Hayagriva narrated that Maha Deva decided to teach a lesson to the arrogant Indra and briefed Durvasa Muni to follow a plan as provided by him; accordingly Durvasa intercepted a Vidyadhari who after long Tapasya secured a flower garland from Paraambika and demanded that garland for himself. Then he gifted the garland to Indra rather casually and Indra placed it on the head of Iravata elephant which trampled the garland. The furious Duravasa cursed Indra to get unseated from Swarga and Lakshmi Devi left from there to Vishnu’s Vakshasthala (Chest).
Indra had to leave his Chair and enquired Deva Guru Brihaspati as to what was the Prayaschitta or atonement of sins; Killings, Stealing, Violence, Intoxication and Unauthorised Sex were the prominent sins. The Zone-range of killing was defined: Human beings, four legged animals, Egg-born beings, water-born beings; Tiryak-beings (moving breadth-wise) and bone-less beings ; if the intensity of atonement is of ten thousand units as in the case of human beings, it should be thousand-hundred-ten-five-three or one in the subsequent categories afore-mentioned. In regard to the killings of human beings of different Varnas of Brahmana-Kshatriya-Vaishya-and others , the top category of ‘Himsa’or Violence is the killing of Father, Mother, Guru, Husband / wife, progeny etc. In the case of the rarest of rare offences like the killings of Brahmanas, Gurus and Parents, and those who take refuge, there would not be Prayaschittaas possible. But in other cases, there might be atonements of extreme intensity but Jeeva Himsa ‘per se’ was considered as the worst crime attracting maximum atonement. Referring to Stealing, the would not be any Prayaschittas possible in regard to the belongings of Brahma Jnanis, Daridras, Bahu Putra Samsaris and of those who totally depend and believe in; there might however be possibilities of Prayaschitta to other sins subject however to the range and intensity of the offences. In the cases of ‘Asteya’or stealing, where ever one’s own inner conscience would prick, the atonement might be Tirtha Snaana, Niraahara except one meal of of Kanda Mulas a day and Ambika Shiva worship besides daily recitation of Shata Rudram for one thousand and eight times. As regards, ‘Madya Sevana’or consuming intoxicants, the lesser degree intoxicants made of sugar cane, Tada Phala or Palm fruits or Madhuka flower or jaggery might be least sinful; harder drinks are totally avoidable and sinful; a Brahmana who drinks intoxicants would have to atone by performing ‘Kruccha Chandraaya Vrata’, reciting ten thousand Gayatri Mantra, Jataveda Mantra, and Ambikaa Hridaya Mantra to get purified. Those Brahmanas who practise the worship of Bhairava, Bhadra Kali and such Uccha Saktis might have to consume intoxicants but their range would be restricted as mentioned above. In any case, they should not consume without worship and other wise they are destined to Rourava Naraka. But drinking either other intoxicants or those which would be of exceptions as mentioned above especilally be better damned either by jumping into fire or jump from mountains and there would not be any possible atonements. The next and the worst sin relates to ‘Para Sree Sangama’; there is no prayaschitta in the case of mother, sister, aunt, niece and ‘Guru Bharya’. As regards Deva Dasi, Brahma Dasi, Swatantra and Low-Class women, unions are certain to experience in Narakas depending on considerations of mutual consent or persuasion of force were all classified in great detail along with the resultant retributions either in one’s own on-going life and as carry forward to next births or in Narakas.
Deva Guru also suggested to Indra that besides observing the specified Prayasticchhas there could be relief obtained from reciting various Mantra Rajaas that might blunt the sharpness of sins concerned. To start with the sinner who realise the indiscretions or even wanton sins should at the foremost feel wholly responsible for the shortcomings. A Brahmana who confesses and regrets his misdoings should get into the frame of atonement, perform hundred paranayaamaas, and keep reciting Idam Vishnurvichakramey; Traimbakam Yajaa mahey, Paavamaanika Mantra; Anna Sukta; Om Bhrugurvai vaarini and Brahmarpana Mantra and observe fasting overnight and treat Brahmanas to Bhojana, recite again Idam Vishnur vichakramey and Traimabakam Yajamahey and Pancha Dashaakshari before taking food. In fact, if anybody observes the above routine, there would never be any scope for doing wrongs, but overcome the Pancha Paapaas which might not affect even marginally the eqaunimity of life in Peace and provide shield against distress, desire and disease.
Indra having heard about the generic narration of sins and atonements desired to know from Deva Guru about the instant happening of Indra being unseated from Swarga and Lakshmi disappearing from Swarga! Brihaspati reminded Indra that Kashyapa Muni gave a curse to Indra that soon enough the latter would lose Swarga and Devi Lakshmi since Indra killed Vishwarupa the former Purohita of Amaravati as he suspected that he was protecting the cause of Danavas; Vishwarupa an ardent devotee of Narayana was the grand son of Kashyapa Muni and Diti.
Ksheera Samudra Mathana and Mohini Avatara: Even while Brihaspati was explaining this to Indra, a huge number of Rakshasas attacked Swarga, harassed Devatas and occupied Swarga. Devas and Indra approached Brahma and the latter reached Kshira Samudra to call on Narayana. Vishnu advised that Devatas should prevail upon Asuras and together churn Ksheera Samudra with Mountain Mandhara as the churning stick, Vasuki as the rope to churn and he by assuming the Incarnation of Kurma would balance the Mountain to enable the churning so that Amrita would be produced; Vishnu further planned that he would ensure that Amrita the life lasting drink so produced would be distributed to Devatas and not the Asuras. The Grand Plan worked as several Asuras perished out of their ego to opt for the serpent’s mouth that emitted poisonous flames. In the process of churning emerged Surabhi-Kamadhenu- the Sacred Cow, Varuni Devi carrying Sura the intoxicating drink, Parijata Tree which spread fragrance far and with its flowers and Apsara Ganas all rejected by Asuras as they should Amrita and nothing else! The churning continued and Chandra Deva was materialised whom Maha Deva accepted; Kaustubha Ratna was accepted by Vishnu; a huge mass of poisonous creepers were given away to Naaga Devatas; Aoushadhis the herbal medicines were materialised and Maha Bhairava opted for it. Then emerged Dhavantari in his Kamandalu or the Sacred Vessel the much-awaited Amrita but for a while there was a veil of Maya around the vessel as it looked too innocuous.
Devi Lakshmi appeared and Muni Ganas and Devas hailed her praising her:
Lakshmim Ksheera Samudra Raja Tanayaam Shri Ranga Dhaameshwareem,
Daasibhuta samasta Deva vanitaam Lokaika deepaankuraam/
Shriman manda kataaksha labdhavibhava Brahmendru Gangaadharaam,
Twaam Trailokya kutumbeneem Sarasijaam Vandey Mukunda Priyaam!
They also recited Shri Suktam by saying:
Hiranyavarnaam Harineem Suvarna Rajatasrajaam Chandraam Hiranyayeem Lakshmeem jatavedomamaahava, Taam avaha Jaatavedo Lakshmeemanapagaamineem, Yasyaam Hiranyam vindeyamgaamashwam Purushaanaham/ etc.
The highly excited Gandharvas jumped into symphonic singing and Apsaras danced with ecstacy; Ganga and other Sacred Rivers fetched cool and fragrant waters while ‘Ashta Diggajas’ or the Celestial Elephants got her bathed. Vishwakarma gifted invaluable Dresses and Ornaments and Maha Lakshmi reached her rightful Place of Vishnu’s heart!
With the excitement of Shri Lakshmi’s arrival, there was a temporary diversion but soon enough both Devas and Asuras suddenly realised that Dhanvantari’s Golden Kamandalu was replete with Amrita! Then suddenly flared up a scramble of swiftly changing hands and a pandemonium was created; a reverberating female voice halted the mayhem and there was an extraordinarily graceful embodiment of Beauty named Mohini Devi who said: ‘Gentlemen! What for is this fight! I am a neutral person and I shall to justice to all; hand over the Golden Vessel to me and I will surely distribute Amrtita in an orderly manner’; by so saying she made formations of Devas and Asuras and served Amrita to Devas first; being under a heavy cloud of Maya, the Asuras continued to await their turn. Rahu however sat in the queue of Devas and as soon as Surya and Chandra recognised him the latter objected even while Rahu consumed drops of Amrita already; Devi Mohini lifted her serving spoon and sliced Rahu’s body into two and his head flew up to the skies discarding the body trunk behind. As the service of Amrita was over, Mohini Devi disappeared and the spell of Maya was lifted. An uproar broke out and Devaasura battle began but since Devas had already consumed Amrita their prowess was multiplied while the Asuras lost their shine and had to retire to Paataala Lokas.
Sage Narada visited Kailasa and conveyed the happenings at Samudra Mathana and the revelation of Devi Mohini as the arbiter to distribute Amrita to Shiva and Parvati; he also narrated as to how Vishnu Maya was at full display and but for the incident of Rahu, Asuras became powerless and fled back to Pataalas. Both Parvati and Shiva were amused and visited Vishnu and Devi Lakshmi and requested Vishnu to display the Unparalleled Beauty of Mohini. As Vishnu assumed that Form of Mohini, Shiva was unable to resist and chased her even while Devi Uma was protesting; he finally embraced her and the outcome was the birth of Maha Sasta who had the capability of destroying crores of Daityas.
Origin of Bhandaasura: Brahma Deva made an appeal to Bhagavan Vishnu and Lakshmi to make a significant creation of a Jaganmohana Swarupa who could initiate a highly propitious beginning of a Memorable Chapter in the History of the Universe. Vishnu looked sideways amorously at Devi Lakshmi and there got materialised Manmatha with arrows of flowers and a sugar cane bow! Brahma blessed Manmatha to become the Embodiment of Love! Just then Tarakasura was making havoc in the Worlds and Devas knew that only a Son of Shiva and Parvati could exterminate him. They made an appeal to Manmatha to somehow create Shiva’s desire for Parvati as she was already in the task of assisting him by supplying flowers, fruits and such other Puja material in his worship. Manmatha agreed and released a flower-arrow or two on Shiva. Maha Deva opened his eyes and looked at Devi Parvti affectionately but quickly recovered from that momentary feeling and wondered how he being a firm controller of senses was disturbed in mind; he discovered that Manmatha was responsible for this sensation in hiding. A furious Maha Deva opened his Third Eye and Manmatha was turned into a heap of ash.
Ganesha materialised a Purusha from that heap. Ganesha was delighted at his Creation and embraced the Purusha. He advised him to worship Maha Deva and he could grant Siddhis to him; Ganesha gave the instruction of ‘Shata Rudreeya’ and recited him hundred times and sought Shiva’s boons; the boon was that half of his enemy’s Shakti should be halved while he faced them and that the Astra-Shastras of the enemy should become futile; the boon further assured that he should enjoy his privileges for sixty thousand years! As Brahma learnt of the purport of the boon he stated out of desperation : Bhand! Bhand! and eversince he came to becalled as Bhandasura. Bhanda became a terror to the Universe and Asura Guru Shukra gradually honed his battle skills. He called up Mayasura and made him construct another Amaravati and declared himself as Indra. He acquired a Kireeta which was gifted to Hiranyakashipu by Brahma. Shukra gave him an Umbrella given to him by Brahma and he was never bothered him by disease or fatigue. Thus Bhanda became an Apara Indra with all the fanfare of Indraloka. Bhanda had eight warrior sons and four daughters. Eventually, Indra and Devatas became subservient to Bhanda. Being a staunch devotee of Maha Deva, his progeny too adopted the father’s qualities; his sons were Indra Shatru, Amitraghna, Vidyunmaali, Vibhishana, Ugrakarma, Ugradhanvu, Vijaya and Shritiparaga. There were regular Yagna Karyas and the Havya bhoktas were Bhanda and his followers! Vedaadhyayana was common in the houses of common Asuras of Bhandasura’s households.
Bhanda’s grandeur was ever growing for sixty thousand years but gradually, the spendour slackened and his virtuosity too commenced to wane. That was the time that Vishnu was waiting for as Indra was almost on a breaking point; a Loka Mohini Maya was created with the mission of enticing Bhandasura and also despatched a few Apsaras led by Vishvachi to attract Bhanda’s key persons in the Court and the Sacred deeds like Yagnas were affected; Vedas were forgottten and Shiva’s worship took a backseat.Guru Shukracharya’s cautions were ignored and thrown to winds. Sage Narada then took up the mission of reviving the self-confidence of Devas who were dormant in their spirits and self-assurance so far; he prompted Devas to virtually wake up and worship Parashakti. Infused by Narada’s sermons, Devas were activated and got refreshed with enthusiasm and reinforcement of devotion to Devi Parvati.While Bhanda’s advisers, army and Praja were gradually sinking in moral turpitude, Devas came to enjoy confidence and morale boost-up. Guru Shukracharya warned Bhanda and his men that Vishnu did lasting and irrevocable damage by spreading Maya and inciting them into fast slippages of their erstwhile demeanor of excellence. On realising their mistakes, Bhanda made last-dig amends by reviving Shiva Puja, Homas and Vedadhyanas, but alas his efforts lost the punch and determintaion.