U-zZ4m1JqvFJIQt2G-tyy-Cj5VI TELUGU PADMASALI Blog: February 2009


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Markandeya Avtar

Markandeya Avtar:

Saint Markandeya is believed to be the immortal incarnation. He is associated with Lord Shiva. There goes a legend that when Markandeya was about 12 yrs old, the family was aware that his death was near. This so happened that the couple (father & mother of Markandeya) got their son with special blessings but at the time of birth they were told that the child would face death at the age of 12 years. Parents asked the child to touch the feet of every passer-by at a crossing of Kashi Nagari. While the child was doing so, Saptrishis happened to pass the crossing. On touching the feet of the rishis, one of the Rishis blessed him that he would live long but saw the death standing in front. The Rishis ordered the child to enter the Shiva temple of Kashi and continuously chant the Mantra ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. At the scheduled time, the lord of death, Lord Yama came riding a black-buffalo with a black rope in his hand. The child seeing this horrible scene was frightened and he embraced the Shiva Ling tightly chanting the mantra ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ at a very high pitch of his voice. It was a time for miracle to strike. Lord Shiva with his Trident appeared and challenged the Yama, asserting that the child is under his escorts and so the Yama quipped nothing and returned. This child was later known as Markandeya Rishi. Since Lord Shiva gave him the blessing of immortality, he is still considered as immortal entity.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Markandeya Rishi History


Markandeya is an ancient rishi (sage) from the Hindu tradition, born in the clan of Brigu Rishi. He is celebrated as a devotee of both Shiva and Vishnu and is mentioned in a number of stories from the Puranas. The Markandeya Purana especially, comprises a dialogue between Markandeya and a sage called Jaimini and a number of chapters in the Bhagavata Purana are dedicated to his conversations and prayers.[1] He is also mentioned in the Mahabharata.[2] Markandeya is venerated within Vaishnava, Shaivite and Shakta traditions.

Rescued by Lord Shiva

One legend relates the story of how Shiva protected Markandeya from the clutches of death. (Yama)

Mrikandu rishi and his wife Marudmati worshipped Shiva and sought from him the boon of begetting a son. As a result he was given the choice of either a gifted son, but with a short life on earth or a child of low intelligence but with a long life. Mrikandu rishi chose the former, and was blessed with Markandeya, an exemplary son, destined to die at the age of 16.

Markandeya grew up to be a great devotee of Shiva and on the day of his destined death he continued his worship of Shiva in his form of Shivalingam. The messengers of Yama, the god of death were unable to take away his life because of his great devotion and continual worship of Shiva. Yama then came himself in person to take Markandeya's life away and sprung his noose around the young sage's neck. By accident of fate the noose mistakenly landed around the Shivalingam, and out of it, Shiva emerged in all his fury attacking Yama for his act of aggression. After defeating Yama in battle to the point of death, Shiva then revived him, under the condition that the devout youth would live forever. For this act, Shiva was thereafter known also as Kaalakalaya, meaning 'one who brought death, to death himself'.

Thus Maha Mrityunjaya Stotra is also attributed to Markandeya, [3] and this legend of Shiva conquering death is inscribed in metal and worshiped at Tirukkadavur in Tamilnadu, India.[4] A similar account is also given in Narasimha Purana, although in that version Markandeya is rescued by Vishnu after he recites the Mrityunjaya Stotra.[5]

Eternal life

Another story which deals with Markandeya's long life gives an account of how he lived past the death of the previous world and watched it end.

Bhagavata Purana

Markandeya prays to Vishnu

A tale from the Bhagavata Purana states that when the earth was about to be engulfed by water, Markandeya prayed to Vishnu to rescue him. Vishnu appeared in the form of a child floating on a leaf, and declared to the sage that he was Time and Death. He requested the sage to enter into his mouth and save himself from the surging water. Inside the boy's stomach Markandeya discovered all the worlds, the seven regions and the seven oceans. The mountains and the kingdoms were all there. So were all living beings. Markandeya did not know what to make of all this. He started to pray to Vishnu. No sooner than he had started, he came out of the boy's mouth. Vishnu now appeared before him and blessed him. The sage spent a thousand years with Vishnu.

Markandeya Purana

The Devi Mahatyam section of the Markandeya Purana is one of the most important texts of Shakti tradition.


What is the difference between Padmashalis and Brahmins apart from their work?

Padmashalis are non-vegetarians

Most of the Padmashalis except Pattusalis of Srikakulam are non-vegetarians. Padmashalis either do business or get employed or do their traditional occupation-weaving and they dont do chapliance whereas brahmins do chapliance and other Veda-related jobs. Padmashali is a backward community while brahmins are socially advanced.

Brahmins themselves are not a homogenous group culturally throughout India. A good number of brahmins throughout the east coast from Orissa to Bengal and Assam are avid fish eaters. All brahmins are not engaged in chapliance. As for chapliance, with many reformers having meddled with the vedic Hinduism, in some areas that duty is given even to Dasaris (a scheduled caste dalit) in andhra Pradesh, especially in Vaishnavaite worship; and among shivite worshippers, there are Jangams who do the chapliance work for Lingayats (Veerashaivas) who do not believe in the suprimacy of the Brahmins, and the class of Veerashaivas was born by intermarriage between Brahmins and Dalits, infact between all castes, in order to bring out a casteless society and to annihilate Brahminical hegemony.

As per Vedic Hinduism, Brahmin has to achieve Brahminism by his deeds and therefore a Brahmin is to be "Twice born", that is to be born first by a biological birth and then a "second birth by spiritual attainment". Attainment of this "Brahminical" status was open to any one from any caste and class. Similarly, having achieved Brahminical status, one may face downgradation by a subsequent ill deed.

The cases of Vishwamithra and Valmiki are the proper examples. Vasishta the most revered sage in Hinduism was born to celestial prostitute and he married a Dalit woman "Arundhathi". All brahmins who claim Vasishta gothra carry half of the genes from a Dalit woman ancestor.

Any one who resorted to manual work and a profession related to manufacture and trade was treated as Vaishya or shoodra. Similarly Padmasalis fall in one of the two. Upper caste or Forward caste have nothing to do with the classification of the four Varnas of Hindu hiearchy. Kammas and Reddys are from the Forward or upper castes but they are "Shoodras" with in the definition of the Hindu varnas.

One aspect that differentiates Padmasalis from the "shoodra" classification is they alone wear the "Janiv or Yajnopaveetha" among all other non-brahminical castes with one exception of "Vishwakarmas". Except for the Brahmins, the other varnas are not very distinctly categorised in the Southern India. Thus Padmasalis fall between the brahmins and other Aryan castes, they follow a mix of Dravidian and Aryan rituals / food habits, suggesting Aryan origine and intermixture with the Dravidians. All Padmasalis claim Rishi gothras of 101 rishi "santhathi" who were taken on adoption by the sage Bhavana Rishi, who himself was taken on adoption by Rishi Markandeya. All Padmasalis originated from Satavahana empire and their mother tongue remains Telugu, except for a few migrants who had taken longer and numerous stages of migration such as the Shettigars of Dakshina Kannada. Most Padmashalis in Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Chatttisgadh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa speak Telugu as mother tongue. Devangas are reported to have branched off from Padmasalis due to a dispute between two groups on issues of worship of goddess Chaudeshwari, and ever since that dispute the two have become rivals, thus one of them do not reside where the other reside, and while most Padmasalis practice Vaishnavism, almost all Devangas are saivites.