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Fascinating Stories about Lord Vishnu - hindufaqs.com

Of all the avataras Mohini is the only female avatar. But the most beguiling of them all. She is portrayed as an enchantress, who maddens lovers, sometimes leading them to their doom. Unlike the Dasavataras, which appear on Earth during a certain period, Vishnu takes up Mohini avatara during many time periods. In the original text, Mohini is referred to as simply an enchanting, female form of Vishnu. In later versions, Mohini is described as the maya(illusion) of Vishnu (mayam ashito mohinim).

Mohini- Female avatara of Vishnu | Hindu FAQs
Mohini- Female avatara of Vishnu

Almost all her tales has that element of slyness. Most of which were the ones leading the asuras (the bad guys) to doom. Bhasmasur was one such asura. Bhasmasur was a devotee of Lord Shiva (Well, Lord Shiva had no restriction upon who could worship him. He was known as Bholenath – easily pleased). He used to perform long penances in order to please Shiva. Shiva being pleased with his austerities, granted him one wish. Bhasmasur, asked him for the one obvious wish – immortality. However, this was out of Shiva’s ‘pay-grade’. So, he asked for the next coolest wish – the license to kill. Bhasmasur asked that he be granted the power that anyone whose head he touched with his hand should burn up and immediately turn into ashes (bhasma).

Well, so far things were going fine for Shiva. Bhasmasur, now sees the beautiful consort of Shiva – Parvati. A pervert and wicked asura as he was, wanted to possess her and marry her. He, thenceforth tries using his newly granted boon on Shiva himself (one piece of rotten asura he is). Shiva, being bound by the ‘contract’ had no power to take back his grant. He fled, and was chased by Bhasmasur. Wherever Shiva went, Bhasmasur chased him down. Somehow, Shiva managed to reach Vishnu to seek a solution to this predicament. Vishnu on hearing Shiva’s problem, agreed to help him out.

Bhasmasur chasing Shiva | Hindu FAQs
Bhasmasur chasing Shiva

Vishnu took up the form of Mohini and appeared in front of Bhasmasur. Mohini was so exceedingly beautiful that Bhasmasur immediately fell in love with Mohini (This is what years of austerity does to you). Bhasmasur asked her (Mohini) to marry him. On a side note, the asuras of the vedic times were real gentlemen. The only way to be with a woman was to marry them. Anyways, Mohini asked her out on a dance, and would marry him only if he could match her moves identically.  Bhasmasur agreed to the match and hence they started dancing. The feat went for days at an end. As Bhasmasur matched the disguised Vishnu’s move for move, he began to let his guard down. While still dancing, Mohini, struck a pose where her hand was placed on top of her own head.  And Bhasmasura, whose eyes were constantly fixed upon Mohini’s  beautiful face, completely forgot about Lord Shiva’s boon, and put his  hand on his head too and turned into ashes.

Mohini tricking Bhasmasura | Hindu FAQs
Mohini tricking Bhasmasura
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

Hindufaqs.com - What was the relationship between Draupadi and the Pandavas like

Draupadi’s relationship with the Pandavas is complex and at the heart of the Mahabharat.

1. Draupadi and Arjuna:

Let’s jump right in with the most important relationship: Draupadi’s and Arjuna’s.

Of the five Pandavas, Draupadi favors Arjuna the most. She is in love with him, whereas the others are in love with her. Arjuna has won her in the Swayamvar, Arjuna is her husband.

Also Read:
How did Hanuman end up on Arjuna’s chariot in Mahabharata?

On the other hand, she is not Arjuna’s favorite wife. Arjuna does not like sharing her with 4 other men (conjecture on my part). Arjuna’s favorite wife is Subadhra, Krishna‘s half-sister. He also dotes on Abhimanyu (his son with Subadhra) over and above his sons from Draupadi and Chitrangada. All of Draupadi’s husbands married other women, but the only time Draupadi gets upset and distraught is when she learns of Arjuna‘s marriage to Subadhra. Subadhra has to go to Draupadi dressed as a maid, just to assure her that she (Subadhra) will always be beneath Draupadi in status.

2. Draupadi and Yudhisthir:

Now let’s see the reason why Draupadi’s life is a shambles, why she is the most cursed woman of her time, and one of the most important reasons behind the Mahabharat war: Draupadi’s marriage to Yudhisthir.

Here is something we need to understand first: Yudhisthir is a bastardnot as saintly as he is portrayed to be. This is not to be held against him – all Mahabharat characters are gray – but people tend to forget this bit. Yudhisthir does not win Draupadi in the Swayamvar, he has no right to her.

He lusts for her, he cannot bear seeing her everyday and not be able to have her. So he takes a small chance that fate throws his way, when Kunti says, “Share whatever you have between yourselves”, and bullies Draupadi and his brothers into the weird “Lets all marry her” situation. Bhima does not like this, he claims that it is not right and that people will laugh at them. Yudhisthir tells him of Rishis who have done this before, and that it is accepted in Dharma.  He then rushes forward and says that since he is the eldest, he must get first with Draupadi. The brothers marry her according to age, eldest to youngest.

Then, Yudhisthir calls an assembly with his brothers and tells them the story of 2 powerful rakshasas, Sunda and Upasunda , whose love for the same woman led them to destroy each other. He says that the lesson to learn here is that the brothers must be careful when sharing Draupadi. She must be with one brother for a set period of time, and during this period the other brothers cannot touch her (carnally, that is). Yudhisthir decides that Draupadi will live for 1 year with each brother and that since he is the eldest, she will start the cycle with him. And the brother who breaks this rule will have to go into exile for 12 years. Further, the same punishment will apply if any brother happens to disturb another when he is carnally engaged with Draupadi.

This punishment actually comes into play when Arjuna disturbs Yudhisthir and Draupadi. Arjuna has to retrieve his weapons from the armory, in order to help a poor Brahmin whose cows have been stolen by thieves.

Arjuna departs on exile for 12 years, where he visits his father Indra, gets cursed by Urvashi, learns a lot of new skills from multiple teachers (Shiva, Indra etc), meets and marries Subadhra, followed by Chitrangada, etc. However, what happens to the year that he is to spend with Draupadi? It reverts back to Yudhisthir, who promises to care for Draupadi on Arjuna’s behalf. Naturally.

3. Draupadi and Bhima:

Bhima is silly putty in Draupadi’s hands. Of all her husbands, he is the one who loves her the most. He fulfills her every request, he cannot bear to see her hurt.

He use to bring her flowers from Kuber’s garden. Bhima cried because his beautiful wife will have to serve as a Sairandhri (maid) to Queen Sudeshna of Matsya. Bhima kills a 100 Kauravas to avenge the insult to Draupadi. Bhima was the one whom Draupadi run to when she is molested by Keechak in Matsya kingdom.

The other Pandavas are not under Draupadi’s thumb. She is prone to outbursts of rage, she makes unreasonable, unwise demands. When she wants Keechak killed for molesting her, Yudhisthir tells her that it would expose their presence in Matsya kingdom, and advises her to “live with it”. Bhima simply walks up to Keechak in the middle of the night and tears him limb from limb. No questions asked.

Draupadi shows us Bhima’s human side. He is a savage monster with others, but he is always and only tender when it comes to Draupadi.

4. Draupadi with Nakul and Sahadev:

As with most of the Mahabharat, Nakul and Sahadev don’t really matter here. Not many version of the Mahabharat where Nakul and Sahadev have any role of substance. In reality, Nakul and Sahadev are more loyal to Yudhisthir than anyone else. They don’t share father or mother with Yudhisthir, yet they follow him everywhere and do exactly as he asks. They could have gone and ruled over Madradesh, and lived a life of luxury and ease, but they stuck with their brother through thick and thin. Makes one appreciate them a little bit more.

In summary, Draupadi’s curse is the curse of beauty. She is the object of every man’s lust, but no one cares much for what she desires or feels. Her husbands gamble her away as if she were property. When Dusshasana strips her in view of a full court, she has to beg Krishna to save her. Her husbands don’t lift a finger.

Even at the end of their 13 year exile, the Pandavas are not intent on war. They worry that the losses in the Kurukshetra war will be too big to warrant it. Draupadi has to turn to her friend, Krishna, to heal her soul. Krishna promises her: “Soon wilt thou, O Draupadi, behold the ladies of Bharata’s race weep as thou dost. Even they, O timid one, will weep like thee, their kinsmen and friends being slain. They with whom, O lady, thou art angry, have their kinsmen and warriors already slain…. I will accomplish all this.”

And thus comes about the Mahabharat war.

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