பொருள்: ஸ்ரீரங்கத்தில் பள்ளி கொண்டபெருமாளே! தளர்ச்சி அடைந்த காலத்தில் காப்பாற்றுவர் என்ற எண்ணத்தில் தகுதி படைத்தவர்களை அண்டிவாழ்வது உலக இயல்பு. நான் தகுதியற்றவன் என்றாலும், உன்னைச் சரணடைந்தேன்... ஏன் தெரியுமா? "ஆதிமூலமே' என்று அழைத்த யானைக்காக ஓடிவந்தவன் அல்லவா! நோaயால் அவதிப்படும் காலத்தில் உன்னை நினைக்க சக்தியற்றவனாகி விடுவேன். அதனால், இப்போதே உன் திருநாமத்தைச் சொல்லி வைத்து விட்டேன்.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/sbe48/ - sri bhasyam
http://www.chennailibrary.com/ - tamil books
http://dharmajrb.wordpress.com/2007/06/19/ - Sri Andal
http://ta.wikisource.org/ - Abirami Anthathi - explain
Monday, April 6, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Before the beginning, the Brahman (absolute reality) was one and non-dual. It thought, "I am only one -- may I become many." This caused a vibration which eventually became sound, and this sound was Om. Creation itself was set in motion by the vibration of Om. The closest approach to Brahman is that first sound, Om. Thus, this sacred symbol has become emblematic of Brahman just as images are emblematic of material objects.
The vibration produced by chanting Om in the physical universe corresponds to the original vibration that first arose at the time of creation. The sound of Om is also called Pranava, meaning that it sustains life and runs through Prana or breath. Om also represents the four states of the Supreme Being. The three sounds in Om (AUM) represent the waking, dream and deep sleep states and the silence which surrounds Om represents the "Turiya" state.
Because the first of the three states of consciousness is the waking state, it is represented by the sound "A" pronounced like "A" in accounting. Because the dream state of consciousness lies between the waking and the deep sleep states, it is represented by the letter "U" which lies between the "A" and "M". This "U" is pronounced like the "U" in would. The last state of consciousness is the deep sleep state and is represented by "M" pronounced as in "sum." This closes the pronunciation of Om just as deep sleep is the final stage of the mind at rest. Whenever Om is recited in succession there is an inevitable period of silence between two successive Oms. This silence represents the "fourth state" known as "Turiya" which is the state of perfect bliss when the individual self recognizes his identity with the supreme.
The Symbol Om
Just as the sound of Om represents the four states of Brahman, the symbol Om written in Sanskrit also represents everything. The material world of the waking state is symbolized by the large lower curve. The deep sleep state is represented by the upper left curve. The dream state, lying between the waking state below and the deep sleep state above, emanates from the confluence of the two. The point and semicircle are separate from the rest and rule the whole. The point represents the turiya state of absolute consciousness. The open semicircle is symbolic of the infinite and the fact that the meaning of the point can not be grasped if one limits oneself to finite thinking.
The Power of Chanting Om
The chanting of Om drives away all worldly thoughts and removes distraction and infuses new vigour in the body.
When you feel depressed, chant Om fifty times and you will be filled with new vigour and strength. The chanting of Om is a powerful tonic. When you chant Om, you feel you are the pure, all pervading light and consciousness.
Those who chant Om will have a powerful, sweet voice. Whenever you take a stroll, you can chant Om. You can also sing Om in a beautiful way. The rythmic pronunciation of Om makes the mind serene and pointed, and infuses the spiritual qualifications which ensure self-realization.
Those who do meditation of Om daily will get tremendous power. They will have lustre in their eyes and faces.
Meditation on Om
Retire to a quite place, sit down, close your eyes and completely relax your muscles and nerves. Concentrate on the space between your eyebrows and quieten and silence the conscious mind. Begin to repeat "Om" mentally while associating the ideas of infinity, eternity, immortality, etc. You must repeat Om with the feeling that you are the infinite and all-pervading. Mere repetition of Om will not bring the desired result. Keep the meaning of Om always at heart. Feal Om. Feel that you are the pure, perfect, all-knowing, eternal, free, Brahman. Feel that you are absolute consciousness and the infinite, unchanging existance. Every part of your body should powerfully vibrate with these ideas. This feeling should be kept up all day long. Practice regularly and steadily with sincerity, faith, perseverance and enthusiasm in the morning, midday and evening.
There are many mantras used in worship. The first is always the Moola Manthirum. This mantra forms the foundation which supports all the others. It was not written by a person but was given to us directly from Amma Herself in Her oracle. This mantra has enormous power. Some of the benefits conferred by reciting the Moola Mantra are:
The Divine energy freely flows from the feet of Amma to the different systems of the body. The holy vibrations penetrate all the cells and revitalize the entire system.
Eradication of one's Karma.
Gives you what you rightfully deserve.
Helps solve ailments and genuine problems.
Confers blessings leading to prosperity and a happy life.
Helps one to reach the highest spiritual pedestal (Mukti).
Prevents fatal accidents.
Each type of pooja or velvi has specific mantras which are recited at a certain time during the ritual. The long mantras have either 108 or 1008 lines and are concluded with a short mantra of three lines and three om's. The mantras recited during mandram pooja in America are shown below. Amma has given us permission to omit the 1008 line mantra which is normally recited because She says we are so busy and have little time. All mandrams in India, however, recite the 1008 as is normally required.
The number 108 has been considered sacred for thousands of years in India. The origin of this number probably lies in astronomy. The average distance from the sun and moon to the earth is 108 times each of their respective diameters. This is true to an accuracy of 0.5% for the Sun and 2% for the Moon. The thought that this was known so long ago is amazing. Like all tantric mantras each line is preceded by om and concluded with om. These characteristics give the mantras great potency.
With the exception of the Moola Mantra, the task of writing all the mantras was given to specific people by Amma and they wrote them under Adhiparasakthi's divine guidance. Two of the 1008 mantras were written by two individuals who were once staunch atheists before they met Amma. The mantras written by people were given their power when they were presented to Amma after completion and She imbued them with power.
For velvis and yagnas there are many more mantras which must be recited and no exceptions are given in these requirements. Specific mantras are required at various steps during the preparation and conduction of the ceremony to ensure that everything is done correctly.
Statues of Adhiparasakthi are used for worship in temples dedicated to Her. Only temples may install a statue and each temple must be built by a Sakthi Peetam. The statue of Supreme Goddess Adhiparasakthi in the Siddhar Peetam Temple in Melmaruvathur can be seen at the right. During the ceremony kumkum powder and flowers are offered to the Goddess as the mantras are chanted. These rites are called agama rites. As the Om Sakthi Movement expanded, devotees wanted a way to worship Adhiparasakthi without having to travel to the Temple in Melmaruvathur. Through Her oracle Adhiparasakthi said that Adigalar should sit beside Her statue for a picture. This picture could then be installed in a proper place in their homes and used by the devotees for worship. The first picture for this purpose and the picture currently in use are shown below.
The Siddhar Peetam in Melmaruvathur also has statues of the seven goddesses. These statues can be seen in the picture below which shows our Guru praying before them.
For poojas, velvis and yagnas, large symbols, called chakras, are drawn on the ground and various decorations are placed on top of them. The measurements for the geometric symbols must be as precise as possible. Each symbol represents a different element of nature as shown below. It is very important to include nature in worship because Goddess Adhiparasakthi expresses herself through nature. When done correctly these drawings reveal the Goddess's heartbeat in a manner similar to the way an electrocardiogram reveals ours. In ages past we were much closer to nature and hence to Her, but as we have distanced ourselfs from nature, we have separated ourselfs from God. Utilizing natural elements and symbols representing them helps bring us closer again.
The geometric symbols can also be combined to create more complex symbols. One of the most complex and well known is the Shri Chakra. This Chakra is on the back of the medals that devotees wear around their necks. It is composed of four triangles pointing up and five triangles pointing down. These triangles represent shiva and sakthi. Each of the triangles formed by the intersection of these triangles is the dwelling place of a deity. The central point represents Supreme Goddess Adhiparasakthi Herself.
The Shri Chakra was used during a Yagna for world welfare held in New Delhi on January 27, 1995. Pictures of this Yagna and the large Shri Chakra can be seen below.
Below are pictures showing the use of fire in worship. In this case the fire is in a Yaha Gundam which is built out of clay or brick and sealed with earth. It must be built to exacting specifications in one of the shapes detailed above. Oblations are fed into the fire as the ceremony is in progress. This type of worship is known as vaithiga rites. You can also see many small clay lamps which are also used. Two other types of larger lamp made of brass called Om Sakthi lamps (tall with a large Om) and Kaamatchi lamps (short with a relief picture of Goddess and Guru) can be seen in the pictures on these pages. These two lamps are for everyday use as well as in velvi and yagna.
Worship, Enlightenment and Peace
The greatest form of worship is service to mankind, as demonstrated by the activities of the Adhiparasakthi Trust and Amma's devotees. Other forms of worship are important as well and one of these is described below. However, it should not be considered any better or worse than other forms of worship which have been given to us by God. Worship of God in the form of Supreme Goddess Adhiparasakthi is similar to Tantrism and Saktism. However, this worship is different from Tantric, Vedic, and other forms in a very important respect. Most Eastern spirituality is intended for enlightenment and transformation of the individual performing the worship, meditation, etc. The worship described below is intended for the enlightenment and salvation of mankind as a whole. Tantric teachings describe how it is possible for a single enlightened person to bring about worldwide enlightenment but it is not realistic. The Om Sakthi Movement strives to bring enlightenment through the collective efforts of many acting together. Instead of the worship being limited to a small group or single person, it frequently involves dozens, hundreds or thousands of people performing a huge velvi, or yagna.
These ceremonies harness the same Goddess Power used in Tantra, not for enlightenment of the individual but for the entire world. Because all living things are part of the same whole, the progression of mankind toward enlightenment leads not only to peace among man but harmony with nature. Thus, performing these ceremonies brings material benefits to those performing the ceremony, the place where the ceremony is performed, and even people far removed from it. Ceremonies can be performed for the home, temple, city, country and entire world. The Om Sakthi Movement is the first group to perform such large ceremonies for this purpose.
The form of worship practiced utilizes the power behind sounds and symbols. These material representations are used to focus the mind and body on Goddess Adhiparasakthi and our unity with Her. By doing this we can harness sakthi, divine power, for wonderful things.
The first sound and the most powerful is 'om'. This sound is also spelled as 'ohm' or 'aum'. This is the sound that reverberates throughout the universe and is regularly used in meditation and yoga. Although repetition of 'om' is sufficient for worship, it is very difficult to say it repeatedly without your mind wandering. Mantras were written to help the mind stay focused on what is being said while still repeating the necessary sounds. They are concentrated expressions of sakthi.
During pooja, statues, pictures and constructions are used as representations and recepticles for Goddess Adhiparasakthi. Although God dwells everywhere, including within ourselves, we have become so removed from God and unaware of our relationship that it is difficult to receive the benefits of this closeness. Creating and focusing on these symbols helps us to realize our unity with Her and through a form of positive feedback Her energy is drawn into the objects of our attention and provide great benefits for us.
Symbols called yantras are also used as recepticles for Goddess Adhiparasakthi during pooja in a manner similar to the statues and such as above. The simplest of these yantras are called chakras. These are usually geometric drawings which are inscribed on the ground. Other yantras are constructed out of clay and mud and some of these called yaha gundams have fires burning within them for offering special materials for immolation.
Yantras & Chakras
Fire is used in poojas for Goddess Adhiparasakthi in several ways. The most common use is in small lamps. Larger fires are used in the conduct of velvis for the offering of special woods and other natural items. The smoke from these fires purifies and heals.
By using many symbols arranged in a specific way along with Mantras it is possible to draw upon large amounts of spiritual energy and use this energy to help mankind and the world. However, if it is not done properly it can cause harm to those performing the worship. This is because other forms of energy may be attracted by the ritual and some of these will cause harm if they are allowed to do so. Even the desired spiritual energy itself will cause harm if not properly channeled. This is because we are normally so removed from this kind of power that we can not cope with it on our own. This is why such rituals are rarely performed anymore. Most people do not have the time, patience and expertise to risk such things.
Goddess Adhiparasakthi has said that if these rituals are performed to the best of a devotees ability and in Her name then She will protect them from harm if a mistake is made. This is being done because the world is in need of so much help at this time and we are being given the opportunity to help ourselfs.
There are several different ceremonies which can be performed in worshipping Goddess Adhiparasakthi, from the simple pooja performed by an individual to large complex velvis involving hundreds or thousands of people and thousands of yantras, lamps, etc. We have provided a virtual prayer room for those devotees who would like a quick convenient spot for worship. You can enter through the link to the right.
Goddess Parvati is the wife of Lord Ishwara. She has several names, each with a special significance. Since Ishwara or Shiva is also called 'Bhava' his wife is known as 'Bhavani.' She is 'Parvati', being the daughter of the king of mountains, Parvataraja. With the same connotation she has two other names - 'Girija' and 'Shailaja'. As she I the source of all good things to all those who have faith and follow the path of virtue, she is 'Sarvamangala.'Since her childhood days she was a devotee of Lord Shiva. She would constantly engage herself in meditation and worship of Shiva, without even changing the posture. So her mother Mena would out of exasperation say "Parvati, don't do this tapas (meditation)." In Sanskrit ‘u’ is a word of address and 'ma' means 'don't' or 'not wanted’ Hence she got the name 'Uma'.
After she grew up, she perforrmed a severe penance in the forest with the purpose of securing Lord Shiva as her husband. Much moved by the hardship endured by her tender body, Mena frequently went near her fondly calling her "Uma", Uma." Who would not be thrilled by the story of the life of Parvati who, though born human, became, through hard penance the consort of Shiva and became Mahadevi, the great goddess?
Affection for and obedience to the elders, loyalty to tradition, determination steady devotion to Shiva, kindness towards those in trouble, perseverant effort till the completion of a good deed-these are the traits Parvati had. Her story is narrated in Sanskrit by Vyasa in the Shiva purana. The great poet Kalidasa has narrated it in the poem Kumara-Sambhava. The Kannada poet Harihara has dealt with the story in Girija-Kalyana, a mixture of verse and prose.Parvataraja -Mena To the north of Bharata, there is the Himalayan mountain-range. It is the highest in the world and occupies thousands of miles from east to west. From ancient times it has been a choice abode for the meditation of the sages. Baratiyas believe that it is the pleasure- haunt of the higher order of beings like the angels, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas and the Kinnaras. It is the home of different types of precious stones and rare plants like Jyotirmati which gives light. For thousands of years it has been believed that Lord Shiva’s realm of Kailasa is also there. In the plains below the Himalayas there flows the river Ganga with its clear and holy waters. It is lined on both sides with the hermitages of sages. Nearby was the hallowed town of Oushadhiprastha ruled by king Parvataraja. Being the chief of all the Himalayas, he was called 'Himavantha’. He was a devotee of Shiva. With great respect for good men, saints and sages, he looked after Ns people justly and virtuously. He was also called Giriraja and Shailaraja. His wife was Menadevi. She was truthful and calm, devoted to her husband. After a while, they had a son by name Mainaka. Desire For A Daughter Later Menadevi developed a great desire to have a daughter - a daughter with beauty and character, knowledge and wisdom. It was her ambition to have a daughter who would be Lord Shiva's wife. With that as her aim she decided to undertake a penance to please Shiva's wife,Gowridevi. Giriraja was himself a devotee of Shiva. So, getting his consent for her penance was not so difficult for Mena. Having obtained his permission, she went to a serene spot. There she performed her meditation with severe concentration and obtained the favour of Dakshayani who stood before Mena and promised that she would be born as daughter to her. Soon afterwards Mena became pregnant. On an auspicious day she gave birth to a female child. It was just as she had wanted. There was a shower of flowers. A cool, fragrant breeze spreading delight all around. Various instruments gave out music and musicians tune up festive songs. Giriraja gave gifts to everybody; his mind was overjoyed and his hands were tired. The Wonder Child
Though a couple of days elapsed after the birth of the child, it would not open its eyes or mouth. The baby did not even suck milk. Everyone, was worried as to what should be done. Then, as advised by the family preceptor sage Gargamuni, Parvataraja had an idol of Shiva brought to the child and got the eyes opened with some treatment. The baby opened its eyes and folded its hands in salutation to the Lord. Butter which had been offered to Shiva was put into the child's mouth and the baby ate it. Then it began to suck milk from the mother's breast. Everyone was struck with wonder at this devotion to Shiva noticeable so early in the child. People thought that she would definitely win the favour of Shiva later.
The naming ceremony for the baby was a grand occasion. She was given the name 'Parvati.' As the days and months passed, the first sound she uttered was the name of Lord Shiva. The infant closed her eyes frequently as if she felt the presence of Shiva in her mind. By herself she often laughed, and showed joy and delight. When she grew up further, she showed great interest in playing with a ball or in the game of worshipping Shiva on the sandy banks of the river Ganga.
In her previous incarnation she was famous as Dakshayani, the daughter of Daksha. She was the wife of Lord Shiva.
She then went to attend a great sacrifice being performed by her father. There the proud Daksha in the full assembly spoke insultingly of Shiva. He insulted even Shiva's wife that is Dakshayani Unable to bear that sacrilege, she jumped into the sacrificial fire, offering herself to it. Now all the knowledge and qualities of her previous birth automatically appeared in Parvati. So she became learned in no time. Being also very beautiful, she shone with her youth.
Parvati attained the age of marriage. Parvataraja's mind directed that he should give his daughter in marriage to Lord Shiva only, as she had such great piety. But how to do that, without the bridegroom's people asking for it? Should he ask Shiva himself if he would marry her? What if he refused?
Parvataraja was hesitant.
Shiva In Penance
At that time Shiva was not in his palace on Kailasa. He was in a pensive mood as his wife Dakshayani had given up her life. He had become an ascetic. Giving up Kailasa and searching for a place suitable for penance, he had come to a sacred spot called Gangavatara near Oushadhiprastha on the Himalayan slopes. The place was full of the fragrance of musk and tall red cedars nourished by the waters of the Ganga. He set up a fire there and forgetting all affairs of the world, was in a severe penance, meditating on soul and salvation
'This Is Certain'
The holy sage Narada once came to Oushadhiprastha in the course-of his sojourn. It was his wont to show the right part to good men who might at any time be worried not knowing what they should do in life. Likewise he would go to wicked people like a well-wisher and put them on the path of self-destruction. With this purpose he had the habit of roving around in all the three worlds and-upholding piety to God by singing songs of devotion. Thus when Narada came there, Giriraja and Mena welcomed him, saluted him and honored him with all hospitality. They called Parvati also to salute him. Mutual enquiries followed.
"O wise sage, my daughter Parvati is now grown into a young maid, What is her future, and who will marry her?"
"Listen, Parvataraja. She who in her previous birth was Dakshayani andplunged to her death in the sacrificial fire because of her devotion to her husband is now your daughter. Only Shiva can wed her and none else. There is no doubt that she will marry Lord Shiva. It is not possible to please Shiva by mere external beauty or fondness. Piety, worship and penance these are the ways of earning his favour. Parvati will certainly obtain Shiva’s favour and marry Him through her penance and meditation. This is certain. "So saying, Narada left.
Parvati was very happy with Narada’s words. It was like wishing for milk, and getting it too, because Parvati had determined that thoughout her life thereafter, her days should be spent only in the serviice of Shiva and in meditaing upon him.
The Sight Of Shiva
Parvataraja came to know that Shiva was now in penance-grove at Gangavatara. The spot was not very far from Oushadhi- prastha. He went to see Shiva. Shiva was sitting in meditation with closed eyes. Giriraja sang in praise of Lord Shiva. Once Shiva opened his eyes just a little. Then Giriraja said, "Great Lord Ishwara, I am ready, at your service. Command me, for your needs."
"Parvataraja, my penance should go on uninterrupted. For that only I need help. People from your town flock to me here. See that no one comes like that. That is all I want from you."
Himavanta returned to his palace. He ordered that none from among hisservants and retinue, none from the palace-women or even children - should go near Shiva to see him. But he had it in his mind toappoint his daughter Parvati somehow to attend upon Shiva.
The next time when Parvataraja went to Shiva, he took Parvati along with him. Flowers, fruits and other articles of worship were with them to be offered to Shiva. Both of them sang in honour of Shiva for long and worshipped him. Shiva continued to be in his meditation. After a long time, he looked around.
Parvataraja pleaded: "O great Lord, I have brought my daughter who is a great devotee of yours. She cannot stay alive without worshipping you. Therefore do kindly permit that she may come here daily with her companions, Jaya and Vijaya, worship you and then go back."
"Parvataraja, if you so desire,you may come daily to see me. But leave your daughter at home. I am an ascetic, given to penance - and meditation. so women need not come infront me.'
Himavanta repeated his request in a variety of ways. At last Shiva had to agree that Parvati could attend on him. With cause for the mind to deviate, Those who still keep their minds firm Are really great men. Shiva had this Grit and continued with his penance.
Parvati got up at dawn every day and with her companions Jaya and Vijaya went from Oushadhiprastha to Gangavatara where Shiva sat. She took with her all articles of worship. With the water from the river Ganga, she washed Shiva's feet, offered worship and rendered all needed services. She was very beautiful. But Shiva's mind did not falter. He did not consider her as his wife.
Long ago there was a sage by name Kashyapa. From Diti, who was one of his wives, ensued the Rakshasa race. Her son Vajranga married Varaangi and their son was the Rakshasa Taraka. He performed severe penance to please Brahma, the Creator, and obtained two boons from Him. The first boon was that there should be no one more powerful than he himself was. The second boon was that his death could come only from a son born to Shiva, who would, on the seventh day itself, fight with him as commander. Taraka was very bold and confident because Shiva was already deeply lost in penance and had no wife. So no son could be born.
Taraka was ruthless and wicked. He hated sacrifices, charity, benevolen and righteousness. He was intolerant of people given to penance. Only Shiva could go on meditaing, because it was his own advantage. Taraka felt that nobody in the world should acquire knowledge or become intelligent. But they may drink, to any extent. The angels were afraid of his arrogance and shivered with fear. They behaved like his slaves.
Taraka killed all kings who ruled over their subjects righteously. He drove away the deities guarding the Cardinal Directions and oppressed the angels. He destroyed the hermitages of the sages and had the homes and hearths of good men set fire to. He pitilessly put to death all pious people and all the three worlds were full of pained cries.
Only Manmatha Can Help
Unable to bear Taraka's harassment, sages and angels, all pious persons and Goddess Earth herself, went to Brahma and prayed for help.
Brahma said, "It is impossible for me to kill Taraka. Even Hari and Hara Cannot do it. He can be killed only by a son of Hara. If Hara has to get a son, he must marry Parvati. He is now, in penance. Parvati goes to him every day to attend upon him. But Shiva does not even open his eyes and see her. So how can this marriage come about? Of course I myself gave Taraka the boons he wanted. So I'll try to tell him not to cause unnecessary harm."
Out of respect for Brahma's words Taraka remained in his Shonitapura without attacking the angels for a while It gave the angels a little respite to meet sometimes and discuss what their course of action should be. Brahma Vishnu and Indra met together. Brihaspati, the preceptor of the angels, was sent to Taraka, to negotiate an agreement. But that Rakshasa did not yield to Plain good words or promises of gifts or even the attempt to create a dissention among his group. So there was war and the angels were defeated.
Again the angels met in conclave. They were now engaged in making Shiva stop his meditation and marry Parvati. So they sent Brihaspati to Kusumapura to fetch Manmatha. Manmatha went to them with his sugarcane bow and flowery arrows along with his consort Ratidevi, and asked them, "What do you want me to do? Please tell me."
Another name for Manmatha is Kama. "Lord Kama," Indra replied, "Now you have to confer a great benefit on the world. Taraka's wickedness has become intolerable. The one to kill him is Shiva's son, who is not yet born. But Shiva has not ended his penance. Without ending it his marriage cannot take place. Parvati who is to be his wife is near him but Shiva does not so much as look at her. Now he must be made to fall in love with Parvati. And that, only you can do."
Kama realized the importance of his role. He now thought of aiming his floral arrow at Shiva and thereby ending his tapas. Even if he had to lay down his life in this venture, he would never mind. Would he not have done a great deed for the welfare of the world? So thinking, Kama arrived with Rati at Shiva's penance-grove.
Kama Is Burnt
No sooner did Kama approach Shiva, than did his ally, the king of spring, also come there. The grove around Gangavatara was charged with the charm of spring. The mango trees blossomed. The ashoka trees were in sprout. The cuckoo burst into melodious music. There was a pleasant breeze and the scent of flowers spread around. The moonlight was captivating. The penance-grove of Lord Shiva looked a hypnotic realm. All this was Manmatha's influence. He then stood before Shiva. A little away stood Rati. She prayed to God that no evil should befall her husband.
Just at that time Parvati had also come as usual with fruits and flowers to worship Shiva. Her friends were also there. Parvati stood with folded hands singing in praise of Shiva. Pleased with her devotion and delighted with her sweet voice, Shiva just for a moment stopped his meditation and looked at her once. Kama decided that was the most opportune moment and got ready to make Shiva fall in love with Parvati. Unafraid of the eye of fire on Shiva's forehead, he shot five of his arrows of flowers at his heart. Shiva's tapas were broken.
This made Shiva terribly angry. He opened the fiery eye on his forehead. With a frightening noise a fierce blazing flame burst forth. It seemed the fire of final destruction had struck the body of Kama. As he stood, he was reduced to ashes. Shiva, smearing his body with the same ash, disappeared.
Path Of Penance
Seeing Kama burnt to ash by the third eye of Shiva, Rati fainted.
When she regained consciousness, she was in tears and rolled on the ground in great grief. She implored Parvati to give back to her husband as alms. She begged the angels. Parvati in kindness caressed her and consoling her, said, "Rati, don't weep. I will help you. I will beg Shiva and see that your husband comes back to life. You will have him as husband again. As I now get the one who was my husband in the previous birth, so your husband also will get another birth and have you as wife." She gave the assurance. The angels also consoled Rati.
Parvati was 'greatly pained at the way in which Shiva had treated her. She told her companions - "The merciful lord Shiva has not shown any kindness to me. Alas! He has gone away rejecting me. While I was coming here to the spot of his meditation every day and rendering service to him, He has disappeared without speaking a word to me. I know that he cannot be won over by mere beauty or charm but will yield only to devotion. I won't give up my devotion. I will please him with the hardest penance and draw him to myself."
When Parvati told her mother of her resolve, Mena said, "My dear daughter, you need not go out and perform penance. You have such a delicate body. Penance is a hard thing. Do stay at home and do your tapas." Mena thus tried to dissuade her. But she could not succeed.
Just then the sage Narada came there. Parvataraja told him about his daughter. The sage said, "It is not proper to come in the way of her tapas." He saw Parvati separately and told her to undertake her penance in the same place where Shiva was meditating. He taught her the great 'Panchakshari’ the five-lettered mantra (incantation) to please Shiva - "Om Namah Shivaaya and blessed her.
Parvati obtained from her parents their permission and blessings. She then went to the sacred spot of Gangavatara. The same spot later came to be called the Gowri peak. Jaya and Vijaya also went with her to facilitate her tapas. Parvati's penance was rigorous. In the summer of sweltering heat she lighted fire on all four sides and did her penance amidst five fires. In the rainy season she sat on the rock in pouring rain and meditated. In winter she stood neckdeep in the cold water of the pond and meditated on Shiva. She never cared for any kind of difficulty, sorrow or pain, and focussed her mind fully on Shiva. She wore flaxen cloth with twisted hair top and chanted the mantras or prayers with the rosary in hand. She excelled the rishis or sages in going on with the penance conquering hunger and thirst. In early stages she was eating fruits; gradually she gave up that also. She ate leaves or 'parna.' Then she left off that also and got the name 'Aparna,' continuing her hard penance. Many came to her penance- grove now and then, and returned with wonder at her determination and with sympathy too.
It was the greatness and effect of Parvati's penance those all-wild animals of that forest became mild. The young of the deer rolled about on a tiger in their sleep. Venomous vipers would not bite any one. Rats played with snakes. The penance- grove was a kingdom of love, an abode of affection and kindness. But the heat generated by Parvati's tapas began toburn the angels. All of them prayed to Shiva. They appealed to him to be pleased,with Parvati and marry her.
For any effort to gel its proper reward, the effort has to be evaluated. Such evaluation depends on the test. The moment approached for testing the strength and essence of Parvati's penannce. Her tapas had this effect: kindness did blossom in Shiva. His mind was softened. Still he wanted to test her mind. He sent the seven sages known as the 'Saptarishis' to find out her firmness.
Parvati saluted the sages who went to her. Her friends Jaya and Vijaya rendered hospitality. The sages asked of Parvati the reason for her tapas and who herpreceptor was. She narrated everything.
And 'the sages replied "Well, listening to the words of Narada, you went the wrong way. Don't do this penance for Shiva. Nor should you marry him." But she did not heed their words.She had already decided that qualities mattered more than appearance. She told them of her resolve thus - "I feel that I am already married to Shiva. If he does not accept me, I'm not going to marry any other person. There cannot be two marriages for me."
The sages were pleased with her firmness. They blessed her by saying "May your wish succeed!" and went to Kailasa. They narrated all this to Shiva. They said that it would not be proper to subject her to any more pain with the pretext of testing her mind. But Shiva thought that he should himself test her firmness.
He changed his real form for that, purpose. He disguised himself as a young student and went to Parvati’s penance- grove. He sat in the shade of a small mango tree near her. Thinking that a Brahman youth had come as a guest, Parvati's friends went to him and made inquiries about his welfare. They gave him water to wash his feet and then some good fruits to eat. Then the youth pointed at Parvati and asked them, "Who is she? Why is she performing this penance though so young? Is there none to stop her tapas? None to check her and advise her?" Hearing these words of his, Parvati became angry. She stopped her meditation, put aside the rosary, and stared at the youth.
Then the young man, pretending to be sympathetic, began asking several questions. "At the prime of your youth, why are you engaged in this tapas in this forest, ignoring cold and heat and rain, hunger and thirst?" he asked. With a sign of her eye from Parvati, Vijaya told himeverything and said, "My friend thus desires to wed Shiva and hence this tapas." Thedisguised youth laughed loudly and said. "O, I understand. What more can I say? It's your will and pleasure. So let me go."
When he started to go, Parvati went near him and saluting him, asked thus "Please wait. Can you not give good advice to me in this matter? Can you not guide me as to how I can win Shiva's favour?"
"Listen then," the youth said. "You are innocent. Though a young maiden you have no wisdom. Why do you wish to marry that three-eyed person? What an ill-starred person you are! His home appearance, nature are all peculiar. He lives in the burial-ground. His ornament is the snake! The garland he wears is of skulls. His weapon is a trident and he wears only animal skin. Most of his hairs are s catered in the sky and the rest are matted locks. Poison in his neck and ash all over the body! With Ganga and the moon fixed on his head he is severely cold. He moves about on an ox, with demons and spirits as his companions. He is also a beggar. You are beautiful and tender, whereas he is ugly and austere.. Don't you think of him and don't marry him."
Hearing these words, Parvati was in an unbearable anger. Her brows were knit in a frown and eyes were red. Not able to hear this abuse of Shiva, with trembling lips she said, "Vile man, you do not know anything about Shiva. Of course the conduct of great persons will not be like that of the common men. Witless persons who cannot understand it criticize like this. Shiva's glory cannot be had by anyone else. Those who trust Him escape from sins. Though Shiva looks a destitute, he can confer upon others all the riches. What if he lives in the burial-ground? He is the lord of all three worlds. His looks may be awkward, but he is the giver of felicity. He is the universal Lord. Though he sits on a bullock, his feet are touched by Indra mounted on his elephant, Airavata. There is no need for so much talk. My mind is firmly rooted in Shiva. None can change it. I am fully aware of Shiva's form, qualities and greatness. He has neither deformity nor any defect."
Even as Parvati was speaking-thus, the young man's lips moved as if he would again speak. Parvati called her friend and said, "Even as those who revile great ones are sinners, people who listen to that abuse become sinners too. This wicked man is about to speak bad words. Send him away. Or I myself will leave this place." So saying, Parvati started to go away. Suddenly the youth in disguise assumed Shiva's form and held Parvati's hand. She bowed her head. Shiva told her, "0 thou bowed beauty, I am pleased with your penance and your love. You have won over my mind. I have caused you much pain in testing you in many ways. You must pardon that. Now come, let's go to my palace on Kailasa."
'Ask The Elders"
It was true that Shiva, whom she trusted and won over with her tapas, himself came to her and asked her to go with him. But Parvati did not think it correct to go away with him as her husband then and there. It did not seem proper to go away by herself without her parents performing the prescribed ceremonies of the marriage.
"Lord, my father Parvataraja and mother Menadevi are there. Other relatives are also there. You must come to my father and ask him for my hand in marriage. I request that the wedding be performed with the prescribed rites with the consent of elders and relatives." Shiva agreed to her words since following the custom would be a sign of culture.
Just then Ratidevi came there in tears with the sorrow of separation from her husband. She saluted them both. Parvati told Shiva - "0 Lord, her husband Kama, in his striving for the welfare of the world, has been burnt by the fire of your third eye. I have assured her that I will beg you and get her husband back. You must first give her husband.
Though Parvati was now in her happy days, she had not forgotten the sorrows of others. She did not ignore the need to remove- the sufferings of others. Shiva, who was merciful, said "Be it so.Whenever Rati wants him Manmatha will come to her even without a body and make her happy. Manmatha gave up his life so that theworld could be happy. Whenever the people of this world remember him, he will yet come unseen and do good to them. Later in the Dwapara aeon he shall be born son to Sri Krishna and will be resplendent as the true husband of Rati."
Shiva conferred his favour thus, as requested by Parvati, and then went back to Kailasa with his retinue. All hisdevotees, sages and retinue in Kailasa were overjoyed. Parvati returned to Oushadhi- prastha with her companions. As one who had won Shiva's favor, she was welcomed with great splendor.
Shiva Weds Parvati
Shiva sent for the Saptarishis, the seven sages who were very wise and pious, and requested them to go to Himavanta. Parvataraja was in immense joy that the greatest of sages had come to request for his daughter to be Shiva's bride. Giriraja exclaimed "My good fortune has borne fruit! My righteousness has yielded a fragrant flower! The tree of my good race has borne fruit!" That he would be the father-in-law of Shiva, the world's, preceptor, put him into a , transport of joy. The marriage was fixed.
Parvataraja sent for Vishwakarma the architect of the angels. With his help a marriage-pavilion was built, which was extremely beautiful and a wonder to set eyes upon. The extensive hall for the marriage assembly was unique. The wedding of Shiva and Parvati was performed with great splendour.
Welfare Of The World The wedlock of Shiva and Parvati opened as it were the portals of the world's bliss. Shiva is the world's father. Having married him, Parvati became the mother of the universe. The son born to her later was Kartikeya. He as commander of the army of the angels attacked the Rakshasas, killed them and reestablished the path of virtue and righteousness. Tarakasura was killed. The other son of Parvati is Ganesha or Gajamuka. He places obstacles to the wicked deeds of bad men and removes impediments in the way of good men. He also gives knowledge and wisdom.Extending The World's Knowledge
Shiva, who is Mahadeva or the Greatest God, is also known as Sarvajna and Vageesha. Sarvajna means one who knows all, Omniscient. Vageesha is the lord of knowledge. Parvati had, during her days as a student, learnt the material as will as the spiritual branches of knowledge through well-qualified teachers. Still she had the desire to learn more. She was not only proud that her husband was Sarvajna, but also had the learner's curiosity to know more.Through her own learning she desired the spread of knowledge the arts and the intellect all over the world. In Shiva's assembly, not only Parvati but the angels and other divine beings as well as sages learnt wisdom by listening to the educative stories, the morals and doctrines, and histories and poems, narrated by Shiva. The one who requested Him to narrate all those was Parvati.
Parvati learnt the Sanskrit language and grammar from Shiva. The rules of grammar taught by Shiva are famous as "Maheshwara Sutras." Later a sage by the name of Panini publicised them on the earth. It is well known as Panini’s Grammar ('Paniniya Vyakarana').
Prosody, or metrical science, important for poetry. It explains poetical structure. As Parvati desired to know it, Shiva taught that to Parvati first Then a sage by name Pingala learnt it and made it known on the earth. His work on 'Chandas' or prosody was written in Kannada as'Chandombudhi' (in 990 A. D.) by the poet Nagavarma. Similarly several other branches of knowledge like dance, architecture, astrology, spells, painting and so on - are said to have been taught by Shiva to Parvati and then became known to others. Parvati had great curiosity to know philosophy also. She wanted the Ramayana to be taught to her with its philosophical content. Pleased with this request, Shiva taught her "Adhyatma Ramayana.' Brahma learnt it and in turn taught Narada. Narada narrated the story to sage Valmiki who passed it on to Lava and Kusha the twin sons of Sri Rama. This is known as "Srimadlyana." Later the sage Vedavyasa composed Adhyatma Ramayana in Sanskrit. It is well known to this day.
The 'Panchatantra' also, which is full of moral stories eagerly listened to and enjoyed by children even today, is also believed to be a collection of talest told by Shiva to Parvati in the first instance.
No only was Parvati often discussing philosophy and matters of this world with Shiva, but was also sometimes venturing into deeds of bravery. The Mahabharata says that when Shiva went to Indrakeelaka in the guise of a tribal king of huntsmen to see Arjuna's valour directly, Parvati also went with him as his tribal wife.
Goddess Chamundeswari is believed to be one of the incarnations of Parvati She took that form to kill a rakshasa by name Mahishasura. The wicked Mahishasura was harassing human beings and the angels. Chamundeswari killed him on the Vijayadashami day. Then she took abode on a hill in Mahishamandala where the demon ruled earlier. This is the Chamundi Hill near Mysore City in Karnataka. The hill is 3489 feet above sea level. The present- day Mysore is theMahishamandala over which Mahishasura reigned.
Kali and Durga are also incarnations of Parvati. As her devotees believe, Parvati assumed all these forms to kill the wicked in the w6rld and protect the virtuous.
Sri Krishna Jayanthi-the birthday of lord Krishna-is a great festive occasion, a day of rejoicing and is celebrated in every home from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari. From The Prison To Nandagokula
Mathura was a town in a region of India now known as Uttar Pradesh. Ugrasena was the king. He was a wicked, hard- hearted man. Kamsa, was a wicked, hard-hearted man. Kamsa arrogant and boasted of his strength. He was an evil son who sent his own father to prison and became king.
Devaki, the sister of Kamsa, married Vasudeva. On the day of the marriage the new couple went out in grand procession. With great enthusiasm Kamsa was himself driving the chariot.
All of a sudden Kamsa heard a voice from the skies: "You fool! You are driving the chariot of your sister and brother-in-law, but you do not know that the eighth son of this very woman will kill you".
Kamsa was shocked. He was also furious. Then he exclaimed, "if my sister lives, her son will be my death. Well, I shall kill Devaki herself!" and drew his sword. Vasudeva begged him not to slay a woman. Kamsa then put them both behind prison bars. Thereafter, he killed every child born to Devaki.
The eighth child was Krishna. He was born on Shravan Bahula Ashtami (the eight day of the second half of the month of Shravan). He was dark as cloud, but his face had matchless radiance. Vasudeva felt he should save at least this child.
That night as the guards were in deep slumber, Vasudeva left with the child. Vasudeva left with the child. It was raining heavily. Vasudeva had to cross the river yamuna. But he walked on with his precious burden. He reached distant Gokula and left the child in the house of Nanda, a cowherd. Nada’s wife, yashoda, had just then given birth to a daughter. Vasudeva hastened back to the prison with Yashoda’s child.
When the guards woke up, they heard the baby crying. They immediately raced to Kamsa and reported to him the birth of a child.
"I shall slay the child, " said Kamsa, and rushed to the prison.
But the child slipped from his hands and sprang to sky. It said to Kamsa "Wretch! The child who is destined to kill you is growing p in Gokula," and disappeared. Kamsa was stunned. And then he decided that the child in Gokula should die. But how was he to kill it? He began to plan.
Yashoda, Nanda’s wife was supremely happy to see her beautiful son. The bewitching child’s smile made her forgets the world.
The stories about Krishna’s childhood are very interesting. One day a well-dressed, beautiful woman came Gokula. She was all smiles, she began to feed the child at her breast. This woman was in fact Poothani, a wicked woman sent by Kamsa to kill Krishna. Her milk was poisonous. but Krishna smilingly sucked the milk from her breast and killed her by sucking out her life.
Kamsa sent two more rakshasas Trinavartha and Shakatasura. Krishna killed them, too.
It is said a number of such incidents foretold the future greatness of Krishna.
Kamsa was powerful and wicked. His persecution trouble Nanda and he was filled with fear. The gopa- the cowherd- decided to leave Gokula. They migrated to Brindavan. Brindavan soon developed into a township. Krishna and his friends were delighted. The woods, the banks of the Yamuna, the valleys and the fields echoed and re-echoed with their loud shouts and gay laughter. Vasudeva had another wife Rohini by name; she was living in Gokula. She had a son, Balarama, who was older than Krishna. Their mischief and their laughter filled all Brindavan.
One day the cowherd boys drank the water of a lake. At once they fell down dead. This was because of a huge serpent in the lake, which had poisoned the water. Krishna decided to put an end to this danger. The huge serpent tried to coil itself round him, but Krishna caught hold of its tail and stepped on its hood.Theserpent struggled and tried to bite him: but Krishna pressed down its hood harder and the serpent was helpless. Krishna then let it go and the serpent left the lake. Every one rejoiced at the departure of the serpent.
The cowherd boys were a big crowd. Krishna was their leader. They played and sang, they dance and swan, as he bade them. They played gaily in the woods, and swam in every lake. The Darling Child Of Yashoda The Darling Child Of Yashoda So Krishna won the love of every one and proved a born leader. But to Yashoda he was her darling little child. Some times when he was too naughty the gopies complained to Yashoda, and she punished him, too, before his mother he looked like an innocent little child. There is a very interesting story about the boy Krishna. One day Balarama rushed to Yashoda: he said: "Mother! Krishna is eating mud. His body is all covered with mud and his mouth is full of it." Just then the lovely child came up. His face and body were covered with mud. Yashoda began to question the boy, "You naughty fellow! Haven’t you had enough butter at home? Do you eat mud?" With a wry face Krishna lisped: "Oh no, mother! Brother is uttering a lie. I have not touched mud at all." Yashoda said angrily, "Enough! Open your mouth." Krishna opened his mouth. Yashoda looked. She was startled and could only exclaim ‘Ah!’ She did not see mud in Krishna's mouth. But she saw all the worlds! As she looked she was dazed. She was terrified and folded her hands and closed her eyes. When she opened her eyes she saw the laughing little child before her. She forgot all she had seen. She, too, laughed and Swept the child into her arms. And Krishna laughed as if he knew nothing. The Govardhana Hill As Krishna grew in age people's respect for him also grew. Whenever a decision had to be taken, even elderly people would say, 'Let us consult Krishna!' Once in the rainy season the gopalas were making preparations to worship God Indra. To them Indra was the God of rains. Krishna, however, did not like this idea. He felt it was the Govardhana Hill which caused the rains, and he suggested that they should worship the hill. All the others agreed. Indra was angry that he was not worshipped. He decided to punish the gopalas. The very sky seemed to open and the rains came down in torrents. People were terrified. Krishna then lifted up the Govardhana Hill, like an umbrella over the people and the cattle. Indra was humbled and stopped the rains. There are a number of such incidents which bring out the greatness of Krishna. He became the light and the joy of Brindavan. When he played on his flute men, women and children, and the very cattle, were thrilled and forgot the world. The Slaying Of Kamsa Here in 'Mathura, Kamsa was beginning to feel more and more alarmed. Keshi, another rakshasa whom he sent, was also killed. Kamsa threw Vasudeva and Devaki into the prison and planned to invite Krishna to Mathura and kill him there. He, therefore, sent his cousin Akrura to Brindavan to bring Krishna. Akrura was a great devotee of Krishna. He told Krishna of Kamsa's evil intentions. Krishna rejoiced. He said, "Let us all go to Mathura." With him went Akrura, Balarama, Nanda and some other gopalakas. The news of the visit of Krishna spread in Mathura. So everywhere there was curiosity, excitement and joy. As Krishna and Balarama were approaching the palace a big elephant of the name Kuvalayapida rushed towards Krishna. Kamsa had deliberately stationed the elephant there to kill Krishna. Krishna cut off the trunk. The huge animal fell down and died. As the brothers approached Kamsa's court two wrestlers, Mushtika and Chanura by name, stepped forward. They were famous all over the country for their wrestling. They were very strong. The spectators were filled with pity and murmured, "Poor boys! What can they do against these rocklike? Wrestlers!" Krishna took on Chanura and Balarama took on Mushtika. And the two wrestlers were killed. When he saw his two formidable wrestlers killed by the boys, Kamsa was bewildered and filled with fear. Krishna pounced on Kamsa, caught hold of his hair and pushed him to the ground. Kamsa tried to get up to save himself. He tried to fight. But Krishna killed him. The people of Mathura sighed in relief. They celebrated Krishna's victory with great joy because Kamsa had been a tyrant. Krishna did not ascend the throne, but crowned Ugrasena, his grandfather. At The Guru's Feet Sandipani was a great and wise sage. Krishna went to him for education. Like the other disciples he also worked in his teacher's house, and learnt in a Spirit of humility. Sandipani was pleased with his earnestness, his modesty and his intelligence. Krishna soon mastered law, military science, political science and other arts and sciences. When 'his education was complete he said to his teacher, "Sir, what shall I give you as Gurudakshina?" (Gurudakshina is the Pupil’s offering to his teacher to express his gratitude.) Sandipani's wife said, "We lost our son in the holy Prabhasa. Bring him back to us." The task seemed impossible, but Krishna did not hesitate. There was a rakshasa by name Panchajanya; he had carried away Sandipani's son while he was bathing in the sea near holy Prabhasa. Krishna defeated Panchajana and returned with the Guru's son. He also brought the conch 'Panchajanya'. Krishna then returned to Mathura. Kuchela was the classmate of Krishna and Balarama in the ashram of Sandipani Muni. They had been close friends. After his return Kuchela had to live in utter poverty. His wife and children had to starve. One day Kuchela's wife said to him, ills not Lord Krishna your classmate? Go to him and seek help." Kuchela agreed. But how could he go empty-handed to see his old friend? There was nothing in his house except a handful of beaten rice. Kuchela left for Mathura with this gift. Kuchela was nervous. Krishna hadbecome a very great and important person. Kings came to him for help and were eager to please him. Would he talk to Kuchela? As soon as Krishna saw Kuchela, he ran forward to receive him. He embraced him and took him into the palace and treated him with great affection. Kuchela was hesitant to offer the handful of beaten rice. But Krishna grabbed it, ate it and offered it to others, and he praised its taste. Kuchela spent four days happily in the palace. And he forgot to ask Krishna to relieve his poverty. By the time he reached home Krishna had sent gold and rich clothes and money to his house. And a splendid mansion was built for Kuchela. To Dwaraka Jarasandha, the powerful King of Magadha, was the father-in-law of Kamsa. He had a powerful army. He was angry with Krishna for killing Kamsa and was roused to fury by the distress of his daughters. He was determined to kill Krishna. He marched with a big army to Mathura. Krishna mobilised the Yadava youths.Jarasandha's army camped outside the fort. Krishna attacked the enemy's forces like lightning. The Magadha soldiers fled. Jarasandha was filled with shame. He invaded Mathura with a much bigger force. Several kings also joined him. Krishna's army met the enemy half way and attacked even before Jarasandha could reach Mathura. The Magadha forces were not prepared for this assault. In the confusion their own elephants crushed them. But again and again Jarasandha attacked Mathura and did so seventeen times. But how long could this kind of war go on? Krishna observed that the strength of the Yadavas was diminishing. It is not enough to fight heroically on the battlefield. When one is at a disadvantage one should retreat from the battlefield, and should strike again at the right moment and destroy the enemies. When the Magadha forces attacked for the seventeenth time Krishna led all his people to Dwaraka, by a secret route. Why did Krishna go to Dwaraka? It was a city he himself had built to protect the Yadavas from Jarasandha. Dwaraka was surrounded by the sea. And it was an impregnable fortress. The Heroic Krishna Rukmini was the daughter of King Bhishmaka of Vidarbha. She was as beautiful as she was good. She had fallen in love with Krishna. She had the blessings of her father also. But her elder brother Rukmi would not listen to her. He argued that Krishna was the son of a cowherd and belonged to a low caste. He decided that she should marry a king, Shishupala by name. Rukmini wept in misery and sent word to Krishna. Krishna came to Vidarbha, put Rukmini in his chariot and made off for Dwaraka. Rukmi and his army set out in fiercepursuit of Krishna. He insulted Krishna. But he and his army could not face Krishna's arrows. Krishna felled Rukmi and went to Dwaraka. And there Sri Krishna and Rukmini were happily married. We all love Deepavali, the Festival of Lights, don's we? We celebrate it with great joy.The festival of Narakachaturdashi marks the beginning of the celebrations of Deepavali. Narakasura was the demon King of Pragjyotishapura. He was harassing all good and pious people. Even the gods suffered at his hands. Krishna went to Pragjyotishapura. He destroyed the formidable fortifications and entered the city. A huge army opposed him. Krishna cut off the head of Narakasura with his 'Chakra' (or the wheel) just as dawn was breaking. So, that day came to be known as Narakachaturdashi. All the land rejoiced. And Krishna set free all the princesses whom Narakasura had thrown into prison. The Saviour Of The Pandavas Draupadi was the daughter of King Drupada. Preparations were being made for her marriage. The bridegroom was to be chosen in a 'Swayamvara'. There was a contest. The man who could shoot an arrow to hit the eye of a fish-like target suspended high above would win her. Arjuna, the third among the five Pandava brothers, succeeded. It was at the Swayamvara that Krishna became his friend and the friend of the Pandavas. Arjuna was a matchless warrior. Krishna thought that he could destroy all the evil men in the world through Arjuna. Later Subhadra, Krishna's sister, married Arjuna. So Arjuna and Krishna come closer. The Pandavas grew in strength They started preparing for the Rajasuya Sacrifice. The Pandava army marched forth. Arjuna was in command, with him was Krishna. Bhima, Arjuna and Krishna arrived in Magadha. There was a grim duel between Bhima and Jarasandha. Although Bhima had the upper hand Jarasandha could not be killed. Bhima was getting tired. So Krishna made a sign. Bhima understood him; he took jarasandha by the legs and tore him into two and flung the pieces in opposite directions. Shishupala, too, bore a grudge against Krishna. At the time of the Rajasuya Sacrifice, Dharmaraja offered the first honours to Krishna. Shishupala resented this. He abused Krishna using filthy language. Krishna hurled his 'Chakra' at Shishupala and cut off his head. Duryodhana was the son of Dhritarashtra, the uncle of the Pandavas. The successes and the popularity of the Pandavas made Duryodhana jealous.He invited Dharmaraja to a game of dice. Dharmaraja staked and lost everything. He staked and lost Draupadi, too.Duryodhana was intoxicated with success and behaved like a mad man. He summoned Draupadi to the royal court. In the open assembly, Dusshasana, Durodhana’s brothers, attempted to strip her naked. No one came to her rescue. In great anguish Drapadi cried out to Krishna for help. Krishna blessed her, and the sari the was wearing became endless. The honour of Drapadi was saved. She took oath that she would tie her hair only after Dusshasana was killed. The Pandavas had to spend twelve years in exile in the forests and then spend a year after that in disguise. This was the penalty for defeat, according To the conditions of the match. They had to face innumerable difficulties.But Krishna always came to their rescue.Once Durvasa, a short-tempered Sage, came to the Pandavas with hundreds of his disciples. They were all to be Dharmaraja’s guests. They went for a bath and were to return in a short time. The Pandavas were nervous, for there was no food to serve. Draupadi prayed to Krishna. He appeared at once. He said, "Draupadi, I am hungry, give me food." Draupadi both laughed and wept. Krishna asked her to bring the vessel which she used to cook food. He ate the food sticking to one side of the vessel. He said he was satisfied. That very moment Durvasa and his disciples suddenly felt as if they had eaten sumptuously. Durvasa realised that Krishna had saved the Pandavas. After twelve years in the forest the Pandavas had to spend a year in disguise, without being recognized by any one. They spent this period in the court of Virata. So the Pandavas had spent thirteen years in exile, according to the conditions of the game of dice. They justly demanded that Duryodhana should give them back their kingdom. But Duryodhana was greedy, and also jealous. He declared that, if the Pandavas wanted their kingdom, they could fight for it. The Ambassador Of The Pandavas Dharmaraja did not wish to fight for the kingdom. So he said to Krishna, "We must avert a war. So you must negotiate for us. If they are not willing to give half the kingdom, let them at least give five villages." Draupadi was unhappy; if there was no war, how could Duryodhana and his followers be punished for humiliating her? How could she fulfil her vow? The entrails of Dusshasana were to be dug out, Duryodhana's thigh had to be broken, and Karna had to die. She said to Krishna, "Decide in favour of a war. Krishna replied, "Dear. sister, do not weep. Even though I go as a mediator I shall decide only in favour of a war. I can never forget your untied hair. All the wicked and impious people in the world should die together. A kingdom based on Dharma has to be established. For this war is inevitable." Before calling on Duryodhana Krishna first went to Vidura's house.Vidura was a member of Duryodhana's court. His mother had been one of the servants of a former queen. But Vidura was a venerable sage. He lived a pure and righteous life. So he was dear to Krishna. Vidura was overjoyed when Krishna went to his house. Krishna received his hospitality and then went to Duryodhana's court. Paving The Way For The War There were great and wise and brave men like Bhishma and Drona, in Duryodhana's court. But every one respected Krishna. In a dignified way and in -measured words he explained why he had come to Hasthinavathi. He said, "The Pandavas follow Truth. They have fulfilled their promise by spending twelve years in exile and one year in disguise. It is, therefore, right that Duryodhana should return their kingdom and live with them in peace andfriendship." Sages like Parashurama, Kanva and Narada advised Duryodhana to accept the offer of the Pandavas. Dhritarashtra, Duryodhana's father, also said, "Listen to the advise of Krishna; do not ruin yourself by insisting on fighting." Duryodhana's grandfather Bhishma, a I man of great wisdom, Drona,Duryodhana's Guru, all told Duryodhana that he should make peace with his cousins. "Do not unnecessarily sacrifice the lives of millions of people on the battlefield." Duryodhana was - obstinate."Say what you will, I am not – prepared to return the kingdom to the Pandavas I am not afraid of war. As long as I am alive I will not give the Pandavas, even enough land to drive the point o a needle in." An evil thought flashed to Duryodhana, Dusshasana and Karna 'Krishna is the friend of the Pandava,, and without him they are nothing. If he is captured and put behind the bars...! Krishna understood their minds. The Kauravas tried to tie up Krishna, Krishna then assumed his cosmic form. All the gods were seen in his body Flames flashed from his face and he was more dazzling than the sun. Karna was a great friend of Duryodhana. He was a great warrior. It was difficult to decide who was great in the art of archery, Kama or Arjuna, He had unflinching loyalty to Duryodhana. Krishna knew that Kama would be a danger to the Pandavas on the battlefield. Karna was in truth the son of Kunthi, the mother of Pandavas.She gave birth to him before she married Panduraja. Kama was brought up by, a childless Fisherman and his wife. Later Duryodhana treated him as a friend and showered honours on him. Krishna thought if Kama could be attracted to the camp of the Pandavas, Duryodhana would be considerably weakened. Krishna took Karna into his chariot and spoke to him affectionately: "You are the son of Kunthi, come away with me. The Pandavas will be very glad to welcome you as their elder brother. You will be the king." Karna refused. He said, "Duryodhana has complete faith in me. When all people looked down upon me as low-born, only Duryodhana treat me as a man. I cannot betray him." Krishna said, "If there is a war d not kill the Pandavas. Do not forge they are your brothers." "There will be war.Duryodhan Dusshasana, myself and others a going to die. I know this. Permit me t take leave of you," Kama said. Krishna admired Karna's loyalty an embraced him.Krishna's mission succeeded. H knew that Karna would lose half hi strength if he came to know that the Pandavas were his brothers. Kunthi also met Karna. This meeting, too, was planned by Krishna. Karna promise that he would not kill any of the Pandavas except Arjuna. The stage was set for the war. Bot Duryodhana and A6una waited on Krishna. -Each wanted that Krishna should join him with his Yaclavas. Krishna said, "I myself am not going to fight. I shall join one side. The entire Yadava army will join the other side. Now choose." "I choose the army". Said Duryodhana. "I shall be content with Krishna," said Arjuna. And so it came about that the Yadava forces joined Duryodhana. 'Forget Not Your Duty, Arjuna' The Pandava and the Kaurava armies faced each other on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Lakhs of soldiers were there and with them were elephants and horses. Bhishma, Drona, Ashwatthama, Karna, Dusshasana and such other great warriors were on the side of Duryodhana. In the other camp were, Drupada, Virata, Abhimanyu and other mighty warriors. The entire might of Bharata (India) was assembled there All was ready for a grim blood bath. Krishna became Arjuna's Charioteer He held the reins of the fortunes of the Pandavas in his hands, did he not? On the first day of the war Krishna drove the chariot between the two armies. Arjuna saw his grandfather, his teacher, his friends and relatives in the Kaurava army. And he thought, 'Should I kill all these just to gain the kingdom? He sank into his seat. He perspired, His famous bow, the Gandeeva, slipped from his hands. "No, Krishna, let us not fight," he said, "Bhishma is my grandfather. Drona is my revered Guru. Ashwatthama is my good friend. How can I kill them ? And what do I gain by killing them?" Krishna said, "Arjuna, such words are not worthy of a hero like you. Your duty is to fight. Those who have joined the forces against justice and righteousness have to perish. The good must be protected. Attachment to friends and relatives should not come in the way of your duty." It was then that Krishna preached the Bhagavadgeetha, consisting of eighteen chapters."Man must do his duty. Do not think of the fruits, the results. 'These are mine, those are not mine' -do not have such thoughts. A wise man treats all alike. Anger and desire dull your intelligence. Accept pain and pleasure in the same way. A man must understand and do what is right. Everyone that is born must die. Justice is more important than human beings. Partha, give up this base faint-heartedness, arise and do your duty." Thus the teacher of the Geetha guided Arjuna. Even today the Geetha is a light to all mankind. It has been translated into many languages. People of man, lands study it and seek to gain peace of mind by following its teaching. Arjuna's mind grew clear. The zest to fight returned to him. He picked up the Gandeeva. Krishna's Will The fierce epic war began. It wen on for eighteen days. The heads o great kings rolled on the battlefield While sometimes the Pandava! achieved striking successes, Bhishma the commander of Duryodhana's army destroyed some of their forces. How could they overcome this might warrior? On the advice of, Krishna Arjuna posed this very question Bhishma. Bhishma had vowed that h( will not fight against Shikhandi. On the tenth day Arjuna stood behind Shikhandi and shot arrows and Bhishma laid down his arms. Thereafter Drona became the commander - in-chief of the Kaurava army. Krishna plotted to do away with Drona. Krishna knew that Drona loved his son Ashwatthama deeply and if Dharmaraja told Drona that Ashwatthama was dead Drona would lay down his arms and then he could be killed. But Dharmaraja was unwilling to tell a lie. He spoke only the truth and cried aloud, "Ashwatthama, the elephant, is dead." Krishna sounded his conch so that Drona could not hear the words 'the elephant'. Drona was stunned and put down his arms. He, too, was killed. Was all this fair? Did Krishna use fair methods to get rid of Bhishma and Drona ?True, Drona and Bhishma were great men. They were not evil men. They did not do anything immoral for their own gain. But they had joined the forces of the unjust Duryodhana. Similarly, Kama was also a good man. He had respect for Dharma and for Krishna. While Karna was pulling out one of the wheels of his chariot that had struck in the mud, Krishna asked Arjuna to shoot and kill Karna. Karna cried out to Arjuna, "Fight justly." Arjuna then began to doubt if Krishna's advice was just. Krishna said, "Who is to distinguish between Dharma justice) and Adharma (injustice) ? Not those who have themselves been unjust, not those who have been against the just. Only those who are themselves just and live for the sake of justice can do So it is right to kill your enemies in this war. Those who are against Dharma and their followers should be wiped out by using all possible means. This is Dharma' so said Krishna. Accordingly Karna was killed. There was yet another incident which threw light on the policy pursued by Krishna on the battlefield. Abhimanyu was the son of Arjuna and Subhadra, the beloved sister of Krishna. When Arjuna was fighting in a distant part of the battlefield, Abhimanyu was killed. On hearing the news of Abhimanyu's death, Arjuna took an oath. Jayadratha, a supporter of Duryodhana, was mainly responsible for Abhimanyu's death.Arjuna declared,I shall killJayadratha before the sun sets." But Duryodhana hid Jayadratha, and Arjuna could not kill him. The sun was about to set. Arjuna decided to kill himself. Krishna threw his Chakra at the sun and made it appear as if the sun had set. Jayadratha came to watch the death of Arjuna. Krishna withdrew his Chakra. The sun had not yet set. Arjuna killed Jayadratha. It was a terrible war. Bhishma' Drona, Dusshasana, Karna, Abhimanyu, Drushtadyumna - many such heroes were killed. Who could keep count of the ordinary soldiers who were killed or blinded or lost their limbs ? Streams of blood turned the earth red. The end of the war was in sight. Of all the mighty warriors of the Kaurava army Duryodhana alone was alive. He was hiding in a lake. Krishna discovered this and came to the lake with the Pandavas. Bhima cried out, "You coward! Come out." Duryodhana came out. The two fought with maces. Bhima could not overcome Duryodhana. Krishna signaled to Bhima to strike on the right thigh of Duryodhana (Which he had indecently exposed, asking Draupadi to sit on it). Bhima dealt a terrific blow and broke it. Duryodhana fell down. The war was over. Dharmaraja ascended the throne. The country was free from the unjust and the wicked rulers. End Of Krishnavathara Krishna spent many years in Dwaraka, with the Yadavas. But gradually the Yadavas grew arrogant and wicked. They began to insult the sages. They began to think that they were unequalled in strength and that no one could check them. Once they went to a holy place called Prabhasa. They enjoyed themselves and also drank heavily. They began to quarrel among themselves. They drew out their swords. Krishna watched them and thought that they were going to become a menace to people, and that they were inviting their own destruction. True, they were all his relatives, and he had grown up in their midst. Krishna had no attachment which would blind him to the truth. The protection of peace and Dharma was paramount. He thought that the Yadavas should perish in their internal quarrels. He made no attempt to save them. They fought among themselves and almost all the Yadavas lay dead. The mission of Krishna's life had been achieved. The evil were destroyed and the good protected. Krishna decided to leave the world. He sent messengers to bring the Pandavas. Sitting under a tree he began deep meditation and soon forgot the rest of the world. A hunter came that way. He saw Krishna's foot from a distance and mistook him for a deer. He shot an arrow. The arrow entered Krishna's foot. The hunter ran to the spot and saw what had happened. He was shocked. Krishna comforted him and left the world. Yogeshwara Krishna Krishna's teachings form the Bhagavad- geetha. What he taught he practised all through his life. Every incident in his life is a lesson to the world. Sanjaya, who narrated the story of the Mahabharatha war, said: "Wherever Krishna, who is Yogeshwara (the Lord of Yoga, that is, vision), and Arjuna, the archer, are present, there surely will be fortune, victory, welfare and morality." Krishna was born in a prison. Immediately after his birth, he was separated-from his parents. And he died in solitude killed by a hunter's arrow. As a boy, he killed his uncle Kamsa with his own hands. In extreme old age, when his sons, grandsons, relatives and friends fought among themselves, he let them perish, And all for the sake Dharma. He dethroned many kings and put others in their places. But he himself did not- sit on throne even for a day. Abhimanyu was his darling nephew, But he made no attempt to. save him. Like the life of any one else, Krishna's life, too, was a mixture of joy and sorrow. And he accepted both unperturbed.Dharma is more important than any thing and any one. Kings and others in power should live for the good the people. Krishna wiped out those who ignored this principle, and protected Dharma, and the helpless masses. lived and died Sri Krishna - the author of the Geetha, and Yogeshwara.