In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the conversation between Sage Ashtaka and King Yayaati and we had witnessed how tough it is for a “Jeevatma” to be born and to survive in this world amidst enormous challenges and sufferings. This accord should be an eye-opener for all of us to understand many things with regards to the untold misery that an “Atman” has to undergo all through its five-point-process and also inside the mother’s womb. Of course, Sage Ashtaka is a great sage, and he knows all these things by himself! However, by taking all these words out of King Yayaati’s mouth assumes a lot of significance. We might have had a doubt here for a long time – Why doesn’t a great Sage like Ashtaka know all these basic things of life? The answer is very simple as I had mentioned earlier – He knows everything. But if he explains all these things, there wouldn’t be much credibility. Only if the right person who has undergone all these sufferings explains it from his / her own personal experience, will the credibility factor build in! Here, King Yayaati has undergone the experience of youthfulness, an “extended youthfulness” borrowed from his own son, the pleasures and luxuries of the “Svarga Lokha”, etc. which Sage Ashtaka has not experienced in person. Since King Yayaati has truckloads of experiences to talk about, Sage Ashtaka wants to get all these descriptions out of his mouth, so that the world can understand the first-hand experience of how is it at the “Svarga Lokha”!
Even in today’s present context, why do we prefer experienced people over freshers for many jobs? It is because, experienced people would know how to handle tough situations better, and this is a very important requirement if we’ve to recruit people for top positions in the organization. Whereas on the other hand, if we’re giving such top positions to freshers who do not have that personal hands-on experience, how would they handle tough situations? How would they make effective decisions to take the company forward? This same concept is applicable here also! Of course, King Yayaati is not just a person with these kinds of experiences, but he is a “Raaja-Rishi”! He has enormous amounts of “Shaastra-Gnyaana” and only with all of it, he is able to give such detailed accords about life and death, even though he has that experience. Thus, we can see here that experience alone is not enough. A person should have a combination of both experience and the conceptual understanding of how things happen! This combination is very important. In similar lines, we talk about many other kings like King Ambareesha, King Janaka, etc. too, isn’t it? We’ve witnessed a detailed accord about King Ambareesha during our “Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana” project, wherein, he set the standards for fasting during the “Ekaadashi” days and how to finish the fasting on the subsequent “Dvaadashi” days. We’ve witnessed how King Ambareesha was tested by Sage Durvasa and how Bhagawan Vishnu took up the direct responsibility to save King Ambareesha from the anger of Sage Durvaasa. Moreover, we’ve witnessed how King Janaka was a Raaja-Rishi and in fact, Bhagawan Krishna Himself talks very high about King Janaka in the Bhagawad Gita. He explains that King Janaka was one amongst the very few people in this world who had attained “Moksha” through the “Karma Yoga”.
Normally, Bhagawan Krishna doesn’t praise anyone specially by taking his name in the Bhagawad Gita! But King Janaka is an exception here, because, he was a highly qualified person in terms of “Shaastra-Gnyaana” and was a highly detached person from all sorts of wealth, although he had it plenty! Bhagawan explains that being rich and wealthy isn’t wrong! The mindset of we being rich is what causes all the problems in life! We might have enormous amounts of wealth under our possession. But the thought that we have such a lot of possessions is something that is extremely dangerous! This thought would lead us to pride, jealousy, overconfidence, over-ambition, etc. and finally would drive us away from Bhagawan completely! We should understand one thing here – All the property, wealth, etc. that we might possess today, would definitely become someone else’s after our demise, isn’t it? Forget the demise part – If something goes wrong, all the property would get into the hands of someone else even in front of our own two eyes, isn’t it? King Yudishtra was also extremely wealthy, but when he participated in the gambling game with Duryodhana and Co. what happened? All his wealth, including his wife, Draupathi was lost to the opponent camp within minutes, isn’t it? Hence, money, wealth, property, etc. are highly impermanent in nature! They keep moving around very quickly and we should not be carried away by it! We should basically have the understanding that all the money, property, etc. are owned by Bhagawan and He has given all of it to us for some good reason and benefit of the society. We should always have this thought within us.
Thus, King Yayaati had this realization much later as we’ve witnessed how he wanted to “enjoy” the pleasures of the “Manushya Lokha” as well as the “Svarga Lokha”, isn’t it? Thus, the realization came very late after experiencing all the suffering that he had to experience! Thus with this, we conclude the important discussion between King Yayaati and Sage Ashtaka and this forms an integral part of the initial stage of the “Mahabharata” story. We’re going to witness many such accords and conversations between many other people as we move on. We would focus on these conversations more than the storyline, because all of us know the storyline very well. All of us know how Duryodhana followed the path of “Adharma” and how the Paandavas followed the path of “Dharma”, how the Kauravas were finally defeated during the Kuruksehtra war. However, the aspects of “Dharma” that are discussed in the Mahabharata text in the forms of such important conversations are extremely value-adding to all of us – Both in terms of our spiritual pursuit as well as in terms of how we conduct ourselves in this world and society.
So for today, let us conclude this important conversation and readers might remember that I had explained Vidura’s birth in brief during our previous episodes. Vidura is none other than King Dhirdiraashtra’s brother and there is a small story behind Vidura’s birth, with regards to how Sage Maandavya cursed Yama-Dharma-Raja. We shall witness this interesting story in the next episode, as we move on with the Mahabharata story further! Stay tuned! 🙂