PADMA PURANA

Padma

Saptarshis censure Self-indulgence and accept Daanaas for essentials only

Maharshi Bhrigu’s grandson and the son of Mrikund, Markandeya came of five years of age, when a Siddha came to his house and releaved that he was destined to live only for another six months and a few more days. Sage Mrikund was alarmed at this revelation and so did the boy’s mother and grandfather Brighu. Sage Mrikund hastened to perform the boy’s ‘Upanayan Samskar’and asked the boy to greet each and every Sage that passed by thereafter.

Gradually, the six months were over and Markandeya saw Sapta Rishis roaming nearby and even unknowingly greeted and fell on the feet of the Rishis. The Saptarshis blessed the boy one by one and each one of them said: ‘Ayushman bhava Sowmya!’ Then the Saptarshis realised that they had all blessed the boy with long life where as Brahma’s clear-cut insruction was that the boy was destined to die soon! The Saptarshis took the boy to Para Brahma and the latter too blessed the boy who fell on the feet with ‘Chiraayu bhava’! Saptarshis were surprised when Para Brahma too blessed the boy like-wise; Brahma reaffirmed that the boy Markandeya would live as long as he himself would! Saptarshis brought the boy back to his father and left. The father was overjoyed and said that the boy was so fortunate to have not only met Brahma but secured the latter’s blessings of longevity and great fame and asked him to proceed to Pushkar Tirtha to worship Brahma in his temple.Accordingly the young Markandeya settled at Pushkar eversince and practised Tapasya even from his childhood. Visitors to Pushkar do make it a point till date to bathe and worship at the Markandeya Ghat for favour of securing longevity and good health.
 
When Lord Shri Rama, Devi Sita and Lakshmana visited Chitrakut Mountain during the ‘Vanavasa’ or Forest life of Fourteen Years and met Sage Atri to enquire of a Holy Place where the ‘Viyoga Duhkha’ or the sorrow of absence of his beloved relatives would be alleviated, Sage Atri recommended to visit the hermitage of the illustrious Markandeya who would be able to direct them to a Place called ‘Aviyoga’ near by on the banks of the Sacred Pushkar Tirtha which was built by Lord Brahma himself! There were two mountains named Maryada Parvat and Yagna Parvat and in between there were three Kundas viz. Jyeshtha Pushkara, Madhyama Pushkara and Kanishtha Pushkara. Accordingly Rama and the followers visited Markandeya and directed them to Aviyoga where one could witness not only departed soul of Dasaratha and immediate ancestors but also those who were alive then and were being missed! Shri Rama immediately remembered not only Dasaratha but the mothers, brothers and ‘Ayodhya puri vaasis’ or the inhabitants of Ayodhya who were all being missed. Shri Rama was excited to secure the vision of ‘Aviyogas’ and in his sleep at the last ‘Prahara’ or during the small hours of early morning had clear vision of all the persons being missed. But since Dasaratha who died was also visible, Markandeya advised to perform Shraaddha to Dasaratha and said that along with him, Jamadagni, Bharadwaj, Lomesha, Devarata and Shameeka would be the best possible Bhoktas! Shri Rama was further excited at the prospect of performing Shradda to Dashratha and two generations behind and detailed Laksmana to fetch excellent fruits from the forest. Sita cooked the Pradhana Vastu in the Shraddha viz. ‘Lisodey’and ‘Ambali’ as Pinda Daan. Thereafter, Rama decided to stay at this Sacred Pushkara Tirtha for a month and near the Maryada Mountain had the Darshan (Vision) of Trinetra Dhari Bhagavan Shiva.

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