विजया एकादशी व्रत कथा

फाल्गुन कृष्ण एकादशी

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धर्मराज युधिष्‍ठिर बोले – हे जनार्दन! फाल्गुन मास के कृष्ण पक्ष की एकादशी का क्या नाम है तथा उसकी विधि क्या है? कृपा करके आप मुझे बताइए।

श्री भगवान बोले हे राजन् – फाल्गुन मास के कृष्ण पक्ष की एकादशी का नाम विजया एकादशी है। इसके व्रत के प्रभाव से मनुष्‍य को विजय प्राप्त‍ होती है। यह सब व्रतों से उत्तम व्रत है। इस विजया एकादशी के महात्म्य के श्रवण व पठन से समस्त पाप नाश को प्राप्त हो जाते हैं। एक समय देवर्षि नारदजी ने जगत् पिता ब्रह्माजी से कहा महाराज! आप मुझसे फाल्गुन मास के कृष्ण पक्ष की एकादशी विधान कहिए।

ब्रह्माजी कहने लगे कि हे नारद! विजया एकादशी का व्रत पुराने तथा नए पापों को नाश करने वाला है। इस विजया एकादशी की विधि मैंने आज तक किसी से भी नहीं कही। यह समस्त मनुष्यों को विजय प्रदान करती है। त्रेता युग में मर्यादा पुरुषोत्तम श्री रामचंद्रजी को जब चौदह वर्ष का वनवास हो गया, तब वे श्री लक्ष्मण तथा सीताजी ‍सहित पंचवटी में निवास करने लगे। वहाँ पर दुष्ट रावण ने जब सीताजी का हरण ‍किया तब इस समाचार से श्री रामचंद्रजी तथा लक्ष्मण अत्यंत व्याकुल हुए और सीताजी की खोज में चल दिए।

घूमते-घूमते जब वे मरणासन्न जटायु के पास पहुँचे तो जटायु उन्हें सीताजी का वृत्तांत सुनाकर स्वर्गलोक चला गया। कुछ आगे जाकर उनकी सुग्रीव से मित्रता हुई और बाली का वध किया। हनुमानजी ने लंका में जाकर सीताजी का पता लगाया और उनसे श्री रामचंद्रजी और सुग्रीव की‍ मित्रता का वर्णन किया। वहाँ से लौटकर हनुमानजी ने भगवान राम के पास आकर सब समाचार कहे।

श्री रामचंद्रजी ने वानर सेना सहित सुग्रीव की सम्पत्ति से लंका को प्रस्थान किया। जब श्री रामचंद्रजी समुद्र से किनारे पहुँचे तब उन्होंने मगरमच्छ आदि से युक्त उस अगाध समुद्र को देखकर लक्ष्मणजी से कहा कि इस समुद्र को हम किस प्रकार से पार करेंगे।

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श्री लक्ष्मण ने कहा हे पुराण पुरुषोत्तम, आप आदिपुरुष हैं, सब कुछ जानते हैं। यहाँ से आधा योजन दूर पर कुमारी द्वीप में वकदालभ्य नाम के मुनि रहते हैं। उन्होंने अनेक ब्रह्मा देखे हैं, आप उनके पास जाकर इसका उपाय पूछिए। लक्ष्मणजी के इस प्रकार के वचन सुनकर श्री रामचंद्रजी वकदालभ्य ऋषि के पास गए और उनको प्रमाण करके बैठ गए।

मुनि ने भी उनको मनुष्य रूप धारण किए हुए पुराण पुरुषोत्तम समझकर उनसे पूछा कि हे राम! आपका आना कैसे हुआ? रामचंद्रजी कहने लगे कि हे ऋषे! मैं अपनी सेना ‍सहित यहाँ आया हूँ और राक्षसों को जीतने के लिए लंका जा रहा हूँ। आप कृपा करके समुद्र पार करने का कोई उपाय बतलाइए। मैं इसी कारण आपके पास आया हूँ।

वकदालभ्य ऋषि बोले कि हे राम! फाल्गुन मास के कृष्ण पक्ष की एकादशी का उत्तम व्रत करने से निश्चय ही आपकी विजय होगी, साथ ही आप समुद्र भी अवश्य पार कर लेंगे।

इस व्रत की विधि यह है कि दशमी के दिन स्वर्ण, चाँदी, ताँबा या मिट्‍टी का एक घड़ा बनाएँ। उस घड़े को जल से भरकर तथा पाँच पल्लव रख वेदिका पर स्थापित करें। उस घड़े के नीचे सतनजा और ऊपर जौ रखें। उस पर की स्वर्ण की मूर्ति स्थापित करें। एका‍दशी के दिन स्नानादि से निवृत्त होकर धूप, दीप, नैवेद्य, नारियल आदि से भगवान की पूजा करें।

तत्पश्चात घड़े के सामने बैठकर दिन व्यतीत करें ‍और रात्रि को भी उसी प्रकार बैठे रहकर जागरण करें। द्वादशी के दिन नित्य नियम से निवृत्त होकर उस घड़े को ब्राह्मण को दे दें। हे राम! यदि तुम भी इस व्रत को सेनापतियों सहित करोगे तो तुम्हारी विजय अवश्य होगी। श्री रामचंद्रजी ने ऋषि के कथनानुसार इस व्रत को किया और इसके प्रभाव से दैत्यों पर विजय पाई।

अत: हे राजन्! जो कोई मनुष्य विधिपूर्वक इस व्रत को करेगा, दोनों लोकों में उसकी अवश्य विजय होगी। श्री ब्रह्माजी ने नारदजी से कहा था कि हे पुत्र! जो कोई इस व्रत के महात्म्य को पढ़ता या सुनता है, उसको वाजपेय यज्ञ का फल प्राप्त होता है।

Swami ChinmayAnanda gives the interpretation that Bhagavan has all the true Dharmas such as kindness, charity, etc., to perfection, and so He is Satya-Dharma.  He also gives the alternate interpretation that Bhagavan is the embodiment of Yoga, and supports it with the Upanishad declaration “Aym hi paramo dharmah yad-yogena Atma-darshanam” –  “That alone is Supreme Dharma which is to experience the Self through Yoga”.

THE STORY OF JATAYU

Jatayu, the vulture warrior, was the son of Aruna (the charioteer of the Sun), brother of Sampati, and nephew of Garuda. jatayu and sampatiSampati and Jatayu, when young, used to compete as to who could fly higher. On one such instance Jatayu flew so high that he was about to get seared by the sun’s flames. Sampati saved his brother by spreading his own wings and thus shielding Jatayu from the hot flames. While doing so, Sampati’s wings got burnt..  Jatayu lost contact with Sampati as he went into a free fall after that flight. They could not meet up for the rest of their lives. Sampati was a wingless bird for the rest of his life.

Lord Rama meets Jatayu in Aranya Kanda in the Srimad Ramayana. The two Princes of Ayodhya along with Sita were enroute to Panchavati when they come upon Jatayu, the mighty vulture-warrior. Rama, presuming the mighty vulture to be a Asura/demon, questioned him about his identity and gave an introduction of Himself. Upon knowing that they were from the Royal House of Ayodhya, Jatayu explains that he was a close friend of King Dasaratha, and thereafter informs about the unique aspect of the parallel creation of animal species along with humans.

When Jatayu hears from Rama that Dasaratha is dead, he laments at the loss of his friend. He recounts the tale as to how he came to meet King Dasaratha.

Dasaratha was born to King Aja and Indumati. Aja’s queen, Indumati, an Apsara was born in this world due to a curse. Once, the celestial Sage Narada was journeying across the sky, when the flower garland on his Veena, dropped and fell on Indumati. She was redeemed of her curse instantly and regained her celestial aspect as an Apsara in the Heavens.

King Aja was unable to bear separation from his queen, grief-stricken he ran into the palace and committed suicide.  Aja’s son, Nemi, was an infant, eight months old, when the King killed himself. The senior-most minister, Sumantra, sought to place the infant in the care of the Raj Guru, the great Rishi Vasishtha. In place of the infant son, it was Sumantra who ruled the southern Kingdom of Kosala, under the guidance of Sage Vasishtha. The infant was placed in the custody of Marudanva, a Sage in the Ashrama of Vasishtha, and was also provided with the milk of Nandini, the divine cow. He was taught all the Shastras and the use of weapons.

On attaining the age of eighteen, Nemi was crowned as the ruler of Southern Kosala. During his battle with Sambasura, he was attacked by Sambasura who took ten different forms all sitting on chariots and attacked him from ten different directions. With a single chariot, Nemi efficiently rode his chariot in all the eight directions, upwards and downwards and killed him. Afterward this incident Nemi was known as Dasaratha-The ten-chariot man, who can ride a chariot in ten directions.

There are three stories on how Jatayu became a friend of King Dasaratha

  1. Dasaratha and Ravana were contemporaries. Hearing Dasaratha’s fame Ravana felt jealous and sent messengers to his court asking for him to pay homage and regard otherwise threatened to wage a war. In reply Dasaratha shot off arrows with his special Mantras and told the messengers that when they return to Lanka they would find the main gates of Lanka shut by the arrow. As Ravana returned to the palace he saw the main entrance blocked and felt humiliated by this. He undertook severe penance to pacify Lord Brahma and sought immortality. Brahma refused, saying that he is destined to be killed by the son of Kausalya. To prevent Kausalya from having a son, Ravana kidnapped her and put her in a wooden box, which he set afloat in the Sarayu River. Dasaratha saw the box and jumped into the river to retrieve it. However, he got swept away by the strong currents when Jatayu spotted him and rescued him. Dasaratha and Jatayu then teamed up to retrieve the wooden box. They found Kausalya inside the box and saved her. Later Dasaratha and Kausalya got married. Jatayu and Dasaratha became close friends and Jatayu accompanied the King in many of his battles.
  1. The second account explains that Ravana, a prominent devotee of Shiva, obtained special powers through penance. The Kingdom of Lanka had risen to its splendour and power due to the powers Ravana gained through his devotion to Lord Shiva. He had expanded his territories and taken over many of the Kingdoms south of the Godavari River. At Ayodhya, the Kosala Kingdom had established its supremacy in the northern regions. The impenetrable Dandaka forests, or the Dandakaranya, wedged between the Kingdoms of northern and southern regions.

As Ravana’s power increased, he got more adventurous and decided to challenge Dasaratha. Ravana travelled through the skies, with his most able Asuras, in his Pushpaka Vimaana, and challenged Dasaratha to battle. They fought a tremendous war, and routed Dasaratha’s army.

It was here that Jatayu spotted Dasaratha for the first time. The Asuras went about searching for him, while the King of Lanka had gone chasing the army towards Ayodhya.  Dasaratha retreated into the thick forests, but Jatayu could easily spot him from above and knew his exact location. After a while, the Asuras retreated from Dandakaranya. Dasaratha could sense that someone was watching him keenly. From his hiding place, he placed an arrow to his bow and using his sense of direction, shot it towards the unseen observer. Jatayu heard the twang of the bow, even as the arrow sped away towards him, he could easily evade it. Dasaratha came out of his hiding place, his eyes following the direction of the arrow. He saw the gigantic vulture-warrior sitting on a mountain peak.

Realising that this was no ordinary vulture, he came up to meet up. Jatayu spoke to Dasaratha, “O’ King of Ayodhya, it does not behove well for a King like you to hide in this manner. It is my impression that you are coming from a very tiring war, and your weapons are exhausted. Even the arrow that you shot at me missed its target.”

Dasaratha was upset and found the gigantic vulture even more annoying.  He replied, “Yes. I am tired and do not have my weapons. I can fight them another time if I survive today and return to Ayodhya. But, who are you? It is inconceivable that I would have missed you. I am able to hit a target without sighting it.”

Jatayu laughed and said, “Yes, O King! I am Jatayu, son of Aruna. I am the custodian of the Dandakaranya, and have been here, on this mountain peak, for more than thousands of years. I await the coming of Narayana himself, as it is promised to be. It was not your fault. You did not know that you were shooting at Jatayu.”  Jatayu and Dasaratha became friends. Jatayu helped Dasaratha and took him back to Ayodhya.

  1. The third account explains that once, during Dasaratha’s early days as King of Ayodhya, the Kingdom suffered a terrible drought. Dasaratha consulted his priests, who informed him that the Kingdom was suffering the ill-effects of Shani (God of the planet Saturn). So Dasaratha took off in his flying chariot to find Shani and persuade him to have mercy on Ayodhya. When Shani saw Dasaratha approaching, he feared that his gaze might kill Dasaratha, so he instead directed his gaze at Dasaratha’s chariot, which was burnt to ashes. Dasaratha started falling to the Earth, but he was caught by Jatayu, who had been watching the whole thing. Shani was pleased by the efforts Dasaratha and agreed to relieve Ayodhya’s drought. Jatayu flew Dasaratha back to Ayodhya, and they were friends ever since.

Rama bowed in respect on knowing about Jatayu’s friendship with his father, Dasaratha. Jatayu recounted the genesis of the birds and other animals along with humans. He began with the times when there were the lords of people, brought upon this world by the gods, to ensure that diverse animals, birds and humans would be created with prudence and caution.

jatayu3Jatayu assured them of their stay along the Godavari River would be under his care. Later, when Ravana takes Sita by force and guile, on board his Pushpaka Vimaana, Jatayu came to the rescue. He engaged in a great battle with Ravana in which he was fatally wounded.

Jatayu-and-Sampati-From-Ramayana-2When Lord Rama arrived, he saw Jatayu lay bleeding on the ground. Jatayu narrated his valiant battle with Ravana but lamented that he could not protect Sita. Rama was moved by the selfless action of Jatayu and sensed his end was near.

Rama decided that moment, to give Moksha to Jatayu. Lord Rama then slammed an arrow into the ground so as to call all seven sacred rivers, called theertha. Six rivers arrived while one river failing to obey Lord Rama’s call. As Lord Rama was himself an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, He forced the Gaya theertha to arrive at the spot. Humbled, the Gaya theertha also begins to flow with the other six sacred springs.

jatayuRama and JatayuJatayu said: “O Lord, the demon king Ravana has forcibly taken Sita towards the south. I have been holding my breath to have a sight of you. Now, I desire to breathe my last, so kindly allow me to leave now”. Thus saying, Jatayu breathed his last.

Lord Rama performed Jatayu’s last rites and respectfully cremated his body and then offered libations for him. It was indeed a high fortune for Jatayu, that Lord Rama who could not perform his father’s last rites came to perform the last rites of Jatayu. Jatayu is forever known, wherever the Ramayana is recited.

This story of Jatayu demonstrates Lord’s attributes described in the Namas of Ananda, Nandanah and Satya-Dharma!

533.  Trivikramah – He Who pervades the three Vedas

TrivikramaSri Adi Sankara gives 2 interpretations for this Nama. The first is ‘Trayo Vikramaah trishu lokeshu Kraantaa yasya sah Trivikramah – He took three giant strides as Trivikrama in Vaamana Avataar and covered the three worlds, hence He is Trivikramah’. He also refers to the Taitreya Bramhana (2.4.6) ‘Treeni Padaah Vichakrame – He took three steps’.

The second interpretation is ‘Trayo Lokaah Kraantaa yena iti vaa Trivikramah – He has penetrated the three worlds hence He is called Trivikramah’.

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