Friday, November 25, 2011

Glimpses from Mahabharata # 25 - Rahu & Samantha Panchaka

Story of Rahu:

Amrita or the divine elixir was churned out of the milky ocean together by the gods and the demons. But the gods contrived to keep the elixir to themselves, much to the anger and outrage of the demons : once the gods partook of the elixir, they could never be vanquished.

One demon, Rahu by name, managed to get into the ranks of the gods through clever disguise in order to sip the magic potion.

The gods Surya (Sun) and Soma (Moon) discovered Rahu and reported him to the Supreme Lord.

Mahavishnu was angered by this deceit and he let go his discus weapon at Rahu. The disc severed Rahu’s head which flew into space.

There the head remained and even today it tries to swallow the sun and the moon.

Samantha Panchaka:

Between the Treta and Dwapara yugas, Parasurama, son of the sage Jamadagni, wrought vengeance on the Kshatriyas (warrior class) for their cruelty towards his father.

He destroyed them over and over again twenty one times. From the blood that flowed from the slain Kshatriyas he formed five lakes where he performed penance.

These were the Samantha-panchakas or the five holy lakes. Parasurama’s ancestors appeared before him and, pleased with his devotion, absolved him from the sin of killing the Kshatriyas.

The lakes became famous and were the scene of the Kurukshetra War.

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