Episode # 591 – How does the “Svarga Lokha” look like? The Deva-Dhootas explain to Mudgala!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the importance of “Saathvika Aahaara” as a continuation of our discussion on how Mudgala earned enormous “Sathva Guna” through meticulous “Aahaara Shuddhi”. In this context, we’ve witnessed yesterday as to how consuming non-vegetarian food items increases our “Rajo Guna” and “Tamo Guna” and how our “Sathva Guna” deteriorates drastically. We should always remember that for progressing in the spiritual path, our “Sathva Guna” should increase and in turn, our “Rajo Guna” and “Tamo Guna” should come down. For this, the food that we consume plays an important role. As we’ve witnessed earlier, while we consume non-vegetarian food items, we also consume a lot of negative energy from the dead bodies of animals. This negative energy in turn makes us unwantedly aggressive or lazy, which would make us deviate from the path of “Dharma” and spirituality. We should remember this point very importantly as all of us here are spiritual seekers in some way or the other. 

Moving on further, we shall now come back to the context of Mudgala and Sage Dhurvasa. As we had seen earlier, Sage Dhurvasa provides his divine “Anugraha” to Mudgala for transcending to the “Svarga Lokha”. The “Deva-Dhootas” (Messengers from the Celestial Beings) have already arrived at Mudgala’s place to take all of them to the “Svarga Lokha”. But the question here is whether Mudgala is ready to go with them or not. The normal expectation would be Mudgala to transcend to the “Svarga Lokha”, isn’t it? However, what happened here was on the contrary! As the “Deva Dhootas” are waiting with the divine “Vimaana”, Mudgala is not willing to get up! He seems to be completely uninterested in this mission! Mudgala asks back thus, “Oh Sage Dhurvasa! Oh Deva Dhootas! I do not know anything about the “Svarga Lokha! I do not have any idea of how people would be there in that Lokha. I’ve been accustomed all these years to where I am and where I live. So please tell me what the “Svarga Lokha” looks like and how are people there!” 

We should think on a lighter note here – If any one of us gets an opportunity like this to transcend to the “Svarga Lokha”, will we keep asking questions like this, or will we start off immediately? Most of us will choose the latter option, isn’t it? Even if the town next to our locality is  named as “Svarga Lokha” by any chance, we would immediately pack all our bags and go there, without asking any questions, isn’t it? However, Mudgala is different here – He wants to first understand how the “Svarga Lokha” is and who lives there, before he goes! As Mudgala asks thus, the “Deva Dhootas” reply back: “Oh Mudgala! You’ve asked a very important question here. Let us reply back. Anyone who is a “Naasthika” (Talking against Bhagawan) cannot transcend to the “Svarga Lokha”. Anybody who is not rich in “Tapas” cannot transcend there. Anybody who is devoid of “Bhakti” cannot reach the “Svarga Lokha”. Anybody who does not have the “Aatma Gnyaanam” (Knowledge about the Atman) cannot transcend there. Thus, a person who has all the above traits, viz. Tapas, Bhakti, Aatma Gnyaanam, etc. is the one who will be able to transcend to the “Svarga Lokha”. Moreover, a person who is devoid of jealousy, inferiority complex, a person who is an embodiment of compassion towards all other living beings is the one who goes there!” 

The Deva Dhootas continue thus, “Oh Mudgala! A person who reaches the “Svarga Lokha” never experiences any sort of pain, hunger, sleep and thirst. The person gets a divine physical body there and can enjoy all the luxuries that are present. In the centre of the Svarga Lokha you would see the huge “Indra-Sabha” (Courtroom of Indra, who is the leader of the Devas). In that Indra-Sabha it would be music, dance and other events continuously happening without a break! You will be able to enjoy everything. You will never face any discontent in the “Svarga Lokha”. Oh Mudgala! Please understand – You don’t even need to wink your eyes there! There is no necessity to use the washroom. There are no bad smells at all. There is no dirt at all! Such are the characteristics of the “Svarga Lokha” to which you’re going to transcend to! Only divine people live there. In the Svarga Lokha, there is no dearth of any kinds of resources. Everything looks fresh. Everything is so luxurious. You cannot even compare this Manushya Lokha with the “Svarga Lokha” by any chance!” 

So for today, let us understand the characteristics of the “Svarga Lokha” as narrated by the “Deva-Dhootas”. We shall continue this discussion forward in the next episode as well to find out more such important aspects of the “Svarga Lokha”! Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂 

Episode # 590 – Consuming non-vegetarian food drives us away from the spiritual path!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed how “modernizing” our food habits seems to backfire at us very badly in terms of newer diseases and most importantly leading to the loss of our “Sathva Guna” and in turn raising our “Rajo Guna” and the “Tamo Guna”. If we’re consuming food that is not offered to Bhagawan as “Naivedhya”, we’re going to consume an enormous amount of “toxic” substances that come along with it, which leads to all the complications that we’re seeing today. Moreover, if we’re consuming food at fast food centres and restaurants, there is a glitch here – We never know with what ingredients the food is being prepared. Moreover, the moods and emotions of the people who are making the food is also of paramount importance. We never know with what anger or frustration are these people preparing the food. These emotions would certainly enter into the food that is being prepared and served to us. If we now consume that food which contains all these bad and negative emotions, our “Rajo Guna” and “Tamo Guna” will be on the rise, and our “Sathva Guna” will reduce. This is where we start deviating from the path of “Dharma” and we start doing whatever we feel like! 

Moving on further, I would also like to stress another important point which is also connected to this current discussion. I’m sure that many of us after reading through our blog page for so many months and years would have tried our level best to discontinue the habit of consuming non-vegetarian food. I’ve been stressing upon this many times earlier as well. If we’re consuming non-vegetarian food, our “Rajo Guna” and the “Tamo Guna” will always rise, which will lead us away from the direction of the spiritual path that we’re trying to take. We should understand here that all living beings have the right to lead a life in this world and we do not have any right to take away their lives, for our selfish needs. If an animal is being killed for making the non-vegetarian food item(s), there is an enormous amount of negative energy that emulates from the animal’s body as it is being tortured and killed. Just let us think of this point – Which living being in this world would want to die with all that torture and pain? If we are subjected to such treatment, how would we feel? For instance, we see a lot of cow slaughtering today and this is becoming a “trend” these days, just for the sake of maligning our “Sanaatana Dharma”. Our Hinduism worships cows as one of the most sacred animals in this world. Hence, if there should be one way to demean Hinduism, it is through cow slaughtering! However, as this slaughter happens, many times, the mother cow is killed in front of its calf! Now we must imagine here – How painful will it be for the poor calf to see its mother being slaughtered right in front of its eyes? If our mother or father is subject to such extreme cruelty in front of our eyes, will we be able to tolerate it? Definitely not! If such is the case, how will the poor animal tolerate it? Just because these poor animals cannot talk or raise their voice against such cruelty, will we stoop to such low levels for fulfilling our selfish motives? We’ve to think along these lines, and if we do so, we will automatically stop consuming non-vegetarian food items! 

Thus, the reason why I’m repeatedly highlighting this point is that, when we talk of “Aahaara Shuddhi”, our food should be of the “Saathvika Aahaara” type. If we consume all these stupid non-vegetarian food items, we’re never going to walk the path of spiritual growth. Of course, I understand that these habits aren’t easy for us to come out of. I’m sure many of us are trying hard as well. However, there will always be this peer pressure and family pressure to continue consuming non-vegetarian food. We should develop “Vairaagya” (Will Power) to discard all that peer pressure and overcome the habit. If all of us develop that pledge, the world would become a much safer place for all the living beings to live peacefully, isn’t it? More than just the “Saathvika Aahaara” part, let us also think along the lines of global peace and harmony, wherein all living beings should be able to lead a life without tears in their eyes! Isn’t that responsibility ours, as ardent followers of our “Sanaathana Dharma”? Hence for today, let us give this a serious thought and for those of us who are still trying to come out of the habit of consuming non-vegetarian food, let us take a pledge today to somehow relieve ourselves from this! We shall wait till the next episode to continue further with what Mudgala replied to Sage Dhurvasa! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 589 – Are we inviting more diseases by “modernizing” our food habits? A thought to ponder!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Dhurvasa explaining how our “Aahaara Shuddhi” enhances our “Sathva Guna” and how Mudgala was a perfect epitome of it. As we’ve witnessed, Mudgala had this unique way of collecting food grains for the meal of his family and they consumed food only once in fifteen days. Even with this, Sage Dhurvasa came six times and denied them their food. However, Mudgala was unfazed and he was prepared to sacrifice his physical health for offering the “Dhaanam” to Sage Dhurvasa. This is how Sage Dhurvasa’s heart melted and he provided his divine “Anugraha” to Mudgala and his family, with which they attained the “Svarga Lokha” and from there, the highest “Moksha” as well. Thus, in this context, Sage Dhurvasa explains how Mudgala’s “Aahaara Shuddhi” brought about enormous amounts of “Sathva Guna” to thrive in Mudgala. It is this “Sathva Guna” that made Mudgala obtain that enormous strength and will power to execute his “Dharma”. 

This is where we had a short discussion yesterday upon the food that we consume today and how it contributes to our character and “Gunas” that we accumulate within ourselves. We’ve seen how our day-to-day culture has grossly changed these days and how we prefer to eat outside food more than home-cooked ones. Ideally, as we had witnessed yesterday, consuming outside food is quite dangerous as we never know the ingredients with which the food items are cooked. This might cause many physical ailments, which we might not even realize for a long period of time. Apart from this, the “Gunas” that we accumulate within ourselves by eating outside food is under a big question. We never know with what mood and thought process the chef at the restaurant cooks the food. If he / she is in a bad mood and with a lot of anger and frustration and is cooking the food, our “Rajo Guna” increases by consuming that food. This is something that all of us should give a thought. It is for this reason, in our olden days, people were not consuming outside food at all. People in those days preferred only home-cooked food, not because they did not have the disposable income at their bank accounts, but to be careful of nurturing the “Sathva Guna” within themselves. Moreover, if we consume food that is not offered to Bhagawan as “Naivedhya”, it is also considered to be something that doesn’t foster our “Sathva Guna”. 

Of course, in the modern day if we talk of all these things, people would immediately discard us as those who follow the “Old school of thought” and would brand us as “Oldies” who do not know anything and who aren’t in sync with the “modern world”! We should understand one thing very clearly here – The more “modern” we go in our food habits, the more diseases we imbibe each day! For instance, how many cases of cancer are we seeing today? Did we see such a huge number of cancer patients in the past – Maybe 30-40 years ago? It was never the case! This can be felt by the number of “cancer hospitals” that are blooming today in various cities and how much business that these hospitals are making! If we perform a small bit of research on this, we would come to a startling finding – Most of the cancer types that we see today are because of the food habits that we follow in the so-called “modern day”! This might be alarming to many, but this is a fact! We cannot deny this! This is why we always say that whatever food that we eat, should be pure and offered to Bhagawan before consuming. It is always better to avoid outside food, of course, barring a few exceptions here and there. Of course, I’m not making a sweeping statement by saying that we should never visit restaurants, but all that I’m saying is we can always limit our visits! Moreover, even if we prepare our own food at home, we should never consume it without offering it to Bhagawan. This will remove all the toxins that the food might contain, which in turn would enhance our “Sathva Guna”. 

So for today, let us once again ponder over this point, and in the next episode, we shall wait to see whether Mudgala really accepted Sage Dhurvasa’s “Anugraha” to transcend to the “Moksha”! Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂 

Episode # 588 – “Aahaara Shuddhi” paves the way for enhancing our “Sathva Guna” – Mudgala illustrates!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Dhurvasa testing Mudgala to the maximum extent possible. After every fifteen days when Mudgala’s family will be preparing themselves to have a sumptuous meal, Sage Dhurvasa would make his way to their place and would consume all the food that they had prepared! Mudgala too would be very pleased and happy to offer everything to Sage Dhurvasa as a token of “Dhaanam”, without caring for the fact that he and his family would starve without any food or water for the next fifteen days! This continued for around three months until Sage Dhurvasa himself questioned Mudgala’s consistency. As Sage Dhurvasa asks thus, Mudgala never exhibited any sort of frustration or facial expressions towards performing the “Dhaanam”. He was doing it with a lot of “Shraddha” (Perfection) and “Bhakti” (Devotion). This melted Sage Dhurvasa’s heart and he provides Mudgala his divine Anugraha of granting him and his family the highest “Moksha” through the “Svarga Lokha”. He ordered that a “Vimaana” would come and pick them up and take them to the “Svarga Lokha” with immediate effect. 

Even as Sage Dhurvasa orders thus, the “Dhootas” (Messengers) from the Deva Lokha are already arriving one after the other to pick up Mudgala and family. As Mudgala is preparing himself to transcend, all the people around him feel happy too. Internally they were also thinking thus, “Oh wow! Mudgala is getting what he really deserved to get for a long time now! Whatever we’re not getting is what he is getting. This is where we’ve to work and strengthen our path towards “Dharma”! We should take Mudgala as a role model and follow his footsteps carefully for attaining the ultimate goal!” As the people think thus, none of them fall in jealousy with him. Nobody felt bad that Mudgala is transcending to the “Svarga Lokha”. This is also primarily because, Mudgala had offered the “Dhaanam” in whatever ways to all these people around him! Hence, the “Dhaanam” that he had offered with all his “Sathva Guna”, has transformed all the people around him! Since they have obtained the “Dhaanam” from such a person, they’ve also obtained the “Sathva Guna” from him, along with the material “Dhaanam” that they had received! Hence, we can understand from this point as to how important our “Aahaaram” (Food) is! 

We should remember one important aspect here – Our entire character and “Gunas” are determined completely by the food that we consume! The “Shaastras” have prescribed a balanced diet, which would be enriching not only our stomach and physical health, but also with the most important “Sathva Guna”, which is the fundamental requirement for a good character. Obviously only if we have a good character, will we be having that interest to pursue the path of “Dharma”. Hence, all are interlinked here. In today’s context, we’re crossing all our boundaries with regards to food. We’re consuming more and more outside food from restaurants and fast-food centres, owing to our change in lifestyle. Now we’re talking about how the “Sathva Guna” has transferred from Mudgala to the others, isn’t it? If we’re going out and eating from restaurants, apart from the ingredients and the raw materials that are used to prepare the food, do we know as to who is cooking that food and with what kind of “Gunas” and intentions? If the chef is full of “Rajo Guna” or “Tamo Guna” and with a lot of anger and frustration, and if we consume the food that he / she cooks, then what “Gunas” are we imbibing? This is where we get into a lot of mess and ultimately start deviating from the path of “Dharma”. 

Of course, I’m not trying to say that we should close down all the restaurants or anything like that. We should of course enjoy that once in a while, but fundamentally we should make sure that we consume home-cooked food as much as possible. This is because, if we’re cooking at home, we would be very careful with all the ingredients with which we cook. Moreover, if we chant our “Mantra” or any slokas pertaining to our favourite deity while cooking, the essence of that slokas or “Mantra” would transcend into our food, which would enhance our “Sathva Guna” further! Once our “Sathva Guna” increases, automatically we would start following the path of “Dharma” without any invitation from anybody! This is where the loop is. Hence, we can see from here as to how “Aahaara Shuddhi” plays a very crucial role in our pursuit towards the path of “Dharma” and this is exactly what Mudgala and family illustrate with their practice too. Even while collecting the grains, we’ve seen how Mudgala meticulously took efforts to collect every single grain. This is why there was a fifteen-day time lag between every meal. Hence, we can imagine how much of “Sathva Guna” that Mudgala and family possessed, which paved the way for Sage Dhurvasa to order the “Svarga Lokha” / “Moksha” to them!  

So for today, let us understand this point very clearly and let us consciously take a step forward towards implementation of the same. Of course, it would take time for us to slowly imbibe it, but we’ve to start somewhere, isn’t it? Hence, let us make the head-start today! We shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 587 – “Your mind & body are pure because of your “Aahaara Shuddhi” – Sage Dhurvasa praises Mudgala!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Dhurvasa making his way to Mudgala’s house at the Kurukshetra-Desha not once, but around six times – Once every fifteen days when Mudgala’s wife would prepare a meal for their family. Everytime Sage Dhurvasa would come, Mudgala and his wife would offer all the cooked food to him and for the next fifteen days the entire family would starve. Again at the end of the fifteenth day when the paddy volume is coming up to a considerable level, Mudgala’s wife would cook some food for all of them, only for Sage Dhurvasa to come and consume everything and go! This was continuing on and on, and for the next two months or so, the family of Mudgala was starving. Yet, Mudgala was firm on his “Dharma” of offering “Dhaanam” to Sage Dhurvasa whenever he comes. 

As Sage Dhurvasa comes for the sixth time in the continuum, he looks at Mudgala’s facial expressions and body language. He knows very well that Mudgala is being tortured in some way and is being exploited. Sage Dhurvasa observes Mudgala’s face and thinks thus,”Oh wow! Let me see today whether Mudgala has any anger on his face. Let me see if he exhibits that regret on his face due to the anger. Let me observe if Mudgala is feeling bad that I’m coming again and again every time! If I find any such expressions on his face, it means that he is performing the “Dhaanam” just for the sake of doing it, and is not doing it whole-heartedly!” As Sage Dhurvasa thinks thus and observes Mudgala, the result was contrasting to his thoughts! Mudgala’s face showed no signs of anger or frustration or regret. He was with his original smile and gratitude written all over his face, exactly the same way as he served Sage Dhurvasa for the first time! Indeed, Mudgala was extremely grateful to Sage Dhurvasa that he had obtained that great opportunity to serve a great sage not once, but six times continuously! Surprised by Mudgala’s calm body language and demeanour, Sage Dhurvasa who is known for his high anger asks him thus, “Oh Mudgala! You’re meticulously serving me with all your food that you had stacked up for the past fifteen days without eating anything! You’ve not done it once, but this is the sixth time you’re doing it! However, I find no sense of anger that I’m always coming to snatch away your food. I find no signs of regret in your facial expressions that this Sage Dhurvasa is coming every now and then and making my family starve! Is my observation correct? Aren’t you frustrated or sad with my arrival every now and then, which makes you and your family starve?” 

As Sage Dhurvasa asks thus, Mudgala is in tears of joy! He replies thus, “Oh Great Sage Dhurvasa! We are extremely fortunate that your divine lotus feet touched upon our home. Moreover, we’re even more grateful to you for accepting what little we offer you. In fact, to be very frank with you, I was scared internally every day as to whether I’m satisfying your appetite properly or not, because the paddy that I bring home is extremely low in quantity. I was scared whether you would get angry and we would fail in our “Dharma” of not offering the “Dhaanam” to your fullest content. Indeed, I’m happy that your appetite is satisfied and we do not care about our appetite at all. We are more concerned about the “Dharma” of offering the “Dhaanam” and as a family, we are extremely fortunate that we’re getting an opportunity to serve a great Sage like you! Indeed, I consider this as a resultant of some “Punya-Karma” that I might have performed during some of my earlier birth(s)! Hence, we do not have any regret in serving you. Indeed we’re happy to be with you!” 

Saying thus, Mudgala falls on Sage Dhurvasa’s feet with tears in his eyes. Upon seeing Mudgala’s unconditional surrender and his noble sacrifice, Sage Dhurvasa’s heart melts! He too is in tears and immediately lifts Mudgala from his feet! Sage Dhurvasa replies to Mudgala thus, “Oh Mudgala! I have been testing you for the past six times! You’ve indeed passed my test with flying colours! Nobody in this world is as good as you when it comes to offering “Dhaanam” meticulously without “Madam” (Pride) and “Maastaryam”. You’re a “down-to-earth” person and even if it is a small quantity of paddy, you’re offering it with all your heart! Even Kubera in the Deva-Lokha cannot be equal to you when it comes to giving! Moreover, let me tell you one thing – Why do you think your mind is extremely pure and focused on “Dharma”? It is because of your “Aahaara-Shuddhi” (Extremely austere food practices). I know how you collect the paddy every day and I know how meticulously your wife supports you in executing your “Dharma” properly. Hence, this “Aahaara Shuddhi” has brought about the “Sathva Guna” in you at an advanced level. This is the reason why your mind and body are sound, even if you’re starving for so many days continuously without any food or water! Hence, I’m ordering hereby – There will be one divine “Vimaana” that would come exclusively for you from the “Svarga Lokha”. You can get into it and transcend to the “Svarga Lokha” and from there, you would go to the ultimate “Moksha-Samrajya”. I hereby provide my divine “Anugraha” for the same to happen immediately!” 

So for today, let us understand up to this point and let us also join hands with Mudgala and Sage Dhurvasa to celebrate this auspicious moment! We shall continue this discussion in the next episode as well, to find how Mudgala transcended towards the “Svarga Lokha” and move on further from here! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 586 – Sage Dhurvasa tests Mudgala’s perseverance towards “Saathvika Dhaanam”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Vyaasa narrating a beautiful anecdote about Mudgala who lived in the Kurukshetra-Desha. The context here is to highlight the importance of “Dhaanam” and how “Saathvika Dhaanam” in a human being makes him / her equivalent to the Devas (Celestial beings). Mudgala was living in a small hamlet with his wife and children and he used to go and collect small quantities of paddy everyday for their food requirements. Since the quantity was extremely small per day, the family consumed a sumptuous meal only once in fifteen days. The way in which Mudgala collected paddy was very unique – He would collect only those grains of paddy which had fallen off the sacks, and which aren’t being consumed by small living beings such as ants, etc. Of course, this amount would be extremely less per day and this is how things were going. Even Bhagawan was extremely impressed upon Mudgala’s “Dharma”. Moreover, before consuming the meal once in that fifteen days period, Mudgala would make sure that the food is offered to Bhagawan with all the rituals being correctly followed. If a guest comes home, Mudgala would never bother to sacrifice his meal to feed the guest. 

In this way, Mudgala shone as an epitome of “Saathvika Dhaanam”, until one fine day when Bhagawan decided to test him! Sage Dhurvasa was once passing by Mudgala’s home and upon hearing the significance of Mudgala’s “Saathvika Dhaanam”, he wanted to obtain something as well. Thus, Sage Dhurvasa makes his way to Mudgala’s home and Mudgala happily receives him with all the due respects. As Sage Dhurvasa gets comfortable, Mudgala offers food for him as a token of “Dhaanam”. That day was the culmination of the fifteen days for which Mudgala’s family was waiting to have sumptuous food. However, with the arrival of Sage Dhurvasa, Mudgala decided that a small portion of the cooked food be given as a “Dhaanam” to the great sage. Sage Dhurvasa too accepted the “Dhaanam” gleefully and started consuming the food. Unexpectedly for Sage Dhurvasa, the food was extremely tasty, coupled with the enormous “Sathva Guna” with which it was prepared, and hence, Sage Dhurvasa’s hunger started increasing by the moment. Thus, as Sage Dhurvasa asked for more and more food, Mudgala and his wife had no other option but to serve the entire meal that was prepared for themselves. However, Sage Dhurvasa’s hunger still wasn’t satisfied! 

Now all of us know who Sage Dhurvasa is – He is a great sage, but is an epitome of anger! If he gets angry, we know what would be his next course of action – To curse! We’ve seen in the past as well as to how many people were affected because of Sage Dhurvasa’s curse! Now, as the food was getting over, Mudgala too had this same fear in him! What if Sage Dhurvasa’s hunger doesn’t get satisfied and if he comes to know that the food was over, what would be his reaction? Such things were running continuously in Mudgala’s mind, as the other big worry was that there were no ingredients left in the kitchen to prepare fresh food! Luckily by Bhagawan’s grace, Sage Dhurvasa’s hunger came to an end! He got satisfied with Mudgala’s offerings and with this, he decided to take leave! As Sage Dhurvasa departs, he provides his divine “Anugraha” to Mudgala and his family and all of them are happy. 

However, there’s one glitch here – As Sage Dhurvasa had consumed all the food that was prepared, now what would Mudgala and family eat? They did not have anything and the kitchen was completely empty! Hence, they had to wait for the next fifteen days to consume the next tranche of food! Nevertheless, Mudgala and family never bothered about all this and they patiently waited for the fifteenth day for the paddy to come and to cook a good meal for themselves. However, on the fifteenth day, Sage Dhurvasa came to see them again! Mudgala welcomed him once again and offered all the cooked food as a token of “Dhaanam” to him! Again, the family had to starve because Sage Dhurvasa had consumed all the food that was prepared! This saga continued for the next six times! Once in every fifteen days, Sage Dhurvasa used to come and visit Mudgala and he would give all the cooked food to Sage Dhurvasa and the entire family would starve! So for today, let us understand up to this point and in the next episode, we shall continue to witness what happened subsequently! Was Sage Dhurvasa happy? Or, did he get annoyed by any chance with Mudgala? Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂 

Episode # 585 – Mudgala – An epitome of “Dhaanam” – Sage Vyaasa explains!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Vyaasa’s continuation of his accord with Yudishtra, to explain how significant is “Dhaanam”. He emphasizes the point that the way in which we’re offering the “Dhaanam” is more important than the material that we’re offering. If we’re even offering gold or any higher order material, but with a tinch of expectation of any sorts, it would not be considered as “Dhaanam” at all. Thus, while offering the “Dhaanam”, we should not have even an iota of expectation or attachment towards the object that we’re offering, and this is what real “Dhaanam” is all about! To illustrate this point, Sage Vyaasa is explaining a beautiful story of a person called Mudgala who lived in the Kurukshetra-Desha. This Mudgala used to collect paddy bit by bit everyday with a lot of austerity. Thus, once in fifteen days, as the volume of paddy that he collects comes up to a certain level, his wife will cook a meal for the family and have it. Thus, we should understand here that Mudgala and family have a full meal only once in fifteen days! Even here, before consuming the meal, Mudgala is meticulous to offer the food to Bhagawan and if some guest comes home at that particular time, Mudgala will not hesitate to give the entire cooked food as “Dhaanam” to that guest! This means, Mudgala and family will not consume any food again for the next fifteen days! 

As Sage Vyaasa explains this accord on Mudgala, he becomes very happy within himself! He tells Yudishtra thus, “Oh Yudishtra! I get butterflies in my stomach when I talk about Mudgala! See how he is an epitome of “Dhaanam”! He will not consume even a grain of food without offering the “Dhaanam” and without offering the food to Bhagawan! If such is the case, imagine how much of “Satva Guna” he would have developed over the years! Of course, he might be physically weak because of lack of adequate food and water, but this is not at all a problem! Spiritually advanced people wouldn’t consider this as a weakness at all! Oh Yudishtra! What is real physical weakness? It is when our physical body is completely devoid of the “Satva Guna”, and not when our physical body is not well-nourished with food and water! This is what we’ve to understand here. Hence, Bhagawan likes those people who are nourishing themselves with the “Satva Guna”, and not just with the food and water!” 

Saying thus, Sage Vyaasa continues further, “Oh Yudishtra! As days, months and years passed by, one fine day, there was a test awaiting Mudgala! It was a really tough test. One day, Sage Durvasa came by that way, and he too knows Mudgala’s significance. Hence, he had a sudden wish to meet Mudgala and obtain a “Dhaanam” from his divine hands. With this intention, Sage Durvasa proceeds towards Mudgala’s house. Buoyed by Sage Durvasa’s arrival, Mudgala is extremely happy and welcomes him with all his love and respect! Sage Durvasa straightaway expresses himself thus, “Oh Mudgala! I’ve heard a lot about your “Dhaanam” and how pure and divine you are in this aspect of “Dharma”. I’ve come here today to receive your offering as food. So please, can you serve me some food?” As Mudgala hears this, he is more than happy to serve Sage Durvasa, and coincidentally, this was the fifteenth day wherein the meal was being cooked by his wife. Hence, Mudgala prepares Sage Durvasa’s plate and serves him a little food. Of course, we know how much food Mudgala and family would be having, because of the less quantity of paddy that he brings home. Even then, Mudgala’s wife offers Sage Durvasa a portion of what she had cooked. Sage Durvasa is happily consuming the food from the plate and surprisingly his hunger started to increase by the minute! 

Thus, as Sage Durvasa’s plate is becoming empty, he requests Mudgala for more food. Mudgala’s wife again comes with the second serving, only for Sage Durvasa’s hunger to increase further! Then comes the third serving, and with this, the entire food that is cooked for the day gets over! Sage Durvasa’s hunger is only increasing by the minute and he wants more and more!” So for today, let us understand up to this point and we shall wait till the next episode to witness what happened to Mudgala after this point! Stay tuned for a very interesting accord! 🙂 

Episode # 584 – “HOW you offer “Dhaanam” is more significant than WHAT you offer” – Sage Vyasa explains!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the discussion on which is greater – “Tapas” or “Dhaanam”. Here, Sage Vyaasa is giving beautiful answers wherein he is explaining how “Dhaanam” combined with “Tapas” is an excellent path towards “Dharma”. He says that if we give something in “Dhaanam” to someone, we should never think of that material again in our entire life. If we’re giving something to someone in “Dhaanam”, we should completely detach ourselves from that material and should give it in such a way that from this minute onwards, this material is yours! This is very important and we’ve to take this opportunity to reflect upon ourselves as to whether we’re following this or not in our daily lives! Thus, a person who offers a “Dhaanam” of some material that he / she has earned out of hard work and effort with complete detachment, is equivalent of the “Devas” (Celestial beings). 

Moving on further thus, Sage Vyaasa is going to narrate a beautiful story to illustrate his point – He is going to narrate about someone by name “Mudgala”. Sage Vyaasa explains thus, “Oh Yudishtra! There was a person by name Mudgala, who put in hard work and effort to collect paddy from the agricultural fields every passing day, and once in every fifteen days, he would donate all the paddy that he had collected to the needy as “Dhaanam”. By doing so, this Mudgala attained the highest “Moksha” as well! Now isn’t this a great achievement and a noble way to reach “Moksha”?” Thus, the point here is very simple! Oh Yudishtra! It is not important as to what material you’re trying to offer as “Dhaanam”. It is more important as to how you are giving it. For instance, it is not necessary that you do a “Vasthra-Dhaanam” or “Svarna Dhaanam” (Donating gold) everytime. Even if it is a simple paddy, which is of no significance much, if you’re doing it whole-heartedly and with a lot of “Tapas”, this is more than enough to take you to the highest “Moksha”! Thus, your involvement, detachment and “Tapas” matters a lot, more than what you are giving! Of course, you are a great epitome of offering “Dhaanam” to people as a righteous king and I do not even need to talk about all this with you. However, since you had asked this question to me, I’m giving you an answer to the best of my knowledge!” 

Saying thus, Sage Vyaasa narrates the story of Mudgala. He says thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Once upon a time in the Kurukshetra-Desha, there was a person by name Mudgala. He was an epitome of “Sathyam” (Speaking the truth all the time) and also offering the “Dhaanam”. Even though Mudgala had a family – Wife and children, he would ensure that all of them are fed adequately, but he would consume food only once in fifteen days. He will fast for the entire “Parva Kaala” and consume food only during the end of the “Parva-Kaala”. By mentioning the phrase “Parva Kaalam”, I’m referring to the fifteen-day time period that is present between the “Amaavashya” (No-moon day) and the “Pournami” (Full-moon day). Hence, Mudgala will consume food only once in these fifteen days. This is because, the small amounts of paddy that he is collecting, will transform into a substantial amount for cooking food, only once in fifteen days. Now, we’ve to understand one thing here – Oh Yudishtra! When Mudgala gathers the paddy, it is not an ordinary process. He only gathers those paddy grains that are fallen on the ground without being taken by others. For instance, he would not touch those paddy grains that are being consumed even by ants or other living beings apart from humans. He would collect only those food grains that are spilled on the ground and those that aren’t being consumed by any other insect or animal. If he has to collect grains like this, we can imagine how much will he be able to collect per day! This is why it takes almost fifteen days for him to collect a substantial amount of food grains for a meal to be prepared. During this time, the entire family of Mudgala will be fasting and will not have any food! Mudgala’s wife was extremely co-operative in this, as she understood the noble intentions of her husband. Thus, she also participated actively in contributing to Mudgala’s path of “Dharma”!”

So for today, let us understand and appreciate Mudgala’s “Dharma” path and in the next episode we shall continue to witness what happened to Mudgala after this. Stay tuned for Sage Vyaasa’s interesting accord! 🙂 

Episode # 583 – “We should completely detach from the material that we offer as “Dhaanam” – Sage Vyasa explains!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of Sage Vyaasa’s accord on “Dhaanam” vs. “Tapas”. We had witnessed how “Dhaanam” along with “Tapas” is the most significant aspect of “Dharma” in this world. In the meanwhile, we had also witnessed yesterday, the key difference between “Dhaanam” and “Prathyupakaaram”. If we donate something to someone out of gratitude to what he / she had done to us in the past, it is termed as “Prathyupakaaram” and this will not come under the category of “Dhaanam”. Readers should note this point very clearly. “Dhaanam” is something that you do to someone without having any expectation of any sorts. In this way, “Dhaanam” is also very different from the normal “Upakaaram” (Help) that we offer to someone out of concern. For instance, if someone is in a dire need of money for an unexpected expenditure and we’re helping them with the required money, we might be expecting that this person would give our money back at some point in time. This is an expectation with which we give money to someone. Thus, even though we’re doing this for a good cause and to save someone at a critical time, this would only come under “Upakaaram” and not “Dhaanam”. Thus, readers should understand very clearly here that “Dhaanam” means something that we do without any expectation from anyone. 

Thus, we can create an analogy for “Dhaanam” like this – Just like how a mother carefully nurtures her child without any expectation from it, and just like how a mother pours all her love and affection upon her child without expecting that the child will return the favour to her, if we perform the “Dhaanam” this way, it is of greater significance than “Tapas”. Moreover, all of us have this practice at home too – For instance if someone comes to our home in need of a good clothing and we’re getting an opportunity to do a “Vasthra-Dhaanam” (Donation of clothes to the needy), what we would do? We might immediately go to our wardrobe, open it, look at the huge heap of clothes that we have and start selecting them! If the clothes are brand new and expensive ones and if we had hand picked them carefully from the showroom, we would keep them aside for ourselves. As we do this one by one, we would select the most ordinary and the old ones that we’re not wearing anymore and these are the clothes we would give to the person as “Vasthra-Dhaanam”! Many of us have this practice, isn’t it? This is exactly what Sage Vyaasa strongly discourages us to do! This act of giving away only the old and ordinary clothes to the needy is not considered to be “Dhaanam”. Instead, Sage Vyaasa explains that whatever material we’ve earned out of our hard work and effort, and whatever material we would have brought for ourselves with a lot of choice and selection, we should be ready to give this material away to the needy and this is called real “Dhaanam”. Thus, Sage Vyaasa explains to Yudishtra that “Dhaanam” if it is done in this way, is more significant than the “Tapas”. 

Moreover, Sage Vyaasa also explains one important aspect of “Dhaanam” here. He says that if we give something in “Dhaanam” to someone, we should never think of that material again in our entire life. If we’re giving something to someone in “Dhaanam”, we should completely detach ourselves from that material and should give it in such a way that from this minute onwards, this material is yours! This is why we say as part of many rituals in our “Sanaatana Dharma” while giving some “Dhaanam” to Brahmins as:

“Braahmanaaya tubramaham sampradate! Idan namama!”

The phrase “Idan Namama” signifies this aspect of detaching ourselves completely from the material that we’re offering as “Dhaanam” to someone and this is exactly what Sage Vyaasa is talking about. Many of us in today’s context have a grudge after giving something to someone, don’t we? After giving something, we would think thus, “Oh! Perhaps this person doesn’t deserve this costly material. Maybe I should have given something cheaper than this! Why did I spend so much money on getting this item for a “Dhaanam”?” This is where many of us are going wrong! We should never have this attitude while giving “Dhaanam” to someone. We should always go for the most expensive items when we’re offering “Dhaanam” and this is what is equivalent to “Tapas”. Moreover, Sage Vyaasa explains clearly that such people who are detaching themselves completely from the material that they are offering, are equal to the Devas (Celestial Beings)! 

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

Episode # 582 – Difference between “Dhaanam” & “Prathyupakaaram” – An important pointer!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Vyaasa explaining to Yudishtra as to how Dhaanam, combined with Tapas is extremely significant, and if we’re obtaining a “Dhaanam” from people who have this combination of characteristics in them, we can consider ourselves to be extremely fortunate. Thus, if a person is offering some material as “Dhaanam”, which is earned by him / her through immense “Tapas”, this is the greatest offering that one can do. Hence, Sage Vyaasa answers Yudishtra’s question by saying that “Dhaanam” is more significant than Tapas in this particular way. Now we shall continue this discussion further and witness certain important aspects pertaining to “Dhaanam”. 

Now we would have one question in our mind here – If someone is helping us at a time when we are in dire need, and at a later stage if we’re helping that same person again with something when he / she is in a dire need, can this be called “Dhaanam”? For instance, I’m having an urgent medical expense at my home and one of my friends is coming forward to bare that enormous medical cost at the dire time! After a few months or years, this same friend of mine is having an unexpected expenditure, for which I’m helping him back. I’m bearing his complete expenditure at this critical time of his. Can this be called “Dhaanam”? The answer is “No”! This phenomenon is called “Prathyupakaaram”. The word “Upakaaram” means help, which signifies the help that I had obtained from my friend earlier. Now I’m helping him back, which is called “Prathyupakaaram”. This cannot be equated to “Dhaanam”. The reason is very simple here – I’m immediately coming forward to help this person, just because he had helped me earlier. Maybe, if he wouldn’t have come forward to help me at that critical point in time, perhaps today when he is facing a difficulty, I may have refrained from going forward and helping him, isn’t it? Hence, this relationship of helping each other comes with some sort of an expectation from each other – If I help him today, he will help me tomorrow! However, when we’re offering a “Dhaanam”, we are offering something without any expectation from anyone! Whereas, “Prathyupakaaram” is something that comes out of expectation. This is where we’ve to understand the difference very clearly. “Dhaanam” comes without any expectation from anyone and “Prathyupakaaram” comes with fulfilment of an expectation earlier! 

Moreover, there is also a certain level of parameter that we need to satisfy when we’re offering a “Dhaanam”. We cannot offer something just like that and term it as “Dhaanam”. There is a designated place, designated time at which we’ve to perform the “Dhaanam”. Moreover, the person to whom we’re offering the “Dhaanam”, should also be a deserving candidate to obtain the “Dhaanam” from us. He / she should exhibit austerity to the highest level, be clean and tidy, should be strong in his / her spiritual practices everyday, etc. If we’re offering the “Dhaanam” to such people, only then it would bear the desired fruit. Else, it doesn’t! On the other hand, just because we’ve to give something to someone, can we equate giving a bribe to someone as a “Dhaanam”? Definitely not! When we’re giving a bribe, it again satisfies an expectation! We’re offering a bribe to someone because that person is expected to finish some task seamlessly for us without any hiccups. Again, the role of expectations comes in! Hence, we need to be very careful here! 

So for today, let us once again understand the significance of “Dhaanam” and let us also understand the rules and regulations pertaining to offering the “Dhaanam” to someone. We shall continue this discussion forward in the next episode as well! Stay tuned! 🙂