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Chapter Three: THE BIRTH OF SANKHACHUDA

Chapter Three THE BIRTH OF SANKHACHUDA The sage Kasyapa was the son of the prajapati (forefather) Marici and the grandson of Lord Brah...

Chapter Three
THE BIRTH OF SANKHACHUDA

The sage Kasyapa was the son of the prajapati (forefather) Marici and the grandson of Lord Brahma, and was very learned. Daksa, another prajapati, gave him thirteen of his daughters in marriage. One of Kasyapa Muni's wives was known as Danu. She was very attractive and chaste, and Kasyapa cared for her with love and devotion. Danu bore many mighty sons, one of whom was Vipracitti, who was exceedingly powerful and courageous. His son Dambha was self-controlled and a great devotee of Lord Visnu. But he could not beget a son, so he became anxious. Therefore, to improve the situation, he went to Puskara Forest and performed severe austerity for a hundred thousand years. There, sitting in a steady posture and uttering the Krsna mantra, he practiced japa.

While practicing, an intolerable effulgence shot out from Dambha's head and spread everywhere. It was so hot that all the demigods, sages and Manus were scorched by it. Thus, with Indra leading, they all sought shelter of Lord Brahma.

Arriving at Lord Brahma's abode, they praised him and then informed him of the situation. After hearing about it, Lord Brahma, to relate the problem to Lord Visnu, led them to Vaikuntha. There, with palms joined reverentially, they praised the great saviour and Lord of the three worlds. The demigods then asked, "O Lord, we do not know what has caused this. Please tell us. What is that light by which we have been scorched?"

Lord Visnu laughed and lovingly said, "O demigods, do not be afraid; remain calm and unshaken. No flood will occur and it is not the time of universal dissolution. The asura Dambha, one of my devotees, is performing asceticism to obtain a son. I shall soon bless him and that will quiet him."

Encouraged by this, Lord Brahma and the other demigods returned to their own realms.

Lord Visnu then went to Puskara where Dambha was practicing austerity. Seeing that Dambha was repeating His name, the Lord consoled him and asked, "What blessing do you want Me to grant you?"

Dambha offered his obeisances with great devotion and praised the Lord repeatedly. Then he said, "O Lord of lords, O lotus-eyed one, obeisances unto You. O Lord of Laksmi, O Lord of the three worlds, please be merciful to me. Please give me a powerful and courageous son who will be Your devotee, be invincible to the demigods, and be the conqueror of the three worlds."

Lord Visnu asked Dambha to stop his austerity, granted him the blessing, and disappeared. As the Lord vanished, Dambha offered obeisance in that direction and returned home. Within a short while his blessed wife became pregnant. She radiated an effulgence that illuminated the inner apartment of her residence. The soul residing in her womb was Sudama, one of Lord Krsna's leading cowherd companions who had been cursed by Srimati Radharani.

When Dambha's chaste wife gave birth to a radiant-looking son, Dambha invited the sages to his place and had the post-natal rites performed. There was great jubilation and, on a favourable day, the father named him Sankhacuda.

The son grew up in his father's residence like the moon in its bright half. In his childhood he learned all the traditions, customs, injunctions and prohibitions, and became resplendent. Engaging in childhood play, he delighted his parents and became the favourite of all the family members.

Later on, to obtain a boon from Lord Brahma, Sankhacuda performed an austerity in Puskara for a long while. He concentrated his mind, restrained his senses and organs of action, and chanted a mantra that his preceptor, Jaigisavya, had imparted to him. Finally, Lord Brahma went to Sankhacuda to grant him a blessing. Lord Brahma asked, "Tell me what boon you want."

Seeing Lord Brahma, the Danava king bowed to him humbly and praised him with devotional words. Then he said, "Please make me invincible to the demigods, and also enable me to marry Tulasi.

"So be it," Brahma replied. Then he gave Sankhacuda the Divine amulet of Lord Sri Krsna. This amulet, called Sarvamangalamaya (Conqueror of the World), was considered the most auspicious of all auspicious things in the world, for it guaranteed victory everywhere.

Brahma continued, "Now you should go to Badarikashrama. Tulasi Devi is performing penance there by her own will. You should marry her there. She is the daughter of King Dharmadhvaja." Lord Brahma then disappeared.

Sankhacuda, whose austerity had now borne fruit at Puskara, tied that most precious amulet round his neck. He then set out for Badarikashrama, his face beaming with joy.

<Back to Index - The Story of Srimati Tulasi devi>





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