In our routine dialect we often use the word aadhara stambha (ಆಧಾರ ಸ್ತಂಭ /आधार स्तम्भ meaning pillar, anchor, base or mainstay) as an adjective to signify the importance of a person. It means that they are the chief support of a system or organisation or strength of character and without them, the organisation would crumble. In English, the word denoting this organ of strength is BACKBONE. The backbone (or spine) runs from the base of the skull to the pelvis. It serves as a pillar to support the body’s weight
Colloquially in our country, to highlight the importance of the person or the main strength, we use the words Vajrayudha (Diamond Weapon), Vajracavacha (diamond armour), Vajra kaya (diamond body), vajramushti (diamond fist). The reference to diamond in all the above denotes the natural strength (the hardness of the metal).
With this preamble, I would now discuss on the Diamond weapon or Vajrayudha, which is my focus in this article. I am correlating the phrase Backbone to Vajrayudha through the gripping Mythological episode. The Indian Mythological stories take us to a nostalgia. A very exiting story for the present discussion is of Maharishi Dadhichi.
The story of Dadhichi comes from the Sanskrit Puranas. In the Krutayuga, the Devas (Benevolent Celestial gods) were busy fighting the Asuras(Demons) who were led by one Vritra and he was impossible to defeat. Aggrieved, Devas approached Lord Brahma. Brahma told them that, “he was really helpless but recalled that the Devas had, in the past, left their weapons with Maharishi Dadhichi for safe guarding. He dissolved all of those weapons in water and has consumed it which is secured in his backbone”. Brahma advised the Devas to pray the Maharishi Dadhichi to give his backbone as nothing stronger than the weapon made out of the sage’s back bone can annihilate the Demon Vritrasura”.
Now, why the Devas had left their weapons with the sage shall be clear once we understand about the Great Maharishi and the divine knowledge possessed by him.
Dadhichi, also known as Dadhyancha or Dadhyanga is a central character in Hindu Mythology. Dadhyancha or Dadhyanga in Sanskrit is a conjunction of two words Dadhya(curd)+ anch (parts), which means “body parts taking strength from Curd.” Born to Rishi Atharvana (अथर्वण) son of Brahma’s manasa putra (Mind son- born from mind of the Brahma) Maharishi Dadhichi was thus the grandson of Brahma himself.
The Great Maharishi knew something called “Madhu Vidya” (मधुविद्या). Please note!! this a potion/medicine that is supposed to be much more effective than the Amruta (divine nectar). And this Madhu Vidya is much different than the Danava Guru Shukracharya’s “Mrita Sanjeevini” (मृतसञ्जीविनी). The consumption of this nectar, was supposed to eradicate all the sins of a person, augment life and had the power to destroy all enemies. Indra got this knowledge from Sage Dadhichi. Overcome by his greed, he did not want others to know this. He wanted to have this knowledge only for himself. He had warned his Guru that, “If he imparts this knowledge to anybody else, the sage shall be beheaded.
Ashwini devatas the twin celestial physicians, got to know Dadhich’s possession of this secret knowledge and prayed him to impart it to them. Very cleverly, Dadhichi eliminated the threats of Indira in imparting this secret knowledge to Ashwini devatas are well explained in Vedas (Chandogya and Brihadaranyaka Upanishads- for proof and citations readers can refer to Dr. K.S. Narayanacharya’s “Veda Samskritiya Parichaya (in kannada) part 3”). Sadly, such a sacred potion “Madhu” is referred in today’s world as just an alcoholic drink. Irony indeed.
Now continuing the story, the Devas approach the Maharishi Dadhichi and pray to him to donate his backbone for the wellbeing of the universe. Dadhichi says “Do you understand the meaning of your prayer? Backbone is the core of any life form! Your request shall end in sacrificing my life to donate you my back bones. Subsequently, he undertakes penance without food and water, strengthens the backbone through the power of his penance. He renounced his body through the yogic practice of Samadhi and let the devas claim his bones. From these bones, the celestial artisan Vishwakarma created the weapon called Vajra, or thunderbolt. Indra used it to defeat Vritra and the asuras. Every time there is thunder and lightning in the sky, people say: there is Indra striking the asuras with his Vajra, weapon created with the bones of Dadhichi.
Now is such a thing possible? Can we make a logical argument of possibilities based on inference method? Watch out for part 2.