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Romaharshana said to Suta Gosvami, "My son, please go and explain to the great sages the teachings that I had imparted unto you. Shrila Vyasadeva, the literary incarnation of God, had imparted full knowledge of the Puranas and Itihasas unto me, and now 1 request you to propagage this knowledge on my behalf."Previously, at Prayaga, the Supreme Lord had ordered the great sages to assemble at Naimisaranya, to perform a great sacrifice. My son, go there. These sages will inquire from you, so as to clear their doubts about dharma.Suta Gosvami, who is also known as Ugrashravas, arrived at Naimisha and was very respectully welcomed by the sages. In turn, Suta Gosvami explained how he had been ordered by his father to come there and answer all of their questions.Shaunaka Rsi, the leader of the sages, requested Suta Gosvami to narrate the Padma Purana. Shaunaka inquired, "How was the lotus produced from the navel of Garbodakashayi Vishnu? How did the first created being, Brahma, come into existence on that lotus, and how was he able to recreate the universe from that position?This was the first inquiry of the sages, and because the subject was the lotus upon which Lord Brahma was born, this Purana was named Padma (lotus).In reply, the son of Romaharshana said, "I am very pleased by your inquiries, and I will respond by speaking just as I had heard from my father. This is the duty of Sutas from time immemorial- to narrate the pastimes of the Supreme Lord, the devas, and great kings of times long past. These Sutas are distinct from the Sutas who are born from a brahmana mother and ksatriya father.""1 shall now narrate the Padma Purana, which was first told by Lord Vishnu to Lord Brahma. By the potency of the Lord, this Purana is spotless and pure. It's recitation is always pleasing to the Supreme Lord, and it destroys even the greatest of sins that may have been performed by the listener.The sages at Naimisharanya inquired, "How did the mind-born son of Brahma, Pulastya, whose audience is very difficult to obtain, come to meet Bhishma? What great austerities did that ksatriya perform so that he could receive instructions from the great sage?"
Suta Gosvami said, "Bhishma had performed austerities for one hundred years at Gangadvara in the Himalayas. Being pleased with Bhishma, Lord Brahma ordered Pulastya to approach the great Kuru warrior and fulfill his purpose.
Pulastya thus approached Bhishma at Gangadvara, and informed him that Lord Brahma had sent him for the purpose of fulfilling his cherished desires. Opening his eyes, Bhishma saw Pulastya before him. After offering his prostrated obeisances, Bhishma said, "Today my birth has proven fruitful. I have not only attained success in my performance of penance, but I have obtained your most auspicious audience.Bhishma led Pulastya to a very nice seat, and then presented him with various auspicious offerings. Being very pleased by the nice recep¬tion and sweet words, Pulastya requested Bhishma to inquire from him about whatever he might wish.In response, Bhishma asked extensively about the process of cre¬ation and Pulastya thereafter proceeded to describe the creation elabo¬rately. Because this subject matter is extensively discussed in Shrila Prabhupada's commentary on Shrimad-Bhagavatam, I will not repeat it here.At the end of Pulastya's narrations, describing the creations of Brahma after his birth upon the lotus flower that had grown from the navel of Lord Vishnu, he said, "Khyati, the daughter of Daksha, gave birth to Dhata and Vidhata, as well as to Shri, the wife of Lord Narayana.Upon hearing this, Bhishma said, "I had heard that Lakshmi was born from the Milk Ocean. How can you say that she was the daughter of Khyati and Bhrigu?Pulastya replied, "My dear Bhishma, kindly hear this narration, which 1 had formerly heard from Lord Brahma.Durvasa Muni, the son of Atri, while wandering over the Earth, happened to see a Vidyadhara girl with a fragrant, auspicious garland in her hand. He said to the girl, "Kindly give me this garland. I shall put it in my matted hair.The Vidyadhara girl happily presented the garland to Durvasa. After tying the garland to his hair, Durvasa, appearing like a mad ghost, continued on, speaking to himself: "I saw a Vidyadhara maiden with large and firm breasts. My mind became disturbed but unfortunately, I am not skilled in the ways of sexual relations.
While wandering, Durvasa came upon Indra, the king of heaven, mounted upon his carrier, Airavata. Taking the garland from his hair, Durvasa Muni threw it to Indra. The king of heaven then placed the garland upon Airavata's head. Being intoxicated, the elephant held the garland in his truck, to smell it, and then threw it to the ground.The infuriated Durvasa said, "Indra! You have become wicked, due to the intoxication of pride caused by your great opulence. Because you have insulted me by throwing the garland to the ground, the three worlds will soon become impoverished.At this, Indra hastily descended from Airavata and prostrated himself at Durvasa's feet, in an attempt to pacify him. Although he was certainly somewhat pleased with Indra, Durvasa departed while saying, "I shall not pardon you. What is the use of so many words?Indra returned to his capital, Amaravati. But, it so happened that the three worlds became devoid of all prosperity and auspiciousness. Sacrifices were neglected, austeritites were no longer performed, gifts were not given in charity and so the world looked bleak and desolate.Seeing this, the Daityas and Danavas began a military campaign against the devas, and they quickly came out victorious. Being thus oppressed, the demigods, headed by Indra, took shelter of Lord Brahma. Brahma then took the demigods to the northern shore of the Milk Ocean and petitioned Lord Vishnu, who was residing there.In response, Lord Vishnu instructed the demigods to approach the demons so that, by a co-operative effort of churning the Milk Ocean to produce nectar, their strength would become greatly enhanced. This wonderful pastime is narrated in the eigth canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam and so I will not repeat it here, except the part dealing with Lakshmi.
After Airavata emerged from the Milk Ocean, Lakshmi appeared, seated upon a blooming lotus flower and holding a lotus in her hand. The great sages joyfully glorified Lakshmi, whle the Gandharvas sang and and the Apsaras danced. The rivers, headed by Ganga, brought their water for Lakshmi's abhisheka. The dig-gajas brought golden pots full of water, and the Milk Ocean offered a garland of unblooming lotuses. Vishvakarma put divine ornaments on Lakshmi's body.The devas, the demons, the Rakshasas and Nagas, as well as all others, longed to possess Lakshmi. Lord Brahma then said to Lord Narayana, "O Vasudeva, you alone must accept her, being offered by me to You. The devas and asuras have been forbidden by me in this regard.Lord Brahma said to Lakshmi, "O goddess, go to Keshava, the husband ordained by me, and enjoy happiness for endless years.At this, Lakshmi took shelter of Lord Narayana's chest, saying, "My dear Lord, the well-wisher of all the worlds, I shall always be obedient to You. Please do not forsake me.Upon seeing this, the devas were overjoyed, while the demons became depressed, feeling neglected by the Goddess of Fortune.Thereafter, the demons seized the pot of nectar from the hands of Dhanvantari. But, Lord Vishnu assumed a female form, Mohini Murti, and approached the demons, saying, "Give me the nectar. Being ever-obedient, I shall always reside with you.Being overpowered by lust for that beautiful woman, the demons handed over the nectar to her. Mohini then delivered it to the demi¬gods to drink. At this, the enraged demons attacked the demigods but were easily vanquished, due to the strength of the nectar.After finishing the narration of the churning of the Milk Ocean, Pulastya informed Bhishma that besides this appearance of Lakshmi, who is eternal, she was born again from Khyati and Bhrigu.With the approval of Lord Brahma, Bhrigu established his capital on the banks of the River Narmada and named it after his daughter,Lakshmi.
Bhrigu presented the city to Lakshmi, along with the key to the main gate. Then, once, desiring to travel to the spiritual world, Lakshmi entrusted the key to her father. Upon her return, however, when she asked for the key, Bhrigu did not return it.At this, Lakshmi went to Lord Vishnu and complained, "1 have been humiliated by my father. He has taken my city from me. Please go and take it back from him and give it to me."Lord Vishnu went to Bhrigu and said, with a very courteous voice, "Please give the city back to your daughter. Being a magnanimous soul, you should return the key to her."
Bhrigu angrily replied, "1 will not! It is not her city. I constructed it myself. Please do not bother me about this any longer.However, again and again the Lord advised, "You must return the city to Lakshmi. That is My order.Finally, losing all patience due to great anger, Bhrigu said, "It is simply due to attachment for Your wife that you are now harrassing me. Madhusudana, You will have ten births in the world of humans, and You will experience great agony due to separation from Your wife!"In this way, the angry Bhrigu cursed the Lord. Lord Vishnu then counter-cursed Bhrigu by saying, "O sage, you will not get the affection of your children!"Having said this, Lord Vishnu went to see Lord Brahma. Lord Vishnu said, "Your son, Bhrigu, is very irritable and unmannerly! For no reason at all he has cursed Me! Leaving this world, I will lie down in the Ocean of Milk! Whenever there is need, you can invoke Me to carry out your mission."Lord Brahma replied, "My dear Lord, You alone are the creator of this world. My request is that You never leave it. You are supremely independent. It is only for the welfare of the universe that You will incarnate ten times within the world of men. Actually, no one is ca¬pable of cursing You. Who is this Bhrigu? How could he possibly curse You? Lie down in yoga-nidra on the Milk Ocean. When there is need for You to perform some pastime, I shall wake You up. Otherwise, Indra is appointed by You to rule the three worlds."Lord Vishnu gave His assent to all this and then suddenly disap¬peared.Bhishma said, "O brahmana, describe to me the dynasty originat¬ing from Surya (Suryavamsa), as well as the dynasty originating from Soma (Somavamsa)."In response, Pulastya narrated as follows: Long ago, Vivasvan, the lord of the sun, was born as the son of Kasyapa and Aditi. His first wife was Samjna, and their children were the twins, Yama and Yamuna. Samjna also received another daughter, named Chaya, without direct contact with her husband, simply due to the force of his effulgence.When her daughter, Chaya, stood before her with folded hands, saying, "What shall I do?", Samjna commanded, "O beautiful girl, you should serve my husband and raise my children with motherly affection."
Saying, "So be it", Chaya went to Vivasvan for the purpose of sensual enjoyment. The Sungod mistook Chaya for Samjna and greatly longed for her embraces. As a result, Savarni Manu was born and he resembled Vivasvan's other son by Samjna, Shraddhadeva Manu.Later on, Vivasvan begot a daughter through Chaya, named Tapati. Chaya was partial to her own son, slighting the son of Samjna. Seeing this, Yama angily raised his right foot, pointing it at Chaya while threat¬ening her. At this, Chaya cursed Yama, saying, "This foot will become full of worms and pus, and blood will thus ooze from it!
Being aggrieved, Yama went to his father and said, "Mother has angrily cursed me for no reason. Due to my childish nature, I simply raised my foot a little and pointed it at her. Her son, Manu, pushed me aside but still, she cursed me."Vivasvan replied, "You are highly intelligent. Who does not get misery after happiness? In other words, the flow of karma is very diffi¬cult to check, even for Lord Shiva, and so what to speak of us. Anyway, don't worry, a chicken will eat the worms on your foot. Although you will be lame, your foot will appear charming."Becoming pacified, Yama went to Lake Pushkara and began to perform severe austerities there, for the purpose of pleasing Lord Brahma. It is the result of this penance that Yama became one of the Loka-palas, the lord of the Pitris, and the lord of death.Later on, when Vivasvan learned that his wife, Samjna, had be¬gotten a daughter, Chaya, upon whom he had begotten children, he went to Tvastri, his wife's father, and angrily reported the matter to him.In reply, Tvastri explained, "When Samjna came to me, being unable to bear your effulgence, I refused to see her because she had come without her husband's knowledge. Thereafter, she went to the Earth and took the form of a mare and wandered at will."Tvastri concludeded by saying, "Lord of the Sun, I wil make your appearance tolerable and pleasing, if you so desire."
Vivasvan consented and so Tvastri separated the sun's lustre. From it, he made Lord Vishnu's Sudarshana chakra, Rudra's trident, and Indra's thunderbolt. Tvastri then fashioned a nice form for the Sungod, but having no feet. This was because, due to the Sun's brilliance, Tvastri could not visualize his feet. Even now, no one should draw a picture of Vivasvan, or make a deity of him, having feet. One who does so will get leprosy and experience great misery in this world.
Thereafter, the Sungod, sticken with love, took the form of a horse and wandered over the Earth. Meeting Samjna, Vivasvan en¬joyed sensual relations with her without restraint. However, suspecting the horse to be a stranger, and not her husband, Samjna released his semen from her nostrils. It is from this semen that the Asvini-kumaras were born. Thus the twin Asvins were born from Samjna's two nostrils. Thereafter, Vivasvan and Samjna happily returned to heaven in a celestial airplane.Pulastya continued to describe the descendents of Surya and Soma and after that, he elaborately instructed Bhishma how to perform the Shraddha ceremony. In the course of this discussion, the following in¬teresting story is told:There was a great sage residing at Kuruksetra name Kaushika. His sons were Svasripa, Krodhana, Himsra, Pishuna, Kavi, Vagdushta, and Pitrivartin. When their father died, there came to be a great drought, causing famine all over the world. Under the order of their guru, Garga, the sons of Kaushika kept one cow in the forest where they were per¬forming austerities.Being oppressed by hunger, however, the sons of Kaushika began to think of eating the scrawny cow. The youngest brother then said, "If this cow must be killed, use her in the performance of the Shraddha ceremony. In this way, our sin will be nullified."When his brothers consented, Pitrivartin performed the Shraddha ceremony, utilizing the life of the cow. Thereafter, the sons of Kaushika went to Garga and explained, "Your cow was killed by a tiger. Here, take the calf."After their deaths, the sons of Kaushika took several low births as the result of having duplicitously eaten the cow. First, they were born as hunters. Then, they were born as deer on the Kalanjara mountain. After dying by falling from the mountain, they were born as Chakravaka birds at the Manasa lake. One of the brothers, Pitrivartin, in the form of a bird, happened to see King Anuha of the Panchala dynasty en¬gaged in enjoying with his wives in the lake nearby. Having a strong desire to become such an opulent king, Pitrivartin next became Anuha's son, Brahmadatta, while two of his brothers became ministers.
Brahmadatta's wife, named Sannati, was none other than the scrawny cow that Pitrivartin had eaten in a previous birth. One day, Brahmadatta and his wife went to a nice garden. There, they saw two ants engaged in a love quarrel. The male ant, being tormented by love, was speaking to the she-ant, who was seated in front of him, her head hanging down.The he-ant said, "Nowhere is there such a nice female as you! Your slender waist, large hips, full and firm breasts, fascinating way of walking, golden complexion and lovely face are all extremely enchant¬ing. You are such a faithful wife. Only after I eat do you eat. Only after I bathe do you bathe. When I go on a journey you miss me so much, and when I become angry, you are afraid. Why are you sitting like this with your head hanging down?"The she-ant angrily replied, "What are you saying? At the sacri¬fice you found some barley powder and, being too lusty, you shared it with another, giving none to me."The he-ant said, "O woman of lovely complexion, because she looked just like you, I gave the barley powder to another woman. O beautiful lady, please forgive me and give up your anger. I touch your feet. Kindly be pleased with me. O you with lovely hips, when you become angry, I feel as if death has come near. O you of charming, soft and shapely thighs, when you are pleased, all of my desires become fulfiled. O you of beautiful buttocks, kindly kiss me, who is passion¬ately longing for your touch. Kindly show me your favor."Upon hearing these flattering words, the she-ant became pleased and then gave herself for the enjoyment of the fascinated and bewil¬dered he-ant. Understanding the languages of all creatures, Brahmadatta smiled in amazement.Next is an elaborate description of the descendents in the Soma dynasty. Thereafter, Bhishma inquired, "For what purpose does the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, accept a human-like form and appear within the world of men? Please describe the great fight between the sons of Aditi (the demigods) and the sons of Diti (the demons). How is it that Lord Vishnu becomes involved in such affairs?"In response, Pulastya narrated this account: Once upon a time, when the demigods greatly flourished and easily defeated the demons, Diti said to her spiritual master, Sukra, the son of Bhrigu, "We cannot remain here in our abodes. Let us take shelter in the nether regions." Sukra then addressed the assembled Daityas, saying, "Do not worry I shall support your cause with all of my strength. I am superior to Brihaspati, the priest of the demigods, in terms of chanting of mantras and use of brahminical prowess." Understanding the assurances of Sukra, the demigods decided to make a surprise attack upon the demons. In the battle that ensued, the demons were massacred, and so the remaining ones rushed to Sukra's shelter.
Sukra, who is also known as Kavya, then told the demons, "Desist from fighting for now. I will approach Lord Maheshwara (Siva) for the strength that will enable you to later on defeat your enemies."
Thus it came to be that the remaining demons put down their weapons and spoke as follows to the demigods: "We have given up all desire to fight. Now, we are going to dress in deerskin and engage in the performance of austerity. Kindly desist from further aggression."The demigods assented and returned to their heavenly abodes, ukra then told the demons, "Remain in the hermitage of Brahma, performing austerities. In this way, wait for me to return."Kavya then approached Lord Brahma and said, "My lord, for the defeat of the demigods and the victory of the demons, kindly give me all the mantras that Brihaspati does not possess."In response, Lord Brahma instructed Kavya about the nature of the austerities that he would have to perform, so as to receive the benedic¬tions he desired. Thereafter, Sukracharya performed these austerities, while worshiping Lord Shiva.Understanding this, under instruction from Brihaspati, the demi¬gods attacked the demons with great enthusiasm. Fearfully, the demons pleaded, "O devas, while our preceptor is performing austerities, we have laid down our weapons."In this way, the demigods were dissuaded from further fighting. The demons then took shelter of Sukra's mother, waiting for the time when their guru would return, giving them superior weapons. Sukra's mother, the wife of Bhrigu, gave the demons assurances, and upon com¬ing to know of this, the demigods once again attacked. While watching the demons being slaughtered, Kavya's mother became enraged. By employing her mystic power, she paralyzed the advancing demigods.
Seeing their leader stupefied, the army of the demigods fled in fear. Lord Vishnu then told Indra, "Enter into My existence. In this way, I shall protect you."When she saw this, Bhrigu's wife angrily said, "By dint of my ascetic merit, 1 shall now burn you to ashes, along with your protector,Lord Vishnu."Thus it so happened that both Indra and Lord Vishnu were being oppressed by the prowess of Bhrigu's wife. Lord Vishnu said, "Indra, how shall we become freed from this danger?"Indra suggested, "Kill her at once, or else she will burn us to ashes.Do not delay!"Having made up His mind, Lord Vishnu invoked the Sudarshana chakra and cut off the head of Bhrigu's wife. As a result, the enraged Bhrigu Muni cursed Lord Vishnu, "Since You, the supposed knower of dharma, have killed a woman, You will be born amongst human beings seven times."It is for this reason that the Lord appears in human society when the practice of dharma decreases and irreligion become predominant.Bhrigu Muni then picked up his wife's head. Addressing it, he said, "0 goddess, I will revive you. If you are indeed a follower of dharma, then come back to life!"After being sprinkled with cold water, it so happened that Bhrigu's wife did come back to life. From all sides were heard shouts of "sadhu!,sadhu!"Seeing this, Indra became overwhelmed by anxiety, so that he could not sleep at night. Calling his daughter, Jayanti, Indra said, "Ushanas (another name of Sukracarya) is performing a terrible vow for the destruction of the demigods. Please go to him now and satisfy him by your service. I am giving you to him so that you can save us from impending disaster."
Understanding her father's words very well, Jayanti went to where Sukra was performing austerities and began engaging in his service, with great care and attention.At last, after one thousand years, Lord Shiva became pleased with Sukra and appeared to him. Lord Shiva gave Sukra the benediction that he would enable the demons to conquer the demigods.Being overjoyed, Sukra bowed down before Lord Shiva and glori¬fied him greatly.After the departure of Lord Shiva, Kavya said to Jayanti, "Who are you? Why are you trying so hard to win me over? You are a very charming girl with attractive features. I am very pleased with you."Jayanti replied, "By dint of your austerity, you can well under¬stand my desire without asking. Kindly tell me what I wish."Ushanas looked deeply at the girl and said, "Beautiful lady, un¬seen by others, you wish to have loving relations with me for one thou¬sand years. Let it be. Come now, we will go to my abode."Thus it was that Sukra lived with Jayanti for a long time, unseen by others.Understanding that their preceptor had returned home, after receiving benedictions from Lord Shiva, the sons of Diti went to see him. But, due to Sukra's mystic power, he remained invisible. Because of this, the demons concluded, "Our preceptor has not yet returned home."The demigods then went to their guru and requested, "Go to the houses of the demons and by your power, stupify them."Giving his assent, Brihaspati went to Prahlada, the king of the Daityas, and by disguising himself as Sukra, he acted as their priest, thus bringing them under control. However, when Ushanas made his appearance, the demons became confused, thinking, "Our preceptor is already with us. How has another Sukra come?"Sukracharya angrily said, "Why have you come here, confusing my disciples? Is this proper for you, who are the preceptor of the demi¬gods? Being tricked by you, the demons do not recognize you. Is it proper for you to treat another's disciples in this way? Please return now to the court of Indra."Brihaspati replied, "There are many thieves on Earth who take away one's possessions, but this is the first time I have seen a thief like you, who steals one's very appearance. I know who you are. You are Brihaspati, the son of Angira Muni, the preceptor of the demigods.""O demons, just see how Brihaspati has come here, impersonating me. In this way, he is attempting to confound you. Tie him up with chains and throw him in the ocean!"Sukra retorted, "It is he who is Brihaspati. He has come here to deceive us! Why have you rejected me and accepted another priest?
Forsake now this person who will enable our enemies to come out victorious.""For your sake 1 had gone and performed austerities. Remaining in the water, I was drunk by Lord Shiva and thus I remained within his belly for one hundred years. Then I was discharged by him in the form of semen, from his genitals. He told me, 'Sukra, choose any benediction you like.' After thus receiving the fulfillment of my desires, I returned here and see that you have accepted this brahmana as your priest. He is Brihaspati."But, again and again, Brihaspati in the form of Sukra told Prahlada, the king of the demons, "I don't know who this person is-whether he is a deva or an asura- but he has come here after assuming my form."The demons applauded these words, saying, "Well said. We want to have our original priest and wish that the newcomer would return to the place from where he had come."At this, Kavya angrily cursed the demons, saying, "Because you have abandoned me, you will become devoid of all opulence and miser¬able for a long period of time. Indeed, a terrible calamity will soon befall you!"After saying this, Sukra departed, going to a sacred place for per¬forming tapasya. Brihaspati remained with the demons for some time. One day, the demons went to Brihaspati in the form of Kavya and requested, "Kindly instruct us in the knowledge that will enable us to gain release from this miserable material existence. That is our sin¬cere wish."Brihaspati replied, "This is my wish also."Actually, desiring to mislead the demons, Brihaspati proceeded to speak in a duplicitous way, leading them away from the path of Vedic understanding.Brihaspati said, "The knowledge of the four Vedas actually causes misery to men in this world. It is only for self-aggrandisement that the so-called followers of the Vedas perform the Shraddha ceremony and other such rituals, laid down by Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva."
"How can Shiva, whose form is half male and half female, who is surrounded by ghosts and witches, give liberation? How can Vishnu, who practices violence, give one release from material bondage? Brahma is in passion and subsists upon his own progeny. The rsis are violent and eat flesh. The devas drink wine. The brahmanas also eat flesh. How will such persons award one liberation? If a person goes to heaven by killing a poor animal, then what is it that makes one go to hell? If by eating food, another person becomes satisfied, then the Shradda cer¬emony should be performed for the benefit of one who has taken a journey. That way, there is no need for a traveller to carry food.""For every being who is born, the body is very dear. Knowing this, how can one subsist upon the flesh of others? The so-called followers of the Vedas take pleasure, by sexual intercourse, in the same vagina by which they came into this world. What kind of religious people are they?""After passing stool and urine, one washes with clay and water. Why isn't the mouth washed in the same way, after eating? The state of things these days is certainly perverse!""Formerly, Soma kidnapped Tara, the wife of Brihaspati and as a result, a son, Budha was born. Still, Brihaspati accepted his wife after¬wards. Indra himself took away Ahalya, the wife of Gautama Rishi. What kind of religion is this?"Brihaspati in the form of Sukra then asked the demons to inquire further. They said, "Please tell us what god to worship so that we can be delivered from the dark well of material existence. Pulling us by the hair, deliver us by your instructions."Brihaspati then thought to himself, "How can 1 make these de¬mons reject the Vedic authority, and thus pave their way to hell."While thinking in this way, Brihaspati meditated upon the Su¬preme Lord, Keshava, knowing that His Mahamaya was capable of deluding the demons.In response, the Lord sent a person, Mahamoha, to fulfill Brihaspati's wish. Appearing as a naked ascetic with peacock feather in his hand and shaved head, Mahamoha stood before Brihaspati. The preceptor of the demigods said, "Demons, this exalted personality has come to show you favor."Mahamoha then said, "If you desire release from material bond¬age, then you must act according to my instructions. You must follow the teachings of Arhat and reject the Vedic path. By doing so, the doorway to liberation will remain open for you.
In this regard, the following verse is quoted from the fifth canto, sixth chapter of Shrimad-Bhagavatam:Sukadeva Gosvami continued speaking to Maharaja Parikshit: "My dear King, the King of Konka, Venka and Kutaka whose name was Arhat, heard of the activities of Rsabhadeva and, imitating Rsabhadeva's principles, introduced a new system of religion. Taking advantage of Kali-yuga, the age of sinful activity, King Arhat, being bewildered, gave up the Vedic principles, which are free from risk, and concocted a new system of religion opposed to the Vedas. That was the beginning of the Jain dharma. Many other so-called religions followed this atheistic system."Mahamoha employed many false arguments that appeared to be reasonable, for the purpose of misleading the demons. He said, "O wise ones, if it is a fact that the animals burnt as sacrificial offerings obtain heaven, then why doesn't the performer of the sacrifice offer his own father?"The demons said, "Kindly give us initiation, so that our path to liberation will be easily traversed."Mahamoha said, "This brahmana, Ushinaras, will give you ini¬tiation on my behalf. Just follow his instructions implicitly."Thus it came to be that Brihaspati in the form of Sukracharya took the demons to the banks of the Narmada river. He had the de¬mons take off all their clothes. When they were naked, he gave them peacock feathers, flags, berries of the gunja plant, and garlands, and then told them to pluck out their hair, saying that this resulted in great religious merit. He told the demons that they should never worship any form other than Arhat.Having thus engaged the demons in various austere practices, Brihaspati returned to heaven. After being informed of the situation, Indra came to see the demons and inquired as to why they had given up their usual practices, denying the Vedas.In response, the Danavas explained that they had given up the practice of demons so that they could engage in the practices of sages. After saying this, they requested Indra to return to his own abode.Pulastya then concluded by saying. "Bhishma, in this way, Brihaspati deluded the demons, thus relieving the great fear of the demigods. However, after some time, Sukracharya again went to the demons and instructed them in such a way that they once again desired to conquer the three worlds.
Bhishma asked, "Tell me how Arjuna was born from Indra. Also, how was Kama, born from an unmarried woman, known as the son of a charioteer. For what reason was their enmity between the two? Please tell me all of this."Pulastya then narrated as follows: Once, Lord Brahma took the perspiration from his forehead and threw it to the ground, causing the birth of a great hero, having bow and arrows and wonderful armor. This created being asked, "What shall I do?"Lord Brahma pointed to Rudra and said, "Kill this wicked-minded person."Upon seeing the terrible being created from Brahma's perspira¬tion and hearing Brahma's order, Rudra became very frightened. Quickly he departed and went to the shelter of Lord Vishnu.Seeing Rudra with a begging skull in his hands, Lord Vishnu be¬gan to consider what alms He should give. Lord Vishnu then offered His right arm, and so Shiva cut it with his trident. From Lord Vishnu's arm came a stream of blood like liquid gold and it fell into the begging skull.After a long time, Lord Vishnu asked Shiva, "Is your skull full?" Lord Shiva confirmed that it was indeed full, and so Lord Vishnu withdrew the stream of blood. Lord Shiva then stirred the blood with his finger, as well as glances from his three eyes, for one thousand years. Gradually, it became a lump, then a bubble, and then finally, a man of stout body, carrying a bow and two quivers.
Lord Vishnu inquired, "Bhava (Lord Shiva), who is this man (nara) who has sprung from the skull?"Lord Shiva said, "This is Nara, the best among those who know how to utilize weapons. He will be called Nara because that is how you referred to him. Both Nara and Narayana will become famous in battle, on behalf of the demigods. Indeed, Nara will be the friend of Lord Narayana. He will help you in killing the demons."Nara then proceeded to praise both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. He inquired with joined palms, "Now, what should I do?"Lord Shiva ordered, "Brahma has created a warrior from his per¬spiration. Go and kill him!"advising Lord Shiva in this way, Lord Brahma departed.
Lord Shiva proceeded to glorify Lord Narayana as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes, and the origin of every¬thing.Shrila Prabhupada quoted some of these verses, spoken by Lord Shiva, as follows:"Shrila Madhvacarya, quoting Padma Purana, states: vivikta-drsti jivanam dhisnyataya paramesvarasya bheda-drstih. 'One who has clear vision and who is devoid of envy can see that the Supreme Lord is separate from all living entities, although He is situated in every living entity.' ""Madhvacarya further quotes from Padma Purana:
upapadayet pdratmanam I jivebhyo yah pade pade
bhedenaiva no. caitasmat I priyo visnos tu kancana
'One who sees the living entity and the Supreme Lord as always distinct is very dear to the Lord.' ""Padma Purana also states, yo hares caiva jivanam bheda-vakta hareh priyah: 'One who preaches that the living entities are separate from the Supreme Lord is very dear to Lord Visnu.' "Another verse quoted by Shrila Prabhupada is given as follows:
vyamohaya caracarasya jagatas te te puranagamas tah tarn eva hi devatah paramikah jalpantu kalpavadhi
siddhdnte punar eka eva bhagavdn visnuh samastdgama-vydpdresu vivecana-vyatikararh nltesu nisclyate
TRANSLAT!ON:"There are many types of Vedic literatures and supplementary Puranas. In each of them there are particular demigods who are spoken of as the chief demigods. This is just to create an illu¬sion for moving and nonmoving living entities. Let them perpetually engage in such imaginations. However, when one analytically studies all these Vedic literatures collectively, he comes to the conclusion that Lord Visnu is the one and only Supreme Personality of Godhead."PURPORT:This is a verse from the Padma Purana. Finally, as Lord Shiva continued speaking, Lord Narayana per¬sonally came and appeared before him, seated upon Garuda. When the
Supreme Lord offered His benediction, Lord Shiva requested, "My Lord, kindly purify me from the sin of murdering a brahmana. My body has become dark and of bad odor, and my ornaments have turned to iron. Tell me what I should do to regain my pleasing form."Lord Vishnu replied, "The murder of a brahmana is a very cruel act. Now, you should rub ashes all over your body three times a day. Wear bones on your head, ears and hands. By doing so, you will regain your normal composure."Having said this, Lord Narayana, accompanied by Lakshmi, sud¬denly vanished from view. Rudra then wandered over the Earth, skull in hand. Indeed, even when he vigorously shook his arm, that skull would not fall from his hand. This is the origin of the Kapalika vow of wandering about holding a skull, and eating and drinking from it.Lord Shiva returned to Lord Brahma, telling him that he had completed his atonement for the sins that he had committed. When Lord Shiva asked where he should throw the skull, Lord Brahma desig¬nated Varanasi as the sacred place where he should continue to reside.Next, Pulastya describes the glories of various holy places, espe¬cially Pushkara. Originally, Pushkara refers to the lotus grown from the navel of Lord Vishnu, upon which Lord Brahma was born. Once, Lord Brahma threw a lotus flower upon the Earth, killing the nefarious de¬mon, Vajranabha, who was very fond of killing children. The place where that lotus fell became extremely delightful, and it was known as Pushkara.In answer to Bhishma's inquiries, Pulastya next narrated this story: Once, the Boar incarnation, Varaha, was petitioned by Lord Brahma as follows: "My dear Lord, kindly give all protection to me as I perform my sacrifice. Do not allow the demons to destroy or pollute the sacrifi¬cial arena."Lord Varaha gave His consent and remained there, staying by Lord Brahma's right side, while Rudra remained at his left. Savitri, the wife of Lord Brahma, was then informed by the priest, "Madam, come quickly. All the fires are ablaze. The time for initiation into the perfor¬mance of the sacrifice has arrived."However, Savitri was busy doing something and so she did not come promptly as advised, as is common with women. She was think¬ing, "I have not made sufficient decorations, I have not drawn pictures
on the wall, and the cleansing of the pots has not been done. Lakshmi, the wife of Narayana, has not yet arrived, nor have many other re¬spected wives of the demigods and sages."
Savitri told the priest, "I will wait here until the arrival of all the ladies. Go and tell Brahma to wait.The priest went and informed Brahma, "Savitri is busy doing various chores. She told me that she will not come until her friends have ar¬rived. O lord, the proper time is passing away. Please do as you see fit."Becoming a little angry, Lord Brahma told Indra, "Go and quickly find me another wife, so that the sacrifice can proceed properly. I shall again set this woman free after the completion of the sacrifice."Indra roamed over the Earth and saw many women who were others' wives. Finally, he came to see a cowherd's daughter, endowed with great beauty. She had a delicate nose and charming eyes. Indeed,no goddess, Apsara, demoness, nor female serpent was equal to that girl. She was like a second Lakshmi, bringing to a halt the functions of any man's mind, by means of her wealth of beauty.Indra thought, "This girl is just suitable for Lord Brahma. Cer¬tainly my efforts have born fruit! This girl must be the topmost product of the Creator's skill. Upon seeing her two breasts with pointed nipples, I feel such pleasure! In whose heart would not great wonder be pro¬duced upon seeing them? Her lovely lips seem to be overpowered by passion. Surely they will give immense pleasure to their enjoyer! Her curly hair adds to her attractiveness. Her lotus eyes seem to reach to her ears. Now I understand the true value of my possessing one hundred eyes! There is no limit to the skill that the Creator has demonstrated in fashioning this beautiful form. Just by seeing her movements while walking, love becomes maifest in the hearts of men."
Indra said to the girl, "O you, with charming eye-brows, please tell me- to whom do you belong? Why are you wandering here on the common path?"Trembling, the bashful girl replied, "I am a cowherd maiden. 1 sell milk, butter and yogurt. You can take as much as you desire."Indra then firmly grabbed the girl by the hand and brought her to where Lord Brahma was seated. The girl cried out, "O mother, O father, O brother, this man is taking me by force!"She said to Indra, "If you want me for some purpose then speak to my father. He will give me to you. What girl does not long for an affectionate husband? My father will not ask anything from you. If I offer myself to you without the knowledge of my father, then my reli¬gious merit will be spoiled. Surely this will not be pleasing to you."Placing the girl before Brahma, Indra said, "O large-eyed one, I have brought you for this lord. Do not be aggrieved."When Lord Brahma saw the cowherd's daughter, he considered her to be like a second Lakshmi. Upon seeing Lord Brahma, having a stout chest, shapely thighs like the trunks of elephants, and nails hav¬ing reddish hue, the girl also felt attracted. In fact, she wanted to secure him as her husband.Considering that she possessed the authority to offer herself to whom she chose, the girl thought, "If this man, due to my beauty, insists upon having me, then there is no woman luckier than I. If I leave him, I will surely die, and if I have him I will surely be happy. Any girl he favorably looks upon is certainly blessed. What then of the woman he embraces? He can be compared to Cupid alone. All beautiful things in the creation seem to be residing in one place- in him."Addressing her mind, the cowherd girl thought, "If you are not excited by the prospect of being touched by his body, then you are dreaming fruitlessly. Cupid, you had better carefully protect your wife, Rati, for this man is superior to you. He has certainly snatched away the gem of my mind."She concluded her thoughts: "If I have executed any pious activi¬ties in the past, by that power let him become my husband."Lord Brahma then said to Lord Vishnu, desiring to expedite the sacrifice, "O Lord, this is the goddess Gayatri."Lord Vishnu replied, "Today, in the Gandharva style, you should marry this girl who is given to you by Me. Do not hesitate."
Thus, Brahma married the cowherd's daughter in the Gandharva style. In this regard, I would like to quote Shrila Prabhupada from the ninth Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam:"So marriage by agreement or by selecting one's own husband in an open competition is allowed. There are eight kinds of marriage, of which marriage by agreement is called gandharva marriage. Generally the parents select the husband or wife for their daughter or son, but gandharva marriage takes place by personal selection. Still, although marriage by personal selection or by agreement took place in the past, we find no such thing as divorce by disagreement. Of course, divorce by disagreement took place among low-class men, but marriage by agree¬ment was found even in the very highest classes, especially in the royal ksatriya families."Lord Brahma then said to one of the sacrificial priests, "I have taken this girl as my wife. Put her into my house."Thus, the priests took the girl to the room meant for the wife of the one performing the sacrifice. This sacrifice, performed at Pushkara, then commence with Bhrigu as the chief priest, and it lasted for one thousand yugas.After discovering that the daughter of the cowherd man was miss¬ing, the members of the cowherd community came to the sacrificial arena. Seeing her daughter seated there, with the markings of a mar¬ried woman, the mother cried out, "O, my daughter!" The father cried out, "O, my dear daughter!"Seeing this commotion, Lord Vishnu addressed the cowherd com¬munity: "We have brought her here and appointed her as Lord Brahma's wife. This is very auspicious for her and for everyone.Therefore, give up your grief. In the future, for the fulfillment of a divine mission, I shall appear in your family. Nanda will be my father and all of the cowherd girls will enjoy transcendental pastimes with Me. Don't worry, these activities are transcendental and so there will be no hatred, jeal¬ousy, or sin."After hearing these words of Lord Vishnu, the cowherds offered their obeisances and returned home.
Lord Shiva arrived at the sacrifice with a skull in his hand, in a form that had five heads. When he tried to enter the assembly, the brahmanas rebuked him for being unfit. Finally, it was decided that he should leave after eating. Lord Shiva said that he would first bathe in Lake Pushkara. In this way, he departed, leaving his skull at the sacrifi¬cial arena.Lord Brahma said, "When there is a skull here, which is contami¬nated, how can the sacrifice be performed?"A brahmana said, "I will throw away the skull."However, when the brahmana picked up the skull and threw it, miraculously, another skull appeared in its place. Again and again, the brahmana picked up the skull and threw it, but again and again, a new one appeared in its place. This happened thousands of times. The brahmana found hat there was no end to the number of skulls.Thus it came to be that the brahmanas went to Lake Pushkara and begged forgiveness from Lord Shiva, while glorifying him exten¬sively. In this way, Lord Shiva became pleased. By his mystic power, Lord Shiva showed the brahmanas that without him, the sacrifice could not be completed. They were instructed to keep a portion of the sacri¬ficial offerings in the skull.Finally, all of the ladies arrived at the sacrifice. Coming before Savitri, they bore in their hands various offerings of fruit, flowers, grains, etc. Seeing Savitri surrounded by the wives of the demigods and great sages, Brahma, Indra and even Lord Vishnu felt uneasy and ashamed. With his head hanging down, Lord Brahma wondered, "What will Savitri say to me?Indeed, the entire assembly was in anxiety as Savitri entered the sacrificial arena. At that time, the brahmanas were surrounding Lord Brahma, offering oblations into the sacred fire. Gayatri was seated prominently, in the place meant for the wife of the person performing the sacrifice.
Understanding the whole situation, Savitri angrily addressed her husband: "What have you done? Due to lust, you have abandoned me and accepted another wife! This woman who you have put on your head (given so much importance to) is not equal to the dust of my feet! Because of your weakness for feminine beauty, you have acted in a way that is condemned by people. Are you not ashamed? It is only because of lust that you have dared to act in this way! You have made yourself a laughingstock and at the same time, you have harmed me. If this is your final decision, then goodbye. How could I face my friends? How could I explain that my husband has taken another wife?"Lord Brahma explained, "At the time of initiation into the per¬formance of the sacrifice, the priests insisted that without my wife, it could not begin. They urged me to bring my wife quickly, since the proper time was passing away. Because you did not come, Indra brought this other wife. Beautiful one, please pardon me for what I have done. I'll never do like this again. Excuse me, who has fallen at your feet." Inspite of all this, Savitri was very angry and she prepared to curse Lord Brahma. Savitri then said, "Let it come to be that men of the Earth will never offer you worship, with the exception of your annual worship during the month of Kartika by the brahmanas."She then cursed Indra by saying, "Because it is you who brought this woman, when you stand on the battlefield, your enemies will bind you and reduce you to a very miserable condition. Being bereft of all opulence, you will have to live for some time in the abode of your enemies."Savitri said to Lord Vishnu, "When, due to Bhrigu's curse, You will appear in the world of mortals, You will experience the pain of separation from Your wife. She will be kidnapped by Your enemy and carried beyond the ocean. In this way, You will suffer, along with Your brother."
"Later, when You appear in the Yadu dynasty, You will be known as Krishna and will have to spend many years tending animals.To Rudra, she said, "You will become cursed by great sages, and today, your penis will fall to the ground.She then cursed Agni, saying, "Rudra will pour his semen on you. From this time onward, your flames will flare more brightly by consuming things not fit for sacrifice."
Savitri cursed all the brahmanas present there: "You will only use religion for the purpose of filling your bellies. Being greedy, you will accept even that which is contemptable.While leaving the sacrificial arena, Savitri saw that all of the ladies were laughing at her and so she prepared to curse them as well. She said, "Lakshmi will never be able to stay in one place. Indeed, she will come to reside with fools, barbarians, and those who are wicked. Shaci, the wife of Indra, will have to stay in the house of her preceptor when her husband is replaced by Nahusa, who lusts after her.Finally, Lord Vishnu pacified Savitri and while doing so, he re¬cited her 108 names. Savitri then told Lord Vishnu that she would remain with her husband as his faithful wife.Gayatri then addressed the assembly: "It was said by Savitri that no one would worship Lord Brahma but, after hearing my words, all of the brahmanas will do so. As a result, they will experience great pros¬perity. Although arrested by his enemies, Indra will be released by Lord Brahma. Although experiencing separation, Lord Vishnu will kill His enemy, rescue His wife, and then rule the Earth for 11,000 years.To Rudra, Gayatri said, "Even though your genital will fall, men will worship it (Shiva-linga) and thus earn great merit, leading to heaven.Gayatri also gave benedictions to the brahmanas, as well as to the ladies who had been cursed by Savitri.
Next, there is a lengthy glorification of Pushkara tirtha, after which Pulastya describes the killing of Vritrasura by Indra's thunder¬bolt, fashioned from the bones of Dadhichi. At this time, the demons known as Kalakeya fearfully took refuge within the ocean.Being evil by nature and desiring revenge, the demons felt secure within the ocean. Consulting one another, they plotted as follows:Those endowed with learning and austerity should be the first to be killed. Since the world is sustained by penance, their destruction will hasten the destruction of the universe.Being very envious by nature, these demons began devouring sages by attacking their ashrams at night. In this way, they ate 188 brahmana sages at Vasishtha's ashram. At Cyavana's ashram they devoured one hundred sages who subsisted upon fruit and roots. This, the demons did by night and during the day, they remained in the ocean.At Bharadvaja's hermitage, the demons ate twenty celibate rishis who subsisted only upon air and water. In this way, the world became bereft of Vedic studies, sacrificial performances, religious festivals and the execution of other sacred rituals. Being terrified, many people en¬tered caves as they scattered here and there, and some even gave up their lives out of fear.The greatest warriors tried to challenge the demons, but they could not understand that their shelter was within the ocean. Being very disturbed, the demigods assembled and then went to the shelter of Lord Vishnu, praying, "O Lord, You are the creator and protector of this world. Formerly, You assumed the form of a boar to lift up the Earth, which had fallen down into the ocean."In the form of Narasimha, You killed the mighty demon, Hiranyakasipu. As Vamanadeva, You took away the three worlds from the king of the demons, Bali.O Madhusudana, You are our only shelter, who are much dis¬tressed due to the cruel activities of the demons.
Please favor us with Your protection- otherwise we fear that we shall perish.Lord Vishnu replied, "O devas, I know the cause of your distress. The very terrible demons, the Kalakeyas, after seeing Vritrasura killed by Indra, have entered the ocean. At night, they are killing all of the sages, hoping to cause the destruction of the world. As long as they remain hidden within the ocean, the demons will not be able to be killed by you. Therefore, you should think of the means for drying up the ocean.After hearing this, the demigods consulted Lord Brahma, and then went to Agastya Rishi's ashram. There, they saw this best of sages, blazing with ascetic splendor and surrounded by numerous disciples. After offering Agastya Rishi great respect and worship, the demigods said, "Formerly, you cursed the wicked Nahusha, thus removing the thorn that was tormenting the three worlds, casting him down from his throne. Being angry with the Sun, the Vindhya Mountain grew in height but then, obeying your order, he stopped expanding.Now again, the world is full of fear and so we have approached you as our only shelter. You are the giver of benedictions and so we have come to ask you for a favor today.At this point in the narration, Bhishma inquired, "Great sage, I wish to hear in detail why the Vindhya Mountain became angry and thus grew in height.Pulastya narrated the story as follows: The sun circumambulates Mount Meru. Seeing this, Vindhya approached him and said, "As you go around Mount Meru every day, in the same way you should go around me.The Sun replied, "It is not by my desire that I go around Mount Meru. This path was ordained for me by the one who has created the universe.Becoming angry, Vindhya decided to block the path of the sun, moon and stars, and for this purpose, he began to expand his size. Upon learning of this, the demigods, headed by Indra, went and tried to dis¬suade Vindhya, but failed to do so. The devas then approached Agastya Rishi. After explaining the situation, they said, "No one else but you is able to dissuade the Vindhya mountain from his determination.
Thus it came to be that Agastya approached Vindhya and said, "O best of mountains, I wish that you would give me passage. I have some work in the southern direction. Please do not increase your size further until I return. After I come back, you can grow as much as you like.Pulastya explained, "Even to this day, Agastya Rishi has not re¬turned from the southern region. It is for this reason that the Vindhya mountain no longer expands his size.Having answered Bhisma's question, Pulastya continued the nar¬ration as follows: After hearing the words of the demigods, Agastya asked, "What boon do you desire from me?The demigods replied, "Great sage, we wish to receive a wonderful benediction from you. Kindly drink all the water in the ocean. Only in this way will we be able to kill our enemies, the Kalakeyas.Agastya Rishi said, "Alright. I agree to your proposal because it is meant for the welfare of the three worlds.Agastya Rishi then accompanied the demigods to the shore of the ocean, which was roaring fearfully- dancing with incessant waves and pouring into crevices. All kinds of created beings had assembled to watch this most wonderful pastime.Agastya told the demigods, "I will now drink the ocean. Quickly do what it is that you want to do.As Agastya proceeded to drink the ocean, all beings glorified him greatly for this wondrul act. Upon seeing the ocean completely dry, the demigods were astonished and delighted. Picking up their weapons, they attacked the demons and killed them. Some of the demons escaped, however, by tearing open the Earth and entering the nether regions.After killing the demons and glorifying the sage, Agastya, the demigods requested him, "Please again fill the ocean with water. What¬ever water you drank, pour it out again.Agastya replied, That water has been digested by me.Now you must think of some other way of filling the ocean with water.Hearing this, the demigods became dejected.After consulting one another,the devas, headed by Lord Vishnu, approached Lord Brahma and presented the problem to him. Lord Brahma then said, "You can all return to your abodes without anxiety. After some time, the ocean will regain its natural condition. For the sake of his relatives, King Bhagiratha will once again fill up the ocean with the water of the Ganga.After saying this, Lord Brahma dismissed the demigods, who then returned to their heavenly kingdom.
In response to Bhishma's inquiries, Pulastya next narrated the following story, disclosing the origin of Agastya Muni: Once, long ago, Indra ordered Agni, aided by Vayu, to destroy the enemies of the demigods. When Agni proceeded to burn thousands of demons, some man¬aged to escape by entering deep into the ocean. These included Taraka and Virochana. Considering his mission to be accomplished, Agni ig¬nored them. However, it came to pass that these demons would come out of the ocean and greatly harrass the sages and others. Because the ocean was inaccessible, these demons remained secure.Indra thus once again ordered Agni and Vayu, "Dry up the ocean immediately, for it is the shelter of our enemies.However, Agni and Vayu protested, saying,This would be a wicked act becasue the ocean is the abode of innumerable innocent creatures who would perish in the process. Indra, please find some other means of destroying your enemies.Upon hearing this, Indra angrily cursed Agni and Vayu, saying, "Due to your neglecting my order, thinking yourselves to be nonviolent, like rishis, you shall both have to take human births, as sages. After drying up the ocean, you will once again attain your original identi¬ties.For this reason, Agni and Vayu were born from a pitcher contain¬ing the semen of Mitra and Varuna. They became Vasishtha and Agastya.Bhishma wanted to hear all the details of this wonderful story and so Pulastya obliged as follows: Formerly, Lord Vishnu accepted the incarnation of Nara-Narayana Rishi, the son of Dharma. Becoming afraid of losing his position due to Nara-Narayana's great austerities, Indra sent Spring, Cupid and many Apsaras to disrupt His practices. When this attempt failed because Nara-Narayana Rishi was not at all tempted by the singing, dancing and sensuous movements of the celes¬tial damsels, these servants of Indra became dejected.Narayana Rshi then produced from his thigh a woman capable of fascinating the entire three worlds, so that even Spring and Cupid became attracted. Narayana Rishi said, "This woman will be known as Urvashi.Staying nearby, the sage Mitra, upon seeing Urvashi, longed for her. Calling her, he said, "O lovely one, satisfy me.Urvashi consented. Some time later, Varuna happened to meet Urvashi and also tried to woo her. However, Urvashi explained, "I have already been chosen by Mitra.Still, Varuna continued to flatter Urvashi. He then begged, "Give ' your heart to me and then you can depart at your will.Urvashi gave her consent and upon learning of this, Mitra cursed her, saying, "Since you have behaved toward me falsely, you will have to be born in the world of humans and become the consort of Soma's grandson.
Thereafter, being unable to restrain themselves, Mitra and Varuna deposited their semen in a water pitcher, so that the two sages, Vasishtha and Agastya were born. As described previously, Agastya drank the ocean, as was indicated in the curse of Indra.Next, Pulastya narrated this account: Once, the world was greatly oppressed by hunger. Since there was little food in the world, when the sages somehow obtained the dead body of a boy, they cooked it. At this time, a king passed by. Upon seeing the distressed sages, and himself being dejected, the king said, "Receiving gifts is a praisworthy means of livlihood for brahmanas. You should therefore accept from me some villages, rice, barley, jewels, gold and cows. O brahmanas, take these things but please do not cook flesh.The sages replied, "O king, accepting gifts is a terrible thing! It is like drinking wine or taking poison! Why do you allure us, who know this very well? A seller of alcoholic beverages is equal to the owner of ten slaughter-houses. A prostitute is equal to ten sellers of alcohol, and a king is equal to ten prostitutes. So, a king is equal to a thousand slaughter-houses. A brahmana who is deluded by greed and thus ac¬cepts gifts from a king is cooked in hells like Tamisra. Therefore, kindly go away and give your gifts to someone else.After saying this, the sages retired to a nearby forest. The king then sent his ministers to scatter fruit filled with gold on the ground. When the sages picked up the fruit and found them to be heavy, Atri Muni said, "These are not to be taken.Atri Muni continued, "We are not fools. We know that these fruit contain gold. This may enable us to have pleasure here in this world but it will impede our progress toward an exalted destination after death. One who desires eternal happiness should not accept such gifts.
Realizing that all the gold, women and wealth of the world is not enough for one greedy person, one should remain self-satisfied.Vasistha Muni said, "Accumulation of ascetic merit is superior to the accumulation of wealth. If poverty and a kingdom are compared, then poverty is superior for one of good consciousness.Kasyapa said, "The accumulation of wealth is a great calamity for a brahmana. A prosperous brahmana will be deprived of ultimate salvation. Therefore, misery in the form of wealth should be aban¬doned at a distance.Bharadvaja said, "When one grows old, his hair falls out, his teeth fall out, and his eyes grow dim, but his desire for wealth and sense gratification does not wither. As a tailor stitches two cloths together, a person is bound to material existence by the needle of desire. Indeed, desire is unlimited, difficult to satiate, the cause of hundreds of miser¬ies, and is full of unrighteous things. Therefore, one should avoid mate¬rial desire completely.Gautama said, "How can the happiness of those who are con¬tented be obtained by those who are greedy for wealth, running here and there to obtain it? Lack of contentment is a great misery, and contentment is a great satisfaction. Therefore, one who desires happi¬ness should remain contented.Vishvamitra said, "If one desire that a person entertains is satis¬fied, then another desire will soon pierce him like an arrow. Desire never ceases by enjoying desired things, just as fire is never satiated by offerings of ghee. A king who enjoys sovereignty over the Earth is not as happy as one who sees pebbles and gold as the same.Jamadagni said, "A brahmana who is does not accept a gift, although fit to do so, attains the same destination as the giver of charity. Indeed, a brahmana's lustre diminishes by accepting gifts.Speaking in this way, the sages avoided the fruit filled with gold and went elsewhere.In this khanda of Padma Purana, there are lengthy descriptions of vows, religious practices and rituals meant for attaining heavenly el¬evation, along with earthly prosperity. These practices are described in minute detail and are certainly impractical in today's world, and thus these sections are avoided by me in this summary study.Bhishma inquired, "O best of brahmanas, please tell me what practices in honor of Lord Vishnu are to be observed, and what their fruit is.
Pulastya said, "Formerly, Lord Shiva was asked by Lord Brahma, 'How can men always have good health, endless prosperity and salvation by practicing little penance? What knowledge can be obtained, even by just a little austerity, that will prove very fruitful in this world?' Being thus requested, Lord Shiva narrated the following:During the Varaha kalpa, in the period of the seventh Manu, named Vaivasvata, at the end of the 27th Dvapara-yuga, the Supreme Lord will appear in three forms, for relieving the burden of the Earth. These three forms are Shrila Vyasadeva, Lord Balarama, and Lord Krishna. Tvashta (Vishvakarma), on the order of the Lord, will con¬struct a city, Dvaraka.While sitting in His assembly hall, Lord Krishna will sometimes instruct Bhima about religious principles. Bhima is called Vrikodara because he is a voracious eater. Even the fire of hunger within the stomach of a weak but religious man is difficult to bear while fasting, and so what about that within Bhima's stomach! (that fire is called Vrika)One day, Lord Krishna prescribed for Bhima a vow to practice. ""Because this vow is given personally by the Supreme Lord, it is to be considered the best.Lord Vasudeva said, "Bhima, if you are not able to fast on auspi¬cious occasions, as directed by shastra, then simply by fasting on this one day, you will attain the perfection of religious merit. This vow will become known as Bhimadvadashi.In his conversation with Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva next narrated the following story: Lord Krishna used to live in Dvaraka with 16,000 wives. He would often enjoy with them in the palace gardens. Once,Samba, the son of Jambavati, was walking along the garden path. He appeared like a second Cupid. When the wives of Lord Krishna saw him, passion was aroused in their hearts, so that it appeared as if they were being tormented by Cupid's arrows.Being omniscient, Lord Krishna said to His wives: "An evil person will one day kidnap you because you have lusted after Samba in My presence.When His wives pleaded that there should be a means of gaining release from this curse, the Lord told them, "You should observe the vow given by the great sage, Dalbhya.
After saying this, the Lord vanished. Then it came to be that, later on, after the great war at Kurukshetra and the destruction of the Yadu dynasty, and after the disappearance of Lord Krishna due the fulfillment of His mission, the Lord's wives were actually kidnapped. Arjuna was escorting them when he was attacked by a band of thieves and defeated. The wives were then forcibly enjoyed by fishermen, until the great sage Dalbhya came to that place.When the sage came before them, the wives of Lord Krishna hon¬ored him greatly. With tears in their eyes, they remembered how they had enjoyed life in Dvaraka with great opulence. Standing before the sage, they said, "We have all been repeatedly enjoyed by wicked per¬sons, and thus have fallen from the path of righteousness. You are our only refuge, O brahmana. Indeed, you were formerly instructed by Lord Keshava Himself. How is it that we became prostitutes after having personal contact with the Supreme Lord? Now, please explain to us the duties of prostitutes.Dalbhya Muni replied, "Long ago, you were the daughters of Agni. One day, as you were playing in the Manasa Lake, Narada Muni ap¬peared on the scene. Being very proud and arrogant, you did not offer respect to the great Devarshi. You requested Narada, 'Please advise us as to how we may obtain Lord Narayana as our husband."In response, Narada gave this benediction curse: 'If you give two beds to a brahmana, along with articles made of gold, on the twelth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Chaitra and Vaishakha, you will certainly obtain Lord Narayana as your husband. But, because you did not offer me proper respect, due to being overly proud of your beauty and high birth, it will come to pass that you will be kidnapped by thieves and employed as prostitutes.Dalbhya continued, "Thus it is due to the curse of Narada ,as well as Lord Keshava's curse, that all of you, deluded by passion, be¬came prostitutes. Now, listen as I tell you what the Lord of lords once told the wives of the demons, who the demigods had taken by force after defeating their enemies.The Supreme Lord said, 'Devout and beautiful ladies, you should now live as prostitutes in kings' palaces and in temples of the demigods.
In this way, you will obtain your livlihood. He who enters your house with the required payment should be served with affection that is devoid of deceit. On holy days, you should give charity to the brahmanas, and you should very carefully engage in the devotional service of Govinda.The Lord very elaborately described rituals for the prostitutes to perform on various days, as well as the articles to be given in charity. It is described that she should invite a brahmana who has mastered the Vedas and who is without any deformity. She should give him gifts in charity and feed him sumptuously. She should satisfy him according to his desires. Then, speaking with sweet smiles, she should offer herself to the brahmana.In this way, Dalbhya concluded his talks to the prostitutes.Next, Pulastya narrates an example of how the Supreme Lord incarnates in His various forms in not just one millenium- but in fact, millenium after millenium. Each time the Lord incarnates, His pas¬times vary somewhat, although there are many similarities. Here, in Padma Purana, are narrations of two different appearances of Vamana avatara. The first narration is very different from the telling of Vamanadeva's pastimes, as related in Shrimad-Bhagavatam, but the second narration is similar.Bhishma said, "I have heard that the residence of Lord Varaha is in Maharloka. The residence of Lord Nrsimha is said to be in Janaloka, and the residence of Trivikrama (Lord Vamana) is in Tapaloka. Please tell me for what reason the Lord left His abode and then planted his steps upon the Earth.In reply, Pulastya narrated as follows: Once, the mighty demon, Bashkali, conquered the three worlds and made the leaders of the de¬mons enjoyers of sacrificial offerings. Because of this. Indra became very depressed, thinking, "Due to Brahma's benedictions, this demon cannot be killed in battle. Taking the demigods with me, I shall take shelter of Lord Brahma. There is no other solution.After being petitioned by the demigods, Lord Brahma told them, "The demon, Bashkali, can only be killed by Lord Vishnu. Let me sit in meditation upon the Supreme Lord.As soon as Lord Brahma concentrated his mind in editation upon Him, Lord Vishnu appeared there, as all the demigods looked on in wonder.
Lord Brahma explained how Bashkali had snatched the kingdom of the three worlds from Indra. Lord Vishnu responded by saying that the demon could not be killed, but instead, could be handled by some method of deceit. He said, "I will assume the form of a dwarf brahmana. Then, Indra should accompany Me to BashkaU's residence and, on My behalf, beg for a gift of three paces of land.After accepting this gift, I will assume the form of a a boar and kill the great demon.After saying this, Lord Vishnu suddenly dissapeared from sight. Then, some time later, Lord Vishnu appeared within the womb of Aditi, the mother of the demigods.After the appearance of Vamanadeva, the Lord set out, along with Indra, for BashkaU's abode. They saw the beautiful city, nicely decorated. There were large palaces and wide avenues, and everywhere were seen elephants. Beautiful ladies were present throught the city-all having lovely moon-like faces. There was no religious merit, no architecture and no art that did not exist in BashkaU's city.Hundreds of gardens could be seen, and some religious festival or other was always going on. The sound of the Vedas could be heard everywhere.That great demon, Bashkali, was fully conversant with righteous¬ness, and he was grateful, kind to the distressed, truth-speaking, of controlled senses, and handsome. He was not ill-mannered, and he always abstained from causing harm to others. He honored those who deserved honor, and was the knower of all subjects. Indeed, he was the best of persons in the three worlds.Bashkali always removed the pride of the demigods and demons. While he ruled, there was to be seen no mean or cruel person, no poor person; and none who were sick, short-lived, unhappy, foolish, or ugly.Upon seeing Bashkali, who was capable of sustaining the three worlds, Indra was amazed. Becoming suspicious, the demons approached their king and said, "It is very strange that Indra has come here alone, except with some short brahmana. What should we do?Bashkali said, "Let Indra come unobstructed. Today, he will be honored by me.Soon thereafter, Indra and Vamana came before Bashkail, and were received with great affection. He said, "Today I feel myself most fortunate. Indra has come, desiring to beg something from me. I am ready to give my wife, my sons, and sovereignty over the three worlds. Indeed, I am reaady to give even my life to the one who has entered my house.
Bashkali embraced Indra with affection and then offered him worship. Finally, he inquired, "What can I do for you? Do not entertain any doubt. Whatever you want, even if very difficult to obtain, I am ready to give.Indra said, "King of the demons, I know that whoever approaches you for charity never goes away disappointed. This dwarf brahmana accompanying me is the son of Kashyapa. On His behalf, I am express¬ing his wish to perform a sacrifice. For that purpose, He requires a small piece of land, which He would like to measure with three of His steps.Although you have taken away my kingdom of the three worlds, I am not asking anything for myself. It is for the sake of this poor brahmana that I have approached you.Bashkali replied, "Indra, I shall do as you request. What to speak of this small piece of land, I am prepared to give my life if asked by a brahmana.Upon hearing this, BashkaU's family priest, SukracUarya, said, "O King, you are making a big mistake, due to not knowing what is proper and what is improper. A gift by the king should only be given after consultation with his ministers and preceptor. This so-called dwarf brahmana is Lord Vishnu Himself. Do not give what He asks! This one is the killer of your relatives. Taking the side of Indra, He is trying to defeat you by resorting to a trick.Inspite of these strong words, Bashkali replied, "My dear precep¬tor, I have made my promise and having done so, I cannot withdraw it. If this is indeed Lord Vishnu, then I consider myself to be most fortu¬nate. Even the devotees who are rapt in meditation upon Him fail to see this Lord face to face. And yet, I am seeing Him with my own eyes."Even if you consider Lord Vishnu to be an enemy, it is a fact that such an enemy that has arrived at one's house should not be denied anything desired by him. I have made up my mind. I will do as this dwarf brahmana requests.Hearing this, Sukra hung his head down in shame. Addressing Vamana, Bashkali said, "O brahmana, since You desire land, given by me, you should ask for the Earth, rather than a mere three steps.Indra replied, "O lord of the demons, what you say is true, but this brahmana has requested only three steps, and so I ask you to give that much and nothing more.Bashkali then performed the proper ritual for giving a gift in charity, saying, "Let Hari be pleased with me.
Having received the gift, Lord Vamana gave up his form as a dwarf and proceed to cover the kingdom of the demons with His first step, reaching all the way to the sun. Then, with His second step, Vamana covered the universe up to Dhruvaloka. Finally, the Lord's toe pierced through the coverings of the universe so that profuse water leaked in. This stream of water descended and finally formed Lake Pushkara. The river, Ganga, is. therefore also known as Vishnupadi, becasue it washed the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu.Lord Vishnu then asked where His third step should be placed, since no land remained to be covered. In reply, Bashkali admitted that only Lord Vishnu had the power to create and thus he could do nothing to provide more land. Being pleased, the Lord requested the king of demons to ask for a benediction.Bashkali said, "I desire devotion for You and death at Your hands, so that I can enter Your eternal abode, Svetadvipa.Lord Vishnu said, "In the distant future, when I assume the form of a boar, at that time, when you come before Me, I shall kill you.Thus it was that Indra regained lordship of the three worlds. The demons entered the nether regions and Vamanadeva suddenly disap¬peared from view.Bhishma said, "I had formerly heard how Lord Trivikrama (Vamana) had subdued Bali, the son of Virochana, and even now stays in the lower planets. Kindly tell me about this second taking of three steps by the Lord. Tell me also about the origin of ghosts and spirits"Pulastya replied, "I will try to answer all your questions. The tak¬ing away of the kingdom of the three worlds from Bali occured in the Vaivasvata Manvantara, whereas the taking away of the kingdom from Bashkali took place in a previous age. I shall now narrate that pastime of the Lord, after first telling about Naga-panchami and the origin of evil spirits.Formerly, serpents greatly oppressed creatures in this world. When the serpents were cursed to meet destruction in a future sacrifice, per¬formed by Janamejaya of the Kuru dynasty, they took shelter of Lord Brahma. He then gave the serpents assurance that ultimately, they would be spared, and he designated as their residence, Sutala, Vitala and Talatala. Later on, when the serpents again became fearful, they once again came to Lord Brahma's shelter. This time, Lord Brahma benedicted them, saying, "The fifth day of the month of Shravana will be considered very auspicious, since the work of emancipating the ser¬pents will take placed then." This is the origin of Naga-panchami, which is celebrated widely in India today.
Long ago, there was a brahmana named Prithu who was content, non-violent, and devoted to the study of the Vedas. One day, he de¬cided to visit the holy places of pilgrimage. Then, while walking through a lonely forest, the brahmana Prithu happend to see five very fearful-looking men in front of him. Seeing these deformed men of wicked and terrible appearance, Prithu felt somewhat frightened ,but he remained standing still.Taking courage, Prithu asked them, "Who are you? What deed did you perform in the past to make you appear so deformed? Where are you going?The evil spirits replied, "We are always hungry and thirsty and enveloped by grief. We have lost all good understanding and can no longer ascertain what is the proper direction. My name is Paryushita, and my companions are Shighraga, Rohaka, Suchimukha and Lekhaka.I always ate the most delicious food and would give stale left¬overs to the brahmanas. For this reason, my name is Paryushita.This man used to stah many brahmanas that came to him, desiring food Therefore his name is Suchimukha. This one is called Shighraga be¬cause he used to run away when a brahmana would solicit him for food. This man used to eat his meals on the roof of his house, being afraid that brahmanas would come and ask food from him. Thus his name is Rohaka. This man, Lekhaka, would remain silent, scratching the ground with his toes, when brahmanas came to ask food from him.Lekhaka walks with great difficulty. Rohaka's head hangs down. Shighraga is lame and Suchimukha is as thin as a needle. I have a long neck and am pot-bellied. Thus I have described our conditions and the causes for them.The brahmana Prithu asked, "Everyone on Earth subsists by eat¬ing food. Tell me about the food you eat.The evil spirits replied, "We enjoy in those houses where purity is ignored. In such houses, people spit, don't clean themselves properly after passing stool and urine, and don't bathe regularly. In such houses, food is thrown here and there, and the residents have no sense of shame." "The evil spirits enjoy in houses where elders are not respected, where men are dominated by women, and where the people are pos¬sessed of great anger and greed.
"Now, my dear brahmana, I wish that you would tell me what a man should do so as not to become an evil spirit in his next life.The brahmana replied, "One who has compassion for others; who looks equally upon honor and dishonor, stone and gold and friend and enemy; will not become an evil spirit in his next life. One who has conquered anger, who is free from attachment and aversion, and who is forgiving and charitable, will not become an evil spirit. One who wor¬ship cows, brahmanas, sacred places and the Supreme Lord, will not become an evil spirit in his next life.The evil spirits said, "My dear brahmana, tell us by what means a person becomes an evil spirit.The brahmana, Prithu, replied, "A man, especially a brahmana, who dies after having eaten a shudra's food, so that the food remains in his belly, will become an evil spirit in his next life. One who abandons a faultless mother, father, sister or brother, becomes an evil spirit. One who steals money entrusted to him, who harms a friend, or betrays someone's trust, becomes an evil spirit.One who kills a brahmana or a cow, who is a thief, who drinks liquor, who sleeps with his teacher's wife, or abducts a virgin girl, will become an evil spirit. An atheist will also become an evil spirit.As the brahmana was thus speaking, drums could be heard in the sky while flowers showered from heaven upon him. There is great merit to be gained by hearing such pious discussions.Bhishma next requested, "Great sage, please tell me about Markandeya Rishi.In reply, Pulastya narrated as follows: There was a great sage named Mrkandu, the son of Bhrigu. While practiciing austerities in the forest, along with his wife, this sage begot a son. When the boy was five years old, a great sage happend to come there. Because that sage could understand the future, Mrkandu asked, "What will be the life¬span of my son?The all-knowing sage replied, "Your son will only live for six months more.Then once, soon thereafter, seven sages observed the boy as they were traversing the forest path. Understanding that his life would soon be over, the sages became compassionate. Taking the boy with them, they approached Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma welcomed them and said to the boy, "May you live a long time.When Lord Brahma asked the sages about the purpose of their visit, they explained how the boy was destined to be short-lived, and asked him to somehow make him long-lived.Lord Brahma then said, "This boy, Markandeya, will have the same duration of life as me.Being very pleased, the sages returned the boy to his father, and then continued their pilgrim's journey.
Pulastya explained, "After killing Ravana and rescuing Sita, Lord Ramachandra returned to Ayodhya and continued to rule the Earth for 11,000 years. Once, it was suggested that He should again visit the ashram of Agastya Rishi, and so the Lord set out. When Lord Rama met Agastya Rishi, they engaged in lengthy conversations. One of Rama's questions was about the Dandaka forest, where He had passed a long time in exile.In reply, Agastya narrated the following account: Manu's son was Ikshaku. After being installed as the Emperor of the Earth, Iksvaku went about begetting many sons. The best of these was the youngest, Danda. Iksvaku gave this name to his son because he could forsee that in the future, the rod (danda) of chastisement would fall upon him because of his sinful act.In consideration of this flaw, Iksvaku gave Danda a relatively small kingdom- the tract of land between the Vindhya and Nila moun¬tains. Thereafter, Danda ruled his kingdom for many, many years, in a righteous manner.One day, during the charming month of Chaitra, Danda came to the vicinity of Sukracharya's ashram. There, he saw Sukra's daughter of matchless beauty, wandering in the forest alone. She was in the prime of her youth- having a moon-like face, firm breasts, slim waist and nicely shaped legs. Seeing the girl, Danda felt very pleased.Actually, the girl was wearing a single cloth that amply displayed her beautiful features, and as a result, the king became highly infatu¬ated with lust. Approaching the unmarried girl, Danda said, "O lovely girl, of enchanting beauty, whose daughter are you? I am tormented by love. Simply by seeing you, my heart has become attached."Please know for certain that I will die if I cannot enjoy your beautiful face, which attracts even the hearts of great sages. Indeed, you have stolen away my very life. Please revive me. I am your servant. Accept me as your devotee.Sukra's daughter replied, "I am the daughter of Bhargava (the son of Bhrigu). My name is Araja, and I am his eldest daughter. We are living here in this hermitage. My father is also your guru, so spiritually, we are brother and sister. You should not speak like this. Instead, it is your duty to protect me from wicked and lusty men."My father is easily angered. His wrath would burn you to ashes in a moment if you were to try and enjoy me by force. Otherwise, follow the prescribed rules, if you desire union with me, and speak to my father.
Upon hearing these words, Danda hung his head and said, being intoxicated with lust, "Favor me, O beautiful one, for I am mad with longing for you. If I don't have you, I will surely perish. Even if I am killed as a result of enjoying you, I don't care.The king then forcibly caught hold of the girl with one hand, and with the other, he took off her dress. He pressed her body to his and put his mouth to hers. He then proceeded to satisfy his lust to his full satisfaction, with the trembling girl. After performing this greatly sin¬ful act, Danda hastened back to his capital.Sukra's daughter, helpless and weeping, waited for her father's return. Finally, Sukracharya came home, followed by his disciples. He was very tired and hungry and so when he saw his daughter standing there, dejected and with blood flowing from her violated body, his an¬ger flared up greatly.As if burning the three worlds with his wrath, Sukra said to his disciples, "See this terrible calamity! This is the work of the shortsighted King Danda, which will result in disaster for him and his fol¬lowers. He will be punished by a terrible dust storm, causing not only his destruction, but the anniliation of his citizens, army and entourage. May Indra bring about this destruction to one hundred yojanas on all sides.Thus it came to be that there was a terrible dust storm for seven days and seven nights. Sukra told his disciples to move to another place, so that they would be outside the area of destruction. Addressing his daughter, Sukra said, "Wicked-minded girl, remain here for one hun¬dred years without any menstrual discharge."
Araja consented and then Sukra shifted his residence to some¬where else. Within a week, the whole area was reduced to ruin. Agastya Rishi said, "My dear Rama, because Danda's kingdom around the Vindhya mountain was cursed by Sukra, it is, since that time, called Dandakaranya."Rama, it is time to offer Your evening prayers. You should go to the sacred lake nearby for this purpose.Rama thus departed to perform his evening religious duties. A vulture and an owl had been living for many years in that charming forest, which was full of various wild animals, including many lions and tigers. The wicked vulture fought with the owl, claiming that its residence was his own. Upon seeing Lord Rama, they decided, "He is the king of the world. Let us approach Him and seek His judgement as to whose residence this really is.
Thus the vulture and owl went to Rama. With great hatred to¬ward each other, and very agitated in mind, the vulture and owl touched Lord Rama's lotus feet. The vulture said, "In my opinion, You are the best among the demigods and demons. Your great intelligence is supe¬rior to that of Brihaspati and Sukra. You are like a second Indra, in the world of men. Like the sun, You are difficult to look at. You have dig¬nity like the Himalayas and gravity like the ocean. O Lord of the gods, please hear my request. Formerly, with great endeavor, I constructed a residence and yet, this owl snatched it from me. Please order him to return it, and if he refuses, kill him!The owl then said, "O Lord, please listen to my request. The king ls endowed with the energy of all the demigods. There is little in him that is actually human. Indeed, You are the embodiment of all the demigods. It is the duty of the king to protect the citizens from all miseries. Kindly think oyer this matter very carefully. In the event of an offense, You remove the fears of the innocent subjects by punishing the wicked with the rod of chastisement. The king is the strength of the weak and helpless.O kKng, this vulture has unlawfully taken my residence and con¬tinuously troubles me. Please act in such as way so that justice will be served.Rama immediately called for His ministers- Vishti, Jayanta, Vijaya, Siddhartha, ashtravardhana, Ashoka, Dharmapala, Sumantra, and Mahabala. They had been the ministers of King Dasharatha as well.They were wise, magnanimous, and were well-versed in all departments of knonwledge. They were very calm, of high parentage, and proficient in the art of giving good council. Getting down from the Pushpaka chariot, Lord Rama said, "Vulture, tell Me the truth. Since how many years have you been living in that residence?The vulture replied, "Rama, my house has stood since the time when this Earth was filled with lofty men, possessing many arms.In reply to the same question, the owl replied, "Rama, this resi¬dence has belonged to me since the time the Earth was completely covered with trees.After considering the matter, Rama addressed the assembly, "That is no assembly where no elderly men are present. They are not really elderly who do not expoud true morality. There is no morality devoid of truth. That cannot be truth when there is present an element of duplicity or deceit. Any member of an assembly who sits silently and does not speak about that which is proper, is a liar! Condemned is the person who refrains from speaking the truth, due to passion, fear or anger. One who knows the truth should always speak it properly.After hearing this, the ministers said, "O Lord, the owl seems to be the proper owner and not the vulture. Still, You are the final author¬ity in deciding this matter.In reply, Rama narrated the following ancient history: Before the creatioin, heaven and earth; the trees, mountains, oceans; and the sun, moon and stars, were all unmanifest, as if one and the same, like the sky.
The conditioned souls, along with Lakshmi, were within the abdo¬men of Lord Vishnu. While Lord Vishnu slept in yoga-nidra on theGarbodaka Ocean, Lord Brahma also entered into Him. After a long time, a golden lotus grew from the navel of Lord Vishnu. Desiring to recreate the three worlds as before, Lord Brahma came out of Lord Vishnu's belly and was situated on the lotus.From Lord Brahma's body was born Kaitabha and Madhu. Upon seeing Lord Brahma, these two very powerful demons became enraged. They rushed at Brahma, desiring to eat him up. Being petitioned by Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu then killed Madhu and Kaitabha.Rama concluded by declaring, "Therefore, the vulture is a liar! This sinner is claiming another's residence to be his own! He must be punished!"At this time, an unembodied voice spoke from the sky: "Rama, do not kill this vulture, who had been burnt by the power of penance. His name is Brahmadatta. Formerly, he was burnt by Gautama."Once, Brahmadatta had gone to Gautama's house to beg for food. The sage gave Brahmadatta water for washing his feet and then arranged for his meal. When Brahmadatta entered Gautama's house, though, he saw a lady with very plump breasts and so he touched them with his hand. Becoming enraged, Gautama cursed Brahmadatta, say¬ing, 'Fool, you will become a vulture!' When Brahmadatta begged for for giveness, the kind sage assured him that in the future, when he would see Lord Rama, he would become free from all sins.Upon hearing this, Rama saw that the vulture had given up his bird body, and was now appearing in a celestial form. That transformed person said, "O Rama, due to Your mercy, I have been saved from a terrible hell." Then, addressing the owl, the former vulture said, "Now you can enter your own house.Rama returned to Agastya Rishi's ashram. The rishi supplied Rama with a nice meal of fruit, roots and tasty vegetables. Rama slept there that night. The next morning, after performing His morning religious duties, Rama thanked his host for his hospitality and then departed.Next, in answer to Bhishma's inquiries, Pulastya continued speaking as follows: One day, after His return to Ayodhya, following the death I Ravana and the recovery of Sita, Rama thought, "I wonder how •bhishana is ruling the kingdom of Lanka? Hostility toward the demi¬gods is the path to ruin. Ravana followed that path and met with de¬duction. I think that I should instruct Vibhishana so that he remains on the path of virtue.
While Rama was thus absorbed in contemplation, His brother Bharata came there. Seeing Rama in a meditative mood, Bharata in¬quired, "What are you thinking about? If it is not a secret, then please tell me.Rama replied, "There is nothing that I keep secret from you! My life fully belongs to you, as well as to Lakshman. My anxiety is this: I wonder how Vibhishana behaves towards the demigods. Having killed Ravana and installed Vibhishana upon the throne at Lanka, 1 feel that it is My responsibility to see that he rules the kingdom righteously. For this reason, I want to visit Lanka, and I also want to see Sugriva, Shatrughna, and My brothers' sons. After doing so, I will return to Ayodhya.Upon hearing this, Bharata requested, "Let me accompany You." Rama replied, "Let it be so. Lakshman can remain here in the city, to protect the subjects.After informing Lakshman of His plans, Rama, along with Bharata, boarded the Pushpaka chariot. First, they traveled to the king¬dom of the Gandharas to see Bharata's sons. Then, traveling to the East, they visited Lakshman's sons, staying for six nights. Next, travel¬ing to the South, they gave respects to Prayaga, at the confluence fo the Ganga and Yamuna. They visited Atri Muni's ashram and then went to Janasthan, where Sita had been kidnapped by Ravana.Rama narrated all of His pastimes to Bharata as they went along. He showed him the Rishyamukha mountain, where He had met Sugriva. He pointed out Kishkindha, where He had killed Vali. Rama and Bharata then went into the city and Sugriva gave them a very warm welcome. There, Rama had a reunion with not only Sugriva, but Angada, Hanuman, Nala, Nila, and numerous other monkeys, along with their wives.Tara said to Rama, "O Lord, where is that respectable lady, for whose sake you had defeated Ravana? 1 don't see her with You. O descendent of Raghu, You do not look so charming without her! Nor does that chaste lady look charming without You! Where is Janaki now? I don't believe that You could have any other wife.Rama replied, "Respected lady, it is very difficult to escape that which has been ordained by Kala, or destiny. Indeed, Destiny has shaped this entire world of moving and non-moving beings.
After the ladies were dismissed, Sugriva asked Rama about His purpose for coming. Rama explained how he was on His way to see Vibhishana, and so Sugriva asked if he could accompany Him. Rama agreed, and so the three mounted the Pushpaka chariot and contnued their journey. While going, Rama pointed out the place where he had petitioned the Ocean for crossing over to Lanka. Then, He narrated the major events of the great war that ensued.Vibhishana's spies spotted the Pushpaka chariot and so, ran to their king to report the news. Hastily having the city decorated for the occasion, Vibhishana came out to welcome Rama, falling to the ground to offer his prostrated obeisances. Later, as they were seated in the royal assembly, all of the citizens came out of curiosity and begged Vibhishana to introduce them to Rama.Rama stayed with Vibhishana for three days. Vibhishana's mother, Kekashi, desired to meet Lord Rama, and so this was arranged. When they met, Rama greeted Kekashi with great respect, saying, "As Kaushalya is my mother, so you are also my mother.Kekashi replied, "May You live long and be happy! My husband had told me that Lord Vishnu, taking a human form, had descended in the family of Raghu, for the welfare of the devas, for the destruction of Ravana, and for granting prosperity to Vibhishana. I can now recog¬nize that You are indeed Lord Vishnu, Sita is Lakshmi Herself, and the money soldiers are expansions of the demigods.Vibhishana's wife, Sarama, said, "O Lord, I hope that Your be¬loved Janaki is happy. I daily remember Her feet. I wonder when I will again have the chance to see Sita. O Lord of the devas, why didn't You bring Sita with You? Without her, You do not look so charming.Rama replied, "Respected lady, Sita has left Me, just as a nice position in life leaves an unfortunate person. Without her, I do not receive any happiness. As I wander the Earth, all directions appear to be vacant.After Kekashi and Sarama were dismissed, Rama instructed Vibhishana to always act in a way that is agreeable to the demigods. He then said, "What to speak of the devas, anyone who comes to Lanka should not be killed. He should be regarded just as you respect Me.Vibhishana gave his consent, and at this time, Vayu said to Rama,
There is a Deity of Lord Vamana, who had formerly taken away the kingdom of the three worlds from Bali. Please install this Deity at Kanyakubja.Vibhishana then brought the Deity, fully decorated, and presented it to Lord Rama, while explaining, "Indrajit had brought this Deity to Lanka when he conquered the king of heaven. Now, please install it.Giving His consent, Rama again boarded the Pushpaka chariot, along with the Deity, Bharata and Sugriva. At this time, Vibhishana said, "My dear Lord, all men of the Earth will come to Lanka by cross¬ing the bridge created by You. In this way, we will feel harrassed and thus violate Your command to respect all. What should 1 do?Upon hearing this, Rama picked up His bow and then broke the bridge into many pieces. When Lord Rama reached the northern shore, Lord Shiva came to meet him. Mahadeva said, "You are Lord Narayana, accepting a human form for the accomplishment of a mission on be¬half of the demigods. Now that this mission is accomplished, You can return to Your own abode, after installing the Deity of Vamanadeva.Thereafter, when they appraoched Pushkara, the Pushpaka chariot halted and would not proceed further. Lord Rama asked Sugriva to get down and investigate the cause. Sugriva then found that Lord Brahma had come there, along with many associates. Upon learning this, Lord Rama descended from the chariot and went and prostrated Himself before Lord Brahma.After being greatly adored by Lord Rama, Brahma held His hand and said, "You are Lord Vishnu, descended upon the Earth in a human form. Having accomplished our mission, you should install this Deity of Vamanadeva and then return to Ayodhya, before going back to Your eternal abode.Resuming His journey, Rama went to Mathura, to see Shatrughna and his sons. It was a very happy reunion for Rama, Bharata and Shatrughna. Hearing of Lord Rama's arrival, the people of Mathura came to see Him. Rama remained at Mathura for five days. Rama then installed the Deity of Vamana on the banks of the Ganga. Finally, after sending Sugriva back to Ksihkindha, Rama and Bharata returned to Ayodhya. Finally, Rama told Pushpaka, "Do not come here again. Remain with Kuvera.Once, long ago, there was a great war between the demigods and the deimons. When the demons seemed to be getting the upper hand, Agni aind Vayu created a terrible massacre within the ranks of the demom soldiers. Indeed, they seemed unstopable.
A^t this time, the demon, Kalanemi, took notice of what was hap¬pening;- Kalanemi was a very fearful demon, having one hundred arms. His huge body seemed to expand throughout the three worlds. Kalanemi flared tup with great prowess as he approached the demigods for battle. Indeed!, to the devas, it appeared as if Kalanemi would burn them to ashes.Kalanemi proceeded to create a great carnage amongst the demi¬gods, causing a great fear to enter their hearts. At this, the army of the demonss rallied and began to fight with great enthusiasm.Kalanemi fought so fiercely that even the leaders of the demigods, headed by Indra, tbecame practically stunned and motionless.AJ1 of the demons greatly praised Kalanemi, but due to his impi¬ous dee:ds, these five would not approach him- the Vedas, Righteous¬ness, Forbearance, Truth, and Lakshmi- all of whom resorted to Lord Naraya.na.Becoming angry because these five avoided him, Kalanemi went to see L.ord Vishnu. When Kalanemi saw the Lord, seated uponGaruda in the slky, with a conchshell, disc, club and lotus in His four hands, he said, "This is the enemy who destroyed my ancestors- Madhu and Kaitabhia. Indeed, in many battles He has killed innumerable demons-even Hiiranyakashipu. Luckily, this Vishnu is now before me! Crushed by my airms, He will soon perish!Ini this way, Kalanemi challenged Lord Vishnu. Although being greatly iabused by the demon, the Lord did not become angry. Display¬ing great forbearance, He smiled and said, "O demon, the power of arrogamce is small, whereas the power of controlling anger is great. You, who fonsake forbearance and thus talk as you have, are already doomed because: of your pride. To hell with your insulting words. What man would ciare for the shouting of women?O demon, I shall see that you traverse the same path as your ancestoirs (to the abode of Yamaraja).Ujpon hearing this, the demon laughed heartily and picked up his ^eaporus, preparing to fight. Indeed, with his one hundred hands, he srvowere:d weapons upon Lord Vishnu's chest. The army of demons,
The brahmana replied, "If this bird will not release my friends, I will give up my life. This is my vow, for I am determined.Being afraid of the sin of killing a brahmana, Kashyapa told Garuda, "My son, fully vomit these Mlecchas, along with the brahmana.Obediently, Garuda vommitted them in the vicinity of forests and mountains. In this way, the Yavanas appeared. Some of these were Turks, having full beards. They rode upon horses and ate the flesh of cows.Being famished, Garuda said, "Father, hunger is oppressing me still.Kashyapa informed Garuda of an elephant and a tortoise, as big as mountains, who were engaged in battle. He said, "These two will appease your hunger.Garuda quickly went and seized the elephant and tortoise. After ascending to the sky, Garuda could not find a place strong enough to support him. Finally, he landed on the branch of a huge jambu tree. But, suddenly the branch broke. Fearing the death of cows or brahmanas, Garuda tightly held onto the branch.At that time, Lord Vishnu took a human form and went to Garuda, who was moving fast while holding the branch. The Lord said, "Who are you? Why are you going through the sky, holding this branch,elepant, and tortoise.Garuda introduced himself and then explained, "After catching these for my food, I landed upon a huge jambu tree that extended for many yojanas. Neither the Earth nor mountains are able to support me. But, before I could eat, the branch broke. I am flying here and there because I fear dropping the branch. It might kill a cow or a brahmana. What should I do?"
Lord Vishnu said, "Staying on My arm, you can eat the elephant and tortoise.Garuda replied, "Even great mountains cannot support me. How then could You hold me? Who else except Lord Narayana would be able to bear my weight?Lord Vishnu said, "Just land on My arm. Then you will under¬stand My prowess.Finally, Garuda landed upon one of Lord Vishnu's arms and to his surprise, it did not even waver. He then dropped the branch onto the side of a mountain. Just by the fall of that branch, the Earth and the oceans trembled. Garuda then ate the elephant and tortoise. Still, his hunger was not satisfied.Knowing this, Lord Vishnu said, "Eat the flesh from My arm and be happy.Being famished, Garuda ate some flesh but still, the arm did not show the slightest wound. Being astonished, Garuda asked, "Who are You? What can I do to please You?The Lord replied, "Know Me to be Narayana. I have come here just to please you.
To convince Garuda, Lord Vishnu again assumed His four-armed form. Garuda offered his obeisances and asked what he could do to be of service.Lord Vishnu requested, "O brave one, My friend, become My vehicle for all times.Garuda said, "I am fortunate! O Lord, just by seeing You, my life has become fruitful. After taking permission from my parents, I will return to You.Lord Vishnu said, "Be ever young and immortal. You will not be killed by any being. Your deeds will be glorified just like Mine. May you travel to all places and may you enjoy all happiness. You will easily obtain food to your liking, and you will deliver your mother from a calamity.After saying this, Lord Vishnu suddenly and mysteriously disap¬peared. Garuda went to his father and told him about all that had happened. Kashyapa was very pleased with his son. He said, "One who has a devotee of Lord Vishnu for a son will certainly be delivered from the cycle of repeated birth and death.Garuda then went to his mother. She said, "You had your food and met your father. Why are you so late. I was so worried.Garuda told his mother about all that had happened and she was amazed to hear the account.She then told her son, "I have a great problem. Please help me.^y sister, Kadru, is my co-wife. Due to some arrangement, 1 have becorne her maidservant. The horse of Surya is white. She insisted that it Would become black the next day. I told her, 'If the horse becomes black,will be your servant.' Her sons, the snakes, gave the horse poison so that it became b'ack. If I can give Kadru wealth as she desires, I will become freed from servitude.Garuda said, "Go to Kadru and see what she wants. Don't worry,I will eat all those snakes.Vinata went to Kadru and asked her what she wanted. That wicked woman said, "Give me nectar!Upon hearing this, Vinata became depressed. She went and in¬formed her son of this. Garuda angrily replied, "Mother, I shall bring nectar. Don't worry.Garuda quickly went to his father and asked, "How shall I get nectar?
Kashyapa replied, "Above Satyaloka there is a city made by Vishvakarma, and it is protected by a ring of fire. It is inaccessible to devas and demons. The person who rules that city- just by his glance, reduces one to ashes.Garuda said, "By the benediction of Lord Narayana, I have no fear of anyone.Garuda sped into the sky, taking much water with him. He reached that wonderful city and put out the fire with the water in his beak. Garuda's wings raised a lot of dust. Being blinded by the dust, the lord of that city did not see him. After killing the guards, Garuda snatched the nectar. At that time, Indra came there, mounted upon Airavata. He said, "Who are you that has taken the form of a bird and snatched the nectar? How dare you offend the devas and still hope to live? 1 shall send you to the abode of Yamaraja with my arrows!Garuda replied, "I will take away the nectar. Show what kind of hero you are.Indra stuck Garuda with his arrows. Garuda pierced Airavata with his nails. Indeed, all of the demigods were made to turn away from the battle because of the wind produced by Garuda's wings. Becoming enraged, Indra struck Garida with his thunderbolt and yet, the great bird was not disturbed in the least. Upon seeing this, Indra became fearful. Indeed, he quickly left the battlefield, making himself invisible.Then, as Garuda proceeded toward Earth, Indra came to him and said, "If you give this nectar to the serpents, they will become immor¬tal. You will therefore be unable to eat them. So, return the nectar to me.Garuda replied, "Indra, you can have the nectar when my mother is free from servitude.Garuda went to his mother and gave her the nectar. Vinata then called for Kadru and gave it to her, thus freeing herself from bondage. Meanwhile, Indra had come there and replaced the nectar with poison, not being noticed by Kadru. Kadru then called for her sons and placed the poison (which looked like nectar) into their mouths. Because of this, Garuda was able to eat all of the serpents, although a few man¬aged to escape.
There after, Garuda approached Lord Vishnu.Next, there is the story of Kartikeya's birth, as the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. After the death of Sati, who burnt herself to ashes at her father's (Daksha's) sacrifice, due to being neglected by him, the demigods and demons engaged in a great war. The leader of the demons was Taraka, who could not be killed by anyone, due to benedictions he had received from Lord Brahma. When the disheartened demigods went to Lord Brahma for help, he told them of the remedy. A great son, born from Lord Shiva's powerful semen, would act as the emigods' com¬mander-in-chief, and would be able to slay the leader of the demons.Lord Brahma then approached Ratri (Night), also called Vibhavari, and said, "There is an important task you must accomplish for the demigods. Please listen as I explain it. There is a king of the demons, Taraka, who cannot be killed by the devas. Only Lord Shiva can gen¬erate a son powerful enough to vanquish this enemy. Sati, the daughter of Daksha, will be reborn as the daughter of the Himalayas.Lord Shiva, being bereft of his wife, regards the entire three worlds as void. He is living in a cave, waiting for her rebirth. When Sati is reborn, she also will come to miss her husband very much. Your job is to unite Lord Shiva with Parvati. Please listen to how this can be accom¬plished.After hearing everything from Lord Brahma, Ratri went to the palace of the king of the Himalayas. After entering the palace unno¬ticed, Ratri saw all paraphernalia for enjoyment here and there. She saw Menaka, the wife of the king, sitting drowsily, leaning against a wall. The evening's revelry had already reached its climax.Ratri, tak¬ing advantage of Menaka's condition, easily entered her mouth and then her womb, after creating within her a passion that produced a wonderful union with her husband. In this way, the mother of Kartikeya was conceived.When Parvati was born, early in the morning, the demigods show¬ered flowers from their airplanes. The Gandharvas danced and the Apsaras sang.When Parvati grew up, Indra called for Narada Muni and said, "Now, we must exert ourselves for accomplishing the union of Lord Shiva with Parvati.Understanding Indra's intentions, Narada departed and went to meet the Himalayas personified. After being very respectfully welcomed, Narada said, "O lord of the mountains, it is your great fortune that Lord Shiva is living in one of your caves, meditating upon Rama.While Narada was thus speaking, Menaka and her daugher en¬tered the room. Although Narada welcomed them nicely, saying, "Come here, my daughter.", Parvati went and sat on her father's lap.
while remaining silent. Menaka told her, "Offer your respects to the great sage." Still, the girl simply covered her face and kept quiet. At last, after further urging, Parvati joined her hands and bent down to touch Narada's feet.The mother then asked Narada, "Please tell me about my daugh¬ter. What are her auspicious signs?Narada smilingly said, "This girl's husband has not been born. And, he will not exhibit any good signs. This girl's hands are always reaching out, and her feet, being devoid of good signs, are shadowy.Upon hearing this, the god of the Himalayas felt confused and dejected. He replied to Narada, saying that he had lost all hope for his daughter's good fortune.Narada smiled and said, "Not understanding the real meaning of my words, you have become confused. I said that her husband has not been born. This is a fact. Lord Shiva, Mahadeva, is unborn, for he is the lord of this world. When I said that your daughter is devoid of auspicious signs, this is what I meant. Generally, marks on the body indicate duration of life, wealth, and other such things. But there is no mark capable of indicating the unending and immeasurable good for¬tune that awaits your daughter. When I said that her hand is out¬stretched, I meant that she will always be awarding benedictions. When I said that her feet are shadowy, I meant this. Innumerable demigods and demons will bow at her feet, so that the effulgence from the jewels on their crowns will obscure the sight of her feet."Himalaya, your daughter is meant to be the wife of Lord Shiva. You should therefore do what is necessary for uniting her with him, without delay.After hearing this, the god of the Himalayas felt delighted at heart. He glorified Narada and assured him of his full cooperation. Narada quickly departed for the abode of Indra. After being seated, the Devarshi informed the king of heaven that his trip to the Himalayas had been successful. He said, "Now, the help of the one with five ar¬rows (Cupid or Kamadeva) is required."
Upon being thought of by Indra, Cupid, along with his wife, Rati, quickly came and stood before him. Indra said, "God of love, you must quickly unite Lord Shiva with Parvati, the daughter of the Himalayas. Taking Spring and Rati with you, go at once to accom¬plish your mission.Kamadeva (also known as Madana) fearfully replied, "Please con¬sider the matter carefully. How can I conquer Lord Shiva, who is un¬conquerable? Great personalities exhibit greatness in everything they do- especially there is greatness in their favor and their wrath!Indra assured Kamadeva that he would empower him with the necessary strenght to accomplish his mission. At last, Kama departed for the Himalayas, taking Rati and Spring with him. After arriving, Kamadeva thought carefully about how he could accomplish his mis¬sion. He concluded, "The minds of great souls are steady and difficult to conquer. Therefore, I must somehow agitate Lord Shiva's mind. Suc¬cess comes to one whose mind is pure. When there is an absense of hatred, how can there be anger? On the other hand, jealousy is very Powerful. It easily destroys fortitude, which is the support of those desiring success."I shall create jealousy within Lord Shiva's mind. In this way, I shall begin, and then by very charming means, I shall conquer him.Thinking like this, Madana went to Lord Shiva's residence. This hermitage possessed the essence of nature's beauty. There, Madana saw Lord Shiva, along with his numerous attendents. Remaining invisible [o others, Cupid approached Lord Shiva, who sat with half-closed eyes, faring at the tip of his nose. Taking shelter in the humming of bees in the nearby trees, Cupid entered Lord Shiva's mind through the cavity of his ear.
When he heard the humming of the bees, Lord Shiva remembered his former wife, Daksha's daughter, and imagined enjoying pastimes of love with her. In this way, Lord Shiva's meditation was disturbed. In¬deed, his heart became filled with amorous feelings. Manifesting his great power, Lord Shiva then drove away Madana and continued his meditation as before.Cupid, who can change his form at will, felt as if he were being burned, and so he quickly left Lord Shiva's heart and remained outside. Next, Madana discharged his arrow, in the form of mango blossoms carried by a charming breeze, aimed at Lord Shiva's heart. This arrow is called Mohana (deluding).This arrow fell on Lord Shiva's pure heart, causing him to be¬come prone to passion. Lord Shiva quickly realized that this passion was caused by the presence of someone playing with his emotions.Sud¬denly, he flared up with anger, and from his third eye, a fiery ray struck Kamadeva, who was standing nearby. Indeed, the god of love was im¬mediately burnt to ashes. That fiery ray spread out, so that it began to burn the three worlds. Realizing the great harm that would ensue, Lord Shiva quickly divided that ray into parts and placed them within the mango tree, wine, the moon, flowers and other objects.Still, having been pierced by Cupid's arrows, Lord Shiva's heart burned with a strong desire to obtain Parvati. This caused him a lot of grief. Seeing her husband burnt to ashes, Rati cried pitiably, as did Madana's friend, Spring.Being consoled by Spring, Rati smeared her body with Cupid's ashes and then took shelter of Lord Shiva. Being pleased by Rati's surrender and prayers, Lord Shiva assured her that, after a long time, Cupid would again be born. Rati then departed.Meanwhile, the god of the Himalayas, as instructed by Narada, took his daughter and set out for the abode of Lord Shiva. On the way, he came upon Rati, weeping, and so he inquired from her about the cause. In reply, Rati explained all that had happened. Upon hearing how Cupid had been burnt to ashes by Lord Shiva's anger, Himalaya decided to return home.
At this, Himalaya's daughter said, "O father, what is the use of this wretched body? When success can be had by penance, what is the use of duplicitous means? I shall now perform austerities, so that I can achieve my goals, by my own effort.The god of the Himalayas replied, "Do not act rashly! Your body will not be able to bear the harshness of performing penance. What¬ever is destined will happen, even if one does not desire it. Let us go home.His daughter remained adamant, however, and would not return home. A voice from the sky then said, "O king, since you said to your daughter, 'do not do this', her name shall be Uma. She is success incar¬nate, and so she will achieve whatever she desires.After hearing this, Himalaya allowed his daughter to practice austerities, and so he returned home alone. Along with two friends, Uma went to the top of a mountain, put on a dress made of treebark, and commenced her life of austerity, which continued for hundreds of years. Finally, she maintained herself without eating any food. But, by the power of her austerities, a great fire emanated from her body, caus¬ing fear to all living beings.At this time, Indra summoned the seven sages (sapta-rishis) and instructed, "The daughter of the Himalayas is performing severe aus¬terities. Please go and fulfill her desires, so that she gives up her life of penance.Thus, the seven sages came before Uma, asking her to express her desire. Parvati replied, "I am eager to obtain Bhava (Lord Shiva) as my husband, although I know that he is very difficult to please. Already, Madan has been burnt to ashes while attempting to kindle passion within his mind. What then, can I expect to accomplish?Desiring to understand Parvati's mind, the seven sages said, "In this world, there are two kinds of happiness. One is by contact with the body, and the other is experienced in the mind. Lord Shiva is by nature fierce, and his associates are ghosts and spirits. He remains naked and covered with ashes and bones. Indeed, he appears like a madman. His appearance is loathsome. He doesn't even construct a residence. If you desire happiness from your body, you will not get it from Mahadeva!"Why don't you desire to have Lord Vishnu, Indra, Vayu, or one of the other devas? Not only will bodily happiness will be abundantly obtained, mental satisfaction will be achieved, as well. What happiness will you obtain by approaching a fruitless tree?
While listening to this, Parvati became very angry. Her eyes red with rage, and her lips trembling, she replied, "All of you are supposed to be omnisc ent, but I see that you do not understand Lord Shiva at all. Let your attempt to dissuade me stop!Understanding Parvati's firm determination, the seven sages de¬parted, goingto the kingdom of the Himalayas. There, they met Parvati's father and told him, "Lord Shiva seeks the hand of your daughter in marriage. Gc and do the needful right away.Himalaya was overjoyed to hear this, and along with the seven sages, he went to where his daugher was practicing austerities. From there, the seven sages went to the ashram of Lord Shiva. When they met Mahadeva, the seven sages asked him to give his order. In reply, Lord Shiva laughingly said, "Carry out the mission you have in mind." Being so requested, the seven sages quickly returned to where Parvati and her father were staying. They informed her, "Do not burn your body further by the practice of penance. Lord Shiva is pleased with you and will accept your hand in marriage. Now, return home with your father.Thereafter, while residing in her father's house, Parvati regarded one night as equal to thousands of years, due to feeling separation from Lord Shiva. At an auspicious time, the marriage was arranged, and all celestial beings came to take part. Everything was gorgeously decorated in the Himalayan kingdom, and in due course, the marriage was performed. All leaders of the demigods presented their various gifts, and even the rivers, mountain, seasons, etc. paid tribute on that great occasion.That night, Lord Shiva stayed in Himalaya's palace, along with his wife. The next morning, Lord Shiva and Uma departed for the Mandara mountain and there, they enjoyed in the forests for a long time.One day, along with her friends, Parvati prepared a doll having a human body and the head of an elephant. She then threw that doll into the Ganga, calling it "my son". Ganga also referred to the doll as son". Thereafter, Lord Brahma gave him the name Vinayaka.Later, Lord Shiva and Parvati entered a palace and continued to enjoy life there. Once, Parvati asked, "O lord, when will I have a son, giving me great delight?" Thereafter, there was union of Lord Shiva with Parvati and as a result, Karttikeya was born. Karttikeya then killed Tarakasura in battle, giving victory to the demigods and thus fulfilling the purpose of his birth.Next, Bhishma desired to hear about Lord Nrsimhadeva, the in¬carnation of Lord Vishnu who killed the great demon, Hiranyakashipu. Because this wonderful narration is given in Shrila Prabhupada's Srimad-Bhagavatam, seventh canto, it will not be repeated here.
During a lengthy discussion of morality, Pulastya narrated the following story: There was once a very chaste wife named Sevya. Due to his past misdeeds, her husband, a brahmana, became a leper. She was always engaged in serving her husband, even though pus constantly dripped from his wounds. Indeed, Sevya very much satisfied whatever desire her husband might have, according to her capacity. Indeed, she worshiped him like a deity, and her love for him was free of jealousy.Once, the brahmana saw an extremely beautiful prostitute, while walking on the road. Foolishly, he became madly in love with her. Heaving heavy sighs, he was seen to be always dejected, due to not having his desired object. Upon seeing this, Sevya asked her husband, "O lord, why are you so depressed? Tell me about that which is bother¬ing you. I am ready to do anything that is pleasing to you. Tell me what you want and I will accomplish it as far as I can.The brahmana replied, "My dear, why worry needlessly. Neither you nor I can get what I want. You should not question me because, due to folly, I lust after a beautiful woman, like a dwarf who hopes to take a fruit from the top of a tall tree.The faithful wife said, "I am ready to help you accomplish your object. Now, tell me exactly what is on your mind.The brahmana was pleased with his wife's devotion and so he explained, "My heart is burning after seeing a wonderfully beautiful prostitute, while walking on the road. If you can help me in such a way that I can enjoy that woman, who is in the prime of her youth, then my existence will prove fruitful."Dear lady, please help me. If that woman does not accept me, who is a leper with foul odor, due to pus all over my body, then I will die.The faithful wife replied, "My lord, I will do whatever I can. Don't worry.After thinking over the matter, Sevya got up early the next morning and, taking cowdung and a broom with her, she went to the house of the prostitute. There, Sevya swept the courtyard and smeared it with cowdung. After doing so, she returned home quickly, without be¬ing seen by others. The faithful wife did this for three days. Then, the prostitute asked her servants, "Who has done this work in the court¬yard? I did not order any of this. Who cleaned the walls and decorated them with drawings?
The servants replied, "We have not done any of this. We do not know who has.The prostitute got up early the next morning to see who was doing work in her courtyard. When she saw the chaste wife of the leper brahmana thus engaged, the prostitute felt very ashamed and amazed. Going and clasping Sevya's feet, she begged, "Tell me what you want. I am ready to give you wealth or whatever else you may desire.The chaste wife of the leper brahmana replied, "1 have no interest in wealth.There is something else I would like from you. Only this will give me happiness.The prostitute said,I will certainly do whatever you ask. Now, tell me frankly- what do you want?Sevya then said, "Tonight I would like to bring my husband to your house and in the morning 1 will return home with him, after he has enjoyed you to his full satisfaction.The prostitute agreed, saying, "Bring your husband at midnight. I have many lovers, even kings, but tonight 1 will tell them not to come, so that I can be free to be with your husband.Thereafter, Sevya returned home and informed her husband, "The beautiful prostitute has agreed to entertain you tonight, but only for a little while, as she has many masters.The brahmana said, "How can I go there? You know that I can¬not walk.The wife replied, "1 will carry you on my back to her house, and after you finish, I will take you home.That night, a thief entered the house of a rich man and stole much wealth. Upon learning of this, the king called his officers and angrily said, "If you at all desire to continue living then hand over that thief to me tonight!Being very agitated on account of this order, the officers managed to arrest the thief. There was a great sage, Mandavya Muni, who prac¬ticed meditation at the base of a great tree in the forest. Indeed, he was so absorbed in meditation that he lost all contact with the outside world. Actually, it was Mandavya that the king's officers arrested, and due to his absorption in samadhi, the Muni hardly knew what was going on.The king ordered, "Take this thief outside the city gate and pun¬ish him severely!Thus it came to be that the king's men took a stake and shoved it up Mandavya Muni's anus, until it reached his head. And yet, because of his trance of meditation, the Muni was not even conscious of this. Meanwhile, the pious wife took her husband to the prostitute and then brought him back home. It so happened that they passed right by Mandavya Muni in the dense darkness, so that the leper's body touched his. The stench from the pus that came onto his body then made the Muni come out of his trance of meditation.Becoming aware of his torment, Mandavya said, "May whoever has done this to me be burnt to ashes before sunrise.
At this, the leper brahmana fell to the ground. The loyal wife then said, "Certainly, the sun shall not rise this morning!Sevya took her husband home, and for three days she carefully cared for him. When the sun did not rise for three days, the demiogds, headed by Indra, approached Lord Brahma.The demigods said, "O lord, we do not know the cause of this disturbance. Please do something for the welfare of the worlds.Lord Brahma replied, "It is because of what happened to Mandavya Muni and the chaste wife of a brahmana, that the sun is not rising.The demigods quickly went to the leper brahmana's house, riding on their celestial carriers. Due to the demigods' great effulgence, the brahmana's chaste wife thought, "I am doomed! How is it that the sun has risen?Lord Brahma then said to that chaste woman, "How do you like it that the demigods, brahmanas and cows will all die? Now, give up your anger at the sunrise.The faithful wife replied, "Surpassing all others, my husband alone is my lord. Due to the sage's curse, he will die at sunrise and it is only for this reason that I cursed the sun. I have not acted through anger,elusion, greed, hatred, or the desire for sense gratification."
Lord Brahma argued, "By the death of one person, the entire uni¬verse will benefit. This sacrifice will earn you great merit.The chaste lady replied, "I don't want any good that can be at¬tained by abandoning my husband.Lord Brahma said, "Good lady, when the sun rises and your hus¬band is burnt to ashes, at that time, I will do good for you. From those ashes, a man as handsome as Cupid will be born. He and you will be honored even in heaven.After thinking for a few moments, she said, "Alright" and then the sun rose. Due to the sage's curse, the leper brahmana was burnt to ashes. From those ashes arose a handsome brahmana, afflicted with love. That good lady then went to heaven in a celestial airplane, along with her husband;Next, Pulastya discusses the conduct of women. For that purpose, he narrated the following incident: Once, being very curious to learn many things, Narada Muni went to see the goddess Uma at Kailash, in the Himalayas. After being welcomed, Narada inquired, "My dear devi, I am eager to know all about the behavior of women. You truly know the heart of woman. Please instruct me, who is humble and ignorant." The goddess replied, "One thing is certain. The hearts of women are always fixed upon men. Narada, it is a fact that a woman's vagina becomes moist upon seeing a well-dressed man, even he be brother or son. When there is no place, no chance or no suitor available, then only the chastity of a woman exists."A woman is like a pot of ghee, and a man is like fire. One should not keep fire and ghee in the same place. Just as the caretaker brings an elephant under control with a goad, in the same way, the protector of a woman must act.
A father should protect a woman in childhood, her husband should protect her in youth, and her sons should protect her in old age. A woman never deserves freedom. As cooked food left unprotected is eaten by dogs and crows, a young woman becomes corupt because of freedom. A woman with freedom, when sought by a man, simply acts according to her urges of body and mind.A good woman liberates her entire family, whereas a wicked woman causes their fall into hell. It is said that the success or failure of a family is mainly due to the woman. Therefore, a man should marry a girl from a good family."The husband who has sex with his wife during her period suffers the same as the killer of a brahmana. A man who kidnaps a woman becomes a chandala in his next life. Similarly, when a man abandons his good wife, he has to live in the abode of Yamaraja for a long time, keeping his wife on his shoulders, so that her stool and urine fall upon his head. After that, he is born as an insect, and then finally, as a human being. Due to his past misdeeds, his life becomes full of quarrel and misery. After obtaining these three births, he is freed from his sins. His wife, after suffing in hell, is born as a female crow, and then asa female fox. After that, she becomes a widow in the world of humans." "A man who has sexual relations wtih a chandala woman, or Mleccha woman, will suffer in hell for a long period before being born on Earth. A man who has sex with his mother, his guru's wife, a brahmana's wife, or a queen, or the wife of any superior person, will go to hell and never come back."
"There is no forgiving one who has sex with his sister, his son's wife, his paternal uncle's wife, or the sister of his father or mother. Indeed, there is no atonement for he who utters very obscene words about women as a class.In this section of Padma Purana, there are several examples show¬ing the power of material love (lust). The story of how Indra took the form of Gautama Rsi and raped his wife, Ahalya, is told. As a result, Indra's body became covered by one thousand vaginas, due to the rsi's urse. Later, these were transformed into one thousand eyes.Then, there is this story about Lord Shiva: Once, long ago, after bserving many beautiful women amongst the Gandharvas, Kinnaras nd humans, Lord Shiva, with a desire to enjoy them, pretended to be racticing great penance. Then, using a magic spell, he dragged these omen far away, into the sky.There, Lord Shiva fashioned a nice cottage and began enjoying heir company. Meanwhile, Gauri's mind became agitated. By means of ditation, she saw her husband, the lord of the world, enjoying with umerous women. At this, she became angry. Taking another form, she ntered the sky and went to that isolated region.
There, she saw that er husband had a very bright lustre, due to embracing and passionately kissing many women. Indeed, he appeared to be greatly tormented by love (lust).Gauri then came and stood before them. Lord Shiva, feeling shame, bent his head down and turned away from her. Uma proceeded to an¬grily kick all of the women with her feet. Thus, they fell to the ground, their faces suddenly disfigured. Being cursed by Uma, these women came under the control of the Mlecchas.Thereafter, Uma divided her form into a hundred aspects and united with her husband. Such is the power of love (lust).Next, the benefit of performing pious acts, like digging wells, con¬structing lakes, planting banyan trees, and possessing the rudraksha is described. Then, there is the description of Tulasi Devi: Of all leaves and flowers, the auspicious Tulasi, which grants all desires, and which belongs to and is very dear to Lord Vishnu, is the best. She (Tulasi devi) was formerly planted by Lord Vishnu for the welfare of the three worlds. Without Tulasi, Lord Vishnu is not pleased. Indeed, the Lord only gets delight from water mixed with Tulasi leaves.Here, Padma Purana offers extensie glorification of Tulasi Devi, which is beyond the scope of this humble book. After praising Tulasi Devi, Padma Purana next praises Gangadevi, and then Ganesha, the destroyer of all obstacles.