Anagha Vratam Stories
We have been told about the procedure of Anagha Vratam and its benefits thus far. To understand the purpose behind this powerful procedure, there are three important stories that one should read and contemplate on, and maybe discuss in order to understand the inner meaning. Each story is unique in its own way. Do read and enjoy the Bliss stemming from the abundance of Lord Dattatreya's Grace in these stories.
Kurcabhirama smita manju vaktram kashaya vastravrata nila deham I
Dhyayet brhaccitraka sobhi phalam Sri Saccidananda gurum prasannam II
I meditate on my Guru Sri Sachchidananda, who is ever graceful, who wears a fine long beard, whose sweet smile is inspiring, who wears saffron robes, whose complexion is dark, whose forehead radiates the brilliance of tilaka(face mark).
Foreword by Sri Swamiji
The Holy Message of Jagadguru Sri Ganapathi Sachidananda Swamiji.
Lord Dattatreya had descended on the earth in order to help the people to attain salvation. Due to the influence of Kali, many people ignored the philosophy propounded by this incarnation. This knowledge was limited to few pundits and the others were ignorant of the principle of Sadguru.
However, the merciful Lord repeatedly took birth in different forms to bless these helpless people and propagated the philosophy to protect the devotees. Such incarnations include Sri Padavallabha and Narasimha Saraswati. The philosophy and character of Sri Datta Sadguru is very difficult to imagine. Though, He is known as the Avadhoota (unbounded mendicant), He also appeared in the form of a householder (Gruhastha). This lesser known semblance of Lord Dattatreya, is known as Anagha Swamy. Even scholars are oblivious to this form of Anagha Swamy, whose consort is Anagha Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. This couple bestows prosperity on their devotees and fulfills their earthly desires. The Ashta Siddhis(Eight fulfillments) are the progeny of this holy communion.
In the Kruta Yuga (First of the four great epochs of time), the Lord Dattatreya himself explained the procedure of worshipping the Anagha couple to his beloved devotee, Kaartaveeryarjuna. These details about worship procedure are described in Datta Purana, a part of Bhavishyottara Puraana, compiled by Maharshi Vyasa. In that era, Kartaveerya propagated the worship of the Anagha couple, known as Anagha Vratam through out the world and ensured a golden era. Subsequently, in the Treta Yuga (The second of the four great epochs of time), King Dasaratha and Lord Sri Rama performed this worship. In the next era of Dwaapara was almost extinct and Lord Sri Krishna instructed King Dharma Raja about this Anagha worship, and it became extant thereafter. In this era of Kali Yuga, in the present times, it is indeed the fortune of the devotees to know about this age old Anagha worship. As such, this is the blessing of Lord Datta Sadguru.
Sri Swamiji has simplified the Anagha Vratam to make it easier for devotees. This publication contains the entire procedure for conducting the Anagha vrata, in an easy manner along with the lucid narrative from Purana. On the cover page the design of the Anagha Yantra/ Peetham (Pedestal) is depicted. In Ashta Dala Padma (Eight petal Lotus), the names of the deities to be invoked are inscribed every petal. While conducting this Vratam, the performer may draw the Ashta Dala Padma with the Rice Flour, Turmeric and Vermillion. On this decorated pedestal, Respected deities may be invoked onto either a Coconut atop a Kalasha (Pot) or Betel (Areca) Nut placed on a betel leaf. Before the commencement,In the final phase, the performer has to entwine three threads of yellow, red and white colour and a knot shall be tied, exactly in the central portion. (This sacred thread is called Toram) thora; which has to be placed near the Anagha couple, who are established in the centre of the altar. After having completed the worship, the performer has to wear the thora on his right hand, or he can give it to his close relatives. This enables them to undertake the vow of this worship. In this manner, two or three thoras can be prepared by the performer to perform the vrata. While employing the thoras, it is important to chant the following mantra.
Brahma Vishnu Maheshana rupin triguna nayaka|
Trai varnika namasthubhyam thora deva anaghatsmaka||
Different types of fruits and pancha Karjaya have to be offered to Lord Anagha Swami, and even the Maha naivedya (The food eaten by the performer in normal course) can be offered to the lord. Girls who are eligible for marriage and persons who have domestic problems must worship the goddess Anagha Devi with saffron. This worship grants immediate results to such persons. In general, anyone can perform this worship. The Margasirsha Krishnapaksha Ashtami (Eight day of the dark fortnight of the month of Margashira) is the most important and auspicious day for performing this worship. This worship can also be performed on the Ashtami(Eight day) of each month, during the Krishna paksha (The dark fortnight before the new moon day should be performed during the Suddha paksha). Some scholars contend that this vrata should be performed during the Suddha paksha (Bright fortnight).
Sri Swamiji recommends that those who cannot perform this worship in the Krishna paksha can perform it during the suddha paksha. If for any reason, this worship could not be performed on the ashtami, it can be performed on any other day in that month, and there should be no omission of the worship in that month. Even if the worship is conducted once a year, there should be no omission or deviation. Agha connotes sin, and the ordinary people, generally, commit sin during work, speech or even in their thoughts. They commit numerous sins in their daily activities, which act as barriers to their spiritual progress. Such sins are eliminated by the Universal Father and Mother. That is why they are known as the Anagha man and wife or couple. Therefore, every devotee must perform the Anagha vrata, and thereby get rid of all their entire sins, which serve to hinder their spiritual advancement. Those who perform this vrata or worship would become eligible to receive the mercy of Sri Guru Datta, and their wishes would be granted. The publishers of this book, individuals who spread information about this worship and all the devotees will always be blessed by Lord Datta.
Jaya Guru Datta
The Story Of Worship
This story is the foregoing worship of recorded in the Bharisya Purana that is mythology of the future by the sage Vyas as narrated.
It is customary to narrate the story in the form of a dialouge between two persons.
The disciple Dipika asked his Spiritual Master, "Oh Master! I heard that the celestials were defeated by the demon Jambha, that Lord Datta in turn defeated the demons and protected Indra and other celestials. I am anxious to know whether Datta fought with the demons or won over them by His power of Yoga. Hence, I request you to kindly enlighten me."
Sri Guru replied thus,"My son! Long ago, the emperor Dharmaraja asked Sri Krishna about the same. Listen to me attentively about the details as narrated by Sri Krishna.
Sri Krishna said, "There was a sage by the name of Atri who was the spiritual son of Brahma the Creator. The sage had a unique brilliance due to his great penance. His wife Anasuya, was famous for her chastity.
As the years passed, the sacred couple was blessed with a son named Datta who is very austere, He performs severe penance and is a great yogi. The foremost aspect of Vishnu is noteworthy in Datta.
Datta is famous in the entire Universe. His wife is Anagha.
Anagha Devi has eight sons. She is very kind. She has the best spiritual qualities while Datta, also called Anagha Swami is of Vishnu aspect. His consort Anagha Devis has the aspect of Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity. Datta continued his Yoga practices along with his consort Anagha Devi.
One day, the celestials, driven away from heaven by the demon Jambha, surrendered to Datta for protection. Jambha, with the treacherous pride due to the power of boons granted by Brahma, the Creator, invaded Amaravati, the capital of Heaven. For one thousand years, several species of demons fought in the battle bitterly. At last, Indra and other celestials were utterly defeated in the battle and they ran away, hither and thither for rescue. They were forced to leave heaven. Jambha and the other demons chased the celestials. The demons continued to injure the celestials with several weapons like arrows, clubs, and rods etc. They has several vehicles like oxen, buffaloes, tigers, monkeys, donkeys etc. The demons were throwing heavy rocks and using terrific firearms against the celestials while chasing them.
Eventually, the celestials approached the hermitage of the sacred couple. They sought rescue at the feet of Lord Datta. "Oh Lord of Lords! Oh Father of the universe, You hold the sankha (conch), and the chakra (disc-like weapon). We pray to you for protection as we are defeated by the demon Jambha. Oh great sage, nothing else protects your devotees other than your Lotus Feet. We take refuge in you, kindly save us." Lord Datta listened to their ardent appeal. He made a gracious gesture to Mother Anagha meaningfully.
In the meantime, the cruel demons also arrived there sporting their weapons. They saw Anagha Devi there. Unfortunately, they were enchanted by Her exquisite beauty due to their devilish nature. They told each other,"catch this woman, offer her flowers and fruits." Slowly, their pride of prosperity started soaring up. Datta made them powerless by His severe looks, emitting the fire of His penance. Some of the demons carried Mother Anagha on their head. The celestials started to kill the demons who became dull by Datta's looks and weak by Anagha's power. The demons went on crying aloud, unable to bear the severe injuries inflicted by the weapons of the celestials like maces, tridents, etc. They were stupified. Alas, all the demons were killed by the celestials. Indra killed Jambha. The kingdom of heaven was restored to the celestials. Thus, we note that even powerful celestials experienced the protective power of Lord Datta.
Sri Krishna said, "Later Datta continued his auspicious penance with the utmost purity of thought, word and deed with a view of benefiting all the worlds. He sat still for one thousand years, with open eyes with hands drawn upward, with total concentration on the Bhrumadhya (central spot on the forehead between the eyebrows.) While performing penance, he was still like a rock, like a wall, like a stick. Thus Datta was engrossed in deep meditation, without break, in a divine state of ecstasy.
During that period,Kartaveeryajuna, king of Mahishmati came alone and sincerely served Datta with rapt attention and implicit obedience. The king observed all rules of discipline with firm faith and deep satisfaction. Lord Datta was immensely pleased by the King’s devotion. He gave him four boons-namely one thousand powerful hands whenever required, was the first boon. He was given the second boon of obtaining timely guidance by saintly souls and preventative correction, whenever the king might go astray from the path of righteousness. The third boon was to rule over the entire world in a righteous battle. The fourth boon desired by the king and granted by Datta was really wonderful. It was to get killed in a heroic battle by a brave person, as trekking was a warrior to the core. Thereafter Lord Datta blessed the king, his dear disciple with an extensive empire and supreme spiritual knowledge.
Thus, eventually the king became an emperor reigning the entire world. He was blessed with the eight supernatural powers. With the power of his one thousand hands and spiritual brilliance Kartaveerya conquered all kings the world only in a righteous battle. He propagated righteousness and benefited one and all by performing Yagas thousands of times throughout the world with utmost faith and devotion. He presented plenty of gifts personally to the scholars and saints ever and ever, at the time of several yagas. The hall of Yaga was exquisitely decorated with golden pillars and finery. The celestial singers and divine dancers conducted concerts during the period of Yaga. One celestial singer named Narada sang the praises of Kartaveerya at the time of one Yaga saying, “There is no other king who is on par with Kartaveerya either in yagas, penance, heroism and scholarship”
Consequently, the grand emperor reigned supreme for forty thousand years, in a righteous way. There was none to oppose him anywhere. He was himself the protector of the cattle and the crops. By his yogic power he caused timely sufficient rainfall. With his spiritual prowess he used to swim playfully in the ocean with thousand hands, radiating brilliance as the bright sun. His army captured the serpent king, Karkotaka and imprisoned him. Once in a season of monsoon he swam for a long time in the river Narmada. The flow of the river was reversed by his powerful hands. It just looked like as if he was playing joyously with the river. Also the river appeared as if a beautiful woman retreating out of fear of the king.
Once his swimming in the ocean caused so much turbulence that all the creatures there were humbled down. Even huge whales were killed due to the terrific force of the waves created by the mighty hands of the emperor. Once he captured the notorious demon king Ravana even and imprisoned him. Then sage Pulastya came and appealed to Kartaveerya, to free his grand son Ravana. The emperor obliged the sage. However the ungrateful Ravana paid a deaf ear to his grandfather’s sane advice, to lead a pious life and insulted the sage.
Once Kartaveerya offered the entire earth full of crops. Creepers and trees as food to the God of fire. Oh Dharmaraja! Kartaveerya could attain such a grand stature only by the grace of Anaghasvami i.e. Lord Datta, who is the Supreme Master of Yoga.
Thus, the blessed royal saint Kartaveeryarjuna propagated this Anaghastami Vrata through the world. The puja became very popular as it yielded benevolent results spontaneously. Angha means sin. It is of three types – that is by thought. word and deed. Datta Purifies us of the evil effect of all these three types of sins. Hence he is called Anagha. (Na + Agha = One who removes sins). His eight sons personify the eight spiritual powers ie. Ashta Siddhis namely - Anima. Laghima, Mahima, Isitva.Vasitva. Prapti. Prakamya and Kamavasayita. These are the special treasures which can be obtained as a result of sincere worship. These pave the way to salvation. Hence the devotee must worship these siddhis with firm faith.
Datta removes the sins of his sincere devotees. He can transform the entire universe to become sinless. That is why he is called Anagha.
Sri Krisna concluded "Datta incarnated with my (Vishnu's) aspect. He is an uncomparable seer. Dharmaraja said, "Sri Krishna! What was the procedure of this worship followed by Kartaviryarjuna? What were the rules observed by him? What is the appropriate day and time to do this puja? Kindly enlighten me". Sri Krisna replied, "The stipulated day of worship is the eighth day of the dark fortnight in the month of Margasira (Falling at the end of December). The idols of the Anagha couple and their eight sons have to be placed in the stated order. (see figure) on a plank. Alternatively, Kalasas (pots) may be used to symbolise the Dieties placed in the eight petalled Lotus design. One must meditate upon them according to the mantras (chants) as per Rigveda and of Visnu, Sandal paste, flowers and other auspicious articles are used.
Anagha is worshipped as Vishnu and Anagha Devi is worshipped as Lakshmi. The eight siddhis must be worshipped as per the Vishnu cult. Everyone can perform this puja. Various fruits and other vegetables obtained seasonally may be used as the food offerings in the worship. After the puja, all the friends and relations partake the prasadams. The worshipper can explain and motivate anyone else to do this puja. This puja must be continued throughout one's life. This is my confirmed opinion. However, one must do this puja at least once.
The performance of the puja can be extended by devotional music and dance throughout the night and the puja can be concluded as the next day morning. Whoever performs this worship every year without fail with rapt attention will be washed off his sins. His family develops in all aspects. Vishnu will be pleased by this puja. The worshipper will be blessed with good health for seven births. Thereafter he will obtain salvation. Dharmaraja! the Anaghastami vrata is effective in removing sins. Whoever performs the puja with concentration will become as famous as kartaveeryarjuna.
Sri Guru said, "My son! Dipaka! I narrated this story Datta in detail. I explained to you how the celestials defeated by the demon Jambha, were saved by Datta, how he got the name Anagha, the various types of his yogic activities, the different varieties of the boons he bestows, how one must perform this puja which pleases him. I gave you all details. My son, ask me if you have any doubt. I will clear it.
Thus concludes the sixth chapter in Mythology of the Future also called the fourth aspect in Datta Purana wherein Sri Anaghastami Vrata is described in detail.
SRI SRI SRI GANAPATI SACHCHIDANANDA SWAMIJI.,ed. Sri Anaghastami Puja.1st ed. India: Avadhoota Datta Peetham,1999.