Dec 04, 2023
Dec 04, 2023
by P C K Prem
As I Know: The Lord of the Mountains – Shiv Purana: 91
Vishnu blesses Dambha and later, Sankhchuda takes birth (the rebirth for Sudama, a cowherd in the previous birth), who is a daitya of religious mind, exercises enormous knowledge of scriptures. Tulsi engaged in an intense tapa captivates Sankhchuda, a daitya of penance… she believes that a man must not fall victim to the beauty of woman but focus on the sacred objective he wants to attain, for a woman is capable of ensnaring even gods of heavens and so discourages him
After some time, the most fortunate wife of Dambha became pregnant. With the light and brilliance of devotion and tapa, she illuminated ‘the inner self’ and appeared fantastic and magnificent in beauty and splendeur. It is pertinent to recall the name of one of the counselors of Sri Krishna, Sudama, and a celebrated cowherd (a gopa). Radha had issued a curse because of some blunder he had committed. Gopa Sudama entered the womb of queen of Dambha. In due course of time, the queen of daitya Dambha gave birth to a son. Dambha was extremely happy and therefore, invited many monks and priests, performed religious ceremonies to sanctify the birth, and sought blessings of monks and holy men.
He celebrated majestically the birth of prince and it was time of a great festival. On an auspicious day, the divinely blessed son Sankhchuda delighted the holy gathering. He grew like the moon of sukla-pakasa. He was a demon of great glow and inner light. Therefore, he became a master of all the vidyas (varied knowledge whether scriptural or otherwise). Involved in playful games of a child, he enhanced the pleasure and joys of parents. All relations and friends lavished immense warmth and affection.
Sankhchuda grew up and learnt the art of life, gained knowledge and possessed a religious temperament. A monk close to the royalty advised him and therefore, he proceeded to Puskara to undergo tapasya so that he could oblige Supreme Brahma and secure blessings. He underwent tapa and penance with devotion. He put control over senses and undertook japa of mantra relating to Supreme Brahma. He continued to undergo japa and tapa for a long time and with each passing day, the intensity increased. The supreme guru of created beings, the treasure house of opulence of life, Supreme Brahma, was highly pleased with the terrific meditation of the king of demons Sankhchuda and therefore, arrived at the ashrama and found the demon engaged in severe tapa with eyes closed.
After some time, Brahma spoke, “O king of daityas, you ask for a boon.”
He opened eyes, looked at Supreme Brahma, and thereafter, with remarkable humility and courtesy, praised the Supreme lord. After profuse praise, he said, “O god, bestow a boon and make me unconquerable. Even the gods should not dare touch.”
Brahma was extremely happy with the devotee, “Be it so. No god will be able to defeat you.”
After conferring boon and blessing of indestructibility on the demon, the Supreme Lord offered a divine body shield ‘Sri Krishna’ capable of showering fortunes on the privileged and the auspicious, and which was the most powerful to grant victory over forces inimical to the lord of demons. After he blessed Sankhchuda, with the divine gifts, Brahma spoke mildly, “O Sankhchuda, you go to the forest of Badari where the most beautiful daughter Tulsi of Dharmdwaja is engaged in tapa with a sacred vow. You marry Tulsi.”
Inspiring and wonderful words of Supreme Brahma fulfilled, satisfied and inspired the mighty demon. The great demon had attained perfection through severe tapa, japa and victory in deep penance. All desires stood fulfilled and the brilliance of tapa was obvious as the face glowed with excitement and genial ease. At the sacred place, the hermitage at Puskara, adorned with the armour Sri Krishna, he tied it securely in the neck and afterward as Brahma advised, began the journey to the forest of Badri where Tulsi lived in a divinely hallowed ashrama.
The hermitage of Tulsi fascinated immensely and the natural beauty of the ashrama charmed the prince. After some time, while he wandered about in the ashrama, he reached the place where Tulsi, a daughter of Dharmdwaja was undergoing tapa and meditation. She appeared extremely gorgeous, charismatic, alluring and charming. He was thrilled to see the beauty of a devoted woman and was attracted to the magnificent girl of loveliness. She was an embodiment of grace and virtues. Sankhchuda saw an attractive girl, stopped for a while and went near the girl lost in deep meditation.
He said gently, “O beautiful girl, who are you? Whose daughter you are? What are you doing? Why do you sit quietly? Please reveal the secret.” The great saddhvi (a woman of tapa) opened eyes and observed a great soul of brilliance.
She said after she heard sakama (meaningful words) with a request, “I am daughter of Dharmdwaja. I am engaged in tapa and penance in the forest.”
She said without hesitation and then, after a short pause asked, “Who are you? Please go to the desired destination for the fulfillment of objective you cherish. Because, I believe, women can captivate and hypnotise through delusory charms even Brahma and gods of heavens. O great soul, you know that a woman is a poison. She is contemptuous and worth reproaching. She fills a man with flaws and demerits. She is an abode of maya (delusions and illusions) and this maya- delusory strength fascinates and thrills. O man, you bear in mind that a woman is expert in ensnaring even the most learned and wise men with magic and charm. Be cautious.”
She was silent after she said wise little words. Probably, she wanted to discourage the king of demons Sankhchuda so that he does not approach her, because she knew a man often falls for the beauty and charm of a woman. If she said words of wisdom, she was not out of context. A person determined to achieve objective of life must observe discipline and restraint.
The great demon listened to the sweet, pleasant and warm words of Tulsi and emitted soft smiles. He said, “O goddess, whatever you said just now is not entirely wrong or misconceived. I find great truth in what you say but one can discern a few untruths also. Please listen what I say. O beautiful woman, you are the foremost sacred woman in the universe, a dedicated woman to the man as if. Good and virtuous women are devoted to husbands because they never look at another man. I am of the opinion that I am neither a man of wicked nature nor a man of passions. You are also not under the control of kama (passion or sensuous pleasures). Even then, I say, I came near you when Brahma consented. I will accept you as a wife through gandharava marriage.” He disclosed the real intent and desire.
After a thought, he resumed, “O holy woman, do you know me? Is it that you did not hear my name? O virtuous woman, I am Sankhchuda, who creates disorder and chaos among the gods of heavens. I belong to the dynasty of Danu and I am son of Dambha, the great daitya. In earlier birth, I was one of the parshadas (counselors) of Sri Hari. I was a gopa (a cowherd) Sudama. I am under curse of Radhika and so I am born as Sankhchuda, the king of demons. I know the truth and remember everything about previous life because of the blessing and grace of Sri Krishna.” He responded astutely to the wisdom of Tulsi.
Polite, gentle and appealing voice of Sankhchuda proved effective. He stood still and silent. Tulsi was happy at the frank, courteous and genuine expression of the king of demons. She was satisfied and pleased at the pleasant words.
She said with a smile, “O noble person, you conquer and win me with pure and sacred thoughts emerging out of sattvic nature. A man, if not defeated by a woman, is fit for the gratitude of the world. A man of even virtuous character remains contaminated and ugly if a woman secures victory. All the gods and pitres (manes or souls of dead) speak ill of him and continue to denigrate such a vanquished man. During days of birth (Janamshauch) and death (maranashauch), a brahmin gets purified in ten days, a ksastriya in twelve days, a vaisya in fifteen days and a sudra is consecrated in one month. It is the Vedic principle. However, the fire of pyre sanctifies and purifies a man if a woman defeats.” She slowly builds up a strong argument and it appeared he stood convinced.
He seriously considered what she said. After a pause, she said, “O noble man, pitres do not accept sacred offerings and oblations during shraddas (auspicious days of revering ancestors or dead souls or pitres) from a man of such nature and do not bless for similar reasons. Gods and deities also do not accept any offering of flowers or fruit. What is the use and benefit of knowledge, austere tapa, japa, sacrifice, oblation, worship, vidya and dana (acts of charity) to a person, whom a woman hurts and humiliates? Therefore, such matters are just a waste. I put you to test in respect of vidya, influence and the power of knowledge you hold because it is a must for a woman that she subjects to scrutiny the man, who she wants to marry.”
Tulsi was quite frank and straight. She genuinely tried to test the knowledge and virtues of Sankhchuda before taking a decision. Sankhchuda had already expressed intense desire to marry Tulsi but the woman wanted to fathom the moral and intellectual level of the king of demons. When a lively conversation was going on between the demon and the holy woman Tulsi, Supreme Creator Brahma arrived and said, “Sankhchuda, why are you involved in futile argument with Tulsi? You marry Tulsi through gandharava marriage. I say you are a jewel among men and she is a gem among the devoted and virtuous women. Marital relations will be quite beneficial and full of virtues, as you are individuals of tapa and virtues. It will be a divine union of pure and sanctified souls.”
Afterward, Brahma turned to Tulsi and said, “O Tulsi, why do you put a brilliant person to test. He is capable of demolishing and destroying pride and self-esteem of gods, asuras and demons. O beautiful woman, you wander about in the three worlds and enjoy in various magnificent and grand places for a long time in the company of Sankhchuda. After Brahma left, Sankhchuda entered into matrimonial relations with Tulsi through gandharava marriage and returned to the capital with Tulsi. Sankhchuda’s straightforward expressions and wisdom attracted Tulsi, a woman of firm convictions, for she thought that even a man of virtues and truth stood condemned if a woman vanquished him.
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