How Susheela was able to make Koundinya reach Anantha?

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Once upon a time, a Sage named Sumant married Deeksha, the daughter of sage Agastya. They lived happily together and had a daughter Susheela. Sage Sumant decided to give his daughter’s hand to Koundinya, who was well educated.

Koundinya and Susheela started travelling looking for a suitable kingdom where the education of Koundinya would be appropriately employed. They stopped near a river bank to offer worships, as it was time for prayers. Susheela noticed a group of people celebrating. Curious, Susheela went to the group and wanted to know what they were celebrating.

A leader of the group replied saying they were celebrating the Vrat (Vow) of “Anantha Chaturdashee”. Susheela wanted to know the Vrat in detail and learnt, the Vrat to be performed for 14 years by newlyweds on the 14th day in bright fortnight of Bhadrapadmaas. She got the details of the Vrat and set about performing it. As a result of this, Koundinya was able to secure a place in the king’s court and rapidly their life saw a lot of improvement.

Koundinya once noticed a red colored string in Susheela’s wrist and wanted to know about it. Susheela explained in detail what she had learned from the group who celebrated near the riverbank. Hearing this, Koundinya whose time to seek Lord Vishnu had come, cut the string from her hand and threw it into the fire, saying whatever he had achieved so far was due to his intellect. Susheela tried to save the thread from burning. She stored the remnant in milk.

All bad things befell on the couple. They lost the king’s support, wealth and all the friends. Koundinya realized his mistake and went in search of Lord Anantha and soon ended up in deep woods.

Kaundinya saw many mystical sights while searching for Anantha. He saw a tree full of mangoes, but no one was eating them. The entire tree was attacked by worms. He asked if the tree had seen Anantha, but failed to elicit response. Then he saw a cow with her calf and a bull standing on grass field without eating. He spotted two big lakes joined with their waters mixing with one another. Further, he saw a donkey and an elephant. No one answered Kaundinya’s query about Lord Anantha. Desperate, he decided to give up his life by falling from a cliff or hanging.

Suddenly, an old man appeared before him and led him into a cave. At first, it was very dark. But then a bright light appeared and they reached a big palace. A great assembly of men and women had gathered. The old Brahmin went straight towards the throne.

Kaundinya could no longer see the old man but Lord Vishnu instead. Kaundinya realized that Lord Vishnu himself had come and that Vishnu was Anantha, the unending and the eternal One!

He confessed to his failing to recognize the eternal in the string on Sushila’s hand.

Anantha ordered that anyone who took the vow of performing Anantha Chaturdashee for 14-year period, such a person would be free from all his sins and would obtain all kinds of wealth, children, and happiness.

Koundinya sought explanation to the symbolic events that he came through before the old man led him to lord himself. The mango tree was a Brahmin, who in a previous life had acquired plenty of knowledge, but had not passed it on to anyone. Cow was the mother earth, who at the beginning had eaten all the seeds of plants. Bull was Dharma standing on the grass field. The two lakes were sisters who loved each other very much, but all their wealth was spent on each other and no one else. Donkey was cruelty and anger. The elephant was nothing but Kaundinya’s pride.

Ashamed of his behavior throughout his life, Koundinya promised to mend and atone for all his mistakes and performed the Anantha Chaturdashee with Susheela to attain Lord Anantha’s blessings and his abode.

Hearing this from Lord Krishna in Dwapara Yug, Yudhishthir performed this Anantha Chaturdashee vow for fourteen years when the Pandavas were dwelling in the forests due to the loss in the Game of Chances. Yudhishthir succeeded in getting back his kingdom and continue happily due to the benevolence of Lord Anantha.

Anyone who performs this Anantha Chaturdashee vow is certain to get Lord Vishnu’s benevolence!

Understanding Anantha:

Name Anantha appears in many stotrams and chants about Lord Vishnu. The name Anantha is repeated many times in Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam uttered by Sage Veda Vyas. Also, it is a part of Naamatraya Japam. Anantha is the one who is all pervasive, who is eternal, who is beyond all boundaries and for whom there is no limit either by space, time or location. 

Where is Anantha Chaturdashee Vrat mentioned?

The legend and the Anantha Vrat Katha are mentioned in several Puranas. Bhavishyottara Puranam is said to contain the Anantha Vrat Vidhi in detail. This is one of the sixteen important Vrats observed in India.

When to Perform Anantha Chaturdashee Vrat?

Anantha Chaturdashee is performed on fourteenth day of Bhadrapadamaas Shukla paksha (Bright fortnight) which is the 14th day of waxing moon in the month of September or October. The Vrat may be performed during the Navaratri of Ashvayujmaas too. 

What are the benefits of performing Anantha Chaturdashee Vrat?

  • You obtain healthy and long life. Your sorrows are removed.
  • Couples are blessed with happy married life and enjoy marital bliss.
  • Couples are assured of the continuance of the generation.
  • Gain of wealth and prosperity.

How to Perform Anantha Chaturdashee Vrat?

A brief Step-By-Step Puja Procedure has been mentioned below:

  • Take an early morning bath including a head shower.
  • Dress up in Puja formals.
  • Set up all the Puja materials like Haridra, Kumkum, Akshata, flowers, Gandham and others. Place sufficient numbers of 14 lined red silk thread or the ones with 14 knots known as Ananthadaram secured from Pooja materials Shop. You will need a pair per couple in the family.
  • Clean the floor and prepare an altar in the southern part of your home with suitable material and decorate with mango leaves and flowers.
  • Draw a 14 petalled Padma using rice flour on an altar prepared in the southern part of the living room or open space.
  • Prepare two Kalash one for Lakshmi and one for Vishnu. Some may have the practice of placing a single Kalash.
  • Place a coconut is smeared with turmeric and Kumkum on the mouth of the pot.
  • Place Anantha vastram behind the kalash.
  • Prepare a form of Adishesh with seven hoods snake using Durva or Darbham grass.
  • On one kalash, put yagnopaveetam and on the other, mangalya and jewellery.
  • Perform Sankalpam with recital of the Panchangam of the day.
  • Perform Yamuna Puja to the water stored in a decorated pot and fill the Kalash with the water from pot, used for Yamuna Puja.
  • Prepare sweetened Dosa made from wheat flour for Naivedyam.
  • Perform invocations to Ganapati and Adishesh, Sri Lakshmi and Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy.
  • Perform Shodashopachara Pujas to Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy.
  • Place the Anantha daram with 14 knots or 14 threads near the Kalash.
  • Offer Naivedyam
  • Tie them after initial Puja and Sankalpam. Tie Ananthaadaram to the right hand wrist for men. Tie Ananthaadaram to the left hand wrist of women. Some even tie on the arm.
  • Offer namaskarams to the installation of the deity.

Temples of Lord Ananthaha Padmanabha Swamy in India:

Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy is a prominent deity in India. There are many temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the form of Anantha. Triranga Kshetras of Srirangam, Shivana Samdura, and Srirangapattna are well-known for Sri Ranganatha Swamy reclining on Adi Shesha, and perceived as Lord Anantha Padmanabha Swamy. Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple in Tiruvanantapuram of Kerala is a very popular destination for devotees. Sri Kshetra kudupu in Mangaluru has Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple. Anantagiri situated about 75 km from Hyderabad has Anantha PadmanabhaSwamy temple.

Special celebrations are held on the auspicious day of Anantha Chaturdashee, at all those temples that are dedicated to Lord Anantha. Recital of Sri Vishnu Sahasra Nama Stotram, Purusha Suktam, Vishnu Suktam on this day is considered as highly meritorious. Homas and Pujas are performed.

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