Sankhachooda was a powerful Demon dreaded by Devas. In his earlier birth, he was Sudama, the Chief Attendant of Lord Krishna’s Rasa Mandali and a ‘Jatismara’ ( a person who knew about his earlier birth), cursed by Devi Radha to become a Demon in the ensuing birth. Sudama he fell in love with Devi Tulasi (also a Jatismara) who was also cursed by Devi Radha for an indiscretion; happily Sankhachooda and Tulasi were united in the current birth again. Already fortified with ‘Narayana Kavacha’ even from his earlier life, Sankhachooda practised penance of a high order and secured boons of invincibility from Lord Brahma. He defeated Devas in fierce battles and dislodged Indra and Devas from thier thrones. Devas went into hiding and later on approached Lords Brahma, Vishnu and finally to Maha Deva with their woes. Siva despatched a Messenger Pushpadanta to warn the Demon who had the audacity inviting Siva Himself. Sivaganas were sent in the lead but to no impact. Bhadrakali was asked to battle along with Her army but again to no avail! All the Devas were involved in the fierce battle with Kartikeya and Ganesha in the lead; Mahendra was pitted against Vrishaparva, Bhaskara against Viprachitti, Agni Deva against the Demon Gokarna, Kubera against Kalakeya, Yama to Samhara, Sanesvara against Raktadhara, Eleven Rudras against Eleven Bhayankaras and so on. The Illustrious Sons of Maheswara were controlled by Maya. Lord Brahma utilised ‘Brahmastra’ the Powerful Arrow whose usage is executed only under exceptional circumstances and that too paled away. Lord Vishnu spread out a cover of Illusion (Maya) and approached Sankhachooda in the form of a Brahmana and asked the ‘Narayana Kavacha’, the most potent spiritual armoury from his body, as charity and the Demon gave it away under the influence of Maya. Vishnu also advised Lord Siva against utilising the ‘Pasupatastra’ for fear of collosal destruction of the Universe but gifted to Eswara a ‘Trisula’ (Trident) with which Siva finally devastated the dreadful Demon Sankachooda. Even as the army of the Demon ran helter-skelter in fright and self-defence, the blanket of ‘Maya’ of Lord Vishnu was still in operation as He assumed the Form of the Demon who entered the Interior Chamber of Devi Tulasi who was immensely pleased that her husband returned with Victory from the battle field. Though initially rejoiced, Tulsi came to learn of Vishnu’s unforgivable deceit and disguise, but Her chastity was spoilt by that time already! Not only she lost her husband but even her chastity and thus she sacrificed her life, while cursing Vishnu to turn as a Stone! Vishnu blessed Tulsi to welcome her to Vishnu loka and accepted her as one of His Consorts as also become immortal as Tulasi Tree worthy of daily worship along with ‘Salagramas’ or Lord Vishnu’s manifestation- the Stones- as cursed by Tulasi! The spiritual and even medicinal uses of Devi Tulasi’s leaves are immense and popular; the contemporary belief is that if a dying person is administered a leaf of Tulsi, preferably with Ganga water has access to Vishnu loka!
Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham
Kamakoti.org presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at [email protected]