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MARKANDEYA PURANA

Bhagwan Shiv

Muni Durvasa’s curse to Apsara leads to the birth of Holy Birds

 In confirmation, Markandeya narrated a strange incident that happpened in the past involving Indra, Narada and celestial damsels at Nandanavana in Heavens. Indra wished to know as to how best Narada would like to be entertained; would it be either by the sweet songs of Gandharvas or by the dances of the heavenly Apsaras. Narada wished for a dance recital by a particular Apsara since he said that she was superior to others.This led to a controversy among the damsels and a competition followed.

Narada said that who ever could attract Durvasa Muni who was meditating on a nearby hill would be the winner.One of the Apsaras called Vapu resorted to loud singing and dance which disturbed Durvasa Muni; he cursed the Apsara to become a bird for sixteen years in a row of births, that she should not give birth to a baby and that after the period of the curse should die by a weapon before getting her original form. Markandeya continued to narrate a related Story that there were two brothers in the lineage of the avian King Garuda, called Kank and Kandhar. Kank visited Kailasa Mountain and found a demon Vidyudrup enjoying privacy with his wife Madanika.The demon objected to the presence of the bird and killed it. This infuriated the brother Kandhar and killed the demon in turn. Madanika desired that Kandhar should become his wife; she could change her form as a bird since she was an Apsara herself being the daughter of Menaka. Bird Madanika was born as Vapu in her next birth due to the curse of Durvasa. Kandhar named her as Taarkshi who was married to Drona, the son of a Brahmana named Mandapal. She was pregnant at the time of the Great Battle of Mahabharata and accidentally flew when Arjuna and an opponent King of Kauravas called Bhagdath were engaged in fighting. Bhagdath's arrow tore Taarkshi's adomen and four eggs fell on the ground; at the same time, a big bell of Bhagdath's elephant too fell and proteced the eggs. After the Battle was over, a Sage Shami visited the battle field along with his disciples and noticed the big bell; when lifted came out four chicks without wings. The Sage was taken aback andexclaimed to the disciples that apparently these chicks were not ordinary ones, got them carried to his hermitage and fostered them. The Birds grew big enough in the hermitage under the care of the Muni and learnt Vedas and various Scriptures which the Muni taught to the students. One day, the Muni and others were surprised when the birds suddenly conversed as human beings; they said that they learnt what all was taught to the students, that they would consider him as their Guru and sought a direction to proceed further in their lives ahead. The Guru was surprised and wondered as to how the birds could learn, talk with clarity and think far better than ordinary humans!The Birds replied that they were the sons of a Muni named Vipulaswan and their names were Sukrish and Tumbaru. When their father was engaged in performing one Yagna, Indra appeared in disguise as an old bird and asked for human flesh as its food. The Muni desired the sons to oblige but they refused and the father cursed them to become as Birds. Just as the Muni was about to sacrifice himself, Indra appeared and conveyed that he was testing them all. The sons sought pardon but it was too late for the Muni to withdraw the curse, although he softened it that even as birds the sons would acquire knowledge of Vedas and Scriptures as also clarity of speech as the best of humans could. Guru Shami gave permission to the Birds to migrate to Vindhyas and propagate Dharma.

Markandeya Purana Home   Next: Jaiminis doubts on Mahabharata clarified by the Holy Birds

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