Thursday, September 11, 2014


After their exile in the forests, the Pandavas were a dejected lot. 
And adding to their misery of the other Pandavas, the third Pandava went to the Himalayas to meditate and obtain divine weapons from the Gods. 
The remaining four brothers with Draupadi were even more unhappy. So in order to make them happy, many sages came to their hermitage and told them different stories and strange sights that they had seen. One such time Sage Markandeya came to the hermitage. The sage was the one who had conquered death by the grace of Lord Shiva.
The Pandavas received him warmly. Markandeya in turn told them great and lively stories.
The first thing that struck the Pandavas on seeing the sage was that the sage looked not a day older than the day he conquered death. But his eyes were the only giveaway...the eyes spoke of a man with infinite wisdom and of a man who had seen and heard things that others had not even dreamt of.
As they listened to the stories, the Pandavas realized that the man before them was someone ancient...someone who had been there long before them and had seen things they did not even know existed...
Yudhishtara in jest asked a question to the great sage. 'Great sage! Is there anyone who is older than you?'
Markandeya looked amused at the question as he laughed quietly. 'I will tell you a story! You can decide for yourself!'
The Pandavas looked bewildered as Markandeya continued with his story.

'I will tell you of something I saw many years back....'' Markandeya said looking outside of the hermitage with glazed eyes. 'Once I had just returned from a long pilgrimage and was just back home, when I saw a man, suddenly appear before me, out of nowhere. He just appeared, without any warning...Just like that...When he appeared before me, the man himself looked surprised like he could not believe what he was seeing. The man looked around muttering to himself. Despite being shocked, the man looked regal and almost powerful. He had an ancient aura around him, one that I could not define or understand....
'I ran towards him and helped him up. 'Who are you, great one?' I asked.
The man was now looking anguished and sad. 'I have fallen!' He mumbled.
I looked at him not understanding when the man continued. 'Long ago, I was a human and I led a good life. I helped people whenever I could. After my death, because of all the good deeds I had done, I was chosen to go to Indraloka. As you know, after your death, you spend the time in the various realms, depending on the works that you have done! If you do good, you go to one of the swargas! You can stay there till your good merits last! If you do bad things, you stay in the lower realms! The minute your merits get over, you come back to earth for another cycle of birth and death!' The man looked crestfallen. 'It looks like all the merits that I have done have been forgotten!'
'Who are you sir?' I asked.
'I am Indradhyumna!' The man said unhappily.
I looked sympathetically at the man when the man suddenly looked at me with a strange expression. 'You are Markandeya! You are a Chiranjeevi! Have you never seen me before?'
I looked surprised and shook my head. 'I rarely stay in the same place for more than a day! There is no way I would know...!'
The man looked unhappy for a few seconds when he brightened again. 'Do you know anyone who is older than you? Someone who may remember me and my good deeds!'
I nodded my head. 'In Himavat, there is an owl by name Pravarkarna! He is older than me! He may know you! But he is far away from here....'
As soon as I said these words, Indradyumna changed himself into a horse and carried me to Himavat. There we found Pravarkarna.
Indradyumna transformed into a human and asked the owl without any preamble. 'Have you seen me?' The owl looked shocked for a few seconds and then looked at the man up and down. 'I am afraid, I have not seen you.'
'Then is there anyone who is older than you?' Indradhyumna immediately asked.
The owl looked at the king for a few seconds. 'What is your name, sir?'
'Indradyumna!' the man replied.
The owl looked shocked. The man looked eagerly as the owl continued. 'Strange though it may sound there is a lake by name Indradyumna! Near the lake, lives a crane called Nadijangha! He is older than me! He may know you!'
Then me, the sage and the owl went to Nadijangha, the crane, and asked him the same question. Unfortunately the crane also did not know Indradyumna.
But then the crane smiled saying, 'In this very lake, there is a very old tortoise. The name of the tortoise is Akupura. He is older than me!' Saying this Nadijangha turned to the lake and shouted. 'Akupura! Please come here! We need to ask you something!'
The tortoise came out of the lake and the first person he saw was Indradyumna. Seeing the king, the tortoise started trembling with joy and weeping uncontrollably. 'I never thought I would see you again!' Akupura said looking at Indradyumna. 'My king! I am so grateful to you!'
All of us looked astonished at the tortoise as it continued. 'He is a great king! He was the most generous man ever.' The tortoise said looking at Indradyumna with shining eyes. 'Do you know how this lake was formed? It was formed from the hooves of the cattle that he gave away as gifts to other people...These cattle that kept walking in the land, they all together formed a depression in the land, creating this pond! I have lived here, since then!' Akupura finished.
No sooner had the tortoise finished the tale, a heavenly vehicle came whizzing to the place as a heavenly voice said. 'As long as your good deeds are remembered, you will live in heaven! The tortoise still lives because of your merits. Come! Come back to the higher heavens!'
Happily Indradyumna dropped me and the owl back at our places and then rode away on the vehicle, going to the swarga, which he deserved...

Markandeya looked at the Pandavas with playful eyes. 'Does that answer your question, my friends?'...


  1. Please post story about
    Saptha rushi
    All chiranjeevi

  2. Namaste
    Is this Indradyumna identical with king Indradyumna who set up the icon of Lord Jagannath?