Chhath is a festival of reverence to the solar deity, the only festival in the world where devotees offer salutations to the setting and rising Sun. The word Chhath denotes the number six and thus the name itself serves as a reminder of this auspicious day on the festival calendar.
The festival of Chhath is widely observed in eastern India. This is a festival where worship of God Sun is performed. It may be noted that Sun’s worship is not done at many places. This festival is one of the most difficult to observe and is done to thank Surya or Sun for sustaining life on earth.
In Indian mythology, the worship of Sun god is believed to be beneficial and capable of curing diseases. The process of observing this festival is very rigorous. This festival is spanned across four days. Almost immediately after the merriment of Diwali subsides, the solemnity of Chhath takes over. Women of the household make various preparations puja. While the younger women and children take over the everyday household chores. These women begin with a thorough spring-cleaning of all the things that would be used to prepare the prasad or food offerings to Sun god. Everything, from the kitchen chulha to the ladles, cooking utensils, and frying pan, is purified.
It is the bounty of the harvest, which is deemed a fit offering to Sun god. Newly pounded rice is soaked and made into a paste. Dry fruits, nuts and slivers of coconut are used as flavoring and the cooked lump is then rolled in the palms and then they are fried.
Chhath is a festival of prayer and purity observed with somberness and strict discipline, a festival that should not be missed. It is held in high esteem and regard.
The four days of Chhath are:
On the day before the actual worship, devotees take a cleansing dip, preferably in the Ganges, and bring back some holy water to prepare the offerings. A fast is observed for the whole day and late in the evening, the devotees, after performing worship at home, break their fast. The offerings – typically a rice porridge, Sohari/puris (deep fried puffs of wheat flour) and bananas – are shared among family and visiting friends and relatives.
Fast or Upvaas (fasting) begins on the second day and this is referred as Kharna. On Panchami, the day before Chhath, the Vrati observes fast for the whole day, which ends in the evening a little late after sunset. Just after the worship the offerings of Rasiao-kheer (rice delicacy), Sohari/puris (deep-fried puffs of wheat flour) and bananas are offered to deities and then the whole family shares the Prasad.
Shaam ki Arghya
Offerings are made to the setting Sun. Chhath is the only festival when the setting sun is worshipped. This signifies Indian culture where Sun is respected despite on decline.
The devotees reach the riverbank again just before the sunrise, and offer prayers to the rising Sun. Once the prayers are done, the devotees break their fast with the Prasad or the offerings. This culminates this festival.
The devotee follows very strict rituals during this festival and the whole family supports the observer, also called as Parvaiti or Parvaitin. This festival is observed most elaborately in Bihar, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and the Terai regions of Nepal in modern times, and is more prevalent in areas where migrants from those areas have a presence, it is celebrated in all regions and major urban centers in India. The festival is celebrated in the regions including but not exclusive to the northeast region of India, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Delhi, Mumbai and Mauritius.
It is believed that Chhath was started by Karna, the son of Surya Putra. Karna, who ruled over the Anga Desh (present day Munger district of Bihar) during the Mahabharat Age. He was a great warrior and danveer and fought against the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra War.
The ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharat has references to Draupadi, worshipping Sun. In the epic, Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, rulers of Hastinapur (modern Delhi) had performed the Chhatha-Vrata, seeing the Pandavas in deep trouble and on advice of noble sage Dhaumya. Through her worship of Sun god, Draupadi was not only able to solve her immediate problem but also helped the Pandavas later regain their lost kingdom.
Even Lord Krishna was once rendered helpless. This was not with force, but with love. The youngest Pandava, Sahadev once tied him with love and affection. People do not know that Sahadeva was a great astrologer as well.
Untold, Unknown facts from Mahabharata
The epic Mahabharata has many instances which reveal various aspects of human struggles. Shri Krishna, even being an incarnation of god, was deemed helpless few times. This was not because he was not capable, this was because that anyone who liked him or had a pure intent, was blessed by him in that way. Here some interesting stories are on offer, how Shri Krishna goes to any length to help his disciples and how Draupadi had a boon of virginity from Lord Shiva. These stories also tell about the powers and knowledge of youngest Panadava , Sahadeva.
When Shri Krishna was helpless
Sahadeva, the youngest of Pandavas was a very wise person. He was a great astrologer who could predict things in advance. Once Shri Krishna asked him that what should be done to prevent Mahabharata war.
Sahadeva replied that Krishna himself must be tied down and imprisoned. He said that all Pandavas along with Duryodhana must be sent to forest and Karna must be made the king.
In response, Krishna challenged him to tie him down, Sahadeva started meditating and envisioned Krishna as a small baby and tied him down.
Since Krishna could not move out of the bondage created by Sahadeva in his meditative trance, he blessed him with divine vision and then only Sahadeva released Krishna from the bondage.
Draupadi was wife of five brothers. She had a boon from Lord Shiva which she got from doing great penance. As a reward, she would get certain qualities in her husbands. This also resulted in she being the wife of five husbands.
When she complained about this to Lord Shiva, she was given another boon that she would become a virgin every morning, after taking bath. Thus she was able to become the wife of all pandavas at the same time. This is an another unknown fact from Mahabharata.
It was Mokshada Ekadashi, when Krishna gave the holy sermon of the Bhagvad Gita to the third Pandava Arjuna, as per the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The 700-verse Bhagavad Gita told at the beginning of the climactic Mahabharata war between the Pandavas and their cousins, the Kauravas at Kurukshetra.
When Duryodhana was outsmarted – another Shri Krishna masterstroke
Sahadeva, the great astrologer was also an upright person. Duryodhana requested Sahadeva to find him a suitable auspicious date to offer ‘Kalabali’ – a ritualistic sacrifice before war that would ensure victory for the performer.
And following the path of Dharma, Sahadeva told the recipe of pandavas downfall.
Enter Shri Krishna, when he came to know about this, he devised a way out of this. A day before the new moon, Krishna calmly went down to the banks of river Yamuna and with the help of two brahmin priests, started performing Tarpana, a ritual submitting offerings to ancestors and divine entities which is usually done only on new moon day (amavasya).
Brahmins nearby watched Krishna performing Tarpana on a non new moon day with surprise. They were puzzled as to why Krishna, the all knowing supreme Lord would perform the ritual of tarpana on a non new moon day.
They thought that no way Krishna would do tarpana on the wrong day and that their own prediction of new moon day as the next day was wrong. They were convinced that since Krishna was doing tarpana that day, then that day would indeed be new moon day as great Shri Krishna would never be wrong.
The sun god Surya and moon god Chandra who were watching the activities of Lord Krishna and other brahmins giving Tarpana on earth were intrigued as even they knew it was the next day they would align and come together to form new moon day. They thought that there would have been a mistake somewhere and that they should bring it to the notice of Lord Krishna.
Both, Surya and Chandra descended to earth and met with Lord Krishna to enquire about the ongoing activity and explained him that it was chaturdashi, not the new moon day to perform tarpana.
Lord Krishna greeted them both and responded that it was indeed new moon that day. The puzzled deities questioned Him how was it possible. Krishna asked them what exactly happens on a new moon day. The two stellar deities explained that the day when the Sun and Moon align and appear together, the lunar eclipse takes place and that day is the new moon day.
Shri Krishna on hearing that said that since that very day, Sun God Surya and Moon God Chandra came appearing together before him, it was indeed the new moon day (amavasya) and that was the reason He was performing tarpana on that day.
The Sun and Moon gods could not argue against Lord Krishna who so tactfully elaborated the reason for his strange activity and accepted His verdict and thus the entire world changed the new moon day, a day in advance to its usual occurrence at that point.
Krishna, once accomplishing this superhuman feat, at once ordered the Pandavas to perform the Kalabali from their end the very same day. Since it was accepted by the sun and moon gods that it was indeed the new moon day, the Pandavas performed the Kalabali ritual on the newly established auspicious date which brought them victory in the Mahabharata war at Kurukshetra. Duryodhana, on the other hand, performed the ritual on the next day (the usual new moon day) all in vain.
Shalya and Yudhishthira
In the war of Mahabharata, Arjuna slayed all the great archers, including Karna, Bhishma and Bhima killed all Kauravas. We sometimes wonder that what other Pandavas did. This goes for Yudhisthira also. But the elder Pandava had killed a very important warrior from Kauravas side, who have been very difficult to tame.
There is an interesting story how Shalya was tricked by Duryodhana and he had to side with Kauravas against his wishes.
Yudhisthira knew this and he extracted a promise from Shalya that he would demoralise Karna in the Mahabharata war.
Shalya had a unique quality that his opponent’s aggression would work in his favour. Due to this, it was very difficult to conquer him for any warrior. But Yudhisthira was not a man of aggression and in the war of Mahabharata, Yudhisthira could kill him with help of others.
while the Pandavas were exiled into the forest, they had a great help in form of akshaypatra. Contrary to the belief, this was provided to Yudhishthira and not Draupadi from Lord Surya.
Yudhisthira prayed Lord Surya. Pleased with Yudhishtira’s prayers, Lord Surya blessed him with the Akshaya Patra, a vessel that would give unlimited food every day till Draupadi finished eating.
Duryodhana was in heaven
While Yudhisthira was in the heaven he saw Duryodhana in an elevated seat in bright attire with all ornaments. Yudhisthira was displeased with this event and said that he was not interested the comforts at heaven along with Duryodhana.
He further added that it was for his sake all the relatives and friends were all killed in the great war of Mahabharata. It was because of him Draupadi in the presence of all noble people was utterly insulted in the royal assembly. Hence he decided that he wouldn’t like to stay in the heaven where Duryodhana was enjoying.
Yudhisthira could not see his brothers and his wife Draupadi, in heaven. This made him curious that how Pandavas were not in heaven while Duryodhana was. He was escorted to hell where he saw his brothers and wife suffering.
He was very much displeased, but soon discovered that gods have visited them there and all the pains have vanished. He was then said that all Pandavas deserved heaven and they have to spent some time in hell, because of few sins they have done.
The statement that Krishna did not save her, may appear as untrue. When we read the following facts, we may find there are other stories regarding how Draupadi was saved on that shameful day, when Yushishthira lost everything. All gurus and sages remained silent while Dushashana was trying to disrobe Draupadi. Duryodhana, Dushashana and even Karna did not hesitate in this wrong doing.
This presents a bigger problem and this is prevalent in today as well. Everyone on that day had a reason not to interfere on that shameful day. It was good that someone was able to retrieve or save Draupadi’s modesty. But if we look at today’s scenario, we will find Bhsihma’s and Drona’s who are blind to all the evils, but we could not find “the saviour” who can do something about present day’s situation.
So, as we know that Shri Krishna, whom Draupadi summoned to save her from disrespect. But, in Vyasa’s mahabharat, the saviour from cheer haran is someone else. This is attributed to Dharma and it is symbolic. This means it can be the god Dharma, Krishna as the Lord of Dharma, or even Vidura or Yudhishthira. So it is not clearly stated that who was indeed the saviour of Draupadi.
Story of Krishna saving Draupadi
in the famous TV serial named Mahabharat, Draupadi summons Keshav (Krishna) in her hour of peril(cheer haran) and Shri Krishna saves her. There is a story related to this. Once Shri Krishna cut his finger with sudarshan chakra. Draupadi tore her veil to put it around Krishna’s bleeding finger. Lord Krishna was very touched by the gratitude done by Draupadi. He promised her to repay the debt and to protect her from all evils. He protected Draupadi when Draupadi prayed when her sari was being pulled after Duryodhan won her in the dice game.
Story of Durvasa saving Draupadi
There is also an interesting story of Durvasa saving Draupadi from cheer haran which is narrated below.
Shiva Purana attributes her miraculous rescue to a boon granted by Durvasa. The story goes that the sage’s loincloth was once carried away by the Ganges’s currents. Draupadi quickly tore a piece of her garment to cover him. The sage was pleased with her. He granted Draupadi a boon which caused an unending stream of cloth to cover her when Dushasana was trying to strip her in Hastinapura’s royal dice-hall.
Shri Krishna – Friend, philosopher and guide of Pandavas
Shri Krishna saved Pandavas on numerous occasions. Pandavas could not have survived the various designs of Shakuni and Duryodhana, if Shri Krishna would not have been around. Here are some of the facts.
Saving Pandavas from Sage Durvasa
Sage Durvasa has been famous for his ill tempered and curses. Once Duryodhana served him well and pleased, he asked him for a boon. Duryodhana cleverly asked him to pay a visit to Pandavas at afternoon. He knew that Pandavas would not be able to serve him at that time of the day and this will bring wrath of the sage on Pandavas.
Durvasa complied and duly paid a visit to Pandavas alongwith his disciples. This incident put pandavas in a fix as Draupadi had eaten from the akshaypatra and no more food could be taken from it.
In this precarious situation, Lord Krishna came to the rescue. He appeared at Pandava’s abode and asked Draupadi for food. Draupadi meekly replied – Lord, there is no food and we are helpless as we cannot service sage Durvasa.
The lord smiled and said – Dear Draupadi, please give me that one grain of rice which is still lying in the akshaypatra. Draupadi offered that to lord and immediately Lord’s hunger was satiated.
Surprisingly, Sage Durvasa and his troops also felt the same and they have to discreetly go away from that place as they were invited by Pandavas.
Saving Arjuna from Shakti
After Karna gave his kavach and kundal to Lord Indra, he was granted the Shakti weapon which was infallible, but could be used just once. Karna saved it use on Arjuna and Krishna knew that he had to do something about it.
He summoned Ghatotkacha and soon, the mighty son of Bhima caused havoc on Kauravas army. Out of desperation Duryodhana requested to use the weapon on Ghatotkacha or all of them would die. Karna used it on Ghatotkacha and knew that he had just blew the chance of killing Arjuna.
Saving Bhima from Dhritrashtra
After the war of Mahabharata was completed, all Pandavas went to meet Dhritrashtra. When Bhima started to go to Dhritrashtra to pay his respects, Shri Krishna put him aside and instead presented the iron statue of Bhima which was used by Duryodhana to practice.
Dhritrashtra, understanding that he was meeting Bhima, crushed his statue. Thus using his presence of mind, Lord saved Bhima from certain death.
Karna, Arjuna and Nagastra
Apart from Shakti, there was Nagastra with Karna which could potentially kill Arjuna. When Karna shot Nagastra on Arjuna, Krishna applied pressure to the chariot by his foot and thus sunk it, as a result of which the astra missed Arjuna’s head and hit his crown instead.
Just prior to Mahabharta war, Gandhari asked Duryodhana to appear before her without clothes. This would have made Duryodhana’s body as hard as a rock, so no person could kill him. When Lord came to know about this, he approached Duryodhana and said that how he would look naked before her mother as he is no longer a kid.
Convinced of this, Duryodhana, decided to use a loincloth. When Gandhari removed her blindfold, she shook her head in disbelief. But the die had been cast. Duryodhana’s body became a rock wherever Gandhari’s gaze fell. The part hidden by loincloth remained weak and Bhima used this weakness to kill Duryodhana.
Jarasandha was a powerful king of Magadh and his death was important for Pandavas. Shri Krishna challenged him for a fight and Jarasandha chose Bhima for the duel. He played an instrumental role in Jarasandha’s death. He gives the vital secret to Bhima by pulling apart a straw and throwing it opposite directions thus indicating the way of killing Jarasandha. Bhima obliged and a great threat to Pandavas was neutralized.
After Yudhishthira lost his kingdom, his brothers and wife to Duryodhana. Duryodhana asked Dushashana to bring Draupadi to royal court and disrobe her. Draupadi frantically pleaded, but no avail. Lord came to her rescue and when Dushshana started to pull her sari, that sari never ended. An exhausted Dushashana slumped to the floor and Draupadi’s pride could be saved by Lord.
Following is depiction of this unhonourable incident by Madhubani painting.
I am sure you would be surprised by this but please be patient. I am going to write few facts which are not unknown, and then you probably will agree with me.
1. He had to share his wife with his four brothers. Imagine someone winning the hand of the most beautiful girl in the land in a tough competition and then share her straight away.
2. Had to be exiled for no fault of his. In a bid to save a Brahmin’s cow, he entered the room which was shared by Draupadi and Yudhishthir. So he was banished by entering the room where his wife was present whose hand he had won.
3. His father in law was Drupad and teachcr was Drona. These two were worst enemies. Now you, put yourself in that position when your mentor and your wife’s father at loggerheads. It is like that place when you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
4. When Krishna praised his rival Karna in Kurukshetra. Being the best archer in business, you suddenly realize that your best friend is praising someone else and that someone else is your chief enemy.
5. This is no brainer. You are faced with the inevitable to fight with your brothers, gurus and everyone you respected.
6. When he had to resort to not so straight methods of overpowering his opponents. He had to break the rules of battle to kill his enemies, e.g. Karna.
7. To be penalized for being decent l. In swargalok, when Urvashi proposed and later cursed him for denying a union with her. Poor him.
I have not listed the sorrow of losing his son, Abhimanyu here, as war takes away lives. Above facts are the ones where he had to fight with the education,system, principles he had been taught and was living with. How would someone cope with these contradictions. Think.
Panchkanya – five reverred ladies in Indian mythology
[quote]Daily remembering the five maidens great,Ahalya, Draupadhi, Kunti,Thara and Mandodari will destroy the greatest sins[/quote]
In Hindu mythology, panchkanyas have been given special importance. These are Ahilya, Draupadi, Kunti, Tara and Mandodari. One unknown fact here is that all these ladies have been subjected to indecent behaviours from men or some of have been married twice, but we still give them their due. This is in contrast to today’s societies when faults of others are conferred on them. Read on, you will appreciate the fact.
Ahilya was the consort of Sage Gautam. She was made by Brahma and was surreal beautiful. Indra, the king of natural forces, had lecherous dreams about her. Once sun and moon assisted Indra in confusing Gautam that it is morning (while it was night). While Gautam was away for morning ablutions, Indra, disguised as Gautam, approached Ahilya and proposed sexual desires in front of her. By her penance powers, Ahilya realized that it is Indra himself who came down for her. Filled with pride, she got subdued by the lust. Finally, Gautam, on return, caught them and cursed. He cursed Ahilya to become a stone for an indefinite period of time. She was later rescued[read here] by Lord Rama.
Draupadi was born from the sacrificial fire with the objective of being the cause of the destruction of the Kauravas. Her bold step was that she agreed to be the wife of five husbands at a time when polygamy was rampant. She became the cause when the Kauravas tried to have her disrobed in full court. Thereafter she exhorted her husbands to war till finally her mission was accomplished. Though all her five sons were killed in the war. Read more on Draupadi.
Kunti was the classical unwed mother. As a girl she was taught an unusual mantra by Durvasa and immediately summoned Surya and bore his son Karna, whom she discarded in the river to avoid ostracism. Married to an impotent husband she, with his consent, summoned Dharma, Pawan and Indra and had sons, Yuddhishthir, Bhim and Arjun, through them. She had to go through the trauma of Arjun killing Karna only after which she revealed the secret of her eldest son.
Mandodari was the wife of the most powerful king Ravana. She was the only person who had the courage to speak out against her husband when he abducted Sita. Because of her intervention Sita’s stay in captivity was comfortable. An obscure version of the Ramayana states that she was Sita’s mother. She gave birth to Sita after she drank the blood of some sages that Ravana had killed. After the death of her sons and husband in battle she married her brother-in-law Vibhishan who had been crowned the new king.
Tara was the wife of one of the strongest personages of his time, the Vanara king Vali. She was known for her diplomacy and was the counterweight to Vali’s hotheadedness. Unfortunately Vali rarely heeded her and this resulted in his death at the hands of Rama. Quick to realize the gravity of the situation she maneuvered things so that she became the wife of Vali’s brother Sugriva on the condition that her son Angad becomes heir to the throne.
Tara is also said to have cursed Lord Rama, which was fulfilled in his next incarnation, Shri Krishna.
Of all characters of Mahabharat, Draupadi’s character is probably the most complex and interesting, barring the Shri Krishna’s character. If I dare say, one can paint her as a positive character or a negative one, if one wants to. One can find enough of both, positive and negative indicators about her personality, such is her character.
She is said to be the prime reason for war of Mahabharat, by referring Duryodhana as a blind’s son. If possible, people will also attribute her beauty as a bad thing. What is important here to understand that Draupadi was not influencing Dhritrashtra or Duryodhana to become greedy and thus not allowing pandavas to have what was rightfully theirs, which is the main reason behind Mahabharat war in my opinion. Also, how one can explain the numerous wrongdoings, which duryodhana has inflicted on pandavas with the sole purpose of acquiring a kingdom, which was not theirs. Duryodhana has gone to the extent of killing pandavas, but strangely, somehow people choose to blame Draupadi and ignore these factors. Certainly, these things cannot be attributed to Draupadi and citing only one incident as the reason for Mahabharat war is probably going a bit too far.
On the other hand, lets examine the circumstances which Draupadi faced, and try to gauge reactions to these events. For example, how would a lady feel if she has to become a wife of five persons simultaneously, or how one would feel if someone is used as a material object and was lost to Duryodhana by her own husband, Yudhishthira. Being a queen, she was subjected to ultimate dishonour by Dushashana, that too before all the great people who were present there, like Bhishma, Drona, Vidura etc.
Draupadi vowed to not to tie her hair until they are dipped in Dushashana’s blood. I consider this fair, as she was subjected to lot more wrongdoings, and the pain of humiliation is much more to handle than anything else. And above all, I would have agreed this as a wrongful thing, if Dushashana would have been a nice human being, which I think is far fetched thing. Duryodhana even went further to suggest her as a fallen lady because she was a wife of five persons. What we forget that she was just obeying the wishes of her mother in law, Kunti. But history is full of such incidences, where a person is treated wrongfully even the person has acted fairly. Draupadi’s is one of these.
Revenge has been indeed a common occurence in Mahabharata. We find that all pandavas have some scores to settle. Interestingly, we do not find any incidents of revenge involving Yudhishthira.
Revenge of Draupadi
The incident of Draupadi cheer haran made lot of people opting for revengeful vows. The first and most important is of Draupadi’s, who decided to keep her hairs open until they are washed with blood of Dushashana’s heart. This way, she ensured that this insult is not forgotten with time. Acoordingly, when Bhima kills Dushasana he brings a handful of Dushasana’s blood and colours Draupadi’s hair with it. Bhima killed Dushashana during the battle of Mahabharat and drank his blood. He also brought some of the blood for Draupadi, who finally ties her hair.
Bhima took couple of vows to take revenge from the people who berated Draupadi. His first vow was to drink Dushashana’s blood.
His second vow was to break Duryodhana thighs. Because during the cheer haran, Duryodhana asked to her to sit on his thighs, and Bhima vowed that he would take this revenge by breaking those thighs. This is a fascinating aspect of Mahabharata as this fits perfectly with Duryodhana’s only vulnerability.
Bhima also killed Kichak as he was tormenting Draupadi (Sairandhri).
Duryodhana also made Pandavas to act as his servant. Pandavas took off their upper garments as they have lost their freedom to Duryodhana and became his servant.
Revenge of Sahdev
Sahdev, the youngest of Pandavas, vowed to kill Shakuni after the episode of cheerharan when he cheated them in the game of dice.
He held Shakuni responsible and took his revenge on seventeenth day of Mahabharata war by killing Shakuni.
Revenge of Arjuna
Following the death of Abhimanyu, Arjuna vowed to kill Jayadratha as he was responsible for holding pandavas back. Kauravas did an excellent job as they protected Jayadrath. This was the sure shot way to victory, as in absence of Arjuna, panadava will be rendered weak. Shri Krishna used his skills to hide the sun and rest is history.
Revenge of Shakuni
This may not be a well written fact, but it was true that Shakuni left his kingdom and came to live with his sister for a purpose. Since his sister Gandhari was married to a blind, and she also chose to remain blindfolded, a brother was sure to exact revenge. This was debatable what he wanted, but he surely was instrumental for causing the war of mahabharata.
Curses and boons are an integral part of mythological stories. Some popular and not so well known curses and boons are detailed. When it comes to curses, Karna from Mahabharata immediately comes to our mind. Similarly Sage Durvasa is also known to be a person, who cursed freely. But do we know, that Lord Rama and Shri Krishna were also cursed and Lakshman has to die as a consequence of a curse. This article attempts to catalogue some famous and some unknown curses.
1. Curse on Lord Rama
Perhaps the most amazing unknown fact from The Ramayana. Tara (wife of Vali) cursed Rama so that he will soon lose Sita after he regains her. She also declared that Sita will return to the earth. This happened after Rama killed Vali when he was having a duel with Sugriva. Tara additionally cursed Rama that in his next birth, he will be killed by Vali. (Shri Krishna and the hunter).
2. Curse on Jaya and Vijaya by Sanath Kumaras
This can be regarded as the most defining curse in Hindu mythology, which resulted in birth of Ravana, Kumbhkarna, Hiranyakashyap and Hiranyaksha. Lord Vishnu took four avatars to relieve them of their curse. [complete story]
3. Curse on King Dashrath by parents of Shravan Kumar
Parents of Shravan Kumar cursed Dashrath to suffer for his son, which came true due to boons given to Kaikeyi.
4. Sage Gautam’s curse to Ahilya
Gautam discovered an affair between Indra and his wife. He cursed ahilya to turn into a stone. She was later liberated by Lord Rama. This story is available in Balkand of ramayana.
5. Sage Gautam’s curse to Indra
Indra was cursed with one thousand female genitals (Sahasrayoni). Later she reverted this curse into a boon and Indra got thousand eyes. Indra is also known as Sahasraaksha.
6. Curse on Hanuman
Hanuman has been very mischievous in his childhood. Some sages, irritated by Hanuman’s exploits, placed a mild curse on him by which he became unable to remember his own ability unless reminded by another person. The curse is highlighted in Kishkindha Kand and Sunder Kand, when Jambavantha reminds Hanuman of his abilities and encourages him to go and find Sita.
7. Curse on Anjana – mother of Hanuman
She was an apsara but took birth as a vanar. Once she threw some fruits on a meditating vanar, who was a sage doing penance. The sage cursed her to born become a vanar the moment she fells in love. She was absolved of this curse later through Brahma’s boon.
8. Curse of Narada on Vishnu
Narada cursed Lord Vshnu to become dependent on Vanara. This was fulfilled when Hanuman helped Lord Rama in the Ramayana.
9. Gandhari to Shri Krishna
Gandhari held Krishna responsible for Mahabharat war and cursed that his end will be ordinary. She also cursed that his clan will also destroyed by infighting. Accordingly, her curse came true after 36 years of Mahabharata war.
10. The curse of sages (Vishwamitra, Durvasa, Vashista, and Narada) to Samba
Samba, Lord Krishna’s son and his friends once have joked with sages. They cursed him to give birth to a iron lump of mass which will bring the destruction of the entire Yadava race.
11. Shri Krishna’s curse to Samba
Shri Krishna curse to Samba (his own son) to be affected by leprosy.
12 Shri Krishna to Ashwaththama
After he tried to kill Abhimanyu’s son (Parikshit) with a deadly weapon brahmastra, Krishna cursed him to live forever.
13. Urvashi’s curse to Arjuna
To become a eunuch when he refused an alliance with her. Later, she diluted this for a year which he used in agyaatvaas. [related link]
14. Yudhisthira to womankind
That they could not hide anything from anyone. This was done after he came to know from Kunti that Karna was his elder brother who was slain in the war of Mahabharata. Kunti tried the mantra given by Sage Durvasa to test its effectiveness. This would have caused embarassment to her, so she had to let Karna go.
15. Parshuram to Karna
This is quite famous incident of a teacher and the student. Parshuram cursed Karna that he would forget the mantra when he would need most. There is a whole article on curses on Karna.
16 Bhoomi devi to Karna
Owing to an incident where Karna cause distress to Bhoomi devi, She cursed him. In the battle of Mahabharat, the wheel of his chariot got stuck.
17 Brahmin curse to Karna
To die as a helpless as he has killed a cow. Karna had his more than share of curses. Details can be read on this article which is all about curses on Karna.
18 Curse of Vasishtha on Vasus
Vasishtha cursed vasus to be born on earth as mortals since they have abducted his cow, Nandini. This curse is also related with birth of Bhishma.
19. Rishi Kindam’s curse to Pandu
Pandu accidentally killed Sage Kindam alongwith his wife. He cursed Pandu to die a similar death. Pandu died alongwith Madri, his second wife.
20. The curse on King Yayati by Shukracharya
Sage & Guru Shukracarya cursed King yayati to go as a Old man as Yayati secretly wedded Sharmishtha. (She was Devayani’s sister.) He was allowed to exchange his state from someone who was willing to do. Yayati’s all sons refused, but Puru agreed and he later became his successor.
21 Shiva’s curse to Brahma
Shiva decided that Brahma would not be worshipped as he had lied to him [complete story]. Another associated curse is on ketaki flower that it would not be used in worship.
22 Saraswati’s curse to Brahma
Brahma not being worshipped is associated with Saraswati’s curse too. He was cursed after being irritated with undue advances from Brahma.
23 Brahma’s curse to Shiva
Originally Brahma has five heads. Once Parvati mistook him for Shiva and when she realized she told this to Shiva. Shiva removed Brahma’s fifth head as Kal Bhairav. Brahma cursed Shiva that the fifth head will be attached to Shiva and will cause him hunger. The fifth head must be attached to his hand itself and hereafter Shiva must be affected having hunger, having no sleep. Parvati sought Vishnu’s advise and got rid of the fifth head ‘Kabala’.
24 Ganesha’s curse to Moon
Ganesha cursed moon for him being impolite. The whole story is available here.
25 Narada’s curse to sons of Kuber
Narada cursed Kuber’s sons to become trees. They were liberated by Shri Krishna. Nalakuvara and Maṇigriva were Kubera’s sons. Once they were taking bath in water with their wives naked. Sage Narada came that way. The ladies took their garments after seeing the sage. But the sons of Kubera ignored him. Narada gave a lecture on the false prestige and madness after drinking liquor by the rich and influenced. Then Narada cursed them to become twin trees to be released later by Lord Krishna.
26 Vasishtha’s curse to Satyavrata
He is popularly known as Trishanku and cursed with a debilitating disease. He was cursed because he stole the cow of Sage Vasishtha and killed it. He then ate it later. But he took care of Sage Vishwamitra’s family, Vishwamitra wanted to send him to heaven.
27 Curse of Radha to Sridhama
To be born as in a low family. Sridhama also cursed Radha that she will be separated from Krishna for 100 years.
28 Curse on Shantanu and Ganga by Brahma
Shantanu and Ganga were celestial beings who had also been cursed to be born on earth as human beings. Shantanu was King Mahabhishak and he and Ganga were cursed by Brahma for their indecencies in their past lives.
29 Saraswati’s curse to Laxmi
To be born as a tree. Saraswati as a result of Ganga’s curse would become the wife of Brahma. Ganga due to Saraswati’s curse would become a holy River to demolish the sins of those who take baths on her waters.
30 Curse of Kabandha
Rama meets the rakshasa Kabandha and kills him, freeing him from a curse. The freed Kabandha advises Rama to seek the help of Sugriva to find Sita.
Similar to curses, there are interesting boons which are closely related to curses. I am sure you will enjoy some of the known and unknown boons.
31 Meghnaad’s boon
He was granted boon by Brahma that he would never be won over in any battle, until his Yagna (fire-worship) of his native goddess Nikumbala was disturbed and destroyed. Lakshman disturbed his yagna and finally killed him in the battle.
32 Jayadrath father’s boon
Whosoever causes the head of his son to fall on the earth, his head would blow into thousand pieces.One day Jayadratha met his father Vridhakshtra who was a sage. He asked his father to grant him a boon by which he could choose the time of his death just like Shantanu who gave a similar boon to Devavrata (i.e. Bhishma). He said that who ever caused the head of Jayadrath to fall on the ground, will be killed immediately by having his own head burst into hundred pieces. When Arjuna beheaded Jayadrath, he ensure that his head falls in the lap of his meditating father.
33 Lord Shiva’s boon to Jayadrath
Jayadrath had another boon that he could hold all the Pandavas for a day in battle, except for Arjuna. This proved to be undoing of Abhimanyu when Arjuna was not around in the battle and Drona formed a chakravyuha.
34 Bhishma from Shantanu
Shantanu blessed his son that he would chose his own time of death. This was following the Bhishma pratigya taken by Devvrata.
Birth of Pandavas. Kunti served sage Durvasa for a year and he became very pleased with her. He has given her a mantra. Using this, she could call any god at anytime who would assist her in begetting a son. Kunti used this mantra four times and Madri couple of times.
Ram has to kill him in disguise because of a boon. While in fight, opponents half strength would be transferred to him. This story is also available in the link given above.
39 Parshuram’s boon to Karna
Parshuram cursed Karna which resulted in him being defeated in the Mahabharata. But Parshuram also blessed Karna to have everlasting fame.
40 Boon to Hiranyaksha by Brahma
Once Hiranyaksha did a lot of austerities so that Lord Brahma would give him a boon. He asked and received a boon that no god, demon, beast or human could ever kill him. He was killed by Varaha avatar of Lord Vishnu.
41 Hiranyakashyap’s boon
Hiranyakashyap had a similar boon. And his boon also included that he would not be killed in day or night, inside or outside a house, nor by a human or beast. He was killed by Narsingh avatar – a Vishnu dashavatar. His son Prahlad was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu and he summoned his lord after Hiranyakashyap challenged him that where is his lord?
42 Shri Krishna granted boon to Shishupal’s mother Shrutishrava
Shri Krishna promised to his aunt to forgive hundred misdeeds of Shishupala before killing him.
43 Shiva’s boon to Arjuna
The boon which Arjuna is said to have received was called Pashupata, Shiva’s most powerful weapon.
44 Shiva’s boon to Ganesha
Shiva granted Ganesha a boon that before beginning of any undertaking or task people would worship Lord Ganesh. Thus the reason for worship of ganesha before start of any work.
45 Boon of Madhu and Kaitabh
These demons had a boon that they would only die when they want it. Lord Vishnu killed them eventually.
46 Brahma’s boon to Anjana
Anjana was initially cursed to live as a vanaar, Brahma told her that she would be absolved of the curse if she gives birth to a incarnation of Lord Shiva.
47 Boons to Hanuman
Hanuman was blessed with two boons which were useful in Sunder Kand.
First was given to him by Brahma that no weapon could harm him. When Brahmastra was used on him, he let himself captured to honour the greatest weapon brahmastra.
Second was given to him by Surya. He was given Laghima and Garima (to be able to attain the smallest or to attain the biggest form). With the helo of these, he went past Sursa.
48 Karna’s boon to Kunti
Karna assured Kunti that will not use a weapon twice against Arjuna. He later did not use the Naga astra. He also promised Kunti that she will have five sons, so he did not killed Pandavas other than Arjuna, though he could do so.
49. Kaikeyi’s boon by Dashrath
Dashrath granted couple of boons to Kaikeyi during Dev Asur sangram. Dashrath was deeply wounded and he was tended by Kaikeyi. She claimed two boons that Dasharatha had long ago granted her, which resulted in Lord Rama’s vanvaas.
50 Shiva’s boon to Draupadi for desired husband(s)
Draupadi wanted to have a husband with fourteen qualities. Shiva said this is difficult. Upon insistence, he said that she will get five husbands. He gave another boon to her.
51 Draupadi’s boon to remain as a virgin
Shiva granted a boon that she would regain virginity as soon as she takes a bath in the morning. Thus she was able to become the wife of five pandavas at the same time.
The epic Mahabharata contains so much of teaching that it is considered to be the fifth veda. Following are some interesting unpopular stories involving mahabharata characters Draupadi, Drona, Karna, Jarasandha, Arjuna and of course, Shri Krishna.
Why was Drona invincible in Mahabharata war?
Drona used a weapon called brahmadanda on fifteenth day of Mahabharata war for the first time in his life. Brahmadanda was Brahmarishi Vashistha’s best weapon and it contained the spiritual powers of the 7 greatest sages (Sapta Rishis). As Drona had not imparted knowledge of this secret weapon to either Arjuna or Ashwaththama, therefore no Pandava, Yadava or Panchala could handle Drona on the 15th day of battle. Therefore the Pandavas were forced to do cheating to kill Drona.
People who saw Shri Krishna in Vishwaroopa form
According to legend, Hanuman is one of the four people to have heard the Bhagwad Gita from Krishna and seen the Vishvarupa form. Other three being Arjuna, Sanjaya and Barbarika. Barbarika was the son of Ghatotkacha. He had Shri Krishna’s boon so that he could watch the Mahabharata war. When Gita was recited, Hanuman was sitting on Arjuna’s chariot and Arjuna himself, the recipient of Bhagwad Gita. At the same time, Sanjaya was narrating the mahabharata war to Dhritrashtra. He saw the divine form of Shri Krishna
Karna killed by Anjalika weapon
Arjuna used the weapon anjalika to behead Karna. The chariot wheel remained stuck and the curse of Parashurama ensured that Karna could not recall the mantras necessary to unleash the more powerful weapons of mass destruction. Krishna reminds Arjuna of Karna’s ruthlessness against Abhimanyu when Abhimanyu was similarly left without a chariot or weapons. All of Arjuna’s tears, pain and anger swelled up within him as he aimed the fatal shaft Anjalika at a desperate Karna and beheaded him.
Draupadi remembered her last seven births
Draupadi, one of the panchkanya’s, alongwith Kunti could remember her past lives. In an earlier birth, she made Shiva happy and asked him to grant him a boon so that her husband has fourteen qualities. He said that it is not possible to have all qualities in one fellow. She insisted and her wish was fulfilled in form of Pandavas.
Brahma givena a boon to Hanuman: “Nobody will be able to kill you with any weapon in war.” This happened when Lord Vayu decided to let people suffer in absence of air after Indra hit him with Vajra astra while Hanuman was approaching to eat sun.
Shishupala was Hiranyakashyap and Ravana in his past lives
He was killed by Dashavataras of Lord Vishnu in past lives and thus fuelling hatred for Lord. During Rajya sooya yagya, he insulted Shri Krishna. He kept silent because he has promised that he will forgive Shishupala’s hundred sins. However, as soon as the count of hundred completed, Lord killed him with the Sudarshan chakra, his favourite weapon.
Fate of Five great warriors
It is said that Bheema, Duryodhana, Keechaka, Jarasandha and Hidimbasura were born in the same cosmic phase. The five great warriors Bakasura, Bheema, Keechaka, Jarasandha and Duryodhana are all born with their fate mingled with each other. As a result of that, the first amongst the five to kill the another,will eventually kill the other three. This secret was known to Krishna alone. This is why he ensured that Bheema kills bakasura on first available opportunity. Bheema ended up killing every other warrior in Mahabharata war.
Kichak was making undue advances towards Draupadi and killed by Bheem in the kingdom of Virat.