The Vamana Purana
BY: SUN STAFF
Dec 13, CANADA (SUN) A serial exploration of the Vamana Purana by Srila Vedya-vyasa, excerpted and categorized into various subject areas.
Narad asks the sage Pulastya about Vamana incarnation:
Vamana Purana is one of the eighteen Puranas written by the sage Vyasa. It contains tales pertaining to Lord Vishnu in his Vamana (dwarf) incarnation. The Sage Pulastya, while giving answers to Narad's enquiry, narrates the tale of Vamana Purana.
All the Puranas give glimpses of Indian civilization and culture and Vamana Purana is no exception. It also teaches the virtue of righteousness and religiousness. Vamana Purana not only contains the divine tales of Nara-Narayana and the Goddess Durga, but it also contains tales of famous devotees like Prahlad, the salvation of Gajendra (elephant), etc.
The Sage Narad asks Pulastya- "O revered sage! Why did Shri Hari take the incarnation of Vamana? Why did Prahlad fight a battle with the deities despite being a devotee of Lord Vishnu? How did Sati, Daksha Prajapati's daughter become Mahadev's consort in her next birth? I am eager to know the answers to all these questions."
Pulastya replied- "O Narad! Once, Sati requested Lord Shankar to make arrangements for a permanent abode. At that time, Lord Shankar had his abode at Mandaar Mountain. Summer season was approaching and Sati quite rightly had apprehensions of living in the open. Lord Shankar told her that as he was a recluse, he never felt a need of a permanent dwelling. Though Sati was not satisfied by his answers yet she kept quiet. This way, both of them continued to live there. The summer season had passed and now it was the turn of rainy season to arrive. Sati made the same request to Lord Shankar. This time, Lord Shankar told her that it was impossible for him to construct a house, as he had no wealth. He also told her that he had only a tiger skin as his clothing, the king cobra- his sacred thread, Padma and Pingal (snakes)- his ear-rings and Keval and Dhananjay as his armlets.
After hearing this, Sati became worried as to how she would pass the rainy season without a home. Lord Shankar then assured her that this problem would be easily solved if she lived above the clouds. This way, she would remain untouched by the showers. After this, both of them ascended towards the sky and started living above the clouds. From that day onwards, Lord Shankar came to be known as Jeebhootvaahan (one whose vehicle is the cloud).
TALES OF DEMONS
Andhak - The Demon King
Sage Narad was curious to know how the demon King Andhak behaved with the deities. He asked Pulastya in this regard. Pulastya replied-
"After ascending the throne, Andhak did a severe penance to please Lord Shiva and received a boon according to which he could neither be killed by the deities nor by any mortal. He also received another boon according to which even fire could not burn him.
Andhak appointed Shukracharya as his chief priest. He defeated the deities and had gained control over the whole earth. Once, Andhak had gone to see the beautiful sight of Sumeru Mountain. Indra after making adequate arrangements for the security of his capital Amravati came forward to fight him with a huge army. A fierce battle was fought between both the armies. The whole atmosphere was covered in darkness due to the dust. It became difficult for the warriors of both the sides to distinguish between friend and an enemy. The whole battlefield was strewn with dead bodies and blood.
Indra unleashed a volley of arrows towards Andhak. In reply, Andhak too retaliated by unleashing a volley of arrows towards Indra. In this duel, both of them got injured. Infuriated, Indra attacked him with his Vajra, which destroyed all of Andhak's weapons. Indra's Vajra then chased Andhak who jumped down from his chariot to save his life. Andhak defended himself by attacking it with his fist. As a result, it fell on the ground. Indra then attacked Andhak by unleashing a volley of arrows in his direction. Andhak dodged the assault and ran towards him menacingly. He attacked Airavat, the elephant and mount of Indra with such force that it became paralysed. Seeing his elephant in such a pitiable condition, Indra picked up his Vajra and ran inside the fort to save himself. Andhak then single-handedly destroyed Indra's whole army.
Yamaraj was fighting from the deities' side. He attacked Prahlad who was fighting from Andhak's side. It became impossible for Yamaraj to match Prahlad's valour and bravery. As a result, he was forced to flee from the battlefield. Inspite of having mighty warriors like Varun and Agni in their ranks, the deities could not match the valour of the demon's army, which comprised of valiant and brave fighters like Virochan, Maya and Shambar. Ultimately, the deities were defeated in this battle. The victorious demon King Andhak returned to Patal loka with his army."
Sukeshi asked the sages about the sinful deeds which lead to hell. The sages replied-
"People who condemn Veda, deities, Brahmins etc. go to hell. Those who don't believe in religious texts like Purana, etc. or those who cause obstacles in the accomplishment of Yagya or those who prevent a charitable man from giving donation also go to hell.
People who torment others, who steal sandals etc. go to the hell named Kalmsikta. Disobedient children who don't obey their parents and elders go to the hell named Aprathisth. People who touch their elders with their feet go to Raurav Narak. A selfish person who nourishes himself during drought without caring about his relatives go to the hell named Swabhojan. A person who does not protect people who have taken his refuge goes to the hell named Yantrapeed. A man who misappropriates the deposited money of other people goes to Vrishchikashan Narak. The sinners who copulate on auspicious days or who have illicit relations with other women go to the hell named Shaalmali."
In this way, the sages told Sukeshi about various types of sinful deeds, which lead sinners to different hells.