DEMONS- CHAND AND MUND
Once, the demon
brothers, Chand and Mund were passing near the Vindhya Mountain when they
saw Goddess Chandika there. Both these demons were stunned by her divine
beauty. They had never seen such a beautiful woman in their life. They
went to Mahishasura and told him about her beauty.
proceeded with a huge army, which comprised of valiant commanders like
Vidaalnetra, Vishang, Vaayakal, Agraayudh, Chikshur, Raktabeej etc. The
army assembled at the foothills of Vindhya Mountain. There, Mahishasura
instructed Dundubhi to go and bring Goddess Durga by any means.
Dundubhi went to
Goddess Durga and boasted about Mahishasura's might and power by saying-
"The mighty Mahishasura has defeated all the deities who ran out from
heaven to save their lives. He is lord of all the three worlds and is
invincible but this victorious and mighty king has been enslaved by your
beauty. You must not miss this chance of marrying him."
replied- "I am aware of Mahishasura's feats. I am most willing to
marry him. But there is one problem. There is a tradition in our clan
according to which an aspiring husband is required to give a Shulk (tax)
in lieu of getting married." Dundubhi was happy thinking that it
would not be difficult for Mahishasura to fulfil her demand. He said-
"Mahishasura can even give up his life for your sake."
Goddess Durga laughed loudly and said- "O demon! According to the
tradition of our clan, only such a person can marry a woman who defeats
her in the battle." Dundubhi went back to Mahishasura and narrated
the whole story. Mahishasura instructed Chikshur to go and bring Goddess
Durga after enslaving her. Chikshur proceeded with a huge army. Seeing him
coming in the direction of Goddess Durga, Lord Brahma instructed her to
use an armour to protect herself. The Goddess refused by saying- "No
demon can stand before me in a battle."
All the deities
then chanted Vishnupanjar Stotra for her safety. Protected by the Stotra,
she was successful in killing many demons. Seeing his devastated army,
Mahishasura himself came to fight her.
Narad asked sage
Pulastya as to how Goddess Durga kill Mahishasura. Sage Pulastya replied-
"After the killing of Chikshur, Mahishasura sent Namar to fight
Goddess Durga. Namar proceeded towards the Vindhya Mountain accompanied by
a huge battalion. After reaching there, he shot a volley of arrows towards
the Vindhya Mountain. As a result, the whole mountain was covered by
innumerable arrows. This defiant act of Namar made Goddess Durga extremely
furious. She attacked her enemies menacingly. She killed some of the
demons by her sword, some with her mace and many more were killed by her
arrows. Even her mount- Simha killed many demons. The demons were
completely surprised by the ferociousness of the attack and fled from the
Seeing his whole
army fleeing from the battlefield, Namar came forward, mounted on an
elephant to fight Goddess Durga. He unleashed his devastating weapon-
Shakti towards her. At the same time, he also attacked her mount- Simha
(lion) by releasing many arrows towards it. But Goddess Durga destroyed
all the weapons. In the meantime, the elephant held the Simha with its
trunk but the Goddess's mount somehow released itself from the trap and
attacked Namar. Namar fell from the elephant and died.
death, Chikshur came to fight the Goddess but both his hands and legs were
severed by her. Ultimately, Goddess Durga severed his head as a result of
which, Chikshur died. The news of Chikshur's death spread like a wildfire.
Many more valiant commanders of Mahishasura's army came forward to fight
her but all of them were vanquished.
Mahishasura came forward to fight Goddess Durga in the guise of a buffalo.
Goddess Durga started playing her damru (small drum) and Veena, which
resulted into the emergence of numerous ghosts. He attacked the ghosts
with his horns, four legs and by violently lashing his tail. He then
attacked Durga's mount- Simha and his violent movements shook even the
earth and the mountain. Goddess Durga grabbed his neck with the help of a
noose. The next moment, Mahishasura transformed his appearance into an
elephant. Goddess Durga then severed his trunk. Mahishasura again changed
his guise into a buffalo. Goddess Durga attacked him by unleashing various
weapons but the demon escaped unhurt.
suddenly jumped down from her mount- Simha and climbed upon Mahishasura,
who was in the guise of a buffalo. Mahishasura started jumping violently.
Goddess Durga pressed Mahishasura's back with such force that he
suffocated. She then severed his head. Suddenly, Mahishasura appeared in
human form with a sword. Goddess Durga kicked him on his chest and again
severed his head. The news of his death created havoc in his army and the
demons fled from the battlefield and hid themselves in Paatal loka.
The deities became
pleased at Mahishasura's death and eulogised Goddess Durga. She became
pleased and after assuring the deities of taking re-incarnation for their
welfare, disappeared from the scene
OF GODDESS DURGA
reasons for Goddess Durga's re-incarnation, sage Pulastya says-
"Goddess Durga is also known as Kaushiki as she had manifested from
the cell (Koshika) of Uma's (Parvati's) body. After the manifestation, she
went to Vindhya Mountain with the objective of killing the demons- Shumbh
and Nishumbh. She was accompanied by numerous Bhoot ganas (spirits).
death, Rudra engaged himself in penance and became a celibate. He had even
relinquished his responsibility of leading the deities' army. When
Mahishasura came to know that the deities were bereft of their commander,
he attacked them as a result of which, the deities were defeated. The
deities went to Lord Vishnu who was at that time living at Shwetdweep.
When they reached there, they were surprised to find that Lord Vishnu was
aware of their defeat. Lord Vishnu then advised them by saying- "All
of you must go to Mena- Maanasputri of Agnishwat and request her to give
consent to marry Himalaya. The same Mena would give birth to a beautiful
girl who in reality would be the re-incarnation of Sati. All of you must
go to Kurukshetra and eulogise her on the night of Amavasya."
The deities were
curious to know about the origin of Kurukshetra. Lord Vishnu told them-
"During the initial phase of Satya Yuga, there was a mighty king
named Riksh, who was the descendant of Soma. Samvaran was the son of Riksh.
He succeeded his father at a young age. Samvaran was a great devotee of
mine. Vashishth- the son of Varun was his chief priest and had taught him
all the Vedas. One day, Samvaran went to the forest for hunting after
entrusting his responsibilities to Vashishth. After reaching the forest,
he started wandering in search of his game. He saw a beautiful lake full
of numerous lotus flowers. He also saw many Apsaras and other divine
beauties enjoying themselves by singing and dancing. Samvaran was
infatuated by the divine beauty of one of those Apsaras- Tapti, who was
the most beautiful among them. Coincidentally, Tapti too saw Samvaran
staring at her. She was so infatuated by Samvaran's handsomeness that she
fell unconscious. She was carried by her companions back home.
After returning to
his capital, Vashishth was surprised to find change in Samvaran's
behaviour. It seemed as if his mind was pre-occupied by something. By his
Yogic power, Vashishth came to know about the whole incident. He decided
to take the help of Tapti's father- Surya. He went to Surya and requested
him to marry Tapti with Samvaran. Surya did not want to annoy his esteemed
guest, so he gave his consent. Vashishth then returned to his hermitage
accompanied by Tapti and ultimately Tapti and Samvaran got married.
TALES OF KING KURU AND KURUKSHETRA
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,
After 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, Daan,
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."
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
THE DEMON KING
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."
One 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.
GO TO BRAHMA LOKA
The sages asked-
"How were the deities able to defeat Bali and why did Lord Vishnu
take the incarnation of Vaaman?" 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 (Kashyap's) advice in this regard. Kashyap thought that only
Lord Brahma could solve their problem. So, he went to Brahma loka
accompanied by the deities.
When they reached
there, they found numerous Brahmins engaged in religious activities. Lord
Brahma too was sitting among them. Sage Kashyap and all the deities made
salutations to Lord Brahma and stood silently.
DEITIES DO PENANCE
Lord Brahma told
the deities that he was aware of their plight. He was of the opinion that
the mighty Bali could be defeated only by the Almighty himself and nobody
else. Lord Brahma said- "You must go to a place called Amrit, which
is situated towards the north of Ksheersagar. The Almighty God is engaged
in an austere penance at that place. All of you must go there and try to
please him by doing penance and after he is pleased, just request him to
take his next incarnation as Aditi's son."
Sage Kashyap and
all the deities agreed to follow Brahma's advice. All of them proceeded
towards Shwetdweep. When they reached there, they were amazed to find the
place devoid of any creature. Its boundary seemed limitless and even the
Sun's rays could not reach it. Sage Kashyap initiated all the deities into
the austerity named Kaamad- fulfiller of all the desires. After that, all
of them commenced their severe penance.
NARAYAN BLESSES KASHYAP
became pleased by Kashyap's eulogies and austere penance. He appeared
before the deities and asked them to demand anything they wished for.
Kashyap requested him to give Aditi, the privilege of becoming his mother.
Lord Vishnu agreed to take birth as Aditi's son.
The deities became
pleased and all of them proceeded back towards Kashyap's hermitage. When
they reached Kurukshetra, the place where Kashyap had his hermitage, they
inspired Aditi to commence her penance to please Lord Vishnu. Aditi did a
severe penance for 10,000 years. The place where she did her penance later
on became famous as Aditivan. Lord Vishnu was extremely pleased by her
Lord Vishnu appeared and told her that he was most willing to fulfil her
wish. Aditi requested him to make her son- Indra, the lord of all the
three worlds once again. Lord Vishnu assured her that he would take birth
as her son and kill all the demons.
apprehensions as to how she could bear the weight of Almighty God in her
womb. But Lord Vishnu assured her by saying- "Don't worry. I will
give you the strength to do that. In course of time, Aditi became
pregnant. But soon after her pregnancy, the earth shook violently because
of the unbearable weight of the foetus. Wherever she went, that particular
portion of earth tilted down because of the enormous weight. Her pregnancy
had significantly eroded the radiance of the demons.
QUERIES TO PRAHLAD
"When Bali saw the demons becoming devoid of radiance and power, he
enquired about the reasons from his grandfather, Prahlad. He wondered
whether it was a bad omen. Prahlad went into a deep trance and saw the
whole earth shaking violently. He also saw high tides rising in the ocean.
He was convinced that these signs went to prove the inevitable emergence
of the deities' power. Prahlad then meditated upon Lord Vishnu and found
him manifesting in Aditi's womb as a Vaaman (dwarf). He also saw the whole
universe existing in his body. Prahlad was surprised but the next moment
he controlled himself and told Bali- "Now I know the reason why the
demons have become devoid of their radiance and power. Lord Hari is about
to take incarnation as the son of Aditi and this is the reason why all the
demons have become powerless."
asked Prahlad- "Who is this Hari, the tormentor of the demons? Why
should we be scared of him as we have many valiant demons who could defeat
him easily." Prahlad became furious at Bali's utterances and cursed
him by saying- "How dare you say like this! I am ashamed that you
have taken birth as my grandson. I curse you to lose your kingdom and fall
from grace because you have criticised Lord Vishnu- the supreme saviour."
OF LORD VAAMAN
Bali felt sorry
for hurting Prahlad's feelings. He said- "Dear grandfather! My
intelligence has been overshadowed by my arrogant attitude. You have done
the right thing by cursing me. I am not scared of losing all my prosperity
and splendour but your anger is unbearable for me."
Now even Prahlad
realised that he had committed a mistake by cursing his own son. He said-
"Unable to control my anger, I cursed you but now nothing can be done
and my words will definitely come true. But don't worry as my blessings
would help you to become a supreme devotee of Hari and you would be
protected by him."
"In course of time, Lord Vishnu took birth as Vaaman. This incident
of Vishnu's birth had liberated Aditi and all the deities from their
sorrow. Lord Brahma appeared and performed Vaaman's Jaatkarm. He also
eulogised Vaaman and worshipped him. Lord Vishnu was pleased by his eulogy
and revealed to him that he took the incarnation of Vaaman to make Indra,
the lord of all the three worlds."
Lord Brahma was
pleased and presented a black coloured deer skin to him. Similarly, sages
like Marichi, Vashishth, Brihaspati, Angira etc. presented Palaash Danda,
kamandalu, sacred thread and silken clothes respectively. Lord Vaaman then
proceeded towards the place where King Bali was performing his oblation.
Lord Vaaman was in the appearance of a hermit. Though he was of diminutive
size, yet each of his steps were enough to shake the earth.
"The shaking and trembling of earth surprised Bali and he enquired
about this strange happening to Shukracharya. He was also surprised by the
fact that Agni was not accepting the offerings. Shukracharya, after
contemplating for a while on this matter, came to know about Vaaman's
incarnation. He informed Bali that Vaaman was on his way to the oblation
site and his each step was causing turbulence on the earth.
Bali was pleased
that he would get an opportunity to see the Almighty God whom the sages
contemplate upon. He was proud of his good fortune that the lord was
paying him a visit. Shukracharya aware of the reason for Vaaman's arrival
warned Bali against making any promise to him. Bali replied- "How can
I refuse if the Almighty God demands anything from me? I am willing to
face any hardship to safeguard my benevolent image. I don't mind if the
deities get benefited by my actions. Even if the lord is coming with the
intention of killing me, I am not scared as that is how I would attain
salvation. Come what may, I am not going to abandon my charitable
conversation between Shukracharya and Bali continued, suddenly, Lord
Vaaman arrived at the site. Vaaman's radiance subdued the power of all
demons present there. Lord Vaaman being impressed by the grandeur of
Vaaman's Yagya complimented him for organising such a magnificent Yagya.
Bali eulogised and worshipped his esteemed guest. He requested Vaaman to
reveal the reason of his arrival and promised that his wishes would be
fulfilled. Lord Vaaman smiled and told him that he needed a small piece of
land measured by three steps for the performance of Yagya. Bali was
surprised by this demand and requested him to ask for more land but Lord
Vaaman told him that he needed only that much land.
Bali agreed and
took a vow to donate a piece of land measured by three steps. Hardly had
Bali taken his vow, when suddenly Lord Vaaman expanded his size. His first
step covered the whole earth. By his two successive steps, he covered the
two worlds. This way, Bali was forced to donate all the three worlds
according to his vow. Lord Vishnu then made Indra, the king of all the
three worlds and sent Bali to the nether world named Sutal. He blessed
Bali by saying- "You would enjoy a long life till the end of this
present Kalpa. You would hold the post of Indra till the arrival of
Saavarni Manavantar. As long as you remain supportive of the Brahmins and
the deities, you would enjoy all the pleasures of life. But if you go
against their wishes then you would be fastened by Varun's noose."
requested Lomaharshan to reveal about river Saraswati's origin, which
flowed in Kurukshetra. Lomaharshan said- "Saraswati originates from
Paakad tree (Indian fig tree). She enters Dwaitvan after passing through
numerous mountains. While describing about her majesty, sage Markandeya
felt that Saraswati was the source from, which everything originated- all
the three worlds, three Vedas, Vidya (learning), heavenly bodies like Sun,
Moon etc. Once, sage Markandeya eulogised Saraswati by saying- "O
Saraswati! You manifest in the form of cryptic mantra- "OMKAR".
You are the eternal form through which the Almighty God (Brahma) manifests
himself in different appearances."
pleased by his devotion and said- "O Brahmin! I am willing to go
wherever you want to take me." According to Markandeya, river
Saraswati was initially known as Brahmasar. Later on, she became famous as
Ramhalad. Sage Markandeya requested Saraswati to flow in the territory of
Kurukshetra where sage Kuru was doing his penance. This way, Saraswati
diverted her course towards Kurukshetra.
requested Lomaharshan to describe about the geographical condition of
Kurukshetra. Lomaharshan replied- "There are 7 different forest
ranges in Kurukshetra. They are- "Kamyakvan, Aditivan, Vyasavan,
Phalkivan, Suryavan, Madhuvan and Sheetvan. Nine rivers flow across
Kurukshetra- Saraswati, Vaitarni, Aashga, Mandakini Ganga, Madhustrava,
Vaasu, Kaushiki, Kaggar and Hiranyavati. Kurukshetra is believed to be the
most sacred place of pilgrimage. A pilgrim visiting Kurukshetra should
begin his pilgrimage only after worshipping the Yaksha. He should then pay
a visit to the famous Aditivan where Aditi had accomplished a severe
penance to get a son. By doing this, he is blessed with sons possessing
all the good qualities. After that, he should pay a visit to a place
called Savan where Lord Hari dwells. A devotee who pays a visit to Lord
Vimaleshwar becomes liberated from all his sins and goes to Rudraloka
after his death. Some other places of pilgrimage situated in Kurukshetra
and which are considered to be very sacred are Paritlav, Kaushiki, Dharani,
Daksha's hermitage, Shaalukini, Sarpeedadhi, the temples at the bank of
Panchnad river, Vaaraha temple, Someshwar temple etc."
should also pay a visit to Ramkunda where Parashuram had constructed five
ponds and filled them up with the blood of the Kshatriyas, whom he had
killed. He had pacified the soul of his ancestors by performing Tarpan
with the blood of the dead Kshatriyas. The dead ancestors were pleased
with him and blessed him in becoming free from the sins, which he had
acquired because of killing Kshatriyas."
MANKANAK EULOGISES SHIVA
Sage Mankanak was
the Manasputra of Kashyap. He had seven sons, who were famously known as
Marud Ganas. They are the one who hold all the movable and immovable
objects of this world.
Mankanak injured his finger by the sharp edge of Kusha grass while he was
trying to pluck them for his religious rites. But he was quite surprised
when he found vegetative juice (Shaak Rasa) oozing out from the wound
instead of blood. He thought that perhaps his blood had transformed into
vegetative juice by the virtue of his penance. This abnormal event made
him arrogant and he started dancing in joy as a result of which the whole
world started to swerve. Lord Brahma became puzzled by this sudden
development. He went to Lord Shiva and requested him to stop Mankanak from
dancing so that the universe became steady.
Lord Shiva went to
sage Mankanak and said- "O supreme sage! Being a hermit, you are
supposed to have control over your emotions. May I know the reason of your
extreme joy, which makes you dance." Mankanak told him that his
penance had given him great power due to which vegetative juice was oozing
out from the wound instead of blood and this was the reason for his
extreme joy and happiness. "That is why I am dancing", said
Mankanak. But Lord Shiva was not amused and wanted to teach him a lesson.
He hit the thumb with the nail of his finger as a result of which, ashes
poured out from the wound. Mankanak was surprised by this. Being ashamed,
he said- "I know, you are none other than Lord Shiva because nobody
else can perform this amazing feat. I am your great devotee. You are the
one on whom, deities like Brahma and Vishnu are dependent. I need your
blessings so that the virtues of my penance remain intact." Lord
Shiva blessed him and promised to dwell in his hermitage forever.
SACRED PLACES OF PILGRIMAGE
the greatness of Aushanas, the most sacred place of pilgrimage,
Lomaharshan narrates the following tale- "During Treta Yug, 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.
Rahodar 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
The sages asked
Lomaharshan about the origin of Vashishthapava Tirtha and about the reason
why sage Vashishth was carried along by the powerful current of Saraswati
river. Lomaharshan said- "There was great rivalry between sage
Vashishth and sage Vishwamitra. In course of time, it turned into a bitter
enemity. Vashishth 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 Vashishth's accomplishment."
asked river Saraswati to bring Vashishth to his hermitage with the help of
powerful currents so that he could kill him. River Saraswati became sad
and refused to obey him, which made Vishwamitra angry. He again repeated
his commands. Seeing no other option, she went to Vashishth's hermitage
and narrated the whole story to him. Vashishth agreed to be carried away
by her current.
saw Vashishth, he furiously started looking for some weapon to kill him.
Saraswati became scared and carried Vashishth to safety as she did not
want to acquire the sin of collaborating in the killing of a Brahmin.
Vishwamitra angrily cursed her- "May your water be mixed with blood
and may the demons thrive on your banks."
Saraswati flowed with her water mixed with blood for one year. All the
sages, deities, Gandharvas and Apsaras were worried at this happening.
But, this was not the case with the demons, who lived happily at the bank
of river Saraswati thriving on the blood mixed in her water. They used to
live happily- dancing and rejoicing, as if they had won the heaven from
One day, some
sages arrived at the bank of river Saraswati and became distressed after
seeing her water mixed with blood. They asked her about the reason. She
revealed the whole story and the misdeeds of Vishwamitra. The sages then
requested river Aruna- the liberator of all sins to change her course and
start flowing towards river Saraswati. As soon as river Aruna submerged
into river Saraswati, she (Saraswati) regained her purity once again.
The sages asked
Lomaharshan about the origin of Kamyakvan Tirtha. Lomaharshan replied-
"Once upon a time, the sages of Naimisharanya came to Kurukshetra to
take bath in river Saraswati. But, since they were large in number, the
banks of river Saraswati could not accommodate all of them. In their
helplessness, they created an imaginary place of pilgrimage named
Yagyopavitik Tirtha and took an imaginary dip in it. But many of the
remaining sages were unable to do even this."
When Saraswati saw
such a large gathering of Brahmins, desirous of having bath in her holy
waters, she created a garden (Kunj) and started flowing towards west. This
very garden later on developed into a dense forest and became famous as
The sages then
asked Lomaharshan about the origin of Sthanu Tirtha and the importance of
Sthanu Vata. They also expressed their desire to know about the reservoir
named Saanihitya and how Indra had filled it up with mud. Sage Lomaharshan
replied- "Once, Sanat Kumar upon being asked by Baalkhilya and other
sages the same question, narrated the following tale- During the period of
final annihilation, when the whole earth was submerged in water, Lord
Brahma manifested inside an egg. He slept there for thousands of Yugas.
When he woke up from his sleep, he found the world devoid of any
inhabitants. Being under the influence of Rajo Guna, he planned to
commence his creation. At the same time, Lord Vishnu awakened from his
sleep and broke that egg after seeing that the whole world had merged
inside him. Subsequently, Lord Brahma began his creation starting from the
word- 'OMKAR'. After that, the terms- Bhur, Bhuvah and Swah respectively
came into existence. The brilliant effulgence radiating from the egg had
dried up the water as a result of which, the remaining water had turned
into the shape of an embryo. The reservoir- Saanihitya is situated at the
same place where the egg had manifested itself. Meru Mountain is nothing
but the outer shell of that egg and all the other mountains are its
membrane. The oceans and the rivers are the fluid inside that egg. There
is a great reservoir near the navel area of Lord Brahma. A big Banyan tree
is situated just in the middle of that reservoir. This tree appears like a
pillar (Sthanu). All the three major castes (Brahmin, Kshatriya and
Vaishya) originated from that tree. Lord Brahma then created his
Manasputras- Sanat, Sanandan etc. Subsequently, he created the Saptarishis
and the Baalkhilyas. All the Baalkhilyas did a severe penance for
thousands of years without having a morsel of food. They had become very
weak but still Lord Shiva was not pleased with them."
Once, Lord Shiva
and Uma were travelling by aerial route when suddenly Uma saw the weak
Baalkhilyas engaged in penance. She was saddened to see their frail bodies
and requested Lord Shiva to end their miseries. Lord Shiva told her that
the Baalkhilyas had not attained a bit of virtuousness inspite of their
severe penance. "They have still not become free from anger and
desires", said Lord Shiva. But Uma was reluctant to believe his
words. Lord Shiva then asked her to wait there and himself went to show
their real worth to her to prove his point.
Lord Shiva then
shed his apparels and became naked. As a mendicant, he visited the
hermitages of all the Baalkhilyas. At that time the Baalkhilyas were
engaged in penance and hence only womenfolk were present at the
hermitages. The womenfolk, infatuated by Lord Shiva, started running after
him. When the Baalkhilyas came to know about this, they uprooted his
private organ (Linga) and threw it on the ground. Hardly had the Linga
fallen on the ground, the whole world got engulfed by the process of
destruction. All the sages and learned saints became worried and went to
seek Lord Brahma's help. Lord Brahma revealed to them that this
destruction was due to Shiva's wrath. He also told them about the futility
of their penance as they were still under the influence of anger and lust.
"You cannot attain perfection until your flaws are removed",
said Lord Brahma.
TAKE LORD SHIVA'S REFUGE
Ashamed, the sages
requested Lord Brahma to tell them the way to pacify Lord Shiva. Lord
Brahma assured them that they would be forgiven if they took Lord Shiva's
refuge. Lord Brahma went to Kailash Parvat accompanied by all the sages.
After reaching there, he eulogised Lord Shiva with deep devotion. The
sages also worshipped Lord Shiva.
Lord Shiva was
satisfied by their eulogy and devotion. He instructed the sages to
establish the severed Linga at Saanihitya Sarovar. "By doing this,
you would have all your desires fulfilled. The Linga would become famous
by the name of Sthanu- the whole world. A devotee who pays a visit to this
sacred place of pilgrimage would become liberated from all his sins",
said Lord Shiva.
The sages returned
to the place of Lord Shiva's fallen Linga. They tried their best to lift
it but were unsuccessful in their attempt. They became worried and went to
Lord Brahma for help. Lord Brahma told them- "Since Shiva's Linga had
fallen on his own will, hence nobody except him can lift that Linga."
All of them went back to Kailash Parvat but Lord Shiva was nowhere to be
Lord Brahma went
into a state of deep meditation and sighted Lord Shiva in the guise of an
elephant. When Brahma and the deities proceeded on their way, they found a
goddess with a kamandalu in hand and offered them Amrit. After being
refreshed, the sages asked whether she knew of Lord Shiva's whereabouts.
She told them that Lord Shiva was presently living in the middle of
Saanihitya Sarovar. After reaching the reservoir, they found Lord Shiva in
the guise of an elephant. They requested him to help them, establish his
Linga at the desired place. Lord Shiva agreed. All of them then went to
the site of Lord Shiva's fallen Linga. He lifted it with his trunk and
established it towards the west of Saanihitya Sarovar. The sages were
satisfied and expressed their gratitude to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva, pleased
by their eulogy and devotion, decided to make the Linga as his abode.