HINDU BELIEFS ABOUT DEATH: Mahabharat story about the grieving mother

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The hindu beliefs about death are fatalistic and derive from the principle of Samsara (repetitive cycle of life and death). Hinduism teaches us that the body is made of the 5 elements of nature and is perishable. The soul inhabits the body due to its past karma and then continues its journey in different bodies across many births to fulfill the unresolved desires which keep on arising due to the illusory identification of the soul with the body. This is called Samsara and forms the basis for the Hindu beliefs about death.

The hindu beliefs about death are reinforced in almost all the ancient scriptures whether it is the dialogue of Yama and Nachiketa or the dialogue of Bhisma and Yudhistira in the Mahabharat. There is a beautiful story in the Anushashana Parva of Mahabharata where a dying Bhisma, the valiant warrior, lies  on a bed of arrows and and instructs Yudhistira as well the other sages on coping with the death of their loved and near ones.

Hindu Beliefs about death: From the Mahabharat

Yudhistira is overcome with remorse and holds himself responsible for the death of so many great warriors including his grandfather. To console him, Bhisma narrates the insightful story about Gautami, the mother who lost her son. This story of a stoic mother and an angry hunter encapsulates the Hindu beliefs about death.

hindu beliefs about deathBhisma says to Yudhisthira who is languishing with grief, “Yudhisthira, why do you consider your soul to be the cause of these actions. The cause is dependent on destiny and time and the effects that arise cannot be understood by these 5 senses. To ease your understanding, let me tell you the ancient story of Gautami and her conversation with Mrityu (death) and Kala (time). O sun of Kunti, the story will correct your beliefs about death.”

There was an old lady by the name of Gautami, who was calm & patient by nature and had achieved tranquility of mind. One day she was informed that her son died after being bitten by a snake. While she grieved about her lost son, a hunter named Arjunaka caught the snake that had bitten her son.

An angry Arjunaka brought the snake before Gautami and said, “This is the snake that is the cause of your son’s death. Tell me how should I punish it? Should I throw it in fire or should I cut it in pieces in front of you?”

Gautami saw the trapped snaked and replied, ‘O Arjunaka, release the snake. Do not kill it. Why do you want to take the bad karma of killing the snake for what has already happened? A person’s duty is to perform virtuous deeds for such deeds will help him or her cross this samsara with the ease of a ship crossing the ocean. Those who perform sinful deeds will sink at the bottom  of this ocean. By killing this snake, my son will not be restored to life. And by releasing the snake in the wild, there will be no harm caused to you. Release this living creature.”

The hunter said, “O Lady, you speak wisely but these are mere words and meant for normal times. How can you ask me to release the serpent in this time of sorrow? I must kill the snake. It is but normal for people to release their grief by taking revenge on the perpetrator. Thus let me kill the snake to lessen your grief.”

Gautami replied, “Good people have their intent only on being compassionate to others. The death of my son was a move of destiny. I will not approve the destruction of this snake. Therefore O Kind hunter, forgive the snake and release it out of compassion.”

The hunter was not convinced and replied, “We will get merit by killing this snake. After all, even creatures are sacrificed on the altar to earn merit. Merit is acquired by killing an enemy. By killing this despicable creature, you shalt acquire great merit.”

Gautami replied, “O Arjunaka of little understanding, what merit is there in killing an enemy and what good can be obtained by not releasing an enemy in our power? Be kind and forgive the snake. We will only earn merit by releasing the snake. Not by tormenting it.”

The hunter countered, “If we kill this snake, we will be protecting a lot of other creatures from its bite. We are killing the wicked snake to save the innocent creatures. That is virtuous. Thus let us kill this snake.”

Gautami replied, “By killing this snake, O hunter, my son will not be restored to life. Exercise compassion and release this living creature.”

The hunter took solace in his understandings of the scriptures and said, ‘By killing Vritra, Indra secured the best portion (of sacrificial offerings), and by destroying a sacrifice Mahadeva secured his share of sacrificial offerings: hence we are justified to destroy the snake.”

The noble Gautami was repeatedly incited by the hunter to kill the snake. But Gautami held on to her beliefs about death and argued with Arjunaka to exercise compassion and release the living snake.

The snake who was withering in the net of the hunter and was in great paid, then slowly spoke in a human voice, “O foolish hunter, why do you say it is my fault? I have no will of my own, and am driven by my nature. Mrityu (Death) sent me on this errand. It is by Mrityu’s dictate that I have bitten the child. I did not bite him out of anger nor did I have a choice. Mrityu led me to bite her son. If you want to hold someone responsible, then it is Mrityu. Go and address him.”

The hunter said, “You have done this evil. You were the chief instrument in this act of death. In the making of an earthen pot, the potter’s wheel, the rod and other things are the causes. Similarly you are one of the cause of this act. You deserve death. Confess to your sin.”

The serpent replied, “Like you said, to make an earthen pot there are many causes like the potter’s wheel, the rod and other things. Similarly the sin of death of this lady’s son is the aggregate of causes and not on me. I was directed by my nature to come and bite the boy. The cause of my bite is not independent but working in unison with other causes that brought about this destiny for the boy. If you want to know the true cause, then go to the one (Mrityu) who has driven me to bite the boy.”

The hunter replied angrily, “O foolish snake, you think I will spare your life if you speak clever words. You will die at my hands for you have killed an infant.”

The snake said, “O hunter, just like the priests who perform a yagna for the devotee do not acquire the merit by offering the oblations of ghee in the yagna fire, similarly I tell you again, it is Mrityu that has to be regarded as the cause and not me.”

Mrityu was hearing this conversation between Gautami, Arjunaka and the snake. He himself appeared before them. He addressed the snake.

Hindu beliefs about death: Conversation of Mrityu, Kala and Gautami

Mrityu said, “O Snake, Guided by Kala (Time), I did send you on this errand but neither you nor I am the cause of this child’s death. Like clouds are scattered and directed by the wind, similarly I, like the clouds, am directed by Kala. The natures of Satva, Rajas or Tamas are caused by Kala in all creatures. All mobile and immobile creatures, whether in heaven or earth, are influenced by Kala. All existent and non-existent objects are destroyed by Kala or time.

                Also Read: TIME GIVES A TIMESLESS SERMON ON DEATH

Knowing this, O snake, realize that I am not guilty for the child’s death. If any fault is attached to me for this event, then the fault is also attached to you.”

The serpent said, “O Mrityu, I do not blame you but I do not totally release you from being guilty for the boy’s death. I only state that I am influenced in my actions by you.”

Then the serpent, addressing Arjunaka, said, “O hunter, you have listened to what Mrityu has said. Hence stop tormenting me as I am not guilty.”

The hunter said, “I have listened to both of you. I hold both you as the causes and hence responsible for the child’s death. Both of you have committed this sin.”

Mrityu said, “We do not operate out of our free will but as per the dictates of Kala. We are destined to do our appointed work by Kala. If you introspect on this truth deeply, you will realize that the fault is not ours.”

The hunter said, “If both of you, O snake and Mrityu, are dependent on Kala, then how is pleasure (arising from doing good) and anger (arising from doing evil) caused?”

Mrityu replied, “Know that all actions are done under the influence of Kala. Kala is the cause of all and both of us were acting under the dictate of Kala to do our appointed work.”

Kala who was watching this argument, them came on the scene and spoke to everyone assembled together.

Kala said, “O hunter, neither Mrityu, nor this snake are guilty for the death of the boy. Neither am I guilty of the death of any creature. We are responsible for merely bringing about the immediate causes for the event of this death. O hunter, the death of the boy was due to his own karma. There was no other reason for his death except his own Sanchita and Prarabhdha Karma. The boy has met with death as the result of his Karma in the past. All of us have to face the effects of the lives we live in the present and the past. We are all subject to the influence of our respective Karma. It is the karma which can lead one to salvation or keep one enmeshed in the repetitive cycle of life and death. It is the karma which indicates whether a man is considered good or evil. The effects that you see in the present life are cumulative results of your past actions. Just like men can make any shape from a lump of clay that they are provided with, similarly the results that they achieve in their present life are shaped from their own actions in the past. As light and shadow follow each other, similarly men and karma follow each other. Thus, it is neither you, nor Mrityu nor this chaste lady nor me who is the cause of the child’s death. He himself is the cause here.”

Bhishma continued, “The snake was released into freedom. Kala and Mrityu went back to their respective destinations. Gautami took solace from the words of Kala and the hunter too became consoled.  Having heard this story O Yudhisthira, forget your grief and attain peace of mind. These men have achieved death as part of their own karma. This evil brought about by war is not your creation nor Duryodhana’s. Know that these people have been slain as a result of the acts of Kala.”


 

 

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The truth behind Sita’s exile: Sita Agnipariksha meaning

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The Exile of Sita remains the most misunderstood episode of Ramayana. Why did Rama Banish Sita? And what is the truth behind Sita Agnipariksha?

The meaning behind Sita’s Agnipariksha: Why did Rama banish Sita?

Let us quickly refer to the other incidents mentioned in the same scripture (Ramayana) where Rama interacts with four women. They are:

  1. Ahalya, the wife of the sage Gautama Maharishi was cursed to remain as a stone for being tricked into infidelity. Many great sages and Demi gods appeared in Gautam Maharishi’s ashram but no one could liberate Ahalya from the curse. Because the underlying condition ordained was that Ahalya could be liberated from a being who would not judge her. No one among the great sages or among the demigods could liberate her because they all had preconceived notions about her behavior. She remained ostracized from the society until Rama came and liberated her. Rama was the only one who was spiritually evolved not to judge Ahalya on her “perceived sin.”
  2. The second incident is Rama’s meeting with Shabari was an old woman, an outcaste who lived alone in a hut in a forest. She served Ram berries which she had tasted before and were partially eaten. Protocol demanded that guests be treated like Gods and offering food that was already eaten constituted as a sin. Laxman was offended and rejected it instantly. It was Ram who not only calmed Laxman down but also ate the berries with a sense of gratitude; in return for the berries, he initiated Shabari into the highest knowledge of devotion.
  3. Tara was widowed after the demise of her husband Vali, and it was Rama who restored her to rule the kingdom.
  4. Finally, when Ravana was killed, his wife Mandodari feared the wrath of Rama. What did Rama do when he meet her? The victorious king bowed before Mandodari and eulogized her. He praised her virtues, asked her forgiveness for the pain he had caused her and gave her the highest of honors.

So, if Rama treated these women with so much respect and admiration, and helped each one of them, then how could he banish his pregnant wife Sita. Is there a deeper significance to this?

Yes there is a deeper significance behind Sita’s exile or Sita’s agnipariksha as mentioned in Ramayana. If we delve deeper with an open heart and open mind, then we allow the wisdom of the sages who composed these scriptures to resonate within us.

Ramayana and Mahabharata were written and passed from generation to generation for a purpose. Both these scriptures have a reference to a battle between the good and the evil. In a philosophical sense that battle refers to the contradictory sattvic (divine) and tamasic (demoniac) tendencies prevalent in each one of us. Each day we make choices out of our free will that determine our mental and spiritual evolution in this cycle of life and death.

By interpreting these scriptures, a human being is expected to derive strength to engage in the correct actions. Though this is the sole purpose of both Mahabharata and Ramayana, the motif or recurring theme in both these scriptures is different. While Mahabharat is a drama, the recurring theme in Ramayana is “pain” or “separation.”

When Rama is separated from his father Dasharatha, the king dies of grief. The separation of Rama and Laxman from their mother leaves her heart-broken and she lives an agonizing life pining for her sons. Bharat’s pain caused by the separation of Rama and Sita is intense and he lives the life of a hermit while discharging his duties. Bharat voluntary separates from material comforts and dressed in barks, sleeps on floors while waiting for his brother to return. Rama is separated from the right to rule as a king and gets separated from the comforts and riches that were destined to be enjoyed by him. Rama endures all this with Sita in the peaceful forest but finally Rama is separated from Sita after Ravan abducts her. Rama is separated from his peaceful exile in the forest and begins the tumultuous journey to reach Lanka. After winning the war against Ravana, Rama gets Sita back only to be separatedagain when he banishes her. Rama remains separated from his wife and sons.

That brings us to the point who were Rama and Sita? Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi manifested as avatars in the form of Rama and Sita on this earth. They deliberately chose not be born as purna avatars, meaning that they were incognizant of their divinity and lived their entire lives believing they were human beings. Krishna was a purna avatar, meaning that he knew that he was the supreme God.

Rama and Sita lived their lives as mere mortals on this earth. Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi deliberately chose their destiny and the unfolding of their lives as Rama and Sita- a life full of pain and separation. As human beings, Rama and Sita’s lives are full of agony and moments of happiness are few and fleeting.

What was the reason for Rama and Sita to choose this life? Why did Lord Vishnu choose this particular birth where he suffered heavily and had to face the blemish of having banished a pregnant wife?

Banishment of SitaThe answer is mentioned explicitly in almost all significant scriptures but the significance is lost as people who pretend to be scholars have monopolized the visible content thus pushing the truth to oblivion.

The pain and agony of separation throughout Rama’s life, and the subsequent banishment of a pregnant Sita, were done to fulfill two objectives by Lord Vishnu:

The First Objective behind Sita’s exile or Sita Agnipariksha- Rescue his devotees

Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi lived the lives of Rama and Sita to rescue two of their greatest devotees- Ravana and Khumbkarna.

Yes, the seeds of the birth of Rama and Sita were laid long back to rescue these two devotees.

The genesis of Lord Vishnu’s avatar as is to mitigate the curse on his two most ardent devotees- Jaya and Vijaya, who were the gatekeepers of Vaikuntha. Jaya and Vijaya once stopped the four kumaras (mistaking them as children) from seeing Lord Vishnu. The four kumaras kept on requesting to meet Lord Vishnu but neither Jaya and Vijaya relented.

The kumaras were enraged and cursed the two gatekeepers, “Lord Vishnu belongs to this devotees. Just as you have caused us separation from Lord Vishnu, both of you will also lose your divinity and take birth as mortals on earth, getting separated from Lord Vishnu.”

For Jaya and Vijaya, the thought of separating from Lord Vishnu is unimaginable and they fall at the grace of Vishnu and request him to remove the curse of the kumaras. Vishnu refuses saying that the curse of the kumaras cannot be dishonored but reassures Jaya and Vijaya that he will take birth with them for all their mortal births on earth.

Lord Vishnu then offers them two choices: The first option is to take seven births on Earth as a devotee of Vishnu, while the second is to take three births as his enemy. Jaya and Vijaya cannot bear the thought of staying away from Vishnu for seven lives.

Jaya says, “Everyone who is born has to die and what better way to go than to be relieved of this earthly existence by you, our Lord.”

So the purpose of Rama’s birth was not to rescue Sita but to fulfill his promise to his devotees. It was Jaya and Vijaya who in their second birth were born as Ravana and Kumbhkarna.

The maya created by Lord Vishnu is such that he rescued his devotees and also through the life story of Rama and Sita gave us the scripture of Ramayana to lead us to the path of knowledge.

The Second Objective behind Sita’s exile or Sita Agnipariksha- Honoring the Curse of Sage Bhrigu

The second and lesser known truth about the banishment of Sita is not known to many people although the story is mentioned in the scriptures. The reason that Rama had to be separated from Sita was to fulfill a curse that was given to him! In the fights between Gods and Demons, Lord Vishnu often supported the Gods for the welfare of the three worlds.

Once Lord Vishnu had to use the Sudarshana Chakra against Sage Bhrigu’s wife Khyati to let the gods defeat the demons. Upon finding his wife slain by Vishnu, Bhrigu cursed Lord Vishnu that he would have to suffer the pangs of separation from his wife repeatedly. Lord Vishnu, the original giver of boons, acknowledged the Rishi’s anger and willingly accepted the curse of Sage Bhrigu.

Now hear the esoteric truth about the repeated separation of Rama from Sita in their lives and the subsequent banishment of Sita.

After accepting Sage Bhrigu’s curse, Lord Vishnu had to manifest the words of the Rishi. But there was a problem. Lord Vishnu or Brahman or Paramatman or Krishna is the supreme consciousness. For the purpose of creation, the one consciousness deludes itself and becomes many due to the illusion of differentiating between the seer and the seen, the body and the mind, I and them.

Now Vishnu who personifies Paramataman and the supreme knowledge, knows that he and Laxmi are the same. He knows the truth about the universe and he is beyond any diversity.

As long as he was Lord Vishnu, he was Achyuta, immovable and unchangeable.

Sage Bhrigu’s curse could not get manifested. Because there was no Vishnu and Laxmi! Both were part of the one supreme paramatma. As long as Lord Vishnu remained in his enlightened state, he would never experience the pain caused from bodily separation.

So how could the words of Sage Bhrigu be honored? Only by being born as normal human beings and creating a destiny that would cause their separation. Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi took the destiny of Rama and Sita in ignorance of their divinity and experienced the pangs of separation to honor Sage Bhrigu’s curse.

Thus, the life of Rama and Sita is to be contemplated upon as the lives of mere human beings; two mortals caught in the web of destiny, just like you and me.

Rama’s greatness is not because he was an avatar but because he took birth as a normal man who was destined to be a king. Rama is praiseworthy as a man because his step-mother robbed him of his kingdom but he never held any malice towards her. Rama the prince, lost his father, and got separated from his brothers and mother. Rama, the karma yogi, to honor his father’s words, relinquished his kingdom and went into exile. While in exile, Rama, the valiant warrior, overcame insurmountable difficulties and fought against the abductor of his wife without his traditional army. Rama, the righteous king, as per the dictates of destiny, had to banish his pregnant wife, forever earning a blemish on his reputation and knowing fully well that he would be misunderstood for ages to come. Rama, the sorrowful husband, practiced Brahmacharya after he was separated from his wife. Rama, the lonely king, missed the childhood of his sons and got deprived from the joys of fatherhood.

Yet Rama, the jnana yogi, discharged his duties stoically as a king. With full control over his senses, detached from material objects and always compassionate to others, Rama was a paragon of a perfect human being. Throughout his life, Rama put the needs and welfare of others above his own. He suffered like a normal man who was thrown in a tempest created by a destiny that was also chosen by him!

The glory of Rama is that he was a God who manifested as a man to rescue his devotees and honor the words of a Sage whom he respected.

The glory of Rama is that he was a God who willingly suffered the pangs of separation throughout his life from his one true love but never deviated from the path of Dharma.

That is why he is Maryada Pushottam.

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PANCHAGNI VIDYA: The secret meditation about the law of attraction

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Panchagni Vidya is a powerful, secret meditation mentioned in the Upanishads.

The Panchagni Vidya or Knowledge of the 5 fires declares that mastering this meditation will allow a person to attract his or her destiny.  The Upanishad issues a cautionary tone to this knowledge and mentions that this secret meditation should be handled responsibly as it will bestow the power of manifestation on an individual.

Philosophical background on Panchagni Vidya

Understanding the Panchagni Vidya

The Creation of this world is based on one simple fact: it is desires that manifest experiences and these flow of experiences collectively form the destiny of an individual. The destinies of individuals perceived by others and self is known as this world.

For the world to continue, the nature of consciousness is to grant whatever is willed or desired by an individual.  The power of manifesting desires gets influenced by good or bad karma accumulated over various births (SAMSARA). The people who achieve Moksha or transcend this world are the ones who have overcome all desires.

The Panchagni Vidya teaches the supreme truth about the inter-connectedness of life. Once the truth hidden in the Panchagni Vidya meditation is experienced, a person is no longer a victim to the laws of the creation. That person will be able to make his own laws and manifest his own desired creation.

The Panchagni Vidya meditation makes an individual all-powerful by making him realize that this existence is not a mere push from your mother’s womb nor the seminal essence of your father. It makes a person realize that he is the entire cosmos. The 5 realms or 5 fires mentioned in the meditation teach us that the entire universe come in harmony to give birth to a child. The whole universe is our father; the entire universe is our mother. Before a child is born, there were vibrations from higher realms to lower realms in the entire cosmos.

The Panchagni Vidya or the Knowledge of the 5 fires explains how the body is linked to the universe and why the mind’s true nature is to manifest its will in the universe.

The Five Fires, called the Panchagnis, are not physical fires but meditation techniques. The Fire, here, is symbolic of a sacrifice which one performs through contemplation.

Each fire or meditation technique has three facets for contemplation the actual nature of the fire. what goes as offering in the fire and what is their output.

The Panchagni Vidya or the Knowledge of the 5 Fires

First Realm of Panchagni Vidya

The Fire: The heaven is indeed the fire. Of that, the sun is the fuel, the rays are the smoke, the day is the flame, the moon is the embers, and the stars are the sparks.

Oblation/Offering: Into this fire the infinite consciousness offers faith of humans. Faith is defined as the cumulative beneficial acts of all men and women on this world: any act of mental faith to a higher power, any physical act of compassion to any species, any virtuous act, any good deed, charities, any unselfish act for the benefit of someone else. All these proper actions conducted in harmony with the intent of beneficence of humanity are offered as an oblation in this sacrificial fire. Hence any individual action that you perform adds up to the total of the oblation that is offered by the universal consciousness in this fire.

Output: Of out this fire, depending on the quality of the offering, the infinite consciousness produces prana or the life producing energy for the people on the earth.

Second Realm of Panchagni Vidya

The Fire: We now descend from the heavens into the atmospheric layer of the sky as you see it. The sky is the second sacrificial fire. The wind is the fuel, the cloud is the smoke, the lightning is the flame, the thunderbolt is the embers and the rumblings of thunder are the sparks.

Offering/Oblation: Into this sacrificial fire, the infinite consciousness offers the oblation of the prana or life- energy obtained from the first sacrificial fire.

Output: The second sacrificial fire is in a lower realm than heavens, and is responsible for rain. When rain falls, it is not an isolated activity. It is the effect of the offering of the energy obtained from the first sacrificial fire. Hence we are linked to the production of rainfall. Nature gives us back what we give it in the form of our own deeds.

Third Realm of Panchagni Vidya

The Fire: In your meditation, we know descend on the earth. The earth is the third sacrificial fire. Time is the fuel, the sky is the smoke, the night is the flame, the directions are the embers and the intermediary directions are the sparks.

Offering/Oblation: Into this fire, the infinite consciousness offers rain as an oblation. The productive capacity of this earth depends on the right amount of rainfall.

Output: The effect of this oblation of rain on the earth contemplated as a fire, is food grains.

Fourth Realm of Panchagni Vidya

The Fire: The fourth sacrificial fire is the man. Imagine your own body as a sacrificial fire.

Offering/Oblation: Into this sacrificial fire, the infinite conscious offers food as an oblation.

Output: Out of this offering, arises the seed or semen.

Fifth Realm of Panchagni Vidya

The Fire: The fifth sacrificial fire is the woman.

Offering/Oblation: The infinite consciousness offers the oblation of semen into her.

Output: Out of this offering, arises life in the form of a human fetus.

These are the five stages of fire which one has meditate as a comprehensive reality .Every act that we do has an effect and if as a race, our actions are harmonious to others, everything will in harmony

 

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Satyakama Jabala- Story of Satyakama from the Chandogya Upanishad

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The story of Satyakama Jabala has been described in the fourth chapter of Chandogya Upanishad.

As with every story of the Upanishad, the tale of Satyakama Jabala also teaches a profound truth. The story basically tries to awaken the understanding that “Everything in the world is Brahman”. Meditating on the story of Satyakama Jabala brings us closer to the realization to that everything that exists is a part of the Brahman or the supreme reality.

Story of Satyakama Jabala

One day a boy named Satyakama approached his mother called Jabala and said, “Respected mother, I want to understand the realty of the Brahman. For this purpose, I want to go and study under a Guru. Please tell me which lineage I belong to. Who were my ancestors?”

Jabala replied to Satyakama, “Dear son, I am not sure of your lineage. I worked as a maid servant when I was young and  thus worked in many households. I do not know who were your ancestors. But if you want, you can take my name Jabala. You should tell the Guru that your name is Satykama Jabala.”

Satyakama Jabala took leave of his mother and went to Sage Gautama, who was a knowledgeable teacher.

Satyakama told Sage Gautama, “Respected Sir, I want to study the truth about Brahman from you. Please accept me as a student.”

Gautam asked Satyakama Jabala,” O Boy, tell me about your lineage.  Who is your father?”

Satyakama Jabala replied, “Respected Sir, I do not know my lineage. My mother worked as a maid-servant in many houses when she was young. When I enquired about my lineage from her, she declared that she is not aware who is my father. However, since she goes by the name Jabala, she told me to call myself Satyakama Jabala. Will you accept me, Satyakama Jabala, as your student respected sir?”

Gautama told him, “O Satyakama Jabala, you have spoken the truth. Hence you are honorable. Since you did not deviate from the truth, I will  initiate you into the highest wisdom.”

Gautama then initiated and accepted Satyakama Jabala as a student.

Gautama then entrusted the first assignment to Satyakama. Gautama told him, “O Satyakama Jabala, go and take care of my four hundred cows.”

Satyakama replied, “O Sage, I will look after your cows and not return until I increase their number to one thousand.”

For years, Satyakama took care of the cows until their number reached one thousand. Upon reaching his goal, he decided to return to this master’s abode with the cows.

Then a bull in the herd spoke to Satyakama Jabala, “O Satyakama, shall I teach you one-fourth of Brahman?”

He replied to the bull, “Please teach me sir.”

The bull stated, “The east is one fragment, the west is one fragment, the south is another fragment, and the north is another fragment, These four fragments together form the one-fourth of Brahman. This portion of Brahman is called prakasavan (the radiant).

One who meditates on this one-fourth of Brahman, will become radiant in this world.”

Next morning, Satyakama Jabala proceeded forward on his journey to Gautama’s abode with the cows. In the evening, he stopped to take rest and lit a fire.

The Fire asked Satyakama, “O Boy, should I teach you one-fourth of Brahman?”

“Please teach me respected sir,” replied Satyakama.

Then the fire stated, “The earth is one fragment, the sky (middle-region) is one fragment, the heaven is one fragment, and the ocean is yet another fragment. These four fragments form one-fourth of Brahman, This portion of Brahman is called anantavan, the Endless.

One who meditates on this one-fourth of Brahman becomes endless in this world and wins the endless world as well.”

Next morning, Satyakama again proceeded to this master’s abode. A swan spoke to him, “O Boy, should I teach you about one-fourth of Brahman?”

“Please teach me respected sir,” replied Satyakama.

The swan stated, “Fire is one fragment, the sun is one fragment, the moon is one fragment and the lightning is yet another fragment, These four fragments form one-fourth of Brahman,. This portion of Brahman is called jyotisman, the luminous.

One who meditates on this one-fourth of Brahman, becomes luminous in this world.”

Next morning Satyakama Jabala again proceeded on this journey and was approached by a bird. The bird said, “O Satyakama, should I teach you one-fourth of Brahman?”

“Please teach me sir,” replied Satyakama.

The bird stated, “Prana is one fragment, the eye is one fragment, the ear is one fragment and the mind is yet another fragment. These four fragments form one-fourth of Brahman. This portion of the Brahman is called ayatanavan, the abode-possessor.

One who meditates on his one-fourth of Brahman becomes abode possessor in this world.”

Satyakama reached the master’s house.

Gautama told Satyakama Jabala, “O boy, you shine with the knowledge of Brahman. Who taught you?”

Satyakama replied, “Beings other than humans taught me sir. But it is my humble request that you teach me.”

Gautama then taught Satyakama the knowledge of Brahman which was the same knowledge that Satyakama had learnt on his journey back.

SUGGESTED READING

 Raikva, the Cart Driver- Story from Upanishad

Who am I? Sage Vasistha instructs Lord Ram

How to worship? Lord Shiva instructs

What is the self? Story from the Upanishad

Why am I trapped- Story of the 2 birds

What is Karma? The Story of the Bowman

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Raikva the cart driver- Story of Raikva from the Chandogya Upanishad

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Raikva the cart driver, Samvarga Vidya- Stories from the Upanishads

The story of Raikva the cart driver is mentioned in Chapter 4 of the Chandogya Upanishad.

There was a king  named Janasruti Pautrayana who was a pious giver and engaged in a lot of chairty.  He built free rest-houses for vistors and gave food to everyone who needed it.

One night he was at the terrace of his palace and two swans flew over him. Janasruti heard one of the swans say to another, “O Bhallaksha (one having good sight) keep away from the day like light that is emanating from the king standing below.  Keep away so that the brilliant light doesn’t scorch you.”

Bhallksha replied, “How can you speak of the king as if he were Raikva the cart-man?”

The other swan asked, “Of what sort of man is this Raikva the cart-man? You speak highly of him.”

Bhallaksha replied, “Just as in a game of dice, the winner throws the Krta (the highest throw) cast of dice and all lower ones go to him, similarly whatever meritorious deeds men do they all go to to Raikva. So all-inclusive does one becomes who knows what he (Raikva) knows too. I declare this to you.”

Krta is the highest number possible in a toss of dice, so it is said to include all the lower numbers within it. The swan says that Raikva is a person like krta, because he includes within himself all the good things that other people do. He is the sum total of all that is good in the world.  If anyone has the Self Knowledge that Raikva has, then he becomes the same as Raikva.

Janasruti Pautrayana overheard what the swans were saying.  He got up the next day and when approached by his attendant, told him, “O Friend, you are speaking to me as if to Raikva the cart-man.”

The attendant expressed his curiosity, “Who is Raikva and what sort of man is he O king?”

The king repeated what the swan Bhallaksha had said, “Just as in a game of dice, the winner throws the Krta (the highest throw) cast of dice and all lower ones go to him, similarly whatever meritorious deeds men do they all go to to Raikva. So all-inclusive does one becomes who knows what he (Raikva) knows too. I declare this to you.”

The king sent  his attendants to search for Raikva.  The attendants travelled across all the cities in the kingdom but could not find the man named Raikva. They returned to the king and announced their faliure.

The king told them, “Search for Raikva where the sages and Brahmans (self-realized people) stay.”

The attendants went further away from the cities now and in one small village, saw a man who was sitting under a cart and scratching himself. One of the attendant approached him and asked, “Sir, are you Raikva, the cart-man?”

“Yes, I am Raikva,” he replied.

The attendants rushed back to the palace and annouced this to the king.

Then Janasruti Pautrayana went to that place, taking with him, six hundred cows, a gold necklace, and a chariot drawn by mules.

He said to Raikva “O Raikva, all these -six hundred cows, a gold necklace, and a chariot drawn by mules are for you.  Please tell me about the deity you worship.”

Raikva said to him , “You Sudra, the necklace and chariot along with the cows -let all these be yours.”

Janasruti left again and then came back – this time with one thousand cows, a gold necklace, a chariot drawn by mules, and his own daughter for marriage to Raikva.

Janasruti was a seeker of Brahma Gyan and in the spirit of the true seeker he did not give up.

He said to Raikva, “I am giving you these thousand cows, this gold necklace, this chariot drawn by mules, this daughter of mine to
be your wife, and also this village in which you live, Now, Sir, please teach me.”

Janasrurti offered Raikva among other things, his daughter in marriage and also the village where Raikva was living.  The only thing he wanted in return was that Raikva accepted him as a disciple. Raikva was impressed at this sincere attempt from the King to seek knowlege and agreed to teach him.

The village where Raikva lived were known thenceforth as Raikvaparna.

It was here Raikva taught Janasruti. Raikva said to him. “Air is indeed samvarga. For, fire, going out, gets absorbed into air: the sun setting,  gets absorbed into air; the moon, setting, gets absorbed into air. Water, dried up, gets absorbed into air. Air indeed is the all devourer. This is the instruction on the universal aspect (of the diety).”

 Samvarga Vidya refers to meditating on the Vayu(air) externally and the Prana (vital breath) internally that absorbs everything. The above is the instruction on the universal aspect. The below is the instruction on the bodily aspect.

Raikva continues, “Prana indeed is samvarga. In sleep, speech is absorbed into prana; the eyes (sight) are absorbed into prana; the ears (hearing) are absorbed into prana; the mind is absorbed into prana. Prana indeed is the one that engulfs all these.

“These two (air and prana), are the two samvargas. Of the universal pheonomena (devas), air is the samvarga, and of the sense organs in a body, prana is the samvarga.”

Suggested reading

Story of Prana

Story from the Upanishads: Satyakama Jabala

Happiness: Why does Maya Smile at you?

Why are we born: The story of the 5 ants

Vairagya and Viveka: The story of the caged elephant

Kali yuga Predictions

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Datta Dayadhvam Damyata- The Story with meaning

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The meaning of Datta Dayadhvam Damyata

Datta Dayadhvam DamyataIn The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad,  Lord Vishnu has given the most compact and useful advise for the three kinds of beings, namely, the gods, the demons and the human beings.

These three beings also signify the three gunas or tendencies that exist in the creation. These three gunas are sattvic or the mode of goodness which represents the higher level of consciousness(gods), rajasic or the mode of passion which represents the middle level of consciousness (human beings) and tamasic or the mode of ignorance which represents the lowest level of consciousness (demons)

 Datta Dayadhvam Damyata – The Story

Once a representative of gods, humans and demons went to Lord Vishnu and requested him to guide them on the proper way of living.

To each of these representative, Lord Vishnu uttered one syllable, “Da”.

The gods understood this syllable to mean ‘Damyata’ or having control over your senses; as the Gods are tempted get addicted to enjoyment and sensory pleasures. Kama (sensory pleasure) is to be controlled by self-restraint.

The demons understood it to mean ‘Dayadhvam’ or being compassionate, as the demons are tempted to use and harm others for achieving their bodily desires. Anger is to be controlled by mercy.

The humans understood this to mean ‘Datta‘ or being charitable, as human beings are tempted to living a life of materialism being overcome by greed. Giving chairty overcomes greed.

 

 

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MANTRAPUSHPAM MEANING: Sanskrit & English translation

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Mantrapushpam meaning- Sanskrit Lyrics with English meaning and audio

mantrapushpamThe Mantrapuspham is taken from Taithreeya Aranyakam (1.22) of Yajur Veda. This Vedic hymn called ‘Mantra Pushpam’ is used at the time of offering of the flowers to the deities at the very end of the Pujas.
                 

Mantrapushpam meaning – Sanskrit Lyrics with English translation

यापम पुष्पम वेदा |

पुष्पवान, प्रजावान  पसुवान भवति |
 चंद्रमावा अपाम पुष्पम  |
पुष्पवान, प्रजावान  पसुवान भवति |
या एवम  वेदा, योपा मायतनं वेदा आयतनवान  भवति  |
Yopam puspam veda
Puspavan prajavan pasuvan bhavati
Candramava Apam puspam
Puspavan, Prajavan pasuman bhavati
Ya Evam Veda, Yopa mayatanam Veda,Ayatanam bhavati.
Meaning
He who understands the flowers of water,
He becomes the possessor of flowers, children and cattle.
Moon is the flower of the water,
He who understands this fact,
He becomes the possessor of flowers, children and cattle.
He who knows the source of water,
Becomes established in himself,


अग्निर्वा अपामायतनं, आयतनवान  भवति

यो अग्नेरायतनम्  वेदा,  आयतनवान  भवति
अपोवा अग्नेरायतनम् , आयतनवान  भवति
या एवम  वेदा, योपा मायतनं वेदा आयतनवान  भवति
Agnirva Apamayatanam,Ayatanavan Bhavati
Yo agnerayatanam Veda, Ayatanavan bhavati
Apovagner ayatanam, Ayatanavan bhavati
Ya Evam Veda,Yopa mayatanam Veda,Ayatanavan bhavati
Meaning
Fire is the source of water,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself,
Water is the source of fire,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself.
He who knows the source of water,
Becomes established in himself,


वर्युरवा अपामायतनं,  आयतनवान  भवति।
योवा  योआयतनम  वेदा,  आयतनवान  भवति
 आपोवई वायोर्यातनम,आयतनवान  भवति
या एवम  वेदा, योपा मायतनं वेदा आयतनवान  भवति
Vayurva Apamaya tanam, Ayatanavan bhavati.
Yova Yorayatanam Veda,Ayatanavan bhavati|
Apovai va yorayatanam,Ayatanavan bhavati.
Ya Evam veda,Yopamayatanam Veda,Ayatanavan Bhavati
Meaning
Air is the source of water,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself,
Water is the source of air,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself.
He who knows the source of water,
Becomes established in himself,

असोवै तपन अपामायतनं,  आयतनवान  भवति।

यो मश  शतपता  आयतनम  वेदा,आयतनवान  भवति।
अपोवा  आमश शतपता  आयतनम  वेदा,आयतनवान  भवति।
या एवम  वेदा, योपा मायतनं वेदा आयतनवान  भवति
Asowvai tapanna pamayatanam, Ayatanavan bhavati
Yo musya tapata Ayatanan Veda,Ayatanavan bhavati
Apova Amusyatapata Ayatanam,Ayatanavan bhavati
Ya Evam Veda,Yopa mayatanam Veda,Ayatanavan bhavati
Meaning
Scorching sun is the source of water,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself,
Water is the source of scorching sun,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself.
He who knows the source of water,
Becomes established in himself,


चंद्रमावा अपामायतनं,  आयतनवान  भवति।
यस चन्द्रमस  आयतनम  वेदा,आयतनवान  भवति।

आपोवै चन्द्रमस  आयतनम  वेदा,आयतनवान  भवति।
या एवम  वेदा, योपा मायतनं वेदा आयतनवान  भवति
Candrama Vama pamayatnam,Ayatanavan bhavati.
Yascandra masa Ayatanam Veda,Ayatanavan bhavati
Apovai Candra masa Ayatanam,Ayatanavan bhavati
Ya Evam Veda,Yo pamayatanam veda,Ayatanavan bhavati
Meaning
Moon is the source of water,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself,
Water is the source of moon,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself.
He who knows the source of water,
Becomes established in himself,


नक्षत्रनिवा अपामायतनं,  आयतनवान  भवति।

यो नक्षत्राणां  आयतनम  वेदा,आयतनवान  भवति।
आपोवै नक्षत्राणां  आयतनम आयतनवान  भवति।
या एवम  वेदा, योपा मायतनं वेदा आयतनवान  भवति  ।
Nakshtrani va Apamayatanam,Ayatanavan bhavati
Yo Nakshtrana mayatanam Veda,Ayatanavan bhavati
Apovai Nakshtrana mayatanam, Ayatanavan bhavati
Ye evam Veda, Yopamaya tanam Veda,Ayatanavan bhavati .
Meaning
Stars are the source of water,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself,
Water is the source of stars,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself.
He who knows the source of water,
Becomes established in himself,


पर्जन्योवा  अपामायतनं,  आयतनवान  भवति।
यः  परजयनस्य  आयतनम  वेदा,आयतनवान  भवति।
आपोवै परजयनस्य  आयतनम आयतनवान  भवति।
या एवम  वेदा, योपा मायतनं वेदा आयतनवान  भवति  ।

Parjanyova apamayatanam,Ayatanavan bhavati
Yah parjanyasya syayatinam Veda, Ayatanavan bhavati
Apovai parjanya Syayatanam, Ayatanavan bhavati
Ye Evam veda, Yopa maya tanam Veda, Ayatanavan bhavati.

Meaning
Clouds are the source of water,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself,
Water is the source of clouds,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself.
He who knows the source of water,
Becomes established in himself,


सम्वत्सरोवा अपामायतनं,  आयतनवान  भवति।
यः   संवर्त्सरस्य  आयतनम  वेदा,आयतनवान  भवति।
आपोवै संवर्त्सरस्य  आयतनम आयतनवान  भवति।
या एवम  वेदा, योपसुनाम प्रतिष्ठिताम् वेदा  प्रत्येवा  तिष्ठति।

Samvastaro Va Apamayatanam, Ayatavan bhavati
Yassavatsa rasyaya tanam Veda, Ayatavan bhavati.
Apovai samvasara ayatanam, Ayatanavan bhavati
Ya Evam veda, Yopsu Navam pratistitam veda, Pratyeva tistati.

Meaning
Rainy season is the source of water,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself,
Water is the source of rainy season,
He who knows this,
Becomes established in himself.
He who knows that there is a raft is available,
Becomes established in that raft.


राजाधि राजाया प्रसहया साहिने।

नमो वयम वै  श्रवणाय  कुर्महे।
समेकमन कामा  कमाये  यमशयम
कमेश्वरा  वै  श्रावणो  ददातु
कुबेरायवै श्रावणाया

महा राजाया  नमः

Meaning

Rajadhi rajaya Prasahya Sahine|
Namo Vayam Vai Sravanaya Kurmahe
Samekaman Kama Kamaya mahyam
Kamesvaro Vai Sravano dadatu
Kuberaya Vai Sravanaya
Maha rajaya Namah.
Meaning
King of kings, we praise thee,
Who is the giver of all victories,
Who is the fulfiller of all desires,
Please bless me with wealth,
To fulfill all our desires,
Oh, Kubhera, we praise thee,
Salutations to the king of kings
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Upanishads Quotes: The 4 Mahavakyas or The 4 Great truths

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Upanishads Quotes: The Mahavakyas

upanishads quotes
Four Mahavakyas

The 4 Mahavakyas are 4 profound Upanishads Quotes that encapsulate the truth about creation and existence.

Meditation on one or all of these sayings can give a glimpse of truth and lead a person on the path of self-realization.

Upanishads quotes that are known as Mahavakyas:

 

1. “Tat tvam asi” – “Thou art  that”
(Chandogya Upanishad – Sama      Veda)

2. “Aham brahma asmi” –  “I am Brahman” 
       (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad –  Yajur Veda)

3. “Ayam atma brahma” – “This atma is Brahman”
(Mandukya Upanishad – Atharva Veda)
4. “Prajnaanam brahma” – “Consciousness is Brahman”
 (Aitereya Upanishad – Rg. Veda)

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Nasadiya Sukta: The Hymn Of creation (Rig Veda)

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Nasadiya Sukta: The Hymn of Creation

nasadiya sukta
Nasadiya Sukta- The Hymn of Creation

Nasadiya Sukta is called the Hymn of Creation and is mentioned in the Rig Veda. The Vedas are the voice of the Brahman or the Pure consciousness that created the universe. Brahman is beyond form or dogmas.  Brahman represents the selfless pure form of the universal consciousness that, if inquired into, will facilitate the transfer of knowledge that will lead from ignorance to truth, from scarcity to abundance and from fear to fearlessness.

The hymn of creation or Nasadiya Sukta as mentioned in the RIG VEDA:

Then even nothingness was not, nor existence,
There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it.
What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping
Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed?

Then there was neither death nor immortality
nor was there then the torch of night and day.
The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.
There was that One then, and there was no other.

At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness.
All this was only unillumined water.
That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,
arose at last, born of the power of heat.

In the beginning desire descended on it –
that was the primal seed, born of the mind.
The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom
know that which is kin to that which is not.

And they have stretched their cord across the void,
and know what was above, and what below.
Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces.
Below was strength, and over it was impulse.

But, after all, who knows, and who can say
Whence it all came, and how creation happened?
The gods themselves are later than creation,
so who knows truly whence it has arisen?

Whence all creation had its origin,
he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
he knows – or maybe even he does not know.

SUGGESTED READING

WHO AM I? Sage Vasistha instructs Lord Ram

Mantrapushpam: English Translation

The 4 Mahavakyas from the Upanishads

WHAT IS KARMA: The Story of the Bow-man

Datta-Dayadhvam-Damyata- Lord Vishnu’s teachings

WHY DO WE FEEL TRAPPED: The Story of the 2 Birds

IDOL WORSHIP: LORD SHIVA INSTRUCTS SAGE VASISTHA

 

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