Monday, October 7, 2019

WHY SHAMMI TREE LEAVES EXCAHNGED ON VIJAYA DASAMI ?



This is the story of KAUTSA MUNI.

When he was a young boy, KAUTSA MUNI was sent to RISHI VARTANTU for higher education.
KAUTSA being a brilliant student soon learnt all the 14 Vidyas from RISHI VARTANTU and became expert in all the sciences.
On completion of his education, KAUTSA, now a MUNI…..KAUTSA MUNI expressed his desire to give his RISHI VARTANTU, his guru, GURU DAKSHINA.

RISHI VARTANTU was having none of it and rejected the offering saying “You learnt all the vidyas with utmost faith, implement them, that itself will be my GURU DAKSHINA

But, KAUTSA MUNI was adamant on giving Dakshina as he felt that otherwise the knowledge he learnt will not bear any fruit.

On seeing his disciple’s insistence, annoyed and unhappy RISHI VARTANTU reluctantly agreed and knew that KAUTSA MUNI was from a extremely poor background, deliberately asked KAUTSA MUNI to bring 14 CRORES of GOLD COINS (1 CRORE for each of the 14 Vidyas) with the condition that all the coins must be from the SAME PLACE.

KAUTSA MUNI was stumped and didn’t have a clue how to get such a huge number of GOLD COINS that too from a single place.
After meeting many learned persons, he felt that meeting KING RAGHU of Ayodhya (LORD RAMA’s ancestor) would get him his desired GOLD COINS.


KING RAGHU was famous for his generosity.

KING RAGHU welcomed KAUTSA MUNI warmly and washed his feet with water filled in CLAY POT.
Seeing this, KAUTSA hesitantly informs KING RAGHU “Rajan, I had come here to ask you for 14 CRORES of GOLD COINS to pay GURU DAKSHINA to RISHI VARTANTU, but seeing that you don’t even have a GOLD POT to wash a Rishi’s feet, I better move

KING RAGHU had just spent his entire treasury on doing the VISWAJIT YAGNA and didn’t have any money but the KING  didn’t want a Brahmin to leave empty handed. He requested 2 days time from KAUTSA to arrange for the GOLD COINS.


After deep thought, KING RAGHU felt that attacking KUBERA, the king of Wealth was the best way to get the required 14 CRORE GOLD COIN.
Accordingly, On advise of KAUTSA MUNI, the King RAGHU decided that the war would be fought on SHUDH NAVAMI of Ashwin Masa (9th day of Dasara).

But, KUBERA realizing the strength and bravery of KING RAGHU himself came down to earth, and told KING RAGHU “Raja, I have filled the SHAMMI tree (BANNI tree) on the outskirts of AYADHYA with GOLD COINS. Take as many as you want”.

KING RAGHU handed over all the Gold coins to KAUTSA MUNI. 






KAUTSA MUNI then went and offered all the GOLD COINS to his guru RISHI VARTANTU.

RISHI VARTANTU found that KAUTSA had bought far more extra GOLD COINS than the 14 CRORE asked for.
He returned all the extra coins to KAUTSA MUNI. 

In turn, KAUTSA MUNI returned all the extra coins to KING RAGHU.

KING RAGHU didn’t want to take back what was given in charity and hence he went back to the SHAMMI TREE on the outskirts of AYODHYA and kept  all the remaining GOLD COINS under the same tree. 



The people of AYODHYA after the VIJAYA DASHMI pooja went to this SHAMMI tree, worshipped it and exchanged GOLD COINS amongst themselves.

The tradition continues to this day.
People on the VIJAYA DASHAMI day worship the SHAMMI tree and exchange the leaves of the tree symbolizing the exchange of GOLD COINS and express happiness.


HIDDEN MEANING :
Share what you have.
Exchange leaves, hearts and be happy.
King Raghu had become virtually penniless after VISHWAJIT YAGNA but still he did not keep anything for himself but kept the GOLD COINS returned by KAUTSA MUNI back into the SHAMMI TREE

Friday, September 13, 2019

Hard Bargain

Sparkling Jewels...

A merchant on a casual jaunt through a market, came across a fine specimen of a camel for sale.

The merchant and the camel seller, both skilled negotiators, struck a hard bargain.

The camel seller pleased with his skill of worming out what he felt was a very good price, parted with his camel and the merchant chuffed that he had struck a fantastic bargain, proudly walked home with the latest addition to his large livestock.

On arriving home, the merchant called to his servant to come and help him take out the camel's saddle. The unwieldy heavily padded saddle being too difficult for the servant to manage on his own.

Hidden under the saddle, the servant found a small velvet pouch which on opening he discovered to be filled with precious jewels!!

The servant was overexcited!!!

"Master you bought a camel.....but see what came FREE along with it!!!"

The merchant was astonished as he looked at the jewels in his servants' palm. They were of extraordinary quality sparkling and twinkling in the sunlight.

"I bought the camel" he said, "not the jewels. I must return them to the camel seller immediately."

The servant was aghast.....his master was really foolish. "Master.....no one will know."

But the merchant headed right back to the market and handed over the velvet pouch back to the camel seller.

The camel seller was very happy, " I had forgotten that I hid these jewels in the saddle for safe keeping."

"Here, choose one of the jewels for yourself, as a reward."

The merchant said "I paid a fair price for the camel and the camel only, so NO thank you, I do not need any reward."
But as much as the merchant refused, the camel seller insisted.

Finally the merchant said, sheepishly smiling, " Actually when I decided to bring the pouch back to you, I already took two of the most precious jewels and kept them for myself."

At this confession the camel seller was a bit flabbergasted and quickly emptied the pouch to count the jewels. However he was very confused.

"All my jewels are here. What jewels did you keep?

"The two most precious" said the camel seller.

"My INTEGRITY and my SELF-RESPECT."

Thanks to dear respected Friend TULSI SUKHIJA

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Soul stirring story of Lord Pundalik Maharaj

Sant Pundalik Maharaj was the Saint who made even the LORD VISHNU/KRISHNA/VITTALA  wait and actually got boon for this!
Yes...Its truly an amazing story.
Here it goes...



Pundalik was born around 5th Century.
Pundalik was a self-indulgent person who cared for himself more than anyone else in the World. 

He was living with his wife and parents in a dense forest called Dindirvan.
His parents were great devotees of Lord Krishna. 
After his marriage, influenced by his wife...he started to ill-treat his parents very much.
The ill-treatment was so much that his Parents decided to go on a Pilgrimage to KASHI to escape Pundalik and his wife's treachery.  

When Pundalik’s wife learnt about this, she forced Pundalik to join the old couple and both Pundalik and his wife  joined the old couple along with a  group of pilgrims on horseback.

The Old Couple instead of escaping from ill-treatment actually started receiving more punishment from Pundalik and his wife during the whole journey.
While the son and his wife rode on horseback, the old couple walked.

During the journey, when the Party of this Pilgrims camped for night, Pundalik forced his parents to groom his horse and do other jobs and took DEEP SLEEP himself. The Poor parents were left cursing the day they had decided to go on a Pilgrimage.

HOW THE TRANSFORMATION OF PUNDALIK HAPPENED : 

Soon, the Party reached the Ashram of the Great Sage, KUKKUTSWAMI.
The Team decided to spend a couple of nights in the Ashram.
All the members in the Party were very tired after the long journey and feel asleep immediately. Somehow Pundalik was not able to get sleep. As he was tossing and turning in his bed....he noticed a strange thing.
Just before Day-break, he saw a Group of 3 Beautiful Young Women, who were dressed in Dirty clothes, enter the Ashram.
They cleaned the floor of the Ashram, fetched Water and washed the Sage’s clothes. They entered the Inner Room of the Ashram and when they came out....their dirty clothes had turned into beautifully clean clothes.
And passing by Pundalik, they just vanished in thin Air.
Pundalik was shocked by the what he had seen. But he kept the matter to himself.
Next night, strangely, he saw the same sight again.
The same 3 women came in Dirty clothes, washed the Sage’s clothers, fetched the water, cleaned the Floor of the Ashram and as soon as they came out of the Inner Room of the Ashram...their clothes had turned once again into clean and beautiful clothes.
Pundalik could not resist himself and threw himself at the women’s feet and begged them to tell who they were.
One Women said “We are Ganga, Yamuna and all the Holy rivers”. “People take a dip and bath in us to wash away their sins. The impurity of their mind, body and soul makes us dirty. That’s why you see our clothers in such dirty condition”.

Pundalik was amazed with their answer..

Pundalik wondered how a saint like Kukkut who had not visited Kashi was such holy and powerful that the three holy rivers came down to purify his ashram.


The three women, reading Pundalik’s mind told him “Spirituality, Devotion, Piety does not depend on visiting Holy Places or doing Pooja/rituals but in performing one’s Karma.”
Sage Kukkutswami had served and nursed his parents with utmost devotion all his life. He thus has accumulated enough PUNYA to earn MOKSHA and bring us, the 3 rivers, down the earth to serve him”.
Turning red with anger, they continued “But, you, Pundalik, are the biggest sinner of all because of the way you treat your Parents” and looked at him scornfully.

It was a shocker and a rude awakening for Pundalik. This brought a Transformation in Pundalik’s thinking and attitude.
He decided to take care of his old parents before everything else, even God and started serving with utmost devotion and care.

The tide had turned.
Pundalik managed to convince his wife too to start caring for his parents.
Immediately, from the next day, the Parents rode the Horses while Pundalik and his wife walked by their side.
Pundalik started to massage his parents feets when they were sleeping. The Parents were thrilled and seeing the change in Pundalik and his wife, decided to return back to Dindirvan.

ANOTHER PART OF THE STORY :
One day it so happened that Lord Krishna, the King of Dwarka, while feeling lonely, was reminded of his early days in Mathura. He particularly remembered his sports with the milkmaids, the cowherd boys, and his love, Radha. Though she was dead, he longed to see her again. By his divine powers he brought her back to life and seated her by his side. Just then his queen, Rukmini, entered the room. When Radha did not rise to pay her respect, Rukmini left Dwarka in anger and hid herself in Dindirvan forest. Later, Lord Krishna set off in search of Rukmini. He first went to Mathura, then to Gokul. He met the milkmaids and cowherd boys. They too joined in the search. They went to Mount Govardhan in her search.
At last they reached the banks of the river Bhima or Chandrabhaga in the Deccan. Krishna left his companions at Goplapura, and he himself entered Dindirvan forest alone in search of her. At last he found her and managed to calm her.

LORD VISITS PUNDALIK

Since he was in Dindirvan and Sage Narada was singing praises of Pundalik’s devotion to his parents, the Lord decided to visit Pundalik’s house.
But, when he went to his house, Pundalik was busy massaging his father’s feet.
The Lord called Pundalik and said “Pundalik, I am Lord Krishna. Come outside”
Pundalik could see that it was indeed the Lord who was outside but for him now, it was his parents who were supreme even than the Lord.
He wanted to finish his duties and then attend the Lord. Pundalik had reached such a stage, it did not matter that it was the Lord himself standing. All that mattered was his service to his parents.


Pundalik observed that the floor where Lord Krishna was standing was wet. Hence, he threw a brick outside for lord Krishna to stand upon and said "Please stand on the Brick, my Lord. I will finish my duty to my father and come to you". 

Impressed by Pundalik’s devotion to his parents, Lord Krishna did not mind the delay. Standing on the brick he waited for Pundalik. When Pundalik came out and begged God’s pardon
 





Lord Krishna replied that far from being displeased, he was pleased with his love for his parents.
Moved by this devotion of Pundalik to his parents Lord Krishna blessed him and asked him to ask a boon.
Pundalik asked that the Lord should remain on earth and bless and take care of his devotees.
Lord Krishna agreed to stay there and is known as Vithoba or the Lord who stands on a brick.
The present deity of Panduranga is in this posture, that of a small boy waiting patiently on a piece of brick. The hands on the hip actually reflects the boyish nature of Lord Krishna.
This form of the Lord Vithoba is Swayambhu which means that his idol has not been carved or etched but it came into existence on its own.
Pundalika Temple:

The Pundalika Temple is about half a km from the Vitthala Temple. This temple marks the spot where Pundalika, the Lord’s devotee, spent the last years of his life and also is place of his Samadhi. It is on the riverbank of Chandrabhaga.