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Spritual Space: Prahlada

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Spritual Space: Prahlada - February 20th, 2006

Hi all..

some more knowledge for you all....


Introduction

A lad who faced the anger of his mighty father for the sake of his faith in God. Poison, sword and fire could not frighten him. And the Lord Himself responded to the devotion of the five-year old boy and came to the earth.

Author - P.V.Chandrasekhara
Prahlada
'Let not death come to me from any creature created by Brahma.'

'Let me not meet with death either in the house or outside it.'

'Let not my death occur during the day or at night.'

'No weapon should cause my death.'

'I should not die either on land or in the sky-'

It is said a Rakshasa, an evil I person, got this boon from Brahma. He thought he was beyond the reach of death ; so he was puffed up with pride that he was deathless. He troubled the gods very much.

His ears burnt when he heard the name of Lord Vishnu.

What a boon he got from Lord Brahma And yet he was punished for his wicked pride and death came to him. Men and gods used to tremble when they heard his name; they were freed from this fear.

Even the gods, it is said, could not save the world from thecruelty and power of Hiranyakasipu. At last, a boy's firm and pure devotion to, God saved the world. This boy was Prahlada.

The story of Prahlada is very interesting.
'What Have You Learnt, Dear Child?'

"Who is a friend and who is a foe?" - this was the question that troubled the mind of little Prahlada. That peaceful boy of beautiful curls was walking to and fro before the house of his teacher. He was absentminded. The house belonged to Chanda and Amarka, the sons of Sukra- charya, the great teacher of theRakshasas, evil beings. Prahlada together with other Rakshasa boys was taught there. Prahlada was earnest, dignified and modest. So the teachers were very much pleased. Besides, he was the son of Hiranyakasipu, the most powerful king of the demons. Eight gods guard eight points of the universe. Hiranyakasipu had crushed them. He had pleased Brahma Himself and got boons from Him. Gods trembled with fear at his name. Prahlada was the son of that' glorious king. Sukracharya had greater pride in him for this reason. The teachers used to teach how he should treat friends and how he should treat enemies.Prahlada listened to the lessons. But all the while he thought, 'What is R these teachers say? Hari is present everywhere in the world. We are all sparks of that glowing fire. Who, then, is an enemy and who a friend? Why have any fears?’

Just then the king's servants came to take him to the palace. His father loved the son very dearly. He was eager to know what the child had learnt. Prahlada went up to the throne. Hiranyakasipu called his son with tender love. He took him on his knee and pressed soft and loving kisses on his cheek. He said, "Well child, tell me what you have learnt from your teachers." Prahlada said: "Father, they teach me that one person is my friend and another my enemy. I do not like this. I want to leave all this and go to the forest. I want to meditate on. Lord Srihari." At these words the father felt as if hot lead was poured into his heart. God Srihari was his enemy; and his own son was speaking about him! That son wanted to meditate on him!

But still he sent away the boy with a smiling face. Then he sent for his teachers. He said, "Sirs, some enemy has crept into your school; he has been poisoning the tender mind of my son with devotion to Vishnu. Pray be careful and correct him." Then he took leave of them.

The teachers Chanda and Amarka were filled with fear when they learnt that Srihari was the beloved Lord of Prahlada. They palled him near and spoke very tenderly: "Child! Don't tell a lie; speak the truth. No other boy has such thoughts here. How did these thoughts come to you? Did anyone teach them? Or, are they your own thoughts?" Then Prahlada told them, "Sirs, I do not understand what you say. That I am different from others is a false belief. By the grace of Narayana I am free from such false beliefs. I have myself learnt this; nobody taught me."

When they heard these words, they lost all hope. "Oh, you cursed being! You are a shame to the race of the Rakshasas. Don't you know that the same Hari is the deadly axe at the very root of the race of Rakshasas? It is he who killed your uncle." So they tried to frighten him, They also hoped he would forget Srihari if they taught him new subjects. They taught him the principles of the art of ruling; they taught him the ways of defeating enemies by peaceful persuasion, giving gifts to win over others, creating quarrels among enemies and, finally, the use of force. They hoped that these studies would turn Prahlada's mind away from Vishnu.

Still there was some fear in their minds. So before they sent him to the king of the Rakshasas, they took him to his mother Kayadhu. She gave him a holy bath and dressed him in new and lovely clothes. The boy looked charming. With love and obedience the boy touched his father's
feet.

Hiranyakasipu asked him tenderly, "Child, what is the highest thing you have learnt?" Prahlada expressed his innermost thoughts: "Dear father, to hear with my ears the holy names of Srihari, to have a song to Him on my lips, a thought of Him in my mind, to worship only Him and to bow to Him, to be His servant and His friend, to offer myself to Him in devotion - this is the highest knowledge."

It was as if liquid fire raced through Hiranyakashipu's body. He called his teachers and thundered at them: "You wicked Brahmins, you have taught my son bad things and ruined him! You seem to have joined my enemies and to have no fear of meat at all!"

The poor teachers! Their heart was heavy with grief and fear. Trembling in fear they prayed to him thus: "Great King, we beg of you, be not angry with us. This is not what we have taught. The prince himself says that he learnt it by himself. Do not say we have secretly worked against you."

The anger of the King of the Rakshasas now turned on his son. He said, "Wretched fellow, how did you learn such evil?"

Prahlada had no fear whatever. "Father, this I have said is not evil. No one taught this to me. It is wrong to think that I am different from others this wisdom came to me by the grace of Vishnu."


He Must Be Killed

At the words of his son, Hiranyakasipu trembled in great anger. He pushed the boy away and roared to his servants, "Do not wait; take away this evil fellow from my presence at once. Drag him away. Kill him. Just as a disease born in the body destroys it, this cursed boy born in our family will destroy it."

Rakshasas of horrible forms, carrying terrible weapons, were shocked when they heard the order of their master. What, kill the young prince? But they did not have the courage to disobey the king's order, so they went up to the boy.The little boy stood unmoved meditating on Lord Hari. They struck the boy with the sharp point of the lance. But it did not pierce his body. Not a hair was hurt. No weapon injured him. Hiranyakasipu stood amazed. But the next moment he was reminded of his son's devotion to Vishnu and his eyes became red with anger.

He screamed, "Bring elephants. Let him trampled under their feet."

Those who heard the king's cruel order trembled. But Prahlada himself was calm and showed not the slightest trace of fear. Elephants entered the palace. The king himself watched; his heart had turned to stone because of hatred. An elephant stood upon the boy. Oh wonder of wonders! Nothing happened to the boy!

Hiranyakashipu's anger knew no bounds. He was grievously insulted.In boiling anger he ordered Prahlada to be thrown into the river. Then Prahlada joyously floated on water repeating the sacred names of Hari. It was an unbearable insult to his father. 'I must kill the boy' - this was the thought that filled all his mind. Prahlada was given poison; but his devotion to Hari changed it into nectar. The king's servants pushed him from the ledge of a mountain rock; he fell like a light flower from a branch and came back to his father unhurt. Thrown into the fire, he glowed like the Fire God. Rain, wind, snow and sun - nothing could hurt him in the least. Hiranyakasipu was amazed. He said, "This boy is barely a span in height, just five years old; and yet he has such wonderful power. Bravo! He is fit to be my son. But he is loyal to my enemy Vishnu! Vishnu killed my brother Hiranyaksha, and my son is devoted to him! What shall I do? He is devoted to my accursed enemy. Perhaps he will be my death." So he was troubled.


'Narada Taught Me'

Then the sons of Sukracharya met Hiranyakasipu when he was alone andsaid, "King of the Rakshasas I in all the three worlds there is no one whom you have not defeated.When you are so strong why worried about this boy? Our father Sukra- charya will be here in a short time. He will somehow correct this boy and properly shape his nature. Besides, Prahlada is yet small boy. He may grow up to be a sensible man. Until then let him stay with us." The king agreed and sent his son with them.

Prahlada again entered the house of the masters. The teachers taught him how a king should rule and how he should defeat his enemies.But he had no interest in such matters. So time passed.

Once both the teachers went home on business. The boys wished to relax and play. They also called Prahlada to join them. He said to them in his sweet voice, "Friends, human life is a rare gift. It is not a small thing to be born a man and not ari animal. When we get this gift we should not waste it. If we wish to be happy, we must be devoted to Srihari from childhood. That is the only way to make our lifeworthy. If our ways please God, He will give anything. Narada himself has taught me this. What is the use of this wretched education? This is only a waste of time." The boys were surprised to hear these words. Prahlada was studying with them; Chanda and Amarka were the teachers of all of them. How then was Narada Prah- lada's teacher? So they asked Prahlada, "Prince, you have always been with us. Where did you meet Narada? When did he teach you?" To clear this doubt, Prahlada told the story of his past to them.

It is an interesting story. "You know, boys, that in days gone by, my father went to the mountain Mandara for meditation. Then the gods thought that was the best time to attack the country of the Rakshasas. The king was not there to protect the Rak- shasas. They were defeated and ran away helter-skelter. The gods looted the palace. Devendra was dragging away my mother Kayadhu as a war - prisoner. She was crying piteously. Then Narada happened to come that way. He said, 'Oh King I What injustice is this? Is it right for you to do this? She is a pious woman and you are dragging her. First leave her.' Then Devendra replied, 'Holy Sir, I entertain no evil thought about this woman. She is now with child. I fear the child that is born will cause ruin and harm to us as his father does. I shall take her home. As soon as the child is born I shall kill him and send her back home.'

"Then Narada laughed and said, 'Friend, you do not know the truth. The son to be born of her will be devoted to God. You cannot kill him. Besides, is this an act worthy of the king of the gods?' On hearing these words of Narada, Indra felt ashamed. He touched the feet of my mother and let her go. Narada took her to his Ashrama. During her stay there Narada taught her Bhagavata Dharma, the way of those who love God. I was in the womb of my mother; I heard and understood these teachings. After my father returned home, my mother came to the palace. As days passed she forgot the Bhagavata Dharma. But it was firmly fixed in my mind. If you hear those teachings you will get the same wisdom." The story was very interesting. Prahlada's friends were delighted. They were curious now to know more about Bhagavata Dharma. So they said, "You speak of Bhagavata Dharma, what is it?" Now Prahlada explained,"it is the way of winning the love of God. There are many ways of making God love us. Of these many ways, the best and the easiest is Bhagavata Dharma. We should love Him with all our hearts. We should always think of him. We should believe that everything really belongs to Him and act according to that belief. We should always be in the company of good people. So we have joy and peace. So Narada taught me." These words appealed to the other boys; a they, too, became the devotees of Srihari.



Vishnu in the Form of Varaha

The masters learnt what had happened. Their minds were filled with grief and anger.The king had become wild withanger because Prahlada had become a devotee of Hari. What may he do when he learnt that all the boys had become devotees of Srihari ? So they approached Prahlada and spoke to him sweet words: "Child, have you done right? Don't you know how deeply and strongly your father hates Vishnu? Is it not the same Hari in the form of the wild pig who killed your uncle?"

Prahlada was curious. He said, "Holy Sirs, tell me about it." Then the masters called all the pupils. They narrated the story of Narayana so as to blame the deeds of Varaha.

"When Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksha were born, the gods trembled with fear. These two Children gained terrible forms and grew up day by day and looked like mountains. The younger of the two, Hiran- yaksha, was the stronger and attacked Heaven, the kingdom of the gods. At his very sight they were struck so much with fear that they hid themselves. Hiranyaksha challenged Varuna, the Lord of the Ocean, to a fight. But Varuna answered, '’O great hero, I live like a hermit. I do not wish to fight. Besides, who can fight with you! Only God can do it.' Then Hiranyaksha went in search of Hari." Prahlada was listening to the story. The teachers continued, "At that moment, through one of the nostrils of Parabrahma a pig shot out. He was very small. In size -just aninch tall. Buteven as the onlookers were gazing, he began to grow. He grew and grew and became huge like a mountain. The Earth had fallen into the ocean and was lying under the water. The pig lifted it on his tusks. He was now rising above the water in order to offer the Earth to Brahma. Hiranyaksha saw this mountain like pig and was astounded.Still in limitless pride he cried -'Foolish pig, leave the earth where it is and go away. Yes, I now know who you are, you are no other than Maha- vishnu in the form of a pig. I have come to break your head.' So saying he stopped the pig. The Earth - Goddess trembled at the fearful appearance of the Rakshasa. But Varaha (the huge pig) did not take notice of these things. He was rising from the ocean. Hiranyaksha grew impatient and called loudly, 'Coward! You have no shame.'Varaha heard these insultingwords and put aside the Earth. His eyes were red with anger.He said, 'These words of empty pride will only lead you to the jaws ofdeath. Well, then, fight.' A dreadful fight followed between them."

The teachers continued the story of the fight. "'The gods witnessed this terrible fight. It went on from morning till evening.

"Brahma was very anxious to see the fight finished, before.Darkness fell,byAdivaraha (the first pig).For, as darknessapproaches, the strength of Rakshasas, too, grows. As though he read Brahma's thoughts, the divine pig smiled and sent his disc (the Chakra) whirling towards Hiranyaksha. This mighty weapon destroyed all weapons of our Yuvaraja, Hiranyaksha. At this, Hiran- yaksha's anger rose high and he rushed forward roaring with anger to crush Hari in his arms. Then the divine pig struck a stunning blow on Hiranyaksha's cheek. The blow was so terrible. That Hiranyaksha fell to the ground and died."

The teachers of the Rakshasas were filled with sorrow while narrating the story of Hiranyaksha's death. But Prahlada begged the teachers to continue the story. They said, "At the death of Hiranyaksha his wife Vrishadbhanu and her children were overpowered with grief. His mother Dithidevi was heart-broken. Our master Piranyakashipu also was filled with sorrow. But he tried to console the others. He said: 'everyone has to die. So do not weep. My brother fought and died like a hero. So why weep for his death?' So he tried to comfort the weeping the relatives.



'This Boon I seek....'

"Our King Hiranyakasipu tried to console others. But sorrow burnt his own heart like fire. Even, before this, our king Hiranya- kasipu hated Vishnu. Now Hari's very name was like poison to him. His blood was boiling with the hatred of Vishnu. He called the generals of his army
Illyala, Nam uchi and others. He said, 'Give the devotees of Vishnu as much trouble asyou can. Dest those who perform sacrifices and worship Vishnu.' They burnt the cities, razed temples to the ground -They destroyed the crops.They teased the people. How can we describe the bravery of the Rakshasas?" The teachers narrated this story with great joy. But Prahlada felt -sick when he heard of the evil deeds of the Rakshasas. He wished to end the evil actions of the Rakshasas. He wished to change their nature.

The teachers continued, "The King of the Rakshasas retired to the mountainMandara and began Tapas (meditation on the Lord). What a~ severe meditation it was! Tostand on the toe so as to throw the whole weight of the body on it, to hold the arms raised straight and the eyes looking up at the sky! Thus he offered a severe prayer. Many years passed. But he did not move even an inch. Flame rose from his body and enveloped the entire universe. Rivers and oceans boiled. The earth shook. Fire spread on all sides. The very gods were filled with fear. They went to Satyaloka and prayed to Brahma to save them. Brahma- deva appeared to Hiranyakasipu and said, 'Hiranyakasipu, arise. I am pleased with your devotion. I never saw before such a severe meditation. Ask for whatever you desire.'

"Brahmadeva sprinkled holy water over the body of the king. At once it shone like gold.Tears of gratitude filled with his eyes. He was so full of joy that at first he could not speak. Then he spoke with much effort, 'Lord, you bestow light on the dark world; you are the creator of all, the protector of all, and, finally, you are the destroyer of all. You are all powerful; you know everything.You are free fromdefects. No god is easily moved like you to take pity on his devotees and to grant them boons. I bow to you humbly !' Brahma was pleased with his devotion. He said 'Why have you undertaken such a severe Tapas Hiranyakasipu replied, 'Great Lord, if you will grant my prayer, this is what I seek:

'Let not death come to me from any creature created by you; let me not meet with death either in the house or outside it; let not my death occur either during the day or at night; no weapon should cause my death; I should not die either on land or in the sky.'


Brahma granted the boon."

"Children, you have now heard about the power of the King of Rakshasas. How strong is he! What god can oppose him? The three worlds belong to him. Now why should you turn away from him? Why follow any other religion and seek another god?"

Then Prahlada smilingly said, " Why master's, a king may secure boons from Brahma. But does that mean he can do what is evil, and that he will not be punished ? All must bow to the will of Mahavishnu who is the master of Brahma. His kindness flows in innumerable ways to protect the world." At the wise -words of young Prahlada, the other boys nodded their heads in agreement and admiration.


The Savior comes from the Split Pillar

Shukracharya's sons were filled with horror to see that the situation was out of their control. They now understood clearly that they could not make Prahlada change his mind. They went straight to the King of the Rakshasas and told him what had happened. When he heard this anger knew no bounds. He sent messengers to bring Prahlada. He came and stood before him. Then the king thundered at the boy, "You curse of the family! Have you not yet given Up Your evil thoughts? The three worlds tremble at my glance. But you, my son, how did you dare to disobey me? You are very young; some one must have misled you and encouraged you.Otherwise you would not have had such evil ideas and such courage. Speak the true who has shown you such an evil path T' The earth shook as the king roared at the boy. But Prahlada calmly replied, "Dear father, it was Srihari who gave me this courage. He is stronger than any one else. You and 1, the universe, even Brahma is as nothing before his strength. He is the real Lord of the Universe." All the gods were under the thumb of the mighty Hiranyakasipu; and here was a mere boy of five giving him advice! The king of the Rakshasas was mad withanger. He shouted in rage: "Unlucky fool, your death is near. I am the Lord of all the worlds, the only master! is there' another ? Where is he? Show him to me."

"He is everywhere," Young Prahlada's answer came without a moment's delay.

The king could no longer control himself through anger. "Wicked fellow, is he everywhere? You mad boy, why should he no, appear to me in this pillar? I am, going to kill you this very moment. You have been praising Hari as the Lord of the Universe. Let him come to your help if he can." So saying he drew out his sword and pounced upon the little boy.

Then there was a terrible deafening noise as if the universe itself split into two. Even the very brave Hiranyakasipu started from his place at the terrible noise.The courtiers shook with fear and stood like statues of stone. As the stunned men watched, the pillar split into two.

There was Srihari, in the form of Narasimha!

He had the head of a lion and the body of a man.

The eyes of this terrible figure were dazzling they looked like molten gold. The hair on the head and the moustache and the beard stood straight and erect. The sharp and pointed jaws chattered harsely; the tongue quivered like a sword and was sharp as a dagger. His eyebrows were close knit. The ears were raised and stood erect. The mouth gaped like a mountain cave. The two nostrils looked like wells turned upside down. The body was huge and mountain - like. It seemed to touch the skies and to stop the very clouds. It had countless arms. The body was covered with hair,white like silver. The very sight of the sharp claws made -one tremble.

This terrible form split the pillar and came out. Hiranyakashipu's courtiers had crowded the hall; but not one dared to look at him, not to speak of approaching him.

And yet, Hiranyakasipu steadily looked him in the face. His was extraordinary courage. He understood what was going to happen. "Oh, this is Mahavishnu. This is the very god who killed my brother assuming the form of a wild pig. If I kill him all the gods will be helpless; they will be like the branches of a tree whose trunk has been cut and removed. Well, I shall test his strength." So thinking he raised his sword and fell upon Narasimha.

Without doubt, Hiranyakasipu was a man of extraordinary strength and courage. But what could he do against Lord Narasimha? He was like a little sparrow dashing against a mountain. That god of immense power seized the Rakshasa as easily as Garuda seizes a snake. But the Rakshasa slipped from his grip like a snake. Narasimha caught him again like a snake seizing a mouse; with a loud roar he carried Hiranyakasipu to the threshold of the hall. He sat on the threshold with the Rakshasa in his lap. Then he dug his nails deep into his body and tore it open. He took out the entrails and wore them round his neck.

All this while the bodyguards and the other courtiers had stood speechless and motionless in paralyzing fear. But at the death of their king they sprang to action. In fierce rage, they fell on Narasimha in a body. But all were crushed into a lump of flesh in the winking of an eye.

After the enemies were all destroyed, Narahari sat on the throne of the Rakshasa King, glaring at those around him. The gods showered flowers from heaven. The Gandharva sang divine music. The Apsaras, the dancers of heaven, danced in joy. All earth rejoiced. But the terrible anger of Narasimha did not diminish. Even Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Vishnu's wife, was afraid to go near him.

How was he to be pacified? The little boy Prahlada touched the feet of Narasimha with his head, in deep devotion.

At the tender touch of Prahlada the Lord was pleased. He grew calm. Anger gave way to kindness. Narasimha kissed the boy softly and raised him gently. The gods nodded their heads in admiration and praised Vishnu's ways. "Hiranyakasipu got boons from Lord Brahma; and Narasimha has respected all the promises. For it is now twilight, which is neither day nor night; the place is neither outside the house nor inside it, it is the threshold. Again he was killed neither on land nor in the sky, but on the lap of the god; he was killed neither by weapons nor by missiles but torn by nails; no one created by Brahma has killed him; it is Vishnu, in the form of Narasimha, who slew him. 0 wonder of wonders!" so they sang the praise of the Lord.

Prahlada was thrilled at the touch of the Lord's hand. Tears of joy ran down his cheeks. All his sorrow disappeared. The highest knowledge dawned in his mind. He prayed to Narasimha, "God, you are full of compassion. You protect the whole world. Even the gods cannot fully understand your greatness. You have punished the unjust. Lord, why are you still anger and protect the just."

Narahari was pleased with these words. He said, "Child Prahlada, I am pleased with your devotion; ask for whatever you desire."

How different was the son from his father Prahlada was a tender boy of five; but he had true wisdom.

He bowed and said to the Lord, I am devoted to God. May this devotion be firmly rooted in my heart! May no other desire appear there I" Narahari was very much pleased with this prayer of Prahlada, the greatest of God's devotees. He said, "I grant your prayer, child. Rule over this kingdom for some time. Live happily. Do only what is right and just, so that all men will approve. At the end you will come to me." So he granted a boon.



The Story behind the Story

The story of Prahlada is very interesting, isn't it? There is a story behind this story.

Why did Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksha hate Vishnu so-bitterly?

Here is the story to explain it.

Two pious devotees named Jaya and Sri Vishnu had appointed Vijaya doorkeepers. They felt that they were the chosen doorkeepers of Vaikunta and were always very near the Supreme Lord Narayana. So they grew haughty. Once it so happened that four boy-saints named Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatsujata came to pay homage to Sri Vishnu. Because of their great yogic power, they could enter Vaikunta. Jaya and Vijaya puffed up with arrogance stopped them. The saints were angry and cursed them. They said, "You are so very near the Lord, and yet you are ignorant. Until you get supreme knowledge, wander in the world below." Then the two doorkeepers came to their senses. Trembling with sorrow, they prayed to Sri Narayana. He said to them, "These are men of pure piety and great self-control. Their words must come true. Go to the earth below; come back when you have gained wisdom." Then they wept before the Lord saying, "What will be our fate if through ignorance we forget God Himself?" Narayana took pity on them. He said, "Jaya and Vijaya, which will you choose - to be my devotees in seven births or my enemies in three we cannot bear births?"

Then they fell 'irom Vaikunta and were born as twin Rakshasas, Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksha. They were the enemies of God and of the way to God. Vishnu assumed the form of Varaha and Narasimha and killed them both. After this in Kitayuga they were born as Ravana and Kumbhakarna and were killed by Sri Ramachandra. Then in Dwapara they were born as Shishupala and Dantavakra, and Sri Krishna killed them. So they were freed from the curse.



The King of the Gods Becomes A Disciple

Narasimha disappeared after blessing Prahlada. Then Prahlada ascended the throne and ruled over the three worlds - Heaven, the Earth and the lower regions. Because of his virtues he won vast fame and popularity. The worlds enjoyed blissful peace under such a pious king. Piety and peace were firmly established everywhere. There was prosperity everywhere. His virtues and his character gave him unequalled strength. He was able to defeat Indra and to bring Amaravati, Indra's capital' also under his rule. Indra lost everything. He approached Brihaspatya- charya, the teacher of the gods, and said, "Master, how can I attain what is really good? How can I attain Mangala T' The Acharya replied, "Knowledge which is a means to salvation also leads to what is really good." Then Indra again asked, "Is there a better means, any special way?" The Guru said, "Yes there is. If you can please Sukracharya, the teacher of the Rakshasas, he will teach you."

Then Indra went to Sukracharya and got from him knowledge, which leads to salvation. Then Indra said, "Master, is there any good higher 'than this?" Sukracharya replied, "Yes. Prahlada, who defeated you in the war, knows it. Go to him."
Indra was surprised to hear this and approached him. In the guise of a Brahmin he waited at the gates of Prahlada's palace.Prahlada welcomed him with honor. Then Indra said, "King of the Rakshasas, what can give a man the highest good? Teach me this. "Then Prahlada replied, "Sir, I wish to look after the three worlds well, and have worries of my own. Where have I the time to teach you?"
But Indra would not give up. He said, "Whenever you have time, give me just a little advice. I only wish to learn from you the highest duty." Prahlada agreed. From that day Indra became the disciple of Prahlada. Step by step he acquired knowledge. Indra served his Guru so well that Prahlada was pleased.When Prahlada was in a happy mood Indra asked him, "Great Sir, how did you conquer the three worlds? What is the secret?' Prahlada did not suspect that the person before him was cunning Indra and that he was trying to occupy his place. He said, "ListenBrahmin, it is by my character that I was able to win astery over the three worlds. But I never boast of my lordship. I obey Sukracharya and I serve my elders and teachers with all my heart, and follow their guidance. I control my senses. That is how I have realized the highest good." Prahlada was highly pleased with his disciple for his keen interest in the highest good. So he said to him, "Oh Brahmin, I am pleased with your service. Ask for whatever you desire."
Indra's heart rejoiced. He replied, "King of Rakshasas, if you are really pleased, and if you wish to make me happy, bestow your pure character on me."
When he heard these words Prahlada was troubled. He knew that once his pure character left him, he would lose strength and position. But he could not break his promise. He said to Indra, "Well, I give you my character. Farewell." Soon after the departure of the Brahmin, character, good conduct, piety, truth and strength all appeared as lights, took leave of him and left him. They entered Indra. Prahlada was not unhappy. With a peaceful mind he rose to the presence of Lord Narahari.
Prahlada was born the son of a Rakshasa. Even as a small boy he became a victim to the fury of his father. But Vishnu, pleased with his devotion, appeared before him. Indra, the Lord of the gods, had to beg Prahlada, a Rakshasa by birth, for knowledge.

High or low birth is not important, age is not important; a pure mind is important, a spotless character is important - this is the lesson his story blazes to the world.
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Nikhil Gadodia
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Spritual Space: Sri Krishna - February 20th, 2006

Introduction

The matchless hero who held the fate of the emperors in the palm of his hand but himself never desired a throne. The great hero who was born in a prison and died in solitude in a forest. He gave the world the Bhagavadgeetha. He is the architect of Dharma who lives forever in the hears of the people of
India.
Author - Srimurthi


Sri Krishna

Sri Krishna Jayanthi-the birthday of lord
Krishna-is a great festive occasion, a day of rejoicing and is celebrated in every home from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari.

From The Prison To Nanadgokula

Mathura was a town in a region of
India now known as Uttar Pradesh. Ugrasena was the king. He was a wicked, hard- hearted man. Kamsa, was a wicked, hard-hearted man. Kamsa arrogant and boasted of his strength. He was an evil son who sent his own father to prison and became king.

Devaki, the sister of Kamsa, married Vasudeva. On the day of the marriage the new couple went out in grand procession. With great enthusiasm Kamsa was himself driving the chariot.

All of a sudden Kamsa heard a voice from the skies: "You fool! You are driving the chariot of your sister and brother-in-law, but you do not know that the eighth son of this very woman will kill you".

Kamsa was shocked. He was also furious. Then he exclaimed, "if my sister lives, her son will be my death. Well, I shall kill Devaki herself!" and drew his sword. Vasudeva begged him not to slay a woman. Kamsa then put them both behind prison bars. Thereafter, he killed every child born to Devaki.

The eighth child was
Krishna. He was born on Shravan Bahula Ashtami (the eight day of the second half of the month of Shravan).. He was dark as cloud, but his face had matchless radiance. Vasudeva felt he should save at least this child.

That night as the guards were in deep slumber, Vasudeva left with the child. Vasudeva left with the child. It was raining heavily. Vasudeva had to cross the river yamuna. But he walked on with his precious burden. He reached distant Gokula and left the child in the house of Nanda, a cowherd. Nada’s wife, yashoda, had just then given birth to a daughter. Vasudeva hastened back to the prison with Yashoda’s child.

When the guards woke up, they heard the baby crying. They immediately raced to Kamsa and reported to him the birth of a child.

"I shall slay the child, " said Kamsa, and rushed to the prison.

But the child slipped from his hands and sprang to sky. It said to Kamsa "Wretch! The child who is destined to kill you is growing p in Gokula, " and disappeared. Kamsa was stunned. And then he decided that the child in Gokula should die. But how was he to kill it? He began to plan.

Yashoda, Nanda’s wife was supremely happy to see her beautiful son. The bewitching child’s smile made her forgets the world.

The stories about
Krishna’s childhood are very interesting. One day a well-dressed, beautiful woman came Gokula. She was all smiles, she began to feed the child at her breast. This woman was in fact Poothani, a wicked woman sent by Kamsa to kill Krishna. Her milk was poisonous. but Krishna smilingly sucked the milk from her breast and killed her by sucking out her life.

Kamsa sent two more rakshasas Trinavartha and Shakatasura.
Krishna killed them, too.

It is said a number of such incidents foretold the future greatness of
Krishna.

Kamsa was powerful and wicked. His persecution trouble Nanda and he was filled with fear. The gopa- the cowherd- decided to leave Gokula. They migrated to Brindavan. Brindavan soon developed into a township.
Krishna and his friends were delighted. The woods, the banks of the Yamuna, the valleys and the fields echoed and re-echoed with their loud shouts and gay laughter. Vasudeva had another wife Rohini by name; she was living in Gokula. She had a son, Balarama, who was older than Krishna. Their mischief and their laughter filled all Brindavan.

One day the cowherd boys drank the water of a lake. At once they fell down dead. This was because of a huge serpent in the lake, which had poisoned the water.
Krishna decided to put an end to this danger. The huge serpent tried to coil itself round him, but Krishna caught hold of its tail and stepped on its hood. Theserpent struggled and tried to bite him: but Krishna pressed down its hood harder and the serpent was helpless. Krishna then let it go and the serpent left the lake. Every one rejoiced at the departure of the serpent.

The cowherd boys were a big crowd.
Krishna was their leader. They played and sang, they dance and swan, as he bade them. They played gaily in the woods, and swam in every lake.
The Darling Child Of Yashoda

So Krishna won the love of every one and proved a born leader. But to Yashoda he was her darling little child. Some times when he was too naughty the gopies complained to Yashoda, and she punished him, too, before his mother he looked like an innocent little child.

There is a very interesting story about the boy
Krishna. One day Balarama rushed to Yashoda: he said: "Mother! Krishna is eating mud. His body is all covered with mud and his mouth is full of it. " Just then the lovely child came up. His face and body were covered with mud. Yashoda began to question the boy, "You naughty fellow! Haven’t you had enough butter at home? Do you eat mud?"

With a wry face
Krishna lisped: "Oh no, mother! Brother is uttering a lie. I have not touched mud at all. " Yashoda said angrily, "Enough! Open your mouth. " Krishna opened his mouth.

Yashoda looked. She was startled and could only exclaim ‘Ah!’

She did not see mud in
Krishna's mouth. But she saw all the worlds! As she looked she was dazed. She was terrified and folded her hands and closed her eyes.

When she opened her eyes she saw the laughing little child before her. She forgot all she had seen. She, too, laughed and

Swept the child into her arms. And
Krishna laughed as if he knew nothing.
The Govardhana Hill

As
Krishna grew in age people's respect for him also grew. Whenever a decision had to be taken, even elderly people would say, 'Let us consult Krishna!'

Once in the rainy season the gopalas were making preparations to worship God Indra. To them Indra was the God of rains.
Krishna, however, did not like this idea. He felt it was the Govardhana Hill which caused the rains, and he suggested that they should worship the hill. All the others agreed.

Indra was angry that he was not worshipped. He decided to punish the gopalas. The very sky seemed to open and the rains came down in torrents.

People were terrified.
Krishna then lifted up the Govardhana Hill, like an umbrella over the people and the cattle. Indra was humbled and stopped the rains.

There are a number of such incidents which bring out the greatness of
Krishna. He became the light and the joy of Brindavan. When he played on his flute men, women and children, and the very cattle, were thrilled and forgot the world.
The Slaying Of Kamsa

Here in '
Mathura, Kamsa was beginning to feel more and more alarmed. Keshi, another rakshasa whom he sent, was also killed. Kamsa threw Vasudeva and Devaki into the prison and planned to invite Krishna to Mathura and kill him there. He, therefore, sent his cousin Akrura to Brindavan to bring Krishna. Akrura was a great devotee of Krishna. He told Krishna of Kamsa's evil intentions. Krishna rejoiced. He said, "Let us all go to Mathura. " With him went Akrura, Balarama, Nanda and some other gopalakas.

The news of the visit of
Krishna spread in Mathura. So everywhere there was curiosity, excitement and joy.

As
Krishna and Balarama were approaching the palace a big elephant of the name Kuvalayapida rushed towards Krishna. Kamsa had deliberately stationed the elephant there to kill Krishna. Krishna cut off the trunk. The huge animal fell down and died.

As the brothers approached Kamsa's court two wrestlers, Mushtika and Chanura by name, stepped forward. They were famous all over the country for their wrestling. They were very strong. The spectators were filled with pity and murmured, "Poor boys! What can they do against these rocklike? Wrestlers!"

Krishna took on Chanura and Balarama took on Mushtika. And the two wrestlers were killed. When he saw his two formidable wrestlers killed by the boys, Kamsa was bewildered and filled with fear. Krishna pounced on Kamsa, caught hold of his hair and pushed him to the ground. Kamsa tried to get up to save himself. He tried to fight. But Krishna killed him. The people of Mathura sighed in relief. They celebrated Krishna's victory with great joy because Kamsa had been a tyrant. Krishna did not ascend the throne, but crowned Ugrasena, his grandfather.
At The Guru's Feet

Sandipani was a great and wise sage.
Krishna went to him for education. Like the other disciples he also worked in his teacher's house, and learnt in a Spirit of humility. Sandipani was pleased with his earnestness, his modesty and his intelligence. Krishna soon mastered law, military science, political science and other arts and sciences. When 'his education was complete he said to his teacher, "Sir, what shall I give you as Gurudakshina?" (Gurudakshina is the Pupil’s offering to his teacher to express his gratitude. ) Sandipani's wife said, "We lost our son in the holy Prabhasa. Bring him back to us. " The task seemed impossible, but Krishna did not hesitate. There was a rakshasa by name Panchajanya; he had carried away Sandipani's son while he was bathing in the sea near holy Prabhasa. Krishna defeated Panchajana and returned with the Guru's son. He also brought the conch 'Panchajanya'. Krishna then returned to Mathura.

Kuchela was the classmate of
Krishna and Balarama in the ashram of Sandipani Muni. They had been close friends. After his return Kuchela had to live in utter poverty. His wife and children had to starve.

One day Kuchela's wife said to him, ills not Lord Krishna your classmate? Go to him and seek help. "

Kuchela agreed. But how could he go empty-handed to see his old friend? There was nothing in his house except a handful of beaten rice. Kuchela left for
Mathura with this gift.

Kuchela was nervous.
Krishna hadbecome a very great and important person. Kings came to him for help and were eager to please him. Would he talk to Kuchela?

As soon as
Krishna saw Kuchela, he ran forward to receive him. He embraced him and took him into the palace and treated him with great affection.

Kuchela was hesitant to offer the handful of beaten rice. But
Krishna grabbed it, ate it and offered it to others, and he praised its taste.

Kuchela spent four days happily in the palace. And he forgot to ask
Krishna to relieve his poverty.

By the time he reached home
Krishna had sent gold and rich clothes and money to his house. And a splendid mansion was built for Kuchela.
To Dwaraka

Jarasandha, the powerful King of Magadha, was the father-in-law of Kamsa. He had a powerful army.

He was angry with
Krishna for killing Kamsa and was roused to fury by the distress of his daughters. He was determined to kill Krishna. He marched with a big army to Mathura. Krishna mobilised the Yadava youths. Jarasandha's army camped outside the fort. Krishna attacked the enemy's forces like lightning. The Magadha soldiers fled. Jarasandha was filled with shame. He invaded Mathura with a much bigger force. Several kings also joined him.

Krishna's army met the enemy half way and attacked even before Jarasandha could reach Mathura. The Magadha forces were not prepared for this assault.

In the confusion their own elephants crushed them. But again and again Jarasandha attacked
Mathura and did so seventeen times.

But how long could this kind of war go on?
Krishna observed that the strength of the Yadavas was diminishing. It is not enough to fight heroically on the battlefield. When one is at a disadvantage one should retreat from the battlefield, and should strike again at the right moment and destroy the enemies.

When the
Magadha forces attacked for the seventeenth time Krishna led all his people to Dwaraka, by a secret route.

Why did
Krishna go to Dwaraka? It was a city he himself had built to protect the Yadavas from Jarasandha. Dwaraka was surrounded by the sea. And it was an impregnable fortress.


The Heroic Krishna

Rukmini was the daughter of King Bhishmaka of Vidarbha. She was as beautiful as she was good. She had fallen in love with Krishna. She had the blessings of her father also. But her elder brother Rukmi would not listen to her. He argued that Krishna was the son of a cowherd and belonged to a low caste. He decided that she should marry a king, Shishupala by name. Rukmini wept in misery and sent word to Krishna.

Krishna came to Vidarbha, put Rukmini in his chariot and made off for Dwaraka. Rukmi and his army set out in fiercepursuit of Krishna. He insulted Krishna. But he and his army could not face Krishna's arrows. Krishna felled Rukmi and went to Dwaraka. And there Sri Krishna and Rukmini were happily married.

We all love Deepavali, the Festival of Lights, don's we? We celebrate it with great joy. The festival of Narakachaturdashi marks the beginning of the celebrations of Deepavali.

Narakasura was the demon King of Pragjyotishapura. He was harassing all good and pious people. Even the gods suffered at his hands. Krishna went to Pragjyotishapura. He destroyed the formidable fortifications and entered the city. A huge army opposed him. Krishna cut off the head of Narakasura with his 'Chakra' (or the wheel) just as dawn was breaking. So, that day came to be known as Narakachaturdashi. All the land rejoiced. And Krishna set free all the princesses whom Narakasura had thrown into prison.

The Saviour Of The Pandavas

Draupadi was the daughter of King Drupada. Preparations were being made for her marriage. The bridegroom was to be chosen in a 'Swayamvara'. There was a contest. The man who could shoot an arrow to hit the eye of a fish-like target suspended high above would win her. Arjuna, the third among the five Pandava brothers, succeeded. It was at the Swayamvara that
Krishna became his friend and the friend of the Pandavas. Arjuna was a matchless warrior. Krishna thought that he could destroy all the evil men in the world through Arjuna.

Later Subhadra,
Krishna's sister, married Arjuna. So Arjuna and Krishna come closer.

The Pandavas grew in strength They started preparing for the Rajasuya Sacrifice. The Pandava army marched forth. Arjuna was in command, with him was
Krishna.

Bhima, Arjuna and
Krishna arrived in Magadha. There was a grim duel between Bhima and Jarasandha. Although Bhima had the upper hand Jarasandha could not be killed. Bhima was getting tired. So Krishna made a sign. Bhima understood him; he took jarasandha by the legs and tore him into two and flung the pieces in opposite directions.

Shishupala, too, bore a grudge against
Krishna. At the time of the Rajasuya Sacrifice, Dharmaraja offered the first honours to Krishna. Shishupala resented this. He abused Krishna using filthy language. Krishna hurled his 'Chakra' at Shishupala and cut off his head.

Duryodhana was the son of Dhritarashtra, the uncle of the Pandavas. The successes and the popularity of the Pandavas made Duryodhana jealous. He invited Dharmaraja to a game of dice. Dharmaraja staked and lost everything. He staked and lost Draupadi, too. Duryodhana was intoxicated with success and behaved like a mad man. He summoned Draupadi to the royal court. In the open assembly, Dusshasana, Durodhana’s brothers, attempted to strip her naked. No one came to her rescue. In great anguish Drapadi cried out to
Krishna for help. Krishna blessed her, and the sari the was wearing became endless. The honour of Drapadi was saved. She took oath that she would tie her hair only after Dusshasana was killed.

The Pandavas had to spend twelve years in exile in the forests and then spend a year after that in disguise. This was the penalty for defeat, according To the conditions of the match. They had to face innumerable difficulties. But
Krishna always came to their rescue. Once Durvasa, a short-tempered Sage, came to the Pandavas with hundreds of his disciples. They were all to be Dharmaraja’s guests. They went for a bath and were to return in a short time. The Pandavas were nervous, for there was no food to serve. Draupadi prayed to Krishna. He appeared at once. He said, "Draupadi, I am hungry, give me food. " Draupadi both laughed and wept. Krishna asked her to bring the vessel which she used to cook food.

He ate the food sticking to one side of the vessel. He said he was satisfied. That very moment Durvasa and his disciples suddenly felt as if they had eaten sumptuously. Durvasa realised that Krishna had saved the Pandavas. After twelve years in the forest the Pandavas had to spend a year in disguise, without being recognized by any one. They spent this period in the court of Virata.

So the Pandavas had spent thirteen years in exile, according to the conditions of the game of dice. They justly demanded that Duryodhana should give them back their kingdom. But Duryodhana was greedy, and also jealous. He declared that, if the Pandavas wanted their kingdom, they could fight for it.


The Ambassador Of the Pandavas

Dharmaraja did not wish to fight for the kingdom. So he said to Krishna, "We must avert a war. So you must negotiate for us. If they are not willing to give half the kingdom, let them at least give five villages. " Draupadi was unhappy; if there was no war, how could Duryodhana and his followers be punished for humiliating her? How could she fulfil her vow? The entrails of Dusshasana were to be dug out, Duryodhana's thigh had to be broken, and Karna had to die. She said to Krishna, "Decide in favour of a war. Krishna replied, "Dear. sister, do not weep. Even though I go as a mediator I shall decide only in favour of a war. I can never forget your untied hair. All the wicked and impious people in the world should die together. A kingdom based on Dharma has to be established. For this war is inevitable. "

Before calling on Duryodhana Krishna first went to Vidura's house.

Vidura was a member of Duryodhana's court. His mother had been one of the servants of a former queen. But Vidura was a venerable sage. He lived a pure and righteous life. So he was dear to Krishna. Vidura was overjoyed when Krishna went to his house. Krishna received his hospitality and then went to Duryodhana's court.

Paving The Way For The War

There were great and wise and brave men like Bhishma and Drona, in Duryodhana's court. But every one respected Krishna. In a dignified way and in -measured words he explained why he had come to Hasthinavathi.

He said, "The Pandavas follow Truth. They have fulfilled their promise by spending twelve years in exile and one year in disguise. It is, therefore, right that Duryodhana should return their kingdom and live with them in peace andfriendship. " Sages like Parashurama, Kanva and Narada advised Duryodhana to accept the offer of the Pandavas. Dhritarashtra, Duryodhana's father, also said, "Listen to the advise of Krishna; do not ruin yourself by insisting on fighting. "

Duryodhana's grandfather Bhishma, a I man of great wisdom, Drona, Duryodhana's Guru, all told Duryodhana that he should make peace with his cousins. "Do not unnecessarily sacrifice the lives of millions of people on the battlefield. "

Duryodhana was - obstinate. "Say what you will, I am not – prepared to return the kingdom to the Pandavas I am not afraid of war. As long as I am alive I will not give the Pandavas, even enough land to drive the point o a needle in. "

An evil thought flashed to Duryodhana, Dusshasana and Karna 'Krishna is the friend of the Pandava, , and without him they are nothing. If he is captured and put behind the bars. . . !

Krishna understood their minds.

The Kauravas tried to tie up Krishna, Krishna then assumed his cosmic form. All the gods were seen in his body Flames flashed from his face and he was more dazzling than the sun.

Karna was a great friend of Duryodhana. He was a great warrior. It was difficult to decide who was great in the art of archery, Kama or Arjuna, He had unflinching loyalty to Duryodhana. Krishna knew that Kama would be a danger to the Pandavas on the battlefield.

Karna was in truth the son of Kunthi, the mother of Pandavas. She gave birth to him before she married Panduraja. Kama was brought up by, a childless Fisherman and his wife. Later Duryodhana treated him as a friend and showered honours on him.

Krishna thought if Kama could be attracted to the camp of the Pandavas, Duryodhana would be considerably weakened.

Krishna took Karna into his chariot and spoke to him affectionately: "You are the son of Kunthi, come away with me. The Pandavas will be very glad to welcome you as their elder brother. You will be the king. " Karna refused. He said, "Duryodhana has complete faith in me. When all people looked down upon me as low-born, only Duryodhana treat me as a man. I cannot betray him. "

Krishna said, "If there is a war d not kill the Pandavas. Do not forge they are your brothers. "

"There will be war. Duryodhan Dusshasana, myself and others a going to die. I know this. Permit me t take leave of you, " Kama said.

Krishna admired Karna's loyalty an embraced him.

Krishna's mission succeeded. H knew that Karna would lose half hi strength if he came to know that the Pandavas were his brothers. Kunthi also met Karna. This meeting, too, was planned by Krishna. Karna promise that he would not kill any of the Pandavas except Arjuna. The stage was set for the war. Bot Duryodhana and A6una waited on Krishna. -Each wanted that Krishna should join him with his Yaclavas.

Krishna said, "I myself am not going to fight. I shall join one side. The entire Yadava army will join the other side. Now choose. "

"I choose the army". Said Duryodhana.

"I shall be content with Krishna, " said Arjuna.

And so it came about that the Yadava forces joined Duryodhana.


'Forget Not Your Duty, Arjuna'

The Pandava and the Kaurava armies faced each other on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Lakhs of soldiers were there and with them were elephants and horses. Bhishma, Drona, Ashwatthama, Karna, Dusshasana and such other great warriors were on the side of Duryodhana.

In the other camp were, Drupada, Virata, Abhimanyu and other mighty warriors. The entire might of Bharata (India) was assembled there All was ready for a grim blood bath.

Krishna became Arjuna's Charioteer He held the reins of the fortunes of the Pandavas in his hands, did he not?

On the first day of the war Krishna drove the chariot between the two armies. Arjuna saw his grandfather, his teacher, his friends and relatives in the Kaurava army. And he thought, 'Should I kill all these just to gain the kingdom? He sank into his seat. He perspired, His famous bow, the Gandeeva, slipped from his hands. "No, Krishna, let us not fight, " he said, "Bhishma is my grandfather. Drona is my revered Guru. Ashwatthama is my good friend. How can I kill them ? And what do I gain by killing them?"

Krishna said, "Arjuna, such words are not worthy of a hero like you. Your duty is to fight. Those who have joined the forces against justice and righteousness have to perish. The good must be protected. Attachment to friends and relatives should not come in the way of your duty. "

It was then that Krishna preached the Bhagavadgeetha, consisting of eighteen chapters.

"Man must do his duty. Do not think of the fruits, the results. 'These are mine, those are not mine' -do not have such thoughts. A wise man treats all alike. Anger and desire dull your intelligence. Accept pain and pleasure in the same way. A man must understand and do what is right. Everyone that is born must die. Justice is more important than human beings. Partha, give up this base faint-heartedness, arise and do your duty. " Thus the teacher of the Geetha guided Arjuna.

Even today the Geetha is a light to all mankind. It has been translated into many languages. People of man, lands study it and seek to gain peace of mind by following its teaching.

Arjuna's mind grew clear. The zest to fight returned to him. He picked up the Gandeeva.



Krishna's Will

The fierce epic war began. It wen on for eighteen days. The heads o great kings rolled on the battlefield While sometimes the Pandava! achieved striking successes, Bhishma the commander of Duryodhana's army destroyed some of their forces. How could they overcome this might warrior?

On the advice of, Krishna Arjuna posed this very question Bhishma. Bhishma had vowed that h( will not fight against Shikhandi. On the tenth day Arjuna stood behind Shikhandi and shot arrows and Bhishma laid down his arms.

Thereafter Drona became the commander - in-chief of the Kaurava army. Krishna plotted to do away with Drona. Krishna knew that Drona loved his son Ashwatthama deeply and if Dharmaraja told Drona that Ashwatthama was dead Drona would lay down his arms and then he could be killed. But Dharmaraja was unwilling to tell a lie. He spoke only the truth and cried aloud, "Ashwatthama, the elephant, is dead. " Krishna sounded his conch so that Drona could not hear the words 'the elephant'. Drona was stunned and put down his arms. He, too, was killed.

Was all this fair? Did Krishna use fair methods to get rid of Bhishma and Drona ?

True, Drona and Bhishma were great men. They were not evil men. They did not do anything immoral for their own gain. But they had joined the forces of the unjust Duryodhana. Similarly, Kama was also a good man. He had respect for Dharma and for Krishna. While Karna was pulling out one of the wheels of his chariot that had struck in the mud, Krishna asked Arjuna to shoot and kill Karna. Karna cried out to Arjuna, "Fight justly. " Arjuna then began to doubt if Krishna's advice was just. Krishna said, "Who is to distinguish between Dharma justice) and Adharma (injustice) ? Not those who have themselves been unjust, not those who have been against the just. Only those who are themselves just and live for the sake of justice can do So it is right to kill your enemies in this war. Those who are against Dharma and their followers should be wiped out by using all possible means. This is Dharma' so said Krishna. Accordingly Karna was killed.

There was yet another incident which threw light on the policy pursued by Krishna on the battlefield. Abhimanyu was the son of Arjuna and Subhadra, the beloved sister of Krishna. When Arjuna was fighting in a distant part of the battlefield, Abhimanyu was killed. On hearing the news of Abhimanyu's death, Arjuna took an oath. Jayadratha, a supporter of Duryodhana, was mainly responsible for Abhimanyu's death. Arjuna declared, I shall killJayadratha before the sun sets. " But Duryodhana hid Jayadratha, and Arjuna could not kill him. The sun was about to set. Arjuna decided to kill himself. Krishna threw his Chakra at the sun and made it appear as if the sun had set. Jayadratha came to watch the death of Arjuna. Krishna withdrew his Chakra.

The sun had not yet set. Arjuna killed Jayadratha.

It was a terrible war. Bhishma' Drona, Dusshasana, Karna, Abhimanyu, Drushtadyumna - many such heroes were killed. Who could keep count of the ordinary soldiers who were killed or blinded or lost their limbs ? Streams of blood turned the earth red.

The end of the war was in sight. Of all the mighty warriors of the Kaurava army Duryodhana alone was alive. He was hiding in a lake. Krishna discovered this and came to the lake with the Pandavas. Bhima cried out, "You coward! Come out. " Duryodhana came out. The two fought with maces.

Bhima could not overcome Duryodhana. Krishna signaled to Bhima to strike on the right thigh of Duryodhana (Which he had indecently exposed, asking Draupadi to sit on it). Bhima dealt a terrific blow and broke it. Duryodhana fell down.

The war was over. Dharmaraja ascended the throne. The country was free from the unjust and the wicked rulers.


End Of Krishnavathara

Krishna spent many years in Dwaraka, with the Yadavas. But gradually the Yadavas grew arrogant and wicked. They began to insult the sages. They began to think that they were unequalled in strength and that no one could check them.

Once they went to a holy place called Prabhasa. They enjoyed themselves and also drank heavily. They began to quarrel among themselves. They drew out their swords.
Krishna watched them and thought that they were going to become a menace to people, and that they were inviting their own destruction. True, they were all his relatives, and he had grown up in their midst. Krishna had no attachment which would blind him to the truth. The protection of peace and Dharma was paramount.

He thought that the Yadavas should perish in their internal quarrels. He made no attempt to save them. They fought among themselves and almost all the Yadavas lay dead.

The mission of
Krishna's life had been achieved. The evil were destroyed and the good protected. Krishna decided to leave the world. He sent messengers to bring the Pandavas. Sitting under a tree he began deep meditation and soon forgot the rest of the world.

A hunter came that way. He saw
Krishna's foot from a distance and mistook him for a deer. He shot an arrow. The arrow entered Krishna's foot. The hunter ran to the spot and saw what had happened. He was shocked. Krishna comforted him and left the world.
Yogeshwara Krishna

Krishna's teachings form the Bhagavad- geetha. What he taught he practiced all through his life. Every incident in his life is a lesson to the world.

Sanjaya, who narrated the story of the Mahabharatha war, said: "Wherever Krishna, who is Yogeshwara (the Lord of Yoga, that is, vision), and Arjuna, the archer, are present, there surely will be fortune, victory, welfare and morality. "

Krishna was born in a prison. Immediately after his birth, he was separated-from his parents. And he died in solitude killed by a hunter's arrow.

As a boy, he killed his uncle Kamsa with his own hands. In extreme old age, when his sons, grandsons, relatives and friends fought among themselves, he let them perish, And all for the sake Dharma.

He dethroned many kings and put others in their places.

But he himself did not- sit on throne even for a day.

Abhimanyu was his darling nephew, But he made no attempt to. save him.

Like the life of any one else, Krishna's life, too, was a mixture of joy and sorrow. And he accepted both unperturbed.

Dharma is more important than any thing and any one. Kings and others in power should live for the good the people. Krishna wiped out those who ignored this principle, and protected Dharma, and the helpless masses. lived and died Sri Krishna - the author of the Geetha, and Yogeshwara.


Best Regards,
Nikhil Gadodia
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Spritual Space: Hanumantha
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Spritual Space: Hanumantha - February 20th, 2006

Hi all...

Introduction

There is no village or town In India without a temple dedicated to Hanumantha. An unforgettable character in the great epic, the Ramayana, he has become the symbol of courage, loyalty and mature wisdom.

Author - M.Shreedhara Murthy

Hanumantha

There is no village in
India without a temple of Hanumantha.

In bigger towns and cities, there are countless temples of Hanumantha.

Men and women, the young and the old, people of all ages and of all professions worship Hanumantha. Students pray to him for intelligence and soldiers for strength. In olden days there used to be temples of Hanumantha at the gates of forts. The gymnasium of wrestlers invariably have his picture.

Every human being has good qualities and bad qualities. But, people believe God has no bad qualities.Our ancestors have taught that every one should develop his good qualities and go nearer God. Divinity or being God is only being full of noble qualities. In our country some men and women have later come to be honored as divine beings, winning the reverence, the devotion and the love of the common people. Hanumantha is one such great soul.

The great poet Valmiki who wrote the 'Ramayana' has said that Hanumantha belongs to the tribe of 'Vaanaras'. This would mean he was one of the animals living on trees. Many believe that Hanu- mantha and his companions were in reality human beings. Generally, Hindus have thought of Hanumantha as a monkey. Hanumantha has become another name for intelligence, physical strength, pleasing speech, tact and discretion.

According to legend, Hanumantha is the son of the Wind God. Air sustains all living beings. One can exist without food, spend days without water; but it is impossible to exist even for a short time without air. Air is life. Therefore, Hanumantha is also called 'Pranadeva or the God of Life. Some people believe that Bheema and the philosopher-teacher Shri Madhwacharya were incarnations of Hanumantha.

Hanurnantha was a master of music. He was also an expert in dance and drama. So musicians and actors worship him with love and devotion. He was also a great yogi or mystic. He became holy by his service to Lord Shri Rama and was blessed with Rama's embrace.He was one of the greatest of God's devotees.

Hanumantha was a great Indian who was born and grew up in Kishkindha in the south; he flew from Lanka to the
Himalayas several times; then settled down in Ayodhya. Thus he is a symbol of India's unity.That is why he is worshipped in every nook & corner of India from Rameshwara in the southern tip to the Himalayas on the north.

The Bold Baby Which Snatched At the Sun

There was a heavenly nymph by name Punjikasthale. She was very beautiful. Because of a curse she was born as the daughter of Kunjara, a monkey, on earth. She was now called Anjanadevi. Once, when she was taking a stroll near a mountain, Vayu, the Wind God fell in love with her. The son born to the Wind God and Anjanadevi was Anjaneya.

Hanumantha was extraordinary from the very moment of his birth. There are very interesting stories about him.

Soon after he was born, Hanumantha felt very hungry. Looking up he saw in the east something red. Hanumantha thought that the red sun was a fruit and flew up to snatch it. What was a child's whim became something serious. Though the sun's heat burnt his face, Hanumantha was obstinate and continued to fly towards, the sun. Indra, the Lord of Heaven, feared that the sun might be caught. So he hit at Hanumantha with his terrible weapon Vajrayudha. Hanumantha fell down and was hurt. His left cheek became swollen.

(This is why he came to be called Hanumantha. 'Hanu' in Sanskrit means the cheek. Sometimes he is called Hanuman.)

Now, Hanumantha's father, the Wind God became very angry. So he would not move at all. In all the three worlds there was no air to breathe. Then all the gods came and consoled the Wind God. Each god conferred a boon upon the Hanumantha. Brahma and Creator said, "No weapon will be able to kill this boy". Indra said to the boy, "You will be a 'Chiranjeevi'(immortal)."

Blessed thus by the gods, Hanumantha grew up to be as strong as his father. He flew about as freely and was quite mischievous. The Rishis - the ancient sages - who were troubled by his mischief pronounced a curse on him. Hence, Hanumantha would never know how powerful and strong he was. Others would have to explain to him his strength. Only then would he be realizing it.



Meeting With Shri Rama and Lakshmana

When Hanumantha grew up he became the minister of Sugreeva, the King of Kishkindha. Vali was the elder brother of Sugreeva. Once Vali, who was fighting with a rakshasa, entered a cave with his opponent; he did not come out for a long time. Blood began to 'flow from the cave, so Sugreeva thought that Vali was dead. He returned to Kishkindha and became its king. But a little later, Vali returned and drove out Sugreeva. Sugreeva and his ministers hid themselves in the
Malaya mountains; Vali could not enter this region.

When Shri Rama, his wife Seetha and his brother Lakshmana were in the forest, a rakshasa by name Ravana took away Seetha by force. Rama was in great grief. He was wandering in the forests and came to Kishkindha. Sugreeva saw him when he came with Lakshmana to the
Malaya mountains. Sugreeva and his companions were full of fear that Vali had sent Shri Rama and Lakshmana to kill them. But Hanumantha asked them not to be so afraid. Sugreeva was also very anxious to know who those handsome young men were. Whom should he send to talk to them? Finally he choose Hanumantha. Hanumantha was an excellentambassador. He could easily understand the nature of other people. As soon as he saw Rama and Lakshmana, he realized that they were not deceivers, but noble persons. In soft and pleasing words he asked them who they were, and told them about himself.

Rama was very happy when he heard the words of Hanumantha. He said to Lakshmana, "Did you hear his words? Even an enemy with his sword drawnwould be pacified by such words. If a ruler has such a messenger, his efforts will always be successful." Hanumantha took Rama and Lakshmana to Sugreeva. He had hopes that these brave young men would make Sugreeva king again.



Sugreeva's Minister - Rama's Messenger

Rama and Sugreeva became friends very soon. When Sugreeva challenged Vali to a fight, Rama helped his friend by killing Vali with an arrow.

When she heard this sad news, Vali's wife, Thara was full of grief. She fell on his body, weeping. Hanumantha prostrated before her and said, "Revered lady, Vali came to this condition because of his evil deeds, his own actions. Sugreeva was only the means. Please do not think that Sugreeva killed Vali. No one can live for all times in this world. Look at your son Angada and console yourself."

Sugreeva then became king. All his troubles were over. The kingdom was his. He forgot his promise to Rama - that he would immediately send servants tosearch for Seetha and find her. He left the responsibilities of the state to his ministers ; he forgot everything in his pleasures. Hanumantha warned him. He did his duty as a minister, saying the right thing at the right time. He said to Sugreeva, "O King, the kingdom and the fame which you desired are now yours. If you do not help your friends at the right time, even the greatest help you offer later will be totally useless. Though Rama is very anxious to find Seethadevi, he is waiting for you. It Is already late, but he is a patient man.Please send your army at once to search for Seetha."

Sugreeva sent Neela, one of his commanders, to find out where Seetha was. And he returned to his pleasures.

The rainy season was over. It was now autumn. Rama's mind was always filled with thoughts of Seetha's sufferings and sorrows, and he was miserable. He revealed his misery to Lakshmana. Hot blooded Lakshmana was very angry with Sugreeva. He went to see Sugreeva. His anger made Sugreeva's subjects shiver with fear. Sugreeva himself was so terrified he did not know what to do.

Again it was Hanumantha who gave wise counsel. He said to Sugreeva, "Shri Rama may not really be angry with you. Perhaps he was sent Lakshmana to you as his work has been delayed. When those who are more powerful than we are enraged, it is not wise for us to become angry. Our anger will only heighten their rage. At such times we should seek to pacify the mighty. Besides, Shri Rama has helped you and therefore you should behave respectfully towards him."

This time advice was effective. Sugreeva pacified Lakshmana, and with his entire army went to Rama. He sent the army in all the four directions to find out where Seetha was. Vast as the ocean, the army set off with shouts of enthusiasm. The deafening noise seemed to make the earth shiver. Shri Rama removed a ring from his finger and giving it to Hanumantha , said: "When Seetha sees you, she may be afraid of you, or may not believe your words. If that happens, show her this ring. We depend entirely on your strength." Hanumantha prostrated before Rama and set off.


The Vast Sea before Them

Hanumantha, Angada, Jambavantha and others went towards the South in search of Seetha. Sugreeva had given them only a month's time to find her. They wandered far and wide and grew utterly weary. At last they came to the sea. They stood before the vast, roaring sea.

The period granted by Sugreeva was over. So that were they to do? The brave soldiers of Sugreeva sat bewildered. If they returned to Kishkindha, Sugreeva would certainly punish them. So, Angada suggested that they should fast to death on the seashore. But Hanumantha replied, "Angada, that would not be right. Surely Sugreeva will not punish us if we return." He tried to persuade them in many ways. But the other's in their pessimism would not listen to him. All of them spread some darbha grass and lay down on it, determined to die. Just then a person by name Sampathi came there. From him they learnt that Seetha was Ravana's prisoner in Lanka. Their joy knew no bounds. They danced about shouting, "Oh! Now we know about Seetha!" With great enthusiasm, they turned to the sea. But who could cross the ocean?

One of them said, "I can jump across ten yojanas." (The 'yojana' was the old unit of measurement of distance.) Another said, "I can jump twenty yojanas." Jambavantha was a mighty warrior, but now old. He said, 'When I was young, I could leap over any distance.Now I am old, and can leap ninety yojanas. But this is a hundred."

Angada went further - I can cross a hundred yojanas, and reach Lanka. But I do not know if I will have strength left to come back."

The old Jambavantha consoled them all and said, "Hanumantha is the only great hero who can leap over the sea to Lanka and come back. Let me go and cheer him up and encourage him."

Hanumantha was sitting apart from the. Others and silently gazing on the sea.

You remember that some sages had pronounced a curse upon Hanumantha, when he was a young boy which he would not be aware of his own strength unless others told him of it. Jambavantha now praised Hanumantha's strength and ability He said, "No other living creature has your strength, wisdom and radiance. Why are you sitting quiet, not knowing yourself? You can certainly jump over the ocean."

What Can Stop Hanumantha ?

As Hanumantha became aware of his own powers, great enthusiasm welled up in him. He stood up and after glancing at them all began to grow. His companions were astonished. As they went on praising him, his stature grew.

He grew so tall that he could jump across the sea. Still he was very modest. He bowed to the elders and said, "I am the son of the Wind God who can move in the skies without touching the earth. If need be,I can throw skyward all the water of this ocean and make the three worlds float on water. I will go like lightning and surely see Seethadevi."

His voice was like thunder. He stood on
MountMahendra and grew even bigger and then leapt. Even the gods in Heaven were amazed at Hanumantha's flight over the ocean. They wanted to test his strength; they sent an unearthly spirit by name Surase, from the serpent world, to obstruct him. She appeared before Hanumantha in the form of a rakshasi and roared: "The gods have given you for my food. I will swallow you," "You cannot go further without entering my mouth," she added.

She opened her mouth, and it was big enough to swallow the huge Hanumantha.

Hanumantha increased his size further and said, "Eat me if you want but your mouth will have to be much bigger."

Surase's mouth grew wider as Hanumantha's body grew bigger. Hanumantha's form grew bigger and bigger. Even so, Surase's mouth grew wider and wider.

Hanumantha was clever. He thought there would be no end to this process. Suddenly he shrank to the size of a thumb, entered her mouth and came out. He now stood before her and entreated her with these words - "Now that I have entered your mouth and come out of it also, please allow me to continue my journey."

Surase was pleased with his cleverness and allowed him to go, wishing him success.

Hanumantha moved on. But lo! There was another obstacle. There was another rakshasi in the way and she had a strange power. She would drag down those who were flying above the sea by catching hold of their shadows from below and would eat them up later. She was now overjoyed that she could get food and dragged down Hanumantha's shadow. Hanumantha entered her mouth. But once inside, he grew bigger; he then burst open her body and came out.

Hanumantha could see Lanka at a distance . His joy knew no bounds. But he feared that if he entered Lanka as he was, every one would see him. So assuming his normal size, he alighted on a mountain near the seashore.



Hanumantha Enters Lanka

It was night. Hanumantha was about to enter the city.

But a goddess stopped him at the city gates. She was the goddess who protected Lanka. She thundered at him: "Who are you? If you wish to enter, you must first defeat me."

Hanumantha was enraged. His left fist came down on her face with crushing force. The blow made her totter. She begged him for life and said, "The Creator Brahma had said that when a monkey defeated me the end of Lanka would be near. Perhaps the time has now come. Go in and look for Seetha."



Where Is Seetha?

Lanka was a city of great splendor. The eyes could feast endlessly on its beauty and wealth. It was full of grand buildings and lovely gardens. But Hanumantha's all-important task was to find Seetha. So, he did not pay much attention to the beauty of the city. He searched for Seetha in the mansions of important rakshasa leaders like Kumbhakarna. She was nowhere to be seen. Then he entered the
palace of Ravana himself. And lo! What riches, what beauty and what grandeur I Hanumantha was dazed. He searched in all the nooks and corners of the palace but did not see Seetha. Hanumantha's anxiety grew. Rama and Sugreeva would be waiting with the belief that he would surely bring news of Seetha. What answer could he give them? He thought he should not lose hope and went on, with his search with renewed effort.

But Seetha was nowhere to be seen.

Hanumantha was very much disturbed. Had she fallen into the sea on the way to Lanka? Or, had her heart burst at the sight of the vast ocean? Or perhaps Ravana had eaten her as she did not marry him? Thoughts swarmed into his mind.



Seetha Overjoyed

Just then he saw the garden Ashokavana at a distance. 'Oh, I have not looked there', thought Hanumantha and flew to the garden. He combed the entire garden and finally found Seethadevi. He was in raptures. Seetha was sitting under a tree, in a soiled saree. Her plight made Hanu- mantha both sad and angry.He perched on the tree beneath which Seetha wasseated. Day dawned. The rakshasa king Ravana came to see Seetha. Seetha did not wish to speak to him directly. She held a twig in her hand and replied to Ravana's words, as if she was speaking to the twig. Ravana was very angry and went back. In her grief Seetha decided to kill herself.

From his perch upon the tree, Hanumantha could see and hear everything. He now resolved to address her. But it struck him that if he talked to her all at once,she might be frightened. So he thought of a plan. From where he sat, he narrated the story of Rama. And he said, as if in wonder, "It seems as if Seethadevi is here! "

Hearing a voice from above Seetha was at first afraid, Ravana had just then left. She feared It might be a trick of the rakshasas. But she heard the names of Rama and Lakshmana and their story. She looked up in surprise. Hanumantha softly got down from the tree and prostrated before her. He again said that he was Rama's messenger and praised him. Seetha was overjoyed. Hanumantha showed her the ring which Rama had given him. The sight of the ring brought back all her sorrow. Hanumantha comforted her with these words:"Shri Rama will surely take you from here. Please do not worry. You need not even wait till Rama comes.If you agree straightaway I can carry you to Rama on my back. Not only you, but the entire city of
Lanka with Ravana,I can carry on myback."

But Seetha calmed him and said: "Bring Rama and Lakshmana here." She gave him the choodamani, a jewel she wore in her hair, so that he could show it to Shri Rama.



'Ravana, Think Over This'

Hanumantha had now completed his mission. But he thought it would be a good thing if he could manage to get anestimate of the enemy's strength, kill some of the prominent rakshasas and also give a warning to Ravana.

It occurred to him that he put Ravana in a rage, if he destroyed the Ashokavana so dear to him.

He set about it and uprooted trees. He pulled from the ground all the creepers bearing beautiful flowers. He trampled upon other plants. Seeing all this, the rakshasas on duty there ran to Ravana in fear.

Ravana was furious when he heard the news. But Hanumantha destroyed all the rakshasas he sent in the twinkling of an eye.

Ravana then sent his son Indrajithu himself to capture Hanumantha. Indrajithu was a great hero. He fought with Hanumantha for a while and then shot the Brahmasthra. Hanumantha wanted to show respect to the weapon carrying the power of Lord Brahma and allowed himself to be tied up by it for a while.

The rakshasas were excited and in great glee. Indrajithu took Hanumantha to Ravana's court.

The sight of Hanumantha threw Ravana into a towering rage.

The radiance of Ravana's f ace astonished Hanumantha.

Even Devendra, the King of Heaven was afraid of Ravana. But Hanumantha was fearless. He told Ravana why he had gone there. He said, "Look, Ravana, it is not proper for you to kidnap Seethadevi and make her suffer like this. You have performed tapas (long prayer and meditation). Just think, can you face Rama? You will be destroyed, and your friends, relatives and this city, too, will be destroyed. Give up this evil way and restore Seetha to Rama."

His words were like adding fuel to the fire. Ravana's anger blazed. He ordered the rakshasas to kill Hanumantha. But his brother Vibheeshana intervened; he said that it was not right according to the principles of diplomacy to kill the enemy's messenger.

Ravana agreed with him; he said to his servants, "Tails are ornamental to monkeys. So set fire to Hanumantha's tail."

At once the rakshasas wrapped some cloth around Hanumantha's tail, poured oil over it and set fire to it. They paraded Hanumantha all over the city.

Now Hanumantha was in a high rage. Still he was glad that the rakshasas were showing the whole city to him. He carefully noted the hidden fortresses, the topo- graphy and other useful details. Then all at once he leapt high. He freed himself from the ropes. He beat up all the rakshasas following him and stood on a high place. He set fire to all the buildings nearby. The houses of Ravana's ministers and commanders began to burn. Very soon the whole city of
Lanka was in flames.

But suddenly Hanumantha realized his mistake. In his enthusiasm to burn Lanka, he had forgotten that Seetha was there. His heart was about to burst. Quickly he flew to Ashokavana. He saw Seetha sitting under a tree. His anxiety was at an end. He touched her feet and received her blessings; then he flew back across the ocean.

Jambavantha, Angada and others were waiting for Hanumantha. The sight of Hanumantha brought them immense relief.



A Hero Without Equal

In his anxiety to get news about Seetha, Shri Rama was counting each day.

Hanumantha narrated all his doings to Rama in detail and also gave him the ornament sent by Seetha. Rama was over- joyed. He said: "Hanumantha has done what no one else in the world could do. I had not seen a hero who could leapacross the sea. He is a very intelligent messenger who has done not only what he was asked to,but also what he thought was appro- priate. He is a good messenger who performs the task assigned to him and also what pleases his master. Surely, Hanumantha is an excellent messenger."

Shri Rama embraced Hanumantha and praised him highly.



The War

Preparations were afoot for the war with Ravana. The monkey army marched towards Lanka with great enthusiasm. Hanumantha and Angada carried Rama and Lakshmana respectively on their shoulders.

After Hanumantha left Lanka, Vibheeshana tried to advise his elder brother Ravana. But was Ravana a person to listen to wise counsel? So, Vibheeshana left him and surrendered to Rama. There were heated arguments whether Vibheeshana should be accepted or not. Shri Rama turned to Hanumantha for his opinion. The latter said, "My Lord, allow me to say one thing. I have carefully watched Vibheeshana'sface and listened to his voice when he was speaking.He has no deceit or evil intention. I think you can accept him. But with your matchless intelligence, only you can finally decide what you should do with Vibheeshana." Finally Shri Rama gave shelter to Vibheeshana and his followers.

The Vanara army built a bridge across the sea. Lanka was to be seiged. The war between Rama and Ravana began.



'If One Hanumantha Is Alive . . . . I'

Hanumantha's valor rose sky-high in this war. He dashed rakshasas to the ground or whirled them and threw them up. He crushed to death many a rakshasa hero like Dhoomraksha and Akampana. The enemies trembled at his very sight. Anjaneya fought so valiantly that Ravana himself praised him as a real hero. Hanu- mantha carried Rama on his shoulders when Rama had to fight with Ravana. Ravana's son Indrajithu was a great hero of the rakshasa army. He once shot the Brahmasthra, the terrible missile with the power of Lord Brahma, the God of Creation. The whole Vanara army fell down unconscious. Even Rama and Lakshmana fainted. Hanumantha who had also fainted for a moment, got up and going round the battlefield with Vibheeshana, put courage into his soldiers with his words. While walking along, Vibheeshana saw the old Jambavantha and spoke to him. The latter opened his eyes slowly and asked, "Vibheeshana, is Hanumantha alive?"

Vibheeshana was amazed and said, "Revered Jambavantha, you do not ask about Rama and Lakshmana or about Sugreeva, Angada or Neela. But you ask about Hanumantha only; why?"

"Vibheeshana, if that one great hero is alive, even if the entire Vanara army is dead, it makes no difference. But if that one person is dead, our army is as good as dead. We can hope to live only as long as he is alive." So replied Jambavantha.

Hanumantha, who was standing quite near and heard these words, held his feet with respect and devotion, and mentioning his own name, said he was alive. Then Jambavantha said to him, "You have now to do a mighty task to bring our army to life. You have also to save Rama and Lakshmana who have fainted because of the Brahmasthra. Fly across the ocean and over a great distance till you reach the
Himalaya mountains. You will there see a mountain containing all herbs. There grow the herbs Mritha Sanjeevini,Vishalyakarani, Savarnakarani and Sandhanakarani. Fetch them at once and save these soldiers.

Immediately Hanumantha flew towards the
Himalayas with the speed of thought. He could also see the mountain. But as soon as the herbs understood of his purpose, they disappeared. Hanumantha searched for them and, when he could not find the herbs, threatened the mountain itself in his terrible anger. "See what I will do to you," he said, and shaking the very mountain flew back with it to Lanka. As he streaked across the sky with the mountain it appeared as if the very sun was flying towards Lanka.

The very smell of those herbs was enough to make Rama, Lakshmana and the whole army recover and sit up. The rakshasas did not want the enemy to know how many on their side had died; so, obeying Ravana's orders, they had thrown their dead into the sea. So no rakshasa could come back to life. Having achieved his purpose, Hanumantha flew back with the mountain to its place, put it there, and hurried again to the battlefield.

After the war was over, Hanumantha entered Lanka and stood before Seetha and told her of the victory. Seetha was speechless for a moment with joy. Then she said that there was no fitting reward she could give to Hanumantha who had brought such happy tidings.

"The words you have spoken with such affection are more precious than any heap of diamonds or the divine kingdom. I have seen Rama victorious. What greater fortune can I ask for!" Hanumantha replied.

Rama had now to return to Ayodhya. But he had some doubts. Bharatha had ruled over the kingdom for fourteen years. So he might wish to be the king. How could he find out? Even if Bharatha had that desire, he would not say so. And nobody could ask him. Some intelligent person should make it out from Bharatha's face and the way he spoke, and should then inform Rama. It was a difficult mission, which would need much shrewdness and a capacity to understand persons.

Who was to go?

There was only one person whom every one remembered when there was a difficulty to be overcome, when courage and intelligence was needed. And that was Anjaneya!

Shri Rama, of course, sent for Hanumantha.

He told him, "If Bharatha has the slightest wish to be king and does not want me to return, come and tell me.I will stay on here. You must carefully observe his _expression and study his words and find out."

Hanumantha assumed the shape of a man and went to Ayodhya and informed Bharatha of Rama's arrival. Bharatha fainted with joy. When he recovered he said, "0 greatest of men, I do not know whether you are a man or a god. I must reward you for bringing this glad news."

Shri Rama returned to Ayodhya. His coronation took place with greatsplendour. Rama gave priceless gifts to all hisfriends. He also gave an invaluable necklace and ornaments to Seethadevi. But she remembered the great help of Hanumantha and gave them to him. She even took off the necklace and looked at Rama. Shri Rama read her mind and said, "Devi, do please give the necklace to the person who has brought you immense joy and in whom valour, ability, courtesy and wisdom are embedded for ever." At once, she gave necklace to Hanumantha.



In The Dwapara Age, With Bheema And Arjuna

There is a belief that Hanumantha lives through all ages, singing the praise of Lord Rama.

When the Pandavas were in the forest, Draupadi requested Bheema for the Saugand ' hika flower of heavenly fragrance. Bheema went forth into the forest to bring it. As Bheema was walking fast with long strides, he saw a monkey's tail across his path. He angrily shouted, "You ape,remove your tail and clear my way."

The monkey slowly looked at Bheema and said, "My dear man, I am very old and can't even move. Push my tail away and walk on."

Bheema was angry, amused and full of contempt. Was it what an unequalled hero like him should do? He tried to push the tail with his mace. But no, nothing happened. Try as he would, he could not even move that old tail. Then his mind grew clear and it dawned on him that this was Hanumantha. With folded hands he begged his pardon.

On another occasion when Arjuna met Hanumantha, he said, "Rama need not have asked the monkeys to build a bridge. If I were he, I would have built a bridge with arrows."

"A bridge of your arrows! Leave alone the Vanara army, it will crumble under my feet" replied Hanumantha.

Well, it developed into a challenge. It was decided that Arjuna should erect a bridge with his arrows and Hanumantha should walk on it. If the bridge collapsed, Arjuna should jump into fire; otherwise, Hanumantha must adorn Arjuna's banner.

Arjuna built a bridge with his arrows. No sooner did Hanumantha set one foot on it than it broke into pieces. Arjuna got ready to jump into the fire.

Just then, Shri Krishna reached the place. He asked them to repeat their performances. When Arjuna erected the arrow-bridge, Krishna touched the bridge with his divine hands as if to test it. Then when Hanumantha danced on it heavily, it did not even shake. Hanumantha kept his word and entered Arjuna's banner. So runs a story.

Hanumantha is a Chiranjeevi, he is immortal. Even today many people believe that if the Ramayana is being read or recited anywhere Hanumantha stands there unseen and sheds tears of joy.



Best Regards,
Nikhil Gadodia
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