Tag Archives: Tara

Panchkanya

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

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.
Liberating Ahilya by Rama

Liberating Ahilya by Rama

Draupadi

 

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.

Draupadi could have fourteen husbands

Draupadi cheer haran by Dushashan

Draupadi cheer haran by Dushashan

Kunti

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.

Birth of Karna and Kunti letting him go away

Birth of Karna and Kunti letting him go away

Mandodari

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.

Mandodari persuades Ravana to release Sita

Mandodari persuades Ravana to release Sita

Tara

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 curses Lord Rama

Tara curses Lord Rama

Tara is also said to have cursed Lord Rama, which was fulfilled in his next incarnation, Shri Krishna.

A tale of two brothers – Bali and Sugriva (The Ramayana)

Bali and Sugriva in the Ramayana

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

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 Baali that he would die if he ever ventured on Rishiyamooka Mountain. That is the reason Bali could not visit Rishiyamooka mountain.

Bali and Dundubhi - Monkey and Demoin

Bali and Dundubhi – Monkey and Demoin

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).

Bali ties Ravana in his tail

Bali ties Ravana in his tail

Bali’s end

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.

Death of Bali (Vali)

Death of Bali (Vali)

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.

The Ramayana story in pictures – Kishkindha kand (4)

Kishkindha kand from The Ramayana

Searching for Sita, Rama and Laxman Shabri’s ashram. Shabri offers fruits which have been tested by her so the Lord does not get a bitter fruit.

Shabri and Rama

Shabri advises them to go further southwards to Pampa lake and to Kishkindha where they would get help.

Shabri advises Rama to go towards Kishkindha

On Shabri’s advise, Rama reached Kishkindha while looking for Sita. Sugriva was sceptical of the two brothers and he asked Hanuman to assess their intentions. Hanuman disguised himself as a brahmin but Rama identified him due to his chain around the neck.

Hanuman in the guise of brahmana, but Rama identifies him

Hanuman fell upon his feet.

Hanuman and Rama

 

 

He showed them the ornaments and jewels which were thrown by Sita while she was abducted. Rama recognises them of Sita’s.

Hanuman took them to Sugriva. Sugriva was driven out by Vali.  Vali also took Sugriva’s wife. Rama befriended Sugriva. Rama promised to help him.

Ram reached Sugriva

 

Vali had a boon which made him unconquerable. Sugriva promised that he will help in finding Sita. Ram asks Sugriva to invite Vali for a fight. He also asked him to wear a garland because both brothers looked identical.

Battle between Vali and Sugriva

Rama kills Vali by piercing an arrow through his heart

Vali accuses Rama of wrongdoing. Rama explains that he has committed the crime of abducting his brother’s wife. And Kishkindha, a state of Bharat’s kingdom, lies in his jurisdiction. His crime was unforgiveable, so he had to execute this task of killing him.

It is said that Rama promised Vali to give him a chance to avenge his unjust murder. Vali is believed to be born as Jara, the hunter, who became the cause of Shri Krishna’s death.

Vali humbled by Rama

Vali understood and Rama forgives him.

Tara (Vali’s wife) is inconsolable. Tara invokes the power of her chastity and curses Rama so that he will soon lose Sita after he regains her. She declares that Sita will return to the earth. Tara additionally curses Rama that in his next birth, he will be killed by Vali. Rama pacifies her.

 

Tara and Ram – The Ramayana story

Sugriva crowned as king. Angad (Vali’s son) was anointed as the heir.

Sugriva made king of Kishkindha

Rama also taught him nuances of statesmanship.

Rama anointed Sugriva as king of Kishkindha

He advised Sugreev to rule justly. Then Sri Rama along with Laxmana went to live at Pravarshan Mountain.

Ram and Laxman leaving from Kishkindha to caves

Few months passed. Sugriva forgot his promise. Rama gets restless and advises Laxman to visit Kishkindha.

Laxman threatens to destroy Kishkindha after Sugriva did not keep his promise.

Tara asks Sugriva to help Rama and Laxman.

Tara advises Sugriva to help Laxman

Sugriva instructed Hanumana to send the messenger in all directions and to bring the news of Sita within fifteen days. Angad told sugriva that Hanuman can only find Sita. Sugriva asks Hanuman to search. Hanumana then gathered all the monkeys and went to Sri Rama to seek his permission.

Hanuman, Ram and Laxman

Rama blessed them for successful accomplishment of their mission. He also gave his ring to Hanumana.

Rama giving ring to Hanuman

Now Hanuman and his army of monkeys moved in search of Sita.  They searched Sita in the caves of every mountain but did not find her.

Vanara searching Sita

Jambvant consoled Angad saying that Rama was not an ordinary human being. He also said him not to worry, as everything would be resolved by Sri Rama’s blessings.

They reach seashore. At the seashore Sampati ( brother of Jatayu) bumped into Hanuman. He told him about Sita and she is in Lanka.

Sampati tells about Sita whereabouts

When Jambvant saw that there was nobody who could cross over the ocean, he praised and urged Hanumana  to cross the ocean. Hanuman had a curse that he would only realize his strength and capabilities when told by someone.

Jambvant urges Hanuman go to Lanka.

Jambvant praises Hanuman

 

When Hanumana listened to Jambvant he realized his latent strength. His body expanded like a mountain. Hanumana then sought Jambvant advice.

Hanuman taking viraat roopa (form)

Jambvant instructed him to just return back after seeing Sita in Lanka. He said that the rest would be accomplished by Sri Rama.

Hanuman departing for Lanka in search of Sita