Monthly Archives: January 2010

Arasuri temple – Sati Shakti Peeth (Ambaji)

Ambaji – Sati Shakti Peeth

Ambaji mata temple is one among the 52 Shakti Peethof India. It is situated at a distance of approximately 65 kilometers from Palanpur and 45 kilometers from Mount Abu and 20 kilometers from Abu Road near the Gujarat and Rajasthan border.

Following the destruction of Daksha’s sacrifice and the Rudra Tandava of Shiva, various parts of Sati’s body fell at several places throughout India. and these places are revered as Shakti peeths.
This sati shakti peeth is  the  Centre of Cosmic Power of India and it is the original holy place of Mata Ambaji, where the piece of the heart of the dead body of Devi Sati fell at the top of the gabber holy hill.  The original seat of Ambaji mata is on gabbar hilltop in the town. The temple is  known as Arasuri Ambaji mata temple.
In the holy temple of “Arasuri Ambaji”, there is no image or statue of goddess. The holy “Shree Visa Yantra” is worshiped as the main deity in this temple.  No one can see the yantra with naked eye. The photography of the yantra is is not allowed. The worship of this Visa Shree Yantra is done only after tying a bandage on the eyes.A triangular Yantra, inscribed with figures and the syllable Shree in the center, represents the deity.

Legends asscociated with Arasuri temple

There is a  legend said in the Ramayana which says about the importance of this temple. Lord Rama and Laxman came to Ashram of Shrungi Rushi in search of Sitaji. They were told to worship Devi Ambaji at Gabbar. Lord Rama did so and Jagat Mata Shakti (The Mother of Energy of the whole Universe) Devi Ambaji gave him an miraculous arrow. With the help of this weapon “Ajay”,  Rama conquered and killed his enemy Ravan in the war.

Lord Krishna’s mundan at this temple

As per a legend,  hairs of holy child Lord Krishna were also removed here on this Gabbar hill , as a holy ritual ceremony of hair removing Mundan. in presence of his foster parents Nand and Yashoda, who had worshiped Devi Ambaji and Lord Shiva, during the period of Dwapar yug or Mahabharat.

Ghatotkacha – rescuer of Pandavas (Mahabharata)

Ghatotkacha – rescuer of Pandavas

A very important character in Mahabharata, because his death has ensured that a threat to Arjuna’s life was removed. A brave warrior, who fought bravely to bring Karna to use his special weapon on Ghatotkacha.
Pandava’s sons, Abhimanyu and Ghatotkacha have virtually ensured that their fathers won the battle of Mahabharata.  Both of these warriors have lost their lives in the battle.

Father and mother of Ghatotkacha

Ghatotkacha was the son of Bhima and Hidimbi (Hidimbaa, classically). His maternal parentage made him half-Rakshasa, and gave him many magical powers that made him an important fighter in the Kurukshetra war, the climax of the epic. He got his name from his head, which was shaped like a pot. In Sanskrit, Ghatam means pot and “Utkach” means head.
Ghatotkacha, when he was young, lived with his mother Hidimbaa, when one day he had a fight with Abhimanyu, his cousin, without knowing that Abhimanyu was Arjuna’s son. Later on both, alongwith Arjuna’s other son Iravan went to the marriage of Sundari and Abhimanyu married her.
Ghatotkacha - son of Bhima and Hidimba

Ghatotkacha – son of Bhima and Hidimba

Ghatotkacha is considered to be a loyal and humble figure. He made himself and his followers available to his father Bhima at any time; all Bhima had to do was to think of him and he would appear. Like his father, Ghatotkacha primarily fought with the mace.
His wife was Ahilawati and his son was Barbarika.

In Mahabharata war

In the Mahabharata, Ghatotkacha was summoned by Bhima to fight on the Pandava side in the Kurukshetra battle. Invoking his magical powers, he wrought great havoc in the Kaurava army. In particular after the death of Jayadratha, when the battle continued on past sunset, his powers were at their most effective (at night).

Duryodhana’s request to Karna

At this point in the battle, the Kaurava leader Duryodhana appealed to his best fighter, Karna, to kill Ghatotkacha as the whole Kaurava army was coming close to annihilation due to his ceaseless strikes from the air. Karna possessed a divine weapon, or shakti, granted by the god Indra. It could be used only once, and Karna had been saving it to use on his arch-enemy, the best Pandava fighter, Arjuna.
Ghatotkacha's death

Ghatotkacha’s death

Death of Ghatotkacha

Loyal Karna, unable to refuse the request of Duryodhana whose cause he had pledged himself to serve, hurled the missile at Ghatotkacha, killing him. This is considered to be the turning point of the war. After his death, the Pandava counselor Krishna smiled, as he considered the war to have been won for the Pandavas now that Karna no longer had a divine weapon to use in fighting Arjuna.

Arjuna and Babruvahana

Babruvahana and Arjuna

There is an interesting side story in Mahabharata about Babhruvahana who was even more skilled to his father, Arjuna. He succesfully stopped the Pandavas quest of performing Ashwamedha. This story may be treated as similar to Luv Kush stopping Rama from performing Ashwamedha yagya.
Here is the detailed story of Babruvahana.

Birth of Babruvahana

During exile, Arjuna travelled the length and breadth of India. His wanderings took him to ancient Manipura, an almost mystic kingdom renowned for its natural beauty. There, he met Chitrāngadā, the daughter of the king of Manipura, and was moved to seek her hand in marriage. Her father demurred on the plea that, according to the matrilineal customs of his people, the children born of Chitrāngadā were heir to Manipura; he could not allow his heirs to be taken away from Manipur by their father. Arjuna promised that he would take away neither his wife Chitrāngadā nor any children borne by her from Manipura and wed the princess. Babruvahana, was soon born to the couple and later succeeded his grandfather as king of Manipura.

Ashwamedha yagya by Yudhishthira

Long after the battle of Kurukshetra, Yudhishtira decides to conduct the Aswamedha Yaga. The yaga horse enters the dominion of Manipur,  with the horse intended for the Aswamedha, there was a battle between Arjuna and King Babhruvahana, and the latter killed his father with an arrow. Repenting of his deed, he determined to kill himself, but he obtained from his stepmother, the Naga princess Uloopi, a gem which restored Arjuna to life. He returned with his father to Hastinapura.
Babruvahana vs Arjuna

Babruvahana vs Arjuna

Arjuna’s death in the battle is also attributed to the curse of the Ashta-Vasus. The Vasus, enraged by Arjuna’s deceptive tactic of using Shikandi as a shield to kill Bhishma (an incarnation of one of the eight Vasus), curse Arjuna that he would be slain by his own son. This curse comes to pass during the battle between Arjuna and Babruvahana.
Babruvahana also killed Karna’s son Vrishaketu in the battle. Vrishaketu had accompanied Arjuna in the Ashwamedha Yagna and was consequently killed. Later krishna revived Vrishaketu.
Ekalavya practicing having Drona's statue

Mahabharata – Ekalavya

Ekalavya – The great disciple

There cannot be a better example of a shishya than Ekalavya. Here we have a person, who learnt archery on his own after denied by his Guru and then given it all when his Guru asked for. This is a supreme example of self sacrifice, another example of greatness where the person did not hesitate to forgo his sole aim in life to save his principles. Another example is Karna.

Drona, Arjuna and Ekalavya

Ekalavya is a young prince of the Nishadha tribes, and a member of a low caste, who nevertheless aspires to study archery in the gurukul of Dronacharya. After being rejected by Drona, Ekalavya embarks upon a program of self-study in the presence of a clay image of Drona. He achieves a level of skill equal to that of Arjuna, Drona’s favorite and most accomplished pupil. Fearful that he will excel him, Arjuna begs Drona to take action. Drona goes to Ekalavya and demands that Ekalavya turn over his right thumb as a teacher’s fee. The loyal disciple cripples himself, and thereby ruins his prospects as an archer, by severing his thumb and giving it to Drona.

In the Mahabharata, he is introduced as a young prince of the lowly Nishadha tribes. He was born to Devashrava (brother of Vasudeva, who was father of Krishna) and was raised by Hiranyadhanus, the leader (King) of the Nishadhas, who was a commander in the army of Jarasandha (the king of Magadha).

Learning archery


Desirous of learning advanced skills of archery, he seeks the tutelage of Drona, the legendary weaponsmaster of and instructor of Arjuna and his brothers. Drona, however, rejects Ekalavya on account of the prince’s humble origins. He is undeterred and goes off into the forest where he fashions a clay image of Drona. Worshipping the statue as his preceptor, he begins a disciplined program of self-study. As a result, he becomes an archer of exceptional prowess, superior even to Drona’s best pupil, Arjuna. One day while he is practicing, hears a dog barking. Before the dog can shut up or get out of the way, Ekalavya fires seven arrows in rapid succession to fill the dog’s mouth without injuring it.

Ekalavya and dog

Ekalavya and dog

The Pandava princes come upon the “stuffed” dog, and wonder who could have pulled off such a feat of archery. Searching the forest, they find a dark-skinned man dressed all in black, his body besmeared with filth and his hair in matted locks. It is Ekalavya, who introduces himself to them as a pupil of Drona.


Arjuna fears that Ekalavya may have eclipsed him in skill with the bow. As a result, Arjuna complains to his teacher Drona, reminding Drona of his promise that he would allow no other pupil to be the equal of Arjuna. Drona acknowledges Arjuna’s claim, and goes with the princes to seek out Ekalavya. He finds him diligently practicing archery. Seeing Drona, Ekalavya prostrates himself and clasps the teacher’s hands, awaiting his order.

Ekalavya practicing having Drona's statue

Ekalavya practicing having Drona’s statue

 

Ekalavya giving gurudakshina

Ekalavya sacrificing his thumb

Ekalavya sacrificing his thumb

Drona asks Ekalavya for a dakshina or deed of gratitude that a student owes his teacher upon the completion of his training. Ekalavya replies that there is nothing he would not give his teacher. Drona cruelly asks for Ekalavya’s right thumb, knowing that its loss will hamper Ekalavya’s ability to pursue archery. Ekalavya, however, cheerfully and without hesitation severs his thumb and hands it to Drona. For his part, Arjuna is relieved to find that the crippled Ekalavya can no longer shoot with his former skill and facility.

End of Ekalavya


Later, Ekalavya worked as a confidant of King Jarasandh. At the time of Rukmini’s swayamvar, he acted as the messenger between Shishupala and Rukmini’s father Bhishmaka, at Jarasandh’s behest. Bhishmaka decides that Rukmini should marry Shishupala, but instead Rukmini elopes with Krishna. Ekalavya is later killed by Krishna, who hurls a rock against him, in a conflict against Jarasandh’s army.

 

Vidura

Mahabharata – Vidura

Vidura

One of the most knowledgeable characters of Mahabharata, who alongwith Chanakya, is coined as the father of politics. Vidurneeti is still referred in india in matter of Governance. It is said that God Dharma himself took birth in the form of Vidura. In the whole of Mahabharata, Vidura’s is the voice of reason and wisdom.
Vidura

Vidura


Birth and earlier life of Vidura

Vidura was half-brother to Dhritarashtra and Pandu. He was a son of a maid-servant who served the queens of Hastinapura, Ambika and Ambalika. In some accounts, he was an incarnation of Yama or Dharma Raja, who was cursed by the sage, Mandavya, for imposing punishment on him that exceed the sin.

Both queens were married to King Vichitravirya of Hastinapur, who died childless. Vichitravirya’s mother Satyavati was anxious to ensure that the royal line was carried on. She called upon her other son Vyasa, to go to the beds of the two queens to father children. Vyasa was a hermit, and came to the palace, unkempt as he was. He went to Ambika who closed her eyes when she saw him, and to Ambalika who became pale. Hence the children they bore were blind and weak.

When Satyavati asked Vyasa to go to Ambika’s bed again, to ensure that there would be children, she placed her maid-servant instead in her bed. The maid-servant was not frightened. Hence her son was not born flawed like his half-brothers. Thus, Vidura was born who was raised as brother of Dhritarashtra and Pandu.

With his half-brothers he was raised and educated by Bhishma, whom they called father. As he had no royal blood, he was never considered for, or had any chance of obtaining the throne of the kingdom. He served his brothers as a minister.

Helping the Pandavas

After Krishna, he was the most trusted advisor to the Pandavas and had warned them repeatedly about Duryodhana’s plots. In particular, he warned the Pandavas from Duryodhana’s plan to burn them alive in a house of wax he had made for them. He was known for speaking the truth and for his intelligence.

Vidura against the war

Vidura is famous also for being a true devotee of Lord Krishna. When the latter visited Hastinapura as a peace emissary of the Pandavas, he shunned Duryodhana’s offer to stay in his stately guest house, instead choosing the humble dwellings of Vidura.

In protest against the Mahabharata war, Vidura resigned from the post of minister.

After the great battle, he helped Yudhishthira when he became ruler. Later, he accompanied Dhritarashtra, and his sisters-in-law Gandhari, and Kunti, when they left on their last journey to the forest. He died before his companions, on the banks of the Ganga.

Vidura with Gandhari and Dhritrashtra (in forest)

Vidura with Gandhari and Dhritrashtra (in forest)

Single most important event of Mahabharat

This can be argued that death of Abhimanyu is the most important event of Mahabharat. This led to the foundation of killing of great warriors from Kaurava’s side – Drona, Karna and Duryodhana himself. This is another example of a Pandava’s son sacrificing his life for a greater cause, other was Ghatotkacha’s death.
All can be said about Abhimanyu, who died a tragic death after bravely fighting against Kauravas, in the Mahabharat war. He was better than most of the warriors of his time, but there was only one thing, he knew only partially to break the chakravyuh, which led to his demise.
Abhimanyu - Mahabharat war

Abhimanyu - Mahabharat war

Here is the whole story:

Abhimanyu is a brave and tragic hero in the Hindu epic, the Mahabharat. He is the son of Arjuna and Subhadra, the half-sister of Lord Krishna.
As an unborn child in his mother’s womb, Abhimanyu learns the knowledge of entering the deadly and virtually impenetrable Chakravyuha  from Arjuna.The epic explains that he overheard Arjuna talking about this with his mother from the womb. Arjuna spoke about entering Chakravyuha and later Subhadra dozed to sleep. Arjuna stopped explaining Chakravyuha escape when he saw Subhadra slept while listening. As an effect, the baby Abhimanyu in womb didn’t get a chance to know of coming out of it.
Abhimanyu spent his childhood in Dwaraka, his mother’s city. He was trained by Pradyumna, the son of Sri Krishna and his great warrior father Arjuna and brought up under the guidance of Lord Krishna. His father arranged his marriage to Uttara, daughter of king Virata to seal an alliance between the Pandavas and the royal family of Virata, in lieu of the forthcoming Kurukshetra War. The Pandavas had been hiding in cognito to live through the final year of their exile without being discovered, in Virata’s kingdom of Matsya.
Being the grandson of Lord Indra, god of mystical weapons and wars responsible for killing thousands of enemy heroes and hundreds of thousands of warriors, Abhimanyu was a courageous and dashing warrior. Considered equal to his father’s level owing his prodigious feats, Abhimanyu was able to hold at bay, great heroes like Drona, Karna, Duryodhana and Dushasana. He was praised for his audacious bravery and absolute loyalty to his father, his uncles and to their cause.
Abhimanyu has taken part in the war of Mahabharat and killed important personalities such as Kumara Lakshmana, the son of Duryodhana and Brihadbala, the king of Kosala belonging to Ikshwaku dynasty.
On the 13th day of battle of Mahabharat, the Kauravas challenge the Pandavas to break a circular battle formation known as the Chakravyuha.
The Pandavas accept the challenge since they know that the knowledge of how to defeat such a formation is known to Krishna and Arjuna.
However, on that day, Krishna and Arjuna are dragged into fighting a war on another front with the Samsaptakas. Since the Pandavas have accepted the challenge already, they have no choice but to attempt to use young lad Abhimanyu, who has knowledge on how to break into the formation but none whatsoever regarding how to break out of it. To make sure that Abhimanyu does not get trapped in this endeavour, the remaining Pandava brothers decide that they and their allies will also break into the formation along with Abhimanyu and assist the boy in breaking out of it. It is important to note that the plan is hatched well after Arjuna and Krishna have been distracted away by the Samsaptaka army led by Susarma.
On the fateful day, Abhimanyu uses his skills to successfully break into the formation. The Pandava brothers and allies attempt to follow him inside the formation, but they are effectively cut off by Jayadratha, the Sindhu king, who makes use of a boon from Shiva to hold off all Pandavas except Arjuna for one day only. Abhimanyu is left to fend for himself against the entire Kaurava army.
When Abhimanyu commands his charioteer to lead his chariot towards Drona, the man is not happy to do so and raises objections. He requests the sixteen-year-old to take time to think about it before he begins the battle. He points out that Abhimanyu has grown up amidst great love and comforts and he is not a master of the battle arts as Drona is. Young Abhimanyu’s answer is disturbing to the reader of the epic and it speaks loudly of his underestimation of the mighty warriors on the Kaurava side and of his overestimation of himself, of his megalomania. Laughing aloud, he tells his charioteer: “What is this Drona or even the entire world of kshatriyas to me? I can fight Indra himself, mounted on his Airavata, along with all the gods! Why, I can fight in a battle even Lord Rudra himself, to whom the entire world of beings pays homage! This battle that I am going wage today does not bewilder me in the least.” Abhimanyu’s shocking words do not stop with these either. Continuing in the same vein he says: “This entire army of enemies is not equal to one sixteenth of my power. Why, even if I find in front of me in the battlefield my father Arjuna or my uncle himself, the mighty Vishnu who has conquered the whole universe, that wouldn’t frighten me.”
With no great joy in his mind, the poor charioteer takes his master forward. Abhimanyu breaks into the chakravyuha. In the mighty battle that follows with relentless ferocity for hours on end, he slaughters ordinary enemy warriors and mighty heroes alike, even as a whirlwind pulls up by their roots tiny bushes as well as mighty trees on its path
Abhimanyu fights valiantly single-handedly slaying several warriors who come his way including Duryodhana’s son Laxman.Among the others who were killed are Karna’s younger brother, Ashmaka’s son, Shalya’s younger brother, Shalya’s son Rukmaratha, Drighalochana, Kundavedhi, Sushena, Vasatiya, Kratha and numerous other great warriors. He wounds Karna and makes him flee, makes Dushshasana faint in the battlefield so that he has to be carried off by others.
Upon witnessing the death of his beloved son, Duryodhana is incensed and orders the entire Kaurava force to attack Abhimanyu. Continually frustrated in attempts to pierce Abhimanyu’s armor, Karna on Dronacharya’s advice shatters Abhimanyu’s bow firing arrows from behind him. Thus disabled, his chariot breaks down shortly later, the charioteer and horses are killed, and all his weapons are laid to waste. He attempts then to fight off the bow wielding warriors sitting on horses, elephants at the same time with a sword and a chariot wheel as a shield. Dushasana’s son engages in fierce hand to hand combat with Abhimanyu. Ignoring all codes of war, the Kauravas all fight simultaneously with him. He holds his own until his sword breaks and the remaining chariot wheel shatters into pieces. Abhimanyu gets killed shortly thereafter when Dushasana’s son crushes his skull with a mace.
It is said that it is Abhimanyu’s death that marks the end of the adherence to the rules of war in Mahabharat. Krishna cites the despicable manner in which Abhimanyu was killed to incite Arjuna to kill Karna. This is cited as a reason to kill Duryodhana. Some say that this does not only apply to the particular war but marks the end of fair and nobly conducted wars.
News of the despicable acts committed on Abhimanyu reached his father Arjuna at the end of the day, who vows to kill Jayadratha the very next day by sunset, and failing to do so, commit suicide by self-immolation immediately.
The Kaurava army the next day places Jayadratha furthest away from Arjuna, and every warrior including the Samshaptakas (mercenaries to vow only to return from battle fields only upon victory else death) attempts to prevent Arjuna from reaching anywhere close to Jayadratha. Arjuna literally hacks through the Kaurava army and kills more than a hundred thousand soldiers and warriors in a single day. However, almost by sundown, Arjuna’s chariot is still nowhere near Jayadratha’s. Arjuna becomes despondent because he realizes that failure is imminent, and starts getting mentally prepared to self-immolate. Krishna being the almighty god uses his powers to temporarily to create an eclipse. The Kauravas and Pandavas alike believe that indeed the sun has set and the war stops according to the rules. Both sides come to watch Arjuna self-immolate. In his haste to see Arjuna’s death, Jayadratha also comes to the front.
Krishna sees the opportunity that he has effectively created, and the sun comes out again. Before the Kauravas can take corrective action, Krishna points out to Arjuna and asks him to pick up his Gandiva and behead Jayadratha. Arjuna’s unerring arrows decapitate Jayadratha, and his vow to kill Jayadratha by sunset that day and avenge Abhimanyu’s death is fulfilled. The reason for creating eclipse is also suggested at many places as a plot to save Arjuna from death, because Jayadratha had got a boon from his father that whoever would cause Jayadratha’s head to fall onto earth would also die immediately. So Lord Krishna wanted everything to happen in this way so that Jayadratha would be on an easy aim. When Arjuna beheads Jayadratha, he does it so skillfully that the head falls straight into the lap of his father who was sitting under a tree. His father is shocked and stands up, causing Jayadratha’s head to fall to earth. Thus his father is killed immediately.
Abhimanyu is the reincarnation of Varchas, the son of the moon god. When the moon god was asked to let his son incarnate himself on earth by the other devas, he made a pact that his son will only remain on earth for 16 years as he could not bear to be separated from him. Abhimanyu was 16 years old when he died in the war.
His son, Parikshita, born after his death, remains the sole survivor of the Kuru clan at the conclusion of the Mahabharat war, and carries on the Pandava lineage.Abhimanyu is often thought of as a very brave warrior on the Pandava side, willingly giving up his life in war at a very young age.
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Panch Purush

When I was reading about Panchkanyas, a thought struck me to create a post with five persons which I think have influenced print and digital media and caught public imagination. I do not have any problem in finding first two of them, not because they are established names and they are specialists in their chosen area, but they are in discussion because they are involved in “not-so-nice” activities in recent past.
The duo which I am talking about is Tiger Woods and our own Narayan Dutt Tiwari, because their deeds are very fresh, but finding other three will require refreshing my memory.
I have found my third member, which is former US president, Bill Clinton. When the news broke out about twelve years ago, he was part of discussion of almost every media. Internet, which was not so mature was filled with his stories and jokes. I remember, then google was not available and blogging was not a concept,but Bill Clinton was probably the most used name on internet.
Now, I am struggling to find other two  names. I could easily pick any example, but I want this list to appear credible, so who I am going to choose?
I found this one with the help of Google. Silvio Berlusconi. Just wondering that this has skipped my attention despite being very recent happening.
This only makes the count to four and as I am struggling to find the fifth name, I don’t want to include any name just for the sake of it. Rather, I will leave this to you to suggest me one. Till  then, this post remain incomplete.

This can be also found on Ganga Kinaare