In the previous episode, we had commenced a very interesting story that comes as part of the “Paadma Puraana”, illustrating the significance of Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana. We’ve already witnessed one story in the form of Sage Naarada, Bhakti, Gnyaana, Mukti and Vairaagya. As a continuation, we’re now witnessing the story of Aatma-Deva and his relentless pursuit for having a child. To summarize what we saw yesterday, Aatma-Deva was a pious and spiritually inclined person. He had a wife by name Dundhuli, who was exactly the opposite of him. She was completely money-minded in her approach towards life and never cared for anything else. As time passed by, this couple was childless and Aatma-Deva met a saint amidst a forest. Aatma-Deva expresses his wish to have a child to this saint, however, the saint advises him not to go for a child, as this would pile up lot of misery in his life. Since Aatma-Deva had already made his mind to go for a child, he wasn’t prepared to listen and follow the words of the saint. Due to his relentless request, the saint took a fruit, blessed it and asked Aatma-Deva to give it to his wife. As Aatma-Deva gave this blessed fruit to his wife, she didn’t want to take it. She was not at all interested in having a child, as she considered it to be a burden in her life. Hence instead, she gave this fruit to a cow that was in their cowshed! Meanwhile, Dundhuli made a deal with her already-pregnant sister that she would take her child in exchange with some huge amount of money and property. As her sister was convinced, both of them are now at their parents’ place.
At this moment, it should be remembered that the cow in Dundhuli’s cowshed has eaten the blessed fruit. Now because of this, the cow got pregnant and eventually after few months, this cow gives birth to a child. This child is wonderful by nature and bore the name “Gokarna”. This Gokarna, although being born as a human being, had one of his ears like that of a cow, since he was born to a cow! This is why his name was “Gokarna” (“Karna” means ears and “Go” means cow). This Gokarna takes birth thus, and starts growing up. Similarly as per the “deal” between Dundhuli and her sister, there was a son born and his name was “Dundhukaari”. As expected, Dundhukaari was a wicked person, just like his mother and her sister Dundhuli.
After few years, Aatma-Deva understood the “trick” played by his wife and realized his fault of not listening to the words of the saint. Upon seeing this Dundhukaari being a cruel and a wicked person and his wife making him more and more wicked, Aatma-Deva’s life becomes miserable and thus realizes his folly. The saint had already advised him on day one itself not to go for a child, but he had still gone ahead and met a huge disaster.
Unable to bare all of this beyond a point thus, Aatma-Deva decides that he has had enough. He finally goes away from his place into the forest, performs deep penance and finally attains “Moksha”. With this, Aatma-Deva’s life comes to a halt. Now it is all upto the mother and son duo – Dundhuli and Dundhukaari. To the utter disaster of Dundhuli, Dundhukaari became so wicked over time that he entered into unwanted bad company with wicked friends, entered into several bad habits, etc. Eventually he started to even torture his own mother Dundhuli for the want of more and more money to satisfy his wicked will and wishes. As Dundhuli refuses to give him what he wanted, at one point in time, Dundhukaari murders his own mother. As Dundhukaari had become a victim of his own bad actions, and as the world branded him as a murderer, he didn’t want to live his life anymore! He thus jumps into a well and commits suicide. As he had met his death in an unexpected and at a pre-mature time, his “Aatma” is unable to rest in peace. Thus, Dundhukaari’s Aatma is roaming around the world, searching for peace.
This is the reason why in today’s world too, we say that we should never do such a wrong thing of committing suicide. It is an extremely dangerous thing to do, as our “Aatman” would never be able to rest in peace and we would be roaming here and there without a body. This is extremely tough. This is why we say that, if at all we get into such a mindset, we should be able to come back to normal by motivating ourselves positively. Anybody’s life in this world would be having some problems and some happy moments together. Just because we have problems, it doesn’t mean we would go to the extent of finishing our life. Bhagawan has not given that right to us and it is dangerous to perform such heinous things that aren’t approved by Bhagawan for us to do.
Moving on thus, this Dundhukaari’s “Aatman” too roams around everywhere, unable to find solace. As this is on the one side, on the other hand, Gokarna was an intelligent and a pious person. He gained expertise over the Vedas, Shaastras, etc. He practiced Bhakti at its highest level and thus finally he became a “Gnyaani” (A person having profound spiritual knowledge and wisdom). One day when this Gokarna was sleeping at his place, suddenly the door of his house started to be banged by someone very roughly! Upon hearing the furious banging of his door at the middle of the night, Gokarna was puzzled as to who this might be! As he gets up and opens the door, he couldn’t see any human being there, but a “tornado-like” form of a high-pressure wind standing there. Suddenly this high-pressure wind assumed a human voice and asked Gokarna thus, “Oh Gokarna! Do you realize who I am?” Gokarna was shell-shocked and couldn’t make out who that was! Upon asking back, the wind replies, “Oh Gokarna! I’m none other than your half-brother, Dundhukaari! Although I’m physically dead at the moment, my Aatman is still alive and thus I’m roaming around searching for some peace and solace!”
Hearing thus, Gokarna asks back, “Oh Dundhukaari! How come you’re still alive in this form? I had gone to Varanasi and had performed all required rituals for your soul to rest in peace! Yet, how are you roaming around like this?” Dundhukaari replies back, “Oh Gokarna! I’ve done enormous amounts of sins during my life time that doing rituals in Varanasi is not enough to liberate me from whatever I’ve done. This is why I came to you for help. Since you’re a knowledgeable person now, you might be the only person to know how to liberate me from this disastrous state that I am currently!”
Hearing this from Dundhukaari, Gokarna did not know what to do and how to proceed at that moment! He was totally confused. He had gone all the way to all the “Punya-Kshetras”, inclusive of Varanasi, Gaya, etc. to do all possible rituals to liberate Dundhukaari’s soul. However, he couldn’t believe that nothing of that sorts have really worked! So what is going to be Gokarna’s next approach? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 😊