DESCRIPTION OF MANVANTARAS
Maitreya says- "O
Gurudev! Now I wish to hear the description of all the Manvantaras and the Manus
who ruled those Manvantaras."
Parashar says- "First Manu was self-begotten. After him five more Manus occurred namely Swarochish, Uttam, Taamas, Raivat and Chaakshush. All these Manus had occurred during the previous ages. The present Manu, Vaivasvat is the son of the Sun and this Manvantara is seventh."
In the Swarochish Manvantara, Paaraavat and Tushitgana were the gods. Vipaschit was Indra. Urjja, Stambh, Praan, Vaat, Vrishabh, Nitya and Parivaan were the Saptarishis. Chaitra and Kimpurush etc. were the sons of Manu.
Uttam was the Manu in Uttam Manvantara. Sushaanti was Indra with Sudhaam, Satya, Japa, Pratardan and Vashvarti were his Ganas. Seven sons of Vashishta were Saptarishis.
In Taamas Manvantara, there were four categories of the gods namely Supaar, Hari, Satya and Sudhi. Each of them had twenty-seven gods each. King Shibi was Indra during that Manvantara. Jyotirdhama, Prithu, Kaatya, Chaitra, Agni, Vanak and Peevar were Saptarishis.
During Raivat Manvantara, Vibhu was Indra. There were four categories of the gods namely Amitabh, Bhootrath, Vaikunth and Sumedha with fourteen gods each. Hiranyaroma, Vedshri, Urdhvabaahu, Vedbaahu, Sudama, Parjanya and Mahamuni were the Saptarishis. Four Manus Swarochish, Uttam, Taamas and Raivat are said to be the direct descendant of King Priyavrat.
During Chaakshush Manvantara, Indra’s name was Manojav. Aapya, Prasoot, Bhavya, Prithuk and Lekh were the categories of gods each with eight deities. Sumedha, Viraja, Havishmaan, Uttam, Madhu, Atinaama and Sahishnu were the Saptarishis.
During the present Manvantara, the Sun’s brilliant son Shraaddhdev is Manu. Aditya, Vasu and Rudra are the categories of the gods. Indra’s name is Purandar. Vashishta, Kashyap, Atri, Jamadagni, Gautam, Vishwamitra and Bharadwaj are the Saptarishis. Present Manu has nine sons Ikshvaaku, Nrig, Drisht, Sharayaati, Narishyant, Naabhaag, Arisht, Karush and Prishadhra.
BIRTH OF SAVARANI MANU AND DESCRIPTION OF NEXT MANVANTARAS
Maitreya says- "O
sage, now kindly narrate about the Manvantaras that are to come in future."
Parashar says- Vishwakarma’s daughter Sangya was the wife of Surya. They had three children, Manu, Yama and Yamani. Sangya once felt unable to bear the radiance of Surya. So, appointing Chhaya (her shadow) in the service of Surya, she herself migrated to the forest and began to observe a penance. Surya mistook Chhaya for Sangya and copulated with her. This resulted in the birth of three children- one more Manu, Shani and Tapati.
One day, getting angry for some unknown reason, Chhaya who was in the guise of Sangya cursed Yama. Only then Surya and Yama came to know about her real identity. Through meditation, Surya saw that the real Sangya was observing penance as a mare in the forest. Surya also arrived in the forest and mated with Sangya in horse form. Their mating resulted in the birth of two Ashwini kumars, Retahstrav and Revant. Thereafter, Surya brought Sangya to his abode where Vishwakarma dulled his radiance. Chhaya’s son, Manu was a sibling of Manu; hence he came to be known as Saavarni.
During the next Manvantara, Saavarni will rule as Manu. Sutap, Amitabh and Mukhya will be the categories of gods each with twenty deities. Ditimaan, Gaalav, Rama, Krip, Ashwatthama, Rishishring and my son, Vedavyasa will be among the Saptarishis. By the grace of Lord Vishnu, Virochan’s son Bali will occupy the throne of Indra.
Daksha Saavarni will be the ninth Manu. During that Manvantara, Paar, Maarichgarv and Sudharma will be the three categories of the gods with twelve deities each. Adbhut will be Indra. Savan, Dyutimaan, Bhavya, Vasu, Meghatithi, Jyotishmaan and Sata will be among the Saptarishis.
Brahma Saavarni will be the tenth Manu. During that Manvantara, Sudhaama and Vishuddh will be the two categories of gods with hundred deities each. Shanti will be Indra. Havishmaan, Sukrit, Satya, Tapomurti, Naabhaag, Apratimauja and Satyaketu will be among the Saptarishis.
Dharmasaavarni will be the eleventh Manu. Vihangam, Kaamgam and Nirvaangati will be the categories of gods each with thirty deities. Indra’s name will be Vish. Nihsvar, Agniteja, Vayushmaan, Ghrini, Aaruni, Havishmaan and Anagh will be among the Saptarishis.
Rudraputra Saavarni will be the twelfth Manu. Ritudhaama will be Indra and Harit, Rohit, Sumna, Sukarma and Suraag will be the five categories of the gods each with ten deities. Tapasvi, Sutapa, Tapomurti, Taporati, Tapoghriti, Tapodyuti and Tapodhan will be among the Saptarishis.
Ruchi will be the thirteenth Manu. Sutrama, Sukarma and Sudharma will be the categories of the gods each with thirty-three deities. Devaspati will be Indra. Nirmoha, Tatvagarshi, Nishprakam, Nirutsuk, Ghritimaan, Avyay and Sutapa will be among the Saptarishis.
Bhaum will be the fourteenth Manu. Suchi will be Indra. Chaakshush, Pavitra, Kanishth, Bhraajik and Vaachaavriddh will be the five categories of the gods. Agnibaahu, Suchi, Shukra, Maagadh, Agnidhra, Yukt and Jit will be among the Saptarishis.
With the passing of these fourteen Manvantaras, a Kalpa that comprises of one thousand Yugas will come to an end. In Satayug, Lord Vishnu preaches about the metaphysical knowledge in Kapil’s incarnation. In Tretayug, He destroys the evil doers and protects the world. In Dwaparyug, He divides the Vedas into four divisions. At the end of Kaliyug, Lord takes Kali incarnation and inspires corrupt people to religious path. Thus, Lord Vishnu maintains order in all the four Yugas and causes the creation, sustenance and ultimately destruction of the universe.
DESCRIPTION OF VEDAVYASA AND SIGNIFICANCE OF BRAHMAGYAN
Maitreya says- "O
Lord! How did God divide Vedas in the form of Vedavyasa during different
Parashar says- During each Dwaparyug, in every Kalpa, Lord Vishnu takes incarnation as Vedavyasa and effects the division of Vedas for the benefit of human beings.
During every Dwaparyug of the present Vaivasvat Manvantara, different Vyasas have divided the Vedas twenty-eight times. During the first Dwapar, Brahma himself had divided the Vedas. During the second Dwapar, Prajapati was Vedavyasa. During the third Dwapar, Shukracharya was Vedavyasa. During fourth Dwapar, Brihaspati acted as Vedavyasa.
Description of other sages who acted as Vedavyasa during the subsequent Dwapars is as follows- Surya- fifth Vedavyasa; Mrityu- sixth Vedavyasa, Indra- seventh Vedavyasa, Vashishta- eighth Vedavyasa, Saraswat- ninth Vedavyasa, Tridhama- tenth Vedavyasa, Trishikh- eleventh Vedavyasa, Bharadwaj- twelfth Vedavyasa, Antariksh- thirteenth Vedavyasa, Varani- fourteenth Vedavyasa. Names of next fourteen Vedavyasas are as follows- Trayyarun, Dhananjay, Krutunjay, Jay, Bharadwaj, Gautam, Haryatma, Vaajshrava, Trinbindhu, Riksh (Valmiki), Shakti, Parashar, Jaatukarn and Krishnadwaipayan. After Krishnadwaipayan, Drona’s son, Ashwatthama will be the next Vedavyasa.
EXPANSION OF THE BRANCHES OF RIGVEDA
At the beginning of
creation, Rigveda contained all the four Vedas with hundred thousand mantras.
That Rigveda helped a lot in the propagation of ten kinds of Yagyas. Then during
the twenty-eighth Dwapar, my son, Krishnadwaipayan effected the division of
Rigveda in four Vedas. At the same time, he also trained four of his
distinguished disciples in the study of Vedas. Each one of them was interested
with the study of one particular Veda for infinite period of time. Accordingly,
sage Pail mastered in Rigveda, Vaishampayan in Yajurveda, Jaimini in Samaveda
and Sumantu in Atharvaveda. With the four Vedas, practice of Chaturhotra also
came into being. Chaturhotra is now the main guiding feature of all kinds of
Yagyas. Vyasa also established the Karmas of Adhvarayu by Yajurveda, of Hota by
Rigveda, of Udgaata by Samaveda and of Brahma by Atharvaveda.
Sage Pail divided Rigveda into two divisions and taught them to two of his disciples- Indrapramiti and Vaashkal. In his term, Vaashkal divided his branch into four sub-branches and taught them to his disciples. Indrapramiti taught his branch of Rigveda to his talented son, sage Maandukeya. Thus branches and sub-branches of Rigveda grew substantially. In this tradition, Shaakalyavedamitra learnt a Samhita and divided it into five sub-branches. One of his disciples named Shaakpurn created three Samhitas whereas his another disciple created Nirukta Grantha. Vaashkal created three Samhitas and taught them to Kaalaayani, Gaargya and Tathaaja.
DESCRIPTION OF THE BRANCHES OF YAJURVEDA
A disciple of Vedavyasa
named Vaishampayan created twenty-seven branches of Yajurveda and taught them to
his disciples. He had a disciple Yagyavalkya who was the son of Brahmarat. At
that time, all the sages together constituted a rule that whoever did not join
their group within seven days on Mahameru would be held as a sinner equal to
killing a Brahmin. Only Vaishampayan had violated that ruling. The curse of the
sages did come true when Vaishampayan killed his sleeping nephew accidentally.
Then he asked his disciples to do away with his sin.
Yagyavalkya said- "Lord! All these Brahmins are extremely dull. I will alone do away with your sin." These boastful words infuriated Vaishampayan. He said- “You are insulting these Brahmins so at once, regurgitate whatever I have taught you." Yagyavalkya said- “Lord! I uttered these words out of devotion for you. Still you wish me to regurgitate what you have taught me. Here it is! Saying this, Yagyavalkya vomited out all the Shrutis of Yajurveda. Other disciples of Vaishampayan pecked them in the form of partridges. Since then, they came to be known as Taitriya Brahmins. Holding his breath, Yagyavalkya then started the worship of the Sun with a desire to regain Yajurveda.
Pleased by his prayers, Surya appeared before him in horse form and asked him to seek a boon. Yagyavalkya requested Surya to preach him those Shrutis of Yajurveda, which were not known even to his teacher, Vaishampayan. Surya preached him those Shrutis of Yajurveda, which were known as Aayaatyaam. The Brahmins who read these Shrutis came to be known as Vaaji. Nowadays, there are fifteen sub-branches of these Vaaji Shrutis, which were initially expounded by sage Yagyavalkya.
BRANCHES OF SAMAVEDA AND EIGHTEEN PURAANAS
Sage Jaimini, a disciple
of Vedavyasa, effected branches of Samaveda. Sage Jaimini had a son, Sumantu.
Sumantu in turn had a son, Sukarma. Both of them studied a branch of Samaveda
each. Sukarma divided his branch of Samaveda into sub-branches and taught them
to his two disciples- Kaushalya Hiranyanaabh and Paushpinji. Hiranyanaabh had
five hundred disciples. Upon receiving the knowledge of Samaveda branch from
Hiranyanaabh, these disciples came to be known as Prachya Saamaag. Disciples of
Paushpinji also effected divisions in Samaveda that they received from their
teacher. One more disciple of Hiranyanaabh named Kriti taught twenty-four
Samhitas of Samaveda to his disciples.
Sage Sumant taught Atharvaveda to his disciple Kabandh. Kabandh divided it into two parts and taught them to Devdarsh and Pathya respectively. A disciple of Pathya named Shaunak divided his Samhita into two parts and gave one of them to his disciple Vabhru and another to Saindhav. Saindhav’s disciple Munjikesh divided his Samhita into three parts. Presently, five Samhitas of Atharvaveda namely Nakshatrakalpa, Vedakalpa, Samhitakalpa, Aangiraskalpa and Shantikalpa are considered authentic.
Still unsatisfied by his achievement, sage Vedavyasa created Puraan Samhita and taught them to his famous disciple Romaharshan Suta. The Samhita that was created by Romaharshan was the base of three Samhitas- Akritvrana, Saavarni and Shaanspaayan created by Kashyapgotriya Brahmins. Vishnu Puraan is in a way a summation of these four Samhitas. There are in all eighteen Puraans. In chronological order, these are as follows- Brahma Puraan, Padma Puraan, Vaishnav Puraan, Shaiv Puraan, Bhaagwat Puraan. Naarad Puraan, Markandeya Puraan, Agneya Puraan, Bhavishya Puraan, Brahmavaivart Puraan, Linga Puraan, Varaha Puraan, Skand Puraan, Vaaman Puraan, Kaurma Puraan, Matsya Puraan, Garud Puraan and Brahmaand Puraan.
"Lord! At the end of a life span, all the people come to be controlled by
Yamaraaj. When they are bound to undergo scores of suffering in different kinds
of hells. Kindly narrate about such action by which a human being gets free from
the noose of Yamaraaj."
Parashar says- Youngest among the Pandavas, Nakul had once put the same question before Pitamaha Bheeshma. I am narrating what once Bheeshma had narrated to Nakul. Before sending Yamaraaj advises his agents to stay away from the devotee of Lord Krishna.
Yamaraaj is lord of all the human beings except Vaishnavas. Only Lord Vishnu is able to control Yamaraaj. About the devotee of Lord Vishnu, Yamaraaj says - He who does not deviate from his duties even in severest of crisis, who does not steal the wealth of others and kill animals is undoubtedly a devotee of Lord Vishnu. He who bears Lord Vishnu in his heart is a devotee of Lord Vishnu. He who is free from all kinds of ego and illusions and always wishes well for the others with pure and peaceful heart is a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Thus those who always contemplate on Lord Vishnu don’t even fear death. Yama, Yamadoot, Yamapaash, Yamagana and even tortures of Yama are unable to hurt them.
DUTIES OF FOUR CLASSES OF SOCIETY
Maitreya says -
"Lord! How should one worship Lord Vishnu? Kindly describe it to me.
Parashar says- King Sagar had asked the same thing from sage Aurv. I am narrating what sage Aurv had preached him.
Only those who fulfil their responsibilities and discharge their duties as per their class can worship Lord Vishnu. Those who shun activities like criticising others, backbiting, womanising, stealing others’ wealth and violence; those who do not torture others and are always ready to serve the gods, Brahmins and teachers are able to please Lord Vishnu. Similarly, one should be always conscious regarding his duties as per his class.
Accordingly, a Brahmin should carry out Yagyas, study scriptures and should not ever try to hurt anybody. A Kshatriya must organise Yagyas and study scriptures. He should also make donations to Brahmins and take weapons in order to protect the earth. A Vaishya must earn his livelihood through cattle rearing, commerce and agriculture. Besides he should also organise Yagyas make donations and study scriptures. A Shudra is expected to earn his livelihood through handicrafts. Saluting learned people is equal to organising Yagya for a Shudra. A Shudra may also make donations and oblations to appease his dead ancestors.
In the time of emergency, a Brahmin may shift to the occupations meant for Kshatriya and Vaishya. A Kshatriya may take the occupation of a Vaishya during emergency but none of them should ever take to the occupation of Shudra.
DESCRIPTION OF DIFFERENT ASHRAMS
Since birth till death,
human life passes through different stages. For the purpose of simplicity in
following these stages, our sages have made provisions for four stages or
Ashrams in life namely Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanprastha and Sanyaas.
Upanayana Sanskara (thread ceremony) marks the beginning of education for the children born in Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya classes. For this purpose, a disciple must stay in his teacher’s hermitage and observe celibacy strictly. There, he must serve his teacher and worship Surya and Agni. The disciple is expected never to disobey his teacher. Activities should be according to the teacher’s guidelines. He should also make arrangements for the daily worship of his teacher in the way of collecting different materials like Havan saamagri, water, Kusha, flowers etc.
After the completion of education and paying all the dues, the disciple is ready to start second stage of his life that is Grihasthashram. For this he should first find a suitable girl from his class and make merry. During this stage, he should earn his livelihood by occupations ascribed for his class. He should please the gods by Yagyas, his ancestors by oblations, Prajapatis by producing children, spectres by offering sacrifices of cereals and society by love. Even the ascetic and celibates depend on married people for their daily bread. Hence married life or Grihasthashram is stated to be excellent among all the Ashrams.
A Grihastha must welcome and warmly treat the guests who arrive unexpectedly. Such a household from where a guest returns desperately never succeeds in religious matters. All the worship and Yagyas offered in such a household go futile. Hence it is not proper for the householder to show ego and abuse a guest otherwise he will have to expiate for it later.
A person must always be on alert to recognise the time when it is apt to take Vanprastha. When the children grow and begin to hold the responsibility of the household, one enters the third stage i.e. Vanprasthashram. So, leaving his wife in the shelter of his children or taking her with him, one should migrate to the forest and live a simple life sustaining on whatever little is available from the nature. This stage must be passed observing severe penance and restraining one’s senses.
Sanyaasashram is the fourth stage of life. One should give up all activities related to Dharma, Artha and Kama in this stage. He should keep an impartial view for all and cultivate a feeling of love for all the creatures. He should not hurt anybody by his words, actions or even thoughts. He should not stay in a village or town for more than five days. He should sustain his life on alms.
CUSTOMS AND CONSECRATIONS
At the time of
childbirth, it is the father’s responsibility to carry out certain customs and
consecrations for the child. First of all, Jatakarma Sanskara is carried out by
which the newly born baby is included in the family. During this custom, a
Brahmin couple is fed. It is also necessary for the couple that they should sit
facing east while feeding. Thereafter, the parents should offer oblations to
appease the gods and dead ancestors. Lumps made of barley flour, curd and
berries should be offered as oblations. Similar consecrations are carried out at
the time of children’s marriage.
On the tenth day after the birth, the naming ceremony is carried out. Different castes and religion have different traditions regarding naming the newly born child. It is commonly seen that most of the children are named after the deities and gods. Still one should see that the name should not be meaningless, abusive or inauspicious. Practice of selecting exceptionally long and difficult to pronounce names should also be avoided.
The second stage in a child’s life is when he or she begins education. In ancient times, thread ceremony used to be carried out and the children were sent to their teacher’s hermitage for education. In modern age, thread ceremony is followed more or less in similar way as it used to be in the past. But children are not sent to Gurukul for education any more.
After completing education, a person should get married and run his own life. In the past, there had been elaborate rituals for the selection of suitable bride. Elders of the house used to select a proper match for the boy. Their choice in most cases depended on many attributes and bodily features of the girl. But in modern age, with increased interaction among the people, it is not possible to follow each and every custom related to selection of bride. Still one should take care not to marry in his mother’s lineage for up to fifth generation and in his father’s lineage up to seventh generation.
DESCRIPTION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
A married man knows the
importance of following a righteous discourse. Married life is like a penance in
which a couple gives birth and raises next generation. A married man is expected
to get up early in the morning and contemplate on religious things. It helps him
to follow righteous discourse. He is expected to attend nature’s call in
natural environment away from his house. Soil is considered the best means to
wash hands. It should be followed by cleansing of the body. He should then offer
oblations wearing fresh clothes to sages, deities and his dead ancestors.
Offering oblations to the Sun, worship of tutelary god and other deities follows
If the household is having some cattle, the head of the family should himself milk them and then wait for the guest. If and when a guest arrives, the head of the family must offer him a seat respectfully and treat him well with delicious food and pleasant talk. In Indian tradition, a guest is regarded equal to a deity. He should take food only after feeding the guest. Evening time has also elaborate rituals for a married man. First of all, after finishing daily chores, a married man must worship with peaceful mind. It is also good for his health to take food early in the evening and retire to a wooden bedstead. Night time is considered suitable period for enjoying carnal pleasure. Here too, a married man should enjoy intimacy with his wife only.
SANCTIFICATION AFTER BIRTH AND DEATH
Life on earth is like an
infinite ocean in which birth appears like a bubble and death marks the bursting
of that bubble after which it exists no more. Atmosphere of a household is said
to be defiled when a birth or death occurs in it. There are different
sanctifying customs to be carried out on both these occasions. After the birth
of a son, the father should offer oblations to please the gods and his ancestors
after taking a bath.
When a death occurs in a household, close relatives should take bath and carry the cadaver adorned with flowers and garlands outside the village or well-demarcated cremation ground for cremation. As per the religious tradition of the deceased, the body should either be consigned to the flames or buried. Then the relatives should again take bath in the pond or river facing south and offer watery oblations to the dead person. Since that day, Pindadaan (offering sweet balls made of barley flour, sesame seeds, jaggery and honey) should be done for ten days. On the fourth day of the cremation, ashes should be collected for immersion in holy places of pilgrimage.
The person who had carried out the cremation must abstain from intimacy for thirteen days. Outsiders are also barred from eating cereals from such a household where a death has occurred. For the different classes of Hindu society, this sanctifying period varies. For Brahmins, it is ten days, for Kshatriyas, it is twelve days, for Vaishyas, it is fifteen days and for Shudras, this period has been fixed for one month. On the same day in every subsequent month, oblations should be offered to the dead for one year.
DAYS FOR MONTHLY OBLATIONS
A Shraadh carried out
with devotion pleases the entire world including human beings, Brahma, Indra,
Rudra, Ashwini Kumars, Surya, Agni, Vasugana, Marudgana, Vishwadeva, Pitragana,
birds, animals, reptiles, sages and of course the dead ancestors. Moonless and
eighth day in the darker phase of every lunar month are considered the best days
for offering oblations to the dead ancestors.
Apart from these two, third day in the brighter phase of Vaishaakh, ninth day in brighter phase of Kartik, thirteenth day in the darker phase of Bhaadrapad and Amavasya of Maagh are also considered excellent. During lunar and solar eclipses also, oblations should be made with water and sesame seeds. If Shatabhisha Nakshatra occurs on Amavasya of Maagh, it is considered an excellent conjugation for offering oblations to dead ancestors. Bathing in rivers like Ganga, Sutlej, Yamuna, Vipaasha, Saraswati, Gomti, Godavari etc. while making oblations is also said to be extremely benefiting. It is not necessary also to show great pomp and show while making oblations. If one doesn’t have enough money to offer oblations properly, he may simply pray the Sun saying that ‘he is not fortunate enough to have wealth’. Thus, his ancestors would be pleased by his devotion alone.
METHOD FOR OBLATIONS
While making oblations
to the dead ancestors, one should feed his near and dear ones as well as learned
Brahmins who respect their parents. Intimacy with women is barred for those who
have taken food in an oblation. Any guest who happens to arrive unexpectedly and
uninvited should be treated well. Before feeding, plain cereals should be
offered thrice to the fire reciting following hymns.
AGNAYE KAVYA VAAHAANAYE SWAHAA |
SOMAAY PITRAMATE SWAHAA |
VAIVASVATAAY SWAAHA ||
Remaining cereals then should be served with the food to the Brahmins and some parts should also be cast on earth and water should be offered on them.
After the feast, the Brahmins should be seen off with respect. The host should then take food along with his family. Anger over enthusiasm and walking on the street is forbidden for the host during oblation period.
DO’S AND DON’TS DURING OBLATION
Oblation with flesh of
fish, rabbit, mongoose, hog, deer, ram and cereals cause extreme satisfaction
for the ancestors. But in modern Kaliyug, all types of flesh are forbidden in
oblation rituals. Only cereals, milk, honey, etc. are allowed. Offering of
oblation in Gaya (a place of pilgrimage in Bihar) is said to salve all the
ancestors. Barley, wheat, rice, sesame seeds, peas, and mustard are the common
cereals and grains used in oblations.
Offering of oblation is a sacred affair. During the procedure, care should be taken that an eunuch, Chandaal, sinner, imposter, patient, cock, dog, a naked person, monkey, pigs, a woman in menses, and anybody in whose house a death or birth has occurred don’t see the performer otherwise neither the deities nor the ancestors would accept the oblations. Water used in oblation should also be free from odour and foam. Milk of camel, sheep, doe and buffalo should not be used in oblations. Before beginning the ritual, drive out the evil spirits from the selected piece of land. It should be cut off from outside influences through enclosures.
THE BATTLE OF GODS AND DEMONS
Rig, Sama and Yajurveda
are like the clothes of Hindu society. Those who give them up are in fact naked.
This statement is endorsed by the following tale.
Once upon a time, a battle occurred between the demons and the gods. It lasted for one hundred years at the end of which period, the demons defeated the gods. The humiliated gods reached Ksheersagar and prayed Lord Vishnu. Pleased by their prayers, Lord Vishnu appeared before the gods. All the gods greeted Him and said- "O Lord! In sheer violation of Brahma’s dictate, formidable demons have kidnapped even our due shares offered in the oblations. Protect us from the onslaught of the demons. We cannot fill them because they abide by their religion. Kindly show us a way to kill the demons."
Hearing the pleas of the gods, Lord Vishnu produced Mayamoha from His body and giving them to the gods, said- "Mayamoha will cause illusion in the minds of the demons. The illusion will influence the demons to violate the path shown by the Vedas. You can kill them after that". Saying this, the Lord disappeared. The gods took Mayamoha and reached the abode of the demons.
DIALOGUE OF MAYAMOHA WITH DEMONS
was produced in a naked form. It reached the bank of Narmada and saw the demons
observing penance there. The naked Mayamoha then approached them and said in a
sweet voice- " O demons! What is the purpose of your penance?" The
demons said- "We are observing penance to achieve the metaphysical
world." Mayamoha said- "If you long for salvation, do as I suggest.
Follow the religion which is like an open gate to salvation." With such
sweet talk, Mayamoha began to illumine the demons’ mind. Mayamoha confused
them further saying- "O demons, if you long for salvation or a place in the
heaven, give up sacrificing animals and attain enlightenment. It is wrong notion
to say that violence is the religious path. Offering of oblations in fire is
also childish. Even an animal which eats green grass is better than Indra who is
obliged to eat wood despite attaining that position after hundreds of great
Yagyas. If an animal which is sacrificed in Yagya attains heaven, performer of
Yagya would have killed his own father."
Thus with these witty talks, Mayamoha deviated the demons from the righteous path because of which they lost interest in Vedas. Once it was achieved, the gods attacked the demons with full preparations. Ultimately, many demons were killed whereas those who remained came to be known as naked because they no longer followed the teachings of Vedas. Thus, anybody who does not practice the teachings of Vedas in his life is known as naked. Those who do not take to Vanprastha or Sanyaas after the completion of Grihasthashram are naked.
Tale of Shatadhanu- In the ancient times there was a king named Shatadhanu. His queen Shaivya was a righteous and religious woman. The king and the queen had worshipped Lord Vishnu observing severe penance. On the full moon day in the month of Kartik when the king and queen came out of the Ganges after taking bath, they happened to sight an imposter Brahmin who was coming from the opposite direction. The Brahmin was a friend of the king’s teacher. So, the king treated the Brahmin with respect. But his chaste wife did not show any respect for the imposter and kept silent all through the talk. She then had a sight of the Sun to expiate for the meeting with an imposter. On their return to the palace the king and the queen worshipped Lord Vishnu with proper rituals.
In due course, the king died. The queen also committed Sati. Since the king had committed the sin of talking to an imposter during his penance the king had committed the sin of talking to an imposter during his penance, he took birth in a dog form whereas queen Shaivya took birth as the daughter of a Kashi king. She was extremely beautiful and knew everything about her previous birth. When her father decided to marry her off, she requestfully refused for she knew that her previous birth husband was roaming the streets and lanes of Vidisha in a dog form.
The princess of Kashi then reached Vidisha and found out that dog was in fact King Shatadhanu. She fed the dog with delicious food eating which the dog began to wag its tail and show humility before the princess. The princess saluted the dog and narrated the whole thing to it that it was because of his sin of talking to an imposter during penance that he had to take birth as a dog.
Thus, reminded by the princess, the dog contemplated for long on the events of his previous birth. He grew so sad that he gave up the dog form on the outskirts of the town. In his next birth however he was born as a jackal. Again the princess came to know that the jackal was King Shatadhanu and asked him whether he continued to talk to the imposter after their conversation in the previous birth? Only then, King Shatadhanu came to realise his mistake. He then observed fast till death. But in his next birth, he was born as a wolf. Again the princess reminded him of his previous birth. The king’s became a vulture in his next birth. After that, he took birth in crow form and then as a peacock. During that time, King Janak was organising an Ashwamedha Yagya. In the Yagya, the peacock was also given a ceremonial bath by the princess. During the bath, the princess reminded the peacock (King Shatadhanu) of his previous birth, the peacock too died and took next birth as the son of King Janak.
It was only after the birth of King Janak’s son that the princess told her father to organise a Swayamvara for her. In the Swayamvara, the prince also arrived. The princess accepted him respectfully as her husband.
OF PART THREE