Lord Venkateswara is the main deity of the Tirumala temple, Tirupathi. The lord is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Sanskrit: कौसल्या सुप्रजा राम पूर्वासन्ध्या प्रवर्तते । उत्तिष्ठ नरशार्दूल कर्त्तव्यं दैवमाह्निकम् ॥१॥ Translation: Kausalyaa Su-Prajaa
According to Hindu mythology there are 5 classes of warrior excellence.
Rathi: A warrior capable of attacking 5,000 warriors simultaneously.
Atirathi: A warrior capable of contending with 12 Rathi class warriors or 60,000
Maharathi’s: A warrior capable of fighting 12 Atirathi class warriors or 720,000
Atimaharathi’s: A warrior capable of fighting 12 Maharathi warriors simultaneously
Mahamaharathi’s: A warrior capable of fighting 24 Atimaharathi’s simultaneously
Famous Rathis in hindu mythology are
1. Somadatta – Father of Bhurishrava
2. Shakuni – Kaurava’s maternal uncle and a master mind behind Kurukshetra war.
3. Shishupala – Shri Krishna’s cousin
4. Vrishasena – Son of Karna
Famous Atirathis in Hindu mythology are
1. Shalya – The fourth commander-in-chief of the Kaurava alliance
2. Kripacharya – Teacher and family priest of Kuru dynasty.
3. Yuyutsu – The only son of Dhritarashtra who survived the Kurukshetra war.
4. Drishtadyumna – Commander of the Pandava army during the Kurukshetra War
5. Ghatotkacha – Son of Bhima
6. Angada – Most feared warrior in Ramayana, He was son of Bali and Tara and nephew of Sugriva.
7. Duryodhana, Jayadhradha, Dusassana, Vikarna, all 97 brothers of Duryodhana, Yudhishtir, Bhima, Nakula, Sahadeva
Famous Maharathis from Hindu mythology are:
1. Parshurama – Sixth incarnation of Lord vishnu.
2. Lord Rama – King of Ayodhya
3. Kumbhakarna -Brother of Ravana
4. Lakshmana – Brother of Lord Rama
5. Ravana – King of Lanka
6. Arjuna – He is the third of the five Pandava brothers
7. Lava & Kusha – Sons of lord Rama
8. Hanuman, Sugriva, Jambavan, Vali, Bhishma, Drona, Ashwatthama, Abhimanyu, Lord Krishna, Balrama, Lord Narasimha.
Famous Atimaharathis from Hindu mythology are:
1. Indrajeet – Son of Ravana
Famous Mahamaharathis from Hindu mythology are:
1. Lord Brahma – The creator
2. Vishnu – The preserver
3. Shiva – The destroyer
4. Durga – The warrior goddess
5. Ganesha & kartikeya – Sons of Shiva and Parvati
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The emblem of Hanuman on the flag of Arjuna is another sign of victory because Hanuman cooperated with Lord Rama in the battle between Rama and Ravana, and Lord Rama emerged victorious.
Lord Krishna is Rama Himself, and wherever Lord Rama is, His eternal servitor Hanuman and His eternal consort Sita, the goddess of fortune, are present.
Therefore, Arjuna had no cause to fear any enemies whatsoever. And above all, the Lord of the senses, Lord Krishna, was personally present to give him direction. Thus, all good counsel was available to Arjuna in the matter of executing the battle. In such auspicious conditions, arranged by the Lord for His eternal devotee, lay the signs of assured victory.
Hanuman, decorating the chariot’s flag, was ready to shout his war cries to help Bhima terrify the enemy. Earlier, the Mahabharata had described a meeting between Hanuman and Bhima.
Once, while Arjuna was seeking celestial weapons, the remaining Pandavas wandered to Badarikashrama, high in the Himalayas. Suddenly, the alakananda River carried to Draupadi a beautiful and fragrant thousand-petaled lotus flower. Draupadi was captivated by its beauty and scent. “Bhima, this lotus flower is so beautiful. I should offer it to Yudhisthhira Maharaja. Could you get me a few more? We could take some back to our hermitage in Kamyaka.”
Bhima grabbed his club and charged up the hill where no mortals were permitted. As he ran, he bellowed and frightened elephants and lions. He uprooted trees as he pushed them aside. Not caring for the ferocious beasts of the jungle, he climbed a steep mountain until his progress was blocked by a huge monkey lying across the path.
“Why are you making so much noise and scaring all the animals?” the monkey said. “Just sit down and eat some fruit.”
“Move aside,” ordered Bhima, for etiquette forbade him to step over the monkey.
The monkey’s reply?
“I am too old to move. Jump over me.”
Bhima, becoming angry, repeated his order, but the monkey, again pleading the weakness of old age, requested Bhima to simply move his tail aside.
Proud of his immense strength, Bhima thought to pull the monkey out of the way by its tail. But, to his amazement, he could not move it in the least, though he exerted all his strength. In shame, he bent down his head and politely asked the monkey who he was. The monkey revealed his identity as Hanuman, his brother and told him that he stopped him to prevent him from the dangers and rakshasas in the forest.
Transported with delight, Bhima requested Hanuman to show him the form in which he crossed the ocean. Hanuman smiled and began to increase his size to the extent Bhima realized he had grown beyond the size of the mountain. Bhima bowed before him and told him that inspired with his strength, he was sure to conquer his enemies.
Hanuman gave parting blessing to his brother: “While you roar like a lion in the battlefield, my voice shall join yours and strike terror into the heart of your enemies. I shall be present on the flag of the chariot of your brother Arjuna. You will be victorious.”
He then offered Bhima the following blessings.
“I shall remain present on the flag of your brother Arjuna. When you roar like a lion on the battlefield, my voice will join with yours to strike terror into the hearts of your enemies. You will be victorious and regain your kingdom.”
There are many characters who appears both in Ramayana and mahabharata. Here it the list of 12 such characters who appears in both Ramayana and Mahabharata.
1) Jambavanth: who was in Rama’s army wants to fight with Rama in Tretha yuga, fought with Krishna and asked Krishna to marry his daughter Jambhavathi. the king of bears in Ramayan, who plays a major role, during the building of the bridge, appears in the Mahabharat, technically speaking the Bhagavatam I would say. Apparently, during Ramayan, Lord Ram, was pleased with Jambavanth’s devotion and told him to ask for a boon. Jambavan being of slow understanding, wished for a duel with Lord Ram, which he granted, saying that it would be done in his next avatar. And that is the entire story of Symanthaka Mani, where Krishna goes in search of it, meets Jambavan, and they have a duel, before Jambavan finally recognizes the truth.
2) Maharishi Durvasa: who predicted the separation of Rama and Sita was the son of Maharishi Atri and Anasuya, visited the Pandavas in exile.. Durvasha gave a mantra to Kunti, the mother of eldest 3 Pandavas for getting children .
3) Narad Muni:Comes in many occasions in both stories. In Mahabharata he was one of the Rishis attended to Krishna’s peace talks in Hastinapur.
4) Vayu Dev: Vayu is father of both Hanuman and Bheema.
5) Vasishtha’s son Shakthi: had a son called Parasara and Parasara’s son was Veda Vyasa, who wrote the Mahabharata . So this means Vasishtha was the great grandfather of Vyasa. Brahmarshi Vasishtha lived from the time of Satyavrata Manu, to the time of Sri Rama. Sri Rama was Vasistha’s student.
6) Mayasura:the father of Mandodari and Ravan’s father in law, appears in the Mahabharat too, during the Khandava Dahana incident. Mayasura was the only one to survive the burning of the Khandava forest, and when Krishna finds this out, he lifts his Sudarshan Chakra to kill him. Mayasura however rushes to Arjun, who gives him refuge and tells Krishna, that he is now sworn to protect him. And so as a deal, Mayasura, himself an architect, designs the entire Maya Sabha for the Pandavas.
7) Maharishi Bharadwaja: Drona’s father was the Maharishi Bharadwaja, who was the pupil of Valmiki, who wrote Ramayana.
8) Kubera: Kubera, who is the elder half brother of Ravana, is also in Mahabharata.
9) Parshuram: Parushuram, who appeared in Ram and Sita marriage, is also Guru to Bhishma and Karna. Parshuram was in the Ramayan, when he challenged Lord Ram to break the Vishnu Dhanush, which also in a way, quelled his anger. In the Mahabharat he initially has a duel with Bhishma, when Amba seeks his help in taking revenge, but loses to him. Karna later poses as a Brahmin in order to learn about weapons from Parashuram, before exposing himself, and being cursed by him, that his weapons would fail him when he needed them the most.
10) Hanuman:Hanumanbeing the Chiranjivi( blessed with eternal life), appears in the Mahabharat, he also happens to be Bhim’s brother, both of them son of Vayu. The tale of Hanuman quelling Bhim’s pride, by appearing as an old monkey, when he was on the journey to get the Kadamba flower. Also another tale in the Mahabharat, of Hanuman and Arjun having a bet of who was stronger, and Hanuman losing the wager thanks to help of Lord Krishna, due to which he appears on Arjun’s flag during the Kurukshetra war.
11) Vibheeshana: Mahabharata mentions that Vibheeshana sent Jewell and Gems to Yudhisthira’s Rajasuya sacrifice. That is the only mention about Vibheeshana in Mahabharata.
12) Agastya Rishi: Agastya Rishi Met Rama before the war with Ravana. Mahabharata mentions that Agastya was the one who gave the weapon “Brahmashira” to Drona. (Arjuna and Aswatama had obtained this weapon from Drona)
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Story of Arjuna and Ulupi
While on exile, (As he broke the rule of not entering any brother’s room (When that brothers with draupadi) by anyone, a solution suggested by Devarshi Narad) for 12 years, he decided to spent first few days on the GANGA GHAAT, on Ganga Ghat, he used to go bath daily deep in the water, deeper than a normal person can go, (Being son of a god, he might be having that capability), Naag Kanya Ulupi (Who was living in the ganga itself having her father’s (Adi-Shesha) RAJMAHAL there.) seen that daily for few days and fall for him (purely lust).
One fine day, she dragged arjuna inside the water, to her private chamber and ask for love, to which, arjuna declines, He says, “You are too beautiful to deny, but I am on my celibacy in this pilgrimage and can’t do that to you”, to which she argues that “celibacy of your promise is limited to Draupadi, not to anyone else”, and by such arguments, she convinces arjuna, as he was also attracted, but was bound by promise, so by bending DHARMA, according to own requirement, with the help of Ulupi’s word, he agrees to stay there for a night, and fulfills her lust (His own too).
She later restored Arjuna to the lamenting Chitrangada, Arjuna’s other wives. She played a major part in the upbringing of Arjuna and Chitrangada’s son, Babruvahana. She was also able to restore Arjuna to life after he was slain in battle by Babruvahana. When Arjuna was given a curse by the Vasus, Bhishma’s brothers, after he killed Bhishma in the Kurukshetra war, she redeemed Arjuna from the curse.
Story of Arjuna and Chitrangada
After the stay of one night with ulupi, as a result of which, IRAVAN, was born, who later dies in battle of Mahabharata on 8th day by Alambusha a-demon, Arjuna travels to west of the bank & reaches Manipur.
While he was resting in jungle, he saw Chitrangadha, daughter of king of manipur, Chitrabahana, and fall for her at the first sight as she was on hunting (Here, it is direct lust, nothing else), and asks for hand directly from her father giving his original identity. Her Father agreed only on condition that, her offspring will born and brought up in Manipur only. (In manipur it was a tradition to have one child only, and so, chitrangada was the only child of king). So that he/she can continue the kingdom. Arjuna stayed there for approx three years and after the birth of their son, BRAHUBHUVAN, he left manipur and continued his exile.
Parshuram a.k.a Parashurama, Parashuraman is the sixth avatar of Vishnu. He is son of Renuka and the saptarishi Jamadagni. Parshurama is one of the seven Immortals. Lord Parashuram was the Great Grandson of Bhrugu Rishi, after whom the “Bhruguvansh” has been named. 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.
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.
Renuka devi and the clay pot
Parshurama’s parents were great spiritual achievers his Mother Renuka devi had command over the water elments and his father Jamadgani over fire. its even said that Renuka devi could fetch water in the even in a wet clay pot. Once Rishi Jamadgani asked Renuka Devi to fetch water in the clay pot, some how Renuka Devi was distracted from the thought of being a women and the clay pot broke. Seeing Renuka Devi wet the enraged Jamadgani called his son Parshurama. He ordered Parshurama to cut Renuka devi’s head. Parshuram obeyed his father. Rishi Jamadgani was so pleased with his son that he asked him for a boon. Parshurama asked Rishi Jamadgani to restore the breaths of his mother, thus Rishi Jamadgani who was the owner of Divya Shakties (divine Powers) brought back the life of Renuka Devi. Kamdhenu Cow
Rishi Jamadgani and Renuka Devi both were blessed not only for having Parshuram as their son but they were also given the Kamdhenu Cow. Once Rishi Jamadgani went out from his Ashram and in the mean while some Kshatriyas (worriers) arrived at their Ashram. They were in search of food, the Ashram Devies gave them food they were so surprised to see the magical cow Kaamdhenu, the cow would give any Dish she asked for. They were so amused and they put up the purposal of buying the cow for their king Kartavirya Sahasrarjuna, but all the Ashram sahadus (sages) and Devies refused. they forcefuly took away the cow. Parshurama killed the entire army of King Kartavirya Sahasrarjun and restored the magical cow. In Revenge Kartavirya Sahasrarjun’s son killed Jamadgani. When ParshuRama returned to the ashram he saw his father’s body . He noticed the 21 scars on Jamadgani’s body and took the pledge to kill all unjust kshatriyas 21 time on this earth. he killed all the sons of king.
Shri Parashuram left home to do devout austerities to please Lord Shiva. Considering his extreme devotion, intense desire and unmoved and perpetual meditation, Lord Shiva was pleased with Shri Parashuram. He presented Shri Parashuram with Divine weapons. Included was His unconquerable and indestructible axe shaped weapon, Parashu. Lord Shiva advised him to go and liberate the Mother Earth from felons, ill-behaved people, extremists, demons and those blind with pride.
Lord Shiva and Parshuram
Once, Lord Shiva challenged Shri Parashuram to a battle to test his skills in warfare. The spiritual master Lord Shiva and the disciple Shri Parashuram were locked in a fierce battle. This dreadful duel lasted for twenty one days. While ducking to avoid being hit by the Trident (Trishul) of Lord Shiva, Shri Parashuram vigorously attacked Him with his Parashu. It struck Lord Shiva on the forehead creating a wound. Lord Shiva was very pleased to see the amazing warfare skills of His disciple. He passionately embraced Shri Parashuram. Lord Shiva preserved this wound as an ornament so that the reputation of his disciple remained imperishable and insurmountable. ‘Khanda-parshu’ (wounded by Parashu) is one of the thousand names (for the salutation) of Lord Shiva.
Shri Parashuram, clipped the thousand arms of Sahasrarjun, one by one, with his Parashu and killed him. He repelled his army by showering arrows on them. The whole country greatly welcomed the destruction of Sahasrarjun. The king of Deities, Indra was so pleased that he presented His most beloved bow named Vijaya to Shri Parashuram. Lord Indra had destroyed demon dynasties with this bow. By the fatal arrows shot with the help of this Vijaya bow, Shri Parashuram destroyed the miscreant Kshatriyas twenty one times. Later Shri Parashuram presented this bow to his disciple Karna when he was pleased with his intense devotion to the Guru. Karna became unconquerable with help of this bow Vijaya presented to him by Shri Parashuram
In Valmiki Ramayana, Parashurama stops the journey of Sri Rama and his family after his marriage to Sita. He threatens to kill Sri Rama and his father, King Dasharatha, begs him to forgive his son and punish him instead. Parashurama neglects Dasharatha and invokes Sri Rama for a challenge. Sri Rama meets his challenge and tells him that he does not want to kill him because he is a Brahmin and related to his guru, Vishwamitra maharshi. But, he destroys his merit earned through penances. Thus, Parashurama’s arrogance gets diminished and he returns to his normal mind.
Mentorship of Drona
At the end of his time in the Vedic period, Parashurama was renouncing his possessions to take sanyasi. As the day progressed, Drona, then a poor Brahmin, approached Parashurama asking for alms. By that time, the warrior-sage had already given the Brahmins his gold and Kasyapa his land, so all that was left were his body and weapons. Parushurama asked which Drona would have, to which the clever Brahmin responded:
“O son of Bhrigu, it behoveth thee to give me all thy weapons together with the mysteries of hurling and recalling them.”
Thus, Parashurama gave all his weapons unto Drona, making him supreme in the science of arms. This becomes crucial as Drona later became the guru to both the Pandavas and the Kauravas who fought against each other in the Kurukshetra War. It is said that Lord Parashurama carried Lord Vishnu’s “Sudharshana Chakra” and “Bow” and Lord Balram’s “Gadha” while they fulfill their education with Guru Sandeepani
According to Puranas, Parashurama travelled to the Himalayas to pay respect to his teacher, Shiva. While travelling, his path was blocked by Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati. Parashurama threw his axe at the elephant-god. Ganesha, knowing the weapon had been given to Parashurama by his father, allowed it to sever his left tusk.
His mother Parvati was infuriated, and declared she would cut off the arms of Parashurama. She took the form of Durgama, becoming omnipotent, but at the last moment, Shiva was able to pacify her by making her see the avatar as her own son. Parashurama also asked her forgiveness, and she finally relented when Ganesha himself spoke on behalf of the warrior-saint. Parashurama then gave his divine axe to Ganesha and blessed him. Another name for Ganesha because of this encounter is Ekadanta, or ‘One Tooth’.
Beating back the Arabian Sea
Puranas write that the western coast of India was threatened by tumultuous waves and tempests, causing the land to be overcome by the sea. Parashurama fought back the advancing waters, demanding Varuna release the land of Konkan and Malabar. During their fight, Parashurama threw his axe into the sea. A mass of land rose up, but Varuna told him that because it was filled with salt, the land would be barren.
Parashurama then did a tapasya for Nagaraja, the King of Snakes. Parashurama asked him to spread serpents throughout the land so their venom would neutralize the salt filled earth. Nagaraja agreed, and a lush and fertile land grew. Thus, Parashurama pushed back the coastline between the foothills of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, creating modern day Kerala.
The coastal area of Kerala, Konkan, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, are today also known as Parashurama Kshetra or Land of Parashurama in homage. Puranas record that Parashurama placed statues of Shiva at 108 different locations throughout the reclaimed land, which still exist today. Shiva, is the source of kundalini, and it around his neck that Nagaraja is coiled, and so the statues were in gratitude for their baneful cleansing of the land.
Parshurama and Surya:
Parashurama once became annoyed with the sun god Surya for making too much heat. The warrior-sage shot several arrows into the sky, terrifying Surya. When Parashurama ran out of arrows and sent his wife Dharani to bring more, the sun god then focused his rays on her, causing her to collapse. Surya then appeared before Parashurama and gave him two inventions that have since been attributed to the avatar, sandals and an umbrella
Kalaripayattu The indian Martial Arts
Parashurama and the saptarishi Agastya are regarded as the founders of kalaripayattu, the oldest martial art in the world. Parashurama was a master of shastravidya, or the art of weaponry, as taught to him by Shiva. As such, he developed northern kalaripayattu, or vadakkan kalari, with more emphasis on weapons than striking and grappling. Southern kalaripayattu was developed by Agastya, and focuses more on weaponless combat. Kalaripayattu is known as the ‘mother of all martial arts’.
Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism, also practiced kalaripayattu. When he traveled to China to spread Buddhism, he brought the martial art with him, which in turn was adapted to become the basis of Shaolin Kung Fu
Unlike other incarnations of Vishnu, Parashurama is a Chiranjivi, and is said to still be doing penance today in Mahendragiri. The Kalki Purana writes that he will reemerge at the end of Kali Yuga to be the martial and spiritual guru of Kalki, the tenth and final avatar of Vishnu. It is foretold that he will instruct Kalki to perform a difficult penance to Shiva, and receive the celestial weaponry needed to bring about end time.
Parashurama as per Theory Of Evolution:
The sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu was Parashuram, a rugged primitive warrior with a battle axe. This form could be a symbol of the cave-man stage of evolution and his usage of the axe could be seen as man’s evolution from the stone age to the iron age. Man had learnt the art of using tools and weapons and exploit the natural resources available to him.
Parashurama is worshipped as mool purush, or founder, of the Bhumihar Brahmin, Chitpavan, Daivadnya, Mohyal, Tyagi, Shukla, Awasthi, saryupareen, Kothiyal, Anavil, Nambudiri bhardwaj and gaud Brahmin communities.
Image credits to the original Artist and Photographer
Jarasandha (Sanskrit: जरासंध) was A badass villain from Hindu Mythology. He was the king of Magadha. He was the son of a Vedic king named Brihadratha. He was also a great devotee of Lord Shiva. But he is generally held in negative light owing to his enmity with the Yadava clan in the Mahabaratha.
Brihadratha was the king of Magadha. His wives were the twin princesses of Benares. While he led a content life and was a famed king, he was unable to have children for a very long time. Frustrated over his inability to have children, he retreated to the forest and eventually ended up serving a sage named Chandakaushika. The sage took pity on him and on finding the actual cause for his sorrow, gave him a fruit and told him to give it to his wife who in turn will soon become pregnant. But the sage did not know that he had two wives. Not wishing to displease either wife, Brihadratha cut the fruit in half and gave it to both of them. Soon both the wives became pregnant and gave birth to two halves of a human body. These two lifeless halves were very horrifying to view. So, Brihadratha ordered these to be thrown in the forest. A demoness (Rakshasi) named “Jara” (orBarmata) found these two pieces and held each of these in her two palms. Incidentally when she brought both of her palms together,the two pieces joined together giving rise to a living child. The Child cried loudly which created panic for Jara. Not having the heart to eat a living child, the demoness gave it to the king and explained him all that happened. The father named the boy as Jarasandha (literally meaning “joined by Jara”).
Chandakaushika arrived at the court and saw the child. He prophesied to Brihadratha that his son will be specially gifted and would be a great devotee of Lord Shiva.
In India, descendants of Jarasandh still exist and use Joriya (which means piece of flesh named after their ancestor, “jarasandha”) as their suffix while naming themselves.
Jarasandha became a famed and powerful king, extending his empire far and wide. He prevailed over many kings, and was crowned emperor of Magadha. Even while Jarasandha’s power continued to grow, he had concerns over his future & that of the empires, as he had no heirs. Therefore, on the advice of his close friend kingBanasura, Jarasandh decided to get his two daughters ‘Asti and Prapti’ married to the heir apparent of Mathura, Kansa. Jarasandha had also lent his army and his personal advise to Kansa to create a coup d’état in Mathura.
When Krishna killed Kansa in Mathura, Jarasandha become enraged because of Krishna and the entire Yadavas clan on seeing his two daughters being widowed. So, Jarasandha attacked Mathura repeatedly. He attacked Mathura 17 times. Sensing danger over the repeated attack on Mathura by Jarasandha, Krishna relocated his capital city to Dwaraka. Dwaraka was an island and it was not possible for anyone to attack it at all. Hence, Jarasandha could not attack the Yadavas anymore.
Yudhisthira was planning to make a Rajasuya yagna or Ashwamedha Yagna in order to become the emperor. Krishnaconvinced him that Jarasandha was the only obstacle to oppose Yudhisthira from becoming an emperor. Jarasandha raidedMathura (Krishna’s ancestral capital) and got defeated by Krishna every time. At one stage to avoid unnecessary loss of lives, Krishna moved his capital to Dwaraka, in one stroke. Since Dwaraka was an island city guarded heavily by Yadava Army, Jarasandha was not able to invadeDwaraka anymore. To attain the capacity to invade Dwaraka, Jarasandha planned to conduct a Yagna to please Lord Shiva. For this Yagna, He had imprisoned 95 kings and was in need of 5 more kings, after which he was planning to perform the Yagna, sacrificing all the 100 kings. Jarasandha thought that this Yagna will make him win the powerful Yadava Army.
The kings captured by Jarasandha wrote a secret missive to Krishna to rescue them from Jarasandha. Krishna, not wanting to go for an all out war with Jarasandha to rescue the captured kings, in order to avoid a major loss of lives, devised a plan to eliminate Jarasandha. Krishna advised Yudhisthira that Jarasandha was a major obstacle and must be killed before Yudhisthira starts performing the Rajasuya yagna. Krishna planned a clever scheme to eliminate Jarasandha by making Bheemawrestle with the Jarasandha in a dual fight, who killed Jarasandha after a fierce battle (Dwandwa yudha), which lasted for 27 days.
Like Karna, Jarasandha was also very good in giving charity donations. After performing his Shiva pooja, he used to give whatever the Brahmins asked for. On one such occasion Krishna, Arjuna and Bheema in the guise of Brahmins met Jarasandha. Krishna asked Jarasandha to choose any one of them for a wrestling match. Jarasandha chose Bheema, the strongman, to wrestle. Both of them fought for 27 days. Bheema did not know how to defeat Jarasandha. So, he sought the help of Krishna. Krishna knew the secret by which Jarasandha could be killed. 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.
1. Hinduism is the world’s 3rd largest religion closely following Christianity and Islam. However, unlike the top 2 religions, 95% of Hindus live in a single nation! Source
2. If you ask a religious Hindu, when did Krishna or Rama live – they will give an answer like 50 million years ago or some other random big number. Actually, it doesn’t matter. Because, Hindus believe in a circular time (rather than the linear time concept in the Western world).
3. Each of our time cycles has 4 main periods – the Satya yuga (golden age of innocence), Tretha Yuga, Dwapara yuga and Kali Yuga. In the last stage, people get so filthy that whole thing is cleaned up and the cycle starts all over again.
4. Hinduism is the oldest of the major extant religions. Its fundamental book – Rig Veda was written over 3800 years ago.
5. Rig Veda was orally passed for 3500+ years in parallel. And yet, its current form has no major discrepancies. It is indeed a stupendous achievement that a major body of work can be orally passed between people in such a large nation with no loss in quality/content.
6. Unlike other major religions, Hinduism doesn’t consider the pursuit of wealth as a sin. In fact, we celebrate wealth in the form of many gods such as Lakshmi, Kubera and Vishnu. Hinduism has a 4 level hierarchy – Kama (pursuit of pleasures including sexual/sensual) – Artha (pursuit of livelihood , wealth and power), Dharma (pursuit of philosophy, religion and doing duties to society) and Moksha (liberation) and we progress from the top to bottom. This is very close to Maslow’s hierarchy and thus Hindus are natural capitalists.
7. Hinduism is the parent religion for 2 of the other major religions of South Asia – Buddhism and Sikhism. It is also closely associated with its sister religion – Jainism.
8. The holiest number for Hindus is 108. This is the ratio of Sun’s distance (from earth)/Sun’s diameter or Moon’s distance (from earth)/Moon’s diameter. Thus, most of our prayer beads have 108 beads.
9. Beyond India, Hinduism is the dominant religion of many exotic regions such as Nepal, Mauritius, Bali, second biggest religion of Fiji & Sri Lanka and at one point covered most of South east Asia – including Indonesia, Cambodia and Malaysia. Source
10. The Hindu epic of Mahabharatha – that is often used to teach the principles of Hinduism – is written in 1.8 million words long poem (10X the combined length of the Illiad and Odyssey)
11. Unlike all other major religions, we don’t have a founder or a prophet (like Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Mohammad or Buddha). According to Hindus, the religion has no origin (again coming back to the circular concept).
12. Unlike the popular Western conception, Yoga in Hinduism is not merely an exercise routine. It is one of the founding blocks of the religion.
13. The 4 most holiest animals for Hindus are the cow, elephant, snake and peacock (India’s national bird and a wagon of many Hindu gods) – 4 main animals of India.
14.The largest religious structures in the world – Angkor Vat in Cambodia were built by the Hindu kings of South East Asia.
15. Hinduism has no formal Institution – no Pope, no Bible and no central body.
16. Unlike Christians or Muslims, we go to the temple at any time, any day. There are no special Sabbath, Sunday congregations or Friday prayers.
17. Hindu scriptures are organized into Vedas (poems that written in multiple levels from abstract rural level and going deeper into cosmic universe), Upanishads (scientific discourses and arguments about the world), Brahmanas (manuals for ritual performances), Aranyakas (experiments done on human mind and nature in the forests), Puranas (mythologies about Hindu gods) and Itihasas (notebooks on “historical” events”).
18. Hindus don’t mourn for anything and believe that happiness is the highest form of religious achievement. Thus, unlike most other religions there is no sad festivals for us where we are supposed to mourn.
19. Fire & Light are among the holiest of offerings for Hindus. The concept of Yajna – offering things to fire – is considered one of the highest forms of worships in Hinduism. It symbolizes the idea that everything meets its end.
20. Hinduism’s holiest body of works – Rig Veda – talks of 33 main gods.Although most Hindus consider the Vedas as the holiest, none of those 33 gods are in mainstream worship now. Also READ: 330Million Hindu Gods
21. Unlike other major religions, Hindu scriptures ask a number of philosophical questions and is ok with “don’t know” answer for some of them. One of the critical body of these questions is the Prashna Upanishad. unfortunately most of us cannot understand the answer to the fundamental questions posted there.
22. Hindus strongly believe in rebirth and karma. That means my next birth will be determined by my actions of this birth.
23. Hindus hold big chariot processions to carry their gods during special occasions. Some of these chariots can be huge and marauding – sometimes killing people in their path when they lose control. The biggest one of all – Jagannath – gave the English dictionary term Juggernaut -meaning the unstoppable one.
24. Hindus hold Ganga as the purest of all waters and believe that bathing in it can purify them of their sins.
25. Kumbh Mela. It is considered to be largest peaceful gathering in the world with over 100 million people visiting during the Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013. Most of the sadhus and saints are said to be in samadhi and appear only to kumbh mela.
The holiest number for Hindus is 108. This is the ratio of Sun’s distance (from earth)/Sun’s diameter or Moon’s distance (from earth)/Moon’s diameter. Thus, most of our prayer beads have 108 beads.
Post credits to the original Writter
Image credits to the original owner and Google Images
Long long ago there lived an asura(demon) named Dambhodbhava. He wanted to become immortal and so prayed to the Sun god, Surya. Pleased with his penance, Surya appeared before him. Dambhodbhava asked Surya to make him immortal. But Surya couldnt grant this boon since anything, anyone who was born on this planet will have to die. Surya offered him to ask for something else instead of immortality. Dambhodbhava thought of tricking the sun god and came up with a cunning request.
He said that he has to be protected by a thousand armors and laid the following conditions:
1. The thousand armors can be broken only by someone who performs penance for a thousand years!
2. Whoever breaks the armor should die immediately!
Surya was horribly worried. He knew that Dambhodbhava had performed a very powerful penance and that he could get the entire boon he had asked for. And Surya had a feeling that Dambhodbhava was not going to use his powers for good. However having no choice in the matter, Surya granted Dambhodbhava the boon. But deep down Surya was worried and seeked Lord Vishnu’s help, Vishnu asked him not to worry and he would save earth by eliminating adharma.
Immediately after getting the boon from Surya, Dambhodbhava started wrecking havoc on people. People were scared of fighting with him. There was no way of defeating him. Anybody who stood in his way was crushed by him. People started calling him Sahasrakavacha [meaning one who has a thousand armours]. It was around this time that King Daksha [the father of Sati, the first wife of Shiva] got one of his daughters, Murti married to Dharma – one of the ‘Manas putras’ of Lord Brahma, the God of Creation
Murti had also heard of Sahasrakavacha and wanted to put an end to his menace. So she prayed to Lord Vishnu to come and help the people. Lord Vishnu pleased with her appeared before her and said
‘I am pleased with your devotion! I will come and slay Sahasrakavacha! Because you have prayed to me, you would be the reason for slaying Sahasrakavacha!’.
Murti gave birth to not one child, but twins- Narayana and Nara. Narayana and Nara grew up in the ashrama surrounded by the forests. They were great devotees of Lord Shiva. The two brothers learnt the art of warfare.The two brothers were inseparable. What one thought the other was always able to finish. Both of them trusted each other implicitly and never questioned the other.
As time went on, Sahasrakavacha started attacking the forest areas surrounding Badrinath, where both Narayana and Nara were staying. As Nara was meditating, Narayana went and challenged Sahasrakavacha for a fight. Sahasrakavacha looked at the calm eyes of Narayana and for the first time since he got his boon, felt fear building inside him.
Sahasrakavacha faced the attack of Narayana and was astounded. He found that Narayana was powerful and had indeed got a lot of power from the penance of his brother. As the fight went on, Sahasrakavacha realized that the penance of Nara was giving Narayana strength. As Sahasrakavacha’s first armour broke he realized that Nara and Narayana were for all purposes one. They were just two persons having the same soul. But Sahasrakavacha was not too worried. He had lost one of his armours. He watched in glee as Narayana dropped dead, the minute one of his armours broke!
As Narayana fell down dead, Nara came running towards him. By his years of penance and pleasing Lord Shiva, he had gained the Maha Mritunjaya mantra – a mantra which brought back dead to life. Now Nara took the fighting with Sahasrakavacha while Narayana meditated! After thousand years, Nara broke another armor and dropped dead while Narayana came back and revived him. This went on until 999 armors were down. Sahasrakavacha realized that he could never beat the two brothers and ran away seeking refuge with Surya. When Nara approached Surya to give him up, Surya did not since he was protecting his devotee. Nara cursed Surya to be born as a human for this act and Surya accepted the curse for this devotee.
All this happened at the end of Treta yuga. Immediately after Surya refused to part with Sahasrakavacha, the Treta Yuga ended and the Dwapar Yuga started. To fulfil the promise to destroying Sahasrakavacha, Narayana and Nara were reborn – this time as Krishna and Arjuna.
Due to the curse, Dambhodbhava with Surya’s ansh within him was born as Karna, the eldest son of Kunti! Karna was born with one of armours as a natural protection, the last one left of Sahasrakavacha.
As Arjuna would have died if Karna had had the armour, on Krishna’s advise, Indra [Arjuna’s father] went in disguise and got the last armor of Karna, much before the war began.
As Karna was actually the monster Dambodbhava in his previous life, he led a very difficult life to pay for all the sins committed by him in his past life. But Karna also had Surya, the Sun God inside him, so Karna was a hero as well! It was Karna’s karma from his previous life that he had to be with Duryodhana and take part of the all the evil things he did. But the Surya in him made him brave, strong, fearless and charitable. It brought him long lasting fame.
Thus after learning the truth about Karna’s previous birth, Pandavas apologised to Kunti and Krishna for lamenting them…
The seven immortals (Chiranjivi) of Hindu Mythology. Part 3
Vibhishana was the youngest son of Sage Vishrava, who was the son of Sage Pulatsya, one of the Heavenly Guardians. He (Vibhishana) was the younger brother of the Lord of Lanka, Ravana and King of Sleep, Kumbakarna. Even though he was born in the demon race, he was alert and pious and considered himself a Brahmin, since his father was intuitively such. Though a Rakshasa himself, Vibhishana was of a noble character and advised Ravana, who kidnapped and abducted Sita, to return her to her husband Rama in an orderly fashion and promptly. When his brother did not listen to his advice, Vibhishana joined Rama’s army. Later, when Rama defeated Ravana, Rama
crowned Vibhishana as the king of Lanka. In some period of history Sinhala people have considered Vibhishana as one of the Four Heavenly Kings (satara varam deviyo).
Vibhishana had a sattvik (pure) mind and a sattvik heart. From his early childhood, he spent all his time meditating on the name of the Lord. Eventually, Brahma appeared and offered him any boon he wanted. Vibhishana, said that the only thing he wanted was to have his mind fixed at the feet of the Lord as pure as lotus leaves (charan kamal).
He prayed that he should be given the strength by which he would always be at the feet of the Lord, and that he would receive the darshan (holy sight) of Lord Vishnu. This prayer was fulfilled, and he was able to give up all his wealth and family, and join Rama, who was Avatar (God incarnate).
After defeat of Ravana, Vibhishana was declared as the King of Lanka [present day Sri Lanka] by Lord Rama and was said to have been given the blessing of a long life to take good care of his kingdom of Lanka. However, Vibhishana was not a Chiranjeevi in real sense. By which I mean that his lifetime was only as long as the end of one Kalpa. [which is still a pretty long long time.]
6) Krupacharya: Kripa, also known as Kripacharya or Krupacharya is an important character in the Mahabharata. Kripa was an archer born to a sage and was a royal teacher of the Pandavas and Kauravas before Drona (the father of Ashwatthama).
Shardwan, Kripa’s Biological father, was born with arrows, making clear he was a born archer. He meditated and attained the art of all types of warfare. He was such a great archer that no one could defeat him.
This created panic amongst the gods. Especially Indra, the King of the Gods, felt the most threatened. He then sent a beautiful Apsara (divine nymph) from the Heaven to distract the celibate saint. The nymph, called Janapadi, came to the saint and tried to seduce him in various ways.
Shardwan was distracted and the sight of such a beautiful woman made him lose control. As he was a great saint, he still managed to resist the temptation and controlled his desires. But his concentration was lost, and he dropped his bow and arrows. His semen fell on some weeds by the wayside, dividing the weeds into two – from which a boy and a girl were born. The saint himself left the hermitage and his bow and arrow and went to the forest for penance.
Coincidentally, King Shantanu, the great-grandfather of the Pandavas, was crossing from there and saw the children by the wayside. One look at them was enough for him to realize that they were the children of a great Brahmin archer. He named them Kripa and Kripi and decided to take them back with him to his palace.
When Shardwan came to know of these children he came to the palace, revealed their identity and performed the various rituals which are performed for the children of Brahmins. He also taught the children archery, Vedas and other Shashtras and the secrets of the Universe. The children grew up to become experts in the art of warfare. The boy Kripa, who came to be known as Kripacharya, was now assigned the task of teaching the young princes all about warfare. On growing up Kripa was the chief priest at the court of Hastinapura. His twin sister Kripi married Drona, the weapons master to the court – who, like her and her brother, had not been gestated in a womb, but outside the human body.
He fought from the Kauravas during the war of Mahabharata and was one of the few surviving characters of post-war period. He later trained Parikshit, the grandson of Arjuna and son of Abhimanyu in the art of warfare. He was known for his impartiality and loyalty for his Kingdom. Lord Krishna granted him immortality.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
Ability to defy gravity.
Lord Shiva gave him these:
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.
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
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.
People always ask, Who are the seven immortals (Chiranjivi) of Hindu Mythology?
Well lets first start with the meaning of the wird Chiranjivi. Chiranjivi or चिरंजीवी in Hindi, are immortal living beings in Hinduism who are to remain alive on Earth through this Kali Yuga till its very end.
The seven Immortals (Chiranjivi) of Hindu Mythology are:
There is a shloka in sanskrit, Known as Chiranjivi shloka
“Aswathama Balir Vyaso Hanumanash cha Vibhishana Krupacharya cha Parashuramam Saptatah Chirjeevanam” “अश्वत्थामाबलिर्व्यासोहनुमांश्च विभीषण:कृपश्चपरशुरामश्च सप्तैतेचिरंजीविन:।”
Which means that Aswathama, King Mahabali, Veda Vyasa, Hanuman , Vibhishana , Krupacharya and Lord Parashuram are death-defying or imperishable personalities.
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.
1)Ashwathama: According to The Mahabharata, Ashwatthama means “the horse-voiced”. It probably also means the one having strength of a horse. Perhaps the most interesting of all the Chiranjeevis, And one of the most intresting character from Mahabharata. Ashwatthama was a great warrior and son of a legendary warrior and teacher named Dronacharya. He was gifted with a gem on his forehead by Lord Shiva and was said to have divine powers. When the battle of Kurukshetra A.K.A Mahabharata War was almost over, Ashwatthama who fought from the Kauravas, decided to murder the five Pandava brothers in their camp at midnight even though it was against the ethics of war to attack after sunset. Mistaking the identity of the five brothers, Ashwatthama killed the sons of Pandavas while they were away. On their return, the Pandavas saw what happened and were enraged with the incident and chased Ashwatthama to kill him. Ashwatthama seeked salvation for his crime but it was already too late.
To defend himself, he decided to invoke Bramhashirastra [a sort of divine highly destructive weapon] against Pandavas. In retaliation, Arjuna invoked the same as he too was the student of Dronacharya and could do the same. However, on observing this scene, Lord Krishna asked them to revoke the weapons as it would have led to a cataclysmic event resulting in annihilation of earth. Arjuna revoked his weapon, however Ashwatthama was unable to do so as he was never taught how to.
Out of spite/ helplessness, he directed the weapon towards a singular being which in this case was Uttara, the daughter-in-law of Arjuna and who was pregnant. The weapon led to the death of the unborn child and thus the lineage of Pandavas came to an end. Enraged at this atrocious act, Lord Krishna cursed Ashwatthama as follows:
“Always engaged in sinful acts, thou art the slayer of children. For this reason, thou must have to bear the fruit of these thy sins. For 3,000 years thou shalt wander over this earth, without a companion and without being able to talk with anyone. Alone and without anybody by thy side, thou shalt wander through diverse countries, O wretch, thou shalt have no place in the midst of men. The stench of pus and blood shall emanate from thee, and inaccessible forests and dreary moors shall be thy abode! Thou shalt wander over the Earth, O thou of sinful soul, with the weight of all diseases on thee.”
In Simple Words.
“He will carry the burden of all people’s sins on his shoulders and will roam alone like a ghost without getting any love and courtesy till the end of Kaliyuga; He will have neither any hospitality nor any accommodation; He will be in total isolation from mankind and society; His body will suffer from a host of incurable diseases forming sores and ulcers that would never heal”
And thus Ashwatthama is destined to live a life of misery and pain till the end of this Kaliyuga.
Mahabali or Bali was the “daitya” king and his capital was the present day state of Kerala. was the son of Devamba and Virochana. He grew up under the tutelage of his grandfather, Prahlada, who instilled in him a strong sense of righteousness and devotion. He was an extremely devoted follower of Lord Vishnu and was known as a righteous, wise, generous and judicious King.
Bali would eventually succeed his grandfather as the king of the Asuras, and his reign over the realm was characterized by peace and prosperity. He would later expand his realm by bringing the entire world under his benevolent rule and was even able to conquer the underworld and Heaven, which he wrested from Indra and the Devas. The Devas, after their defeat at the hands of Bali, approached their patron Vishnu and entreated him to restore their lordship over Heaven.
In Heaven, Bali, on the advice of his guru and advisor, Sukracharya, had begun the Ashwamedha Yaga so as to maintain his rule over the three worlds.
During an Ashwamedha yagna, Bali once was granting wishes to his masses out of his generosity. Meanwhile, Lord Vishnu reached there taking form of a little Brahmin boy better known as his fifth avatar or Incarnation Vamana. The little Brahmin boy on reception asked from King Bali enough land to cover three paces of his feet. On acceptance of his wish, Vamana grew to an abysmal size and in two paces, took away all the living world and also the three worlds in general.[heaven, earth and underworld figuratively]. Having left nothing else to offer, for his third and final step, King Bali bowed down infront of the Vamana realizing that he was none other than his Lord Vishnu and asked him to place the third feet as this was the only thing that belonged to him.
Vaman then took the third step and thus raised him to Suthala, the supreme form of heaven. However, looking at his generosity and devotion, Vamana on request of Bali, gave him permission to visit earth once an year to ensure that his masses are well off and happy. It is for this reason, that the festival of Onam is celebrated widely in Southern parts of India to welcome the arrival Onapottam, the symbolic form of King Bali.
He is hailed to be a supreme example of the highest and the ultimate Sadhana of Nava Vidha Bhakti, namely Atmanivedanam. It is believed that Bali was a practitioner of the Raja Yoga.
One of the greatest (if not the greatest) revenge story has to be that of Shakuni taking revenge on the entire Kuru dynasty of Hastinapur by forcing them into Mahabharata.
Shakuni’s sister Gandhari, the princess of Gandhar (modern day Kandahar between Pakistan and Afghanistan) was married to Vichitraveerya’s eldest blind son Dhritrashtra. The kuru elder Bheeshma proposed the match and despite having objections Shakuni and his father were not able to refuse it.
Gandhari’s horoscope showed that her first husband would die and leave her a widow. To avert this, on an astrologer’s advice, Gandhari’s family married her to a goat and then killed the goat to fulfil the destiny and assumed that she could now go ahead and marry a human and since the person technically be her second husband, no harm will come to him.
As Gandhari was married to a blind man she made a vow to remain blindfolded the rest of her life.The marriage against his and his father’s wishes had been an insult to the kingdom of Gandhar. However, due to the might of Bheeshma and the strength of the Hastinapur kingdom father and son were forced to acquiesce to this marriage.
However, in the most dramatic fashion, the secret about Gandhari’s first marriage to the goat came out and this made both Dhritrashtra and Pandu really angry at Gandhari’s family – because they did not tell them that Gandhari was technically a widow.
To avenge this, Dhritrashtra and Pandu imprisoned all of Gandhari’s male family – including her father and her 100 brothers. Dharma did not allow killing prisoners of war, so Dhritrashtra decided to starve them slowly to death and would give only 1 fistful of rice for the entire clan everyday.
Gandhari’s family soon realised that they will mostly starve to death slowly. So they decided that the entire fistful of rice will be used to keep the youngest brother, Shakuni, alive so that he can take revenge on Dhritrashtra later. In front of Shakuni’s eyes, his entire male family, starved to death and kept him alive.
His father, during his last days, told him to take the bones from the dead body and make a pair of dice which would always obey him. This dice would later be instrumental in Shakuni’s revenge plan.
After the death of the rest of relatives, Shakuni did as he was told and created a dice that contained his father’s bones’ ashes
To achieve his goal Shakuni came to live with his sister in Hastinapur and never returned to Gandhar. Gandhari’s eldest son Duryodhana served as the perfect means for Shakuni to achieve this purpose. He poisoned Duryodhana’s mind against the Pandavas from an early age and goaded into schemes such as poisoning Bhima and throwing him in the river, the Lakshagraha (House of Lacquer) episode, the games of Chausar with the Pandavas that led to Draupadi’s disrobing and insult and eventually to the 13 year banishment of the Pandavas.
Finally, when the Pandavas returned Duryodhana, with Shakuni’s support, prevented Dhritrashtra from returning the kingdom of Indraprastha to the Pandavas, which precipitated into the war of Mahabharata and the deaths of Bheeshma, the 100 kaurava brothers, the sons of the Pandavas from Draupadi and even shakuni himself.
Karna’s Naga Ashwasena story is one of the few fascinating story in Mahabharata about Karna’s principles. This incident took place on the seventeenth day of the war of Kurukshetra.
Arjuna had killed Karna’s son, Vrishasena, in order to make Karna experience the pain that he himself had borne when Abhimanyu was brutally executed. But Karna refused to grieve his son’s death and continued to fight Arjuna in order to keep his word and fulfill Duryodhana’s destiny.
Finally when Karna and Arjuna came face to face, a serpent called Naga Ashwasena secretly entered Karna’s quiver. This serpent was the one whose mother was relentlessly burnt when Arjuna had set Khandava-prastha ablaze. Ashwasena, being in his mother’s womb at that time, was able to save himself from getting charred. Destined to avenge his mother’s death by killing Arjuna, he transformed himself into an arrow and waited his turn. Karna unknowingly released Naga Ashwasena at Arjuna. Realizing that this was no ordinary arrow, Lord Krishna, Arjuna’s charioteer, in his bid to save Arjuna’s life, sunk the wheel of his chariot in the ground by pressing his feet against its floor. This made the Naga, who was speedily advancing like a thunderbolt, miss his target and hit Arjuna’s crown instead, causing it to fall on the ground.
Disheartened, Naga Ashwasena returned to Karna and asked him to fire him towards Arjuna once again, this time making a promise that he would definitely not miss his target. After hearing Ashwasena’s words, this is what the mighty AngaRaj said to him:
“It is beneath my stature as a warrior to shoot the same arrow twice. Find some other way to avenge your family’s death.”
Saddened by Karna’s words, Ashwasena tried to kill Arjuna on his own but failed miserably. Arjuna was able to finish him off in a single stroke.
Who knows what would have happened had Karna released Ashwasena for the second time. He even might have killed Arjuna or at least would have injured him. But he upheld his principles and did not use the presented opportunity. Such was the character of AngaRaj. He was the man of his words and the epitome of morality. He was the ultimate warrior.
So lets continue……
The next Similarity is between-
Jatayu And Icarus :In Greek mythology, Daedalus was a master inventor and craftsman who designed wings that could be worn by humans so they can fly. His son Icarus was fitted with wings, and Daedalus instructed him to fly low as the wax wings would melt in proximity to the sun. After he starts flying, Icarus forgets himself in the ecstasy of flight, wanders too close to the sun and with the wings failing him, falls to his death.
In Hindu mythology, Sampati and Jatayu were the two sons of Garuda – represented as eagles or vultures. The two sons always competed with each other as to who can fly higher, and at one such time Jatayu flew too close to the sun. Sampati intervened, protecting his little brother from the fiery sun, but gets burnt in the process, loses his wings and falls to the earth.
Theseus And Bhima: In Greek mythology, to prevent Crete from waging war on Athens, a treaty was signed that every nine years, seven young men and seven young women from Athens would be sent to Crete, into the Labyrinth of Minos and ultimately feasted upon by the monster known as the Minotaur. Theseus volunteers as one of the sacrifices, navigates the Labyrinth successfully (with the help of Ariadne) and slays the Minotaur.
In Hindu mythology, at the outskirts of the city of Ekachakra lived the monster called Bakasura who threatened to destroy the city. As a compromise, the people agreed to send a cartload of provisions once a month to the demon, who ate not only the food, but also the bulls that pulled the cart and the man who brought it. During this time, the Pandavas were in hiding in one of the houses, and when it was the house’s turn to send the cart, Bhima volunteered to go. As you can guess, Bakasura was killed by Bhima.
Ambrosia and Amrit: The Ambrosia in Greek Mythology, and the Amrita in Hindu Mythology were the food/drink of the gods which conferred immortality on those who consume it. The words even sound alike, and it’s possible that they share an etymology.
Kamadhenu And Cornucopia: In Greek mythology, the newborn Zeus was nursed by many, one of which was the goat Amalthea who was considered sacred. Once, Zeus accidentally breaks off Amalthea’s horn, which became the Cornucopia, the horn of plenty that provided never-ending nourishment.
In Hindu mythology, cows are held sacred as they represent Kamadhenu, usually depicted as a cow with a woman’s head and containing all the deities within her. The Hindu equivalent of the cornucopia, is the Akshaya patra that was provided to the Pandavas, producing unlimited quantities of food till they were all nourished.
Mt.Olympus and Mt.Kailash : Most major gods in Greek mythology take up residence in Mount Olympus, a real mountain in Greece, believed to be the realm of the gods. One of the different lokas in Hindu mythology where deities resided was called the Shiva loka, represented by Mount Kailash – a real mountain in Tibet with great religious significance.
Aegeus And Drona: This is somewhat of a stretch, as the common theme here is that a father is led to falsely believe that his son is dead, and as a result dies himself.
In Greek mythology, before Theseus left to kill the Minotaur, his father Aegeus asked him to raise white sails in his ship if he returns safely. After Theseus successfully slays the Minotaur in Crete, he returns to Athens but forgets to change his sails from black to white. Aegeus sees Theseus’ ship approaching with black sails, presumes him dead, and in an uncontrollable bout of grief jumps off the battlements into the sea and dies.
In Hindu mythology, during the Kurukshetra War, Krishna comes up with a plan to defeat Dronacharya, one of the greatest generals in the enemy camp. Bhima kills an elephant called Ashwattama, and runs around celebrating that he has killed Ashwattama. As it’s the name of his only son, Drona goes to ask Yudhistra if this was true – because he never lies. Yudhistra says that Ashwattama is dead, and as he continued saying that it’s not his son but an elephant, Krishna blows his conch to muffle Yudhistra’s words. Stunned that his son has been killed, Drona drops his bow and using the opportunity Dhrishtadyumna beheads him.
War on Lanka And War on Troy: A thematic similarity between the War on Troy in the Iliad, and the War on Lanka in the Ramayana. One was incited when a prince abducts a king’s wife with her approval, and another when a king abducts a prince’s wife against her will. Both resulted in a major conflict where an army crossed the sea to fight a battle that destroyed the capital city and the return of the princess. Both wars have been immortalized as epic poetry singing the praises of warriors from both sides for thousands of years.
Afterlife and Rebirth: In both mythologies, the souls of the deceased are judged according to their actions and sentenced to different places. Souls judged as wicked were sent to the Fields of Punishment in Greek mythology, or Naraka in Hindu mythology where they were punished as befits their crimes. Souls judged as (exceptionally, in Greek) good were sent to the Elysian Fields in Greek mythology, or Svarga in Hindu mythology. The Greeks also had the Asphodel Meadows for those who lived ordinary lives, neither wicked nor heroic, and Tartarus as the ultimate concept of Hell. Hindu scriptures define various planes of existence as lokas among other things.
The important difference between the two afterlives is that the Greek version is eternal, but the Hindu version is transient. Both Svarga and Naraka last only till the duration of the sentence, after which the person is reborn, for either redemption or improvement. The similarity comes in that consistent attainment of Svarga will result in a soul achieving moksha, the ultimate goal. Greek souls in Elysium have the option to be reborn three times, and once they achieve Elysium all three times, they are sent to the Isles of the Blessed, the Greek version of Paradise.
Also, the entrance to the Greek underworld is guarded by Hades’ three-headed dog Cerberus, and the entrance to Svarga by Indra’s white elephant Airavata.
Demigods and Divinity: Even if the concept of gods being born, living and dying as mortal beings (avatars) is not present in Greek mythology, both sides have gods descending among men for short periods of time for various reasons. There is also the concept of children born to two deities becoming deities (like Ares or Ganesh), and also the idea of demigod children born to a god and a mortal (like Perseus or Arjuna). Instances of demigod heroes raised to the status of gods were also common (like Heracles and Hanuman).
Heracles and Shri Krishna:
Heracles Fighting With Serpentine Hydra and Lord Krishna Defeating Serpent Kaliya. Lord Krishna didn’t kill Kalingarayan (Serpent kaliya), instead he asked him to leave the Yamuna river and go away from Brindavan. Simialrly, Heracles did not kill Serpent hydra, he only placed a huge stone over his head.
Killing of Stymphalian And Bakasur: The Stymphalian Birds are man-eating birds with beaks of bronze, sharp metallic feathers they could launch at their victims, and poisonous dung. They were pets of Ares, the god of war. They migrated to a marsh in Arcadia to escape a pack of wolves. There they bred quickly and swarmed over the countryside, destroying crops, fruit trees, and townspeople. They were killed by Heracles.
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.
Killing of Cretan BullAnd Arishtasura : Cretan bull had been wreaking havoc on Crete by uprooting crops and leveling orchard walls. Heracles sneaked up behind the bull and then used his hands to strangle it, and then shipped it to Eurystheus in Tiryns.
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.
Killing of Horses Of Diomedes and keshi : Horses Of Diomedes were four man-eating horses in Greek mythology. Magnificent, wild, and uncontrollable, they belonged to the giant Diomedes, king of Thrace who lived on the shores of the Black Sea. Bucephalus, Alexander the Great’s horse, was said to be descended from these mares. Heracles the Greek hero slays the horses of Diomedes.
Keshi the 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. Shri Krishna Killed him.
There are many similarities among different mythical characters of different epics. I dont know whether they are same or related to each other. Same thing is there in Mahabharata and Trojan war. I wonder if our mythology is influenced by theirs or theirs by ours! I guess we used to live in the same area and now we had different versions of same epic. Here I have compared some of the characters and I tell you this is very interesting.
The most obvious parallel is between Zeus and Indra:
Zeus, the God of rains and thunder is the most worshipped God in Greek Pantheon. He is the king of Gods. He carries with himself a thunderbolt.Indra is the God of rains and thunder and he too carries a thunderbolt called Vajra. He is also the king of Gods.
Hades and Yamraj : Hades is the God of the netherworld and death. A similar role is carried by Yama in the Indian Mythology.
Achilles and Lord Krishna: I think Krishna and Achilles both were the same. Both were killed by an arrow piercing their heel and both are the heroes of the two of the world’s greatest epics. Achilles heels and Krishna’s heels were the only vulnerable point on their bodies and the reason of their deaths.
Krishna dies when Jara’s arrow pierces his heel. Achilles death was caused by an arrow in his heel too.
Atlantis and Dwarka: Atlantis is a legendary island. It is said that after a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean “in a single day and night of misfortune.” In Hindu Mythology, Dwarka, a city built by Vishwakarma on the order of Lord Krishna is supposed to have suffered a similar fate of submersion into the sea after a war among the Yadavas, the descendants of Lord Krishna.
Karna and Achilles: Karna’s kawach (armour) has been compared with that of Achilles’s Styx-coated body. He has been compared to the Greek character Achilles on various occasions as they both have powers but lack status.
Krishna and Odysseus: It is the character of Odysseus that is a lot more like Krishna. He convinces a reluctant Achilles to fight for Agamemnon – a war the Greek hero did not want to fight. Krishna did the same with Arjuna.
Duryodhana and Achilles: Achilles mother, Thetis, had dipped the infant Achilles in the river Styx, holding him by his heel and he became invincible where the waters touched him—that is, everywhere but the areas covered by her thumb and forefinger, implying that only a heel wound could have been his downfall and as anyone could have predicted he was killed when an arrow shot by Paris and guided by Apollo punctures his heel.
Similarly, in Mahabharata, Gandhari decides to help Duryodhana triumph. Asking him to bathe and enter her tent naked, she prepares to use the great mystic power of her eyes, blind-folded for many years out of respect for her blind husband, to make his body invincible to all attack in every portion. But when Krishna, who is returning after paying the queen a visit, runs into a naked Duryodhana coming to the pavilion, he mockingly rebukes him for his intention to emerge so before his own mother. Knowing of Gandhari’s intentions, Krishna criticizes Duryodhana, who sheepishly covers his groin before entering the tent. When Gandhari’s eyes fall upon Duryodhana, they mystically make each part of his body invincible. She is shocked to see that Duryodhana had covered his groin, which was thus not protected by her mystic power.
Helen of Troy and Draupadi:
In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy has always been projected as a seductress who eloped with young Paris, forcing her despairing husband to fight the war of Troy to get her back. This war resulted in the burning of the beautiful city. Helen was held accountable for this annihilation. We also hear of Draupadi being blamed for Mahabharata.
Brahma and Zeus: We have Brahma changing into a swan to seduce Saraswati, and Greek mythology has Zeus changing himself into many forms (including a swan) to seduce Leda.
Persephone and Sita:
Both were both forcibly abducted and wooed, and both (in different circumstances) disappeared under the Earth.
Arjuna and Achilees: When the war starts out, Arjuna is unwilling to fight. Similarly, when the Trojan War starts, Achilees does not want to fight. The lamentations of Achilles over the dead body of Patroclus are similar to lamentations of Arjuna over the dead body of his son Abhimanyu. Arjuna laments over the dead body of his son Abhimanyu and pledges to kill Jaydrath the following day. Achilles laments on the dead pody of his brother Patroculus, and pledges to kill Hector the following day.
Karna and Hector:
Draupadi, although loves Arjuna, begins to have a soft corner for Karna. Helen, although loves Paris, begins to have a soft corner for Hector, for she knows that Paris is useless and not respected while Hector is the warrior and well respected.
When Arjun and Duryodhan, had both gone to meet Krishna before Kurukshetra, the former went in later, and seeing the latter at his head, he sat at Krishna’s feet. Krishna woke up and then gave them the choice of either his entire Narayana Sena, or he himself as charioteer on a condition, that he would neither fight nor hold any weapon. And he gave Arjun, the chance to select first, who then choose Krishna as his charioteer. Duryodhan could not believe his fortune, he had wanted the Narayana Sena, and he got it on a platter, he felt Arjun was plain foolish. Little did Duryodhan realize that while he got the physical powers, the mental and spiritual power was with Arjun. There was a reason why Arjun choose Krishna, he was the person who provided the intelligence,the guidance, and he knew the weakness of every warrior in the Kaurava camp.
Apart from that the bonding between Arjun and Krishna, goes a long way back too. The entire concept of Nar and Naryana, and the former needing the guidance from the latter. While Krishna had always been the well wisher of the Pandavas, guiding them at all times, he had a special bonding with Arjun, both being great friends. He guided Arjun during the Khandava Dahanam, in his battle with the Gods, and later he ensured his sister Subhadra was married to Arjun, when his brother Balaram wanted to marry her to Duryodhan.
Arjun was the best warrior in the Pandava side, Yudhistir while being the most wise among them, was not exactly a “great warrior”, who could take on Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Karna, it was only Arjun who was an equal match to them. Bheem was all brute force, and while that was needed, for physical and mace combat with the likes of Duryodhan and Dushashan, he could not have been effective in handling Bheeshma or Karna. Now while Arjun was the finest warrior ever, he also needed strategic advice, and that was where Krishna came in. Unlike physical combat, battle in archery needed quick reflexes, strategic thought, planning, and this is where Krishna was an invaluable asset.
Krishna knew that only Arjun could face Bheeshma or Karna or Drona on equal terms, but he also knew that he like any other human beings, had this internal conflict. Arjun faced an internal conflict over fighting with his beloved grandsire Bheeshma or his Guru Drona, to kill or not kill, and that is where Krishna came up with the entire Gita, the concept of Dharma, destiny and doing your duty. In the end it was Krishna’s guidance that made the entire difference to the Kurukshetra war.
There is an incident when Arjuna goes overconfident and then Krishna tells him – “Hey Parth, don’t be overconfident. If I was not here, your chariot would have been blown away long ago due to the damage done by Bheesma, Drona and Karna. You are facing the best athimaharathis of all times and they do not have the armor of Narayana”.
Krishna was always closer to Arjuna than Yudishtra. Krishna made his sister marry Arjuna, not Yudishtra, when Balarama planed to have her married to Druyodana. Also, when Aswathama asked for the Sudarshana Chakra from Krishna, Krishna told him that even Arjuna, who was his dearest person in the world, who was even dearer to him than his wives and kids, never asked that weapon. This shows Krishna’s closeness to Arjuna.
Krishna had to protect Arjuna from Vaishnavastra. Bhagadatta had the Vaishnavastra which would kill the enemy for sure. When Bhagadatta sent that weapon to Kill Arjuna, Krishna stood up and took that weapon around his neck as a Garland. (It was Krishna who gave that Vaishnavastra, the personal astra of Vishnu to Bhagadatta’s mother after Killing Narakasura, who was the father of Bhagadatta.)
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