I personally find it very engaging. As a child (who am I kidding? As an adult as well) I am extremely fascinated by Hindu mythology. I find it awe inspiring to read things about Hindu Gods and their apparent struggles and their Holy wars and their fight to keep evil at bay.
I don’t know if any of these stories are real, even though some historical remains suggest they may have been, or maybe we are projecting our hopes (of these stories being real) onto the archaeological evidence, and so believing it to be true. In either case, I like to read the stories, hear them from my mom or my grandma and find out the hidden “moral of the story”, because be assured my friends, there is always a “moral of the story”. 🙂
On a trip to South of India this year, my husband, my mom and I visited the southern most tip of the Indian subcontinent, which is in a place called “KanyaKumari“, which actually derives its name from one of the many avatars of the Hindu Goddess Shakti or Parvathi, who is the consort of the Hindu God Shiva. This place is extremely symbolic for several reasons, one being- it is the meeting point of 3 seas: The Lakshadweep Sea, the Bay of Bengal and The Indian Ocean. It is a holy place for Hindus’ because there is the presence of two Shakti Peethas here(Holy shrines of the Mother goddess), Bhagvathy temple and Shuchindram out of the 51 Shakti Peethas all over South Asia.
Kanyakumari was actually the name of the avatar herself. For anybody who knows the language Hindi or even Sanskrit, they would know that Kanya literally means young woman, and Kumari technically means unmarried and is synonymous with virgin. So, the KanyaKumari was the unmarried young womanly form of Goddess Parvathi. This is one of the rarest temples in India, because the Devi (Mother Goddess) is worshiped as a child. And the story goes like this:
Long Long ago there was an evil man. Evil! But, very powerful and scholarly and the ruler of his land as well. His name was Bana, an Asura by birth (In Hinduism an Asura is an evil divine being in the Vedic period). He was a very powerful king, and as is the case with all powerful men, he wanted more. So, he prayed and he prayed and prayed and prayed some more and made sacrifices and dedicated his mind, body and soul. Impressed by his devotion, Lord Brahma (the creator of the universe according to Hinduism) appeared before Bana and asked him “What do you seek?”, so Bana obtained a boon from Lord Brahma that his death will only be at the hand of an adolescent virgin girl.
With this powerful boon, he became fearless and wreaked havoc on the entire world- Heaven, Hell and Earth alike. He went to conquer and oust Lord Indra (King of the Devas or Divine beings opposite of Asura) from his throne. Bana succeeded in banishing all the Devas’ from their home in Heaven. The Devas veiled themselves from the universe. The Devas, who were a personification of the basic natural elements, Agni (fire), Varuna (water) and Vayu (air) went haywire and Indra (ether) being their leader was unable to administer and coordinate the forces.
Bhagavathy, the unbiased Prakriti (Mother Nature), has it in her being to only balance nature; she does not favor or bias, as she itself is the nature where all living beings are a part of. Bhagavathy manifested herself to kill Bana and recur this balance.
As an adolescent girl she had immense devotion towards Lord Shiva. The Lord decided to marry her. All arrangements were made for the marriage. Lord Shiva started the journey with his procession for the marriage. Sage Narada realized Bana could only be killed by an adolescent virgin girl and interrupted Shiva’s marriage with Bhagavathy, The auspicious time for the marriage was early in the morning. Lord Shiva and his procession had stopped the night to rest. Narada made the sound of a rooster giving the incorrect impression that the Sun had already risen and the auspicious time had passed away. The marriage procession returned. The poor Devi waited for the Lord and finally she thought that she has been snubbed. With unbearable insult, pain, grief and anger she destroyed everything she saw. She threw away all the food and broke her bangles. All the items, ready for use during the wedding festivities landed on the beach as the Devi threw them all, and it is said that these things, sunk into the sand, changing the color of the sand in all the places that they landed. When the Devi finally gained her composure she chose to be a Sanyasin (Nun) forever.
Eventually Bana, tried to lure and approach the Goddess without realizing who she was. The infuriated Bhagavathy, slaughterd Bana at once. Moments before his death Bana realized that the one before him is Bhagavathy. He prayed to her, to absolve him of his sins. Bhagavathy maintained her divine presence in the place, in the Devi Kanyakumari Temple.
That’s the story of Kanyakumari. When we went to the temple to see the idol of the Devi we saw that there was a beautiful diamond nosepin on the idol. It was so big and bright that we couldn’t help but stare at it for a few moments. Once we exited the temple we bought a book that educated us on the story of Bhagavathy. The interesting thing about the entire story is that to this day the local townsfolk say (as per the book we bought) that, the Devi is actually still waiting for Lord Shiva to come with his procession, marry her and take her with him to his abode in the Himalayas. This is the reason that the temple is built in such a way that the idol of the Devi is facing towards the sea, and there is a door that opens out towards a seaview. This door is opened 5 times an year, during festivals and celebrations. We also learnt from the book that the nose pin, the big beautiful diamond nosepin that had blinded us was made of several rubies and emeralds and solitaires. Apparently, back in the day, the door facing towards the sea used to be open all the time, but the brightness if the nosepin was so much that sailors used to mistake it for the light from the lighthouse and used to crash to their deaths in the rocks that surround the temple. So, a decision was made to keep the door closed.
WOW!!! As I was writing this, I had these chills going down my spine. I, for one am extremely fascinated by Hindu mythology. I don’t really bother with whether or not it’s true, neither do I go around looking for evidence. I just like to hear the story (or read it) and just imagine… 🙂
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