In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of Jada-Bharata’s important points of Vedanta which are worth understanding for all of us, apart from King Rahuguna. We had concluded yesterday’s episode at a point wherein a concerned King Rahuguna asks Jada-Bharata, the actual deeper meaning of what he is trying to convey as “abstract” answers. In fact, King Rahuguna, as he had zero knowledge on various important aspects of Vedanta, is unable to comprehend what Jada-Bharata says. In fact, even all of us would not be able to understand and comprehend high levels of Vedantic thoughts, just because we’re not exposed to such kinds of talks or practice in our lives.
For instance, when we started with our Ramayana project here three years ago, how many of us were able to understand the deeper meanings within the Ramayana story, which Valmiki Maharishi is trying to explain? Not many of us were able to, isn’t it? However, with so much being written and understood by our readers, now if we’ve to try and make sense of what Valmiki Maharishi or Sage Vyaasa is trying to say, we might be able to do so atleast to a certain extent, if not fully! This is a gross improvement and we can congratulate ourselves for it! 😊 However, we should not become complacent and stop here. The more we get exposed to thoughts and readings of Vedanta, the more we would be able to understand the reality of life from a spiritual perspective. This would directly aid us in making considerable spiritual progress.
Having said thus, readers who are currently reading our episodes on Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana, are requested to go back to our episodes on Shrimad Ramayana and Vidura Neeti whenever we get time, read them repeatedly, take down notes and ponder over them again and again. We now have enough material to go through now (Around 850 episodes) and if readers have any clarifications or doubts, you may feel free to write to me anytime. Alternatively, readers can put forth your views on the “Comments” section and I shall personally get back to each of you with time.
With this, we shall now move on to what Jada-Bharata replies to King Rahuguna’s queries. As we know now that Jada-Bharata’s initial answers had sent shivers and shock waves to King Rahuguna, who is now perplexed to a big extent. Thus, King Rahuguna asks Jada-Bharata,“Who are you? From where have you come? What is your background?” Jada-Bharata replies to the king thus, “Oh King! Please don’t ask such questions to anybody including me in the future! I’m the same as what you are! I’m Jeevatman, and you’re also a Jeevatman! There is no difference between you and me! Just like how you were born in this world because of your “Karma”, I’m also born in this world because of my “Karma”! You’ve also taken birth through the womb of your mother; I’ve also taken birth in this world the same way! You had asked me why have I come here, isn’t it? Let me tell you one thing – Both of us have come to this world to wash away all our Karma and finally attain the highest Moksha. But there is only one small difference between you and me – You’re sitting on top and inside the carriage and through that, you’re going through your Karma, whereas I’m standing on the ground in front of you, and through this I’m going through my Karma. Apart from this, all of us are the same! The sole purpose of our human birth in this world is to wash away our Karma. Of course, each of us have different ways to wash them or accumulate them further. But the ultimate purpose of our human existence is to do away with our Karma!”
This same explanation is what forms the crux of Bhagawan Krishna’s Bhagawad Gita, which came much later! In fact, the second “Adhyaaya” (Chapter) of Bhagawad Gita totally talks about how different our Atman and human body are from each other, and how all our ultimate aims of this human life is to wash away our Karma so as to attain Moksha. Thus, in most of the literature of Sanaathana Dharma, we would find this point being repeated in different contexts, in different ways, through different stories, through different narratives, etc. Thus, the basic point for all of us to understand time and again is that our Atman and our body are two different entities. Over time, what we’ve mistaken within ourselves is that, our physical body and Atman are one and the same! We’ve forgotten over time that our Atman is the permanent entity and our physical body is a temporary entity! This state of nature wherein we see both as the same is called “Ahankaara”!
Now what is this “Ahankaara”? Many of us might be familiar with this term, which means that if a person his high on “Ahankaara”, he / she is very high on his / her ego! Now what is this “Ego”? It is a state wherein we think that “I” am everything in this world and “I” am supreme! But what is this “I”? This “I” signifies our Atman and not our physical body. This is exactly what Jada-Bharata is trying to explain here. This is what he means by saying that all of us are one and the same, because we are our Atman and all Atmans are the same in all kinds of qualities. Now the term “Ahankaara” will have a new definition here – If we do not know the difference between our Atman and the Physical body, it can be said that we are high on our “Ahankara”! This is because, we’re high on our “I” factor, which unfortunately we relate to our physical body, instead of the Atman! This is the reason why we go behind all forms of luxuries, worldly pleasures, etc. and by doing so, we’re trying to satisfy the false representation of this “I”, which is the physical body! This is why we keep seeing differences between each other in terms of various aspects of the physical body – Our color, race, ethnicity, culture, richness / poorness, etc. However, if we’re realizing the real significance of this “I” factor, which is nothing but the Atman, we would immediately understand that our Atman doesn’t stand for any of these differences that I had just mentioned above. More importantly, the Atman doesn’t require any of these worldly things behind which we run every day! For the Atman, what is important is Bhagawan and the ways to reach Him! However, it is only the temporary physical body that keeps running behind everything in this world.
However, having said thus, we should not understand this in a sense that our physical body is not important, and we can do away with it! We of course require the physical body to execute all the important functions to keep our Atman intact. Of course, we should maintain our physical body in full fitness and sound health conditions all the time. However, beyond this point if we’re going to give importance to our physical body, it would make us dance to its whims and fancies, and eventually we would start straying out from our path towards enriching our Atman. Thus, if we’re able to realize this, worldly pleasures wouldn’t matter at all!
So for today, let us realize this point and let’s wait till the next episode for more discussions to follow! Stay tuned! 😊