Episode # 131 – The vicious cycle of “Sanchita Karma” – King Yayaati explains!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the conversation between Sage Ashtaka and King Yayaati. As King Yayaati was falling down from the Svarga Lokha, Sage Ashtaka was asking a series of questions to understand as to why he was falling down like this. Various doubts plagued Sage Ashtaka’s mind. There were many myths running through, and Sage Ashtaka sought to find out answers for all of them from King Yayaati, as he can give some “experiential answers”. Since King Yayaati has first-hand experience of visiting the “Svarga Lokha” and coming back, Sage Ashtaka was very keen to understand how was life at “Svarga Lokha”. King Yayaati slowly starts replying to Sage Ashtaka as he was falling down. It should be remembered here by readers that this entire conversation did not happen on ground between the two of them. This happens as King Yayaati was in the air itself! Sage Ashtaka was so eager to understand things from King Yayaati that he did not want to even waste that time till King Yayaati steps on the ground again. The entire conversation happened when King Yayaati was mid-air! 

King Yayaati replies thus, “Oh Sage Ashtaka! I’m falling down on the “Bhouma-Naraka Lokha”, wherein I refer to this earth itself as the “Naraka Lokha”. I say this because this “Manushya Lokha” is full of worldly pleasures and distractions that would deter us away from the path of “Dharma”. It is very easy for one to get carried away by the “Maya” (Illusion) that is there in the world! If we’re frustrated with this “Manushya Lokha”, we would immediately think that the “Svarga Lokha” is much better and we would enjoy permanent luxuries there. However, please understand that there is a small clause here – Of course, the luxuries of the “Svarga Lokha” are incomparable to what we have in the “Manushya Lokha”. But, our tenure at the “Svarga Lokha” will come to an end when our “Punya Karma” comes to an end! This is exactly what happened to me! Initially I was under the impression that the “Svarga Lokha” was permanent and I shall enjoy even more luxuries and pleasures there. However, when Indra pushed me upside down, I realized how fickle the “Svarga Lokha” is! Hence, Sage Ashtaka! Please understand that the “Svarga Lokha” is temporary and you would never know when you would be pushed down! You would be living there with that constant fear of being pushed and this is even more terrible than the “Manushya Lokha”! 

Upon saying thus, King Yayaati continues further. Now he’s going to answer Sage Ashtaka’s questions on the “Karma Theory” and how it works. King Yayaati replies thus, “Oh Sage Ashtaka! Yet another reason for which I’m falling down to the “Manushya Lokha” is my “Karma”! My “Sanchita Karma” sacks are pending to be burnt! There are many sacks of my “Sanchita Karma” pending still. It is only one small part of my “Praarabdha-Karma’s ” “Phala” (Resultant) that I had experienced in the Svarga Lokha”, and once that was over, I was pushed out! Now when I set foot on the “Manushya Lokha”, I would start experiencing the results of one of the huge sacks of my “Sanchita Karma”!” 

As King Yayaati explains thus, Sage Ashtaka quips him with another question – “Oh King Yayaati! Now that you’re falling down to the “Manushya Lokha”, are you really coming here to experience the results of your “Sanchita Karma” or are you coming here to earn more “Karma” that would eventually go into the “Sanchita Karma” again? Please clarify!” This is where we need to understand the nuances of the “Karma Theory”. This is very similar to how we perform our banking operations. For instance, if we take a loan of some amount to build a house, and when the time comes to repay that loan back to the bank in terms of fixed installments – The bank would charge some interest on the principal amount isn’t it? However, for some reason, we’re unable to repay the loan amount along with the stipulated interest amount, what will the bank do? The bank wouldn’t erase out the money just like that! It would accumulate more and more with more interest, isn’t it? Similarly here also, Bhagawan is sending us back to the “Manushya Lokha” ideally to wash away all our previous “Sanchita Karma”. If we stick to this agenda only and finish it off, there wouldn’t be any problem! This is like repaying the loan amount with interest regularly month on month! However, if we’re going to earn more “Karma” while taking this birth, it is like taking more and more loan from the bank, or failing to pay the existing loan! Now what would happen? The bank would charge us more interest, isn’t it? Similarly, Bhagawan also charges us interest in the form of more and more “Sanchita Karma” getting deposited into our account, basis which, we would take yet another birth in this world to finish that off!

Thus, the point here is that, we keep accumulating our “Sanchita Karma” as we progress through every birth, knowingly or unknowingly. This is where we get into more and more trouble! If we obtain that realization that we’ve to finish off our “Karma” here itself without accumulating more of it, we would be able to cross over this “Karma Cycle”. Else, we would only keep revolving inside this vicious cycle and we would keep experiencing birth and death again and again in this world. So for today, let us understand this point very clearly from King Yayaati and we shall wait till the next episode to discuss the next interesting question that Sage Ashtaka is going to ask! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 130 – It is very difficult to aspire for “Vaikunta” from the “Svarga Lokha” – An important discussion!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important leadership & management lesson with regards to how we view short-term and long-term orientations. In due course, we’ve witnessed how King Yayaati got carried away by the short-term pleasures of youthfulness while being a king, and the lucrative “Svarga-Lokha”, only to be pushed out at the end of his tenure. Eventually, King Yayaati’s accord teaches us the important lesson that if we’re getting carried away by short-term goals and orientations, it is only temporary happiness and can backfire at any point of time. However, if we’re looking at a sustained growth with a long-term orientation, this is like aiming to reach the ultimate “Vaikunta” or “Moksha” with Bhagawan’s divine “Anugraha”. Once we reach “Vaikunta”, we are never going to return back to any of the “Lokhas” once again, unlike the cases of the “Svarga Lokha” and the “Naraka Lokha”. 

Moreover, King Yayaati explains to Sage Ashtaka thus, “Oh Sage! After going all the way to the “Svarga Lokha” and after being pushed back thus, I feel that I could have been in this “Manushya Lokha” itself, performed penance to attain “Vaikunta” from here itself!” Sage Ashtaka did not understand what King Yayaati was telling. The real meaning of King Yayaati’s words is this – The lifespan of a human being here in this “Manushya Lokha” is around 90 years, isn’t it? In today’s context, it is hardly 80 to 85, if everything goes well. Whereas, the lifespan at the “Svarga Lokha” is around a thousand years. If anything goes wrong in these 80-85 years in the “Manushya Lokha”, our time span is quite less to correct course and attain “Moksha”. Whereas, if we deviate from our path of “Dharma” in the “Svarga Lokha”, we’ve to wait for a thousand years to correct our course of action! Moreover, once we reach the “Svarga Lokha”, it is very difficult for us to transcend from there to “Vaikunta”. Very few people who had that extreme “Vairagya” (Will power) have done that. But for normal people like us, we’re unable to resist our desires even in this “Manushya Lokha” for 85 years. But in the “Svarga Lokha”, it is all going to be pleasures and desires 24*7*365 for a thousand years! Won’t we get carried away with ease by all these pleasures? The moment we get carried away, where is the question of even thinking of Bhagawan or “Vaikunta”? We would immediately say thus, “Oh! We’re extremely happy here at the “Svarga Lokha”! We do not need the “Vaikunta” at all!” 

For instance, we’re conducting elections in our country / state once every four to five years. If we as common citizens of the country aren’t happy with a government and its performance, we’ll have to wait for five years to change the government, isn’t it? Similarly, if we’re not happy with our own progress in the path of “Dharma”, Bhagawan is waiting for us for around 85 years (in this human birth that we’ve taken) for course correction. Only if we don’t do anything, Bhagawan acts accordingly with the next step. However, this 85 is much less as compared to a thousand, isn’t it? If we’re getting carried away with all the pleasures at the “Svarga Lokha”, Bhagawan has to wait for a thousand years to correct our path towards “Vaikunta”! This is the potential problem that we would encounter when we reach the “Svarga Lokha”! We might attain all pleasures and luxuries, but we might not be able to attain Bhagawan! Hence, it is up to our priority and the choice is ours – Whether to choose the “Svarga Lokha” luxuries or Bhagawan! 

We should note here that all these question-answer sessions are happening as King Yayaati is falling down! He hasn’t completely fallen down on the “Manushya Lokha” yet! But Sage Ashtaka is asking him all sorts of questions as the falling process is on! 🙂 Sage Ashtaka not only asks about the tenure of the “Svarga Lokha” that we’ve discussed till now. This is a seemingly very long conversation that is going on between the two of them. Sage Ashtaka is asking question after question to King Yayaati! I shall just explain some of the important questions that Sage Ashtaka asked here. The first question that he asked was to which all “Lokhas” we would transcend to, after our demise at the “Manushya Lokha”. If we’ve to transcend to any of these “Lokhas”, how would we transcend? We wouldn’t be having a physical body, isn’t it? We would be having only the “Atman” at that time. In that case, do we take a new physical body to reach those respective “Lokhas”? Now that King Yayaati is falling down with his original physical body – Did King Yayaati go to the “Svarga Lokha” with this same physical body? How come he was falling with the same physical body with which he went to the “Svarga Lokha”? 

We can see here as to how many questions are coming from just that one question that we started with! Initially, Sage Ashtaka started with the question of why is King Yayaati falling down, and from where is he falling down! Readers should remember this sequence of conversation very carefully here. It might be a bit confusing. Sage Ashtaka commences with this particular question, and from the answer that King Yayaati gave, Sage Ashtaka asks around a hundred questions associated with that! So for today, let us understand Sage Ashtaka’s questions and let us wait till the next episode to witness what are the answers that King Yayaati gave to Sage Ashtaka! Stay tuned for the most interesting part of the conversation! 🙂 

Episode # 129 – Short-term vs. Long-term orientation – Why do leaders fail???

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Yayaati falling down from the “Svarga Lokha”, as he is having a conversation with Sage Ashtaka who was standing down on the earth. As Sage Ashtaka asks him where he was falling down, King Yayaati replies back that he was falling down into the “Bhouma-Naraka Lokha”. As King Yayaati talks about a very different “Naraka Lokha” that nobody has heard, Sage Ashtaka is puzzled! He too hasn’t heard of such a “Naraka Lokha” in the list of the fourteen forms of “Naraka Lokha” ever! What does King Yayaati mean by “Bhouma Naraka Lokha” here? The simple meaning here is that, the “Samsaara” that we are entangled into in this world is one of the biggest forms of the “Naraka Lokha”, and this is what King Yayaati is referring to here. The “Samsaara” is the one that pushes us to perform sin after sin, and the worst part here is that we might still be committing the sin, even though we know that we are doing it! We might be knowing that if we perform certain sins, we would get punished in certain ways in the “Naraka Lokha”. Even though we know this, we still keep performing them again and again! This is why the “Samsaara” is the biggest form of “Naraka Lokha”! 

Moreover, moving on further from here, King Yayaati explains how he had ascended to the “Naraka Lokha” first, how he experienced all the punishments for all whatever “Paapa-Karma” he had performed, subsequently how he was pushed into the “Svarga Lokha”, the modus-operandi that exists there, and how he was pushed back into the “Manushya Lokha” now, once the “Punya-Karma” is over! This, as we know – King Yayaati talks and narrates out of his own personal experience! Readers should note one important point here – King Yayaati was extremely interested in the “Kaama-Anubhava” (Experiencing worldly pleasures and desires) while he was ruling the kingdom. We’ve witnessed how he wasn’t satisfied with his ageing and how he borrowed the youthfulness of his son Puru to enjoy more desires in this world. After all this, King Yayaati realized that there is no point in enjoying more and more desires, as he was not getting satisfied with any of them! The more he enjoyed the desires, the more motivation he obtained to enjoy more! There was never an end to this! 

Frustrated by this beyond a point, King Yayaati thought that the only way to come out of this desire is to ascend to the “Svarga Lokha”, where he could reside permanently with all the luxuries. He thought that this worldly desires are temporary and the desires at the “Svarga Lokha” were permanent! However, even that turned futile! Once King Yayaati’s “Punya-Karma” got over, he was pushed back, thus proving to him that even this “Svarga Lokha” tenure is temporary only! Now this was something that he did not expect. What should have King Yayaati done? The moment he lost interest on the worldly “Kaama-Anubhava”, he should have focused himself on the “Bhagawan Krishna-Kaama Anubhava”, isn’t it? This “Krishna-Anubhava” would have taken him to the highest “Moksha” or “Vaikunta”, from where he is never going to be pushed back to any of the “Lokhas”! Instead of this long-term plan, King Yayaati desired for the short-term plan of reaching the “Svarga Lokha” – Only to be pushed back again into the “Manusha Lokha”! We can see here as to how King Yayaati was carried away by the “short-term” orientation of enjoyment at the “Svarga Lokha” by compromising the “long-term” goal of attaining “Moksha”!

Now this is a very important lesson for leaders and managers here – If we focus too much on the short-term goals by shunning the long-term goals, we’ve to realize that our organization is going towards the brink of failure! Focusing on the “long-term” goals and commitments are important for any organization to succeed. This is a common mistake that many leaders around the world make – They want “quick profits” and “quick fame and branding”! This is a dangerous approach, and such leaders would meet with the fate that King Yayaati met! We’ve to be extremely careful here. While there is always this trap of making quick money, name, fame and branding, leaders should focus on the long-term benefit of the organization and its employee’s. Of course I’m not saying that short-term benefits and branding aren’t important. They are necessary too. But the point here is that, we shouldn’t be obsessed with the short-term benefits by compromising on the long-term orientation. 

So for today, let us understand this important point of short-term and long-term orientations and how King Yayaati fell into this trap of “short-term orientation” and lost his plot eventually! We shall continue with this discussion further in the next episode too! Stay tuned for an upcoming interesting accord! 🙂 

Episode # 128 – “I’m falling into the “Bhouma-Naraka Lokha” – King Yayaati’s reply to Sage Ashtaka!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed a detailed accord on the nuances of the “Karma Theory” and the “Birth-Death cycle”, which all of us go through birth after birth. We had classified “Kamra” into two categories, namely, the “Sanchita Karma” and the “Praarabdha Karma”. While the “Sanchita Karma” is the accumulation of sacks and sacks of our “Karma” over the births, the “Praarabdha Karma” is where we begin experiencing the resultant of one of the sacks of “Karma”, from the “Sanchita Karma”. Once this sack is over, we again pick up the next sack from the “Sanchita Karma” and start experiencing the resultant of that. This cycle continues on and on. This cycle only grows further because, during every birth, we would be accumulating more and more “Karma”, and all these go into fresh sacks and get stored as part of the “Sanchita Karma”. For this, we again would require fresh birth(s) to experience the results of these fresh accumulations. Again in those fresh births we would be accumulating more “Karma” and that would again go into the “Sanchita Karma” sacks! This cycle keeps on continuing without abating! 

Thus, as we’re amidst this cycle, we would always have a sense of fear, isn’t it? Even if we go into the “Svarga Lokha”, there is no guarantee that we would reside there permanently. We wouldn’t know when we would be pushed into the “Naraka Lokha” for experiencing some punishments for our “Paapa Karma”! All of us would have accumulated truckloads of “Paapa-Karma” by now, and we’re also still continuing to accumulate the same. Even though we might know many aspects of our “Sanaatana Dharma” by now, and what is “Dharma” and “Adharma”, we might still be doing some “Paapa-Karma” here and there (Although not very major) unknowingly too! So even for these “Paapa-Karma” that we’re forced to perform everyday unknowingly, we’ve to experience the result of all these as well! Thus, the point here is that, even if we’ve performed enormous “Punya-Karma” and ascend towards the “Svarga-Lokha” it is not permanent! We would never know when we would be pushed out of it! 

So what is the way out of this here? How do we escape this vicious cycle? Is there no end to our miseries and fear? It is this background that is going to be discussed as part of the conversation between Sage Ashtaka and King Yayaati. Thus, going into the conversation, King Yayaati replies to Sage Ashtaka thus, “Oh great Sage! You’ve asked me where am I falling, and from where am I coming, isn’t it? Hear from me thus – I’m falling down from the “Svarga Lokha” and I’m falling into the “Naraka Lokha”! As King Yayaati replies thus, Sage Ashtaka is unable to understand the meaning of what he answered! Sage Ashtaka asks back thus, “Oh King Yayaati! You’re only falling towards the “Manushya Lokha”! I’ve heard that the “Naraka Lokha” is somewhere located in the southern direction! But you’re not going anywhere there, isn’t it? So if at all you’re falling into the “Naraka Lokha”, which of the “Naraka Lokhas” are you heading towards? Is it “Ruru Naraka Lokha” or “Kumbhi Paaga” or “Asita Paksha” or “Laalaa Bhaksha”? Which of these “Naraka Lokhas” are you heading towards?” 

As Sage Ashtaka asks thus, we also understand that there is no one “Naraka Lokha”! There are plenty of them! As per our “Sanaatana Dharma” literature, the “Naraka Lokha” is just a generic terminology that encompasses around fourteen different “Naraka Lokhas” within. I’ve just mentioned some four or five in this context. But for each type of “Adharma” that we perform, there is a designated “Naraka Lokha”, where we would get the apt punishments for all what we do! Now coming back to the context here, King Yayaati replies thus, “Oh Sage Ashtaka! I’m not going to any of the “Naraka Lokhas” that you’ve pointed out. I’m going towards the “Bhouma Naraka Lokha”! As Sage Ashtaka listens to this reply, he thinks within himself thus, “Oh wow! What is this “Bhouma Naraka Lokha”? This doesn’t feature anywhere in the fourteen -odd “Naraka Lokhas” that I’ve read about! Why is King Yayaati saying something very different here? Does he even know what he’s talking about?” 

As Sage Ashtaka thinks for a moment thus, King Yayaati himself clarifies what does he mean by the “Bhouma Naraka Lokha”. By saying so, he only refers to the “Manushya Lokha” and designates this itself as one of the “Naraka Lokhas”, along with the fourteen-odd others! The “Samsaara” itself is an embodiment of the “Naraka Lokha” and this is the one that motivates and encourages all of us to perform all kinds of sins, isn’t it? King Yayaati continues to reply Sage Ashtaka and is going to explain a very important point here. What is that important point? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 127 – The “Karma Theory” – A description of the “Sanchita Karma” & “Praarabdha Karma”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Yayaati and Sage Ashtaka starting a conversation with each other. Even as King Yayaati was falling down still from the “Svarga Lokha”, Sage Ashtaka commenced a conversation by asking him the reason for which he was falling down and from where. For this, King Yayaati introduces himself and explains to Sage Ashtaka as to how his tenure in the “Svarga Lokha” got over and how Indra sensed it at the apt time and pushed him out from there very smartly! Upon hearing all this, Sage Ashtaka was wondering within himself as to how could a person return from the “Svarga Lokha” just like that! Loads of questions were running in his mind – Isn’t the “Svarga Lokha” a permanent destination for the “Atman” to reside? How come the “Punya-Karma” account expires and how come people are once again pushed back to the earth to take re-births? We’re going to witness an important accord on this now. But as we go into the conversation and the accord, we’ve to understand one important point here. 

Yesterday, we concluded our episode with a question which readers might remember – Isn’t Sage Ashtaka a great sage by birth? Doesn’t he know this simple thing that nobody can reside in the “Svarga Lokha” permanently, and once our “Punya-Karma” expires, we’ve to come back? If normal people like us know such things, how come great sages do not know? The answer is very simple here – The sages know all these. But when they ask these questions, they ask on behalf of us, and they themselves clarify them. Here, when we say that Sage Ashtaka asks such questions, we should understand that Sage Ashtaka is asking these things on our behalf, so that common people like us will understand. In many places in our “Sanaatana Dharma” literature, we would find such interesting conversations between learned scholars. We might immediately have a doubt as to why are these people talking such silly things! Even in this same Mahabharata text, as we progress further, we’re going to witness many such conversations – One between Yudishtra and Yama-Dharma-Raja (“Yaksha-Prashnam”), an interesting conversation between Yudishtra and Vidura, Bhagawan Krishna and Yudishtra, and finally the Bhagawad Gita between Bhagawan Krishna and Arjuna. Just because Yudishtra is asking many such questions, is it true that Yudishtra doesn’t know anything? He does! Of course he would know much better as he was a great king and is also referred to as “Dharma-Putra” for being an epitome of “Dharma” himself! Yet, why does Yudishtra ask such questions? It is only to highlight all these aspects of “Dharma” to the world, so that the subsequent generations of people would understand. This is just like a mother or father talking to a child. The father might be a well-educated person holding a medical degree or a PhD degree. Yet, when he talks to his child, does he talk all research-oriented stuff? “No”, isn’t it? He would tell some small stories to the child, and if the child says something even silly, the father would listen to it very keenly, isn’t it? 

This is how our ancestors have composed and structured our “Sanaatana Dharma” literature. They’ve done so, keeping us in their minds as their own children, and have explained everything to us just like how we explain to a child! It is for this reason, Sage Veda-Vyaasa is portraying Sage Ashtaka in such a way that he’s asking a naive question to King Yayaati. Thus, the conversation commences with an interesting accord on the “Karma Theory”. Basically, “Karma” can be classified into two types – “Sanchita Karma” and the “Praarabdha Karma”. While the “Sanchita Karma” refers to the sacks and loads of “Karma” that we’ve accumulated all through innumerable births that we’ve taken in this world, the “Praarabdha Karma” is the “Karma” for which we’ve started experiencing the results. The “Karma” can both refer to “Punya-Karma” or “Paapa-Karma”. If our “Praarabdha Karma” by Bhagawan’s grace, is containing more of “Punya-Karma” and very less of “Paapa-Karma”, we would go to the “Svarga Lokha”, experience all the pleasures there until our “Punya-Karma” in that sack is over. Once that is done, we might have to go to the “Naraka Lokha” to experience the results of our little “Paapa-Karma” and once that is over, we’re again pushed back into the earth once again to take a re-birth. Once we take the re-birth, we would again pick up the next sack of “Karma” from the “Sanchita Karma” and depending on which “Karma” is more, we would start experiencing the result! This cycle keeps continuing on and on. 

As we mention this, this is not the end of all! As we take multiple births, we would again be performing both “Punya-Karma” and “Paapa-Karma” in that particular birth too, isn’t it? All these would keep accumulated in the “Master sack” called “Sanchita Karma”, where it would be stored safely! This process can be compared to how we operate a bank account! As we get more and more money, we would deposit them into financial schemes like “Fixed deposits”, “Recurring Deposits”, “Provident Funds”, “Mutual Funds”, etc., isn’t it? All these investments that we make are comparable to the “Sanchita Karma”! However, we would have some amount of money in our “Savings Bank” account, which we would be using for our regular expenditure, isn’t it? This is directly comparable to the “Praarabdha Karma” that we experience! Thus, this cycle keeps continuing on and on and we keep making “shuttle trips” between the “Manushya Lokha”, “Svarga Lokha” and the “Naraka Lokha”, depending upon our “Paapa” and “Punya-Karma” accounts! 

Thus, we can witness here that we would be under constant fear of being pushed out, even if we attain the “Svarga Lokha”, and this is exactly what King Yayaati is replying here! We might be wondering here, as to why should we have that fear when we reach the “Svarga Lokha”, isn’t it? I shall narrate two important things to answer this question, but that is for the next episode! So for today, let us understand the nature of the “Karma Theory”, and let us wait eagerly to understand whether there is a solution for us to get out of this cycle to reach “Vaikunta”! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 126 – The “Ashtaka-Yayaati Samvaadham” – An important life & management lesson!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed a very important point narrated by Bhagawan Krishna wherein He clearly explains how we can continue our “Bhakti-Maarga” in the current birth, from where we left in the previous birth. This is an emphasis that whatever “Dharma” we perform in our day-to-day life doesn’t get erased off, just because we’re getting trapped into the worldly “Maya”. Of course, as long as we are part of the “Samsara”, it is very natural for all of us to get carried away by various facets of the “Maya” at various times. However, Bhagawan gives us a lot of exceptions in this regard. This is where He explains and motivates us to continue performing our “Dharma” even though we might have got carried away. We should keep trying again and again and focus our mind towards “Dharma”, and this is the important point that Bhagawan is stressing upon. 

This is exactly what happened to King Yayaati as well. We’ve seen in our earlier episodes as to how King Yayaati enjoyed his youthful days by going behind women. Not satisfied by this, he even went to the extent of borrowing his son’s youthfulness to enjoy for another thousand years! Even then, King Yayaati’s path of “Dharma” amidst the “Maya” earned him the “Svarga Lokha”. Even after his tenure at the “Svarga Lokha” gets over, Bhagawan blesses King Yayaati through Indra to be dropped down at a place which was full of Maharishis. This automatically becomes a “Satsanga”, and this would eventually pave the way for King Yayaati to continue his “Dharma” from where he had left in his previous birth, isn’t it? This is the point that we’ve to understand from this entire incident and I’m stressing upon this event more because readers should understand this very carefully and very well. We should never get demotivated if we somehow slip off from the path of “Dharma” due to whatsoever reasons. We should always keep trying again and again, and the more effort we put, Bhagawan would hand-hold us and take us to “Vaikunta”. We should remember this point as we move on further. 

Thus, coming back to what happened to King Yayaati here, as per his request, Indra pushes him towards the place where Sage Ashtaka and the others were sitting. As King Yayaati was falling down thus, Sage Ashtaka stops him then and there and asks thus, “Oh! Who are you? Why are you falling down like this from the skies? You’re appearing as if you’re equivalent of Indra in the “Svarga Lokha”! Tell me your background!” King Yayaati explains the reason why he was falling down, and with this, there is a detailed section here that is called “Ashtaka-Yayaati Samvaadha”, which is nothing but an interesting conversation between Sage Ashtaka and King Yayaati! This has enormous amounts of life and management lessons that we can learn. So let us see this in detail now. 

As King Yayaati keeps falling down, he introduces himself to Sage Ashtaka thus, “Oh Sage! I’m none other than King Yayaati! I’m the son of King Nahusha!” As we proceed further, we would be witnessing something called as “Nahusha-Charitra”. We shall witness this when the context comes. But for now, let us continue with this conversation between King Yayaati and Sage Ashtaka. King Yayaati continues thus, “Oh Sage Ashtaka! I was happily residing in the “Svarga Lokha” until my “Punya Karma” got exhausted. Post that, I was pushed by Indra downwards towards this world, so that I again earn more “Punya-Karma” and ascend back to the “Svarga Lokha”. 

As Sage Ashtaka listens to King Yayaati’s answer, he became thoughtful! He thinks within himself thus, “Oh wow! Till today, I was thinking that if one reaches the “Svarga Lokha” he / she never comes back to this world again! But now, looking at this King Yayaati, this perception of mine seems to be faulty! There is always this possibility of coming back from the “Svarga Lokha”!” We might wonder here as to why Sage Ashtaka is thinking in such a foolish way! Isn’t Sage Ashtaka a great sage? Doesn’t a great sage knows that we cannot live permanently at the “Svarga Lokha”? Why is he asking this then? There’s an interesting perspective to this question, and let us understand this perspective in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 125 – We can always continue our “Bhakti” from wherever we’ve left – Bhagawan Krishna asserts!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Yayaati being put into a trap by Indra as he asks a controversial question. Indra slowly puts King Yayaati into a nice comfort zone initially and makes him open up freely. Subsequently, as King Yayaati was carried away by Indra’s “sweet” words of appreciation, he had no option but to answer some tough questions from Indra as well. With this, as Indra asks King Yayaati if there is any other person in the world who is as good as, or, even better than himself in terms of doing penance, King Yayaati got into the trap! However, King Yayaati proceeded to tell the truth that there wasn’t anybody else who is as good as him in penance! With this, Indra declared that King Yayaati was into self-proclamation, which is not encouraged in the “Svarga Lokha” and hence, King Yayaati lost his rights to continue residing in the “Svarga Lokha”! With this, Indra pushed him down towards the earth again, only to take a re-birth and earn fresh “Punya-Karma” to come back to “Svarga Lokha”. 

At this time when Indra pushed him down, King Yayaati prays to Indra to bless him with a “Satsanga” when he goes down! We’ve witnessed upto this point in the previous episode, and today, we shall witness the significance of why we should always be amidst a “Satsanga” and what do we gain out of it. Basically, as we’ve witnessed in our earlier episodes and projects as well, a “Satsanga” is a union of like-minded people who are completely focused on “Bhagawad Bhakti” and all those aspects pertaining to Bhagawan. At every instance of time, people who are part of the “Satsanga” would always be discussing Bhagawan’s various “Kalyana Gunas”, various aspects of our “Sanaatana Dharma”, sing in praise of Bhagawan, etc. If we’re part of such a “Satsanga”, automatically our mind would get channelized into “Bhakti”, isn’t it? End of the day, it all depends on how our companions are, isn’t it? Our companions have an enormous influence on how our behaviors and activities shape up. If we’re amidst a group of people who are focused on worldly affairs, our mind would also go into that only! However, if we’re amidst a group of “Satsanga”, our mind would automatically focus on Bhagawan and how to attain “Moksha”. 

This is exactly what King Yayaati is asking Indra here – Anyway, he’s going to take birth in this world again – He could take birth at any place, isn’t it? If he would take birth in a place wherein the people around do not even know what is the meaning of “Bhakti” and “Dharma”, then what is the use of taking such a birth? It is for this reason, King Yayaati prays to Indra to make him take birth amidst a “Satsanga”, wherein he can continue his good deeds from where he left! In fact, Bhagawan Krishna too explains this as part of the Bhagawad Gita beautifully. Arjuna asks Bhagawan thus, “Oh Krishna! Suppose I lose my focus on “Dharma” mid-way owing to some worldly disturbances that might come along, what would happen to me? Will I be doomed completely? Should I re-start again from the beginning?” Bhagawan Krishna replies back thus, “Oh Arjuna! This is a very important question that you’ve asked! Those who follow the path of “Dharma” meticulously, but get distracted midway need not start again from the beginning! I make sure that when they are re-born, they are born amidst a “Satsanga” family, which gives them an opportunity to continue their “Bhakti-Maarga” from where they’ve left in their previous birth! All the “Dharma” that you’ve done so far would never get destroyed and it would be safely deposited!” 

This is an important point that all of us need to understand here. Many of us have this doubt – If we’re deviating from the path of “Dharma” owing to whatsoever reasons, would all our “Dharma” activities performed previously go waste? The answer is “No” and this is exactly what Bhagawan Krishna is explaining here. When Bhagawan explains that we can commence our “Bhakti” from where we left, it implies that all the “Bhakti” that we’ve done previously would remain safe and secure, and this is what we call “Adrishta Phalam” in Sanskrit. In other words, the effects of all our good deeds and Bhakti would join us at a later stage and it would be there with us permanently. In fact, this is one of the reasons why we see certain children having enormous talents in singing and performing “Upanyasams” about Bhagawan at such a tender age! We refer to such children as “child prodigies”, but in the background if we investigate the past of these children, they would have been epitomes of “Bhakti” in their previous birth(s) and it is just the continuation of that “Bhakti” in this birth as well! 

Thus, the point that we’ve to understand here is that, we should not get perturbed just because we’re getting distracted by worldly affairs. We should remain steadfast in our “Bhakti” and “Dharma” as much as possible and leave the rest to Bhagawan! This is very important. Even if we’re getting distracted, it is totally fine. We can always re-start our Bhakti from where we left, and continue it further and by doing so, Bhagawan would rather be extremely happy with our resolve of following the path of “Dharma” and “Bhakti”, no matter how much of disturbances and challenges we encounter during our path. So for today, let us understand this point very clearly, and let us wait till the next episode to witness where King Yayaati landed! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 124 – King Yayaati falls into Indra’s trap – Gets pushed out of the “Svarga Lokha”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Yayaati explaining certain important aspects of “Dharma” as he enters into a conversation with Indra at “Svarga Lokha”. Readers should remember here that we’ve stopped at a point wherein the Paandava children have come to the Hastinapura palace at the behest of the Maharishis’ advice, post Paandu’s demise. From this point, we’ve rewinded a bit and have gone back to King Yayaati attaining the “Svarga Lokha” and what happened to King Yayaati there. We’ve done this to understand certain important aspects of “Dharma” that are highlighted here. Post this, we would again continue from where we left, with regards to whether King Dhirdiraashtra is going to accept the Paandava children or not. But for now, we’ll continue with what happened between King Yayaati and Indra at the Svarga Lokha. 

As King Yayaati details about the “Dharma” that he had taught his son, he talks about two important aspects – Taking care of our parents and our Guru. This is a very important duty that all of us should perform during this lifetime. Secondly, King Yayaati explains how a leader should treat everyone equally and bring everyone to the same page, including those who are not that powerful. Just because somebody is powerless, it doesn’t mean we completely ignore or reject them. As a leader, it is very important that those people who are powerless, should also be included in key happenings in the team / kingdom or any type of administrative activities. As King Yayaati details all of this, Indra patiently listens to everything and asks a smart question here. Now Indra had opened up King Yayaati right royally and had made him comfortable. Subsequently now, Indra is slowly pulling the noose here. Indra asks thus, “Oh King Yayaati! This is a great answer! I really feel proud to be associated with such a righteous king! I’ve also heard that after relinquishing your kingdom responsibilities to your son, you went to the forest to do penance. As you were in deep penance, I was listening to many Maharishis commenting that there could be nobody on this earth who can be as good as you in doing penance! It is very difficult to get such appreciation from great Maharishis, isn’t it? But I was just wondering if there might be anybody else who is as good as you in performing penance. Do you know of anybody like this in your kingdom, or elsewhere?” 

Now here is the trap! Indra frames his question in such a way that the answer to this question becomes a “double-edged sword”! On one hand, Indra appreciates King Yayaati for what he has done. This makes King Yayaati’s ego rise up with excitement that Indra himself is appreciating him! This ego is inducing King Yayaati to proclaim that he’s the only one who is extremely good in penance and there’s nobody else to match him! However, if he gives this answer, he would enter into “self-proclamation” mode and this would exhibit his pride over himself! However, on the other hand, if King Yayaati replies in the other way that there is someone else who is better than him, he would be uttering a lie, as in reality there’s nobody who could equal him or exceed him in terms of performing penance! Telling a lie and that too to Indra himself, would be a great crime! Now what does King Yayaati do here? Which stance does he take? 

After a thought process, King Yayaati decides to take the first stance – He decides to tell the truth, which he’s accustomed to do all the time! King Yayaati never knows how to tell a lie. Hence, he replies to Indra thus, “Oh Indra! What you’ve mentioned about me now is right! There’s nobody in this world who could match me in terms of performing penance. Moreover, there’s nobody even amidst the Devas or Dhaanavas or Gandharvas or any other groups of celestial beings who is equal to me in performing penance!” As King Yayaati gives such an answer, Indra catches him red-handed! He replies to King Yayaati thus, “Oh King Yayaati! This is an absurd answer from you, and as a righteous king, I never expected such a reply from you! By saying that there’s nobody in this world who is equal to you in terms of performing penance, you’re proving to me that you are a person with a lot of headweight! You are more interested in boasting about yourself, and you’ve never done any research to find out if there’s someone better than you in performing penance! This is a big mistake that you’ve done. Since you’ve boasted about yourself, with this moment, all your “Punya-Karma” has come to an end! With this, your tenure in the “Svarga Lokha” is also over! You may now return back to the “Bhoo-Lokha” to take another birth, and if you’re able to earn “Punya-Karma”, you might become eligible again to come back to the “Svarga Lokha”!

Saying thus, Indra pushes King Yayaati upside down from the “Svarga Lokha” to the “Manushya Lokha”. As King Yayaati is about to be pushed down, he folds his hands and prays to Indra thus, “Oh Indra! I know that I’ve committed a mistake, and thank you for highlighting that for me! I know that I do not deserve to continue in the “Svarga Lokha” anymore, but I only have one small request for you – Anyways, you’re going to push me down to the earth again. While doing so, please push me to a place where there would be good people. Please do not push me to a place where there would be no “Dharma” at all! I would like to be amidst a place where there is a “Satsanga”, so that I would once again be able to focus on performing the “Punya-Karma”, and maybe penance too!” Upon hearing this from King Yayaati, Indra was happy and he accepts his request. Thus, King Yayaati starts his free-fall from the “Svarga Lokha”. 

This is a very important lesson for us here – Why should we always aspire to be amidst a “Satsanga” or an association of good people who focus on Bhakti? Bhagawan Krishna Himself explains this in the Bhagawad Gita to Arjuna. We shall witness this detailing in the next episode, along with the answer to the above question! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 123 – We’ve to take care of our parents & Guru at all times – King Yayaati’s lessons on “Dharma”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Indra’s commencement of a conversation with King Yayaati, before he had pushed King Yayaati down to the earth. As the conversation commences, Indra asks King Yayaati some “attractive” questions so as to make him open up more. Initially, King Yayaati was hesitant to answer Indra, but however, Indra had the last laugh in making King Yayaati talk. He appreciated King Yayaati for being one of the world’s most righteous kings ever, and with these sweet words of appreciation, King Yayaati’s ego started growing. As the conversation progressed further, Indra asks King Yayaati as to what were the important lessons that he had taught Puru when he took over as a king. King Yayaati starts explaining things in a bit more detail now, as he’s completely opened up! King Yayaati explains how he had taught his children the various aspects of “Dharma” – How to talk only the truth and stand by it, how to control anger, how to be calm and composed in all whatever we do, etc. Indra is slowly listening to King Yayaati’s reply and is gradually making him fall into his trap. 

As King Yayaati continues with his reply, he talks about two important things – Performing selfless service to parents and to the Guru. This is a very important point that King Yayaati stresses as part of the “Raaja-Dharma”. At all times, we should make sure that we take care of our parents. This becomes important when our parents become aged, wherein they might not be able to help themselves in their regular chores. It is at this time they need our help. We should always remember one thing – At a time when we were babies, and when we weren’t able to take care of ourselves, it was our parents who took care of us. Now when the situation turns and when our parents aren’t able to take care of themselves because of old age, isn’t it the duty of the son or daughter to take care of them? It is very sad today to see that many of us leave our parents in some “Old age homes”, because of a silly reason that we couldn’t take care of them anymore! Isn’t this something that would hurt our parents the most? Especially during the time of old age, every parent would have the feeling of security only when their son / daughters are around them. Isn’t it our duty to give our parents that moral security and support at a time when they need it the most? Let us think and ponder over it! 

Similarly, as King Yayaati talks about the “Guru”, it is very important that we be of selfless service to our Guru. In fact, at many places in our “Sanaatana Dharma” literature, it is pointed out that the “Sishya’s” (Disciple) learning gets completed fully only if he performs whatever the Guru wants him to perform as a token of service. This is what we often refer to as the “Guru Dakshina”. If the Sishya deviates from this path, the learning does not fructify at all. We’ve witnessed in this Mahabharata text itself at one point, a few episodes ago, as to how various Sishyas were of service to their Guru, isn’t it? We should recollect that and do the needful to our Guru. 

Moreover, King Yayaati also talks about yet another important “Dharma” here – As a king (leader), it is his duty to take care of those people who are weak in terms of strength and intellect. This simply means that a king should take everybody along with him equally without any differentiation. Normally what happens is that, those people who are relatively weaker in strength or reputation would feel threatened and jealous of those who have a greater strength and a greater reputation in the society. We can see this even in today’s scenario too, isn’t it? More often than not, the so-called “minorities” in India keep raising their voices every now and then to show their presences and to convey a message that they too can be “strong enough” in the society, isn’t it? We’ve been witnessing this of late quite frequently. Especially when certain laws were revoked by the Indian parliament in recent years, a community of people made sure that they would burn India come what may, to showcase their strength and power to the world! These are the petty activities that the so-called weaker sections of the people would do, to gain attention. Thus, a leader’s responsibility is to take all people of the society in consensus while taking crucial decisions, or while implementing certain laws and enforcements. If people are raising objections, it is the duty of the leader to answer them and bring everyone on to the same plane. However, if the same people try to act smart by not paying heed to the leader’s request, strict and stern action needs to be taken on them, so that they would learn their lesson! This is exactly what King Yayaati is describing here. 

Thus, King Yayaati explains to Indra that these were the important pieces of advice that he had given to his son Puru, as he took over the kingdom. Indra listens to all these answers patiently and now the interview is going to get tougher! So far, it was all very easy and juicy for King Yayaati to explain all what he had done as a king! Now as we move into the next “Adhyaayaa”, things are going to take a drastic turn towards the worst, which King Yayaati did not expect! How did this happen? What did Indra ask next? Let us wait for the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode – 122 – By getting angry, we’re falling into the trap of our opponent – An important lesson!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Yayaati in a free-fall from the “Svarga Lokha”, all the way down to the “Manushya Lokha”, as Indra pushes him down. Of course, we’ve seen Indra as a very narrow-minded person, but the ground reality is that, King Yayaati’s “Punya Karma” account was coming to a close. When this happens, automatically we would be pushed down again to the earth, only to take another birth here. However, if we’re going beyond the “Svarga Lokha” and the “Naraka Lokha”, with our “Bhakti” component very strong in us, Bhagawan is going to take us to the ultimate stage called “Moksha” or “Vaikunta”, from where, we’re never going to come down again to this earth for another birth. This is what King Yayaati’s free-fall signifies, and with this background fact, let us witness the continuation of what the sages asked King Yayaati and what did he respond to them. 

As we’ve seen earlier, King Yayaati was falling down and was on the way back to this world. As we witness this free-fall of King Yayaati, we’ve to also witness one more important aspect here – When Indra asked this question to King Yayaati, he did not ask it directly. He asked some two or three very friendly questions and then came to the point. He started a nice little conversation with King Yayaati before asking the ultimate question. Even in our case, in the marketing context of business what do we do? How do we approach a customer to sell a product? We first start a nice conversation with the customer by asking him / her as to what they do, how is their health, how is their family, etc. By doing this, we make the customer feel warm and comfortable and gradually make the customer open up with his or her needs, isn’t it? If we ask the customer directly whether he / she is interested in our product or not, more certainly than not, the customer would directly reject our offering! Thus, we can see here how a marketing executive tries to convince a customer to buy his product, isn’t it? This is exactly what Indra did to King Yayaati here. Indra assumed the role of a marketing executive and commenced a beautiful conversation with King Yayaati and made him feel comfortable! 

Of course, Indra knows that King Yayaati is an epitome of truth (“Satya-Vaakya”) and Indra knows where exactly will King Yayaati fall into the trap! He thus started with a simple conversation, “Oh King Yayaati! People in the world used to praise you for all your good deeds and “Dharma” that you’ve done to all of them! I’m indeed very impressed with all of it!” Upon hearing this from Indra, King Yayaati’s ego rose up a bit. If anybody appreciates us for something that we’ve done, what would happen to us? Our ego would go up and we would feel as if we’ve accomplished something great, isn’t it? This is exactly what King Yayaati was also feeling here as Indra appreciated him! As King Yayaati was feeling proud of himself, Indra started questioning him slowly thus, “Oh Yayaati! You had ruled the kingdom for a long time and you’re vastly experienced in the “Raaja-Dharma”, isn’t it? Now before you came to the “Svarga Lokha”, what were the things that you taught your son Puru, when he took over from you? I’m sure you must have passed on a lot of good things to him. Can you please detail them a bit for me?” 

Again, this question of Indra boosted King Yayaati’s morale a bit more, and he started to open up to Indra thus! King Yayaati gives a detailed reply to Indra, not knowing that he’s getting into a trap here! King Yayaati explains to Indra thus, “Oh Indra! I had given my son a lot of lessons on “Dharma”. I’ve educated him on how he should abide only by the truth everytime. I’ve taught him as to how he should lead a kingdom without harming any living being. I’ve taught him in detail about the Karma theory – How Bhagawan Vishnu is responsible for “accounting” all our “Paapa Karma” and “Punya Karma”. I also taught him how he should behave himself with others without getting angry. As a leader, one important characteristic is to be calm and composed, isn’t it? Hence, even if someone scolds you, you’ve to learn to avoid him and not get angry in return!” 

This is a very important lesson for all of us here – How should we keep calm all the time? We should understand one concept here – For instance, if someone is praising us and garlanding us for something that we’ve accomplished, we’ve to realize that it is our “Punya-Karma” that is coming in the form of the person who is garlanding us, and we’re enjoying the effects of the “Punya-Karma” that we’ve done. However, if someone comes and scolds us with extreme anger, how do we take that? We should understand that our “Paapa-Karma” is coming in the form of the person who is scolding us. We’ve witnessed that the “Punya Karma” and “Paapa Karma” takes the form of the person in front of us, isn’t it? How does this happen? It is none other than Bhagawan Himself who comes in the form of the “Punya Karma” or “Paapa Karma” and enters into that concerned person in front of us! We’ve to realize this fact. Especially when we’re getting scolded left and right, we’ve to realize that it is none other than Bhagawan who’s scolding us. If that is the case, will we scold Bhagawan back? Instead, we should avoid that person completely and remain muted! This is the best way to counter that person too. 

For instance, imagine we’re standing near a traffic signal on the road and someone comes and dashes on our car! What would be the immediate reaction? The person who had come and dashed upon us would immediately ask us, “Oh! Are you mad? Are you crazy? Don’t you have senses?” Now we’ve to understand why he is asking questions like these! He wants us to react with four more questions similarly with an increased anger! Only if we get angry, he would be able to abuse and insult, isn’t it? What if we do not get angry and avoid him? We should try this once atleast – We would be surprised to see that the other person would start getting insecure! Moreover, if we give an answer to him saying that “Yes! You’re right! I do not have senses and I’m mad!” Indeed, it would make him think that he started a fight with a wrong person and would run away from us! 

Thus, we can witness here that controlling anger even for a worldly reason like this yields us good results! We should remember that if we’re trying to react angrily to the person in front of us, we’re right royally falling into his trap! By controlling our instincts, atleast our blood pressure would not rise up, isn’t it? Of course, the spiritual reason is for all of us to think and understand! So for today, let us understand this point well, and let us try to practice this in our daily life! We shall wait till the next episode to witness how Indra pulled King Yayaati into the trap! Stay tuned! 🙂