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Anec. 11&12 from Part I Myths

From: Nutech (Nutech_at_IX.NETCOM.COM)
Date: Wed May 06 1998 - 09:15:49 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,
In this post,is presented Anecdotes 11 and 12 from Part - I Myths.
Dasoham
Anbil Ramaswamy
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11. The power of Devotion (Markandeya and Kannappa)

Markandeya

The Sage Mrikandu invoked Siva in his penance and prayed that he be
blessed with a son. Siva asked him whether he wanted a son who will live
long but without any virtue or one who would be virtuous but live up to
16 years of age. Being a virtuous person himself, the sage preferred the
latter. Soon,  the son was born. He was named Markandeya. He was a
personification of all virtues.

As age 16 was approaching, his parents were worried. When enquired, they
narrated to him the reasons for their sorrow. Markandeya replied that if
he was born on account of a boon of Siva who saved the world by drinking
the Kaalakuta poison at the time of the churning of the milky ocean, the
same Siva would save him also, if propitiated. Accordingly, he set out
wholeheartedly to worshipping Siva. As he was half way through his
routine, the Lord of death appeared before him and cast his noose around
the boy disregarding his plea to wait till he finished his chores. At
that moment, the linga burst open and Siva emerged from it. Siva kicked
Yama on the chest and Yama fell reeling down. Pleased with the devotion
of Markandeya, Siva blessed that he would forever remain a youth of 16
years of age and vanished back into the linga.

Kannappa

A hunter by name Thinnan one day saw a Sivalingam on the top of a hill.
Suddenly. he developed a deep devotion and wanted to perform worship to
the lingam. He had earlier seen a priest pouring water on the lingam and
offering flowers and sweetmeats. He wanted to follow the same procedure.
He had no vessel to bring water. So, he stored some water in his mouth
from a nearby river and spat it on the lingam. Then, he presented some
wild flower which he was wearing in his locks of hair and offered as
food what little meat remained after his having tasted it.  

The regular priest came the next day. Not knowing what had happened as
he saw raw meat strewn all around, he cleaned the place and performed
the routine worship according to the Agamas. For five days, the two
kinds of worship were going on. One day, the priest hid himself besides
a bush to observe what was happening. 

As Thinnan approached the lingam, he noticed blood oozing from the right
eye of the lingam. Immediately, he plucked his own right eye with an
arrow and placed it on the bloody eye. The blood stopped but started
oozing from the left eye. Unhesitatingly, Thinnan proceeded to pluck his
other eye also but to make sure the location of the left eye of the
lingam (as he would not be able to identify in the absence of both
eyes), he  with his footwear still on, kept his foot on the spot. As he
was about to pluck his other eye, Siva appeared before him and stayed
him calling him 'Kannappa'- the one who gave his eye. He restored the
eyesight of the right eye also,  blessed him and disappeared into the
lingam

Comment

Though the Markandeya story is  from  Rajasa Purana which is not
authentic and the Kannappa story is from a later day Saiva Agama  which
some people hold are copycat version from the authentic Satvika Puranas,
they serve to show that the depth of devotion should be such as to
disregard any personal discomfort, loss of limb or injury or even death.
When the devotion is so total, God would certainly save the situation. 

The modern skeptic mind is apt to question how all this could happen.
The answer is that 'there is no knowing the way without going'. If one
could muster up enough intensity of devotion as did Markandeya and
Kannappa, one cannot fail to secure the grace of God. If one does not
succeed, it only means that one's devotion is not perfect. 

Mere disputations will not help. This is true not only in Hinduism but
in every religion of the World. Faith and devotion are the sheet anchors
of all religions. Mutual trust governs all our interactions with family,
friends and society even in our day to day life. This sincerity and
devotion to God is but an extension of the same mutual trust and faith.

12. The power of Dharma ( Tuladhara)

Sage Jajali performed severe penance. Since he sat motionless, sparrows
built nest on his matted  locks of hair and begot children there itself.
When the sage came out of his meditation and saw this phenomenon, he
became proud thinking who else could do such great service by giving
room to sparrows on one's own head. 

An Asareeri (bodyless voice) was heard saying" Oh! Sage! You can never
beat in Dharma the great Tulaadara who lives in Varanasi. He does not
indulge in such self praise". On hearing this, he became curious and
went to Varanasi to meet with Tulaadara. He saw Tulaadara, a Vaisya by
birth, a merchant selling groceries. Even before Jajali could  reach
him, Tulaadara came running to him, narrated to him how he had heard the
ethereal voice and had come to him. The sage was astonished and prayed
Tulaadara to advise him on Dharma. Tulaadara advised him on various
subjects including doing good to living beings, not harming
anyone,simple living, never finding fault with others, desirelessness,
Aachara , granting refuge without expecting any return or pride etc.
Jajali became saner and sober on meeting Tulaadara.

Comment

The story shows that one should never indulge in self praise.
Tulaadara's advice to Jajali are words that should be engraved in gold
for the benefit of mankind all through the ages. The essence is the
emphasis on Dharma - that which sustains the World.
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