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Stories from Purana

The Story of Pride

All of us know that Bhima was one of the Pandava brothers who was known to be the strongest. He was also known to be proud of his strength. This story occured when the Pandavas were on exile in a forest. Bhima was walking in the forest one day when an old monkey was sitting in his path. The old monkey had a long tail which was spread across. Bhima noticed the tail and ordered the old monkey to move its tail so he can walk.

The monkey replied that it was too old and weak to move, and requested Bhima to remove the tail from his path and move on. This angered the proud Bhima. He roared "Old monkey! Dont you know who you are talking to ? I am the mighty Bhima. I will not move your tail, you have to move out of my way!".

The humble monkey told Bhima once again that it is not in a position to move at all. It once again requested Bhima to put the tail away.

Bhima saw that there is no point arguing with the old monkey. He decided to move the tail himself. As he bent down and tried to lift the tail, it would not move! He applied more of his strength, and with both hands he made a huge effort to lift the tail. Much to his frustration, the tail seemed almost glued to the ground. It did not even move an inch ! A shocked Bhima applied all of his strength to move the tail, but there was no use. The tail did not move, no matter what.

Bhima looked at the monkey in disbelief. The old monkey burst out laughing. Bhima realized this was no ordinary monkey and humbly requested the monkey to reveal its identity. The monkey disappeared, and in its place stood the mighty Hanuman.

Hanuman lovingly forgave Bhima and blessed him.

This story is such a great lesson about pride. We all like to feel proud of our good qualities. But if our pride makes us think that others are worthless, then such a pride only brings us defeat.

What are The Puranas?

The Puranas are ancient Sanskrit books or literary texts that are an integral part of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religious beliefs. It is believed that the Puranas were composed between 4th century BC and 1000 AD. These texts can almost be viewed as encyclopedias of ancient beliefs as they contain stories about the history of the universe -  from creation to destruction, genealogies of gods, kings, heroes and patriarch sages, and description of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, Puranas are said to have five distinguishing properties, or Pancha Lakshana

Sarga - Creation of the universe.

Pratisarga - Secondary creations, mostly recreations after dissolution.

Vamśa - Genealogy of the gods and sages.

Manvantara - Creation of the human race (race of Manu) and the first human beings (Manavas).

Vamshanucharitam - Histories of the patriarchs of the lunar and solar dynasties.

The word “Purana” means “ancient” in Sanskrit. Sage Vyasa, the narrator of the Mahabharata, is considered to be the compiler of these books. The general line of thought is that the Puranas existed in an oral form for a long time before they were compiled in written texts, around the time when the written composition of Mahabharata was being wrapped up. The Puranas have also been referred to as “the fifth veda” in the Upanishads.

There are eighteen major Puranas, and many minor or subordinate ones.

Agni: About Vastu Shastra and Gemology.

Bhagavata: Stories of Vishnu’s Dashavatar (Vishnu’s ten incarnations). It’s the most popular of all Puranas.

Bhavishya: Prophecies regarding the future

Brahma: About river Godavari and its tributaries. It’s the shortest Purana.

Brahmanda: Account of Brahmanda and the future cosmic ages revealed by Brahma.

Brahmavaivarta: About protocols of worshipping Devis, Krishna and Ganesha

Garuda: About death and its aftermaths.

Harivamsa: About the origin of Vishnu's incarnation as Krishna

Kurma: About Vishnu’s incarnation as Kurma

Linga: About Shaiva theology

Markandeya: Devi Mahatmya

Matsya: About Vishnu’s incarnation as Matsya (fish)

Narada: About the greatness of Veda and Vedangas.

Padma: About importance of religion, creation theories, about earth, cosmos and also contains a dialogue between Shiva & Parvati

Shiva:  About the god Shiva

Skanda: A meticulous pilgrimage guide, containing geographical locations of pilgrimage centers in India, with related legends, parables, hymns and stories. This is the longest Purana.

Vamana: About North India and areas around Kurukshetra.

Varaha: About rescuing of the earth from Rasatal by Varaha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Vayu: Measurement of time; origin of gods, sages, daityas, rakshasas, gandharvas and pitrs; origin of animals, birds, trees and creepers; genealogies of the ancient kings; detailed geography of the earth divided into seven dvipas and further sub-divided into the varshas; accounts of inhabitants of different dvipas; names and description of the seven Patalas (netherworlds); description of the solar system and the movements of the celestial bodies; description of the four yugas and fourteen manvantaras.

Vishnu: About creation myths, stories of battles fought between Asuras and Devas, the Avatars (divine descents) of Vishnu, and genealogy and stories of legendary kings.

Bhagvata Purana and Vishnu Purana are probably the most widely known Puranas. Life of Krishna and the Dashavatars of Vishnu are especially popular stories.

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