Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Again that feeling of missing a train.. Something not right with the world when I can't write because of interruptions.. sometimes tangible are these interruptions, sometimes in my head..

And as I sat tired, quite depressed something miraculous happened. My husband's grandmother, nani, started telling me stories about our gods and goddesses. There was that twinkle in her eye and a catching smile. She was enjoying herself and surprisingly so was I. Some of these stories I have heard before and some I haven't.

Do you know the story behind Tulsi vivaah? She was actually a goddess and one of  Vishnu's many wives. Till Radha decided she was the only main wife and Tulsi could not have him in heaven, had to descend to earth. She cursed Tulsi. Nani was confused with the names, but they are just names of the same form so I am sticking with the names she used. 

So Tulsi came to earth where she got tricked into believing a demon was her husband. But she was a loyal and true wife to the demon, Jalandhar. The demon became so powerful thanks to Tulsi's devotion that he could not be defeated by Shiv as well. And to kill Jalandhar Vishnu came to earth and took his form. Since Tulsi was tricked into believing Vishnu was her husband Jalandhar's powers were lost. Vishnu succeeded to kill him. Tulsi, whom we know was actually Vishnu's wife from a lifetime ago, cursed Vishnu and told him he would he would turn black and be separated from his wife. 

So for his next lifetime he transformed into a black stone and she into the sacred tulsi plant as we know it. The black stone is called Shaligram. And we have a puja where tulsi gets married to Shaligram.  

Sure you could say she had to endure lots. But still I was almost teary eyed to think how after so many lifetimes it finally all worked out for that woman in love. God does have everything neatly planned out for us. Yes apparently am a little crazy about love.

Maybe I should have a disclaimer stating, "who am I to say anything about a man and his relationship with God." Intensely personal. If someone believes that he needs to follow all rituals, everything his elders grilled into him as right and wrong, shubh ashubh, to feel closer to divinity then that is his truth. If someone cares to reject him completely that is his belief. ASR (from my show IPK) is shown an atheist who respects the wishes of everyone around him who are strong believers in puja and god. He will not of his own wishes step into a temple or join his hands in prayer or put a tika. Yet I do think he is one of those who is the closest to god.

And that brings me to a simple story I love. I forget where I read it. I am tempted to think it could possibly be in an English exam in the reading comprehension section.

One day Naarad muni asked Vishnu who was his favourite bhakt..Is the translation, follower? Naarad muni in each breath he takes chants the gods name.. naarayan naarayan.. he felt certain Vishnu would name him his foremost bhakt. But Vishnu surprised him by naming a non descript name. Who was this man, why hadn't naarad muni heard of him? Was a learned sage? Was he a wise maharishi? Vishnu bhagwan told naarad to go see for himself.

So naarad muni went to the man's hut. Yes, he lived in a small hut. He was a farmer. As naarad muni spied on the hut, the sun rose. The farmer got up. Came out of his hut and chanted Vishnu's name once. Took a bath, ate breakfast, went to his fields and toiled all day long. He came back home and as the sun was about to set he took Vishnu bhagwan's name again. Ate dinner and slept.

Naarad munni was astounded and indignant. He came to Vishnu and questioned him. This man only took your name twice and in no way else remembered you or prayed to you all day long, performed no puja, said no prayers and he is your biggest bhakt! How can that be? Vishnu bhagwan calmly replied that naarad should do him a favour and after that he would explain why. 

He told naarad muni that it was of vital importance that the task be completed successfully and so he was being entrusted with it. A small vessel filled to the brim with oil. Naarad had to traverse all the 7 worlds with it held in his hands ensuring that not one drop was filled.

Naarad with all the pride at being chosen for this important task went on his trip. Not one drop was spilt. Not one second was he distracted. Silently and extremely cautiously he held on to the filled vessel. He successfully completed his journey and came to Vishnu. Almost smug with himself he showed Vishnu how perfectly he had completed the work.

Vishnu complimented him and then asked him. How many times did you take my name on the trip? naarad muni was baffled. He had to concentrate, so he had not chanted his usual.. naarayan naarayan. Vishnu bhagwan smiled.

He explained. The farmer completes all his work. karma. he does all that he is supposed to with utmost devotion. And while he does all that no matter how good or bad the day, he still finds one moment of peace to remember me. thank me. be with me. I need nothing more.

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