Tag Archives: Bhagavatam

Krishna and Trivakra!

The king of Mathura, the evil-minded Kamsa found out that Lord Krishna who had manifested in this world to destroy him was growing up in Vrindavan. He organised a Dhanur Yaga (Bow Sacrifice) and sent the saintly Akrura with an invitation to Balrama and Krishna to attend the same. Akrura started for Vrindavan and as he reached there, he was overwhelmed to see the foot-prints of Sri Krishna in Vraja. He got down from his chariot and applied the sacred dust on his forehead. When he beheld Balarama and Krishna his joy knew no bounds. He accepted the hospitality of Nanda and next day morning started for Mathura with the  two young, divine boys, Balarama and Krishna. When they reached Mathura, both the brothers decided to go round the streets of Mathura.

As they were going around, they encountered Trivakra, an ugly, hunch-backed woman, who was bent or crooked at three places in her physical structure and hence the name Trivakra. She was one of Kamsa’s attendant who was in charge of preparing various types of sandal-paste for his daily use. Krishna smilingly asked her for the sandal-paste. Seeing the arresting divine beauty of Krishna, and without even thinking of the consequences of going to the king empty-handed, she lovingly and willingly offered it to the Lord. The Lord then stepped forward, placed His feet on her forefeet, and with His fingers lifted her chin up. Lo! She became straight, her crookedness was gone and her beauty came back to her! Endowed with the wealth of beauty and virtues by the mere touch of the Lord, Trivakra with sheer gratitude prostrated to the Lord and asked Him to grace her humble dwelling. The Lord promised her that He would soon come to her dwelling and accept her seva.

Spiritual Significance: Trivakra represents an individual conditioned by the three equipments – the body, mind and intellect. Kamsa is the ego (I and Mine) who is every moment catered to by our vasanas – the sandal-paste. At that point in our life, the Guru comes and asks us to completely surrender all our vasanas (karmas) to Him. Dropping the “I and Mine” – the ego, if we surrender totally unto our Guru, he connects us with the spiritual knowledge (represented by the touch of the Lord’s feet), raises our vision to something higher and noble (signified by the Lord lifting up her chin), helps us to straighten the crookedness in our life, drop our identification with our body, mind and intellect, and thereby reach the State of Total Beatitude – the State of Enlightenment!!

"Bhagavat Preeti" is the final goal of a devotee. He is ready to suffer, strive endlessly, struggle without rest and he feels himself completely rewarded if he only knows that the acts of self sacrifices from him have made his Lord graciously happy towards him. Any amount of tapas will be cheerfully undertaken, in the name of the Lord-of-the-heart, if the devotee can feel that his Beloved is happy by it. A smile from the blissful Lord-of-Smiles is ever a total reward and a complete fulfillment for any true devotee. - Swami Chinmayananda

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The Glory of Srirangam!

Lord Brahma worshipping Lord Ranganatha in Satya Loka

Lord Brahma, the Creator before beginning his work of creation, performed severe penance to invoke the grace and blessings of Sri Narayana. Pleased by his tapas, the Lord manifested Himself in archa-moorthi (idol) form as Sri Ranganatha inside a Pranavakara (OM) Vimana. The Lord and the Vimana were borne by the celestial Garuda, with Adisesha’s hood as the canopy over Him. Vishvaksena (Ganapati) was leading from front. The Sun and Moon were fanning the Lord on either side. Narada and Tumburu were singing the glories of the Lord. Rudra and other devatas were chanting sacred hymns and Apsaras were dancing in ecstasy. There was a shower of flowers from above. The Lord told Brahma to install Him in Satyaloka on the banks of the heavenly river Viraja and worship Him strictly according to the Agamas. Lord Sun was chosen as the priest for the daily worship of the Lord.

Lord Rama gifting the moorthi of Lord Ranganatha to Vibhishana

Years passed. When King Ikshvaku of the Solar dynasty performed rigid tapas, Brahma was pleased with him and asked what he wanted. He asked for the moorthi of Sri Ranganatha and Brahma bestowed upon him the divine gift.  He brought the moorthi of the Lord and installed it in his palace in Ayodhya on the banks of the sacred river Sarayu. From that day onwards, Lord Ranganatha who was every day worshipped by none other than Lord Sun himself became the family deity of the Kings of the Solar dynasty. And when Lord Narayana was born as Sri Rama, he also daily worshipped the royal family deity. 

After Lord Rama went to the forest in exile, killed Ravana and came back, He was crowned as the King of Ayodhya. After the Pattabhishekam ceremony, Rama personally gave away gifts to everyone and especially to those who had helped him in the war with Ravana. When it was Vibhishana’s turn, the Lord gifted the moorthi of Sri Ranganatha along with the Pranavakara Vimana to Vibhishana. Vibhishana was overwhelmed and received with great joy the idol of Ranganatha and was carrying it from Ayodhya to Lanka.

Vibhishana placing Lord Ranganatha on the banks of river Kaveri

It was dusk time – sandhyavandana time. Vibhishana looked down and saw river Kaveri flowing down below. He immediately descended down to the holy place called as Chandra Pushkarini where Ananta Sesha was worshipped. He placed the idol on a sesha-peetam there and went to the river for sandhyavandana. After he finished the rituals, when he tried to lift the idol of the Lord, he could not. The idol had found its permanent place for installation. Vibhishana was very unhappy and prayed to the Lord. Lord Ranganatha consoled him saying that He had promised His devotee, King Dharma Varma that he would come to his kingdom in the South and take up His abode there on the banks of the holy river Kaveri. As a consolation to Vibhishana, Sri Ranganatha told him that though His abode will be Srirangam, He would face South sending His divine grace and blessings constantly to Vibhishana. Not only is the Lord facing South, but the Sanctum as well as the main entrance of the temple are facing South in Srirangam – a very unique feature! The Lord also told Vibhishana that everyday at midnight he can come and worship Him at Srirangam. 

“My body melts in sheer devotion seeing your divine crown towards the West, your lotus feet towards the East, your back towards the North and your smiling face towards Lanka (South), O Divinely Beautiful Blue-hued One!” ~ Thondaradippodi Azhwar on Lord Sri Ranganatha

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The Glory of Devotion!

King Ambareesha who belonged to the Solar dynasty was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Though he had so much of wealth, power, position and people at his command he never became proud of them all. On the contrary he ruled his kingdom rightly and justly as a sevak of the Lord. He conducted yagnas, performed austerities, undertook vows and pilgrimages, worshipped Lord Sri Hari and also was a very charitable person. Pleased with him, Lord Narayana gave him the “Sudarshan Chakra” – His own divine weapon as a gift. Under the grace of the Divine Disc the kingdom flourished and prospered.

Ambareesha and his wife undertook “Ekadashi Vratham” for a whole year. According to the rules of the Vratham, total fasting has to be observed on Ekadashi, whereas it is only one meal on 10th day (Dashami) and on the 12th day (Dwadashi). The king was concluding the Vratham in the month of Kartik, in Mathura, on the banks of the Yamuna river. After the fasting on Ekadashi day, on the next day of Dwadashi, Ambareesha had a holy dip in the river, worshipped the Lord, gave away gifts in charity and offered food to the sadhus and brahmanas. The king was then about to break his fast, when Sage Durvasa came there. Seeing the Rishi, the King received him and humbly requested him also to join for food. Durvasa agreed and went to have a bath in the river. For a long time he did not come. The auspicious time for breaking the fast was approaching. If there was delay in breaking the fast, the king would lose all the merit of the Ekadashi Vratham.

But after having invited a guest for food, it would be wrong to eat before the guest is served. Not knowing what to do, he consulted the sadhus over there. They told him to wait for the guest, but at the same time to sip a little water which is equivalent to breaking the fast so that the merit of breaking the fast at the right time would be honoured. As the king was sipping the water offered to the Lord, Durvasa came. He flew into a rage saying that the king had insulted and humiliated a guest by having something before serving the guest first. The king tried to explain the situation to him saying that he had just sipped a little water to keep up the rules of the Vratham. But Durvasa was in no mood to listen to him.

He plucked out a strand of his matted hair and flung it on the ground. It manifested into a horrible monster and rushed to devour the king. The king silently prayed to the Lord. Immediately Sudarshan Chakra came whirling forward and destroyed the demon instantaneously. After that the Chakra moved forward to attack the Sage. He was so terrified that he started running. Wherever he ran, the Chakra followed him. Not knowing what to do, in sheer desperation the Sage ran to all the three worlds, crossed all the seven oceans, begged all the devatas, but nobody could help him. He ran to Lord Brahma and next to Lord Shiva. Both of them expressed their utter helplessness in containing the might of Vishnu Chakra. Finally he approached Lord Vishnu in Vaikunta. Even there, Lord Vishnu expressed his helplessness saying that he was bound to the devotee by chords of devotion and therefore could not help him. It was only the Lord’s devotee, Ambareesha who could save him.

Durvasa ran back to Ambareesha and flung himself at the devotee’s feet pleading to be saved. Seeing the Sage fall at his feet, Ambareesha stepped back and prayed to Sudarshan Chakra to withdraw itself and calm down. On seeing the Chakra withdraw Durvasa was relieved. All this time, Ambareesha was waiting without having his food, so that he could first serve his guest and then have his food. The Sage was very happy and pleased to see the faith and devotion, committment and seva-bhav of King Ambareesha. He blessed him with all his heart and left the palace basking in the glorious thoughts of the Lord and His devotees.

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Gopis and their ‘Nauka Vihara’

Naukacharita 1

It was a beautiful and pleasant day in Vrindavan. River Yamuna was flowing gently, the breeze was blowing softly, the cuckoo birds were warbling sweet notes. The Gopis, all of them in the best of their attire had all assembled on the river bank narrating to each other the pranks of Krishna. They decided on a “Nauka Vihara” – a pleasure-trip in a boat on the Yamuna. At that time, Krishna came there and he also wished to accompany them in their boat-ride. However, the Gopis who had decided that it was going to be an exclusive trip all for themselves, and by themselves refused to take him along with them. In their vanity they thought that they can manage everything all by themselves, including rowing and steering the boat. Krishna knowingly smiled at their arrogance. He told them that it was not safe to venture into the river all by themselves and he should be allowed to accompany them. They teased him saying that he was after all only a child and he has no knowledge of rowing and managing the boat; but when he insisted on going with them, they agreed to take him.

All of them got into the boat. They began to feel very important because they were the ones rowing the boat. They sang and danced along with Krishna. He acknowledged each one of them and made them feel very special. The Gopis started becoming egoistic and vain that not only they were the most beautiful ones, but were also extremely privileged to have earned Krishna’s full attention. And above all these, He was obliged to them for the boat-ride! They thought nobody could be compared to them. The Lord knowingly smiled and within a fraction of a second He created a storm. The boat got caught in the storm and it dangerously tossed up and down. The Gopis were now terrified. The boat was damaged and water started to fill into the boat through holes created by the storm.

Then, they all surrendered and pleaded with Krishna to save them. He said there was only one way out and that was to plug the holes of the boat with their dupattas. They were reluctant to forgo their beautiful attire, but with no other alternative left they listened to Krishna.  With faith in Him, they tried to block the holes of the boat with their dupattas. They were totally and visibly shaken up. They looked absolutely helpless and tearfully surrendered on to the Lord leaving aside all their ego and vanity. The moment they unconditionally surrendered unto the Lord, the storm miraculously subsided and they found themselves all safe on the banks of the Yamuna. To the Gopis the “Nauka Vihara” was a lesson of unquestionable faith, total surrender and unconditional bhakti.

This beautiful incident is called Nauka Charitam” – a Musical Opera (Music drama) composed in various ragas by the great Musician-Saint Sri Tyagaraja.
[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]
Refuse to worry. Develop titiksha. Surrender all your worries at His Feet. Let Him be the helmsman to your boat-of-life. Have faith in Him. Surrender and sit back. You will find your life being lifted into quieter routes. Smoothly sailing forward, let His favourable wind ever court your sails. Sri Achyuthan is a great Boatsman. - Swami Chinmayananda