Story of Lord Rama’s sister – Shanta

Shanta – Daughter of Dashratha

Few people know that Lord Rama also had a sister, whose name was Shanta. Shanta who was daughter of King Dasharatha and Kausalya. Though Valmiki Ramayan does not mention about Rama’s elder sister. But in Mahabharata, there is a reference that Rompada, King of Anga, who was a close friend of Dasharatha has adopted his daughter.

Rompada adopts Shanta in childhood

Rompada, who was a close friend of Dasharatha was childless. Once he came to meet Dasharatha and expressed his desire to adopt his only daughter Shanta. Kaushalya was surprised to see how could he ask them to give their only daughter in adoption. But, the very next moment she realised that Rompada knew that Dasharatha has 3 wives and he can have many more children.Though Kaushalya was not very happy with the idea of adoption but she felt pity and decided to give her only child in adoption to the king Romapada.

Lord Rama, Shanta and Sita
Lord Rama, Shanta and Sita

Her childhood is spent at Rompada’s kingdom

Little girl Shanta was very close to Rompada was not able to understand  adoption, but was very happy to go and stay with king Romapada.

King Romapada loved her so much that when she grew she forgot about Kausalya and Dasharatha, now she only knew that Romapada was his father and kingdom of Anga was her home.

A brahmin was insulted

One day Romapada was busy talking to his daughter Shanta, a brahmin came to ask for help in cultivation. Rompada did not pay attention to him. Angry brahmin left the kingdom.Lord Indra was very sad to see such insult of his devotee so he gave very little rainfall, due to which there was drought in the kingdom.

 

Everybody in the kingdom was worried about how to solve the problem. Few people came up with the idea that sage Rishyasringa, son of sage Vibhandaka, is the only person who can resolve the problem. Rompada wondered how? They said that he keeps on meditating all the time because he never had any distraction. His father sage Vibhandaka brought him in a forest near Anga. He has never seen any other human except his father. If he agrees to perform a yagna it would definitely rain.

Rishyashringa meets Rompada and Shanta

King Romapada send his best courtesans to bring sage Rishyasringa to his kingdom. When Rishyasringa saw them he was thrilled to meet them. When his father came to about this he was furious and warned him not to meet them. But he could not resist himself from meeting them. He was so happy that he left the ashram with them. Courtesan’s took him to kingdom of Anga. There he met king Romapada and his daughter Shanta, he was very happy to see them. Romapada offered Rishyasringa his daughter in marriage. He accepted the proposal and decided to stay with her for rest of his life.

 

Rishyasringa and Shanta performed the yagna, during the recitation of its mantra, it rained heavily and people were very happy and celebrated it like a festival.When sage Vibhandaka came and could not find his son, he could make out that it was the work of King of Anga. He decided to meet his son. Romapada and Shanta were prepared for  this. Though Vibhandaka was very angry but when he saw his son with his beautiful and intelligent wife his anger cool down.

In Lalitapur, district of Nepal there is  a temple of sage Rishyasringa and goddess Shanta. Whereas in Ayodhya, Dasaratha, father of Shanta had 3 wives but had no children who could carry on kingdom after him.

 

Dasaratha was so worried that he could not concentrate on the affairs of kingdom. One day he discussed this with his minister Sumantra. Sumantra suggested the name of sage Rishyashringa who was married to his daughter Shanta can help him. He said that he had lot of powers of penance. He also explained him how drought in Anga ended because of his yagna. He suggested that if sage Rishyashringa agreed to performed  putrakameshti yagna for him he will definitely be blessed with sons.

Shanta takes part in Dasaratha’s yagna

Dasaratha went to kingdom of Anga. requested his friend to send Shanta and his husband Rishyashringa to perform yagna for him. Both of them gladly came with Dasaratha. As he possessed immense power of penance that he was able to perform the difficult yagna with ease.

Dasaratha is blessed with sons

At the end of the yagna, God of fire emerged and handed a pot of payasam to Dasaratha and said to feed this to his wives. So, that he will have children he always wanted. Dasaratha thanked Shanta and Rishyasringa for their help. After consuming payasam Dasaratha was blessed with four sons Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna.

 

  

 

Seven unknown facts about Lakshman

Lakshman

Lakshman is an important character of epic Ramayana. He is inseparable from Lord Rama, who is brother to him and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. His character is famous due to him being the brother of  Lord Rama, but there are some facts which make him an important mythological character. Read on some interesting yet unknown stories about him.

Perhaps the most notable fact is that he could only have killed Ravan’s son Indrajit. Killing him required some stringent conditions to be fulfilled, which was not available in  Lord Rama or Hanumana. So, despite all the warriors in his army, Lord Rama could not have won this battle.

Lakshman killed Ravana’s son indrajit

After the battle, Sage Agastya came to Ayodhya. There was lot of discussion about the battlefield, about killing of powerful demons like Ravan, Kumbhkaran, Meghnad, Atikaya.  Sage Agastya said killing Meghnad was the toughest. People were anxious to know why killing of Meghnad was such a big deal.

Sage said, Meghnad was not a ordinary demon, he was conqueror of Indralok. He also possessed the three ultimate weapon of Trimurty, Brahmastra, Narayanastra and Pashupatastra.

Lakshman killing Indrajit
Lakshman killing Indrajit

He could only be killed by someone who has not eaten, slept or seen face of a woman for 14 years. Peoples were surprised that how Lakshman could fulfill these conditions.

Lakshman explained that, he didn’t sleep for 14 years to guard Ram and Sita at night.  Before going to exile his mother told him to guard Ram and Sita while they sleep.  He is also known as Gudakesh.

He didn’t  eat for 14 years because Ram gave him food but never asked him to eat it. Lakshman in his loyalty believed that he was born to serve Lord Rama and so he never did anything without being told.

He had never seen face of any lady during exile, though he was staying with Ram and Sita but he never saw Sita’s face, he always gazed at her feet. Thus, he was not able to recognize any of Sita’s jewelry except her anklet.

Lakshman is also known as “Gudakesh” because he did not sleep for 14 years

When Ram was exiled for 14 years, Sita and Lakshman accompanied him to the forest. To ensure the safety of his elder brother Rama and sister in law Sita, Lakshman decided to stay awake for 14 years. He approached Nidra Devi, Goddess of Sleep. He requested her not to give him sleep for 14 years so that he can be awake and guard Ram and Sita. Nidra Devi was impressed with his dedication and granted him the boom but only on condition that someone had to bear his sleep. His wife, Urmila agreed to take his sleep for entire 14 years.  This is the reason why Lakshman is also known as Gudakesh. This was a very strong condition which made him capable of killing Meghnad. Meghnad had a boon that he can only be killed by a Gudakesh, a person who has defeated sleep.

Gudakesh Lakshman
Gudakesh Lakshman

Lakshman is incarnation of Sheshnag

Lord Vishnu and Sheshnaag
Lord Vishnu and Sheshnaag

Shesh naga is king of all nagas. He holds all the planets of the  universe on its hood. Sheshnag and Lord Vishnu are inseparable.Lord Vishnu is often depicted as resting on sheshnag, Shesh shaiya. When Lord Vishnu descended on earth as Rama, Sheshang accompanied him as Lakshman and later when Vishnu incarnated as Krishna, Sheshnag accompanied him as Balram.  

Ram’s promise became the reason for his death.

When Rama realised that he had fulfilled his duties on earth, it was time for him to return to vaikuntha. But this could not be possible because of Hanuman as he would not allow Yama, the God of Death to meet Ram. So, he distracted Hanuman by engaging him to fetch his ring which he threw in Patal.

Rama invited Yama, but Yama put a condition that their conversation should be confidential and anyone who entered the room should be punished by a death sentence. So, Rama entrusted Lakshman to guard the room so that no one could enter.

Meanwhile sage Durvasa came and expressed his desire to meet Rama. At first, Lakshman refused politely but sage insisted and threatened to curse Ayodhya. To save Ayodhya,  Lakshman decided to intercept the meeting.

Rama and Sage Durvasa
Rama and Sage Durvasa

After the incident in order to fulfill Ram’s promise,he went to the bank of river Saryu and gave his life.

Lakshman’s death was necessary before Rama’s death as he was incarnation of Sheshnag so he had to return before Vishnu could return to Vaikuntha.

He was later reborn as Balram in next birth.

Lakshman was incarnation of sheshnag. Sheshnaag is considered as servant and manifestation of Vishnu.  He sings the glory of Lord Vishnu from all his mouths. He is inseparable from Vishnu, so when Vishnu descended on earth as Rama, Sheshnaag incarnated as Lakshman and when Vishnu incarnated as Krishna, Sheshnaag accompanied him as his elder brother Balram.  

Krishna and Balrama
Krishna and Balrama

He never saw face of any lady for 14 years

During exile Laksham stayed with his brother Ram and Sister in law Sita, but he never looked at her face. He only gazed at her feet. When Sugriva showed them the jewelry thrown by Sita when Ravan was carrying her to Lanka, Lakshman could only identify Sita’s anklet. He said he had seen them while laying his head on her feet in worship. He was not able to recognize any other jewellery as he has never presumed to look closely at them.

Lakshman at the feet of Sita and Rama
Lakshman at the feet of Sita and Rama

He was the one to leave Sita near sage Valmiki’s ashram

When Rama and Sita returned to Ayodhya after exile, they were crowned as king and queen. After sometime, Ram was disturbed by the gossip questioning about the purity and loyalty of Sita. Sita’s presence was bringing much doubt into the kingdom and and into his heart so, he decided to exile her for second time.

Ram asked Lakshman to leave Sita deep into the forest. After hearing Rama’s decision Lakshman was heartbroken but he did what he was requested to do.He was distraughted on leaving her near sage Valmiki ashram. She took refuge in the ashram and later delivered twins Luv and Kusha.

Lakshman has plan to raise arm on Dasharath, Bharat and Parshuram

Though Dashrath was his father, he was enraged at him. He believed that Dashrath was acting unjustly to his son for a woman.

During exile Bharata came to meet Rama to persuade him to come home. Lakshman thought he came to kill him so was about to raise arm against him.

During Sita’s swayamvara when Ram broke the great bow of Shiva, Sage parshuram was enraged and threatened to kill Rama. So, Lakshman almost fought.

In all the situations Lakshman was about to raise arms and fight for Ram but Ram himself made him calm down and think rationally.

 

The story of Ashwaththama

Ashwaththama, a great warrior

Ashwaththama is widely known for a misdeed done by him in the Mahabharta, but few of us know that he was a great warrior. He was the son of the guru of Pandavas, and Drona admired his son greatly.

Drona and Ashwaththama
Drona and Ashwaththama

He fought in the epic battle of Mahabharata as the commander of the forces from the camp of Kauravas (the antagonists) against the Pandavas (the protagonists), as did his father, Dronacharya.

As Karna was born with Kavach and Kundal,  Ashwaththama also had a jewel (mani) embedded in his forehead which saved him from demons, Gods, snakes and from worldly botheration of hunger and thirst.

His hate with Pandavas

He developed great hatred towards Pandavas as they resorted to unjust means to neutralise Drona from the battlefield. After Duryodhana was defeated by Bhima, he became quite convinced to kill Pandavas by any means. With the help of Kripacharya, they attacked the Pandava’s camp in night and beheaded them. Later, it was discovered that Draupadi’s five sons, or upapandavas were killed.

Parikshit and Lord Krishna episode

He did not stop here. He did the most heinous thing. He tried to kill the unborn son of Abhimanyu’s in his mother’s womb. Drona loved Ashwaththama greatly, but he had the wisdom not to teach the Brahmastra in totality. So, Ashwaththama knew how to invoke that, but he did not know how to retract this deadly weapon.

 

So, when he invoked this on Abhimanyu’s son, and Shri Krishna had to intervene to save the future king of Hastinapur, known as Parikshit.

Shri Krishna saving Parikshit
Shri Krishna saving Parikshit

After this, Shri Krishna took out the jewel from Ashwaththama’s head and cursed him to be alive. It is believed that he is still alive and suffering from ailments.

Thus a misdeed wiped all of his virtue. So much of qualities but so little achieved.

Seven unknown facts about Vindhyachal temple

Vindhyachal Temple

Vindhyachal Parvat

The temple is located 8 km away from mirzapur on the bank of river Ganga. Since the temple is located on the Vindhya mountain range hence it is called Vindhyachal and the deity residing here is known as Vindhyavasini devi. . There are many more interesting and important facts about Vindhyachal of which we are not aware. Here I am sharing few facts which you will definitely enjoy.

Vindhyachal Temple
Vindhyachal Temple

Vindhyachal as a Shaktipeeth

 

Vindhyachal is considered as most special and holiest shaktipeeths, as it’s a combination of all the three superpower Goddess Durga, Goddess Kali and Goddess Saraswati. Goddess Durga resides in Vindhyavasini temple. Goddess Kali resides in Kali khoh temple. It is believed that Goddess Durga incarnated as Kali for killing demon Rakta Bija. Goddess saraswati resides in Ashtabhuja temple. Pilgrims visit these three temples to complete there trikon parikrama.

Birth of Lord Krishna

This place has significance with krishna’s birth. When Krishna was born to Devaki and Vasudev at the same time devi Mahamaya was born to Nanda and Yashoda. She was taken to Kansa’s prison to fool Kansa. When Kansa tried to kill her she escaped from his hand and decided to reside here.

Legend of Devi Sati

Another legend refers that after the death of Sati, Lord Shiva carrying her body was wondering all across the world. Lord Vishnu then sliced her body with his sudarshan chakra. It is believed that toe of Sati fell here thus it is a shakti peeth.

Shiva and Sati
Shiva and Sati

Sudarshan Chakra

Another Vindhyachal legend is also so special because this is the place where Lord Vishnu received Sudarshan chakra from Lord Shiva.

 

Mahishasur

Another legend says that Goddess Durga created the hillock upon which the temple stands  after killing the demon Mahishasur.

Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva

It is also believed that this is the place where Goddess Parvati meditated to Lord Shiva. Thus it is one of the most important place where devotee visit during Navratri to seek devi’s blessings.

Kansa and Goddess Durga
Kansa and Goddess Durga

Naming of Vindhyavasini Devi

Vindhyavasini Devi is popularly known as Kajala Devi. It is believed that Goddess Kali is adorned in the form of Vindhyavasini devi. Months of Chaitra, Ashwin, and jyestha are considered as special time for darshan of maa. In Jyestha, a kajala competition a folk genera are held here.

 

Rakshabandhan – Krishna and Draupadi story

Draupadi tying rakhi to Lord Krishna

Rakshabandhan or Rakhi, is a popular festival in India which is celebrated on the day of Shravan Poornima. This day, sister tie sacred threads on the wrists of their brothers wishing good health and long life to them. Following are few stories which signifies the power of the holy thread or Rakhi.

Rakhi – Krishna and Draupadi

Draupadi and Lord Krishna shared a strong bondage and though they were not real brother and sister, but their love was never lesser than that. One of the popular stories in our mythology is that of Lord Krishna and Draupadi, the wife Pandavas.

Following incident is mentioned in the Mahabharata.

According to one version on a Sankranti day, Krishna to cut his little finger while handling sugarcane. Sathyabama, his queen immediately sent her help to get a bandage cloth while his other consort, Rukmini rushed to bring some cloth herself.

Draupadi who was nearby, tore off a part of her sari and bandaged his finger. In return for this deed, Krishna promised to protect her in time of distress.

Draupadi tying rakhi to Lord Krishna
Draupadi tying rakhi to Lord Krishna

Another story

There is an another narrative related to this incident which says that while killing Shisupala, Krishna, held the lightning fast Sudarshana on his finger and sent it the king’s way. Within a second, Shishupala was beheaded.

Lord Krishna’s finger started bleeding and Draupadi, an ardent devotee of the Lord and the Pandavas’ wife, rushed to bandage the bleeding finger of her beloved Lord. She tore a small piece from her sari and tied it to the Lord’s hand.

Krishna was touched by this selfless token of affection and pledged to rush to Draupadi’s protection whenever needed. Draupadi used to tie a rakhi to the Lord’s hand every year and Krishna always showered His protection on her.

The word he is said to have uttered is ‘Akshyam’ which was a boon meaning ‘unending’.

And that was how Draupadi’s sari became endless and saved her embarrassment on the day of Cheerharan in Dhritarashtra’s court.

related stories

Shri Krishna did not save Draupadi from cheer haran

Draupadi could have fourteen husbands instead of five

21 facts of Lord Krishna

Birth of Lord Krishna

Lord Krishna

The story of birth of Lord Krishna

 

We know that Kamsa has imprisoned his sister and brother in law because of the Akshwani that eighth son of Devaki will kill him. He has killed seven of her sons and was waiting for the birth of eighth child. The day came was Amavasya of hindi month Bhadrapada. Following are the details of birth of Lord Krishna and events following him.

Auspicious hour

When the auspicious hour came, The star Rohini was shining. It was Vijaya Muhurta. All elements were extremely pleasant at the birth of Lord Krishna. Winds were blowing. The stars were shining with lustre. The lakes were filled with lotuses. Lord Krishna incarnated at midnight on this earth. The gods played divine music. The Kinnaras and Gandharvas sang. Siddhas and Charanas praised. The Vidyadharas (various grades of celestial beings) danced along with Apsaras, sages and Devas. There was a rain of flowers from the heavens in joy.

The Incarnation

Lord Vishnu incarnated with lotus eyes, with four hands, armed with conch, disc, mace and lotus, with the diamond Kausthuba, with the mark Srivatsa adorning the chest, wearing silk Pitambara, with ear ornaments made of diamonds, with the crown made of several emeralds, with bracelets in the lower and upper arms and valuable waist-string. Vasudeva saw this marvel of a divine child.

Krishna’s birth in prison

Vasudeva praises Lord Krishna

Vasudeva praised Him, “Thou art known to me already as the Supreme Being. Thou art an embodiment of knowledge and bliss. Thou art seated in the hearts of all beings. Thou art the witness of the minds of all. Thou art beyond Maya and Avidya.” Devaki beheld marks of Vishnu on her son and praised Him, “Thou art beginning less, Omnipresent, self-luminous, attributeless, changeless and action less. Thou art the source and place of dissolution for everything. Kindly do not show me this form with four hands. Let me see you as an ordinary child. Withdraw this divine transcendental form. We are afraid of Kamsa.”

Birth of Shri Krishna

Lord Krishna suggested to take him to Gokula

The Lord said, “Let both of you often meditate with love on Me as a son and as the Supreme being as you will obtain eternal bliss and immortality.” The Lord assumed the form of a handsome baby through the power of his own Maya.  The Lord said, “If you are afraid of Kamsa, then take me to Gokula and bring my Maya that is born there of Yasoda immediately.” Vasudeva took the baby and came out. The sentries became stupefied under the influence of Lord’s Maya and the people were all asleep. The doors which were locked, opened of their own accord. There was gentle rain. Adisesha spread forth his hoods like an umbrella to ward off rain. The deep Yamuna which was in floods with strong currents, made way for Vasudeva.

Vasudeva comes back with the female child

Vasudeva placed the child near the bed of Yasoda and took the female baby from there, he returned back to his prison-house and placed this Maya child near Devaki and put on his fetters as before on his legs.

Kamsa comes to kill the child

The sentries ran and told Kamsa of the birth of the child for Devaki. Kamsa soon got up from his bed, repaired to the place where Devaki was confined, and entered the room in which she was lying. The helpless Devaki told Kamsa, “O Kamsa! This child is your niece. It is not proper for you to kill a female child.” Kamsa threatened his sister and seized the child by her hands and dashed it on a stone.

The child warns Kamsa

The child slipped from his hands and rose high up into the sky. It was seen as the sister of Vishnu with eight hands. She was wearing the divine garland and robes and ornaments and adorned with the bow, trident, knife, conch, disc and mace. She was praised by the Siddhas, Gandharvas and Kinnaras. She said, “O fool! What benefit are you going to derive by killing me? He who is going to take your life is born elsewhere. He is your old enemy. Do not hurt in vain these helpless persons , Devaki, Vasudeva and other children.

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