Episode # 531 – Mahatmas can clearly differentiate between “Atman” & “Deham” – Sage Maarkandeya asserts!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Maarkandeya’s important assertion that great “Tapasvis” and “Maharishis” are extremely devoid of the fear of death. He illustrates this point to Yudishtra by narrating an anecdote of King Puranjaya and how he had killed a Maharishi by mistake during his hunting spree. However, when King Puranjaya goes and enquires about the death of the sage with his other family members, they were not even having an iota of grief in them. Rather, all of them were celebrating! This stuns King Puranjaya and as this happens, the other family members, who were also great sages themselves explain to him as to how they do not fear death. They know exactly when their “Karma” for this birth is going to come to an end and with this, they just wait for someone or something to come and take them away! In this case, King Puranjaya was just an instrument for the Maharishi to finish off his birth in this world, as he had finished his “Karma” in this world. This illustrates how “Mahatmas” view our physical body and how they are completely dissociated with it. 

This is an important eye-opener for all of us as well – In today’s world we’re giving so much importance to our “Deham” (Physical Body) by beautifying it, giving it enormous amounts of nourishment, taking painful efforts to keep it “fit and fine”, etc. Of course, while keeping our physical body fit and well-nourished is also important, the problem here is that we at times give excessive importance to it. We should somehow find a balance here – To give equal importance to our “Atman” and our “Deham”. Like we’ve been stressing on this point before as well, our “Atman” is the permanent entity and the “Deham” is just a temporary “rented-apartment” into which the “Atman” lives. Once this birth comes to an end, our “Atman” has to vacate this “rented apartment” and go somewhere else. This is exactly what Bhagawan Krishna is going to explain in detail in His Bhagawad Gita to Arjuna later on, and we’re going to witness this point in great detail when we reach that context. But for now, this is the understanding that all of us need to have – We should clearly be able to differentiate between the “Atman” and the “Deham” and if we think both are the same, we’re in for a lot of trouble and suffering! This is where great “Mahatmas” differentiate themselves from all of us. They clearly know this difference and are completely capable of dissociating and detaching themselves from their physical body at any point in time. This stage is the highest in the spiritual development process, and only very few of them can transcend to this stage. 

Moving on thus, we shall now witness an interesting “Charitra” about Atri Maharishi and King Pruthu. Here, we will also witness a few beautiful narratives of Indra and Sage Gautama as well. This is a very interesting anecdote and we shall commence it in today’s episode. There was once a debate whether a king is important or Indra is important. As the debate was flaring up with a lot of discussions on either side, all the people came to a conclusion that the king of a country is more important than Indra! This is exactly why Bhagawan Krishna, during His childhood days at Gokula performed the “Anna-Koota Utsavam” (Divine offering of various types and varieties of food) to the Govardhana Giri, instead of Indra! Traditionally, this “Utsavam” was being performed towards Indra and Bhagawan Krishna completely changed this routine by establishing the fact that Indra is nobody here and all the food varieties be offered to the nearby Govardhana Mountain. Bhagwan Krishna gives a justification for the same – He asks the villagers a simple question thus: “Who is this Indra? You’ve been giving all these offerings to him every year, didn’t you? What did he do for you in return? He never even came to see any of you when you were going through sufferings. There were so many “Raakshasas” who wrecked havoc here in the past. Not even a single time did Indra come to your rescue! However, see how this Govardhana Mountain is full of medicinal herbs and food grains in it. It is giving you enormous benefits and is feeding all of us here. Hence, for a change, let us do this year’s offering to this Govardhana Mountain and not to this useless Indra!”

 We’ve witnessed this beautiful story during our “Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana” project during the 10’th Skandha discussion. As Bhagawan Krishna rules thus, the villagers at Gokula obeyed His words and performed all the offering to the “Govardhana Giri”, instead of Indra. This irked Indra very badly and with this, all of us know what happened! Ultimately, Bhagawan Krishna provided His divine “Anugraha” to all the people in Gokula as Bhagawan “Govardhana-Giri-dhaari”! So, the reason behind invoking this incident is that, this is the same kind of debate that is happening here too – Indra vs. the king of any territory – Who is better? So for today, let us understand the context clearly, and in the next episode, we shall continue this beautiful story further and see what is the underlying message in it! Stay tuned! 🙂 


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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