Lakshmi Shobhane

Once when Sri Vadiraja Swamy was touring South India, he reached Kumbhakonam in what is now Tamil Nadu. There, he was staying in the house of an Acharya for a few days. During his stay, he had defeated many scholars of other schools of philosophy and had made them accept the philosophy of Sri Madhvacharya.

The owner of the place where he was staying had a son whose marriage had got fixed after a long search for a good bride. The parents of the boy had requested Sri Vadiraja Swamy to attend the marriage and bless the couple, to which Sri Swamiji had agreed.

On the day of the marriage, when the rituals were on in full swing, the groom suddenly collapsed on the floor. Within minutes, he was frothing and shivering and ended up motionless. People realized that a small, but poisonous, snake had creeped into the head gear that the groom was wearing. The snake had bit him right on the temple causing instant poisoning.

The local doctor was called in and the groom was pronounced as dead. Some local tantriks were also put to service, but to no avail. People were getting ready to take the body away for cremation.

The father of the groom rushed to Sri Vadiraja Swamy who had not yet arrived at the marriage venue. Sri Swamiji instantly was able to relate to the chain of events. He told the people gathered there that there had been an uneasiness in him since three days and he had realized that something untoward would occur during the marriage. On the morning of that day, at Brahmi Muhurtha (around 4:30AM), he had composed a song in Kannada on Mahalakshmi and Vishnu. The song was about Lakshmi’s marriage to Vishnu during the Samudra Mathana episode (churning of the ocean for Amruta).

Sri Swamiji meditated for a while on his favorite form of Vishnu – Hayavadana – and realized that the groom had an untimely death and that there was still life in the body. He rushed to the venue immediately. There, he sprinked some “Theertha” (holy water) on the body and also some “Mantrakshate”. He sat down there and started singing the newly composed Lakshmi Shobhane song. Lo and behold! Just as the song was to complete, the groom sat up as if he had just got up from deep sleep!

The Lakshmi Shobhane song is one of the most auspicious songs in the Kannada language. Even today, nearly 500 years after its composition, it is sung in almost every wedding in Karnataka. In Tulu Nadu, ladies sing this almost daily during their evening prayers. It is an extremely melodious song with 112 verses in it.

Today, I managed to transliterate this beautiful composition in Kannada and English scripts. Readers can download them from the below links.

Of course, these are also available from the Mantras page.

The song is also sung by gents and is not restricted to ladies. In fact, the most famous rendition of this song is by Sri Vidyabhushana.

May Lord Hayavadana bless all!

P.S: The extent to which this song is famous can be guaged from the fact that in the film “Madhvacharya” made by Sri G V Iyer, there is a scene in which young Vasudeva (Madhvacharya) is made to attend a wedding.  The film shows the ladies in the wedding singing the Lakshmi Shobhane song when the song was actually composed nearly 300 years later 🙂

When Bhima vowed to kill Karna

Strange as the title may seem, it is true that it was Bhimasena who vowed to kill Karna, through Arjuna of course. Similarly, it was Bhimasena who vowed that Shakuni will be killed by Sahadeva.

Popular legends have it that Bhima, during the game of dice, vowed to break the thigh of Duryodhana and drink the blood of Dushashana. It is also wrongly assumed that Arjuna at the same time vowed to kill Karna and Sahadeva vowed to kill Shakuni. The TV serials also show events in this way. But what actually occured was completely different.

It was Sri Madhvacharya, in his magnum opus Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya,  who highlighted the fact that it was Bhima who made all the three vows just after the game of dice. Even the original Mahabharata has the same story. Unfortunately, Mahabharata has been diluted and distorted significantly and this very important aspect has been twisted.

During the game of dice, Bhimasena is the only who protests against the crime (from the Pandavas side of course – along with Vidura from the Kauravas). In fact, he gets extremely upset over Yudhishthira and asks Sahadeva to bring some fire so that he can “burn the hands of Yudhishtira”. When Arjuna objects, Bhima tells him that when elders commit mistakes, insulting them by words is equal to punishing them. The same principle is mentioned by Lord Krishna later during the 17th day of the war when Arjuna intends to kill Yudhishthira (yes, Arjuna tries to kill Yudhisthira! – more about this in another article)!

Later, when the Pandavas lose the game of dice a second time and start to move out of the palace, Dushashana and Duryodhana, aided by Karna and Shakuni, start to heap insults on the Pandavas. At that time, Bhima once again reiterates his vow concerning Dushashana and Duryodhana. And then, he makes two very interesting vows. I quote from the translation available at sacred texts.

I will slay Duryodhana, and Dhananjaya will slay Karna, and Sahadeva will slay Sakuni that gambler with dice. I also repeat in this assembly these proud words which the gods will assuredly make good, if ever we engage in battle with the Kurus, I will slay this wretched Duryodhana in battle with my mace, and prostrating him on the ground I will place my foot on his head. And as regards this (other) wicked person–Dussasana who is audacious in speech, I will drink his blood like a lion”

It is only after this that both Arjuna and Sahadeva take their vows. They both acknowledge Bhima and tell the audience that, as directed by Bhima, they shall slay Karna and Sahadeva.

In the Mahabharata, truly, while Lord Krishna is the “director”, Bhimasena is the “screenplay writer” who ensures that the events unfold as per Krishna’s plans.

The significance of 18

While it is well known that the number 18 is a very significant number in our shastras, the exact reason for the significance of this number was not clear. My previous post on this number and Gautham’s post in his blog got me more thinking. I recalled reading the significance of 18 somewhere but could not figure out where. Finally, I traced it to the excellent book “Ankeyalli Adhyatma” by Sri Bannanje Govindacharya. In this book, Sri Bannanje has explained the significance of various numbers in our Shastras. And he has a beautiful explanation for 18 as well.

The number 18 represents Bhagavanta Himself. To reach Him, 17 other things are to be overcome. Only then, one reaches the 18th that is completely independent and outside of these 17. The first 15  of these are Panchabhutas, Indriyas, Manas, Anna, Veerya, Tapassu, Mantra, Karma, Loka, Nama and Shraddha. The 16th is the Jiva himself who is entwined by the 15. The 17th is Prakruti. And finally, the 18th is Bhagavanta Himself.

Sri Madhvacharya has also demonstrated how the Pandavas and Draupadi represent 17 and Krishna represents 18.

  • Yudhishthira : Dharma
  • Bhima : Bhakti, Jnana, Vairagya, Prajna, Medhashakti, Dhruti, Sthithi, Yoga, Prana and Bala*
  • Arjuna : Shravana, Manana and Nididhyasana
  • Nakula-Sahadeva : Sheela and Vinaya
  • Draupadi : Spiritual knowledge (Adhyatma Vidya)

And Sri Krishna, of course, is Para tattva personified. Hence, the significance of 18 in the Mahabharata.

* There is a shloka in the Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya which explains these ten qualities of Bhima. Chapter 2, Shloka number 141.

“Bhaktirjnanam savairagyam prajnaa medhaa dhrutih stithihi |

Yogah praNO balam chaiva vrukOdara iti smrutaha ||”

Spirituality in Numbers

Source for most details: Sadachara Vinoda by Sri Vyasanakere Prabhanjanacharya

Three

  • Abodes of Vishnu : Shweta Dvipa, Anantasana and Vaikunta
  • Ultimate gains : Jnana, Bhakti and Vairagya
  • Yogas : Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga
  • TApas : Adi Bhoutika, Adhyatmika and Adi Daivika (Tapatraya)
  • Itihasas : Ramayana, Mahabharata and Pancharatra
  • Gunas : Satva, Rajas and Tamas
  • Lokas : Svarga, Martya and Patala
  • Trimurtis : Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara
  • Lakshmi Rupas : Shri, Bhu and Durga
  • Mimamsas : Brahma, Daivi and Karma
  • Avasthas : Jagrut, Svapna and Sushupti
  • Nadis : Sushumna, Ida and Pingala

Four

  • Vasudeva Rupas : Vasudeva, Samkarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha
  • Muktis : Salokya, Sameepya, Sarupya and Sayujya
  • Vedas : Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva
  • Purusharthas : Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha

Five

  • Narayana Rupas : Narayana, Vasudeva, Samkarshana, Aniruddha and Pradyumna
  • Gavyas : Gomutra, Gomaya, Goksheera, Godadhi, Goghruta
  • Panchamruta : Milk, Curds, Ghee, Sugar and Honey
  • Yagnas : Deva yagna, Brahma yagna, Pitru yagna, Bhuta yagna and Manushya yagna
  • Panchanga : Tithi, Vaara, Nakshatra, Yoga and Karana
  • Pranas : Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana
  • Bhutas : Prithivi, Ap, Tejas, Vayu and Akasha
  • Tanmatras : Gandha, Rasa, Rupa, Sparsha and Shabda
  • Jnanendriyas : Eyes, Ears, Tongue, Nose and Skin
  • Karmendriyas : Speech, Hands, Feet, Excretory organs
  • Pandavas : Yudhishtira, Bhimasena, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva

Six

  • Shanmahishis of Krisha: Jambavati, Nila, Bhadra, Mitravinda, Kalindi and Lakshana
  • Aris : Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada and Matsara
  • Vedangas : Shiksha, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Chandas, Jyotisha and Kalpa

Seven

  • Narakas : Rourava, Maharourava, Vahni, Vaitarani, Kumbhipaka, Tamisra, Andhatamisra
  • Dveepas : Jambu, Plaksha, Shalmali, Kusha, Krouncha, Shaka and Pushkara
  • Rivers : Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Sarasvati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri
  • Maharshis (for Vaivasvata Manvantara) : Atri, Vasishta, Kashyapa, Goutama, Bharadwaja, Vishwamitra and Jamadagni
  • Maha Kshetras : Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwara, Kashi, Kanchi, Ujjaini, Dvaravati
  • Maha Kshetras of Parashurama Kshetra : Udupi, Subramanya, Kumbhasi, Koteshwara, Shankaranarayana, Gokarna and Kolluru
  • Kandas of Ramayana : Bala, Ayodhya, Aranya, Kishkinda, Sundara, Yuddha and Uttara

Eight

  • Aksharas of Om : a, u, ma, nada, bindu, ghosha, shanta and atishanta
  • Lakshmis : Dhana, Dhanya, Bhagya, Santana, Soubhagya, Jaya, Vijaya and Gaja
  • Ashtanga : Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dhyana, Dharana and Samadhi
  • Vasus : Drona, Prana, Dhruva, Arka, Agni, Dosha, Vastu and Vibhavasu (dyou)
  • Dikpalakas : Indra (east), Agni (south-east), Yama (south), Nirruti (south-west), Varuna (west), Vayu (north-west), Kubera (north), Ishana (north-east)

Nine

  • Bhakti : Shravana, Kirtana, Smarana, Padasevana, Archana, Vandana, Dasya, Sakhya and Atmanivedana
  • Navadvara : Eyes, Ears, Nostrils, Mouth, excretory organs

Ten

  • Vishnu’s avataras : Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parashurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki
  • Upanishads : Ishavasya, Mandukya, Kena, Taittariya, Kata, Aitareya, Shatprashna, Chandogya, Mundaka and Bruhadaranyaka
  • Arjuna’s names : Arjuna, Phalguna, Jishnu, Kiriti, Shvetavahana, Bhibhatsu, Vijaya, Krishna, Savyasachi and Dhananjaya

Eleven

  • Rudras : Raivata, Aja, Bhava, Bhima, Vama, Ugra, Vrushakapi, Ajaikapath, Ahirbudhni, Bahurupa and Mahan

To be continued….

Hayagriva Dashakam

I have uploaded a few more to the mantras page.

  1. Hayagriva Dashakam
  2. Narayana Stotra
  3. Vishnu Stuti

These can be downloaded from the mantras page, both in Kannada script and Devanagiri.

The battle of 18 Akshouhinis

As we all know very well, the combined strength of the army of the Pandavas and Kauravas in the Mahabharata war was 18 Akshouhinis. Pandavas had 7 Akshouhinis and Kauravas had 11. The Akshouhini is roughly equivalent to the regiment of the modern day military. The number of ‘resources’ in each Akshouhini though was humongous.

Let’s see some numbers to get an idea of what constituted an Akshouhini.

Legend: C for chariots, E for elephants, H for horses and S for foot-soldiers

1 C, 1 E, 3 H and 5 S = 1 Patti : 1C, 1E, 3H, 5S
3 Pattis = 1 Sena mukha : 3C, 3E, 9H, 15S
3 Sena mukhas = 1 Gulma : 9C, 9E, 27H, 45S
3 Gulmas = 1 Gana : 27C, 27E, 81H, 135S
3 Ganas = 1 Vahini : 81C, 81E, 243H, 405S
3 Vahinis = 1 Pritana : 243C, 243E, 729H, 1215S
3 Pritanas = 1 Chamu : 729C, 729E, 2187H, 3645S
3 Chamus = 1 Ankini : 2187C, 2187E, 6561H, 10935S
10 Ankinis = 1 Akshouhini : 21870C, 21870E, 65610H, 109350S

One Akshouhini constituted 21,870 chariots, 21870 elephants, 65610 horses and 1,09,350 foot-soldiers. The total number of soldiers comes up to (109350 + 65610 + 21870 + 21870) = 218700. Adding the charioteers and mahouts (assuming one per chariot and elephant), the total number of people involved in one Akshouhini comes to (218700 + 21870 + 21870) = 262440.

The total number of people involved in the war were 18 * 262440 = 47,23,920!

Out of these 4 million+ people who fought the war, hardly a handful survived – Pandavas, Krishna, Satyaki, Ashwathama, Kripa, Kritavarma and Yuyutsu.

Another interesting thing about the Akshouhini. It has a strong affiliation to the number 18.

Chariots : 21870 : 2 + 1 + 8 + 7 + 0 = 18
Elephants : 21870 : 2 + 1 + 8 + 7 + 0 = 18
Horses : 65610 : 6 + 5 + 6 + 1 + 0 = 18
Foot-soldiers : 109350 : 1 + 0 + 9 + 3 + 5 + 0 = 18
Total people : 262440 : 2 + 6 + 2 + 4 + 4 + 0 = 18

Total Akshouhinis in the war = 18
Total number of days war was fought = 18
Number of chapters in the Bhagavadgita = 18
Number of Parvas in the Mahabharata = 18
Original name of Mahabharata = Jaya = Ja – Ya = Ya – Ja = 1 8 = 18

18 is therefore an extremely significant number in the Mahabharata!

Athuru Bailu – Temples of Tulu Nadu

I know I begin almost every article on a Temple by saying its an “extra-ordinary” or “unique” temple 🙂 but trust me, that’s exactly what they are! As I continue my discovery of Tulu Nadu, my awe for this great great place only keeps increasing.

This time, I managed to cover Athuru Bailu, a tiny hamlet near Kinnigoli-Mulki. Athuru Bailu has an ancient Maha Ganapati temple. Believe it or not, this temple is actually just the God worshipped at the home of the Udupa family of Athuru Bailu! The sanctity of this place is so high that the nearby villages consider it as a temple. People who pass by the Udupa home, stop by, get into the ‘temple’, offer their prayers and only then do they move on.

Mahaganapati

Mahaganapati

Temple entrance

Temple entrance

The temple, its idol and the Udupa family have a recorded history of more than 700 years! Two Udupa brothers came down south from Kandavara in search of a better place to reside. They came along with their diety – the Mahaganapati. Local legend has it that when the two brothers were walking near Athuru, a cloud was following them to protect them from the heat. Villagers saw this and reported it to the local chieftain. He requested them to stay back in his village and asked them to choose any place they liked. When they came to the place where the temple is currently located, they found a mongoose and snake co-existing. They instantly chose the place and the temple has existed ever since.

Udupa House 1

Udupa House 1

Udupa House 2

Udupa House 2

Out of the two brothers, one of them settled down in nearby Bappanadu Sri Durgaparameshwari Temple. In fact, the Udupas of Bailu played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Bappanadu temple. Even today, during the annual festival of Bappanadu, a customary felicitation of the Udupas is done as a mark of respect.

Along with the Mahaganapati, Bailu also has the Panjurli Bhoota. It is believed that Annappa Panjurli Bhoota came down to Bailu from Dharmasthala when one of the Udupas had gone there for a visit. Trust me, the Panjurli of Bailu is one of the most powerful Bhootas in Tulu Nadu. Even to this today, during the Bhoota Kola, there is a segment when Panjurli ‘demonstrates’ his power by throwing the Udupas up from their seats and knocking them unconscious. No one except Panjurli is able to wake them up! Watch this youtube video to see what I am talking about.

Panjurli Sthana

Panjurli Sthana

Temple

Temple

The Athuru Bailu Udupa family is one of the most well known families of Tulu Nadu. They are the official astrologers for even the Kateel Sri Durga Parameshwari Temple! The almanac they bring out is the most widely circulated almanac in the entire Tulu Nadu region, and has been published for over 100 years now.

Name: Sri Athuru Bailu Mahaganapati Devasthana

Dieties: Mahaganapati

Bhootas: Panjurli, 2 other smaller ones

Address: Athuru Maagane Mahaganapati Devasthana, Shibarooru Post, Kinnigoli, Mangalore Taluk, Dakshina Kannada

Contact: Snail mail

How to get there: From Mangalore reach Mulki and turn right towards Kinnigoli. About 1km before Kinnigoli town, turn right towards Balavina Gudde. Athuru Bailu is about 5kms from this junction. Locals will accurately guide you to the temple once you take the turn.

More photos: Here

Specialities: “Appada Puje” is very famous in Bailu. Locals get this seve done very regularly. Appa is a special sweet dish, prepared for Ganapati in Tulu Nadu especially. In Appada Puje, a whole lot of ‘Appas’ are made and offered to Ganapati.

Ganesha Chaturthi is an important festival celebrated in Bailu. The Panjurli Kola is held about 3-4 times a year on important ocassions.

The Nandini river flows very close to the Udupa home. Every day, the priest has to compulsorily take bath in the river and only then worship at the temple.