Yama tells stories to SanathaKumara
The sage Sanathakumara was Brahma’s son, Sanathakumara had gone to visit Yama, the god of death. While they were conversing, a shining vimana brought a man to Yama who immediately stood up to honour the guest.Yama worshipped him and said, I am honoured. I hope you had no problems on the way. The vimana will take you to Brahma’s residence in Brahmaloka.
After this guest had left, another shining vimana brought another guest who was also worshipped in similar fashion by Yama.
Sanathakumara was mystified at this. He asked Yama, Who are these two people? I have never heard of Yama worshipping anyone in such glowing terms. These two must be holy men indeed. They must have accumulated a lot of punya. Who are they? Tell me their stories.
There was a city named Vaidisha. The king who ruled there was named Dharapala. Nandi was cursed by Parvati that he would have to spend twelve years on earth as a jackal. His crime was that, when Parvati had gone to perform tapasya, Nandi had permitted a false Parvati to enter Shiva’s palace. Nandi was born as a jackal. The jackal went to the confluence of the rivers Vitasta and Vetravati. There it set up a linga and prayed before it, going without food and water. After the twelve years passed, the jackal died and adopted a shining form. In this form, Nandi returned to Shivaloka.
King Dharapala had seen the jackal fasting and praying. He also witnessed its strange death. The king’s wonder knew no bounds. He erected a temple in that wonderful place. He brought several brahmanas to the temple and made them recite the Puranas there. When Dharapala died, it was decided that he would go to Brahmaloka because of all this punya. This was the first guest who had come before Yama. Such are the wonderful virtues of worshipping Shiva and the Puranas.
What about the second guest? asked Sanathakumara.
The second quest used to be evil. He had never donated anything in his life. But he once heard the Puranas being recited and was completely converted. He arranged many recitals of the Puranas on his own and donated gold to the reciters.
This punya was going to take him to Brahmaloka. Such are the wonderful virtues of hearing and reading the Puranas. Doing this is tantamount to worshipping Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
OM NAMO NARAYANAYA