Wednesday, 8 August 2012

15. Putrakamesti Yaga.

     As agreed, Sage Rishyasringa commenced putrakaameSTi ritual, offering oblations into the sacred fire with ritual acts meticulously contained in hymns.
     All deities along with celestial beings, siddha-s, and also other esteemed sages who by now were the residents of Heavens had assembled in the firmament to receive their part of the offerings.
     Comment: These celestial beings having attained salvation and living in their heavenly abodes do not re-enter our mortal world.  They assemble in their cosmic zone, up above the Fire Altar of the Vedic ritual whenever a yajna is conducted on earth, to receive oblations.
End Comment.
     Those deities who procedurally assembled there approached Lord Brahma and prayed "Oh! God, the rakshasa Ravana, armed with the various boons got from you, is torturing  us all with his intrepid daring, and we are unable to control or restrain him.
     Comment: Hindu mythology has no devils, but has only raakshasa-s, who can hardly be called demons, either.  Not all the raakshasa-s were evil-doers.  Some of the raakshasa-s were the fallen angels who take birth as mortals.  They have their Vedic education, and they perform Vedic rituals and penance etc., thereby they get the patronage of any one of the gods among the Hindu Trinity, viz., Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.  On attaining their cherished boons, they suddenly revolt against their own patron deity/deities and start their atrocities, only to conquer the Heavens, knowing well that they cannot be attained with a mortal body.  In order to contain the upsurge of such violence or the unnatural ascension to Heaven, the deity who gave the boons seeks the help of any of the other two in the Trinity. Then one from the Trinity will take birth as a mortal, as an incarnation of god on earth. Usually Vishnu incarnates himself to eradicate the evils created by the intrepid raakshasa-s.
     Here the celestials bring in a preamble for Vishnu's incarnation as Rama and thus the topic of Ravana occurs in this chapter of Ramayana.  Ravana need not be taken as an evil spirit, devil, hobgoblin or a monstrous being.  He is said to be a Brahman, well versed in all Vedas, musicologist, and a great king of Lanka, with unlimited riches, and very many of his clansmen had vast dominions, and what not. Brahma and Shiva blessed Ravana with boons, but he flouted all the norms in conquering Heavens in which course he did not hesitate to torture anyone who becomes his personal hurdle or hindrance.  Hence it is inevitable for the Trinity to curb Ravana's atrocities, and Vishnu will now be requested by all the deities to incarnate himself on earth. As such, the expression of the word "DEMON" may not always be taken as an ugly and monstrous looking devil or Satan, as per the usual religious conceptualisation of evil.
       In Hinduism evil is not a separate entity from humans, but available in the same personification and resides along with virtue, like the two sides of a coin. These raakshasa-s were also mortals, extraordinary beings with extraordinary powers like god incarnates.  But, with wickedness in their will, monstrosity in mind and a conqueror's ambition in their heart, they were rendered themselves as demons.
End Comment.
     "That malevolent Ravana is tormenting all the three worlds, hating the functionary deities of cosmos, and always desires to assail Indra, the king of all the functionary deities of universe.
     COMMENT: There are eight functionary gods for cosmos in Hindu mythology that keep the cycle of natural law going. Each one is assigned with each of the eight sides of the universe along with a natural function.  They are: 1] Indra, Heaven : East, 2] agn,i Fire-god : southeast, 3] yama, Death-god : South, 4] naiR^iti, Demon-god : southwest, 5] varuNa, Rain-god : west, 6] vaayu, Air-god : Northwest, 7] kubera, god of wealth management : North, 8] iieshaana, god of bliss : Northeast.  The governance of all these deities is Indra's function, since he is the presiding deity of Heaven.
End Comment.
     "That invincible one is further self-conceited by the boons you have accorded, and he is overbearingly torturing the sages, celestial beings like yaksha-s, gandharva-s, asura-s, and like that even the Brahmans.
     COMMENT: The sura and a-sura nomenclatures are commonly found in Vedic literature. Sura is a celestial being and asura is its antonym, usually referred as a demon.  Here it is not so because there are many asura-s who made their abode in heaven, like Rahu, Ketu, and others who attain salvation in this mortal life. Even Ravana came from Heaven, and returned there only at the end of the war with Rama.  Thus a-sura-s are not earthly demons but celestial beings of a kind like other demi-gods, namely yaksha, gandharva, kinnara, kimpurusha etc.
End Comment.
     "The Sun-god will not verily parch Ravana, the Air-god will not puff at his sides, and on seeing Ravana, the lord of the undulating waves, namly the ocean will not pulsate either.
     COMMENT: And ocean hides those undulating waves from Ravana for the waves are his wives whom Ravana may abduct as in the case of Seetha.
End Comment.
     "Thereby, there is a great panic for all of us from that demon with an awesome look, hence oh, god, we pray you to give a thought for his elimination."
      On hearing the representations, Brahma thought for a while and then said "Aha! The idea to kill that evil-minded Ravana is discerned.
     "Ravana, while seeking boon said 'I shall not be killed by gandharva-s, yaksha-s, or by gods, or by other demons...' and I granted him the same.  However, he did not specify about humans then with his scant respect for them, and evidently his death does not occur otherwise."
      In the meanwhile Lord Vishnu, the Lord of the Universe, arrived there mounted on his Eagle-vehicle Garuda.  He saw Brahma standing there contemplating, but all the other gods bowing down and offering prayers addressed to HIM (Vishnu) and appealed to him "Oh! Lord Vishnu, we all desire that you should become the son of the ruler and lord of Ayodhya, namely Dasharatha, through his wives, who are in similitude with the hrii, the virtue, shrii, the affluence, and kiirti, the glory, you have a fourfold transformation and take birth as their sons.
COMMENT: These three hrii, shrii and kiirti were the daughters of Daksha Prajapati in their earlier births.  The hrii is hR^illekha, virtuous disposition - which Queen Kausalya has, and who begot Rama.  The shrii is shriikaara , the affluence of everything, which Queen Sumitra has, by which alone she magnanimously and unhesitatingly advised her son Lakshmana to go along with Rama to the woods.  And the third, kiirti, the glory, and the glory of Kaikay is well known.  The position of this epic minus Kaikay can be imagined, thereby her glory, may it be negative, may be imagined.
End Comment.
     "Sir, on your taking birth as a human through the wives of Dasharatha, you eliminate Ravana in war. His  evil doings have become exacerbating and thorny to all worlds, and he cannot otherwise be eliminated.
     "Ravana with his invigorated doggedness is torturing gods along with eminent saints, gandharva-s, and siddha-s.  He, with his furious insolence is knocking down sages from their celestial abodes, and like that he is knocking down the apsara celestials too from the heavenly gardens Nandana, where they play with delight.  We fervently seek for his elimination, and we all pray to you in this respect.
     "Oh, Vishnu, you are the ultimate recourse for all of us in eliminating the enemies of divinity.  We therefore fervently pray you make up your mind to take birth in human world."  
      On hearing their appeal, Lord Vishnu assured them by saying that he would certainly eliminate that cruel and evil-minded Ravana, along with his sons, grandsons, friends, cousins and relatives, ministers and forces too in war.   He added "I will then reside in human world ruling this earth for eleven thousand years."    
     COMMENT: There is a great lot of discussion whether Vishnu made himself fourfold as Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna, or he himself incarnated along with his main ingredients like conch shell, disc, mace as those three brothers.  This verse says that he 'made himself, or agreed to make himself as fourfold.'  Even then, there are discussions that Rama is a 'full incarnation' puurNa avataara as the 'Supreme is indivisible'.  And his brothers cannot be reckoned as his incarnation – as they become parts of the whole but not the 'whole' itself, he did not divide himself – on the other account.  And the tradition believes that Vishnu did not divide himself but incarnated in one piece, where his brothers are his paraphernalia.  There is no unanimity on this, as yet.
End Comment.
     Then all the groups of gods, sages, gandharva-s, with rudraa-s, and apsarasa-s, extolled Vishnu with prayers of divine exposition.

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