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Anec.17 & 18 from Part I: Myths

From: Nutech (Nutech_at_ix.netcom.com)
Date: Sat May 09 1998 - 07:55:03 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,
Please find below Anecdotes 17 and 18 from Part I : Myths
Dasoham
Anbil Ramaswamy
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17. The power of Mantra ( Kacha , Kumbakarna and Vritrasura)

Kacha

Gods and demons used to engage in bitter fights time and again. The
preceptor of Gods was Brihaspathi and that of the demons was
Sukracharya. Sukracharya knew the secret of Sanjeevani Mantra which
could revive the dead to life. So, the slain Asuras were brought back to
life by Sukracharya while the slain Devas were gone forever. The Devas
wanted to find a way out of this impasse and requested Kacha, the son of
Brihaspati to help them.

Kacha approached Sukracharya and beseeched him to take him as a
disciple. Sukracharya could not decline because in those days it was
incumbent on the teacher not to refuse a worthy pupil who sought
knowledge from him. So, the study sessions started. Kacha mastered
everything except the Sanjeevani Mantra. But, he won the love of
Devayani, the beautiful daughter of Sukracharya. 

The Asuras in their natural enmity towards Devas and particularly
towards Kacha since he was the son of Devaguru wanted to finish him off.
Once, they tore him to pieces and cast his flesh to dogs. At the request
of Devayani, Sukracharya brought him back to life. Again, the Asuras
pounded Kacha's body into a paste and mixed it up in sea water. Again at
the insistence of Devayani, Sukracharya  revived Kacha to life. Finally,
the Asuras burnt Kacha's body, mixed the ashes with wine and served it
to Sukracharya, who drank it without suspecting  foulplay. When Devayani
requested her father for a third time, Sukracharya cited the invocatory
psalm of the mantra to find out the whereabouts of Kacha. He found that
he was locked inside his stomach. Angry at the deceit played on him,
Sukracharya pronounced that virtue would desert a person who drank
liquor and will be scorned by all. There was no way he could get Kacha
out alive without himself dying in the process since Kacha would have to
cut asunder his entrails to come out. Sukracharya decided to initiate
Kacha in the Sanjeevani mantra so that he could bring the Guru back to
life after coming out. Kacha learned the Mantra while still in the
stomach of his Guru and when he came out made use of the mantra to
revive Sukracharya. He, however, declined to marry  Devayani on the
ground that since he came out of the body of Sukracharya, he became a
brother to her and marriage between siblings was not possible.   

Kumbakarna                                                       

Kimbakarna was the brother of Ravana, the Rakshasa king. He did penance
invoking Brahma since he wanted to live forever. When Brahma appeared,
instead of asking for 'Nityatva' (live eternally) by slip of the
tongue,he pronounced it as ' Nidratva' (sleep eternally).Ever since,
Kumbakarna is known to be always sleeping except for brief periods as
modified by Brahma himself when prayed for by Ravana.

Vritrasura

Tvashta was the priest of the Asuras. His son Viswarupa was requested to
be the Devapurohita.(preceptor of Devas) by the Devas because they
wanted to know the secret of the Vaishnava vidya (otherwise known as
Narayana Kavacham) which was hidden concealed in the Sukra vidya which 
itself was in the safe custody of the Asuraguru. He agreed to the
proposal,obtained and gave it to Indra. Indra learned the Vidya and
conquered the Asuras. 

But since Viswarupa  was partial to the Asuras who were closely
associated with him, he was suspected to have leaked out some secrets of
the Devas to the Asuras and also diverted some of the vital offerings to
the Asuras stealthily. Indra came to know of this. Also,he was acquiring
the potential to challenge the position of Indra himself. He had three
heads and Indra cut off all his three heads and killed him.

Tvashta having lost his son wanted to wreak vengeance on Indra.He did a
severe penance with view to obtaining another son who would be able to
kill Indra. When he sought the boon, he mispronounced the request to
mean that he should be blessed with a son who would be killed by Indra
instead of asking for one who would kill Indra. 
>From out of the firepit arose a crude and violent figure and this was
Vritra. Lord Narayana gave a special weapon to Indra called Vajrayudha
and advised that only if that was used Vritra could be killed.In a
fight,Vritra actually devoured Indra along with his elephant mount,
Airavatam. Indra came out tearing open Vritra's belly and using the
Vajrayudha killed Vritra.


Comment

The infallibility of the power of Mantra is revealed in these stories.
Mantra means that which protects the person who utters it. When a mantra
is pronounced at the proper time, in a proper manner it will not fail to
yield the desired results as it happened in the case of Kacha.But,
Mantra is also a double edged weapon. If it is not uttered properly with
the proper accent and pronunciation or misspelled or distorted it will
not fail to yield the opposite results as it happened in the case of
Kumbakarna and Vritra. 

That is why in Hindu tradition, a good amount of emphasis is placed on
the correct mode of uttering mantras, if one seeks the desired results.
This emphasis is as valid today as in the days of Kacha, Kumbakarna and
Vritra. Extreme caution is enjoined on those performing the various
yagnas including the Panchamahayagnas ordained for a
Grihasta(householder)to see that the mantras are used properly.

18. The power of Namasmarana (Ajamila and  Anjaneya )

Ajamila
Ajamila was a bad person. A womaniser, he was always after prostitutes.
Besides, there was no sin that he had not committed. At the time of his
death, however, he had a vision of the messengers of death. Scared, he
called out his last son by name Narayana. The very utterance of the word
Narayana at that juncture, he was cleansed of all his sins. The
servitors of Lord Narayana descended down claiming Ajamila's soul and
drove away the messengers of death. The messengers complained to their
master, Yama, the Lord of death. Yama ordered that the messengers should
never go near anyone who uttered the name of Narayana at the time of
death willingly or unwittingly. Such is the power of Namasmarana of Sri
Narayana.

Anjaneya
In Ramayana, we see Sri Rama building the Sethu  bridge across the
ocean, with the help of the monkey battallion, to cross over to Lanka.
But, Sri Anjaneya was able to jump over the ocean by merely reciting the
name of Sri Rama. Thus, Rama Nama proved more powerful than Sri Rama
himself.

Comment

We can allude to any number of instances from our scriptures and even
from contemporary experiences to bring out the potency of uttering God's
name. In fact , all religions set great store by the power of invoking
their respective God's name 
(Ishta devata). Did not the English poet echo this when he said " More
things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of? ". 

In the Hindu traditions reciting the 1000 names(Sahasranama),singing
alone or in group Bhajans are considered to yield the same results in
the present Kali yuga, which severe penance, doing Yagas and Yagnas were
said to have resulted in the earlier Yugas in ensuring spiritual
evolution. 

It is said that congregational singing of God's names is really fruitful
as the comparison goes " One ripe banana in a bunch ripens the rest" -
One Bhakta leading the repetition of God's names can  infuse the
requisite religious fervor in others so that each one's devotion ripens
sufficiently to ensure steps to attain salvation through Bhakti or
Prapatti.
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