In the previous episode, we had once again emphasized the difference between the Atman and our Physical body, this time through the important messages that Jada-Bharata has given to King Rahuguna. Of course, it is not only for King Rahuguna, but for all of us too. We had yesterday discussed the significance of both the Atman and physical body separately. We concluded the previous episode by explaining that our physical body is also important for us – It is the “vehicle” gifted by Bhagawan to all of us, within which the Atman is embedded. The Atman, as we know now, cannot execute whatever it intends to, all by itself. It requires a “medium” through which the execution can happen. Thus, it is not correct to proclaim that only our Atman is important, and our physical body isn’t. The point here is that, the Atman is permanent, and the physical body is temporary. However, the physical body is to be well-oiled and maintained in good condition, so that the Atman’s agenda can be carried forward. For instance, if we’ve to perform spiritual practices, or any kind of service to others – Can the Atman do all of it on its own? It’s not possible isn’t it? This is where we require the help of our physical body. Thus, with the instructions given by the Atman, our physical body is to execute all of the instructions meticulously. For the robust execution process, the physical body should be maintained well.
However, having said that, there should be a threshold limit until which we can give importance to our physical body. If we start giving too much of importance to our physical body by trying to satisfy all its “luxurious demands” from the worldly pleasures, this is where we would start losing the plot! This is why when we were discussing the purpose of Lakshmana’s birth as Bhagawan Rama’s brother, Valmiki Maharishi stresses on a point called “Sheshatvam”, which means that the sole purpose of taking birth as a human being is to be of some form of service to Bhagawan. This is exactly what Lakshmana did to Bhagawan Rama – From his first breath till his last, Lakshmana was totally dedicated in service to his elder brother, Bhagawan Rama. He traversed through the length and breadth of the forest with Bhagawan Rama, trying to protect him along with Mother Sita, shared Bhagawan Rama’s sorrow and misery when He lost Mother Sita to Ravana, travelled along with him to Lanka, waged a bitter battle with Ravana and helped Bhagawan Rama to retrieve Mother Sita from the clutches of the wicked Ravana. Thus, at every instance we would infer here that Lakshmana was in service to Bhagawan Rama at every instance of time and thus, was an epitome of the quality of “Sheshatvam”.
From the life of Lakshmana, what is the message that we can learn? It is directly related to what Jada-Bharata is saying here too – We should give importance to our physical body, but to the extent to which we should give. However, our main focus should be on the development of our Atman and it’s significance. The physical body should be used as an aid to offer our services to Bhagawan and thus, enhance the Atman’s chances of attaining the highest Moksha. This is the essential principle of “Sheshatvam”.
We should spare a thought here – How much of time are we allocating per day or per week for the service of Bhagawan? In the present-day context, we work for five days a week from morning 9 AM till 6 or 7 PM. By the time we’re back home, we’re occupied with other family commitments like our children’s education, family outings, etc. and finally hit the bed by around 10:30 PM, only to get up by morning 6 AM to once again start for our work. This cycle continues from Monday to Friday. Weekend is the only time which we get for things such as cleaning our house, buying vegetables, groceries, etc., washing our clothes, ironing and getting ready for our next week of work. Amidst all of these routine activities that we do, where is the time for Bhagawan? Do we even remember that there is someone called Bhagawan who has given us a human birth, a good family, good shelter, food, clothing, etc. In fact, it is only by His grace that we have a decent job to make decent money to make a living. We might immediately ask a question here – How can we say that Bhagawan gave us a job? Isn’t it because of our talent and intelligence that we have a job? Let us think here – How many people who are intelligent and talented, but not able to find a good job? There are aplenty, wherein in every country around the world, unemployment is a huge threat! Amidst all of it, we still have a job, decent enough to make a living! We might again ask – Oh! I’ve worked hard for it and because of it, I secured this job! Again – How many people who have equally worked hard or even perhaps harder than us, who do not have a job at all? The number is countless! However, amidst all of them, we still have a job isn’t it? If we try and dig through things this way, we would not even know why we exist in this world at all! But we do exist, with a decent lifestyle and a source to earn sufficient money to make a living, isn’t it? Now who has given all of this to us? It is Bhagawan who has gifted all of it! So, aren’t we bound to thank Bhagawan for all what He has given us? Therefore, we should make sure that we spend atleast few minutes every day to convey our gratitude to Bhagawan for all the good things that He has given us! This is where “Sheshatvam” comes as a modern-day application!
So for today, let us realize the importance of both our Atman and our physical body. Let us try and give importance to both of it, and thus, pave the way to thank Bhagawan for all what He has given us in this birth! We should ideally be able to make use of whatever we have now, to chug along the path that would lead us to the ultimate Moksha! Let’s think and do the needful, starting now! We shall wait till the next episode to continue this Jada-Bharata discussion further! Stay tuned! 😊