Describing about Sri
Ram's incarnation Lord Mahadeva told Parvati--'Once, Swayambhuva Manu had
expressed his desire of having Lord Vishnu as his son to which Lord Vishnu had
agreed. During tretayuga Manu manifested himself as Dasharath and Vishnu kept
his promise by taking birth as his son--Sri Ram. Similarly, during dwaparyuga
Manu was born as Vasudev and Lord Vishnu kept his word by taking birth as his
son--Krishna. After the completion of one thousand divine years, Manu will be
born in the village of Sambhal as Harigupta and lord Vishnu will take birth as
Lord Shiva then continued with the incarnation of Sri Ram and said--'Sage Vishrava was the son of Pulasya and was married to Kekashi. Ravan and Kumbhakarna were born to the couple. Sage Vishrava also had a daughter named Shurpanakha and a virtuous son named Vibhishan.Ravan and Kumbhakarna did austere penance to please me (Lord Shiva). When I appeared before Ravan he requested the boon of immortality from me. After receiving the boon, Ravan became very arrogant and started tormenting the inhabitants of all the three worlds. The deities became scarred and took the refuge of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu assured them that he would solve their problem by taking incarnation as Sri Ram.
Dasharath came from the lineage of Surya. He had three queens---Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. Once, Dasharath performed a Vaishnav Yagya with the objective of acquiring a son. Lord Vishnu appeared and assured him that he would take incarnation as Sri Ram in a short time. Lord Vishnu gave a bowl of divine kheer to Dasharath, which he distributed amongst his three queens. In course of time, Kaushalya gave birth to Sri Ram on the auspicious day of Chaitra-Navami. The deities and the sages rejoiced at his birth.
RAM GROWS UP
Continuing with the tale
of Sri Ram, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati--Dasharath requested Vashishth to perform
the Jaatkarm Sanskar of Sri Ram. In course of time Kaikeyi gave birth to
Bharat--an incarnation of Panchajanya conch. Similarly, Sumitra gave birth to
two sons--Laxman and Shatrughan. Laxman was the incarnation of Sheshnag while
Shatrughan was the incarnation of Sudershan chakra. Sri Ram and his brothers
received education under the guidance of Sage Vashishth. In a very short time
they became proficient in all the scriptures and mastered various weaponaries.
Although all the four brothers were very close to each other, yet Laxman could
not bear to live in Ram's separation even for a moment and was specially close
Sita manifested herself from the field while Janak was ploughing it. King Janak brought up Sita with great love and care. At that time, Vishwamitra was busy performing a grand yagya at Siddhashram. But the demons created numerous problems and made it impossible for him to accomplish the yagya. Vishwamitra went to Ayodhya and requested Dasharath to send Sri Ram and Laxman along with him so that the yagya could be accomplished without any problems. Dasharath agreed to send Sri Ram and Laxman along with Vishwamitra.This way, Vishwamitra returned to his hermitage acompanied by both the brothers. Garuda presented a pair of bow and imperishable set of arrows to both the brothers.
While staying at the hermitage Sri Ram and Laxman killed many demons like Taraka and Subahu. When Marich tried to disrupt the yagya, Sri Ram attacked him with Pavan-astra, which sent Marich flying across the sea-shore.Meanwhile, on learning that Janak was performing Vajapeya yagya at Janakpur, Vishwamitra took Sri-Ram and Laxman to attend it. On the way Sri Ram liberated Ahalya who had turned into a rock after being cursed by her husband.After reaching Janakpur, Sri Ram broke Lord Shiva's bow and married Sita. Laxman married Urmila. Dasharath had come to attend the marriage ceremony accompanied by Bharat and Shatrughan. Bharat was married to Mandavi while Shatrughan married Shrutkeerti.
Meanwhile, on learning that Sri Ram had broken Shiva's bow, Parshuram arrived there and challenged him, but ultimately Parashuram realized about the divinity of Sri Ram and accepted his superiority.At last, Sri Ram, Laxman, Bharat and Shatrughan returned to Ayodhya alongwith their respective consorts.
Lord Mahadeva continued
with the tale of Sri Ram and told Parvati --Dasharath wanted to appoint Sri Ram
as his successor but Kaikeyi did not like this idea. She wanted Bharat to be
made the king of Ayodhya and Sri Ram to be sent into exile for 14 years. Once,
Kaikeyi had saved Dasharath's life while he was fighting a battle against the
demons. To show his gratitude, Dasharath had promised two boons to her. At that
time, Kaikeyi had told Dasharath that she would make her demand at the
This way, Dasharath was compelled by Kaikeyi to accept the two demands. As a result, Sri Ram was sent into exile. Bharat refused to become the king of Ayodhya and vowed to wait till Sri Ram returned. Dasharath could not bear the sorrow of Ram's separation and died in his sorrow. Bharat tried his best to convince Sri Ram to change his mind and accept the throne, but Sri Ram did not listen to his request. Bharat then brought Sri Ram's wooden-sandal and kept it on the throne. He vowed to spend rest of his life in austerities till Sri Ram returned.
While Sri Ram was still in exile, he went to the hermitage of Sage Atri and received his blessings. Atri's wife- Anasuya preached Sita on the virtues of chastity. Sri Ram also visited hermitages of some other prominent sages like Sharbhanga, Suteeksha, Agastya etc. Once, while Sri Ram was living in Panchavati, Shurpanakha arrived there. Shurpanakha was Ravana's sister and wanted to marry Sri Ram, But Laxman severed her nose and ears. She went to a mighty demon named Khar and narrated her woeful tale. Khar attacked Ram with a huge army, which comprised of brave warriors like Trishira Dushan etc. Sri Ram was Victorious in this battle and Khar, Trishira and Dushan were killed.
Shurpanakha went to Ravan and informed him about the misdeeds of Ram. Ravan was infuriated and wanted to take revenge. He abducted Sita with the help of Marich.When Jatayu saw Ravan carrying Sita to Lanka, he fought with valiance but was injured in the ensuing battle.Sri Ram went in search of Sita and met Jatayu, who was injured and who informed Ram that Sita had been abducted by the demon king Ravan.Sri Ram met Hanuman at the Rishyamook mountain. Later on he befriended Sugreeva on the advice of Hanuman. Sugreeva had enemity with his brother-Bali. Sri Ram killed Bali and made Sugreeva the king.
Sri Ram requested Hanuman to find out the whereabouts of Sita. Hanuman went to Lanka and found Sita at Ashoka Vatika. He destroyed the garden and killed many demons including Ravana's son--Akshay Kumar. Ultimately, he was captured by Meghnath and taken to Ravana's court. Ravan ordered Hanuman's tail to be ignited. Hanuman then burnt the city of Lanka and returned to Sri Ram. When Sri Ran came to know about the exact location of Sita, he decided to attack Lanka with a huge army, which comprised of monkeys. The army camped at the sea-shore where Vibhishan came to meet him.
A bridge was built across the ocean and the army reached Lanka. A fierce battle took place in which many demons were killed. At last, Ravan came forward to fight against Sri Ram but was killed.Sri Ram appointed Vibhishan as the king of Lanka and blessed him. Vibhishan presented his pushpak Viman to Sri Ram. All of them boarded the Pushpak Viman and flew towards Ayodhya. On the way Sri Ram met Bharat who was still awaiting his arrival at Nandigram. Sri Ram was very pleased to meet Bharat. Ultimately all of them returned to Ayodhya.
coronation of Sri Ram Lord Mahadeva told Parvati--People of Ayodhya rejoiced at
the return of Sri Ram. An auspicious day was chosen for his coronation and Sri
Ram became the king of Ayodhya amidst the chantings of Vedic mantras. Sri Ram
ruled over Ayodhya for one thousand years without any problem. Meanwhile, some
ignorant people started pointing out fingers at the character of Sita.Sri Ram
decided to abandon Sita in the forest to quell the rumour. Sita was pregnant at
that time. Feeling pity on her condition, Valmiki took her to his hermitage
where Sita gave birth to Lav and Kush.
Meanwhile Sri Ram decided to perform Ashwamedha yagya at the bank of river Gomati. But, since the yagya could not have been accomplished without Sita, therefore he performed the rituals seated beside a golden idol of Sita, In the mean time Valmiki arrived there, accompanied by Sita. He requested Sri Ram to accept Sita, vouching for her chastity.Sri Ram told Valmiki--'I am confident of Sita's chastity but she will have to prove her chastity for the satisfaction of common people.'
Sita was deeply hurt by Sri Ram's unkind remarks. She said--'May mother earth swallow me if I ever had thought about any man other than my lord Sri Ram.' Hardly had Sita finished her lines than the earth cracked and Sita vanished into that crevice. Sri Ram's heart was filled with remorse but thinking that it was perhaps in his destiny to live in separation with Sita, returned to Ayodhya accompanied by Lav and Kush. In course of time, Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi left for heavenly abode. Sri Ram continued to rule Ayodhya for 10,000 more years.
One day, Kala (death) arrived and reminded Sri Ram that the time had arrived for him to leave his mortal body. Meanwhile Laxman became aware of Sri Ram's decision of leaving his mortal body. He gave up his life by taking samadhi in river Saryu. Sri Ram could not bear the sorrow caused by Laxman's bereavment. He appointed Lav and Kush as the kings of Dwarawati and Kushawati respectively and decided to leave for heavenly abode.
Sri Ram entered the water of river Saryu, flowing at the distance of three yojans from Ayodhya.
Parvati requested Lord
Mahadeva to narrate the divine tales of Vasudeva Krishna. Lord Mahadeva
replied--Vasudev was the descendant of yadu. His father was Devameedha. He was
married to Devaki--the daughter of Ugrasena.Ugrasena also had a mighty son named
Kansa. Kansa was extremely affectionate towards his sister Devaki. After her
marriage, while Devaki was going to her husband's house on a chariot being
driven by Kansa, suddenly a heavenly voice was heard.
'Kansa, you would meet death at the hands of Devaki's eighth son.'
Kansa became very scarred and wanted to kill his sister then and there. But, Vasudev requested Kansa to spare Devaki's life and promised to hand over any child that she gave birth to. Thus Kansa imprisoned both Vasudev and Devaki.In course of time, Devaki gave birth to seven sons and Kansa killed each of them. Lord Sri Hari manifested himself when Devaki conceived for the eighth time. It was the month of Shravan and the day was 'Krishna-ashtami' when Sri Hari took his incarnation at midnight. Soon after taking his incarnation he gave a glimpse of his divine form to Vasudev and Devaki. On the instruction of Sri Hari, Vasudeva carried the infant to Nand's house. He had no problem in moving out of the prison as all the guards had fallen asleep due to the illusion of Sri Hari.
On seeing the swift currents of overflooded yamuna, Vasudev became worried. But the level of river Yamuna receded as soon as Sri Krishna touched the river with his feet. Sheshnag protected Sri Krishna from heavy rain with his thousand hoods. When Vasudev reached Nand's house he found that Nand's wife-- Yashoda had given birth to a baby girl. Yashoda was sleeping at that time and Vasudev had no problem in exchanging Sri Krishna with that baby girl. Vasudev then returned to the prison and laid down the baby girl beside Devaki.
The baby-girl started crying and the guards immediately woke up. They informed Kansa about the birth of Devaki's eighth child. Kansa tried to kill that baby girl by smashing her head, but she escaped from his hands and flew up in the sky. She thundered---'Your death is certain as your assasin has already taken birth.' Kansa was terrified at the prospect of his death. He instructed his soldiers to kill all the infants' whereever they were to be found in his kingdom. He also ordered the release of Vasudev and Devaki, as there was no point keeping them in captivity.Meanwhile, Sri Krishna grew up under the guardianship of Nand and Yashoda.
One day Kansa sent a wicked ogress named Putna to kill Sri Krishna. Putma had applied poison on her breasts and tried to kill Krishna by breast-feeding him. Sri Krishna sucked her breast with such ferocity that she died. Thus, Sri Krishna gave the first glimpse of his divinity to the inhabitants of Vajra.Sri Krishna accomplished many such divine deeds during his childhood. He grew up to be a mischieveous child and used to play numerous pranks on the fellow Gopis. He used to steal their butter and curd. One day, all the Gopis complained to Yashoda about Sri Krishna's misdeeds. Yashoda became angry and tied him with a wooden-mortar in order to prevent him from troubling the Gopis. She then placed that mortar between two trees so that Krishna could not move. But, Sri Krishna toddled away uprooting both the huge trees.
Once, a demon named Bakasur disguised himself as a huge heron and tried to kill Sri Krishna. But, Sri Krishna hit him with a stone with such force that he met an instant death.This way Sri Krishna had killed many ferocious demons while he was still a small child. Some of them well Kaliya--the serpent etc, Dhenukasur, Arisht, Keshi etc. A significant incident had occurred during Krishna's childhood. People of Vraja were devotees of Indra and used to worship him. Sri Krishna stopped this tradition and encouraged people to worship Govardhan mountain. Indra became extremely furious and caused incessant rain for one week. Sri Krishna protected the people by lifting Govardhan mountain and shielding them from the continuous downpour.At last, Indra accepted defeat and eulogized Sri Krishna.
Continuing with the
divine tales of Sri Krishna, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati--When Kansa failed in
his repeated attempts to kill Sri Krishna, he instructed 'Akrura' to invite both
Krishna and Balaram to Mathura on the pretext of attending a ceremony called
Dhanush-yagya. Kansa had planned to kill Sri Krishna by deceitful means.Akrura
was a great devotee of Sri Krishna and was aware of Kansa's evil intentions.
But, he had no other option but to follow the command of his master-Kansa. So,
Akrura went to Vraja where Sri Krishna and Balaram used to live.
Sri Krishna and Balaram were delighted to meet Akrura. After the formal exchange of pleasantaries, Krishna took Akrura to his home. Akrura conveyed the instructions of Kansa to Nanda and requested him to send both Sri Krishna and Balaram to Mathura. Akrura said--'Sri Krishna is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and Kansa will be killed by him.'Nanda and Yashoda were reluctant to send Sri Krishna to Mathura but Sri Krishna convinced them, Ultimately. Akrura returned to Mathura accompanied by Krishna and Balaram. The people of Vraja became sad when the time for Krishna's departure to Mathura arrived.
When Akrura reached Mathura accompanied by Sri Krishna and Balaram it was already evening. Sri Krishna saw a dyer with colourful apparels going towards Kansa's palace. Sri Krishna playfully demanded some set of clothes from that dyer which he refused to give. Sri Krishna was infuriated and slapped him so hard that he started vomiting blood. In a short time the dyer was dead. Sri Krishna and Balaram chose some beautiful set of clothes for themselves and proceeded towards the palace of Kansa. After sometime they met a crooked woman carrying 'sandal-wood-paste'. Sri Krishna demanded some sandal wood paste from her, which she gave without any hesitation. Sri Krishna blessed that crooked woman as a result of which she was cured of her physical--deformity.
At last, both Sri Krishna and Balaram reached the oblation--site where 'Dhanush-yagya' was suppossed to be performed. Sri Krishna lifted the divine bow kept there and broke it into two pieces.When Kansa learnt that the divine bow had been broken, he ordered Chaanur to kill Krishna in a wrestling-bout. Kansa also fortified his palace by positioning wild elephants and mighty warriors at all the entrance-points.Sri Krishna and Balaram spent the night at the oblation-site. In the morning both of them proceeded towards the palace. Sri Krishna found an elephant named Kuvalyapeeda standing at the main entrance of the palace. He killed that ferocious elephant without much difficulty.
Sri Krishna and Balaram then entered the gymnasium where wrestling-bouts were supposed to take place. All the demons those who had witnessed Sri Krishna killing that huge elephant without any problem, became terrified and fled away from the gymnasium. Sri Krishna and Balaram entered the chamber of Kansa. Kansa became terrified and ordered his trusted lientenants--Chanur and Mushtik to kill Krishna.Chanur confronted Sri Krishna while Mushtik fought a duel with Balaram. Ultimately, both the demons were killed after a fierce duel. Now, Kansa was left all alone, Sri Krishna pulled Kansa from the throne where he was sitting and slapped him so hard that he fell down on the ground. The injury proved to be fatal and as a result Kansa died. Balaram also killed Kansa's younger brother whose named was Sunama.
After killing Kansa, Krishna and Balaram went to meet their parents--Vasudev and Devaki. They also freed their maternal grandfather- Ugrasena who had been imprisioned by Kansa. At last they appointed Ugrasena as the king of Mathura.
Jarasandh was the
father-in-law of Kansa. When he learnt about Kansa' death he surrounded Mathura
with a huge army. Sri Krishna was well aware of Jarasandh's might and bravery.
He was also convinced that it would not be easy to defeat Jarasandh. So, he
remembered Daruk--his eternal charioteer and sought his help. Daruk appeared
with a divine chariot named Sugreeva--pushpak. The chariot was well armed with
all the divine weapons of lord Vishnu.
Sri Krishna and Balaram then entered the battlefied mounted on that divine chariot. A fierce battle was fought between Sri Krishna and Jarasandh's army. Jarasandh covered Krishna chariot with his various weapons but Sri Krishna destroyed them with his 'Chakra'. Sri Krishna then destroyed Jarasandh's army by showering volley of arrows from his famous bow--Sharang. Seeing the death and destruction in his army, Jarasandh came forward to fight Balaram.
Balaram attacked Jarasandh with his dangerous weapon--Hala (plough) and destroyed his chariot. Jarasandh fell down on the ground and as Balaram was about to kill him Sri Krishna requested Balaram not to kill Jarasandh. After being defeated, Jarasandh sought the help of Kaalyan, who had a large army. Kaalyavan agreed to help Jarasandh and surrounded Mathura with his army.
Realizing that Mathura was no longer a safe place to live, Sri Krishna shifted the whole population of Mathura to Dwarka and went to fight Kaalyavan. The battle continued for a long period and after realizing that it was not easy to defeat his enemy, Sri Krishna, ran towards the cave where 'Muchkund' had been sleeping since many past eras. Muchkund was blessed with a boon according to which any person upon whom he put his glance after woking from his sleep would die. Krishna hid himself behind Muchkund. Kaalyavan, who was chasing Krishna, entered the cave and kicked Muchkund. Muchkund opened his eyes and saw Kaalyavan. Kaalyavan was burnt to ashes. This way, Sri Krishna was able to defeat his powerful enemy by his cleverness.
Lord Mahadeva told
Parvati--- When Jarasandh learnt about Kaalyavan's death, he attacked Balaram to
avenge his friend's death. But, very soon he realized that it was beyond his
capacity to defeat Balaram, so he retreated alongwith his army. Sri Krishna and
Balaram returned to Dwarka.In course of time, Balaram married Revati--the
daugher of Raivat. At that time, there ruled a king named Bheeshmak. He ruled
over Vidarbha. He had a beautiful daughter named Rukmini. He also had many sons
among whom Rukmi was prominent.
Rukmi wanted Rumini to get married to Shishupal much against her wishes. Rukmini being an incarnation of goddess laxmi rightly wanted o have Sri Krishna as her husband.Rukmini sent a message to Sri Krishna about her brother's intention. Sri Krishna went to help her, accompanied by Balaram.Sri Krishna reached Vidarbha on the same day, Rukmini was supposed to marry Shishupal and abducted her to Dwarka. Jarasandh and Rukmi chased Krishna's chariot but Balaram defeated Jarasandh while Sri Krishna fastened Rukmi with the chariot. Sri Krishna also shaved off Rukmi's hair, which filled him with so much of shame that he decided not to return to Vidarbha.After reaching Dwarka, Sri Krishna married Rukmini on an auspicious day.
Continuing with the
divine tales of Sri Krishna, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati--Sri Krishna had 16
thousand queens among whom Satyabhama, Kalindi, Mitravinda, etc. were
prominent.King Sattajit had a priceless diamond named--Syamantak, which he had
presented to his younger brother--Prasena. Sri Krishna was fascinated by that
diamond and demanded it from Prasena, which he refused to part with.
One day, Sri Krishna alongwith Prasena and other yadavas went into the forest for hunting. While chasing a deer, Prasena seceded from his group and was killed by a lion. The lion took the diamond and started playing with it. Incidentally, Jambavan--who had once fought along with Sri Ram against Ravana, saw the lion playing with the diamond. He killed that lion and took the diamond in his possession.
When Sri Krishna returned to Dwarka, he was surprised by a strange rumour, which pervaded the whole city. Some people suspected that Sri Krishna had killed Prasena for the diamond.Sri Krishna was very much distributed by this baseless rumour. To clear the doubts, he went into the forest accompanied by all the residents of Dwarka and showed the dead body of Prasena, which was still lying there. When people saw the mutilated corpse of Prasena, which bore marks of the lion's claws and canines, they became convinced of Sri Krishna's innocense.
While returning back to Dwarka, Sri Krishna saw an effulgent cave. Sri Krishna was very surprised and wanted to find out the source of light. He entered the cave and saw Prasena's diamond hanging on top of a cradle, in which a child was lying. A woman was singing a lulaby so that the child falls asleep---'The lion killed Prasena while Jambavan killed the lion and acquired this diamond from its possession. O child! Don't cry as this priceless diamond belongs to your father.'Sri Krishna furiously blew his conch. Jambavan came out from the cave after listening to the sound of the conch. A fierce duel took place between them, which continued for ten days. At last, Jambavan realized that the person against whom he was fighting was none other than Sri Ram himself. Jambhavan then gave his daughter--Jambavati to Krishna in marriage and gave lot of wealth as dowry including that 'Syamantak' diamond. Bhadraraj had three daughters--Sulakshamana, Nagnajiti and Susheela. Sri Krishna had married all three of them in a 'Swayamwara'. This way, Sri Krishna had altogether eight prominent queen consorts--Rukmini, Satyabhama, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Jambavati, Nagnajiti, Sulakshamana and Susheela.
There lived a mighty demon named Narakasur. He had defeated the deities and snatched the divine earrings of Aditi--the mother of deities. He had created an aerial city in which he lived alongwith other demons. The deities went to Sri Krishna and sought his help. Sri Krishna flew up in the sky mounted on the back of Garuda. Satyabhama was also accompanying him. Sri Krishna was amazed to see the well fortified palace of Narakasur. When the demons saw Srikrishna, they attacked him but Sri Krishna challenged them by blowin his conch. Narakasur came forward to fight Sri Krishna. A fierce battle took place in which Sri Krishna broke Narakasur's bow with his arrows. Ultimately, Sri Krishna was successful in killing Narakasur.
Sri Krishna then returned the whole wealth to the deities, which Narakasur had looted from them. He also liberated sixteen thousand women whom Narakasur had imprisoned. After being liberated all the women accepted Sri Krishna as their husband.
Lord Mahadeva continued
with the divine tales of Sri Krishna--O Parvati! Sri Krishna had a son from
Rukmini whose name was 'Aniruddha'. Aniruddha was very brave and had killed a
demon named Shambasur. There is an interesting tale how Aniruddha married Usha.
Once, Usha--the daughter of Bangur, saw a very handsome young man in her dreams. She was so infatuated by his handsome personality that she developed a deep desire of marrying him. When she woke up next morning, she expressed her desire to her companion--Chitralekha.Chitralekha was an accomplished painter. She drew a sketch of a handsome man as per the descriptions of Usha. When the painting was ready, Chitralekha revealed to Usha that the preson who she had seen in her dream was none other than Aniruddha.
Chitralekha had divine powers. She went to Dwarka and abducted Aniruddha while he was asleep. She then carried the sleeping Aniruddha and laid him on the bed of Usha.When Usha woke up, She was thrilled to see the man of her dreams. Aniruddha remained there for many days without Banasur being aware of his presence.One day, Banasur came to know about Aniruddhas' presence. He became furious and imprisoned Aniruddha.Sage Narad informed Sri Krishna about Aniruddha's imprisonment. Sri Krishna went to fight a battle against Banasur and release Aniruddha from his imprisonment. Although Sri Krishna was leading a large army and was accompanied by mighty warriors like Baldeva and Pradyumna yet he was aware that it was not easy to fight Banasur who had one thousand arms and whom Lord Shiva had vowed to protect.
A fierce battle commenced between the armies of Sri Krishna and Lord Shiva. But the battle remained indecisive for a long time. Meanwhile, Banasur came forward to fight against Sri Krishna.Very soon Sri Krishna severed all the thousand hands of Banasur with his 'chakra'. Lord Shiva then requested Sri Krishna to spare Banasur's life and said -'Banasur has received the boon of immortality from me. Now, only you can protect the dignity of my boon given to him.' Sri Krishna spared Banasur's life. Banasur then agreed to marry his daughter to Aniruddha. This way Aniruddha married Usha with great fanfare.
DECLINE OF YADU DYNASTY
Parvati was listening to
the divine tales of Sri Krishna with rapt attention. Lord Mahadeva told
Parvati-- 'Paundrak was the king of Kashi. He did an austere penance for twelve
years to please me. When I appeared before him, he requested me to make his
appearance look like Sri Krishna. I blessed him with an appearance similar to
that of Sri Krishna. People became confused as to who the real Krishna was.
One day, Narad arrived at Kashi and castigated Paundrak by saying that his intention of befooling people would not meet success as long as real Krishna was alive. Paundrak went to Dwarka with a large army and challenged Sri Krishna for a duel. Sri Krishna severed the impersonator's head with his chakra. Meanwhile, Jarasandh continued to torment the yadavas. Sri Krishna decided to settle the matter for once and all. He advised Bheema to challenge Jarasandh for a wrestling-bout.
Jarasandh and Bheema fought valiantly for 27 days. While both of them were fighting, Sri Krishna signalled Bheema to tear apart Jarasandh's thighs. After the killing of Jarasandh, Sri Krishna released all the kings who had been imprisoned by him. After the great war of Mahabharat had ended, Yudhishthir decided to perform a Rajasuya-yagya at Indraprashth. Sri Krishna also went there to bless the Pandavas. Shishupal was also present at the ceremony. He had an old grudge against Sri Krishna and started abusing him. Initially Krishna tried to overlook his abuses but when situation went beyond repair Sri Krishna severed his head with his chakra.
Dantavaktra attacked Mathura to avenge the death of Shishupal. A long battle was fought at the bank of river yamuna, which continued for many days. Ultimately, Sri Krishna was successful in killing Dantavaktra with his mace. There was a childhood friend of Sri Krishna whose name was Sudama. He was a poor brahmin. Once, he went to meet Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna, being an incarnation of the almighty immediately understood the precarious situation his poor friend was living in. He blessed Sudama as a result of which he got rid of his poverty and became prosperous. Sri Krishna had one crore sons from his sixteen thousand queens. Pradyumna was his eldest son. The yadavas dominated the whole earth and had become arrogant after being intoxicated by their power. There is an interesting tale how this powerful yadava dynasty met their downfall --
Once, some young yadavas played a prank with Sage Kanva, which caused the downfall of the Yadavas. One day, some Yadva children went at the bank of river Narmada where sage Kanva was doing penance. Samba was one of those Yadava children. He disguised himself as a pregnant woman by keeping a pestle under his clothes. All the yadava children then went near Sage Kanva and asked him as to when was the pregnant woman supposed to deliver a child.Sage Kanva furiously cursed them that the whole clan of yadavas would be liquidated because of that very pestle. All the children were scarred and told Sri Krishna about the mistake they had made. Sri Krishna ordered that the iron pestle be crushed to powder and be thrown into a pond. But, that was not the end of the matter, as long reeds grew all around the pond. The reeds had very sharp edges. A fish swallowed a small part of that iron pestle and was subsequently caught by a fowler, who retrieved that iron-piece from the fish and fixed it on the top of his arrow.
In course of time all the Yadavas developed enemity among themselves and killed each other with those sharp-edged reeds. Once, Sri Krishna was taking rest under the shade of 'Kalpa' tree. The fowler mistook his pink foot to be that of a deer and pierced it with his arrow. When the fowler arrived at the spot he found Sri Krishna in an injured condition. The fowler regretted his action and begged for Sri Krishna's pardon. Sri Krishna consoled the fowler by saying that he had committed no crime. Meanwhile, Daruk arrived there on his chariot. Sri Krishna instructed Daruk to call Arjuna as soon as possible. Arjuna arrived at the site within a short time. Sri Krishna told Arjuna--'The time for my final departure has arrived. Please call all my eight queen consorts.'
Arjuna rushed towards Dwarka to summon the queens but Sri Krishna had already left for his heavenly abode before he could come back with the queens. Arjuna informed the queens about Sri Krishna's injury. In a short time the news spread like a wild fire and all the residents of Dwarka rushed towards the site of incident. After reaching there, the eight queen consorts of Krishna found that their beloved husband had already departed. All of them gave up their lives and united with Sri Krishna. The great Yadavas like Vasudev, Ugrasena and Akrur followed suit. Balaram could not bear the sorrow caused by Sri Krishna's separation and he gave up his life. His wife--Revati entered the burning pyre with her husband's body in her lap. Similarly all the rest of Sri Krishna's family members like Rukmi's daughter, Pradyumna, Usha and Aniruddha left for heavenly abode.
Arjuna performed the last rite of all the dead Yadavas.Eventually, Dwaraka got submerged into the ocean. Thus, Sri Krishna after having liberated the earth from all the sinners left his mortal body. After completing his story Lord Mahadeva told Parvati that Sri Krishna takes incarnation whenever there is predominance of sin or sinners. He also revealed to her that Sri Krishna would incarnate as Kalki at the fag end of Kalkiyuga to liquidate the 'mlechchhas'.
OF VISHNU WORSHIP
Describing about the
rituals connected with the worship of lord Vishnu, lord Mahaddeva told Parvati--
A devotee can worship Lord Vishnu by making his idol. This mode of worship is
known as 'Sthapita' (installation of an idol). There are also some sacred places
related with lord Vishnu which are called 'Swayam-Vyakata' (self manifested)
like Indradyumna Sarovar, (Kurma sthan), Kashi, Prayag, Dwarka, Naimisharanya,
Mathura etc. In all these holy places, Lord Vishnu had manifested himself. A
devotee should get up early in the morning and perform 'aachaman'. He should
then chant the holy name of Lord Vishnu. He should take his bath and sit down to
worship Lord Vishnu.
A devotee should install idols of Laxmi-Narayana on a beautiful pedestal and adorn it with flowers. He should then make offerings of various articles like akshat, fruits, flowers, etc. to the deity. While worshipping, it is most necessary that a devotee followes the rituals as mentioned in the ancient scriptures like Shruti, Smriti, Vedas etc. He should chant the shlokas of Purush-Sukta as well as the cryptic mantra for the accomplishment of 'Shodashopachar'. He should light a ghee lamp and make offerings of articles like camphor and betel leaves to Lord Vishnu. While making offerings in the sacrificial-fire, chanting of a shloka either from Purushsukta or Shrisukta is madatory.
There are some specific days which are considered to be specially auspicious for the worship of lord Vishnu--Amavasya, Saturday, Solar eclipse, lunar eclipse etc.
VISHNU--THE ALMIGH TY GOD
Describing about the
superiority of Lord Vishnu among the trinity Gods' Sage Vashishth narrated the
following tale--During ancient times, Swayambhuva manu had once gone to
Mandarachal mountain to perform a yagya. Many scholars and learned men had come
to attend that yagya. Very soon, they got into a debate as to who was the
supreme among all the deities. Some of them eulogised the greatness of Brahma,
while some said that lord Shiva was the greatest of all the deities. Failing to
come to any conclusion all of them requested Sage Bhrigu to find out as to who
was the greatest among the trinity Gods.
Sage Bhrigu went to meet Lord Shiva at Kailash mountain. He saw Nandi standing guard at the main entrance. Sage Bhrigu arrogantly ordered Nandi to inform Lord Shiva of his arrival. Nandi refused to comply with Bhrigu's command. Sage Bhrigu cursed Lord Shiva by saying--Your master- Shiva, would bear the consequences of showing disrespect to me. From today onwards people would make offerings of forbidden articles to him.'
Sage Bhrigu then went to meet Lord Brahma. After reaching Brahmaloka, he made salutations to lord Brahma.Lord Brahma also did not give any respect to Sage Bhrigu and neglected him. Sage Bhrigu became furious and cursed Lord Brahma---'Being intoxicated by your Rajoguna, you have shown disrespect to me. From today onwards people will not worhsip you.' Sage Bhrigu then went to meet Lord Vishnu at his abode- Ksheersagar. He did not have any problem in reaching the place where Lord Vishnu was taking rest on Sheshnag, engrossed in his yoganidra. Goddess Laxmi was pressing Vishnu's legs with total devotion. Sage Bhrigu kicked Lord Vishnu on his chest. Lord Vishnu woke up and seeing sage Bhrigu said---'O Great Brahmin! Your tender foot must have got hurt because of my chest, which is as hard as Vajra. How blessed I am to have been touched by a brahmin's foot.'
Lord Vishnu got up and eulogised Sage Bhrigu. This gesture of Lord Vishnu made Sage Bhrigu cry in joy. Now, he was convinced as to who was the supreme among all the three deities.Sage Bhrigu returned to Mandarachal mountain where all the sages were anxiously waiting for him. He declared--
'Lord Brahma is the possesser of Rajoguna, while Lord Shiva possesses tamoguna. Only Lord Vishnu is the proud possessor of Satvaguna and hence He is the supreme among all three of them.' After finishing his tale, Sage Vashishth told the sages that anybody who worships Lord Vishnu with complete faith and total devotion become liberated from all his sins. A devotee of Lord Vishnu attains to Vishnu Loka after his death.
Describing Lord Vishnu's
incarnation as Parshuram, Lord Mahadeva told Parvati--Sage Jamadagni came from
the lineage of Bhrigu. He had pleased Indra by his tremendous penance and
received Surabhi cow in return. In course of time he married the daughter of
king Renuk whose name was Renuka. A child was born to them, who was named 'Ram'
by Sage Bhrigu. The child was also known as 'Jamadganya' because of Jamdagni.
After growing up, Ram became proficient in all the scriptures. He also mastered various weaponaries. One day, the king of Haihaya named Arjun arrived at the hermitage of Jamadagni. Sage Jamdagni treated the king with due honour and respect. He presented numerous gifts to the king. Arjun wanted nothing else but the Surabhi--cow from Sage Jamdagni which he was unwilling to part away with. Ultimately, Arjun forcibly took away the divine cow. The cow was unwilling to go alongwith Arjun and she attacked his army with her sharp horns. As a result, Arjun's whole army was liquidated within no time.The revengeful Arjun killed Jamadagni. At the time of this incident. Ram was not present in the hermitage.
Ram wanted to avenge his father's death and did a tremendous penance to please Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu became pleased by his devotion and presented many divine weapons to him. The weapons included the famous axe--Parshu and Vaishnav-bow. After acquiring Parshu from Lord Vishnu, Ram became famous as Parshuram. He had vowed to kill all the Kshatriyas, which he did only, the clan of Ikshavaku was spared by him as he had promised his mother that he would not harm Ikshavaku and his clan.
After freeing the earth from the terror of Kshatriyas, Parshuram performed an Ashwamedha yagya and donated his whole kingdom, to the brahmins. He then went to do penance at the hermitage of Nar-Narayan.
OF PADMA PURAN