Hindu Gods and Goddess
Lord Vishnu - The Protector
Lord Vishnu – The Protector
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.
Huge Garuda statue, Indonesia
The Lord has four arms and in them, he holds chakra (discus), conch 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, the one-horned fish, is the first among, the ten avatars
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.
Note the tortoise at the bottom
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.
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 (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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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’
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.
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 legend M S Subbulakshmi.
Oh Krishna , the lord of the Vedas, I do not have any problems,
Oh Krishna, I do not have any problems,
Oh Govinda, I do not have any problems
Oh Krishna, You stand there as invisible,
Oh Krishna, even if you stand invisible,
Oh Krishna , lord of the Vedas, I do not have any problems
1.When you are Lord Venkatesa to give all that I need,
I do not have any more needs, Oh Krishna, Oh Lord of the Vedas,
Oh Lord with attractive colour, Oh Lord of the mountain , Oh Govinda, Oh Govinda
2.Oh Krishna, You stand behind the curtains,
And you can be seen only by wise men who learn Vedas,
But still I do not have any problems. Oh Krishna
3.Oh giver of boons, who is standing as a stone on a hill,
Oh Krishna , the lord of the Vedas, I do not have any problems,
Oh Lord with attractive colour, Oh Lord of the mountain , Oh Govinda, Oh Govinda
4. Taking pity for the age of Kali, coming in to a stone,
You are standing in the temple as the moon light.
5.Oh Lord of mountain, who never says no,
When on your chest , the mother who is the sea of mercy,
Is living for ever , for the sake of this world,
What problem can be there for me?
I do not have any problem. Oh Krishna, Of Lord of the Vedas
Oh Lord with attractive colour, Oh Lord of the mountain , Oh Govinda, Oh Govinda