After ādi-guru Brahma appeared from the lotus flower growing from the navel of Garbhodakaśayī Viṣṇu, he had no concept of time or place or where he was; from all directions he was surrounded only by darkness and water. Even after God gave him advice to chant mantras, for a very long time Brahma still had no vision beyond this darkness and water. Eventually, from His bahiranga-sakti God inspired Brahma with power for creation and he manifested the fourteen planetary systems in this material world of Devī-dhāma: seven upper planetary systems, namely Bhūḥ, Bhuvaḥ, Svaḥ, Mahaḥ, Janaḥ, Tapaḥ; and seven lower planetary systems, namely Atala, Vitala, Talātala, Rasātala, Mahātala, and Pātāla.
In the middle of all these planetary systems Brahma manifested Pṛthivi-devī, the Earth planet. She is like a mother for all, taking care of everybody she hosts. For those souls who lead good lives, she gives them promotions into the higher planets, even up to Brahma-loka, the final highest heavenly abode before the Virajā River and Vaikuṇṭha-dhāma. And for those who are naughty, or crazy, against the proper Vedic etiquette and dharma, she sends them down into Pātāla and Sutāla. Within both the upper and lower planetary systems one can find guru. Many types of guardians and helpers reside throughout the material manifestation. Yet it is from the middle planet of Earth where Pṛthivi-devī checks the qualification of the wandering souls; she tests them and gives them the proper result.
By the curse of Catuḥsana (the four Kumāras), the gate-keepers of Vaikuṇṭha, Jaya and Vijaya, took birth in the material world as two demon brothers, Hiraṇyakaśipu and Hiraṇyākṣa. Taking notice of the motherly nature of Pṛthivi-devī, Hiraṇyakaśipu and Hiraṇyākṣa became disturbed thinking, “Why does she not help us? She is always helping the demigods and so many others. She manages all valuable resources; all property is in her possession and by her choice she distributes this to others. But she does not offer us anything. We are the emperors and yet she ignores us and is doing everything independently. Without our permission, how can she do anything? Just see,” they complained, “Pṛthivi-devī gives the ṛṣis, mahāṛṣis, and tapasvīs great power, scholarship, facilities and support. But if anyone misbehaves, or acts against her desires or against dharma, she sends them down into hell.”
Now agitated, Hiraṇyākṣa and Hiraṇyakaśipu caught Pṛthivi-devī, tied her and forcibly dragged her to their own palace in Sutāla-loka. There they luted all of her resources, usurped her position, and afterward left her in a dark corner. They stole everything from her – her power, position and good activities, and left her barren and dry, binding her in a lonely place.
Ādi-guru Brahma, all demigods, ṛṣis and mahāṛṣis were very disturbed with these two brothers. Brahma began to pray to Lord Sri Hari, and upon meditating on the Lord, he sneezed and one tiny worm came out from his nose. This worm quickly grew and took on the form of a giant boar, Śrī Varāhadeva. This was not any ordinary boar, but rather He was the Lord Himself. Jumping into the cosmic ocean, this boar incarnation, Sri Varāhadeva, directly descended into the lower planetary regions where Pṛthivi-devī was being held hostage, lifted the planet earth like a speck upon His huge tusks, and brought her back to her rightful position in the universe. Lord Varāhadeva also killed Hiraṇyākṣa in a fierce battle.
Although Pṛthivi-devī had been rescued, she remained in a fearful condition following her gruesome, traumatic experience with the demon Hiraṇyākṣa. It brought her great distress knowing that so many demons and ignorant jīvas would continue to perform such cruel and disturbing acts and she felt very helpless to stop them. She prayed to Lord Varāhadeva, who kindly soothed her anxiety by telling her, “For your protection, I am now giving you some power. First, I give you one very strong body structure, this element and covering of earth, mithi, clay. Next I give you this element of fire, which burns and produces heat and light; it will be another covering for your protection. I also give you the three elements of water, air, and sky. In addition to all these gross coverings, I give you four more subtle coverings for your protection: mind, intelligence, false ego, and citta (consciousness). With these in your power it will not be possible for anybody to catch you or touch you. No one of this material world will be able to cross these nine covers.”
These material elements had been with Prthivi-devi previously, but when Hiranyaksa kidnapped her, he looted her reservoir. Now that Lord Varahadeva Himself was bestowing these elements, they were restored to her with greater power.
“Also,” Lord Varāhadeva continued, “if anyone has jealousy, then, even if they try to touch or take anything from you, it will not be possible. All will be defeated; they cannot disturb you anymore. I know that it will be natural and easy for you to freely help those people who are good and honest, but you must also think for the welfare of those persons with bad tendencies. How will they become good? Therefore you must make arrangements to help them, but with a neutral mood. You should not give them any special power, but only help them externally.”
Listening to these instructions of her Lord, Pṛthivi-devī gazed lovingly at Varāhadeva; in return He gave her strength, energy, love, power and a special creation mood. This is called prakṛti. She uses this prakṛti in many ways; she arranges for the ṛṣis, mahāṛṣis, brahmaṛṣis, and for everyone, many nice places to perform sādhana and tapsya. Varāhadeva promised to Pṛthivi-devī, “Any time you remember Me, I will protect you.”
After the Earth planet had been rescued and Hiraṇyākṣa defeated, Brahma, along with all demigods, performed abhiṣeka of Varāhadeva. Śrī Varāhadeva’s body was drenched in blood from fighting with Hiraṇyākṣa and many demons, all of whom He had killed. When this abhiṣeka water mixed with the blood of Hiraṇyākṣa and flowed onto the soil of the earth, Pṛthivi-devī soaked it all up and drank it. From the very places where this water was absorbed into the earth, massive trees grew, called red sandalwood trees.
With the blessings and mercy of Varāhadeva, from Pṛthivi-devī’s heart grew many beautiful and love-filled creepers, plants and flowers. Flowers like belī, camelī, mālatī, jūhī, mallikā, yathikā, gulab (rose), rajinī-gandha and so many more, appeared from Pṛthivi-devī in many different delightful colors and each with a unique attractive fragrance. Pṛthivi-devī became very pleased to see that the sādhus would offer these flowers to Varāhadeva as they worshipped Him. Pṛthivi-devī also discovered that by the causeless mercy of Lord Varāhadeva she was now carrying many special gifts that could be used in His service. An enchanting musk scent (called kastūrī) was exuding from the navel of the many deer that roamed about her forests. She noticed she now carried gorocanā, a bright yellow auspicious pigment that would appear when the rain would fall upon the hooves of cows during the nakṣatra constellation. Now Pṛthivi-devī held the stock of kuṁkum powder, a beautiful bright red powder made from the stems of turmeric (haldi), lime fruit, and camphor (distilled wood of the kapur tree).
As Pṛthivi-devī realized her new wealth, she prayed to the Lord, “I see You are kindly giving me these most precious gifts. You are decorating me and showering me with this beautiful wealth, and I have become so happy, but how can I serve and please You? What can I give You?”
Varāhadeva smiled sweetly. He looked upon all the ṛṣis, mahāṛṣis and all demigods, until his son Brahma. Seeing that Pṛthivi-devī was a very humble queen with a pleasing service tendency, He promised her “O devī, I will take all responsibility for all the living entities on Earth. If any living entity remembers and honors you, Pṛthivi-devī, I will help them. I will see that they can progress toward Goloka Vrṇdāvana and Vaikuṇṭha. Don’t worry, I am helping them.
“But how can I serve and please You? Please tell me,” Pṛthivi-devī implored.
By divine inspiration, Pṛthivi-devī then called all ṛṣis and mahāṛṣis, Surabhi Mātā, ādi-guru Brahma and demigods and again performed another abiṣeka of Varāhadeva, this time using all these new special gifts in her storage, like kastūrī, kuṁkum, gorocanā, and all the beautiful flowers and their nectar-honey. Together they offered everything. After this abiṣeka, they offered Varāhadeva puṣpāñjali and finally their own heart. Where this abiṣeka water touched the surface of Pṛthivi-devī, new golden-white color sandalwood trees appeared. The assembly collected the wood from these trees, ground it into a paste, as well as separated the fragrant sandal oil, and smeared everything onto Varāhadeva’s body with great love. Varāhadeva, also with great love, joyfully accepted this offering, which completely cooled Him, and in return gave Pṛthivi-devī a special boon.
Lord Varāha announced, “If anybody pastes this sandalwood from Mother Pṛthivi-devī and affectionately offers this to Me, or any Deity incarnation of Viṣṇu – if they do this every day, or even just once – I will be greatly pleased and will offer them all types of help and boons. I will remove all negative moods within their hearts, like jealousy and the desire to challenge and compete with others, and I will personally make them humble. Only I will give them humility. Because this sandalwood paste, this candana, is cooling Me, it will cool everyone – how? By giving them this desire to perform loving service. At that time, their love will not spread just anywhere or go the wrong way. By performing this service to Me, they will not collect any anarthas; rather they will become free from them.”
Pṛthivi-devī then began reserving and protecting these sandalwood trees and giving them to the ṛṣis, mahāṛṣis, brāhmaṇas, and pūjārīs who would use them for performing yajña. The scent of sandalwood causes Yajñeśvara Śrī Hari to become very happy. That place where the yajña of pasting and offering sandalwood and sandal oil is performed will be a holy place; and the body of that person who is pasting this sandalwood will also be a holy place, a holy dhāma. Their mind and body will become pure, their senses will receive spiritual strength and their active service mood will grow more and more. They will attain a sattvic nature and will never be defeated by any tamasic people; they will understand who are the tamasic and rajasic people. Anybody who offers sandal oil to the Lord and afterwards performs His abiṣeka and honors that caraṇāmṛta, will be completely clean, inside and out. Varāhadeva gave many of these types of boons.
In Satya-yuga, the people who offer candana to the Deity of the Lord and then also apply this paste upon other devotees and themselves, easily achieve steadiness in their meditation. Their mind becomes cool and controlled, and for well over 100 years they are able to perform sādhana without ever becoming restless.
During Treta-yuga, when Lord Rāmacandra had gone to the forest, He observed the many ṛṣis and mahāṛṣis performing yajña and offering sandalwood paste and oil to their Deities. He also learned that the demons would constantly steal this sandalwood from the sages and cruelly destroy their yajñas. At this time, in a mood of protection Pṛthivi-devī hid all sandalwood trees and did not want to give this precious wealth of candana.
When Dvāpara-yuga came however, Kṛṣṇa Himself appeared on Earth; then Pṛthivi-devī again grew these sacred golden-white sandalwood trees and manifested candana for Kṛṣṇa’s service. With the arrival of Kṛṣṇa on Earth, all the divine associates like Vrṇdā-devī, Tulasī-devī, Śālagrāma, Gaṅgā, Yamunā and all holy rivers also appeared. Especially Śālagrāma śīlā only accepts worship where tulasī and candana are offered. Therefore, Pṛthivi-devī again manifested these sandalwood trees.
After Kṛṣṇa appeared in Vraja-maṇḍala in the house of Nanda Bābā, the Vrajavāsīs all came to Nanda Bābā and began to carefully serve and follow him. They made a meeting with him and asked sincerely, “O Bābā, how can we serve and protect Kṛṣṇa?” With the appearance of Kṛṣṇa in Gokula Mahāvana, many problems and disturbances had come, threatening Kṛṣṇa. Many demons had arrived in Vraja-maṇḍala with the wicked desire for stealing the Vrajavāsīs’ greatest wealth – Kṛṣṇa Himself. These demons were now constantly entering Vraja-dhāma and making many disruptions, but Kṛṣṇa had thus far defeated every demon. Yet still, all Vrajavāsīs were very concerned for the safety and protection of little Kṛṣṇa.
Each day Yaśodā Mātā would take the foot-dust of the local brāhmaṇas of Vraja and smear this all over Kṛṣṇa’s small body for His protection and auspiciousness and then give Him abiṣeka. One day she asked the ṛṣis and mahāṛṣis, “How can I protect my Kṛṣṇa?” They gave her many kavacas for Kṛṣṇa to wear, and also performed tantra and mantra, but Kṛṣṇa continued to have to tolerate the disturbance of many demons that wished to harm Him. Then all the ṛṣis specially prayed to Lord Śiva. Śiva Ṭhākura, along with ādi-guru Brahma and Yogamāyā Pournamāsī-devī, then gave an instruction for how to protect small Kṛṣṇa. They advised, “Make a paste using kastūrī, kuṁkum, and gorocanā, and also another paste using cow’s stool and cow’s urine and bathe and shower Kṛṣṇa with this every day. Afterwards, paste candana from sandalwood trees and apply this to Kṛṣṇa’s forehead and body each morning.”
Upon receiving these instructions, the Vrajavāsīs next began to search Vraja-maṇḍala for sandalwood trees for pasting candana and for all the other necessary materials for the abhiśeka. They humbly prayed to Pṛthivi-devī, who at that time was still hiding all this special wealth. But now with the appearance of Vrṇdāvana-dhāma, and Kṛṣṇa Himself, Pṛthivi-devī began to again manifest these sandalwood trees in the most special places – in Govardhana, nearby Uddhava-kyārī, in Varsāna, Vrṣabhānu-pura – anywhere there was Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s lotus footstep, and foot-dust, there these sandalwood trees grew. The golden-white hue of this sandalwood resembled Rādhārāṇī’s bodily luster, very sweet and soft. Pṛthivi-devī generously offered plenty of these trees for Kṛṣṇa’s service. Yogamāyā specially instructed the Vrajadevīs to collect this sandalwood, grind it into a paste and smear this candana all over Kṛṣṇa’s body. “The pleasant smell that will come from Kṛṣṇa’s body after He is covered in this candana will repel all demons, ghosts and brahma–rākṣasas. They will all fall senseless from this fragrance. They will run very far away from Kṛṣṇa,” Yogamāyā assured, “They don’t like this sandalwood smell.”
All gopīs, gopas and cows became so happy to see Kṛṣṇa covered in this sandalwood paste, and free from the disturbance of demons. Kṛṣṇa Himself also pasted candana and applied it to the horns and necks of the cows to keep them cool and protected. The sakhas also smeared Kṛṣṇa’s body with this sandal paste – everyone helped. And from this sevā, all became very cool and happy. Vraja-maṇḍala became more fresh and cool than the Himālayas. Spring season is very helpful and refreshing for the body, mind and heart, but this sandalwood paste is also completely cooling and refreshing, not only for the body, mind, and heart, but for the soul. If any sincere sādhaka offers this sandalwood paste for God, then very soon they will receive great spiritual strength and power.
Gaura Premanande Hari Hari Bol!