Essence Of
Vamana Purana


6    Dharmopadesha to Daitya Sukeshi, his reformation, Surya’s action and reaction

Maharshi Pulastya imparted considerable knowledge of Dharma at the Naimisharanya’s

congreation of Munis as narrated to Brahmarshi Narada. The King of Daityas Sukeshi performed sincere Tapasya to please Maha Deva and secured a boon ‘Akashachari Nagara’or a Flying Abode with a provision of Movement from Place to Place which could carry a large number of qualified Rakshasas practising lives of Virtue and Nyaya! In the course of his flights, he spotted a hallowed place in Magadharanya and descended from the Airship for a close encounter with a large gathering of Rishis and after exchanging pleasantries asked the Rishis to educate him and his followers about ‘Dharma Lakshanas’ or the features of Virtue. The Rishis explained that broadly speaking, the fundamental Principles applicable to Devatas were Yajna and such other deeds, Swaadhyaaya of self-recitation of Vedas and Scriptures; Bahubala or physical strength, Irshyaa bhava or jealousy and greed, Expertise in Yuddha Vidya and Niti Shastra or the Precepts of Morality would constitute the basic principles of Daityas; the Principles applicable to Siddhaas would be Yoga Sadhana or Practice of Yoga, Vedaadhyayana, Brahma Vignaana, and Achanchala Bhakti or Deep Devotion to Shiva or Vishnu; Gandharva Dharmas would include High Order of Upasana or Power of Concentration, profound devotion to Devi Sarasvati and excellence and expertise in Fine Arts, especially music and dance; as regards Vidyaadharas were concerned, the basic precepts were brilliance of Vidya or Knowledge, high degree of Memory Power, Purushaartha Buddhi or inclination to abide by the Principles of Dharma-Artha-Kaama and Moksha; the Dharmas of Kimpurushas would include Gandharva Vidya Jnaana, high devotion of Surya Deva and Shilpa Kalaa Kushalata or the Arts of Stone and such other subjects of Creativity and Originality; the Dharmas of Pitru Devatas would include Brahmacharya, Anaamitwa or Egotism and Self-Consciousness, high of Yogaabhyaas and free movement; the Dharma of Rishis were Brahmacharya, Nimitaahaara, japa, Atma Jnaana and Dharma Jnaana; and finally the General Principles applicable to Human beings should include: Brahmacharya or celibacy, daana or charity, Yajna, Udaarata or benevolence, Vishranti or cool mindedness, Daya or kindness, Ahimsa or Non-Violence, Kshama or tolerance, Dama / control, Jitendriyata or Self-Regulation, Shoucha or Cleanliness, Mangalya or Auspiciousness, and Nitya Bhakti of Vishnu, Shiva, Surya, Durga and any other Deities. Having described the Dharmas of various kinds of Beings, the Rishis prescribed other Dharmas which had the characteristics of human beings as follows: the Griha Dharmas include Dhana or acquisition of adequate Monetary Resources, Bhoga or sufficient happiness, Swadhyaya or Recitation of Scriptures by the Self, Ahamkara or Awareness of one’s own standards, and Sowmyata or Coolness and Maturity of Mind; Raakshasa Dharmaas would be Para Stree gamana, Lolupta or avarice / narrow mindedness, and of course Shiv Bhakti; Paishaachika Dharmaas include Avivekata or appropriate level of intelligence, Agnaana or ignorance, Apavitrata or lack of cleanliness, Asatyata or Untruthfulness, and Sadaa Mamsa Bhakshana. Then the Rishis gave the Knowledge of Prithvi occupying an area of Fifty Crore Yojanas. The Earth comprised Sapta Dwipas viz. Jambu Dwipa of a lakh of Yojanas surrounded by Lavana Samudra of twice the size of the Dwipa; Plaksha Dwipa of twice the size of Jambu Dwipa surrounded by Ikshurasa Sagara of double the size of the same Dwipa; Shalmali Dwipa of twice the size of Plaksha surrounded by Mahodhadhi of double the size of the same dwipa; Kusha Dwipa of the size of Shalmali surrounded by Suraa saagara of double the size of the Kusha Dwipa; then the Krouncha Dwipa surrounded by Ghrita Saagara of appropriate sizes as above; Shaaka Dwipa surrounded by Ksheera Samudra and Pushkara Dwipa surrounded by Swaadu Saagara of corresponding sizes. The Residents of those from Plaksha to Shaaka Dwipas are not affected by Yuga Vyvastha ot the regulations of Satya-Treta-Dwapara and Kali Yugas as they are stated to be of Permanance and are as good as Devatas since their lif span would be till Kalpaanta. Naraka Varnana: The Pushkara Dwipa was described as frightening and horrifying as that Dwipa hosts the Twenty one Narakas viz. Rourava of two thousand Yojanas which is Prajjvalita Angaramaya; double the size is Maha Rourava whose earth is made of copper of sizzling hot temperature further heated thereunder; then the Tamishra, Andhataamishra, Kaalachakra, Apratishtha, Ghati Yantra, Asipatravana, Tatkumbha, Kutashaalmila, Karapatra, Shwaanabhojana, Samdamsha, Loha pinda, Karambhasikta, Bhayankara Kshaara Nadi, Krimi Bhojana,and Ghora Vaitarani Nadi. There are other Narakas as well like Shonita-Puya bhojana, Ksuraagra dhaara, Nishita Chakraka and Samshoshana Narakas as Antargata Places! Those who denounce Vedas, Devatas, and Brahmanas or heckle Puranas and Ithihaasaas and their contents or blame Gurus or those who create hindrances in performing Yagnas, Daanaas, Vratas and such other virtuous deeds would be destined to reach Narakas. Those who create differnces of opinions among friends, husband and wife, brothers and sisters, Master and Servants, Father / Mother and sons/daughters, Gurus and their Masters are also destined to serve in Narakas. Those who partake in a Shraaddha but take food elsewhere or engage in ‘Atyaachaars’ with women and children are sure to get attacked and torn of their body parts by fearful Naraka Pakshis or birds with fierce beaks and iron-like nails in appopriate Narakas. Those who reject the moral pleas of parents, Gurus and elders are made to force down their throats of body rejects as they are hung upside down in Apratishta Naraka. Those who take bhojan before Devatas, Atithis /Guests, children, Parents and respectable persons are forced to starve and as and when allowed to consume are provided poisonous and blood-mixed food in Vidabhojana Naraka. Those who touch Brahmanas, Agni and Cows with impure hands especially while eating are sent to Taptakumbha Naraka. Those who stare at Sun, or gaze for fun at Moon and Stars while drinking intoxicants and eating are treated by Yamadutas by piercing and scorching their eyes. Those who spoil water bodies, Temples, religious places, Tirthas, gardens, Sabhaas or Public Places are literally skinned alive by Yamadutas.Those who perform ablutions in the presence of Cows, Agni, Brahmanas, Surya and Idols of Devas are subjected to cut pieces of the private parts. Those who take bhojan at the time of Akaal or famine by way of Atma-Poshan, while ignoring family and servants, are despatched to Swenabhojana Naraka.Those who request for refuge in times of calamities and death-kind of situations ignore such genuine entreaties are sent to Yantra peeda Naraka to face similar or far worse siuations and also by brutally beaten by Yamadutas. Those who who mate on Sacred Days, Shraddha days, or days of menses of women or women other than one’s own wife are made to embrace burning metal blocks. Those who carry tales, accept bribes, and create mutual misunderstandings, back bitings, false rumours, or spread misleading interprations are Vrika bhakshak Naraka. Those who steal gold or valuables, Brahmahatyaris, Madyapis or drunkards, Gurupatnigaamis, stealers of Bhumi, Cows, or for that matter any activities connected with cheating; rapings, or killings especially of women and children, or providers of false witnesses or those engaged in dark activities or ransoms are all sent to Maha Rourava Naraka. Those who indulge in black marketing, Veda Vikraya and consciously organising dark activities like hoarding, bettings, making money by multiple misdeeds are all sent to Tamishra, Andhataaishra, Asipatravana, and such other suitable Narakas.

Sadaachaara Swarupa (Profile of Ethical Living): Rishis explained to Sukesha Daitya that the Dashaanga Dharma as applicable to all the Chatur Varnaas were Ahimsa (Non-Violence), Satya (Truthfulness), Asteya ( Non- Stealing), Daana (Charity), Kshama (Forbearance), Dama or Indriya Nigraha (Control of Physique), Shama (Forgiveness), Akaarpanya (non-retaliation), Shoucha (Cleanliness of External and Internal Nature) and Tapa (Meditation). But the Rishis distinguished separate duties to Brahmanas: Brahmachari Dharma: Brahmachari Brahmanas after Upanayana or formal initiation to Sandhya vandana and Gayatri Japa would have to stay at the Residence of his Guru with his duties as: Swaadhyaaya or reciting of Scriptures as taught by the Guru, daily ‘Havana’or Agni Karya as prescribed, Snaana, soliciting Bhiksha and consume as instructed by Guru, carrying out Guru’s instructions with readiness and sincerity, learning Vedas and Scriptures as taught by Guru and at the end of the training from the Gurukula to enter Grihastaashrama or other wise as per Guru’s instsructinons. Grihastaashrama Dharma: As per Sadaachaara prescribed by Scriptures and adapted from time to time, Rishis explained to Sukesha: Dharmosya mulam Dhanamashya shaakhaa Pushpamcha Kaamah Phalamasya Mokshah/ (Sadaachaara has its roots in Dharma; Dhana or Money is the branch of the Sadaachara Vriksha or Tree; Kaama or Desire is the Pushpa or flower and Moksha is the Phala or Fruit). Brahmana Grihastaas need to wake up at the Brahma Muhurta or Early Morning and recite Suprabhata Stotra as its recital, hearing, reading or memorising would kick off the day with destruction of previous day’s sins.The Stuti might be as follows: Brahmaa Muraaristripuraantakaaree Bhanuh Shashi Bhusuto Budhascha, Guruuscha Shukrah Saha Bhanujena Kurvantu Sarvey Mama Suprabhaatam/ Bhrigu Vasishtah Kratura -angireescha, Manu Pulustyah Pulah Sa Goutamah/ Rebhoy Mareechischyavano Ribhuscha Kurvantu Sarvey mama Suprabhatam/ Sanatkumarah Sanakah Sanandanah Sanaatopyasuri Pingalaocha, Satpta Swaraah Sapta Rasaachalaascha kurvantu Sarvey mama suprahatam/ Prithvi Sugandhaa Saraasthathaapah Sparshaascha Vaayururjjwalanah Satejaah, Nabhah Sashabdam Mahataa Sahaiva Yacchhantu Sarvey mama Suprabhaatam/ Saptaarnavaah Sapta Kulaachalaascha Saptarshiyo Dwipavaraascha Sapta/ Bhuraadi krutwaa Bhuvanaani Sapta Dadantu Sarvey mama Suprabhatam/ (May Brahma, Muraari, Tripuranthakaari, Surya, Chandra, Mangala, Budha, Guru, Shukra, Shanaischara render my day-break auspicious; may all the Rishis like Bhrigu, Vasishtha, Kratu, Angira, Manu, Pulastya, Pulahja, Gautama, Ryaibhya, Marichi, Chyavana and Ribhu wish me auspiciousness this early morning; May Sanatkumara, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanaatana, Aasuri, Pingala Rishis, Sapta Swaras and Sapta Rasaatalas usher this Prabhata to me with Mangala / propitiousness; May Prithvi, Sweet Water, Pleasant Winds, Agni with Tejas, Akaasha with clearness and the Unique Maha Tatwa too bring in excellent tidings this early morning; and let Sapta Samudras, Sapta Kula Parvataas, Saptarshis, and Sapta Dwipaas bless me with happiness and contentment at this auspicious ‘Prabhata Samaya’). This Prabhata Gita may be rendered every day-break while leaving the bed early mornings with reverence and devotion to conduct the day ahead with satisfaction. Then leave the bed with Hari Smarana or the devout salutations to Ishta Devata. After morning ablutions, perform Sandhya Vandana, Puja, Havana etc. before taking up of the daily duties. While so doing, a Brahmana has to observe Deva Vihita Dharma and Kula / Gotra Dharma-as an under-current of daily dharma. Normal Duties: Never resort to ‘Asatpralaapas’/ untrue chatter, ‘Nishthuras’/ hurting and har talks and ill- justified statements about Veda-Aagama-Shastras, accusations against Sadhujanas or holy persons, and criticisms in respect of other religions. Never take to sex in Sandhyas / Sun-rise and Sun-sets nor enter into conacts with other women, homeless women, women in menses and much less on bare Earth and in water; avoid aimless travels, wasteful charities,and purposeless sacrifices of animals and birds; and wasteful travels would certainly result in upsets of daily duties. Paraswavey Paradaarey cha na karyaa Buddhirutthamaih, Paraswam Narakaayaiva Paradaaraascha mrutyavey/ (Para dhana gives Naraka and Para Stree causes Mrityu!). Never view a woman nude, nor talk or touch a woman in menses; never have bath or sleep in nakedness even alone, much less move about likewise; never have oil massages on Pratipada, Shashthi or Ekadashi Tithis called Nanda Tithis as also on Sundays and Tuesdays, besides in the Stars of Chitra,Hasta and Shravana ; never take Kshura Karmaas or hair cuts on Rikta Tithis of Chaturthi, Navami and Chaturdashi as also on Fridays besides during Vishakha and Abhijit Stars; never resort to Stree Samparka on Purna Tithis viz. Panchami, Dashami and Purnima nor during Magha, Krittika and the three Uttaara Nakshatras of Uttaraphalguni, Uttaashadha and Uttaraabhadra; but do perform all constructive tasks on Bhadra Tithis viz. Dwitiya, Saptami and Dwadashi! Rishis told the Raakshasa King that one should not rest heads on North and West directions and take food facing East and West; one should perform Pradakshina around Deva Mandiras, Chaitya-Peepul trees, Parents, Gurus and Vidwaans; one should bathe in the nights excepting in the case of Grahanaas or Solar / Lunar Eclipses, deaths of close relatives or when one’s birth star coincides with Chandra. But bathing would be a must in case a person touches a dog, a woman in menses, an expectant woman, a chandala, a person carrying or even touching a dead body. One should not cross blood or urine or defecation; one should not stay late nights alone in a garden. Even conversing much less touching those persons who blame Scriptures should be avoided and if done so by mistake, Surya Darshan would purify.

The Rishis further clarified the broad duties of a person in the Vaanaprastha Ashrama or at the stage of retirement from active life when one should eat less, eat only such items that are easy to procure and digest ie. Satvika Bhojan, observe skipping one meal a day, sleep on the ground on a mat, observe Brahmacharya, perform daily pujas, havans, wear coarse dresses, perform Trikaala Sandhyas and basically follow a moderate and routinised life by spending more time in Reading Sciptures, Social Work and Dharmic activities.

The Final Ashram of Sanyasa involves negation of any kind of worldly desires, attachments and acitivities related: Sarva sangaparityaago Brahmacharyamamaanita, Jitenndriyatwamaavaasey naikasmin vasatischaram/ Anaarambha –sthataahaaro Bhaikshaannam naatikopitaa, Atmajnaanaavabodhecchhaa tathaa chavaatmaava bodhanam/ (Denouncement of wishes, Brahmacharya, denial of Ahamkara or Self- consciousness, High control of Physical attractions, frequent travels, Bhikshaanna Bhojana, Krodha Tyaga, and all out endeavours to gain Atma Gyana.) While Brahmana Varnaasharama would thus be all comprehensive, Vaishyaas and Ksatriyas might not observe the Regulations beyond Vaana- prastha, and Shudras might not even cross the Garshatya Stage. As Rishis explained the principles of Sadaachaara Swarupa, King Sukesha and followers were enlightened and by the Akaashachari returned to his Kingdom.

Reformation of Rakshasaas: On return, he called his Rakshasa Praja and sensitised them about the utility of practising Dharma that he learnt from the learned Rishis of Magadharanya as that type of reformed life would definitely lead to immense ‘Paraloka Sukha’ or Eternal Happiness after death. He convinced the Praja that the temporary joy created by the evil ways of living would never ever match the Permanent and Perpetual Bliss that one could achieve by making sacrifices to be made in the current life and adopting a changed life-style since the Rishis who learnt a lot from their Ancient Scriptures sought to make short-run inconveniences to secure Lasting Pleasure! Thus the Daitya King succeeded to brain wash the Rakshasaas to faithfully practise Dharma and said: Ahimsa Satyamasteyam Shouchamindriya Samyamam, Daanam Dayaacha Khaantischa Brahmacharyamamaanita/ Shubhaa Satyaa cha Mathuraa vangnityam Satkriyaaratih, Sadaachaaranishevitwam Paraloka Pradaayikaah/ (Ahimsa, Satya, Pavitrata, Asteya, Indriya samyama, Daanam Dayaa, Kshama, Brahmacharya, leaving Ahamkaara, conversation style of sweetness, endearment and truthfulness, engagement in performing virtuous deeds and practising Sadaachara would accomplish Paraloka Sukha). Most favourably reacting to the Appeals of King Sukesha, the Daityas readily followed the new pattern of life and their families and progeny too practised it vigorously. This unusual development made radical changes in Universe; the Nishacha Nagari came to shine as moon in the day time and like Sun in the nights; the lustre of the Raakshasas increased manifold and that of Surya and Chandra got adversely affected; the timings and movement of Sun and Moon became confusing as Owls were noticed during mid days and Rishis were performing mid-night bathings, Sandhyavandanaas and Jala Tarpanas standing in the Holy Rivers besides Agni Karyasas, Yagnas, Pujas, and so on. Even lotuses started blossoming irrespective of Sunsets! Surya Deva got utterly confused at these unnatural developments and finally discovered the root cause of Daityas adopting the Dharma Vidhana. In great disgust and consternation, Surya Deva shot at multitude of Surya Kiranaas on the Rakshasaas and the Akasha Sanchari Nagari gifted by Maha Deva to the Daitya King Sukesha started sliding downward. Amid highly agitated shrieks, the King and the Daitya followers shouted at the top of their voices saying : Namo Bhavaaya Sharvaaya! The Omni -present and Omni-sient Maha Deva undertood the whole Episode of King Sukeshi approaching the Rishis of Magadhaaranya who preached the Rakshasaas of Dharma Pravartana and the consequences that followed climaxing with the gradual sliding of the Airship of Nishacha Nagari as Surya Deva became intolerant. Trilochana Shankara got furious and looked at Surya and the latter too commenced sliding from his axis towards Vayumandala and further down to Antariksha. On witnessing this extraordinary happening, Maharshis went up to Surya Deva and the latter enquired as to where was the Sacred Kshetra of Vishnu Bhagavan on Bhumi! The Rishis suggested the Hallowed Place between the two Rivers Varuna and Asi. Meanwhile Rishi,aksha, Rakshasa, Naaga,Vidyadhara, Apsaras etc.approached Brahma and the latter accompanying Devas rached Maheswara to cool down his annoyance with Surya; Maheswara held Surya by his hand, named Surya as Lola, excused Surya’s indiscretion and put back Surya Deva on the Suryamandala again and the Nishachara Sanchari Nagara was placed back in its original position. This was thus a vindication of Dharma whether pracised by Human Beings or Rakshasaas as Dharma practised by human beings, or Raakshasaas or any other Beings would have similar results, irrespective of their past actions or sins. Apparently, the Natural abnormalites that happened as a result of the sudden spurt of Dharmik deeds adopted by the Rakshasaas at the Sanchaara Nagari got stabilised in line with those of Manavaas and status quo was restored in the Universe without aberrations in ‘Prakriti’.

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