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Indian Mythology Narada

The legend of Narada muni or Sage Narada

Narada Muni

Narada muni is the person who is almost available everywhere in mythological texts. Who is he exactly and what is his role? He is the son of Lord Brahma and great devotee of Lord Vishnu.

Narada – The omnipresent sage

Sage Narada had blessings that he could show up anywhere, anytime and anyplace. He used these blessings and appeared in all yugas (satya, treta and dwapara) from time to time to spread the good word and help the needy. He traversed distant worlds (or planets) but never went anywhere without a purpose. He used to make his purposeful entry by chanting the name of the lord Vishnu (Narayana) and playing a veena (a musical instrument).

It is said that he could not keep any secrets and thus fuelled a lot of controversies as he would reveal secrets a bad time or spreading gossip. Therefore he was often mistaken as a quarrel-monger and a talebearer. His deeds often brought a trouble and friction among gods, demons and men.

Narada had knowledge of all vedas and puranas and he strived for welfare of human being.

Deeds of Narada

Valmiki and Narada

Narada was behind the writing of the Ramayana by sage Valmiki. Apparently he told Valmiki about Lord Rama. Valmiki was looking for a person who was perfect. After Narada told him about Rama, Valmiki saw a hunter killing krounch birds. He wanted to curse the hunter, but a shloka came out of his mouth which became the first lines of the Ramayana.

Parahlada

Prahlada was taught by Narada when he was in his mother, Kudayu’s womb. Thus, he was a devotee of Lord Vishnu even before he was born. Later, Lord Vishnu took Narsingh avatar to kill prahalada’s father, Hiranyakashyap.

Monkeyfaced Sage

Once, Narada became proud and started boasting that he had conquered Kama. Lord Vishnu taught him a lesson. The whole story is available here.

Proud Narada

Lord Vishnu’s challenge

Narada boasted that he was the most dedicated follower of lord. Vishnu asked him to carry a pot on his head and ensure that not a single drop is wasted. He obediently carried out the task. After this, Lord Vishnu asked what he was thinking when carrying the pot? He replied – of course, I was thinking that pot should be carried carefully. Lord Vishnu smiled and said, then how can you claim that you are the best devotee when you were not thinking about me? Narada learnt his lesson.

Narada and Lord Vishnu’s challenge

Inspiration to Dhruva

Dhruva, son of king Uttanpada, was determined to carve out his own place after he was scolded by his stepmother, Suruchi. His mother, Sunita consoled him and asked him not to get distraught, but Dhruva was determined. Sage Narada was pleased with Dhruva and he given him a mantra “Om Namoh Bhagwate Vasudevay” to chant. Lord Vishnu, happy with Dhruva, awarded him a special place.

Dhruva, Narada and Lord Vishnu

 

 

Categories
Indian Mythology Lord Shiva

108 names of Lord Shiva

 

Neelkantha

108 Names of Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva, one of the holy trinity of gods, is believed to play the role of the destroyer to this universe. He is father of Lord Kartikeya and Lord Ganesha and is married to Goddess Parvati. There are various names of lord Shiva with Mahadeva being the most famous. He is also called Neelkanth after he consumed poison during amrita manthan.
Names of Lord Shiva
Following picture is of wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Wedding of Shiva and Parvati
Angry Shiva
Here are 108 names of Lord Shiva with its meaning.
  1. Aashutosh – One Who Fulfills Wishes Instantly.
  2. Aja- Unborn.
  3. Akshayaguna – God With Limitless Attributes
  4. Anagha – Without Any Fault
  5. Anantadrishti – Of Infinite Vision
  6. Augadh – One Who Revels All The Time
  7. Avyayaprabhu – Imperishable Lord
  8. Bhairav – Lord Of Terror
  9. Bhalanetra – One Who Has An Eye In The Forehead
  10. Bholenath – Kind Hearted Lord
  11. Bhooteshwara – Lord Of Ghosts And Evil Beings
  12. Bhudeva – Lord Of The Earth
  13. Bhutapala – Protector Of The Ghosts
  14. Chandrapal – Master Of The Moon
  15. Chandraprakash -One Who Has Moon As A Crest
  16. Dayalu -Compassionate
  17. Devadeva – Lord Of The Lords
  18. Dhanadeepa – Lord Of Wealth
  19. Dhyanadeep – Icon Of Meditation And Concentration
  20. Dhyutidhara – Lord Of Brilliance
  21. Digambara – Ascetic Without Any Clothes
  22. Durjaneeya – Difficult To Be Known
  23. Durjaya – Unvanquished
  24. Gangadhara – Lord Of River Ganga
  25. Girijapati – Consort Of Girija
  26. Gunagrahin – Acceptor Of Gunas
  27. Gurudeva – Master Of All
  28. Hara – Remover Of Sins
  29. Jagadisha – Master Of The Universe
  30. Jaradhishamana -Redeemer From Afflictions
  31. Jatin – One Who Has Matted Hair
  32. Kailas -One Who Bestows Peace
  33. Kailashadhipati -Lord Of Mount Kailash
  34. Kailashnath – Master Of Mount Kailash
  35. Kamalakshana – Lotus-Eyed Lord
  36. Kantha – Ever-Radiant
  37. Kapalin – One Wears A Necklace Of Skulls
  38. Khatvangin – One Who Has The Missile Khatvangin In His Hand
  39. Kundalin – One Who Wears Earrings
  40. Lalataksha – One Who Has An Eye In The Forehead
  41. Lingadhyaksha – Lord Of The Lingas
  42. Lingaraja – Lord Of The Lingas
  43. Lokankara – Creator Of The Three Worlds
  44. Lokapal – One Who Takes Care Of The World
  45. Mahabuddhi – Extremely Intelligent
  46. Mahadeva – Greatest God
  47. Mahakala – Lord Of All Times
  48. Mahamaya – Of Great Illusions
  49. Mahamrityunjaya – Great Victor Of Death
  50. Mahanidhi – Great Storehouse
  51. Mahashaktimaya – One Who Has Boundless Energies
  52. Mahayogi – Greatest Of All Gods
  53. Mahesha- Supreme Lord
  54. Maheshwara – Lord Of Gods
  55. Nagabhushana – One Who Has Serpents As Ornaments
  56. Nataraja – King Of The Art Of Dancing
  57. Nilakantha – Blue Necked Lord
  58. Nityasundara – Ever Beautiful
  59. Nrityapriya – Lover Of Dance
  60. Omkara – Creator Of OM
  61. Palanhaar – One Who Protects Everyone
  62. Parameshwara – First Among All Gods
  63. Paramjyoti – Greatest Splendour
  64. Pashupati – Lord Of All Living Beings
  65. Pinakin – One Who Has A Bow In His Hand
  66. Pranava – Originator Of The Syllable Of OM
  67. Priyabhakta – Favourite Of The Devotees
  68. Priyadarshana – Of Loving Vision
  69. Pushkara – One Who Gives Nourishment
  70. Pushpalochana – One Who Has Eyes Like Flowers
  71. Ravilochana – Having Sun As The Eye
  72. Rudra – The Terrible
  73. Rudraksha – One Who Has Eyes Like Rudra
  74. Sadashiva – Eternal God
  75. Sanatana – Eternal Lord
  76. Sarvacharya – Preceptor Of All
  77. Sarvashiva – Always Pure
  78. Sarvatapana – Scorcher Of All
  79. Sarvayoni – Source Of Everything
  80. Sarveshwara – Lord Of All Gods
  81. Shambhu – One Who Bestows Prosperity
  82. Shankara – One Who Gives Happiness
  83. Shiva – Always Pure
  84. Shoolin – One Who Has A Trident
  85. Shrikantha – Of Glorious Neck
  86. Shrutiprakasha – Illuminator Of The Vedas
  87. Shuddhavigraha – One Who Has A Pure Body
  88. Skandaguru – Preceptor Of Skanda
  89. Someshwara – Lord Of All Gods
  90. Sukhada – Bestower Of Happiness
  91. Suprita – Well Pleased
  92. Suragana – Having Gods As Attendants
  93. Sureshwara – Lord Of All Gods
  94. Swayambhu – Self-Manifested
  95. Tejaswani – One Who Spreads Illumination
  96. Trilochana – Three-Eyed Lord
  97. Trilokpati – Master Of All The Three Worlds
  98. Tripurari – Enemy Of Tripura
  99. Trishoolin – One Who Has A Trident In His Hands
  100. Umapati – Consort Of Uma
  101. Vachaspati – Lord Of Speech
  102. Vajrahasta – One Who Has A Thunderbolt In His Hands
  103. Varada – Granter Of Boons
  104. Vedakarta – Originator Of The Vedas
  105. Veerabhadra – Supreme Lord Of The Nether World
  106. Vishalaksha – Wide-Eyed Lord
  107. Vishveshwara – Lord Of The Universe
  108. Vrishavahana – One Who Has Bull As His Vehicle
Categories
Festival Indian Mythology Lord Shiva Upcoming festivals

The festival of Mahashivaratri

Mahashivaratri festival

Lord Shiva, the god of destruction from the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh is worshipped on this festival. This day falls in the month of falgun, fourteenth day of krishna paksha, as per the hindi calendar.

Lord Shiiva and Devi Parvati

How puja is performed?

On this day,devotees visit the Shiva temples in their area. They bath in the morning and bring holy water such as gangajaal to bath the Shivalinga. Womens observe this festival for well being of their husband and children. Leaves of bel, Dhatura, Milk are deemed to be favourites of Lord Shiva and devotees bring them to offer to him. Unmarried girls pray and keep fast on this day for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband. The temples are reverberated with words “Har Har Mahadev”. Devotees then take rounds of Shiva linga and then offer gangajal or milk. There  is also the custom of staying awake all night on Shivaratri while chanting the name of Lord Shiva which relates to Neelkanth.

Worship of Lord Shiva

 Legends of Mahashivaratri

A number of legends are associated with this festival. The most important is the legend of Neelkanth on consumption of poison.

Neelkanth – churning of ocean

During the churning of ocean, a pot of poison (halahal) came out of the ocean. This had the potential to destruct the whole universe. Lord Vishnu advised gods to request Lord Shiva to consume the poison.
To save the mankind, Lord Shiva drank the poison after requested by gods. Goddess Parvati pressed her neck to prevent the poison reaching to stomach. Thus, the poison remained in the neck and his neck became blue. Thus the name Neelkanth. In an effort to keep Lord Shiva awake at the night,gods danced and played music. As the day broke out, Lord Shiva, pleased with their devotion blessed them all. Mahashivaratri is the celebration of this event by which Shiva saved the world.

Neelkanth mahadev

According to another legend, Mahashivaratri  is the celebraton of wedding of Lord Shiva with Parvati.

Fair and melas

A number of melas are organized and celebrated in the indian subcontinent. In Nepal, Pashupati Nath temple celebrates Lord Shiva’s birthday with grandeur. At midnight, all the four doors of the main temple of pashupatinath are opened for whole night. Rudra mantra is enchanted  and offerings are given to Lord Shiva. Nepal Army pay homage to Lord pashupatinath by volleys of gun fires at Tundikhel parade ground in Kathmandu.

In Mandi (‘Varanasi of the Hills‘), Himachal pradesh, the Shivaratri fair is celebrated for seven days. About 200 deities are assembled in this holy town. This festival has gained the importance of international festival.

Mandi during Shivaratri fair

Pachmarhi hosts Shivaratri mela every year. The religious festival celebrates the wedding of Lord Shiva with Parvati. This is done at Mahadev Temple, nearby Pachmarhi.

 

Wedding of Shiva and Parvati

In 2013 – This festival will be celebrated on 10th March.

 

Categories
Indian Mythology

The story and boon of Tripurasura

Tripurasura – The three sons of Tarakasura

Tripurasura were three sons of  Tarakasura. There names were Vidyunmali, Tarakaksha and Viryavana. Tarakasura was killed by Devtas and he instructed his family to ensure that his death was avenged.

The boon of Lord Brahma

With the advise of Shuracharya, the three sons started doing severe penance. Eventually, Lord Brahma got pleased of there penance and asked for a boon. Expectantly, they asked for immortality. Lord Brahma replied that this is against the rules of the nature. So ask me something else. They said – “Grant us the following: Let three forts be made. The first will be of gold, the second of silver and the third of iron. We will live in these forts for a thousand years. These forts built in different worlds shall align once in every 1000 years. This combined fort will be called Tripura. And if anyone can then destroy Tripura with only a single arrow that shall be the death destined for us”.

Tripurasura

Three forts of Gold, Silver and Iron

Brahma granted this boon to them. There was a demon named Maya who was very entrusted to build the three forts. The golden fort was built in heaven, the silver one in the sky and the iron one on earth. Tarakaksha got the golden fort, Viryavana the silver and Vidyunmali the iron fort. All forts were as large as a city and had many palaces and vimanas (space vehicles) inside. The demons started living in the three forts and began to flourish.  They were following the things written in scriptures. As usual, Devas did not like this. They went to Lord Shiva for help but returned empty handed as demons were doing nothing wrong. God then reached out to Lord Vishnu.

Lord Vishnu and Arihant

Lord Vishnu knew that the Tripurasuras could not be killed till they remain Virtuous and religious.  He then created an entity from his body who had no hairs on his head. He had worn dirty clothes and a bag was hanging down his shoulder. He also had a broom in his head. The entity asked lord Vishnu about the purpose of his existence and his name. Lord Vishnu told him that his name was Arihan. He also instructed him to create a scripture which stresses upon the importance of action (Karmavad) and which is different from the rituals explained in the Vedas. Lord Vishnu specifically instructed him to keep the language of that scripture as simple and degenerated as possible. Lord Vishnu then preached Arihan on the science of illusion which stressed that the heaven or the hell does not exist anywhere else, but on this earth itself.

Sage Narada accepts new religion

Lord Vishnu instructed Arihan to get Tripurasuras initiated into with this philosophy so that the demon-brothers become irreligious. Vishnu ordered Arihan to make his residence in a desert with his disciples. The being did as he had been asked to. He and four of his disciples went to a forest that was near Tripura and began to preach. They were trained by Vishnu himself.  Therefore, their teachings were convincing and they had many converts. Even the sage Narada got confused and was converted. In fact, it was Narada who carried news of this wonderful new religion to king Vidyunmati. King, he said, there is a wonderful new teacher with a wonderful new religion. I have never heard before. I have got converted.

Narada and Lord Vishnu

Since the great sage Narada had been converted. Vidyunmati also accepted the new religiqon, and in due course, so did Tarakaksha and Viryavana. The demons gave up revering the Vedas, they stopped worshipping Shiva’s linga.

Lord Shiva and killing of Tripurasura

Now the time was ripe of killing of Tripurasura, since they have now deviated from the good path. Once again, devas requested Mahadev to kill these demons. Lord Shiva acceded to this request. Lord Shiva called Vishvakarma and asked him to make a suitable chariot, bow and arrow. The chariot was made entirely out of gold. Brahma himself became the charioteer and the chariot was speedly driven towards Tripura. The gods accompanied Shiva with diverse weapons.

  1. Prithvi(Earth) was the chariot
  2. Sun and Moon was the wheels
  3. Bramha was the charioteer
  4. Meru was the bow and
  5. Vishnu was the arrow.
Shiva destroying Tripurasura

By then a thousand years had passed so that the three forts had become a single Tripura. Shiva installed a divine weapon known as pashupatastra (the arrow of pashupati- another name given to Lord Shiva ) into his arrow and shot it at Tripura. The arrow burnt up Tripura into ashes in a split second. So, all gods of the trinity were involved with Tripurasura. Lord Brahma gave a boon, Lord Vishnu thought of a way to neutralize them and finally, Lord Shiva destroyed them.

Categories
Children stories Indian Mythology Lord Ganesha Narada

Clever Ganesha and Narada’s mango – Indian mythology

Ganesha, Kartikeya and Narada

Once, Narada took a mango to Lord Shiva and Parvati where the two sons of Lord were also present. He presented the mango to Parvati  and said that this mango is special and requested her  to accept the mango. Parvati intended to distribute the fruit between her two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya equally, but sage Narada intervened and said that this fruit cannot be cut into two and can be consumed by a single person only.

Narada suggested to have a competition between the two brothers, and the winner of the contest will be awarded the mango. Kartikeya enquired about the competition and after much thought, Narada suggested – ‘Whoever goes around the world three times first will win the mango’. Both brothers agreed to the condition put forth by Narada.

Mango by Sage Narada

 

Hearing this, Kartikeya got on to the peacock and went to go around the world. Ganesha did not have a peacock or anything else he could ride so he thought for a while. He then went around Shiva and Parvathi three times and went to claim his prize saying. ‘ My Parents are the world for me. I have won the competition.

The competition between two brothers – Kartikeya and Ganesha

Ganesha further said that Lord Shiva and Parvati are the first couple and whole universe is created with them. When he circled them three times, it was equivalent to circling the world three times. Thus he claimed his prize and started to eat the mango. When Kartikeya came back duly circling the earth three times, he found clever Ganesha eating the mango.

When he learnt that his elder brother had got the fruit by his fast thinking instead of running around, he accepted his defeat. On the other hand, Ganesha had won the contest by virtue of using his superior intellect and Kartikeya had to accept defeat in his favour.

Categories
Indian Mythology Lord Vishnu

Lord Vishnu’s eleventh avatar

 Lord Vishnu’s eleventh avatar

The dashavatara’s for Lord Vishnu are widely written and discussed, but there is one more aspect of Lord Vishnu, which has helped the gods. Perhaps, this is the reason, this aspect is not treated as an incarnation, because the dashavatars have helped human beings and this particular aspect has helped gods (or Devtaas).

You must be wondering what is being talked about. Time to do away with suspense. The name is Mohini. Yes, Indeed, the female form which Lord Vishnu have resorted a few times to save gods.

Churning of Ocean / Samudra Manthan

The first incident is during the churning of ocean. Many a things have been received from the ocean as a result of churning. Finally, Dhanvantari appeared with a pot of amrit, the heavenly nectar of immortality. This caused a great fight between Devas and Asuras.   To protect the nectar from Asuras, the divine Garuda took the pot, and flew away from the battle-scene.

While Garuda was in his flight over planet Earth, it is believed that four drops of nectar fell at four places – Prayag (Allahabad),Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. This legend is the basis for the belief that these places acquired a certain mystical power and spirituality. A Kumbh Mela is celebrated at the four places every twelve years for this reason. People believe that after bathing there during the Kumbh mela, one can get the primeval heaven and moksha(sanskrit:mokṣha).

churning of ocean – Mohini

Lord Vishnu appeared as a beautiful woman mohini and enchanted the asuras. She got hold of the nectar and started to distribute to Devas while keeping the asuras emchanted. This was noticed by Rahu and he also got hold of the nectar. This was duly notified to Lord Vishnu by Sun and Moon, and Lord ensured that Rahu’s head was cut by his discus. Read the full story of Rahu and Ketu here.

Bhasmasura, Lord Shiva and Mohini

Bhasmasura was an asura, who was driven by ambition to be the most powerful Asura ever. He saw the other Asuras and decided that he would perform severe penance to win the favour of Lord Shiva and become powerful.
So Bhasmasura prayed for a long time. Shiva became pleased and asked him to ask for a boon. Bhasmasur asked for immortality, but Shiva said that he did not have the power to grant him immortality. He then asked – [quote]My Lord if I touch anybody’s head, they should be reduced to ashes[/quote]
Lord Shiva granted this wish and realized the mistake immediately, when Bhasmasura wanted to test the powers on lord itself. This resulted in Lord Shiva fleeing from the spot while Bhasmasura on his heels.
Bhasmasura and Mohini
Eventually, Mohini came to rescue. She appeared as a beautiful woman and the demon could not take his eyes off her. Mohini invited him for a dance competition and surely enough, she put a hand on her head as a dance move. Bhasmasura follows, and turned to ashes immediately.

Other legends

Mohini is also known to have helped in killing of Virochana.  The wise asura king Virochana is rewarded a magical crown by the sun-god Surya. The crown shields him against all harm. Mohini enchants Virochana and steals his crown. The demon, thus unprotected, is killed by Vishnu.

Another legend about the demon Araka associates Mohini with Krishna rather than the god himself. The demon Araka had become virtually invincible because of extreme chastity. Krishna takes the form of the beautiful Mohini and marries him. After three days of marriage, Araka’s bonds of chastity are broken, and Krishna kills him in battle.

in Thai version of the Ramayana, the demon Nontok is charmed and killed by Mohini. Nontok misuses a divine weapon given to him by Shiva. Mohini mesmerized Nontok and then attacks him. In his dying moments, the demon Nontok accused Vishnu of foul play saying that Vishnu first seduced him and then attacked him. Vishnu decrees that in his next birth, Nontok will be born as the ten-armed demon Ravana and Vishnu will be a mortal man called Rama. He will then fight him and defeat him.

Categories
Indian Mythology

Jyotirlinga – Mallikarjuna at Srisailam

Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga temple

 

Sri Mallikarjuna is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva which is a very important pilgrim site for Hindu devotees. This Jyotirlinga is situated on hills at a place called Srisailam and has got an interesting legend. This temple has the looks of a fort and has got sculptures on walls which sometimes gives illusion of an art gallery.

Legend

Once Lord Shiva and Parvati decided to find suitable bride for their sons. Ganesha and Kartikeya argued as to who is to get wedded first.

Lord Shiva decided that one who complete his journey round the world first will will get married first. By the time lord Kartikeya could go round the world on his vahana, Lord Ganesha went round his parents seven times. In shastra going round one’s parent is equivalent to going round the world .

Lord Ganesha got married to shiddhi and Buddhi. When Kartikeya came back from his journey and heard about Ganesha’s married this angered him and despite being consoled by his parents and other Gods he left for Krounch mountain.

Lord shiva and Parvati decided to goto krounch mountain, but when kartikeya came to know that his parents are coming he went further away .

Lord Shiva and Kartikeya

Eventually, Lord Shiva assumed his the form on linga and resided there in a quest to be close to Kartikeya. Mallika means Parvati and Arjun is another name of Shiva.

It is believed that Shiva and Parvati visit this palce on Amavasya (No moon day) and (full Moon day) Poornima, respectively. Visiting this Jyotirlinga not only blesses one with innumerable wealth, but also name and fame and fulfils all the desires.

Temple of Mallikarjuna

Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga

 

Mallikarjuna Shivlinga

 

Bhramaramba Shrine

Located adjacent to the Mallikarjun Temple is a shrine dedicated to Goddess Jagdamba who is known as Bhramaramba here. The Bhramaramba shrine is considered to be of great significance. Legend has it that Durga is said to have assumed the shape of a bee and worshipped Shiva here, and chose this place as her abode. One can hear the buzzing of a bee through a tiny hole in the Brahmaramba temple, where Parvati, in the form of a bee, slayed the demon Mahisasura.

How to reach

Nearest airport is located at Hyderabad (175 km).

Nearest Railway stations: Markapur road, Ongole, Nandyal.

Hyderabad – Mahbubnagar (NH 7)- Srisailam temple / Ongole – Markapur – Srisailam temple / Gooty – Nandyal – Atmakur – Srisailam temple.

 

Categories
Indian Mythology Lord Ganesha

Clever Ganesha and Sage Gautam

Ganesha – The Rescuer

When Bhagiratha brought Ganga from Lord Shiva’s hair, some part of Ganga remained with him. Parvati, being the consort of Shiva, didn’t like this. Parvati resolved that a way had to be found to remove Ganga from Shiva’s hair. She tried persuasion, but Shiva refused to listen.

 There was a drought on earth at this time which lasted for fourteen years. Sage Goutam hermitage was spared with this drought. Other people also gathered in the hermitage to save themselves from the drought and Gautam welcomed them all. Ganesha thought that he might be able to devise a way to please his mother Parvati and Ganga may leave Shiva.

Lord Shiva, Parvati and Ganesha

 Ganesha started to live in Sage Gautam’s hermitage and became friendly with everyone. One of the Parvati’s companion, Jaya was also with him. Ganesha told Jaya that she was to adopt the form of a cow and eat up the grain in Gautam’s fields. And the moment she was struck,

she was to lie down on the ground and pretend to be dead.

 Soon, Sage Gautam noticed that a cow was eating the grain. He struck the cow with a blade of grass and the cow fell down. Everyone thought that the cow was killed and it was a capital sin. Nobody wanted to stay in the hermitage. Lord Ganesha proposed a solution to the sage. “You will have to bring down Ganga from Shiva’s hair,” replied Ganesh. When Ganga water touches the body of the cow, then you are free of your sin.

 Ganesha was so friendly with the other sages that they all accepted his solution. Gautam also agreed to do the needful. Sage Gautam went to Mount Kailash and began to pray to Shiva. Shiva was pleased at Gautam’s penance and offered to grant a boon.

Lord Shiva

 Gautam wished that Ganga might be brought down to earth. Shiva agreed. It was thus that Ganga was brought down to earth by the sage Gautam. Ganga has four tributaries in heaven, seven on earth and four in the underworld. Since it was Gautam who brought Ganga down to earth, the river is also known as Gautami Ganga.

 Thus, wise Ganesha found a solution to the problem of his mother. This story is from the Brahma Purana.

Categories
Indian Mythology Temple

Kedarnath – Jyotirlinga

Kedarnath temple

One of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to the Lord Shiva and is located on the near Mandakini river. Here, Shiva lingam is pyramid shaped and hence is unique among Shiva temples. Pandavas are believed to have built this temple.

Due to harsh weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April (Akshay tritya) to Kartik Purnima (the autumn full moon, usually November) every year. During winters, the vigrahas (deities) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped there for six months.

Kedarnath is located on a ridge which juts out at right angles from below the 23000 feet high snowy peak of Mahapanth. Kedarnath is located on the Rudra Himalaya range. The Rudra Himalaya range is also known as the Pancha Parvata; its five peaks are Rudra Himalaya, Vishnupuri, Bhramapuri, Udgari-Kanth and Swargarohini. It is believed that four of the Pandavas died on the last of these peaks.

 

Kedarnath Temple

Legend behind Kedarnath Jyotirlinga

Two incarnations of Lord Vishnu by the names of Nara and Vishnu did penance at Badrikasharama. Both of them used to worship the idol of Shiva daily. Lord Shiva used to arrive in his subtle form and accept their offerings without being noticed by them.
One day Lord Shiva appeared before them. Nara and Narayana eulogized him and requested to remain at that place forever. Lord Shiva accepted their request and established himself as ‘Kedareshwar jyotirlinga’.

There is another legend related to Pandavas. After the culmination of Mahabharata war, Pandavas wanted to be absolved of their sins which was due to killing of their own relatives in the war of Mahabharata.

Giving up all their belongings and ties, the Pandavas and Draupadi , accompanied by a dog, made their final journey of pilgrimage to the Himalayas in search of Lord Shiva .
Meanwhile at Kedarnath a very healthy and good looking bull joined them.  Shiva has taken the form of the bull, as he was unhappy with the Pandavas for their deceit during the war, and hence loathe to give them darshan.
The Pandavas sort of had the gut feeling that the buffalo was Shiva in disguise.  Bhima as usual jumped the gun and tried to catch the buffalo by its tail.  Lord Shiva just disappeared into the ground.

Then Bhima went after the buffalo with his mace. The buffalo was clever and Bheema could not catch it. But Bheema managed to hit the buffalo with his mace. The buffalo had its face hidden in a crevice-in the earth. Bheema started to pull it by its tail. In this tug-of war, the face of the buffalo went straight to Nepal, leaving its hind part in Kedar, a  hump above the ground as a Lingam,  and a blazing fiery column of light sprouted. This is why only the Kedarnath Shiva Lingam is a sort of a  hump.

The face of the buffalo is Doleshwar Mahadev located in Sipatol, Bhaktapur, Nepal.

It is also believed that Arjuna, one of the Pandavas worshipped Lord Shiva to attain the divine weapon, Pashupatastra.

Some important and famous places close to Kedarnath mandir

Badrinath – Badrinath which is near the Kedarnath is also a significant pilgrimage spot for the devotees of Lord shiva. The Neelkant peak behind the Badrinath temple is an abode of Lord shiva – like how the Mount Kailash is. It is called Indra Neel Parvat.

Gaurikund – Base for a trek to Kedarnath & serves as a roadhead, the village has hot springs & a temple dedicated to Gauri.

Gandhi Sarovar – A small lake from where Yudhishthir, the eldest of the Pandavas, is said to have departed to heaven. A km trek from Kedarnath, floating ice on the crystal clear waters.

Vasuki Tal – 6 km. At 4135 mtr. above sea level, this lake is extraordinary, surrounded by high mountains and offering an excellent view of the Chaukhamba peaks.

Gauri Kund – 15 km. The trekking base to Kedarnath and the road head, this village has a temple dedicated to Gauri and also thermal springs of medicinal value.

Gupt Kashi – 49 km. Famous for the temples of Ardhnarishwar and Vishwanathji.

Ukhimath – 60 km. Winter home of Lord Kedarnath temple, and the seat of the Rawal of Kedarnath during winter months.

Agastmuni – 73 km., Has a temple dedicated to the sage Agastya.

How to reach

By Air : The nearest convenient Air port is Jolly grant at Dehradun (121 Kms).

By Road : Kedarnath is connected by road with Badrinath (242 KM), Dehradun (268 KM), Delhi (450 KM), Haridwar (250 KM), Kotdwar (256 KM), and Rishikesh (226 KM).

Route : Rishikesh to Kedarnath vai Rudraprayag :- Rishikesh -> Rudraprayaga -> Agastamuni -> Kund -> Gupta kashi -> Phata -> Soneprayag -> Gauri Kund.

Gauri Kund to Kedarnath is 14 KM. This distance has to be covered by foot, ponies, palkies.

By Rail : The nearest convenient railway station are Dehradun and Haridwar. These are well connected with Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and rest of India through Rail network.

Categories
Indian Mythology Narada

The Monkey faced sage – Narada

Sage Narada – how he became monkey faced

Once Sage Narada observed a severe penance to please gods. As usual, Lord Indra became restless thinking that Narada had plans to take Indra’s kingdom. He requested  Kaam deva to go and obstruct Narada’s penance.

Duly Kaam reached there alongwith Rati and Spring and tried to break his penance. They were unsuccessful because of the fact that Lord Shiva once burned Kaam’s body and that place was had no effect of Kaam deva and his antics.

When Indra came to know that Kaam has failed, he was impressed and personally met Sage Narada and congratulated him. Narada became very happy and he started boasting that he had conquered Kaam.

Proud Narada

He told this to Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma and advised by both gods to keep this to himself. But Narada was not satisfied. He wanted to give the news of his achievement to Lord Vishnu. So, he went to Lord Vishnu’s abode and boasted about his feat of defeating Kaam deva.

Lord Vishnu decided to teach him a lesson.

While returning from Lord Vishnu’s abode, he saw that a beautiful princess was looking for a groom and swayamvar was being organized. As advised by gods, Kaam deva entered Narada’s heart and he was completely in Kaam Deva’s control. Narada was fascinated by the beauty of the princess and he requested Lord Vishnu to make him beautiful like the lord himself.

Narada and Lord Vishnu

Lord Vishnu made Narada’s whole body very beautiful except his face, which he made like a monkey. This caused amusement amongst the courtiers and the girl herself. When Sage Narada saw his reflection in the water, he realized what happened.

Out of rage, he cursed Lord Vishnu that he would suffer from separation of his wife and he will need help of monkeys. Lord Vishnu accepted this without hesitation. This curse became true in Vishnu’s incarnation as Lord Rama.

Meanwhile the illusionary powers were removed after which the sage realized his mistake and learn his lesson.