UNTOLD MYTHOLOGICAL STORIES ABOUT RAKSHA BANDHAN


 

Untold Mythological Tales about Raksha Bandhan

In India, Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is a festival which is celebrated to symbolize the strong bond between the brothers and sisters and the love and affection shared between them. The day symbolizes re-unification of brother and sister and the respect for all women in the society. It gives every man the noble outlook to respect every woman. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravana in India. The tradition of celebrating this festival started in the ancestral period and till date people consider it a must to express their affection in a traditional manner. Here are the tales from history and mythology related with Raksha bandhan .

1. Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun:

The tale of Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun is one of the most significant evidence in history. During the medieval era, Rakhi meant a spiritual binding and protection of sisters, it was considered as the foremost task of a brother. When Rani Karnawati, the widowed queen of Chittor realized that she could in no way defend the invasion of the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah, she sent a rakhi to Emperor Humayun. The Emperor was so touched by the gesture that he started off with his troops in no time. Humayun then returned the kingdom to Karnavati’s son, Vikramjit.

2. Krishna and Draupadi:

The mythological story of Lord Krishna and Draupadi (the wife of the five Pandavas) is one of the most popular rakhi stories. The importance of the festival reflects in Mahabharata epic depicting the evergreen story of Lord Krishna and Draupadi. It is generally believed that the original ritual of Rakhi began with Draupadi and Krishna during the epic war. Once, on a Sankranti day, Krishna cut his finger while handling sugarcane. Draupadi came forward and tore off a part of her sari and bandaged his finger. In return for her kind deed, Krishna promised to protect her all throughout her life. That was how Draupadi was saved from embarrassment on the day she was disrobed in full public view in king Dritarashtra’s court. Thus, it is a reflection of the pure bond between a brother and sister. The thread of Rakhi and the story of Krishna and Draupadi tells us about the element of faith and emotional security amongst the siblings.

3. Yama and Yamuna:

The story of Yama, the Lord of Death and Yamuna, the river that flows in India is one of the fascinating stories of Raksha Bandhan. Their story stands for the pure brother-sister love and sacrifice where Yamuna tied a rakhi to Yama, the lord of death and granted her immortality.  When she tied a Rakhi to Yama’s wrist, he was so moved by the gesture that he declared that whosoever or any brother who gets a Rakhi tied on his wrist from his sister will become immortal and should promise to protect their sisters lifelong.

4. Ganesha and his sister Manasa:

Although this tale does not originate from the Hindu scriptures, the birth of Goddess Santoshi Maa has been related to the festival of Raksha Bandhan. It is believed that on the auspicious day of Rakhi, Lord Ganesha‘s sister Manasa visits him to tie him the rakhi. On seeing this, Ganesha’s sons- Shubha and Labha become curious and insist for a sister. Finally, Ganesha gave in to their demands and creates goddess Santoshi (literally the Mother Goddess of Satisfaction) from the divine flames that are said to have emerged from his consorts- Riddhi and Siddhi.

5. Alexander the Great and King Porus (Puru): 
The oldest legend associated to the festival of rakhi goes back to 300 B.C. at the time when Alexander invaded India. It is said that the great conqueror, King Alexander of Macedonia, in his first attempt was shaken by the ferocity of the Indian king Puru. But, Alexander’s wife Roxana sent Porus, a sacred thread and asked him not to harm her husband on the battlefield. King Puru accepted her as his sister and when the opportunity came during the war, he confronts Alexander and refuses to kill him. Ultimately, Porus was defeated by Alexander.

6. Goddess Laxmi and King Bali:

The tale of Goddess Laxmi and King Bali is a legend that is mentioned in various Hindu scriptures. In this story, Lord Vishnu, as part of a promise, has been protecting his devotee and the demon King Bali, disguising himself as his doorman. Vishnu had taken the responsibility of protecting Bali’s Kingdom leaving his home in Vaikundam because of his immense devotion. So, Goddess Lakshmi – the wife of lord Vishnu became upset since she wanted Lord Vishnu to always be with her. On Shravana purnima, she met Bali and tied a Rakhi on King Bali’s wrist. Then, Goddess Lakshmi revealed who she was and why she was there. The king was touched by her and Lord Vishnu’s good will and affection towards him and his family, and he requested Lord Vishnu to accompany her to Vaikundam. Due to this, this festival is also named Baleva as Bali Raja’s devotion to Lord Vishnu. It is believed that since that day it has become a tradition to invite sisters on Shravana purnima to tie the sacred thread of Rakhi or Raksha bandhan.

 

 

How to control Anger


Dear Friend

 

We  eat and drink daily, and the satisfaction derived is only temporary as it is demanded again and again. When you develop the habit of slowly reducing the quantity and number of times of in take, you get used to it and are free from ailments caused by the food.   Likewise in our psycho-physical body  we need to repeatedly try and gradually succeed in obtaining of  predominance of Sathva Guna and the process is  explained below by Lord Krishna and others:

 

 

Lord Krishna’s  advice on  :  How to  overcome Anger????    

 

Lord Krishna’s teachings for overcoming anger, are based on a sound psychology and includes disciplines, which all can practice. He says: Know that this is our enemy here, all-devouring and cause of all sin (The Gita, 3.37).

We being ignorant take an enemy for a friend and a friend for an enemy!!. So, Sri Krishna instructs us to mark out anger as a direct enemy Anger overcomes us easily. As we always get angry at any pretext, anger has become our friend by familiarity or association!!  . Whenever we are angry we become deluded. This delusion will hurt us always. Delusion affects thinking, distorts memory, and we forget the important lessons of life.  So, we act like an ignorant person driven by viparita bhavana – contrary understanding and are deprived of our own intellect and rushing act  in a manner harmful to ourselves.

 

The words and actions prompted by anger are very forceful.  Any source of energy embedded in the psycho-physical system of man is significant. Anger must be overcome so that it does not injure the energy resources.  We cannot allow free movement of fire in our houses!!.

     

 Overcoming anger means separating the Man’s energy-source from its destructive aspect DESIRE, protecting the power source itself. Every iota of power embedded in the system is needed for bringing about our self-transformation.

 Lord Krishna In Gita (16.21);  ‘Kama-Krodha-Lobha, (desire, anger and greed) are the  three gates to hell. These emotions are psychologically inter-linked, originating as they do from Rajas. ‘It is desire, it is anger, born of the energy or Rajas, all-devouring, all sinful, that you must know as your foe here.’ (Ibid, 3.37).

 

Adhi Sri Shankaracharya :  The enemy of the whole world is desire, from which all evil comes to living beings. When obstructed by some cause, desire is transformed into anger. Then anger is desire itself. It is born of the energy of Rajas, for, when desire arises, it rouses Rajas, and urges the person to action. We often hear the cry of miserable persons… under the impulse of Rajas, saying, ‘I have been led to act so by desire/ It is very sinful; for it is only when urged by desire that a man commits sin. Therefore, know that this desire is man’s foe in Samsara.

Anger is inextricably linked to the other baser instincts in man and cannot be tackled in isolation.

Anger is concentrated desire. It makes one lose one’s head completely. Mere desire does not so absolutely overwhelm the mind.

‘Never think of transient things. That way you can escape attachments.

Sri Rama says: ‘Keeping the palate and lust under control, you may live anywhere.’ Lust and greed are the source of man’s troubles.

 

‘When Sri Chaitanya went to Keshava Bharati for initiation into Sannyasa, the latter remarked, “You are in the bloom of youth and so surprisingly handsome. Who will be bold enough to initiate you into Sannyasa?” Sri Chaitanya replied, “Sir, you usually examine an aspirant before initiating him into Sannyasa.  If you find me qualified, you may naturally feel inclined to initiate me also. So please examine and see if I am fit for it.” Bharati said to Chaitanya, “Put out your tongue.” On the disciple’s protruded tongue he put some sugar. The sugar remained there as it was, dry, without being moistened in the least, and was then scattered by the wind and was blown out. There was then no need to examine the passions of lust.’

Srimad Bhagavatam (II.8.21): ‘When the hankering of palate is controlled, everything else is controlled.’

 

Lord Krishna in Gita :  Therefore О best of Bharatas! Control the senses first, and thereby kill the sinful propensity to desire, which destroys one’s Knowledge and Realization.’   ‘Even if a single organ remains uncontrolled all austerities, all efforts after spirituality become useless, even as when there is a single hole in a pitcher, all the water escapes through that.    ‘Even the craving for the sense objects leaves an aspirant when he realizes the Lord.’ ‘Control of the senses is not to be brought about by violent efforts.

 

Easy to say and write but  we cannot overcome anger in isolation from desire, greed, etc.   We have to take up the  challenges of overcoming the other passions.  Once we understand the root of the problem, this self-transformation can be effected and a total regeneration will be brought about.

 

By acquiring a clear grasp of the functioning of the gunas as manifested in human nature, we can have a comprehensive solution to the problem on hand. The passions originate in Rajas, which is one of the three-fold aspects of our psycho-physical nature.

 

Lord Krishna  in Gita – Ch: 4:   Created beings are produced from the union of Purusha and Prakriti by the power of the Lord. This activity of the Lord is continuous. He is both the origin and the indwelling soul of every being on earth. The soul or spirit (Purusha) becomes entangled in the world by its contact with the body, or matter – Purusha denotes consciousness, and Prakriti, nature or matter, which is dull and insentient.Prakriti consists of three gunas: Sattva, Rajas, and TamasRajas, denoting restlessness, is the active principle of Nature;  Tamas is the principle of inertia; Sattva denotes calmness, serenity and harmony. Samsara or relativity is the realm of the Gunas. Freedom is beyond them. Though in everyone’s nature the three Gunas are present, one Guna prevails over the other two and sets the predominant tone of a particular nature, as signified by such terms as, a calm person, a restless person etc.

Sattva asserts itself by prevailing over Rajas and Tamas

Rajas (asserts itself) by prevailing over Sattva and Tamas, and 

Tamas (asserts itself) by prevailing overSattva and Rajas (4.10).

 

When the light of knowledge shines through the entire body, it  means Sattva has prevailed (14.11).

Greed, activity, enterprise, unrest, longing – these arise, means  Rajas prevails (14.12).

Darkness, indolence, inadvertence, and delusion – these arise  means  Tamas prevails (14.12).

 

Sri Adhi Shankaracharya  on the three gunas:        Lust, anger, avarice, arrogance, spite, egoism, envy, jealousy, etc – these are the direct attributes of Rajas,  and produces  a man’s  tendencies. Therefore Rajas is a cause of bondage (Vivekachudamani, Verse 112).

 

Ignorance, lassitude, dullness, sleep, inadvertence, stupidity, etc are the attributes of Tamas.  When tied to these qualities, a man does not comprehend anything, and remains like a stock or stone (Verse 116).

 

The traits of pure Sattva are cheerfulness, the realization of one’s own self, supreme peace, contentment, bliss and steady devotion to Atman, by which the aspirant enjoys bliss everlasting (119).

 

How  to treat anger??

     

As  said  before,  the prevalence of anger in a person’s nature, behaviour, and conduct, indicates that Rajas ishis predominant Guna, and Sattva and Tamas have been effectively run over. As long as Rajas continues to dominate his nature, he cannot overcome anger. For a radical and permanent cure of anger, the person has to find a way of bringing about in his/her nature the preponderance of Sattva, for only then he/she can be sure that anger has been overcome.

While our final liberation will materialize sometime in eternity, we  need a practical guidance to tackle present problems. While dealing with natural processes, we leave matters to nature. But the challenge before us is to make the Sattva guna prevail upon Rajas and Tamas in our own nature.

     Sri Ramakrishna teaches: ‘Under the protection of Sattva, man is rescued from anger, passion, and the other evil effects of Tamas. Further Sattva loosens the bonds of the world.’ The means of effecting a preponderance of Sattva in one’s nature are elaborated in the Lord’s teaching on Jnana during his incarnation as a swan in Srimad Bhagavatam:

     The  3 Gunas – Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas – belong to Prakriti, not to the Atman.  By developing the quality of  Sattva, one should overcome the other two, and then put down  Sattva by using it against itself. From the enhancement of Sattva comes the Dharma of devotion to Me. The Sattvic element in one is strengthened by use of substances that are favourable to it. And the Dharma of devotion which is the highest, because it strengthens Sattva, which in its turn, eliminates both Rajas and Tamas. And Adharma which is the product of these two, quickly perishes when they are gone. The Shastra that one studies, the water one uses, the people one converses with, the place where one is habitually found, the time of the day that one favours, the karma one performs, the sacrament that one receives, the object of one’s contemplation, the mantra that one is initiated into, the kind of purification that one practices – these influence one’s Gunas. Those whom the men of knowledge commend are Sattvic, those whom they condemn are Tamasic, and those whom they ignore are Rajasic. Doing that, he will grow in Dharma, and in the knowledge that brings experience of the Self with the negation of the non-self.

     Food causes our temperament. The Upanishad teaches: ‘When the food is pure, mind becomes pure. When the mind becomes pure, memory becomes firm. And when a man has  a firm memory, all the bonds which tie him down to the world are loosened.’

 

Krishna  in  Gita: ‘The foods which augment vitality, energy, strength, health, and appetite, which are sweet and oleaginous, substantial and agreeable are liked by the Sattvika.’

 

Sri Adhi Shankaracharya :   ‘food’  means anything that is taken in by the senses, viz. sounds, sights, smell etc. Improper sensory inputs create attachment, aversion, and delusion, which disturb the mind, making it difficult to control. Freed from these, the mind becomes pure.  So to gain Sattva in our nature, we need to allow only Sattvic inputs and avoid those that are Rajasic or Tamasic.

Bhagavata :‘For the increase of Sattva a man should concern himself with Sattvic things alone.’

Sridhara Swami :   ‘ Follow the scriptures teaching the march back to oneness with Brahman (Nivritti), not those that teach the continuance of multiplicity(Pravritti–rajasic) or those that teach downright injurious tenets (Tamasic). Similarly holy water is to be used, not scented water etc. One should mix only with spiritual people, not with worldly minded or wicked people. A solitary place is to be preferred, not a public thoroughfare or a gambling house. Early morning to be selected for meditation to avoid distraction or dullness.
Obligatory and unselfish works alone should he done, not selfish or harmful ones. Initiation into pure and non-injurious forms of religion is needed, not those that require much ado or those that are impure and harmful. Meditation should be on the Lord, not on sense-objects or on enemies with a view to revenge.

Mantras such as Om are to he preferred, not those bringing worldly prosperity or causing injury to others. Purification of the mind is what we should be interested in, not trimming up the body or cleaning up houses.

Above process of self-transformation, by completely over-hauling the Guna-complex in one’s psycho-physical system, of course may appear to be slow and difficult, but  is the surest and most dependable method of overcoming the cause of anger (the preponderance of Rajas in one’s nature).   Once Sattva constantly prevails in one’s nature,  anger is removed. No other method of overcoming anger can be surer than this.

 

56 delicacies for Lord Krishna (chappan Bhog)


 


The word Cchappan meaning 56 has a special significance in north India.  It was the number of meals (8 a day) that KR^shNa missed while He was holding up the GOvarddhanam for 7 days (8 X 7 =  56). That is the number of offerings that devotees make to Bhagavaan KR^shNa on special occasions. 
 
The list begins with Rasagulla and goes through Curds, Rice, Poori, Pappadam, etc. and ends in Cardamom.  I wonder if there is such a set list in the southern temples.  
  
 
 

छप्पन भोग   —  Cchappan BhOg

 
मुक्त ज्ञानकोष विकिपीडिया 
1-रसगुल्ला, 2-चन्द्रकला, 3-रबड़ी, 4-शूली, 5-दधी,
6-भात, 7-दाल, 8-चटनी, 9-कढ़ी, 10-साग-कढ़ी,
11-मठरी, 12-बड़ा, 13-कोणिका, 14- पूरी, 15-खजरा,
16-अवलेह, 17-वाटी, 18-सिखरिणी, 19-मुरब्बा, 20-मधुर,
21-कषाय, 22-तिक्त, 23-कटु पदार्थ, 24-अम्ल {खट्टा पदार्थ}, 25-शक्करपारा,
26-घेवर, 27-चिला, 28-मालपुआ, 29-जलेबी, 30-मेसूब,
31-पापड़, 32-सीरा, 33-मोहनथाल, 34-लौंगपूरी, 35-खुरमा,
36-गेहूं दलिया, 37-पारिखा, 38-सौंफ़लघा, 39-लड़्ड़ू, 40-दुधीरुप,
41-खीर, 42-घी, 43-मक्खन, 44-मलाई, 45-शाक,
46-शहद, 47-मोहनभोग, 48-अचार, 49-सूबत, 50-मंड़का,
51-फल, 52-लस्सी, 53-मठ्ठा, 54-पान, 55-सुपारी,
56-इलायची ।
Shrimati Usha Gupta who has a cooking blog says this much about this north Indian custom:
WHAT IS ‘ CHAPPAN BHOG’ ?
 IN EVERY HINDU HOUSE A TEMPLE IS THERE AND DAILY WORSHIP IS DONE. WHEN ‘FOOD’ IS OFFERED TO THE GOD, IT BECOMES ‘PRASAD’. WHEN 56 FIFTY SIX COURSE MEAL IS OFFERED TO THE GOD IT IS CALLED ‘ CHAPPAN BHOG’.  WHEN THE DEVOTEES OFFER BHOG TO
LORD KRISHNA ,AND THE  ITEMS LIKE FRUITS,
kHEER, PEDHA, MILK AND MANY MORE.
IN CHAPPAN BHOG, 56 DIFFERENT ITEMS
ARE OFFERED TO LORD SHREE KRISHNA.
“Prasad” is offered to the deity with chanting
of religious prayers. A part of it is put to the lips
of the idol as well.  This is called “Bhog Lagana”.
Some religious hymn is also sung like
“Aao bhog lagao mere Ramji”.
Small portions of the sanctified Prasad or
Prasadam  are offered to all the gathering
who take it in their extended palms…
As far as I Know the story belongs to Lord Krishna.
He used to take 8 meals a day. when he lifted
Govardhan parbat for 7 days he could not eat.
After 7 days when it was over and lord Indra
realised his mistake and surrendered.
People were and happy and offered Lord Krishna Bhojan
for what he had missed during the 7 days i.e. 7 x 8=56 .
so it was called 56 items Chappan Bhog.”
posted by DKM

 

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