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Showing posts from 2009

36 Upamanyu

Note: This is not written by me, but my father. He wrote this wonderful story in a mail to me. So here's to you, Baba.

- Shreekant
03 August 2009


Why I am curious about Upamanyu? Coz our 'Gotra' is Upamanyu.

Who was Upamanyu? What was his significance?

We have to reach Tamil Nadu - Chidambaram.

The story begins in the lush green thick jungle of Thillaivanam, the place where there is 'Swayambhu' Linga. Whoever has a 'darshan' of this Linga, gets everything he desires. (Rightful & more on the spiritual side).

This is the very place (and the nearby area) where Lord Nataraja arrived and gave two extra-ordinary gifts to the mankind - Music & Dance.

A great sage named Madyanthinar, related to sage Vashishta, had a brilliant son, named Madyanthinar Jr. These sages were living in a small town (probably a part of Chidambaram) and away fro…

35: Narada: Part 6 - The Circle of Life (Final)

After they had finished eating the rice kheer, Narada continued with the story of how he learnt about Maya.

"You know we have very little time now" Brahma reminded Narada.

"Yes, I do. I am almost ready. Would you like to hear about how Vishnu explained Maya to me?"

"Yes, go on" Brahma said.

So Narada began -

"This happened in the time of Dwapara. Vishnu had taken the avatar of Krishna and slain the arrogant Kamsa. I was visiting him to get an update about the kingdoms in Bharatvarsha, and also to share with him observations from my wanderings. We got talking and the Lord asked me to take a stroll with him."
"While we were crossing the desert near Dwaraka, I turned to the Lord and asked "O Greatest Lord, what is the secret of this life and the appearances of this world? You claim everything to be maya, illusion. It sounds virtually impossible. I can touch a tree. I can grab your arm. A mosquito stings me. I feel these things. How can all this…

34: Narada: Part 5 - Teaching Dhruva

"Father, as you know, Dhruva was born a son of the King Uttaanpaada - the son of Svayambhuva Manu - and his first wife Suniti. But the king also had another son Uttama, born to his second queen Suruchi. Now the king loved Suruchi more, and so naturally Uttama commanded more respect even as a child, and even when he was younger to Dhruva."

"Once, when Dhruva was about five years of age, the two princes playfully raced towards their father's lap. Uttama secured a place on the king's lap, but when Dhruva reached he asked a place too. Uttama's mother Suruchi saw this and insulted Dhruva. The little child got very upset and went weeping to his mother. He asked her if he can ever get a place where no-one will be able to him from. Suniti was as such much distraught, but being helpless, she asked her son to leave that in Shri Vishnu's hands."

"Dhruva took this seriously. He decided that he will observe penance in meditation of the Lord and thus seek for …

33: Narada: Part 4 - Prahlada and Hiranyakashyapu

So saying, Narada narrated this story about Prahalad:

"I will tell you about my experience of teaching an unborn child. It was perhaps the most interesting and stimulating discourse I have ever given to anyone, because I had to be extremely sure of what I was saying to the womb."

"Lord, you know of the Daitya Hiranyakashyapu - son of Diti and Kashyapa, my brother Marichi's son.

From childhood, he had always fought with his cousins the Adityas - mainly Indra. But he was strong and also a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Once he grew up, he left his family and went away to Mount Mandara for offering penance to Lord Shiva. Indra found this a great opportunity and kidnapped his wife Kayadu, who was carrying child, and tried to kill the child in the womb. I came to know of this, so I rushed to Indra and prevented the misdeed by preaching him good sense. I also told him that I will teach the child good virtues so that he will be different from his father."

"Indra let g…

32 Narada: Part 3 - Kapivakrta, The Monkey-Face

"This is a very well-known story, Father, so I will tell you in short", Narada said - also ensuring that he need not spend too much time on the episode he was rather uncomfortable and shameful to talk about, even in jest. Brahma smiled as he knew Narada's discomfort, and asked him to go on ...

Once Narada’s meditation could not be disturbed even by Kamadeva (the God of Lust) who was instructed by the king of gods Indra to break Narada's penance. At this victory, Narada got overwhelmed by a feeling of immense pride, unbecoming to a seer. He went to Lord Shiva and told him that he was not the only conqueror of this invincible god Kama. The all-knowing Shiva said that he was glad he had company, but also warned Narada not to brag about this, especially to Vishnu.

Narada left Mount Kailash and thought, "Shiva must surely be jealous of me. Why should I not tell Vishnu, he who loves me so dearly? Surely he will be proud of me". So the seer went straight to Vaikunth…

31 Narada: Part 2 - Durvasa sees his folly

"So you were telling me about your meeting with Durvasa", Brahma said after the two had settled down.

"Not exactly meeting, Father. This is what happened ..."

Once Lord Shiva had called all the gods and demigods in his court on Mount Kailasa. Great sages, brahmarshis (celestial sages) and gods attended it. Even Narada was present. While the court was in session, the great Rishi Durvasa entered and interrupted the august assembly with a great hustle, and ignoring proceedings and also the elders and very illustrious sages, went straight up to Lord Shiva. He proudly displayed his huge bundle of books and said, "Look, Lord Shiva, I have thoroughly studied and mastered all these books and I know them now by heart!"

He was expecting great praise for it was impossible for any human being to learn all the books by heart in one life. Instead, he heard Narada's loud voice from behind, "Hey you donkey, who is carrying this huge burden of whatever it is, why do…

30 Narada: Part 1 - Daksha brahma prajapati's curse

Note: I have tried to attempt a narrative in dialogue format rather than a post for a change. Only, the dialogues in this case are rather tricky, since they are between the all-knowing Narada and the all-pervasive Brahma unlike someone who knows and someone who is being told. One would think there is not much there is to ask and tell between them, since both know almost everything in the universe.

They do share a relationship of a father and son, but Narada chose a path of renunciation much against Brahma's wish and he is more closer to Vishnu than he is to Brahma ... and that has brought a slight tension to this entire endeavor. In any case, I fell in love with the format once I began, and had to go on ... I have tried to walk on this slippery path for a few posts, and hope that the narrative has not slipped and fallen any time. If you find any flaws in the construction, know that they are entirely mine. - S

28 How Chitpavan Brahims got their name

Now this is one of the most famous legands that I have been hearing since childhood, due to my close association with the land of Konkan in general and the town of Chiplun in particular -- and also with the Kokanastha Brahmins - the Kulkarnis, Deshpandes, Patils, Inamdars, Gokhales, Phadkes, Rastes, Patwardhans, Aptes and so on ... the list is endless. The Peshwas (prime ministers) of the late Maratha empire are the most famous group of Chitpavan Brahmins in the history.

This post is about how the famous warrior saint Parashurama - Rama with an axe - Vishnu's 6th Avatar, ordered the Ocean to recede and thus created the entire stretch of what is known as Konkan and Malabar.

Prelude - Jamadagni and Kartavirya Arjuna

It all started when long time ago a Haihaya Kshatriya king Kartavirya Arjuna - nothing to do with the Arjuna of Mahabharata - (also called Sahasrarjuna - purportedly with a thousand arms) visited the sag…

27 The Story of Banasur

Vanasur (Banasur) - The Eldest Son of Bali

In the last December, we were on a road trip in Kumaon, Uttarakhand. After spending 2 days in the regions around Saat taal, Mukteshwar etc., we decided to move further up towards Champawat region and go to a less-known hill station called Abbot Mount, near Lohaghat.

This ancient region has historical and mythological importance. Champawat, once the capital of the rulers of the Chand dynasty, is famous for its natural beauty and well known temples. It is also believed that it was in Champawat that Lord Vishnu appeared as 'Kurma avtar', His incarnation as a tortoise. The River Lohawati originates near this place. Lohagarh and the nearby Tanakpur are huge marketplaces, especially of woolen clothes today.

While we were traveling from Bhowali, having crossed many mountain trails and having seen the Himalayan mountain ranges filled to our heart's desire, we came to a place call…