Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates – Sudama,
BY: SUN STAFF
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
Jun 08, 2016 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.
Today we complete our study of Sri Krsna's priya-sakha cowherd friend, Sudama, with the longest and most detailed story found about him. This pastime takes place after the gopa's association with Krsna in Vrindavan-lila, and is instead the story of Sudama's next incarnation, which is told in what is commonly know as the story of Tulsi Devi's life.
This 'Life of Tulasi Devi' is primarily based on the Sanskrit texts, Brahma Vaivrata Purana and Siva Purana, translated to English and published in India in the 1920's. (See below for more information.) To our knowledge, these sastric narratives have not been purported by our Sampradaya Acaryas, although this story of Tulsi's life is often read by the devotees. In fact, there is a seeming contradiction between this story and the story of Sankhacuda in Srila Prabhuada's Krsna Book, although mundane chronological timelines cannot be applied to transcendental pastimes.
The Krsna Book story of the demon Sankhacuda describes how Sankhacuda was killed by the Lord during His pastimes at Horika, in the month of Phalguna. A ceremony observing this event is still observed, being the burning of the effigy of Sankhacuda one day prior to Holi.
In Krsna Book, Chapter 34, Srila Prabhupada writes:
"At that time, while they were so much absorbed, almost in madness, a demon associate of Kuvera (the treasurer of the heavenly planets) appeared on the scene. The demon's name was Sankhacuda because on his head there was a valuable jewel resembling a conchshell. Just as the two sons of Kuvera were puffed up over their wealth and opulence and did not care for Narada Muni's presence, this Sankhacuda was also puffed up over material opulence. He thought that Krsna and Balarama were two ordinary cowherd boys enjoying the company of many beautiful girls. Generally, in the material world, a person with riches thinks that all beautiful women should be enjoyed by him. Sankhacuda also thought that since he belonged to the rich community of Kuvera, he, not Krsna and Balarama, should enjoy the company of so many beautiful girls. He therefore decided to take charge of them. He appeared before Krsna and Balarama and the damsels of Vraja and began to lead the girls away to the north. He commanded them as if he were their proprietor and husband, despite the presence of Krsna and Balarama. Being forcibly taken away by Sankhacuda, the damsels of Vraja called the names of Krsna and Balarama for protection. The two brothers immediately began to follow them, taking up big logs in Their hands. "Don't be afraid, don't be afraid," They called to the gopis. "We are coming at once to chastise this demon." Very quickly They reached Sankhacuda. Thinking the brothers too powerful, Sankhacuda left the company of the gopis and ran for fear of his life. But Krsna would not let him go. He entrusted the gopis to the care of Balarama and followed Sankhacuda wherever he fled. Krsna wanted to take the valuable jewel resembling a conchshell from the head of the demon. After following him a very short distance, Krsna caught him, struck his head with His fist and killed him. He then took the valuable jewel and returned. In the presence of all the damsels of Vraja, He presented the valuable jewel to His elder brother Balarama."
Below we find the story of Sudama, in 20 chapters, in his incarnation as the transcendental demon Sankhacuda – an embodiment that resulted in a curse placed upon Sudama by Srimati Radharani, because of Sudama's attraction to Tulsi Devi.
"My name is Sankhacuda. When the demigods see me, they flee in fear. In my previous birth, I lived in Goloka and was a cowherd boy named Sudama. I was a close friend of Sri Krsna's, one of His attendants. I was one of the eight celebrated cowherds. Then Srimati Radharani cursed me to be born in India in a demon family. By Krsna's grace and by His mantra, I am a jatismara, that is, I know the history of my previous birth. You also are a jatismara. So you know that in your previous birth, in Goloka, when Radharani caught you alone with Krsna, she became angry and cursed you to be born here, in India. In Goloka I very much wanted to consort with you; but because I feared Radharani, I did not do so.
Lord Hari smiled and said, "O lotus born! I know all about Sankhacuda. In his previous birth he was my great devotee, a very energetic cowherd boy in Goloka. I will tell you something about him which is quite sanctifying. His name was Sudama and he was my chief attendant. He is now a Danava because in Goloka Radha pronounced a terrible curse on him. Here is how it happened..."
Here now is the story of Sudama's incarnation as Sankhacuda, which concludes our presentation on Krsna's dearmost friend, Sudama gopa.
The Life of Tulasi Devi
Chapter One - THE APPEARANCE OF TULASI DEVI
Muni asked Lord Narayana, "O Bhagavan! How did the pure, chaste Tulasi
Devi become Your wife? Where was she born? Who was she in her previous
birth? What family did she come from? And what austerities did she
perform to get You as her husband--You, who are above the material
energy, not subject to change, the Cosmic Self, the Supreme God, the
Lord of all, omniscient, the cause of all, omnipresent, container and
preserver of all. And how did Tulasi Devi, Your chief goddess, become a
tree? O You who resolve all doubts, my mind is curious to know all about
these points; therefore, it compels me to ask you these questions.
Kindly remove these doubts from my mind."
Lord Narayana then related the following account...
Daksa Savarni was a partial expansion of Lord Visnu. He was extremely
virtuous, devoted to the Lord, and very famous for his good deeds. Daksa
Savarni's son, Dharma Savarni, was also extremely virtuous. Dharma
Savarni's pious son was called Visnu Savarni, and his son, who was a
great Vaisnava, was known as Raja Savarni.
Raja Savarni's son, Vrisadhvaja, was fanatically devoted to Lord Siva.
Lord Siva lived in Vrisadhvaja's house for three celestial yugas (ages)
and loved him more than his own sons. Vrisadhvaja did not revere Lord
Narayana, Goddess Laksmi or any of the demigods. He abolished the
worship of Laksmi in the month of Bhadra (Aug., Sept.) and the worship
of Saraswati in the month of Magha (Jan., Feb.). He did not participate
in the sacrifice and worship performed out of respect for Lord Visnu
(Narayana) and criticised them rather severely.
demigods did not curse him because they feared Lord Siva. However,
Surya, the sun god, no longer able to restrain his wrath, cursed him: "O
King, just as you are completely devoted to Lord Siva and only to Lord
Siva, and just as you do not recognise any of the other demigods, I
declare that you will now lose your wealth and prosperity!"
Lord Siva heard this curse, he became angry. Seizing his trident, he
ran after Lord Surya. Afraid, the sun god went with his father, Kasyapa
Muni, to Brahmaloka, the highest material planet, to take shelter of
Lord Brahma. But Lord Siva pursued him there. Lord Brahma, also afraid
of Lord Siva, took Lord Surya and Kasyapa Muni to the region of
Vaikuntha, the spiritual or eternal world. There, with throats parched
due to anxiety, they took refuge of Lord Narayana, the Lord of all. They
offered obeisances to Him and praised Him repeatedly and finally
explained why they were so apprehensive.
Narayana bestowed His mercy on them and granted them the power to be
fearless. He said, "O fearful ones, be consoled. How can you be afraid
of anyone while I am here? If anyone remembers Me when he is in danger,
wherever he may be, I hurry to him with my Sudarsan disc in my hand and
save him. O demigods! I am always the creator, preserver and destroyer
of this universe. In the form of Visnu, I am the preserver; in the form
of Brahma, the creator; and in the form of Siva, the destroyer. I am
Siva, I am you, and I am Surya. I assume numerous forms and preserve the
universe. So go back to your respective places. You have nothing to be
afraid of. All will be well.
this day on, you have nothing to fear from Lord Siva. He is the shelter
of the pious, is easily pleased, is the servant and lord of his
devotees, and is great minded. Lord Siva and the Sudarsana cakra are
dearer to Me than My life. In the world of valour, they excel all. Lord
Siva can easily create ten million Suryas and ten million Brahmas. For
him, nothing is impossible. He is not conscious of the external world.
Meditating on Me, his heart centred, he is absorbed day and night. From
his five faces he repeats My mantra with devotion, and he always sings
My glories. Day and night, I also always think of his welfare. To
whatever degree one worships Me, to that degree I favor one. The nature
of Siva is all-auspiciousness."
Lord Narayana was speaking, Lord Siva arrived. His eyes red, and he was
sitting on his bull carrier holding his trident. He dismounted quickly
and humbly offered obeisances with devotion to the Lord of Laksmi, the
tranquil Supreme Being.
Narayana, Visnu, was sitting on His jewel-studded throne. He was
decorated with a crown, earrings, and a garland, and was holding His
disc. His form was extremely beautiful, and His complexion like a fresh
blue rain cloud. Each of His attendants had four arms and was fanning
Him with four hands. His body was anointed with sandal paste and He was
wearing a yellow garment. Lord Visnu, who shows kindness to His
devotees, was chewing betel nut that had been offered to Him by His wife
Laksmi. Smiling, He was watching and listening to the dancing and
singing of the Vidyadharis.
Lord Siva bowed down to Lord Narayana, he bowed to Lord Brahma. Lord
Surya and Kasyapa Muni respectfully saluted Lord Siva. Then Lord Siva
worshiped Lord Visnu, the Lord of all, and seated himself on a throne.
The attendants of Lord Narayana began to fan Lord Siva with white whisks
to relieve him of the fatigue of his journey. Lord Siva, because of
being in contact with Lord Visnu's virtues, then assumed a cheerful
disposition and adored the Eternal Being with his five mouths.
Narayana was highly gratified. With sweet, nectarean words, He said, "O
Lord Siva, you are the symbol of all good and welfare. Thus, to ask
about your welfare would be foolish. I would ask you only out of respect
for the rules of society and the method prescribed in the Vedas. One
who yields fruits of devotion and gives all prosperity should not be
asked about his austerities or material prosperity. Since you preside
over knowledge, it would be useless to ask if you are increasing in
knowledge. It would be equally useless to ask a conqueror of death if he
is free from all danger. But you have come to my residence for a
reason. What is it? Have you become angry over something?"
Lord Visnu!," Lord Siva began. "King Vrisadhvaja is my great devotee.
Lord Surya has cursed him and that has made me angry. Out of affection
for my son, the king, I was about to kill Surya. But Surya sought
shelter of Lord Brahma, and now both of them have sought Your
protection. Those who are distressed and take shelter of You, either by
speaking about You or by remembering You, become completely safe and
free from danger. They overcome death and old age. What to speak of
those who come personally to You and take shelter. When one remembers
You, his dangers disappear. All good comes to him. O Lord of the world!
What will become of my foolish devotee who, by the curse of Lord Surya,
has lost his fortune and prosperity?"
Visnu replied, "O Lord Siva! A half hour has elapsed here in Vaikuntha.
In that time, twenty-one celestial yugas have passed away. Therefore,
King Vrisadhvaja, through the revolution of irresistible and dreadful
time, is dead. His son, Hamsadhvaja, in the course of time, also died.
Hamsadhvaja begot two noble sons named Dharmadhvaja and Kusadhvaja. They
are both great Vaisnavas but, because of Lord Surya's curse, they have
become luckless. They lost their kingdoms, including all property and
prosperity. But they are now engaged in worshiping Goddess Laksmi, who
is pleased with their efforts. Therefore, She has agreed to descend to
Earth and expand Herself partially by taking birth from the wives of
those two kings. Then, by the favor of Goddess Laksmi, Dharmadhvaja and
Kusadhvaja will become prosperous, mighty kings. O Lord Siva! Your
devotee Vrisadhvaja is dead, so return to your abode. O Lord Brahma,
Lord Surya and Kasyapa Muni--you also should return your realms."
Visnu then went with His wife to the inner apartments. The demigods
went cheerfully to their own abodes, Lord Siva continuing his practice
and Kusadhvaja performed harsh asceticism and worshiped Goddess Laksmi.
Thereafter, they separately obtained the blessings they desired. By
Goddess Laksmi's favor, they again became the rulers of the earth. They
acquired great spiritual merits, were married, and begot children. King
Dharmadhvaja was married to Madhavi. After some time, she became
pregnant with a partial incarnation of Goddess Laksmi. However, the
infant remained in Madhavi's womb for one hundred celestial years. Day
by day Madhavi's lustre increased. Then, on an auspicious day and
moment, when there was a full moon, in the month of Kartika, on a
Friday, she gave birth.
grace of the Goddess of Fortune, Laksmi, manifested through the baby.
There were marks of the lotus flower on the infant's feet. Her face
looked like the autumnal moon, her eyes resembled blooming lotuses, and
her lips appeared like ripe bimba fruit. Her palms and the soles of her
feet were reddish, her navel was deep, and just above it were three
folds. Her buttocks were round, and her body was delightfully warm in
the winter and cool in the summer--very pleasant to touch. Her breast
was firm and her waist thin, and the light shining from her body
surrounded her like a halo. Her complexion was white, like a Champaka
flower, and her hair looked beautiful. Because her beauty was
incomparable, the sages called her Tulasi.
Chapter Two - TULASI PERFORMS AUSTERITIES
soon as she was born, Tulasi resolved to go to the mountainous region
of Badarinatha to practice severe austerities. Though many persons tried
to dissuade her, no one was able to; for she was determined to stay and
pray in the forest till Lord Krsna appeared and agreed to become her
husband. During a period of one hundred thousand celestial years, she
endured the following:
the summer, she exposed herself to four fires around her and the sun
above; in the winter, she submerged herself in the icy waters; and in
the rainy season, she subjected herself to heavy downpours at the
funeral grounds. For 20,000 years, she subsisted on fruits and water;
for 30,000 years, she chewed dry leaves; for 40,000 years she lived only
on air; and for 10,000 years she ate nothing and just stood on one leg.
she saw Lord Brahma in the sky, riding on his swan carrier and sweeping
down towards her. Believing that he had come to grant her a boon, she
bowed down low to him.
Brahma said, "O Tulasi, ask me for a boon. Whether it be devotion to
Lord Hari or servitorship to Him or freedom from old age or freedom from
death--I will grant it."
O Lord, I will ask. Please listen. I will not hide my desires out of
fear or shame, since you are all-knowing. My name is Tulasi. Formally I
was a cowherd girl in Goloka, and there I served Radharani, the beloved
of Sri Krsna. I am a partial expansion of Radharani and was her
favourite companion. But one day in the place where the rasa dance had
occurred, Krsna became intimate with me and I fainted from excessive
joy. While I was lying there, Radharani suddenly appeared and saw me in
that condition. She was not at all pleased. Blinded with fury, she first
reproached Krsna and then cursed me. She said, `O vile one! Go! And
take birth as a human being!'
Krsna said to me, `When you take birth in India, if you practice
austerities, Lord Brahma will grant you a blessing. He will arrange for
you to marry the four-armed Narayana, who is an expansion of Myself.'
Then Krsna disappeared. And out of fear of Radharani, I left Goloka and
was born in this world...So please grant me that boon. I want to have
that handsome and peaceful Narayana as my husband."
Brahma replied, "O Tulasi, Sudama was a partial expansion of Krsna and
was one of Krsna's cowherd boyfriends in Goloka. As a result of a curse
by Radharani, he is presently living on earth among the Danavas
(demons). His name is Sankhacuda. He is very energetic and no one can
compare with him in strength. While living in Goloka, he was very
attracted to you and wanted to marry you. But because he feared
Radharani, he did not make any overtures.
as you are a jatismara--that is, one who knows her previous
births--Sankhacuda also is. Remembering his past desire to be close to
you, he has performed severe austerities to obtain you as his wife. I
now wish to grant his desire. Therefore, O beautiful one, please agree
to wed him. However, later on, by the special arrangement of Providence,
you will get the beautiful Narayana as your husband. But after that, He
will curse you and you will be transformed into the world-purifying
Tulasi plant (holy basil Ocillium Basildum Sanctum). You will be the
best of flowers and dearer to Narayana than His own life. No one's
worship will be complete without your leaves. You will remain as a tree
in Vrndavana and will be widely known as Vrndavani. The cowherd men and
women will worship Lord Hari with your leaves. As the presiding deity of
the Tulasi plant, you will always enjoy the company of Krsna, the best
of cowherd boys."
Devi smiled and gladly said to Lord Brahma, "O Father, I will be honest
with you. I am not as devoted to the four-armed Narayana as I am to the
two-armed Krsna. For in Goloka, my close encounter with Krsna was
suddenly interrupted, leaving me still longing for Him. Thus, it was
only because Krsna had asked me that I have been praying to get Narayana
for my husband. But now it appears certain that by your grace I will
again get Krsna, who is very difficult to attain. However, O lord,
please grant me the following boon: that I lose my fear of Radharani."
Brahma replied, "O child, I shall now give you the sixteen-lettered
Radha mantra. By this boon you will be as dear to Radharani as Her life,
and She will approve of Your intimate dealings with Krsna."
Brahma initiated Tulasi Devi into to the sixteen-lettered mantra, the
hymn, and the mode of worship of Sri Radha. Then, blessing her, he
directed, Tulasi engaged herself in worshiping Srimati Radharani and,
after twelve years, attained success. Obtaining the desired boon, she
reaped the fruits that were unattainable by others. As the pangs of her
austerities ended, she became cheerful. When one gets the fruits of
one's labour and then considers the difficulties experienced in
attaining them, the difficulties then seem pleasurable.
was in the prime of her youth and she longed for the company of Sri
Krsna. Finishing her food and drink, she lay down on a beautiful bed
decorated with flowers and perfumed with sandal paste. She went to sleep
with a happy heart. But while she slept, Kamadeva, the god of love,
shot five arrows at her--arrows that were meant to enchant her.
Consequently, though she was anointed with cooling sandal paste and
slept on a bed strewn with flowers, her body began to feel as though it
were on fire. Out of joy, the hairs on her body stood on end, her eyes
reddened and her body began to tremble. One moment she looked thin and
at another moment she grew restless or drowsy. Sometimes she became
agitated or warm with desire, at other times she fainted, then
recovered, then sorrowed. Sometimes she got up from the bed, walked this
way and that way, sat down or lay down.
abnormal condition of her body and mind increased daily; so much so
that her soft bed felt like a bed of thorns; delicious fruits and water
tasted like poison; her house seemed like a desert; her soft delicate
cloth felt hot like fire; and the vermilion mark on her forehead pained
like a boil.
her dreams she saw a nicely dressed, smiling, jolly youth. He was
adorned with jewels, besmeared with sandal paste and garlanded with
flowers. Gazing at her face, he spoke to her affectionately, and
embraced and kissed her repeatedly. One moment he went away; the next
moment he returned; then she cried out, "O Lord of my heart, where are
you going? Please don't go!" When she awakened, she wept again and
again. In this way Tulasi Devi passed her days at Badarikashrama.
Chapter Three - THE BIRTH OF SANKHACHUDA
sage Kasyapa was the son of the prajapati (forefather) Marici and the
grandson of Lord Brahma, and was very learned. Daksa, another prajapati,
gave him thirteen of his daughters in marriage. One of Kasyapa Muni's
wives was known as Danu. She was very attractive and chaste, and Kasyapa
cared for her with love and devotion. Danu bore many mighty sons, one
of whom was Vipracitti, who was exceedingly powerful and courageous. His
son Dambha was self-controlled and a great devotee of Lord Visnu. But
he could not beget a son, so he became anxious. Therefore, to improve
the situation, he went to Puskara Forest and performed severe austerity
for a hundred thousand years. There, sitting in a steady posture and
uttering the Krsna mantra, he practiced japa.
practicing, an intolerable effulgence shot out from Dambha's head and
spread everywhere. It was so hot that all the demigods, sages and Manus
were scorched by it. Thus, with Indra leading, they all sought shelter
of Lord Brahma.
at Lord Brahma's abode, they praised him and then informed him of the
situation. After hearing about it, Lord Brahma, to relate the problem to
Lord Visnu, led them to Vaikuntha. There, with palms joined
reverentially, they praised the great saviour and Lord of the three
worlds. The demigods then asked, "O Lord, we do not know what has caused
this. Please tell us. What is that light by which we have been
Visnu laughed and lovingly said, "O demigods, do not be afraid; remain
calm and unshaken. No flood will occur and it is not the time of
universal dissolution. The asura Dambha, one of my devotees, is
performing asceticism to obtain a son. I shall soon bless him and that
will quiet him."
Encouraged by this, Lord Brahma and the other demigods returned to their own realms.
Visnu then went to Puskara where Dambha was practicing austerity.
Seeing that Dambha was repeating His name, the Lord consoled him and
asked, "What blessing do you want Me to grant you?"
offered his obeisances with great devotion and praised the Lord
repeatedly. Then he said, "O Lord of lords, O lotus-eyed one, obeisances
unto You. O Lord of Laksmi, O Lord of the three worlds, please be
merciful to me. Please give me a powerful and courageous son who will be
Your devotee, be invincible to the demigods, and be the conqueror of
the three worlds."
Visnu asked Dambha to stop his austerity, granted him the blessing, and
disappeared. As the Lord vanished, Dambha offered obeisance in that
direction and returned home. Within a short while his blessed wife
became pregnant. She radiated an effulgence that illuminated the inner
apartment of her residence. The soul residing in her womb was Sudama,
one of Lord Krsna's leading cowherd companions who had been cursed by
Dambha's chaste wife gave birth to a radiant-looking son, Dambha
invited the sages to his place and had the post-natal rites performed.
There was great jubilation and, on a favourable day, the father named
son grew up in his father's residence like the moon in its bright half.
In his childhood he learned all the traditions, customs, injunctions
and prohibitions, and became resplendent. Engaging in childhood play, he
delighted his parents and became the favourite of all the family
on, to obtain a boon from Lord Brahma, Sankhacuda performed an
austerity in Puskara for a long while. He concentrated his mind,
restrained his senses and organs of action, and chanted a mantra that
his preceptor, Jaigisavya, had imparted to him. Finally, Lord Brahma
went to Sankhacuda to grant him a blessing. Lord Brahma asked, "Tell me
what boon you want."
Lord Brahma, the Danava king bowed to him humbly and praised him with
devotional words. Then he said, "Please make me invincible to the
demigods, and also enable me to marry Tulasi.
be it," Brahma replied. Then he gave Sankhacuda the Divine amulet of
Lord Sri Krsna. This amulet, called Sarvamangalamaya (Conqueror of the
World), was considered the most auspicious of all auspicious things in
the world, for it guaranteed victory everywhere.
continued, "Now you should go to Badarikashrama. Tulasi Devi is
performing penance there by her own will. You should marry her there.
She is the daughter of King Dharmadhvaja." Lord Brahma then disappeared.
whose austerity had now borne fruit at Puskara, tied that most precious
amulet round his neck. He then set out for Badarikashrama, his face
beaming with joy.
Chapter Four - TULASI DEVI TESTS KING SANKHACHUDA
saw Sankhacuda approaching in his jewelled airplane and noticed that he
was in the prime of his youth. He was handsome like Cupid,
white-complexioned like the Champaka flower and decorated with gems. His
face resembled the full moon of autumn, his eyes looked like lotuses in
full bloom, and his cheeks flashed with the glow of his earrings. A
Parijata flower garlanded his neck, musk and saffron anointed his body,
and sandal paste perfumed his person.
he came closer, Tulasi hid her face in her shawl and smiled at him with
sidelong glances. Blushing at the thought of this first meeting, she
bowed her head nervously and eagerly drank in with her eyes the lotus of
also gazed at Tulasi, seated as she was on a lovely bed strewn with
flowers and sandalwood. Her teeth shown like pearls, her lips were like
Bimba fruit, her nose was graceful and her complexion golden. She
resembled the autumnal moon. Adding to her grace, just below the parting
of her hair, was the mark of sandal paste and musk; and, just below
them, a mark of vermilion. She had a low yet deep navel, and below it,
three lovely abdominal folds. Her palms were reddish, her fingernails
were glowing, and her feet were radiant and crimson, coloured with
lac-dye. Her glowing toenails surpassed the glow of the autumn moon,
giving her an unrivalled beauty.
was adorned with lovely jingling ornaments, and the knot of hair at the
back of her head was decorated with a jasmine wreath. Shark-shaped
earrings adorned her cheeks while a diamond necklace beautified her
breast. She wore gorgeous bangles of conch on her arms and wrists, as
well as precious jewels on her fingers.
sat down and said to her, "O beautiful girl, whose daughter are you?
And how have you come to this forest? You look most fortunate and
blessed. Indeed, you are the personification of heavenly joy--the best
of women! You are a model of loveliness and can certainly bewilder even
Tulasi gave no reply, he asked, "O gracious one, why don't you speak? I
am your servant, so please greet me with the melody of your speech."
head lowered, her face smiling, the beautiful-eyed Tulasi said, "I am
the daughter of King Dharmadhvaja and have been practicing asceticism
here. But who are you? And why are you talking to me? If a noble man
sees a virtuous woman alone, he does not talk to her. So go
away--wherever you please."
But Sankhacuda did not move.
continued. "The shastras say that only a degraded man desires a woman.
At first a woman is sweet to a man, but later proves fatal. Though her
mouth rains honey, her heart is like a jar of poison. She uses sweet
words but her heart is sharp like a razor. To achieve her own selfish
ends she is submissive to her husband; otherwise, she is unsubmissive.
While her face looks cheerful, her heart is dirty. Even the Vedas and
the Puranas cannot fathom her character. A wise man never trusts a base
woman. She has no friend or enemy; for all she wants are new lovers.
When a woman sees a well-dressed man, she inwardly desires him, but
outwardly she appears chaste and modest. She is naturally passionate,
attracts men's minds, and eagerly engages in sex. Though outwardly she
hides her lust and appears modest, when she meets her lover in secret,
she is ready to swallow him up. When she does not have sex with him, she
feels offended, her body burns with anger, and she begins to quarrel.
When her passions are fully satisfied, she becomes cheerful; when
woman likes a good lover more than sweet foods or refreshing drinks;
she likes him even more than her own son; he is dearer to her than her
life. But if the lover becomes impotent or aged, she regards him as an
enemy. Quarrels and anger ensue. Then she devours him as a snake eats a
rat. She is rashness personified and a mine of vices. A woman is
hypocritical, obstinate and unfaithful. Even Lord Brahma and other gods
are deluded by her. She is a hindrance on the path of austerity, an
obstacle to liberation, an impediment to developing faith in Lord Hari, a
refuge of all delusion and a living chain that binds men to the world.
She is like a magician and is as false as dreams. She appears to be very
beautiful, but is she is a bucket of stool, urine, gas and blood. When
God created her, he arranged that she should become the spirit of
delusion to the deluded and poison to those who desire liberation. Thus,
on no account should a woman be desired, and by all means she should be
smiled and then answered, "O goddess, what you have said is not
completely false. It is partly true and partly false. From the Creator
have come chaste and unchaste women. One is praiseworthy, the other
isn't. Examples of chaste women are Laksmi, Sarasvati, Durga, Savitri
and Radha. Women who are expansions of them are auspicious, glorious and
very commendable, such as Satarupa, Devahuti, Svadha, Savaha, Daksina,
Anasuya, Ganga, Diti, Aditi, Vedavati, etc. In every yuga cycle these
women are excellent. The heavenly prostitutes are also expansions and
partial expansions of the above women, but they are not praiseworthy
because they are unchaste.
who are in the mode of goodness are virtuous and pure. The sages
declare them to be excellent. But those who are in the modes of passion
and ignorance are not so praiseworthy. The passionate ones are fond of
sense pleasures, indulge in them, and always want to fulfil their
selfish goals. Such women are usually insincere, deluded and
irreligious. Generally, they are unchaste. But woman in the mode of
ignorance are considered the worst. They are irresistible.
virtuous man would never court another man's wife in either public or
private. But I have come to you by Lord Brahma's command--to marry you
according to the Gandharva rite. (In this, the bride and bridegroom meet
each other of their own accord and consummate their meeting in sexual
union. No sacred rituals are necessary.
name is Sankhacuda. When the demigods see me, they flee in fear. In my
previous birth, I lived in Goloka and was a cowherd boy named Sudama. I
was a close friend of Sri Krsna's, one of His attendants. I was one of
the eight celebrated cowherds. Then Srimati Radharani cursed me to be
born in India in a demon family. By Krsna's grace and by His mantra, I
am a jatismara, that is, I know the history of my previous birth. You
also are a jatismara. So you know that in your previous birth, in
Goloka, when Radharani caught you alone with Krsna, she became angry and
cursed you to be born here, in India. In Goloka I very much wanted to
consort with you; but because I feared Radharani, I did not do so."
stopped talking. Then Tulasi smiled and cheerfully said, "Persons like
you are famous in this world and good women desire such husbands. You
have defeated me in argument. A man who is conquered by a woman is very
impure and condemned by people in general. The forefathers and the
demigods regard men who are conquered by women as low and contemptible.
Even their fathers and mothers mentally despise them. The Vedas say that
when a child is born or a relative dies, the brahmanas are purified in
ten days; the ksatriyas in twelve days; the vaisyas in fifteen days; and
the sudras as well as other low classes in twenty-one days. But a man
conquered by a woman always remains impure. Only when his body is burned
to ashes does he become purified. Neither the ancestors nor the
demigods accept from him offerings of cakes, flowers, etc. Men whose
hearts are totally conquered by women acquire no fruits from their
knowledge, austerities, japa, fire sacrifices, worship, learning or
tested you to determine how strong you are in knowledge. One should
choose one's husband by examining a man's merits and defects. If one
gives his daughter in marriage to a man devoid of all good
qualifications, to an old man, to a man who is ignorant or poor,
illiterate, diseased, ugly, wrathful, harsh, lame, limbless, deaf, dumb,
inactive, or impotent--this sin is equivalent to the sin of murdering a
brahmana. But if one gives his daughter in marriage to a young Vaisnava
who is learned, well-qualified and peaceful, one acquires the fruits of
performing ten horse sacrifices. If one raises a daughter and then
sells her out of greed for profit, he falls to the hell known as
Kumbhipaka. There, for a period equal to fourteen of Lord Indra's
lifespans, such a sinner has to drink his daughter's urine and eat her
stool as well as be bitten by worms and crows. When this period ends, he
has to be born in this world as a diseased person and earn his
livelihood by selling and carrying meat."
Chapter Five - TULASI MARRIES SANKHACHUDA
Tulasi Devi stopped speaking, Lord Brahma suddenly appeared there.
After Sankhacuda and Tulasi offered him their respects, Lord Brahma
said, "O Sankhacuda! Why are you wasting your time in such empty talks
with Tulasi? Marry her now by the Gandharva rites. As you are a gem
among males, she is a gem among females. When a clever couple marry, the
union is very happy. And who would abandon happiness when it is at
hand? Anyone who would do so is worse than a beast. And you, Tulasi! Why
are you testing this noble and qualified person who can subdue both the
gods and the demons? Marry Sankhacuda, just as Laksmi is married to
Narayana, Radhika to Krsna, my Savitri to me, Saci to Indra and Aditi to
Kasyapa. Stay with the handsome Sankhacuda for a long time and, as you
like, wander with him to various places. When Sankhacuda leaves his
body, you will return to Goloka and get Krsna as your husband." Lord
Brahma then blessed them and returned to his own abode.
then married Tulasi by the Gandharva rite. Glorifying the marriage, the
demigods sounded their drums and showered flowers on them from the sky.
the newly married couple would go to a flower grove and at other times
to a river bank. There they would sleep on flower beds smeared with
sandal paste and enjoy marital pleasures. Tulasi easily stole the heart
of her husband, and Sankhacuda also attracted Tulasi's heart. After
Tulasi garlanded her husband with parijata flowers, which prevent
disease and old age, she placed a precious jewelled ring on his finger
and offered him rare beautiful gems. Bowing down to his feet with
devotion, she repeatedly said, "I am at your service!"
smiled. He then presented Tulasi with clothes he had obtained from Lord
Varuna's house; he also gave her a precious necklace of jewels, an
armlet he had gotten from Swaha (Agni's wife), armlets from Chhaya (the
sun god's wife), earrings from Rohini (the moon god's wife), finger
rings from Rati (Cupid's wife), conch ornaments from Visvakarma, as well
as excellent bedding adorned with pearls and jewels. After further
adorning her, he placed her feet on his chest and said, "I am your
left the hermitage and began to travel to various places. They went to
different mountains, flower gardens, caves, beaches, riversides and
forests. Wherever they went, they enjoyed each other's company with
great satisfaction, never tiring of one another. Sankhacuda then brought
Tulasi to his own kingdom and there they continued to delight in each
Chapter Six - LORD VISNU HELPS THE DEMIGODS
enjoyed his kingdom for one Manvantara (4,320,000 years) and, during
that period, gained control over all the Devas, Dhanavas, Gandharvas,
Kinnaras and Raksasas. He dispossessed the gods of their realms and
privileges, deprived them of their rights with respect to worship and
offerings, and seized their weapons and ornaments. Consequently, they
wandered about the universe like helpless beggars. Finally, they united
in a group and went to Lord Brahma's assembly. Sobbing, they related the
whole story of how Sankhacuda had oppressed them. Lord Brahma took them
to Lord Siva's realm and related to Siva the details of the case.
Siva then took them all to the highest place, Vaikuntha, where there is
neither old age nor death. As they approached the first gate, they saw
the watchmen guarding the gate and sitting on jewelled seats. The
watchmen had beautiful dark blue bodies and looked effulgent. They had
smiles on their faces, lotus like eyes, and four arms--each hand holding
a conch, mace, disc and lotus. They wore yellow garments, were
decorated with jewelled ornaments, and were garlanded with forest
Brahma asked them for admittance and they nodded their approval. Then,
after passing through sixteen gates, the group finally arrived before
Lord Narayana. The assembly hall was filled with saints and four-armed
attendants who resembled Narayana and were wearing Kaustubha jewels. The
assembly hall was so brilliant with rays of light that it appeared as
though the moon had just arisen. By Lord Narayana's mercy, there were
diamonds, gems and necklaces of jewels placed in various areas. In some
spots there were rows of pearls that shed their splendour and
brilliance, and in other spots there were mirrors arranged in a circle.
In certain areas there were jewels called Padmaragas which were
artistically arranged to appear like lotuses spreading their radiant
beauty everywhere. There were rows of steps made of Syamantaka jewels.
Throughout the hall were wonderful pillars built of Indranilam jewels.
There were sandal leaves strung high from pillar to pillar. There were
also golden jars full of water. All around were parijata-flower
garlands, sweet-scented sandal trees, and saffron and musk; the whole
atmosphere was permeated with sweet fragrances.
Vidyadaras were dancing in one area. The assembly hall measured eight
thousand miles in circumference. All over, numerous servants were
engaged in various services. Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and other demigods
saw Lord Hari (Narayana) sitting in the centre on a precious jewelled
throne; He looked like the moon surrounded by many stars. He was wearing
a crown on His head, earrings, a wildflower garland round His neck and
sandal paste on His body. Holding a lotus in His hand, He was smiling,
watching the dancers and listening to the music. He looked very
tranquil. Laksmi was gently holding His feet and He was chewing the
sweet-scented betel she had given Him. Ganga was fanning Him devotedly
with a white chamara, and others were singing hymns to Him with their
heads lowered in devotion.
Brahma and the other gods offered their obeisances to Lord Visnu. As
they did, their hairs stood on end, tears flowed from their eyes and
their voices were choked with emotion. Then Lord Brahma, his hands
clasped and his head bowed, informed the Lord about Sankhacuda's doings.
Hari smiled and said, "O lotus born! I know all about Sankhacuda. In
his previous birth he was my great devotee, a very energetic cowherd boy
in Goloka. I will tell you something about him which is quite
sanctifying. His name was Sudama and he was my chief attendant. He is
now a Danava because in Goloka Radha pronounced a terrible curse on him.
Here is how it happened...
day I left Radha's company and went to the rasa dance area with the
gopi named Viraja. Radha soon heard from one of Her maidservants that I
had flirted with Viraja. Blinded with fury, She hastened there with Her
attendants to see if this were true. Seeing that it was, Radha
immediately converted Viraja into a river. I myself disappeared, so
Radha rushed home angrily with Her attendants.
when I was with Sudama and She saw me, Radha rebuked me very much.
However, I remained silent. But Sudama could not tolerate this, so he
rebuked Radha in My very presence. This was quite intolerable to Her
dignity. Her eyes became red with anger and She immediately ordered
thousands of Her attendants to drive him away. Sudama then trembled with
fear. As Radha's attendants tried to drive him away, he resisted and
repeated his reproaches against Her. When She heard them, She cursed
him, saying, `May you be born in the womb of a Danavi (demon woman)!'
bowed down to Me and, crying, began to leave. But Radha, who is quite
merciful, began to melt. Weeping, she tried repeatedly to stop him from
leaving. "Wait!" She called. "Wait! Where are you going? You don't have
to go. Please come back." She became distressed, and Her attendants and
the cowherd boys began to weep. I then explained to them, `In about a
half a moment Sudama will return, having fulfilled the conditions of the
curse. Of course a half moment here is equal to about one Manvantara
(4,320,000 years) on Earth.' I then called to Sudama. `O Sudama, when
the curse expires, please come back here!'
demigods, that expert mystic and devotee Sankhacuda will return to
Goloka. Therefore, O gods, take My trident and go quickly to India. Lord
Siva will kill the Danava with the trident. The demon is wearing My
auspicious amulet around his neck. It is called the "Conqueror of the
World." As long as he keeps wearing it, no one can kill him. So I will
go to him disguised as a Brahman and beg the amulet from him. But you
have granted him the boon that he cannot die unless his wife's chastity
is violated. I will take care of this as well. Then he will surely die.
Later, when his wife leaves her body, she will become my dearest wife."
Narayana then gave Lord Siva his trident.
Chapter Seven - AN ENVOY SENT TO SANKHACHUDA
Brahma and the other demigods returned to their respective abodes.
Later, to gain victory for the demigods, Lord Siva pitched his big tent
and camped on the banks of the Chandrabhaga River under a beautiful fig
tree. He then sent Puspadanta, the leader of the Gandharvas, as a
messenger to Sankhacuda. When Puspadanta arrived at Sankhacuda capital,
he noticed that it was more beautiful than Indra's realm and more
opulent than Kuvera's.
city was 40 miles wide and 80 miles long. It was built of pearl and
jewel crystals, and on all sides there were roadways. Seven inaccessible
moats, one after another, surrounded the city.
were hundreds of shops full of trade articles and marketable
commodities. Palatial buildings of traders and merchants were all over.
Thousands and thousands of beautiful buildings, constructed with scarlet
gems, inlaid with various ornaments and decorated with fancy articles,
gave the place a boundless charm.
Gandharva chief saw that Sankhacuda's palace was spherical like the
moon. Four successive moats with fiery flames encircled it. On top of
the palace were ramparts, made of jewels, that touched the sky. The
palace was inaccessible to enemies but offered no hindrance to friends.
twelve gates, decorated with lotuses, jewelled mirrors, paintings and
statues, were guarded by twelve gatekeepers. On all sides the place was
protected by very powerful, graceful, well-dressed and richly adorned
demons who were holding heavenly weapons in their hands. When Puspadanta
approached the first gate, he saw that it was guarded by a man who had a
hideous face, copper complexion and tawny eyes, and who was smiling
and holding a trident in his hand. Puspadanta explained to him the
purpose of his mission--that he was a war ambassador--and the guard
allowed him to pass inside; the other gatekeepers did the same. At the
last gate he said to the guard, "O guard, quickly inform your king that a
war is about to occur."
guard did so and, obtaining Sankhacuda's permission, ushered the
messenger inside. There, the Gandharva saw the well-formed, handsome
demon seated in the centre of the royal assembly on a golden throne. One
attendant was holding a jewelled umbrella over the king's head while
other attendants were fanning him with white chamaras (whisks).
Countless demons surrounded him and armed guards walked here and there.
Sankhacuda was beautifully dressed in heavenly garments, covered with
garlands, and anointed with fragrance.
all this, Puspadanta was thunderstruck and said to Sankhacuda, "O King,
I am a messenger of Lord Siva and my name is Puspadanta. My lord has
ordered me to tell you the following: The demigods have sought the
protection of Lord Hari. So you had better restore to them their
kingdoms and rights. Lord Hari has given His own trident to Lord Siva
and asked him to wage war against you if necessary. Presently, Lord Siva
is residing under the shade of a fig tree on the bank of the
Puspabhadra River. Either you must return to the demigods their property
or you must be ready to fight with Lord Siva...What shall I tell my
lord is your reply?"
The demon laughed loudly and said, "You had better leave. I shall go to him in the morning."
messenger returned to Lord Siva and conveyed the demon's message. In
the meantime the following group of persons appeared before Lord Siva:
Kartika, Nandi, Mahakala, Bana, Manibhadra, the eight Bhairavas, the
eleven Rudras, the eight Vasus, the twelve Adityas, Indra, Agni,
Chandra, Viswakarma, the two Aswini-kumaras, Kuvera, Yama, Jayanta,
Nala-Kuvara, Vayu, Varuna, Budha, Mangala, Dharma, Sani, Kama,
Ugra-chanda, Kottari, the hundred-armed Bhadrakali, as well as many
was seated on an excellent chariot. Her paraphernalia, clothing,
garland and sandal paste were red. Inspiring her devotees with courage
and infusing fear into the enemy, she began dancing, laughing and
singing. Her rolling tongue and the skull she held in her hand were each
eight miles in circumference. She carried a trident, an iron spear,
conches, a wheel, mace, lotus, bow, arrows, dumbbells, a scimitar,
thunder, the weapons of Visnu and Varuna, a snake noose, the weapons of
Agni, Narayana, Brahma, Gandharva, Garuda, Pasupata, a pestle, shield,
staff, as well as other irresistible weapons. This fearsome goddess was
accompanied by millions of devotee Yoginis and Dakinis, and also
countless ghosts, goblins and demons known as Bhutas, Pretas, Pisachas,
Kusmandas, Brahma Raksasas and Raksasas, as well as Yaksas and Kinnaras.
Then Kartikkeya arrived and he bowed down to his father Lord Siva, who
asked him to sit on his left side and help him. The army remained there
in battle array.
Chapter Eight - SANKHACHUDA CONSOLES TULASI
the palace, the mighty Sankhacuda went to the women's quarters and
informed Tulasi about the imminent war. Hearing this, her palate, lips
and throat became dry. With a sorrowful heart, she said to him, "O my
lord, my friend, my master! Stay for a moment and sit within my heart.
Fill me with life for a moment. Please satisfy my human desire. Let me
gaze at you fully so that my eyes may be satisfied. My breathing is
very agitated now. For at the end of night I had a very bad dream.
Therefore, I feel a burning within myself."
king finished his meal and, in truthful and beneficial words, said to
Tulasi, "O my queen, when it is time to reap the results of one's past
acts, one experiences good and evil, pleasure and pain, fear and sorrow.
In time, trees grow, branches develop, flowers blossom and fruits
appear. In time, the fruitful tree decays. Similarly, in time, human
beings grow and decline. In time, the creator creates, the preserver
preserves and the destroyer destroys. This is the law of creation,
preservation and destruction. Therefore, you should always adore Lord
Krsna, as He is the Lord of Brahma, Visnu and Siva; He is the creator,
maintainer and destroyer, He has no beginning nor end, and He does not
depend on material nature. Lord Krsna, by His own will, has manifested
nature with its animate and inanimate objects.
things, from Lord Brahma down to a blade of grass, are artificial and
temporary. In time, they grow and decay. Thus it would be better for you
to adore Radha's consort, Lord Krsna, who is distinct from the three
modes of material nature, who is the Supersoul within all and the Lord
of all. Take shelter of Krsna, for it is by His command that the wind
blows swiftly, the sun radiates heat, Indra pours rain, death visits
human beings, fire burns, and the moon travels through the sky. Seek the
Supreme Krsna, who is the death of death, the time of time, the creator
of the creator, the preserver of the preserver and the destroyer of the
destroyer. Take refuge in Him. My dearest, no one is a friend of
anyone, but Lord Hari (Krsna) is the friend of all. Therefore, pray to
Him and serve Him.
love, who am I and who are you? By our karma, Providence has united us.
Providence will also separate us. When danger comes, only fools are
disturbed. The wise are never thus shaken. Like wheels, pleasure and
pain always revolve. In Badarikashrama you absorbed yourself in
austerities to obtain Lord Narayana as your husband. Surely you will get
Him. I myself practiced austerities to obtain you as my wife. And by
Lord Brahma's grace I have gotten you. Very soon you will get Govinda in
Goloka Vrndavana. And when I leave my demoniac body, I too shall go
there. In that realm we will regularly see one another. By Radha's curse
I was born in the precious land of India. But I will return to Goloka.
Therefore, my dear, do not worry about me. You too will quit your human
form and assume a spiritual form and go to Lord Hari. So you need not
Tulasi was thus consoled.
spent the night with Tulasi in the temple of gems, which was lit by
diamond lamps. They rested on a nicely decorated bed that was strewn
with flowers and anointed with sandal paste. Then Tulasi, who had not
eaten any food and thus looked thin, became overwhelmed with grief and
began weeping. The king, who knew the truth about life, clasped her to
his chest and again appeased her in various ways. The spiritual
instructions he had received in Bhandira Forest from Lord Krsna, which
were capable of destroying all sorrows and delusions, he now carefully
conveyed to Tulasi. Upon receiving them, her joy knew no bounds, for she
realised that everything in this world is temporary. She and her
husband then spent the remainder of the night in loving exchanges.
Chapter Nine - SANKHACHUDA PREPARES FOR WAR
Brahma Muhurta (48 mins before sunrise), Sankhacuda got up from his
flower-strewn bed. He discarded his night clothes, bathed in pure water,
put on freshly washed clothing, and smeared his body and forehead with
bright tilaka markings. He performed his necessary rites and worshiped
his personal Deity.
then saw such auspicious things as curd, ghee, honey, parched rice,
etc., and, as usual, distributed to the brahmanas the best jewels,
pearls, clothing and gold. To make his departure for war favourable, he
gave to his guru some pearls, gems and diamonds, and he gave to the poor
some horses, elephants and cows. He then gave to the brahmanas a
thousand storehouses, three lakhs (300,000) of towns and seven lakhs
(700,000) of villages. He installed his son Suchandra as the acting king
and entrusted to him the care of his family, kingdom, treasury,
subjects, wealth, storehouses and conveyances.
dressed himself for war and armed himself with bow and arrows. The king
ordered the armies to gather, so three hundred thousand horses, one
hundred thousand elephants, ten thousand chariots, three crores of
archers (30 million), three crores of armed soldiers and three crores of
trident holders readied themselves for battle. After counting his
forces, the king appointed a maharatha, an expert in the science of
warfare, as commander-in-chief over three lakh aksauhini forces
(300,000). [An aksauhini is a whole army consisting of 109,000 foot
soldiers, 65,610 horses, 21,870 chariots and 21,870 elephants]. Ordering
three aksauhinis to beat war drums, he remembered Lord Hari and emerged
from the pavilion. Sankhacuda rode on a fine chariot and, headed by his
guru and his elders, left for Lord Siva's place.
Siva at that time was staying on the banks of the Puspabhadra River at
Siddhasrama. This holy place was known to enable sadhus to easily attain
perfection in yoga. It was here that Lord Kapila practiced asceticism,
and thus devotees of Lord Kapila went there and did the same. The place
was bounded on the west by the western sea, on the east by the Malaya
mountain range, on the south by the Sri Saila mountain and on the north
by the Gandha-madhan mountain. The Puspabhadra River was forty miles
wide and four thousand miles long. This auspicious river offered great
spiritual merit, and was always full of transparent, sparkling water.
She is the favourite spouse of the Lavana (salt) ocean and is indeed
very sacred. This river issues from the Saraswati in the Himalayas and,
keeping the Gomati River on her left side, she eventually merges with
the western ocean.
Chapter Ten - LORD SIVA'S COUNSEL
the demon arrived there, he saw Lord Siva sitting in a yogic meditation
posture at the root of a fig tree. Looking as bright as a million
suns, Lord Siva was smiling. He appeared as though the Infinite Light
were radiating from every pore of his body. He was wearing a tiger skin
and holding a trident and axe, and his head was covered with bright
bunches of matted hair. He had five faces and three eyes in each, and
there were sacred snakes coiled around his neck. He was the death of
death, the destroyer of the world and a powerful lord. His face was
serene and beautiful. He immortalises his devotees, awards the fruits of
asceticism and is a source of prosperity. He destroys the world and
rescues sinners from hell.
seeing Lord Siva, Sankhacuda got down from his chariot and, with his
entire army, bowed low to him. He also saluted Bhadrakali, who was on
Lord Siva's left side, and Kartikkeya, who was in the front. In
response, they bestowed blessings on him. Nandi and other devotees of
Lord Siva got up and greeted him in a suitable manner. Sankhacuda spoke
cordially to them and then sat down beside Lord Siva, who greeted him
cheerfully and said, "O King, Lord Brahma, the creator of the world and
the father of religious duty, had a Vaisnava son named Marici, who begat
the virtuous Kasyapa. Daksa, another son of Lord Brahma, bowed to
Kasyapa and gave him his thirteen daughters in marriage. Of these
daughters, Danu, who was very blessed and chaste, gave birth to forty
sons. They were all very spirited and known as Danavas. Amongst them,
Vipracitti was prominent--he was most valorous, pious and devoted to
Lord Visnu. His son's name was Dambha and he obtained Sukracarya as his
his teacher's advice, he worshiped Lord Krsna at Puskara by reciting
the Krsna mantra for one hundred thousand years. Consequently, by Lord
Krsna's boon, he was able to get a son like yourself.
your former birth, in Goloka, you were very religious and were the
chief cowherd friend of Lord Krsna. By Radha's curse you have become
lord of the demons here. But you are also a Vaisnava. And a Vaisnava
regards everything--from the form of Lord Brahma down to the form of a
blade of grass--as very illusory. Even if the four kinds of liberation
are offered to him, namely, Salokya, Sarsti, Sayujya and Samipya (to
live on the same planet as Lord Visnu, to have the same opulence's as
Lord Visnu, to merge with Lord Visnu and to have equal association with
Lord Visnu, respectively), he does not care at all for them; for he is
only interested in serving Lord Visnu. Nor does he care to have the
position of Indra, Kuvera or Brahma, for he thinks them all
insignificant. He only cares to worship and serve Lord Krsna. Now you
are a true Krsna devotee. Therefore, why do you care for those things
that belong to the demigods and which are false to you? Better return to
the demigods their kingdoms and please me by this act. Let the demigods
be reinstated in their own positions and you govern your own kingdom
happily. You are all descendants of Kasyapa Muni. So it is not desirable
for relatives to feud. In fact, the sin committed by killing a brahmana
is not even one sixteenth as great as that of creating hostilities
amongst one's relatives.
King, pause. If you think that by restoring to the demigods their
kingdoms, you will lose prestige, you should also consider that no one's
position is stable or unchanging. When the world is completely
dissolved, even Lord Brahma disappears; then, by the will of God, he
subsequently reappears. And later, by virtue of his knowledge, he again
creates everything. But the type of knowledge, intellect and memory that
people receive depends on the amount of austerity they practiced in
their previous births.
consider this: truth is the support of dharma or virtue. In the
Satya-yuga (golden or truthful age), virtue is complete; in the
Treta-yuga (silver age), it is reduced by one fourth; in the Dvapara
yuga (copper age) by one half; and in the Kali yuga (iron age or age of
quarrel), by three fourths; and at the end of the Kali yuga, virtue
becomes reduced even more, like the moon on the dark-moon night.
consider the sun: in the summer its light is very intense; but not so
in the winter. At noon, the sun is very hot; but not so in the morning
and evening. In time, the sun rises; in time, it becomes powerful; and
in time, it sets. By the working of time, it is obscured by clouds.
consider the moon: when the moon is devoured by Rahu (as in a lunar
eclipse) it trembles; when it is released, it becomes bright again. In
the full-moon night it becomes full, but does not remain so. In the
bright fortnight it waxes daily, but in the dark fortnight it wanes
daily. In the bright fortnight, the moon looks healthy and rich but in
the dark fortnight it looks decreasingly thinner, as if afflicted by
consumption. Thus at one time the moon looks powerful and at another
time it looks weak and pale.
Bali Maharaja is presently living in Patala loka (one of the planets
beneath the earth) but at another time he will become lord of the
demigods. At one time the earth is lush with grains and is the resting
place of all beings, but at another time it becomes covered with water.
The entire world, including everything moving and non moving, appears at
one time and disappears at another.
Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, remains the same. It is
by His grace that I obtained the name Mrtyunjaya (the Conqueror of
Death). I have witnessed many dissolutions of the world and I shall
continue to witness them. Lord Krsna is both material nature and the
Supreme Being. He is the individual soul as well as the Supreme Soul.
Though He assumes many forms, He is beyond those forms. Whoever repeats
His name and sings His glories can conquer death; he does not come under
the influence of birth, death, disease, old age and fear. Lord Krsna
has created Brahma, the creator; Visnu, the preserver; and me, the
destroyer. By His will we possess those potencies and influences. O
King! I have delegated Kala, Agni and Rudra to do the work of
destruction, whereas I myself only repeat His name and sing His glories
incessantly, day and night. For this reason I am called Mrtyunjaya, and
by my knowledge, I have conquered death. I am fearless. When death sees
me, he flies away just as snakes flee when they see Garuda."
Sankhacuda thanked and praised Lord Siva repeatedly, and replied
modestly. "What you have said is quite true. But please allow me to say a
few words. Kindly listen...You have just said that fighting with one's
relatives is a great sin. Then why did the Lord, on behalf of the
demigods, take away all of Bali Maharaja's possessions and send him down
to Patala? And why did the Lord, for the same reason, kill Hiranyaksa,
Hiranyakasipu, Sumbha and other Danavas (demons)? Long ago the demons
and the demigods worked hard together churning the ocean to obtain
nectar from it; but why did the Lord give the nectar to the demigods? O
lord, this universe is the sporting ground of Lord Krsna; and anyone He
favours with fortune and glory obtains them. The quarrelling between the
demigods and the demons is eternal. Victory and defeat come to each
party alternately. So it is improper and unnecessary for you to
interfere in our quarrel. For you, O great lord, are both my relative
and my friend. And your nature is of the Highest Self. To you, the
demigods and the demons are equal. So it is certainly shameful for you
to become our opponent and favor the demigods. If you win this battle,
the glory and fame you would gain would not be as great as if we win.
And if we defeat you, the disgrace and infamy you would earn would be
much greater than that which we would if we were defeated: for we are
small and you are great.
Siva smiled and gently said, "O King, you have descended from a Brahman
family, so if I am defeated by you, how shall I incur shame? In former
days the Lord fought with Madhu and Kaitabha as well as Hiranyakasipu
and Hiranyaksa. And I fought with Tripura. And the universal mother,
Durga Devi, fought with Sumbha and other demons. But none of the demons
just mentioned, who were killed in the war, can be compared to you in
prowess. You are the best of Lord Krsna's attendants. The demigods have
sought Lord Hari's protection, so He has sent me on their behalf to
approach you. If I am defeated by a sublime person like yourself, how
can I be disgraced? But I'm surprised to hear you talk of disgrace and
infamy. There is no point in continuing this useless talk. Now, either
return to the demigods their kingdoms or prepare to fight with me. I am
firm in my determination."
Chapter Eleven - THE WAR BEGINS
quickly got up, bowed down to Lord Siva, and ascended his chariot with
his ministers. Lord Siva ordered his army to be ready immediately, and
Sankhacuda did the same. Musical instruments blared out, formally
announcing the start of war. There was a great clamour along with the
cries of the warriors. Then the fight between the demigods and demons
began, and both sides fought righteously. Indra fought with Vrsaparvan,
Bhaskara (the sun god) with Vipracitti, Nisakara (the moon god) with
Dambha, Fire with Gokarna, Kuvera with Kalakeya, and Viswakarma with
Maya. Mrtyu (the death god) battled with Bhayamkara, Yama with Sambara,
Vayu with Bala, Vaurna with Vikamka, Budha with Dhritapristha, Sani with
Raktaksa, Jayanta with Ratnasara, the Vasus with the groups of
Varchases, the two Aswini Kumaras with the two Diptimans, Nalukuvara
with Dhuma, and Dharma with Dhurandhara. Mangala contended with
Ganakaksa, Vaisvana with Sobhakara, Mammatha with Pipita, the twelve sun
gods with Gokamukha, Curna, Kahdga, Dhumra, Samhala, Visva and Palasa.
The eleven Rudras fought with eleven terrible and powerful asuras,
Mahamani fought with Ugracanda and others, and Nandisvara and the rest
fought with the leading demons.
Lord Siva, the goddess Kali and their son Karttikeya encamped at the root of the holy fig tree.
King Sankhacuda, adorned with gems and surrounded by millions of demons, sat down on a beautiful jewelled throne.
a great battle ensued. Many mystical and supernatural weapons were
hurled, and numerous demigods and demons were killed. Maces, long and
short swords, Pattisas, Bhusundis, Mudgaras (different types of iron
clubs), javelins, spears, axes and other weapons glowed in the soldiers'
hands. Fighting with these weapons, the jubilant warriors roared and
cut off each other's heads. Elephants, horses, chariots and foot
soldiers, along with their drivers and passengers were hit and torn
apart. Arms, thighs, hands, hips, ears and feet were cut off. Flags,
arrows, swords, coats of mail and beautiful ornaments were split apart.
From the tussle, glowing heads with earrings as well as elephant like
thighs were strewn about the earth. Severed arms with their ornaments
and weapons were scattered about like honeycombs. Warriors running on
the battlefield saw several headless bodies that jumped and which were
still holding their weapons. The warriors discharged so many arrows at
each other that the sun became obscured and it appeared as if the rainy
season had arrived. Heroes roared like lions, blew conches loudly and
fought furiously. Though the combat was terrible and tumultuous, it was
pleasurable to the fighters. Then the demigods were defeated. Many were
wounded by weapons and missiles, and, frightened, they fled the
Chapter Twelve - KARTTIKEYA AND KALI ENTER THE BATTLE
The demigods returned to Lord Siva and sought refuge in him. Disturbed, they cried out, "O Lord, please save us! Save us!"
Siva, noting the demigods' defeat and hearing their fearful cries,
became greatly enraged. Glancing at the demigods sympathetically, he
assured them of his protection. He ordered his son, the great hero
Karttikeya, to attack the enemy. Fighting courageously with the hosts of
demons, Kartikkeya shouted angrily and roared heroically, killing one
hundred aksauhinis in the battle. Then Kali, her eyes like a red lotus,
chopped off their heads, drank their blood and rapidly ate their flesh.
She fought in many ways, frightening both the demigods and the demons.
Wherever she went, she drank the Danavas' blood. With one hand she
grabbed ten million elephants and ten million men and playfully shoved
them into her mouth. Thousands of headless bodies appeared to be dancing
on the battlefield. All the cowards were terrified by the overwhelming
again became furious. Showering countless volleys of arrows, he struck
thousands of demon leaders within a few seconds. Terrified, many of the
Danavas fled, but those who stayed were slain. The demons Vrsaparvan,
Vipracitti, Danda and Vikampana fought with Karttikeya by turns, and
all of them were wounded by his spear. Kali assisted Kartikkeya, and
together they won the battle. In the heavens, the celestials pounded
their drums and showered down flowers. Sankhacuda saw the appalling
spectacle wrought by Karttikeya and Kali; it appeared as terrible as the
final dissolution of the world. Furious, he prepared for battle.
Accompanied by many heroes, he climbed into his diamond-studded
airplane, which was equipped with weapons and missiles. This enlivened
and encouraged his men, especially when Sankhacuda, sitting in the
middle of the plane, drew his bowstring to his ear and discharged
volleys of arrows. The shafts were terrifying and could not be endured.
They resembled a shower of rain and covered the battlefield with intense
darkness, relieved only by occasional flashes of fire.
this, Nandisvara and the other demigods fled, however, Karttikeya
stayed. Then the Danava king showered mountains, serpents, pythons and
trees so horrendously that they could not be resisted. Thus Karttikeya
looked like the sun covered by thick sheets of frost. Sankhacuda broke
Karttikeya's car, cut to pieces his bow, chariot and horses, and
shattered his peacock carrier. Then he hurled his effulgent spear at
Karttikeya's chest, and the force of the blow caused him to fall
regaining consciousness, Karttikeya mounted his sturdy, bejewelled
chariot, took up his weapons and missiles and fought awesomely. Using
his mystic weapons, he furiously split the weapons that had been hurled
at him, namely, the serpents, mountains, trees and rocks. Then he put
out a fire with his water weapon, split apart the demon's bow and
chariot, and killed his charioteer. Roaring and shouting repeatedly like
a hero, he split Sankhacuda's armour and crown, and then hurled his
blazing spear at the demon's chest. Sankhacuda collapsed unconscious.
within a second that powerful asura regained consciousness and, with
the strength of a lion, got up and roared. The demon grabbed another bow
and more arrows and mounted another chariot. Foremost in the use of
mystic powers, the demon caused a tremendous downpour of arrows on
Karttikeya that completely enshrouded him. Then the demon grabbed an
invincible iron spear, which was filled with Lord Visnu's energy; it was
radiant like a hundred suns and looked like the vast fire that occurs
at the end of the world. Sankhacuda hurled it at Karttikeya and it hit
him with the impact of a massive fireball, causing him to drop
immediately went to him, lifted her son to her breast and carried him
to Lord Siva. By virtue of his deep knowledge, Lord Siva revived
Karttikeya and endowed him with inexhaustible strength. He then got up
full of vigour but remained guarded by Lord Siva.
followed by Nandiswara, the Gandharvas, the Yaksas, the Raksasas and
the Kinnaras, returned to the battlefield. Hundreds of war drums were
pounded and hundreds of persons carried wine. When Kali began to roar
like a lioness, the demons fainted. Seeing this, she burst into cackles
of laughter repeatedly, boding ill to the asuras. Then Kali drank wine
and danced on the battlefield, and the Yoginis, Dakinis and the demigods
also drank, roaring and revelling.
When Sankhacuda saw Kali, he hastened to the field. Though his men were frightened by her, he assured them of his protection.
then hurled a fire weapon and it shot over the field like the fire that
manifests when the world is about to come to an end. of final
devastation; but the king shot a water weapon at it and quickly
extinguished it. Kali hurled the Varuna weapon at him but he baffled it
with the Gandharva weapon. Kali threw the Maheswara weapon, but he
destroyed it with his Vaisnava weapon. Then, after uttering some
mantras, Kali discharged the Narayana weapon. Seeing it coming at him,
the king jumped off his chariot and bowed down to it, causing the weapon
to zoom upwards like the fire of final dissolution. The demon, full of
devotion, fell prostrate on the ground. The goddess recited a mantra and
hurled a Brahmastra at him, but he baffled it with his own Brahmastra.
Then she threw a weapon at him that was eight miles long, but Sankhacuda
cut it to pieces with his celestial weapon.
the demon discharged celestial missiles at the goddess but she merely
opened her mouth wide, swallowed them and roared with loud laughter.
This terrified the demons. Sankhacuda then hurled a weapon at her that
was eight hundred miles long, but she shattered it into a hundred pieces
with celestial missiles. He flung the Vaisnava missile at the goddess
but she blocked it with a Mahesvara missile.
The fight continued for a long time and all the demigods and demons stood watching it.
was now infuriated. Just as she readied herself to throw the Pasupata
weapon, a heavenly voice from the sky cried out, "O Goddess! Do not
throw this missile at Sankhacuda. So long as Lord Hari's amulet remains
on his neck and his wife's chastity is not violated, the king cannot be
killed--even by the never-failing Pasupata weapon. Lord Brahma gave him
this boon." Kali heeded the voice and desisted from hurling the weapon.
But out of hunger she devoured millions of demons. She then hastened to
devour Sankhacuda but he resisted her with his sharp celestial weapons.
She next aimed a scimitar at him that flashed like the noonday sun but
the king cut it to pieces. So she ran after him to swallow him. But the
skilful demon prevented her by expanding his body.
enraged, the dreadful goddess smashed his chariot, killed his
charioteer, and hurled a terrible spear at him--one that looked like the
awesome fire that occurs when the world is about to end. But the king
caught it with his left hand. The goddess then angrily struck him with
her fists and caused the demon enough pain to make him reel and fall
unconscious for a moment. Regaining consciousness, he got up, but he
would not engage in hand-to-hand combat with Kali. Rather, he bowed down
goddess then threw other weapons at Sankhacuda, but he partly cut them
down and partly took them up and absorbed them, rendering them futile.
Regarding her as his mother, he did not aim any weapons at her. Then
Kali caught hold of him, whirled him around repeatedly and angrily flung
him into the sky. The demon came down with a tremendous crash, but he
immediately got up and bowed to the goddess. Next, he gladly climbed up
onto another stunning jewelled chariot and, feeling no fatigue at all
from the battle, continued fighting.
Kali, feeling hungry, began drinking the blood and eating the fat and
flesh of the demons. After this the goddess returned to Lord Siva and
described to him in detail the progression of the war--from beginning to
end. Hearing about the demise of the demons, Lord Siva laughed. Kali
remarked that the only demons alive were the ones who crawled out of her
mouth while she was chewing them, which amounted to about one hundred
thousand. "And when I took hold of the Pasupata weapon to kill
Sankhacuda, an invisible celestial voice cried, " He cannot be killed by
you." Then the powerful demon stopped hurling weapons at me. All he
did was shatter those which I hurled at him."
Chapter Thirteen - LORD SIVA ENTERS THE BATTLE
hearing the goddess' report, Lord Siva, versed in the highest
knowledge, went with his entire retinue into battle. He sat on his great
bull and was encircled by Virabhadra and others, as well as the
Bhairavas and the Ksetrapalas, all equal to him in valour. As Lord Siva
entered the battle ground, he assumed a heroic form and shone well as
the incarnation form of the destroyer.
Sankhacuda saw him, he alighted from his aerial chariot and offered
obeisances to him by lying flat on the ground. Then he got up, quickly
returned to his chariot, and, seizing his bow and arrows, readied
himself for the fight.
fight lasted for a year. The two heroes showered arrows fiercely on one
another the way clouds continuously pelt the earth with rain. When
Sankhacuda playfully shot dreadful arrows, Lord Siva split them all with
his own arrows. Lord Siva hit the demon's limbs with various weapons.
Sankhacuda then grabbed his sword and shield, hastened toward Lord
Siva's sacred bull and hit it on the head. Seeing this, Lord Siva
smashed that sword and the shining shield by his Ksurapra weapon. Then
the demon threw his spear but Lord Siva shot an arrow at it and split it
in half. Sankhacuda, now infuriated, flung a discus, but Siva punched
it with his fist and splattered it. The demon threw his club vigorously
at Lord Siva, however Siva split it apart and reduced it to ashes.
Grabbing an axe, Sankhacuda rushed toward Lord Siva, but Siva released
such a volley of arrows at him that he fell unconscious.
Danava quickly regained consciousness and mounted his beautiful
chariot. Covering the whole sky, he shone resplendently with his mystic
weapons and arrows.
Lord Siva saw him coming toward him, he pounded his drum with
enthusiasm and twanged his bowstring with a loud sound. Siva filled all
four quarters with the sound of his horn and then, roaring loudly,
frightened the demons. Next, the noble bull bellowed thunderously,
filling the sky, earth and eight quarters and shaming the proud
trumpeting elephants. Lord Siva surpassed all previous sounds by
clapping the earth and the sky. The warriors emitted a raucous laughing
sound, portending ill for the asuras. Siva also roared in that mighty
The demons were frightened by these piercing and dreadful sounds. However, the Danava king became extremely angry.
Lord Siva shouted, "O wicked one, stay! Stay!," and the gods and his companions quickly shouted, "Victory! Victory!"
then hurled at Lord Siva his awesome flame-shooting spear; as it
travelled, it blazed brilliantly like a mighty fire. However, one of
Lord Siva's followers shot a meteor at it and stopped it. As the battle
between Lord Siva and the demon king continued, the heavens, earth,
mountains, oceans and rivers shook and trembled. Lord Siva split apart
hundreds and thousands of Sankhacuda's arrows, and the king did the same
to Lord Siva's shafts. Then the infuriated Siva hit Sankhacuda with his
trident and knocked him unconscious. But quickly regaining
consciousness, he grabbed his bow, discharged some arrows and hit Lord
Siva and his assistants. Then, by means of magic, the asura assumed ten
thousand arms and quickly surrounded Lord Siva with ten thousand
discuses. But Lord Siva shot wonderful arrows at them and split them all
apart. Sankhacuda next seized his mace and, accompanied by a massive
army, charged Lord Siva with the intention of destroying him. However,
Lord Siva split the mace, making the Danava furious. The demon then
seized a spear that, to the enemy, blazed unbearably; as he neared Lord
Siva, the latter hit him in the chest with his trident. Then, a huge,
valorous being came out of the demon's chest and said, "Stand by, stand
by." Lord Siva laughed loudly and, with his sword, cut off the fearsome
head that was emerging, and it fell to the ground.
her mouth wide open, Kali angrily consumed countless demons, crushing
their heads with her fierce fangs. The enraged Ksetrapala consumed many
other demons, and Lord Siva shot missiles at some and killed them.
Others were just wounded. Virabhadra and Nandisvara destroyed many other
demons. Thus a major portion of Sankhacuda's army was killed while many
of his terrified troops cowardly fled the battlefield. But Sankhacuda
stood firm and said to Lord Siva, "I'm here, ready to fight with you.
Come on. So what if many of my men have been killed. Fight me, face to
Chapter Fourteen - LORD VISNU APPEARS
threw mystic missiles at Lord Siva. He also, like a cloud pouring rain,
showered arrows on him. He used different kinds of illusory methods
that were invisible and bewildering to the demigods and Lord Siva's
followers. Seeing this, Lord Siva released his supernatural Mahesvara
missiles and these quickly destroyed the illusions, divesting them of
their brilliance. Then the powerful Lord Siva suddenly grabbed his
trident--a trident that could not be withstood even by great persons--so
as to slay Sankhacuda. But to stop him, an unembodied heavenly voice
boomed, "O Siva, do not throw the trident now. Listen to this
request...There is no doubt that you are able to destroy the universe in
a second. So what would be the difficulty in destroying this one
Danava, Sankhacuda? Still you should not ignore the rules of the Vedas. O
great one, rather make it truthful and fruitful. Understand that Lord
Brahma has stated that as long as Sankhacuda wears the armour of Lord
Visnu --namely, the amulet around his neck--and as long as his wife
maintains her marital faithfulness, he can neither die nor grow old. He
is under these boons. Therefore, please make these boons truthful by not
Lord Siva replied, "So be it."
that moment Lord Siva desired to see Lord Visnu, and so Lord Visnu
appeared there. Lord Siva told Him what he desired and Lord Visnu agreed
to help him.
dressed as an aged brahmana, Lord Visnu, foremost in mystic power,
approached Sankhacuda and requested, "O King of the Danavas, please
grant my request. You give away in charity all kinds of wealth and
riches, so please grant me what I desire. I am a quiet, peaceful, aged
brahmana. I am very hungry and thirsty. But first make your promise, and
then I will tell you what I want."
king, with a kind face and a pleasing eye, swore to Him that he would
give Him whatever He asked for. So the brahmana said affectionately, "I
would like your amulet."
Sankhacuda, a well-wisher of the brahmanas who spoke the truth, thus handed over to the disguised Lord Visnu his divine amulet.
Lord Visnu assumed the form of Sankhacuda and went to Tulasi Devi's
palace. When He approached the entrance, He created the appearance of a
victory homecoming, causing others to beat their drums and to shout
Devi was awakened from sleep. On hearing the sounds, the chaste woman
was ecstatic. She eagerly peeped through the windows onto the road. When
she realised that her husband had returned, she observed all auspicious
rites and offered cash gifts to the brahmanas. Then she beautified
Lord Visnu went to Tulasi's apartment.
she saw the Lord and thought He was her husband, she was gladdened. She
bathed His feet, offered obeisances to Him, and sobbed. Then she had
Him sit on the jewelled throne and handed Him the auspicious betal leaf
that had been made fragrant with camphor. She said, "Today my life has
become happy. For my beloved, who went to fight, has now returned home."
him in with wide eyes and a smiling face, Tulasi Devi sweetly asked him
about the events of the battle. "My lord, how did you do in the battle
with Lord Siva? He is the protector of the demigods and the annihilator
of countless universes. You have returned cheerfully after defeating
the great lord. How did you beat him? Tell me all about it."
Visnu laughed and said sweetly, "When I reached the battlefield, there
was a terrible clamour. A big battle then followed. The demigods fought
the demons, and each side was eager for victory. The demigods defeated
the demons. But then I fought the powerful demigods. Those whom I
defeated sought shelter of Lord Siva. Then Lord Siva, to help them,
fought me for a long time. My dear wife, Lord Siva and I fought
continuously for a year. All the demons were killed. Then Lord Brahma
made us agree to peace. Thus, at Lord Brahma's order, the powers of
authority were re-assigned to the demigods...So, I have come home and
Lord Siva has gone to Sivaloka. All have returned to health and
normalcy. Thus the trouble has ended."
Lord Visnu then lay down on the bed with Tulasi devi and became close with her.
Chapter Fifteen - THE FINAL BATTLE
this time, on the battlefield, King Sankhacuda approached Lord Siva
without his armour. The latter seized his blazing trident to slay the
demon. The trident's name was Vijaya, and it was as bright as a hundred
summer suns. The front of it was presided over by Lord Narayana, the
middle by Lord Brahma, the root by Lord Siva and the edge by Time. It
was bright like the fire of devastation at the end of the
world--dauntless, irresistible, fixed and destructive in its aim. In
brilliance it equalled the Sudarsana Chakra, and it was the topmost of
all weapons. No one but Lord Visnu or Lord Siva could wield it, and all
but them were afraid of it. The trident was 14,000 cubits long and 100
cubits wide. One could not tell from where and how it proceeded. By its
own will, this trident could destroy all the worlds.
Siva raised the trident high, aimed and hurled it at Sankhacuda. Seeing
it coming, the demon king dropped his bow and arrows, collected his
mind, sat down in a yoga posture, and meditated on the lotus feet of
Lord Krsna with great devotion. The trident whirled around Sankhacuda's
head for a while. Then, at Lord Siva's command, it smashed into the
demon's head and burned him and his chariot to ashes. Thereafter, the
trident returned to Lord Siva, and then left for the airways at the
speed of the mind, and finally returned with force and gladness to Lord
the heavens, the celestials beat their drums, the Gandharvas and
Kinnaras sang, the sages and demigods chanted eulogies and all the
damsels danced. Flowers continuously rained down upon Lord Siva, and
Lord Visnu, Brahma, Indra and other notables praised him.
of compassion, Lord Siva tossed the demon's bones into the sea and
these bones became transformed into all the conches in the world. They
are always considered very holy and favourable in the worship of the
demigods. The water in the conch is also considered very sacred and
satisfying to the demigods--as sacred as the water in any holy river. It
can be offered to all the demigods but not to Lord Siva. Wherever the
conch is blown, Laksmi dwells there with great delight. If one bathes
with the conch water, this is equivalent to bathing in all the holy
rivers. Wherever the conch is placed, Lord Hari and Goddess Laksmi live
there, and all inauspicious things disappear from that place. However,
wherever the females and sudras blow the conch, Goddess Laksmi becomes
annoyed and, out of fear, travels to other places.
Siva then mounted his bull carrier and, with all his followers,
returned to his own residence. All the demigods also returned to their
abodes with great joy. Before leaving, Lord Siva favoured Sankhacuda by
releasing him from his curse, and thus he regained his original form as
the cowherd boy Sudama.
with jewels, holding a flute, mounted on a divine chariot, and
surrounded by numerous cowherd boys from Goloka Vrndavana, Sankhacuda
then flew to the spiritual sky, Goloka, which is full of devotees of
Lord Krsna who have various transcendental relationships with Him.
Sudama saw Srimati Radharani and Sri Krsna, he bowed down to Their
lotus feet with devotion. Seeing him, the Divine couple were filled with
love for him and, with kind faces and joyful eyes, lifted him up and
took him on Their laps.
Chapter Sixteen - TULASI CURSES LORD VISNU
at the palace, Tulasi Devi was still lying on the bed with Lord Visnu,
who was still disguised as Sankhacuda. She suddenly realised that there
was a distinct difference in the way her husband had expressed his
affection to her in the past from the way he had just expressed it. This
made her suspicious, and she began to wonder whether the man with whom
she had just been intimate was really her husband. Then, not feeling the
same happiness, affection and attraction, she looked at him
distrustfully and said, "You're--you're not--" Realising in the core of
her heart that He was not her husband, she asked, "Who--who are you?"
Devi became angry. "Yes, who are you? I want to know immediately. For I
know you have deceived me to enjoy me! You have outraged my modesty!
For this I shall curse you!"
Visnu then assumed His own true beautiful form. Tulasi saw the Lord of
the demigods before her. His complexion was deep blue, like fresh rain
clouds, His eyes were like autumnal lotuses, and He was decked with
jewels and ornaments. His smiling face looked very gracious, and He wore
a yellow robe. Seeing Vasudeva's handsome form, Tulasi fainted.
few moments later she regained consciousness and said, "O Lord, you are
like a stone! You are merciless! You violated my chastity by deception.
And by this means you have killed my husband. O Lord, you are
merciless! Yes, Your heart is like a stone. Therefore, I curse you to
become a stone. Those who call you holy are doubtlessly wrong. Your
devotee committed no offence and yet, for the sake of others, You killed
Overpowered with grief and sadness, Tulasi cried loudly and repeatedly lamented.
her so upset, Narayana, who is an ocean of mercy, tried to console her
according to dharmic rules. He said, "O exalted one, you performed
austerities for a long time to get Me as your husband. And Sankhacuda
also performed austerities for a long time to get you as his wife. By
that austerity, he fulfilled his wish. It was then necessary for Me to
fulfil your wish. For this reason, I did what I did. Now leave your
earthly body and assume a spiritual body--and be married to Me. Be like
Laksmi. Your body will become a famous river known as Gandaki, a
virtuous, pure and transparent river in this holy land of India. Your
hairs will be transformed into holy trees; and since the trees will be
born of you, they will be known as Tulasi trees. All the residents of
the three worlds will perform worship with the leaves and flowers of
this tree. Thus, you, Tulasi, will reign as the best among trees and
Chapter Seventeen - BLESSINGS TULASI DEVI WILL BESTOW
Lord Narayana continued...
sanctifying Tulasi tree will grow in Goloka, on the coast of the Viraja
River, on the rasa-dance site, in the forests of Vrndavana, Bhandira,
Champaka, Chandana, and in the groves of Madhavi, Ketaki, Kunda, Mallika
and Malati. You will live in sacred places and bestow the highest
religious merit. All the holy spots will converge and reside at the root
of the Tulasi tree, and thus spiritual merits will accrue to all. O
fair one, all the demigods and I will wait there to gather the falling
will be moistened or anointed with the water that has been sanctified
by Tulasi leaves, will reap the benefits of having bathed in all the
sacred rivers and performed all kinds of sacrifices.
"Lord Hari will not be as pleased with the gift of a thousand jars of honey as with one Tulasi leaf.
"Offering one such leaf as a gift will bring the same reward obtained by offering millions of cows.
"If one offers Tulasi leaves during the month of Kartika, he gets the same rewards as those just mentioned.
at the time of death, one drinks or gets the Tulasi-leaf water, one
will be freed of all his sins and proceed to Vaikuntha.
"Whoever drinks the Tulasi-leaf water daily will be redeemed in his lifetime and receive the benefit of a dip in the Ganges.
"Whoever plucks a Tulasi leaf, keeps it on his person, and then leaves his body in a holy place, will go to Visnuloka.
"Anyone who worships Me with this leaf daily will reap the blessings of a hundred thousand horse sacrifices.
"Anyone who leaves his body holding a Tulasi leaf in his hands will be saved from all sins.
"Anyone who wears a necklace composed of Tulasi wood, will surely, at every step, get the reward of a horse sacrifice.
"Whoever breaks his promise while holding the Tulasi leaf will go to the Kalsutra hell for as long as the sun and moon last.
who gives false evidence in the presence of the Tulasi leaf, will go to
the Kumbhipaka hell for as long as the lifespans of fourteen Indras.
at the time of death drinks or gets a little Tulasi-leaf water will
certainly proceed to Vaikuntha, leaving in a jewelled airplane.
Hari will decapitate that person who, on the day of the new moon or the
full moon, or on the twelfth or last day of the lunar month, or after
being anointed with oil just before taking a bath, or at noon, night,
daybreak or sundown, or in a state of impurity or in one's night
dress--will cull or pluck the Tulasi leaf.
chaste one, even if such a leaf is kept for three nights and becomes
dry, it can still be employed in connection with funeral ceremonies,
vows, gifts, consecration of temples and the worship of demigods.
Tulasi leaves that were offered to Lord Visnu have fallen on the ground
or on water are then properly washed, they may still be used for other
will always be the presiding deity of the Tulasi plant here on Earth,
and at the same time you will always sport with Sri Krsna in solitude in
Goloka. You will also be the presiding deity of the Gandaki River, and
thereby shower India with religious merit. You will further be the wife
of the ocean of salt, which is My partial expansion. O chaste goddess,
you will always remain personally by My side and enjoy My company, as
Chapter Eighteen - BLESSINGS OF THE SALIGRAM
Lord Hari continued...
for Me, by your curse, I will become a stone and remain close to the
bank of the Gandaki River. Millions of Vajrakita worms, with their sharp
teeth, will make convolutions or rings in the stones there (Chakras),
representing Me. These will be known as Saligrams or sacred stones.
stones which have one entrance hole, four rings (Chakras), are marked
with a garland of wild flowers, and look like a fresh rain cloud, will
be known as Laksmi-Narayana murtis or forms.
stones that have one entrance hole, four rings (Chakras), look like
fresh rain clouds but have no garland mark will be called
that have two entrance holes, four rings (Chakras), are impressed with
the marks of cow-hooves but have no garland mark, will be called
that are very small, have two rings (Chakras), look like fresh rain
clouds but have no garland mark will be called Vamana chakras. They
shall be auspicious to householders.
stones that are very small, have two rings and a garland mark will be
called Sridhara chakras. They will bring prosperity to householders.
"Those stones that are large, circular, have two rings but no garland mark will be known as Damodara chakras.
"Those that are medium-large, have two rings, have the marks of arrows and quivers will be known as Rana-rama chakras.
that are medium-sized, have seven rings, and have the marks of an
umbrella and ornaments will be called Rajarajesvaras (king of kings)
chakra, and give royal prosperity to the people.
that are large, have fourteen wheels (Chakras), look like fresh rain
clouds will be called Ananta chakras. They will bestow the fourfold
fruits--artha, kama, dharma and moksa (wealth, pleasure, righteousness
that are spherical, beautiful, medium-large, have two rings, look like
rain clouds, and are marked with cow hooves will be called Madhusudana
"Those that have one ring (Chakra) will be called Sudarsana chakras.
"Those that have their rings (Chakras) hidden will be called Gadadhara chakras.
"Those that have two rings (Chakras) and the face of a horse will be called Hayagrivas.
that have two rings (Chakras), their mouths very wide and extended, and
look very terrifying will be called Narasimhas. They will bestow
detachment on their worshipers.
that have two rings, extended mouths and garland marks (elliptical)
will be called Laksmi Nrisimhas. They will bestow blessings on the
householders who worship them.
that have, near their doors, two rings that are of equal size and
beautiful, with manifested marks, will be known as Vasudevas. They will
fulfil all desires.
that have a thin ring, look like fresh rain clouds, and have many fine
holes within their wide gaping facets will be called Pradyumnas. They
will give happiness to all householders.
whose rings are united and whose backs are capacious will be called
Sankarsanas. They will always bestow happiness to householders.
"Those that look yellow, round and very beautiful will be known as Aniruddhas. They also will give happiness to householders.
there are Shaligrama stones, Lord Hari Himself exists. And wherever
Lord Hari is, Goddess Laksmi and all the holy places also exist.
"By worshiping the Shaligrama shila (stone), one destroys the sin of having killed a brahmana and any other type of sin.
"By worshiping Shaligrama stones of the following shapes, the following effects take place:
"If the stone looks like an umbrella, one may obtain a kingdom.
"If the stone looks round, great prosperity.
"If it is cart-shaped, miseries.
"If its ends are spear-shaped, death.
"If its facets are distorted, poverty.
"If it is yellow, evils and afflictions.
"If its rings (Chakras) look broken, diseases.
"If its rings (Chakras) are split into fragments, certain death.
one observes vows, offers gifts, consecrates a temple, performs
shraddha or funeral ceremonies, or worships the demigods before the
Shaligrama shila--all these acts become highly exalted.
one worships the Shaligrama shila, one acquires the merits of bathing
in all the tirthas (holy rivers) and being initiated into all the Vedic
one acquires all the merits acquired by performing all the Vedic
sacrifices by visiting all the holy places, by fulfilling vows, by
practicing all austerities and by reading all the Vedas.
performs His Abhisheka (bathing) ceremony always with Shalagrama
water--being sprinkled with this water at the initiation and
installation ceremonies--acquires the spiritual merits gained by
offering all sorts of gifts and walking around the entire earth.
a doubt, the demigods are pleased with the person who daily worships
the Shalagrama shila. He becomes so holy that even all the holy places
desire his touch. He becomes a jivanmukta (liberated while in his
physical body) and very godly. Ultimately he goes to Vaikuntha and
serves Lord Hari there eternally. Any sin, such as the killing of a
brahmana, flies away from him just as snakes flee at the sight of Garuda
(Lord Visnu's eagle carrier). The earth is consecrated by the dust of
his feet. By his birth, he redeems one hundred thousand of his
who, while dying, drinks the Shalagrama shila water, will be freed from
all his sins and go to Vaikuntha. He becomes completely freed from the
effects of karma (material action and reaction) and, without a doubt,
becomes forever absorbed in the vision of Lord Visnu's feet.
who lies while holding the Shaligrama in his hands goes to Kumbhipaka
hell for as long as Lord Brahma is alive (311 trillion and 40 billion
one breaks his promise while holding the Shaligram in his hand, he goes
to the Asipatra hell for one hundred thousand manvantaras.
who worships the Shaligram shila without offering Tulasi leaves on it,
or who separates the leaves from the stone, will have to suffer
separation from his wife in his next birth.
"And if one does not offer the Tulasi leaves in a conch, he remains without his wife for seven births and becomes diseased.
"He who maintains the Shaligrama shila, the Tulasi, and the conch in one place, becomes very dear to Lord Narayana.
is painful for a person to separate from his beloved, whose company he
once enjoyed. You were the dearmost of Sankhacuda for one manvantara, so
it is now very difficult for you to separate from him.
Chapter Ninteen - TULASI RETURNS TO THE SPIRITUAL WORLD
Lord Hari stopped speaking, Tulasi left her physical body, assumed a
celestial form and went to Vaikuntha. There she remained in the heart of
Sri Hari, as did Goddess Laksmi. Lord Hari also went with her to
soon as Tulasi Devi quit her physical body, this body became the
Gandaki River; and Lord Hari manifested Himself as the mountain on the
bank of that river, giving spiritual merit to the people. The worms on
that mountain cut and fashion, i.e. construct, various kinds of stones.
Those that fall into the river and assume the colour of clouds, without a
doubt, yield results; but those that drop onto the dry land become
brown by the sun's rays and unfit for worship.
Hari duly honoured Tulasi and began to sport with her along with
Goddess Laksmi. He elevated Tulasi to the rank of Laksmi, making her
blessed and glorious. Laksmi and Goddess Ganga allowed and tolerated
this new union of Lord Narayana and Tulasi. However, Goddess Saraswati
became angered and could not tolerate Tulasi's elevated position.
in the presence of Lord Hari, the dignified Saraswati quarrelled with
Tulasi and hurt her. Tulasi, humiliated and insulted, disappeared. Then,
out of anger, the wise and adept Tulasi became invisible even to Lord
Lord Hari did not see Tulasi, he appeased Saraswati and, obtaining her
permission, proceeded to the Tulasi forest--Vrndavana. He was very much
disturbed by separation from her. There, he took a bath; then, with
proper rites, he worshiped the chaste Tulasi with His whole heart, and
then meditated on her with devotion, and uttered, "Obeisances to Tulasi
Devi, Queen of Vrndavana Forest." During the worship, Tulasi was offered
a lighted ghee lamp, frankincense, sandal flowers and sacrificial
offerings. Anyone who worships Tulasi in this way will achieve complete
Lord then began to praise His glorious devotee. "The Tulasi trees
collect in many groups, thus the pandits call it Vrinda. I praise that
dear Tulasi. Long ago she appeared in the Vrindavana forest and is thus
known as Vrindavani. I adore that auspicious and glorious one. She is
always worshiped in countless universes and so is known as
Visvapujita--one who is worshiped throughout the world. I worship that
universes are made pure and holy by her contact. She is therefore
called Visvapavani--one who purifies the whole universe. Remembering
her, I am suffering from separation from her. Though other flowers be
heaped upon the demigods, they are not satisfied unless Tulasi is
offered. Thus she is considered the essence of all flowers and is called
Puspasara. Now I am anguished and troubled and very eager to see
her--she who is purity incarnate. I crave the favor of that goddess.
Because attainment of her brings faith and joy, she is called Nandini. O
may she be pleased with Me. In the whole world she is incomparable,
thus she is called Tulasi. I take refuge of that dear Tulasi. Very
chaste and dear, she is the life of Krsna and so is known as
Krsnajivani. O may that goddess save my life."
Lord Hari finished the ceremony and prayers, Tulasi was pleased and
came out of the tree. She immediately took refuge at Lord Hari's lotus
feet. He blessed her by saying, "O Tulasi, you will be worshiped by all
throughout the world. Dearest, I will hold you on my head and in my
heart; and all the demigods will hold you on their heads."
Lord Hari saw that the dignified Tulasi was weeping because her
feelings had been hurt by Saraswati, He clasped her to His breast, took
her to Saraswati and reconciled their differences. Then He blessed
Tulasi, saying, "You will be worshiped by all, honoured by all and
respected by all. And all will carry you on their heads. I also will
worship, honour and respect you and carry you on My head."
was now very happy. Saraswati then embraced her and seated her by her
side. Laksmi and Ganga, smiling, also hugged her, and then took her
Chapter Twenty - WORSHIP OF TULASI DEVI
worships Tulasi Devi with her eight names and their meanings--Vrinda,
Vrindavani, Viswapavani, Visvapujita, Tulasi, Puspasara, Nandini, and
Krsna Jivani--and properly sings this hymn of eight verses, acquires the
merit of performing an Ashvamedha (horse) sacrifice.
Tulasi was born on the lunar day of the full moon in the month of
Kartika, Lord Hari prescribed this day for her worship.
Whoever worships her on this day will be freed from all sins and go to Vaikuntha.
out of reverence, gives Lord Visnu a Tulasi leaf in the month of
Kartika, will gain the same benefit obtained by giving the gift of ten
hearing or recalling the Tulasi hymn, a son will be born to the sonless
woman, a wife will be obtained by the wifeless man, health will be
restored to a diseased person, freedom will be given to a prisoner,
fearlessness will be bestowed upon the terrified, and salvation will be
given to the sinners.
the Kanva Sakha branch of the Vedas, the method of worshiping and
meditating on Tulasi Devi is described. Without invoking the goddess,
one can reverentially meditate on her and adore her with sixteen
ingredients in the following way:
all flowers, Tulasi is the best. She is worshipable and beautiful, and
burns up the fuel of sins like a flame of fire. Of all the goddesses,
she is the most sacred. Because no one can compare to her, she is called
Tulasi. I worship this goddess who is entreated by all. She is placed
on the heads of all, desired by all, and makes the universe holy. She
bestows liberation from this world and devotion to Lord Hari. I worship
After this meditation and worship, the wise should read her praises and bow down to her.
Life of Tulasi Devi is based primarily on an English translation of the
Sanskrit text of the Brahma Vaivraata Purana written by Rajendranatna
Sen, published in India in 1920. The text was occasionally supplemented
with clarifications and elaborations from the Siva Purana which was
translated by a board of scholars and published in India by Swami
Vigyananda and published in India by Munciram Manohal Ral". For more
information, please visit the source site, " Tulasi - Shaligram Vivaha" at Salagram.net.
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