The Vamana Purana, Part 5
BY: SUN STAFF
Madhya Pradesh, c. 400
Dec 17, CANADA (SUN) A serial exploration of the Vamana Purana by Srila Vedya-vyasa, excerpted and categorized into various subject areas.
Manifestation of Vegetation from the Deities
"Lotus flower manifested from Vishnu's navel in the month of Ashwin. Similarly, other vegetation also manifested from the different organs of the deities- Kadamb tree from the palm of Kamadev, Dhatura tree from the heart of Lord Shiva, Khair tree from the middle portion of Brahma's body, Kataiya tree from Vishwakarma's body.
Kundalata manifested from Parvati's palm, Sinduar tree from Ganesha's belly, Palaash tree and Gular tree from the right and left armpits of Yamaraj.
Similarly, Sarpat manifested from the body of Sheshnaag, black and white Durva grass from the tail and back of Vaasuki Naag, Harichandan tree manifested from the heart of a devotee."
Describing the majesty of Prithudak Tirtha, Mahadev told the deities-
"All of you must pay a visit to this sacrosanct place of pilgrimage situated near Saanihitya reservoir. The day on which Moon, Sun and Jupiter unitedly come under Mrigshira Nakshatra is called Akshay Tritiya. You must go to that sacred place and perform Shraadh of your ancestors."
All the deities led by Indra went to Kurukshetra where Prithudak was situated. Vrihaspati was also present with them. After taking their bath, the deities requested Vrihaspati (Jupiter) to enter into the Mrigshira Nakshatra as directed by Mahadev. Vrihaspati agreed to do that and entered into the Mrigshira Nakshatra along with the Sun and the Moon on Akshay Tritiya.
All the deities then worshipped their dead ancestors by offering Pind comprising of sesame seeds and honey. The ancestors were pleased and presented Mena to the deities. The deities in turn presented Mena to Himalaya. Himalaya was pleased to have Mena as his wife. In course of time, three daughters were born to them."
The River Saraswati
The sages requested Lomaharshan to reveal about river Saraswati's origin, which flowed in Kurukshetra. Lomaharshan said-
"Saraswati originates from Paakad tree (Indian fig tree). She enters Dwaitvan after passing through numerous mountains. While describing about her majesty, sage Markandeya felt that Saraswati was the source from, which everything originated- all the three worlds, three Vedas, Vidya (learning), heavenly bodies like Sun, Moon etc. Once, sage Markandeya eulogised Saraswati by saying- "O Saraswati! You manifest in the form of cryptic mantra- "OMKAR". You are the eternal form through which the Almighty God (Brahma) manifests himself in different appearances."
Saraswati was pleased by his devotion and said- "O Brahmin! I am willing to go wherever you want to take me." According to Markandeya, river Saraswati was initially known as Brahmasar. Later on, she became famous as Ramhalad. Sage Markandeya requested Saraswati to flow in the territory of Kurukshetra where sage Kuru was doing his penance. This way, Saraswati diverted her course towards Kurukshetra."
The Greatness of Saraswat Stotra
Sage Pulastya says-
"There lived a Kshatriya who kept enmity towards Brahmins. After his death, he was reborn as a demon and spent his life indulging in nefarious activities. Once he saw a hermit doing penance. He wanted to devour him but was unsuccessful in his attempt as the hermit had protected himself by chanting Vishnupanjar stotra. So, he waited for the hermit for four months to come out from his meditative trance. After the completion of his meditation, the hermit was surprised to see a weak and frail demon waiting for him. He asked the demon about his identity and the purpose for which he was waiting there. The demon told him that although he had come with the intention of devouring him, he was unsuccessful in his attempt as he (hermit) was well protected by Vishnupanjar stotra.
"I am very impressed by your spiritual feats and I am desirous of learning the same from you. I have committed many sins in my life, so tell me how to become liberated from them", asked the demon. But the hermit was not convinced and told the demon that he would never preach a demon. He advised the demon to take help of some other Brahmin. The demon went in search of another Brahmin. One day, he saw a Brahmin doing penance and caught hold of him. The Brahmin was frightened and requested the demon- "Wait until I return after giving this fruit to my teacher." But the demon thought that the Brahmin was trying to escape hence he did not allow the Brahmin to leave. The worried Brahmin went near a burning fire and pleaded for help. Suddenly, Goddess Saraswati manifested herself and told the Brahmins- "Don't be afraid. With my blessings, you would be able to narrate the means for the demon's benediction." After blessing the Brahmin, Goddess Saraswati disappeared.
The Brahmin narrated the Saraswat stotra to the demon- You must chant the following stotra thrice in a day- 'I make salutations to Lord Hari who is also known as Krishna, Hrishikesh, Vasudev, Janardan and Jagannath. May he liberate me from my sins. I make salutations to Lord Vishnu who rests on Sheshnaag and who hails Shankchakra Gada and chakra in his hands, may he liberate me from my sins. Lord Vishnu who manifests himself in each individual soul just like the element of fire manifests itself in a piece of wood. May he liberate me from my sins.'
The Brahmin told the demon that the daily chanting of Saraswat Vishnu stotra would enable him to get liberated from his sins. The demon was pleased and after releasing the Brahmin went to a place called Shaalgraam. He engaged himself in severe penance and started chanting the stotra taught by the Brahmin. Ultimately, he was successful in becoming liberated from his sins and went to Vishnu loka."