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Multi Language Web-Mag on Hinduism for the Kids

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Kidsworld Club

Hindu Gods

Dear Children,

The great God that has created us and all the lives as well as of this universe is also protects all.

There is no place without the God and he is inside as well as outside of all.

We worship the almighty God in various forms; Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma, Goddess Durga, the Goddess Kali, the Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Lakshmi Devi, Lord Muruga, the Lord Ganesha are to name a few.

You may wonder why so many various forms of God are there.

Let us consider water as an example. When it is in liquid form we use it for drinking, cleaning, cooking and generating electricity etc.

When it is frozen, the ice is utilized for a variety of purposes and also for preserving food products. Yet when it boiling, the stream will power engines and also used in many other ways.

One material, different forms and different usages. Right?

Likewise the great God has taken various forms to fulfil different duties and reasons.

We shall now read about those different forms in this section. 

Lord Ganesh

Lord Ganesh 

WE SHALL WORSHIP THE LOTUS FEET OF,

HE WHO HAS TEN SACRED HANDS AND FIVE FAIR HEADS;

HE WHO HAS THE CHARIOT LIKE LOTUS THAT HE ADORNS,

HE WHO LIVES IN THE HEAVENS WHERE THE DHARMACHAKRA REVOLVES;

HE WHO PERVADES ALL THE LOKAS, WE SHALL WORSHIP HIS LOTUS FEET.

(Kandapurana on HerampaVinayaka - one of the 32 forms of Vinayaka)

 

Lord Ganesh, the highly popular hindu deity

Lord Ganesh is extremely popular hindu deity all over the world. He is liked not only for his appearance but also of the simplicity in worshpping him. 

Shall we explore more about him... 

 

Elephent and the Elephent Headed

Dear Children, 

You must be aware of, and must have read about, a lot of animals. All animals fall within the two categories of wild and domestic animals. You must also have seen a lot of animals, from the wild animals like the lion, tiger, fox, and wolf to the domestic animals like the dog, cat, cow, goat and horse. But then, there is one animal that is capable of delighting and surprising small children at first sight.

Can you guess which animal is it? 

Yes, it is the elephant.


It is a wonderful wild animal that can delight all children. A very large torso... broad ears like sleeves, very tiny eyes, a beautiful trunk, large pillar-like legs... More than all this the beautiful ivory coloured tusks that are unique to the elephant alone... yes, the elephant is indeed a beautiful animal. 

Even though the elephant is enormous in size, it obeys the orders of the mahout, and follows him like a child. It retains calm and quiet eating leaves, grass and sugar cane. 

But when the same elephant rises up in anger, no one can face its wrath. It can uproot and crush even very large trees and stamp people to death. 

Just as the saying, "Beware the fury of a patient man" goes; an elephant can be very dangerous when it is enraged. But it does not get angry that easily. It generally remains calm and would shake its head in glee when it sees children.

 

It accepts with its trunk the bananas and sugar canes that are offered lovingly by children.The elephant's trunk has extraordinary powers. No other animal in the world has such a wonderful limb. 

The same trunk that picks up and carries easily huge logs from the ground can also pick up a small pin from the ground with the same ease. Moreover, it has the ability to distill potable water from muddy water. Moving about majestically in the jungle, the elephant clears up its passage ahead, by breaking and removing trees and bushes on its way.

Other animals that take this cleared path, find it easy not only to move along the path, but also to feed off the leaves and shoots of the trees and bushes, broken and pulled down by the elephant.

Lord Ganesh

Now shall we get to know about Lord Ganesh, who has this wondrous animal's head as His own? 

Dear children, 

We worship God who is prevalent in all worlds, in various forms, and by various names. Yet, Lord Ganesh is one God who is lovingly worshipped by one and all, both by children and adults. 

We call Lord Ganesh fondly by various names like Pillaiyar, Vinayaga, Ganapati, Ganesha, Vigneshwar, Gajananar, Ayngaran,and worship him. But he is known more by the name of Ganesh than any other, since he has the qualities of an innocent, guileless child. 

Lord Ganesh has a strange but beautiful figure, that of an elephant's face and a human body. A big belly with a snake tied around it. He has four hands, each holding the 'Ankusa', the 'noose', 'modakam' and the broken end of his tusk respectively. 

The ears are very big, big enough to hear the prayers of all the people of the world. He too has a wisdom eye in the centre of his forehead, just like his father Lord Shiva. 

Peer into Pillaiyar's beautiful face. You will realize another strange truth. If you put together, Pillaiyar's face, the forehead, the eyes, the curved trunk. You will see the form of the Pranav Mantra.

This is the unique feature of Pillaiyar's figure. The Pranav Mantra 'Om' is the basis of the entire Universe. Pillaiyar is a representative figure of this Pranav Mantra. The Pranav Mantra 'Om' is the foundation of all knowledge. And Pillaiyar is the Lord of all knowledge. 

Pillaiyar is the eldest son of Lord Shiva. The younger son is Lord Muruga. The eldest son is the Lord of knowledge and the younger son is the Lord of Power. And thus they both remain the basis of the earth's existence, knowledge and power, both are indispensable to us. Aren't they? 

Pillaiyar's trunk has wonderful powers. There is no other tool that is as wonderful as the trunk. Are you curious to know how?You must have seen tools like the pincers, chisel, screwdriver, spanner and so on. You must have used them too. They might have been useful in helping you to remove the wheels of your bicycle. But can you use the same spanner to remove the minute parts of your wrist watch? 

Well, you cannot. That requires other specialized tools. But the elephant’s trunk has such specialized abilities, like I told you before; it can pick up a small pin from the ground as easily as it can handle large logs with that same trunk and bend them, lift them and throw them in another direction. 

What does Lord Ganesh make us realise with his trunk? Just as the elephant's trunk has the ability to distil water from mud and thus quench its thirst we should also discard evil and take only what is good. 

Moreover, just as the elephant' trunk clears obstacles in its way and helps other animals; we should also help others and not be selfish. Just as the elephant is able to handle with equal ease large logs and small pin, our Lord Ganesh also does not differentiate between greater devotees and lesser devotees, small work and great work, small prayer and big prayer. He accepts the prayers of all people of the earth and blesses them as they deserve.

Lord Ganesh's 'vahana' or vehicle is the shrew (of the mouse family). The shrew which is small made is the 'vahana' of the big made Lord Ganesh. The shrew which makes a small hole in the wall of the house and makes its entry, keeps tunneling until it makes a large hole. 

In the same manner, small desires which form in our heart, keep growing and finally pervade our whole heart. It is to show us that we should prevent this that Lord Ganesh keeps the shrew under his control and has made it his 'Vahana'. 

Let's pray to Pillaiyar so that he would keep under restraint our worldly desires.

 

Pillaiyar: Very easy going deity

We read before that Pillaiyar is easy to worship. If we offer even an arugam grass with true love and devotion and worship Him, He would become pleased. 

Apart from the arugam grass, the leaves of the vanni tree, and the mantara Flowers are also suitable for Pillaiyar Pooja. 

Sweet dishes like the 'Mothagam', 'sweet pongal’ (sweet milk rice) and 'sundal' (chick peas) and the grass, vanni leaf and the flower of the 'manthara' are an integral part of Pillaiyar worship. Especially the grass, known as the 'Arugampul' is Pillaiyar's favorite pooja item. 

The grass can ordinarily be found growing wild at the edge of fields and grassy meadows. We should not forget that this grass which is so commonly found has rare medicinal purposes and powers. 

Our ancestors had realized the medicinal powers of the grass several thousand years ago itself and had made several medicinal preparations from it. Even western scientists have now realized the medicinal properties of the 'grass'. 

The rare medicinal herbs like the neem, the gooseberry, Aswagandha, Sarpagandhi that our ancestors discovered have amazed the western scientists. Doctors have proved that the juice extracted from the 'Arugampul', if drunk on an empty stomach every morning, would keep one insulated from any kind of disease. The 'Arugampul' which has such powers is a boon gifted to us by Pillaiyar. 

We can see the 'Mothagam' in Pillaiyar's hand. The Mothagam has a sweet filling inside. Mothagam, laddu, fruits, Appam, Aval, Pori, and Sundal are offered to Pillaiyar and then distributed among the children. Pillaiyar is pleased on seeing the children's happiness.


There is a custom of smashing coconuts before Pillaiyar and then worshipping him. Shall we see what is the philosophy behind this practice?. There is sweet water and delicious white kernel inside the coconut. But before we can get it we have to remove the coconut fiber and break the hard strong outer shell. 

Our hearts too have lots of worldly desires like the coconut fiber. Next to the fiber is the hard outer shell which is akin to arrogant pride. If we discard these we can see the innocent heart which has (Bhakthi) devotion and love like the sweet coconut water and the white kernel. It is this pure heart that Pillaiyar desires from us.

It is just to show that we are offering our pure heart to Pillaiyar that we break the coconut and offer its sweet water and kernel to Pillaiyar. 

Pillaiyar temples abound everywhere. In many places there are big temples for Pillaiyar alone, with him as the presiding deity. For example, the Trichy fort temple the Pillaiyar temple in Pillaiyarpatti, The eight Suyambu Vinayaga temples in Maharastra, North India (In these eight temples are Vinayaga statues that appeared from nowhere, they were not man-made. 

In SriLanka, the Manipai Maruthadi Pillaiyar temple, the Segaraasa Sekarappillaiyar temple in Inuvil, the Maamangappillaiyar Temple in Mattakkilappu are very famous Pillaiyar Temples. 

Pillaiyar is worshipped in many ways like this. It is quite easy to perform Pillaiyar worship. He has the heart of a child. He forgets our faults immediately and blesses us. 

Do you not have a Pillaiyar idol in your home? Never mind. Take some cow dung, moisture it and make it into the shape of a small pyramid, and that is Pillaiyar for you. If you cannot get cow dung too, never mind. There is no cause for worry. Take some turmeric powder, mix it with water and make a Pillaiyar out of it. Then decorate him with Arugam grass and flowers. Sing songs in his praise and worship him with pleasure. No other God mentioned in the Hindu religion can be worshipped so simply and easily.

Some homemade Vinayaga for Poojas...

 

Pillaiyar's figure resembles the shape of the Pranav Mantra, 'Om!'. The Pranav mantra 'Om' is the alpha and beta of all sounds, letters and vedas of the world. 

 

The Birth of Lord Ganesh

Pillaiyar appeared out of the Pranav Mantra as Lord of ‘ohmhara’ rhythm to bless the lives of the universe. 

There was a magical ‘sithira’ hall in Shivaloga and it was full of endless mantras. Of these, two Pranav Mantras, Samashtip Pranav and Viyashtip Pranav sounded central to all the rest of the Mantras. These two Pranav Mantras which were responsible for the construction and destruction of all worlds chimed 'Om', 'Om' endlessly. 

Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi who happened to visit the hall at that time, lost themselves in the sweet music of the Pranav Mantras and were delighted. So they blessed that a beautiful child should be born as a unified form of the two Pranav Mantras, so that the world would be able to appreciate and realize the greatness of the Pranavas. And they focused their heavenly eyes on the Pranavas.

The two Pranavas united into one and there appeared a blinding light. The heavenly music 'Om' echoed in all directions and there appeared Pillaiyar the as the Lord of ‘ohmhara’ rhythm. 

His face resembled that of the Pranav Mantra, taking the shape of the elephant. Pillaiyar worshipped his parents lovingly. 

Goddess Parasakthi embraced her son lovingly and making him sit on her lap, blessed him.

Lord Shiva who saw the powers of his son, was immensely pleased. He made him the head of all Sivaganas. 

Therefore Pillaiyar came to be known as Lord Ganapathi. 

Lord Shiva ordained that whoever on earth begins any work, should begin it after worshipping his son Vigneshwar. 

Therefore Pillaiyar also came to be known as Lord Vignehwar. 

Vinayaga became the Lord who removes all obstructs and gives his blessings. From that day on, the Devas and the humans, all of them worshipped Vinayaga and sought his blessings before beginning any work. 

This custom still persists. When we start writing any topics or a letter, we always begin by writing the holy Sanskrit symbolic letter of Vinayaga and to offer our first prayers to him before we start writing. 

This will please Lord Vigneshwar and in return he offers us his blessings and sees to that our efforts are successful. 

Does this custom apply to the Omnipotent Gods too? Yes, it does. 

Read the next two stories and you'll understand this. 

Praying Vinayaga before we start something new

 Lord Shiva and Vinayaga 

Long back, the three Tripura kings, Kamalakshan, Tharakatchan and Vidyunmali, performed very rigorous penance and received in return numerous boons. They made three flying forts of Iron, Silver and Gold. They would often flew in those forts and troubled the Sages, Devas and the humans. 

The Devas, Sages and almost everyone went appealing to Lord Shiva "Lord, there is no end to the wickedness that the Tripura kings perpetrate upon us. Lord, you should redeem us from their troubles", they begged. 

Lord Shiva consented and asked them to construct a chariot for him. All the Devas got together, pooled all their powers and resources and constructed a very big chariot. 

Lord Shiva, who wanted everyone to know the greatness of Lord Vinayaga, got into the chariot without offering his prayers to Lord Vinayaga. At the same instant, the axle of the chariot broke, the chariot tumbled down and the Devas trembled in their clothes. Lord Shiva got down from the chariot and called his eldest son affectionately.

Lord Vinayaga came running as soon as he heard father's call and gave his blessing and the axle was repaired. The chariot righted itself. Lord Shiva started for the war. The Tripura kings came rushing in their flying forts to fight Him. Lord Shiva did not use any weapons to destroy them. He just smiled and from that smile flew three sparks. The Tripura kings' forts were reduced to ashes. The Asuras, realizing the truth, surrendered to the Lord. Lord Shiva returned victorious and came to be known as the Lord who destroyed Tripura.

This is a divine play that both Lord Shiva and his son Vinyaga enacted together. 

The other story concerns Lord Brahma. 

Lord Brahma and Vinayaga 

You all know very well that Lord Brahma is responsible for the act of creation. Brahma was employed in the work of creation, right from the Universe itself. He created the Suryas, the worlds, animals, humans, devas and every other being. He was involved in the work of creation with an arrogant pride. But surprisingly none of his creations were proper and regular. Contrary to his perceptions, all his creations turned out to be disfigured. 

The human and devas figures all turned out to be crooked. 

This disturbed as well as surprised Lord of creator and he wanted to learn the reason. Soon he realized that he did not offer prayer to Lord Vinayaga before he begins his job of creating the new universe. 

He stooped his work and prayed to Lord Vinayaga with eyes brimmed with tears. Hearing to his prayers Lord Vinayaga appeared there in his 'visvarupa' (true enlarged form) as well as blessed him and even presented him with two new powers namely, 'Kriya Shakthi' and 'Gnana Shakthi'. 

With the support of the new powers or Shakthies and also of the true blessings, Lord Birmha began the creation works and this time all worked out as expected. 

New universe with Sun, Planets and Stars formed well. Devas, Asuras, Humans, Animals, Birds, fish and vegetations all materialized in the perfect manner. 

This is what ancient legendary 'Vinayaga Purana' tells us. 

Accordingly we also must offer prayers to Lord Ganesh before we venture out in to a brand-new undertaking. 

Parvathi Devi and Lord Vinayaga 

Parvathi Devi is not just the mother of Lord Ganesh and Lord Muruga (Skanda) but also the mother of the all living beings of this world. Lord Ganesh has immense love as well as affection to his mother. There is a story that informs us how did Lord Ganesh realised, when he was little, that she is actually the mother of all. 

Once 'Bala Ganapathy' was playing with a cat and in the speed of the game, his finger nails made couple scratches in the cat's face. As a result the cat moved away in pain. When the little Ganesh came back to his mother, he noticed the scratches in her face too.


This disturbed him and he asked 'Who did this to you, mother?'. 

For that the mother expressed, 'It was you, my son'. 

'Really?' Bala Ganapathy was shocked. 

'Yes, my boy. I present in all lives as the mother. So when one life is hurt, I get hurt too as an effect.' expressed Parvathi Devi. 

Pillaiyar's vehicle is the shrew. How did Pillaiyar get the shrew as his vehicle? Vinayaga purana, also known as Parkhava purana, tells us the story. 

 

Vehicle of Lord Ganesh

The vehicle of Lord Ganesh is shrew (a tiny animal in the mouse family). 

Exactly how this has actually become the vehicle of Lord Ganesh? 

Let us now see just how the historical legendary 'Parhava Puranam' which is also known as 'Vinayaga Puranam' clarified this. 

Once upon a time, a great sage 'Mahathar' and an Asura woman 'Viputhai' had a boy that was named as 'Gajamugan'. 

He grew up as a dreadful demon. He had an elephant face with two horns in his head. Obeying the advise of 'Sukirachariyar', the master guru of Asuras, he performed severe penance towards Lord Shiva, chanting his name for very long time. 

Pleased by that, Lord Shiva appeared in front of him blessed him and asked, 'what boon do you wish'?. 

'Lord, my death must not take place by any weapons and if death befalls me due to the manoeuvres of venomous enemies, then I should not get another life' requested Gajamugan. The Lord gave the required boons with a smile and disappeared. The outcome of the boon was that he would be immortal, if he outmaneuvered his enemies. 

The triumphant demon, Gajamugan, created a city, 'Mathangamapuram' and reigned from there. He harassed the Devas and Sages and ordered them to do 1008 'Thoppu-Karanam' (knee-bend) in front of him three times daily. When they dropped to the floor, exhausted he giggled at them. 

When they came to be incapable to endure these any more, they prayed to Lord Ganesh to save them from him. 

Consoling them, Lord Ganesh set off to battle with the demon Gajamuga. Heavy fighting busted out between the two. The Lord Ganesh had demolished the chariot, forces as well as all the weapons of the Gajamuga yet could not eliminate him. This was because of the boon of Lord Shiva. Gajamugan giggled off with pride. 

All of a sudden there was an oracle from the sky of Lord Shiva which expressed, 'Son, Gajamugan just can't be eradicated by any weapons'. 

On hearing this, Vinayaga, who is actually the Lord of knowledge and wisdom, broke off his right tusk and threw it vigorously to Gajamugan. The tusk that had the vitality equivalent to thousands of suns plunged into Gajamugan as well as tumbled him down. The Gajamugan, soon took a form of a shrew, came to eradicate Vinayaga. 

At that point, the Lord Ganesh viewed it with his 'wisdom' eye and this forced the shrew to be 'enlightened'. Tumbling at the feet of the Lord, the enlightened strew prayed. 

The Lord Ganesh blessed it and made it as his vehicle. 

 

Exclusive Worshipping habits for Vinayaga

Thoppu-karanam (knee-bend bowing)

The Devas and Sages who were freed from the Gajamugan, gave thanks to Lord Ganesh and crossing and folding both hands across the chest, holding the right ear with the left hand and left ear with the right hand, they did (Thoppu-karanam) knee-bend three times with love and devotion. 

Since then when we see the statue of Ganesh, we carry out in the same way and pray him with love and devotion. When we carry out Thoppu-karanam, we receive the true blessing of Lord Ganesh in return. 

As the blood circulated through the body, the physical health and wellness also improves due to this performance. This is indeed a good one when we carry out this more than three times in case if we are doing this as an offering when Lord Ganesh answered our prayer. 

Knocking the forehead with clenched fist

Wherever we see the statue of Ganesh, as we stand in front with homage, we, cross our hands and softly knocking both sides of our forehead with our fist.

This we accomplish before we do the 'toppuk-karanam' (knee-bend) worship. (we can see the details of 'Toppuk-Karanam' separately). 

When this practice of knocking our forehead softly whenever we see the Ganesh statuary began? Who started it? 

Let's see that now... 

Once more this had also been clarified in the legendary 'Vinayaga Purana' with a story. This story is actually hilarious yet it also reveals the cleverness of Lord Ganesh. 

Long ago Lanka (Sri Lanka) was reigned by a King known as Raavana (' raa' means dark and 'vana' means colour). His names denotes that he was a person of dark skin tone/colour and so he was named Raavana. 

Raavana was very evil. He harassed the Devas as well as Sages with many atrocities. He created a palace in Lanka and from there ruled the three worlds. 

Although Ravana maintains villainy, he had some very good qualities too. He was a wonderful devotee of Lord Shiva as well as professional entertainer in lute (veena). 

Once he went to the Kailash and prayed to Lord Shiva. He played the lute instrument with a sweet tune, to worship God. 

Extremely pleased by this and also of his affection, Lord Shiva appeared before him and inquired, 'Raavana, I am pleased with you and tell me exactly what boon you prefer from me?' 

With excellent joy, Raavana asked, 'Lord, if all three world are to wreck, bless that my 'Lankapuri' is not going to be wrecked at all. Its reputation must not be destroyed forever.' 

Lord Shiva granted him the boon gladly and additionally he presented him a beautiful Linga and stated, "Raavana, this is actually a most powerful 'Athma-Linga' and so its is very sacred. Take this to your Lanka and set up a temple and conduct poojas daily. If you do this with extreme care, Lanka will be saved from any harms. Moreover there is also a condition attached with this. You should, without using any vehicle, walk all the way back to Lanka carrying this sacred Linga and you must not leave it on the ground anywhere in between". 

Saying this and handing over the Linga, the Lord disappeared. 

Raavana was extremely happy to have the 'Athmalinga'. Praying and thanking the Lord for the boon and the Linga, Raavana began to walk towards Lanka carrying the Linga with devotion. 

The message that Raavana had acquired a powerful Athmalinga had reached Devaloga. Indra, the king of Devaloga, and the sages were actually dumbfounded. 

The Raavana is already an evil and if he and his kingdom Lanka receiving long lasting power means he can not be defeated. They were worried that the difficulties experienced by them due to Raavana's evil acts will certainly go on without end. 

All the Devas went and expressed their concerns to Lord Ganesh who heard the details with his big ears and promised to assist. 

The Lord chose to solved it tactfully and so he took the form as a brahmin boy. He called upon the God of water (Varuna Deva) and ordered to do some works in Raavana's tummy. As a result, the water accumulated in his stomach and he became desperate to pass urine. But the trouble was he won't be able to do that while having a 'sacred Linga' in his hand which as per the condition should not be left on the ground. 

He was not sure as to what to do and so looked around for ideas. 

And he observed a brahmin kid standing at a little distance away. Approached him, he inquired, 'Oh boy, I am actually very desperate to pass urine and until I complete this and return, can you hold this Linga in the hands without leaving it on the ground'. 

The boy agreed. Yet he put up a condition. "Oh, ten heads King ..., I am actually a youngster and the Linga looks massive for me. I can not carry it long and I call you three times and if you don't come back by then, I will place the Linga on the ground," he said. 

Having no option other than agreeing, Raavana, gave the Linga in the hands of the brahmin kid and walked little away to pass the urine. 

The Lord Ganesh who was actually in the form as the brahmin boy started his game. 

Calling out loudly, "Hey, ten heads king ... ten heads king, ... ten head king, ...", he positioned the Linga at a sacred site on the ground. The sacred Atmalinga established itself solidly on the ground. 

Washing his feet and hands quickly, Raavana returned only to see that the sacred Linga was on the ground.


He used of his strong hands to dig the Linga out but was unsuccessful. Then he tried to hold the Linga by both hands and pull it out. Every time he tried, his hands slipped out like the gripe less wheels on an icy surface. Same effects as that if one tries to pull a cow by its ear. 

Disappointed Ravana became angry and chased the boy who caused all these and knocked his head with his clenched fist. 

Lord Vinayaga decided to reveal the facts to Ravana. Taking his original form and picking Raavana up by his trunk threw him away like a ball. Threw away as if to reach the sky, Ravana realized the truth, and confessed himself and prayed to Lord Vinayaga. 

The Lord had forgiven him and said, "Raavana you pray me knocking your head in the identical manner you knocked my head." 

Ravana prayed the Lord with worship by knocking his head three times. 

"I will get rid of the sorrows of all of those devotees who pray me knocking their heads", expressing this, the Lord blessed him and gave many boons and faded away. 

Since then, the praying habits of devotees in knocking their heads in front of Lord Ganesh had commenced. Some scientists agree that by knocking in our head, we stimulate nerves which in turn increase blood circulation. 

The Athma-Linga that the Lord Ganesh positioned by deceiving Raavana became known as Kokarnam. ('Ko' means Cow and 'Karnam' means Ear). Slipping to Raavana's pull like a cow's ear or 'Kokarnam' was the reason for the name. 

One of the popular Sivasthalas, Kokarnam is actually located in Karnataka state of Western India. 

   

Another usage of the Lord's Broken Tusk

We have seen earlier that the demon Gajamuga was brought under control by the tusk of the Lord Ganesh. 

However, the broken tusk of Lord Ganesh aided to make yet another fantastic task. 

Shall we see, how? 

Vedic Vyasa was an exceptional sage who learned all the Vedas as well as Epics and understood the meanings of all in great deal. 

He meditated for many years and had had developed the story of great epic Maha Bharatha in his mind. It was a massive work with millions of the slogans (poems and chants, written in Sanskrit language). 

He wanted an individual to compose as he express it out. 

On the advice of Lord Brahma, sage Vyasa went to see Lord Ganesh. "Lord, I have created an excellent epic Mahabharata for the people of this globe, preaching the truths and I would like you to compose it as I express it out", he requested. 

Lord Ganesh laughed off affectionately and stated, 'So be it, Vedic Vyasa, so be it but on one condition. Once I begin I won't cease and so you should keep going without any break.' 

Vyasa agreed. Nonetheless, he has also placed an ingenious condition as well. "Oh my Lord, I will keep on going without any interruption, however you really should compose it down when you understand the meaning of the slogan," he said. 

Utilizing the broken tusk, Lord Ganesh began writing in the same speed as it is expressed by the sage Vyasa. Occasionally whenever he needed more time for planning, the sage will insert tough words and phrase. 

The Lord would interrupt as if taking time to understand the meaning of those words and phrase and then proceed to compose again.

 

Taking advantage of the gab, Vyasa might rephrase some slogans. 

Thus, one of the world's biggest epic Mahabharata was composed. 

 

How a Robber became a great Sage

Let us now move on to read a tale of a vicious thug who emerged as a great sage by the grace of Lord Ganesh 

There was a forest close to the boarder of the stunning city 'Nanthuram'. 

In this forest, hunters as well as some vicious robbers resided. 'Vippiratan' was a such robber. He was a very evil person and he never ever known to have shown sympathy or kindness to anybody. 

He used to ambush and often beat up or kill passers-by of the paths through woodland to take their money, jewels and other items. 

One day, Vippirathan was hiding behind a tree awaitting his potential target and saw a young brahmin was walking along. Assuming that he may have some great deals to rob, Vippirathan, yanking his sword out, start chasing him. Realising the hazard, the young brahmin fled away as quick as he could. 

Chasing for long in vain, the fatigued Vippirathan came back and on his way back he saw a temple and it's holy pond. To do away with the thirst as well as fatigues, he got into the pond, quench his thirst, had a bath and then resting under the shade of a large tree. 

At that point a great sage 'Muttkalar' was stepping towards the temple. When he saw the sage, Vippiratan got up very quickly and raised his sword to kill him. 

The sage was not scared at all but he smiled and looked at him sympathetically. The robber who used to see his targets scream out in fear, saw for the first time someone absolutely opposite and the love as well as compassion that he witnessed in the eyes of the sage made him feel differently and as an result there were sudden but exceptional changes in his mind and the sword dropped out of his hand inadvertently. 

He tumbled at the feet of the sage and pleaded, 'oh, my lord, I am actually a great sinner, please forgive me and show me a righteous path to follow' ... 

"Oh son, who am I to forgive you?... The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Ganesh. Beg (entreat) for his mercy. Lord Ganesh's grace is actually such it may make an dead timber stick to become a very large tree. First, bath in the holy pond, this time thinking only of the Lord and return here", stated the sage. 

Vippiratan had a bath and came back and the sage put his right palm on his head and blessed him as well as preached him the mantra of the Lord, "Ohm Ganesaya Namaha". 

He planted a dead wooded stick in the ground and said before leaving, "Son, pour water daily to this and always think of the Lord, chant the mantra that I preached and the Lord will bless you". 

Reformed robber, Vippiratan, sitting near the stick chanted the Vinayaga Mantara devotionally and poured water to the stick three times daily. 

Many years passed. The stick has grown as a huge tree with branches, leaves and flowers. 

The sage Muttkalar came back there one day and was amazed to find the tree and also of the love and devotion of Vippirathan. Using his palm and fingers, he splashed the holy water off his 'Kamandala' (small holy water pot carried by the sages) on him and with that the sins were cleaned away off the reformed Vippirathan. 

By the grace of Lord Vinayaga, a proboscis (Trunk or a lengthy 'trunk' like nose) appeared in the middle of his eyebrows. The sage blessed him and also preached him the 'Biranava Mantra' and said, "Son, you may still be here for many years prior to getting to the holy feet of the Lord Vinayaga and the tree will grow further as a 'Katpaga Virudsa' as well as provide all you want. (' Katpaga' means the capability to generate or produce more and more as one take and take thus no scarcity to feed any many and 'Virudsa' suggests huge tree).

As a result of the probascis, he became known as sage 'Purusundi' and lived there long and assist thousands with the 'Katpaga Virudsa' and afterwards reached the holy feet of the Lord Ganesh. 

 

Lord Ganesh worshipping: Then and Now

Little ones, 

We have seen some stories telling us the glories of Lord Vinayaga. 

Ganesha statues in various types dug out in archaeological researches in nations like China, Japan, Thailand, Java, Sumatra, Cambodia, Burma, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Borneo, Nepal, Indonesia etc. 

This proves that the Lord Ganesh was actually worshipped in those countries in ancient time. 

Around 4000 years back, there was a civilization existed in the Northwest India, along the stream bank of River Sindu. It was recognized as Indus Valley Civilisation where there were two cities existed, Mohanja-daro and Harraph. 

There were many items dug out from here by the archaeologists. An item that was looking like an elephant faced figure and the scholars thought of that as a prove of Vinayaga worshipping existed 4,000 years back. 

There were slogans which determined to be around 3,500 years old discussed about Lord Vinayaga. These are actually the solid proves of the Lord Ganesh worshipping in ancient time. 

Presently, Lord Ganesh is being worshiped throughout India and Sri Lanka as well as Malaysia, Singapore, England, France, Canada, Africa and spread to numerous nations in the world. 

Ganesha temples can be seen anywhere. There are popular major temples dedicated to Lord Ganesh. Trichy Rockfort Ganesha Temple in Tamil Nadu, India as well as Karpaka Vinayagar Temple in Pillaiyarpatti in Tamil Nadu, India and Eight suyampu (the statues found naturally and not man made) Ganesha Temple in the western Indian state of Maharashtra and Manipay Maruthadi Pillaiyar Temple and Inuvil Seka Raja Sekara Pillaiyar Temple both in Northern Sri Lanka and Batticalo Mamangap Pillaiyar Temple in Eastern Sri Lanka are to name a few. 

Essentially the Lord Ganesh can be observed as well as worshipped in all most all the Hindu temples. He may even be found in some Buddhist temples as well. (remember Buddha is the 9th incarnation of Lord Vishnu) 

This is because all the devotees start their worshipping with praying Lord Ganesh first and also the poojas too begin first with Lord Ganesh. 

Tuesdays, Fridays greatest days for fasting as well as worshipping Lord Ganesh. 

In South India unmarried young females fasting on Tuesdays and Fridays and worship Vinayaga. By this they seek the true blessings for a very good life partner and a trouble free life. 

Men also do the same too. 

Special festival day of Lord Ganesh is 'Vinayaga Chaturthi'. This festival is celebrated in the month of August. Mumbai and other major cities cities in India, celebrate this beautifully. 

Giant Vinayaka statue taken in procession to a water front 

Stunning Ganesha idols made in hundreds taken in procession in the streets and these statues are taken out on the beach front or to the waterfront where when the prayers are over dissolved in water at the end. As one might have guessed that for this celebration, the statues are actually made out of dissoluble materials such as clay. 

 

"Om Sri Ganesaya nama" is the Mantra for Lord Ganesh. 

Hello Kids, 

You too should recite this mantra every morning with devotion, love and revere and pray Lord Ganesh. He will certainly bless you with good education, wealth and good health. 

Let us now sing a devotional song for Lord Ganesh. 

Vaakundam, nalla manamundam, Maa malaraal
nokundam, Meni nudangaadu pookondu,
Thuppar thirumeni thumbikaiyaan paadam,
Thappamal saarvaar thamakku. 

(Granny Avvaiyaar) 

Meaning: 

If one prays daily, without failing, by offering delicate flowers (like jasmine) to the feet of Lord Vinayaka whose body is deep red like the coral, with a beautiful trunk on his elephant face, would be granted the silver-tongue (power to speak or sing well) and a good mind that always think of good things. He will also ensure the blessing of the three Devis so that education, wealth and good health would be theirs. 

We sincerely belive that the blessing and grace of the almighty the Lord Ganesh are with this great project of educating you with Hindu religious aspects. 

Also Please see the Milk Miracle of Lord Ganesh 

Let us now watch a beautiful song on Lord Ganesh

Lord Birahma

Tri Murties: Lord Birahma

One of the Three Murties, Lord Brahma is recognized as the creator of the Universe. He is the originator and the generator of the mankind and all living being in the universe. 

Hindu God Brahma can be seen as a four-faced, four-armed, bearded deity. He carries a lotus and a manuscript of vedas in the upper hands and a water pot (kamandala) in the lower hand and one hand is always there to bestow grace. 

The four faces represent the holy knowledge of the four Vedas namely, Riga, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. It symbolizes that Brahma is the foundation of all the knowledge required for the creation of the universe. The four arms represent the four directions and therefore symbolize that Lord Brahma is the omnipresent and the omnipotent. 

The white beard conveys wisdom and the long beard gives the idea that creation is a never-ending process. The crown on the head of Brahma implies that the Lord has the supreme power and authority over the process of creation. Brahma sitting on a lotus represents the creative power of the Supreme Reality. 

As per the Hindu mythology, a swan is possessed with an exceptional discerning sense, which enables it to distinguish pure milk from a mixture of milk and water. Brahma uses the swan as a vehicle, which is known for its discerning abilities. This conveys the idea that, the Lord uses exceptional senses such as foreseeing the entire life of a mankind or other living being and also the enitire universe. 

The Consort of Lord Brahma is Saraswathy Devi. 


Why there are not many worshipers for Lord Brahma?

Our fate or destiny and important aspects such as our sex, shape, whom we are to born and how our life is going to be are believed to be decided by Lord Brahma, the Creator, even before we are born and hindus believe that these can not be changed.

This means that there is less or no business with him after our birth and so it is understandable that there would not be many worshippers for Lord Brahma and we will not see many temples for him comparing to the other two.

Have you ever wondered comparing two children; one born in to a poor family often go hungry while another that born in to a rich family fed often by a golden spoon? Or why someone is destined to rule a Kingdom while another is to fight a war and die to save the King and the Kingdom.

Who decides these and why? Certainly luck can't play any part in it. Can it?

Let's think about this!

An Example: A Beggar

In this picture you are seeing a highly disabled person who was begging for alms.

While he would be considered as a person who was extremely unlucky, in countries where there are social security systems are in place, he would be looked after by the state.

However, in the view of Hinduism he would be considered as a person who committed extreme sins in his previous birth to earn this. Some of those who help him with money or food would be often seen saying sympathetically, 'what have you done to deserve this?, Pray the God to wash away those sins'. 

Likewise if someone recovered from a major disease or escape unhurt from a major accident, those who talk about him would say, 'he must have done some thing/s good (in his previous birth) to be blessed this way'. 

This show that as per the Hindu believes, the occurring in a person life was the result of the good/bad deeds of the previous life.

Lord Shiva

Tri Murties: Lord Shiva

 

ulake laamu'nar:n thoatha'r kariyavan
:nilavu laaviya :neermali vae'niyan
alakil soathiyan ampalath thaaduvaan
malarsi lampadi vaazhththi va'nangkuvaam. 

Meaning:

(OMneity is He who is rare to be comprehended.
And expressed in words by all the worlds;
In His crest rest the crescent and the flood;
Limitless is His effulgence;
He dances in the Ambalam.
We hail and adore His ankleted flower-feet. )

 

Lord Shiva, the Destroyer

Some Background Information

One of the main pillars of the Hinduism is Saivam. The first and foremost god of Saivam is Lord Shiva and those who worship Lord Shiva as their first and foremost god, are known as ‘Saivas’. 

Most of the Saivas are living in South India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, Bali, Fiji, Mauritius and Caribbean Islands. 

In recent years, many saivas emigrated mainly from Sri Lanka and living in North America, Australia, New Zealand and countries in European Community and Scandinavia. 

The ancient holy scripts like ‘vedas’ and ‘puranas’ are explaining us about the Tri Murties. Lord Birahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are known as the Tri Murties.

Lord Birama is creating a living being and Lord Vishnu is protecting it and Lord Shiva destroys it. 

Our relationship with Lord Birahma ends even before we are born as he who decides our sex, whom and where we are to be born, how our life, our fate and destiny etc, are going to be in this world.

So it is understandable that there would not be many worshippers for him as nothing can’t be changed once we are born. 

We worship Lord Vishnu to be protected from harms and diseases. Those who worship Lord Vishnu as their first and foremost god are known as ‘Vaishnavas’. 

It is Lord Shiva who decides when our life in this world, come to the
conclusion. ‘Death’ is the process through which he removes us from this world. We, therefore call him as the destroyer.

The surprising fact is that, why there are many worshipers for Lord Shiva, the destroyer than Lord Biramha, the Creator. 

Parents can decide when to have a baby and the modern medical facilities will determine
precisely if a foetus in womb is a boy or a girl. Advanced medical facilities will save us from major diseases and increase our life span.
 

However no one knows the date of their death which is an absolute certainty for all living beings. How and when it is going to happen is something no one can predict precisely and this is something that Lord Shiva only knows. One may die of heart attack and another may die in an accident or by an incurable disease or many can die in a natural disaster like tsunami or an earthquake. The destroyer Lord Shiva keeps this as a top secret. 

According to Hindu religious philosophy, those who do a lot of good deeds in their life time will be in heaven and at the lotus feet of the great god, after their death. Those who committed sinful deeds will be sent to hell and then back to this earth again as a result of those sins in the previous birth. 

Depending the level of sins they will born either in to a rich or poor families or even in a royal family. There are many who finish off significant part of their life in prison and these are not without reasons. 

So by worshiping Lord Shiva, the devotees ask him to remove all the sins away from them committed in the previous and present births before their death which is of course a certainty. 

Thus there wouldn’t be any reason for them to come back to this earth which is full of trouble and instead they will enjoy the great boon of being close to lotus feet of the Lord in heaven. 

It is then obvious that when the devotees ask for the removal of the sins of the previous births will not be committing anything further in this birth.

Even though he is doing the job of destroying all of us, Lord Shiva is full of kindness and grace. The purana stories explain us how he appeared in different forms to alleviate the sufferings of his devotees. 

Lord Shiva is known by many different names as well. Haran, Neelakandan, Uruthiran, Umamakeswarar, Parameswaran, Sambu, Mukannan are just a few names.

Family of Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva's consort is Uma Devi. she is also known as Bharvathi Devi.She is the goddesses of bravery. Lord Ganesh and Lord Muruga are their children.

 The four, Lord Shiva, Uma Devi, Ganesh and Muruga (Skanda) appearing beautifully as a family is explaining us the importance of a family life. Also the animals such as Ox, Lion, Peacock, Snake and Mouse which normally hostile against each other can be seen along with these god family in a friendly way reflecting the fact that all are equals and at peace in front of the god.

shiva-family

The Lord Shiva Family

The view of Lord Shiva, Uma Devi and their youngest son Lord Muruga appearing together is known as ‘Soma-skanda moortham’.


 

The Vehicle:'Nandi Devar'

The vehicle of Lord Shiva is Ox which is called ‘Nandi Devar’. In a Lord Shiva’s temple we can see the statue of Nandi Devar mounted directly in front the sanctuary.


Lord Shiva's adobe

According to puranas, Lord Shiva with Uma Devi resides in ‘Sivaloga’ and blessing all living beings of the entire universe is gracing us, the inhabitants of this earth by mounting majestically in the highest mountain on earth, the ‘mount kailash’. (mount everest).

The volunteers, ‘sivaganas’ who serves the lord and the great sages are fortunate enough to be at his lotus feet in ‘Sivaloga’.

Description of the Lord

Lord Shiva is seen as an embodiment of love and kindness. His fair coloured skin is appearing white due to the application of ‘veepoothi’ (holy ash or thiru-neeru).

 There is a third eye in his forehead known as ‘wisdom eye’. He wears a snake around his neck like a garland and a crescent is appear in his head. The ‘Ganga Devi’ is sitting on his head’s crest.


 The tiger skin is used as a cloth around his hip. The Tiger represents desires (wishes). The ancient puranas say that all problems that the human beings face are because of the ‘desires’. To indicate that he won all kind of desires, he wears the tiger skin.


Forms of Lord Shiva

We worship Lord Shiva in different forms and let us now see them.

Sivalinga

In the sanctuary (‘karpa-kiraga’) of many Shiva’s temples, we can see and worship Lord Shiva in the form ‘sivalinga’.

 The figure ‘sivalinga’ is giving us a great philosophical explanation. The bottom part of the link is known as ‘aavudaiyar’ and that represent Sakthi, the Uma Devi. The Linga mounted on aavvudaiyar, represents Shiva. Thus the figure ‘sivalinga’ illustrates the point that the whole universe emanated from the union of Shiva and Sakthi.

‘Shiva-maha-purana’, an ancient scipts tells us the story of how ‘sivalinga’ formed.

When this universe came in to existence, there was an argument developed between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu as to who was the greatest between themselves. Both argued that they were the greatest and it went on endlessly.

Suddenly there was a huge torch (jothy) appeared between them like a pillar of fire. This surprised the duelists who stopped their arguments and stood there speechless. They then decided to figure out the beginning and the end of that torch.

 Lord Vishnu took the form of a very large pig and saying, ‘I will find the bottom of the torch’, dug the land and went down under. Lord Birahma took the shape as a beautiful swan and saying, ‘I am determined to find the top portion of the torch’, flew above.

 The swan could not find the top of the torch and the pig also failed to find the bottom of the torch. Tired and exhausted, both returned and standing next to each other, bowed to the torch and said; ‘you are the biggest than both of us and who you are?’.

At that point, the Lord Shiva’ emerged as ‘Ligootpavar’ from within that jothy and bless them both.


The sivalingas are carved out of granite stones. Some time metals are used too. There are some sivalingas made of special crystal called ‘spadikam’. This rare ‘spadikam’ stones are formed naturally in the bed of the river Narmada of India.

 A linga generates naturally out of ice during winter in a cave at ‘Amarnath’, a village in the Himalayan mountain region of North India. Every year millions of pilgrims throng to worship this ‘ice-linga’.


In 1010 AD, in Tanjavur of South India, the Chola emperor ‘Raaja Raaja Cholan’ (Means; Chola King of the Kings) had built a magnificent temple for Lord Shiva. This beautiful temple known as ‘Periya Kovil’ (Great Temple) was built of granite stones.

 

The sanctuary of this temple has a 13 feet high ‘linga’ which is considered the biggest of all at sanctuaries.

13 Feet Linga is given an (Milk) Abishek by a priest.

Nadaraja Moorthy

 

 

The movements of the universe and its living beings are controlled by the cosmic dance of the Lord Shiva. The form of ‘dancing with one leg while throwing the other leg in the air’ is known as ‘Nadaraja Moorthy’.

The idol of ‘Nadaraja’ at the sanctuary of Shiva’s temple at Cithamparam of South India, has many significance.

The Chidamparam Nadaraja Temple sanctuary with gold plated roof

 All the things that we see in the nature, are in motion. The motion of the sun is generating energy and thereby giving us the light and heat. The earth and all other planets are in a motion and thereby revolving in a circular path around sun.

The scientists had proved that the tiny micro particles known as electrons that are invisible to naked eye are spinning at high speed. We, the human beings born, grow and die which are in an order.

As per the Hindu philosophy, the dance of the Lord Shiva is the source for all things to be in regulated motion.

The Lord performs ‘aanatha nadanam’ (dancing in delight or happiness) in tranquil position (calmness) known as ‘shantha moorthy’.

But unable to tolerate the evils of the evils, he sets off to destroy them with great anger while performing very powerful ‘ugkira thandavam’ (dancing or surging with a rage).

Nadaraja Moorthy shows with four hands. A drum (udukkai), flame and a small deer can be seen In the palms of his hands.

Thatchana Moorthy


The Lord who is known as the destroyer also shows as the ‘ghnaguru’ (guru who teaches the meaning of wisdom) who preaches the ‘sivanghnam’ to the world. This special appearance is called ‘Thatchana Moorthy’. In some saiva temples we can see and worship Thatchana Moorthy who would be mounted as facing towards southern direction.

Under a banyan tree that carved out of stone, Thatchana Moorthy, the Lord is sitting peacefully as an embodiment of kindness. The Lord’s right hand is showing a remarkable seal (sign of assurance). There are four sages (Rishies) seen sitting at his feet, bowing him while being preached by the ‘Mowna Guru’ (the quiet guru).

Aartha Naareeswarar


Lord Shiva is also seen in ‘aartha naareeswarar’ form as well. Aartha means half and Naree means woman. In this form the Lord is seen as half man and half woman. The male part represents Lord Shiva and the female part represents Uma Devi, the sakthi.

 The ‘sivam’ can’t function without ‘sakthy’ is the philosophical message that is being given out by this wonderful appearance. One may wonder that this is not possible in reality but the flowers in our garden stand as a perfect example for this rare philosophy.

 In flowers both male and female parts can be seen together. Fruits and vegetables are made available to us by their union.

Meaning of Thiruneeru (Vipoothy)

The devotees who worship Lord Shiva apply the holy ash known as Thiru-neeru 

A Saiva Devotee(Vipoothy) in there forehead, shoulders, hands and chest. They apply thiruneeru as three parallel lines. (In the picture right, note the application of Thiru-neeru)

The holy ash or thiruneeru is obtained by burning the husk of rice along with the dung of sacred cow.

An emperor may reign a great empire and a poor may live off of alms of others. On death their bodies will be cremated and what will be left behind at the end of all would be a handful of ash which will soon mixed off with the soil and disappear.

By applying ‘thiru neeru’, we are reminded of this great philosophy that ‘we don’t bring any thing when we arrive and we won’t be taking any when we depart’ and so we must refrain from committing sins after sins. What is counted in the court of the great Lord is our good deeds vs baddeeds.

When we apply thiruneeru, we must utter the name of the lord; ‘siva, siva’ or 

‘ohm namashivaya’.

You may be asked by curious other non hindus about 'ThiruNeeru' that you may have applied and it that situations simple and acceptable answer is to refer it as 'blessing'.

The festival for Lord Shiva is ‘Maha Shivaraathiri’ (The Great Night of Lord Shiva) (we will 

learn later about this).

 The ‘pancha adchara mantra’ (pancha means ‘five’ and adchara means ‘letter’) that we must utter when worshiping Lord Shiva is ‘Ohm Namashivaaya’.


('na' -1st , 'ma' - 2nd, 'shi' - 3rd, 'vaa' - 4th and 'ya' - 5th)

 Like the 12 'Alwars' who sung about Lord Vishnu, the glories of Lord Shiva was sung by the four ‘samaya kuravars’ (great volunteers of saivam). They are Sambandar, Appar, Sundarar and Manicavasakar. They were the four of the 63 ‘Nayanmars’ and about whom we will learn later.

Now it is time for us to sing a song that glorify the ‘pancha adchara mantra’.

This was sung by ‘Thiru Ghna sambantha Moorthy Nayanar’ (Sambandar). 

"kaatha laakik kasi:nthuka'n 'neermalki
ooathu vaarthamai :nanne'rik kuyppathu
vaetham :naankinum meypporu 'laavathu
:naathan :naamam :namassi vaayavae" 

 Meaning:

(with love growing tender hearted. with profuse tears rolling down the cheeks.
will direct those who recite the mantiram in the path to salvation. 
is the essential truth dealt with in the four Vētams. 
namacCivaya which is the name of the master, Civan)

Watch & Listen this song here (there are two song here)

 

Lord Vishnu

Tri Murties: Lord Vishnu

 

  • Lord Vishnu is one of the Tri Murties. The Lord also known by many names. Mayan, Narayanan, Thirumal, Perumal etc are to name a few. The name ‘Vishnu’ means ‘omni-present’. The god and his limitless graces can be felt everywhere.
  • Lord Vishnu is the preserver of this universe. His consort is ‘Luxmi Devi ‘who is also known as ‘Thirumakal’.

  • As per the Puranas, the adobe of the Lord Vishnu and Luxmi Devi is ‘Vaikundam’. To protect us, he is reclining on a massive snake called ‘Adisheshan’ in the ‘Milky Ocean’.

  • The vehicle of Lord Vishnu is Garuda.

 

  • The Lord has four arms and in them he holds chakra (discus), couch shell (shangu), a mace and also a lotus.

  • The couch shell represents the universe and when held closer to the ear, one can hear a deep humming sound like that of a cosmic. This represents that the ‘pancha poothas’ (the five elements) namely the water, soil (ground), fire, air and the sky are all generated off him.
  • The discus denotes that the universe revolves around like a discus and that the Lord maintains the order of it in the righteousness way. The mace represent that the Lord will not tolerate evils. 
  • The Lotus represents grace and also of another significance aspect in that our life on this world is like the water drops on the lotus petal in that the drops just rolled away without being absorbed by the petal. The significance of this is that we don't bring any we we are born and we don't take any when we are gone.
  • For the betterment of this universe and to destroy the evils and to to save lives, the Lord Vishnu had taken many incarnations known as ‘avatars’. They are ‘Matsya’, ‘Kurma’, ‘Varaha’, ‘Narashimha’, ‘Vamana’, ‘Parasurama’, ‘Rama’, ‘Krishna’ and ‘Buddha’ avatars. The upcoming 10th avatar will be the ‘Kalki’ avatar.
  • In Vishnu temples we can worship the god in three positions. Standing, reclining and sitting positions.
  • In standing position, one hand of the Lord pointing towards the devotees and the other shows the ‘assuring’ sign. This signifies the facts that if we surrender ourselves fully and completely to the god, he will protect us.

  • In the famous ‘Thirupathy’ temple in Andra Pardash state of India, that draws thousands (between 50,000 and 100,000 and one of the richest temple of the world) each day, the Lord can be seen in standing position.
  • In Badrinath temple in Uttar Pradesh in North India, the Lord can be seen in sitting position.

  • In Sri Rangam in Tamil Nadu and in the Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala of South India the Lord can be seen in reclining position. (Sri Padmanaha temple stunned India and the World recently after the discovery of one billion US dollar worth of treasure found in the six underground chambers that opened after 130 years on India's superme court order) 

  • Similar to the four of the sixty three ‘Nayanmars’ who sunk on Lord Shiva, there were 12 Alwars sung on Lord Vishnu. In later lessons we will learn about them too.
  • These 12 Alwars sung on 108 Vishnu Temples known as ‘Divya Desams’ (‘holy places that are sweet enough like nectar’). Out of these 108, only 106 refer those in material word and the rest 2 are the ‘Vaikundam’ adobe of the Lord and the ‘Lotus feet of Lord Vishnu’.

  • Let us worship the great Lord who could wipe out our sorrow and to grace us to lead a full life with any troubles.

We shall now see the different avatars of the Lord.

The Ten Avatars of Lord Vishnu

Matsya Avatar

Matsya Avatar

Matsya, the one-horned fish, is the first among, the ten avatars

Lord Biramha is accomplishing the job of creation. As per puranas he carries on this for a prolonged duration known as 'Kalapam' and at the end he rests by remain dormant.

This is the period of destruction of the universe. At that point when he wakes up, a new universe would be created.
 
Once when he was dormant, the vedas (manuscripts) fell down and a horse-faced demon, 'yayakirevan' had actually nicked it. He deliberately did this to disturb the Lord's job of creations using the mantras from the 'vedas'.

Meanwhile, a raja-rishi (king who turn into ascetic and became saint) call 'Sathiya-Virathan' was performing penance towards Lord Vishnu and he was on a consuming water only. When he went to the nearby river to collect some water for his pooja, in his cupped hands, a little fish also located in the hands.

Unknowing, that the Lord Vishnu himself was in the form of that fish, he was attempting to leave it back to the river. The little fish expressed, 'O, Maha Rishi, please don't leave me back in the river as some big fish were trying to swallow me. Please save me'.

Accordingly, the sage put the fish in to his 'kamadala' (water vessell). In a little while, the fish grown bigger than the kamadala. At that point the Rishi moved it a larger vessel where it grew larger again. Then he dropped it in a pond and then in to a lake.

Every where the fish kept on growing and finally he try to leave it in a ocean when the fish stated, 'O' Rishi, the whales in this ocean could swallow me' ...
 
At this point the Rishi understood that it was none other than Lord Vishnu who came as the fish and so he requested him, 'My Lord please advise me why you have actually come to me in this form?'.
 
'O, Maha Rishi, Lord Birahma is in deep dormant (sleep) and in seven days time the Earth would immerse in great deluge. At that moment a canoe will come up here with seven rishies (' Saptha Rishes') in it.

You must also get into it with herb seeds and I will save the canoe from capsizing while shuttling. Just at that point you will definitely understand the reason of my fish form and my glory as well'. Expressing this the fish disappeared.

Thereafter the 'Sathiya-Virathan' was meditating for Lord Vishnu who came in the form of a fish. On the seventh day, the earth submerged in deluge and a huge canoe with seven rishes turned up.

As per Lord words, the Raja Rish got on to the canoe with botanical herb seeds and shuttle along with the other seven rishes. At that moment Lord Vishnu appeard as 'Matsya Moorthy' (one horned fish) tied the canoe with its horn using a snake and navigated it to safety to the top of mount Meru.

At this time he preached 'Matcha Purana' to Raja-Rishi 'Sathiya-Virathan'.
 
Reason of this is to save some peoples and plants from overall destruction and to move them to the forthcoming new yuga (next period of the cycle of the universe).

Lord Biramha, meanwhile awakened from sleep and realized that the vedas were lost and because of this the creation of the new universe was delayed and he asked the help of 'Matchya Moorthy' who fought with demon, 'yayakirevan' and killed him. When the vedas were returned to Lord Birahma, he began his creation job.

Kurma Avatar


Koorma Avatar

By the grace of Lord Vishnu, the Devas were living comfortably. One day, sage Thurvasar, visited the 'Vaikuntham' to worship Lord Vishnu and Mahaluxmi. Delighted by this, Mahaluxmi gifted, a beautiful lotus flower garland to the sage Thurvasar.

When the sage Thurvasar was returning with the holy garland in his hand, he bumped into Devendran, the king of Devas who was parading on his elephant, 'Jaravatham'.

Greeting him, sage Thurvasar gave the garland to Devendran, explaining who gave him that. Yet Devendran did not really show any interest or respect, taken it reluctantly and threw it on to nape of the elephant. The garland fell to the ground from the nape and almost right away the elephant 'Jaravatham' stamped on it.

This disrespectful act of Devendran upset and angered the sage Thurvasar. The sage who was renown for his anger and cursing, stared at Devendran and stated angrily," Devendra, you have actually failed to remember that it was because of the blessing and grace of Lord Vishnu, you are savouring the life as the king of Devas. You have insulted Mahaluxmi by way of the improper handling of that holy garland". The sage went on to cursed him," as a result you will certainly lose her grace and eventually lose the crown and throne as well".

As an outcome of that curse, the Devaloga (Kingdom of Devas) became lifeless and all the devas lost their physical strength. This made their enemies, the 'Asuras' pleased. They started attacking the Devas and chased all the Devas away from the Devaloga and took it for themselves.

Devendran and all other Devas ran to Lord Biramha and sought refuge. Nonetheless Lord Biramha could not alleviate their sorrw and hence they all went to seek refuge with Lord Vishnu.

Lord Maha Vishnu listened to them and stated," Devendra, you do not have the power to combat and demolish the Asuras at present and so negotiate peace with them and with them churn the 'Thirupaatkadal' (holy milky ocean) and obtain the 'divinely nectar'. Once you drink it you all will become immortal and then you will get back all that you lost by the curse".

Devendran went ahead to negotiate peace with Asuras and then all began the substantial job of getting the nectar off the milky ocean.

They all determined that the 'Mountain Manthara' can easily be utilized as the 'nectar-churn' for churning out the nectar and so raised it and brought in to the sea. While accomplishing that they dropped it due to heaviness and many in the ground perished of it. Lord Vishnu appeared there and raised the mountain with his hands and placed it in the middle of the ocean.

A massive snake called 'Vasuki' wrapped itself around the mountain. Then Devas began off with the head side of the snake while the Asuras were on the tail side. Asuras then disputed it by stating that they ought to be on the head side as they are more powerful than the Devas and as a result they switched over sides and began churning.

While executing thus, the mountain had immersed in to the ocean. To help the situation, Lord Vishnu had actually taken a form of a tortoise (Kurma) and went into the ocean and underneath of the mountain and lifted it up using tortoise's back. When both parties started their work once more, an enormous poisonous gas emerged from the snake's mouth. The Asuras who were in the head side of the snake were attacked by this gas and became weak.

At the same time a deadly poison 'aalakala poison' came out of the ocean. Scared of its speed the Devas and Asuras ran away in different directions. Devandran and some devas went to appealed to Lord Shiva and begged for help. Lord Shiva appeared there and gathered the poison with his hands and drank it himself.

To stop the poison going below the throat, Barvathi Devi hold the neck of Lord Shiva tight with her hands. As a result the poison trapped at throat and it became blue in color. Following this the Lord Shiva became known as 'Neelakandar'. (Blue Necker)

When the churning started once more, a cow known as 'Kamathenu' appearded and the sages have taken it for them. Then a white horse came out and the Assuras caught it for themselves. Then a tree called 'Katpakam' and female dancers called 'apsaras' appeared one after the other. Both were taken by Devas. Then Mahaluxmi appeared and garlanded Lord Vishnu who was there as the tortoise. Next one to come out was Varuni Devi who was captured by the Asuras.

Finally, Thanvanthiri, a form of Lord Vishnu appeared by having celestial nectar in a gold casket. The Asuras were faster than Devas to run and picked it up from the Thanvanthiri. At that point Lord Vishnu, took the form of a gorgeous female, Mohini, mesmerized Asuras and taken away the nectar and began sharing it among the Devas.

There was an Asura known as 'Raagu', who was not really at all mesmerized by Mohini, understood that the Asuras were cheated and he tricked the Devas to infiltrate and stood between two Devas, the sun and the moon and got a segment of a nectar and drank it prior to others recognized their mistake. When this became known Lord Vishnu cut off his head using his chakkaraayutha.

Nonetheless due to the power of nectar he was not dead at all. At that point, Lord Birahma, the creater, had merged Raagu's head along with the body of a snake called 'Kethu' and merged Raagu's body with the head of that snake and there by way of created two 'kirahas' known as Raagu and Kethu.

As an outcome of the immortality and the new strength by way of drinking of nectar, the Devas, chased the Asuras out of Devaloga and re-conquest it.

Note: You might have played or heard of the game of 'rope pulling or tug of war'. This is a very popular game all over the world. The origin of this game is from the story above. The researchers discovered solid archaeological roots to this effects.

The Ankor Vat in Cambodia which is the world'd largest Hindu Temple devoted to Lord Vishnu has the Churning of the Ocean of Milk, depicted in bas-relief on the south of the east wall of its third enclosure.

Notice the tortoise at the bottom

Varaha Avatar

 

Varaha Avatar (Two Tusked wild Boar) 

At one time, when four Maha Rishies (Great Sages) went to ‘Vaikundam’ to worship Lord Vishnu, they were stopped at the 7th gate by Jeyan and Vijayan who guarded it.

The Sages who were already blessed by the Lord to visit him any time they want were angered by this and they cursed them to ‘born as humans on the earth’.

Bowing them and asking for the forgiveness for their blunder they also asked for a wish (boon) ‘of not forgetting the name of the Lord in their lives on the earth’. The Lord Vishnu also appeared there and said to the Sages that ‘the curse was the right one for the blunder and they will born three times on earth as terrible Asuras and then by our grace they will come back here to us’.

Accordingly, both Jeyan and Vijan born to Sage Kacipa and his wife Athithi. Older one was Hiranyakashyap and the younger one was Hiranyaksha.

Hiranyakashyap performed penance to Lord Birahma and obtained a tricky boon and by which his death will not occur by any human, devas and by any weapons. He conquered all three world (Deva Loga, Asura Loga and Pooh Loga or Earth) and made the devas to be his slaves and to bow him.

His brother Hiranyaksha also did the same and obtained wishes from Lord Birahma. This made him strong and he too killed the devas. Many davas were in hiding to escape him and his older brother.

With too much of arrogance, Hiranyaksha teased ‘varuna bhavan’ (god of rain). But the Varuna Bhavan told him politely that he was not a perfect match for him but Lord Vishnu will take the form as a ‘Varaha Moorthy’ (Pig form) and come down and so he must fight with him’.

Hearing this Hiranyaksha wandered in search in all directions for Varaha Moorthy. Varuna Bahavan, meanwhile made the earth plunge in water. Lord Biramha was doing a penance asking the ‘protector’ Lord Vishnu to save the earth. Out of his breath, a tiny white varaham (boar) emerged and grown enormous. It jumped in to the ocean to lift to save the submerged earth.

Hiranyaksha, who was tired and exhausted in his search for Varaha Moorthy had returned to Asura Loga and resting. The sage Narada went to him and said that ‘Varaha Moorthy is at the ocean to save the earth’. On hearing this Hiranyaksha picked up his huge mace and rushed.

When he saw Varaha Moorthy, lifting the earth with his two tusks, he attacked him with the mace. The mace in the hand of the Varaha Moorthy was fell off due to the attacked and this shocked the devas. However when Hiranyaksha tried to attack again, the Lord has stopped it with his left leg and attacked him using his ‘chakra’ (the discus).

Thus there was a huge fight between the two and Hiranyaksha was fighting with vigor. He then magically vanished and using stones and other weapons attacked from the sky.

Lord Vishnu was having fun with him for a while and in the meantime many Asuras came to help Hiranyaksha. Not wanting to waste any more time, Varaha Moorthy, hit him in head with his mace. Hiranyaksha fell on the earth, bleeding and died.

Devas bowed to Varaha Moorthy who blessed them all and disappeard.


Narasimha Avatar

 

Narasimha Avatar

 

On realising that his brother Hiranyaksha was killed by 'Varaha Moorthy', Hiranyakashya was agitated with rage. He figured that to win over Devas, he should eliminate Lord Vishnu who was the guardian of the Devas. 

He understood that the 'yaakas' or 'yagnas' (exceptional poojas) conducted by Maha Rishies or great holy Sages on the earth, were giving strength to the Devas as well as Lord Vishnu. 

He, therefore, destroyed all those places where the 'yaakas' were taking places and beaten up and even tortured the Sages (Rishes). Thus the Sages as well as Devas were hiding in order to escape from the atrocities of Hiranyakashyap. 

Additionally, Hiranyaksha performed penance towards Lord Birahma. When Lord Birahma appeared before him and asked for his wish after blessing, he demanded a tricky wish. He asked for the boon that he could not be killed by human beings or devas and not by any weapons and also his death should not occurduring the day or during the night and never on the ground (earth) nor in air (sky). 

Lord Birahma granted the wishes that Hiranyakasha asked for. Following this, Hiranyakasha turned into even more arrogant and made the devas, human and the Asuras as his slaves and ruled all the three worlds. He ordered all to worship him as their god. 

All the Devas were obeying him and lived in disgrace. Not able to bear the anxiety they all went to Lord Vishnu and complained. The Lord promised them to eliminate Hiranyakasha and to alleviate them of their sorrow. 

When the wife of Hiranyakasha became pregnant, she remained in a hermit for relaxation. When heard of this news, Devendran, the king of devas arranged for the sage Naradha to preach her of the glories of Lord Vishnu. By God’s grace, the foetus also paid attention to the preaching of sage Naradha and born as an exceptional devotee of Lord Vishnu. That child was Pirahalada. 

While all others were worshiping Hiranyakasha as their god, his son Pirahalada constantly worshipped Lord Vishnu. This angered Hiranyakasha and without even considering that it was his own son, he tried to kill him in various ways, such as using lethal weapons, throwing him in to the burning fire, deliberately drowning him down into the deep sea and placing him in a cave full of poisonous snakes. Yet in each instances, he was saved by Lord Vishnu. 

Exhausted with his efforts and also surprised, the father requested the son to explain, how he was able to return unharmed every time. For which the son stated without hesitation that 'each time he was saved by Lord Harry who is in other ways known as Lord Vishnu'. 

On hearing this, Hiranyakasha requested 'where is that Harry now?' For which, pointing a pillar close at hand, Pirahalada said, 'the omnipresent Lord may be in this pillar also'. 

Frenzied with rage, Hiranyakasha picked up his massive mace and hit the pillar. The pillar shattered and from which the Lord Vishnu came out as 'Narasimha Moorthy' with human body and lion's head. 

Hiranyakasha had jumped to attack him. However Lord Narasimmha picked him up and placed him on his lap and utilizing his sharp nails, tore off his stomach and pulled out the intestines and wore it as a garland. 

Thus, the demon Hiranyakasha was destroyed by Lord Narasimmha Moorthy, a physique of half human and half animal by way of placing him on his lap which is not on ground and not in air at a moment when it was not a day or night yet the time of sunset and using his own fingers which were not a weapons. 

The gory picture and the frightening form of Lord Narasimmha Moorthy, frightened off the devas and they were scared to come near and so worshiped him from a distance. 

The little boy Pirahalada went closer and sung in praise of Lord Maha Vishnu. Having his anger leveled off, Lord Narasimmha Moorthy blessed everyone and disappeared.

Vamana Avatar

Vamana Avatar (Dwarf) 

In Kurma Avatar we have seen how Devas managed to share the nectar among themselves except one Asuras.

When the Asuras (demons) realised that they were cheated, there was a fight broke out and in which an asura called ‘Bali’ was badly hurt.

The Sages among asuras and their guru ‘Sukracharya’ helped him to get well and also his strength again. They made him to conduct a great ‘yagnas’ (great pooja). At the end of the great ‘yagnas’ a chariot came out of it. The Bali got on to it and went to Devaloga where he chased away the Devendran and conquered the capital of Devaloga, the Amarawathy’. He became known as emperor Mahabali.

His reign spread all there worlds and also he started performing the superme of yagnas known as Ashwamedha Yagna. Devas, realising that if he had successfully finish off 1oo of this yagnas, he will be unwinnable and unstoppable, ran here and there in fear and confusion. The news of this had pained Athithi, the mother of devas.

She consulted about this with her husband who advised her to go on fasting for Lord Vishnu. After 11 days of tough fasting the Lord appear and blessed her and said, ‘Oh mother of the daves, Mahabali had became strong due to the ‘yagnas’ conducted by the Brahmin priests. He is a righteous king, nonetheless, and there is no reason for me to destroy him as he has not committed any wrongs or sins. Also he is my devotee too. However I will born as a son to you an get the develoga from him and return that to Devas’’.

Accordingly the Lord had born as ‘Vamana Moorthy’ to Atithi. Vamana Moorthy was a dwarf and he grew up well.

Vamana, garbed like a bramin, had gone to the place where Mahabali was conducting the ‘Ashwamedha Yagna’. Mahabali as a customary practice of yagna to offer charity to bramins, had also welcomed Vamana who was holding and umbrella and a kamadala (jar, full of water) and served him well and had him seated. He also washed his feet and sprinkled the washed water in his head.

After this, Mahabali promised the dwarf Vamana saying ‘I shall be gratified to give you whatever you desire. Please let me know of your desires’.

‘Mahabali, you promised to fulfil my wish. All I want it is three steps of land that I can measure with my own feet. That is enough for me!’’. Mahabali was surprised and asked, ‘O Brahmin, I can give you more than what you asked for but you only want three feet. Are you sure’?.

Vamana said ‘yes’.

On hearing this everybody laughed as the Vamana was so little and all he can measure was less than what a normal person can measure. Yet he still insists that he only needs three steps of land.

Watching all these this time the wiser guru of Asuras, Sukracharya sensing trouble warned Mahabali saying that the dwarf was non other than Lord Vishnu. However Mahabali said he can not break his promise at this time but to go ahead what may come.

Charity is sealed when the donor pour the water from a vessel in to the hand of the recipient. Hence the Guru Sukuracharya made a final effort stop all by taking a form of a bee and entered the vessel and blocked it mouth. But when the water failed to flow out, Vamana used a sacred darbha grass and pierced the mouth of the vessel. The grass pricked the guru’s eye. This made the guru blind in one eye and he came off with the pain.

When the water was freely flowed the charity was sealed. The next moment Vamana started growing bigger and bigger until he reached the sky. As everyone was looking, astonished, Vamana took the first step, encompassing the earth and the devaloga was covered with the second.

Having gained the two of the three world, Vamana looked down and shouted, “O king, I have taken the two steps, but where can I place my 3rd step?.

Without hesitating, Mahabali replied, ‘O Lord, please bless me by placing your 3rd step on my head’. Saying this Mahabali, kneeled, tilted his head and his palms were joined in prayer.

Vamana brought his foot down and place it on Mahabali’s head and said, ‘Bali, you kept your promise and your integrity. I have happily taken the two of the three worlds you gave me as your charity. Now you are left with your Asura loga, the nether world. You shall get back there with other Asuras’.

The Lord Vamana Moorthy also said ‘Bali, your Ashwamedha Yagna had been completed successfully and you will get the benefit of this by becoming the king of devaloga, Devendra in the next ‘savarani manu’ yuga. (another period in the cycle of the universe).

Blessing all, Lord disappeared, completing the purpose of ‘Vamana’ avatar. In this avatar the Lord did not destroy anyone but taught us lessons on intergrity.

Parasurama Avatar

 

Parasurama Avatar 

 

Pruvarasu and Urvasi the beautiful dancer at the devaoga had six children. One of them was ‘Kathi’ who was a very popular king in the ‘chandra’ dynasty.

Kathi’s daughter was ‘Sathiyawathy’ and was very prety. A brahmin called ‘Rishikan’ wanted to marry her. But the king did not want his daughter to marry a poor bramin. So as an excuse he told him to ‘if bring a horse with an ear in green and the rest of the features in white, you can have my daughter hands in marriage’.

The king thought that it was impossible for the biramin Rishikan to meet the demand. But Risikan, plead with ‘varuna bahavan’ (the god of rain) and came back with, not one but 1000 horses and married to Sathiyawathy. Some time later she wanted to have a baby and also her mother longed for a baby girl too.

Rishikan, the highly learned birahmin, wanted to fulfil the wishes of both. So he prepared milk rice and divided in to two portions. Before going to have a bath, he advised the maids to give the first portion to his wife and the second portion to his mother-in-law. The mother-in-law who came there first had the first portion herself and left the second for her daughter.

Rishikan who came back there little later, learned what had happened, agitated. ‘Your mother had eaten the food that was chanted with ‘biranava’ mantra and so she will have a son who would be a ‘birama-ghnai’ (supreme intellectual) while you ate the food that was chanted with ‘shasthria’ mantra (shastria means braveness) and so you will have a son who will be with the characteristic of a cruel king’, Rishikan said this and regretted.

Sathiyawathy had a son called ‘Yamathgani’. He married to Renukadevi and had many children. Th older one was ‘Asumanan’ and another one was ‘Parasuramar’, an avatar of Lord Vishnu.

He thought he was the only person with supreme strength and there was no match for him. With this idea he went around the earth twenty one times.
The king of kekaya, ‘Thirutha-veeriyan’ was from the Sooriya dynasty. His son was ‘Karthaweeri-archunan’. He was legless when born. He was preached by ‘Thaththrayer’ and went to the throne as a strong person when he was 12 years of age.

Once he went into jungle for hunting. They became very hungry and went to the hermit of a sage called ‘Yamathgani’ (father of Parasurama) who fed them all with help of ‘kamadenu’, a divinely cow.

Karthaweeri-archunan was naturally an arrogant king and so he was ungrateful and so he demanded the sage to give him the cow kamadenu, saying the sage who lives in the jungle does not need it. When the sage refused, the king took the cow forcefully, with him to his palace.

Hearing these, Parasurama, the son of the sage Yamathgani became angary. He wore the body armour and picked up his axe, bow and arrow to rushed to the king’s palace where he fought with the king and chopped off his head and rescued the cow, kamadenu.

The sage Yamathgani was very sad and upset about his son’s deeds. ‘Killing a king is most pitiful thing than killing a birahmin’. In order to get rid of the sin that you committed you must go on pilgrimage’, saying this he sent him off and Parasuramar departed as his father wished.

Renukadevi, the wife of Yamathgani, went to the riverside to get some water for his husband’s hohma (ritual). She was delayed as she was attracted by the sight of a handsome man. By the power of his penance, the sage realised what went on and so he angrily ordered his son Parasurama to chopped off her head as punishment. Parasuramar went and carried out his father’s order with his axe. His brothers who came to the rescue of the mother also killed by him.

The father who was delighted that his son was obeying him without any hesitation, he siad him, ‘Son, I can grant you any of your wish. Ask me now’. Parasuramar, without hesitation asked that his mother and brothers should come back alive’. The sage blessed so and all came back alive again. Parasuramar realised that his father go so much divinely power through penance and so he left to the dense forest to do the same.

Meanwhile, the sons of the king Karthaweeri-archunan killed by Parasurama wanted revenge and they ambushed and cut off the head of sage Yamathgani. His wife Renukadevi yelled and that was heard by Parasuramar who rushed with his axe and killed off the princes. He wowed to ‘annihilate the ‘shasthria’ dynasty so that it will not raise up again for the next 21 generations’.

Then he completed the last rituals for his father.

He then went around 21 times and annihilated all shasthrias and seized the whole earth from them and gifted it to Kacipar and went to ‘Mahendra Parvatham’ where he is still doing penance.

As per Puranas, Parasuramar was blessed to be immortal (siramseevi) and so he is considered alive even today.

Note: Those who are blessed to be immortal are known as siramseevis and they are exempt from death. Another of these siramseevis is Markkanteyar. We will read his beautiful story soon.

Rama Avatar

 

Rama Avatar 

 

 

Background Story

The two of the ‘duvara-palakarkal’ (gate keepers) in ‘Vaikunda’, Jayan and Vijayan, in another (cursed to born three time on earth) birth born in earth as ‘Ravana’ and ‘Kumpakarna’.

Visuvarasu had two wives. Kubera was born to the first wife ‘Sali’ and ‘Ravana’ was born to the second wife ‘Keikayi’.

Thinking that his son should get all the blessings and wealth, Keikayi, told her son Ravana to perform tough penance. Ravana did so and at the end of it, in order to complete it,  he was trying to take off his head and put in to the ‘yagna’ (great pooja) fire. But before he did this, Lord Birhma appeared.

Ravana, obtained a wish from him and thereby his death would not occur by devas, asuras and animals. After this boon power, he conquered devaloga and captured ‘Amarawathy’. In the earth, the Lanka was owned by his brother Kubera.

When Ravana, asked for it, Kubera handed it over and also gave him the the title ‘Lankeswaran’ (King of Lanka). 

However on realising that he did not leave behind the flying object, ‘Puspak Vimana’ for him and taken it along with him, he declared war in great angry on his brother, defeated him and took the Puspak Vimana for himself.

The acts of Ravana was going beyond limits and devas went to Lord Birahma to complain. The Lord who granted the wish, did not know what to do and so he and others went to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva, in turn took all of them to Lord Vishnu and appealed.

Lord Vishnu pointed out that when Ravana asked for his wish, he did not request that his death should not occur by a ‘human’ and so he will take an avatar as Rama and destroy him.

Rama Avatar 

The Emperor Thasaratha of the ‘sooriya dynasty’ was reigning Ayodhya in earth. He had three wife but all were childless for long. He conducted a yagna (ritual) known as ‘puthira kamadchi’ and there by received the blessing to have children.

The first wife ‘Kosalai’ was blessed with Rama who was the form of Lord Vishnu and the second wife ‘Subathirai’ was blessed with Luxman who was the form of discus of Lord Vishnu and ‘Sathurukan’ as the form of conch. Parathan who was the form of ‘Chakaraththalwar’ was blessed to the third wife ‘Kaikeki’.

All four grew well and and learned from sage ‘vashitar’. Once they grew older, the sage Visuvamithirar, took Rama and Luxmana with him to protect the yagna (ritual) from the demons (asuras). He taught them some mantras and when the ritual was completed successfully, the sage Visuvamithirar took both princes to Midilai that was being reinged by Janakar.

In Midilai, Rama broke the huge bow in a competition and there by won the hands of princess Janaki (Sita), the daughter of Janakar.

The Emperor Thasarathar wanted Rama to take over the throne and was making arrangements. But his third wife Kaikeki, listened to an old maid kooni, demanded his son Paratha to reign the country and Rama to go exile in to the forest for 14 years. This she achieved by using a promise given by Thasaratha to her long before.

Accordingly Rama and Sita left Ayothi to the forest. Luxmana went with them too. The shock of parting children this way end the life of Thasaratha.

In the forest, the trio used the help of Kuga to go the hermit of sage Baranthuvaja. Then they moved to ‘sithrakooda’ and stayed there.

Paratha who was away inviting other kings for the coronation of his brother Rama came back and on realising the bad deeds of her mother, he was ashamed and wept in sorrow. He went to sithrakooda to persuade the return of his brother Rama. But Rama refused and sent Paratha back saying that he must be in the forest for 14 years as per the late fathers order.

Then they quitted sithrakooda and went to ‘Thandakaranya and stayed with some sages (saint). The sister of Ravana, ‘Soorpanakai’ who came that side saw the handsome Rama and became crazy on him. In order to teach a lesson to her, Luxmana, cut off her nose.

Angered by this she went and brought many demons and all were destroyed by Rama and Luxmana. This event was the initial cause of Ravana’s destruction.

The Soorpanakai wanted to take revenge on the brothers and she went to her brother Ravana and complained. When Raman ignored it she stated describing about the beauty of Sita. As a result Ravana wanted to have beautiful Sita for himself and he cunningly took her away from the forest and imprisoned her in Asokavana in Lanka.  

Rama and Luxmana received the help of Hanuman, the son of Vaayu (wind) who went to Lanka in search of Sita and found out where she had been kept. The brothers built a bridge with the help of Hanuman went to Lanka and killed Ravana in a war. His brother Vibheeshna was made the king of Lanka.

The Sita who was a prisoner of Ravana walked through huge fire (agni pariksha or test by fire) to prove her purity to the world. Then all three returned to Ayodhya and Rama became the king.

However when he heard that some are still taking bad about Sita’s imprisonment by Ravana, he banished her to forest. The pregnant Sita went to stay in Sage Vaalmeeki ‘s hermit where she gave birth two twins Lava, Kusa.

She then finished off her life mission and disappeared in to the earth. Rama also wade into the river Sarayu and completed his mission and returned to ‘Vaikunda’. 

Krishna Avatar

Krishna Avatar 

As the bad deeds of the demons (asuras) on Earth escalated the accumulated sins also gone up. This pained Mother Earth and she complaint to Lord Birahma. Lord Birahma, Lord Shiva and devas consulted in relation to this with Lord Vishnu, the protector, who promised to eliminate the evils and restore Dharma (righteousness).
********* 

In Dwaraga yuga, the North of Madura was reigned by King Ukirasena who was from the 'Pohya' clan of the 'Yathu' dynasty. His son was Kamsan who had two sisters, Kamsai and Devaki. Kamsan was very attached to his younger sister 'Devaki. When the time came, Kamsan gave his sister's hand in marriage to Vasudeva, son of King Soorasena. 

The new couple got on to a chariot and went on the wedding procession. A proud Kamsan was riding the chariot through the capital when an oracle heard from the sky in thundering voice.
 
'Kamsa, you will certainly be killed by the 8th child of Devaki', was the message of the oracle.

Confused and agitated Kamsa was trying to kill his sister but was stopped by Vasudeva who said, 'Kamsa, your life is not really threatened by your sister and so leave her alone. In return I promised to handover each and every child that born to her'. Kamsa accepted it and spared her life. Nonetheless he imprisoned them both as he did not want to take any chance. One after the other six babies were born and were handed over to Kamsa who killed them mercilessly.

The seventh foetus was the form of 'adisheshan' (the massive snake on which Lord Vishnu reclines in the Milky Ocean). Nonetheless at the 7th month, the foetus was moved by way of the divinly act of the Lord Vishnu, to the womb of Rohini, the 1st wife of Vasudevar, and born as 'Palarama'.

Told of the 'miscarriage' of the 7th child, frenzied Kamsa was waiting eagerly for the 8th. It was none other than Lord Vishnu who was the 8th baby. As per the instructions of the Lord, the little one was swapped by Vasudevar secretaly, with a baby girl born to Yasotha, wife of Nandagopar in Kokula.

When the news of the 8th baby's birth reached Kamsa, he came running and grabbed it from his sister's hand.

However the little one escaped from his hand and flew in to the sky. Saying, "Kamsa, you cannot really kill me and the person by whom you are to be killed have already born", it vanished.

Meanwhile, Palarama and Krishna were growing and playing all together in Kokula. They were herding the cattle of Kokula.

Kamsa was sending out countless demons in search of the 8th baby, Krishna and to destroy it, yet was not really successful.

The annually celeberated 'festival of Indra' at the 'aayarpadi' was blocked by Krishna in order to teach a lesson to devendra, the king of devas, who became arrogant. This had infuriated Indra and on his instruction 'Varuna deva' (god of rain) and 'Vayu deva' (god of wind) were lashing out at Kokula to punish the people. Indra was humbled when Krishna raised the mount Kovarthan and kept it as an umbrella for the people to take shelter there.

Kamsan had sent two wrestlers to challenge both Palarama and Krishna and to kill them. When both wrestlers were killed, Kamsan jumed in to attack Krishna. However at the end Krishna pushed Kamsa to the ground and sat on top of him. As Krishna's weight magically began to escalate Kamsa died at the end due to the burden of that.

Then both Palarama and Krisha had their parents released from the jail and they were staying with Vasudevar. They were both educated by the saint Sabdeepa. As the 'guru dhachana' (offering to the teacher for the selfless service of educating) they returned his son who was considered dead.

The two widows of Kamsa, who were also sisters went to their father, Jarasanthan and sobbed and cried. This made him furious and he vowed to eliminate the 'yadaya' clan and came with his forces but was defeated. He was attacking again and again and each time he could not succeed.

To save the 'yadavas' from enemies, Krishna, got the great architect 'Viswakarma' to build a more secure city called 'Dwaraka'.

The king of 'Vitharpaa' was planing to give her daughter Rukmini's hand in marriage to Sisupala. 

When reluctant Rukmini sent message of this to Krishna, he rescued and then married her.

When he heard of the desperate position of his relative 'Kunthi Devi', a widow with five children, he assisted them. Her children, the 'Pandawas' lost their country Astinapura, kingdom and all wealth to Duryodhana who snatched them away by gambling. The Duryodhana and his brother also disrespected and insulted the spouse of Pandawas.

Duryodhana did not fulfil his pledge that 'If Pandawas go exile, he will certainly return all that he won in the gambling, on their return'. He even insulted Krishna who went as a messenger on behalf of Pandawas.

At the end the 'great war of bharatha' had begun. Krishna was driver of the chariot of Archuna. At one point Archuna was standing back, Krishna has actually shown his real form as Lord Vishnu and preached him the 'Bhagavad Gita'.

At the end of the war Pandawas won Astinapura back.

Meanwhile in Dwaraka, the Yadawas were started behaving badly assuming that they were untouchable due to the power of Krishna and Palarama. Both Krishna and Palarama too discovered it difficult to contained them at times.

Once when some saints (sages) paid a visit to Dwaraka, they were mocked. A man, disguised as a pregnant lady was brought in front of the saints and were requested to predict the sex of the baby. This infuriated the saints and they cursed them saying, 'an iron pestle will certainly be born and that will eliminate your clan utterly'.

As per the saint words the man developed a bumpy belly with iron pestle in it. This scared yadawas who removed it away off him and powdered it and dissolved it in the sea water. There was a modest bit left and they threw it close to the shore. A fish swallowed it but was soon caught by a fisherman. When cleansing the fish, he found the iron bit and threw it away. It was then found by a hunter who picked it up and fitted it to the tip of his arrow.

The iron powder the the yadawas dissolved in to the sea were washed to the shore and absorbed by the lengthy grasses and had grown like iron petals. At one point the heavily drunk yadawas started fighting. They pulled out the lengthy grass to attack each other and died of it. Observing the destruction with great sorrow, Palarama went and sat on the shore and left for 'Vaikunda'

The hunter shot a an animal with his arrow. However it missed the target and hit Krishna. With that he completed his mission and left for 'Vaikunda'

Let's listen to this all time best song on Kanna.

Buddha Avatar

 

Buddha Avatar 

The Kali yuga (Kali - denotes a period in the cycle (yuga) of the universe) started as immediately as Lord Krishna returned to 'Vaikunda'. The Hindu religion was losing its sacredness and the God was worshipped in the incorrect methods.

Therefore, Lord Vishnu chose to have a further avatar to guide the people and all other things in the proper way. 

*****

The King Shuddhodhana was the reigning king of 'Kapilawasthu' in Lumbini, (Presently Nepal). His queen was Mayadevi. One day while she was asleep, she dreamt of a white elephant with six tusks and trumpeting loudly, coming down from heaven and coming towards her.

Few months later, Mayadevi became pregnant and she went via the 'Lumbini Park' to pay a visit to her parents. She needed to rest for a while and so sat under a banyan tree. All of a sudden the labor discomfort began and she delivered birth to her son on that spot. It was a night of full moon.(Buddha Purnima day).

The sage Aksika, who came to the palace to see the baby, predicted that ‘he would definitely become a great emperor. If that did not take place, he would give up all and turn into an exceptional sage'.

The baby was called 'Siddhartha'. The king Shuddhodhana did not really wish his son to become a sage and so he preferred him to grow up without any understanding about poverty, disease, ageing and death. He ordered the palace guards to make certain that he never went out of the palace. He figured out that when his son grew up and get involved in family life, then the chances are remote for him to become an ascetic.

Thus, Siddhartha grew up without knowing about poverty, disease, ageing and death. When he was matured enough, he was married to 'Yasodhara', the daughter of the King of Chakiya. They had a son as well.

One day he told his father that he is anxious to go out and view the world outside and the king agreed to organise that.

In few days time, he was mounted on a chariot and driven out of the palace and into the city. When it reached the city border 'Shanna' who was driving the chariot tried to turn it back. Siddhartha ordered him to drive the chariot beyond the city border.

Some distance away he observed an old man with a stick. He had a hunched back and walking slowly. Shocked by this, Siddhartha asked for the reason of that scene.

“Prince, he has grown old. This will happen to all including you and me”, responded Shanna.

On returning to the palace, Siddhartha's mind was thinking about this. Next day they went out again and this time they viewed a diseased man suffering in great discomfort.

“Shanna, why is he suffering in pain?”, Siddhartha asked. 'He is suffering due to a painful disease', replied Shanna.

'Is disease exclusive to him?', requested Siddharthda once more. For that Shanna expressed, 'No my Lord, it is not unusual, you and me too can get sick'.

Siddhartha chose to learn more and he travelled a lot and in one such trip they observed some people carrying a man. 'Why are they carrying that person? What's wrong with him? Is he sick?', he asked.

'No Prince, it's very tragic. The person had actually died and so his lifeless body is being carried away', clarified Shanna. Siddhartha begged, 'Are we also to die like this?'.

'Yes my Lord, we all have to die', Shanna said.

Having a comfortable life in the palace, Siddhartha began thinking in relation to all of those that he viewed and understood. He became unhappy and uninterested in all. In a further such trip he watched an old man with a face full of peace and tranquillity. He made inquiries about him to Shanna.

'He is an ascetic' (saint), replied Shanna.

On that night Siddhartha had finally taken a decision. A decision that is still influencing the globe of today that we live. He had actually chosen to 'quit the life of luxury and to discover the real purpose of his life'.

He renounced the royal life and after countless struggles, he was enlightened while meditating under a banyan tree on a full moon night.

 

The enlightened Siddhartha became known as 'Gautama Buddha'. In a park full of deers at Saranath in Varanasi of North India, he started his first preaching.

'Aspiration (wish) is the cause for the sorrow'. If you have no aspirations, you can live without sorrow. So do away with aspirations'. was his prime message and teaching to the globe.

At least two centuries later when emperor Asoka who became sick and tired of wars adopted Buddha's preachings and with that Buddhism spread.

Buddhism is one of the major religions of the globe today.

Kalki Avatar

Kalki Avatar


At the end of the ongoing 'Kali Yuga', the Lord Vishnu will take the Kalki Avatar.

When the Kali yuga nearing its end, the Lord Vishnu will be born to a Bramin called 'Yasas'. He will be strong enough with very attractive face.

He would be taught by 'Parasuramar' who is an immortal being ( Siranjeevi). Parasuramar will teach him all the required arts and additionally preach him the Vedas too.

Riding a white horse, Kalki will be travelling around the world in three days. He will destroy the evils (atharma) and make certain that the dharma (righteous deeds) is existed.

With that, ‘the Kali yuga' will come to an end.

In a Tamil Movie 'Thrumal Perumai' (Glory of Thirumal) all these 10 Avatars have been shown. Please watch the video below.

Let us now watch and enjoy a very popular song on Lord Vishnu by late M S Subbulakshmi. 


Lord Muruga

Lord Muruga


Lord Murugan is known as the God of the Tamils. Wherever Tamil speaking people reside in the world, we might see temples for Lord Murugan as the Murugan worship has been associated with Tamil people. From time immemorial generations of Tamils have been worshipping Lord Muruga.


Some historians relate the Lord Muruga worshipping to the days of Indus valley civilization. Evidences such as clay seals etc. depicting the forms of Lord Murugan as God had actually been discovered at the archaeological sites of the Indus valley civilization.

In ancient Tamil literatures such as sanka period literatures, we can read about early Tamil people's devotion of Lord Muruga and in those materials, he was referred as Lord Sevvel.


At present, worshiping of Lord Muruga can be widley seen in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, European countries, America, Canada, etc. We are able to see beautiful temples for Lord Muruga in all these countries.

The great Hindu sage Aadi Sankarar had devised six sub-sects of Hinduism and they are called, Souram, Saivam, Saaththeyam, Vaishnavam, Ganapathyam and Koumaram.

Koumaram, is the sixth sect includes devotees who worship Lord Muruga.

Friday, the sixth day of the week is recognized as the special day for worshipping Lord Muruga. View the table below for details: 

 

Day of the week God Sub-sect
1. Sunday Sun Souram
2. Monday  Lord Shiva Saivam
3. Tuesday Sakthy  Devi Saatheyam
4. Wednesday Lord Vishnu Vaishnavam
5. Thursday Lord Ganesh Gaanapathyam
6. Friday Lord Murugan Koumaram
7. Saturday Guru Samayaatheetham

(You could review an in-depth features on the six sects of the Hindu religious sects devised by Aadi Sankara soon here on the hinduKidsWorld.org webpages.)


Devotees of Lord Muruga call their heartfelt God in several lovely names. Here are couple of those names:

Kumaran - One who is always young.

Murugan - Gorgeous God

Swamynathan - One who taught his father

Saravanan - One who grew up at the pond, Saravana.

Karthikeyan - One who was nursed by the six Karthigai maids

Gankeyan - One who was developed by placing the six triggers of fire which originated from the third eye of Lord Shiva at the river Ganga.

Kanthan - The name derived as Devi Uma merged up the 6 babies into one as Lord Muruga who was with six heads, twelve hands with single body.

Sevvel - The God with red body.

Kugan - One who dwells in caves and hillsides.

Visagan - One who was formed as a form of light on the day of the star Visakam

Velan - The God with the weapon, the spear that resembles knowledge.

Subramaniyan - The God who is worshipped by the Gods, People and the asuras.

Skandan - God who sits as a child with the parents at Somaskanda moortham.


Lord Muruga has six faces; he has six adobes; the number of letters in his mantra, sa ra va na ba va are six. Basics of Hinduism are six; Inner religious beliefs are six; external religious beliefs are six; paths are six.


Thus, the number six signifies many basic aspects of Lord Murugan.

We read that Lord Murugan has six heads. Yes, he has actually eighteen eyes on those six faces. (As like his father Lord Shiva, Lord Muruga too has three eyes on each of his face). Lord Shiva has five faces, ie: eesaanam, thatpurusham, akoram, vamathevam and saththyosatham. Lord Murugan has all these five along with the powerful face of his mother, Devi Sakthy which makes him the God with six faces.


Lord Murugan has twelve hands. He bears several kinds of weapons on each of those hands. But, the powerful Spear of knowledge which was given him by his mother for destroying all demons is the greatest. The spear of Lord Muruga destroys all sins of his devotees so that they can go to heaven.

 

Lord Murugan has two consorts, called Valli and Theivayanai. Actually, it signifies that two sakthis called Ichcha sakthi and Kiriya sakthi escort Lord Muruga who is the personification of knowledge.

Veda and Agama are the feet of Lord Murugan.

He has three vehicles. The peacock which represents Thamasa guna, the goat which represents Rasatha guna and the elephant which represents Sathva guna are his energetic vehicles.

We may see the stunning cock depicting on his flag. The cock implies triumph.

Beautiful temples has been built on top of mountains and hills to worship Lord Murugan. All over the world such temples are built and disperse the glory of Lord Murugan.


 

Among all of them, the six abodes (called padaiveedu) of Lord Murugan are positioned at Thiruthani, Thiruchendur, Thirupparankunram, Pazhamuthir solai, Pazhani and Suvaamimalai. Further to these, there are gorgeous temples for Lord Murugan at Nallur and Kathirgamam in Sri Lanka, Kanchipuram in India and Bathu gives in Malaysia.


There are many in Europe and London Sri Murugan Temple and London Archway Highgate Hill Murugan Temple are worth mentioning here.

The ardent devotees of Lord Murugan carry out three fastings as part of their worshipping of the Lord, which are Karthigai fasting, Sukkira vaara fasting and Sashti fasting.

From the time of the Tamils history, a lot of learnt poets and devotees had been the ardent devotees of Lord Muruga. A couple of them are, Agasthiyar, the sage Sigandi, Nakkeerar, Nalliyak kodan, Avvaiyar, Kachchiyappa sivaachariyar, Murugammai, Poyyamozhi, Arunagirinathar, Sithambara suvami, Gnanavarothayar, Pakazhikkooththar, Kavirajapillai, Kumarakuruparar, Ramalinga adikal, Murukathasa swamy and Paamban adigal. These poet devotees have written several sweet Tamil devotional materials in praise of Lord Muruga.

Lord Murugan was formed from the third eye of Lord Shiva in order to demolish harmful demons who acquired rare boons from Gods and used them to enslave all three globes and torture devas, sages and people. The excellent Hindu epic, Skanda purana illustrates this powerful tale of Lord Murugan's grace and victory.

Dear children, you all can read the full story from Skanda Purana very soon on the pages of your hindukidsworld.org.