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Author Topic: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories  (Read 65140 times)

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Offline SS91

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Re: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories
« Reply #105 on: February 05, 2011, 03:57:12 PM »
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  • Bhakta Prahlad 
     
    Prahlad's story begins during the time of Lord Vishnu's fourth avatar (incarnation) Varaha. In order to rescue the earth from the captivity of Hiranyaksha, Lord Vishnu had arrived in the avatar (incarnation) Varaha (boar) form and killed him. Hiranyaksha's elder brother Hiranyakashipu was very angry about this. He resolved to take revenge of his brother's death. He went to the Himalayas and began to perform severe penance for many, many years. Lord Brahma was pleased by his penance and asked him for a boon. Hiranyakashipu asked that “May I never be killed neither by any weapon nor any creature made by you, neither in the day nor in the night, and neither on earth nor in the sky”. Lord Brahma agreed to Hiranyakashipu's  boon and gave it to him. 
    While Hiranyakashipu was away, the gods had attacked his kingdom and killed his nephews. Lord Indra had even abducted his wife, Queen Kayadhu who was expecting a child. Devarishi Narad stopped Indra on his way back to heaven. Indra declared to Devarishi Narad that Kayadhu was pregnant; he would destroy her unborn baby and then release her. Devarishi Narad however, assured Indra that the unborn baby was a supreme devotee of Lord Vishnu and that they should not fear him. Lord Indra was convinced and released Queen Kayadhu, who then began to stay at Devarishi Narad's hermitage. Addressing the unborn baby, Narad daily used to preach Queen Kayadhu about the devotion one should have for God. This was the way the baby would never forget the preaching it received in the pre-natal stage.

    At the appropriate time, Queen Kayadhu gave birth to a son, Prahlad. Prahlad was the youngest among Hiranyakaship's four sons. He appeared to be the eldest in virtues. He did not have any desires. He was content like the hermits, truthful and always wished well for everyone. He had full control over his senses, mind and body. He was also completely untouched by the demonic virtues of his father and brothers. Since childhood, he remained submerged in devotion to Lord Vishnu. The demons even tried to use their illusionary powers on Prahlad but none of their powers could stand before him. Two sages, Shand and Amark produced an ogress, Kritya to kill Prahlad if he didn't follow their ways, but she killed them instead of killing Prahlad. But Prahlad was kind hearted and prayed to Lord Vishnu and brought them back to life.

    Hiranyakashipu tried another way to kill Prahlad. He had a sister, Holika who had a boon that she would not die by fire. King Hiranyakashipu asked her to sit on a bonfire with Prahlad on her lap in the hope that this would kill Prahlad. Prahlad was not at all worried and chanted Lord Vishnu's name and was not hurt, but Holika was burned to her death. All the measures taken by the demons to kill Prahlad proved to be fruitless.

    Because of this, Hiranyakashipu began to feel afraid. Once more, he forcibly sent Prahlad to the hermitage of Shand and Amark. Once there, Prahlad did take the education they offered but had no interest in their teachings. When his teachers used to get engaged in minor activities, Prahlad would assemble his fellow disciples around him and preach to them that, “Brothers, this human incarnation is not meant to be wasted. If we don't  find God in this birth, it would be a great loss. We can achieve the means to find God right in our childhood, for when we grow young, we are caught by the material wealth and nothing can be done in old age. It is very easy to find God. He is present in everyone's hearts. He is in every living being. Hence, we should not torture any creature. We should concentrate our mind in the God”.

    At the age of five years, Prahlad was preaching to the demon boys. The demon boys followed him faithfully. His teachers saw that Prahlad's teachings were against demonic traditions, Prahlad was sent back to Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu decided to kill Prahlad with his own hands. He tied Prahlad to a pillar. Hiranyakashipu asked in a loud voice: “O fool, with whose powers you have been humiliating me with? Now, I am going to kill you, call your God to save you.”

    Prahlad was unconcerned replied humbly: “Father, don't be angry. Lord Vishnu is the protector of us all. I am not dishonoring you. One's own mind is his biggest enemy in the world. Lord Vishnu is everywhere. He is in me, in you, in your sword and is also present in the pillar”.

    Little Prahlad could not even finish his words when his angry father hit the pillar with his mace. As soon as the mace touched the pillar, it broke with a thundering sound. Everyone who was present in the court panicked. They saw a creature emerging from the pillar. It had the face of a lion and a human body. Emerging from the broken pillar was the avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu as Narsimha. Narsimha roared angrily. The demon king Hiranyakashipu tried his best to escape from Narsimha. But at last, Narsimha caught hold of him and dragged him towards the threshold. There, he put Hiranyakashipu on thighs and tore his belly with his terrifying nails.

    The anger of Narsimha did not subside even after killing Hiranyakashipu. He was still roaring repeatedly. Lord Brahma, Lord Shankar and even Goddess Lakshmi prayed to Lord Narsimha from a distance but no one had the courage to go near him. Finally, Brahma sent Prahlad near Narsimha to calm him down. Fearlessly, Prahlad went near Narsimha and laid himself flat at his feet. Affectionately, the Lord in Narsimha form raised Prahlad and embraced him and said: “O son Prahlad, you had to bear the sufferings for so long. Please forgive me.”

    Prahlad felt overwhelmed. The lord of the universe was standing before him and was stroking his head in assuring way. Prahlad bowed his head faithfully. Lord Narsimha then asked Prahlad to seek some boon. Prahlad said: “You are my true Lord. If you wish to grant me a boon, kindly bless me that no desire may arise in my mind for anything.”

    Prahlad also prayed to Lord Narsimha for his father, asking him, “O Lord, my father had always criticized you. Please free him from the sins he has committed.” Lord Narsimha replied saying, “Prahlad, your father has now become holy.” Lord Narsimha promised Prahlad that he would never kill any of his descendents. Lord Narsimha then escorted Prahlad to the throne of his father and made him sit on it, instructing him to follow good conduct and do his duties. Saying those words  Lord Narsimha disappeared.
     
     
    A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
    The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
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    Offline SS91

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    Re: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories
    « Reply #106 on: February 05, 2011, 03:59:14 PM »
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  • Shravan Kumar 
     
    Once upon a time there lived a boy named Shravan Kumar. He had parents who were blind. He had to do all the work for them, since they could not see. Shravan took great care and did everything for his mother and father with earnestness and love. He fulfilled every wish of his parents. One day his parents expressed their desire to go on a pilgrimage. Shravan wanted to take them so he made a device like a balance, to carry them on his shoulders. His parents were pleased that their only son was fulfilling their wish. During the journey, Shravan managed to get them some roots and fruits from the forest. They ate them and never accepted corn or cereal offered by anyone else. They were on a pilgrimage and wanted to eat simple food offered only by their son.
    While on pilgrimage they arrived in a forest near Ayodhya. His parents were thirsty and requested Shravan to get water to quench their thirst. Shravan Kumar took a vessel to fetch water from the river Sarayu. He left his parents and went to the banks of the river.

    Dashrath was the king of Ayodhya and he was fond of hunting. He had come to the forest alone to hunt. He had a unique skill of shooting a mark with his arrow from where he heard the sound. As soon as Shravan Kumar dipped the vessel to fill water, Dashrath thought it was the sound of a deer drinking water. He received the arrow precisely, aiming at the place from where the sound came. The arrow pierced into Shravan. He gave out a cry and fell on the ground.

    On hearing the moaning sound, King Dashrath came to the place to see who it was. He saw an innocent boy crying in pain. The vessel was lying on the ground. His body was all splashed with blood and mud. When King Dashrath saw this young boy, he became very sad and started cursing himself.

    When Shravan saw the king, he told him, “O, King! Please don't worry. I came to take water for my parents. They are thirsty. I am in severe pain. Please pull out this arrow and take some water to my parents and tell them the sad news.” The king sadly removed the arrow and went to Shravan's parents with water. He silently gave them water to drink, which they refused to accept unless the carrier revealed his identity. The parents had in fact grown suspicious of some foul play. Their intuition had warned them that the carrier was not their real son. He conveyed the message about the death of their son. Shravan's old and blind parents were shocked and were in utter grief. They cried out loud and told the king to take them to  their dead son.

    King Dashrath carried them on his shoulders to the place where Shravan Kumar had died. Just then, Shravan Kumar spoke to his parents, “Through my services to you I have attained a place in the heaven. Do not worry about me. I shall wait for you both and provide my service to both of you when you come to me.”

    Shravan's mother and father both took a dip in the Sarayu River. Soon after, they died by their son Shravan's side because of unbearable shock. But before dying they cursed Dashrath, “Just as we are dying because of our son's loss, you would also die one day for the same reason, O' King.” Their curse came true and King Dashrath died when Lord Ram was sent out in exile for fourteen years to the forest.

     
    A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
    The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
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    Offline SS91

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    Re: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories
    « Reply #107 on: February 05, 2011, 04:00:27 PM »
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  • Nachiketa
     
     
    A while ago, there once lived a little boy named Nachiketa. He was the son of Rishi Udalak. Once, Rishi Udalak organized a yagna (a type of puja) to please the gods and gain a heaven. It was a custom in those days to donate cows to Brahmins at the end of the yagna. Udalak was a miser and he donated old and weak cows to the Brahmins. Since the cows were old and weak, they hardly yielded any milk. Nachiketa was puzzled by his father's action. “What does he mean  by all this?” he said to himself. “What happened to all the useful cows? What does my father gain by gifting such useless cows? This is no, less than committing a sin. It is actually cheating. He should be gifting the things which are dear-ones. He intends to gain heaven by performing the sacrifice. But he will go to Hell instead through such actions.”
    He asked his father about this, “Father, to whom will you give me to as charity or gift?” This made his father very angry, but he decided not to say anything and got engaged in preparation of gifting ceremony. When Nachiketa repeated the question, Udalak lost his temper and said, “Get away from here. I will give you to Yama, God of Death.” Yama is the king of Yamapuri and also the God of Death. “I should fulfill his wish,” thought Nachiketa, even if it means leaving home and embracing death. Obeying his father, Nachiketa went to Yama's kingdom. It would not be proper for him to disobey his father.

    His father, however, realized his mistake, but it was too late. He muttered, “Shame upon my anger! I should never have uttered those words. What will befall me now? I have asked death for my son!” With a blank head and a heavy heart he sat down and tried to stop Nichaketa.

    But Nachiketa did not stop. He said, “Father! I must see Yama to obey your order.” He reached Yama's kingdom but was told by Yama's guards that he had gone out for three days. Nachiketa decided to wait at his doorstep until he returned. He waited for three days without any food or water. He basically fasted for three days!

    Finally, Yama returned on the fourth day and saw little Nachiketa at his doorstep. He was saddened that he kept a Brahmin waiting without welcoming him and not giving him food and water. It was very bad not to welcome an atithi (guest) at the doorstep. He yelled at his wife, Yami for not welcoming him. The both of them rushed around the house to serve little Nachiketa. One of them went to fetch water while the other brought a mat for him to sit on.

    Yama still did not feel completely satisfied in serving him, so he told Nachiketa, “Dear child, I have offended you by keeping you waiting for three days. To wash my sin I request you to ask for three boons.”

    Nachiketa answered to Yama by saying, “My first wish is that when I return home, may my father welcome me lovingly. My second wish is to grant me the knowledge so that I can be worthy of living in the heavens. My third and last wish is to grant me Atma-vidya (knowledge of the atma).”

    Yama granted Nachiketa the first two boons immediately but tried to convince Nachiketa to give up his third wish. He offered Nachiketa gold, pearls, coins, horses, elephants and even the happiness of Swarg (heaven) instead. But Nachiketa firmly said, “No, I do not wish for anything else.” Finally, Yama granted him the third boon too, and Nachiketa was enlightened with the  knowledge of the atma (soul).

    Nachiketa returned back to his parents. His father embraced his son with open arms and said, “My dear son, please forgive me.” Mother overwhelmed with joy, enquired, “Dear child! How did you acquire this luster on your face?” Nachiketa narrated the entire story to all those assembled. Praise was showered on Nachiketa for his achievement.

    The story of little Nachiketa teaches us to be kind to all creatures, to respect one's parents and to be strong willed to do something that has been decided. Even if it means facing difficulties and obstacles, one should stick to their decision. It always  teaches to search for eternal happiness.

     
    A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
    The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
    http://lh5.ggpht.com/_lOgd1uS-wX0/TCOlFNMxIBI/AAAAAAAAE88/GpxUgxnwioE/why_fear_when_i_am_here.jpg

    Offline SS91

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    Re: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories
    « Reply #108 on: February 05, 2011, 04:01:37 PM »
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  • Abhimanyu
     
     
    An epic battle, the Mahabharat war was fought for righteousness. In the eighteenday Mahabharat war, the thirteenth day would be remembered because of a heroic sixteen year old boy, Abhimanyu, son of one of the Pandavs, Arjun. During the thirteenth day of the war, he fought courageously against might warriors. Despite his tender age, his mastery in warfare and phenomenal valor wrecked such havoc that it caused the enemy leaders to use the most treacherous and cowardly means to try to defeat him. At dawn on the thirteenth day, the evil Duryodhan smartly arranged the Kauravs in a battle formation known as Chakravyuh, a circular formation. At the center Guru Dronarachya kept Duryodhan. To guard him, he arranged seven circular formations going outwards. In the outer circles, he placed terrifying warriors known as Maharathis, such as Dushasan, Karna, Guru Kripacharya, Ashwathama, Shakuni, Shalya, Bhurishrava and Jayadrath. 
    When the Pandavs and their leader Yuddhisthir saw the Chakravyuh their high spirits dropped. Nobody among them knew how to break the Chakravyuh except Arjun and his son Abhimanyu. That day, the war was purposely set up so that Arjun would be tied up elsewhere. Yuddhisthir appointed the sixteen year old Abhimanyu to break the Chakravyuh. However, Abhimanyu knew how to go in but did not know how to come out. They then formed a battle strategy. When Abhimanyu broke through, the Pandavs would follow him to create a wider opening and protect him. They would prevent the outer layer of the circle from closing in. Abhimanyu then climbed his chariot. In an instant he was streaking like a lightning bolt towards the Chakravyuh. The mighty warriors of the Pandavs army followed.

    Young Abhimanyu clashed with the Kauravs at the outer ring. He charged through.  The Chakravyuh was open! Like a mighty lion he entered under the nose of Drona, his ‘grand guru?. A mere sixteen year old had managed to outwit the experienced Guru Dronarachya. Abhimanyu shot off arrows like flashes of lightning. The arrows smashed chariots and cut down soldiers. Those who dared fight him either died or went for a hasty retreat. He was a tornado, whirling through and churning up the Kauravs army. Abhimanyu reached Duryodhan finally. The seventh layer of the circle had been broken. The Maharathis rushed to protect Duryodhan.

    Meanwhile Yuddhisthir and the other Pandavs clashed with Jayadrath at the outer layer, just after Abhimanyu broken through. Jayadrath, however effectively stopped their progress with a wall of elephants. The Pandavs could not help Abhimanyu, who had sped in the circle so fast. He was crashing through the ranks, deeper and deeper into the Chakravyuh. Abhimanyu did not  know how to get out so he was basically on his own.

    At the center, a gruesome battle took place. Abhimanyu fought valiantly. He smashed and destroyed the hundreds of arrows fired at him by Kripacharya, Ashwathama, Duryodhan, Shalya and Bruhadbal. On several occasions, all of them had to flee his tremendous volley of arrows. He cut down many other Maharathis. Karna then asked Drona how Abhimanyu could be defeated. Drona admired Abhimanyu's unexcelled valor and supreme archery. He had no other choice but to reveal the secret of defeating Abhimanyu. As the master of warfare, only he knew how. He said, “If you can, break his dense armor, kill his two charioteers and destroy his chariot. Then cut the string of his bow. So long as he sits in his chariot with his bow, nobody  can defeat him!”

    The six Kauravs Maharathis did just that. They attacked him mercilessly from all sides and all at once. They knew well enough that in war, only two people can fight each other at a time but they broke the rules of war. However the gallant young Kshatriya fought right until the end. The Pandavs had an intuition that their worst fears had come true. Soon the terrible news was confirmed. Yuddhisthir and Bhim fell down sadly. They had sent Abhimanyu to his death. The Pandavs had never sunk so deep in despair and sorrow, since the beginning of the war. They were unable to face Arjun on his return. Despite his death, he had fought for Dharma (righteousness). This is why a sixteen year old boy was the supreme hero of the thirteenth day and even perhaps the whole Mahabharat war.
     
     
    A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
    The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
    http://lh5.ggpht.com/_lOgd1uS-wX0/TCOlFNMxIBI/AAAAAAAAE88/GpxUgxnwioE/why_fear_when_i_am_here.jpg

    Offline SS91

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    Re: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories
    « Reply #109 on: February 06, 2011, 04:43:21 PM »
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  • Uddalaka and Svetaketu - story from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
     
    Uddalaka was a great rishi. He had a son by name Svetaketu.

    After giving him the sacred thread at the proper age, the rishi called him one day and said, "Svetaketu, proceed to the house of a guru and living there as a student, learn the Vedas well; for, there is none in our family who is not learned in the Vedas."

    As directed by his father, Svetaketu went to a gurukula or the ashrama of a guru and studied the Vedas under the guru. He returned home when he was twenty-four years of age, a proud scholar. He thought that there remained little else for him to know.

    His father was a shrewd man. He at once knew that his son's head was swollen with pride. He wanted to correct him.

    One day he called him and said, "Son, I think you feel you have mastered all knowledge on the face of the earth; but, have you ever learnt that knowledge, by which we can hear what is not heard; perceive what cannot be perceived, and know what cannot be known?"

    Svetaketu was a trifle upset. He asked humbly, "Sire, won't you tell me what that knowledge is? Seeing that his son was coming round, the father said, "My dear, let me explain myself fully. When, for instance, you know one clod of Clay, you can know all that is made of clay. When you know a nugget of gold, you can know all ornaments made of gold, because the essence of it is gold. When you know a nail-cutter, you can know all that is made of iron, the truth being that all of them are iron. The only difference is in their names and forms. That is the knowledge I am talking about." Svetaketu said, "Sir, my venerable gurus did not perhaps know it.

    Had they known, why would they have not taught it to me? Please teach it to me." '

    Uddalaka said, "All right. I shall teach you;- listen. In the beginning of creation, O child, the Sat or True Being alone existed. It had neither equal nor second. It thought, 'Let me multiply myself and create beings.' He first created Tejas or fire god. The fire god wanted to multiply himself. He created the water god. That is why whenever anybody weeps or perspires, water comes out. The water god wanted to multiply himself and created the food god. Then the True Being thought, 'I have now created these three gods. Now I shall enter them as Jivatma and assume name and form!'

    'Later on, the True Being thought, 'I shall now make each of them enter into the other.' "Having thus entered them with His living spirit, It assumed names and forms like Agni, Indra etc. The True Being made them enter into one another, again. 0 child, now learn what each became thereafter. Whatever was fire showed as red. Whatever was water showed as white and whatever was food showed as black. Thus you will see the word Agni vanishes in fire. This change has only been in name. The three primary forms Tejas, Apas or water and Annam or food are the only true forms.




    The red colour of the Sun is Tejas; its white colour is water; its black colour is the food or the earth. Thus the name Aditya for Sun should vanish. It is only a conventional name. "You have now learnt from me, child, how every deity and element is descended from the three primary forms of the True Being.

    "He or the Sat alone is all-name, because every name is His name.

    He alone is all-power, because every power is His. All the forms that belong to others are reflections of His form. He is the only one without an equal or second. He is the best of all. He being the Chief, He is called Sat or the True Being. Knowing Him we know everything else. When a man sleeps soundly, he comes into contact with the Sat. When man dies, his speech merges in the mind, the mind in his breath, his breath in the fire and the fire in the Highest God, the True Being. Thus the soul or Jiva-Atman is deathless. All the universe is controlled by the Sat. He pervades it all. He is the destroyer of all. He is full of perfect qualities. O Svetaketu, you are not that God.

    Svetaketu asked, "Sire, please teach me more."

    Uddalaka said, "The bees, my child, collect the honey from different flowers and mix them in the hive. Now, honeys of different flowers cannot know one from the other.

    "My child, the rivers that run in the different directions rise from the sea and go back to the sea. Yet the sea remains the same. The rivers, while in the sea, cannot identify themselves as one particular river or another. So also creatures that have come from Sat know not that they have come from that Sat, although they become one or the other again and again."

    Uddalaka then asked his son to bring a fig fruit. When he did so, Uddalaka asked him to break it. He broke it.

    Uddalaka: "What do you see in it?"

    Svetaketu "I see small seeds."

    Uddalaka "Break one of the seeds and say what you see."

    Svetaketu "Nothing Sir."

    Uddalaka: "You are unable to see the minute particles of the seed after breaking it. Now, the big fig tree is born out of that essence of that particle. Like that, the True Being is the essence of all creation. " Uddalaka asked his son to bring some salt and put it into a cup of water and bring the cup next morning.

    Svetaketu did so.

    Uddalaka: "You put the salt into the water in this cup. Will you take the salt out?

    Svetaketu "I am unable to find the salt; for it has dissolved."

    Uddalaka "Taste a drop from the surface of this water." Svetaketu "It is saltish."

    Uddalaka "Now taste a drop from the middle of the cup."

    Svetaketu "It tastes the same, saltish."

    Uddalaka: "Now taste a drop from the bottom."

    Svetaketu "It is saltish all the same."

    Uddalaka "Now child, you do not see the salt, although it is certainly in the water. Even so, the True Being is present everywhere in this universe, although you do not see Him. He is the essence of all, and the desired of all. He is known to the subtlest intellect."

    Svetaketu became humble thereafter, and became a great rishi himself in course of time. This is a story from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

     
     
    A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
    The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
    http://lh5.ggpht.com/_lOgd1uS-wX0/TCOlFNMxIBI/AAAAAAAAE88/GpxUgxnwioE/why_fear_when_i_am_here.jpg

    Offline SS91

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    Re: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories
    « Reply #110 on: February 06, 2011, 04:45:06 PM »
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  • Satyakama, the truthful
     
    One day a young boy came to the ashrama of Sage Gautama and said: "Holy Sire, I want to get the sacred knowledge by serving you. Please accept me as your student."

    The sage asked: "Child, What is your gotra?" (Gotra is one's family name).

    The boy replied: "Sire, I asked it of my mother. She said: 'Child, when you were born, I used to be very busy serving guests at home. I had no time to ask the gotra from your father. Now he is no more. So I do not know it. My name is Jabala and yours, Satyakama. So call yourself Satya- kama -Jabala and say that to your Guru."

    On hearing it, the rishi smiled and said: "I admire you, child, for saying the truth. I am sure you must be born of a noble gotra. I shall accept you as my student. Go and get me some samid. I shall initiate you in brahmacharya."

    The twigs of the sacred peepal tree are called samid.

    For studying the sastras, one has to become a brahmachari. And the teacher has to be paid in kind like samid for his service.

    The boy brought the samid, and the guru made him a brahmachari by giving him the sacred thread and the Gayatri Mantra. This mantra says: "O God, give me intelligence!"

    After a few days, the rishi gave the boy four hundred lean and ill fed cows and said: "Child, take these to the forest and graze them."

    The boy said: "Sire, I shall return when these cows multiply into a thousand."

    Satyakama built an ashrama for himself in the forest and looked after the cows. All the time he carefully practised the duties of a brahmachari.

    Years went by. The number of cows increased to a thousand.

    One day a bull among them spoke to him: "Satyakama! Now the cows are a thousand in number. Take them to your Guru. I shall teach you 'a fourth' about Brahman or God. His name is Prakasavan. Agni, the God of fire, will teach you more later."

    And he taught Satyakama a quarter of the sacred truth.

    Accordingly, Jabala drove the cows to the Guru's ashrama.

    He stopped on the way for the night and lighted a fire to warm himself.

    From that fire God Agni appeared before him and said: "Satyakama! I shall teach you the second quarter of the sacred truth about Brahman. He is called Anantavan."

    And he taught him another quarter of the sacred knowledge. Accordingly, Jabala drove the cows to the Guru's ashrama.

    On the following evening Satyakama stayed near a lake along with the cows.

    At that time a swan came flying from the waters and said, "Satyakama! I shall teach you the third quarter of Brahman. He is called Jyotishman." And he taught him more of the sacred truth. On the following day, he stayed beneath a peepal tree.

    In the evening a waterfowl came before him and said: "Satyakama! I shall teach you the fourth and last part of Brahamn.

    And he taught him the fourth part, naming it "Ayatanavan."

    When Satyakama reached the Guru's ashram with the thousand cows, the Guru asked: "Child, your face shines with Brahma Gyana or the knowledge of Brahman. Who taught you?"

    Satyakama told him about his four teachers and said: "Sire, I now request you to teach me personally Brahma - Gyana. Then only will it be perfect."

    The rishi said: "Child! whatever you have learnt is real Brahma Gyana. There is little else that I can add. I bless you!"

    By serving the Guru faithfully one gets real spiritual knowledge.

    This story is told in the great Upanishad called Chhandogya.
     
     
    A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
    The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
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    Offline SS91

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    Re: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories
    « Reply #111 on: February 06, 2011, 04:50:06 PM »
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  • Sri Hanuman
     
    The ideal devotee of Shri Rama and the God of Strength from Ramayan; one of the few Chiranjeevis (who do not die).

    There is no village or town in Bharat without a temple dedicated to Hanuman. An unforgettable character in the great epic, the Ramayan, he has become a symbol of courage, loyalty and mature wisdom.

    Men and women, the young and the old, people of all ages and of all professions worship Hanuman.

    Students pray to him for intelligence and soldiers for strength. In olden days there used to be temples of Hanuman at the gates of forts. The gymnasiums of wrestlers invariably have his picture.

    Every human being has good qualities and bad qualities. Our ancestors have taught that every one should develop his/her good qualities and go nearer God. Divinity is only being full of noble qualities. In our country some men and women have later come to be honored as divine beings, winning the reverence, the devotion and the love of the common people. Hanuman is one such great soul.

    According to legend, Hanuman is the son of the Wind God. Air sustains all living beings. One can exist without food, spend days without water; but it is impossible to exist even for a short time without air. Air is life. Therefore, Hanuman is also called 'Pranadeva' or the God of Life.

    Hanuman was a master of music. He was also an expert in dance and drama. So, he is worshipped with love and devotion by musicians and actors. He was also a great yogi or mystic.

    Hanuman was born to Anjanadevi and Vaayu, the wind God. Hanuman is also called 'Aanjaneya', son of Anjana. Hanuman was extraordinary from the very moment of his birth. There are many very interesting stories about his childhood.

    When he was small, Hanuman felt very hungry. Looking up he saw in the east something red. Hanuman thought that the red sun was a fruit and flew up to snatch it. What was a child's whim became something serious. Though the sun's heat burnt his face, Hanuman was determined and continued to fly towards the sun. Indra, the Lord of Heaven, feared that the sun might be caught. So he hit at Hanuman with his terrible weapon Vajrayudha. Hanuman fell down and was hurt. His cheeks became swollen.

    (This is why he came to be called Hanuman. 'Hanu' in Sanskrit means the cheek.)


    Now, Hanuman's father, the Wind God became very angry. So he would not move at all. In all the three worlds there was no air to breathe. Then all the gods came and consoled the Wind God. Each god conferred a boon upon the little Hanuman. Brahma and Creator said, "No weapon will be able to kill this boy." Indra said to the boy, "You will be a 'Chiranjeevi' (immortal)."

    Blessed thus by the gods, Hanuman grew up to be as strong as his father. He flew about as freely and was quite mischievous. The Rishis, who were troubled by his mischief, pronounced a curse on him. Hence, Hanuman would never know how powerful and strong he was. Others will have to remind him about his strength. Only then he would realize it.

    Meeting With Shri Rama And Lakshmana

    When Hanuman grew up he became the minister of Sugreeva, the King of Kishkindha. Vali was the elder brother of Sugreeva. Once Vali, who was fighting with a rakshasa, entered a cave with his opponent; he did not come out for a long time. Blood began to flow from the cave, so Sugreeva thought that Vali was dead. He returned to Kishkindha and became its king. But a little later, Vali returned and drove out Sugreeva. Sugreeva and his ministers hid themselves in the Malaya mountains; Vali could not enter this region.

    When Shri Rama, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana were in the forest, a rakshasa by name Ravana took away Sita by force. Rama was in great grief. He was wandering in the forests and came to Kishkindha. Sugreeva saw him when he came with Lakshmana to the Malaya mountains. Sugreeva and his companions were full of fear that Vali had sent Shri Rama and Lakshmana to kill them. But Hanuman asked them not to be afraid. Sugreeva was also very anxious to know who those handsome young men were. Whom should he send to talk to them? Finally he choose Hanuman.

    Hanuman was an excellent ambassador. He could easily understand the nature of other people. As soon as he saw Rama and Lakshmana, he realized that they were not deceivers, but noble persons. In soft and pleasing words he asked them who they were, and told them about himself. Rama was very happy when he heard the words of Hanuman. He said to Lakshmana, "Did you hear his words? Even an enemy with his sword drawn would be pacified by such words. If a ruler has such a messenger, his efforts will always be successful."

    Hanuman took Rama and Lakshmana to Sugreeva. He had hopes that these brave young men would make Sugreeva king again.

    Sugreeva's Minister, Rama's Messenger

    Rama and Sugreeva became friends very soon. When Sugreeva challenged Vali to a fight, Rama helped his friend by killing Vali with an arrow.

    When she heard this sad news, Vali's wife, Thara was full of grief. She fell on his body, weeping. Hanuman prostrated before her and said, "Revered lady, Vali came to this condition because of his evil deeds, his own actions. Sugreeva was only the means. Please do not think that Sugreeva killed Vali. No one can live for all times in this world. Look at your son Angada and console yourself."

    Sugreeva then became king. All his troubles were over. The kingdom was his. He forgot his promise to Rama that he would immediately send servants to search for Sita and find her. He left the responsibilities of the state to his ministers; he forgot everything in his pleasures.

    Hanuman warned him. He did his duty as a minister, saying the right thing at the right time. He said to Sugreeva, "O King, the kingdom and the fame which you desired are now yours. If you do not help your friends at the right time, even the greatest help you offer later will be totally useless. Though Rama is very anxious to find Sita, he is waiting for you. It is already late, but he is a patient man. Please send your army at once to search for Sita."

    Sugreeva sent Neela, one of his commanders, to find out where Sita was. And he returned to his pleasures.

    The rainy season was over. It was now autumn. Rama's mind was always filled with thoughts of Sita's sufferings and sorrows, and he was miserable. He revealed his misery to Lakshmana. Hot blooded Lakshmana was very angry with Sugreeva. He went to see Sugreeva. His anger made Sugreeva's subjects shiver with fear. Sugreeva himself was so terrified, he did not know what to do.

    Again it was Hanuman who gave wise counsel. He said to Sugreeva, "Shri Rama may not really be angry with you. Perhaps he was sent Lakshmana to you as his work has been delayed. When those who are more powerful than we are enraged, it is not wise for us to become angry. Our anger will only heighten their rage. At such times we should seek to pacify the mighty. Besides, Shri Rama has helped you and therefore you should behave respectfully towards him."

    This time advice was effective. Sugreeva pacified Lakshmana, and with his entire army went to Rama. He sent the army in all the four directions to find out where Sita was. Vast as the ocean, the army set off with shouts of enthusiasm. The deafening noise seemed to make the earth Shiver. Shri Rama removed a ring from his finger and giving it to Hanuman, said: "When Sita sees you, she may be afraid of you, or may not believe your words. If that happens, show her this ring. We depend entirely on your strength."

    Hanuman prostrated before Rama and set off.

    The Vast Sea Before Them

    Hanuman, Angada, Jambavantha and others went towards the south in search of Sita. Sugreeva had given them only a month's time to find her. They wandered far and wide and grew utterly weary. At last they came to the sea. They stood before the vast, roaring sea.

    The period granted by Sugreeva was over. So what were they to do? The brave soldiers of Sugreeva sat bewildered. If they returned to Kishkindha, Sugreeva would certainly punish them. So, Angada suggested that they should fast to death on the sea-shore. But Hanuman replied, "Angada, that would not be right. Surely Sugreeva will not punish us if we return." He tried to persuade them in many ways. But the others in their pessimism would not listen to him. All of them spread some grass and lay down on it, determined to die.

    Just then a person by name Sampathi came there. From him they learnt that Sita was Ravana's prisoner in Lanka. Their joy knew no bounds. They danced about shouting, "Oh! Now we know about Sita!" With great enthusiasm, they turned to the sea. But who could cross the ocean?

    One of them said, "I can jump across ten yojanas." (The 'yojana' was the old unit of measurement of distance.) Another said, "I can jump twenty yojanas." Jambavantha was a mighty warrior, but now old. He said, "When I was young, I could leap over any distance. Now I am old, and can leap ninety yojanas. But this is a hundred."

    Angada went further can cross a hundred yojanas, and reach Lanka. But I do not know if I will have strength left to come back."

    The old Jambavantha consoled them all and said, "Hanuman is the only great hero who can leap over the sea to Lanka and come back. Let me go and cheer him up and encourage him."

    Hanuman was sitting away from others and silently gazing at the sea.

    You remember that some sages had pronounced a curse upon Hanuman, when he was a young boy - that he would not be aware of his own strength unless others told him of it. Jambavantha now praised Hanuman's strength and ability. He said, "No other living creature has your strength, wisdom and radiance. Why are you sitting quiet, not knowing yourself? You can certainly jump over the ocean."

    A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
    The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
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    Re: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories
    « Reply #112 on: February 06, 2011, 04:51:25 PM »
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  • What Can Stop Hanuman?

    As Hanuman became aware of his own powers, great enthusiasm welled up in him. He stood up and after glancing at them all began to grow. His companions were astonished. As they went on praising him, his stature grew.

    He grew so tall that he could jump across the sea. Still he was very modest. He bowed to the elders and said, "I am the son of the Wind God who can move in the skies without touching the earth. If need be I can throw skyward all the water of this ocean and make the three worlds float on water. I will go like lightning and surely see Sitadevi."

    His voice was like thunder. He stood on Mount Mahendra and grew even bigger and then leapt.

    Even the gods in Heaven were amazed at Hanuman's flight over the ocean. They wanted to test his strength; they sent an unearthly spirit by name Surase, from the serpent world, to obstruct him. She appeared before Hanuman in the form of a rakshasi (demon) and roared: "The gods have given you for my food. I will swallow you," "You cannot go further without entering my mouth," she added.

    She opened her mouth, and it was big enough to swallow the huge Hanuman.

    Hanuman increased his size further and said, "Eat me if you want but your mouth will have to be much bigger." Surase's mouth grew wider as Hanuman's body grew bigger. Hanuman's form grew bigger and bigger. Even so, Surase's mouth grew wider and wider.

    Hanuman was clever. He thought there would be no end to this process. Suddenly he shrank to the size of a thumb, entered her mouth and came out. He now stood before her and entreated her with these words - "Now that I have entered your mouth and come out of it also, please allow me to continue my journey."

    Surase was pleased with his cleverness and allowed him to go, wishing him success.

    Hanuman moved on. But there was another obstacle. There was another rakshasi in the way and she had a strange power. She would drag down those who were flying above the sea by catching hold of their shadows from below and would eat them up later. She was now overjoyed that she could get food and dragged down Hanuman's shadow. Hanuman entered her mouth. But once inside, he grew bigger; he then burst open her body and came out.

    Hanuman could see Lanka at a distance. His joy knew no bounds. But he feared that if he entered Lanka as he was, every one would see him. So assuming his normal size, he alighted on a mountain near the seashore.

    Hanuman Enters Lanka

    It was night. Hanuman was about to enter the city. But a goddess stopped him at the city gates. She was the goddess who protected Lanka. She thundered at him: "Who are you? If you wish to enter, you must first defeat me."

    Hanuman was enraged. His left fist came down on her face with crushing force. The blow made her totter. She begged him for life and said, "The Creator Brahma had said that when a monkey defeated me the end of Lanka would be near. Perhaps the time has now come. Go in and look for Sita."

    Where Is Sita?

    Lanka was a city of great splendor. The eyes could feast endlessly on its beauty and wealth. It was full of grand buildings and lovely gardens. But Hanuman's important task was to find Sita. So, he did not pay much attention to the beauty of the city. He searched for Sita in the mansions of important rakshasa leaders like Kumbhakarna. She was nowhere to be seen. Then he entered the palace of Ravana himself. He searched in all the nooks and corners of the palace but did not see Sita.

    Hanuman's anxiety grew. Rama and Sugreeva would be waiting with the belief that he would surely bring news of Sita. What answer could he give them? He thought he should not lose hope and went on with his search with renewed effort. But Sita was nowhere to be seen.

    Hanuman was very much disturbed. Had she fallen into the sea on the way to Lanka? Or, had her heart burst at the sight of the vast ocean? Or perhaps Ravana had eaten her, as she did not marry him? Thoughts swarmed into his mind.

    Sita Overjoyed

    Just then he saw the garden Ashokavana at a distance. 'Oh, I have not looked there', thought Hanuman and flew to the garden. He combed the entire garden and finally found Sitadevi. He was in raptures. Sita was sitting under a tree, in a soiled saree. Her plight made Hanuman both sad and angry. He sat on the tree beneath which Sita was seated.

    Day dawned. The rakshasa king Ravana came to see Sita. Sita did not wish to speak to him directly. She held a twig in her hand and replied to Ravana's words, as if she was speaking to the twig. Ravana was very angry and went back. In her grief Sita decided to kill herself.

    From his perch upon the tree, Hanuman could see and hear everything. He now resolved to address her. But he realized that if he talked to her all at once, she might be frightened. So he thought of a plan. From where he sat, he narrated the story of Rama. And he said, as if in wonder, "it seems as if Sitadevi is here!"

    Hearing a voice from above Sita was at first scared, Ravana had just then left. She feared it might be a trick of the rakshasas. But she heard the names of Rama and Lakshmana and their story. She looked up in surprise. Hanuman softly got down from the tree and prostrated before her. He again said that he was Rama's messenger and praised him. Sita was overjoyed. Hanuman showed her the ring, which Rama had given him. The sight of the ring brought back all her sorrow. Hanuman comforted her with these words: "Shri Rama will surely take you from here. Please do not worry. You need not even wait till Rama comes. If you agree straightaway I can carry you to Rama on my back. Not only you, but the entire city of Lanka with Ravana, I can carry on my back."

    But Sita calmed him and said: "Bring Rama and Lakshmana here." She gave him the choodamani, a jewel she wore in her hair, so that he could show it to Shri Rama.

    'Ravana, Think Over This'

    Hanuman had now completed his mission. But he thought it would be a good thing if he could manage to get an estimate of the enemy's strength, kill some of the prominent rakshasas and also give a warning to Ravana. It occurred to him that he put Ravana in a rage, if he destroyed the Ashokavana so dear to him.

    He set about it and uprooted trees. He pulled from the ground all the creepers bearing beautiful flowers. He trampled upon other plants. Seeing all this, the rakshasas on duty there ran to Ravana in fear. Ravana was furious when he heard the news. But all the rakshasas he sent were destroyed by Hanuman in the twinkling of an eye.

    Ravana then sent his son Indrajith himself to capture Hanuman. Indrajith was a great hero. He fought with Hanuman for a while and then shot the Brahmasthra. Hanuman wanted to show respect to the weapon carrying the power of Lord Brahma and allowed himself to be tied up by it for a while.

    The rakshasas were excited and in great glee. Indrajith took Hanuman to Ravana's court. The sight of Hanuman threw Ravana into a towering rage. The radiance of Ravana's face astonished Hanuman.

    Even Devendra, the King of Heaven, was afraid of Ravana. But Hanuman was fearless. He told Ravana why he had gone there. He said, "Look, Ravana, it is not proper for you to kidnap Sitadevi and make her suffer like this. You have performed tapas (long prayer and meditation) Just think, can you face Rama? You will be destroyed, and your friends, relatives and this city, too, will be destroyed. Give up this evil way and restore Sita to Rama."

    His words were like adding fuel to the fire. Ravana's anger blazed. He ordered the rakshasas to kill Hanuman. But his brother Vibheeshana intervened; he said that it was not right according to the principles of diplomacy to kill the enemy's messenger.

    Ravana agreed with him; he said to his servants, "Tails are ornamental to monkeys. So set fire to Hanuman's tail."

    At once the rakshasas wrapped some cloth around Hanuman's tail, poured oil over it and set fire to it.

    They paraded Hanuman all over the city.

    Now Hanuman was in a high rage. Still he was glad that the rakshasas were showing the whole city to him. He carefully noted the hidden fortresses, the topography and other useful details.

    Then all at once he leapt high. He freed himself from the ropes. He beat up all the rakshasas following him and stood on a high place. He set fire to all the buildings nearby. The houses of Ravana's ministers and commanders began to burn. Very soon the whole city of Lanka was in flames.

    But suddenly Hanuman realized his mistake. In his enthusiasm to burn Lanka, he had forgotten that Sita was there. His heart was about to burst. Quickly he flew to Ashokavana. He saw Sita sitting under a tree. His anxiety was at an end. He touched her feet and received her blessings; then he flew back across the ocean.

    Jambavantha, Angada and others were waiting for Hanumantha. The sight of Hanuman brought them immense relief.

    A Hero Without Equal

    In his anxiety to get news about Sita, Shri Rama was counting each day.

    Hanuman narrated all his doings to Rama in detail and also gave him the ornament sent by Sita. Rama was overjoyed. He said: "Hanuman has done what no one else in the world could do. I had not seen a hero who could leap across the sea. He is a very intelligent messenger who has done not only what he was asked to, but also what he thought was appropriate. He is a good messenger who performs the task assigned to him and also what pleases his master. Surely, Hanuman is an excellent messenger." Shri Rama embraced Hanuman and praised him highly.

    The War

    Preparations were afoot for the war with Ravana. The monkey army marched towards Lanka with great enthusiasm. Rama and Lakshmana were carried by Hanuman and Angada respectively on their shoulders.

    After Hanuman left Lanka, Vibheeshana tried to advise his elder brother Ravana. But was Ravana a person to listen to wise counsel? So, Vibheeshana left him and surrendered to Rama. There were heated arguments whether Vibheeshana should be accepted or not. Shri Rama turned to Hanuman for his opinion. The latter said, "My Lord, allow me to say one thing. I have carefully watched Vibheeshana's face and listened to his voice when he was speaking. He has no deceit or evil intention. I think you can accept him. But with your matchless intelligence, only you can finally decide what you should do with Vibheeshana."

    Finally Shri Rama gave shelter to Vibheeshana and his followers.

    The Vanara army built a bridge across the sea. The war between Rama and Ravana began.

    If One Hanuman Is Alive…'

    Hanuman's valour rose sky-high in this war. He dashed rakshasas to the ground or whirled them and threw them up. He crushed to death many a rakshasa hero like Dhoomraksha and Akampana. The enemies trembled at his very sight. Anjaneya fought so valiantly that Ravana himself praised him as a real hero. Rama had no chariot to fight Ravana, who was sitting on a high chariot. Hanuman carried Rama on his shoulders when Rama had to fight with Ravana.

    Ravana's son Indrajith was a great hero of the rakshasa army. He once shot the Brahmasthra, the terrible missile with the power of Lord Brahma, the God of Creation. The whole Vanara army tell down unconscious. Even Rama and Lakshmana fainted. Hanuman who had also fainted for a moment, got up and going round the battlefield with Vibheeshana, put courage into his soldiers with his words. While walking along, Vibheeshana saw the old Jambavantha and spoke to him. The latter opened his eyes slowly and asked, "Vibheeshana, is Hanuman alive?"

    Vibheeshana was amazed and said, "Revered Jambavantha, you do not ask about Rama and Lakshmana or about Sugreeva, Angada or Neela. But you ask about Hanuman only; why?"

    "Vibheeshana, if that one great hero is alive, even if the entire Vanara army is dead, it makes no difference. But if that one person is dead, our army is as good as dead. We can hope to live only as long as he is alive." So replied Jambavantha.

    Hanuman, who was standing quite near and heard these words, held his feet with respect and devotion, and mentioning his own name, said he was alive. Then Jambavantha said to him, "You have now to do a mighty task to bring our army to life. You have also to save Rama and Lakshmana who have fainted because of the Brahmasthra.

    Fly across the ocean and over a great distance till you reach the Himalaya mountains. You will there see a mountain containing all herbs. There grow the herbs Mritha Sanjeevini, Vishalyakarani, Savamakarani and Sandhanakarani. Fetch them at once and save these soldiers."

    Immediately Hanuman flew towards the Himalayas with the speed of thought. He could also see the mountain. Hanuman searched for them and, when he could not find the herbs, threatened the mountain itself in his terrible anger. "See what I will do to you," he said, and shaking the very mountain flew back with it to Lanka. As he streaked across the sky with the mountain it appeared as if the very sun was flying towards Lanka.

    The very smell of those herbs was enough to make Rama, Lakshmana and the whole army recover and sit up. The rakshasas did not want the enemy to know how many on their side had died; so, obeying Ravana's orders, they had thrown their dead into the sea. So no rakshasa could come back to life. Having achieved his Purpose, Hanuman flew back with the mountain to its place, put it there, and hurried again to the battlefield.

    After the war was over, Hanuman entered Lanka and stood before Sita and told her of the victory. Sita was speechless for a moment with joy. Then she said that there was no fitting reward she could give to Hanuman who had brought such happy tidings.

    "The words you have spoken with such affection are more precious than any heap of diamonds or the divine kingdom. I have seen Rama victorious. What greater fortune can I ask for!" Hanuman replied.

    Rama had now to return to Ayodhya. But he had some doubts. Bharatha had ruled over the kingdom for fourteen years. So he might wish to be the king. How could he find out? Even if Bharatha had that desire, he would not say so. And nobody could ask him. Some intelligent person should make it out from Bharatha's face and the way he spoke, and should then inform Rama. It was a difficult mission which would need much shrewdness and a capacity to understand persons.

    Who was to go?

    There was only one person whom every one remembered when there was a difficulty to be overcome, when courage and intelligence was needed. And that was Anjaneya! Shri Rama, of course, sent for Hanuman.

    He told him, "if Bharatha has the slightest wish to be king and does not want me to return, come and tell me. I will stay on here. You must carefully observe his expression and study his words and find out."

    Hanuman assumed the shape of a man and went to Ayodhya and informed Bharatha of Rama's arrival. Bharatha fainted with joy. When he recovered he said, "O greatest of men, I do not know whether you are a man or a god. I must reward you for bringing this glad news."

    Shri Rama returned to Ayodhya.

    His coronation took place with great splendor. Rama gave priceless gifts to all his friends. He also gave an invaluable necklace and ornaments to Sitadevi. But she remembered the great help of Hanuman and gave them to him. She even took off the necklace and looked at Rama. Shri Rama read her mind and said, "Devi, do please give the necklace to the person who has brought you immense joy and in whom valour, ability, courtesy and wisdom are embedded for ever." At once, she gave necklace to Hanuman.
     
    A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
    The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
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    Re: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories
    « Reply #113 on: February 06, 2011, 04:52:56 PM »
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  • A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
    The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
    http://lh5.ggpht.com/_lOgd1uS-wX0/TCOlFNMxIBI/AAAAAAAAE88/GpxUgxnwioE/why_fear_when_i_am_here.jpg

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    Re: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories
    « Reply #114 on: February 06, 2011, 04:55:59 PM »
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  • Sri Ganesh  

    Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Hindu festivals. It falls on the 4th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada (August-September). It is observed throughout India, as well as by devoted Hindus in all parts of the world. Ganpati is the elephant-headed God.

    The following story is narrated about his birth and how he came to have the head of an elephant. Once upon a time, the Goddess Parvati, while bathing, created Ganpati as a pure white being out of the mud of her body and placed him at the entrance of the house. She told him not to allow anyone to enter while she went inside for a bath. God Shiva himself was returning home quite thirsty and was stopped by Ganpati at the gate. Shiva became angry and cut off Ganpati's head as he thought Ganpati was an outsider. When Parvati came to know of this, she was sorely grieved. To console her, Shiva ordered his disciples to cut off and bring to him the head of any creature that might be sleeping with its head facing north. The disciples went on their mission and found only an elephant in that position. The sacrifice was thus made and the elephant's head was brought before Shiva. Shiva then joined the elephant's head onto the body of Ganpati.

     
     
    A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
    The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
    http://lh5.ggpht.com/_lOgd1uS-wX0/TCOlFNMxIBI/AAAAAAAAE88/GpxUgxnwioE/why_fear_when_i_am_here.jpg

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    Re: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories
    « Reply #115 on: March 14, 2011, 07:13:47 PM »
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  • Savitri
     
    In India, in the time of legend, there lived a king with many wives but not one child. Morning and evening for eighteen years, he faced the fire on the sacred altar and prayed for the gift of children.

    Finally, a shining goddess rose from the flames.

    "I am Savitri, child of the Sun. By your prayers, you have won a daughter."

    Within a year, a daughter came to the king and his favorite wife. He named her Savitri, after the goddess.

    Beauty and intelligence were princess Savitri's, and eyes that shone like the sun. So splendid was she, people thought she herself was a goddess. Yet, when the time came for her to marry, no man asked for her.

    Her father told her, "Weak men turn away from radiance like yours. Go out and find a man worthy of you. Then I will arrange the marriage."

    In the company of servants and councilors, Savitri traveled from place to place. After many days, she came upon a hermitage by a river crossing. Here lived many who had left the towns and cities for a life of prayer and study.

    Savitri entered the hall of worship and bowed to the eldest teacher. As they spoke, a young man with shining eyes came into the hall. He guided another man, old and blind.

    "Who is that young man?" asked Savitri softly.

    "That is Prince Satyavan," said the teacher, with a smile. "He guides his father, a king whose realm was conquered. It is well that Satyavan's name means 'Son of Truth,' for no man is richer in virtue."

    When Savitri returned home, she found her father sitting with the holy seer named Narada.

    "Daughter," said the king, "have you found a man you wish to marry?"

    "Yes, father," said Savitri. "His name is Satyavan."

    Narada gasped. "Not Satyavan! Princess, no man could be more worthy, but you must not marry him! I know the future. Satyavan will die, one year from today."

    The king said, "Do you hear, daughter? Choose a different husband!"

    Savitri trembled but said, "I have chosen Satyavan, and I will not choose another. However long or short his life, I wish to share it."

    Soon the king rode with Savitri to arrange the marriage.

    Satyavan was overjoyed to be offered such a bride. But his father, the blind king, asked Savitri, "Can you bear the hard life of the hermitage? Will you wear our simple robe and our coat of matted bark? Will you eat only fruit and plants of the wild?"

    Savitri said, "I care nothing about comfort or hardship. In palace or in hermitage, I am content."

    That very day, Savitri and Satyavan walked hand in hand around the sacred fire in the hall of worship. In front of all the priests and hermits, they became husband and wife.

    For a year, they lived happily. But Savitri could never forget that Satyavan's death drew closer.

    Finally, only three days remained. Savitri entered the hall of worship and faced the sacred fire. There she prayed for three days and nights, not eating or sleeping.

    "My love," said Satyavan, "prayer and fasting are good. But why be this hard on yourself?"

    Savitri gave no answer.

    The sun was just rising when Savitri at last left the hall. She saw Satyavan heading for the forest, an ax on his shoulder.

    Savitri rushed to his side. "I will come with you."

    "Stay here, my love," said Satyavan. "You should eat and rest."

    But Savitri said, "My heart is set on going."

    Hand in hand, Savitri and Satyavan walked over wooded hills. They smelled the blossoms on flowering trees and paused beside clear streams. The cries of peacocks echoed through the woods.

    While Savitri rested, Satyavan chopped firewood from a fallen tree. Suddenly, he dropped his ax.

    "My head aches," he said.

    Savitri rushed to him. She laid him down in the shade of a tree, his head on her lap.

    "My body is burning!" said Satyavan. "What is wrong with me?"

    Satyavan's eyes closed. His breathing slowed.

    Savitri looked up. Coming through the woods to meet them was a princely man. He shone, though his skin was darker than the darkest night. His eyes and his robe were the red of blood.

    Trembling, Savitri asked, "Who are you?"

    A deep, gentle voice replied. "Princess, you see me only by the power of your prayer and fasting. I am Yama, god of death. Now is the time I must take the spirit of Satyavan."

    Yama took a small noose and passed it through Satyavan's breast, as if through air. He drew out a tiny likeness of Satyavan, no bigger than a thumb.

    Satyavan's breathing stopped.

    Yama placed the likeness inside his robe. "Happiness awaits your husband in my kingdom. Satyavan is a man of great virtue."

    Then Yama turned and headed south, back to his domain.

    Savitri rose and started after him. Yama strode smoothly and swiftly through the woods, while Savitri struggled to keep up. At last, he stopped to face her. "Savitri! You cannot follow to the land of the dead!"

    "Lord Yama," said Savitri, "I know your duty is to take my husband. But my duty as his wife is to stay beside him."

    "Princess, that duty is at an end," said Yama. "Still, I admire your loyalty. I will grant you a favor -- anything but the life of your husband."

    Savitri said, "Please restore my father-in-law's kingdom and his sight."

    "His sight and his kingdom shall be restored." Yama again headed south. Savitri followed.

    Along a river bank, thorns and tall sharp grass let Yama pass untouched. But they tore at Savitri's clothes and skin.

    "Savitri! You have come far enough!"

    "Lord Yama, I know my husband will find happiness in your kingdom. But you carry away the happiness that is mine!"

    "Princess, even love must bend to fate," said Yama. "Still, I admire your devotion. I will grant you another favor -- anything but the life of your husband."

    Savitri said, "Grant many more children to my father."

    "Your father shall have many more children."

    Yama once more turned south. Again, Savitri followed.

    Up a steep hill Yama glided, while Savitri clambered after him. At the top, he halted.

    "Savitri! I forbid you to come farther!"

    "Lord Yama, you are respected and revered by all. Yet, no matter what may come, I will remain by Satyavan!"

    "Princess, I tell you for the last time, you will not!" said Yama. "Still, I can only admire your courage and your firmness. I will grant you one last favor -- anything but the life of your husband."

    "Then grant many children to me" said Savitri. "And let them be children of Satyavan!" Yama's eyes grew wide as he stared at Savitri. "You did not ask for your husband's life, yet I cannot grant your wish without releasing him. Princess! Your wit is as strong as your will."

    Yama took out the spirit of Satyavan and removed the noose. The spirit flew north, quickly vanishing from sight. "Return, Savitri. You have won your husband's life."

    The sun was just setting when Savitri again laid Satyavan's head in her lap.

    His chest rose and fell. His eyes opened.

    "Is the day already gone? I have slept long," he said. "But what is wrong , my love? You smile and cry at the same time!"

    "My love," said Savitri, "let us return home."

    Yama was true to all he had promised. Savitri's father became father to many more. Satyavan's father regained both sight and kingdom.

    In time, Satyavan became king, and Savitri his queen. They lived long an happily, blessed with many children. So they had no fear or tears when Yama came again to carry them to his kingdom.
     
     
    A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
    The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
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    Offline SS91

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    Re: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories
    « Reply #116 on: April 19, 2011, 08:39:48 AM »
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  • Sri Krishna


    We don't know how long ago he was born. It was long centuries ago. There are many legends, as you know, about some of the people who leave their mark on history. One of these is Sri Krishna, whom millions of people have looked upon as God, born in India in a human body.

    One day when he was just a baby, still crawling on the ground, he got into a mud-puddle, and you can well imagine that very soon he was putting some of the mud into his mouth -- it looked so good! Something like chocolate? Boys of the neighborhood saw Krishna eating the mud and, knowing it would not be good for him, ran to tell his mother.

    She hurried to the mud-puddle. Worried to know how much the baby had put into his mouth, she placed her hand on it and asked him to open it. And you cannot imagine what happened to her. Instead of the usual pink tongue, palate and little teeth, Mother Yashoda saw the whole universe in the mouth of her baby. Krishna's mouth displayed the entire solar system in the Milky Way, the sun, moon and earth itself, crawling with its many living creatures.

    Do you understand why she saw it this way? Her vision was changed. Like clouds dispersing before a blazing sun, her ordinary ideas about this baby being just human like the rest of us vanished, and by the power of God even in that tiny body, the divine nature of this child shone through.

    But his mother didn't understand this right away. She thought she must be dreaming. When she realized she was actually seeing God in her baby, she became very humble. Aware, now, of his real power and holiness, she gave voice to a prayer: "O Lord of Love, who has entered our world as a human child, you have given me the honor of taking care of you; please shower Your blessings on us forever!"

    Then -- to finish our story -- you must know that her consciousness changed again. Yashoda became her usual self and was able to pick Krishna up and take him to a basin and wash off all the mud. And she warned him about eating it. So once again the Lord, covering himself with a human disguise, so to say, allowed himself to be brought up as babies always are.

    When they are a bit older babies can also be naughty and get into worse trouble. Sri Krishna was not different in this respect. One day his mother had churned milk to make fresh cheese. She had kept it in a pot where she thought it would be safe. But Krishna found the pot, pulled it down and broke it. Putting his little hand in, he pulled out some cheese and crawled to a dark corner to eat it. Just then a monkey wandered in (as they sometimes do in India) and Krishna fed some of his cheese to the monkey. When Mother Yashoda discovered all this, she gave the boy a good scolding and decided to fasten him somewhere with a rope, so she might go on with her work.

    She thought she had chosen a long enough piece of rope, but it proved too short when she tried to use it. So she got more rope, and still more, and tied them together, but Krishna seemed so big she could not get the rope around him! How could He, who has no beginning or end, and is everywhere in space, and who is all powerful, ever be bound with ropes? Yet little Krishna, secretly smiling, finally allowed his mother to fasten the rope around him. Because of her great love, he could not resist her any longer and let her have her way.

     

    We too can come close to Sri Krishna, by the love we have for Him: He hears the call of a loving and devoted heart and responds. You'd better believe it!


    A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
    The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
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    Offline SS91

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    Re: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories
    « Reply #117 on: December 07, 2011, 02:07:24 PM »
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  • YAYATI

    This story, from the Mahabharata, conveys the timeless message of self control and restraint.

    Sukracharya was the preceptor of Asuras (demons). The Asura king Vrishaparva greatly respected Sukracharya as he knew the secret of Mritasanjibani, a drug that brings the dead back to life. Devayani was Sukracharya's only daughter and spoiled by her father's indulgence.

    One morning, Sharmishtha, the Asura princess, daughter of Vrishaparva, came to Sukracharya's hermitage with her friends. She asked Sukracharya to allow Devayani to accompany them for a bath in a nearby lake. Sukracharya agreed. They soon reached the lake and left their clothes on the bank to go into the water. Suddenly a storm blew up and scattered their clothes. The girls hurriedly came out of the lake and got dressed. It so happened that the princess Sharmishtha, by mistake, clad herself in Devayani's clothes. Angered by this, Devayani insulted Sharmishtha, the Asura princess. Argument began and Sharmishtha pushed Devayani into a dry well and left Devayani in the well.

     
    It so happened that Yayati, the king of a nearby state, came hunting in the forest and was looking for water to drink. When he came near the well he was surprised to find Devayani lying at the bottom. Devayani introduced herself and said that she fell into the well. She then requested the king to pull her out. Yayati helped her out. Devayani demanded that Yayati marry her as he has held her by the right hand. Yayati was alarmed and turned down her request on the ground that he belonged to lower Khatriya (or warrior) caste, and Devayani was a Brahmin (priestly) maid. Yayati then left and Devayani continued to sit under a tree.

    When she did not return, Sukracharya set out in search of her. He found Devayani under a tree, her eyes filled with tears of anger and grief. When Sukracharya inquired, Devayani told her father every thing, carefully hiding her own faults. She refused to return to the kingdom of Vrishaparva as she was badly insulted by the Asura princess, Sharmishtha. Failing to change her mind, Sukracharya returned to Vrishaparva and announced that he was leaving the Asura kingdom because of his daughter Devayani's unhappy conflict with princess Sharmishtha. Vrishaparva begged Sukracharya to stay. Sukracharya left the decision with his daughter Devayani.

    Vrishaparva wasted no time and went to Devayani taking his daughter Sharmishtha along. He begged forgiveness for his daughter. Devayani agreed to return on one condition that Sharmishtha be her handmaiden for the rest of her life. Sharmishtha agreed for the sake of her father, the king. Devayani was pacified and returned to her father's hermitage. But Devayani was vindictive and humiliated Sharmishtha by asking to massage her legs and run errands.

     
    One day, king Yayati passed that way. Devayani introduced Sharmishtha as her maid and reminded Yayati that he should marry her. Yayati repeated that he could not marry a Brahmin maid. Devayani then took Yayati to her father. Sukrachaya gave his blessing on their marriage. They were soon married and led a happy life. Devayani had two sons.

    Sharmishtha continued to stay as Devayani's handmaid. Yayati made a palace for Shramishtha at the request of Devayani. One day Sharmishtha secretly met Yayati and told him what happened between her and Devayani. Yayati was sympathetic. Sharmishtha begged Yayati to take her as the second wife. Yayati agreed and married her but without the knowledge of Devayani. Sharmishtha had three sons.

    One day, Devayani met the three sons of Sharmishtha. She asked the boys the name of their father. They pointed to Yayati. Devayani was shocked. She felt deceived and ran to her father's hermitage. Sukracharya was enraged and cursed Yayati with premature old age. Yayati begged for forgiveness. Sukracharya and Devayani felt sorry for him. Sukracharya then said, "I cannot take back my curse, but if any of your sons is ready to exchange his youth for your old age, you will be young again as long as you wish."

    Yayati, now an old man, quickly returned to his kingdom and called for his eldest son. "My dutiful son, take my old age and give me your youth, at least for a while, until I am ready to embrace my old age." The eldest son turned down his father's request and so also the next three older brothers. Then came the youngest, Puru. He agreed and immediately turned old. Yayati rushed out as a young man to enjoy his life. After years spent in vain effort to quench his desires by indulgence, Yayati finally came into senses. He returned to Puru and said, "Dear son, sensual desire is never quenched by indulgence any more than fire is extinguished by pouring oil on it. Take back your youth and rule the kingdom wisely and well."

    Yayati then returned to the forest and spent the rest of his days in austerities, meditating upon Brahman, the ultimate reality. In due course, he attained heaven.
    A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
    The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
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    Offline SS91

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    Re: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories
    « Reply #118 on: December 09, 2011, 09:25:05 AM »
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  • Kacha and Devayani
    (A story from the Mahabharata
     (Amar Chitra Katha)


    Prologue


    Devayani was the beautiful daughter of Shukracahrya, preceptor to the Asuras, the demons. Shukracharya knew the secret of Mritasanjibani that brings back to life the Asuras, killed in the war with the gods, the devas. The devas also wanted to know the secret of Mritasanjibani. So they sent Kacha, the handsome son of Brihaspati, preceptor to the Devas, to fall in love with Devayani. This is the story of Kacha and Devayani and how the devas learnt the secret of Mritasanjibani.
    Feature story
    Long ago, the Devas and the Asuras fought all the time for the lordship of the three worlds. The Asuras were care free and happy as long as Shukracharya, their preceptor, was with them. The valiant Devas, tired of the unequal struggle, went to Kach, the handsome son of Brihaspati, preceptor of the Devas and asked him to go to Shukracharya and learn the secret of Mritasanjibani.
    The obedient and dutiful Kacha immediately set out to meet Shukracharya. He humbly presented himself before the great wise man, introduced himself as the son of Brihaspati, and asked to become his disciple.
    Shukracharya was a true teacher. He immediately recognized Kacha’s brilliance as a student. Shukracharya did not differentiate between his students. He gave Kacha a warm welcome and accepted him as his pupil.
    Shukracharya had a daugher, Devayani, whom he loved dearly. He introduced Kacha to his daughter saying, "Kacha has vowed to be my pupil till the period of his studies is over."
    All learning in those days was handed down by word of mouth. The pupil lived with his guru's family as one of the household. In return for his education, the pupil served his guru with love and devotion. However, Shukracharya was very busy either at court or he was deep in meditation. So Kacha helped Devayani with her daily chores and watched after her.
    Within a few days of his arrival, Kacha found himself spending all his leisure hours in the company of the lively Devayani. Devayani was slowly drawn towards Kacha and they fell in love.
    Shukracharya liked Kacha because he was an attentive disciple.
    As the years passed, the Asuras became suspicious of Kacha. They wanted to get rid of him. One day as Kacha was attending Shukracharya’s cattle, the Asuras fell upon him and slew him. Then they cut him into pieces and fed his flesh to their dogs.
    When Kacha did not come home at the normal hour, Devayani became alarmed. When the cattle came back without Kacha she ran in a panic to her father and told him that Kacha was missing. Shukracharya closed his eyes and to the great relief of Devayani, Kacha came back to life and appeared before her. When Devayani inquired about his disappearance, Kacha tried to explain in a puzzled voice, "I was killed by the Asuras but I do not know how I came back to life?" Shukracharya just smiled.
    The love between Kacha and Devayani grew day by day. The Asuras were worried. They guessed right, Kacha was there to learn the secret of Mritasanjibani.
    One day Devayani asked Kacha to get her a particular flower that only grows in the deep forest. Kacha went for it. The Asuras followed him and once again killed him. But this time they carried his body to a secluded spot, grounded up into a paste, and dissolved it in the water of the ocean.
    Devayani waited and waited. When Kacha did not return she went again to her father. Shukracharya meditated and once again used the secret knowledge to revive Kacha. Devayani was overjoyed.
    The Asuras were now at their wits end. "How can we kill Kacha? Every time we kill him, his guru brings him to life!"
    They went to one of the senior Asuras and asked him how to destroy Kacha for good. The senior Asura gave them an idea. The next day, when Kacha went out with the cattle, they again slew him. This time then burnt him in the jungle. Then they took the ashes home and mixed it in a wine which Shukracharya was very fond of. They took the drink to Shukracharya for a taste. Shukracharya loved it. He immediately drank it and blessed the Asuras.
    When the cattle once again returned home without Kacha Devajani knew what had happened.
    "Will Kacha ever be mine?" she asked herself "The Asuras will never leave him alone!"
    She went to Shukracharya and wept. "Father, without Kacha I am as good as dead, please bring him back to life."
    Shukracharya waited for a while thinking. "It is no good to bring Kacha to life. The Asuras will only kill him again. "
    He tried to console his daughter, "It is futile Devajani to bring Kacha to life. The Asuras are determined to get rid of him. A wise soul, like you, should not grieve at a loved one's death. You are young and beautiful and you have your own life to live."
    But Devajani was adamant. So strong was her love for Kacha.
    “Father” she said, “Kacha was your best student. I am in love with him. I cannot live without him."
    Devayani stopped eating. Shukracharya could no longer bear to see his daughter in such agony. Again Shukracharya used his secret knowledge and called upon Kacha to come back to the world of the living. Kacha came back to life and spoke from inside the stomach of Shukracharya.
    "The Asuras killed me but I do not know how I happen to be inside your stomach?" echoed Kach.
    Shukracharya cursed himself for drinking the wine given by the Asuras. "Henceforth, wine shall be forbidden for those engaged in the pursuit of wisdom," declared Shukracharya in great frustration. Now Shukracharya had a real dilemma of his own. He could ask Kacha to come out but that would mean his own death.
    When he told Devyani of his dilemma she was again adamant, "Father, I cannot live if either of you dies."
    After long deliberation Shukracharya thought of a way out. He knew now the real purpose of Kacha's visit. He addressed Kacha, "I now see why you came and truly you have succeeded. There is only one way by which both of us can ensure Devayani's happiness. I will have to teach you the craft of Mritasanjivani.
    With his new knowledge Kacha emerged from Shukracharya's dying body and then immediately brought his guru back to life. Shukracharya could not have been happier with his pupil's progress.
    When the Asuras came to offer him wine, Shukracharya shouted, "You fool! Kacha now knows my secret. You helped him learn by your foolish deeds. But rest assured Kacha will continue to live with me because of his love for Devayani.
    But Shukracharya was wrong. Kacha too faced the troubling dilemma. Waiting for the period of his studies to come to an end, Kacha kept silent. While his love for Devayani was deep, his sense of duty towards the devas was no less strong.
    On the last the day of his studies, Kacha went to Shukracharya for his blessing. As a wise man and a dedicated teacher, Shukracharya concealed his grudge against Kacha but he was wondering how Kacha was going to bid farewell to Devayani.
    Devayani waited for Kacha to propose marriage. But when Kacha broke the heart-breaking news that he was going to fulfill his obligations to his own people, her joy turned to tears. Devayani pleaded with Kacha to take her as his wife. But Kacha replied, "Peerless one! I was reborn in your father's stomach. I am therefore your brother. I can't marry you. I must return to heaven."
    The broken-hearted Devayani cried out in her grief. She accused Kacha of using her to attain his goal. Distort she cursed Kacha, "You will never be able to use the craft of Mritasanjivani."
    Kacha quietly listened and then spoke, "Devayani, it is wrong to curse me. I could have walked away without reviving your father. There is no doubt that my love was sincere and truthful. But, I also have a duty to perform towards my own people. Because of your unfairness to me, I am cursing you. No Rishi's son will ever marry you. I may still teach the craft of Mritasanjivani to others, even though I may not be able to use it myself." Saying this Kacha departed for the abode of Indra, king of the Devas. Shukhacharya gently led Devayani away.
    With the passage of time, Devayani completely forgot about Kacha. She once again became playful and lived happily with her father and her playmates in the city of Vrishaparva, king of the Asuras.



    JaiSaiRam
    A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
    The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
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    Offline SS91

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    Re: Tales From Ancient India and Mythological Stories
    « Reply #119 on: February 28, 2012, 10:04:38 AM »
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  • Birbal caught the Thief


    Once a rich merchant’s house was robbed. The merchant suspected that the thief was one of his servants. So he went to Birbal and mentioned the incident. Birbal went to his house and assembled all of his servants and asked that who stole the merchant’s things. Everybody denied.


    Birbal thought for a moment, then gave a stick of equal length to all the servants of the merchant and said to them that the stick of the real thief will be longer by two inches tomorrow. All the servants should be present here again tomorrow with heir sticks.

    All the servants went to their homes and gathered again at the same place the next day. Birbal asked them to show him their sticks. One of the servants had his stick shorter by two inches. Birbal said, “This is your thief, merchant.”


    Later the merchant asked Birbal, “How did you catch him?” Birbal said, “The thief had already cut his stick short by two inches in the night fearing that his stick will be longer by two inches by morning.”



    Moral: Truth will always Prevail.
    A Person, who has controlled his mind, can achieve any success in his life. How far you are trying to control your mind?
    The mind that judges not others ever remains tension-free.
    http://lh5.ggpht.com/_lOgd1uS-wX0/TCOlFNMxIBI/AAAAAAAAE88/GpxUgxnwioE/why_fear_when_i_am_here.jpg

     


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