4 Incarnations of Lord Vishnu | Story of Prithu Maharaj, Narasimha, Kurma Avatar, and Dhanvantari | Hamare Avatar Evam Devi Devta- Part 9

Prithu Maharaj

Vena, the son of king Anka, was an extremely unrighteous king. He had prohibited Yajna, and holy activities in his reign. The sages tried to convince him to mend his ways but to no avail. Ultimately the rishis burnt the atrocious king with a tumultuous roar. In the absence of a ruler the land was an easy prey to bandits. Hence, the rishis churned the corpse of vena. From the right arm of the body emerged a handsome prince. He was the noble king Prithu. He was extremely kind and loving with his subjects. Under the unjust rule of Vena, the lap of nature had dried up and the nation was suffering from famine. So Prithu ploughed the lands, irrigated it and made it fertile for cultivation of herbs and other medicines. He initiated the tradition of agriculture. He tilled the lands ensuring that the rainwaters doesn’t rush into the ocean. He situated towns and tended the needs of his subjects. From the Yajnas, he awarded the rightful share to the gods and other deities. Since Prithu Maharaj established a utopian province, he is known as the earliest king. Prithu Maharaja conducted 99 Ashwamedha Yajna. To complete his resolve, the 100th Yajna was essential. However Indra promptly foiled his plans. He stole the sacrificial horse assuming various disguises. Prithu Maharaja’s son retrieved the horse every time with the aid of Maharishi Atri. Troubled by the consistent mishap, Prithu Maharaj pounced on Indra to kill him. Brahma stopped Prithu Maharaj and told him to drop his plan. Prithu maharaj obeyed the orders of Brahma and thus his Yajna remained incomplete. Finally Lord Vishnu brought Indra along and sweetened their relation. After ruling for long, Prithu Maharaj retired to the forest and quit his body through Yoga. Prithu Maharaj had accepted the Earth as his daughter. In his honor, the earth is known by his name as ‘Prithvi’.

Narasimha

The demon King Hiranyakashipu was extremely aggrieved to learn of the demise of his brother Hiranyaksha at the hands of Varaha. He pleased Lord Brahma and gained the boon that he can neither die in day time nor night, no weapon can kill him, no man, god or beast can kill him. He can neither be killed at home nor outside. Stooped in arrogance, he conquered the heavens and feasted the meals of the ancestors and the gods. He singlehandedly managed the affairs of all the governing forces. He thus became invincible and controlled the forces of nature. When Hiranyakashipu was absorbed in austerities, his pregnant wife Kayadu took shelter in the hermitage of Narada Muni. The fetus nurturing in her womb gained the necessary nutrients for the awakening of Bhakti from the lotus mouth of Narada Muni. The kid from the womb of his mother absorbed the tenets of Bhakti and developed into a high-class devotee by the grace of the sage. He was the great devotee Prahlada. Hiranyakashipu was a sworn enemy of Vishnu. He detested the very mention of Vishnu from the mouth of his son. He made adequate provisions for Prahlada’s demoniac upbringing. But none could deter the steadfast devotee. Prahlada was steadfast in his faith systems. Hiranyakashipu devised numerous plans to kill Prahlada such as poisoning, throwing from the top of a mountain, fasting, drowning, burning and elephant trampling. But Prahlada escaped all his plots. Finally Hiranyakashipu himself stomped towards him to kill him with his own hands. Enraged at the audacity of Hiranyakashipu, Narasimha dev tore open a stone pillar to protect his devotee. Narasimha dev flung the demon on his lap and with his sharp nails tore open his chest at the hour of twilight, sitting at the exit of the door. Narasimha deva then performed the coronation ceremony of his cherished devotee Prahalada as the demon king.

There is another story in this regard- After having killed Hiranyakashipu, Narasimhava began to enjoy the luxuries of Deva Loka. The Devas were deprived of their rights, so they rushed to Brahma for a solution. The entire troop approached Lord Shiva in Kailasha and explained the issue. Lord Shiva went to Narasimha dev and explained to Him “Oh Lord, You have achieved the purpose of this incarnation. You should discard this body.” But Narasimha deva told Lord Shiva, that he had developed attachment for the body, hence Lord Shiva himself had to make the arrangements for its disposal. So Lord Shiva assumed the form a ferocious lion (Sharabha) and with his sharp talons swooped Narasimha deva away from the site. He then broke Narasimha’s body into 2 parts.

Kurma

Once Lord Indra overcome by pride, was mounted on his elephant Airavata. He met Durvasa muni on the way. The sage offered him a garlands of flowers from his own neck as an auspicious offering. However, Indra sprung the garland on his elephant’s head. The elephant dropped the garland on the ground and trampled it. Durvasa muni was enraged to see the plight of his gift. He cursed the god saying-“From now on you all shall lose your power!” Indra immediately lost his lustre. The demons got the news of Indra’s curse. They made perfect use of the opportunity and attacked Devaloka. Naturally, they won the battle and the gods were banished from their empire. The forlorn Devas taking Brahma along with them approached Lord Vishnu. The playful lord ordered them- “Reconcile with the Asuras, with their help add medicinal herbs in the Kshir Sagar and churn the ocean with the Mandara mountains as the mortar and the Vasuki serpent as the rope. The nectar thus derived shall make you all immortal.” Indra thereafter approached Bali Maharaj and proposed the idea. With nectar as the incentive, the demons readily agreed lending a hand for the massive undertaking. The gods and demons successfully uprooted the mountain but couldn’t carry it along. So lord Vishnu aided them by carrying it on his vehicle Garuda and transporting it to the spot. The participants threw the mountain in the waters. But how shall the heavy mountain float? The mountain started drowning. So Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a massive tortoise and shouldered it on his back.

Dhanvantari

The Devas and asuras together churned the ocean. The dreaded venom of Kalakuta was produced at the onset. At the prayers of the Prajapatis, Lord Shiva stopped the venom at his throat. Later, 11 more substances were produced from the ocean-
1)Kamadhenu cow (कामधेनु गौ) 2)Lakshmi (लक्ष्मी जी) 3)Uchheh Shrava Horse (उच्चेः श्रवा अश्व) 4) Airavata elephant (ऐरावत) 5) Apsaras (अप्सराएँ) 6) Varuni (वारुणी) 7) Kaustubha Gem (कौस्तुभ मणि) 8) Conch (शंख) 9) Wish-fulfilling tree (कल्पवृक्ष) 10) Moon (चन्द्रमा) 11) Vishnu’s club and and bow

At the culmination, a handsome 4-armed deity with a dark complexion emerged from the waters. He held a pot of nectar. Lord Dhanvantari is the lord of Ayurveda. Initially, Lord Dhanvantari resided in the heavens. On seeing the souls afflicted by disease, Indra sent Dhanvantari to the earth to relieve their miseries. Meanwhile, the king of Kashi was performing severe penance to obtain a son. Lord Dhanvantari appeared as his son. He was named Divodasa. He performed austerities and pleased Lord Brahma. Thereupon Lord Brahma disclosed the secrets of his creation and thus Divodasa pioneered the fundamentals of Ayurveda.

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