Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Krishna battles Arjuna - Part 1 of 2

Krishna is an avatar of Lord Narayana. One of the eternal companions of Lord Narayana is Sage Nara. Arjuna was supposed to be an avatar of Nara. Krishna and Arjuna were born on the same day. The bond between them went much deeper than friendship...But do you know that Krishna actually fought a battle with Arjuna....

Their battle starts with Gayan, a gandharva. Once Gayan was driving his flying chariot at top speed across the skies. He was thoroughly enjoying himself as the horse flew across the skies. Gayan's chariot flew across the city of Dwaraka.

It was beautiful morning in city of Dwaraka. Krishna had just finished his morning bath and was about to return to his palace. It was at that minute that Gayan passed over the palace of Dwaraka. Gayan passed very close to the city of Dwaraka. In fact he passed so close that Krishna actually had to duck to avoid getting hit by the horses. Krishna stumbled and fell down down on the ground trying to avoid the horses. Gayan was having so much fun that he did not even notice what had happened.

It was only when Krishna shouted that he realized that something was wrong. He turned and looked down and saw Krishna looking furiously at him. Gayan quailed under Krishna's furious glare. Gayan did not even have the guts to turn back and apologize to Krishna. He just drove off, hoping that Krishna had not seen him.

Krishna shouted at Gayan, 'How dare you Gayan? I don't mind the fact that you drove recklessly..You do not even have the guts to apologize for what you have done...And you claim to be a gandharva...someone who is better than a human being...You don't deserve to live...Gayan!' Krishna shouted, 'I will hunt you down...'

Gayan heard the words of Krishna as he flew across the city of Dwaraka. He broke into cold sweat...Krishna was angry with him and had promised to hunt him down...How could he even hide form someone like Krishna...No matter where he went Krishna would hunt him down...Gayan decided that the only thing he could do now was to approach one of the Gods and ask for their help....

Gayan drove straight to Amaravathi – Indra's place and he drove straight into Indra's palace. Indra was out in the garden watching as Gayan crashed into the garden and ran straight Indra. 'Indra! Indra! You have to help me...' He panted. Indra held up his hands, 'What is the matter Gayan? You look like you are scared out of your wits...'

Gayan told Indra everything that had happened in the morning. Indra's eyes grew round as he heard that Gayan had picked a fight with Krishna. Indra spoke harshly, 'You mean to tell me that...you picked a fight with Krishna...the Krishna....' Gayan nodded uncertainly as Indra continued, shaking her head, 'No Gayan! No one can save you now....' Gayan looked at Indra with fearful eyes..The King of the Devas said he could not fight with Krishna...Oh God! Indra was saying something. Gayan shook his head and listened to him, 'Just go to Krishna and ask for forgiveness. I am sure he will forgive you...' Gayan shook his head in fear.

'Krishna was so angry with me...if I go and talk to him, he would just kill me...I will not go back there...' Gayan shook his head fearfully and backed off as he went towards his chariot. Indra tried stopping me, 'No Gayan! Please go to Krishna, I am very sure, he will forgive you...'

Gayan yelled at Indra, 'If you are afraid to fight Krishna, I will find someone who will fight him, but don't ask me to go to him and ask for forgiveness....'

Gayan sat on his chariot and was off. He was furiously thinking about whom he could approach to protect himself. Gayan passed Mount Kailash, when it stuck him...Lord Shiva was the best person to approach...Lord Shiva would stand up against Krishna...He entered Lord Shiva's home and fell at Lord Shiva's feet.

'Lord! You are the only one who can save me...' He said as his hands trembled. He had to make the Lord see and protect him...

Lord Shiva who knew all that had happened shook his head, 'No Gayan! I cannot help you...'

Gayan was terrified, 'Lord please do not say like that...I have come believing in you..If you also don't help me...I have no where else to turn to..Please sir!'

Lord Shiva smiled, 'Son! Go to Krishna! He will forgive you...'

Gayan was exasperated, 'Lord! Krishna has promised that he will kill me...do you really think I can make him understand...'

Lord Shiva nodded his head, 'That is the only option available to you...'

Gayan looked at Lord Shiva and realized that no matter how much he coaxed Lord Shiva, Lord Shiva would not agree.

Gayan walked out of Kailash and was crestfallen...What could he do... He got up on his chariot and was aimlessly driving it...when he whizzed past a figure merrily walking through the clouds.

'Narayana! Narayana!' The figure said. Gayan got down and walked towards Narada, the mischievous sage, who roamed about the world singing praises of Lord Narayana. Gayan bowed to Sage Narada with half a heart.

Narada looked at Gayan and said mischievously, 'What is it Gayan? You seem to be in trouble...you can tell me...' Gayan looked at Narada. He sighed and told Narada everything about the morning. Narada sighed and shook his head and made sympathetic noises.

As Narada was about to open his mouth, Gayan held up his hands, 'Sir! I cannot go back to Krishna! No matter what everyone says, I do not think...Krishna would forgive me...'

Narada smiled, 'I was not about to suggest that...I actually have a better idea...' Gayan looked at surprise at Narada and Narada smiled mischievously, 'I wanted you to go to Arjuna, the Pandava....'

Gayan blinked...Arjuna...He stammered, 'But..But...Arjuna and Krishna are the best of friends...why would Arjuna protect me from Krishna...'

Narada smiled, 'Well Arjuna is a prince, a warrior prince. I think he will see it as his duty to protect any one who comes to him for help...'

Gayan fumbled, 'But when I tell Arjuna that he has to protect me from Krishna, do you think he will protect me...'

Narada laughed, 'He won't..if you tell him that he has to protect you from Krishna...But what if you don't tell him that...'

Gayan blinked some more as Narada continued, 'Arjuna is a warrior. If he promises that he will help someone, he will help, no matter what! Tell him that you need to be protected from Krishna, after he promises to help you...' Narada said with his twinkling eyes.

Gayan nodded dazed. He bowed to the sage and got on his chariot and drove to the Pandavas. The five Pandavas were relaxing as they saw a flying chariot come inside the palace. Arjuna got up and went near the outside gate, as he heard hurried steps come towards him. He saw a gandharva run towards him and bow to him, 'Arjuna! You are the great Arjuna! You are the only one who can help me...' The gandharva said.

Arjuna looked at the disheveled man and wondered what could have scared a gandharva so much, 'Please sir! Who are you? What do you want?'

Gayan took a deep breath, 'I am Gayan! I am in trouble...A king is hunting for me and has promised to kill me...I am afraid...'

Arjuna shook his head...Why would a gandharva be afraid of a human? 'I don't understand..who is the king?'

Gayan shook his head, 'I will not tell you that...If I tell you, you will not fight against him...' Alarm bells were ringing in Arjuna's head as he looked at the gandharva. However his brother Yudhishtar came out now. He had heard most of the conversation. He looked at Arjuna, 'Arjuna! You are a warrior. It is your duty to protect anyone who comes to you...You cannot give your protection when you want and stop protecting people when you don't want it....'

Arjuna frowned. He knew his brother was right. Arjuna reluctantly looked at the Gandharva and then at Yudhishtar. He turned to Gayan and spoke slowly, 'Ok! I will protect you...from whomever it is....'

Gayan almost fainted with relief. He slowly smiled at Arjuna. Arjuna asked Gayan anxiously, 'Now tell me who is the king?'

Gayan looked at Arjuna in the eye and said, 'Krishna, the Dark One. Krishna the King of Dwaraka...I want you to protect me from him....'

Krishna battles Arjuna - Part 2 of 2

Arjuna was feeling numb. This was a joke....a cosmic joke, somebody had played on him. He looked at Gayan, hoping that he had heard wrong, hoping that this was some other Krishna....anything but this....

Arjuna shook himself up. He asked Gayan to sit down. 'Pl...Please...' Arjuna fumbled. He cleared his throat,'...tell me the whole story'.

So Gayan told him and the other Pandavas all that happened in the morning.

By the time Arjuna had heard the story, he was looking incredulously at Gayan. 'You behaved recklessly and carelessly and you expect me to help you....'

Arjuna held his head in his hands and moaned, 'Why did it not occur to you to go to Krishna, himself...Just fall at his feet...'

Arjuna's eyes brightened a little, 'Gayan please listen to me...Krishna will forgive you, I will myself take you to him...Just apologise to him and I promise...' Arjuna looked desperately at Gayan, 'I really promise, he will not do anything to you...'

However Gayan was past hearing all that. He angrily looked at Arjuna, 'Is this how a warrior behaves?' Gayan was fully confident that Arjuna would fight for him, now that he had given his word. It actually made him bold. He looked at Arjuna contemptuously, 'And I thought, for warriors like you, your promise meant more to you than anything else in the world...You agree to protect me and instead of protecting me, you are asking me to risk my life, hoping that Krishna will spare my life...You really are a very brave warrior!' Gayan said looking scornfully at Arjuna.

Bheema, the second Pandava was beside himself in rage. Bheema was extremely strong and powerful. In one hand he pulled Gayan by his neck and almost throttled him. 'You dare call my brother a coward..Do you know...'

All the other Pandavas together had to pull Bheema away from Gayan.

Gayan was still struggling to breathe as Bheema ranted. 'Arjuna! Listen to me...Such a man is not worth protecting...Tie him up and personally hand him over to Krishna...'

Arjuna was actually in half a mind to follow Bheema's advice. This Gandharva was rude...He was not someone for whom Arjuna would fight against anybody...let alone against Krishna. He was looking angrily at Gayan, when he heard a noise behind him.

'Narayana! Narayana!' Arjuna and his brothers bowed to Sage Narada who had appeared there. 'What seems to be the problem here?' Sage Narada asked innocently.

Unaware that all his problems were caused by the mischievous sage, Arjuna told the sage everything. Sage Narada pretended to listen sympathetically. Arjuna asked the sage, 'What do I do sir? I...I just don't know what to do....'

Sage Narada nodded his head looking at Gayan and then looked at Arjuna, 'Arjuna, in this matter, I am afraid you really do not have a choice. You made a promise, you are bound by it...Protecting Gayan in your duty...You have to do your duty...'

Arjuna bowed his head. He knew that the sage was right...He had to fight Krishna...He had to fight his beloved Krishna...

Sage Narada's mischief however did not end there. His next stop was Dwaraka. As Narada entered Dwaraka's palace, he did not get the usual welcome. People were actually looking scared and terrified as they kept glancing at a furious Krishna.

Sage Narada innocently asked Lord Krishna, 'My Lord! I am sorry but there is some change here...You look different...Is something wrong?'

Lord Krishna took a deep breath and told him everything. '...And now I cannot find that Gayan anywhere...No matter where he is, I will hunt him down...'

Sage Narada pretended to look surprised, 'Do you mean Gayan? Gayan the Gandharva?'

Lord Krishna furiously nodded his head. He narrowed his eyes and looked at Narada, 'Sir! From your expression, I take it, you know where Gayan is...'

Sage Narada nodded his head, 'Not only do I know where he is, I also know who is giving him protection.'

Krishna was shocked. 'Somebody offered to protect that gandharva from me...' He then said angrily, 'Who is it? Who is it, who dares to so openly insult me?

Sage Narada smiled, 'Why...It is Arjuna, Arjuna the Pandava...He had offered Gayan protection...I am just coming from the house of the Pandavas, so yes, I am very sure of it...'

Lord Krishna blinked flabbergasted. Arjuna...his Arjuna...was protecting a gandharva and was ready to fight against him....What could have prompted Arjuna from doing something like this....Krishna shook his head. Sage Narada had to be wrong...But then till date Sage Narada had never lied...Mischievous – yes...Liar – No...

Krishna closed his eyes wearily. He could not fight Arjuna, no matter what. Arjuna was a part of him. How could he fight someone like that...Krishna shook his head...Arjuna...my Arjuna...How can I ever go against you...No...I cannot fight against you...Krishna resolutely looked up making his decision.

He went to his sister – Subhadra. Subhadra welcomed Krishna. 'What brings you here, Krishna?' She asked him. Then suddenly looking at the serious faced Krishna, Subhadra knew something was wrong, 'Krishna, is something wrong? I have never seen you like this...Please tell me...I need to know...' Subhadra said as she felt her heart thump painfully.

Krishna looked at Subhadra, 'Gayan a gandharva has offended me....And I....I decided that he cannot be forgiven for being so ill mannered and rude....' Subhadra listened wondering what this had to do with her. Krishna continued. 'A prince has offered him protection from me...'

Subhadra looked astonished. Krishna was one of the most strongest persons she knew. And he was extraordinarily intelligent. There were already stories of his legends...And somebody was protecting a gandharva from him...Who could do such a thing....

Subhadra looked at Krishna uncertainly, 'Who is doing this, Krishna?'

Krishna looked at Subhadra in the eye, 'Your husband....your husband Arjuna is protecting Gayan...' Subhadra gasped, her head reeling. Arjuna going against Krishna – this was impossible....It did not make sense...Arjuna fought for Krishna, he did not fight against Krishna.

She looked pleadingly at Krishna, 'Krishna, there must be some mistake...please let me set this right...I will talk to him...Please...' She said begging him, 'I will convince him...I have to convince him...' She said fervently to herself.

Krishna looked at her softly, 'I do not want to fight Arjuna, any more that you do....Please Subhadra...Go to Arjuna and please talk to him...'

Subhadra did not waste any time. She set off to see the Pandavas immediately. When she reached the Pandavas, she did not bother with any of the formalities. She ran straight to Arjuna. 'Arjuna! What is this that Krishna is telling me? Why are you doing this? Why are you protecting a man that has insulted Krishna? Don't you realize that this is Krishna...your friend Krishna...You always tell me that the bond between the two of you go much deeper than friendship...Then why...why would you do such a thing?' Subhadra said looking at her husband with plain disbelief.

Arjuna sighed, 'Do you think I would like to fight Krishna....' He told her everything.

Subhadra realized that her husband had been tricked into protecting Gayan. 'Please Arjuna! When you offered protection to Gayan, you did not know that it was against Krishna....I am sure, such a promise would not bind you...' Subhadra was close to tears.

Arjuna then told her about Sage Narada's words, who had told him that it was his duty to protect Gayan.

Subhadra tried pleading with her husband...but her husband sadly refused saying he was bound by his duty.

Dejected she went back to Dwaraka and told Lord Krishna everything that had happened and how it was that Arjuna ended up protecting Gayan. 'I have failed Krishna...My husband is bound by his duty....For that he is willing to fight even you...' She said with tears in her eyes.

Krishna shook his head. Knowing why Arjuna had done what he had done did not make the task any easier....

He looked at his sister, 'Tomorrow...I go to war against Arjuna...'

Subhadra looked too stricken for words as the two men she loved were getting ready to fight with each other.

Krishna gathered his huge army and went to face Arjuna. Arjuna himself was ready for battle. He knew Lord Krishna would not budge from his position. Lord Krishna was standing with his huge army and looked at Arjuna, who stood against him.

'Arjuna....think about it...' Lord Krishna tried once more, 'Do you think all this is necessary...'

Arjuna gave Krishna a dry mirthless laugh, 'My Lord! Please do not make fun of me...I am not here because I want to fight you...I am here because I have to fight you...'

Looking at the sad face of Arjuna, Krishna did not waste any more time. He gave the orders to begin the battle...

Lord Krishna fired the arrows, which Arjuna cut down before it could reach him...Lord Krishna continued to fight him, but none of the arrows were affecting Arjuna. Arjuna was too good a warrior to be affected by that...

Lord Krishna, having no choice fired powerful weapons. But Arjuna was also a warrior and a very good one at that...He was ready with more powerful weapons of his own. No matter what Lord Krishna tried, Arjuna had an answer for him. The battle was evenly poised went on for a long time...

Lord Krishna was however very angry now. In the heat of the battle, he pulled out his 'Sudarshana Chakra'. However unperturbed Arjuna pulled out his 'Pashupatastra' – the weapon which was handed over to him by Lord Shiva himself.

Both the weapons had the capacity to destroy the world...Krishna and Arjuna pulled back the weapons and were about to let it go...when time stopped....

Lord Brahma the Lord Creation appeared before them, 'Krishna! Arjuna! Put your weapons back....These weapons will destroy the world...You cannot do that....stop this battle NOW!' Brahma shouted at the two of them.

Both Arjuna and Krishna bowed to Brahma and immediately put back their weapons. Lord Brahma came forward. 'I can solve your problem...' Lord Brahma turned to Arjuna, 'Arjuna hand over Gayan to Lord Krishna now!' Arjuna looked at Brahma suspiciously as Lord Brahma said angrily, 'I will make sure, both of your promises are kept...Now just hand over Gayan to Krishna...'

When Gayan went near Lord Krishna, Lord Krishna killed Gayan. Arjuna looked with disbelief as Lord Brahma brought out the water from his Kamandalam and sprinkled it on Gayan....Gayan got up as if nothing had happened looking at the healed wound and at Arjuna.

Gayan thanked Lord Brahma and Arjuna and looked at Lord Krishna and hastily left the place.

Lord Krishna smiled as he embraced a relieved Arjuna. He looked at the sad eyes of Arjuna and spoke softly, 'Arjuna! I fought this war against you to make you understand something...' Arjuna looked at Krishna wondering what Krishna would say. Krishna continued, 'You have to understand my friend that sometimes you have to fight against even your loved ones for what is right...' Lord Krishna looked at Arjuna with a sad smile on his face, 'A war is coming my friend...A great war...the outcome of the war depends on you....It depends on whether you have the ability to stand up against any one, to do the right thing....'

It is said that Lord Krishna fought this war to mentally prepare Arjuna for the Mahabharatha war.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Story of Rantideva

Once Lord Vishnu was relaxing in Vaikunta. Lord Brahma, Indra and the Devas had come to see him. The Dark Lord was sitting and enjoying himself as Indra asked a question, 'My Lord! Who is your favourite devotee?'
The Dark Lord replied without any hesitation, 'It is definitely Rantideva!'
Brahma looked surprised, 'Who? Do you mean the son of Sankriti?
The Dark Lord nodded not saying anything.
Indra frowned, 'Of all the people in the fourteen worlds, why do you think that human is your best devotee?'
The Dark Lord smiled, 'The devotion with which he worships me and the way he sees me....' Lord Vishnu shook his head in admiration, 'I have no doubt, he is one of the best devotees, I have...'

Brahma, Indra and the other Devas talked with Lord Vishnu for some time and then left Vaikunta. As they were returning home, Indra spoke, 'Rantideva? Do you really think Lord Vishnu was right in thinking that a mere human would be his best devotee, when there are countless Devas and gandharvas, who are so devoted in him?'

Vayu also nodded his head, 'I do not think that a human being can ever be devoted to God so much...Anyway what do humans know about devotion...They only pray for what they want and then forget about God...' Vayu said contemptuously.

Varuna nodded his head, 'I think we should test this man Rantideva...'

All the devas agreed to this....

Rantideva was a king and he was a very good king. Rantideva was also very spiritual. He was devoted to Lord Vishnu and saw Lord Vishnu everywhere. He felt that making his people happy was best ways of keeping Lord Vishnu happy, so he ruled them kindly and firmly and took good care of them. His people in turn adored him.

The crops were good and the country was rich...everybody prospered....However all that changed very fast.

Rantideva's kingdom found that all of sudden, there were unseasonal rains and winds...Crops were destroyed and suddenly there was famine in the country....Rantideva however did not let his people down. He opened up his his treasury and his granary and asked the people to take it...The people were happy with their king who had protected them....

However the situation became worse and the crops kept failing...Rantideva then gave up his palace and all his belongings so that the people could use them...The people were happy for a short time and felt that things would turn around now...But things still went from bad to worse....The entire kingdom seemed to become arid with no crops and water...People were hungry and thirsty with no place to go.

Rantideva could not bear the misfortune of his people. He was already living on very little food himself and provided all his food to his people. Rantideva decided that only Lord Vishnu could protect him. He decided to fast and meditate to Lord Vishnu to protect his people. He gave up everything and meditating on the Lord....

For forty-eight days this went on...Rantideva had nothing to eat in these forty-eight days and meditated on the Lord....Rantideva was hungry and happy praying to the Lord.

Rantideva's ministers looked at the shriveled and pathetically thin king and were worried about him. They convinced him to break his fast on the forty eighth day. With great reluctance, Rantieva agreed.

The ministers and family members provided the king with some food and water. Rantideva was about to start eating when he saw a man tottering and coming towards him. Rantideva ran towards the man who was stumbling and walking. Rantideva asked him to sit down and talked to him.

'What is it sir! You look tired....' The man nodded feebly and spoke, 'I am hungry sir! I have nothing to eat....' He eyed at the king's plate but did not say anything.

Much to the dismay of the ministers, the king handed over a portion of his food to the man, 'Sir! Please take a portion of my food and eat it...'

The man looked too hungry even to refuse the food. He did not even look at the thin king and gulped down the portion of the food as fast as he could.

After eating the food, the man looked more cheerful and thanked the king, 'Sir! I am grateful to you...I really thought I was not going to get any food....You really saved my life...' The king nodded his head and the man left praising the king. The king looked happily at the man.

His ministers looked at each other with exasperation. They had got their king to eat with so much difficulty....And now he had given away a portion of his food... One of the ministers came forward and spoke hastily, 'Sir...Please have whatever food is left over....' before anyone else comes and asks for the remaining food....He thought to himself but did not say it out loud.

The king nodded and sat down before his food and was about to start eating. Another man came with tattered clothes. Before the ministers could shoo the man away, the king saw him. The man with the tattered clothes also looked like he had not had anything to eat for a long time....He looked so tired that he did not even have the energy to talk. He just collapsed before the king.

The king once again got up. He revived the man. The man opened his eyes and looked like he could not even talk....

The ministers watched helplessly as the king handed over another portion of his food to the man. The man who took the portion of the food, ate it without even thanking the king. Only after he had taken a little amount of food, he saw the king, his family members and ministers. But he ate the portion offered to him and looked at the king, 'Sir! You have saved my life...My eyes began to water and I could not even see properly....I thought I would starve and....' The man shook his head and spoke quietly, 'Thank you sir!'

The king nodded his head and the man also left after thanking the king.

The minsters watched the king apprehensively looking at the pitiful food which was remaining and the king...What if someone came and took away this portion of the food too....

Unfortunately for the ministers that is exactly what happened... A man came with some of his dogs. The man looked at the king and said, 'Sir! Me and my dogs are hungry...Can you...'

Without any hesitation, the king handed over the remaining portion of the food to the man and his dogs. The man ate a portion of the food and threw the remaining portion to his dogs. The dogs chewed all the remaining food and soon all the food was over...The man thanked the king and left with his dogs.

Now only the water was remaining, The king was about to drink the water when a huge man came in. Looking at the man, the ministers swerved away from the man...The man was a chandala...The minsters were about to talk the guards and ask the man to be thrown out of there when the chandala spoke, 'I...am thirsty...can you please....'
The ministers were stunned to see the king hand over his water to the man. The chandala however hesitated, 'Sir! I am not sure whether I can take your water....I am a chandala sir...I am an …'

The king shook his head and handed over the water to him, 'You were also created by the great Lord Vishnu...I see him in you also....I cannot say that you are any different from my own people....'

The chandala took the water from the king and happily drank it....

The king watched the man happily drink the water and leave, and had a smile on his face. His minsters were looking unhappily at the king....

That was when there was a flash of light. The king opened his eyes in surprise as he saw Lord Brahma, with Indra and the Devas....And between them, Rantideva saw the Dark Lord....The beautiful black God who looked at Rantideva with pride.

Lord Vishnu spoke softly, 'Rantideva! I had told the Devas that you were my greatest devotee....' Lord Vishnu looked at Indra with mischievous twinkling eyes, 'I don't think Indra believed me....So everything that happened to you....the famine for your kingdom and everything after than...the Devas were testing you to see whether you were indeed one of my greatest devotee....And I must say...I am proud of you...I have no doubt that you are the one of the best devotees I have ever had....'

Yama, the God of death spoke, 'All the Devas had come disguised as the first three man and their dogs...I still did not believe them...I came as the chandala...And I must say that you stumped me...I believe that you are one of the the greatest devotee ever...'

Rantideva looked at all the Devas and Lord Vishnu as he bowed to them. Lord Vishnu spoke, 'You have understood me in a way, no one ever has....For this I grant you moksha...' Rantideva felt a blissful feeling come over him...His Dark Lord had come to make him a part of him...Lord Vishnu spoke, 'Don't worry about your people....All the famine was a part of the ploy of the Devas...Everything will be back to normal and your people would always be happy and prosperous....'

Rantideva smiled as he merged with Lord Vishnu attaining moksha....

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The birth of Nahusha - Part 1 of 3

Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were happily residing in Kailash. Once Goddess Parvati requested Lord Shiva, "Will you take me to Nandankanan?"
Lord Shiva smiled and looked questioningly at Goddess Parvati, "Why?"
Goddess Parvati said, "I have heard that the tress there are the most beautiful and hold many mysteries within them I would like to see such a place myself "
Lord Shiva smiled and nodded his head.
The next day Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva went to Nandankanan. There the Goddess was wonder struck on seeing the beautiful trees and flowers there. She looked around gazing in wonder. She looked at one tree in particular and turned to Shiva, "Why is this tree so different from the others?"
Lord Shiva smiled, "It is not an ordinary tree, Parvati That is the Kalpataru."
Goddess Parvati looked astonished and turned her gaze from the tree to Lord Shiva as she saw the Kalpataru the tree which could grant any wish.
"Is it really the Kalpataru?" Goddess Parvati whispered looking at the tree.
Lord Shiva laughed, "Well you can test it yourself. You can wish for anything."
Goddess Parvati looked teasingly at Lord Shiva and closed her eyes. Then she spoke, "Kalpataru! I wish to have an intelligent and beautiful daughter now."
Goddess Parvati opened her eyes to see a beautiful baby at the base of the tree! She picked it up and cuddled it.
"Ashokasundari! You are Ashokasundari!" She sang as she kissed the baby.
Right in front of their eyes, the baby grew to a beautiful young woman!
She bowed to Goddess Parvati, "Mother! I was created for you What do you want me to do?"
"Go forth and enjoy yourself my child!" Goddess Parvati said. "When the time is right, you will have Nahusha as your husband "
Ashokasundari blessed by her mother and father roamed about the gardens of Nandakanan.
Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva returned back to Kailash.
Near Nandanakanan, there lived an asura Hunda. When Hunda saw Ashokasundari, he was spell bound by her beauty .
He went to her, "Beautiful lady! Will you marry me?" He spoke gruffly pulling Ashokasundari towards him.
Ashokasundari pushed Hunda back and shook her head, "No! I do not wish to marry you I wish to marry the person who was chosen for me by my mother," Ashokasundari said smiling, and was about to walk away when Hunda blocked her way.
"You don’t even know who it is that you are going to marry. You are willing to wait for someone whom you don’t know. Can’t you just marry me? I am begging you."
Ashokasundari shook her head once more, "My mother Parvati has chosen this man for me. I will marry no other person other than him." She insisted again.
By now Hunda was annoyed. The nerve of the woman to refuse to marry him one of the most powerful asuras in the world..
Hunda angrily caught Ashokasundari by her hand and pulled her, "I am Hunda " He said angrily, " I am the most powerful asura in the world .When I come and ask you for something, you should do it to me immediately," Hunda said becoming more and more red as he spoke.
Ashokasundari pushed Hunda with all her might.
As the asura fell back Ashokasundari pulled out her sword and pointed it at him and looked at him with his eyes blazing, "How dare you force me to marry you I have told you I am not interested? Now get lost before I lose me temper."
Hunda saw that there was no point in angering Ashokasundari anymore. He knew that if he pushed her any further, she could never accept to marry him Besides she was in her own territory. Hunda wondered whether he could get her out of Nandakanan..After that probably....
A few days later, a young woman was sitting near Nandakanan looking very unhappy and dejected.
Ashokasundari had just finished her morning prayers when she saw the beautiful woman. She went towards her, "What is the matter? You look so unhappy. Why?"
The woman looked at Ashokasundari and looked at the ground looking brokenhearted. Ashokasundari came forward and sat beside the woman, "What has happened sister? You look unhappy. Is there anything I can do to?"

The woman took a deep breath as tears poured out of her eyes and she finally spoke, "I have no one no one of my own."
Ashokasundari stroked the woman’s hand looking at her waiting for her to continue.
The woman said, "I just lost my husband. He...He...is not not coming back. He is dead," the woman said choking on the last word.
Ashokasundari looked at the woman feeling sorry for the woman. The woman continued, "I..can’t think of going back to my our house anymore. It feels so lonely. I feel so alone," The woman sobbed quietly wiping the tears from her eyes.
Ashokasundari shook her head. "Sh! Sh! Listen, I will come and stay with you for some days. It will probably help you You will not be alone anymore," She said looking at the woman.
The woman’s face brightened when she heard this, "You..You really would come with me? You are such a nice person thank you so much!"
Soon Ashokasundari and the woman left for the woman’s house. As Ashokasundari went near the house, as a feeling of unease came over her.
The house was in the middle of the dense forest What sort of people would stay in the middle of the dense forest? She wondered. However she did not say anything.
When they reached the home, Ashokasundari looked around the house and was about to ask the woman, when she found the woman missing!
She looked again and found no sign of the woman. She went around the house and found it deserted. Feeling frightened Ashokasundari was about to call out for the woman, when she saw a rough hairy hand close her mouth and pull her towards it.
She could smell the stale breath of the man as it whispered, "I told you to marry me when I asked you didn’t I?"
Ashokasundari looked stunned to hear the voice of Hunda! She realized that the woman must have been Hunda in disguise She struggled against the strong grip of the monster as the monster’s grip tightened.
Hunda pushed Ashokasundari back and she hit the tree behind her as her vision blurred for a minute. Before she could get up Hunda came close to her Ashokasundari pushed Hunda with all her strength.
Hunda was lying dazed as Ashokasundari spoke angrily, "How dare you touch me without my permission? For this I curse you," Hunda was terrified, as his expression paled,
"I, Ashokasundari curse you that you will be killed by the man, who will become my husband. You will be killed by Nahusha!" Ashokasundari intoned angrily. Saying this Ashokasundari vanished from there and went back to the heavens.
Hunda was stunned at the curse.
He slowly thought things over.
Ashokasundari was destined to marry Nahusha. However, Ashokasundari has not yet married Nahusha because he has not yet come on earth. That probably meant that Nahusha has not even born on earth now. Hunda’s eyes narrowed as he realized the truth, If he killed Nahusha before Nahusha grew up to kill him. Then Hunda would become invincible.
Hunda smiled slyly.

-From the Padma Purana

The birth of Nahusha - Part 2 of 3

Far away in the kingdom of Prathishthana, there lived King Ayus with his queen Indumathi. Ayus and Indumathi ruled Prathishthana well. Their subjects loved them. However deep inside they were unhappy. They did not have any children of their own.
So King Ayus and Queen Indumathi prayed and meditated on Lord Dattatreyan for a child. Finally after being pleased with their prayers, a son was born to them. The whole kingdom rejoiced at the birth of the son. He was called Nahusha.
The King and the Queen were beset with joy. With their son, it felt as if they were now complete.
Unknown to the royal couple, they were being watched. Hunda, the asura whom Ashokasundari had cursed had heard of the birth of Ayus’s son. He traveled towards the kingdom of Prathishthana and resided in the forests nearby. He kept a watchful eye on the royal couple and the new born baby. When the baby was named Nahusha, Hunda’s suspicions were confirmed.
A year after the birth of Nahusha, the palace was resting after finishing the birthday celebrations of the young prince. Everything was so calm and peaceful.
A hooded figure stealthily came inside the palace and slowly walked up to the room of the royal couple. The king and the queen were fast asleep. The hooded figure then looked at the sleeping baby in the cradle. Quietly without disturbing the king and the queen, the figure picked up the baby and went out the palace the same way the figure had walked in.
The next morning the whole palace was running helter skelter. Their prince was missing. The whole palace and subsequently the kingdom was also searched but no sign of the missing prince.
Queen Indumati was inconsolable. She had had a child after such a great penance. Now, she had just lost the baby. She was so careless. Indumati looked desperately as the guards came back from searching the palace and the other places near the palace. No sign of the prince.
The King and the Queen were in the palace waiting for some news, any news. When they had an unexpected visitor. Sage Narada!
Sage Narada was a wondering saint, who roamed all through the earth and the heavens. He was a regular mischief maker, who worked to make the bad people realize their mistakes and correct them and helped the good people.
Queen Indumati knew that if anyone knew where her son was, it was Sage Narada. She ran to the sage and fell at his feet, almost crying out, "Sir! Sir! My son....have you seen..." She burst out into tears as Ayus came from behind her.
Ayus controlled himself and offered the Sage some refreshments.
Sage Narada spoke without preamble, "Your majesty! I know what is worrying you. But please do not worry. Your son is safe. "
Ayus looked at Sage Narada hoping he had heard right. Indumati almost cried with frustration, "I need to see him. I need to see him now. Please. Tell me where he is. "
Sage Narada shook his head, "No my queen. Now is not the time for your son to live here. "
Queen Indumati almost yelled at the sage, "I am his mother. You just cannot..... "
Sage Narada spoke calmly, "Your son’s life was in grave danger my queen. He was kidnapped by Hunda, who is a very powerful asura . The only reason your son is still alive is that Hunda’s cook is a good kind hearted man."
Queen Indumati looked at Narada baffled unable to make sense of what the sage of saying. Sage Narada told the king and the queen, the story of Ashokasundari and Hunda. The king and queen listened fascinated as Sage Narada continued, "It was Hunda, who came to your palace and kidnapped your son, Ayus!" Indumati was staring at Sage Narada with terrified eyes as the sage continued, "He took your son home and wanted to kill him. Hunda’s cook was a good man. He took your son and safely hid him and told Hunda that he had killed him. The cook has taken your son and left him in the ashrama of Sage Vasishta. "
Queen Indumati came forward and spoke haltingly, "Then....then....I will..go and get my son back from Sage Vasishta."
"No!" Sage Narada said sharply, "Doing that will only put your son in more danger. "
Ayus and Indumati looked at each other with troubled eyes as Sage Narada spoke furiously, "Think! Hunda thinks your son is dead. And your son is safe in the hands of Sage Vasishta, who is one of the most brilliant teachers of warfare. If you bring your son back here, who says Hunda will not make another attempt on your son"s life. And who will protect him then.”
"I have an army. " Indumati started but was stopped by the look on Sage Narada’s face.
"An army was guarding the palace, when Hunda took your son away. They were not able to do anything. " Sage Narada said coldly.
Indumati realized the intelligence of the Sage, but still was not convinced. Sage Narada spoke with a smile, "My Queen! Your son is safe from Hunda and he will learn from one of the best gurus in the world. He will return to you when the time is right. It is for the best. Nahusha will need all his training from Sage Vasishta, when he eventually fights Hunda. "
Finally Ayus and Indumati agreed and Nahusha grew up in the ashrama of Sage Vasishta, unaware of who he was.
The kingdom of Prathishtana waited for its prince.

-From the Padma Purana