1. How did the Maharshi came to be known as ‘Pippalad’?
As mentioned in Bhavishya puran, ‘Once upon a time in Tretayug there was a severe famine due to drought. Sage Kaushik was compelled to leave His home along with His wife and children and migrate to another region. He left one of His children in the way with a heavy heart as it was difficult for Him to support his family. The starving child was wailing and then it suddenly spotted a Pipal tree. He survived by eating fruits of the Pipal tree and drinking water from a nearby well. Since then he came to be known as ‘Pippalad’.
2. Sage Narad grants initiation to Pippalad with a mantra
The child then began performing intense austerities. Once Sage Narad happened to pass by. Pippalad paid obeisance and respectfully offered Him a seat. Impressed with His humility and penance at such a tender age, the compassionate Sage performed various sanskars such as Upanayan (The ritual of thread ceremony) upon him and taught him the Vedas. He then granted initiation to him with the 12-lettered mantra ‘Om Namo Bhagawate Vasudevaya’.
3. Pleased with his austerities, God blesses Pippalad!
Thereafter every day Pippalad would meditate and chant the Gurumantra. Pleased with his austerities, within a short time Bhagwan Shrivishnu manifested before him. Based on the quotes he heard from his Sadguru Devarshi Narad, he recognised Shrivishnu. Pleased with him, Shrivishnu imparted knowledge and yoga to him, blessed him to perform devotion and then returned to His abode. Due to the knowledge acquired from God, the child later became a deeply knowledgeable Maharshi.
4. Reason of hardship faced by Maharshi Pippalad in childhood
Once Maharshi Pippalad asked Sage Narad, “Because of which deeds did I have to face such hardships? Even at such a tender age, why do I have to face such adversities due to the planets? Where are my parents?”
Narad answered, “O Pippalad the planet Shani is tormenting you. Today the entire country is distressed due to the slow momentum of this planet. The cruelty of Shani has separated you from your parents. Look, that vain Shanaishwar planet is shining in the sky.”
5. Maharshi Pippalad angrily brought down Shani from the planetary system and hence received a boon from Deity Brahma
Upon hearing this, Maharshi Pippalad became very angry and He flung Shani down from the planetary system. Witnessing this amazing incidence, the Deities appeared before Maharshi Pippalad and calmed Him. Then Deity Brahma blessed Maharshi Pippalad with a boon and said, “One who worships you with wholehearted devotion on Saturday will never be afflicted by the wrath of Shani for seven births and will be blessed with sons and grandsons.”
6. Reinstating Shani as a planet only on one condition!
Maharshi Pippalad reinstated Shani as a planet only after an assurance from him that he would not harass children below the age of 16 years.’