Episode # 505 – Arjuna returns back from the “Svarga Lokha” after five years!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the concluding remarks on the “Teertha-Yatra Parva” and we’re now entering into some important “Upa-Parvas” as part of this exercise to see things in a bit more detail. In this way, we had commenced with the “Nivaadha-Kavacha-Yuddha Parva”, wherein Nivaadha and Kavacha who are two big enemies for Indra are being spoken about here. This is a very interesting accord and it begins from the point wherein Arjuna comes back from the “Svarga Lokha”. We’ve witnessed yesterday and earlier too that Arjuna had gone to the “Svarga Lokha” to meet Indra and the others for a period of five years as per our “Manushya Lokha” time calculation. Maathali, who was the charioteer for Arjuna from the “Svarga Lokha”, brings him back safely to the place from where he picked Arjuna up. As Arjuna arrives after such a long gap, Yudishtra and the others are all extremely happy to see him back! Arjuna pays his respects to all his brothers and to Draupati as well, as all of them settle down to discuss what all happened during this five-year period. Arjuna is now narrating his accord first as to what were the key moments that he experienced in the “Svarga Lokha”. We’ve already discussed all these instances earlier itself, as to how Arjuna had the opportunity to learn music, dance, etc. under the able guideship of Indra. However, there is one small incident which I hadn’t narrated at that point, which is nothing but the encounter with Nivaadha and Kavacha. Here, Arjuna himself is explaining what happened with them, and we shall now see that in a bit of detail. 

One day, as Arjuna is sitting in the Svarga Lokha looking around, Indra approaches him. Indra comes near Arjuna and says thus, “Oh my son Arjuna! You know very well that I had helped you with so many “Asthras” and “Shastras”, don’t you? Moreover, most importantly I had freed you from the curse given to you by Urvashi. For all what I had done for you till now, aren’t you liable to give a “Guru Dakshina” to me? You should give me something in return, isn’t it?” As Indra says thus, Arjuna replies to Indra back: “Oh Indra! Of course! I’m ready to give you anything that you want from me! Tell me what I can do for you!” As Arjuna accepts thus, Indra explains: “Oh Arjuna! There are two great enemies for me for a long time – Nivaadha and Kavacha. Both of them are Raakshasas and are extremely powerful. With their powers, they are torturing me for a long time now. Maybe with whatever you’ve obtained here, you may go and fight with them and win over them, so that you can give me relief from these two people. If you do this for me, this would be the greatest “Guru Dakshina” that you could give me!” 

As Indra requests thus, Arjuna gets ready for the war. He prepares himself with all the weapons and his chariot and advances towards both the Raakshasas. A huge war erupts between both the camps and at the end, Arjuna destroys both Nivaadha and Kavacha together! After the war is over, Arjuna and his set of warriors are returning back to Indra-Patnam. On their way, Arjuna comes across a beautiful forest area which is unfortunately in a destroyed state. This forest was earlier destroyed by two Raakshashis namely Puloma and Kaalaka and were extremely powerful in that area. As Maathali explains all this to Arjuna, he decided that he would wage another war with these two and destroy them as well. Accordingly, Arjuna went on the offensive immediately and at the end, destroyed both these Raakshasis successfully. The sons of these two Raakshasais were none other than the “Kaalakeyas”. These Raakshasas were extremely powerful too and were destroying the world with all their evil powers. Whenever somebody comes and attacks them, they would go and hide themselves deep under the ocean waters, so that nobody could find and attack them! We’ve witnessed the story of these Kaalakeyas earlier itself, and we’ve witnessed that it was Sage Agasthya who drank all the ocean waters and exposed these Kaalakeyas, only to be killed by Indra himself, aided by Arjuna. Thus, the Kaalakeyas were successfully destroyed with Sage Agasthya’s help, and next, Arjuna enters the place called “Hiranyapura”. Thus, with his strength, Arjuna destroys all the evil Raakshasas who were dominating this place and eventually helps all the sages and great Maharishis to live there peacefully. 

With this, Arjuna successfully fulfills Indra’s requests and thus, Indra provides him with his divine “Anugraha” immediately with a pleasing heart! With all this in place, Arjuna comes back to the Manushya Lokha to meet his brothers and Draupati! So for today, let us understand up to this point, wherein Arjuna is back in business amidst the Paandava brothers! We shall continue this discussion in the next episode to witness what happened next! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 504 – Yudishtra & Co. receive Kubera’s divine “Anugraha”!!!

In the previous episode, we had concluded the huge “Teertha-Yatra Parva” of the Mahabharata text, wherein Yudishtra and Co. are winding up their long tour and coming back to the forest where they were residing earlier. We’ve witnessed this “Parva” for more than a hundred episodes and we’ve witnessed enormous significances of various important “Punya-Kshetras” as described by Sage Naarada and the others. Yudishtra too, decided that he and his brothers are embarking on a spiritual tour to cover all these places and finally here they are, completing their tour successfully. The last place where they went was Mithilapuri and the Gandha-Maadhana Parva wherein Bheemansea had the opportunity to meet Hanuman, who is none other than his own brother – The son of Vaayu Bhagawan. As this is over, all of them return back and the story continues further from here on. Moving on from here, we shall now witness the continuation of the Mahabharata story. 

At this point, we should remember here that Arjuna is not there amidst the Paandava brothers, as he had gone to the Swarga Lokha to meet Indra and the others. Arjuna resided in the Svarga Lokha for a period of five years, and readers should remember that it is during this five year period, the Paandava brothers embarked on the Teertha Yatra. Sage Lomasha was also there along with the Paandavas and he was their guide, along with Sage Naarada and the others at different points. Now that the Teertha Yatra is over, as all of them are coming back, Yudishtra had to encounter a Raakshasa by name “Jataasura”. We shall witness what happened at this point. Thus, as all the sages along with the Paandava brothers are walking along, Jataasura attacks the entire caravan. As the attack was all of a sudden and also because of the tiredness of travelling, the Paandava brothers couldn’t react very swiftly. Using this opportunity, Jataasura abducts Yudishtra, Draupati and one amongst the Nakula-Sahadeva brothers. As this is happening, Bheemasena isn’t there near any of them. As he arrives in the scene, he is surprised to see nobody in the vicinity – Neither Yudishtra nor Nakula-Sahadeva. As Bheemasena comes to know what had happened, he swiftly goes in search of Jataasura and wages a huge war against him singlehandedly. Finally with the divine “Anugraha” of Vaayu Bhagawan” and Hanuman, Bheemasena defeats and kills Jataasura with his raw muscle power! With this, Yudishtra and the others are let free! 

All these important aspects are discussed in the next “Parva” called “Jataasura Parva”, which we’ve just witnessed. This is a very small “Parva” and with this, we shall move to the next “Parva”, which is very important. This is called “Yaksha-Yuddha Parva”. This is where Bheemasena enters into a fight with Kubera and we’ve witnessed this in the yesterday’s episode in detail. Kubera is also an “Yaksha” category person and as Bheemasena goes in search of the lotus flower with a thousand petals, he is initially stopped by Hanuman. However, Bheemasena still goes further northwards towards Kuberapuri and gets engrossed into a fierce battle with the Yakshas. However, the Yakshas aren’t able to put up a fight against Bheemasena and with this, he starts killing loads and loads of Yakshas! Alarmed and angered by this act of Bheemasena, Kubera rushes out of his palace with the intention of cursing Bheemasena. However, as Yudishtra and the others make their way in search of Bheemansea and find him standing near the Kuberapuri entrance, Yudishtra starts scolding him. It is at this time, Kubera too arrives at the spot and upon seeing Yudishtra, Kubera’s anger vanishes completely! He thus advises Bheemasena not to pick up fights with either the Devas or the Yakshas in the future, as it is not of any good for him or the Paandava brothers. Acknowledging Kubera’s advice, Bheemasena also relents and seeks forgiveness. With this, Kubera provides his divine “Anugraha” with all the flowers, fruits, vegetables, etc. from the Kubera-Lokha and assures the Paandavas that they would never have any shortage of food and other important essential items till the time they are in the forest. With this, Yudishtra and Bheemasena are extremely happy and all these details are covered in the “Yaksha-Yuddha Parva”. 

Next in the line is the “Nivaadha-Kavacha-Yuddha Parva”. This is another short Parva but very interesting. Nivaadha and Kavacha were two enemies to Indra for a long time. The Paandava brothers are going to have a duel with these two people and it is precisely at the same time, Arjuna is also coming back! So for today, let us understand up to this point, and we shall wait till the next episode to continue further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 503 – Hanuman shows his huge form to Bheemasena – End of the “Teertha-Yatra Parva”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Hanuman revealing himself to Bheemasena and in turn, Bheemasena is extremely happy to meet his own brother! With tears in his eyes, Bheemasena couldn’t believe that he was in front of Hanuman who was the one crossing the mighty ocean to meet Mother Sita, and helping Bhagawan Rama in all ways to win over Ravana. Thus, Bheemasena lets out his request to Hanuman that he would like to worship Hanuman in that same huge form which he took to cross the ocean to reach Lanka. However, Hanuman denies Bheemasena’s request in a loving way, and says that he can take that massive form only with Bhagawan Rama’s divine “Anugraha” and with the power of the “Rama-Naamam” (Bhagawan Rama’s divine name). Hanuman explains that this massive form and the immense strength that he had obtained at that time is not because of his own efforts, but was only because Bhagawan Rama’s divine mission had to be accomplished. It was Bhagawan Rama who had given Hanuman that immense strength to cross over the ocean, which nobody else could have done except him! 

Explaining all this to Bheemasena, Hanuman now talks about the “Dharma” in various Yugas. He makes an important comparison here – “Dharma” is like a holy cow standing with it’s four legs. In the “Krita Yuga”, the “Dharma” has all its four legs intact without any problem. However, in the “Tretha-Yuga”, “Dharma” is like the cow struggling to stand only with three legs! If this was the case, the “Dvaapara Yuga” is even worse – “Dharma” stands only on two legs and the “Kali Yuga” is the worst, wherein “Dharma” has no legs at all! Hence, Hanuman warns Bheemasena thus, “Oh Brother! Please understand that we’re entering the final phase of the “Dvaapara Yuga” right now. In sometime, we’re going to enter into the “Kali Yuga”, which is the most treacherous one ever. Hence, please understand that “Dharma” will completely vanish as “Kali Yuga” comes closer and closer. There will be no “Dharma” literally in the “Kali Yuga”. Hence, you’ve to be very careful in dealing with people and with other things as well!” 

Saying thus, Hanuman continues further – “Oh Bheemasena! Since you’ve asked me to reveal my huge form that I took to cross the ocean, my heart doesn’t allow me to deny you the opportunity to see it. I shall reveal it to you, but I cannot give you the divine “eyes” to have a complete look at it. With whatever capability your eyes can see me, you may try and view it. Beyond that I cannot help. Actually I shouldn’t be showing it to you now, given the limitations that you have, and in the “Yuga” that we’re currently living. However, since you had asked for it, I cannot deny it for you! So here you go!” Saying thus, Hanuman quickly gets up and starts growing! He grows and grows into a huge massive form by chanting the divine name of Bhagawan Rama! The moment Hanuman chants Bhagawan Rama’s name, he is moved into tears completely! Thus, with the permission given by Bhagawan Rama (This same Bhagawan Rama has incarnated as Bhagawan Krishna in the Dvaapara Yuga, and we’ve to understand that Bhagawan Krishna has provided the divine “Anugraha” to Bheemasena through the means of Hanuman)  instantaneously and with His divine “Anugraha”, Hanuman grows into a massive form and stands in front of Bheemasena! 

Of course, Bheemasena couldn’t witness Hanuman in his entire form, but upon seeing Hanuman fulfilling his request, Bheemansena is extremely happy! He is in tears as he worships Hanuman in his massive form. As Bheemasena is now about to start from this place, Hanuman warns him thus, “Oh Bheemasena! I think you shouldn’t go beyond this point and step into the “Kubera-Patnam”, because this is not the place where you should go into! Hence, please return back to your place from here immediately!” However, Bheemasena isn’t really convinced. He still wants to obtain that lotus flower with a thousand petals in it! Inspite of Hanuman’s warning, Bheemasena advances further and as he nears the Kubera-Patnam, he has to encounter the wrath of immensely strong Raakshasas and Devatas who came to push him out! However, Bheemasena doesn’t give up – He puts up a relentless fight and the fight keeps continuing for days and months together! Bheemasena is not prepared to give up even an inch! Now that he had obtained the divine “Anugraha” from Hanuman, Bheemasena’s strength only started increasing further and further! 

However, Yudishtra comes to know of what is happening and he rushes to Hanuman’s dwelling place. Hanuman informs Yudishtra that Bheemasena had somehow gone to the Kubera-Patnam and he has to be pulled out from there, since there is a danger for his life. Accordingly Yudishtra rushes there and scolds Bheemasena for this act! Finally as Yudishtra issues the “diktat”, Bheemasena relents from his attempt and all of them return back to the “Manushya Lokha”. With this, we come to the end of the long and expansive “Teertha-Yatra” Parva and this is the last place that the Paandavas visit. After this, Yudishtra and Co. are returning back to their “Vana-Vaasam” and in the next episode, we shall commence the next important “Parva”! Stay tuned for updates! 🙂 

Episode # 502 – Hanuman reveals himself to Bheemasena!!!

We’re at an interesting point wherein two brothers Bheemasena and Hanuman are trying to showcase their strength to each other in a subtle but unique way. Bheemasena wants to go into the Kubera Lokha to obtain the lotus flowers with a thousand petals in each of them. Draupati wanted to make a garland out of these flowers and wear it around her neck. Taking the initiative thus, Bheemasena sets out in search of the flowers, but he keeps going on and on without even finding a single trace of that flower anywhere! However, as he nears the Kuberapuri, he sees a huge monkey-like person lying down on the way. Bheemasena tries to interact with him and requests him to move away from his path, but the “old person” reacts negatively. Instead, the old person asks Bheemasena to try and lift his tail, so that he could get some way. Bheemasena tried hard, but couldn’t really succeed. However, Bheemasena is someone who never gives up so easily. He keeps trying harder and harder, but in vain! This “old person” is none other than Hanuman, and all of us know what Hanuman’s immense strength is! Bheemasena still doesn’t know that he’s fighting with someone against whom he cannot win over so easily! 

As time progresses thus, Bheemasena’s attempts to lift Hanuman’s tail keep increasing, however, at one point, Bheemasena starts losing his strength! Tiredness starts taking over his body and his efforts aren’t proving any worth! Even with the combined strength of his two shoulders put together, Bheemasena couldn’t lift Hanuman’s tail even an inch! At this point, Bheemasena gives up for a moment and asks the old person thus, “Oh! Who are you? I do not think you’re an ordinary person. Are you a “Yaksha” or a “Dhaanava” or a “Gandharva” or any other form of a celestial being? I’ve defeated “n” number of people with my raw muscle power and immense strength. However, today I stand defeated! I’m not even able to lift your tail – Forget lifting you and placing you by the side! So tell me, who are you?” As Bheemasena requests thus, Hanuman gives a sarcastic reply to him. Hanuman replies thus, “Oh Bheemasena! Till now you were telling about someone who crossed the ocean to worship Mother Sita, didn’t you? I’m the same person who crossed over the ocean to worship Mother Sita!” 

As Hanuman says thus, Bheemasena is stunned! He asks back with surprise – “Oh wow! In that case, are you Hanuman? Are you my own brother?” Hanuman replies, “Yes! I’m Hanuman! I’m your own brother! Both of us are Vaayu Bhagawan’s sons!” Upon hearing this, Bheemasena is in tears of joy! He couldn’t hold himself back upon seeing Hanuman! Bheemasena replies back thus, “Oh Brother Hanuman! I’ve heard a lot about you in the past. However, I’ve never got an opportunity to worship you till today! After worshipping you now, I feel that I’m totally satisfied! However, your brother Bheemasena has only one request from you – You had taken a huge form while crossing the ocean to worship Mother Sita at Lanka, didn’t you? I would like to worship you in that same form just once! So please, can you grant this small wish of your dear brother?” As Bheemansena requests thus, Hanuman is also moved into tears. He is overjoyed upon meeting Bheemasena, but replies thus, “Oh Bheemasena! My brother! You’ve asked an important question to me – However, let me tell you one thing straightforward to you – If I show my huge form to you, you would not be able to take it! You would collapse immediately! Even then, let me do one thing – I shall grow to a point until your eyes can see me. Hence, you may see as much as you can. Moreover, please remember one thing – I did not grow myself just to showcase my strength to anyone. I did so to achieve a mission. My constant chanting of “Rama-Naama” made me grow to such a huge form. Anyway, now you’ve asked for it, I shall grant your wish. But before that, let me explain to you the “Yuga-Dharma” of the various “Yugas”!” 

Saying thus, Hanuman is going to give an important explanation to Bheemasena. So for today, let us understand till this point and let us wait till the next episode to listen to Hanuman’s important message! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 501 – Bheemasena tries to lift & move Hanuman’s tail – But in vain!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Bheemasena advancing more and more towards Kuberapuri in search of the divine lotus flower. He understands that this flower is in abundance in the “Sougandhika” garden of Kuberapuri, but he has a limitation – Since he was a normal human being, entry is not allowed for him at Kuberapuri. Only celestial beings can dwell there. However, Bheemasena still wants to give it a try. He still tries to advance further, only to be stopped by a “huge” person on his way! This huge person is none other than Hanuman himself and he is lying down across Bheemasena’s pathway. Unable to understand who this person is, Bheemasena gets confused. He doesn’t understand how to cross over Hanuman and proceed further. Thus, as Bheemasena tries to cross, Hanuman understands that his own “brother” is trying to cross over, but he wants to somehow stop Bheemansena from entering into the Kuberapuri area. Now, an interesting event unfolds and we shall witness the details of it in today’s episode.

As Bheemasena tries to cross over, Hanuman asks Bheemasena thus, “Oh Bheemasena! Where are you trying to go? And why are you disturbing me as you’re trying to crossover? You see that I’m an aged person, sleeping in one corner without disturbing anyone. Why are you trying to cause disturbance for a harmless person? Is this what youngsters do these days? Don’t youngsters have even the basic courtesy in today’s world to respect elders? Instead of doing something good to me or being of some help for me, you’re only causing harm to me! Why are you doing this? What wrong did I do to you? Moreover, why are you roaming alone in this forest area? What is your agenda behind coming here? You’re not supposed to be coming to these places, as you do not belong to this place!” 

As Hanuman asks multiple questions back to back, Bheemasena feels sorry within himself for a moment. Perhaps he has disturbed an old man who was harmlessly lying down and sleeping? With this thought in mind, Bheemasena replies respectfully thus, “Oh old man! I’m none other than Bheemasena, who is one amongst the “Pancha-Paandava” brothers. I’ve come here on the instruction of my elder brother Yudishtra in search of a divine lotus flower that has a thousand petals. I was searching for it in many places, but I wasn’t able to find it anywhere! Hence, as part of the search process, I came here. I also understood that this flower is in abundance in the Kubera-Lokha, and this is why I wanted to get inside. Hence, please allow me inside. Why are you lying down on my pathway? Maybe you should give me some space to go past you, so that I wouldn’t end up disturbing you! Moreover, I do not have the intention to disturb your sleep. Maybe I accidentally stumbled upon you, and I request you to forgive me for that!” 

As Bheemasena replies thus, Hanuman again talks back: “Oh Bheemasena! I’m very happy to see you here! However you’ve to understand one thing – I’m an extremely aged person, and beyond the capability of even simple mobility. Hence, it is very difficult for me to move myself from one place to the other. Even my tail is in such a state that I’m unable to wag it from one end to the other. Hence, you please find a way to crossover and go ahead. It is very difficult for me to move my body from this place to another. I’ve been stationary like this unfortunately for a long time now!” As Hanuman replies this, Bheemasena doesn’t know what to do! He is utterly confused! He now tells within himself, but a bit loud enough, which Hanuman is also able to hear – “Oh Bhagawan! Just like how my ancestor by name Hanuman crossed over the ocean to meet Mother Sita, let me also cross over this hurdle to reach the Kubera-Lokha to get that flower!” 

Readers should remember here that Bheemasena doesn’t know that the person lying beside him is none other than Hanuman himself. It is without knowing this, he is talking. As Hanuman listens to this, he asks back thus, “Oh Bheemasena! I heard you talk about somebody called Hanuman. Who is that Hanuman? What has he done? What do you know about him? Can you explain to me? I’m eager to know who he is and his achievements!” As Hanuman asks thus, Bheemasena narrates the entire Ramayana story in brief and explains how Hanuman was a great devotee of Bhagawan Rama and how he crossed over the ocean easily to meet Mother Sita and how he played a crucial role in the reuniting of Bhagawan Rama with Mother Sita! Hanuman is a “Vaayu-Putra”, and is my elderly brother, because even I’m the son of Vaayu Bhagawan. Since I’ve to also do something similar to what he had to do, I prayed for his help in this matter!” 

As Hanuman listens to this from Bheemasena, he is totally amused! But he doesn’t show his amusement to Bheemasena, and instead requests him to try and somehow move only his tail from one place to the other. Accordingly Bheemasena is now going to try and lift Hanuman’s tail. He gets on to his job and tries – He tries and tries with his left hand, but is unable to even lift the tail by an inch! Unable to do so, Bheemasena tries his right hand on Hanuman’s tail. He tries and tries! But again, Hanuman’s tail is so strong that he’s unable to lift it even for an inch! Bheemasena now tries both his hands on the tail – But the same result comes through! Now what does Bheemasena do? So for today, let Bheemasena keep trying harder and harder to lift Hanuman’s tail. We shall witness in the next episode as to what happens next! Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂 

Episode # 500 – Bheemasena comes across Hanuman in front of Kuberapuri – An interesting event!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the tour group making its way to the “Gandha-Maadhana Parva” and as Yudishtra and Co. climb up the mountains, Draupati falls unconscious. However, when they come across a lotus flower with a thousand petals and with the strong beautiful odour that it is emitting, Draupati comes back to her senses. However, Draupati now has a desire – She wants to get several more of this flower and make a garland of it to wear upon her. As she makes this request to her husbands, Bheemasena comes forward and takes the initiative to go and search for these flowers and their whereabouts. Setting off thus, Bheemasena follows the direction from which the odour of this flower is strongly getting emitted. This is the northern direction and Bheemasena sets off! He goes on and on by means of walking, jumping, running, etc. and goes deep into the mountains! Even as he’s travelling a lot, he is unable to trace even a single flower of the same type! 

As Bheemasena goes on and on further, he tries to look into different gardens, trees, plants, shrubs, etc. and is getting attacked by all the owners of those respective plants and gardens. He defeats anyone and everyone who comes in front of him and continues his search. Crossing all these hurdles, Bheemasena still goes further and further northwards and covers a great deal of distance! If he goes a few kilometres up northwards, he would reach Kuberapuri, which is the abode of “Kubera Bhagawan”, who is in-charge of all the wealth. It is actually from this Kuberapuri that this flower has come! There is a divine forest named “Sougandhika”. It is from this forest that the lotus flower had come. As Bheemasena is a “Manushya” (Normal Human Being), he is not supposed to enter into Kuberapuri. This place is only meant for celestial beings. We should remember that already Arjuna had transcended to the “Svarga Lokha” of Indra, and he he hasn’t come back yet. Now if Bheemasena also goes to the “Amaanushya Lokhas”, things are going to get difficult for the others in the world. Of course, Bheemasena is going there with only a good intention of finding out the lotus flower, and not to destroy anyone there. However, since a normal human being is not supposed to enter inside the Kuberapuri, he had to somehow be stopped! Thus, to stop Bheemasena from proceeding further, there is one person who is about to stop him. This person is none other than Hanuman himself! 

We might wonder from where did Hanuman come here all of a sudden! Hanuman was living during Bhagawan Rama’s Dvaapara Yuga, didn’t he? But how is he still alive after thousands and thousands of years? This is where we’ve to understand that Hanuman is a “Chiranjeevi”, which means that he doesn’t have something called “death” in his life! He is continuously chanting the divine name of Bhagawan Rama and is still alive, even in the Kali Yuga as well! Of course, there are unconfirmed reports that Hanuman is still visible at some place in this world even today. Hence, Hanuman is someone who lives at all times. Moreover, we should also understand here that when the Kurukshetra war happens, Hanuman was present in the flag that was swaying over Arjuna’s chariot. Of course, we know that Bhagawan Krishna drove Arjuna’s chariot, but Hanuman was also ably assisting Bhagawan Krishna in all ways, because Hanuman knows that it is his same Bhagawan Rama who had incarnated as Bhagawan Krishna in the subsequent Yuga. 

Coming back to this event thus, in order to prevent Bheemasena from proceeding further, Hanuman takes a huge form and lies down flat on the way! Upon coming closer, Bheemasena sees something huge in front of him as an obstacle for him to proceed further. Initially, Bheemasena did not know that it was Hanuman who was lying there. In fact, readers must also understand one more thing here – Both Hanuman and Bheemasena are “Vaayu-Putras” or sons of Vaayu Bhagawan! Thus, Bheemasena and Hanuman are brothers in a way! However, upon seeing a huge form in front of him, Bheemasena did not understand who this was! However, Hanuman understands that it was none other than his brother Bheemasena who had arrived there! 🙂 Hence, he stiffens himself and makes sure that Bheemasena doesn’t cross over him! Upon seeing this, Bheemasena is also thoughtful as to how to cross over and continue his journey! Now this is going to be a very interesting story from here on, and for today we shall understand up to this point. In the next episode, we’re going to see an interesting conversation between both of them and also a few attempts by Bheemasena to defeat Hanuman. But was Bheemasena successful in doing so? Let us wait till tomorrow to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 499 – Yidishtra & Co. walk up the “Gandha-Maadhana Parva” – An interesting event unfolds!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the conclusion of the fiery debate between Sage Ashtaavakra and Bandhi, which also resulted in the return of Sage Kahoda, who was Sage Ashtaavakra’s father. With this, the entire feud between the duo got settled and with the permission of Bandhi, Sage Ashtaavakra took the holy dip in the pond which was the gateway to the “Varuna Lokha”. With this, Sage Ashtaavakra’s defects in his body got cured and he became a normal person, devoid of any further physical problems. Eventually, as years passed by, Ashtaavakra became a great sage and lived happily thereafter. Thus, all these narratives are presented to Yudishtra as the entire tour group reaches Mithilapuri, which is the dwelling place of King Janaka. 

Thereafter, the “Teertha Yatra” Parva continues further and the tour group now reaches the “Gandha-Maadhana Parva”. There is an interesting “Charitra” that happened here, and I shall keep it a bit short and brief on this. As Yudishtra and Co. started walking towards the Gandha-Maadhana Parva, they were very happy and excited to visit this holy place, as this place is full of great sages who are continuously performing penance for months and years together without a break. In fact, Bhagawan Krishna Himself advises Uddhava to go to this Gandha-Maadhana Parva to sit and do penance before he could come into the Vaikunta Lokha to be with Bhagawan Krishna forever. Thus, this Gandha-Maadhana Parva is extremely significant in terms of spirituality and spiritual practices that are being performed here. 

Thus, Yudishtra and Co. start climbing the hills and as they proceed further, the passage becomes narrower and narrower. The tour group is going deeper and deeper inside the mountain ranges and all of them are getting attracted to the natural scenic beauty of this place. However, as they were walking for a long time, all of them started getting tired, and at one stage, Draupati started feeling giddy. As she faces this uneasiness, she falls on the ground unconscious. Not knowing what is to be done to revive Draupati, Yudishtra and the others call for Bheemasena for help. Bheemasena in turn calls his son Ghatodgaja for help. Obeying his father’s orders, Ghatodgaja carries all of them including Draupati on his shoulders and starts flying over the mountains. As the distance progresses, Ghatodgaja is flying higher and higher and ultimately they reach the Badrinaatha Kshetra. Ghatodgaja decides to fly even higher than the Badrinaatha Kshetra and he takes all of them to a place where a unique species of lotus was growing all alone there. Unlike the other normal lotus flowers, this one had a thousand petals in it! 

As the group comes across this flower on the way, Bheemasena is surprised! He thinks thus, “Oh wow! I’ve seen enormous lotus flowers, but this one is so peculiar!” Moreover, with the strong and beautiful smell that the flower is emitting, Draupati comes back to her senses immediately! Upon seeing this flower, even Draupati gets surprised! Now she expresses her wish to her husbands thus, “Oh my dear husbands! This flower is extremely beautiful and so powerful in its odour isn’t it? I wish I can get more of these flowers, make a garland out of them and wear them! So, can you please get more of these flowers for me? It would be of great help if you can do this for me!” 

As Draupati says thus, Bheemasena immediately comes forward. He replies to Draupati thus, “Oh Draupati! You do not worry! I shall go all by myself and see where it grows aplenty. I shall find out the place where there are many of these flowers, collect them and bring them to you!” Saying thus, Bheemasena sets out in the northern direction in search of these flowers. So for today, let us understand up to this point, and we shall wait till the next episode to witness what happened to Bheemasena henceforth. Did he come back with the flowers? Was he able to find out the location where these flowers are growing in abundance? Let us wait till tomorrow to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 498 – Sage Ashtaavakra regains his original form along with his father!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Bandhi losing the plot against Sage Ashtaavakra as the debate continued for hours together in a fiery mode! Sage Ashtaavakra was highly unforgiving in his approach towards Bandhi, even though Bandhi gave befitting replies to Sage Ashtaavakra’s fiery arguments. However, at one point of time when the “number challenge” went beyond a point, Bandhi couldn’t manage it any further and ultimately gave up to Sage Ashtaavakra! Finally it was proved that Sage Ashtaavakra’s sheer brilliance ruled the roost and Bandhi right royally fell prey to it! As Bandhi accepted defeat, ideally he should have pushed Sage Ashtaavakra into the pond of water, but strangely he did not do that. Instead, he explained the real reason why he was doing that all these days. Bandhi was the son of Varuna Bhagawan and he was pushing extremely good scholars into the pond because they were being redirected towards the “Varuna Lokha” for a massive “Yagnya” that was going on there. All of them who were pushed into the pond were very much alive, but were in a different Lokha. 

As Bandhi revealed this secret, all those who were pushed into the pond, started coming back alive. This includes Sage Pahoda as well, who is none other than Sage Ashtaavakra’s father! Thus, Ashtaavakra, who was thinking otherwise, was surprised to see Sage Pahoda for the first time in his life, claiming that he is his father! We should remember here that Sage Pahoda disappeared into the pond even when Ashtaavakra was a months-old baby and nobody, including his mother, revealed to Ashtaavakra that his father was dead! Finally, even as the debate came to an end, Sage Ashtaavakra wasn’t really satisfied with Bandhi’s explanation. He retaliated by saying that Bandhi shouldn’t have “cheated” people like this. He should have earlier informed people of the “Yagnya” and should have given the option to the scholars to choose if they really want to go and participate in it or not. Since Bandhi compelled and forced people to dance to his whims and fancies, Sage Ashtaavakra was in a relentless and an uncompromising mode and blasted him for what he had done! 

Finally as the debate once again continued in this fashion, Sage Pahoda had to intervene in the middle and sort this out! Sage Pahoda says thus, “Oh Ashtaavakra! I understand your sheer brilliance and I completely appreciate your knowledge and expertise! I’m indeed proud to state to this world that you are my son! However, you should understand one thing – Whatever Bandhi had done was right. If there is a “Yagnya” happening in the “Manushya Lokha”, he could have left it for people to decide whether to attend it or not. However, if it is happening somewhere else, the concerned person has all the rights to decide who is to go and who is not supposed to! Hence, Bandhi is well within his limits to decide on this. Moreover, certain things have to be kept confidential and Bandhi had actually followed all the protocols correctly. Hence, please do not blame Bandhi for what had happened! You should forgive him and move on with things!” 

As Sage Pahoda explains this in a calm manner, Sage Ashtaavakra understands the reality and forgives Bandhi. With this, Bandhi allows Sage Ashtaavakra to go and take a holy dip in the pond from where all of them went to the “Varuna Lokha”. As Sage Ashtaavakra does so, all the “Vakrams” (Defects) that were there in his body got cured, and with this, he obtained his normal form. Thus, with this, we come to an end of the “Charitra” of Sage Ashtaavakra and how he defeated Bandhi in the fiery debate and proved his intelligence and brilliance to the world. So for today, let us understand up to this point, and we shall move further with the next “Charitra” in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 497 – Sage Ashtavakra wins over Bandhi! Why did Bandhi push everybody into the pond?

In the previous episode, we witnessed the commencement of the marquee debate between two great scholars – Bandhi and Sage Ashtaavakra. We’ve witnessed Bandhi starting the proceedings by saying that everything in nature exists in a singular fashion and as separate entities. However, Sage Ashtaavakra gave an immediate response by saying that duality is the order of nature and nothing can exist as separate entities. To this, Bandhi responded by saying that everything exists in nature as a set of three, and not two! This conversation is now getting heated up and very interesting as now Sage Ashtaavakra explains back by saying that everything in nature exists as a set of four, and not three. So what are the sets of four things that Sage Ashtaavakra talks about? Let us continue witnessing this important debate further in today’s episode. 

Upon responding to what Bandhi said, Sage Ashtaavakra explained that nature exists as a set of four elements clubbed together in various aspects. He gives examples thus, “Oh Bandhi! Now look at the “Ashramas” that a human being has to go through! They are four in number, isn’t it? They are “Brahmacharya-Ashrama”, “Grihastha-Ashrama”, “Sanyaasa-Ashrama” and “Vaanaprastha-Ashrama”! Moreover, there are four “Varnaashrama Dharmas” that exist, namely “Brahmanas”, “Kshatryas”, “Vaisyas” and “Shudras”. Moreover, the directions are four in number – North, South, East and West! Moreover, look at all the animals like cows, dogs, lions, tigers, etc. All of them have four legs, don’t they? Hence, all aspects in nature exist as a set of four!” 

As Sage Ashtaavakra replies thus, Bandhi immediately stands up and says, “Oh Ashtaavakra! Fine! Now I say that everything in this world exists as a set of five! If we talk about the various forms of “Agni”, it is said that Agni Bhagawan exists in five different forms (Pancha-Agnyaha) – Gaargapadhya, Daakshinaagni, Aahavaneeya, Shavya and Aavasathyaka! Moreover, when we talk about the “Yagnyas” that we perform everyday, it is referred to as “Pancha-Maha-Yagnyas”. The five “Yagnyas” are “Deva Yagnya”, “Pitru Yagnya”, “Manushya Yagnya”, “Bhoota Yagnya” and “Brahma Yagnya”. Thus, it is the duty of a human being to perform all these five “Yagnyas” every day as a spiritual offering to Bhagawan!” In this way, Bandhi gives examples of how nature has five elements attached as a set! As Bandhi says thus, Sage Ashtaavakra immediately gets up and explains, “Oh Bandhi! This is fine! But I add the sixth element here – Everything in nature exists as a set of six different elements! I shall give you examples!” Saying thus, Sage Ashtaavakra establishes his point of nature existing as a set of six! Immediately Bandhi countered him by saying that nature exists as seven! Immediately Sage Ashtaavakra countered Bandhi by saying that nature exists as eight! This debate continued fiercely between both of them! Finally, the number goes up to thirteen! I’m not going into the details of all these at the moment. We shall discuss this later when we take up the next project on “Upanishads” and when we discuss the “Chandogya Upanishad” and “Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad” in detail. 

However, now the point here is that, when Sage Ashtaavakra explains the set of thirteen elements that nature contains, Bandhi had to give up! Because, he was not able to counter Sage Ashtaavakra by including the fourteenth element with examples! Thus, the fiery conversation comes to an end and it was declared that Sage Ashtaavakra has won over Bandhi! This was something extremely new that happened in King Janaka’s courtroom – Someone coming with full confidence and truckloads of brilliance winning over Bandhi in a scholarly debate! As Bandhi accepts defeat, he says thus, “Oh King Janaka! I’m the son of Varuna Bhagawan and this is why I have extreme scholarliness! However, today I’ve been defeated by this boy by the name Ashtaavakra! You might be seeing that whoever wins against me, I would be pushing them into the pond full of water and killing them. Actually, I should be pushing this boy also inside that same pond! You might be wondering why am I doing such a heinous crime mercilessly, aren’t you? Now let me tell the truth – There is a huge “Yagnya” that is happening in the “Varuna Lokha” and is being performed by my father. To conduct this “Yagnya”, there is a huge requirement of extremely learned “Pandithas” (Scholars). Hence, as per my father’s desire, I’m sending all those good scholars to the Varuna Lokha to participate in the “Yagnya” that is happening there. All of us should understand that nobody whom I pushed into the pond is dead! All of them are alive! Hence, Oh King Janaka! Oh Ashtaavakra! Oh ministers! Please do not mistake me for this heinous crime that I did! I did this for the benefit of the entire world!” 

As Bandhi replies thus, King Janaka was convinced! But was Sage Ashtaavakra convinced? Let us wait till the next episode to find out Sage Ashtaavakra’s reaction! Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂 

Episode # 496 – Sage Ashtaavakra vs. Bandhi – The marquee debate commences!!!

In the previous episode, we witnessed a quick “rapid-fire” round of a question-answer session from King Janaka to Sage Ashtaavakra. This is an important prelude to what is going to come by next! As Sage Ashtaavakra gives spontaneous answers to whatever King Janaka asked, King Janaka was mighty impressed with the scholarliness and shrewdness of the little boy. King Janaka also understood that the little boy standing in front of him was not just a little boy, but he is extremely brilliant for his age! Thus, King Janaka accepted to arrange for a meeting between Bandhi and Sage Ashtaavakra, and with this, we now move on to the most interesting part of this entire accord – The Bandhi vs. Sage Ashtaavakra debate! So in today’s episode, let us set the background for this and let us see what conspired between both of them. 

Upon receiving the call from King Janaka, Bandhi arrived at the courtroom with much fanfare. The entire courtroom stood up in respect to Bandhi and everybody was silent. King Janaka introduced Sage Ashtaavakra (The little boy) to Bandhi and eventually explained that this little boy wanted to debate with Bandhi! Bandhi starts the proceedings. Bandhi commences thus, “Oh little boy! Do you know? Bhagawan (“Sarveshwara”) is one! Indra is one! Agni is one! Surya is one! All whatever I said above have only a single existence!” Actually, Bandhi says this on purpose to stimulate the anger in Sage Ashtaavakra! As Bandhi says thus, immediately within a fraction of a second, Sage Ashtaavakra reverts back thus, “Oh Bandhi! Whatever you’ve said now is totally wrong! Bhagawan has a dual nature! Indra has a dual nature! Agni has a dual nature! Everything in this world exist dually and can never be in isolation!” As Bandhi listens to this, he is surprised! He immediately quips thus, “Oh Ashtaavakra! If so, prove your point! Without proof and evidence, I shall not accept your argument!” 

As Bandhi asks thus, Sage Ashtaavakra replies back: “Oh Bandhi! You want proof, don’t you? Now let me tell you – Agni cannot burn without the help of Vaayu Bhagawan! Hence, Agni has the duality in him! You said that Surya Bhagawan exists as a single entity! No! Surya Bhagawan exists in duality with Aruna! Similarly, Indra doesn’t exist as a single entity! He exists in sync with Parva. “Ashwini Kumaras” are again dual in nature. Moreover, other things like the wheels of a chariot are two in number! Can a chariot run with just one wheel? Moreover, can a husband exist without a wife? Or, can a wife exist without a husband? If everything has a singular nature as per your statement, the entire world would come to a standstill! Hence, Bandhi! Nothing in this world can exist in a singular fashion. Duality is quite common in this world, and it is the law of nature!” 

As Ashtaavakra replies thus, Bandhi puts up another argument here! He says, “Oh Ashtaavakra! You’re telling me that everything in nature is dual! But now I’m saying that everything in nature exists as a “trio”! For instance, due to the “Karma” that we accumulate, an Atman takes three types of births – One as a “Deva” (Celestial Being), second as a “Manushya” (This encompasses all kinds of human beings in this world) and the third as a “Thiryak”, which encompasses all kinds of animals, birds, insects and other living beings in this world. Hence, the resultant of “Karma” exist as a “trio”. Even when we perform our “Nitya-Anustaanam” every day, we do it three times – “Praathaga Sandhya”, “Maadhyaaniga Sandhya” and “Saayam Sandhya”. Hence, the “Times” of the day is a trio in nature! Similarly, we take food thrice in a day – Once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once before we go to bed! Hence, food habits for a human being exists as a “trio”! Similarly, there are three “Lokhas” that are important! In similar lines, there are three “Jyotishs”, namely Surya, Chandra and Agni! Hence, now I say that everything in this world exists as a trio, or a set of three in nature!” 

As Bandhi explains this arithmetic, Sage Ashtaavakra immediately gets up and says thus, “Oh Bandhi! Now I shall tell you one more arithmetic – You’ve said that everything in nature exists in a set of three, isn’t it? Now I say that everything in this nature exists as a set of four!” Saying thus, Ashtaavakra starts listing down elements that exist as sets of four! With this, the debate is getting spruced up and enormous amounts of arithmetics are being exchanged between the two! Hence, for today, let us understand up to this part of the conversation and let us ponder over them! So what are those four elements combined to form a set? How many such sets is Sage Ashtaavakra going to talk about? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned, as the debate is getting heated up! 🙂