Tuesday, January 8, 2013



Introduction to the story of Sage Jamadagni: 

Sai Ram. Let us take up the story of Sage Jamadagni this month. Readers of this series of Stories of Sages will remember this sage from the first two, Sage Chyavana and Sage Bhrigu. For the sake of completion, we will present the relevant portion here.

The lineage of Bhrigu:

The lineage of sage Bhrigu is indeed illustrious: Chyavana, Jamadagni, Parasurama etc.
The sage Bhrigu got Chyavana through Puloma and Chyavana begot a son Rucheeka, who married Satyavathi, daughter of Gadhi, son of King Kusika. We have an interesting story about this marriage. When sage Rucheeka approached King Gadhi for the hand of Satyavathi, the king put a condition to the sage, that he would give his daughter in marriage if the sage gives him a thousand horses white in body color but with dark ears. The concept of Kanya Sulkam (a tax for giving one’s daughter) probably started that time! It may be that the king wanted to test the powers of the sage and wanted to see whether the sage can take care of his daughter after the marriage. In any case, sage Rucheeka accepted the challenge and prayed to Varuna, who obliged the sage readily. Thus the condition was met and the marriage took place.

It may be noted that the concepts of Kanya Dan and Kanya Sulka got degraded in the later ages due to the Yuga Dharma. The original concepts were with a lot of insight.

Birth of Jamadagni:

Sage Rucheeka took his wife Satyavathi and went to his ashram. When Satyavathi wanted children, sage Rucheeka told her that he would create a divine rice pudding, which would give her a child. Satyavathi requested her husband to help her mother too (Gadhi did not have a son and the life and marriage is considered incomplete without a male child). So, Rucheeka meditated on Para Brahma (The Ultimate Principle) and created two vessels with divine rice preparation. He showed her the two vessels and told her that one of them is brahmyam (full of the brahminic energies, Satva guna) and the second Kshatram (full of the fighting warrior clan’s energies, rajo guna). He tells her that after bath, she and her mother should hug a fig tree and an Aswattha tree respectively and then they should consume the respective rice puddings.
However, due to destiny, the two vessels got interchanged and Satyavathi ate the pudding bearing kshatriya energies and her mother the brahminic one. There is another variant to the story that the mother of Satyavathi interchanged the vessels deliberately because she felt that Sage Rucheeka would give the ‘better’ child to his own wife. Thus jealousy played the part of destiny! Rucheeka saw with his divine vision about the mix up and told his wife that she was bearing a cruel kshatriya foetus in her womb and not a brahminic one. Satyavathi was saddened and prayed to her husband to prevent the calamity through his yogic powers. He agreed and with his yogic powers transferred the change to his grandson (to the next generation).

Sai Ram. On one hand, we are told that destiny is inviolable and on the other hand, we are given such instances where the destiny is changed. We come across a wonderful story in Sri Guru Charitra of a Brahmin boy being restored to life after dying from tuberculosis. When questioned about it, Sri Guru shows the questioner the wonderful incident where a part of the life span in the next birth is transferred to the present birth. The story of Markandeya is another example. How to reconcile these two points of view?
It may be that destiny is indeed inviolable but since destiny is the Will of God and no individual knows the same fully, one should do one’s duty and leave the result to God. The sages get some divine perceptions and do what is needed as per that. Sai Baba also showed many such miracles where He could modify the destiny of several devotees including Bhimaji Patil. Sai Ram. Let us now revert back to the story.

Thus a brahminic sage Jamadagni was born to Rucheeka and the kshatriya energies took shape when Jamadagni got a son Rama in due course of time (Who becomes famous as Bhargava Rama and as Parashu Rama since He was carrying a divine Axe as His weapon). Satyavathi’s mother gave birth to a wonderful child who was full of brahma teja (satvik qualities). Thus, though born as a king, Kusika’s grandson, variously known as Gadheya, Kausika and Viswamitra became world famous for his qualities as a Brahmarshi. We will learn more about him when we take up his story in detail.

The curse of Sun God:

Jamadagni married Renuka and was leading a happy married life. He was as well read as his illustrious father and forefathers in all Vedas and Shastras and he acquired enormous powers because of his penance. Once he went to the bank of river Narmada along with his wife Renuka and as fate would have it, felt the desire to have sexual relationship with her in the day time. Since the area was uninhabited, the sage felt that there is no problem for his privacy. When the couple was thus sporting, the Sun God (who is also called as Karma Sakshi, the witness to all our actions) came in human form as a Brahmin and told the sage that what he was doing is not dharma (and especially a learned sage like him should set an example to others). Renuka felt shy at the sight of a brahmin as she was naked and thus the whole mood was spoilt. (A similar story is there about Siva and Parvathi and in that case, resulted in a curse that whoever enters that area will become a woman!) The sage was angry at the interruption (that act is also not dharma, one should not interrupt a person in sleep, in the act of eating, sex, and other natural functions) and cursed Sun God to be afflicted by Rahu (the Surya Grahana has its origin in this curse). The Sun God in turn cursed the sage to meet humiliation and death at the hands of a king. In those times, the sages were beyond death because of their great tapas and were free from disease. They were honored and respected by all others, esp. the kshatriyas. This curse planted the seeds for the death of Jamadagni at the hands of Kartaviryarjuna and then later again at the hands of that king’s sons. It also led to Parasu Rama slaughtering all the kshatriya kings on the earth. We will learn more of that later. Sage Jamadagni gave a further curse to Sun God that He will be considered as a Paapi (malefic) and Lord Brahma came and intervened and pacified both of them. He modified the curses of sage Jamadagni so that the splendor of Sun God is unaffected (except temporarily like when covered by clouds and at a few other times). This story has a lot of esoteric significance and also has significance from the angle of astrology. It is explained nicely by Sadguru Sivanandamurthy in his excellent book, Margadarsakulu Maharshulu (sages as seers and as guides).

The beheading of Renuka and her coming back to life:

In course of time, Jamadagni and Renuka got five sons, Rushunvantha, Sushena, Vasu, Viswavasu and Rama (Parasurama). They were growing up nicely. It was the habit of Renuka (a temple and a pond in her honor – Renuka ji is on the way from Ambala to Simla in Himachal Pradesh and is a picturesque spot) to go daily to river and bring water in an earthen pot. Once when the pot slipped from her hands, she just scooped some river sand and shaped it into a pot by her hands, and that held water because of her spiritual powers. (A similar story is told about Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi in Shri Sai Satcharitra that He was watering the plants using raw earthen pots supplied by a disciple named Vaman Tatya and at the end of each day the pots were breaking up and fresh pots were being supplied every day). One day, as fate would have it, she saw a Gandharva king named Chitraradha sporting with his many wives in the river. She stood watching the sport and though at the conscious level she was unaffected, at the subconscious level her mental equilibrium was disturbed (the purer once aura is, the easier it is for it to get affected. The wearing of white robes is to remind oneself of utmost care in all the planes of consciousness). That day the moist sand was not getting shaped as pot and she had to return empty handed to the ashram. She realized her error and though she wanted to end her life then and there, as a pativrata, she felt that she had no individual rights over her body, mind and soul and returned to the ashram to allow her husband, her Swami, her Master to deal with the situation as he pleased. That is true egolessness, true surrender, true paativratya. (A similar story of a washerman who was serving Sri Guru (Sri Pada Vallabha) at Kurupuram watching a muslim nawab sporting with his queens in the river and thus getting the seeds of desire to enjoy similar pleasures, being blessed by Sri Guru to be born as a muslim ruler in next birth comes to mind. There Sri Guru tells us that seeds of desire should either be burnt off or allowed to grow and fructify. Karma is done with mind, speech and actions and karmic fruits have to be enjoyed till one reaches that stage of true detachment.). Renuka had to ‘enjoy’ the bitter fruits of her aura contamination because of the seeds of latent desire as we shall see below.

Jamadagni saw with his divine sight what happened and asked his sons to behead her as punishment. By accepting the punishment, one gets purified. The higher the status, the greater the punishment was the rule. The rishis had to set examples for others to follow and hence did not allow themselves the slightest benefit of doubt or lenience. The first four sons refused because they could not see through the egoistic filters the true intentions and the powers of their father. The youngest one, Rama obeyed the father’s command and killed his mother and again at the father’s command his brothers too for the sin of disobeying their father’s command. Thus we see that both Ramas (Parasurama and Dasaradha Rama) were great in obeying the commands of father, mother and preceptor. Obeying Guru is the best yagna, best tapas and best sadhana. Obeying Guru (father is the Guru in this case) is the supreme dharma as brought out in Sri Guru Charitra, Sri Sai Satcharitra, Sri Gita and Sri Ramayana etc. Jamadagni was pleased with the obedience of Rama and offered him a boon. Rama asked his father to bring back his mother and brothers to life and the sage obliged. That was the power of the sages in those ages! Their tapas gave them that power! The beheaded body of Renuka is worshipped as a Goddess by name Chinna Masta (without head), who is shown holding her own head with her left hand and three streams of blood shooting up representing the three nadis, ida, pingala and sushumna.

The death of Jamadagni:

The mighty king Kartaviryarjuna of Haihaya clan was born with two short and weak hands. The cause of that deformity is another interesting story. Sudarsana Chakra became rather proud of his own powers once and Sri Maha Vishnu cursed Sudarsana to take birth as a human with weak hands. When Sudarsana realized his error (that is the benefit of a curse, to show the ego its error, thus the curses were meant as boons indirectly), Vishnu assured him that he will rejoin Him soon and will become famous. Thus Kartaviryarjuna was born as a cripple but became a great devotee of Sri Dattatreya (the wonderful form of the Trinity in One) and got many boons from Him. He became one of the mightiest kings on earth and punished the mighty Ravana once and Ravana’s grandfather Pulastya had to visit Kartavirya and intercede on Ravana’s behalf. One of the boons that Kartavirya got was that when the end comes (anything which has a beginning has to have an end), it should be in the hands of a worthy opponent. To fulfill that boon and as promised to Sudarsana, Sri Maha Vishnu took birth as Parasurama to Jamadagni. Let us now enjoy that story.

Jamadagni had a Kamadhenu named Surabhi (there were similar cows in many other ashrams and of course Indra had it in heaven. The cow was capable of fulfilling all the desires and was being treated with love and respect. Once King Kartaviryarjuna visited the ashram of sage Jamadagni along with his retinue (it was the custom of the kings to go hunting and visit the ashrams of various sages who were living in the forest). The sages used to play host as per their capacity. When the king visited sage Jamadagni, the whole retinue was treated lavishly with sumptuous food by the grace of Surabhi. The king was impressed and requested the sage to give the holy cow Surabhi to him. The sage refused.

The king was angry and ordered his army to capture the cow by force. At a glance from the sage Jamadagni, Surabhi created a counter army and in the fight that ensued, the king’s army was defeated. This game went on for twenty times and each time, the divine army created by Surabhi was victorious. The king lost his patience and killed the sage Jamadagni (so that the divine power of Surabhi is reduced) and started searching for Surabhi, but She was to be seen nowhere. She vanished and went back to heaven.

Renuka wanted to accompany Sage Jamadagni on the funeral pyre. Sage Bhrigu (grandfather of Jamadagni) stopped her and brought her back to life along with the Sage Jamadagni. Parasurama was very angry at the turn of events and killed the king Kartaviryarjuna in battle (as per the boon given by Lord Dattatreya). When Parasurama returned from the battle and told his illustrious father about it, the sage told him that it was wrong to kill the king of the land (the king is considered to be an amsa of Vishnu and killing the king and exposing the kingdom to anarchy is a sin) and asked his son to go for tirthayatra (a visit to sacred places) for an year to achieve purification. Obeying the order of his father, Parasurama set off on a pilgrimage. Seizing this opportunity, the sons of Kartaviryarjuna killed Jamadagni. Renuka called out to her divine son twenty one times to protect his father. As per the destiny and as per Sun God’s curse, the mother’s calls to her son went unanswered and the sage Jamadagni met his end.

Jamadagni being cursed by Pitru Devatas:

There is yet another interesting story about sage Jamadagni. After death, he took birth as a mongoose and this was caused by a curse from his Pitru Devatas. Let us now enjoy that story since these stories are not only entertaining but are highly educative too.

As ordained in the scriptures, sage Jamadagni was performing the annual ceremonies for his ancestors and in those ages, they were manifesting before the person in divine forms and were accepting the offerings. As a part of preparation for the ceremony, Jamadagni collected a pot of pure cow milk and kept it aside. The Krodha Devatha (Goddess in charge of Anger), heard that the sages in the lineage of Bhrigu were rather short tempered (though their anger was always directed at world welfare similar to that of sage Durvasa, another great sage, the son of sage Atri), wanted to test sage Jamadagni and took a human form and under the pretext of doing some service in the ashram, caused the pot of milk to overturn. The sage did not get angry and remained calm. Jamadagni was personification of true satvik energies. (It is interesting to relate this to what Lord Sri Krishna tells Sri Arjuna in His Gita: Krodha is born from Kama. Anger is born out of desire, i.e. if desires are not fulfilled, anger arises. Sage Jamadagni was known for his tranquility and that shows that he was unaffected by Kama). The annual ceremony went off albeit with the minor lapse of non-availability of cow milk. The manes (the ancestors) of Jamadagni appeared to him and admonished him that what he did was wrong (not getting angry at a lapse of others that affected his performance of duties). They thus imparted a very important lesson that anger also is a useful tool if used properly and that the six internal enemies are enemies only for a weak mind and are good slaves in the case of a true Master. The Pitru Devatas advised sage Bhrigu that he should atone that lapse by taking birth as a Nakula (a mongoose and a person who has no Kula, no clan, no ancestry in another sense). When requested for forgiveness, they relented and gave the lifting of the curse to coincide with the mongoose contradicting the dharmic sayings of many Brahmins (the dharma like modern day law is complicated and the nuances are brought out through such stories). As per their curse and blessing, sage Jamadagni takes birth as a mongoose and gets release from that at the end of the Aswamedha Yaga performed by Yudhishtira in Maha Bharatha.

The stories of sages are entertaining, educative and enlightening. . Sai Ram.

 source : http://www.telugubhakti.com/telugupages/Sages/Jamadagni.htm


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