Swamiye Sarnam Ayyappa

Leela and her husband Madhava were both children of learned Brahmins. They were very devout and in deep love for each other. After several years of married life, Madhavan felt that it was time for them to renounce worldly pleasures and turn entirely to spiritual ways. Leela did not agree to the proposal. She won't let him do so too. The dispute led to a hot arguement. Finally Madhava cursed her to become a she buffelo with devilish disposal.

Leela was reborn as Mahishi, daughter of Karamba, brother of Ramban. Mahishasura, Son of Ramban, undertook a severe penance (Dhavam) towards God. Lord Brahma tried every tactics to stop his Dhavam, but having failed in his attempts, appeared before the Asura and asked him what boon he wanted, from him. Mahishasura asked Lord Brahma to give him a boon by which nobody in the earth would be able to kill him, and Lord Brahma conferred the Boon on him. Mahishasura, armed with this boon, began to commit atrocities and murders on the earth and terrorized people. Fearing his wrath, people ran away to far away places.

The Devas,seeing the atrocities committed by Mahishasura came to the conclusion that only a divine power could kill him and approached Chandikadevi pleading to put an end to Mahishasura who was misusing the boon given by Lord Brahma. Chandikadevi set out on her mission and killed Mahishasura in a duel, on the earth.

Mahishi, daughter of Karamba, brother of Ramban undertook a severe penance towards god in order to take revenge on the Devas, who were responsible for the death of her brother. Lord Brahma appeared and offered to confer on Mahishi any boon except that of immortality. Mahishi asked Lord Brahma to bless her with a boon by which nobody, except the son created out of the union of Hari and Haran , (Vishnu and Siva) would be able to kill her. Lord Brahma gave the boon and Mahishi went to Devaloka and started harassing the Devas.

Meanwhile, the asura Basmasura had so pleased lord Shiva with his austerities that Shiva gave him a boon of anything he wished. So Basmasura asked for the ability to burn to ashes anything which he placed his hand over. No sooner had Shiva granted this, than Basmasura ran after the god, threatening to turn him to ashes.

Shiva called to lord Vishnu for help. He hid himself in a certain tree as Basmasura ran here and there searching for the god. Vishnu became aware of the events, and decided that he would take the female form Mohini, "the Enchanting", and try to trump the asura's powers. When Basmasura saw Vishnu in this form, he was bewitched by her beauty. He earnestly tried to court her. So Vishnu instructed Basmasura to hold his hand over his head, and vow fidelity. With this act, Basmasura was reduced to ashes.

Vishnu found Shiva and explained the whole affair to him. Shiva asked if he too could see Vishnu in this female form. When Vishnu appeared thus, Shiva was overcome with passion, and united with "her" Their union resulted in the birth of a handsome child. He came to be known as Shastha. Lord Siva adorned the child's neck with a golden chain and ordered that the child be entrusted to the care of his childless disciple, king Rajasekara of Pandalam.

King Rajashekhara, The Wealthy Ruler of Panthalam in Kerala, had no children. His Subjects were worried. If there is no heir to the throne what will become of them when their king dies. People wished he was blessed with a son. A Son, as pious and generous as him. His ambitious Diwan (Prime Minister) however was happy as long as no heir to the throne When King Rajashekara dies the kingdom will certainly become his.

The King and The Queen they themselves were in a world of grief coz of not having any little on e to love and take care of. The King who was an ardent Lord Shiva devotee used to pray to the Lord for a Son. While the Queen who was a staunch Lord Vishnu devotee prayed to him.

One day King Rajasekara went for hunting in the forest adjoining the banks of river Pamba, along with his men. He started hunting courageously in the dense forest which was a sanctuary for many wild animals. After the hunting was over, King Rajasekara advised his men to take rest and sat there entertaining himself with the sight of the natural greenish beauty and the water-falls of the forest.

At that time, he heard a child crying from somewhere in the forest. Surprised, he went round and reached the banks of River Pampa. There he saw a beautiful and brightly-lit child kicking its legs and crying out, and was in a dilemma whether to take the child to that Palace or leave it there itself.

While the King was engrossed in his thoughts, a Sanyasi (hermit) appeared before him and told the King that he need not be afraid of the child and to take him to the Palace and that the child belonged to Kshatriya dynasty capable of mitigating all sufferings. The Sanyasi further stated that since the Child had a gold chain around his neck, he shall be called Manikanda and when the child completed twelve years, the King would know his divine history. After uttering these words , the Sanyasi disappeared. The child was none other than the same one born to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The Sanyasi was none other that Lord Shiva himself.

King Rajashekhara took Manikandan home to his queen. Her joy knew no bounds. The mother in her was born. Manikandan was considered as God’s Own Gift. The People were happy. They celebrated the arrival of Manikandan. They too considered Manikandan as God’s gift to them. But again the Diwan didn’t think so as; Manikandan’s arrival had upset all his plans. Manikandan soon grew up into a strong young lad.

He was placed under the guidance of an excellent Guru and soon mastered all there was to learn. Guru knew that Maikandan was not an ordinary child. By the time Manikandan’s studies were over, the Guru knew he was a divine child.

After completing his education under the Guru, Manikanda went to his Guru for his Ashirwathams, the Guru told him that he already knew that he was a divine power and he was blessed for having been given an opportunity to have Manikandan as a student. The Guru further told Manikandan that he had one request to make and that was that his only son who was blind and dumb should be given vision and speech. Manikandan called the Guru's son and put his hands on his head and immediately Guru's son had his vision and speech. Manikandan told the Guru not to reveal this to anyone and went to the Palace.

Manikandan performed many much miracles. The subjects were happy to have such a prince, who would be their next king. Manikandan once even defeated an Arab pirate who had come to make salves of people. He not only defeated the pirate but made him understand the wrong doings he had done and made him his friend. The name of the Arab is Vavar. This shows how Manikandan did not believe in religion as a barrier. Vavar and Manikandan grew into very good friends. Manikandan also had a Christian friend Sebastian / Kochu Kadutha. The People were feeling secure on seeing Manikandan. They regarded Manikandan as their future King. This was getting the Diwan really worried. He needed to get rid of the young boy.

In the meanwhile, the Queen gave birth to a male child and the child was named Raja Rajan. King Rajasekara, impressed with the talents of Manikandan, decided to crown him, treating him as his eldest son. He ordered the Diwan to make arrangements for the same. The Diwan hated this and started devising plans to prevent Manikandan from being crowned to the throne and to annihilate him. He tried various methods including poisoning of food, but failed in all these. However, Manikandan's body bore an injury due to these and ordinary physicians could not cure it. Lastly, Lord Shiva disguising himself as a physician, treated Manikandan's injury and cured him.

Having failed in all his attempts to kill Manikandan, the Diwan approached the Queen and told her that she had her own son, it was not correct to crown a person who came from the forest. He further told the Queen since Arthasastra itself has justified any misdeed if it was done to extract a good thing, he would suggest that the Queen should pretend as if suffering from severe headache and he would make the physician tell that only a tigress' milk should be brought to cure the Queen and since Manikandan would only go to the forest to bring the milk, he would be in danger from the wild animals and even if Manikandan returned without bringing the tigress' milk, the King's love for him would not be as before. The Queen, became a prey to the Diwan's plot and agreed to do what he told, so that her son could succeed the King to the throne.

The Queen, as told by the Diwan, cried out loudly that she was suffering from severe headache and the King, believing this, called the Diwan to bring in the best physicians to treat her. The Physician, brought by the Diwan examined the Queen and told the King that the Queen had been suffering from a dangerous disease and it could be cured only by applying Tigress' milk. The King sent several of his men to the forest for bringing this milk. The King understood that it was an impossible task and wanted his dear Queen to be cured at any cost and offered half of his Kingdom to anybody who brought the Milk.

When the King was thinking about this, Manikandan asked him to let him go to the forest promising to bring the milk. However, the King told him that he was awaiting to be crowned to the throne that he was also not of age and hence refused to let him go. Manikandan told the King inspite of his refusal, he had to go lest he would be cursed for not curing the Queen. Since the King persisted in his refusal Manikandan wanted the King to promise to do something he wanted. The King gave the promise and asked him what he wanted and immediately Manikandan asked the king to permit to go to the Forest . The King felt disappointed that he had been tricked and with no other alternative permitted Manikandan to go to the forest.

King Rajasekara made arrangements to send a group of his loyal men along with Manikandan, which however was refused by Manikandan on the ground that the tigress might run away seeing the crowd of soldiers. King Rajasekara sent alongwith Manikandan necessary foodstuffs and coconuts with three-eyes, in remembrance of Lord Shiva. The Panchabuthas, sent by Lord Shiva, accompanied Manikandan to Forest .

Manikandan set to the forest. As he wandered deeper and deeper into it he came to the domain of Mahishi who lived in that forest of Erumeli . Mahishi attacked Manikandan. They had an immense fight on the banks of river Azutha. Lord Shiva came down to earth on his Ox and tied in near a tree near Azutha now known as Kalaketi. From there he witnessed his son fighting the evil Mahishi. A Fierce Battle ensued. Manikandan got hold of the horns of the Demoness Mahishi and threw her across the banks of the river Azutha on Azutha Mala. She fell dead. Manikandan picked a stone from the river and placed it on her body. From the Body of Mahishi came a beautiful lady (Maalikapurathu Amma). The Lady was actually cursed to become Mahishi. She thanked Manaikandan for relieve her from the curse. She asked Manikandan to marry her. On which Maikandan told that he is a Brahmachari and will be so forever. But the lady persisted Manikadan told her that a temple will be build for him. She will also have a place near by him. And the year when no new pilgrimage comes to the temple that year he will marry her.

As Manikandan continued in search of Tigress, Lord Indra the King of Devas appeared before him. He took the form of a tigress and asked Manikandan to mount on him to the city. Manikandan did as he was told. The Devas who had accompanied Indra also turned themselves into tigress and followed into the city. As Manikandan rode into the city on his terrifying mount followed by an equally terrifying retinue the people were in utter disbelief. The news spread to King Rajashekhara, The King rushed out to see this unusual sight was stunned. He remembered the Sanyasi telling him Manikandan turned twelve that day and he heard a divine voice which told him that Manikandan was none other that God Shree Dhramashstha himself. King Rajashekhara ran forward and fell at Manikandan’s feet. He asked Maikandan to send the Tigresses away as his people were terror stricken. Manikandan smiled and the Tigress vanished. King Rajashekhara told Manikandan that as soon as he had left the queen recovered. He also came to know of Diwan and his plan and was ready to punish all of them. On this Manikdandan asked them to be spared as they were the reason which led to his mission of slaying of Mahishi. By saying this Manikandan said he would hence forth lead a life of a Sanyasi and do Twapaswa. King Rajashekhara wanted to build a temple for him. Manikandan took an arrow from his quill and shot it. He asked a temple to be built on the exact location the arrow had fallen. He gave the king special powers to see the arrow. The arrow fell at the summit of the Sabari Hills. He also said the Temple should have Eighteen steps at the eastern side. Saying this Manikandan Vanished.
The King began to trek to the top of the mountain and somehow managed to reach the top exact where the arrow had fallen with high difficulties. The King thought he would never be able to achieve to build the temple at such a height. As he stood dazed, Vishwakarma, the divine architect came to his help. Under the guidance of Vishwakarma the magnificent temple was soon completed. King Rajashekhara was thinking about the befitting idol for the temple. Then Lord Vishnu sent Parashurama to the King to carve and install the Idol for Manikandan. Parasurama on the day of Makra Sankaranti installed the Idol in Sabarimala Temple . And thus it was that image Ayyappa as Manikandan carved by the Parusarama in yogamudra with chinmudra on his hands came to be popularly known was sanctified.

Meanwhile the wicked Diwan was affilicated by an incurable disease. He once prayed to Lord Ayyappa for forgiveness. He had a dream in which Lord Ayyappa asked him to come to his temple on Sabarimala but entering the shrine only after being cleansing in River Pamba. Rivier Pamba is said to be enlivened by the sprit of Shabari, the devotee of lord Rama. The Diwan wanted no time the next morning he set out for Sabarimala on way the river Pamba. He took a dip in the river and as soon as he came out he was again back to his normal health. River Pamba showed her mercy on the Diwan. He rushed to the shrine to Sabrimala temple chanting Ayyappa, Ayyappa. When he reached the sanctum sanctorum overcome by emotion he fell at the feet of the Idol he burst crying Swamiye Sarnam Ayyappa. And to this day as Pilgrims make their way to the temple of Ayyappa they call out Swamiye Sarnam Ayyappa.

The number 18 itself has great significance in Hindu philosophy. There are18 chapters in Bhagavad Gita; there are 18 Puranas; there are 18 battle techniques; Kurukshethra battle lasted for 18 days; Four Vedas, 6 Sutras, 5 Senses and 3 deities add up to 18. There are different interpretations to the significance of the 18 Holy Steps.
Another belief is that the 18 steps represents the Sabarimala and the 17 other peaks that surround Sabarimala.
Kaalakettimala, Injiparakkota Puthusserikkanam, Karimala, Neelimala Goundermala, Ponnambalamedu, Chittambalamedu, Mayilaadum medu, Thalappaaramala Nilakkalmedu, Devarmala , Sripadamala , Ghadgimala , Maathangamala, Sundaramala , Nagamala & Sabarimala

The 18 Holy steps are the holy pathways for the Jeevaatma to reach the Paramaatma. Jeevaatma has to cross the 18 virtues to merge with paramaatma. The Holy steps 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 represent the 5 Panjendriams: (Smell, Hearing, Sight, Taste and Touch). The Holy steps 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 represent the 8 Ashtaragas: Kamam, Krodham, Lobham, Moham, Madam, Matsaryam, Thanbha and Asuya. The Holy steps 14, 15 and 16 represent 3 Gunas: Thamas, Rajas and Satva. The Holy step 17 represents Vidya and the Holy step 18 represents Avidya. By observing stringent vruthams (austerities), the Ayyappa devotees called Ayyappas and Malikappurams, purify their body, mind and intellect and achieve the ultimate sanctity to make pilgrimage to Sabarimala carrying on their head the Irumudi containing the Pooja items, to climb the 18 holy steps and have the Darsan of Lord Ayyappa.

Pilgrimage to Sabarimala begins from the 1st of Vrichikam, a Malayalam month coming in the middle of November (probably between 14-16). The most important day for Ayyappan is Makarasankranthi Day, which is the 1st of Makara (a month of the Malayalam calendar). This day will fall between January 14-16. Currently millions of devotees come from all parts of India to Sabarimala for a glimpse of Lord Ayyappan, having undertaken 41 days of Vratham (austerities).
On Makarsankranth, every year without fail, miraculous events occur. Firstly as the jewels (Thiruvaabaranam) of the Lord are transported from the Old Pandalam Palace to Sabarimala, a Krishnaparanth (holy eagle) circles above the precious cargo, like a protector. This rare eagle is rarely seen in the midst of people for a long period of time, yet the auspicious bird follows the Thiruvaabaranam procession, finally circling above Sanithanam at Shabarimala nine times as it pays its respects to Lord Ayyappan. During this time, there is not a single star in the sky expect for a special Nakshatram. As the beautiful jewels are placed on the golden body of the Lord within the temple, the several hundred thousand devotees outside, crammed into any available free space, chant "Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa". When the jewels are finally all adorned on the Lord, the Nakshatram in the sky miraculously disappears, as all the Devas and Celestial beings leave the sky to get a glimpse of the Lord in all his spleandour. Within moments of the Lord being adorned with the Thiruvabaranam, an effulgence appears in the opposite hills of Shabarimala, appearing 3 times. The entire hillside reverberates with the chant "Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa" as the devotees witness this auspicious sight, as the Devas and Celestial Rishis arrive at Shabarimala as an effulgence. These auspicious sights are different forms of the Lord Himself appearing. The devotees then climb the 18 holy gold steps to arrive at the Sanidhanam where they finally get a glimpse of the Lord as Himself, in all beauty, Manikanta Shri Dharmasastha, adorned with jewels. It is believed that if one witnesses these events after having undertaken 41 days of severe austerities (Vratham), one can attain Moksha.
This is why Ayyappan is also known as Kaliyugavaradhana, since He can help us to attain Moksha in this difficult age of Kaliyuga, the Age of Hypocrisy and Violence.
The austerities (Vrutham) starts on the first day of the Malayalam month Vrichikam ( November 14/15/16 ) for those devotees who intend to worship Lord Ayyappa on Mandala Pooja Day( around 25th December ) or Makara Sankranti day (around Jan 14th). "Makara Sankranti" day is the most auspicious day at Sabarimala and " Mandala Pooja day " is considered as second most auspicious day. Nowdays the temple is open to devotees on 1st day of each Malayalam month and other kerala festival days such as "Vishu", "Thiru Onam", etc. However 41 days minimum vrutham is necessary before the day of Pilgrimage to Sabarimala as per the conditions of the pilgrimage.
The vrutham starts from the day of wearing of "Thulasi Mala" (garland) or "Rudraksha Mala" with the locket of Lord Ayyappa. The mala is to be accepted from a temple Priest or Guru Swami /Periya Swami (The devotee who has visited the Sabarimala Temple several times and who can guide the other devotees in all matters relating to Sabarimala pilgrimage) after the mala is duly sanctified in a temple/ or pooja room. A "Dakshina" is to be given to the priest/Guru Swami/ Periya Swami concerned.After wearing the "Mala" the devotee is called as "Ayyappan" or "Swami"( in the name of Lord Ayyappa) till the completion of his pilgrimage and removal of Mala thereafter. The eligible female( aged between 1 and 9 and above 50 years) devotees are called as "Malikapuram"( The Shakti of Lord Ayyappa).
During the period of Vrutham utmost care should be taken by each devotee to keep their mind and body clean,pure and balanced. The devotee is expected to live like "sadhu", "Yogi" and his action,word,thought should not under any circumstances hurt the feelings of the others. The devotee should avoid all worldly pleasure and avoid taking alcohol,tobacco and non-vegetarian food. They are also not expected to cut hair and nails a shave. Black / dark blue dhoti and shirt is the proper dress for the vrutham. Wearing Chappal, Shoes are not allowed as per traditional rule of the Vrutham. Absolute Bramacharya during the period is essential without which no devotee should go to Sabarimala Temple . The devotee is expected to pray in the morning and evening after taking bath. Before each meal devotee should pray and take the meal as "Prasadam" of Lord Ayyappa.
Without proper Vrutham Pilgrimage to Sabarimala is not at all advisable. The mental satisfaction of the pilgrimage can be attained only through the proper Vrutham.May the Lord Ayyappa help everybody to follow the rule of traditional Vrutham for theattainment of salvation of the soul.

Iru-Mudi The Two Bundles (Of Coconuts, Rice, Ghee Filled Coconut For Abhishekam A Devotee Carries). Devotees Carrying The IRU-MUDI And Who Have Observed The Vratha Are Fit To Climb The 18 Steps. Black Dress Denotes Humility & Simplicity. Blue Dress Denotes Infinity. Saffron Dress Denotes Sacrifice.
Significance Of Ghee Filled Coconut Stands For Ego, Which Is Surrendered To The LORD During Abhishekam. Significance Of Coconut Breaking All Physical Barriers Are Broken & The Soul Merges With The Brahman
lrumudi is the only travelling kit which a pilgrim carries on his head during the pilgrimage. Only those who observe fasting for 41 days are allowed to carry it. Without the Irumudi one is not allowed to step onto the holy 18 steps at the Sannidhanam.

This bag is in two compartments - the Munmudi (the front part) and the Pinmudi (the back part) & the opening at centre. The front portion is reserved for keeping all the puja articles and offerings to the deity while the rear part is meant to hold the pilgrims personal requirements for the journey.

Front portion contains Mudra bags, consisting of 2 - 3 in numbers - one for the Ghee Coconut and the other two for the remaining offerings. Items for Vazhipadu (offering) at the Sannidhanam that is kept in the front compartment of the Irumudi are as under:

Coconut filled with ghee for Abhishekam (bathing the idol of the Lord) + Coconut (vidalai thengai) 2 to 4 nos.

Beetel leaves, Beetel Nut, coins for offering

Jaggery (achuvellam), Cashew, Raisins, Dry ginger, Poha (thin & thick variety), Cardamoms, Dates, Honey, Avil ( beaten rice), Kadhi Chakkar Dried turmeric tubers, Turmeric powder, Blouse piece, Kumkum, Vibhooti, Sandal paste, Sambarani, Camphor, Agarbathi (Incense stick), Rosewater, Lemon, Rice and Dal for offering.

Coconut for ghee Abhishekam : Well before the Kettunira time, select a medium size coconut. Clean and polish the outer shell using a polishing paper. With a pointed instrument, open one eye of the coconut and empty the coconut water. Close it with a cork of correct size. The coconut is now in readiness for the Kettunira.

Coconut (Vidalai Thengai) one each to be broken at Erumeli, Sharam Kutti and two for Padinettampadi (the sacred 18 steps - once while climbing up for Shasta Darshan with the Irumudi and 2nd while returning after the worship

Part of the jaggery, cashew, raisin, cardamom, honey and dates can be used to make Panchamrutam for the Neivedya; part of the jaggery, dry ginger and cardamom can be used for preparing 'Panagam' as Neivedya

Items for use of the pilgrim from the day of commencement of the journey after Kettunira till the return is kept in the back compartment or the Pin Mudi, which are as under :
Some snacks which one may require now and then during the trip and other raw materials for food items to be prepared during the journey. And pulses and rice needed for cooking can be included in Pinmudi Saranam Ayyappa !

The important thing to know is that in lord AYYAPPA’S temple there is no restriction for any person following any religion. That is to say Hindus, Christians and Muslims also come there, and are blessed by lord AYYAPPA.

To the south-west of the main temple is the shrine of Lord Ganapati, known as Kannimula Ganapati. The special offering to this deity is Ganapati homan; and there used to be a large homakunda in front of the shrine, which burned constantly, fed by the coconut shells thrown by the devotees, after offering the ghee. As the coconut shells are consumed by the fire, the sins of the devotees are believed to be cleansed. Due to the growing crowds in the temple, the homakunda has now been shifted to a location below the temple.

About a 100 metres away is the shrine of Malikappurathamma. En route to the shrine is the temple tank, Bhasma Kulam, in which hundreds of devotees take a holy bath in memory of the tapaswini Sabari who entered a fire to end her mortal life. It is after her that the peak is named Sabarimala On account of the number of people who bathe in the tank, the water is frequently drained out and refilled with fresh water.

Situated on a small hillock, the Malikappurathamma temple houses the shrines of the Devi and Kaduthaswamy. Devotees also worship a trident and lamp here, and offer coconuts. The coconuts are not broken, however, but are just rolled on the ground around the temple.

To the left of this temple are the shrines of the snake god and goddess, Nagaraja and Nagayakshi. Here, tribals beat on drums, play stringed instruments and sing sarppa pattu to protect devotees and their progeny from the harmful effects of snakebites.

At the foot of the Patinettampadi are the two shrines of Kaduthaswamy and Karuppaswamy, who stand like dwarapalakas or guardians of the holy steps, to ensure that they are not polluted by those who tread on them without fulfilling the rigid austerities required of them. They are also believed to protect the devotees from the evil spirits of the forests. According to legend, Kadutha was a great warrior who helped the Pandalam king defeat the armies of Udayanan and other enemies. When the king came to Sabarimalai to reconstruct the temple, Kadutha came with him to protect him. Ultimately, he became so attached to Ayyappa that he decided to spend the rest of his days with his Lord.

Also near the Patinettampadi is the shrine of the Muslim Vavurswami. While there are several accounts of identity of Vavur, it is generally believed that he was a warrior who was defeated and subdued by Ayyappa, and later became a close associate. It is believed that Lord Ayyappa himself instructed the Pandalam king to build a mosque for Vavur at Erumeli and a shrine at Sabarimalai.
Harivarasanam Viswamohanam
Haridadhiswaram Aaradhyapadhukam
Arivimardhanam Nithyanarthanam
Hariharathmajam Devamashraye
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa

Repository of Hari’s boons,
Enchanter of universe,
Essence of Hari’s grace,
He whose holy foot is worshipped,
He who kills enemies of good thought,
He who daily dances the cosmic dance,
Son of Hari and Hara,
I take refuge in thee God.

My refuge is in you Ayyappa,
My refuge is in you Ayyappa.

Saranakirtanam Bakhtamanasam
Bharanalolupam Narthanalasam
Arunabhasuram Bhoothanayakam
Hariharathmajam Devamashraye
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa
He who likes song of refuge,
He who is in the mind of devotees,
He who is the great ruler,
He who loves to dance,
He who shines like the rising sun,
He who is king of all beings,
Son of Hari and Hara,
I take refuge in thee God.
My refuge is in you Ayyappa,
My refuge is in you Ayyappa.

Pranayasathyakam Praananayakam
Pranathakalpakam Suprabhanjitham
Pranavamanidram Keerthanapriyam
Hariharathmajam Devamashraye
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa

He whose soul is truth,
He who is the darling of all souls,
He who created universe,
He who shines with a glittering Halo,
He who is the temple of “OM”,
He who loves songs,
Son of Hari and Hara,
I take refuge in thee God.
My refuge is in you Ayyappa,
My refuge is in you Ayyappa.

Thuragavahanam Sundarananam
Varagadhayudham Vedavavarnitham
Gurukrupakaram Keerthanapriyam
Hariharathmajam Devamashraye
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa

He who rides a horse,
He who has a pretty face,
He who has the blessed mace as weapon,
He who bestows grace like a teacher,
He who loves songs,
Son of Hari and Hara,
I take refuge in thee God.
My refuge is in you Ayyappa,
My refuge is in you Ayyappa.

Tribuvanarchitam Devathathmakam
Trinayanam Prabhum Divyadeshikam
Tridashapoojitham Chinthithapradam
Hariharathmajam Devamashraye
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa

He who is worshiped by the three worlds,
He who is the soul of all gods,
He who is the lord of Shiva,
He who is worshipped by devas,
He who is who is worshipped three times a day,
He whose thought is fulfilling,
Son of Hari and Hara,
I take refuge in thee God.
My refuge is in you Ayyappa,
My refuge is in you Ayyappa.

Bhavabhayapaham Bhavukavaham
Bhuvanamohanam Bhoothibhooshanam
Dhavalavahanam Divyavaranam
Hariharathmajam Devamashraye
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa
He who destroys fear,
He who brings prosperity,
He who is enchanter of universe,
He who wears holy ash as ornament,
He who rides a white elephant,
Son of Hari and Hara,
I take refuge in thee God.
My refuge is in you Ayyappa,
My refuge is in you Ayyappa.

Kalamrudusmitham Sundarananam
Kalabhakomalam Gathramohanam
Kalabhakesari Vajivahanam
Hariharathmajam Devamashraye
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa

He who blesses with enchanting smile,
He who has is very pretty,
He who is adorned by sandal paste,
He who has a pretty mien,
He who is a like a lion to the elephants,
He who rides on a tiger,
Son of Hari and Hara,
I take refuge in thee God.
My refuge is in you Ayyappa,
My refuge is in you Ayyappa.

Srithajanapriyam Chinthithapradam
Sruthivibhushanam Sadhujeevanam
Sruthimanoharam Geethalalasam
Hariharathmajam Devamashraye
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa
Saranam Ayyappa Swamy Saranam Ayyappa

He who is dear to his devotees,
He who fulfills wishes,
He who is praised by Vedas,
He who blesses life of ascetics,
He who is the essence of Vedas,
He who enjoys divine music,
Son of Hari and Hara,
I take refuge in thee God.
My refuge is in you Ayyappa,
My refuge is in you Ayyappa.

!! Devi Mahatmyam !!

The stories of Devi Mahatmya are as told by Sage Markandeya to Sage Baguri. He tells him that one king called Suradha, who was driven out of his kingdom by his own people met one Vysya (businessman) called Samadhi who was driven out of his home by his wife and sons, in the forest. They discover that though their own people have driven them out, they are both worried about the welfare of their people. It appears to them that this is unnatural. So they approach Sage Sumedhas who was also living in the forest. The sage tells them that all this is the illusion created by the great Goddess called Vishnu Maya. They became curious and want to know about this great mother Goddess. He then relates to them the story of Devi Mahatmya, which consists of three stories in all of which the mother Goddess kills the enemies of Gods.

It is depicted in the Devi Mahatmya that Ma Durga, Ma Kali, Maha Laxmi and Maha Saraswati are not different. They are three separate aspects of the same ‘Shakti’ energy.
Once Lord Vishnu withdrew His power of Maya and went into a Yoga Nidra (sleep). The whole Universe at that time was dissolved in the causal waters. Brahma, the creative power of the Lord had also gone to sleep. The earth had been broken up and was floating around in the causal waters, These pieces of dirt lodged themselves in the ears of the Lord. He swept these out with His fingers. That dirt, because of the Lord’s touch sprang into life and became enormous demons ‘Asuras’. They were called Madhu and Kaitabh. They attacked Brahma. The latter invoked the Divine Mother to wake Vishnu. The Lord took the Asuras and placed them on His thighs and cut their heads off.
The Lord then created the earth with the fat (Medas) of the demons. That is the reason for the earth being called ‘Medini’ It is believed that the earth is situated in the thighs in the Cosmic Body of the Lord. It is interesting to note that the earth was created again from the fat of the same demons, Madhu and Kaitabh.

Ramba and Karamba were the sons of the demon Dhanu. Both of them decided to undertake a severe penance. Karamba immersed himself neck-deep in water and Ramba entered a blazing fire. Indra, the king of the demi-Gods foresaw danger to his throne. He assumed the form of a crocodile, and killed Karamba who was meditating in the water. Ramba, after realising that his brother was dead, got frightened and prepared to commit suicide. Agni, the god of fire, intervened and offered a boon to Ramba. Ramba asked for a son who would not be killed a man, mortal or immortal.

On his way back home, Ramba met a beautiful female demon, who was in the form of a buffalo. He fell in love with her and decided to take her home. At midnight while Ramba was making love with the demoness, another wild male buffalo attacked and killed him. The grief-stricken she-buffalo also gave up her life by jumping into the funeral pyre of Ramba. But Agni's boon had to come true. Therefore a baby boy was born from the funeral fire. The boy was later named Mahishasura, the buffalo demon.

Mahishasura was brought up by Ramba’s relatives who trained him to be their king. He worshipped Lord Brahma and performed severe penance for a boon. Brahma was pleased and appeared before him. Mahishasura obtained a boon from Brahma by which no male could kill him. He could not even conceive of a situation in which a female would challenge him. After receiving the boon, Mahishasura began expanding his kingdom. Finally he entered Heaven, defeated Indra and threw out all the demi-Gods.

All the gods, headed by Lord Brahma, came over to Kailasha (a peak in the Himalayas ), where Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva were busy in divine conversations. They narrated the whole story of how the demon-king Mahishasura dethroned Indra from the heaven. They added that, the demon is severely putting an end to the devotees of Vishnu and Shiva, by killing them cruelly. The Asura (demon) wants all in the universe to worship him as god, and not anyone else. First, There's no yajna (worship through divine fire in the altar) for long, and the gods of heaven are leading a life in disguise in the mountain caves, away from the clasp of Mahishasura. Hearing the story, the faces of Vishnu and Shiva turned red in wrath. Their faces glowed up. A sudden effulgent, fiery glow came out of their faces, and at a single point, the energy, the 'jyoti' (divine glow and aura), of all the gods coalesced and formed a gigantic mountain of fire. Soon, this 'jyotipunjah' (heap of 'jyoti') took the form of a young woman. She had the complexion of molten gold, and her 'jyoti' touched the heavens high above. Her face was from the light of Shiva. Her ten arms were from Lord Vishnu. Her legs were from Lord Brahma. Where as, her hair from Yama, her hips from the force of the goddess Earth, her breasts from the Moon-god, and so on. The dispossessed gods were drawn to Durga. They praised her and gave to her their divine gifts: Pinakadhrik (Shiva) gave her a trident - "Trishula". Lord Vishnu gave her a disc - "Chakra". Varuna, the god of water, gave her a conch - "Shankha", and the god of fire gave her a missile. From the wind, Vayu, she received arrows. The king of gods, Indra, gave her a thunder-bolt, and the gift of Indra's white-skinned elephant Airavata was a bell, or "ghanta". From Yama, the god of death, Durga received a rod - "Kaaldanda", and from the Ruler of Waters she was given a noose - "Paash". Durga received many other precious and magical treasures -- gifts of jewels, new clothing, and a garland of immortal lotuses for her head and breasts. Heaven's architect Vishwakarma gave her a bright axe and magic armor. God of the Himalayas , Himavat, gave her jewels and a magnificent lion to ride into battle as her mount ("vahan"). Now equipped with the fearsome weaponry of the gods and dressed in golden armor and jewels she set off, seated gracefully upon that lion. His thunderous roars shook the three worlds. Oceans boiled and surf poured overland. Continents were torn at their granite foundations as whole new chains of mountains rose, while older ranges crumbled, cracked, and gave way to dust in a thousand landslides. Seeing these cataclysms rippling in waves through all the three worlds, Mahishasura and his demon allies found their attention drawn from heaven to Earth. Though confident of their power and control in heaven, even the conquering demon host could not help being awestruck.

The demons had little time to admire the radiant visage of their new adversary, for soon she engaged them on the battlefield. First the army of Chikasura and then that of Chamara, Mahishasura's chief commanders were met. They were destroyed in a great battle. At first, confident of his overwhelming power, Mahishasura held in reserve his personal demon army. But seeing the setbacks being dealt his commander's troops on every side, it soon became obvious to Mahishasura that even his personal guard must be completely committed or he would surely be cast out of heaven. Or worse. Onto the battlefield swarmed that most elite and despised assemblage, with its gruesome hordes of infantry gleefully wielding their unearthly collection of dark iron axes and halberds, gorey bludgeoneers side by side with squadrons of demon-archers. Leading this evil array in its mad and desperate charge were thousands of charioteers and cavalry of horses and elephants. Surrounded by chants of praise, the blowing of horns the beating of drums and songs of worship Durga roamed the battlefield on her mighty lion. From her divine breath her army was constantly replenished with new warriors, each able, brave and resolute. With her bell she confused the demons, and many were dragged away bound and chained. With her divine sword she cut them to bits. So many demons and elephants and horses died that a river of blood flowed across the battlefield. The ground was left littered with the broken limbs and body parts of the defeated demon army. Durga was then attacked by the demon commanders, who were all killed immediately, and without mercy.

Mahisha, the king of the demons and usurper of the throne of heaven, was shocked and enraged by the disastrous events on the battlefield. He reverted to his own form, a buffalo, and charged about on the battlefield. He ran wildly at Durga's divine soldiers goring many, biting others and all the while thrashing with his long, whip-like tail. Durga's lion, angered by the presence of the demon-buffalo, attacked him. While he was thus engaged, Durga threw her noose around his neck. To escape this trap, Mahishasura discarded the buffalo and assumed the form of a lion. Durga beheaded the lion, and the demon escaped in the form of a man. Without hesitation, Durga dispatched the man with a flight of sharp arrows. Mahishasura and Lion Yet again the demon escaped, and this time took the formidable shape of a huge elephant, which battered Durga's lion with a tusk. With her sword Durga hacked at the tusk until it too was broken. Weakened, the demon reverted once more to his own form the wild buffalo. He retreated into the mountains where he hurled boulders at Durga with his horns. The Mother of the Universe drank the divine wine, gift of Kuvera.

She said:
"Garja garja Kshanam moorha, madhu yavat pivamyaham

Mayaa twayi hatehtraiva, garjishyantyashu devatah "

--- Take thou time to squall and scream as long as I don't finish up my divine wine, o, foolish Mahishasura! I will soon slain you (after I finish my drink), and the gods of heaven would burst in the joy of victory.

Immediately after this, the goddess jumped onto Mahishasura, pushing him to the ground with her left leg. She grasped his head in one hand, pierced him with her sharp spear held in another, and with yet another of her ten hands she wielded her bright sword, beheading him. At last he fell dead, and the scattered surviving remnants of his once invincible army fled in terror. The gods returned to heaven, and along with the sages of the earth, they sang praises to the Goddess Durga. Henceforth, and to this day, the Goddess Durga is worshipped by all the gods in heaven, and all human beings on earth. As he requested, Mahishasura is there too--frozen in his moment of final defeat, impaled by Durga's spear and prostrate beneath her left foot.

Shumbha and Nishumbha
After Mahishasura, two more demon brothers, Shumbha and Nishumbha started troubling the asuras. They forcibly snatched off the heaven from the Devas and pushed tem away. The devas then started praying to Mahamaya. At that moment, Parvati was going to have a bath in the river. She asked the Devas whom they were praying to. On listening to their tale of woe, from Parvati's body emerged a female form, Devi Kaushiki. Upon the emergence of Kaushiki, Parvati's body turned black and she then became known as Kalika. Kaushiki was spotted by Chanda and Munda, Shumbha Nishumba's two assistants. They reported to their masters, that they had seen a beautiful woman. Shumbha then sent a messanger to Kaushiki. The messanger, Sugriva, went to Kaushiki and said My masters Shumbha and Nishumbha are the rulers of the heavens. They have sent me to you. They want you to marry either Sumbha or Nishumbha, the choice is yours. The Devi said I am foolish woman. I have made a very stupid promise that I will marry only that person who can defeat me in warfare. Tell your masters, whoever can defeat me in battle can win me. On hearing this, He calls another of his generals, Dhumralochana (Smoky-Eyes), and tells him to take sixty thousand of his forces, grab the woman by the hair and return her to him. Dhumralochana goes forth to Chandika and at first tries to persuade her to come peacefully to Sumbha. She is not so inclined, and when Dhumralochana attempts to attack her, Chandika turns him and his battalions to ashes.

On hearing this, Shumbha sent Chanda and Munda to capture the Devi. On seeing Chanda nad Munda coming, the Devi wriggled her eyebrows. From the eyebrows emerged a ferocious looking Devi with a sword and a noose in her hands. She was wearing a tiger skin around her body. Her big eyes were red and from her tongue salive was flowing. She was Kali.

Kali jumped among the asuras and started killing them. She killed Chanda and Munda and dragged their bodies to Kaushiki. Thus Kali became known as Chamunda.
The asuras seeing the death of Chanda and Munda attacked the goddesses kaushiki and Kali from all sides. At that moment, from the bodies of the various devas, women forces began emerging. These devis started figting along the Kaushiki. Kali then approached Shiva. She said, "You go to Shumbha Nishumbha as my messanger. Tell them to surrender." As Kali had told Shiva to go as her messanger, she became known as Shivaduti. Hearing Shiva's message, the asuras became ferocious. Among the asuras there was one named Raktabija. If a drop of his blood, spilt on the ground another asura would take birth from that. Unknowingly, the devis attacked Raktabeeja and from his flowing blood numerous Raktabeejas took birth. Seeing that Kali swallowed up Raktabeeja and the asuras born from the blood.
Upon Raktabeeja's death, Nishumbha attacked. The devi then struck Nishumbha with a weapon called Khura, and Nishumbha became unconsious. Seeing Nishumbha fall, Shumha attacked. Shumbha also fell unconsious. Upon regaining consciousness, Nishumbha attcked the devi but was killed. Kaushiki and Kali then killed off the complete asura army.

Shumbha was left alone. He regained conscious and asked the devi if it was fair play that so many devis should attack one asura. The Devi smiled, and the various shaktis emerged into her.

Kaushiki (Maha Saraswati) was left alone. She then killed Shumbha.

!! Shri Shani Katha !!

“ Om Sham Shanaiscaryaye Namah.”

There are many gods in our Hindu religion but lord Shani dev is different from them. He has immense power, appeased toward off, evil eye etc. Saturday is the day which is devoted to Lord Shani Dev. Traditionally God Shani Dev is depicted in Hindu mythology as extremely dark wearing black clothes and mounted on a vulture.
Lord Shani Dev who is the son of Surya Dev (Sun) and Chhaya (Suvarna) is also known as one of the nine “Navagraha” by Hindu belief. Lord Shani Dev have a seventh place among these nine planets which govern our lives. Another name of Shani dev is Shanaiscarya, Asita, Saptarchi, Kruralochana, Pangu, etc. The birth place of Lord Shani Dev is Saurashtra, Gujarat . Hindu people believe that he is the god causing miseries in the life of a human being. So, Lord Shani Dev occupies the principal position among the Hindu’s God.
Lord Shani Dev is the brother of Yama Dev (deity of death) and is believed to be responsible for punishing or rewarding to the people one in the lifetime in accordance with their 'karma'. He has also a power of making a king into a pauper as well as changing the fortunes of a sufferer. Shani Dev is a great devotee of Lord Shiva because Lord Shiva is Guru of Shani Dev and hence those who wish to appease him pray to Lord Shiva along with him.

Story of Shanidev and Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva is the guru of God Shanidev. A short story about God Shiva and Shanidev shows us the power of Shanidev.

One morning, Shanidev went to his Guru and bowed him. Lord Shiva asked to Shanidev, “What’s a problem and what can I do for you.” Shanidev said to Lord Shiva that he thinks to passing over their moon. Lord Shiva was shocked to hearing this and said to Shanidev, “O my dear Shani, Pity on me and please don’t pass over my moon.” Shani dev said, “O my lord, I am sorry, but I can’t skip this constellation, that is my duty. If I will give you compassion, then everybody will ask me for this compassion and maybe insult me. So it is not possible, I am going to gaze you within a very short time. That is the way the things have to go on. Although I am your disciple, but for now you have asked my grace.”
Listening to this word of Shanidev, Lord Shiva understood that Shani will do those things which he said, so he asked to Shani that how long Shani will be gracing him. Shani said, “My period for saade saathi is 7.5 years, so I will grace on you till 7.5 years.” But Shiva was not agreeing for this. Again Shani said, Ok, let me reside with you only for 5 years or at least for 2.5 years. But Shiva was not ready for 2.5 years, nor 7.5 months or even 7 days. Then Shanidev thought it was too much for him as his disciple to be so cruel with him, because a Guru is like a mother - always compassionate always worthy for worship, so Shani bowed down to his feet and spoke in an humble voice, "I am very pleased with you, O my Lord, so ask for any boon you wish for." Lord Shiva said to Shanidev, "O Shani, if you are pleased with me, please bestows me this boon that you will not be entering my body at all."
Shanidev said to his Guru, “If I will spare you, no one in the world will respect me and maybe insult me, still I will give you this boon. I will stay in your moon sign for only 7.5 prahar means 22.5 hours.” Lord Shiva said, “No, I think you should stay in my moon sign for 1 and ¼ prahar means 3 hours and 45 minutes.” Lord Shiva thoughts that Shanidev would not be do anything within this short period. So, Shanidev decided that I will show to my guru that what I can do within these 3 hours and 45 minutes. Lord Shiva might be unaware of shanidev ability and capabilities.
So when the time came of Shanidev’s gaze, Lord Shiva went to Gangaa River to take bath by thinking that the time will be passed in his bath and also grace period will be over. Shanidev takes the form of melon merchant and met to his guru on his way and as his shadow fell on him, his body and mind changed. Shanidev showed him two watermelons. The watermelon was one small and one big, and also showed him that how good they were by cutting a little part of them. Lord Shiva got very happy to see those juicy melons and bought them from Shanidev who was in the form of melon seller. He put them in a bag and proceeded towards the river. After taking bath, Lord Shiva filled his water pot with Gangaa’s water, picked the watermelon bag and proceeded towards town.
Previous day of this day, that city's both King's and the Prime Minister's son went for hunting. By the grace of Shanidev, they loose their way in the forest. The king was worried about his son and he send to their soldiers in the forest for searching of the princes. One of the search party went to Guru Shiva and asked him what was in his bag? Lord Shiva answered them that there are watermelons in this bag. Again soldiers asked, “Why this blood is dripping from your bag? Are you a murderer?” To hearing this word of the soldiers, Lord Shiva was shocked and looked at the bag, he also found that really blood was dripping from his bag. In the meantime those soldiers took off the bag from Shiva’s shoulder and opened it. They found that two severed heads in it. Those heads were of those of Princes and the prime ministers son’s. By the gaze of Shanidev, the watermelon had changed into the heads of those two boys.
The soldiers bound him with ropes and took him in the front of King. The king felt very sad to see the heads of those boys as well as got very angry. The king said, “He is not a Braahman, he is a murderer. So take him and put him on a stake.” All the peoples of the palace came there to see the killer of the prince and started throwing stones on Sadhu. Lord Shiva was extremely depressed at all this. So, when soldiers wanted to put him on the stake, Lord Shiva said to soldiers, “Please wait for a few minutes only, and if I am saved, I will give you 10000 silver coins.” Lord Shiva knew that Shani’s gaze will be end soon. The soldiers were agreed for this.
After a very short time, Shanidev gaze was expired. After expiring of gaze Prince and the prime minister’s son entered the palace. Seeing them alive everybody got very happy. Immediately the king sent a messenger to the soldiers that not to put the Sadhu on stake as their children were came back safe and alive. After listening to this massage, Lord shiva was taken to the palace by soldiers. The king felt very sad and also asked to Shiva for his forgiveness. Lord Shiva said, “O king, don’t worry, you are innocent. Whatever is happened with me and you, it’s all Shani’s illusion. After the discussion of king and Shiva, the king wanted to see the bag of lord Shiva and he found two watermelons in the bag. He arranged for the fragrant bath for Sadhu and seated on an Aasan and worshipped him and fed him delicious food. The king gave him new clothes and filled his bag with silver coins.
Lord Shiva left the palace. On the way God Shiva met the executioner, Shiva gave him all the coins. After that Shanidev met to Lord Shiva. Shanidev asked, “What is the experience of my gaze?” Lord Shiva said, “O shani, you are great, only 3 hours and 45 minutes gaze shattered my bones, what would be happened if you had stayed with me for 7 and ½ years? Taday I am agree that you are most terrible planet. I can bear all this things but today you promised me that you will not trouble anyone else like this in future.” Shanidev said, “O my lord, I am sorry for that, but I just wanted to show you my power. Now please pardon this child of yours, and I promised that I shall never offend you in this way again." After saying this word and bowing down to lord Shiva, Shanidev went back to his Shanilok.

Story of Shanidev and Lord krishna

Kokilavan Dham” is the famous temple of Shanidev . This temple is situated at Kosi Kalan, near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh ( India ). It is believed that Kokilavan Dham is the place where Lord Shri Krishna gave darshan to Shani Dev. This temple is visited by many devotees on Saturday. There is an interesting story about Shani Dev and God Krishna.

When God Krishna was born all god visited to Nandgaon. God Shani was also one of them. Everyone was allowed to take Darshan of God Krishna but not Shanidev. When Shani dev was going to take Darshan of Krishna then Yashoda stopped him at the door and said,” You can’t see my baby because your name is fearful. If my baby sees you, he will be frightened.”
Hearing this Word of Yashoda, Shani Dev felt disappointed and went to nearby forest and started penance. After a short time God Krishna appeared before him in the forest and asked him, “What is the problem. Why you are in forest?” Shani dev replied, “O God! Please tell me one thing, when I am doing my duty to punish people according to their work (Karma). Then why people think about me that I am malignant and cruel. Why people think that Shani dev creates trouble only. Why do they avoid even my shadow? Today also when all god could enjoy the bliss of your Darshan, I am denied that right and benediction."
God Krishna advised Shanidev to stay put near Nandanvan. He also granted him the boon that whoever came to his temple to pray would immediately be freed from all worries and afflictions.
At last, God Krishna visited the temple and began playing the divine flute. Hearing the sound of flute, the Gopis arrived but Krishna turned himself in the form of a Cuckoo (Koyal in Hindi).
That place of the forest where Krishna appeared before Shanidev, has since been called “Kokilavan”. Now it is famous for “Kokilavan Shanidham”.

Story of Shanidev and Lord Hanuman

As per Hindu Epic Ramayana, When Hanuman went to the Lanka in search of Sita mata (Wife of Lord Rama). After meeting with Sita mata, when Hanumanji was coming back, he met with many God who were in clutch of Rakshash (Evil) King Ravan. God Shanidev was also there. Hanumanji helped freeing shanidev and getting out of Lanka.
Because of Hanumanji helped Shanidev they both became friends. Here, Shanidev Promised to Hanuman that anyone who prayed to him (Hanuman), he would be rescued from the baleful effects of Shanidev.

Other story of Shanidev and Hanumanji:

God Surya Dev is the Father of Shanidev. Surya dev is also the Guru (Teacher) of Hanumanji. After the completion of course, Surya dev said to Hanuman, “You have become adept in all forms of wisdom and weapons, now go to your mother Anjani” But Hanumanji requested to Surya dev “Give me an opportunity to repay for your tutelage” Suryadev said to Hanuman, “my wayward son shani is the cause of my sorrow only, Go and bring that wayward son of mine back to me”. Listening to the order of Surya dev, Hanuman went to Shanilok. When he was going to shanilok many planets tried to stop him but they were unable.
When Shanidev saw hanuman he asked to him, “Who are you? Why are you come here? Do you not fear with die?” Hanumanji replied, “I am Hanuman, The disciple of Lord Surya. Lord Shani you have all power & virtues, but your greatest drawback is disobeying your father. It’s not good & it’s the greatest sin. I have come here to take you to your father.” Hearing all this Shani became angry & said, “You don’t know my power, Powerful god also trembled with my power so better thing for you go back immediately otherwise I will burn you” Hanuman replied, “I have not came here to go back”. Then Shani Dev crooked gaze on Hanuman but shanidev could not burn him so, Shanidev sat on his head. They were inside a room. Immediately Hanuman increased his size because of which shani pressed between hanuman and the ceiling. When the pain was unbearable, Shani requested to God Hanuman to release him. When shanidev became free from Hanuman then shanidev Promised to Hanuman, “Anyone who will worship you on Saturday, I will never be terminate them.” After that shanidev & hanumanji went to Suryadev. Shanidev became happy to see them.

Story of Shanidev and King Vikramaditya

The name "King Vikramaditya" has been assumed by many kings in Indian history. Vikramaditya was the king of Ujjaini. He was famous for his wisdom, valour and magnanimity. Due to his great power he had became “emperor”. Madenlekha (Queen of Ujjaini) was the wife of Vikramaditya. He had two children Adityavardhan & Manjili.
The seven god of the week are the Sun (Surya dev), Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus and Saturn (Shani dev). Once upon a time, the seven god of the week, were in meeting. Rahu and Ketu are also there. Rahu & Ketu put one question in front of them. The question was “who is the powerful god among us?” They could not decide on this matter. So, they went to Devraj Indra for his adjudication. God Devraj Indra thought if he gave decision in favour of any one god then other will be unsatisfied with me. He told them that respected gods, I am also like you so, how can I decide that who is great & I can’t give an impartial judgment. So, better thing for all of you go to the planet earth. There is King Vikramaditya. He is very good justice on all over the earth. Hearing this entire thing at last all God went to King Vikramaditya.
When all gods came to King Vikramaditya then king gave big respect to them and begged for any king of service. They told him about their problem. It was very difficult task for Vikramaditya. But he was dutiful king so, he accepted this challenge gracefully. After thinking on this, He arranged seven thrones. These thrones were made from Gold, Bronze, Brass, Tin, Zinc, Mica, & iron respectively. The thrones were put by numbers. The Gold throne was put at number one & the iron throne was at the last. Then King Vikramaditya requested to seven gods for grace the throne of their own selection. God Surya (Sun) was in the gold chair while God Shani selected the iron chair.
When the seven gods had sat in the chair of their own selection, Vikramaditya said, “Now according to the order of your throne you may decide your own rank & none can thrust my judgment upon you.” Hearing to this, God Shani (Saturn) stood up & said to King Vikramaditya, “You ranked me the lowest among these gods. You don’t know my power. Sun can stay on a Zodiac (Rashi) for One to Two months, Marsh for half and one month, Jupiter for maximum thirteen months, Mercury and Venus for one month only. Rahu & Ketu for eighteen months. But only me who can reign a Zodiac from two and half years to seven and half years. This period is called as “sade sathi”. Due to this sade saathi period powerful god also trembled. When I was angry on Rama then he got banishment instead of throne. Now be prepared because it’s your turn.” Saying all this God shani went back.
After a very short time, the “Sade Sathi” period was occupies by Shanidev on Zodiac of Vikramaditya. From here, king’s sade sathi period began which was for seven & half year. Shani dev went to Vikramaditya’s kingdom as a horse-seller & he had very attractive horses. People were also praise of those horses. When King Vikramaditya heard about the strange horses, he sent to Ashawapal to buy a best horse for him & when Ashawapal came with one attractive horse, then king was so pleased to see the horse that he could not stop himself for riding on this horse. But, when he was riding on horse, the horse disappeared in the air with a great speed. After a few second king was in deep and thick forest. He had very tired. Due to out of his kingdom, King Vikramaditya faced many problems. These entire problems were created by God Shani dev.
At the palace of Ujjaini , Queen Madenlekha was worried about King Vikramaditya. Queen Madenlekha was the devotee of Shani Dev. So, she requested to Shani dev to save her husband. Due to the Prayer of Queen Madenlekha, Shanidev promised that I will save your husband but he has to endure for his work (Karma).
King Vikramaditya was out of from his kingdom so, no body was introducing him. At last Vikramaditya reached a nearby city and in the city he met a respectable businessman. This businessman also not introduced Vikramaditya. King was looking like a beggar. With the sympathy, the businessmen took him to his home and arranged food for him. On that day businessman earned more profit due to the grace of Shani dev. But, he thought that this man (King) is lucky for him. Thinking this he kept him to his house for work.
The king was enduring his Sade Sathi period. He was living in the Businessman’s home by changed name. After some days, there was a marriage of Businessman’s daughter. In this marriage Vikramaditya was the responsible person. He went to the market with businessmen’s another daughter for purchasing of Marriage’s material. In the market, Vikramaditya met to shanidev who was in disguise. Shanidev gave a picture of duck to Vikramaditya.
The marriage arrangement was going on properly. Suddenly, the marriage’s necklace of bride had lost. The necklace was swallowed by the duck which was in picture. Businessmen’s wife asked to king about necklace but King could not explain anything to her. She thought that king is thief and she arrested him by the soldier of king Chandrasen.
King Chandrasen was the enemy of King Vikramaditya. Looked to Vikramaditya, King Chandrasen was very happy. He ordered to their soldiers that King Vikramaditya’s hands and feet be cut with one stroke of a sward. Listening to this order Vikramaditya cried out. But, Soldiers cuts the hand & feet of him.
Now, The King was without hand and feet. He was dallying like Beggar. An “Oil seed Crusher (Teli)” was looking him and he felt pity on him. He took him to his house and arranged food for him. He also dressed the king’s wounds and after some days, Teli made him capable of driving the bullocks around the grinding machine. Now, Vikramaditya can do his work properly. Like this time passed on. The Sade Sathi period was about to be over.
One night, the king was alone in his work. He was singing song. The voice was sweet. His voice was breaking the silence of the night. In the nearest kingdom, one princess heard the song & she got fascinated towards the singer (Vikramaditya). Princess called to her personal attendant and sent him to know about the singer. After some time, the attendant came back and he told to princess that the singer was servant of “Teli” and he is handicapped. Listening to this thing, Princess decided that she would marry with that singer otherwise she would remain unmarried throughout her life. When princess parents heard about this decision they resented on princess. But, ultimately they were ready for that decision.
The King (father of princess) went to the Teli with the proposal of Marriage. The king said to Teli, “Arrange for the marriage of this handicapped person, my daughter wants to marry with this man.” Teli did not believe on king but at the final teli became ready for marriage.
Marriage of Princess and handicapped Vikramaditya was over. But princess parents were not happy. At the mid-night of honeymoon King Vikramaditya had a small nap. God Shani dev visited to the King’s dream and said, “King Vikramaditya, you ranked me the lowest among the gods. All this happened with you this is effect of my sight. You have undergone enough sufferings for your misjudgment. But now your Sade Sathi period has over.” Hearing this news king became happy and he requested to Shani dev “Do not inflict such suffering in future on anyone like me. The God accepted the king’s request and disappeared.
After the disappeared of shanidev when King Vikramaditya opened his eyes, he became surprise to see that his hands and feet in proper shape. The princess & her family member were also so much happy to see this. But when they knew about the reality of handicapped person that he is King Vikramaditya, king (princess father) was overwhelmed with joy and praised his stars.
This news reached immediately in all area & nearest area. The businessman also got this news and felt guilty to his behavior with Vikramaditya. He went to Vikramaditya & requested him, “Excuse me for my wrong behavior with you.” And he also invited him for dinner. King Vikramaditya accepted his request & next day he went to businessman’s house for dinner. In the house of businessman, King Vikramaditya said, “I shall dine in the same room where the necklace had lost.” Without asking any question, the businessman arranged the dinner in that room. When the Vikramaditya were dining, he saw to his great surprise that the invaluable necklace was emerging from the same duck which was in picture. This Imaging thing was seen by all the people who were present in that house. The businessman was so much overwhelmed with joy and he too decided to marry off his daughter to Vikramaditya.
After some days, King Vikramaditya returned to his Kingdom. Queen Madenlekha became so much happy to see Vikramaditya has returned to his kingdom. On the next day in the court, The King Vikramaditya said to his courtiers to make a proclamation by the beat of drum that God Shani is also powerful like other God and so, they should keep fast on Saturday as a mark of honor of God Shani dev. After that in the kingdom of King Vikramaditya , there was arrangement of worship of Shani dev at every Saturday. Now, Vikramaditya & his two queens were live happily.

!! Shri Satyanarayan Katha !!

Satyanarayana vrat is the easiest and most inexpensive way of self-purification and self-surrender at the lotus feet of Hari. One who observes it with full devotion and faith is sure to attain his heart's desire. Our shastras state that during the 'Kalyug,' the fruit that one gets by hearing the 'Satyanarayan Katha' is enormous. The katha is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in his manifestation as Lord Satyanarayan. 'Satya' means truth, 'Nar' means a man and 'Ayan' means a place. Thus the place where truth resides in man is called Satyanarayan. The 'Satyanarayan katha' and the 'vrat' help us overcome vices like lust, anger, greed, attachments and ego.

The Satyanarayana Puja is usually done on the Purnima day of every month (the day of the full moon) or a Sankranti. It is also done on special occasions and during times of achievements as an offering of gratitude to the Lord. These occasions include marriage, graduation, and the purchase of a new home to name a few. In addition, it is said that a devotional performance of this pooja will bear children to couples trying to start a family.


Once upon a time while travelling the three worlds, Yogiraj Narad Muni reached Mrityulok(Planet Earth), he saw the human beings suffering immensely. He visited the abode of Lord Vishnu, who alone can relieve the mankind from the sufferings.

There he met the Almighty Lord Vishnu with four arms having Shankha, Chakra, Gadha & Padma, wearing Tulsi Mala (garland) in his neck. He started to pray & requested "Oh Lord!!! You are the supreme power, nothing can touch you, not even wind or mind can get you, your power is limitless, you know everything, you help your devotees to overcome their sufferings & sorrows." Hearing all the pleadings of Sadhu Narad Muni, the Almighty Supreme Lord Vishnu, knowing everything asked Narad Muni "Oh Narad! Why have you come to me & what do you want from me, tell me, I want to hear the same from you."

Yogiraj Narad Muni replied, Oh Lord! I just went to Mrityulok, where I saw all kinds of human beings suffering in sorrow due to their previous karma. Oh Lord! the Almighty, is there no way that their suffering becomes less or is it possible that they get complete moksha (relief) from their sufferings. If so, please let us know. The Lord, at once replied "Oh Narad! you have asked a very good question for the benefit of all human kind."

To free man-kind from all sufferings, & to ultimately reach Heaven , there is one virt (fast), & today I will tell you all about it. Anyone who does Shri Satyanarayan's Virt & Puja (prayer) in the right way; will get all the pleasures on earth & will reach his goal.

Yogiraj NaradMuni then asked, "Oh Lord!, has anyone kept this fast before? This virt is done on which day & how exactly is it done? Please do let us know all the details."

Whosoever does Bhagwan Shri Satyanarayanji's Katha with Brahmin & with his family with full rites will be relieved of his sufferings & sorrows, will be bestowed with increase in wealth & wisdom; will be blessed with children; get overall victory & increased devotion.

For this prayer, one requires riped bananas, ghee, milk & choori (made with wheat flour, ghee & sugar). After the prayers, all present must have the prasad & then take their meals together, & then sing, praise, & chant mantras of Lord Satyanarayan. By doing this, their wishes will be fulfilled. This virt in kalyug gives the boon (reward) very quickly.

Chapter 1:

The Lord said "Oh Narad! Now I will tell you about the first person who did this fast. In a place named Sunder Kashipur, there used to live a very innocent brahmin. In hunger & thirst; he used to roam for his daily bread. When the loving Lord saw the Brahmin in sorrow & begging daily; he took disguise of an old Brahmin & asked him, "Oh Dear!, why are you so sad. Please tell me all about your difficulties. Is there any way I could help you out?"
The Brahmin told the Lord, "I am a poor Brahmin & I roam daily for bread. Do you know if there is any way to come out of all this sorrow?"

The Old Brahmin (ie. the Lord ) said "Lord Satyanarayanji grants all the wishes of all the people. Dear Brahmin, that is why if you pray to him & keep his fast you will overcome all your sorrow & get moksha."

After telling him all the details of the prayer & the fast; the old Brahmin ie. the Lord disappeared.

The brahmin could not sleep that night. He kept thinking of the fast & the prayer which the Lord had asked him to do. In the morning, he woke up with the thought that anyhow he must do the prayer & went out for his biksha. On that day the Brahmin got a lot of money from which he bought all the necessary things for the prayer; called his family & did Lord Satyanarayanji's prayer. By doing so, the Brahmin overcame all his sorrows & became rich. From that time onwards, he used to do the prayers every month without fail.

In this way, whoever does Lord Satyanarayanji's prayer will get moksha. Anyone on earth who does this prayer will be relieved from all sorrows.

When Narad Muni noticed that the people on earth were eager to know about the other people who kept this fast; he narrated another story.

The same Brahmin now a rich person used to do the prayer every month without fail with his family. Once he was doing his prayer, a wood-cutter passed from there. After keeping the bundle of wood outside the brahmin's house, he went in for some water. The thirsty wood-cutter saw the brahmin doing his prayers. He bowed down to the Brahmin & asked him, "Oh Brahmin, what are you doing, please tell me all about it." The Brahmin replied, "To grant all the wishes of human-beings, this fast & prayer is useful. I have acquired all the wealth & fame by doing this prayer of Lord Satyanarayanji." After hearing about the prayer & drinking the water, the wood-cutter felt happy, he ate the prasad & left for his house.

Thinking of Lord Satyanarayanji in his mind, he said "Whatever today, I get from selling the wood, I will also do this prayer." So thinking, he kept the bundle of wood on his head & left home-wards. On the way home he went roaming in Sunder Nagar for selling the wood. On that day, he got four times more money than usual, for the wood. Feeling happy, he went & bought all the things necessary for the prayers (ie. ripe bananas, sugar, ghee, wheat flour, etc) & proceeded home-wards. On reaching his house & after cleaning it, he called his family & did the prayer with due respect.

The reward of the fast was that, he became rich & had all the pleasures of life on this earth & in the end of his life he went to heaven.

Chapter 2 :

Sadhuraj Narad said, "Oh Dear People!, Now let me tell you another story. There was a king named Ulkamuk. He was very wise. He would go daily to the temple & give donations to the Brahmins. His wife was a pious & beautiful lady. At the banks of Madhushala river, one day, when they were doing Lord Shri Satyanarayanji's prayer, a wealthy business-man was passing from there. He anchored his boat, & went up to the king & asked him, "Oh King, what are you doing with so much bhakti? I wish to know- please tell me all about it."

The king replied, "Oh merchant! , I am praying to the great Almigthy, the boon-giver Lord Satyanarayanji for a son. The merchant on hearing this, requested the king to tell him all about the fast & prayer as he was childless too. The king told him the full details of the prayer & fast. After hearing all the details, he decided in his mind to keep this fast. The merchant then left home-wards. On reaching home, he told his wife Leelawati all about the fast & prayer & said, "We will do this fast when we get a child."

One day, with the grace of Lord Satyanarayanji his wife became pregnant. In ten months time, she gave birth to a beautiful daughter. They named her Kalawati. Days passed by; one day, Leelawati slowly & sweetly reminded her husband about the prayer & fast & requested him to fulfil his promise. The merchant told his wife that during the time of Kalawati's wedding it would be easy to observe the same; for at the moment he was busy in his business; so saying he left for his business trip to various villages.

Kalawati grew up to be a beautiful girl. When the merchant saw that his daughter was of marriageable age; he called the match-maker & requested him to search an equal match for his daughter. Hearing the merchant's request, the match-maker reached Kanchan Nagar. From there, he brought the proposal of a young handsome boy.

The merchant liked the proposal, for the boy had all good qualities too. He then spoke to the boy's parents & fixed his daughter's marriage. The marriage was done with all the religious ceremonies & rituals. Unfortunately, the merchant forgot all about his promise to do Lord Satyanarayanji's prayer & fast. The Lord got angry at the false promise made by the merchant.

The merchant, after a few days, left for his business trip with his son-in-law. They anchored their boat in a beautiful village, named Ratanpur. In those days, King Chandraketu used to rule the village. The Lord was angry with the merchant for the false promise made by him, & so he wanted to teach him a lesson.

One day, the thieves robbed the wealth of the king & they went & stayed where the merchant was staying. Seeing the guards following them, they left all the loot over there (where the merchant was staying), & hid themselves. When the guards reached the merchant's place, they saw all the king's wealth. Thinking them to be robbers, they hand-cuffed the merchant & his son-in-law & took them to the king & told him that they wer responsible for the theft. The king, without questioning or listening to them ordered to put them in a dark cell. Due to Lord Satyanarayanji's maya, nobody heard them. Even their wealth was confiscated by the king.

At the merchant's house, the thieves robbed all their wealth & his wife & daughter had to beg for their daily bread. One day, begging for food, Kalawati reached a Brahmin's house where at that time Lord Satyanarayanji's puja was going on. After listening to the prayer & taking the prasad, she left for home. By that time, it had become dark.

Leelawati was worried. She asked her daughter Kalawati, why are you so late? To which Kalawati told her mother, "Oh Mother, today in a Brahmin's house, I heard a prayer. By doing this prayer & fast, all your wishes get fulfilled." On hearing this, Leelawati started doing all the preparations for the prayer of Lord Satyanarayanji. She did the fast & prayer & asked the Lord for forgiveness & prayed that her husband & her son-in-law should return home safely.

Lord Satyanarayanji was pleased with the prayer & the fast. One day, he told King Chandraketu in his dream, "Oh King, Yoy must release the merchant & his son-in-law from the dark cell, tomorrow morning. Give them their wealth & set them free. If you do not do so, your kingdom will be destroyed." In the morning, the king called the court people & told them about the dream.

The court people after hearing about the dream, came to the conclusion to free the merchant & his son-in-law.They asked the guards to bring the prisoners from the dark cell. King Chandraketu gave them good clothes, all their wealth & plus some more & set them free. The king told them that due to their wrong-doings, they had to undergo this suffering, but now there was nothing to fear & they could go back home. They bowed down to the king & left home-wards.

Chapter 3 :

Sutji said, "The merchant prayed first & then gave some wealth to the Brahmin before starting his journey home-wards. When they went little further, Lord Satyanarayanji wanted to test them. He took the disguise of an old man & went upto the merchant & asked him, "What is in your boat, give me little from there." In his ego & pride, the merchant replied, "Oh Old man, we have nothing in our boat except hay & leaves." On hearing such harsh words of the merchant, the Lord said, "Your words will be true". So saying, he went from there & sat on the bank of the river.

When the Lord went away, the boat started to rise higher in the water. The merchant was surprised at this. When he went to check in the boat, he saw that his boat was filled with leaves & hay only. Seeing this he fainted. When he came to his senses, he was very much worried. He said "How could this happen?" At this, his son-in-law told him, "Do not cry over this. All has happened because you spoke harshly to the old man & lied to him. Still, nothing is lost. You could go back to him & ask for forgiveness & he will set everything right.

The merchant, after hearing the words of his son-in-law went in search of the old man. He bowed down before him & with respect said, "Oh Lord, please forgive me for the false harsh words that I have spoken to you." So saying, he bowed down with tears of sorrow in his eyes. When the Lord, saw the merchant in his state of sorrowness & crying for forgiveness, he said, "Do not cry. Listen to me. Oh foolish person, due to your false promise, you have seen all this sorrow & suffering." On hearing the Lord say this, the merchant said, "Oh Lord, Nobody can recognize your maya. Not even the Gods or Brahmins know your ways & forms. I promise that I will pray to you", so saying he asked for forgiveness. He said, "Please forgive me, & let my boat be filled with wealth once again, like before."

On hearing the merchant's words filled with bhakti, the Lord was happy & he fulfilled his wish. When the merchant mounted his boat & saw it full with wealth again, he thanked the Lord & said, "With Lord Satyanarayanji's grace, my wish is fulfilled. When I reach home, I will do his prayer & fast", so saying he left home-wards.

When the merchant saw that his home-town Ratanpur is nearing, he sent a messenger in advance, to his house to inform his wife & daughter of his home-coming. The messenger, on reaching the merchant's house, bowed down to the merchant's wife & gave them the most awaited news that the merchant & his son-in-law have reached Ratanpur.

Leelawati had just finished doing her Satyanarayan Puja. She told her daughter to finish doing the prayer & then come & receive her husband & her father. Kalawati finished doing her quickly & without taking the prasad left to meet her husband. The Lord got angry at her behaviour, so he drowned her husband with the boat. When Kalawati did not see her husband; she was shocked & she fainted on the floor.

On seeing his daughter in this state of affairs & the sudden disappearance of the boat, the merchant was shocked. He prayed to Lord Satyanarayanji, asked him for forgiveness & prayed to the Lord to take them out of this difficulty. The Lord then made an annoucement, "Oh merchant, your daughter, in a hurry to meet her husband has left my prasad; hence you cannot see her husband. Now, when she goes back & takes the prasad with due respect & then returns; only then she will see her husband." On hearing the voice, Kalawati ran home, ate the prasad & came back & met her husband. When the merchant saw this, he was very happy.

The merchant then did Lord Satyanarayanji's prayers & fast with his family every month. Finally, he had all the pleasures of life & after death, he went to heaven.

Chapter 4 :

Sutji said, "Oh people, listen further to another story."

A king named Tungdhwaj was famous for his generosity to his subjects. But he had to suffer a lot, due to the disrespect he had shown to the prayer of Lord Satyanarayanji & his prasad, which he did not accept when it was offered to him.

One day, when hunting in a forest, he sat down under a tree. There he saw a few villagers doing the prayer of Lord Satyanarayanji. The King saw all this but due to his false ego, niether did he join them nor bowed down to the idol of the Lord. When the villagers gave him the prasad, he did not accept it & went away from there.

When the King reached his Kingdom, he saw that everything was destroyed & all his 100 sons were lying dead on the floor. The King realised that this had happened all due to his false ego. So thinking, he started walking towards the place where the villagers were doing their prayers. There, with them, he did the prayers of Lord Satyanarayanji & had the prasad & the charna-amrit (ie. milk, sugar, curds, tulsi leaves & honey mixed together) & put it in all his son's mouths. By doing this, all his sons became alright. He got back all his wealth & comforts of life & finally in the end, after he died, he went to heaven.

Anybody who keeps this fast with full faith & recite the prayers of Lord Satyanarayanji; all his wishes will be fulfilled. With the grace of the Lord, he will get eternity; the wealthless will receive wealth; & will go to heaven & finally will come out of the circle of birth & death.

The names of the persons who kept this fast & took re-birth are as follows :--The Brahmin took birth as Sudama & in his entire life he served the Lord Krishna & attained moksha. King Ulkamuk took birth as King Dashrath, & in that life he became the father of Lard Rama & attained eternity. The merchant took birth as King Morad, who cut his son in half & offered to the Lord & got moksha. King Tunghdwaj took birth as Kewat, who took Lord Rama across the river, served him & got moksha.

In this way, whoever does Lord Satyanarayan's prayer will be free from all sorrows & will ultimately reach heaven & get moksha.

" May all those who have followed me up to this last letter, and also those who read at least part of this message with reverence, have all their wishes fulfilled and meet up in Satyaloka (Heaven) as is the promise, assured by the Satyanarayan katha. "


The authorship of the epic is traditionally ascribed to Vyasa, who is also one of the most important characters of the whole book. The first section of the Mahabharata introduces a few things and characters such as Ganesha who, at the Vyasa's request, writes down the epic uninterruptedly in one time while Vyasa keeps dictating it.

Santanu, king of Hastinapura, was married to the beautiful Ganga , who was the river goddess in disguise. She agreed to marry him as long as he never questioned her actions. Over the years they had seven sons, but Ganga threw each one into the river. Santanu was distressed but he kept his promise. Finally, when their eighth son was born, Santanu asked his wife who she really was and why she had done this. Ganga revealed herself and told that her children had once been celestial beings, but were cursed to become human. She had ended their “punishment” quickly by drowning them immediately at birth. But since Santanu had questioned her actions, she left him, along with his last son Devarata

Devarata is better known by his later name Bhishma. He receives this name, which means “of terrible resolve,” after vowing never to marry or have children. His father wanted to marry again (Satyavati, mother of Vyasa), but the conditions of the marriage were that the second wife would be the mother of a king someday. Honoring his father's wishes, Bhishma makes his vow, guaranteeing that neither he nor a son of his will challenge the claim to the throne.

Years later, one of Bhishma’s half-brothers dies in battle, and the other becomes old enough to marry. On behalf of his half-brother, Bhishma abducts three sisters and fights off all their suitors. On returning home, he learns that one of the sisters, Amba, had already chosen a suitor. Bhishma allows her to leave, but her betrothed does not want her any more. Now abandoned, she returns to Bhishma and demands that he marry her. Ever faithful to his vow, Bhishma refuses. Amba then vows that one day she will kill him, even though the gods have granted Bhishma the power to choose the day of his death, because of his vow.

The importance and power of vows are evident throughout the epic. Once stated, a vow becomes the truth and must be fulfilled, no matter what else may happen. When his father and both his half-brothers die prematurely without children, Bhishma refuses to marry his step-brother's widows (Amba’s sisters). He will not relinquish his vow, even though his celibacy makes no difference anymore.

The young princesses must be given children, but who can father them? There are no other men in the family besides Bhishma, and he has renounced women. So Satyavati, the king's second wife, asks her first-born son, Vyasa the poet, to give children to the two princesses. He goes to them, but the princesses dislike him, for as an ascetic who has taken a vow of poverty, he is filthy and smells. He explains to them that they will each bear a son: however, the first will be born blind because the first princess closed her eyes when seeing him, and the second will be pale-skinned because the second princess became pale at his touch. The blind son is called Dhritarashtra, the pale one is Pandu. Vyasa has a third son Vidura by a handmaiden.

As his brother is blind and unfit for the throne, Pandu becomes the new king of Hastinapura. One day while hunting in the forest, Pandu shoots a gazelle in the act of mating. The gazelle was actually a brahmin priest in disguise, who curses him saying that should Pandu make love to either of his two wives (Kunti and Madri), he will die instantly. Knowing he can never have children, Pandu resigns the throne, and goes to live with his wives in the mountains. Kunti, his first wife, informs him that she possesses a magic power. By reciting a secret formula, she can invoke a god at will and have a child by him. The mantra's power is put to the test, and three sons are born to her: Yudhishthira, the first-born, truthful and virtuous, son of the god Dharma; Bhima, the strongest of men, son of Vayu, god of the wind; and Arjuna, an irresistible warrior, son of Indra. Madri, Pandu's second wife, makes use of this power too. She gives birth to twin sons, Nakula and Sahadeva. Thanks to his two wives, Pandu now has five sons directly descended from the gods, the Pandavas, the heroes of the epic.

Years later, Pandu one day surrenders to his passion for Madri. Fearing for his life, Madri tries to push him away but her struggles only inflame his desire more. Once they make love, Pandu falls dead, fulfilling the curse, and Madri, devoted to him always, joins him on the funeral pyre.

Meanwhile, Dhritarashtra has become king, despite his blindness. He weds Gandhari in an arranged marriage. When she learns of her husband's infirmity, she decides to cover her eyes with a blindfold which she will never remove, to join him in his world of darkness. Then, after an abnormally long pregnancy of two years, she gives birth to a ball of flesh. Vyasa tells her to split up the ball into 100 parts and put them in jars of ghee (Indian butter); in this way she becomes the mother of one hundred sons, the Kauravas.

The first born is called Duryodhana. Sinister omens of violence greet his arrival into the world: jackals howl, strong winds blow, fires rage through the city. Dhritarashtra worries about what all this means. Vidura tells him that his first son brings hate and destruction into the world. He will one day destroy their race. Vidura urges the king to get rid of the child, but Dhritarashtra ignores his advice.

Dhritarashtra is a weak ruler. He allows physical blindness to become a refusal to face reality and unwillingness to confront hard decisions, being easily led by Duryodhana in later years. He continually blames fate, excusing his own inaction: "Irrevocable were all the things that have happened. Who could have stopped them? What then can I do? Destiny is surely all-powerful". But one of Dhritarashtra's advisors tells him: "O king, surely a man who meets with calamity as a result of his own acts should not blame the gods, destiny, or others. Each of us receives the just results of our actions."

Bhishma, now an old man, takes the responsibility of raising the two sets of cousins. They fight constantly, and even try to kill each other. One day a teacher and master of arms, Drona, appears and offers his services to train the boys. He has a secret mission: to avenge an insult made by a former friend. When young, Drona was close to Drupada, but years later, when Drona went to see his childhood companion, now a great king, he was scorned by Drupada because “only equals can be friends.” As payment for his training, Drona asks the Pandavas to avenge him. Being mighty warriors, they conquer Drupada's kingdom, and hand it over to Drona. He promptly gives his former friend half his kingdom back, saying “now we are equals.”

Drona recognizes Arjuna's superiority as a master of arms, especially the bow, and favors him with special training. In a contest of skill, he tells each of the Pandavas to strike a target, the eye of a wooden bird in a tree. He asks each one in turn, “O prince, tell me what you see.” One by one they respond, “I see my teacher, my brothers, the tree and the bird.” Drona tells them, “Then you will not hit the mark.” Arjuna, however, says he sees only the bird, and in fact, only the eye of the bird. Thus, focused on his target alone, he strikes with total accuracy. Drona rewards Arjuna by giving him a supreme weapon, the Brahmasira, only to be used against celestial beings, or else it will destroy the world.

Drona stages a tournament to display all the Pandavas' skills, but a stranger appears who challenges Arjuna and equals him in archery. This is Karna, who the reader learns is Kunti's first son by Surya the sun god, whom she bore before she married Pandu and abandoned in a basket on the river (like Moses). Thus Karna is the older brother of the Pandavas. However, Karna does not know his real mother, being raised by a chariot driver. The Pandavas mock his lowly social status and will not fight with someone who is not of royal birth, but their cousin Duryodhana sees the chance to make an ally. Ignoring the strict rules of caste, he says, “Birth is obscure and men are like rivers whose origins are often unknown” (play). Duryodhana gives Karna a small kingdom, and Karna swears eternal friendship to the Kauravas.

The Pandavas attend the swayamvara of Draupadi, a ceremony where she will pick her husband from a number of suitors. Arjuna wins the archery contest easily and Draupadi chooses him. When Arjuna announces to his mother that he has won the “prize,” Kunti tells him to share with his brothers, before seeing Draupadi. Like an irrevocable vow, her statement, even by mistake, can’t be undone, so all five brothers marry Draupadi, the daughter of Drupada.

This unusual marriage fulfills karma, for in her former life, Draupadi had prayed to the god Shiva for a husband five times, and thus is rewarded for her devotion in this life.
The brothers agree to respect the privacy of each other when with Draupadi, but one day Arjuna enters the tent to retrieve his weapons and finds Yudhishthira and Draupadi in bed together. Even though Yudhishthira forgives him, Arjuna insists on keeping the vow. As penance, Arjuna goes into exile for a year; while away he marries three other wives, one Krishna ’s sister.

On Krishna 's advice the Pandavas present themselves to the blind king. To make peace, Dhritarashtra offers them half the kingdom, but in a region which was nothing but jungle and desert. Yudhishthira accepts his offer in the hope of averting a war.

Meanwhile, Arjuna and Krishna agree to assist a hungry brahmin, who reveals himself to be Agni, god of fire. He wants to consume a nearby forest which is protected by Indra’s rain. Agni rewards Krishna with his discus and Arjuna with Varuna’s bow Gandiva along with an inexhaustible supply of arrows. With these he is able to create a canopy of arrows to keep the rain from putting out Agni's fire. Even Indra cannot defeat Arjuna, because Krishna is with him (an indication of Vishnu's superiority over Indra by this time). Maya (not god of illusion but an asura or demon who escaped the fires) out of gratitude builds the great hall of Indraprastha.

Living in their new territory of Indraprastha , Yudhishthira turns poor land into a wealthy kingdom, and declares himself King of Kings. Duryodhana is jealous and humiliated on his visit to the magnificent palace, where he mistakes a glass floor for a pool, then later falls into a pool thinking it is glass. Draupadi and Bhima laugh at him. He returns home bent on devising their destruction.

Duryodhana follows the advice of his uncle, the cunning Shakuni, an infamous dice player, and invites Yudhishthira to a game, knowing full well that gambling is his cousin's one weakness. Yudhishthira accepts.

Both Dhritarashtra and Yudhishthira ignore Vidura’s warning to avoid the game, leaving the results to “supreme and unavoidable” fate. Krishna warns Bhishma not to interfere with the dice game.

They have a wife - Draupadi, and when the Kauravas ordered that she must come before them and look upon her humiliated husbands, the Kauravas then hanker after seeing her undressed. Draupadi is about to be stripped naked when she invokes Krishna , who comes to her rescue and creates an endless supply of cloth around her.

Draupadi then speaks loud to Dhritarashtra and asks - did Yudhisthira put her at stake before or after he became a slave? An emotional and impressive Draupadi's self-defending long monologue makes everybody still for a long time until suddenly, under the pressure of Draupadi's honesty and well-argued words, King Dhritarashtra makes the result of the game void.

Seeing his advantage given away, Duryodhana insists on one more throw of the dice. Yudhishthira agrees to a final game, but once again, he loses. The Pandavas and Draupadi are condemned to spend twelve years in exile in the forest, and a thirteenth year in an unknown place, disguised so that no one may recognize them. If anyone does, then they must spend another twelve years in exile.

After 12 years (with one more year of anonymity, which was the Duryodhana's condition), they come back and the war between the two family clans is imminent. Duryodhana refuses to accept their concealment during the anonymity year; both family clans communicate via messengers only. Krishna becomes one of them, too, and with intention to stop the war he demands only five villages for the Pandavas. Duryodhana refuses this offer too.

Preparations for War

Arjuna then leaves, aiming for the highest mountains to look for the celestial weapons they will need during the war. He meets the god Shiva who gives him powerful weapons. Arjuna then spends five years with his father the divine Indra learning to use the weapons fighting demons.

Meanwhile Karna decides he too must acquire a celestial weapon, so for many months he serves a powerful brahmin, Parasurama, who hates warriors. As a reward, he bestows upon Karna, whom he takes to be a servant, a formula for the supreme weapon. But Karna reveals himself to be a warrior by an excess of bravery, as he does not cry out when a worm bores a hole into his thigh. Parasurama curses him so he will forget the secret formula at the moment he wishes for the weapon, and that will be the moment of his death.

Karna later meets Indra (Arjuna's divine father) in the disguise of a brahmin. Having sworn never to refuse a brahmin's request, he agrees to surrender his divine covering of golden armor given him at birth. He tears off the armor from his skin, bleeding, and trades it for another mighty weapon, which will kill any being but can only be used once.

The Thirteenth Year

According to the conditions of the game of dice, the thirteenth year which the Pandavas are to spend in disguise has now arrived. Yudhishthira (who presents himself as a poor brahmin), his brothers and Draupadi (who pass for wandering servants) all find refuge at the court of King Virata. Kicaka, a general in Virata's court becomes infatuated with Draupadi. He goes to great lengths to possess her, even threatening her life. Draupadi implores the mighty Bhima to help her; dressed in woman’s clothes, he goes in her stead to a secret rendezvous, and pulverizes the over-amorous general into a bloody mass of flesh.

Meanwhile Duryodhana has launched an attack on Virata's kingdom. The king entrusts his troops to his young son who needs a chariot driver. Draupadi, who seeks war with the Kauravas at all costs, points out Arjuna as the world's best charioteer, despite the fact that he has disguised himself as a eunuch. Arjuna cannot refuse to fight and is decisively victorious, one man against countless armies.

War draws even closer. Duryodhana refuses to give his cousins back their kingdom because he claims they came out of hiding before the appointed time. He tries to win Krishna 's support, as does Arjuna. Krishna offers Arjuna first choice: either he can have all of Krishna’s armies, or he can have Krishna alone. Arjuna chooses Krishna , allowing Duryodhana to have the armies. When Arjuna asks him to drive his chariot, Krishna accepts.

In the Kaurava court, the blind king also senses the imminence of war. He asks the elderly Bhishma, an unparalleled warrior, to take the supreme command. His duty to the family outweighs his feelings toward the Pandavas, and he reluctantly accepts, but on one condition: that Karna does not fight. Although displeased, Karna bitterly agrees to fight only after Bhishma's death.

Dhritarashtra sends an envoy to Yudhishthira and begs not to fight since he loves righteousness. It would be better to live without his kingdom than risk the lives of so many. Yudhishthira responds that each caste has its own duty, and his is to be a warrior/king, not a brahmin/beggar. However, even he has reservations: “War is evil in any form. To the dead, victory and defeat are the same” .

Krishna arrives as an emissary in a final attempt to safeguard peace. He speaks to Duryodhana who does not listen to him, but orders his guards to seize him. Krishna reveals his divine form: “ Krishna laughed and as he did, his body suddenly flashed like lightning. He began to grow in size and various gods issued from him. Brahma sprang from his forehead and Shiva from his chest” . Krishna allows even the blind Dhritarashtra to see his glory. Finally, he speaks to Karna, going so far as to reveal that he is the brother of those with whom he intends to fight. But Karna feels abandoned by his mother in his very first hours of life; furthermore he senses the end of this world. He will fight alongside the Kauravas, even though he can already foresee their defeat and his own death.
Duryodhana will not listen to warnings. He convinces himself that since the gods had not blessed the Pandavas thus far, they would not protect them during the war. “I can sacrifice my life, my wealth, my kingdom, my everything, but I can never live in peace with the Pandavas. I will not surrender to them even as much land as can be pierced by the point of a needle” He makes excuses for his nature: “I am whatever the gods have made me”.

After 12 years (with one more year of anonymity, which was the Duryodhana's condition), they come back and the war between the two family clans is imminent. Duryodhana refuses to accept their concealment during the anonymity year; both family clans communicate via messengers only. Krishna becomes one of them, too, and with intention to stop the war he demands only five villages for the Pandavas. Duryodhana refuses this offer too.

18-day war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas.

The Kauravas have eleven divisions to stand against the seven of the Pandavas. The two armies are described as two oceans, crashing against each other.

Arjuna fears that acting out his own dharma as warrior will conflict with universal dharma: how can killing family members be good, and not disrupt the social order? Herein lies an unresolved conflict in Hinduism between universal dharma and svadharma (an individual's duty according to caste and station in life). A warrior must kill to fulfill his duty, whereas a brahmin must avoid harming any living creature. Even demons have their own castes and svadharma, which may run counter to human morality. One person's dharma may be another's sin. This doctrine distinguishes Hindu thought from religions such as Judeo-Christianity and Islam which teach universal or absolute moral codes.

His charioteer Krishna addresses him as they pause in the no-man's land between the two armies. This passage is the celebrated Bhagavad Gita, the guide to firm and resolute action.

On a hill overlooking the battlefield, Dhritarashtra hears the words of Krishna through his aid Sanjaya, who has been granted the ability to see and hear everything that happens in the battle, to relate these things to the blind king. Dhritarashtra shudders when he hears of Krishna ’s theophany, fearing that nothing can stop the Pandavas with such a powerful being on their side. But he takes some comfort in knowing that Krishna cannot accomplish everything he wants, as he failed to arrange a peaceful solution to the conflict.
The Battle Begins

Bhishma compares the invincible Arjuna to “the Destroyer himself at the end of the Yuga.” In one confrontation, Arjuna splits Bhishma’s bow with four arrows, and Bhishma praises him: “O son of Pandu, well done! I am pleased with you for this wonderful feat. Now fight your hardest with me”. However, he is unable to overcome Bhishma. After nine days of fighting, the Pandavas visit Bhishma by night; they tell him that, unless he is killed in the war, the carnage will carry on until the end of the world.

When asked how he can be defeated, he advises them to place Sikhandi in the front line, from where he will be able to fire freely at Bhishma. Sikhandi is actually a woman, Amba whom Bhishma had refused to marry and who vowed to be his death. Amba practiced asceticism, standing on one toe in the snow for 12 years to learn the secret of Bhishma's death. Amba threw herself into the fire and was reborn from flames as Drupada’s second daughter, later changing sex with a demon to become a man

The next day, confronted by Sikhandi, Bhishma refuses to fight a woman, and he abandons his weapons. Against the rules of war, the Pandavas strike the unarmed warrior with thousands of arrows. There is no space on his body thicker than two fingers that is not pierced. He falls from his chariot, and lies fully supported by the arrows, with no part of his body touching the earth. Bhishma does not actually die until much later, at his choosing. He remains lying on a bed of arrows until the end of the battle.

Drona takes command

Drona positions the armies in a formation known only to him, the iron disc of war, which nobody knows how to break open, apart from Arjuna. If only Arjuna can be diverted away from the central battle, Drona promises victory. Arjuna has a 15-year old son, Abhimanyu, who, by listening to his father while still in his mother's womb, has learned to force an entry into Drona's battle formation. As Arjuna is called to a diversionary battle far away, Yudhishthira entrusts Abhimanyu with the task of opening a breach in the disc. Abhimanyu succeeds, but when Bhima and Yudhishthira try to follow him into the opening, they are stopped by Jayadratha, a brother-in-law to the Kauravas, and the breach closes behind the young Abhimanyu. In spite of his bravery, he is killed.
At this point Arjuna returns to the camp. Inflamed with rage and grief at the sight of his son's body, he vows to kill Jayadratha before sunset on the following day. He solemnly swears to throw himself into the sacrificial fire, should he fail. Even Krishna is alarmed by this terrible oath. On the next day, Jayadratha is heavily guarded, and Arjuna is unable to reach him. Krishna causes a momentary eclipse of the sun, convincing the enemy that, since night has come, Arjuna must have killed himself because he hasn't kept his vow. Rejoicing, they lay down their arms, leaving Jayadratha vulnerable to Arjuna's arrow.

Jayadratha's father had pronounced a curse on anyone who killed his son, saying that whoever caused his son's head to fall to the ground would die. Using magical mantras, Arjuna causes his arrow not only to sever Jayadratha's head, but to carry it miles away to fall into his father's lap. Being in prayer, he doesn't realize what's happened; he stands up and the head falls, thus he dies from his own curse.

The following day, Karna hurls himself into the battle. Kunti tries to persuade him to join the Pandavas, but Karna is inflexible. However, he does promise Kunti that he will only kill Arjuna, for one of them must die. In this way, she will still have five sons after the war.

Karna possesses a magic lance, the gift of Indra, which will kill any living being but can be used only once. He keeps it in reserve for Arjuna. To dispose of this lance, Krishna calls upon Ghatotkatcha, son of Bhima and the rakshasa. During the night, he fights an epic battle against Karna, who can destroy the demon only by resorting to his magic lance. Ghatotkatcha is killed, but Krishna dances for joy. With his lance now expended, Karna is vulnerable and Arjuna can kill him.

Drona continues to challenge the Pandava armies, slaying thousands. But the Pandavas know his weakness: the love of his only son Ashvatthama. Bhima slays an elephant, also called Ashvatthama, then deceitfully tells Drona of the death of his son. Suspecting a lie, Drona asks Yudhishthira for the truth: is his son dead or not? Drona will lay down his arms the day an honest man lies. Krishna tells Yudhishthira: “Under such circumstances, falsehood is preferable to truth. By telling a lie to save a life, one is not touched by sin”. Yudhishthira speaks a half-lie, “Ashvatthama – (and muttering under his breath) the elephant – is dead.” Before his lie, Yudhishthira's chariot rode four inches off the ground, but now it sinks back to earth. Drona lays down his arms. Drupada's son Dhrishtadyumna cuts off Drona's head, having sworn to avenge his father's humiliation.

Meanwhile Bhima sees Duhsasana coming towards him. Bhima had sworn to drink the blood of this avowed enemy for what he had done to Draupadi. Bhima knocks Duhsasana to the ground with his mace and rips open his chest. He drinks his blood, saying that it tastes better than his mother’s milk. Bhima, who kills many Rakshasa (and has a son by one), often acts like the man-eating ogres himself—the bloody deaths of Kicaka and Duhsasana, both to avenge Draupadi; Bhima is her most passionate defender. Bhima kills most of the 100 Kauravas, who were demons incarnate.

The Death of Karna

Arjuna and Karna both have celestial weapons (for example, one shoots arrows of fire to be quenched by arrows of water). Karna has an arrow possessed by a Naga (serpent) spirit who holds a grudge against Arjuna (his family had died in the forest consumed by Agni). When Karna shoots at Arjuna, his charioteer warns him that his aim is too high, but he refuses to listen, and hits Arjuna's coronet only. When the spirit-possessed arrow returns to him and says try again, this time he will not miss, Karna won't admit failure by shooting the same arrow twice, even if he could kill 100 Arjunas.

As the fight continues, the earth opens up and seizes Karna's chariot wheel, in fulfillment of a curse. In desperation, Karna tries to invoke his ultimate weapon, but the magic words escape him. He remembers Parasurama’s words: “When you life depends on your most powerful weapon, you will not be able to summon it.”
As he struggles to release his chariot, he cries out to Arjuna: “Do not strike an unarmed man. Wait until I can extract my wheel. You are a virtuous warrior. Remember the codes of war.” Krishna commands Arjuna to shoot, and Karna dies. A bright light rises out of Karna’s body and enters the sun.

The Death of Duryodhana

Over the eighteen-day war, Duryodhana has seen his generals and their armies fall to the Pandavas, but to the very end he refuses to surrender. He hides in the waters of a lake, which he has solidified over him by magic. Ever the gambler, Yudhishthira tells Duryodhana that he can fight any brother he chooses, and if he wins, the kingdom will be his again. It says something of Duryodhana that he fights with Bhima rather than one of the weaker brothers. In a close battle between equals, Bhima wins only by treacherously striking Duryodhana on the legs, forbidden in the rules of war. Gandhari had put a protective spell over Duryodhana's body, but because he wore a loin cloth for modesty before his mother, his thighs were not protected.

As Duryodhana lies dying, Ashvatthama, Drona's son, tells him how he sneaked into the camp of the victorious Pandavas at night to perpetrate a hideous massacre, killing the remaining warriors and all the children while asleep, leaving the Pandavas without any heirs. Rather than welcoming the news, Duryodhana dies disheartened that the race of the Kurus appears to have no future.
Thus all those on both sides die in the war, except the five Pandavas. When Yudhishthira learns of the massacre, he mourns: “We the conquerors have been conquered.”

When the Pandavas seek revenge, Ashvatthama launches the most fearsome celestial weapon in his arsenal. Arjuna counters with his own weapon, which Drona taught both of them; it was only to be used against divine beings, or else it could destroy the world. Ashvatthama deflects his into the wombs of the remaining Pandava women, making them sterile, but Krishna promises that Arjuna will nonetheless have descendants. As punishment, Ashvatthama is cursed to wander the earth in exile for 3000 years.

Finally, the Pandavas win the war.

After "seeing" the carnage, Gandhari who had lost all her sons, curses Krishna to be a witness to a similar annihilation of his family, for though divine and capable of stopping the war, he had not done so. Krishna accepts the curse, which bears fruit 36 years later.

The Pandavas who had ruled their kingdom meanwhile, decide to renounce everything. Clad in skins and rags they retire to the Himalaya and climb towards heaven in their bodily form. A stray dog travels with them. One by one the brothers and Draupadi fall on their way. As each one stumbles, Yudhishitra gives the rest the reason for their fall (Draupadi was partial to Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva were vain and proud of their looks, Bhima and Arjuna were proud of their strength and archery skills, respectively). Only the virtuous Yudhisthira who had tried everything to prevent the carnage and the dog remain. The dog reveals himself to be the god Yama (also known as Yama Dharmaraja), and then takes him to the underworld where he sees his siblings and wife. After explaining the nature of the test, Yama takes Yudhishtira back to heaven and explains that it was necessary to expose him to the underworld because (Rajyante narakam dhruvam) any ruler has to visit the underworld at least once. Yama then assures him that his siblings and wife would join him in heaven after they had been exposed to the underworld for measures of time according to their vices.

Arjuna's grandson Parikshita rules after them and dies bitten by a snake. His furious son, Janamejaya, decides to perform a snake sacrifice (sarpasttra) in order to destroy the snakes. It is at this sacrifice that the tale of his ancestors is narrated to him.