SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 9 CHAPTER 15
THE NINTH BOOK
The story about Tulasī
1-6. Nārada said:
O Bhagavān! How came the pure chaste Tulasī to be the wife of Nārāyaṇa? 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 Nārāyaṇa for Her husband, Who is above Prakriti, not liable to change without any effort, the Universal Self, Para Brahmā 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 Tulasī, the chief Devī of Nārāyaṇa, 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. Nārāyaṇa said:
O Nārada! The Manu Dakṣa Sāvarṇi was very religious, devoted to Viṣṇu, of wide renown, of a great name, and born with Viṣṇu's parts.
Dakṣa Sāvarṇi’s son Brahmā Sāvarṇi was also very religious, devoted to Viṣṇu and of a pure Śuddhā Sattva Guṇa. Brahmā Sāvarṇi’s son, Dharma Sāvarṇi was devoted to Viṣṇu and He was the master of his senses.
Dharma Sāvarṇi’s sons Rudra Sāvarṇi was also a man of restraint and very devoted. Rudra Sāvarṇi’s son was Deva Sāvarṇi, devoted to Viṣṇu.
Deva Sāvarṇi’s son was Indra Sāvarṇi. He was a great Bhakta of Viṣṇu. His son was Vriṣadhvaja. But He was a fanatic Śaiva (devoted to Śiva).
At his house Śiva Himself remained for three Yugas according to the Deva measure. So much so that Bhagavān Bhūtānātha loved him more than His own son.
Vriṣadhvaja did not recognise Nārāyaṇa, neither Lakṣmī nor Saraswatī nor anybody other. He discarded the worship of all the Devas. He worshipped Śankara only.
The greatly exciting Lakṣmī Puja (worship of Mahā Lakṣmī) in the month of Bhadra and Śrī Pañchamī Puja in the month of Māgha, which are approved of by the Vedas, Vriṣadhvaja put an entire stop to these and the Saraswatī Puja.
At this the Sun became angry with the King Vriṣadhvaja, the discarder of the holy thread, the hater of Viṣṇu, and cursed Him thus:
“O King! As you are purely devoted to Śiva and Śiva 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.”
Śankara, hearing this curse, became very angry and taking His trident, ran after the Sun. The Sun, becoming afraid, accompanied His father Kaśyapa and took refuge of Brahmā.
Bhagavān Śankara went to the Brahmā Loka, with trident in His hands. Brahmā became afraid of Mahādeva and took Sun to the region of Vaikuṇṭha.
Out of terror, the throats of Brahmā, Kaśyapa, and Sun became parched and dry and they all went afraid for refuge to Nārāyaṇa, 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.
Nārāyaṇa 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 Sudarśana disc in My hand and save him.
O Devas! I am always the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer of this universe. In the form of Viṣṇu, I am the Preserver; in the form of Brahmā, I am the Creator; and in the form of Maheśa, I am the Destroyer.
I am Śiva; I am you; and I am the Sūrya, 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 Śankara, are verily removed from this day. Bhagavān Śankara, the Lord of all, is the Lord of the Sādhus. He always hears the words of His Bhaktas; and He is kind to them. He is their Self.
Both the Sun and Śiva are dearer to Me than My life. No one is more energetic than Śankara and the Sun. Mahādeva can easily create ten million Suns and ten million Brahmās. There is nothing impossible with Śūlapāṇi.
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.
Bhagavān Mahā Deva is of the nature of Śiva, all auspiciousness; He is the presiding deity of Śiva, that is, liberation. It is because liberation is obtained from Him, He is called Śiva.
O dear Nārada! While Nārāyaṇa was thus speaking, the trident bolder Mahādeva, 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 Lakṣmī, peaceful and higher than the highest.
Nārāyaṇa 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 Bhagavān, distressed with the thought of welfare for His Bhaktas, the Highest Self was sitting on a jewel throne and chewing the betel offered by Padma and with smiling countenance, seeing and hearing the dancing and singing of the Vidyādharas.
When Mahādeva bowed down to Nārāyaṇa, Brahmā also bowed down to Mahādeva. The Sun, too, surprised, bowed down to Mahādeva with devotion. Kaśyapa, too, bowed and with great bhakti, began to praise Mahādeva.
On the other hand, Śankara praised Nārāyaṇa and took His seat on the throne. The attendants of Nārāyaṇa began to fan Mahādeva with white chowries.
Then Viṣṇu addressed Him with sweet nectar like voice and said:
“O Mahēśvara! What brings Thee here? Hast Thou been angry?”
41-45. Mahādeva said: —
“O Viṣṇu! The King Vriṣadhvaja 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 Sūrya.
Sūrya took Brahmā's refuge and now he and Brahmā 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 will be with My stupid Bhakta who has become devoid of fortune and prosperity by the curse of Sūrya.”
46-51. Viṣṇu said:
“O Śankara! Twenty-one yugas elapsed within this one-half Ghatikā, by the coincidence of Fate (Daiva). Now go quickly to Thy abode.
Through the unavoidable coincidence of the cruel Fate, Vriṣadhvaja died. His son Rathadhvaja, too, died.
Rathadhvaja had two noble sons Dharmadhvaja and Kuśadhvaja. Both of them are great Vaiṣṇavas; but, through Sūrya'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 Mahā Lakṣmī.
Mahā Lakṣmī will be born in parts of their two wives. Then again, by the grace of Lakṣmī, Dharmadhvaja and Kuśadhvaja will be prosperous and become great Kings.
O Śambhu Your worshipper Vriṣadhvaja is dead. Therefore Thou dost go back to Thy place. O Brahmā, O Sun! O Kaśyapa! You all also better go to your places respectively.”
O Nārada! Thus saying, Bhagavān Viṣṇu went with His wife to the inner rooms. The Devas also went gladly to their own places respectively. And Mahādeva, too, Who is always quite full within Himself, departed quickly to perform His Tapas.
Here ends the Fifteenth Chapter on the question of story of Tulasī in the Ninth Book in the Mahāpurāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.