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The most chanted mantra and powerful mantra of Maa Durga is this mantra. It is said that this mantra has immense power.
Sarva-Mangala-Maangalye Shive Sarvaatha-Saadhike I
Sharanye Trayambake Gauri Narayani Namostute II
Meaning of Mantra
We bow to you O Devi Narayani. You are the the auspicious for everyone, you bring happiness . You are the one who completes every work for everyone. You are protector of everyone. You are the one with 3 eyes and a beautiful face. We salute you, O Narayani.
She is the most auspicious one and the one who bestows auspiciousness upon all the worlds. She is pure and holy.
Maa protects those who surrender to her and is also called the three eyed one and Gauri (daughter of mountain king). I bow down to Mother Durga who is the sister of Mahavishnu.
Manifestation of Devi Durga
Goddess Durga manifested to kill the demon Mahishasura or the buffalo faced demon. Till then, the demon Mahishasura appeared invincible and was troubling all the worlds beyond compare. The heavens and the worlds suffered heavily in his evil hands. The gods and humans were praying fervently to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva seeking to put an end to the miseries they suffered in the hands of the demon. Time passed with no hopes. It was then that goddess Durga manifested in response to the prayers of all.
Har har Mahadev. Lord Shiva, the god of destruction has got softer sides of him also. Here are few stories, which will definitely be of interest to you.
Lord Shiva had six sons
Shiva’s first son is Lord Ayyapa and not Lord Ganesha or Lord Kartikeya. People often forget that Shiva had more than just two sons. Shiva had 6 sons (Ayyapa, Andhaka, Bhauma, Khuja, Ganesh, and Karthikeya/Subramanya) and one daughter (Ashok Sundari).
Of these children, Ayyappa was oldest and Ganesha and Kartikeya are actually the youngest children. Lord Ayyappa was born out of the union between God Shiva and Mohini, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Ganesha and Kartikeya came long after Ayyappa, Andhaka, Bhauma, Khuja, and Ashok Sundari. It is believed Ashok Sundari was present at the time Ganesha was beheaded.
Lord Shiva in a smiling face is under the feet of angry Mother Kali
Perhaps the most humble lesson one can learn is from this legend. Lord Shiva, the Mahadev, is under the feet of Goddess Kali and smiling. He represents fury, anger and yet he is in his most benevolent form. Why is so? Read on.
Once upon a time, Goddess Kali was on a rampage. No demon, human or God stood a chance at stopping her blood-lust. A collective prayer was made to Lord Shiva by all beings to try to stop this Maha-Shakti form of his consort. Such was the power of the Goddess that wherever she set foot, absolute destruction followed suit.
The lord realized even he could not reason with such an elemental force. He had to reach out to her in terms of emotions. As such, he decided to lay down in the Goddess’ path. When Kali finally reached the spot where Lord was lying down, she did not notice him until she stepped on his chest.
So far, everything she was setting foot on was being destroyed. This was an exception, Kali was forced to look down and found the Lord there. Sudden realization dawned on her and she snapped out of her reverie and found herself extremely ashamed, sticking out her tongue instinctively as a sign of regret.
There are number of lessons here: No matter how resourceful one is, sometimes he has to deal with tact, as Lord did. Second, tricky situations can be overcome by thinking on your feet. In this story, we see shades of Lord Vishnu, when it comes to dealing with tact.
Lord Hanuman is an avatar of Lord Shiva
It is said that Bhagwan Hanuman is the eleventh reincarnation of the Lord. Also, Lord Hanuman is often recalled as Rudraavataar, or the reincarnation of Rudra and Shiva is also known as the Rudra.
The vanars or the ancestors of humans had helped Lord Rama (reincarnation of Lord Vishnu) in Ramayana. Without their support, Rama could not have defeated Ravana.
Lord Hanuman is often worshipped for his devotion to Lord Rama and his part in the “good over evil.” It is also depicted as the utter and infinite devotion of Lord Shiva to Lord Vishnu, as he reincarnated as a monkey and served him with all he had.
The Story of Amarnath cave
Amarnath cave is of utmost importance for followers of Lord. The legendary importance of Amarnath’s cave is related to the secret of immortality told to Lord Shiva’s wife Parvati. When Lord was insisted by his wife to reveal the secret of immortality, he decided to proceed towards the cave.
On his way to the cave he did a few things, which were great according to his devotees. Because of these few things, the entire way to the cave became blissful. Actually, in order to reveal the secret of amar katha, Lord left his son, vehicle, etc in various isolated places, which is why all these places seem like tirthasthal. There are two ways for Amarnath journey – Pahalgam and Sonmarg Baltal. According to mythology, Lord took the Pahalgam route to reach the cave.
Lord Shiva’s association with Nandi Bull
Lord Shiva and Nandi are inseparable. Nandi is the vehicle for the Hindu god of Shiva. In Hindu mythology, Nandi is the bearer of truth and righteousness. This story describes how Lord became associated with the bull Nandi.
One day, Surabhi, who was the original mother of all the world’s cows, began to give birth to an untold number of perfectly white cows.The milk from all these cows flooded the home of Lord.
Somewhere in the Himalaya. Angry at this disturbance to his meditation, the god struck the cows with fire from his third eye. In consequence, patches of the cows’ hides were turned brown. Still angry, the other gods sought to calm Lord down by offering him a magnificent bull – Nandi, the son of Surabhi and Kasyapa – which Shiva accepted and rode. Nandi also became the protector of all animals.
As Nandi is the assistant of the of Lord – he can also grant many boons. In South India – there is a tradition of talking one’s wish to Nandi’s ears that is then believed to be granted.
Sudarshana chakra was given to Lord Vishnu by Lord Shiva
The famed Sudarshana chakra was bestowed to Lord Vishnu by Lord Shiva. Once, Vishnu was meditating Shiva’s sahasranama to please Lord. He kept thousand lotuses to please him. Lord wanted to test Lord Vishnu’s devotion and so he took one of the flower from flowers which Vishnu was using to offer it to Shivalinga on each naama.
At the thousandth name, vishnu was surprised to see he was not left with any flowers and so he took out his own eyes and offered it to Lord. As Lord Vishnu is also called Kamalnayan, his eye would serve the purpose of a Lotus flower. Shiva pleased with the level of devotion shown by Vishnu, bestowed Sudarshan chakra to Lord Vishnu.
Why Lord Shiva Covers His Body With Ash?
Lord Shiva’s body is always covered with ash and Shiv devotees wear ash tilak on forehead and hands. There is an interesting story in the Shiva Purana which narrates how Lord came to be associated with Ash. There once lived a sage whose lineage was traced to the famous Saint Bhrigu. This sage performed intense austerities and became very powerful. He used to consume only fruits and later only green leaves and thus got the name – Pranada.
Sage Pranada continued his intense tapas and controlled all the animals and plants in the forest he lived. Once while cutting some grass to repair his hermitage, the sage cut his middle finger. But to his surprise instead of blood he saw sap of tree oozing through the cut.
Now Pranada thought that he had become so pious that instead of blood, sap is oozing through his body. Pride filled his mind and he started shouting in joy that he is the most pious man in the world now.
Lord Shiva who witnessed this event took the guise of an old man and reached the spot. When the old man asked for the reason for his uncontrollable delight, Pranada said that he has become the most pious man in the world as his blood as become quite similar to the sap of fruits and trees.
Then the old man asked what is there to be elated in this. It is just a sap. But when trees and plants are burned they turn into ash. Only ash remains that is surely the higher stage.
To demonstrate it the old man sliced his finger and suddenly ash came out of it. Sage Pranada soon realized that it was Lord standing before him and prayed to him for forgiveness for his ignorance.
It is said that ever since then Lord wears ash to remind his devotees about the ultimate reality and foolishness of getting enamored in physical beauty.
Lord Shiva tests Goddess Parvati
Few of us know that Shiva thoroughly tested Devi Parvati’s devotion before accepting her as a wife. He designed himself as a young Brahmin and told Parvati that would it be good for her to marry Lord who lived like a beggar and had nothing?
Parvati got very angry when she heard these words about Lord. She told him that she would marry no one but Shiva. Pleased with her answer, Lord came back to his real form and agreed to marry Parvati. Himavantha performed the wedding with great splendour.
There was a demon named Tarakasura who had the boon that he should only be killed by Lord Shiva’s son. This is soon after Sati’s death, and Lord Shiva was very much perturbed by the death of Sati, so Taraka takes it for granted that Shiva would not at all get remarried, and hence, would not have a son to call his own.
It is believed that Lord Kartikeya or Murugan manifested for the sole purpose of killing Tarakasura. Tarakasura knew very well that Lord Shiva was an ascetic and He would not marry or have children. Hence, he would be invincible.
In the mean time, the other Gods being insecure from Tarakasura, sent Agni or the God of fire to get hold of the ball of fire. But even Agni couldn’t bear the heat of the energy of Shiva and Parvati. So, He handed over the ball to Goddess Ganga. When even Ganga couldn’t bear the heat, She deposited the fire ball into a lake in a forest of reeds.
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Why he is known as Shanmukha
Then Goddess Parvati took the form of this water body as She alone could bear the energy of Shiva and Shakti. Finally the fire ball took the form of a baby with six faces. Hence, Kartikeya is also known as Shanmukha or the God with six faces. He was first spotted and taken care of by six women who represented the Pleiades or the Kritikas. So, the divine child was known as Kartikeya or the son of the Kritikas. Later on, he becomes commander-in-chief of the Gods.
Why he is called Swaminatha
Once he asked Lord Brahma to explain the meaning of Om. Brahma explained to him but he was not satisfied. Later on, when asked by Lord Shiva, he explained the whole episode to him. Lord Shiva told that he must learn from Lord Brahma, as he is the supreme creator. To this Kartikeya replied, ‘Then you tell me, what is the meaning of Om?’ Hearing this, Lord Shiva smiled and said, ‘Even I don’t know.’ Kartikeya then said, ‘Then I will tell you because I know the meaning of Om.’
‘Then tell me the meaning since you know it’, said Lord Shiva.
‘I can’t tell you like this. You have to give me the place of the Guru. Only if you put me on the pedestal of the Guru can I tell you’, said Kartikeya. Guru means he has to be on a higher position or platform. The teacher has to sit on a higher place and the student has to sit down and listen to him.
How can Lord Shiva find a seat higher than him, for He is the highest and greatest of Gods? So then Lord Shiva lifted the young Kartikeya on to His shoulders. And then in the ear of Lord Shiva, Lord Kartikeya explained the meaning of the Pranava Mantra (Om).
The essence of Om as explained by Murugan
Kartikeya explained that the entire Creation is contained in Om. The Trinity – Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are contained in Om. This is the essence and also the secret of Om that Lord Kartikeya narrated to Lord Shiva.
Upon hearing this, Goddess Parvati (Mother of Lord Kartikeya, and an incarnation of the Mother Divine) was elated and overcome with joy.
She said, ‘You have become a Guru (Swami) to my Lord (Natha)!’ Saying this she addressed her son as Swaminatha, and ever since Lord Kartikeya also came to be known as Swaminatha.
Why his flag contains a picture of Rooster (cock)
In due course, Tarakasur was defeated by Lord. So, Tarakasur (ego) became a chicken or rooster after being defeated by Kartikeya. After having defeated Taraka (ego) in battle, Kartikeya spared his life and asked him what boon he would desire. Taraka prayed to always be at the feet of the Lord, and so Lord Kartikeya made him the emblem on His flag. This means that ego should always be kept subdued. Ego is necessary in life but it should be kept subdued.
Lord Kartikeya’s appearance
Lord Kartikeya is one of the most beautiful and handsome gods, also known as Skanda. He rides a peacock called Paravani. His preferred weapon is the Vel or spear hence the popular name Velayudhan – he whose weapon is a spear. He is called Yuddharanga or the wisdom of war too and is represented with six heads and twelve hands. The Lord is popularly known as Subramaniam too which is a common South Indian name.
Lord Murugan is considered very handsome, brave, just. Even though he was seen as a playful youngster, he was also extremely knowledgeable – enough to test Lord Brahma himself.
Lord Murugan has two consorts – Valli and Devasena. Valli is a tribal girl and Devasena is the daughter of Indra, the king of the Devas. His mount is the peacock. Lord the creates his own abode Palani, near Madurai as he was angry on cheated at the sacred fruit.
Kartikeya carries on one hand a spear and his other hand is always blessing devotees. His vehicle is a peacock, a pious bird that grips with its feet a serpent, which symbolizes the ego and desires of people. The peacock represents the destroyer of harmful habits and the conqueror of sensual desires. The symbolism of Kartikeya thus points to the ways and means of reaching perfection in life.
Marriage of Lord Skanda
Amritavalli and Saundaravalli were two daughters of Vishnu born from his eyes. They developed undying love for Skanda and performed severe austerities to obtain him as husband. At Skanda’s instructions, Amritavalli incarnated as Devasena, a young girl under the guardianship of Indra in Swarga. Saundaravalli took the form of Valli, a lass under the protection of Nambiraja, a hunter near Kanchipuram. ‘Valli’ is a Tamil term for the Sanskrit ‘Lavali’, a kind of creeper. As she was found among the creepers as a baby, the hunter called her ‘Valli’. After the war with Surapadma was over, the devas were overjoyed. Skanda acceded to Indra’s prayer to accept Devasena as his consort. The divine wedding was celebrated with great enthusiasm at Tirupparankundram near Madurai in the presence of Parvati and Siva. Indra’s recoronation in Amaravati in Swarga followed. Devas regained their power and positions. Skanda took his home in Skandagiri. He then proceeded to Tiruttani near Chennai, where Valli was looking after barley fields. After a series of sportive love-pranks, in which his brother Vighneswara also lent a helping hand, he married her.
This form of Devi Parvati is also known as Goddess Skandmata, mother of Lord Kartikeya. She is worshipped on the fifth day of the Navratri. The fifth manifestation of the goddess seems to be pure and white. Whenever the oppression by the demons increases, goddess Skandmata rides on a lion and kills them. Devi Skandmata has four arms. She holds lotus in two hands and uses the other hand to support Lord Kartikeya sitting on her lap. Her fourth hand is raised to bless the devotees.
The Kavadi Attam or Kanwar
Celebration of Kavadi Attam is performed during Thai Pusam. This is the ceremonial worship of Murugan, the God of War.
This is symbolic of the devotees carrying a physical burden, imploring the Lord to release them from material bondage.
There is a story behind this Kavadi. Lord Shiva once entrusted the dwarf saint sage Agastya to carry two hillocks and install them in South India. But the sage asked his disciple, Idumban to get them instead. Idumban could not initially lift the hillocks, until he obtained divine help. Idumban put the hillocks down to rest awhile, near Palani. When he attempted to continue with his journey, he found that the hillocks were immovable.
Idumban then sought the help of a scantily dressed youth, who said that the hillocks belonged to him. Lord Murugan easily defeated Idumban. He realized then that the youth was none other than Lord Murugan. Idumban pleaded for pardon and announces that anyone who comes to the hills to worship Murugan with an object similar to the two hillocks suspended by a rod, may be granted his heart’s desire. Idumban’s wish was granted. That is how the kavadi or Kanvad came to play its role in Hindu festivals.
People celebrate Kumara Purnima on the full moon day after Vijayadashami. This is one of the popular festival dedicated to Kartikeya in Odisha. It is believed that unmarried girls worship Kartikeya on this day to get grooms handsome as Kartikeya.
Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of linga from ancient times. Lord Shiva is one of the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and even considered to be supreme lord. He has been worshipped by various devtas (gods) in Hindu mythology and by Vishnu Dashavatara’s.
The Lingam symbolizes both the creative and destructive power of Lord Shiva and great sanctity is attached to it by the devotees. Mahadev is the only God who has both form “Sakaar Roop” who we can see and pray and also “Nirakaar Roop” like Shivling.
Puranas and scriptures in Hinduism narrate in detail why Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Linga. It is said that the he appeared before Lord Brahma and Vishnu in the form of a ‘pillar of fire’, which had no end and beginning. It is one among the many symbols of Brahman.
Incarnations of Lord Vishnu is known to have worshipped the Shivlinga including Lord Ram, Parashuram and Krishna.
When the mind is clear and is without prejudice, we will realize that the Linga form of Shiva is the most innocent form of Brahman that our ancestors had realized. It is pure and they got it from pure nature. Many of the forms that we worship today are the reflections of our mind, which is corrupted by ego, society and education. It is not pure.
As per the epic Mahabharata, ‘Know everything, which is male, to be Ishana, and all that is female to be Uma; for this whole world, animate and inanimate, is pervaded by these two bodies. Shiva’s divine Linga is worshipped by the Gods, seers, Gandharvas and Apsaras.’ (Chapter 7, section 20, verse 22)
Shiv Purana definition of Shivlinga
The Shiva Purana describes the origin of the Lingam, known as Shivalinga, as the one which has no beginning and no end. This is a cosmic pillar (Stambha) of fire, the cause of all causes.
Lord Shiva is pictured as emerging from the lingam – the cosmic pillar of fire – proving his superiority over the gods Brahma and Vishnu. This is known as Lingodbhava.
The Linga Purana also supports this interpretation of lingam as a cosmic pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.
According to the Linga Purana, the lingam is a complete symbolic representation of the formless Universe Bearer – the oval-shaped stone is the symbol of the Universe, and the bottom base represents the Supreme Power that holds the entire Universe in it.
“The endless sky (that great void which contains the entire universe) is the Linga, the Earth is its base. At the end of time the entire universe and all the Gods finally merge in the Linga itself.
Nidhi van is the most mysterious and sacred place in vrindavan. Nidhi van is covered with small trees which are known as Vanatulsi. Swami Haridas, a divine saint was a great devotee of lord Krishna (Banke Bihari). As a result of Swami Haridasa’s hard penance and spiritual aspiration, Lord Banke Bihari not only came in his dream but appeared also on ground blessed Nidhivan. Every day thousand of pilgrims come here during the day. It is closed after arti in the evening.
An interesting observation about Nidhivan
A very mysterious conception is associated with this temple i.e. after the sacred process of ARTI, not only human beings, but any kind of single animal also can’t remain in the periphery of this temple. In case anyone remains during night in the campus of this temple, either one becomes dumb, deaf, blind, lame or dies.
The person is not found hale and hearty in the morning to disclose the spiritual secret of the lord Radha-Krishna, as it is said even now that the priest puts two toothbrushes, some holy water in a jug with four sweets (LADDOO) and ready bed after Arti in the night, but in the morning everything is found and seen as if someone has used it because everything is found at sixes and sevens. It proves that Lord Radha Krishna, they appear in the night to perform their spiritual activities (Lilas).
Trees in Nidhivan are said to be gopis. One interesting observation is that they are very humble and lay close to the ground. They are entangled with each other, signifying the love between themselves.
The holy place and trees are said to be favourite of Lord Krishna. It is said that whosoever worships here, is benefited immensely.
The ground at Nidhivan is cleaned by Bhakts.
Legend about Nidhi Van
The legend about Nidhi Van goes as; there was adivine saint “Swami Haridas” used to please his Lord Banke Bihari (Krishan Ji) by pouring the melodious rapture of his thrilling music in Nidhivan. One day, kind Bihari ji appeared in his dream and also blessed him by appearing in the ground of Nidhivan and there is a temple at that place inside Nidhivan named Prakatya Sathal (place of appearance of shree Bihari ji).
In the Ramayana, two monkey brothers are mentioned with importance. In fact, a complete chapter is devoted with the name of Kishkindha kand on them. The interesting story of these two brothers is as following.
Birth of Sugriva and Bali
Once Brahma threw smear from his eyes and a monkey Riksharaj appeared from the smear. He was instructed to wander in the forests and kill demons. Soon he got into a well and transformed into a beautiful lady.
When Lord Indra and Lord Surya saw the lady, they became attracted to her and thus Bali and Sugriva were born. These two brothers were very powerful and were asked to live in Kishkindha mountain by Lord Brahma.
Curse on Bali and Rishyamooka mountain
Soon, in course of time, Bali killed Dundubhi. Sage Matang had his hermitage at Rishiyamooka Mountain. When the stream of blood fell on his hermitage which resulted from killing of Dundabhi, he wondered about the reason. Suddenly a Yaksha came and revealed the secret behind the stream of blood. Indignant, sage Matang cursed Bali that he would die if he ever ventured on Rishiyamooka Mountain. That is the reason Bali could not visit Rishiyamooka mountain.
Boon on Bali
Brahma had given a boon to Bali which made him virtually impossible to defeat and kill. Whenever facing an enemy in a combat, Bali would get half of the strength of his opponent. He was killed when he was involved in a fight with his brother, Sugriva. (This episode is detailed in Kishkindha kand – The Ramayana)
Bali defeats Ravana
The might of Bali was such that he defeated and moved around while holding Ravana under his armpit. Ravana, the demon king of lanka and the main antagonist of the Ramayana, was a mighty ruler, but even he was helpless before Bali. So Ravana was weak before monkey (Bali) and Rama (human).
Once, Bali chased a demon Mayavi after killing his brother Dundabhi. Mayavi entered into a cave where Bali followed him. Bali too followed him into the cave. But before entering he cave, he instructed Sugriva to wait outside for a fortnight. He also said that if he did not come out of the cave after fifteen days, Sugriva would understand that Bali had been killed. After a month, He saw blood coming out of the cave and assumed that Bali was dead. Sugriva returned to the kingdom as a king. But Bali was alive. When he came back and saw Sugriva running the kingdom of Pampapuri,
he became furious. He drove Sugriva out and enslaved his wife as well. Sugriva was hiding in Rishiyamooka mountain, because of curse of Sage Matang, this place was safe.
Lord Rama assured Sugriva that he will help him here. He also cut the seven palm trees with one shot of his arrow convincing Sugriva of his strength. He believed that Bali’s crime was unpardonable as he has taken his brother’s wife. He asked Sugriva to invite Bali for a duel. Bali beat him badly as Rama could not differentiate one from another as both brothers looked alike.
Rama asks Sugriva again to invite Bali for a duel and this time to wear a garland. During the battle, Rama kills Bali with an arrow passing through his heart.
Post Bali’ death
After the death of Bali, Sugriva became the ruler of Kishkindha. Bali’s son Angad, given important duties in the war against Ravana. Sugriva married Tara. Initially Sugriva forgot his promise made to Rama, but Laxman came as a messenger and asked him for help. Tara, one of the panchkanyas, coaxed Sugriva to help Rama.
Ramayana is one of the most riveting epics from India. This story of Lord Rama has been told and retold in several languages from ancient India and is still relevant. The Ramayana is not only the story of Rama, but this is also a story of other people. For instance, Lakshman, Bharat and Hanuman. We can’t forget Sita, Urmila, Vibheeshana alongwith Kaikeyi and Manthra.
Following are some of the interesting facts from this epic.
1. Author of The Ramayana is Sage Valmiki. There are many more versions of this epic are available by various writers. Valmiki’s version is thus also known as Valmiki Ramayana. Another famous version is by Tulsidas, known as Ramcharitmanas.
2. This great epic is composed of rhyming couplets called ‘shlokas’, employing a complex meter called ‘anustup’. These verses are grouped into individual chapters called ‘sargas’, wherein a specific event or intent is told. The ‘sargas’ are again grouped into books called ‘kands’.
3 The whole story of the Ramayana is written in seven chapters, also known as kands. These are
Uttar Kand – Rama’s life as king in Ayodhya, the birth of his two sons, Sita’s test of innocence and return to her mother, and Rama’s demise. This kand completes the story of the ramayana.
4 Rama ( the principal character of the ramayana), and his brothers were born as the result of putra-kameshti yagya by Dashratha. At the end of the yagya, a bowl of dessert was given to Dashratha, which was distributed among his wives. Sumitra was fed twice, so she gave birth to twins. Dasharatha was born in the line of Ikshvaku (“the first king of the Ikshvaku dynasty and founder of the Solar Dynasty of Kshatriyas in Vedic civilization in ancient India”).
5. Rama is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, a dashavatar.
6 In their childhood, Rama and Laxman helped Vishwamitra and took care of Maricha and Subahu. Rama points his bow at the two, and with one arrow kills Subahu, and with the other arrow flings Mareecha thousands of miles away into the ocean
7. Sita is considered to be an incarnation of Goddess Laxmi. She is also believed to be the daughter of Bhoomi devi (earth). Sita was also known as Vaidehi. An interesting fact about Sita is that she is also considered to be a reincarnation of Vedvati, whom Ravan had tried to molest while she was under penance, so as to become the consort of Lord Vishnu. She then cursed Ravana to become the cause of his destruction in her next birth.
8. Laxman or Lakshman is an incarnation of Sheshnaag or Adi Shesha. He also accompanied Lord Vishnu as Balrama in the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
9. Laxman never slept during the Rama’s exile. He is also known as Gudakesh, meaning, the one who has defeated “sleep”.
10. Laxman killed three sons of Ravana. While his killing of Meghnaad is more popular, other sons of Ravana were Prahast and Atikay.
11. Lord Shiva explained that Laxman would have escaped Shakti easily, but to respect the weapon, he took this on his chest.
12. The laxmanrekha episode is not mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana. This is mentioned by Mandodri in Lanka kand in Ramcharitamanas.
13. Laxman was the twin brother of Shatrughana. Their mother was Sumitra.
14. Lord Rama left this earth by taking the Jal Samadhi in Sarayu river.
15. During Sita Swayamvara, Rama broken the bow of Shiva to win her hand.
16. Parshurama challenged Rama to string the bow of Vishnu. Which Lord Rama easily did and asked him to tell him to where he should release the arrow. Parshuram realized that Rama is no ordinary man. This is worth noting that both of these warriors were incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
17. The shiva dhanush was easily moved by Sita during her childhood. King Janak observed this and this incident set the condition of Sita swayamvar in the Ramayana.
18. Lord Rama helped Sugriva to get back the kingdom of Kishkindha. He helped Sugriva to defeat his brother, Vali. He later married Tara, Vali’s wife. Tara is one of the Panchkanya. Mandodari, the wife of Ravana, is also a panchkanya from the Ramayana.
19 Rama, Laxman and Sita spent the vanvaas in Dandakaranya forests.
20 Laxman’s wife was Urmila. There is not much written about her, but she also made a supreme sacrifice while staying back in Ayodhya, while Laxman accompanied Rana and Sita for vanvaas. Urmila was Sita’s younger sister. Urmila slept both his and her shares of sleep so that Laxman remained awake protecting Rama and Sita. She slept for the whole period of exile (14 years) and only woke up when Laxmana returned to Ayodhya.
21 Tara was an apsara produced from the churning of ocean. During the churning, Vali was from gods side.
22. Jambavantha was created by Brahma, to assist Rama in his struggle against Ravana. During a duel with Ravana, he hit Ravana and Ravana became unconscious. He also reminded Hanuman of his prowess, so he could cross the ocean and visit Lanka.
23. Vali was famous for the boon that he had received, according to which anyone who came before him lost half his strength to Vali, thereby making Vali invulnerable to any enemy.
24. Vali had defeated Ravana as well. Once Ravana called Vali for a fight. He took Ravana in his tail and took him around all the world. Humbled, Ravana called for a truce.
25. Hanuman, because of boons from Surya, laghima and garima, could take various forms. He used them to defeat Sursa, Lankini, Cat in the Ramayana.
26. Lord Hanuman is one of the 7 chiranjeevs. These immortals will live till the beginning of the next Satya Yuga. Hanuman slain the demon Kalanemi, while fetching sanjeevani herb. Kalanemi was sent by Ravana. Hanuman rejected a pearl necklace gifted by to him by Sita saying “I don’t accept anything that does not contain Ram.” To prove his point he ripped his chest to show the presence of Ram in his heart.
27. Hanuman also defied Sun from rising before time as it would have killed Laxman.
28. Hanuman was also shot by Bharat while flying over Ayodhya. Hanuman accepted the arrow as Lord Rama was written over it. Since he was shot on a leg, he had a limp.
29. Shatrughan is supposed to be the incarnation of Vishnu’s conch. Shatrughna was married to Shrutakeerti, the daughter of King Kusadhbojan and his wife. Shrutakeerti was the cousin of Sita, daughter of King Janaka.
30 Shatrughana killed Lavanasura, a demon who was the son of Madhu. It is believed that Madhu is where Mathura is situated today.
31. Bharat was the husband to Mandavi, daughter of King Janaka’s brother Kushadhvaja and thus a cousin of Sita, who was wife of Rama. They had two sons, Taksha and Pushka. Thus, in the Ramayana, wives of all brothers were related.
32. Bharat is considered to be born in the aspect of the Sudarshana Chakra, the most famous of Vishnu’s Panchayudhas.
33. Ravana’s grandfather was Pulastya, one of the seven great sages or Saptarishis. His father was himself a great sage Vishrava. Ravana once broke his arm to construct a musical instrument to sing songs of praise for Shiva. It was called the Ravan Hatta. While Ravan lay dying Ram asked Laxmana to go up to him to learn all that Ravana had to offer since Ravan was a Brahman.
34. His mother was the princess of Daityas. Her name was Kaikesi. Kaikesi father was Sumali. Ravana was half Brahmin and half asura.
35. Kaikesi chose Vishrava as her husband in quest to mother a son who was incomparable.
36. Vishrava was the father of Kubera. Thus Ravana was the half brother of Kubera. Ravana conquered Sri Lanka from Kubera and became the King of Lanka.
37. Ravana was also an excellent veena player and the sign of his flag had a picture of veena on it.
38. Ravana had four brothers. Vibhishana, Kumbhakarna and Ahiravan and Mahiravan. Khara and Dushan are also believed to be his brothers.
39. Kumbhakarna was considered pious, intelligent and brave that Indra was jealous of him. Along with his brothers, Ravana andVibhishana, he performed a major yajnaand penance for Lord Brahma. When the time came for asking a boon (blessing) from Brahma, his tongue was tied by goddess Saraswati (acting on Indra’s request). So instead of asking “Indraasana” (seat of Indra), he asked for “Nidraasana” (bed for sleeping).
40. Kumbhakarna had two sons, Kumbha and Nikumbha, who too fought in the war against Rama and were killed.
41. Ravana also asked for absolute invulnerability from and supremacy over gods, heavenly spirits, other rakshas, serpents, and wild beasts. He did not ask for protection from mortal men, as he did not think that they would cause him any harm.
42. Rama and Laxman were abducted by Ahiravan. Ahiravan was the brother of Ravana and king of patala (netherworld). The two brothers were saved by Hanuman.
43. Following the capture of Lanka, Ravana pleased Shiva with his penance. Shiva said to pinned Ravana with his toe, but he offered his ten heads to appease Shiva. Pleased with his resilience and devotion, Shiva gave to him the divine sword Chandrahas
44. Ravana was cursed by Nandi that Lanka would be destroyed by a monkey. Later Hanuman put Lanka into flames.
45 Hanuman defeated his son Makardhwaj when he was guarding Rama and Laxman and rescued the two brothers.
46. Hanuman killed Ahiravan and Mahiravan by taking his panchroopi form.
47. Ravana did severe penance to appease Brahma. Brahma blessed him with nectar which could keep him alive as long as it lasted.
48 Vibheeshana told this about to Rama when in the battlefield, every time Rama cut his head, another head sprang up. On his advise, Rama first dried the nectar using Prasvapana and later killed him. This is important to know that the ramayana puts importance to Vibheeshana, who left his brother and helped the cause of Dharma.
49. Sita remained with Agni when Ravana abducted her. When Ravana came to kidnap mother Sita and she saw him, she took shelter of Agni. The fire-god covered the body of mother Sita, and in this way she was protected from the hands of Ravana. The fire-god, Agni, took away the real Sita and brought her to the place of Parvati, goddess Durga. An illusory form of mother Sita was then delivered to Ravana. The original Sita went to the abode of the fire-god. During Agnipariksha, illusory Sita entered the fire. At that time Agni brought the original Sita from his abode and delivered her to Lord Ramachandra.
50. Sita summoned Bhoomi devi to take her back after completing the Agni pariksha.
51. Rama and all his brothers left their abode by taking Jal samadhi in Sarayu river. This completes the story of the Ramayana.
52. The stripes on the back of squirrels is supposed to be Ram’s caress for their dedication to help construct the bridge to Lanka.
In Indian mythology, we find mention of stories which are not only interesting, but also serve a message/ purpose. Mahabharata is one such epic, where we find these types of topics in abundance. Here are seven captivating stories from the epic Mahabharata from Indian mythology.
Arjuna as an eunuch
In Indralok, Arjuna was propositioned by apsara Urvashi, but Arjuna addressed her as ‘mother’, Urvashi was annoyed with the rejection and cursed him that he would become a eunuch. When Indra came to know about the curse, he told Arjuna that the curse would serve him as a boon during the one year stay in hiding and after spending that period he would regain his masculinity.
This proved to be significant in the war of Kurukshetra. After spending 12 years in forest, Pandavas spent the 13th year of exile in cognito, in the court of king Virat. Arjuna made use of the curse and lived as a eunuch named Brihannala.
Five golden arrows
As Kauravas were losing the battle of Mahabharata, Duryodhana approached Bhisma one night and accused him of not fighting the Mahabharata war to his full strength because of his affection for Pandavas. Bhisma greatly angered, immediately picked up 5 golden arrows and chanted mantras declaring tomorrow he will kill 5 pandavas with the 5 golden arrows. Duryodhana not having faith in his words asked Bhisma to give custody of 5 golden arrows saying that he will keep them and will return them next morning.
There was twist in the tale. Long back before the Mahabharata war, Pandavas were living in exile in a forest. Duryodhana placed his camp on the opposite side of the pond where Pandavas were staying. Once while Duryodhana was taking bath in that pond, the heavenly prince Gandharvas came to take bath Duryodhana could not tolerate this and had a fight in which Gandharva captured him. On request of Yudhisthir, Arjuna saved Duryodhana and set him free. Duryodhana was ashamed but being a kshatriya, asked Arjuna what benediction of boon would he like Arjuna replied he would ask for the honour gift later when he needed it.
Duryodhana again went to Bhisma and requested for another five golden arrows. To this Bhishma laughed and replied this is not possible and will of Lord is Supreme and undeniable and whatever happens tomorrow in the Mahabharata war is written long before.
Birth of Drona
In Mahabharata, we find strange ways of people being born (see related article). Drona was not gestated in a womb, but outside the human body in a droon (vessel). Bhardwaja went with his companion to the Ganga to perform his ablution. There he beheld a beautiful apsara named Ghritachi who had come to bathe. The sage was overcome by desire, causing him to produce reproductive fluid. Bhardwaja captured the fluid in a vessel called a drona and Dronacharya sprung from the fluid thus preserved. Drona would later boast that he had sprung from Bhardwaja without ever having been in a womb. Drona was the teacher of Pandavas and Kauravas and later fought the Mahabharata war from Kauravas side.
Krishna broke his promise
Before the battle of Mahabharata, Lord Krishna promised that he will not pickup any weapon.On other hand, Grandsire Bhishma promised Duryodhana that he will fight like a lion and will kill Arjuna or will make Lord Krishna breaking his promise. There was an intense battle between Arjuna and Bhisma and Arjun being powerful still was no match for Bhisma. When Bhisma shot arrow which cut Arjuna armour and his gandiva bow. Arjuna was helpless before the wrath of Grand sire. As Bhisma was about to kill Arjuna with his arrow Lord Krishna could not tolerate his devotees plight and he immediately threw down the chariot rein and jumped off the chariot onto the battle field and lifted a chariot wheel and charged Bhisma determined to send him to death. Arjuna tried to stop Lord krishna but Lord says that in order to protect my devotee, I must break my own promise.
How Shri Krishna ended up on Pandavas side in Mahabharata war
Duryodhana and Arjuna both went to Dwarka to meet Krishna in order to seek his support for Mahabharata. Duryodhana was first to reach Dwarka. Satyaki informed that Krishna was asleep. Both Duryodhan and Arjuna entered Krishna’s bedroom. Duryodhana who was first to enter the room sat on a seat at the head of the bed on which Krishna was asleep. Arjuna went to the foot of the bed and stood there with hand folded. When Krishna got up he saw Arjuna first who was standing at his foot. Duryodhana said that as he came first so it was fair that Krishna should join Kauravas.
On this, Krishna smiled and said as he saw Arjuna first when he got up so it is also fair that he should help both Kauravas as well as Pandavas. So on one hand was his famous Narayani army, and on other hand was he himself alone and shall not yield any weapon. Then he added that dharma demands that the younger should have the first choice. So Arjuna was given the first chance, he fell at the feet of Lord Krishna with tears in his eyes he chose him. Duryodhana was very happy with the decision. Shri Krishna later became the Arjuna’s sarathi during the war of Mahabharat.
Yudhishthir firm adherence to truth
Yudhisthir was very well known for his firm adherence to truth. But, in the battle of Mahabharata, Drona, who was Kauravas commander was killing thousands of Pandavas warriors Krishna made a plan to tell Drona that his son Ashwathama has died, so that Drona would give up his arms and could be killed easily.
The plan was set in motion when Bhima killed an elephant named Ashwaththama and loudly proclaimed that Ashwaththama was dead. Drona approached Yudhisthir for confirmation because he was the only person who could tell him the truth.Yudhisthir who could not make himself tell a lie inspite of the fact that if Drona would continue fighting pandavas and the cause of dharma would have been lost. Yudhisthir added ‘praha kunjara ha’ which means he is not sure whether man of elephant has died. Krishna knowing this that Yudhisthir would be unable to tell lie, had all the warrior beat war drum and cymbals to make as much noise as possible so that the words ‘praha kunjara ha’ were lost. Drona was disheartened and laid down his weapons. He was later killed by Dhristadyumna.
After speaking this half lie, Yudhisthir feet and chariot descended to the ground.
End of Jayadrath
Jayadrath was granted a boon by Lord Shiva to hold the pandavas brother at bay for one day in battle – except for Arjun who was protected by Lord Krishna. In Mahabharat war, Jayadradth was fighting from Kauravas side, he using his boon to stop Pandavas from entering the near-impenetrable chakra viyuh battle formation. When Arjun son Abhimanyu enters the formation he was trapped inside and brutally killed. Arjuna vows to kill Jaydradth the very next day and if he failed he would kill himself. Arjuna killed an entire akshauhini during the day’s battle. At a climatic moment the sun had nearly set and thousands of warrior still separates Arjuna and Jayadrath. Seeing his friend’s plight, Lord Krishna send his Sudarshan chakra to mask the sun creating a solar eclipse thus faking a sunset. The Kauravas warriors rejoiced over Arjun defeat and his imminent suicide exposing Jaydradth from his hiding for a crucial moment. Upon the Lord’s urging Arjun shot a powerful arrow that decapitation Jaydradth. Jaydradth father was a sinful king he had pre cursed the killer of his son that anyone who caused Jaydrath’s head to fall on ground would suffer by having his own head exploded. When Arjun recapitulated Jaydrath he faced death but Lord Krishna intervened he asked Arjuna to shoot his arrow that would carry Jaydradth’s head to his father’s lap when he was sitting meditating in his ashram. Arjuna did the same and shot 3 arrows which carried Jaydrath’s falling head to his father’s lap. when he got up after meditation he didn’t see the head in his lap but caused it to fall on the ground so his head exploded as a result.