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Vaayu or the Wind-god is one of the five main elements that originate at the beginning of the manifest universe and that form the basis of all subsequent creation. During the phase of annihilation, there is only water. Since there is no wind at that time, there is no stir in the massive body of water. In the womb of that body of water lies the manifest universe in a subtle form.
When the phase of manifestation tends to begin, Lord Narayana, otherwise in a state of somnolence inside the Water, creates turbulence therein so that waves begin to rise and fall. With the formation of waves, a subtle space is created which expands into Aakaasha or ether. From the Aakaasha arises wind or Vaayu which creates massive turbulence in the water. The turbulence generates heat and gives rise to Agni, the Fire-god. The Fire burns up water and causes further expansion of the Aakaasha. The Jala (water), Vaayu (wind), Agni (fire), Aakaasha (ether) and Prithvi (the earth) compise the five original elements which are the precursors of the manifest universe. It is said that Vaayu or the Wind-god represents the breath of the eternal, infinite Lord. He controls the North West direction and his abode is known as Gandhavati.
Love of Vaayu
King Kusha-Naabha was a highly virtuous king. He married the Apsara named Ghritaachi, a heavenly damsel of unparalleled beauty. From her, he begot a hundred daughters, each one lovelier than the other. As years went by, the onset of youth only enhanced their grace further. They would dress elegantly, wander playfully in the midst of flowering plants, and spend their time merrily in song, dance and music. The world over, these daughters of the saintly Kusha-Naabha were known for their matchless beauty.
Once it so happened that lord Vaayu saw these princesses in all their grace and youthfulness. He was at once aroused with carnal desire towards them and said, O lovely ones! I want to have you as my wives. May you then give up your human nature and accept me as your godly husband. Having once become my wives, you would attain long life and lasting youthfulness.
Young age does not last too long for the earthlings. It constantly slips away with time. Once in godly fold, you would attain deathlessness and a never-fading youth.
The young girls were taken aback. They were aware
of the might of
O best of the gods! You pervade this whole existence in the form of Prana. Therefore, you also permeate the living creatures on this earth. You certainly know the mind of everyone. Are you then not aware of what is in our minds? All of us sisters are aware of your immeasurable might but have no inclination to be your wives. Knowing this, you have only insulted us by your proposal.
The girls further went on, Lord! We are the daughters of the saintly king Kusha-Naabha. We possess the strength of our austerities to curse even you, a god, though we would not like to thus waste our hard earned merit. O exalted one! May there never arise a situation when, driven by lust and unrighteousness, we defy our virtuous father and go out to choose our own spouse. Our father is our lord and the most venerable for us. We shall accept as our husband any one whom our father deems worthy for us.
Lord Vaayu was incensed at the summary rejection of his proposal. He would not be slighted without reprisal. He, therefore, entered into the bodies of those beautiful maidens and twisted their limbs. Distorted and hunched, they felt distressed and returned home.
Seeing them in anguish, the king was highly perturbed. He called them to his presence and asked them the reason for their miserable plight.
The physically distorted daughters narrated the whole incidence to their father.
The all-pervading Vaayu-deva had ill intentions on us and wanted to physically violate us. He had forsaken the path of Dharma, O father. We told him: Lord! We are not free to decide on such matters. Go to our father and ask for our hands. We shall accept you if our father so desires.
But his mind was fixed on sin. While we were thus talking to him according to our Dharma, he inflicted this injury upon us and so we suffer undeservingly.
The wise king offered them solace: Dear ones! Only the highly disciplined ones can exercise the forgiveness that you have granted to Vaayu-deva. Resisting physical temptation, you have saved the honour and dignity of this family, an extremely worthy action indeed. Be one a man or a woman, the quality of forgiveness is like an ornament to ones character. Even gods would find it hard to match this quality of yours.
Daughters dear, the king continued, forgiveness is the greatest charity, the greatest truth, the greatest sacrifice, the greatest renown and the greatest Dharma. On forgiveness alone rests this whole manifestation.
The king then called his ministers and discussed the unfortunate situation with them. And they pondered over who should these luckless princesses be given in marriage to.
During those times, an austere sage named Chooli was engaged in rigorous penances, following strict vow of celibacy. He was being looked after by Somadaa, a Gandharva maiden, who served the sage with great devotion. She would take care of all the needs of the sage who was highly satisfied with her selfless service. After some time, the sage said to the young maiden, Dear one, may you be blessed! I am very satisfied with you. Pray tell me what I should grant you as a boon.
Somadaa was delighted. She said to the exalted sage, O great one! You have attained oneness with the Lord Eternal. I desire to acquire a virtuous and worthy son, O sage. However, I do not have a husband, nor do I wish to have one in future. I have come to serve you. I want to conceive a son arising out of your austerities, not through physical contact.
The sage granted the boon to the devoted Somadaa. This son of his, granted to her through his mental energy, was named as Brahmadatta.
The king Kusha-Naabha came to know of the effulgence of Brahmadatta and decided to hand over his hundred daughters to him in marriage. Brahmadatta gracefully accepted the offer. After marriage, the very first touch of Brahmadatta relieved the distorted princesses of all their painful disabilities and they became healthful and lovely once again.
Vaasuki and Vaayudeva: A Trial of Strength
Vaasuki is the powerful serpent king. In times of yore, when the gods and the demons churned the ocean of milk for Amrita, the death-defying elixir, this mighty serpent was used as a string around the massive Mandarachala mountain to effect the churning process. Vaasuki was strong enough to withstand the alternate pulls from the demons on the head end and the gods on the tail end.
It was this valiant Vaasuki and the matchless Vaayu-deva that once went into argument about who was the more powerful of the two. The quarrel led to a trial of strength between the two. The serpent Vaasuki went to the Meru mountain in the north and wrapped himself around it so-tightly that even Vaayu could not enter the area. This enraged Vaayu-deva, the Wind-god, who broke into a cyclone and started shaking the whole world. But however much Vaayu-deva tried, he could not loosen the grip of Vaasuki around the Meru mountain. The great Meru shook around but Vaasuki remained unaffected.
Vaayu-deva applied more and more force so that the cyclone became more and more vigorous. The whole world trembled as the two powerful rivals continued their combat. Even the gods were frightened. They, along with lord Shiva and lord Brahma, went to lord Vishnu and requested Him to help stop the potentially dangerous combat. Lord Vishnu advised both Vaasuki and Vaayu to stop their quarrel without further delay.
Responding to lord Vishnus bidding, Vaasuki slightly loosened his hold on one side of the Meru where the mountain Trikoota was located. Immediately, Vaayu entered there and broke off the Trikoota from the rest of the Meru and its associated mountains. Vaayu-deva took away the Trikoota and dropped it into the ocean in the south.
The Trikoota lies in the Indian ocean. The divine architect Vishwakarma built the beautiful city of Lankaa on top of this mountain. Kubera, the god of wealth once ruled from Lankaa. Later, the demon king Raavana established his kingdom there. It was the wicked Raavana who abducted Sita, the divine spouse of Lord Raama, and met his end at the hands of Lord Raama.
(To be continued)