Once the Sanat Kumar brothers approached Lord Brahma and enquired about the precepts of knowledge (Gyana). Lord Brahma was busy with his creation work and found it tough to answer their deep existential questions. So he contemplated upon Bhagavan Narayana. Bhagavan Narayana appeared in the form of a Swan and revealed the mysteries of Gyana to the Sanat Kumar brothers.
Lord Brahma had started creating the various planets such as Deva Lok and Pitra lok. Planet Earth suddenly submerged into the deep waters of the ocean. Since Brahma had shouldered the task of creation, so he ordered his Svayambhuva Manu to produce progeny and populate the planets. Svayambhuva Manu asked Lord Brahma “Where will my children stay?” Lord Brahma was in a dilemma since the earth was unavailable. He invoked Lord Narayana. Lord Brahma sneezed all of a sudden. From his nose, Lord Varaha appeared in the form of a cute baby boar. In a few moments, his form turned gigantic. He lifted the earth on his tusks and rescued her from the ocean. Meanwhile, Narada Muni informed the evil demon Hiranyaksha about Lord Varaha. Hiranyaksha reached the spot and was killed by Lord Varaha in a duel.
The two divinities Nara and Narayana appeared from the womb of Murti devi, the wife of Kapila Muni. They directly proceeded to Badrikashrama for arduous austerities. You find another birth story of Lord Nara-Narayana. Lord Shiva assumed the form of a ferocious lion (Sharabha) and tore Narasimha dev into two parts. The human body became Nara while the Lion head became Narayana. Nara-Narayana are undoubtedly yogis par excellence. During the time of annihilation, Lord Matsya lodged Nara-Narayana in the boat along with the Saptarishis and protected them. Even in the new creation, they remain immersed in their meditative trance. Indra grew perturbed on seeing Nara-Narayana meditate. “Do they desire my position?” he thought. Overcome by fear, he sent Cupid and celestial damsels to distract the yogis. The apsaras and cupid couldn’t succeed in their endeavor. Now, they feared the wrath of the two yogis. At that moment, Lord Narayana opened his eyes and produced innumerable apsaras from his yogic powers. He told cupid- “Do not fear. You may take any one of these apsaras to Devaloka. Take one as a gift from my part to Indra.” These damsels were far superior in beauty to the damsels of Devaloka. Cupid chose Urvashi from the group of Apsaras and left for heaven with his troop. Cupid praised Nara-Narayana before Indra. Now the Apsaras that were left out wanted Narayana to accept them. Narayana promised to fulfill their desire in his Krishna avatar. Lord Narayana has imparted his divine knowledge to Devarshi Narada. He is also the instructor of numerous Rishis.
Devahuti, the wife of Kardama muni and the daughter of Svayambhuva Manu had 9 daughters. Lord Kapila incarnated as her 10th son from the youngest family line. Kardama muni sought his son’s permission and left for the forest to lead a life of renunciation. Lord Kapila enlightened his mother Devahuti on the tenets of transcendental science. With his mother’s permission, Kapila Muni travelled to the volcanic site of Ganga-Sagar. The ocean donated some land for him. There he stayed for a considerable period and performed his austerities. He instructed the Sankhya Shastra to Asuri Rishi. King Sagara performed an Ashvamedha Yajna. Indra stole the sacrificial horse and lodged it underground in Kapila Muni’s hermitage. King Sagara sent his 60-thousand sons to locate the horse. The sons searched the entire globe but the horse was nowhere to be found. At last they dug the earth and reached Kapila Muni’s hermitage. Kapila Muni was absorbed in deep trance. They were furious to see the horse with Kapila muni and charged the crime of robbery on him. They marched forward to attack the sage with weapons. Kapila muni opened his eyes and with his eyes fuming with rage, turned them into a heap of ash. King Sagara then sent his grandson Anshumana to look into the matter. Anshumana reached Kapila Muni’s hermitage and approached the sage with great humility. Kapila muni returned the horse to Anshumana and explained the remedy for his deceased ancestors. He said “Only the touch of the Ganga River can redeem your ancestors.” Anshumana’s dream was fulfilled by his grandson Bhagiratha. To liberate his 60-thousand ancestors, Bhagiratha performed severe penance and successfully brought Ganga to the earthly plane. His ancestors were thus redeemed of their sins. Kapila Muni’s hermitage is now known as Ganga Sagar.
Avatar for Dhruva
King Uttanapada was the son of Svayambhuva manu. He had two wives. Suniti and Suruchi. King Uttanapada was partial to Suruchi and neglected his first wife Suniti. Dhruva was the son of Suniti. One day, Dhruva saw his step brother Uttama playing on his father’s lap, so a child-like desire brew in his heart to sit and enjoy on his father’s lap. So he attempted to climb on it. His stepmother Suruchi immediately grabbed his hand- She scolded the child- “My son Uttama has the right over the king’s throne and his lap. To sit on your father’s lap, go meditate and ask the lord to grant you a birth from my womb! Dhruva felt humiliated and sobbed bitterly. He went crying to his mother. His mother advised him to meditate. At a tender age of 5, Dhruva left the luxuries of his palace and went to the woods to meditate. He met Sage Narada on his way. Narada muni became his guide and initiated him with a divine mantra. He told him to meditate in Madhuvana near the banks of Yamuna river. Dhruva performed severe austerities. In the sixth month he stopped breathing and stood on one leg. Finally, Bhagavan was pleased and physically appeared before him. He granted him the lordship of Dhruva lok where all the planets and constellations shall revolve around him. After his return, Dhruva was the successor of his father’s province. In his last moments, an aerial craft received him. He ascended the plane taking his body along to his planet called Dhruva loka.
Sage Atri performed severe penance to obtain a son. He wanted to please the master of creation. Pleased by his austerities, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva appeared before him. Each deity gave rise to a part incarnation. From Brahma’s part, Chandrama, From Vishnu’s part, Dattratreya and from Shiva’s part, Durvasa muni was born.
There is another story in this regard- On hearing the sublime glory of Anusuya Devi’s chastity, Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati Devi forced their husbands to test her. So Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva disguised as sages and begged for alms from Devi Anusuya’s door. But they placed a condition before her. They said- “We shall eat only if you serve us in the unclothed state.” Anusuya Devi with her yogic powers recognized their true identity and transformed them into children. Their wives felt their absence and requested Anusuya Devi to return their husbands. After great pleading, she turned them back to their original form. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva took part incarnations and became her sons. In a shot span of 7 days, Bhagavan Dattatreya emerged from the womb of his mother. His childhood was an epitome of detachment and renunciation. He undertook severe austerities at a tender age. He is the preceptor of the yogis. Pleased by the service of Kartavirya Sahastrarjuna, Dattatreya blessed him with a thousand arms. Lord Dattatreya has explained the tenets of yoga to Arlak and many other monarchs. Lord Dattatreya has subdued the arrogance of demons and aided the Devatas in times of crisis. Guru Dattatreya is situated in the transcendental platform. He is the pioneer of many yogic paths. He is considered to be the founder of the Natha Sampradaya.