Once there was a
Raakshas named Bhasmaasur. He was busy in intense penance in Himaalaya. He
was a great devotee of Shiv and was doing this penance for him only. When many
ages had passed, Shiv thought to bless him with boons, so he appeared before
him and asked him to ask for boons. Shiv said - "I am very pleased with
your penance, ask for any Var." Bhasmaasur said - "I wish to have
the power that whichever thing I touch with my hand, it should reduce to
ashes." Even after doing such an intense penance, he still had Aasuree
mind, that is why he asked for such a boon. Shiv said "So be it."
immediately asked Shiv - "Bhagavan, How to test your boon whether
it is true or not. After you have disappeared, I will not be able to
check it, so let me see if your boon works or not. Let me check it first
on you." In fact he thought, if I burn Shiv then there will be nobody
greater than me. And saying this he ran away towards Shiv.
Shiv knew that his
boon will come true, and if he will reduce him to ashes, the whole world
will come to an end. So as Shiv saw him coming towards him, he also ran
away to save himself. Now Shiv was in front and Bhasmaasur was at his heel.
Shiv was running as fast as his feet were carrying him. What a strange sight
it was. Shiv soon realized that if he did not find some way to save himself,
the Raakshas will take him over and he would have to die. He was getting out
He found some way, he
turned towards Vaikunth where Vishnu lived. As Shiv approached Vaikunth,
Vishnu saw him coming towards Vaikunth. Vishnu had guessed that Shiv was in
trouble, so He immediately transformed Himself into a very beautiful woman,
Mohinee, and appeared in front of Bhasmaasur. As Bhasmaasur was passing by,
She caught his attention and asked him - "Mahaaraaj, You look so tired,
why are you running so fast? Come here, my father's Aashram is near, rest a
bit, and then go."
[Now there are two versions of this story]
Bhasmaasur said to
Her angrily - "Don't disturb me. If I will rest here that wretched
Shiv will get away. I want to touch his head with my right hand. By doing
this he will be burnt to ashes and I will become the Lord of all three
worlds." Till now he had not seen Mohinee properly, but as he finished
his sentence, he looked at her. She was very beautiful. He had never seen
such a beautiful woman before in his life time. He looked at Her second time,
third time, and then he left the idea of putting his hand on Shiv's head.
He said to Her -
"O Mohinee, You are so beautiful, will you marry me?" Mohinee said -
"How can I marry you? I will marry only him who has never had any wife
nor he will marry any other woman after he has married me. But you are
a Raakshas, you must be having many wives, so I cannot marry you."
Bhasmaasur said -
"I swear, I will not marry any other woman, just you marry me."
Mohinee said - "I cannot trust you until you swear putting your hand
on your head." Now Bhasmaasur was so mesmerized by the beauty of Mohinee
that he forgot about his boon and he immediately kept his hand on his head to
swear but he could not complete his sentence and by then he was turned into
Shiv was looking back
over his shoulder to see how far was Bhasmaasur, but for quite a distance he
did not see him, so he returned to check on him as what had happened to him.
After a while he saw a heap of ashes and a most beautiful girl standing beside
it. He was grateful for her timely assistance, she praised him also - "Lord,
I saw you running and tired, so I tricked this demon and made him put his own hand
on his own head. Thus he himself burnt to ashes."
Shiv was very happy to hear
this and as he wanted to embrace her, she slipped from his arms. Shiv tried to look
for her as where did she go, instead he saw 4-armed Vishnu standing there. He
understood that once more Vishnu has saved his life.
Bhasmaasur said -
"I was following Shiv to test his boon, and you disturbed me. Who are
you?" Mohinee asked - "What kind of boon?" Bhasmaasur said
- "I did severe penance for Shiv. Pleased by my penance he gave me a
boon that on whoever's head I will put my hand he will burn to ashes."
I wanted to test that boon by putting my hand on his head only and you let
Mohinee said - "But what is the need of Shiv to test this Boon? You
can test this by yourself." "But how?"
Bhasmaasur was so
mesmerized seeing Her that he would do anything for Her. She started
dancing in front of him and and asked him also to dance with Her. Both
started dancing. During the course of dance Mohinee made such a posture
that Her hand was on Her head, since Bhasmaasur was copying Mohinee, he also
put his hand on his head and as he did so, he burnt into ashes.
Thus Vishnu saved Shiv from his own boon granted to that Raakshas.
[The moral of this story is
that power, without self-control and self-poise leads to one’s own destruction]