Episode # 127 – The “Karma Theory” – A description of the “Sanchita Karma” & “Praarabdha Karma”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Yayaati and Sage Ashtaka starting a conversation with each other. Even as King Yayaati was falling down still from the “Svarga Lokha”, Sage Ashtaka commenced a conversation by asking him the reason for which he was falling down and from where. For this, King Yayaati introduces himself and explains to Sage Ashtaka as to how his tenure in the “Svarga Lokha” got over and how Indra sensed it at the apt time and pushed him out from there very smartly! Upon hearing all this, Sage Ashtaka was wondering within himself as to how could a person return from the “Svarga Lokha” just like that! Loads of questions were running in his mind – Isn’t the “Svarga Lokha” a permanent destination for the “Atman” to reside? How come the “Punya-Karma” account expires and how come people are once again pushed back to the earth to take re-births? We’re going to witness an important accord on this now. But as we go into the conversation and the accord, we’ve to understand one important point here. 

Yesterday, we concluded our episode with a question which readers might remember – Isn’t Sage Ashtaka a great sage by birth? Doesn’t he know this simple thing that nobody can reside in the “Svarga Lokha” permanently, and once our “Punya-Karma” expires, we’ve to come back? If normal people like us know such things, how come great sages do not know? The answer is very simple here – The sages know all these. But when they ask these questions, they ask on behalf of us, and they themselves clarify them. Here, when we say that Sage Ashtaka asks such questions, we should understand that Sage Ashtaka is asking these things on our behalf, so that common people like us will understand. In many places in our “Sanaatana Dharma” literature, we would find such interesting conversations between learned scholars. We might immediately have a doubt as to why are these people talking such silly things! Even in this same Mahabharata text, as we progress further, we’re going to witness many such conversations – One between Yudishtra and Yama-Dharma-Raja (“Yaksha-Prashnam”), an interesting conversation between Yudishtra and Vidura, Bhagawan Krishna and Yudishtra, and finally the Bhagawad Gita between Bhagawan Krishna and Arjuna. Just because Yudishtra is asking many such questions, is it true that Yudishtra doesn’t know anything? He does! Of course he would know much better as he was a great king and is also referred to as “Dharma-Putra” for being an epitome of “Dharma” himself! Yet, why does Yudishtra ask such questions? It is only to highlight all these aspects of “Dharma” to the world, so that the subsequent generations of people would understand. This is just like a mother or father talking to a child. The father might be a well-educated person holding a medical degree or a PhD degree. Yet, when he talks to his child, does he talk all research-oriented stuff? “No”, isn’t it? He would tell some small stories to the child, and if the child says something even silly, the father would listen to it very keenly, isn’t it? 

This is how our ancestors have composed and structured our “Sanaatana Dharma” literature. They’ve done so, keeping us in their minds as their own children, and have explained everything to us just like how we explain to a child! It is for this reason, Sage Veda-Vyaasa is portraying Sage Ashtaka in such a way that he’s asking a naive question to King Yayaati. Thus, the conversation commences with an interesting accord on the “Karma Theory”. Basically, “Karma” can be classified into two types – “Sanchita Karma” and the “Praarabdha Karma”. While the “Sanchita Karma” refers to the sacks and loads of “Karma” that we’ve accumulated all through innumerable births that we’ve taken in this world, the “Praarabdha Karma” is the “Karma” for which we’ve started experiencing the results. The “Karma” can both refer to “Punya-Karma” or “Paapa-Karma”. If our “Praarabdha Karma” by Bhagawan’s grace, is containing more of “Punya-Karma” and very less of “Paapa-Karma”, we would go to the “Svarga Lokha”, experience all the pleasures there until our “Punya-Karma” in that sack is over. Once that is done, we might have to go to the “Naraka Lokha” to experience the results of our little “Paapa-Karma” and once that is over, we’re again pushed back into the earth once again to take a re-birth. Once we take the re-birth, we would again pick up the next sack of “Karma” from the “Sanchita Karma” and depending on which “Karma” is more, we would start experiencing the result! This cycle keeps continuing on and on. 

As we mention this, this is not the end of all! As we take multiple births, we would again be performing both “Punya-Karma” and “Paapa-Karma” in that particular birth too, isn’t it? All these would keep accumulated in the “Master sack” called “Sanchita Karma”, where it would be stored safely! This process can be compared to how we operate a bank account! As we get more and more money, we would deposit them into financial schemes like “Fixed deposits”, “Recurring Deposits”, “Provident Funds”, “Mutual Funds”, etc., isn’t it? All these investments that we make are comparable to the “Sanchita Karma”! However, we would have some amount of money in our “Savings Bank” account, which we would be using for our regular expenditure, isn’t it? This is directly comparable to the “Praarabdha Karma” that we experience! Thus, this cycle keeps continuing on and on and we keep making “shuttle trips” between the “Manushya Lokha”, “Svarga Lokha” and the “Naraka Lokha”, depending upon our “Paapa” and “Punya-Karma” accounts! 

Thus, we can witness here that we would be under constant fear of being pushed out, even if we attain the “Svarga Lokha”, and this is exactly what King Yayaati is replying here! We might be wondering here, as to why should we have that fear when we reach the “Svarga Lokha”, isn’t it? I shall narrate two important things to answer this question, but that is for the next episode! So for today, let us understand the nature of the “Karma Theory”, and let us wait eagerly to understand whether there is a solution for us to get out of this cycle to reach “Vaikunta”! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 126 – The “Ashtaka-Yayaati Samvaadham” – An important life & management lesson!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed a very important point narrated by Bhagawan Krishna wherein He clearly explains how we can continue our “Bhakti-Maarga” in the current birth, from where we left in the previous birth. This is an emphasis that whatever “Dharma” we perform in our day-to-day life doesn’t get erased off, just because we’re getting trapped into the worldly “Maya”. Of course, as long as we are part of the “Samsara”, it is very natural for all of us to get carried away by various facets of the “Maya” at various times. However, Bhagawan gives us a lot of exceptions in this regard. This is where He explains and motivates us to continue performing our “Dharma” even though we might have got carried away. We should keep trying again and again and focus our mind towards “Dharma”, and this is the important point that Bhagawan is stressing upon. 

This is exactly what happened to King Yayaati as well. We’ve seen in our earlier episodes as to how King Yayaati enjoyed his youthful days by going behind women. Not satisfied by this, he even went to the extent of borrowing his son’s youthfulness to enjoy for another thousand years! Even then, King Yayaati’s path of “Dharma” amidst the “Maya” earned him the “Svarga Lokha”. Even after his tenure at the “Svarga Lokha” gets over, Bhagawan blesses King Yayaati through Indra to be dropped down at a place which was full of Maharishis. This automatically becomes a “Satsanga”, and this would eventually pave the way for King Yayaati to continue his “Dharma” from where he had left in his previous birth, isn’t it? This is the point that we’ve to understand from this entire incident and I’m stressing upon this event more because readers should understand this very carefully and very well. We should never get demotivated if we somehow slip off from the path of “Dharma” due to whatsoever reasons. We should always keep trying again and again, and the more effort we put, Bhagawan would hand-hold us and take us to “Vaikunta”. We should remember this point as we move on further. 

Thus, coming back to what happened to King Yayaati here, as per his request, Indra pushes him towards the place where Sage Ashtaka and the others were sitting. As King Yayaati was falling down thus, Sage Ashtaka stops him then and there and asks thus, “Oh! Who are you? Why are you falling down like this from the skies? You’re appearing as if you’re equivalent of Indra in the “Svarga Lokha”! Tell me your background!” King Yayaati explains the reason why he was falling down, and with this, there is a detailed section here that is called “Ashtaka-Yayaati Samvaadha”, which is nothing but an interesting conversation between Sage Ashtaka and King Yayaati! This has enormous amounts of life and management lessons that we can learn. So let us see this in detail now. 

As King Yayaati keeps falling down, he introduces himself to Sage Ashtaka thus, “Oh Sage! I’m none other than King Yayaati! I’m the son of King Nahusha!” As we proceed further, we would be witnessing something called as “Nahusha-Charitra”. We shall witness this when the context comes. But for now, let us continue with this conversation between King Yayaati and Sage Ashtaka. King Yayaati continues thus, “Oh Sage Ashtaka! I was happily residing in the “Svarga Lokha” until my “Punya Karma” got exhausted. Post that, I was pushed by Indra downwards towards this world, so that I again earn more “Punya-Karma” and ascend back to the “Svarga Lokha”. 

As Sage Ashtaka listens to King Yayaati’s answer, he became thoughtful! He thinks within himself thus, “Oh wow! Till today, I was thinking that if one reaches the “Svarga Lokha” he / she never comes back to this world again! But now, looking at this King Yayaati, this perception of mine seems to be faulty! There is always this possibility of coming back from the “Svarga Lokha”!” We might wonder here as to why Sage Ashtaka is thinking in such a foolish way! Isn’t Sage Ashtaka a great sage? Doesn’t a great sage knows that we cannot live permanently at the “Svarga Lokha”? Why is he asking this then? There’s an interesting perspective to this question, and let us understand this perspective in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 125 – We can always continue our “Bhakti” from wherever we’ve left – Bhagawan Krishna asserts!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Yayaati being put into a trap by Indra as he asks a controversial question. Indra slowly puts King Yayaati into a nice comfort zone initially and makes him open up freely. Subsequently, as King Yayaati was carried away by Indra’s “sweet” words of appreciation, he had no option but to answer some tough questions from Indra as well. With this, as Indra asks King Yayaati if there is any other person in the world who is as good as, or, even better than himself in terms of doing penance, King Yayaati got into the trap! However, King Yayaati proceeded to tell the truth that there wasn’t anybody else who is as good as him in penance! With this, Indra declared that King Yayaati was into self-proclamation, which is not encouraged in the “Svarga Lokha” and hence, King Yayaati lost his rights to continue residing in the “Svarga Lokha”! With this, Indra pushed him down towards the earth again, only to take a re-birth and earn fresh “Punya-Karma” to come back to “Svarga Lokha”. 

At this time when Indra pushed him down, King Yayaati prays to Indra to bless him with a “Satsanga” when he goes down! We’ve witnessed upto this point in the previous episode, and today, we shall witness the significance of why we should always be amidst a “Satsanga” and what do we gain out of it. Basically, as we’ve witnessed in our earlier episodes and projects as well, a “Satsanga” is a union of like-minded people who are completely focused on “Bhagawad Bhakti” and all those aspects pertaining to Bhagawan. At every instance of time, people who are part of the “Satsanga” would always be discussing Bhagawan’s various “Kalyana Gunas”, various aspects of our “Sanaatana Dharma”, sing in praise of Bhagawan, etc. If we’re part of such a “Satsanga”, automatically our mind would get channelized into “Bhakti”, isn’t it? End of the day, it all depends on how our companions are, isn’t it? Our companions have an enormous influence on how our behaviors and activities shape up. If we’re amidst a group of people who are focused on worldly affairs, our mind would also go into that only! However, if we’re amidst a group of “Satsanga”, our mind would automatically focus on Bhagawan and how to attain “Moksha”. 

This is exactly what King Yayaati is asking Indra here – Anyway, he’s going to take birth in this world again – He could take birth at any place, isn’t it? If he would take birth in a place wherein the people around do not even know what is the meaning of “Bhakti” and “Dharma”, then what is the use of taking such a birth? It is for this reason, King Yayaati prays to Indra to make him take birth amidst a “Satsanga”, wherein he can continue his good deeds from where he left! In fact, Bhagawan Krishna too explains this as part of the Bhagawad Gita beautifully. Arjuna asks Bhagawan thus, “Oh Krishna! Suppose I lose my focus on “Dharma” mid-way owing to some worldly disturbances that might come along, what would happen to me? Will I be doomed completely? Should I re-start again from the beginning?” Bhagawan Krishna replies back thus, “Oh Arjuna! This is a very important question that you’ve asked! Those who follow the path of “Dharma” meticulously, but get distracted midway need not start again from the beginning! I make sure that when they are re-born, they are born amidst a “Satsanga” family, which gives them an opportunity to continue their “Bhakti-Maarga” from where they’ve left in their previous birth! All the “Dharma” that you’ve done so far would never get destroyed and it would be safely deposited!” 

This is an important point that all of us need to understand here. Many of us have this doubt – If we’re deviating from the path of “Dharma” owing to whatsoever reasons, would all our “Dharma” activities performed previously go waste? The answer is “No” and this is exactly what Bhagawan Krishna is explaining here. When Bhagawan explains that we can commence our “Bhakti” from where we left, it implies that all the “Bhakti” that we’ve done previously would remain safe and secure, and this is what we call “Adrishta Phalam” in Sanskrit. In other words, the effects of all our good deeds and Bhakti would join us at a later stage and it would be there with us permanently. In fact, this is one of the reasons why we see certain children having enormous talents in singing and performing “Upanyasams” about Bhagawan at such a tender age! We refer to such children as “child prodigies”, but in the background if we investigate the past of these children, they would have been epitomes of “Bhakti” in their previous birth(s) and it is just the continuation of that “Bhakti” in this birth as well! 

Thus, the point that we’ve to understand here is that, we should not get perturbed just because we’re getting distracted by worldly affairs. We should remain steadfast in our “Bhakti” and “Dharma” as much as possible and leave the rest to Bhagawan! This is very important. Even if we’re getting distracted, it is totally fine. We can always re-start our Bhakti from where we left, and continue it further and by doing so, Bhagawan would rather be extremely happy with our resolve of following the path of “Dharma” and “Bhakti”, no matter how much of disturbances and challenges we encounter during our path. So for today, let us understand this point very clearly, and let us wait till the next episode to witness where King Yayaati landed! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 124 – King Yayaati falls into Indra’s trap – Gets pushed out of the “Svarga Lokha”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Yayaati explaining certain important aspects of “Dharma” as he enters into a conversation with Indra at “Svarga Lokha”. Readers should remember here that we’ve stopped at a point wherein the Paandava children have come to the Hastinapura palace at the behest of the Maharishis’ advice, post Paandu’s demise. From this point, we’ve rewinded a bit and have gone back to King Yayaati attaining the “Svarga Lokha” and what happened to King Yayaati there. We’ve done this to understand certain important aspects of “Dharma” that are highlighted here. Post this, we would again continue from where we left, with regards to whether King Dhirdiraashtra is going to accept the Paandava children or not. But for now, we’ll continue with what happened between King Yayaati and Indra at the Svarga Lokha. 

As King Yayaati details about the “Dharma” that he had taught his son, he talks about two important aspects – Taking care of our parents and our Guru. This is a very important duty that all of us should perform during this lifetime. Secondly, King Yayaati explains how a leader should treat everyone equally and bring everyone to the same page, including those who are not that powerful. Just because somebody is powerless, it doesn’t mean we completely ignore or reject them. As a leader, it is very important that those people who are powerless, should also be included in key happenings in the team / kingdom or any type of administrative activities. As King Yayaati details all of this, Indra patiently listens to everything and asks a smart question here. Now Indra had opened up King Yayaati right royally and had made him comfortable. Subsequently now, Indra is slowly pulling the noose here. Indra asks thus, “Oh King Yayaati! This is a great answer! I really feel proud to be associated with such a righteous king! I’ve also heard that after relinquishing your kingdom responsibilities to your son, you went to the forest to do penance. As you were in deep penance, I was listening to many Maharishis commenting that there could be nobody on this earth who can be as good as you in doing penance! It is very difficult to get such appreciation from great Maharishis, isn’t it? But I was just wondering if there might be anybody else who is as good as you in performing penance. Do you know of anybody like this in your kingdom, or elsewhere?” 

Now here is the trap! Indra frames his question in such a way that the answer to this question becomes a “double-edged sword”! On one hand, Indra appreciates King Yayaati for what he has done. This makes King Yayaati’s ego rise up with excitement that Indra himself is appreciating him! This ego is inducing King Yayaati to proclaim that he’s the only one who is extremely good in penance and there’s nobody else to match him! However, if he gives this answer, he would enter into “self-proclamation” mode and this would exhibit his pride over himself! However, on the other hand, if King Yayaati replies in the other way that there is someone else who is better than him, he would be uttering a lie, as in reality there’s nobody who could equal him or exceed him in terms of performing penance! Telling a lie and that too to Indra himself, would be a great crime! Now what does King Yayaati do here? Which stance does he take? 

After a thought process, King Yayaati decides to take the first stance – He decides to tell the truth, which he’s accustomed to do all the time! King Yayaati never knows how to tell a lie. Hence, he replies to Indra thus, “Oh Indra! What you’ve mentioned about me now is right! There’s nobody in this world who could match me in terms of performing penance. Moreover, there’s nobody even amidst the Devas or Dhaanavas or Gandharvas or any other groups of celestial beings who is equal to me in performing penance!” As King Yayaati gives such an answer, Indra catches him red-handed! He replies to King Yayaati thus, “Oh King Yayaati! This is an absurd answer from you, and as a righteous king, I never expected such a reply from you! By saying that there’s nobody in this world who is equal to you in terms of performing penance, you’re proving to me that you are a person with a lot of headweight! You are more interested in boasting about yourself, and you’ve never done any research to find out if there’s someone better than you in performing penance! This is a big mistake that you’ve done. Since you’ve boasted about yourself, with this moment, all your “Punya-Karma” has come to an end! With this, your tenure in the “Svarga Lokha” is also over! You may now return back to the “Bhoo-Lokha” to take another birth, and if you’re able to earn “Punya-Karma”, you might become eligible again to come back to the “Svarga Lokha”!

Saying thus, Indra pushes King Yayaati upside down from the “Svarga Lokha” to the “Manushya Lokha”. As King Yayaati is about to be pushed down, he folds his hands and prays to Indra thus, “Oh Indra! I know that I’ve committed a mistake, and thank you for highlighting that for me! I know that I do not deserve to continue in the “Svarga Lokha” anymore, but I only have one small request for you – Anyways, you’re going to push me down to the earth again. While doing so, please push me to a place where there would be good people. Please do not push me to a place where there would be no “Dharma” at all! I would like to be amidst a place where there is a “Satsanga”, so that I would once again be able to focus on performing the “Punya-Karma”, and maybe penance too!” Upon hearing this from King Yayaati, Indra was happy and he accepts his request. Thus, King Yayaati starts his free-fall from the “Svarga Lokha”. 

This is a very important lesson for us here – Why should we always aspire to be amidst a “Satsanga” or an association of good people who focus on Bhakti? Bhagawan Krishna Himself explains this in the Bhagawad Gita to Arjuna. We shall witness this detailing in the next episode, along with the answer to the above question! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 123 – We’ve to take care of our parents & Guru at all times – King Yayaati’s lessons on “Dharma”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Indra’s commencement of a conversation with King Yayaati, before he had pushed King Yayaati down to the earth. As the conversation commences, Indra asks King Yayaati some “attractive” questions so as to make him open up more. Initially, King Yayaati was hesitant to answer Indra, but however, Indra had the last laugh in making King Yayaati talk. He appreciated King Yayaati for being one of the world’s most righteous kings ever, and with these sweet words of appreciation, King Yayaati’s ego started growing. As the conversation progressed further, Indra asks King Yayaati as to what were the important lessons that he had taught Puru when he took over as a king. King Yayaati starts explaining things in a bit more detail now, as he’s completely opened up! King Yayaati explains how he had taught his children the various aspects of “Dharma” – How to talk only the truth and stand by it, how to control anger, how to be calm and composed in all whatever we do, etc. Indra is slowly listening to King Yayaati’s reply and is gradually making him fall into his trap. 

As King Yayaati continues with his reply, he talks about two important things – Performing selfless service to parents and to the Guru. This is a very important point that King Yayaati stresses as part of the “Raaja-Dharma”. At all times, we should make sure that we take care of our parents. This becomes important when our parents become aged, wherein they might not be able to help themselves in their regular chores. It is at this time they need our help. We should always remember one thing – At a time when we were babies, and when we weren’t able to take care of ourselves, it was our parents who took care of us. Now when the situation turns and when our parents aren’t able to take care of themselves because of old age, isn’t it the duty of the son or daughter to take care of them? It is very sad today to see that many of us leave our parents in some “Old age homes”, because of a silly reason that we couldn’t take care of them anymore! Isn’t this something that would hurt our parents the most? Especially during the time of old age, every parent would have the feeling of security only when their son / daughters are around them. Isn’t it our duty to give our parents that moral security and support at a time when they need it the most? Let us think and ponder over it! 

Similarly, as King Yayaati talks about the “Guru”, it is very important that we be of selfless service to our Guru. In fact, at many places in our “Sanaatana Dharma” literature, it is pointed out that the “Sishya’s” (Disciple) learning gets completed fully only if he performs whatever the Guru wants him to perform as a token of service. This is what we often refer to as the “Guru Dakshina”. If the Sishya deviates from this path, the learning does not fructify at all. We’ve witnessed in this Mahabharata text itself at one point, a few episodes ago, as to how various Sishyas were of service to their Guru, isn’t it? We should recollect that and do the needful to our Guru. 

Moreover, King Yayaati also talks about yet another important “Dharma” here – As a king (leader), it is his duty to take care of those people who are weak in terms of strength and intellect. This simply means that a king should take everybody along with him equally without any differentiation. Normally what happens is that, those people who are relatively weaker in strength or reputation would feel threatened and jealous of those who have a greater strength and a greater reputation in the society. We can see this even in today’s scenario too, isn’t it? More often than not, the so-called “minorities” in India keep raising their voices every now and then to show their presences and to convey a message that they too can be “strong enough” in the society, isn’t it? We’ve been witnessing this of late quite frequently. Especially when certain laws were revoked by the Indian parliament in recent years, a community of people made sure that they would burn India come what may, to showcase their strength and power to the world! These are the petty activities that the so-called weaker sections of the people would do, to gain attention. Thus, a leader’s responsibility is to take all people of the society in consensus while taking crucial decisions, or while implementing certain laws and enforcements. If people are raising objections, it is the duty of the leader to answer them and bring everyone on to the same plane. However, if the same people try to act smart by not paying heed to the leader’s request, strict and stern action needs to be taken on them, so that they would learn their lesson! This is exactly what King Yayaati is describing here. 

Thus, King Yayaati explains to Indra that these were the important pieces of advice that he had given to his son Puru, as he took over the kingdom. Indra listens to all these answers patiently and now the interview is going to get tougher! So far, it was all very easy and juicy for King Yayaati to explain all what he had done as a king! Now as we move into the next “Adhyaayaa”, things are going to take a drastic turn towards the worst, which King Yayaati did not expect! How did this happen? What did Indra ask next? Let us wait for the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode – 122 – By getting angry, we’re falling into the trap of our opponent – An important lesson!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Yayaati in a free-fall from the “Svarga Lokha”, all the way down to the “Manushya Lokha”, as Indra pushes him down. Of course, we’ve seen Indra as a very narrow-minded person, but the ground reality is that, King Yayaati’s “Punya Karma” account was coming to a close. When this happens, automatically we would be pushed down again to the earth, only to take another birth here. However, if we’re going beyond the “Svarga Lokha” and the “Naraka Lokha”, with our “Bhakti” component very strong in us, Bhagawan is going to take us to the ultimate stage called “Moksha” or “Vaikunta”, from where, we’re never going to come down again to this earth for another birth. This is what King Yayaati’s free-fall signifies, and with this background fact, let us witness the continuation of what the sages asked King Yayaati and what did he respond to them. 

As we’ve seen earlier, King Yayaati was falling down and was on the way back to this world. As we witness this free-fall of King Yayaati, we’ve to also witness one more important aspect here – When Indra asked this question to King Yayaati, he did not ask it directly. He asked some two or three very friendly questions and then came to the point. He started a nice little conversation with King Yayaati before asking the ultimate question. Even in our case, in the marketing context of business what do we do? How do we approach a customer to sell a product? We first start a nice conversation with the customer by asking him / her as to what they do, how is their health, how is their family, etc. By doing this, we make the customer feel warm and comfortable and gradually make the customer open up with his or her needs, isn’t it? If we ask the customer directly whether he / she is interested in our product or not, more certainly than not, the customer would directly reject our offering! Thus, we can see here how a marketing executive tries to convince a customer to buy his product, isn’t it? This is exactly what Indra did to King Yayaati here. Indra assumed the role of a marketing executive and commenced a beautiful conversation with King Yayaati and made him feel comfortable! 

Of course, Indra knows that King Yayaati is an epitome of truth (“Satya-Vaakya”) and Indra knows where exactly will King Yayaati fall into the trap! He thus started with a simple conversation, “Oh King Yayaati! People in the world used to praise you for all your good deeds and “Dharma” that you’ve done to all of them! I’m indeed very impressed with all of it!” Upon hearing this from Indra, King Yayaati’s ego rose up a bit. If anybody appreciates us for something that we’ve done, what would happen to us? Our ego would go up and we would feel as if we’ve accomplished something great, isn’t it? This is exactly what King Yayaati was also feeling here as Indra appreciated him! As King Yayaati was feeling proud of himself, Indra started questioning him slowly thus, “Oh Yayaati! You had ruled the kingdom for a long time and you’re vastly experienced in the “Raaja-Dharma”, isn’t it? Now before you came to the “Svarga Lokha”, what were the things that you taught your son Puru, when he took over from you? I’m sure you must have passed on a lot of good things to him. Can you please detail them a bit for me?” 

Again, this question of Indra boosted King Yayaati’s morale a bit more, and he started to open up to Indra thus! King Yayaati gives a detailed reply to Indra, not knowing that he’s getting into a trap here! King Yayaati explains to Indra thus, “Oh Indra! I had given my son a lot of lessons on “Dharma”. I’ve educated him on how he should abide only by the truth everytime. I’ve taught him as to how he should lead a kingdom without harming any living being. I’ve taught him in detail about the Karma theory – How Bhagawan Vishnu is responsible for “accounting” all our “Paapa Karma” and “Punya Karma”. I also taught him how he should behave himself with others without getting angry. As a leader, one important characteristic is to be calm and composed, isn’t it? Hence, even if someone scolds you, you’ve to learn to avoid him and not get angry in return!” 

This is a very important lesson for all of us here – How should we keep calm all the time? We should understand one concept here – For instance, if someone is praising us and garlanding us for something that we’ve accomplished, we’ve to realize that it is our “Punya-Karma” that is coming in the form of the person who is garlanding us, and we’re enjoying the effects of the “Punya-Karma” that we’ve done. However, if someone comes and scolds us with extreme anger, how do we take that? We should understand that our “Paapa-Karma” is coming in the form of the person who is scolding us. We’ve witnessed that the “Punya Karma” and “Paapa Karma” takes the form of the person in front of us, isn’t it? How does this happen? It is none other than Bhagawan Himself who comes in the form of the “Punya Karma” or “Paapa Karma” and enters into that concerned person in front of us! We’ve to realize this fact. Especially when we’re getting scolded left and right, we’ve to realize that it is none other than Bhagawan who’s scolding us. If that is the case, will we scold Bhagawan back? Instead, we should avoid that person completely and remain muted! This is the best way to counter that person too. 

For instance, imagine we’re standing near a traffic signal on the road and someone comes and dashes on our car! What would be the immediate reaction? The person who had come and dashed upon us would immediately ask us, “Oh! Are you mad? Are you crazy? Don’t you have senses?” Now we’ve to understand why he is asking questions like these! He wants us to react with four more questions similarly with an increased anger! Only if we get angry, he would be able to abuse and insult, isn’t it? What if we do not get angry and avoid him? We should try this once atleast – We would be surprised to see that the other person would start getting insecure! Moreover, if we give an answer to him saying that “Yes! You’re right! I do not have senses and I’m mad!” Indeed, it would make him think that he started a fight with a wrong person and would run away from us! 

Thus, we can witness here that controlling anger even for a worldly reason like this yields us good results! We should remember that if we’re trying to react angrily to the person in front of us, we’re right royally falling into his trap! By controlling our instincts, atleast our blood pressure would not rise up, isn’t it? Of course, the spiritual reason is for all of us to think and understand! So for today, let us understand this point well, and let us try to practice this in our daily life! We shall wait till the next episode to witness how Indra pulled King Yayaati into the trap! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 121 – Short-term vs. Long-term benefit – Attaining “Svarga Lokha” or “Vaikunta” – An accord!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Yayaati being pushed upside down from the “Svarga Lokha” by Indra. We’ve witnessed how Indra created a trap and how King Yayaati fell into it. Indra had asked a “double-edged” question, wherein whatever answer King Yayaati would have given, it would be wrong in some way or the other. This is what we refer to as “Dharma-Sankat”. However, since King Yayaati always stood for truth and “Dharma”, he decided to give an answer to Indra’s question, even though he knew that he would get into trouble. As he expected, Indra declared that King Yayaati was self-proclaiming in nature and this is also an “Adharma”. With this, King Yayaati officially lost the rights of residing at “Svarga Lokha” any longer and thus, Indra pushed him upside down, back to the Manushya Lokha. At this time, there was a group of sages who were discussing something important, and King Yayaati was falling right at the place where these sages were discussing. 

As the sages see King Yayaati fall, one of them orders him thus, “Oh King Yayaati! Why are you falling down like this?” Will we ask someone who is falling down from somewhere as to why he / she is falling? 🙂 These sages were asking King Yayaati thus! We might find this a bit silly, but there is a definitive purpose behind this question. Readers should understand here that this is not a mere outward question that the sages are asking. The real meaning of this question is something that talks extensively about the depth of the “Samsaara”, and how we too are falling every day into it, without even knowing that we’re falling! Of course, in King Yayaati’s case, the sages are seeing him falling in front of their own eyes. But in our cases, we’re falling into the “Samsaara”, without even knowing that we’re falling into it. Again, all this is the outcome of the “Karma Theory”, isn’t it? If a person’s “Punya LKarma” gets exhausted, he / she descends back from the “Svarga Lokha” to the “Manushya Lokha” to take a new birth. If a person’s “Paapa Karma” gets exhausted, he / she descends back from the “Naraka Lokha”, to again come and take birth in this world. What we’re seeing with King Yayaati is of the same case here – Until his “Punya Karma” was ruling, he was also enjoying a lot in the “Svarga Lokha”. However, when his “Punya Karma” was coming to a close, Indra stepped in at the right time and made sure that King Yayaati fell back into the earth for another birth!

Thus, given the fact of the Karma Theory, can we really say that Indra is opportunistic? In the previous episode, we had mentioned that Indra was a highly opportunistic person, isn’t it? We had discussed that he doesn’t like anybody trying to surpass him in terms of name and fame in the “Svarga Lokha”. But if we look at it in the angle of the “Karma Theory”, we would understand that Indra has just done his job perfectly here! When King Yayaati’s “Punya Karma” was getting over, he would automatically lose his right to reside in the “Svarga Lokha”. Thus, as the leader of the “Svarga Lokha”, it was Indra’s duty to push King Yayaati down to the earth again, once his “Punya Karma” got over! But we might all be wondering why such a story is part of this “Mahabharata” text? What is the lesson that we can learn from this? The answer is very simple here – If we’re aspiring to ascend to the “Svarga Lokha” so as to enjoy all the pleasures and luxuries that are present there, it is only a short-term benefit. Readers might know by now that if our “Punya Karma” exceeds our “Paapa Karma”, we would ascend to the “Svarga Lokha” or “Indra Lokha” wherein we would enjoy all the benefits of our “Punya Karma” over there. However, when our “Punya Karma” comes to a close, we would again come back to this world and take another birth! 

However, this is where we’ve to think and make a decision whether we want a short-term benefit or a long-term benefit. Now what do we mean by “long-term benefit”? A situation where we never come back to this earth again is what we call “long-term benefit”! This is the stage where we attain “Moksha”, or “Vaikunta”. We should always remember that this “Moksha” stage is way beyond the “Svarga Lokha” and the “Naraka Lokha”. This is because, if we get into either of these “Lokhas”, there is always going to be a day where we would be pushed back into the earth for another birth! Of course, we would enjoy enormous luxuries there, but that is short-lived! However, if we’re going one step beyond and are aspiring for the highest “Moksha”, Bhagawan is never going to leave us forever! We’ve to take the call here – Whether to enjoy luxuries at “Svarga Lokha” or whether to enjoy Bhagawan’s divine presence at “Vaikunta”! If we reach Vaikunta, we’re never going to come back and we would hence become “Muktatmas”. This is the long-term benefit. 

Thus, it is for us to decide! So for today, let us think about these two aspects – The “Short-term” and the “Long-term” benefits and make an appropriate decision for ourselves! We shall continue with this discussion in the next episode to witness further on how King Yayaati fell down! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 120 – Indra pushes King Yayaati upside down from the “Svarga Lokha”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed until the point wherein the Paandava children along with Kunthi Devi make their way to the Hastinapura kingdom for the first time after King Paandu’s demise. We’ve witnessed that post King Paandu, the Maharishis in the forest felt that these children should go to the place where they belong to, and as Kshatrya princes, it is not appropriate for them to reside in the forest. Hence, the Maharishis took them to Hastinapura, met King Dhirdiraashtra, passed on important advice that the king should treat these children as his own. He shouldn’t create differences between his sons and his brother’s sons. Whether King Dhirdiraashtra is going to follow this advice or not, is for all of us to see from here on. But before that, we’ve also commenced a parallel story wherein King Yayaati, the ancestor of King Dhirdiraashtra as we’ve seen earlier, is attaining the “Svarga Lokha”. Indra, owing to his jealousy that King Yayaati is getting lot of importance in the Svarga Lokha, wanted to push him back to the world for another birth. Indra did not want King Yayaati to adorn the “Svarga Lokha”, as Indra felt that he was losing his importance there as the leader. 

With this in mind, Indra starts an interesting conversation with King Yayaati as to what are some important characteristics of a righteous king and how a king should be noble in nature. Indra asks this question categorically in such a way that Yayaati would get into a trap while answering. For instance, if Yayaati had to reply that a noble king should be like him, it would become an act of pride and self-boasting. However, if Yayaati explains all these characteristics that are imbibed in someone else other than him, it would become a lie, as King Yayaati was undoubtedly the most righteous king on earth at that time. So now, King Yayaati enters into a trap here as to what answer he should give Indra.This is what we call “Dharma-Sankata”. We also use this phrase, “Dharma-Sankata” often in our daily use too, isn’t it? Thus, the “Dharma-Sankata” situation is something wherein whatever answer we might give to a question would result in a problem. There is no right answer at all for such a question. This is exactly what happened to King Yayaati too here. He now understood Indra’s trick. 

However, King Yayaati had to give an answer to Indra, isn’t it? He cannot keep quiet. Even if he wants to keep quiet, it would be like insulting Indra and that also would lead to a problem. Hence, King Yayaati was trapped in all three sides here – One is self-boasting with pride, second is truth / lie, third is insult by avoiding / bypassing Indra’s question. However, King Yayaati took a stance of truth, as he has always stood by it during his tenure as a king. He openly proclaimed thus, “Oh Indra! If someone has to be appreciated in this world as a “Saarva-Bhowma” (A righteous king), it is none other than myself! I was the person who was an embodiment of this characteristic when I was ruling the kingdom!” King Yayaati gave this answer with confidence, even after knowing the consequences for it. However, he had to give some answer by taking a stance. He cannot dilly-dally. Thus, King Yayaati explained his stance clearly to Indra. 

As King Yayaati gives such an answer, Indra was extremely happy! He was relieved that King Yayaati fell into his trap right royally and hence, it gives an opportunity to chase King Yayaati away from the “Svarga Lokha”! Thinking thus, Indra replies to King Yayaati, “Oh Yayaati! What kind of an answer is this? You’re trying to boast about yourself and please remember this – The “Svarga Lokha” is not the place for someone to boast around! If you’ve to reside here, you should first be humble and down to earth! Since you did not exhibit this basic quality, you’ve lost the right to continue residing in the “Svarga Lokha! You’ve to go back to the “Manushya Lokha”, correct yourself, mend your ways and then come back!” 

Saying thus, Indra pushes King Yayaati down to the earth upside down! As King Yayaati was pushed thus, he couldn’t fight back and resist Indra’s action. Thus, he continues his free-fall with the gravitational force of the earth! As King Yayaati falls down, there were a few Maharishis who were talking to each other at that very place. When they look up, they spot King Yayaati coming down with full speed! What are these Maharishis going to do? Are they going to stop him from falling down further? Let us witness this interesting part in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 119 – An interesting conversation between Indra and King Yayaati at “Svarga Lokha”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed how Bhagawan gives all “Jeevatmas” like us a “free hand” in choosing whichever path we’ve to take – Either the path of “Dharma” or “Adharma”. In this way, all of us are “Svatantras” (Complete Independents) in making our decision. However, Bhagawan has given us all the manuals that would help us to make an informed decision. Just like how in an organization, we require adequate data points, evidence, etc. to make the right decisions as managers and leaders, Bhagawan has also given us the data in the form of Vedas and Upanishads. Also, to augment it further, Bhagawan has also given evidences in the form of “Ithihaasas” and “Puraanas”, to illustrate how various people who followed the paths of “Dharma” / “Adharma” have succeeded / failed in their pursuit of attaining “Moksha”. Hence, it is up to us to make use of all these data points and relevant evidence to come up with an informed decision as to which path do we choose, isn’t it? 

Thus, we’ve witnessed the gross differences between Arjuna and Sishupala, even though both were cousins to Bhagawan Krishna. On one hand, Arjuna is an epitome of “Bhakti” towards Bhagawan, and on the other hand, Sishupaala is an epitome of “Adharma”. Thus, moving forward from this point, we’ve witnessed that after the demise of King Paandu, the Paandava brothers were residing along with Kunthi Devi alone in the forest. We should also remember that Maadri Devi had also ended her life, owing to the guilt that she was solely responsible for King Paandu’s demise. As months and years rolled by, the Maharishis in the forest felt that it is not proper for these princely Paandava brothers to spend their lifetime in a forest. They’re part of the royal family and they should be at a place where they belong to. Hence, the Maharishis together take the initiative to bring the Paandava children, along with Kunthi Devi to Hastinaapura. 

As the Maharishis bring the Paandava children to the Hastinapura kingdom, they go straightaway to meet King Dhirdiraashtra. At this juncture, the Maharishis give King Dhirdiraashtra and important piece of advice thus, “Oh King Dhirdiraashtra! These children are none other than your brother, Paandu’s children. Hence, ideally speaking, they should be the successors of the Hastinapura kingdom. However, since you’re an efficient and capable ruler, the Hastinapura kingdom is in safe hands for now. Hence, from now onwards, these children will also reside in the Hastinapura palace only. You should make sure that you treat them on par with your sons and not entail any sort of differences between them.” Saying thus, the Maharishis left the palace. This is one part of the story, and let us leave this at this point for now. 

Meanwhile, we shall rewind ourselves to a past incident now. I should have narrated this earlier, but that wasn’t a context for this point to be witnessed. We shall witness it today. Readers might remember how King Yayaati had enjoyed his youthful days for a thousand years, thanks to Puru, who donated his youthfulness to his father. We’ve witnessed how Yadu had denied his father’s wish and eventually lost the opportunity to rule the kingdom. This is also one reason why Bhagawan Krishna was born in the Yadu community. Eventually after a thousand years, King Yayaati had lost interest in being young and subsequently retires to the forest to do penance. As time came, King Yayaati attained the “Svarga Lokha”, and because of all the good deeds that he had done, he obtained a great position in the “Svarga Lokha”. 

Upon seeing this King Yayaati enjoying so much of luxuries and pleasures in the “Svarga Lokha”, Indra, the leader of the “Svarga Lokha” got extremely jealous of King Yayaati! He somehow wanted to put an end to King Yayaati’s enjoyments in the “Svarga Lokha” and push him down to the earth surface once again. Readers might be able to understand here how narrow-minded Indra was! 🙂 Normally, if someone is trying to get better than him with any form of leadership or luxuries, Indra wouldn’t be able to stand it even for a single minute. He would go to any extent to pull them down, so that his position is safe and secure! We might think that the “Devas” are good people, but they do have their narrow-minded attitudes at times too! Similarly here, Indra is feeling jealous of King Yayaati’s growing popularity in the “Svarga Lokha”, and becomes insecure about his own position and importance. Hence, Indra devises a plan to somehow push Yayaati down to the earth once again. 

Accordingly one day, Indra starts a conversation with Yayaati thus, Oh Yayaati! The entire world knows how great a king you were in the “Bhoo-Lokha”! So, I would like to learn a few things from you. Can you please highlight to me as to what are the various characteristics of a good and a righteous king? Can you narrate the important qualities of a noble person?” As Indra asks thus, King Yayaati was more than glad to answer him. He did not know Indra’s intention behind asking such questions. King Yayaati was tuned and accustomed to talk only the truth. He did not know how to give “smart” answers and get away! So what did King Yayaati reply to Indra? Let us wait till the next episode to find out who succeeded at the end of the conversation and what are the salient points discussed! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 118 – Bhagawan gives a “FREE HAND” to us to choose the path of “Dharma” / “Adharma”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed a detailed background behind Bhagawan Krishna and Arjuna and how they shared a unique relationship with each other. We’ve witnessed that the Arjuna-Bhagawan Krishna combo was none other than the “Nara-Narayana” combo of the Bhadrinatha Kshetra. Just like how Nara was the disciple of Bhagawan Narayana at the Bhadrinatha Kshetra, their “Guru-Sishya” relationship continued in this incarnation also. This is why we see Arjuna extremely devoted to Bhagawan Krishna and in turn, Bhagawan Krishna too had a special affinity towards Arjuna. We’re going to witness at a later stage as to how Bhagawan Krishna was even going to be prepared to be Arjuna’s charioteer during the Kurukshetra war. If Bhagawan (“Paramatma”) has to reduce His level to mee the level of Arjuna (“Jeevatma”, this talks volumes about the bonding that both of them shared. However, we should also understand here that just because Arjuna and the Paandava brothers were cousins to Bhagawan Krishna, He was always by their side and they were “Bhaktas” of the highest level. Sishupaala was also Bhagawan Krishna’s cousin, and all of us know which “Maarga” (Path) did Sishupaala take. He took every ounce of opportunity to abuse Bhagawan Krishna at various stages, and finally Bhagawan Krishna had to kill Sishupaala for all what “Adharma” he committed. 

Thus, an important learning for all of us here is that, no matter whether we might be closely related or not to Bhagawan, all that is important for Him is whether we walk the path of “Dharma” or not. In fact, there are a few instances wherein Bhagawan Krishna had to tame Arjuna and Co. too, when they deviated from their path of “Dharma”. We shall witness these instances too when the apt context comes. Hence, it is not that, Arjuna also followed the path of “Dharma” everytime. Arjuna too deviated. But what is the difference between Arjuna and Sishupaala? When Bhagawan Krishna advised the right path of “Dharma”, Arjuna obeyed Bhagawan Krishna’s words and realized his mistake. However, in the case of Sishupaala, he failed to pay heed to Bhagawan Krishna’s words and continued his path towards “Adharma” – Only to be finally killed! Thus, the difference is very clear here – One followed “Dharma” and Bhagawan Krishna’s advice and emerged victorious, and the other rebelled against “Dharma” and Bhagawan Krishna’s advice and ultimately ended up in a big mess! Thus, we can witness clearly here that by merely being relations to Bhagawan, nothing is going to happen. At the end of the day, what is important is whether we’re following Bhagawan Krishna’s words of “Dharma” or not. 

Moving further thus, there is one more point that needs to be highlighted here, when it comes to Bhagawan Krishna and Arjuna. We’ve spoken about the “Guru-Sishya” relationship between the two of them, isn’t it? The way in which Bhagawan Krishna approached Arjuna as a “Guru” requires a lot to be talked about. In fact, this is a gross difference between the “Yugas”. If we look at the “Tretha Yuga”, Bhagawan Rama (“Paramatma”) went along with Sage Vishwamitra (“Jeevatma”), obeyed each and every word of his and learnt a lot of important lessons. Here, we can see that the “Paramatma” is going in search of the “Jeevatma” for obtaining wisdom. However, if we now turn towards the “Dvaapara Yuga”, Bhagawan Krishna (“Paramatma”) goes along with Arjuna (“Jeevatma”) to teach him wisdom (Bhagawad Gita). Now we can see that the situation has turned upside down when we compare the two “Yugas”, isn’t it? During the “Dvaapara Yuga”, we can witness here that the “Paramatma” is coming down to the level of the “Jeevatma” to make him understand things. This is the way how things change with the passage of “Yugas”. 

If we’ve to consider the present “Kali Yuga”, the hard fact is that nobody is going to listen to anybody! 🙂 We would take this as a joke, but this is the truth of the “Kali Yuga”. Of course, Bhagawan hasn’t incarnated as yet and hence, we do not know as to how “Jeevatmas” like us would react when we see “Paramatma” in person! But forget the “Paramatma” – Are we ready to accept the words of our “Guru” and follow them in our lives? Many times, the answer is “No”! This is where we’ve to work on. If someone is advising us on the path of “Dharma”, we should be ready to pay heed to their words and implement them in our lives. It is for this reason that we’re having this blog titled “The Indian Dharma” – To highlight various points of “Dharma” that our ancestors and Bhagawan Himself have touched upon and followed themselves. Hence, we should use this as an opportunity to mend our ways and follow the path of “Dharma”. This is where, Bhagawan treats all “Jeevatmas” as “Svatantras” (Those who are given a free hand to take appropriate decisions for life). We are free to choose the path whatever we would wish to. Bhagawan doesn’t interfere in any of our decisions. If we follow the path of “Dharma” voluntarily, Bhagawan is always there to help us and handhold us to “Moksha”. However, if it is otherwise, we’ve to be prepared to face the music. Thus, the decision is completely in our hands! 

So for today, let us understand this point very clearly and let us wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂