Episode # 70 – Commencing the second “AMSA” – Who is “Priyavrata”?

In the previous episode, we had witnessed how the Brahman (Bhagawan Vishnu) is both the “Kaaranam” and the “Kaaryam” in this world. This simply means that Bhagawan is the sole creator and the sole destroyer of the entire world. No matter whether the world gets created or destroyed, the Brahman keeps existing at all times. When we say that the world is getting destroyed, it is only that it changes it’s shape from one form to the other. It is like the example of the mud pot here – When the mud is in the form of a beautiful pot, we say that it is a pot. However, when the pot gets broken into pieces, it again transforms into mud. The mud is “Brahman” and the Brahman takes different forms at different times. This is what we’ve to understand from this important discussion and this is exactly what Sage Paraashara is explaining to Sage Maithreya here. 

In due course of the previous episode, we also witnessed how Bhagawan Vishwaksena is the person who allocates people for different positions in the Satya Lokha, Indra Lokha, etc. This is why we chant this famous sloka as follows: 

“Shuklaambharatharam vishnum sashi varnam chaturbhujam!

Prasanna vadanam dhyaayeth sarva vignobha shaantaye!!

Yasyahdviratha vaktraathyaa paarishaktyaa parashatham!

Vighnam nighnanti satatam vishvaksenam tamaashraye!!” 

These two slokas are usually chanted at the beginning of the Vishnu Sahasranaama stothra, and many of us might be familiar with them. These slokas are in praise of Bhagawan Vishwaksena, who is the allocator of various roles. These slokas also clearly highlight the point that it is Bhagawan Vishnu who is the universal creator of this world. It is only with the divine grace of Bhagawan Vishnu that Bhagawan Brahma is given his position in the Satya Lokha and is continuing the job of creating the world. Of course, Bhagawan Vishnu has commenced the job of creation, and it is He who appoints Bhagawan Brahma to continue the job further. It is like how a manager allocates roles and responsibilities of the organization to his / her subordinates. Of course, the manager would have all the capabilities to do the job all by himself. But, to make himself free for other responsibilities that are important as well, he allocates these roles to his / her subordinates. Similarly here too, Bhagwan Vishnu has so many other things to take care of in this world. Hence, He “outsources” this job of creation to Bhagawan Brahma. 

Thus, if we’re outsourcing something to someone, we’ve to give them a job position, title, job description, etc. isn’t it? Similarly here also, Bhagawan Vishnu gives Bhagawan Brahma, a position in the Satya Lokha, and gives the job description of “creation”. Obviously, the lifespan of the Satya Lokha is something we’ve already discussed in our earlier episodes as well. Giving off the responsibility to Bhagawan Brahma thus, Bhagwan Vishnu goes to his Vaikunta and resides there. From here, it is all Bhagawan Brahma’s responsibility to continue with the creation.

With this recollection of all the point that we’ve discussed in the first “Amsa”, we now move into the second “Amsa”. I had done a brief recollection of the important points here, because these are the points that we’ve to carry forward into the second “Amsa”. If we do not remember these points, the second “Amsa” would become a nightmare for us to understand. Now, Sage Maithreya is going to ask further questions to Sage Paraashara and we’re going to witness the answers that Sage Paraashara is going to give. Till now, we’ve witnessed all the aspects of creation, and Bhagawan Brahma’s role in it. We’ve also witnessed how Svaayambhva Manu took birth, and from that, we’ve also seen how Raakshasas and Devas took birth. Specifically, we’ve seen how Hiranyaksha and Hiranya Kashibu tried to wreak havoc and how Bhagawan Vishnu had to incarnate as Bhagawan Varaaha and Bhagawan Narasimha respectively to neutralize these two Raakshasas. 

Now we’re going to witness the important point here as to how our “Bhoomandala” is categorized. This is a critical point here and readers are requested to be a little more attentive as you read through this section. We’re going to witness what is meant by “Dveepa”, “Varsha”, “Kanda”, etc. and how they’re classified. Sage Paraashara gives a very detailed accord on this point here. Now, Sage Maithreya is posing a question here – “Oh Sage Paraashara! You’ve now narrated the “Vamsa” (Family Lineage) of Svaayambhuva Manu’s one son – Utthaanapaada. However, there’s one more son by name “Priyavratha” isn’t it? You’ve not narrated the story of this Priyavrata yet. So tell me – Who is this Priyavrata? What is his significance and contribution?” 

We’ve already discussed earlier in the first Amsa that Svaayambhuva Manu had two sons – Priyavrata and Utthaanapada. I’m recollecting these points again and again so that readers shouldn’t forget. We’ve seen that Little Dhruva, Prahlaada, etc. came in the family lineage of Uttanapaada. Now we’re going to witness the lineage of Priyavrata. We shall wait till the next episode to commence the accord. Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 69 – BRAHMAN – An embodiment of both “KAARANAM” and “KAARYAM”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the explanation as to how Bhagawan Vishnu creates this world merely through His “Sankalpa”. This is the gross difference between Bhagawan and us. If we’ve to create something, we’ve to have the “Sankalpa” as well as our physical action. However, this is not the case with Bhagawan Vishnu. Similarly, when all the creations have to be destroyed, it is Bhagawan Vishnu’s “Sankalpa” again, and with the “Sankalpa”, all the creations of the world go back into Bhagawan Vishnu’s body. Thus, we’ve seen in the first “Amsa” that everything in this world is “Brahman”. That is, the earth is Brahman. The water is Brahman. The wind is Brahman. The fire is Brahman. Thus, all the constituents of the world are embodiments of the ultimate “Brahman”. 

Moving on thus, we’ve to see what are those criteria with which we can say that the world is being created. In fact, Sage Paraashara talks about two important criteria here – “Naama” and “Roopa”. Everything in this world has a “Naama” and a “Roopa”. Now what are these “Naama” and “Roopa”? “Naama” means “Name”. “Roopa” means “Form”. Everything in this world has a name and a form, isn’t it? For instance, if we see a flower in front of us, we would say that this is a rose flower or a lotus flower or a sunflower, etc. isn’t it? Why? We know that we can associate a “flower” with a definite form, shape and smell. Similarly, if someone asks for me – Jeayaram, people can identify me with my physical structure like facial appearance, height, etc., isn’t it? Thus, we can see here that for things to be identified in this world, we require a “Name” and a “Form”, isn’t it? For a moment, just let us think that there is no name or no form for anything. This means, both you and me do not have any sort of name. If that is the case, how would we be able to identify each other? It is only because we have a name and a form, we’re able to identify each other and interact. If such a situation happens in this world, wherein there is no differentiation between anything and everything, this is where we say that the world is going through the “Pralaya Kaala”. Thus, after the Pralaya Kaala, everything will cease to exist and everything would become nameless and formless. This means that all the creations are being absorbed back by Bhagawan. The world completely becomes devoid of “Naama” and “Roopa”. However, when Bhagawan is performing the “Srishti” (Creation), all the “Naama” and “Roopa” would automatically come to existence. This is the biggest difference between “Srishti” (Creation) and “Pralaya Kaala” (Destruction). However, we should understand here that irrespective of Pralaya Kaala or Srishti, Brahman is constant. But, the Brahman during the Pralaya Kaala is referred to as the “Kaarana Brahman”. The Brahman during the process of “Srishti” is referred to as “Kaarya Brahman”. 

We might feel a bit confused here. I shall explain it in simple words. For instance, if we’ve to compare this phenomenon with the mud pot example, “Kaaranam” is the mud, from which the pot is made. “Kaaryam” is the beautifully made pot. Thus, the Brahman already exists in the formless state, which is the mud in this context. Thus, we say that the mud is referred to as the “Kaaranam”. However, the same Brahman (Mud in this context) takes the form of the beautiful pot (Kaaryam), when the potter is performing the “Srishti” (Creation), isn’t it? However, if the mud pot is destroyed, the Brahman again transforms from the pot to the original mud. This means that the Brahman is transforming from the “Kaarya Brahman” to the “Kaarana Brahman”. Thus, the point here is that Brahman is both “Kaaranam” and “Kaaryam”. It is only to highlight this point, I had invoked the mud pot example. 

This is where we’ve witnessed in the first “Amsa” that Bhagawan Vishnu is the creator. Bhagawan Vishnu Himself is “Brahman”. He creates Himself, He creates the entire world, He supports and protects all the creation and finally He destroys all the creation too. This is where Bhagawan’s “Sankalpa” creates the human form and various other animal and plant forms in this world. Now here comes the significance of our “Karma Theory”. The question comes here – “On what basis does Bhagawan create the living beings in this world?” it is purely on the basis of our Karma – Both “Paapa Karma” and “Punya Karma”. If a person has enormous amounts of “Punya Karma” accumulated within him or her, this person can even go to the “Satya Lokha” of Bhagawan Brahma. In fact, the Sanaatana Dharma explains that the phenomenon called “Bhagawan Brahma” doesn’t refer to a single individual. It is just a mere position. Just like how we have in Human Resources Management, various job positions with job titles and profiles, Bhagawan Brahma is nothing but a job position, with a definitive job title and a profile! Similarly, Indra is a position. Varuna is a position. All the Devas represent positions and not individuals. Thus, just like how we have a position of “Prime Minister” and “President” in every country and how individuals would keep changing in these positions once every five years, Bhagawan Vishwaksena keeps changing people in all these positions from time to time! We might be able to worship Bhagawan Vishwaksena in any Vishnu temple, isn’t it? 

So for today, let us understand these important points and let us wait for the next episode to continue with the significance of this Bhagawan Vishwaksena and move on further from there! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 68 – Bhagawan Vishnu creates the world with just His “SANKAPLA”!!!

In the previous episode, we had concluded the first “Amsa ” of the great Shri Vishnu Puraana, and with this, the underlying message was that, the entire world is getting created by none other than Bhagawan Vishnu Himself. The entire world is created by Bhagawan Vishnu with just a bare minimal effort from His side, and such is His unending significance. This is what we often chant in the beginning of the Shri Vishnu Sahasranaama as follows: 

“Avikaaraaya shuddhaaya nityaaya paramaatmane! 

Shataika roopa roopaaya vishnave sarva jishnave!!”

Thus, the above sloka means that without even a small stress to His body, Bhagawan Vishnu creates the world. For instance, if we’ve to perform some physical activity, we’ve to undergo some physical stress and strain, isn’t it? However, if we’ve to compare the “physical activity” of creating the world, Bhagwan Vishnu doesn’t even have an iota of strain in Him. Thus, we’ve to understand here that the entire creation is from Bhagawan Vishnu and none else. In fact, if we look closely at this Shri Vishnu Puraana text, it has different “Vyaakyaanas” (Explanations). One explanation is in the channel of the philosophy called “Advaita”, another explanation is in the channel of “Vishista Dvaitam” and the third is through the “Dvaitam” philosophy. We should not confuse ourselves here. The text is the same, but the way in which we’re looking at the text might vary this way. However, the ultimate point that we’ve to remember here is that, the ultimate “Brahman” is created by Bhagawan Vishnu and at the end of it’s span, it again goes into Bhagawan Vishnu. This is what we’ve seen in the first Amsa at various points. 

In due course, we’ve also seen that Bhagawan Vishnu creates this world with His “Sankalpa Shakti” (Power of His Will). For instance, if we’ve to make a mud pot, we’ve to take all the mud, heat it, make it hard, assemble it and then create a pot out of it. This involves a lot of physical work. However, Bhagawan Vishnu doesn’t require any sort of physical labor to create this world. The entire creation called “Brahman” is created only out of Bhagawan’s “Sankalpa Shakti”. I’m emphasizing and re-emphasizing these points time and again, only for the understanding of our readers. We might think that we’re wasting time by repeating these points, however, these are certain complex lessons that we’re learning here and this requires repetition. Obviously there are storylines, and when we come across such instances, we shall move a bit faster. But when it comes to important concepts of “Vedanta”, we’ve to stress and re-stress upon them several times, so that we get a firm understanding of the same. 

In fact, if we look closely in both these cases – The person who is creating the mud pot, is making a “Sankalpa” within himself before making it. Bhagawan also makes a “Sankalpa” within Himself that He’s going to create this world. But what is the difference between both these cases? When the potter is taking this “Sankalpa”, he has to physically work and prepare the pot all by his work. However, if Bhagawan does the “Sankalpa”, He doesn’t require to do any sort of physical activities to create the world. It happens only by the very “Sankalpa” itself. So for today, let us understand this difference very clearly and we shall wait till the next episode to continue with the introduction to Amsa – 2. Lot of interesting and important points await us! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 67 – An Aachaarya always thinks of a disciple’s “LONG-TERM” benefit – End of the first “AMSA”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the conclusion of the first “Amsa” of the Shri Vishnu Puraana. This “Amsa” had 23 “Adhyaayas” and we’ve witnessed a jist of all of it for the past 66 episodes. With this, we  now move on to the “Phala-Stuthi” of this “Amsa”, wherein Sage Paraashara is going to explain the immense benefits that one is going to attain, if he / she reads or listens to this “Amsa”. But as we move on to this important section, we’re in the midst of an important discussion as to why Sage Paraashara is giving such a detailed explanation and description to just one question that Sage Maithreya was asking. Readers would remember the question here – “How was the world created?” – And for this, Sage Paraashara has explained the answer in 22 different Adhyaayas! The answer is not over yet. In fact, he has just begun the answer and we’re going to have a huge discussion moving forward. We shall witness the answer for the question as to why is Sage Paraashara giving such a huge answer for just this one question, and then go on into the “Phala-Stuthi”. 

If we look deeply into this sequence of events, Sage Maithreya is just asking that one question. However, if we would’ve been there in that situation, we would have asked 100’s of cross questions! We would never have had the patience to sit quietly and listen, first of all! We would have raised questions thus, “Oh! I’ve just asked one question about the creation of the world. However, what is the connection between creation of the world and Bhagawan’s Varaaha and Narasihma incarnations? How do these incarnations make sense here?” We should realize that only because there’s a huge sense behind all these incarnations, is Sage Paraashara explaining here. There’s definitely a link. For instance, even if we see the sequences that led to Bhagawan Krishna giving the Bhagawad Gita to Arjuna, it was just that one question from Arjuna that prompted Bhagawan Krishna to go for the lengthy 700-sloka Bhagawad Gita. Similarly, for the Vishnu Sahasranaama too, Yudishtra is asking Bhishmacharya as to what is “Dharma” in this world. For this, Bhishmacharya is coming up with a 108-sloka Vishnu Sahasranama! We might wonder here thus, “Oh! Neither Yudishtra or Arjuna or Sage Maithreya had never asked for such a lengthy answer, isn’t it? Then, why did Bhagawan Krishna or Bhishmacharya or Sage Paraashara give such a lengthy reply?” This is where the “Aachaarya” is showering his divine grace on his disciple. It is out of the inner, deep-rooted desire of the Aachaarya to enlighten his disciple, is he giving an answer that encompasses various aspects of human life inside it. Just like how a mother wouldn’t stop giving her child only what it wants for that moment, an Aachaarya also gives all what the disciple requires for a peaceful life in the long-term. 

Thus, we should realize here that an Aachaarya is a person who always thinks about the long-term benefit for the disciple, and not just the short-term benefit. This is the difference between great Aachaaryas and normal people like us. The Aachaaryas have a foresight and a long-term thinking, which makes them give answers that would be applicable, even after so many years! This is where we had also seen at the end of our previous project – Shrimad Bhaagawata Puraana that Sage Sukaachaarya gave a huge accord about how the present Kali Yuga would span out in the coming centuries. In fact, King Parikshit hadn’t even asked for all of it, but Sage Sukhaachaarya took it upon himself to explain the nook and corner of the Kali Yuga with great foresightedness. Such is the significance of our great Aachaaryas and we should learn to respect their enormous contributions. 

With this, we shall move on with the “Phala-Stuthi” – Something that we’ve been waiting to hear for a while now! 🙂 Sage Paraashara explains thus, “Oh Maithreya! Those who are reading or listening to this first Amsa of the Vishnu Puraana would get the same “Punya” (Benefit) that they would get if they take a holy bath at the “Pushkara” lake during the Kumba Mela that occurs once every twelve years!”  We might be aware of this “Pushkara-Kshetra” wherein Bhagawan Vishnu resides there in the form of the water in that sacred lake. Thus, Sage Paraashara assuredly explains to Sage Maithreya that a person who listens or reads through this Amsa would get such a huge “Punya” in his / her life and with this, all the sorrows and sins of that person would get washed away with ease. Such is the power of this first “Amsa” and with this, we come to the end of it here. 

So for today, let us ponder over, read over and analyze each and every section of this important first Amsa and we shall wait till the next episode to commence our discussion on the second “Amsa”! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 66 – “Persistence” is extremely important to walk the spiritual path – Sage Paraashara’s important advice!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed how the mind plays an important role in enhancing or deviating us from our spiritual path, and how Bhagawan’s “Chakra” signifies this wavering mind. Just like how Bhagawan controls the “Chakra” to have a go at only those who follow the path of “Adharma”, we should also control our mind and focus it towards Bhagawan. This is what Bhagawan expects from us, and this is exactly what Bhagawan Krishna explains in the Bhagawad Gita as well, with regards to the characteristics of an ardent devotee. As we understand this point clearly, we shall move towards the next important point that Sage Paraashara is going to talk about now. 

He now talks about the beautiful garland that Bhagawan is wearing – Also referred to as “Vaijayanti Maala”. This is an important accord here, and there is a reason behind why Bhagawan is wearing this. This garland again signifies our five sense organs and how they’re co-ordinated by a single element called “mind”. These are nothing but the “Karma-Indriyas”. Moreover, there are another five set of elements called the “Gnyaana-Indriyas”, which are signified by the arrows that Bhagawan is holding in His hands. Moreover, Bhagawan has a long sword in His hands, which is embedded inside a cover. This sword signifies the ‘Gnyaana”, or the knowledge, and the sword’s cover signifies the “Avidhya”, which is nothing but “ignorance. The message here is that, all of us have the “Spiritual Knowledge” deep within us, but the problem is, our “Avidhya” or the “Ignorance” is refusing to let it shine, just like how the sharp sword is not  let out by it’s cover. 

We’re seeing this even in today’s scenario too – We might read a lot about Bhagawan. We might listen to the discourses of eminent “Upanyaasakas”. We might listen to sweet music, singing in praise of Bhagawan. However, even after all of this, our mind refuses to change course, isn’t it? For instance, we attend a music concert of an eminent musician. We get raptured by the music and the “Bhakti” behind the songs that are being presented. Sometimes, we might even get tears in our eyes as we feel Bhagawan in the music. However, after the concert is over, do we still continue to realize Bhagawan? Do we still continue to think about Him? In most of the cases, we don’t! The moment we’re outside the concert hall, we start getting into the folds of the “Maya” or the “Illusion” isn’t it? This simply means that we’re still not mature enough to get into the spiritual path completely. Our mind isn’t still cooperating. Thus the point here is, although our mind knows that this is the spiritual path that we’ve to follow and although we have the spiritual knowledge deep within us to enjoy the music in the right way, we’re still deluged over the “Avidhya” (Ignorance) that we’re not able to persist on our spiritual path. This is where, “persistence” and “consistency” is very important when it comes to following the spiritual path. 

This is like playing a Test Match in the game of cricket. Just like how the batsman should wait, wait and wait till he gets the loose ball to play his shots, and just like how the bowler should be consistent enough to bowl good deliveries to the batsman, we too should be consistent in our approach towards Bhagawan. This is what Bhagawan expects out of us. There might be hurdles in the middle, in the form of various disturbances coming by our way. If we’re getting carried away by those hurdles, it is imperative that we’re letting our “Avidhya” to take over. We’re slowly starting to lose the game here. This is where we’ve to be careful. We should never let our “Avidhya” to take over our spiritual progress. If such a thing happens, we’ve to start from scratch once again, and this is where we tend to lose interest towards spiritual progress. We should thus take the resolve within ourselves that whatever comes by, we should never ever thread backwards in our spiritual path. This is where our mental strength is put under test and Bhagawan expects us to live up to this challenge. 

So with all these important points, we come to the end of the first “Amsa” of the Shri Vishnu Puraana. This “Amsa” had 23 “Adhyaayas” and we’ve witnessed a jist of all of it for the past 65 episodes. Now to conclude this “Amsa”, Sage Paraashara explains the “Phala-Stuthi”, or the benefits that a Bhakta would get, if he / she reads through this “Amsa”. We shall wait till the next episode to look at this “Phala Stuthi”, but before this, we’ve to look at yet another important message as we move on. Here, as Sage Paraashara commences the “Phala-Stuthi”, he once again addresses his disciple, Sage Maithreya. We might be wondering here – Till this point, Sage Maithreya was never to be seen. Where did he come from again, all of a sudden? We should remember this important point here that it was only upon Sage Maithreya’s question about how this world was created, is Sage Paraashara narrating the whole accord. We’ve already witnessed Sage Maithreya’s question in our earlier episodes itself. However, we might wonder here, as to why Sage Paraashara is giving such a lengthy answer for just that one question. When we say “lengthy”, the answer is spanning over 22 Adhyaayas, and counting! Why can’t he stop by just giving a “one-liner” as how most of us do today? Why is Sage Paraashara explaining things in such minute detail? What is the role of the “Dhruva-Charitra” and Bhagawan Narasimha’s incarnation here? All these questions have only one important answer and we shall witness the answer in the next episode! An absorbing discussion awaits us tomorrow! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 65 – An ardent devotee of Bhagawan is the one who has complete control over his / her mind!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the significance of Bhagawan’s “Shanka” and “Chakra” that He holds in either of His two hands. We’ve seen that the “Shanka” signifies our “Pancha-Indriyas”, which are nothing but our five senses of eyes, ears, nose, taste and touch. These are collectively referred to as the “Saatvika Ahankaara” in our Sanaatana Dharma literature. Similarly, the “Chakra” represents the “Pancha-Bhootas” or the five important elements of the earth surface, comprising the earth, fire, wind, water and sky. In our Sanaatana Dharma literature, these are collectively referred to as the “Taamasa Ahankaara”. Previously, we’ve also witnessed that Bhagawan Vishnu is holding the “Gadha” in His hand, and this signifies the “Intellect” or “Buddhi”. In continuation of this, we also know that our intellect is often inn the control of the mind, which is not very stable at all times. Our mind keeps wavering here and there unwantedly, and this is represented by the revolving “Chakra” of Bhagawan. Just like how the “Chakra” is ever-revolving and is not stationary at one point, our mind is also ever-revolving all around, and is never stationary at a single point. This is where, we’ve to realize that real spiritual progress happens in a person, only when the revolutions of the mind would reduce. More the reduction of the mind’s revolution, more the spiritual progress. This is what we’ve to understand from this important description from Sage Paraashara. 

As a continuation of this point further, we should understand why Bhagawan’s Chakra” signifies the unstable mind, in a better way, as we move on. We’ve already witnessed a glimpse of it, but we shall witness this point in a bit of more detail, so as to drive home a very important point. For instance, even as we read through this episode, our mind would be wavering into so many different aspects – We might have some personal issues plaguing us, or some issues at work. Thus, even as our lips would continue reading the episode of Shri Vishnu Puraana, our mind would never be grasping it! At the end of the reading, if someone asks us what did we understand from the entire episode, we wouldn’t be able to recollect even a single point! This is the beauty of the mind here. For instance, how long would it take for us to read this one episode? Hardly 10 minutes? It is within this ten minutes, our mind revloves all around the world and comes back! Our mind would start thinking, “Oh! Are we wasting time in reading such stuff? Instead, if we could do some office work that is pending, we would get some salary hikes! What are we going to gain by reading all this Vishnu Puraana?” 🙂 

We should remember and think within ourselves thus, “Oh! We’ve invested these 10 minutes of time for Bhagawan, and we’re learning something constructively. This is an investment for us to finish off our birth-death cycle. If we’re not focusing on this in this birth, we would have to keep repeating the birth-death cycle by taking countless number of births again and again, isn’t it? Already we’ve taken so many births, and finally we’ve landed up now with the golden opportunity to learn about Bhagawan. Why should we waste it? So we should make each and every minute count, rather than wavering and oscillating here and there!” If we counter-attack our mind in this way, automatically with the passage of time, our mind would come under control. This is what Bhagawan expects from us. In His Bhagawad Gita, Bhagawan Krishna highlights this important point. He explains that His ardent Bhakta is the one who has complete control of the mind. An ardent Bhakta is a person who doesn’t get extremely happy, extremely sad, jealous about somebody, etc. Thus, when the mind comes under control, all of these characteristics would be achieved by us. It might sound very easy for all of us to say and read through, but when it comes to implementation, it becomes tough. This is why we’re repeatedly emphasizing this point over and over again. We should take a step forward to put in the effort. Once we start putting the effort, Bhagwan would automatically guide us through with His divine grace. 

The problem comes only when we’re totally reluctant to take even a single step forward. If such is the case, even Bhagawan becomes fed up after a stage. If we’re not putting the effort, even after Bhagawan gives us the opportunity, Bhagawan too starts thinking, “Oh no! Inspite of giving so many opportunities, this fellow is not taking them up! Looks like he wants to keep revolving in the birth-death cycle and doesn’t want to come out of it anytime soon!” This is where we lose out! Hence, this is why we drive home the important point here that our mind is very unstable and we’ve to somehow find out ways to control it. This is what the “Chakra” of Bhagawan signifies, and just like how Bhagawan is taming the “Chakra” to go and hit only those who follow “Adharma”, we’ve to train our mind to attain Bhagawan, and nothing else. This is what is the true characteristic of an ardent devotee as per Bhagawan Krishna! 

So for today, let us once more ponder over this important point, and let us wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 64 – Significance of Bhagawan Vishnu’s “SHANKA” and “CHAKRA”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the commencement of the next important discussion as to how all of us – Jeevatmas form tiny, yet important components of Bhagawan’s “Vakshasthala” (Chest & Heart). We’ve seen that Bhagawan Vishnu always wears the “Kausthuba” stone on His chest portion, and all of us are embedded within that “Kausthuba” stone. It is in this way, does Bhagawan gives us the respect for our ardent devotion. If such is Bhagawan’s respect for all of us, it is up to us to live up to that respect and follow the spiritual path laid down by Bhagawan. All He wants us to do is to follow whatever He says, and nothing more. Moreover, whatever He says as words of advice, is for our own benefit, and nothing is going to affect Him. Hence, isn’t it wise for us to follow what Bhagawan advises us to do? Let’s think about it as we move on with our life. 

Next, moving on further, Sage Paraashara explains how Bhagawan Vishnu is holding the “Gadha” in His hand, and this signifies our Buddhi or Intellect. Next, our “Pancha-Indryas” or our “ Five Sense organs” comprising of our eyes, ears, nose, tongue and touch – Are all controlled by the “Sathvika Ahankaara” and the “Pancha-Bhootas” (Five important elements of the world) are controlled by the “Taamasa Ahankaara”. Thus, both these “Ahankaaras” constitute the “Shanka” and “Chakra” respectively. If we see Bhagawan Vishnu, He would be holding the “Shanka” in one hand and the “Chakra” in the other, isn’t it? These two are very important aspects that we’ve to understand. In fact, we can see here that every aspect of our Sanatana Dharma has its own meaning in-depth. It’s up to us to understand the in-depth meaning and experience Bhagawan’s beauty. In fact, the “Chakra” that Bhagawan possesses in His hand also signifies our mind, which runs here and there crazily like a mad monkey. Just like how our mind keeps on wavering, the Chakra of Bhagawan keeps rotating in His hand, without stopping for a single minute. Of course, our mind is revolving here and there for all the wrong reasons! 🙂 For instance, we would start meditating on Bhagawan’s beautiful form, and it is only at this time we would remember what happened to our friend who was with us at office or at a restaurant! Our mind would immediately start thinking about that friend’s family history, etc. and would waver into some other person too! All these happen within a jiffy, and many a times, we do not have control over our mind, isn’t it? Ultimately we would have sat down to chant Bhagawan’s divine names and to picturize Bhagawan’s divine form! However, we would end up doing everything other than that! This is the power of the mind! However, Bhagawan’s Chakra is not going to be employed for all the wrong reasons. It is something that is going to be a death knell for all the “Adharma” that is happening around us. 

Thus, the point here is that, Bhagawan’s “Shanka” and “Chakra” has lot of significance, and for today, let us understand this point very clearly. We shall move on with the next important point in the next upcoming episode! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 63 – “VAKSHTHALE KAUSTHUBHAM” – All Jeevatmas are embedded within the Paramatma!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed some key lessons that we can learn from the “Prahlaada Charitra”, and a few words of advice for youngsters of today. We’ve witnessed how Bhagawan honors the ardent devotion of a true devotee, no matter who he / she is, no matter how old he / she is, and no matter where he / she is. We’ve witnessed the classic cases of Prahlaada and Dhruva and how these two children were able to obtain Bhagawan Vishnu’s divine “Darshan” at such a tender age, with their blind and one-pointed devotion. Both Dhruva and Prahlaada were great “Mahatmas” in their own ways, and their levels of Bhakti are some things that we’ve to learn as we move on with our spiritual progress. 

Moving on further thus, we enter into the last “Adhyaaya” called “Asthra Bhooshana Adhyaaya”. In this “Adhyaaya” we’re going to see what are the important items in this world that Bhagawan Vishnu is maintaining. Here, we’re going to see something very similar to the one that we witnessed during the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana text earlier. We’re all constituted of “Atman” and the “Deham”, and all of us constitute the “Jeevatmas” in this world. Bhagawan is the only one “Paramatma” who resides inside all the Jeevatmas, and this is why we say that Bhagawan Vishnu is omni-present. This is exactly what Little Prahlaada too tried to make his father, Hiranya Kashibu understand many times. However, due to Hiranya Kashibu’s ignorance, he could never understand this, and finally he had to meet a ghastly end to his life. Thus, we should understand here that Bhagawan is omni-present and resides inside all of us, Jeevatmas, in this world. 

Now this is one level. If we’ve to move one level up, we’ve to understand that all of us, Jeevatmas also reside in Bhagawan’s heart! This is where our true devotion and Bhakti comes into play. Only if we have the Bhakti towards Bhagawan, would we be able to realize this second level – That we’re ingrained in Bhagawan’s heart. In fact, when we visit a temple, Bhagawan Vishnu would have a blue coloured stone in His chest portion. This stone is a very expensive one, and is called “Kausthuba”. This is why, we often see this phrase in Sanskrit – “Vakshasthale Kausthubam!” This phrase means that Bhagawan Vishnu has this “Kausthuba” stone embedded in His chest. Now, the question comes – Why is Bhagawan embedding this stone and not anything else? We’ve to understand that by embedding this most expensive “Kausthuba” stone on His chest, Bhagawan conveys the message that, all of us, Jeevatmas are equivalent of that “Kausthuba” stone! By wearing that on His chest, Bhagawan signifies that all His divine children – The Jeevatmas are embedded within that stone forever. 

This is the level of respect Bhagawan is giving to all of us. If Bhagawan is giving us such an amount of respect, isn’t it our bound duty to pay our respects back to Him? For instance, in our normal daily lives, if someone gives us some expensive gifts for our birthday or some wedding anniversary, etc. how do we react? We immediately become overwhelmed and give something nice to them again, isn’t it? In short, we reciprocate our gratitude to that person who has gifted this expensive item, isn’t it? Now, Bhagawan has gifted us with such an elite gift, and what is that we’re doing for Bhagawan, so as to express our gratitude towards Him? The best way to reciprocate to Bhagawan is through our ardent Bhakti, and nothing else! Bhagawan isn’t going to ask for money, jewellery, property, etc. as He Himself has plenty of all those! In fact, He’s the one who is giving us all the money and property that we possess today! In fact, it is all His, and not ours at all! So, what are we going to give Bhagawan back, as a token of gratitude? It’s only our ardent Bhakti – Our innocent faith that we bestow upon Him, which is going to make His heart melt! 

Next, Bhagawan is holding the “Gadha” weapon in His hand, isn’t it? This “Gadha” is obviously employed to destroy all the evil from time to time, but there’s a deeper meaning to this. Sage Paraashara explains this beautifully here – He says that this “Gadha” signifies our “Buddhi” or the “Intellect”. It is with the Gadha that Bhagawan Vishnu controls the evil from lifting its face everytime, isn’t it? Similarly, it is with our “Buddhi” or “Intellect” that we’ve to control our mind from straying away from the path of Bhakti. 

So for today, let us understand these two important points, and let us wait for the next episode to continue this important discussion forward! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 62 – Important life lessons from the “Prahlada-Charitra” – A special message to youngsters!!!

In the previous episode, we had concluded the discussion on how Hiranya Kashibu was neutralized by Bhagawan Vishnu, as He incarnated as Bhagawan Narasimha. In order to honour the ardent devotion and prayers of Little Prahlaada, Bhagawan Vishnu couldn’t tolerate the atrocities of Hiranya Kashibu after the threshold limit had been breached. He burst out of the pillar which Hiranya Kashibu broke open with his weapon, quickly advanced towards him and neutralized him within minutes. With this, the treacherous Hiranya Kashibu was put to an end, and “Dharma” was restored again in the world. We also witnessed in the yesterday’s episode as to how Bhagawan Narasimha’s anger was brought down by none other than Little Prahlaada himself. As Bhagawan Narasimha was looking around with extreme anger, the Devas, Sage Naarada, etc. were starting to shake with fear. They were scared if Bhagawan would take this anger forward to destroy the entire world. However, thanks to Little Prahlaada, Bhagawan’s anger started coming down gradually. With this, Bhagawan Vishnu protected Little Prahlaada with all His divine love and grace. 

As we move on with the next set of events from here, we should witness two important lessons that we can learn from this “Prahlaada-Charitra”. First lesson that we can infer is that, Bhagawan always honours the sincere and focused prayers of His devotees, no matter who we are, where we are and what we are. We can see here that Prahlaada was afterall the child of a Raakshasa. Bhagawan could have easily discarded him because he was in a Raakshasa family. But He didn’t! He honoured Little Prahlaada’s ardent devotion by appearing in front of him at the most crucial time. Thus, we should understand here that Bhagawan Vishnu would always honour our prayers, if done sincerely. Second lesson here is that, age doesn’t matter when it comes to exhibiting Bhakti towards Bhagawan. Many of us have this “theory” in our mind that Bhakti and spiritual path is to be undertaken only by people who are above the age of 60 and after retirement! This is a wrong concept. Bhakti can be exhibited by anybody at any age. We can see here how Prahlaada exhibited Bhakti at such a tender age and thereby attained the highest Moksha. Similarly, we’ve previously witnessed the “Dhruva-Charitra”, wherein Little Dhruva too attained Moksha at such a young age. Thus, age is not a criteria for exhibiting Bhakti, and for undertaking spiritual practices. 

As I say this, on one side, it is very heart-warming to see that youngsters of today are getting into spirituality more and more. This is a good sign and I take this opportunity hereby to appreciate and applaud all the efforts taken by youngsters to promote and propagate our Sanaatana Dharma in a worldwide way. Many young and talented carnatic musicians are taking to the online space nowadays, owing to the CoVID-19 pandemic situation and their sole aim is to take our music to more and more people across the world. Similarly, I’m very happy to see many “Upanyaasams” (Spiritual Discourses) being done by youngsters and that too in the social media space such as Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, etc.. These are definitely some important ways through which the internet and social media space can be used in a constructive way. These youngsters are definitely setting a benchmark as to how technology can constructively be employed to reach more and more people and involve them into our Sanaatana Dharma.

All these are thus, definitely signs that the younger generation is very much interested in our Sanaatana Dharma and are very eager to follow and propagate it to the world. We should always remember that our Bhaarata Desha is the land of Sanaatana Dharma and we should never ever leave our rich tradition and culture behind for anything. This is the way forward, and I’m sure that in the coming days, months and years, more and more youngsters would take part in this spiritual journey and attain high levels in this life, as well as at Vaikunta, with our beloved Bhagawan’s grace. The most important thing here is that, just because we’ve achieved this much, we shouldn’t become complacent. We should continue this good work and take this forward to reach more and more people across the world. My request to all of you, youngsters, is to keep putting the right effort and channelize it in the right way. 

So with this note, we shall conclude today’s episode, and from the next episode, we shall move on with what Sage Paraashara has to say from this point onwards. Many more interesting “Charitras” are yet to come! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 61 – Bhagawan Narasimha assures “Moksha” for Hiranya Kashibu!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Bhagawan Vishnu incarnating as Bhagawan Narasimha, wherein, He comes out of a pillar in the form of a half-lion and half-human form, with a ferocious demeanour that shakes the entire world with fear. Bhagawan Vishnu is extremely angry on Hiranya Kashibu for all his atrocities on Little Prahlaada. Thus, Bhagawan Narasimha swiftly makes a move towards Hiranya Kashibu, grabs him with His extremely powerful hands, takes him to the entrance of the palace, places Hiranya Kashibu on His lap, tears open his chest portion with His sharp nails and devours the blood from his heart, without a single drop of the blood spilling out on the floor. Hiranya Kashibu is clearly outsmarted here by Bhagawan Vishnu – He makes sure that Hiranya Kashibu’s boons were neutralized completely, by killing him in the way that he didn’t even think of! Thus, outsmarted by Bhagawan Narasimha, Hiranya Kashibu falls to the ground dead! 

As Bhagawan Narasimha kills Hiranya Kashibu, His anger should have come down, isn’t it? It didn’t! Bhagawan Narasimha’s anger is not going to come down at all! He’s shining with His face full of anger and looking all around Him! Upon seeing this, all the Devas started fearing for their lives! Little Prahlaada too didn’t understand how to bring down Bhagawan’s anger. He was looking on helplessly, however, his devotion overpowered him, as usual. He immediately went into a state of bliss and started to pray to Bhagawan to control his anger. As this was happening, all the Devas, including Sage Naarada approached Prahlaada in unison. Upon seeing all of them, Prahlaada folds his hands and talks to them thus, “Oh Devas and Sage Naarada! I know that Bhagawan has answered my prayer. But at the same time, He is very angry at the moment. How do we control His anger and how do we save the world from His anger?” Sage Naarada replies thus, “Oh Prahlaada! Please realize that Bhagawan Vishnu has come here only to help you out. It is only out of your fervent calls, has Bhagawan killed Hiranya Kashibu and has protected you from his atrocities. So it would be appropriate if you go and stand in front of Bhagawan, so that, upon seeing you in front of Him, the anger would automatically come down!” 

According to Sage Naarada’s instruction, Little Prahlaada goes upto Bhagawan Narasimha and stands in front of him with tears of Bhakti in his eyes! Upon seeing Little Prahlaada in front of Him, Bhagawan Narasimha slowly starts calming down. His anger is coming down, and is getting transformed into love and compassion towards the little child. What an achievement is this from Little Prahlaada! With his ardent devotion, he has made Bhagawan Vishnu make a successful and a remarkable incarnation in the form of Bhagawan Narasimha! Thus, as Bhagawan Narasimha calms down completely, Little Prahlaada goes up to Him with folded hands. Bhagawan Narasimha hugs the little child with Him, with all His love and compassion. Looking at Prahlaada, Bhagawan Narasimha requests him to ask for a boon. 

The answer that Little Prahlaada is going to give now to Bhagawan, is something extremely remarkable for us to see here. Little Prahlaada replies to Bhagawan thus, “Oh Bhagawan! I don’t really have anything to ask you, other than your close proximity at Vaikunta forever. However, since you’ve asked me to request a boon, I ask you this: You know that my father was performing all these atrocities on me and on the world, out of sheer ignorance. He did not know who you were, and it is only because of this, he was trying to harm me every time. Anything that is done without the adequate knowledge, cannot be considered to be a sin, isn’t it? Hence, my only request to you, Oh Bhagawan! Please grant my father the highest Moksha, as he has had the divine opportunity to be killed by your divine hands! This is my only request!” 

As Little Prahlaada asks selflessly thus, Bhagawan Narasimha was moved! He immediately replies to Little Prahlaada thus, “Oh Prahlaada! You would definitely attain Moksha at the end of this birth. You still have lot of duties to fulfill in this world and one you’re done with them, I myself would take you personally to Vaikunta! You don’t need to worry about it. As far as your father is concerned, please understand that your father is one of my greatest devotees ever. It is only because of a curse that he was born a “Raakshasa” and had to meet such a ghastly end. However, please note that your father has already reached Vaikunta by now, and he is safe and secure. You don’t need to worry about him anymore! Now, your focus should be to practice Dharma and spread Dharma to the entire world!” 

Saying thus, Bhagawan Narasimha bids adieu to Little Prahlaada, and with this, we come to the end of the great “Prahlaada-Charitra”. We shall continue from this into the next event in the next episode, by witnessing how Sage Paraashara is going to take this along! Stay tuned! 🙂