Ravana abducted Sita, fully knowing the consequences

Ravana – The great scholar

Ravana, mostly known as the person who kidnapped Sita and was later killed by Lord Rama.Lets look at other aspects of him and try to find out the exact reason behind the abduction of Sita.

Ravana was a great scholar, a devout devotee of Lord Shiva. He knew about the scriptures. He even wrote a book Ravana Samhita, which is on astrology.

Even Lord Rama had once addresed Ravana as a “Maha Brahmin” (Great Brahmin).

He did great penance to please Lord Shiva and offered to give him his all heads. His name Ravana came from the fact that once he was pinned down by Lord Shiva under the Mount Kailash and his cry was defeaning.

Baidyanath Jyotirlinga and Ravana

Baidyanath Jyotirlinga and Ravana

He also had the boon from Brahma which gave him immunity against everyone, save human and monkeys.

From these facts, this is clear that Ravana was a learned, scholar person, who believed in hindu gods, Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma. This facts becomes unfathomable that he decided to kidnap the wife of the trinity, Lord Vishnu’s avatar Lord Rama.

If we look more into this, Ravana did not chose to pray Lord Vishnu, when he prayed Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma. Why? he could have chosen to pray lord Vishnu.

The reason for abduction

There is a reason. This reason comes from the fact of Ravana’s birth. Ravana was actually a devout follower of Lord Vishnu. Once he and his brother (Jaya and Vijaya) have caused some discomfort to a great Sage and they were subjected to his wrath. The events, which followed this incident ensured that Jaya and Vijaya will have to take three births and they need to killed by Lord Vishnu, before they can be closer to him.

So, in all probability, as he was a great scholar, he must knew that his salvation was in getting killed by Lord Vishnu’s avatara. That is sole reason, he did not ask from immunity from humans, because he knew this very well that Lord Rama has taken avatar in a human form.

Now again, he was a good ruler, there was no apparent reason that he would be under threat from anyone. After all, he was a great warrior as well. So how he could meet almighty. So, he created a reason, he did the unthinkable. He abducted Sita.

Ravana and Sita

Ravana and Sita

This was the masterstroke. Ravana first created rules, so that he could be only killed by a human. This human was an avatar of Lord Vishnu and capable of defeating him. Then he created a reason.

This way, he ensured that only Lord Vishnu will become the reason of his death. This was his ultimate wish, which he achieved.

Lord Rama first used Prasavapana for evaporating the nectar from his navel, and then decapacitated his head.

Rama and Ravana - The Ramayana

Rama and Ravana – The Ramayana

I would say, he was the great strategist and he executed his plans well, so that he achieved one more step towards unification with Lord Vishnu.

The complete story of Parshurama avatar – Vishnu dashavatara

 Parshurama Avatar ( Dashavatara of Lord Vishnu)

Parshurama is the sixth incarnation (one of the dashavatara) of Lord Vsihnu. He is said to be one of the chiranjeevis. Chiranjeevi means one who doesn’t die.

Birth

Parshurama is born to Sage Jamdagni and Renuka. Parshurama was very obedient to his father, and once when asked by his father, he did not hesitate and beheaded his own mother. Jamdagni and Renuka meditated before the birth of Parshurama and with the blessing of Shiva, Vishnu agreed to take incarnation as their son which became sixth of the ten dashavataras. He was the fifth son of his parents.

Childhood

In his childhood, he did severe penance and pleased Lord Shiva. Lord presented him with the weapon parshu, thus the boy was called as Parshurama.

Killing of king Kartavirya

At that point of time, a king named Kartavirya Arjuna became very strong. He also defeated Ravana. One day, he came to the hermitage of sage Jamdagni and was welcomed by the sage. Jamdagni had a cow, Kamdhenu, presented by Indra, which allowed him to serve his guests. Impressed, kartavirya wanted the cow, which Jamdagni denied. The king stole the calf.

Kamdhenu , Jamdagni

Kamdhenu , Jamdagni

Parshurama was not at home at this point of time. When he returned back, he went to the palace of King Kartavirya and killed him. Then he retrieved Kamdhenu and came back to his home.

Killing of Sage Jamdagni

Soon, sons of Kartavirya discovered their father at the palace and knew that only Parashurama could have killed him. In revenge, they traveled to the hermitage and murdered Jamadagni, surrounding the rishi and shooting him to death with arrows like a stag. Afterwards, they decapitated his body and took his head with them.

Parshurama’s vow

When Parshurama discovered his mother weeping over the body of his father, he vowed to avenge the death of his father. He hunted down the sons of Kartavirya at the palace. He killed them all and returned with the head of his father to conduct the cremation. Parashurama then vowed to enact a genocide on the war-mongering Kshatriyas twenty-one times over.

Parshurama

Parshurama

Parshurama is also the guru or teacher of Bhishma, Drona and Karna. Parshurama’s famous curse is on Karna which rendered the Brahmastra useless for Karna.

Parshurama and Rama ( dashavatara’s of Lord Vishnu)

During Sita swayamvar, Rama broke the bow of Lord Shiva. Hearing the sound of breaking of the bow, Parshurama came there and challenged Rama to string the bow with an arrow. Rama, being an avatar of Lord Vishnu, easily mounted the arrow and asked Parshurama, where should I fire this arrow now? Parshurama realized that Rama was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and his own role has completed now.

Sita Swyamvar

Sita Swyamvar

Madhubani paintings and Indian mythology (in pictures)

Madhubani painting – a folk art form

Madhubani painting is a popular folk art form from India. This folk art form is originated in a small town of bihar, India and gained popularity. The subject is often nature, hindu gods and mythological stories. Let u shave a look at some of them.

 Ganesha

The following pic narrates the story of Ganesha and how he got his elephant head.

Ganesha getting an elephant head – Madhubani Painting

Dashavataras in madhubani paintaings

Following picture tells about the dashavataras, ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

Dashavatara – Ten incarnations of Vishnu through Madhubani painting

 Navadurga’s nine forms

Goddess durga’s nine forms are shown in the following madhubani painting.

Nine forms of Durga (Shakti) – Madhubani painting

Ravana and Sita

Ravana threatening Sita in ashok vatika is narrated here. On the tree, hanuman is observing this incident. They are surrounded by demons

Ravana threatens Sita at Ashok Vatika in Lanka (The Ramayana)

 Ardhnarishwar or Ardhnarishvar

Ardhnarishwar represents Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati, in a single form. This is also believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The Matasya Purana describes how Brahma, pleased with a penance performed by Parvati, rewards her by blessing her with a golden complexion. This renders her more attractive to Shiva, to whom she later merges as one half of his body

Ardhnarishwar – Shiva’s form

Rama and Sita swayamvar

Following is a scene from the Ramayana, depicting swayamvar of Rama and Sita.

Lord Rama and Sita

 Shri Krishna and Radha

Life of Shri Krishna and Radha is also depicted by Madhubani paintings. Following is an example.

Shri Krishna and Radha

 Mahakali – a form of Shakti

Mahakali is a consort of Lord Shiva and represent Adi Shakti, the primeval force of this universe. Her most common four armed iconographic image shows each hand carrying variously a sword, a trishul (trident), a severed head and a bowl or skull-cup (kapala) catching the blood of the severed head.

Mahakali – Madhubani paintings

Putna vadh

Putna was employed by Kansa to kill the child Krishna. But Shri Krishna killed the demoness.

Putna vadh

Lanka Dahan

Hanuman burned lanka when he went to search for Sita. He then went back to Kishkindha.

Hanuman destroying Lanka

 

Following painting depicts the infamous incident of Draupadi Cheerharan. The main protagonists were Duryodhana and Dushashana, who  had to pay dearly for their misconduct. They had to part with their lives. The pic shows the game of dice being played and Pandavas are helpless.

Draupadi cheerharan - Madhubani PaintingDraupadi cheerharan - Madhubani Painting

Draupadi cheerharan – Madhubani Painting

 

 

Weapons used in the time of Mahabharata – 2

Mahabharata – Important weapons from Indian Mythology

Karna’s weapons

Karna had the knowledge of Brahmastra, but his teacher Parshurama has cursed him that he could not use it when he requires it most. He had kavach and kundal from Sun, which would made him invulnerable, but Indra asked those in alms.

Karna born with Kavach and Kundal

Karna born with Kavach and Kundal

But he had given him Vasavi Shakti or Amoghastra, which could be used only once, to him. Karna saved that for Arjuna,  but upon the insistence of Duryodhana, he had to use this on Ghatotkacha. Ghatotkacha was Bheema’s son, who was single handedly decimating the kaurava’s army. He was called by Shri Krishna to fight from his father’s side. Another master stroke from the seventh avatar of lord Vishnu.

Karna - Mahabharat

Karna – Mahabharat

Arjuna’s weapons

Arjuna seems to have the blessings of gods when it came to astras and shastras. You name the weapon and he had it. He has done severe penance to obtain divyastras for the battle of Mahabharat. Shiva has bestowed his blessings on Arjuna that his quivers will be inexhaustible. Shiva has also given him the Pashupata, which had the powers to destroy anything. Arjuna also had Yamaraj’s mace, Naagpashas from varuna and Antardhana from Kuber at his disposal. Indra also presented him a weapon before Mahabharat war.  Gandiva was also given to him Lord Shiva. These gods have armed Arjuna to fight the evil forces. Arjuna and Shri Krishna are also known  as Nara(Arjuna) and Narayana (Shri Krishna).

Lord Shiva giving astra and shastras to Arjuna

Lord Shiva giving weapons to Arjuna

Lord Shiva giving Pashupata astra to Arjuna - Mahabharat

Lord Shiva giving Pashupata astra to Arjuna – Mahabharat

Shri Krishna’s weapons

Shri Krishna’s bow was Sharngadhanu, with which he has once countered Shiva’s weapons. He also used Brahmastra to counter a Brahmastra invoked by Shiva. Shri Krishna also had Narayanastra with which he has counterd pashupatastraWhen fighting Banasura and Lord Shiva, Shri Krishna used his weapon Narayanjvara to counter Shivajara. No discussion is complete on weapons of Shri Krishna, if we do not mention the Sudarshan Chakra. He used this in the war of Mahabharat for a different purpose – to make sun disappear. This led to killing of Jayadrath.

Another notable use of this Sudarshan Chakra was in killing of Shishupala, the king of Chedi, who was also a relative of Shri Krishna.

sudarshan-chakra-indian-mythology-mahabharat

Sudarshan Chakra – Vishnu – Dashavatar – Shri – Krishna’s weapon

Test your knowledge on Mahabharat

Weapons used in the time of Mahabharat – 1

Weapon used in Mahabharat

We are continuing on from the weapons used in the times of The Ramayana. Brahmastra has been mentioned quite frequently in ancient texts and Mahabharat is no exception here.

Brahmastra

As described in the sastra, a Brahmastra is an astra. This is created by Lord Brahma. It is sometimes known as the Brahma Astra (astra referring to ‘missile weapon’). As described in a number of the Puranas, Brahmastra is considered to be the very deadliest of weapons. When a Brahmastra is discharged, neither a counterattack nor a defense of any kind can stop it.  This weapon can only be neutralized by Brahmadanda (stick of Brahma).  Karna has the knowledge of this potent astra. Though he was not able to use this because of the curse of Parshurama. Vishwamitra used this against Vasistha. Vasistha neutralized this weapon and defeated Vishwamitra. The whole story is narrated here.

Vasishtha – Vishwamitra – Brahmastra – Indian – mythology – weapon

Brahmashira

There was another powerful weapon called Brahmashira.  Brahmashira was never used in war. It had four times more power than the Brahmastra, i.e fourth power square. This was because Brahma has four heads, thus the name. Only Arjuna and Ashwatthama possessed the knowledge to summon the Brahmashira. Arjuna has the knowledge to retract this, but Ashwatthama did not. After Ashwatthama killed uppandavas, a fight ensued between him and Arjuna. During the fight, Ashwatthama invoked the extremely powerful Brahmashira, against Arjuna.  Arjuna in response invoked the same astra. Fearing the destruction of the world, the sages advised both to take back their weapons. While Arjuna could do so, Ashwatthama (presumably having less skill) could not, and was given the option of choosing any single target to destroy. Out of spite, Ashwatthama directed the weapon to the wombs of Pandava women. Among them was Uttara, Arjuna’s daughter-in-law. Shri Krishna saved the unborn Parikshit, but cursed Ashwatthama for his cowardly act.

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Test your knowledge on Mahabharat

 

Bal Kand story in pictures

In Indian mythology, there are two major epics. The Ramayana, and the Mahabharat. In Treta yuga, the story of Rama and his wife Sita, is the main story around which the Ramayana is written. This epic was written by Sage Valmiki, who himself was a robber, but later mended his ways to become a sage.

Bal Kand

Dashrath organizes Putra Kameshti Yagya

King Dashrath, the king of Ayodhya organised yagna with a desire for son. Agni, the god of fire presented him with a bowl of kheer(sweet rice). Upon comsumption of kheer, Dashratha would beget sons.

The Kheer or payasam, thus obtained, was distributed among Dashrath’s three wives, Kaushalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. Soon enough, these queens have been blessed with sons, Rama, Bharat, Laxman and Shatrughan.

Princes Rama, Lakshmana, Bharat and Shatrughana as newborn.

Learning at Sage Vasistha’s ashram

Sage Vasistha was the teacher of four brothers. He taught them all the skills required by them as the princes.

Education of princes by sage Vasistha in the Ramayana

Helping Sage Vishwamitra

Rama and Laksham helped sage Vishwamitra. Rakshasas were creating problems for him. Sages were unable to perform yagna. Sage asked Dashrath to give Rama and Lakshman to help him. Dashrath was initially worried. Persuaded by Vasistha, he agreed. This helped the princes as Vishwamitra trained them in warfare. Both brothers killed Taraka and Subahu among other demons.

Swayamvar of Sita and liberation of Ahalya

Vishwamitra received invitation from King Janak for Sita’s swayamvar. He asked  Rama and Lakshman to accompany him.

Along the way, they came to a place where Ahilya was present in a form of stone. Rama liberated her on advise of sage. She was serving a curse of sage Gautam, who was her husband.

Sita Swayamvar

At Mithila, the challenge of Sita swayamvar was to tie the string of Shiva’s bow. Many warriors including Ravana has failed in even moving the bow. However, Rama could easily lift the bow. While trying to string the bow, it broken into two pieces. Sita got Rama as her husband.

Rama breaking Pinaka bow in Sita Swayamvar

However, this brought Lord Parshurama to the ceremony. There was the classic confrontation between two avatars of Vishnu. Rama succeeded in pacifying Parshurama.

Wedding of Rama and Sita

Finally, the wedding of Rama and Sita took place. All four brother were married. Lakshman was married with Urmila, Janak’s second daughter and Bharat and Shatrughna with Mandavi and Shrutikirti, the daughters of Janak’s younger brother Kushadhwaj.

Sita Swayamvar story

Dashavatar pictures – indian mythology (2)

Dashavatar of Vishnu – pics of 6-10 avatars

See pics of 1-5 avatars

Krishna said to Arjuna in Mahabharat war : Whenever Dharma, or the situation of law and order, is endangered on this world, I incarnate onto this world to re establish Dharma, law and order, and to protect the Sadhus or saints and to destroy the evil elements of the society. – Bhagavat Gita

This article is in continuation to earlier article where we published the pictures of 1-5 avatars of Vishnu. Details of next 6 avatars are found as following.

Parshurama Avatar

Parshuram avatar of Lord Vishnu

Parshuram avatar of Lord Vishnu

Parshurama was the son of sage Jamdagni and Renuka.  He has killed evil doers kings of the earth. A great archer, was the teacher (guru) of Bhishma, Drona and Karna.  He is one of the seven immortal ones (saptachiranjiva).


Rama avatar

Shri Rama avatar of Lord Vishnu

Shri Rama avatar of Lord Vishnu

Rama was born as a son of Dashrath and Kaushalya. He slayed the demon king Ravana of Lanka.  Assisted by Hanuman and Lakshman ( Sheshnaag’s avatar).

Rama avatar

Shri Krishna

This incarnation was the central character of Mahabharat. Mahabharat was the conflict of kuru brothers, Kauravas and Pandavas. He did not fight the war himself. He was the charioteer of great archer, Arjuna in the Mahabharat war.  In his early life, he killed Kansa.  His brother was Balrama and he is also believed to be a avatar of Lord Vishnu by some texts.

 

Krishna avatar of Lord Vishnu

Krishna avatar of Lord Vishnu

Balarama avatar

Balarama avatar

balarama-krishna-subhadra

balarama-krishna-subhadra

Buddha Avatar

Buddha avatar of Lord Vishnu (image)

Buddha avatar of Lord Vishnu (image)

In the Puranic texts, he is mentioned as one of the ten avatars of Vishnu, usually as the ninth one. Siddhartha was born in a royal Hindu Kshatriya family. Gautama was famously seated under a pipal tree—now known as the Bodhi tree—in Bodh Gaya, India, when he vowed never to arise until he had found the truth. His companions believed that he had abandoned his search and become undisciplined, left. After a reputed 49 days of meditation, at the age of 35, he is said to have attained enlightenment.

 Kalki Avatar

Kalki avatar of Lord Vishnu

Kalki avatar of Lord Vishnu

The tenth and last avatar, Kalki avatar, is supposed to happen in future, in Kaliyug. This will be the tenth and final Maha Avatar (great incarnation) of Vishnu who will bring to an end the present age of darkness and destruction known as Kali Yuga. He will establish a new era based on truth, righteousness, humanism and goodness, called Satya Yuga.

Kalki avatar of Lord Vishnu (image)

See pics of 1-5 avatars

Weapons in the period of The Ramayana

Long before the nuclear weapons came along, we heard it many times in Indian mythology and ancient texts that not only powerful weapons existed, but they were also used by various people. Some of these weapons had the power to annihilate the whole universe. This provides us with some fascinating reading, as we can related to these weapons with modern warfare.

Lord Rama and his weapons

Probably the most written and popular is the Brahmastra, which is has found mention in Mahabharat and The Ramayana. This was the most potent and could be used once in the lieftime.  Lord Ram earlier intended to use this against Sagar (Sea god),as he wanted to ocean to give way to Lanka. Sagar was not yielding when Rama requested him, so as the last measure, he resorted to use the Brahmastra. Sagar promplty complied. By this time, the Brahmastra was invoked, so Rama has directed it towards a place, where it could do minimal harm.

When Rama invoked Brahmastra on Sagar (Sea God)
When Rama invoked Brahmastra on Sagar (Sea God)

Ravana’s killing: Lord Rama used prasvapna as the means to evaporate the amrita (nectar) from Ravana, which was the reason Ravana was not dying. This important advice was given by Vibheeshana to him.

Rama using Prasavapan on Ravana
Rama using Prasavapan on Ravana

In the war,  he used Gandharvastra to kill 14000 asurs, as this weapon compelled asuras to think that the next person fighting to them is Rama. Thus they fought with each other and killed themselves. Only two people knew to use this weapon, Rama and Ravana, though Ram only had the knowledge to neutralize this.

Earlier, in his student days, Lord Rama used Manava upon Maricha.

Rama and Ravana - The Ramayana
Ravana killing by Lord Rama – The Ramayana

Lakshman and his weapons

Lakshman used various weapons in this war. He has killed Ravana’s son Meghnad. He used Varunaastra which Meghnaad failed. He used Sauryaastra to neutralize Meghnaad’s Aagneyastra . Then Lakshman had to use powerful weapon named Maheshwar to stop Meghnad’s asur weapon. Meghnad was killed when Lakshman used Indrastra. Prior to that Meghnaad used his powerful weapon Shakti, due to which Laskhman was unconscious on battle field. Hanuman brought Sanjeevani to revive him.

Hanuman bringing sanjeevani booti to revive Laxman

Meghnaad managed to imprison Rama and Laxmana in Naagpaash. Hanuman sought the help of Garud to free Rama and Lakshman. This is a very interesting and important incident, where the gods have been rendered helpless and had to seek help of mortals. Thus this mythology story is a teacher which teaches us to be humble, as help is needed by gods too.

Meghnaad used naga astra against Ram and Laxman
Ram and Laxman in nagpaash - reviced by Garuda
Ram and Laxman in nagpaash – revived by Garuda

Meghnaad’s boon and his death – Meghnaad had this boon that he could not be killed after performing a yagya. After completing the yagya, he would have received a rath (chariot) and while sitting on this, he could not be killed. Rama was told by Vibheeshan of this fact and Rama ordered him, Lakshman and Hanuman to go and stop this yagya. There was a precondition that he could not touch any weapon when performing this yagya.

There they disturbed his yagya and did not allow him to complete the yagya. So he had to get up in the middle of the yagya and fought with Lakshman and Hanumaan only with Yagya utensils. He was very angry with Vibheeshan, his uncle. He had saved a Divine Astra, Yamastra, to kill him, so he used it to kill him, but Kuber had already warned Lakshman about it, so Lakshman countered it and saved himself. Meghnaad used his three most fierce Astra (BrahmastraPashupatastra and Vaishnavastra) at Lakshman but to his surprise none of them even touched him; rather Vaishnavaastra circumambulated Lakshman before disappearing.

Meghnaad realized that Lakshman was no ordinary man, so he briefly disappeared from the battle ground and came to his father, told him everything and requested to make peace with Rama. But Ravana rebuked him for being coward, so Meghnaad again came to the battle after bidding good bye to his parents and wife. He fought with Lakshman fiercely and then was killed by Indrastra.

Laxman killing Indrajit