Archive for September, 2008

Who is greater?

During the Tretha Yug, when Rama was ruling over Ayodhya, there was a discussion about the nine grains known as ‘Navadaniyams’. The Navadaniyams fought with each other, had a big argument and came to Rama for judgment. Rama, didn’t want to take a decision on his own and hence asked sage Gouthama to find out which grain was the best. Whichever grain is strong is the best said Gouthama. Hearing this the grains started fighting amongst themselves again and left the assembly in a huff. Only the rice and ragi remained.

The grain of rice said that it was superior as humankind consumed it. “People also made rice and served it to the lord. For all auspicious occasions, rice is used,” he said.

Hearing this the grain of ragi responded. “You are so weak. When your grains mature, you bow down unable to bear your own weight. But I on the other hand even after maturing stand tall and straight. Even during a drought I do not change color. But if there are no rains you do not survive. People powder me and give me as health food to their children. Ragi is filled in pots and placed in the temple towers for use during drought. I am planted during any season and I multiply quickly.  Last but not the least I do not get spoilt.”

Hearing both their arguments, Sage Gouthama said that ragi was the best. But the grain of rice was adamant and refused to accept this partial judgment. Immediately Lord Rama ordered that the rice and ragi to be jailed for six months. They were put in pots and jailed.

After six months, both of them were brought to the assembly and the pots were opened. The pot which had the rice had accumulated a lot of fungus and worms had infested. But the Ragi pot was fresh as ever. Rama said that sage Gouthama’s judgment was right and this was also endorsed by sage Kapila.

It is said that after this incident Ragi came to be known as Raghavadaniyam, meaning Rama’s grain. And this was later known as Ragi.


Read Full Post »

Once there was a king by name Satrajit. He was a devotee of the Sun God Surya. Pleased with his devotion, Surya presented him with the priceless Shyamantaka gem. This gem rewarded the king each day with a gold coin at noon.

Krishna heard that the Shyamantaka gem was now with the king Satrajit and felt that it should not be in the possession of the king. So he sent an emissary to get the gem from Satrajit. But King Satrajit refused to part with the gem. Meanwhile the brother-in-law of Satrajit, wore the gem on his neck and went hunting. A lion killed him and took the gem. A bear who arrived there, killed the lion and took the gem and safeguarded it in its cave.

Having lost the gem, king Satrajit blamed lord Krishna for having stolen the gem. To prove that he hadn’t coveted the gem, Krishna went to the forest. On the other hand, Vasudev, Krishna’s father was worried that Krishna was not to be seen anywhere and was ranting away. Sage Narada hearing this, told Vasudev that it was a season to propitiate Goddess Shakti and if he celebrated Navaratri for nine days, he would get whatever he had prayed for. Vasudev immediately made preparations to propitiate the Goddess for nine days with nine different offerings for all the nine days.

Krishna after entering the forest, followed the footprints of the lion and reached the bear’s cave. He noticed that the gem was in the cave. The bear came out of the cave and fought with Krishna. Now, the bear was none other than the legendary Jambavan of Ramayana fame. Suddenly, it struck the bear that Krishna was none other than Rama in his present avatar. He stopped fighting and gave his daughter Jambavati in marriage to him. He also returned the shyamantaka gem.

Satrajit heard about this and came to Krishna and asked for forgiveness and gave his daughter Satyabhama in marriage to Krishna and gave the gem as dowry.

This was the eighth day of Navaratri and as Vasudev finished his puja, at the same time Krishna landed there with his wives in tow.

Read Full Post »

There was a small village named Karuppanjarur. It got its name due to the lush sugarcane fields surrounding the village. There was a farmer by name Manakanjarar, in this village. He was also the general in the king’s army. Being a devout Saivite, he spent all his earnings in the service of needy saivites and for good social causes.

He had a daughter by name Punyavardhini. Being a saivite, he searched for a suitable match for his daughter from his community and found such a groom in Eyarkon Kalikamar a shiva devotee. The day for the wedding was fixed. On the appointed day everyone was awaiting the arrival of the groom. Shiva on the other hand wanted to test his devotee’s devoutness and landed there in the garb of a hermit.

Finding a hermit at his doorstep on this day, Manakanjarar was elated. He welcomed the hermit and brought him inside. The hermit asked him what the occasion was at his house.

“Holy one!, In a short while from now the groom’s party will land in this house, as my daughter is getting married today,” said Manakanjarar. Please, bless the couple, he added.

After the hermit was seated comfortably, Manakanjarar, called his daughter and asked her to pay obeisance to the hermit. Now, his daughter had long hair. When she bowed before the hermit, he noticed that and told her father that the long hair could be useful for the sacred thread (sacred thread was also known as Panchavati in olden days and was made of human hair and not cotton thread as is today according to the Peria puranam) he wore on his neck. As soon as the hermit uttered that Manakanjarar, removed his knife and was about to cut off her hair, when the hermit said, that it should be done without a drop of tear from the girl’s eyes while his wife held the girl’s hair.

So while the farmer’s wife held the girl’s hair, he cut his daughter’s hair and girl didn’t bat an eyelid. The hermit was overjoyed at the devoutness of the farmer and his family. He disappeared from the scene and reappeared with his consort on Nandi and blessed the family. 

The groom’s party who arrived after the Lord’s visit was disappointed that they hadn’t arrived earlier to get blessings from Shiva. Punyavardhini got her tresses back soon and wedding was also conducted.

The Panchaloha idol of Shiva with the tresses folded in five can still be seen in the temple. The deity here is called Jatanathar. This idol is found in the temple of Panchavateeswar in Anandathandavapuram a.k.a Anathandapuram. The temple is situated 5 kms west of Mayiladuthurai, in Nagai district.

Read Full Post »

Budhan was a king in the Chandra clan. His son was named  Pururava. He was extremely venerated among his people. Once Oorvasi the heavenly nymph, due to a curse was living in the earth. Pururava happened to meet her one day and fell in love with her. He asked her if she would marry him and she also accepted.

However, Oorvasi laid three conditions. One: “O king! I have two goats who I consider my own children. They should at all times be at my side. You should take care that no one abducts my goats.

Second, I should not see you unclothed except in my chambers.

Three, apart from ghee I will not eat anything else. If you accept these conditions I will live with you. Even if one condition is flouted, I will leave you,” she said.

Pururava accepted all the conditions laid by Oorvasi and married her. They lived together for 61 years happily.

Meanwhile, heaven was missing their nymph Oorvasi and Viswavasu, a Gandharva thought that heaven had lost its charm. He wanted to bring Oorvasi back to heaven. So he planned to make Pururava flout at least one of the rules. Viswavasu one day entered the bed chambers of Pururawa and took away both the goats. Pururava was livid and in his anger emerged from his bed unclothed thus, he flouted two rules. Oorvasi was relieved from her curse and thus she returned to heaven.

Pururava was grief stricken and he missed Oorvasi so much that he was almost mad.

One day Oorvasi happened to come to earth with her friend for a swim. Pururava met her and implored her to come back to him. Taking pity on him, Oorvasi who was pregnant with Pururava’s child, gave him the child with the promise that she would visit him once every year.

He lived happily with his son Ayush and according to the instructions of Oorvasi took part in yagnas and fasted on occasions. The result of this religious pursuit led him to be with his wife in heaven.

Oorvasi and Pururava were blessed with six sons in course of time. They were Abhavasu, Amavasu, Viswavasu, Sruthavayu, Sathayu and Ayudayu, according to the the Vishnu Purana.

Read Full Post »

Respect your teachers

Once a hermit was walking along with his disciples through a dense forest. Suddenly, the skies darkened and it was evident that soon thundershowers were going to start. Assuming the worst, hermit told his disciples that they would rest at the nearest shelter till the rains stopped. 

Soon a disciple spotted a dilapidated shelter and told his master that they could rest there. The hermit agreed. As they were about to reach the shelter a thunder struck and it was about to fall on the disciples. But wonder of wonders, it never fell, and seemed to hover above in mid air and all of them were surprised. 

The hermit closed his eyes for a minute and prayed. After a minute he said “Students! One of us has done an unpardonable sin. The thunder is waiting to strike one of us who has sinned.” 

The hermit also told them that each one of them should run over from the shelter to the tree right across. So as per the advice of their guru, the students went one after the other to stand under the tree. All the four disciples reached the tree unharmed and returned. They looked at each other and said “All of us returned unharmed. So that means our guru is the sinner. To think that we chose to be his disciples.” 

Now it was the turn of the hermit to go across to the tree and return. As soon as he stepped out of the shelter, the thunder fell on the unsuspecting disciples and the four of them fell dead.

The hermit sat amidst the dead bodies and cried “Oh god! I am older than them, I should have died and you could have spared them their lives.”

Immediately a heavenly voice was heard. “Oh hermit! Don’t worry. It was their fate. Also, due to  your powers they could have been saved, but since they doubted their guru, their sin doubled which is why they deserve death.”


Read Full Post »