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Goddesses in Hinduism

Here is the list of 10 prime Goddesses in hinduism (no particular order) Lakshmi: Lakshmi (लक्ष्मी) is the Hindu goddess of wealth, love, prosperity (both

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12 common characters from Ramayana and Mahabharata

Jayadratha was the son of Vridhakshtra, king of Sindhu (present day Pakistan) and was the brother in law of the Kaurava prince, Duryodhana. He had married Dushshala, the only daughter of Dhritarastra and Gandhari.
One day when the Pandavas were in their vanavaas, the brothers went into the forest to collect fruits,wood, roots etc. Seeing Draupadi alone and enamored by her beauty, Jayadratha approached her and proposed to marry her even after coming to know that she was the wife of the Pandavas. When she refused to comply, he took the hasty decision of abducting her and started moving towards Sindhu. The Pandavas in the meantime learnt of this ghastly act and came in for Draupadi’s rescue. Bhima thrashes down Jayadratha but Draupadi prevents Bhima from killing him as she doesn’t want Dushshala to become a widow. Instead she requests that his head be shaved and he be set free so that he doesn’t dare ever commit an act of transgression against another woman.

To avenge his humiliation, Jayadratha conducts severe penance in order to please Lord Shiva, who granted him a boon in the form of a garland which will hold all the Pandavas at bay for one day. While this was not the boon that Jayadratha wanted, he accepted it nevertheless. Not satisfied, he went and prayed to his father Vridhakshtra who blesses him that whoever causes the head of Jayadratha to fall on the ground will be immediately killed by having his own head burst into a hundred pieces.

With these boons, Jayadratha was an able ally to the Kauravas when the Kurukshetra war began. Using the powers of his first boon, he managed to keep all the Pandavas at bay, except for Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna who were battling Trigartas elsewhere on the battlefield. On this day, Jayadratha waited for Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu to enter the Chakravyuha and then blocked the exit knowing fully well that the young warrior did not know how to exit the formation. He also prevented mighty Bhima along with his other brothers from entering the Chakravyuha for Abhimanyu’s rescue. After being brutally and treacherously killed by the Kauravas, Jayadratha then goes on to kick the dead body of Abhimanyu and rejoices by dancing around it.

When Arjuna returns to the camp that evening and hears of his son’s death and the circumstances surrounding it, he becomes unconcious. Even Krishna could not check his tears, hearing about the death of his favourite Nephew. After gaining conciousness Arjuna vows to kill Jayadratha the very next day before sunset, failing which he would kill himself by entering into blazing fire along with his Gandiva. Hearing of this vow of Arjuna, Dronacharya arranges a complicated battle formation the next day to achieve two objectives, one was to protect Jayadratha and two was to enable Arjuna’s death which so far none of the Kaurava warriors had even gotten close to achieving in normal battle.

The next day, despite a full day of fierce fighting when Arjuna is unable to get to Jaydratha, Krishna realizes that he would need to resort to unconventional tactics to achieve this objective. Using his divine powers, Krishna masks the sun thus creating a solar eclipse in order to create the illusion of sunset. The entire Kaurava army rejoiced at the fact that they had managed to keep Jayadratha safe from Arjuna and also at the fact that Arjuna now would be forced to kill himself to follow his vow.

Elated, Jayadratha also appears in front of Arjuna and laughs at his defeat and starts dancing around joyously. At this moment, Krishna unmasks the sun and sun appears in the sky. Krishna points Jayadratha to Arjuna and reminds him of his vow. In order to prevent his head from falling to the ground, Krishna asks Arjuna to shoot cascading arrows in a sustained manner so that Jayadratha’s head is carried over from the battlefield in Kurukshetra and travels all over to the Himalyas such that it falls on the lap of his father Vridhakshtra who was meditating there.

Disturbed by the head falling on his lap, Jayadratha’s father gets up, the head drops to the ground and immediately Vridhakshtra’s head bursts into a hundred pieces thus fulfilling the boon that he had given his son years ago.

Also Read:

The Complete Story Of Jayadratha (जयद्रथ) The King Of Sindhu Kingdom

Image Credits: to the original Artist
Post Credits: Varun Hrishikesh Sharma

Karna, Warrior of the Sun

So here is another story about Karna and his DaanVeerta. He was one of the greatest Daanshur (the one who Donates) ever witnessed by humanbeings.

Karna, Warrior of the Sun
Karna, Warrior of the Sun

Karna was lying on the battlefield gasping for breath in his last moments. Krishna assumed the form of an indigent Brahmin and approached him wanting to test his generosity and proving it to Arjun. Krishna exclaimed: “Karna! Karna!” Karna asked him: “Who are you, Sir?” Krishna (as the poor Brahmin) replied: “For a long time I have been hearing about your reputation as a charitable person. Today I came to ask you for a gift. You must give me a donation.” “Certainly, I shall give you whatever you want”, replied Karna. “I have to perform the marriage of my son. I want a small quantity of gold”, said Krishna. “Oh what a pity! Please go to my wife, she will give you as much as gold as you need”, said Karna. The “Brahmin” broke into laughter. He said: “For the sake of a little gold have I to go all the way to Hastinapura? If you say, you are not in a position to give me what I ask I shall leave you.” Karna declared: “As long as breath remains in me, I will not say ‘no’ to anyone.” Karna opened his mouth, showed the gold fillings for his teeth and said: “I shall give this to you. You can take them”.

Assuming a tone of revulsion, Krishna said: “What is it you suggest? Do you expect me to break your teeth and take the gold from them? How can I do such a wicked deed? I am a Brahmin.” Immediately, Karna picked up a stone nearby, knocked out his teeth and offered them to the “Brahmin”.

Krishna in his guise as Brahmin wanted to test Karna further. “What? Are you giving me as gift teeth dripping with blood? I cannot accept this. I am leaving”, he said. Karna pleaded: “Swami, please wait for a moment.” Even while he was unable to move, Karna took out his arrow and aimed it at the sky. Immediately rain dropped from the clouds. Cleaning the teeth with the rainwater, Karna offered the teeth with both his hands.

Krishna then revealed his original form. Karna asked: “Who are you, Sir”? Krishna said: “I am Krishna. I admire your spirit of sacrifice. In any circumstance you have never given up your spirit of sacrifice. Ask me what you want.” Beholding Krishna’s beauteous form, Karna said with folded hands: “Krishna! To have the vision of the Lord before one’s passing is the goal of human existence. You came to me and blessed me with your form. This is enough for me. I offer my salutations to you.” In this way, Karna stayed DAANVEER till the very end.

Barbarik was the grandson of Bhima and the son of Ghatotkacha. Barbarik was supposed to be a brave warrior having learnt the art of warfare from his mother. Lord Shiva pleased with Barbarik’s talent as a warrior granted him a Three special arrows. He also got a special bow from Lord Agni (God of Fire).

It is said that Barbarik was so powerful that according to him the war of Mahabharata could end in 1 minute if he alone was to fight it. The story goes like this:

Before the war started, Lord Krishna asked everyone how long would it take for them to finish the war alone. Bhisma replied it would take 20 days. Dronacharya said it would take 25 days. Karna said it would take 24 days whereas Arjuna said it would take him 28 days.

Barbarik had expressed his desire to watch the war of Mahabharata to his mother. His mother agreed to let him go watch it, but asked him before leaving as to which side he would join if he felt the urge to take part in the war. Barbarik promised his mother that he would join the side that was weaker. Saying this he set up on the journey to visit the battlefield.

Barbarika Krishna having heard of Barbarik and wanting to examine Barbarik’s strength disguised himself as a Brahmin came in front of Barbarik. Krishna asked him the same question about how many days would it take to finish the war if he were to fight it alone. Barbarik replied it would take him only 1 minute to finish the battle if he was to fight it alone. Krishna was surprised at this answer of Barbarik considering the fact that Barbarik was walking towards the battlefield with just 3 arrows and a bow. To this Barbarik explained the power of the 3 arrows.

  • The first arrow was supposed to mark all the objects that Barbarik wanted to be destroyed.
  • The second arrow was supposed to mark all the objects that Barbarik wanted to be saved.
  • The third arrow was supposed to destroy all the objects marked by the first arrow OR destroy all the objects not marked by the second arrow.

And at the end of this all the arrows would come return to the quiver. Krishna eager to test this out asked Barbarik to tie all the leaves of the tree that he was standing under. As Barbarik started meditating to perform the task, Krishna took one leaf from the tree and placed it under his foot without Barbarik’s knowledge. When Barbarik releases the first arrow, the arrow marks all the leaves from the tree and eventually starts revolving around Lord Krishna’s feet. Krishna asks Barbarik as to why the arrow is doing this. To this Barbarik replies that there must be a leaf under your feet and asks Krishna to lift his leg. As soon as Krishna lifts his leg, the arrow goes ahead and marks the remaining leaf too.

This incident scares Lord Krishna about the phenomenal power of Barbarik. He concludes that the arrows are truly infallible. Krishna also realizes that in the real battlefield in case Krishna wants to isolate someone (for eg the 5 Pandavas) from Barbarik’s attack, then he would not be able to do so, since even without the knowledge of Barbarik, the arrow would go ahead and destroy the target if Barbarik intended so.

To this Krishna asks Barbarik about which side he was planning to fight for in the war of Mahabharata. Barbarik explains that since the Kaurava Army is bigger than the Pandava Army and because of the condition he had agreed to with his mother, he would fight for the Pandavas. But to this Lord Krishna explains the paradox of the condition he had agreed with his mother. Krishna explains that since he was the greatest warrior on the battlefield, which ever side he joins would make the other side weaker. So eventually he would end up oscillating between the two sides and destroy everyone except himself. Thus Krishna reveals the actual consequence of the word that he had given to his mother. Thus Krishna(still disguised as a Brahmin) asks for Barbarik’s head in charity to avoid his involvement in the war.

After this Krishna explains that it was necessary to sacrifice the head of the greatest Kshatriya in order to worship the battlefield and that he regarded Barbarik as the greatest Kshatriya of that time.

Before actually giving his head, Barbarik expresses his desire to view the forthcoming battle. To this Krishna agreed to place Barbarik’s head on top of the mountain that overlooked the battlefield. At the end of the war, the Pandavas argued amongst themselves about whose was the greatest contribution to their victory. To this Krishna suggests that Barbarik’s head should be allowed to judge this since it has watched the entire war. Barbarik’s head suggests it was Krishna alone who was responsible for the victory in the war. His advice, his strategy and his presence was crucial in the victory.

Post Courtsy: Vikram Bhat
Image courtesy : Zayplay

The city of Kashi is famous for the shrine of Kaal Bhairav, the kotwal of Kashi or the policeman of Varanasi. His presence evokes fear, no different from some of our policemen. He has a thick moustache, rides a dog, wraps himself in tiger skin, wears a garland of skulls, has a sword in one hand and in another, holds the severed head a criminal.

People go to his shrine to do jhaad: sweeping of hex. Hex means the disruption of one’s aura through witchcraft (jadoo-tona) and malefic gaze (drishti or nazar). Black threads and iron bracelets are sold in shops around the temple, offering Kaal Bhairav’s protection to the devotee.
The story goes that Shiva took the form of Bhairava to behead Brahma who became arrogant after creating the world. Brahma’s head seared into Shiva’s palm and he wandered the earth chased by Brahma-hatya, the infamy of killing the creator.

Shiva finally descended from Kailas southwards along the river Ganga. A point came when the river turned north. At this point, he dipped his hand in the river, and Brahma’s skull became undone and Shiva was thus liberated form Brahma-hatya. This became the site of the famous city of Avimukta (site where one is liberated) which is now called Kashi. It is said that the city stands on Shiva’s trident. Shiva stayed here as the guardian, driving away all those who threaten the city, protecting its inhabitants.

The idea of eight Bhairavs guarding the eight directions (four cardinal and four ordinal) is a common theme in various Purans. In the south, many villages have the shrine of 8 Vairavar (local name for Bhairav) in the eight corners of the village. Bhairava is thus acknowledged as the guardian god.

In many Jain temples, Bhairav stands along with his consort, Bhairavi, as a guardian god. In Gujarat and Rajasthan, one hears of Kala-Bhairav and Gora-Bhairav, the black and white guardians, who watch over shrines of the Goddess. Kala-Bhairav is more popularly known as Kaal, the black (Kala) referring to the black hole of time (Kaal) that consumes everything. Kaal Bhairav is associated with alcohol and wild frenzy. By contrast, Gora Bhairav or Batuk Bhairav (the small Bhairav) is visualized as a child who likes to drink milk, maybe laced with bhang.

The name Bhairav is rooted in the word ‘bhaya’ or fear. Bhairav evokes fear and takes away fear. He reminds us that fear is at the root of all human frailties. It is fear of invalidation that made Brahma cling to his creation and become arrogant. In fear, we cling to our identities like dogs cling to bones and their territories. To reinforce this message, Bhairav is associated with a dog, a symbol of attachment, as the dog wags its tail when the master smiles and whines when the master frowns. It is attachment, hence fear and insecurity, that makes us cast hexes on people and suffer from hexes cast by people. Bhairav liberates us from all.

Credits: Devdutt Pattnaik (Seven secrets of shiva)

Fascinating Stories about Lord Shiva Ep III - Shiva fight with Narasimha avatara - hindufaqs.com

Perhaps one of the least known stories about Shiva is his fight with Narasimha avatara of Lord Vishnu in the form of Sharabha. One version says he killed Narasimha! Another says Vishnu assumed another superhuman form Gandaberunda to fight Sharabha.

The mythical creature Sharabha shown here is part-bird and part-lion. Shiva Purana describes Sharabha as thousand-armed, lion-faced and with matted hair, wings and eight feet. In his clutches is Lord Narasimha, whom Sharabha slays!

Fascinating Stories about Lord Shiva Ep III - Shiva fight with Narasimha avatara - hindufaqs.com
Fascinating Stories about Lord Shiva Ep III – Shiva fight with Narasimha avatara – hindufaqs.com

First, Vishnu assumed the form of Narasimha to slay Hiranyakashipu, an asura (demon) king, who was terrorizing the universe and devotee of Shiva.The Shiva Purana mentions: After slaying Hiranyakashipu, Narasimha’s wrath was not appeased. The world trembled, fearing what he might do. The Devas (the gods) requested Shiva to tackle Narasimha. Initially, Shiva brings forth Virabhadra, one of his terrifying forms, in order to calm Narasimha. When that failed, Shiva manifested as the human-lion-bird Sharabha. Shiva then assumed the Sharabha form. Sharabha then attacked Narasimha and seized him up until he was immobilized. He thus quelled Narasimha’s terrifying rage. Narasimha became a devotee of Shiva after being bound by Sharabha. Sharabha then decapitated and de-skinned Narasimha so Shiva could wear the hide and lion-head as a garment. The Linga Purana and Sharabha Upanishad also mention this mutilation and murder of Narasimha. After the mutilation, Vishnu assumed his normal form and retired to his abode, after duly praising Shiva. It was from here on that Shiva came to be known as “Sharabeshamurti” or “Simhagnamurti”.

This myth is particularly interesting because it brings to forth the past rivalries between Shaivites and Vaishnavites.

The Vaishnavites have a similar story of Vishnu transforming into Gandaberunda to fight Sharabha, in yet another bird form: a 2 headed eagle.

Credits: Wikipedia
Harish Aditham

Fascinating Stories about Lord Shiva Ep II - Parvati once donated Shiva - hindufaqs.com

Parvati once donated Shiva to Brahma’s Sons on Narad’s advice.

This happened when their second child, Ashokasundari, left home (Kailasha) for meditation.

This is the story: When Kartikeya, their first child, was born, he was given to the Kritikas (some women from Kritika place). This was done because Shiva believed that by growing in that place, he would imbibe skills that would help in warfare later. After coming to Kailasha, he immediately went to train to fight Tarakasura, one of the strongest daemons in the Hindu mythology. Shortly after killing him, he was sent to another kingdom for its protection. So Parvati was not given much opportunities to enjoy the company of her son.

Similar things happened with Ashokasundari. She was shortly motivated to go for meditation.

So Parvati was very upset because her family was never together. Menavati, her mother, tells her that in order to take care of this, Shiva himself should spend more time at home. So now the problem was how to make this happen.

Narad to the rescue! He tells Parvati that when Sachi, the wife of Indra, was having similar problem, she donated Indra to Narad. But Narad gave Indra back to her as he couldn’t see any advantage of keeping him. Since then Indra used to spend most of the time at home. So both Menavati and Narad convince Parvati to adopt a similar method. Narad tells Parvati that she could donate Shiv to the 4 Brahma sons – Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana and Sanatkumara.

(Brahma sons taking Shiv along with them)

The donation actually happened, but contrary to their expectation, the Brahma sons did not give Shiv back (who would, eh?).

Then there was a massive uproar everywhere as Shiva was no longer taking care of the worldly affairs – he was now a “property” of the Brahma sons and had to obey their orders. So Parvati assumes a form of an old lady and tries to show them how the world would get devastated if Shiva was not freed. They were convinced and let go of Shiva.

Creits: To original post by Shikhar Agarwal

Fascinating Stories about Lord Shiva Ep I - Shiva and Bhilla - hindufaqs.com

The series ‘Fascinating Stories about Lord Shiva’. This series will be focusing on many known and unknown stores of Shiva. There will be a new story per episode. Ep I is a story about Shiva and Bhilla. There was a sage named Veda. He used to pray to Shiva every day. The prayers lasted till the afternoon and after the prayers were over, Veda used to go to the nearby villages to beg alms.

A hunter named Bhilla used to come to the forest every afternoon to hunt. After the hunt was over, he used to come to Shiva’s linga (image) and offer to Shiva whatever it was that he had hunted. In the process of doing this, he often moved Veda’s offerings out of the way. Strange though it might seem, Shiva was stirred by Bhilla’s offerings and eagerly used to wait for it every day.

Bhilla and Veda never met. But Veda noticed that every day his offerings lay scattered and a little bit of meat lay by the side. Since this always happened when Veda had gone out to beg for alms, Veda did not know who was responsible. One day, he decided to wait in hiding so as to catch the culprit red-handed.

While Veda waited, Bhilla arrived and offered what he had brought to Shiva. Veda was amazed to discover that Shiva himself appeared before Bhilla and asked, “Why are you late today? I have been waiting for you. Did you get very tired?”
Bhilla went away after making his offerings. But Veda came up to Shiva and said, “What is all this? This is a cruel and evil hunter, and yet, you appear before him. I have been performing tapasya for so many years and you never appear before me. I am disgusted at this partiality. I will break your linga with this stone.”

“Do it if you must,” replied Shiva. “But please wait till tomorrow.”
Next day, when Veda came to present his offerings, he found traces of blood on top of the linga. He carefully washed away the traces of blood and completed his prayers.

After some time, Bhilla also came to present his offerings and discovered traces of blood on top of the linga. He thought that he was in some way responsible for this and blamed himself for some unknown transgression. He picked up a sharp arrow and began to pierce his body repeatedly with this arrow as punishment.
Shiva appeared before both of them and said, “Now you see the difference between Veda and Bhilla. Veda has given me his offerings, but Bhilla has given me his whole soul. That is the difference between ritual and true devotion.”
The place where Bhilla used to pray to Shiva is a famous tirtha known as bhillatirtha.

Credits : Brahma Purana