The Vamana Purana, Part 6
BY: SUN STAFF
Vamana Avatar - Temple Sculpture
Shri Padmawati Sameta Balaji Mandir of Lord Venkatesha, Muni-ki-reti, Tehri Garhwal, Uttaranchal
Dec 18, CANADA (SUN) A serial exploration of the Vamana Purana by Srila Vedya-vyasa, excerpted and categorized into various subject areas.
Dhundhu Performs Ashwamedha Yagya
"During his pilgrimage, Prahlad visited many sacred places like Manas Tirtha, Kaushiki, Devahnad and Hastinapur etc. At last he reached the bank of river Yamuna where he worshipped Lord Trivikram (Vaaman)." Narad was surprised at the mention of Vaaman's name and asked Pulastya- "Lord Vishnu is still to take Vaaman incarnation then how come Prahlad visited his temple? Pulastya says-"Sage Kashyap had an Aurasputra named Dhundhu. Lord Brahma had blessed Dhundhu of immortality. In course of time, Dhundhu defeated the deities and drove them out from heaven as a result of which, they had to take refuge in Brahma loka.
When Dhundhu came to know that the deities were living in Brahma loka, he decided to attack Brahma loka. He consulted the demons but they told him that it was impossible for them to reach Brahma loka. Sage Shukracharya said- "Indra had accomplished 100 Ashwamedha Yagyas by the virtue of which, he could go to Brahma loka. If you are desirous of reaching Brahma loka then you too will have to perform Ashwamedha Yagya." Dhundhu expressed his willingness to perform Ashwamedha Yagya.
Shukracharya started making preparations for Ashwamedha Yagya at the bank of river Devika. He appointed his disciples and some other sages belonging to Bhargava's clan to supervise the Yagya ceremony. The Ashwamedha Yagya commenced and a horse was let loose according to the tradition.
When the deities came to know about this Ashwamedha Yagya being performed by Dhundhu, they were scared and requested Lord Vishnu to disrupt the Yagya so that Dhundhu could not reach Brahma loka. Lord Vishnu assured the deities and went to the site where Dhundhu was performing Ashwamedha Yagya in a dwarf appearance. He entered into the Devika River and started drowning according to his plan.
When the demons saw the dwarf (Lord Vishnu) drowning, they rushed to save him. After taking him out from the river, they asked him about his identity. The dwarf said- "I am the youngest son of Prabhas. My name is Gatibhaas and my elder brother is Netrabhaas. After our father's death, my elder brother did not give me my due share in the property. When I insisted, he flung me into this river."
The Brahmins who were performing the Yagya requested Dhundhu to donate wealth to Gatibhaas. Dhundhu agreed and said- "I am willing to fulfill all your wishes. Demand anything you like. Gatibhaas demanded a small piece of land measured by three steps. Lord Vishnu then revealed his giant appearance and covered the whole earth with his first step. His second step covered the heaven and there was no place left for his third step. Lord Vishnu became furious and put his third step on the back of Dhundhu as a result of which he was crushed to death. A large pit measuring 1000 Yojans was created due to the impact of his weight and Lord Vishnu threw Dhundhu's dead body in that pit."
After completing his story, Pulastya told Narad- "This is how Lord Vishnu became Trivikram for the first time to defeat the evil designs of Dhundhu. Prahlad paid a visit to the temple of Vaaman situated at the place where Dhundhu was killed."
The Description of Nakshatra Purusha
Sage Narad asks Pulastya about the austerity named Nakshatra Purusha which King Pururava had accomplished to please Lord Vishnu. Pulastya says-
"All the constellations dwell in different parts of Lord Vishnu's body. The Mula Nakshatra dwells in his feet, Rohini Nakshatra in his thighs, Ashwini in his knees, Purvashadha and Uttarashadha in his chest etc. A devotee who worships Lord Vishnu- the possessor of all the constellations methodically and according to the rituals attains liberation. Worshipping Lord Vishnu's different organs helps in attaining good health and a disease free life. Being pleased by this austerity, Lord Vishnu bestows radiance and sweet voice to the devotee. Arundhati had achieved great acclamation due to the successful accomplishment of this austerity.
Aditya with a desire of a son had his wish fulfilled in the form of Revant, his famous son. The Apsaras- Rambha and Menaka had acquired unparalleled beauty and sweet voice respectively after successful accomplishment of this austerity. Similarly, Chandra had attained supreme radiance and Pururava regained his kingdom. This way, whoever performed this austerity, his desire was fulfilled.
Sage Narad was still not satisfied by Pulastya's explanation and asked Pulastya as to what compelled Lord Vishnu to give his chakra to Lord Shiva. Pulastya says- "There used to live a learned Brahmin named Veetmanyu. He was well versed in all the Vedas and other scriptures. His wife's name was Atreyi and Upamanyu was his son. In spite of his knowledge, Veetmanyu lived in absolute poverty and found it difficult to make arrangements for daily necessities. One day, young Upamanyu on being hungry started crying.
His helpless mother consoled him by saying that if he worshipped Lord Shiva then he would even get nectar and would get liberated from the pangs of hunger for ever. Veetmanyu was surprised and asked as to who this Lord Virupaaksh was. Atreyi narrated the following story- During ancient times, there was a demon king named Shridama. He ruled over the whole earth. Once, he decided to snatch the Srivatsa- Lord Vishnu's dearest ornament from him. When Lord Vishnu came to know about his intention, he became furious but since he had no weapon at his disposal he went to take Lord Shiva's help in this regard. Lord Shiva gave Sudarshan chakra to him and said that with the help of that infallible weapon, he could kill anybody. But Lord Vishnu was not convinced about the weapon's destructive power and expressed his desire to test it on Lord Shiva himself. Lord Shiva agreed and Vishnu released the Sudarshan chakra towards him. As a result, Lord Shiva's body was severed into three parts- Vishvesh, Yagyesh and Yagyayajak. Now, Lord Vishnu became satisfied and made salutations to Lord Shiva to express his gratitude."
Lord Vishnu went to the mountain where the demon Shridama lived and severed his head with the Sudarshan chakra. After killing the demon, Lord Vishnu returned to his abode- Ksheersagar." After finishing her story, Atreyi told Upamanyu that such was the greatness of Lord Virupaaksh. Upamanyu did a severe penance to please Lord Virupaaksh and was blessed by him as a result of which, he never felt hungry in his life."
Pururava Regains His Good Looks
"After worshipping Lord Trivikram, Prahlad went to Lingabhedak Mountain and worshipped Lord Shankar. He also visited many more sacred places like Kedar Tirtha, Badrikashrama, Bhadrakarna and Vipaasha. At last, he reached Irawati and worshipped that Almighty Lord with whose blessings, Pururava was able to regain his good looks."
Narad was curious to know this story. Pulastya says-
"Once upon a time, there lived a rich trader named Sudharma. Once, while passing through the Surashtra desert, he was attacked by bandits and robbed of all his possessions. Dejected, he started wandering in the desert like a lunatic. He saw a Shami tree and decided to take rest under its shade. On this tree lived numerous ghosts. On seeing Sudharma, the leader of the ghosts asked him as to where he was going. Sudharma narrated his woeful tale which made the ghosts very sad.
The leader of the ghosts said- You must not lose heart. If you are destined to possess wealth then you would become wealthy once again but worrying about your lost wealth will only have ill effects on your health and you would become weak. On being instructed by their leader, the ghosts offered food to the hungry Sudharma. After satiating his hunger, Sudharma asked the leader of the ghosts- Who are you? How could you provide me such a delicious dish in this deserted forest? The leader of the ghosts said- "In my previous birth, I was a Brahmin and my name was Somasharma. I was very poor but my neighbour Somashrava was a rich and prosperous trader. Being a poor Brahmin, I was not able to perform my religious duties.
Once, people of all castes thronged Irawati and Nadvala to take a holy dip on the auspicious occasion of Shravan Dwadashi. I followed them and after taking my bath, performed all the necessary rituals. As I was poor, I could donate things of little importance like umbrella, shoes, sweets, curds etc. This was the first and the last time, I had donated anything in my life. After my death, I became a ghost. My companions also never donated anything in their previous life. The delicious food which you had relished just now was due to the virtue of food items donated in my previous life. This Shami tree is due to the virtue of donating umbrella."
Somasharma was surprised and asked the leader of the ghosts whether he could be of any help to him to which the leader requested him to offer Pind Daan at Gaya so that he became liberated from Preta Yoni. Somasharma went to Gaya and performed the necessary rituals of Pind Daan as a result of which, the ghosts went to Brahma loka after being liberated.
Somasharma continued to observe the fast of Shravan Dwadashi every year. One fateful day, he passed away and was reborn in a royal family. After reaching youth age, he became the king of Shaakal Puri and indulged in enjoyments and sensual pleasures. After his death, he was born in a Brahmin family. Though ugly, he was well versed in all the scriptures. After a few years, he got married. His wife would make fun of his ugly looks which annoyed him. He went to Irawati and worshipped Lord Jagannath with full devotion. Lord Jagannath blessed him and his ugly looks turned into a handsome appearance. He enjoyed a very satisfied married life and after his death was reborn as King Pururava."