Story of Vaayu, the Wind God
The Ruling Deity of Swati Nakshatra
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
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
the Wind-god but not prepared for such a demand from him. They
laughed and said:
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
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
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
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)