STO-301 – the First Avatar of Vishnu; Matsya the Fish

STO-301-sec A long time ago a very good and religious king ruled the entire world. He was Emperor Satyavrata. One day, whilst the King was bathing in the Kritamala River, he scooped some clear water up into the palms of his hands. He saw there a tiny fish and immediately dropped it back into the […]

STO-302 – the Second Avatar; Kurma the Turtle

STO-302-sec Once, the saint Durvasa was walking down the road and he saw the king of the demigods, Indra, on the back of his white elephant. He smiled and taking a garland of marigolds from around his own neck, offered it to the king. Indra, however, was too proud of his wealth and power. He […]

STO-303 – the Third Avatar; Varaha the Boar

STO-303-sec Hiranyaksha was a powerful demon. At the time of his birth unlucky omens appeared everywhere. Violent winds uprooted trees, volcanoes erupted and inky clouds rained endlessly as lightening slashed the sky. Owls screeched fiercely, wolves howled at the moon and trembling cows gave blood instead of milk. Hiranyaksha grew to be as large as […]

STO-304 – the Fourth Avatar; Narasimha, the Man-lion

STO-304-sec When Hiranyakashipu heard of the death of his twin brother Hiranyaksha, he became enraged. Staring up into the sky with blazing eyes, he clenched his fists. “Fellow demons,” he cried out, “I will defeat the demigods and conquer the entire universe. I will destroy Vishnu by slicing His head from His body.” Afraid, though, […]

STO-305 – the Fifth Avatar; Vamana the Dwarf

STO-305-sec Millions of years ago, the head of the demons, King Bali, attacked the demigods. With hordes of elephants, cavalry, chariots and footmen, they fought for control of the universe. After being heavily defeated, Indra, the king of the demigods, consulted his spiritual teacher. “Even those who are evil may achieve temporary success,” said his […]

STO-306 – the Sixth Avatar; Parashurama the Warrior

STO-306-sec Long ago there lived in the forest a brahmin priest called, Jamadagni. He was very religious and had seven sons, headed by Parashuram. He also possessed a wish-fulfilling cow called Kamadhenu. This magical animal could give one whatever one desired. Still, as a true brahmin, Jamadagni lived very simply in his humble cottage. One […]

STO-307 – the Seventh Avatar; Rama the Monarch

STO-307-sec Millions of years ago in the land of India there lived a king called Dasharath. His capital was Ayodhya and from there he ruled his kingdom with his three queens. At around the same time, all of these queens became pregnant. Two of them each delivered a male child, and the third gave birth […]

STO-308 – the Eighth Avatar; Balarama the Cowherd

STO-308-sec Five thousand years ago Lord Krishna appeared in India. He and His elder brother Balaram, live in the rural village of Vrindavan on the river Yamuna. Both brothers were exquisitely beautiful, with black hair like the clusters of crows’ feathers and eyes like lotus petals. The only difference between them was in colour. Krishna […]

STO-309 – the Ninth Avatar; Buddha the Teacher

STO-309-sec Six hundred years before the birth of Christ, there lived in India a king called Suddhodana. He ruled over the province called Gaya. One night his wife, Queen Maya, had a vivid dream. She dreamt that angels whisked her away to a golden house high in the Himalayan Mountains. They bathed her and laid […]

STO-310 – the Tenth Avatar; Kalki the Slayer

STO-310-sec According to the Vedic, or Hindu, scriptures, time moves in cycles. If we study our clocks we can observe this. One full circle of the second hand takes one minute; one complete rotation of the minute hand takes an hour; one full sweep of the hour hand represents daytime, another sweep represents night. The […]

STO-311 – Shiva Drinks the poison

STO-311-sec Lord Shiva is one of the many sons of Brahma. He was born from between his father’s eyebrows, when Brahma became angry with his four sons, the Kumaras, who refused his request to get married. Shiva can therefore be very angry, as exhibited in his form as Rudra, or when he destroys the creation. […]

STO-313 – Durga Kills the Buffalo Demon

STO-313-sec Story 1 (short version) In the ancient times, a demon called Mahishasura earned the favour of Lord Shiva after a long meditation. Shiva, pleased with the devotion of the demon, blessed him with a boon that no man or deity would be able to kill him. Empowered with the boon, Mahishasura began his reign […]

STO-314 – Stories of Krishna

STO-314-sec The Birth of Krishna Once upon a time, Vasudeva, the son of King Surasena, just after marrying Devaki, was going home on his chariot with his newly wedded wife. The father of Devaki, known as Devaka, had contributed a sizeable dowry out of affection toward his daughter. He had given hundreds of chariots decorated […]

STO-315 – Hanuman Eats the Sun

STO-315-sec A story explaining how Hanuman as born and how he received his name. One day while watching monkeys play on the beautiful slopes of Kailash Mountain, the great god Shiva and his wife Parvati wanted to do the same. So they transformed themselves into monkeys and enjoyed swinging from the branches of trees and […]

STO-316 – Stories of Lakshmi

STO-316-sec A Story connected with Diwali According to astrological calculations, the sixteen-year-old son of King Hima was destined to die by snakebite on the fourth day of his marriage. On that particular night, his young wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid all the ornaments and heaps of gold and silver coins in […]

STO-317 – Stories of Sarasvati

STO-317-sec Once Lord Brahma was attending a yajna (sacrifice). It is traditional that for a married man his wife should always sit next to him during the yajna, otherwise it won’t bear fruit. Additionally, yajnas were only expected to be successful if started at an auspicious moment, as determined by the respective positions of the […]

STO-318 – Stories of Ganesh

STO-318-sec How Ganesh received his head Ganesh is the first son of Parvati, Shiva’s consort. During one of Shiva’s long bouts of austerity on Mount Kailash, Parvati became lonely and one day, while taking her bath, she shaped a child out of the flakes of her own skin. She instructed him to stand as a […]

STO-319 – Stories of Skanda

STO-319-sec Skanda’s Birth Shiva’s first wife was Sita, the daughter of Daksha. Once, when Shiva visited his wife’s home, Daksha insulted him before many of his guests. Sati could not bear this. Sitting down, she meditated on the element of fire and, igniting her own body, gave it up. Shiva was furious and he and […]

STO-320 – Stories of Surya

STO-320-sec Surya and Sanjana In Hindu mythology, Surya married Sanjana and she bore two children, Yama and Yami. Yama is the God of Death, and Yami is more commonly called Yamuna, the sacred river that runs through Vrindavana and New Delhi. Sanjaya, however, could not bear the intense light and heat radiating from her fiery […]