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Tag: Ravana

Laaye Sanjeevan Lakhan Jiyaye

Pleasure to narrate the tale of Hanuman who brought the ‘Sanjeevani’ herb also called ‘Mritasanjeevi’ along with the ‘Oushadi Parvata’ (mountain) to bring Lakshmana back to life in the battle with Ravana.

In the words of Goswami Tulsidas in his Hanuman Chaleesa, “Laaye Sanjeevan Lakhan Jiyaye”

The way in which this pandemic is putting people down, we surely need Hanumanji’s grace to revive us as he revived the scores of the Vanaras who had succumbed in the war and Lakshmana, without whom Rama could not have ever completed his life’s mission.

It is very interesting to observe here that in Ramayana, the ‘Vayu Putra Hanuman’ has been the ‘Prana’ of the epic, as he saved the lives of Sita Mata, Lakshmana and Bharata!

When Hanuman found Sita Mata in the Ashok Vatika, contemplating suicide as she was steeped in agony having lost hope of finding Rama, Hanuman was there just in time and saved her life. Similarly when Rama and Lakshmana fainted in the battlefield and once again when Lakshmana was wounded and lost consciousness, Hanuman brought the ‘Sanjeevani’ and saved them. Again, when there was delay in Rama reaching Nandigram and Bharata had already prepared to give up his life, there came Hanuman and saved his life.

Did you know that the ‘Oushadi Parvata’ with ‘Sanjeevani’ herb was brought by Hanuman not once but twice from the Himalayas? We shall see how that happened.

When the mighty Kumbhakarna was killed by the Vanara army who did not know to even wield a sword, Ravana was devastated. He could not, but believe that these mortals were not mere mortals. He fainted with shock and pain as his valiant sons and mighty brother had been wiped out so easily.

When he woke up from his faint, with teary eyes, Indrajit, Mandodari’s son, not able to see his father broken, consoled him with soothing words.

“Do not be distressed beloved King, my father!” he said. “There is no need to be despondent while I am alive. I will go immediately and fight with the enemy and put those mortals to eternal sleep.”

Saying thus, he immediately went and performed fire oblations as was his practice each time he went out for battle. He then invoked the ‘Brahmastra’ to his possession, kept it in his chariot and worshipped the chariot along with the bows and arrows. He then got on to his chariot and flew in the sky with the chariot, inciting the Vanaras to fight him. The Vanaras fought valiantly but Indrajit rained deadly arrows on them injuring almost everyone including Sugriva and Angada. He then proceeded to where Rama and Lakshmana were and hid himself in the sky and started pouring arrows on them both.

Rama realized that it was the might of the ‘Brahmastra’ and advised Lakshmana to bear the onslaught so that Indrajit would leave the place and soon both the brothers submitted themselves to the weapon and fell down in a death-like faint which made Indrajit think that they had been felled and he returned to the city shouting in glee.

The only persons who were not affected at all were Hanuman and Vibhishana. They were so depressed at the turn of events and went around the field searching for the warriors who had survived the ‘Brahmastra’. That was when they found Jambavan injured and lying on the ground. Jambavan was relieved to hear that Hanuman was unharmed and told Hanuman of the ‘Oushadiparvata’ which was situated between the Kailasa peak and Rishaba hill in the Himalayas.

“You are the only one” said he, “who can go and get the herbs ‘Mritasanjeevi’ (to bring back to life), ‘Vishalyakarani’ (to heal the wounds), ‘Santanakarani’ (to heal fractures) and ‘Savarnyakarani’ (to restore the skin). These grow on the ‘Oushadiparvata’. Please go immediately”

Hanuman immediately assumed a gigantic form as he had done while coming to Lanka for the first time. Off he took to the skies, flying with great speed towards the northern direction. It was as if a massive mountain was flying. Soon he found the ‘Oushadiparvata’ but as the herbs seemed to be concealing themselves, in a fit of anger, Hanuman uprooted the ‘parvata’ in its entirety and carrying it in one hand, flew back to the battlefield in Lanka.

The moment he placed the mountain on the battlefield, the medicinal smell of all the herbs wafted across and all who had fallen in a death-like faint including Rama and Lakshmana woke up as if, from a trance. All the Vanaras awoke and all the traces of wounds of all had disappeared.

Interestingly, since Ravana had ordered all the dead Rakshasas to be thrown into the ocean (to save his reputation), no Rakshasa came back to life. Hanuman lifted the mountain once again like a child’s play and went back and kept it in its place in the Himalayas and came back to Lanka.

This was the Mission I Sanjeevani.

Now for the Mission II Sanjeevani.  

After this, it was the turn of Kumbhakarna’s valiant sons Kumbha and Nikhumba to fight to death and meet Yama in the hands of Sugriva and Hanuman respectively. 

 Now, Indrajit, who this time again decided to fool the army by deceit brought in his chariot the ‘Maya Sita’ (Sita like person created by Maya). He was accosted by Hanuman who believed that it was indeed Sita Mata and was shocked. After raining arrows and hurting the Vanara army, Indrajit, proclaiming the lady in his chariot to be Sita slashed her chest and killed her. Hanuman was devastated and walked away from the battle, despondent that the very reason for whom the battle was on, was killed.

Indrajit was happy to have diverted the attention of the enemy camp as he had planned a secret ritual at a place called Nikhumbila, on the completion of which, he would become invincible. He proceeded with his followers to Nikhumbila to start and finish the ritual as early as possible.

When Hanuman came and told Rama of ‘Sita’s’ demise Rama could not take it and fainted. The army tried to revive him while Lakshmana was comforting him and telling him that he would avenge this act. It was then, that Vibhishana arrived and on hearing the account from Hanuman, told them that it would have been a ‘Maya Sita’. He then told them about Indrajit’s ritual which had to be stopped before its completion and urged them to go to Nikhumbila. Lakshmana and Hanuman along with the army went with Vibhishana to Nikhumbila and interrupted the ritual much to the ire of Indrajit and a fierce battle ensued between Lakshmana who fought riding on the shoulders of Hanuman, and Indrajit. Using the Aindra Astra, Lakshmana killed Indrajit.

Benumbed with great shock at the death of his invincible son, Ravana fell into a death-like faint. Slowly recovering from the shock, he then sent his personal army to surround Rama’s army and attack them. They were also extinguished in no time and then Ravana came with the last three warriors Mahaparshva, Mahodhara and Virupaksha and started battle with Rama. The three warriors were killed and Ravana was greatly enraged to see his brother Vibhishana being protected by Lakshmana and hurled a weapon by name Shakthi at Lakshmana. This weapon never missed its victim.

Fortunately before it hit Lakshmana, Rama uttered “May the Shakti lose its potency and leave my brother unharmed”. The weapon, though lost its potency entered the chest of Lakshmana and he fell senseless on the ground bleeding profusely.

Rama, though deeply hurt, was wild with anger at Ravana. Entrusting Lakshmana to Hanuman and Sugriva fought with so much fury that Ravana decided leave the field for the day.

Rama’s grief poured out, now that Ravana had left. He was sobbing openly. “Without Lakshmana I neither desire to rescue Sita nor live myself” said he.

Sushena, the physician, then examined Lakshmana and diagnosed that he was not dead. This was when Hanuman was again requested for the ‘Vishalyakarani’ leaves from the ‘Oushadiparvata’.

“Hanuman” said Sushena. “You have to bring the Oushadi…”

The ever-ready Hanuman, was air borne even before Sushena had completed his sentence. Within moments he reached the Himalayas and impatient as he was, lifted the whole mountain once again in one hand, and was back in Lanka within minutes. Hanuman had assumed such a huge form that the big mountain in his hand looked like a small block of soil. The moment Hanuman landed and kept the ‘parvata’, Sushena climbed the mountain and took the ‘Vishalyakarani’ leaves and crushed them and held them under the nostrils of Lakshmana and he woke up as if from a trance. He was completely cured and was his normal self. All the other injured Vanaras also were rejuvenated.

Rama was overjoyed at Lakshmana’s revival. The rest is history. Ravana was killed subsequently and Rama’s mission accomplished.

This is how Hanuman saved the warriors by bringing the ‘Sanjeevani’ not once but twice!

Jai Hanuman!!

Ravana Humbled – Part III

This is the third story in the series Ravana Humbled where Ravana is humbled by a mere monkey.

Ravana was once flying across Kishkinda in his Pushpak. As he was deciding to land, he saw the monkey king Vali sitting on a rock facing the river Pampa and offering his morning prayers. Ravana landed at a short distance from him and walked out of his aircraft. Vali was deeply engrossed in his prayers so much so that he did not notice Ravana. Ravana got angry. “What impudence! This puny monkey pretends not to have seen me! He deserves to be humbled for this. I shall catch his tail which is the matter of pride for all these vanaras.”

Ravana then sneaked behind Vali to pull his tail. He caught the unusually long tail in the middle with his right hand and to his horror, the tail wound around his right hand! He raised his left hand to free his right hand and the tail wound it up too!  “Hey! Hey!” he shouted, but it was of no avail. He then sat down and tried to use his legs to free his hands, but to his dismay, the tail wound them up too. He was left hanging like a bundle to Vali’s tail.

Ravana thought that Vali would turn back after his prayers were over. But to his dismay, after the prayers were over, Vali stood up and increased his size massively and took to the skies flying towards the southern shore where the three seas met. He plunged into the sea and stood in the water offering prayers whilst Ravana was struggling to keep afloat in the water as he was bound by Vali’s tail.

Vali again took off and this time it was the eastern shore. Ravana, dripping wet and shivering could not even shout. With the dipping ritual over, Vali headed to the Himalayas. He circumambulated the Kailash still with Ravana hanging on his tail. Ravana was out of his wits and did not know what to do. He waited impatiently. Vali now headed back to Kishkinda. As he got down to Kishkinda, Ravana gathered all his might and shouted loudly yet sounding so weak, “Help” he said,” Let me go! Please let me free!” Vali turned to his side and saw but he could see nobody. “Whoever you are come in front of me!” roared Vali. “I can’t, I can’t” groaned Ravana “Errrrr… I am caught in your tail.”

Vali turned around and saw Ravana’s plight. Immediately he uncoiled his tail and surprised at seeing Ravana , asked with concern, “Are you not King Ravana? How did this happen??” Ravana was too ashamed to tell him the truth and said sheepishly, “Well… it was an accident. Let us not talk about it…”

Vali entertained Ravana as a king would be entertained and sent him home with lots of gifts after forging a friendship. Ravana returned on his Pushpak, humbled once again.


Ravana Humbled Part II

Last week, we saw the story of Ravana being humbled by a God. This week we shall see the story of Ravana being humbled by a man.

Now, there was this great king by name Kartavirya Arjuna who was a really strong and powerful king. He is said to have had a thousand hands. Once he was sporting with his queens in the River Narmada in the place called Mahishmati which was his kingdom.

A little farther, Ravana was zooming around in his Pushpak with his ministers. He liked the beautiful scenery of Mahishmati and landed his aircraft near a picturesque spot on the banks of Narmada. The gushing waters and the sparkling sand gave the spot a divine ambience so much so that Ravana was enthused to make a Lingam out of the sand and perform Puja for Lord Shiva. He told his ministers to wait under the cool, shady trees and started to make a Lingam with the sand and the water. Soon, he was deep into meditation while his ministers kept guard.

Kartavirya Arjuna, who was in the river downstream, was challenged by his queens as to whether he could stop the flow of the river with his mighty hands. “No he can’t,” said one queen disbelievingly, “In fact no one can stop the Narmada.” “Of course he can!” said another. “Don’t you know that our king is the strongest?”

The argument and chatter became louder that Kartavirya decided to put an end to their speculation. He moved to the middle of the river and spread out his mighty arms which reached the two banks of the river. Slowly, the flow stopped and the river behind Kartavirya was reduced to a small puddle and the water in front of him rose and started overflowing at the banks. The queens were watching their lord with awe.

Meanwhile, the place where Ravana was sitting was slowly getting flooded and the water was inching its way to the Lingam. The ministers were surprised for they did not know the reason for this strange phenomenon. Nevertheless, they could do nothing as they feared Ravana’s wrath if they disturbed his meditation. Soon the waters of the Narmada started washing away the Lingam and Ravana opened his eyes when the water touched him.

Ravana was furious and with one angry look at his ministers, he ordered them to find out the reason for this strange behaviour of the river. “Go at once!” he yelled, angry at his prayers being disturbed. A few ministers went downstream only to find Kartavirya Arjuna holding his hands and forcing the river to flow back. Hurriedly, they ran back to Ravana with fright writ large on their faces as they had never seen such a strong person before. They reported the matter to him.

His anger fuelled further, Ravana stomped to the place where Kartavirya was and shouted, “Hey king! Whoever you are! Don’t show your might on the poor river. Fight with me valiantly!” Kartavirya looked up at Ravana amused and with a scorn said, “Welcome to my kingdom! We at Mahishmati do not refuse what is asked of us and as you have asked for a fight, so be it!

Saying so, Kartavirya Arjuna, with a thunderous roar, pounced on Ravana and rained blows on him. Ravana, being a true warrior, fought back valiantly, but was no match to Arjuna’s might. Soon, he could take it no more and fainted. Kartavirya carried Ravana to his palace.

Later during the day, Sage Pulastya, the son of Brahma and the grandfather of Ravana came to know of the happenings in Mahishmati and visited Kartavirya. Kartavirya received him with great reverence and said humbly, “O Enlightened One! How could this Kartavirya be of service to you?” Pulastya replied, “O Kartavirya! Please forgive my grandson’s arrogant attitude and set him free.”

Kartavirya agreed out of his respect for the sage and released Ravana and, after forging friendship with him, sent him back with lots of gifts. Ravana went home with his ministers, humbled once again.

Ravana Humbled – Part I

Ravana was the unparalleled king of Lanka. He had the whole wealth of the world and the beings of the three worlds were at his beck and call. This, coupled with the unbridled grace of Lord Shiva, of whom Ravana was a great devotee, made him all the more arrogant.

On three occasions, however, Ravana was humbled, interestingly, by three different beings: God, man and animal.

The first episode we are going to see is how Ravana was humbled by Lord Shiva.

Ravana’s recent possession was the Pushpak Vimana- the aerial chariot, which he had snatched from his half-brother Kubera. The Vimana was so much more than a modern-day marvel such that it could fly according to the will of the pilot. Ravana was exploring the world with his new-found possession, going over hills and valleys, plains and fields, seas and rivers and to all the other realms of the universe.

One day, when he was flying towards Mount Kailash, which was the abode of Lord Shiva and wanted to fly over it, the Vimana suddenly stopped. Ravana tried with all his might, but the chariot did not budge. Ravana looked up at the mountain and an arrogant thought crossed his mind. “How can there be an obstacle to me, the great Ravana?”, thought he. “If my chariot cannot fly over this mountain, the mountain does not deserve to stand before me. I shall unearth this hurdle and throw it aside”. Saying thus, he went below the mountain and tried to lift it up with his massive arms. A tremor was suddenly felt by Parvati, who was on the mountain with her consort, Lord Shiva. The Earth shook and rocks fell from the sides of the mountain and Parvati almost fell down. She was startled at the sudden disturbance and looked up at Shiva with fear.

Lord Shiva knew it all. With a smile, he got up, went to the edge of the mountain and pressed it lightly with the big toe of his right foot. Ravana was almost crushed and gave a shriek. Lord Shiva, still smiling, did not remove his foot and told Parvati that it was Ravana who was behind the tremor. The great Ravana knew that it was his Lord, who was punishing him for his arrogance. Humbled, almost immediately, Ravana fervently prayed to Lord Shiva to appear before him and forgive him. However, it was of no avail. Then knowing Lord Shiva’s passion for music, Ravana started to sing a hymn on Lord Shiva. This is called the Shiva Tandava Stuti and starts like this:

Jatatavigalajjala pravahapavitasthale

Galeavalambya lambitam bhujangatungamalikam

Damad damad damaddama ninadavadamarvayam

Chakara chandatandavam tanotu nah shivah shivam

Ravana, being a scholar in Sanskrit, sang fourteen verses of this Stuti. (The Stuti has a beautiful rhythm to it and is a good exercise for the tongue!).  Lord Shiva, who is always captivated by good music, was moved by Ravana’s devotion and appeared before him. Ravana prostrated to the Lord and begged for forgiveness. Shiva, pleased with his devotion, gifted him his sword called the Chandrahaasa.

Ravana thankfully took the sword, and repenting for his foolish act, went back home wiser.

This incident in carved in stone in many of our ancient temples. In some places it is shown that Ravana plucked one of his heads and his arms and made it into a ‘Veena’ and played the same to appease the Lord.

The story of Jaya and Vijaya

Jaya and Vijaya were the Gatekeepers at Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Vishnu. The gatekeepers were called Dwara Paalakas. Dwara is gateway in Sanskrit and the keepers (Security) were called Dwara Paalakas.

One day, the four sages, Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana and Sanatkumara, who were called collectively as the Sanatkumaras, came to visit Lord Vishnu at Vaikuntha. They were greatly learned men and were very wise. Though they were great sages, they appeared like young children.Vaikuntha had seven gates. The Seventh gate was guarded by Jaya and Vijaya.

The sages approached the entrance but were stopped by Jaya and Vijaya who did not let them go in. “The Lord is resting” said one.  “He cannot be disturbed”, said the other. Both of them laughed mockingly at the sages since they looked like children and wore only a loin cloth.

The sages were greatly enraged. They told Jaya and Vijaya that Lord Vishnu would be readily available for any devotee any time and that they wanted to see Him at once. Jaya and Vijaya refused to listen to the sages and the sages cursed them that they would be born with lust, anger and greed on the earth and thereby be separated from the Lord.

Just as the curse was pronounced, Lord Mahavishnu  appeared at the doorway and his gatekeepers pleaded with the Lord to relieve them of the curse. The Lord said that he did not have the power to lift the curse but could modify the curse. He asked them, “Do you wish to be born as my ardent devotees for seven lives or my  staunch enemy for three lives?  The choice is yours”

Jaya and Vijaya could not bear the thought of being separated from the Lord for seven lifetimes and so unanimously decided on the second option.

And so, they were born on earth as Hirayakashipu and Hiranyaksha in the  Satya Yuga, Ravana and Kumbhakarna in the Treta Yuga and Shishupala and Dantavakra (who were allies of Jarasandha, the father in law of Kamsa) and they hated the Lord in all the three births only to be killed by Him in His Varaha Avatara(Hiranyaksha), Narasimha Avatara (Hiranyakashipu), Rama Avatara (Ravana and Kumbhakarna) and Vasudeva Krishna Avatara (Shishupala and Dantavakra)

Jaya and Vijaya, after thus serving their curse went happily back to duty at Vaikuntha to be with the Lord forever.

This is the story of Jaya and Vijaya.

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