My search for identity: Answered in Speaking Tree
My search for identity: I got an answer
Almost eleven years back, a small group of senior citizens(in their sixties and seventies) who were attending a religious function, called me aside and secretly asked which GOTRA I belonged. I was unprepared to answer the question at that point of time. In five seconds, a flash of memory came to my mind.
Born in Malabar(Kerala) in a warrier family, I inherited the religion and caste from my maternal side and therefore I was SHUDRA though my father is NAMBUDIRI who was from a traditionally recognized BRAHMIN family of Payyanur. His forefathers used to participate in the MURAJAPAM conducted by the royal family of Travancore. Suddenly, I remembered my father telling me that he belonged to KASHAPA GOTRA and he and his progeny will never be hurt by snakes(this is a different story).
I answered the question in two words: ‘KASHYAPA GOTRA’ That saved the day.
THIS STORY PROVES ME RIGHT. Please read on:
M G Warrier
Maa Lakshmi As VEDAVATI
By: Rk Ghosal on Oct 19, 2014
When the universe first came into existence, there were only two powerful races — the devas or gods and the asuras or demons. Though the gods and demons always fought with each other, they had the same father. It is said that the gods were born to Sage Kashyap and first wife Aditi, and the demons, to his second wife, Diti. Both the gods and demons were very strong, but the demons always defeated the gods in wars. This constant fighting and losing caused great anxiety to the gods.
So, they all went to Vishnu, the most brilliant among the gods. He thought for a while and said, “There is only one way to make sure that you become stronger than the demons. You have to churn the vast ocean, the Kshirsagar. There are many valuable gems hidden in its great depths. Among them is a pitcher full of amrit or nectar. If you drink this nectar, you will become immortal and invincible.
But how could it be that the gods were up to something and the demons would not find out about it? The demons expressed their wish to share the delights of the nectar.
On the chosen day, the gods and demons came together to accomplish the important task. After a while, they saw exquisite things emerging from the ocean. They were awestruck. The first to come out was Surabhi, the cow of abundance. Then emerged Kalpavriksha, the wish-fulfilling tree. One by one, precious jewels began to surface. Finally, the gods and demons saw the pitcher full of nectar emerging from the depths of the ocean. And as everyone stood watching, out of the ocean emerged a brilliant pink lotus. And seated on this lotus was the most beautiful woman that the gods and demons had ever seen. The gods offered their praise to this glorious woman. Vishnu also felt enchanted by her divine aura.
This was Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, a jewel among jewels. Later, impressed by Vishnu’s strength and intelligence, the goddess became his wife and companion. Goddess Lakshmi is known to dwell in places which are known to uphold good virtue and morals. And wherever she resides, there is always peace, welfare and prosperity.This was also the case with King Rathadhwaja. In his kingdom, Lakshmi was worshipped with a lot of love. His father and grandfather had been blessed by her. Therefore, there was abundant wealth and wellbeing in the kingdom. But after some years, the king became very arrogant and proud. ‘All these riches have been acquired by me. It is my intelligence that has made me what I am. Now, there is no way Goddess Lakshmi would leave me,’ he thought to himself and stopped offering prayers to the deity. Angry and disappointed with the king, the Goddess left his palace for good. Slowly, Rathadhwaja began to lose everything. He lost his wealth, the land he ruled over became poor, and his people grew dissatisfied.
His enemies noticed this and attacked his state. They defeated Rathadhwaja and took over the charge of his territory. His two sons, Kushadhwaja and Dharmadhwaja, however, were not like him. They knew the value of being humble. “We must do something to please Goddess Lakshmi again. We must correct our father’s mistake,” Dharmadhwaja told his brother.
So they undertook severe penance and invoked the Goddess. She was very pleased by their meditation and appeared before them. Kushadhwaja, on seeing her, folded his hands and pleaded, “O, Goddess! Please forgive our father. We have lost everything because he stopped praying to you. Give us a chance to change. Please grant us the good fortune of being born as my daughter.” Happy by the piety of Kushadhwaja, she agreed to his wish. She also assured the brothers, “You will soon win back your kingdom.”
As she had predicted, the kingdom was restored to its rightful rulers and there were celebrations all over. Soon, Kushadhwaja’s wife gave birth to a beautiful daughter. From the moment she was born, the child started reciting vedic hymns. Kushadhwaja looked upon his daughter’s face with love and said, “There can be no better name for her than Vedavati.” He knew this was none other than Goddess Lakshmi herself.
Vedavati grew up to be a beautiful girl. She was devoted to Vishnu. When she came of age, gods and demons from all over expressed their desire to marry her. But Vedavati was unmoved. “Father, I cannot marry anyone but Vishnu. I will go to the forest of Pushkara and meditate to Vishnu to accept me as his wife.” Her father was saddened, but he did not stop her. After all, he was aware of her true identity. In the dense forest, Vedavati began her penance, but Vishnu did not appear. Instead a celestial voice pronounced, “No Vedavati. It is not possible in this life. But in the next one, we are destined to be together.”
But Vedavati did not pay any attention. She continued with her prayers. One day, a powerful demon was travelling through on his airborne vehicle, the Pushpak. He saw this beautiful maiden absorbed in meditation. At once, he brought his vehicle to a halt and addressed the lady, “My fair lady, what is a young girl like you doing here meditating? Come with me and be my queen. I will give you all the riches of the world.” Vedavati did not listen to him, so the demon got angry and tried to pull her by the hair.
Vedavati got angry and sheared off her hair with her hands. She said, “O, you evil demon. You have disturbed me and made me impure by your touch. I curse you that in a later birth, I will be the cause of your death.” Saying so, she jumped into a bonfire.
This demon was none other than the evil and terrible ruler of Lanka, Ravana. Goddess Lakshmi, indeed, eventually became the cause of his death. When she was born as Sita, Ravana kidnapped her and Rama followed him to Lanka and killed him. Adapted from Little Monk’s Lakshmi, Wisdom Tree.