Episode # 62 – Bhagawan Vishnu takes the “Mohini-Avatara” to distribute the “Amrita” to the Devas!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of Garuda’s journey towards the Svarga Lokha where the “Amrita” was kept safely. As Garuda’s story was being narrated thus, and when the word “Amrita” crossed by, the Sages at Naimisharanya wanted to know more about it. They immediately asked Sage Shounaka as to what was this “Amrita” all about, and what was its background. Immediately, there is a deviation in the storyline again. Sage Shounaka details how the “Amrita” was born and who was responsible for it. It was basically Indra who had somehow disrespected Goddess Mahalakshmi by letting his elephant, “Airavata” to stamp and destroy one of her precious garlands. This irritated Goddess Mahalakshmi and with her stern curse, Indra lost his wealth and position in the Deva-Lokha. As Indra became a popper overnight, the Raakshasas saw this as a chance and humiliated Indra to such an extent that he had to run for shelter and help. As Indra was searching for help, he directly landed at Vaikunta, where Bhagawan Vishnu was present. He immediately bowed down to Bhagawan Vishnu, explains all whatever had happened and seeked a solution to this mess. 

Bhagawan Vishnu, upon hearing Indra, explained to him that at times he needs to be calm and composed. He shouldn’t get tensed and angry everytime! As Bhagawan Vishnu includes a clause saying that, at times Indra needs to make friends with the Raakshasas, Indra burst out in anger! He replies to Bhagawan Vishnu thus, “Oh Bhagawan! I came to you for a solution – Not for your advice! Rather than finding a way to defeat the Raakshasas, you’re telling me that I should make friends with them? How unfair this can be!” As Indra fumes thus, Bhagawan Vishnu laughs and calms him down. Bhagawan replies thus, “Oh Indra! This is where you need to be calm. I told you to make friends with the Raakshasas for a reason, which you would not understand now. Do what I say if you really need a solution to your mess. Sometimes you need to step back a bit and then continue fighting. You cannot win over someone everytime by mere domination. Oh Indra! There is something called “Amrita” that is present beneath the ocean floor. If you consume that divine “Amrita” (Nectar), you would become immortal. If you become immortal, the Raakshasas wouldn’t be able to defeat you ever! However, this “Amrita” is not easy to be obtained. You would not be able to dredge the ocean floor by yourself and obtain it. You would require a “team effort” and for this, the help of the Raakshasas is required! Oh Indra! At some points in time, you need to be smart. You shouldn’t be just one-pointed in life!” 

As Bhagawan Vishnu explains thus, Indra understood the trick! As per the instructions, Indra sets out to meet the Raakshasas. He explains to them that there is a big pursuit of something called “Amrita”, and if this is consumed, all of them would become immortal. Hearing this from Indra, the Raakshasas were more than interested in this project. They readily agreed and immediately made friends with Indra and Co. The plan was conceived! Thus, all of them got ready to dredge the ocean. Snake Vaasuki was employed as the “fulcrum” for the entire dredging process. As the dredging was happening thick and fast, there were many things that propped out from the ocean bed. One of the many items was the “Haala-haala” poision (The most intense poison ever). This poison had to be destroyed for the dredging to happen further. This is where Bhagawan Shiva stepped in. As Bhagawan Shiva started to consume the poison, Goddess Paarvati Devi took hold of His neck, so that the poison doesn’t enter into Bhagawan Shiva’s body. This is why Bhagawan Shiva is often referred to as Bhagawan “Neela-Kanta”. This means that Bhagawan Shiva’s neck turned blue in color because of this poison. 

After this, the dredging continues and so many other things came up. This included Goddess Mahalakshmi herself. As Goddess Mahalakshmi rises up from the ocean floor, she was impressed with Indra’s work and in turn, she withdrew her curse on him. This made Indra powerful again. However, the Raakshasas were not aware of this development! They were busy dredging with Snake Vaasuki, who was trying to get some good sleep with all the “massages” given by both the Deva and Raakshasa camps. As Snake Vaasuki was sleeping thus, he started emitting plumes of poison that made the Raakshasas tired. Indra and Co. never got tired, courtesy, Goddess Mahalakshmi’s divine grace! Finally, as the “Amrita” came out of the ocean floor, the treacherous dredging process came to a halt. 

Again, there was now a conflict between the Devas and the Raakshasas as to who would consume the “Amrita” first. Bhagawan Vishnu again intervened and took the form of a beautiful woman called “Mohini”. Upon seeing the attractive Mohini in front of them, the Raakshasas were carried away! Indra knew that this was the ploy created by Bhagawan Vishnu to serve the “Amrita” to the Devas and cheat the Raakshasas! As Mohini started distributing the “Amrita” to the Devas, the Raakshasas were carried away by Her beauty, and literally forgot their agenda of the “Amrita”. However, one out of the Raakshasa camp was smart enough to understand this ploy. He disguised his original form and sneaked into the Devas’ camp somehow! As Mohini was alerted, she gives him one huge blow with the spoon with which she sas serving the “Amrita” to the Devas. This blow broke him into two, which is what we refer today as “Raahu” and “Kethu”. Finally, after this process, Bhagawan Vishnu ensured that the Devas obtained the “Amrita” and the Raakshasas obtained nothing! As Indra consumes the “Amrita”, he along with his Deva camp becomes immortal! 

It is this “Amrita” that was kept now at the “Svarga Lokha” under the supervision of Indra. Indra was very careful in protecting it as the Raakshasas were on the constant lookout for it. Garuda thus reaches the “Svarga Lokha” in pursuit of this “Amrita”. So for today, let us understand up to this point and we shall continue with this discussion in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 61 – Origin of the divine “Amrita” – Indra gets into a huge mess!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Garuda in full pursuit of the divine “Amrita”. Upon receiving blessings from his mother, Vinata, Garuda sets off immediately. However, as the journey is extremely long and treacherous in nature, Garuda becomes tired and hungry on the way. His hunger was so intense that he could literally hog on to anything that he sees in front of his two eyes. Upon reaching a stage of extreme hunger, Garuda consumes a few “Nishaadas” upon the advice of his mother, however, that didn’t work out! As he turned towards his father for help, Kashyapa points out a banyan tree, an elephant and a tortoise and asks Garuda to feast on all of them. However as Garuda comes closer to this tree, he finds the ‘Vaala-Killiyas” who are known for their intense “Tapas”. They were hanging upside down from the branches of this tree and were in deep penance. Garuda was in a fix upon seeing them. On one hand, his hunger was torturing him and on the other hand, these great Sages shouldn’t be disturbed from their penance. What would poor Garuda do? He made up a plan, and carried the entire set of items with him in between his claws and beak. 

As Garuda was carrying the entire setup thus, the “Vaala-Killiyas” were extremely impressed with the fact that Garuda was executing this task without disturbing them. They thus woke up from their penance and blessed Garuda thus, “Oh Garuda! You’ve done a great thing today. Although you are extremely hungry, you’ve ensured that we’re not disturbed from our penance. Let all the good things be bestowed upon you in the future!” Receiving the blessings thus, the Vaala-Killiyas move to the “Gandha-Maadhana Parva” near to the Bhadrinatha Kshetra for continuing their penance further. 

This is a small sub-story within the bigger main story of Garuda going in search of the “Amrita”. As this gets over, Garuda continues to sail past with all his strength and finally reaches the “Svarga Lokha” where the “Amrita” was kept safely. As this was being narrated at the Naimishaaranya Kshetra, Sage Shounaka and others were having another set of questions in mind – What is the divine “Amrita”? How was it churned out? Why was the ocean drilled? There was this white horse called “Ucchashravas” that came from beneath the ocean floor, isn’t it? Why did this horse come up? Why was the “Amrita” given to the “Devas” and denied to the “Raakshasas”? As these questions arose, the entire story of drilling the ‘Ocean of Milk” had to be narrated in detail, and how the Devas’ strength was decreasing, and to this, Bhagawan Vishnu’s solution was to make the Devas consume this divine “Amrita” so that they would become immortal. 

Although we’ve witnessed this story in detail during our Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana project earlier, I shall briefly describe it here for the convenience of the readers and to ensure continuity of the next set of events that connect with this. Once, Indra got into a fix with the Raakshasas as their strength increased manifold. Indra had once lost all his wealth and position due to Goddess Mahalakshmi’s anger towards him. Indra had once insulted her garland that was mistakenly destroyed by his elephant called “Airavata”. With extreme anger, Goddess Mahalakshmi cursed Indra that since he had not respected her garland, it is a direct insult to her, and as a result he would lose all his power, wealth and position in the Deva Lokha. As a result, Indra became a popper overnight, and was being chased here and there by the Raakshasas. Finally, Indra ran to Bhagawan Vishnu, unable to bare the torture of these Raakshasas. Indra wanted Bhagawan Vishnu to give him a solution from this mess that he was into. As Bhagawan Vishnu hears Indra out, He advises Indra thus, “Oh Indra! Every time you cannot go hammer and tongs on your enemy! At times, you need to make friends with them too! You need to work with them together as well if you’ve to win!”

Hearing this from Bhagawan Vishnu, Indra couldn’t understand head or tail of what He was saying! He was totally puzzled! Already he was being chased by the Raakshasas, and now this! So why is Bhagawan Vishnu advising Indra to be friends with the Raakshasas? What is the inner agenda behind this? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 60 – Garuda’s pursuit towards the divine “Amrita” – A treacherous journey!!!

In the previous episode we had witnessed an important phase in the fight between Kadru and Vinata, wherein Vinata is completely enslaved by Kadru as she has lost the contest. Upon seeing Vinata suffer in the hands of Kadru every day, Vinata’s son, Garuda is not happy at all. He feels humiliated and insulted because his mom had to go through enormous ordeals. As Garuda thinks of a plan, he first approaches Kadru’s sons for a solution. Initially, Garuda did not know that Kadru’s sons had a curse from Kadru herself because they hadn’t obeyed her words. As Garuda meets them, he comes to know of the entire story, which makes him think a bit smarter now – Garuda saw an opportunity here – A win-win situation. He promises the snakes that he would get the divine “Amrita” for them to consume, so that they would become immortal. With this, the snakes would get rid of their mother’s curse that they would fall dead into the “Sarpa-Yaaga”. In return, Garuda wanted the snakes to do something and relieve Vinata from their mothers’ slavery. 

As the deal was sealed between the two “parties”, Garuda decided that it was time for him to swing into action. Before getting into the execution, Garuda decided to meet his mother once and convey the information. He quickly meets Vinata and she is in turn happy with the plan. With Vinata’s blessings, Garuda proceeds in pursuit of the “Amrita”. 

“Yen mangalam suparnasya vinata kalpayatpuraa!

Amritam praarthayaanasya hatee bhavatu mangalam!!”

With this sloka, Vinata blesses the best for her son to obtain the “Amrita”. There is an interesting fact about this particular sloka. This sloka actually appears in the Valmiki Ramayana! We would wonder where did a Ramayana sloka come amidst this Mahabharata text! The Ramayana was a “Tretha Yuga” event, and now we’re in a “Dvaapara Yuga” story. Before going into the context, I shall narrate where does this sloka come in the Ramayana text. Bhagawan Rama is leaving for the forest for fourteen years, thanks to Kaikeyi’s boon that she had asked to King Dasharata. As Bhagawan Rama was leaving the Ayodhya palace, He wanted to bid a “Good bye” to all the important people there. He first came to Mother Kaushalya. Initially, Mother Kaushalya was shell-shocked that her son is going to the forest, instead of ascending to the Ayodhya throne. However, Bhagawan Rama convinced her and assured her that He would be back after the fourteen-year period to become Ayodhya’s king. Convinced thus, Mother Kaushalya blessed Bhagawan Rama for His treacherous pursuit. How did Mother Kaushalya bless Him? She said thus, “Just like how Mother Vinata blessed Garuda to obtain the divine “Amrita”, I too hereby bless my son to have a safe pursuit in the forest for the next fourteen years!” 

This is where the context comes in. Thus, there is a connection between the Ramayana and the Mahabharata stories in this way! Isn’t this interesting? 🙂 Now moving on further, Garuda flies out of Vinata’s place in pursuit of the “Amrita”. As the way was long and treacherous, he started feeling hungry mid-way. As per the advice of his mother,  Garuda caught hold of the “Nishaadas”, kills them and eats them! Even with this, his hunger wasn’t satisfied. It was a tiring journey for Garuda and he is so exhausted that he requires more and more food to sustain the journey. Garuda now turned to his father, Sage Kashyapa to get a solution for his hunger. Immediately Sage Kashyapa thought of a plan. He shows Garuda two things – One is a huge banyan tree and the other is a pair of an elephant and a tortoise beneath that banyan tree. Sage Kashyapa instructs Garuda to eat the entire setup, so that his hunger would be satisfied once and forever. 

Taking Sage Kashyapa’s words thus, Garuda immediately flew to the place where the tree is. With all his speed and intensity, Garuda sits on one of the branches of that banyan tree. Unable to bare the weight of Garuda and the speed at which he sat there, the branch gives up! It breaks down into several pieces. There were a group of Rishis by name “Vaala-Killiyas” who were hanging upside down from those tree branches and performing their penance. This is one of the most intense forms of penance, wherein one stands / hangs upside down with full concentration and focus. These “Vaala-Killiyas” are extremely into their spiritual pursuit in such a way that they’re undertaking this extreme level of penance. As Garuda sees them hanging upside down and clinging on to the branches that were about to fall on the ground, he becomes scared! What if these Rishis are disturbed from their penance and what if they curse him? 

Fearing thus, Garuda thought of a plan quickly! He had to act fast here! On one hand his hunger was eating him up! On the other hand, he sees food in front of him, but these Rishis might create an issue if disturbed. Garuda smartly does something here – He takes both the elephant and the tortoise in between his two legs, claws the entire tree along with its branches, wherein the Rishis are performing their penance, and starts flying! Thus, the entire setup is flying now along with Garuda! So for today, let us understand till this point, and in the next episode, we shall witnessed what happened to Garuda next! Was he able to obtain the “Amrita”? Was he able to do it without disturbing these Rishis? Was he able to satisfy his hunger? Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 59 – Garuda steps in to save Vinata and the snakes!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important “connection” in the loop, wherein Kadru is cursing all her sons for disobeying her order. She curses all of them to go and fall into the “Sarpa-Yaaga” that would be conducted by a king very soon and die in it. However, one “smart son” by name Karkotaka exempts himself from his mother’s curse by accepting to obey her order. Accordingly, Karkotaka hurries to the place where the “Ucchashravas” horse was standing. He quickly gets on to it and coils himself around its tail, thus making it appear black in color. Next morning when both Kadru and Vinata arrive at the scene, the tail of the horse seems to be black in color! Exclaiming the same, Kadru tells Vinata that the tail is really black in color and that Vinata has lost the contest straightaway! As a result of this, Vinata has to become Kadru’s slave from that very moment itself! 

Unable to believe her eyes, Vinata couldn’t understand what was happening. How can a white horse’s tail become black overnight? She couldn’t digest what was happening, however, she was left with no other choice. She did not have anything to defend herself now! Thus, Vinata had no other option but to accept her defeat to Kadru. As a result, Vinata was enslaved by Kadru and she had to do all whatever Kadru was asking her to do. This went on for a while. As days and months were progressing, Vinata’s son Garuda was seeing how his mother was being tortured by Kadru. He was fuming within himself upon seeing how Kadru was ill-treating his mother. However, he wasn’t able to step in, because he had no connection with what was happening, and Vinata had accepted her failure as well. However, Garuda was thinking within himself thus, “Oh my God! Although I’m so powerful physically, I’m unable to relieve my mother of the torture she’s experiencing. However, I can’t see my mother suffering like this. Hence, let us do something out of the box!” 

Thinking thus, Garuda decides to go and talk to Kadru’s sons and see if they could do something about this. As Garuda approaches the snakes, he sees all of them sitting in one corner, shaking with fear! All of us know by now as to why they are shaking with fear, isn’t it? However, Garuda was unaware of what had conspired. He was expecting the snakes to be overconfident and roaming around with pride. However, what he saw was totally the opposite. Their faces were faded and something was worrying them so badly. All of them seemed to be in some sort of a fear. Garuda approached them and asked why they were like this. Upon Garuda asking, the snakes told him the entire story as to how their mother herself cursed them to go and fall into the “Sarpa-Yaaga” and die. Fearing death, all of them were in a deep sense of worry and anxiety was gripping them! 

As Garuda hears the story, he feels sorry for his brothers. However, within himself, Garuda was smart too. He saw this as an opportunity to save his mother and pull her out of Kadru’s slavery treatment. He asks the snakes thus, “Oh my dear brothers! I understand the trouble that is mounting upon you. If at all there’s a chance that I can save all of you from this trouble, will you help me in saving my mother from Kadru’s torture?” Upon this, the snakes reply back, “Oh Garuda! It is nice of you to propose this idea to us. However, please understand – Our mother did not listen to our words! We requested her not to enslave your mother Vinata. It is only for this reason that we’re cursed! However, let us give it another try. You’ve to do us a favor – Can you somehow get the “Amrita” (The divine nectar) to us and make us drink it? With that, we would escape death, and with that, we shall take on our mother and release Vinata! What do you say?” 

Listening to this, Garuda too thought that this is a good idea – This seems to be a “win-win” situation for both! On one hand, the snakes would escape the “Sarpa Yaaga” and with that, Kadru’s curse can be neutralized. Once this is done, on the other hand, these snakes can go back to their Kadru and command her to leave Vinata alone. Thus, with the “Amrita”, both the snakes and Vinata can be freed up! Hence, Garuda replies in the affirmative thus, “Oh brothers! This is an excellent idea! I shall somehow get you the “Amrita” very soon. Give me some time. I shall find out its whereabouts and somehow bring that to all of you. You can consume it and become immortal. With that, you can save Vinata from Kadru! 

Upon agreeing to the snakes thus, Garuda went to his mother Vinata to convey this deal. Vinata too was very happy and blessed her son with victory in his pursuit. So what happens next? Was Garuda going to be successful in his attempt of bringing the “Amrita” to the snakes? Let us wait and watch the show in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 58 – Kadru curses all the snakes to fall into the “Sarpa-Yaaga” and die!!!

We’re at a very interesting phase of the Kadru-Vinata fight, wherein one is trying to outsmart the other and enslave each other. We’ve witnessed that Kadru’s sons were all the snakes, and Vinata’s sons were all the eagles. As both of them spotted the white “Deva-Lokha” horse by name “Ucchashravas”, both entered into a “silly” argument with regards to the color of the horse. Kadru was steadfast on her argument that the horse is black in color. On the other hand, Vinata was steadfast in her argument that the horse is white in color and her eyes do not fail her for silly things like these. This became a huge fight between the two of them, and finally a contest was set up the next day wherein the final “decision” would be taken as to whether the horse is black or white and color and who wins the contest. The agreement doesn’t end here – If tomorrow the contest is won by Kadru, Vinata would become her slave. On the other hand, if Vinata wins the contest, Kadru would become her slave automatically. As these “terms and conditions” were decided upon, Kadru was impatiently waiting for the next dawn to arise. 

Meanwhile, Kadru tried to act a bit smart here – She called upon all her sons and ordered them to coil up the horse entirely, in such a way that if the horse was spotted from a distance, it would “appear” to be black in color. This would pave the way for Kadru’s victory as she would be able to dump Vinata’s argument that the horse is white in color. However, the snakes were against this plan of Kadru! They all gathered together and started teaching “Ethics” to their mother! 🙂 They started telling her thus, “Oh Mother Kadru! You’re doing something wrong here – For no fault of Vinata, you’re trying to enslave her. This is not “Dharma” in anyway. Moreover, even if you want to go ahead with what you’re doing, please do not endanger us into performing this “Adharma” act. We would not budge to your “Adharma”. If you still want to go ahead, you may look for someone else who could satisfy your wish!” Saying thus, the snakes backed out! This left Kadru fuming with anger! Kadru replies thus, “Oh sons! You’re all grown up adults now isn’t it? With this, you’ve forgotten your mother and you’ve decided to desert her completely especially at a time of need! You would like to see your mother being enslaved by Vinata and experiencing her tortures, isn’t it? Go away from me! However, I’m not going to leave you just like that – So here’s my curse to all of you!” 

We’re witnessing here how a mother herself becomes stone-hearted to curse her own sons! Kadru continues thus, “Oh sons! In the near future, there would be an occasion wherein a king would perform a “Sarpa-Yaaga” in the world. All of you would fall into that fire and die! That “Sarpa Yaaga” would be an eye-opener and a huge threat to your entire existence!” With this curse inflicted on the snakes, this is where all of them started to fall prey to King Janame-Jaya’s “Sarpa-Yaaga”. The “Sarpa-Yaaga” which Kadru was referring to was none other than the one that King Janame-Jaya was about to perform now. Thus, the knowledge of this curse is very important for readers to remember. This is one side of the story. 

Amidst all these snakes that were cursed by Mother Kadru, there was a snake by the name “Karkotaka”. He was an exception from the other snakes here. Fearing that the curse that his mother inflicted upon is going to lead him to a great danger, Karkotaka quickly changed his stance. He separated himself from all the other snakes and silently went up to his mother, folded his hands and told thus, “Oh Mother! I understand your pain and frustration. Although what you’re doing is “Adharma”, it is the duty of the son to obey the mother’s words. Thus, I’m ready to execute whatever you want me to do. Please tell me my task!” Upon hearing this from Karkotaka, Kadru was extremely happy and gave him the necessary instructions. Thus, within the next morning, Karkotaka went to the horse, coiled himself up around its tail and made it appear black from a distance! Next morning when both Kadru and Vinata come up the contest venue where the horse was standing, Kadru sees that its tail is appearing black! She immediately points out the “black tail” to Vinata with all happiness and exclaims thus, “Oh Vinata! See the horse’s tail now. Isn’t it black in color? I told you yesterday that the horse is black in color isn’t it? Now see! I’ve won the contest, isn’t it? Do you accept your defeat atleast now?” 

Now what is Vinata’s argument going to be? Is she going to accept Kadru’s slavery, or, is she going to pick up a new argument again to corner Kadru? Let’s wait for the next episode to witness the interesting “verdict” of this contest! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 57 – Vinata & Kadru locked up in a serious contest with each other!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important clarification when it comes to Aadishesha, Garuda, etc. being born to Sage Kashyapa and Kadru and Vinata respectively. Aadisesha’s mother was Kadru and Garuda’s mother was Vinata. Although we see here that these people are born to a biological mother and father, we refer to them as “Nitya-Soolis”, who permanently reside at Vaikunta. We clarified this confusion by reiterating the point that when they are born biologically, this refers to an incarnation, just like how Bhagawan Vishnu incarnated in this world as Bhagawan Rama and Bhagawan Krishna. In fact, Bhagawan Vishnu also is born as Bhagawan Vamana to the same Sage Kashyapa later on. Hence, just like Bhagawan Vamana, Aadisesha, Garuda, Aruna, etc. are incarnations. We should understand this point as we move further. 

Coming back to the background story of Snake Vaasuki thus, we’ve seen that all these people have taken birth to their respective mothers of Diti, Aditi, Kadru and Vinata and father, Sage Kashyapa. Moving further thus, we’re going to see how Kadru and Vinata had a perennial fight with each other. Both of them wanted to enslave each other. In other words, Kadru wanted Vinata to be her slave and Kadru wanted to have an “upper hand” over her in some way or the other. However, Vinata is not going to budge so easily. Vinata too wanted to outsmart Kadru in some way or the other and is not going to give up so easily as Kadru thought. However, Kadru was a notch smarter than Vinata. Vinata was a good person by heart and soul. Of course, Kadru was also good only, but she was a bit more smarter as compared to Vinata. One day as both of them were going along with each other, there was a horse by name “Ucchashravas”. This “Ucchashravas” was a “Deva-Lokha horse”, just like how we witnessed the “Deva-Lokha dog” that cursed King Janame-Jaya earlier. This Deva-Lokha horse” called “Ucchashravas” was born out of the divine Ocean of Milk as the drilling process was on for obtaining the divine “Amrita” (Nectar). Along with Ucchashravas, there are so many other things that emerge from beneath the ocean floor, such as the “Paarijaatha Tree”, a pot full of treacherous poison, etc. In fact, Goddess Mahalakshmi too emerges from the ocean floor as the drilling process is on. Finally, Dhanvantri came up with the pot containing the divine “Amrita”. We’ve witnessed this event earlier during our Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana project. 

Thus, it is during this process that Ucchashravas was born. This Ucchashravas was a white horse that belonged to the Devas. This Ucchashravas horse was roaming around here and there and it was spotted by Kadru and Vinata as they were going along somewhere together. Upon spotting this horse, Kadru saw this as a chance to pick up a fight with Vinata. All of a sudden, Kadru exclaims thus, “Oh Vinata! See this horse! How black and beautiful it looks! Isn’t it a rare breed of a horse? How can a horse look so black?” Upon hearing this from Kadru, Vinata was surprised! She was seeing a white horse in front of her, and how come Kadru says that she’s seeing a black horse? Thinking thus, Vinata replies, “Oh Kadru! Yes, the horse is rare and beautiful, but it is not black in color! I see that it is white in color, and my eyes do not fail me at all!” However, Kadru refuses to accept Vinata’s argument. She establishes repeatedly that the horse is black in color! Vinata refuses to accept Kadru’s argument and argues that the horse is white in color, and there’s no change in her stance! 

Ultimately this argument led them to a big fight, and at the end, both of them decided to have a contest! Kadru asserted thus, “Oh Vinata! Let us come back tomorrow to the same place! I’m sure this “black” horse would still be in this very place only! If we see even an inch of black in this horse, including in it’s tail, I would win this contest and you would become my slave! If it becomes otherwise, I shall become your slave! Do you agree?” Vinata was too confident over her “strong vision” and agreed for the context! That night passes by and the next day, both of them assemble again at the very place where the horse was standing. 

Meanwhile, Kadru makes up a wicked plan! She calls up all her sons. We’ve seen that the sons of Kadru are all snakes, isn’t it? Snakes are black in color, aren’t they? Hence, Kadru wants all her sons to go to the horse and coil around the horse’s body fully! If all the snakes coil up around the horse’s body, automatically the horse would look black in color from a distance, isn’t it? Hence, she would win the contest and can make Vinata her slave! This was Kadru’s plan! So what is going to happen next? Is Kadru going to be successful in executing this plan to stump out Vinata? Let’s wait till the next episode to witness the interesting outcome of this contest! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 56 – Why do we say that Aadisesha and Garuda were “BORN”? An important discussion!!!

In the previous episode, we had digressed into Snake Vasuki’s background, wherein we had witnessed some details about Kadru, who is his mother. In fact, Kadru is the mother of all the snakes, and is the wife of Sage Kashyapa. Like Kadru, Sage Kashyapa had many other wives, notably, Diti, Aditi, Kadru and Vinata. As we know, Diti is the mother of all Raakshasas, Aditi is the mother of all Devas, Kadru is the mother of all snakes including Aadisesha and Vinata is the mother of all eagles, including Aruna and Garuda. In due course, we’ve also witnessed some significance of the Puri-Jagannatha Kshetra, where the “Aruna-Sthamba” is located. Aruna is the charioteer to Surya Bhagawan (Sun God). It is this Aruna who protects the world from the harmful rays of the sun, which today we refer to as the “Ozone Layer”. 

We might have a doubt here – On one hand we’re witnessing that Aadisesha, Aruna, Garuda, etc. were all born to Sage Kashyapa and their respective mothers. Whereas, on the other hand, we’re witnessing that these people are “Nityasooli” in nature, which means that they do not have a birth or death, and they exist permanently like Bhagawan Vishnu. In other words, we can even ask a question here – Before Aadisesha was born, where did Bhagawan Vishnu lie down? Before Garuda was born, how did Bhagawan Vishnu commute? All these are valid questions, and these might arise in all of us as we read through. It is important for us to clarify this doubt before we move on further. 

Now let us understand something important here –  The answer to the question whether these people were born or whether these people permanently exist is that, “Yes!” These people permanently exist. There is no birth or death for these people and that is why they are referred to as “Nityasooli”. Then, why do we witness here that they’re born to Sage Kashyapa? This is just like how Bhagawan Vishnu incarnates everytime. When Bhagawan Rama took birth in this world to King Dasharata and Mother Kaushalya, didn’t Bhagawan Vishnu exist before this? Similarly, when Bhagawan Krishna was bron to Vasudeva and Devaki, didn’t Bhagawan Vishnu exist before this? He did, isn’t it? Even today we say that Bhagawan Vishnu exists and He’s going to incarnate as Kalki Bhagawan at the end of this Kali Yuga. So what does this mean? Bhagawan Vishnu is someone who is permanently existing, but at certain critical times, He would take birth in this world as “divine incarnations” for serving a definite purpose. Similarly, Aadisesha too incarnated as Lakshmana during the Rama-Avatara, Balarama during the Krishna-Avatara and also as Bhagawan Ramanujaachaarya in the beginning of the Kali Yuga. 

Thus, these people like Aadisesha, Aruna, Garuda, etc. are incarnations when they are born to Sage Kashyapa, to serve some definite purpose in this world. However, these people permanently exist in the Vaikunta along with Bhagawan Vishnu and Goddess Mahalakshmi. Bhagawan Vishnu permanently resides at Vaikunta and permanently lies over the serpent bed of Aadisesha. Bhagawan Vishnu’s permanent vehicle is Bhagawan Garuda and there is no change in all this! So for today, let us understand this important point and let us wait for the next episode to continue further to witness what conspired between the wives of Sage Kashyapa! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 55 – KADRU – The mother of snakes!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Jarath-Kaaru putting forth two “nearly impossible” conditions for his marriage to happen. Sage Jarath-Kaaru wanted his wife to be of his same name and that, he wouldn’t go in search of her. She has to come searching for him and only then would he marry her. As Sage Jarath-Kaaru expressed his conditions thus, the “Pitru Devatas” were puzzled and taken aback! As this was happening on one end, we switched scenes to enter into Snake Vaasuki’s story. Towards the end of this story, we would tie the knot with the story of Sage Jarath-Kaaru and how he got married. Snake Vaasuki’s sister was also named “Jarath-Kaaru” incidentally. It is this woman, Sage Jarath-Kaaru is going to marry. But before that, there are a few interesting events that we’re going to witness. We know the brief background of Snake Vaasuki and how he helped the Devas obtain the divine “Amrita” (Nectar) from beneath the floor of the ocean. Snake Vaasuki’s mother was Kadru. In fact, this Kadru is the mother of all the snakes that formed the Naaga-Lokha. This Kadru was none other than Sage Kashyapa’s wife. 

Sage Kashyapa had many wives, including Aditi, Diti, Kadru and Vinata. I’m mentioning the names of Sage Kashyapa’s wives who are important. Apart from these four, there are many others. Diti’s sons were none other than the Raakshasas, inclusive of Hiranyaksha, Hiranya-Kashibu and the others. Aditi’s sons were none other than the Devas, inclusive of Indra, Surya, Varuna, Vaayu, etc. In fact, Bhagawan Vaamana (Bhagawan Vishnu’s yet another incarnation) is also the son of Aditi and Sage Kashyapa. We’ve witnessed this story as part of our Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana and readers can recollect it. As this was going on, Sage Kashyapa married Vinata and Kadru, and both these wives were experts in fighting and playing politics! Already there was lot of infighting between Aditi and Diti as both were mothers of the two rival camps – Devas and Asuras. Hence, the fight between these two is perennial in nature. In addition to these two, now Kadru and Vinata have their own agenda and their fighting within each other is running in another direction! 

As we witness this, we might immediately think thus, “Oh! Wherever we look into this Mahabharata text, everywhere there is only fighting, fighting and fighting! Why are all these people fighting every time? Can’t they live happily and peacefully?” As days pass by, Kadru has children. Vinata too gives birth to many children. Kadru gives birth to all the snakes as we’ve witnessed earlier, and Vinata gives birth to Aruna and Garuda. This Aruna and Garuda are eagles and as we know already, eagles are great enemies of snakes! Aruna was the charioteer of Surya Bhagawan. Bhagawan Surya’s rays that fall on the earth are extremely powerful and dangerous too, isn’t it? Even according to today’s science, we see that the sun’s rays contain ultra-violet components that are extremely harmful to living beings, isn’t it? So as to protect the world from these harmful rays, Aruna is acting like a shield to filter out all these harmful components. This is what we call today as “Ozone” layer in the earth’s atmosphere. It is only because of this ozone layer, is earth supporting life. 

If we go to Puri Jagannatha Kshetra, we would be able to witness something called “Aruna-Sthamba”. This is a “Sthamba” (Pillar-like structure) that is almost 32 feet tall. Aruna sits on top of this “Sthamba”. This Sthamba has a history – When the Britishers invaded India, this “Sthamba” was at Konark Sun temple. All of us might know this place too. Puri and Konark are places in the Indian state of Orissa. Thus, Aruna-Sthamba was part of the sun temple at Konark. Thus, Aruna was on one side and Kadru’s sons were on the other side. One of the snakes was none other than “Aadi-Sesha”. So for today, let all of them be near Surya Bhagawan! We shall continue this important discussion in the next episode too. Meanwhile, readers should take notes of all these names as these might be confusing as we move on. We shall wait till the next episode to continue further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 54 – Sage Jarath-Kaaru’s “Terms & Conditions” to get married!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed some important pointers pertaining to why should we perform the “Tarpana” and the “Shraadha” regularly without fail. We’ve witnessed in multiple contexts earlier as well, but specifically to this context of Sage Jarath-Kaaru, we’ve witnessed how the Pitru Devatas are extremely worried since Sage Jarath-Kaaru is not getting married, which is becoming a stumbling block for the next generation to come up. Only if the next generation is up and running, will the “Pitru Devatas” be able to get the due share of their “Argya” through the Tarpanas and Shraadha, isn’t it? This is where the concern was. As the Pitru Devatas voice out thus, Sage Jarath-Kaaru decides to conclude his Brahmacharya-Vratha and get into the “Grihastha-Ashrama”. However, Sage Jarath-Kaaru is not going to get married so easily. Everything in this world comes up with “Terms and Conditions”, isn’t it? Even if we buy a product or a service in the market, it comes with some “Terms of usage”, etc.! 🙂 Even for marriage today, the bride and the groom have enormous terms and conditions for each other, isn’t it? Similarly, Sage Jarath-Kaaru had his own “Terms and Conditions” for his marriage! Let us look at them in today’s episode! 

As Sage Jarath-Kaaru is going to ask for the two conditions, he decided that he’s going to act a bit smart! Even though he had accepted the wish of the “Pitru Devatas” in getting into the “Grihastha-Ashrama”, something was preventing Sage Jarath-Kaaru in giving up the Brahmacharya Vratha. He still wanted to continue in it, despite the request of the “Pitru Devatas”. So he frames his conditions quite smartly here. Sage Jarath-Kaaru says thus, “Oh Pitru Devatas! So here are my two conditions – Condition 1: The person who is going to marry me should also have the same name as mine! My name is Jarath-Kaaru, and my wife should also have the name, Jarath Kaaru! Condition 2: Even if someone comes by the name “Jarath-Kaaru”, she should come in search of me. I wouldn’t go in search of anyone seeking a bride! Till these two conditions are satisfied, I shall continue with my Brahmacharya Vratha only. I would continue to live with the “Bhikhsa” (Offerings) given by other people and I would maintain this “Dharma” till someone comes to me voluntarily!”

Upon hearing this from Sage Jarath-Kaaru, the “Pitru Devatas” become thoughtful! How smart was Sage Jarath-Kaaru to ask for such impending conditions! Now where do they find a girl who has a boy’s name? This itself would be extremely rare! Even if they find someone like that, how would she have this particular name and not any other boy’s name? This is the second challenge! To compound this further, that girl should come in search of him, and he is not going to move an inch anywhere for this purpose! How to bring these three challenges together and find a solution for this? Days and months were passing by and nothing seemed to move further. Sage Jarath-Kaaru was again engrossed into his “Tapas” and he too did not seem to be interested in these things. Of course, Sage Jarath-Kaaru outrightly mentioned that he is not going to go anywhere in search of a bride and hence, it is only obvious that he’s not going to be interested! 

At this juncture, we’re going to change the scene once again! We’re going to leave this story of Sage Jarath-Kaaru at this stage and enter into a new story. At the end of this new story, we would tie the knot between these two stories. We’re now going into the story wherein Bhagawan Vishnu, along with the Devas and Raakshasas drilled the “Paar-Kadal” (Ocean of Milk) to search for the divine “Amrita”. I’ve already mentioned this earlier too, and we’ve also seen that Snake Vaasuki was the one who helped the entire process go through. As the “Manthara Mountain” was laid as a fulcrum, Snake Vaasuki was tied to it and was pulled in either ends by the Devas and the Raakshasas. Thus, Snake Vaasuki was like a pulley that was tied to the fulcrum called “Manthara Mountain”. This Snake Vaasuki was a very wanted person by the Devas, as he was always ensuring the welfare of Indra and Co. at the cost of the Raakshasas. Hence, Snake Vaasuki and the Devas, along with Bhagawan Brahma were extremely good friends. 

Snake Vaasuki’s mother was Kadru. In fact, this Kadru was the mother of all snakes in the Naaga Lokha. Kadru was none other than Sage Kashyapa’s wife. Sage Kashyapa had many wives, and Kadru was one among them. We are now going to witness what happened in Sage Kashyapa’s family, and how a problem was brewing up to dangerous levels! Let us wait till the next episode to continue this story further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 53 – We perform “TARPANA” & SHRAADHA” for ourselves to attain “Moksha” after this birth!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important discussion as to why should we perform the “Tarpana” and the “Shraadha” regularly for our departed parents and grandparents. After their demise, since they become part of the “Pitru Lokha”, it is mandatory for us to offer our prayers and “Argya” (Offering) to our “Pitrus” or ancestors. We witnessed yesterday as to why do we perform the “Tarpana” and what is the significance behind it. We’ve witnessed how the water (“Argya”) that we offer here gets transformed into the food that the “Pitrus” consume at the “Pitru Lokha” with the chanting of the relevant “Mantras” as part of the process. Just like how our parents made sure that we never went hungry even for a single day while we were children, isn’t it our duty to ensure that our parents do not go hungry when they are in dire need of it? This is exactly what the Pitrus are explaining to Sage Jarath-Kaaru here. They are mooting him to go in for a family life, not only for the sake of experiencing the happiness and pleasures involved in it, but also to ensure that the next generation is born so that they can take care of the continuous supply of food and water to the “Pitrus”. This becomes extremely significant here as we’ve to remember this very carefully. 

As we move on, there might be one myth that might constantly be troubling us at the back of our minds. We might ask this question – As our parents pass away from this “Manushya Lokha”, getting into Vaikunta, Svarga Lokha or Naraka Lokha totally depends upon their individual “Paapa” and “Punya” accounts, isn’t it? What bearing that this “Tarpana” or “Shraadha” have in them going to Vaikunta and attaining “Moksha”? How does the water that we offer take them to “Moksha” all the way? This is where we confuse ourselves – In no place does the “Sanaatana Dharma” mention that our parents attain “Moksha” by the “Tarpana” that we perform. Then why at all do we do this “Tarpana” and “Shraadha”? The sole reason behind it is that, we’ve to go to “Moksha” tomorrow, isn’t it? It is for this reason we perform the “Tarpana” and “Shraadha”. Of course, our parents and grandparents go to “Moksha” based on their “Paapa” and “Punya” accounts. Some people get reborn in this world in some other place, which we wouldn’t be aware of. However, the reason behind our “Tarpana” is solely our “Moksha” path. Bhagawan has clearly laid out the path here – “If you perform the “Tarpana” by offering the “Argya” correctly as per due procedure, my heart gets satisfied and happy! It is through my happiness that you attain “Moksha” and not because of the water that you offer!” 

Thus, we’ve to understand very clearly here that we perform the “Tarpana” and the “Shraadha” solely because Bhagawan wants us to do this, as a duty to our parents. As we perform these important “Karmas”, our “Paapa” account keeps getting nullified then and there. This would pave the way automatically to reach Bhagawan. This is exactly what the “Pitrus” are explaining to Sage Jarath-Kaaru here. As they explain thus, Sage Jarath-Kaaru decides that he has had enough with his Brahmacharya Vratha, and it is time for him to move on with the next stage of life – The “Grihasta-Ashrama”. However, Sage Jarath-Kaaru adds a small clause here – “Oh Pitrus! I shall get married, but under two conditions!” Many of us today have “n” number of conditions to get married, isn’t it? 🙂 For instance, some people demand that the boy should be a graduate from IIT and / or IIM, the boy should be a gold medalist, the boy should earn 10 Lakh rupees per month, etc.! 🙂 I seriously doubt what the girls’ side is going to do with Rs. 10 Lakh per month! Normally we require money for a decent living with all required basic facilities and essentialities. However, if we’re going to marry for the sole aim of accumulating more and more property and money, I seriously doubt whether such marriages would sustain in the long run! 

Coming back to this context again, Sage Jarath-Kaaru comes up with a couple of conditions here for his marriage. So what are the conditions that Sage Jarath-Kaaru is putting forth? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂