Bhagwad Gita: The Song Divine
Bhagwad Gita or Gitopanishad is the best works of Vedic literature ever composed. Since it is a direct dialogue between the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna and his dear devotee Arjuna, it has got direct guidelines for the human beings for getting the desired goal of life.
It is not a different scripture, but a part of the fifth Veda Mahabharata which was composed by Srila Vyasadeva for the dull headed people.
As per Srimad Bhagwatam (1.4.25)
“Out of compassion, the great sage thought it wise that this would enable men to achieve the ultimate goal of life. Thus he compiled the great historical narration called the Mahābhārata ”
Bhagwad Gita is a part of Mahabharata’s Anushasan Parva from chapters 25-42. It has 3 divisions in itself which have been equally divided into portions of Gyana, Karma and Bhakti.
Divisions of Bhagwad Gita
As per the Acharyas who have commented on Bhagwad Gita, it has been divided as
- Chapters 1 to 6 are for Karma Yoga or Actions in Krishna Consciousness.
- Chapters 7 to 12 are for Bhakti Yoga or Selfless Unalloyed Devotion to Lord Krishna.
- Chapter 13 to 18 are for Gyana Yoga or The Knowledge about Supreme Lord.
Individually, the chapters have been names as:
- Chapter One: Observing the armies on Battlefield of Kurukshetra
- Chapter Two: Essence of Bhagwad Gita
- Chapter Three: Karma Yoga
- Chapter Four: Divya Gyana
- Chapter Five: Karma Yoga in Krishna Consciousness
- Chapter Six: Dhyana Yoga
- Chapter Seven: Knowledge of Absolute
- Chapter Eight: Attaining the Supreme
- Chapter Nine: The most confidential knowledge
- Chapter Ten: The opulence of absolute
- Chapter Eleven: The universal form
- Chapter Twelve: Devotional service
- Chapter Thirteen: Nature, enjoyer and consciousness
- Chapter Fourteen: Three modes of nature
- Chapter Fifteen: Yoga of Supreme
- Chapter Sixteen: Divine and demoniac nature
- Chapter Seventeen: Divisions of faith
- Chapter Eighteen: Perfection of renunciation
Why should one read Bhagwad Gita?
Bhagwad Gita lays emphasis on the following points which can be understood by a common man:
- Whatever work the leaders of the society do, the common man of the society follows them without deliberation. Hence, a leader must be careful to set examples.
- The persons whose mind is tormented by unlimited desires cannot achieve the desired goal of his life
- Anger is the biggest enemy of a person and it is generated by unsatisfied lust or desires
- Without having faith in the person who is giving you knowledge, you cannot get real knowledge from him
- The practicality of knowledge is only gained by practising austerity and being truthful.
- Success is meant only for those people who can pay the price worth for it.
These are some of the practical aspects and points from Bhagwad Gita.
Benefits of donation on Gita Jayanti
This Bhagwad Gita as a scripture was compiled by Srila Vedvyasa. And it was spoken by Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra in 45 minutes. It was spoken to Arjuna on the day of Shukla Paksha Ekadashi of Margashirsha month, the most auspicious Mokshada ekadashi.
As per Brahma Vaivarta Purana, anyone who gifts Bhagwad gita on the day of Moskhada Ekadashi gets the benefit of donating thousands of mounds of gold, Gold laiden cows and many more auspicious things.
Benefits of Bhagwad Gita Paath
The benefits of Bhagwad Gita Paath are:
- One gets benefit of giving huge donations in charity to Brahmins and Cows.
- One gets the desired result in any field in which he applied for.
- One gets desired success in the examinations for which he is appearing for.
- The paath of Bhagwad Gita ensures complete freedom all sorts of negative energies on the house and people living in the house.
- If there is any malefic planet in the kundali which is showing it’s negative effects, the person is immediately relieved from it.
- If there is any financial loss or loss in business, the paath eradicates all sorts of negative intentions and cause of such miseries.
Muhurat for Gita Paath
This year, Mokshada Ekadashi or Gita Jayanti is on 10th December, 2016. The puja muhurtam timings are as follows:
Bhagwad Gita Paath: 04:00 AM to 12 PM
This Muhurat is for general masses. For devotess who wish to do it for a special cause, Shubhpuja is providing free consultation from expert Acharyas and Pandits who have been doing this yagya for years.
For booking this puja, http://www.shubhpuja.com/product/bhagwat-paath-puja/
Tulasi or Vrinda or Tulsi is the hallowed name of Srimati Vrinda Devi who is the worshippable plant which can be seen flourishing in any home who are following Sanatan Dharma or Hinduism. One can always find her growing nicely in the courtyards of the houses.
Shaligrama is a sanctified stone form of Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna who appeared as a form for his devotees. This form of lord is found in the Gandaki river which flows in the Indo Nepal border. One who takes a dip in the holy river can find these Shaligrama shila in their hands.
This Vivaha ceremony is performed in Bheeshma panchaka of the month of Kartik. Out of the five days, it can be celebrated on any of them which is decided as per the auspicious constellations.
The legend behind Tulasi-Shaligrama Vivaha
As per Padma Purana, Tulasi devi was known as Vrinda in her past life. He was the utmost chaste wife of Jalandhar. Jalandhar was born out of Lord Shiva’s anger. Lord Shiva, who once became extremely angry opened his third eye and let his krodhhagni come out which was then dumped into ocean.
From this, Jalandhar was born who tried to claim his right over the 14 gems which came out of ocean during the churning. He was the husband of Vrinda, who was devotedly dedicated to service of her husband. She had a blessing indicating that her chastity was the cause of her husband being invincible.
In order to restore the peace in the celestial planets, Lord vishnu came is disguise of her husband to supposedly dismantle her purity. When she came to know that it was Lord Vishnu in disguise, she was angry at him and therefore cursed him to become a black stone since he performed an act done by stone hearted people.
And Lord Vishnu gave her the blessing that she would be his greatest devotee and she would take her next life in the form of tree worshippable by everyone. No offering to the lord shall be complete without her presence.
Procedure of marriage
Deva utthana ekadashi or Deva uthani or Deva prabodhani ekadashi or deva uthan gyaras are the names of the Deva Prabodhini Ekadashi or the ekadashi that falls 11 days after Dipawali. This is the eleventh day of the bright fortnight of the most auspicious month of Kartik
This is one of the very important ekadashis of the year and has great importance within itself. On this very day, Lord Vishnu wakes up from his divine sleep after a sleeping period of 4 months of Chaturmasya.
Story behind it
For these four months, he acts as a gatekeeper for his dear devotee Bali maharaja at Sutalaloka who gave up everything even himself in charity when Lord Krishna took the Vamana incarnation despite being warned by his spiritual preceptor Shukracharya.
When he won Lord’s heart, the lord asked him for a benediction to which he refused. In return to his devotee’s selfless devotion, the lord awarded himself to him.
Rituals observed on this day
The people who desire liberation from this material entanglement and wish to develop devotion to Lord Hari keep ekadashi.
- One must rise up early in the morning and must take a full bath in fresh water.
- One must put on clean clothes and put a tilak on his forehead.
- One must worship Lord Krishna by chanting his holy names.
- One must not eat grains the whole day and must try to fast completely even without water till noon.
- One must not sleep too much and try to engage himself in remembering the lord and his pastimes
- One must break his fast the next morning after 1 hour of sunrise.
- In the evening, one must gather the relatives and must decorate the house with a mixture of geru and multani mitti by drawing forms of Lord Narayan.
- One must light a ghee lamp before Narayana and offer him Singhada (Water chestnut), Sugarcane and other eatables.
- One must sing his glories keeping awake throughout the night.
Food restriction on Ekadashi
- Restricted foods on Ekadasi:
- Tomatoes, eggplants, cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers, beets, bitter melon (karela), loki, parmal, toroi, kunli, drumsticks, bindi (ladies’ fingers) and banana flowers
- Peas, chickpeas and all types of beans, including products made from beans (e.g., papadams, tofu, tempeh)
- All leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach, salads, cabbages) and leafy herbs like parsley, coriander leaves, celery and curry leaves
- Grains (e.g., millet, barley, farina, pasta, rice, corn) and all types of flour made from grains and beans (e.g., rice flour, chickpea flour, urad dahl flour)
- Starches from corn or grains, and products made from or mixed with these starches like baking soda, baking powder, certain soft drinks with corn syrup, custard, certain yoghurts and puddings, certain varieties of cream and cottage cheese, certain sweets and candies, and tapioca balls
- Oils made from grains (e.g., corn oil, mustard oil, sesame oil) and products fried in these oils (e.g., fried nuts, potato chips and other fried snack foods)
- Honey, and sweets made with starches
- Spices not used on Ekadasi: hing (asafetida), sesame seeds, cumin, fenugreek, mustard, tamarind, fennel, cardamom and nutmeg
- Foods that can be taken on Ekadasi
- All fruits (fresh and dried), all nuts and all oils made from nuts
- Potatoes, pumpkin, cucumber, radish, squash, lemon, avocado, olives, coconut, buckwheat, all sugars
- Black pepper, fresh ginger, pure salt and fresh turmeric, all taken from a new and clean package
- All pure milk products
Deva Prabodhini Ekadashi Katha
Lord Brahma said to Narada Muni, “Dear son, O best of the sages, I shall narrate to you the glories of Haribodhini Ekadasi, which eradicates all kinds of sins and bestows great merit, and ultimately liberation, upon the wise persons who surrender unto the Supreme Lord.
“O best of the brahmanas, the merits acquired by bathing in the Ganges remain significant only as long as Haribodhini Ekadasi does not come.
This Ekadasi, which occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Kartika, is much more purifying than a bath in the ocean, at a place of pilgrimage, or in a lake.
This sacred Ekadasi is more powerful in nullifying sin than one thousand Asvamedha sacrifices and one hundred Rajasuya sacrifices.”
Narada Muni inquired, “O father, please describe the relative merits of fasting completely on Ekadasi, eating supper (without grains or beans), or eating once at midday (without grains or beans).”
Lord Brahma replied, “If a person eats once at midday on Ekadasi, the sins of his previous birth are erased, if he eats supper, the sins acquired during his previous two births are removed, and if he fasts completely, the sins accumulated during his pervious seven births are eradicated.
“O son, whatever is only rarely achieved within the three worlds is obtained by him who strictly observes Haribodhini Ekadasi.
A person whose sins equal Mount Sumeru in volume sees them all reduced to nothing if he simply fasts on Papaharini Ekadasi (another name for Haribodhini Ekadasi).
The sins a person has accumulated over a thousand previous births are burned to ashes if he not only fasts but also remains awake throughout Ekadasi night, just as a mountain of cotton can be burned to ashes if one lights a small fire in it.
O Narada, a person who strictly observes this fast achieves the results I have mentioned.
Even if one does a small amount of pious activity on this day, following the rules and regulations, one will earn merit to Mount Sumeru in volume; however a person who does not follow the rules and regulations given in the Scriptures may perform pious activity equal to Mount Sumeru in volume, but he will not earn even a small amount of merit.
One who does not chant the Gayatri mantra three times a day, who disregards fast days, who does not believe in God, who criticises the Vedic Scriptures, who thinks the Vedas bring only ruination to one who follows their injunctions, who enjoys another’s wife, who is utterly foolish and wicked, who does not appreciate any service that has been rendered to him, or who cheats others – such a sinful person can never perform any religious activity effectively.
Be he a brahmana or a shudra, whoever tries to enjoy another man’s wife, particularly the wife of a twice-born person, is said to be no better than a dog-eater.
“O best of the sages, any brahmana who enjoys sex with a widow or a brahmana lady married to another man brings ruin to himself and his family.
Any brahmana who enjoys illicit sex will have no children in his next life, and any past merit he may have earned is ruined.
Indeed, if such a person displays any arrogance toward a twice-born brahmana or a spiritual master, he loses all his spiritual advancement immediately, as well as his wealth and children.
“These three kinds of men ruin their acquired merits: he whose character is immoral, he who has sex with the wife of a dog-eater, and he who appreciates the association of rogues.
Whoever associates with sinful people and visits their homes without a spiritual purpose will go directly to the abode of Lord Yamaraj, the superintendent of death.
And if someone eats in such a home, his acquired merit is destroyed, along with his fame, duration of life, children, and happiness.
“Any sinful rascal who insults a saintly person soon loses his religiosity, economic development, and sense gratification, and he at last burns in the fire of hell.
Anyone who likes to offend saintly persons, or who does not interrupt someone who is insulting saintly persons, is considered no better than an ass.
Such a wicked man sees his dynasty destroyed before his very eyes.
“A person whose character is unclean, who is a rogue or a swindler, or who always finds fault with others does not achieve a higher destination after death, even if he gives charity generously or performs other pious deed.
Therefore one should refrain from performing inauspicious acts and perform only pious ones, by which one will acquire merit and avoid suffering.
“However, the sins of one who, after due consideration, decides to fast of Haribodhini Ekadasi are erased from one hundred previous lives, and whoever fasts and remains awake overnight on this Ekadasi achieves unlimited merit and after death goes to the supreme abode of Lord Vishnu, and then thousand of his ancestors, relatives, and descendants also reach that abode.
Even if one’s forefathers were implicated in many sins and are suffering in hell, they still attain beautifully ornamented spiritual bodies and happily go to Vishnu’s abode.
O Narada, even one who has committed the heinous sin of killing a brahmana is freed of all stains on his character by faster on Haribodhini Ekadasi and remaining awake that night.
The merit that cannot by won by bathing in all the places of pilgrimage, performing a horse sacrifice, or giving cows, gold, or fertile land in charity can easily be achieved by fasting on this holy day and remaining awake throughout the night.
“Anyone who observes Haribodhini Ekadasi is celebrated as highly qualified and makes his dynasty famous.
As Death is certain, so losing one’s wealth is also certain.
Knowing this, O best of sages, one should observe a fast on this day so dear to Hari – Sri Haribodhini Ekadasi.
“All places of pilgrimage in the three worlds at once come to reside in the house of a person who fasts on this Ekadasi.
Therefore, to please the Lord, who holds a disc in His hand, one should give up all engagements, surrender, and observe this Ekadasi fast.
One who fasts on this Haribodhini day is acknowledged as a wise man, a true yogi, an ascetic, and one whose senses are truly under control.
He alone enjoys this world properly, and he will certainly achieve liberation.
This Ekadasi is very dear to Lord Vishnu, and thus it is the very essence of religiosity.
Even one observance of it bestows the topmost reward in all the three worlds.
“O Naradaji, whoever fasts on this Ekadasi will definitely not enter a womb again, and thus faithful devotees of the Supreme Godhead give up all varieties of religion and simply surrender to fasting on this Ekadasi.
For that great soul who honours this Ekadasi by fasting and remaining awake throughout the night, the Supreme Lord, Sri Govinda, personally terminates the sinful reactions that soul has acquired by the actions of his mind, body, and words.
“O son, for anyone who bathes in a place of pilgrimage, gives charity, chants the holy names of the Supreme Lord, undergoes austerities, and performs sacrifices for God on Haribodhini Ekadasi, the merit thus earned all becomes imperishable.
A devotee who worships Lord Madhava on this day with first-class paraphernalia becomes free from the great sins of a hundred lifetimes.
A person who observes this fast and worships Lord Vishnu properly is freed from great danger.
“This Ekadasi fast pleases Lord Janardana so much that He takes the person who observes it back to His abode, and while going there the devotee illuminates then ten universal directions.
Whoever desires beauty and happiness should try to honour Haribodhini Ekadasi, especially if it falls on Dvadasi.
The sins of one’s past hundred births – the sins committed during childhood, youth and old age in al those lifetimes, whether those sins are dry or wet – are nullified by the Supreme Lord Govinda if one fasts on Haribodhini Ekadasi with devotion.
Haribodhini Ekadasi is the best Ekadasi.
Nothing is unobtainable or rare in this world for one who fasts on this day, for it gives food grains, great wealth, and high merit, as well as eradication of all sin, the terrible obstacle to liberation.
Fasting on this Ekadasi is a thousand times better than giving charity on the day of the solar or lunar eclipse.
Again I say to you, O Naradaji, whatever merit is earned by one who bathes in a place of pilgrimage, performs sacrifices, and studies the Vedas is only one then-millionth the merit earned by the person who fasts but one on Haribodhini Ekadasi.
Whatever merit one has acquired in his life by some pious activities becomes completely fruitless if one does not observe the Ekadasi fast and worship Lord Vishnu in the month of Kartika.
Therefore, you should always worship the Supreme Lord, Janardana, and render service to Him.
Thus you will attain the desired goal, the highest perfection.
“On Haribodhini Ekadasi, a devotee of the Lord should not eat in another’s house or eat food cooked by a non devotee.
If he does so, he achieves only the merit of fasting on a full moon day.
Philosophical discussion of Scriptures in the month of Kartika pleases Sri Vishnu more than if one gives elephants and horses in charity or performs a costly sacrifice.
Whoever chants or hears descriptions of Lord Vishnu’s qualities and pastimes, even if but a half or even a fourth of a verse, attains the wonderful merit derived from giving away a hundred cows to a brahmana.
O Narada, during the month of Kartika one should give up all kinds or ordinary duties and devote one’s full time and energy especially while fasting, to discussing the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Lord.
Such glorification of Sri Hari on the day so dear to the Lord, Ekadasi, liberates a hundred previous generations. One who spends his time enjoying such discussions, especially in the month of Kartika, achieves the results of performing ten thousand fire sacrifices and burns all his sins to ashes.
“He who hears the wonderful narrations concerning Lord Vishnu, particularly during the month of Kartika, automatically earns the same merit as that bestowed upon someone who donates a hundred cows in charity.
O great sage, a person who chants the glories of Lord Hari on Ekadasi achieves the merit earned by donating seven islands.”
Narada Muni asked his glorious father, “O universal sire, I best of all demigods, please tell me how to observe this most sacred Ekadasi.
What kind of merit does it bestow upon the faithful?”
Lord Brahma replied, “O son, a person who wants to observe this Ekadasi should rise early on Ekadasi morning, during the brahma-muhurta hour (an hour and a half before sunrise until fifty minutes before sunrise).
He should then clean his teeth and bathe in a lake, river, pond, or well, or in his own home, as the situation warrants.
After worshipping Lord Sri Keshava, he should listen carefully to the sacred descriptions of the Lord.
He should pray to the Lord thus: ‘O Lord Keshava, I shall fast on this day, which is so dear to You, and tomorrow I shall honour Your sacred prasadam.
O lotus-eyed Lord, O infallible one, You are my only shelter. Kindly protect me.’
“Having spoken this solemn prayer before the Lord with great love and devotion, one should fast cheerfully.
O Narada, whoever remains awake all night on this Ekadasi, singing beautiful songs glorifying the Lord, dancing in ecstasy, playing delightful instrumental music for His transcendental pleasure, and reciting the pastimes of Lord Krishna as records in bona-fide Vedic literature – such a person will most assuredly reside far beyond the three worlds, in the eternal, spiritual realm of God.
“On Haribodhini Ekadasi one should worship Sri Krishna with camphor, fruits, and aromatic flowers, especially the yellow agaru flower.
One should not absorb oneself in making money on this important day.
In other words, greed should be exchanged for charity.
This is the process for turning loss into unlimited merit.
One should offer many kinds of fruits to the Lord and bathe Him with water from a conchshell.
Each of these devotional practices, when performed on Haribodhini Ekadasi, is ten million times more beneficial than bathing in all the places of pilgrimage and giving all forms of charity.
“Even Lord Indra joins his palm and offers his obeisances to a devotee who worships Lord Janardana with first-class agastya flowers of this day.
The supreme Lord Hari is very pleased when he is decorated with nice agastya flowers.
O Narada, I give liberation to one who devotedly worships Lord Krishna on this Ekadasi in the month of Kartika with leaves of the bel tree.
And for one who worships Lord Janardana with fresh tulasi leaves and fragrant flowers during this month, O son, I personally burn to ashes all the sins he has committed for then thousand births.
“One who merely sees Tulsi Maharani, touches her, mediates on her, narrates her history, offers obeisances to her, prays to her for her grace, plants her, worships her, or waters her lives in the abode of Lord Hari eternally.
O Narada, one who serves Tulsi-devi in these nine ways achieves happiness in the higher world for as many thousands of yugas as there are roots and subroots growing from a mature tulasi plant.
When a full grown tulasi plant produces seeds, many plants grow from those seeds and spread their branches, twigs, and flowers, and these flowers also produce numerous seeds.
For as many thousands of kalpas as there are seeds produced in this way, the forefathers of one who serves tulasi in these nine ways will live in the abode of Lord Hari.
“Those who worship Lord Keshava with kadamba flowers, which are very pleasing to Him, get is mercy and do not see the abode of Yamaraj, death personified.
What is the use of worshipping someone else if all desires can be fulfilled by pleasing Lord Hari?
For example, a devotee who offers Him bakula, ashoka, and patali flowers is freed from misery and distress for as long as the sun and moon exist in this universe, and at last he achieves liberation. O best of the brahmanas, an offering of kannera flowers to Lord Jagannatha brings as much mercy upon the devotee as that earned by worshipping Lord Keshava for four yugas.
One who offers tulasi flowers (manjaris) to Sri Krishna during the month of Kartika receives more merit than can be obtained by donating ten million cows.
Even a devotional offering of newly grown sprouts of grass brings with it a hundred times the benefit obtained by ordinary ritualistic worship of the Supreme Lord.
“One who worships Lord Vishnu with the leaves of the samika tree is freed from the clutches of Yamaraja, the lord of death.
One who worships Vishnu during the rainy season with champaka or jasmine flowers never returns to the planet earth again.
One who worships the Lord with but a single kumbhi flower achieves the boon of donating a pala of gold (two hundred grams).
If a devotee offers a single yellow flower of the ketaki, or wood-apple, tree to Lord Vishnu, who rides on Garuda, he is freed from the sins of ten million births.
Furthermore, one who offers Lord Jagannatha flowers and also a hundred leaves anointed with red and yellow sandalwood paste will certainly come to reside in Svetadvipa, far beyond the coverings of this material creation.
“O greatest of brahmanas, Sri Narada, after thus worshipping Lord Keshava, the bestower of all material and spiritual happiness, on Haribodhini Ekadasi, one should rise early the next day, bathe in a rive, chant japa of Krishna’s holy names, and render loving devotional service to the Lord at home to the nest of one’s ability.
To break the fast, the devotee should first offer some prasadam to brahmanas and only then, with their permission, eat some grains.
Thereafter, to please the Supreme Lord, the devotee should worship his spiritual master, the purest of the Lord’s devotees, and offer him sumptuous food, nice cloth, gold, and cows, according to the devotee’s means.
This will certainly please the Supreme Lord, the holder of the disc.
“Next the devotee should donate a cow to a brahmana, and if the devotee has neglected some rules and regulation of spiritual life, he should confess them before brahmana devotees of the Lord.
Then the devotee should offer them some dakshina (money).
O king, those who have eaten supper on Ekadasi should feed a brahmana the next day.
That is very pleasing to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
“O son, if a man has fasted without asking the permission of his priest, or if a woman has fasted without asking her husband’s permission, he or she should donate a bull to a brahmana.
Honey and yoghurt are also proper gifts for a brahmana.
Someone who has fasted from ghee should donate milk, one who has fasted from grains should donate rice, one who has slept on the floor should donate a bedstead with a quilt, one who has eaten on a leaf plate should donate a pot of ghee, one who as remained silent should donate a bell, and one who has fasted from sesame should give gold in charity and feed a brahmana couple with sumptuous food.
A man who wants to prevent baldness should donate a mirror to a brahmana, one who has second-hand shoes should donate shoes, and one who has fasted from salt should donate some sugar to a brahmana.
During this month everyone should regularly offer a ghee lamp to Lord Vishnu or to Srimati Tulsidevi in a temple.
“An Ekadasi fast is complete when one offers a qualified brahmana a gold or copper pot filled with ghee and ghee wicks, along with eight waterpots containing some gold and covered by cloths.
One who cannot afford these gifts should at least offer a brahmana some sweet words.
One who does so will surely attain the full benefit of fasting on Ekadasi.
“After offering his obeisances and begging permission, the devotee should eat his meal.
On this Ekadasi, Chaturmasya ends, so whatever one gave up during Chaturmasya should now be donated to brahmanas.
One who follows this process of Chaturmasya receives unlimited merit, O king of kings, and goes to the abode of Lord Vasudeva after death.
O king, anyone who observes the complete Chaturmasya without a break attains eternal happiness and does not receive another birth.
But if someone breaks the fast, he becomes either a blind man or a leper.
“Thus I have narrated to you the complete process for observing Haribodhini Ekadasi.
Someone who reads or hears about this achieves the merit earned by donating cows to a qualified brahmana.”
Thus ends the narration of the glories of Karttika-sukla Ekadasi – also known as Haribodhini Ekadasi or Devotthaani Ekadasi – from the Skanda Purana.
Bhishma panchaka or Vishnu panchaka are the five days of the last month of Chaturmasya i.e. the four months of austerities to be practised by spiritual seekers. They are the last five days of the auspicious month of Kartik. They are Kartik Shukla Ekadashi, Dwadashi, Trayodashi, Chaturdashi and Purnima.
As per Mahabharata, Bhishma deva observed a strict fast during last five days in order to prepare for his death. As a result of his austerity, Lord Krishna became very pleased with him and blessed him with pure devotional service.
Benefits of Fasting
For the one who is observing chaturmasya vrata for the four months should intensify the austerities or these five days and one must observe fast from grains for the last five days.
Family of Shikhandi
Shikhandi is a character in the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. He was born as a girl child named ‘Shikhandini’ to Drupada, the king of Panchala. Shikhandi fought in the Kurukshetra war on the side of the Pandavas, along with his father Drupada and brother Dhristadyumna.
Past life of Shikhandi
In the majority of the versions of the Mahabharat, there is the story of Shikhandi being Amba in his previous birth.
Shikhandini or Shikhandi had been born in a previous lifetime as a woman named Amba.
Vichitravirya married only her sisters, because Amba told Bhishma that she had fallen in love with Salwa, and was not ready to marry anyone else. Hearing this from her, Bhishma sent Amba with grandeur to Saubala. But Salwa rejected her as well, in shame of losing the combat against Bhishma. Amba then returned to Bhishma and demanded that he marry her according to Kshatriya dharma, but Bhishma declined due to his vow celibacy.
Her feeling of revenge
Enraged at her humiliation, she tried to persuade other kings to wage a war with Bhishma and compel him to wed her. None agreed for they were afraid of incurring the wrath of the great warrior. Amba managed to get Parashurama, Bhishma’s guru, to champion her cause. However, not even Parashurama could defeat Bhishma.
She resorted to penance and received a garland of blue lotuses from Lord Kartikeya and it was foretold that anyone wearing the garland would become the cause of Bhishma’s death. She went to the Panchal, as they were a mighty empire known for its military prowess. However, no one was willing to champion her cause, fearful of antagonizing Bhishma. Amba, in anger, hung the garland on the gates of King Drupada and left in agony.
Austerities performed by her
Amba did severe penance to Lord Shiva for a boon to cause Bhishma’s death. Eventually, her prayers were answered. But, being a woman with no military training, she asked Shiva how should would accomplish her task, and he responded that her future incarnation would be the one to actually bring about Bhishma’s demise. Eager to bring this about, Amba killed herself; in some versions of the story (to explain the time gap between the abduction at Kashi and the Kurukshetra war, Amba keeps on killing herself until she is incarnated into satisfactory situation.Amba was reborn as Shikhandini, the daughter of King Drupada
Her role in Mahabharata
In the battle of Kurukshetra, Bhishma recognised him as Amba reborn, and not wanting to fight a “woman” (or an actual woman, depending on the version), avoided battling Shikhandi. On the tenth day, Shikhandi rides in Arjuna’s chariot, and together, they face Bhishma, forcing him to lower his weapons. Knowing that this would happen, Arjuna hid behind Shikhandi and attacked Bhishma with a devastating volley of arrows. Thus, Shikhandi was instrumental in Bhishma’s death.
Shikhandi was finally killed by Ashwatthama on the 18th day of battle. Dazed and confused, Shikhandi is killed in a sword fight with Ashwatthama when Ashwatthama, Kripacharya, and Kritaverma attacked the Pandava camp on the night of the final day of battle. In some versions of the Mahabharat, Ashwatthama kills Shikhandi’s lover (male or female) in front of him; in other versions, it is Shikhandini’s partner (male/female) who is butchered
Usually we think that only Arjuna was the only person to whom Bhagwad Gita was told directly bu there is something else which we are unaware of.
Sanjaya is the only character of the Mahabharata who apart from Arjuna heard the narration of Bhagwad Gita directly from Lord Sri Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead.
He was blessed by the divine sage, the incarnation of godhead, Sri Vyasa Deva to get the divine vision which helped him to see the battlefield sitting beside dhritarashtra and told him everything.
Despite of such a cruel warfare, he never lied to Dhritarashtra and kept on telling him about the death of the 100 sons
He was hearing Bhagwad Gita directly from Lord Krishna due to the blessings of his spiritual master as he was pleased by his menial service.
Many verses in Bhagwad Gita therefore, begin with Sanjaya Uvacha i.e. Sanjaya Said
His divine vision allowed him to see upto the distance of 80 miles from his area of residence, this is Divya Chakshu.
Shakuni was the prince of Gandhara Kingdom in present-day Gandhara, later to become the King after his father’s death and one of the main villains in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. He was the brother of Gandhari and hence Duryodhana’s maternal uncle. Portrayed as an extremely intelligent but devious man, Shakuni is often credited as the mastermind behind theMahabharata war. Shakuni had two sons named Uluka and Vrikaasur (Bhasmasura).
It is said that in a military campaign by either Bhishma, Pandu, or Shantanu, Gandhara came under attack from Hastinapur. Hastinapur conquered Gandhar, killed the king Achala Suvala, and imprisoned all the male members of his line, saying that line was full of adharma. This included Shakuni and his 100 brothers (in some accounts, “brothers” is literal, in others it represents other family members in what was common usage at the time). Since all of them were sparsely fed (with one grain of rice each per day) in the prison, the family decided that at least one of them could survive and gave all the rice to Shakuni, the most cunning of them all, so that he could live on to take revenge. Eventually, King Subala, bends the knee to make a permanent mark of the injustice. Considered a man of dharma, his family is allowed to live.
Shakuni was unhappy with his sister Gandhari’s marriage to Kaurava prince Dhritarashtra. He was especially angry with Bhishma for bringing this proposal as he found it insulting and demeaning, not only because Dhritarashtra was blind, but also because the Kurus had destroyed his line years before. He swore to avenge this insult by slowly destroying Bhishma’s clan. He achieved this by poisoning the mind of his volatile nephew Duryodhana into instigating the war with the Pandavas, which destroyed the Kuru line. Thus, he is seen by many as one of the key persons that caused the Kurukshetra War.
Some popular versions of this story focus on Shakuni’s anger over Hastinapur. But that version is not present in the original Mahabharata and is found mostly in modern versions of the epic. Likewise, some versions of the story describe Shakuni using the bones of his dead parents to create dice that will never lose him a game, as Shakuni’s father’s soul enters the dice to make it roll to whatever number Shakuni wanted.
Shakuni is perhaps best known for masterminding the infamous Game of Dice between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. A master of sorcery, Shakuni had his blessed dice which would always follow his will. Unaware of this fact, the Pandavas were defeated in the gambling match. Shakuni encourages Duryodhana, Dushasana, Karna, and the others when they taunt and humiliate the Pandavas.
He mainly worked by inciting hatred between the Kauravas and Pandavas; his plans culminated in the biggest wars in Indian history. Although he was very often not successful, he never lost his faith in his ability to destroy the lineage of Kuru. The story mentions that Shakuni, by staying at Hastinapur, is neglecting his duties as king in Ghandar; Shakuni explains to Uluka that his desire for revenge overruns his concern for Gandhar’s people.