The Vamana Purana, Part 7
BY: SUN STAFF
Dec 19, CANADA (SUN) A serial exploration of the Vamana Purana by Srila Vedya-vyasa, excerpted and categorized into various subject areas.
Manifestation of Nara-Narayana
Sage Pulastya says-
"Dharma, the possessor of divine body and who manifested from the heart of Lord Brahma married Murti, the daughter of Daksha. Four sons were born to them- Hari, Krishna, Nara and Narayana. Hari and Krishna engaged themselves in the practice of Yoga while Nara and Narayana went to the Himalaya Mountain and started doing penance for the welfare of humans.
Indra became frightened by their arduous penance. He feared that he might lose his authority and power. He sent beautiful Apsaras to disturb their penance. He himself went to that site accompanied by Kamadev and Vasant (spring)."
Prahlad Blessed by Nara-Narayana
"A ferocious battle was fought between Prahlad and Nara-Narayana in which all types of lethal weapons were used. The battle continued for 1000 divine years. Ultimately, Prahlad was defeated in this battle. He went to Vaikuntha and asked Lord Vishnu as to why Nara-Narayana was invincible. Lord Vishnu revealed to them that Narayana was his own incarnation. He also told them that Narayana could be won only by devotion and not by power.
Prahlad decided to relinquish his throne and appointed Andhak as his successor. He went to Badrikashrama and made salutations to Narayana in reverence. Narayana was surprised at the sudden change in his behaviour. He asked Prahlad as to what the matter was. Prahlad then said- "Who can defeat you? You are none other than Lord Janardan. You are the one who has taken incarnation of Hrishikesh, Chakrapaani and Hayagreev."
Narayana was pleased by his devotion. He told Narayana that though he was not able to defeat him in the battle but he was successful in doing so by his devotion. Narayana also blessed Prahlad. Prahlad then returned to his capital. Andhak expressed his desire to make Prahlad the king once again but it was turned down by him. Prahlad spent the rest of his life preaching on the virtues of religiousness and truthfulness."
Prahlad Meets Nara-Narayana
"Once Narayana saw all three of them coming and he treated all of them with respect. As he was aware of the reasons for their arrival, he decided to give them a surprise. He made the figure of a beautiful woman on his thigh with a flower. The next moment, the figure transformed into a live woman, which surprised all of them.
For Kamadev, the beautiful woman resembled his wife Rati. He became so infatuated by her beauty that he forgot about the actual purpose of his visit. The same thing happened to Vasant and all the Apsaras. Everybody who had come with the desire of victory had actually become a victim.
Seeing all of them surprised and amazed, Narayana told them that the beautiful woman was created by him from his thigh. He also instructed them to take away that beautiful woman to heaven. Kamadev and Vasant were captivated by Narayana's power. They also became terrified. They went back to heaven accompanied by Urvashi and narrated the whole story to Indra. Even Indra was amazed. In a short time, the amazing deeds of Narayana spread in all the directions and the various lokas.
Once, Prahlad- the son of demon King Hiranyakashipu asked sage Chyavan about the most revered and sacred place of pilgrimage in the whole world. Sage Chyavan told him about Naimisharanya- the most sacred place of pilgrimage on the earth. Prahlad visited Naimisharanya accompanied by many other demons. After reaching there, all of them took bath in a river. While roaming about in the city, Prahlad saw the trunk of a tree pierced with numerous arrows. Not far from the tree, he saw two hermits doing penance. Two divine bows and a pair of quiver were lying by the side.
Prahlad was amazed as to why the hermits would require weapons. He revealed his thoughts to the hermits. Both the hermits replied that a person who works according to his capabilities, earns respect. Prahlad became angry at their reply. He asked them as to what were their capabilities. Actually, the hermits were none other than Nara and Narayana. Both of them told Prahlad that they were invincible and nobody could defeat them in battle. Prahlad's anger crossed all limits. A tremendous battle ensued between Prahlad and Nara-Narayana."
"Prahlad went to the sacred place called Rishikanya and took a holy dip in the Irawati River. After that, he worshipped Lord Janardan in the temple situated nearby and then proceeded on his journey towards Kurukshetra. After reaching there, he worshipped Lord Kurudhwaj and paid a visit Lord Narasimha temple. After taking a holy dip in the river Devika, he proceeded on towards Gokarna Tirtha where he took bath in river Prachi and worshipped Lord Vishwakarma. Ultimately after visiting numerous sacred places, he reached Madhunandini where he worshipped Lord Shiva who had a chakra in his hands and Lord Vishnu possessing a trident.
Narad was surprised and asked Pulastya why Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu had held Sudarshan chakra and trident respectively. Pulastya explained- "During ancient times, there was a mighty demon king named Jalodbhav. He had pleased Lord Brahma by his severe penance and was blessed by him to become immortal. After receiving the boon, Jalodbhav became arrogant and started tormenting the deities and the sages. The deities sought the refuge of Lord Vishnu. They accompanied Lord Vishnu to Himalaya Mountain to meet Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva exchanged their weapons. Both of them went to kill the demon who on seeing them got scared and hid in a nearby river. Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva waited eagerly for him on the opposite banks of the river.
After sometime, Jalodbhav came out of the river thinking that both of them must have departed by now. He climbed up the Himalaya Mountain and both the deities chased him. Lord Shiva attacked him with his chakra while Lord Vishnu pierced his trident in his chest. Jalodbhav died and fell down from the Himalaya Mountain." After finishing his story, Pulastya says- "This was the reason why both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shankar had exchanged their weapons. The spot where Lord Shankar had kept his foot resulted into the manifestation of river Vitastaa. Prahlad after worshipping Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva at Madhunandini went to Bhrigutung Tirtha situated on the Himalaya Mountain."
Gajendra and the Crocodile
Sage Narad requests Pulastya to describe how Gajendra managed to release itself from the jaws of the crocodile. Pulastya says-
"There lived a crocodile in a reservoir near Trikut Mountain. One day, a thirsty elephant arrived there to quench its thirst. The wicked crocodile caught hold of the elephant's leg and dragged it towards the middle of the reservoir. The elephant tried its best to release itself from the crocodile's jaws but was unsuccessful. Being helpless, it started remembering Lord Shri Hari as it was his great devotee. It picked up a lotus flower and chanted the following stotra- 'Salutations to that Lord Vishnu who is the originator of this universe. Salutations to the omnipresent Lord Vishnu who is revered by the sages. I take the refuge of Lord Vishnu who is also known by the names of Vishveshvar, Shri Hari and Sanatan Purush.' This way, the elephant eulogised Lord Vishnu with great devotion.
Pleased by his devotion, Lord Vishnu killed the wicked crocodile with his Sudarshan chakra and liberated the elephant. Actually, this crocodile was none other than Gandharva Huhu who had attained the form of a crocodile after being cursed by sage Deval. He was liberated from the curse and went to heaven. Lord Vishnu touched the elephant and it got transformed into a divine human being. This way, with the blessings of Lord Vishnu, both of them were liberated."