Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The story of Manasa

Manasâ is the mind-born daughter of Maharsi Kas’yapa; hence she is named Manasâ; or it may be She who plays with the mind is Manasâ. Or it may be She who meditates on God with her mind and gets rapture in Her meditation of God is named Manasâ. She finds pleasure in Her Own Self, the great devotee of Visnu, a Siddha Yoginî. For three Yugas She worshipped S’rî Krisna and then She became a Siddha Yoginî. S’rî Krisna, the Lord of the Gopîs, seeing the body of Manasâ lean and thin due to austerities, or seeing her worn out like the Muni Jarat Kâru called her by the name of Jarat Kâru. Hence Her name has come also to be Jarat Kâru. Krisna, the Ocean of Mercy, gave her out of kindness, Her desired boon; She worshipped Him and S’rî Krisna also worshipped Her. Devî Manasâ is known in the Heavens, in the abode of the Nâgas (serpents), in earth, in Brahmâloka, in all the worlds as of very fair colour, beautiful and charming. She is named Jagad Gaurî as she is of a very fair colour in the world. Her other name is S’aivî and she is the disciple of S’iva. She is named Vaisnavî as she is greatly devoted to Visnu. She saved the Nâgas in the Snake Sacrifice performed by Pariksit, she is named Nages’varî and Nâga Bhaginî and She is capable to destroy the effects of poison. She is called Visahari. She got the Siddha yoga from Mahâdeva; hence She is named Siddha Yoginî; She got from Him the great knowledge, so she is called Mahâ Jñanayutâ, and as she got Mritasamjîvanî (making alive the dead) she is known by the name of Mritasanjîvanî. As the great ascetic is the mother of the great Muni Âstîk, she is known in the world as Âstîka mâtâ. As She is the dear wife of the great high-souled Yogi Muni Jarat Kâru, worshipped by all, she is called as Jarat
Kârupriya, Jaratkâru, Jagadgaurî, Manasâ, Siddha Yoginî, Vaisnavî,Nâga Bhaginî, S'aivi, Nages’varî, Jaratkârupriyâ, Âstikamâtâ, Visahari, and Mahâ Jñanayutâ; these are the twelve names of Manasâ, worshipped everywhere in the Universe. He who recites these twelve names while worshipping Manasâ Devî, he or any of his family has no fear of snakes. If there be any fear of snakes in one’s bed, if the house be infested with snakes or if one goes to a place difficult for fear of snakes or if one’s body be encircled with snakes, all the fears are dispelled, if one reads this stotra of Manasâ. There is no doubt in this. The snakes run away out of fear from the sight of him who daily recites the Manasâ stotra. Ten lakhs of times repeating the Manasâ mantra give one man success in the stotra. He can easily drink poison who attains success in this stotra. The snakes become his ornaments; they carry him even on their backs. He who is a great Siddha can sit on a seat of snakes and can sleep on a bed of snakes. In the end he sports day and night with Visnu.

Friday, 8 October 2010

The Mother and her Divine grace

The princes, who had been invited to the Swayamvaram, won the princess hand in marriage responded to the king "Do not bother to entertain us, O King Subahu. You have passed a sleep lessnight. Go and take some rest."He returned to his castle.Inside the castle, preparations were afoot for the bride's journey to her husband's place. Some friendy princes whispered to the king, "Please don't let the coupleleave the castle now. The enemy, like a pack of hungry wolves, is waiting to pounce upon them.
The king was, naturally, in favour of detaining thecouple. But Sudarshan told him, "O King, don't have any fear for of us. The Divine Mother will protect us. I shall lead your daughter safely to my hut. I've no palace.But my forest is in no way less attractive than any palace.
The king did not like to stand in his way. He bade them farewell. A regiment of his army accompanied them. Even then King Subahu was not without anxiety. He, too, followed them. Outside the town, Yudhajit lay in ambush with his soldiers and a few foolish princes. "Here they come!"He shouted when he sighted Sudarshan's chariot. With his sword drawn, he leaped up from hiding.King Subahu did not take long to recognise his voice. He jumped forward and faced him.
Fighting broke out. Sudarshan, calm and composed, prayed to the Divine Mother calling for Her intervention. Suddenly, to everybody's surprise, there appeared aluminous female figure riding a lion, in the very midst of the battle. Yudhajit's elephants panicked at the sight of the ferocious lion. "Look here, my soldiers, the Divine Mother is here to protect us. Go forward fearlessly and destroy the enemy!"shouted Sudarshan.
What! Should you get frightened at the sight of a woman, a prince without a kingdom, and an old king? Come on, let's crush them!"shouted Yudhajit, addressing his soldiers and the few princess who had joined him. He had hardly finished giving out his call when he was struck by a lethal arrow. He fell down and died instantly. Next to fall was his grandson and Sudarshan's step-brother the young Shatrujit.
Many of Yudhajit's soldiers and collaborators diedat the hands of King Subahu and Prince Sudarshan. The rest fled. Soon all was quiet. Subahu prostrated himself before the Goddess. "Mother! Now that you have come to my rescue so compassionately, be pleased to dwell forever in the city of Kashi. I am told Kashi will remain as long as the earthre mains. My prayer is, you be in Kashi as long as Kashiis there!The Goddess agreed.
Sudarshan and his bride, too, prostrated themselves before the Goddess. "Mother! I would have beenno where but for your Grace.Kindly tell me what I should do now.
"Go to Ayodhya andascend the throne. Rule the kingdom with truth and justice. You'll always have my protection,"said the Goddess.
Those princes who were returning from Kashi got an opportunity to be hold the Goddess. They wereoverwhelmed. After the wondrous vision disappeared, they told Sudarshan, "It is because of you that we had had this fortune. We'll ever remain grateful to you.
Sudarshan and Shashikala took leave of King Subahu and proceeded to Ayodhya. Some of the friendly princes went as their escorts. The news of Shatrujit's death and Sudarshan's victorious march had already reached Ayodhya. The ministers and the nobility organised a grand reception for the prince and his bride.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Stories from Devi Bhagavatam- Hayagriva

Thousands of years ago, there was a forest called Naimisharanya. Part of this forest was untouched by the evils of Kaliyuga the era of falsehood. Many sages had chosen their home in that part of the forest. Among them was the learned Suta, who had grasped the meaning of the eighteen Puranas from Vyasa the author of the Mahabharata and several Puranas .
The sages were distressed with the fear of the Kali and had come to Naimisharanya eager to hear the Puranas. Shounaka, a sage, persuaded Suta to narrate to them the divine auspicious Bhagavatam. He yielded to their request and said, I feel blessed and overjoyed that I have been asked to narrate the meritorious Purana. I bow to Devi Bhagavati, praised by all the gods, including Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. Today, I shall describe in detail and in plain language, the best of Puranas, that contains all the sentiments that a human being can conceive the Srimad Devi Bhagavatam .
Once, Vyasa was touched when he saw two sparrows showering love on their little one. Observing their affection towards their young, Vyasa grew anxious and thought that if birds had so much affection, how much more affection human beings would have for their children. He thought nurturing sons was the highest happiness. He decided to perform penance in order to have a son but didn?t know which god to pray to. The gods told him that they were subservient to the Divine Mother and no one had the powers that she possessed. Vishnu then told him about the powers of the Devi.
Once, Vishnu, the sustainer of the universe, became tired after continuous battle for ten thousand years. Seated under the shade of the tree, Vishnu rested, placing his chin on his bow. Around that time, the devas came to him for his approval for a sacrifice. Finding him asleep, the devas grew anxious. They knew Vishnu would be angry if disturbed. Lord Brahma then created white ants and asked them to eat the front of the bow which was lying on the ground so that the other end would become free and would wake up Vishnu. The white ants did as they were told, but contrary to what the devas expected, instead of waking up Vishnu, the string snapped with a great force and cut off Vishnu's head.
The devas were distressed at the mishap and did not know what to do. Seeing the devas in such agony, Brihaspati, supremely versed in the Vedas, consoled them. He said, It is no use shedding tears over what has happened. The question is how to undo it or turn it to our advantage. Now that this has happened to the mighty Vishnu we can only look up to the Divine Mother the supreme source of all power.The gods sat in meditation and directed their prayers to the Divine Mother. They asked her to restore the life of Vishnu, the husband of Goddess Lakshmi. The Mother appeared before them. She said Nothing happens without a cause. Once Vishnu looked at his beautiful wife, the Goddess Lakshmi and laughed. She wondered what ugliness he had seen in her face. In a moment of annoyance, she wished his head would disappear, without thinking of its effects. Owing to her careless thoughts then, the head of Vishnu has fallen into the ocean. I will fix his head on his body as before. But that is not the only cause for this unusual situation. Once, a horse-headed (Hayagriva) giant practiced penance. I was pleased by his penance. He asked me for a boon that he be immortal. I instead gave him a boon that he would only die only if someone who had a similar physical form faced him in a battle. Sure that another creature like him was impossible, he has now become a terrible menace. It is time someone put an end to the menace. So let Brahma take a horse's head and fix it on the headless body of Vishnu. Then Bhagavan Hayagriva will slay the vicious wicked horse-headed giant, for the good of the devas . Brahma attached the head of a white horse to Vishnu's body and the revived Vishnu entered into battle with Hayagriva and eventually killed him.