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The Essence of Puranas – Varaha Purana -2

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The Essence of Puranas – Varaha Purana

26    Bhakti in seeking Lord Vishnu-relevance of ‘Pancha Ratra’ Gyan

In the context of Padmanabha Vratha mentioned above, Maha Muni Agasthya preached on several Spiritual Issues to King Asvaashva. He gave the example of Devarshi Narada who having worshipped Lord Vishnu for thousand years visited ‘Sweta Dwipa’ and was stunned to visualise the Maha Purusha Vishnu with His armoury and ornaments like Shankham, Chakram, Padmam, and Koustubh and prayed to Him literally non stop. Lord Vishnu replied that those Brahmanas who followed ‘Purusha Suktam’ or the Original ‘Samhita’ describing ‘Varnashrama Dharma’ and worshipped Him with devotion would indeed realise Him.[ Purusha Suktam states ‘Sahasra Sirsha Purushah, Sahasraksha Sahasrapaat, Sabhumim Visvatho vruttva Athyathishtha Dasaasngulam ( The Immortal Purusha has thousand or countless heads, Thousand Eyes and Thousand Feet, He spreads all over the Earth that ten fingers cannot count)---‘Braahmanosya Mukhamaseeth Bahoo Raajanyakruthah, Uruthathasya yadh Vaisya Pathbyaagum Shudro Ajaayatha ( His mouth formed the Brahmana, His arms made Rajaaya or Kshatriya, His two thighs the Vaishyas or traders/agriculturists, and from His feet the Shudras] Bhagvan said further those devotees who observed the ‘Pancha Rathra Shastra’ too would attain me. Those who were dominated by Rajas and Tamas features would not be able to even gauge me, let alone attain me. So saying Bhagavan bestowed to Narada the greatest gift of the composite knowledge of Pancha Rathra Sastra with the mission of preaching its contents and explanations to posterity. [Bhakti is Amrit and righteousness or the bliss of Almighty; notwithstanding the turmoil of ‘Samsasra’or worldly wisdom, a bhakta has to promote a parallel force in the name of virtuousness and alignment with Narayana and the strength of that alignment determines the distance from the Bhakta and Narayana. The driving force named Devi Radha is Bhakti and in fact Radha Devi Herself is the embodiment of Bhakti. Hence the union of Radha and Krishna is ‘Moksha’ or Salvation. Narada confirms in Pancha Rathra as follows:

Satyam Satyam punah Punah Satyameva Punah Punah
Radha naamna Vinalokena matprasado na Vidyatey

(I tell you the truth and I repeat that this is the truth; one who does not pray Radha will not secure my kindness or blessings.)]

27    Concept of Unity in Diversity-Maha Vishnu manifests in Triple Forms

At a Sacred Yagna being performed to worship Maha Vishnu various Devas including Indra and Brahma attended and so did Bhagavan Siva. Since there was the question of worhipping the seniormost Deities present , Sage Agastya asked Lord Rudra Himself as to who should be declared as the Chief Guest at the Yagna. Lord Rudra replied that since the Yagna was devoted to Vishnu and as such it was most appropriate that Vishnu be the Chief Guest. Moreover, Satva Swarup Parama Narayana displayed Himself in three Forms. With the complex mix of ‘Rajas’ and ‘Tamas’ Gunas Maha Vishnu created from His navel the Lord Brahma seated on Lotus top and Satva Guna predominated Brahma; with the mix of Rajas and Tamas Gunas, Deva Deva created Shiva with Tamo Guna dominating; and finally, with the mix of Rajas and Satva Gunas, He created Vishnu with the predominance of Satva Guna! Having stated that but for the predominance of Gunas, all the three forms of Adi Deva are equally important, Rudra Deva declared:

Yo Vishnum Sa Svayam Brahma Yo Brahma sohamevacha,
vedatrayopi Yajnosmin Yajyam Vedeshunischayah
Yo bhedam kurutheysmaakam thrayaanam Dwijasotthama
Sa paapakari dhushtaatma durgatim gatimaapnuyat/

(Whoever is Vishnu, He is Brahma Himself, and whoever is Vishnu He is Myself or Rudra! Hey Sreshtha Dvija, the decisive view of Vedas is that whoever makse a distinction among the Trinity that sinner among human beings goes down to Durgati or to Evil Ways.) Rudra said further to Sage Agastya: I am the Three Yugas, the Trimurties, Three Vedas, Three Agnis like Garhapatmaya, Three Lokas, Three Gunas, Three Sandhyas and Three Varnas.

28    Genesis of Gautami River and benevolence of Lord Rudra to Sage Gautam

Sage Gautami was blessed by a boon from Brahma after a severe Tapasya in Dandaka forest that he should have abundant supply of ‘Dhanya’ (food grains) and provide good food to Guests daily. As there was ‘Akal’ (famine) once, several Brahmanas were fed with food. Some of the ‘Sapta Rishis’ (Seven Great Sages) like Marichi were not happy of Gautami’s popularity and created an illusory cow ( Maya Cow) and left it moving around the kitchen and Gautami threw some water on the cow and the latter pretended death. The Sapta Rishis wantonly left the place as they alleged the killing of a cow as a pretext. Repenting the ‘Gohatya’ which was actually never done, Gautami performed penance to Rudra Deva and requested Him to release a piece of His ‘Jatajut’ (twisted hair) so that Bhagirathi was created and revived the ‘dead’ cow. The Sapta Rishis were surprised at the tenacity of Gautam and addressed the Sage as: ‘Sadhu’ ‘Sadhu’as a gesture of admiration to the long penance to Rudra. Gautam was indeed not amused as the jealous and flippant action of Sapta Rishis’ creating a Maya Cow, made him feel that he did a crime and as a result he had to perform Tapasya for long time. Gautam cursed the Sapta Rishis that they would lose all the knowledge of Vedas and would be unfit for Vedic tasks.The off-shoot was that Sacred River Godavari was born. As regards the curse of Gautam to Sapta Rishis, the latter said that this time the curse might not materialise, but in Kaliyug the curse would indeed become true, since there would be many fake Sages, doers of Kshudra karma (evil acts) to destroy others, smokers, liquour consumers, womanisers and such other unscrupulous persons. But there would be a few virtuous devotees who bathe in Pavitra Godavari and perform Pitru Tarpan especially when Brihaspati Graha enters Simha Rasi and that they would certainly attain salvation to the Pitras as well as themselves after their end. Such was the assurance of Lord Rudra Himself!

29    Rudra Deva’s realisation of ‘Maha Purush’ (Adi Deva Stuti by Rudra Deva included)

As Lord Rudra was performing ‘Tapasya’ deep inside water to Maha Purush, He saw that Eleven Entities of outstanding splendour emegring from water and even when enquired as to who they were, they sped away in hurry without replying. Later on Rudra visualised a Thumb-like Figure who was by far the most resplendent of the Eleven Entities who flashed earlier. Rudra introduced Himself as ‘Bhava’ and asked the new Personality as to Who He was. The reply was that a new vision would be provided to Rudra so that the realisation was better and that He was the ‘Jalasayi Narayan Deva’.The Eleven Entities who hurried away without replying to Rudra were the ‘Ekadasa Adityas’ or the Eleven Suryas and they were asked to hurry up to execute Tapasya. Rudra then comprehended the Premordial Maha Purusha and prayed to Him as follows:
My greetings You, You are Eternal, Pure and incredibly Huge Bodied, with Thousand Hands and Thousand Rays; Your actions are pure; You are the redeemer of all human tribulations, Shambho! You possess the unimaginable luminosity of several Suns and speed and severity of several Vayus; You are the possessor of all kinds of ‘Vidyas’ and knowledge; You are Greeted and worshipped by all Deities; You have neither beginning nor end nor you are destructible; You are the small symbol of Seshanag who is the holder and supporter of the entire Universe; You are the Supreme Lord of the Universe, Bhutapathi, Maheswara, Marutpathi, Sarvapathi, Jagatpathi, Prithvi pathi, Loka pathi: I am ever grantful to You; You are ‘Jalesha’ of Super Lord of Water, Narayana, Vishva Shankara, Kshitisha, Vishweswara, Vishwalochana, Manifestation of Sun and Moon, Achyuta, Veera, Vishvavyapi or Omni Present, Amrita murthi, the Opposite of blistering flames of Fire God in the form of pleasant coolness; Universally multi faced, Oh Narayana, do protect me as I am in Your complete control; You are engaged in the full swing of ‘Samsara Chakra’ or preserving the balance of Universe, yet no miniscule matter could escape Your consideration; little wonder that all Jnanis with clean and clear mind leave to you to perform, correct and obey without the least hesitation; How could I commend or comment about you! You have the unique and accurate assessement of infinitesimally small as well as mammoth and unsolvable issues; You are speechless, heartless and emotionless; You are devoid of attachments; even Brahma could not fathom Your Inner Self, excepting that Tapasya might provide You a feeling of nearness to you.
As Rudra Deva prayed to Maha Purush Vishnu, the latter confirmed that both of the two Entities were the same. He said: Varam Varaya Bhadram the Deva Deva Umapathey, Na Bhedaswavayo Deva ekavavaamubhavapi (Oh Umapathi, Do ask for a boon from me; may you be blessed; We have no difference and are both the same) He affirmed further:

Devakaryavitaareshu Manushatvamupagathah,
Thvomeva araadhiyashyami thvam cha me varado Bhava /
Yat thvayoktim bahesvethi Deva Dva Umapathye,
Svoham vahaami thvaam Devam Megho Bhutva shatam samah

(Oh Umapathi! In order to perform the tasks of Devas I take to various Incarnations and execute Tapasya for you. I shall take the form of clouds and take out water from them for your sake!). Maha Vishnu gave two further dispensations viz. the Ekadasa Adityas-the Prakritik Purushas- would spread all over Prithvi to stay there and Vishnu’s incarnation as Varaha would worship Rudra Deva.

(The Sanskrit base is:

1)Namostvanantaaya Visuddha chethasey Swarupa rupaya Sahasrabaahavey,
Sahasra Rashmipravaraya Vedhasey Vishaladehaya Vishudda karminey/
2) Samasta Visvaarti haraya Shambhavey Sahasra Suryaanilathigma tejasey,
Samasta Vidyaavidhutaya Chakriney Samasta Govarninuthey Sadaanagha /
3) Anaadi Devotchyuta Sesha Sekhara Prabho Vibho Bhutapathey Maheshwara, Marutpathey Sarvapathey Jagatpathey Bhuvah Pathey Bhuvana Pathey Sada namah/
4) Jalesha Narayana Vishavashankara Kshitisha Vishveswara Visva lochana,
Shashanka Suryarchyuta Vira Vishvaga pratakyamurtye Amrithir- avyaha/
5) Jwaladhahutaashanchi virudha mandala prapahi mam Sharanagatam Sada achyuta / Vakranyanekani Vibho Tavaaham ma Pashyami Madhyasthagatam Puranam
6) Brahmanameesham Jagataam Prasutim Namosthu thubhyam Pitaa Mahamahaya, Samsarachakra bhramaniranekah kvachit Bhavan Deva Varaadi Deva
7) Sanmargibhijnana vishuddha tatvaihryupaasyase ki pralapaamyaham tvaam Ekam Bhavantam Prakruteh parastaad yo vethyasou Sarvavidadibodha/
Gunana theshu Prasambha Vibhedya Vishala murthihi Susukshma rupam
8) Nirvakyo Nirmano Vigathendriyosi Karma bhavanno vigathika Karma, Samsaravamsthva hi na thadrushosi punah katham Deva varasi Vedhyah
9) Murthamurtha tvathulam labhyate thye the param Vapu Devah Vishuddha Bhavaih, Samsara vicchhitthi karairyajadbhirato vasisayet Chaturbhujaswam/
Param na jaananthi yato vapusthe Devadayopyadadbhutakaranam tat,
Atovataarokti thanum Puranamamadhayeyuh Kamalasanadyah/
10) Na the Vapu vishwa srugabja yonirekanthato Ved Mahanubhavah,
Param tvaham Vedya Kavih puranam Bhavanthamadyam Tapasa vishiddhim/
11) Chaturmukho yo yadi Kota vaktro Bhavennarah kvapi Vishuddha chetah,
Sa tho Guna naamayuthi ranekaihr vadet tada Devarara Praseeda/
12) Samadhiyuktasya Visuddha Buddhehstavad bhava bhaavaikamanonrugasya,
Sada Hridisthosi Bhavannamaste na Sarvagasyaasthi Pruthagavyavastha
13) Iti Prakasham Krutamethadeesha Stvam maya sarvagatham Vibuddhva,
Samsara Chakra kramanana Yukthya Bheetim puneerhyachuta kevalatvam.).

30    Manifestation of ‘Tri Shaktis’-Brahmi, Vaishnavi and Rudrani

Lord Brahma led a delegation of Devas and reached Kailash when Rudra Deva and Devi were sharing a lighter moment. The reason of the visit was that a Demon named Andhaka defeated Devas badly and ousted them from Swargaloka. Brahma requested Narayan too to join at Kailasa to face the emergency. As the Trinity pondered over the crisis rather seriously and their vision crossed each others’ eyes, there appeared a Tri Shakti whom the Trinity named as Tri Kala who would administer the entire Universe. Since She was the embodiment of Tri Gunas of Satva, Rajas and Tamas, She would be known by that name as Tri Guna; since Her physique and appearance alternate with the three colours of white, red and black, She would be called Tri Varna also.Among the Tri Shaktis so manifested, one Swarupa was extremely beautiful and benevolent as a personification of propitiousness to be engaged in the task of ‘Brahma Srishti’ as Brahmi Devi. Another characterizasion of Tri Shakti was endowed with the quality of an administrator in the most dignified and poised demeanor, signifying valour and Vishnu Maya was named Vaishno Devi. With a fearful visage and physique, ready to pounce on the wicked and the Evil, the third Image with a Trident seated on a tiger was called Rudrani Devi as ‘Vishva Samharini’or the Destroyer of the Universe. Brahmi Devi who was Svetha Varna or fair complexioned, lustrous and lotus eyed became a ‘Yogini’ with the permission of Brahma on ‘Sveth Parvat’ or the White Mountain. Eventually this Devi of Satva Guna became popular as Saraksharamayi, Ekakshara, Vageesha, Sarasvati, Vidyeshvari, Vedavati, Amritakshara, Jnanavidhi, Vibhavari Devi, Vishalini, and Soumya. Vaishno Devi who manifested from Vishnu too left with His consent for Mandarachal for Tapasya. Rudrani left for Neel Parvat or Blue Mountain to perform Tapasya after Rudra Deva’s approval. The Tri Shatkis were thus ready for facing exigencies whenever they were recalled from the respective Lords such as when Sarasvati was asked to help in the task of Creation etc. More than the normal duties as were assigned to them, the Tri-Shakties were ever ready to supplement the efforts of their respective Lords as collective endeavors were called for, such as the destruction of mighty Demons as Andhaka.

31    Significance of ‘Vaishno Devi’ (Devi ‘Stuti’ included)

Symptomatic with Rajoguna and Vishnu Maya, Vaishno Devi entered a cave named Vishala Teertha atop Mandara Mountain for executing Tapasya. After considerable time gap of years, She felt highly disturbed and out of that feeling of stress emerged several ‘Kumaris’ (Young Virgins) who were bluish in complexion, with curled hair, attractive lips, broad eyes, slim waists and ornamented. Simultaneously a massive number of grown up women too materialized. Innnumerable palaces and houses with all possible facilities with luxurious living appeared to accommodate the Kumaris and women. Renowned among the Kumaris were Vidyutprabha, Chandrakanthi, Suryakanthi, Para, Gambhira, Charukeshi, Sujata, Ghritachi, Urvashi, Shashini, Sheilamanditha, Charu Kanya, Visalakshi, Dhanya, Peenapayodhara, Chandraprabha, Girisutha, Suryaprabha, Amrita, Swayamprabha, Charumukhi, Shivadooti, Vibhavari, Jaya, Vijaya, Jayanti, Aparajita and many others housed in Sreshthapuri. All the Maids of Devi wearing ‘Ankush’ and ‘Paasha’ surrounding Her as seated on a Golden Throne were fanning Her with white ‘Chamaras’. Vaishno Devi was fully ornamented and garlanded with various fragrant flowers and was seated comfortably when Sage Narada called on Her for ‘Darshan’ and left. His purpose was to convey to Demon Mahishasur about the unparalelled beauty of Vaishno Devi. The puffed up arrogant Demon tormented the whole world, especially Devas, Sages and all the virtuous since he attained boons of invincibility from Brahma except from women. He called his Maha Mantri ‘Alamsharma’ and select other Mantris like Praghas, Vighas, Shankukarna, Vibhavasu, Vidyunmali, Sumali, Parjanya and Kruur and instructed them to request Her to marry him politely and if necessary utilise the other means of ‘Daana’ or tempt with gifts; ‘Bheda’or divide and try; and finally as a last resort to ‘Danda’ or punish or even kidnap or if need be to destroy Her! As the road map plan of approaching Her was finalised, a highly accomplished person named Vighas was commisioned to negotiate. As all means of cajoling and threatening were not fruiful, the Demon had to declare war. Senapati Virupaksh led the Demon’s side and quite a few of the Danavas were capable of defeating the Mighty Indra who carried the Vajrayudha! Among these ‘Daithyas’ were stalvarts like Lomavarshak, Anjan, Nilakukshi, Udraksh, Meghavarna, Balahak, Lalataksh, and Subhim. While Rahu challenged ‘Ashtavasus’ or Eight Vasus, mighty Demons like Bhayankar, Dhwanksh, Dhvasta Karna, Shanka Kukarna, Vajra Kaya, Ati Veerya, Vidyunmali, Rakthaksha, Bhimadamshtra, Vidyutjihva, Atikaya, Mahakaya, Dirghabahu, Krithantak etc.attacked the Eleven Adithyas by turns. Kaal, Kritanth, Raktaksha, Haran, Mitrah, Aanitya, Yajaha, Goghna, Stridhan and Parakrami fought Eleven Rudras. Thousands of Asuras were destroyed and in the process Devas too got defeated and fled without a scar but for the fact that they consumed Amrit. Sage Narada alerted Kumaris of Vishno Devi that the so-called invincible Mahisahasur had moved towards Devi Bhagavati to wage a battle.As a final effort of demanding Devi to wed Mahishasura was personally conveyed by the Special envoy, called Vidhyutprabha; indeed Vaishno Devi was fully aware of Mahisha’s background but gave a patient hearing: there was a demoness named Mahishmati who took the form of a Mahisha (She-baffalo) and tried to forcibly occupy the Ashram of Sage Ambar who by his Divine Vision found the real form of the demoness and cursed her that she would take the birth of a Mahisha (buffalo). As she fell on the feet of the Sage, he had kindly agreed that if she begot a son then she would be back to normalcy.After a time lag, another Sage named Sindhudveep who was performing Tapasya on the banks of Narmada river witnessed the attractive physique of a Devakanya without clothes and the Sage dropped his semen in the water, when the Mahisha saw the scene. She drank up the semen water and thus begot Mahishasura who was unconquerable. “Therefore oh Devi, this would be a last chance to marry the Mighty Mahisha and be happy for ever”, said the Emissary Vidyutprabha. As this was stated, Vaishno Devi laughed like a roar of a Lioness so much so, the Trilokas in her belly were shaken and from that vibration came out Devi Jaya, the Dwarpalika of the Goddess and said: ‘You stupid, your head is as thick as your Lord Mahishasura’s! Do you not realise that Vaishno Devi is a Kumari and is the Supreme Goddess of Kumaris and the Boon Giver to those who perform this Great Vrata; do run back soon as the rules of ‘Dharma Yuddha’ (Battle of Dharmic Rules) prohibit killing an emissary. As this conversation was going on, Sage Narada appeared and was so mirthful that the final moment of Mahisha’s annihilation had arrived. A multitude of Mahisha’s army was butchered by Kumaris and there was tremendous ‘hahakars’ of death all around. Vaishno Devi assumed a mammoth form with twenty hands each carrying a weapon of mass destruction like arrows and bow, sword, Shakti, mace, axe, damaru, huge bell, Shatagni, Mudgara, Bhushundi, Jhala, Musal, Chakra, Bhindipal, Danda, Pasha, Dhwaja and Padma. As the entire army of the Asura was floored totally, the Lion on which was seated by Devi made such a howl that the Universe was frightened as though that was the signal to jump.The Asura Maya which sought to be spread by the Demon jumping from mountain to mountain was targetted with Vishnu Maya with such precision that the Trisul went right through the wretched body of Mahisha, the Greatest menace of the World, fell with a terrific thud which pierced through the ears of the entire humanity. Headed by Lord Brahma, Indra and all the Devas extolled Vaishnavi Devi for saving them as also the World from the peril of the Asura as follows:

Devi Vaishnavi Stuti :

Namo Devi Mahabhagey Gambheerey Bhima Darshiney,
Jayasthey Stithi Siddhantey Trinetrey Vishvatomukhi /
Vidyavidye Jaye yajey Mahishasuramardini,
Sarvagey Sarvadeveshi Vishwarupini Vaishnavi /
Veethashokey Dhruvey Devi Padma Paptra Shubheykshaney,
Suddhasatva vrathasthey cha Chanda Rupey Vibhavari /
Ruddhi Siddhipradey Devi Vidyey Vidyomrutey Shivaey,
Shankari Vaishnavi Brahmi Sarva Deva Namaskrutey /
Ghanthaahastey Trishulaastrey Maha mahisha madrdini,
Ugra Rupey Virupakshi Mahamayemritusravey /
Sarvasatva hithey Dhruvey, Vidyaapurana shilpanaam Janani Bhutadharini /
Sarva Deva Rahasyanaam Sarva Sattvavathaam Shubhey,
Tvameva Sharanam Prapadyanthey e Devi Parameswari /
Na theshaam Jaayathey kinchithasumbha rana sankatey,
Yashva Vyaghra bhayey ghorey chorarajabhaey tatha /
Stvamennam sada Devi Pathishyati Yataatmavaan,
Nigadasthopi yo Devi twam Smarishyati Manavah/
Sopi Bandhairvimuktasthu Sumukham vasatey sukhi/

( Hey Mahabhagyashalini, Gambheera, Bhayankara Darshini, Vijayashalini, Sthitha Swarupa, Three Eyed Devi, Universe Faced One, Our sincere Greetings to you;
Hey Vidya and Avidya Rupi, Jaya, Fit for performing Yajnas, Mahishasura Mardini, Omni Present, Swamini for all Devas, Vishwarupini, Devi Vaishnavi: our Greetings; You are devoid of sorrows, Everlasting, Beautiful and Lotus Eyed, You are embodiment of Pure Satva Gunas and at the same time ferocious, brutal and night like darkness; You are the benevolent Devi bent on enhancing Virtuous mind-sets; You are Vidya, Avidya and Amrit in the same wavelength; You are Shankar, Vishnu, Brahma and Shakti in one go; You carry a Ghanta ( Bell), Trishul and many other Items signifying several aspects simultaneously; You are the force to destroy Maha Mahishi, Ugraswarupa, Virupakshi and Maha Maya; Sarva Satvamaya, Dhruvasva Rupini, Mother of Puranas, Vidyas and various Skills; Ambika, Virupakshi, Shantai Swarupa, Dosharahita or Sinless, Akshaya, Avyaya,; I am in Your ‘Sharan’ or safe custody; Those who read this Stuti with a clean thought and mind shall never be troubled by ferocious animals, thieves, or those in authority and nothing untoward would ever occur to them! Even shackled by iron chains, those who read this Vaishavi Stuti would instantly be free and fearless!

32    Tri Shakti Devi Rudrani (Chamundi Stuti included)

Deva Varaha enlightened Devi Prithvi about the materialization of Tri Shakti as Rudrani Devi at the Nilgiri mountain Range as the symbol of Tamoguna. It was at this time that Brahma gave away boons to Daitya Ruru of impregnability by any species obviously ignoring the women power. In a battle with Devas, Ruru created thousands of Ruru-alike Danavas out of the Oceans and distressed Devas, Sages and the Righteous. Devas started running away helter-skelter and there was an all round bewilderment when a loud voice came from the Skies saying: ‘do not be afraid and be panicky’. Simultaneously there were lakhs of Devis with armoury who appeared from nowhere and showered ankushas, arrows, swords, maces etc. on the Daithyas in such numbers as were manifold compared to those of Demons. Emboldened by the presence of lakhs of Devis, the Devas, Adithyas, Vasuganas, Rudraganas and Ashvini kumars fought boldly and in response, Ruru spread his Maya which lulled Devas and others to sleep. Devi Rudrani threw away Her Trishul and pierced through the body of Daithya Ruru; but from that body came out two furious Asuras, called Chanda and Munda who were slaughtered instantly and thus Devi’s another Name was Chamunda. As She was Roudriya Samharini, the Devi was known as Kalarathri. As She was surrounded and devoted by thousands of ‘Anucharikas’ (Servants), She was called Mahabhaga. Since the Anucharikas were ever hungry and were ever after to feed, Rudrani requested Rudra Deva to show a way out to appease their hunger amd Rudra Deva did indicate the ways to satisfy them: if women were in the family way and wear the clothes of other women or worse still touch the clothes of men, then the Anucharikas could satisfy their hunger; or babies who are neglected lying on earth could be considered as ‘Bali’or sacrifice; the remains of a child’s delivery in the delivery house could be taken as food to the Anucharikas; or just born babies too could be the food for these women.
Chamundi Stuti:
Jayaswa Devi Chamundey Jaya Bhuthapaharini,
Jaya Sarvagathey Devi Kaalarathri Namosthuthey /
Vishwamurthi Shubhey Shuddhey Virupakshi Trilochaney,
Bheema Rupey Shivey Vidyey Mahamaye Mahodaye /
Manojavey Jaye Jrumbhey Bheemakshi Kshubithakshaye,
Mahamaari Vichitraangey Geyanrithyapriye Shubhey /
Vikaraley Mahakaali Kaalikey Paapahaarini,
Paashahasthey Dandahasthey Bheemarupey Bhayanakey /
Chamundey Jwalamaanaasye Teekshnadamshtrey Mahabaley,
Shiva yaanasthithey Devi Prethaasanagathey Shivey /
Bheemakshi Bheeshaney Devi Sarvabhuta bhayankari,
Karaaley Vikaraaley cha Mahaakaaley Karaalini /
Kaali Karaali Vikrantha Kaalaraathri Namosthuthey ,
Vikaraala Mukhi Devi Jwalaamukhi Namosthuthey /
Sarvasatwa hithey Devi Sarva Devi Namosthuthey,
Iti Sthuta tadah Devi Rudreyna Parameshtina /
Thuthosha Parama Devi Vakyam chedamuvaavacha ha,
Varam Vrushneeva Devesha yatha they Manasi Vakthrathey/
Stothraanena ye Devi twam sthuvanthi Varaananey,
Theyshaam twam Varadaa Devi Bhava Sarvagati Sati/
Yashchemam Triprakaaram thu Devi Bhaktya samanvitha,
sa Putra Poutra Pashuman Samruddhimupagacchati /
Yashchemam Srunuyad Bhaktya Trishaktyastu Samudbhavam,
Sarva paapa vinirmuktaha padam Gacchhatyanamayam /

(Victory be with you, Chamunda Devi, Bhutaapaharini, All Pervading Devi, Kaalarathri, Vishwa murthi Swarupa, Embodiment of Propitiousness, Essence of Purity, Virupakshi, Three Eyed, Personification of Terror, Arch-type of Auspiciousness, Source of Knowledge, The Great Illusion; You are as fast as mind, Victorious by nature, berserk by behavior, Strange by demeanour, Lover of Music and Dance, Vikaral, Maha Kali, Sin expunger, Kalika, Sporter of ‘Pasha’( rope) and club by hands, Originator of ferocity and panic; You are highly illuminated by face, Maha Balavati, seated on dead bodies, Prethas and images of Pisachas, horror-eyed, Bhayankar, Vikaral Kaala Swarupa, Archtype of gallantry and ferociousness, Blazing Faced One, My Greetings, You are the Universal Benefactor! Rudra commended Chamundi Devi with the above Stuti or eulogy; He said that whoever reads or hears it would be blessed by Him and Devi as well.)

Those who pray to the Tri Shaktis in the Three Profiles with sincerity and mental application would secure boons for excellent well being, offspring and prosperity. Observance of Tri Shakti Vratha on Ashtamis, Navamis and Chaturdasis by fast and worship would help retrieve even lost Kingdoms or secure Kingdoms anew and similarly retrieve or gain great opportunities of life. There would be no threat of fire, theft, serpents or any such untoward occurrences by merely preserving the Tri Shakti Stothras in any household. Reading the Stothras would certainly help secure the following: Pasum, Puthram, Dhanam, Dhanyam, Varastriyah, Rathnaashva Gajaa yanaaswashu bhavanthuta yasyedam thishathey gehe thasyedam jaayathey dhruvam ( Cattle, Sons, Money, Beautiful women, Jewellery, horses, elephants, servants and Vaahanams would be possessed in those houses and this is certain).

33    ‘Kapala Vimochan’ and Rudra Vratha

Varaha Deva narrated the background of Rudra Vratha to Devi Prithvi. At the time of Creation, Brahma created Rudra and the ‘Pingala Varna’ (red colour) of Rudra became ‘Nilalohit’ (blue colour). Out of fun, Brahma carried Rudra on His shoulders; Rudra found the fifth head of Brahma uttering an ‘Atharva Veda Mantra’ including a word ‘Kapala’which irritated Rudra and He nipped off the Fifth Head of Brahma. As the Kapala of Brahma’s Head got stuck in Rudra’s hands, apparently due to the sin of ‘Brahman Hathya’ (Killing of a Brahmana), Rudra enquired of Brahma as to how to get rid of the skull and the reply was that Rudra should perform Kapala Vrath. Rudra left for Mahendra Mountain and split the skull into three parts; the first part having thick hairs which was converted as Yajnopaveeth of Rudra; holding the second and third parts of the skull on hands, Rudra wore the broken parts and used them as ‘jatajut’ of Himself and the third remainder was taken from ‘Tirthas after Tirthas’ for Body Purification and penance for twelve years among Sapta Dwipas. In the first year He bathed in the Ocean first and in Ganga; in the subsequent years, He bathed in Sarasvathi; in the Sangam of Yamuna, Ganges and Sarasvathi Rivers; there after in the Rivers of Shathadu, Chandrabhaga, Gomati, Sindhu, Thungabhadra, Godavari and Gandaki. Thereafter, Lord Rudra bathed with the skull in hands at Udveg Theerth, Rudramahalaya Theerth, Daruvan, Kedarnath, Bhadreswar Theerth, and Gaya Theerth where Pitru Tarpan was performed. In the sixth year, while performing ‘Vishva Bhraman’ or Universal Circumambulation, Rudra’s Koupeena Vastra along with the ‘Kati Sutra’ ( waist string) fell in a river and since then He had been bathing as ‘Nagna Murthi’ ( or Naked Deva). Thus in the pretext of Kapala Vimochana, Rudra Deva was bathing in nude eversince till the Tirtha Vrata was taken up. At Varanasi, after bathing in Ganges which was indeed the starting point of the Vratha, Kapala Vimochan (relief of the skull) was accomplished and hence the Kasi Theerth was declared as the Kapala Vimochana Theertha; incidentally Rudra Deva’s complexion changed from Neela Varna back to Pingala Varna. The propitious Vratha of Rudra had come to be known as Nagnakapaal Vratha, Vyabhrava Vratha (since the complexion of Rudra got transformed) and Shuddha Shaiva Vratha eversince.

34    Procedure of Maha Vishnu Vratha

Varaha Deva explained to Prithi Devi that even the worst kind of Sins, (including the ‘Pancha Pathakas’ or the Five Worst Sins viz. killing Brahmana, Wine drinking, falsehood, committing thefts, and incest with Guru’s wife) could be destroyed, progeny and prosperity are blessed, health and fame are assured and longevity and contentment are augmented, provided Vishnu Puja is carried out with purity of body and soul. The Vrath to be executed in the Month of Kartika during the Bright fortnight on Dwitheeya or Samkranthi Dwadasi or during Chandra Grahan or Surya Grahan ( Lunar or Solar Eclipses). As per prescribed Procedure in the Varaha Purana, Lord Vishnu and Devi Lakshmi are installed in the midst of sixteen or atleast nine petals of Lotus as directed by Guru (Preceptor). Intiation of the Vratha should be on Kartik Shukla Dashami itself by taking fruits and milk and rest overnight in the presence of the Installed Deities and the Guru. Now, the nine (or sixteen) mandals be arranged in bright colours installing Loka Palas first viz. Indra in East and worship him; Agni in his direction or Agnikona or Agneya and worship him; Yamaraja in South and Nirruti; Varun in West, Vayu in Vayavya kona; Kuber in North and Rudra in Ishanya. Likewise, install in the middle of the Lotus, Lord Vishnu. Also, Balaram be worshipped on the Eastern Patra; Pradyumna on the Southern Patra; on the West Aniruddha and on the North the sin-destroyer Vasudeva. In the Eshana Kona be installed Shankha and in Agni kona the Chakra, Dakshin side the Mace (Gada), Vayavya kona Padma; in Ishaan kona Musalam be worshipped and in the South Garuda; on the left side of Maha Deva be installed Devi Lakshmi; facing the Chief Deity of Vishnu be installed Dhanush, Khadga, Sri Vatsa and Koustubh. Subsequently, eight Kumbh or pots be arranged in ten dishas (Directions); of these Vishnu-related nine kumbhs be installed and perform bathing to any one Murthi as convenient. In the same way, bathe Indra’s Ghat in the name of Ishvarya or Prosperity; those devotees who are keen on money and valour might bathe the Agni-related kumbh; those desirous of victory against death would bathe Yamadharmaraja; seekers of peace of mind might bathe into the Ghata of Varun; for instant erasure of sins, bathe the pot of Vayu; for immediate money bathe the pot of Kubera; for Gyan to Rudra. After these preliminaries, the Guru would advise all the Sishyas either of Self or of Guru that Brahmanas should be respected always as they were of Vishnu Swarup! Then would commence the ‘Homas’ or oblations to Agni by uttering the Shodasakshara Mantra: Om Namo Bhagavatey Sarva Swarupiney hum phat Swaha / [After the Homas are executed, then follows the chapter of ‘Dakshinas’. While those who could afford such as Kings and rich persons of the clans of Kshatriyas and Vaisyas engaged in business, the middle class persons might satisfy the Gurus and Brahmanas according to the proven levels of knowledge as also the affording capacity of the devotees concerned, without overcharging by the receivers as per demand and supply forces nor underpaying the learned despite affordability.] Performing the Vratha, participating directly or otherwise, or observing the Proceedings with keenness or atleast having a ‘Darshan’ of the ‘Mandala’ Area and of the Deities would all yield proportionate blessings and boons!

35    ‘Go daan’ (Charity of Cows) in various forms

Ensuring the credibility and merit of the Brahmanas concerned, offering of cows in reality or symbolically in the form of Idols by the donors would indeed derive far reaching ‘Punya’ or the fruit of meritorious action. Quite a few kinds of Dhenu Daan have been in vogue: Til Dhenu Daan is performed with specified quantity of Sesame Seed along with the Idol made of gold or silver or copper, even stone or any other material along with the same kind of calf Idol with the prayer to Goddess Dhenu that the donor should never experience non availability of any essential material in the life of himself or his family members. The Brahmana receiving the donation in all humility should bless the donor and pray to Maha Vishnu to grant boons to the donor. The procedure of donating Jal Dhenu is to first clean up and purify an area with cow dung, place two pots representing a cow and a calf, made of any material as above, fill up the pots with sandalwood, camphor and water of holy rivers preferably and donate it to a worthy Brahmana and pray for happiness and abolition of sins and the receiver would bless like-wise.A donor of Rasa Dhenu should sanctify an area and place two decorated pots of bigger and smaller size on kusa grass filled up with sugar cane juice as also place sugar canes on four sides to effect the donation; the donor should pray to the Rasa Dhenu to make his life sweet and happy and the Brahmana too would pray to Vishnu to provide contentment in the donor’s life and bless him to attain Vishnu loka after life. Dhenus are similarly donated with other materials like Sharkara Dhenu donating Sugar, Madhu Dhenu donating honey, Kheer Dhenu for donating rice, milk and sugar mix, Dhadhi Dhenu with curd, Navaneeth (Butter), Lavan ( Salt), Kapas ( cotton) Gud ( Jaggery) and so on. Indeed whatever may be the material donated, the charity of cows should attract Almighty’s boons as per the donor’s wishes and forms.
Among the various types of Go-Daans mentioned above, Kapila Dhenu Daan is considered as the most outstanding. A virtuous person waking up early morning and washes a Kapila Dhenu with water flowing down from its head and neck to its feet with devotion daily would most certainly washes off his sins for years. Charity of a Kapila Dhenu in reality would secure the ‘Punya’ of performing Gomedha Yajna, besides fetching maximum benefits of any such charities put together!

36    Varaha Deva rescues Bhu Devi, His description, Stuti and Worship

As the entire Universe came to stand still when ‘Dishas’ (Directions), ‘Grahas’ (Planets), and Celestial Beings got stuck excepting Thri Murthies, Bhu Devi and Brahma appealed to Bhagavan Vishnu to uplift Her as She was sinking under deep Ocean and to save the Universe. Bhu Devi prayed to Vishnu desperately saying: ‘Praseeda mama Devesha Lokanadha Jagatpathey, Bhaktayaam Sharanam aashraya praseeda mama Madhava’:
‘Hey, Jagatpathi Devesha Madhava, Kindly have mercy and save me and Devotees like me; You are Surya, Chandra, Yama, Kubera, Indra, Varuna, Agni and Vayu; You are the ephemeral and Eternal; You are the Dishas or Directions, Vidishas or Direction-less; You are the Ten Incarnations; You are the Constant despite passing Yugas; You are the Earth, Wind, Sky,Water and Fire; You are the Sound, Touch, Form, Taste and Smell; You are the Stars, Yama, ‘Rasi Chakra’or the ever-moving Cycle of Raasis; You are the concept of Time like months, fortnights, weeks and days; days and nights, Years and Seasons and Six ‘Rasas’; You are the Rivers, Oceans, Mountains and Maha ‘Sarpas’( Giant Snakes); Meru, Mandhar, Vindhya, Malaya and Dardura Mountain, Himalaya, Nishidha; Sudarshan Chaka, Pinaka Dhanush, Yoga and Sankhya Shastra; You are the Srishthi, Sthiti and Laya Karaka; You are the Sukshma and Brihat Swarupa; You are the
‘Maha Yajna’, Embodiment of Vedas; Producer of Amrit with which the Deva Lokas are sustained; You are the Adi (Initial), Madhya (Middle) and Anthasswarupa or Antaryami;
You are the Medha, Buddhi and Smriti; You are the Griha Devatha and Griha Mangal Kara; Sarva Swarupa, Sarvesa, Sarva Vyapaka! Do save me from sinkng; thus prayed Devi Prithvi’! The ‘Phala Sruti’ of Vishnu Stuti by Bhu Devi would heal the sick, bless with progeny, grant a husband / wife, release from prison or legal entanglements and provide contentment in life.

In reply to the ‘Stuti’ by Bhu Devi, Maha Vishnu assured that as a result of Her Bhakti (devotion) He would lift Her up along with mountains, forests, Samudra, Rivers, Seven Dwipas and all the rest; He assumed a collosal manifestation of six thousand yojanas of height, three thousand yojanas of width and one thousand yojanas of Varaha Roop; He
liberated Prithvi by His left ‘damshtra’ (Jaw) along with the totality of mountains, forests, Sapta Dwipas and their contents including Oceans and Rivers all in tact!’

Bhu Devi was indeed excited at the unprecedented miracle that had happened and immediately requested Lord Varaha about the Varaha Puja Vidhana’.She posed innumerable queries on the method of Sthapana, Avahana, and Visarjana; the precautions to be observed on the preceding day of the Puja, the best timings to perform the Puja, restrictions of eating during the Puja time and so on. Bhagavan replied that He might not be impressed by thousands of charities or several Yajnas, but even simple-minded persons with concentration and earnestness performed His Bhajan, although full of imperfections, would definitely deserved His consideration! All the same, since Bhu Devi asked certain questions, Varaha Deva gave suitable replies: Whoever prays to Him midnight, or at the time of dusk, or at mid-day and whoever observed fast on Dwadasi days would never be neglected. Merely performing ‘Karma’ or an act of Puja devoid of devotion and sincerity would not necessarily impress Bhagavan Vishnu. But if a devotee with detachment and concentration did the Dwadasi fast and offered water in his ‘anjali’
(palms) facing Sun God reciting ‘Om Namo Narayana’ Mantra, he would be sure of ‘Swargaloka Nivas’ for as many drops of water as spilt out from his palms! Those devotees worshipping Narayana offered white flowers firmly trusting that Narayana was sitting to accept the offerings along with the Mantra: Sumanah Sumana Grihnna Priyo me Bhagavan Harih, Itena Mantrana Sumano dadat; the devotee offers next ‘Gandham’
(Sandal wood paste) saying: ‘Namosthu Vishnavey Vyaktavyaktha Sugandhi cha, Grahan Grahana Namo Bhagavatey Vishnavey/ Anena Mantreyna Gandham dadaatu’; Dhupam (scented incence sticks) saying: Pravishtey me Dhupadhupanam grihnath Bhagavan Achyutah Anena mantryena Dhupam dadathu. Bhagavan said further: Out of my affection oh Devi, I have outlined the ‘Pujakram’; while performing ‘Naivedyam’ of
Bhakshya, Bhojya and such other material, devotees tend to ignore my accompaniments like Shanka, Chakra, and Gada and that should be avoided! Those who achieve the Dwadashi Puja with self-satisfaction and clear conscience are exalted and devoid of ill health, constant fear, mental confusion and discontent.

37     Bhagavan Varaha’s questionnaire to humanity about the roots of grief and Joy!

The reasons for fear, unhappiness and dissatisfaction among human beings were described by Bhagavan Varaha Himself by posing the following questions: Why should not human beings refrain from feelings of ego and possessive nature instead of turning to the Supreme? Why should persons resort to consuming and selling those prohibited and anti-social items ignoring awareness of the Supreme? Why do human beings turn away poor guests while taking food although they well afford without realising the feelings of the hapless? How could those who are deceitful, desirous of else’s wives, always complaining, jealous, evil minded and anti-social be not afraid of the Supreme? Why do people act against their own inner conscience and allow death and disease chase them closely without even being mindful of the consequences, never even blinking an eye about Almighty’s Omni- presence? How is it that some persons are beautiful but arrogant, smart but sadistic, outwardly virtuous but inwardly villainous not even with a remote sense of God’s existence? Some persons are highly learned and intellectual but some are deaf and dumb; this discrimination is indeed a curse of fate. Is this not a cause of unhappiness? Which worse curse has befallen between two brothers, one with good progeny and one without? Blessed with a human life and not that of an animal or a bird, a person does not even think of Narayana; which worse misfortune does he have, causing unknown mental dissatisfaction? On the contrary, a devotee shares the limited food that he had, but decides to donate half of it to a deserving guest; what more pleasure that he gets! If a bhakta performs Tri Sandhya and worships Vishnu; which better satisfaction that he achieves! Every month comes one ‘Amavasya’ and a pious man makes it a point to perform Tarpana to his ancestors of three generations; what better mental contentment that he would possess! If a person’s urge does not get disturbed even if several charming women fail to tempt him, what more happiness does the couple achieve together! A person with two wives whom he likes equally well and the wives too are accommodative, what more of an ideal situation there could be! If a person treats his aged parents with respect and care and if the person’s wife too is respectful and affectionate to them, could Lord Narayana bless them all in the family any better!

38    Varaha Deva describes ‘Aparadhas’ (Offences) to be avoided

Having narrated the causes of grief or joy to Bhu Devi, Bhagavan Varaha described certain ‘Aparadhas’ to be avoided in one’s mundane life. No doubt, symbolic eating of Bhagavan’s Prasad by humans is not disapproved but offering ‘Bhog’ not suitable to be offered to Devas is unpardonable. In fact, offering of that kind of ‘Bhojan’ or food which is unfit for consumption to anybody is considered as an ‘Aparadh’. Going near to a person without ‘Dantadhavan’or cleaning teeth, tongue and face especially if the person is performing‘Dharmik Karma’ or a Virtuous Deed is considered as second ‘Aparadha’.
To approach near or touch the Idol of Varaha Deva is a third Aparadha. Approaching Varah Deva for His ‘Darshan’, let alone His worship, after seeing a female in the period of menses is noted as a fourth ‘Aparadha’. Similarly, a person should perform ‘Achanam’ after seeing a dead body. Worse still, if a person touches a dead body, one should take head-bath, perform the ‘Samskaras’ and approach Divinity. The Seventh Aparadha is to perform ablutions during worship time and worse still not to purify the body and mind to resume the interrupted Puja with ‘Kshamaapana’Mantra. Wearing a blue ‘Vastra’ or cloth to perform Vishnu Puja is the eighth ‘Aparadha’. Telling lies during Bhagavan Puja is a ninth offence. Touching with impure hands the Puja Items meant for worship is a Tenth Aparadha. The eleventh offence is that an angry person engaged in unreasonable tasks and allowed to do so. The twelfth Aparadha is to use Vishnu’s name in the Society to secure favours. The thirteenth offence is to wear a red cloth while performing Vishnu Puja. The fourteenth offence is that the puja is performed by wearing a black vastra. The fifteenth offence is that somebody touches the body of the devotee. A devotee feeding an‘Agnani’/ Unethical person by himself is the sixteenth blemish. Performing puja by wearing an uncouth cloth is a seventeenth offence. Worshipping the Deva after consuming fish and meat is considered as a grave mistake. Eating chicken meat before Deva Puja is the nineteenth fault. Touching ‘Dipa’ (light) and without ‘Achaman’ and touching Devas is the twentieth mistake. Having visited ‘Smashanas’ (burial ground) and seeking to touch Deva’s Idol without purifying the self by bath etc. is a known blunder and constitutes a grave sin. If Bhagavan Puja is taken up, after consuming ‘Pinyakam’ (Pitthi), it would be construed as the twenty second offence. Worship after consuming pig meat, wine and kusumb flower are the twenty third, twenty fourth and twenty fifth offences. Whoever wears somebody elses’ Vastra while performing the Puja of Deva is accused of a blunder numbered twenty sixth in the series of ‘Aparadhas’. Consuming the ‘Anna Prasada’ (food) meant for offering to Devas and Pitras before the ‘Naivedya’ (‘Mantrapurvak- offering) constitutes an abject blunder and is the twenty seventh in the series. Those who wear ‘padarakshas’ (chappals) and perform Deva’s worship would have committed a grave error which is counted as the twenty eighth ‘Aparadha’. Worship after massage is considered as an affront to Varaha Deva bearing number twenty ninth in the series of ‘Aparadhas’ .Performers of Deva Puja suffering from ‘Ajeerthi’ (Stomach upset) attract the thirtieth offence. Those worshippers of Vishnu Deva offering ‘Dhoop’ or incense would have made a mistake for the thirty first offence since that offer has a negative effect without Gandham (Sandal Paste) and Pushpam (flowers). Finally the Door of Deva’s symbolic abode ought to be opened by the resounding sounds of Bheris, conch shells and big bells; else this Aparadha too would have been perpetrated as the thirty third one!

39    ‘Sa-mantrak Vishnu Puja’ (Worship to Vishnu by Mantras)

Varaha Deva explained to Bhu Devi the ‘Puja Vidhan’ (Procedure of Worship) of Narayana supported by relevant Mantras. After taking bath and formulating a sincere ‘Sankalpa’or mental resolve to complete Vishnu Puja successfully, the ‘Karta’or the Performer should turn to the East with ‘Jwalajwali’ (Fire initiator) and ‘Kusha’grass in folded hands and state that the Creator of all virtuous beings should bless that the Narayana Puja be accomplished. Then turning to the West the Performer recites the Mantra: Om Namo Narayana repeatedly. Also recites the Mantra: Yatha nu Devam Prathamadi Karta Purana kalpam cha yatha vibhutih, Divi sthita chaadimananta rupah Amoghamogham Samsara Mokshanam (I pray at the beginning the Original Creator or Adikartha, Puranakalpa, Embodiment of Enormous Opulence, Anantha Swarupa, Unfailing Decider and Provider of Mukti). Then facing North, the Karta keeps on reciting Om Namo Narayana and states the Mantra as follows: Yajamahe Divyaparam Purana manadi madhyanta mamantha rupam, Bhavodbhavam Samsara mokshanam / Tatastheynaiva Kaalenabhutva vai Dakshina-, mukhah Namah Purushottamayethyuktva imam Mantramudaarahet ( I worship to Divinely, Supreme, and Ageless Narayana, You have neither beginning, center, nor end; You are the Creator of the Universe as also its Destroyer; thus saying facing South, May I recite Om Namah Purushottamaya); The next Mantra states:Yajamahey Yajnamaho Rupajnam Kaalam cha Kalaadikamaprameyam, Anantharupam Samsaaramokshanam, Achutey th manah krutva imam Mantramudahareth ( I pray to You, Rupajnam, Kaala Swarupa, Kaaladika, Aprameya, Yajna Swarupa, Anantha Rupa and Provider of Salvation from thee Universe).

Further the Karta becomes stable and motionless and states: ‘Yajamahe Soma Pathena Bhaavey Thri saptalokanatham, Jagatpradhaanam Mrityu Swarupam Samasara mokshanam / Ethesham Thrishu Sandhyasu Karma chaiva Samaacharet, Buddhimaan Mathiman bhutva yadeecheth Paramam gatim/ Yogonaam Paramo Yogo Gruhaanaam Guhyaanam Guhyamutthamam Samkhyaanaam paramam Saankhyam Karanaam Karmachotthamam/ (‘You are realisable by endless and selfless devotion about the Three Worlds viz. Urdhva or the Higher World, the Madhya or the Central World and Athah or the Lower World; Also You could be perceived about the Seven Lokas viz. Bhu, Bhuvah, Swah, Mahah, Janah, Tapah and Satyah; as also the Lower Lokas viz. Atal, Vithal, Sutal, talathal, Rasathal, and Patala; You are the Super Lord of the Universe, Mrityu Swarup and Mukti daata.’ In case, the goal of Life is to reach ‘Parama gati’, the Karta has to strengthen his outlook to perform ‘Tri Sandhya’ or Sandhya Vandana thrice a day, acquire Jnaan, and practise Sankhya Yoga which is the best of Karmas or activities.’)

‘Enmarana kaalepi Guhyam Vishnu prabhaashitam,
Buddhimaan Mathimaan bhutva vismaretra kadaachana/
Ya etat pathatey nityam kalyothyaya dhridhavrathah,
mamaapi hridaye nithyam sthitah satva gunaanvithah/
ya thena vidhaanena Tri Sandhyam karma kaarayet,
Trigyanyapi samprapya mama Lokaya gacchathi/

(If a person with good mind and consciousness at the time of death remembers the totality of the gist of the above Mantras, or Whoever reads the above Mantras in the morning and performs Tri Sandhya shall be fortified with the consciousness of Paramatma and shall take firm steps towards that goal). He shall indeed attain Vishnu loka!

40    A few Illustrations of ‘Vishnu Maya’

Bhu Devi was curious to learn about the oft-repeated refernces to ‘Vishnu Maya’ by Bhagavan Varaha in His discourses after He salvaged Her from sinking down under.
Bhagavan stated that even Brahma, Shankar, Indra and the entirety of Devas could not comprehend what Vishnu Maya was all about! He gave some telling demonstrations of Nature, Universe, Humans, Devas, Demons, and Sages as a few such occurences. For instance, the clouds on the Sky pour water on Prithvi at certain places and others are dry. Moon is bright at the commencement of a month but gradually wanes till the Sky gets completely dark by the month end. It is Vishnu Maya that the day/night temperatures change by the Seasons as ‘Greeshmas’ present extreme heat and ‘Hemants’ the opposite. Surya emerges on the East early morning and disappears on the West by the dusk. It is from the same physique that red blood and white semen flow which is a form of Maya. During the period of pregnancy a baby has no reaction to materials or senses, but the moment it is out into the world gets to learn, react and act. It is Vishnu Maya that human body normally assumes identity of body parts like two feet, two hands, twenty fingers, two ears, two eyes, back, stomach, etc.Interestingly enough whichever material is consumed as food, water etc. is digested with the help of ‘Jathara Agni’ and the wastes are rejected out. Vishnu Maya is at work in creating sensory organs and senses and sounds are heard, vision is facilitated, tastes are discerned, odours are smelt, reactions are felt. It is Vishnu Maya doubt that every being of moveable or immobile nature facilitates creation and assumes millions of beings reproduced. Maya is noticeable as rain from Skies or water from underground remains adjusted with pluses here or minuses there, except at the time of ‘Pralay’perhaps. Maya Shakti enables clouds to absorb salt water from Seas and turns to tasty water from clouds. Maya in action helps medicines to improve health and also to take away life at times. Indeed it is Vishnu Maya that after birth a child grows from stage to stage as a youth, as a married man, as an old man and finally at the door step of death. From a seed to an Ankur or small plant to a tree and a seed giving tree is again the action of Vishnu Maya. Vishnu Deva gave further illustrations of His lying in Yoga Nidra on ‘Sesha Shayya’ or Sesha Serpent Bed supported by Anantha Maya holding the entire Universe; it was Varaha Maya that lifted up Bhu Devi from the abysmal lower World. Basically, it is all Vishnu Maya that the negative factors of life are allowed to grow and Incarnations sport to terminate the negative forces! ‘Karanam Kaaranam and Kartha’or the Action, Cause, and the Performer syndrome are Vishnu Maya all about.

41    Tirtha Yatras’ (Visits to Holy Rivers and Pilgrim Centers)

Deva Varaha narrated the importance of pilgrimages to select ‘Thirthas’to Bhu Devi,
apparently as a component of human endeavour to realise ‘Paramatma’ in various ways and means through manifestations such as Deities, Holy Tirthas, Temples and Virtuous deeds. On the aspect of Holy Tirthas, He described the value of worship and faith as the two solid pillars of devotion as a firm stepping stone to realise the Almighty. Indeed there are any numbers of Pilgrim Centers, but made a selection of such Tirthas as have special reference to Vishnu-related ones:

Kokamukha Tirtha:

Once a fisherman caught a massive fish in a big Lake called Kokamukha Tirtha and a kite lifted the prey but could not hold it properly and as the fish slipped on ground, a handsome prince emerged from the fish. Almost simultaneously the fisherman’s wife brought pieces of meat to catch fish and as a kite took away the plate of meat the fisherman killed the kite with his arrows and there emerged a charming Princess claiming that she was from Chandrapur.The Prince and the Princess were married and as both of them had memories of their previous births recalled the strange story, thanks to the sanctity of the Kokamukha Tirtha. [The strong belief is that Kikhamukha was the confluence of Rivers of Koka and Kosi (Kousiki) running from Nepal on the Western District of Purnea in Bihar. The river is known in Nepal as Sun-Kosi (Swarna Kausiki). The ancient Kokamukhi Tirtha or Varaha Kshetra is situated on the banks of Sun Kosi now called Baraha Chhatra or the corrupted form of Varaha Kshetra]
Bhagavan Varaha depicted the prominence of Kokamukhi Tirtha to Bhu Devi: An overnight stay on the banks of a River ‘Jalabindu’ performing fast and worship to Vishnu would fetch the knowledge of previous births! An overnight stay and bath at the ‘Vishnudhara’ waterfall in the Khoka region would yield the ‘Punya’ of performing thousand Agnishthomas’. Worship of Vishnu for three days and nights by fasting and Tarpans at ‘Vishnupada Sthan’ or area reserved at Krouncha Dweep.Early morning baths in a ‘Sarovar’from where Bhu Devi was pulled up by the tusks of Varaha Deva would completely wash off the sins of persons of the current birth. A five night penance near the ‘Pancha Shilas’or Five Rocks dedicated to Vishnu would reveal the path to ‘Gomed Dwipa’.There was a Thunga-Kut named mountain with four ‘Shikars’in the Koka Region and a night long stay and bath would pave the way for Kusha Dwipa. Likewise, there were several Punya Kshetras in and around the holiest Kokamukhi Tirtha; penance, prayers, river bathing and homams etc. would confer various blessings. Termination of life in the Holy Region would bestow life in ‘Parama Lokas’. He who reads or hears about the Kokamukha Tirtha also confers effective means of attaining higher lokas.

Badari Tirtha

On top of Himalayas is situated the inaccessible Badari Tirtha which is the abode of Badarinath Narayana. It is at this Holy Place that the illustrious ‘Brahmakund’is situated where a person bathing on three days on fast succsessively provides the benefit of executing ‘Agnishtoma’ or the ‘Homa’/ oblation to Fire God. Performance of ‘Krucchavrat’ before ‘Pranathyaag’ or termination of life might qualify a person to attain Brahmalok or even Vishnu lok! At the Bararikashram, Tapsya at a place named Agnikunda would please Narayana Himself. At the Place famous as ‘Pancha Shila’in the Tirtha, it is believed that Vishnu assumes the form of ‘Himagni’ and overnight fast and worship at the Agnikunda entitles the advantage of achieving Ashvemedha Yagnya. There are Five Shikharas at Badri Mountain and five waterfalls at a place known as Pancha Shikha. If one recites ‘Panchakshari’ at the Spot a devotee could enter Swarga Loka gardens for some time and if he dies there he would reside at that Place for good. Similarly there are many other Places of spiritual significance at Badri Kshetra like Chathustothra, Veda dhara where Brahma recited the Vedas first, Dwadasaadithya Kund, Lokpalak Kshetra where Vishnu appointed Lokpals; Sthulakund where Mountain Top is split and Bhagavan Narayana created Soma Deva as worship on Jyeshtha Sukla Dwadasi on that day is considered extremely propitious; also Meruvar was the Place where Vishnu created Meru Parvat; ‘Panchashir’ where Lord Brahma’s Fifth Head was plucked as a punishment; ‘Somabhishek’ where Vishnu appointed as Soma the Chief of Brahmanas; and ‘Urvasi Kund’ where Apsara Urvashi was born from Vishnu’s right thigh. Varaha Deva thus described the prominence of Badari Kshetra as one of the most Sacred Spots that Narayana Himself feels delighted to stay.

Mandara Tirtha

Situated at the foothills of Vindhya Mountain, Mandara Tirtha has unique qualities. Named after the charming Mandara flower, its tree in the Tirtha is visible on Dwadasi and Chaturdasi days of a month. If one takes bath in a nearby waterbody and performs sincere meditation, the person concerned attains ‘Mukti’. A sacred kshetra named ‘Vaikuntha karak’to the north of the Tirtha leads one to a waterfall full of yellow colour like turmeric powder; it is believed that a night’s stay after bath gives an experience of the company of ‘Apsaras’ (Celestial damsels).Some places nearby the Mandara Tirtha are Prapan, Modan and Vaikunthakaran; it is believed that stay and penance at these places till death blesses the persons with Swarga. Not far from the Mandara Mountain, a sacred place known as ‘Syamanta Panchak’, there are rock formations like Chakra (wheel), Gada (mace), Shankha (Conch) and Musal (plough)!

Shalagram Tirtha

Sage Shanlankayan of Yadu Vamsa performed rigorous Tapasya to Rudra Deva to beget a son of Universal fame. Without realising that by the grace of Rudra and Vishnu, a boy of great brilliance named Nandiswara was already born since the Sage continued the Tapasya roaming from one place to another. Finally he settled for further Tapasya under a Sal Tree at Shalagram. On a Vaisakha month’s Dwadasi, Vishnu blessed the Sage with His ‘Saakshatkaar’ (appearance) and conveyed that a highly virtuous boy named Nandiswara was already manifested with the combined grace of Himself and Rudra and was growing at ‘Vraja’ Bhumi near Mathura. The Sacred Tree and the Sacred Tirtha became renowned eversince then and the Sage was overwhelmed by the excellent and relentless Tapasya executed by him as Vishnu and Rudra both blessed him to immortality. In this Holy Region of Shalagram, there are fifteen Kshetras, but the best known is that of Varaha Deva. The other Sacred Places were Bilvaprabha, Chakraswami, Vishnupada, Kaalihrida, Swayambrabha, Gadakund, Agniprabha, Sarvayudha, Devaprabha, Vidyadhara, Punyanadi, Devahlaad and so on.

‘Go-Nishkramanak’ Tirtha

Situated on the Himalayan range, Go Nishkraman Tirtha has ancient reputation. Bhagavan Vishnu arranged to bring down the progeny of seventy cows of Surabhi the celestial cow to bathe in their milk the Lord Shiva, as the latter was cursed by a Sage called Aurva to go about restless and extremely thirsty all over the world; Lord Shiva entered the Sage’s Ashram (Hermitage) once and the trees and fruits turned into ash by the heat of Shiva’s presence in the Ashram and hence the curse. Eventually, Lord Shiva’s restlessness, body heat and thirst disappeared and the Sacred Place became illustrative. Devotees taking bath in the heavy waterfall which had five streams provides extraordinary freshness and mental peace; it is stated that a person who takes bath and observes fast for five nights achieves the ‘Punya’ of performing five Yajnas, apart from burning off the sins accumulated. In this very Tirtha, there is a hallowed Kshetra, called ‘Panchapad’where there are five massive stones and another huge stone inside a sacred waterbody. Also there are other Kshetras reputed as Brahmapad, Vishnupad, Kotivati, Vishnusar and Gosthalak. On Karthika Sukla Dwadasi, devotees take bath and observe fast bestows the benefit of Three Vajapeya Yajnas near the water at Brahmapada. At Vishnusar and a nearby ‘Agaath’(deep vallley) seen from the precipice of the mountain, there is a ‘Mandalakar’ (Rounded) place for doing ‘Parikramas’ (Circumambulation) and the number of steps taken in the last Parikrama before the death would ensure so many years of reverence in Brahmaloka! Most significantly, the pilgrims could disinctly hear the high pitched voices of cows at the Gosthalak Kshetra!

Sthutaswami (Krishna) Tirtha

Varaha Deva prophesied to Bhu Devi that in Dwapar Yuga, Lord Krishna would be born to Devaki and Vasudeva and exterminates countless Danavas and Cruel Kings. Five Great Sages would be the Stuthaswami’s (Krishna’s) followers viz. Shandilya, Gaargil, Kapila, Upashayak and Bhrigu. Some five kosas from Mathura is situated the Sthutaswami Teertha and is famed to absolve the sins of devotees by bathing in it with earnestness. Besides the Five Sages aforementioned, the Sthutaswami would be prayed to by Baladev, Pradyumna and Anirudha. Varaha Deva also prophesied that by sheer force of unfailing faith and Bhakti (Devotion) the Virtuous would take firm steps to salvation, while sheer jealousy and ego would be the dominant factors among the vicious persons like Demons and demonaic Kings taking them to their ruin; indeed the most prominent feature of the Yuga Dharma of Tretha Age! The Stutaswami Tirtha has a ‘Bhutagiri’mountain nearby where there are metal-made Idols of Lord Krishna of indestructible nature; an interesting custom prevailing in the Region had been that the top (head) and bottom (feet) portions oft the Krishna Idols of Metals are woshipped in awe with flowers, Sandal paste and camphor lighting, where as the middle portion of the Idols, especially under the chin and neck are touched or fondled with affection and nearness of a family member! In the same Region, there are ‘Pancharuna’ kshetra, ‘Bhrigu Kund’, ‘Manikunda’ and ‘Dhootpap’, each one of these Places possessing their own sanctity and experiences of devotees.

Dwaraka Kshetra

In the entire Life Story of Dwapara Avataar Krishna, the Dwapara Kshetra occupies a vital role. Dwaraka was materialised by Vishvakarma on the architectural pattern of Indrapuri of Indra himself and the citizens of Mathura were stated to have been moved out in sleep into the luxurious beds of the glorious mansions of Dwaraka![ The overnight transfer was stated to have been caused to avoid Krishna / Balarama’s clashes with Jarasandha and his associated Yavans of foreign origin, since Jarasandha was destined to die in Bhimasena’s hands and Yavans were destined to be destroyed by Muchukunda, son of Mandhata] The heights of popularity of Dwaraka were witnessed under the Rule of Yadu Vamsies with the rock like support of Krishna and Bala Deva. At the same time, the termination of the Vamsa too had to be witnessed by Krishna and Bala Rama pursuant to the curse of Great Sage Durvasa as he was annoyed with the light-moment pranks of some misdirected Yadu youth as to whether a boy disguised as a girl would deliver a boy or a girl and pat came the Sage Durvasa’s reply that he would deliver an iron rod. Even after converting the rod into particles submerged into the Sea, the members of the clan killed each other as a result of the curse excepting those who left Dwaraka for Prabhasa Kshetra. Besides Dwaraka, Panchasar is a reputed Kshetra where a stay of six days continuously would provide unprecedented enjoyment and death at that place is said to bless the soul to reach ‘Swarga’. In the same Region of Panchasar, there is a famous Peepul Tree whose fruits are not available to each and everybody, but a person lucky to secure the fruit is stated to secure Parama Siddhi after his life. Prabhasa is the most significant Kshetra, where in the days of yore, or perhaps even now to some extent, it is difficult to meet those who are obsessed with passion and envy. Those who take bath in the Sea are never disturbed by thousands of crocodiles; more interestingly, if persons offer ‘Pindas’ to forefathers at this place and tender the Pindas to crocodiles, the latter accept the offerings from the Virtuous persons but reject from the others the same outright! There are other important Places too in the Dwaraka / Panchasar Kshetras like Panchakund, Brahmasangaman, Hamsakund, Kadamba, Chakra Tirth, Raivatak, Vishnusamkraman etc. all around Manipur Mountain.

Mathura Kshetra

Varaha Deva was so fond of Mathura Kshetra that He told Bhu Devi: ‘Na Vidyatey cha Pataaley Naantharikshey Na Maanushey, Samathvam Mathuraaya hi Priyam mama Vasundharey’! (Devi Prithvi! Neither the Human World, nor the Higher Worlds nor Patala could be compared with Mathura!) Whatever godsends are secured from the worships of Magha Amavasyas at ‘Prayaga’ are achieved every day at Mathura; the boons equal to penance and bathing at ‘Kurukshetra’ during Sun elipses is as good as a day’s stay at Mathura; ‘Varanasi’s’ stay a life time is like a day’s stay at Mathura and the ‘Punya’ of penance and bathing at Pushkar Tirtha during the entire Karthik month is like a day’s stay at Mathura! River Yamuna at Mathura is far more sacred than Ganga, said Varaha Deva and in the same vein He said that Yamuna at Prayag is hundred times more sacred than Ganga. Devotees taking bath at ‘Avimuktha’ Kshetra are blessed to reach Vaikuntha. Also those fortunate to take baths at ‘Vishranthi’ Kshetra are considered as worship-worthy in Vaikuntha. Indeed, the hallowed baths at Vishranti are far more superior to Yajnas, Tapas, Dhyan and Samyam or control of Senses. Three sincere ‘Pradakshinas’of Gathasram Deva at Vishranti are like a stay in Vaikuntha. Bathing at ‘Kankhal’ Tirtha in the vicinity of Mathura is like enjoying the undisclosed happiness of Indraloka. Likewise, Dhruva Tirtha is popular for performing ‘Pitru karyas’ or Shradhs and Tarpans; Rishi Tirtha, Moksha Tirtha, and Koti Tirtha are known for giving away charities. Bodhi Tirtha is well known for ‘Pinda daans’. Evidently, Mathura’s uniqueness is due to Krishna’s birth at this consecrated land! In the days of yore, the entire area was the most hallowed place where Lord Krishna’s escapades in childhood ought to have been lapped up in the contemporary period like the killings of countless Demons, lifting of Govardhan Mountain by a child’s little finger, controlling Varuna Deva by providing shelter to the people around, besides His personal and mystifying charm, Rasaleelas, full display of Maya and all the rest. Little wonder that Vishnu Himself incarnated as Krishna and demonstrated how magnificent was the power of Almighty and how mean and low that humanity in some parts would have stooped to.
Around Mathura, there are twelve Sacred Tirthas viz. Madhuvan, Taalvan, Kundanvan, Kaamyakvan, Bahulavan, Bhadravan, Khadirvan, Mahavan, Lokajanghavan, Bilvavan, Bhaandiravan, and finally Brindavan. Each of these Tirthas has its one distinct and sacrosanct nature and popularity.

Gokarna Tirtha

There lived a ‘Vaisya’ (merchant) of virtue at Mathura with his wife Susheela, but they had no offspring. She was taking bath in ‘Sangam’ (Prayag) and found children playing with joy and happiness while swimming. She was overtaken by grief as she had no children, when a Sage asked the couple to worship Lord Siva of Gokarna. After a few years, the couple were blessed with a boy whom they named Gokarna.After Gokarna grew and was married, he also did not beget a child and was involved in charity for considerable time. He had then taken to his Vysya profession and decided to go out in search of fortune. On way, he found a Divine Parrot in a cage carried by its Master and was impressed by its knoledge. The parrot said that in his previous birth he was a learned person named Sukodar but was cursed by a Sage Sukhadev who had however agreed to let Sukodar to retain his memory and knowledge in his next birth aslo. The Master of the parrot agreed to give the bird away, provided Gokarna’s virtues of past good deeds were transferred to the Master. Meanwhile, the ship got caught in a cyclone and wrecked in an island and the Captain and crew said that the person responsible was Gokarna and his sins. The parrot felt bad about its Master and flew away to perform worship at a Vishnu Temple where a few Divine birds along with Jatayu their Chief were present; the divine birds decided to help the Master. The parrot showed the way, rescued the Master and took Gokarna to the Vishnu Temple, where he did worship and Tarpans. There were Divine Women too in the Temple who were also sympathetic and allowed Gokarna to stay in the Temple as long as he wished. The parrot flew to Gokarna’s parents and conveyed about the welfare of Gokarna. Meanwhile the wrecked ship too was repaired and set sailing again. But the Divine women were sad as the King of Ayodhya decided to destroy the gardens at Mathura; the Parrot tried to negotiate and the decision to destroy the beautiful Mathura Gardens was reversed. The parents of Gokarna were united with him who constructed a beautiful Suka Deva temple of Lord Shiva in the memory of the illustrious Parrot. A grand Yajna was performed and Go Daan as also many charities were performed and eventually a highly Sacred Gokarna Kshetra came to emerge as a renowned Tirtha.

Mayapuri (Haridwar) Tirtha-A glorious incident of Vishnu Maya

There was a highly religious Brahmana named Somasharma at Mayapuri who was an extremely dedicated devotee of Narayana. For a long time, the Brahmana executed uninterrupted Tapas, Karma, Bhakti and unique prayers to Bhagavan who had finally appeared before him and asked for any boon that he desired. The Brahmana said that one kept on hearing about Vishnu Maya in various ways and that he wanted to actually experience that ‘Maya’. The Lord replied that if the Brahmana was so intensively enamoured of a glimpse of Maya, then he should go bathe at a Kubjamarak Tirtha in Ganga; Bhagavan said to Himself that He would furnish to him a Maya titled ‘Lomaharshini Rohini’. As soon as Somasharma took a dip in the Ganges, he entered a Nishad girl’s ‘Garbha’ (belly) and felt aggrieved that having carried out such Tapasya and accomplished the impossible Darshan ( Vision) of Maha Vishnu, was it not a twist of fate to have insisted on Bhagavan to experience a glimpse of Vishnu Maya! What a miserable experience this that a wreched Nishad woman would be his mother after a detestable experience of nine months with three hundred bones through nine ‘dwaras’
(doors), blood, excretion, horrible odour and physical hardship! ‘Why did I ask a boon like this hey Madhava, after all my spiritual and devotional life?’ After the delivery, the baby did not have any memory of Somasharma’s past and grew up as a lovely Nishad girl, got married, begot children and after fifty years, by virtue of Vishnu Maya, took bath in Ganges one day and got converted as a hermit, sitting with the same form of Somasharma but got utterly confused as there was an identity crisis. A few Brahmanas told the hermit that they were searching him for the entire day and were happy to see him back.Then prompted by an inner voice, Somasharma went back to Kubjamarak Tirtha, pulled his head down, turned back to normalcy and got back his memory. Lord Vishnu appeared before Somasharma again and after the latter’s ‘Prana Tyag’he left for the ‘Sweta Deepa’. Those who read this account of ‘Vishnu Maya’ would certainly avoid rebirths in the families of the vicious and despicable, but to a woman of high merit and blessing.

Kubjaamrak Tirtha (Hrishikesh)

Varaharupa Vishnu described to Bhu Devi about the magnitude of Kubjaamrak Tirtha’s greatness and the highly propitious baths in Ganga leading to indescribable merits. In the seventeenth Kalpa, Brahma granted boons of invincibility to two Demon brothers named Madhu and Kaitabha who were tricked to death by mutual destruction and created Prithvi afresh. He then looked around to see the most revered Maha Tapasvi Rebhya engrossed in meditation for thousand years with his hands held high. Being extremely pleased at the Sage’s dedication, Vishnu leaned a hand on the branch of a Mangoe tree and the branch got bent by the weight of His hand; the Sage noticed the Lord’s presence and broke into spontaneous euology instantly and performed ‘Saashtanga Namaskar’ with his entire body falling on the ground. He requested Narayana to bestow him the boon of making Hrishikesh a popular Tirtha. Kubjaamrak is of Kumudaakar or Lotus shaped. Bathing in Ganga especially in the months of Karthik, Margaseersh, and Vishakh is considered excellent. In this area, there is a Manasik Tirtha reputed for Devi Vishaalanetri and the belief is that after death, the person is born into a Vishaal vamsa with large family and long standing reputation and prosperity. Another Tirtha is named ‘Maya’ where bathing in Ganga would certainly bring in reputation and contentment. At ‘Purnamukha’ Tirtha, Ganga water is cool and transparent and visitors prefer bathing here in summer season, preferably on Marga Sukla Paksha Dwadasi. ‘Karaveer’ Tirtha’s bathing in Ganges confers jumping kind of happiness, while Pundarika Tirtha bathing gives ‘Yajna phal’or the fruit of executing Sacrifices. Penances at ‘Agni Tirth’ grant the boon of Ashvamedha Yajna. At ‘Vayavya Tirtha’, Pitra Karyas or Tarpanas to Ancestors are performed; also shaking off an Asvathh Tree on the banks of Ganges for its leaves provides Parameswar Gyan, if the tree branch shaking is performed on twelve Dwadashis. Ganga assumes different colours in Seasons at the ‘Saptasaamudrik’Tirtha, some times in white like milk, some times yellow, yet another time blood red, or of ‘Marakatha’Mani!

Gokarneshwar Tirthas of Rudra Deva

While Varaha Deva delineated the prominence of Vishnu oriented Tirthas as above to Bhu Devi, Sage Sanatkumar the ‘Manasa Putra’ (Mind-born son) of Lord Brahma approached the Lord and expressed happiness about the termination of Demon Tarakasura by Maha Deva as the whole World was rid of the menace, especially by Indra and Devas. But Sanatkumara felt that one mystery was still nagging in his mind as to why there were three Gokarneswara Tirthas, one the North Gokarna, another the Dakshina Gokarna and the third was Shringeswara. Lord Brahma explained the background in some detail: The Northern Peak of Mandarachal Mountain known as Munjavan is picturesque where a Nandana Garden existed with most alluring surroundings of glittering precious stones and heaven-like ambience of streams, flowers and fruits where Devas made their temporary resting places and so did Celestial Beings like Kinnaras who sang their sweetest tunes and performed their dances. Most significantly, Maha Deva used to often grace the Place in the form of ‘Sthanu Parameswara’.In the subsequent Treta Yuga, a Maha Muni called Nandi carried out a rigorous Tapasya for thousand years experiencing icy cold and extreme heat and Parameswara having tested his steadfast fortitude and unnerving faith finally gave ‘Sakshatkar’ and asked boons to bestow; but Nandi never yielded for ‘Prabhutva, Amaratva, Indratva, Brahmatva, Lokapaalatva -Royalty, Immortality, the position of Indra, Brahma, Lokapaala –but his Bhakti should be eternal, or else there should not be Bhakti at all!Very gladly, Shankara awarded the World’s highest windfall that Nandi would be unique like Shiva Himself, that he would be the conduit between all Devas and Danavas, Indra and Brahma and all the Highest Powers that be as Shiva’s own conscience! Thus Nandi the Head of Nandi Ganas became Trinetra, with Trishul, Danad, Pinaki, etc. like Second Shankara! In course of time, none could ever witness Shankara’s physical form as He had turned Himself as a Deer in the Sleshmatak Forest, a fact not known to Nandi even! Led by Nandi, all the Deities including Indra made vigourous searches the World over but to no avail. Lord Brahma in His inner vision over Tapasya discovered Parameswara as a Deer in the Sleshmatak Forest not far from the renowned Pasupathinath Temple in Nepal. Indra, Brahma and Narayana reached the Forest and found the uni-horn Deer, chased it and nearly caught hold of the horn – Indra the top portion, Brahma the middle and Vishnu the lower portion. Unfortunately for them, the horn gave way into their hands as three parts and all the three cursed their own helplessness. A voice was then heard that the three of them were able to catch only the horn and that too in three pieces. If only the entire body were caught and installed then Dharma Dhenu (the Cow of Virtue) would have been on all four legs. Anyway, they should install their respective pieces of the horn-the upper portion as Uttar Gokarneswar, the middle portion as Dakshina Gokarneswar and the lower portion at Slesheswar. Lord Shiva further said that on the foot hills of Himalayas called Nepal, He would in any case emerge on His own with four resplendent faces in four directions which would be famous as ‘Sariresh’ (Pashupathinath); Sudarshan Chakra of Sri Krishna tore the Mountains enabling Indra to terminate several Demons like Daman and the place became occupied with Mlecchhas eventually but Surya Vamsa Kshatriyas uprooted Mlecchhas and established a Hindu Kingdom. It is at this Illustrious Place where the Sacred Bagamati River originating from Himalayas flows that Slesheshvar Param Guha or the Sancrosant Cave had surfaced. There are any numbers of streams flowing where even a touch of the waters would destroy sins. To the South of Slesheswar is situated the ‘Anashak’ Tirtha which allows firm steps towards Mukti. Another Tirtha called ‘Bhrigu Prapatan’ destroys ‘Arishat Vargas’ (Six Enemies) viz. Kama (Desire) and Krodha (Anger); Groups of ‘Apsaras’ (Celestial Dansueses) take off by Vimans from this Place to ‘Swarga’. Lord Brahma Himself established ‘Brahmodabhed’Tirtha which has the reputation of abolishing ‘Rajo guna’if a devotee takes bath with Indriya-Nigrah or limb control for a year to qualify him to ascend to Brahma Loka. There is also a ‘Gorakshak’ Tirth a visit of which would bestow the benefit of ‘Sahasra-Daan’ or Charity of Thousand Cows. A Climb of Gauri Shikhar provides Devi- Sayujya. Down under the Mountain a bath in Baghmati River at ‘Ratna Kund’ blesses attainment of Skandalok. Even a simple bath at ‘Panchanadi Tirtha’ bestows the Punya of performing ‘Agnishtoma’.To North of Slesheswar is ‘Pranthakapaniya’ Tirtha where Gandharvas were renowned to worship Shiva. To North West, a sincere bath in ‘Brahmodaya Tirtha’along with ‘Sandhyopasana’ would assure that there would be no visit to ‘Mrityu loka’ and that there would not be any difficulties for the rest of life. The devotees who perform Pitra Tarpana and Shraddha in the Sangam Place of Bhagmati and Manivati Rivers would most certainly accomplish the best of Shiva Devas’ blessings!

Lord Indra situated the top portion of the ‘Shringa’ at Swarga itself. Brahma set up the middle portion of the Deer Horn at Gokarna and Lord Vishnu set it up at Shringeshwar. But Bhagavan’s body without the Horn has infinite forms! For example, Ravanaasura secured one linga which got enrtrenched in Earth beacause of the trickstery of Ganesha and tried to pull it tight and gave up! [Gokarna in North Karnataka is a Siddha Linga at Mahabaleswar Temple; the coverings of the Atma Linga sought to have been brought by Ravana fell at Dhareswar, Gunavantheswar, Murudeswar and Sajjeswar Temples, as popularly believed]

42    Sins and Remedies- Observance of Vamana Vratha as cures and preventives

A Brahmana of high virtues was travelling to Mathura on foot through dense, lonely and frightening forest and saw five ‘Prethas’ or skeleton-like goblin figures making fearful sounds standing on way, saying that they were hungry and thirsty and would like to satisfy themselves with the Brahmana’s flesh and blood. Unnerved by the scene, the Brave Brahmana enquired of the Five of them to tell about them! The Prethas said that they were formed likewise as a result of curses and that their names respectively were: Paryushith (who ate fresh food but gave rotten food to others), Suucheemukh (who pointed and tempted many Brahmanas with attractive food but gave none), Sheeghra (who asked Brahmanas to come quickly but denied food) Rodhak (who prevented Brahmanas and ate all by himself) and Lekhak (who kept an account of those who were needy but did nothing to help them). These Prethas eat and reside in such households where there is no clealiness, no worship or Mantras of Devas, no respect for Gurus, womanisers, unkept houses devoid of order or regulation, where there is Apathra Daan or charity to undeserving, where good Brahmanas are insulted, evil deeds are done, etc. The virtuous Brahmana told the Prethas that no person could ever become a Pretha if persons observed Vrathas like Ekarathra, Trirathra, and Chandrayanas; or those who respectfully offer good food to the Respectable persons or Sanyasins; those who perform ‘Agni homams’ in the house; those who show consideration to widows, helpless and needy; those who perform regular pujas, care and respect for parents and elders and such acts of goodness. The Brahmana also affirmed that those who executed Shraddhas on Shukla Chathurthis especially Tuesdays; who did not get irritated often, be not jealous, be forgiving, be venerable to Brahmanas, learned, visited Tirthas, Holy Rivers, Pilgrim Centers, Temples and over all led a normally good life could never become Prethas. On the hand, when a Brahmana dies with food provided by low class person; when a Grihasti (house holder) indulges in extramarital relations; when a person robs donations to Devas, Gurus, and Brahmanas; when a person acquires bridal money in weddings; when a person leaves or cheats parents, brothers, sisters or children; when a person disables those to perform Yajnas or enable those who should not; if a person kills or abets killing of another person or a cow; a thankless person; a smuggler or dealer of land, women, money and material; an atheist, an anti religion and worst of all a person who has committed Five Mahapathakas have all qualified to turn into Prethas!

To safeguard any eventuality of becoming a Pretha, Maharshi Vasishtha prescribed a Vamana Deva Vratha to the illustrious King Mandhata. The best day for ‘Snan’ (bath), ‘Daan’ (Charity) and ‘Havan’ is Bhadrapada Sukla Paksha Dwadasi (preferably coinciding with Shravana Nakshatra). After ‘Sangama’ snan, a devotee needs to give away a ‘Kalasha’ and charity of a Kapila cow. The Vratha aims at prevention of taking birth into a domonaic family and to ensure ‘Swarga Nivas’after demise. At the same time the person performing the Vrath would be aiming at prevention of ‘Punarjanma’ or further birthlessness and achievement of Moksha. Thereafter a Ghata (Pot) with an Idol of Vamana Deva with cooked rice and accompaniments is to be presented along with an umbrella, footwear, a hand fan and a ‘Kamandalu’ or a vessel full of Ganga water be donated to a highly deserving Brahmana in the form of Vamana Deva Himself as per Mantras and prescribed manner; The relevant Mantras are:

‘Aagaccha Varadaantha Shripathey madanugrahaath,
Swarnopi nijaamshena Snaanametha dalam kuru (Aaavaahanam)-
Yatatvam Nakshatra rupena Dwadasyam Nabhasi Sthithaha,
Tannakshatramaham Vandey Mano vaanchita siddhaye
(Nakshatram)-Namah Kamalanaabhaaya Kamalaalaya Keshava,
Kamurthem Sarvatho Vyaapi Naraayana Namosthutey ( Snaanam)-
Sarvavyapi Jagadyoney Namha Sarvamaacyuta,
Shravana dwadashiyogey Pujaam kruheetva Keshava (Puja)-
Dhyupeyam Deva Devesha Shankachakra Gadadhara,
Acyutaanantha Govinda Vaasu Deva Namosthutey (Dhupam)-
Tejasa tava Lokaascha vidhutah santhi thevyaya,
Twam hi Sarvagatham thejo Janaardana Namosthutey ( Deepam)-
Adither garbhamaadhaya Vairochani shamaaya cha,
Tribhih kramaijitaLoka Vaamanaaya Namosthuthey (Naivedyam)-
Devathanaam Sambhavastvam hi Yoginaam Paraagathih,
Jalashayi Jaadyoney Argham me Prathigruhnataam (Arghyam)-
Havyabhuk Havya kartha tvam hota Havyaschameva cha,
Sarva murtha Jagadyoney Namasthey Keshavaaya cheti Swaha(Homam)-
Hiranyam annam thvam Deva Jalavastramayo Bhanaan,
Chhatra daneyna preetho bhava Janaardana (Dakshina)-
ParjanyoVarunah Suryah Salilam Keshavah Shivah,
Agnimayo Vaishravanah paapah harathu mevyayah ( Vamana Stuti)-
Annam thvashta Yamognischa Paapam harathu mevyayah ( Karaka or Ghata Daanam)-Vamano Buddhi daathacha Dravyastho Vamanah Swayam,
Vamanastharako dvaabhyam Vamanaya Namosthutey ( Yajamano)-
Vamanah pratigruhyati Vamano me prayacchati,
Vamanastharako Dwaabhyaam Vamanaya Namo Namahc ( Dwija prathigrahe)-Kapilaangeshu thishthanthi Bhuvanaani Chaturdasha,
Datva Kamadugdham Loka bhavanti saphalanrunaam ( Godaanam)-
Namah Paapaachhidey tubhyam Devagarbha supujitha,
maya visarjito Deva Snanam anyamalankuru ( Visarjanam)-
Evam Vidvaamsthu Dwadashayam yo Narah Shraddavaanvithah,
Yathra Tathra nabhasye thu krutva phalamaapnuyat /

(Briefly stated the Puja Vidhaan or Procedure of Vamana Deva Vrata is as follows:
Hey Vamana Deva, kindly bless me by being seated: Avaahan or Welcom- I salute the Shravana Star on this Bhadrapada Sukla Dwadasi: Greeting to Nakshatra- Jalaswarup Narayana, my Greetings: Bath- Sarva Swarupa Achyuta, at this auspicious time, kindly accept my worship( Puja)-Govinda Vasudeva, please accept the Dhupa or scented incense
(Dhup)-Janardana, do accept my illumination (Deepa)-Hey Vamadeva, having begotten of Adithi and conquered three lokas in one go, please agree to my food offering
(Naivedya)- Narayana, you are Jalashayi, consider my offer of water to quench the thirst
(Arghya)-Keshava, you are the Havya Kartha, Havya Bhoktha and Havya Swarupa, do accept my offering of Ghee in Agni (Homa)-You are food, gold, water and clothing; may I offer an umbrella and footwear as a token of my great devotion! (Dakshina)-You are the cloud, Varun, Sun, Water, Shiva Swarupa, Fire, Yama, Kubera and Anantha Deva; I am too insignificant to praise you (Stuti) - Keshava!Please destroy my sins (Ghata Daan);
Vamana Deva! You are the performer, the action and the act (Yajananey)-Hey Vishnu; you are the Giver, the Taker and the Taken, Vamana Deva, my repeated greetings
(Dwijapratigrahey)-Kapila Cow is considered as one of the Fourteen Worlds, may this Kamadhenu bless both the giver and taker (Go-daan)-Vamana Deva, I have completed this Vratha to the best of my capacity with full of inadequecies, do pardon me and help others in their tasks (Visarjan).As the Brahmana demonstrated the detailed procedure of the Vratha, the Prethas secured Mukti instantly. Whosoever reads or hears or atleast retains the text of the Puja Vidhan would never ever be afraid of the Prethas or Pisachas. If the Vrath is accomplished as instructed, the person concerned is sure to receive the blessings of Vamana Deva who had indeed conquered the Tri Lokas!

43    Vishnu Puja-‘Aparadha Prayaschyas’ (Correctives for misdeeds)

‘Karmana Manasa Vaacha ye Paaparuchayo janaah,
Aparadhagruhaasthey thu viparithaastu Sadhava /
Ajnaanaacha pramadaaccha esham Praaptamayantaram,
Praayasthittham dahet Savamaparadha malothitham /

(Either due to ignorance or carelessness, quite a few ‘Aparaadhaas’ (blunders) are committed in the context of Vishnu’s worship; Corrective steps be taken to burn off all the sins.)

The examples of such blunders are using harsh language; wearing unclean, blue coloured and blood-mixed clothes; disrespect for Gurus and the learned; eating spoilt and inedible food; eating while in Puja, entering Temples and Sacred Places with footwear; Puja of Deities with prohibited flowers; puja in a condition of anger or lust or inebriated stage; Puja in darkness without light, etc.Puja in improper clothing could be corrected by fasts on one day, two days or three days, followed by bath and ‘Panchagavya’(or a mix of equal measure each of cow dung, cow urine, milk, ghee or butter and curd-all cow products) and finally food. Wearing of Blue dress should be preceded by aforesaid procedure plus Paajaapathya Vratha including ‘homam’. Insulting or abusing Gurus or Men of Elders must be compensated by Chandrayana Vratha or eating fistful of food in an increasing scale from one fist on Partham day to Purnami and again from fourteen fists to Amavasya on a decreasing scale! The blunder of eating inedible food or ‘Abhaksha Bakshana’ would attract the Corrective of Chandrayan Vratha, Prajaapathya and Go Daan and ‘Annadaan’or food to anybody after sancifying as Prasad to any Temple God / Goddess. The sins of Puja in an inebriated condition or wearing footwear in a Temple precinct should be treated with ‘Panchagavya’. The indiscretions of performing Puja without flowers or Pushp Mala to Vishnu should be absolved by Mantroktak ‘Panchamritha’ to the Deity.’Surapan’ or far worse still, the performance of Vishnu Puja in an inebriated condition, the Brahmanas should execute four Chandrayan Vrathas in one hundred and twenty days. The rest of the sins ranging from bad stomach with gas to romance or passion with women or worse still Stree Sangam attract light to heavy punishments as per one’s own conscience since the nature of ‘Paschattapas’ (High sense of remorse) and the ‘Aparadha Prayastischyas’ are to be determined by the norms afore mentioned as per one’s own conscience or the Guidelines laid. In any case, the hidden or unnoticed ‘Aparadhas’ must be warded off with the following steps viz. external and internal cleanliness, concentration, kirthan, recitation, shravanam (‘hearing), ‘pathanam’
(reading), ‘mananam’( Retention), ‘dhyanam’(meditation) and surrender.

44    Regulations concerning Last Rites-Pitru Yagna

Varaha Deva told Bhu Devi about the significance of Pitra Yagna stating that it was Sage Nimi who started the practice of the Last Rites when the Sage lost his son, Sage Atreya. Nimi could not overcome the grief for three consecutive days and nights.Thereafter, he decided to surmount the sorrow by performing the last rites on the twelfth day ie the day of the ‘Asuchi’ or impurity after the death. He performed the rituals of Shraddha on one day which would have taken a week normally.He also executed ‘Pinda Daan’by donating cereals, vegetables and fruits and with his hands along with kusa grass pointing to South recited the departed soul of his son’s name and Gotra. On that day, he invited Brahmanas and gave them a feast along with those food delicacies which his son would have liked to enjoy. But the sense of grief and guilt tormented Nimi who even contemplated a bid on suicide. Meanwhile Maharshi Narada arrived and assuaged the intense feelings of Nimi and confirmed that whatever was being performed was quite in consonance with the regulations approved by Brahma. As the person whose custody was being taken by Yamaraja and followers should be transferred to a kusha mat while chanting the Mantra ‘OM’and Divya Gayatri and quikly wrap up over the body a ‘Madhuparka’with the Mantra: Om Gruhana chemam Madhuparkamaadyam Samsaranashanakaram Tvamrutena Thulyam Narayanena Rachitam Bhagavatpriyanam Daahecha Shantikaranam Suraloka pujuyam (Om, take this Aaadya madhuparakam; this discards Samsaarik connections and connects with Amrit or eternal ties inspired and loved by Narayana Himself; your thirst would be quenched and grants Peace and is adorable in Devaloka!). After applying scented materials and oils, the permanent shine of the body and face be brought once and for all, place the head down towards Ganga and other Tirthas available and perform bathing, arrange head towards north and feet towards South on the ‘chita’ and whoever is the Kartha(s) should invoke Agni reciting the Mantra:’Krutva Dushkaram Karma jaanatha vaapyajaanatha, Mrityu kaala vasham praapya Narah Panchatva maagahatah / Dharmaadharma samayuktho Lobha moha samaavrataha, Daheyam Sarva gaathraani Divya lokaani gatcchatu’ / ( Either knowingly or unknowingly, this person’s soul may have committed sins and right now is in the grip of Mrithyu (death) and has been absorbed in ‘Pancha Tatvas’; this body with Lobha ( greed) or moha ( attachment) as also Virtue or Vice is being consigned into flames and its Soul be transferred to Divya Lokas!). Having said this and made ‘Pradakshina’, the Kartha(s) should look at head down to Agni Deva and after taking bath return home.Since then as ‘Ashuchi’ commences and Deva karyas should not be carried out. This Procedure of ‘Antima Samskar’ (Last Rites) is applicable to all the Four Varnas. On the Third Day of the death, the Kartha(s) should take bath in a River or running waterbody and along with three‘Pindas’ give away three ‘Jalaanjalis’. On the fourth, fifth and sixth days, only one Pinda and three ‘Jalanjalis’ be repeated. On the Seventh and Eighth days the same be executed but at another place. On the Ninth day, those Brahmanas who were commissioned for the Pitru Karya should recite Puranas without taking cooked food; they would eat only on the thirteenth day. On the Tenth day, the Kartha (s) should have the head tonsured and wear new clothes. On the eleventh day, all the Sagotris take bath with oil and on the twelfth day would be performed ‘Ekodishta Shraddah’. Pinda-Pradan is to be done as per procedure; the Pindas need to be considered as the departed souls themselves with unmitigated reverence and selflessness.On the Thirteenth day, a feast is arranged to Brahmanas, relatives and friends; ‘Daanas’are also performed to liberate the deceased Soul and donations are made too in the form of cereals, umbrellas, and dakshina.Besides other Danas, Go-daan indeed acquires significance.The procedure is to be carried out every month till the arrival of the same day a year hence and till that time, the departed soul is not freed from the ‘Pretavastha’. Thereafter, the Annual ceremony becomes a regular feature as long the Kartha lives.

45    Nachiketa’s visit to Hell and return

Nachiketa was the virtuous son of Sage Uddalak who in a fit of anger once told the son to go to hell and despite the father’s apology later on, Nachiketa was bent on visiting Yamapuri and also returning back in his mortal body! When Nachiketa did come back, his father knew no bounds of joy as this was indeed a miracle that anybody could return from hell. The news spread out fast and innumerable Munis and Yogis left their daily routines and thronged Nachiketa with questions that remained complex through out their lives such as the description of hell, about Yama Dharmaraja and followers, the status of sinners and the treatment meted out to them, the dispensations provided to different kinds of sins by Chitragupta and so on. Having respectfully greeted the mighty Yamadharma Raja, Nachiketa narrated the following: All those who are liars; killers of men, women and children; killers of Brahmanas, the ungrateful, greedy, womanisers, rapists, non- believers of Vedas, who curse Vedas or obstructors of Vedic paths or Brahmanas who get Sudras to execute Yagnas are all sinners. Those who are drinkers of wine; abandon or harass parents, loyal wife, children or Guru; who wilfully and wrongly secures property; destroys public utilities, hampers Vratas, Yagnas, or moral causes; and such sinners of small, medium or large sins have graded classification for the purpose of retribution of justice! Yamalok is thousand yojanas wide and of lengh twice over; made of gold and glittering buildings; of rivers and waterbodies of clear and tasty water; beautiful gardens full of flowers and fruits; well fortified walls impossible to scale or escape. There are two huge rivers ‘Pushpodaka’ and ‘Vaisvathi’ with divine waters. Two massive gates, one reserved for Sages, the Virtuous and devotees who might not stay there but visualise the fate of the Sinners and another one to let pass very huge crowd of sinners in continuous streams are the landmarks of Hell. Nachiketa also visualised ditches of massive magnitude, named ‘Adoombar’, ‘Avirchiman’ and ‘Uchchavatch’ meant for sinners to pass through. Sinners are also forced through flames to the west of Yamapuri. Nachiketa also witnessed the Great Assemby of Sages like Manu, Vyas, Atri, Gautam, Angira, and Bhrigu. He visioned the Goddess of Justice, worshipped by Yamaraja and controlling all the actions of the Sinners and found the fiery and powerful Goddess ‘Kala’ too known for retribution and revenge. Thousands of Yamaduts were on errands to fetch, classify, arrange and direct sinners and as there was no concept of time, rest, sleep or wake up; there was no respite but follow a continuous and rigorous work-schedule. While lesser content of sins were being dealt with by the Yama ‘dootas’by actions like beating, throwing into flames, treating them with icy winds and so on, the larger intensity of sins are to be directly dealt with byYama Raja himself. Also, there is a classification of hells like, Tapta, Maha Taptha, Maha Rourav, Rourav, Saptataal Naraka, Kaalasutrak Naraka, Andhakar Narak, Andhatamisra Naraka and so on. In the language of hell, there are gradations of sins and corresponding punishments of varying descriptions and potencies upto eight levels. After death, when the ‘Mritak Prani’or the Dead Being is brought to hell, the surroundings are peculiarly different; the Earth is molten like metal, sky looks like a fire ball; the experience would be of extreme hunger and thirst; food is too hot to eat and water is too cold to drink; the Prani is thrown into stenchy water ponds to be a target of huge fishes, crocodiles and waterborn snakes; by the time the Prani is able to escape to the banks, huge birds hit the target or so do the big flies! In ‘Kareeshgarth’ or Kumbhipak Naraks, there are Demons with big teeth making horrible sounds of biting and tearing the limbs of the Prani and after chewing, the limbs leap back again for another bite or tear! In ‘Asipatra’ or ‘Shringatak’ forests full of sharp edged thick leaves, the Prani is cut, pierced, twisted, or broken apart and ‘sported’ by dogs or worse still by giant scorpions. Then come the Kumbapalika Vana of Agni ‘Jwalas’ or flames; ‘Vyalakirna’ or serpent infested tanks, ‘Vaitarani’ Maha Nadi of fifty yojanas wide and fifty yojanas deep which is stated to let pass through by the grace of good deeds done only! One Yojana height of ‘Kalgarah’ mount, ‘Shingatakavan’named forest and so on are such experiences that nothing else but the process of punishment would be wecomed by the Soul tormented fully by now; in other words, ‘Karma paripak’ or the fruition of karmas performed by the Prani would be welcome by now as would be proposed by Chitragupta on the basis of ‘pluses and minuses’ account and finally endorsed By Lord Yama Himself! If the Soul has an account of Virtue, he is sent to heaven; if the content of the sin is large then the dispensations vary for the Prani to become a tree, or an animal, or another human being of a lesser value.

46    Lord Yama advises Narada as to how best to avoid Hell

During his mortal visit to Yama Lok and an audience with Yama Dharma Raja, Sage Nachiketa was present when Devarshi Narada had a Sacred Dialogue with Lord Yama as to how could a human being aviod sufferance at Naraka Loka after death. The reply of Yama Raja was as follows: ‘Those who perform Agni Homam, has sons, gives away charity of Bhumi, has a straight forward nature, has knowledge and interest in Vedas shall not visit Hell. He should have affection for his wife and vice versa, be truthful, practise charity, be a Vishnu Bhakta, non-argumantative, Swami Bhakta, follower of Non-violence, and believer of Brahmacharya shall not visit hell.Those who should be respectful to Brahmanas, have self control and restraint in respect of other women, be considerate and merciful to other human beings as his own, be mature and well- learned and be non-egoistic and deviod of resounding self image shall never go to hell. Those who are ready to perform sacrifice for Gurus, interested in helping others, be of service to Parents, and give away til-daan, cows, Gold and Bhumi are certain to avoid hell at any cost. Those who execute Yagnas as per laid up procedure for self or on behalf of others, follow the practice of ‘Ahitagni’ and ‘Chaturmasya Vrata’, follow Guru’s foot steps, observe silence and control of senses are sure to qualify themselves to reach Almighty. Celibacy, desirelessness and control of Shatvargas are the essential features of ‘Amaratva’ or accomplishment of Eternity.

47    Yama’s Prescription to achieve Salvation

Yamadharmaraja advised Sage Narada that primarily whatever ‘Karma’ (action) is executed by a person is paid back in the same intensity and volume. It is one’s own conscience that is his / her friend or foe. There is nothing else that is the deciding factor. A person is bound by his / her past actions. This is what ‘fate’ is all about. To oversimplify that fate or Maya is responsible for any happening is improper as that happening had its roots in one’s erstwhile action. The cycle of action and reaction decides about the movement (as well as the speed and volume) of further action and reaction and these inner wheels specific to a particular human being decide the movement of the larger cycle of the current and subsequent lives. In other words: ‘As you sow, so shall you reap’ or what is sown is what is produced.Only the foolish human beings blame God for their miseries, little realising that actions need to be performed with total detachment as attachments in current life tend to get transferred to the next births. Narada intervened at this stage and asked Lord Yama that apart from what a person’s conscience, action and past history reveals, is there any other Force which might mitigate or add the impact of ‘Karma’or one’s action? In reply, Lord Yama greeted ‘Paramatma’ or the Supreme Energy who has neither beginning nor end but is Everlasting, All Pervasive, and All-Knowing; it is that Paramatma who is the Creator, Preserver and also the Destroyer; indeed He is the only Force that could subtract or even remodel the impact of the person’s actions! It is He who is impartial and treats all the beings of His Creation equally without favour or fear. It is He who realises Tatvartha, Prakriti and Purusha and is unaffected or influenced by a person’s deeds or the values of these deeds.It is He who could make a precise assessment of a person’s ‘Dhyan’ (meditation), its quality or quantum. It is He who could objectively decide the swing of joys and sorrows of any human being and choose to grant or not yet grant Salvation, keeping in view the totality of the person’s ‘Karma’. Be it a Saint or Sinner, a human being is given balanced evaluation by Paramatma without anger, prejudice or any preconceived notion, for perhaps a Saint might falter once or a Sinner might act with improvement! He might provide ‘Mukti’ to a person practising ‘Pranayama’ with concentration and by burning off lowly emotions and impulses. A person who is desireless, devoid of attachments, and leaves the Life ideally is blessed by Paramatma and grants Mukti. A person who is industrious, patient, balanced, angerless, devoid of jealousy and does not eye on possessions of others is qualified for attaining Mukthi. He, who is engrossed in doing service to his learned Guru, follows a non-violent way of life and keeps away from lowly deeds, performs only noble tasks and discards the wrong ones shall take forward steps to Salvation. When a person is not interested visiting such Tirthas as are not approved by his conscience such as pujas of questionable deities is not a sinner but a discreet being and is hence deserving of Salvation. As soon as one notices a venerable and learned person in a company and automatically approaches him and touches his feet, he is indeed on the right path towards Salvation.

Narada asked Yamaraja as to what would be the ways and means by which future births are ensured to perform virtuous deeds and to desist from doing vicious tasks.To this query, Yamaraja greeted the name of Brahma and suggested to follow the Holy Path of ‘Sisumara Chakra’ which stood for Para Brahma Himself; this Chakra which is within one’s own body too represents various Planets like Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Mars etc.which are all worthy of Worship.The Sisumara Chakra or the Grand Wheel Establishment visible on the Sky is the image of Almighty Himself. Indeed the Portrait of Virat Purusha is impossible to vision even to Gods and Sages, but one could perhaps percieve similarity of God-head with Sisumara and be contented with it atleast. [The body of Sisumara which has the shape of a Dolphin is coiled with its head downward, the Pole Star at its tail, on the body of the tail are the Planets of demi-Gods viz. Prajapati, Agni, Indra and Dharma;the base of the tail being the Planets of Dhata and Vidhata; the hip position being of Sapta Rishis; the right side of Sisumara being the Consteallation of of fourteen Stars beginning from Abhijit to Punarvasu; the left side being the Stars of Pushya to Uttarshadha thus balancing the body of Sisumara with equal weight; on the back side of the body is the group of Stars known as Ajaviti and on the abdomen of the Sisumara flows Ganges;on the upper chin is Agasti; on the lower chin Yamaraja; on its mouth Mars; Genitals Saturn; Jupiter on the back of neck; on its chest the Sun; the core of heart is Narayana Himself; within its mind the Moon; navel the Venus; breasts Ahwini Kumars; within its life-air or Panapana is Mercury; neck Rahu; and all over the body the comets and the pores are innumerable Stars]. It is that Sisumara that a high devotee shoul greet and worship and attain Mukti! There are also other means like performing hundred times a day; engaging one self in the service of cows (which is as good as performing several pilgrimages) and observing fasts on all Ekadashi Days.Consuming‘Panchagavya’, keeping cow’s urine on one’s head, taking bath in Cow’s urine on rohini Nakshatra and greeting a learned Brahmana soon after the urine bath; greeting Stars Arundhati, Dhruva and Sapta Rishis with folded hands, observing fasts on Ekadashis and puja to Narayana; these are some of the means that Yamaraja suggested to Narada as stepping stones for achieving Salvation.

48    Phala Shruti

Lord Brahma affirmed to His Illustrious Son Sanatkumar that reading or hearing the Sacred Varaha Purana bestows enlightenment, peace of mind, and maturity, besides the Golden Means of Dharma, Artha, Kama (fulfillment) and Moksha. The Purana confers prosperity, long life, victory, fame, propitiousness, and sin-extinguisher. A person who reads this Consecrated Text will not lead to misery and misfortune. Reading it especially in the early hours of the day will grant the benefit of bath in the Tirthas of Prabhas, Naimisharanya, Gangadhar, Pushkar, Prayag, BrahmaTirth and Amarkantaka. It yields the ‘Punya’ of giving away in charity of Kapila Cow to a virtuous Veda Pundit. Reading the Varaha Purana, chapter by chapter till the end, awards the fruits of executing ‘Agnishtoma’ and ‘Atirathra’.Whoever listens the Purana with devotion furnishes the advantage of Yagnas, Charities, and ‘Tirtha Snans’according to Varaha Deva Himself. Reciting this Scripture with faith on Dwadashi Days should accord the gain of ‘Suputra Prapti’ (Excellent Sons).

Any household in the possession of the Varaha Purana and worships it would be the residence of Narayana Himself. Those who listen to the Chapters of the Purana frequently-even partially-would identify themselves with Bhagavan Vishnu.

49    Concluding Hymn

Yajamahe Divyaparam Puranamanadi Madhyantamanantha Rupam
Bhavodhbhavam Sansara mokshanam/

Yajamahe Yagnamaho Rupajnam Kalaamcha Kalaadikamaprameyam
Anantha rupam Samsara mokshanam

Yajamahe Somapathena Bhaave Trisaptalokanaatham
Jagatpradhaanam Mrutyuswarupam Samsaramokshanam

{Shri Varaha Purana Bhaghavatchhastra Ekonavimshatyadhika Shatatamodhayaha}

(I worship Parameshwara who is Divine, the most Superior, Ageless, devoid of Beginning, Intermediate and Endless and the Creator and the Terminator of Universe;

I extol Parameswara who is Rupajna, Kaala Swarup, Kalaadik, Aprameya, Yagna Swarupa, Anantha Rupa, and Bestower of Mukti;

I commend Parameswara who is the executor of Somayagna and through it the Lord of Trilokas of Upper, Middle and Lower Regions and Seven Lokas of Bhu, Bhuva, Svah, Maha, Jana and Satya; the Chief of the Universe, Mrutyu Swarupa or the Profile of Death and the Provider of Salvation)

{Bhagavacchastra Shri Varaha Purana hundred nineteenth Adhyaya (Chapter 119)}

Om Tat Sat


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


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