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.

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