By KK Shanmukhan
Bhagavata for students KK Shanmukhan, Kurukshethra Prakasan, Kaloor Towers, Kochi: 682 017, Rs 30.00
The Devas and the Asuras were two groups always warring to conquer power and occupy supremacy of all the three worlds. While the Asuras had many kings from time to time, Indra was the permanent king of the Devas. Whenever there was a war between the two tribes, Lord Vishnu had to intervene or incarnate to deceive or defeat the Asuras.
Rig, Yaju, Sama, and Atharva were the four Vedas which were the encyclopedias of all the knowledge. The Devas mastered them and were the custodians of them. So far as the Vedas were with them it was impossible to defeat them— thought the Asuras. So the Asuras by hoodwinking Brahma stole all the Vedas and hid themselves in the Ocean.
Lord Vishnu, responding to the mass appeals of the Devas including Indra and Brahma himself, took the avtar (incarnation) of a gigantic fish, dived into the fathoms of the ocean. In the terrible battle that ensued between the combined Asura forces and Lord Vishnu, the former was destroyed route and branch and the Vedas were recovered and restored with Brahma.
A boon or a bane?
By Manju Gupta
Bali killed a demon named Dundubhi, when he was the king of Kishkindha. Sugreeva, his younger brother, showed Lord Rama the demon’s carcass and told him why he had chosen to hide in Rishyamooka forest.
He told Lord Rama that the famous sage named Matanga lived in the Rishyamooka mountain. In his attempt to rid the place of the demon Dundubhi, Bali waged a battle against him and ultimately he held the demon by his leg and swung the battered body of Dundubhi at Kishkindha before throwing it away with such force that it went and landed inside the sage’s ashram at which the sage got enraged.
The sage Matanga had built his ashram after years of labour and performing austerity for years. So when he saw the body of Dundubhi inside his ashram, he considered it sacrilegious and shouted, “Who has dared to tarnish my ashram with the body of a bloody corpse?”
When no answer came, he sat down to meditate and discovered it was Bali who had done it. In anger, he cursed Bali and his men saying, “Let Bali and all his men be destroyed if they ever dare to set foot in the forest of Rishyamooka.”
Sugreeva then told Lord Rama, “It is because I know that Bali will hunt me down no matter where I go, so I have decided that the best place for me to hide is the Rishyamooka forest where Bali will not hunt for me as he knows the sage will not leave him alive if he enters the forest. Bali will meet his death at the hands of the sage. That is why this forest is a safe haven for me.”