In the previous episode, we had witnessed how Sage Vaishampayana gives the perfect “Elevator Pitch” to King Janame-Jaya for the launch of the great Mahabharata narration. With this, Sage Vaishampayana triggered the interest in King Janame-Jaya to listen to more of the Mahabharata, and induced many “unanswered” questions in his mind. As King Janame-Jaya was given the suspense in this way, he came up with a multitude of questions to Sage Vaishampayana, which in turn prompted Sage Vaishampayana to commence the detailed narrative. As this happens, Sage Vaishampayana commences the narrative, completes the entire one-lakh-odd slokas of the Mahabharata that covers four important aspects of our Sanaatana Dharma – “Dharma”, “Artha”, “Kaama” and “Moksha”. After the entire narration is over, Sage Vaishampayana asks King Janame Jaya thus, “Oh Janame-Jaya! As you wished, I have narrated the entire “Charitra” for you. Now I guess you would have a fair bit of understanding of the four pillars of our Sanaatana Dharma. Now please tell me – Out of these four pillars, which is the one that you like the most? Given an option, which pillar would you adopt for your life as a king?”
As Sage Vaishampayana asks thus, King Janame-Jaya replies, “Oh Sage Vaishampayana! To answer your question frankly, I did not like any of the four pillars! I’m not in agreement with any of them!” As Sage Vaishampayana hears thus, he’s surprised! He asks again, “Oh Janame-Jaya! What do you mean by saying that you’re not in sync with any of the four pillars? Are you going to find a fifth pillar?” King Janame-Jaya replies thus, “Oh Sage! I’m not going to find a fifth pillar after all what you’ve said! In fact, I’m so incompetent for all that. All what I meant to say here is that, I was very impressed with the way you narrated the entire Mahabharata in detail. You moved me into tears and a state of bliss! If given an opportunity, I would keep listening to you all day, all year and all throughout my lifetime! I’m not interested in all these “Dharma”, “Artha”, “Kaama” and “Moksha”. I’m only interested in what you’re saying. So please continue with this narration further and I want to keep listening to your divine words!”
Such was the devotion that King Janame-Jaya exhibited to Sage Vaishampayana. From this, one important aspect that we should learn here is the amount of “Guru-Bhakti” that King Janame-Jaya exhibited. Only if one has such a devotion and unconditional surrender to the “Guru” (The Spiritual Master), will he / she be able to obtain the divine knowledge that is required to attain “Moksha”. King Janame-Jaya is an epitome of this aspect of our Sanaatana Dharma that emphasizes on the “Guru-Bhakti”. As Sage Vaishampayana was narrating the entire text, King Janame-Jaya didn’t move here or there, even for an inch! He was totally devoted to listening to what Sage Vaishampayana was explaining, and this concentration towards whatever we’re learning is extremely important. One of the main reasons why many of us aren’t really successful in learning something important is that we neither have the concentration nor the patience to learn and understand things. Both these qualities are extremely important if spiritual learning should happen. Some aspects in our Sanaatana Dharma would make us uncomfortable and might be difficult to understand and comprehend. This is because, we do not have that prior experience in our present lifetime to understand and relate these things. However, having said that, it doesn’t mean that we would discard those important principles. This is the reason why our ancestors have given all these “tough” principles of life in the form of stories. This would make us understand and comprehend these things in a much easier way.
One other reason here is that, these principles are also in the form of complex Sanskrit “Shabdhas” and “Dhaatus”, which might be extremely difficult for us to understand and learn. In today’s scenario, we’ve literally forgotten our ancient language called “Sanskrit”, in which, fortunately or unfortunately all our Sanaatana Dharma literature is written in – Be it Vedas, Upanishads, Puraanas, and even the Ithihaasas of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Hence, there is a huge “language barrier” too that prevents us from learning and understanding these texts. This is why I always keep insisting to all our readers to take a step forward towards learning the Sanskrit language. It is very heartening to see today that many people are taking that initiative, but more and more people should chip in. Of course, I can explain many things through English, but if we know Sanskrit, it is a different ball-game altogether! We would be able to understand with even more clarity! Hence, let us use whatever opportunity we get today, to enrich our knowledge in Sanskrit, which in turn would be extremely useful in understanding our Sanaatana Dharma literature in an even better way.
So for today, let us understand this important point of King Janame-Jaya’s “Guru Bhakti” towards Sage Vaishampayana and we shall continue this discussion further in the next episode, wherein Sage Vaishampayana is all set to commence the bigger narrative of the Mahabharata text! Stay tuned! 🙂