Ishwarnaman- towards a revival of the ancient glory of India

In the present day, Jalandhar brings to the mind a town in the northern state of Punjab. The nearest river Sutlej, which was known as Shatandru in the ancient times flows 40 kms away. In the Mahabharata, the local king had fought for Duryodhana. He had also fought at Viratnagar where the Pandavas had spent the thirteenth year of exile incognito.
During the partition of India in 1947, Jalandhar became a safe haven for the thousands of Hindus and Sikhs who were uprooted from their homes in Pakistan. Here, many started their livelihood once again with the fervour and gusto of a determined person in difficult times. Jalandhar became their Karma-bhoomi. This place is one of the richest regions of India. But how did it acquire the name 'Jalandhar'? Read the legend of Jalandhar and Tulsi.


Once upon a time Devraj Indra wanted to show off his grandeur to Shiva. So, he went alongwith Devguru Brihaspati to Kailash. Shiva, being an avowed enemy of ego transformed himself into a dwarpal at the mountain and restrained Indra from entering Kailash. A heavy duel ensued between the two and the dwarpal pulled out the vajra from the hands of Indra. It immediately occurred to Devguru Brihaspati that this great fighter could not be a dwarpal but the Lord himself. In order to save the world at large from the wrath of Shiva he sat down to appease him. He sang praises of Shiva and pleaded with him to have mercy. Shiv was pacified but his anger had entered the Vajra, which he flung away.

The hot vajra, representing the wrath of Shiva fell into the ocean, (Saagar), and the ocean began to boil. Indra then ordered a heavy downpour of rain. The vajra transformed itself into a boy, and the new born boy started wailing loudly. His loud wails were heard all over in the three loks. Brahma inquired as to whose child this was. Saagar quickly gave the child to Brahma. The child, in the lap of Brahma pulled so hard at his beard that tears came to Brahmas eyes. Since his eyes had watered, he named the child Jal-andhar. Because the child was born of Shivas anger he stated that only Shiva can kill the child. Saagar was the worldly father of the child. Since the boy was very strong and no one could tend him in his infancy, Brahma transformed Jalandhar from boyhood to youth.

Shukracharya, the guru of the asuras, recognized that Jalandhar was very powerful indeed. He crowned him the king of the asuras. Brahma ordered Shukracharya to wed Jalandhar with Tulsi, the daughter of Kalnemi. Tulsi was a very pious lady and an ideal wife. Because of her purity and chastity, Jalandhar was unconquerable.

As time passed, the asuras and the daityas became very strong under the able leadership of Jalandhar. In general, there was an increase of evil among the people. On seeing the headless Rahu, Jalandhar was perplexed and perturbed and asked Guru Shukracharya, the reason for Rahus condition. Then Shukracharya narrated the incidents of Samudra Manthan. Rahu had masqueraded as a devata and partook of the amrit. But even as the nectar reached his throat, Surya and Chandrama told Vishnu about Rahu, and Vishnu beheaded him with his chakra. To Jalandhar, the devatas stealing away the nectar and jewels appeared as the ultimate insult to the daityas. He decided to get the jewels back from the devatas. Jalandhar sent his emissary by the name of Ghasmar to Indra. Boldly, nay rudely, the emissary entered Indras sabha. Without showing even common courtesy to the members he announced : the devatas should return the precious jewels of samudra manthan or else..

Indra was taken aback. Fear and surprise gripped him. How could Saagar, whose loyalty to the devatas was above board, demand such a thing? After all, the devatas had only taken the jewels, they could have taken away all the evil powers of the asuras and daityas, but they did not. Indra told the emissary Ghasmar that the claim of the devatas over the jewels was rightful and that the jewels will not be returned to Saagar or Jalandhar. Jalandhar seethed with rage when the emissary returned with the details of the events at Indras sabhagraha. Jalandhar gathered all the asuras and the daityas, appointed Shumbh and Nishumbh as the commanders and declared war with the devatas. There was a prolonged battle and both sides incurred heavy casualties. The asuras planned another strategy. The Dronachal parvat was famous for the medicinal plant that grew on it. The daityas thought that if this mountain could be thrown away then the devatas would be cornered. Sure enough, all the asuras got together and flung the Dronachal Parvat into the ocean. All the devatas fled and took shelter in the caves and crevices of the Sumeru parvat. Jalandhars victory was imminent. Guru Brihaspati, and the devatas who were hiding in the mountains then pleaded with Lord Vishnu, for succour from Jalandhar.

Vishnu decided to take immediate action, climbed his vehicle, Garuda, and set forth to the place of battle. But before leaving, Lakshmi intervened, Since Jalandhar is born of samudra, he is my brother. So, please do not kill him.

When Jalandhar saw Vishnu coming to the battleground he entered into a duel with Lord Vishnu. They first fought with arms, and then continued the combat without arms. The duel raged on without any result. Vishnu, too, admitted the prowess of Jalandhar. Then Vishnu told Jalandhar about his relationship with Lakshmi they are both born of Saagar and hence are siblings. Jalandhar, acknowledging the relationship, invited Vishnu and Lakshmi to stay in his palace. Meanwhile, he replaced all devatas' appointments with asuras. He confiscated all the wealth of the devatas, kinnars, gandharvas, yakshas etc. He was now the supreme ruler of all the loks.

Narad looking for Vishnu, visited Jalandhar's city. Jalandhar was extremely happy to play host to Narad. He told Jalandhar that his kingdom was no less than that of Kailash with the sole exception that Ma Parvati was with Shiva. Jalandhar then decided to steal Parvati from Shiva. Jalandhar sent Rahu to Kailash with a message for Shiva that he, the ash smeared yogi, with unkempt locks, wearing a garland of skulls, is not a befitting consort for the beautiful Parvati. Therefore, he should send Parvati to Jalandhar who is the king of all the three lokas. The moment Rahu concluded his speech, a very angry Shiva created a dangerous, horrifying human being from his eyebrows. The fearsome human had a face like a lion's, red eyes, and hair like sharp spikes. This organism decided to eat the headless Rahu. Rahu got scared and pleaded with Shiva to spare him he was a Brahmin and only an emissary of Jalandhar. Shiva caught hold of Rahu and hurled him in the sky and he careened into the earth. When Jalandhar heard of the fate of his emissary he was enraged. He gathered together the huge army of daityas and led them to battle. There were many bad omens when he left his palace but he was determined to fight Shiva.

Meanwhile, Shiva called for Vishnu and asked him why he had not killed Jalandhar. Further, he admonished Vishnu for residing with Lakshmi in the palace of Jalandhar. Vishnu explained the details of the birth of Jalandhar and that his death was ordained in the hands of Shiva. Both Shiva and Vishnu understood that the pious Tulsis devotion to her husband was giving Jalandhar unfailing strength. There was a need to do something about it. By this time Jalandhar with his huge army had reached the gates of Kailash. There was pitched battle among the devatas and daityaas. Whenever the devatas killed the daityas, Guru Shukracharya would restore them to life. Then, Shiva produced a fearsome girl from his mouth. She was Taaljangha. She took away Shukracharya and disappeared. The disappointed daityas started retreating. Then, Jalandhar played a trick. With his maya he created gandharvas and apsaras who started dancing. Shiva quickly forgave him and joined the dancers. This was just what Jalandhar had wanted. While Shiva was dancing, Jalandhar rushed to the side of Parvati with the intention of stealing her and making her his own. But Parvati, anticipating his evil plan, had turned invisible. Parvati called for Vishnu and expressed her anguish over the incident. Vishnu then decided to use the same trick on Jalandhar.

Tulsi was very worried about Jalandhar. She had ominous dreams portending disaster. While she was searching for Jalandhar in the forests, Vishnu took the form of Jalandhar, and stayed with the unsuspecting Tulsi. She believed him but later realized that this Jalandhar did not have the evil qualities that were so conspicuous in her husband. Since she had been deceived, she cursed Vishnu to become a stone and always stay at her feet. Vishnu accepted the curse but exhorted Tulsi to see that while her husband was spreading evil, she, in the capacity of a wife did not stop him. Thus, she became an accomplice. He then cursed Tulsi to become a plant. In sheer guilt, realizing the misdeeds of her husband, Tulsi died and fell at the feet of Parvati in atonement of her husbands sins. With the death of Tulsi, Jalandhar was no longer invincible.

Meanwhile, Jalandhar played yet another trick on Shiva. He created another Parvati and started attacking her. Shiva was surprised and troubled. Vishnu then apprised him of the creation of the false Parvati. Jalandhars strength in any case was receding owing to the death of Tulsi. During the combat, Shiva killed Jalandhar.

When Tulsi died, Vishnu sat gloomily with her ashes, still admiring her. The devatas then approached Yogmaya to address the problem and bring some cheer and normalcy to Vishnu. She gave the devatas three seeds and asked them to sow the seeds where Vishnu was seated. Three plants grew from them -- Malti, Aanwla and Tulsi. While Aanwla and Tulsi are used for the worship of Vishnu, Malti is prohibited. The curse of Tulsi and Vishnu had taken effect Vishnu is worshipped in the form of a stone (Shaligram) and the great, chaste Tulsi has become the plant vrinda (tulsi) with remarkable qualities. The worship of Vishnu is not complete without Tulsi leaves. Tulsi has been given the greatest honour as Vishnu, in the avatar of Krishna, played and frolicked in Vrindavan.

Puja is offered in all pious houses by watering the plant in the morning and lighting a diya in the evening. Tulsi Vivah is celebrated on the Kartik Shukla dwadashi. While Jalandhar is remembered as a daitya, Tulsi attained immortality.


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