Arjun’s Penance to Lord Shiva

Mount Indrakila, in the mighty Himalayas, was a tranquil abode to many sages who conducted prayers and performed severe penances the gods.

One day, the sages saw a stranger walking towards their abode. They noticed that even though the stranger was wearing sage’s saffron clothes, he looked nothing like one. He was tall, well-built and was carrying weapons. On seeing the golden hilt of the sword, they recognized the stranger to be the Pandava prince, Arjun.

One of the sages whispered, “The Pandavas were banished from their kingdom, after losing a game of dice with Duryodhan. But what is Prince Arjun doing here?”

Arjun walked silently to a secluded spot and sat down to make a Shiva linga from mud to perform severe penances to Lord Shiva. He didn’t stop his penance for anything. After a few months, the earth around him was unable to bear the heat of his penance and started emanating black smoke around him. The smoke spread throughout Mount Indrakila, and the sages fled to Mount Kailash.

They approached Lord Shiva, who was sitting beside Goddess Parvati, and pleaded to intervene. Lord Shiva smiled and replied, “Please go back to Mount Indrakila. I will resolve your problem.”

After the sages left, Lord Shiva could see doubts clouding the Goddess Parvati’s’ face. He asked her, “What is troubling you? Don’t hesitate to ask.”

Goddess Parvati asked him, “Why is Arjun performing such severe penance?” He replied, “Because he wants blessed weapons for the impending war.” She still had her doubts and asked, “Do you believe that he will use the weapons wisely?” “Well, we will have to find that out,” he replied.

Lord Shiva told her about his plan to test Arjun. He disguised himself as a Kirata Chief (Kirata is a clan of mountain dwellers), and asked Goddess Parvati and some of his followers to dress up as Kirata women.

When they were nearing Mount Indrakila, Goddess Parvati pointed at a wild boar at some distance and said, “That does not look like an ordinary boar.” Lord Shiva looked at it and said, “You are right. That looks like the Asura, Muka. He seems to heading towards the sages to disrupt their prayers.”

Lord Shiva took an aim at the demon with his bow and arrow, but the demon sensed the presence of Lord Shiva and fled. Lord Shiva chased him to the sage’s abode, and as soon as the sages saw the boar charging towards them they started running, screaming for help.

Muka ran to the spot where Arjun was performing his penance. Arjun sensed the boar’s presence and opened his eyes. He took up his bow and arrow to kill it. When Lord Shiva also reached the spot, he said, “Stop! That is my prey. You cannot kill it.” Arjun was not able to recognize Lord Shiva in disguise and replied, “I will not put down my bow. If you are a true hunter take your aim and kill it.”

Both shot their arrows at the boar. As soon as arrows pierced, the animal resumed its original demonic self and died. The Kirata women watching the demon fall down to his death, started dancing and celebrating.

But it was not clear who had struck the boar first, and neither party was ready to concede defeat. The Kirata women argued, “He is lying, O chief! You killed the boar before him.” Arjun did not like to be insulted so challenged the Kirata chief for a duel.

Soon, arrows started flying between Arjun and Lord Shiva. They hurled their best arrows at each other, but neither of them was hurt. Suddenly, Arjun realized that his quiver of arrows was empty. Lord Shiva smiled at him and offered, “You can borrow some arrows from me.” Hearing this, the Kirata women started mocking Arjun.

Arjun angrily threw his bow at the hunter, who caught it, tore the string and flung it away. Not able to control his anger, Arjun took his sword, and charged him with all his might. The sword dissolved into flowers as it struck the hunter. Everyone was surprised to see the miracle, and the Kirata women cheered their chief.

Refusing to lose, Arjun picked up a tree with his bare hands and hurled it at the hunter, who dodged it easily. Unable to concede defeat, he decided to pray to Lord Shiva for strength. He sat down in front of the linga and started chanting “Om Namaah Shivaya” and placed a garland on the linga.

Soon, he felt strength infuse his body. Happy that his prayers had been heard, he turned towards the Kirata hunter and said, “Lord Shiva had blessed me with strength. Come, let’s see who wins now.” But then, he saw the linga was placed next to where the hunter was standing.

When Arjun realized that the Kirata chief was none other than Lord Shiva in disguise, he bowed in front of him and said, “Please pardon me, Lord. I didn’t know who I was fighting.” Lord Shiva replied, “O valiant prince, you have appeased me with your devotion. I grant you this Pashupata, the blessed arrow to aid you in your war.”

Years later, during Mahabharata, Arjun used the Pashupata arrow to defeat Karna.

Lord Shiva’s gift to Arjun

Lord Shiva & Mohini

Mohini is the only female avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu. She is portrayed as an enchantress, who maddens lovers, sometimes leading them to their doom. Many different legends tell of her various exploits and marriages, including union with Lord Shiva.

Mohini also has an active history in the destruction of demons throughout Hindu texts. In the Vishnu Purana, Mohini defeats Bhasmasura, the “ash-demon”. Bhasmasura invokes God Shiva by performing severe penances. Lord Shiva, pleased with Bhasmasura, grants him the power to turn anyone into ashes by touching their head. The demon decides to try the power on Lord Shiva himself. Shiva runs terrified. Lord Vishnu, witnessing the unfortunate turn of events, transforms into Mohini and charms Bhasmasura. Bhasmasura is so taken by Mohini that he asks her to marry him. Mohini agrees, but only on the condition that Bhasmasura follows her move for move in a dance. In the course of the dance, she places her hand on her head. Bhasmasura mimics the action, and in turn, reduces himself to ashes.

After Lord Vishnu deceives the demons by his female form, Lord Shiva wishes to see the bewildering Mohini again. When Vishnu agrees and reveals his Mohini form, Lord Shiva runs crazily behind Mohini, while the abandoned wife Goddess Parvati looks on in shame and envy. Lord Shiva is overcome by Kama (love and desire).

Lord Shiva grabs Mohini’s hand and embraces her, but Mohini frees herself and runs further. Finally, Lord Shiva grabs her and their “violent coupling” leads to discharge of Lord Shiva’s seed. Lord Shiva impregnates Mohini, who gives birth to Lord Ayyappa. They abandon Ayyappa in shame.

The legend highlights Vishnu’s protests to be Mohini again and also notes that Ayyappa is born of Vishnu’s thigh as Mohini does not have a real womb. Another variant says that instead of a biological origin, Lord Ayyappa sprang from Shiva’s semen, which he ejaculated upon embracing Mohini. Lord Ayyappa is referred to as Hariharaputra, “the son of Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (Hara)”, and grows up to be a great hero.

Lord Shiva chases after Mohini

Lord Shiva chases after Mohini

Brahmacharya and It’s Virtues

Introduction of Brahmacharya

Brahmacharya literally means “going after Brahman (Supreme Reality, Self or God)”. In one context, Brahmacharya is the first of four Ashrama (age-based stages) of a human life, with Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (forest dweller) and Sannyasa (renunciation) being the other three Ashramas.

The Brahmacharya (bachelor) stage of one’s life, up to 25 years of age, was focused on education and included the practice of celibacy. In this context, it connotes chastity during the student stage of life for the purposes of learning from a Guru (teacher), and during later stages of life for the purposes of attaining Moksha (spiritual liberation).

In another context, Brahmacharya is the virtue of celibacy when unmarried and fidelity when married. It represents a virtuous lifestyle that also includes simple living, meditation and other behaviors. In the Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist monastic traditions, Brahmacharya implies, among other things, the mandatory renunciation of sex and marriage. It is considered necessary for a monk’s spiritual practice. Western notions of the religious life as practiced in monastic settings mirror these characteristics.

 

Brahmacharya as a Virtue

Brahmacharya is a form of self-restraint which is regarded as a virtue. For a married practitioner it means marital fidelity (not cheating on one’s spouse). For a single person it means celibacy.

It is known that the virtue of Brahmacharya leads to the profit of Virya. This Sanskrit word, Virya, has been variously translated as virility and, by Vyasa, as strength and capacity. Vyasa explains that this virtue promotes other good qualities. Other ancient and medieval era texts of Hinduism describe the fruits of this virtue differently. Many great sages explained that Brahmacharya must be understood as the voluntary restraint of power.

Within the Upanishad’s verses there are mentions of Brahmacharya as a sacrament and sacrifice which, once perfected, leads to realization of the soul or Self (Atman), and thereafter becomes the habit of experiencing the soul in others. It is believed that Brahmacharya leads to the increase in Jnana-Shakti (power of knowledge) and Kriya-Shakti (power of action).

The great epic Mahabharata describes the objective of Brahmacharya as knowledge of Brahman. Brahmacharya leads one to union with the Supreme Soul or Self. By subduing desire, the practice of self-restraint enables the student to learn, pay attention in thought, word and deed to the Guru (teacher), and discover the truth embodied in the Vedas and Upanishads.

According to the epic, the practice of studying and learning requires the “aid of time,” as well as personal effort, ability, discussion, and practice, all of which are helped by the virtue of Brahmacharya. A Brahmacharya should do useful work, and the earnings he obtains should be given away as Dakshina (“fee,” “gift of thanks”) to the Guru. The epic declares that Brahmacharya is an essential part of the path in perfecting perseverance and the pursuit of knowledge.

Lord Chitragupta

Lord Chitragupta

Lord Chitragupta

Lord Chitragupta is a deity that is responsible with the task of keeping records of actions and deeds committed by humans on earth. Based on their actions on earth, Lord Chitragupta will have to decide for humans to either enter heaven or hell upon their death. Chitragupta is the son of Lord Brahma, The Lord of Creation.

According to a popular tale in the birth of Lord Chitragupta, when Lord Brahma gave the land of the dead towards Lord Yama, the Lord of death, Lord Yama would constantly get confused when the souls of the dead arrived to him and he would at times send the wrong souls to heaven and hell. Lord Brahma instructed Lord Yama to keep better track of the humans but Lord Yama argued that he could not possibly keep track of the innumerable amount of people within earth so he could decide to place them in heaven or hell once they are dead. In order to solve this issue, Lord Brahma decided to meditate for many thousands of years. Finally, once he opened his eyes, a man stood before him holding a pen and a paper in his hands.

Lord Chitragupta is sometimes known as the first man to use alphabets. He is known to be incredibly meticulous, and with his pen and paper he tracks down every action of every sentient life form, building up a database and record of them over the course of their life so that when they die the destination and fate of their soul can be easily decided.

Items associated with Lord Chitragupta are the paper and pen, ink, honey, betel nut, matches, mustard, sugar and sandalwood. A prayer is often performed to Chitragupta in reverence of the four virtues he is seen to embody: justice, peace, literacy, and knowledge. Part of the Chitragupta prayer also includes writing down how much money you make in your household, and how much you need to make to survive in the following year, while making offerings of turmeric, flowers, and vermilion.

MantraOṃ Shri Chitraguptaay Namaḥ

Lord Hanuman’s Adventures in Ramayana

Lord Hanuman is a deity and an ardent devotee of the Lord Ram. He is one of the central figures in the Hindu epic Ramayana and its various versions. He is also mentioned in several other texts, including the Mahabharata, the various Puranas and some Jain texts. Lord Hanuman participated in Ram’s war against the demon king Ravan. Several texts also present him as an incarnation of Lord Shiva. He is the son of Anjana and Kesari and is also described as the son of the Wind-God Pawan, who according to several stories, played a role in his birth. He belonged to a tribe called “Vanar”, residing in a deep forest and not civilized as compared to other communities of their time, but certainly not a monkey as portrayed in various sources.

Lord Hanuman

Lord Hanuman

 

Birth

Hanuman was born to the Anjaneri mountain. His mother Anjana was an Apsara who was born on earth due to a curse. She was redeemed from this curse on giving birth to a son. The Valmiki Ramayana states that his father Kesari was the son of Brihaspati, the King of a place named Sumeru. Anjana performed intense prayers lasting 12 long years to Lord Shiva to get a child. Pleased with their devotion, Lord Shiva granted them the boon they sought. Hanuman, in another interpretation, is the incarnation or reflection of Lord Shiva himself.

Hanuman is often called the son of the deity Vayu (Wind God). Several different traditions account for the Vayu’s role in Hanuman’s birth. One story mentioned that Anjana and her husband Kesari prayed Lord Shiva for a child. By Shiva’s direction, Vayu transferred his male energy to Anjana’s womb. Accordingly, Hanuman is identified as the son of the Vayu.

 

Childhood

As a child, believing the sun to be a ripe mango, Lord Hanuman pursued it in order to eat it. Rahu, a Vedic planet corresponding to an eclipse, was at that time seeking out the sun as well, and he clashed with Hanuman. Hanuman thrashed Rahu and went to take the sun in his mouth. Rahu approached Lord Indra, King of Devas, and complained that a monkey child stopped him from taking on Sun, preventing the scheduled eclipse. This enraged Lord Indra, who responded by throwing the Vajra (thunderbolt) at Hanuman, which struck his jaw. He fell back down to the earth and became unconscious. Upset over the attack, Hanuman’s father figure Lord Vayu (the deity of wind) went into seclusion, withdrawing air along with him. As living beings began to asphyxiate, Lord Indra withdrew the effect of his thunderbolt. The Devas then revived Hanuman and blessed him with multiple boons to appease Lord Vayu.

On ascertaining Lord Surya, the Sun God, to be an all-knowing teacher, Hanuman raised his body into an orbit around the sun and requested to Surya to accept him as a student. Surya refused and explained claiming that he always had to be on the move in his chariot, it would be impossible for Hanuman to learn well. Undeterred, Hanuman enlarged his form, with one leg on the eastern ranges and the other on the western ranges, and facing Lord Surya again pleaded. Pleased by his persistence, Surya agreed. Hanuman then learned all of the latter’s knowledge. When Hanuman then requested Surya to quote his “guru-dakshina” (teacher’s fee), the latter refused, saying that the pleasure of teaching one as dedicated as him was the fee in itself. Hanuman insisted, whereupon Surya asked him to help his (Surya’s) spiritual son Sugriva. Hanuman later became Sugriva’s minister.

Hanuman was mischievous in his childhood, and sometimes teased the meditating sages in the forests by snatching their personal belongings and by disturbing their well-arranged articles of worship. Finding his antics unbearable, but realizing that Hanuman was but a child, (albeit invincible), the sages placed a mild curse on him by which he became unable to remember his own ability unless reminded by another person.

Hanuman chasing after the Sun

Hanuman trying to eat the sun

 

Adventures In Ramayana

Meeting with Lord Ram

Lord Hanuman meets Lord Ram during the latter’s 14-year exile. With his brother Lakshmana, Ram is searching for his wife Sita who had been abducted by Lord Ravan. Their search brings them to the vicinity of the mountain Rishyamukha, where Sugriva, along with his followers and friends, are in hiding from his older brother Vali.

Having seen Ram and Lakshmana, Sugriva sends Hanuman to ascertain their identities. Hanuman approaches the two brothers in the guise of a Brahmin. His first words to them are such that Ram says to Lakshmana that none could speak the way the Brahmin did unless he or she had mastered the Vedas. When Ram introduces himself, the Brahman identifies himself as Hanuman and falls prostrate before Ram, who embraces him warmly. Thereafter, Hanuman’s life becomes interwoven with that of Ram. Hanuman then brings about friendship and alliance between Ram and Sugriva; Ram helps Sugriva regain his honor and makes him King of Kishkindha by defeating Vali. Sugriva and his Vanaras (monkey clan), most notably Hanuman, in return agree to help Ram defeat Lord Raavan and reunite with Sita.

Hanuman and Lord Ram

Hanuman and Lord Ram

In their search for Sita, a group of Vanaras reaches the southern seashore. Upon encountering the vast ocean, every vanara begins to lament his inability to jump across the water. Hanuman too is saddened at the possible failure of his mission, until the other vanaras and the wise bear Jambavan begin to extol his virtues. Hanuman then remembers his own powers, enlarges his body, and flies across the ocean till he finally reached Lanka.

Hanuman remembers his powers

Hanuman remembers his powers

 

Finding Sita

Hanuman reaches Lanka through air jump and marvels at its beauty. After he finds Sita in captivity in a garden, Hanuman reveals his identity to her, reassures her that Ram has been looking for her, and uplifts her spirits. He offers to carry her back to Ram, but she refuses his offer, saying it would be an insult to Ram as his honor is at stake. In order to give Sita faith, Hanuman gives her a ring that Ram wanted Hanuman to give her. After meeting Sita, Hanuman begins to wreak havoc, gradually destroying the palaces and properties of Lanka. He kills many rakshasas (demons). To subdue him, Ravan’s son Indrajit uses the Brahmastra. Though immune to the effects of this weapon Hanuman, out of respect to Lord Brahma, allows himself be bound. Deciding to use the opportunity to meet Lord Ravan, and to assess the strength of Ravan’s hordes, Hanuman allows the rakshasa warriors to parade him through the streets. He conveys Ram’s message of warning and demands the safe return of Sita. He also informs Ravan that Ram would be willing to forgive him if he returns Sita honorably.

Hanuman gives Sita the ring

Hanuman gives Sita the ring

Enraged, Ravan orders Hanuman’s execution, whereupon Ravan’s brother Vibhishana intervenes, pointing out that it is against the rules of engagement to kill a messenger. Ravan then orders Hanuman’s tail be lit with fire. As Ravan’s forces attempted to wrap cloth around his tail, Hanuman begins to lengthen it. After frustrating them for a while, he allows it to burn, then escapes from his captors, and with his tail on fire he burns down large parts of Lanka. After extinguishing his flaming tail in the sea, he returns to Ram.

Hanuman burns Lanka

Hanuman burns Lanka

 

The War

In the war between Ram and Ravan, when Lakshmana is badly wounded during the battle against Indrajit, Hanuman is sent to fetch the Sanjivani, a powerful life-restoring herb, from Dronagiri mountain in the Himalayas, to revive him. Ravan realises that if Lakshmana dies, a distraught Ram would probably give up, and so he dispatches the sorcerer Kalanemi to intercept Hanuman. Kalanemi, in the guise of a sage, deceives Hanuman, but Hanuman uncovers his plot with the help of an apsara (celestial nymph), whom he rescues from her accursed state as a crocodile.

Ravan, upon learning that Kalanemi has been slain by Hanuman, summons Lord Surya to rise before its appointed time because the physician Sushena had said that Lakshmana would perish if untreated by daybreak. Hanuman realizes the danger, however, and, becoming many times his normal size, detains the Sun God to prevent the break of day. He traps Surya in his armpits and then resumes his search for the precious herb, but, when he finds himself unable to identify which herb it is, he lifts the entire mountain and delivers it to the battlefield in Lanka. Sushena then identifies and administers the herb, and Lakshmana is saved. Ram embraces Hanuman, declaring him as dear to him as his own brother. Hanuman releases Lord Surya from his armpit, and asks forgiveness, as the Sun was also his Guru (teacher).

Hanuman lifts the mountain

Hanuman lifts the mountain

 

Honors

Shortly after he is crowned Emperor upon his return to Ayodhya, Ram decides to ceremoniously reward all his well-wishers. At a grand ceremony in his court, all his friends and allies take turns being honored at the throne. Hanuman approaches without desiring a reward. Seeing Hanuman come up to him, an emotionally overwhelmed Ram embraces him warmly, declaring that he could never adequately honor or repay Hanuman for the help and services he received from the noble Vanara. Sita, however, insists that Hanuman deserved honor more than anyone else, and Sita gives him a necklace of precious stones adorning her neck.

When he receives it, Hanuman immediately takes it apart, and peers into each stone. Taken aback, many of those present demand to know why he is destroying the precious gift. Hanuman answers that he was looking into the stones to make sure that Ram and Sita are in them, because if they are not, the necklace is of no value to him. At this, a few mock Hanuman, saying his reverence and love for Ram and Sita could not possibly be as deep as he implies. In response, Hanuman tears his chest open, and everyone is stunned to see Ram and Sita literally in his heart.

Ram & Sita in Hanuman's heart

Ram & Sita in Hanuman’s heart

 

After the War

After the war, and after reigning for several years, the time arrived for Ram to depart to the world above. Many of Ram’s entourage, including Sugriva, decided to depart with him. Hanuman, however, requested from Ram that he will remain on earth as long as Ram’s name was venerated by people. Ram accorded Hanuman that desire, and granted that his image would be installed at various public places, so he could listen to people chanting Ram’s name. He is one of the Chiranjivi (immortals) of Hinduism.

 

END.

Lord Indra

The King of the Gods

The King of the Gods

Lord Indra is the leader of the Devas (Gods) and the Lord of Svargaloka or a level of Heaven in Hinduism. He is the God of rain and thunderstorms. He wields a lightning thunderbolt known as Vajra and rides on a white elephant known as Airavata. Lord Indra is the most important deity worshiped by the Rigvedic tribes. His home is situated on Mount Meru in the heavens.

In the Puranas, Lord Indra is bestowed with a heroic and almost brash and amorous character at times, but he also commits many kinds of mischief for which he is sometimes punished. His reputation and role diminished with the rise of the Trimurti.

Aspects of Lord Indra as a deity are cognate to other Indo-European gods; they are either thunder gods such as ThorPerun, and Zeus, or gods of intoxicating drinks such as Dionysus.

Lord Indra is, with Lord Varuna and Lord Mitra, one of the Adityas (the chief gods) of the Rigveda besides Lord Agni and others such as the Ashvins. He delights in drinking soma.

In the Rigveda, Indra is the god of thunder and rain and a great warrior who battles with the water obstructing serpent Vritra. He also leads the Devas (the gods who form and maintain Heaven) and the elements, such as the god of fire, Lord Agni, the sun god Lord Surya, and Lord Vayu of the wind. He constantly wages war against the opponents of the gods, the demonized Asuras.

As the god of war, he is also regarded as one of the Guardians of the Directions, representing the East. As the most popular god of the Vedic Indians, Lord Indra has about 250 hymns dedicated to him in the Rigveda. The rainbow is known as Lord Indra’s bow.

 

Significance of Lord Indra

Lord Indra is described with more human characteristics and vices than any other Vedic deity. Modern Hindus tend to see Lord Indra as minor deity in comparison to others in the Hindu pantheon, such as Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, or Goddess Shakti. A story illustrating the subjugation of Lord Indra’s pride is illustrated in the story of Govardhan hill where Lord Krishna, an avatar or incarnation of Lord Vishnu carried the hill and protected his devotees when Lord Indra, angered by non-worship of him, launched rains over the village.

In Mahabharata, Lord Indra became afraid of the fighting prowess of Karna and he himself took the form of a bee and stung Karna’s thigh. Once at the end of his training, Karna happened to offer Lord Parashuram his lap so his guru could rest his head and nap. But while Lord Parashuram was asleep, Lord Indra in the form of a bee, stung Karna’s thigh and despite the pain, Karna did not move, so as not to disturb his guru‘s sleep. With blood oozing from his wound, it trickled down his leg and woke Lord Parashuram. Lord Parashuram had an intense hatred towards the Kshatriyas.

Convinced that only a Kshatriya could have borne such pain in silence, Lord Parashuram realized that Karna had lied and cursed his student that he would forget all the knowledge required to wield the divine weapon Brahmanda Astra, at the moment of his greatest need. Later this incident saved the life of Lord Indra’s son, Arjuna from certain death.

 

Lord Indra and the Ants

In this story from the Brahmavaivarta Purana, Lord Indra defeats Vṛtrá and releases the waters. Elevated to the rank of King of the gods, Lord Indra orders the heavenly craftsman, Vishvakarma, to build him a grand palace. Full of pride, Lord Indra continues to demand more and more improvements for the palace. At last, exhausted, Vishvakarma asks Lord Brahma the Creator for help.

Lord Brahma in turn appeals to Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Being. Lord Vishnu visits Lord Indra’s palace in the form of a Brahmin boy; Lord Indra welcomes him in. Lord Vishnu praises Lord Indra’s palace, casually adding that no former Indra had succeeded in building such a palace. At first, Lord Indra is amused by the Brahmin boy’s claim to know of former Indras.

But the amusement turns to horror as the boy tells about Lord Indra’s ancestors, about the great cycles of creation and destruction, and even about the infinite number of worlds scattered through the void, each with its own Indra. The boy claims to have seen them all. During the boy’s speech, a procession of ants had entered the hall. The boy saw the ants and laughed. Finally humbled, Lord Indra asks the boy why he laughed. The boy reveals that the ants are all former Indras.

Another visitor enters the hall. He is Lord Shiva, in the form of a hermit. On his chest lies a circular cluster of hairs, intact at the circumference but with a gap in the middle. Shiva reveals that each of these chest hairs corresponds to the life of one Indra. Each time a hair falls, one Indra dies and another replaces him.

No longer interested in wealth and honor, Lord Indra rewards Vishvakarma and releases him from any further work on the palace. Lord Indra himself decides to leave his life of luxury to become a hermit and seek wisdom. Horrified, Lord Indra’s wife Shachi asks the priest Brihaspati to change her husband’s mind. He teaches Lord Indra to see the virtues of both the spiritual life and the worldly life. Thus, at the end of the story, Lord Indra learns how to pursue wisdom while still fulfilling his kingly duties.

Lord Indra

Lord Indra

Lord Shani

Lord Shani is one of the Navagrahas (the nine primary celestial beings in Hindu astrology). Lord Shani is embodied in the planet Saturn and is the Lord of Saturday. Lord Shani is also known as Lord Sanaiscara. The word Shani also denotes the seventh day of the week or Saturday in most Indian languages.

 

Legends

Lord Shani is a Deva (Deity) and son of Lord Surya and his wife Chhaya, the Goddess of shadow, hence also known as Chayyaputra. He is the elder brother of Lord Yama, the Hindu god of death, who in some scriptures corresponds to the deliverance of justice. Lord Surya’s two sons Lord Shani and Lord Yama are judges. Lord Shani gives the results of one’s deeds in life through appropriate punishments and rewards; Lord Yama grants the results of one’s deeds after death.

It is said that when Lord Shani opened his eyes as a baby for the very first time, the sun went into an eclipse, which clearly denotes the impact of Lord Shani on astrological charts. He is known as the greatest teacher and well wisher for the righteous as well the greatest punisher for those who follow the path of evil, betrayal, backstabbing and unjust revenge. Lord Shani is also known as the Lord of Masses & God of Punishment and his blessings are thus considered very important in an individual’s horoscope for bestowing him with mass following and popularity. He is depicted dark in color, clothed in black, holding a sword, arrows and two daggers and mounted on a crow.

 

Symbolism and Traditions

Lord Shani along with Lord Yama, are associated with the crow in Hindu mythology. Throughout Hindu mythology crows represent harmful and inauspicious characteristics, both of which Lord Shani possesses. Hindu traditions often include the worship of Lord Shani in order to dispel dangerous ghosts and other supernatural beings. Worshipers also perform healing rituals and exorcisms that derive from local and regional folk traditions.

Lord Shani

Lord Shani