Categories
Dashavatar

Vishnu’s Dashavatar: Mohini Avatar

Hello guys! Today, I’m going to continue the last week’s story. If you haven’t read that post, click here. This time, we’ll see what Lord Vishnu’s next avatar, Lady Mohini does. So, let’s go!

Many herbs were mixed in the churning, where Lord Kurma held Mt. Mandara while the Devas and Asuras churned the ocean using King Vasuki as the rope. The Devas and Asuras pulled and pushed the rope to and fro for a long time. The scene was a sight to behold!

Many precious gems and rare beings emerged from the churning.

They were,

  • Lakshmi – The Goddess of wealth and prosperity; consort of Lord Vishnu, came back to Vishnu during the churning from the churned ocean. I will tell you about this story soon.
  • Apsaras – Divine dancers of Indra’s court, described as extremely beautiful women. Some of them are Menaka, Rambha, Urvashi, etc.
  • Varuni – Consort of Varuna (the God of Water)
  • Kamadhenu – The wish-granting cow, given to the Sages.
  • Ucchaishravas – The divine seven-headed horse, given to the Asuras
  • Kaustubha – The most valuable gem, given to Lord Vishnu.
  • Parijata – The divine flowering tree whose flowers never wilt. Taken by Indra and planted in his abode.
  • Halahal – The most deadly poison in the world.

WAIT, POISON? Someone do something! Lord Shiva is here! Lord Shiva swallowed the poison to save the Devas and Asuras. But won’t he die? No, he won’t die because he is a God. Look who is pressing on his neck to stop the poison from going further, Parvati!

But what both the Devas and Asuras wanted; the Amrita, wasn’t here yet. After a long time, the physician of the Devas, Dhanvantari, emerged from the churned water. He had a golden pot, studded with precious gems, it contained… The Amrita! Seeing the Amrita, the minds of the Asuras got filled with greed. They snatched the Amrita from Dhanvantari and ran from the scene. 

A mesmerizing woman appeared in front of them and looked at them with enchanting eyes. Her face shone like the moon, and with lotus-like hands and feet. This was Lord Vishnu’s third avatar, Lady Mohini! The Asuras were enchanted by her beauty and let her take the pot of Amrita. 

Lady Mohini

The Devas and Asuras sat in two lines, waiting for Mohini to give them the Amrita. Mohini served the Amrita generously to the Devas and none to the Asuras. An Asura called Svarbhanu saw this and disguised himself as a Deva and sat between Surya and Chandra, the Sun and Moon Gods respectively. Mohini served Svarbhanu the Amrita and he drank it. Surya and Chandra noticed that that was Svarbhanu, an Asura who was sitting between them and told Mohini. Mohini got angry and raised her hand. The Sudharshana Chakra, the discus weapon of Lord Vishnu, appeared in her hand. She sliced his neck, but he didn’t die as he drank the Amrita. The head of Svarbhanu was called Rahu and the body was called Ketu. They became associated with ascending and descending lunar nodes respectively.

The Asuras got angry and waged a war against the Devas. Both sides fought valiantly and the Devas won.

Surprise! Dhanvantari is an Avatar of Lord Vishnu too! How? Vishnu has 10 main Avatars, you already know who they are. But do you know that he took an additional 14 minor Avatars totaling the list to 24?

Ok, I’m here to answer all your questions, ask away!

‘How can the Devas and Mohini be unjust to the Asuras? They also churned the ocean, they should have gotten the Amrita too.’

As I mentioned, the Devas were fairly good beings and the Asuras were mostly bad beings. If the Asuras became Immortal, then the whole Universe shall be filled with crime and evil. So the Devas and Mohini were acting for the greater good by killing the Asuras and being ‘unjust’ with them.

If you have any questions please feel free to drop a comment below, I will surely try to answer them 😊

Categories
Suryavansh

Suryavansh – Part 1

Hi guys! I’m here with another new series! As you might have figured, this is about the Suryavansh. What is Suryavansh? Suryavansh consists of two words, Surya and Vansh. Surya refers to the sun god, and Vansh means lineage. So, Suryavansh means the lineage of the sun god. Suryavansh is known for its righteous kings who sacrifice many things for the good of the world. Lord Rama, the eighth Avatar of Lord Vishnu, was born in this lineage. This series will cover the stories of the kings who descended from Lord Surya, the sun.

A lotus stem emerged from Lord Vishnu’s navel from that, a lotus bloomed. In that lotus was Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma had a mind-born son named Marichi. Marichi begot a son named Kashyap. Kashyap and his wife Aditi gave birth to Lord Vivasvan, also called Surya. Vivasvan had a child called Manu. Because he was the son of Vivasvan, he was called Vaivasvata.

Yes, this is the same Manu that appeared in the Matsya Avatar story!

Vaivasvata Manu had ten children, the eldest of them was Ikshvaku. Ikshvaku was the first King of the kingdom of Kosala. He ruled from his capital, Ayodhya. Because Manu was the son of Surya, his lineage is called Suryavansh.

Things get interesting from now! Stay tuned for the next parts!

Categories
Dashavatar

Vishnu’s Dashavatar: Kurma Avatar

Hi people! Today, it’s all about Vishnu’s second Avatar, Kurma. You might know that the meaning of ‘Kurma’ is Tortoise. What did the Kurma Avatar of Lord Vishnu do? Read on, read on.

Lord Kurma

Kshitir iha vipulatare tishthati tavav prishthe

Dharani dharana kina Chakra garishthe

Keshava dhrita Kurma sharira

Jaya Jagadisha Hare!

On the wide expanse of your back as a pivot for churning,
             
rests the mountain, creating round marks

O Keshava in the form of Tortoise, Hail Vishnu, the Lord of the Universe!

Once, the Sage Durvasa visited Indra, the leader of the Devas (Gods). He gifted him a garland, but Indra gave it to his elephant, Airavata. Airavata was irritated because of the flower’s fragrance and trampled it. Sage Durvasa got enraged by this act and cursed Indra, “Indra! The Devas’ powers shall decrease, and your position shall fall like this garland.”

Indra begged for Durvasa’s forgiveness, Durvasa calmed down and instructed Indra to go to Lord Vishnu for a solution. Indra hurried to Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Vishnu. He said, “Oh Lord Vishnu, please give me a solution to this problem.”. Vishnu replied, “Indra, the Amrit (elixir of immortality) is the only way out of this problem. Churn the Ocean of Milk with Mt. Mandara as the churning rod and King Vasuki as the churning rope. You and the other Devas can’t churn the Ocean of Milk by yourselves, make a truce with the Asuras (less good people) and entrust their help.”

I know what you’re thinking, why is King Vasuki always a rope? 😂 Even I can’t answer that. Who are the Devas and Asuras? The Devas are fairly good beings, closer to the term Gods. Asuras are mostly evil beings, widely called demons. Believe it or not, they are cousins!

Indra did as instructed and made a peace treaty with the Asuras and entrusted their help in churning the Ocean of Milk. After some days, the time had come for the churning of the Ocean. All the Devas and Asuras had reached the shores of the Ocean of Milk. They had to lift Mt. Mandara and place it on the ocean, but the mountain was too heavy for the Devas and Asuras to lift. Lord Vishnu came to their rescue! He came flying on his mount, Garuda, the eagle. Garuda lifted the mountain and placed it on the ocean. The Devas and Asuras used King Vasuki as the churning rope and started churning the ocean.

Where is Kurma in this story! I’m getting bored!
He will come, read on.

There was another problem, the mountain was sinking into the ocean! How would the Devas and Asuras churn the ocean now? Lord Vishnu came to their rescue again! He took Avatar as Kurma and held the mountain up. The Devas and Asuras continued churning the ocean.

To be continued…

Click here for the next part

Categories
Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles

Ganesha, The Remover of Obstacles: Part 3

Namaste guys! Today I’m going to tell you about how Lord Ganesha taught a lesson to the arrogant Kubera. You might have heard about Kubera as the God of Wealth and the King of Yakshas (Nature spirits).

Kubera was proud of his excessive wealth and arranged a massive feast and invited all the Devas (Gods) to his abode, Lanka. Lanka was overflowing with wealth, there were no poor, no one who was malnourished. Its houses were lined with gold and studded with precious gems. It became dubbed ‘Svarna Lanka’ (Golden Lanka).

Kubera went to Kailash and invited Lord Shiva to his feast. Shiva sensed that Kubera was doing this out of arrogance to show off his wealth. He decided to teach him a lesson, he sent his son, Ganesha to the feast instead of him.

The feast was grandly organized, flowers were strewn everywhere and there was the enchanting fragrance of sandalwood in the air. The mesmerizing aroma of food came from the Royal Kitchens.

Kubera signaled for the feast to commence. As all of the Devas reached for the first morsel of food, they were shocked to see that Ganesha had already finished eating! The servants hurriedly fetched more and more food but Ganesha devoured them in an instant! Slowly, all the food in the palace was finished by Ganesha. You bet everyone was shocked!

A servant humbly told Ganesha and Kubera, “Oh Lords! All the food in the palace is over.” Ganesha was hungry so he got angry and threatened to eat the whole palace. Kubera was startled and begged Ganesha not to destroy the palace. Ganesha didn’t listen and went outside, he grew in size and lifted the palace.

Kubera prayed to Lord Shiva to help him, Shiva appeared before him and said, “Pray to Ganesha with a pure heart and offer him a handful of roasted rice, his hunger will be satiated” Kubera did as instructed and prayed to Ganesha with a pure heart and offered him a handful of roasted rice. Ganesha ate it and his hunger was instantly satiated.

Moral:
Do not organize a feast and invite Ganesha to it😂 No no, that came out wrong, Don’t let arrogance cloud your mind.

Categories
Dashavatar

Vishnu’s Dashavatar: Matsya Avatar

Hi guys! As promised, here is the first post of the Vishnu’s Dashavatar series, Matsya Avatar! Do you know what the word ‘Matsya’ means? Believe it or not, it means ‘fish’! Why did Lord Vishnu take his first Avatar as a fish? Read on, and you will find out.

The seventh Manu, Vaivasvata, was doing his morning prayers at the banks of the Krithamala river.

Wait. ‘Who is a Manu?’ you ask? Manu is the first man in a Manvantara (eon, which lasts 306,720,000 years!), who is the progenitor of humanity. For every Manvantara, there is a different Manu. The current Manu is Vaivasvata. Did you notice something else? The English word ‘Man’ seems to be a derivation of Manu. So let’s get back to the story.

While praying at the banks of the Krithamala river, Manu dipped his cupped hands in the water. When he took it out, he saw a small fish that came with the water into his hands. He was about to release the fish, when the fish said, “Oh, King Manu, Please don’t put me back, the bigger fish shall eat me! Oh, King, protect me!”. The King put the fish in his water jug and returned to his palace.

The next day, he went to check on the fish. He saw that the tiny fish had grown in size so much that it fully occupied the jug. He ordered his attendants to transfer it to a container, but the next day a shocking sight awaited him. The fish had grown as big as the container and was struggling to breathe.

He transferred it to a pond, and then a lake, but the fish grew so much that none of them could accommodate it. He finally moved it to the ocean, but to his astonishment, the fish kept on growing and growing!

Manu was worried now he prayed to Lord Vishnu for help. Suddenly, the fish turned into Lord Vishnu and said, “Dear Manu, I did this to test your affection towards animals. The great floods are near, so I am appointing you to preserve the wildlife and knowledge of the world. Build a strong ship and get the best seeds of flora and a male and female of each fauna. And also request the Saptarishis (Seven Sages) to assemble in the ship.”

Lord Matsya

Pralayapayodhi Jale dhritvan asi Vedam

Vihita vahitra charitram akhedam

Keshava dhrita mina sharira

Jaya Jagadisha Hare!

      In the waters of the great deluge, to preserve the knowledge of the Vedas,
                             
      you held them like a vessel undeflected from its course
                               
      O Keshava in the form of a fish, Hail Vishnu, the Lord of the Universe!

Soon, the great floods arrived, and Manu had done as Lord Vishnu had instructed. Manu prayed to Lord Vishnu as the ship sailed through turbulent waters. The fish, Lord Matsya, arrived for the help of Manu. This time, Matsya had grown a horn on his head and brought the King of snakes Vasuki with him. Matsya instructed Manu to tie one end of Vasuki to his horn and the other end to the bow of the ship.

Lord Matsya guided the ship through the waves to the Himalayan region. After a long time, the floodwaters receded, and Manu reestablished the vegetation and the animals of the world, this time far better.

Click here for the next part

Categories
Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles

Ganesha, The Remover of Obstacles: Part 2

Hi guys! Today I’m going to tell you about Lord Ganesha’s Vahana (mount). You might have heard about Mooshika the mouse as Lord Ganesha’s mount. Did you wonder, ‘Where did the mouse come from?’. You might have also wondered how can such a small mouse, bear the weight of the Lord? You have come to the right place. So, let’s go!

Backstory: Once, there was a demigod named Krauncha in Svargalok. He was immersed in an Apsara’s dancing and accidentally stepped on Sage Vamadeva’s foot. The Sage was extremely angry and cursed Krauncha, “You will be a havoc-wreaking mouse forever!”. Krauncha begged for forgiveness and Sage Vamadeva calmed down a bit and said, “Lord Ganesha, the Remover of Obstacles shall free you from this curse and the Gods shall bow down before you.” (Sages have a volatile mood😂)

Once, Sage Parashar invited Lord Ganesha to his Ashram (hermitage). Lord Ganesha arrived and talked to him on philosophical topics. Suddenly a worried disciple entered the room and bowed to both of them. He said, ” Oh Sage, a mouse has entered our Ashram and is wrecking it. Ganesha and Parashar divined that it was the cursed demigod, Krauncha that was ravaging the Ashram.

They rushed there and saw the ruined cottages with rice and grains strewn everywhere. Ganesha summoned his Pasa (noose) and looped it around the mouse’s neck and caught the mouse. Krauncha prayed to Ganesha, ” Oh Lord! Please forgive me for this mistake.” and offered to be his Vahana. Ganesha forgave him and accepted the offer.

Krauncha said, “Oh Lord! I am so fortunate to be your Vahana. How can I bear your weight?” Ganesha said, “I give you the boon that you will be able to bear my weight. I also give you a new name, Mooshika!”

Moral of the story:
Do not mess with Sages. I’m just kidding 😉 If you pray with devotion to Lord Ganesha, he will surely answer your prayers.

Categories
Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles

Ganesha, The Remover of Obstacles: Part 1

Hi guys! Today, I’m going to tell you about the elephant-headed god (yes you heard it right) Ganesha. You might have heard about him as the Remover of Obstacles but you might not know how he was born. Do you think he was born with an elephant head? No. Today I’m going to tell you about how he got his elephant head.

Characters:

Parvati

Shiva

Once, Parvati wanted to take a bath, but her husband, Shiva had gone to meditate. She wanted someone to guard her chambers but there was no one in the palace (gone when you need them the most😂). So she decided to make a statue with turmeric paste. Soon, she finished making the statue of a boy. She gave life to the statue, he was plump and intelligent. Parvati said, “My child, I name you Vinayaka! I want you to guard the entrance until your father, Shiva comes. Dear, take this spear and go.”. 

Vinayaka went outside and stood guard. After a while, Shiva returned from his meditation. Vinayaka barred Shiva from entering. Remember, as Vinayaka was just born, he didn’t know how his father looked. Shiva was angry and said, “Boy! who are you to stop me from entering my own house? Move!” Vinayaka unflinchingly replied, “Mother has ordered me to not let anyone in. I will obey her.”.

Shiva got angrier and ordered a Gana to fight Vinayaka. Both fought ferociously and Vinayaka was victorious. He then ordered his full army to fight Vinayaka but in vain. Finally, Shiva himself fought Vinayaka and the battle lasted a long time. Shiva’s sword and Vinayaka’s spear clashed as Vinayaka parried Shiva’s blow. Finally, Shiva took out his renowned Trishul (Trident) and sliced Vinayaka’s head off.

Hearing all this commotion, Parvati came out to see what was happening (After all this time?). She was shocked to see her beloved son’s decapitated body lying in the ground. She shrieked and started wailing at her loss. She glared at Shiva with bloodshot eyes and said, “You killed our son?! I want him back, NOW!”

Shiva was shocked when she said that the boy was their son, he was overcome with grief and guilt. He ordered the Ganas to bring the head of the first being they encounter while going north. The Ganas went north and found a dead elephant, they brought it’s head to Shiva and he put it on Vinayaka’s head.

‘How can someone restore a fully severed head?’ you ask? What I think is that Shiva had the knowledge and ability to restore a fully severed head! Something similar to a head transplant in modern medicine. You might have another question by now, ‘Why didn’t he restore Vinayaka’s original head?’. Its because the Trishul was so powerful that it shattered his head in thousands of pieces.

Then, Vinayaka regained consciousness and Shiva said, “Son, I name you Ganesha, leader of the Ganas! I am proud of you for obeying your mother until your last breath so I bless you with prosperity and extreme knowledge.” Parvati also blessed him and said, “Ganesha, I give you these weapons, Parashu (ax), Ankush (elephant goad) and Pasa (noose).” All the gods came and blessed Ganesha with many powers.

Categories
Dashavatar

Vishnu’s Dashavatar: Introduction

Lord Matsya
Lord Kurma
Lady Mohini
Lord Varaha
Lord Narasimha

Hi guys! New day, new series, Vishnu’s Dashavatar. If you guys haven’t heard of Vishnu, he is the preserver of the Universe. He is part of the Tridev: Brahma creates, Vishnu preserves and Shiva destroys, the cycle goes on and on. He has lotus-like hands and feet, skin as bluish-black as the night sky. He is with four arms, carrying a Conch, a sharp disc called the Sudarshan Chakra, a hand carrying a lotus and a hand open, blessing the whole Universe. He is the one with a face shining like the Moon on a cloudless night. He resides on the Ocean of Milk in Vaikuntha with his consort Lakshmi. His Vahana (mount) is Garuda the King of Birds (if you’re a gamer, you might have heard of Garuda, he’s quite famous). He is also shown as resting on the thousand-headed snake, Adishesha.

Vishnu takes an Avatar (not the film or the TV series! It is a Sanskrit word meaning incarnation) whenever evil rises too much to control it. He takes 10 avatars in a Chaturyuga (eon), hence the name ‘Dashavatar’ Dash meaning ten and Avatar meaning incarnation. The Dashavatars are, Matsya, Kurma, Mohini, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parashuram, Ram, Krishna, and Kalki.

“Whenever evil flourishes in the world, I take human form to destroy the evil people. This happens in every Yuga.”

— Lord Krishna

Click here for the next part

Lord Vamana
Lord Parashuram
Lord Ram
Lord Krishna
Lord Kalki

Categories
Other Reviews

Book Review: Raavanputr Meghnad

Raavanputr Meghnad: Prince of Lanka is a book by author Kevin Missal. 

The narrative is interesting as he narrates the story from the perspective of the four main characters. He doesn’t break the suspense as he moves from the story of one character to another. His story also gives a different perspective on the Ramayan. I loved how he slowly revealed layers of understanding and he leaves it to us to decide who is good. 

It is also nice how he opts for the lesser-known names for some characters, Prameela instead of Sulochana, Suparnika, and Meenakshi instead of Surpanakha. Overall, I think that even though there are some typographic errors, the book as a whole is a good read.

Categories
Other Reviews

Book Review: Shiva Trilogy

On this occasion of 10 years of Amish, I present to you, Book Review: Shiva Trilogy!

The Shiva Trilogy is a book series by Amish Tripathi. It consists of three books, Immortals of Meluha, Secret of the Nagas and Oath of the Vayuputras

Amish is a graduate from IIM- Calcutta and worked for 14 years in the financial services industry before turning to full-time writing.

Synopsis

Meluha, a near-perfect empire established by Lord Ram, one of the greatest kings. However, the Meluhans face a severe crisis as their primary river, the Saraswati is slowly dying. They also face devastating terrorist attacks from the Chandravanshis and Nagas, a cursed race with physical deformities. It appears that their only saviour is the fabled Neelkanth.

Is Shiva, the rough-hewn Tibetian immigrant, really that hero?

And then this story happened. It wasn’t really one defining moment of epiphany. It sort of just crept up on me. Slowly, first the philosophies, and then the story to convey the philosophies. This experience has changed me. My outlook to life. My attitude. And my belief in God.

Amish Tripathi
Review

It is a thrilling series of books with suspenseful endings. Amish has crafted this masterpiece with excellence. I recommend this to anyone who likes to read interesting books. Overall, It’s fast-paced (in a good way) and well written, so it deserves 5 stars.

Rating: 5 out of 5.