Tag Archives: sanatana dharma

Dussehra : Sri Rama’s victory over Ravana!

Seeta, Lord Rama’s wife had been abducted by the ten-headed Ravana. She was held captive in Lanka. Rama and Lakshmana along with the army of vanaras headed by their King Sugreeva, his wise minister Hanuman and others crossed the ocean and reached Lanka and waged a war against Ravana. When Ravana lost all his mighty warriors, his brother Kumbhakarna and his sons, he finally came to the war-field to fight Lord Rama. There was a fierce battle between the two of them which was incomparable. A divine chariot and charioteer descended from the heavens for Lord Rama. Every time Rama cut off one of Ravana’s head, another one manifested in its place! Ravana countered Rama with all his might and strength.

When Rama became exhausted, Sage Agastya came forward and taught the “ADITYA HRIDAYA” (a powerful invocation glorifying Lord Surya Bhagavan) to Sri Rama. As instructed by Sage Agastya, Lord Rama invoked Lord Surya by chanting the ADITYA HRIDAYA. With the grace and blessings, the power and strength of Surya Bhagavan, Rama was able to defeat and kill Ravana. Accompanied by Seeta and others, Rama went back to Ayodhya. He was crowned the King of Ayodhya. RAMA RAJYA was established.

Significance: Rama represents the INTELLECT and Lakshmana represents the MIND. Seeta stands for ABSOLUTE PEACE. The ten-headed Ravana is the EGO in the seeker with the ten heads representing the five sense-organs of perception and five organs of action. All of them are turned outward and hence Ravana is known as DASHAMUKHA. To conquer and destroy the EGO is extremely difficult. When one head is cut off, another one appears. When one sense impulse is conquered, another one gets strengthened. At that point of time, the Guru (Man of Realization) represented by Sage Agastya appears. Agastya Rishi is “Kumbhodbhava” (born out of a pot). Kumbha represents POORNATVA or “fullness”. He points out, directs and guides the advanced seeker to the “INNER (Hridaya) CONSCIOUSNESS (Aditya)” – Aditya Hridaya!

At this stage, the process of INTELLECTION is taken over by INTUITION and the seeker is able to liquidate the EGO (Ravana) within himself. This is the real DUSSEHRA or DASHA-PAPA-HARA which happens within the spiritual seeker and bestows on him the ETERNAL and EVERLASTING VICTORY – the VIJAYADASAMI. INNER PEACE (Seeta) is restored back. The couple SEETA-RAMA represents a Man of Inner Quietude or a Man of Realization. He alone can reach the REALM OF NO-CONFLICT (Ayodhya or A – yudha). Seated on the SEAT OF DHARMA (simha-asana) within himself, he is able to establish RAMA-RAJYA within! The VICTORY of GOOD over the EVIL within oneself and over the external circumstances is the real CELEBRATION OF DUSSEHRA!

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Naama Traya Astra Mantra: Lord’s Names become a Weapon!

# The devatas and rakshasas came together to churn Ksheera Sagar, the great milk-ocean to obtain Amrita. The Mandara mountain was the churning rod and Vasuki, the serpent became the churning rope. Lord Vishnu helped by bearing Mandara mountain on his back in the form of a tortoise. As they churned, Vasuki started spewing venom from his mouth. The deadly poison “Halahala” or “Kalakoota” spread in all directions threatening to burn and destroy all the worlds. Fire and poisonous fumes rose almost upto the sky. All the devatas prayed to Lord Sankara, “the One who bestows well-being to all”. Lord Shiva immediately came and saw the havoc and disaster that the poison was creating. Sankara invoked Sri Hari: “Om Achyuthaaya Namaha – Om Anantaaya Namaha – Om Govindaaya Namaha.” This empowered him to be able to drink and handle the deadly poison. He contained the poison in his throat because of which it turned blue giving him the name “Neelakanta“. The three names of the Lord became known as “Naama Traya“, capable of handling any adversity – physical, mental or intellectual.

# Bhandasura was a very powerful rakshasa ruling over Shonitapura. Through severe penance he had acquired boons from the Lord. His was a regime for 60,000 years without any interference. Also whoever confronted him in war, half their strength would go to him. No one could overpower and defeat him. No weapon, however powerful it might be, could destroy him. And his death, if at all, was at the hands of “a woman not born of another woman!” With all these boons, he presumed that he was invincible and harassed both heaven and earth.
All the devatas prayed to the Lord who suggested that they should perform a Yagna, and offer themselves and their powers as oblations to it. And out of the Yagna-fire, Adi Parashakti, the Mother of the Universe would manifest herself and become the destroyer of Bhandasura. The devatas performed the Mahayagna and out of the yagna-kund, Sri Lalitha Maha Tripurasundari manifested herself. Riding on the Srichakraraja Ratha, accompanied by her army, she waged a war on Bhandasura. Every astra that he discharged was countered by her. It was a very fierce battle.

Seeing her might and power, greatness and glory, Bhandasura invoked and discharged a weapon charged with various deadly diseases, the Maha Roga Astra (Weapon of Deadly Diseases). The astra brought forth various types of deadly diseases which spread all around. Under the influence of this astra, the whole army of Devi collapsed. To counter the rakshasa’s astra, Devi through her yogic powers, invoked the powers of “Om – the Supreme Parabrahma” and created and released the most powerful and invincible Astra comprising of the Lord’s three Names which were invoked by Lord Shiva earlier, the Naama Traya Astra (Triple-Name Weapon): “Om Achyutaaya Namaha, Om Anantaaya Namaha, Om Govindaaya Namaha“. The three names of the Lord which are very powerful nullified the effect of the Maha Roga Astra, restored health and brought Devi’s entire army back to life. Bhandasura was finally killed by Sri Lalitha Maha Tripurasundari.

The Naama Traya Astra is considered as a very powerful Mantra (Triple-Name Chant) which can remove all the negative forces around a person. It is able to cure a person of all types of deadly diseases and serves as an antidote for toxic substances. It bestows good health, well-being and protects a person from misfortunes and untimely death. Lord Agni, the presiding deity of fire, assures that whoever chants “Achyutha – Ananta – Govinda” will be benifitted immensely. The Naama Traya Astra Mantra can also be used for japa and contemplation. The names not only indicate Saguna Paramatma but also suggest and signify the characteristics of Nirguna Parabrahma. Achyutha: One who is Unconditioned, Unlimited and who is unfailing. Ananta: Endless and All-pervading. Govinda: Supreme Lord of All.

Om Achyuthaaya Namaha! Om Anantaaya Namaha! Om Govindaaya Namaha!

Achyuthaanantha Govinda Naamoochhaarana Bheshajaat I Nashyanthi Sakala Rogaha Satyam Satyam Vadaamyaham II – Bhagavan Sri Veda Vyasa

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Akshaya Paatra

When the Pandavas went into exile to the forest for twelve years, the eldest of them, Yudhisthira invoked and prayed to Lord Surya Narayana. Pleased with his prayers, the Lord bestowed on them a vessel, AKSHAYA PAATRA – the “Inexhaustible Vessel” – which would yield not only all varieties of food, but also any amount of food all through the day. But there was a condition associated with it. The miraculous vessel would yield food only so long as Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas had not eaten. Once she had taken her food, the vessel would cease to yield anymore food for that day.

Duryodhana, the Kaurava Prince heard of the ‘Akshayapaatra’. Overcome with extreme jealousy, he wanted to harm the Pandavas and was waiting for an opportunity. Around that time, Sage Durvasa came to Hastinapur. Duryodhana and his brothers waited upon and looked after the guest with great respect. Pleased with their hospitality, Durvasa told Duryodhana to ask whatever he wanted and it would be granted. The evil-minded Duryodhana pretended to be very good and told Durvasa that he was very happy to receive the grace and blessings of the Sage, and he wished for the same blessings for his cousins, the Pandavas. Late in the evening, when Duryodhana was sure that Draupadi would have finished her meal for the day, he requested Durvasa to go along with his hundred and odd disciples to meet the Pandavas in the forest. Durvasa agreed and went along with his disciples to the forest. When Yudhishthira received the news of the Sage, he went forward and very respectfully received the guests, asked them to have their bath in the nearby river and come for their meal. Yudhisthira informed Draupadi about the guests and told her to arrange for their food. She was shocked. She told him that her meal was over, and the Akshaya Paatra would not yield any more food for the day.

Not knowing what to do, in sheer helplessness, Draupadi invoked Lord Krishna. The All-compassionate Lord immediately came and without even allowing her to talk, he told her that he was very hungry and wanted food before any talk. She explained her helplessness and told him that there was no food for anyone including Krishna! He was not satisfied with her answer and asked for the Akshaya Paatra. She brought it and gave it to Him. Lo! there, in one corner of the vessel was a small grain of food-particle sticking to the vessel. Draupadi was embarrassed that she had not cleaned the vessel thoroughly. The Lord gleefully collected the tiny particle, put it in His mouth and with a heave of satisfaction said that His stomach was now full! He asked Yudhisthira to go and bring the guests. When Yudhisthira went to bring back Durvasa and his disciples to his humble dwelling, what he witnessed was nothing short of a miracle. All of them, including Sage Durvasa were suddenly feeling as though they had just then finished their meals, and were also feeling absolutely and completely full! Sage Durvasa knew what had transpired. He prostrated to the Lord and left with his disciples after bestowing his blessings on the Pandavas!


Significance: Draupadi along with the Akshaya Paatra represents the “mind with infinite possibilities”. But one should not pamper and misuse the mind, it is to be used with discipline. This is represented by the vessel yielding “food, but with conditions”. When the mind is empty of worldly thoughts, it gets filled up with the Lord’s Presence — empty, yet full! The sage and his retinue represent various desires in us. The mind does not know how to handle them, because a little bit of the ego (food-particle) is still sticking to the mind-vessel. At this point of time, when the devoted mind invokes the Guru (Krishna), he comes and asks us to surrender our ego unto him. When the ego (food-particle) is offered to the Guru or Lord, as our GURUDAKSHINA, one experiences the ‘STATE beyond desires’ — the State of Absolute FULLNESS within and without!!

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Vidura’s wife : Her Devotional Offering!

The Pandavas along with their wife Draupadi returned back to Hastinapur after their twelve years of exile and one year incognito. They claimed Indraprastha back, but Duryodhana was very adamant and was unwilling to let go of Indraprastha even if it meant a war with his own cousins. Yudhisthira, who was an embodiment of Dharma was not in favour of a war. He requested Lord Krishna to go to Hastinapur on their behalf as an ambassador of peace and the Lord agreed.

Many leaders extended an invitation to Krishna to accept their hospitality. Even Duryodhana sent his royal invitation and arranged a lavish feast for Krishna. The Lord knew that Duryodhana’s intention was to win His favours and have the Lord on his side. Vidura, the great devotee of the Lord also waited for the Lord’s auspicious arrival. He humbly and silently placed himself, his life and all his possessions at the Lord’s disposal. The Lord alone is the Sole Giver and Protector of everything, and therefore, everything ultimately belongs to the Lord.

After reaching Hastinapur, Krishna went straight to Vidura’s house and announced His arrival loudly. Vidura was not at home. Vidura’s wife heard the Lord. She ran to receive the Lord, the divine guest! She saw the Lord smiling sweetly at the door and overwhelmed with joy, prostrated at His feet. All these years she had heard of the divine glories and pastimes of the Lord. Like a Gopi, she silently adored Him in her heart, all the time longing to have His darshan. And now the Lord was at her doorstep! One who comes without prior appointment (thithi) is known as “Athithi”. And “Athithi” who comes to one’s house is the Lord Himself. Here Lord Krishna Himself had come as the Divine Athithi!” 

Vidura’s wife was totally lost in her intense devotion for the Lord. Krishna walked into the house and she followed Him – revelling in His wonderful lilas which she had heard of. Krishna seated Himself comfortably on an asana and told Vidura’s wife that He was hungry. She immediately ran into the kitchen. She had not cooked anything. When she looked around she saw a bunch of bananas lying there. She brought them and sat down below His asana. She picked up a banana, peeled the skin and instead of giving the fruit to Krishna, she gave the banana peel to Krishna to eat and threw away the fruit. She was totally beyond her body consciousness and the surroundings. Krishna who relishes bhakti, and bhakti only, very happily accepted the peel and ate it relishing it all the time. She continued to give the Lord peel after peel and the Lord continued partaking it. 

By this time, Vidura got the information that Lord Krishna had reached his house. Taking leave of the royal assembly, he rushed to his house. He walked in and was shocked and stunned to see his wife sitting and feeding Krishna with the peels of the bananas and Krishna was happily relishing them all! She was absolutely oblivion of what she was doing in her devotion to Krishna. 

Vidura raised his voice and reprimanded his wife. When she heard her husband’s voice, she came to her senses. She saw all the fruit lying there and the peels had all been consumed by the Lord. She felt very embarassed and ashamed. This time with all her attention on the fruit, she peeled one more fruit, threw away the peel and offered the fruit to the Lord. The Lord accepted it, but He nodded his head in dissatisfaction. He asked Vidura why he had interfered in this “divine offering of devotion” which was going on. The Lord said that the banana peel which was offered with total and absolute devotion was extremely sweet whereas the fruit offered with diverted mental attention was tasteless!

Vidura understood what the Lord implied. The Lord who is an embodiment of LOVE seeks love, and nothing but love from His devotees. 
“Whatever is offered to Me, whether it is a leaf, flower, fruit or a drop of water, if it is offered with devotion, I accept it totally” ~ Verse 26, Chapter 9 – Bhagavad Geeta. 

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