Thursday, 23 June 2011

BANASURA: THE DEVOTEE OF LORD SHIVA

BANASURA: THE DEVOTEE OF LORD SHIVA

The most benevolent king Bali, who had donated the whole earth to Lord Vishnu, disguised as a dwarf, had hundred sons. Banasura was his eldest son. He was intelligent, generous, and truthful and was respected for his qualities. He was also a great devotee of Lord Shiva.

Banasura had his capital at 'Shonitpur' near Kedarnath in the Himalayan region. He had thousand hands. He did penance for thousands of years. While Lord Shiva performed his famous 'Tandav Nritya', he used to play the 'mridanga' with his thousand hands. Pleased by his devotion, Lord Shiva asked him to demand any boon. Banasura replied: "O Lord! Just as Lord Vishnu protects my father, similarly I too am desirous of having you as my protector."

Lord Shiva agreed and said: " So be it." Banasura with the boon became arrogant of his thousand hands. He was constantly in search of a warrior with whom he could fight. The great warriors used to run away on seeing Banasura. The deities became frightened and 'Indra' accepted his defeat. There was no one in all the 3 worlds that could defeat him. All these things made Banasura very proud. Banasura went to Lord Shiva and said: " God! My hands have become like a useless weight, because there is no one with whom I can fight with these hands. What do I do? How do I pacify these hands which are always itching for a fight?" Lord Shiva, the supreme benedictor of his devotees listened to the arrogant statements of Banasura. He gave a flag to him and said that the day, this flag falls on the ground on its own, you must understand that someone more powerful than you have arrived. Banasura returned with that flag to his capital happily.

Banasura had a sixteen year old daughter named Usha.Once she saw Aniruddha, the grandson of Lord Krishna in her dreams. She became enchanted by his handsome looks. She had a friend, whose name was Chitralekha who was very proficient in paintings and had divine powers capable of flying in the sky.

When Usha told Chitralekha about her dreams, she started to draw a portrait of that person which Usha had seen in her dreams. Usha recognized the face of Aniruddha as soon as the portrait was complete and said : " This is the man whom I saw in my dreams."

Chitralekha then flew away and brought the sleeping Aniruddha and kept him in Usha's palace. Aniruddha remained in her palace for many days and one day Banasura happened to see him. He became angry and put Aniruddha in prison. Incidently, Narad, who has the knowledge of all the happenings in all the fourteen 'bhuvans'(worlds), came to know about this and he gave news to Lord Krishna and all the other Yadavas at Dwarkapuri.
Lord Krishna attacked Shonitpur with his large army. A battle was fought between Banasura and Lord Krishna. Unable to fight Lord Krishna, Banasura sought the help of Lord Shiva.
A great battle was fought between Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna. The battle remained indecisive because both were the part of the same divinity. Their fight was only due to the love for their respective devotees. Ultimately, both of them agreed upon a cease-fire. Lord Shiva said to Lord Krishna : "Lord! Who can defeat you. Banasura is my devotee and is very dear to me. Do a favour by forgiving him."
Lord Krishna said : " On one hand he is your devotee and on the other, he is the great grandson of Prahlad. I have taken a vow, not to kill any descendant of Prahlad, so I won't kill him but simply severe his thousand hands which are like a useless weight to him, leaving only four of them. From today onwards, he would be your chief courtier and would become immortal."
Saying this, Lord Krishna forgave Banasura and spared his life. Thus, Banasura became immortal.

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