The Hindu religion is based upon several beliefs and worshiping several gods, the supreme ones being Brahma – the creator, Vishnu – the preserver and Shiva – the destroyer. There are several stories that are believed by the people from a long time, related to the emergence and destruction of the various forms of God. Such sacred stories in Hindu religion are termed as myths. Some of such myths are given below in this article.
10. Eklavya’s dedication
A tribal boy named Eklavya wanted to learn archery from Acharya Drona. However, he refused to teach him. So Eklavya decided to make a clay statue of Guru Drona and began to practice archery on his own in front of the statue. Soon he emerged out to be a good archer. One day, a dog was barking while he was practicing archery. In order to silent the dog, he began to shoot the arrows directed towards the dog’s mouth in such a manner that the dog did not bleed at all. Acharya Drona who happened to be nearby, saw this and got impressed and was curious to know about such a learned archer. He went on to Eklavya and asked him from whom he learnt such a good archery. Responding to this, he showed Drona’s statue to him and claimed to have learnt archery from him only. On seeing such a dedication, Guru Drona asked him to give his right thumb to him as Guru Dakshina. On knowing the fact that he won’t be able to shoot without his right thumb, he obediently cut off his thumb and gave it to Guru Drona.
9. The powerful Goddess Durga
The demon Mahishasur was given the boon by Lord Brahma that no man or God could kill him. On being proud of becoming so powerful, he began to threaten the Gods and took the acquisition of the heaven due to which Gods had to land on earth. Their faces began to glow, out of which Goddess Durga took her form. She was given weapons by every God to kill Mahishasur. She rode on a lion, given by Himalaya and went to Mahishasura. Every time he attacked her, she was able to defeat him. Finally when he took the form of a buffalo, Durga killed him with her Trishul. Since then Goddess Durga is considered to be a form of Shakti.
8. The birth of the God of war – Kartikeya
It is believed that once Taraka, a demon did a tough tapasya and was given the boon by Lord Brahma that only Lord Shiva could kill him. On getting this boon, he became proud enough and began to destroy everything, upon which Lord Shiva was requested by all Gods to stop Tarak from doing so. Shiva took a form of six faces, each had a central eye from which six sparks sprang forward. These sparks transformed into six babies. On seeing these infants, Shiva’s wife Parvati hugged them very affectionately. On doing so she squeezed them so tightly that the six babies got transformed into one baby with six heads. This baby was named Kartikeya who fought and killed Taraka and was called the God of wars.
7. Prahlad’s Devotion
Hiranyakashyap was the king of Asura and considered himself as the most powerful of all. He wanted to conquer the world and forced everyone to worship him. However, his son Prahlad was a true devotee of Lord Vishnu. Unpleased on seeing Prahlad not worshipping his father, Hiranyakashyap decided to kill his son. He tried to get snakes to crush Prahlad, threw him off a cliff but each time Prahlad managed to escape by praying to Lord Vishnu. On being unsuccessful in killing his son, he decided to take help of his sister Holika, who was given the power that fire could not destroy her. So she decided to sit on a burning pyre with Prahlad on her lap. However, as flames increased, Prahlad kept chanting for Vishnu’s help and the fire soon seemed to gradually consume Holika and was burnt to death. Thus, with Prahlad’s true devotion he was once emerged to be safe.
6. Offer mustard oil to Shani Dev
People have been seen offering mustard oil to Shani dev. The story behind this goes as follows. Once a bridge was being constructed by Shri Ram from Rameshwaram to Lanka. Lord Hanuman was asked to take care of the security of the bridge from the enemies. One day when Lord Hanuman, sitting under a tree was offering prayers to his deity Ram. Soon Shani Dev came and challenged him to fight with him and prove who is more powerful. Lord Hanuman requested Shani Dev to let him meditate but he kept on insisting to fight with him. After several refusals when Shani Dev still did not agree, Lord Hanuman wrapped him in his tail tightly and did parikrama, hitting Shani Dev against the trees and mountains. When the pain was unbearable, Shani Dev asked Hanuman ji to release him. Finally Hanuman ji loosened his tail’s grip and let him free. After that he asked Lord Hanuman to give him some mustard oil in order to relieve the pain. Since then, it is believed that Shani Dev relieves the pain of those who offer him mustard oil.
5. Govardhan Parvat on the little finger of Krishna
Once in Vrindavan, due to scarcity of rain, the people began to worship Lord Indra, the God of rain. However, on seeing the arrogance and proud of Lord Indra, Lord Krishna persuaded the people to stop worshipping Lord Indra and instead worship the Govardhan mountain. Indra became angry on seeing all this and decided to punish them. So he poured rain continuously for seven days and seven nights. Feared by the flood and destruction of lives that might take place due to heavy rains, the villagers approached Lord Krishna for help. Krishna then with his powers, lifted the whole Govardhan Parvat on his little finger of left hand and held it as an umbrella for the villagers, thus saving their lives as well as the animals and the nature. Finally, Lord Indra realized his mistake, apologized and stopped the rain.
4. The four heads of Brahma
Lord Brahma is considered as the creator of the Universe. Depicted by four heads, it is said that he originally had five heads. Brahma created a beautiful woman named Gayatri. He was so amazed by her divine beauty that he wanted to see her from every side and so he created three more heads to be able to see to his right, left and back. However, ashamed of Brahma’s love for her, she tried to escape from his gaze and went skywards. In order to be able to see her in that direction as well, he created his fifth head. However, his fifth head was cut off by Lord Shiva quite later when a dispute arose between Brahma and Vishnu and something disapproving about Shiva was spoken by that head of Brahma.
3. Sati’s sacrifice
Goddess Sati is considered as the epitome of divine beauty and nature. She was the daughter of the royal king Daksha. She was deeply in love with Lord Shiva and chose to marry him against the wishes of her father. She abandoned the comfort of her luxurious life and went on to live with Lord Shiva in the jungle. One day her father organized a Yajna in which every God was invited other than Shiva and Sati. On knowing this, Sati insisted that she would go to attend the Yajna despite the denial from Lord Shiva to do so. On reaching there, she got involved into an argument with her father who kept on insulting Lord Shiva as Daksha did not consider him appealing enough in any manner. Sati was hurt with such humiliation of her husband and decided to set fire to her body with the yogic powers. In this manner she sacrificed her life for her husband.
2. Third eye of Lord Shiva
Lord Shiva is considered as the destroyer, depicted by the third eye in the center of his forehead. It is believed that one day Lord Shiva was meditating when Goddess Uma, daughter of the mountains, came from behind, and playfully covered his closed eyes with her palms. As soon as she did so, the entire globe was plunged into complete darkness and turmoil. To save the world from a catastrophe, the third eye on Shiva’s forehead opened with flames, as luminous as the sun. The stretch of flames reached across the mountains and everything on its path was consumed, thus restoring the Himalayas and everything else to its earlier form. Since then, it is believed that Lord Shiva opens his third eye to end all illusion in the world.
1. Lord Ganesha has Elephant’s head
Once Goddess Parvati created a boy named Ganesha with the mud of her body and ordered him to be there at the entrance and not let anybody enter while she is bathing. In a while, her husband Lord Shiva came and ignoring the little boy at the entrance, moved ahead. Seeing this, Ganesha asked Lord Shiva to stop and not to enter. On being denied to enter, angered Shiva cut the head of the boy. When Goddess Parvati came to know about this, she started crying. To calm her down, Lord Shiva ordered his squad to get the head of any creature that was sleeping with its head facing the north direction. They found an elephant sleeping in the same manner and brought its head. Then Lord Shiva joined the Elephant’s head onto the body of Ganesha and since then Ganesha has the head of an elephant. Lord Shiva then made him the leader of his troop and made him worthy of being worshiped at the start of any venture.