Category Archives: RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY

Short Story of The Best ‘Watermelon’ (1 min Read)

“I am from the village of Parra in Goa, hence we are called Parrikars. My village is famous for its watermelons. When I was a child, the farmers would organised a watermelon-eating contest at the end of the harvest season in May. All the kids would be invited to eat as many watermelons as they wanted (But only the biggest watermelons)

Years later, I went to IIT Mumbai to study engineering. I went back to my village after 6.5 years. I went to the market looking for big watermelons. They were all gone. The ones that were there were so small.I went to see the farmer who hosted the biggest watermelon eating contest. His son had taken over. He would host the contest but there was a difference.

When the older farmer gave us the biggest watermelons to eat he would ask us to spit out the seeds into a bowl. We were told not to bite into the seeds. He was collecting the seeds for his next crop. He kept his best biggest watermelons for the contest and he got the best seeds which would yield even bigger watermelons the next year.

His son, when he took over, realized that the larger watermelons would fetch more money in the market so he sold the larger ones and kept the smaller ones for the contest. The next year, the watermelons were smaller, the year later even small. In watermelons the generation is one year. In seven years, Parra’s best watermelons were finished.

In humans, generations change after 25 years. It will take us 200 years to figure what we were doing wrong while educating our children. Unless we employ our best to train the next generation, this is what can happen to us. We must attract the best into teaching profession.

–(Excerpt from a speech by India’s Ex- Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at an event hosted by the Federation of Gujarat Industries in Vadodara, India on 11 September, 2016)

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Can happiness be found through anything?

Jiddu Krishnamurti thoughts on Happiness and the ways to achieve it, this short read could give an insight to each individual and can help them during the search of their ‘Real’ inner happiness.

We seek happiness through things, through relationship, through thoughts, ideas. So things, relationship, and ideas become all-important and not happiness.

When we seek happiness through something, then the thing becomes of greater value than happiness itself. When stated in this manner, the problem sounds simple and it is simple. We seek happiness in property, in family, in name; then property, family, idea become all-important, for then happiness is sought through a means, and then the means destroys the end. Can happiness be found through any means, through anything made by the hand or by the mind? Things, relationship, and ideas are so transparently impermanent, we are ever made unhappy by them…

Things are impermanent, they wear out and are lost; relationship is constant friction and death awaits; ideas and beliefs have no stability, no permanency. We seek happiness in them and yet do not realize their impermanency. So sorrow becomes our constant companion and overcoming it our problem.

To find out the true meaning of happiness, we must explore the river of self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is not an end in itself. Is there a source to a stream? Every drop of water from the beginning to the end makes the river. To imagine that we will find happiness at the source is to be mistaken. It is to be found where you are on the river of self-knowledge.

From ‘The Book of Life’ By Jiddu Krishnamurti.

Jiddu Krishnamurti was an Indian philosopher, speaker and writer. His interests included psychological revolution, the nature of mind, meditation, inquiry, human relationships, and bringing about radical change in society. He stressed the need for a revolution in the psyche of every human being and emphasised that such revolution cannot be brought about by any external entity, be it religious, political, or social.

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A Test for a Reward

Kirātārjunīya is a Sanskrit kavya by Bhāravi, written in the 6th century or earlier. It is an epic poem in eighteen cantos describing the combat between Arjuna and lord Shiva at Indrakeeladri hills in present-day Vijayawadain the guise of a kirāta or mountain-dwelling hunter.

Along with the Naiṣadhacarita and the Shishupala Vadha, it is one of the larger three of the six Sanskrit mahakavyas, or great epics.

It is noted among Sanskrit critics both for its gravity or depth of meaning, and for its forceful and sometimes playful expression. This includes a canto set aside for demonstrating linguistic feats, similar to constrained writing. Later works of epic poetry followed the model of the Kirātārjunīya.

The Kirātārjunīya predominantly features the Vīra rasa, or the mood of valour. It expands upon a minor episode in the Vana Parva(“Forest book”) in the Mahabharata: While the Pandavas are exiled in the forest, Draupadiand Bhima incite Yudhishthira to declare war with the Kauravas, while he does not relent. Finally, Arjuna, at the instruction of Indra, propitiates god Shiva with penance (tapasya) in the forest. Pleased by his austerities, Shiva decides to reward him. When a demon named Muka, the form of a wild boar, charges toward Arjuna, Shiva appears in the form of a Kirāta, a wild mountaineer. Arjuna and the Kirāta simultaneously shoot an arrow at the boar, and kill it. They argue over who shot first, and a battle ensues. They fight for a long time, and Arjuna is shocked that he cannot conquer this Kirāta. Finally, he recognises the god, and surrenders to him. Shiva, pleased with his bravery, gives him the powerful weapon, the Pashupatastra, which later in the Mahabharata aids him against Jayadratha and the Kauravas during the Kurukshetra war.

Kiratarjuneeyam, Arjuna with Lord Shiva, Sri Kailasanadhar Temple, Kanchipuram, 7th Century, Pallava Archietectural Marvel

The following description of the work is from A. K. Warder. Bharavi’s work begins with the word śrī (Fortune), and the last verse of every canto contains the synonym Lakshmi.

In the first canto, a spy of the exiled king Yudhiṣṭhira arrives and informs him of the activities of the Kauravas. Yudhiṣṭhira informs the other Pandavas, and his wife Draupadiattempts to incite him to declare war, upbraiding him for stupidly accepting the exile rather than breaking the agreement and declaring war to regain what is rightfully theirs.

In the second canto, Bhima supports Draupadi, pointing out that it would be shameful to receive their kingdom back as a gift instead of winning it in war, but Yudhiṣṭhira refuses, with a longer speech. Meanwhile, the sage Vyasa arrives.

In the third canto, Vyasa points out that the enemy is stronger, and they must use their time taking actions that would help them win a war, if one were to occur at the end of their exile. He instructs Arjuna to practise ascetism (tapasya) and propitiate Indra to acquire divine weapons for the eventual war. Arjuna departs, after being reminded by Draupadi of the humiliation she has suffered.

In the fifth canto, Arjuna, is led by a Yaksha to the Indrakila mountain, which is described in great detail. Arjuna begins his intense austerities, the severity of which causes disturbance among the gods.

Meanwhile, in the sixth canto, a celestial army of maidens (apsaras) sets out from heaven, in order to eventually distract Arjuna.

The seventh canto describes their passage through the heavens.

In the eighth canto, the nymphs enjoy themselves on the mountain.

The ninth canto describes night, with celebrations of drinking and lovemaking.

In the tenth canto, the nymphs attempt to distract Arjuna, accompanied by musicians and making the best features of all six seasons appear simultaneously. However, they fail, as instead of Arjuna falling in love with them, they fall in love with Arjuna instead.

Finally, in the eleventh canto, Indra arrives as a sage, praises Arjuna’s asceticism, but criticises him for seeking victory and wealth instead of liberation — the goddess of Fortune is fickle and indscriminate. Arjuna stands his ground, explaining his situation and pointing out that conciliation with evil people would lead one into doing wrong actions oneself. He gives a further long speech that forms the heart of the epic, on right conduct, self-respect, resoluteness, dignity, and wisdom. Pleased, Indra reveals himself to his son, and asks him to worship Shiva.

In the twelfth canto, Arjuna begins severe austerities, and, on being implored by the other ascetics, Shiva takes the form of a Kirāta and arrives to meet Arjuna.

In the thirteenth canto, they both shoot the boar. Arjuna goes to retrieve his arrow, and one of the kiratas quarrels with him.

In the remaining five cantos, Arjuna and Shiva fight, Arjuna fails and finally realises whom he is facing, and surrenders to Shiva and wins his benediction.

The Kirātārjunīya is the only known work of Bharavi. It “is regarded to be the most powerful poem in the Sanskrit language”. A. K. Warder considers it the “most perfect epic available to us”, over Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita, noting its greater force of expression, with more concentration and polish in every detail. Despite using extremely difficult language and rejoicing in the finer points of Sanskrit grammar, Bharavi achieves conciseness and directness. His alliteration, “crisp texture of sound”, and choice of metreclosely correspond to the narrative.

A vyayoga (a kind of play), also named Kirātārjunīya and based on Bharavi’s work, was produced by the Sanskrit dramatist Vatsaraja in the 12th or 13th century.

The authoritative commentary on the Kirātārjunīya, as on the other five mahakayvas, is by Mallinātha (c. 1500 CE). His commentary on the Kirātārjunīya is known as the Ghaṇṭāpatha (the Bell-Road) and explains the multiple layers of compounds and figures of speech present in the verses.

The first Western translation of the poem was by Carl Cappeller into German, published by the Harvard Oriental Series in 1912.There have since been six or more partial translations into English.

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Dhuni Sadhana – an Incredible Fire Practice by Indian Saints

‘Dhuni Sadhana’, one of the most incredible practices followed by some sects of Vaishnava Sadhus (Saints)

Vaishnava sadhu-s performing the fifth (‘kot dhuni’, कोट धूनी) and sixth (‘kot khappar dhuni’, कोट खप्पर धूनी) phases of the ‘dhuni sadhana’ (धूनी साधना), an 18-year-long penance.

They chant and meditate with dried ‘gobar’ cakes burning around them in a circle for several hours every day in the sun, for four months a year (spring and summer), for three years in every phase.

In both the fifth and sixth phases, the cakes are placed very close to each other. The word ‘kot’ (कोट) is from Sanskrit कोटि which means “a crore” and also “uncountably many”, here used in the latter sense. In the sixth phase, the sadhu places burning ‘gobar’ cakes in an clay vessel which is placed on the head, in addition to the circle of burning cakes. The word ‘khappar’ (खप्पर) is from Sanskrit कर्पर which means “a pot or bowl” and also “the head”.

The ‘dhuni sadhana’ is a very difficult penance where the sadhu experiences lot of heat and smoke under the scorching sun. Many sadhu-s do this 18-year-long penance even today.

At the 2016 Ujjain Kumbhamela, 8,000 Vaishnava sadhu-s performed various phases of ‘dhuni sadhana’ in 40 degree Celsius temperature.

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That light cannot be given to you by another

Most people, when they are confused, disturbed, want to return to the past; they seek to revive the old religion, to re-establish the ancient customs, to bring back the form of worship practised by their ancestors, and all the rest of it. But what is necessary, surely, is to find out whether the mind that is the result of the past, the mind that is confused, disturbed, groping, seeking, whether such a mind can learn without turning to a guru, whether it can undertake the journey on which there is no guide. Because it is possible to go on this journey only when there is the light which comes through the understanding of yourself, and that light cannot be given to you by another; no Master, no guru can give it to you, nor will you find it in the Gita or in any other book. You have to find that light within yourself, which means that you must inquire into yourself, and this inquiry is hard work. No one can lead you, no one can teach you how to inquire into yourself. One can point out that such inquiry is essential, but the actual process of inquiring must begin with your own self-observation.

~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

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The Beauty With In

“Beauty comes from authenticity – exuding radiance and happiness from self acceptance and self-love”

The outer beauty comes from a different source than the inner. The outer beauty comes from your father and mother: their bodies create your body. But the inner beauty comes from your own growth of consciousness that you are carrying from many lives.
In your individuality both are joined, the physical heritage from your father and mother and the spiritual heritage of your own past lives, its consciousness, its bliss, its joy.
So it is not absolutely necessary that the outer will be a reflection of the inner, nor will vice versa be true, that the inner will correspond with the outer.

But sometimes it happens that your inner beauty is so much, your inner light is so much that it starts radiating from your outer body. Your outer body may not be beautiful, but the light that comes from your sources, your innermost sources of eternal life, will make even a body which is not beautiful in the ordinary sense appear beautiful, radiant.
But vice versa it is never true. Your outer beauty is only skin-deep. It cannot affect your inner beauty. On the contrary the outer beauty becomes a hindrance in search of the inner: you become too identified with the outer. Who is going to look for the inner sources? Most often it happens that the people who are outwardly very beautiful, are inwardly very ugly. Their outer beauty becomes a cover-up to hide themselves behind, and it is experienced by millions of people every day. You fall in love with a woman or a man, because you can see only the outer. And just within a few days you start discovering his inner state; it doesn’t correspond to his outer beauty. On the contrary it is very ugly.

For example, Alexander the Great had a very beautiful body but he killed millions of people, just to fulfill his ego that he is the world conqueror. He met one man, Diogenes, when he was on his way to India, who lived naked, the only man in Greece who did, unique in a way. His beauty was tremendous, not just the outer, but the inner radiance was so much and so dazzling that even Alexander had to stop his armies when he was close by in a forest near a river. He stopped the armies and went to see Diogenes alone; alone, because he did not want anybody to know that there exists a man who is far more beautiful than Alexander himself.

It was early morning and Diogenes was taking a sunbath, naked on the riverbank. Alexander could not believe that a beggar … He had nothing, no possessions — even Buddha used to have a begging bowl, but that too Diogenes had thrown away. He was absolutely without any possessions, exactly as he was born, naked.

Alexander could not believe his eyes. He had never seen such a beautiful personality and he could see that this beauty was not just on the outer side. Something infiltrated from the inner; a subtle radiation, a subtle aura surrounded him. All around him there was a fragrance, a silence.

If the inner becomes beautiful — which is in your hands — the outer will have to mold itself according to the inner. The outer is not essential, it will have to reflect the inner in some way.

But the converse is not true at all. You can have plastic surgery, you can have a beautiful face, beautiful eyes, a beautiful nose; you can change your skin; you can change your shape. That is not going to change your being. Inside you will still remain greedy, full of lust, violence, anger, rage, jealousy, with a tremendous will to power. All these things the plastic surgeon can do nothing about.

For that you will need a different kind of surgery. It is happening here: you are on the table. As you become more and more meditative, peaceful, a deep at-onement with existence happens. You fall into the rhythm of the universe. The universe also has its own heartbeat. Your heartbeat, once it starts in rhythm with the universal heartbeat, will have transformed your being from that ugly stage of animality, into authentic humanity.

And even the human is not the end. You can go on searching deeper and there is a place where you transcend humanity and something of the divine enters in you. Once the divine is there, it is almost like a light in a dark house. The windows will start showing the light; even the cracks in the wall or the roof or the doors will start showing the inner light.

The inner is tremendously powerful, the outer is very weak. The inner is eternal, the outer is very temporary. How many years do you remain young? And as youth fades away you start feeling that you are becoming ugly, unless your inner being is also growing with your age. Then even in your old age you will have a beauty that the youth may feel jealous of.

Remember, from the inner the change to the outer happens, but I am not making it inevitable. Most often it happens, but sometimes the outer is in such a rotten state that even the inner radiation cannot change it.

There have been cases on record: one very great mystic of India — I have spoken on him for almost half a year continuously. His name was Ashtavakra. And what he has written is tremendously important; each sentence has so many dimensions to be explored, but the man himself was in a very difficult situation.

Ashtavakra — the name was given to him, because he was almost like a camel. In eight places he was distorted in the body — one leg was longer, one arm was shorter, his back was bent — in eight places he was distorted. That’s how he was born, with a crippled, distorted body. But even in a crippled and distorted body the soul is as beautiful as in the most beautiful body.

He became enlightened, but his body was too rigid to change with his inner change. His eyes started showing something of the beauty, but the whole body was in such a mess.
The story is that the emperor of India in those days was Janak and he was very much interested in philosophical discussions. Each year he used to call a big conference of all the scholars, philosophers, theologians or whoever wanted to participate. It was a championship competition. One very famous philosopher, Yagnavalkya came a little late. The conference had started and he saw standing outside one thousand beautiful cows. Their horns were covered with gold and diamonds. This was going to be the prize for the champion. It was a hot day and the cows were perspiring.

He told his disciples, ‘You take these cows. As far as winning the competition is concerned, I am certain. Why should the cows suffer here? You take them to our place.’ They had their own place in the forest.

Even Janak could not prevent him, because he knew that he had been the champion continuously for five years, and he would be the champion this time, because there was nobody else who could defeat him. It is not right to take the reward before you have won, but his victory was so certain to everybody that nobody objected. And his disciples took away all the cows.

While Yagnavalkya was discussing, a very unknown scholar was also present in the conference. Ashtavakra was this unknown philosopher’s son. His mother was waiting for her husband to come home. It was getting late and the meal was getting cold. So she sent Ashtavakra to bring his father home, because he could not win the competition. Why should he unnecessarily waste his time? He was a poor scholar and there were great scholars there. Ashtavakra went. There were at least one thousand people in the conference, the highly cultured and sophisticated scholars of the country.

As Ashtavakra entered, looking at his distorted body they all started laughing. But Ashtavakra was a man of tremendous integrity. As they started laughing, he laughed even louder. Because of his loud laugh they stopped. They could not believe that he was laughing.

Janak asked him, ‘I can understand why they are laughing — because of your body; but I cannot understand why you are laughing. And you stopped all their laughing with your laughter.’ A single man stopped one thousand people’s laughter.

Ashtavakra said to Janak, ‘I thought this conference was for scholars and philosophers, but these are all shoemakers. They can understand only the skin. They cannot see the inner, they can only see the outer.’

There was a great silence. What he was saying had a great truth in it. Janak dissolved the conference and said, ‘Now I would like to inquire of Ashtavakra only. He has defeated you all just by his laughter and his statement that, `You can’t see the inner, you can only see the outer; you are all shoemakers.’ Shoemakers work with the skin of different animals. I dissolve the conference and, Yagnavalka, return those one thousand cows, because you also laughed. And when Ashtavakra laughed, you also stopped!’

It was a very strange situation; it had never happened before. And then began the long inquiry of Janak, the emperor. He asked questions and Ashtavakra answered them. Each answer in itself carried so much meaning and significance.

Because his body was in such a bad shape he could not get identified with it. Sometimes blessings come in such disguise. He could not go out, because wherever he went people would laugh, ‘Look at that man! Have you seen anything uglier than this?’

So most of the time he was in the house, meditating, figuring out, ‘Who am I? Certainly I am not this body, because I can be aware of this body, I can observe this body from within. Certainly that awareness has to be different from the body.’

Because of his crippled body he experienced enlightenment. The only barrier is identification with the body. But he could not identify, the body was so ugly. He never looked in a mirror; it would have been such a shock.

But Yagnavalkya had to return those one thousand cows to Ashtavakra’s house. He was young and he defeated one thousand old philosophers in the ancient scriptures.

It is one of the strangest things in this country that on every book written by any prominent mystic there have been hundreds of commentaries, but nobody has commented before me on Ashtavakra. And he must be at least five thousand years old. For five thousand years nobody has bothered to look into his statements, which are so significant.

But his inner enlightenment, his inner understanding could not change his outer appearance. And yet for those who are going deeper into themselves, the outer does not matter. They would have seen even in Ashtavakra tremendous beauty, but it would not have been of the outer circumference, but of the center.

Most often the inner change changes the outer, if the outer is not too rigid. But the outer never changes the inner.

You need to have eyes, going deep into people’s beings, which is possible only if you are going inwards yourself. The deeper you go into yourself the deeper you can look into other people’s beings. And then a totally new world opens its doors.

Flanagan is on his deathbed and Father Murphy has come to give him the last rites. ‘Open your eyes,’ says the priest. ‘We have got to save your immortal soul.’ Flanagan opens one eye, closes it and tries to doze off. He is having such a nice snooze.
‘Come on now!’ says Father Murphy. ‘If you don’t want to confess, at least answer me this: do you renounce the devil and all his works?’
‘Well, I don’t know,’ says Flanagan, opening one eye again. ‘At a time like this it doesn’t seem very smart to upset anyone.’

The inner comes out, you cannot hide it much. Now he is being very calculating. At the time of death, unnecessarily annoying anybody … and who knows where you are going? It is better to keep silent.

A wealthy widower and his beautiful daughter are on a sea cruise. By chance the girl falls overboard, and Rubin Fingelbaum, aged seventy, splashes in afterwards and rescues her. After the two are brought on board the ship, the widower throws his arms around Rubin.
‘You saved my daughter’s life,’ he cries. ‘I’m a rich man — I will give you anything! Ask for whatever you want!’
‘Just answer me one question,’ replies Rubin. ‘Who pushed me?’

What is inside is bound to come outside.
How can you hide it?

An old black preacher had used the letters B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. after his name for many years without ever having had anyone from his congregation ask what they meant. Finally a nosey old woman questions him about it.
‘Well, sister,’ he answers. ‘You know what B.S. stands for, don’t you?’
‘I sure do,’ says the lady indignantly. ‘Bull shit!’
‘Right,’ says the preacher. ‘And M.S. just means more of the same, and Ph.D. means piled high and deep.’

That’s the inner side of most people: bull shit, B.S.; M.S., more of the same; and Ph.D., piled high and deep.

No plastic surgeon can change it. But you are capable of changing it yourself. It is within your hands. Nobody can do anything about your inner being except you. You are the master of your inner world. And as the inner world becomes silent, naturally your eyes become deeper, with an oceanic depth. As your inner being becomes cloudless your face also becomes cloudless, just an open sky. As your inner being comes to discover the source of your life, the flame of your life, something of that flame starts radiating from every pore of your body.

This is the rule. Ashtavakra is an exception. Exceptions don’t make the rule, they only prove the rule. But it has never happened vice versa before, and I don’t think it can ever happen.

We are all trying to be beautiful on the outside: all kinds of make-up, all kinds of things are going on to make your outer beautiful.

I Have Heard…
A man was catching flies. Finally after two or three hours’ effort he caught four flies. He told his wife, ‘I have caught four flies: two are male, two are female.’
The wife said, ‘My God, how did you figure out who is male and who is female?’
He said, ‘Easy! Two were sitting for almost two hours on the mirror and two were for two hours reading the newspaper!’

We are so much identified with the periphery of our being that we have forgotten that the periphery does not exist in itself. There must be a center inside. And the search for the center is the only religious search — not for God, not for heaven, not for any rewards for your virtues, not to avoid hell and punishment.

There is only one authentic religious search and that is to know your innermost being. It is the being of the whole universe. By entering your innermost temple you have entered the real temple. All other temples are false, man-manufactured; all other gods in those temples are false, they are man-manufactured.

Only one thing is not man-manufactured and that is your innermost dignity, your innermost grace. That grace starts flooding your outer being too. And that grace transforms not only the inner, but gives a new look to your outer being: an innocence, a serenity, a depth, a peace, a love, and these are all flowers blossoming around you. Then even your periphery becomes so beautiful, so musical, such a dance of rejoicing. But you should start from the inner.

From Osho, Sat Chit Anand, Talk #27

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Time for Introspection in Love & Relationship

Take a moment in your busy day, spend sometime with yourself  and think what you are doing with your relationship or with some one you love, in the name of love

Love is the great feeling of ‘being’ in abundance, the ‘Life’ exists by surrounding the Love, without love there is no meaning for the existence.

Osho made the entire essence of love in a single quote

“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up.
Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love.
So if you love a flower, let it be.
Love is not about possession.
Love is about appreciation.”

Possessiveness  makes the relationship bitter, the complete understanding and awareness of the ‘self’ as well as the partner who ever involved in Love/ Relationship can add a good fragrance to the relationship and makes the relationship stay strong for ever.

let us hear your thoughts, please share your thoughts in comments.

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The wound is the place where the light enters you

‘The wound is the place where the light enters you’ a beautiful quote from the 13th century Sufi philosopher Rumi has got a great and deep meaning.

Besides his other works, some of his quotes are still an inspiration for many around the world.

In this quote, Rumi blended his thoughts on the suffering, ego, hurt and the almighty god. Here the light represents knowledge, consciousness, and God.

When everything is going good, during our good times we are enjoying our Ego and there is a chance that we might not continue the spiritual practices. And when our life hit with bad luck, during the hard times we suffer a lot and during which we might turn ourselves towards almighty/ god.

The suffering or hurt what we undergo would take us into our deeper state of consciousness and many questions arises in our heart, this state of suffering was beautifully mentioned by Rumi as ‘A Wound’, so this state of being will make the individual think about ‘Himself’ and the almighty god and sooner or later he will understand more about the true essence of life and the real meaning of God, this entire process was simplified and mentioned by rumi as ‘Light Entry’ to the life of individual.

 

 

 

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Story of the sage Markandeya, the boy who challenged death 

“Markandeya consoled his parents saying that death was not a thing which wise people should dread. It is as natural as birth.”

Markandeya  is an ancient rishi (sage) from the Hindu tradition, born in the clan of Bhrigu Rishi. He is celebrated as a devotee of both Shiva and Vishnu and is mentioned in a number of stories from the Puranas. The Markandeya Purana especially, comprises a dialogue between Markandeya and a sage called Jaimini, and a number of chapters in the Bhagavata Purana are dedicated to his conversations and prayers.He is also mentioned in the Mahabharata. Markandeya is venerated within all mainstream Hindu traditions.

Today, Markandeya Tirtha, where the sage Markandeya wrote the Markandeya Purana is situated on a trekking route to the Yamunotri Shrine in the Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand, India

Shiva Protecting his devotee Markandeya from Yama, from Dhenupureeshwarar Temple a 10th century Chola Temple, built by Sundara Chola (954-971 CE), Madambakkam, Chennai

Sage Mrikandu was leading an ascetic life in a forest along with his wife,  Marudhvathi. They were childless for a long time. Mrikandu performed intense penance  for several years in order to please Lord Shiva to have children. One day pleased by his great devotion Lord Shiva in all his splendour appeared before him and said “ I am pleased by your endless devotion, Ask from me any boon you desire”

Mrikandu was overjoyed. He prayed to Lord Shiva thus: “O Lord! I am childless. Grant me a son.”

The Lord said in reply, “Do you desire to have a virtuous, wise and pious son who will live up to sixteen years or a dull- witted, evil-natured son who will live long?”. The sage Mrikandu did not hesitate over the choice. He did not want a worthless son. He begged only for the short-lived son of whom he could be proud. Lord Shiva granted the request of his devotee and departed.

After some time Marudhvathi conceived and gave birth to a son. The parents were extremely happy about the new arrival whom they named ” Markandeya”. When Markandeya was – five, Mrikandu arranged for his studies. Even in boyhood Markandeya mastered all the Vedas and Shastras. His pleasing ways endeared him to his teachers and elders. The boy was liked by one and all.

When he reached the age of twelve, his parents arranged his Upanayana (sacred thread ceremony). He was initiated into the chanting of the mystic Gayathri Mantra. The boy was very regular in performing the Sandhya Vandana (a daily ritual performed) which pleased his parents and other elders. He was thus spending his days very happily, delighting everyone by his charming looks and pleasant behaviour.

But the parents were sad at heart and whenever they looked at their son a gloom spread over their face. They did not tell Markandeya that he was not destined to live long.

The sixteenth year was fast approaching. One day, unable to control their grief, they wept before him. Markandeya was surprised. He asked them gently the reason for their grief. Mrikandu, with tears running down his cheeks, said, “O my son! According to Lord Shiva’s boon you are destined to live only for sixteen years. How can we withstand this? We are helpless and do not know what to do.”

Markandeya consoled his parents saying that death was not a thing which wise people should dread. It is as natural as birth.

The next day the boy came to them and said, “Dear father and mother, do not worry for me. I am confident of winning over death. Pray bless me that I may succeed in my endeavour. Permit me to perform severe penance to please the Lord.” The parents blessed him heartily and sent him for penance.

Markandeya then took the blessings from his parents went into a deep forest to perform the penance, he did a great penance and the time was flying at greater rate.

Lord yama, the lord of death, knows the time has come to take back the soul of Markandeya and his life was to come to an end. He sent his servants to take the life of Markandeya, in spite of his great devotion they could not approach him for the radiation from him was too intense for them. They returned back to Yama and said that, they were unable to approach this young boy.

 

In vain of his powers, lord yama himself came on his wonted black buffalo with his pasam, the well- known rope with a noose for taking out the young lad’s soul from his body and carry it away. Yama saw the young devotee engaged in the worship of Lord Shiva. Yama could not let the worship be completed if his duty as the God of Death was to be properly performed.

As the Markandeya could not be allowed to live a minute longer after the completion of the sixteenth year. Normally invisible to human eyes, this time Yama had been forced to show himself to the young boy by virtue of the latter’s intense piety and devotion to God. Yama threw his rope with the loop and it went and encircled Markandeya’s neck and also the Shiva Linga. The young boy prayed to lord shiva, pleased by his great devotion, The Shiva Linga at once split into two and Shiva emerged in all his fury attacking Yama for his act of aggression. After defeating Yama in battle to the point of death, Shiva then revived him, under the condition that the devout youth would live forever. For this act, Shiva was thereafter also known as Kalantaka (“Ender of Death”).

Markandeya got the names Mrityunjaya and Kalakala.

Then, turning to the young devotee, with whose piety he was highly pleased, Lord Shiva blessed him with deathlessness. He said to Markandeya, “Every desire of yours will be fulfilled. You will never be old or grey – haired. You will live virtuous and famous till the end of the world. Omniscience will be an asset in you.”

As per the story of Markandeya, an excerpt from Bhagavatam 12th canto and 9th  chapter.

To this day, the Hindus reckon Markandeya as one of their immortals. It is said that Markandeya is a great Chiranjivi, one who lives with the body forever and whose body always appears young, beautiful and saintly on account of his yogic powers Markandeya has become proverbial for long life. The blessing of the elders even today is, “May you live like Markandeya, forever youthful and beautiful.”

Markandeya the author of one of the oldest puranas, called  Markandeya purna, this is one of the Puranas that lacks a sectarian presentation of ideas in favour of any particular god.  It is famous for including the Devi Mahatmya within it, the oldest known treatise on Devi (goddess) as the Supreme Truth and creator of the universe. The text is considered as a central text of the Hindu Goddess-related Shaktism tradition, with an extraordinary expression of reverence for the feminine.

The oldest surviving manuscript of the Devi Māhātmya (part of Markandeya Purana), on palm-leaf, in an early Bhujimol script, Bihar or Nepal, 11th century. (Source: Wiki)

The extant manuscripts of this Purana have 137 chapters, of which chapters 81 through 93 is the Devi Mahatmya. Tradition and some medieval era texts assert that the Markandeya Purana has 9,000 verses, but surviving manuscripts have about 6,900 verses. The text presents a diverse range of topics, with socio-cultural information and symbolism for Vedic ideas and metaphysical thought.

From ChandraSekharastakam, by the sage Markandeya,

रत्नसानुशरासनं रजताद्रिशृङ्गनिकेतनं
शिञ्जिनीकृतपन्नगेश्वरमच्युताननसायकम् ।
क्षिप्रदग्धपुरत्रयं त्रिदिवालयैरभिवन्दितं
चन्द्रशेखरमाश्रये मम किं करिष्यति वै यमः ॥

ratnasAnusharAsanaM rajatAdishRRi~NganiketanaM
si~njinIkRRitapannageshvaramachyutAnanasAyakam |
kShipradagdhapuratrayaM tridivAlayairabhivanditaM
chandrashekharamAshraye mama kiM kariShyati vai yamaH

“I seek refuge in Him, who has the moon,
Who made the mountain of jewels in to his bow,
Who resides on the mountain of silver,
Who made the serpent Vasuki as rope,
Who made Lord Vishnu as arrows,
And quickly destroyed the three cities,
And who is saluted by the three worlds,
And so what can the God of death do to me?”

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