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Who are the seven immortals (Chiranjivi) of Hindu Mythology 4 - Parshurama - hindufaqs.com

The seven Immortals (Chiranjivi) of Hindu Mythology are:

  1. Aswathama
  2. King Mahabali
  3. Veda Vyasa
  4. Hanuman
  5. Vibhishana
  6. Krupacharya
  7. Parashuram

Read the first part to know about the first two Immortals i.e. ‘Aswathama’ & ‘Mahabali’ Here:
Who are the seven immortals (Chiranjivi) of Hindu Mythology? Part 1

Read the second part to know about the Third and forth Immortals i.e. ‘Veda Vyasa’ & ‘Hanuman’ Here:
Who are the seven immortals (Chiranjivi) of Hindu Mythology? Part 2

Read the third part to know about the Fifth and Sixth Immortals i.e. ‘Vibhishana’ & ‘Krupacharya’ Here:
Who are the seven immortals (Chiranjivi) of Hindu Mythology? Part 3

7) Parshuram:
Parshurama is the sixth avatar of Vishnu, He is son of Renuka and the saptarishi Jamadagni. He lived during the last Dvapara Yuga, and is one of the seven immortals or Chiranjivi, of Hinduism. He received an parashu(axe) after undertaking terrible penance to please Shiva, who in turn taught him the martial arts.

Parshurama | Hindu FAQs
Parshurama

Parashurama is most known for ridding the world of kshatriyas twenty-one times over after the mighty king Kartavirya killed his father. He played important roles in the Mahabharata and Ramayana, serving as mentor to Bhishma, Karna and Drona. Parashurama also fought back the advancing seas to save the lands of Konkan, Malabar and Kerala.

It is said that Parashurama will act as a teacher for the last and final Avatar of Vishnu known as Kalki and will help him in undertaking penance in receiving celestial weaponry and knowledge which will be helpful in saving mankind at the end of the present Yuga that is the Kaliyuga.

Apart from these seven, Markandeya, a great rishi Who was blessed by Shiva, and Jambavan, a strong and wellknown character from Ramayana  are also considered as Chiranjivins.

Markandeya:

Markandeya is an ancient rishi (sage) from the Hindu tradition, born in the clan of Bhrigu Rishi. He is celebrated as a devotee of both Shiva and Vishnu and is mentioned in a number of stories from the Puranas. The Markandeya Purana especially, comprises a dialogue between Markandeya and a sage called Jaimini, and a number of chapters in the Bhagavata Purana are dedicated to his conversations and prayers. He is also mentioned in the Mahabharata. Markandeya is venerated within all mainstream Hindu traditions.

Mrikandu rishi and his wife Marudmati worshipped Shiva and sought from him the boon of begetting a son. As a result he was given the choice of either a gifted son, but with a short life on earth or a child of low intelligence but with a long life. Mrikandu rishi chose the former, and was blessed with Markandeya, an exemplary son, destined to die at the age of 16.

Markandeya and shiva | Hindu FAQs
Markandeya and shiva

Markandeya grew up to be a great devotee of Shiva and on the day of his destined death he continued his worship of Shiva in his aniconic form of Shivalingam. The messengers of Yama, the god of death were unable to take away his life because of his great devotion and continual worship of Shiva. Yama then came in person to take away Markandeya’s life, and sprung his noose around the young sage’s neck. By accident or fate the noose mistakenly landed around the Shivalingam, and out of it, Shiva emerged in all his fury attacking Yama for his act of aggression. After defeating Yama in battle to the point of death, Shiva then revived him, under the condition that the devout youth would live forever. For this act, Shiva was thereafter known also as Kalantaka (“Ender of Death”).
Thus Maha Mrityunjaya Stotra is also attributed to Markandeya, and this legend of Shiva conquering death is inscribed in metal and worshipped at Thirukkadavoor in Tamilnadu, India.

Jambavan:
also known as Jamvanta, Jambavantha, Jambavat, or Jambuvan is a first form of humans created by god Brahma, with lots of hair on his body he is perhaps not a bear, later he appeared has a bear in next life in Indian epic tradition (though he is also described as a monkey in other scriptures), immortal to all but his father Vishnu. Several times he is mentioned as Kapishreshtha (Foremost among the monkeys) and other epithets generally given to the Vanaras. He is known as Riksharaj (King of the Rikshas). Rikshas are described as something like Vanaras but in later versions of Ramayana Rikshas are described as bears. He was created by Brahma, to assist Rama in his struggle against Ravana. Jambavan was present at the churning of the ocean, and is supposed to have circled Vamana seven times when he was acquiring the three worlds from Mahabali. He was the King of the Himalayas who had incarnated as a bear in order to serve Rama. He had received a boon from Lord Rama that he would have a long life, be handsome and would have the strength of ten million lions.

Jambavan | Hindu FAQs
Jambavan

In the epic Ramayana, Jambavantha helped Rama find his wife Sita and fight her abductor,Ravana. It is he who makes Hanuman realize his immense capabilities and encourages him to fly across the ocean to search for Sita in Lanka.

In the Mahabharata, Jambavantha had killed a lion, who had acquired a gem called Syamantaka from Prasena after killing him. Krishna was suspected of killing Prasena for the jewel, so he tracked Prasena’s steps until he learned that he had been killed by a lion who had been killed by a bear. Krishna tracked Jambavantha to his cave and a fight ensued. After eighteen days, realizing who Krishna was, Jambavantha submitted. He gave Krishna the gem and also presented him his daughter Jambavati, who became one of Krishna’s wives.

Jambavan mentions two incidents in his life in the Ramayana. Once at the foot of Mount Mahendra, where Hanuman is about to take a leap and mentions that he could have jumped over the ocean to Lanka except that he got injured when he was beating the drum for Vishnu during the Vamana Avatara when the great god measured the three worlds. Vamana’s shoulder struck Jambavan and he was injured which limited his mobility.

And once during the Samudra-Manthan,he was present at the time of the event. He got to know about the all-curing plant Vishalyakarni from the gods there and he later used this information to order Hanumana to help an injured and unconscious Laxmana in the great battle with the Lanka emperor, Ravana.

Jambavan, together with Parasuram and Hanuman, is considered to be one of the few to have been present for both Ram and Krishna avatars. Said to have been present for the churning of the ocean and thus witness to the Kurma avatar, and further the Vaman avatar, Jambavan may well be the longest lived of the chiranjivis and have been witness to nine avatars.

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vyasa The compiler of Vedas - hindufaqs.com

The seven Immortals (Chiranjivi) of Hindu Mythology are:

  1. Aswathama
  2. King Mahabali
  3. Veda Vyasa
  4. Hanuman
  5. Vibhishana
  6. Krupacharya
  7. Parashuram

Read the first part to know about the first two Immortals i.e. ‘Aswathama’ & ‘Mahabali’ Here:
Who are the seven immortals (Chiranjivi) of Hindu Mythology? Part 1


3) Vyasa:
Vyasa ‘व्यास’ is a central and revered figure in most Hindu traditions. He is also sometimes called Veda Vyasa ‘वेदव्यास’, the one who classified the Vedas into four parts. His real name is Krishna Dvaipayana.
Veda Vyasa was a great sage born in the later stage of Treta Yuga and who has been said to have lived through the Dvapara Yuga and the current Kali Yuga. He was the son of Satyavati, daughter of the fisherman Dusharaj, and the wandering sage Parashara (who is credited with being the author of the first Purana: Vishnu Purana).
The sage like any other immortal is said to have a lifetime of this Manvantara or till the end of this Kali yuga. Veda Vyasa was the writer of Mahabharata and the Puranas (Vyasa is also credited with the writing of the eighteen major Puranas. His son Shuka or Suka is the narrator of the major Purana Bhagavat-Purana.) and also the one who split the Vedas in four parts. The splitting being a feat that allowed people to understand the divine knowledge of the Veda. The word Vyasa means split, differentiate, or describe. It can also be debated so that Veda Vyasa was not just one being but a group of scholars who worked on the Vedas.

vyasa The compiler of Vedas
vyasa The compiler of Vedas

Vyasa is traditionally known as author of this epic. But he also features as an important character in it. His mother later married the king of Hastinapura, and had two sons. Both sons died without issue and hence their mother asked Vyasa to go to the beds of the wives of her dead son Vichitravirya.

Ved Vyasa
Ved Vyasa

Vyasa fathers the princes Dhritarashtra and Pandu by Ambika and Ambalika. Vyasa told them that they should come alone near him. First did Ambika, but because of shyness and fear she closed her eyes. Vyasa told Satyavati that this child would be blind. Later this child was named Dhritarashtra. Thus Satyavati sent Ambalika and warned her that she should remain calm. But Ambalika’s face became pale because of fear. Vyasa told her that child would suffer from anaemia, and he would not be fit enough to rule the kingdom. Later this child was known as Pandu. Then Vyasa told Satyavati to send one of them again so that a healthy child can be born. This time Ambika and Ambalika sent a maid in the place of themselves. The maid was quite calm and composed, and she got a healthy child later named as Vidura. While these are his sons, another son Suka, born of his wife, sage Jabali’s daughter Pinjala (Vatika), is considered his true spiritual heir.

In the first book of the Mahabharata, it is described that Vyasa asked Ganesha to aid him in writing the text, however Ganesha imposed a condition that he would do so only if Vyasa narrated the story without pause. To which Vyasa then made a counter-condition that Ganesha must understand the verse before he transcribed it.
Thus Lord VedVyas narrated the whole Mahabharata and all the Upanishads and the 18 Puranas, while Lord Ganesha wrote.

Ganesha and Vyasa
Ganesha writing Mahabharata as told by Vyasa

Veda Vyasa in literal sense means the splitter of Vedas. Having said that however it is widely believed that he was a single human being. There always is a Veda Vyasa who lives through one Manvantara[a timeframe in ancient Hindu mythology.] and hence is immortal through this Manvantara.
Veda Vyasa is said to live life of a hermit and is widely believed to be still alive and living among the living beings till the end of this Kali Yuga.
The festival of Guru Purnima is dedicated to him. It is also known as Vyasa Purnima, for it is the day believed to be both his birthday and the day he divided the Vedas

4) Hanuman:
Hanuman is a Hindu god and an ardent devotee of Rama. He is a central character in the Indian epic Ramayana and its various versions. He also finds mentions in several other texts, including Mahabharata, the various Puranas and some Jain texts. A vanara (monkey), Hanuman participated in Rama’s war against the Daitya (demon) king Ravana. Several texts also present him as an incarnation of Lord Shiva. He is the son of Kesari, and is also described as the son of Vayu, who according to several stories, played a role in his birth.

hanuman the God of Strength
hanuman the God of Strength

It is believed that Hanuman, as a child, once misunderstood the sun to be a ripe mango and made an attempt to eat it, thus disturbing Rahu’s agenda of forming the scheduled solar eclipse. Rahu (one of the planets) informed this incident to the Leader of Devas, Lord Indra. Filled with rage, Indra (God of Rain) threw his Vajra weapon at Hanuman and disfigured his jaw. In retaliation, Hanuman’s father, Vayu (God of Wind), withdrew all the air from earth. Seeing the human beings choke to death, all the lords promised to shower Hanuman with multiple blessings in order to appease the Wind Lord. Thus one of the most powerful mythical creatures was born.

Lord Brahma gave him these:

1. Invulnerability
The power and strength to prevent any war weapon from causing physical damage.

2. Power to induce fear in the enemies and destroy fear in the friends
This is the reason why all the ghosts and spirits are believed to fear Hanuman and that reciting his prayer is considered to shield any human being from evil forces.

3. Size Manipulation
Ability to change the body size by preserving its proportion. This power assisted Hanuman in lifting the massive Dronagiri mountain and to enter monster Ravana’s Lanka unnoticed.

4. Flight
Ability to defy gravity.

Lord Shiva gave him these:

1. Longevity
A blessing to lead a long life. Many people report even today that they have physically seen Hanuman with their own eyes.

2. Enhanced Intelligence
It is said that Hanuman was able to astonish Lord Surya with his wisdom and knowledge within a week.

3. Long range flight
This is just the extension of what Brahma blessed him with. This boon gave Hanuman an ability to cross vast oceans.

While Brahma and Shiva conferred abundant blessings on Hanuman, other lords miserly gave him one boon each.

Indra gave him protection from the deadly Vajra weapon.

Varuna gave him protection against water.

Agni blessed him with protection from fire.

Surya willingly gave him the power to change his body form, commonly known as shapeshifting.

Yama made him immortal and made death fear him.

Kubera made him happy and contented for the entire lifetime.

Vishwakarma blessed him with powers to save himself from all weapons. This is just an add-on to what some of the gods had already given him.

Vayu blessed him with more speed than himself.
Read more about Hanuman:  Most Badass Hindu God: Hanuman

When Rama, his devoted Lord was leaving the earth, Rama asked Hanumana if he would like to come. In response, Lord Hanumana requested Rama that he would like to stay back on earth as long as the name of Lord Rama is chanted by the people of the earth. As such, Lord Hanumana is said to still exist on this planet and we can only speculate as to where he is

Hanuman
Hanuman

A number of religious leaders have claimed to have seen Hanuman over the course of the centuries, notably Madhvacharya (13th century CE), Tulsidas (16th century), Samarth Ramdas (17th century), Raghavendra Swami (17th century) and Swami Ramdas (20th century).
Swaminarayan, founder of the Hindu Swaminarayan sects, holds that other than worship of God through the Narayana Kavacha, Hanuman is the only deity who may be worshiped in the event of trouble by evil spirits.
Others have also asserted his presence wherever the Ramayana is read.

अमलकमलवर्णं प्रज्ज्वलत्पावकाक्षं सरसिजनिभवक्त्रं सर्वदा सुप्रसन्नम् |
पटुतरघनगात्रं कुण्डलालङ्कृताङ्गं रणजयकरवालं वानरेशं नमामि ||

यत्र यत्र रघुनाथकीर्तनं तत्र तत्र कृतमस्तकाञ्जलिम् ।
बाष्पवारिपरिपूर्णलोचनं मारुतिं नमत राक्षसान्तकम् ॥

yatra yatra raghunathakirtanam tatra tatra krta mastakanjalim ।
baspavariparipurnalocanam marutim namata raksasantakam ॥

Meaning: Bow down to Hanuman, who is the slayer of demons, and who is present with head bowed and eyes full of flowing tears wherever the fame of Rama is sung.

Credits:
Photo Credits: Google Images

Well, there are many reasons why people ask this  question and there are many answers to the question. People ask this question out of  genuine interest, genuine curiosity, genuine confusion and even out of meanness. So, here are the many answers for why are there many Gods in Hinduism.

Lalbaug Cha Raja
Lalbabu Cha Raja Ganpati and His Millions of Followers

1. There are ‘no-god’ religions, ‘one-god’ religions and ‘many-gods’ religions in this world. ‘Many-gods’ religions are as natural as the  ‘no-god’ religions and ‘one-god’ religions. They just evolved, because God / Nature loves variety. As simple as that.

2. Let us turn this question around. If you are asking  why there are multiple gods in Hinduism, you should also ask why there is only one-god in Abrahamic religions? Why? Why? Why only one God?

3. The ‘one-god’ religions truly do not have one-god. They had many gods and the followers of each God fought with the followers of other gods literally to establish their own superiority  and they made their god as the ‘only available  God’ and called it ‘One-God’. And the story doesn’t stop  there. Whenever there is in-fighting, a new branch of the religion gets created. All the hundreds of branches have different  notions of the same God and fight over their differences. Major branches actually kill and heap abusing each other.

4. The One-God religions are like political parties. The followers rally behind  their God like captive voters of political parties follow their leaders. They want to argue that their God is ‘true’ God and everyone else’s God is ‘false’. How can there be ‘true’ or ‘false’ Gods, if there is only one God?

5. Hinduism is not like a political party. Hindu Gods do not ask for  ‘acceptance’ or ‘belief’, just like Sun, who doesn’t need your or my acceptance or belief for his existence. There is no ‘true’ Sun or false ‘Sun’.   Hinduism is about contemplating and understanding  the oneness of Universe. It is called Brahman, Tat or Aum and by  many other names. But you may ask, why so many names? Because all Natural  objects have multiple names. Sun has many names in many languages. Water has many names in many languages. Only man-made objects have ‘one’ name. For example, Coke, a man-made name is same in  every language.  Toyota, a man-made entity, is the same in every language. The religions that have only one-God that goes by only  one-name must have been man-made religions.

6. The Universe is big. It is not only big in  size, but also in its aspects and  qualities. Each aspect is deep in itself to understand.  For example, the universe regenerates itself continuously. That is one aspect. The universe maintains itself in a state of equilibrium. That is another aspect. The universe gives raise to a diverse set of organisms. That is yet another aspect. The  universe has energy and it moves. That is one more aspect. But also the  universe stays as is  for long time. That  is another aspect. Each God of Hinduism represents one aspect of the Universe.

7. Since our minds are small, we cannot hold the full image of God. Therefore the god you see and the god your brother or sister sees is  going to be different. In stead of fighting over and branch out into multiple religions and denominations, Hinduism says that your image of God is what you can relate to, so go with it. And similarly your brother’s image of God is what he can relate to, so he will have to go with it. You have no business about  your brother’s image of God and your brother has no business about your image of God. You can leave it at that. But if you are a friendly person and if you value your brother as much as you value yourself, you would be curious about his image of god and he would be curious about your image of god. When you exchange each other’s image of God, you will both see a ‘bigger picture’ of God. So for the sake comfort, keep your image of God. For  the sake of  growing, gain a better image of God, by exchanging your ideas of God with your brother. Once you keep growing and your brother keeps growing, both of your images converge to the  same infinite god. No need to fight. Just keep all the Gods. This is the most beautiful and open concept about gods that mankind has ever created. It is free for you to take. What are you waiting for ?

Do read our post: Are there really 330 million Gods in hinduism?

karna from Mahabharata

Karna attaches an arrow to his bow, pulls back and releases – the arrow is aimed at Arjun’s heart.  Krishna, Arjun’s Charioteer, drives by sheer force the chariot into the ground several feet.  The arrow hits Arjun’s headgear and knocks it off. Missing its target – Arjuna’s heart.
Krishna yells, “Wow! Nice shot, Karna.”
Arjuna asks Krishna, ‘Why are you praising Karna?’
Krishna tells Arjun, ‘Look at you! You have Lord Hanuman on the flag of this chariot. You have me as your charioteer. You received the blessings of Ma Durga and your Guru, Dronacharya before the battle, have a loving Mother and an aristocratic heritage. This Karna has nobody, his own charioteer, Salya belittles him, his own Guru (Parusurama) cursed him, his Mother abandoned him when he was born and he has no known heritage.  Yet, look at the battle he’s giving you. Without me and Lord Hanuman on this chariot, where would you be?’

karna
Comparison between Krishna and Karna
on various occasions. Some of them are Myths while some are pure facts.


1. Immediately after Krishna’s birth, he was transported across the river by his father, Vasudeva to be brought up by his step-parents – Nanda & Yasoda
Immediately after Karna’s birth, his Mother – Kunti placed him in a basket on the river. He was transported to his step-parents – Adhiratha & Radha – by the watchful eye of his father, Surya Dev

2.  Karna’s given name was – Vasusena
– Krishna was also called – Vasudeva

3. Krishna’s mother was Devaki, his Step-Mother – Yasoda, His Chief Wife – Rukmini, yet he is remembered mostly for his lila with Radha. ‘Radha-Krishna’
– Karna’s birth mother was Kunti, and even after finding out she was his mother – He told Krishna that he will not be called – Kaunteya – son of Kunti, but will be remembered as Radheya – Son of Radha. Till date, the Mahabharata refers to Karna as ‘Radheya’

4.  Krishna was asked by his people – Yadavas- to become, King. Krishna refused and Ugrasena was King of the Yadavas.
– Krishna asked Karna to become Emperor of India (BharataVarsha- Extending to Pakistan, Bangladesh & Afghanistan at the time), thereby preventing the MahaBharat War.  Krishna argued that Karna being elder to both Yudhisthira & Duryodhana – he would be the rightful heir to the throne. Karna refused the Kingdom on account of principle

5. Krishna broke his vow of not picking up a weapon during the War, when he impulsively rushed at Bhishma Dev with his Chakra.

Krishna rushing towards Bhishma with his Chakra

6. Krishna vowed to Kunti that all 5 Pandavas were under his protection
–          Karna vowed to Kunti that he would spare the lives of 4 Pandavas and battle Arjuna (In the War, Karna had a chance to kill – Yudhisthira, Bhima, Nakula & Sahadeva at different intervals. Yet, he spared their lives)

7. Krishna was born in the Kshatriya caste, yet he played the role of Arjuna’s charioteer in the War
–          Karna was raised in the Suta (Charioteer) caste, yet he played the role of a Kshatriya in the War

8. Karna was cursed to his Death by his Guru – Rishi Parusharam for deceiving him for being a Brahmin (In actuality, Parusharam knew about Karna’s true heritage – however, he also knew the big picture that was to be played out later. Aside from that – along w/ Bhishma Dev, Karna was his favorite disciple)
–          Krishna was cursed to his Death by Gandhari as she felt he allowed the War to unfold and could have done more to prevent it.

9. Draupadi called Krishna her Sakha (Brother) & loved him openly. (Krishna cut his finger from the Sudarshan Chakra and Draupadi immediately tore a piece of cloth from her favorite sari that she was wearing, soaked it in water and  rapidly wrapped it around his finger to stop the bleeding. When Krishna said, ‘That is your favorite Sari!’. Draupadi smiled and shrugged her shoulders as if it was no big deal. Krishna was touched by this – hence when she was being stripped by Dushashana in the Assembly Hall – Krishna by his maya supplied Draupadi with never ending Saris.)
–          Draupadi loved Karna secretly. He was her hidden crush. When Dushashana strips  Draupadi of her sari in the Assembly Hall.  Which Krishna replenished one by one (Bhima had once told Yudhisthira, ‘Brother, do not give Krishna your sins. He multiplies everything.’)

10. Prior to the War, Krishna was looked upon with great respect and reverence.  Even among the Yadavas, they knew Krishna was great, nay The Greatest…yet, they didn’t know his Divinity.  Very few knew for sure who Krishna was. After the War, many Rishis and people were angry with Krishna as they felt he could have prevented the atrocity and millions of deaths.
–          Prior to the War, Karna was looked upon as an instigator and right-hand man of Duryodhana – jealous of the Pandavas. After the war, Karna was looked upon with reverence by the Pandavas, Dhritarashtra & Gandhari. For his endless sacrifice & they were all sad that Karna had to face such ignonimity his whole life

11. Krishna/Karna had an enormous amount of respect for each other.  Karna somehow knew about Krishna’s divinity and surrendered himself to his Lila.  Whereas, Karna surrendered to Krishna & gained glory – Ashwattama could not accept the manner in which his father, Dronacharya was slayed and unleashed a vicious guerrilla warfare against the Panchalas – men, women & children. Ending up being a bigger villain than Duryodhana.

12.  Krishna asked Karna how he knew the Pandavas would Win the MahaBharat War.  To which Karna responded, ‘Kurukshethra is a sacrificial field. Arjuna is the Head Priest, You-Krishna are the presiding deity. Myself (Karna), Bhishma Dev, Dronacharya and Duryodhana are the sacrifice.’
Krishna ended their conversation by telling Karna, ‘You are the best of the Pandavas.’

13. KARNA is the creation of Krishna to show the world the true meaning of sacrifice and to accept your fate. And in spite of all the bad luck or bad times you come across maintain: Your Spirituality, Your Generosity, Your Nobility, Your Dignity and Your Self- Respect and Respect for others.

Arjuna killing Karna Arjuna killing Karna

Post Credits: Aman Bhagat
Image Credits: To the Owner

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 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 Most Badass Hindu Gods- Krishna

Most Badass hindu God which I would love to mention about is Lord Krishna. Starting right from his childhood. As a kid growing up in Brindavan, he sent a whole lot of  Asuras sent by Kamsa to their death. Then he dances on the hood of  the mighty serpent Kaliya, forcing him to leave the Yamuna.

Krishna Conquers the Serpent Kaliya

And if that is not enough, he advises the villagers to worship Govardhana mountain, since that is the real life giver, instead of Indra.  And when Indra unleashes his anger, sending a huge thunderstorm, he lifts up the entire mountain on his finger, protecting all the villagers, making Indra eat humble pie there.

When he goes to meet Kamsa, his maternal uncle who had been trying to kill him from long, he  first gets rid of the wrestlers Chanura and Mushtika, along with brother Balaram. And then throwing down Kamsa from the throne, strangles him to death.

He cleverly gets rid of Shishupal, making him exhuast the “100 mistakes I spare his life”  promise he had given to the latter’s mother. And earlier he had eloped with Rukmini who was betrothed to Shishupal, but  had her heart on Krishna.
Krishna lifts Govardhan Parvat

He did not lift a single weapon during the Kurukshetra war, yet he managed to outsmart the entire Kaurava army, though he only was Arjun’s charioteer. He knew the weak points of  Bheeshma, Drona, Duryodhan,Karna and smartly used it against them. He was the reason why the Pandavasa managed to win against a vastly larger and superior Kaurava Army.
Krishna as saarthi in mahabharata

He Stole clothes of Gopis and asked them to come out of water one by one to get cloths back

Made sure Bhishma won’t kill the Pandavas by asking Draupati to go to his camp in disguise of a common woman. Bhishma blessed her “deerga sumangali bhava” (long marriage). She then revealed her true identity and demanded that Bhishma cannot kill her 5 husbands (the pandavas) because he cannot break his own blessing. (Simply brilliant ahh?)

Engineered killing of Drona. He knew no one can kill Drona as long as he holds a weapon, and only way to make him drop it is to emotionally break him down by telling that his son died. There is no way anyone would disbelieve Yudhishtira as he is the “king of dharma”. So Krishna named an elephant as “ashwtthama” (name of Drona’s son) and asked Bhima to kill it, and then asked Yudhishthira to shout “Ashwatthama, the elephant is dead..” but “the elephant” part of the sentence in a low voice. So Drona, who was at a distance could hear only “Ashwatthama is dead“. As expected, Drona dropped weapons heart broken and Pandavas killed him with ease. (So technically, Yudhishthira the “king of dharma” didn’t lie. Hmmm..)

Made sure Bhima could kill Duryodana. Here is the story. When the war was around the corner, Duryodana was once asked by his mother Gandhari to come to her room fully naked. Duryodana didn’t know why but to carry out his mothers order, he decided to do as asked. But Krishna brain washed him to cover at least the private parts (including thigh).
Duryodhan
In her room, Gandhari (who blindfolded herself forever after marrying blind Dritarashtra), opened her eyes to see her son for the first time. She transferred all her powers into Duryodana’s visible part of the body, making them as strong as iron. During the final duel, Krishna instructed Bhima to hit Duryodana on thighs to kill him

Engineered killing of Jarasandha: Here is the story from wiki
Bheema did not know how to defeat Jarasandha. Since, Jarasandha was brought to life when the two lifeless halves joined together, conversely, he can be killed only when these his body was torn into two halves and find a way as how these two don’t merge. Krishna took a stick, he broke it into two and threw them in both directions. Bheema got the hint. He tore Jarasandha’s body into two and threw the pieces in two directions. But, these two pieces came together and Jarasandha was able to attack Bheema again. Bheema got tired after several such futile attempts. He again sought the help of Krishna. This time, Lord Krishna took a stick, broke it into two and threw the left piece on right side and the right piece on the left side. Bheema precisely followed the same. Now, he tore Jarasandha’s body into two and threw them in opposite directions. Thus, Jarasandha was killed as the two pieces could not merge into one.


Saved Bhima fom Dritarashtra’s hug: Yeah literally! Here is the story:
Dritarashtra was blessing Pandavas after war. He hugged them one by one. When it was Bhima’s turn he remembered that Bhima killed most of his 100 sons. He was furious and wanted to kill Bhima. Krishna knew this and pushed a metal statue to blind Dritarashtra instead of Bhima. Dritarashtra crushed that metal statue into powder with his hug (what a sweet embrace)

He took Pandavas away the night Ashwatthama destroyed Pandava camp after they won the war. He knew it was going to happen. Ashwatthama, with KalBhairav entered into his body, burned the Pandava camp into ashes killing every single person.. But Krishna saved just the Pandavas & Draupati.. Why didn’t he save others? No idea! Might be that he wanted to do a balancing act.
Some more stories of Shri Krishna in short:

1. Putana

She disguised herself as an angelic woman and offered Yashoda a brief respite by volunteering to nurse baby Krishna (with her poisonous milk).  Can we say Krishna “sucked the life out of her?”

2. Trinavarta

the Tornado Demon!  Trinavarta is probably the most unique rakshasa-form – ruthlessly sabatoging everything in his path.  He whisked Krishna off his feet…but Krishna blew him (and his pride) away.

3. Bakasura

Bakasura – the Crane Demon – simply got greedy.  Lured by Kamsa’s promises of rich and swanky rewards, Bakasura “tricked” Krishna to come close – only to betray the boy by swallowing him.  Krishna forced his way out of course and put an end to him.

4. Aghasura

This giant Serpent Demon slithered his way to the outskirts of Gokul, opened his mouth wide and had all the kids squealing in delight by thinking they had discovered a brand new “cave.”  They all hopped inside – only to be trapped.  Some versions of the story explain Aghasura to have once been a handsome king who was cursed by a crippled sage for laughing at the poor man’s disability.

5. Dhenukasura

This Donkey Demon was a real pain-in-the-Ass.  Even Mother Earth trembled under Dhenukasura’s stampede.  This was a true joint venture between Balaram and Krishna – with Balaram taking the credit for the final blow.

6. Aristasura

A true bull-y in every sense of the word.  Aristasur the Bull Demon stormed into town and challenged Krishna to a bull fight that all the heavens watched.

7. Vatsasura

Another story of deception:  Vatsasura disguised himself as a Calf, mixed himself into Krishna’s herd and tricked him into a duel.

8. Keshi

This Horse Demon was apparently mourning the loss of so many of his fellow rakshasa friends, so he approached Kamsa to sponsor his battle against Krishna.

Credits:
Ratnakar Sadasyula
Gireesh Puthumana
Image credit to the original Uploader
Short stories credit : Gnaana.com

hindufaqs.com Shiva- Most Badass Hindu Gods Part II

Shiva One of the most Badass Hindu GOD, also referred to by names like Rudra, Mahadev, Trayambak, Natraja, Shankar, Mahesh, etc. is considered the personification of the Masculine element of the universe. In the holy trinity of Hinduism, he is considered the ‘destroyer’ of cosmos.
Origin of Shiv shown in a graphic novel

Such is the scale of his wrath, that he had cut off, one of the heads of Brahma, who is a major god and also happens to be part of the trinity. Hindu mythology is loaded with his exploits.

The nature and character of Shiva is marked with simplicity, yet there are unpredictable, contradictory and complex philosophical traits in his personality. He is considered the greatest dancer and musician, yet he prefers to stay away from the pomp of the heavens. Shiva is a hermit, lives a secluded life and enjoys the company of heinous and outcast creatures like Pisachas (vampires) and Preta (Ghost). He dresses himself with tiger hide and sprays human ash all over himself. Shiva loves intoxication (opium, cannabis, and hash are openly offered to him in hindu temples to this day!)however, he is known for being kindhearted, selfless and a maintainer of cosmic balance.  Not only did he slay demons and egotist demi-gods, he has beaten the hell out of all major Heroes of Indian Mythology like Arjuna, Indra, Mitra etc. at some point to destroy their ego.

In contemporary Hindu religion, Shiva is one of the most revered gods. But he is also the most feared.

There are many versions of this story. However in all of them, there are certain common observations. Brahma was a conformist, brahmanical god. A critical study of his character would reveal his prejudice and unfair bias towards Rakshas, Gandharva, Vasu, non-human races and lower forms of creation. Brahma is not immortal. He sprang out of Vishnu’s navel and was entrusted the responsibility of creating mankind. Shiva on the other hand is something different and beyond Brahma. As the omnipresent present manforce of the cosmos, Shiva adored all forms of creation without any bias and prejudice. There are no sacrifices allowed in Shiva temples. Even breaking coconuts (which is symbolic of human sacrifice) is forbidden, despite sacrifice being an essential element of Vedic/brahmanical culture.
Shiva's Rudra avtar shown in a TV serial

Shiva’s boons to rakshasas were the root cause of all major disturbances and invasion on paradise (Swarga). Brahma’s four heads were representative of four dimensions of his thinking. One of it looked down upon of Shiva, and was purist and Devkula (Aryan stock convieniently!) supremacist. Brahma had some grudge against Shiva, for he had slayed one of Brahma’s biological sons Daksha (who also happened to be Shiva’s father in law!!).
Still in his Shankara (cool) form, Shiva had requested Brahma on various occasions to be more kind and inclusive, but that was all in vain. Finally succumbing to his anger, Shiva assumed the dreaded form of Bhairava and chopped off the Brahma’s fourth head that represented his egoist side.

Shiva is representative of the egalitarian and all-inclusive spirit of Hinduism. He was on the verge of supporting Ravana against Ram, if not for Ravana’s towering ego. Though the list of his victims includes the who’s who of Indian mythology (He didn’t spare even his own son Ganesh!), Shiva is considered the easiest god to be pleased.

shankar Idol in Uttarakhand

Some More Info

Symbols of Shiva

1. Trishul : knowledge, desire and implementation

2. Ganga : flow of wisdom and spiritual teachings

3. Moon : Shiv is Trikal-Darshi, master of time

4. Drum : words of vedas

5. Third Eye : destroyer  of evil, when it opens it destroy anything that comes in vision

6. Serpent : ego as ornament

7. Rudraksh :  creation

Bhasm on body and rudraksh never dies like flowers and does not have any distraction (smell)

8. Tiger skin : no fear

9. Fire : destruction

Credits: Post credits Ashutosh Pandey
Image credits to the original post.

hindufaqs.com Most Badass Hindu Gods - Hanuman

The name of Lord Hanuman pops in my head when someone refers to the mightiest or the most amazing mythical character ever. The non-natives might address him as Monkey-God or Monkey-Humanoid.

Almost all the people in India have grown up listening to his legends and his muscular rendition makes him an obvious choice.

Hanuman is said to be the reincarnation of Lord Shiva which makes him even more badass. Some Oriya texts even go further to claim that Hanuman is the combined form of Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva.

Shri Hanuman

In my opinion, Hanuman received more boons than any other legend in the Hindu mythology. That is what made him immensely formidable.
It is believed that Hanuman, as a child, once misunderstood the sun to be a ripe mango and made an attempt to eat it, thus disturbing Rahu’s agenda of forming the scheduled solar eclipse. Rahu (one of the planets) informed this incident to the Leader of Devas, Lord Indra. Filled with rage, Indra (God of Rain) threw his Vajra weapon at Hanuman and disfigured his jaw. In retaliation, Hanuman’s father, Vayu (God of Wind), withdrew all the air from earth. Seeing the human beings choke to death, all the lords promised to shower Hanuman with multiple blessings in order to appease the Wind Lord. Thus one of the most powerful mythical creatures was born.

Hanuman
Hanuman

Lord Brahma gave him these:

1. Invulnerability
The power and strength to prevent any war weapon from causing physical damage.

2. Power to induce fear in the enemies and destroy fear in the friends
This is the reason why all the ghosts and spirits are believed to fear Hanuman and that reciting his prayer is considered to shield any human being from evil forces.

3. Size Manipulation
Ability to change the body size by preserving its proportion. This power assisted Hanuman in lifting the massive Dronagiri mountain and to enter monster Ravana’s Lanka unnoticed.
Note: Read these books recommended by The Hindu FAQs to know more about Hanuman and it will also help the website.

4. Flight
Ability to defy gravity.

Hanuman by a graphic novel

Lord Shiva gave him these:

1. Longevity
A blessing to lead a long life. Many people report even today that they have physically seen Hanuman with their own eyes.

2. Enhanced Intelligence
It is said that Hanuman was able to astonish Lord Surya with his wisdom and knowledge within a week.

3. Long range flight
This is just the extension of what Brahma blessed him with. This boon gave Hanuman an ability to cross vast oceans.

While Brahma and Shiva conferred abundant blessings on Hanuman, other lords miserly gave him one boon each.

Indra gave him protection from the deadly Vajra weapon.

Varuna gave him protection against water.

Agni blessed him with protection from fire.

Surya willingly gave him the power to change his body form, commonly known as shapeshifting.

Yama made him immortal and made death fear him.

Kubera made him happy and contented for the entire lifetime.

Vishwakarma blessed him with powers to save himself from all weapons. This is just an add-on to what some of the gods had already given him.

Vayu blessed him with more speed than himself.

Possession of all these powers made him fearless and made others fear him even more. He owns a part of each god’s superpowers which makes him one supreme god. He is the ultimate source of strength for all, right from a kid afraid to enter a dark room to a person on his deathbed.

Credits: To the Original Post- Aditya Vipradas
Plus
Hanumaan
Hindu Deity Psychology

vishnu - vishwaroop - hindufaqs.com - Are there really 330 million Gods in hinduism

Are there really 330 million Gods in Hinduism? A million dollar question about 330 million Gods of Hindus. The general terminology is “33 koti deva” or Trayastrimsati koti as we call them. In hindi, Marathi and many Indian regional language, koti means crore or 10 million. But, as we say English is a funny language, then well, Sanskrit is a tricky language.

Koti in Sanskrit has many meanings like ‘highest point’ , ‘Excellence’ , ‘Edge’ , ‘Point’ , ‘Pitch’ , ‘Alternative’ etc. It is not necessarily crore. The most important of the meanings is ‘pinnacle’, signifying, core devtas. Second, devta also does not necessarily mean gods, it’s alternative meanings are ‘King’ , ‘God on earth among men’ , ‘divine’ , ‘heavenly’ , ‘cloud’ etc. Its most important meaning is the divine souls.

vishnu - vishwaroop - hindufaqs.com - Are there really 330 million Gods in hinduism
vishnu – vishwaroop – hindufaqs.com – Are there really 330 million Gods in hinduism

Lets simplify, Koti here means Types. So there are 33 types of Gods in Hinduism as we can say. These doesn’t include the Hindu Trinity i.e. Brahma , Vishnu and Mahesh.

These 33 Koti Devas are :
08 Vasus
11 Rudras
12 Adityas
02 Prajapati

  • 8 Vasu

1Drav Vasu
2. Adhva Vasu
3. Som Vasu
4. Jal Vasu
5. Vaayu Vasu
6. Agni Vasu
7. Pratyuvash Vasu
8. Prayaas Vasu

  • 11 Rudra

9. Veerbhadra Rudra
10. Shumbh Rudra
11. Gireesh Rudra
12. Ajaik paat Rudra
13. Aharbudhyat Rudra
14. Pinaaki Rudra
15. Bhavaanishwapar Rudra
16. Kapaali Rudra
17. Dikpati Rudra
18. Sthanu Rudra
19. Bharg Rudra

  • 12 Aditya

20. Dhata Aditya
21. Aryamaa Aditya
22. Mitr Maditya
23. Vatun Aditya
24. Anshu Aditya
25. Bhag Aditya
26. Vivasvan
27. Dandadi Aditya
28. Poosha Aditya
29. Par-jaya Aditya
30. Twa’nashtaan Aditya
31. Vishnu Aditya

  • 2 Prajapati

32. Prajapati
33. Amit Shatkar

Some other Info from Hinduism Literature:

“Na tasya pratima asti”
“There is no image of Him.” [Yajurveda 32:3]

“Ekam evadvitiyam”
“He is One only without a second.” [Chandogya Upanishad 6:2]

“Na casya kascij janita na cadhipah.”
“Of Him there are neither parents nor lord.” [Svetasvatara Upanishad 6:9]

“Na tasya pratima asti”
“There is no likeness of Him.” [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:19]

“shudhama poapvidham”
“He is bodiless and pure.” [Yajurveda 40:8]

“Na samdrse tisthati rupam asya, na caksusa pasyati kas canainam.”
“His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye.” [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:20]

Sanskrit     :  “Ekam evadvitiyam”
Translation:  “He is One only without a second.”

God is one, but he has many names and forms. Since God is omnipresent, omnipresent and omniscient, should not He be present everywhere and in all the existence?

Just like electricity flowing in our homes – it becomes cool air flowing through the AC, becomes light glowing in the bulbs, becomes heat in the kitchen, becomes music through the speakers, dances as pixels on our computer screen – one energy is blissfully dancing through this creation ; ‘The Universal Law’ or ‘The Cosmic Celebration’ whatever one can call.

God is the substratum of this existence. Everything is inside God, because there is no outside at all!

God is one, yet He is many – this is the highest secret, they say, which needs to be experienced and lived as it cannot be understood!

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