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Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana !


Jaya Jaya Sri Sudarsana !

 

KNOW ABOUT SAGES - Part II of IV

 

KNOW ABOUT SAGES -11

1. Bruhaspathi - Deva Guru and his incarnations

According to Shivapurana Guru was born to Angeerasa and Suroopa. His brothers are Utathya and Samvartana. Bruhastathi also known as Brahmanaspati is the teacher of Gods and is praised in many hymns of the Rigveda.

Garuda purana:

3.28.45 states - "Bruhaspati, the preceptor of Gods, had three forms, o lord of birds. When Rama was incarnated on earth, he was born as Bharata. As such Brahma pervaded him.

3.28.47 states - "When Lord Krishna was incarnated on earth, Brhaspati, the preceptor of Gods, was incarnated as Drona [son of Bharadvaja and apsara Ghrtaci]. The creator pervaded him. As Brhaspati was born of drona [jug], he was called Drona.

According to the Rigveda, Jupiter is very pleasing to watch. He himself has constructed his abode. He is worth worshipping for the whole world. If he is pleased with his devotees he blesses them with prosperity and intelligence.

 1.1 Guru - the life giver

Once Indra and Bruhaspathi were believed to have gone to Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva. Shiva put them to the test and obstructed their entrance in the guise of a furious Digambara. Failing to recognize the Lord, Indra wielded his powerful weapon, Vajraayudha, over Shiva who reduced the disbelieving Indra to ashes. Bruhaspathi, quick to recognize Shiva's divinity, appeased his anger and appealed to the Lord to restore Indra to life. Thus Bruhaspathi saved Indra and with this he earned the title of 'Jeeva' - the life giver.

1.2 Bruhaspathi - family details and his deity

Bruhaspathi had three wives: the main was Tara the other two being Subha and Mamta.

Seven daughters were born to Shubha: Bhanumati, Raka, Archismati, Mahishrvati, Siniwali and Havishmati.

Seven sons and a daughter were born to Tara from Bruhaspathi. I do not have details about them. Tara had another son from Moon God, the story of this son has been told in this posting.

Mamta gave birth to Bhardwaja and Kacha.

The presiding deity of Jupiter is Indra. There is a manthra recited "Tarabalam Chandra balam thameva Vidya balam Deivabalam thameva" about the auspiciousness of muhurtha recited by our sasthrikals at all functions.

1.3 Abduction of Tara

Chandra performed a rajasuya yajna (royal sacrifice) and the ceremony was an outstanding success. But all this success and glory went to Chandras head. The preceptor of the Gods was the Sage Bruhastathi and Bruhastathis wife was Tara. Chandras eyes fell upon Tara and he forcibly abducted her. In fact Tara too had no hatred to Chandra and she did not resist.

On several occasions Bruhastathi asked Chandra as such to return Tara, but the Moon-God would not listen. A terrible war was waged between the Gods and demons over Tara.

The Gods fought on Bruhastathi's side and the demons aided Chandra. Shiva also fought on the side of the Gods. As the war raged, Shiva let fly a terrible divine weapon named Brahmashirsha at Chandra. Chandra countered this with another terrible divine weapon named Somastra. These two weapons of destruction threatened to burn up the entire universe. Brahma decided that it was time for him to intervene.

"Stop this nonsense at once," he told Chandra. "What you have done is most improper. Return Tara at once." These words ashamed Chandra and he returned Tara.  

1.4 Birth of Buddha

But while with Chandra, Tara had already conceived. But still Guru accepted her in that condition. The son born was Buddha.

Buddha became very skilled in the handling of elephants. In fact, the knowledge of tackling and handling elephants goes back to Buddha. 

The story of Buddha marrying Ila and birth of son Pururava to them and King Pururavas love and life with Apsara Urvashi are interesting stories, which we will see later.

1.5 Mrita Sanjeevani

The demons and Gods fought with each other all the time. Bruhastathi was the preceptor of the Gods and Shukracharya was the preceptor of the demons. Shukracharya knew a wonderful art known as Mritasanjivani. Thiswas the knowledge of bringing back dead people to life. (The Harivamsha tells us that Shukracharya learnt this art by praying to Shiva and pleasing him. The Matsya Purana refers to this story later.)

Since Shukracharya knew this art, the Gods were in a terrible fix. Any demons that the Gods killed were promptly brought back to life by Shukracharya. But Bruhastathi knew no such art. So any Gods that the demons killed, stayed dead. The Gods pondered about this problem and finally arrived at a solution.

1.6 Kachha becomes sishya to Sukracharya

Kachha was Bruhaspathi's son from his wife Mamta. The Gods told Kachha. "Go and become Shukracharyas disciple. Try to learn the art of mritasanjivani from him. Shukracharya has a beautiful daughter named Devayani. Try to curry her favor so that your task may become easier."

Kachha went to Shukracharya. "Please accept me as your disciple," hesaid. 

"I am the great Bruhastathis son. I will serve you faithfully for years." Since no mention was made of Mritasanjivani, Shukracharya gladly agreed to this proposition. Kachha lived with Shukracharya and served his Guru (teacher). He became friendly with Devayani and Devayani gradually fell in love with Kachha. Days passed.

1.7 Asuras attempt to end Kachha 

The demons got to know that Kachha was Bruhastathi's son. Since they hated Bruhastathi, they hated Kachha as well. Kachha was in the habit of taKing Shukracharya's cattle to the forest for grazing. When Kachha was alone in the forest, the demons seized their chance. They slew Kachha and fed his body to the tigers.

In the evening, the cattle returned home alone. Kachha was not with them.

1.8 Devayani expresses her love with Kachha to Sukracharya

Seeing this, Devayani told her father, "The cattle have returned home without Kachha. I am certain that someone has killed him. I am in love with Kachha and cannot survive without him. Please do something."

"Do not worry," Shukracharya told Devayani. "I will bring Kachha back to life with the art of mritasanijivani. " As soon as Shukracharya recited the magical mantra (incantation), Kachha appeared before them, hale and hearty. Days passed.

1.9 Sukracharya consumes Kachha

Kachha went to the forest once more, this time to pluck flowers. The demons killed him again. But this time they burnt his body and mixed the ashes in a goblet of wine. They then served the wine to Shukracharya to drink. When Kachha did not return, Devayani again told her father. "I am certain that someone has killed Kachha. I cannot survive without him. Please do something."

Through this power, Shukracharya discovered what had happened. He told his daughter, "We have a real problem on our hands. Kachha is inside my stomach. I can revive Kachha by summoning him through mritasanjivani. But in the process, he will have to tear asunder my body and I shall die. Tell me, beloved daughter, which do you want? Either Kachha or your father will live."

"I refuse the choice." replied Devayani. "Both you and Kachha must live. I cannot survive without either."

1.10 Mritasanjeevani taught to Kachha

Shukracharya then decided that there was only one way out. He addressed Kachha, who was inside his stomach, and taught him the words of the mrtasanjivani mantra. He then recited the words himself and out came Kachha. Shukracharya's body was torn apart and the Sage died. But Kachha had learnt the words of the mantra. He now recited them to bring Shukracharya back to life. Kachha thus learnt what he had set out to achieve. After spending some more time with Shukracharya, he prepared toreturn to heaven.

1.11 Devayani gets betrayed

"Where are you going" asked Devayani. "Don't know that I am in love with you? Please marry me."

"I am afraid that I cannot do that," replied Kachha. "You are my Guru's daughter. Therefore, you are my superior just as my Guru is my superior. I cannot marry you. Moreover, I have spent some time inside his body. And when I came out, it was as if a son had been born fromhim. You are therefore my sister. How can I possibly marry you?"

Devayani became very angry. "You are playing with words," she said. "I curse you that although you have learnt the art of mritasanjivani, it will prove to be of no use to you." 

"You have needlessly cursed me," retorted Kachha. "I too curse you that no brahmana will ever marry you and that you will never get whatever it is that you wish for. Later Devayani married a King Sharmishta. Devayani- Sharmishta story we will see later.

1.12 Jayanti lures Sukracharya

Keeping the demons by his father Sage Brighu's hermitage Sukracharya went for a penance to know the manthra from Lord Siva, which would help the demons become invisible.

Meanwhile, the Gods got to know what Shukracharya was up to. They realized that, once Shukracharya returned, they would be in no position to tackle the demons. Indra had a daughter named Jayanti. Indra reasoned that he ought to try and disturb Shukracharya's meditation. He therefore sent Jayanti to the place where Shukracharya was praying. Her instructions were to try and distract the Sage. Jayanti served Shukracharya faithfully throughout the appointed period of a thousand years. When the vrata was over, Shiva appeared before Shukracharya and taught him the art of Mritasanjivani.

It was then that Shukracharya noticed Jayanti. "Who are you" heasked. "And why have you been serving me thus I am exceedingly pleased with what you have done. Tell me what I can do for you." 

"If you wish to grant me a boon, marry me and live as my husband for ten years," replied Jayanti. Shukracharya was lured away by Jayanti.

 1.13 Bruhaspathi disguises as Sukracharya

Indra was bent upon ensuring the destruction of the demons and he now hit upon a plan. He asked Bruhastathi to adopt Shukracharyas form and go to the demons. The demons were expecting their Guru back after the thousand years were over and took Bruhastathi to be Shukracharya.

They honored him and served him faithfully. When the ten years with Jayanti were over, Shukracharya returned and discovered Bruhastathi among the demons.

"Who is this upstart?" he demanded to know. "Give him up and seek refuge with me. I am the real Shukracharya. "

"Not at all," replied Bruhastathi. "I am the real Shukracharya. " The demons were bemused. Bruhastathi and Shukracharya were as alike as two peas in a pod; there was no way of telling them apart. They finally reasoned that the person who had been living with them for the last ten years must be their real Guru. They therefore accepted Bruhastathi and shooed Shukracharya away.

Shukracharya cursed the demons that they were bound to be destroyed. As soon as Shukracharya cursed the demons, Bruhastathi adopted his own form.

The demons realized that they had been tricked, but the harm had been done. This story is from Matsya purana.

Summary:

Bruhaspathi was Deva Guru. He is one among the Navagraha. He had a son kachha. Through him Devas tried to learn Mritasanjivani sending him as student of Sage Sukracharya. He had three wives- prominent was Tara. Tara was abducted by Chandra and son born to them is the Mercury. (Note - From the way we have seen the story of Guru he has actually try to cheat two times Sukra. But Sage Sukra accepted his son Kachha and for the sake of his daughter, taught him Mritasanjeevani too. Hence in my astro readings, I honour Sukra to Guru) 

Bruhaspathi's Guru was Sage Brighu.

KNOW ABOUT SAGES - 12

1. Sage BHRIGU

Sage Bhrighu was one of the Saptarshis in the 6th Manwanthara. Bhrighu was one of the Manasa-Putras (wish-born-sons) of Lord Brahma, who simply wished him into existence, to assist in the process of creation, for this reason he is also considered one of the Prajapatis. (Mahabharata, Pauloma Parva).

1.1               Sage Bhrighu and Astrology

Sage Brighu was the first compiler of predictive astrology, and also the author of Bhrighu Samhita, the astrological (Jyotish) classic written during the Vedic period.

1.2 Sage Bhrighu family

Sage Bhrighu was married to Khyati, the daughter of Daksha. He had three sons by her, named Dhata, Vidhata and Sukra. He had one more son from his wife Puloma - Sage Chayana.

By marrying daughter of Daksha, he was co-brother to Lord Siva, who married Sati. He was also co-brother to Moon God Chandra who married 27 daughters of Daksha and landed in all sorts of trouble showing favoritismwith wife Rohini. He was also co-brother to Sage Kashyapa who married 13 daughters of Daksha.

1.2                Indra his sambandhi and Jayanti his 1st daughter in Law.

Bhrighu was the father of Sukracharya. Indra’s daughter Jayanti was married to Bhrighu’s son Sukracharya (who was also called Kavya) which we have read in last posting. (Devi Bhagavatham)

1.3              1.3 Sukanya his second daughter in Law

Sage Chyavanaappear as Pravara Sage in the Srivatsa Gothra. Sage Chyavana was married to Sukanya a princess. The story of Sukanya we will see with Sage Chyavana and Chyavana prasa Lehiam.

.4                 1.4 Grandfather of Devayani and Sage Richika.

Devayani was the daughter of Sukracharya . So Sage Bhrighu was grandfather to Devayani. Her story and love affair with Kachha, son of Bruhaspathi and betrayal of Bruhaspathi we have seen in the previous posting.

Richka was the son of Chyavana. (Mahabharata). Hence he was grandfather to Richika too.

1.5    Sage Brighu's beard pulled by Lord Siva

Sage Bhrighu finds mention in the Vayu Purana, where his presence during the great Yagna of Daksha Prajapati (his father-in-law) was felt. According to the Maha-bharata he officiated at Daksha’s celebrated sacrifice, and had his beard pulled out by Lord Siva in anger.

6                  1.6 Sage Bhrighu tests trinities regarding right for Poornahoothi.

In the Padma Purana it is related that the Rishis, assembled at a sacrifice, disputed as to which deity was best entitled to the homage of a Brahman (Poornahoothi). Being unable to agree, they resolved to send Bhrigu to test the characters of the various Gods, and he accordingly went.

He could not obtain access to Siva because that deity was engaged with his wife; “finding him, therefore, to consist of the property of darkness, Bhrigu sentenced him to take the form of the Linga, and pronounced that he should have no offerings presented to him, nor receive the worship of the pious and respectable.

His next visit was to Brahma, whom he beheld surrounded by Sages, and so much inflated with his own importance as to treat Bhrigu with great inattention, betraying his being made up of foulness. The Sage therefore excluded him from the worship of the Brahmans.

Repairing next to Vishnu, he found the deity asleep, and, indignant at his seeming sloth, Bhrigu stamped upon his breast with his left foot and awoke him; instead of being offended, Vishnu gently pressed the Brahman’s foot and expressed himself honoured and made happy by its contact; and Bhrigu, highly pleased by his humility, and satisfied of his being impersonated goodness, proclaimed Vishnu as the only being to be worshipped by men or Gods, in which decision the Sages, upon Bhrighu’s report, concurred.”

Who was he to test the trimurtis? How could he disturb their privacy? More so how could he even dare to curse the deities who by their mercy had bestowed upon him many a boon and made him so illustrious? Even when he had been unimaginably haughty, the Gods had displayed forbearance and kindness when they could have burnt him to ashes by a mere glance.

Only then Bhrughu realized that the best of merits was to remain free of vain pride and conceit. He begged pardons from the Gods who were glad to bless him, seeing that he had realized his folly. Since then the trimurtis have been the supreme owners of the purnahuti and the devotees could offer the aahuti to the God of their choice and devotion.

1.7               1.7 Goddess Lakshmi leaves Vishnu

Goddess Lakshmi wife of Vishnu could not digest the action of Sage Bhrighu and Lord Vishnu’s tolerance. She left to nether world. During Palazhi manthan again she sprang up and joined with Lord Vishnu.

.8                 1.8 Third eye removed

Sage Bhrighu had undertaken the severest of austerities, which were too fearsome even to imagine. By virtue of his penance he had a third eye in his foot and could see even beneath the earth. He was revered and respected by devas, rishis and even by the supreme trimurtis.

We have seen the story of Brighu testing the trinities. Vishnu gently pressed the Brahman’s foot and expressed himself honoured and made happy by its contact. While patting his feet Vishnu plucked out the third eye from his feet.

1.9               1.9 Sage Bhrighu rescues Agasthia from Nahusha Asura

It is related of Bhrigu that he rescued the Sage Agastya from the tyranny of King Nahusha, who has obtained superhuman power. Bhrigu crept into Agastya’s hair to avoid the potent glance of Nahusha, and when that tyrant attached Agastya to his chariot and kicked him on the head to make him move, Bhrigu cursed Nahusha, and he was turned into a serpent.  Bhrigu, on Nahusha’s supplication, limited the duration of his curse.

.10              1.10 Bhargavas

The Bhargavas are a clan of Sages descending from the ancient fire-priest Bhrighu. They instituted the ritual of offering the juice of the Soma plant to the old deities.

1.11 Bhrighu descendants

Kings Yayati and Yadu, Sages Jamadagni and Parasuram were all his decedents. We will be seeing Sage Jamadagni and Sage Parasuram stories in later postings.

            1.12 Bhrighu disciples

Sage Bhrighu and Bharadwaja had discussions on many subjects. (Mahabharata). Sage Kapila was also his disciple.

SUMMARY

Sage Bhrighu was a mind-born son of Brahma. His prominent sons were Sukracharya and Sage Chyavana. He tested the trinities regarding the right for Poornahuti. Since he married the daughter Khyati of Daksha he became co- brother to Lord Siva, Lord Chandra and Sage Kashyapa.

 

KNOW ABOUT SAGES - 13

Devayani was the daughter of Sukracharya, the teacher of Asuras. Kachha, son of Bruhaspathi, Deva Guru took studentship with Generous Sukracharya.The actual aim was to learn Mrita sanjeevani manthra. Sukracharya was so nice and diplomatic that he accepted Kachha as student without doubting Kachha's integrity. Kachha established friendship with Devayani. Slowly Devayani fell in love with him.

Sukracharya was compelled to teach Mritasanjeevani manthra to Kachha for the sake of his daughter. Later Kachha left Sukracharya, leaving Devayani disappointed by telling her that he could not accept her love on account of her being his Guru’s daughter. That he also came out of Sukracharya’s stomach in one incident made him her brother. Read on:

1.1 Sharmishtha and Devayani

Sharmishtha was the daughter of Vrishaparva, the King of the Danavas. Sharmishtha and Devayani were great friends, until Indra played some mischief.

The two friends had gone to bathe in a pond and had left their clothes on the bank. Indra adopted the form of a breeze and mixed up the clothes. When Sharmishtha donned her clothes after her bath, she put on Devayani’s clothes by mistake.

Devayani said, "How dare you wear my clothes’. My father is Guru to your father and you are my inferior in every respect. You have no business to put on my clothes."

"I am not your inferior." replied Sharmishatha. "It is you who is my inferior. My father is the King and your father thrives on my father’s generosity."

The two friends started to quarrel. Sharmishtha flung Devayani into a well and left her there, taKing her to be dead.

1.2 King Yayati rescues Devayani

At that time, King Yayati came to the forest on a hunt. He was thirsty and looked for some water. He came by the side of the well, and found Devayani inside the well, unable to come out. He rescued Devayani.

1.3 Yayati marries Devayani

Yayati also fell in love with Devayani. Devayani too liked Yayati and the two got married.

1.4 Sukracharya threatens Vrishaparva

Shukracharya got to know about all the incident and was furious at the treatment that Sharmishtha had meted out to his daughter. He threatened to leave the demons. Vrishaparva did his best to persuade Shukracharya not to leave them, but Shukracharya insisted that he would stay only if Devayani was pacified. Vrishaparva promised to give Devayani whatever it was that she wished for.

1.5 Princess Sharmishtha becomes servant to Devayani

"Sharmishtha has insulted me," said Devayani. "She has called me her inferior. My mind will be set at rest only if Sharmishtha becomes a servant to me. Vrishaparva agreed to this condition and Sharmistha became Devayani’s servant, along with one thousand other demon women since they wanted Sukracharya.

1.6 Sukracharya warns Yayati

After Yayati and Devayani got married, Shukracharya told Yayati, "Sharmishta is Devayani’s servant and you are married to Devayani. Under no circumstances may you marry Sharmishtha, otherwise I shall curse you." In due course, Devayani gave birth to Yadu and Turvasu.

 1.7 Yayati marries Sharmishtha secretly

Sharmishtha had secretly married Yayati and she too gave birth to Druhya, Anu and Puru. Puru was one of the best Kings later.

1.8 Yayati's marriage to Sharmishtha comes out and Sukracharya curses King Yayati

Devayani, in due course, came to know Sharmishtha had children. “Who is your husband?" Asked Devayani.

"My husband is a brahmana," replied Sharmishtha. "I do not know his name." But when Devayani asked Druhya, Anu and Puru about their father, the truth came out. They told her that they were King Yayati’s sons.

"You have insulted me," Devayani told Yayati. "I will remain your wife no longer. You have married my servant." Shukracharya was also furious. Yayati had gone against his wishes and had married Sharmishtha.

Shukracharya cursed Yayati that old age would set upon the King, although he was still in the prime of youth.

1.8 King Yayati pleads guilty and curse mitigated

"Please do not curse me," said Yayati. "I am married to your daughter. I wish to live with her as her husband. Do you wish your son-in-law to be an old servant"

"My curse cannot be lifted," replied Shukracharya. "But I will try and mitigate the effects. I grant you the power that you can pass on this old age to whomsoever you wish."

It was this old age that Puru accepted. This story of Devayani is told in Matsya Purana by Sage Lomaharshana.

1.9 Conclusion from Devayani story (1)

The story of Devayani clearly shows the affection of a father to daughter. Sukracharya was ready to leave his life to save Kachha. He was also ready to leave the Demon King and his acharya profession if a simple wish of Devayani was not fulfilled.

I am proud to say till date I am like Sukracharya for my daughter. I still recollect I could not recite the mantras for her Betrothal with out tearsand with all self-control I failed to recite the Gothrolbhava mantra for the third time recited during her marriage. Even today after 13 years after her marriage I forget every other thing while answering her telephone call from Dubai. Days pass as hours when she makes a visit to me. Most of we parents are like me I think.

1.10 Conclusion from Devayani story (2)

If Kachha, son of Deva Guru, would have married Devayani Mritasanjivani would have been useful to Devas and they too could have been revived. The enmity of Deva Guru Bruhaspathi with Asura Guru Sukracharya would not have been there. Even with all these incidents Sukracharya kept no enmity with Bruhaspathi. Only Bruhaspathi kept enmity with Sukracharya.

2. Sage Sukracharya - Details.

Sukra was son of Sage Bhrigu and he was priest of Mahabali of famous Tiruvonam story and Daiya Guru.

His wife's name was Susuma or Sata-parwa. His daughter Devayani married Yayati of the lunar race, and her husband's infidelity induced Sukra to curse him.

2.1 Sukra - author of code of Law

Sukra is identified with Usanas, and is author of a code of law.

2.2 Sukra and Mrita sanjeevani 

The Hari-vansa relates that he went to Siva and asked for means of protecting the Asuras against the Gods, and for obtaining his object he performed “a painful rite, imbibing the smoke of chaff with his head downwards for a thousand years.”

In his absence the Gods attacked the Asuras and Vishnu killed his mother, for which Sukra cursed him “to be born seven times in the world of men.” This gave rise to the incarnations of Vishnu.

Sukra restored his mother to life, and the Gods were alarmed lest Sukra's penance should be accomplished.

2.3 Sukra marries Jayanti, daughter of Indra

Indra sent his daughter Jayanti to lure Sukra from his penance. She waited upon him and soothed him, but he accomplished his penance and afterwards married her. The story of Jayanti is told in Matsya purana.

2.4 Sukra and Mahabali

Sukra was the priest to Mahabali who every year visited Kerala during Onam festival. While Vamana approached Mahabali for 3 feet of land, Sukracharya felt some thing rotten in the affairs. He warned Mahabali not to comply with the request of Vamana. In spite of this, Mahabali did not want to withdraw the promise.

Fore-seeing his downfall as royal priest, Sukra entered in the form of a bee into the “Kindi Val” (water jug) obstructing the fall of water during offerings by Mahabali. His eye was pierced by Vamana with Durbha (Dharbam - the holy grass) and the flow of water was restored.

2.5 Sukra and Astrology

Sukra occupies the most prominent part in astral charts. If he is exalted or better placed, the individual will be blessed with talents in arts, music, dance, writing etc. He is also the God of all loves. A person with prominent Sukra in the horoscope will be a diplomat, smooth and simple, peace loving and intelligent.

Sukra is known by his patronymic Bhargava, and also as Bhrigu sutha. He is also Kavi or Kavya, ‘the poet.’ The planet is called Asphujit; Magha-bhava, son of Magha; Shodasansu, ‘having sixteen rays;’ and Sweta, ‘the white.’ 

Summary

Sukracharya was the Asura Guru. He was the son of Sage Brighu. His daughter was Devayani. One of his wives was Jayanti- daughter of Indra. Sukra is the best of the planets in the astral charts. Keeping Indra as his God Sukracharya respect his Father-in-law very much.

 

KNOW ABOUT SAGES - 14 

1.Sage CHYAVANA

Sage Chyavana's story is told in Satapatha Brahmana and very briefly is in Rigveda. His story is told in Mahabharatha in detail. Sage Chyavana is the author of many Hymns in Rigveda. He was the grandson of Brahma. He was half brother to Sage Sukracharya.

            1.1 Princess Sukanya pokes Sage Chyavanas’s eyes in play.

The version of this story as told in the Mahabharata and Puranas is as follows:-

Once Sage Chyavana was taKing a penance on the banks of the river Narmada. Chyavana was so absorbed in penance that white ants constructed their nests round his body and left only his eyes visible.

Sukanya, daughter of King Saryata, seeing two bright eyes in what seemed to be an anthill, poked them with a stick in child play and he became blind. The Sage visited King Saryata, and wanted the promise of the King to give him Sukanya in marriage for the offence made by her.

Since his daughter was at fault for the blindness the King was ready to give Sukanya to the Sage in marriage. Sukanya too accepted her folly and expressed readiness to marry the blind Sage in spite of Sage Chyavana looKing old and weak.

           1.2 Sukanya and Aswini kumars

Princess Sukanya left the royal Palace and enjoyments and took a life with Sage Chyavana in his hermitage.

One day the Aswini Kumars (sons of Lord Soorya) came by the hermitage. They were attracted to the beauty of Sukanya.

Subsequently the Aswins, showing compassion for her union with so old and ugly a husband as Chyavana, tried to induce her to take one of them in his place as her husband. But Sukanya was such a woman who was very loyal and devoted and chaste.

When their persuasions failed, they told her they were the physicians of the Gods, and would restore her husband Sage Chyavana to youth and beauty by taKing a bath along with them, when she could make her choice between him and one of them. The idea of Aswins was that all the three will look identical after bath and she may get confused and one of them could get her.

            1.3 Aswin kumars bathe with Sage Chyvana

Accordingly the three bathed in a pond and came forth of like celestial beauty. Each one asked her to be his bride, and she recognised and chose her own husband. I am told that there is no eye movement for Gods. Sukanya probably knew this.

            1.4 Sage Chyavana expresses gratitude to Aswins

Chyavana, in gratitude, compelled Indra to admit the Aswins to a participation of the Soma ceremonial. Indra at first objected, because the Aswins who wandered among men were not to be admitted.

An argument started. Sage Chyavana stayed the arm of Indra when he was about to launch a thunderbolt, and Chyavana created a terrific demon. When the demon was on the point of devouring the King of the Gods Indra, he had no alternate and he submitted and then onwards Aswin kumars could partake in Soma ceremony.

            1.5 Children of Sage Chyavana

According to the Mahabharatam, Chyavana was husband of Arushi or Sukanya and father of Sage Aurva. He is also considered to be the father of Sage Harita. We will have the stories about Sage Aurva and Sage Harita later.

1.6 Rig Vedic version of Sage Chyavana

In the Rig-Veda it is said that when “Chyavana had grown old and had been forsaken, the Aswins divested him of his decrepit body, prolonged his life, and restored him to youth, maKing him acceptable to his wife, and the husband of maidens.”

1.7 Amplified version of Sukanya story in Satapatha Brahmana

The story of Sage Chyavana and Sukanya is amplified in the Satapatha Brahmana: - The Sage Chyavana assumed a shrivelled form and laid as if abandoned. The sons of Saryata, a descendant of Manu, found this body, and pelted it with clods. Chyavana was greatly incensed, and to appease him Saryata yoked his chariot, and taKing with him his daughter Sukanya, presented her to Chyavana.

The Aswins endeavoured to seduce her, but she remained faithful to her shrivelled husband, and under the direction of Sage Chyavana she told them they are incomplete and imperfect.

Sukanya consented to tell Aswini kumars in what respect they were deficient, if they would make her husband young again.

They directed that he should bathe in a certain pond, and having done so, he came forth with the age that he desired. She then informed them that they were imperfect because they were excluded from a sacrifice the other Gods were performing. They departed and succeeded in getting admitted to join the other Gods.

1.8 Mahabharata version - Chyavana starts Yagya

According to the Maha-bharata, Chyavana sought Indra to allow the Aswins to partake of the libations of Soma. Indra replied that the other Gods might do as they pleased, but he would not consent.

Chyavana then commenced a sacrifice to the Aswins; the other Gods were subdued, but Indra, in a rage, rushed with a mountain in one hand and his thunderbolt in another to crush Chyavana. The Sage having sprinkled him with water, stopped him and “created a fearful open-mouthed monster called Mada, having teeth and grinders of portentous length, and jaws - one of which enclosed the earth, the other the sky - and the Gods, including Indra, are said to have been at the tip of his tongue like fishes in the mouth of a sea monster.”

In this predicament, Indra granted the demand of Chyavana, who was thus the cause of the Aswins becoming drinkers of the Soma.

1.9 Chyavana creates palace for King Kusika

In another part of the Maha-bharata, Sage Chyavana is represented as exacting many offers from King Kusika and his wife. Later, he rewarded them by “creating a magical golden palace,” and predicted the birth of “a grandson of great beauty and heroism – Sage Parasurama.”

1.10 Birth story of Sage Chyavana

The Maha-bharata, interpreting his name as signifying `the fallen,’ accounts for it by a legend, which represents his mother, Puloma, wife of Bhrigu, as having been carried off by the demon Puloman. She was pregnant, and in her fright the child fell from her womb. The demon was softened, and let the mother depart with her infant.

1.11 Chyavana prasa Lehiam (Chyavanprash Legyam)

The Chyavana prasa Lehiam, an ayurvedic preparation made with a good percentage of Amla fruit, is said to bring youth, vigour and vitality immediately. Hence the Lehiam is named after Sage Chyvana who looked very old and became young by taKing bath in a pond as directed by Aswin kumars.

1.12 Chyavana – pravara Sage of Srivatsa Gothra

I am born in Srivatsa Gothra. Chyvana appeared as the 2nd Sage in the pravara of Srivatsa Gothra. The pravara Sages are as follows in Srivatsa Gothra: “Bhargava, Chyvana, Aplavana, Aurva, Jamadagniya-Pancharisheya…..”

SUMMARY

Sage Chyavana was the son of Sage Brighu. His wife was Sukanya. His sons were Harita and Aurva. Sukracharya was his half brother. Chyavana was associated with King Kusika and created a magical golden palace for him. Sage Parasurama was King Kusika’s grandson.

 

KNOW ABOUT SAGES - 15

Sage JAMADAGNI

(i) Sage Jamadagni and his family

Sage Jamadagni was a descendant of Sage Bhrigu. He was the son of a Brahmin Richika and Princess Satya-vati. Sage Jamadagni married Princess Renuka. He had five sons, the youngest and most renowned of who was Parasu-rama.

(ii) Jamadagni’s birth

Jamadagni’s mother, Satya-vati, was daughter of King Gadhi, a Kshatriya. The Vishnu Purana relates that when Satyavati was pregnant, her Brahman husband, Richika prepared a payasam for her to eat for the purpose of securing that her son should be born with the qualities of a Brahman.

He also gave another payasam to her mother who too desired to bear a son with the character of a warrior. On those days it was common to have mother becoming pregnant even after her daughter got married.  

(iii)  Sage Jamadagni - nephew of Viswamithra

Satyavati’s mother changed the payasams, and so Jamadagni, the son of Richika, was born as a warrior-Brahman, and Viswamitra, son of the Kshatriya Gadhi, became a priest later. 

(iv) Reference in Mahabharata

The Maha-bharata relates that Jamad-agni engaged deeply in study and “obtained entire possession of the Vedas.”(v) Princess Renuka became wife of Sage Jamadagni

Sage Jamadagni went to King Renu or Prasenajit of the Solar race and demanded his daughter Renuka in marriage to him. The King gave her to him, and Jamadagni retired with Renuka to his hermitage, where the princess shared in his ascetic life.

(v) Five sons of Sage Jamadagni

In due course Renuka bore him five sons, Rumanwat, Sushena, Vasu, Viswavasu, and Parasurama, and she was exact in the performance of all her duties.

(vi) Renuka gets attracted to sporting Gandharvas

It was practice for her to bring water from the river after making a mud pot daily. Because of her purity, within minutes the handmade pots used to get dried up and she used to carry water in the mud pots made from river clay

One day she went out to bathe and got struck up seeing a sporting Gandharva with his wife in the water. Their pleasure made her feel envious so she was defiled by unworthy thoughts. On that day with repeated trials the mud pot she was trying to make with new clay did not get shape and did not got dry up. She could not carry the water. After repeated trials, having no alternative she returned after bath without water. Her husband beheld her “fallen from perfection and shorn of the lustre of her sanctity.” So he reproved her and was exceeding wrathful.

(vii) Jamadagni order his sons to kill Renuka

His sons came into the hermitage in the order of their birth, and he commanded each of them in succession to kill his mother. Influenced by natural affection, four of them held their peace and did nothing. Their father cursed them and they became idiots bereft of all understanding.

When Parasu-rama entered, he obeyed his father’s order and struck off his mother’s head with his axe. The deed assuaged the father’s anger, and he desired his son to make a request.

(viii) Renuka and her four sons again survive

Parasurama begged that his mother might be restored to life in purity, and that his brothers might regain their natural condition. All this the father granted.

(ix) Cow Nandini gets forcibly carried from Sage Jamadagni’s hermitage by King Kartavirya

The mighty Karta-virya, King of the Haihayas, who had a thousand arms, paid a visit to the hermitage of Jamad-agni. The Sage and his sons were out, but his wife Renuka treated her guest with all proper respect. Unmindful of the hospitality he had received, Karta-virya threw down the trees round the hermitage, and carried of the calf Nandini of the sacred cow, Surabhi, which Jamad-agni had acquired by penance.

Parasu-rama returned and discovered what had happened, he then pursued Karta-virya, cut off his thousand arms with arrows, and killed him.

(x) Sons of Karta virya kills Sage Jamadagni 

The sons of Karta-virya went in revenge to the hermitage of Jamad-agni, and in the absence of Parasu-rama slew the pious Sage without pity. When Parasu-rama found the lifeless body of his father, he laid it on a funeral pile and vowed that he would extirpate the whole Kshatriya race. He slew all the sons of Karta-virya, and he cleared the earth of the Kshatriya caste.

2. Sage PARASURAMA

2.1 Parasurama kills Kshathrias

Parshurama was the son of Sage Jamagdagini. Sage Jamadagni was killed by the sons of a King by name Kartavirya regarding the divine cow Nandini. Since then Parshurama became vengeful. He vowed to kill the entire Kshatriya race. He killed several Kings but his anger did not dissipate. He conquered the entire earth. Finally on Lord Indra’s intervention, he handed over the earth to Kaashyapa and retired to Mahendra Mountains to perform penance.

2.2 Parasurama appears before King Dasaratha and Prince Rama

After Ram’s wedding to Seetha, Dasharatha started his journey back to Ayodhya. His contingent was sizeable. Birds in the air indicated that there were troubles ahead but the animals on the land portended happy times to come.

Suddenly a huge storm arose. Trees were uprooted. Dust rose in the sky and clouded the sun. Dasharatha’s troop quaked in fear. Parasurama appeared before them all at once with a bow on one shoulder, axe in one hand and an arrow shining brightly in the other. Wherever he went, storm and earthquake preceded him. Everyone assembled there, was familiar with stories of Parasurama’s vengeful nature. They became even more frightened.

The Brahmans in Dasaratha’s group honored him by the customary offering of water. Parasurama received it and then addressed Rama,

"O son of Dasaratha! I have heard that you have strung Rudra’s bow. You pulled the string so hard that the bow broke into two. Initially Vishwamitra had made two identical bows. One of it was given to Rudra and the other to Vishnu. I carry Vishnu’s bow now. If you can string this bow too, I shall honour you with a duel."

Dasaratha was alarmed. Rama was very dear to him. He did not want him harmed at any cost. He appealed to Parasurama to spare Ram and reminded him of his promise to Indra.

Parasurama ignored him. Rama spoke to Parasurama courteously. He said, "Because of a wrong done to your father, you have sought revenge. You have annihilated several Kshatriya princes and Kings. But you will realize that I am not such a humble prey. Please give me your bow."

With a smile on his face Rama strung the bow easily and placed the arrow on its string. A fierce fight went on neither succeeded. Both recognized each other

Parasurama addressed the prince of Ayodhya mildly, "I am glad you have recognized me and I have recognised you. I have promised Kaashyapa that I will not remain in his territory after sunset. So I must return to Mahendra Mountains at once. Please do not deprive me of that journey.

After saying this Parasurama paid his respects to Rama and departed. Dasaratha’s retinue continued the journey in peace. They reached Ayodhya. The people were overjoyed and welcomed them graciously. Rama and Seeta remained happily in Ayodhya for 12 years.

2.3 Parasurama and Karna

Karna was taught all archery by Parasurama. Actually Karna was taking his studentship being brought up by a Brahmin. One day Parasurama was relaxing on the lap of karna. Suddenly an ant (katterumpu) bit karna in the feet. In spite of severe pain he withstood it with out disturbing the Sage sleeping. When Parasurama woke up he found blood oozing from the feet. Parasurama realized a Brahmin could not withstand such pain and cursed Karna for not telling his real identity: he would forget all his learning at the actual moment of requirement.

2.4 Parasurama and creation of Bhargava Kshethra (Keralam).

Another version is that after donating all land acquired from Kings to Sage Kashyapa, Sage Parasurama prayed for Varuna to give him some land to sit and pray. He threw his axe and did not take it back. Varuna withdrew the sea and the land from Gokarnam to Kanyakumari was given to Sage Parasurama for penance.

2.5 Parasurama brings Nampoothiries

After creating 64 temples in Kerala for pooja he brought Brahmins from North India / Andhra. These Brahmins are the earliest settlement Brahmins of Kerala- Nampoothiries. Following the 1st batch of Brahmins, additional batches came. Those who could not be accommodated as priests have become Ambalavasies. Afterwards the Sage returned to Mahendra Mountains.

2.6 Sage Parasurama - a chiranjeevi.

Sage Parasurama is a chiranjeevi. It is believed still he is in penance in Mahendra Mountains.

SUMMARY

Sage Jamadagni was a Sage in the lineage of Sage Bhrighu. His wife was Renuka, the princess. His foremost son was Sage Parasurama. Parasurama created Bhargava Kshethra and did penance. Later went to Mahendra Mountains and still believed to be in penance.

In the following article, we will be seeing the stories about Sage Aurva in the lineage of Bhrighu and abut Sage Parasara, disciple of Sage Kapila

 

KNOW ABOUT SAGES - 16 

Sage PARASARA

Parāśara is a Rigveda Mahārśi and author of many ancient Indian texts. Parāśara was the grandson of Vasishtha, the son of Sage Shakti, and the father of Veda Vyasa.

There are several texts, which give reference to Parāśara as the author/speaker.

Modern scholars believe that there were many individuals who used this name throughout time. Hindus believe that the same Parāśara taught these various texts and the time of writing them varied. The actual Sage himself never wrote the texts, he was known as a traveling teacher, and the various texts attributed to him are given in reference to Parāśara being the speaker to his student.

1.1 Genealogy

We already know Vasishtha was the mind born son of Brahma. And his wife was chaste Arundhati. They had a son named Sage Shakti. Parasara was the son of Sage Sakthi

1.2 Parasara brought up by Sage Vasistha

Mahārśi Parāśara was raised by his grand father, Vasishtha, because he lost his father at an early age. His father, Sage Shakti, was on a journey and came across an angry Rakshasa (demon) who had once been a King but was turned into a demon feeding on human flesh as a curse from Vishwamitra. The demon devoured Parāśara’s father. In the Visnu Purana, Parāśara speaks about his anger as follows: -

"I had heard that my father had been devoured by a Rakshasa employed by Vishwamitra: violent anger seized me, and I commenced a sacrifice for the destruction of the Rakshasas: hundreds of them were reduced to ashes by the rite, when, as they were about to be entirely exterminated, my grandfather Vasishtha said to me: Enough, my child; let thy wrath be appeased: the Rakshasas are not culpable: thy father's death was the work of destiny. Anger is the passion of fools; it becometh not a wise man. By whom, it may be asked, is any one killed? Every man reaps the consequences of his own acts. Anger, my son, is the destruction of all that man obtains by arduous exertions, of fame, and of devout austerities; and prevents the attainment of heaven or of emancipation.

The chief Sages always shun wrath: be not subject to its influence, my child. Let no more of these unoffending spirits of darkness be consumed. Mercy is the might of the righteous.”

1.3 Birth of Sathyavathi

Uparichara was the King of Chedi and Girika was his wife. Once bursting with youthful affection Girika desired to bear an heir to the throne. The King too wanted an heir, but had to leave for a remote forested district of his Kingdom for an urgent task. He promised Girika that she would get her wish on his return. In the lovely woods he saw natural life being reproduced all around him and dreaming of his vivacious wife, he could not contain himself. However he did not want to waste his seed of life so he asked a bird to carry it immediately to the queen. In mid-flight this bird was attacked by another and the semen fell into a river where it was swallowed by a fish.

The fish in reality was an apsara (divine maiden) by the name of Adrika. She had been cursed by Brahma to live as a fish till she gave birth to human twins. On swallowing the semen Adrika conceived and during the coming months human life developed inside her body. Just as she was due to give birth, she was caught in the nets of fishermen led by Dashraja. When the fish was cut open a boy and a girl were found inside. The boy was Matsya and the girl Matsyaa. Adrika’s curse was now fulfilled and she regained her womanly form and returned to heaven. The children were brought up by Dashraja. The later girl came to be known as Satyavati.

1.4 Parasara meet Sathyavathi and Sage Vyasa born

When she grew older, Satyavati took to ferrying pilgrims across the river Yamuna. Once she was taking the Sage Parashara in her boat. Smitten by her charm he wanted to make love to her. Parashara told her that she was destined to give birth to a very great person from this liaison.

She placed three conditions before him. The first was that no one on shore should see what they were doing, so Parashara created an artificial mist around them. The second was that she should retain her virginity. Parashara assured her that after she gave birth she would again become a virgin and when she got married her husband would not know. Being born from a fish, she had retained a fishy smell. Hence she was sometimes called by the derogatory name Matsyagandha or the one who smells like a fish. She wanted this to be replaced by an intoxicating fragrance. Parashara agreed to this as well. He said that a divine aroma would emanate out of her, which could be sensed for a yojana, a distance equal to nine miles. She would then be known as Yojanagandha meaning one whose fragrance spreads for a yojana.

1.5 Vyasa- son of Parasara with Satyavati.

Satyavati conceived and immediately went into labor. On an island in the river she gave birth to a boy. The boy immediately grew up to become a man. He left his mother saying that whenever she would need him all she had to do was call and he would present himself. Since his complexion was dark he was called Krishna, which means dark. And since he was born on an island he was called Dwaipayana, from the word ‘dweep’ meaning island. Krishna Dwaipayana would later be known as Veda Vyasa, because he split the Vedas into four books.

So Krishna Dwaipayana, or Veda Vyasa, was born to Satyavati and Parashara.

1.6 Parasara - Great Grandfather of Kouravas and Pandavas.

Veda Vyasa had Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura through his dead brother's wives at the request of Satyavati. He had Sukadeva through his wife, Jābāli's daughter Pinjalā (Vatikā)[1]. Thus Parāśara was the great-grandfather of both the warring parties of the Mahābhārata, the Kauravas and the Pāndavas.

1.7 Parasara - the limping Sage

Parāśara was known as the "limping Sage". He had his leg wounded during the attack of his ashram. When a Rishi dies he merges back into an element or an archetype, Sage Jaimini was trampled by wild elephants, Sage Gautama was eaten by Cannibals, etc. When Sage Parāśara was walking through a dense forest he and his students were attacked by wolves. He was unable to get away in his old age with a lame leg, he left this world merging into the wolves.

1.8 Texts attributed to Sage Parāśara

Sage Parasara is the author of Rigveda V 1.65-73 and part of RigVeda V9.97.

Parāśara Smithi (also called Parāśara Dharma Samhita): a code of laws, which is stated in the text to be for the present Kali Yuga.

He is the speaker of Visnu Purana considered by scholars as one of the earliest Puranas.

He is the speaker of the Brihat Parāśara Horā śāstra, also written as BPHS. It is considered a foundational text of astrology. The Sanskrit in which it is composed dates to the 7th or 8th centuries CE

He is also the speaker of the Virks ayurveda ("the science of life of trees"), one of the earliest texts on botany. [1]. This text was considered to be an ancient botany primer for students of Traditional Indian Medicine. I have read some where in this book that he has stated: wood indigo should not be used.

2.Sage AURVA.

2.1 Sage Aurva grandson of Sage Bhrighu

Sage Aurva was the grandson of Sage Bhrigu. He is described in the Maha-bharata as Born of the Sage Chyavana by his wife Arushi.

From his race he is called Bhargava. The Maha-bharata relates that a King named Krita-virya was very liberal to his priests of the race of Bhrigu, and that they grew rich upon his munificence. After his death, his descendants, who had fallen into poverty, begged help from the Bhrigus, and met with no liberal response. Some of them buried their money, and when this was discovered the impoverished Kshatriyas were so exasperated that they slew all the Bhrigus down to the children in the womb.

2.2 How Aurva got the name so.

Arushi concealed her unborn child in her thigh, and the Kshatriyas being informed of this, sought the child to kill it, but the child "issued forth from its mother's thigh with lustre and blinded the persecutors. From being produced from the thigh (uru), the child received the name of Aurva.

2.3 Aurva's anger becomes Haya-siras

The Sage Aurva's austerities alarmed both Gods and men, and for a long time refused to mitigate his wrath against the Kshatriyas, but at the persuasion of the Pitris, he cast the fire of his anger into the sea, where it became a being with the face of a horse called Haya-siras.

2.4 Aurva preceptor of Sagara

While he was living in the forest, he prevented the wife of King Bahu from burning herself with her husband's corpse. Thus he saved the life of her son, with whom she had been pregnant seven years. When the child was born he was called Sagara (ocean); Aurva was his preceptor, and bestowed on him the Agneyastra, or fiery weapon with which he conquered the barbarians who invaded his country.

2.4 Aurva – grandfather of Jamadagni

Aurva had a son named Richika, who was father of Jamadagni.

2.5 Harivamsa version

The Hari-vansa gives another version of the legend about the offspring of Aurva. The Sage was urged by his friends to beget children. He consented, but he foretold that his progeny would live by the destruction of others. Then he produced from his thigh a devouring fire, which cried out with a loud voice, "I am hungry; let me consume the world."

The various regions were soon in flames, when Brahma interfered to save his creation, and promised the son of Aurva a suitable abode and maintenance. The abode was to be at Badavi -mukha, the mouth of the ocean. He and the newly produced fire were to consume the world together at the end of each age, and at the end of time to devour all things with the Gods, Asuras, and Rakshasas.

The name A’urva thus signifies, shortly, the submarine fire. It is also called Badavanala and Samvarttaka. It is represented as a flame with a horse's head, and is also called Kaka-dhwaja, from carrying a banner on which there is a crow.

2.6 Aurva- Pravara Sage of Srivatsa Gothra

Sage Aurva appear as the 4th Sage in the pravara of Srivatsa Gothra. (Bhargava, Chyavana, Aplavana, Aurva, Jamadagniya, Pancharisheya…..)

SUMMARY

Sage Parasara was the grand son of Sage Vasistha. He had the famous Vyasa as son from Satyavathi. From him the Brihat Parasara hora sasthra has come, the bible of astrologers.

Sage Aurva was the son of Sage Chyvana . He was the father of Sage Jamadagni we have seen in (14).

KNOW ABOUT SAGES - 17

  1.Sage VEDAVYASA

            1.1 Sage Vedavyasa is considered as Lord’s incarnation

The 'Mahabharata' remains a marvel in the literature of the world. Veda Vyasa was the Sage who gave the world this Storehouse of realism, wisdom and compassion. And he was the guide to whom seven generations of the high and the humble looked up in hours of sorrow and darkness.

During the end of Dwapara Yuga period there were about 1180 Vedic Shakhas. Most recessions are in Sama Veda. In that time people used to memorize all the 1180 shakhas.

Lord clearly saw the weakening Intellectual and Physical powers of humans in the coming Kali Yuga. So he descended in two forms - one as Lord Krishna for "Dhushta Samharam" and another one as Krishna Dvaipayana - as a son of Sage Parashara to save the Vedas at least to the extent possible.

It was the Lord in the form of Sage Krishna Dvaipayana, we call as Veda Vyasa. Krishna Dwaipayana - 'Krishna' because he was dark colored, 'Dwaipayana' because he was born on an island in the Yamuna.

His hermitage was in Badari and he was therefore called 'Badarayana'also.

His works were - Compiling the Vedas and 18 Major Puranas, Lord also narrated Mahabharata containing 1,00,000 slokas. Since he was an avatar, he could write in many styles. (Ref:- "The Vedas" by Kanchi Mahaperiava.)

Everybody knows about Sage Vedavyasa. So introducing the Sage through stories is not a must. Hence I am telling in detail not much known information and stories about him. About known things I make a passing remark. Still the story of Vedavyasa is a lengthy one.

           1.2  Sage Vedavyasa’s family

Sage Vedavyasa’s father was Sage Parashara. Sage Parasara was the grandson of Sage Vasistha. Vasistha was the author of Vishnu Purana.

Sage Vedavyasa’s mother was Satyavati also known as Matsya Gandhi. Satyavati was born to King Uparichara and an apsara Girika who had to take form as a fish due to a curse. When Sage Parasara met Satyavati she was having the smell of fish. With his Tapasya, Parasara covered her with the sweet fragrance of Kasturi (the musk).

Sage Veda vyasa had 4 sons. Upon the request of his mother Satyavati through Ambika he had the son King Pandu, through Ambalika he had the son King Dhritarashtra, through a Palace maid son Vidurar. Ambika and Ambalika were Princesses who were the widowed wives of Chitrangadan and Vichithra Veeryan. Vyasa’s fourth son was Sage Sugan.

            1.3 Birth of Sage Sugan

His son "Suga Bramham" authored Srimad Bhagavata. Regarding Sage Suga Bramham what is told is the "Potent" of Sage Vyasa was accidentally consumed by a Parrot thus giving birth to "Sage Suga Bramham".

            1.4 Vyasa leaves for Badrayanam immediately after birth

Vyasa grew into manhood shortly after his birth. He was already well versed in the Vedas, the Shastras, the Purans, Poetry, History and other branches learning. He was ripe with wisdom.

Vyasa bowed to his mother, touching her feet with his head. Satyavati touch his head lovingly. Vyasa stood up with folded hands and said: "Mother, if ever you wish to see me, please think of me in your mind and I shall come, no matter where I am."

"I shall do so, my child," she said. Vedavyasa took leave of her and left for Badari for his 'tapas'.

            1.5 Birth of Pandu , Dhritharashtra and Vidurar.

King Shantanu was ruling in his capital Hastinavati. One day he met Satyavati who was still virgin after giving birth to Vedavyasa. King Shatanu married her. Two children were born to them- Chitrangadan and Vichitraveeryan. Chitrangadan died very young. Vichitraveeryan died shortly after his marriage. Their wives wereAmbika and Ambalika. They had no issues.

Satyavati was unhappy because the dynasty itself would come to an end. She did not know what to do. She remembered her son, the great Vyasa from Sage Parasara.

He came to Hastinavati in no time and greeted his mother. "Mother, what is the matter? I hope all is well with you. Why did you call me? How can I serve you?"

Satyavati explained to him the cause of her anxiety. Vyasa blessed her two daughter- in-laws each with a son. Ambikagave birth to Dhritarashtra. Ambalika's son was Pandu. A waiting woman of the palace too got a son. He was Vidura. Vidurawas a very pious man.

The Kauravas were the children of Dhritarashtra. The children of Pandu were called the Pandavas. Without Vyasa, there would be no Kauravas, no Pandavas and no Mahabharata War - of course, Mahabharata story too.

1.6 Satyavati go with her son Vedavyasa to the forest - "Come With Me, Mother"

After many years King Pandu died. Once again Satyavati thought of the great Vyasa. He came and consoled every one. He told them not to lose courage. By that time, Satyavati had grow very old and weak. She had suffered many misfortunes. Vyasa sympathised with her and said:

"Mother, it is better for you to come with me to the forest. It is better you spend the rest of your life in a peaceful meditation and prayer. I shall find a good place for you. You will love it."

Satyavati agreed. Her daughter-in-laws too were eager to follow her. Dhritharastra had become King and Pandavas and Kouravas were grown up by the time. So Vedavyasa agreed to their coming too.

Vyasa and the old women kept walKing for many days. They entered a thick forest. They stopped at the foot of a hill. There were huge trees around, nearby flowed a gurgling stream, thickly dotted with flowers. It was a well-shaded place. There was ample drinKing water. Vyasa collected leaves and branches of trees and erected a neat cottage for his mother. He taught her how to make a cup out of the lotus leaves. He showed her how to fetch water when she was thirsty. She learnt from him, also, how to collect wild roots and berries for food. He stayed there for four days, looKing after the comforts of hi mother.

The time for parting was drawing, closer. That day came. He bowed down at her feet and begged her permittinghim go. He knew he would not be able to see her again. He was a 'rishi', no doubt, and he was calm. But even he could not contain his sorrow.

Satyavati lifted up his head lovingly and embraced him there were tears in her eyes, too. "Good bye, I wish that you live for a thousand years, happy and renowned" she blessed him.

After his departure, the three women Satyavati, Ambika and Ambalika lived just like the hermits of the forest. They lived on the wild fruits and roots. They spent heir last days in prayer.

1.7 Vedavyasa calls on Dhritharasthra

Recollect Stories of Pandavas loosing every thing to Kouravas in repeated Dyes play….Pandavas were in forest dwelling…

Vyasa came to know aboutthe happenings. He hurried to Hastinavati. Dhritarashtra received him in his palace touched his feet and requested blessing . Dhritarashtra was a little nervous because he felt guilty. He feared that Vyasa would speak about the fate the Pandavas. In fact that was just the purpose of Vyasa's visit.

Vyasa told him: "Dritarashtra, you are the head the family. Do you think you have treated the Pandavas fairly? They have been ousted from their home and hearth. Could you not have stopped it? Why did not you advise your sons against such an action'

Dhritarashtra was speechless. He stood with his head bent in shame. Just then Vidura came there. He bowed to Vyasa. "Why, Vidura, did you not advise the foolish Kauravas? How could you letthese things to happen?" Vyasa asked.

Vidura too felt ashamed. There were tears in his eyes. He was very fond of the Pandavas. He sadly confessed: "Yes. 'Dhritarashtra tried to dissuade his sons. So did 1. But the wicked Kauravas did not listen to us."

Vyasa looked angrily at his son Dhritarashtra and spoke tauntingly: "0 King, you have always known the nature of your children. But blinded by your foolish love, you were helpless. That was why you let these things happen, was it not?"

Dhritarashtra was utterly humbled and became speechless. He knew that Vyasa spoken truthfully.

Vyasa thundered: "Your sons destined to bring ruin on themselves. That is why they are so evil. Those that ruined their own brothers( Pandavas) will come to no good. It isa pity all of youforget that Lord Krishna himself  is on Pandava’s side.

Advise your children, and particularly Duryodhana to restore the Kingdom to the Pandavas. The Kauravas will be destroyed if they earn the enmity of the Pandavas.

Remember mywords -Your sons have topay heavily for their sins.." So saying, Vyasa left the palace. Dhritarashtra trembled. He knew that the words of his 'rishi' fatherwould never prove false.

This posting is goinglengthier. I will be continuing the story of Veda vyasa in the next posting also.

 

KNOW ABOUT SAGES - 18 

1.Sage VEDAVYASA

1.7 Vedavyasa calls on Dhritharasthra

Remember my words -Your sons have to pay heavily for their sins." So saying, Veda Vyasa left the Hastinavati palace. Dhritarashtra trembled. He knew that the words of his 'rishi' father would never prove false. Read further..

1.8 Vedavyasa goes to Pandavas

Vyasa then went into the forest looKing for the Pandavas. After a few days he came to the place where they were living. Pandavas were delighted to see their rishi thatha. The Pandavas bowed down to the 'rishi'. They had prepared some gruel for their meal. They offered it to the 'rishi thatha ‘. Vyasa was overjoyed their warmth and hospitality.

1.9 Vedavyasa comfort Droupadi

When they began to talk of their life in the forest Droupadi could not hold back her tears. Vyasa was deeply touched. He said, "Daughter, don't grieve. These hardships won't last long. By and by, Dharma will triumph and Adharma (evil) will fall. For the present, you have to put up with these sorrows. The Pandavas are pious and heroic. The very purpose of their birth is to uproot the Kauravas. Do not weep." The Pandavas felt comforted. Vyasa spent a couple of days with them. Then the Pandavas continued their journey.

1.10 Vedavyasa stops Yudhishtira in battlefield

Vyasa frequently visited the Pandavas on the battlefield too. He looked after their welfare. One day, Yudhishtira met Duryodhana on the battlefield. Yudhishtira was very angry and wanted to kill him. He fixed an arrow and was about to bend his bow. All of a sudden came Vyasa and stopped Yudhishtira. He said: "That is not your work. It is your brother Bheema who has vowed to kill Duryodhana. Leave it to him." Yudhishtira obeyed and turned h chariot in another direction.

1.11 Veda vyasa comfort Dhritarashtra

Dhritarashtra heard that his son Duryodhana was dying, He came to the battlefield with Vidura. His grief was beyond words. He fell down and wept bitterly. Just then, Vyasa came. He spoke comforting words: "O King, console yourself. Dhritarashtra cried desperately: I do not desire to live a longer. All my children are gone. What is the good of my life now?"

“These things were destined to happen and your children were bound to come to this fate. Remember the words of Yudhishtira. Did he not offer to give up all enmity even offered to give up his claim to the empire. He was ready to yield if Duryodhana gave him just five villages. But Duryodhana refused”(In this context I recollect the words of Duryodhana “Soochi kuthuvathinu samrajyam Pandavarku Koduthida in Duryodhana Vadham Kathakali story see in my childhood days).

Go home and take back the Pandavas into fold. Treat them like your own children."Thus Vyasa consoled the Dhritharastra and sent him home from the battlefield.

1.12 Veda Vyasa stops curse by Gandhari

Although Yudhistira was a warrior, he was very tenderhearted. On the death of Kauravas Yudhishtira became very much worried. When he met Gandhari, he was deeply disturbed. He felt as though he himself wronged her.

Gandhari of course was a very pure woman, devoted to her husband. In her sorrow and anger, she was about to curse the Pandavas. When Yudhishtira and his brothers touched her feet her face grew red with anger. Her lips trembled. She was on the point of uttering a curse.

Vyasa was there at hand. He could foresee that delay would prove fatal. He put his hand gently on her head and said: "Look here, child! I am Vyasa. I am here. Gandhari feared him and held back the curse.

"Daughter, check your anger. How are the Pandavas to blame? Think that the Pandavas are your own children," said Vyasa. Gandhari listened to these words of Vyasa, the supreme head of the family and her father in Law. She touched the feet of the mighty Sage mamanar. She contained her grief, called the Pandavas to her side and embraced them with affection. So Vedavyasa comforted his junior mattupon and prevented her from cursing her Anna’s children.

1.13 Vedavyasa comforts Yudhistira, Arjuna, Subhadra and Uttara

Vyasa again consoled the sorrow-stricken Yudhishtira telling him about Kshathria Dharma quoting a few stories also. At that instance Arjuna came there with Subhadra and their mattupon Uttara. He comforted them also telling about Kshathria duties.” Why do you grieve? Remember there were great heroes in the past. They are dead and gone. But they have left behind their deathless names." He told Yudhishtira the stories of sixteen brave warriors at this instance.

Then the Sage turned to Uttara. He said, "My child, you will give birth to a son who will become a great emperor (King Parikshith). Through him the dynasty of the Pandavas survive. So why do you grieve? Take courage, daughter. Every body touched Vyasa's feet. After blessing every body Vedavyasa then returned to his hermitage.

1.14 Vedavyasa shows Gandhari her children and other dead

Dhritarashtra, Gandhari and Kunti became very old. They were tired of the palace. They longed for the calm and peace of the forest. Yudhishtira and others were unwilling to let them go, but finally agreed. Vyasa heard the news. He came part of the way to meet them. He took them to his forest dwelling. They lived peacefully for a month. Then Gandhari began to wish to see her dead children; Kunti longed to see Karna; Dhritarashtra expressed a similar desire to see the dead. Vyasa wanted the Pandavas to be present on the occasion. He sent word to them. One day all of them assembled on the banks of the river Ganga. They eagerly waited for the night to come.

Late at night Vyasa stood in the river and called out the names of the dead, on, by one. One after another they appeared: on the riverbank. On one side stood Duryodhana and all his brothers. On the other were Karna, Abhimanyu and others. They all felt joy beyond description. The night seemed just a minute. When the Morning came those who had come from other worlds disappeared. Such was the power of Vedavyasa’s Tapas.

1.15 Arjuna Laments on Krishna’s death

Thirty-six years passed after the Maha bharata war and Yudhistira made the King.

One day, Lord Krishna gave up his mortal body. Arjuna was miserable and he could not bear the pain of separation. He went to Vyasa and expressed his deep grief. Vyasa spoke to him. "You are lamenting in vain, Arjuna- Krishna came to this world on some mission. He fulfilled the mission, and left this world. Let us cherish his memory. You have also ruled for a number of years. The Dwapara Yuga is almost over. It is better for you all, too, to go to heaven. Give this mesSage to Yudhishtira." Arjuna carried Vyasa's mesSage to Yudhishtira.

 

KNOW ABOUT SAGES - 19

1.Sage VEDAVYASA

1.15 Arjuna Laments on Krishna’s death

…….You have also ruled for a number of years. You have earned a good name. The Dwapara Yuga is almost over. It is better for you all, too, to go to heaven. Give this mesSage to Yudhishthira." Arjuna carried Vyasa's mesSage to Yudhishthira.

1.16 Lord Ganesha Assists Vyasa

Vyasa was an eyewitness to the happenings in the Dwapara Yuga. He saw the rise of quite a number of powerful Kings and dynasties. Rishis could live for hundreds of years by the power of 'tapas' and 'yoga'. They could conquer old age and death if they so willed. Vyasa was one such rishi. It is believed that he is still living in Badari. It was Vyasa himself who gave the story of Mahabharata to mankind.

Many years after the Mahabharata War, one day Lord Brahma came to Badarikashrama. Vyasa received him with due regard. Then Vyasa said, "What brings you all the way to my hermitage?"

"You have witnessed the Mahabharata War, You knew of everything that happened. It will be an excellent thing if you write the story of the Mahabharata."

Sage Vyasa need somebody who can take down the story and accordingly Brahama arranged Lord Ganesha. Ganesha was a boy then.Lord Ganesha put forth a condition.

"My Lord, you should not stop the narration at any point, the story must flow without pause. I shall write it down as Smoothly as one gulps down a cup of water. If you stop at any point, I will give up my job and go away" - Lord Ganesha spoke quietly. Vyasa nodded his head in admiration. He said

"Yes, I accept your conditions. But you should understand every word before you set it down." Lord Vinayaka cheerfully accepted the challenge.

Thus began the composition of the story of Mahabharata. Vyasa went on dictating; Lord Ganesha took down faithfully. Even before Vyasa completed a stanza, Ganesha would finish writing it. He would hustle Vyasa to go on with it.

The Mahabharata story is called the Fifth Veda. It is also known as Jaya. The Bhagavad-Gita, which is, honored all over the world as a book of wisdom forms a part of the Mahabharata. Thus Sage Vyasa has left a rich legacy of knowledge to our country.

Vyasa completed the Maha Bharatham in 60 lakhs granthams.This comprises the Kandapuranam, Ramayanam, Savithri Puranam, Nala Puranam and so on.

Lord Ganesha wrote them on Mount Meru using his tusk.Of these 60 lakh granthams, 30 lakhs are supposed to be in the Deva Lokam, 15 lakhs in Yaksha Lokam and 14 lakhs in Asura Lokam.Only the remaining 1 lakh granthams are assumed to be on the earth.

1.17 Vyasarahasyam

Sage Vyasa is supposed to have sung 8,800 granthams, which were difficult for Ganesha to decipher.He has stated himself this to Lord Ganesha, Sage Vyasa and his son Sage Sugan are probably the only ones who know the meaning of those 8,800 granthams.

Whenever Ganesha hustled him, he hurled a difficult stanza at him. By the time the child-God understood it and wrote it down, Vyasa would be ready with the next stanza. The stanzas over which Ganesha had to pause have come to be called Vyasa Rahasya.

1.18 Mahabharata story become Public

King Janamejaya was ruling over Hastinavati at the time. He was Arjuna's great-grandson. He learnt that Vyasa had witnessed the Mahabharata War. He was eager to hear the story of his mighty ancestors from him. He consulted his ministers and decided to perform a great 'yaga'. No 'rishi' would ever refuse to attend a 'yaga'.

Janamejaya sent his chief priest to invite Vyasa. He arrived in Hastinavati with his disciples. When the festivities were over, the King persuaded Vyasa to stay for a few days. One day Janamejaya requested to Vyasa, "Master, you knew my ancestors. You know their stories. Kindly tell their story”

"Yes, son- my disciple Vaishampayana will narrate the story," answered Vyasa, and asked his disciple to narrate the story in detail. The disciple repeated it exactly as he had heard it from the master. Janamejaya listened to the story in rapt silence.

1.19 Vedavyasa- His contributions

It was Sage Vyasa who classified the Vedas into four branches - Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas. Formerly, it formed a single body of knowledge. Hence name for him Vedavyasa.

Vyasa had a number of disciples. The four great 'rishis' called Vaishampayana, Paila, Jaimini and Sumantu took the Vedas to people in different corners. Some people found the Vedas difficult to understand. So Vyasa wrote the Brahmasutras in order to explain the meaning of the Vedas. To explain the mean background of the Brahmasutras he wrote the eighteen Puranas; in these he wrote about the great men connected with Brahmasutras and also told moral tales. At the end of it all, Vyasa wrote the Harivamsha, the history of Lord Krishna.

The Itihasas and Puranas are called the fifth Veda. Seeing that the women, the Sudras and the fallen Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas were debarred even from hearing the Vedas, and did not know how to perform acts that are conductive to good, the Sage was good enough to compose the Mahabharata in order that women and others too might attain blessedness through the same.

Out of compassion the great Sage Vedavyasa thought it wise that all mankind achieve the ultimate goal of life. Thus he compiled the historical treatise known as the Mahabharata for the women, laborers and friends of the brahmanas.

Vedavyasa compiled the Mahabharata under the auspices of disciple succession, properly explaining what is essential so that even women, laborers and those not qualified to read the Vedas can envision the path of righteousness.

1.20 Vedavyasa –a Sage seen seven generations

Sage Vedavyasa witnessed the rise and fall of seven generations from Shantanu to Janamejaya. He lived among gigantic heroes like Lord Krishna, Bheeshma and Yudhishthira He spoke encouragingly to the good and the pious. He was himself an example to others and his life was as pure as fire. The stories of such great men shed light on our path.

1.21 Vedavyas hills

About two kilometers off the main road connecting Rourkela and Sambalpur is Vedavyasa, believed to be the hermitage of Sage Vyasa.

"To the west of the river Brahmi, in the midst of a deep jungle was the `ashram' of Vyasa. Every morning the saint took bath in the waters of the river Saraswati and offering paeans to Lord Vishnu, sat in meditation." Thus goes a `sloka' in `Srimad Bhagavatam'. Indicating where the poet lived.

The river Brahmi is taken to be the Brahmani River in western Orissa. A thickly wooded area here is called Vedavyasa, lies to the west of this river 14 km away from the steel city of Rourkela.

In fact, the hallowed place is at the confluence of three rivers — the Koel, the Sankh and the Saraswati. Everyday many come here just to take bath in the river Brahmani.

Legend has it that the great saint Parasara lived near this place in a village known as `Parasharamunda.'

1.22 Vyasa Purnima

Vyasa Purnima (The full moon day of the Asadha) is celebrated with much pomp everywhere. It is commonly believed that Vyasa completed the epic `Mahabharata' on this day.

2. Sage SUGA

2.1 Sage Suga’s peculiar birth

Once, a desire arose in the mind of Vedavyasa.He met the Sage Jabali and proposed to marry his daughter Vatika. Accepting the proposal, the Sage Jabali happily married his daughter Vatika to VedaVyasa. Thus, living in his hermitage amidst the forests, Maharishi Vedavyasa began his married life.

With time, his wife Vatika became pregnant and a foetus began to grow in her womb. That foetus continued to grow for 12 years but no child was born.

The foetus heard those discussions and recitations in the hermitage. Whatever the foetus heard in the womb, it at once remembered that. Thus the foetus studied and got expertise in Sanga, Vedas, Smriti, Puranas and all the Muktishastras (mere hearing or study of which is beneficial for a man's life).

Since the foetus had grown extraordinarily large, so the mother was experiencing a lot of pain. One day Vyasa angrily asked the foetus: "Who are you in the womb of my wife? Why don't you come out? Do you want to kill the pregnant lady?"

The foetus replied: " I can become anything, devil, God, human, animal etc. because I have come here after wandering through 84 lakh births. So how can I tell you about my identity? I can know that presently I have come in human form in the womb of your wife. I want to stay in the womb in the same form. Presently, I am practicing Yoga here and I know for certain that I will receive Moksha (salvation) right from here.

As long as the life remains in the womb, it has the knowledge, detachment and the memories of its previous births. When it comes out of the womb, all of its knowledge, detachment disappears. Hence, staying in the womb, I will receive salvation –said foetus

Sage Vyasa asked the foetus to come out and free him from the obligation of being a father."

The foetus desired an assurance from Lord Krisha that the worldly illusions will not affect him. On account of this Sage Vyasa went to Dwaraka and related the condition of the foetus to Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna at once arrived at Vyasa's hermitage and said to the foetus: " O child, as soon as you come out of the womb, I will destroy your illusions. Hence, you come out soon and the path for your well being."

Thus assured by Lord Krishna, the foetus came out of the womb

2.2 The boy Suga go to forest

After coming out of the womb he greeted his mother and father and lord Krishna began to go to the forests at once. He had already reached the age of 12 at the time of coming out from his mother's womb.

Seeing him walk towards the forests, Vyasa said: " Son, please stay put at home, so that I can carry out the necessary rituals for you." But the boy replied: " O great among the Sages, thousands of rituals were carried out in many of my births. These bondages of rituals have submerged me in the illusions of the world."

Hearing the boy's words, Lord Krishna said to Vyasa: " O Sage, your son is talKing like a Shukha (parrot). Hence name this boy as Shukhdev. This boy, proficient in YogaVidya will not stay in your home because he is free from every passion and illusion. Let him go as per his wishes but bestow your love on him, for now having seen his face, you are free from the obligations of a father." Saying these words, Lord Krishna returned to Dwaraka.

After Lord Krishna had left, Vyasa tried to coax the boy again but he did not stop and continued his departure to the forests. Seeing him go like that and disturbed by anxiety, Vyasa also followed him and called out to him saying: " O son, O son." But since Shukhdev did not have a differentiating mind, he used to see all the living and non-living things of the world alike.

2.3 Sukha had no difference between men and women

While Vyasa was following his son, he reached a scheduled place amidst the forests, where some women were taKing their bath in a lake. Seeing Vyasa coming that way, they hurriedly came out of the water and began to don their clothes. Amazed by their behaviour, Vyasa asked those women: " Ladies, my son is young. He has just passed by the lake, but you continued your plays ignoring him. No shyness arose seeing him. Why then are you feeling shy to see an old man like me?"

The women replied politely: " Forgive us O Sage. You know the difference between a man and a woman. But your son is free of this ability to differentiate between a man and a woman. He looks at all things alike. Hence it is same to be dressed or undressed in front of him."

Hearing these words of the woman, Sage Vyasa returned. He understood well that it was meaningless to have a relation of a father and son with such an equal sighted person like Shukhdev.

2.4 Sage Vyasa get back his son Sukhdev

Vyasa was still desirous to keep Shukhdev as his disciple so that he could teach him the scriptures. Now he knew that only the divine and auspicious appearance of the God himself could attract such a detached and passionless person. Hence, teaching his disciples a couplet that contained extremely enchanting descriptions of Lord Krishna, he sent them to the forests. Every time the disciples roamed the forests for fruits and flowers, they used to recite that couplet in an extremely sweet voice. When Shukhdev heard that couplet, he went to the disciples and insisted then to teach him that couplet. The disciples then brought him to Vyasa's hermitage where Shukhdev began to study Srimad Bhagwat. Thus, only the knowledge given by the teacher is superior.

After finishing his education and with his father's permission, Shukhdev spent some time in the court of Mithila King Janaka. The King received preaching about spirituality from him. He roamed from place to place.

2.5 Sage Sukhdev preaches Sremad Bhagavatham

When Takshaka, the Naga had bitten the King Parikshit, he decided to crown his only son Janamijaya and did a fast called Nirjula Vrata in the banks of river Ganges. Nirjula Vrata is a fast in which even water is forbidden.

Many Sages arrived there. Sage Shukhdev too arrived there. All of them worshipped Sage Sukhdev. At the behest of the King, Shukhdev preached Shrimad Bhagwat to him for 7 days continuously. Sage Ugrava present there repeated it to Sage Suta.

Srimad Bhagavata possesses a glory of its own and constitutes the very essence of the Vedas. It is a unique light illuminating the Spiritual Realities for those worldly men who seek to go beyond the darkness of ignorance. It was out of compassion for such men, that teacher of Sages, Sukhadeva, uttered this Purana.

2.6 Sage Sukhdev become one among Saptharshi

In the next Manavtara, Shukhdev occupied a position among the Saptarishis- the 7 great Sages.

2.7 About Sreemad Bhagavatham

Sage Vedavyasa did not feel contended even after writing the Mahabharata. He felt that there is something, which he did not deliver to his devotees.

Sage Narada arrived at the ashram of Sri Vedavyasa and requested him to write a text in which the greatness of Vishnu is elaborated.

Then Sage Vedavyasa composed the Bhagavatam, which is full of the pastimes of the supreme God. He instructed the text to his son Sri Suka, who was an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

Sri Suka, in turn discoursed this text to King Parikshit for 7 days. Several rishis and Sages arrived from all parts of the country to listen to the discourse by Sage Suka. Today, we hear about the Bhagavatam due to the conversation between Shaunaka and Suta. Suta retold the Bhagavatam to Shaunaka and other Sages. The tradition continued and we have the Bhagavatam in the present form.

2.8 Madhvacharya and Srimad Bhagavatham

Madhvacharya the establisher of the Brahma Madhva Vaisnava Sampradaya received instructions and knowledge of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita directly from Vedavyasa.

2.9 Sugavaneswarar Temple at Salem

The deity in the temple is Sugavaneswarar (Shiva). This temple houses the image of Shiva, which is said to have been worshipped by the mythological Sage Suga Muni - the King of parrots.

KNOW ABOUT SAGES - 20

1 Sage ASHTAVAKRA

In the Mahabharata epic, the story of Sage Ashtavakra is told by Sage Lomasa to the Pandavas, while the Pandavas were in exile.

1.1 Parents of Sage Ashtavakra

Uddalaka was a renowned Sage and scholar well versed in the Vedas and the Vedanta. He had several disciples. One among them was Kahoda. What Kahoda lacked in knowledge, he made up with his devotion and virtuous life. Impressed by these qualities Uddalaka married his daughter Sujata to kahoda.

Sujata in due course got pregnant and wanted her child to surpass all the Sages of his time. So, she began to sit in the classes taught by Uddalaka and Kahoda, listening to their chanting with the unborn baby.

It was one day, in a class taught by Kahoda, the unborn baby spoke up from inside the womb, and “This is not the way to chant the verse, father." Kahoda felt insulted in front of the class and cursed, "You will be born deformed."

Sujata did not take the instance too seriously and was ambitious. She wanted more money to raise her child the best. So she asked her husband to go to King Janaka of Mithila (Sita’s foster father) who was then preparing for a Yajna hoping that the ceremony will bring money to the family.

1.2 Sage Kahoda got defeated by Bandhi

When Kahoda approached King Janaka, the King received him respectfully but said with regret "Kahoda, I am unable to perform the Yajna which I decided to perform several years back. Sage, Bandhi arrived from nowhere and asked me to start the Yajna only after he is defeated in an academic discussion with the Sages participating in the Yajna.

His condition further includes that the Sages who come forth for the debate, if defeated, will be drowned. So far he has killed many learned Sages. Now it is up to you to take the challenge."

Kahoda agreed to debate with Bandhi. He was defeated and drowned in the nearby river.

1.3 Birth of Ashtavakra and education

The widowed Sujata heard the news and repented her actions. A few months later she gave birth to a boy who was deformed at eight joints and so named Ashtavakra.

He got his education from his grandfather Uddalaka. Ashtavakra was extremely intelligent and his grandfather loved him dearly and was very proud of him. When Ashtavakra was only twelve, he finished all that he needed to know from his grandfather. He also heard the fate of his father and the Yajna of King Janaka, which still remained unfinished as no one could defeat Bandhi.

1.4  Sage Ashtavakra calls on Janaka

At the tender age of 12 he had mastered the Vedas and Vedanta.

Accompanied by his uncle Swetaketu, he set forth for Mithila where a debate on the scriptures among the learned was to take place. He would be pitted against Bandhi. This the moment he was waiting for all his life - an opportunity to avenge the insult and defeat his father Kahoda has suffered.

On their way to Mithila they met Mithila’s King and his entourage. Ashtavakra was asked to give way to the King. However, he replied, " Does not your ruler know that the blind, the deformed, the fair sex, Brahmins and people bearing load have to be given the right to pasSage first".

The King was surprised to hear such wisdom from the mouth of some one so young. He let Ashtravakra go first.
At Mithila the gatekeeper would not let Ashtravakra enter the competition hall. The boy seemed too young to him. Ashtavakra got irritated. He said " I may seem young to you but I have mastered the Vedas. Age or appearance can not bar me from taKing part in the competition". The gatekeeper did not believe him and asked him to go away.
Ashtravakra said, " old age is not an indicator of a man's bounty of knowledge or maturity. Go and inform the King that I wish to challenge Bandhi, the court's scholar to a round of debates on Shastras."

Just then the King appeared and saw and recognized Ashtavakra. He cautioned him saying, " Do you know Bandhi has defeated all the scholars who have challenged him. The defeated have drowned themselves in the sea in accordance with the rules of the debate. Don’t risk your life." 

1.5  Sage Ashtavakra defeats Bandhi

Ashtavakra replied " O King! Your scholar has been basKing in past glory. He is not as learned as you assumed him to be. Let me compete with him and avenge my father's insult."

The King was astounded by such determination. He was compelled to consent to this competition. Then started arguments, counter arguments on various debatable topics from the scriptures between Bandhi and Ashtavakra. This boy of only twelve years of age proved to be far superior to Bandhi. The shamed Bandhi had to accede defeat and in accordance to the rule drowned himself in the sea. Then the spirit of Kahoda was free and gained peace in heaven.

1.6 Ashtavakra Geetha

The Ashtavakra Geetha, or the Ashtavakra Samhita as it is sometimes called, is a very ancient Sanskrit text.

The work was appreciated, and quoted by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, his disciple Swami Vivekananda, as well as by Ramana Maharshi, Dr S Radhakrishnan always referred to it with great respect. Apart from that the work speaks for itself. It presents the traditional teachings of Advaita Vedanta with a clarity and power very rarely matched.

(I had an occasion to listen to the Ashtravakra geetha in the Theosophical society in Trivandrum near Over bride junction with R.S. Iyer in 1996. Of course on those days I was not matured like today to have a patient listening).

1.7 Ashtavakra Geetha extracts

King Janaka on the defeat of Bandhi surrendered to the Sage as his disciple and requested that the knowledge of the Self be bestowed upon him.

It is a series of answers for the questions of Rajarishi Janaka. A few extracts from the English translation by John Richards is given below: -

My son, you may recite or listen to countless scriptures, but you will not be established within until you can forget everything. 16.1

You may, as a learned man, indulge in wealth, activity, and meditation, but your mind will still long for that which is the cessation of desire, and beyond all goals. 16.2

If even Shiva, Vishnu, or the lotus-born Brahma were your instructor, until you have forgotten everything you cannot be established within. 16.11

The man is rare who is not attached to the things he has enjoyed, and does not hanker after the things he has not enjoyed. 17.4

Those who desire pleasure and those who desire liberation are both found in samsara, but the great-souled man who desires neither pleasure nor liberation is rare indeed. 17.5

There is no distinction between pleasure and pain, man and woman, success and failure for the wise man that looks on everything as equal. 17.15(My note- Like Sage Suga)

The stupid man does not attain cessation whether he acts or abandons action, while the wise man finds peace within simply by knowing the truth. 18.34

1.8 Sage Ashtavakra expeditions

Section 13:19 of Mahabharata describe Sage Ashtavakra's expedition to Kailasa:

The illustrious Ashtavakra set out on his journey. He proceeded towards the north and at last reached the Himavat mountains peopled by Siddhas and Charanas Arrived at the Himavat mountains, that foremost of Brahamanas then came upon the sacred river Vahuda whose waters produce great merit.

 He rested for some more time by the side of that lake in the course of the Vahuda whose shores he had reached. Refreshed and then proceeded towards Kailasa. He saw also the Mandakini and the Nalini of the high-souled Kubera, the Lord of Treasures. Beholding the Rishi arrived there, all the Rakshasas having Manibhadra for their head, came out in a body for welcoming and honoring the illustrious traveler. On bathing his bends were disappeared and he became perfect. (This story of Ashtavakra was told by Srikrishna to Rugmini too-I read some where from the internet).

1.9 Sage Ashtavakra ask King Chitrabhanu the reason for observing Sivarathri fast

 In the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata, Bhishma, whilst resting on the bed of arrows and discoursing on Dharma, refers to the observance of Maha Shivratri by King Chitrabhanu.

The story goes as follows. Once upon a time King Chitrabhanu of the Ikshvaku dynasty, who ruled over the whole of Jambudvipa, was observing a fast with his wife, it being the day of Mahashivratri. The Sage Ashtavakra came on a visit to the court of the King.

The Sage Ashtavakra asked, "O King! Why are you observing a fast today?"King Chitrabhanu explained the reason to the Sage. He had the gift of remembering the incidents of his previous birth.

"In my past birth I was a hunter in Varanasi. My name was Suswara. One day I was roaming the forests in search of animals. I was overtaken by the darkness of night. Unable to return home, I climbed a tree for shelter. It happened to be a vilwa tree. I had shot a deer that day but I had no time to take it home. I bundled it up and tied it to a branch on the tree. As I was tormented by hunger and thirst, I kept awake throughout the night. I shed profuse tears when I thought of my poor wife and children who were starvingand awaiting my return. To pass away the time that night I engaged myself in plucKing the vilwa leaves and dropping them down onto the ground.

"The day dawned. I returned home and sold the deer. I bought some food for myself and for my family. I wasabout to break my fast when a stranger came to me, begging for food. I served him first and then took my food. "

At the time of death, I saw two messengers of Lord Shiva. They were sent down to conduct my soul tothe abode of Lord Shiva. I learnt then for the firsttime of the great merit I had earned by the unconsciousworship of Lord Shiva during the night of Shivratri.

They told me that there was a Lingam at the bottom of the tree. The leaves I dropped fell on the Lingam. My tears, which I had shed out of pure sorrow for my family, fell onto the Lingam and washed it. And I had fasted allday and all night. Thus I did unconsciously worship the Lord. "I lived in the abode of the Lord and enjoyed divine bliss for long ages. I am now reborn asChitrabhanu." (Some member has raised a query to me on the importance of Sivarathri a fortnight back).

SUMMARY

Story of Sage Ashtavakra comes in Mahabharata. Ashta vakra Geetha was his teachings to Rajarshi King Janaka.

 
Back to Previous page - Part I Continued in next page - Part III

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