Ravan had a brother called Ahiravan. He was the ruler of Pataal Lok( the netherworld), and a master of illusion and magic. When Meghnad was killed by Lakshmana, and Ravan was losing the battle against Ram, he reached out to Ahiravan for help.
Ahiravan promised to capture Ram and Lakshman alive, take them to his kingdom, where he would sacrifice them to the Goddess Mahamaya. Vibhishan came to know of Ahiravan’s plans, informs Ram and Lakshman of this, makes necessary arrangements and asks Hanuman to keep guard over them.
He also told Hanuman, that Ahiravan is a master of disguise, and to be careful of any trickery. Ahiravan tries to enter the place, where Ram and Lakshman are sleeping, in various disguises, but Hanuman manages to thwart him. Finally he assumes the guise of Vibhishan himself, and gets past Hanuman, abducts Ram and Lakshman to Pataal Lok.
When Hanuman finds he has been tricked by Ahiravan, he vows to find Ram and Lakshman, and kill Ahiravan. Hanuman goes down into the Patala Loka, where he finds Ahiravan’s massive palace, that is heavily guarded on all sides.
He first has to contend with the guard, Makardhwaja, who is half Vanara, half fish, and also happens to be Hanuman’s son in a way too. After defeating his son, Hanuman makes his way into Ahiravan’s palace and learns that the way to kill Ahiravan is to extinguish 5 different lamps in different directions.
This is when Hanuman assumes his Panchamukha Anjaneya form here.The 4 faces of Hanuman, Varaha, Garuda and Narasimha face East, South, West and North respectively, while the 5th face of Hayagriva, faces upwards.
In this form, Hanuman manages to extinguish the 5 different lamps all at one time, and goes on to kill Ahiravan with one swift stroke of the knife. Thus he manages to save Ram and Lakshman, and bring them back from Patala Loka, where they resume the battle against Ravan.
Chhath, the most important festival from Bihar finds its mention in ancient texts also. There are incidents in ancient texts which make us believe that Chhath has been observed in ancient India.
Karna observed Chhath
It is believed that Surya Putra Karna who was the first to start this puja. According to the legends, Karna, Son of Surya & Ruler of Anga-Desh (Now Bhagalpur in Bihar) observed Chhath Puja or Surya Shashti with sheer devotion. It is said that Karna had gained supreme powers by performing Chhath rituals. This had made Karna grow into a powerful and valiant warrior.
Draupadi observed Chhath
It is believed that Draupadi was an ardent devotee of Lord Surya (the Sun god). Due to her devotion toward Surya, she was gifted with the unique power to cure even the most deadliest diseases. This power & energy of Draupadi helped Pandavas to survive & win the Battle of Kurukshtera and eventually regain their lost kingdom.
Another such legend associated with Draupadi is that, Once during the long exile from their kingdom, 88 thousand wandering hermits visited their hut. Being devout Hindus, the Pandavas were obliged to feed the monks. But as exiles, the Pandavas were not in a position to offer food to so many hungry hermits. Seeking a quick solution, Draupadi approached Saint Dhaumya, who advised her to worship Surya and observe the rituals of the Chhath for prosperity and abundance. Through her worship of the Sun God, Draupadi was not only able to solve her immediate problems, but also helped the Pandavas later regain their lost kingdom.
Legend of Lord Rama
Another history behind celebrating the Chhath puja is the story of Lord Rama. It is considered that Lord Rama and Mata Sita had kept fast and offer puja to the Lord Sun in the month of Kartik in Shukla Paksh during their coronation after returning to the Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.
Every year, a day after diwali, Kayastha’s all over the world celebrate Chitragupta puja. This festival is also known as Dawaat puja. It is believed that byy doing this puja, devotees will be benefited as Chitragupta god keeps the record of good and evil deeds of every person. Onthe basis of these records a man fate is decided whether he will ascend to heaven or hell.
So worshipping the Lord Chitragupta pleases him and the person is surely benefited.
Legend behind Chitragupta
In one popular version of the creation myth of Chitragupta, it is said that Lord Brahma gave the land of the dead over to the god Yama, also known as Dharamraj or Yamraj. Yama would become confused sometimes when dead souls would come to him, and would occasionally send the wrong souls to either heaven or hell. Lord Brahma commanded him to keep better track of everyone, and Yama declared that he could not reasonably be expected to keep track of the many people born of the eighty-four different life forms in the three worlds.
Lord Brahma, determined to solve this problem for Yama, sat in meditation for many thousands of years. Finally he opened his eyes, and a man stood before him with a pen and paper. As Chitragupta was born of Lord Brahma’s body, or kaya in Sanskrit, Brahma declared that his children would forever be known as Kayasthas. As he was first conceived in Brahma’s mind, or chitra, and then made whole in secrecy, or gupta, away from the other gods, he was named Chitragupta.
Significance of Chitragupta Puja
Chitragupt Puja festival is performed by Kayastha Parivar that believes in world peace, justice, knowledge and literacy, the four primary virtues depicted by the form of Shree Chitraguptjee. The puja is also known as Dawat (Inkpot) Puja, in which the books and pen are worshipped, symbolizing the importance of study in the life of a Kayastha. During the Chitragupt Puja, earning members of the also give account of their earning, writing to Chitragupt Maharaj the additional amount of money that is required to run the household, next year.
Legends of Chitragupta Puja
There was a tyrant king who was always involved in sinful activities. One day, he saw few people observing this festival he also decided to perform the same. In his records, where he was marked as gatayu (whose life is over), the records shown that he was nor shatayu (one whose life is of hundred years). Thus, performing once this puja, that king was rewarded. There are other stories Saudas where he was immensely benefited by performing this puja.
He had two wives, Iravati and Sudakhina. He had twelve sons who later formed the twelve subdivisions of kayasthas. His sons are Shrivastava, Mathur, Gaur, Nigam, Ashthana, Kulshrestha, Suryadwaja, Bhatnagar, Ambastha, Saxena, Karana and Vaalmik.
Vrata Katha of Chitragupta Puja
There was a king whose name was Saudas . King was unjust and tyrant . He did not ever had the good deed . One day, he was wandering in the wilderness . He saw a Brahmin who was worshiping . Out of curiosity he asked the Brahmin that whom we was praying. The Brahmin replied that today is Kartik Shukla’s second day and I am worshiping Yamraj (God of death) and Chitragupta (His bookkeeper) . Their worship is supposed to provide salvation from hell . After hearing this, Saudas also followed the rituals and performed the worship.
Later, when his time was complete, messengers of god came to earth and took him to God Yamaraj. He was produced before in his court. When his books were examined by Chitragupta, and he told to Yamaraj – Though he is sinful and tyrant, but he has performed yours and my worshsip with proper rituals, hence he cannot be sent to hell. His place is in heaven. Thus by performing only one day of puja, he was absolved of his sins.
‘Govardhan’ is a small hillock situated at ‘Braj’, near Mathura. As per Vishnu Purana, people of Gokul used to worship and offer prayer to Lord Indra for the rains because they believed that it was he who sent rains for their welfare. Shri Krishna told them that it was Mount Govardhan (Govardhan Parvat) and not Lord Indra who caused rains. So they should offer the prayers to the mountain.
This made Lord Indra so furious that the people of Gokul had to face very heavy rains as a result of his anger. Then Lord Krishna came forward to ensure their security and after performing worship and offering prayers to Mount Govardhan lifted it as an umbrella on the little finger of his left hand so that everyone could take shelter under it. This is how Lord Indra was defeated and after this event Lord Krishna was also known as Giridhari or Govardhandhari.
Govardhan Puja and Bali Pratipada
Most of the time Govardhan Puja day falls next day after Diwali and it is celebrated as the day when Lord Krishna defeated God Indra. Sometimes there may be a day’s gap between Diwali and Govardhan Puja.
In religious texts, Govardhan Puja celebrations are suggested during Pratipada Tithi of Kartik month. Depending on starting time of Pratipada, Govardhan Puja day might fall one day before on Amavasya day on Hindu calendar.
Govardhan Puja is also known as Annakut Puja. On this day food made of cereals like wheat, rice, curry made of gram flour and leafy vegetables is cooked and offered to Lord Krishna.
In Maharashtra the same day is celebrated as Bali Pratipada or Bali Padva. The day commemorates victory of Vamana, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, over King Bali and subsequent pushing of Bali to Patal Lok (the underworld). It is believed that due to boon given by Lord Vamana, Asura King Bali visits the Prithvi Lok from the Patala Lok on this day.
Note: Thanks to Mr R Ramanathan for correctly pointing out an error in this article. That has been now rectified – Webmaster
This interesting story is available in Markendeya purana. According to the eighth chapter of Devi Mahatmya from Markandeya Puran, there was a demon by the name of Raktabija (blood-seed, literally).
Boon from Lord Brahma
He had been given a boon by Lord Brahma that every time a drop of his blood fell on the ground, his strength would increase many times, by his blood creating more of his own. Having received the boon, he had made the life of people on earth miserable.
He was,causing a great deal of trouble with people and gods alike but even worse was his ability to produce more demons every time a drop of his blood spilt to the ground.
Emergence of Kali and slaying of demon
So whenever he was attacked and harmed, more Raktabijas were born and fought the attacker.The gods decided to work together and combine all of their shakti or divine energy and produce one super being that could destroy Raktabija; the result was Kali.
Maa Kali’s most common pose in paintings is in her most fearsome guise as the slayer of demons, where she stands or dances with one foot on a collapsed Shiva and holds a severed head. She wears a skirt of severed human arms, a necklace of decapitated heads, and earrings of dead children, and she often has a terrifying expression with a lolling tongue which drips blood.
Kali in her fierce form eliminated the huge army and swallowed all of them, which left Raktabija all alone. She then struck the demon and before his blood spilled on the ground, she stretched her huge tongue and devoured all the blood ensuring that not a drop fell on the ground. This way, Raktabija was drained of all the blood and life and soon he was nothing but a corpse.
Third day of Navratri is associated with killing of Dhumralochana who was the commander of Shumbh.
Shumbh sent Devi a message that he wanted to marry her. The Goddess duly rejected this offer. The messenger then went back to Shumbh and narrated the incident to Devi Durgaa.
Shumbh became very furious and instructed Dhumralochan to bring her by force. Dhumralochan went to Goddess Bhagvati accompanied by 60,000 demons. Initially, he requested her to come along with him. He also threatened to take her forcibly if she did not accept her proposal. Goddess Bhagvati refused to go along with him. Dhumralochan angrily ran towards her. The Goddess made a loud roar as a result of which, Dhumralochan’s body was reduced to ashes. After his death, Dhumralochan’s army attacked Goddess Bhagvati. The mount of the Goddess- Simha killed all the demons. When Shumbh got the news of Dhumralochan’s death, his anger knew no bounds. He instructed Chand and Mund to go and bring Goddess Bhagvati after capturing her.
The story in hindi is as follows:
शुम्भ और निशुम्भ दैत्यों के राजा का सेनापति धूम्रलोचन था . हिमालय पर हुंकार भर रही महा सुंदरी देवी ने जब शुम्भ से विवाह का प्रस्ताव ठुकरा दिया तब धूम्रलोचन को कहा गया की उस देवी के केश पकड़कर घसीटते हुए लाया जाये और यदि इस बीच कोई भी देवता, यक्ष या गंधर्व बाधा बने तो उन्हें मार दिया जाये |
आज्ञा पाकर धूम्रलोचन साठ हजार राक्षसों की सेना लेकर वहां पहुंचा और देवी को ललकारने लगा की तुम सीधे सीधे मेरे साथ चलो अन्यथा मैं तुम्हे केश पकड़ कर घसीटता हुआ ले चलूंगा | देवी ने कहा आगे बढ़ो और अपना बल दिखाओ | जैसे ही अहंकार में भरा धूम्रलोचन देवी की तरफ बढ़ा , देवी ने हुंकार भरी और पल में ही उसे भस्म कर दिया |
अपने सेनापति की इस तरह दुर्दशा देखर असुर सेना ने एक साथ देवी पर आक्रमण किया | तब देवी की सवारी सिंह असुर सेना पर टूट पड़ा और साथ ही साथ देवी के बाणों और फरसों से देखते ही देखते सम्पूर्ण सेना का संहार कर दिया |
इस तरह माँ ने पर धूम्रलोचन और उसके ६०००० असुर सैनिको का वध किया
Though Kartik Poornima is not treated as a full-fledged festival, there are enough mythological stories which suggest that this is a very important day in hindu religion.
Both moon days of the month Kartik, (full moon and no moon) are auspicious. Many will not comprehend Kartik Amavasya, as it is better known as Diwali. Kartik Poornima has even more importance as it is called Dev Diwali ( the diwali of gods). This is the day when gods celebrate the victory of good over evil.
This festival underlines the importance of Lord Shiva. This festival is second only to Mahashivratri. Shiva relieved the earth by killing Tripurasuras.
Tripasura are the three sons of Tarakasura – Vidyunmali, Tarakaksha and Viryavana. Due to a boon from Lord Brahma, they were virtually immortal. They were living comfortably in the city of Tripura. Gods pleaded Shiva to destroy them which Shiva denied. Then they pleaded Vishnu and he found a solution to their problem. Vishnu created a person to propagate an alternate form of religion. This religion was slowly accepted by the three sons of Tarakasura. They stopped following the teachings of Veda and worshipping Shiva. Lord Shiva then destroyed the city of Tripura with Pashupata astra. The chariot was created by Vishwakarma.
For this reason, Lord Shiva is also called Tripurari.
Kartik Poornina is also associated with following important occasions:
1. Birth of Kartikeya, son of Lord Shiva.
2. Birth of Matasya (Matsya) avatar, an incarnation of Vishnu.
3. Birth of Vrinda, the personifield form of Tulsi.
The festival is more significant when this is in the Krittika nakshatra. It is then called Maha Kartik. If the nakshatra is Bharani, the results are stated to be special. In Rohini nakshatra, then the fruitful results are even much more.
A ritual bath at a tirtha (a sacred water body like a lake or river) at a pilgrimage centre is prescribed on Kartik Poornima. This holy bath is known as “Kartik snana”. An holy bath at Pushkar or in the Ganges river, especially at Varanasi is deemed as most auspicious. Kartik Poornima is the most popular day for bathing in the Ganges at Varanasi.
This auspicious day is also celebrated in others religions – Sikh (Guru Nanak Jayanti) and Jain (Shri Shantrunjay Teerth Yatra).
Shri Krishna is perhaps the most written about amongst the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. His stories are magical, inspiring and sometimes they look human like. Please read on for some interesting and unknown facts about him.
1. Lord was born in Rohini Nakshatra as the eighth son of Devki and Vasudeva.
2. He brought back the son of his guru (teacher), Sandipani, who was dead. Thus he paid his Gurudakshina to Sage Sandipani.
3. Many of us do not know that he also brought back the six sons of Devki (seventh and eighth being Balrama and himself) for a brief reunion. Names of these six sons are Smara, Udgitha, Parishvanga, Patanga, Kshudrabhrit and Ghrini.
These six sons were earlier grand sons of Hiranyakashyap and they were living under a curse.
3. Kansa or Kamsa was Kalanemi in his earlier birth. Kalanemi was killed by Lord Vishnu. The six sons of Devki were Kalanemi sons in his previous birth and they were cursed by Hiranykashyap that they would be killed by their father. Hence Kansa, duly kills six sons of Devki in their next birth. The six sons of Kalanemi were known by the names of Hamsa, Suvikrama, Kratha, Damana, Ripurmardana and Krodhahanta.
4. Gandhari’s curse to Lord served two purposes. In his earlier avatar as Lord Rama(incarnation), he killed Bali. He assured Tara (Bali’s widow) that Bali would be able to exact his revenge in his next birth.
The hunter Jara was Bali reborn, and in this life, he ended Shri Krishna’s stay on earth with a simple arrow. Thus Gandhari’ s curse and his assurance has been fulfilled.
5. Shri Krishna had a total of 16,108 wives, of which only eight were his princely wives,also known as Ashtabharya,or patrani. There names are as following
Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Nagnajiti, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Bhadra and Lakshmana.
Rukmini is also considered to be an avatar of Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune. Shri Krishna married her after she sent him a letter to come and abduct her and save her relatives from a fight.
When he was eloping with Rukmini, Rukmini’s brother Rukmi came and fought, before being defeated by Shri Krishna. His other 16,100 wives were rescued from Narakasura. They had been forcibly kept in his palace and after Krishna had killed Narakasura he rescued these 16,100 women and freed them.
6. Out of his wives, Satyabhama had some ego while Rukmini was fully devoted to Lord Krishna. There is a famous incident of Tulabharam, which has established the simplcity of Rukmini was better than the wealth of Satyabhama.
7. He had eighty sons from his eight queens (Ashtapatrani’s). From each of his queen, he had ten sons. Pradyumna was the son of Rukmini. Samba was the son from Jambavati, who was cursed by the sages which later became the reason of destruction of Yadu clan. Shri Krishna himself done penance of Lord Shiva to obtain a son like him. Incidentally, Lord also cursed Samba to be affected by leprosy. Courtesy of Sage Narada.
8. Shri Krishna’s sister Subhadra was born to Vasudev and Rohini. She was born after Vasudeva was freed from the prison. Balrama wanted her to be married to Duryodhana, who was his favourite disciple. But Rohini and other did not want this. To overcome this situation, Shri Krishna advised Arjuna to abduct Subhadra. He also asked Subhadra to hold the rains of the chariot, so it was technically not an abduction. Balrama was pacified later on, and the marriage was performed at Indraprastha.
9. There is no mention of Radha in scriptures. Neither Mahabharata, Nor Shrimad Bhagwat mention this. This fact is too important to missed by greats like Ved Vyasa. Probably, this was included by Jayadev and became famous from there.
10. Ekalavya was actually Krishna’s cousin. He was the son of Devashrava (brother of Vasudeva) who got lost in the forest and was found by a Nishada Hiranyadhanu. Ekalavya died protecting his father during Rukmini Swayamvar. He was killed by Krishna. For his great sacrifice of Gurudakshina Krishna blessed Ekalavya that he would be soon reincarnated and take revenge on Drona. This person was Dhristadyumna (who kiled Drona).
11. He is arguably the most difficult character to understand. Once, he even started fighting with Arjuna. Lord Shiva got so perturbed that he descended to stop the fight. He asked what he was doing. Krishna’s simple reply was that Arjuna needed to fight in battle and hence he was testing Arjuna.
12. The narration of the Bhagvad Gita by Lord was heard firsthand not only by Arjuna but also Hanuman and Sanjaya. Hanuman was perched on top of Arjuna’s chariot throughout the battle of Kurukshetra and Sanjaya was blessed by Ved Vyasa with divine vision in order to narrate the events of the battle to Dhritharashtra.
13. The narration of the Bhagvad Gita by Krishna was heard firsthand not only by Arjuna but also Hanuman and Sanjaya. Hanuman was perched on top of Arjuna’s chariot throughout the battle of Kurukshetra and Sanjaya was blessed by Veda Vyasa with divine vision in order to narrate the events of the battle to Dhritharashtra.
14. Pradyumna was the son of Lord, was an incarnation of Kamadev. Kamadev was turned to ashes by Lord Shiva in the earlier life. In this life, he was abducted by Sambarasura and drowned in the ocean, but somehow survived and appeared in his kitchen. He was looked after by Mayavati, who was an incarnation of Rati. She told him that how Sambarasura has tried to kill him when he was ten days old, and asked him to kill Sambarasura.
Pradyumna immediately went before Sambara and challenged him to fight. Pradyumna began to address him in very strong language, so that his temper might be agitated and he would be moved to fight. Soon, a fight started and Pradyumna beat and killed Sambarasura.
15. Pandavas were related to Shri Krishna from mother’s side. Their mother, Kunti, was the sister of Vasudev, father of Shri Krishna.
16. Shri Krishna’s favourite weapon was Sudarshan Chakra. Its notable uses were in killing of Shishupala and more importantly, it was used to create the illusion of sunset which led to the killing of Jayadratha.
17. Killing of Kaalyavan: There was demon named Kaalyavan, who was summoned by Jarasandha to fight Shri Krishna. He realized that beating him would take some time, so he used a boon on Muchkund to neutralize Kaalyavan. Muchkund was sleeping in a cave and he had a boon that the first person he sees after waking up, will be turned to ashes. Lord entered the cave and hid behind a rock while Kaalyavan happened to wake up Muchkund, and soon, was left to ashes.
18. Lord was the first person who told Karna about the secret of his birth. He was trying to persuade Karna while he was in Hastinapur, desperately trying to avert the war. Karna has politely refused his offer and requested him to not to divulge this secret to Pandavas.
19. During Raas Leela, Lord danced with gopikas. While dancing, all gopis thought that the Lord was dancing with them.
20. Durvasa did not spare Lord also from his curse. One day, Durvasa was eating kheer (a sweet dish made of rice and milk),Lord was also there. Durvasa ordered Lord to apply the left over kheer on his body. He applied it on the full body but did not apply on his feet thinking of the kheer to be consecrated. Durvasa got angry at this and cursed the Lord that since you did not obey my orders and did not apply the kheer on your legs,your legs will not remain impenetrable and unbroken. It is the famous story that he left this world because an arrow by a hunter hurt his toe.
21. Duryodhana foolishly tried to imprison Lord when he came for negotiations. Shri Krishna shows all the kings his great form (Virat roopa) . Knowing this Dhritrashtra, also pleaded to allow him to see him once in this form which was granted. The poorer souls shut their eyes while the pious ones were benefited.