Episode # 21 – Bhagawan is ever ready to grant us “Moksha”! But… Are we ready for it???

In the previous episode, we had continued with the narration on the “transient” state of this world, wherein all things, irrespective of whether they are living or non-living, undergo changes periodically in their forms. We’ve witnessed in yesterday’s episode how living beings including human beings uundergo this transience, according to our “Karma” that we’ve accumulated. We’ve witnessed how Bhagawan keeps a vigil over what we do in this world, in each of our births, and thus decides the nature of the subsequent births that we’ve to take. In this midst of this is where we go to Bhagawan and surrender to His lotus feet. Once we do that with our whole heart, Bhagawan helps us to relieve ourselves from this transient cycle of birth and death and thus, takes us to “Moksha”. Having said this, it doesn’t mean that once an individual attains Moksha, the entire world would come to a halt. The creation would still continue to happen and at the same time, destruction, which is nothing but the change in states of existence, also would keep happening continuously. It is only that one individual goes out of this cycle. However, we also tried to answer the question that what if all the living beings in the world surrender to Bhagawan and try attaining “Moksha”. This is not an overnight process, given the sheer size of the world and the population of living beings that we’re considering at the global level. Thus, irrespective of whatever happens or not happens, the world is going to continue in existence and creation / destruction processes are going to keep happening unabated. 

Having understood thus, we move on with the next point here. This point is also allied with whatever we’ve discussed till now. As we had mentioned earlier that when one reaches the “Vaikunta” or the “Moksha”, he / she never comes back to this world and is totally devoid of this cycle of birth and death. We’ve witnessed this here, as well as in our previous Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana project as well, where Sage Sukhaachaarya is also narrating the same thing. But one thing that we’ve to understand here is that, if an individual has to reach Vaikunta or “Moksha”, it is upto that individual to take the decision to free himself / herself from this cycle and go away forever! This is easier said than done, because how many people in this world would be ready to leave all our so-called “duties” in this world and transcend towards “Vaikunta” immediately? For instance, just let us assume that Bhagawan Krishna is coming in front of us at the moment with all His beauty and charm. He is now talking to us thus. “Oh my little child! My ardent devotee! I’ve seen you suffering for all these days, months, years, etc. in this world with lot of difficulties and sufferings. Now I’ve decided that I’m going to take you with me to “Moksha”! So are you ready to pack your bags and come along with me to Vaikunta?” 

If at all Bhagawan Krishna is going to ask us like this, how many of us would be ready to go along with Him? The sad reality is, very few would be ready! Most of us would immediately reply to Bhagawan thus, “Oh Bhagawan! If you call me all of a sudden like this, how will I be able to come? I have my son, daughter, wife, parents to take care of! I’ve to arrange for my daughter’s marriage. I’ve to find a nice bride for my son! I’ve to take care of my wife and parents till the end! With all these “practical duties” in store, how would I be able to come to Vaikunta with you?” 🙂 This would be our immediate reply! Little would we be able to think beyond that if Bhagawan is calling us to Vaikunta, He would definitely take care of all the others who are associated with us! This is where we lose the plot! Thus, to re-emphasize the fact that even if Bhagawan comes forward to grant us Moksha then and there, we wouldn’t be ready for it, and hence, the cycle of birth and death would always keep continuing! 

Now the question comes – Why are we refusing Bhagawan’s offer? What makes us refuse Bhagawan so flat and blunt? It is because, all of us are stuck in the web called “Maya” or “Illusion”, which is in turn created by Bhagawan only! So the test now for all of us is very clear – Bhagawan’s test here is that, whether are we going to respond to His call immediately or, are we going to get stuck in the “Maya” and delay His offer endlessly? Mostly, all of us are falling into the second category! Else, as a father, why should Bhagawan deny “Moksha” to His own child? Even in our family, will our parents like us to go away from them, even if it is for work or study? For instance, many of us get work and study opportunities at different places in the world, but when we pursue them, we wouldn’t be able to take our parents wherever we go, isn’t it? At that time, when we leave our parents and go outside, do you think that our parents might be happy to let us go? Of course, when it comes to the opportunity, they would be happy obviously. But, when it comes to physical separation from their kids, which parent would be happy to let their son or daughter go away from them? Similar is the case of Bhagawan Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi too – All of us are their children and how can Bhagawan and Devi bear the separation from us? 

Thus, we’ve to understand here that at any point of time, Bhagawan is always ready to grant us “Moksha”. But it is only up to the individual to use this opportunity to ascend towards Bhagawan! So for today, let us understand this point, along with that of creation and destruction, and let us wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 20 – If every living being attains “Moksha”, will the world cease to exist? An important viewpoint!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed how life in this world is a cycle, and there is never a start or an end point to it. We can understand from yesterday’s important discussion that there is nothing called “ultimate” destruction in this world. It is just that, the world passes through various stages of existence and whatever we see today, might “change” into a different form tomorrow. Thus, Bhagawan’s major role to play here is that, as He creates the world, everything assumes a physical form of existence, and as Bhagawan “destroys” the entire thing, all of it merges into Bhagawan’s divine form once again, only to be recreated in a different form again! We’ve witnessed a few examples to illustrate and highlight this point as well. 

In all of these, we might wonder where are we in this mammoth exercise of Bhagawan? How do we take an account of ourselves in this world? Do we, as human beings, undergo the same cycle? If so, how does Bhagawan keep accounts of millions and millions of living beings living in this world, including human beings? 

To answer these questions one by  one – Do we human beings undergo this same cycle? Yes, we do! But how does Bhagwan keep accounts of all living beings together? This is where our “Karma” theory comes into play. Bhagawan has created a beautiful ploy here – We are born in this world on account of our previous “Karma” – Both good and bad. Depending upon the intensity of our good / bad “Karma”, we get a birth accordingly for approximately 80 – 90 years. Bhagawan has an accurate, yet complicated methodology to maintain all our “statistics” and “arithmetics” intact, as to who commits what kind of “Karma” in this world. We might not realize that, but as we said earlier, Bhagwan is beyond our intellectual reach. According to that, once this birth gets over after 80-90 years, we get the subsequent birth and once again the same cycle continues. Thus, here we might see two important things – One is that our physical body changes its state once it dies off, It is burnt to ashes and becomes merged with the soil of the earth’s surface. Secondly, our Atman changes from one physical body to another, after the lifetime of this physical body is over. In fact, we’ve to redefine the “Atman” and “Physical body” here. Of course, we’ve witnessed many times that the “Atman” is non-destroyable in nature, but what about our physical body? We say that it is destroyable, but strictly speaking, our physical body changes from one state to the other. Our Atman takes different births according to the Karma that this living being is accumulating. 

However, if one thinks that he / she has had enough of this birth / death cycle and creation / destruction cycle, he / she can exhibit “Bhakti” towards Bhagawan and with His grace, can get out of this cycle, as a special case. However, just because this individual has gone out of this cycle, it doesn’t mean that the world would cease to exist. The creation / destruction and birth / death cycle would continue taking place in the world endlessly. We might ask a question here – If everybody in this world starts thinking that they should get relieved from these cycles of birth and death and creation and destruction, and if everybody exhibits Bhakti and alleviates themselves, what would happen to this world? Who would be there in this world henceforth? This is a good question to ask, but we should understand one important aspect here. First of all, how many people would be there in this world at any given time? Around 800 million? Or even more, isn’t it? I’m not talking about just one country. I’m talking about the entire world put together, with all the seven continents. So, even if these 800 million people try for liberation from this world at the same time, and even if Bhagawan grants “Moksha” to all of them, we would still have other living beings isn’t it? We would have plants, trees, animals, insects, etc. who would still be living in this world and passing through each and every phase of these cycles. 

Thus, this is not going to be an overnight process that the entire lot of creatures in this world is going to get liberated at a stretch! This cycle is thus going to be endless and the world is still going to keep existing with all its beauty and living beings in it. Thus, it is only upto us to exhibit ardent Bhakti or devotion towards Bhagawan to liberate ourselves from here, so as to reach Vaikunta. So for today, let us realize this important fact of this world and let us wait till the next episode to witness the continuation of this discussion with many more intriguing questions and answers! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 19 – “CREATION” and “DESTRUCTION” form a “Cycle of Existence” in this world!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed how Bhagawan is the one and only creator of the entire world, including various aspects of nature, living beings, etc. We’ve seen an important explanation as to how the creator has to have the knowledge of creation and how Bhagawan Vishnu encompasses all knowledge and will-power to create and keep re-creating the world over and over again. Thus, Sage Paraashara explains to Sage Maithreya that all of us are being created only by the Brahman, which is ultimately Bhagawan Vishnu and when all of us get destroyed, we again go back into the Brahman. 

Interestingly, when we talk about “destruction” of creation, in fact, there is nothing called “destruction” in this world. If we look at it carefully, everything in this world has numerous “states” of existence. For instance, if there is a mud pot, since it is composed entirely of mud, the mud pot is one “state of existence” of mud itself. In other words, we can say that the mud exists in the form of the pot. Similarly, mud has a lot of minerals in it, isn’t it? This is what we process with a lot of chemical apparatus, etc. and extract various metals like gold, iron, aluminium, copper, etc. Ultimately, the reality is that, all whatever we use in our daily lives, are all composite states of sand or mud. Thus, if for instance the mud pot gets broken down, rather than saying that the mud pot is destroyed, we can say that the mud has moved from one state of existence to the other, isn’t it? What was there in the form of an earthen pot, has transformed into a state of powdered mud. Similarly, if we take the example of diamond, it is nothing but carbon existing in a different form. If we burn the diamond stone, what happens? It reduces to ashes, isn’t it? Thus, we can say that the carbon, which was once existing in the form of a diamond stone, has transformed itself into another form of “ashes”. Similarly, many of us have this practice – If we have some gold ornaments at home, after many years of existence, what do we do? If for instance, we have a golden ring, and the ring doesn’t suit our finger anymore, do we throw away the gold ring in the dustbin? Instead, we take it to the goldsmith, and he melts the gold ring into gold, re-creates the gold into another ornament like a necklace or a chain, isn’t it? Thus, we see here that this gold ring, (one state of existence of gold as a metal) gets transformed into a necklace or a chain (Other forms of existence). 

Thus, the point here is that, if we talk about “destruction”, it is nothing but “transformation of the item from one state to the other”. This applies to living beings as well, isn’t it? When we’re born in this world, we’re born with a physical body (Shareera) within which, the “Atman” is embedded. We’ve already seen multiple times that the “Atman” is permanent and the “Shareera” is temporary in nature. Thus, at the end of this birth, our Atman gets “transferred” into another “Shareera” or, if our Karma accounts are zero, our Atman transcends to “Moksha” and never comes back to this world. Thus, we can see here that the “Atman” has different states, but it never gets destroyed. Even if we say that our physical body gets “destroyed”, is it real destruction? No! Our physical body, when it is alive, is in one form and shape. However, as the physical body is dead, it decomposes into another state called “Sand” or “Mud”, isn’t it? Or, if we burn the body, it becomes ashes, which is another form of existence merely. Thus, the concept of “destruction” means that one item gets transformed into another form, and it never gets destroyed altogether. This is what we’ve to understand here. 

Thus, from all of this, we can understand that there is nothing called “ultimate” destruction in this world. It is just that, the world passes through various stages of existence and whatever we see today, might “change” into a different form tomorrow. Thus, Bhagawan’s major role to play here is that, as He creates the world, everything assumes a physical form of existence, and as Bhagawan “destroys” the entire thing, all of it merges into Bhagawan’s divine form once again, only to be recreated in a different form again! Thus, this cycle keeps continuing and this is what we’ve to understand. 

So for today, let us understand this important point that this entire process of “creation” and “destruction” are part of a huge cycle. What gets created today, gets destroyed tomorrow, and the same “destroyed” items would be recreated in some other form the next day! We shall continue this important and interesting discussion again in the next episode and take it forward from there! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 18 – Can nature create itself? An important discussion!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important point pertaining to the “Shareera-Atma Bhaava” wherein Sage Paraashara explains to Sage Maithreya that Bhagawan Vishnu is omni-present within all living beings in this world, and it is He who encompasses all what He has created. Thus, from this we can understand that if Bhagawan Vishnu is considered to be omni-present, all of us are like “building blocks” of a huge “Shareera” (Body) called Bhagawan Vishnu! All of us are small but significant constituents of Bhagawan Vishnu’s divine form. I’m using the phrase “small but significant” for a reason here – If we take our own human body, it is composed of millions of small cells, many of which are microscopic in nature, that is, we cannot see them with our naked eyes. Even though they are microscopic in nature, they are very significant. For instance, if some cells of our ear canal get damaged, we would lose our body balance and would feel like fainting, isn’t it? Similarly, if one muscle in our hand or leg starts to degenerate or gets dislodged, our body movements start getting restricted, isn’t it? Thus, we can see here that every cell and muscle of our body has its own place and significance. Similarly, all of us being constituents of Bhagawan’s divine physical form also have our own place, significance and responsibility, no matter how miniscule we might be in terms of numbers. 

Now, having said thus, what does it signify for ardent devotees like us? If we’ve to occupy a significant place in Bhagawan’s form, our responsibility and accountability increases isn’t it? If we’ve to proudly proclaim that we’re part of Bhagawan, we’ve to make sure that we behave in the right way, so that Bhagawan’s name and reputation doesn’t get spoiled because of our actions. We’ve to make sure that we’re following whatever Bhagwan has taught us. We’ve to make sure that we exhibit utmost sincere and innocent Bhakti towards Bhagawan, so that He acknowledges that we’re part of Him! This is where all these Puraanas and Ithihaasas occupy a prime place in our Sanaatana Dharma. All of these texts were born to make us realize that we’re integral constituents of Bhagawan, and that, we should behave that way, so as to maintain our status-quo properly every time. This is the real understanding of the term “Shareera-Atma Bhaava”, which Bhagawad Raamaanuja tried to actively propagate to the world, during His divine incarnation, thousand years ago. This concept also forms the basis of the sect called “Vishishta-Dvaitam” in our Sanaatana Dharma. 

Moving on thus, Sage Paraashara discusses the next important point here. He continues the discussion on the “Creation” aspect, wherein he says now that the person who is responsible for the entire creation (Bhagawan Vishnu) is an embodiment of all of “Gnyaana” (Knowledge) and “Vairaagya” (Will). It is only with these two qualities is Bhagawan creating the whole world. We should understand this important point here, and I shall explain this in simpler words. For instance, we might have this intriguing question in mind – Why can’t nature create itself? In simpler words, does nature have the power and will to create and multiply? Can mountains, rivers, oceans, come together, conduct some meetings, conferences, etc. with each other, come to a conclusion and decision to create more mountains, rivers, etc.? This cannot happen, isn’t it? This is because, if something has to be created, there should be someone who should have the “Gnyaana” about it. Mountains and rivers do not have the “Gnyaana” to create and multiply, isn’t it? They are after all non-living objects. They should have some source, which is an embodiment of knowledge and wisdom to be created. For instance, if a cow has to give milk to its calf and to us, it should have the “Gnyaana” that it has a duty to give milk. A mother feeds a baby with all her love and affection. She does it because she has the “Gnyaana” that it is her responsibility to feed her child. Similarly, if we’ve to reproduce and make children, we’ve to have that “Gnyaana” to do so. If we apply this same thing to mountains and rivers, do they have this “Gnyaana”? The answer is “no” isn’t it? Hence, who created all these mountains and rivers? There should be somebody who has that “Gnyaana” isn’t it? This person is none other than Bhagawan, who is an embodiment of this “Gnyaana”. 

I’m giving a lot of emphasis to this point also because this is the fundamental principle upon which atheists keep arguing. This is to thwart their argument completely into pieces. Atheists would argue that nature creates itself, and there’s no Bhagwan who does any sort of creation in this world. For them, the counter question is this – Does nature have the “Gnyaana” to create itself? If one doesn’t have the “Gnyaana”, how does creation happen? If we’re reproducing children, how can it be done without Gnyaana? Can we – Human beings create ourselves without the “Gnyaana”? Thus, we should understand here that for creating nature which is of a mammoth size, Bhagawan should be an embodiment of all sort of “Gnyaana” and “Vairaagya” put together! We cannot compare the amount of Gnyaana and Vairaagya that we have with that of Bhagawan. All the “Gnyaana” that we have is to create one or two new human beings. But Bhagawan is creating the entire world, full of innumerable types of living beings, isn’t it? Right from plants, trees, shrubs, animals, insects, flies, birds, etc. – The list is endless! So if Bhagawan has to endure a creation of this mammoth size, this is why we emphasize that Bhagawan is an embodiment of “Gnyaana” or the divine knowledge. 

So for today, let us understand this important point and let us wait for the next episode to continue this discussion on “Creation” further! Stay tuned! 🙂  

Episode # 17 – The “Shareera – Atma Bhava” – All of us are integral parts of Bhagawan!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the commencement of Sage Paraashara’s important answer to Sage Maithreya’s intriguing questions. Hes starts with a pin-pointed and a straightforward answer that the entire creation of this world is carried out by none other than Bhagawan Vishnu Himself! The creation encompasses all the living and non-living beings that exist in this world. We’ve also witnessed in due course of yesterday’s episode that this is the concept which sets apart our Sanaatana Dharma from every other religion. While other religions around the world believe that “Brahman” is something that exists outside of this world, our Sanaatana Dharma propagates the important fact that “Brahman” is within every living and non-living being in this world. This is why we emphasize that we shouldn’t hurt any living being whatsoever – Be it a human being or any animal or plant or a tree. While few religions (one in particular) believe that they can attain “Moksha” only by hurting others, it is a huge disgrace for mankind to have such religions in existence and the world is unfortunately reeling under the pressure of such barbarians. Thus, as ardent followers of our Sanaatana Dharma, we should clearly understand why does our Sanaatana Dharma propagate peace and harmony amongst all living beings, just like as we have the famous “Manthra” – “Lokah Samastah Sukino Bhavantu”, which means, “May all living beings in this world live happily and in peace”! 

Moving on further with Sage Paraashara’s answer, he explains how the concept of “Shareera-Atma Bhaava” is of prime significance. Now what is this “Shareera-Atma Bhaava”? As we’ve witnessed till now, the entire world is “Brahman”, now we’re going to understand that as the world is “Brahman” in its full entity, all of us, living beings are the various parts of the “Shareera” of “Brahman”. This might be a little complicated for readers to understand. I shall explain it in simpler terms. Now that we know how “Brahman” encompasses all living beings in this world, it is imperative that all of us are integral parts of a huge “Shareera” called “Brahman”. As the huge “Shareera” would have several body parts, all of us constitute each of the body part of the “Brahman”. This is called the “Shareera-Atma Bhaava” and this is exactly what Bhagawad Ramanuja has vehemently propagated throughout His tenure of incarnation in this world. As many of us might know, Bhagawad Ramanuja was the propagator of the entire sect of Sanaatana Dharma, referred to as the “Vishishta Dvaitam”, which stresses upon the important difference between the “Atman” and the “Deham” or “Shareeram”, and how the bonding between the “Atman” and “Shareeram” is going to be instrumental in attaining “Moksha”. This is where we’ve to understand that we are all part of the larger “Shareera” of the ultimate “Brahman”, who is none other than Bhagawan Vishnu Himself! Thus, in lay man’s terminology, we can understand that Bhagawan Vishnu is omnipresent and He encompasses everything in this world. 

If we recollect from our previous Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana project, we had witnessed the same concept during the “Prahlaada Charithra” as well. We’re going to discuss “Prahlaada Charitra” in this project under Shri Vishnu Puraana as well. But the important point here is that, when Hiranya Kashibu asks little Prahlaada as to where is Vishnu, Prahlaada replies the same. He says that Bhagawan Vishnu is there everywhere in this world, and that, he can find him even inside the pillar that was right in the front. It is only upon this reply from Prahlaada, did Hiranya Kashibu break open the pillar. Once the pillar exploded, we witnessed Bhagawan Vishnu emerging out of the pillar with a ferocious form of Bhagawan Narasimha! This is where Bhagawan Vishnu proves to the entire world that He is omnipresent, and that, one needs to have the fullest and innocent devotion (Bhakti) to experience His divine presence. 

Thus, the point here is that we should understand how we constitute the “Shareera” of Bhagawan directly, and with this, our responsibility only increases. If we proudly proclaim that we’re an integral part of Bhagawan, we should also make sure that we behave responsibly isn’t it? We cannot do some crap and say that we’re part of Bhagawan. If we’re doing so, it not only brings down our reputation, but also Bhagawan’s reputation is at stake! Hence, we’ve to be all the more careful here. If we’re claiming that we’re part of Bhagawan, we should make sure that we follow whatever Bhagawan Krishna has elucidated clearly in the Bhagawad Gita! 

So for today, let us understand the importance of this “Shareera-Atma Bhava” and let us make sure that we follow the needful, so as to gratify Bhagawan for the opportunity that He has given us! We shall wait till the next episode to continue further on this! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 16 – All of Bhagawan’s creations are “BRAHMAN” – Uniqueness of our Sanaatana Dharma!!!

We’re all set to commence the important contents of the discussion between Sage Vasishtaachaarya and Sage Vishwamitra on various aspects of how was the world created, what are the various instances that happened after the world was created and how Bhagawan is protecting the world that He has created. We’ve witnessed in the previous episode as to how this vital information keeps passing on from generation to generation through the divine explanations of various great Maharishis. We’ve witnessed one such lineage here wherein Sage Vasishtaachaarya explains all of this to Sage Paraashara. In turn, Sage Paraashara explains all of this to Sage Maithreya, Sage Sukhaachaarya, etc. In turn, Sage Maithreya explains all of this to Vidura, who in turn explains all of this to Yudishtra and Co. Also, we’ve witnessed in detail during our project on Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana as to how Sage Sukhaachaarya explains all of this to King Parikshit. Thus, we’re witnessing here as to how these important pieces of information gets transcended across various generations of people and till today, we’re talking about all of this in various forms. Of course, each and every sage that we’re talking about here in this lineage, are great writers themselves! We’ve witnessed how Sage Sukhaachaarya was instrumental behind the Shrimad Bhagawatha Puraana, along with Sage Veda Vyaasa. Here, we’re witnessing how Sage Paraashara was solely instrumental in compiling all this information into the great Shri Vishnu Puraana. All these things are documented in detail so that people like us today who are “zeroes” in spiritual knowledge and maturity can also easily infer and understand this information. 

With this, Sage Paraashara commences his accord with a straight answer, which is directly to the point! 

“Vishnoh sahaasaath yatbhootham jagath tatraivathasthitham!!”

Here, Sage Paraashara explains that this entire world was created by none other than Bhagawan Vishnu Himself! Bhagawan Vishnu is solely responsible for all creation and protecting whatever He has created. Once the world gets destroyed, again it goes back into Bhagawan Vishnu only! Thus, we can see that creation and destruction are part of a mammoth cycle that is being orchestrated by Bhagawan Vishnu. The person who creates the entire world, is also responsible for the destruction of the creation, and also for the re-creation of the world. 

“Chita samyama karthaasau nihatosya jagatchasaha!!”

From this, we can also infer that the entire creation of Bhagawan is nothing but the ultimate “Brahmam”. Bhagawan Vishnu is also referred to as “Brahman”, because He is all-pervasive in nature. Thus, if Bhagawan Vishnu can be referred to as the “Brahman”, His creation also can be referred to in the same way isn’t it? For instance, if we have a pot made of silver, what do we say? How do we refer to the pot as? Won’t we refer to it as a “silver pot”? If the pot is made of mud, we refer to it as a “mud pot”, isn’t it? What do we infer here? Since the pot is made of silver or mud, this material is omni-present throughout the pot, isn’t it? Similarly here too, since the entire creation is made by Bhagawan Vishnu, it is also referred to as “Brahman”. Thus, we can understand here that the sand, water, air, sun, moon, living beings, plants, etc. are all part of the same “Brahman” only! It is only because of this concept that we often keep saying that Bhagawan is present inside every human being and every plant & animal, and it is for this reason we say that we shouldn’t hurt anybody or any living being. If we’re hurting a living being, we’re hurting Bhagawan indirectly. 

This is where the speciality of our Sanaatana Dharma lies. Only because we realize that every creation of Bhagawan is “Brahman”, we worship each and every aspect of Bhagawan’s creation. For instance, we would see at many places that people are worshipping plants, trees, etc. If we go into the rural parts of our Bhaarata Desha, we would find people garlanding trees, placing a small idol of Bhagawan under it and worshipping it every day. Even if we visit many temples in many places, we have this concept of worshipping a tree inside the temple premises. Similarly, if we look at our Sanaatana Dharma literature carefully, every deity has a “Vaahana”, also referred to as a “Vehicle”. For instance, Bhagawan Vishnu’s divine vehicle is “Garuda”, which is nothing but an eagle. Similarly, Bhagawan Ganesha’s divine vehicle is a rat. Bhagawan Muruga’s divine vehicle is a peacock. Goddess Kali’s divine vehicle is a lion. The list goes on. Thus, we can infer here that every creation of Bhagawan has its own significance and needs to be respected and worshipped. This is where our Sanaatana Dharma stands out uniquely, as compared to other religions. 

If we look deeply at other religions other than our Sanaatana Dharma, all what they propagate is that, “Brahman ” is somewhere outside of this world, and nothing in this world is “Brahman ”. This is why we see people of some religions involving themselves in violence and killing of people and animals unwantedly. Ultimately, what prevails is “hatred” and “negative vibrations” all over the place. However, there is no place for all such violence and unwanted killing of animals, human beings, plants, etc. in our Sanaatana Dharma and this is why it is widely revered and respected all around the world. 

Thus, for today, let us understand the fact that all of Bhagawan’s creations in this world are part of the “Brahman” and we should learn to respect each and every creation. We shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion forward! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 15 – Why do different sages across time convey the same information over & over again? A reality check!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the discussion wherein Sage Vasishta is advising Sage Paraashara to control his anger and frustration, over what had happened to his father, Sage Shakti. Sage Vaisishta is explaining how things happen due to the act of “Karma” and how an individual’s “Karma” is responsible for whatever happens in his / her life. Sage Shakti was no exception to this as well – He had also met this fateful end to his life, only because of his “Karma” and there’s nobody to be blamed here. Even though there might have been people who were responsible for his killing, it is only because Sage Shakti’s “Karma” that has brought these people together to kill him at this point in time. Even if these people wouldn’t have killed him, Sage Shakti would anyway have met his end through some other means. Hence, Sage Vasishta is advising Sage Paraashara here that he has to move on from this deep sorrowful state and overcome the anger and frustration. 

Thus, as Sage Vasishta advises, Sage Paraashara immediately calls off the “Yagnya” that he was performing, so as to bring the perpetrators to justice. Sage Paraashara realizes the depth of Sage Vasishta’s advice and decides to move on with his life’s agenda, rather than brooding over something that is not in anybody’s hands. As Sage Paraashara takes the decisive step forward immediately, all the Sages who had gathered there were extremely happy! They were overjoyed with Sage Paraashara’s spiritual maturity at such a young age. All of them come together and talk to Sage Paraashara thus, “Oh Paraashara! Today you’ve done a great thing by stopping a “Yagnya” that would have otherwise paved the way for the world’s destruction! Out of our happiness, we’re prepared to bless you with a lot of things! You’re going to become a great sage in the near future and we’re collectively blessing you for that!” 

We might be wondering here as to what would have been the blessing or “Anugraha” that the consortium of sages gave to Sage Paraashara! We might wonder if they would have given a lump sum of money, gold, etc. The answer is “No”! The consortium of sages narrated a lot of facts to Sage Paraashara and together educated him on how this world was formed, what is this world made up of, and how to lead a peaceful life in this world, without getting perturbed by any sort of obstacle or illusion. It is only part of this conversation that we’re going to witness here – This is what Sage Paraashara is going to narrate to Sage Maithreya. Thus, the story stems out from the context wherein Sage Paraashara invokes the conversation between these consortium of great Sages, inclusive of Sage Vasishtaachaarya and Sage Vishwamitra. 

It is this same narration which Sage Maithreya is giving to Vidura in the Shrimad Bhaagawtha Puraana text. We’ve witnessed this in the earlier project, during Skandhas 1 & 2, wherein Sage Maithreya is passing on this same information to Vidura, by telling that he came to know of all these information from Sage Paraashara, who gave it me as part of a conversation between Sage Vasishtaachaarya and Sage Vishwamitra. Thus, it is the same information only, which keeps passing on and on, generation after generation. In turn, Vidura passes this information to many other people, including King Dhirdiraashtra, Arjuna, Udishtra, etc. during the Mahabharata time. Vidura also narrates this same information to these people by telling that he had heard this from Sage Maithreya, who in turn learnt it from Sage Paraashara, who in turn learnt it from Sage Vasishtaachaarya! 

We might wonder here – Why don’t these people talk about something new and fresh? Why are they talking the same thing over and over again? We should understand here that these pieces of information are the ultimate reality of how this world functions. These pieces of information are fundamental for the entire creation and destruction and cannot be changed by anybody. These pieces of information are extremely high profile in nature, and are ultimately part of the Vedas and Vedanta of our Sanaatana Dharma.  Thus, irrespective of whether it is Sage Maithreya or Vidura or Udishtra or Sage Vasishtaachaarya, or anybody for that matter, nobody can change or re-invent something new in this. All of us should thus comply according to what the Vedas and Upanishads preach, because ultimately all the Vedas, Vedanta, etc. come from Bhagawan Himself! Thus, these kinds of literature which vastly talk about creation of this world, are beyond one’s research capability. If our “Aachaaryas” explain these things to us in whatever way, it is our bound duty to listen to them avidly, rather than question them and their philosophies. 

Thus, with this brief background in mind, we shall commence the conversation that is going to start between Sage Paraashara and Sage Maithreya. So for today, let us get our basics right, and let us wait till the next episode for the interesting and absorbing conversation to commence! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 14 – “Not everything in this world happens as per our will & wish” – Sage Vashishta’s important advice!!!

We’re at the midst of an important juncture wherein Sage Paraashara is explaining a few snippets of his past background. He’s narrating this to Sage Maithreya, as to how did the conversation between himself and Sage Vasishtaachaarya bloom up. He narrates how he got extremely angry, frustrated and upset with the way in which his father, Sage Shakti was killed. Unable to bear the frustration, Sage Paraashara commences a powerful “Yagnya” which would ensure that the perpetrators of the crime would be killed, no matter where they were, and what they were doing! Each and every person who had even the smallest role in the crime wouldn’t be spared in any way. As the “Yagnya” commenced, the entire world started shaking with fear! The vibrations that were emitted from the Yagnya was so powerful that it started to bring all those who were responsible for the crime, into the sacrificial fire! It is at this time, Sage Vasishtaachaarya, along with a few other senior Maharishis, get together and collectively decide to make Sage Paraashara stop this fierce “Yagnya ”. 

As planned, the consortium of Maharishis approach Sage Paraashara and speak thus, “Oh Paraashara! Your father had to pass away because his lifetime in this world was over. This was due to his previous accumulated “Karma”. These people who were responsible for the crime, were just instruments in making the inevitable happen. Just because of this, why do you want to kill all of these people? If such a thing takes place, this would set a very bad precedence in the world moving forward, and people would start going around, killing each other with vengeance! Please understand that all that is happening in the world is due to the act of “Karma” and nobody is responsible for nobody’s happiness, sorrow, birth or demise!” As Sage Vasishtaachaarya narrates this, Sage Paraashara immediately stops the Yagnya then and there! 

There are a couple of important learnings for all of us here. The important question to be asked here is that, what made Sage Paraashara stop the fierce Yagnya then and there? He was with a savage resolution to bring all the criminals to justice and how come one person’s words totally changed his stance upside down within just a few moments? We can answer this question in two ways – Firstly, the level of “Guru-Bhakti” that Sage Paraashara had within himself, made him realize that the words of his Guru or Aachaarya conveys a lot of sense. Moreover, irrespective of whether Sage Vasishtaachaarya’s words convey sense or not, these words have come from the mouth of the Aachaarya, isn’t it? Hence, no matter what, it was Sage Paraashara’s duty to obey his Aachaarya’s words. Thus, Sage Paraashara called it “stop” right away, without asking a second question! 

Secondly, Sage Vasishta’s words were crisp and to the point – He clearly made Sage Paraashara understand that there’s no point in getting angry for things that are beyond one’s control. Upon hearing Sage Vasishta’s accord, Sage Paraashara was able to realize this fact and modify his act accordingly. 

Many of us today fall into this same trap as well – We keep getting angry for a lot of things that are beyond our control. Instead of looking at and modifying what we have in hand, we keep thinking most of the time about things beyond our reach. For instance, if we’ve to travel from one place to the other at a given date and time, rather than directly making arrangements for all of it, (Transportation tickets, accommodation, sorting out the agenda, etc.) we keep thinking about so many other things isn’t it? For instance, we think about an auspicious time to commence the journey, what if something happens in the middle, will our plans be implemented in the right way, what if something goes wrong, etc. All of these questions keep lingering in our minds as we proceed to do something isn’t it? These are the negative thoughts that one should forgo when we decide to move along a path towards achieving a goal. This is where our total surrender to Bhagawan’s feet comes into play. If we surrender our actions to Bhagawan, we do not need to worry about those things that aren’t under our control! Bhagawan would take care of all that, isn’t it? This is where we need to attain maturity. For instance, after some disastrous incident has taken place, what would be our mindset? We would immediately start thinking of how to take vengeance for what has happened, isn’t it? This is where we fail to understand that all things in this world happen for a reason and at times, we do not have a hand in that! Of course, this is a tough realization to make, but this is where spiritual maturity comes – We should understand clearly that not all things in this world would happen according to our wish and will. We need to take things as they come and move forward with life, rather than brooding over what we failed upon! 

This is exactly Sage Vasishta too is making Sage Paraashara understand. Now that Sage Shakti is no more, Sage Vasishta is advising Sage Paraashara to relax, forget what had conspired and move on. Even if Sage Paraashara succeeds in punishing people, is his father going to come alive again? No, isn’t it? Hence, why waste time on something that has already happened irreversibly? This is the message that we’ve to understand in our day-to-day life too. So for today, let us realize and understand this important message as we move on with the conversation between Sage Paraashara and Sage Vasishta, as Sage Maithreya hears on! We shall wait till the next episode to continue further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 13 – Controlling anger & frustration – Sage Paraashara’s past experience!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Paraashara commencing his reply to Sage Maithreya’s intriguing, but genuine questions. As Sage Paraashara commences his reply, he invokes an interesting conversation between his predecessors – Sage Vasishta and Sage Vishwamitra. Through this, in due course of yesterday’s episode we had witnessed how Sage Paraashara too exhibits utmost humility when he replies. He doesn’t proclaim that he is the one who knows the answers fully, but is humble enough to acknowledge the contributions made by great sages previously. Thus, rather than starting by saying “I know the answer and my accord goes like this…”, he commences by saying, “According to what I had learnt from an interesting and an informative conversation between Sage Vasishta and Sage Vishwamitra…”. Thus, it is important for us to acknowledge the scholarliness of our great Maharishis while we discuss important aspects of our Sanatana Dharma’s Vedanta. 

“Tato ham rakshasaam satram vinaasaaya samaarabham!”

As Sage Maithreya listens to Sage Paraashara’s introductory words, he is totally moved to tears of joy! He immediately asks Sage Paraashara thus, “Oh Great Sage! Have you been in association with the great Sages Vasishta and Vishwamitra? You’re indeed so fortunate to invoke a lot of lessons from them! The world knows how great they were in terms of their spiritual knowledge and wisdom. If you’ve been in direct association and lineage with such great sages, you’re indeed so fortunate in this birth and with this, I’m also fortunate, because I’m getting an opportunity to learn from a great sage who has ancestral and knowledge roots from great sages!”

This is not something very surprising! Even today, if we happen to meet people who are of the family ancestral lineage or “Sishya” lineage of great “Pandithas”, or “Bhaagawathas”, etc. we pay lot of respect to them isn’t it? For instance, if we meet a person who sings carnatic music very well, we would immediately ask the question – Who is your Aachaarya or Guru. If that person invokes the name of some renowned and veteran classical musician as his / her Aachaarya, how would we react? We would immediately exclaim, “Oh wow! Are you the Sishya of this renowned veteran musician? It shows in the way you’re singing! You’re really fortunate to learn from such a great person and I’m also fortunate to listen to the disciple of that renowned musician!” We would immediately say thus, isn’t it? This is exactly what Sage Maithreya is also exclaiming here. As Sage Paraashara invokes the great Sages Vasishta and Vishwamitra, he is thrilled to bits. His level of interest and curiosity multiplies several times and with this itself, Sage Maithreya is more and more eager to listen to Sage Paraashara’s words. 

Notwithstanding thus, Sage Maithreya requests Sage Paraashara to talk a few words about his association with the two great sages! Sage Maithreya asks thus, “Oh Sage Paraashara! Leave alone the Srishti, Samhaara, etc. Now tell me more about your association with Sage Vasishta and Sage Vishwamitra!” As Sage Maithreya asks thus, Sage Paraashara gives a brief introduction about himself and his association with Sage Vasishta. 

Sage Paraashara narrates thus, “Oh Maithreya! You’ve asked an important question here. Let me tell you a brief of my past. There was a time when I used to get terribly angry over lot of things. Especially when my grandfather Sage Vasishta’s son, (my father) Sage Shakti was killed in a very ghastly way. When I came to know the death of my father, I was a small boy at that time and because of the grief of my father’s sudden demise, I was crying profusely. Also, when I came to know that my father did not have a natural death, but was killed by someone, my grief gave way to intense anger and frustration. At that time, my grandfather, Sage Vasishta was also angry over what had happened. But due to his enormous spiritual wisdom, he somehow controlled himself and also advised me to do the same! However, I wasn’t as mature as my grandfather spiritually. My anger didn’t come down by any ways or means. I was of a savage resolution to bring the perpetrators of my father’s murder to justice and to punish them miserably. With this, I started a huge “Yagnya” (Spiritual offering) to bring the criminals into its fold. With this, the entire world started to shake with fear as there were many perpetrators to my father’s death. It is at this point, Sage Vasishta wanted to stop this Yagnya somehow – The reason behind it is, if someone had to meet his / her death due to his / her past “Karma”, how is it fair to blame someone else for his / her death? If this sets in as a trend, it is going to be dangerous and people are going to start hunting down each other, by seeking vengeance. Such things shouldn’t be set as a precedence for the world to follow! 

Thus, Sage Vasishta, along with other great Sages like Sage Pulasthya, etc. came up to me and gave me some valuable advice as to how to control anger and frustration. Obviously it is natural for everyone to get angry with such incidents, but even then, it doesn’t give a person incentive to do whatever the anger is inducing him / her to do! Once the sages assembled at the “Yagnya-shaala” and advised thus, I immediately stopped the proceedings of the Yagnya, which vowed to destroy the entire clan of the perpetrators of the crime! I abandoned the attempt straightaway and wound up the entire show!” 

As Sage Paraashara narrates this incident, there is an important learning for all of us here. What is that learning? Let’s wait for the next episode to witness in detail! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 12 – Sage Paraashara invokes the conversation between Sage Vasishta & Sage Vishwamithra!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the important questions that Sage Maithreya had asked Sage Paraashara in terms of “Srishti” and “Samhaara”, which in other words, means “Creation” and “Destruction”. Sage Maithreya asks how this world is being created and how it gets destroyed as well. We might also have all these doubts within us, just like how Sage Maithreya has. For instance, we see a goldsmith making some gold and diamond ornaments. We might see a potter making some beautiful mud pots. By looking at all these people, we know who is making what. But, these goldsmiths, potters, etc. have a creator who is creating them, isn’t it? All these are human beings just like us. So do human beings have a creator? If yes, who is that creator? If there’s a creator, where is he / she? What is the form of this creator? How does creation happen? How is that, the creation happens so perfectly with all complications put perfectly in place? We’re taking so many years to study about our physical body and its complexities, and still we’re unable to master the science behind it. By looking at all of this, it would seem to us that the creator is a genius beyond imagination, isn’t it? If that someone is creating this world with such a lot of complexities, what is the purpose behind this entire exercise of creation? Why is someone taking so much pain to do all of this with such a lot of precision? 

So now, we’re waiting for Sage Paraashara’s important accord on these questions. Whatever questions we ask with a lot of such brains, Vedas and Upanishads have answers for all of them. But the only thing here is that, we should ask these questions in the right sense and with the right attitude. Whereas, if we’ve to ask questions with stupidity, we would never get any answers from Mahatmas. For instance, if we’ve to go to an accomplished scientist some questions like: “Oh! I do not agree with your inventions and innovations. Why is this light glowing this way and why not in another way?” If we ask such stupid questions to a scientist who is a veteran in research, what would be his / her reaction? They would just laugh at us and go away, isn’t it? They walk away from us, not because they do not know the answer to our questions. The real reason is that, they do not want to waste their time in answering stupid questions. Similar is the case here too – There would be some atheists who would constantly keep asking some weird questions here and there. Just because they do not get answers for their stupid questions, it doesn’t mean that Vedas and Upanishads are devoid of answers. It simply means that they do not answer stupid people like these atheists. 

Thus, as Sage Maithreya is eagerly waiting for Sage Paraashara to reply, Sage Paraashara starts his accord thus, “Oh Sage Maithreya! You’ve asked a very important set of questions here! Till now, I was waiting for someone to ask me such a question, so that I can share all my knowledge with that person. It has so happened in such a way that you, being one of my best disciples have asked these questions. I’m so happy and overwhelmed and with this, I shall give you the answers for all these important questions!” In fact, before Sage Paraashara replies with his accord thus, he first appreciates Sage Maithreya for his intriguing and eager questions. Sage Paraashara continues thus, “Oh Maithreya! The questions that you had asked me just now, remind me of some important accords given to me by my grandfather, Sage Vasishta. Once, there was a long discussion between Sage Vasishta and Sage Vishwamithra and I’m reminded of the same. I shall now share all the pieces of information that my grandfathers, Sage Vasishta and Sage Vishwamithra had discussed at length!” 

All of us know how great a Sage is Sage Paraashara. He could have very well started his accord by saying that he knows all of this straightaway! However, he is so humble that he invokes his grandfathers here. This shows how humble Sage Paraashara is too! In the previous episodes, we had witnessed how humble the Sishya should be in front of the Guru, but here we’re witnessing how humble the Guru should be, while answering queries of the Sishya! Thus, the important message here is that, humility is something that is necessary for both the Guru and the Sishya! Thus, Sage Paraashara is projecting himself as an epitome of humility as he invokes the conversation between Sage Vasishta and Sage Vishwamithra. 

It is always a fact that knowledge is something that cannot be created by one person overnight! Knowledge is something that gets transferred from one generation to the other and is perpetual in nature. If we know something, we cannot fully claim that it is totally new that only we know something about it. We would have learnt it through some source and / or from someone, and we should have the humility to acknowledge the source. This is what we refer to as in modern day research as “citation”. If we’re picking up / adopting the knowledge that has already been propagated by someone, for our research, it is a rule that we acknowledge the source in the form of a “Citation” in a definitive format. If we’re not doing that, it becomes illegal under the laws of “Intellectual Property Rights” (IPR). All of these focus only on one point that when we’re progressing with the quest for new knowledge, we should always build it from what is existing already, and should acknowledge the source behind that knowledge. 

This is exactly what Sage Paraashara is doing here too. Although he himself is a genius in various aspects of knowledge, he is invoking his ancestors in the form of Sage Vasishta and Sage Vishwamithra. Similarly, Bhagawan Krishna Himself is explaining in His Bhagawad Gita that all what He’s explaining to Arjuna, was all designed and articulated by the elders and ancestors and that He’s not creating something new here! 

Thus, Sage Paraashara is going to start narrating the conversation between Sage Vasishta and Sage Vishwamithra on the various aspects of creation of this world. We shall witness this interesting and absorbing accord starting the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂