Episode # 124 – “Dharma-Samsthabhanarthaya” – Bhagawan’s key “AGENDA” for every “Avatara” is to re-establish “Dharma”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed a very important and pertinent discussion as to why Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation is spoken about prominently in the Puraanas, more than any other incarnation. In fact, even though we have  24,000-sloka-Valmiki Ramayana in place, Bhagawan Rama’s incarnation too is not widely spoken about in either Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana or Shri Vishnu Puraana in much detail. In these lines, we had put forward a few points to seemingly justify this stance, however, there might be many other reasons as well. Of course, if great Sages in the likes of Sage Paraashara and Sage Sukhaachaarya are threading along a path, there should be a huge philosophy behind it, which common people like us might not understand at one go. We can only guess a few reasons with our limited knowledge and understanding, but there might be many other reasons that are beyond our understanding behind what they’re doing. Hence, for now, let us get on with what Sage Paraashara is going to discuss from here on. 

Saying thus, we are now going to witness Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation, which is often referred to as the ninth incarnation of Bhagawan Vishnu. We’ve already seen a couple of episodes earlier too that there are innumerable “Avataras” (Incarnations) of Bhagawan, out of which, we prominently talk about ten of them. Each “Avatara” has its own purpose and agenda behind it. It is a well-thought out process of Bhagawan, to establish and re-establish “Dharma” in this world. As Bhagawan Krishna Himself explains clearly in the Bhagawad Gita thus, 

“Paritraanaaya saadhunaam vinaashaayacha dushkruthaam!

Dharma samsthaabhanaarthaaya sambhavaami yuge yuge!!”

Bhagawan’s main agenda behind any incarnation is to protect the “Saadhus” (Ardent devotees) and to destroy the “Vinaashaa” (Demons and evils that try and establish Adharma in this world). We can ask a question here – Bhagawan can do these two sitting at Vaikunta itself, isn’t it? Why should He take all the pains to come to this world, incarnate, live a life like normal living beings and then destroy the “Raakshasas”? This is where Bhagawan Krishna Himself answers this question in the next line – “Dharma Samsthaabhanaarthaaya”. Thus, the main agenda of Bhagawan incarnating in this world is to establish and re-establish the “Dharma”. This might not be possible to achieve when Bhagawan just sits in the Vaikunta. He has to come down to the earth, take a birth like a normal human being, practice all the “Dharma” principles and set Himself as a role model for others to follow. Only if this is done, people like us who do not have any basic understanding of our “Shaastras” would be able to understand something of our “Dharma”, if not everything. 

Of course, all these important principles of “Dharma” are clearly explained in the Vedas and Upanishads. But the problem is that, these principles are explained in a very complex way, and in a complex language called “Sanskrit” which is very difficult for us to read, understand and comprehend. Given this complexity, many of these principles go unread and virtually unheard of. Even if some people try to comprehend the Vedas, there might be certain principles of “Dharma” that might be very difficult for us to digest and follow in our regular day-to-day life. Thus, in order to take away these complexities and to make our lives simpler, Bhagawan took it upon Himself to incarnate and “enact” all these principles of “Dharma” in His life, and show us the way of implementation. Thus, we can understand here that the primary reason behind Bhagawan incarnating in this world is to establish and re-establish the “Dharma”. 

In order to do this, we might have another question – Isn’t it enough if Bhagawan does this establishment and re-establishment once? Is it a requirement for Him to do it again and again? The problem with we, human beings, is that we tend to forget things very quickly! 🙂 This is not the case today or yesterday, but has been the case for “Yugas” put together! In the “Krita Yuga” when Bhagawan established the “Dharma”, He was also perhaps happy that the world would be a better place to live in. However, that was not the case! In the “Tretha Yuga”, the “Dharma” deteriorated still. This is why Bhagawan decided that things are not going the way He wanted it to go, and there’s no use sitting at Vaikunta in trying to oversee things. He thus decided to incarnate as Bhagawan Rama and re-establish “Dharma”. However, at the end of the “Tretha Yuga” and in the course of the next “Dwaapara Yuga”, the Dharma started deteriorating even further! Bhagawan couldn’t tolerate the extent to which the “Adharma” was rising all the way to a peak, and hence He decides that He’s going to incarnate once more as Bhagawan Krishna to set things right! 

Thus, we can see here that establishing “Dharma” once and for all doesn’t work with people like us. We need constant reinforcement and constant pushing from our back to follow “Dharma” properly. This is why Bhagawan Krishna Himself explains at the end of the above sloka, “Sambhavaami Yuge yuge”. This means that Bhagawan keeps incarnating every Yuga, to set things right. This is not only true for Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation, but it holds good for all incarnations of Bhagawan. Thus, we realize that Bhagawan’s main agenda for incarnating time and again in this world is to re-establish the “Dharma” and here in this context, we’re going to witness the all-important “Krishna-Avatara” of Bhagawan Vishnu. Why did Bhagawan Krishna incarnate? Why was He born as a son of Devaki and Vasudeva? Why was He transported from Mathura city to Gokula? What did Bhagawan do there? We’ve got all these questions in mind, isn’t it? Let us wait till the next episode eagerly to start off with the answers for each of these questions! Stay tuned! 🙂  

Episode # 123 – Why is Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation focused more than that of Bhagawan Rama in the Puraanas? An important discussion!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the conclusion of the “Jada-Bharata-Upaakyaanam” and we’re about to commence the next important section of the “Shri Vishnu Puraana”, which is nothing but the detailed accord of Bhagawan Krishna. Before we commence that, we might be wondering why are Sage Paraashara and Sage Sukhaachaarya not laying much emphasis on Bhagawan Vishnu’s other incarnations and why only on Bhagawan Krishna a lot. We’ve commenced a small discussion in this regard in yesterday’s episode itself and we shall continue this further today. In fact, when we trace back to our previous project – Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana, Sage Sukhaachaarya had categorically explained to King Parikshit that if he wants a detailed accord on Bhagawan Rama’s incarnation, he should visit the Ramayana text, which comprises of around 24,000 slokas, wherein Valmiki Bhagawan had detailed Bhagawan Rama’s incarnation to the greatest possible extent. He doesn’t go inside details of how Bhagawan Rama took birth at Ayodhya and his subsequent life events. Similarly here too, Sage Paraashara explains to Sage Maithreya that he should go and visit the Ramayana text for more details about Bhagawan Rama’s incarnation. 

We might wonder why there seems a “partiality” and “sidelining” when it comes to Bhagawan Rama, as compared to Bhagawan Krishna! 🙂 Let’s look at some possible reasons here. Firstly according to my little analysis, Bhagawan Rama’s childhood days aren’t spoken about much in the Valmiki Ramayana. We’ve already witnessed earlier and readers can always go back to refer our first project of this blog on Valmiki Ramayana for details – If we consider the “Bala Kanda” (The first section of the Ramayana text), from sloka 1 to sloka 24 within the same “Sarga”, Bhagawan Rama takes birth as the son of Kaushalya, goes to the “Gurukula”, finishes all his education and Sage Vishwamitra makes his way to Ayodhya to take Rama and Lakshmana along with him. At this time when Sage Vishwamitra enters the scene, Bhagawan Rama is already 12 years old! Thus, within just 24 slokas, 12 years of Bhagawan Rama’s life has already been covered! Whereas, this is not the case with Bhagawan Krishna – To explain Little Krishna’s childhood days from His birth till the age of 12, there would be around 10,000 slokas, done by various Aachaaryas put together. Even in the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana, we had witnessed the “Dasamah Skandha” (10’th Skandha) fully dedicated to Bhagawan Bala-Krishna, isn’t it? We’ve to understand here that if we’ve to experience Bhagawan’s beauty, it is always wonderful to witness Bhagawan as a child. Automatically that love and “Bhakti” for Bhagawan would increase manifold. 

Of course by doing so, we’re not discarding Bhagawan Rama’s incarnation completely here. Bhagawan Rama is an epitome of “Dharma”. In order to put into practice all the important facets of “Dharma”, we need to have a certain level of maturity, isn’t it? For that, we need to get a bit older. This is why, Bhagawan Rama’s youth and adult experiences are very important for us to understand – Right from marrying Mother Sita to going to the forest for fourteen years, exhibiting various aspects of “Dharma” in various walks of life (As a husband, as a brother, as a friend, as Bhagawan Himself, etc.) Bhagawan Rama’s life at later stages (after childhood) gains more prominence. However, the main objective of these “Puraanas” are to experience Bhagawan in such a way that our level of “Bhakti” increases. For this to happen, experiencing Bhagawan as a child and getting immersed into the ocean of “Bhakti” is the easiest way. This is perhaps one reason why Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation and His childhood days are enormously talked about, both in the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana and Shri Vishnu Puraana. 

Secondly, Bhagawan Krishna’s “Leelas” as a child are very absorbing and mind-capturing in nature. In order to exhibit Bhakti, there should be some “outstanding” and “remarkable” incidents and experiences, which would in-turn motivate us towards this channel. Even in today’s Marketing Management, we do talk about this isn’t it? If we’re trying to market or sell a product or a service, there should be something very appealing about the product, so that the attention of the customer is attracted. This is why we see every organization spending so much of money on marketing and branding activities, so that the outreach towards potential customers increases. Similarly here too, if we keep saying the Bhagawan is a strict epitome of “Dharma”, and if we’re going to deviate from it, we’re going to get punished by Bhagawan, how many of us are going to come into the “Bhakti-Maarga”? We would be scared and would probably run away! 🙂 However, I’m not saying that the above statement is false. It is true only, because it is Bhagawan’s words! 

Having said that, there should be some mechanism to attract devotees towards Bhagawan isn’t it? In fact, Bhagawan Himself thought within thus, “Oh! If I’m going to be so strict with my “Dharma-book”, nobody is going to come towards me! Hence, I’ve to “market” myself in the form of a little child, so as to give a beautiful experience to my devotees, and in turn attract them towards the “Bhakti Maarga”. I should make sure that I forgive those devotees who come to me thus, with an unconditional surrender!” It is with this intention that Bhagawan Vishnu incarnated as Bhagawan Krishna, whose childhood days are the primary focus. In fact, this is the reason why all the “Aalwars” and “Aachaaryas” have laid special emphasis on Bhagawan Krishna as a little child. Thus, we should understand that it is not the question about why Bhagawan Rama’s incarnation is being sidelined. It is only about experiencing the “Bhakti-Maarga” better. Thus, comparing Bhagawan Rama with Bhagawan Krishna is like comparing an apple and an orange. There’s no point in doing this, because all of Bhagawan’s incarnations have a definite purpose in this world. We’ve already seen this before as well. 

Hence, starting from now, we shall gear up ourselves to experience the “Bhakti-Maarga” at its highest peak, with Bhagawan Krishna as our center point of focus. From the next episode onwards we shall commence witnessing Sage Paraashara’s narratives on how Bhagawan Krishna incarnated in this world and what were His divine “Leelas” that He exhibited in this world, so that, normal people like us are also induced into the “Bhakti-Maarga”! Stay tuned for exciting times ahead! 🙂 

Episode # 122 – End of the “Jada-Bharata-Upakyana” -Why should we focus on the “PROCESS” more than “OUTCOME”?

In the previous episode, we had witnessed a very important talk-point as to why we have different deities as part of our Sanaatana Dharma. This was an offshoot discussion from that of Sage Jada-Bharata’s, wherein he clearly explains how all the “Jeevatmas” can only be headed by one “Paramatma”, which is Bhagawan Himself. As we were emphasizing this, we had cleared off some myths about why we portray different Gods and Goddesses as part of our Sanaatana Dharma literature. We had compared this with a phenomenon in Chemistry called “Allotropy”, wherein one element can assume and exhibit various different forms at different times. Similarly, Bhagawan is like that one element, and He can assume different forms at different times, just like the various allotropic forms of the element. In due course, I had also explained why Bhagawan Vishnu’s incarnations are not just ten in number. There are various other incarnations that aren’t quite talked about much – For instance, Sage Kapilaachaarya and Sage Veda Vyaasa. In these lines, Bhagawan Vishnu Himself has hundreds of incarnations in this world at different points in time. Thus, readers should clearly understand here that our Sanaatana Dharma focuses only on one deity, but the manifestations of the deity are different at different times. We should not get confused thus, and when some anti-Hindu elements make fun of our Sanaatana Dharma, we should be able to give a befitting reply to them in these lines. We should always remember that our Sanaatana Dharma is the highest level of science, which cannot be compared even to the smallest speck of dust by any other religion in this world. 

Moving on thus, Sage Jada-Bharata concludes his accord to King Rahuguna, and we’ve also spent so many episodes in understanding this important accord. As King Rahuguna listens to the entire accord, he now has all his doubts cleared. He was longing for this advice for a long time now, and he was under a lot of confusion just because he was not able to see the “Atman” and the “Deham” as separate entities. Thanks to Sage Jada-Bharat, King Rahuguna was able to realize the very purpose of his birth and in turn, he gave all the respects to Sage Jada Bharata as he was preparing to leave. A totally renounced saint has he was, Sage Jada Bharata immediately left the scene without saying an extra word, as the purpose of his visit was fulfilled. Normally, highly realized Sages wouldn’t talk an extra word apart from what they want to convey. We can see this even during the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana too. As Sage Sukhaachaarya finished the entire accord of 12 Skandhas to King Parikshit, he immediately stood up and started walking away! He didn’t stand there even for a minute to see whether King Parikshit is attaining “Moksha” or not. Thus, for highly realized people, the process of attaining “Moksha” is more important than the outcome. This is exactly what Bhagawan Krishna is explaining in HIs Bhagawad Gita too – As a golden piece of advice to Arjuna, Bhagawan explains that we’ve to do our duty and our complete focus should be on the duty only, rather than the outcome of it. This is an important point that all of us should recall and understand. We’ve spoken about this multiple times in the past as well, but this is something that we’ve to repeatedly reinforce into our memory.  

Saying thus, Sage Paraashara too puts an end to this important accord of the “Jada-Bharata-Upaakhyaanam”, and moves on with the next important accord. This time, he is directly entering into the incarnation of Bhagawan Vishnu as Bhagawan Krishna! Yes! We’re going to witness a detailed accord of Bhagawan Krishna in the coming episodes. We’ve already done this during our previous project of Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana too, but this is something that we can keep doing endlessly over and over again, isn’t it? We can keep on talking about Bhagawan Krishna as long as we live and the profound bliss that we obtain by doing so, is incomparable. Sage Paraashara too is having the same agenda here. But we might wonder one thing here – Why is the Krishna-Avatara being talked about so much in both the Vishnu Puraana and Bhaagawatha Puraana and why is the previous Rama-Avatara being ignored time and again? Isn’t this a valid question? 

All of us know how much significance the Rama-Avatara has, and we ourselves started this blog series with the Ramayana project only. Inspite of this, both Sage Paraashara and Sage Sukhaachaarya have not spoken in detail about the Rama-Avatara in their respective texts. What might be the reason for it? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out this intriguing answer! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 121 – Why do we have DIFFERENT DEITIES in our Sanatana Dharma? An important answer!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the extension of the discussion on how all the “Atmans” in this world are “Bhagawad-Daasas” and cannot be “Svatantras” (Free in nature). As per our Sanaatana Dharma, no “Atmans’ ‘ can be “free” by nature, and are all abided by Bhagawan, who is the universal leader. Hence, rather than thinking it as something that is being forced upon us, if we take it in the right spirit, this is what blossoms into real “Bhakti” or “Ardent devotion” towards Bhagawan. In these lines, we had also witnessed a beautiful illustration as to how Hanuman walked this path alongside Bhagawan Rama and how he stood firmly as an epitome of being a “Bhagawad-Dasa”. We had witnessed how Hanuman accepted Bhagawan Rama to be his “Hero” and “Master”, the moment he saw both Bhagawan Rama and Lakshmana at Kishkinta. Although this episode is a very emotion-packed and a beautiful one for us to cherish, there is this message that is important for all of us to understand and implement in our lives as well. Just like how Hanuman accepted to be the “Bhagawad Dasa” of Bhagawan Rama, we should also accept to be the Bhagawad Dasa of whatever is our “Ishta-Devata” (Favourite Deity). 

Readers should understand clearly here that we’re not talking about a specific deity in this context. In fact, this is the beauty of our Sanaatana Dharma. It would never force or compel anyone to follow any particular deity, unlike several other religions. Our Sanaatana Dharma would only explain the principles of Bhakti, procedures of following the spiritual path, etc. However, it would never ever say at any instance that we should follow only Bhagawan Shiva or Bhagawan Vishnu or Goddess Devi, etc. All the deities are various forms of a single entity called Bhagawan, and our Sanaatana Dharma is very clear on that. I’m emphasizing on this point today because there is a huge misconception amidst many people that Hinduism has many deities and is very misleading in nature. It is a myth and has to be busted out. Yes, it is true that our Sanaatana Dharma talks about various deities like Bhagawan Ganesha, Bhagawan Muruga, Bhagawan Shiva, Bhagawan Vishnu, etc. however, it also clearly explains that all these deities are different forms of the universal “Cosmos”, or the “Cosmic energy”. 

A beautiful analogy to this point that I can think of is something called “Allotropy” in Chemistry. Carbon as a chemical has a beautiful and perhaps a unique property of exhibiting this phenomenon called “Allotropy”. Of course, readers who are familiar with some aspects of Chemistry might be able to relate this concept very well, however, I shall explain this with my limited knowledge. Allotropy is a property wherein an “element” can manifest itself in different forms at different times. For instance, Carbon can manifest itself into “Graphite”, “Diamond”, etc. Thus, Graphite and Diamond are the same carbon only, but in various forms. This is why we would see that if we heat up Graphite or Diamond beyond a certain temperature, it would be converted into ashes, which is carbon again! This is the same principle that we’re talking about in this context as well, with regards to Bhagawan too. In a way, Bhagawan Ganesha, Bhagawan Muruga, Bhagawan Shiva, etc. are all “Allotropes” of a single universal “Cosmic energy” called Bhagawan. This cosmic energy manifests itself in different forms at different time periods and these manifestations is what we refer to as the different deities. 

In fact, even during our earlier episodes I’ve emphasized one point – With regards to Bhagawan Vishnu Himself, it is not just that He has taken only ten “Avataras” (Incarnations). As we commonly know, right from the “Matsya Avatara” till the “Kalki Avatara”, Bhagawan Vishnu is well known for the ten different “Avataras”. But is that all? The answer is “No”! Bhagawan Vishnu has taken innumerable more “Avataras” and in fact, they run into several hundreds or thousands of them. For instance, Sage Veda Vyaasa who had authored the Mahabharata text is also considered to be one of Bhagawan Vishnu, and this is why we have this sloka as follows: 

“Vyaasaaya vishnu roopaaya vyaasa roopaaya vishnave!!”

In similar lines, Sage Kapilaachaarya too is highly regarded as another incarnation of Bhagawan Vishnu. Like this, we can keep on expanding the various “Avataras” of Bhagawan Vishnu in this world. Thus, the point here is that, there needn’t be any confusion as to why we have different deities in our Sanaatana Dharma. Ultimately we should understand that all the different deities are “unique manifestations” of one single universal “Cosmic Energy”, just like how Diamond is an allotropic manifestation of Carbon.

So for today, let us understand this important point, and let us realize that all the “Jeevatmas” in this world are associated closely with the universal “Paramatma”, which is nothing but Bhagawan. This is exactly what Sage Jada-Bharata is also referring to in this context, and we shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 120 – Real meaning of being a “BHAGAWD-DASA” – Illustration of Hanuman!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the discussion on how the “Atman” should be viewed differently from the “Deham”. In these lines, we’ve witnessed an interesting question pertaining to what is real “freedom”. We had an argument that all of us have obtained freedom in the year 1947, and how can we still be slaves? Why should we be slaves to Bhagawan or the Paramatma? We had an interesting answer to these questions and the important point here is that, according to our Sanaatana Dharma, there is no question of obtaining any sort of freedom from the Paramatma. All of us, “Jeevatmas” are “Bhagawad Daasas”, which means we’re all slaves under one universal leader called Bhagawan. However, there is a difference here. Unlike how the British and the erstwhile muslim kings treated us, Bhagawan is not going to to torture us in any way. Bhagawan doesn’t know the language of beating, shooting, punishing, etc. unlike few people today. He is an embodiment of compassion and love towards all His children. Given this unique characteristic of Bhagawan, it is we who’ve to “modify” our mindset that instead of being “slaves”, why don’t we voluntarily surrender to His divine lotus feet and accept Him as the universal leader? There’s nothing wrong in this, isn’t it? Of course, Bhagawan is not asking us to do all this. It is only we who should voluntarily come forward to surrender to Bhagawan’s feet. 

In fact, as we’ve seen many times earlier as well, Bhagawan is constantly waiting for us to come towards Him, birth after birth. He’s indeed giving us so many opportunities so that we can mend our ways and walk the path laid by Bhagawan. However, as normal people in this world, what is that we’re doing? We’re everytime getting carried away by the worldly pleasures that are there in this world, and are totally forgetting who Bhagawan is! We’re indeed forgetting the fact that Bhagawan is yearning and waiting for our presence with Him. Thus, unlike other “Autocratic” leaders that the world has seen, Bhagawan is a “silent spectator” and is watching all the gimmicks that we’re doing in this world, except surrendering to His divine lotus feet. Of course, Bhagawan gets upset if we do not come to Him, but due to His unending compassion, He just remains silent and keeps waiting for us endlessly. How do we account for this enormous patience exhibited by Bhagawan? Hence, we should understand here that we’re not talking about “slavery” in the way of torture, but in the context of “Bhakti”. Slavery in the form of “Bhakti” is the highest level of spiritual attainment that a “Jeevatma” can obtain. Thus, we can firmly conclude that the “Atman” is the “Daasa” of Bhagawan and all the “Jeevatmas” are connected to the “Paramatma”, which is Bhagawan Himself. 

Moreover, we can infer yet another valid reason as to why we should be the “Daasa” to Bhagawan, rather than being a “Daasa” to somebody else. It is always worth of being Bhagawan’s “Daasa” because it was He who created us in the first place. It is He who has given us a sense of purpose in this life. It is He who has given us a good family, good education, good job to earn a decent living, fair amount of time and opportunities to lead a spiritual and a peaceful life. It is He who has made sure that we’re safe and secure amidst so many things going on around the world. Moreover, above all of these things, Bhagawan is an epitome of charm, handsomeness and beauty. If we see Bhagawan in front of us when we go to a temple, can we ever have the heart to take our eyes off His beautiful form? This is why we say that rather than forcing ourselves to be a Bhagawad Daasa, if we look at Bhagawan, the very charming beauty of His, would automatically make tears fall from our eyes. This itself means that we’re surrendering unconditionally to Bhagawan, isn’t it?

We can witness a beautiful anecdote from the Ramayana to illustrate this point. When Hanuman sees Bhagawan Rama for the first time, what happens to Hanuman at this point? Initially when Sugriva and Co. spotted two handsome young men walking towards the Rishyamukha mountain at Kishkinta, he got scared and thoughtful as to who these two men were. Thus, Sugriva sends Hanuman to find out details of these two young men. Hanuman sets out for the mission, not with his original form – He initially disguised himself to be a “Sanyasin” (Saint) and approached Bhagawan Rama and Lakshmana. Hanuman’s thought process was very simple – He should obtain all the details from these two young men, but he shouldn’t disclose an inch of his and Sugriva’s identity at any cost. However, what happened when Hanuman came in direct contact with Bhagawan Rama was something ironic and exactly the opposite of Hanuman’s agenda. The first reaction of Hanuman after seeing Bhagawan Rama in front of him was that he was moved to tears of joy! Something was attracting Hanuman towards Bhagawan Rama and he directly fell on Bhagawan’s divine lotus feet! The first words that Hanuman spoke was, “I’m Hanuman, minister of Sugriva!” We might wonder that Hanuman’s agenda was never to disclose who he was, but now what has happened to him after he saw Bhagawan in front of him? He was moved with devotion and at that moment itself, Hanuman became “Rama-Dasa”! From that day till today, Hanuman remains the same and indeed he feels proud of being a “Rama-Dasa”, isn’t it? 

Thus, we’ve to ask a question here – Is Hanuman forced to be a “Rama-Dasa”, or is he voluntarily being a “Rama-Dasa”? The answer is very simple from the above explanation – Hanuman is voluntarily being a “Rama-Dasa” out of his love and devotion towards his hero, Bhagawan Rama. At every instance after this, Hanuman had embedded Bhagawan Rama into his heart, isn’t it? This is the real meaning of being a “Bhagawad Dasa”. So for today, let us understand this point clearly with the Hanuman example, and let us wait till the next episode to continue this point further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 119 – Is Bhagawan an “AUTOCRATIC” or a “DEMOCRATIC” leader? An interesting discussion!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the discussion on the “Adhyatma Dharma” and this time with a beautiful analogy of a flute (A musical instrument). Sage Jada-Bharata had earlier said that the “Deham” and the “Atman” have to be viewed as separate entities and not as something that smudge on to each other. If one sees the “Deham” and the “Atman” together, he / she is going to get carried away with all the worldly pleasures and ultimately the dream of attaining “Moksha” is going to constantly be elusive. However, if one tries to separate the “Deham” and the “Atman” and views both of them as separate entities, he / she can clearly distinguish which are the worldly pleasures and which is required for the upliftment of the “Atman”, which is necessary to attain “Moksha”. In that way, we should also infer that the “Atman” inside all living beings are the same and it is only the “Deham” that is different from each other. Sage Jada-Bharata had compared this philosophy with that of a flute – Just like how air can only be the same that enters into the various holes of the instrument producing the musical notes, the “Atman” is the same in all living beings across the world. Just like how there are different holes through which the air passes in and out, the “Deham” of all living beings are different in nature. This is a very important and an interesting analogy given by Sage Bharata and this is something that all of us need to understand clearly as we move on further. 

As we proceed further, we should also remember this important point that the “Atman” that we’re talking about here has a common feature – It is the “slave” of Bhagawan. I specifically use this term called “Slave” for a particular reason. In Sanskrit, this term can be translated into “Dasa”. Thus we can say here that all “Atmans” in this world are “Bhagwad Dasas”, which means, “Bhagawan’s slaves”! This is the single commonality amongst all the “Atmans” (“Jeevatmas”) in this world. In other words, all the “Jeevatmas” are the slaves of the “Paramatma” who is none other than Bhagawan Himself. This is an allied point that we’ve to remember, which is being emphasized beautifully by Sage Bharata here. 

As we say thus, we might have a big doubt – How can we call ourselves a “slave”? Isn’t it wrong? We all got independence in 1947 from the British rule, didn’t we? Before the year 1947, of course all of us were literally slaves under the then viceroys of the British. However, we’ve obtained freedom and yet, how can we call ourselves slaves? This is the gross difference between the constitution of a country and our Sanaatana Dharma. According to the constitution of India, of course all of us are independents and nobody can exert control over us for anything. However, according to the Sanaatana Dharma, the concept of freedom from “Paramatma” is never accepted. We might have obtained freedom from the British, but we can never obtain any freedom from Bhagawan. We should always abide by the “rules and regulations” that Bhagawan has laid down in the Vedas and Upanishads, if we’ve to attain “Moksha”. Else, we’ve to keep on taking birth after birth due to our accumulated “Karma”. Thus, we can see here that there is nothing called “freedom” when it comes to the relationship between the “Paramatma” and the “Jeevatma”. The “Jeevatma” is always and any day a “Dasa” of the “Paramatma”. 

We might look at this in another angle too – Yes, we’ve got freedom from the British in 1947, but do we have the authority to frame any rules, any regulations on our own? Can we frame our own laws in the country? Just because we’ve got freedom, can we go on a rampage in stealing things, killing others, etc.? At least, normal people like us cannot do all this, isn’t it? Of course I’m not talking about the political class here. Thus, if we’re unable to frame our own laws, rules, etc. for our living, how do we say that we’re free? We still abide by the constitution of India, isn’t it? Hence, where is the freedom here? My answer for this would be – Yes, we do not have freedom in all these aspects. However, we have the freedom to “elect” our leader isn’t it? We do have elections to elect the Prime Minister, Chief Minister, etc., who in turn take up the responsibility to frame the laws of the land. Thus, we as citizens of the country do not directly frame the laws, but we elect someone on our behalf who can frame the laws, isn’t it? This is why we call India as a “Democracy”. However, before 1947, we did not have this luxury – We were imposed with the leadership from the British. We did not have the right to choose the leader, but we were destined to be under someone by force. This is the difference between having freedom and not having it. 

Now how do we link this analogy to Bhagawan? Why should we consider ourselves as Bhagawan’s slaves? It all depends on the mindset, isn’t it? We can witness this concept in two ways – We can either consider being under Bhagawan as a “forced leadership” upon us (Like the British), or we can consider this as a “democratic leadership” (Like how we have in India today). Of course, all of us know how kind and compassionate Bhagawan is. Hence, why can’t we create a mindset within us that Bhagawan is a “democratic leader” and not a “forced” or an “autocratic” leader? Is Bhagawan coming to us every now and then and scaring or scolding us? Is Bhagawan coming with the stick everyday to beat us? Is Bhagawan forcing anything on us? The answer to all these questions is a big “NO”, isn’t it? If such is the case, we can infer here that we do have freedom for whatever we want to do, but the freedom is “democratic” in nature, just like how in India we have rules and regulations, and at the same time we have freedom as well. This is the real meaning of the term “Bhagawad-Daasa”. 

Thus, for today let us realize the significance of this important phenomenon in our Sanaatana Dharma” and let us understand how Bhagawan is a “Democratic leader”, rather than an “Autocratic leader” to all of us. We shall wait till the next episode to continue this important discussion forward! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 118 – Emphasizing the “Adhyatma Dharma” – Beautiful analogy of a FLUTE!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of Sage Jada-Bharata’s accord on “Adhyaatma Dharma” wherein he emphasizes that we’re all the same “Atman” embedded inside different physical bodies (Deham). Although the form, size and shape of our “Deham” might be different from each other’s, all our “Atmans” are of the same purity and sanctity. Hence, it is upto us to realize the importance of our “Atman ” and give more importance to it’s development. Thus, Sage Jada-Bharata highlights the important point that we would progress spiritually only if we develop the capability and maturity to view the “Atman” as a separate entity and not as a one that is clubbed with the “Deham”. The moment we start seeing “Atman” clubbed with the “Deham”, we tend to see all the differences between living beings and with this, all ego clashes, revenge, anger, frustration, etc. start arising. Whereas, if we’re able to see the “Atman” as a separate entity from the “Deham”, there would be no space for any sort of ego or anger. This is what is important for being selfless in our service to the world. 

As a summary thus, Sage Jada-Bharata emphasizes that nothing in this world is capable of granting “Moksha”, except for the highest “Gnyaana” (Knowledge about Bhagawan and His compassion). Through this, Sage Bharata also emphasizes that Bhagawan can only be the “Paramatma” and nobody else can attain that position. All of us, living beings in this world can only be “Jeevatmas” and the role of the “Jeevatma” is only to be in service to the “Paramatma” by surrendering to His feet. Moving on further thus, Sage Bharata gives a beautiful analogy here, which is going to increase our interest level further in this point. Many of us might be knowing this musical instrument called “Flute”. It is a “wind” instrument wherein it has many holes that are made. While playing the flute, we’ve to close one of the holes and open another. We blow air through one of the nozzles that is on the extreme right-hand-side, and all the other holes are on the left-hand-side. When we close one hole, the air that is blown through the nozzle escapes through the other hole. Every hole has the configuration to produce unique sounds of music like “Sadjamam” (Sa), “Rishabham” (Ri), “Gaandhaaram” (Ga), “Madhyamam” (Ma), ‘Panchamam” (Pa), “Daivatam” (Da) and “Nishadam” (Ni). These are often referred to as the “Saptaswaras” in Carnatic Music. Thus, the flute is designed in such a way that each of the holes emit each of the “Swara-sthaanas” (corresponding sounds). 

When I was talking about this to someone, that person curiously asked me thus, “Oh! If seven different “Swarasthaanas” have to be captured, there should be seven different airs that should pass through the holes, isn’t it?” How can this be possible? Air is just one and it is common for all. It is the same air that passes through hole one that produces the sound of “Sa” and through the hole seven that produces the sound of “Ni”, isn’t it? Similarly, the “Atman” that resides inside every living being is the same. Only the “Deham” inside which each of the “Atmans” are embedded are different. Thus, just like how we cannot say that there are different “Airs” that produce music in a flute, here too we cannot say that there are different “Atmans” across different living beings. Just like how the holes in the flute are different, which produces music differently, the “Dehams” are different, which makes the “Atman” work accordingly. Yes, of course there might be many “Atmans”, but the “religion” or “caste” or “sub-caste” of all “Atmans” are the same. 

So for today, let us understand this important point and let us wait till the next episode to continue this interesting discussion forward! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 117 – “ADHYATMA DHARMA” – All living beings are the same “ATMAN” connected directly to Bhagawan!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the excerpt from the “Brihadaranyaka Upanishad”, on how Sage Yagnyavalkya took to the “Sanyasa-Ashrama” by totally renouncing himself for the welfare of the world. As he left his home, he had to make his wife understand that the only way to attain “Moksha” is to surrender to Bhagawan’s divine lotus feet. Sage Yagnyavalkya beautifully emphasized upon the important point that there is going to be nobody in this world who can help us in attaining “Moksha”, other than ourselves taking the resolve and initiative forward. This is exactly what Sage Adishankara too emphasizes in his famous song “Bhaja Govindam”. He clearly mentions that there is nothing else in this world apart from chanting the divine name of Bhagawan Govinda (Vishnu) that can take us to “Moksha”. 

Thus, the underlying point here is that, if we’re able to view the “Atman” separately from the “Deham”, we can easily attain this highest level of spiritual maturity. The problem with all of us is that we tend to associate the “Atman” together with the “Deham”, and this is where we lose track. We start feeling that all problems that we face in life are affecting us in some way or the other. In fact, all the problems that we face every day are only associated with the “Deham” and not the “Atman”. Our “Atman” is devoid of all worldly problems and is a pure entity by nature. The Deham, which is destroyable by nature, is constantly subjected to pains, problems, trials and tribulations. As we progress spiritually, we should understand this difference clearly that nothing is going to affect the “Atman”, and we should make sure that we give more emphasis on the “Atman” and lesser on the “Deham”. I’m of course not saying that we should stop eating and sleeping from tomorrow onwards. We should definitely eat properly, give sufficient rest for our physical body and keep our physical health condition intact. In fact, the “Deham” is like a vehicle, which should be used to attain Bhagawan and we should ensure that it is maintained properly. However, the problem comes only when we start giving too much importance to the “Deham”, by completely forgetting the “Atman”. 

Thus, we should atleast begin by giving equal importance to the “Atman” and the “Deham”, if not more or less. Slowly as we advance spiritually, we can improve our attention towards our “Atman” more than towards our “Deham”. However, there should be some point from where we should start, isn’t it? So let us start this way and let us take incremental steps day after day. Thus, the point here is that if we’re able to see the clear difference between the “Atman” and the “Deham”, this is where we attain spiritual maturity and this phenomenon is often referred to as “Adhyaatma Dharma” in our Sanaatana Dharma literature. If we attain this state of “Adhyaatma Dharma”, there would be no fights between people, no revenge, no mental pressures, ego, etc. All these would cease to exist, because we would clearly understand that whatever abuses and insults that we might receive, are never going to affect our “Atman” in any way. 

For instance, if we see someone as a “Hindu”, someone as a “Muslim”, or a “Christian”, etc. all these differences are those of the “Deham” and never of the “Atman”. As per our Sanaatana Dharma, all living beings are the same “Atman”, which are directly connected to Bhagawan. This is the greatest principle of our Sanaatana Dharma, which unfortunately no other religion in this world has. All these meaningless fights between people on the basis of religion, killing of people on the basis of various differences, etc. are because people do not understand this very concept that all living beings are the same “Atman”, no matter who we are and what we are. 

So for today, let us understand the concept of “Adhyaatma Dharma” and let us appreciate the “oneness” amongst all of us as we move forward. We shall wait till the next episode to witness the continuation of Sage Bharata’s narratives! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 116 – Sage Yagnyavalkya defines “DETACHMENT” – Excerpt from the “Brihadaranyaka Upanishad”!!!

In the previous episode, we were amidst a very important and an interesting excerpt from the “Brhiadaaranyaka Upanishad”, wherein Sage Yagnyavalkya’s conversation with his wives before he left for the “Sanyasa-Ashrama” is being highlighted. I’m invoking this small anecdote here to highlight Sage Jada-Bharata’s point on detachment and how we should adhere to it, so as to attain “Moksha”. Of course, this is a slight deviation from the “Shri Vishnu Puraana” that we’re currently discussing here, but this is something that teaches us an important lesson. Thus, we’ve seen yesterday how Sage Yagnyavalkya is preparing himself to leave off his “Grihasta-Ashrama”, so as to enter into the more spiritually advanced “Sanyasa-Ashrama”, wherein he totally renounces himself for the welfare of the world. In due course, we’ve also witnessed who is a “Sanyasin” and what is his / her role in this world. As we’ve moved on with the event thus, we’ve seen that Sage Yagnyavalkya’s second wife is questioning him on the very fact that he hasn’t fulfilled his responsibility properly in the “Grihasta-Ashrama”, before he’s moving forward. She argues that it is Sage Yagnyavalkya’s responsibility to make sure that his wife, who is dependent on him for everything, also attains “Moksha” along with him. To this question, Sage Yagnyavalkya is going to give an important answer, with which we shall move on further. 

Sage Yagnyavalkya gives a fitting reply thus, “Oh my dear wife! You’re thinking that I’m living in this world to obtain your love and affection, and you’re living in this world to obtain my love and affection. But this is not actually the reality. The reality remains that we both lived together because it was Bhagawan’s wish, and it was destiny (Law of nature). I’m saying this because of a reason – Just think for a moment – Before we took this birth, did you know who I am, or did I know who you are? In fact, even during our initial childhood days, we didn’t know each other. It was only because of Bhagawan’s divine well did both of us come together. Having said thus, as a “Grihasta”, (family-oriented person), our duty is to work as per Bhagawan’s will and wish, rather than for our own personal will and wishes. Thus, it is becoming very clear that I’m not for you, and you’re not for me. Who am I to guide you in any way, or who are you to guide me in any possible way? I can do one thing though – I can show you the divine lotus feet of the supreme Bhagawan, who is the guide for all of us in this world. Thus, the best way to attain “Moksha” is to surrender these worldly attachments to the divine lotus feet of Bhagawan, and it is ultimately Bhagawan who is going to grant the highest “Moksha”. I do not have any say in this! Hence, if you’ve to attain “Moksha”, rather than asking me for guidance and help, you should directly seek the divine guidance of Bhagawan Vishnu!” 

Saying thus, Sage Yagnyavalkya ushered confidence in his wife that she too can attain “Moksha” if she surrenders to Bhagawan’s divine lotus feet and thereby left the place without even looking at his wife once henceforth. Such was the determination of Sage Yagnyavalkya and with this, he successfully entered into the “Sanyasa-Ashrama”. Listening to his advice carefully, Sage Yagnyavalkya’s wife too was able to attain “Moksha”, as her detachment towards worldly property and family completely disappeared. This is a very important lesson for all of us to learn with regards to how significant is “detachment” in this world and this is exactly what Sage Jada-Bharata is emphasizing to King Rahuguna as well. He is explaining to King Rahuguna that neither his sons or daughters or anybody in his family with all sorts of property or wealth are going to help him attain “Moksha” at the end of this birth. It is going to be solely his effort, coupled with patience and persevereance to walk the tough path of gaining spiritual progress. 

So for today, let us undertstand this point very clearly and let us wait till the next episode to move further with Sage Jada-Bharata’s next point. Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 115 – Who is a real “Sanyasin”? An excerpt from the “Brihadaranyaka Upanishad”!!!

In the previous episode, we had continued on the discussion on why we should ensure detachment from our worldly affairs and why we should substitute our attachment towards Bhagawan instead. We’ve witnessed in due course of the last episode as to why we’re performing the “Nitya-Karma Anushtaana” regularly without fail. We had also done a small introspection within ourselves yesterday as to why aren’t we thinking about and spending time for Bhagawan every passing day. We’re totally occupied with our office works, family commitments and other personal things all through the day and eventually we do not have even a single minute to the person who has given us all what we have today. It is Bhagawan who has gifted us with a good job with a good earning. It is Bhagawan who has gifted us with a good family and with sufficient (three) meals a day. If such is the case, isn’t it our duty to pay our respects and thanksgivings to Bhagawan amidst our busy schedules during the day? This is what we’ve to introspect within ourselves as we move on further. 

This is exactly the same thing that Sage Yagnyavalkya explains in the “Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad” too. In today’s episode let us witness this beautiful accord as we re-establish the point on the significance of why we should educate ourselves to view the “Deham” and “Atma” as separate entities and not as one. As Sage Yagnyavalkya prepares to enter into the “Sanyaasa-Ashrama” after a certain number of years, he has to completely renounce his “Grihastha-Ashrama”. Sage Yagnyavalkya had two wives and he had to make sure that both of them aren’t facing any difficulty when he was away from them. Thus, Sage Yagnyavalkya takes all the little property that he had under his possession, splits it equally amongst his two wives, hands it over to them and is about to leave. Sage Yagnyavalkya says to both his wives thus, “It is time now that I’ve to leave. Hence, use this property and continue leading your lives happily without any problems.” 

Saying thus, Sage Yagnyavalkya becomes a full-fledged “Sanyasin”. Now that we’re talking about the “Sanyaasa-Ashrama”, we should also understand what exactly is “Sanyasa” and who can become a “Sanyasin”. A “Sanyasin” is a person who attains that highest level of maturity to completely renounce himself or herself for the benefit of the world. There should not be any sort of personal attachment for this person whatsoever. Many of us mistake this high level of spiritual maturity in innumerable wrong ways. For instance, we think that a “Sanyasin” is someone who just “runs” away from home because of some fighting with the spouse or parents. This is not real Sanyasa-Ashrama” because, if the same person wakes up the next day morning, he / she would immediately start thinking about the spouse or parents at home and would go back to see them. Whereas a real “Sanyasin” is a person with extreme levels of “Vairagya” or “Willpower”, not to think about home at any point in time, once he / she has come out officially. In other words, a “Sanyasin” should completely renounce his / her family and home and should selflessly work for the world for the well-being of all living beings equally. 

Moving on thus, Sage Yagnyavalkya officially announces his complete renunciation from home and is about to start off. The first wife gleefully accepted whatever share of property he gave. However, the second wife refused to accept. She instead asked Sage Yagnyavalkya a counter question thus, “Oh Sage! Tell me one thing – You’re giving me this property to me, isn’t it? Will I be able to attain “Moksha” with this property?” As Sage Yagnyavalkya heard this from his wife, he was surprised. He replied back thus, “You would not be able to attain “Moksha” with this property for sure. This is just for you to lead your life happily and peacefully in this world, and not beyond this!” Annoyed with this reply, his wife replied thus, “Oh Sage! You’re going into the Sanyasa-Ashrama, but you’re extremely selfish. You’re only thinking of you attaining “Moksha”, however, you’re not thinking of your wife attaining “Moksha”. Aren’t your wives, your responsibility? Isn’t it your duty to make sure that your wives too attain “Moksha” along with you? Hence, I do not need this worldly property from you. If you’re able to give me the property that would enable me to attain “Moksha”, please give me!” 

Hearing thus from his wife, Sage Yagnyavalkya was startled. He didn’t understand what to reply back to his wife. Now how is Sage Yagnyavalkya going to react to this? Let’s wait for an absorbing and an important answer in the next episode from Sage Yagnyavalkya! Stay tuned! 🙂