Ennapadam Bhagavati

Bhagavathi at Ennapadam Temple at Kerala

Monday, March 28, 2011



Hanuman Prasad Poddar (1892-1971)

The Punyatithi of Nityalilalina Bhaiji Hanuman Prasadji Poddar falls on 29-3-2011 (Tuesday).  Endearingly called as Bhaiji by millions of his devotees throughout the world, he was a sparkling and multi-faceted personality. As the Founder-Editor of the internationally famous Hindu religious Magazine called ‘KALYAN’, he was known for his untiring efforts to propagate and disseminate Hindu religion across the world. He was a prolific author on Hindu religion and Sanatana Dharma. He was also a great freedom fighter who worked in close touch with the extremists and armed revolutionaries of Bengal between 1913 and 1920. the Government of India issued a postage stamp in his honour in 1992.

 Stamp Issue Date : 19/09/1992
Postage Stamp Denomination : 1.00
Postal Stamp Serial Number : 1515
Stamp Currency :P
Stamp Language : English 

Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar was one of the luminaries of the national resurgence and spiritual renaissance that swept the country in the early part of the 20th century. Shri Poddar was born on 17th September, 1892 at Shillong in a Vaishnava family. He had very little formal schooling, but due to his dedication and self effort he attained mastery over half a dozen languages. Like many of his contemporaries, he began his early life as a revolutionary, determined to overthrow the British and free his motherland Because of his close association with young revolutionaries of Bengal, he was imprisoned and put under house arrest for 21 months, which proved to be turning point in his life. He undertook to edit the spiritual Hindi magazine ‘Kalayan’ in 1927. Starting with a circulation of 1600 copies in 1927, today it has a circulation of more than 300,000 copies. Under the advice of Mahatmaji, ‘Kalyan’ magazine had no columns for book reviews, criticism and commercial advertisements. On account of Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar’s unique spiritual zeal, inspiring leadership and organising capacity, the Hindi magazine ‘Kalyan’ became a force for the propagation and dissemination of Hindu Scriptures and Sanatana Dharma.

Shri. Hanuman Prasad Poddar also published and edited KALYANA – KALPATARU’ IN ENGLISH FROM 1934 and this Journal still continues to be in publication and large scale circulation. Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddar dedicated his whole life from 1927 to the sacred and lofty cause of propagation of Hindu Scriptures such as the Baghvad Gita, Mahabharata, Ramayana, the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Puranas through the large scale publication of books in Hindi and other major Indian languages like Marathi, Gujrati, Bengali, Oriya, Telegu, Kannada, Tamil to the common people at affordable prices. The Ramayan, the Geeta and the Upnishads were published by him in the original Sanskrit text with a rendering of the Hindi translation or in any other major Indian language thus making them all available to the common man at affordable prices. Millions of copies of these inspirational spiritual books and fountainheads of ancient knowledge and wisdom were thus distributed from Himalayas to Kanyakumari and from Ran of Kutch to the Bay of Bengal.

The Hindi Journal  Kalyan, the English Journal Kalyan Kalpataru and all the other sacred books like the Bhagavat Geeta, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana in Hindi and allthe major Indian Languages were published by the GITA PRESS IN GORAKHPUR. 


The GITA PRESS in GORAKHPUR city in Uttar Pradesh State was founded by SETH JAYADAYAL GOYANDKA (1885-1965) on April 29, 1923 for promoting the principles of Sanatana Dharma. It was started as a unit of Gobind Bhawan Karyalaya registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (presently governed by the West Bengal Societies Act, 1960). Five months later it acquired its first printing machine for Rs 600. The Gita Press is one of the world's largest publishers of Hindu religious texts. Since its establishment, the Gita Press has published 63.4 million (6.34 crore) copies of the Gita (in different editions) and 64.9 million (6.49 crore) copies of the Ramcharitamanas, at subsidized prices throughout India and the world.

Shri. Hanuman Prasad Poddar and SETH JAYADAYAL GOYANDKA were great personal friends. Shri. Hanuman Prasad Poddar became editor of the Hindi Journal ‘Kalyan’ in 1927 and remained as its editor till his death in 1971. The close association between these two spiritual giants from 1927 till SETH JAYADAYAL GOYANDKA’s death in 1965 really made great history in the field of large-scale publication of sacred books on Hindu religion and Sanatana Dharma.

The Gita Press in Gorakhpur


Gita Press Gate, with its pillars inspired by the cave temples of Ellora, the gopuram inspired by Meenakshi temple, Madurai

In the Gita Press in Gorakhpur, each day starts with a morning prayer. A person roams around throughout the day to remind the name of God to each worker several times. Over the years, the Gita Press, as a great National Institution has made available more than 450 million copies of the Gita, Ramayan, Bhagvat, Durga Saptashati, Puranas, Upanishads, Bhakta-Gathas, and other character-building books in Sanskrit, Hindi, English, Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi, Bangla, Oriya, Telugu, Kannada, and other Indian regional languages.

I am presenting below the front cover of the Sacred Sundara Kandh published by Gita Press, Gorakhpur.

Now let me come back to describe the multi-dimensional greatness of Shri NITYALILALINA BHAIJI HANUMAN PRASAD JI PODDAR as a Saint, Sage, Seer and Spiritual Thinker. He was in the true, long and unbroken tradition of the great Saints and Sages of Ancient India. He was a Bhakti Maargi who was a great Devotee of Lord Krishna. He wrote thousands of poems (pad) in Hindi under the title Pad Ratnakar published by the Geeta Press in Gorakhpur.

NITYALILALINA BHAIJI HANUMAN PRASAD JI PODDAR wrote Shodash Geet, on the love of Lord Krishna and Radha. He was associated with a Saint, called RADHA BABA who lived with him.

Hanuman Prasad Poddar Ji and Radha Baba Ji

The Great Saint Shri Radha Baba of Gorakhpur never came into prominence during his lifetime. He earnestly believed that a Sanyasi should never publicise himself. Only those devotees who were closely associated with Saint Shri Hanuman Prasad Poddarji, who was popularly known as ‘Bhaiji’ came into close contact with Shri Radha Baba because he lived with Bhaiji in Gita Garden in Gorakhpur. Shri Radha Baba was a follower of Vedanta and a firm believer in intellectual Gyana Marga. But after his close association with Shri Bhaiji, Shri Radha Baba also became a Bhakti Margi and a staunch devotee of Lord Krishna. Shri.Radha Baba strictly followed the path of Braj Sadhana and worshipped Lord Krishna in the concept and tradition of Radha Bhava.

Though Hanuman Prasad Poddar Ji was never a self-proclaimed preceptor, yet millions flocked to meet him for spiritual counsel and guidance. With love, care and affectionate homilies as also with scholarly articles and books he brought about a sea-change in the minds of the millions who heard him and read him. In the sphere of social service, he was always in the forefront whether it was a flood, a drought a fire or an epidemic. He showed superhuman capacity for such relief operations by heading squads to take care of the affected and the afflicted.

Hanuman Prasad Poddar Ji set up a number of schools for the blind, the deaf, the dumb, the needy, the sick, the destitute and the lepers. In recognition of his services to the country, the Government of India has published his biography both in Hindi and English under the 'Builders of Modern India' series. Regarded as a rare saint among saints, he spent the latter half of his life totally immersed in spiritual pursuits along with his role as a leading social reformer, in addition to his role as a householder in the true tradition of King Janaka of Mithila.  Shri Poddar shed his mortal coil on March 22nd, 1971 and he will be remembered unto eternity for his selfless service to humanity.

In an article in Kalyan Kalpataru Hanuman Prasad Poddar Ji laid down 51 Rules in accordance with Sanatana Dharma for leading a selfless life marked by virtue and devotion. In this article he wrote as follows: “
1. Serve all, expect nothing
2. When a person needs anything which you possess, and you gladly give it to him without the desire of receiving any service from him in return, you do an act of service. The thing, however, must be such that its receipt does him good, and no injury.

 3. As far as possible, do not allow your service to be known; do not try to reveal it. If it gets revealed, feel yourself ashamed.

4. Do not feel proud by doing an act of service.  Do not seek anything from one whom you serve. Do not desire that he should feel obliged to you. Do not upset by his shortcomings. Do not feel irritated with  him, Do not censure him.

5. Do not advertise your service, and thus make the recipient of service uneasy about it. This will make him hesitate to accept your service in future. He will repent for having accepted your service, and thus the value of the service will be lost.

6. When an opportunity of service presents itself before you, do not wait for special time and special resources. Take up the service with whatever resources you may possess at the time.

7. Generally speaking, all creatures can claim our services, but service to elders, to aged men, to widows, to house holders suffering from poverty, to the humble and distressed, to persons suffering from disease, to creatures without any protectors, are matters of supreme dharma (duty). It should be considered a privilege when one gets an opportunity to serve such people.

8. Do not serve with a view to gain honour, position and worship.

9. Do not serve with the idea of making the person you serve your follower and disciple.

10. Renunciation is necessary for service, and for renunciation control of the senses. He whose senses are not under control can do no service.

11. Freeing the mind of all desire for wealth, honour and fame, to propagate pure spiritual ideas, rightness of conduct and universal love is a great service to people.

Surveying the saga of unsurpassed service and sacrifice of a sage like Hanuman Prasad Poddar Ji, who had an unshakable faith in the eternal relevance of Sanatana Dharma, thefollowing great spiritual poem titled
UNSHAKEBLE FAITH By Swami Ramdas comes to my mind:

Unshakable faith in God and His will:
Nothing short of this.
Take thorough refuge in Him.
Give up all fears,
all anxieties, all doubts,
all thoughts of weakness.
You have put yourself under the guidance and control
of an all-powerful being.
Let Him do what He pleases with you.
Give up I and mine. Make no plans.
Let nothing of the past or the future disturb you.
God is the sole doer and you are His child. His servant.
Your I and mine has no existence. It is all He, He alone.
Submit, resign, surrender yourself to Him.
Be always cheerful, be peaceful and blissful. In this state
 You will always remain. This is your goal.
God is always in you and you are always in Him.
He and you are one. This is the truth.

Monday, March 14, 2011



Tomorrow (15 March 2011, Tuesday), is the festival of Karadaiyar Nombu in Tamil Nadu. This festival is also celebrated in Andhra and Karnataka. Karadayar Nombu or Savitri Nombu is a time-honoured sacred Tamil observance in which a married woman prays for the well being and long life of her beloved husband. This day is observed on that particular day when the transition between the Tamil months of Maasi and Panguni takes place. Karadai Nombu Adai is the name of a unique nivedya (holy dish) prepared on this day. Nombu means Vratam or upvasam (fasting).

The historic legend relating to Savitri Nombu is quite fascinating. According to Hindu traditions, King Aswapati was the father of Savitri the famous princess of Madra. Savitri became the lover (and later, wife) of the famous Salwa prince Satyavan. Aswapati's wife belonged to a minor tribe known as Malava. She was known as Maalavi. The sons of Aswapati and Maalavi, later became the powerful Malava kings. They spread their kingdom as far as Avanti (Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh). Thus the royal line of Malavas originated from the Madra King Aswapati. Aswapati was the ruler of Madra Desa.

Map of Madra Desa, the birth place of Princess Savitri

Madra Desa.—The country of the Madras, mentioned in the Allahabad Pillar Inscription, roughly corresponds to the modern Sialkot and the surrounding regions between the Ravi and the Chenab rivers, presently in Pakistan. These areas of Madra Desa are all part of Akhand Bharat, our ancient Motherland.

Grammarian Panini refers to Madra in his Astaddhyayi (4.1.176, 4. 2.131, 4. 2.108). Patanjali also refers to it in his Mahabhashya {I, 1. 8, p. 345; 1. 3. 2, p. 619; 2. 1. 2, p. 40; 4. 2. 108). The capital was Sakala, 1 identified with Sialkot. Sakala or Sagala (Pali) was a great centre of trade and commerce in Ancient Bharat for several centuries. It was situated in the delightful Madra Desa or Madra country and it was well-watered and hilly. It contained many hundreds of alms-halls of various kinds. The old town of Sakala according to the Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang who visited India in the 7th century AD during the time of Harsha, was a large and sprawling town spread over an area of more than 20 sq miles. There was a monastery in Sakala with about 100 priests of the Hinayana school, and a stoopa to the north-west of the monastery, about 200 ft. high, was built by Samrat Asoka.

The people of Madra Desa were an ancient Ksatriya tribe of Vedic times. The Madra were a corporation of warriors and enjoyed the status of rajas. Sakala came under the sway of Alexander the Great, in 326 B.C. About 78 A.D., Menander (Pali: Milinda), a powerful Greek king, ruled at Sakala. According to the Milindapanha this king was converted to Buddhism. Even before Menander's time, Sakala seems to have come under Buddhist influence (see Mrs. Rhys Davids, Psalms of the Sisters, p. 48; Psalms of the Brethren, p. 359). In the fourth century A.D. the Madra paid taxes to Samudragupta. (For further details, see B. C. Law, Tribes in Ancient India, Cli, VII).


While Karadiyar Nombu in the South is celebrated at the beginning of the Tamil Month of Panguni (Phalgun in North) in the month of March, every year, Vat Savitri is celebrated in the Month of June in Northern India.

On Karadiyar Nombu day, married women fast and break the fast by eating the Karadai preparation with butter. The preparation is known as Karadai Nombu Adai - the festival Karadai takes its name from the unique Kara Adai dish. It is believed that Savitri cooked such a dish and offered it to the Lord along with unmelted butter as a sort of thanksgiving for sparing her husband’s life.

Another important ritual is the wearing of the Kaaradai nombu saradu, which is a yellow thread, around the neck.

The vrata on Karadiyar Nombu day or Vat Savitri day has been named after Savitri. Savitri was the beautiful daughter of King Aswapati of Madra Desa. She selected Satyawaan as her life's partner, a prince-in-exile who was living in the forest with his blind father King Dyumatsena of Salva. According to Mahabharata, Salva country was situated near Kurukshetra. The capital of Salva Desa was called Salvapura or Soubhaganagara.  Salva country probably occupied the area which was occupied by the Kingdom of Alwar in the 19th century. Princess Savitri left her father’s palace and lived with her husband and his parents in the forest. As a devoted wife and daughter in-law she displayed extraordinary devotion in taking care of all of them.

One day while cutting wood in the jungle Satyawaan suddenly felt giddy and he fell down from the tree and expired on the lap of his beloved wife, Savitri. Then appeared Yamraj, the God of Death to take away the soul of Satyavan from his body. Savitri, deeply grieved by her young husband’s sudden death, pleaded fervently with Yamraj that she should not be separated from her beloved husband. Yamraj, moved by the devotion of Savitri returned the life of her husband. Satyaban came to life again and both of them lived happily thereafter.

Customs and Rituals

All Hindu women observe this festival worshiping and propitiating Savitri as a Devi. On this day, early in the morning the women take a purificatory bath and wear new clothes, new bangles and apply vermilion on the fore-head. Then Goddess Savitri is worshiped. Wet pulses and rice, mango, jack fruit, lemon, banana and several other fruits are offered as Bhoga (offering). After observing fasting for the whole day they simply take the Bhoga. In the afternoon when all formalities of worship are over, they offer their obeisance to their respective husbands and elderly people in the family.

Vat vriksh (Banyan Tree)

Women gather together at the nearby banyan trees and they tie red threads around the banyan tree and pray for the long life of their husbands. Women also offer fruits and flowers to the banyan tree on this day.

Observance of Vat Savitri Rituals Around the Banyan Tree

Hindu Women also read “Savatri Katha” in the evening and do ritual worship (puja) to Goddess Savitri.

Thus concludes the Sacred Legend of Maha Saadhvi Savitri:

Tasmaad Saadhwyaha Striyah Pujyaah Satatam,
Taasaamtu vakyam bhavateeha midhya na jaatu lokeshu charachareshu/
Tasmaat sadaa taah pari pujaneeyaah, Kaamaan Samagraanabhi kaamayaanaih/

Women of High Virtue ought to be honoured since the Three Lokas are preserved due to their Grace. The voices of Pativratas like Savitri should never be ignored as they are worthy of veneration.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011




Today 9th March 2011 is the holy birth anniversary (Jayanthi) of Saint Yajnavalkya The Jayanthi of Yajnavalkya in Phalgun month (March) is widely celebrated in different parts of Northern India. . In South India however, Yajnavalkya Jayanthi is observed in the month of Kartik (October – November).
Sage Yajnavalkya is also known as Vajasaneya Devarata. This great saint has been immortalised in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. This Upanishad is the longest --- the name means ‘Great Forest-Book’ --- the most famous, and one of the oldest of the Upanishads. In it is found, among many other valuable passages, the famous discourse between the great philosopher Sage Yajnavalkya --- perhaps the greatest of the Upanishadic sages --- and his wife Maitreyi. It is in this discourse that we find one of the best expressions of the philosophical idealism of the Upanishads. Nowhere else is the notion of the transcendental Atman as Universal and undifferentiated consciousness better portrayed. It is this Upanishad which has made famous the doctrine of “Neti”, “Neti (“not this”, “not this), the mystical doctrine of the indescribability of the Absolute.
Sage Yajnavalkya whose is famous for his teachings in the Upanishads and the Yagnavalkya Smriti and Samhita. Some historians are of the view that the great Saint Yajnavalkya was born in Mithila on the Phalgun Shukla Panchami day in 3230 BC. He was the son of Brahmrath and Sunanda. Brahmrath was a great scholar of Vedas and Sastras.
Even as a child Yagnavalkya was precocious and showed early signs of the divine spark in him. His parents decided that he should learn all the four Vedas under four respected gurus. After completion of studies of Rig Veda under the Bashkala Rishi he studied Sama Veda under Jaimini Rishi, Yajur Veda from Vaisampayana Rishi who was also the brother of his mother Sunanda and hence his uncle and Atharva Veda from Aruni Rishi. In due time Veda Vyasa himself, in deference to the wishes of Brahma Ratha, gave Yagnavalkya further training in the Rig Veda and other Vedas. It was Veda Vyasa who instructed his own direct disciple Vaisampayana, the uncle of Yagnavalkya to teach Yajur Veda.
Vaisampayana, son of Sakala (maternal grand father of Yagnavalkya) and hence called Sakalya Vaisampayana was then running a Vedic gurukulam i.e., a school in his ashram in Vardhamanapura, through the munificence of King Supriya, belonging to the solar dynasty who was then ruling the kingdom. Vaisamapayana was also the principal purohit of King Supriya. In those good old days the kind and crown received purohits and priests with due respect, honour and regard. The kind appointed purohits as their gurus and teachers in their courts and looked up to them for sound advise in all matters in the best interest of the state. Sakalya Vaisampayana was considered as one of his chief counselors and shown reverential respect by King Supriya. Sakalya was acclaimed as the most proficient in the matter of performing yagnas and also efficient in teaching the Yajur Veda. Because of his renown as a teacher and guru, he was also known as Verandah Sakalya.

Vaisampayana had 365 pupils in all under him in his gurukula. Yagnavalkya was a prodigy and was also endowed with a handsome figure and majestic personality and being an aspect of Maha Vishnu, Yagnavalkya had a regal bearing. By his deportment and decorum Yagnavalkya endeared himself to every one. Yagnavalkya was not only an intelligent sishya but also an industrious student with a good deal of application for study of the Vedas and Sastras. Vaisampayana found Yagnavalkya learning and grasping the Yajur Veda faster and more rapidly than all his other disciples. Vaisampayana felt very happy indeed with his nephew’s speedy progress that he completed his entire adhyayana of the entire Yajur Veda in double quick time, as he was a discerning vidyarthi going into the root of the Veda Mantras, Samhitas and Sastras. In due process of time, Yagnavalkya attained perfect proficiency and complete knowledge of the Yajur Veda. With his earlier training in other Vedas and Sastras, Yagnavalkya’s prowess and scholarship came to be noticed by all. His co-pupils rightly considered Yagnavalkya as the monitor of the class. 

Yagnavalkya, because of his proficiency, began to assist Vaisampayana in the conduct of yagnas and this made him a master of the practical applications of Yajur Veda in the performance of sacrifices. His inherent knowledge, scholarly erudition and supreme command of the intricacies of the Yajur Veda began to be noticed and appreciated. Vaisampayana inwardly felt proud of his nephew for his masterly scholarship and profound knowledge of the Vedas and Sastras and his methodical and rational approach in the carrying out yagnas. But on certain occasion, minor differences in practice and procedure relating to the execution of yagnas arose between the guru and sishya. Whenever Vaisampayana questioned Yagnavalkya about them, Yagnavalkya quoted chapter and verse from the Vedic authorities and sanctions to justify his point of view. Because of this the initial feeling of admiration and praise for his nephew slowly gave place to some sort of reservations in the mind of Vaisampayana that Yagnavalkya was often over reaching his position. This slowly led to a certain amount of serious differences between Vaisampayana and Yagnavalkya on several occasions, which resulted in a good deal of divergence in the procedural practices in the performance of yagnas leading to a conflict of views between the guru and sishya.

Sage Yagnavalkya was a master in performing Yagnas and hence was called Yagnavalkya. It was Sage Yagnavalkya who officiated as one of the Hortis at the great Rajasuya of Yudhishtira.
Sage Yagnavalkya had two wives - Maitreyi and Katyayani. When Yagnavalkya desired to divide his property between the two before taking up his Sanyas, Maitreyi asked her husband whether she could become immortal through wealth. Sage Yagnavalkya replied that it was not possible to attain immortality through mere possession of wealth. Thereupon Maitreyi requested her husband Sage Yagnavalkya to impart to her the requisite Brahmavidya which could lead her to her chosen goal of immortality. Accordingly, Sage Yagnavalkya imparted to the quintessence of true and infinite knowledge. THE CONVERSATION BETWEEN YAGNAVALKYA AND MAITREYI IS RECORDED IN THE BRIHADARANYAKA UPANISHAD. The philosophical teachings of Yagnavalkya are given in the third and fourth chapters of this Upanishad.

Eternal truths of Hinduism, either in philosophy, or religion or dharma have come down to us through the Maharishis in the past. Vedas are the records of Maharishis, who comprehended the truths through their divine power, otherwise called tapas and yoga. Puranas describe penance for several years without food, which are only a description of such divine power. That divine power is revealed to mankind through some sages, who propagate the truths and tenets recorded in the eternal Vedas.

Among such eminent Vedic sages, Yogeeswara Yagnavalkya occupies an exalted position as he played a very important role in the renaissance of India’s ancient Vedic culture. Yagnavalkya is a renowned sage, a Chaturvedi Brahmishta, foremost seer of the Vedic era and doughty exponent of the Shukla Yajur Veda, pre-eminent purveyor of Advaita, a personification of tejas and the best of sages. He had adorned and graced our land during the Vedic period of Ramavatara and Krishnavatara. Yagnavalkya’s life, times and teachings constitute the corner stone of the basic philosophy and tenets of Sanatana Dharma. He was a beacon light of what an ideally liberated soul or jivan mukta could achieve in this world, for the common good of the humanity. He was the foremost of the apostles of the Advaita philosophy who had contributed to the spiritual and Vedic renaissance. The entire gamut of Hinduism rests on the solid foundation of Advaita, propounded in crystal clear terms in the Maha Vakya of the Shukla Yajur VedaAHAM BRAHMASMI – “I am Brahman” – the unique Advaita philosophy propagated by Yogeeswara Yagnavalkya.

The quintessence of the teachings of Yogeeswara Yagnavalkya is found in the immortal SATAPATHA BRAHMANA, an authoritative treatise on various types of sacrifices and related rituals, the self elevating Brihadarnayaka Upanishad, a veritable reservoir of Brahma Jnaan and the foremost of the ten Upanishads and the transcendental Isavasya Upanishad, a superb treatise of superlative wisdom. Seekers of knowledge are bound to benefit a great deal by a study of the Satapatha Brahmana and the two soul stirring Upanishads. The expansive and outstanding part of the classical Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is the Yagnavalkya Kanda. The Isavasya Upanishad is another equally important masterpiece, presenting in brief the compass of eighteen theological doctrines. The Satapatha Brahmana, the Brihadaranyaka and Isavasya Upanishads belong to Shukla Yajur Veda, which was revealed by the Lord Surya, the Sun God himself to Yogeeswara Yagnavalkya, for the propagation of infinite Vedic Brahmavidya to all  mankind.

Once King Janaka of Mithila wanted to learn Brahma Vidya. For this, he conducted a debate to find out who possessed the highest knowledge.  He also offered one thousand cows with their horns decked with gold coins along with their calves. Sage Yagnavalkya asked his disciples to take away the cows. However, other participants questioned this direction of Sage Yagnavalkya and a heated debate took place. Sage Yagnavalkya answered all the questions properly and won the debate. On another occasion, Sage Yagnavalkya visited King Janaka and the latter asked the Sage whether he had come to obtain the cows or to ask difficult questions in the realm of Brahma Vidya . To this, Sage Yagnavalkya replied that he had come for both. A long debate ensued and at the end the fully satisfied King Janaka surrendered himself to him.

Sage Yagnavalkya said: “The senses are in the nature of hindrance only as long as they are not directed inward, towards the Atman. The eye cannot choose but see and the ear cannot choose but hear. Make the senses calm and make the mind almost blank; do not think of anything in particular, and then you will hear in your heart the voice of the infinite”. Besides Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Sage Yajnavalkya wrote the famous Yajnavalkya Smriti, Yajnavalkya Samhita, Pratijna Sutra, Yoga Yagnavalkya and Satapatha Brahmana. Finally, Sage Yajnavalkya  took up Sanyas and renounced the word.

How the Sage Yajnavalkya became the Founding Father of Shukla Yajur Veda is indeed a very interesting story. Vaisampayana was the family purohit and guru of King Supriya of Suryavamsa, who then ruled Vardhamanapura. In those days, a guru commanded great respect and King Supriya was the chief financial patron who was assisting his guru Vaisampayana to run the ashram and maintain the gurukula and its pupils. King Supriya, the benefactor of Vaisampayana, fell from the path of virtue and became engrossed in the pleasures of the senses, leading a licentious life. Consequently, the king became afflicted with terrible venereal diseases and later all this culminated in his affliction with leprosy. Though King Supriya tried all kinds of treatment, yet the King could not get any relief from his afflictions. Therefore, King Supriya sent for his guru Sakalya alias Vaisampayana. On Vaisamapayana’s arrival the King appealed to him to cure him of his disease by invoking the sanctions of the expiatory rites and requisite mantras prescribed under the various Sastras.

Sage Vaisampayana took pity on the King who was so good to him in several ways and assured him that performing the swastika rites according to Sastras could cure him of the dreaded disease. He immediately arranged and got the santhikam rites and pujas regularly performed at the palace engaging the best of Vedantins and experts in expiation ceremonies. But even prolonged performance of the santhikam rites with due diligence did not have the desired result. All the santhikam rites failed to give any relief to the King. Sage Vaisampayana felt downcast and ashamed. The King pointed out to Sage Vaisampayana that it may be inconvenient for him to arrange the rites to be performed in the palace and henceforth the rites may be conducted at the ashram and the prasadas be sent to him every day.

As per King Supriya’s instructions, Sage Vaisampayana selected a sishya everyday, explaining to him the rituals and rites prescribed for the santikam and directed them to be performed at the ashram itself on that day through the specially chosen pupil for that day. As ordered by sage Vaisampayana, each day the selected sishya after due performance of the santhikam ceremony was taking the manthraksha and theertham to the King as prasada. Almost all the sishyas had taken the prasada to the King with no avail and nearly a year passed. This daily routine continued for several days and months. But very unfortunately, there was absolutely no abatement of the affliction. On the contrary, the disease was getting aggravated every day causing great mental anguish and physical pain to King Supriya who was beginning to lose his faith in the santhikam procedure prescribed by his guru Vaisampayana.

At long last, the sage Vaisampayana was left with no alternative but to send for sage Yagnavalkya as his final resort. Sage Vaisampayana was fully aware of the fact that sage Yagnavalkya was well versed in the Atharva Veda, which abounds in the prescriptions of perennial remedies for expiating any evil and for securing the atonement of all human sins and failings.

Sage Vaisampayana praised sage Yagnavalkya for his wisdom and accomplishment in all the Vedas. He told him that it was now sage Yagnavalkya’s turn to perform the santhikam and take the prasada to the King.  Sage Yagnavalkya began to ponder over the cause of the King’s ailment and his guru’s desire to affect the cure invoking the Sastraic rites and injunctions. Sage Yagnavalkya did not personally like the idea of his guru seeking to provide relief through ceremonial rites to the King who was suffering a natural punishment for his having chosen the path of an immoral and licentious life. Sage Yagnavalkya felt that the immoral King should undergo the suffering ordained by nature for his misdeeds in accordance with the Law of Karma and that he should not be helped. Sage Yagnavalkya, being a trikala jnani was able to foresee the course of events that would take place later that day. Compromising his personal feelings, as ordained upon an obedient pupil, he did not wish to deviate from the instructions of his guru. Sage Vaisampayana noticed the hesitation on the part of Sage Yagnavalkya and asked him whether he had any reservation in performing the santhikam rites for King Supriya. Sage Yagnavalkya said he was wondering whether it was proper to help a person who had deviated from the course of righteousness and suffering the consequences of his Karma.

Sage Yagnavalkya inquired: what should be the attitude of persons steeped in Vedic learning and Sastraic sanctions? Sage Vaisampayana replied that normally such transgressors should be considered as ignorant and deluded persons devoid of knowledge and the wise should take pity on them. But if they should show any remorse for their foolish actions and repent, they could still be helped. He also said that the King Supriya was a person having great regard for dharma. It is a pity that he fell prey to sensual pleasure and he was repenting his misdeeds. Once cured he would eagerly pursue the path of an upright life thereafter. Sage Vaisampayana also said only sage Yagnavalkya could, with his great powers, cure the king and get recognition from the King. Sage Yagnavalkya agreed to perform the santhikam rites for King Supriya.

Sage Yagnavalkya performed the santhikam strictly in his own rigorous and efficacious manner, chanting the Atharva Veda mantras imparted to him by Veda Vyasa and Aruni Maharishi with devotion observing the due rites in accordance with the Sastras. Sage Yagnavalkya then proceeded forthwith to the palace taking the prasada of mantrakshata and holy water to be offered to the King. Sage Yagnavalkya was blessed with a majestic physique and commanding countenance and possessed a confidant demeanour. He used to put on fine clothes mostly presents given to him in recognition of his knowledge of the Vedas and Sastras, which made him, appear not so religious. On this account many mistook him to be an arrogant young man and looked at him with envy and jealousy.

The situation at the palace was one of despondency as the King Supriya who had by then regularly received the prasada every day with devotion and faith almost for a year without getting any relief. Hence he was in a mood of dejection, despondency and despair. It was at such a moment that young Yagnavalkya reached the palace to call on the King with the prasada. The King seeing the apparel and adornment of a sishya of his guru bringing the prasada, lost his temper. He put on a mocking face and started making unsavoury remarks against the efficacy of the prasadas. The King did not realize that it was the renowned sage Yagnavalkya who had been sent by his guru sage Vaisampayana to hand over the prasada to the King. The king rejected the prasada and did not even offer a seat to sage Yagnavalkya. The King derided the manner in which he had been clothed which was unbecoming of a Vedic vidyarthi. The king objected to the manner in which the vidyarthi had approached the court and ordered sage Yagnavalkya to leave the palace forthwith.

Sage Yagnavalkya felt that the King Supriya behaved in a foolish manner and did not understand the importance of the Vedic rites and the prasada. He decided to offer the prasada thrice and if the King refused prasada for the third time, then he felt he could leave the palace. Accordingly he offered the prasada thrice to the king. However the foolish king said that he would not accept any prasada from a vidyarthi who was wearing clothes in violation of common codes of apparel. The king then challenged sage Yagnavalkya to prove the efficacy of the prasada on a dry log of wooden pillars in the horse stable. Sage Yagnavalkya pitied the king and to prove the potency of the prasada and establish that he was far different from the other pupils, chanted the appropriate mantra “Mantachie” (Divyamalegee) and started sprinkling the sacred manthraksha and holy water on the stable pillars and hurried back to the ashram, making up his mind not to come back to the palace again or have anything to do with the King Supriya, his kith and kin.

Now a surprise lay in store for the king and his retinue of his ladies and ministers. No sooner than the manthraksha and theertham sprinkled by sage Yagnavalkya fell on the dry and moth eaten pillars of the stable, they began to spring back to life, transforming themselves into graceful trees, flagrant flowers and ripe fruits, presenting an inviting and pleasing sight. The King and ladies in the palace were wonder struck in witnessing the miracle and the king repented his foolish and impulsive behaviour in refusing to accept the prasada from sage Yagnavalkya and regretted for his having lost a divine opportunity of having his disease cured in a trice.

The King at once felt that he should receive the prasada from sage Yagnavalkya direct and sent for the council of ministers and bade them to request sage Yagnavalkya to perform the santhikam once again and present the potent prasada. The ministers rushed to sage Vaisamapayana’s ashram. Sage Vaisampayana was very much worried at the behaviour of his nephew but when he saw the ministers he was very much relieved. The ministers narrated to him how Yagnavalkya was able to achieve a miracle of bringing back to life decayed logs of wood and conveyed to him the desire of the King to meet sage Yagnavalkya.

Sage Vaisampayana readily agreed and sent for sage Yagnavalkya. Sage Vaisampayana conveyed to sage Yagnavalkya the desire of the King to meet him and said that the King would substantially reward him and also the ashram. Sage Yagnavalkya pointed out that the king did not deserve any consideration as he refused the offer thrice and derided the prasada, which was the result of Sastraic sanctions of the mantras. The King went even to the extent of challenging the efficacy and wanted the prasada to be tested. Sage Yagnavalkya also said that keeping in view the canons of the code of conduct he had decided not to do anything with King Supriya in future.

Thereupon an argument broke out between the guru Vaisampayana and sishya Yagnavalkya, guru insisting that people have to bear the royal actions and as Yagnavalkya’s guru his command shall be obeyed. But Yagnavalkya did not yield ground and refused.

Later King Supriya went to the ashram of his guru Vaisampayana in order to request him to depute his principal sishya Yagnavalkya to perform the santhikam rites. Once again sage Vaisamapayana invited the attention of his sishya Yagnavalkya to the fact that King Supriya himself had personally come to the ashram to invite him. Sage Vaisampayana told his sishya Yagnavalkya that the King had assured him that he would specially honour sage Yagnavalkya and endow the ashram with much wealth and presents. Sage Vaisampayana wanted his sishya to understand that the ashram was wholly dependant on the munificence of the King. Sage Vaisampayana again requested his sishya Yagnavalkya to cure the King. Sage Yagnavalkya once again refused saying that he would not toe the line of wicked for his personal gains. He also told his guru that the sastras state that one should leave one’s preceptor when he preaches adharma. On hearing these words Vaisampayana got extremely angry and bade his sishya Yagnavalkya to leave the ashram at once. He also ordered Yagnavalkya to unlearn every bit of Yajur Veda taught by him by vomiting the entire Yajur Veda. Yagnavalkya, by his yogic powers, gave a shape and form to the Yajur Veda taught by Vaisampayana, gathered it together and spewed it on to the ground. Huge tongues of flames of smouldering fire leapt from the emitted Vedas and began to blaze the entire place in frightening fury, as the fire of Yajur Veda mantras, shining bright and brilliant, was soon to spread and envelope the entire world. Sage Vaisampayana was bewildered and crestfallen at the consequence his wrath and foolish demand.

 It was a divine dispensation and celestial coincidence that Maharishi Veda Vyasa was then providentially returning from his pilgrimage to Kasi and was in the neighobourhood of sage Vaisampayana’s ashram. Maharishi Veda Vyasa happened to come there at the very moment when the sage Yagnavalkya threw out the Yajur Veda. Seeing Veda Vyasa, sage Vaisampayana with his sishyas prostrated before him and appealed to him to put out the fire. Maharishi Veda Vyasa sprinkled the theertham from his kamandala on some of the sishyas of sage Vaisampayana, namely, Apasthamba, Bodayana, Oukya, Kandiya, Kada, Dupuka, Sathyashada, Hirenyakesa etc., who were all present there and transformed them to the form of tittri birds i.e. ostriches and instructed to lap up the flames of the Yajur Veda. It is said that because of this incident this branch of Vedic knowledge has come to be known as Taittreeyam. Sage Yagnavalkya left the ashram in haste after swearing at sage Vaisampayana that he shall not even think of the Yajus taught by him and that he would acquire a Veda which would be far superior in all respects to the Yajur Veda and propagate that new Veda for the welfare of mankind.

It should be understood that sage Yagnavalkya vomited only the Yajur Veda taught by sage Vaisampayana and that he retained the other Vedas, the Rig, Sama and Atharva Vedas which he had earlier learnt from different gurus. THE WRATH OF SAGE VAISAMPAYANA HAD ITS OWN COSMIC LOGIC. THIS SERVED AS THE MEANS FOR THE SUBSEQUENT REVELATION AND EXPOSITION OF THE SHUKLA YAJUR VEDA THROUGH YAGNAVALKYA. But for the behaviour of King Supriya, Yagnavalkya's refusal to cure the king and the indignation of Sage Vaisampayana mankind would not have had the benefits of the treasures of SHUKLA YAJUR VEDA.

Yogeeswara Yagnavalkya besides being an erudite scholar had distinguished himself in many other fields of human activity. In fact, he has been acclaimed as one of the lawgivers of ancient India, because his teachings and writings abound in the exposition of law. Yagnavalkya Smriti, an embodiment of legal tenets, is a fundamental source of the Hindu Law. A major part of the present provisions of the Hindu Law has been based and derived from Yagnavalkya Smriti, dealing with the intricate scheme of human conduct and affairs of life. In this magnum opus, Yagnavalkya has dealt with various matters, statecraft and regulations relating to the administration of a state by the ruler, pubic relationship and duty toward ruled citizens and the society, laws governing the family, and the reprimand and punishment to be meted out to the wrong doers by the authority, tempered with utmost fairness and moral justice, impartiality, equality and equity. Yagnavalkya has laid down exhaustive laws relating to loans, surety, mortgages, interest chargeable, deposit of articles on pledge, the law of evidence, the law relating to written documents, oral agreements, legal procedures on private property, inheritance and division of property among heirs, settlement of disputes about boundaries, sale of goods and articles, gifts and their acceptances, recession or return of articles purchased to the sellers, non delivery of articles sold, performance and breach of contracts, engagement between master and servant, usage and custom of a public body, payment of wages, gambling, wager and betting, defamation, assault and violence, robbery and theft, cheating, statutory regulations on forms of business similar to joint stock companies or associations of persons carrying on trade,  procedure for settlement of disputes between corporations and arbitration of claims in trade etc.etc. In fact he has covered every of aspect of human life!

Sage Yajnavalkya Temple at Pallavaram, near Chennai

Sri Sage Yajnavalkya Sabha, Chennai have constructed a unique shrine for Sage Yajnavalkya at Old Pallavaram. In this shrine, deities of Lord Surya, Goddess Gayatri and Yagnavalkya, their spiritual guru, with his spouses Katyayani and Maitreyi have been installed. Lord Surya as the head of Navagrahas is the Bestower of Health. Arogyam Bhaskaradicchet”. The Sabha also has a Goshala within its campus. The Sri Sage Yajnavalkya Sabha presently has their own building at Pallavaram.
Pooja and Homams are performed regularly at this temple. Special mention has to be made of Gayatri Homam which is performed every month. Gayatri Homam with more than 38 lakhs of Averties have so far been completed. Another important program is the performance of Koti Archana for their preceptor Sri Yagnavalkya of which 53 lakhs of Archanas have been completed so far. People who throng to the Sabha have experienced unique vibrations of the solemnity of the Shrine and have reported positive results in respect of their families concerning Education, Business, and Health.
Sri E R Krishnamurti, the former President of Yajnavalkya Sabha authored a book called ‘Yogeeswara Yajnavalkya’ which was published in 1984. In this book, he has described in detail the life, work and achievements of Yajnavalkya and his title to everlasting fame.


To quote his inimitable words in this context: “That Yajnavalkya was a versatile Yoga Acharya is revealed in his monumental work ‘YOGA YAJNAVALKYA’—a Samhita Treatise on Yoga, incorporating his instructions to the erudite lady Vedic Scholar Gargi Vachakanu.  This excellent treatise on Yoga incorporates the detailed practical instructions on the intricacies of Yoga as imparted by Sage Yajnavalkya to his lady disciple and many other male sishyas.

“What a generous gesture of forward thinking on the part of Yajnavalkya to have undertaken the responsibility of instructing a lady in the fine arts of Yoga in the presence of male students. ... Gargi and Mytrayi are monumental illustrations for the lofty levels of learning, superlative heights of knowledge and excellence of intellectual acumen acquired by the ladies in the theological and metaphysical subjects in the vintage and Vedic Age of Yajnavlkya.” 

“This immortal Yoga Yajnavalkya Samhita is a quintessence of Yogic Wisdom, showing the path of Yoga leading to Mukti and Liberation, besides dealing with a variety of subjects.”

I would conclude with the great Prayer of Yogeeswara Yajnavalkya to Goddess Saraswati: (Saraswati Stuti). I am presenting below the sanskrit text together with the English translation.