Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mahatma gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948), also known as Mahatma Gandhi, was born in porbandar in the present day state of gujarat in India on October 2, 1869. He was raised in a very conservative family that had affiliations with the ruling family of Kathiawad. He was educated in law at University College, London. In 1891, after having been admitted to the British bar, Gandhi returned to India and attempted to establish a law practice in Bombay, without much success. Two years later an Indian firm with interests in South Africa retained him as legal adviser in its office in Durban. Arriving in Durban, Gandhi found himself treated as a member of an inferior race. He was appalled at the widespread denial of civil liberties and political rights to Indian immigrants to South Africa. He threw himself into the struggle for elementary rights for Indians
Gandhi remained in South Africa for twenty years, suffering imprisonment many times. In 1896, after being attacked and humiliated by white South Africans, Gandhi began to teach a policy of passive resistance to, and non-cooperation with, the South African authorities. Part of the inspiration for this policy came from the Russian writer Leo tolstoy, whose influence on Gandhi was profound. Gandhi also acknowledged his dept in the teachings of christ and to the 19th-century American writer Henry David Thoreau, especially to Thoreau's famous essay "Civil Disobedience." Gandhi considered the terms passive resistance and civil disobedience inadequate for his purposes, however, and coined another term,satyagraha (from Sanskrit, "truth and firmness"). During the Boer War, Gandhi organized an ambulance corps for the British army and commanded a Red Cross unit. After the war he returned to his campaign for Indian rights. In 1910, he founded Tolstoy Farm, near Durban, a cooperative colony for Indians. In 1914 the government of the Union of South Africa made important concessions to Gandhi's demands, including recognition of Indian marriages and abolition of the poll tax for them. His work in South Africa complete, he returned to India.
Gandhi became a leader in a complex struggle, the Indian campaign home rule. Following World War I, in which he played an active part in recruiting campaigns, Gandhi, again advocating Satyagraha, launched his movement of non-violent resistance to Great Britain. When, in 1919, Parliament passed the Rowlatt Acts, giving the Indian colonial authorities emergency powers to deal with so-called revolutionary activities, Satyagraha spread throughout India, gaining millions of followers. A demonstration against the Rowlatt Acts resulted in a massacre of Indians atAmritsar by British soldiers; in 1920, when the British government failed to make amends, Gandhi proclaimed an organized campaign of non-cooperation. Indians in public office resigned, government agencies such as courts of law were boycotted, and Indian children were withdrawn from government schools. Throughout India, streets were blocked by squatting Indians who refused to rise even when beaten by police. Gandhi was arrested, but the British were soon forced to release him
Economic independence for India, involving the complete boycott of British goods, was made a corollary of Gandhi's Swaraj (from Sanskrit, "self-governing") movement. The economic aspects of the movement were significant, for the exploitation of Indian villagers by British industrialists had resulted in extreme poverty in the country and the virtual destruction of Indian home industries. As a remedy for such poverty, Gandhi advocated revival of cottage industries; he began to use a spinning wheel as a token of the return to the simple village life he preached, and of the renewal of native Indian industries.

Gandhi became the international symbol of a free India. He lived a spiritual and ascetic life of prayer, fasting, and meditation. His union with his wife became, as he himself stated, that of a brother and sister. Refusing earthly possessions, he wore the loincloth and shawl of the lowliest Indian and subsisted on vegetables, fruit juices, and goat's milk. Indians revered him as a saint and began to call him Mahatma (great-souled), a title reserved for the greatest sages. Gandhi's advocacy of nonviolence, known as ahimsa (non-violence), was the expression of a way of life implicit in the Hindu religion. By the Indian practice of nonviolence, Gandhi held, Great Britain too would eventually consider violence useless and would leave India.

The Mahatma's political and spiritual hold on India was so great that the British authorities dared not interfere with him. In 1921 the Indian national congress, the group that spearheaded the movement for nationhood, gave Gandhi complete executive authority, with the right of naming his own successor. The Indian population, however, could not fully comprehend the unworldly ahimsa. A series of armed revolts against the British broke out, culminating in such violence that Gandhi confessed the failure of the civil-disobedience campaign he had called, and ended it. The British government again seized and imprisoned him in 1922.

After his release from prison in 1924, Gandhi withdrew from active politics and devoted himself to propagating communal unity. Unavoidably, however, he was again drawn into the vortex of the struggle for independence. In 1930 the Mahatma proclaimed a new campaign of civil disobedience, calling upon the Indian population to refuse to pay taxes, particularly the tax on salt. The campaign was a march to the sea, in which thousands of Indians followed Gandhi from ahmedabad to the arabian sea, where they made salt by evaporating sea water. Once more the Indian leader was arrested, but he was released in 1931, halting the campaign after the British made concessions to his demands. In the same year Gandhi represented the Indian National Congress at a conference in London.
In 1932, Gandhi began new civil-disobedience campaigns against the British. Arrested twice, the Mahatma fasted for long periods several times; these fasts were effective measures against the British, because revolution might well have broken out in India if he had died. In September 1932, while in jail, Gandhi undertook a "fast unto death" to improve the status of the Hindu Untouchables. The British, by permitting the untouchables to be considered as a separate part of the Indian electorate, were, according to Gandhi, countenancing an injustice. Although he was himself a member of an upper caste, Gandhi was the great leader of the movement in India dedicated to eradicating the unjust social and economic aspects of the caste system.

In 1934 Gandhi formally resigned from politics, being replaced as leader of the Congress party by Javaharlal nehru. Gandhi traveled through India, teaching ahimsa(non violence) and demanding eradication of "untouchability." The esteem in which he was held was the measure of his political power. So great was this power that the limited home rule granted by the British in 1935 could not be implemented until Gandhi approved it. A few years later, in 1939, he again returned to active political life because of the pending federation of Indian principalities with the rest of India. His first act was a fast, designed to force the ruler of the state of Rajkot to modify his autocratic rule. Public unrest caused by the fast was so great that the colonial government intervened; the demands were granted. The Mahatma again became the most important political figure in India.
When World War II broke out, the congress party and Gandhi demanded a declaration of war aims and their application to India. As a reaction to the unsatisfactory response from the British, the party decided not to support Britain in the war unless the country were granted complete and immediate independence. The British refused, offering compromises that were rejected. When Japan entered the war, Gandhi still refused to agree to Indian participation. He was interned in 1942 but was released two years later because of failing health.
By 1944 the Indian struggle for independence was in its final stages, the British government having agreed to independence on condition that the two contending nationalist groups, the Muslim League and the Congress party, should resolve their differences. Gandhi stood steadfastly against the partition of India but ultimately had to agree, in the hope that internal peace would be achieved after the Muslim demand for separation had been satisfied.india and pakistan became separate states. when the British granted India its independence in 1947. During the riots that followed the partition of India, Gandhi pleaded with Hindus and Muslims to live together peacefully. Riots engulfed Calcutta, one of the largest cities in India, and the Mahatma fasted until disturbances ceased. On January 13, 1948, he undertook another successful fast in New Delhi to bring about peace, but on January 30, 12 days after the termination of that fast, as he was on his way to his evening prayer meeting, he was assassinated by a fanatic Hindu.

Gandhi's death was regarded as an international catastrophe. His place in humanity was measured not in terms of the 20th century, but in terms of history. A period of mourning was set aside in the United Nations General Assembly, and condolences to India were expressed by all countries. Religious violence soon waned in India and Pakistan, and the teachings of Gandhi came to inspire nonviolent movements elsewhere, notably in the U.S.A. under the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and in South Africa under Nelson Mandela

Atri maharshi

Atri maharshi and Anasooya

Atri means one who is above trigunas, and functions with a consciousness beyond the three "Kosas". It does not mean that trigunas are nullified in him. It only means that he has gained total control over them and manifests them according to need or occasion. He uses them, but is not affected by either Satwaguna, Rajoguna or Tamoguna, the attributes of Vishnu, Brahma and Maheswara respectively. The Trimurtis are not three different entities but three different aspects of the same Divine essence. An evolved yogi experiences their oneness. This truth is symbolically conveyed in Dattatreya being born to Atri and Anasuya embodying the attributes of Brahma Vishnu and Maheswara. Sage Atri thus signifies a state of consciousness above the physical, mental, and vital planes and is the source of Divine utterance.

The legend regarding Atri’s birth is as follows. Brahma created by the power of His will Saptarishis, the seven great sages to assist Him in the creation of the universe. Atri was one of them . Atri prayed to Brahma to enlighten him about his life’s mission. Brahma told him that He had to be the progenitor of a great soul who would be the saviour of humanity. Atri then retired to the forests to do penance.

Atri’s wife Anasuya was the daughter of Devahooti and Kardama Prajapathi. She, along with her brother and eight sisters, was born as a result of a boon given to her parents by Lord Vishnu. When Kardama requested Atri to marry Anasuya, Atri readily agreed.

Anasuya’s love and devotion for her husband has rightly made her name a byword for wifely chastity. Hearing about her great virtues, Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara once went to Atri’s Ashram to test her. They told Atri that they would accept the couple’s hospitality only if Anasuya serves them food without wearing any clothes. Anasuya thereupon sprinkled saffron rice on them, and they became little infants. She served food in plates and then restored them to their original forms. After they finished eating, she again made them into infants and kept them in a cradle. Lakshmi, Parvathi and Saraswathi visited the Ashram and requested Anasuya to give them back their husbands. Anasuya obliged. Pleased with her chastity, the Trimurthis asked her what boon she would like to have. She said she wanted to be their mother. After some years, Anasuya prevailed on Sati Sumathi to revoke the curse she laid on the Sun. Trimurthis appeared before Anasuya and again asked her what boon she would like to have. She reiterated her earlier wish that she would like to be their mother. They granted that boon to her. While Atri was doing penance in the forest a huge ball of light emanated from one of his eyes and pervaded the universe. As the earth was not able to contain that dazzling light it fell into the sea. Brahma picked it up and wore it on his crown. He said that the light would be born as "Chandra" to Atri and Anasuya and that would merge in the moon when it surfaces from the ocean at the time of its churning by angels and demons in their efforts to obtain nectar.

Atri stood atop mount Ruskha along with his wife and prayed to Parabrahma to bless him with children. So severe was his penance that a huge fire began to pervade the earth. Brahma , Vishnu and Maheswara appeared there and blessed the couple. By their grace Anasuya gave birth to Dattatreya and Durvasa. As Atri was getting ready to resume his severe penance to obtain liberation, Anasuya told him that they should first provide for their sons and advised him to approach emperor Prudhvi for financial help. Atri went to meet the King . The King at that time was performing Aswa Medha yagna. The King requested the sage to accompany his son who was taking the "Yagaswa" on a tour of the country. Atri agreed. On the way twice Indra tried to steal the horse and the Prince was able to get the horse back with the help of Atri. Everyone hailed the triumphant return of the horse and King Prudhvi felt happy. When the King was bestowing gifts, Atri sang his praises. Sage Gautama reprimanded him for praising a human being with words of praise one uses only while singing the glory of God. Both the sages had a heated argument about it and sought clarification from Sanatkumara. Sanatkumara defended Atri’s stand saying that a King is Lord Vishnu in human form and so one is justified in praising him lavishly. Emperor Prudhvi gave Atri many gifts and a large sum of money. Atri used that money to bring up his sons and then went to the forest accompanied by Anasuya.

Scriptures cite many incidents that prove Atri’s spiritual might. Once while the angels were fighting with the demons, Surya and Chandra were seriously injured and collapsed. The entire universe was plunged in darkness and so the angels sought Atri’s help. Atri revived the Sun and the Moon and with the power of his angry looks he killed the demons. The grateful angels praised Atri profusely.

There is a mention of Sage Atri in the Ramayana. During their stay in the forest (Vana vasa) Rama, Sita and Lakshmana visited Atri’s ashram. Anasuya instructed Sita on wifely chastity and presented her with new clothes and many gifts including a small vessel containing holy Kumkum.

Along with sage Viswamithra and sage Kasyapa, Atri also was once faced with a spiritual dilemma. The three were following the oath of "Aparigraha" or non-acceptance of gifts from others. They were subsisting on the fruits they gathered in the forest. There was a severe draught and all the trees in the forest withered away. They could not find a single fruit. They refused the food sent to them by King Vrishadarbhi. They decided to eat the stems of lotus flowers to avoid dying due to starvation. They gathered some stems, kept them on the shore of a lake and were taking a bath in the lake. Lord Indra stole them. When they saw that the stems were missing the three sages announced in a loud voice the consequences of the sin of stealing food. Hearing those words, Indra was scared and gave them back the stems, took them to Indra Loka with Him and felicitated them fittingly.

The most famous among the books written by Atri is Atri Samhitha where Lord Vishnu is hailed as the supreme Deity as "Param Jyothi" "Parandhama" and a detailed instruction is given about how to ritualistically worship Vishnu . Its three sections bear the names of Karma, Pratishta, and Puja.

Atri has written many books on dharmic injunctions also. Atri Smrithi, Laghvathismrithi and Vriddhatrismrithi enjoy equal renown with Manusmrithi May Atri bless the readers of Mihira with health, wealth, prosperity and good progeny

Durvasa maharshi

Durvasa was born to Sati Anasuya and Sage Atri by the blessings of Lord Shiva. He was well known for his short temper.
There is a story in Shrimad Bhagavatam about the confrontation between King Ambarish and Durvasa. Ambarish was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Once, Ambarisha was performing a Vratha and Sage Durvasa arrived at the end of the ceremony. Sage Durvasa was well received by King Ambarisha. Sage Durvasa went to bathe in the nearby river and asked the king to wait until he returned. However, king had to break his fast as the auspicious moments approached and there was no trace of Durvasa. So, on the advice of Sage Vasishta, king Ambarisha broke his fast. Durvasa came to know about it and took offense. He created a demon to kill king Ambarisha. King Ambarisha prayed Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu's Sudarhsana chakra came to the rescue of the king and killed the demon. It continued to chase the Sage Durvasa. Fearing for his life, Durvasa went to Lord Brahma and shiva for protection but was advised to take refuge with Lord Vishnu himself. Lord Vishnu suggested the sage to seek pardon with the knig. Durvasa pleaded the king for mercy and the king prayed to Lord Narayana to recall Sudharshana chakra (wheel) and thus saved the sage.

As per Mahabharata, he gave a boon to Kunti, wife of Pandu, with the help of which she could invoke any Devata of her choice and have his son.Once during Pandava's exile in forest, Sage Durvasa along with disciples visited them. Pandavas were having Akshaya patra which used to give them food daily. But on this occasion, even Draupadi finished her meals and kept the vessel washed clean. Pandavas were well aware of the sage’s short temper and were worried on how to arrange the food for the sage and his numerous disciples. Draupadi prayed to Lord Krishna for help. Lord Krishna asked Draupadi to search for any trace of food sticking to the Akshaya patra. Draupadi found a lone morsel of rice and Lord Krishna ate it. This had satisfied the hunger of the sage and his disciples and they blessed the Pandavas and left.


Sage Bharadwaj was one of the greatest sages the world had seen. He was father of Ayurveda medicinal system. He wrote a book on “Vaimanika Sastra” (Aircraft Technology) several thousand years ago. Shusheela was his wife. Garga Muni and Katyayani were his children. Sage Atreya Punarvasu was his disciple.
He was father of Ayurveda learnt it from Indra and taught to his disciple Sage Atreya Punarvasu who in turn taught this knowledge to Sage Angiras and others
His treatise on aircraft technology is called “Vimanika Sastra” wherein he explained about various types of Aircrafts, their construction methods and development of materials, several thousand years before Wright Brothers. He wrote the Yantra Sarvasva, which covers astonishing discoveries in aviation and space sciences, and flying machines - well before Leonardo DaVinci's time. Some of his flying machines were reported to fly around the earth, from the earth to other planets, and between universes. His designs and descriptions have left a huge impression on modern-day aviation engineers. He also discussed how to make these flying machines invisible by using sun and wind force. Viman Shastra speaks of 31 kinds of machines and their specific places in the plane
Maharshi Bharadwaja discovered different types of light ray.
In ramayana,ramlakshman and sita visits bharadwaja maharshis asram.And they went to chitrakuda(forest),taking his advise to kill asuras.


Maharshi Agastya was son of Pulastya and elder brother of Sage Vasishta. He married daugher of Vidarbha King called Lopamudra also called as Kausitaki and Varaprada. Therayar and Tholkappiar were two of his diciples.
Many mantras of Rig Veda, most ancient text available, were compased by Sage Agastya and his diciples.
One of the earliest treatise on Tamil grammer called Agattiyam or Agastyam was composed by Sage Agastya. Lord Siva himself taught Tamil language to Agastya.

He had many yogic powers and siddhis.. He once turned King Nahusha into a serpent and restored him to his original form afterwards.
He used to stay in a hermitage on mount Kunjara situated south of Vindhya mountains.
He was known to have eaten up a Rakshasa named Vatapi who wanted to kill the Sage with his special powers.
Lord Rama along with Sita devi and Lakshman visited the sage in his hermitage. Agastya accompained Lord Rama to Ayodya on his return.
The Lalitha sahasranama(1000 names of devi,used to chant), which describes the 1000 names of the mother Goddess (Known commonly as Gowri, Parvati or Durga), was first revealed to the world when Hayagriva, a manifestation of Vishnu, taught the same to Agastya.
Agastya is said to have composed the Aditya Hridayam, a hymn to Surya, and taught the same to Rama just before the war between Rama and Ravana.

Once he asked Vindhya mountains, which were growing in height day by day, to facilitate his passage from North to South India. Vindhya mountains obliged the sage and bent low enough to enable him to pass over and promised not rise until Sage returns. Agastya settelled down in the south permanently and true to it's word, Vindhyas nerver grew further.


Markandeya maharshi
Sage Mrikandu with his wife Marudvati, Both were devotees of Shiva. The couple was childless, and so decided to perform austerities so they would be blessed with a child. Then one day, Shiva appeared before them. Shiva asked the couple if they desired an ordinary son who would live a long life, or an exceptional son who would live a short life. The couple asked for the latter.

In due course, Marudvati gave birth to a boy and the child was named Markandeya (literally: son of Mrikandu). Markandeya was an exceptionally gifted child, and became an accomplished sage early in his childhood. He was especially devoted to Shiva, and had mastered the MahamrityunjayaMantra(chanted to prolong life span). At the age of sixteen, his time on this earth had come to an end, and so Yama, death personified, came to take him away. At the time, Markandeya was in a temple worshipping the icon of Shiva (Shiva Lingam). When he saw Yama, out of fright, Markandeya grabbed a hold of the Shiva Lingam and asked Lord Shiva to protect him. Yama threw his noose around the boy-sage, which encircled the Shiva Lingam too.
Suddenly, the Shiva Lingam burst open with a thundering roar and a majestic, fiery form of Shiva appeared out of the blazing light. Enraged that Yama should have the audacity to encircle the Shiva Lingam with his noose, Shiva struck down Kala (Yama is also called Kala, time, since time brings death to all things) with His trident, and Kala was no more. Markandeya was spared from death. Shiva blessed Markandeya with eternal life and proclaimed that he shall forever remain a sixteen-year-old sage. The assembly of Devas who had witnessed the spectacle begged Shiva to revive Yama, as a world without death would put unnecessary burden on the earth. Shiva then revived Yama, and declared that His devotees were forever to be spared from the noose of Yama.
The form of Shiva that appeared to save the boy-sage Markandeya is worshiped as Kalasamhara Murti(kala-timeorlife,samhara-make end)
samhara doesnt considered in a bad aspect,it is the begining of another life cycle(law of nature).
The story of markandeya shows that perfect bhakthi(devotion) can even defeat death.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Parashurama also known as Bhargava Rama:
Sage Rucheeka (son of sage Chyavana) married Satyavathi, daughter of Gadhi, son of Kusika. When Satyavathi wanted children, sage Rucheeka told her that he would create a divine rice pudding, which would give her a child. Satyavathi requested her husband to help her mother too (Gadhi did not have a son and the life and marriage is considered incomplete without a male child). So, Rucheeka meditated on Para Brahma (The Ultimate Principle) and created two vessels with divine rice preparation. He showed her the two vessels and told her that one of them was brahmyam (full of the brahminic energies, Satva guna) and the second was Kshatram (full of the fighting warrior clan’s energies, rajo guna). He told her that after bath, she and her mother should hug a fig tree (Anjeer?) and an Aswattha (Pipal tree, ficus religiosa) respectively and then they should consume the respective rice puddings.

However, due to destiny, the two vessels got interchanged and Satyavathi ate the pudding bearing kshatriya energies and her mother the brahminic one. There is another variant to the story that the mother of Satyavathi interchanged the vessels deliberately because she felt that Sage Rucheeka would give the ‘better’ child to his own wife. Thus jealousy played the part of destiny! Rucheeka saw with his divine vision about the mix up and told his wife that she was bearing a cruel kshatriya foetus in her womb and not a brahminic one. Satyavathi was saddened and requested her husband to prevent the calamity through his yogic powers. He agreed and with his yogic powers transferred the change to his grandson (to the next generation). Satyavathi’s mother carried the brahminic foetus and Viswamitra, also known as Gadheya and Kausika was born. Thus, though born to a Kshatriya King, the soul inhabiting that body was that of a satvik brahmarshi. Satyavathi gave birth to a Brahmin child whom they named Jamadagni. Sage Jamadagni married Renuka and they got five sons including Rama, the incarnation of Vishnu. He was known as Bhargava Rama (to differentiate Him from Dasaratha Rama, Rama the son of King Dasaratha, also an incarnation of Vishnu) and Parashu Rama because His weapon was a divine Parashu, Axe. Thus what Sage Rucheeka foresaw came true. His name is also written as Parashuram and Parasuram etc. Though his name is not as popular as Rama (the son of Dasaratha), a few people do carry his name (I have one friend who is named as Parashuramulu). Sai Ram.

Significance and Purpose of Parashurama Avatar:

All Avatars of Vishnu had only one purpose and that is the protection of Dharma. “Parithranaya Sadhuanam vinasayacha dushkritam, Dharma samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge” assured the Lord (Bhagawad Gita). Whenever adharma was increasing beyond tolerable limits, Lord Vishnu was taking Avatar to clean up the system. While the ten avatars of Vishnu are famous, He took many more Amsha Avatars (part of His energy was sent to the earth while He stayed in Vaikuntha). Sage Kapila (The one who taught Samkhya), Sage Vedavyasa etc. are examples. Lord Dattatreya is an unique avatar of Vishnu incorporating the energies of the Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. The curse of Sage Durvasa and the curse of wife of Sage Bhrigu played a part in Vishnu taking the different Avatars. Parashurama was the sixth avatar among the ten and the pupose was to clean the earth of cruel kshatriya kings who strayed from the path of dharma in Satya Yug. He took revenge of his father’s brutal murder by the sons of Kartaveerya Arjuna, a kshatriya king and relieved the Mother Earth by slaying most of the kshatriya kings of that time. A few like Dasaratha and Janaka were spared and we will try to catch up with that story later. Sage Parashurama is considered a Chiranjeevi (Immortal) and His tenure is supposed to last till Maha Pralaya.

Parashurama obeys father and slays his own mother and brothers:

The following is extracted from the story of sage Jamadagni, which we shared earlier and is reproduced here with minor edits.

As already mentioned, Jamadagni and Renuka got five sons, Rushunvantha, Sushena, Vasu, Viswavasu and Rama (Parashurama). They were growing up nicely. It was the habit of Renuka (a temple and a pond in her honor – Sri Renuka ji is on the way from Ambala to Simla in Himachal Pradesh and is a picturesque spot) to go daily to river and bring water in an earthen pot. Once when the pot slipped from her hands and broke, she just scooped some river sand and shaped it into a pot by her hands, and that held water because of her spiritual powers. (A similar story is told about Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi in Shri Sai Satcharitra that He was watering the plants using raw earthen pots supplied by a disciple named Vaman Tatya and at the end of each day the pots were breaking up and fresh pots were being supplied every day). One day, as fate would have it, she saw a Gandharva king named Chitraradha sporting with his many wives in the river. She stood watching the sport and though at the conscious level she was unaffected, at the subconscious level her mental equilibrium was disturbed (the purer one’s aura is, the easier it is for it to get affected. The wearing of white robes is to remind oneself of utmost care in all the planes of consciousness). That day the moist sand was not getting shaped as pot and she had to return empty handed to the ashram. She realized her error and though she wanted to end her life then and there, as a pativrata, she felt that she had no individual rights over her body, mind and soul and returned to the ashram to allow her husband, her Swami, her Master to deal with the situation as he pleased. That is true egolessness, true surrender, true paativratya. (A similar story of a washerman who was serving Sri Guru (Sri Pada Vallabha) at Kurupuram watching a muslim nawab sporting with his queens in the river and thus getting the seeds of desire to enjoy similar pleasures, being blessed by Sri Guru to be born as a muslim ruler in next birth comes to mind. There Sri Guru tells us that seeds of desire should either be burnt off or allowed to grow and fructify. Karma is done with mind, speech and actions and karmic fruits have to be enjoyed till one reaches that stage of true detachment.). Renuka had to ‘enjoy’ the bitter fruits of her aura contamination because of the seeds of latent desire as we shall see below.

Jamadagni saw with his divine sight what happened and asked his sons to behead her as punishment. By accepting the punishment, one gets purified. The higher the status, the greater the punishment was the rule. The rishis had to set example for others to follow and hence did not allow themselves the slightest benefit of doubt or lenience. The first four sons refused because they could not see through the egoistic filters the true intentions and the powers of their father. The youngest one, Rama (Who was the incarnation of Vishnu) obeyed the father’s command and killed his mother and his brothers too for the sin of disobeying their father’s command. Thus we see that both Ramas (Parasurama and Dasaradha Rama) were great in obeying the commands of father, mother and preceptor. Obeying Guru is the best yagna, best tapas and best sadhana. Obeying Guru (father is the Guru in this case) is the supreme dharma as brought out in Sri Guru Charitra, Sri Sai Satcharitra, Sri Gita and Sri Ramayana etc. Jamadagni was pleased with the obedience of Rama and offered him a boon. Rama asked his father to bring back his mother and brothers to life and the sage obliged! That was the power of the sages in those ages and that is the basis for the dharmic principle that one should not kill unless one can also restore the life! Their tapas gave them that power! The beheaded body of Renuka is worshipped as a Goddess by name Chinna Masta (without head), who is shown holding her own head with her left hand and three streams of blood shooting up representing the three nadis, ida, pingala and sushumna. Renuka was an incarnation of the Goddess Ekavira,

The story did not end there. Parashurama had to ‘enjoy’ the fruits of his karma (obeying the father and Guru is the highest dharma and a guru bhakta does not think whether it is dharma or not, but that does not make him immune from the karma phala – the guru bhaktha just does not think about karma phala, he knows that the Guru will take care of everything).

“Legend has it that when Parashuram killed his mother with an axe at the behest of his father, the axe got stuck to his hands. He roamed all over India visiting holy places to atone for his sins, but the axe remained stuck to his hands. Ultimately, he came to a Kund (lake or pond) known as Brahma Kund, now in Lohit district, on the advice of some sages. He took a dip in the holy water of the Kund and the axe immediately became unstuck and fell from his hands. With a big sigh of relief and venting anger on the axe, he picked it up and threw it as far as he could into the mountains. The axe split the mountains, and the spot where it fell became the source of Lohit River. It was thus that this Kund came to be known as Parashuram Kund and now it is one of the many revered holy spots in the country.”

(Excerpted from http://www.travelchacha.com/cities/arunachal_pradesh/parashuram_kund.html)

The death of Jamadagni:

The mighty king Kartaviryarjuna of Haihaya clan was born with two short and weak hands. The cause of that deformity is another interesting story. Sudarsana Chakra (the mighty weapon of Lord Vishnu) became rather proud of his own powers once and Sri Maha Vishnu cursed Sudarsana to take birth as a human with weak hands. When Sudarsana realized his error (that is the benefit of a curse, to show the ego its error, thus the curses were meant as boons indirectly), Vishnu assured him that he would rejoin Him soon and would become famous. Thus Kartaviryarjuna was born as a cripple but became a great devotee of Sri Dattatreya (the wonderful form of the Trinity in One) and got many boons from Him. He became one of the mightiest kings on earth and punished the mighty Ravana once and Ravana’s grandfather sage Pulastya had to visit Kartavirya and intercede on Ravana’s behalf. One of the boons that Kartavirya got was that when the end comes (anything which has a beginning has to have an end), it should be in the hands of a worthy opponent. To fulfill that boon and as promised to Sudarsana, Sri Maha Vishnu took birth as Parashurama to Jamadagni. Let us now enjoy that story.

Jamadagni had a Kamadhenu named Surabhi (there were similar cows in many other ashrams and of course Indra had it in heaven. The cow was capable of fulfilling all the desires and was being treated with love and respect. Once King Kartaviryaarjuna visited the ashram of sage Jamadagni along with his retinue (it was the custom of the kings to go hunting and visit the ashrams of various sages who were living in the forest). The sages used to play host as per their capacity. When the king visited sage Jamadagni, the whole retinue was treated lavishly with sumptuous food by the grace of Surabhi. The king was impressed and requested the sage to give the holy cow Surabhi to him. The sage declined.

The king was angry and ordered his army to capture the cow by force. At a glance from Jamadagni, Surabhi created a counter army and in the fight that ensued, the king’s army was defeated. This game went on twenty times and each time, the divine army created by Surabhi was victorious. The king lost his patience and killed the sage Jamadagni (so that the divine power of Surabhi is reduced) and started searching for Surabhi, but She was to be seen nowhere. She vanished and went back to heaven.

Renuka wanted to accompany Sage Jamadagni on the funeral pyre. Sage Bhrigu (grandfather of Jamadagni) stopped her and brought her back to life along with the Sage Jamadagni. Parashurama was very angry at the turn of events and killed Kartaviryarjuna in battle (as per the boon given by Lord Dattatreya). When Parashurama returned from the battle and told his illustrious father about it, the sage told him that it was wrong to kill the king of the land (the king is considered to be an amsa of Vishnu and killing the king and exposing the kingdom to anarchy is a sin) and asked his son to go for tirthayatra (a visit to sacred places) for a year to achieve purification. Obeying the order of his father, Parasurama set off on a pilgrimage. Seizing this opportunity, the sons of Kartaviryarjuna killed Jamadagni. Renuka called out to her divine son twenty one times to protect his father. As per the destiny and as per Sun God’s curse, the mother’s calls to her son went unanswered and Jamadagni met his end.

Parashuram carries out the last rites of his parents:

When Parashurama returned, he came to know what happened. Since his mother called out to him twenty one times, he took a vow that he would go around the earth twenty one times and finish off the evil kshatriyas. Renuka was waiting with the body of her husband and asked Parashuram to carry her and his father to Sahyadri and carry out the last rites.

He carried both the parents on his shoulders (like a water pot carrier with them put in baskets hung from a pole) and accompanied by his brothers, went in search of Dattatreya as directed by Renuka. She was in meditation and when the right spot came asked Parashurama to put them down and pointed out the cave where Dattatreya was staying and asked him to go and request Him to guide the last rites.

When Parashurama reached the cave, he found Datta sporting with some damsels and appearing very drunk. When he approached Datta and told Him the purpose of his mission, He cursed him, abused him as a mad man and asked him to get lost! He was not the man that he was looking for and was a drunkard and a womanizer and it was sheer madness on his part to ask Him to help in such matters.

After getting rebuffed a few times like that Parashurama mentioned that his mother Renuka sent him and immediately the whole demeanor of Datta changed. He gave up all pretence of being a drunkard and a womanizer and came out of the cave and paid His respects to the divine mother Renuka. He ably guided Parashurama to carry out the last rites of his parents (Renuka accompanied her husband on the pyre in the true Sati tradition, which unfortunately got so distorted later that it had to be banned!).
Parashurama goes around the earth and kills the Kshatriyas:

Once he completed the last rites of his parents, he took permission from Datta (whom he considered as his Guru) and went around the earth twenty one times and cleansed the earth of the evil kshatriya kings. He collected the blood in a kund (near kurukshetra) and offered tarpan to his ancestors. They appeared to him and suggested that he should give up the path of violence and realize his true nature. Parashurama repented and went to the forests and did great penance. He also went to his Guru and with his blessings, he realized his true nature (Brahma Gyan).
Parashurama’s encounter with Dasaratha Rama and His giving up His bow
After Sri Rama (son of Dasratha) broke the mighty bow of Lord Siva at Mithila, and thus got the hand of Sri Sita, the whole entourage was returning to Ayodhya, when they were met by Parashurama. He was very angry that another person and that too, a Kshatriya dared to bear the same name Rama and then offended His Guru Lord Siva by breaking the bow. He was not willing to listen to the pleas of Dasaratha or Rama and challenged Rama to string His bow if possible or face punishment. Sri Rama accepted the challenge and took Sri Parashurama’s bow and stringed it. The Vishnu Teja got thus transferred to the next incarnation. I am writing this story from memory and errors if any are mine. I found the following version online.
Let us look at his advent in Ramayana, Sage Valmiki’s epic.
In the seventy-sixth sarga of the first kanda, namely the Balakanda, the encounter between Parashurama and Rama is described. When Rama accepts the challenge offered by Parashurama and easily engages the bow of Vishnu, Parashurama knows he is vanquished. He foregoes the fruit of all his penances, the higher worlds, and offers to retire immediately to Mahendragiri in the South of the country.
Bereft of Sri Vaishnavatejas, the sage starts a new a life of austere penance on the slopes of the hill.
Another version has it that when Siva’s bow broke in the hands of Sri Rama, the sound was so loud that it was heard all over the world and reached the ears of sage Parashurama, who understood what it represented with his divine vision. He came to investigate the matter and was greeted by Sri Sita. The sage blessed her with “Deergha Sumangali Bhava” (For a married lady, the husband’s life is of paramount importance). So, when Rama appeared in front of him, the sage could not hurt him because of his boon to Sri Sita. But this does not explain the transfer of Vishnu Teja from Sri Parashurama to Sri Dasaratha Rama.
Differences apart, all the stories are interesting to read and if we understand that God’s amsa (part) is in all of us and we should respect the divinity in each other, the moral of the story would be clear. Sai Ram.

Parashurama’s acquisition of Brahma Vidya from Lord Dattatreya
Sri Tripura Rahasya (see the link http://sss.vn.ua/tripura1.htm ) gives the story of Sri Dattatreya giving Brahma Jnan to His disciple Sri Parashurama. The introduction and first two chapters give a brief account of Parashurama’s devotion to Lord Dattatreya and how Datta Guru gave self realization to him. Since it is written well, I invite the reader to read that portion online or by downloading it to their PC.

Parashurama’s curse of Karna

Parashurama was considered as the greatest warriors of the time because of His great penance to Lord Siva, from Whom He acquired all the great Astras and Sastras plus the great Axe (Parashu) which became a part of His name! His devotion to Siva was so great that even Lord Ganesha allowed Parashurama’s axe to cut off one of His tusks. It seems that when Parashurama was going to Kailas for getting a darshan of Siva and Parvati, Ganesha was obstructing the way and Parashurama got angry and threw his mighty axe at Ganesha. Knowing that He was a great Siva Bhakta, Ganesha allowed the axe to cut off one of His tusks.

Parashurama was the Guru of Bhishma and Drona too. Parashurama taught Bhishma and later at the behest of Amba tried to punish Bhishma but could not. From that time, Parashurama decided that he would accept only Brahmin students. So, when Karna wanted to learn Dhanur Vidya, he approached Parashurama disguised as a Brahmin because he already knew the rule that the sage was accepting only Brahmin students. He was a model student and learned all the Astras and Sastras including the Brahmastra. His education was almost complete when destiny played its role. One day, the sage was sleeping under the shade of a tree with his head in the lap of Karna. A small insect (scorpion as per one version) started boring through the skin of Karna’s thigh. Karna, the valiant warrior that he was, bore the pain silently for the fear of disturbing his guru, but that was his undoing! The blood that seeped out of the wound woke up the sage and he at once realized that Karna was not a Brahmin. The sage asked Karna to tell the truth and Karna had to admit that he was not a Brahmin. The sage cursed Karna that all the Astras and Sastras will desert him (he will forget the mantras related to them) in his hour of need. Thus when his end came near, Karna was left without the powerful Brahmastra that he learned so diligently from Sage Parashurama.

Karna, who was himself unaware of his royal lineage (he came to know that much later), pleaded with his Guru that any student in his place would have acted the same way. While he regretted cursing Karna in a moment of anger, Parashurama's curse was irrevocable. He, gifted Karna with a celestial weapon called Bargavastra along with Parashurama's personal bow called Vijaya and blessed him that in the end, Karna would achieve what he wanted the most- an everlasting glory and greatness.
Parashurama’s appearance to a modern day sage in 20th century and restoration of the practice of Agnihotra

Chyavana maharshi

Chyavana maharshi
Bhrigu Maharshi married Khyathi, daughter of Kardama Prajapati (we hear his name in Sri Suktam – Kardamena praja bhuta mayi sambhava Kardama …(and will try to know more about him at the appropriate time), another lady named as Usana and Puloma (we hear this name in Sri Lalitha Sahasra Nama Stotra – Pulomajarchita, Pulomaja referring to Sachi, consort of Indra - again let us hope we can learn about that more later). Puloma became pregnant in due course. Asking her to prepare Agni for Homa, the Maharshi went to the near by river, for bath. Puloma, who was advanced in pregnancy, was in the fire house (there were separate rooms for keeping the fire going all the time in those times). A demon also named as Pulom came there and was bedazzled by the beauty of Puloma and was interested to know more about her, but was scared. So, he asked the fire god Agni, who she was and demanded that Agni be truthful. Agni was in a dilemma. If he told him the truth, he might face the curse of the Sage and if he did not tell the truth, he would incur the sin of telling him an untruth. He felt that it was better to face the wrath of the sage and the consequences of his curse than to incur the sin of untruth. He felt that it was better to face the wrath of the sage and the consequences of his curse than to incur the sin of untruth..

So Agni told the demon Pulom that the lady was Puloma, chaste wife of Sage Bhrigu. Hearing that, the demon claimed that he had been in love with that lady earlier it self and her parents did not give her hand to him and instead gave her to Bhrigu. He felt that luck smiled at him and he decided to take her as his wife (by force obviously). So saying, the demon took the shape of a boar and carried away the frightened and crying Puloma. Rakshasa vivaha was accepted as one of the several ways of vivaha in those times. The tears from her eyes became a river, named Vadhusara by Lord Brahma.

The baby inside her womb got angry and came out of the womb (or slipped out), and looked at the demon with sharp and angry eyes. And looks could burn and looks could kill in those days! The demon was reduced to ashes. (The story is also an allegory to the burning of our desires to ashes when confronted with the Brahma Jnana – jnanagni daghda says Gita). Puloma carried the baby and returned to the ashram. He became famous as Chyavana because he slipped out from the womb (the Sanskrit word chyut and chyavan have some common meaning it appears).

Sage Bhrigu returned to his ashram and found his wife with the newborn and bright child. On enquiry, he came to know that it was Agni who let out her identity to the demon Pulom. Sage Bhrigu cursed Agni to become a Sarvabhakshaka (Omnivorous). Agni pleaded with the Sage that he could not do any thing except tell the truth and though Agni could curse the sage back did not do so out of respect to the sage and withdrew. Agni felt that he could not be the channel for carrying the havis to the celestial gods because his purity was affected. (A mind devoid of the discriminating intellect becomes the omnivorous Agni and contaminates the surroundings and the intellect). Because of Agni withdrawing from his duties, all the yagnas and yagas stopped and there was chaos. Lord Brahma was approached by the celestial gods for a solution. Brahma called Agni and assured him that even though the curse of Sage Bhrigu could not be reversed, there would be no sin and no impurity attached to Agni because of his eating every thing. Thus Agni was pacified and his purity restored. (Again it is a symbolic way of saying that a true jnani is like Agni and jnanagni will consume every thing and still remain pure. Once the sense of doership is got rid of and the ego becomes a true instrument, it is freed from all attachments and contaminations).

The child Chyavana grew up and after upanayana samskara (the thread ceremony) mastered all Vedas and Vedangas, took permission from parents, went to Vaidurya mountain area and settled near a lake called Payoshni (body temperatured, luke warm) for tapas (intense meditation). He entered Samadhi (a state of super-consciousness) and an ant hill grew around him. Creepers also covered that ant hill and thus his presence was not known to any one. Thousands of years passed this way.

The visit of King Saryati:
King Saryati came to that area accompanied by his 4000 wives and a big army. They set up camp there and the king and his family enjoyed a dip in the lake. Saryati’s daughter Sukanya was a young and beautiful damsel and she was attracted to a glow from the anthill (the eyes of the Sage were glowing or his aura was glowing). She thought that there were some fire flies and in order to see them better got the anthill dug up. Imagine the surprise and shock when they found the sage there with half closed eyes in taposamadhi. His body was old and was almost looking like a skeleton. She and the other people ran away from that spot out of fear, but the fruits of karma cannot be escaped from by running away.

Sage Chyavana’s tapas got disturbed and due to his power, the whole army was affected (their toilet functions were stopped). The king realized that there was some mistake on their part and asked every one but none of them had any answer. The king and his army were sad and did not know what to do. At that time, Sukanya approached her father and told him about the sage emerging out of the ant hill and her running away from that area out of fear. She asked the king whether that could be the fault and the reason for the problem. King Saryati went immediately to that place and saw the old sage glowing with the aura of long tapas. He prostrated before the sage and confessed what his daughter has done and asked the sage to forgive his daughter and pleaded for mercy.

Marriage of Sukanya with Chyavana:
Sage Chyavana asked King Saryati to offer his daughter in marriage as a penance for the sin committed. The king felt that it was a good fortune that his daughter was becoming the wife of such a great sage and so offered her hand in marriage to the sage immediately and leaving her there, returned to his kingdom.

There is another version of this story that I either read somewhere or saw in a movie long ago. That story has it that Sukanya saw two bright lights through the openings of the ant-hill and out of curiosity, poked the two lights with some sharp blade of grass. The sage became blind and because of that the king also became blind. Sukanya repented and offered to take care of the blind sage by marrying him and the sage restored the king’s eyesight.

Sukanya felt that she was indeed fortunate to serve such a great sage as his sahadharmacharini and was serving her husband faithfully. She did not, even for a moment think of herself as being affected by bad luck in that she was married to a man who was old and thus was incapable of fulfilling the marital dharma. This steadfastness of her mind attracted the attention of the celestials. This is important because the truly brave face the consequences of their karma and take that as a blessing, as a true Prasad from God. With such an attitude, a curse becomes a boon and in the absence of that, a boon becomes a curse. Let us see what happened next.

Aswini Devatas visit Sukanya:
The celestial physicians (Vaidyas) named as Aswininkumaras (also called Ashwini Devatas) got attracted by Sukanya’s beauty and her Pativrata dharma. They came to the ashram of the Sage to see Sukanya and test her steadfast dharma. Sage Chyavana was not present at that time, but Sukanya worshipped the Celestial Vaidyas as befitting Atithis (honored guests). They identified themselves and asked her (as if they did not know) who she was. Sukanya gave out her story in all humility. The divine doctors started laughing in a teasing way and exclaimed: “Oh, what a fate? You, so young and so beautiful forced to live with an old man and thus are wasting your youth. Even now, it is not too late! Select one of us who is young and who is fit to be your husband and we will ensure that you are happy with that person.”

Sukanya closed her ears with her palms and told them that she was a Hindu Pativrata and that she married Sage Chyavana of her own accord and she had accepted him in toto, with all his physical defects of age. She also reminded them that once she has accepted him as her husband, her mind cannot go to any one else, and their words were not befitting their own divine stature and were not to be uttered in front of a Pativrata.

On his arrival from his bath etc., Sukanya informed her husband Sage Chyavana of the visit of Ashwini Devatas and the conversation. Sage Chyavana was highly pleased with the steadfast devotion of Sukanya and wanted to bless her. So, he asked her to contact the Celestial Physicians and ask them to get her a good husband. They came and went to the Payoshni Lake for a dip. (The whole event was pre-ordained and Sage Chyavana knew and influenced the whole event with his yogic powers). When they submerged themselves in the lake waters, he too entered the lake and then the three of them emerged as identical looking young men and stood in front of her. They asked her to choose one of them as per her will. Sukanya could see Sage Chyavana among the three due to her divine powers and she obviously chose him.

Chyavana Maharshi was very happy and wanted to bless the Ashwini Devatas for the gift of the youth. He promised them that he would make them drink the divine nectar offered in yagna (to which they were not eligible - that is another story, and we will share that at another time!), not withstanding the Celestial King Indra’s objections. Ashwinikumaras were very happy and took leave of the sage and returned to their divine abode.

It is clear that the sage wanted to do a good turn to the two divine physicians and hence arranged for the whole drama. Otherwise, he was perfectly capable of restoring his physical body with his own yogic powers acquired through thousands of years of tapas. Also, we learn the lesson that a gift or favor should be returned by another suitable gift as per our capacity. See how the drama unfolds.

King Saryati’s yagna and the fulfillment of Chyavana’s promise to Ashwinikumaras:

King Saryati came to know of the miraculous transformation in his son-in-law Sage Chyavana and visited the couple to see for himself. The sage welcomed the king and asked him to take up a yagna which wold be good for the king’s welfare. He asked the king to arrange all necessary things.

The king accepted the advice of the sage and started the yagna. When Sage Chyavana got ready to offer Soma, the divine drink to Ashwini Devatas, the celestial god Indra manifested himself there and objected and reminded the Maharshi of their ineligibility. (Aswini Devatas were treated as second-class citizens in those days.)

Indra’s pride pricked:
The sage did not heed to the objections of Indra and went ahead and gave the drink to the twins. Indra got angry and lifted his right arm to strike the sage with his Vajra weapon (I feel that it was not the Vajrayudha of the fame since the latter was formed from the spine of Dadhichi, who was not yet born by then, so it could have been some other weapon – it does not really matter since the impropriety of a king raising his hand against an unarmed Brahmin is brought out in the story). The sage made Indra’s raised hand freeze in that raised position and immediately performed a homa to finish off the celestial king! It is noteworthy to understand that Bhrigu and all the sages in his lineage were very powerful and also rather short tempered! But the qualities were in the end beneficial to the society. Out of the homa, a demon named Mada (lust, indolence) was born, a demon with tremendous strength. The demon was advancing towards Indra and he could not do any thing because his hand was frozen. He realized the greatness of the sage and fell at his feet and requested forgiveness for his mistake. He also assured that from that time, the Ashwini Twins would be treated on par with all other gods and will get their due share in the Soma etc.

The sage accepted the apology of Indra and lifted his mental hold on the frozen shoulder and allowed him to depart to Heaven. The demon asked the sage to show a suitable place for him to stay and to feed. The sage gave the demon the following: Hunting (violence), Women (sexual pleasure), Gambling (trying to get more than what one deserves) and Drink (intoxication, trying to forget oneself and trying to attain bliss through the wrong means) as his place of residence, indicating that these pleasures without discrimination will become the inner demons of a man and will become the master instead of being a servant. The story has good morals. One can indulge in any thing as long as one has control over the activity and is not addicted to that. Mind should be our slave and not the other way round. Indra represents our individual ego that enjoys the sense pleasures. Indra gets stuck in the lower astral planes of senseless sensual pleasures and is freed only by the grace of saints (satsang). If the grace is missing, the ego gets controlled by forgetfulness, indulgence etc. and is a slave to the demonic forces. That is the moral of the story.

Well, the story ended happily and the Ashwini Twins had their parity restored and went happily to heaven. The Vaidurya mountain area came to be known as Archeeka mountain from that time.

Chyavana blesses Sukanya with progeny:
Sage Chyavana was highly pleased with his wife Sukanya and one day told her that he was pleased with her devotion and he would bless her with three sons. They would be named as Dadheechi (from whose body, spine the Vajrayudha was made to help the gods in their battle with the asuras, the demonic forces), Pramathi and Apravan. After a few years, Sage Chyavana left the house for Teertha Yatra (pilgrimage to sacred rivers, in fact, he went there to purify the rivers, teerthi kurvanti teerthani is the saying – the river becomes sacred when a holy man comes near and touches it or takes bath in it).

His Jala Samadhi at Prayag:
In the course of his pilgrimage, Sage Chyavana reached Prayag where Ganga and Yamuna merge. He entered the river and stayed under water in a state of super-consciousness. A big group of fish surrounded the sage and was in total peace with him. The sage also was at ease with the fish around him and stayed thus for twelve years. One day, a group of fishermen came to that place and threw big nets into the river. Along with the fish, the sage also was caught in the nets and the fishermen were surprised to see the sage along with the fish. The fishermen were frightened and fell at the feet of Sage Chyavana and requested for his forgiveness. They also asked him to give them further directions.

The sage reassured them that they did do not anything wrong and since he was part of the catch, they should sell him for a suitable price. The fishermen did not know what to do and went to their king Nahusha and reported the whole matter and requested the king to come and take care of them.

King Nahusha comes to meet Sage Chyavana:
King Nahusha came to see the sage along with his ministers and other staff. He prostrated himself at the feet of the sage and expressed remorse at the actions of the fishermen and requested the sage to guide them further. The Sage Chyavana replied: “Oh King! What is there to feel bad? The fishermen did nothing wrong and were simply doing their duty. There is no mistake from their side. Now listen to my advice. Since I am their catch, they should be compensated and I suggest that you compensate them suitably.”

The king was happy that the Sage was not angry with him or the fishermen and ordered his ministers to pay the fishermen a thousand madas (some gold coins of that era). The sage heard that and told the king and the ministers to pay a fair and just price to the fishermen. The king went on increasing and finally offered the whole kingdom, but the sage simply asked the king to sit and confer with the ministers and decide the fair compensation.

The king and the ministers were wondering what to do when would great wise man named Kavi Jatha came that way and he assured the king that he will fix the suitable price for the sage and asked them not to worry. The king and the ministers were very happy and were a relieved a lot. Then Kavi Jatha said, “The value of a cow and a Brahmin is equal. Lord Brahma made cow as the cause of all havis in yaga and the Brahmin as the head of all mantras. No one can fix the price of a Brahmin or a cow. So, offer a cow instead of the sage to the fishermen.” The king was pleased and went to the sage and told the sage that he was incapable of fixing the rate for him and instead would offer a cow to the fishermen. The sage was very happy to hear this and said: “Oh king!
I am glad that the proper value has been fixed. The cow is holy and contains Agni and Amrit (the heavenly nectar). It is fit to be worshipped even by the gods. I am pleased with your decision. So, give a cow to the fishermen.”

So, the king gave a good cow to the fishermen. They accepted the cow and then went to the sage and bowed to him and pleaded with him that he had been very kind to them and so he should kindly accept the cow from them. The sage was pleased with their devotion and agreed. He also sent them along with the caught fish to heaven. The king and the ministers were wonderstruck at the powers of the sage.

Sage Chyavana was highly pleased with king Nahusha and blessed him with two boons: a stead fast devotion to the path of dharma and an honor equal to Indra, the king of gods. In course of time, King Nahusha did become king of the celestial gods (Indra is the king of celestial gods).

Sage Chyavana and the Kusika Clan:
Once when he was in the Court of Lord Brahma, the sage heard that his clan would get contaminated by the kshatriya clan of King Kusika and he wanted to prevent that. So, he went to the kingdom of Kusika. The king received the sage with great devotion and worshipped him. The king asked the sage to rule them and offered to serve the sage along with his wife (It appears that the king had some supernatural inkling of the intentions of the sage and hence was exceptionally polite and humble to disarm the sage’s anger). Chyavana Maharshi told the king that he had taken up one special vrata (a vow taken for a specific period, with specific features) for the welfare of the world and in that connection, he had come to them. The king and his wife were very happy and the king pledged total support. They installed the sage in a nice spot. It was becoming dark and after finishing his ablutions etc., the sage had a good dinner. He then told the king that he was going to sleep and that the king and his wife should each keep pressing his feet while he was asleep. So saying, the sage laid himself down to one side in the king’s bed and went to sleep. The king and his wife went on pressing each the sage’s feet and this process went on for 21 days (the king and his wife were yogic adepts to be able to stay awake and not move from the place for food or other bodily functions).

At the end of twenty one days, the sage woke up and started walking briskly out of the city. The king and the queen tried to keep pace with the sage but because of their lack of food and lack of sleep, could not. The sage disappeared and the royal couple was totally distraught. They returned to their place and found Sage Chyavana sleeping on the other side of the bed. They were very happy and again got down to their duty of pressing the sage’s feet. The sage slept again for twenty one days and again the royal couple stayed awake for the total time, without food etc.

On the twenty second day, sage Chyavana woke up and wanted that he should be given a head bath in the traditional way (oil massage and then hot water with soapnut shampoo etc.) and asked them to make every thing ready in the space of a ghatika (twenty four minutes) and vanished. He came back in that time and found them ready without the slightest trace of anger or resentment in their minds. The sage was pleased and had the traditional oil head bath. After that, King Kusika arranged a sumptuous meal for the sage and invited the sage for partaking of the food. The sage looked at the king and the food and without a word disappeared from the spot. The king could not say anything or do anything. And he could not eat without the sage. That day went off like that.

The next morning Chyavana manifested himself in front of the king and made a strange request. “Oh King, get the chariot ready. You and your wife should take the position of the horses and while you both are pulling the chariot, I should go around the city. While I am going around thus, see that gold, diamonds and other precious stones, horses and cows are be freely distributed to those who ask. Take care!”

The king made all the arrangements and took position along with his consort at the head of the chariot and the sage became the charioteer. While the chariot was being thus pulled, he was goading them and prodding them with a thorn tipped prod thus causing them to bleed. They did not protest and continued with the journey through the streets of that city. The onlookers were surprised at the luster of the sage and at the guru bhakti of the king and the queen. The sage also was surprised and satisfied greatly at the calm attitude of the royal couple. After some time, the sage got down from the chariot and removed the ropes etc. that tied the king and the queen to the chariot and gently rubbed their bodies all over with his hand. Lo and behold! All the injuries, all the tiresomeness left the bodies and the king and the queen felt totally fresh and energetic. The king was happy beyond description and bowed to the sage’s feet and praised his yogic powers. The sage asked the king to return next day to the riverbank where he was going to reside. The king bowed and left.

Next morning, the king and the queen reached the riverbank and found a huge palace with so much of beauty and grandeur. They entered and found the sage seated in a nice luxurious bed. Suddenly the place disappeared and they found the sage seated in a forest clearance. The king praised the powers of the sage to his queen. In the meantime, the sage called the couple closer to him and said to the king. “Oh king, I am satisfied at the control you have over your senses and the mind. I am pleased with you. Ask for any boon and I will give you!” The king bowed and said, “Oh God, you are like the Agni. If you are pleased with us that is the best boon and what more can I ask you? However, since you are pleased with me, please clarify this doubt of mine. The first twenty one days, you slept on one side of the bed and the next twenty one days, you slept on the other side of the bed. I am unable to understand why you did that. Please tell us the reason with kindness and benevolence.”

Sage Chyavana blesses King Kusika:
Sage Chyavana said: “Oh King! Once I attended the court of Lord Brahma and He mentioned that the Bhrigu and Kusika clans will get intermixed and I did not want that. (Bhrigu was a Brahmin and Kusika was Kshatriya, the ruler clan). So, I came to your place with the pretext of a special vrata and wanted to destroy your clan. I was looking for the slightest opportunity for a slip from your side so that I can curse your clan! However, I found that you are free from the slightest trace of lack of courage, anger and other negative qualities. I also showed you the grandeur of a big palace. You did not waver and were firmly established in the respect for a Brahmin (the qualities of Brahma Nishtha are fully established in you). Oh King, your grandson will become fully established as a Brahmarshi and will become famous all over the universe!” (He will be known as Kausika and Viswamitra).

The king was very happy and bowed to the sage and asked him to tell a few more details of the future. The sage continued. “Oh King! Listen. My son Ruchika will marry Satyavathi, daughter of Gadhi, who is going to be born to you. When Satyavathi wants children, he tells her that he will create a divine rice pudding, which will give her a child. Satyavathi will request her husband Ruchika to help her mother too (Gadhi did not have a son and the life and marriage is considered incomplete without a male child). So, sage Ruchika meditated on the Para Brahma (The Ultimate Principle) and created two vessels with the divine rice preparation. He showed her the two vessels and told her that one of them is brahmyam (full of the brahminic energies. Satva guna) and the second Kshatram (full of the fighting warrior clan’s energies, rajo guna). He tells her that after bath, she and her mother should hug a fig tree and a Ragi tree respectively and then they should consume the respective rice puddings.

However, due to destiny, the two vessels get interchanged and Satyavathi eats the kshatriya energy bearing pudding and her mother the brahminic one. There is another story that the mother of Satyavathi interchanges the vessesls deliberately because she feels that Sage Ruchika will give the ‘better’ child to his own wife. Thus jealousy played the part of destiny! Ruchika sees with his divine vision about the mix up and tells his wife that she is bearing a cruel kshatriya foetus in her womb and not a brahminic one. Satyavathi is saddened and prays to her husband to prevent the calamity through his yogic powers. He agrees and with his yogic powers transfers the change to his grandson (to the next generation).

Thus a brahminic sage Jamadagni will be born to Ruchika and the kshatriya energies take shape when Jamadagni gets son Rama in due course of time (Who becomes famous as Parashu Ram). Satyavathi’s mother gives birth to a wonderful child who is full of brahma teja (satvik qualities). Thus, though born as a king, Kusika’s grandson variously known as Gadheya, Kausika and Viswamitra becomes world famous for his qualities as a Brahmarshi.” (We will learn more about him when we take up his story in detail.)

After sharing the future like that, Sage Chyavana takes leave of king Kusika and continues with his pilgrimage.

Chyavana visits Sri Rama and encourages him to kill Lavanasura:
When Sri Rama was ruling Ayodhya, Sage Chyavana, accompanied by Marichi, Kasyapa and other sages, reached there and stood waiting at the outer gates. Sumantra, the able Minister of Sri Rama, went to the king and informed him of the arrival of these great sages from the Yamuna region. Sri Rama went to the sages with respect and humility and bowed to their feet, escorted them inside and worshipped them with due formalities. The sages too offered the sacred waters of river Yamuna and good fruits to the king and blessed him. Sri Rama addressed the sages thus: “Oh great sages! I am indeed blessed by your darshan and I offer myself with every thing that is mine (my brothers, servants, ministers, wealth etc., in short every thing that is mine) to you. Please order this servant of yours!”

The sages were immensely pleased and Sage Chyavana addressed Sri Rama as follows: “Oh King Ram! In Krita Yug, one Daitya called Madhu, who was full of good qualities though born in the Dithi clan (most of them were full of demonic and asuric qualities) did a great tapas to Lord Siva for thousands of years. Lord Siva was pleased with the tapas of Madhu and manifested Himself in front of Madhu and (at his request), gave a replica of His Trishul (The Trident) and addressed him thus: “Oh my good devotee!, in any battle, The Trident will destroy your enemies and will come back to you. The moment you stray from the path of dharma, the Trident will leave you and will return to Me.” Madhu accepted the Trident and after bowing to Lord Siva requested Him for another boon. “Oh Lord! Please allow this great Trident to protect me and my clan also in future.” To that plea, Lord Siva agreed with one condition that Madhu’s son also would have the Trishul with him and would be undefeated in any battle as long as he is with the Trishul and the day he went into a battle without the Trident, he would get killed and the Trident would return to Siva in Kailas.

After finishing his tapas, Madhu married the beloved sister of Ravana called Kumbinasa and begot a son Lavana (salt, shining), who, as destiny would have it was full of the demonic, asuric qualities. Madhu was disgusted with the demonic behavior of his son and tried to teach him to tread on the path of dharma. Finally when he was leaving, he gave the Trident to his son with these words: “Son, this great and powerful Trident is given by Lord Siva Himself. As long as it is with you, in your hands and by your side, no one can do any harm to you. So, don’t forget this Trident and don’t leave the path of dharma.” After making Lavana as king and giving him the sacred Trident, Madhu entered the ocean (this voluntary giving up of one’s body was in vogue in those days and Sri Ram also follows the same tradition when the time to give up His body comes – it is not suicide in that the soul is perfectly satisfied with the life span and has no desire, fear, anger etc. at the time of leaving the body – it is like vacating the house willingly, where as suicide is running away out of fear and is considered a great sin).

Once he was crowned as the king, Lavana became even more demonic and started troubling the sages like us much more. He started torturing the gods and the men alike. Oh Rama, you are the protector of the meek and the helpless and so we have come to inform you of Lavana’s misdeeds and to request you to destroy Lavana and protect us. To you, who killed Ravana, this is not a big task at all.”

Rama assured the sages that he would destroy the demonic Lavana and sent them on their way. He then called his brother Satrughna (literally means destroyer of enemies) and told him that he was sending him to destroy the demon Lavana and since the kingdom could not be left without a king after Lavana’s death, he also declared Satrughna as the king of Madhupuri, the kingdom of Lavana then and there. (Rama did the same with Sugriva and with Vibhishana also. He did the Abhsishek in advance signifying that the victory was definite).

Satrughna left with an army and camped on the way at the Ashram of sage Valmiki. He introduced himself as the brother of Sri Rama (whose life story Ramayana was written by Sage Valmiki) and that he was on his way to Madhupuri to kill the demon Lavana. He requested the sage to allow him and the army to stay the night there and requested for permission to leave the next morning to continue the journey. Valmiki was happy to see Satrughna and treated the honored guest with fruits etc. That same night, Janaki (Sita), who was staying there incognito (only Sage Valmiki knew her real identity, to others she was known as Vanadevi, Goddess of the forest), gave birth to twins, Lava and Kusa. The sage informed Strughna of the good news (it is not clear whether he told him about their real identity, and if he had, he would have done in private and would have sworn him to secrecy since Satrughna did not inform Sri Rama of this event.)

Satrughna took leave of Sage Valmiki and after a few more days reached the river Yamuna and went to the ashram of Sage Chyavana. Again he stayed that night there and while informing the sage of his mission, asked him thus: “Oh Mahatma! You were mentioning when you visited Sri Rama that Lavana was a great warrior and has destroyed several kings. Pl. tell me more about him and whom he killed with his Trident.”

Sage Chyavana addressed Satrughna thus. “Oh great one, listen. The list of kings killed by the Trident of Lavana is so long. The famous and courageous emperor Mandhata was killed by this weapon only. Mandhata was so courageous that he won over many kings of this earth and then went to attack the King of Heaven Indra. Indra knew that it was impossible to defeat Mandhata and said to him, “Oh emperor, you should come here only after defeating all kings on earth. As of now, you are yet to defeat Lavana, the son of Madhu, so how can you claim that you have conquered all the kings? Come here after defeating Lavana.” Shamed thus, Mandhata returned to earth and reached Madhupuri with his army and sent a courtier inviting Lavana for war. Lavana got furious and killed the messenger. Mandhata entered the court of Lavana and challenged Lavana to wage war with him. (He was probably unaware of the Trident of Lavana or was over confident of his own prowess in battle forgetting the divine qualities of the Trident). Lavana threw the Trident towards Mandhata and he was reduced to ashes along with his army. Satrughna, when Lavana is with the Trident, he is unconquerable. So, don’t meet him now. Tomorrow you will kill Lavana. Tonight, take rest here.” The sage obviously knew the future (as shown earlier also when he told Kusika about the birth of the grandson). Satrughna took heed of the advice of the sage and spent the night there, and next morning crossed the river and reached Madhupuri.

Satrughna kills Lavana in battle:
Satrughna camped outside Madhupuri and awaited Lavana. Lavana left early morning for hunt and returned by noon with his bounty and was about to enter the city. Satrughna stopped him there and told him that he was Satrughna, brother of Sri Rama and challenged him to war with a shower of arrows. Lavana was furious and tried his best to avoid the arrows of Satrughna and enter the city to retrieve his Trident. Satrughna did not allow those efforts to succeed and killed Lavana with the special Astra given to him by Sri Rama. Once Lavana fell in the battle, the gods showered flowers on Satrughna in appreciation.

Thus Sage Chyavana occupies a stellar spot in the world of sages. Reading or listening to this story is very good for one’s spiritual benefit.

The Ayurvedic preparation Chyavanaprash made his name famous all over the country and even the world. It is full of antioxidants and arrests aging and degenerative diseases. Remember Sage Chyavana and offer your prayers before taking it for even more benefit.