by Vijay Krishna Das

The demigods approach Lord Brahma in order to know the cause of darkness that enveloped all directions. Brahma narrates the fall down of Jaya and Vijaya, the two doorkeepers of Vaikuntha caused by the curse of the four Kumaras (3.15). He also describes the Lord’s interaction with the four Kumaras and Jaya and Vijaya (3.16). Jaya and Vijaya take birth as demons from the womb of Diti and terrorizes the entire universe. (3.17)

Darkness All Around

Diti held her sons in the womb for 100 years. She was worried that they would trouble the demigods or would be killed by the Lord. By force of her pregnancy, darkness spread in all directions. The demigods approached Brahma and asked them about the cause of darkness. Brahma explained to them how the two doorkeepers of Vaikuntha were cursed by the four Kumaras to enter Diti’s womb. Before that he narrated the characteristics of Vaikuntha and Vaikuntha-vasis. He described about the opulence and beauty of Vaikuntha forest, birds, plants, airplanes, men and women.

Kumaras Curses Jaya and Vijaya

By the strength of yoga-maya, Kumaras reached Vaikuntha. After crossing six gates without being much astonished, they were blocked by the somewhat agitated two doorkeepers. The Kumaras became angry as their desire to see the Lord was thwarted. They said, “How is it that you two, although in the highest position of service to the Lord, have developed a discordant mentality? Where is the possibility of an enemy coming here? You must be imposters and therefore suspecting others. We consider the apt punishment for you who see duality in Vaikuntha, go to the material world where there are three enemies (lust, anger and greed). ” Jaya and Vijaya became fearful, not of the punishment itself, but of the impending danger of forgetting the Lord. They immediately fell at the feet of the Kumaras and prayed that they do not forget the Lord under illusion. Seeing their humble disposition and repentance, the Kumaras also felt repentant and became afraid that the Lord might become angry with them for cursing His devotees.

Lord Appears on the Scene

Understanding the situation, Lord appeared there along with Laksmi. He pacified the lamenting doorkeepers and the fearful Kumaras by His affectionate glance and pleasing face respectively. When the breeze carrying the aroma of tulsi leaves from the Lord’s lotus feet entered the sages’ nostrils, they experienced change in their body and mind, even though they were attached to impersonal Brahman understanding. The Kumaras viewed the Lord’s form again and again and attained meditation on the Lord’s personal feature. They became devotees. They offered their prayers unto Him. They said that even hell with bhakti is preferable to liberation.

The Lord Apologizes to the Kumaras 

The Lord congratulated the Kumaras for their nice word and spoke to them as follows – “Ignoring Me, these attendants of Mine have offended you. I consider this as an offence by Myself. I approve of the punishment you have given to My servants. I will not hesitate to lop off My own hands if it offends you. I enjoy food from the mouth of brahmanas like you. People who respect you, please Me and who look upon you as different from Me, displease Me. My servants, not knowing My mind have committed an offense. I shall deam it a favour if you order that, although reaping the fruit of their transgression, they may return to Me very soon.”

Kumaras’ Incomprehension

The Kumaras were not satiated by the Lord’s lovely speech, because they were bitten by the serpent of anger. They could not comprehend it because of its momentous import and profound significance. To understand Lord’s intention they spoke as follows, “We are unable to know what You intend for us to do. You speak in our favour as if we have done something good for You. Certainly You respect the brahmanas to set an example for others. If You do not protect the brahmanas by offering worship and mild words, then the auspicious path of worship will be rejected by people in general, since they accept You as pramana. Your potency is not reduced by Your submissive behaviour. We have cursed two faultless persons. We accept without duplicity, whatever punishment or reward You ordain on these innocent persons are also upon us.”

Reconciliation by the Lord

The Lord replied, “The punishment on them, as becoming demons, was ordained by Me. They will very soon return to Me as they will be absorbed in meditation on Me in anger.” Thus their desire of seeing the Lord being fulfilled, the sages circumambulated Him. After taking His permission, they departed. The Lord spoke to the doorkeepers, “Do not fear. This departure of your’s was foretold by Laksmi. She was angry when you stopped her from entering gate, when I was sleeping. Though you will have mentality of demons, you will think of Me and serve Me. I will experience pure happiness in vira-rasa fighting with you two.” Brahma concluded the narration, “Thus, Jaya and Vijaya lost their luster due to the curse and fell from Vaikuntha. Through the semen of Kasyapa Muni, these two entered the womb of Diti. It is the prowess of these twins that has disturbed you demigods. There is no remedy within my power to subjugate them. This is all happening by the Lord’s will. The Lord will alone come to our rescue.”

Birth of the Twin Demons

After hearing from Brahma, all the demigods gave up fear and returned to their respective places. After hundred years of pregnancy Diti gave birth to her twin sons. Many fearful natural disturbances started to occur on the earth, the heavens and the outer space. Seeing the omens, everyone except the four Kumaras, became afraid and thought that the time for the dissolution was at hand. The two brothers began to grow like mountains with bodies as strong as steel. Kasyapa gave them names – Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa . Hiranyakasipu performed austerities and received a benediction from Brahma. He started to control all the three worlds. Hiranyaksa travelled all over the universe with a fighting spirit just to satisfy his elder brother.

Hiranyaksa Challenges Varuna

Hiranyaksa’s uncontrollable temper, gigantic form, mental and bodily strength scared all the demigods away. Desiring to sport, he entered into the ocean. Striking the waves with his mace, he reached Vibhavari, the capital of Varuna. To make fun of Varuna, he fell at his feet like a lowborn man and said, “Give me battle, O Supreme Lord!” Though provoked Varuna controlled his anger with his intelligence and replied, “I have grown too old. Only Visnu can satisfy your desire to fight. On reaching Him, you will get rid of your pride and will lie down on battlefield surrounded by dogs, for eternal sleep. He assumes incarnations like Varaha to exterminate wicked fellows like you and show grace to the virtuous.”

To be Continued…

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