Category Archives: Vishnu Sahasranama

Sampat Lakshmi Vrata

[Lakshmi Vrata is undertaken on all Fridays during the month of Shravan. There will be a post every friday starting from today for 4 weeks on Goddess Lakshmi.. Do check the 2nd post on Goddess Lakshmi next Friday.. ]

In Satya Yuga there lived a poor brahmana who had to take care of a large family comprising his wife, four sons and four daughter-in-laws. One day, as he went out seeking alms he reached a house where “Sampat Lakshmi Vrata” was being performed. They received the pious brahmana and asked him to wait until the puja was over. After the puja was over he received bhiksha along with a mud-kalasa which they had used for puja. With a lot of curiousity he asked for the details of the puja, how it is to be performed etc. That day because of the sanctified mud-kalasa he possessed, he got a lot of bhiksha from other houses also. Feeling very happy, he went back home and narrated everything to his wife. 

They also decided to perform Sampat Lakshmi Vrata on all the fridays during the month of Shravan. There were five fridays in the Shravana month that year. On the first friday they made all the necessary preparations for the puja. After the sankalpa was taken, according to the conditions of the vrata, the eldest of the daughters-in-law with haldi-kumkum in hand, went out to invite a sumangali for the evening puja. She found a married woman with an extraordinary glow and aura around her. The daughter-in-law invited her home. The woman accepted the haldi and kumkum, applied it on her forehead and said, “I will come”. But in the evening she did not turn up. The brahmana’s family waited in vain. They could not complete the vrata. The second friday, the second daughter-in-law went out to invite a sumangali for the evening puja. She also met the same woman full of tejas who promised “to come”. But like last time, she did not turn up. But the family did not give up. The third and fourth fridays were the turn of the third and fourth daughters-in-law. And as usual, they also met the same sumangali who said she would come but did not turn up.

On the fifth friday of Shravan, the brahmana sent his wife this time to invite a sumangali for the evening puja. Strange! She too met the same woman and requested her to come for the evening puja. She said that she would come. They again made all the preparations and waited. It was dusk-time. Suddenly their whole house was filled with a golden glow and they heard the soft, tinkling sound of anklets. The looked in the direction of the sound of the anklets. There was Goddess Lakshmi in all her glory manifest in front of them! Overwhelmed with joy and happiness, they worshipped her with all their devotion. 

Mahalakshmi, the Mother of the Universe told them that she was the one whom they had met all the previous four fridays. She had promised to come, but she had not told them when she would come. She wanted to test their devotion and surrender, consistency and faith before pouring her blessings on them. Goddess Lakshmi bestowed upon the family wealth and prosperity to take care of their life here and hereafter. 
The Sampat Lakshmi Vrata is undertaken on all the fridays of the Shravana month. The friday prior to the Poornima (full-moon) is celebrated as Varamahalakshmi Vrata.  

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Ashwathama bargains for Sudarshana!

Dronacharya was the teacher of both the Kauravas and Pandavas. The Pandavas and the Kauravas learnt all forms of knowledge from their Guru. Amongst all the students, Arjuna indeed was the favourite student of Drona. The Pandavas and Kauravas specialized themselves in the art of warfare. Arjuna in archery, Bhima and Duryodhana in fighting with mace and so on.

Dronacharya had a son by name Ashwathama. When Ashwathama was born, he made sounds similar to that of a horse (ashwa). Hence he was named as Ashwathama. Drona always had a soft corner for his son. Dronacharya himself trained his son in archery and very soon, Ashwathama grew up to become one of the best archer and warrior.

Ashwathama knew that his father Drona had a soft corner for Arjuna, and therefore he disliked the Panadavas. He also knew that Krishna always favoured the Pandavas, because they were always on the side of righteousness. If at all there was a war between the Pandavas and Kauravas in future, he was sure that Krishna would definitely support the Pandavas.

Krishna had a very powerful weapon – the Sudarshana Chakra which is attributed only to Lord Narayana. In order to gain lordship over the Divine Disc, Ashwathama thought of going to Krishna and getting the Sudarshana Chakra for himself by bargaining with the most powerful weapon he had – the Brahma-astra. He immediately left for Dwaraka and met Krishna. He put forth his proposal in front of Krishna. He would give Krishna the most powerful weapon which he had which could kill anyone, in exchange for the Sudarshana Chakra. Krishna smiled and immediately invoked His divine weapon, the Sudarshana Chakra. It immediately appeared in front of Him in all its brilliant lustre. Krishna then asked Ashwathama to lift the Chakra and take with him if he could.

Ashwathama who was physically very strong was extremely happy. He was very confident that he could lift it up as easily as lifting up a feather! He came forward and tried to lift the Sudarshan, but he could not. Again and again he tried with all his might and strength, but the Chakra did not budge even a bit. Krishna smiled and then told Ashwathama who was not even capable of lifting the Sudarshana to be happy with whatever weapons he had, and use them in warfare. Ashwathama was embarrassed and ashamed and realized that true ability and strength has to be acquired by one’s own effort and cannot be exchanged in a barter system.

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]

Sri Krishna Tulabhara!

Krishna Tulabhara

Rukmini and Satyabhama were the prime consorts of Sri Krishna. Rukmini was very devoted, dedicated and humble. Satyabhama on the other hand was very proud of her beauty, wealth and royal lineage. Yet she was unhappy because she thought Krishna was not giving her enough attention. She wanted Him all for herself and was jealous of Rukmini whom she thought was her arch rival.

Sage Narada happened to visit Dwaraka once and she complained to him about Krishna and sought his help to get Krishna’s undivided attention all to herself. Narada devised a plan to teach her a lesson. He told her to give away Krishna as “dana” (gift) to a brahmana. Then Krishna completely becomes his property. Afterwards she can pay a fat price and purchase Krishna back. Then He becomes exclusively her property and she can dictate terms to Him. Satyabhama readily and happily agreed to this. Narada warned her to check whether she had sufficient “wealth” to get Krishna back. Otherwise the Lord would become the brahmana’s property! She very confidently told Narada not to worry about the wealth part.

Satyabhama convinced Krishna and gave away Krishna as a “gift” to Narada – the best among the brahmanas. What a rare and unique fortune it was for the Sage to receive the Lord Himself as “dana!” Narada’s eyes were brimming with tears of devotion!!

Huge weighing scales were brought and assembled in the royal assembly. On one pan, Sri Krishna sat down. On the other pan Satyabhama piled all her wealth – gold, precious stones, jewellery etc., including the rare and precious Syamantaka jewel. The pan did not tilt even a bit. She looked at Narada questioningly. He then asked her as to what made her think she can weigh the Lord of all the worlds with her gold and jewellery. Her ego was totally crushed. She now realised her mistake and asked the Lord Himself what to do. He told her to approach Rukmini and ask for her help.

Satyabhama approached Rukmini and told her the entire story. Can the Lord who has all the fourteen worlds within Him ever be weighed by  wealth? Rukmini who was at that time praying to Mother Tulasi plucked a small leaf and came to the assembly hall with Satyabhama. With all devotion she invoked Lord Krishna in her heart, went around Him in pradakshina and placed the tiny little tulasi leaf on the empty pan. Lo! The scales tilted!  Satyabhama now understood the essence of true Bhakti. Only and only devotion can “move” Him. She humbly prostrated to both Lord Krishna and Rukmini and prayed for that unconditional and whole-hearted devotion that alone can bring about total fulfillment to the devotee.

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The Story of Andal

Andal

Vishnuchittar also known as Periyaazhwar (9th Century) was one among the twelve prominent Vaishnava Saints of Tamil Nadu born in Srivilliputhur near Madurai. He was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu and has contributed to the philosophical and theological ideas of Vaishnavism. His major contributions include Thirupallandu and Periya Azhwar Thirumozhi.

Vishnuchittar was childless and that worried him. He prayed to God to bless him with a child. One day, when he was walking in his garden, he found a baby girl lying near a Tulasi plant. It is said that Mother Earth (Bhumi Devi) herself had appeared as a child in answer to his prayers. He brought the child home, named her “Kothai” and brought her up as his own daughter. He would teach her songs and tell stories about Lord Vishnu and His glories. Hence, the little girl grew up in a divine atmosphere of Bhakti. As she grew up, her devotion and love for Sri Hari also grew to such an extent that, she decided she would only get married to the Lord. As the days progressed, her resolve to marry the Lord only strengthened.

Vishnuchittar used to make beautiful flower garlands, take them to the temple and offer them to the Lord daily. This was his devoted nitya seva to the Lord. Kothai who considered herself the bride-to-be of the Lord used to take the garland, wear it and admire herself in the mirror and then remove it and place it in the basket to be taken to the temple. Vishnuchittar was unaware of this and used to take the same used garland and offer it to the Lord. Hence for days, the garland worn by Kodhai was being offered to the Lord.

One day, Vishnuchittar saw his daughter wearing the garland made for the Lord and was shocked. How could anyone wear what was meant for the Lord? He was extremely upset and scolded her and told her never to repeat this again. That day there was no garland for the Lord. That night, the Lord came in Periyaazhwar’s dream and told him that he liked the garlands worn by Kothai and henceforth He would only accept garlands worn by her. From then onwards, Kodhai came to be known as “Andal” – one who ruled over the Lord.

Andal’s yearning for the Lord increased day by day and her devotional outpourings are called Thiruppavai and Nacchiaar Thirumozhi. When Vishnuchittar was searching for a suitable groom for “Andal”, she expressed her keen desire to get married to the Lord. He told her that there are 108 Divya Kshetras of Lord Vishnu and she asked him to narrate the glory of the Deity of each Kshetra. She was thrilled to hear about the Lord of Mathura, smiled when she heard about the Lord of Tirumala, happy to hear about Lord of Azhagar Temple (Madurai), but was ecstatic when she heard about the Lord of Srirangam! She choose Lord Sri Ranganatha of Srirangam as her husband.

The father was worried as to how he should proceed. The Lord then appeared in his dream and asked him to bring her to the temple. Simultaneously, the Lord appeared in the dream of the temple priest and asked him to bring Vishnuchittar’s daughter as His bride from Srivilliputhur to Srirangam. The Lord also told the Pandyan king, Vallabhadevan to make arrangements for the wedding. Accordingly, Andal in bridal attire was brought in a pearl palanquin. She reached the temple of Srirangam. As every one around was seeing, she walked into the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Ranganatha and merged with Him.

Bhumi Devi who came as Andal is worshiped in Srivilliputhur. Even to this day during Tirupati Brahmotsavam, garlands worn by Andal in Srivilliputhur temple are sent to Lord Venkateshwara Temple at Tirupati. These traditional garlands are made of tulasi, sevanthi and sampangi flowers. These garlands are worn by Lord Venkateshwara during the Garuda seva procession.

During Dhanurmasa or Margazhi Masa, the verses from Sri Andal’s TIRUPPAVAI (one verse a day) are daily chanted/sung as part of Margazhi Vrata.

When emotion of devotion increases, the devotee's personality and the Infinite nature of the Lord of his heart become one-----and this is the Essence of the Experience-Supreme - Swami Chinmayananda

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]

 

For updates of posts on Telegram join the group : https://t.me/BharateeyaSamskruti

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