Archive for November, 2009

Devadutta and Dhananjaya were brothers who lived in the city of Kashi. Devadutta led a prosperous life, whereas Dhananjaya lived in poverty. One day Dhananjaya was sitting in one of the chawls. He was very hungry but couldn’t find food to eat. He lay down thinking what was the harm he had done in his previous birth to invite the penury he was suffering now. Soon he drifted of to sleep without having a morsel to eat.
In his dream arrived a hermit who spoke to him. “Dhananjaya, in the days of yore there lived a king by name Shatrumardhan. He had a close friend by name Heramba. Once both of them went on a hunting trip and lost their way. The were very hungry but couldn’t find a morsel to eat. A hermit who found them roaming took them to his hermitage and fed them with gruel made of rice flour. Shatrumardhan found the gruel delicious and ate heartily. Heramban on the other hand did not relish the gruel. He had a few mouthfuls and threw the rest away.
Due to this folly of his he was reborn as Dhananjaya and lives in penury. But Shatrumardhan was born as your brother Devadutta and lives a life of luxury. If you want to get rid of your poverty you should propitiate Goddess Annapurani,” said the hermit.
Waking up from the dream Dhananjaya decided to propitiate the Goddess and went around asking priests how to perform the rituals for this. But he could not find anyone who could correctly initiate him to perform the rituals. He went up till Kamarup in Assam to find out more about these rituals. But still he could not find any knowledgeable person to teach him. Deciding to end his life he jumped into a dark well. But suddenly he found himself surrounded by a bright glow and he began walking towards the light. He found himself on the banks of a beautiful lake where a lovely lady sat watching a man dancing with serpents hanging from his neck. The woman signaled him to go near her. As he reached her side, she said,” I am the Annapurani you are searching for”. She told him the way to wash off his earlier sins and asked him to build a temple for her. Overjoyed, Dhananjaya agree to do her bidding and left.
He built a temple for her in Kashi and found himself out of poverty. It is believed that one who propitiates the Goddess will not be touched by poverty.


Read Full Post »

The Golden Manuscript

Once a priest in the Kashi-Vishwanath temple had a dream. In his dream Lord Shiva appeared and said that he should invite all priests and scholars to the temple. The next morning the priest invited all the priests and scholars and told them about his dream of the previous night. Everyone considered the priest lucky for having seen the lord in his dreams. Soon all of them collectively propitiated the lord with rituals. After all the rituals were completed they were surprised to see a golden manuscript near the Shivalinga which was shining brightly.
The assembled scholars asked the priest to read what was written in the manuscript. It was written “This valuable manuscript should be handed over to a virtuous person. This manuscript is a present by the Lord to a person several virtues to his credit.”
The chief priest who had called all the scholars to the meeting had all the virtues to his credit, but he was very modest and thought that there were several virtuous people around and such people should get a fair chance in claiming the manuscript. Those assembled began listing to each other how virtuous they were and that they should be the recipient of the manuscript.
The priest on the other hand thought for a while and came up with a solution. He told those who had assembled that they should attend the service at the temple every Friday. The manuscript would be given to every visitor to hold. We will come to know the most virtuous person by divine will. Everyone agreed to this idea. On the first Friday morning each one was given the manuscript but as soon as they touched it, it turned into a manuscript made of slate. They were surprised and told the priest “It is miraculous how the golden manuscript remains golden in your hands but turns to slate when it comes to our hands!”
On subsequent fridays the same thing was repeated and the golden manuscript turned into slate.
Meanwhile, an old man was visiting Kashi and reached the temple. Seeing the serene atmosphere surrounding the place the man thought it was really a blessing to be in such a holy place. He went and bathed in the Ganges and arrived at the temple. Outside the temple he saw a leper shivering in the cold. He went near him and saw that he was hungry too. He gave him something to eat and presented him a shawl saying that it would help keep him warm in winter. Satisfied that he had helped the leper the man went inside the temple. Since it was friday the old man was also given the manuscript to hold. As soon as the man held the manuscript it did not turn into slate but shone brightly as before. The priest handed over the manuscript to him saying that he was the most virtuous and that he was worthy of the manuscript. The man humbly accepted it. The people who had earlier clamored for the manuscript understood that the most virtuous were those who gave without expecting any return.

Read Full Post »