Table of Contents
1. Parvati Becomes a Fisherman’s Daughter
Sri Chinmoy narrated the following story on 29 November 2004 in Sanya, China.
I would like to tell a story because Kailash is massaging me. As you know, Mount Kailash is our most sacred mountain. So I am inspired to tell a story that has to do with Mount Kailash. And our Kailash is good at skiing in the snow, so still he is carrying some connection!
Lord Shiva can be pleased sooner than the soonest. You can worship him with only one simple leaf, tulasi, which in India is everywhere available. If you sprinkle just a little water on top of the leaf and then place it at the feet of Lord Shiva, he will give you everything. Sometimes, by giving human beings boons, he creates such problems for himself!
Lord Shiva’s consort is Parvati and their dwelling-place is on top of Mount Kailash. Every day Lord Shiva used to explain difficult, difficult things from the Vedas to Parvati. Many things in our sacred books are very difficult to understand, so he used to carefully explain them to her. This went on for years.
It happened that one day Parvati found Lord Shiva’s explanation boring and she lost concentration. When Lord Shiva saw that she had lost her concentration, with his third eye – which is his destruction-aspect – he cursed her. He said, “You are not paying any attention to me, so I am cursing you. You have to take human incarnation as a fisherwoman.”
A curse is a curse, so Parvati had to come down to earth. She took the form of a four-year-old girl and she appeared at the foot of a tree. The little child was very beautiful.
The chief fisherman of that area found the helpless child and brought her to his cottage. He adopted her and began to lavish all his affection, love, sweetness and fondness on her. He himself did not have any children. The funniest thing is that the fisherman also gave her the name Parvati. Her original name on Mount Kailash was Parvati and when she played the role of the daughter, it was the same.
In the meantime, Lord Shiva was so miserable. He was crying pitifully, “What have I done? What have I done? Why did I express my anger? Now look at me! Without her, I cannot exist even for a moment.”
Lord Shiva’s main attendant is a white bull. Nandi, his name is. Although he is a bull, Nandi can talk. He felt so miserable that Lord Shiva was suffering. So he said, “Why do you not bring Parvati back here? You have so much occult power. You have only to use your third eye and bring her back.”
Lord Shiva replied, “No, I cannot do that. I am seeing very clearly that she is going to marry a fisherman. Now she is still growing up. Alas, I do not know when she will be able to come back to me.”
Nandi said, “I cannot see you suffering. It is unbearable! I shall solve your problem.”
Lord Shiva was so surprised. “You will solve my problem?” It was like a slave saying that he will solve the master’s problem. Then Lord Shiva continued, “Then please solve my problem.”
So what Nandi did was to take the form of a whale. He entered into the water where the fishermen of that village used to fish. Every day, in their tiny boats, they would go out and catch fish. Then they would sell their fish at the market. So now this huge whale started torturing the fishermen and also it was consuming the small fish that they used to catch. The fishermen were so helpless. They were not catching any fish and their boats were quite often capsized by the whale. They all became so sad and miserable.
The fisherman came to the chief of their community, Parvati’s adopted father, and told him of their present misfortune. He said, “I am also helpless. Now what can we do with this whale?”
Then a brilliant idea flashed through his brain. He said, “Whoever can kill the whale, I will give my daughter to him in marriage. This is my promise. And my daughter is extremely beautiful.”
So many fishermen tried in vain to kill the whale. Alas, instead of killing it, many were devoured by the whale. They all lost! By now, people were afraid of the whale. Those fishermen who were still remaining did not dare to go near it and they did not want to make any more attempts to kill it. Now they were even more miserable than before. They could not catch any fish to earn their livelihood and they knew that they were not going to get this beautiful girl in marriage.
One day Nandi returned to Lord Shiva with a message. He said, “The chief fisherman is saying that whoever can kill the whale – by which he means me – will be able to have his beautiful daughter in marriage. This is his promise. So can you not take the form of a fisherman and appear there as the strongest and most powerful man? You can kill the whale and then you will be able to bring back your most beautiful wife.”
“Oh, it is a splendid idea!” said Lord Shiva. “I am going.”
So Lord Shiva took the form of a young man, most powerful and again handsome in every way. Then he appeared before the fishermen of that village. They had never seen such a strong and handsome man. They were so happy to welcome him in their midst. The chief of the fishermen said, “I am so happy! Who are you?”
Lord Shiva replied, “I do not want to say who I am. Just tell me, will you keep your promise if I kill the whale?”
The chief fisherman said, “Definitely! If you kill the whale, then I shall definitely keep my promise. You will have my daughter.”
So Lord Shiva entered into the water and killed this whale. Nandi was killed by his own master. Then Shiva and Parvati were married on earth and came back again to Mount Kailash. Nandi also came back and again became Lord Shiva’s closest attendant.
After that, Lord Shiva said that he would never teach his wife the Vedas any more. He did not want to lose Parvati a second time.
2. The Asura is Burnt to Ashes
Sri Chinmoy narrated the following story on 29 November 2004 in Sanya, China.
This second story about Lord Shiva is one which all of you know, but I will just decorate it a little in my own village way.
Our Cosmic Gods and Goddesses are wise in giving boons. They see if the person really deserves it and then they give. But in the case of Lord Shiva, he does not care. If he is pleased with the person, he does not want to know even if the person deserves the boon or not.
There was once an asura called Bhasmasur. He enjoyed life to the hilt in his own way for years and years. Then he came to realise that there is no real happiness in mere enjoyment. He was very powerful, he was destroying people here and there, but he was not getting any inner happiness. So he started meditating and meditating and meditating. He meditated for centuries.
Every day he would cut off a portion of his body. To please Shiva, little by little, he was sacrificing his own body. Formerly he was a huge asura. Gradually he became a skeleton.
At last Shiva appeared before Bhasmasur and asked, “What do you want?” The asura replied, “I have prayed and meditated. I have pleased you. Now I want to have something in return, a power which nobody else on earth has. Please tell me that you will not give this boon to anybody else.”
Lord Shiva said, “All right, I will give you a boon which I will not grant to anybody else. You will be the only one to have that miracle-power.”
The asura said, “I want to have this boon: the moment I touch the head of any human being, that person will turn into ashes.”
So Shiva said, “Oh, it is such an easy thing for me to give you that kind of boon. I am going to give it to you now easily. You have pleased me immensely with your prayer and meditation. Also I promise that I will not give this particular boon to anybody else.”
Right there and then, Shiva gave Bhasmasur the boon he desired. Then the asura was so happy, so thrilled, that he was the only one to be the possessor of this particular boon. Whomever he touched, that person would turn into ashes. The asura immediately wanted to apply the boon to Lord Shiva himself!
Lord Shiva said, “O my God! What have I done, what have I done, what have I done?” Then Lord Shiva ran and ran and ran, faster than the fastest. Lord Shiva had faster speed than this asura. Shiva arrived at Vishnu’s palace. Lord Vishnu is one of the trinity: Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. One creates, one preserves, one transforms. Lord Vishnu is the preserver.
“Save me, save me!” Shiva said to Vishnu.
Vishnu asked, “What is wrong?”
Shiva explained, “I gave one asura a boon: the moment he touches anybody, that person will be burned to ashes. Now he wants to test the boon on my head!”
Vishnu said, “Do not worry. I have a very big palace. You hide somewhere. I will take care of him.”
So Lord Shiva was hiding in Vishnu’s palace.
Now, panting and panting, Bhasmasur came to Vishnu. He said, “What has happened, what has happened? Shiva gave me a boon and then, when I wanted to experiment to see if the boon really worked, he just started running and I could not keep pace with him. Now what am I going to do?”
Lord Vishnu showed the asura a sympathetic face. He said, “Do not worry. You are now here. You can stay at my palace and I will treat you very nicely. Shiva? He is a number-one liar, first of all! You know, he always drinks, drinks, drinks, and he does not know what he says, even. How did you come to believe him in the first place? Nobody believes what Shiva says, nobody! So you are a fool! You should not have believed him. He is always dealing with snakes, he eats all kinds of things, he does not even know what day of the week it is. He is always enjoying his own life. You should not have trusted him. I tell you, he does not have that kind of power. I know. He is a friend of mine. Anyway, if he had given you that boon – and you are saying that nobody else has that power – then why do you have to take the trouble of going and searching for him? You just try it on your own head. I tell you, nothing will happen. No, nothing will happen because Shiva does not have that kind of power. Shiva just brags.”
“That is true,” said Bhasmasur.
Then Vishnu continued, “I assure you, nothing will happen to you, nothing will happen. Since nothing will happen, you can put your hand on your head. Then I will help you to catch Shiva because he is such a liar. You can trust me!”
The asura trusted Vishnu and he placed his hand on his own head. Immediately, he turned into ashes and died then and there. Then Vishnu sent for Shiva who was hiding in his palace. When Shiva came, he could not believe what had happened. Vishnu had solved his dilemma.
These three Cosmic Gods – Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva – help each other mutually. When Vishnu is in trouble, Shiva will come to help. When Brahma is in trouble, the other two come to his assistance. They are friends, but not human friends. Human friends will not have the capacity to glorify somebody else. Always one friend will be at the top; he will be the best of the three. But when it comes to the Cosmic Gods, they try to humble themselves. They say, “No, that one is greater than me, the other one is greater.” Each one tries to glorify the others.
So this is the story all of you know. I am only embellishing it. Many, many times in New York while I am doing bench press – 1,000 pounds lying down, around four-thirty or five o’clock in the morning, upstairs in my second room – I will see Lord Shiva seated on my bed. With such joy, such love, such compassion-power, he is watching me, watching me, watching me.
3. Lord Vishnu’s Great Devotee
Sri Chinmoy told the following story on 2 December 2004 in Sanya, China.
There was a very, very famous king who was kindness incarnate, compassion incarnate and self-giving incarnate. It is said that it is impossible for any one person to please everyone but, in his case, all his subjects were extremely pleased with him, extremely grateful to him and extremely proud of him. The king’s name was Ambarish.
The king was a very great and very sincere devotee of Lord Vishnu. Once he decided to fast and pray and meditate for three days without rest in order to receive special blessings from Lord Vishnu. It was a special religious rite that he wanted to perform.
So for three days Ambarish fasted and prayed and meditated. Then he was so elated and so grateful that he had been able to fulfil his desire that he decided to fulfil the desires of all his subjects.
“Since it will be difficult for me to bring all my subjects to my palace, let me start with the priests,” said Ambarish. “We have so many priests. Since they are spiritual people, I want to please them first.”
So the king invited all the priests to an elaborate banquet. After the banquet, he was planning to give boons to each guest. Ambarish himself was not supposed to take even a morsel of food or a single drop of water. Nothing at all! This kind of fasting is not the same as threatening to fast unto death, as some people have done in India. There was no threat involved. Ambarish was only trying to win Lord Vishnu’s special blessings by performing this penance.
The priests were all ready to begin eating. All of a sudden the great sage Durvasha appeared. Durvasha was known for his very quick temper. In a second, he could destroy anyone. This kind of occult power he had, and he misused it millions of times.
Everyone was shocked to see Durvasha. King Ambarish greeted him very respectfully. “O great sage,” he said, “we are honoured by your presence. You are our guest of honour. Please allow me to serve you first.”
“No, Ambarish,” replied Durvasha, “I am going to bathe in a nearby river. After I have washed myself completely, I shall come to eat.”
So Durvasha went to the river. Half an hour passed, then an hour, two hours, three hours. He was enjoying himself. Even after four hours, there was no sign of his return. For the special kind of worship that King Ambarish was performing, you have to resume eating at a certain hour, after having completed the fast. One of the priests said to Ambarish, “O King, if you do not eat during this special hour, you will commit a sin, according to our Shastras.”
“What am I going to do?” asked the king. “If I do not wait for Durvasha and offer him food first, he will curse me. And if I do not eat during this most auspicious hour, I shall be committing a sin.”
The priests held a consultation and then they advised the king, “You are such a good, kind-hearted king. We do not want you to suffer. This anger-flooded sage should suffer! Drink just a drop of water. Then you will be able to say to Durvasha that you have not eaten, but at the same time you will be able to please God because you have taken something.”
So Ambarish put a little drop of water in the palm of his hand and was about to drink it when, lo and behold, Durvasha appeared. He was furious. “What kind of audacity is this?” he shouted. “I am such a great sage. How dare you drink without giving me food first? I curse you!”
From his matted hair, Durvasha removed a few strands and turned them into a chakra, a disc. He released the disc and it flew very fast towards Ambarish to kill him. Ambarish prayed to Lord Vishnu, “O Vishnu, what have I done? I did not want to drink, but my priests said I should. They said that otherwise I would be committing a sin because I would not fulfil my vow. Now I have to face Durvasha’s wrath.”
Lord Vishnu immediately sent his Sudarshan chakra to intervene. This chakra came down from Above and broke Durvasha’s chakra into pieces. But that was not enough. Vishnu’s all-conquering Sudarshan chakra started chasing Durvasha here, there and everywhere. Durvasha ran for his life. He ran into the river, thinking that the disc would not follow him there, but no matter where he went, Vishnu’s Sudarshan chased him. At any moment, he was about to lose his life.
Finally, he went to Brahma, the Creator, and pleaded, “O Brahma, please, please, save me, save me! Vishnu’s chakra is about to kill me.”
“You fool!” Brahma replied. “How will I dare to challenge Vishnu’s chakra? I am not going to do anything.”
Then Durvasha went to Lord Shiva. Shiva is so fond of Vishnu. Shiva became furious with Durvasha. “Just run away from here, otherwise I will destroy you! You will not have to wait for Vishnu’s chakra, I am going to destroy you here and now! What an unthinkable thing you have done to Vishnu’s devotee. Our devotees are dearer than our lives themselves.” Shiva scolded and insulted Durvasha mercilessly.
In our Indian theory, if someone has a very sincere and excellent devotee, the Masters are ready to sacrifice their own lives for them.
Then the helpless, useless and hopeless Durvasha went to Lord Vishnu for forgiveness. “Am I going to forgive you?” said Vishnu. “Ambarish is dearer than the dearest to me. He is dearer than my life itself. I am not going to help you. How could you do such an unthinkable thing to such a good king? Go and beg Ambarish for forgiveness.”
So poor Durvasha had to go to Ambarish. “Please, forgive me, forgive me, forgive me! Save me!” he wept.
Ambarish said to Durvasha, “I can only pray to my Lord Vishnu. I have no power. He is the one who is about to kill you.” So Ambarish prayed to Vishnu, “My Lord, please, please, forgive him.”
Vishnu said, “Only because of you, I am forgiving him. Because you are so dear to me, I will always listen to your request, but not to his request.”
Then Vishnu forgave Durvasha and Vishnu’s chakra stopped chasing him. Durvasha asked Ambarish, “How is it possible? Brahma did not dare to challenge Vishnu’s chakra. Shiva did not dare. On the contrary, they both insulted me and scolded me brutally. And Vishnu himself did not forgive me. But your forgiveness immediately produced results.”
“O Durvasha, you know that it is not my power,” replied Ambarish. “It is my Lord Vishnu’s Compassion-Power. I prayed to him only to become a better king. That is why I observed that particular religious rite of fasting for three days. It was nothing. Anybody could do it. Just three days of fasting. I did not drink; I did not eat anything. But my Lord Vishnu’s Compassion is infinite. His Love for me is infinite. It is his Love for me that wanted to punish you. It is his Compassion for me.”
In India, there are millions of mythological stories about this kind of injustice and retribution. If someone does something wrong to a sincere devotee, then from Above not only these three main Cosmic Gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – but others also, punish the culprit. Whenever their super-excellent devotees are in trouble, the Cosmic Gods immediately take their side.
This is how Vishnu wanted to glorify Ambarish because, as a king, Ambarish was kindness incarnate, compassion incarnate and self-giving incarnate.
This is an authentic story.
4. Lord Ganesha’s Birth
Sri Chinmoy told the following story on 31 March 2007 at Aspiration-Ground in New York.
Lord Shiva was all the time meditating, meditating. On earth, he had so many admirers and devotees. Everybody spoke so highly of Lord Shiva.
Now, Parvati had a few friends who were very dear to her. These friends became very, very jealous of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva had quite a few guards – Nandi, Bhringi and others. He also had many assistants. Parvati’s friends used to tell her, “We feel so sorry for you that you do not have any bodyguards.”
Then Parvati protested, “I do not need bodyguards, I do not need!”
“But you do need!” they insisted. “Why should everybody appreciate Shiva?”
Parvati answered, “When people appreciate Shiva, I feel they are appreciating me as well.”
Her friends said, “No, no, no! Your name is not Shiva; your name is Parvati. These guards never mention Shiva and Parvati. For them, it is all Shiva, Shiva. Please allow us to do something about this matter. We would like to have some bodyguards, some assistants, for you.”
Once more Parvati said, “No, I do not need, I do not need. People who appreciate him, admire him and adore him, I feel that they adore me and love me also. So I do not need assistants.”
But her friends were not convinced. They said, “There shall come a time when you will also need bodyguards and helpers and so forth. One day you will realise this.”
Alas, it happened that one day Parvati was taking a shower and inadvertently Shiva came into the room. Parvati was very embarrassed. She said, “Why did you come here? I am taking a shower.”
Shiva began to say, “I came here – ”
Before he could complete the sentence, Parvati started shouting and screaming at him. Shiva said he would never embarrass her again. Then he went far away. He was very upset.
Parvati was now alone. One day she was taking a shower and from her body, while using her soap, some dust and dirt dropped. And this became a little four or five-year-old boy. That was her son. Then she gave that little boy all kinds of occult power and spiritual power. The little boy became very, very powerful.
When he was six or seven years old, his father had still not returned. Another six years went by and Lord Shiva wanted to come back home. Parvati had told her son that without her permission, nobody would be allowed to enter her home. So the little boy was all the time guarding, guarding, guarding his mother. When Lord Shiva came, the little boy did not know who he was and so he did not allow his father to enter.
Lord Shiva said, “It is beneath my dignity to fight this little boy!” So he sent Nandi and Bhringi, his guards, to fight with him. Alas, the little boy defeated them badly! Then more Cosmic Gods arrived to help Shiva. They met with the same fate. Finally, Brahma and Vishnu came. They also lost to the little boy. They could not believe how powerful the little boy was. One by one, they all lost to him. Then they begged Shiva to come and fight.
So Lord Shiva came. For a long time he fought with the little boy. At last, Shiva became furious. He said, “I cannot go on like this. Now the only thing I can do is cut off his head. I will kill him. It will not be right for me to win by foul means, but what can I do? I have to kill him.” So Shiva cut off the little boy’s head and threw it away.
When Parvati came to know that her son had been killed, she was so upset and grief-stricken. She was crying and lamenting so pitifully and, at the same time, she was so angry that she wanted to kill all the Cosmic Gods. She kept repeating, “My son, my son!” She was so fond of her little child.
Vishnu, as usual, became the mediator. Vishnu went to Parvati and tried to console her. Alas, there was no consolation. She said, “No, I do not want your philosophy! My son has to get back his life.”
Then Vishnu went to Shiva and begged him, “Please, please, use your occult power. With occult power, bring his life back.”
So Shiva used his occult power and brought life back to the body of the little boy, but the head was still somewhere else. So now Parvati said, “What shall I do with living body without a head? He must have a head. Then only he will be perfect. Otherwise, without a head, how will people recognise him?”
Parvati was still furious with her husband. So then Shiva said, “All right. Tomorrow morning these Cosmic Gods will go out. The first person they see, I will tell them to cut off his head and bring it to me. And I will put it on this little boy.”
When the Cosmic Gods went out the next morning, the first thing they saw was an elephant, not a human being! And the elephant had only one tusk. Shiva had told them, “You have to bring the head of the first living being.” The first living being happened to be an elephant. So they cut off the elephant’s head and brought it back to Shiva and Shiva put it on the body of the little boy.
Parvati was very, very happy. She did not care whether it was a human head or the head of an elephant. She was happy that her son had been restored to her. Then Shiva said, “I really admire this little boy. I take him as my own son.” And he lifted the little boy up on his shoulders and started showing him all affection and love.
Shiva said to his son, “Brahma, Vishnu and I, we three Cosmic Gods, are always worshipped first. But now I am changing it. From now on, my son will be worshipped first. His name will be Ganesha. He has to be worshipped first and then only the devotees will worship us.”
So since then we have to worship Lord Ganesha before we worship any other Cosmic God or Goddess.
This made Parvati extremely happy and Shiva was also very, very happy. He said, “He is my dearest, fondest child.” Everybody was supremely happy. This is how the story ends.
5. How the Gods became Immortal
Now I will tell a story. This story has no mother, no father! Hundreds of people have told this story. The story itself is authentic, but each writer has taken tremendous freedom. I also told this story many years ago. Today I am telling it again and embellishing it in my own way.
We all know that the gods are immortal. But there was a time when the gods were not immortal. They were mortal, like us. So there were constant fights between the gods and the asuras (demons). And quite often the asuras used to defeat the gods. The Preceptor of the asuras is Sukracharya and the Guru of the Cosmic Gods is Brihaspati. They were cousins. From the astrological point of view, Brihaspati is my Guru. I was born on a Thursday and Thursday in Bengali is Brihaspatibar, Brihaspati’s day.
Sukracharya somehow learned the art of immortality. He could revive his followers. When they died, he would utter a particular mantra and bring them back to life. Unfortunately, Brihaspati did not know this mantra. So his followers, the gods, used to suffer like anything.
The gods were very, very sad. So the trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – went to Brihaspati for advice. They asked him how they could also acquire immortality. Brihaspati informed them that he had not learnt the art. He also was extremely sad. Brihaspati’s son, Kach, happened to overhear their conversation. He said, “I have a brilliant idea! I shall learn the mantra from Sukracharya.”
Some of them laughed when they heard this. Others were worried because they knew that if Sukracharya saw Kach, he would know why Kach had come and he would kill him. But Kach did not listen to them.
Kach went to Sukracharya and begged to become his disciple. Sukracharya replied, “I am ready to accept you, but how long will you be able to pray and meditate before I am pleased with you?”
Kach said, “I am ready to take ten thousand years if it is needed.”
Then Sukracharya said, “If you can please me within ten thousand years, then whatever boon you want, I shall grant you.”
Kach was so happy that Sukracharya had accepted him as his disciple. He began praying and meditating most intensely. He also took Sukracharya’s cows to graze. He used to do everything to please Sukracharya sooner than the soonest. It went on like this for years.
Meanwhile, the asuras very, very unhappy. They knew that Kach had come to their Preceptor to learn the art of immortality. And so they became very angry and also jealous of Kach. In so many ways, they tried to punish him and torture him. It went on, on, on.
In the meantime, another problem arose for poor Kach. Sukracharya had a daughter named Devyani. She was a few years older than Kach. She became very, very fond of Kach, but Kach was not so impressed with her because he had only one purpose in mind: to learn from her father the art of immortality. Devyani fell seriously in love with Kach. He was very kind to her, but he was not in love with her.
One day, when Kach took the cows to the field, the asuras attacked Kach and killed him. They left his dead body lying in the field where dogs and jackals soon devoured it.
Every day, when Kach returned from the field, he used to chat with Sukracharya and Sukracharya became extremely fond of his nephew. On the day that Kach was killed, he did not come home from the field and Devyani became very worried. She said to her father, “How is it that all the cattle have come home and Kach is not here?”
She began crying and crying. She said, “Father, I love him so much. I cannot live without him.”
Sukracharya replied, “I, too, love him.”
The daughter pleaded, “Then give him back his life. Please revive him.”
So Sukracharya used his third eye to see what had happened. Suddenly he exclaimed, “O my God! Now his body is being devoured by dogs and jackals!”
Then Sukracharya used his tremendous occult power. He brought back the pieces of the dead body from the dogs and jackals. He gave life to Kach once more. Then he was so happy and Devyani was also very, very happy.
But the jealousy of the asuras never left them. They wanted to punish Kach once and for all. So this second time they killed him and, piece by piece, they threw him into the ocean. Now evening had set in and Kach did not come back from the field. The calves came back without him. Devyani started worrying and worrying. Where could Kach be? So her father again used his occult vision and found out that Kach’s body was scattered in the waters. Once more he used his occult power and he was able to bring Kach back from the ocean. Devyani was full of joy and Sukracharya was also happy to see Kach again.
But, alas, these asuras would be satisfied only if Kach was truly dead. So this time they had a most brilliant idea. They knew that Sukracharya enjoyed drinking wine. So they decided to kill Kach and grind his bones into powder. They did this and then they poured the powder, Kach’s bones, into Sukracharya’s drink. The rest of Kach’s body, they threw away.
Now Sukracharya drank his wine as usual. He did not notice anything different. There was nothing, no reaction. But Devyani was again not finding Kach. She started worrying and crying. So her father concentrated. O God, he saw that Kach was inside his own body. He said to his daughter, “Now here is a serious problem. If I use my mantra, then he will come out from me, from my stomach, and I will die. Otherwise, he will remain inside my body. He will be dead. Which one do you want?”
Devyani answered, “Father, I love you and Kach equally. Without you, I cannot live; without him also, I cannot live.”
Sukracharya said, “What can I do?” He thought for a moment and then he said, “Oh, I know what I should do! You people all move away – do not be here. I will secretly teach my mantra to Kach, and then Kach will come out. When Kach comes out of my body, he will use the same mantra to revive me!”
It was a wonderful plan. Sukracharya taught Kach his mantra and he came out of Sukracharya’s body. Then Kach used the same mantra and Sukracharya was restored to life. It was a happier than the happiest moment for everybody, save and except the asuras. They were so miserable because Kach had learnt the mantra.
Now the time had come for Kach to leave. He had learned the mantra; he knew how to revive dead bodies. So Kach said to Sukracharya, “Uncle, you told me that if I could please you, you would fulfil my prayer. This was my prayer: I wanted to learn how to give life back to people who were killed.”
Sukracharya said, “All right, you have pleased me immensely and now you have learned the mantra. You can go back to your father.”
When Kach was all ready to leave Sukracharya’s abode, Devyani came to him. She was distraught. “No, I will not allow you to go,” she said. “You have to marry me.”
Kach was horrified. “My God! I took you as my sister, and you are older than me? How can a brother marry a sister?”
“No, no, you have to marry me,” she said.
Kach refused to listen to her. “I cannot, I cannot, I cannot,” he said. “You fell in love with me, but my affection is for you as an elder sister, elder sister. I always cared for you, loved you, but as an elder sister.”
“No, I loved you and I wanted to be your wife,” Devyani insisted.
But Kach would not be swayed. Just as he was about to depart, Devyani said to him, “I curse you! You will never be satisfied with any woman. I curse you! You will never be happy if you get married.”
Kach smiled and said, “I am a seeker. I will never get married, so I do not have to be miserable. But you have cursed me and I am now cursing you: that no man should trust a woman.”
So Kach went back to his father and the Cosmic Gods were so happy that now they would also be immortal, like the asuras. This is how the story ends.
These stories are very instructive and inspiring. So many people have written about the story of Kach and Devyani. They have used their fertile imagination.
6. The Eye Sacrifice
Sri Chinmoy told this story on 15 April 2007 at York College, Queens.
Long, long ago, the asuras quite often used to defeat the gods. The asuras were the demons and the suras were the devas – the minor gods and the Cosmic Gods. The asuras had the art of their Guru, Sukracharya, who knew the art of reviving people when they die. This meant that when the asuras were killed, they would again come back to life. But the devas, the Cosmic Gods, did not have that art. Eventually they got it in a very clever way and then they, too, became immortal.
Now the story starts. Once the asuras, the demons, were very, very ruthless in defeating the gods. In Heaven, they tortured the gods mercilessly, even the Cosmic Gods. The gods were no match for the demons.
The gods prayed to Lord Vishnu to save them. They prayed and prayed to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu said, “I am sorry. I do not have the power to defeat the demons, so you have come to the wrong person. But I am ready to go to Lord Shiva. You can accompany me. Let us all go.”
Then the gods said, “Oh, no. You go alone. You two are such great friends.” So Vishnu went to Shiva, since he needed Shiva’s help. These Cosmic Gods are so kind to each other. On one occasion, they will make Shiva the supreme God, then they will make Vishnu the supreme, then they will make Brahma the supreme. This time, Vishnu wanted to show Shiva’s supremacy; he wanted to show that he was no match for Shiva. He felt that Shiva had all spiritual power and occult power; he had his third eye to destroy everything.
When Vishnu went to see Shiva, he saw that Shiva was in trance – high, higher, highest trance. Vishnu did not want to disturb Shiva’s trance, so he waited. He waited and waited for hundreds of years. Like this it went on.
Shiva was still not pleased. Then Vishnu decided that every day he would worship Shiva with one thousand lotuses – beautifully, fully bloomed blue lotuses. Every day he would do this to please Lord Shiva. For one thousand yeas, Vishnu prayed to Shiva for hours and hours. While praying, he would keep one thousand lotuses in front of him. One by one, he would lift them up and dedicate them to Shiva. Although Shiva did not physically appear, Vishnu went on and on, praying and praying and praying.
Then one day Shiva wanted to play a trick on Vishnu. In his subtle form, Shiva came. Before Vishnu started praying, he used to collect the beautiful blue lotuses. He would put them at a particular sacred place and then he would sit in front of the flowers and start worshipping Shiva. Alas, on this particular day, before Vishnu sat down to worship Shiva, Shiva secretly came and stole one flower. So the number did not remain one thousand – it became 999. Vishnu did not see this. Vishnu only saw so many flowers. He started offering them to Shiva one by one. Each time he offered a lotus, he was praising Shiva, saying how great, how good, how kind Shiva was.
Alas, at the very end of his offering, Vishnu found that there were only 999 lotuses. He was very, very sad because one lotus was missing. Vishnu began searching and searching for that lotus. Finally, he decided it was a hopeless case, so he plucked out one of his eyes. It was his left eye. His eye also looked like a beautiful lotus. Vishnu put his eye in front of him and with that eye he worshipped Lord Shiva.
Lord Shiva immediately came and stood in front of Vishnu. He could not believe that Vishnu would do this kind of thing. Lord Shiva was so pleased with him. Then Shiva said, “I will give you my Sudarshan chakra, this round disc.”
We all know that this is Vishnu’s chakra, but in the beginning it was not Vishnu’s. In the beginning, it was Shiva’s chakra. Whomever it wants to kill, it will just go round and round and cut the throat of that person.
Vishnu most devotedly took the Sudarshan chakra from Lord Shiva. Then Vishnu gave that Sudarshan chakra to all the gods to fight against the demons, and this is how the demons were killed. Then the gods gave the chakra back to Lord Vishnu. Vishnu said, “Now we know how to kill the undivine forces.” Then he asked Shiva if he would like to take back the Sudarshan chakra.
Shiva said, “Once I give something, I do not take it back. It is yours. You can use it from now on, throughout Eternity.”
So Lord Vishnu used that chakra. When Sri Krishna came to earth, he was an Avatar of Lord Vishnu. He used that chakra and nobody, nobody, could stand against it. So that is how he received it. Shiva gave it to Vishnu and Vishnu gave it to Sri Krishna.
So this kind of sacrifice Vishnu could make. He offered one of his own eyes to Shiva and Shiva was very, very pleased.
A similar story I am sure you know about Gorakshanath. His Guru, Matsyendranath, want him to bring a most delicious meal from a particular lady. That lady had given a feast on the previous day, and Matsyendranath wanted to have the same kind of most delicious food, but on this day there was no feast.
To please his Guru, Gorakshanath went to that particular rich lady. The rich lady told him, “The feast was yesterday. Today it is all over. I cannot prepare another one.”
Gorakshanath begged and begged and begged. Then the lady started scolding him, “You are worse than a dog! Even a dog will leave a person after some time when it does not get food. You are worse than a dog!”
Gorakshanath said, “I am ready to be worse than a dog. I am not going to leave your place until you give me most delicious food for my Master.”
So the lady said, “All right, let me see your love and devotion for your Guru. If you are ready to give me one of your eyes, if you are ready to offer it to me, I will go to the market and buy all the ingredients. Then I will make a most delicious meal for you to bring to your Guru.”
Immediately Gorakshanath took out one of his eyes and gave it to her. The lady could not believe it. She went at once to the market and bought the ingredients and then again she cooked a most delicious meal.
When Gorakshanath came back to his Guru with the meal, his Guru was shocked to see that his dearest disciple had only one eye. He asked, “Why have you done this?”
Gorakshanath explained, “The lady was not willing to prepare a delicious meal again today. She wanted one of my eyes, and I gave it gladly.”
Matsyendranath said, “All right, can you give the other eye gladly to me?”
Gorakshanath said, “Of course!” Then the second eye also he removed and gave it to his Master. The Master was so pleased. He ate the food to his heart’s content, and then he gave back both the eyes to his dearest disciple, Gorakshanath.
These are similar stories about Gorakshanath and Vishnu. Shiva examined Vishnu to see how much love and admiration he had for Shiva, and Shiva was very, very pleased with Vishnu. Matsyendranath was also very, very pleased with his dearest disciple.
When we make a sacrifice, we feel that it is all over. No! God, in His very peculiar Way, gives us back, and He adds more to our inner strength, our surrender-power.
7. King Shibi’s Compassion
Sri Chinmoy told the following story at Aspiration-Ground in New York on 6 May 2007. In 1973, he had written this same story as a one-act play with the title “The Supreme Sacrifice of King Shibi”.
I told this story many years ago, but now that age has descended upon me, I am telling it with new wisdom.
There was once a very great king. This king was kindness, compassion and self-giving incarnate. Not only his own subjects, but the subjects of other kings, appreciated him like anything. Nobody could come near him in virtue. He had a galaxy of virtues.
Now Lord Indra sometimes allowed himself to be tortured by jealousy. He was the king of the Cosmic Gods. So it was too much for him that a mere human being could be so mightily appreciated, admired and adored by the whole world. He decided to examine King Shibi.
Indra went to Brahma to seek Brahma’s opinion and his advice. Brahma and Indra are very dear friends. Brahma immediately gave Indra advice. Both of them took the form of birds and they came down to earth. Indra played the role of a beautiful dove, and Brahma took the form of a hawk.
Now Indra the dove flew down and fell on King Shibi’s lap. The bird was crying for protection; it was utterly helpless. Why? Because Brahma the hawk was chasing it. The hawk wanted to kill and eat the dove.
So the dove was begging and begging Shibi for protection. Shibi said, “Do not worry! You are now in my hands. Nobody will be able to kill you. I will protect you, I will protect you.”
The dove was so happy. It said to the king, “I heard that you are the greatest self-giver. Here is the proof.”
Once more Shibi said, “I will protect you.”
Then the hawk came and said, “Yes, it is your duty, O king, it is your duty to protect the ones who are suffering, to protect the needy. But where is your justice? This dove belongs to me. I found the dove and it is my prey. I am so hungry! I am so hungry! Will you not think of me? Do you not have any concern for me? I must eat, I must eat! Will you not pay any attention to my hunger? This is not my greed; it is my genuine hunger. I chased the bird and now it is mine.” The hawk argued that it had every right to seize the dove.
At first, King Shibi was so surprised that these two birds had the capacity to talk like human beings in a language he could understand. Then he spoke to the hawk, “Can we substitute the meat of some other creature? Will you agree?” This was nothing other than King Shibi’s self-giving nobility.
The hawk answered, “I will only agree if you substitute the meat of a human being – specially your meat!”
O God! All those who were around became furious. They wanted to kick the hawk. What kind of audacity it had to ask for the meat of their beloved king!
It did not take a moment for King Shibi to say, “I am ready. If you want my meat as compensation, I will give you whatever you require from my own body.”
Then the hawk said, “It has to be the same amount. On the scales it has to balance. Whatever the dove weighs, you have to offer the same amount of flesh from your body.”
“Oh, that is nothing!” said Shibi. Then he started chopping off flesh from his own body and he put it on the scales. On one side of the scales was the dove, and on the other side was Shibi’s flesh. He continued cutting off his flesh until the two became equal in weight.
Meanwhile, Shibi’s wife and his entire family and the members of the court were all crying so pitifully. They were cursing and cursing the hawk, but they were helpless to prevent what was taking place.
Then, all on a sudden, the dove and the hawk disappeared and Indra and Brahma took their own forms. Indra blessed Shibi and said to him, “I am really pleased with you. You have such nobility, such courage, such compassion and such generosity. Plus you keep your promise.” In the twinkling of an eye, Indra gave Shibi back his perfect body. Shibi again got back his full health, robust health.
8. Mother Kali Drinks Blood
Sri Chinmoy narrated the following story on 28 May 2007 at Aspiration-Ground in Queens.
As you know, a constant battle was always going on between the suras and the asuras. The suras are the divine forces and the asuras are the undivine forces. Most of the time, I tell you, the undivine forces would win. From time to time, the divine forces would win. Nowadays the story is changed. Now we feel that the divine forces win more often than the undivine forces. We believe in the victory of the divine forces.
Anyway, this story took place thousands of years ago. It is mythological. There were two asuras. They were brothers. Their names were Sumbha and Nisumbha and they were undivine to the extreme! The devas, the divine beings, were all miserable, miserable, miserable. They were losing to these two asuras and they were being humiliated by them at every moment. So the devas begged the Cosmic Goddess to save them. The name of the Cosmic Goddess always changes. In this instance, they addressed her as the Goddess Ambika.
So Ambika decided to spring a trick upon the two asuras. Instead of showing her destruction-prowess and defeating them in battle, she took the form of the most, most, most beautiful woman. Then she said to Sumbha and Nisumbha, “You come! Fight with me!”
They laughed and laughed and laughed. “Your beauty will fight with us? We shall drag you to our king and our king will do the needful!”
Once more Ambika challenged them, “First fight with me. Then take me to your king.”
The two asuras and their generals, Chanda and Munda, began fighting the beautiful woman. To their surprise, they were finding it very difficult to defeat her. By this time, Ambika had given up her beauty-form completely. She had taken the form of the Goddess Kali. Each time she was able to get a large quantity of blood from one of the asuras, she put it in her bowl and then she drank the blood. O God! All the asuras became very frightened. Then quite a few asuras left the scene because they saw the fate of their companions. Each time Kali’s bowl was full to the brim with the blood of the asuras, she would start drinking. It was too much for the asuras and eventually they all left.
After a few days, the two brothers Sumbha and Nisumbha returned. This time they brought with them their most powerful armies. Then again, the Goddess changed her form. Once more she became the most, most beautiful woman. So Sumbha said to Nisumbha, “Brother, it is not worthwhile for both of us to fight against one woman. Since you like rest, please rest. I shall go and defeat her badly and then we shall take her to the king.”
Nisumbha shouted, “You rogue! I know what you are thinking. She is so beautiful, you want to get her for yourself. I will not allow you.”
Then the two brothers fought and fought and fought. They did not want to go together to defeat her, but neither one would allow the other to go alone.
Finally, a comrade of theirs arrived. His name was Raktabija. He was a very powerful asura. He came to put an end to their fight. He said, “How can you fight over this? Both of you are equal. All right, I will make the decision. I will decide who will go and fight with her.”
But the two brothers did not want to listen to him. Finally, Raktabija became disgusted. He said, “Then go on, fight, fight, fight, fight! Both of you fight! I tell you, she will defeat you. She will again take a very horrible form and then you – ”
But the two brothers were not listening. They had gone together with their armies to fight the beautiful woman. Once more she took the form of Kali and started killing the asuras. The fight went on for a long time. Kali was killing, killing, killing so many of them. Even Raktabija joined in the battle. He said to Kali, “These two brothers are useless! They cannot fight with you. I challenge you!”
Raktabija fought very bravely, but Kali killed him and poured all his blood into her bowl. Then she started drinking it drop by drop. She did not drink the whole amount at once.
Then these two brothers said to Kali, “It is unfair! Your way of fighting is unfair!”
Why? Because to help Kali, some other Goddesses came to help. Brahma’s consort, Saraswati, who is in the music-world, came to help. Vishnu’s wife, Lakshmi, came. And Indra’s wife, Sachi. They were all standing near Kali and supporting her with their power. Now look at this! Lakshmi never fought; she is all beauty. She is the mother of wealth. Saraswati is not a fighter; she plays on her vina. She gives wisdom, music, art and so forth. And Sachi was also quite useless. If any of them had to fight with these asuras, they would have been killed. They came only to show their support for Kali.
But the brothers objected. They said to Kali, “One of us shall fight with you alone.”
Kali said, “No, you two brothers fight with me, and these Goddesses will all go inside me because they are part of me.” Immediately the wives of the other Cosmic Gods entered into Kali. Now she was alone on the battlefield.
This time she was very, very furious. She said, “I cannot tolerate you people any more!” So she killed Sumbha, Nisumbha and their armies. Then she went to their king and killed him. The whole kingdom of the asuras she destroyed. She said, “I want peace, peace. My followers, my devotees, will not suffer any more from your undivine actions.”
This is Mother Kali!
9. Parvati’s Extraordinary Boon
Sri Chinmoy told the following story at his house in Jamaica, Queens, on 6 June 2007.
Lord Sri Krishna had eight wives officially. On the Pandavas side, Bhima was of the same age as Krishna, so he used to make fun of Krishna. In front of Arjuna and his other brothers, Bhima used to tell Krishna, “Eight! We cannot manage with one wife. How do you manage with eight wives?”
Krishna used to laugh at Bhima’s comments. This story is not about Krishna’s wives; it is about his children. By Rukmini, his first wife, Krishna had a son whom he named Pradyumna. Pradyumna was most handsome, most powerful and most courageous. In every way, he was a most exemplary son. Everybody loved him and adored him.
Now Krishna’s second wife was Satyabhama. When she saw that everybody was showering Pradyumna with love and affection, she became jealous and insecure. She said to Krishna, “I need a son like him! I must have a son like Rukmini’s son.”
Poor Krishna said, “What can I do?” He started praying for Satyabhama to have a son, but his prayer was not working. Nothing was happening. So Krishna went to a spiritual Master to seek his blessings and advice. The spiritual Master said, “Oh, no. I cannot do these things. You have to go to Shiva. Shiva can help you.”
So Krishna began praying and praying and praying to Lord Shiva. Usually Shiva does not take a long time to answer prayers but, in this case, he was taking a very long time. Finally, after many years, Shiva appeared before Krishna with Parvati. Shiva asked Krishna, “Why do you have to pray to me? Of all people, you have to pray?”
Krishna replied, “Yes, I have to pray to you. My Guru has told me that I shall have to pray to you, then you will grant me the boon.”
“What boon do you want?” asked Shiva.
Krishna answered, “My wife, Satyabhama, wants to have a child exactly like Pradyumna, who is my first child by Rukmini. Now what can I do, what can I do? Satyabhama is getting upset.”
“So you have to pray for so many years?” said Shiva. Then he went on, “All right, now I will grant you the boon. A son of the same capacity in every way I will grant you.”
Then Parvati spoke. “Oh, no, that is not enough!” she said. “I am giving the boon that you will have ten thousand, one hundred and eight children.” Can you imagine! Parvati’s boon is ten thousand, one hundred and eight!
Shiva was so shocked. “What? What? What kind of boon is this?”
Krishna said, “No, I will be able to manage.”
Then Shiva started criticising Krishna. “You cannot manage anything. You cannot take care of yourself properly, but you will be able to manage?” Shiva turned to Parvati and said, “How will his family take proper care of so many children? Will they accept him with ten thousand, one hundred and eight children?”
Parvati assured Shiva, “No, I am telling you, everything will be perfect. Balarama will be the main one to look after all these children. Balarama loves Krishna so much. He will not mind. He will be so fond of Krishna’s ten thousand, one hundred and eight children.”
So this was Parvati’s boon. I read it in one book. Then I read it again to see if the figure was correct. Shiva gave one boon, that Krishna would have a son exactly like Pradyumna in every way, but Parvati was not satisfied. She said, “No, you will be able to handle ten thousand, one hundred and eight children.” Parvati did not mean that Satyabhama would be the mother of all of them. Krishna had six other wives.
And then Parvati knew that Balarama’s love for his step-brother was such that he would accept anything Krishna did. In the beginning, sometimes, he got angry, but then he accepted it. Balarama was so kind-hearted.
10. The Statue of Termites
Sri Chinmoy narrated the following story on 23 June 2007 at Aspiration-Ground in New York.
There was a very, very great sage. His name was Rishi Bhrigu. This story is about Bhrigu’s son, Chyavana. Now, before the story starts, let me brag. Thousands and thousands of years ago, Bhrigu cast the horoscope of all Indians, believe it or not! For all Indians that took birth, take birth and shall take birth, he cast the horoscope.
My eldest brother Hriday happened to be a really good astrologer. He could cast horoscopes. In India, there are two ways to cast horoscopes. One is Bhrigu’s way. Then there is another way. My brother had tremendous admiration and adoration for Bhrigu because Bhrigu was a very great sage. So he cast my horoscope according to Bhrigu’s system. There it is written that my horoscope is the same as two spiritual Masters of the highest order. With one spiritual Master, I had eighteen “rooms” in common; with the other spiritual Master, I had twelve or thirteen. My brother could not believe it.
My brother also found that it is written in my horoscope, “At the age of twelve, he will meet his Guru and his fate will entirely depend on his Guru.” There it stopped. Bhrigu did not go on. And I became permanent at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram at the age of twelve! So this is Bhrigu!
Now Bhrigu’s wife’s name was Puloma and they had a son named Chyavana. He also became a very great sage. He was the discoverer of Chyavana Prash, which people still take today. It is a kind of vitamin. If you take it, immediately you become stronger than the strongest!
At a very young age, Chyavana wanted to enter into the forest and pray and meditate. Because his parents were spiritual, they were so happy that at such a tender age their son wanted to devote himself to the spiritual life.
So Chyavana went into the forest and found a very secret and sacred place to live. Nearby was one small pond where he used to bathe every day. He had told his parents not to bring him food or anything. He wanted to depend only on the fruits that he found in the forest. Instead of being concerned or worried, his parents were very happy. They gave Chyavana full permission. They thought that if he went on praying and meditating with such intensity, he would definitely be able to realise God.
So Chyavana meditated for years and years and years at that sacred place. He was self-absorbed. His whole body became covered with termites, but he did not care. He was completely invisible inside the mound of termites. There were only two little holes, near his eyes, and from those two little holes, a little, little light was coming out.
Nearby the forest, there was a small kingdom. One day the king of that kingdom went to the forest with his entourage for hunting, picnic and all that. The king had a young daughter who was most beautiful and she also accompanied her parents. Her name was Sukanya. They were all roaming, roaming in the forest and enjoying themselves.
O God! When the young girl saw a kind of statue covered with termites, she experienced a certain curiosity or malicious pleasure. She took a stick and poked it inside the two holes. Then more light was coming out, but at the same time she heard somebody inside full of agony, crying and crying. She immediately ran away when she heard the human voice.
Then, what happened, all on a sudden the king and the queen and all those who were with them became ill. They started suffering from different diseases. The restless girl saw that her parents were suffering, others were suffering. She said to her parents, “Perhaps it is the result of my poking something into the eyes of somebody inside the termite mound.”
The parents came to the place where the termite mound was. There they saw an old man, covered with dust, holding his eyes. He said to them, “I came here as a young boy. I have been praying and meditating for years. Now I am an old man and this is what your daughter has done! I am suffering so much. See, I have not cursed her. I could have cursed her and I could have killed her with my yogic power immediately. But I did not do that.”
Then the king and his wife were begging for forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness. The sage said, “I forgive you, but on one condition: your daughter has to marry me. Who will take care of me now? I am an old man. I cannot remain inside the termite mound any longer. Now I have realised God, but I am suffering so much.”
The king was ready to go on suffering rather than allow his daughter to marry this old man. But Sukanya said, “No, no, no! I will not allow you to suffer, my mother to suffer and our dear ones to suffer. I am ready to marry him and I will give my life to serve him because I am the culprit. I did this. So I shall be very, very devoted to him. And I will marry him.”
So against their will, the helpless parents allowed their beautiful daughter to marry this very old man. Then the old man and his wife went deeper into the forest to live. There they remained for a number of years. Sukanya kept her promise and she was extremely devoted to Chyavana.
One day, Sukanya was roaming around in the forest and she saw two young men. They were the physicians of the Cosmic Gods. Their name is Aswini Kumar. They are very strange. They are two different persons, twins, but in Indian stories they are taken as one because they are so close.
So these two physicians of the Cosmic Gods happened to be in the forest. They were so moved to see this young girl. They exclaimed, “You are so beautiful! Are you married?”
She said, “Yes, I am married.”
Then they asked, “Is your husband as beautiful as you are?”
“Why should my husband be—”
”Oh, you are married. We are sorry. Otherwise, we would have married you.”
Sukanya became furious. “I have been so faithful, so devoted to my husband,” she said. “I take care of him. If I have shown sincere devotion to my husband and if I have rendered him service for so many years, then definitely I have acquired some inner power. I will use my inner power and burn you two into ashes!”
At first the Aswini Kumar were amused. Then, when they looked into her eyes, they got frightened. “O My God!” they said. “No, no, no! Please forgive us, forgive us. Can you take us to see your husband?”
So Sukanya brought them to see Chyavana. When the Aswini Kumar saw that he was so old, they were shocked. Inwardly, they thought, “How could such a beautiful young girl be married to such a shrivelled, old man?”
Outwardly, they said, “We have the capacity to turn your husband into a handsome, young, strong man. Our medicine has that power.”
Sukanya said, “I do not want you to use your power. Even though my husband is old, I have such love for him, such devotion towards him. I do not want you to change anything. I will continue loving my husband as he is. I do not need him to be young and all that.”
Now the sage spoke. He said, “I would like to see what happens if I do not have my old age and my youth is restored to me once more.”
Once more Sukanya objected. “I love you so much! You do not have to be beautiful and strong.”
But her husband insisted. “Please allow me. I want to become beautiful and young and strong.”
Now the two physicians, Aswini Kumar, said to the sage, “If we do this for you, will you do us a great favour?”
“Yes,” he answered, “I shall fulfil your desire if it is within my capacity.”
Hearing these words, Sukanya interrupted. “Your capacity? There is nothing that you cannot do! You can do anything. Let them make you young, since that is your wish, and you will easily fulfil their desire, whatever their desire is.”
Then the Aswini Kumar explained their desire. These two physicians are not actually Cosmic Gods. The Cosmic Gods drink a special kind of nectar. It is called soma rasa. For them, it is like wine, but it is totally different from our earthly wine. You cannot describe it in words. Human beings cannot drink it. But spiritual Masters of the highest order can drink it. I did drink it.
Since the Aswini Kumar are not Cosmic Gods, they were not allowed to drink soma rasa, that very special kind of nectar. They were excluded. So they were very miserable. Chyavana asked them how he could help them to drink it.
They replied, “You will perform a special sacrifice, a yajna. And then, at the end, because you are such a great yogi, you will be able to produce that special nectar. Then they will come to drink it, the Cosmic Gods. And since you are the one who performed this yajna, this sacrifice, you will allow us to drink.”
Chyavana immediately said, “Of course, of course I will allow you!”
Now the story takes another turn. Chyavana agreed to perform the special sacrifice, but he was not rich enough to execute it. For this particular sacrifice, a large amount of wealth was necessary. In the meantime, the physicians kept their promise and turned him into a most beautiful and powerful young man.
Many years had passed since the king and queen had seen their daughter. In their heart of hearts, they were still very sad that she had been compelled to marry such an old man. So they said, “Perhaps, by this time, our son-in-law is dead. He was an old man when first we met him. Perhaps our daughter has also given up her life. Let us go into the forest and see if there is any trace of them.”
So the king and queen and their entourage came to the forest. Soon they saw a young man meditating. Light was radiating from his entire body. The king and queen were so miserable. Where had their beloved daughter gone? Perhaps she had also died with the old man. They decided to approach the young man and ask him.
Very respectfully, they went near him and said, “Many years ago, we left our daughter in the forest. We thought that we would find her here with her husband. He is a very, very old man.”
“I am that old man!” said Chyavana. “I am no longer old.”
“No, you cannot be the same one!” they cried. “We saw you with our own eyes. How old you were! Now how can you be so young, so strong and virile?”
Chyavana assured them, “No, no, I am the same person.”
Then the king and queen saw their daughter walking towards them. They were still stunned. “What has happened, what has happened? We cannot believe this is your husband.”
Sukanya smiled at them and said, “Yes, he is my husband.”
“How? How can you have an old man and now—?”
“No, no, no, this is absolutely true.”
“Then who did it?”
Sukanya explained, “The Aswini Kumar did it and now they have asked us for a favour. So we need your help.”
Without even knowing what they were supposed to do, the king and queen said, “We shall help you. Now that you have such a young and handsome husband, we are so happy.”
So Sukanya told them how they could help her husband to perform the special yajna to obtain the soma rasa. The king spent a very large amount of money and then Chyavana performed the sacrifice. The time came when the soma rasa was produced. Then all the Cosmic Gods came to partake of it. Indra came first. The two brothers, the Aswini Kumar, were watching.
Chyavana, the sage, said to them, “You drink.”
Indra became absolutely furious. He knew those two brothers well. He knew they were not Cosmic Gods, so he wanted to kill them. How did they dare to drink the nectar that was meant for the Gods!
But Chyavana had tremendous occult power. From his forehead he brought out not a divine being, but a demon, and this demon was most, most powerful and most frightening. Chyavana gave it the name Mada. Mada immediately began chasing Indra. It was going to kill Indra, so Indra ran and ran for his life! Then Indra came to the sage Chyavana and begged for forgiveness.
Chyavana said, “These two physicians, the Aswini Kumar, I am now ranking them as Cosmic Gods. From now on, they will be able to drink soma rasa like you.”
So they drank the nectar first and then Indra was allowed. All the other Cosmic Gods who had gathered saw the power of Chyavana. If they disagreed with him, then they, too, would be in serious trouble. So they all drank.
Then Chyavana granted a boon to this demon, Mada, that after the Cosmic Gods had finished drinking, he would also be able to drink the nectar. And this is what happened. Then the sacrifice was all over. The king and queen blessed their son-in-law and their daughter, and Chyavana and Sukanya returned to the forest. There they lived for many, many, many years.