In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Rahuguna setting out on his journey to meet with Sage Kapilaachaarya for obtaining some important spiritual knowledge. Eventually as he sets out, Jada-Bharata, who was passing by the king’s way, had to lift his carriage. As we know, Jada-Bharata was totally consumed into his spiritual thoughts and practices, he never realized what happened around him in the world! Because of that, he was unable to carry the king’s carriage in a smooth way as it has to be done. Eventually King Rahughuna got furious with Jada-Bharata’s act and poses few questions as to why he isn’t carrying the coach properly. King Rahuguna continues with his fuming and further goes on to insult Jada-Bharata that although he looks well-fed and healthy and thus, he requires a punishment. Saying thus, the king takes a heavy stick and comes to beat up Jada-Bharata. It was at this moment that, Jada-Bharata gives some conflicting, yet interesting answers to King Rahuguna, which initially infuriates him more, but makes him a bit thoughtful afterwards.
Thus, as King Rahuguna couldn’t make sense of what Jada-Bharata was replying him, he asks back to Jada-Bharata, “What do you mean by your answers then? Why are you giving all sorts of contradicting answers to my questions? If I ask you aren’t you well-fed, you say ‘No’! If I ask you why you carried me in a crazy fashion, you say that you never carried me! What does these mean?” Replying thus, Jada-Bharata again says, “Oh King! I’m not giving contradictory answers to your questions. Let me tell you something again – I’m not well-fed as you say! I’m not healthy as you say! I didn’t carry you as you perceive!” Hearing thus, King Rahuguna was totally confused! He didn’t know what to ask further, or what to reply further!
Now what is the inner meaning of Jada-Bharata’s answers? It is nothing but the difference between the “Atman” and the Physical body. He explains how different the Atman from the physical body is. Now let us correlate Jada-Bharata’s answers here. Readers must be a bit more attentive at this point while reading. He first says to the king that he never carried the coach. This means, that it was the physical body that carried, and not the Atman. Can an Atman carry anything in this world? The obvious answer is “No”! Secondly, Jada-Bharata replies that I have never ate anything in my whole life! Have we ever seen an Atman, sitting in a corner, eating food in a nice banana leaf? Again, the answer is an obvious “No”! Of course, we consume food every day. But it is the physical body which actually consumes the food, for the purpose of staying in good health. Thus, we’ve to understand here that the physical body consumes food, through its mouth, tongue, teeth, taste buds, etc. but the Atman doesn’t consume anything. However, we should note that the Atman instructs us to consume the food. But the Atman doesn’t eat anything for itself or by itself. So, when will we know this difference? When a person dies at the end of his / her life, it signifies the exit of the Atman from the physical body. Once the Atman has gone out, who is going to give the instruction for the body to eat or not to eat? Will we be able to make a dead body to eat? The answer is “No!” Here is where we need to understand that it is ultimately the Atman that gives the instruction for the body to eat food. The physical body cannot consume food directly by itself. It requires the Atman to instruct. When the Atman vanishes from the physical body, nobody is there to give the command of eating, to the physical body. Thus, the physical body can’t consume anything after death has happened.
Thus, the point to understand here is that, Atman is formless, and it can’t do anything on its own. It requires a “vehicle” called the physical body to execute all of its instructions. For instance, if the Atman wants to consume food, it has to do through the “mouth” of the physical body into which it is embedded. If the Atman wants to walk from one place to the other, it does so through the “legs” of the physical body into which it is embedded. Thus, none of the organs like mouth, legs, etc. are possessed by the Atman.
Apart from this, there is another bigger point that Jada-Bharata is trying to make. When he says that he didn’t carry the carriage of the king, what he means is that, “he alone” did not carry the carriage. Of course, there were three other people as well, who were carrying it, but apart from that, there’s a deeper meaning to what Jada-Bharata is explaining here. What he means here is that, the carriage wherein the king is sitting upon, is rested upon the shoulders of four people. These shoulders are in turn rested upon the knees of the physical bodies of these people. The knees of these people are in turn rested upon their feet. The feet is in turn rested upon the ground of Mother Earth! So, if all of these are involved, Jada-Bharata asks the king that how can he single out by saying Jada-Bharata was the one who carried the coach! If the king has to point out who carried the coach, he should thus invoke all of what I described above!
Thus, the important point here is that, everything in this world doesn’t exist as a stand-alone aspect but co-exists with several other things! For instance, if we consider rice boiling in a kettle, what exactly happens? A certain quantity of rice is put inside an equivalent quantity of water, which is together in the boiling kettle. What happens here? The rice, which is amidst water, is boiling in a kettle, which is kept over a gas stove. Now what happens if the rice is directly in contact with the fire? The rice particles would get fried up and burnt! Whereas, what would happen if water comes in contact with the fire directly? The fire would be put off by the water, isn’t it? Thus, see how things co-exist here – Rice in water, inside a kettle is placed on the gas stove, and thus the boiling process happens! It is to be noted here that, only if things co-exist with each other, we would be able to realize our ultimate goal!
So for today, let us think about and understand this important point which Jada-Bharata is trying to convey. We shall wait till the next episode to take this explanation a bit further. Stay tuned! 😊