Episode # 139 – Yama-Dharma-Raja “justifies” his decision to punish Sage Maandavya!!!

In the previous episode, we had been witnessing an important and an interesting accord on Vidura’s background. We’ve witnessed that Vidura was an incarnation of Yama-Dharma-Raja and was an embodiment of “Dharma” as a whole. But how did Yama-Dharma-Raja get into this tangle of incarnating as a normal human being in the “Manushya Lokha”? What happened to him and who was responsible for him to take a human birth? We’ve witnessed an interesting accord that happened between Yama-Dharma-Raja and Sage Maandavya. Once, Sage Maandavya was declared a traitor by a king, who gave him a death sentence for a crime that he was never part of. Sage Maandavya was in deep penance and did not even know that he was being taken to the guillotine to get executed. However, at the crucial juncture when the knife was about to kill him, Sage Maandavya woke up from his penance and understood what was happening! Meanwhile, the king also realized that he was punishing a wrong person, and immediately seeked refuge under the sage’s feet! 

Notwithstanding thus, Sage Maandavya directly decided to confront Yama-Dharma-Raja who is responsible for maintaining the “accounts” of our “Paapa” and “Punya-Karma”. He directly travelled to the “Yama-Patna” in the southern direction and demanded an answer from him as to why was he subjected to such a harsh treatment! As Sage Maandavya angrily asked thus, Yama-Dharma-Raja began to shake with fear! However, he composed himself and answered that Sage Maandavya had harmed a butterfly in the same way when he was a child, and it was for this fault that he had to meet such a ghastly end to his life in this birth. Yama-Dharma-Raja clearly explains to Sage Maandavya that no matter whether he might be a great sage or a normal human being, a mistake is a mistake and the appropriate punishment have to be given! Yama-Dharma-Raja also explained to Sage Maandavya that there was no point in fuming towards him, as he was only doing his duty! 

This is a very important point here, and from this accord we should clearly understand where we’re falling into! Every passing day, we’re killing hundreds and thousands of living beings for our survival, isn’t it? We might ask a question, how! Every day when we walk on the floor, we might kill so many ants, insects, worms, etc. under our feet as we walk on the ground, isn’t it? When we cook food in the kitchen, we light the stove for heating / boiling food items. Here too, the moment we start boiling, we’re killing hundreds and thousands of bacteria, viruses, and other living beings that we couldn’t even see through our naked eyes, isn’t it? Even when we’re washing our clothes, utensils, etc. we are unknowingly killing so many living beings. Even when we’re sitting simply at a place and if mosquitoes are biting us, what do we do? We have so many devices nowadays to kill these mosquitoes! Worse than all, we try to kill them with our own hands too! Thus, in these ways, we’ve to understand how many thousands of living beings we’re killing each day, and for all these, what kinds of punishments are awaiting us when we complete this birth! It is to be noted here that I’m still talking only about people who consume vegetarian food. I’m not even going to the other side wherein we’re consuming food items that are resultant of killing animals and birds. 

Hence, the lesson from this instance is that we should refrain from killing living beings as much as possible. Of course, we cannot be 100% perfect, but we should try our best not to get into that heinous crime. We should understand that every living being has the right to live its life, like how we have our right to live a life in this world. We might ask a question here – How do we ensure that we implement this 100%? If that is the case, should we stop walking altogether? Should we refrain from cooking altogether? Should we resist the mosquitoes and experience diseases that come as a result of their biting? What is the solution for this? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 138 – Sage Maandavya questions Yama-Dharma-Raja for “wrongly” punishing him!!!

In the previous episode, we witnessed the concluding part of the important conversation between King Yayaati and Sage Ashtaka. Sage Ashtaka was very particular that he made King Yayaati narrate all his ordeals about how he experienced re-births at the “Svarga Lokha” and subsequently in the “Manushya Lokha”, to where he was falling down. Of course, Sage Ashtaka knows all these facts by himself as he was an extremely learned man. However, if someone who has undergone that experience narrates the ordeals, it would add more credibility to the entire discussion, isn’t it? By outwardly looking at the conversation, we might come to a conclusion that Sage Ashtaka (A Brahmana Rishi) is unaware of all these, and King Yayaati, a “Kshatrya Veera” has to enlighten him with all these ordeals. In fact, even King Yayaati was a “Raaja-Rishi”, on par with King Ambareesha and the great King Janaka in terms of spiritual knowledge and understanding. Thus, because of all these qualifications that King Yayaati had, Sage Ashtaka made him elaborate his past experiences so that the world would understand what it takes to be reborn again and again in this world! 

Moving on thus, I had concluded our previous episode by saying that Vidura had taken birth because of a curse that Yama-Dharma-Raja had accumulated in the past. Now let us witness this story also in brief, before we continue to witness what happened to the Paandava children at the Hastinapura palace. Sage Vyaasa explains this story in line with the event wherein the Paandava children along with Kunthi Devi are entering into the Hastinapura palace for the first time post King Paandu’s demise. We’ve witnessed this event in our earlier episodes and after this, we had deviated into the King Yayaati’s accord. As Sage Vyaasa describes the Paandavas giving an entry into Hastinapura, he explains that Vidura was the first person to receive them. Here, he talks about Vidura’s background story. Now let us see this in a bit of detail as we move forward. 

There was a great Sage by the name Maandavya. This Sage Maandavya was performing his usual penance until one day when he was caught by the guards of a king for a theft that he was never part of! Sage Maandavya was deep into his penance as this was happening. He did not know what was happening around him. However, since Sage Maandavya did not open his mouth and answer anything to the king who was trying to investigate the crime, the king concluded that Sage Maandavya is guilty and hence, the punishment of hanging to death was declared upon him! Accordingly, the guards took Sage Maandavya to the guillotine where he was supposed to be hanged. They put the sharp needle-like knife in position to kill him and everything was in place! Sage Maandavya was a great sage, and he is not going to be executed this way like normal people. With his extreme “Yoga-Balam” (Power of penance), as the knife narrowed down on him, it did not harm him in any way! With this, Sage Maandavya stood up from his sitting position, and the knife couldn’t move forward into his body to kill him! Upon seeing this, the security guards were shocked and ran to the king to convey this unusual happening. 

As the king heard this, he came rushing down and quickly realized his folly! He has tried to kill a great sage who was deep into his penance! With the fear of being cursed by the sage, the king immediately reversed his decision of hanging Sage Maandavya. He released Sage Maandavya and seeked his forgiveness. Sage Maandavya accepted his apology and let him go! However, Sage Maandavya did not leave just like that. With his “Yoga-Balam” he made his way straight to the place where Yama-Dharma-Raja was sitting! He questioned Yama-Dharma-Raja thus, “Oh Yama! Why did you give the wrong punishment to a wrong person? I had escaped the guillotine because of my power of penance. If this wasn’t there, I would have been dead by now. If I’ve to be killed this way, what mistake did I do in the past? I was in my penance most of the time, and where and when did I commit a heinous crime? I demand an answer from you immediately!” 

As Sage Maandavya asked Yama-Dharma-Raja furiously thus, Yama-Dharma-Raja started shaking with fear! However, he checked all his accounts and found out Sage Maandavya’s mistake. He explains to Sage Maandavya thus, “Oh Sage Maandavya! There is a reason as to why I punished you this way! In your previous birth, when you were a child, you had tortured a small butterfly in the same way. You had tried to poke the poor butterfly with a needle and with it, the butterfly was extremely hurt and fought for its life. It is for this mistake, you had to experience this punishment! Even though the butterfly might be an insignificant creature, a living being is a living being! We do not have the right to destroy another living being’s life for no reason, isn’t it? This is why I had punished you this way!” 

Upon hearing this, we might think thus, “Oh wow! If a great Sage Maandavya can receive a treacherous punishment like this for just killing a small butterfly, what kind of punishment would we get? We’re killing so many insects, flies, ants, mosquitoes, etc. every passing day without our knowledge, isn’t it?” This is a serious concern for all of us, and this is one reason why our “Sanaatana Dharma” says that we should avoid killing living beings unnecessarily. We shall elaborate on this point further in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 137 – King Yayaati’s accord – A credible source of information on how the “Atman” takes enormous rebirths!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the conversation between Sage Ashtaka and King Yayaati and we had witnessed how tough it is for a “Jeevatma” to be born and to survive in this world amidst enormous challenges and sufferings. This accord should be an eye-opener for all of us to understand many things with regards to the untold misery that an “Atman” has to undergo all through its five-point-process and also inside the mother’s womb. Of course, Sage Ashtaka is a great sage, and he knows all these things by himself! However, by taking all these words out of King Yayaati’s mouth assumes a lot of significance. We might have had a doubt here for a long time – Why doesn’t a great Sage like Ashtaka know all these basic things of life? The answer is very simple as I had mentioned earlier – He knows everything. But if he explains all these things, there wouldn’t be much credibility. Only if the right person who has undergone all these sufferings explains it from his / her own personal experience, will the credibility factor build in! Here, King Yayaati has undergone the experience of youthfulness, an “extended youthfulness” borrowed from his own son, the pleasures and luxuries of the “Svarga Lokha”, etc. which Sage Ashtaka has not experienced in person. Since King Yayaati has truckloads of experiences to talk about, Sage Ashtaka wants to get all these descriptions out of his mouth, so that the world can understand the first-hand experience of how is it at the “Svarga Lokha”! 

Even in today’s present context, why do we prefer experienced people over freshers for many jobs? It is because, experienced people would know how to handle tough situations better, and this is a very important requirement if we’ve to recruit people for top positions in the organization. Whereas on the other hand, if we’re giving such top positions to freshers who do not have that personal hands-on experience, how would they handle tough situations? How would they make effective decisions to take the company forward? This same concept is applicable here also! Of course, King Yayaati is not just a person with these kinds of experiences, but he is a “Raaja-Rishi”! He has enormous amounts of “Shaastra-Gnyaana” and only with all of it, he is able to give such detailed accords about life and death, even though he has that experience. Thus, we can see here that experience alone is not enough. A person should have a combination of both experience and the conceptual understanding of how things happen! This combination is very important. In similar lines, we talk about many other kings like King Ambareesha, King Janaka, etc. too, isn’t it? We’ve witnessed a detailed accord about King Ambareesha during our “Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana” project, wherein, he set the standards for fasting during the “Ekaadashi” days and how to finish the fasting on the subsequent “Dvaadashi” days. We’ve witnessed how King Ambareesha was tested by Sage Durvasa and how Bhagawan Vishnu took up the direct responsibility to save King Ambareesha from the anger of Sage Durvaasa. Moreover, we’ve witnessed how King Janaka was a Raaja-Rishi and in fact, Bhagawan Krishna Himself talks very high about King Janaka in the Bhagawad Gita. He explains that King Janaka was one amongst the very few people in this world who had attained “Moksha” through the “Karma Yoga”. 

Normally, Bhagawan Krishna doesn’t praise anyone specially by taking his name in the Bhagawad Gita! But King Janaka is an exception here, because, he was a highly qualified person in terms of “Shaastra-Gnyaana” and was a highly detached person from all sorts of wealth, although he had it plenty! Bhagawan explains that being rich and wealthy isn’t wrong! The mindset of we being rich is what causes all the problems in life! We might have enormous amounts of wealth under our possession. But the thought that we have such a lot of possessions is something that is extremely dangerous! This thought would lead us to pride, jealousy, overconfidence, over-ambition, etc. and finally would drive us away from Bhagawan completely! We should understand one thing here – All the property, wealth, etc. that we might possess today, would definitely become someone else’s after our demise, isn’t it? Forget the demise part – If something goes wrong, all the property would get into the hands of someone else even in front of our own two eyes, isn’t it? King Yudishtra was also extremely wealthy, but when he participated in the gambling game with Duryodhana and Co. what happened? All his wealth, including his wife, Draupathi was lost to the opponent camp within minutes, isn’t it? Hence, money, wealth, property, etc. are highly impermanent in nature! They keep moving around very quickly and we should not be carried away by it! We should basically have the understanding that all the money, property, etc. are owned by Bhagawan and He has given all of it to us for some good reason and benefit of the society. We should always have this thought within us. 

Thus, King Yayaati had this realization much later as we’ve witnessed how he wanted to “enjoy” the pleasures of the “Manushya Lokha” as well as the “Svarga Lokha”, isn’t it? Thus, the realization came very late after experiencing all the suffering that he had to experience! Thus with this, we conclude the important discussion between King Yayaati and Sage Ashtaka and this forms an integral part of the initial stage of the “Mahabharata” story. We’re going to witness many such accords and conversations between many other people as we move on. We would focus on these conversations more than the storyline, because all of us know the storyline very well. All of us know how Duryodhana followed the path of “Adharma” and how the Paandavas followed the path of “Dharma”, how the Kauravas were finally defeated during the Kuruksehtra war. However, the aspects of “Dharma” that are discussed in the Mahabharata text in the forms of such important conversations are extremely value-adding to all of us – Both in terms of our spiritual pursuit as well as in terms of how we conduct ourselves in this world and society. 

So for today, let us conclude this important conversation and readers might remember that I had explained Vidura’s birth in brief during our previous episodes. Vidura is none other than King Dhirdiraashtra’s brother and there is a small story behind Vidura’s birth, with regards to how Sage Maandavya cursed Yama-Dharma-Raja. We shall witness this interesting story in the next episode, as we move on with the Mahabharata story further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 136 – King Yayaati’s heart-wrenching accord – An eye-opener for all of us!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the discussion on the “Yayaati-Ashtaka Samvaadham” wherein, King Yayaati explains in detail as to how an “Atman” undergoes five different “points of contact” with the nature, before entering into the mother’s womb to be born in this world again. As the “Atman” crosses these five stages, it is not the end of all the suffering that it has to undergo. The mother’s womb is even more of a wretched place, with so many difficulties that the “Atman” should encounter before getting born. The “Atman” has to wade through a sea of bacteria and viruses inside the mother’s womb, along with all the waste that swirls around without going out! Along with it, the blood and flesh inside the womb makes the “Atman” completely suffocated. It is thus waiting to be taken out of the womb, but there is another scare here – How will it even survive the treacherous challenges that the world would throw at it? Upon thinking this, the “Atman” feels that the suffering that it is undergoing inside the mother’s womb is much better than what it would have to undergo outside! As the time nears for the delivery, even though people outside are eagerly waiting for this child to be born, the “Jeevatma” inside is crying to Bhagawan as to why should it undergo this much torture and suffering! The child cries to Bhagawan, so as to repent for all the “Paapa_Karma” that it had performed during its previous birth(s). 

Upon hearing all these emotional accords from King Yayaati, Sage Ashtaka asks him again thus, “Oh King Yayaati! So the sufferings inside the mother’s womb is terrible, isn’t it? Atleast the child would get relief while being born in this world. It would get a lot of freedom, which it did not get while being inside, isn’t it? Hence, the child should be very happy while being born!” Upon hearing this from Sage Ashtaka, King Yayaati laughs a bit and replies thus, “Oh Sage Ashtaka! Do you think that the child takes birth very happily? The process of taking birth itself is horrible and the child takes birth just like how I’m falling down from the “Svarga Lokha”! Just like how I’m being pushed upside down from the “Svaga Lokha”, the child from the mother’s womb is pulled out in the upside down position only!” If we closely examine how childbirth happens, we would understand that the leg portion wouldn’t come out first. Only the head portion of the child comes out initially. However, if the opposite happens, it means that there’s some problem with the child inside the uterus and it requires immediate medical attention. Thus, if we view life in this world from this angle, it is very simple to decipher – The person is born upside down on the first day of birth, and from there, the person tries to stand up straight for the next eighty to ninety years! When we say that we’ve to “stand up”, it encompasses all the various stages that we’ve to pass through as a human being in this world! 

Thus, the earlier we realize this, the earlier we would be able to stand up and pray to Bhagawan to attain “Moksha”! This realization set in early for little Prahlaada, little Dhruva, etc. wherein they attained what they’ve to within just ten years of their birth in this world! Whereas, we take upto ninety-odd years because we still do not have that realization within us! In many of our cases, these ninety years are also not sufficient to make this realization happen! We keep being born again and again in this world for ninety or hundred years each time without this realization happening! Thus, we should understand one thing very clearly here – Why are we listening / reading through all these stories of King Yayaati, Prahlaada, Dhruva, etc.? We’ve witnessed detailed accords of Prahlaada and Dhruva in our previous projects as well, isn’t it? Why do we do so? It is only because their life stories should become great inspirations for all of us to start taking efforts to attain Bhagawan, instead of being born again and again in this world to undergo enormous suffering! These stories should serve as an eye-opener to all of us and should make us realize that we’re undergoing enormous suffering here! If this suffering has to come to an end, the only option left for us is to surrender to Bhagawan’s divine lotus feet! It is only Bhagawan who could pull us out of all these sufferings once and forever! 

Emphasizing all these points thus, King Yayaati continues his accord – “Oh Sage Ashtaka! Tell me who is a better person in this world who can explain to you all these things in such great detail? It is because I’ve gone through all these ordeals! I was thinking within myself that youthfulness in this world is something that we can enjoy a lot and with a lot of glamour and fun! But towards the end of my previous birth, I realized that all these so-called enjoyments only lead to more and more suffering! In fact, whatever we think of as enjoyments in this world, are not really enjoyments! They are ways and means to take us to more and more suffering! I realized this very late in my life, and when I realized this, it was too late! There might not be any person in this world who would have gone to the extent of borrowing the youthfulness of somebody else to continue the enjoyment! I got so carried away with all these! Subsequently, I thought that more than these enjoyments in this world, the enjoyment at the “Svarga Lokha” was better! There also I failed! I came to know that the “Svarga Lokha” enjoyment is also extremely limited and when the time came, I was pushed upside down without any mercy!” 

By saying all this to Sage Ashtaka, King Yayaati concludes by saying that the only way to escape all these sufferings is to attain Bhagawan permanently, which he had failed to do so in his previous birth! Hence, he requested Indra to push him to a place where there would be good people who would motivate him to follow the path to attain “Vaikunta” permanently and this is why he was falling amidst great sages like Sage Ashtaka! So for today, let us understand these points very clearly and let these points serve as an eye-opener for our progress towards attaining Bhagawan! We shall wait till the next episode to give the finishing touches to this important conversation as we move on further with the Mahabharata story! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 135 – The “Atman” inside the mother’s womb undergoes enormous ordeals & sufferings – King Yayaati explains!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the conversation between King Yayaati and Sage Ashtaka wherein King Yayaati explains the significance of the “Sthoola Deham” and the “Sookshma Deham”. King Yayaati now highlights five important points of contact that an “Atman” goes through, before landing up into the “Manushya Lokha” from the “Svarga Lokha / Naraka Lokha”. These five points are referred to as the “Pancha-Agni-Vidya” in the Upanishads. Initially when the “Atman” is pushed out of the “Svarga Lokha”, the “Atman” is strewn into the clouds that roam around in the sky. Subsequently, the clouds condense and pour down as rain on the earth’s surface. Now the “Atman” gets embedded into the raindrops as they fall down. Subsequently, the “Atman” grows into a plant with the combination of the raindrop and soil. Subsequently, this plant / tree is consumed by the existing living beings in the world, including human beings. Now the “Atman” goes into the stomach of the living being. Subsequently when the living being enters into a union for reproduction, the “Atman” gets transferred into the female womb and subsequently the “Atman” gets its new “Sthoola Deha” as it grows inside the mother’s womb. Thus, once the womb is fully grown, the woman gives birth to the child, and with this, we enter into our next birth in this world. 

As King Yayaati explains this, we should also understand that there is an uncertainty with respect to the time factor here. This five-point-process does not happen immediately in sequence for everyone. For instance, our “Atman” might keep roaming around amidst the clouds for several days or months. Depending upon where the clouds are going to dump the rains, the “Atman” would go into the ground and germinate as a seed. Again, if the seed germinates into a plant and then forms a tree, we’ve seen that several trees have extremely long lifespans. It is believed that some species of the banyan tree lives on for a hundred or even a thousand years! Hence, for the next thousand years or so, the “Atman” is in the form of that tree only and it cannot take a human birth until that thousand-year-lifespan is over. It is only after the tree dies down, will the “Atman” be able to get transferred into a body of another living being. Thus, we’re witnessing here that the time lag between the five stages is extremely uncertain. For some “Atmans” the process is faster, and for some, the process takes ultra-long time. This time lag totally depends upon our level of “Karma” that we’ve accumulated over time! Maybe if our “Karma” account is on the lower side, probably Bhagawan might speeden up the process and give us the human birth quickly, so that we can exhibit “Bhakti” and attain Bhagawan’s “Vaikunta”! All we can do is to pray for this to happen! Anyways, we’ve now got this human birth. Hence, isn’t this the greatest opportunity for us to utilize and get to “Vaikunta”? Let us ponder! 

Moving forward thus, Sage Ashtaka asks a counter question to King Yayaati here – “Oh Yayaati! You mentioned that the “Atman” enters into the womb of the mother in the fifth stage. Of course, there is a lot of difficulty that the “Atman” would have encountered while traversing these five stages. Atleast when the “Atman” enters into the mother’s womb, does it get some relief? Will it be very comfortable inside the mother’s womb?” As Sage Ashtaka asks this question, King Yayaati explains back thus, “Oh Sage Ashtaka! Do you really think that the “Atman” is happy inside the mother’s womb? Once the “Atman” slowly starts assuming its “Sthoola Deham” inside the mother’s womb, it undergoes a hell of suffering inside! Firstly, whatever sweet or spicy or sour food that the mother eats, is going to directly affect the child within. Since the “Sthoola Deham” of the “Atman” is new, it would not be accustomed to all the sweets and savouries that we’re eating in this world! The new “Sthoola Deham” of the child would not be able to digest such things, and the child would suffer because of this. Secondly, since the space inside the mother’s womb is completely cramped, the child cannot move itself here and there. It cannot even raise its hand or leg in the way it wants. Worse, it cannot even turn itself to another direction if it finds it uncomfortable!” 

King Yayaati continues further thus, “Oh Sage Ashtaka! Thirdly, there is a problem of being swarmed by infinite numbers of bacteria and viruses inside the mother’s womb! There might be lakhs and crores of them and it is amidst all these micro-organisms that the child should grow with for around ten months! Fourthly, there is no space to even pass our waste! There is no toilet facility inside the mother’s womb! All the waste that the “Sthoola Deham” generates, only keeps circulating inside the mother’s womb and there’s no space for it to go out! Apart from this, there is so much blood, flesh, tissues, etc. everywhere around and the baby grows amidst all of these! Amidst all these things, the child continues to grow and as the time of delivery nears, people outside are extremely happy as to when the child is going to be born! However, do you think that the child inside is happy? The answer is “No”! The child cries and cries inside with the extreme torture that it is undergoing! Moreover, upon understanding that the time is nearing for it to be thrown out into the world, it gets even more scary! How will it manage the harsh and brutal externalities of the external world?” 

Hence, such is the suffering that a “Jeevatma” undergoes within a mother’s womb before it is born! This might be very heart-wrenching for many of us, but having said thus, it is the fact and all of us have undergone this, knowingly or unknowingly! So for today, let us understand up to this point, and let us continue this discussion in the next episode to witness how the baby suffers while being extracted from the mother’s womb! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 134 – The concept of “Pancha-Agni-Vidya” in the “Upanishads” – King Yayaati explains!!!

In the previous episode, we had continued with the important discussion between King Yayaati and Sage Ashtaka, wherein we had witnessed the concepts of “Sthoola Deham” and “Sookshma Deham” and how they work in tandem. The “Sthoola Deham” is the one with which we live in this world, and the “Sookshma Deham” is the one the “Atman” takes after leaving this “Sthoola Deham” at the end of this lifespan. With the “Sookshma Deham”, the “Atman” travels to whichever “Lokha” it has to go to and then assumes another “Sthoola Deham” corresponding to that “Lokha” where the “Atman” lands up in. If we reach the “Svarga Lokha”, the “Sthoola Deham” of our “Atman” would be apt to enjoy all the luxuries and pleasures that are available there. Whereas if our “Atman” has to go to the “Naraka Lokha”, we would get another appropriate “Sookshma Deham” that could withstand all the drubbing that we would get there. After that tenure, when the “Atman” comes back to the “Manushya Lokha” again, it assumes another new “Sthoola Deham” inside the mother’s womb. This is exactly what King Yayaati is describing here, as Sage Ashtaka asks him the question whether he would fall down on to the earth again with the same “Deham” as he had in the “Svarga Lokha” or with a different “Deham”. 

King Yayaati gives a very important reply here. He says thus, “Oh Sage Ashtaka! Please do not compare my case with the others in the world. The process is different. In my case, as my “Punya-Karma” account is enormous, I’m falling down to the earth with the same “Sthoola Deham” of the “Svarga Lokha”. However, for normal people, they would be thrown out of the “Svarga Lokha” with the “Sookshma Deham”, on to the clouds that adorn this earth. These clouds then join with many other clouds and pour into the earth surface as rain drops or snow flakes. Thus, the “Atman” sticks to these rain drops and fall on the earth, which is responsible for the growth of plants. Thus now, the “Atman” is sticking to the leaf or stem or root of the plant, which is being consumed by the other living beings. For instance, if a male animal (It can be any animal – Dog or cat or lion or tiger or insects or human being) consumes that plant, the “Atman” gets into the stomach of the male animal. When this male animal gets into a union with the female animal, the “Atman” gets passed into the body of the female animal in the form of sperms. These sperms are thus responsible for the development of the egg inside the uterus of the female animal and thus, the “Atman” develops its new “Sthoola Deham” inside the womb of the mother! Once the mother delivers, the “Atman” comes out in the form of a child. This is the process through which the “Atman” reaches the “Manushya Lokha” from the “Svarga Lokha” or the “Naraka Lokha”. 

Thus, we can see here that King Yayaati talks about five important “points of contacts” through which the “Atman” travels from the “Svarga Lokha” / “Naraka Lokha” back to the “Manushya Lokha”. First point of contact is the cloud. Second point of contact is the raindrop. Third point of contact is the plant. Fourth point of contact is the male animal / human being’s stomach. Fifth point of contact is the female animal / human being’s womb where the “Atman” gets enclosed into the “Sthoola Deham” of the “Manushya Lokha”. This process through which the human being takes birth in this world is referred to as the “Pancha-Agni-Vidya” in the “Upanishads”. Only if one realizes the pain that he / she has to go through these five points of contact with the “Manushya Lokha” before taking birth here, he / she realize the importance of “Vaikunta” and the understanding of not coming back again to this world. Else, the “Atman” should always keep coming back to this world with different births at different times, without an end! 

So for today, let us understand this concept of “Pancha-Agni-Vidya” that is explained in the “Upanishads” clearly and let us hereby develop this aspiration that we should reach “Vaikunta” somehow, so as to escape these five points of contact with this world forever! We shall wait till the next episode to continue this important discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 133 – Concepts of “STHOOLA DEHAM” and “SOOKSHMA DEHAM” – King Yayaati explains!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the discussion between King Yayaati and Sage Ashtaka wherein, the discussion veered into how an “Atman” can survive without a “Deham” and what happens to the “Atman” during the transition between two different “Dehams”. We’ve witnessed the important answer out of this discussion that the “Atman” keeps wandering here and there till the time that Bhagawan has stipulated for it to enter into a different “Deham”. That “Deham” can be the one that is suited to ascend to the “Svarga Lokha” or “Naraka Lokha” or it can also be the one with which we would be born in the “Manushya Lokha” as a plant or an animal or a human being (if we’re lucky and fortunate enough). Hence, till this time arrives, the “Atman” would be wandering around without a “Deham”. This is what we see in the case of people encountering “Akaala-Maranam” (Means, unfortunate and untimely death). The stipulated lifespan of that person would have been a certain number of years, but because of whatsoever reason, that person would have passed away much earlier than that stipulated time given by Bhagawan. In that case, that person’s “Atman” would be wandering around without a “Deham”. This is why we say that there would be hundreds and thousands of wandering “Atmans” around us at any given point of time. We might not be able to see them with our naked eyes, but they do exist. 

Having said thus, if our “Atman” has encountered the time of separation from our present “Deham”, as per Bhagawan’s account, the “Atman” would know where to go next. The “Atman” would first decide where to go after leaving this “Deham” and only then would start. Now how does this happen? We can imagine an earthworm moving from one leaf of a plant to the other. Does it jump entirely from one leaf to the other? It doesn’t! It first keeps its first four legs into the next leaf and slowly crawls with that support into the new leaf. However, the remaining four legs would be in the previous leaf only. Thus, slowly the crawl happens and gradually all the eight legs of the earthworm would move into the next leaf, isn’t it? Similarly, our Atman first decides which is the next “Deham” that it has to assume, and slowly makes the transition. It does not happen immediately and abruptly. Hence, this is how the “Atman” travels. 

However, having said thus, if our “Atman” has to travel towards the “Svarga Lokha” or the “Naraka Lokha” or even “Vaikunta” for that instance, does the “Atman” travel all alone? The answer is “No” again! For this also, the “Atman would require a “Deham”. This is what we call “Sookshma Deham”. What we constitute now at present is the “Sthoola Deham” and once the “Atman” gets off from this “Deham”, it would be washed and burnt away. However, if our “Atman” has to embark a travel towards any of the “Lokhas”, we need another “Deham” called “Sookshma Deham”. Once we reach the respective “Lokhas” where we’ve reach, we would get another “Deham” there. This “Deham” that we would get would be of immense strength than what we have today! I assume that all of us know the reason for this! 🙂 The simple reason is, for instance if we’ve to reach the “Naraka Lokha”, with the amount of “Paapa-Karma” that we’ve performed, we’ve to withstand the amount of beatings and drubbings we would receive there, isn’t it? For that, the present “Deham” would not even withstand one beating! 🙂 Hence, we would be provided with another “Deham”, exclusively made for getting all the beatings in the “Naraka Lokha”! Thus, once the beatings are over, that “Deham” would be removed from our “Atman” and if we’ve to come back again to the “Manushya Lokha”, we would have to assume another “Deham” that is apt for this “Lokha”! The cycle continues on and on thus! 

Thus, we can see here that there are different “Dehams” that our “Atman” assumes at different times. One “Deham” (Sthoola Deham”) when we are alive in this “Manushya Lokha”, the second “Deham” (“Sookshma Deham”) when we travel from here to the “Svarga / Naraka Lokhas”, and the third “Deham” would be the “Deham” that would be given to us in those respective “Lokhas” wherever we set foot upon! Hearing all of this, Sage Ashtaka asks King Yayaati another question here – “Oh King Yayaati! Now that you’re falling down from the “Svarga Lokha”, are you falling down with the same “Deham” that you had there? What is going to happen to this “Deham” when you set foot here?” King Yayaati answers thus, “Oh Sage! Yes! I’m now falling down with the “Deham” that I had in the “Svarga Lokha”. Now when I set foot here, this “Deham” would completely disappear, and I would be born as a child in this “Manushya Lokha”! That would be a different “Deham” altogether! When I fall completely on to this “Manushya Lokha”, I’ve to cross five different stages before I enter into my mother’s womb as a child!” 

Upon hearing this, Sage Ashtaka asks King Yayaati thus, “Oh Yayaati! What are those five stages that you need to cross?” This is a very important question that Sage Ashtaka is asking here! King Yayaati is going to give a very interesting reply that all of us should understand. So for today, let us understand until this point and we shall also wait along with Sage Ashtaka till the next episode to find out the answer for this important question! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 132 – An “Atman” can survive without a “Deham” – King Yayaati’s discussion with Sage Ashtaka!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of King Yayaati’s reply to Sage Ashtaka’s important questions on how the “Karma Theory” operates, and how people transcend from the “Manushya Lokha” to the various other Lokhas like the “Svarga Lokha”, the different types of “Naraka Lokha”, etc. and how do they once again come back to the same “Manushya Lokha” to continue their “Karma”! Everytime we take birth in this world to wash off our existing “Sanchita Karma” through our “Praarabdha Karma” (We’ve witnessed all these definitions earlier), we keep on accumulating more and more “Karma” during the present birth and all of it goes back into our “Sanchita Karma”, only for the results to be experienced at a later stage – Perhaps within this birth itself if we’re lucky and fortunate, or in our subsequent births that we take! This is exactly the reason why King Yayaati is also coming down. He had the opportunity to ascend to the “Svarga Lokha” on account of the enormous amount of “Punya Karma” that he had accumulated in his birth as a righteous king. However, once his “Punya Karma” was washed out, he was again pushed back to the “Manushya Lokha”, only to accumulate more and more “Karma”! This is where King Yayaati feels extremely dejected with himself and is repenting for his mistake of desiring to go to the “Svarga Lokha”! 

As King Yayaati replies thus, Sage Ashtaka again asks him another set of questions! He asks thus, “Oh King Yayaati! Now that you’re falling down from the “Svarga Lokha – How do you fall down with the same physical body (Deham)? Once you finish your birth in this world, the “Deham” is destroyed, isn’t it? How is it that you’re coming down with the same body as you had earlier?” This is where we’ve to understand an important point – When we transcend to different “Lokhas”, we would take different physical forms that are apt for that particular “Lokha”. For instance, if we’ve to go to the “Svarga Lokha”, our “Atman” would assume a physical form that is apt for enjoying all the luxuries that happen there. However, when we’ve to transcend to the “Naraka Lokha”, our “Atman” would be given a physical form that would be able to experience all the beatings and punishments that we would get there! For obtaining such punishments, there should be a “Deham” that should be able to take all of it, isn’t it? Hence, while being in the “Manushya Lokha”, our “Atman” has a different “Deham”. When we transcend to the “Svarga Lokha”, we leave this present “Deham” here itself and our “Atman” assumes another “Deham”. While we transcend to the “Naraka Lokha”, our “Atman” takes another “Deham” that is apt for it. Hence, we can see here that our “Atman” is constant and our “Deham” keeps on varying from one birth to the other! 

Now comes another important question – There would be a time interval between one birth and the next, isn’t it? So how does the “Atman” sustain without a proper “Deham”? Can this even happen? The answer to this question is, “Yes”. The “Atman” is always permanent. Of course, there is a transition – For instance, when my current birth comes to an end, during the end-time itself, Bhagawan gives His verdict as to which place and which physical body should my “Atman” take next! Bhagawan’s judgement comes immediately within a split of a second and the future gets decided according to our “Karma”! For instance, if my “Punya Karma” is exceeding my “Paapa-Karma” and if Bhagawan designates us to take us to the “Svarga Lokha”, He gives us the apt “Deham” immediately after our demise in this earth! Of course, we cannot see all these transitions with our naked eyes, but such things happen! 

However, there is a clause here – If the apt time doesn’t come for us to switch over from one “Deham” to another “Deham”, our “Atman” would be freely roaming around in the air! For instance, we would witness some deaths of people that happen due to accidents, or some physical ailments, etc. at a young age itself. Some people even commit suicides, isn’t it? Now what would happen to their “Atman”? The designated time given by Bhagawan hasn’t come for them yet to switch over to a new “Deham”, isn’t it? As per Bhagawan’s calculation, there is a stipulated lifespan for all of us, and when the time comes, we pass away! However, if we pre-decide to end our life earlier than Bhagawan designated, our “Atman” would not get the new “Deham” as per our whims and fancies! Only when the Bhagawan-designated-time arrives, will our “Atman” be able to get into the new “Deham”! But till that time arrives, the “Atman” would be roaming around without a “Deham”! Thus, there might be hundreds and thousands of “Atmans” that are roaming freely without a “Deham” around us at any point of time! We might not be able to see them with our eyes, but they might be roaming around! In fact, there might be thousands of “Atmans” within our own “Deham” today! We live amidst so many bacteria and viruses, isn’t it? Who knows how many viruses are present within our body at any point in time? Perhaps, our body might be immune to them and we might not exhibit any sickness, but does that mean that our body does not contain any virus? 

Hence, the point here is that, there are thousands of “Atmans” that might be without a proper “Deham” roaming around for whatsoever reasons. The concept here is that, the “Atman” assumes a physical form when the apt time arrives. If Bhagawan has designated the date, time and place for an “Atman” to incarnate into a physical body, it would happen only according to that. So for today, let us understand this point very clearly and let us wait till the next episode to witness this interesting discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 131 – The vicious cycle of “Sanchita Karma” – King Yayaati explains!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the conversation between Sage Ashtaka and King Yayaati. As King Yayaati was falling down from the Svarga Lokha, Sage Ashtaka was asking a series of questions to understand as to why he was falling down like this. Various doubts plagued Sage Ashtaka’s mind. There were many myths running through, and Sage Ashtaka sought to find out answers for all of them from King Yayaati, as he can give some “experiential answers”. Since King Yayaati has first-hand experience of visiting the “Svarga Lokha” and coming back, Sage Ashtaka was very keen to understand how was life at “Svarga Lokha”. King Yayaati slowly starts replying to Sage Ashtaka as he was falling down. It should be remembered here by readers that this entire conversation did not happen on ground between the two of them. This happens as King Yayaati was in the air itself! Sage Ashtaka was so eager to understand things from King Yayaati that he did not want to even waste that time till King Yayaati steps on the ground again. The entire conversation happened when King Yayaati was mid-air! 

King Yayaati replies thus, “Oh Sage Ashtaka! I’m falling down on the “Bhouma-Naraka Lokha”, wherein I refer to this earth itself as the “Naraka Lokha”. I say this because this “Manushya Lokha” is full of worldly pleasures and distractions that would deter us away from the path of “Dharma”. It is very easy for one to get carried away by the “Maya” (Illusion) that is there in the world! If we’re frustrated with this “Manushya Lokha”, we would immediately think that the “Svarga Lokha” is much better and we would enjoy permanent luxuries there. However, please understand that there is a small clause here – Of course, the luxuries of the “Svarga Lokha” are incomparable to what we have in the “Manushya Lokha”. But, our tenure at the “Svarga Lokha” will come to an end when our “Punya Karma” comes to an end! This is exactly what happened to me! Initially I was under the impression that the “Svarga Lokha” was permanent and I shall enjoy even more luxuries and pleasures there. However, when Indra pushed me upside down, I realized how fickle the “Svarga Lokha” is! Hence, Sage Ashtaka! Please understand that the “Svarga Lokha” is temporary and you would never know when you would be pushed down! You would be living there with that constant fear of being pushed and this is even more terrible than the “Manushya Lokha”! 

Upon saying thus, King Yayaati continues further. Now he’s going to answer Sage Ashtaka’s questions on the “Karma Theory” and how it works. King Yayaati replies thus, “Oh Sage Ashtaka! Yet another reason for which I’m falling down to the “Manushya Lokha” is my “Karma”! My “Sanchita Karma” sacks are pending to be burnt! There are many sacks of my “Sanchita Karma” pending still. It is only one small part of my “Praarabdha-Karma’s ” “Phala” (Resultant) that I had experienced in the Svarga Lokha”, and once that was over, I was pushed out! Now when I set foot on the “Manushya Lokha”, I would start experiencing the results of one of the huge sacks of my “Sanchita Karma”!” 

As King Yayaati explains thus, Sage Ashtaka quips him with another question – “Oh King Yayaati! Now that you’re falling down to the “Manushya Lokha”, are you really coming here to experience the results of your “Sanchita Karma” or are you coming here to earn more “Karma” that would eventually go into the “Sanchita Karma” again? Please clarify!” This is where we need to understand the nuances of the “Karma Theory”. This is very similar to how we perform our banking operations. For instance, if we take a loan of some amount to build a house, and when the time comes to repay that loan back to the bank in terms of fixed installments – The bank would charge some interest on the principal amount isn’t it? However, for some reason, we’re unable to repay the loan amount along with the stipulated interest amount, what will the bank do? The bank wouldn’t erase out the money just like that! It would accumulate more and more with more interest, isn’t it? Similarly here also, Bhagawan is sending us back to the “Manushya Lokha” ideally to wash away all our previous “Sanchita Karma”. If we stick to this agenda only and finish it off, there wouldn’t be any problem! This is like repaying the loan amount with interest regularly month on month! However, if we’re going to earn more “Karma” while taking this birth, it is like taking more and more loan from the bank, or failing to pay the existing loan! Now what would happen? The bank would charge us more interest, isn’t it? Similarly, Bhagawan also charges us interest in the form of more and more “Sanchita Karma” getting deposited into our account, basis which, we would take yet another birth in this world to finish that off!

Thus, the point here is that, we keep accumulating our “Sanchita Karma” as we progress through every birth, knowingly or unknowingly. This is where we get into more and more trouble! If we obtain that realization that we’ve to finish off our “Karma” here itself without accumulating more of it, we would be able to cross over this “Karma Cycle”. Else, we would only keep revolving inside this vicious cycle and we would keep experiencing birth and death again and again in this world. So for today, let us understand this point very clearly from King Yayaati and we shall wait till the next episode to discuss the next interesting question that Sage Ashtaka is going to ask! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 130 – It is very difficult to aspire for “Vaikunta” from the “Svarga Lokha” – An important discussion!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important leadership & management lesson with regards to how we view short-term and long-term orientations. In due course, we’ve witnessed how King Yayaati got carried away by the short-term pleasures of youthfulness while being a king, and the lucrative “Svarga-Lokha”, only to be pushed out at the end of his tenure. Eventually, King Yayaati’s accord teaches us the important lesson that if we’re getting carried away by short-term goals and orientations, it is only temporary happiness and can backfire at any point of time. However, if we’re looking at a sustained growth with a long-term orientation, this is like aiming to reach the ultimate “Vaikunta” or “Moksha” with Bhagawan’s divine “Anugraha”. Once we reach “Vaikunta”, we are never going to return back to any of the “Lokhas” once again, unlike the cases of the “Svarga Lokha” and the “Naraka Lokha”. 

Moreover, King Yayaati explains to Sage Ashtaka thus, “Oh Sage! After going all the way to the “Svarga Lokha” and after being pushed back thus, I feel that I could have been in this “Manushya Lokha” itself, performed penance to attain “Vaikunta” from here itself!” Sage Ashtaka did not understand what King Yayaati was telling. The real meaning of King Yayaati’s words is this – The lifespan of a human being here in this “Manushya Lokha” is around 90 years, isn’t it? In today’s context, it is hardly 80 to 85, if everything goes well. Whereas, the lifespan at the “Svarga Lokha” is around a thousand years. If anything goes wrong in these 80-85 years in the “Manushya Lokha”, our time span is quite less to correct course and attain “Moksha”. Whereas, if we deviate from our path of “Dharma” in the “Svarga Lokha”, we’ve to wait for a thousand years to correct our course of action! Moreover, once we reach the “Svarga Lokha”, it is very difficult for us to transcend from there to “Vaikunta”. Very few people who had that extreme “Vairagya” (Will power) have done that. But for normal people like us, we’re unable to resist our desires even in this “Manushya Lokha” for 85 years. But in the “Svarga Lokha”, it is all going to be pleasures and desires 24*7*365 for a thousand years! Won’t we get carried away with ease by all these pleasures? The moment we get carried away, where is the question of even thinking of Bhagawan or “Vaikunta”? We would immediately say thus, “Oh! We’re extremely happy here at the “Svarga Lokha”! We do not need the “Vaikunta” at all!” 

For instance, we’re conducting elections in our country / state once every four to five years. If we as common citizens of the country aren’t happy with a government and its performance, we’ll have to wait for five years to change the government, isn’t it? Similarly, if we’re not happy with our own progress in the path of “Dharma”, Bhagawan is waiting for us for around 85 years (in this human birth that we’ve taken) for course correction. Only if we don’t do anything, Bhagawan acts accordingly with the next step. However, this 85 is much less as compared to a thousand, isn’t it? If we’re getting carried away with all the pleasures at the “Svarga Lokha”, Bhagawan has to wait for a thousand years to correct our path towards “Vaikunta”! This is the potential problem that we would encounter when we reach the “Svarga Lokha”! We might attain all pleasures and luxuries, but we might not be able to attain Bhagawan! Hence, it is up to our priority and the choice is ours – Whether to choose the “Svarga Lokha” luxuries or Bhagawan! 

We should note here that all these question-answer sessions are happening as King Yayaati is falling down! He hasn’t completely fallen down on the “Manushya Lokha” yet! But Sage Ashtaka is asking him all sorts of questions as the falling process is on! 🙂 Sage Ashtaka not only asks about the tenure of the “Svarga Lokha” that we’ve discussed till now. This is a seemingly very long conversation that is going on between the two of them. Sage Ashtaka is asking question after question to King Yayaati! I shall just explain some of the important questions that Sage Ashtaka asked here. The first question that he asked was to which all “Lokhas” we would transcend to, after our demise at the “Manushya Lokha”. If we’ve to transcend to any of these “Lokhas”, how would we transcend? We wouldn’t be having a physical body, isn’t it? We would be having only the “Atman” at that time. In that case, do we take a new physical body to reach those respective “Lokhas”? Now that King Yayaati is falling down with his original physical body – Did King Yayaati go to the “Svarga Lokha” with this same physical body? How come he was falling with the same physical body with which he went to the “Svarga Lokha”? 

We can see here as to how many questions are coming from just that one question that we started with! Initially, Sage Ashtaka started with the question of why is King Yayaati falling down, and from where is he falling down! Readers should remember this sequence of conversation very carefully here. It might be a bit confusing. Sage Ashtaka commences with this particular question, and from the answer that King Yayaati gave, Sage Ashtaka asks around a hundred questions associated with that! So for today, let us understand Sage Ashtaka’s questions and let us wait till the next episode to witness what are the answers that King Yayaati gave to Sage Ashtaka! Stay tuned for the most interesting part of the conversation! 🙂