In the previous episode, we had witnessed some prerequisites for listening to, and reading the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana text. As per the excerpts from the “Paadma Puraana”, it is said that this sacred text should be worshipped in a way that is very similar to worshipping Bhagawan Krishna Himself. We should make sure that when we sit to read / listen to this text, we need to be physically clean and tidy. We should place the book in a chair that is meant for Bhagawan only. As this recital is arranged, many people should be invited to be listeners. This should be like a marriage ceremony that we do – We should invite as many people as we can, offer them good food, shelter and perform all the necessary arrangements to make the listeners comfortable and happy! For the next seven days thus, the contents of this sacred text should be discussed day and night and analyzed. Moreover it is also said that the most sacred months to recite and listen to this text is from the Tamil month of “Aavani” (Precisely July-August) till the commencement of the holy month of “Maargazhi” (Precisely mid-December). This is the most auspicious time period for recital and listening of this sacred text.
Thus, such is the respect we give to this extremely sacred Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana text. To summarize the point once more, we need to maintain the “Sapthaaham” (7-day-recital) practice – Auspicious to be recited in the months of “Aavani”. “Purattaasi”, “Aiypassi”, “Karthigai” and beginning of “Maarga-sheersha” month, also called as “Maargazhi”.
As this is being explained, we now witness a sub-story within this main section. There is a river by name “Tungabhadra”. Even today we can worship this famous river – It starts from the Indian state of Maharashtra, flows eastwards into the state of Karnataka, subsequently into Andhra Pradesh, and empties into the Bay of Bengal. It is in the banks of this river, lived one person by name Aatma-Deva.
“Yatra varnaah svadharmena sathya sath karma tathparaaha!
Aatma devah pure tasmin sarva veda vishaadharaha!!”
This particular sloka and the subsequent slokas talk about the story of this particular person by name Aatma-Deva. He had a wife by name Dundhuli. This Dundhuli was not a very good woman by nature. However, Aatma-Deva was an extremely good and a pious person. Thus, we can see that these two were extremely opposite to each other in character. This woman was completely money-minded and was running here and there constantly in search of more and more money! In today’s world we are witnessing many such people! But it’s surprising to know that there were such women in those times too! 😊
Anyhow, as this woman was completely business-like and money-minded, her time went only in searching for more and more sources of money. As time went by, these two people never had a child. It was at this point, Aatma-Deva went into a forest. Amidst the dense forest, Aatma-Deva finds a Maharishi (A Saint). He goes to this saint and explains his situation. Aatma-Deva says to the rishi that he is childless for a long time and asks for some solution for this problem. However, the rishi replies to Aatma-Deva thus, “Oh! Aatma-Deva! Why are you longing so much for a child? For the moment, your time is not good for you to have a child. Hence, please be contented with the existing situation! At present, your life is happy and stable without a child. But if you have one, your life might turn miserable. Hence, don’t desire for it!”
However, Aatma-Deva was not mentally prepared to accept this answer from the saint. He replies back to the saint thus, “Oh Maharishi! This is not acceptable for me. Both myself and my wife are mentally prepared to bare a child and any difficulty that comes along with it. I seek your blessing for having a child immediately!” Upon hearing this, the saint didn’t know what to reply back. If a person is mentally blocked to take any advice, nothing much can be done. Hence, the saint takes a fruit, blesses it and asks Aatma-Deva to give it to his wife for eating. Taking the fruit from the saint thus, Aatma-Deva returns home and gives it to his wife.
Normally what should have happened? His wife should have eaten that blessed fruit, bore pregnancy and delivered a child, isn’t it? That didn’t happen! His wife thinks thus, “If I bear pregnancy, I would not be able to do any work. Then how will I earn more money? How will I maintain my beauty? If I become pregnant, my husband would appoint someone as a helper and what if he gets attracted to that helper and goes with her, just because she might be more attractive than me? So given these problems, I feel that only those women who are widows and childless are the luckiest people on earth! Those women who have husbands and children are extremely unlucky!” This is the decision she has come to now!
Deciding thus, she never ate that blessed fruit! Instead, she gave this fruit to the cow that they had in their house! Accordingly, the cow ate the blessed fruit! Now the cow having eaten this fruit, now where is the child? For this, this lady Dundhuli made a tricky plan – She called her sister, who was already pregnant at that time. Dundhuli somehow made an agreement with her pregnant sister thus, “You give me your child secretly without anybody knowing. I have lot of money and property with me. I shall share my property equally with you and your child in return. Let me have this child and give it to my husband Aatma-Deva!”
Now how “smart” is this move? Dundhuli wouldn’t bare the child, but she would take her sister’s child on the pretext of sharing property, and cheat her husband with this child!
Hearing this from “agreement” from Dundhuli, her sister too accepted for the deal, and finally both went to their parents’ place for a few months. However, it should be remembered that the cow at Aatma-Deva’s house had already consumed the blessed fruit. What happens next? Let’s wait for the next episode to find out the thrilling happenings! 😊 Stay tuned! 😊