( By: Late Shri E. Venkateshwara Varma, Secunderabad -3 , A.P.)

lord-muktThe creator of the Universe,Lord brahma; who sprung up from the navel of the Protector of the Universe,Lord Maha Vishnu, narrated the mythological history of shri Mukta Rishi bringing about the origin of Soma Vamsha Arya Kshatriya caste to his gem-like son Narada Maharshi in Sathva Loka.While the same has been narrated by Mythologist saint Soota to the holy sages Shaunaka etc.In the ancient that is prior to the battle of Kurukshetra between the Kaurava, and the Pandavas, while in the forest Dwaita, the great saint Vyasa instructed Yudhishtira requested the great saint Vyasa to enlighten him about Shri Nimishamba in respect of the origin of their caste, which has been presented in the Chapter Varna Vybhava Khanda contained in Srimad Brahmanda Purana . the manner narrated by the great saint Vyasa to Shri Dharmaraja;the gist of which is produced hereunder:

The era counting after the Manu Vyvaswata eight lakhs sixty four thousand years prior to the beginning of Kaliyuga, the holy sage Soma, the last son of the sage Atri and Anasooya was born through the boon of the quadruple-faced Brahma, the creator of Universe. The virgin,Susheela, the sapphire daughter of sage Soma,desired to marry a husband having the qualities such as:-doctor of doctrines.master of upanishads,Commander of six sastras,possessing the eight Arts viz.-Anima,Garima etc.,a staunch penetent and serene minded. So she devoted herself to Brahma through prayer and penance at the Tapovan situated to the north of Kamalakaram in Badarikashram over the Himalayas; thus through the boon of Brahma she married the holy sage Sumanaska, the gem-like son of sage Kushika at Brindaranya in presence of all the sages.In due course at the instance of sage Gowthama.Sage Sumanaska desirous of having a son possessing all the arts to be a Chief of the Sages,made penance to Mahadeva at Brihadaranya on the peak of himalayas.Appearing before Sumanaska,Lord Parameswara granted the boon through one of the pearls snaiched from his left arm.By wearing this pearl, Susheela was conceived and gave birth to a gem-like son.Because the boy was born by the powers of the pearl(Mouktika) gifted by Parameswara,he was named after the pearl’Mukta’ by his parents.Day by day the boy Mukta grew up in all the Arts like the increasing moon and became the master in all Arts towards his youth when he was married to Sudakshina the sapphire daughter of sage Doorwasa.After which his parents left for hemitage.

Long ago,the Devatas and danawas jointly churned the ocean using mount Mandara as Churner and the serpent Vasuki as the rope and the resultant liquid ‘amruta’was consumed exclusively by the Devatas due to which great enemity grew between the Suras and Asuras.Vrutrasura, the chief of demons was born in the ‘Avicharaka Homa’performed by the Prajapati Twashta. Janumandala, the grandson of Vrutrasuradetermined to wreak vengence against the suras, made intensive penance for hundred thousand years to Brahma, the creator of Universe at ‘Kanchana Grava’situated on the peak of Merushrunga by the side of river Ganges; Vanipati appeared and granted him the boo that he shall not have death by any movable or immovable -creatures which are progenies. He then returned to Amarakantakapura the capital of his -kingdom to ‘join his queen Shobitangi. With the pride of the boon endowed by Brahma. janumandala, taking the company of his ministers Sumandala, Syribha, Durgasura, Chamarasura etc. imprisoned the races of Garuda, Pannaga, Gandharva. Yaksha, Kinnara, Kinpurusha, Sidda, Charana etc. conquered all the eight regents viz.-Indra, Agni, Yama, Niruthi; Varuna, Vayu, Kubera, Yeeshana: tortured Suras and Bhoosuras; and polluted the sacrifices and worships performed by the holy sages and thus began to give treacherous inflictions in the tri-lokas. Eventually all the sages and suras with the help of Brahmna and vishnu took recourse to the Destroyer, Lord Mahaeswara, with this complaint. The Destroyer, Palaksha proposed to Mukta Rushi. The fitting personel of the sages, to perform the sacrifice called ‘Paundarika’which would help the apparition of Adishakti.

Accordingly, under the persuation of sage Gowtama, Mukta Rushi, entered the forest ‘Savana’situated on the bank of river Jahnavi along with other penetent sages and offered sacrifice, on the alter where thesage Viswamitra offered the sacrifice, reciting the chants inspired by the son of sage Gadhi in front of the temple of Lord ‘Sadashiva’as organised by the sage Kaushika. As the Goodess Parashakti had not given apparation,inspite of the sacrifice for twelve years Mukta Rushi, having been discouraged, determined to offer himself up as an oblation, was,about to chop off his own head with an axe. At that moment, did the Goddess Parashakti appear’and stopped him from being cut off. This incident occurred on friday the Tenth cresent of the Moon inthe month of Vaishaka. Mukta Rushi fell into a deep rejoice and worshipped and praised Shri Nimishamba, having understood the cause and feeling highly merciful, expressed her inability to destroy the demon Janumandala as she was also born of a progency as a result of a curse. In view of good intentionfor the benefit of the entire Universe, Shri Nimishamba resolved to fulfit the ambition. Due to the virtuous penance of sage Atri for three thousand years the Moon was formed of indistructible element which possesses brightness of ten qualities. So the goddess has obtained an atom(bindhu)of the Moon’s(Shashi) element and transformed it into a human being. Naming the boy after the element of Moon i.e. ‘Shashi-bindhu’, presented him to Mukta Rushi conferring upon him the powers to destroy the demon, Janumandala.
Shashibindhu, grew up fast in the Arts of all fiels and as a full fledged chief, attacked Amarakantakapura with the warriors-Suveekshana, Vilochana, Balaripu, Balabedhi, Balasoodhana, Mahabala, Bhadrakarna, Padmakarna, Subahu, Lakshnaguhya etc. He created a great commotionand chaos and bumped face to face against Janumandala and fell in a great duet with Shunakamukha, Varahamukha, Karakamukha, Sarpa roma, vrishchika roma. Khadga roma, Nagayuta, Balayuta, Marialadyteya, Agni jihva, Ghanodara, Sarpabhahu, Jayabuddi, Chanda Shourya, Devantaka, Mayasiddah, Syriba, Durgasura, Chamarasura, Sumandala etc. They waged war bravely first seven days and nights by using swords, spears, lances, Trishuls, Clubs, Boomranges, and devine arrows such as Agneya, Varuna, Naga, Bhujanga Garuda, Iyndra Sameerana, Narayana, Brahma, Veerabadra etc. Even by wrestling and blows, in such tremendous manner that all the demons were destroyed. Finally Shashibindu killed Janumandala with his devine arrow Pashupatha and attain victory.

(In the book let ‘SRI DURGA SAHASRANAMA STOTRAM’ published in Telugu by M/S Vavilla Rama Swamy Sastry and son , Madras, in the year 1951, the following psalm appears on page 9.

Shloka.-“Janumandala dhikkari Rashi koota tatee kateeSmara tooneera samkasha Janghadwaitaya sundaree.”
And the 88th praise of the thousand encomiums on page 43.
“Om Janumandala dhikkari Rashikoota tatee Katyainamah”.
Although the chapter ‘Varna Vybhava Kanda’ or the name of the demon Janumandala does not appear in ‘Brahmanda Purana’ translated in Andhra language by Kavyateertha, Shri Janamanchi Seshadri Sharma in the year 1922, from the above psalm and encomium it is evidently a proved fact that there was the demon Janumandala and that Shri Durga appeared t destroy him )

The body of Janumandala was found to be formed of diamond obtained of the boon showered on him by Brahma. some of the warriors of the Chief of Kshatriyas, Shri Shashibindu, peeled out the diamond – skin of Janumandala with their daggers and presented the same to Loprd Shankara, who is fond of leather clads. Being extremely pleased, Lord Parameswhara, showered a boon upon the generations of Shashibindu, who destroyed Janumandala, that they will shine in the world as greatly commended Artists. In the meanwhile,shobhitangi, the queen of Janumandala, being a chaste sapphire wife, looked all over the battle field in quest of her husband. She was startled at the horrible sight of the corpse completely ripped off and finally recognised to be that of her husband. She cursed that the generation of the killer of her husband shall strive to live on the trade of hides. Consequently she rendered herself to Sati by falling in the sacred fire with the corpse of her husband.

Shri Shashibindu accomplished Suneeti, the son of Janumandala with all the imperial qualities and enthrowing him as the successor to Amarkantakapura ordered him to be a subject under him. Thereafter, Shri Shashibindu returned to his country along with his retinue and the sage, Mukta Rushi.

(The city of Amarakantakapura is at present a small village situated on the mount Mykala adjacent to the district of Bilaspur which is in the middle of Rewa province in Central India. Since River Narmada takes origin from this place it is now considered as piligrim spot. It is situated about three thousand feet high. It is surrounded by ten other piligrim Spots. Amongst them the following are the famous spots. -The birth place of river Narmada, the water falls of Kapiladhara, the foot-prints of Bheema who walked to workship the Goddess Shri Nimishamba Devi is now being celebrated as the temple of Shri Narmada Devi).

On an auspicious day, the marriage of Sri Shashi Bindu, the adopted son of Sri Mukta Rishi was performed with Princess Prabhavathi, the only sapphire daughter of the King of Arveedu, In due course, Sri Shashi Bindu came to the thrown of Arveedu. Inspired by the Raja Rishi, Sri Viswamitra, Sage Mukta Rishi held penance on the bankds of river Swarna for three months to Bhaskara the God of Day and as a result of which he was blessed with eight sons viz., Jyotishmantha, Hamsaka,Bahumana, Mandapala, Rukmavarna, Rukmamali , Rukma Kanta, Rukma Bhooshana, who were all the devotees of Lord Vishnu. For all these eight sons he had chosedn the daughters of eight sages Suteekshna, Mandapala, Magadha, Jabali , Aatreya, Shandilya,Gargeya, Koushika and performed their mariages on a grant sclae all at the Ashram of the sage Suteekshna. Incidentally, he had also given his daughter , Shushroni, in marriage to sage Gowtama.
In the meanwhile, King Shri Shashi Bindhu, summoned all the best of Architects and raised a beautiful city which he named after his beloved queen Prabhavati as ‘Prabhavathi Pattana’. He conquered many a kingdom and expanded his own kingdom far and wide. Thus he became very famous and performed many sacrifices like Ashwamedha etc., He was highly regarded with the titles such as “the great King, Protector of the Truth, The Sponser of the caste, Voice of the Kings, Fraternal of ladies , the King Improgeny; The king of Arveedu etc.” and thus he appeared to be a great victor.

( The Sixteen great kings: :-
Shloka :
Gayambareeshove Shashibindanangove
Pruthur marutwon marudove suhotra
Ramove dileepo Nruga ranti devoee
Yayati mandhatru bhageerathashcha.
From the above verse, it is evident that Shashibindu who is the paramount pillar of the caste ‘Sri Soma Vamsha Arya Kshatriya’ is acknowledged as one amongs the sixteen famous great kings viz., Gaya, Ambarisha , Shashibindu, Anga, Pruthu, Maruthi, Suhotra, Parashurama, Sri Rama, Bharatha, Dileepa; Nruga, Ranthideva, -Yayathi, Mandhata and Bhageertha. )
The descendents of this great king have established many a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva , Lord Vishnu and Goddess Kalika and achieved the blessings of all the Dieties and Brahmins. They are the constant devotees of Shri Nimishambika,performing tri-moment worships to the sacred thread ‘Yagnopaveetha’ and Pranalinga according to vedic rights.They possesses all the sober qualities; -merciful to animals, by showing hospitality, supporters of relatives, Masters in the field of culture (Music,dance and poem); Good orators; well versed authority on diamonds; viz., Indraneela, Vajra, Vadoorya, Gomedhika, Mouktika, Pravala, Pushyaraga, Marakata, Manikya etc.; Victors of various symbolised Flags such as Ape : Eagle, Oxen, Lion, Tiger, Alligator, Dragon, Fish, Peacock etc., and known as the courageous warriors exhaluted to the heights of the pyramid-like-mount Meru Based on the fact that they are the off-springs of shashibindhu who sprung from Soma, the moon they belong to ‘Soma Vamsa” and also because of the fact that the founder of their caste was the boon made-man of Arya Mahadevi (an encomium form of Goddess Parvathi) they are widely known as Arya Kshatriyas.

As the cycle of era slipped on, due to the curse of Mahasati Shobitangi,gradually they lost all their kingdoms. However, as they are over-shadowed by the boon of Shriman Maha Rudra, these Soma Vamsha Arya Kshatriyas have become subjects under various kings and in due course as some of them rendered as invalids by losting their limbs in the battles. They resorted to some crafts or other for the rest of their lives. Obviously, their generations have also followed the crafts adopted by their forefathers, thus the originality of the Kshatriya dharma has gradually declined inthis sect. So they took to the crafts of eight callings viz., Chitrakaras or Artists, Suvarnakars or Goldsmiths, Mritikakars or Potters and Dhatu-Mritikakars or metal and earth workers, and have mastered efficiency in all the trade technics.Still does their generation exit on earth but the influence of the curse of Mahasathi Shobitangi,has thrusted an adverse effect in popularising their names.

(In the year 1922 Kavyathirtha Shri Janamanchi Seshadri Sharma has translated ‘Brahmanda Purana’in poetical form of Andhra language, in which he has omitted the chapter in Sanskrit ‘Varna Vybhava Kanda’in to due to the then prevailing trend and atmosphere of the country.Still he could not, however ignore bringing in about the matter at the 11th line of page 774 in the ultimate part of the 5th sub-chapter of ‘Upodhata Pada’as under:
“The Shashibindhu dynasty have performed sacrifices. Like this numerous Raja-rishis have passed away.Still does their generation exist on earth.But it became impracticable to popularise their names”.)

At present this race of people have selected various other pursuits and crafts that would fetch more according to the time. They are at the present day, goldsmiths, carpenters, tailores. Artists, wood carvers, farriers, metal engravers, sculptors, silk worrkers; nervertheless they have taken multifarious crafts which pay better, casting metals, making figures of clay & cloth, repairing boxes, locks and watches have the virtue of being admired at. For the past half-a-cebtury many have become more literates and at present they are even employed as Government subjects holding high official positions.