Sunday, 29 July 2018

Sacred Places of Pilgrimage - Vamana Purana Part-9

AUSHANAS TIRTHA
Describing about the greatness of Aushanas, the most sacred place of pilgrimage, Lomaharshan narrates the following tale- "During Treta Yuga, Lord Rama had killed many demons while he was in exile. Once, while he was living in Dandak forest, he had severed the head of a wicked demon with his Kshura arrow. The severed head of the demon was carried by the arrow for quite a distance and coincidentally it got stuck on the thigh of sage Rahodar. It became very difficult for him to perform his religious duties. Bad smell emanating from the severed head was unbearable. Some sages advised him to pay a visit to Aushanas to become free from his problem.

Image result for TIRTHA sthanaRahodar went to Aushanas and as soon as he touched the holy water of the river, the severed head got detached and fell in the river. Delighted, he went back to his hermitage. From that day, Aushanas also came to be known as Kapalmochan.

VASHISHTHAPAVAH TIRTHA
The sages asked Lomaharshan about the origin of Vashishthapava Tirtha and about the reason why sage Vashishtha was carried along by the powerful current of Saraswati river. Lomaharshan said- "There was great rivalry between sage Vashishtha and sage Vishwamitra. In course of time, it turned into a bitter enemity. Vashishtha had his hermitage at a place called Sthanu Tirtha and Vishwamitra's hermitage was situated just towards the west of it. Vishwamitra was jealous of Vashishtha's accomplishment."

Story of Lord Bali - Vamana Purana Part-8

Lomaharshan told the sages- "Bali was the descendant of Virochan and the son of Hiranyakashipu. After his father's death, he defeated the deities and drove them out from their abodes. Very soon, all the three worlds were under his control. He was a virtuous king and so were his subjects. During his reign, every corner in his kingdom would be abuzz with religious activities. As a result, the whole world became devoid of sin."

Related imageOne day, Goddess Lakshmi arrived and said- "O brave king of the demons! I am pleased by your valiance with which you fought and vanquished the deities. This is the reason why I have come on my own will to bless you." After saying this, Goddess Lakshmi merged with his body. This way, Bali acquired all the splendours of the world.

The sages asked- "How were the deities able to defeat Bali and why did Lord Vishnu take the incarnation of Vamana?" Lomaharshan replied- "After being defeated by Bali, Indra went to Meru Mountain where his mother Aditi lived and narrated the woeful tale of the deities' defeat. Aditi took her husband's (Kashyapa's) advice in this regard. Kashyapa thought that only Lord Brahma could solve their problem. So, he went to Brahma loka accompanied by the deities.

Tales of King Kuru and Kurukshetra - Vamana Purana Part-7

In course of time, Tapti gave birth to a son, who possessed all the signs of royalty. After growing up, he mastered all the four Vedas and other scriptures within a very short period. At the raw age of 24, he became a scholar. When he attained marriageable age, he was married to Saudamini- the daughter of Sudama. Later on, he was appointed as the successor by his father, Samvaran.

Image result for king kuru mahabharataAfter becoming the king, Kuru ruled his subjects in a just manner but very soon he got bored of his monotonous life. He knew that only those kings became immortal who accomplished amazing feats. He decided to do something for which people would remember him. With the objective of making his name immortal, he went to the most sacred place called Samantpanchak and decided to cultivate the eight virtues - Tapa, Satya, Kshama, Daya, Shauch, Dan, Yuga and Brahmacharya on its barren land. He started ploughing a piece of land with a golden plough, which was pulled by Lord Shankar's bull and Yamaraj's buffalo named Paundrak.

While he was busy ploughing the field, Indra approached him and asked suspiciously as to what he was trying to cultivate. When Kuru revealed his intentions, Indra made fun of him and went back. But Kuru was not worried and continued to cultivate the land. In a very short time, he had already cultivated the land measuring 7 kosas. 

One day, Lord Vishnu arrived and asked the same question, which Indra had asked. When Kuru revealed his intentions, Lord Vishnu was surprised and wondered as to from where he would get the seeds to grow these things. Kuru told him that all these eight virtues were present in his own body and it would not be a difficult task to cultivate these things. Lord Vishnu wanted to test his commitment and sincerity and said- "Give the seeds to me. I would sow the seeds while you should plough the field."

Kuru outstretched his right hand but Lord Vishnu cut it into thousands of pieces with his chakra. All the pieces were distributed among the deities but Kuru was unfazed and again stretched his left hand towards Lord Vishnu. But his left hand too met the same fate. In this way, the most generous and benevolent King Kuru offered all his organs to Lord Vishnu. But all the organs were severed by Lord Vishnu. At last, Kuru offered his head as he had nothing else to offer. Lord Vishnu was pleased by his generosity and asked him to demand anything. Kuru replied- "All the area cultivated by me should become famous as a sacred pilgrimage. All the devotees who visit or die at this sacred pilgrimage must attain salvation. This place should be known by my name."

This is how the most sacred place of pilgrimage- Kurukshetra came into existence.

Killing of Mahishasura Demon - Vamana Purana Part-6

During ancient times, there lived two demons- Rambh and Karambh who would torment people. As both were sonless, they decided to do severe penance by keeping their bodies submerged in Panchmad River with a desire of having sons. Indra becoming fearful, took the guise of a crocodile and killed Karambh while he was doing penance in the river.

Rambh became so dejected by his brother's death that he decided to give up his life by severing his head and offering it in the sacrificial fire. As he was about to turn his thoughts into reality, Agni appeared before him and prevented him from doing so and said- "Killing oneself is a grave sin. Don't give up your life. I am willing to fulfil any of your wish."

Related imageRambh was pleased and requested Agni to bless him with a mighty and powerful son. Agni blessed him by saying- "You will beget a son from a woman of your own choice. But destiny had something else in store for him.
Once, Rambh had gone to see Yaksha King Malvat. He was impressed by Malvat's prosperity and unlimited wealth. King Malvat possessed lot of animal wealth like goats, lambs, oxen, elephant, horses, cows etc. Ramabh saw a beautiful buffalo in the cowshed. He started caressing her body just to appreciate her beauty. The buffalo got aroused and forced Rambh to copulate with her and this resulted in the buffalo's pregnancy.

Rambh returned to Patal loka accompanied by the buffalo. But the other demons came to know about this unusual incident and as a result, Rambh was excommunicated from the demons' tribe. Both of them decided to return to Yaksha King Malvat's palace. In due course of time, the buffalo gave birth to a beautiful calf, which could change its appearance according to its wishes.

Once, seeing the buffalo alone, a bull tried to breach her modesty. The buffalo ran towards Rambh for her safety. Ramabh attacked the bull with a sword and injured it. In retaliation, the bull also dashed its horns against Rambh's chest, which proved to be fatal. Seeing the dead Rambh, the buffalo became engulfed in sorrow. She had no other option but to take refuge of the Yakshas who protected her life. In the meantime, the seriously injured bull fell into a divine lake and died. Amazingly, its body transformed into a demon.

Tales of Nara and Narayan - Vamana Purana Part-5

Sage Pulastya says- "Dharma, the possessor of divine body and who manifested from the heart of Lord Brahma married Murti, the daughter of Daksha. Four sons were born to them- Hari, Krishna, Nara and Narayan. Hari and Krishna engaged themselves in the practice of Yoga while Nar and Narayan went to the Himalaya Mountain and started doing penance for the welfare of humans.

Indra became frightened by their arduous penance. He feared that he might lose his authority and power. He sent beautiful Apsaras to disturb their penance. He himself went to that site accompanied by Kamadev and Vasant (spring).