Monthly Archives: January 2017

Sahdev killing Shakuni in Mahabharata

Who was the wisest Pandava?

Very little attention is paid to Sahadev when it comes to Mahabharata and Pandavas, but as per some ancient texts, he was the wisest of all Pandavas and knew about the future, even death of his own son, but such were the circumstances that he had to kept mum. Some parts of this story does not agree with overall Mahabharata which we know, such as at the time of Pandu’s death, Lord Krishna was a mere infant, but still this narration makes an interesting story.

Early life of Pandavas

When Pandavas were little kids, their father Pandu and their mothers, Madri and Kunti lived in exile in a forest. Pandu brought his sons up in a secluded austere atmosphere, with only sages and ascetics for company, and every day Pandu would teach his sons on how to be men of honour.

Pandu tells little Sahdeva to eat his father’s brain

One day when Pandu sat Sahadev on his knee, he told Sahdev: “When I die, you must consume my brain. Only then will you be able to know all about this world.” Sahadev looked at his father with big eyes and agreed he would consume his Pandu’s brain.When Pandu died, Madri accepted death so that she could accompany her husband to the next realm. As Pandu lay on his pyre, the Pandava brothers stood with Kunti and watched.

Sahadev follows his father’s orders

The fire was slowly burning the corpse and Pandu’s head burst from the heat, Sahadev saw his father’s brain.Sahadev knew that he had to eat the brain. Without a word Sahadev ran up to the flames and reached in, plucking out the matter. When other Pandavas shouted, Sahadev took off into the forest.

Lord Krishna senses a disaster

Lord Krishna was away in Mathura but he knew what was happening. He also knew that if Sahadev managed to do what he wanted, it would be a disaster. He took the form of an old sage, manifested himself near where Pandu’s body burned and chased after Sahadev.

He becomes trikalgyani

But Sahdev had already taken a bite of his father’s brain. And with that bite he became enlightened about all that had happened in the history of the world. With a second bite, he knew about all that was happening in the world. And with a another bite, he became enlightened about what is going to happen in future. Sahadev became ‘trikal gyani’ – a person who knows Past, Present and Future – and even though he was only a little boy he realised that the old sage who was chasing him wasn’t really an old sage but the Supreme Lord Krishna himself.

Lord Krishna advises him to keep quiet

Sahadev stopped. Krishna caught up with him, realising it was too late. Sahadev knew everything. “You must never reveal what you know,”  Lord Krishna asked Sahadev.He asked. “What if someone asks me? I can’t lie.”“If someone inquires, then you may tell the truth. But never tell them extra. And never tell anyone that you know so much.”

Sahadev’s masterstroke

Sahadev agreed and asked something in return. He said –  “Alright. But you have to agree to my request too.” “What request is that?” “That you will always protect Pandavas. And if any one of us dies then you must accept death too.” Krishna narrowed his eyes. The boy was a hard bargainer. “Agreed.”

The know all Sahadev

So all of his life, Sahadev knew everything. He knew of the fire plot of Varnavat even as Duryodhan was planning, he knew about the political aspirations of Duryodhan and the Kauravas,  He knew about the loaded dice in the gambling match, he knew what would happen to Draupadi in that gambling hall, he about death of everyone in the war. He knew that Ashwathama would kill the Pandava children including his own.

He knew all these terrible things but he could never tell anyone. Not even his brothers,not even his wife Draupadi, who knew everyone’s secrets. Not anyone but Krishna.

Shri Krishna and Pandavas

Shri Krishna and Pandavas

For this reason he was quietest of all brothers, keeping to himself and allowing others to speak. Imagine the strength that must have taken. To know what disasters will happen but not speak of them anyway. This is why He was called the most patient man in the world, that he had the power to cope and be in self control.

At the same time, because he’d made Krishna agree to his request he knew that no harm would ever come to the Pandavas themselves. Krishna was bound to protect them all or face death himself.

This was the masterstroke from Sahadev to protect himself and his brothers.

Jalandhara and Vrinda

The story of Jalandhara and Vrinda is another captivating story from the treasure trove of Indian mythology. Vrinda’s purity was the reason that was driving her husband, Jalandhara’s invincibility. Lord Vishnu had to resort to some trickery in order to defeat Jalandhara. In the process, he was cursed by Vrinda.

This story also describes why Sita had to be separated from Rama, because of curse of Vrinda and why Vrinda is treated with respect in Indian mythology.

Lord Shiva gets angry with Indra

Once Indra along with sage Brihaspati went to mount Kailash to meet Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva learned about their arrival and decided to test the firmness of their faith. He disguised as an old bearded ascetic with matted hair and radiant face.

He was standing at the gate of Kailash. When Indra came near him he asked about Lord Shiva. But, the old ascetic didn’t say anything and pretended to be lost in meditation. This gesture of old ascetic enraged Indra and he hit the ascetic with his Vajra (thunderbolt).

Lord Shiva

Ascetic who was actually Lord Shiva himself neutralised Indra’s weapon. Indra’s audacity made Shiva angry. In anger he opened his third eye and fierce fire shot from it, he was about to kill Indra. Brihaspati recognised Shiva and begged him to forgive Indra. Shiva accepted his request, but the fire could not be controlled. So Shiva threw the fire in the ksheersagar where it emerged in form of radiant and powerful boy.

Birth of Jalandhara

The newborn boy began to wail loudly at the shore of the ocean causing distress to all.  Lord Brahma came to pacify the boy. He saw the boy and took him into his lap. The little boy tugged so hard at Brahma’s beard that water came out of his eyes. So Brahma gave him name Jalandhara (he who carries water). Brahma also predict that he will be emperor of demons and shall be invincible to all except Lord Shiva and after death he will return to Shiva’s third eye. Brahma advised ocean to take care of the child.

Jalandhara marriage to Vrinda

Jalandhara grew into a handsome man and was very powerful. His guru Shukracharya made him king of demons. He was married to demon Kalanemi’s beautiful daughter Vrinda.

Jalandhara and Shukracharya plan their ascendancy over Devas

Once Shukracharya narrated him the story of how Vishnu, by his cunningness had duped the demons of their legitimate right over the gem that were churned out of the ocean. On hearing this Jalandhara send a messenger to God Indra threatening him to either return the gem or face war.  Indra refused to do so. A fierce battle took place between demons and Gods. Many warriors on both side were killed, though demons were revived to life by Shukracharya who knew the Sanjivini Vidya. On other hand sage Brihaspati revived gods by medicinal herb from ‘Dronagiri mountain’. Shukracharya also advised him to submerge Dronagiri mountain so that Brihaspati can not use its herb to revive Gods.

Lord Vishnu could not defeat Jalandhara

Jalandhara did the same as a result divine force started losing. The defeated God decided to seek help of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu was ready to help God but when his consort Lakshmi heard about this she requested Vishnu not to kill him as she considers him his brother as both of them were born from the ocean. There was a fierce battle between Lord Vishnu and Jalandhara which was indecisive till the end. Vishnu was impressed with Jalandhara and told him his relation with Lakshmi and also granted him a boon. Jalandhara asked Vishnu to make Ksheersagar his home. Lord Vishnu agreed to this and started living there with his consort Lakshmi. Devas without help of Vishnu were easily defeated by Jalandhara and he became emperor of all the three world. Devas were very unhappy with their defeat, they decided to take help of sage Narada.

Lord Vishnu and Ksheersagar

Meeting of Sage Narada and Jalandhara

Narada went to meet Jalandhara, he was welcomed by him. Narada said that he was coming from Lord Shiva realm and when he saw his kingdom, you have everything that Lord Shiva has except that he has a beautiful consort Parvati who is matchless. If you get hold of that gem, you can make your realm perfect.

Lord Shiva and Parvati gets enraged at Jalandhara

Quickly Jalandhara send his messenger Rahu to Lord Shiva with a proposal to hand over Parvati to him.  Lord Shiva was very angry to learn about this outraged demand.Soon a fierce battle took place between them. Upon seeing Shiva and his avatars dominating the battlefield, he created an illusion of beautiful apsaras dancing and singing. This distracted Lord Shiva and his army. Meanwhile he disguised as Lord Shiva and went to Parvati in order to trick her. Parvati on recognizing his deception was so enraged that she took form of Kali and attacked the demon, but he escaped.

Jalandhara got his powers from his wife Vrinda

Then she went to Lord Vishnu and request him for help. Lord Vishnu said that his wife Vrinda is very pious and the demon was deriving all powers because of his wife Vrinda’s unswerving wifely devotion. In order to defeat him they have to outrage her chastity.

Lord Vishnu tricked Vrinda and was cursed

Vishnu then created an illusion that Jalandhara was killed by Shiva and brought back to life by him. Vrinda then embraces Jalandhara who was actually Lord Vishnu in disguise. Vrinda realised that it was Vishnu in disguise so she cursed im that his wife will also be abducted by someone (which came true in treta yuga when Ravana abducted Sita Ram’s wife who was incarnation of Vishnu) and immolated herself. In the meantime, Jalandhara was killed by Lord Shiva with his trident. After which his soul merged with Lord Shiva and soul of Vrinda merged with Parvati.

Vishnu and Vrinda

 

Draupadi cheerharan

Why Draupadi had five husbands?

Devi Draupadi is an important character in Indian mythology and there are stories related to her which are talked about most. One aspect of her personality which is controversial as well, is her having five husbands.

But as everything in life happens for a reason, this is no exception as well. We will look at some of the reasons on why she had five husbands.

Arjuna and Draupadi in Mahabharat

Arjuna and Draupadi in Mahabharat

Story from Vayu purana and Sage Narada

As per Narada and Vayu Puranas, Draupadi was composite Avatar of Goddesses Shyamala (wife of Dharma), Bharati (Wife of Vayu), Sachi (wife of Indra), Usha (wife of Ashwinis) and hence married their earthly counterparts in the form of the five Pandavas.

Due to an incident happened, Lord Brahma cursed these goddesses to human birth. Devi Parvati thought of the solution wherein they will be born as one woman, Draupadi and hence share the earthly body for a smaller period of time. Draupadi’s resistance against injustice reflects Parvati or her Shakti, Kali inhabiting Draupadi’s mortal flesh at times. At other times, Draupadi was docile and even waited to be rescued (as in case of Jayadratha and Jatasura) showing the qualities of other goddesses like Sachi and Usha. Other times, she showed astuteness in hiding their true identity and asking Vayu putra Bhima to kill the evil Keechaka like Goddess Bharati would.

An avatar of Goddess Shree

Draupadi was also avatar of Goddess Shree or Wealth who was joint wife to five Indras, the five Pandavas. She was to be born several times for imprisoning the Indras.  First time was as Vedavati who cursed Ravana (who is another goddess Avatar Swaha, wife to Agni).

She incarnated as  Maya-(shadow of Sita) especially to take revenge from Ravana while Agni hid the real Sita.  Third one was partial,  as Damyanti (whose husband Nala was equivalent to Dharma, Vayu, Indra just like the Pandavas) and her daughter Nalayani. She married Sage Mudgala. The fifth avatar was Draupadi herself. So we find in Draupadi, a composite avatar of Kali, Parvati, Sachi, Shyamala, Usha, Bharati, Shree, Swaha, the eight goddesses.

Boon from previous birth

When Kunti asked her sons to share draupadi as their wives, Lord Krishna took Draupadi aside and explained to her.  “This awkward situation you find yourself in is of your own making. In your previous birth you had pleased Lord Shiva with your prayers. He granted a boon to you. You said that you wanted a husband and to ensure that your request was heard, you repeated it five times in all. Shiva then said that in your next life you would have five husbands.”

Some sources have a slightly different narration. Draupadi made her request only once but she added a long list of qualities that she wanted in her husband. Shiva said that it would be impossible to find one man with all these qualities. Hence she would have five husbands in her next life. All of them together would posses the qualities she had enumerated.

There is an interesting story which says that Draupadi could have fourteen husbands instead of five.

Lord Krishna then added,” You will spend one year with each husband. Others will be forbidden to enter the chamber in which you and the husband-of-the-year are staying. If one does so, even accidentally, he would be exiled for one year.”