|25 Appearance of several ‘Acharyas’ (Teachers) to revive Hindu Dharma|
As Sage Suta informed the congregation of Rishis, Deva Guru Brihaspati prophesied the appearances of several ‘Acharyas’ to preach and guide the Public as to how the age-old values of Dharma should be revived since those were in jeopardy as successive onslaughts of Mleccha and other alien Rulers tainted and tarnished Dharma. In Barhishmati (Bittur), there was a Brahmana named Dhatru Sharma who meditated to Lord Brahma for many years for good progeny. The Lord was pleased and gave a boon that a boy, a girl and a boy again would be born in succession. As per he boon, the three children were born and grew up to marriageable ages. Dhatru Sharma prayed to Tumbura of Gandharvas to bless suitable boy for the daughter and two pretty brides to the sons. Dhatru Sharma further prayed to Kubera Deva the Lord of Wealth to provide suitable ornaments and wealth to the son-in-law and the daughter-in-laws.Satisfied with the ‘Ihika’ (Earthly) life, the Brahmana meditated to Surya Deva for Salvation. Surya desired to ascertain as to which kind of Moksha was preferred by Dhatru Sharma viz. ‘Salokya’ achievable by ‘Tapasya’, or ‘Saameepya’ by ‘Bhakti’ (Devotion), or ‘Saarupya’ which was possible by ‘Dhyana’ or ‘Sayujya’ attainable by ‘Jnaana’. Surya Deva provided Sayujya to Dhatru Sharma couple till the end of the Manvantara and commanded that the couple should be born again when Dharma would be in distress during the initial stages of Kali Yuga as Ishwarapuris as ‘Kavya kartas’ and Preachers of Vaidika Dharma.
At Mayavati Nagar (Haridwar), there was a Brahmana named Mitra Sharma who was a ‘Kavya Priya’ or the One fond of Literature, especially on Spiritual Matters, ‘Vidya Parayana’ (Highly erudite) and a ‘Rasika’ (Critic and Assessor of Good Writings). Once a King Kamasena from ‘Dakshina Bharat’ or Southern Part of Bharat visited Mitra Sharma along with the Princess Chitrini. Mitra Sharma liked her so much that he worshipped Surya Deva for long by reciting ‘Aditya Hridayam’ and taking baths in Ganga and finally Surya Deva asked King Kamasena in a dream of the latter to arrange for the wedding. After wedding, the couple was engaged in intense Aradhana (worship) of Surya Deva by observing Daily Vratas on copper plates in Surya Yantra by red blood flowers and enjoyed health and happiness. In course of time they attained ‘Surya Sameepyata’.
In the further birth of Mitra Sharma and Chitrini at Kasi, Surya Deva was born as Ramananda who even at a very young age became a Gyani and after the demise of the parents, he turned out to be a ‘Parama Bhakta’ of Surya Deva. After became a Sanyasi, he spear-headed the task of reviving Dharma most rigourously and took to moral preaching and imparting Spiritual knowledge through a band of devoted followers who in turn taught the essence of Ramayana among the public. Ramananda’s disciples: Namdeva was a reputed disciple of Ramananda who was born in ‘Dehali’ (Delhi) to a young widow who was a devotee of Vishnu. In his past birth he was called Varuna of Varuna Deva’s ‘Amsa’ and was the second of ten reputed sons known as Prachetas of King Prachinabarhi, having performed Tapasya in the middle of Oceans.Varuna was a committed devotee of Bhadra Kali. Namadeva was a renowned ‘Saankhya Yoga Parayana’ (Practitioner of Saakmkya Yoga) and a Vishnu Bhakta, firmly believing that the entire ‘Brahmaanda’ was replete with Vishnu. He became a notable disciple of Ramananda along with Rankana-Yankana couple (Ranka-Banka), Kabira, Narasi Mehta, and Sadan Kasayi. The contemporary King of Mlecchhas Sikandar tested Namadeva’s integrity and donated fifty lakh Mudras which was utilised for constructing the stone steps of Ganga River at Kashi Nagar; being a Yogi and Vishnu Bhakta, he brought back to life ten Brahmanas, five Kings, five Vaishyas and hundred cows that died on the banks of Ganges! In the past, there was a Brahmana called Vishvanara who meditated for long to Brahma Deva for a child. As Brahma appeared, the Brahmana asked for an extraordinary boon viz. that Bhagavan Janardana Himself should be his son.Brahma replied that a son named Pavak would be born as the Chief of ‘Ashta Vasus’ and would be popular as Vaishvanara (Agni Deva) and his wife would be Swaha Devi. This Pavakamsha Vasu created from his face a person known as Rankana or Ranka and his wife was Yankana or Banka and both were the disciples of Ramananda were very pious; they earned their earnings by selling wood and from the same did several ‘Dharma Karyas’. Another disciple of Ramanada was Sant Kabir who was disowned by his Vaishya parents Dhanapalak and his wife as soon as the child was born as they apprehended that the birth was in ‘Moolaganda Yoga’or the danger of keeping the child in their house which might risk the entire ‘Vamsa’; they thus decided to leave in a forest. A childless ‘Mussalman’ couple-Ali and his wife- who were issueless pursuing the occupation of weavers at Kashi decided to adopt the child and called him Kabir.The boy on attaining the age of seven turned out to be a Vishnu Bhakta and was in the habit of calling Vishnu and Lakshmi at the midday of each day to eat Prashad daily. Local persons even considered Kabir as mentally deranged to have invired the Deities for food! But gradually realising that Kabir cure diseases and boons, he became a Center of Attraction and popularity. Narsi Mehta was another disciple of Ramanada who was also a Vasu among the ‘Ashta Vasus’ in the previous birth of his; he was the fifth Vasu with the ‘Amsa’of Dhruva- the Pole Star on the Sky.Narsi Mehta was a totally dedicated devotee of Lord Vishnu and it was believed that he had the visions of ‘Rasaleelas’ at Brindavana. Yet another disciple of Ramanand was Sadan Kasaayi who was born from the ‘Amsa’ (facet) of Ashwini Kumars in the house of people following the occupation of Kasayis or Goat killing and selling; they used to weigh meat on the Shaligram Balance. Sadan was an extraordinary devotee of his parents. He came under the influence of Kabir and Ramanand finally.
Nimbaditya: In Satya Yuga, there was a Brahmana named Aryama who was a staunch devotee of Surya Deva; he felt that lach of monetary support wasthe reason why ‘Dharma Karyas’ or Noble Deeds for the benefit of General Public could not be adequately executed such as construction of wells, water bodies, Choultries etc. and thus prayed to Surya Deva in Jyeshtha Month to facilitate him to take up such Public Tasks. Surya Deva appeared and presented him a ‘Divya Mani’ or a Celestial Provider of Wealth which yielded Gold on daily basis with which to perform Dharma Karyas. In Jyeshtha Month again, Devas worshipped Surya Deva at the end of Dwapara Yuga with a similar request this time to provide a boon to enable ‘Deva Karyas’and to ward off the intensity of the impending Kali Yuga. Surya Deva responded positively and assured that Sudarshana Chakra would be born as Nimbaditya (Nimbikacharya) to restore the vanishing values of Dharma at a Place known as ‘Tailanga’ near Narmada. He further said that Narada Maharshi would teach the art of preaching and Nimbikacharya would propagate Dharma at Mathura, Naimisharanya, Dwaravati, Sudarshanaashram etc. As prophesied, a couple called Aruna and Jayanti Devi were blessed with Nimbaditya on Kartika Shukla Pournami when Chandra was in Vrisha Rasi; Krittika Nakshatra along with five Grahas was in ‘Uccha Sthiti’ or Upswing at Samyom Kala and Mesha Lagna time. At the time of birth, it was believed that Lord Brahma descended Prithvi to greet Surya’s ‘Amsa’ (Facet) in the form of Nimbikacharya.
Madhavacharya: Deva Guru Brihaspati continued to narrate to Indra that in Treta Yuga at Ayodhya there was a Devopasaka Brahmana called Shukra Sharma who used to worship Ashvini Kumars, Rudra, Vasus, Surya and other Deities and the Devas were extremely pleased with his Pujas. Surya Deva advised Devas that after the devotee attained Sayujya, he would be reborn at Bridavan in the form of a Brahmana as Madhava and his son would be Madhu, popularly known as Madhavacharya or Madhvacharya. His mission was to divert all those who digressed from Dharma due to evil influences back to focus on ‘Vaishnava Shakti’ and lead them to Bhukti and Mukti (Wisdom and Salvation).
Similarly in Dwapara Yuga, a Brahmana named Megha Sharma who carried on his subsistence from farming was a great Gyani and Vedaparayana; he spent one-tenth of his earnings on Pujas with admirable veneration. Once there was a severe ‘Anavrishti’ (drought) but for a limited area that Megha Sharma tilled. As all the other persons were affected, they approached the King Shantanu, who in turn requested Megha Sharma to suggest a solution. The Brahmana suggested that a month long worship of Surya Deva in Shravana Month be organised by engaging twelve well read Brahmanas by way of performing Japas, havans, tarpans, ‘Samaradhanas’ especially to Brahmanas and extensive charities. The King did likewise and by the grace of Surya Deva there were ample rains resulting in good crops and all round prosperity. Megha Sharma became quite popular among the neighbouring Kings as well who had similar drought conditions.Not only this but Megha Sharma’s mere touch had magical effects and several persons of the Public including the King were healed of their long standing diseases; in fact Megha Sharma’s magical touch imparted youth to the King and he ruled the Kingdom for several more years. Finally, when Megha Sharma attained Surya Loka and thence to Brahma Loka, Surya Bhagavan came in the form of ‘Parjanya’ and declared to Devas that in the Kaliyuga when Mlechha influence would become unbearable by badly hurting Vedic Principles then he would take the form of Shridhara Swami, the son of Veda Sharma and would intrepret Shimad Bhagavata and prevail on the sinning humanity to focus on the Veda way of life and thus stall the erosion of the values of Virtue.
In Kali Yuga itself, there was a pious Brahmana named Pranshu Sharma who was a ‘Satyavadi’ (Exponent of Truth) and ‘Veda Shastra Parayana’ (Scholar of Vedas and Shastras) making his ends meet by ‘bhiksha’ (entreating for foodgrains door-to-door). The ‘Mayavi’ (trickster) Kali accosted the Brahmana in the form of another Brahmana and tried to tempt him to say that there was a nice garden full of Kalinda fruits nearby and that he could eat as many as possible. Pranshu Sharma replied politely that unless he performed Puja and ‘Naivedya’ he would not accept the offer.However he accepted some fruits home. Kali then intercepted Pranshu Sharma in the disguise of the King of the Land and put him in prison saying that the Brahmana was a thief of the fruits. In the prison overnight, the Brahmana recited Suktas from Rig Veda in praise of Bhaskara Deva. The latter whispered in the ears of Brahmana that it was Kali Deva who offered the fruits in the form of a Brahmana and again as the King who imprisoned him; Bhaskara Deva further said that as Kali Yuga was arriving soon, Pranshu Sharma would be shifted to a safe place known as Kalinjar for his safety and after living there for some time he and his wife would attain Surya Loka and before the twenty eighth Kali Yuga, he would be reborn as Vishnu Swami to preach Vedas and Shastras to misguided human beings due to the powerful pressure of Kali Yuga so that he would offset the influence as a ‘Parama Vaishnava Bhakta’.
At the behest of Brihaspati, Indra performed Surya Aradhana in Margasirsha month and Surya in the form of Pusha prophesied that in Ujjain, he would take give birth to one Rudrapashu couple as Mihiracharya (Varahamihira) and would revive Jyotisha Shastra which got tarnished due to the influence of Kali Yuga and the upper hand gained by Mlecchhas and Non-Believers of ‘Nava Grahas’ and their significance. But Rudrapashu was agitated that their child was born at ‘Mula ganda Abhijit Yoga’expected to be an extremely inauspicious time of birth and after cutting the navel chord left a box containing the baby in a river nearby. But Rakshasas saved the the child in the box which floated in the Sea near Lanka and gave it to Vibhishana the brother of Ravana the King of Lanka. As the child grew under the care of Vibhishana who felt that the boy was of ‘Vishnu Amsa’, he became an erudite scholar of Jyotisha Shastra including Jataka (Birth Chart), Phalita (Resultant Readings), Mukha Prashna (Face-Reading) and related disciplines. Finally Vibhishana arranged to despatch the boy to Bharata Desha as he felt that he was a Vaishnava who was not approved by King Ravana. In Bharata desha, Varahamihira made enormous fame as an extraordinary Astrologer and revived Jyotisha Shastra at a time when Mlecchhas were unrelenting Non-Believers of Nava Grahas, Astrology and related skills.
As Indra worshipped Surya Deva in Pusha Month to ward off the evils of Kali in that Yuga, Surya Deva confirmed that he would be born as Dhanvantari in Kashi in the house of Kalpadadutta. Having mastered the Science of Ayurveda and its many facets including ‘Chikitsa Shastra’ or Allopathy saving humanity from becoming targets of diseases; ‘Kalpa Veda’an off-shoot of Ayur Veda-Kalpa meaning human body; and ‘Shastra Chikitsa’ (Surgery), Dhanvantari shot up to fame all over Bharat.The King’s son called ‘Shushruta’ became a disciple of Dhanvantari and mastered ‘Shoushruta Tantra’- a Tantrik way of Healing.
A Brahmana named Heli in Pampapura was a master of ‘Chatusshasthi Kalas’ (Sixty four Arts like Painting, Music, Dance etc.) and practised ‘ Hasta Kala’ and ‘Vastu Nirmana Kala’(Handicrafts); he earned considerable profits and utilised for ‘Surya Aradhana’ by way of Yagnas, Pujas, Charities and ‘Anna danas’ or distribution of food to the Poor. He constructed a ‘Jyoti Swarupa Stambha’ (Pillar of Light) at Pampa Sarovara in the honour of Surya Deva who was pleased and blessed him with salvation at Surya Loka. He revived the Kalas whose glories were lost by the onslaught of Mlecchhas.
Surya Deva informed Devas that during the first chapter of Kali Yuga itself he would take the form of Jayadeva Kavi (Poet) to born to a Kunduki Brahmana in Vanga Desha (Bengal) who would be Heli as referred to above in his earlier birth. Jaya Deva did service to his parents and after their departure from life, he turned out to be a ‘Vairagi’ without life’s attractions and a ‘Bhakta’ (Devotee) singing ‘Bhajans’like a nomad. When he came of twenty three years of age, a virtuous Brahmana called Satyavrata dedicated his daughter Padmavati to Bhagavan Jagannatha and the Lord appeared in Satyavrata’s dreams and directed him to wed her to a Vairagi Poet called Jayadeva who was of the Lord’s own ‘Amsa’ (facet); when married the couple was happy. Jayadeva scripted ‘Vedanga Nirruti’. He defeated a few notorius Sudra Writers in Prakriti language and revitalised the ‘Panini’ Shastra of Sanskrit Grammar. A few thieves prompted by Kali Yuga looted Jayadeva’s property and valuablle donated by the King Dharmapal and cut off his hands out of jealousy. When the King saw him in this stage, he constructed a house suited to a handless person, Jayadeva scripted his magnum opus titled the immortal Geeta Govinda. In course of time, the wicked writers who cut his arms felt extremely apologetic and repentant and volunteered to the King to give a suitable punishment. But Jayadeva declined to give them a punishment and as the culprits cried relentlessly their heavy tears washed their arms of Jayadeva that were slashed and quite amazingly his hands reappeared again as a miracle of Surya Deva.
There was an extremely pious Brahmana named Vishnu Sharma near Saruyu River who led an exemplary and austere life with his wife and he used to seek ‘Bhiksha’ for their livelihood from house to house. When Vishnu Sharma went out of the house once, a kind hearted ‘Sadhu’ visited the house and touched by their poverty gifted away and left a ‘Parasmani’ to the house wife Vishnu Sharmi and said that the Mani (Jewel) would provide plenty of gold daily. But she did not dare to experiment in getting gold but waited her husband to return to the house. On return, Vishnu Sharma threw away the Parasmani on the banks of Sarayu River nearby. The Sadhu returned to the house to ascertain whether the Mani was put to use. Vishnu Sharma coolly replied that he threw it away on the banks of Sarayu. The Sadhu was highly agitated as he performed Tapasya to Surya Deva for several years to secure the Mani and if he did not secure the same near the River, he would go in for self-immolation. When the Sadhu went in search of the Mani on the River Banks, he found not one but many such Paras Manis on the banks. The Sadhu was surprised and realised that it took him twelve long years in ‘Shivaradhana’ to secure this Parasmani, where as the Brahmana materialised dozens of them! Such was the spiritual prowess of Vishnu Sharma who like Surya Deva himself could dispel darkness of ignorance and egotism of the Sadhu who became a disciple of Vishnu Sharma instantly and spread the light of Spiritualism on the Earth which was heavily burdened with the pulls and pressures of Kali Yuga.
As Indra performed ‘Aradhana’ to Surya Deva in the Phalguna month, the latter entered Indra’s body and materialised a Brahmana and Sachi Devi became a Brahmani. A boy who was born to the Brahmana couple was of Vishnu Kala in response to prayers by Devas to Vishnu Deva to offset the delusion and deceipt of the impending Kali Yuga. The boy as he grew was called Shri Krishna Chaitanya Prabhu and his innumerable followers were called ‘Chaitanyas’who in turn created pockets of the Disciples all over. Bharat merging into viable groups preaching Dharma in the Vedic Route to offset as the anti-dotes against Mlecchhas.
Vaalmiki: Brihaspati addressed Devas to convey another prediction in Kali Yuga about a low class Brahmana called Mrigavyadha who used to make fun of Brahmanas and hunt animals and birds by sporting bow and arrows. He was in the habit of heckling and harassing all the passers by especially Tapasvis, Munis and Brahmanas by cutting their Sacred Threads (‘Yajnopaveethas’). There was a hue and cry and Tapasvis complained to Lord Brahma who asked Sapta Rishis to counsel the Mrigavyadha and Vasishtha and other Rishis entered the jungle when the Vyadha shouted to say that he would beat them all; Vasishtha replied whether he would beat them only or destroy the entire clan of Rishis and Brahmanas! Then the Rishis asked him as to what would happen if his own clan were to be destroyed! On seeing the Rishis closely and got magnetised, the Mrigavyadha was not only frightened but also ashamed of his rude and ugly behaviour and fell on their feet with repentance. With folded hands he begged of the Rishis to show him a way by which his sins committed all along his life could be rid off. The Rishis found that he became a changed man now and with compassion gave him the Sacred Counsel of uttering ‘Sri Rama Nama’ continuously for years together; they said: Rama namahi tat jnyeyam Sarvaaghouga vinashanam (Rama nama itself would destrory all the sins). The Mrigavyadha now a fully transformed person did the Japa incessently as ‘Maramaramara’ and so on for thousand years: Marama -rametveyam sahasraabdam Jajaapa ha. This kind of Japa resulted in sprouting ‘Aranya Utpalas’ or Jungle Lotuses and hence the area became popular as ‘Utpalaranya’. Thereafter Saptarishis visited the place where there was a ‘Valmik’ or thick bush and Mrigavyadha thus came to be popularly called ‘Vaalmiki’. Vaalmiki Muni contributed to humanity the Immortal Epic of Ramayana with ‘Ashtaadasa Kalpas’ or Eighteen Divisions in poetry, by reading or hearing which a person would indeed fulfil the aspirations both in the current birth and further lives too.
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