Source and Reference: Translation by Swami Vijñanananda : [1921-22]
“By the will of that S’akti, I have got this idea of man and roam on the great ocean; in yuga after yuga, I assume by Her will, the Tortoise, Boar, Man-Lion, and Dwarf incarnations. No one likes to take birth in the womb of inferior animals (especially birds). Do you think that I willingly take unpleasant births as in the womb of boars, tortoise, i.e., certainly not. What independent man is there who abandons the pleasurable enjoyment with Lakshmi and takes birth in inferior animals as fish, etc. or leaves his seat on the seat of Garuda and becomes engaged in great war-conflicts. O Svayambhu! In ancient days you saw before your eyes that my head was cut off when the bowstring suddenly gave way; and then you, brought a horse’s head and by that help, the divine artist Visvakarma, stuck that on to my headless body. O Brahmâ! Since then I am known amongst men by the name of “Hayagrîva”. This is well-known to you. Now say, were I independent, would such an ignominy have happened to me? Never. Therefore I am not independent; I am in every way under that S’akti. O Lotus-born! I always meditate on that S’akti; and I do not know any other than this S’akti”.
The Rshis of Naimisaranya who were listening to this tale from Suta, were extremely surprised. Is there anything greater than Vishnu, Jagannatha? They begged for more details.
Here is what Suta told them:
Once upon a time Vishnu fought a long war lasting 5000 or 10000 years. He sat in a Padmasana, and went into a deep yogic sleep or “yoganidra”. As he did so, he rested his head on his bow. At this the Devas, with Brahma and Siva were forming a yajna (yagnya), which required Vishnu’s presence. But they were terrified of waking him up.
Brahma asked some vamri (white ant species), to eat up the bowstring so that the bow would snap and Vishnu would wake up. The vamri initially refused to do so and listed waking someone up from deep sleep in the sins equal to Brahmahatya :
- To rouse one from one’s deep sleep,
- To interrupt one in one’s speech,
- To sever the love between a couple husband and wife,
- To separate a child from one’s mother.
Thus through the medium of white ants we are taught some ethics while listening to a story. This is classic Veda Vyasa- Satya
Then the ants wanted to know, “What’s in it for us?”. Then Brahma, told them, you can have a share of the havis – all the ghee that falls around the Vedic altar!
Thus we are taught that ants can be allowed to eat whatever falls down while cooking etc. We don’t have to reach for the DDT. Classic Vyasa- Satya
But things did not go as planned. When the ants ate the bowstring, Vishnu’s bow snapped with such force, that his head snapped off and landed somewhere in the salt ocean. The Devas, as well as Brahma and Rudra were extremely upset. The Devas felt that their own silliness had accomplished what the might of the Daityas, Yakshas and Rakshasas could never accomplish with their valour and strategy. They felt that all was lost.
Then Brihaspati, the guru of the Devas, the expert in the Vedas and the father of Bharadwaja spoke,
- What use there will be in thus crying and repenting?
- Consider the means that you should adopt to redress your calamities.
- Your exertion and intelligence are equal to fate.
- If the success comes not through Fate, one is certainly to show one’s prowess and merit.
If this has been said once, it has been said a million times in the Puranas and Itihasas, don’t rely on luck and fate, “do something about your situation – Act” – Satya
Indra however was certain that without Vishnu, all the effort and intelligence in the world was a waste and nothing could be accomplished at all. He though that Fate was everything and nothing could go beyond fate.
Brahma spoke on Indra’s side and recalled the incident where Siva knocked off his fifth head. He said that daivam (fate) was everything and in total control.
When such personages have suffered pains, then who else is there in the world, that dues not suffer!
So you all cease sorrows and meditate on the Eternal Mahâmâyâ;
who is the Mother of all, who is supporter of all,
who is of the nature of Brahmâvidyâ (the Supreme Knowledge) and
who is beyond the Gunas, who is the Prime Prâkriti, and
who pervades the three Lokas, the whole universe, moving and unmoving;
She will dispense our welfare.
The Vedas, were present in their embodied forms and they were asked to chant mantras to the all pervading Devi, the embodiment of all gnyanam.
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