Note: This is not written by me, but my father. He wrote this wonderful story in a mail to me. So here's to you, Baba.
03 August 2009
Why I am curious about Upamanyu? Coz our 'Gotra' is Upamanyu.
Who was Upamanyu? What was his significance?
We have to reach Tamil Nadu - Chidambaram.
The story begins in the lush green thick jungle of Thillaivanam, the place where there is 'Swayambhu' Linga. Whoever has a 'darshan' of this Linga, gets everything he desires. (Rightful & more on the spiritual side).
This is the very place (and the nearby area) where Lord Nataraja arrived and gave two extra-ordinary gifts to the mankind - Music & Dance.
A great sage named Madyanthinar, related to sage Vashishta, had a brilliant son, named Madyanthinar Jr. These sages were living in a small town (probably a part of Chidambaram) and away from Thillai forest.
Sr M taught all four vedas & six sastras to the Jr. But the Jr wanted something more - the supreme knowledge - the self-realization.
With the permission of the Sr, the Jr went to Thillai forest to worship the Linga, called Tirumalanada.
His worship consisted of offering 'abhisheka', flowers & fruits & ofcourse chanting 'Om Namah: Shivay.'
He had some problem in collecting the flowers. He wanted to offer fresh flowers. Fresh means not even touched by bees.
For that he had to collect the flowers before day-break. It was too dark. He was not able to see and another difficulty was that he had to climb the trees. [Those must be the forest flower plantations. In the forest, one can't expect roses, jasmine etc.]
Stricken with grief, he prays to Lord Shiva. The Lord obliges and endows him with limbs of a tiger to climb the trees without slipping and sight to perceive in darkness too.
The spiritual meaning is very clear. He received the ultimate knowledge - no darkness and his spiritual progress would always be upwards - never falling down - say due to ego or whatever.
The Lord after showering this grace, named him Vyghrapada. (The place where he settled afterwards with his family & parents was named Vhyghrapuri.)
After some time, when Vyghrapada became 16 years old, his father came to Thillai forest to take him back and more importantly, to put him in a wed-lock.
Father was overjoyed to find his son having attained the highest spiritual level, due to the grace of Lord Shiva. He told his son about his wish. Vyghrapada agreed and the bride was none other than sister of sage Vasishta.
And there is the arrival of Upamanyu. The son born to Vyaghrapada & his wife was Upamanyu.
Thus Vasishta was 'Mama' of Upamanyu.
After the delivery, Vasishta requested Vyghrapada to take the mother & the new born to his ashram, to which Vyaghrapada agreed. In Vasishta's ashram, Upamanyu had highly nutritious milk - Kamdhenu's milk.
After a few months, Vyghrapada brought back his wife & the child to his own Vyghrapuri. But now a practical difficulty came. Upamanyu was used to Kamdhenu's milk. He could not accept milk of any other cow and thus started suffering from starvation. Vyghrapada was worried and felt helpless. He took the child to the Linga.
The child started crying due to hunger - and The Lord came down. Lord Shiva created entire sea of milk for Upamanyu.
Well. There is a spiritual meaning to all this. But about that, later.
So, we belong to that Gotra, whose Gotrapurush was so much loved by the Lord himself that he came down to create the sea of milk for him. So, those belonging to Upamanyu Gotra should remember that they can achieve anything (rightful) they wish.
The Lord is listening to them.
Later on, even Lord Krishna took 'Shivdiksha' from Upamanyu. [May be the descendant of the original Upamnyu.]
It is also mentioned that during the time of that famous dance of Lord Nataraja (Anand Tandav), Upamnyu was present to witness it, alongwith his father Vyaghrapada, Patanjali, Brahma, Vishnu, Indra, Shesha etc.
So one can imagine the significance of Upamanyu.
Btw, this story points to Chidambaram as our origin (after Gotrasanskar - i. e. when sage Upamanyu got rights to form his own Gotra.)
- Arun Vijaykar