Friday, November 30, 2012

Kartaveerya Arjuna and Ravana

During the time Ravana ruled over the heavens and the earth, there lived a king called Kritavirya. He ruled the kingdom of Mahishmati. Though he had many wives and he performed several penances, he remained childless for a long time.....

One of his wives Padmini, unable to bear the anguish of the King approached Anusuya, the daughter of Sage Kardama and Devahuti and the wife of Sage Atri.

Anusuya told her of the days to perform the penance so that the King and Queen would get their heart's desire. So Padmini and Kirtavirya went to the forest and strictly observed the penance for the days as told by Anusuya. 

As the king and the queen were lost in meditation, 'Open your eyes!' came a voice.

The king and the queen opened their eyes and were amazed to see Lord Dattatreyan standing before them.

The king and the queen fell at the feet of the Lord. The Lord smiled and said, 'I know what you wish...Ask your heart's desire and I will grant it to you!'

The king spoke with tears in his eyes, 'Lord! It is said that the doors of the heavens are closed to any person who does not have any children. That is all I wish for....A son.... A son who cannot be defeated by any demigod, humans, snakes, demons or any goblins....' The king nodded and continued, 'A powerful son, who can be defeated only by you!'

Lord Dattatreyan nodded his head and vanished from there. 

Soon after a son was born to Kirtaviryan and Padmini. He was called Kartivirya Arjuna. Kartivirya Arjuna was born with a thousand arms so he is also sometimes called as Sahasra Arjuna.

Arjuna was a kind and great king. He loved his people and took good care of them. Because of the penance of his father, he obtained a golden chariot, which would move at his will and the power to enforce justice and root out evil.

Kartivirya Arjuna had once gone to bathe in the Narmada river with his wives. 

It was at the same time that Ravana, the King of Lanka came to the Narmada, in the Pushpaka Vimana with some of his ministers.

Ravana took bath in the river and settled down near the shores of the river to pray to Lord Shiva.

Meanwhile Kartivirya's wife spoke jokingly to him, 'Your majesty! I know you are powerful! But I wish to test your strength...' She said teasingly at him.

Kartivirya looked amused, 'How should I show you my strength, my Queen?'

The wife laughed, 'The river, Lord! Can you stop the river?'

Arjuna looked at the river and then at his wife. He smiled. 'Deal!' 

Arjuna sat in the middle of the river and raised his arms. The king looked at the river with concentration and held his breath. 

The water of the Narmada was flowing....The queen watched with amazement as the water substantially stopped flowing beyond the king....Behind the king, the river was just coming out in sprinkles....The king concentrated some more as the river completely stopped flowing beyond him.

The queen looked at the king, laughed and clapped her hands...'That was great! You are indeed the most powerful man, I have ever seen!'

Neither the king nor the queen realized the result of what they had done....

As Arjuna stopped the flow of the Narmada, the water in the front of the king started rising. It started submerging the smaller islands on its side....The water in the shore started increasing....

Ravana's minister watched in horror as the water started increasing, while the king was praying....They ran through the shore to find out why the water was raising.....

They saw the awesome king with his thousand arms. The ministers got genuinely afraid of the thousand armed king and slunk back to Ravana hoping that nothing would happen while Ravana prayed...

As Ravana opened his eyes, he saw in surprise, the water rising around him....Looking at the water and the expression of his scared ministers, he knew that this was not a natural phenomenon...far from it.

'What is the reason for this?' He barked at his ministers.

The ministers struggled with the words, 'Your majesty! There....there...' the minister pointed further down. 'a man...a king with a thousand arms....he stopped the river!' The minister said hastily.

Ravana got angry...Kartivirya Arjuna....He was the king of Mahishmati and he was powerful enough to stop the river and had a thousand arms....How dare he disturb my prayer? I will have his head for this...

Ravana picked up his mace and got on his Pushpaka Vimana, 'Forward!' He commanded as the vehicle took him towards Arjuna.

He saw the king now drying himself and bellowed loudly. Arjuna looked up with frown when he heard the bellow. 

Ravana roared, 'Just because you can stop a river, you think you are strong....Why are you showing your power towards something which is not fighting back at you....Show me how powerful you are!' Ravana said in an insulting voice.

Arjuna shook his head and smiled. 'Ravana! Why don't you get down from your vimana and I will give you what you want!'

Seeing that the king was not even worried, let alone scared, Ravana jumped down from his vimana and let out another roar and came forward with the mace in his hands. Arjuna with his lightening fast reflexes picked up his own mace...

The maces met in mid air.....Ravana and Arjuna both of them strained and stared at each other. Arjuna kicked Ravana. Ravana fell down and jumped immediately. The battle between the two kings continued for a long time as Ravana's ministers and Arjuna's queens watched....

Finally with the super human strength of his thousand arms, Kartivirya Arjuna knocked Ravana with the mace. For a second Ravana felt dizzy and then everything went black..... 

A few days later, the kingdom of Mahishmati received a great visitor....Sage Pulatsya [Pulatsya in one of the ten 'Mind sons' of Lord Brahma]

Arjuna bowed to the great sage, 'Great sage! I am indeed blessed that a great man like yourself should come to meet me! Please be seated and enjoy our hospitality....' The king with his queen looked after the sage very well.

Pleased the sage then spoke to Arjuna, 'I hear that you defeated my grandson in battle and have kept him in prison....' [Sage Pulatsya is the father of Vishravas who is the father of Ravana]

Arjuna nodded his head. 'Yes my Lord! He came for a battle...I am afraid, he is very hot headed!'

Pulatsya spoke quietly, 'I am sure my grandson has learnt his lesson. He will never cross paths with you....I am sure he will respect your friendship...please let him go!'

Arjuna nodded his head without any hesitation. 'My Lord! You need not have come here for that...I would have let him go, if you had just told me...'

Arjuna realized that Ravana would never come to battle with him again.....Sage Pulatsya was even more happy as the king immediately gave orders for the release of Ravana.

[Ravana had the boon that he could never be defeated by any Deva, asura, rakshasa or yaksha..... Because of sheer arrogance he had never asked to be more powerful than humans... Kartivirya Arjuna because of the boon of his father was more powerful than all beings and could be defeated only by the Lord Vishnu. Kartivirya Arjuna being a human could defeat Ravana]

With gifts from Arjuna, Ravana and Sage Pulatsya  left for Lanka in the pushpaka vimana....

True to the boon of his father Kartivirya Arjuna was defeated and killed by Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu....
From the Ramayana

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Story of Nriga

Rama, the eldest son of Dasaratha and Queen Kausalya was to be crowned as the King of Ayodhya. 

However, Dasaratha had a wife Kaikeyi, who was his favourite queen. Kaikeyi wanted her son Bharatha to rule the kingdom instead of Rama. So she had Rama banished to the Dandaka vana [a very dangerous forest] for fourteen years and had Bharatha crowned as the king of Ayodhya.

When Rama was exiled to the forest, his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana insisted on accompanying him to the Dandaka Vana.

There in the forest a demon called Surpanakha was attracted towards Rama. She asked Rama to marry her. However Rama refused to so and directed her towards Lakshmana. Lakshmana also refused to marry her. 

However Surpanakha realized that Rama had refused to marry her because of Sita and tried attacking Sita. Lakshmana in a fit of anger cut off Surpanakha's nose and ears.

Disfigured, Surpanakha vowed to take revenge on the brothers and went to her brother Ravana, the Demon King of Lanka. 

Hearing about Sita's beauty, Ravana decided to abduct her and make her his wife. Accordingly Ravana abducted Sita. 

However Sita refused to even look at any other man other than her Rama. 

Subsequently Rama with the help of the Vanara king Sugriva and his army built a bridge to Lanka. He killed Ravana and freed Sita.

In order to prove the chastity of his wife, Rama had his wife take the 'Agni Pariksha'. [Test by fire] 

The fire would not even burn Sita because of her purity. Rama then brought his wife and brother back to Ayodhya as the exile period was over.

Unfortunately the people of Ayodhya did not like Rama bringing back Sita  to Ayodhya, because she had lived with another man. 

Rama deciding that his first duty was towards his subjects, banished  Sita from the palace. 

After banishing Sita, who went on to live in the ashrama of Sage Valmiki, Rama was unhappy and lost. He stopped attending court and could not concentrate on his work.

Lakshmana tried to bring his brother back to his old self. Rama slowly came back to himself. 

As they were talking, Rama explained to Lakhsmana, 'I have not been doing my duties as a king, Lakshmana. For a king that is the worst crime you can commit. If as a king you do not regularly check the work done by your servants, you may end up like King Nriga.'

Lakshmana looked curiously at Rama, 'Who is King Nriga, Rama?'

Rama smiled, 'He is our ancestor. He is the son of Ikshvaku.' Lakshman looked surprised at Ram. Ram, Lakshman and all of them belonged to the Solar dynasty. It was also called Ikshvaku clan.

'What did he do?' Lakshmana looked at Rama. All of the kings of their clan had been illustrious and loved by their people. It was almost rare for any king to make any grievous errors...

'King Nriga was one of the best kings of our clans. He was a good and just king. He protected his subjects well and they in turn adored him.' Lakshmana nodded as Ram continued. 'Do you know that at one time, he actually gave a million cows away as charity, during a yagna?'

Lakshmana looked in wonder as Rama continued. 'Unfortunately for him, because of the carelessness of his servants, one of the cows he gave away in charity wandered back into the royal stables.'

Lakshmana looked keenly as Rama continued, 'The man to whom the cow was presented searched everywhere for the cow and started tracing the footprints of his cow. He came nearer and nearer the royal stables...Nriga did not check the work of his servants and inadvertently presented the same cow to another man. The second man was walking the cow back home, when the first man came an claimed the cow as his own. The two men fought with each other and the dispute came to the king to be settled.'

Rama smiled absently, 'The king was horrified when he realized what he had done. He pleaded with the two men. He said that he would give them a hundred cows each and asked them to forget the issue. However the two men looked at the king contemptuously and cursed him to become a lizard. Neither of them even looked at the cow anymore....'

'What happened to the king?' Lakshmana asked Rama looking interested.

'The king realizing that he had to pay the price of his carelessness, crowned his son Vasu as the king. He asked his son to built a cave in a well and asked to be put there, once he had become a lizard...'

Rama smiled, 'Lakshmana! The king could be freed from the curse, when an Avatar of Narayana touched him...' Lakshmana knew that Rama was an avatar of Lord Vishnu. He looked at Rama and said faintly, 'An avatar of Narayana?'

Rama absently nodded his head, 'An avatar of Narayana, born in the clan of Yadu and at the time when both Nara and Narayana incarnated on earth...' Lakshmana looked amused at Rama and said pointedly,'You do not belong to the Yadu clan...'

Rama smiled at Lakshmana and said softly, 'No, Rama does not belong to the Yadu clan...King Nriga still waits for the man to come....'


Samba his brothers and friends were playing in the garden. They were thirsty from the continuous playing. They found a well but unfortunately there was no water in the well. 

As Samba looked inside the well, he opened his eyes wide, 'Look at that! Oh my God! I have never seen such a huge lizard...'The others looked at it. There sitting on the wall of the well was one of the largest lizards they had ever seen. The kids tried to bring the lizard out, but no matter what they did, the lizard remained out of their reach.

Really surprised, they ran to their father. Breathless they said,'Father! You have to come and see this....It is unbelievable....'

Their father looked amused at the kids and went with them. There the kids showed the lizard to him. The father easily put his hands inside the well and pulled out the lizard.

The kids were astounded as the lizard disappeared the minute their father's hand fell on it. A luminous being appeared there and saluted the children's father. 'You have released me from a curse, I have had for a long time...Thank you my Lord!

'Who are you?' The father asked still looking amused.

The king shook his head. 'You talk as if you do not know...But because you have asked me, I will tell you...My name is Nriga and I am the son of Ikshvaku....' The king told the father and children all about his story and after bowing to the father once more, he vanished from there.

The children were looking spell bound at each other, thinking about the story.... Talking, the children then went back to their playing....

Realizing that his work here was done and that his sons had gone back to playing, Krishna, the dark Lord of Dwaraka, walked back into the palace feeling happy....

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Krishna and Kalayavana - Part 1 of 2

In the first Yuga – the Satya Yuga, there lived a great king by name Muchukunda. He was brave and brilliant war strategist. Indra, the Lord of the Devas frequently asked him to help against the fight with the asuras.

However one particular battle between the Devas and the Asuras stretched on and on for many years. Muchukunda was so caught up in the battle that he forgot everything else. Every day was just a bloody battle between the Devas and the Asuras and nothing more. King Muchukunda carried on the battle on his shoulders....It went on and on and on.....

Lord Indra came and spoke to him after the end of the battle. 'Great King! You are the most brilliant strategist that I have seen. There has not been yet anyone like. Now that you have put the Asuras is the back foot, we will take it from here. I am sure you would want to lead a life without the stress of the battle and blood...'

King Muchukunda tiredly nodded his head, 'Yes my Lord! I myself was thinking the same thing....I was wondering how to tell you the same thing....I did not think it was right to live you in the middle of....' King Muchukunda gestured around him.

Lord Indra smiled, 'Now we have Lord Kartikeyan [Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati's son] to lead us. He is our commander. So don't worry about us...'

Muchukunda happily nodded his head. Faintly, he recollected his wife, his children and his family. He shook his head tired...He really was very tired...He could not even remember the faces of his loved ones....'Devendra! Now that you do not need my services, I think I should get back to my family.... my kingdom.....'

Lord Indra unhappily nodded his head, 'Ah! That is where you have a problem....You see, the time of the Devaloka is different from the time on earth. A few years that you have spent here....eons and eons have passed on earth. The family you knew, the kingdom you had.....all of them have gone....Nothing of them remains....' King Muchukunda looked blankly at Indra. Indra gently told Muchukunda, 'You are a great hero my friend! What you have done for us, is unmatched...and you are a good man.....Ask me for any boon and I will give it you my friend....'

King Muchukunda was however too enlightened a soul to be bothered about the news of his family and kingdom...He nodded his head. He realized that there was nothing in earth which would bind him and pull him back.....He took a deep breath and also realized that he had seen enough battles, war and blood to last many lifetimes....

He tiredly looked at Indra and spoke, 'Indra! I am tired.....very tired and I have enough blood shed to last many life times...I want to forget all about it...I want to sleep...I want to keep sleeping so that I forget all about the violent life I have led....So that is the boon I seek, I want to sleep, nothing more...'

Indra nodded his head when King Muchukunda spoke again, '...and if anybody should disturb my sleep, they should be burnt to ashes....'

Indra nodded his head and granted King Muchukunda the boon he wanted. King Muchukunda entered a cave and slept....he slept, through the second and the third yuga...The third yuga was almost at an end.....


In the meantime, Lord Krishna, the Dark Lord had defeated Kamsa, the king of Mathura who was also his maternal uncle. Krishna crowned Ugrasena, his grandfather as the King of Mathura.

Krishna and Balarama realized that the situation was now tense.

Krishna spoke to Balarama, 'Rama! Kamsa may have been evil, but he has many powerful friends....We have to be very careful!'

Balarama nodded his head, 'Yes! We have to fight with the allies of Kamsa! There are quiet a lot of them!'

Krishna nodded, 'Actually it is not about us, that I am worried!'

Balarama nodded his head, 'Our people would not be safe in Mathura! We have to make sure, they are in a safer place....'

Krishna spoke with a twinkle in his eyes, 'I think it is time I used the help of Vishwakarma!'

Balarama grinned as he nodded his head.

Vishwakarma was the architect of the Devas. His constructions were brilliant and all of them were masterpieces.

Krishna met Vishwakarma, 'My Lord! I am in need of your services!'

Vishwakarma's heart swelled in joy...To be of help to the Dark Lord was the greatest honour...He bowed to Krishna, 'For you, my Lord, I will do anything!'

Krishna smiled, 'I want you to built a city for me, my Lord! A city which would be remembered for all time...'

Vishwakarma nodded his head. He got down to business, 'How do you want the city to look like...Any particular characteristics for the city?'

Krishna smiled and nodded his head, 'Spare no costs! Make the city as lavish as possible! It must be protected on all that even if I am not with my people, they should not be vulnerable to any attack....'

Vishwakarma caught the drift of Krishna's reasoning, 'I am guessing you want the people from Mathura to be able to go there immediately in case of any....any problems....'

Krishna smiled and nodded his head.

So Vishwakarma set about designing the city of Dwaraka, The land for building Dwaraka was reclaimed from the sea. It has residential and commercial areas, wide roads and plenty of palaces. They also had a hall to hold public meetings. The city had close to 7,00,000 palaces made of gold and precious stones! Each of Lord Krishna wives had her own palace. The city had beautiful gardens and the prettiest lakes. The city was protected by the sea on all sides....

Krishna was thrilled with the construction and thanked Vishwakarma. The Devas also lavished their gifts on Dwaraka....

However the time for using the city came too soon....


Kamsa had two wives - Asti and Prapti. They were sisters and were the daughters of a powerful king called Jarasandha. Jarasandha was seeing both his daughters widowed, was furious. He promised that he would avenge Kamsa, so matter what....

With a huge army, Jarasandha attacked Mathura, not once, not twice....but seventeen times! Every time Krishna and Balarama destroyed Jarasandha's army but for some inexplicable reason always left Jarasandha alive....

Jarasandha became more and more furious with each defeat....In the eighteenth time, Jarasandha took the help of Kalayavana,the King of Magadha to attack Mathura.

Krishna and Balarama discussed what had to be done....

Balarama spoke, 'Krishna! This is very bad! Both the armies have surrounded our kingdom! We cannot fight both the armies at the same time! Besides we also have to think of our people....We cannot just leave them helpless!'

Krishna nodded, 'I guess it was time, we used Dwaraka! This was the reason we built it, isn't it?'

Looking relieved Balarama nodded his head.

The people of Mathura were safely transported to Dwaraka, overnight. The city of Mathura was deserted....

After the people were safely removed from harm's way, a relaxed Dark Lord and Balarama discussed on what had to be done.

'What should we do now?' Balarama asked Krishna. 'We just cannot attack Kalayavana....He cannot be defeated by us! Can we call the help of our own friends?'

Krishna smiled, 'No brother! We do not need to run to our friends! I think this problem we can take care ourselves....'

Balarama looked enquiringly at Krishna. Krishna smiled and was about to explain, when their own army man came forward, 'Why can we not destroy Kalayavana? He is also a normal man. We have defeated Jarasandha seventeen times... Do you think we cannot do it the eighteenth time?'

Krishna smiled, 'You speak like this, because you don't know Kalayavana's story.'

The army man looked curiously at Krishna. The thought of defeat had not really occurred to him. With the Dark Lord, that was really not an option. 'What is Kalyavana's story?' He asked.

Krishna smiled, 'There were two great rishis Shyala, who was our family priest - the family priest of the Yadavas and Sage Gargya. When they were debating about a point, there broke out a quarrel between them...Gargya was so angry with Shyala, that he walked away with anger from the debate...'

The army man nodded wondering what the fight between two rishis would have to do with them. But he listened to the story attentively.

'Gargya walked away from the place and prayed to Lord Shiva. He prayed for twelve years and then Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva appeared before him, 'Son! Why did you perform such a powerful penance?'

Though 12 years had passed, Gargya's anger with the Yadavas had not reduced. In fact he was more angry than ever. Gargya with angry eyes looked at Lord Shiva, 'The Yadavas! I want to destroy them...'

Lord Shiva looked at Gargya with sad eyes. Such a good man had performed such a powerful penance and all he asked for was destruction....Lord Shiva took a deep breath and looked at Gargya and said, 'What boon do you seek, great rishi?'

Gargya did not understand the sadness within Lord Shiva because he was angry. He said angrily, 'I wish for a son, a son whom all the Yadavas would be afraid of!'

Krishna's army man slowly nodded his head. But then he did not understand, how the son of this rishi came into their problem...

He listened as the Dark Lord spoke, 'The son of that great rishi was black in as a beetle....Because of this he was named Kalayavana!' The army man looked surprised as Krishna continued, 'Yes my man! The great rishi gave his son in adoption to King Yavasena, who did not have any children of his own!'

The army man nodded his head unhappily. Yavasena was the previous king of Magadha....Now Kalayavana was the king of Magadha, and he had a boon that could not be defeated by any Yadava....That meant even the Dark Lord could not defeat him!

-From the Bhagawat Puranam

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Krishna and Kalayavana - Part 2 of 2

The army man looked at Krishna wondering what the Dark Lord was going to do about this. Krishna smiled, 'As I was telling my elder brother...Don't worry! I have a plan!'

The Dark Lord explained the plan to all of them. They all smiled...Krishna had his own reasons for following this plan. One that only Rama knew, the others would not understand....

The next morning, as Kalayavana armies surrounded the city of Mathura. They saw the gates of the city and were in for a surprise....They rushed to their King.

'My Lord! There is a man at the gates of the city! He....' The soldiers wondered how to describe it, 'He is one of the most handsome men I have ever seen...ever! He is dark....But...' The soldier shook himself almost getting lost in the description of the man, 'But...he looks like he is going to escape from the city....I think you should see this for yourself...'

Kalyavana rushed to the spot. He had already suspected whom the man could be. Once he saw the dark man, Kalayavana knew that this was indeed the Dark Lord. For a second Kalayavana was mesmerized by Krishna. Then he shook himself...I am going to kidnap this man and bring him to Jarasandha...Kalayavana did not stop to think about why Krishna was trying to escape from Mathura....

He told his men, 'This could be a trick...I want you to stay here and observe the city. I am going to go after that Krishna!'

So without any weapons, Kalayavana ran after Krishna. As Kalayavana almost caught up with Krishna, he was surprised, Krishna ran faster almost...almost as if he was terrified for his life. For the first time Kalayavana was surprised...I have heard how you killed Kamsa with your own hands...You have defeated Jarasandha seventeen times....And yet you are running away from me....' Kalayavana was suddenly filled with pride...You know you would not be able to defeat me! Isn't it? That is the reason.... Kalayavana yelled at the running figure of Krishna, 'Come back you coward! Turn back and fight!'

The chase continued....As Kalayavana felt that he could reach Krishna and held out his hands and Krishna would suddenly run further away....

Kalayavana thought Krishna looked terrified as he ran....Arrogantly Kalayavana ran behind him. The great Krishna was running away from him with fear...

Running. running..... they came before a huge mountain...Kalayavana looked gleefully as Krishna seemed to look around desperately. Kalayavana's sharp eyes saw a cave at the base of the mountain.

'You think you are going to escape from me, by hiding in a cave...I will show you!' Angrily he ran faster trying to reach Krishna.

But before Kalayavana reached Krishna, Krishna disappeared inside the cave. The cave was dark and because of the sudden change in light, Kalayavana could not see anything....He blinked and waited for his eyes to get adjusted to the darkness.

After Kalayavana's eyes got adjusted to light, he was in for a bigger shock. There was a sleeping form lying in the cave. Kalayavana was finally fed up. This man was a fool and a coward...He thinks just because he pretends to be asleep, I would not kill him....Wondering why people talked so highly of Krishna, Kalyavanaha yelled at the sleeping form, 'Get up and fight!'

The sleeping form would not get up. Angrily Kalayavana kicked the sleeping form. Kalayavana was in for a bigger shock, when the sleeping figure opened his eyes. It was a stranger's face...Before Kalayavana could even explain himself to the man, he was burnt to ashes!

The sleeping man still looked angry wondering who had the audacity to disturb his sleep, when he saw beside him another man....Looking at the man, made the sleeping man feel if he had reached the end of the that marked the beginning of something more....more beautiful that he had ever imagined....A dark man, who looked handsome beyond imagination and who looked infinitely more intelligent and powerful.

'Who are you?' The sleeping form asked the dark man with wonder in his eyes.

Krishna spoke to Muchukunda, the sleeping king, with love in his eyes, 'The names I have used and the actions I have done cannot be recounted in one breath, my friend! Ask anything from me and I will grant it to you!'

Muchukunda said wonderingly, 'I do not want anything! I just want to be with you, always!'

Krishna shook his head smilingly, 'I can make you the king of the world! I can do anything you want! You can ask me and I will give you!'

Muchunkunda looked at Krishna with tears in his eyes, 'You are making fun for me! You are giving me all these things which would go away at the blink of an eye! I have been a great king my Lord! I have fought great wars and won all of them! But none of them...not one thing brings me the peace that I feel right now! I just want to be with you all the time....Please!'

Krishna smiled, 'Forgive me, my king! I was testing you! I now know that you are firm at what you want! You definitely deserve salvation. However you need to spend some more time on earth. You have been a warrior and you have killed animals for a sport! For that you need to spend some more time on earth and after that you will come and stay with me for all eternity!'

Muchukunda was happy. He and the Dark Lord parted at the mouth of the cave. Krishna went back to Mathura, his work here done and Muchukunda went to the ashrama of Nara and Narayana and performed penance there, to spend his time of earth....

Meanwhile without an army to lead them, the army could not meet the challenge when Balarama attacked them....Krishna joined them and together the two brothers destroyed the army...

However what happened to Jarasandha is quiet another story!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Salvation of Gurudruh

Gurudruh waited patiently looking around in the forests. There had been a rustle of leaves and he was pointing the arrow at the bush waiting….However when Gurudruh looked, there was no movement, obviously it had been a mole or a rat…The animal must have burrowed itself inside the soil…Gurudruh sighed. Gurudruh looked around the forest once more and realized that waiting here was waste of time….He would have to choose some other location.

Reluctantly Gurudruh placed his bow back in his arms and moved on to another place.

As he was walking he heard a melodious chant from somewhere. Gurudruh went towards the sound. He found that it was coming from the temple in the middle of the forest. Gurudruh being a regular in the forest knew the habits of the temple well…Today obviously was a special day for the God that the people worshiped. The temple was thronged with people. ‘Shiva! Shiva! Om Namah Shivaya! Shiva Shiva!’ It was a rhythmic chanting. Gurudruh listened to the chanting for a few seconds…Then he shrugged. He had to go back to his work. Without the hunted animals, his family would not have enough to eat…

Gurudruh moved on. Though Gurudruh went deeper and deer inside the forest, still he could not get enough to eat for himself and his family. Gurudruh knew that going back home with so little food was not an option. So he went deeper and deeper inside the forest.

Though Gurudruh had been a hunter his whole life, he had never ventured this deep into the forest. This part of the forest…somehow Gurudruh could not explain it. But it was different….The trees seemed quieter, the sky seemed darker….Gurudruh brought out his bow and kept his arrow in readiness just in case….

As he walked inside the forest, he saw a tiny pond in the middle of the forest. The pond had refreshing cool water which reflected the multicoloured evening sun….The sun was peeping out of the thick branches of the surrounding trees and overall effect it had was beautiful.

However Gurudruh was a hunter. The matters of scenic beauty just did not enter his mind. Looking at the spot, Gurudruh smiled. It was the perfect place to hunt. Animals invariably came to pond to drink water. The trees would provide the perfect hiding place. Gurudruh planned to hide himself in the branches of the trees and from there he planned to hunt the animals…

Silently Gurudruh checked the place, his hunting instincts kicking in. After studying all the trees, he chose the tree closest to the pond, because it offered the perfect hiding place and because the view from there would cover all the areas of the pond. He was climbing the tree when SCRAT! Gurudruh heard a loud noise coming from his waist. Gurudruh hurriedly got on the branch of the tree and looked at his waist. He cursed himself when he saw his water pouch was torn…

Angrily he looked down and saw that at one place the bark of the tree was sharp He had not seen it and there the bark had scraped his water pouch, the water was leaking…The pouch was already leaking, with the stiches coming apart in seams…Now the bark had finished the job and water began steadily leaking…But then Gurudruh was not worried for today. Atleast he had found a place near a pond…

He waited on the branch of the tree, the water from his pouch steadily leaking and falling below….As he waited, he suddenly remembered the scene from the temple he had seen today. What words were the people there muttering…O Na…va… Gurudruh had never studied books or scriptures in his life. For his way of life that was just not necessary. He could not even properly pronounce the words that he had heard the devotees say…Then he remembered…Shiva…Yes! That is what they had said…Shiva…

Gurudruh being man of the forest never understood devotion or even temples…These men were fools to worship some one more powerful than them! Why should I be like them? I will do the opposite of what they do…To pass his time Gurudruh muttered ‘Vashi! Vashi!’ And sat on the branch of the tree.

Gurudruh’s sharp eyes picked up a rustle of the leaves, as he peered through the tree, he found that the leaves of the trees were obstructing his view. Gurudruh plucked the leaves carefully and threw it down one by one. He was careful not to make a big ruckus, or he would scare away any animal coming towards the pond. He threw the leaves down one by one making as much less noise as possible….The rustling he found was another mole which had entered the burrow.

Gurudruh saw the evening sun setting and slowly darkness gathering around the pond. A chill wind picked up. Gurudruh shivered slightly, but he did not dream of giving up the spot on the tree…All the while he cleared the place of the extra leaves which stopped him from looking around and muttered ‘Vashi! Vashi!’ under his breath, the water from his pouch leaking….

In the first quarter of the night, when the world was getting ready to sleep, or atleast that is what Gurudruh thought, Gurudruh heard movement towards the pond. He quietly brought out his bow and placed his arrow ready to let go. He knew that he had to rely more on his hearing, then his sight to shoot correctly.

Gurdruh saw a faint silhouette of a deer coming near the pond. As the deer came near, Gurudruh saw a beautiful deer. Gurudruh was surprised with himself…Till now he had never even once felt any animal as beautiful. For him it was just a means of livelihood…Shaking himself, Gurdruh tried to pull himself together and pulled the arrow back and was about to let it go…

Gurudruh had the fright of his life when the intelligent face of the deer looked at him and spoke. ‘Hunter! Please, please do not kill me!’
Gurdruh was shocked…He wondered whether some evil spirit had possessed him…or probably the deer was an evil spirit…Gurdruh sat paralyzed with fear as he kept his arrow tautly on the bow unable to let it go…

The deer saw that Gurudruh was still having the arrow in his hands spoke again, ‘Please have mercy on me! Please do not kill me, hunter!’

Gurudruh decided that he was dreaming. Then he decided that there was nothing wrong in replying when one was in a dream. He said harshly, ‘Why should I let you go? You are after all my food! If I let you go, I and my family would die hungry! No! That is not right, I have to kill you!’

The deer looked at him with tears in its eyes. ‘What you say is true. If you don’t kill me, your family would starve! Then please let me go now! I promise I would come back! Then you can kill me!’

Gurudruh felt this was very funny! He burst out laughing in his coarse voice, ‘You! I have to believe that you would come back?’ Gurudruh almost doubled over laughing, ‘Seriously! If I start believing words given to me by animals I hunt, I would have to remain hungry for the rest of my life!’

No!’ The deer said hurriedly as it saw Gurudruh ready to let the arrow fly. ‘You see, I am a mother of a young deer! I am looking for it! Once…once I have met it and told it and my husband everything, I will come to you! I promise!’

Gurudruh could not explain it, not even to himself. But he felt that the deer was speaking the truth. Gurudruh was even more surprised when he found that he put his arrow back…Probably some spirit had possessed him….He was angry with himself for showing weakness, ‘Go!’ He said irritably to the deer. ‘Go fast! Before I change my mind!’

The deer did not wait for a second chance. As soon as the hunter put the arrow down and said ‘Go!’ the deer shot off…

Once the deer went away, Gurudruh sat on the branch of the tree wondering what had overcome him…He was hungry because he had listened to the words of a deer! If anyone came to know about this…he would be the laughing stock of the village….

Angrily Gurudruh plucked the leaves of the tree, moving it aside, to see on both sides more clearly. Now more out of habit, than anything else, he muttered ‘Vashi! Vashi!’ as the water from his pouch leaked…

Another quarter of the night passed.

This time Gurudruh saw another deer from far. It was bigger and looked majestic. Gurudruh could see it was a male deer. He promised to himself that he would make up now for letting that mother deer get away…This deer is as good as dead. Gurudruh thought as he had his bow and arrow in readiness long before the deer came near the pond. The deer bent down to drink the water. But Gurudruh could see that the deer was not drinking water because of thirst…The deer seemed to be looking for someone….

Enough! Gurudruh scolded himself…Thinking like this would lead to his starvation….

Astonishingly this deer also spoke to Gurdruh, ‘Hunter! I know you are hunting for me! But please let me go now! I am looking for my wife and young child. Once I see my wife and child, I promise I would come back!’

Do you think I am a fool? Gurudruh wanted to yell. But somehow looking at the majestic deer, he remembered the tear filled eyes of the mother deer and just could not bring himself to fire the arrow. ‘Go!’ He said unhappily. He had no doubt in his mind that both the deers were never going to come back and that he was making a fool of himself.

Another quarter of the night passed, the water from the pouch was almost empty. Gurudruh was afraid to get down the tree for fear that he would scare away the animals which would come near the pond….He passed his time as before muttering ‘Vashi! Vashi’ and throwing the remaining leaves down.

This time he saw a female deer come towards the pond. He was elated. The mother deer had kept her promise…But this deer seemed to be different…No matter…Gurudruh brought out his bow and arrow for the third time.

As usual this deer spoke to him, ‘Hunter! Have you seen my brother and sister-in-law? I have found their child and have it with me. The child needs to see its parents immediately.’

Gurudruh had had enough. This time he was not going to be a fool…

The deer saw with widened eyes as the hunter meant to kill it. ‘Hunter! Please do not kill me! If my brother and sister do not know where their child is, they would never know any peace…Think about the young baby deer. Please hunter, just let me go now! I promise I would be back, after telling them everything…’

Gurudruh slapped his head hard. He wanted to punch through something. But he knew that it was the right thing to let the deer go…He wished that whatever was possessing him would go away. He did not want to start feeling sorry for killing animals. Despite everything he let the deer go away….The deer skipped away….

The last quarter of the night started. With nothing better to do, Gurudruh continued what he had been doing, the last few drops of the water from his bag was falling down drip by drip…The last part of the night was almost over, when Gurudruh had the shock of his life….

Coming towards the pond were one…two….three…no, four deers! Gurudruh blinked wondering whether he was hallucinating. The faint light of the skies confirmed that indeed four deers were walking towards the pond. Picking up the bow and arrow had become second nature to him….now Grudruh found that he was so surprised that he could not pick up the bow and arrow….

The four deers came before him. Gurudruh saw that the first three were the deers he had already met. The fourth deer was a baby deer. It was walking in between its mother and father.

As the four deers saw the hunter, they bowed to him. Gurudruh still did not know what to say….Gulping he stared at the four deers, when the mother deer spoke first, ‘Great hunter! Thank you so much! You trusted me and let me go! I have finished my duties and here I am. I will keep my part of the bargain!’

The aunt deer spoke next, ‘Yes hunter! It was because you let me go, I was able to make the child meet its mother and father! I have come to keep my promise!’

The father deer spoke majestically, ‘We all have completed our duties! You can do what you wish for!’

The baby deer spoke last, ‘Great hunter! I do not have any family other than those here! Take my life too! I also want to go, where they are going!’

Stunned, Gurudruh never drew his bow and arrow. The last quarter had passed, when Gurudruh jumped from the tree and ran towards the four deers.

Who are you?’ He asked in a tone of wonder. ‘You are not deers, who are you?’

Gurudruh blinked when the four deers vanished from there. Standing in their place, was a beautiful dark three eyed God. Gurudruh could not explain it but he felt a feeling of bliss coming over him. He felt like he was free…He was free….

The God smiled lovingly at Gurudruh, ‘Son! Your worship today, cannot be equal to anything that has ever been done in my name!’

Gururuh looked bewildered, ‘Worship? I…’ Gurudruh shook his head in wonder, ‘I did not do any worship to you, my Lord!’

The God smiled, ‘You cleansed me with water, chanted my name, worshiped me with my favourite leaves, and fasted for the entire night…This is the most perfect worship I have ever seen!’

Gurudruh thought back and stumbled back to the base of the tree he had just got down. He realized that it was the ‘Bilva’ tree. [In Hindu mythology it is believed that the Bilva leaves are Lord Shiva’s favourite leaves] Below it was a small linga…now covered from the leaves he had thrown the whole night…. The linga was wet…from the water of his pouch…Gurdruh felt understanding come over him Vashi! Vashi! when repeated again and again became Shiva! Shiva!

Gurdruh fell on the feet of Lord Shiva. ‘Lord! You have given moksha to a hunter like me! For that I would always be grateful to you!’

Lord Shiva smiled, ‘You are certainly worthy of it! You did all this on the one day, which I consider sacred. It is Mahasivarathri! For this Gurudruh, you shall attain salvation! You shall always be a part of me, in my world! Come with me!’

Peace and understanding came to the hunter as he followed the three-eyed blue God to Kailash….

- From Shiva Purana