Mahabharata : Vana Parva Part 5

Share now!

The sto­ry of Parashu­ra­ma and Kar­tavir­yarju­na
Now, there lives a very pow­er­ful war­rior called Kar­tavir­yarju­na, of the Hai­haiya clan. He has many sons. He is called the thou­sand-armed. He has a thou­sand arms and nobody can defeat him. It is said of him that he even defeat­ed Ravana. Kar­tavir­yarju­na is so pow­er­ful that he has defeat­ed every­body on earth and he is the lord of the earth, and hence, he has grown arro­gant. His sons too, have grown arro­gant. Every­where he goes, Kar­tavir­yarju­na treats every­one con­de­scend­ing­ly. He does not respect the brah­manas, he does not respect the devas, and he does not even respect the rishis. He has no respect for any­body because he is extreme­ly pow­er­ful. Hence he needs to be taught a les­son. Des­tiny arranges this. It is decid­ed that Bhar­ga­va Rama would do away with him.

The sto­ry of Bhar­ga­va Rama’s birth goes like this. Rama’s father is the great rishi Jamadag­ni, whose father is Rishi Richi­ka. Richi­ka mar­ries Satyavati(not to be con­fused with Satya­vati, the wife of Shan­tanu) and Richika’s grand­fa­ther, Mahar­ishi Bhrigu, appears and bless­es their mar­riage. Satya­vati serves Bhrigu very faith­ful­ly and hence Bhrigu is pleased. He gives her a boon. Satya­vati says, “Let my moth­er and I have excep­tion­al sons. “Bhrigu says, “So be it. “ On a par­tic­u­lar day, Bhrigu tells her, “I have pre­pared this payasam. You and your moth­er should have it. You should tie the knot to a fig tree and your moth­er should tie the knot to a peep­ul tree”. A fig tree, Ash­wattha, is asso­ci­at­ed with spir­i­tu­al sci­ences. It is an extreme­ly reli­gious tree, while a peep­ul tree is sup­posed to be a rul­ing tree, a king­ly tree. Such an instruc­tion is giv­en by Bhrigu because Satyavati’s moth­er desires that a pow­er­ful ksha­triya be born to her, while Satya­vati wish­es for a very reli­gious, pious son.

But, as per the poor advice of her moth­er, they exchange their instruc­tions. When Bhrigu comes to know of this, Satya­vati asks for his par­don. Bhrigu says, “You have mis­used what I had giv­en you. Hence, you shall have a son who is excep­tion­al­ly raja­si­ca, a ksha­triya , a ruler of men. And your moth­er will have a saint of a man. “ Satya­vati does not want this, because her hus­band is a great rishi. She does not want a ksha­triya to be born to her. What will the world think of her? So she begs of Bhrigu, “Let my son be a very pious per­son and let the son of my son be a war­rior, an awe­some war­rior”. Bhrigu says, “So be it. “And hence, Satya­vati gives birth to Jamadag­ni, who is an extreme­ly pious per­son, although he is a mas­ter of all sci­ences, includ­ing the sci­ence of war and weapons.

Jamadag­ni mar­ries Renu­ka, and they have five chil­dren, the fifth one being Para­sur­a­ma, or sim­ply called Rama. He is also called Bhar­ga­va Rama, because he is born in the line of Bhrigu, and hence is a Bhar­ga­va, a descen­dant of Bhrigu. Bhar­ga­va Rama is dif­fer­ent from Dasharatha Rama-the great Rama, the hero of Ramayana. Yet, both are incar­na­tions of Lord Vish­nu. ’Rama ‘ is one who attracts all beings, who delights all beings. Many peo­ple are bored because they can­not delight in their own Self. That is why Dasharatha Rama is also called Atma Rama, because he was a per­son who delight­ed with­in Him­self-in his own Atma. So a delight­ful being is called Rama. Even Bhar­ga­va Rama is a delight­ful per­son, but he is also excep­tion­al­ly pow­er­ful.

Now, once on a time, the sons of Kar­tavid­yarju­na come to the kut­ti­ra of Jamadag­ni while he is med­i­tat­ing. He is on a penance. Though he can defend him­self, they defeat him and kill him. They do this because they feel slight­ed by Renu­ka, the moth­er of Bhar­ga­va Rama. This is due to their arro­gance, and also, because their time has come. It is des­tiny, this was des­tined to hap­pen.

The Saman­ta­pan­cha­ka
Now, once on a time, the sons of Kar­tavid­yarju­na come to the kut­ti­ra of Jamadag­ni while he is med­i­tat­ing. He is on a penance. Though he can defend him­self, they defeat him and kill him. They do this because they feel slight­ed by Renu­ka, the moth­er of Bhar­ga­va Rama. This is due to their arro­gance, and also, because their time has come. It is des­tiny, this was des­tined to hap­pen.

Parasurama’s devo­tion to his father Jamadag­ni is such that once, because of a cer­tain inci­dent, when his father asks Rama to behead Renu­ka, his own moth­er, Rama does so with­out a sin­gle ques­tion. For which Jamadag­ni is hap­py, and he gives him a boon, and Rama requests, “Bring my moth­er back to life, and my oth­er broth­ers as well. Let them be their prop­er self”.Jamadagni hap­pi­ly grants that boon. So that’s how much devot­ed Bhar­ga­va Rama is to Jamadag­ni. On see­ing him dead, Rama flies into a rage and decides that he will exter­mi­nate the ksha­triyas-the high-hand­ed, haughty, arro­gant ksha­triyas of the entire world. He defeats Kar­tavid­yarju­na and his sons. He kills all the ksha­triyas of the earth. Mul­ti­ple times, twen­ty times in fact, Bhar­ga­va Rama exter­mi­nates the ksha­triyas, and their blood is accu­mu­lat­ed in five pools near Kuruk­shetra . Rama pro­pi­ti­ates his ances­tors. His grand­fa­ther Richi­ka appears and says to him, “Let it end here. Let there be no more war and bloodshed”.Bhargava Rama asks for a boon, “Let this place be a holy theertha”.Richika grants it, “So be it”.And that becomes the holy theertha Saman­ta­pan­cha­ka. After this Bhar­ga­va Rama retires to Mahen­dra­giri to do tapasya. How­ev­er, he is not sat­is­fied. His ener­gies are still rag­ing. He is angry.

Bhar­ga­va Rama and Ragha­va Rama
He hears about the birth of the great Rama-the Marya­da Purusha, Purushot­ta­ma, the son of Dasharatha. He goes to Ayo­d­hya. King Dasharatha knows Para­sur­a­ma is approach­ing his king­dom, and he send his son Rama to receive and hon­our him. On see­ing Rama, Para­sur­a­ma insults him, for which Rama flies into a rage, an all-con­sum­ing rage, which con­sumes the entire world. It con­sumes all the ener­gy of Para­sur­a­ma. And hence Para­sur­a­ma los­es all his ener­gy and splen­dour. Then he asks Rama for for­give­ness. Both are avataras of Vish­nu, but Bhar­ga­va Rama’s time has come, while Dasharatha Rama is yet to begin the pur­pose of his exis­tence. So when he asks for for­give­ness, it is sug­gest­ed to him that he go and do tapasya in Mahen­dra­giri. He does awe­some tapasya there, and regains his pow­ers in the theertha where the Pan­davas spend some time. Rishi Lomasa describes this encounter between Para­sur­a­ma and Dasharatha Rama, both avataras of Vish­nu Him­self. These are very inter­est­ing aspects.

When we hear these sto­ries, if we lis­ten to them with an open heart, we will see that we are trans­port­ed to a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent dimen­sion. It ele­vates our spir­it and gives us a whole new vision of our lives, a whole new vision of life itself. That is an extreme­ly trans­for­ma­tive expe­ri­ence. That trans­for­ma­tion should reach every­body in the world. But now, we are lim­it­ed so much by our log­i­cal intel­lect, that we ques­tion all this. Ques­tion­ing is not wrong, but then, we ques­tion with a closed mind. The way we ques­tion mat­ters very much. We can ques­tion hot­ly, “Hey you! Is this true?” But this sort of ques­tion­ing will not yield answers. We need to ques­tion with a sense of inquiry in a sin­cere and open-mind­ed man­ner, “Is this true?” This sort of ques­tion­ing yields answers over a peri­od of time. Apart from ques­tion­ing with a sense of enquiry, we should also be ready for the answers. That is why per­son­al purifi­ca­tion, shud­dhi, of the body and mind by vrathas, have been pre­scribed by the rishis for every­body, so that we become open-mind­ed, and when we ask a ques­tion, it is answered. We should be capa­ble enough to receive those answers. That is the key thing. Oth­er­wise there are answers, but we just can­not receive them. Now, sad­ly, many peo­ple are lost in a cyn­i­cal atti­tude that they can­not receive answers.
Then, Lomasa takes the Pan­davas to a theertha asso­ci­at­ed with Indra, the great Deven­dra. Rishi Lomasa nar­rates the sto­ry.

The sto­ry of Agastya Muni drink­ing the ocean

Once on a time, the great Vrithra­sura is rul­ing all the three worlds, and he is a tor­ture to all beings. Indra could not defeat him. Hence, the gods approach Brah­ma, and Brah­ma directs them to Rishi Dadichi. Dadichi read­i­ly gives up his body, so that out of his bones, could be made the great Vajrayu­da-the thun­der­bolt of Indra. It is fash­ioned by Twastri, the celes­tial archi­tect. Using the Vajrayu­da, Indra defeats Vrithra, but even on hurl­ing the thun­der­bolt and defeat­ing Vrithra, Indra is con­found­ed, he is con­fused. He is labour­ing under the delu­sion that Vrithra is pur­su­ing him, and hence he goes and hides inside Lake Man­asarovar. He becomes minute and hides him­self in the sta­men of a lotus, under the lake. In the absence of Indra, the devas go on fight­ing with the Danavas-Vrithrasura’s demon army. The Danavas plunge into the nether regions, into the sea of Varuna. From there, they start attack­ing the rishis, brah­manas, and every­body else. At night, they would come out, attack the rishis and return. In the morn­ing, peo­ple would find the brah­ma rishis, belong­ing to var­i­ous orders, com­plete­ly ema­ci­at­ed and drained of their life ener­gy. This keeps hap­pen­ing night after night, and nobody is able dis­cov­er who is doing it. It is actu­al­ly the doing of the Danavas, the Kalakeyas. Hence, final­ly the rishis and gods approach Brah­ma, and Brah­ma says, “There is Rishi Agastya. He will be able to do some­thing for you”. So they humbly approach Agastya and Agastya Muni, on reach­ing the ocean where the Kalakeyas are hid­den, just gulps up the entire ocean. Hence, the Kalakeyas are exposed and the gods defeat them, and kill many of the asur­as, the Kalakeyas. When the gods return vic­to­ri­ous, they request Agastya to release the waters into the ocean. But Agastya sim­ply says, “No, it has been digested”.The waters of the entire ocean, gulped up by Sage Agastya, and digest­ed! Now, where do they go for water?They again rep­re­sent this to Brah­ma, who says, “It will take some time for the waters of the earth to be replen­ished. Until then, you will have to wait”.

The great Rishi Agastya is a phe­nom­e­non! In fact, in the south­ern part of India, espe­cial­ly Tamil Nadu, there is the sid­dha tra­di­tion, to which belong the great sid­hhas — Thiru­moolar, Gorakhar, Machu­mu­ni, Bhog­ar and many oth­er excep­tion­al rishis. And Rishi Agastya is the fore­most of those sid­dhas.

The sto­ry of Agastya Muni and Vin­d­hy­acha­la
Once, it so hap­pens that Vin­d­hy­acha­la, the Vin­d­hya moun­tain, finds the sun going around Mount Meru and in his arro­gance, Vin­d­hya says, “Surya! You go around Meru. Why don’t you go around me as well?” The suns says, “No, this path has been cho­sen for me by the cre­ators of the uni­verse. How can I not fol­low my Dharma?This is my Dhar­ma, and hence I shall fol­low it”. Vin­d­hy­acha­la becomes haughty, and he starts grow­ing up and up to obstruct the path of the sun. Rishi Agastya is tasked with stunt­ing the growth of Vin­d­hya. So he climbs Vin­d­hya, cross­es him, and makes a request, “I am going from north to south. Until I return from the south, please stay as you are”. Vin­d­hya gives his word, “So be it”. Agastya goes to the south, along with Lopa­mu­dra, and nev­er returns. That’s how the pride of Vin­d­hy­acha­la is bro­ken. And Vin­d­hya stops grow­ing. That is why, in Sanksrit, any moun­tain is called ‘acha­la’ mean­ing ‘unmoveable’-a famous exam­ple being Arunacha­la of Thiru­van­na­malai. So like this, many sto­ries are nar­rat­ed by Rishi Lomasa, all through the theerthay­a­tra.