Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Jarasanda’s Boon

by Sudhansu Misra

Sudhansu shares a traditional tale from the Puranas.

This story is concerning Lord Shiva and the demon Jarasanda.

Jarasanda, an evil demon, was involved in a long war between the divine beings (Devatas) and the demons (Asuras). The demons were always losing to the Divine Beings. Jarasanda was getting frustrated, but did not know how to win. He was a devotee of Lord Shiva. So he decided to meditate on Him to gain His favor in order to win the war.

It took Jarasanda a thousand years before Lord Shiva appeared before him. His appearance made Jarasanda to open his eyes and pay homage to Lord Shiva, The Lord asked, “What is your wish for which you called me for so long!”  He replied, “My Lord, give me the power by which I destroy anyone by touching his or her head with my hand.” Being a devotee, Lord Shiva bestowed the boon as requested by the demon.

Jarasanda was so pleased that after prostrating to Lord Siva he wanted to test his newly acquired power. Seeing nobody else in the vicinity, he approached Lord Siva to touch His head in order to find out if He can be destroyed by the boon. Lord Shiva knew He would be killed if Jarasanda touches His head. So He started to run. His usual attire of meager clothes started to get loose along with the serpents around His hair.

He sped to meet Lord Vishnu in the heaven. Jarasanda was on His heels to touch His head. Ultimately when they reached Lord Vishnu’s abode in the heaven, Lord Vishnu was surprised to find Shiva in acute distress followed by Jarasanda puffing and panting. Lord Vishnu commanded Jarasanda to calm down and tell the reason for pursuing Shiva.

Jarasanda, the dumb demon, told that he needs to test the boon that he has received from Lord Shiva.

Being unable to find anyone to test on, he pursued Lord Shiva to test the boon by putting his hand on His head. But Shiva started running away before he could complete the test. 

Then the demon requested Lord Vishnu to solve his problem so that he will be assured of his power. Lord

Vishnu sensing his stupidity told the demon, “It is a very simple problem that he could have solved himself without chasing Lord Shiva so far.”

Jarasanda said, “My Lord, please tell me how.”  Then Lord Vishnu told him to put his own hand on his head and find out if it works. The demon was very pleased with the advice. Without hesitation he put his hand on his head. He melted away as his boon he received. 

This act of Lord Vishnu caused the Divine Beings to live in peace after their enemy was tricked to destroy himself. The Lord acts in mysterious ways to dispel evil and save the universe.

Editor’s Note:

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