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Panchakanya – Ahalya,Draupadi,Kunti,Tara, Mandodari – Chanting names of Five Virgins can wash away sins

Sairam friends,

I am writing this article at the beginning of Vasant Navratri celebrated in North India though in South India we give importance to the Navratri which comes before Diwali.  On October 23rd 2012, i had a dream about few frogs inside cage. I started researching what Sai wants to convey and realized, Ravana’s wife Mandodari was actually a frog who was blessed and became wife of Ravana. Learning about Mandodari took me to read about “Panchakanya”.

Panchakanya – Ahalya, Draupadi, Kunti, Tara, Mandodari

Panchakanya are the five virgins from Hindu Scriptures.

Ahalya, Tara and Mandodari from Ramayana

Draupadi and Kunti from Mahabharata.

Some include Sita instead of Kunti as Panchakanya but majority of devotees says only Kunti is among Panchakanya.

Greatness of chanting Panchakanya’s Name:

It is said that one recites or chants the holy name of Panchakanya, it will wash away all their sins.

Ahalya, Draupadi, Kunti, Thara, Mandodari thatha,
Panchakanya smaren nithyam maha pathaka nasanam

Remembering the five holy virgins,
Ahalya, Draupadhi, Kunti,
Thara and Mandodhari
Will destroy the greatest sins

I read on net that someone gave a better meaning to the mantra.  When its said “Pathaka Nasanam” , the holy panchakanya mantra not only destroys ones previous sins, it also has power to stop one from doing a sin. There are people who after doing something wrong, regret and try to wash away their sins. Imagine the power of this mantra which can divert your mind from doing something bad.

Coming back to my past memories, the entire day of October 23rd 2012, i continuously chanted Ahalya, Draupadi,Kunti,Tara, Mandodari along with the name of Sai and Lord Ganesha.  In the evening, i went to Sai mandir and got up the terrace to offer garland to the kalasam.  I love doing this seva as it would be darkness on terrace of saibaba temple. I can show Sai, how much i love him. I used to offer garland to Sai and kiss his foot and touch his face saying

“Sai, you are my heart, You are my soul”

I kept chanting…( Removed my personal information which i wrote here as i don’t want to hurt anyone)

Ahalya, Draupadi, Kunti, Thara, Mandodari thatha,
Panchakanya smaren nithyam maha pathaka nasanam

Yesterday while offering Garland for Ram Navami festival in Sai mandhir, i remembered all these and wanted to write about Panchakanya in StarSai. I wish everyone who reads this article are blessed by reading and remembering Panchakanya.

The greatness of Panchakanya:

I wish to write in detail about every Panchakanya but since i myself don’t have much knowledge, i shall post their information from Wikipedia. The good aspect of Panchakanya is that all these women are married and some of them have more than one man in their life but still they are considered to be holy and pure virgins by scriptures.

Ahalya:

Ahalya, also known as Ahilya, is the wife of the sage Gautama. She is often regarded as the head of the panchakanya. Ahalya is often described to be created by the god Brahma as the most beautiful woman in the entire universe, but also sometimes as an earthy princess of the Lunar Dynasty. Ahalya was placed in the care of Gautama, until she gained puberty and was finally married to the elderly sage. The king of the gods, Indra, was infatuated with her beauty and comes disguised as Gautama, when the sage was away, and requests or physical relationship.

ahalya

Ahalya wife of sage Gautama regarded as head of Panchakanya

In the Ramayana , Ahalya sees through his disguise, but still complies out of “curiosity”. In later versions, Ahalya falls prey to Indra’s trickery and does not recognize him. In all narratives, Ahalya and her lover  Indra are cursed by Gautama. Although early texts describe how Ahalya must atone by undergoing severe penance while remaining invisible to the world and how she is purified by offering Lord Rama – avatar of the god Vishnu and hero of the Ramayana – hospitality.

Ahalya is cursed to become a stone and regains her human form after she is brushed by Rama’s foot. Some versions also mention that she was turned into a dry stream and that she would be condoned of her guilt when eventually the stream starts flowing and joins the river Gautami (Godavari). Indra was cursed to be castrated or be covered by a thousand vulvae that ultimately turn into a thousand eyes.

Draupadi:

Draupadi is the heroine of of the Mahabharata. She is the common wife of the five Pandava brothers and queen of Hastinapur, in their reign. Born from a fire-sacrifice of king of Panchala – Drupada, Draupadi was prophesied to lead to the end of Drona and the Kauravas. Though the middle Pandava Arjuna – disguised as a brahmin – wins her in her swayamvara, Draupadi is compelled to marry all the five brothers on command of her mother-in-law Kunti. She insults the Kaurava general Karna in the swayamvara and laughs at Duryodhana – the leader of the Kauravas – when he falls in her Pandava palace at Indraprastha. She mothers five sons from each of the Pandavas, regaining her virginity after every union.

draupadi

Draupadi with pandavas

The Kauravas take their revenge when the eldest Pandava Yudhisthira loses her to Kauravas in a game of dice. The Kaurava Dushasana tries to disrobe her in the royal court, however the god-king Krishna stays her dignity by making her wrapped cloth infinite in length. Draupadi pledges to keep her hair untied till they were drenched by Dushasana’s blood and mocks her husbands and all present in the court.

The Pandavas and Draupadi finally accept 13-year exile for losing the game. While in exile in the forest, her second husband Bhima rescued her from various demons and Jayadratha, who abducted her. She also instructed Krishna’s queen Satyabhama on the duties of a wife. In the 13th year of exile, Draupadi and her husbands spent life incognito in Virata’s court. She served as the maid of the queen and is harassed by the queen’s brother Kichaka, who she desires to be killed by Bhima.

After life in exile, a war breaks between the Kauravas and Pandavas, in which the Kauravas are slain and her insult avenged, but Draupadi also loses her father, brothers and sons. Yudhisthira became the emperor of Hastinapur with Draupadi as the chief consort. At the end of their lives, Draupadi and her husbands set off to the Himalayas to walk to heaven; but Draupadi falls in the middle, as she loved Arjuna more than her other husbands. She is venerated as a village goddess and described at times an avatar of the fierce goddess Kali or the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi

Kunti

Kunti is the queen of Pandu, the king of Hastinapur and mother of the three eldest Pandavas. Kunti was daughter of the Yadava king Shurasena and was adopted by the childless Kuntibhoja, king of Kunti Kingdom. By her service, she propitiated the sage Durvasa, who granted her a mantra by which she could summon a god and have a child by him. She recklessly tests the boon and invites the Sun-god Surya, who grants a son named Karna, who she abandons. In due course of time, Pandu wins Kunti in her syamvara.

kunti

Kunti blessed by Lord Surya

Pandu abdicates after being cursed by a sage that union with a woman will result in his death. At Pandu’s behest, Kunti uses Durvasa’s boon to mother Yudhishtira, from the god Dharma, then Bhima from the god Vayu, and thirdly Arjuna, from the god Indra. Her co-wife Madri bears the twins Nakula and Sahadeva, from the Asvins. After the death of Pandu and Madri, Kunti returns to Hastinapur and takes care of the five Pandavas. Kunti befriends Vidura, the stepbrother of Pandu and the advisor of the king. When Kauravas, the princes of Hastinapur and the cousins of the Pandavas, try to kill Kunti and her sons, however they escape. She prevents Bhima from killing the demoness Hidimbi and advices him to marry her and beget a son, Ghatotkacha.

She instructs her children to take care of the common people and orders Bhima to kill the demon Bakasura. When Arjuna wins Draupadi, Kunti instructs the brothers to share the prize. Kunti and the Pandavas return to Hastinapur. When Pandavas are sent to 12-year exile when defeated in a game of dice by the Kauravas, Kunti stays in Vidura’s refuge.

When an epic war between the Pandavas and Kauaravas is to ensue, Kunti reveals to Karna – now a Kaurava general – about being his mother and gets him to promise her that he will not kill any other Pandava, except Arjuna. After the war, in which the Kauravas and Karna were killed, Kunti with the parents of the Kauravas left for the forest and spent rest of her life in prayer. She was killed in a forest fire and attained heaven

Tara:

Tara is the Queen of Kishkindha and wife of the monkey (vanara) King Vali. After being widowed, she becomes the Queen of Sugriva, Vali’s brother. Tara is described as the daughter of the monkey physician Sushena in the Ramayana, and in later sources, as an Apsara (celestial nymph) who rises from the churning of the milky ocean. She marries Vali and bears him a son named Angada.

Tara

Lakshmana Meets with Tara (leftmost), her husband Sugriva (2nd from left), and Hanuman (rightmost) in the Palace of Kishkinda.

After Vali is presumed dead in a battle with a demon, his brother Sugriva becomes king and appropriates Tara; however, Vali returns and regains Tara and exiles his brother, accusing him of treachery and also appropriates Sugriva’s wife Ruma. When Sugriva challenges Vali to a duel, Tara wisely advises Vali not to accept because of the former’s alliance with Rama, but Vali does not heed her, and deceptively dies from Rama’s arrow, shot at the behest of Sugriva. In his dying breath, Vali reconciles with Sugriva and instructs him to follow Tara’s wise counsel in all matters.

Tara’s lamentation forms an important part of the tale in most versions of the tale. While in most vernacular versions, Tara casts a curse on Rama by the power of her chastity, in some versions, Rama enlightens Tara. Sugriva returns to the throne, but spends his time carousing often with now his current chief queen Tara and fails to act on his promise to assist Rama in recovering his kidnapped wife, Sita. Tara—now Sugriva’s queen and chief diplomat—is then instrumental in tactfully reconciling Rama with Sugriva after pacifying Lakshmana, Rama’s brother, who was about to destroy Kishkinda in retribution for Sugriva’s perceived treachery.

Mandodari:

Mandodari is the queen consort of Ravana, the Rakshasa (demon) king of Lanka. The Hindu epics describe her as beautiful, pious, and righteous. Mandodari is the daughter of Mayasura, the King of the Asuras (demons), and the apsara (celestial nymph) Hema. Some tales narrate how an apsara called Madhura was cursed to become a frog and imprisoned in a well for 12 years, after which regains her beauty or a frog, blessed to a beautiful maiden; in both cases, she is adopted by Mayasura as his daughter Mandodari. Ravana comes to the house of Mayasura and falls in love with Mandodari and then marries her.

Mandodari

Hanuman steals from Mandodari the weapon that leads to Ravana’s death

Mandodari bears him three sons: Meghanada (Indrajit), Atikaya, and Akshayakumara. According to some Ramayana adaptations, Mandodari is also the mother of Rama’s wife Sita, who is infamously kidnapped by Ravana. Despite her husband’s faults, Mandodari loves him and advises him to follow the path of righteousness. Mandodari repeatedly advises Ravana to return Sita to Rama, but her advice falls on deaf ears. Her love and loyalty to Ravana are praised in the Ramayana.

Different versions of the Ramayana record her ill-treatment at the hands of Rama’s monkey generals. Some versions say they humiliate her, while disturbing a sacrifice by Ravana, while others narrate how they destroy her chastity, which protects Ravana’s life. Hanuman tricks her into disclosing the location of a magical arrow which Rama uses to kill Ravana. After Ravana’s death, Vibhishana—Ravana’s younger brother who joins forces with Rama and is responsible for Ravana’s death—marries Mandodari on the advice of Rama. In some versions, Mandodari curses Sita that Rama would abandon her.

Hope you feel blessed reading about Ahalya, Draupadi, Kunti, Tara and Mandodari friends.  I just posted description about Panchakanya from other resources on net. You are most welcome to share your knowledge about Panchakanya so that myself and the readers will be blessed. Please make sure you don’t write anything controversial and write with clear knowledge and devotion.

I am getting late to office now as my father reminds me. So shall continue to write on Panchakanya when i get time.  I wonder why Panchakanya made me meet my girl and though am trying to adjust, at times i feel the pain of being so devoted to Sai and ever remembering Gods i love, i have to hurt myself like this.  I wrote about Panchakanya believing they will show me a way.

May be Panchakanya gave me a lesson of a girls rights to choose her husband but why me baba. Naan dhaan kedachana. Ipidi kasta pattu, ualaguthu article elutha. Sometimes i get angry on sai but i try to hug Sai Satcharitra and sleep everynight for i want him to be guide me in dreams.

Every time, my sister calls me from U.S, she says right as every scientist would believe – Dreams are not life. Oh ya….i am stupid, if i am not, StarSai would have not taken birth.

Let me be stupid because i believe in devotion. On Sai and on panchakanya…

With love and devotion on Panchakanya

Waiting for beautiful Sai leela by Ram Navami….

Sairam

Venkat

Little servant of Shirdi Sai Baba

12/4/2013

If you like my work for Sai,consider contributing to StarSai

About the author

venkatraman

1 Comment

  • Hi,
    I come to know about Five Virgins from Sripada Srivallabha Charitam in 8th Chapter .Sripada Srivallabha is the first incarnation of Lord Dattatreya.
    In that book it is stated that the Five great Virgins are “Ahalya, Draupadi, Sita, Taara, Mandodari thatha,
    Panchakanya smaren nithyam maha pathaka nasanam”

    Ahalya, the great pativrata is not a lover of Devendra and vise versa. Devendra could not touch Ahalya, who is spiritually greater than sage Gautama. Devendra has some divine powers,so with his power a form of Ahalya emerged ,like a shadow. so Devendra indulging Sexual activities with shadow of Ahalya .Without knowing this Sage Gautama cursed the original Ahalya and Devendra.
    Draupati served as a wife only to Arjuna and for others she served as a minister,mother and friend, that’s is why she is one of the great pativrata
    Also Taara Devi is guru Brihaspati’s wife. Taara which you have mentioned is not the same .She is vaali’s wife and not the same Taara which mentioned in the pancha kanya stuti.
    Kindly update the changes.

    Thanking You,
    Shanthini Rajesh
    Sreepada Raajam Saranam Prapadyae

    Edit
    Thank You Shanthini didi, I also really love the sacred book of Shree Paadha Sree Vallabha and believe what ever in it is very true and divine. I don’t write articles to understand which version is right. Each one believes in a different story based on their understanding. My goal is to simply spread the message that girls has to be pure. When a women is pure and good hearted, her life will be good, her family will be good and hence the Nation itself will be good.

    I don’t reply comments usually, so wrote in the same post.Thanks for writing, Sairam – Venkat

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