles were won with Devas who were driven away from the Heaven, Indra approached Brahma and Vishnu who too were ineffective to conquer the Demon as he was fortified with the boons of Brahma. They had finally approached Maha Deva and to His utter surprise He too could not conquer him as each time Maha Deva applied His trident against the Demon, blood streams of the Demon’s body created endless number of Andhakasuras with each drop of his blood. Lord Rudra became so infuriated that from His face produced a mighty conflagration or an inferno-like flame viz. the Yogishwari Shakti. Vishnu too created a highly powerful Shakti named Devi Vaishnavi and other Deities followed suit by creating their Shakti counter-parts viz. Brahmi from Brahma, Kaumari from Kartikeya, Mahendri from Indra, Yami or Poushunyam from Yama, Varahi from Varaha Deva and Maheswari from Narayana. The Eight Matrikas represented the Eight Mind born Enemies viz. Kama or Desire from Yogeswari, Krodha or fury from Maheswari, lobha or avarice from Vaishnavi, Mada or Ego from Brahmani, Moha or infatuation from Kaumari, Poushunya or wickedness from Yamadharani, Matsarya from Indrani and Jealousy from Varahi. The blood streams from Andhaka’s body got dried up by the Matrikas; the Rakshasa Maya or the illusion created by the Demon was terminated and Andhaka too got exterminated. The combined strengh of Marikas is an exraordinary might of Eight Shaktis providing security and propitiousness to devotees and Lord Brahma declared ‘Ashtami Thithi’ in the Monthly Calendar. Those who observe this particular day with fast by eating ‘Bel patra’ with devotion are blessed with excellent health, well being and contentment.

16    Devi Durga’s carnage of Vetrasur and Her ‘puja’ on Navami (Durga Stuti included)

As a King of yore called Sindhudweep carried out a relentless ‘Tapasya’ to avenge the killing of his son by Indra, a beautiful woman approached him introducing herself as Vetravati (a River), the wife of Deity Varuna, since she was infatuated with the King. The King obliged and she was blessed with a boy instantly who was named Vetrasur who became a powerful King of Pragjyotishpuram, eventally the Lord of Sapta Dwipas and conquered all the Deities and Indra. Brahma wondered as to how a single Demon and followers could control the Deities and succeed to pierce through the ever potent and Univerasally spread out net of ‘Maya’or the Adi Shakti! Even as Brahma was seriously thinking on these lines, there emerged from water a figure with white robes, bejewelled, head-geared, sheet of astonishing brightness, and eight arms wearing Chakra (Wheel), Saranga (Conchshell), Gada (Mace), Paasha (chord), Khadga (Sword), Dhanush (bow) and Thuuneer (to keep arrows). It was child’s play for Devi Durga as seated on a lion to slay the potent followers and of Vetrasura with ease and Maha Deva Shankara Himself complimented and praised as follows:

‘Jayasva Devi Gayatri Maha Maaye Maha Prabho,
Maha Devi Mahabhaage Maha Satve-Divyagandhanu liptanga
Divyastragdhama bhushithey,
Vedamatar namastubhyam Tryaksharasthey Maheswari,
Trilokasthey Tri-tatvasthey Trivahnisthey Tri Sulini-
Trinetrey Bhouma Vaktre cha Bhimanetre Bhayanake-
Kamala asanaje Devi Sarasvati Namostutey,
Namah Pankaja patrakshi Mahamayamrutastravey-
Sarvagey Sarva Bhuteshu Swaahakaarey Swadembikey,
Sampurnam Purnachandraabhey Bhasvaraangey Bhavodbhavey-
Maha Vidye Maha Vaidye Maha Daityavinasini,
Mahabuddhiryudbhave Devi Veetashoke kiratini-
Tvam nitistvam Mahabhaage Twam Gostvam Goustva- maksharam,
Tvam Dhirastwam Sristatvam omkarastatve chapi Paristhitha’

.(Hey Maha Maya, Mahaprabha, Mahabhaga, Mahotsava, Maha Devi Gayatri-My Greetings- your body parts smeared with Sandalwood paste and decorated with Divinely ‘Mala’, hey Veda Mata or Mother of Vedas and Maheswari, My Greetings! Hey Trilokastha, Tritatvastha, Tri vahnistha, Tri Sulini, Trinetra, Bhima Vaktra, Bhima netra, Bhayanaka, Kamalasan’s daughter Sarasvati, My Greetings! Hey Maha Maya with Lotus like eyes, Omnipresent, Sarva Bhuteswari, Svahakara and Svadhakara Rupini Ambika; With Full Moon like Face and Illuminated Body, an embodiment of Knowledge and Medicine, Great Annihilator of Demons, Fund of Maha Buddhi, Sorrowless, Devi Kiratini, Mahabhaga, You are the personification of Morality, Sarasvathi, You are the origin of Sound and Undiminishing wisdom, you are the Courage, Omkarasthita and The Provider of Boons, I greet you).
Lord Brahma requested Devi Durga to shift to Himalayas and let all the Deities worship Her. The Navami of each month should be celebrated with sincere dedication to Devi Durga by consuming only prasad made of wheat flour after observing day long fast till the evening and by reciting Durga Sukti as given above. For sure, men and women who keep this as a regular practice on Navami days would attract Devi Durga’s kind blessings.

17     Reverence to ‘Dasa Dishas’ (Ten Directions) on ‘Dashami’

Concerned about the population of the Universe and their mind-set of Directions so that orderliness should prevail to let them realise where they were, Lord Brahma devised a Plan. He created from His ears Six Devis viz. Purvi, Dakshina, Prathichi, Uttara, Urdhva, and Adhara- East, South,West, North, Above and Below respectively. The four other Devis thus created viz. Shobhaniya, Rupavati, Maha Bhagya Shalini and Gambhira Yukta represented the intermittent Four ‘Directions’. These virgins who were created requested Lord Brahma to name Lokpals also who would be the male counterparts and Brahma named them too viz. Indra, Agni, Yama, Nirruti, Varun, Vayu, Kubera and Eshana; Brahma Himself agreed to man Urdhva and the remaining Tenth Dasha (Direction) was spare. The Devi-Lokanayak equation was determined by Brahma. He also selected Dashami to observe the day for penance and eat only ‘Dahi’ or curd to protect human beings from movement of Grahas, changes of ‘Ayanas’or Solar Progress and transformations of ‘Ritus’ or Seasons and astrological and astronomical aberrations.        

18     Kubera the Lord of Wealth worshipped on ‘Ekadasi’ Days

In the process of Creation, Brahma happened to bellow and the wind inside His body got momentarily disconnected when a Divine Figure was materialized from the gush of air from His mouth. Brahma named the Figure as Kubera and assigned him the task of protecting the material prosperity and possessions of all the Deities. He also made Kubera the Head of the Yaksha Clan to execute the assignment of Brahma. Also, worship of Kubera on Ekadashi day by cooking eats with the help of clean Agni- preferably by the person who eats himself after day-long fast would instantly make him eligible for wealth and also protection of wealth so earned.

19    Adoration to Bhagavan Vishnu on Dwadasi Day destroys sins

Super Power Paratpar Narayan was concerned that to facilitate the process of Creation there ought to be a personified Primary Murthi who should also look after the administration of the Universe and thus manifested Himself as Vishnu. He entrusted the tasks to Goddess Yoga Nidra for the time being and fell into meditative sleep Himself when a lotus sprouted from His navel on top of which sat Lord Brahma who would now on assume the duty of Creation. The Supreme Narayan was happy with these develop- ments and blessed Vishnu to oversee Creation by Brahma and be responsible for the upkeep of the Universe by himself. Almighty Narayan then fortified with Vishnu with several powers in various forms; He blessed Vishnu to dispel all kinds of ignorance all over the Universe with a Sword gifted by Almighty; He gifted a Kaal Chakra or the Sudarshan Wheel to terminate all the Evil Forces sprouting their heads from time to time; He desired that the sins of the Worlds be destroyed by a mace provided to Vishnu; He also strengthened one of the hands by the energy of Vayu- the Wind God- by a conchsell as also decorated by a Vyjayanti mala. Almighty Narayan instructed Sun and Moon to decorate Vishnu’s figure in the forms of Srivatsa and Kaustubh and redouble the Power of Vishnu. Almighty further coached Garuda as Vishnu’s Carrier and Goddess Lakshmi as His Consort. Thus Supreme Narayana strengthened Lord Vishnu physically, mentally and spiritually as the Personification of Himself to assume the tasks ahead. He also made an arrangement that from then on, Vishnu’s worship all over the Three Worlds would be observed on Dwadasis during every month and those human beings-be they men or women- who keep fast till the dusk while reciting ‘Vishnu Stotras’and eat ‘Ghrita-pura Bhojan’ or meals with Ghee (Classified butter) are destined to reach Heavens after death and enjoy peaceful and contented life therebefore! Those who read or hear about Vaishnavi Srishti or Vishnu’s Glories should qualify themselves for better times ahead.

20    Dharma (Virtue), its profile over Yugas and worship on Trayodasis

As Paramatma set the process of Creation, He felt that there was need for forming an Entity to sustain Virtue and set off the forces of the Evil and instantly, there appeared a Bull-shaped ‘Purush’from the right ear of Almighty with white ear-rings and white garland and the latter asked to maintain and promote Virtue, Justice, Penance, Purity and Charity. The Dharma Purush so manifested by the Almighty as a Bull would have four legs in Satya Yuga, three legs in Treta Yuga, two legs in Dvatar Yuga and with just one leg in Kali Yuga. The four legs of Dharma Purush are ‘Dravya’ (Prosperity), ‘Guna’
(Characteristic), ‘Kriya’ (Industriousness / Sincerity) and ‘Jaathi’ (Caste).The mix of these four ingredients of Dharma’s feet denotes the strength of these legs Yuga after Yuga. In fact, Brahma was impressed by the way that Dharma Purush solved a controversy raised by Moon God in enticing Devi Tara the wife of Brihaspati (the Deva Guru was a mother figure to Moon as well as all Devas! [There was an impending war between Devas and Demons since Sage Sukracharya the Guru of Demons sought revenge against Brihaspati and thus espoused the cause of Moon by assuring the help of Demons to wage a war. Dharma Purush used his good offices among Moon / Devi Tara, Sukracharya and Demons on one side and Brihaspati, Indra and Devas on the other. The delicate issue was settled by restoring Devi Tara back to Brihaspathi’s residence, even though Tara was carrying a child of Moon and thus averted Deva-Danava war!] Lord Brahma who flew down to Swarga Loka from Satya loka by his Swan chariot, complimented Dharma Purush and commended that from then onward human beings should observe ‘Trayodasi’ Day, perform Shraddh and offer ‘Ksheer’ (Sweet Milk and cooked Rice) to fore fathers to ensure that their past sins are demolished and longevity and well-being assured.

21    Manifestation of Rudra Deva and penance on Chaturdasis

Unable to commence the task of Creation at the beginning, Brahma got frustrated, angry and even failed to contol emotions by crying away, when a Powerful Manifestation of the Supreme Energy evolved as an incredible Illumination appearing gradually as a ‘Puran Purusha’ entreating Brahma not to cry; ‘Twam ma Rudd ! Hence the Maha Purusha was named ‘Rudra’. Brahma desired that Rudra should take up the task of Creation but the latter jumped into water to execute penance.He got disturbed by the ‘Yagna’being performed by Daksha Prajapati and was enraged as the flames from His mouth created
Ghosts and Goblins. He destroyed the Yagna but at the intervention of Brahma was cooled down; He was pleased when a major part of the fruits of the Yajna was offered to Him and as Devas eulogised Him as follows: ‘ We salute you Devadeva, Jatajutadhari, Blood red Trinetra; you are worshipped by Bhutas and Bethals sporting ferocious serpents all over your body, especially as your Yagnopateeth (Sacred Thread); Your visage is ferocious, Your laughter is frightening; You are Maha Bhutapathi, Kapardi, Sthanu, Pushna danta Vinasaya, Bhaga Netraya ; in future you are going to annihilate the most dreaded Tripura and Andhaka demons; We salute Kalisavasi, Gajacharma dhari, Vikaral Urdhvakeshava Bhairava, Fire like Bhayankar, Chandramastak dhari, destroyer of Daruvana, Trisuladhari, Wearer of Sarparaja Kankana, Neelakantha, Badavagni mukha, Vedantha Vedya, Yagna Murthi, Daksha Yagna Dhvamsi, Visweswara Deva, Siva, Shambhu, Bhava, Devadi Deva, Bestow to us the Secrets of Vedas and Shastras!’
Thereafter Brahma declared that worship of Rudra Deva on the ‘Chaturdasi Day’ of a month by sincere devotion and austerity would be blessed.

22    Reverence to Pitras on ‘Amavasya’ day and benefits
         
As Lord Brahma was engaged in the serious task of Creation, He became aware of ‘Tanmatras’ or the subtle forms of matter viz. interaction of the Three ‘Gunas’ or characteristics viz. Satvik, Rajasik and Tamasik as also ‘Panchendriyas’, ‘Jnanendriyas’ and ‘Karmendriyas’. The Tanmatras displayed themselves in ‘Dhumra Varna’or ash colour and evinced interest to reach Heavens. But Brahma convinced them that the entire community of Tanmatras belonged to the Pitras and whatever veneration was provided by ‘Grihasthies’ (householders) would belong to Tanmatras too. For instance, Brahmanas execute reverences to Pitras through ‘Agni’by way of ‘Nitya’ (regular), ‘Naimittika’ (as per needs of functions to be prformed) and ‘Kamya’ (as per desires of the householders) or Parvana Shraddhas; similarly Kshatriyas and Vaisyas too perform ‘Agni Karyas’ or reverences to Pitras through Fire-oriented tasks. Likewise ‘tarpans’or libations are performed periodically. In all these cases whatever benefits would accrue to Pitras would be accumulated toTanmatras also. Brahma thus indicated ‘Dakshinayan’ route to Pitras as also to Tanmatras. Moreso, He designated ‘Amavasya’ as the most important day for worship to ‘Pitras’ and Tanmatras as well. Human beings perform Tarpanas along with ‘Kusha’ and ‘Tilas’on Amavasyas falling in each month which would indeed provide contenment to Pitras as well as Tanmatras. Thus Amavasya is required to be the special day when fast is observed and ‘tildaan’ is performed without fail, and that would not only give satifaction to Pitras but the Kartas or the Performing Devotees who are provided ‘Iham’or during the current birth of prosperity, peace, health and longevity but also ‘Param’ or post life. (Details of Amavasya Tarpana given elsewhere in this Write-up)

23    Daksha’s curse to Moon, reappearance and worship on Pournamis

One of Lord Brahma’s distinguished Manasa Putras named Sage Atri begot Soma
(Moon) who too was illustrious. Prajapati Daksha married off all his twenty seven daughters to Soma. But the latter was ignoring all the daughters, excepting Devi Rohini. The rest of them complained to their father Daksha who reprimanded Soma to behave but Soma ignored the repeated warnings of Daksha. Out of exasperation, Daksha cursed Soma to gradually decline and finally disappear. In the absence of Soma, there were far reaching adverse effects in the Universe. Devas including Vanaspati felt Soma’s absence and so did human beings, trees, animals and worst of all medicinal plants, herbs and so on. The Sky was dark and the Stars too lost the shine. As Devas approached Vishnu, He advised the solution of Churning the Ocean by both Devas and Danavas and latter too agreed to the proposal for the lure of securing ‘Amrit’. In the process of churning, Moon was given birth again. This had brought great relief to Devas, human beings whose ‘Ekadasha Indriyas’ (Eleven Body parts), ‘Pancha Bhutas’ (Five Elements), Solah Kshetra Devatas, Trees and Medicines. Even Rudra’s head was without Soma and so did water. Lord Brahma blessed Pournima thithi and selected the day for worship to Chandra Deva when fast is viewed propitious along with token amount of money and material as charity. That specific day ‘Yava’ Bhojan (Barley food) or barley made material is considered to bless a person with Gyan (Knowledge), radiance, health, prosperity, foodgrains and salvation.

24    Concepts of ‘Bhakti’ (Devotion) and ‘Aradhana’ (Worship) Explained

After Sage Mahatapa explained to King Dharmapal about select Deities, their origin, brief procedure of worship as also the specific days appropiate of worship to the Deities, Devi Prithvi sought to know from Deva Varaha as to who said that ‘Bhav’ or feeling leads to ‘Sadhana’or practice; in other words, a seed helps to germinate a plant. Varaha Deva also clarified that wealth or ‘Jap’ (meditation) were not the suitable means of Realisation but ‘Bhakti’ (Devotion) would certainly be. Bhakti could be of various forms based on the ‘Kayak way’or Physical action such as fasting, one meal a day, or ‘Jagarans’ (or waking up through night) and so on; or the‘Manasic’ way such as observance of Truth, Non violence, ‘Asteyam’or non stealing, Brahmacharyam, Dharma Pravartana etc; or the‘Vachaka’ way including observance of silence, ‘Adhyayan’or reading Scriptures, ‘Kirtan’ (Singing Hymns) etc. In this context, Varaha Bhagavan cited an example of a great Brahmana ‘Tapsvi’named Aruni who was emerging from river after bathing and faced a ‘Vyagh’ (Hunter) with his arrows drawn in search of a kill. The Hunter had indeed decided to kill the Brahmin but changed his mind and instead saved the Brahman from a pouncing tiger nearby. In fact the tiger too got frightened by the loud and desperate shout of the Brahmin saying ‘Om Namo Narayana’. Suprisingly, the tiger died and out came a handsome male figure who was a King in his previous birth but was cursed by Brahmanas since he became arrogant thinking that he knew all the Scriptures known to all the Brahmanas put together. The curse was to be revesed when the tiger would hear a sincere chanting of Om Namo Narayana. The Vyagh who witnessed the chain of events became an instant convert from his hunting profession and begged of the Brahmana to reveal a way out from his erstwhile sinful way of life.Tapasvi Aruni blessed the Vyagh, directed him to perform a twin action of ‘Vrath’ (Worship) viz. refraining from eating cut and impure items and telling lies and left. As the Vyagh desired to at least eat dried leaves from trees, a shout from the Sky (Akashvani) barred from eating ‘Apavitru’or impure food! Thus the Vyagh could not eat anything remembering the instructions of his Brahmana Guru. Meanwhile Maha Muni Durvasa arrived and demanded good food like cooked rice/wheat and accompanying items as he was hungry. This led to further misery to the Vyagh and wondered as to how the situation could be saved. In despair he saw up to the sky and prayed to his Guru and as though the Guru responded and to his surprise there fell a golden container from the sky! The Vyagh requested Durvasa Muni to wait for a while to beg / borrow from the well- to- do men and women nearby. After returning with food, the Vyagh requested Sage Durvasa to wash his feet before eating. But Durvasa was too tired to go back to the river and there was no vessel to fetch water from. The Vyagh remembered the Guru again, and an idea was provided; he prayed to the River and brought it upto Durvasa’s feet! Durvasa was amazed and blessed the Vyagh to become a Sage, a Great Gyani and an erudite Veda expert to be named Satyatapa! Durvasa told him that the features and ‘Purva Gyan’ or past awareness of Vyagh were destroyed especially as he performed penance by fasts literally upto death and as such his earlier body resumed a ‘Tapomaya’ and pure body eversince. Satyapal desired to know the fine distinction of the two bodies. Durvasa corrected Satyapal that actually there were three such Physiques: the first body belonging to a cruel and sinful Vyagh, the second one of a ‘Dharmic and Vratayukth’- a Virtuous and penanceful- body and the third body would be of ‘Atindriya’ stage (viz. Adharmatmika, Dharmatmika and Dharma Dharmatmika). When a human is stated to be immune of Pancha Tanmatrikas, Pancha Gyanendriyas, and Pancha Bhutas, that would be the stage of ‘Brahma Tatva’! That Supreme Consciousness is of Pundarikaksha Himself. As this was explained by Durvasa, Satyapal had a genuine doubt that those who possessed adequate money could only intiate the process of Dharma through Yagnas and charity. Durvasa corrected him at once that money or charity are no doubt the initial steps depending on the affordability and willingness provided the Performers concerned are not indulging in display or show; but a devotee has more effective ways open in the Bhakti Marg, which invariably leads to the ‘Aradhana’ Marg. It was in this context that Sage Durvasa emphasised on devotion and worship by performing Vratas.

25    Effectiveness of ‘Dwadasi’ Vrathas related to Vishnu’s ‘Dasavataras’ [‘Shodasopachara Vidhana’included]

Sage Durvasa outlined the ‘Vrata Vidhan’ of ‘Sukla Dwadasi’ Vratas to Satyapal, which mostly related to the importance of Lord Vishnu’s Ten Incarnations.

Matsya Vrata related to the rescue of Devi Bhumi by Lord Vishnu from Rasatala in the Incarnation of Matsya is to be performed in the month of Margaseersha. On Dashami day itself, Deva Puja and Havan to Agni are executed and Havan Prasad be consumed. On the following Ekadasi day, one should perform fast and worship to Pundarikaksha by the ‘Sankalpa’or resolve pleading Him that just as He rescued Prithvi, He should rescue him too and recite Om Nano Narayana Manthra. Next morning, Prithvi and Varun (Earth and Water) be invoked and Ashtanga Narayana Puja be performed by touching the concerned limbs of the Deity’s Murthi and reciting the Mantras as follows: Om Keshavayanamah (charanam Pujayami / feet), Damodarayanamah (katim / waist), Narasimhayanah (vurum or two thighs), Srvatsadharinenamh (kantham / throat), Sripathayenamah (Vakshasthal / chest), Trilochanayanamah (Bahum / hands), Swaminenamah (Shiram / head), Rathangadharinenamah (chakra), Shankarayanamah (Shankha), Gambhirayanamah (Gada), and Shantamurthayenamh (Kamal). Then the Puja commences by offering Garland and Chandana to the Kumbha with water.

[‘Shodasopacharas’ (Sixteen Services) to be performed to the Deity installed would be as follows: ‘Avahayami’( Welcome); ‘Suvarnarathna simhasanam samarpayami’ (offering a Golden Throne as improvised); ‘Padayoh Paadyam Samarpayami’ (washing the feet of the Deity); ‘Hastayorarghyam Samarpayami (providing water to clean hands); ‘Achamaneeyam Samarpayami’ (offering water for sipping); ‘Abhishekam’or ‘Suddhodaka Snanam’ (Bathing) while reciting the following Mantra: ‘Om aapohishtha mayo bhuvah thaa na urjey dadhatana Maheranaya chakshasey, Yo vassivatamo rasah thasya bhajayateha nah, usateeriva maatharah, thasma aranga maamavah, yasya kshayaya jinvathaha aapo janaatha cha nah; Snaananatharam Shuddhaachamaneeyam Samarpayami; Vastra yugmam samarpayami ( two pieces of Cloth); wear Yagnopaveetam or the Sacread Thread by reciting the Mantra: ‘Om Yagnopaveetam Paramam Pavitram, Prajaapateryat sahajam purastath, Aaayushyamagryam pratimuncha Shubhram Yagnopaveetam balamastu Tejaha’; offer next Gandham (Sandal paste) by reciting the Mantra: Om Gandhadwaraam duradharshaam nityapushtham kareeshineem Eswareegum sarva Bhutanaam tha mihopahvaye shriyam; then a short Puja of Sixreen names with flowers; Dhupam (Incense) by reciting the Mantram ‘Vanasthyudbhavaihi divyaih naanaa Gandhiih samyutaha Aaghreyah Sarva Devaanam Dhupoyam pratigruhyataam; then Deepam darsayaami (Oil soaked vick lighting) by uttering ‘Saajyam Trivarti Samyuktam vahnina yojitham Priyam, Grihaana Mangalam Deepam Thrilokya thimiraapaham Bhaktya Deepam Prayacchaami Devaaya Paramaathmane thrahimam narakaadghoraat Divya Jyotirnamosthuthe’; offer Pushpam (flowers); then Naivedyam (Offering Full Meal) with the following Mantra: ‘Om bhurbhavah suvah thatsavithurvarenyam Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi Dhiyoyonah prachodayat satyam tvarthena parishinchaami , Amritamastu Amrithopasmtarana masi , Om Praanaya swha, Om Apaanaya swaha, Om Vyanaya swaha Om Samaanaaya swah, Madhye madhye Paaneeyam samarpayami, uttaraaposanam samarpayaami- hastha prakshaalanam samarpayami paaada prakshhalanam Samarpayaami, Suddhaachamaneeyam samarpayami ( by sprinkling water and cirle round the items meant for ‘Naivedyam’and say ‘Satyam tvarthena parishinchami’ during day time or say ‘Rutamtva Satyena Parishinchami’ if the offering is in night; then comes Tambulam (betel and nuts) by reciting the following Mantra: ‘Puugiphalaissa Karpuriah Nagavalleedalairyutham Muktaachurnena samyuktam Thaambulam prathiguhyataam’; therafter there should be ‘Karpura Aaarathi’/ Neerajanam ( camphor lit lighting with hands by showing to the Deity while bells are sounded along with the following Mantra:‘Om Gaanaam tva Ganapatigum havamahe kavim Kaveena mupamasravastamam, Jyeshtha rajam Brahmanaam Brahmanaspata Aaa naha srunvannnuthi bhih seeda saadanam’; then Mantra Pushpa Mantram and Veda Pathanam etc. are offered by reciting the relevant Mantras. Then follows ‘Anyadha Sharanam naasti Mantram’ along with three circumambulations by reciting: ‘Yanikaanicha paapani Janmamtara krithaanicha thani thani Pranasyanthi pradakshina Padey Padey, Paapoham Paapakarmaham Paapaatma Paaapa Sambhavaha, Trahi maam kripaya Deva Sharanaagatavatsalaha, Anyadha Sharanam naasti thvameva Sharanam mamah thasmat kaarunya bhaavena raksha raksha Janaardana. Om Maha Vishnavey Namah, Atma Pradakshina Namaskaran Samarpayami, Chhatram Aachhadayami, Chamaram Veejayami, Nritthyam Darsayami, Geetham Sraavayaami, Andolika marohayami, Ashvaanaanaarohayami, Gajaanaarohayami, Samasta Raajopachaara Shaktyukapachaara Bhaktyupachaara Mantropachaara Pujaam samarpayami; Mantriheenam kriyaaheenam Bhaktiheenam Janardana, Yatpujitam maya Deva paripurnam tha dasthute]
Thereafter, Brahmanas be satisfied with full meal and Dakshina (Charity).
The execution of the Vrath as above would provide longevity, good children, ‘Dhan’ and Dhanya (Prosperity and fame).
Kurma Vrata is on the basis of the Lord Vishnu’s enormous role in His Incarnation as Tortoise to stabilise the massive mountain of Manthara in the context of churning the Great Ocean to produce several holy objects and finally the ‘Amrit’ on Shukla Dwadashi of Pousyha month. The procedure of the Vrata is similar as in the case of Matsya Vrata, excepting the Ashtanga Puja Mantras of Lord Janardana would be ‘Om Kurmayanamah’
(feet), Om Naranayanamah (katim), Om Sankarshanayanamh (abdomen), Om Vishokayanamah ( chest), Om Bhavayanamah ( throat), Om Subahavey Namah ( two hands), and Om Vishalayanamah ( Chakra). The fruits of executing the Vrata with faith and diligence would help yield instant obliteration of sins, excellent family life and salvation.
Varaha Vrata is to celebrate the victory of Lord Keshava over the killing of Demon Hiranyakasipu and uplifting Prithvi. The Vrata is prformed on Shukla Dwadashi of Magha month. The relevant Ashtanga Mantras are: Om Varahayanamah (feet), Om Madhavaya namah (katim), Om Khetrajaya Namah (Stomach), Om Vishvarupayanah
(Chest), Om Sarvajnayanamah (throat), Om Prajapataye namah (Head), Om Pradyumnayanamah (hands), Om Divyastrayanamah (Sudarshan Chakra), and Om Amrithodbhavanamah (Sankham).The ‘Vrata Phal’ or the benefits of performing the Vrath are immediate Sowbhagya, Laksmi and Tripti (contentment).
Nrisimha Vrata is to signify the appearance of Narasimha Deva in the dual form of Man-Lion to liberate Devotee Illustrious Prahlada from the extreme cruelties of Demon Hiranyaksha and is achieved on Shukla Dwadashi of Phalguna month. Other details of the Puja procedure being as in Matsya Vrata indicated above, the Ashtanga Mantras to the Deity’s Murthi would be as follows: Om Narasimhaya Namah (feet), Om Govindaya Namah (Thighs), Om Viswabhujenamah (katim), Om Aniduddhayanamah (chest), Om Sithikanthayanamah ( throat), Om Pingakeshayanamah ( head), Om Asuradhvanshanaya namah ( Chakram), and Om Tayotmane namah (Sankham). Maharshi Durvasa told Satyapal that once a King Vatsa got badly defeated in a war by enemies and took refuge in the Ashram (hermitage) of the renowned Vasishtha. The Sage asked the fugitive King to observe the Narasimha Vrata and taught him about the method of accomplishing it. Lord Narasimha made a rare appearance and pleased King Vatsa, notably due to the perfection with which the Vrat was fulfilled under the best possible of guidance of the famed Vasishtha himself. Even as the Lord appeared before the King, all his enemies fled away and the Kingdom was restored. The Vrat restores one’s confidence, overcomes enemies and vindicates the Victory of devotion and faith.
Vamana Vrata is performed to remind that Deva Deva incarnated as a Dwarf Brahmachari and tricked and humbled the mighty Demon King Bali, not by valour but by wits, by seeking merely three feet of Bhumi for His Tapasya. The Vrata is scheduled on every Shukla Dwadasi of Chaitra Month. The Puja procedure being as above in the Matsya Vrat, the Ashtanga Mantras are to be: Om Vamanayanamaha (feet), Om Vishnavey namah (katim), Om Vasudevayanamaha (abdomen), Om Sampurnakaya namah ( Chest), Om Viwakruthenamah ( throat), Om Vyomarupineynamah (head) and Om Vishwajiteynamah ( Sankham). There was a King named Haryashwa who accomplished a ‘Putra Kameshthi’ Vrat and an old Tapasvi Brahmana came as a Guest who was Narayana Himself. The Brahmana desired that the King should implement Chaitra Sukla Dwadasi Vrat sincerely as per prescribed procedure and Vamana Deva would definitely bless a powerful and memorable Chakravarthi (Emperor) as a son, Kuvaleshvaya; by so predicting the Old Brahmana disappeared. The Vrata would certainly fructify a multi-desired boon by Narayana to those who attain it with devotion and dedication.
Jaamadagnya (Parasurama) Vrata is achieved to illustrate the outstanding son of Sage Jamadagni, incarnated as Parasurama who annihilated countless haughty and arrogant ‘Kshatriayas’ in utter disregard to the Virtuous and helpless subjects with special reference to Brahmanas, Sages and the Pious. This Vrata occurs on Shukla Dwadasi of
Vaisakha month and is performed with veneration by the Ashtanga Matras viz. Om Jaamadagnyaya Namah ( feet), Om Sarva dharinenamah (Abdomen), Om Madhusudhanaya namah (katim pujayami), Om Srivatsadhaariney namah (Uram / Chest pujayami), Om Kshtrranthakayanamah ( Baahum Pujayami), Om Manikanthayanamah
(Kantham Pujayami), Shankhayanamah (Shankham pujyami), Chakrayanamah
(Chakram Pujayami) and Brahmanda dhariney namah (Siram pujayami). The worship of Parasurama was indicated by Sage Yagynavalka to King Virasena who had earlier completed several Yagnas but his desire to beget a child was not fulfilled.When the Sage taught the method of the Vrat and the King did it with full dedication, he was blessed with the birth of the famous Nala who along with Damayanti immoralised human history as the Greatest Lovers!
Taraka Rama Vrath is accomplished on Suddha Dwadashi of Jeyshtha month. Sage Vasistha taught the Vrata Vidhan to King Dasaratha first. King Dasaratha made a firm resolution to do the Vrat in the name of Maha Vishnu and the result was indeed unbelievable as the Supreme Lord Himself incarnated as Shri Rama along His accompanists Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna. The procedure of the Vrath is to commence with ‘Shubh Sankalpa’ and Ashtanga Puja: Om Namo Ramaabhiramaya (feet), Om Trivikramaya (kati), Om Dhrita Vishvayah Namah (Udaram), Om Samvatsarayanamah (Chest), Om Samvarthakaya Namah (kantham Pujayami), Om Sarvastradharineynamah (Chakra and Padma), and Sarva sirasey namah (head). Therafter, perform ‘Kumbha Sthapana’ or Setting-up of Kumbha, ‘Vastra acchaadana’ (covering with cloth) of Rama Lakshmana Murthi Puja with Shodasa upacharas (Sixteen Services) and charity of the Murthis to Brahmanas. The fruits of the Vrata are self- evident since sons of immense virtue, valour, fame and dignity are bound to be born as a result of this incomparable Vrat! Moreover, those who partake in this auspcious Vrat woud be blessed with all the above qualities and be assured of access to Vishnu loka.
Sri Krishna Vrath is scheduled on Shukla Dwadashi of Ashadha month. The origin of the Vrath was that Vasudev and Devi Devaki together did it as advised by Sage Narada since they were childless. Narada attended a Devasabha (Congregation of Devas) and Devi Prithvi complained that she was no longer be able to withstand the evil deeds of Demons in the form of cruel Kings and their associates such as Sheva, Kamsa, Jarasandha, Naraka, Kuru, Panchala and Bhojas. They all approached Lord Vishnu who no doubt agreed to incarnate Himself but virtuous couples like Vasudeva and Devaki should perform Vratha on the specific day; Narada taught the procedure to carry out the entire function with dutifulness and conviction. After a firm resolve, the Vrath was accomplished with ‘Ashtanga’puja as follows: Om Vasudevaya namah (charanam pujayami), Om Sankarshanayanamah (katim pujayami), Om Padmanabhayanamah
(Udaram pujayami), Om Aniruddhayanamah (Urasthalam pujayami), Om Chakrapaaninenamah (bhujaam pujayami), Om Bhupatayenamah (kantham pujayami), Om Krishnayanamah (Shanka Chakram Pujayami) and Om Purushayanamah (Siram Pujayami). After sucsessfully completing the Vrath as prescribed, the Lord confirmed that a boy of His traits would be blessed soon.
Buddha Vrath is to be performed on Suddha Dwadasi of Shravan month in the name of Lord Vishnu as He assumed the form of Buddha during a critical stage of Kali Yuga when Violence and Sinfulness were rampant in the World. Lord Buddha preached the principles of ‘Ahimsa’ (Non-Violence), ‘Satyam’ (Truth) and ‘Dharmam’ (Virtue) world-wide and as He mustered substantial support from ‘Sangham’ (Society) He created a great following of majority of people. As a young Prince, He decided to renounce luxurious life and wandered like a commoner. It was at that time that He strayed into jungles by horse back and rested under a tree through a night, when He attracted attention by several jungle men for His ornaments and cruel animals for His flesh. As He was being attacked, a Devi Shakti protected Him and killed the thieves and animals seeking to kill Him. A Sage in the forest explained to Buddha Deva that the Devi Shakti protecting His body was an inherent power safeguarding His body always as in His earlier birth he witnessed the entire proceedings of the Vrata and thus imbibed the strength in His body as a result of the ‘Punya’ or the propitiousness accrued. This was the far reaching impact carried foward to the current birth of Buddha, told the Sage. It was against this background that the Buddha Vrat should be performed for protection and succcess. The Puja procedure includes the ‘Ashtanga’ Mantras as follows: Om Damodarayanamah (Charanam pujayami), Om Hrishikeshayanamah (Katim), Om Sanatanayanamah (Udaram), Om Srivatsadharine namah (Vakshasthal), Om Chakrapaninenamah (hands), Om Harayenamah (throat), Om Manju keshayanamah
(Head) and Bhadrayanamah (Sikha or tuft).Therafter, Shodasopacharas are to be performed and Bhojan (Meals) and charity to Brahmanas would complete the Vrath which ought to be effected as per Regulations for the best benefits.
Kalki Vratha is observed in Sukla Dwadasi of Bhadrapad month. Before he outlined the broad method of carrying out the Vratha, Sage Durvasa told Satyapal that a King of Kasipur named Vishal who was a virtuous person doing several Spiritual activities like Yagnas and was widely liked by his subjects. But his own close relatives planned a coup and assumed power of the kingdom. The fugitive King wandered incognito and landed on the mountain slopes of Badari when he came across two ever-shining Sages viz. Nara and Narayana. Sage Nara enquired about Vishal’s background and suggested to worship Maha Vishnu by means of any of the various Dwadashi Vrathas occuring in the Sukla Pakshas of most of the Months.
Sage Nara commended the Vrathas as follows:

Pujyathe Matsyarupena Sarvajnathvamabhipsubhih,
Svavamshoddharanarthaya Kurmorupi tu pujyathe/
Bhavodadhi nimagnena Varahah Pujyathe Harih,
Narasimhena rupena thaddhat Papabhaatraihi/
Vamanam mohanaashaya Vitharthe Jamadagnidam,
Krurashatru Vinashaya yajed Daasaradhim Budha/
Bala Krishnou Yajeda Dhiman Putra Kamo na samsasayah,
Rupakamo yajeda buddhim Kalkinam Shatrughataney/

(Those who wish to become ‘Sarvajnas’or Jnanis worship Matsya Deva;
Those who are desirous of strengthening their own ‘Vamsa’ or Clan pray to Kurma Deva; To those that worldy ends like prosperity and fame are dear, they wish to worship Varaha Deva; Those who are afraid of facing difficulties pray to Narasimha; the persons who are detached from the worldly affairs wish to worship Vamana Deva; those who have the lure of money and possessions worship Parasurama; Whoever wants to destroy the evil and cruelty tend to Sri Rama; Putrabhilashi or those who love to enjoy the happiness of children and family life would certainly like to worship Krishna and finally those who like to take vengence do definitely worship Kalki Deva.) In response to Sage Nara’s description as above, the fugitive King instantly decided to perform Kalki Vratha by worshipping Kalki Deva with the Mantras: Om Kalkinenamah ( charanam pujayami), Om Hrishikeshayanamah ( katim pujayami), Om Mlechhavidhvamsanaya namah (udaram pujayam), Om Sithikanthayanamah (kantham pujayami), Om Khadgapaninenamh
(Bhujam pujayami), Om Chaturbhujayanamah (hastam pujayami) and Om Viswamurthaye namah (Siram pujayami). In this manner, the worship was accomplished along with ‘Shodasopacharas’, and charity to Brahmanas. He proceeded to his own Kingdom, rearranged his loyalists, defeated his enemies and regained power with the blessings of Kalki Deva.

Padmanabha Vrata

After describing the Vrathas related to ‘Dasavataras’ (Ten Incarnations) of Lord Vishnu, Maha Muni Durvasa outlined the Vratas of a few other Deities as also those for the fulfillment of certain human desires. The beneficiary of the illustrious Sage’s narrations was the erstwhile Vyagha (Hunter) turned subsequently as a Mahatma, now under the name Satyapal (Refer to the Chapter on Concepts of Bhakti and Aradhana). The Pamanabha Vrata is best performed on Shukla Dwadasi of Aswin or Asvayuja month. The background of this Vrath was that there was a King named Bhadrashva and once Maha Muni Agastya visited the Palace and said that he would like to stay there for a few days. The Sage met the Queen along with the King and immediately recognising her expressed great but pleasant shock as though he recognised her and exclaimed that the King and Queen were blessed in their previous births.Each day the Sage met the royal couple, he kept on repeating the same. One day the couple asked the Sage as to what happened in their previous births. There was a ‘Veshya’ (Prostitute) named Hardatt in Vidishanagar and the King and Queen were the servant- couple of the Veshya. On a Sukla Dwadashi in the month of Aswin, the Veshya lit a few lights in a Narayana Mandir in her house and worshipped Lord Vishnu for a while and left the house. She asked the servant couple to keep awake and ensure that the lights were on until she returned home. Since they did so sincerely, they became a King and Queen in the current birth! That was why the Sage exclaimed: how much the couple was blessed! How must have been the Veshya blessed by Lord Narayana! Indeed how much the blessing would be to perform the Vratha fully!
Padmanabha Vrat puja after installing the idol of Padmanabha and the warm-up Puja, the Shadanga Puja stipulates as follows: ‘Om Padmanabhaya namah ( charanam pujayami), Om Padmayonayenamah (Katim Pujayami), Om Sarva Devayanamah ( udaram pujayami), Om Pushkarakshayanamah ( Urasthalam pujayami), Om Avyayayanamah
(Dakshina hasta- astram Pujayami), and Om Prabhavayanamah (sirah pujayami)’. After the Puja, ‘Shodasopacharas’ as prescribed in earlier pages, Charities and Bhojans to Brahmanas, the Padmanabha Vrata is stated to have been accomplished.

Dharani Vrata is scheduled on Shukla Dwadasi of Karthik month. After making ‘Sankalp’ (Resolution), a devotee performs the Vratha by way of ‘Shadanga’ puja of Narayana as follows: Om Sahasra Siraye namah (Sirah pujayami), Om Purushayanamah
(Bhujayanamah), Om Viswarupinenamah (kantham pujayami), Om Jnanastrayanamah
(Astrou Pujayami), Om Srivatsayanamh (Vurahsthala pujayami), Om Jagat grashismane namah (Udar Pujayami), Om Divyamurthayenamah (Katim Pujayami), Om Sahasra padaayanamah (Charanam Pujayami) and Om Damodarayanamah (Sarvangaaya namah). Four ‘Ghatas’ (pots) be set containing the waters of four Oceans (symbolically) and next morning give away in charity each with Pratimas (made of gold and other metals) and ‘Dakshinas’. In the past, Great Personalities like Prajapati who attained Sashvata Brahma, Rajarshi Yavanashva secured a person named Mandhata who became a Chakravathi of three worlds, Krutaveerya begot the universal figure Kartiveerya, and Shakunthala begot Bharat. The Vrata’s ‘mahaphal’is so far reaching that it materialised several Emperors, or Glorious personalities or Maharshis all being illustrious in their own ways. In a way, it had been the luck of only those who were able to perform the Vratha.

Vratas for fulfillment of human desires

As the above Vrathas aimed at worshipping Lord Vishnu in various incarnations were outlined, certain other Vrathas are practised to fulfil the normal wish-list of men and women, each aiming a specific human desire. Sadbharta Vrath was suggested by Sage Narada to ‘Apsarasas’ or Heavenly Maidens since their desire was to become the wives of Devaadi Deva Vishnu on Sukla paksha Dwadasi in Vasanta month. Shubha Vratha is scheduled on Margasirsha month during the Shukla Paksha commencing from Pradham to Dashami by taking single meal for four months by reciting the name of Hari Krishna and on the concluding day by worshipping Lord Vishnu and Prithvi and on Ekasdashi donate barley as also a cow, apparels, ornaments, umbrellas etc. as presribed and satisfy good Bhojan to twenty four Brahmanas. Dhanya Vrata is executed as a ‘nakta’ vratha or fasting upto the evening and eating thereafter for a year from the month of Margasirsha on Sukla Pratipada Tithi by worshipping and ‘havans’ to Agni swarup Vishnu as Vaishvaanaraaya, Agni, Havirbhuja, Dravanodaya, Samvarthaaya, Jwalaaya and so on to seek blessings of instant Dhana ( Money), Dhanya ( Food grains), and Sowbhagya (Prosperity). Agni would burn off the sins of the current and previous births once this Vrata is achieved. Kubera was stated to have washed off his previous sins likewise.
Kanthi Vrata was achieved by Chandra on a Karthik Sukla Dwiteeya night by worshipping as per regulations Lords Baladeva and Krishna since he was diminishing in his radiance every night owing to a curse by Daksha Prajapathi; Bhagavan reversed the curse after ‘Samudra Manthan’( Churning of Ocean) and brought back ‘Kanthi’(sparkle) by curing Chandrra’s Yakshamarog to Amritha yoga! Since then the Vratha became popular as the curse reversing and sin-destroying boon to those who perform it with utmost devotion. Sowbhagya Vratha is also a year long Vratha from Tritiya night and Chaturthi of Bright Phalgun and a devotee has an option of worshipping the pair of Shiva Parvathi or Srihari Lakshmi.Every month on these days ‘homams’ are performed with ghee and honey and through out the year, dietary restrictions are observed by eating saltless wheat- made insipid material. At the end, charity of six vessels containing honey, ghee, til or sesame oil, gud or jaggery, salt and cow milk along with adequate ‘dakshina’.
The idols made of gold or any other metal are donated too.This Vrath is stated to bless the devotee with prosperity for seven births in a row!
Avighna Vratha commences on Chaturthi of Shukla Phalguna for four months with the dietary restriction of ‘tilanna’ (rice mixed with sesame seeds after daily fast and tilanna homam as well as tila daana to Brahmanas with dakshina. On the fifth Sukla Chaturthi after four months, homams in the name of Ganesha be made reciting Om Suraya namah, Om Dheeraya namah, Om Gajaananaaya namah, Om Lambodaraya namha, Eka Damshtraayanamah, Om Ganeshaya namah etc.After the Puja, five vessels made of Gold or any other material along with tila seeds is given away to Brahmanas as charity along with dakshina. A number of Kings did the Vrath before performing Aswamedha Yagnas. Lord Rudra did the Vrath before proceeding to take on the task of killing Tripurasura. Agasthya said that he also executed the Vrath before holding the entire Sea in his palm! This Vrath blesses who ever carries out the Vrath with sincerity and devotion is protected from Vighnas or obstacles.
Shanti Vratha is observed on Shukla Panchami of Kartik month again for a year without sour food but after fasting day long and worshipping Pratimas of both Vishnu and Seshanag by reciting Ananthaya namah, Vasuvakaye namah, Takshakaya namah, Karkotakaya namah, Padmaya namah, Maha Padmaya namah, Sankha palaayanamah and
Kutilaya namah by way of Shadanga puja to charan, kati, udar, kantha, bahu, mukha, and shira respectively. The two Idols are bathed in milk and use in tila and milk in homams. Charity, Bhojan and Dakshinas to Brahmanas are an integrated part of the procedure. Whoever does the Vratha earnestly would have no fear of serpents and enjoy peaceful life.
Kama Vratha or Kamnaya Vratha to fulfill desires is observed by worshipping Kartikeya on Poushya Shukla Chaturthi for a year’s day long fast on ‘phalahar’ (fruits) and Shuddha Bhojan in the night, till the Shashthi of the next year of the same month. The essential feature of the Vrath is to keep mouna Vrath (silence) during the fast time and daily ‘Agnikarya’ or homams. At the conclusion of the Vrath, Brahmanas be provided all the possible Sevas like Bhojan, Vastras and Dakshina, besides donating the idol of Karthikeya to a deserving Brahmana. The fruits of the year long penance would yield prosperity, good progeny, and regain of kingdoms lost earlier and so on.
Arogya Vratha is scheduled from Magha Shukla Saptami for a year to worship Surya Deva. The Puja is preceded by Shashthi Bhojan, fast on the next day and Bhojan on Ashtami Bhojan again. The series of Bhojans are irrespective of daily worship to Aditya, Bhaskar, Ravi, Bhanu, Diwakar, Prabhakar and other names as also by recitals of Surya Kavachas, Aditya Hridaya and so on. Year long worship on these lines would ensure blessings from Surya Deva in respect of the devotee’s health, wealth, contentment and salvation finally.
Many more Vrathas were mentioned by Sage Durvasa to Mahatma Satya Pal such as Puthra Prapti Vrata, Shourya and Sarva Sarvabhama Vrata, Vhaishnava Vrata, Dharma Vrata, Indra/Rudra Vrata and many more as per the dates, procedure and Specific Deities to be worshipped. 








 





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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