Markandeya wins over Death

This poem is inspired by the story of the great sage Markandeya who defeated death. Many powerful strotas such as the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra, which protect one from death are ascribed to him. He is also mentioned in many sacred epics and Puranas. The Markandeya Purana comprises of a conversation between Markandeya and the sage Jaimini, and is a storehouse of knowledge and ancient wisdom.

Mrikandu lived in a forest with Marudavati, his wife

To worship of Lord Shiva, he had dedicated his life.

In blissful devotion, they were content in the wild

Their only regret was being deprived of a child.

Lord Shiva appeared happy with years of prayers

Aware of the couple’s ardent desire of an heir

He granted them a boon and a reason to rejoice

But before that, they had to make a choice.

“Either a son who would be smart and intelligent

Well-versed and wise with memory like an elephant

But with a short life span of only sixteen years

And then he will leave for heaven leaving you in tears.

Or I will grant you a son long-lived but stupid

Foolishness in him would be firmly rooted.”

With folded hands, Mrikandu humbly replied

Choking with tears as his faith was being tried

“Bless us with an intelligent son with a kind heart

Even if his life is unfortunately cut short

For what use is a long life without a purpose

With no intelligence, such life would be worthless.”

Happily granting the boon, Lord Shiva disappeared

And a son was born for whom the couple cared.

The child Markandeya shined with a luster divine

Blissfully unaware of the destiny’s tragic design.

Mastering the Scriptures and making his parents proud

With in-depth knowledge, he was incredibly endowed.

Approaching sixteenth birthday reminded Shiva’s injunction

And now the parents were filled with sad apprehension.

Noticing their sadness, Markandeya asked for the reason

About his approaching death, he listened with rapt attention.

“Worshipping Lord Shiva , I will ask for an extended life span

To protect his devotee, only he can alter the heavenly plan.”

In sincere prayers to Shiva, now his remaining days passed

And to take his soul, Yama, the Lord of Death arrived at last.

Remembering Shiva and tightly holding the lingam he had made

Seeing the fearful form of Yama, Markandeya was afraid.

Laughing thunderously, Yama threw his noose

But unexpectedly all the hell did break loose.

Entrapping Markandeya, the noose touched the lingam

And enraged Lord Shiva burst out of the lingam.

“How dare you throw the noose on me?” Shiva shouted in anger

Furious at Yama, he refused to listen to any answer.

“This young boy has come to me in all sincerity for protection

And he shall have it. You can’t touch him.” said Shiva with affection.

Chastisized by Shiva, disappointed Yama left for his abode

A long life and immense wisdom was on Markandeya bestowed.

How far the Almighty Lord goes for devotees’ protection

And He reciprocates the devotion with love and affection.

© 2017 Shaloo Walia All rights reserved



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