On the anecdote of Tulasî
1-6. Nârada said :– O Bhagavân! How came the pure chaste Tulasî to be the wife of Nârâyana? Where was Her birth place? And what was She in Her previous birth? What family did She belong to? Whose daughter was She? And what austerities did She practise, that She got Nârâyana for Her husband, Who is above Prakriti, not liable to change without any effort, the Universal Self, Para Brahmâ and the Highest God; Who is the Lord of all, omniscient, the Cause of all, the Receptacle of all, Omnipresent, and the Preserver of all. And how did Tulasî, the chief Devî of Nârâyana, turn out into a tree? Herself quite innocent, how She was attacked by the fierce Asura? O Remover of all doubts! My mind, plain and simple, has become restless. I am eager to hear all this. So kindly cut asunder all my doubts.
7-40. Nârâyana said :– O Nârada! The Manu Daksa Sâvarni was very religious, devoted to Visnu, of wide renown, of a great name, and born with Visnu’s parts. Daksa Sâvarni’s son Brahmâ Sâvarni was also very religious, devoted to Visnu and of a pure S’uddha Sattva Guna. Brahmâ Sâvarni’s son, Dharma Sâvarni was devoted to Visnu and He was the master of his senses. Dharma Sâvarni’s sons Rudra Sâvarni was also a man of restraint and very devoted. Rudra Sâvarni’s son was Deva Sâvarni, devoted to Visnu. Deva Sâvarni’s son was Indra Sâvarni. He was a great Bhakta of Visnu. His son was Vrisadhvaja. But He was a fanatic S’aiva (devoted to S’iva). At his house S’iva Himself remained for three Yugas according to the Deva measure. So much so that Bhagavân Bhûtanâtha loved him more than His own son. Vrisadhvaja did not recognise Nârâyana, nor Laksmî nor Sarasvatî nor another body. He discarded the worship of all the Devas. He worshipped S’ankara only. The greatly exciting Laksmî Puja (worship of Mahâ Laksmî) in the month of Bhâdra and S’rî Pañchamî Puja in the month of Mâgha, which are approved of by the Vedas, Vrisadhvaja put an entire stop to these and the Sarasvatî Puja. At this the Sun became angry with the King Vrisadhvaja, the discarder of the holy thread, the hater of Visnu, and cursed Him thus :– “O King! As you are purely devoted to S’iva and S’iva alone, and as you do not recognise any other Devas, I say within no time, you will be deprived of all your wealth and prosperity.” S’ankara, hearing this curse, became very angry and taking His trident, ran after the Sun. The Sun, becoming afraid, accompanied His father Kas’yapa and took refuge of Brahmâ. Bhagavân S’ankara went to the Brahmâ Loka, with trident in His hands. Brahmâ became afraid of Mahâdeva and took Sun to the region of Vaikuntha. Out of terror, the throats of Brahmâ, Kas’yapa, and Sun became parched and dry and they all went afraid for refuge to Nârâyana, the Lord of all. They all bowed down to Him and praised Him frequently and finally informed Him of the cause of their coming and why they were so much afraid. Nârâyana showed them mercy and granted them “Abhaya” (no fear). O You! Who are afraid, take rest. What cause of fear there can be to you, when I am here! Whoever remembers Me, wherever he may be, involved in danger or fear, I go there with the Sudars’an disc in My hand and save him. O Devas! I am always the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer of this universe. In the form of Visnu, I am the Preserver; in the form of Brahmâ, I am the Creator; and in the form of Mahes’a, I am the Destroyer. I am S’iva; I am you; and I am the Sûrya, composed of the three qualities. It is I who assumes many forms and preserves the universe. Better go to your respective places. What fear can ye suspect? I say, all your fears due to S’ankara, are verily removed from this day. Bhagavân S’ankara, the Lord of all, is the Lord of the Sâdhus. He always hears the words of His Bhaktas; and He is kind to them. He is their Self. Both the Sun and S’iva are dearer to Me than My life. No one is more energetic than S’ankara and the Sun. Mahâdeva can easily create ten million Suns and ten million Brahmâs. There is nothing impossible with S’ûlapâni. Having no consciousness of any outer thing, immersed, day and night, in meditating on Me with His whole heart concentrated, He is repeating with devotion My Mantra from His five faces and He always sings My glories. I am also thinking, day and night, of His welfare. Whoever worships Me in whichever way, I also favour him similarly. Bhagavân Mahâ Deva is of the nature of S’iva, all auspiciousness; He is the presiding deity of S’iva, that is, liberation. It is because liberation is obtained from Him, He is called S’iva. O dear Nârada! While Nârâyana was thus speaking, the trident bolder Mahâdeva, with his eyes red like reddened lotuses, mounting on His bull, came up there and getting down from His Bull, humbly bowed down with devotion to the Lord of Laksmî, peaceful and higher than the highest. Nârâyana was then seated on His throne, decked with jewel ornaments. There was a crown on His crest; two earrings were hanging from His ears; the disc was in His hand, forest flower’s garlands on His neck; of the colour of fresh blue rain cloud; His form exceedingly beautiful. The four-armed attendants were fanning Him with their four hands; His body smeared all over with sandal-paste and He is wearing the yellow garment. That Bhagavân, distressed with the thought of welfare for His Bhaktas, the Highest Self was sitting on a jewel throne and chewing the betel offered by Padmâ and with smiling countenance, seeing and hearing the dancing and singing of the Vidyâdharîs. When Mahâdeva bowed down to Nârâyana, Brahmâ also bowed down to Mahâdeva. The Sun, too, surprised, bowed down to Mahâdeva with devotion. Kas’yapa, too, bowed and with great bhakti, began to praise Mahâdeva. On the other hand, S’ankara praised Nârâyana and took His seat on the throne. The attendants of Nârâyana began to fan Mahâdeva with white chowries. Then Visnu addressed Him with sweet nectar like voice and said :– “O Mahes’vara! What brings Thee here? Hast Thou been angry?”
41-45. Mahâdeva said : — “O Visnu! The King Vrisadhavaja is My great devotee; he is dearer to Me than My life. The Sun has cursed him and so I am angry. Out of the affection for a son I am ready to kill Sûrya. Sûrya took Brahmâ’s refuge and now he and Brahmâ have taken Thy refuge. And Those who being distressed take Thy refuge, either in mind or in word, become entirely safe and free from danger. They conquer death and old age. What to speak of them, then, of those who come personally to Thee and take Thy refuge. The remembrance of Hari takes away all dangers. All good comes to them. O Lord of the world! Now tell me what becomes of My stupid Bhakta who has become devoid of fortune and prosperity by the curse of Sûrya.”
46-51. Visnu said :– “O S’ankara! Twenty-one yugas elapsed within this one-half Ghatikâ, by the coincidence of Fate (Daiva). Now go quickly to Thy abode. Through the unavoidable coincidence of the cruel Fate, Vrisadhvaja died. His son Rathadhvaja, too, died. Rathadhvaja had two noble sons Dharmadhvaja and Kus’adhvaja. Both of them are great Vaisnavas; but, through Sûrya’s curse, they have become luckless. Their kingdoms are lost; they have become destitute of all property, prosperity and they are now engaged in worshipping Mahâ Laksmî. Mahâ Laksmî will be born in parts of their two wives. Then again, by the grace of Laksmî, Dharmadhvaja and Kus’adhvaja will be prosperous and become great Kings. O S’ambhu Your worshipper Vrisadhvaja is dead. Therefore Thou dost go back to Thy place. O Brahmâ, O Sun! O Kas’yapa! You all also better go to your places respectively.” O Nârada! Thus saying, Bhagavân Visnu went with His wife to the inner rooms. The Devas also went gladly to their own places respectively. And Mahâdeva, too, Who is always quite full within Himself, departed quickly to perform His Tapas.
Here ends the Fifteenth Chapter on the question of anecdote of Tulasî in the Ninth Book in the Mahâpuranam S’rî Mad Devî Bhâgavatam of 18,000 verses by Maharsi Veda Vyâsa.