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Tag: sage

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.

The Story of Sukanya and Sage Chyavana

In ancient India, there was this king Saryata who had a young and beautiful daughter by name Sukanya.

Near his kingdom in the deep woods there lived an old sage by name Chyavana. He lived all by himself and used to go into deep meditation for long periods. He was not aware of what was going on around him till he came out of his trance every time. Sometimes, creepers used to grow on him, sometimes ant hills used to be built around him but the sage had such deep concentration.

One day the playful Sukanya went out to the woods with her friends to spend the day out. As they were playing hide and seek, Sukanya spotted a huge ant hill. She had never seen an anthill before and so went near the ant hill with her friends. The friends were also unaware of what the structure was and they wanted to see what was inside. So Sukanya took a sharp stick and poked into the ant hill. Something moved inside and a loud shriek of pain “Aaaaaa” arose from the ant hill. The anthill split open and there came out the old sage Chyavana with both his eyes bleeding.

Sukanya was startled and shocked. Startled that there was a man inside the ant hill and shocked that her stick had hurt the eyes of the poor sage. She did not know what to do and her whole body shook in panic. The palace guards who had accompanied the girls for security ran and told the king of what had happened and the king rushed to the spot.

Sukanya was pleading with the sage to forgive her but the sage was in no mood to forgive.The king also asked for forgiveness and told the sage that he would grant him anything he asked. The sage said, “O King, I live all alone in these woods. Till today, it was OK as I was able to manage my activities alone. But your daughter has blinded me now with her prank. How will I, a blind man survive alone in the woods? I seek your daughter’s hand in wedding so that she can help me in my daily activities”

The king could not say anything as he had already promised the sage that he would grant anything. In those days a promise was always kept and people never went back on their words.

Sukanya was horrified. She was so young and she had to marry this old sage. But she knew she also had to honour her father’s words. Children always respected their parents words and believed that the parents did good only to them. She had no other option but to marry the old sage. She started to live with the sage in his hermitage.

Soon she started liking the life in the hermitage and served the sage whole heartedly. Life was going on very smoothly, when one day the Ashwini Kumars, who are celestial beings, the physicians to the Devas, were passing by Sage Chyavana’s hermitage. They spotted the young Sukanya and were enchanted by her beauty. They came down and enquired about her and came to know that she was Sage Chyavana’s wife.

They were taken aback by the truthfulness and sincerity of Sukanya and admired her faithfulness. Still they wanted to test her. So they said “Sukanya, we have not told you who we are. We are the Ashwini Kumars who are celestial physicians. We can restore youth to your husband but on one condition”. Sukanya was excited and asked them what was the condition. The Ashwini Kumars continued, “We shall take your husband into the river for a dip and when we come out you have to identify your husband correctly. If you do so, your husband will have his youth back”. Sukanya convinced Sage Chyavana to go with the Ashwini Kumars  and they all dipped themselves into the river and were out in a jiffy. But what was this?? All the three looked alike. Sukanya had to identify her husband correctly. She was confused for a moment but the next moment with all her concentration she prayed to the Supreme Goddess to help her and within few seconds she could feel that the person in the middle was her husband. She surrendered to the Goddess and with total faith on the Goddess, pointed out to the person in the middle. SHE WAS RIGHT!!!

Sage Chyavana was equally happy that she identified him. The Ashwini Kumars blessed them both and gifted longevity and youth to Sage Chyavana. Both Chyavana and Sukanya were extremely delighted and thanked the Ashwini Kumars for restoring the sage’s youth.

It is said that the Ayurvedic tonic Chyavanaprash  or restoring youthfulness has its name originating from Sage Chyavana.

Sage Chyavana and Sukanya lived a happy life.

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