A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.

This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Gudi Padwa

Here's wishing all my readers
a very
happy Gudi Padwa!!!!

Link to my earlier article on the occassion of Gudi Padwa -

This is Utkarsh Speaking: Gudi Padwa

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Jalandhar - Concluding Part

In the first part, we read about Jalandhar challenging Lord Indra and subsequently winning Lord Vishnu on his side. In the second part we read about Jalandhar trying to seduce Parvati, and she recognising him through his disguise. Upset about the deception, she approached Lord Vishnu to teach Jalandhar a lesson.

On the request of Parvati, Vishnu decided to teach Jalandhar a lesson, by paying him in the same coin.

With his powers, Vishnu assumed the form of Jalandhar and went to meet Vrinda. It is said that Jalandhar got much of his powers from her chastity which had made him near invincible (besides the blessings of Lord Brahma). But unlike Parvati, Vrinda could not realise that this was not her husband. For a brief moment, this chastity was broken and when Vrinda realised that she was cheated, she cursed Vishnu to become a stone, as it was a stone-hearted person who could think of such an act. After cursing, she jumped into the fire and ended her life.

Vishnu accepted the curse and promised her that he
Shaligram shila
would take the form of Shaligram shila on the banks of the river Gandika (now in Nepal). He also blessed Vrinda that she would reside with him at his abode, Vaikuntha, and on earth in the form of the Tulasi (basil) plant, she would be seen as the purest of all pure things. Thus the Tulasi plant is considered to be the purest of all, and a leaf of the plant is enough, if put on anything, to make it pure too. Tulasi is considered to be so close to Vishnu that the devotees never offer him anything without Tulasi leaves on it.

When Jalandhar came to know about the death of Vrinda, he felt both angry and sad. He realised that this was part of his doing. In the meanwhile, Shiva and his army realised the illusory effect created by Jalandhar. The battle ensued with an even greater vigour. Jalandhar was bent on avenging his wives death and Shiva was determined to end what was destined, but his creation nonetheless.

Without the protection of his wives chastity cover, Jalandhar started losing. After a heavy battle, Shiva killed Jalandhar. However, it is said, that after his death, the soul of Jalandhar united with Lord Shiva.

Some other versions say, that after the death of Jalandhar, the gods came to know that Vishnu was suffering from guilt of leading to the death of a chaste woman. In his depression, he smeared the ashes from the place where Vrinda burnt herself and moved around aimlessly. The gods approached Lord Shiva, who directed them to Parvati, as it was on her request, that Vishnu did whatever he did. Parvati, then
Malati flowers
gave a few seeds and asked them to sprinkle them at the place where Vrinda’s ashes lay. From there came up three plants, Tulasi, Amla and Malati (Chinese Honeysuckle). Later, Tulasi and Malati, found place in Vishnu’s Vaikuntha.

The above myth is written due to clarifications sought by some of my regular readers, who had some misconceptions about Jalandhar due to some representations they had come across. Such myths assume importance as they carry with them, many smaller myths, which gain individual importance. In this case, the personality of Jalandhar, the chastity of Vrinda, the presence of kirti-mukha as part of the temple architecture, the birth of medicinal plants like Tulasi and the presence of shaligram-shila in the riverbed, etc.

Just to reiterate –

  • Jalandhar was not a demon. He simply led the demons against the gods.
  • Jalandhar was a brave and courageous man, who was blessed by Lord Brahma, who impressed Lord Vishnu in battle and ended up being one with Lord Shiva. This makes him an impressive mythological character.
  • Besides the fact that he was a brave man, he also derived his strength from his wives chastity which speaks volumes of his personality and his conjugal life.
  • He was not a twin or a lookalike of Lord Shiva. He assumed Shiva’s looks only once and that too to seduce Parvati. However, Shiva’s radiance was not a demon out to seduce Parvati, it was a ploy of Shiva with the help of Narada, to lead to Jalandhar’s elimination.
  • Also, he was not the child of Shiva, he was just an ‘aspect’ of him, which came out of Shiva’s angry looks which needed a destination. Some also say that he was truly the child of Sea and Ganga as he was found at the confluence of the two and brought up by the Sea.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Jalandhar – Part 2

In the first part, we read about Jalandhar challenging Lord Indra and subsequently winning Lord Vishnu on his side. The gods then approached Lord Shiva to help them out.

When the gods approached Lord Shiva to bail them out, Shiva with the help of Narada, hatched a plot. As part of the plot, Narada went to meet Jalandhar.

Narada was received with great respect. Narada was quite pleased with the splendour and grandeur of Jalandhar, but then he went on to say, that all the grandeur was nothing in comparison to that of Lord Shiva’s. Also, all the grandeur was meaningless without a consort like Parvati. Jalandhar asked Narada as to where could he find her. Narada immediately advised him to seek Parvati at Mount Kailash. Hearing the celestial ascetic say this, Jalandhar fell in the trap and immediately sent a messenger, Rahu, to Lord Shiva asking for Parvati.

Some versions say that once Jalandhar was praising the beauty of Vrinda. Feeling both flattered and embarrassed, she told him, that if he was smitten by just her beauty, then what would he do, if he saw the celestial beauty of Parvati. It was this statement of hers that made Jalandhar get curious about Parvati and longed to see her.

As soon as Shiva heard the message from Rahu, he got angry and in his rage a dangerous devouring being emerged from his eyebrows. This being was breathing fire and raging with terror. The sight put fear in the heart of Rahu and he begged Shiva to save him. Seeing this Shiva ordered the being to leave Rahu. But the being was created to devour Rahu and so was hungry and asked Shiva that his hunger had to be satiated and since he was the creator, he needed to resolve the same. Hearing this, Shiva simply said – “Go ahead and eat yourself”. No sooner had Shiva said this, that the being started eating itself starting from its feet, to body and then arms. Just when only the face was left, that Shiva stopped him and was so impressed with his devotion towards his creator, that Shiva blessed it and named it Kirti-mukha or the face of glory and gave it a place of honour on the ramparts of the temple. (To read more about the meaning of such symbols, please refer to my article - Mahashivratri - Part 2 )

Rahu went back and narrated the whole incident. This angered Jalandhar and he decided to wage a war on Shiva and a fierce battle took place between the two armies. When Jalandhar realised that the army of Shiva was gaining ground, through his powers, he created beautiful apsaras, to distract the army of Shiva. Soon Shiva’s armies were busy staring at the lovely damsels and started losing focus on the battle.

Taking advantage of this, Jalandhar assumed the form of Lord Shiva and approached Parvati. When Parvati saw the lustful eyes of Jalandhar, she immediately recognised him and was angry and upset. She managed to immobilise him, but was hurt and felt violated. She approached Lord Vishnu and urged him to teach Jalandhar a lesson for this single act of his.

We will next see what Lord Vishnu does on the request of Parvati. Keep reading…

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Jalandhar – Part 1

Here is an interesting story of Jalandhar, which I am writing on the request of some of my readers who seem to be trifle confused based on some popular depiction of the same.

Once, Lord Indra accompanied with Sage Brishaspati, decided to visit Lord Shiva at his abode. When Shiva came to know about it, he decided to test Indra’s devotion. He took the form of an ascetic and sat meditating at a distance from his abode. On the way,
Indra asked the ascetic, if he knew the way to Shiva’s abode. The ascetic did not reply. On repeated asking by Indra, when the ascetic did not reply, Indra got angry and picked up his vajra, to hurl at the ascetic.

Seeing this Shiva got angry and froze Indra’s hands. Brihaspati recognised the angry bloodshot eyes of Shiva, and sought pardon on behalf of both of them. Shiva was appeased and he diverted the radiation of his angry eyes towards the confluence of the Ganga and the sea, Gangasagar. From the confluence was born a child, who started crying ferociously and would not stop. His ranting grew louder and everybody around was quite unsettled by his shrieks. The sea approached Lord Brahma and sought a solution to the child.

Lord Brahma reached the spot and took the child on his lap. As soon as the child sat on his lap, he got hold of Brahma’s neck (some versions say, he pulled his beard so hard), that tears rolled down Brahma’s cheeks, and the lord named the child, Jalandhar! Brahma also blessed the child that he would grow up to be a brave and fearless king and would be vanquished by none other than Shiva himself. He then gave the child to the sea and asked him to bring up the child as his own.

This child grew up and on the advice of Shukracharya, his father withdrew the waters from a portion of the land, where Maya build a beautiful city. He was then appointed the king of the place and later married Vrinda, the daughter of Kalnemi, the demon king. This region went on to become the modern day city of Jallandhar. On growing up, he came to know all about the churning of the ocean, and how all that emerged from the sea was taken by the gods and the killing of Rahu by Lord Vishnu for drinking a drop of amrit, which anyways they deserved. All this enraged him and he decided to avenge the injustice.

Jalandhar sent a messenger to Lord Indra, seeking answers as to why all the wealth of his father, that emerged from the churning of the ocean was appropriated by him. The messenger was sent back without any attention or any proper answer. This antagonised Jalandhar to no end, and he waged a war on the gods, which inflicted heavy casualties on both sides. However, both seemed to be ready to fight nonetheless. On the part of the demons, their guru Shukracharya was ensuring that none died as he had the knowledge of the mritasanjivani. On the other side sage Brihaspati was also healing all those injured on the side of the gods through medicinal herbs. This was going nowhere.

Shukracharya, then advised Jalandhar to submerge the Dronagiri mountains in the ocean, thus eliminating the source of the herbs for Brihaspati. Jalandhar did so, and soon the mountain range was submerged in the sea, and the gods started losing out to the demons, as Brihaspati was not able to prepare his medicines to cure them.

The gods approached Lord Vishnu to bail them out. Vishnu agreed to help them, except that he had a problem. His consort Lakshmi considered Jalandhar as her brother, as she too was the child of the sea, and had made Vishnu promise that he would not kill Jalandhar. A fierce battle took place between Jalandhar and Vishnu, and it left Vishnu rather impressed by his bravery. He instead asked Jalandhar to seek a boon from him!

Jalandhar, asked that he and his sister, Lakshmi should make their abode in the Ksheersagar, the abode of Jalandhar. Vishnu agreed and started staying with Jalandhar. This left the gods back in trouble as Vishnu whose help was sought to bail them out, had now gone to stay with Jalandhar. This also gave an advantage to Jalandhar, and soon, his fame spread far and wide.

The gods now appealed to Lord Shiva to help them.

We will next read what Shiva did and how he helped the gods. Keep reading…